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.
While I busied myself this eve, inserting ingenious patches in the knees and elbows of sundry uvenile garments, husband read me the Horticulturist; and among other things, your article. o absorbed was I in the repairing of dilapidated wardrobes, that at the time I did not enter into he full spirit of it My agrestical occupation seemed to earth-bind my fancy. By-and-by hus->and, who was unusually tired and sleepy, had sought his pillow; and while I went from room so room, tucking in the inmates of the different beds, he was fairly napping. I sat down by our ow window, to indulge a little ruminating. Without was spread a scene of varied natural beauty, and all about was bathed in moonlight of true western brilliance. With the speed of thought I sought that fair Attical home, and reveled in its classic beauty. Then I plumed my wings, and backward flew, home again. How very, very humble! A twinge so alight, and yet so keen as to almost start a tear, marked the change in the spirit of my dream.
Oh dear! when will our home be all of this? When I might enjoy it so exquisitely, why can't I hare it now Thou spirit of impatience, - come here to disturb my amiable equanimity - to get the better of my philosophy and my contentment, - begone 1 That Athenian, with all his surroundings, is not to be envied. I'll warrant there might be some "internal care" sometimes "written on his brow," as on mine this moment; but on my brow it never has rested, and it shall not now. I seised my lamp, slipped softly down stairs and brightened the fire, exclaiming - "I'll write him a letter this moment, and ask him if he dare be so audacious as to assert himself half as happy and contented as we of this Woodside cottage ?" Just here my benevolence and kindness were aroused as I thought of Atticus stricken with a dangerous malady, and my heart and mind were taxed for ingenious contrivances for his relief The bright thought soon came; and I revolved it over and over, till I Came to think it vastly eage. But though I know your anxious curiosity is all on the qui vive, you must have patience; for the unfolding even of my simple plan will require another letter.
Friend Atticus - I fear my prolixity has taxed your patience, so I come at once to my plan. I hope you will appreciate the benevolence that prompts my efforts. It is simply this, that ice exchange places; - as your physician, I recommend such a change. I know you will be happy. The exhaustless energies of your mind will revel in active exercise in a sphere which, for awhile at least, might seem limitless. You would find something new to do all the time; and then what you had done would show in such bold relief - to such advantage - that you would be in danger of growing vain of your own accomplishings. While you were thus pleasuring yourself I would try and content me in your home, prosy as it might seem to a stirring westerner, with all its attained excellencies and perfections - for we have become so habituated to a life here where everything is being done, that we might be restive in a land where anything was finished.
I hope you will not accuse me of vain egotism when I tell you how fond I am of beauty wherever it is found, and of my cultivated and refined tastes - though indeed they might seem a great bother just now; but I try to keep them burnished for that happy by-and-by, when I trust they will find scope for exercise. I only tell you this because I know I am a stranger to you, and you would like to feel that all your gathered perfections would not be like sweetness wasted.
In spite of farm ward and household cares, I struggle to train them mentally, morally, and physically. I have my own peculiar notions about their education, and can fancy many facilities in your home which might lighten my occupation. I fancy, with the surroundings of comforts and beauties, I could teach them with better success and more clearness; and they would show evident signs of improvement At anyrate, I should find more time there to devote to their culture. Thus I would try to make the time of my exile for your sake, pass with profit and usefulness. By this arrangement we should enjoy a little of the rest and quiet pertaining to luxury, which would have the advantage of novelty for us. No doubt this change for ourselves, as well as yourself would tend to the rejuvenating and brightening our powers amazingly. I would promise, for my better half as well as for myself that all should be kept in perfect order. I know my husband must have the bump of order; for he declares he loves to have a place for everything, and a wife that knows how to keep things in their places.
In the meanwhile, you may take those four or five reserved acres, and occupy yourself thereon. Upon it is a fine grove of native trees of different sorts. They ore already thinned, and the underbrush cleared away, and the sloping hill-sides cleared and broken up, and under cultivation. you may erect a large, convenient, tasteful residence, with all its appurtenances - not forgetting the conservatory and aviary, which are among the pet dreams of my ambition. You may make winding roads and broad lawns. The trees you may thin out, and so group them to suit your moat fastidious taste; and among the indigenous occupants of the soil, you may intermingle those of rarer beauty. Shrubbery and plants rare and beautiful, you may gather in full profusion. Fences you may build, and hedges plant You may erect green houses, graperies, and espaliers. Oi the hill-side you may lay out such a garden as is seldom seen, except in books and imagination. I may sometimes be tempted to envy your occupation, as I wander in fancy from my temporary home to you and your labors. How will your happiness be enhanced by the thought "all this I am doing not merely for my selfish gratification, but for the happiness of so many who are capable of enjoying the results of my work with the proper appreciation they deserve.
What pleasure to shorten for them the interim between their dreams and bright actualities, which might tike them plodding years to accomplish".
Let me add, that a thriving, pretty village is only a mile from us, and upon which from our height we look down, and by railway only twenty miles from one of our greatest western marts; so that any thing you may choose to have from the east, may be conveyed almost to your gates. You need only to bring with you a little ready means, and that good judgment and intuitive perception of the true in taste and beauty, with quick energy and decisive action, which I am sure you possess. In two years you may make this all we wish, and perhaps accomplish your entire recovery. Then we may return to it, and be happy the rest of our lives, and you will have fortified yourself forever against ennui and discontent - which, with all their protean forms, will assail you if you yield to the syren charmer - and rest yourself in quiet content This, Sir, is my prescription. That you may work out your perfect cure, is the sincere wish of your true friend. Elsie. - Woodside, Waukesha, Wis.