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Literary Life of the Rev. William Harness
William Harness to A. G. K. L'Estrange, 28 May 1866

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
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“Kensington Gore,
“May 28, 1866.
“My dear L’Estrange,

“Your MS. arrived duly and in safety on Saturday; but I was so occupied all the day that I had not a moment to spare even to write a line to you. I went out early to take a glimpse of the Horticultural Garden Show, and paid half-a-crown to see it in a gradual state of demolition: all that was best already gone, and the rest in a state of removal. The ‘pitcher tree’ (do you know it?) was the only thing curious that I had not seen a good specimen of before. That is eminently curious. But the con-
clusion which I drew from what remained is, that the gardeners are by force of art cultivating away all the beauty of flowers, as the music-masters are practising and straining their pupils out of all the charm of singing. A rose on its natural stem is a beautiful flower; but what can be the beauty of a large red-cabbage sort of thing growing like this (a sketch) at the top of a stiff” twig? An azalea is a beautiful thing blooming here and there amid green leaves in its own natural manner; but what is there in a pyramid (another sketch), all flowers and no leaves, superior to the same sort of thing made of pink, yellow, or white silver paper?

“After walking till I was tired, and abusing what remained of the Exhibition, because there was so little left to look at, I went to a shop in the Haymarket, next door to the theatre, to see a very beautiful landscape which had been sent over from America. It is a large view of a scene in the Rocky Mountains, and is well nigh the finest landscape I have ever seen. I wish you had been with me! It is by a man named Reinstadt. He’s a German, living and educated in America; and if he can paint more as good pictures as this is, he is the first landscape-painter of our time. My hand is swollen, but free from pain, and I still have no power of voice. So
voice. So altogether, I’m in a bad case, and am going to take advice. Write to me, and remember that I am always,

“Affectionately yours,
“W. H.

“Have you read ‘the Spanish Gipsy’—a poem by the author of ‘Adam Bede?’ If you have not, do! It is really very good; and considering that it is a nineteenth century production, almost intelligible throughout. I have read nothing so like English for many a day.”