Page:Letters of Life.djvu/21

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
9
HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS.

bore their varied honor thick upon them. There were the minute harvest-pear, the coveted of childhood for its bland taste and early ripeness, the spreading bell, notching a century on its trunk, with unbowed strength, the delicious vergaloo, the high-flavored bennet with its deep blush, and multitudes of the rough-coated later pears, destined, with culinary preparation, to give variety to the wintry tea-table.

Another extensive and highly cultured spot, called the lower garden, as it was approached from the rear of the establishment, by descending a long flight of wooden stairs, exulted in all manner of vegetable wealth to enrich the domestic board. There towered the tasselled maize, with its humbler compeer the potato; the salads swelled, the green cucumber adorned its mound, fair squashes with their crooked spines, and immense pumpkins commended themselves to the pastry-cook by their leafy banners; the carrot and turnip, the sallow parsnip, and the blood-red beet, revealed their subterranean abodes; while a large turfy mound, rounded and entered like a tomb, the celery and the savoy cabbage claimed as their own exclusive winter palace.

Beyond stretched an extensive meadow, refreshed at its extremity by a crystal streamlet, flowing on with a pleasant murmur to the neighboring river. The domain comprised also a hill, where trees were sparsely scattered, and which, gently sloping toward the house,