When it comes to what are called luxuries, the very rich have undoubtedly an advantage over other people, if one can imagine the possession and use of a luxury to be in any sense and advantage. Thus, the very rich can procure for themselves all sorts of rare and delicious foods and drinks. They can have fruits and vegetables out of season, and fish and game brought from afar. They can drink the finest champagne, or claret, or Rhine wine, or cordial, without ever considering the cost. Indeed, they may prefer a costly drink, and enjoy it more, just for the reason that it is costly.
These pleasures of the palate the man of moderate means can only enjoy in brief seasons or at long intervals. It may be doubted, however, whether the very rich man gets any more pleasure from his palate and his organs of smell in the course of a year than the man who is compelled to follow the change of the season in the selection of his foods and drinks. Strawberries in January are not so good as strawberries in June, and strawberries for two months of the year, changing to raspberries, currants, blueberries, and blackberries, may give more gratification on the whole than strawberries for six months of the year.
The very rich man can order from some florist a profusion of flowers for all the rooms in his house through the entire season. These beautiful objects will adorn the very rich man’s rooms the year around, and their fragrance will penetrate every part of his house. He and his family will enjoy them; but it is doubtful whether he will get so much pleasure out of all this hired decoration as the owner of one little garden and one little glass box window will get out of his few beds, pots and vases filled with only seasonable blooms, all of which he has worked over and cared for himself. At any rate it is a different kind of pleasure, and not so keen and inexhaustible. Money indeed can buy these beautiful objects, but money cannot buy the capacity to enjoy them. That capacity may or may not go with the possession of money.
George Eliot -Photo by rinaldo romani