Monthly scrap book, for October/The Month of October

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Monthly scrap book, for October  (1832) 
The Month of October


The month of October on account of its steady temperature, is chosen for the brewing of such malt liquor as is designed for keeping. The farmer continues to sow his corn, and the gardener plants, forest and fruit trees. Many of our readers, though fond of gardens, will learn perhaps for the first time that trees are cheaper things than flowers; and that at the expense of not many shillings}}, they may plant a little shrubbery, or floral skreen for their parlour or study windows, of woodbine, guelder-roses, bays, arbutus, ivy, virgin's flower, or even the poplar, horse-chestnut, birch, sycamore, and plane-tree, of which the Greeks were so fond. A few roses also, planted in the earth, to flower about his walls or windows in monthly succession, are nothing in point of dearness to roses or other flowers purchased in pots some of the latter are nevertheless cheap and long-lived, and may be returned to the nursery-man at a small expense, to keep till they flower again. But if the lover of nature has to choose between flowers or flowering shrubs and trees, the latter, in our opinion, are much preferable, inasmuch as while they include the former, they can give a more retired and verdant feeling to a place, and call to mind, even in their very nestling and closeness, something of the whispering and quiet amplitude of nature.

"Fruits continue in abundance during this month, as every body knows from the shop-keeper; nor for grosser senses are well informed, if our others are not. We have yet to discover that imaginative pleasures are as real and touching as they, and give them their deepest relish. The additional flowers in October are almost confined to the anemone and scabious; and the flowering-trees and shrubs to the evergreen cytisus. But the hedges (and here let us observe, that the fields and other walks that are free to everyone are sure to supply us with pleasure, when every ether place fails,) are now sparkling with their abundant berries,—the wild rose with the hip, the hawthorn with the haw, the blackthorn with the sloe, the bramble with the blackberry; and the briony, privet, honeysuckle, elder, holly, and woody night-shade, with their other winter feasts for the birds. The wine obtained from the elder-berry makes a very pleasant and wholesome drink, when heated over a fire; but the humbler sloe, which the peasants eat, gets the start of him in reputation, by changing its name to port, of which wine it certainly makes a consisiderable ingredient.

Swallows are generally seen for the last time this month, the house-martin the latest. The redwing, field-fare, snipe, Royston crow, and wood-pigeon, return from more northern parts. The rooks return to the roost trees, and the tortoise begins to bury himself for the winter. The mornings and afternoons increase in mistiness, though the middle of the day is often very fine; and no weather when it is unclouded, is apt to give a clearer and manlier sensation than that of October. One of the most curious natural appearances is the gossamer, which is an infinite multitude of little threads shot out by minute spiders, who are thus wafted by the wind from place to place.

The chief business of October, in the great economy of nature, is dissemination, which is performed among other means by the high winds which now return. Art imitates her as usual, and rows and plants also. We have already mentioned the gardener. This is the time for the domestic cultivator of flowers to finish planting as well, especially the bulbs that are intended to flower early in spring. And as the chief business of nature this month is dissemination or vegetable birth, so its chief beauty arises from vegetable death itself. We need not tell our readers we allude to the changing leaves with all their lights and shades of green, amber, red, light red, light and dark green, white, brown, russet, and yellow of all sorts.

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.