AS you are aware I am an artist. My profession has brought me into close contact with nature in all its grandeur, in all its beauty, and in all its purity. I have spent months and months in solitudes, far, far away from what is called civilisation, yes, far away from cities, towns and villages. Ah! these were indeed days of pleasure. It was in these solitudes that I was able to grasp, if but in a small degree, the goodness of the Creator and the beauty of His works. While I saw the grand effects of landscape; while I saw the flitting gleams of beauty caused by a dash of sunshine breaking through the clouds; while I saw the vast mountains raising their mighty heads above me; while I saw the mirror-like lake below me; while I saw the plants, the mosses, the lichens, all full of silent beauty; while I heard the skylark's charming note enchanting my ears with sweet melody as he floated warbling above his nest; while I saw the bees all busy gleaning their winter's stores; while I saw the butterflies decked with all their radiant beauty, I could not help thinking how different was this ever varying scene of love, harmony, and contentment, with the city-created dens of iniquity,—the great haven and boasted creation of so-called civilized man.
After many years of pleasure and activity in pursuit of my profession, I bethought me that I was not doing my duty to my fellows in avoiding city life I felt that I was living in selfishness, if I did not endeavour to do something for the advantage of mankind, and, knowing as I did the degraded life that the majority of city people lived, I determined to try my powers of reforming.
Being of an enthusiastic nature, I set to work in this vast city of ours, labouring early and late, spending all the time I could spare in this work of attempted reform. At first my enthusiasm led me to think I was making progress, but alas! all I was able to do amounted to very little indeed. I redoubled my efforts, but while undoubtedly some good had come out of my work there was so much to do, and I was so earnest, that I overtasked my strength. I became weak and excitable, and at last I had to give way to nature. My strength failed me; I took ill; and was confined to the house for months. Getting rather better I was foolish enough to enter into an election contest, supporting the faction I thought best. Of the hard work I went through during this contest I remember very little.