Page:Letters of Life.djvu/267

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

roundings of my native city, to which might be applied what the eloquent author of the recent "Personal History of Lord Bacon" has said of Twickenham: "Every plant that thrives, every flower that blows, is in love with its soil." Its rural walks, also, were faithfully explored, much to our enjoyment. At his departure, he left with me "Wakefield's Treatise on Botany," and a small microscope, for the examination of plants; also the eight volumes of Sir Charles Grandison, commending both works to my perusal. With regard to the first, I was obediently compliant. Miss F. M. Caulkins, afterwards well known as the meritorious historian of Norwich and of New London, was staying with me, as an agreeable companion and kind assistant. Together, we pursued strenuous dissections of the vegetable races, from mouse-ear to cactus. I felt almost as a pirate and murderer in Flora's realm. Not having been accustomed to such researches, my conscience reproached me, that, for the sake of technicalities of class and order, we should thus ravage the calyx, and despoil the corolla, to which Nature had given life and brilliance.

Richardson's novel did not fare as well as the scientific treatise. It was so diffuse; the elegant manners which it portrayed were, to our republican notions, so ceremonious and formal, that it was impossible to keep up a sustained interest. Therefore, though I deemed myself in fault for dissenting from so culti-