You cannot know, the Young Lady wrote, with what longing I look back to those winter days by the fire; though all the windows are open to this May morning, and the brown thrush is singing in the chestnut-tree, and I see everywhere that first delicate flush of spring, which seems too evanescent to be color even, and amounts to little more than a suffusion of the atmosphere. I doubt, indeed, if the spring is exactly what it used to be, or if, as we get on in years [no one ever speaks of “getting on in years” till she is virtually settled in life], its promises and suggestions do not seem empty in comparison with the sympathies and responses of human friendship, and the stimulation of society. Sometimes nothing is so tiresome as a perfect day in a perfect season.
I only imperfectly understand this. The Parson says that woman is always most restless under the most favorable conditions, and that there is no state in which she is really happy except that of change. I suppose this is the truth taught in what has been called the “Myth of the Garden.” Woman is perpetual revolution, and is that element in the world which continually destroys and re-creates. She is the experimenter and the suggester of new combinations. She has no belief in any law of eternal fitness of things. She is never even content with any arrangement of her own house. The only reason the Mistress could give, when she rearranged her apartment, for hanging a picture in what seemed the most inappropriate place, was that it had never been there before. Woman has no respect for tradition, and because a thing is as it is is sufficient reason for changing it. When she gets into law, as she has come into literature, we shall gain something in the destruction of all our vast and musty libraries of precedents, which now fetter our administration of individual justice. It is Mandeville’s opinion that women are not so sentimental as men, and are not so easily touched with the unspoken poetry of nature; being less poetical, and having less imagination, they are more fitted for practical affairs, and would make less failures in business. I have noticed the almost selfish passion for their flowers which old gardeners have, and their reluctance to part with