Monday, 29 January 2018

The Pneumatic Gardener and The Genteel Tailor


Shirley Hibberd (1825 - 1890)
shirley hibberd wiki
could move with ease from the high flown to the homely. His book of reflections on nature, Brambles and Bay Leaves, could edify in a delightfully, virtually pneumatic, vapourous manner and his counsel to cottagers Profitable Gardening was practical and to the point.

"Dr. Cromwell, in his '^Philosophy of a Future Life/' urges that there are grounds for concluding that plants are possessed of a principle closely akin to intelligence. I know not how far knowledge may lead us in this direction; but I am sure if vegetation ever comes to be regarded as the depository of sentient powers, it will be pronounced first of all that grass can think. It is an emblem, too, of all that is good in life and hopeful in death. We cannot conceive of human happiness, except in connection with verdurous scenes; we cannot conjure up a vision of our heavenly home, without lavishly clothing it with greenness. The truth is, that the story of the grass is the story of the world. Ere the creatures of the flood and field existed, the earth brought forth grass and herbs, so that when the earth should 'bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping tiling,' they should find sustenance and enjoyment; and man, waking up from chaos at the will of the Omnipotent, should find himself in a home of greenness, with a soft carpet for his feet, a refreshing verdure to gladden his eye, and a living beauty to imbue his heart with holiness and peace. Well! upon the green turf he worshipped his God at sunrise, and upon the grassy ground he slept at nightfall; and when that greatest of his benedictions came—a companion to make complete the sweetness of his hours—it was on the green grass they walked together, singing hymns of joy, and mingling their affections with the happiness of the creatures."

Chapter X:
The Cabbage (Brassica oleracea)
Everyone grows cabbages, and everybody eats it; but my lady never hears the word, for all cabbages are “greens” in polite society. But plain people call things by their right names, and I, for one, rejoice in a cabbage, and like to call it cabbage, even when I dine with a retired tailor. Now a cabbage is a thing that most people think they can grow well, and generally speaking, good cabbages are very abundant; but cottagers, not looking upon it as a precarious or particularly choice crop, too often get careless, and where they take one ton of cabbage, a little extra pains would enable them to take two.
(from Profitable Gardening)

Impeccable punctuation, wouldn’t you say. The reference to the genteel tailor might be understandable due to their sitting cross-legged on a table at the window to do their work. This ‘asana’, as those of you who practice yoga will know, can lead to a species of ventriloquy. For this reason tailors kept by them old shirts whose seams they would rip in an absent minded manner.

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