Correspondence of Rhoda Waterbury and G. W. Clinton
Edited by P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica
Missouri Botanical Garden
May 10, 2006
Return to home

 

Correspondence of

Rhoda Waterbury and G. W. Clinton

1865 - 1867

 

Edited by P. M. P.O. Box 299, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 63166‑0299; and Research Associate, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, New York, 14204. Email: mailto:patricia.eckel@mobot.org

 

June 1867

Vol.4 no. 181 [G 39]

                            Gloversville June 2nd 1867

 

My Dear Mentor,

 

You do not know how much good your last letter did me. It strengthens my poor weak faith to know that your faith is firm. I am real happy when I can rest on the faith of those who are so much wiser than I. This life is such a strange thing and the hereafter so uncertain I am glad I was educated in the faith. The sunlight and fields and flowers always set me right after a time. By the way is the exhilaration and flow of spirits caused by fresh air sunlight and pleasant surroundings real devotion? I begin to distrust myself when I see that these things influence me so much. I have been watching and waiting for the opening of the flowers to see if I could find something new for you, and I did begin to think spring had forgotten us up here so near the great north woods, but within the past week we have found more than twenty spring treasures. I have a company of ten young people to ramble with me and with the appearance of real flowers they are beginning to get quite enthusiastic. I teach them entirely in the fields when the weather will permit you to not wonder that they enjoy it. But rain seems to be the order of things here and it is only now and then we can ramble at all. I have found one or two species of moss that I have not in my collection though nothing new I think. With my other duties I do not find as much time to work with the mosses and the microscope as I did last summer besides I have been teaching and practicing oil painting every spare moment during the whole year and have injured my eyes so I dare not tax them so much.

 

I am ashamed of myself to say I am busy and have not the time for study when I know what you do every year, and what one may accomplish by close application but there are but few women who can apply themselves so, and I do not believe they are very happy either. I am ashamed to say it but I must acknowledge I like to do as I please and study or ramble or read or sew or knit by impulse, now I know that is perfectly shiftless as the yankee says and a great deal of real life force is wasted, that might be used in the accomplishment of some grand purpose, and so I just donít amount to anything in life, and I donít believe I should enjoy it if I did amount to anything after all, but I might do more for the race perhaps. I donít think I have any thing new or strange but I am just going to send some little things to make the letter seem like old times, and if you have already seen a bushel of them this spring they still will look good to you in an envelope besides the anticipation while you are opening it. The plants I take to be Panax trifolium and Uvularia perfoliata, the moss I cannot name yet I think I ought. Please do write again soon and let me know that with all my folly you have kind remembrances of me still and send me a little scrap of something green, and tell me what time this summer you are coming to see me and keep that promise and let me say I am still

 

            Your disciple

 

                    Rhoda Waterbury

 

Hon. G. W. Clinton

 

Recd June 8

 

There appears to be no further communication between them. The Uvularia perfoliata suggests her second letter to Clinton (June 10, 1865). Perhaps this is the specimen now in the Clinton Herbarium.

 

ďI am ashamed of myself to say I am busy and have not the time for study when I know what you do every year, and what one may accomplish by close application but there are but few women who can apply themselves so, and I do not believe they are very happy eitherĒ: her views on female education.

 

Her last paragraph perhaps is an acknowledgement to Clinton that Rhoda is no longer interested in providing bryophytes to Buffalo or Albany (Clinton or Peck) and so the correspondence ends.