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, Woodside - So unexpected a prescription for my cure, as you have proposed in the May number of the Horticulturist, while it calls for my grateful acknowledgments, requires consideration. An exchange of situations, if it takes place, most be discussed. Will you take, with my perfected place, all its inconveniences! Will you, or your husband, accept the gout, and rid me of it! This, you will soy, can hardly be expected. Well, I suppose you would not, if it were possible, desire my bodily illa But are you prepared to spare time enough from your troup of Olive plants to see after all that it is necessary to do yourself on my premises! The task is not a light one, and that you may be prepared a little for what will be necessary, I will give you a few items to consider of.
The more pressing at this moment is to see after a neighbor who deserves not the name. He turned off the stream of water which fed my fish ponds, last February, to supply his own water ram. The law, after much expense righted me, and when I had re-stocked my trout preserves, the villain has just poisoned the rivulet: my pets all turned over, last night, perfectly dead. I have to see my attorney in the morning, enter suit, and attend to this most annoying affair for several months. Will you, or your good man, carry on the suit for me while I am improving for you f Is he a lawyer, or has he any fondness for litigation! Let me know that, before I decide.
You say you have a fondness for having every thing in its place. Will you promise not to dry clothes on my new Araucaria% Rhododendrons, and funebral Cypresses, or hang your caps on my choice Rose bushes, while I am delving in your reserved acres of primitive forest! My library! What shall I do without it And will you promise your children shall not ruin my "picture books," or scratch my Florentine tables - my small but recherche collection of statuary? Will you guarantee the Roses of Ariadne and Pshyche f Shall the birds which Virginia is feeding have all their plumage perfect when I return! My gardener is a good one, and understands my ways: will you guarantee that he will be here when I get back! And if he leaves you in a pet, or goes on a drunken frolic to spite you, will you see after the fires in the Orchid house, the coldest nights of next winter, every hour or two, if, at the same time, one of your children has the whooping cough or the measles! Does your husband thoroughly understand trimming dwarf fruit trees! And is his temper such as not to spoil my favorite riding-horse! Do you really think he could manage my Irish coachman, and make him keep the gears of several kinds perfectly greased! And if be goes from home a day or two without notice, will you oversee your helpmate so much as that the horses shall be fed, curried, and nicely put to bed! Has he a fondness for currying! I have several famous breeds of dogs who require daily looking after, and to be regularly exercised, and you must see that they do not kill my family of tame grey squirrels; and then there are the lop-eared rabbits, to be daily and nightly protected from dogs and cats.
The aviary I will surrender to your care - but will you be sure to close off the water from the fountains just power to superintend underdraining a few acres I have lately bought) and can you give me the address of the maker of the best tiles t There are many other matters requiring consideration, but as I received the HorticuUurut late in the month, I must defer naming tbem till you have a little breathing spell You have by this time, perhaps, perceived one other cause why staying at home is necessary; there may be other reasons than being "too happy:" There is too much to take care of.
Meantime, if you should come eastwardly this summer, ask Mr. Babbt to give you a letter of introduction to ATTICUS.