This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Thanks for your chivalrous taking up the gauntlet in behalf of "women's pens and tongues." Do we not need some able championship to parry the shafts of satire, sometimes ruthlessly winged by merciless marksmen! The pain of one invidious arrow is amply atoned for in the present instance, by an unknown knight, who all unexpectedly steps forward in our defence.
That " ungallant remark," is made to reveal an opinion of which I might otherwise have remained ignorant Diffidence, and consciousness of deserving the hint, forbade any attempt at excuse, even by the assertion that Atticus* letters were so suggestive that only half the thoughts they evoked found expression.
Now allow me to defend Mr. Barry against your "hard thrusts," Mr. Barry, though not altogether felicitous in expressing himself, was right in so far as that letter was concerned. It doesn't do for editors to be too tender-hearted. It behoves them to take into consideration the general good of their readers in preference to the personal feeling of individual contributors, They must needs whip about their criticisms sometimes seemingly unmerciful, in order to keep the vast horde of writers not only wide awake, but in their places. When people don't do as they should, they mustn't always expect to be told of it with gracious suavity. Editor's thoughts, like other people's, will sometimes out, just as they are prompted, unmellowed by circuitous softness. This outright-spokeness is doubtless a good thing, since often nothing like a little knocking about so develops some people's energies, and wakes up their wits, (not necessary in our case, however).
Mr. Barry has already disproved your supposition of the obtuseness of his appreciative faculties, and has invited this pen to make itself useful. Usefulness, like charity, "should begin at home" After "good works" in this my sphere have well nigh exhausted the energies, my "willing spirit" would benevolently extend the residue thereof to others, if to them it may be made either pleasurable or useful.
Mr. Barry, feeling assured that he hasn't hushed this pen into silence, guesses that some "special cares" must absorb my time. "Where there's a will there's a way," and the heart and hands are seldom so crowded with duties but still another, if agreeable, may be added. One may not elongate time, like a gum-elastic band, to compass desired undertakings, but is it not vastly strengthening to one's powers to expand the capabilities by strong endeavor - to exercise the genius in concentrating effort and duties - till a dozen are finally performed in the space one formerly occupied!
Thanks for your hearty invitation. Mrs. Hill and I would doubtless get on famously in the exercise of our "women's tongues," In chatting with that "respectable aggregate," the public, one can only skim the surface of heart and feelings. Cold, superficial, or inexperienced in life's lessons, must the heart be that holds not in reserve something deeper, warmer, truer, than it reveals to a "great and unknown community." The delightsome pleasure of diving into those deeper recesses, is reserved for congenial tete-a-tetes. Enthusiastic pleasure do agriculturists, pomologists, and florists, evince, as they commune and interchange ideas and experiences. So do we mothers and housewives, as we recount the efforts and failures, the trials and successes, of our particular fields of labor. Right creditable and noble might the revealing of these hidden depths be to our womanly natures; but while the diatribes of the aforesaid personages may be published to the world, many of our discussions and delineations, though involving the well-being and comfort of a good portion of that world, may only be disseminated in our cozy chats.
It is one of the pleasant things of this pleasant world, to make friends and keep them. One of these years, when the anticipated resting time comes, I may call on my far-away friends; and shall I number among them some to whom this little pen has introduced me! Not slight efforts would I make to commend myself to the possessors of the "little bright eyes" that enliven humble homes, beautiful homes, and happy homes.
How gladdening to eyes long accustomed to the newness of western things, to visit once more those older and more cultivated portions of our country, where time and wealth have produced perfect results in attainments which here are yet in a state of promising infancy. Pleasant it will be to jaunt from one beautiful spot to another - to visit homes where circumstances, taste, and refinement, conspire to render them externally lovely - to roam through orchards, nurseries, gardens, conservatories, and green-houses, that are models of their kind, meeting the beautiful ideals that haunt my memory and fancy. Returning, do you imagine our "settler's home," and this our adopted State, will seem less dear and lovely ? Then you know not what a fair spot it is. I give you credit, however, for a heart that can understand that loveliness may exist independent even of place and external beauty - a loveliness sometimes found in palaces of beauty and pride, and sometimes in the plain and humble abode.
Now, Mr. Barry, don't hint aloud that I have said "too much on one topic," or anything quite so spicy. Don't print letters "to Elsie," and then you will be spared the infliction of her answers. EISLIE - Woodside Waukesha, Wisconsin.