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.
To Elsie - The interest you have taken in my case, which you persis in thinking unfortunate, has laid me under great obligations. The inquirer after happiness often meets with unexpected rebuffs; his schemes result in unlooked-for disappointments and vexation That you, who appear from your own account so eminently calculated to be happy, and to make all around you cheerful and comfortable, with talents that I ought to envy, should be diecon tented with your lot, and desire a change, is a great surprise, and I must, before I finally consent to risk the even tranquility of your and "husband's" course of life, enlivened as it is by the great alleviator of our lives, hopet which to me is alas! lost, point out where you, as well as myself, may expect to be disappointed. You do possess, I have not the least doubt, all those qualifications you claim, and I cannot but congratulate the man who has gained so great a prize Would it- not be rather cruel to take you from the wild flowers and shut you up in heated and fostered by a long course of habitual indulgence, in which I have described myself as only "too happy," while yon, with more natural pursuits, aeem to be desirous of trying for something unpossessed! Was my first complaint which so affected your sympathies anything but a description of enjoyment! Because I so much delighted in my garden and flowers, and fruits, and preferred their society to the intrusion of inquisitive and often ignorant idlers, was I describing a form of discontent which materially differed from yours I had taken the virus from Downing and others, who had taught me that I was to embellish home to make it the most delightful place on earth to me and mine; had succeeded, and only found that there was something still wanting to make a paradise.
Is my experience different from that of the whole human race, who discovered long since that earth cannot afford perfect felicity? Would you banish me from what has cost me mentally and bodily so much to accomplish? - take me from the possession of objects of art acquired by toilsome travel to the seats of science and the collected treasures of centuries You would, I believe, from your earnestness, do this. Let us remember before we barter, how niauy have failed in changing; how happiness flies like a shadow; how important is example. Would it think you, conduce to the pleasure and contentment of those very lovely children to go back to the west after the indigencies you promise them ? Would you, for example, educate bem for two years in all the luxuries, and then expect them to give them up \ During your sojourn among my collected comforts your fortune will not improve, and I presume, perfect as you have made those scions of yours, they are human. I would not have you suppose I do not think them very uncommon specimens indeed, nor do I think they would gape at my pictures or "bijouterie" more than any well regulated children or grandchildren of my own; (I am not an ascetic bachelor, I assure you,) but alas! in erecting my habitation and surroundings, I actually forgot there were such troublesome creatures as children at all, and I must, if we come to terms, ask liberty to turn a key on a few rooms furnished only for grown people.
There are, too, a few of the floors covered with materials to which I should rather prefer that no person who greased my harness 1 should have constant access. I will not here provoke you by hinting that books of prints and water-color drawings should be handled with cleanish fingers. You might certainly wash them, but grease is a sticky substance, and sometimes gets under the nails! We must make some arrangement by which the stable duty you impose on yourself may be dispensed with. I assure you there will be little time found for such occupations, if you perform all that will fall to your lot Why, "Mrs. ATTICUS" has never found time to do more than hint a gentle complaint that the seats of the family carnage are not entirely free from dust! I shall not point out her duties, but none of them, I am sure, your neat habits will allow you to intermit. You certainly would not be less nice, and as you will have full occupation in-doors, this forms another argument why I think we had better shut up a few of the rooms, and perhaps the picture gallery, in my "proposed" absence.
I had written thus far when I found both my feet were beginning to swell with the gout; I am now in extreme agony, and if your husband will really relieve me, and that very shortly, from it (it would be better to let him see the state of my biggest toe! before he consents), I shall be yours, ATTICUS.