We have another disturbing visitor who insists upon a vista, which involves the sacrifice of a fine clump of Lilacs and Buckthorn, that shuts off a view of the northern part of the place. We are disposed to think that it would be an improvement to get a glimpse of the great Elm-trunk and the green grass beyond; but, suppose we do not like it when the bushes are down, what then?
Even given on his part the best artistic perception, does it follow that another man's views of what you ought to like always suit your own?
May it not perhaps be wiser to work out your own problems in your own way? Human nature is so constituted that it yearns for authority, and when it gets authority it chafes thereat, and each man cherishes his own unwisdom as dearer than the knowledge of another. Such contrary beings are we that it is always what we have not that seems the greater blessing, and we seldom know when we are well off. The hardest state of mind to attain is content, and so little do we know the essence of happiness, that finding the contented man, we forthwith compassionate him for his lack of ambition, or gird at him for supineness, and pride ourselves upon our own divine unrest.
Even thus do the educating influences of the garden lead us round to philosophy, and the vista through the bushes opens out a moral perspective.
It is only by what we suffer that we learn what is worth while, and, judging by the amount of suffering our amateur gardening gives us, we ought in time to have the wisdom of Solomon, which, ranging from the Cedar of Lebanon to the Hyssop on the wall, must have given him a good deal to undergo. No wonder that he discovered that "all is vanity." Probably it was borne in upon him by finding a borer in his own pet Cedar, or a caterpillar crawling over the remains of his last Hyssop.
We, struggling along after that illustrious gardener of Israel, have at least mastered one lesson, the important one that Nature, the rudest of task - mistresses, takes pains early to impress upon her pupils, sternly reiterating:
I teach by killing, let the others learn!