The Flower Pot. (A Dialogue Between Emma and her Mother)
Short Fiction, Dialogue
Collecting, Amusement, Horticulture, Providence
Emma discusses with her mother a recent trip to the house of Mr and Mrs S. Her mother asks: 'did not Mr. S. shew you his stuffed birds, and his shells, and his butterflies? His collections are very curious'. Emma declares that she liked the 'living creatures best': French partridges, ducks from Holland, and a heron. (18) 'How much more interesting are these natural curiosities than the mere toys with which houses are so much adorned now,' her mother replies, 'they always furnish subjects for useful and profitable conversation, and may often be made subservient to the highest purposes' (19). Emma collects some flowers from the garden and greenhouse at her mother's request, and they draw analogies between the different endowments of the varieties of flower and those of the varieties of people. Emma's mother argues that the critical thing with people, as with flowers, is that their 'natural gifts and talents are cultivated and improved'. She remarks that, in the garden, there are 'flowers for beauty, and herbs for medicine and for food'. (22) 'All the works of creation, whether animate or inanimate, were originally made good; it was only sin that defiled them'; the pious should, through grace, fulfil the place intended for them by the Creator until 'transplanted to a fairer world' (23).
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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