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nursery firm; you then get what you order, and if it does not turn out well, there is a way of redress. Those who will purchase their stock from itinerant tree venders are almost certain to be cheated.

SMALL FRUITS.—A family garden at this day and age is not complete without a full stock of the best kind of small fruits. These are so largely propagated now, so cheap, and the plants can be sent through the mail at such low rates, that it has become, with a little care, very easy to have a full supply. To make a selection from the long lists usually found in nurserymen's catalogues is a puzzling question for the beginner, and more so for the reason that the bulk of these are described as of "good quality, tender flesh, and melting." In such cases, orders are often sent to nurserymen living in widely distant parts of the country with the selection of kinds not named, leaving the choice to the seller. This is not always the best way to do, for no matter how conscientious the nurseryman may be, soil and climate have such a marvelous effect on varieties, both as to quality and productiveness, that sorts that do well in one State are worthless in another. There are only very few kinds of either large or small fruits that will grow freely and bear abundantly in any wide range of our country. Those who cultivate fruit as a business know the fact that there are a number of varieties grown with profit in Western New York, which in the eastern part of the State amount to nothing. Another case in point is the Hudson River Antwerp Raspberry, that grows and bears to perfection along the Hudson River, producing crops of delicious fruit year after year; yet, over in New Jersey, on the light soil, it is a waste of time and money to undertake its culture. These matters are worthy of consideration before selecting either large or small fruits for garden culture.

STRAWBERRIES.-This truly delicious fruit, so long neglected, has within the last ten years left the bounds of the garden fence, and now receives the dignity of field culture in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina. Within a few miles of Charleston, on what is called the "Neck," I saw growing a few weeks ago more than 150 acres of strawberries, all intended for the New York market. It was not until quite recently that the best methods of culture were put into general practice. It was the general belief among the people that strawberries did best on poor soil, and with poor culture. But this fallacy is no longer entertained.

The bed intended for strawberries in the garden should be forked over at least three times before setting out the plants. Furrows should then be opened six or eight inches deep, and two and a half feet apart. In these furrows plenty of well-decomposed yard manure should be scattered, with the addition of wood ashes, or some other fertilizer, and then covered over with five or six inches of fine soil. The plants should then be set on the top of these

ridges about a foot and a half apart in the row, and, in planting, the soil should be pressed firmly around the roots. The after-culture is simply to keep the surface loose, and the weeds down. With strong plants to start with by the fall, there will be a continuous bed of plants two feet in width, leaving just In room enough for a path between these rows. the Southern States, where the soil is light and subject to long droughts, this method of putting the manure directly under the plants won't answer, for the plants are likely to burn up in dry weather. In South Carolina, bone dust, or superphosphate of lime, is spread broadcast, and the plants are set out in level beds.

VARIETIES TO PLANT.-Up to this time "Wilson's Seedling" has taken the lead of all the other kinds as a market berry, and it would be a safe estimate to make, that for every quarter of an acre of any other kind planted, there are at least 100 acres of the "Wilson," and this, too, in every section of the country where strawberries are grown for market, with the single exception of near Charleston, S. C., where a new variety called the "Neunan" has taken its place. But while the "Wilson" has proved a valuable market sort, being productive, hardy, and firm of texture, it is of an inferior quality, and not a desirable sort in a collection of three or four varieties for home use. For garden culture and family needs there are three requisites to be sought for in making a selection of strawberries. The first should be productiveness; the second, quality; and the third, size. It is stated every now and then that one gets size in the strawberry at the expense of quality. This, however, is not the case, for one of our largesized berries, the "Triomphe de Gand," stands at the head of the list for firmness and quality. In a small collection for the garden, it is not desirable to have more than four kinds, say seventy plants of each to start, or three hundred in all. This number, planted and cared for in the way recommended, will yield fruit enough for a family of eight or ten persons three times a day through the entire In a selection of four kinds for garden culture, I would include the "Charles Downing," "Seth Boyden," "Triomphe de Gand," and "Green Prolific," with the "Neunan" for the South. All of these sorts, except the last named, produce large fruit, and plenty of it, under what is known as high culture.


The "Green Prolific" is not quite up to the standard in quality; but this variety possesses so safely recommended in a collection of this kind. many other good characteristics, that it may be

In cultivating strawberries, either for home use or market purposes, the ground around the roots should not be disturbed in the spring of the bearing year. P. T. Q.

NOTE. In the suggestion regarding lawns in the March "Rural Topics the types made the writer recommend the sowing of Red Clover instead of White, as he intended.-EDITOR.


Emerson's "Letters and Social Aims." * Ir is a little amusing to find keen critics of Emer. son philosophizing on the modifications of style and form visible in this, his last volume, when compared with its predecessors. One at least of the present essays has floated down unchanged from the times of "The Dial;" the essay on "The Comic " having first appeared in that periodical more than thirty years ago, namely, in October, 1843, and being here reprinted with scarcely a syllable of alteration, though with the omission of the opening paragraph. There is, however, thus much of truth in these critical surmises, that we can either see or fancy in the essays, as a whole, a slightly increased love of structure, and a dawning taste for a beginning, a middle, and an end. They are less premorse, as the botanists say of those roots which end abruptly, as if bitten offa phrase so perfectly descriptive of Mr. Emerson's habitual terminations that he would doubtless have used it if duty had called him to pass upon his own style as a subject for criticism. At least half the present essays begin with a studied opening, and lead up to a marked and even cadenced close. This is the more impressive and agreeable to the reader, because Emerson's manner as a lecturer, owing to increasing dimness of sight, has grown more fragmentary year by year; and the more satisfactory aspect of the printed pages may, after all, be due to the aid covertly rendered by some skillful editor or secretary,—a daughter, perhaps, or friend. Be this as it may, there is still enough left of the old method, or non-method, to bring back something of the old exasperation-both at the excess of choice quotation, confusing the main thread,—if thread there be, and also at the fact that in re-arranging the loose sheets, some of the best things have fallen out and disappeared. Thus, in the "Social Aims" and the "Inspiration," which we personally heard as lectures, the one in 1864, the other in 1874,-we have looked in vain for certain delicious phrases or sentences which we were then tempted to note eagerly down, with furtive lead-pencil, on the backs of letters. Worse yet, we look in vain for a whole lecture which we have been accustomed to think the best given by Emerson since the days of the "Divinity Hall Address,"-a lecture on The Natural Method of Intellectual Philosophy," given in his courses of twenty years ago-a lecture brilliant beyond even his wont with wit, and insight, and quotation; but having also a degree of method and continuity which would, if it could be printed, disarm the most Philistine critic.

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Emerson's place in our and the world's literature is well fixed. We knew long since what to expect and what not to expect; we have learned to class him among the poets, not among the makers of systems. This being the case, the matter of chief

* Letters and Social Aims. By Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boston: J. R. Osgood & Company.

interest with each reader is to know whether this is still the same Emerson, whether he is true to the dreams of his youth, or is falling within that "untimely shadow" which he himself has described as the tragedy of advancing years. No fact or thought contained in these volumes is, after all, so interesting as to know that our foremost man of letters is still true to his early visions; and that years have only mellowed him, without bringing him the period of apology and retraction. The high, hopeful, resonant tone of the writer is better than any detail of the book itself.


If our descendants are ever to inhabit a planet where scientific systems are held more important than poetic glimpses, how valueless will Emerson seem beside Herbert Spencer! But those of us who look forward with joy to completing our earthly career before that era, may rejoice with confidence in those myriad fine thoughts and statements sown throughout this volume, any one of which seems for a moment to render all existing scientific results subordinate, as a sunbeam abolishes gas-light. Let us not be ungrateful to the gas-pipes: what would our modern life be without them?-as is justly remarked, no doubt, in the last report of the Social Science Association; but, after all, there are hierarchies in illumination, and we prefer to hold by the loftier shrine.

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In no one of these essays is the maturing or mellowing of thought so visible as in that which fitly ends the volume, on Immortality." Those who have claimed that in his earlier writings Mr. Emerson evaded or blurred this subject, will find peculiar delight in seeing the nobler and clearer light thrown upon it by his advancing experience. Indeed, there is something touching in the thought, how many humble souls will here find their own private assurances and hopes restated in grand rhetoric by the poet. Whether the theme be the being of Deity, or the promise of permanent life, Mr. Emerson approaches it in a way on which his clerical ancestors could not frown. Thus he says:

"After science begins, belief of permanence must follow in a healthy mind. Things so attractive, designs so wise, the secret workman so transcendently skillful that it tasks successive generations of observers only to find out, part by part, the delicate contrivance and adjustment of a weed, or a moss, to its wants, growth, and perpetuation, all these adjustments becoming perfectly intelligible to our studyand the contriver of it all forever hidden ! Everything is prospective, and man is to live hereafter. That the world is for his education, is the only sane solution of the enigma." (Pp. 298-9.)

This is theism and personal immortality, pure and simple; and yet more impressively in the following:

"Our passions, our endeavors, have something ridiculous and mocking, if we come to so hasty an

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end. If not to be, how like the bells of a fool is the trump of fame! Will you, with vast cost and pains, educate your children to be adepts in their several arts, and, as soon as they are ready to produce a masterpiece, call out a file of soldiers to shoot them down? We must infer our destiny from the preparation. There is nothing in nature capricious, or whimsical, or accidental, or unsupported. Nature never moves by jumps, but always in steady and supported advances. The implanting of a desire indicates that the gratification of that desire is in the constitution of the creature that feels it." (Pp. 300-1.)

With perhaps some secret sense of fitness, Mr. Emerson chose the occasion of an address before a

literary society of Harvard College to re-affirm his faith in the fundamental principles of American civilization, and in the reforms to which he long ago pledged himself. But more important than his opinion on any particular point is his unflinching courage in urging his convictions:

"Difficulties exist to be surmounted. The great heart will no more complain of the obstructions that make success hard, than of the iron walls of the gun which hinder the shot from scattering. It was walled round with iron tube with that purpose, to give it irresistible force in one direction. A strenuous soul hates cheap successes." (Pp. 206-7.)

Who can measure the tonic influence of a literary career that has met opposition and surmounted obstacles in a spirit like this?

Two Books for Children.*

THERE is commonly this pleasure, at least, in reading American books for children, that they are apt to have more of local coloring than is usually found in American novels. To some of our best novelists an American village yields nothing that is not tiresome or distasteful; it is of use only as a foil for the supposed picturesqueness of European life. But in almost every child's story, when the scene is laid in New England, for instance, the home life becomes essentially enjoyable; the sun shines, the brook runs, the bobolink and oriole sing, the chestnuts drop from the tree, the ice resounds, the snow sparkles, and the children and grandchildren all go to the homestead at Thanksgiving. We can hardly recall a recent children's book produced in this country, which is wanting in local coloring, or prefers foreign traditions to American. Among our novelists of maturer life, it is needless to say that such a preference is very common.

It must be owned, however, that up to this time a certain literary crudeness or willfulness has marked this indigenous school of children's stories. Of those who have sinned in this way, it has latterly been the custom to reproach Miss Alcott as the chief offender. She has not, however, sinned so far,

1. Eight Cousins. or the Aunt-hill. By Louisa M. Alcott. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

2. Nine Little Goslings. By Susan Coolidge. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

even at her worst, as to reach that "I don't know as," or "I walked some," which are our nearest approach to the English h, as marking the line where culture is clearly deficient. And it may be said that her last book shows a decided improvement in accuracy of language since the "worried Amy most to death," and the "ma amie" of "Little Women." She is unquestionably one of the few women who can make not merely small children but even college Sophomores talk with something of the raciness of real life; and to one who can do this, much may be forgiven. The trouble is, that this perilous facility has tempted her to conform her own narrative style to that of her interlocutors, and this has sometimes compelled careful parents to keep her books from their children, for fear of spoiling their vocabulary. But she has suffered severely for this among the critics, so that, like her own Jo, she must sometimes have been puzzled to know whether she had "written a promising book or broken all the Ten Commandments." It is rather unfortunate that in the present volume she has employed this very charge of undesirable language against one of her rivals in popularity, "Oliver Optic," and has assailed him for teaching slang as eagerly as ever a "hazed" Freshman retaliated upon Freshmen when he became a Sophomore.

Miss Alcott has been so especially condemned in England on this score, that it almost becomes necessary that her fellow-countrymen should make her cause a matter for international protest. For much of the criticism is based on that extraordinary theory of our British cousins, that it is they alone who are entitled, as Parson Hugh says, "to make fritters of English." One would think that a child a hundred years old might be entitled to some voice in arranging his own vocabulary; but the theory seems still to prevail in some quarters, that all new Americanisms, however indispensable, are slang, and all new Anglicisms, however uncouth, are classic. A good anecdote has lately crossed the ocean, of an American girl who was playing croquet in England last summer. "What a horrid scratch!" said she indignantly, when her mallet once failed of its duty and she missed her shot. "Oh, my dear!" said an English cousin, "you should not use such slang expressions." "What should I have said?" asked the American. "You might have said," replied the English maiden, after canvassing her vocabulary for a perfectly unexceptionable phrase-" you might have said, 'What a beastly fluke!'"

In turning from Miss Alcott's books to the most approved and decorous English stories for children, one is sometimes reminded of this piquant anecdote. Here, for instance, is a tale, much praised by the. critics, and written by a lady bearing the stately name of Juliana Horatia Ewing. Opening it at the very first sentence, we find the following: "Eleanor and I are subject to fads; indeed, it is a family failing. Our fads and the boys' fads are sometimes the same, but oftener distinct." Here is an absurd little monosyllable that no American who has not stayed some time in England can possibly comprehend, unless he hunts up a "slang


dictionary," and finds that it means "a hobby, a favorite pursuit." Yet Miss Ewing vouchsafes not a word of explanation, but only closes the book with saying: "This dusty relic of an old fad had been lying by me for more than a year," etc., etc. Suppose "fad" to have been a bit of American nonsense used by Miss Alcott, and imagine the dismay of "The Athenæum" and "The Saturday Review!"

We dwell on all this because it is a point on which a grown-up critic is qualified to form some judgment of a book for children. But as for the absolute attractiveness of such a book, the children and the bookseller's accounts must settle that. If you wish to know whether the cherries are good, ask the boys and the blackbirds. Aided by one of the most skillful of American publishers, Miss Alcott's books have long since reached a pitch of success which settles that part of the story. Yet she should remember that even a success like this will not bear to be trifled with. She herself is hardly more popular❘ than was Mayne Reid in his day, but the children themselves seem to have forgotten his existence, and they may not always be loyal to her. There are, doubtless, laws of literary art in this department of literature as in every other, and the distinction between the transient and the permanent exists

here also.

It would seem, for instance, that even in children's books the individuality of the characters delineated might be of some importance. The four sisters in "Little Women" retain their separate characters from beginning to end; but eight cousins are too many to handle; there are really only three or four distinct individualities among them, and the rest are lay figures. Uncle Alec fluctuates in character and manners through the book very much as he does in the illustrations, where he now appears as a bearded young sailor, and again, within twenty pages, as a bald middle-aged Pickwick, with a beardless double chin. The aunts, also, are too numerous to be very clearly individualized; and, finally, Rose is placed, by the necessity of the case, at a rather chaotic period of life and in a very uncertain phase of development, and acts accordingly. The moral of the book lies, to be sure, in her physical and mental progress, and part of this progress comes to her through the mistakes of her elders; still it is possible that the follies of the various aunts are criticised too much from the grown-up point of view; and it is rather perilous moralizing to point it out as a general truth, that the most judicious uncle will end in giving a pretty niece a set of ear-rings, if she will only get her ears bored on the sly.

It would be easy to point out other defects in this little book. But, after all is said and done, it is written in the interest of the right side-of truth, honesty, and good sense. Children brought up in the atmosphere of Miss Alcott's writings may be tempted to grow odd and pert, and may fancy themselves wiser than their aunts and uncles, but they never will be frivolous fine ladies, or selfish worldlings. She keeps much higher laws than she breaks, and this is one secret of her power. The same is true of Miss Woolsey (Susan Coolidge), in whom

the practical tendency is not so predominant as in Miss Alcott, while the artistic sense is stronger; and though it is not strong enough even in Miss Woolsey to make her always work slowly and carefully, it yet keeps her to a higher standard of taste. She is less tempted to be slashing and inelegant; her little people are better bred than Miss Alcott's, but a shade more artificial; sometimes they use English phrases instead of American, as where little Lota Bird says: "Whatever I shall do with all of you on my hands at once, I can't imagine." On the other hand, the graceful and original fancies of the "Nine Little Goslings" would have been wholly out of Miss Alcott's line, though they are thoroughly in character for her who wrote "The New Year's Bargain." The chief defect of the new book is in a certain incongruity between title and treatment; we know several well-intentioned parents who have supposed the "Nine Little Goslings" to be something for very small children, and have quite missed in their adaptation of the gift. In fact, the goslings are simply so many stories from "Mother Goose" translated into more familiar life; a few of these versions being rather far-fetched, but most of them uncommonly ingenious and charming. "Mistress Mary quite Contrary" is, for instance, the disappointed little daughter of a Methodist minister, forced to leave her pretty home and its garden growing; the "silver bells" are the church bells; the cockle shells are the garden paths of sea-shell in the fishing village to which they are transferred; and the "pretty maids all in a row" are the little sewing class for whom Mary at last forgets her pansies. Again, "Lady Bird" is the little Lota Bird aforesaid; and her family of dolls, saved with difficulty from fire at last, are as real to her and to the reader as actual children. Perhaps some of the stories are written a little too much from the grown-up point of view; and the delicate satire of the first sketch, where "Curly Locks" is adopted by a transcendental lady from Boston and brought up on the principles of high art, may possibly pass over the head of the youthful reader, but certainly will not stand in the way of her enjoyment. If satire be sometimes wasted on children, graphic writing and original fancy are never wasted; and there is probably no one now catering for these young and insatiable admirers who offers them so much in this direction as Miss Woolsey. Sharing the deserved popularity of Miss Alcott, she shares also her ill-luck in respect of illustrations. It would be difficult to say which of the two books is encumbered with the poorer set of pictures.

Waring's "Farmer's Vacation."'*

THE witty French actress, Déjazet, was once approached by an admirer, with two poems written in her praise. She took one, read it, and then extended her hand for the unread poem, expressing the opinion that she should like that better,-"Je préfère

* A Farmer's Vacation. By George E. Waring, Jr., of Ogden Farm. Reprinted (with additions) from SCRIBNER'S MONTHLY. Illustrated. Boston: James R. Osgood & Com


l'autre." This is apt to be the impression produced by the descriptions in books of travels; having read about a particular country, you think that you would prefer to take tickets for some other. It is certainly the first praise to be given to Colonel Waring's travels, that he makes each of his countries appetizing. The cleanliness, order, and rural wealth of Holland; the romantic Old World aspect of Normandy; the picturesque beauty of the Channel Islands,— these all appear in unexpected attractiveness, and one longs to take Cook's Tourists' Tickets for them all.

The only unsatisfactory thing about the book is its name "A Farmer's Vacation." The reader expects to deal with one whose talk is mainly of bullocks, whereas our farmer is a man of cultivation and social experience, and has a keen recognition of art, nature, and society everywhere, though always with a close eye to the main chance-farming. Even his agriculture is quite as much a wholesale operation, so to speak, as a matter of retail; and though he dwells with zest on the minutiae of dairy farming, it is plain that his enthusiasm expands with every foot of the reclaimed acres of the Haarlem Lake, those "new-catchèd miles" about which Andrew Marvell was so eloquent and witty. Indeed, we know nobody who would like better to "invent a shovel and be a magistrate,"-Marvell again-than our agricultural engineer from Ogden Farm. He gives to all such matters a large and almost national aspect; and yet, when he comes to the small semi-nationalities of Jersey and Guernsey, his talk is indeed of bullocks, and he enumerates almost as many points in a pattern animal as old Tusser found in the whole of husbandry.

So large a part of the "Farmer's Vacation" has already appeared in these pages that for us to praise them may savor of the mutual admiration that prevails in every affectionate household. Yet it is fair enough for us to say that every reader of Colonel Waring's "Whip and Spur" will here find the same agreeable qualities which mark that attractive little volume,-graphic description, manly straight forwardness, and a certain indescribable ease, and, as it were, cavalry gait, in the narrative. It is the style of a man of affairs, too well-bred to be slovenly or inaccurate, and yet never tempted to the overniceties of the literary man. The author has a genuine humor, an artistic sense of beauty, and that genial philosophy which can extract amusement from even the mishaps of travel. It is impossible that the book should not be of practical value to every one interested in dairy farming or in drainage; but it belongs to literature besides, and will have a charm for the most unbucolic reader. It is simply one of the most agreeable books of travels ever issued in the United States; and surpasses most books of this character in mechanical execution, as respects type, paper, and engravings.

Smith's "Chaldean Account of Genesis." * THERE are two very old books, full of strange history, which all modern discovery illustrates or

The Chaldean Account of Genesis; Containing the Description of the Creation, the Fall of Man, the Deluge, the

confirms: the Genesis of Moses and the History of Herodotus. The earlier labors of Rawlinson, Hincks, Oppert, and others, in deciphering the Assyrian inscriptions were fruitful mainly in historical results of great value, which confirmed Herodotus; but those of the past four or five years have been remarkable for their bearings on Genesis. The reason is this: When the language was first being deciphered, scholars naturally labored over the longer, easier, and more complete texts. These are the cylinders on which the monarchs of Assyria inscribed their annals, and which they carefully laid away in the corner stones, or rather the corner brick-work, of their temples and palaces. Palaces and temples were overthrown and destroyed by conquerors, but their foundations remained, and to-day, in exploring the ruins, the first thing done is to dig open the corner and secure the historical treasure in a spirit of reverent care for the memorials of the dead, such as would not anger the ghost of Bel-zakir-iskun, successor of the Assurbanipal, to whose library we are so much indebted, who says, at the end of his cylinder: "In after days, when this house becomes old, may he who repairs its ruins and restores its decay see the inscription of my name written here. May he enclose it again in its niche; may he pour out a libation and write his own name beside mine. May Nebo and Urmitu hear his prayer and bless him. But whoso defaces the writing of my name and does not leave my name beside his own, may the gods not establish him nor hear his prayer; may they curse him, and wipe out his name and his seed from the land." These cylinders were all historical, and for nearly twenty years Assyrian scholars have confined their studies mainly to these monu


But there were found in the magnificent library of Assurbanipal thousands of fragments of clay tablets, which have remained, ever since Layard's Expedition, in the British Museum, and which could be translated only after long labor in fitting them together. together. Only a portion has been yet collected, and at least twenty thousand fragments still remain in the ruins about the old Nineveh library. Probably this library was kept in the upper stories of the building, and when it was burned they fell and were scattered about in confusion and nearly all broken. It is no little labor to arrange and join together the pieces each in its place, when there are so many to look over, and it is not strange that it is only of late that the work has been done. This library contained long mythological epics, which as remarkably illustrate Genesis as the royal cylinders illustrated Herodotus and the historical books of the Bible.

In that wonderful tenth chapter of Genesis, that genealogy of nations, we read of a son of Ham: "And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; wherefore, it is said, even as Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning

Tower of Babel, the Times of the Patriarchs and Nimrod; Babylonian Fables and Legends of the Gods; from the Cuneiform Inscriptions. By George Smith. With Illustrations. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co.

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