Page images
PDF
EPUB
[subsumed][ocr errors]

“But, Patrick,” I replied, “this cream must be churned at once.” This conclusion was not any deduction of science, although it was announced in an authoritative tone, intended to impress Patrick with my vast experience and thorough knowledge of the subject. To state how I arrived at my opinion, it is sufficient to say that my nose assured me of it. The weather was warm, and the dairy was merely a closet in the cellar, springs and brooks not being numerous in my territory.

[graphic]

“Well, then, yer honor, let me make a nate little churn out ov a ginger-pot there is in the cellar, with the lid ov a salt-box for dasher, and the piece ov a broom for handle. That will be the doin’ ow it.” “Just as you please, Patrick,” I answered, entirely convinced of the inadequacy of the cream to the occasion; “only be sure and make me a good article.” “Indade and I will do that same, and I’m sure yer honor will be mightily plased. Let me aloon for that.” * Shortly after, Patrick produced a queer-looking extemporized churn that, although odd enough in appearance, was manifestly better adapted to the emergency than the enormous affair that Weeville had sent me, apparently supposing that I was about to set up a public dairy. I expected a friend to dinner that day, and gave especial directions that the results of the churning were to come on the table as a surprise to my guest. - When the dinner was served, I was delighted with the whiteness of the fresh butter, that spoke so well for its purity. Without saying a word, I helped my friend liberally, and then awaited the result. How I enjoyed, by anticipation, his enjoyment of so rare a delicacy I could scarcely wait for him to taste it before explaining how it was obtained. He looked at it curiously, then spread some on his bread and tried it, then ate the bread without. Hastily taking a piece and tasting it, I no longer wondered at his conduct, but, turning to the maid, sternly demanded how she dare put such stuff on the table. “Oh, never mind,” said my friend; “these things will happen in the country, where you do not have any markets to go to. I often taste bad butter when I am out of town, although not often so bad as this; but I can do without very well.” When dinner was over, I visited my man, and inquired of him, rather reproachfully than angrily, “Patrick, what was that you made 2 Was it cheese, or was it butter? It was very bad as either; but which was it?” “Sure, yer honor,” he replied, scratching his head, “I don’t rightly know meself; but the crame was spoilt intirely, and I did the best I could.” “Patrick,” I answered, “I am afraid you are electrical, after all.” This attempt was but a sort of interlude, and I kept my mind mainly on the various productions of the earth. “Weeville,” I said one day, in early fall, when the first cold snap had thrown a tinge of brown over much of my garden, “how do you manage to collect the flower-seeds for use next spring?”

“Why, my dear boy,” he replied, gayly, “that is easy enough: dry them a little, put them in bags labeled, and set them aside in a dry place, where the mice can not get at them to make a daily meal at your expense.” *

“I do not refer to that part; the books on gardening speak of that, but they give no directions for gathering the seed. I have studied Bridgeman, Rand, and the rest of them, but they nowhere tell you when or how to collect the seed.”

“My dear fellow, you surely would not expect Bridgeman to tell you how to save seeds; that is his

occupation, and a pretty fool he would be to let out

all the secrets of his trade.”

“Then he had no business to write on gardening.” I added, earnestly; for I have an immense idea of duty, and a high standard for the obligations of authorship; “a man who publishes a book, and retains any knowledge on the subject of which he treats for his own purposes, is a scoundrel and a cheat; he is false—” .

“Now, now,” interrupted Weeville, soothingly, “don’t get on your high horse; remember human nature. A pretty notion it would have been if Bridgeman had enabled all his customers to do without him, and perhaps set up in the seed-busi. ness themselves.”

[ocr errors]

“I can only say, then, that he had no right to take upon himself the honors of authorship; there is no justification for his assuming the place of instructor when he was merely a self-seeker. His book, then, is simply an advertisement.”

“Call it what you please, but do not get excited. Borrow his catalogues, which contain much useful information, and for which he charges nothing, but do not abuse a hard-working man, striving to get ahead in the world.”

“Very well, then. To come back to my difficulties

—I want to know when I am to gather the seeds; they only ripen in small quantities, and, if left, are scattered and lost.”

“Oh, you must watch your chance; stick to it; “here a little, and there a little;’ do not be impatient.”

“The pods of phlox burst the moment they turn yellow, and, ere I notice them among the mass of those still green, they have spilled their contents; the gilia are so small that I can not find them at all; the mignonnette really does not seem to bear seed; and the capsules of the portulaca have to be picked one at a time, and are so low that it almost breaks my back to bend down to them. How is it that you manage?”

« PreviousContinue »