16 May 2014

Boston Markets in the Olden Time

It is rather tantalizing for house keepers, now that the established rates of provision are so high that it is difficult for a man of moderate means to make both ends meat (and if he tries to make one end fish, he is about as badly off), to read about the old times in Boston, when one could live on the fat of the land for almost nothing. Yet "G.M.F.," a pleasant, gossiping correspondent of the Boston Journal, tells us a story that really makes us envious of our grandfathers. He says: "Wild pigeons had become so plenty that Dock Square was full of them. The selectmen of the town warned the sellers to take what they could not sell home with them, fearing they would breed disease. A man had brought in a load and unloaded them on this spot. Sales were dull, and it getting late, he became uneasy about re-loading, and hit upon a plan to save him the trouble. So he left his pigeons and took a walk, hoping some one would steal them before he returned. But it happened that one of his neighborhood sellers of pigeons was in the same predicament. The neighbor, finding the owner gone, thought he might as well add his to the heap. So he deposited his lot with his neighbor, and left for home. When the man returned to had presumed upon the dishonesty of Bostonians, he found, instead of being stolen, his stock had gained, and he was obliged to cart off the whole lot. I do not think pigeons would go begging now."

March 28, 1857. Flag of Our Union 12(13): 101.