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The traveller by railway out of London,
whether he be journeying east, west, north,
or south, or to any of the intermediate points
of the compass, will observe, if he be looking
out of the window of his carriage, the stubborn
resistance of cabbages and onions to
the progress of the great brick and mortar
invasion. In the battle between the houses and
the market gardens, the latter have been
compelled to yield bit by bit of their territory;
but the enemy finds himself closely pressed
on every side. Celery and asparagus have
thrown up earthworks to the very walls of
his fortifications. Regiments of rhubarb with
waving plumes, bristling squares of onions,
orderly battalions of cabbages, wild rabbles
of radishes and onions surround his
outposts, and overflow every unoccupied spot
clasping his personnel of timber-piles and
brick-heaps, hillocks of sea-sand, saw-pits,
mortar-sloughs, and compo-tubs, as the water
clasps the isles. Here and there the traveller
will notice little patches of green enclosed by
wallsdetachments of the flower or kitchen
gardenwhich the great enemy, not being
able to exterminate, has contented himself
with isolating, and for ever preventing from
rejoining the main army of defenders. They
maintain their position, in spite of the
insidious attempts of the invader to foul their
water and poison the very air they breathe;
but traitorous negotiations are opened between
the nurseryman and the builder, and their
strongholds must sooner or later be capitulated.
A little further, will be seen suspicious-looking
detached cottages stalking in a line to right and
left of strawberry grounds, evidently bent on
forming a cordon around their victim. By and
bye, the invader's battalions dwindle down
into single spies, in the form of treacherous-
looking Italian villas peeping through
shrubberies at the riches of the land. And now,
to the relief of the peaceful traveller's mind,
all evidences of the great struggle disappear;
and far and wide across the level country, he
observes the numerous vegetable tribes in
quiet possession of the land. He is traversing
the verdant zone, the broad green belt which
intrepid aeronauts have seen widening and
deepening every season as our vast city
encroaches on its space, and the number of our
mouths increases. These are the famous
market gardens around London.

Any one leaving London by any railway,
on this fine dewy morning in the month
of June, may have noticed what I have seen
since I left the Waterloo Bridge Station of
the South Western Railway, about ten
minutes since, by the earliest morning train.
My destination is not half-an-hour's ride, and
I feel quite ashamed of making use of a train,
with two engines, and a tail like the great
sea-serpent, for such a ridiculously small
journey. My cheerful neighbours, a few
carriages behind, in dreary prison uniform, and
with their wrists all ringed and strung
together on a bright steel chain, are going to
Portsmouth. My opposite neighbour in the
same carriagethe French lady who parted
with her mother at Vauxhall, and who begins
to dry her tears since the burly old farmer
testifies by nods and uncouth signs his
admiration of her two chubby childrenwill be at
Southampton aboard the steamer starting for
New York at noon to-day. The good old farmer
is going (he says) to Basingstoke; but he would
do well to tarry in these parts awhile, as I
am about to do. My friend, Mr. Trench, the
market-gardener whom I am about to visit,
would be able and willing (I believe) to give
him some useful hints on husbandryto show
him certain methods of cultivation, not wholly
to be despised because he and his father and
grandfather before him have done so long
without them. This healthy-looking field of
cabbages, whose orderly lines, as our train
passes swiftly through them, seem all whirling
in eddies, while a row of elms are making a
broad sweep round them in the distance,
might strike him as something different from
the blue stunted specimens in his own kitchen
garden at home, and perhaps suggest to him
what are the true "burdens on land." Mr.
Cuthill, of Camberwell, in one of his excellent
little tracts upon horticulture, says, "If a
farmer were to send his son to be a labourer
in a market garden for a year or two, the
value of such a school to him in after-life
would be great to himself, his landlord, and
the country at large. The expensive system
of a market garden would not be required in
a farm, it could not be maintained: but it
would show him that one acre cultivated by
the spade is equal to five by the plough."