Page:Letters of Life.djvu/267

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roimdings of my native city, to which might be ap- plied 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 Grandi- son, commending both works to my perusal. With regard to the first, I was obediently compliant. Miss F. M. Caulkins, afterwards well known as the merito- rious 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 techni- calities 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 man- ners which it portrayed were, to our republican no- tions, so ceremonious and formal, that it was impossi- ble to keep up a sustained interest. Therefore, though I deemed myself in fault for dissenting from so culti-

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