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Title: Fern Leaves from Fanny's Port-folio. - Second Series
Author: Fern, Fanny
Language: English
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AUBURN & BUFFALO: Miller, Orton & Mulligan.]


  Fern Leaves


  With Original Designs by Fred. M. Coffin.


  Published first in England by International Arrangement with the
    American Proprietors, and entered at Stationers’ Hall.

  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight
    hundred and fifty-three,
  In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Northern District
    of New York.










  This Book is Gratefully Dedicated,





  Six months since, I was in a deplorable state of ignorance as to the
most felicitous style of Preface; at this lapse of time, I find myself
not a whit the wiser. You will permit me, therefore, in pressing again
your friendly hands, simply to say, that I hope my second offering of
“Fern Leaves” will be more worthy of your acceptance, than the first.

                                                       FANNY FERN.



  Shadows and Sunbeams,                                     13
  Aunt Hepsy,                                               36
  Thoughts at Church,                                       40
  The Brothers,                                             42
  Curious Things,                                           48
  The advantages of a House in a Fashionable Square,        49
  Winter is Coming,                                         59
  The Other Sex,                                            61
  Soliloquy of Mr. Broadbrim,                               63
  Willie Grey,                                              65
  Tabitha Tompkins’ Soliloquy,                              82
  Soliloquy of a Housemaid,                                 85
  Critics,                                                  87
  Forgetful Husbands,                                       89
  Summer Friends,                                           91
  How the Wires are Pulled,                                 92
  Who would be the Last Man,                                95
  Only a Cousin,                                            96
  The Calm of Death,                                        99
  Mrs. Adolphus Smith sporting the Blue Stocking,          101
  Cecile Vray,                                             103
  Sam Smith’s Soliloquy,                                   105
  Love and Duty,                                           110
  A False Proverb,                                         114
  A Model Husband,                                         116
  How is it?                                               118
  A Morning Ramble,                                        120
  Hour-Glass Thoughts,                                     123
  Boarding-House Experiences,                              125
  A Grumble from the (H)altar,                             132
  A Wicked Paragraph,                                      133
  Mistaken Philanthrophy,                                  135
  Insignificant Love,                                      137
  A Model Married Man,                                     139
  Meditations of Paul Pry, jun.,                           141
  Sunshine and Young Mothers,                              144
  Uncle Ben’s attack of Spring Fever, and how Cured,       146
  The Aged Minister Voted a Dismission,                    150
  The Fatal Marriage,                                      152
  Frances Sargeant Osgood,                                 157
  Best Things,                                             161
  The Vestry Meeting,                                      164
  A Broadway Shop Reverie,                                 167
  The Old Woman,                                           170
  Sunday Morning at the Dibdins,                           172
  Items of Travel,                                         175
  Newspaper-dom,                                           178
  Have we any Men among us?                                181
  How to Cure the Blues,                                   183
  Rain in the City,                                        185
  Mrs. Weasel’s Husband,                                   187
  Country Sunday _vs._ City Sunday,                        189
  Sober Husbands,                                          192
  Our Street,                                              194
  When you are Angry,                                      199
  Little Bessie,                                           201
  The Delights of Visiting,                                205
  Helen Haven’s Happy New Year,                            207
  Dollars and Dimes,                                       212
  Our Nelly,                                               214
  Study Men, not Books,                                    218
  Murder of the Innocents,                                 220
  American Ladies,                                         224
  The Stray Sheep,                                         226
  The Fashionable Preacher,                                230
  Cash,                                                    233
  Only a Child,                                            235
  Mrs. Pipkin’s idea of Family Retrenchment,               237
  A Chapter for Nice Old Farmers,                          239
  Madam Rouillon’s Mourning Saloon,                        241
  Fashion in Funerals,                                     243
  Household Tyrants,                                       245
  Women and Money,                                         247
  The Sick Bachelor,                                       249
  A Mother’s Influence,                                    252
  Mr. Punch Mistaken,                                      257
  Fern Musings,                                            259
  The Time to Choose,                                      261
  Spring is Coming,                                        262
  Steamboat Sights and Reflections,                        265
  A Gotham Reverie,                                        268
  Sickness in the City and Country,                        269
  Hungry Husbands,                                         273
  Light and Shadow,                                        275
  A Matrimonial Reverie,                                   278
  What Love will Accomplish,                               279
  Mrs. Grumble’s Soliloquy,                                283
  Henry Ward Beecher,                                      285
  An Old maid’s Decision,                                  289
  A Punch at Punch,                                        291
  Father Taylor, the Sailor’s Preacher,                    292
  Signs of the Times,                                      296
  Whom does it concern,                                    300
  Who Loves a Rainy Day,                                   306
  A Conscientious Young Man,                               310
  City Scenes and City Life, No. 1,                        312
      do             do      do  2,                        317
      do             do      do  3,                        322
      do             do      do  4,                        326
  Two Pictures,                                            330
  Feminine Waiters at Hotels,                              332
  Letter to the Empress Eugenia,                           334
  Music in the Natural Way,                                337
  For Ladies that go Shopping,                             339
  Modern Improvements,                                     344
  The Old Merchant wants a Situation,                      348
  A Moving Tale,                                           350
  This Side and That,                                      358
  Mrs. Zebedee Smith’s Philosophy,                         361
  Opening of the Crystal Palace,                           363
  A Lance Couched for the Children,                        369
  A Chapter on Housekeeping,                               371
  Barnum’s Museum,                                         373
  A Fern Reverie,                                          377
  Apollo Hyacinth,                                         381
  Spoiled Little Boy,                                      384
  A Brown Study,                                           386
  Incidents at the Five Points House of Industry,          388
  Nancy Pry’s Soliloquy,                                   396
  For Little Children,                                     397


  MR. STUBBS AND HIS FRIENDS,                        82
  THE BLUE STOCKING,                                101
  THE AGED MINISTER,                                150
  OUR STREET,                                       194
  SIMON SKINFLINT,                                  300
  THE MAY-DAY MOVING,                               350

Fern Leaves--Second Series.



  I can see it now: the little brown house, with its sloping roof,
its clumsy old chimneys, and its vine-clad porch; where the brown bee
hummed his drowsy song, and my silver-haired old father sat dozing the
sultry summer noons away, with shaggy Bruno at his feet. The bright
earth had no blight or mildew then for me. The song of the little
birds, resting beneath the eaves, filled my heart with a quiet joy. It
was sweet, when toil was over, to sit in the low door-way, and watch
the golden sun go down, and see the many-tinted clouds fade softly
away (like a dying saint) into the light of heaven, and evening’s
glittering star glow, like a seraph’s eye, above them. ’Twas sweet,
when Autumn touched the hill-side foliage with rainbow dyes, to see the
gorgeous leaves come circling down on the soft Indian-summer breeze.
’Twas sweet, when the tripping, silver stream lay still and cold in
Winter’s icy clasp, and the flowers fainted beneath his chilly breath,
and the leafless trees stretched out their imploring arms, and shook
off, impatiently, their snowy burthen, and the heavy wagon-wheels went
creaking past, and the ruddy farmer struck his brawny arms across his
ample chest, for warmth, and goaded the lazy, round-eyed oxen up the
icy hill. Even then, it was sunshine still, in the little brown house:
in the ample chimney glowed and crackled the blazing faggots; rows of
shining pans glittered upon the shelves; the fragrant loaf steamed
in the little oven; the friendly tea-kettle, smoking, sang in the
chimney corner, and by its side still sat the dear old father, with the
faithful newspaper, that weekly brought us news from the busy world,
from which our giant forest-trees had shut us out.

  Ah! those were happy days: few wants and no cares: the patriarch’s
head was white with grave blossoms, yet his heart was fresh and green.
Alas! that, under the lowliest door-way, as through the loftiest
portal, the Guest unbidden cometh. The morning sun rose fair, but it
shone upon silver locks that stirred with no breath of life, upon
loving lips forever mute, upon a palsied, kindly hand that gave no
returning pressure. Soon, over the heart so warm and true, the snow lay
white and cold; the winter wind sang its mournful requiem, and from
out the little brown house, the orphan passed with tearful gaze and
lingering footstep.


  Oh, the bitter, bitter bread of dependence! No welcome by the
hearth-stone: no welcome at the board: the mocking tone, the cutting
taunt, the grudged morsel. Weary days, and sleepless, memory-torturing

  “Well, Josiah’s dead and gone,” said my uncle, taking down his
spectacles from the mantel, to survey me, as I sank on the settle,
in the chimney corner. “Take off your bonnet, Hetty. I suppose we
must give you house-room. Josiah never had the knack of saving
anything--more’s the pity for _you_. That farm of his was awfully
mismanaged. I could have had twice the produce he did off that land.
Sheer nonsense, that shallow ploughing of his, tiring the land all
out; he should have used the sub-soil plough. Then he had no idea of
the proper rotation of crops, or how to house his cattle in winter,
or to keep his tools where they wouldn’t rust and rot. That new barn,
too, was a useless extravagance. He might have roofed the old one.
It’s astonishing what a difference there is in brothers, about getting
beforehand in the world. Now I’ve a cool thousand in the bank, all for
taking care of little things. (There, Jonathan! Jonathan! you’ve taken
the meal out of the wrong barrel: it was the damaged meal I told you to
carry to Widow Folger.)

  “Well, as I was saying, Hetty, in the first place, your father didn’t
know how to manage; then he didn’t know how to say No. He’d lend money
to anybody who wanted it, and pay his workmen just what they took it
into their heads it was right to ask. Now, there’s Jonathan, yonder; a
day or two since, he struck for higher wages. Well, I _let_ him strike,
and got an Irishman in his place. This morning he came whining back,
saying that his wife was sick, and his youngest child lay dead in the
house, and that he was willing to work on at the old wages. That’s the
way to do, Hetty. If Jonathan chose to saddle himself with a wife and
babies, before he was able to feed them, I don’t see the justice of my
paying for it. But it’s time for family prayers: that will be something
new to you, I suppose. I don’t want to judge _any_ body: I hope your
father has gone to Heaven, but I’m afraid he didn’t let his light
shine. Don’t whimper, child; as the tree falls so it must lie. You must
see that you do _your_ duty: make yourself useful here in my house, and
try to pay your way. Young people of your age consume a great deal in
the way of food and clothes.”

  Oh, the monotony of those weary days! how memory lingered over the
sunny past: how thought shrank back affrighted from the gloomy future:
how untiringly and thanklessly I strove to cancel the debt for daily
bread, and how despairingly I prayed for relief from such bitter


  “Make up the bed in the north room, Hetty,” said my aunt; “it’s
our turn to board the schoolmaster this week. You needn’t put on the
best sheets: these book-learning folks are always wool-gathering. He
never’ll know the difference. What a hungry set these schoolmasters
are, to be sure: it keeps a body all the time cooking. A bushel of
doughnuts is a mere circumstance. When the last master was here, our
winter barrel of cider went off like snow in April. I hope Jonathan
learned enough at school to pay for it, but I have my doubts: he trips
in the multiplication table yet. Your uncle and I think that this
boarding schoolmasters is a poor business--a losing bargain. He says
I must put less on the table, but it is no use to try that game with
George Grey. He’s as independent as Adam in Eden, before the serpent
and his wife got in. He’d just as lief call for anything he wanted as
not, and somehow or other, when he does, I always feel as if I had no
choice about bringing it. That eye of his always makes me think of
forked lightning; and yet he’s kindly spoken, too. He is as much of a
riddle to unravel, as one of Parson Jones’ doctrinal sermons. But, go
make his bed, Hetty, and mind you stuff a few rags in that broken pane
of glass over it. I spoke to your uncle about getting it mended, but he
said warm weather would be along in three months, and that’s very true,
Hetty. Hist! your uncle is calling you. He says he is going out in the
barn to thresh, and if Peter Tay comes up the road, and stops in here
again, for him to subscribe towards the minister’s new cloak, you must
say that he has gone to Jifftown, and will not be home for a week at
least. Now don’t forget, Hetty: people seem to think one earns money
now-a-days on purpose to give away. A new cloak! humph! I wonder if the
Apostle Paul’s hearers ever gave him a new cloak? I wonder if John the
Baptist ever had a donation party? Don’t the minister have his salary,
two hundred dollars a year--part in produce, part in money; paid
regularly, when the times ain’t too hard? Go make the school-master’s
bed now, Hetty. One pillow will do for him. Goodness knows he carries
his head high enough when he is awake. I shouldn’t wonder if he had
been captain or colonel, or something, some muster day.”

  The schoolmaster! Should I be permitted to go to school? or should I
be kept drudging at home? Would this Mr. Grey think me very ignorant?
I began to feel as if his forked-lightning eyes were already on me.
My cheeks grew hot at the idea of making a blunder in his awful
presence. What a miserable room my aunt had provided for him! If I
could but put up some nice white curtains at the window, or get him a
cushioned chair, or put in a bureau, or chest of drawers. It looked
so comfortless--so different from the welcome my dear old father
was wont to give to “the stranger within the gates;” and now memory
pictured him, as he sat in the old arm chair, and I knelt again at the
low foot-stool at his feet, and his hand strayed caressingly over my
temples, and I listened to old continental stories, till the candle
burned low in the socket, and only the fire-light flickered dimly on
the old portrait of General Washington, and on my father’s time-worn

  My aunt’s shrill voice soon roused me from my reverie. Dinner time
had come, and with it Mr. Grey--a gentlemanly young man, of about
two and twenty, with a bright, keen, blue eye, and a frank, decided,
off-hand manner, that seemed to me admirably in keeping with his erect,
imposing figure and firm step. Even my uncle reefed in a sail or two in
his presence, and my aunt involuntarily qualified her usual bluntness
of manner. I uttered a heartfelt thanksgiving when dinner was over.


  “Hetty,” said my uncle, as the door closed upon Mr. Grey. “I suppose
you must go to school, or the neighbors will say we don’t treat you
well. You ought to be very thankful for such a home as this, Hetty;
women are poor miserable creatures, left without money. I wish it had
pleased Providence to have made you a boy. You might then have done
Jonathan’s work just as well as not, and saved me his wages and board.
There’s a piece of stone wall waiting to be laid, and the barn wants
shingling. Josiah now would be at the extravagance of hiring a mason
and a carpenter to do it.

  “Crying? I wonder what’s the matter now? Well, it’s beyond me to keep
track of anything in the shape of a woman. One moment they are up in
the attic of ecstasy; the next, down in the cellar of despondency, as
the Almanac says; and it is as true as if it had been written in the
Apocrypha. I only said that it is a thousand pities that you were not
a boy; then you could graft my trees for me, and hoe, and dig, and
plant, and plough, and all that sort of thing. This puttering round,
washing dishes a little, and mopping floors a little, and wringing out
a few clothes, don’t amount to much toward supporting yourself. Let
me see, you have had, since you came here”--and my uncle put on his
spectacles, and pulled out a well-thumbed pocket memorandum--“You’ve
had t-w-o p-a-i-r-s of shoes, at t-h-r-e-e s-h-i-l-l-i-n-g-s a pair,
and nine yards of calico, for a dress, at s-i-x c-e-n-t-s a yard. That
’mounts up, Hetty, ’mounts up. You see it costs something to keep you.
I earned _my_ money, and if you ever expect to have any, you must earn
yours”--and my uncle took out his snuff-box, helped himself to a pinch,
and, with the timely aid of a stray sunbeam, achieved a succession of
very satisfactory sneezes.

  The following day, under the overwhelming consciousness of my
feminity and consequent good-for-nothingness, I made my debut at Master
Grey’s school.

  It was a huge barn of a room, ill lighted, ill warmed, and worse
ventilated, crowded with pupils of both sexes, from the little,
chubby A B C D-arian, to the gaunt Jonathan of thirty, who had begun
to feel the need of a little ciphering and geography, in making out
his accounts, or superscribing a business letter. There were rows of
awkward, mop-headed, freckled, red-fisted boys; and rosy-cheeked,
buxom lasses, bursting out of their dresses, half-shy, half-saucy, who
were much more conversant with “apple bees,” and “husking frolics,”
than with grammar or philosophy. There was the parson’s son, and
the squire’s and the blacksmith’s son, besides a few who hadn’t the
remotest idea whose sons they were, having originally been indentured
to their farming masters, by the overseers of the county alms-house.

  Amid these discordant elements, Master Grey moved as serenely as the
August moon of a cloudless night; now patting some little curly head,
cruelly perplexed by “crooked S;” now demonstrating to some slow, older
brain, a stumbling block in Euclid; now closing the creaking door after
an ill-mannered urchin; now overlooking the pot-hooks and trammels
of an unsophisticated scribe, who clutched the pen as if it were a
hoe-handle; now feeding the great, draftless Behemoth of a stove
with green hickory knots, and vainly attempting to thaw out his own
congealed fingers.

  In a remote corner of the school-room sat Zeb Smith, the village
blacksmith’s son, who came into the world with his fists doubled up,
and had been pugilist-ing ever since. It was Zeb’s proud boast that “he
had whipped every schoolmaster who had ever appeared in Frog-town,” and
in his peaceful retreat from under his bent brows, he was now mentally
taking the measure of Master Grey, ending his little reverie with a
loud, protracted whistle.

  Master Grey turned quickly round, and facing his overgrown pupil
of thirty, said in a voice clear as the click of a pistol, “You will
be pleased not to repeat that annoyance, Mr. Smith.” Zeb bent his
gooseberry eyes full upon the master, and gave him a blast of “Yankee

  All eyes were bent on Master Grey. The gauntlet of defiance was
thrown in his very teeth. Zeb had a frame like an ox, and a fist like a
sledge-hammer, and he knew it. Master Grey was slight, but panther-y;
to their unscientific eyes, he was already victimized.

  Not a bit of it! See! Master Grey’s delicate white fingers are on
Zeb’s check shirt-collar; there is a momentary struggle: lips grow
white; teeth are set; limbs twist, and writhe, and mingle, and now Zeb
lies on the floor with Master Grey’s handsome foot on his brawny chest.
Ah, Master Grey! science is sometimes a match for bone and muscle. Your
boxing master, Monsieur Punchmellow, would have been proud of his pupil.

  Peace restored, Master Grey shakes back from his broad forehead his
curly locks, and summons the first class in geography. A row of country
girls, round as little barrels and red as peonies, stand before him,
their respect and admiration for “the master” having been increased
ten per cent. by his victory over Zeb. Feminity pardons any thing in
a man sooner than lack of courage. The recitation goes off very well,
with the exception of Miss Betsey Jones, who persists in not reciting
at all. Master Grey looks at her: he has conquered a _man_, but that’s
no reason why he should suppose he can conquer a _woman_. He sees
that written in very legible characters in Miss Bessie’s saucy black
eye. Miss Bessy is sent to her seat, and warned to stay after school,
till her lesson is learned and recited perfectly. With admirable
nonchalance, she takes her own time to obey, and commences drawing
little caricatures of the master, which she places in her shoe, and
passes round under the desk, to her more demure petticoat neighbors.

  School is dismissed: the last little straggler is kicking up his
heels in the snow drifts, and Master Grey and Miss Bessie are left
alone. Master Grey inquires if the lesson is learned, and is told
again by Miss Bessie, with a toss of her ringlets, that she has no
intention of learning it. Master Grey again reminds her that the lesson
must be recited before she can go home. Bessie looks mischievously at
the setting sun, and plays with the master’s commands and her apron
strings. An hour passes, and Bessie has not opened the book. Master
Grey consults his watch, and reminds her “that it is growing dark.”
Bessie smiles till the dimples play hide and seek on her cheek,
but she says nothing. Another hour: Master Grey bites his lip, and,
replacing his watch in his pocket, says, “I see your intention, Miss
Betsey. It is quite impossible, as you know, for us to remain here
after dark. To-morrow morning, if your lesson is not learned, I shall
punish you in the presence of the whole school. You can go.”

  “Thank you, sir,” says Bessie, with mock humility, as she crushed her
straw hat down over her bright ringlets.

  “Mischief take these women,” Master Grey was heard to utter, as he
went through the snow by starlight to a cold supper. “Shall I conquer
Zeb, to strike my colors to a girl of sixteen?”

  There was plenty to talk about over the brown bread and milk, at
the farmers’ tea-tables that night; the youngsters all made up their
minds that if there was “a time to play,” it was not in Master Grey’s
school-room, and the old farmers said they were glad the District had
a schoolmaster at last that was good for something, and that they
should think better of city chaps in future for his sake. Even Zeb
himself acknowledged, over his father’s forge, as he mended his broken
suspenders, that Master Grey was a “trump.”

  The nine o’clock bell summoned again the Frog-town pupils to the
District School. Master Grey in vain looked in Bessie’s face for any
sign of submission. She had evidently made up her mind to brave him.
After the usual preliminary exercises, she was called up to recite.
Fixing her saucy black eyes upon him, she said, “I told you I would
_not_ learn that lesson, and I have not learned it.” “And I told
_you_,” said Master Grey, (a slight flush passing over his forehead)
“that I should punish you if you did not learn it? Did I not?” Bessie’s
red lip quivered, but she deigned him no reply.

  “You will hold out your hand, Betsey,” said Mr. Grey, taking up a
large ferule that lay beside him. The color left Bessie’s cheek, but
the little hand was extended with martyr-like determination, and amid a
silence that might be felt, the ferule came down upon it, with justice
as unflinching as if it were not owned by a woman. Betsey was not proof
against this humiliation; she burst into tears, and the answering tear
in Master Grey’s eye showed how difficult and repugnant had been the

  From that day, Master Grey was “monarch of all he surveyed,” and,
truth compels me to own, by none better loved or more implicitly
obeyed, than by Miss Bessie.

  Master Grey’s “boarding week” at my uncle’s had now expired. What a
change had it effected in me! Life was no longer aimless: the old, glad
sparkle had come back to my heavy eye; I no longer dreaded the solitude
of my own thoughts. The dull rain dropping on my chamber roof had its
music for my ears; the stars wore a new and a glittering brightness,
and Winter, with his snowy mantle, frosty breath, and icicle diadem,
seemed lovelier to me than violet-slippered Spring, with roses in her
hair. I still saw Master Grey each day at school. How patiently he bore
with my multiplied deficiencies, and with what a delicate and womanly
appreciation of my extreme sensitiveness, he soothed my wounded pride.
No pale-eyed flower fainting beneath the garish noonday heat ever so
thirsted for the cool dews of twilight, as did my desolate heart for
his soothing tones and kindly words.


  “Betsey,” said my uncle, “we shall want you at home now. It will be
impossible for me to get along without you, unless I hire a hand, and
times are too hard for that: so you must leave school. You’ve a good
home here, for which you ought to be thankful, as I’ve told you before;
but you must work, girl, work! Some how or other the money goes;” (and
he pulled out the old pocket-bock;) “here’s my grocer’s bill--two
shillings for tea, and three shillings for sugar; can’t you do with out
sugar, Hetty? And here’s a dollar charged for a pair of India rubbers.
A dollar is a great deal of money, Hetty; more than you could earn in
a month. And here’s a shilling for a comb; now that’s useless, you
might cut your hair off. It won’t do--won’t do. I had no idea of the
additional expense when I took you in. Josiah ought to have left you
something no man has a right to leave his children for other people to
support; ’tisn’t Christian. I’ve been a professor these twenty years,
and I ought to know. I don’t know as you have any legal claim on me
because you are my niece. Josiah was thriftless and extravagant. I
suppose ’tis in your blood, too, for I can’t find out that you have
begun to pay your way by any chores you have done here. If you must
live on us, (and I can’t say that I see the necessity,) I repeat, I
wish you had been born a boy.”

  “But as I am not a boy, Uncle, and as I do not wish to be a burthen
to you, will you tell me how to support myself?”

  “Don’t ask me. I’m sure I don’t know. That is your business. I have
my hands full to attend to my own affairs. I am deacon of the church,
beside being trustee of the Sandwich Island Fund. I don’t get a copper
for the office of deacon; nobody pays _me_ for handing round the
contribution box; not a cent of the money that passes through my hands
goes into my till; not a _mill_ do I have by way of perquisite, for
doling it out to bed-ridden Widow Hall, or asthmatic Mr. Price. Not
a penny the richer was I, for that twenty dollars I collected in the
contribution box at last communion: no, I am a poor man, comparatively
speaking. I may die yet in the almshouse; who knows? You must work,
girl, work; can’t have any drones in my hive.”

  A shadow just then passed the window. I should know that retreating
footstep! Could it be that Master Grey had come to the door with the
intention of calling, and overheard my uncle? At least, then, I was
spared the humiliation of exposing his parsimony.


  It was the night for the weekly vestry lecture. I was left quite
alone in the old kitchen. My uncle had extinguished the lamp in
leaving, saying that it was “a waste to burn out oil for me.” The
fire, also, had been carefully taken apart, and the brands laid at
an incombustible distance from each other. The old clock kept up
a sepulchral, death-watch tick, and I could hear the falling snow
drifting gloomily against the windows.

  I drew the old, wooden settle closer between the tall andirons, and
sat sorrowfully gazing into the dying embers. What was to become of
me? for it seemed impossible to bear longer the intolerable galling
of my yoke. Even the charity of strangers seemed to me preferable to
the grudging, insulting tolerance of my kindred. But, with my sixteen
years’ experience of quiet valley-life, where should I turn my untried
footsteps? To Him who guideth the little bird through the pathless air,
would I look.

  Weeping, I prayed.

  “My poor child,” said a voice at my side; and Master Grey removed
my hands gently from my tear-stained face, and held them in his own.
“My poor Hetty, life looks very dark to you, does it not? I know all
you suffer. Don’t pain yourself to tell me about it; I overheard your
uncle’s crushing words. I know there are none to love you--none to
care for you--none on whom you can lean. It is a bitter feeling, my
poor child. I, too, have passed through it. You would go from hence,
but where? Life is full of snares, and you are too young, and too
inexperienced to brave them.

  “Hetty,” and Master Grey drew me gently toward him,--“Hetty, could
you be happy with me?”

  Is the ship-wrecked mariner happy, who opens his despairing eyes at
length in the long looked for, long prayed for, home?

  Is the little bird happy, who folds her weary wings safe from the
pursuer’s talons, in her own fleece-lined nest?

  Is the little child happy, who wakes, sobbing, in the gloomy night,
from troubled dreams, to find his golden head still safely pillowed on
the dear, maternal bosom?


  It was very odd and strange to me, my new home in the great, busy
city; with its huge rows of stores and houses, its myriad restless
feet, and anxious, care-worn faces; its glittering wealth, its squalid
poverty; the slow moving hearse, and the laughing harlequin crowd;
its noisy Sabbaths, and its gorgeous churches, with its jeweled
worshippers, and its sleepy priests; its little children, worldly-wise
and old, and its never-ceasing, busy hum, late into the day’s pale
light. I had no acquaintances: I needed none; for I moved about my
pretty little home as in a glad dream. My husband was still “Master
Grey,” but over a private school of his own, bounded by no “District,”
subject to the despotic dictation of no “Committee.” In his necessary
absence, I busied myself in arranging and re-arranging his books,
papers and wardrobe, thinking the while such _glad_ thoughts! And when
the little mantel clock chimed the hour of return, my cheek flushed, my
heart beat quick, and my eyes grew moist with happy tears, at the sound
of the dear, loved footstep.

  How very nice it seemed to sit at the head of that cheerful little
table--to make, with my own hands, the fragrant cup of tea--to grow
merry with my husband, over crest-fallen Zeb, and poor, stubborn little
Bessie, and my uncle’s time-worn bug-bear of a memorandum book!

  And how proud I was of him, as he sat there correcting some
school-boy’s Greek exercise, while I leaned over his shoulder,
looking attentively at his fine face, and at those unintelligible
hieroglyphics, and blushing that he was so much wiser than his little

  This thought sometimes troubled me. I asked myself, will my husband
never weary of me? I even grew jealous of his favorite authors, of whom
he was so fond. Then I pondered the feasibility of pursuing a course of
reading unknown to him, and astonishing him some day with my profound
erudition. In pursuance of my plan, I would sit demurely down to some
great, wise book; but I saw only my husband’s face looking out at me
from every page, and my self-inflicted task was sure to end in some
blissful dreamy reverie, with which Cupid had much more to do than


  “A proposition, Hetty!” said my husband, throwing aside his coat
and hat, and tossing a letter in my lap. “It is from a widow lady,
who desires that I should take charge of her little boy, and give him
a home in my family, while she goes to the continent, to secure some
property lately left her by a foreign relative. It will be advantageous
to us, in a pecuniary way, to have him board with us, unless it should
increase your cares too much. But, as you are so fond of children, it
may, perhaps, after all, prove a pleasant care to you. She is evidently
a superior woman. Every line in her letter shows it.”

  My husband immediately answered in the affirmative, and the child
arrived a week after. He was a fine, intelligent, gentlemanly boy
of eight years, with large hazel eyes, and transparently beautiful
temples: disinclined to the usual sports of childhood, sensitive, shy,
and thoughtful beyond his years--a human dew-drop, which we look to see
exhale. He brought with him a letter from his mother, which powerfully
affected my husband. During its perusal he drew his hand repeatedly
across his eyes, and sat a long while after he had finished reading it,
with his eyes closed, in a deep reverie. By-and-by he said, handing me
the letter, “there is genius there, Hetty. I never read anything so
touchingly beautiful. Mrs. West must be a very talented and superior

  I glanced over the letter. It fully justified my husband’s encomiums.
It was a most touching appeal to him to watch with paternal care over
her only child; but while she spoke with a mother’s tenderness of his
endearing qualities, she wished him taught implicitly, that first of
all duties for the young, _obedience_. Then followed allusions to dark
days of sorrow, during which the love of that cherished child, was the
only star in her sky.

  I folded the letter and sat very still, after my husband left, in my
little rocking-chair, thinking. Such a gifted woman as that my husband
should have married. One who could have sympathised with him and shared
his intellectual pursuits; who would have been something besides a toy
to amuse an idle hour, or to minister to his physical necessities.
Perhaps it was of this that my husband was thinking, as he sat there
with his eyes closed over the open letter. Perhaps he had wed me only
from a generous impulse of pity, and that letter had suddenly revealed
to him the happiness of which he was capable with a kindred spirit. I
was very miserable. I wished the letter had never reached us, or that
I had declined the care of the child. Other letters, of course, would
come, and the boy would keep alive the interest in the intervals. I
wept long and bitterly. At length I was aroused by the entrance of
little Charley. A bright flush mounted to his forehead, when he saw
my swollen eyes. He hesitated a moment, then gliding up to my side he
said, sweetly, “Are you sick? Shall I bathe your head? I used to bathe
mamma’s head when it pained her.”

  I stood abashed and rebuked in the child’s angel presence, and taking
the boy, _her_ boy, in my arms, I kissed him as tenderly as if I had
been his mother; while in his own sweet way he told me with childish
confidence of his own dead papa; how much he loved mamma; how many,
many beautiful things he used to bring her, saying that they were not
half good, or half handsome enough for her; how distressed he used to
be if she were ill; how carefully he closed the shutters, and tip-toed
about the house, with his finger on his lip, telling the servants to
close the doors gently; and how he promised him little toys, if he
would not disturb mamma’s slumbers; and then, how like diamonds his
eyes shone, when she got well; and what beautiful flowers he brought
her for her vases; and what a nice, soft-cushioned carriage he brought
for her to take the air; and how tenderly he wrapped the shawls about
her, and how many charges he gave the coachman, to drive slowly and
carefully. And then, how dear papa, at last, grew sick himself; and how
mamma watched day and night beside his bed, forgetting to sleep, or
eat, or drink; and how nobody dared to tell her that the doctor said he
must die; and how papa grew fainter and weaker, and how he said, “Kiss
me, Mary, and lay your cheek to mine; I can’t see you.” And then, how
mamma fainted and was carried out, and for many, many long days didn’t
know even her own little Charley;--and how dreadful it was when she
first waked, and tried to remember what had happened; and how nobody
could comfort her but Charley; and how he used often to wake up in the
night, and find her with a lamp looking at him, because when he was
asleep he looked so much like dear, dead papa; and how bitterly she
would sob when she was sick, because papa was not there to pity her,
and bathe her aching head; and how he (Charley) meant, when he grew
up to be a man, to get a nice house for her, and put everything she
wanted in it, and make her just as happy as he could.

  Well has the Saviour said, “Of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” That
night I bent over little Charley’s bed, blessing the little sleeper for
his angel teachings, with a heart as calm and peaceful as the mirrored
lake, reflecting only the smile of Heaven.

  Time passed on. Life became earnest; for a little heart pulsated
beneath my own, and a strange, sweet, nameless thrill sent to my
chastened lips a trembling prayer. Tiny caps and robes, with many a
hope and fear interwoven in their delicate threads, lay awaiting the
infant’s advent. I, myself should know the height, and breadth, and
depth of a mother’s undying love. What could come between me and _this_
new found treasure?

  Meantime letters continued to come from Charley’s mother to her boy,
and my husband. It was impossible for me to blind myself to his growing
interest in them. On the days they were expected, (for she wrote at
regular intervals,) he would be absent and abstracted, or if any delay
occurred, almost irritable. When they were received, his eye kindled,
his step became elastic, and his whole face grew radiant with happiness.

  As the time drew near for the birth of my infant, I grew timid with
sad forebodings. I was sitting, one evening at twilight, watching the
setting sun, and thinking of the quiet grave it was gilding, where my
silver-haired father slept, in the old church yard, when my husband
entered. An expression of pain flitted over his features, as he looked
at me, and taking my hand, he said, gently, _almost tenderly_, “You
are less well than usual, Hetty; you must not sit here, moping, by

  I laid my head upon his shoulder with a happiness I had not known for
many months. “Listen to me, dear Grey,” said I; “I have a confidence to
repose in you that will ease my heart.

  “It was pity, only, that drew your heart to mine; you do not love
me. I have known it a long while since. At first, the discovery gave
me a pang keener than death; but I have had a long and bitter struggle
with myself, and have conquered. It is not your fault that you cannot
love me. To the many voices of your heart, which cry, ‘Give, give,’
my response is weak and unsatisfying. Your wife should be gifted. She
should sympathise with you in your intellectual pursuits. She should
stimulate your pride, as well as your love. Such an one is Charley’s
mother. Your _heart_ has already wed her, and as God is my witness, I
have ceased to blame you. We cannot help our affections. I cannot help
loving you, though I know her mysterious power over your heart. I have
seen your struggles, your generous self-reproaches, in some sudden
outburst of kindness toward me, after the indulgence of some bright
dream, in which I had no share. Dear Grey, she is worthy of your love.
She has a heart, noble, good and true; a heart purified by suffering.
I see it in every line she writes. Should I not survive the birth of
my infant, I could give your happiness into her keeping without a
misgiving, though I have never looked upon her face.”

  Little Hetty’s noble heart has long since ceased to throb with joy
or pain. To her husband’s breast is folded the babe, for whose little
life her own was yielded up. Threads of silver prematurely mingle amid
his ebon locks; for memory writes only on bereaved hearts the virtues
of the dead, while, with torturing minuteness, she pictures our own
short-comings, for which, alas! we can offer no atonement but our tears.


  It was a comical little old shop, “Aunt Hepsy’s,” with its
Lilliputian counter, shelves and stove, and its pigmy assortment
of old-fashioned ginghams, twilled cambrics, red flannels, factory
cotton and homespun calicoes; its miniature window, with its stock
of horn-combs and candy, tin horses and peppermint drops, skeins
of yarn and Godfrey’s Cordial, gaudy picture books, and six-penny
handkerchiefs, from whose center Lafayette and George Washington smiled
approbatively upon the big A’s and little A’s printed round the border.

  “Aunt Hepsy;” so every brimless-hatted urchin in the neighborhood
called her, though it would have puzzled them worse than the
multiplication table, had you asked them why they did so. Year in and
year out, her ruddy English face glowed behind the little shop window.
Sometimes she would be knitting a pair of baby’s socks, sometimes
inventing most astonishing looking bags out of rainbow fragments
of silk or ribbon. Sometimes netting watch-guards, or raveling the
yarn from some old black stocking, to ornament the “place where the
wool ought to grow,” on the head of some Topsy doll she was making.
Sometimes comforting herself with a sly pinch of snuff, or, when
sunbeams and customers were scarce, nodding drowsily over the daily

  Aunt Hepsy _had_ been a beauty, and her pretty face had won her
a thriftless husband, of whom champagne and cigars had long since
kindly relieved her. And though Time had since forced her to apply
to the perruquier, he had gallantly made atonement by leaving her in
the undisputed possession of a pair of very brilliant black eyes.
Add to this a certain air of coquetry, in the fanciful twist of her
gay-colored turban, and the disposal of the folds of her lace kerchief
over her ample English bust--and you have a faithful daguerreotype of
“Aunt Hepsy.”

  From the window of her little shop she could look out upon the blue
waters of the bay, where lay moored the gallant ships, from whose
tall masts floated the stars and stripes, and whose jolly captains
might often be seen in Aunt Hepsy’s shop, exchanging compliments and
snuff, and their heavy voices heard, recounting long Neptune yarns,
and declaring to the buxom widow that nothing but the little accident
of their being already spliced for life, prevented their immediately
spreading sail with her for the port of Matrimony. Aunt Hepsy
usually frowned at this, and shook her turbaned head menacingly, but
immediately neutralized it, by offering to mend a rip in their gloves,
or replace a truant button on their overcoats.

  It was very odd, how universally popular was Aunt Hepsy. She had
any number of places to “take tea,” beside a standing invitation from
half-a-dozen families, to Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, and to
New-Year’s suppers. She had an eligible seat in church, gratis; an
inexhaustible bottle of sherry for her often infirmities; fresh pies
on family baking days, newspapers for stormy day reading; tickets to
menageries, and invitations to picnics.

  She always procured lodgings at a cheaper rate than anybody else; had
the pleasantest room in the house at that, the warmest seat at table,
the strongest cup of coffee, the brownest slice of toast, the latest
arrival of buckwheats, the second joint of the turkey, and the only
surviving piece of pie. To be sure, she always praised ugly babies,
asked old maids why they _would_ be so cruel as to persist in remaining
unmarried, entreated hen-pecked husbands to use their powerful
influence over their wives to secure to her their custom; begged the
newly fledged clergyman to allow her a private perusal of his last
Sunday’s able discourse; complimented ambitious Esaus on the luxuriant
growth of their very incipient, and microscopically perceptible
whiskers; asked dilapidated, rejected widowers, when they intended
taking their choice of a wife out of a bevy of rosy girls, and declared
to Editors that she might as well try to get along without her looking
glass, as without their interesting newspapers.

  One day, the little shop was shut up. Nine o’clock came--eleven
o’clock, and the shutters were still closed, and Aunt Hepsy so
punctual, too! What _could_ it mean? Old Mrs. Brown was ready to have
fits because she couldn’t get another skein of yarn to finish her old
man’s stockings. Little Pat Dolan had roared himself black in the face,
because he couldn’t spend his cent to buy some maple sugar; and the
little match girl stood shivering at the corner for a place to warm
her poor benumbed fingers, while the disappointed captains stamped
their feet on the snow, stuffed their cheeks with quids, and said it
was “deuced funny,” and an old maid, opposite, who had long prayed that
Aunt Hepsy’s reign might be shortened, laid her skinny forefinger on
her hooked nose, and rolled up the whites of her eyes like a chicken
with the pip.

  It was no great enigma, (at any rate not after you found it out!)
Rich old Mr. Potts ventured into Aunt Hepsy’s shop, one day, to buy a
watch-ribbon. He was very deaf; so Aunt Hepsy had to come round the
counter to wait upon him, and the upshot of it was, that she and Cupid
together, hailed him through an ear-trumpet; and all I know about
it is, that they have now a legalized right to a mutual pillow and
snuff-box, and that the little shop window still remains unopened,
while the old maid hisses between her teeth, as Aunt Hepsy rolls by in
her carriage, “How do you suppose she did it?”


  I have an old-fashioned way of entering church, before the bells
begin to chime. I enjoy the quiet, brooding stillness. I love to
think of the many words of holy cheer that have fallen there, from
heaven-missioned lips, and folded themselves like snow-white wings over
the weary heart of despair. I love to think of the sinless little ones,
whose pearly temples have here been laved at the baptismal font. I love
to think of the weak, yet strong ones, who have tearfully tasted the
consecrated cup, on which is written, “Do this in remembrance of me.” I
love to think of those self-forgetting, self-exiled, who, counting all
things naught for Gethsemane’s dear sake, are treading foreign shores,
to say to the soul-fettered Pagan, “Behold the Lamb of God.” I love to
think of the loving hearts that at yonder altar have throbbed, side by
side, while the holy man of God pronounced “the twain one.” I love to
think of the seraph smile of which death itself was powerless to rob
the dead saint, over whose upturned face, to which the sunlight lent
such mocking glow, the words, “Dust to dust,” fell upon the pained ear
of love. I love, as I sit here, to list through the half open vestry
door, to the hymning voices of happy Sabbath scholars, sweet as the
timid chirp of morn’s first peeping bird. I love to hear their tiny
feet, as they patter down the aisle, and mark the earnest gaze of
questioning childhood. I love to see the toil-hardened hand of labor
brush off the penitential tear. I love--“_our_ minister.” How very
sad he looks to-day. Are his parish unsympathetic? Does the laborer’s
“hire” come tardily and grudgingly to the overtasked, faithful servant?
Do censorious, dissatisfied spirits watch and wait for his halting?

  Now he rises and says, slowly--musically, “The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.” Why at such sweet, soul-resting words, do his tears
overflow? Why has his voice such a heart quiver? Ah! there is a vacant
seat in the pastor’s pew. A little golden head, that last Sabbath
gladdened our eyes like a gleam of sunlight, lies dreamlessly pillowed
beneath the coffin lid: gleeful eyes have lost their brightness:
cherry lips are wan and mute, and beneath her sable vail the lonely
mother sobs. And so the father’s lip quivers, and for a moment nature
triumphs. Then athwart the gloomy cloud flashes the bow of promise.
He wipes away the blinding tears, and with an angel smile, and upward
glance, he says, “_Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him._”


  Close the door. One would scarcely think, in this luxurious
atmosphere, that we had left mid-winter behind us. The warm air is
heavy with the odor of blossoming greenhouse plants, over whose
fragrant clusters a tiny fountain tosses its sparkling spray:
bright-winged, sweet-voiced canaries dart, like flashes of sunlight,
through the dark green foliage: beautiful are those sculptured infants,
cheek to cheek, over whose dimpled limbs the crimson drapery throws
such a rosy glow: beautiful is that shrinking Venus, with her pure,
chaste brow, and Eve-like grace: lovely those rare old pictures, to the
artistic eye: beautiful that recumbent statuette of the peerless, proud

  Hush! tread softly; on yonder couch a gentleman lies sleeping. His
crimson velvet cap has fallen back from his broad white forehead; his
long curving lashes droop heavily upon his cheek, and his Grecian
profile is as faultless as a sculptor’s dream. Pity, that the stain of
sensuality should have left so legible an impress there.

  A servant enters, bearing a note upon a silver tray. His master
languidly opens a pair of large dark eyes, and beckons him to approach.
As he breaks the seal, a contemptuous sneer disfigures his handsome
lip, and an angry flush mounts to his brow. Motioning the servant away,
he crushes the note between his fingers, muttering,--“No--no--as he
has made his bed, so let him lie in it.” Then walking once or twice
rapidly across the room, he takes up a small volume, and throws himself
again upon the velvet couch. He does not turn the leaves, and if you
peep over his shoulder, you will see that the book is upside down.
His thoughts are far away. He remembers a bright-eyed, open-browed,
guileless-hearted brother, whom early orphanage had thrown upon his
fraternal care; whose trusting nature he had perverted; whose listening
ear he had poisoned with specious sophistries and worldly maxims; whom
he had introduced to the wine party, where female virtue was held
in derision, and to the “green room,” where the foreign _danseuse_
understood well how to play her part; whom he had initiated into modern
follies and dissipations, and then launched upon the Charybdis of
fashionable society, without chart, or rudder, or compass, other than
his own headstrong passions and unbridled will.

  Soon came a rumor, at first vague and undefined, and then voraciously
seized upon and circulated by Paul Pry penny-a-liners, (who recked
little, in their avidity for a paragraph, of broken-hearted mothers
or despairing gray-haired fathers,) of a true heart that had been
betrayed, of a disgraced household, of a fair brow that must henceforth
walk the earth shame-branded. Then from his avenging pursuers the rash
boy fled for refuge to him who had first turned his youthful footsteps
aside from truth and honor. He was repulsed with scorn; not because he
had wronged his own soul and hers whose star had forever set in night,
but because he had not more skilfully and secretly woven the meshes for
his victim.

  Across the seas, amid the reckless debauchery of God-forgetting
Paris, the miserable boy sought oblivion; welcoming with desperate
eagerness the syren Pleasure, in every chameleon shape that could
stifle conscience or drown torturing memory. Sometimes by a lucky
throw of the dice he was enabled to shine as the Adonis of some
ball, or theatre, or gay saloon: sometimes destitute as the humblest
_chiffonier_, who suns himself in the public square, and solicits
charity of the indifferent passer-by. In the rosy glow of morning, the
bright stars paled while Harry sat at the enticing gaming table, till
even those accustomed to breathe the polluted atmosphere of those gates
of perdition, turned shuddering away, from the fiendish look of that
youthful face.

  Nature revenged herself at last. Wearisome days of sickness came,
and he who was nurtured in luxury, was dependent upon the charity of
grudging strangers.

  Oh! what a broad, clear beam eternity throws upon the crooked
by-paths of sin! how like swift visions pass the long forgotten
prayer at the blessed mother’s knee; the long-forgotten words of Holy
Writ; the soothing vesper hymn, of holy time; the first cautious,
retrograding step--the gradual searing of conscience, till the barrier
between right and wrong is ruthlessly trampled under foot; the broken
resolutions, the misspent years, the wasted energies; the sins against
one’s own soul, the sins against others; the powerless wish to pray,
’mid paroxysms of bodily pain; the clinging hold on life--the anxious
glance at the physician--the thrilling question, “Doctor, is it life or

  Poor Harry! amid the incoherent ravings of delirium, the good little
grisette learned his sad history. Her little French heart was touched
with pity. Through her representations, on his partial restoration to
health, a sufficient sum was subscribed by the American consul, and
some of his generous countrymen, to give him the last chance for his
life, by sending him to breathe again his native air. Earnestly he
prayed that the sea might not be his sepulchre.

  Tearfully he welcomed the first sight of his native shore.
Tremblingly he penned those few lines to the brother whose face he so
yearned to see--and on whose fraternal breast it would seem almost easy
to die. Anxiously he waited the result, turning restlessly from side
to side, till beaded drops of agony started from his pallid temples.
Walter would not refuse his _last_ request. No--no. The proud man would
at least, at the grave’s threshold, forget that “vulgar rumor” had
coupled his patrician name with disgrace. Oh, why had the messenger
such leaden footsteps? when life and strength like hour-glass sands,
were fleeting! A step is heard upon the stairs! A faint flush, like the
rosy tinting of a sea-shell, brightens the pallid face.

  “No answer, sir,” gruffly says the messenger.

  A smothered groan of anguish, and Harry turns his face to the wall,
and tears, such only as despair can shed, bedew his pillow.

  “_Do_ go, dear Walter; ’tis your own brother who asks it. If he has
sinned, has he not also suffered? We all so err, so need forgiveness.
Oh, take back those hasty words; let him die on your breast, for _my_
sake, Walter,” said the sweet pleader, as her tears fell over the hand
she pressed.

  “That’s my own husband,” said the happy Mary, as she saw him relent.
“Go _now_, dear Walter. Take away the sting of those cruel words, while
yet you may, and carry him these sweet flowers, he used to love, from
me. Quick, dear Walter.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  “This way, sir, this way. Up another flight,” said the guide, gazing
admiringly at the fine figure before him, enveloped in a velvet Spanish
cloak. “Second door to the left, sir. Maybe the gentleman’s asleep now;
he’s been very quiet for some time. Seen trouble, sir, I reckon. ’Tis
not age that has drawn those lines on his handsome face. He’s not long
for this world, God rest his soul. That’s right, sir; that’s the door.
Good day, sir.”

  Walter stood with his finger on the latch. He had at all times a
nervous shrinking from sickness--a fastidious horror of what he termed
“disagreeables.” He half repented that he had suffered a woman’s tears
to unsettle his purpose. Perhaps Harry would reproach him. (His own
conscience was prompter to that thought.) There he stood, irresolutely
twirling Mary’s lovely flowers in his nervous grasp.

  If Harry should reproach him!

  Slowly he opened the door. The flowers fell from his hand! Was that
attenuated, stiffened form his own, warm-hearted, bright-eyed, gallant
young brother?


  Oh, Walter, there is no “reproach” like that passionless upturned
face; no words so crushing as the silence of those breathless lips; no
misery like the thought that those we have injured are forever blind to
our gushing tears, and deaf to our sobs of repentance.


       CURIOUS: The exaggerated anxiety of wives to see the women who
     were formerly loved by their husbands.--_Exchange._

  Well, yes--rather curious; there are a great many curious things
in this world. Curious, your husband always perceives that you are
“sitting in a draft,” whenever one of your old lovers approaches you
in a concert room; curious he insists upon knowing who gave you that
pretty gold ring on your little finger; curious that you can never open
a package of old letters, without having his married eyes peeping over
your shoulder; curious he never allows you to ride on horseback, though
everybody says you have just the figure for it; curious he always sends
his partner on all the little business trips of the firm; curious such
an ugly frown comes over his face when he sees certain cabalistic marks
in a masculine hand, in the margin of your favorite poet; curious that
he will not let you name your youngest boy Harry, unless you tell him
your confidential reasons; curious he is always most gracious to the
most uninteresting men who visit the house; and _very_ curious, and
decidedly disagreeable, that whenever you ask him for money, he is so
busy reading the newspaper that he can’t hear you.


  “Whom did you say wished to see me, Bridget?”

  The broad-faced Irish girl handed her mistress a card.

  “‘Mrs. John Hunter!’ was there _ever_ anything so unfortunate? had
she called on any other day in the week, I should have been prepared to
receive her, but of a ‘washing day,’ when nothing but a calico wrapper
stands Master George’s clawings and climbings; when the nursery maid is
in the kitchen, and the baby on my hands for the day; when my ‘Honiton
collar’ is in soak, the parlor window curtains in the wash-tub, and the
dimensions of the whole family, big and little, are flapping on the
clothes-line, displaying their rents and patches in full view of the
parlor windows! Was there ever anything so unfortunate? What _could_
induce Mrs. John Hunter to call on a washing day?”

  But what was “washing day” to Mrs. John Hunter, who lived in St.
John’s Square, kept four servants, and patronized a laundry? What did
she know of Mondays’ picked up dinners and littered parlors, cluttered
china closet, and untidied nurseries? Mrs. John Hunter, who came down
to breakfast every morning in a fawn-colored silk morning dress,
trimmed with cherry, over an elaborately embroidered white skirt;
in a cobweb lace cap, silk stockings, and the daintiest of Parisian
toilette slippers; how could _she_ see the necessity of going down
cellar, after breakfast, to see if the pork was under brine, the pickle
jar covered, and the preserves unfermented? What did _she_ know about
washing up breakfast-cups, polishing the silver sugar bowl, filling
the astral lamp, counting up the silver forks and spoons, or mending
that little threadbare place in the carpet, that would soon widen into
an ugly rent, if neglected? What did she know about washing children’s
faces for school, or finding their missing mittens, or seeing that
Webster’s spelling book and a big apple were safely stowed away in
their satchels? How did she (whose family broadcloth the tailor mended)
know that Monday was always the day when husbands threw their coats
into wives’ lap “for just one stitch,” (which translated, means new
sleeve-linings, new facings for the flaps, a new set of buttons down
the front, and a general resuscitation of dilapidated button-holes.)
How did she know that the baby always got up a fit of colic on
washing days, and made it a point to dispense with its usual forenoon
nap?--that all the collectors for benevolent societies, and bores in
general, preferred it to any other day in the calendar?--that school
teachers always selected it to ferule children for sneezing without
permission--that milkmen never could spare you, on that day, your usual
share of milk by two quarts--that the coal, potatoes, starch, soap,
molasses, and vinegar always gave out on Monday--that “the minister”
always selected it for his annual call, and country cousins for a
“protracted meeting?” How should the patrician, Mrs. John Hunter, know
all that?

  There she sat in the parlor taking notes, after the usual fashion of
lady callers, while Mrs. John Smith hurriedly tied on her bonnet, to
hide her disheveled tresses, threw on a shawl, and made her appearance
in the parlor as if “just returned from a walk.”

  How their tongues ran! how fashions and gossip were discussed; how
Mrs. Smith admired Mrs. Hunter’s new dress hat; how the latter lady
advised Mrs. Smith to “insist on her husband’s moving from such an
undesirable neighborhood into a more aristocratic locality;” and how
Mrs. Smith wondered that the idea had never struck her before; and how
Mrs. Hunter told her that of course Mr. Smith would refuse at first,
but that she must either worry him into it, or seize upon some moment
of conjugal weakness to extort a binding promise from him to that
effect; and how the little wife blushed to find herself conniving at
this feminine piece of diabolism.

  Mrs. John Smith’s husband commenced life in a provision store. He was
well acquainted with cleavers, white aprons, and spare-ribs--was on
hand early and late to attend to business--trusted nobody--lived within
his income, and consequently made money.

  Miss Mary Wood kept a dressmaker’s establishment just over the way.
Very industriously she sat through the long summer days, drooping her
pretty golden ringlets over that never-ending succession of dresses.
Patiently she “took in,” and “let out,” bias-ed, flounced, tucked,
gathered and plaited, at the weathercock option of her customers.
Uneasily she leaned her head against her little window at sundown,
and earnestly Mr. John Smith wished he could reprieve forever from
such drudgery those taper little fingers. Very tempting was the little
basket of early strawberries, covered with fresh green leaves, that
went across the way to her one bright summer morning--and as red as the
strawberries, and quite as tempting, looked Miss Mary’s cheek to Mr.
John Smith, as she sat at the window, reading the little billet-doux
which he slily tucked into one corner.

  The milkman wondered why Mr. Smith had grown so particular about the
flowers in the bouquets his little grand-daughter plucked for sale,
and why there must _always_ be “a rose-bud in it.” Miss Rosa Violet
couldn’t imagine what ailed her dressmaker, Miss Wood, (who was always
so scrupulous in executing orders,) to make her boddice round, when she
told her so particularly to make it pointed. The little sewing girls
employed in Miss Wood’s shop were “afraid she was getting crazy,” she
smiled so often to herself, broke so many needles, and made so many
mistakes in settling up their accounts on pay day; and very great was
their astonishment one day, after finishing a pretty bridal dress, to
find that Miss Wood was to wear it herself to church the very next

  One bright June morning found the little dressmaker in a nice, two
story brick house, furnished with every comfort, and some luxuries; for
the warm-hearted John thought nothing half good enough for his little
golden-haired bride. As time passed on, other little luxuries were
added; including two nice, fat, dimpled babies; and within the last
year John had bought the house they lived in, and at Mary’s suggestion
introduced gas, to lighten the labors of the servant, and also added a
little bathing-room to the nursery. His table was well provided--the
mother’s and children’s wardrobes ample, and not a husband in Yankee
land was prouder or happier than John Smith, when on a sunshiny Sunday,
he walked to church with his pretty wife, whose golden curls still
gleamed from beneath her little blue bonnet, followed by Katy and
Georgy with their shining rosy faces, and pretty Sunday dresses.

  It was quite time the honeymoon should wane, but still it showed no
signs of decrease. Little bouquets still perfumed Mary’s room. John
still sprung to pick up her handkerchief, or aid her in putting on her
cloak or shawl. The anniversary of their wedding day always brought her
a kind little note, with some simple remembrancer. Trifles, do you call
these? Ah, a wife’s happiness is made or marred by just such “trifles.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  “Katy will make somebody’s heart ache one of these days”, said John
Smith to his wife. “Katy will be a beauty. Did you hear me, Mary?”

  “Yes,” said Mary, drooping her bright ringlets till they swept
John’s cheek, “and I was thinking how I hoped she would marry well,
and whether it would not be better for us to move into a more genteel
neighborhood, and form a new set of acquaintances.”

  “_My_ little wife getting ambitious!” said John, smoothing her
ringlets back from her white forehead; “and where would you like to
live, Mary?”

  “St. John’s Square is a nice place,” said the little wife, timidly.

  “Yes; but my dear Mary, rents there are enormous, and those large
houses require a greater outlay of money than you have any idea of. The
furniture which looks pretty and in good taste here, would be quite
shabby in such an elegant establishment. The pretty de laine, which
fits your little round figure so charmingly, must give place to a silk
or brocade. Katy and Georgy must doff their simple dresses, for velvet
and embroidery; broad-faced, red-fisted Bridget must make way for a
French cook. The money which I have placed in the bank for a nest-egg
for you and the children in case of my death, must be withdrawn to
meet present demands. But we will talk of this another time: good-by
Mary, dear; not even your dear face must tempt me away from business;
good-by,” and he kissed his hand to her, as he walked rapidly out the

  But somehow or other Mary’s words kept ringing in John’s ears. It
was very true Katy must be married some day, and then he ran over the
circle of their acquaintance; the Stubbses, and the Joneses, and the
Jenkinses--good enough in their way, but (he confessed to himself) _not
just the thing for his Katy_. John was ambitious too: Mary was right;
they ought to consider that Katy would soon be a woman.

  It is not to be supposed because John Smith never sported white kids,
save on his wedding day, that he was not a man of taste; by no means.
Not an artistic touch of Mary’s feminine fingers, from the twist of a
ringlet or ribbon to the draping of a curtain, the judicious disposal
of a fine engraving, or the harmonious blending of colors in a mantel
bouquet, escaped him. It was his joy and pride to see her glide about
his home, beautifying almost unconsciously everything she touched; and
then, he remembered when she was ill, and Bridget had the oversight of
the parlors--what a different air they had; how awkwardly the chairs
looked plastered straight against the wall--how ugly the red cloth all
awry on the centre table; what a string-y look the curtains had, after
her clumsy fingers had passed over them. Yes, Mary would grace a house
in St. John’s Square, and if it would make her any happier to go there
(and here he glanced at his ledger)--why, go she should--for she was
just the prettiest, and dearest, and most loving little Mary who ever
answered to that poetical name. What would full coffers avail him, if
Mary should die?--and she might die first. His health was good--his
business was good. Mary and Katy _should_ live in St John’s Square.

  Mary and Katy _did_ live in St John’s Square. The upholsterer crammed
as many hundreds as possible into the drawing rooms, in the shape of
vis-a-vis antique chairs, velvet sofas, damask curtains, mirrors,
tapestry, carpets, and a thousand other nick-nacks, too numerous to
mention: then the blinds and curtains shut out the glad sunlight,
lest the warm beams should fade out the rich tints of the carpets and
curtains, and left it as fine and as gloomy as any other fashionable
drawing room. There was a very pretty prospect from Mary’s chamber
windows, but she never allowed herself to enjoy it, after Mrs. John
Hunter told her, that it was considered “decidedly snobbish to be seen
at the front window.” The Smiths took their meals in a gloomy basement,
where gas was indispensable at mid-day. Mary was constantly in fear
that the servants would spoil the pictures and statues in the parlor,
so she concluded to sweep and dust it herself, before there was any
probability of Mrs. John Hunter’s being awake in the morning. As this
was something of a tax, she and Mr. Smith and the children kept out of
it, except on Sundays and when company called, burrowing under ground
the residue of the time in the afore-mentioned basement.

  Directly opposite Mrs. Smith lived Mrs. Vivian Grey, the leader of
the aristocracy (so Mrs. Hunter informed her) in St. John’s Square.
It was a great thing to be noticed by Mrs. Vivian Grey. Mrs. Hunter
sincerely hoped she would patronise Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Hunter, after a
minute survey, pronounced Mrs. Smith’s establishment quite _comme il
faut_, but suggested that a _real_ cachemire should be added as soon as
possible to Mrs. Smith’s wardrobe, as Mrs. Grey considered that article
quite indispensable to a woman of fashion. She also suggested that
Mrs. Smith should delicately hint to her husband the propriety of his
engaging a man servant, which appendage was necessary to give a certain
_distingué_ finish to the establishment; an Irishman would do, if well
trained, but a _black_ man was more fashionable, provided he was not
_green_--and Mrs. Hunter smiled at her own wit.

  The cachemire was added--so was the black servant-man. Katy no
longer skipped and jumped, but minced in corsets and whalebone. She
never _ate_ unless at a private lunch with mamma. Mr. John Smith staid
late at his counting-room, and looked anxious, and two ugly lines made
their appearance on Mrs. Mary’s fair forehead. The French cook gave
away provisions enough to feed an entire family of French emigrants.
The black man-servant pulled up his dicky and informed Mrs. Smith
that it was at the price of his reputation to live with a family who
dispensed with the use of finger bowls, and the house-maid (who had the
honor of being descended from the establishment of Mrs. Vivian Grey)
declined remaining with a family who didn’t keep a private carriage.

  Mrs. Vivian Grey was _not_ baited by the real cachemire, and her
son, little Julius Grey, a precocious youth of ten, told little George
Smith that his mamma had forbidden him playing marbles with a boy whose
father had kept a provision store.

  A scurrilous penny paper published a burlesque of Mrs. Smith’s first
grand party, on the coming out of Miss Katy, in which, among other
allusions to Mr. Smith’s former occupation, the ball-room was said to
be “elegantly festooned with sausages.” This added “the last ounce to
the camel’s back;” even Mrs. Hunter’s tried friendship was not proof
against such a test.

  A council of war was called. Mrs. Smith begged her husband, as her
repentant arms encircled his dicky, to buy a place in the country. John
very gladly consented to turn his plebeian back forever on the scene of
their humiliation; and what with strawberries and cherries, peaches,
pic-nics, early rising and light hearts, the Smith family have once
more recovered their equanimity, and can afford to laugh when “St.
John’s Square” and Mrs. John Hunter are mentioned.


  Welcome his rough grip! welcome, the fleet horse with flying feet,
and arching throat, neck-laced with merry bells; welcome, bright eyes,
and rosy cheeks, and furred robes, and the fun-provoking sleigh-ride;
welcome, the swift skater who skims, bird-like, the silvery pond;
welcome, Old Santa Claus with his horn of plenty; welcome, the “Happy
New-Year,” with her many-voiced echoes, and gay old Thanksgiving, with
his groaning table, old friends and new babies; welcome, for the bright
fireside, the closed curtains, the dear, unbroken home-circle, the
light heart, the merry jest, the beaming smile, the soft “good-night,”
the downy bed, and rosy slumbers.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Alas for his rough grip! the barrel of meal is empty, and the cruse
of oil fails. Sharp winds flutter thin rags ’round shivering limbs.
There are pinched features, and benumbed feet, and streaming eyes,
and repulsed hands, and despairing hearts; there are damp corners,
and straw pallets, and hollow coughs, and hectic cheeks; there are
dismantled roofs, through which the snow gently drops its white,
icy pall over the wasted limbs of the dying; there are babes whose
birthright is poverty, whose legacy is shame, whose baptism is tears,
_whose little life is all winter_.


       “Let cynics prattle as they may, our existence here, without
     the presence of the other sex, would be only a dark and
     cheerless void.”

  _Which_ “other sex?” Don’t be so obscure. Dr. Beecher says, “that
a writer’s ideas should stand out like rabbits’ ears, so that the
reader can get hold of them.” If you allude to the female sex, I
don’t subscribe to it. I wish they were all “translated.” If there is
anything that gives me the sensations of a landsman on his first sea
voyage, it is the sight of a bonnet. Think of female friendship! Two
women joining the Mutual Admiration Society; emptying their budget
of love affairs; comparing bait to entrap victims; sighing over the
same rose leaf; sonnetizing the same moonbeam; patronizing the same
milliner, and _exchanging female kisses_! (Betty, hand me my fan!)

  Well, let either have one bonnet or one lover more than the
other--or, if they are blue stockings, let either be one round the
higher on Fame’s ladder--bodkins and darning needles! what a tempest!
Caps and characters in such a case are of no account at all. Oh, there
never should be but one woman alive at a time. Then the fighting would
be all where it belongs--in the masculine camp. What a time there’d
be, though! Wouldn’t she be a belle? Bless her little soul! how
she would queen it. It makes me clap my hands to think of it. _The
only woman in the world!_ If it were I, shouldn’t they all leave off
smoking, and wearing those odious plaid continuations? Should they ever
wear an outside coat, with the flaps cut off; or a Kossuth hat, or a
yellow Marseilles vest?--or a mammoth bow on their neck-ties; or a
turnover dickey; or a watch-chain; or a ring on the little finger?--or
any other abomination or off-shoot of dandyism whatsoever? Shouldn’t
I politely request them all to touch their hats, instead of jerking
their heads, when they bowed? Wouldn’t I coax them to read me poetry
till they had the bronchitis? Wouldn’t they play on the flute, and sing
the soul out of me? And then if they were sick, wouldn’t I pet them,
and tell them all sorts of comicalities, and make time fly like the
mischief? Shouldn’t wonder!


  “There’s another of Miss Fiddlestick’s articles! She’s getting
too conceited, that young woman! Just like all newly-fledged
writers--mistakes a few obscure newspaper puffs for the voice of the
crowd, and considers herself on the top round of the literary ladder.
It will take me to take the wind out of her sails. I’ll dissect her,
before I’m a day older, as sure as my name is Ezekiel Broadbrim. I
don’t approve her style; never did. It’s astonishing to me that the
editor of The Green Twig dare countenance it, when he knows a man of
my influence could annihilate her with one stroke of my pen. She has
talent of a certain inferior order, but nothing to speak of. She’s
an unsafe model to follow; will lead her tribe of imitators into
tremendous mistakes. It’s a religious duty for a conspicuous sentinel,
like myself, on Zion’s walls, to sound the blast of alarm;--can’t
answer it to my conscience to be silent any longer. It might be
misconstrued. The welfare of the world in general, and her soul in
particular, requires a very decided expression of my disapprobation.
I’m sorry to annihilate her, but when Ezekiel Broadbrim makes up his
mind what is the path of duty, a bright seraph couldn’t stop him.
Perhaps I may pour a drop of the balm of consolation afterwards,
but it depends altogether upon whether I succeed in bringing her
into a penitential frame of mind. It’s my private opinion she is an
incorrigible sinner. Hand me my pen, John. Every stroke of it will


  A stern, unyielding, line-and-plummet, May-flower descendant, was old
Farmer Grey, of Allantown, Connecticut. Many a crop had he planted,
many a harvest had he garnered in, since he first became owner of
Glen Farm. During that time, that respected individual, “the oldest
inhabitant,” could not remember ever to have seen him smile. The
village children shied close to the stone wall, and gave him a wide
berth, when he passed. Even the cats and dogs laid their ears back, and
crept circumspectly by him, with one eye on his whip-lash.

  Farmer Grey considered it acceptable to the God who painted the
rainbow, and expanded the lily, and tinted the rose, to walk the
bright earth with his head bowed like a bulrush, and his soul clad in
sackcloth. No mercy fell from the lips of _his_ imaginary Saviour; no
compassion breathed in His voice; no love beamed in His eye; His sword
of justice was never sheathed.

  The old farmer’s wife was a gentle, dependent creature, a delicate
vine, springing up in a sterile soil, reaching forth its tendrils
vainly, for some object to cling to. God, in his mercy, twined them
lovingly around a human blossom. Little Willy partook of his mother’s
sensitive, poetical nature. A yearning spirit looked out from the
fathomless depths of his earnest eyes. Only eight short summers the
gentle mother soothed her boy’s childish pains, and watched his
childish slumbers. While _he_ grew in strength and beauty, _her_ eye
waxed dim, and her step grew slow and feeble.

  And so sweet memories were only left to little Willy,--dear, loving
eyes, whose glance ever met his on waking; a fair, caressing hand, that
wiped away his April tears; a low, gentle voice, sweet to his childish
ear as a seraph’s hymning.

  Willy’s father told him that “his mother had gone to Heaven,” John,
the plough-boy, said “she was lying in the church-yard.” Willy could
not understand this. He only knew that the house had grown dark and
empty, and that his heart ached when he stayed there; and so he
wandered out in the little garden, (his mother’s garden;) but the
flowers looked dreary, too; and her pretty rose-vine lay trailing its
broken buds and blighted blossoms in the dust.

  Then Willy crept up to his father’s side, and looked up in his face,
but there was something there that made him afraid to lay his little
hand upon his knee, or climb into his lap, or in any way unburden
his little heart; so he turned away, more sorrowful than before, and
wandered into his mother’s chamber, and climbed up in her chair, and
opened her drawer, to look at her comb and hair brush; and then he went
to the closet, and passed his little hand, caressingly, over her empty
dresses, and leaning his little curly head against them, sobbed himself
to sleep.

  By and by, as years passed on, and the child grew older, he learned
to wander out in the woods and fields, and unbosom his little yearning
heart to Nature. Reposing on her breast, listening to the music of her
thousand voices, his unquiet spirit was soothed as with a mother’s
lullaby. With kindling eye, he watched the vivid lightnings play; or,
saw the murky east flush, like a timid bride, into rosy day; or, beheld
the shining folds of western clouds fade softly into twilight; or,
gazed at the Queen of Night, as she cut her shining path through the
cloudy sky; or, questioned, with earnest eyes, the glittering stars.

  All this but ill pleased the old farmer. He looked upon the
earth only with an eye to tillage; upon the sloping hill, with its
pine-crowned summit, only with an eye to timber; upon the changeful
skies, only as reservoirs for moistening and warming his crops; upon
the silver streams, that laced the emerald meadows, only as channels
for irrigation; upon the climbing vine, as an insidious foe to joists,
and beams, and timbers; and upon flowers, only as perfumed aristocrats,
crowding and over-topping the free-soil democracy of cabbage, onions,
and potatoes.

  In vain poor Will tried to get up, “to order,” an enthusiasm for
self-acting hay-cutters, patent plows, rakes, hoes, and harrows. In
vain, when Sunday came, and he was put “on the limits,” did the old
farmer, with a face ten-fold more ascetic than the cowled monk, strive
to throw a pall of gloom over that free, glad spirit, by rehearsing, in
his ear, a creed which would forever close the gate of heaven on every
dissenter, or inculcate doctrines, which, if believed, would fill our
lunatic asylums with the frantic wailings of despair.

  Restlessly did Will, with cramped limbs and fettered spirit, sit out
the tedious hours of that holy day, which should be the “most blessed
of all the seven,” and watch, with impatient eye, the last golden beam
of the Sabbath sun sink slowly down behind the western hills.

  Oh, well-meaning, but mistaken, parent! let but one loving smile play
over those frigid lips: let but one tear of sympathy flood that stony
eye: let but _one drop_ from that overflowing fountain of love, that
wells up in the bosom of the Infinite, moisten the parched soil of that
youthful heart! Open those arms but once, and clasp him to the paternal
heart; for even now, his chafed spirit, like a caged bird, flutters
against its prison bars; even now, the boy’s unquiet ear catches the
far-off hum of the busy world: even now, his craving heart beats wildly
for the voice of human love!

       *       *       *       *       *

  Weary feet, houseless nights, the scant meal, and the oft-repulsed
request: what are _they_ to the strong nerve, and bounding pulse, and
hopeful heart of the young adventurer? Laurel wreaths, dizzy places on
Ambition’s heights, have not its aspirants reached them by just such
rugged steps?

  “Will” is in the city. Will sits upon the steps of the New York City
Hall, reading a penny paper: he has begged it from a good-natured
newsboy, who has also shared with him a huge slice of gingerbread.
As Will’s eye glances over the sheet, it falls upon the following


  “The Weekly Chronicle is a paper founded on the demands of the
age for a first-class journal. It soars above all sectional and
personal considerations, and fearlessly proffers its feeble aid, in
developing the natural resources of the country, fostering the genius
of the people, rewarding meritorious effort in every department
of art, exalting virtue, however humble, and confounding vice,
however powerful. The editor and proprietor of the Chronicle is Mr.
Philanthropas Howard; office, No. 199 Cloud-street.

  “Boy wanted immediately at the above office: one from the country
would be preferred.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  Will threw down the paper, and started to his feet: “199
Cloud-street?” He asked orange-women; he asked image-boys; he asked
merchants; he asked clerks; he asked lawyers; he asked clients; he
investigated cellars; he explored attics; he traveled through parks,
and through alleys; till finally, he coaxed a graceless, bare-footed
urchin to shew him the way.

  Mr. John Howard, editor and proprietor of the Weekly Chronicle, went
upon the principle of paying nothing where nothing would pay, and
paying as little as possible where he could get something for next to
nothing. It was a fixed principle and confirmed practice with him,
never to pay anything for contributions to the Chronicle. He considered
that the great advantage that would accrue to an author from having
his or her articles in his paper, would be ample remuneration. At
the moment Will’s eye first fell upon him, he was reposing in a huge
leathern arm chair, in the corner of his sanctum. His proportions very
much resembled an apoplectic bag of flour, surmounted by an apple.
His head was ornamented with sparse spires of fiery red hair; on his
cheeks, a pair of cream-colored whiskers were feebly struggling into
life; and sundry tufts of the same color, under his chin, shadowed
forth his editorial sympathy with the recent “Beard Movement.”
Before him was a table, of doubtful hue and architecture, laden with
manuscripts, accepted, rejected, and under consideration; letters of
all sizes, opened and unopened, prepaid and unpaid, saucy and silly,
defiant and deprecatory. There was also an inkstand, crusted with
dirt and cobwebs; a broken paper weight, pinning down some bad money,
paid by distant subscribers; a camphene lamp, with a broken pedestal,
propped up by a Directory on one side, and Walker’s Dictionary on
the other; sundry stumps of cigars; a half-eaten apple; a rind of an
orange; a lady’s glove, and a box of bilious pills.

  Will stepped before him, and made known his errand. Mr. John Howard
looked at him, with a portentous scowl, inspected him very much as he
would a keg of doubtful mackerel, and then referred him to the foreman
of the office, Mr. Jack Punch. Jack had been victimized, in the way of
office boys, for an indefinite period, with precocious city urchins,
who smoked long nines, talked politics, discussed theatricals, and knew
more of city haunts than the police themselves. Of course he lost no
time in securing a boy to whose verdant feet the plow-soil was still
clinging. Will’s business was to open the office at half past six in
the morning, sweep it out, make the fires, go to the post-office for
letters and exchanges, wrap up papers for new subscribers, carry them
to the post, and see that the mail was properly “got off.” To all these
requirements, Will immediately subscribed.

  On Will’s daily tramps to and from the office, he was obliged to pass
Lithe & Co.’s magnificent show window, where the choicest pictures and
engravings were constantly exposed for sale. There he might be seen
loitering, entranced and spellbound, quite oblivious of the Chronicle,
hour after hour, weaving bright visions--building air castles, with
which his overseer, Mr. Jack Punch, had little sympathy. Yes; Will had
at length found out what he was made for. He knew _now_ why he had lain
under the trees, of a bright summer day, watching the fleecy clouds go
sailing by, in such a dreamy rapture; why the whispering leaves, and
waving fields of grain, and drooping branches of graceful trees, and
the mirror-like beauty of the placid lake, reflecting a mimic heaven;
why the undulating hills, and mist-wreathed valleys, with their wealth
of leaf, and buds and blossom, filled his eyes with tears and his soul
with untold joy, and why, when slumber sealed each weary lid under the
cottage eaves, he stood alone, hushing his very breath, awestruck,
beneath the holy stars.

  Poor Will, his occupation became so distasteful! Poor Will, winged
for a “bird of paradise,” and forced to be a mole, burrowing under the
earth, when he would fain try his new-found pinions! To Jack’s intense
disgust, he soon detected Will in drawing rude sketches on bits of
paper, stray wrappers, and backs of letters; even the walls were “done
in crayons,” by the same mischievous fingers. His vision was so filled
“with the curved line of beauty,” that he was constantly committing
the most egregious blunders. He misplaced the bundles of newspapers
which he carried to the post-office; placing the “north” packages
on the “south” table, the east on the north, the south on the east,
&c.; mixing them up generally and indescribably and inextricably, so
that the subscribers to the “Weekly Chronicle” did not receive their
papers with that precision and regularity which is acknowledged to be
desirable, particularly in small country places, where the blacksmith’s
shop, the engine house, and “the newspaper” form a trio not to be
despised by the simple-hearted, primitive farmers.

  Jack, whose private opinion it was that he should have been
christened Job, being obliged to shoulder all the short-comings of his
assistants, and being worked up to a pitch of frenzy by letters from
incensed subscribers, which Mr. Howard constantly thrust in his face,
very unceremoniously ejected Will from the premises, one morning, by a
vigorous application of the toe of his boot.

  The world was again a closed oyster to Will. How to open it? that was
the question. Our hero thought the best place to consider the matter
was at Lithe & Co.’s shop-window. Just as he reached it, a gentleman
passed out of the shop, followed by a lad bearing a small framed
landscape. Perhaps the gentleman was an artist! Perhaps he could employ
him in some way! Will resolved to follow him.

  Up one street and down another, round corners and through
squares--the gentleman’s long legs seemed to be shod with the famed
seven-leagued boots. At length he stopped before the door of an
unpretending looking building, and handing the lad who accompanied him
a bit of money, he took from him the picture, and was just springing
up the steps, when he lost his balance, and the picture was jerked
violently from his hand, but only to be caught by the watchful Will,
who restored it to its owner uninjured.

  “Thank you, my boy,” said the gentleman, “you have done me a greater
service than you think for;” at the same time offering him some money.

  “No, I thank you,” said Will, proudly. “I do not wish to be paid for

  “As you please, Master Independence,” replied the gentleman,
laughing; “but is there no other way I can serve you?”

  “Are you an artist?” asked Will.

  The gentleman raised his eyebrows, with a comical air, and replied,
“Well, sometimes I think I am, and then, again, I don’t know; but what
if I were?”

  “I should _so_ like to be an artist,” said Will, the quick flush
mounting to his temples.

  “You!” exclaimed the gentleman, taking a minute survey of Will’s
nondescript _toute ensemble_, “Do you ever draw?”

  “Sometimes,” replied Will, “when I can get a bit of charcoal, and a
white wall. I was just kicked out of the Chronicle office for doing

  “Follow me,” said the gentleman, tapping him familiarly on the cheek.

  Will needed no second invitation. Climbing one flight of stairs, he
found himself in a small studio, lined on all sides by pictures; some
finished and framed, others in various stages of progression. Pallets,
brushes, and crayons, lay scattered round an easel; while in one corner
was an artist’s lay figure, which, in the dim light of the apartment,
Will mistook for the artist’s wife, whose presence he respectfully
acknowledged by a profound bow, to the infinite amusement of his patron.

  Mr. Lester was delighted with Will’s naive criticisms on his
pictures, and his profound reverence for art. A few days found him
quite domesticated in his new quarters; and months passed by swift as a
weaver’s shuttle, and found him as happy as a crowned prince; whether
grinding colors for the artist, or watching the progress of his pencil,
or picking up stray crumbs of knowledge from the lips of connoisseurs,
who daily frequented the studio; and many a rough sketch did Will make
in his little corner, that would have made them open their critical
eyes wide with wonder.

       *       *       *       *       *

  “What a foolish match!” Was an engagement ever announced that did
not call forth this remark, from some dissenting lip? Perhaps it _was_
a “foolish match.” Meta had no dower but her beauty, and Will had no
capital but his pallet and easel. The gossips said she “might have
done much better.” There was old Mr. Hill, whose head was snow white,
but whose gold was as yellow and as plenty as Meta’s bright ringlets;
and Mr. Vesey, whose father made a clergyman of him, because he didn’t
know enough to be a merchant; and Lawyer Givens, with his carrotty head
and turn-up nose, and chin that might have been beat; and Falstaff-ian
Captain Reef, who brought home such pretty china shawls and grass cloth
dresses, and who had as many wives as a Grand Turk. Meta might have had
any one of these by hoisting her little finger. Foolish Meta! money and
misery in one scale, poverty and love in the other. Miserable little
Meta! And yet she does not look so _very_ miserable, as she leans over
her husband’s shoulder, and sees the landscape brighten on the canvass,
or presses her rosy lips to his forehead, or arranges the fold of a
curtain for the desired light and shade, or grinds his colors with her
own dainty little fingers; no, she looks anything but miserable with
those soft eyes so full of light, and that elastic step, and voice of
music, that are inspiration to her artist husband. No; she thinks the
“old masters” were fools to her young master, and she already sees the
day when his studio will be crowded with connoisseurs and patrons,
and his pictures bring him both fame and fortune; and then, they will
travel in foreign countries, and sleep under Italia’s soft blue skies,
and see the Swiss glaciers, and the rose-wreathed homes of England,
and the grim old chateaux of France, and perhaps beard old Haynau in
his den. Who knows? Yes; and Will should feast his eyes on beauty, and
they’d be as happy, as if care and sorrow had never dimmed a bright eye
with tears, since the seraph stood, with a flaming sword, to guard the
gate of Eden. Hopeful, happy, trusting Meta! the bird’s carol is not
sweeter than yours;--and yet the archer takes his aim, and with broken
wing it flutters to the ground.

  Yes: Meta was an angel. Will said it a thousand times a day, and his
eyes repeated it when his tongue was silent. Meta’s brow, and cheek,
and lips, and tresses were multiplied indefinitely, in all his female
heads. Her dimpled hand, her round arm, her plump shoulder, her slender
foot, all served him for faultless models.

  Life was so beautiful to him now! his employment so congenial, his
heart so satisfied. It _must be_ that he should succeed. The very
thought of failure--“but then, he _should not_ fail!” Poor Will! he
had yet to learn that garrets are as often the graves as the nurseries
of genius, and that native talent goes unrecognized until stamped
with _foreign_ approbation. Happily--hopefully--heroically he toiled
on; morning’s earliest beam, and day’s last lingering ray finding him
busy at his easel. But, alas! as time passed, though patrons came not,
creditors did; and one year after their marriage, Meta might have been
seen stealthily conveying little parcels back and forth to a small shop
in the neighborhood, where employment was furnished for needy fingers.
It required all her feminine tact and diplomacy to conceal from Will
her little secret, or to hide the tell-tale blush, when he noticed
the disappearance of her wedding ring, which now lay glittering in a
neighboring pawn-broker’s window; yet never for an instant, since the
little wife first slept on Will’s heart, had she one misgiving that she
had placed her happiness unalterably in his keeping.

  Oh, inscrutable womanhood! Pitiful as the heart of God, when the
dark cloud of misfortune, or shame, bows the strong frame of manhood;
merciless--vindictive--implacable as the Prince of Darkness, towards
thy tempted, forsaken and sorrowing sisters!

       *       *       *       *       *

  The quick eye of affection was not long in discovering Meta’s secret;
and now every glance of love, every caress, every endearing tone of
Meta’s, gave Will’s heart a sorrow pang.

  Meta! who had turned a deaf ear to richer lovers, to share _his_
heart and home; Meta! whose beauty might grace a court, whose life
should be all sunshine: that Meta’s bright eyes should dim, her cheek
pale, her step grow prematurely slow and faltering, for him!--the
thought was torture.

       *       *       *       *       *

  “To-morrow, Will--you said to-morrow,” said Meta, hiding her tears
on her husband’s shoulder; “the land of _gold_ is also the land of
_graves_,” and she gazed mournfully into his face.

  “Dear Meta,” said her husband, “do not unman me with your tears; our
parting will be brief, and I shall return to you with gold--gold! Meta;
and you shall yet have a home worthy of you. Bear up, dear Meta--the
sun will surely break through the cloud rift. God bless and keep my
darling wife.”

  Poor little Meta! for hours she sat stupefied with sorrow, in the
same spot where Will had left her. The sun shone cheerfully in at
the little window of her new home, but its beams brought no warmth
to Meta’s heart. The clinging clasp of Will’s arms was still about
her neck: Will’s kiss was still warm upon her lips, and yet--_she was

  She thought, with a shudder, of the treacherous sea; of the
pestilence that walketh in darkness; of a sick-bed, on a foreign shore;
of the added bitterness of the death pang, when the eye looks vainly
for the _one loved face_; and bowing her face in her hands, she wept

       *       *       *       *       *

  “Dear heart! Goodness alive!” said Meta’s landlady, peeping in
at the door. “Don’t take on so; bless me, how long have you been
married? you’re nothing better than a child _now_. Why didn’t you go
to Californy with your husband? Where’s your folks?--whose picter is
that? Ah! I see now, it is meant for you. But why didn’t you have on
a gown, dear, instead of being wrapped up in them clouds? It makes
you look like a sperit. Come now, don’t sit moping here; come down
stairs and see me work; it will amuse you like. I’m going to make some
brown bread. I dare say you never made a bit of brown bread in your
life. I put a power of Ingin in mine. I learned that in the country.
I was brought up in the country. I hate city folks; they’ve no more
heart than a sexton; much as ever they can stop frolicking long enough
to bury one another. They’ll sleep, too, like so many tops, while
the very next street is all of a blaze, and their poor destitute
fellow-creatures are turned naked into the streets. They’ll plow right
through a burying ground, if they take a notion, harrowing up dead
folks, and _live_ ones, too, _I_ guess. And as to Sunday--what with
Jews, and Frenchmen, and down Easters, and other foreigners, smoking
and driving through the streets, ’tisn’t any Sunday at all. Well, I
never knew what Sodom meant till I came to the city. Why Lot’s wife
turned round to take a second look at it, is beyond me. Well, if you
won’t come down stairs I must leave you, for I smell my bread burning;
but do cheer up--you look as lonesome as a pigeon on a spout of a rainy

  A letter from the best beloved! How our eye lingers on the well-known
characters. How we torture the words to extract hidden meanings.
How tenderly we place it near the heart, and under the pillow. How
lingeringly comes the daylight, when our waiting eyes would re-peruse
what is already indelibly written on the heart!

  Will’s voyage had been prosperous--his health was good--his hope
and courage unabated. Meta’s eye sparkled, and her cheek flushed like
a rose, as she pressed the letter again and again to her lips; but,
after all, it was _only_ a letter, and time dragged _so_ heavily.
Meta was weary of sewing, weary of reading, weary of watching endless
pedestrians pass and repass beneath her window, and when _twilight_
came, with its deepening shadows--that hour so sweet to the happy, so
fraught with gloom to the wretched--and Meta’s eye fell upon the little
house opposite, and saw the little parlor lamp gleam like a beacon
light for the absent husband, while the happy wife glided about with
busy hands, and lightsome step, and when, at last, _he_ came, and the
broken circle was complete, poor Meta turned away to weep.

  Joy, Meta, joy! dry your tears! Will has been successful. Will is
coming home. Even now the Sea-Gull plows the waves, with its precious
living freight. Lucky Will! he _has_ “found gold,” but it was dug
from “the mine” of the artist’s brain. Magical Will! the liquid eyes
and graceful limbs of Senor Alvarez’s only daughter are reproduced on
canvas, in all their glowing beauty, by your magic touch! The Senor
is rich--the Senor is liberal--the Senor’s taste is as unimpeachable
as his credit--the Senor has pronounced Will “a genius.” Other Senors
hear it; other Senors have gold in plenty, and dark-eyed, graceful
daughters, whose charms Will perpetuates, and yet _fails to see_, for
_a sweeter face which comes between_.

  Dry your tears, little Meta--smooth the neglected ringlets--don _his_
favorite robe, and listen with a flushed cheek, a beating heart and a
love-lit eye, for the long absent but well remembered footstep.

  Ah! Meta, there _are_ meetings that o’erpay the pain of parting. But,
dear Reader, you and I are _de trop_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  You should have seen how like a little brigand Will looked, with his
bronzed face and fierce beard and mustache--so fierce that Meta was
half afraid to jump into his arms; you should have seen Meta’s new
home to know what a pretty little nest love and taste may weave for a
cherished bird; you should have seen with what a Midas touch Will’s
gold suddenly opened the eyes of people to his wonderful merit, as an
artist; how “patrons” flocked in, now that he lived in a handsome house
in Belgrave Square; how Mr. Jack Punch repented with crocodile tears,
that he had ever kicked him out of “the Chronicle office,” and how Will
immortalized him on canvas, in the very act; not forgetting to give
due prominence, in the foreground, to the figure of his philanthropic
employer, Mr. John Howard, who, in the touching language of his
Prospectus, always made it a point to “exalt virtue, however humble!”


  Have I, Tabitha Tompkins, a right to my share of fresh air
uncontaminated? or have I not? I ask the question with my arms akimbo.
I might as well say what I’ve got to say, popgun fashion, as to tiptoe
round my subject, mincing and curtesying when I’m all ablaze with

  I ask again: Have I a right to my share of fresh air uncontaminated?
or have I not?

  Do I go out for a walk? Every man I meet is a locomotive chimney.
Smoke--smoke--smoke--smoke:--great, long tails of it following in
their wake, while I dodge, and twist, and choke, trying to escape the
coils of the stifling anaconda, till I’m black in the face. I, Tabitha
Tompkins, whose grandfather was one of the “signers” of the Declaration
of Independence! I feel seventy-six-y! I have borne it about as long as
I can without damage to hooks and eyes.

  If I try to escape it, by getting into an omnibus, there it is again!
If it does not originate inside, some “gentleman” on the box or top,
wafts it into the windows. If I take refuge in a ferry boat, I find
“gentlemen requested not to smoke,” (as usual) a dead letter,--no more
regarded than is the law against gaming, or the Sunday liquor traffic.
Do I go to a concert at Castle Garden, and step out on the balcony
between the performances for a breath of fresh air?--myriads of lighted
Havannas send me dizzy and staggering back into the concert room. Does
a gentleman call to see me of an evening?--the instant he shakes his
“ambrosial curls,” and gives “a nod,” I have to run for my vinaigrette.

  Do I advertise for lodgings; and after much inspection of rooms, and
wear and tear of patience and gaiter boots, make a final selection?
Do I emigrate with big trunk, and little trunk, and a whole nest of
bandboxes? Do I get my rocking-chair, and work-table, and writing-desk,
and pretty little lamp, all safely transported and longitudinized
to my fancy? Do I, in a paradisaical state of mind, (attendant upon
said successful emigration,) go to my closet, some fine morning, and
take down a pet dress?--asafœtida and onions, what an odor! All the
“pachouli” and “new mown hay” in New York wouldn’t sweeten it. Six
young men the other side of that closet, and all smokers!!! Betty, you
may have that dress;--I wouldn’t touch it with a pair of tongs.

  Do I lend a masculine friend my copy of Alexander Smith’s Poems?--can
I ever touch it again till it has been through quarantine? Does he, by
mistake, carry home my tippet in his pocket after a concert?--can I
compute the hours it must hang dangling on the clothes line, before it
can be allowed to resume its place round my neck?

  Do I go to church on Sunday, with a devout desire to attend to the
sermon?--my next neighbor is a young man, apparently seated on a nettle
cushion: he groans and fidgets, and fidgets and groans; crosses his
feet and uncrosses them; kicks over the cricket; knocks down his cane;
drops the hymn-book, and finally draws from his coat pocket a little
case; takes out one segar after another, transposes them, applies them
to the end of his nose, and pats them affectionately; then he examines
his watch; then frowns at the pulpit; then, glancing at the door, draws
a sigh long enough and strong enough to inflate a pair of bellows, or
burst off a vest button.

[Illustration: “Mr. Stubbs is earnestly requested to call and settle
the above bill at his earliest convenience.”]

  With a dolorous whine, this same young man deplores (in public) his
inability to indulge in the luxury of a wife, “owing to the extravagant
habits of the young ladies of the present day.” I take this occasion
to submit to public inspection a little bit of paper found in the vest
pocket of this fumigated, cork-screwed, pantalooned humbug, by his

                                          NEW YORK, October 1st, 1853.
                                       TO JUAN FUMIGO,             Dr.

    To Segars for Sept., 1853
  Sept. 1--To 20 Trabucos, at 5c.                                  $1 00
    “      To 12 Riohondas, at 6d.                                    75
    “   3--To 12 Los Tres Castillos, at 6d.                           75
    “      To 12 La Nicotiana, at 6d.                                 75
    “   4--(Sunday--for Segars for a party) 10 Palmettoes,
           10 Esculapios, 12 La Sultanos, 12 El Crusados,
           20 Norriegos, 16 L’Alhambros, at 4c.                     3 20
    “   6--To 50 L’Ambrosias, at 4c.                                2 00
    “  10--To 30 Cubanos, at 8c.                                    2 40
    “  12--To 50 Londres, at 4c.                                    2 00
    “  15--To 30 Jenny Linds, (for concert party,) at 8c.           2 40
    “  24--To 50 Figaros, (for party to see Uncle Tom, at the
           National,) at 8c.                                        4 00
    “  26--To 100 Mencegaros, (for party of country relations
           and friends,) at 2c.                                     2 00
    “  30--To 40 Imperial Regalias, at 1s.                          5 00
                                                                  $26 25

          _Received Payment_,
     (Mr. Stubbs is earnestly requested to call and settle the above at
     his earliest convenience. J. F.)

  Consistent Stubbs! But, then, his segar bill is not receipted!


  Oh, dear, dear! Wonder if my mistress _ever_ thinks I am made of
flesh and blood? Five times, within half an hour, I have trotted
up stairs, to hand her things, that were only four feet from her
rocking-chair. Then, there’s her son, Mr. George,--it does seem to me,
that a great able-bodied man like him, needn’t call a poor tired woman
up four pair of stairs to ask “what’s the time of day?” Heigho!--its
“_Sally_ do this,” and “_Sally_ do that,” till I wish I never had been
baptized at all; and I might as well go farther back, while I am about
it, and wish I had never been born.

  Now, instead of ordering me round so like a dray horse, if they would
only look up smiling-like, now and then; or ask me how my “rheumatiz”
did; or say good morning, Sally; or show some sort of interest in a
fellow-cretur, I could pluck up a bit of heart to work for them. A kind
word would ease the wheels of my treadmill amazingly, and wouldn’t cost
_them_ anything, either.

  Look at my clothes, all at sixes and sevens. I can’t get a minute
to sew on a string or button, except at night; and then I’m so sleepy
it is as much as ever I can find the way to bed; and what a bed it
is, to be sure! Why, even the pigs are now and then allowed clean
straw to sleep on; and as to bed-clothes, the less said about them the
better; my old cloak serves for a blanket, and the sheets are as thin
as a charity school soup. Well, well; one wouldn’t think it, to see
all the fine glittering things down in the drawing-room. Master’s span
of horses, and Miss Clara’s diamond ear-rings, and mistresses rich
dresses. I _try_ to think it is all right, but it is no use.

  To-morrow is Sunday--“day of _rest_” I believe they _call_ it.
H-u-m-p-h!--more cooking to be done--more company--more confusion than
on any other day in the week. If I own a soul I have not heard how to
take care of it for many a long day. Wonder if my master and mistress
calculate to pay me for _that_, if I lose it? It is a _question_ in my
mind. Land of Goshen! I aint sure I’ve got a mind--there’s the bell


       “Bilious wretches, who abuse you because you write better than

  Slander and detraction! Even I, Fanny, know better than that.
_I_ never knew an editor to nib his pen with a knife as sharp as
his temper, and write a scathing criticism on a book, because the
authoress had declined contributing to his paper. I never knew a
man who had fitted himself to a promiscuous coat, cut out in merry
mood by taper fingers, to seize his porcupine quill, under the agony
of too tight a _self-inflicted_ fit, to annihilate the offender. I
never saw the bottled-up hatred of years, concentrated in a single
venomous paragraph. I never heard of an unsuccessful masculine author,
whose books were drugs in the literary market, speak with a sneer of
successful literary feminity, and insinuate that it was by _accident_,
not _genius_, that they hit the popular favor!

  By the memory of “seventy-six,” No! Do you suppose a _man’s_ opinions
are in the market--to be bought and sold to the highest bidder? Do you
suppose he would laud a vapid book, because the fashionable authoress
once laved his toadying temples with the baptism of upper-tendom? or,
do you suppose he’d lash a poor, but self-reliant wretch, who had
presumed to climb to the topmost round of Fame’s ladder, without
_his_ royal permission or assistance, and in despite of his repeated
attempts to discourage her? No--no--bless your simple soul; a man never
stoops to a meanness. There never was a criticism yet, born of envy, or
malice, or repulsed love, or disappointed ambition. No--no. Thank the
gods, _I_ have a more exalted opinion of masculinity.


       “There is a man out west, so forgetful, that his wife has to put
     a wafer on the end of her nose, that he may distinguish her from
     the other ladies; but this does not prevent him from making
     occasional mistakes.”

  Take the wafer off your nose, my dear, and put it on your lips! Keep
silence and let Mr. Johnson go on “making his mistakes;”--you cannot
stop him, if you try; and if he has made up his mind to be near-sighted,
all the guide-boards that you can set up, will only drive him home the
longest way round!

  So trot your babies, smooth your ringlets, digest your dinner,
and--agree to differ! Don’t call Mr. Johnson “my dear,” or he will have
good reason to think you are going to quarrel with him! Look as pretty
as a poppet; put on the dress he used to like--and help him to his
favorite bit at table, with your accustomed grace; taking care not (?)
to touch him, _accidentally_, with your little fat hand, when you are
passing it. Ten to one he is on the marrow bones of his soul to you, in
less than a week, though tortures couldn’t wring a confession out of
him. Then, if he’s worth the trouble, you are to take advantage of his
silent penitence, and go every step of the way to meet him, for he will
not approximate to _you_, the width of a straw! If he has not frittered
away all your love for him, this is easily done, my dear, and for one
whole day after it, he will feel grateful to you for sparing him the
humiliation (?) of making an acknowledgment. How many times, my dear
“Barkis,” you will be “willing” to go through all this, depends upon
several little circumstances in your history with which I am


    “If every pain and care we feel
      Could burn upon our brow,
    How many hearts would move to heal,
      That strive to crush us now.”

  Don’t you believe it? They would run from you, as if you had the
plague. “Write your brow” with anything else but your “troubles,” if
you do not wish to be left solus. You have no idea how “good people”
will pity you when you tell your doleful ditty! They will “pray for
you,” give you advice by the bushel, “feel for you”--everywhere
but in their pocket-books; and wind up by telling you to “trust in
Providence;” to all of which you feel very much like replying as the
old lady did when she found herself spinning down hill in a wagon, “I
trusted in Providence till the tackling broke!”

  Now, listen to me;--just go to work and hew out a path for yourself;
get your head above water, and then snap your fingers in their
pharisaical faces! Never ask a favor until you are drawing your last
breath; and never forget one. “Write your troubles on your brow?” That
man was either a knave, or, what is worse, a fool. I suppose he calls
himself a poet; if he does, all I have to say is, it’s high time the
city authorities took away his “license.”




  “Isn’t it extraordinary, Mr. Stubbs, how Mr. Simpkins can always
be dressed in the last tip-top fashion? Don’t you and I, and all the
world know, that old Allen has a mortgage on his house, and that he
never has a dollar by him longer than five minutes at a time. Isn’t it
extraordinary, Mr. Stubbs?”

  “Not at all--not at all--my dear,” said Mr. Stubbs, knocking the
ashes from his Havana; “to an editor all things are possible;” and he
unfolded the damp sheets of the Family Gazette, of which Mr. Simpkins
was editor, and commenced reading aloud the following paragraph:

  “We yesterday had the gratification of visiting the celebrated
establishment of the far-famed Inman & Co., Hatters, No. 172 Wideway.
We pronounce their new style of spring hat, for lightness, beauty,
and durability, to be unrivaled; it is aptly designated the ‘Count
D’Orsay hat.’ The gentlemanly and enterprising proprietors of the
establishment, are unwearied in their endeavors to please the public.
There is a _je ne sais quoi_ about _their_ hats, which can be found
nowhere else in the city.”

  “Well, I don’t see,” said Mrs. Stubbs, “I--”

  “Sh--! sh--! Mrs. Stubbs; don’t interrupt the court--here’s another.”

  “Every one should visit the extensive ware-rooms of Willcut & Co.,
Tailors, 59 Prince Albert street. There is science wagging in the very
tails of Mr. Willcut’s coats; in fact, he may be said to be the only
tailor in the city, who is a thorough _artist_. His pantaloons are
the _knee_-plus-ultra of shear-dom. Mr. Willcut has evidently made
the anatomy of masculinity a study--hence the admirable result. The
most casual observer, on noticing Mr. Willcut’s fine phrenological
developments, would at once negative the possibility of his making a
_faux pas_ on broadcloth.”

  “Keep quiet, Mrs. Stubbs; listen:”

  “The St. Lucifer Hotel is a palatial wonder; whether we consider
the number of acres it covers, the splendor of its marble exterior,
the sumptuousness of its drawing rooms, or the more than Oriental
luxuriousness of its sleeping apartments, the tapestry, mirrors and
gilding of which remind one forcibly of the far-famed Tuileries. The
host of the St. Lucifer is an Apollo in person, a Chesterfield in
manners, and a Lucullus in _taste_; while those white-armed Houris, the
female waiters, lap the soul in Elysium.”

  Mr. Stubbs lifted his spectacles to his forehead, crossed his legs,
and nodded knowingly to Mrs. Stubbs.

  “That’s the way it’s done, Mrs. Stubbs. That last notice paid his
six months’ hotel bill at the St. Lucifer, including wine, cigars,
and other little editorial perquisites. Do you want to know,” said
Stubbs, (resuming the paper,) “how he gets his carriages repaired and
his horses shod for nothing in the village where his country seat is
located? This, now, is a regular stroke of genius. He does it by two
words. In an account of his visit to the Sybil’s Cave, in which he
says, ‘MY FRIEND, the blacksmith, and I soon found the spot,’ &c.,
(bah!) Then here is something that will interest you, my dear, on the
other page of the Gazette. Mr. Simpkins has used up the dictionary in a
half-column announcement of Miss Taffety (the milliner’s) ‘magnificent
opening at ---- street.’ (Of course she made his wife a present of a
new Paris bonnet.”)

  “Well, I never--” said the simple Mrs. Stubbs. “Goodness knows, if
I had known all this before, I would have married an editor myself.
Stubbs, why don’t _you_ set up a newspaper?”

  “M-r-s. S-t-u-b-b-s!” said her husband, in an oracular tone, “to
conduct a newspaper requires a degree of tact, enterprise and ability
to which Jotham Stubbs unfortunately is a stranger. The Family
Gazette or its founder is by no means a fair sample of our honorable
newspapers, and their upright, intelligent, and respected editors.
Great Cæsar!--no!” said Stubbs, rising from his chair, and bringing his
hand down emphatically on his corduroys, “no more than you are a fair
sample of feminine beauty, Mrs. Stubbs!”


       “Fanny Fern says, ‘If there were but one woman in the world, the
     men would have a terrible time.’ Fanny is right; but we would ask
     her what kind of a time the _women_ would have if there were but
     _one man_ in existence?”

  What kind of a time would they have? Why, of course no grass would
grow under their slippers! The “Wars of the Roses,” the battles of
Waterloo and Bunker Hill would be a farce to it. Black eyes would be
the rage, and both caps and characters would be torn to tatters. I
imagine it would not be much of a millennium, either, to the moving
cause of the disturbance. He would be as crazy as a fly in a drum, or
as dizzy as a bee in a ten-acre lot of honeysuckles, uncertain where to
alight. He’d roll his bewildered eyes from one exquisite organization
to another, and frantically and diplomatically exclaim--“How happy
could I be with either, were t’other dear charmer away!”

  “What kind of a time would the women have, were there only one man in
the world?”

  What kind of a time would they have? What is that to _me_? They might
“take their own time,” every “Miss Lucy” of them, for all _I_ should
care; and so might the said man himself; for with me, the limited
supply would not increase the value of the article.


  How the rain patters against the windows of your office! How sombre,
and gloomy, and cheerless, it looks there! Your little office-boy looks
more like an imp of darkness than anything else, as he sits crouched in
the corner, with his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands.

  You button your overcoat tight to your chin, (cut possible clients,)
and run over to see your cousin Kitty. Ah! that is worth while! A
bright, blazing fire; sofa wheeled up to it, and Kitty sitting there,
looking so charming in her pretty _neglige_. She looks up sweetly and
tranquilly, and says: “Now that’s a good Harry; sit down by me, and be

  Well, you “sit down,” (just as close as you like, too!) tell her all
the down-town male gossip; consult her confidentially about trimming
your whiskers; and desire her candid, unbiased opinion about the
propriety and feasibility, with the help of some Macassar, of _coaxing
out_ a moustache! Then you make a foray into her work-basket, tangling
spools most unmercifully, and reading over all the choice bits of
poetry that women are so fond of clipping from the newspapers. Then
you both go into the china closet, and she gets you a tempting little
luncheon; and you grow suddenly merry, and have a contest which shall
make the worst pun; you earn for yourself a boxed ear, and are obliged,
in self-defence, to imprison the offending hand; your aunt comes in;
let her come! are not you and Kitty cousins?

  There’s a ring at the door, and Mr. Frank ---- is announced. You say,
“Unmitigated puppy!” and begin a vehement discussion with your aunt,
about anything that comes handy; but that don’t prevent you from seeing
and hearing all that goes on at the other side of the room. Your aunt
is very oblivious, and wouldn’t mind it if you occasionally lost the
thread of your discourse. Kitty is the least bit of a coquette! and her
conversation is very provocative, racy and sparkling; you privately
determine to read her a lecture upon it, as soon as practicable.

  It seems as though Mr. Frank ---- never would go. Upon his exit,
Kitty informs you that she is going to Madame ----’s concert with him.
You look serious, and tell her you “should be very sorry to see a
cousin of yours enter a concert room with such a brainless fop.” Kitty
tosses her curls, pats you on the arm, and says, “_Jealous_, hey?” You
turn on your heel, and, lighting a cigar, bid her “good-morning,” and
for a little eternity of a week you never go near her. Meantime, your
gentlemen friends tell you how “divine” your little cousin looked at
the concert.

  You are in a very bad humor; cigars are no sedative--newspapers
either. You crowd your beaver down over your eyes and start for your
office. On the way you meet Kitty! Hebe! how bright and fresh she
looks! and what an unmitigated brute you’ve been to treat her so! Take
care! she knows what you are thinking about! Women are omniscient in
such matters! So she peeps archly from beneath those long eyelashes,
and says, extending the tip of her little gloved hand--“Want to make
up, Harry?”

  There’s no resisting! That smile leads you, like a will-o’-the-wisp,
anywhere! So you wait upon her home; nobody comes in, not even your
respected aunt; and you never call her “cousin,” after that day; but no
man living ever won such a darling little wife, as Kitty has promised
to be to you, some bright morning.


    “The moon looks calmly down when man is dying,
        The earth still holds her sway;
    Flowers breathe their perfume, and the wind keeps sighing;
        Naught seems to pause or stay.”

  Clasp the hands meekly over the still breast--they’ve no more work to
do; close the weary eyes--they’ve no more tears to shed; part the damp
locks--there’s no more pain to bear. Closed is the ear alike to Love’s
kind voice, and Calumny’s stinging whisper.

  Oh! if in that stilled heart you have ruthlessly planted a thorn;
if from that pleading eye you have carelessly turned away; if your
loving glance, and kindly word, and clasping hand, have come--_all too
late_--then God forgive you! No frown gathers on the marble brow as you
gaze--no scorn curls the chiselled lip--no flush of wounded feeling
mounts to the blue-veined temples.

  God forgive you! for _your_ feet, too, must shrink appalled
from death’s cold river--your faltering tongue ask, “Can this be
death?”--your fading eye linger lovingly on the sunny earth--your
clammy hand yield its last faint pressure--your sinking pulse give its
last feeble flutter.

  Oh, rapacious grave; yet another victim for thy voiceless keeping!
What! no word or greeting from all thy household sleepers? No warm
welcome from a sister’s loving lips? No throb of pleasure from the dear
maternal bosom?

  _Silent all!_

  Oh, if these broken links were _never_ gathered up! If beyond Death’s
swelling flood there were _no_ eternal shore! If for the struggling
bark there were no port of peace! If athwart that lowering cloud sprang
no bright bow of promise!

    Alas for Love, if _this_ be all,
    And _naught beyond_--oh earth!


[Illustration: “Don’t be disagreeable, Smith, I’m just getting

  Well, I think I’ll finish that story for the editor of the
“Dutchman.” Let me see; where did I leave off? The setting sun was just
gilding with his last ray--“Ma, I want some bread and molassess”--(yes,
dear,) gilding with his last ray the church spire--“Wife, where’s
my Sunday pants?” (_Under the bed, dear_,) the church spire of
Inverness, when a--“There’s nothing under the bed, dear, but your
lace cap”--(Perhaps they are in the coal hod in the closet,) when
a horseman was seen approaching--“Ma’am, the _pertators_ is out;
not one for dinner”--(Take some turnips,) approaching, covered with
dust, and--“Wife! the baby has swallowed a button”--(_Reverse him_,
dear--take him by the heels,) and waving in his hand a banner, on which
was written--“Ma! I’ve torn my pantaloons”--liberty or death! The
inhabitants rushed _en masse_--“Wife! WILL you leave off scribbling?”
(Don’t be disagreeable, Smith, I’m just getting inspired,) to the
public square, where De Begnis, who had been secretly--“Butcher wants
to see you, ma’am”--secretly informed of the traitors’--“Forgot _which_
you said, ma’am, sausages or mutton chop”--movements, gave orders to
fire; not less than twenty----“My gracious! Smith, you haven’t been
_reversing_ that child all this time; he’s as black as your coat; and
that boy of YOURS has torn up the first sheet of my manuscript. There!
it’s no use for a married woman to cultivate her intellect.----Smith,
hand me those twins.”


       “Died, in ----, Cecile, wife of Mortimer Vray, artist. This lady
     died in great destitution, among strangers, and was frequently
     heard to say, ‘I wish I were dead!’”

  A brief paragraph, to chronicle a broken heart! Poor Cecile! We
little thought of this, when conning our French tasks, your long raven
ringlets twining lovingly with mine; or, when released from school
drudgery, we sauntered through the fragrant woods, weaving rosy dreams
of a bright future, which neither you nor I were to see.

  I feel again your warm breath upon my cheek--the clasp of your
clinging arms about my neck; and the whispered “Don’t forget me,
Fanny,” from that most musical of voices.

  Time rolled on, and oceans rolled between: then came a rumor of an
“artist lover”--then a “bridal”--now the sad sequel!

  Poor Cecile! Those dark eyes restlessly and vainly looking for some
familiar face on which to rest, ere they closed forever; that listening
ear, tortured by strange footsteps--that fluttering sigh, breathed out
on a strange bosom. Poor Cecile!

  And _he_ (shame to tell) who won that loving heart but to trample it
under foot, basks under Italy’s sunny skies, bound in flowery fetters,
of a foreign syren’s weaving.

  God rest thee, Cecile! Death never chilled a warmer heart; earth
never pillowed a lovelier head; Heaven ne’er welcomed a sweeter spirit.

       *       *       *       *       *

  On foreign shores, from broken dreams, a guilty man shall start, as
thy last sad, plaintive wail rings in his tortured ear, “_Would I were


  By the beard of the Prophet! what a thing it is to be a bachelor! I
wonder when this table was dusted last! I wonder how long since that
mattress was turned, or that carpet swept, or what was the primeval
color of that ewer and wash-basin.

  Christopher Columbus! how the frost curtains the windows: how
dirge-like the wind moans: how like a great, white pall the snow covers
the ground. Five times I’ve rung that bell for coal, for this rickety
old grate, but I might as well thump for admittance at the gate of

  And speaking of Paradise--Sam Smith, you must be married: you haven’t
a button to your shirt, nor a shirt to your buttons either.

  Wonder if women are such obstinate little monkeys to manage? Wonder
if they must be bribed with a new bonnet every day, to keep the peace?
Wonder if you bring home a friend unexpectedly to dinner, if they
always take to their bed with the sick headache? Wish there was any
way of finding out, but by experience. Well, Sam, you are a Napoleonic
looking fellow: if _you_ can’t manage a woman, who can?

  How I shall pet the little clipper. I’ll marry a blue-eyed woman:
they are the most affectionate. She must not be too tall: a man’s wife
shouldn’t _look down_ upon him. She must not know too much: the Furies
take your pert, catamount-y, scribbling women, with a repartee always
rolled up under their tongues. She mustn’t be over seventeen: but how
to find that out, Sam, is the question: it is about as easy as to make
an editor tell you the truth about his subscription list. She must be
handsome--no she mustn’t either. I should be as jealous as Blue Beard.
All the corkscrew, pantalooned, perfumed popinjays would be ogling
her. But then, again, there’s three hundred and sixty-five days in a
year, and three times a day I must sit opposite that connubial face, at
the table. What’s to be done? Yes; she _must_ be handsome: that is as
certain as that Louis Napoleon has a Jewish horror of _Ham_.

  Wonder if wives are expensive articles? Wonder if their “little
hands were ever made to scratch out husbands’ eyes?” Wonder if Caudle
lectures are “all in your eye,” or--occasionally in your ear? Wonder if
babies invariably prefer the night-time to cry?

  To marry or not to marry, Sam? Whether ’tis better to go buttonless,
and to shiver, or marry and be always in hot water?

  There’s Tom Hillot. Tom’s married. I was his groomsman. I would have
given a small fortune to have been in his white satin vest--what with
the music, and the roses, and the pretty little bridesmaid! Didn’t the
bride look bewitching, with the rose-flush on her cheek and the tear
on her eyelash? And how provokingly happy Tom looked, when he whirled
off with her in the carriage to their new home; and what a pretty
little home it was, to be sure. It is just a year to-day since they
were married. I dined there yesterday. It strikes me that Tom don’t
joke as much as he used in his bachelor days; and then he has a way,
too, of leaving his sentences unfinished. And I noticed that his wife
often touched his foot with her slipper under the table. What do you
suppose she did that for? Just as I was buttoning up my coat to come
away, I asked Tom if he would go to up Tammany Hall with me. He looked
at his wife, and she said, “Oh--_go_ by all means, Mr. Hillot;” when
Tom immediately declined. I don’t understand matrimonial tactics; but
it seems to me he ought to have obliged her.

  Do you know John Jones and his wife? (peculiar name that,--“Jones!”)
Well, they are _another_ happy couple. It is enough to make bachelor
eyes turn green to see them. Mrs. Jones had been four times a widow,
when she married John. She knows the value of husbands. She takes
precious good care of John. Before he goes to the office in the
morning, she pops her head out the window to see if the weathercock
indicates a surtout, spencer, cloak, or Tom and Jerry; this point
settled, she follows him to the door, and calls him back to close
his thorax button “for fear of quinsy.” Does a shower come up in the
forenoon? She sends him clogs, India-rubbers, an extra flannel shirt,
and an oilcloth overall, and prepares two quarts of boiling ginger tea
to administer on his arrival, to prevent the damp from “striking in.”
If he helps himself to a second bit of turkey, she immediately removes
it from his plate, and applying a pocket handkerchief to her eyes,
asks him “if he has the heart to make her for the fifth time a widow?”
You can see, with half an eye, that John must be the happiest dog
alive. I’d like to see the miscreant who dares to say he is not!

  Certainly--matrimony is an invention of----. Well, no matter who
invented it. I’m going to try it. Where’s my blue coat with the bright,
brass buttons? The woman has yet to be born who can resist that; and my
buff vest and neck-tie, too: may I be shot if I don’t offer them both
to the little Widow Pardiggle this very night. “Pardiggle!” Phœbus!
what a name for such a rose-bud. I’ll re-christen her by the euphonious
name of Smith. She’ll _have_ me, of course. She wants a husband--I want
a wife: there’s one point already in which we perfectly agree. I hate
preliminaries. I suppose it is unnecessary for me to begin with the
amatory alphabet. With a widow, I suppose you can skip the rudiments.
Say what you’ve got to say in a fraction of a second. Women grow as
mischievous as Satan if they think you are afraid of them. Do _I_ look
as if _I_ were afraid? Just examine the growth of my whiskers. The
Bearded Lady couldn’t hold a candle to them, (though I wonder she don’t
to her own.) _Afraid?_ h-m-m! I feel as if I could conquer Asia. What
the mischief ails this cravat? It must be the cold that makes my hand
tremble so: there--that’ll do: that’s quite an inspiration. Brummel
himself couldn’t go beyond that. Now for the widow; bless her little
round face! I’m immensely obliged to old Pardiggle for giving her a
quit claim. I’ll make her as happy as a little robin. Do you think
I’d bring a tear into her lovely blue eye? Do you think I’d sit after
tea, with my back to her, and my feet upon the mantel, staring up
chimney for three hours together? Do you think I’d leave her blessed
little side, to dangle round oyster-saloons and theatres? Do I _look_
like a man to let a woman flatten her pretty little nose against the
window-pane night after night, trying to see me reel up street? _No._
Mr. and Mrs. Adam were not more beautified in their nuptial-bower, than
I shall be with the Widow Pardiggle.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Re_fused by a widow! Who ever heard of such a thing? Well; there’s
one comfort: nobody’ll ever believe it. She is not so very pretty after
all: her eyes are too small, and her hands are rough and red-dy:--not
so very _ready_ either, confound the gipsy. What amazing pretty
shoulders she has! Well, who cares?

    “If she be not fair for me,
    What care I how fair she be?”

Ten to one, she’d have set up that wretch of a Pardiggle
for my model. Who wants to be Pardiggle 2nd? I am glad she didn’t have
me. I mean--I’m glad I didn’t have _her_!


  The moon looked down upon no fairer sight than Effie May, as she
lay sleeping on her little couch, that fair summer night. So thought
her mother, as she glided gently in, to give her a silent, good-night
blessing. The bright flush of youth, and hope was on her cheek. Her
long dark hair lay in masses about her neck and shoulders; a smile
played upon the red lips, and the mother bent low to catch the
indistinct murmur. She starts, at the whispered name, as if a serpent
had stung her; and as the little snowy hand is tossed restlessly upon
the coverlid, she sees, glittering in the moonbeams, on that childish
finger, the golden signet of betrothal. Sleep sought in vain to woo
the eyes of the mother that night. Reproachfully she asked herself,
“How could I have been so blind? (but then Effie has seemed to me only
a child!) But he! oh, no; the _wine-cup_ will be my child’s rival;
it must not be.” Effie was wilful, and Mrs. May knew she must be
cautiously dealt with; but she knew, also, that no mother need despair,
who possesses the affection of her child.

  Effie’s violet eyes opened to greet the first ray of the morning
sun, as he peeped into her room. She stood at the little mirror,
gathering up, with those small hands, the rich tresses so impatient of
confinement. How could she fail to know that she was fair?--she read
it in every face she met; but there was _one_ (and she was hastening
to meet him) whose eye had noted, with a lover’s pride, every shining
ringlet, and azure vein, and flitting blush; his words were soft and
low, and skillfully chosen, and sweeter than music to her ear; and so
she tied, with a careless grace, the little straw hat under her dimpled
chin; and fresh, and sweet, and guileless, as the daisy that bent
beneath her foot, she tripped lightly on to the old trysting place by
the willows.

  Stay! a hand is laid lightly upon her arm, and the pleading voice of
a mother arrests that springing step.

  “Effie dear, sit down with me on this old garden seat; give up your
walk for this morning; I slept but indifferently last night, and
morning finds me languid and depressed.”

  A shadow passed over Effie’s face; the little cherry lips pouted,
and a rebellious feeling was busy at her heart; but one look in her
mother’s pale face decided her, and, untying the strings of her hat,
she leaned her head caressingly upon her mother’s shoulder.

  “You are ill, dear mother; you are _troubled_;” and she looked
inquiringly up into her face.

  “Listen to me, Effie, I have a story to tell you of myself: When I
was about your age, I formed an acquaintance with a young man, by the
name of Adolph. He had been but a short time in the village, but long
enough to win the hearts of half the young girls, from their rustic
admirers. Handsome, frank and social, he found himself everywhere a
favorite. He would sit by me for hours, reading our favorite authors;
and side by side, we rambled through all the lovely paths with which
our village abounded. My parents knew nothing to his disadvantage,
and were equally charmed as myself with his cultivated refinement of
manner, and the indefinable interest with which he invested every
topic, grave or gay, which it suited his mood to discuss. Before I knew
it, my heart was no longer in my own keeping. One afternoon, he called
to accompany me upon a little excursion, we had planned together. As he
came up the gravel walk, I noticed that his fine hair was in disorder:
a pang, keen as death, shot through my heart, when he approached
me, with reeling, unsteady step, and stammering tongue. I could not
speak. The chill of death gathered round my heart. I fainted. When I
recovered, he was gone, and my mother’s face was bending over me, moist
with tears. Her woman’s heart knew all that was passing in mine. She
pressed her lips to my forehead, and only said, ‘God strengthen you to
choose the right, my child.’

  “I could not look upon her sorrowful eyes, or the pleading face of
my gray-haired father, and trust myself again to the witchery of that
voice and smile. A letter came to me; I dared not read it. (Alas! my
heart pleaded too eloquently, even then, for his return.) I returned
it unopened; my father and mother devoted themselves to lighten the
load that lay upon my heart; but the perfume of a flower, a remembered
strain of music, a struggling moonbeam, would bring back old memories,
with a crushing bitterness that swept all before it for the moment.
But my father’s aged hand lingered on my head with a blessing, and my
mother’s voice had the sweetness of an angel’s, as it fell upon my ear!

  “Time passed on, and I had conquered myself. Your father saw me, and
proposed for my hand; my parents left me free to choose, and Effie
dear, _are we not happy_?”

  “Oh, mother,” said Effie, (then looking sorrowfully in her face,)
“did you _never_ see Adolph again?”

  “Do you remember, my child, the summer evening we sat upon the
piazza, when a dusty, travel-stained man came up the steps, and begged
for ‘a supper?’ Do you recollect his bloated, disfigured face? Effie,
_that was Adolph_!”

  “Not that _wreck_ of a _man_, mother?” said Effie, (covering her eyes
with her hands, as if to shut him out from her sight.)

  “Yes; that was all that remained of that glorious intellect, and that
form made after God’s own image. I looked around upon my happy home,
then upon your noble father--then--upon _him_, and,” (taking Effie’s
little hand and pointing to the _ring_ that encircled it,) “in _your_
ear, my daughter, I now breathe my mother’s prayer for me--‘_God help
you to choose the right!_’”

  The bright head of Effie sank upon her mother’s breast, and with a
gush of tears she drew the golden circlet from her finger, and placed
it in her mother’s hand.

  “God bless you, my child,” said the happy mother, as she led her back
to their quiet home.


  I wonder who but the “father of lies,” originated this proverb, “Help
yourself and then everybody else will help you.” Is it not as true as
the book of Job that it’s just driving the nails into your own coffin,
to let anybody know you want help! Is not a “seedy” hat, a threadbare
coat, or patched dress, an effectual shower-bath on old friendships?
Have not people a mortal horror of a sad face and a pitiful story?
Don’t they on hearing it, instinctively poke their purses into the
farthest, most remote corner of their pockets? Don’t they rap their
warm garments round their well-fed persons, and advise you, in a
saintly tone, “to trust in Providence?” Are they not always “engaged”
ever after, when you call to see them? Are they not near-sighted when
you meet them in the street?--and don’t they turn short corners to get
out of your way? “Help yourself,”--of course you will, (if you have
any spirit;)--but when sickness comes, or dark days, and your wits and
nerves are both exhausted, don’t place any dependence on this lying
proverb!--or you will find yourself decidedly humbugged. And then,
when your heart is so soft that anybody could knock you down with a
feather, get into the darkest hole you can find, and cry it out! Then
crawl out, bathe your eyes till they shine again, and if you have
one nice garment left, out with it, put it on! turn your shawl on the
brightest side; put your best and prettiest foot foremost; tie on your
go-to-meetin’ bonnet, and smile under it, if it half kills you; and see
how complaisant the world will be when--you ask nothing of it!

  But if (as there are exceptions to all rules,) you should chance
to stumble upon a true friend (when you can only render thanks as an
equivalent for kindness) “make a note on’t,” as “Captain Cuttle” says,
for it don’t happen but once in a life-time!


       “Mrs. Perry, a young Bloomer, has eloped from Monson,
     Massachusetts, with Levins Clough. When her husband found she was
     determined to go, he gave her one hundred dollars to start with.”

  Magnanimous Perry! Had I been your spouse, I should have handed that
“one hundred dollar bill” to Mr. Levins Clough, as a healing plaster
for his disappointed affections--encircled your neck with my repentant
arms, and returned to your home. Then, I’d mend every rip in your coat,
gloves, vest, pants, and stockings, from that remorseful hour, till the
millennial day. I’d hand you your cigar-case and slippers, put away
your cane, hang up your coat and hat, trim your beard and whiskers, and
wink at your sherry cobblers, whisky punches, and mint juleps. I’d help
you get a “ten strike” at ninepins. I’d give you a “night key,” and be
perfectly oblivious what time in the small hours you tumbled into the
front entry. I’d pet all your stupid relatives, and help your country
friends to “beat down” the city shopkeepers. I’d frown at all offers of
“pin money.” I’d let you “smoke” in my face till I was as brown as a
herring, and my eyes looked as if they were bound with pink tape; and
I’d invite that pretty widow Delilah Wilkins to dinner, and run out to
do some shopping, and stay away till tea-time. Why! there’s nothing I
_wouldn’t_ do for you--you might have knocked me down with a feather,
after such a piece of magnanimity. That “Levins Clough” could stand no
more chance than a woodpecker tapping at an iceberg.


       “Well, Susan, what do you think of married ladies being happy?”
     “Why I think there are more AIN’T than IS, than IS that AIN’T.”

  Susan, I shall apply to the Legislature to have your name changed to
“Sapphira.” You are an unprincipled female.

  Just imagine yourself MRS. Snip. It is a little prefix not to be
sneezed at. It is only the privileged few, who can secure a pair of
corduroys to mend, and trot by the side of; or a pair of coat-flaps
alternately to darn, and hang on to, amid the vicissitudes of this
patchwork existence.

  Think of the high price of fuel, Susan, and the quantity it takes to
warm a low-spirited, single woman; and then think of having all that
found for you by your husband, and no extra charge for “_gas_.” Think
how pleasant to go to the closet and find a great boot-jack on your
best bonnet; or “to work your passage” to the looking-glass, every
morning, through a sea of dickeys, vests, coats, continuations, and
neck-ties; think of your nicely-polished toilette table spotted all
over with shaving suds; think of your “Guide to Young Women,” used for
a razor strap. Think of Mr. Snip’s lips being hermetically sealed, day
after day, except to ask you “if the coal was out, or if his coat
was mended.” Think of coming up from the kitchen, in a gasping state
of exhaustion, after making a batch of his favorite pies, and finding
five or six great dropsical bags disemboweled on your chamber floor,
from the contents of which Mr. Snip had selected the “pieces” of your
best silk gown, for “rags” to clean his gun with. Think of his taking
a watch-guard you made him out of YOUR HAIR, for a dog-collar! Think
of your promenading the floor, night after night, with your fretful,
ailing baby hushed up to your warm cheek, lest it should disturb your
husband’s slumbers; and think of his coming home the next day, and
telling you, when you were exhausted with your vigils, “that he had
just met his old love, Lilly Grey, looking as fresh as a daisy, and
that it was unaccountable how much older you looked than she, although
you were both the same age.”

Think of all that, Susan.


  What a lovely morning! It is a luxury to breathe. How blue the sky;
how soft the air; how fragrant the fresh spring grass and budding
trees; and with what a gush of melody that little bird eases his
joy-burdened heart.

    “This world is very lovely. Oh my God,
    I thank Thee, that I live.”

  Clouds there are; but, oh, how much of sunshine! Sorrow there is;
but, in every cup is mingled a drop of balm. Over our threshold the
destroying angel passeth; yet, ere the rush of his dark wing sweepeth
past, cometh the Healer.

  --Here is a poor, blind man basking in the sunshine, silently
appealing, with outstretched palm, to the passer-by. Through his thin,
gray locks the wind plays lovingly. A smile beams on his withered face;
for, though his eyes are rayless, he can _feel_ that chill Winter has
gone; and he knows that the flowers are blossoming,--for the sweet
West wind cometh, God-commissioned, to waft him their fragrance. Some
pedestrians gaze curiously at him: others, like the Levite, “pass by on
the other side.” A woman approaches. She is plainly clad, and bears a
basket on her arm. She has a good, kind, motherly face, as if she were
hastening back to some humble home, made brighter and happier by her
presence. Life is sweet to her. She catches sight of the poor old man;
her eye falls upon the label affixed to his breast: “I am blind!” Oh,
what if the brightness and beauty of this glad sunshine were all night,
to her vailed lids? What if the dear home faces were forever shrouded
from her yearning sight? What if _she_ might never walk the sunny
earth, without a guiding hand? She places her basket upon the sidewalk,
and wipes away a tear: now she explores her time-worn pocket; finds the
hardly-earned coin, and placing it in the palm of the old man, _presses
his hand lovingly_, and is gone!

  Poor Bartimeus! He may never see the honest face that bent so
tenderly over him; but, to his heart’s core, he felt that kindly
pressure, and the sunshine is all the brighter, and the breeze sweeter
and fresher for that friendly grasp, and life is again bright to the
poor blind man.

   “Oh God! I thank Thee, that I live!”

       *       *       *       *       *

  How swiftly the ferry boat plows through the wave! How gleefully that
little child claps its tiny hands, as the snowy foam parts on either
side, then dashes away like a thing of life. Here are weary business
men, going back to their quiet homes; and pleasure-loving belles,
returning from the city. Pacing up and down the deck, is a worn and
weary woman, bearing in her arms a child, so emaciated, so attenuated,
that but for the restless glance of its dark, sunken eyes, one would
think it a little corpse. The mother has left her unhealthy garret in
the noisome lane of the teeming city, and paid her last penny to the
ferryman, that the health-laden sea breeze may fan the sick child’s
temples. Tenderly she moves it from one shoulder to another. Now, she
lays its little cheek to hers; now, she kisses the little slender
fingers; but still the baby moans. The boat touches the pier. All are
leaving, but the mother and child; the ferryman tells her to “go too.”
She says timidly, “I want to return again--I live the other side--I
came on board for the baby,” (pointing to the dying child.) Poor woman,
she did not know that she could not go back without another fee, and
she has not a penny. Loathsome as is her distant home, she must go back
to it; but how?

  One passenger beside herself still lingers listening. Dainty fingers
drop a coin into the gruff ferryman’s hand,--then a handful into the
weary, troubled mother’s. The sickly babe looks up and smiles at
the chinking coin--the mother smiles, because the baby has smiled
again--and then weeps because she knows not how to thank the lovely

  “Homeward bound.”

  Over the blue waters, the golden sunset gleams; tinting the snowy,
billowy foam with a thousand iris hues; while at the boat’s prow,
stands the happy mother, wooing the cool sunset breeze, which kisses
soothingly the sick infant’s temples.

    “This earth is very lovely. Oh my God,
    I thank thee that I live!”


  The bride stands waiting at the altar; the corpse lies waiting for

  Love vainly implores of Death a reprieve; Despair vainly invokes his

  The starving wretch, who purloins a crust, trembles in the hall of
Justice; liveried sin, unpunished, riots in high places.

  Brothers, clad “in purple and fine linen, fare sumptuously every
day;” Sisters, in linsey-woolsey, toil in garrets and shrink,
trembling, from insults that no fraternal arm avenges.

  The Village Squire sows, reaps and garners golden harvests; the
Parish Clergyman sighs, as his casting vote cuts down his already
meager salary.

  The unpaid sempstress be-gems with tears the fairy festal robe; proud
beauty floats in it through the ball-room, like a thing of air.

  Church spires point, with tapering fingers, to the rich man’s heaven;
Penitence, in rags, tearful and altarless, meekly stays its timid foot
at the threshold.

  Sneaking Vice, wrapped in the labeled cloak of Piety, finds “open
sesame;” shrinking Conscientiousness, jostled rudely aside, weeps in
secret its fancied unworthiness.

  The Editor grows plethoric on the applause of the public and mammoth
subscription lists; the _unrecognized_ journalist, who, behind the
scenes, mixes so deftly the newspaperial salad, lives on the smallest
possible stipend, and looks like an undertaker’s walking advertisement.

  The Wife, pure, patient, loving, trustful, sits singing, by the
evening fire, repairing, with the busy fingers of economy, the
time-worn garment; the Husband, favored by darkness, seeks, with
stealthy steps and costly gifts, the syren of the hour, squandering
hundreds to win a smile which is ever in the market for the highest

  The polluted libertine, with foul lips, hackneyed heart, but polished
manners, finds smiling welcome at the beauteous lips of Virtue;
while, from the brow on which that libertine has ineffaceably written
“Magdalen,” “beauteous Virtue” turns scornfully away.

  Wives rant of their “Woman’s Rights,” in public; Husbands eat bad
dinners and tend crying babies, at home.

  Mothers toil in kitchens; Daughters lounge in parlors.

  Fathers drive the plough; Sons drive tandem.


  Mr. Ralph Renoux lived by his wits: i. e., he kept a boarding-house;
_taking in_ any number of ladies and gentlemen, who, in the
philanthropic language of his advertisement, “pined for the comforts
and elegancies of a home.”

  Mr. Renoux’s house was at the court-end of the city; his drawing-room
was unexceptionably furnished, and himself, when “made up,” after
ten o’clock in the morning, quite _comme il faut_. Mrs. Renoux never
appeared; being, in the pathetic words of Mr. Renoux, “in a drooping,
invalid state:” nevertheless, she might be seen, by the initiated,
haunting the back stairs and entries, and with flying cap-strings,
superintending kitchen-cabinet affairs.

  Mrs. Renoux was the unhappy mother of three unmarried daughters,
with red hair, and tempers to match; who languished over Byron, in
elegant _negligées_, of a morning, till after the last masculine had
departed; then, in curl-papers and calico long-shorts, performed, for
the absentees, the duty of chambermaids; peeping into valises, trunks,
bureaus, cigar boxes and coat pockets, and replenishing their perfumed
bottles, from the gentlemen’s toilet stands, with the most perfect
_nonchalance_. At dinner, they emerged from their chrysalis state, into
the most butterfly gorgeousness, and exchanged the cracked treble, with
which they had been ordering round the over-tasked maid-of-all-work, as
they affectionately addressed “Papa.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  At the commencement of my story, Renoux was as happy as a kitten
with its first mouse--having entrapped, with the bait of his alluring
advertisement, a widow lady with one child. “The comforts and
elegancies of a home;”--it was just what the lady was seeking:--how
very fortunate!

  “Certainly, Madam,” said Renoux, doubling himself into the form of
the letter C. “I will serve your meals in your own room, if you prefer;
but, really, Madam, I trust you will sometimes grace the drawing-room
with your presence, as we have a very select little family of boarders.
Do you choose to breakfast at eight, nine, or ten, Madam? Do you
incline to Mocha? or prefer the leaves of the Celestial city? Are you
fond of eggs, Madam? Would you prefer to dine at four, or five? Do you
wish six courses, or more? There is the bell-rope, Madam. I trust you
will use it unsparingly, should any thing be omitted or neglected. I
am just on my way down town, and if you will favor me by saying what
you would fancy for your dinner to-day, (the market is full of every
thing--fish, flesh, fowl and game of all sorts,) you have only to
express a wish, Madam, and the thing is here; I should be miserable,
indeed, were the request of a _lady_ to be disregarded in _my_ house,
and that lady deprived of her natural protector. Which is it, Madam,
fish? flesh? or fowl? Any letters to send to the post-office, Madam?
Any commands any where? I shall be _too_ happy to be of service”;--and
bending to the tips of his patent leather toes, Mr. Renoux, facing the
lady, bowed obsequiously and Terpsichore-ally out of the apartment.

  The dinner hour came. An Irish servant-girl came with it; and drawing
out a table at an Irish angle upon the floor, tossed over it a tumbled
table-cloth; placed upon it a castor, minus one leg, some cracked
salt-cellars and tumblers; then laid some knives, left-handed, about
the table; then, withdrew, to reappear with the result of Mr. Renoux’s
laborious research “in the market filled with every thing,” viz: a
consumptive looking mackerel, whose skin clung tenaciously to its back
bone, and a Peter Schemel looking chicken, which, in its life-time,
must have had a vivid recollection of Noah and the forty days’ shower.
This was followed by a dessert of stale baker’s tarts, compounded of
lard and dried apples; and twenty-four purple grapes.

       *       *       *       *       *

  The next morning, Mr. Renoux tip-toed in, smirking and bowing, as
if the bill of fare had been the most sumptuous in the world, and
expressed the greatest astonishment and indignation, that “the stupid
servant had neglected bringing up the other courses which he had
provided;” then he inquired “how the lady had rested;” and when she
preferred a request for another pillow, (there being only six feathers
in the one she had,) he assured her that it should be in her apartment
in less than one hour. A fortnight after, he expressed the most intense
disgust, that “the rascally upholsterer” had not yet sent _what he
had never ordered_. Each morning, Mr. Renoux presented himself, at a
certain hour, behind a very stiff dickey, and offered the lady the
morning papers. Seating himself on the sofa, he would remark that--it
was a very fine day, and that affairs in France appeared to be _in
statu quo_; or, that the Czar had ordered his generals to occupy the
principalities; that Gorchakoff was preparing to cross the Danube;
that the Sultan had dispatched Omar Pasha to the frontiers; that the
latter gentleman had presented his card to Gorchakoff, on the point of
a yataghan, which courtesy would probably lead to----something else!

  During one of these agreeable calls, the lady took occasion slightly
to object to Betty’s nibbling the tarts, as she brought them up for
dinner; whereupon, Mr. Renoux declared, upon the honor of a Frenchman,
that “she should be pitched out of the door immediately, if not sooner;
and an efficient servant engaged to take her place.”

  The next day, the “efficient servant” came in, broom in hand,
whistling “Oh, Susanna,” and passing into the little dressing-room,
to “put it to rights,” amused herself by trying on the widow’s best
bonnet, and polishing her teeth and combing her hair with that lady’s
immaculate and individual head-brush and tooth-brush. You will not be
surprised to learn, that their injured and long-suffering owner, took a
frantic and “French leave” the following morning, in company with her
big and little band-boxes; taking refuge under the sheltering roof of
Madame Finfillan.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Madame Finfillan was a California widow; petite, plump and
pretty--who bore her cruel bereavement with feminine philosophy, and
slid round the world’s rough angles with a most eel-like dexterity.
In short, she was a Renoux in petticoats. Madame welcomed the widow
with great pleasure, because, as she said, she “wished to fill her
house only with first-class boarders;” and the widow might be assured
that she had the apartments fresh from the diplomatic hands of the
Spanish Consul, who would on no account have given them up, had not his
failing health demanded a trip to the Continent. Madame also assured
the widow, that, (although she said it herself,) every part of her
house would bear the closest inspection; that those vulgar horrors,
cooking butter, and diluted tea, were never seen on her Epicurean
table; that they breakfasted at ten, lunched at two, dined at six, and
enjoyed themselves in the _interim_; that her daughter, Miss Clara,
was perfectly well qualified to superintend, when business called her
mother away. And that nobody knew, (wringing her little white hands,)
how _much_ business she had to do, what with trotting round to those
odious markets, trading for wood and coal, and such like uninteresting
things; or what _would_ become of her, had she not some of the best
friends in the world to look after her, in the absence of Mons.

  --Madame then caught up the widow’s little boy, and, half smothering
him with kisses, declared that there was nothing on earth she loved so
well as children; that there were half a dozen of them in the house,
who loved her better than their own fathers and mothers, and that their
devotion to her was at times quite touching--(and here she drew out an
embroidered pocket handkerchief, and indulged in an interesting little
sniffle behind its cambric folds.) Recovering herself, she went on
to say, that the manner in which some boarding-house keepers treated
children, was perfectly inhuman: that she had a second table for them,
to be sure, but it was loaded with delicacies, and that she always
put them up a little school lunch herself; on which occasion there
was always an amicable little quarrel among them, as to which should
receive from her the greatest number of kisses; also, that it was her
frequent practice to get up little parties and tableaux, for their
amusement. “But here is my daughter, Miss Clara,” said she, introducing
a fair-haired young damsel, buttoned up in a black velvet jacket, over
a flounced skirt.

  “Just sixteen yesterday,” said Madame: “naughty little blossom,
budding out so fast, and pushing her poor mamma off the stage;” (and
here Madame paused for a compliment, and looking in the opposite
mirror, smoothed her jetty ringlets complacently.) “Yes, every
morning little blossom’s mamma looks in the glass, expecting to find
a horror of a gray hair. But what makes my little pet so pensive
to-day?--thinking of her little lover, hey? Has the naughty little
thing a thought she does not share with mamma? But, dear me!”--and
Madame drew out a little dwarf watch; “I had quite forgotten it is the
hour Mons. Guigen gives me my guitar lesson. Adieu, dinner at six,
remember;”--and Madame tripped, coquettishly, out of the room.

  Yes; “dinner at six.” Gold salt-cellars, black waiters, and
finger-bowls; satin chairs in the parlor, and pastilles burning on
the side-table; but the sheets on the beds all torn to ribbons; the
boarders allowed but one towel a week; every bell-rope divorced from
its bell; the locks all out of order on the chamber doors; the “dear
children’s” bill of fare at the “second table”--sour bread, watery
soup, and cold buckwheat cakes;--and “dinner at six,” only an invention
of the enemy, to save the expense of one meal a day--the good, cozy,
old-fashioned tea.

  Well, the boarders were all “trusteed” by Madame’s butcher, baker
and milkman; Miss Clara eloped with the widow’s diamond ring and Mons.
Peneke; and Madame, who had heard that Mons. Finfillan was “among the
things that _were_,” was just about running off with Mons. Guigen,
when her liege lord suddenly returned from California, with damaged
constitution and morals, a dilapidated wardrobe and empty coffers.

  Moral. Beware of boarding-houses: in the words of Shakspeare,

    Let those keep house who ne’er kept house before
    And those who have kept house, keep house the more.


  This is the second day I’ve come home to dinner, without that yard of
pink ribbon for Mrs. Pendennis. Now, we shall have a _broil_, not down
in the bill of fare. Julius Cæsar; if she only knew how much I have
to do; but it would make no difference if she did. I used to think a
fool was easily managed. Mrs. Pendennis has convinced me that _that_
was a mistake. If I try to reason with her, she talks round and round
in a circle, like a kitten chasing its tail. If I set my arms a-kimbo,
and look threatening, she settles into a fit of the sulks, to which a
November drizzle of a fortnight’s duration is a millenium. If I try
to get round her by petting, she is as impudent as the----. Yes, just
about. Jerusalem! what a thing it is to be married! And yet, if an
inscrutable Providence should bereave me of Mrs. Pendennis, I am not at
all sure----good gracious, here she comes! Do you know I’d rather face
one of Colt’s revolvers this minute, than that four feet of womanhood?
Isn’t it astonishing, the way they do it?


       CONNUBIAL.--Mr. Albert Wicks, of Coventry, under date of December
     28th, advertised his wife as having left his bed and board; and
     now, under date of March 26th, he appends to his former notice, the

       “Mrs. Wicks, if you ever intend to come back and live with me any
     more, you must come now or not at all.

       “I love you as I do my life, and if you will come now, I will
     forgive you for all you have done and threatened to do, which I
     can prove by three good witnesses: and if not, I shall attend to
     your case without delay, and soon, too.”

  There, now, Mrs. Wicks, what is to be done? “Three good witnesses!”
think of _that_! What the mischief have you been about? Whatever it is,
Mr. Wicks is ready to “love you like his life.” Consistent Mr. Wicks!

  Now take a little advice, my dear innocent, and don’t allow yourself
to be badgered or frightened into anything. None but a coward ever
threatens a woman. Put that in your memorandum book. It’s all bluster
and braggadocio. Thread your darning-needle, and tell him you are ready
for him--ready for anything except his “loving you like his life;” that
you could not possibly survive that infliction, without having your
“wick” snuffed entirely out.

  Sew away, just as if there were not a domestic earthquake brewing
under your connubial feet. If it sends you up in the air, it sends
him, too--there’s a pair of you! Put _that_ in his Wick-ed ear! Of
course he will sputter away, as if he had swallowed a “Roman candle,”
and you can take a nap till he gets through, and then offer him your
smelling-bottle to quiet his nerves.

  That’s the way to quench him!


       “Don’t moralize to a man who is on his back. Help him up, set him
     firmly on his feet, and then give him advice and means.”

  There’s an old-fashioned, verdant piece of wisdom, altogether
unsuited for the enlightened age we live in! Fished up, probably, from
some musty old newspaper, edited by some eccentric man troubled with
that inconvenient appendage, called a heart! Don’t pay any attention
to it. If a poor wretch (male or female) comes to you for charity,
whether allied to you by your own mother, or mother Eve, put on the
most stoical, “get thee behind me” expression you can muster. Listen to
him with the air of a man who “thanks God he is not as other men are.”
If the story carry conviction with it, and truth and sorrow go hand in
hand, button your coat up tighter over your pocket-book, and give him
a piece of--good advice! If you know anything about him, try to rake
up some imprudence or mistake he may have made in the course of his
life, and bring that up as a reason why you can’t give him anything
more substantial, and tell him that his present condition is probably a
salutary discipline for those same peccadilloes! Ask him more questions
than there are in the Assembly’s Catechism, about his private history,
and when you’ve pumped him high and dry, try to teach him (on an empty
stomach,) the “duty of submission.” If the tear of wounded sensibility
begin to flood the eye, and a hopeless look of discouragement settle
down upon the face, “wish him well,” and turn your back upon him as
quick as possible.

  Should you at any time be seized with an unexpected spasm of
generosity, and make up your mind to bestow some worn out, old garment
that will hardly hold together till the recipient gets it home, you’ve
bought him, body and soul; of course you are entitled to the gratitude
of a life-time! If he ever presumes to think differently from you after
that, he’s an “ungrateful wretch,” and “ought to suffer.” As to the
“golden rule,” that was made in old times; everything is changed now;
’taint suited to our meridian.

  People shouldn’t get poor; if they do, you don’t want to be bothered
with it. It’s disagreeable; it hinders your digestion. You’d rather see
Dives than Lazarus; and it’s my opinion your taste will be gratified in
that particular, (in the other world, if it is not in this!)


       “You, young, loving creature, who dream of your lover by night
     and by day--you fancy that he does the same of you? One hour,
     perhaps, your presence has captivated him, subdued him even to
     weakness; the next, he will be in the world, working his way as a
     man among men, forgetting, for the time being, your very existence.
     Possibly, if you saw him, his outer self, so hard and stern,
     so different from the self you know, would strike you with pain.
     Or else his inner and diviner self, higher than you dream of,
     would turn coldly from _your insignificant love_.”

  “Insignificant love!!” I like that. More especially when out of ten
couple you meet, nine of the wives are as far above their husbands, in
point of mind, as the stars are above the earth. For the credit of the
men I should be sorry to say how many of them would be minus coats,
hats, pantaloons, cigars, &c., were it not for their wives’ earnings;
or how many smart speeches and able sermons have been concocted by
their better halves, (while rocking the cradle,) to be delivered to the
public at the proper time, parrot fashion, by the lords of creation.
Wisdom will die with the men, there’s no gainsaying that!

  Catch a smart, talented, energetic woman, and it will puzzle you to
find a man that will compare with her for goaheadativeness. The more
obstacles she encounters, the harder she struggles, and the more you
try to put her down, the more you won’t do it. Children are obliged
to write under their crude drawings, “this is a dog,” or, “this is a
horse.” If it were not for coats and pants, we should be obliged to
label, “this is a man,” in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred!

  “Insignificant love!” Why does a man offer himself a dozen times
to the same woman? Pity to take so much pains for such a trifle!
“Insignificant love!” Who gets you on your feet again, when you fail
in business, by advancing the nice little sum settled on herself
by her anxious pa? Who cheers you up, when her nerves are all in a
double-and-twisted knot, and you come home with your face long as the
moral law? Who wears her old bonnet three winters, while you smoke,
and drive, and go to the opera? Who sits up till the small hours, to
help you find the way up your own staircase? Who darns your old coat,
next morning, just as if you were a man, instead of a brute? And who
scratches any woman’s eyes out, who dares insinuate that her husband is
superior to you!

  “Insignificant love!” I wish I knew the man who wrote that article!
I’d appoint his funeral to-morrow, and it should come off too!!


       Cobbett says that for two years after his marriage, he retained
     his disposition to flirt with pretty women; but at last his
     wife--probably having lost all hope of his reforming
     himself--gently tapped him upon the arm, and remarked--

       “Don’t do that. I do not like it.”

       Cobbett says:--“That was quite enough. I had never thought on
     the subject before; one hair of her head was more dear to me than
     all other women in the world; and this I knew that she knew; but
     now I saw that this was not all that she had a right to from me.
     _I saw that she had the further claim upon me that I should
     abstain from everything that might induce others to believe that
     there was any other woman for whom, even if I were at liberty, I
     had any affection._”

  Now I suppose most women, on reading that, would roll up their eyes
and think unutterable things of Mr. Cobbett! But, had _I_ borne his
musical name, and had that fine speech been addressed to me, I should
immediately have dismissed the----house-maid!

  It is not in any masculine to get on his knees that way, without a
motive! I tell you, that man was a humbug! overshot the mark, entirely;
promised ten times as much as a sinful masculine could ever perform. If
he’d said about _a quarter part_ of that, you might have believed him.
His affection for Mrs. Cobbett was skin-deep. He would have flirted
with every one of you, the minute her back was turned, to the end of
the electrical chapter!

  A man who is magnetized as he ought to be, don’t waste his precious
time making such long-winded, sentimental speeches. You never need
concern yourself, when such a glib tongue makes love to you. Go on with
your knitting; _he’s convalescent!_ getting better of his complaint
fast. Now mind what I tell you; that Cobbett was a humbug!


  Not a blessed bit of gossip have I heard for a whole week! Nobody’s
run off with anybody’s wife; not a _single_ case of “Swartwouting;”
no minister’s been to the theatre; and my friend Tom, editor of the
“Sky Rocket,” (who never cares whether a rumor be true or false, or
where it hits, so that it makes a paragraph,) is quite in despair. He’s
really afraid the world is growing virtuous--says it would be a hundred
dollars in his pocket, to get hold of a bit of scandal in such a dearth
of news; and if the accused party gets obstreperous, he’d just as lief
publish one side as the other! The more fuss the better; all he’s
afraid of is, they won’t think it worth noticing!

  Ah! we’ve some new neighbors in that house; pretty woman there, at
the window; glad of that! In the first place, it rests my eyes to look
at them; in the next place, where there’s a pretty woman, you may be
morally certain there’ll be mischief, sooner or later, i. e. if they
don’t have somebody like me to look after them; therefore I shall
keep my eye on her. That’s her husband in the room, I’m certain of
it, (for all the while she is talking to him, she’s looking out the
window!) There he goes down street to his business--a regular humdrum,
henpecked, “ledger” looking Lilliputian. Was not cut out for her,
that’s certain! Well, my lady’s wide awake enough! Look at her eye! No
use in pursing up that pretty mouth!--that eye tells the story! Nice
little plump figure; coquettish turn of the head, and a spring to her
step. Well, well, I’ll keep my eyes open.

  Just as I expected! there’s a young man ringing at the door; “patent
leather,” “kid gloves,” white hand, ring on the little finger--hope she
won’t shut the blinds now. There! she has taken her seat on the sofa
at the back part of the room. She don’t escape _me_ that way, while I
own a spy-glass! Jupiter! if he is not twisting her curls round his
fingers! Wonder how old “Ledger” would like _that_!

  Tuesday.--Boy at the door with a bouquet. Can’t ring the bell; I’ll
just step out and offer to do it for him, and learn who sent it! “Has
orders not to tell;” umph! _I’ve_ no orders “not to tell;” so here goes
a note to Ledger about it; that little gipsy is stepping RATHER too

  Wednesday.--Here I am tied up for a month at least; scarcely a whole
bone in my body, to say nothing of the way my feelings are hurt. How
did I know that young man was “her brother?” Why couldn’t Ledger
correct my mistake in a gentlemanly way, without daguerreotyping it
on my back with a horsewhip? It’s true I am not always correct in my
suspicions, but he ought to have looked at my motives! Suppose it
hadn’t been her brother, now! It’s astonishing, the ingratitude of
people. It’s enough to discourage all my attempts at moral reform!

  Well, it’s no use attacking that hornet’s nest again; but I’ve no
doubt some of the commandments are broken somewhere; and with the help
of some “opodeldoc” I’ll get out and find where it is!


       FOLLY. For girls to expect to be happy without marriage. Every
     woman was made for a mother, consequently, babies are as necessary
     to their “peace of mind,” as health. If you wish to look at
     melancholy and indigestion, look at an old maid. If you would take
     a peep at sunshine, look in the face of a young mother.

  “Young mothers and sunshine”! They are worn to fiddle strings before
they are twenty-five! When an old lover turns up, he thinks he sees his
grandmother, instead of the dear little Mary who used to make him feel
as if he should crawl out of the toes of his boots! Yes! my mind is
_quite_ made up about _matrimony_; it’s a _one-sided_ partnership.

  “Husband” gets up in the morning, and pays his _devoirs_ to the
looking-glass; curls his fine head of hair; puts on an immaculate shirt
bosom; ties an excruciating cravat; sprinkles his handkerchief with
cologne; stows away a French roll, an egg, and a cup of coffee; gets
into the omnibus, looks at the pretty girls, and makes love between
the pauses of business during the forenoon _generally_. Wife must
“hermetically seal” the windows and exclude all the fresh air, (because
the baby had “the snuffles” in the night;) and sits gasping down to
the table more dead than alive, to finish her breakfast. Tommy turns
a cup of hot coffee down his bosom; Juliana has torn off the strings
of her school bonnet; James “wants his geography covered;” Eliza can’t
find her satchel; the butcher wants to know if she’d like a joint of
mutton; the milkman would like his money; the iceman wants to speak to
her “just a minute;” the baby swallows a bean; husband sends the boy
home from the store to say _his partner_ will dine with him; the cook
leaves “all flying,” to go to her “sister’s dead baby’s wake,” and
husband’s thin coat must be ironed before noon.

  “_Sunshine and young mothers!_” Where’s my smelling bottle?


  “It is not possible that you have been insane enough to go to
housekeeping in the country, for the summer? Oh, you ought to hear my
experience,” and Uncle Ben wiped the perspiration from his forehead, at
the very thought.

  Yes, I tried it once, with city habits and a city wife: got rabid
with the dog days, and nothing could cure me but a nibble of green
grass. There was Susan, you know, who never was off a brick pavement
in her life, and didn’t know the difference between a cheese and a

  Well, we ripped up our carpets, and tore down our curtains, and
packed up our crockery, and nailed down our pictures, and eat dust for
a week, and then we emigrated to Daisy Ville.

  Could I throw up a window or fasten back a blind in that house,
without sacrificing my suspenders and waistband button? No, sir! Were
not the walls full of Red Rovers? Didn’t the doors fly open at every
wind gust? Didn’t the roof leak like the mischief? Was not the chimney
leased to a pack of swallows? Was not the well a half a mile from the

  Oh, you needn’t laugh. Instead of the comfortable naps to which I had
been accustomed, I had to sleep with one eye open all night, lest I
shouldn’t get into the city in time. I had to be shaving in the morning
before a rooster in the barn-yard had stirred a feather; swallowed my
coffee and toast by steam, and then, still masticating, made for the
front door. There stood Peter with my horse and gig,--for I detest your
cars and omnibuses. On the floor of the chaise was a huge basket in
which to bring home material for the next day’s dinner; on the seat was
a dress of my wife’s to be left “without fail” at Miss Sewing Silk’s,
to have the forty-seventh hook moved one-sixth of a degree higher up
on the back. Then there was a package of shawls from Tom Fools & Co.,
to be returned, and a pair of shoes to carry to Lapstone, who was to
select another pair for me to bring out at night; and a demijohn to be
filled with Sherry. Well, I whipped up Bucephalus, left my sleeping
wife and babies, and started for town; cogitating over an intricate
business snarl, which bade defiance to any straightening process. I
hadn’t gone half a mile before an old maid (I hate old maids) stopped
me to know if I was going into town, and if I was, if I wouldn’t
take her in, as the omnibusses made her sick. She said she was niece
to Squire Dandelion, and “had a few chores to do a shopping.” So I
took her in, or rather, she took _me_ in, (but she didn’t do it but
once--for I bought a sulkey next day!) Well, it came night, and I was
hungry as a Hottentot, for I never could dine, as your married widowers
_pro tem_ do, at eating-houses, where one gravy answers for flesh, fish
and fowl, and the pudding-sauce is as black as the cook’s complexion.
So I went round on an empty stomach, hunting up my _expressman
parcels_, and wending my way to the stable with arms and pockets
running over. When I got home, found my wife in despair, no tacks in
the house to nail down carpets, and not one to be had at the store in
the village; the cook had deserted because she couldn’t do without “her
_city privileges_,” (meaning Jonathan Jones, the “dry dirt” man); and
the chambermaid, a buxom country girl with fire red hair, was spinning
round the crockery (a la Blitz) because she “couldn’t eat with the

  Then Charley was taken with the croup in the night, and in my fright
I put my feet into my coat sleeves, and my arms into my pants, and put
on one of my wife’s ruffles instead of a dicky, and rode three miles in
a pelting rain, for some “goose grease” for his throat.

  Then we never found out till cherries, and strawberries, and peaches
were ripe, how many _friends_ (?) we had. There was a horse hitched at
every rail in the fence, so long as there was anything left to eat on
a tree in the farm; but if my wife went in town shopping, and called
on any of them, they were “out, or engaged;”--or if at home, had “just
done dinner, and were going to ride.”

  Then there was no school in the neighborhood for the children, and
they were out in the barn-yard feeding the pigs with lump sugar, and
chasing the hens off the nest to see what was the prospect for eggs,
and making little boats of their shoes, and sailing them in the pond,
and milking the cow in the middle of the day, &c.

  Then if I dressed in the morning in linen coat, thin pants, and straw
hat, I’d be sure to find the wind “dead east” when I got into the city;
or if I put on broadcloth and fixins to match, it would be hotter than
Shadrach’s furnace, all day--while the dense morning fog would extract
the starch from my dicky and shirt-bosom, till they looked very like a
collapsed flapjack.

  Then our meeting-house was a good two miles distant, and we had to
walk, or stay at home; because my factotum (Peter) wouldn’t stay on
the farm without he could have the horse Sundays to go to Mill Village
to see his affianced Nancy. Then the old farmers leaned on my stone
wall, and laughed till the tears came into their eyes, to see “the
city gentleman’s” experiments in horticulture, as they passed by “to

  Well, sir, before summer was over, my wife and I looked as jaded as
omnibus horses--she with chance “help” and floods of city company,
and I with my arduous duties as _express man_ for my own family in
particular, and the neighbors in general.

  And now here we are--“No. 9 Kossuth square.” Can reach anything we
want, by putting our hands out the front windows. If, as the poet
says, “_man made the town_,” all I’ve got to say is--he understood his


[Illustration: “Your minister is getting ‘superannuated,’ is he? Well,
call a parish meeting, and vote him a dismission.”]

  Your minster is “superannuated,” is he? Well, call a parish meeting,
and vote him a dismission; hint that his usefulness is gone; that he
is given to repetition; that he puts his hearers to sleep. Turn him
adrift, like a blind horse, or a lame house dog. Never mind that he
has grown gray in your thankless service--that he has smiled upon your
infants at the baptismal font, given them lovingly away in marriage to
their heart’s chosen, and wept with you when Death’s shadow darkened
your door. Never mind that he has laid aside his pen, and listened
many a time, and oft, with courteous grace to your tedious, prosy
conversations, when his moments were like gold dust; never mind that he
has patiently and uncomplainingly accepted at your hands, the smallest
pittance that would sustain life, because “the Master” whispered in his
ear, “Tarry here till I come.” Never mind that the wife of his youth,
whom he won from a home of luxury, is broken down with privation and
fatigue, and _your_ thousand unnecessary demands upon her strength,
patience, and time. Never mind that his children, at an early age, were
exiled from the parsonage roof, because there was not “bread enough
and to spare,” in their father’s house. Never mind that his library
consists only of a Bible, a Concordance, and a Dictionary; and that to
the luxury of a religious newspaper, he has been long years a stranger.
Never mind that his wardrobe would be spurned by many a mechanic in
our cities; never mind that he has “risen early and sat up late,” and
tilled the ground with weary limbs, for earthly “manna,” while his
glorious intellect lay in fetters--_for you_. Never mind all _that_;
call a parish meeting, and vote him “superannuated.” Don’t spare him
the starting tear of sensibility, or the flush of wounded pride, by
delicately offering to settle a colleague, that your aged pastor may
rest on his staff in grateful, gray-haired independence. No! _turn the
old patriarch out_; give him time to go to the moss-grown church-yard,
and say farewell to his unconscious dead, and then give “the right hand
of fellowship” to some beardless, pedantic, noisy college boy, who will
save your sexton the trouble of pounding the pulpit cushions; and who
will tell you and the Almighty, in his prayers, all the political news
of the week.


  A very pretty girl was Lucy Lee. Don’t ask me to describe her; stars,
and gems, and flowers, have long since been exhausted in depicting
heroines. Suffice it to say, Lucy was as pretty a little fairy as ever
stepped foot in a slipper or twisted a ringlet.

  Of course, Lucy knew she was pretty; else why did the gentlemen stare
at her so? Why did Harry Graham send her so many bouquets? Why did Mr.
Smith and Mr. Jones try to sit each other out in an evening call? Why
were picnics and fairs postponed, if she were engaged or ill? Why did
so many young men request an introduction? Why did all the serenaders
come beneath her window? Why was a pew or omnibus never full when she
appeared at the door? And last, though not least, why did all the women
imitate and hate her so?

  We will do Miss Lucy the justice to say, that she bore her blushing
honors very meekly. She never flaunted her conquest in the faces of
less attractive feminines; no, Lucy was the farthest remove from a
coquette; but kind words and bright smiles were as natural to her as
fragrance to flowers, or music to birds. She never _tried_ to win
hearts; and between you and me, I think that’s the way she did it.

  Grave discussions were often held about Lucy’s future husband;
the old maids scornfully asserting that “beauties generally pick up
a crooked stick at last,” while the younger ones cared very little
_whom_ she married, if she only _were_ married and out of _their_ way.
Meanwhile, Lucy smiled at her own happy thoughts, and sat at her little
window on pleasant, summer evenings, watching for Harry, (poor Harry,)
who, when he came, was at a loss to know if he had ever given her
little heart one flutter, so merrily did she laugh and chat with him.
Skillful little Lucy, it was very right you shouldn’t let him peep into
_your_ heart till he had opened a window in _his own_.

  Lucy’s papa didn’t approve of late hours or lovers; moonlight
he considered but another name for rheumatism; at nine o’clock,
precisely, he rung the bell each evening for family prayers; and
when the Bible came in lovers were expected to go out: in case they
were obtuse,--chairs set back against the wall, or an extra lamp
blown out, or the fire taken apart, were hints sufficiently broad to
be understood; and they generally answered the purpose. Miss Lucy’s
little lamp, glowing immediately after from her bed-room window, gave
the _finale_ to the “Mede and Persian” order of Mr. Lee’s family

  Still, Lee house was not a hermitage, by any means. More white
cravats and black coats passed over “Deacon” Lee’s threshold, than
into any hotel in Yankeedom. Little Lucy’s mother, too, was a modern
Samaritan, never weary of experimenting on their dyspeptic and
bronchial affections; while Lucy herself (bless her kind heart) knew
full well that two-thirds of them had large families, empty purses,
and more Judases and Paul Prys than “Aarons and Hurs” in their

  Among the _habitués_ of Lee house, none were so acceptable to Lucy’s
father, as Mr. Ezekiel Clark, a bachelor of fifty, an ex-minister, and
now an agent for some “Benevolent Society.” Ezekiel had an immensely
solemn face; and behind this convenient mask he was enabled to carry
out, undetected, various little plans, ostensibly for the “society’s”
benefit, but privately--for his own personal aggrandizement. When
Ezekiel’s opinion was asked, he crossed his hands and feet, and
fastened his eyes upon the wall, in an attitude of the deepest
abstraction, while his questioner stood on one leg, awaiting, with the
most intense anxiety, the decision of such an oracular Solomon. Well,
not to weary you, the long and short of it was, that Solomon was a
stupid fool, who spent his time trying to humbug the religious public
in general, and Deacon Lee in particular, into the belief that had _he_
been consulted before this world was made, he could have suggested
great and manifold improvements. As to Deacon Lee, no cat ever tossed
a poor mouse more dexterously than he played with the deacon’s free
will; all the while very demurely pocketing the spoils in the shape of
“donations” to the “society,” with which he appeased his washerwoman
and tailor, and transported himself across the country, on trips to
Newport, Saratoga, &c., &c.

  His favorite plan was yet to be carried out; which was no more or
less than a modest request for the deacon’s pretty daughter, Lucy, in
marriage. Mr. Lee rubbed his chin, and said, “Lucy was nothing but a
foolish little girl;” but Ezekiel overruled it, by remarking that that
was so much the more reason she should have a husband some years her
senior, with some knowledge of the world, qualified to check and advise
her; to all of which, after an extra pinch of snuff, and another look
into Ezekiel’s oracular face, Deacon Lee assented.

  Poor little Lucy! Ezekiel knew very well that her father’s word was
law, and when Mr. Lee announced him as her future husband, she knew she
was just as much Mrs. Ezekiel Clark, as if the bridal ring had been
already slipped on her fairy finger. She sighed heavily, to be sure,
and patted her little foot nervously, and when she handed him his tea,
thought he looked older than ever; while Ezekiel swallowed one cup
after another, till his eyes snapped and glowed like a panther’s in
ambush. That night poor Lucy pressed her lips to a faded rose, the gift
of Harry Graham; then, cried herself to sleep!

  Unbounded was the indignation of Lucy’s admirers, when the
sanctimonious Ezekiel was announced as the expectant bridegroom.
Harry Graham took the first steamer for Europe, railing at “woman’s
fickleness.” (Consistent Harry! when never a word of love had passed
his moustached lip.)

  Shall I tell you how Ezekiel was transformed into the most ridiculous
of lovers? how his self-conceit translated Lucy’s indifference into
maiden coyness? how he looked often in the glass and thought he was
not so _very_ old after all? how he advised Lucy to tuck away all her
bright curls, because they “looked so childish?” how he named to her
papa an “early marriage day,”--not that he felt nervous about losing
his prize--oh, no (?)--but because “the society’s business required
his undivided attention.”

  Well; Lucy, in obedience to her father’s orders, stood up in her
snow-white robe, and vowed “to love and cherish” a man just her
father’s age, with whom she had not the slightest congeniality of taste
or feeling. But papa had said it was an excellent match, and Lucy
never gainsayed papa; still, her long lashes drooped heavily over her
blue eyes, and her hand trembled, and her cheek grew deathly pale, as
Ezekiel handed her to the carriage that whirled them rapidly away.

  Shall I tell you how long months and years dragged wearily on? how
Lucy saw through her husband’s mask of hypocrisy and self-conceit?
how to indifference succeeded disgust? how Harry Graham returned from
Europe, with a fair young English bride? how Lucy grew nervous and
hysterical? how Ezekiel soon wearied of his sick wife, and left her in
one of those _tombs_ for the wretched, an insane hospital? and how she
wasted, day by day--then _died_, with only a hired nurse to close those
weary blue eyes?

  In a quiet corner of the old churchyard where Lucy sleeps, a
silver-haired old man, each night at dew-fall, paces to and fro, with
remorseless tread, as if by that weary vigil he would fain atone to the
unconscious sleeper, for turning her sweet young life to bitterness.


    “I’m passing through the eternal gates,
    Ere June’s sweet roses blow.”

  So sang the dying poetess. The “eternal gates” have closed upon
her. Those dark, soul-lit eyes beam upon us no more. “June” has come
again, with its “sweet roses,” its birds, its zephyrs, its flowers and
fragrance. It is such a day as her passionate heart would have reveled
in--a day of Eden-like freshness and beauty. I will gather some fair,
sweet flowers, and visit her grave.

  “Show me Mrs. Fanny Osgood’s monument, please,” said I to the rough
gardener, who was spading the turf in Mount Auburn.

  “In Orange Avenue, Ma’am,” he replied, respectfully indicating, with
a wave of the hand, the path I was to pursue.

  Tears started to my eyes, as I trod reverently down the quiet path.
The little birds she loved so well, were skimming confidingly and
joyously along before me, and singing as merrily as if my heart echoed
back their gleeful songs.

  I approached the enclosure, as the gardener had directed me. There
were five graves. _In which_ slept the poetess? for there was _not even
a headstone_! The flush of indignant feeling mounted to my temples;
the warm tears started from my eyes. _She was forgotten!_ Sweet, gifted
Fanny! _in her own family burial place she was forgotten!_ The stranger
from a distance, who had worshiped her genius, might in vain make a
pilgrimage to do her honor. I, who had personally known and loved her,
had not even the poor consolation of decking the bosom of her grave
with the flowers I had gathered; I could not kiss the turf beneath
which she is reposing; I could not drop a tear on the sod, ’neath which
her remains are mouldering back to their native dust. I could not tell,
(though I so longed to know,) in which of the little graves--for there
were several--slept her “dear May,” her “pure Ellen;” the little,
timid, household doves, who folded their weary wings when the parent
bird was stricken down, by the aim of the unerring Archer.

  Though allied by no tie of blood to the gifted creature, who,
_somewhere_, lay sleeping there, I felt the flush of shame mount to
my temples, to turn away and leave her dust so unhonored. Oh, God! to
be so soon forgotten by all the world!--How can even _earth_ look so
glad, when such a warm, passionate heart lies cold and pulseless? Poor,
gifted, forgotten Fanny! She “still lives” in _my_ heart; and, Reader,
glance your eye over these touching lines, “written during her last
illness,” and tell me, Shall she not also live in thine?

       *       *       *       *       *



      Yes! take them first, my Father! Let my doves
    Fold their white wings in Heaven safe on thy breast,
    Ere I am called away! I dare not leave
    Their young hearts here, their innocent, thoughtless hearts!
    Ah! how the shadowy train of future ills
    Comes sweeping down life’s vista, as I gaze?
    My May! my careless, ardent-tempered May;
    My frank and frolic child! in whose blue eyes
    Wild joy and passionate woe alternate rise;
    Whose cheek, the morning in her soul illumes;
    Whose little, loving heart, a word, a glance,
    Can sway to grief or glee; who leaves her play,
    And puts up her sweet mouth and dimpled arms
    Each moment, for a kiss, and softly asks,
    With her clear, flute-like voice, “Do you love me?”
    Ah! _let_ me stay! ah! let me still be by,
    To answer her, and meet her warm caress!
    For, I away, how oft, in this rough world,
    That earnest question will be asked in vain!
    How oft that eager, passionate, petted heart
    Will shrink abashed and chilled, to learn, at length,
    The hateful, withering lesson of distrust!
    Ah! let her nestle still upon this breast,
    In which each shade that dims her darling face
    Is felt and answered, as the lake reflects
    The clouds that cross yon smiling Heaven.

                                        And thou,
    My modest Ellen! tender, thoughtful, true,
    Thy soul attuned to all sweet harmonies;
    My pure, proud, noble Ellen! with thy gifts
    Of genius, grace and loveliness half-hidden
    ’Neath the soft vail of innate modesty:
    How will the world’s wild discord reach thy heart,
    To startle and appal! Thy generous scorn
    Of all things base and mean--thy quick, keen taste,
    Dainty and delicate--thy instinctive fear
    Of those unworthy of a soul so pure,
    Thy rare, unchildlike dignity of mien,
    All--they will all bring pain to thee, my child.

      And oh! if ever their grace and goodness meet
    Cold looks and careless greetings, how will all
    The latent evil yet undisciplined
    In their young, timid souls forgiveness find?
    Forgiveness and forbearance, and soft chidings,
    Which I, their mother, learn’d of love, to give.
    Ah! let me stay! albeit my heart is weary,
    Weary and worn, _tired of its own sad beat_,
    _That finds no echo in this busy world_
    _Which cannot pause to answer_--tired, alike,
    Of joy and sorrow--of the day and night!
    Ah! _take them_ FIRST, _my Father! and then me_;
    And for their sakes--for their sweet sakes, my Father!
    Let me find rest beside them, at thy feet.


  I have a horror of “best” things, come they in the shape of shoes,
garments, bonnets or rooms. In such a harness my soul peers restlessly
out, asking “if I be I.” I’m puzzled to find myself. I become stiff and
formal and artificial as my surroundings.

  But of all the best things, spare me the infliction of a “best room.”
Out upon a carpet too fine to tread upon, books too dainty to handle,
sofas that but mock your weary limbs, and curtains that dare not face a
ray of sunlight!

  Had I a house, there should be no “best room” in it. No upholsterer
should exorcise comfort, or children, from my door-sill. The free,
fresh air should be welcome to play through it; the bright, glad
sunshine to lighten and warm it; while fresh mantel-flowers should woo
us visits from humming-bird and drowsy bee.

  For pictures, I’d look from out my windows, upon a landscape painted
by the Great Master--ever fresh, ever varied, and never marred by
envious “cross lights;” now, wreathed in morning’s silvery mist; now,
basking in noon’s broad beam; now, flushed with sunset’s golden glow;
now, sleeping in dreamy moonlight.

  For statuary, fill my house with children--rosy, dimpled, laughing
children; now, tossing their sunny ringlets from open brows; now,
vailing their merry eyes in slumberous dreams, ’neath snow-white lids;
now, sweetly grave, on bended knee, with clasped hands, and lisped
words of holy prayer.

  Did I say I’d have nothing “_best_?” Pardon me. Sunday should be
the best day of all the seven--not ushered in with ascetic form, or
lengthened face, or stiff and rigid manners. Sweetly upon the still
Sabbath air should float the matin hymn of happy childhood; blending
with early song of birds, and wafted upward, with flowers’ incense,
to Him whose very name is LOVE. It should be no day for puzzling the
half-developed brain of childhood with gloomy creeds, to shake the
simple faith that prompts the innocent lips to say, “Our Father.” It
should be no day to sit upright on stiff-backed chairs, till the golden
sun should set. No; the birds should not be more welcome to warble, the
flowers to drink in the air and sunlight, or the trees to toss their
lithe limbs, free and fetterless.

  “I’m _so sorry_ that to-morrow is Sunday!” From whence does this sad
lament issue? From under _your_ roof, oh mistaken but well-meaning
Christian parents--from the lips of _your_ child, whom you compel to
listen to two or three unintelligible sermons, sandwiched between
Sunday schools, and finished off at nightfall by tedious repetitions of
creeds and catechisms, till sleep releases your weary victim! No wonder
your child _shudders_, when the minister tells him that “Heaven is one
eternal Sabbath.”

  Oh, mistaken parent! relax the over-strained bow--_prevent the
fearful rebound_, and make the Sabbath what God designed it, not a
weariness, but the “_best_” and happiest day of all the seven.


  The clock had just struck seven. The sharp-nosed old sexton of the
Steeple-Street Church had arranged the lights to his mind, determined
the proper latitude and longitude of Bibles and hymn-books, peeped
curiously into the little black stove in the corner, and was now
admonishing every person who passed in, of the propriety of depositing
the “free soil” on his boots upon the entry door-mat.

  In they crept, one after another--pale-faced seamstresses, glad of
a reprieve; servant girls, who had turned their backs upon unwashed
dishes; mothers, whose “crying babies” were astounding the neighbors;
old maids, who had nowhere to spend their long evenings; widowers, who
felt an especial solicitude lest any of the sisters should be left to
return home unprotected; girls and boys, who came because they were
bid, and who had no very clear idea of the performances; and last,
though not least, Ma’am Spy, who thought it her duty to see that none
of the church-members were missing, and to inquire every Tuesday night,
of her friend Miss Prim, if she didn’t consider Mrs. Violet a proper
subject for church discipline, because she always had money enough to
pay her board bills, although her husband had deserted her.

  Then there were the four Misses Nipper, who crawled in as if the
vestry floor were paved with live kittens, and who had never been
known, for four years, to vary one minute in their attendance, or to
keep awake from the first prayer to the doxology.

  Then, there was Mrs. John Emmons, who sang the loudest, and prayed
the longest, and wore the most expensive bonnets, of any female member
in the church--whose name was on every committee, who instituted
the _select praying circle_ for the more _aristocratic_ portion of
the parish, and whose pertinacious determination to sit next to her
husband at the Tuesday night meeting, was regarded by the uninitiated
as a beautiful proof of conjugal devotion; but which, after patient
investigation, (between you and me, dear reader,) was found to be for
the purpose of arresting his coat-flaps when he popped up to make
mental shipwreck of himself by making a speech.

  Then, there was Mr. Nobbs, whose remarks were a re-hash of the
different religious periodicals of the day, diversified with misapplied
texts of Scripture, and delivered with an intonation and gesticulation
that would have given Demosthenes fits.

  Then, there was Zebedee Falstaff, who accomplished more for the
amelioration of the human race (according to his own account) than any
man of his aldermanic proportions in the nation, and who delivered (on
a hearty supper) a sleepy exhortation on the duties of self-denial and
charity, much to the edification of one of his needy relatives, to
whose tearful story he had that very day turned a deaf ear.

  Then, there was Brother Higgins, who was always “just going” to
make a speech, “if brother Thomas hadn’t so exactly anticipated his
sentiments a minute before.”

  Then, there was Mr. Addison Theophilus Shakspeare Milton, full of
poetical and religious inspiration, who soared so high in the realms of
fancy, that his hearers lost sight of him.

  Then, there was little Dr. Pillbox, who gave us every proof in his
weekly exhortations of his knowledge of “drugs,” not to mention young
Smith, who chased an idea round till he lost it, and then took shelter
behind a bronchial difficulty which compelled him, “unwillingly (?) to
come to a close.”

  Then, there were some sincere, good-hearted Christians--respectable
citizens--worthy heads of families; but whose lips had never been
“touched with a live coal from off the altar.”

  Where was the pastor? Oh, he was there--a slight, fragile,
scholar-like looking man, with a fine intellectual face, exquisitely
refined tastes and sensibilities, and the meek spirit of “the Master.”
Had those slender shoulders no cross to bear? When chance sent some
fastidious worldling through that vestry door, did it cost him nothing
to watch the smile of contempt curl the stranger’s lip, as some
uneducated, but well-meaning layman, presented with stammering tongue,
in ungrammatical phrase, distorted, one-sided, bigoted views of great
truths which _his_ eloquent tongue might have made as clear as the
noon-day, and as cheering and welcome as heaven’s own blessed light, to
the yearning, dissatisfied spirit? Oh, is there _nothing_ in religion,
when it can so subdue the pride of intellect as to enable its professor
to disregard the stammering tongue, and sit meekly at the feet of the
ignorant disciple because he _is_ a disciple?


  Forty dollars for a pocket-handkerchief! My dear woman! you need
a straight-jacket, even though you may be the fortunate owner of a
dropsical purse.

  I won’t allude to the legitimate use of a pocket-handkerchief; I
won’t speak of the sad hearts _that_ “forty dollars,” in the hands of
some philanthropist, might lighten; I won’t speak of the “crows’ feet”
that will be penciled on your fair face, when your laundress carelessly
sticks the point of her remorseless smoothing iron through the flimsy
fabric, or the constant espionage you must keep over your treasure,
in omnibuses, or when promenading; but I _will_ ask you how many of
the lords of creation, for whose especial benefit you array yourself,
will know whether that cobweb rag fluttering in your hand cost forty
dollars, or forty cents?

  Pout if you like, and toss your head, and say that you “don’t dress
to please the gentlemen.” I don’t hesitate to tell you (at this
distance from your finger nails) that is a downright----mistake! and
that the enormous sums most women expend for articles, the cost of
which few, save shop-keepers and butterfly feminines, know, is both
astounding and ridiculous.

  True, you have the sublime gratification of flourishing your
forty-dollar handkerchief of sporting your twenty-dollar “Honiton
collar,” or of flaunting your thousand-dollar shawl, before the envious
and admiring eyes of some weak sister, who has made the possible
possession of the article in question a profound and lifetime study;
you may pass, too, along the crowded _pavé_, laboring under the
hallucination, that every passer-by appreciates your dry-goods value.
_Not a bit of it!_ Yonder is a group of gentlemen. You pass them
in your promenade; they glance carelessly at your _tout-ensemble_,
but their eyes rest admiringly on a figure close behind you. It
will chagrin you to learn that this locomotive loadstone has on
a seventy-five cent hat, of simple straw--a dress of lawn, one
shilling per yard--a twenty-five cent collar, and a shawl of the most
unpretending price and fabric.

  All these items you take in at a glance, as you turn upon her your
aristocratic eye of feminine criticism to extract, if possible, the
talismanic secret of her magnetism. What is it? Let me tell you.
Nature, willful dame, has an aristocracy of her own, and in one of her
independent freaks has so daintily fashioned your rival’s limbs, that
the meanest garb could not _mar_ a grace, nor the costliest fabric
_add_ one. Compassionating her slender purse, nature has also added
an artistic eye, which accepts or rejects fabrics and colors with
unerring taste; hence her apparel is always well chosen and harmonious,
producing the _effect_ of a rich toilet at the cost of “a mere song;”
and as she sweeps majestically past, one understands why Dr. Johnson
pronounced a woman to be “perfectly dressed when one could never
remember what she wore.”

  Now, I grant you, it is very provoking to be eclipsed by a star
_without a name_--moving out of the sphere of “upper-ten”-dom--a
woman who never wore a “camel’s hair shawl,” or owned a diamond in
her life; after the expense you have incurred, too, and the fees you
have paid to Madame Pompadour and Stewart for the first choice of
their Parisian fooleries. It is harrowing to the sensibilities. I
appreciate the awkwardness of your position; still, my compassion jogs
my invention vainly for a remedy--unless, indeed, you consent to crush
such democratic presumption, by _labelling_ the astounding price of the
dry-goods upon your aristocratic back.


  Look into yonder window! What do you see? Nothing _new_, surely;
nothing but what the angels have looked smilingly down upon since the
morning stars first sang together; nothing but a loving mother hushing
upon her faithful breast a wailing babe, whose little life hangs by a
slender thread. Mortal lips have said, “The boy must die!”

  A mother’s _hope_ never dies. She clasps him closer to her breast,
and gazes upward;--food and sleep and rest are forgotten, so that
that little flickering taper die not out. Gently upon her soft, warm
breast she wooes for it baby slumbers; long, weary nights, up and down
the cottage floor she paces, soothing its restless moaning. Suns rise
and set--stars pale--seasons come and go;--she heeds them not, so
that those languid eyes but beam brightness. Down the meadow--by the
brook--on the hill-side--she seeks with him the health-restoring breeze.

  God be praised!--health comes at last! What joy to see the rosy flush
mantle on the pallid cheek!--what joy to see the shrunken limbs grow
round with health!--what joy to see the damp, thin locks grow crisp and

  What matter though the knitting lie neglected, or the spinning-wheel
be dumb, so that the soaring kite or bouncing ball but please his
boyish fancy, and prompt the gleeful shout? What matter that the
coarser fare be _hers_, so that the daintier morsel pass _his_ rosy
lip? What matter that _her_ robe be threadbare, so that _his_ graceful
limbs be clad in Joseph’s rainbow coat? What matter that _her_ couch
be hard, so that _his_ sunny head rest nightly on a downy pillow? What
matter that _her_ slender purse be empty, so that _his_ childish heart
may never know denial?

       *       *       *       *       *

  Years roll on. That loving mother’s eye grows dim; her glossy locks
are silvered; her limbs are sharp and shrunken; her footsteps slow and
tottering. And the boy?--the cherished Joseph?--he of the bold, bright
eye, and sinewy limb, and bounding step? Surely, from his kind hand
shall flowers be strewn on the dim, downward path to the dark valley;
surely will her son’s strong arm be hers to lean on; his voice of music
sweeter to her dull ear than seraphs’ singing.

  No, no!--the hum of busy life has struck upon his ear, drowning the
voice of love. He has become a MAN! refined, fastidious!--and to his
forgetful, unfilial heart, (God forgive him,) the mother who bore him
is only--“_the old woman!_”


  “Jane,” (suddenly exclaims Mrs. Dibdin,) “do you know it is nearly
time for your Sabbath School to commence? I hope you have committed
your hymns and commandments to memory. Put on your little jet bracelet,
and your ruffled pantalettes. Now, say the third commandment, while I
fix your curls. It does seem to me as if your hair never curls half as
well on Sundays as on week days. Mind, you ask Letty Brown where her
mother bought that cunning little straw hat of hers,--not in Sabbath
School, of course--that would be very wicked--but after it is over, as
you walk along to church.

  “Jane, what’s the chief end of man? Don’t know? Well, it’s the most
astonishing thing that that Assembly’s Catechism don’t stay in your
head any better! It seems to go into one ear and out of the other. Now
pay particular attention while I tell you what the chief end of man is.
The chief end of man is--is--well--I--why don’t you hold still?--you
are always putting a body out! You had better run up stairs and get
your book. Here, stop a minute, and let me tie your sash straight.
Pink is very becoming to you, Jane; you inherit your mother’s blonde
beauty. Come away from that glass, Jane, this minute; don’t you know
it is wicked to look in the glass on Sunday? See if you can say your
‘creed’ that your Episcopal teacher wants you to learn. Come; ‘I
believe’--(In less than one week your toes will be through those drab
gaiters, Jane.) Goodness, if there isn’t the bell! Why didn’t you get
your lesson Saturday evening? Oh! I recollect; you were at dancing
school. Well--you needn’t say anything about that to your teacher;
because--because there’s ‘a time to dance,’ and a time to go to
meeting, and _now_ it is meeting time; so, come here, and let me roll
that refractory ringlet over my finger once more, and then, do you walk
_solemnly_ along to church, as a baptised child should.

  “Here! stop a bit!--you may wear this coral bracelet of mine, if you
won’t lose it. There; now you look _most_ as pretty as your mother
did, when she was your age. Don’t toss your head so, Jane; people will
call you vain; and you know I have always told you that it makes very
little difference how a little girl _looks_, if she is only a little
Christian. There, good-bye;--repeat your catechism, going along; and
don’t let the wind blow your hair out of curl.”


     (_Mr. Dibdin reading a pile of business letters, fresh from the
       post-office; Mrs. Dibdin, in a pearl-colored brocade and lace
       ruffles, devouring “Bleak House.”_)

  _Mrs. Dibdin._--“Jane, is it possible I see you on the holy Sabbath
day, with Mother Goose’s Melodies? Put it away, this minute, and get
your Bible. There’s the pretty story of Joseph building the ark, and
Noah in the lion’s den, and Isaac killing his brother Cain, and all

  _Jane._--“Well, but, mamma, you know I can’t spell the big words.
Won’t you read it to me?”

  _Mrs. Dibdin._--“I am busy reading now, my dear; go and ask your

  _Jane._--“Please, papa, will you read to me in my little Bible? mamma
is busy.”

  _Mr. Dibdin._--“My dear, will you be kind enough to pull that bell
for Jane’s nursery maid?--she is getting troublesome.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  Exit Miss Jane to the nursery, to listen to Katy’s and her friend
Bridget’s account of their successful flirtations with John O’Calligan
and Michael O’Donahue.


  “All the world and his wife” are travelling; and a nice day it is to
commence a journey. How neat and tasteful those ladies look in their
drab travelling dresses; how self-satisfied their cavaliers, freshly
shaved and shampooed, in their brown linen over-alls. What apoplectic
looking carpet-bags; full of newspapers, and oranges, and bon-bons,
and novels, and night-caps! Saratoga, Newport, Niagara, White Hills,
Mammoth Cave--of these, the ladies chatter.

  Well, here come the cars. Band-boxes, trunks, baskets, and bundles
are counted, and checks taken; a grave discussion is solemnly held,
as to which side of the cars the sun shines on; seats are chosen with
due deliberation, and the locomotive does its own “puffing” to the
bystanders, and darts off.

  It is noon! How intense the heat; how annoying the dust; how crowded
the cars; how incessant the cries of that poor tired baby! The ladies’
bonnets are getting awry, their foreheads flushed, and their smooth
tresses unbecomingly _frowsed_, (see Fern Dictionary.) Now their little
chattering tongues have a reprieve, for Slumber has laid her leaden
finger on each drooping eyelid: even Alexander Smith’s new poem has
slidden from between taper fingers. Dream not lovingly of the author,
fair sleeper: poets and butterflies lose their brilliancy when caught.

  How intensely ugly men look asleep! doubled up like so many
jack-knives--sorry looking “blades”--with their mouths wide open, and
their limbs twisted into all sorts of Protean shapes. Stay; there’s one
in yonder corner who is an exception. That man knows it is becoming to
him to go to sleep. He has laid his head against the window and taken
off his hat, that the wind might lift those black curls from his broad
white brow;--he knows that his eye-lashes are long and dark, and that
his finely chiselled lips need no defect-concealing moustache;--he
knows that he can afford to turn towards us his fine profile, with its
classical outline;--he knows that his cravat is well tied, and that the
hand upon which he supports his cheek is both well-formed and daintily
white. Wonder if he knows anything else?

  We halt suddenly. “Back! back!” says the conductor. The sleepers
start to their feet; the old maid in the corner gives a little
hysterical shriek; brakemen, conductor, and engineer jump off, push
back their hats, and gaze nervously down the road. “What’s the matter?”
echo scores of anxious voices. “What’s the matter?” Oh, nothing; only
a mother made childless: only a little form--five minutes ago bounding
with happy life--lying a mangled corpse upon the track. The engineer
says, with an oath, that “the child was a fool not to get out of the
way,” and sends one of the hands back to pick up the dismembered limbs
and carry them to its mother, who forbade even the winds of heaven to
blow too roughly on her boy; then he gives the “iron horse” a fresh
impetus, and we dash on; imagination paints a scene in yonder house
which many a frantic parent will recognize; and from which (even in
thought) we turn shuddering away--while the weary mother in the corner
covers her fretful babe with kisses, and thanks God, through her tears,
that her loving arms are still its sheltering fold.


  It is beyond my comprehension how Methusaleh lived nine hundred
and sixty-nine years without a newspaper; or, what the mischief Noah
did, during that “forty days” shower, when he had exhausted the
study of Natural History. It makes me yawn to think of it. Or what
later generations did, the famished half-hour before meals; or, when
traveling, when the old stage-coach crept up a steep hill, some dusty
hot summer noon. Shade of Franklin! how they must have been _ennuyéd_!

  How did they ever know when flour had “riz”--or what was the market
price of pork, small tooth combs, cotton, wool, and molasses? How did
they know whether Queen Victoria had “made her brother an uncle or
an aunt?” What christianized gouty old men and snappish old ladies?
What kept the old maids from making mince-meat of pretty young girls?
What did love-sick damsels do for “sweet bits of poetry” and “touching
continued stories?” Where did their papas find a solace when the
coffee was muddy, the toast smoked, and the beef-steak raw, or done to
leather? What did cab-drivers do, while waiting for a tardy patron?
What did draymen do, when there was “a great calm” at the dry-goods
store of Go Ahead & Co.? What screen did husbands dodge behind, when
their wives asked them for money?

  Some people define happiness to be one thing, and some another. I
define it to be a room “carpeted and furnished” with “exchanges,” with
a place cleared in the middle for two arm-chairs--one for a clever
editor, and one for yourself. I say it is to take up those papers, one
by one, and laugh over the funny things and skip the stupid ones,--to
admire the ingenuity of would-be literary lights, who pilfer one half
their original (?) ideas, and steal the remainder. I say it is to
shudder a thanksgiving that you are not in the marriage list, and to
try, for the hundredth time, to solve the riddle: how can each paper
that passes through your hands be “the best and cheapest periodical in
the known world?”

  I say it is to look round an editorial sanctum, inwardly chuckling
at the forlorn appearance it makes without feminine fingers to keep
it tidy: to see the looking-glass veiled with cobwebs; the dust on
the desk thick enough to write your name in; the wash-bowl and towel
mulatto color; the soap liquified to a jelly, (editors like soft
soap!); the table covered with a heterogeneous mass of manuscripts,
and paper folders, and wafers, and stamps, and blotting-paper, and
envelopes, and tailors’ bills, and letters complimentary, belligerent
and pacific.

  I say it is to hear the editor complain, with a frown, of the
heat and his headache; to conceal a smile, while you suggest the
_probability_ of relief if a window should be opened; to see him start
at your superior profundity; to hear him say, with a groan, how much
“proof” he has to read, before he can leave for home; to take off your
gloves and help him correct it;--to hear him say, there is a book for
review, which he has not time to look over; to take a folder and cut
the leaves, and affix guide-boards for notice at all the fine passages;
to see him kick over an innocent chair, because he cannot get hold of
the right word for an editorial; to feel (while you help him to it)
very much like the mouse who gnawed the lion out of the net, and then
to take up his paper some days after, and find a paragraph endorsed by
him, “deploring the intellectual inferiority of women.”

  That’s what I call happiness!


  Walking along the street the other day, my eye fell upon this

[Illustration: MEN WANTED.]

  Well; they have been “wanted” for some time; but the article is
not in the market, although there are plenty of spurious imitations.
Time was, when a lady could decline writing for a newspaper without
subjecting herself to paragraphic attacks from the editor, invading
the sanctity of her private life. Time was, when she could decline
writing without the editor’s revenging himself, by asserting falsely
that “he had often refused her offered contributions?” Time was, when
if an editor heard a vague rumor affecting a lady’s reputation, he
did not endorse it by republication, and then meanly screen himself
from responsibility by adding, “we presume, however, that this is only
an _on dit_!” Time was, when a lady could be a successful authoress,
without being obliged to give an account to the dear public of the
manner in which she appropriated the proceeds of her honest labors.
Time was, when whiskered braggadocios in railroad cars and steamboats
did not assert, (in blissful ignorance that they were looking the lady
authoress straight in the face!) that they were “on the most intimate
terms of friendship with her!” Time was, when _milk-and-water husbands
and relatives_ did not force a defamed woman to unsex herself in the
manner stated in the following paragraph:

     “MAN SHOT BY A YOUNG WOMAN.--One day last week, a young lady of
     good character, daughter of Col. ----, having been calumniated
     by a young man, called upon him, armed with a revolver. The
     slanderer could not, or did not deny his allegations; whereupon
     she fired, inflicting a dangerous if not a fatal wound in his

  Yes; it is very true that there are “MEN wanted.” Wonder how many
1854 will furnish?


  And so you have “the blues,” hey! Well, I pity you! No I don’t
either; there’s no need of it. If one friend proves a Judas, never
mind! plenty of warm, generous, nice hearts left for the winning. If
you are poor, and have to sell your free agency for a sixpence a week
to some penurious relative, or be everlastingly thankful for the gift
of an old garment that won’t hang together till you get it home! go to
work like ten thousand evil spirits, and make yourself _independent!_
and see with what a different pair of spectacles you’ll get looked at!
Nothing like it! You can have everything on earth you want, when you
don’t _need_ anything.

  Don’t the Bible say, “To him that hath shall be given?” No mistake,
you see. When the wheel turns round with you on the top, (saints and
angels!) you can do anything you like--play any sort of a prank--pout
or smile, be grave or gay, saucy or courteous, it will pass muster!
You never need trouble yourself,--can’t do anything wrong if you try.
At the most, it will only be an “eccentricity!” But you never need be
such a fool as to expect that anybody will find out you are a _diamond_
till you get a _showy setting_! You’ll get knocked and cuffed around,
and roughly handled, with paste and tinsel, and rubbish, till that
auspicious moment arrives. Then! won’t all the sheaves bow down to your
sheaf?--not one rebellious straggler left in the field! But stay a

  In your adversity, found you one faithful heart that stood firmly by
your side and shared your tears, when skies were dark, and your pathway
thorny and steep, and summer friends fell off like autumn leaves? By
all that’s noble in a woman’s heart, give that one the first place in
it now. Let the world see _one_ heart proof against the sunshine of
prosperity. You can’t repay such a friend--all the mines of Golconda
couldn’t do it. But in a thousand delicate ways, prompted by a woman’s
unerring tact, let your heart come forth gratefully, generously,
lovingly. Pray heaven he be on the shady side of fortune--that your
heart and hand may have a wider field for gratitude to show itself.
Extract every thorn from his pathway, chase away every cloud of sorrow,
brighten his lonely hours, smooth the pillow of sickness, and press
lovingly his hand in death.


  Patter, patter, patter! down comes the city shower, on dusty and
heated pavements; gleefully the willow trees shake out their long green
tresses, and make their toilettes in the little mirror pools beneath.
The little child runs out, with outspread palm, to catch the cool and
pearly drops. The weary laborer, drawing a long, grateful breath,
bares the flushed brow of toil; boyhood, with bare and adventurous
foot, wades through gutter rivers, forgetful of birch, and bread and
butter. Ladies skutter tiptoe, with uplifted skirts, to the shelter of
some friendly omnibus; gentlemen, in the independent consciousness of
corduroys, take their time and umbrellas, while the poor jaded horses
shake their sleek sides, but do not say _neigh_ to their impromptu

  The little sparrows twitter their thanks from the dripping eaves,
circling the piazza, then laving their speckled breasts at the little
lakelets in the spout. Old Towser lies with his nose to the door-mat,
sniffing “the cool,” with the philosophy of Diogenes. Petrarch sits
in the parlor with his Laura, too happy when some vivid lightning
flash gives him an excuse for closer quarters. Grandpapa puts on his
spectacles, walks to the window, and taking a look at the surrounding
clouds, says, “How this rain will make the corn grow.” The old maid
opposite sets out a single geranium, scraggy as herself, invoking some
double blossoms. Forlorn experimenter! even a spinster’s affections
must centre somewhere.

  See that little pinafore mariner stealing out, with one eye on the
nursery window, to navigate his pasteboard boat in the street pools.
There’s a flash of sunshine! What a glorious rainbow! The little fellow
tosses his arms aloft, and gazes at it. Ten to one, the little Yankee,
instead of admiring its gorgeous splendor, is wishing he could invert
it for a swing, and seizing it at both ends, sweep through the stars
with it. Well, it is nothing new for a child to like “the _milky way_.”

  Fair weather again! piles of heavy clouds are drifting by, leaving
the clear blue sky as serene as when “the morning stars first sang
together.” Nature’s gems sparkle lavishly on glossy leaf and swaying
branch, on bursting bud and flower; while the bow of peace melts gently
and imperceptibly away, like the dying saint into the light of Heaven.

  Oh, earth _is_ gloriously fair! Alas! that the trail of the serpent
should be over it all!


    “A woman, a dog, and a walnut tree,
    The more they are beaten the better they be.”

  “Any man who believes that, had better step into my shoes,” said
little Mr. Weasel. “I suppose I’m what you call ‘the head of the
family,’ but I shouldn’t know it if somebody didn’t tell me of it.
Heigho! who’d have thought it five and twenty years ago? Didn’t I
stifle a tremendous strong penchant for Diana Dix, (never smoked, I
remember, for four hours after it,) because I had my private suspicions
she’d hold the reins in spite of my teeth, and so I offered myself to
little Susey Snow, (mistake in her name, by the way.) You might have
spanned her round the waist, or lifted her with one hand. She never
looked anybody in the face when they spoke to her, and her voice was
as soft as----my brains! I declare, it’s unaccountable how deceitful
female nature is! Never was so taken in in my life; she’s a regular
Vesuvius crater! Her will? (don’t mention it!) Try to pry up the Alps
with a cambric needle! If she’d only fly into a passion, I think I
could venture to pluck up a little spirit; but that cool, determined,
never-say-die look would turn Cayenne pepper to oil. It wilts _me_
right down, like a cabbage leaf. I’d as lief face a loaded cannon! I
wish I could go out evenings; but she won’t let me. Tom Jones asked
me yesterday why I wasn’t at Faneuil Hall the night before. I told him
I had the bronchitis. He saw through it! Sent me a pair of reins the
next day,--‘said to be a certain cure!’ Ah! it’s very well for _him_
to laugh, but it’s no joke to me. I suppose it’s time to feed that
baby; Mrs. Weasel will be home pretty soon, from the ‘Woman’s Rights
Convention.’ No, I won’t, either; I’ll give it some paregoric, and run
up garret and smoke one cigar. I feel as though I _couldn’t look a
humming-bird in the eye_! Nice cigar!--_very_ nice! What a fool I am
to be ordered round by a little blue-eyed woman, three feet high! I’m
a very good looking fellow, and I won’t stand it! Isn’t that little
Weasel as much her baby as it is mine? Certainly.”

  “M-r. W-e-a-s-e-l!”

  “Hem,--my--dear--(oh! that eye of hers!)--you see, my dear, (there, I
won’t do it again, Mrs. Weasel.) How’s ‘the Convention,’ dear? Carried
the day, I hope?--made one of your smart speeches, hey? ’Tisn’t every
man owns such a chain-lightning wife;--look out for your rights, dear;
(deuce knows _I_ dare not!”)


  ’Tis Sunday in the city.

  The sun glares murkily down, through the smoky and stench-laden
atmosphere, upon the dirty pavements; newsboys, with clamorous cries,
are vending their wares; milkmen rattle over the pavements, and startle
drowsy sleepers by their shrill whoopings; housemaids are polishing
door knobs, washing sidewalks, and receiving suspicious looking baskets
and parcels from contiguous groceries and bakeshops.

  The sun rolls on his course; purifying the air and benignly smiling
upon all the dwellers in the city, as though he would gently win them
from unholy purposes to heavenly meditations and pursuits.

  --And now the streets are filled with a motley show of silks, satins,
velvets, feathers and jewels--while carriages and vehicles of every
description roll past, freighted with counter-freed youths and their
Dulcineas, bent upon a holiday. Hundreds of “drinking saloons” belch
forth their pestiferous breath, upon which is borne, to the ear of
the passer-by, (perhaps a lady or tender child,) the profane curse
and obscene gibe; and from their portals reel intoxicated brutes, who
once were men. Military companies march to and fro; now, at slow and
solemn pace, to the mournful strains of a dead-march; now, (having rid
themselves of the corpse of their dead comrade,) they gaily “step out,”
blithe and merry, to the cheering strains of an enlivening quickstep,
based on an Ethiopian melody; the frivolous tones blending discordantly
with the chimes of the Sabbath bells. And stable-keepers, oyster and
ice-cream venders, liquor sellers, _et id omne genus_, are reaping a
golden harvest, upon which the “Lord of the Sabbath” shall, sooner or
later, send “a blight and a mildew.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  ’Tis Sunday in the country.

  Serene and majestic, in the distance, lie the blue, cloud-capped
hills; while, at their base, the silver stream winds gracefully,
sparkling in the glad sunlight. Now the fragrant branches stir with
feathered life; and one clear, thrilling carol lifts the finger
from the dumb lip of Nature, heralding a full orchestra of untaught
choristers, which plume their wings, and soaring, seem to say, Praise
Him! praise Him!

  Obedient to the sweet summons, the silver-haired old man and rosy
child, along grassy, winding paths, hie to the little village church.
On the gentle maiden’s kindly arm leans the bending form of “four
score years and ten,” gazing, with dimmed but grateful eye, on leafy
stem, and bursting bud, and full-blown flower; or, listening to the
wind dallying with the tall tree-tops, or kissing the fields of golden
grain, which wave their graceful recognition, as it sweeps by on its
fragrant path.

  And now, slowly the Sabbath sun sinks beneath the western hills in
gold and purple glory. Gently the dew of peace descends on closed eyes
and flowers; while holy stars creep softly out, to keep their tireless
watch o’er happy hearts and Sabbath-loving homes.


       “If your husband looks grave, let him alone; don’t disturb or
     annoy him.”

  Oh, pshaw! were I married, the soberer my husband looked, the more
fun I’d rattle about his ears. _Don’t disturb him!_ I guess so! I’d
salt his coffee--and pepper his tea--and sugar his beef-steak--and
tread on his toes--and hide his newspaper--and sew up his pockets--and
put pins in his slippers--and dip his cigars in water,--and I wouldn’t
stop for the great Mogul, till I had shortened his long face to my
liking. Certainly, he’d “get vexed;” there wouldn’t be any fun in
teasing him if he didn’t; and that would give his melancholy blood a
good, healthful start; and his eyes would snap and sparkle, and he’d
say, “Fanny, WILL you be quiet or not?” and I should laugh, and pull
his whiskers, and say decidedly, “_Not!_” and then I should tell him he
hadn’t the slightest idea how handsome he looked when he was vexed, and
then he would pretend not to hear the compliment--but would pull up his
dickey, and take a sly peep in the glass (for all that!) and then he’d
begin to grow amiable, and get off his stilts, and be just as agreeable
all the rest of the evening _as if he wasn’t my husband_; and all
because I didn’t follow that stupid bit of advice “to let him alone.”
Just as if _I_ didn’t know! Just imagine ME, Fanny, sitting down on a
cricket in the corner, with my forefinger in my mouth, looking out the
sides of my eyes, and waiting till that man got ready to speak to me!
You can see at once it would be--be--. Well, the amount of it is, _I
shouldn’t do it!_


  Sing away, little bird! only you, the trees, and myself, are
stirring, but you have an appreciative audience. Your sweet carol
and the graceful waving of yonder tree, as the soft wind turns up
its silver-lined leaves in the sunlight, fill my heart with a quiet

  Whom have we here? with ragged skirt, bare mud-begrimm’d feet and
ankles, tattered shawl, and tangled masses of hair fluttering round
a face ploughed deep with time and trouble. See--she stoops, and,
stretching her skeleton fingers towards the gutter, grasps some refuse
rags and paper, and thrusts them greedily into the dirty sack she bears
upon her shoulders. Good heavens! that dirty mass of rags a _woman_?
How wearily she leans against yonder tree, gazing upward into its
branches! Perhaps that little bird’s matin song has swept some chord
for long years untouched in that callous heart; telling her of the
shelter of a happy home, where Plenty sat at the board and Love kept
guard at the threshold. Oh! who can tell? One more song, my little
bird, ere she goes; not so _mockingly_ joyous, but sweet, and soft, and
low--a requiem for blighted youth and blasted hopes; for know that the
blue sky to whose arch you soar, bends over misery enough to make the
bright seraphs weep.

  Bless me! what yell is that? “Yeei--ho--oe--yeei--ho.” It is only
a milkman, and that horrid cry simply means, “Milk for sale.” What a
picture of laziness is the vender! Jump off your cart, man, thump on
the kitchen door with your milk-dipper, and rouse that sleepy cook who
is keeping you waiting her pleasure; that’s the way to do business:
pshaw! your manliness must have been diluted with your milk. One by
one they emerge, the dead-and-alive looking housemaids, dragging their
brooms after them lazily and helplessly, and bandy words with the vexed
milkman, and gossip with each other, as they rest their chins on their
broom-handles, on “kitchen cabinet” affairs.

  Here comes an Italian, balancing a shelf-load of plaster Cupids and
Venuses, and dove-circled vases. How mournfully his dark eyes look out
from beneath his tasseled cap, as he lifts his burden from his head
for a momentary reprieve. They tell of weary feet, a heavy heart, and
a light purse. They tell, with a silent reproach, that our hearts are
as cold as our clime. Oh! not _all_, good Pietro! For your sake, I’ll
make myself mistress of that sleeping child; though, truth to say, the
sculptor who moulded it has most wofully libelled Nature. Would I could
see the sunny skies upon which your dark eyes first opened, and all the
glorious forms that beauty wears in your vine-clad home beyond the seas.

  How the pedestrians hurry along!--merchants to their cares and their
counting-rooms, and shop-girls and seamstresses to their prisons. Here
comes a group of pale-faced city children, on their way to school. God
bless the little unfortunates! Their little feet should be crushing
the strawberries, ripe and sweet, on some sunny hill-slope, where
breath of new-mown hay and clover blossoms would give roses to their
cheeks and strength and grace to their cramped and half-developed
limbs. Poor little creatures! they never saw a patch of blue sky bigger
than their satchels, or a blade of grass that dared to grow without
permission from the mayor, aldermen and common council. Poor little
skeletons! tricked out like the fashion-prints, and fed on diluted
skim-milk and big dictionaries. I pity you.

[Illustration: OUR STREET.]

  A hand-organ! ground by a modern Peter Schemmel, and accompanied by a
woman whose periphery it would be vain to compute by inches, singing,

   “I’d be a butterfly.”

  Ye gods and graces! if ye heed her prayer, grant that she alight not
on my _two-lips_! Now she is warbling,

   “Home! sweet home,”

as if she wasn’t making it for me, this minute, a perfect place of
torment! Avaunt! thou libel upon feminity!--creep into corduroys and
apply for the office of town crier.

  A funeral! That is nothing uncommon in a densely populated city; so,
nobody turns to look, as it winds along, slowly, as will the sad future
to that young husband--that father of an hour. Sad legacy to him, those
piles of tiny robes, and dainty little garments, whose elaborate and
delicate embroidery was purchased at such a fearful price. Nature will
have her revenge for a reckless disregard of her laws: so, there she
lies, the young mother, with the long-looked-for babe upon her girlish
breast. Sad comment upon a foolish vanity.

  What have we here?--A carriage at the door? Ah! I recollect; there
was a wedding at that house last night--lights flashing, music
swelling--white arms gleaming through tissue textures, and merry voices
breaking in upon my slumbers late in the small hours.

  Ah yes--and this is the bride’s leave-taking. How proud and important
that young husband looks, as he stands on the steps, with the bride’s
traveling shawl upon his arm, giving his orders to the coachman! Now
he casts an impatient glance back through the open door into the hall,
half jealous of the tear sparkling in the young wife’s eye, as the
mother presses her tenderly to her breast, as the father lays the hand
of blessing on her sunny head, and brothers and sisters, half glad,
half sad, offer their lips for a good-bye kiss.

  Hurry her not away! Not even the heart she has singled out from
all the world to lean upon, can love so fondly, so truly, as those
she leaves behind. Dark days may come, when love’s sunshine shall be
o’erclouded by cares and sickness, from which young manhood, impatient,
shrinks. _Let her linger_: so shall your faith in her young wifely love
be strengthened by such strong filial yearning for these, her cradle
watchers. Let her linger: silver hairs mingle in the mother’s tresses;
the father’s dark eye grows dim with age, and insatiate Death heeds nor
prayer, nor tear, nor lifted eye of supplication. Let her linger.

  New-York! New-York! who but thyself would have tolerated for twelve
mortal hours, with the thermometer at 90 degrees, that barrel of refuse
fish and potatoes, sour bread and damaged meat, questionable vegetables
and antique puddings, steaming on that sunny sidewalk, in the forlorn
hope that some pig’s patron might be tempted, by the odoriferous hash,
to venture on its transportation. Know, then, O pestiferous Gotham,
that half a score of these gentry, after having sounded it with a long
pole to the bottom, for the benefit of my olfactories, have voted it a
nuisance to which even a pig might make a _gutter_-al remonstrance. Oh!
Marshal Tukey, if California yet holds you, in the name of the Asiatic
cholera, and _my_ “American constitution,” recross the Isthmus and
exorcise that barrel!

  Look on yonder door-step. See that poor, worn creature seated there,
with a puling infant at her breast, from whence it draws no sustenance:
on either side are two little creatures, apparently asleep, with their
heads in her lap. Their faces are very pallid, and their little limbs
have nothing of childhood’s rounded symmetry and beauty. “Perhaps she
is an impostor,” says Prudence, seizing my purse-strings, “getting up
that tableau for just such impressible dupes as yourself.” “Perhaps she
is _not_,” says Feeling; “perhaps at this moment despair whispers in
her tempted ear ‘curse God and die!’ Oh! then, how sad to have ‘passed
her by, on the other side!’” Let _me_ be “duped,” rather than that wan
face should come between my soul and Heaven.


       “When you are angry, take three breaths before you speak.”

  I couldn’t do it, said Mrs. Penlimmon. Long before that time I should
be as placid as an oyster. “Three breaths!” I could double Cape Horn
in that time. I’m telegraphic,--if I had to stop to reflect, I should
never be saucy. I can’t hold anger any more than an April sky can
retain showers; the first thing I know, the sun is shining. You may
laugh, but that’s better than one of your foggy dispositions, drizzling
drops of discomfort a month on a stretch; no computing whether you’ll
have anything but gray clouds overhead the rest of your life. No: a
good heavy clap of thunder for me--a lightning flash; then a bright
blue sky and a clear atmosphere, and I am ready for the first flower
that springs up in my path.

  “Three breaths!” how absurd! as if people, when they get excited,
ever _have_ any breath, or if they have, are conscious of it. I should
like to see the Solomon who got off that sage maxim. I should like
better still to give him an opportunity to test his own theory! It’s
very refreshing to see how good people can be, when they have no
temptation to sin; how they can sit down and make a code of laws for
the world in general and sinners in particular.

  “Three breaths!” I wouldn’t give a three-cent piece for anybody who
is that long about anything. The days of stage coaches have gone by.
Nothing passes muster now but comets, locomotives and telegraph wires.
Our forefathers and foremothers would have to hold the hair on their
heads if they should wake up in 1854. They’d be as crazy as a cat in a
shower-bath, at all our whizzing and rushing. Nice old snails! It’s a
question with me whether I should have crept on at their pace, had I
been a cotemporary. Christopher Columbus would have discovered the New
World much quicker than he did, had I been at his elbow.



  School is out! What stretching of limbs; what unfettering of tongues
and heels; what tossing-up of pinafores and primers; what visions of
marbles, and hoops, and dolls, and apples, and candy, and gingerbread!
How welcome the fresh air; how bright the sunshine; how tempting the
grassy playground! Ah, there’s a drop of rain--there’s another; there’s
a thunder clap! “Just as school is out--how provoking!” echo a score
of voices; and the pouting little prisoners huddle together in the
school-house porch, and console themselves by swapping jack-knives and
humming tops, and telling marvellous stories of gypsies and giants;
while Miss Prim, the dyspeptic teacher, shakes her head and the ferule,
and declares that the former will “fly into fifty pieces;” upon which
some of the boys steal out of doors and amuse themselves by sounding
the puddles with their shoes, while others slyly whittle the desks, or
draw caricatures on their slates, of Miss Prim’s long nose.

  Drip, drip--spatter, spatter! How the rain comes down, as if it
couldn’t help it; no prospect of “holding up.”

  Here come messengers from anxious mothers, with India rubbers, extra
tippets, and umbrellas; and there’s a chaise at the door, for Squire
Lenox’s little rosy daughter; and a wagon for the two Prince girls; and
a stout Irish girl, with a blanket shawl, to carry home little lame
Minnie May, who is as fragile as a lily, and just as sweet. And there’s
a servant man for Master Simpkins, the fat dunce with the embroidered
jacket, whose father owns “the big Hotel, and wishes his son to have a
seat all by himself.”

  And now they are all gone;--all save little Bessie Bell, the new
scholar,--a little four-year-older, who is doing penance over in the
corner for “a misdemeanor.”

  Bessie’s mother is a widow. She has known such bright, sunny days,
in the shelter of a happy home, with a dear arm to lean upon! Now, her
sweet face is sad and care-worn, and when she speaks, her voice has a
heart-quiver in it: but, somehow, when she talks to you, you do not
notice that her dress is faded, or her bonnet shabby and rusty. You
instinctively touch your hat to her, and treat her very courteously, as
if she were a fine lady.

  As I said before, this is little Bessie’s first day at school; for,
she is light and warmth and sunshine to her broken-hearted mother. But,
little Bessie must have bread to eat. A shop woman offered her mother a
small pittance to come and help her a part of every day; but she is not
to bring her child; so, Bessie must go to school, to be out of harm’s
way, and her mother tells Miss Prim, as she seats her on the hard
bench, that “she is very timid and tender-hearted;” and then she kisses
Bessie’s little quivering lip, and leaves her with a heavy heart.

  Bessie dare not look up for a few minutes;--it is all very odd
and strange, and if she were not so frightened she would cry aloud.
By-and-by she gains a little courage, and peeps out from beneath her
drooping eye-lashes. Her little pinafore neighbor gives her a sweet
smile--it makes her little heart so happy, that she throws her little
dimpled arms about her neck and says, (out loud) “I love you!”

  Poor, affectionate little Bessie! she didn’t know that that was
a “misdemeanor;” nor had she ever seen that bug-bear, a “School
Committe.” Miss Prim had;--and Miss Prim never wasted her lungs
talking; so, she leisurely untied her black silk apron from her virgin
waist, and proceeded to make an African of little Bessie, by pinning
it tightly over her face and head--an invention which herself and
“the Committe” considered the _ne plus ultra_ of discipline. Bessie
struggled, and said she “never would kiss anybody again--never--never;”
but Miss Prim was inexorable, and, as her victim continued to utter
smothered cries, Miss Prim told her “that she would keep her after the
other children had gone home.”

  One class after another recited; Bessie’s sobs became less loud and
frequent, and Miss Prim flattered herself, now that they had ceased
altogether, that she was quite subdued, and congratulated herself
complacently upon her extraordinary talent for “breaking in new

  And now, school being done, the children gone, her bonnet and India
rubbers being put on, and all her spinster “fixings” settled to her
mind, visions of hot tea and buttered toast began to float temptingly
through her brain, and suggest the propriety of Bessie’s release.

  “Bessie!”--no answer. “Bessie!”--no reply. Miss Prim laid the ferule
across the little fat shoulders. Bessie didn’t wince. Miss Prim
unpinned the apron to confront the face that was bold enough to defy
her and “the Committee.” Little Bessie was _dead_!

  Well; there was a pauper funeral, and a report about that a child had
been “frightened to death at school;” but Bessie’s mother was a poor
woman, consequently the righteous Committee “didn’t feel called upon to
interfere with such idle reports.”


  What is it to go away on a visit? Well, it is to take leave of the
little velvet rocking-chair, which adjusts itself so nicely to your
shoulders and spinal column; to cram, jam, squeeze, and otherwise
compress your personal effects into an infinitessimal compass; to
be shook, jolted, and tossed, by turns, in carriage, railroad and
steamboat; to be deafened with the stentorian lungs of cab-drivers,
draymen and porters; to clutch your baggage as if every face you saw
was a highwayman; (or to find yourself transported with rage, at
finding _it_ transported by steam to Greenland or Cape Horn.) It is
to reach your friend’s house, travel-stained, cold and weary, with
an unbecoming crook in your bonnet; to be utterly unable to get the
frost out of your tongue, or “_the beam into your eye_,” and to have
the felicity of hearing some strange guest remark to your friend, as
you say an early good-night, “Is it possible THAT is your friend, Miss

  It is to be ushered into the “best chamber,” (always a _north_ one)
of a cold January night; to unhook your dress with stiffened digits; to
find every thing in your trunk _but_ your night-cap; to creep between
polished _linen_ sheets, on a congealed _mattress_, and listen to the
chattering of your own teeth until daylight.

  It is to talk at a mark twelve hours on the stretch; to eat and
drink all sorts of things which disagree with you; to get up sham fits
of enthusiasm at trifles; to learn to yawn circumspectly behind your
finger-tips; to avoid all allusion to topics unsuited to your pro tem.
latitude; to have somebody forever at your nervous elbow, _trying to
make you_ “_enjoy yourself_;” to laugh when you want to cry; to be
loquacious when you had rather be taciturn; to have mind and body in
unyielding harness, for lingering, consecutive weeks; and then to
invite your friends, with a hypocritical smile, to play the same farce
over with you, “whenever business or pleasure calls them” to Frog town!


  “I’m miserable; there’s no denying it,” said Helen. “There’s nothing
in this endless fashionable routine of dressing, dancing and visiting,
that can satisfy me. Hearts enough are laid at my feet, but I owe
them all to the accidents of wealth and position. The world seems all
emptiness to me. There _must_ be something beyond this, else why this
ceaseless reaching of the soul for some unseen good? Why do the silent
voices of nature so thrill me? Why do the holy stars with their burning
eyes utter such silent reproaches? Have I nothing to do but amuse
myself with toys like a child? Shall I live only for _myself_? Does not
the sun that rises upon my luxury, shine also upon the tear-stained
face of sorrow? Are there not slender feet stumbling wearily in rugged,
lonely paths? Why is _mine_ flower-bestrewn? How am I better? Whose
sorrowful heart have I lightened? What word of comfort has fallen from
my lips on the ear of the grief-stricken? What am I here for? What is
my mission?”

       *       *       *       *       *

  “And you have only this wretched place to nurse that sick child in?”
said Helen; “and five lesser ones to care for? Will you trust that sick
child with me?”

  “She is not long for this world, my lady; and I love her as well as
though I had but one. Sometimes I’ve thought the more care I have for
her, the closer my heart clings to her. She is very patient and sweet.”

  “Yes, I know,” said Helen; “but I have it in my power to make her so
much more comfortable. It may preserve, at least lengthen her life.”

  When little Mary opened her eyes the next morning, she half believed
herself in fairy-land. Soft fleecy curtains were looped about her head,
her little emaciated hand rested upon a silken coverlid, a gilded
table stood by her bed-side, the little cup from which her lips were
moistened was of bright silver, and a sweet face was bending over her,
shaded by a cloud of golden hair, that fell like a glory about her head.

  “Where am I?” said the child, crossing her little hand across her
bewildered brain.

  Helen smiled. “You are _my_ little bird now, dear. How do you like
your cage?”

  “It is very, _very_ pretty,” said Mary, with childish delight; “but
won’t you get tired of waiting upon a poor little sick girl? Mamma was
used to it. _You_ don’t look as if you could work.”

  “Don’t I?” said Helen, with a slight blush; “for all that, you’ll see
how nicely I can take care of you, little one. I’ll sing to you; I’ll
read to you; I’ll tell you pretty stories; and when you are weary of
your couch, I’ll fold you in my arms, and rock you so gently to sleep.
And when you get better and stronger, you shall have so many nice toys
to play with, and I’ll crown your little bright head with pretty
flowers, and make you nice little dresses; and now I’m going to read to
you. Betty has been out, and bought you a little fairy story about a
wonderful puss; and here’s ‘Little Timothy Pip;’ which will you have?”

  “Mamma used to read to me out of the Bible,” said little Mary, as her
long lashes swept her cheek.

  Helen started; a bright crimson flush passed over her face, and
bending low, she kissed the child’s forehead reverentially.

  “About the crucifixion, please,” said Mary, as Helen seated herself
by her side.

  That Holy Book! Helen felt as if her hands were “unclean.” She
began to read; perhaps the print might not have been clear; but she
stopped often, and drew her small hand across her eyes. Her voice
grew tremulous. Years of worldliness had come between her and that
sad, touching story. It came upon her now with startling force and
freshness. Earth, with its puerile cares and pleasures, dwindled to a
point. Oh, what “cross” had her shoulders borne? What “crown of thorns”
had pierced her brows? How had her careless feet turned aside from the
footsteps of Calvary’s meek sufferer!

  “Thank you,” said little Mary, rousing Helen from her reverie; “mamma
used to pray to God to make me patient, and take me to Heaven.”

  Tears started to Helen’s eyes. How could she tell that sinless little
one she _knew not how to pray_? Ah! _she_ was the pupil, Mary the
teacher! Laying her cheek to hers, she said in a soft whisper, “Pray
for _us both_, dear Mary.”

  With sweet, touching, simple eloquence that little silvery voice
floated on the air! The little emaciated hand upon which Helen’s face
was pressed, was wet with tears--_happy_ tears! Oh, this was what that
restless soul had craved! Here at “the cross,” that world-fettered
spirit should plume itself for an angel’s ceaseless flight. Aye, and a
little _child had led “her” there_!

       *       *       *       *       *

  Adolph Grey wandered listlessly through that brilliant ball-room.
There were sweet voices, and sweeter faces, and graceful, floating
forms; but his eye rested on none of them.

  “Pray, where is Lady Helen?” said he, wandering up to his gay
hostess, with a slight shade of embarrassment.

  “Ah, you may well ask that! I’m _so_ vexed at her! Every man in the
room is as savage as a New Zealander. She has turned Methodist, that’s
all. Just imagine; our peerless Helen thumbing greasy hymn-books at
vestry meetings, listening to whining preachers, and hunting up poor
dirty beggar children! I declare, I thought she had too much good
sense. Well, there it is; and you may as well hang _your_ harp on the
willows. She’ll have nothing to say to you _now_; for you know you are
a sinner, Grey.”

  “Very true,” said Grey, as he went into the ante-room to cloak
himself for a call upon Helen; “I _am_ a sinner; but if any woman
can make a saint of me, it is Lady Helen. I have looked upon women
only as toys to pass away the time; but under that gay exterior of
Helen’s there was always something to which my better nature bowed in
reverence. ‘A Methodist,’ is she? Well, be it so. She has a soul above
yonder frivolity, and I respect her for it.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  If in after years the great moral questions of the day had more
interest for Adolph Grey than the pleasures of the turf, the billiard
room, or the wine party, who shall say that Lady Helen’s influence was
not a blessed one?

  Oh, if woman’s beauty, and power, and witchery were oftener used for
a high and holy purpose, how many who now bend a careless knee at her
shrine, would hush the light laugh and irreverent jest, and almost
feel, as she passed, _that an angel’s wing had rustled by!_


    “Dollars and dimes, dollars and dimes,
    An empty pocket is the worst of crimes.”

  Yes; and don’t you presume to show yourself anywhere, until you get
it filled. “Not among good people?” No, my dear Simplicity, not among
“good people.” They will receive you with a galvanic ghost of a smile,
scared up by an indistinct recollection of the “ten commandments,”
but it will be as short-lived as their stay with you. You are not
welcome--that’s the amount of it. They are all in a perspiration lest
you should be delivered of a request for their assistance, before they
can get rid of you. They are “very busy,” and what’s more, they always
will be busy when you call, until you get to the top of fortune’s

  Climb, man! climb! Get to the top of the ladder, though adverse
circumstances and false friends break every round in it! and see what
a glorious and extensive prospect of human nature you’ll get when you
arrive at the summit! Your gloves will be worn out shaking hands with
the very people who didn’t recognize your existence two months ago.
“You must come and make me a long visit;” “you must stop in at any
time;” “_you’ll_ always be welcome;” it is such a _long_ time since
they had the pleasure of a visit from you, that they begin to fear you
never intended to come; and they’ll cap the climax by inquiring with an
injured air, “if you are nearsighted, or why you have so often passed
them in the street without speaking.”

  Of course, you will feel very much like laughing in their faces,
and so you can. You can’t do anything wrong, now that your “pocket is
full.” At the most, it will only be “an eccentricity.” You can use
anybody’s neck for a footstool, bridle anybody’s mouth with a silver
bit, and have as many “golden opinions” as you like. You won’t see a
frown again between this and your tombstone!


  “Who is she?” “Why, that is our Nelly, to be sure. Nobody ever passed
Nelly without asking, ‘Who is she?’ One can’t forget the glance of that
blue eye; nor the waving of those golden locks; nor the breezy grace of
that lithe figure; nor those scarlet lips; nor the bright, glad sparkle
of the whole face; and then, she is not a bit proud, although she steps
so like a queen; she would shake hands just as quick with a horny palm
as with a kid glove. The world can’t spoil ‘our Nelly;’ her heart is in
the right place.

  “You should have seen her thank an old farmer, the other day, for
clearing the road that she might pass. He shaded his eyes with his
hand when she swept by, as if he had been dazzled by a sudden flash
of sunlight, and muttered to himself, as he looked after her--‘Won’t
she make somebody’s heart ache?’ Well, she has; but it is because from
among all her lovers she could marry but one, and (God save us!) that
her choice should have fallen upon Walter May. If he don’t quench out
the love-light in those blue eyes, my name is not John Morrison. I’ve
seen his eyes flash when things didn’t suit him; I’ve seen him nurse
his wrath to keep it warm till the smouldering embers were ready for
a conflagration. He’s as vindictive as an Indian. I’d as soon mate
a dove with a tiger, as give him ‘our Nelly.’ There’s a dozen noble
fellows, this hour, ready to lay down their lives for her, and yet out
of the whole crowd she must choose Walter May! Oh, I have no patience
to think of it. Well-a-day! mark my words, he will break her heart
before a twelvemonth! He’s a pocket edition of Napoleon.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  A year had passed by, and amid the hurry of business and the din of
the great city, I had quite forgotten Glenburn and its fairy queen.
It was a time to recall her to mind, that lovely June morning--with
its soft fleecy clouds, its glad sunlight, its song of birds, and its
breath of roses; and so I threw the reins on Romeo’s neck, that he
might choose his own pace down the sweet-briar path, to John Morrison’s
cottage. And there sat John, in the doorway, smoking his pipe, with
Towser crouched at his feet, in the same old spot, just as if the sun
had never gone down behind the hills since I parted with him.

  “And ‘our Nelly?’” said I, taking up the thread of his year-old
narrative as though it had never been broken--“and ‘our Nelly?’”

  “Under the sod,” said the old man, with a dark frown; “under the
sod. He broke her heart, just as I told you he would. Such a bridal as
it was! I’d as lief have gone to a funeral. And then Walter carried
her off to the city, where she was as much out of her element as a
humming-bird in a meeting-house; and tried to make a fine lady of her,
with stiff, city airs, and stiff, city manners. It was like trying to
fetter the soft west wind, which comes and goes at its own sweet will;
and Nelly--who was only another name for _Nature_--pined and drooped
like a bird in a darkened cage.

  “One by one her old friends dropped off, wearied with repeated and
rude repulses from her moody husband, till he was left, as he desired,
master of the field. It was astonishing the ascendency he gained over
his sweet wife, contemptible as he was. She made no objection to his
most absurd requirements; but her step lost its spring, her eye its
sparkle; and one might listen long for her merry-ringing laugh. Slowly,
sadly to Nelly came that terrible conviction from which a wife has no

  “Ah! there is no law to protect woman from negative abuse!--no
mention made in the statute book (which _men frame for themselves_),
of the constant dropping of daily discomforts which wear the loving
heart away--no allusion to looks or words that are like poisoned
arrows to the sinking spirit. No! if she can show no mark of brutal
fingers on her delicate flesh, he has fulfilled his legal promise to
the letter--to love, honor and cherish her. _Out_ on such a mockery of

  “Well, sir; Nelly fluttered back to Glenburn, with the broken wing
of hope, to die! So wasted! so lovely! The lips that blessed _her_,
could not choose but curse _him_. ‘She leaned on a broken reed,’ said
her old gray-haired father, as he closed her blue eyes forever. ‘May
God forgive him, for I never can,’ said an old lover, whose heart was
buried in her grave.

                “‘NELLY MAY, _aged_ 18.’

  “You’ll read it in the village churchyard, Sir. Eighteen! Brief
years, Sir, to drain all of happiness Life’s cup could offer!”


  Oh, but books are such safe company! They keep your secrets well;
_they_ never boast that they made your eyes glisten, or your cheek
flush, or your heart throb. You may take up your favorite author, and
love him at a distance just as warmly as you like, for all the sweet
fancies and glowing thoughts that have winged your lonely hours so
fleetly and so sweetly. Then you may close the book, and lean your
cheek against the cover, as if it were the face of a dear friend; shut
your eyes and soliloquise to your heart’s content, without fear of
misconstruction, even though you should exclaim in the fullness of your
enthusiasm, “What an _adorable soul that man has_!” You may put the
volume under your pillow, and let your eye and the first ray of morning
light fall on it together, and no Argus eyes shall rob you of that
delicious pleasure, no carping old maid, or strait-laced Pharisee shall
cry out, “_it isn’t proper!_” You may have a thousand petty, provoking,
irritating annoyances through the day, and you shall come back again
to your dear old book, and forget them all in _dream land_. It shall
be a friend that shall be always at hand; that shall never try you by
caprice, or pain you by forgetfulness, or wound you by distrust.

  “Study _men_!”

  Well, try it! I don’t believe there’s any _neutral territory_ where
that interesting study can be pursued as it should be. Before you get
to the end of the first chapter, they’ll be making love to you from the
mere force of habit--and because silks, and calicoes, and delaines,
naturally suggest it. It’s just as natural to them as it is to sneeze
when a ray of sunshine flashes suddenly in their faces. “Study men!”
That’s a game, my dear, that _two_ can play at. Do you suppose they are
going to sit quietly down and let you dissect their hearts, without
returning the compliment? No, indeed! that’s _where they differ
slightly from “books!”--they always expect an equivalent_.

  Men are a curious study! Sometimes it pays to read to “the end of the
volume,” and then again, it don’t--mostly the latter!



  Happy Mrs. Emily! Freed from the thraldom of house keeping, and duly
installed mistress of a fine suite of rooms at ---- Hotel. No more
refractory servants to oversee, no more silver or porcelain to guard,
no more cupboards, or closets, or canisters to explore; no more pickles
or preserves to make; no more bills of fare to invent,--and over and
above all, mistress of a bell-wire which was not “tabooed” on washing
and ironing days.

  Time to lounge on the sofa, and devour “yellow-covered literature;”
time to embroider caps, and collars, and chemisettes; time to
contemplate the pretty face where housekeeping _might_ have planted
“crows feet,” had she not fortunately foreseen the symptoms, and turned
her back on dull Care and all his croaking crew.

  Happy Mrs. Emily! No bird let loose from a cage was ever more joyous;
not even her own little children--for she had two of them, and pretty
creatures they were too, with their cherry lips, and dimpled limbs, and
flaxen ringlets; and very weary they grew, of their gloomy nursery,
with its one window, commanding a view of a dingy shed and a tall
spectral-looking distilhouse chimney, emitting clouds of smoke and
suffocating vapor. Nannie, the nurse, didn’t fancy it, either, so she
spent her time in the lobbies and entries, challenging compliments
from white-jacketed waiters, while the children peeped curiously into
the half-open doors, taking drafts of cold air on their bare necks and
shoulders. Sometimes they balanced themselves alarmingly on the spiral
ballustrade, gazing down into the dizzy Babel below, inhaling clouds
of cigar smoke, and listening, with round-eyed wonder, to strange
conversations, which memory’s cud should chew, for riper years to

  “No children allowed at the _table d’hôte_”--so the “hotel
regulations” pompously set forth--the landlord’s tablecloths,
gentlemen’s broadcloth, and ladies’ silk dresses being sworn foes
to _little Paul Pry fingers_. Poor little exiles! they took their
sorrowful meals in the servants’ hall, with their respective nurses,
the bill of fare consisting of a rehash of yesterday’s French dishes,
(spiced for the digestion of an ostrich.) This was followed by a
dessert of stale pastry and ancient raisins, each nurse _at the outset_
propitiating her infant charge with a huge bunch, that she might regale
herself with the substantials!--mamma, meanwhile, blissfully ignoring
the whole affair, absorbed in the sublime occupation of making German
worsted dogs.

  Papa, too, had _his_ male millennium. No more marketing to do; no
more coal, or wood, or kindling to buy; no cistern, or pump, or gaspipe
to keep in repair. Such a luxury as it was to have a free pass to the
“smoking room,” (alias _bar-room_,) where the atmosphere was so dense
that he couldn’t tell the latitude of his nose, and surrounded by
“hale fellows well met.” His eldest boy accompanied him, listening, on
his knee, to questionable jokes, which he repeated at bed-time to pert
Nannie, the nurse, who understood their significance much better than
his innocent little lordship.

  Papa, to be sure, had _some_ drawbacks, but they were VERY
trifling;--for instance, his shirts were quite buttonless, his dickeys
stringless, and his stockings had ventilator toes;--but then, how
could mamma be seen patching and mending in such an aristocratic
atmosphere?--she might lose caste; and as to Nannie, _her_ hands were
full, what with babies and billet-doux.

  You should have seen Mrs. Emily in the evening; with sparkling eyes
and bracelets, flounced robe and daintily-shod feet, twisting her
Chinese fan, listening to moustached idlers, and recollecting, with a
shudder, the long Caudle evenings, _formerly_ divided between _her_
husband, _his_ newspaper, and _her_ darning-needle.

  Then the _petite soupers_ at ten o’clock in the evening, where the
ladies were enchanting, the gentlemen _quite entirely_ irresistible;
where wit and champagne corks flew with equal celerity; and headaches,
and dyspepsia, and nightmare, lay _perdu_ amid fried oysters, venison
steaks, chicken salad, and _India-rubber, anti-temperance jellies_.

  Then followed the midnight reünion in the drawing-room, where
promiscuous polkaing and waltzing, (seen through champagne fumes,)
seemed not only proper, but delightful.

  It was midnight. There was hurrying to and fro in the entry halls and
lobbies; a quick, sharp cry for medical help; the sobs and tears of
an agonized mother, and the low moan of a dying child; for nature had
rebelled at last, at impure air, unwholesome food, and alternate heats
and chills.

  “No hope,” the doctor said; “no hope,” papa mechanically repeated;
“_no hope!_” echoed inexorable Death, as he laid his icy finger on the
quivering little lips.

  It was a dearly bought lesson. The Lady Emily never forgot it. Over
her remaining bud of promise she tearfully bends, finding her quiet
happiness in the healthful, sacred and safe retreat of the _home


       “The American ladies, when promenading, cross their arms in
     front, and look like trussed turkeys.”

  Well, you ought to pity us, for we have no such escape-valves for
our awkwardness as you have--no dickeys to pull up--no vests to pull
down--no breast pockets, side pockets, flap pockets to explore--no
cigars between our teeth--no switch canes in our hands--no beavers to
twitch, when we meet an acquaintance. Don’t you yourselves oblige us to
reef in our rigging, and hold it down tight with our little paws over
our belts, under penalty of being dragged half a mile by one of your
buttons, when you tear past us like so many comets.

  Is it any joke to us to stand _vis-a-vis_, with a strange man,
before a crowd of grinning spectators, while you are disentangling the
“Gordian knot,” instead of whipping out your penknife and sacrificing
your offending button, as you ought to do?

  Is it any joke to see papa scowl, when we ask him for the “needful,”
to restore the lace or fringe you tore off our shawl or mantilla?

  Do you suppose we can stop to walk _gracefully_, when our minds have
to be in a prepared state to have our pretty little toes crushed,
or our bonnets knocked off, or our skirts torn from our belts, or
ourselves and our gaiter boots jostled into a mud-puddle?

  Do you _ever_ “keep to the right, as the law directs?” Don’t you
always go with your heads hindside before, and then fetch up against us
as if we were made of cast-iron? Don’t you put your great lazy hands
in your pockets, and tramp along with a cane half a mile long sticking
out from under your armpits, to the imminent danger of our optics?
“_Trussed turkeys_” indeed! No wonder, when we are run a-_fowl_ of
every other minute.


  “He’s going the wrong way--straying from the true fold; going off
the track,” said old Deacon Green, shaking his head ominously, as he
saw young Neff enter a church to hear an infidel preacher. “Can’t
understand it; he was taught his catechism and ten commandments as soon
as he could speak; he knows the right way as well as our parson; I
can’t understand it.”

  Harry Neff had never seen a day pass since his earliest childhood,
that was not ushered in and closed with a family prayer. He had not
partaken of a repast upon which the divine blessing was not invoked;
the whole atmosphere of the old homestead was decidedly orthodox.
Novels, plays and Byronic poetry were all vetoed. Operas, theatres
and the like most decidedly frowned upon; and no lighter literature
was allowed upon the table, than missionary reports and theological

  Most of his father’s guests being clergymen, Harry was early made
acquainted with every crook and turn of orthodoxy. He had laid up
many a clerical conversation, and pondered it in his heart, when they
imagined his thoughts on anything but the subject in debate. At his
father’s request, they had each and all taken him by the button, for
the purpose of long, private conversations--the old gentleman generally
prefacing his request by the remark that “his heart was as hard as a

  Harry listened to them all with respectful attention, manifesting no
sign of impatience, no nervous shrinking from the probing process, and
they left him, impressed with a sense of his mental superiority, but
totally unable to affect his feelings in the remotest degree.

  Such a pity! they all said, that he should be so impenetrable; such
wonderful argumentative powers as he had; such felicity of expression;
such an engaging exterior. Such a pity! that on all these brilliant
natural gifts should not have been written, “Holiness to the Lord.”

  Yes, dear reader, it _was_ a pity. Pity, when our pulpits are
so often filled with those, whose only recommendation for their
office is a good heart and a black coat. It was a pity that graceful
gesticulation, that rare felicity of expression, that keen perception
of the beautiful, that ready tact and adaptation to circumstances and
individuals, should not have been effective weapons in the _gospel
armory_. Pity, that voice of music should not have been employed, to
chain the worldling’s fastidious ear to listen to Calvary’s story.

  Yet it was a pity that glorious intellect had been laid at an unholy
shrine; pity “he had strayed from the true fold.” How was it?

  Ah! the solution is simple. “Line upon line, precept upon precept,”
is well--but _practice is better_! Religion _must not be all
lip-service_; the “fruits of love, meekness, gentleness, forbearance,
long-suffering” must follow. Harry was a keen observer. He had often
heard the harsh and angry word from lips upon which the Saviour’s name
had just lingered. He had felt the unjust, quick, passionate blow
from the hand which a moment before had been raised in supplication
to Heaven. He had seen the purse-strings relax at the bidding of
worldliness, and tighten at the call of charity. He had seen principle
sacrificed to policy, and duty to interest. He had himself been
misappreciated. The shrinking sensitiveness which drew a vail over his
most sacred feelings, had been harshly construed into hard-heartedness
and indifference. Every duty to which his attention was called, was
prefaced with the supposition that he was averse to its performance.
He was cut off from the gay pleasures which buoyant spirits and
fresh young life so eloquently plead for; and in their stead no
innocent enjoyment was substituted. He saw Heaven’s gate shut most
unceremoniously, upon all who did not subscribe to the parental creed,
outraging both his own good sense and the teachings of the Bible; and
so religion, (which should have been rendered so lovely,) put on to him
an ascetic form. Oh, what marvel that the flowers in the broad road
were so passing fair to see? that the forbidden fruit of the “tree of
knowledge” was so tempting to the youthful touch?

  Oh, Christian parent! be consistent, be judicious, be _cheerful_. If
as historians inform us, “no smile ever played” on the lips of Jesus of
Nazareth, surely _no frown marred the beauty of that holy brow_.

  Dear reader, _true_ religion is _not_ gloomy. “Her ways _are_ ways
of pleasantness, her paths _are_ peace.” No man, no woman, has chart or
compass, or guiding star, without it.

  Religion is not a _fable_. Else why, when our household gods are
shivered, do our tearful eyes seek only Heaven?

  Why, when disease lays its iron grasp on bounding life, does the
startled soul so earnestly, _so_ tearfully, _so_ imploringly, call on
its forgotten Saviour?

  Ah! the house “built upon the sand” may do for sunny weather; but when
the billows roll, and tempests blow, and lightnings flash, and thunders
roar, _we need the_ “_Rock of Ages_.”


  Do you call _this_ a church? Well, I heard a prima-donna here a few
nights ago: and bright eyes sparkled, and waving ringlets kept time
to moving fans; and opera glasses and ogling, and fashion and folly
reigned for the nonce triumphant. _I_ can’t forget it; I can’t get
up any devotion _here_, under these latticed balconies, with their
fashionable freight. If it were a good old country church, with a
cracked bell and unhewn rafters, a pine pulpit, with the honest sun
staring in through the windows, a pitch-pipe in the gallery, and a few
hob-nailed rustics scattered round in the uncushioned seats, I should
feel all right; but my soul is in fetters here; it won’t soar--its
wings are earth-clipped. Things are all too fine! Nobody can come in at
that door, whose hat and coat and bonnet are not fashionably cut. The
poor man (minus a Sunday suit) might lean on his staff; in the porch,
a long while, before he’d dare venture in, to pick up _his_ crumb of
the Bread of Life. But, thank God, the unspoken prayer of penitence may
wing its way to the Eternal Throne, though our mocking church spires
point only with _aristocratic fingers_ to the _rich man’s heaven_.

  --That hymn was beautifully read; there’s poetry in the preacher’s
soul. Now he takes his seat by the reading-desk; now he crosses the
platform, and offers his hymn-book to a female who has just entered.
What right has _he_ to know there is a woman in the house? ’Tisn’t
clerical! Let the bonnets find their own hymns.

  Well, I take a listening attitude, and try to believe I am in church.
I hear a great many original, a great many _startling_ things said.
I see the gauntlet thrown at the dear old orthodox sentiments which
I nursed in with my mother’s milk, and which (please God) I’ll cling
to till I die. I see the polished blade of satire glittering in the
air, followed by curious, eager, youthful eyes, which gladly see the
searching “Sword of the Spirit” parried. Meaning glances, smothered
smiles and approving nods follow the witty clerical sally. The orator
pauses to mark the effect, and his face says, That stroke _tells_! and
so it did, for “the Athenians” are not all dead, who “love to see and
hear some new thing.” But he has another arrow in his quiver. Now his
features soften--his voice is low and thrilling, his imagery beautiful
and touching. He speaks of human love; he touches skilfully a chord to
which every heart vibrates; and stern manhood is struggling with his
tears, ere his smiles are chased away.

  Oh, there’s intellect there--there’s poetry there--there’s genius
there; but I remember Gethsemane--I forget not Calvary! I know the
“rocks were rent,” and the “heavens darkened,” and “the stone rolled
away;” and a cold chill strikes to my heart when I hear “Jesus of
Nazareth” lightly mentioned.

  Oh, what are intellect, and poetry, and genius, when with Jewish
voice they cry, “_Away with_ HIM!”

  With “Mary,” let me “bathe his feet with my tears, and wipe them with
the hairs of my head.”

  And so, I “went away sorrowful,” that this human preacher, with
such great intellectual possessions, should yet “lack the _one thing


  Don’t think I’m going to perpetrate a monetary article. No fancy that
way! I ignore anything approaching to a _stock_! I refer now to that
omnipresent, omniscient, ubiquitous, express-train little victim, so
baptized in the dry-goods stores, who hears nothing but the everlasting
word cash dinned in his juvenile ears from matin to vespers; whose
dangerous duty it is to rush through a crowd of expectant and impatient
feminines, without suffering his jacket-buttons to become too
intimately acquainted with the fringes of their shawls, or the laces
of their mantillas! and to dodge so dexterously as not to knock down,
crush under foot, or otherwise damage the string of juveniles that said
women are bound to place as obstructions in said “Cash’s” way!

  See him double, and turn, and twist, like a rabbit in a wood, while
that word of command flies from one clerk’s lip to another. Poor,
demented little Cash! Where _is_ your anxious maternal? Who finds you
in patience and shoe leather? Does your pillow ever suggest anything
to your weary brain but pillarless quarters, and crossed sixpences,
and faded bank bills? When do you find time, you poor little victim,
to comb your hair, digest your victuals, and say your catechise? Do
you ever look back with a sigh to the days of peppermints, peanuts
and pinafores? Or forward, in the dim distance, to a vision of a
long-tailed coat, a high-standing dickey, and no more “_Cash_,” save in
your pantaloons’ pocket? Don’t you ever catch yourself wishing that a
certain rib of Adam’s had never been subtracted from his paradisiacal

  Poor, miserable little Cash! you have my everlasting sympathy! I
should go shopping twenty times, where I now go once, didn’t it harrow
up my feelings to see you driven on so, like a locomotive! “Here’s
hoping” you may soon be made sensible of more than _one_ meaning to the
word CHANGE!

[A] The boy employed in stores to fetch and carry change.


       “Who is to be buried here?” said I to the sexton. “Only a child,

  _Only_ a child! Oh! had you ever been a mother--had you nightly
pillowed that little golden head--had you slept the sweeter for that
little velvet hand upon your breast--had you waited for the first
intelligent glance from those blue eyes--had you watched its cradle
slumbers, tracing the features of him who stole your girlish heart
away--had you wept a widow’s tears over its unconscious head--had your
desolate, timid heart gained courage from that little piping voice, to
wrestle with the jostling crowd for daily bread--had its loving smiles
and prattling words been sweet recompense for such sad exposure--had
the lonely future been brightened by the hope of that young arm to lean
upon, that bright eye for your guiding star--had you never framed a
plan, or known a hope or fear, of which that child was not a part;--if
there was naught else on earth left for you to love--if disease came,
and its eye grew dim; and food, and rest, and sleep were forgotten in
your anxious fears--if you paced the floor, hour by hour, with that
fragile burden, when your very touch seemed to give comfort and healing
to that little quivering frame--had the star of hope set at last--had
you hung over its dying pillow, when the strong breast you should
have wept on was in the grave, where your child was hastening--had
you caught _alone_ its last faint cry for the “_help_” you could
not give--had its last fluttering sigh been breathed out on _your_
breast--Oh! could you have said--“’Tis _only_ a child?”


  Mrs. Pipkin, I am under the disagreeable necessity of informing you,
that our family expenses are getting to be enormous. I see that carpet
woman charged you a dollar for one day’s work. Why, that is positively
a man’s wages;--such presumption is intolerable. Pity you did not make
it yourself, Mrs. Pipkin; wives ought to lift their end of the yoke;
that’s my creed.

  _Little Tom Pipkin._--Papa, may I have this bit of paper on the
floor? it is your tailor’s bill--says, “$400 for your last year’s

  _Mr. Pipkin._--Tom, go to bed, and learn never to interrupt your
father when he is talking. Yes, as I was saying, Mrs. Pipkin, wives
should hold up their end of the yoke; and it is high time there was a
little retrenchment here; superfluities must be dispensed with.

  _Bridget._--Please, sir, there are three baskets of champagne just
come for you, and four boxes of cigars.

  _Mr. Pipkin._--Will you please lock that door, Mrs. Pipkin, till I
can get a chance to say what I have to say to you on this subject. I
was thinking to-day, that you might dispense with your nursery maid,
and take care of baby yourself. He don’t cry much, except nights;
and since I’ve slept alone up stairs, I don’t hear the little tempest
at all. It is really quite a relief--that child’s voice is a perfect

  I think I shall get you, too, to take charge of the marketing and
providing, (on a stipulated allowance from me, of course,) it will give
me so much more time to----attend to _business_, Mrs. Pipkin. I shall
take my own dinners down town at the ---- House. I hear Stevens is an
excellent “caterer;” (though that’s nothing to me, of course, as my
only object in going is to meet business acquaintances from different
parts of the Union, to drive a bargain, &c., &c.)

  Well--it will cost you and the children little or nothing for your
dinners. There’s nothing so disgusting to a man of refinement, like
myself, as to see a _woman_ fond of eating; and as to children, any
fool knows they ought not to be allowed to stuff their skins, like
little anacondas. Yes, our family expenses are enormous. My partner
sighed like a pair of bellows at that last baby you had, Mrs. Pipkin;
oh, it’s quite ruinous--but I can’t stop to talk now, I’m going to try
a splendid horse which is offered me at a bargain--(too frisky for you
to ride, my dear, but just the thing for me.)

  You had better dismiss your nursery girl this afternoon; that will
begin to look like retrenchment. Good-bye; if I am not home till late,
don’t sit up for me, as I have ordered a supper at ---- House for my
old friend, Tom Hillar, of New Orleans. We’ll drink this toast, my
dear: “Here’s hoping the last little Pipkin may never have his nose put
out of joint.”


  Can anybody tell why country people so universally and pertinaciously
persist in living in the _rear of the house_? Can anybody tell why the
front door and windows are never opened, save on Fourth of July and at
Thanksgiving time? Why Zedekiah, and Timothy, and Jonathan, and the
old farmer himself, must go _round_ the house in order to get _into_
it? Why the whole family (oblivious of six empty rooms,) take their
“vapor bath,” and their meals, simultaneously, in the vicinity of a
red hot cooking range, in the dog-days? Why the village artist need
paint the roof, and spout, and window frames bright crimson, and the
doors the color of a mermaid’s tresses? Why the detestable sunflower
(which I can never forgive “Tom Moore” for noticing) must always flaunt
in the garden? Why the ungraceful prim poplar, fit emblem of a stiff
old bachelor, is preferred to the swaying elm, or drooping willow, or
majestic horse-chestnut.

  I should like to pull down the green paper window-curtains, and hang
up some of snowy muslin. I should like to throw wide open the hall
door, and let the south wind play through. I should like to go out into
the woods, and collect fresh, sweet wild-flowers to arrange in a vase,
in place of those defunct dried grasses, and old-maid “everlastings.”
I should like to show Zedekiah how to nail together some bits of board,
for an embryo lounge; I should like to stuff it with cotton, and cover
it with a neat “patch.” I should like to cushion the chairs after the
same fashion. Then I should like, when the white-haired old farmer came
panting up the road at twelve o’clock, with his scythe hanging over
his arm, to usher him into that cool, comfortable room, set his bowl
of bread and milk before him, and after he had discussed it, coax him
(instead of tilting back on the hind legs of a hard chair,) to take a
ten-minutes nap on my “model” sofa, while I kept my eye on the clouds,
to see that no thunder shower played the mischief with his hay.

  I should like to place a few common-sense, practical books on the
table, with some of our fine daily and weekly papers. You may smile;
but these inducements, and the comfortable and pleasant air of the
apartment, would bring the family oftener together after the day’s
toil, and by degrees they would lift the covers of the books, and turn
over the newspapers. Constant interchange of thought, feeling and
opinion, with discussions of the important and engrossing questions of
the day, would of course necessarily follow.

  The village tavern-keeper would probably frown upon it; but I will
venture to predict for the inmates of the farm-house a growing love for
“home,” and an added air of intelligence and refinement, of which they
themselves might possibly be unconscious.


  “You needn’t make that dress ‘deep mourning,’ Hetty; the lady who
ordered it said it was only her sister for whom she was to ‘mourn.’ A
three-quarter’s length vail will answer; and I should introduce a few
jet bugles round the bonnet trimmings. And, by the way, Hetty, Mrs. La
Fague’s husband has been dead now nearly two months, so that new dress
of hers will admit of a little alleviation in the style of trimming--a
few knots of love-ribbon on the boddice will have a softening effect;
and you must hem a thin net vail for her bonnet;--it’s almost time for
her to be ‘out of mourning.’

  --“And, Hetty, run down to Stewart’s, right away, and see if he has
any more of those grief-bordered pocket-handkerchiefs. Mr. Grey’s
servant said the border must be full an inch deep, as his master
wished it for his wife’s funeral, and it is the eighth time within
eight years that the poor afflicted man has suffered a similar
calamity. Remember, Hetty,--an inch deep, with a tomb-stone and a
weeping-willow embroidered on the corner, with this motto: ‘Hope never
dies;’--and, Hetty, be sure you ask him what is the latest style for
‘_half_-mourning’ for grandmothers, mothers-in-law, country cousins,
and poor relations. _Dépèchezvous_, Hetty, for you have six ‘weepers’
(weeds) to take off the six Mr. Smiths’ hats. Yes, I know you ‘only put
them on last week;’ but they are going to Philadelphia, where nobody
knows them, and, of course, it isn’t necessary to ‘mourn’ for their
mother there.

  --“What are you staring at, child? You are as primitive as your
fore-mother Eve. This ‘mourning’ is probably an invention of Satan
to divert people’s minds from solemn subjects, but that’s nothing to
me, you know; so long as it fills my pocket, I’m in league with his


       “It has become _unfashionable_ in New-York for ladies to attend
     funerals to the grave. _Even the mother may not accompany the
     little lifeless form of her beloved child beyond the threshold
     without violating the dread laws of Fashion._”

  Are there such mothers? Lives there one who, at Fashion’s bidding,
stands back, nor presses her lips to the little marble form that once
lay warm and quivering beneath her heart-strings?--who with undimmed
eye recalls the trusting clasp of that tiny hand, the loving glance
of that vailed eye, the music of that merry laugh--its low, pained
moan, or its last fluttering heart-quiver?--who would not (rather
than strange hands should touch the babe,) _herself_ robe its dainty
limbs for burial?--who shrinks not, starts not, when the careless,
business hand would remove the little darling from its cradle-bed,
where loving eyes so oft have watched its rosy slumbers, to its last,
cold, dreamless pillow?--who lingers not, _when all have gone_, and
vainly strives, with straining eye, to pierce _below_ that little
fresh laid mound?--who, when a merry group go dancing by, stops not,
with sudden thrill, to touch some sunny head, or gaze into some soft
blue eye, that has oped afresh the fount of her tears, and sent to
the troubled lips the murmuring heart-plaint, “Would to God I had
died for thee, my child--my child?”--who, when the wintry blast comes
eddying by, sleeps not, because she cannot fold to her warm breast
the little lonely sleeper in the cold churchyard? And oh! is there
one, who, with such “treasure laid up in Heaven,” clings not the less
to earth, strives not the more to keep her spirit undefiled, fears not
the less the dim, dark valley, cheered by a cherub voice, inaudible
save to the dying _mother_? Oh, stony-eyed, stony-hearted, relentless
Fashion! turn for us day into night, if thou wilt; deform our women;
half clothe, with flimsy fabric, our victim children; wring the last
penny from the sighing, overtasked, toiling husband; _banish to the
backwoods thy country cousin_, Comfort; reign supreme in the banquet
hall; revel undisputed at the dance;--but when that grim guest, whom
none invite--whom none dare deny--strides, with defiant front, across
our threshold, stand back, thou heartless harlequin, and leave us alone
with our dead: so shall we list the lessons those voiceless lips should
teach us--

    “All is vanity.”


       “A HUSBAND may kill a wife gradually, and be no more
     questioned than the grand seignor who drowns a slave at
     midnight.”--_Thackeray, on Household Tyrants._

  Oh! Mr. Thackeray! I ought to have known from experience, that
beauty and brains never travel in company--but I _was_ disenchanted
when I first saw your nose, and I _did_ say that you were too stout
to look intellectual. But I forgive you in consideration of the above
paragraph, which, for truth and candor, ought to be appended to the
four Gospels.

  I’m on the marrow bones of my soul to you, Mr. Thackeray. I honor you
for “turning State’s evidence” against your own culprit-sex. If there’s
any little favor I can do for you, such as getting you naturalized,
(for you are a sight too cute and clever for an Englishman,) I’ll fly
round and get the documents made out for you to-morrow.

  I tell you, Mr. Thackeray, the laws over here allow husbands to break
their wives’ _hearts_ as much as they like, so long as they don’t break
their _heads_. So the only way we can get along, is to allow them to
scratch our faces, and then run to the police court, and shew “his
Honor” that Mr. Caudle can “_make his mark_.”

  Why--if we were not _cunning_, we should get circumvented all the
time by these domestic Napoleons. Yes, indeed; we sleep with one eye
open, and “get up early in the morning,” and keep our arms a-kimbo.

  --By-the-way, Mr. Thackeray, what do you think of us, _as a
people_?--taking us “by and large,” as our honest farmers say.
P-r-e-t-t-y tall nation for a _growing_ one; don’t you think so?
Smart men--smarter women--good broad streets--no smoking or spitting
allowed in ’em--houses all built with an eye to architectural
beauty--newspapers don’t tell how many buttons you wear on your
waistcoat--Jonathan never stares at you, as if you were an imported
hyena, or stirs you up with the long pole of criticism, to see your
size and hear your roar. Our politicians never whip each other on the
floor of Congress, and grow black in the face because their _choler_
chokes them! No mushroom aristocracy over here--no “coats of arms”
or liveried servants: nothing of that sham sort, in our “great and
glorious country,” as you have probably noticed. If you are “round
takin’ notes,” I’ll jog your English elbow now and then. Ferns have
eyes--and they are not green, either.


       “A wife shouldn’t ask her husband for money at

  By no manner of means; _nor at any other time_; because, it is to
be hoped, he will be gentlemanly enough to spare her that humiliating
necessity. Let him hand her his porte-monnaie every morning, with
_carte-blanche_ to help herself. The consequence would be, she would
lose all desire for the contents, and hand it back, half the time
without abstracting a single _sou_.

  It’s astonishing men have no more diplomacy about such matters. _I_
should like to be a husband! There _are_ wives whom I verily believe
might be trusted to make way with a ten dollar bill without risk to
the connubial donor! I’m not speaking of those doll-baby libels upon
womanhood, whose chief ambition is to be walking advertisements for
the dressmaker; but a rational, refined, sensible woman, who knows how
to look like a lady upon small means; who would both love and respect
a man less for requiring an account of every copper; but who, at the
same time, would willingly wear a hat or garment that is “out of date,”
rather than involve a noble, generous-hearted husband in unnecessary

  I repeat it--“It _isn’t every man who has a call to be a husband._”
Half the married men should have their “licenses” taken away, and the
same number of judicious bachelors put in their places. I think the
attention of the representatives should be called to this. They can’t
expect to come down to town and peep under all the ladies’ bonnets the
way they do, and have all the newspapers free gratis, and two dollars a
day besides, without “paying their way!”

  It’s none of _my_ business, but I question whether their wives,
whom they left at home, stringing dried apples, know how spruce they
look in their new hats and coats, or how facetious they grow with
their landlady’s daughter; or how many of them pass themselves off for
bachelors, to verdant spinsters. Nothing truer than that little couplet
of _Shakspeare’s_--

    “When the cat’s away
    The mice _will_ play.”


  Here I am, a doomed man--booked for a fever, in this gloomy room, up
four flights of stairs; nothing to look at but one table, two chairs,
and a cobweb; pulse racing like a locomotive; head throbbing as if it
were hooped with iron; mouth as parched as Ishmael’s in the desert;
not a bell-rope within reach; sun pouring in through those uncurtained
windows, hot enough to singe off my eye-lashes; all my confidential
letters lying loose on the table, and I couldn’t get up to them if
you held one of Colt’s revolvers to my head. All my masculine friends
(?) are parading Broadway, I suppose; peeping under the pretty girls’
bonnets, or drinking “sherry cobblers.” A sherry cobbler! Bacchus! what
a luxury! I believe Satan suggested the thought to me.

  Heigh-ho! I suppose the Doctor (whom they have sent for) will come
before long; some great, pompous Æsculapius, with an owl phiz, a
gold-headed cane, an oracular voice, and callous heart and hands;
who will first manipulate my wrist, and then take the latitude and
longitude of my tongue; then, he will punch me in my ribs, and torment
me with more questions than there are in the Assembly’s Catechism;
then, he’ll bother me for writing materials, to scratch off a
hieroglyphic humbug prescription, ordering five times as much medicine
as I need; then, I shall have to pay for it; then, ten to one, the
apothecary’s boy will put up poison, by mistake! Cæsar! how my head
spins round; Hippodrome racing is nothing to it.

  Hist! there’s the Doctor. No! it is that little unregenerate cub, my
landlady’s pet boy, with a bran new drum (as I’m a sinner), upon which
he is beating a crucifying tattoo. If I only had a boot-jack to throw
at him. No! that won’t do: his mother wouldn’t make my gruel. I’ll
bribe him with a sixpence, to keep the peace. The little embryo Jew! he
says _he won’t do it under a quarter_! Twitted by a little pinafore!
_I_, Tom Haliday, six feet in my stockings! I shall go frantic.

  “Doctor is coming!” Well, let him come. I’m as savage as if I’d just
dined off a cold missionary. I’ll pretend to be asleep, and let old
Pill-box experiment.

  How gently he treads: how soft his hand is: how cool and delicious
his touch! How tenderly he parts my hair over my throbbing temples!
His magnetic touch thrills every drop of blood in my veins: it is
marvellous how soothing it is. I feel as happy as a humming-bird in a
lily cup, drowsy with honeydew. Now he’s moved away. I hear him writing
a prescription. I’ll just take a peep and see what he looks like. Cæsar
Aggripina! if it isn’t a _Female Physician_! dainty as a Peri--_and my
beard three days old_! What a bust! (Wonder how my hair looks?) What
a foot and ankle! What shoulders; what a little round waist. Fever?
I’ve got _twenty_ fevers, and the heart-complaint besides. What the
mischief sent that little witch here? She will either kill or cure me,
pretty quick.

  Wonder if she has any more _masculine_ patients? Wonder if they
are handsome? Wonder if she lays that little dimpled hand on _their_
foreheads, as she did on mine? Now she has done writing, I’ll shut my
eyes and groan, and then, may be, she will _pet_ me some more; bless
her little soul!

  She says, “poor fellow!” as she holds my wrist, “his pulse is too
quick.” In the name of Cupid, what does she _expect_? She says, as she
pats my forehead with her little plump fingers, “’Sh--’sh! Keep cool.”
Lava and brimstone! does she take me for an iceberg?

  Oh, Cupid! of all your devices, this feminine doctoring for a
bachelor, is the _ne plus ultra_ of witchcraft. If I don’t have a
prolonged “run of fever,” my name isn’t Tom Haliday!

  She’s gone! and--I’m gone, too!


  “And so you sail to-morrow, Will? I shall miss you.”

  “Yes; I’m bound to see the world. I’ve been beating my wings in
desperation against the wires of my cage these three years. I know
every stick, and stone, and stump in this odious village by heart, as
well as I do those stereotyped sermons of Parson Grey’s. They say he
calls me ‘a scapegrace’--pity I should have the name without the game,”
said he, bitterly. “I haven’t room here to run the length of my chain.
I’ll show him what I can do in a wider field of action.”

  “But how did you bring your father over?”

  “Oh, he’s very glad to be rid of me; quite disgusted because I’ve no
fancy for seeing corn and oats grow. The truth is, every father knows
at once too much and too little about his own son; the old gentleman
never understood me; he soured my temper, which is originally none of
the best, roused all the worst feelings in my nature, and is constantly
driving me _from_ instead of _to_ the point he would have me reach.”

  “And your mother?”

  “Well, there you have me; that’s the only humanized portion of my
heart--the only soft spot in it. She came to my bed-side last night,
after she thought I was asleep, gently kissed my forehead, and then
knelt by my bed-side. Harry, I’ve been wandering round the fields all
the morning, to try to get rid of that prayer. Old Parson Grey might
preach at me till the millennium, and he wouldn’t move me any more than
that stone. It makes all the difference in the world when you know a
person _feels_ what they are praying about. I’m wild and reckless and
wicked, I suppose; but I shall never be an infidel while I can remember
my mother. You should see the way she bears my father’s impetuous
temper; that’s _grace_, not _nature_, Harry; but don’t let us talk
about it--I only wish my parting with her was well over. Good-bye;
God bless you, Harry; you’ll hear from me, if the fishes don’t make a
supper of me;” and Will left his friend and entered the cottage.

  Will’s mother was moving nervously and restlessly about, tying up all
sorts of mysterious little parcels that only mothers think of, “in case
he should be sick,” or in case he should be this, that, or the other,
interrupted occasionally by exclamations like this from the old farmer:
“Fudge--stuff--great overgrown baby--making a fool of him--never be out
of leading strings;” and then turning short about and facing Will as he
entered, he said,

  “Well, sir, look in your sea-chest, and you’ll find gingerbread and
physic, darning-needles and tracts, ‘bitters’ and Bibles, peppermint
and old linen rags, and opodeldoc. Pshaw! I was more of a man than you
are when I was nine years old. Your mother always made a fool of you,
and that was entirely unnecessary, too, for you were always short of
what is called _common sense_. You needn’t tell the captain you went to
sea because you didn’t know enough to be a landsman; or that you never
did any thing right in your life, except by accident. You are as like
that _ne’er do well_ Jack Halpine, as two peas. If there _is_ anything
in you, I hope the salt water will fetch it out. Come, your mother has
your supper ready, I see.”

  Mrs. Low’s hand trembled as she passed her boy’s cup. It was his
last meal under that roof for many a long day. She did not trust
herself to speak--her heart was too full. She heard all his father so
injudiciously said to him, and she knew too well from former experience
the effect it would have upon his impetuous, fiery spirit. She had
only to oppose to it a mother’s prayers, and tears, and all-enduring
love. She never condemned in _Will’s hearing_, any of his father’s
philippics; always excusing him with the general remark that he didn’t
understand him. _Alone_, she mourned over it; and when with her
husband, tried to place matters on a better footing for both parties.

  Will noted his mother’s swollen eyelids; he saw his favorite little
tea-cakes that she had busied herself in preparing for him, and he ate
and drank what she gave him, without tasting a morsel he swallowed,
listening for the hundredth time to his father’s account of “what _he_
did when he was a young man.”

  “Just half an hour, Will,” said his father, “before you start; run up
and see if you have forgotten any of your duds.”

  It was the little room he had always called his own. How many nights
he had lain there listening to the rain pattering on the low roof; how
many mornings awakened by the chirp of the robin in the apple-tree
under the window. There was the little bed with its snowy covering,
and the thousand and one little comforts prepared by his mother’s hand.
He turned his head--she was at his side, her arms about his neck. “God
keep my boy!” was all she could utter. He knelt at her feet as in
the days of childhood, and from those wayward lips came this tearful
prayer, “Oh God, spare my mother, that I may look upon her face again
in this world!”

  Oh, in after days, when that voice had died out from under the
parental roof, how sacred was that spot to her who gave him birth!
_There was hope for the boy! he had recognized his mother’s God._ By
that invisible silken cord she still held the wanderer, though broad
seas roll between.

  Letters came to Moss Glen--at stated intervals, then more
irregularly, picturing only the bright spots in his sailor life (for
Will was proud, and they were to be scanned by his father’s eye.) The
usual temptations of a sailor’s life when in port were not unknown to
him. Of every cup the syren Pleasure held to his lips, he drank to the
dregs; but there were moments in his maddest revels, when that angel
whisper, “God keep my boy,” palsied his daring hand, and arrested the
half-uttered oath. Disgusted with himself, he would turn aside for an
instant, but only to drown again more recklessly “that still small
torturing voice.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  “You’re a stranger in these parts,” said a rough farmer to a
sun-burnt traveller. “Look as though you’d been in foreign parts.”

  “Do I?” said Will, slouching his hat over his eyes. “Who lives in
that little cottage under the hill?”

  “Old Farmer Low--and a tough customer he is, too; it’s a word and a
blow with him. The old lady has had a hard time of it, good as she is,
to put up with all his kinks and quirks. She bore it very well till the
lad went away; and then she began to droop like a willow in a storm,
and lose all heart, like. Doctor’s stuff didn’t do any good, as long as
she got no news of the boy. She’s to be buried this afternoon, sir.”

  Poor Will staid to hear no more, but tottered in the direction of
the cottage. He asked no leave to enter, but passed over the threshold
into the little “best parlor,” and found himself alone with the dead.
It was too true! Dumb were the lips that should have welcomed him; and
the arms that should have enfolded him were crossed peacefully over the
heart that beat true to him till the last.

  Conscience did its office. Long years of mad folly passed in swift
review before him; and over that insensible form a vow was made, and
registered in Heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

  “Your mother should have lived to see this day, Will,” said a
gray-haired old man, as he leaned on the arm of the clergyman, and
passed into the village church.

  “Bless God, my dear father, there is ‘_joy in Heaven_ over one sinner
that repenteth;’ and of all the angel band, there is one seraph hand
that sweeps _more rapturously_ its harp to-day for ‘the lost that is


       “A man will own that he is in the wrong--a woman, never; she is
     only _mistaken_.”--_Punch._

  Mr. Punch, did you ever see an enraged American female? She is the
expressed essence of wild-cats. Perhaps you didn’t know it, when you
penned that incendiary paragraph; or, perhaps you thought that in
crossing the “big pond,” salt water might neutralize it; or, perhaps
you flattered yourself we should not see it, over here; but here it is,
in my clutches, in good strong English: I am not even “_mistaken_.”

  Now, if you will bring me a live specimen of the genus homo, who was
ever known “to own that he was in the wrong,” I will draw in my horns
and claws, and sneak ingloriously back into my American shell. But you
can’t do it, Mr. Punch! You never saw that curiosity, either in John
Bull’s skin or Brother Jonathan’s. ’Tis an animal which has never yet
been discovered, much less captured.

  A man own he was in the wrong! I guess so! You might tear him in
pieces with, red-hot pincers, and he would keep on singing out “I
didn’t do it; I didn’t do it.” No, Mr. Punch, a man never “owns up”
when he is in the wrong; especially if the matter in question be one
which he considers of no importance; for instance, the non-delivery of
a letter, which may have been entombed in his pocket for six weeks.

  No sir; he just settles himself down behind his dickey, folds
his belligerent hands across his stubborn diaphragm, plants his
antagonistic feet down on terra-firma as if there were a stratum of
loadstone beneath him, and thunders out,

    “Come one, come all; this rock shall fly
    From its firm base, as soon as I.”


  I never was on an august school committee, but, if I _was_, I’d make
a _sine-qua-non_ that no school-marm should be inaugurated who had not
been a married mother; I don’t believe in old maids; they all know very
well that they haven’t fulfilled their female destiny, and I wouldn’t
have them wreaking their bilious vengeance on _my_ urchins, (if I had
any.) No woman gets the acid effectually out of her temper, till she
has taken matrimony “the natural way.”

  No; I don’t believe in spinster educational teaching any more than
I do in putting dried up old bachelors on the school committee. What
bowels of mercies have either, I’d like to know, for the poor little
restless victims of narrow benches and short recesses? The children are
to “hold up their hands” (are they?) if they have a request to make?
What good does that do, if the teacher won’t take any notice of the
Free Mason sign? “They are not to enter complaints.” So some poor timid
little girl must be pinched black and blue by a little Napoleon in
jacket and trowsers, till she is forced to shriek out with pain, when
_she_ is punished by being kept half an hour after school for “making
a disturbance!” They are “not to eat in school,” are they? Perhaps
they have made an indifferent breakfast; (perhaps they are poor, and
have had none at all, and A, B, C, D, doesn’t digest well on an empty
stomach;) but the spinster teacher can hear them recite with a tempting
bunch of grapes in her hand, which she leisurely devours before their
longing eyes.

  They “must not smile in school,” must they? Not when “Tom Hood” in a
pinafore, cuts up some sly prank that brings “down the house;” yes--and
the ferule too, on everybody’s hand but his own; (for he has a way of
drawing on his “deacon face,” to order.)

  They may go out in recess, but they must speak in a whisper out
doors, as if they all had the bronchitis! No matter if Queen Victoria
should ride by, no little brimless hat must go up in the air till “the
committee had set on it!”

  _Oh_ fudge! I should like to keep school myself. I’d make “rag
babies” for the little girls, and “soldier caps” for the boys; and I
_don’t think_ I would make a rule that they should not sneeze till
school was dismissed; and when their little cheeks began to flush, and
their little heads droop wearily on their plump shoulders, I’d hop
up and play, “hunt the slipper;” or, if we were in the country, we’d
race over the meadow, and catch butterflies, or frogs, or toads, or
_snakes_, or anything on earth except a “school committee.”


       “The best time to choose a wife is early in the morning. If a
     young lady is at all inclined to sulks and slatternness, it is
     just before breakfast. As a general thing, a woman don’t get on
     her temper, till after 10 A. M.”--_Young Man’s Guide._

  Men never look slovenly before breakfast; no, indeed. They never run
round in their stocking feet, vestless, with dressing-gown inside out;
soiled handkerchief hanging out of the pocket by one corner. Minus
dicky--minus neck-tie; pantaloon straps flying; suspenders streaming
from their waistband; chin shaved on one side, and lathered on the
other; hair like porcupine quills; face all in a snarl of wrinkles
because the fire wont kindle, and because it snows, and because the
office boy don’t come for the keys, and because the newspaper hasn’t
arrived, and because they lost a bet the night before, and because
there’s an omelet instead of a broiled chicken, for breakfast, and
because they are out of sorts and shaving soap, out of cigars and
credit, and because they can’t “get their temper on” till they get some
money and a mint julep.

  Any time “before ten o’clock,” is the time to choose a


  Tiny blades of grass are struggling between the city’s pavements.
Fathers, and husbands, sighing, look at the tempting shop windows,
dolefully counting the cost of a “spring outfit.” Muffs, and boas, and
tippets, are among the things that _were_; and shawls, and “Talmas,”
and mantles, and “_little loves of bonnets_,” reign supreme, though
maiden aunts, and sage mammas, still mutter--“East winds, east winds,”
and choose the sunnier sidewalk.

  Housekeepers are making a horrible but necessary Babel, stripping
up carpets, and disembowelling old closets, chests, and cupboards.
Advertisements already appear in the newspapers, setting forth the
superior advantages of this or that dog-day retreat. Mrs. Jones
drives _Mr._ Jones distracted, at a regular hour every evening,
hammering about “change of scene, and air,” and the “health of the
dear children;” which, translated, means a quantity of new bonnets and
dresses, and a trip to Saratoga, for herself and intimate friend, Miss
Hob-Nob; while Jones takes his meals at a restaurant--sleeps in the
deserted house, sews on his missing buttons and dickey strings, and
spends his leisure time where _Mrs._ Jones don’t visit.

  _Spring is coming!_

  Handsome carriages roll past, freighted with lovely women,
(residents of other cities, for an afternoon ride.) Dash on, ladies!
You will scarcely find the environs of Boston surpassed, wherever you
may drive. A thousand pleasant surprises await you; lovely winding
paths and pretty cottages, and more ambitious houses with groups of
statuary hidden amid the foliage. But forget not to visit our sweet
Mount Auburn. Hush the light laugh and merry jest as the gray-haired
porter throws wide the gate for your prancing horses to tread the
hallowed ground. The dark old pines throw out their protecting arms
above you, and in their dense shade sleep eyes as bright, forms as
lovely, as your own--while “the mourners go about the streets.”
Rifle not, with sacrilegious hand, the flowers which bloom at the
headstone--tread lightly over the beloved dust! Each tenanted grave
entombs bleeding, _living_ hearts; each has its history, which eternity
alone shall reveal.

  _Spring is coming!_

  The city belle looks fresh as a new-blown rose--tossing her bright
curls in triumph, at her faultless costume and beautiful face. Her
lover’s name is Legion--for she hath also _golden charms_! Poor little
butterfly! bright, but ephemeral! You were made for something better.
Shake the dust from your earth-stained wings and--_soar_!

  _Spring is coming!_

  From the noisome lanes and alleys of the teeming city, swarm little
children, creeping forth like insects to bask in God’s sunshine--so
_free to all_. Squalid, forsaken, neglected; they are yet of those
to whom the Sinless said, “Suffer little children to come unto me.”
The disputed crust, the savage curse, the brutal blow, their only
patrimony! One’s heart _aches_ to call THIS _childhood_! No “spring!”
no summer, to them! Noisome sights, noisome sounds, noisome odors!
and the leprosy of sin following them like a curse! One longs to fold
to the warm heart those little forsaken ones; to smooth those matted
ringlets; to throw between them and sin the shield of virtue--to teach
their little lisping lips to say “_Our Father_!”

  _Spring is coming!_

  Yes, its blue skies are over us--its soft breezes shall fan us--the
fragrance of its myriad flowers be wafted to us. Its mossy carpet
shall be spread for our careless feet--our languid limbs shall be
laved at its cool fountains. Its luscious fruits shall send health
through our leaping veins--while from mountain top, and wooded hill,
and flower-wreathed valley, shall float one glad anthem of praise from
tiniest feathered throats!

  _Dear_ reader! From that human heart of thine shall no burst
of grateful thanks arise to Him who _giveth all_? While nature
adores--shall _man be dumb_? God forbid!


  I am looking, from the steamer’s deck, upon as fair a sunrise as ever
poet sang or painter sketched, or the earth ever saw. Oh, this broad,
blue, rushing river! sentineled by these grand old hills, amid which
the silvery mist wreaths playfully; half shrouding the little eyrie
homes, where love wings the uncounted hours; while looming up in the
hazy distance, is the Babel city, with glittering spires and burnished
panes--one vast illumination. My greedy eye with miserly eagerness
devours it all, and hangs it up in Memory’s cabinet, a fadeless
picture; upon which dame Fortune (the jilt) shall never have a mortgage.

  Do you see yonder figure leaning over the railing of the boat, gazing
on all this outspread wealth of beauty? One longs to hear his lips
give utterance to the burning thoughts which cause his eye to kindle
and his face to glow. A wiry sister, (whose name should be “Martha,”
so careful, so troubled looks her spinstership,) breaks the charmed
spell by asking him, in a cracked treble, “if _them_ porters on the
pier can be safely trusted with her bandbox and umberil.” My stranger
eyes meet his, and we both laugh involuntarily--(pardon us, oh ye prim
ones)--_without an introduction_!

  Close at my elbow sits a rough countryman, with so much “free soil”
adhering to his brogans they might have been used for beet-beds, and a
beard rivaled only by Nebuchadnezzar’s when he experimented on a grass
diet. He has only one word to express his overpowering emotions at the
glowing panorama before us, and that is “_pooty_,”--houses, trees, sky,
rafts, railroad cars and river, all are “_pooty_;” and when, in the
fulness of a soul craving sympathy, he turned to his dairy-fed Eve to
endorse it, that matter-of-fact feminine shower-bath-ed his enthusiasm,
by snarling out “pooty enough, I’spose, but _where’s my breakfast_?”

  Ah! here we are at the pier, at last. And now they emerge, our
night-travelers, from state-room and cabin into the fresh cool air of
the morning. Venus and Apollo! what a crew. Solemn as a hearse, surly
as an Englishman, blue as an indigo-bag! There’s a poor shivering babe,
twitched from a warm bed by an ignorant young mother, to encounter
the chill air of morning, with only a flimsy covering of lace and
embroidery;--there’s a languid southern belle, creeping out, _à la
tortoise_, and turning up her little aristocratic nose as if she
sniffed a pestilence;--there’s an Irish bride (green as Erin) in a
pearl-colored silk dress surmounted by a coarse blanket shawl;--there’s
a locomotive hour-glass, (alias a dandy,) a blue-eyed, cravat-choked,
pantaloon be-striped, vest-garnished, disgusting “institution!”
(give him and his quizzing glass plenty of sea-room);--and there’s
a clergyman, God bless his care-worn face, with a valise full of
salted-down sermons and the long-coveted “leave of absence;”--there’s
an editor, kicking a newsboy for bringing “coals to Newcastle” in the
shape of “extras;”--and there’s a good-natured, sunshiny “family man,”
carrying the baby, and the carpet-bag, and the traveling shawl, lest
his pretty little wife should get weary;--and there’s a poor bonnetless
emigrant, stunned by the Babel sounds, inquiring, despairingly, the
name of some person whom nobody knows or cares for;--and last, but not
least, there’s the wiry old maid “Martha,” asking “_thim_ porters on
the pier,” with tears in her faded green eyes, to be “keerful of her
bandbox and umberil.”

  On they go. Oh, how much of joy--how much of sorrow, in each heart’s
unwritten history.


  Babel, what a place!--what a dust--what a racket--what a whiz-buzz!
What a throng of human beings. “Jew and Gentile, bond and free;”
every nation the sun ever shone upon, here represented. What pampered
luxury--what squalid misery, on the same _pavé_. What unwritten
histories these myriad hearts might unfold. How much of joy, how much
of sorrow, how much of crime. Now, queenly beauty sweeps past, in sin’s
gay livery. Cursed he who first sent her forth, to walk the earth,
with her woman’s brow shame-branded. Fair mother--pure wife--frown
scornfully at her if you can; my heart aches for her. I see one who
once slept, sweet and fair, on a mother’s loving breast. I see one
whose bitterest tear may never wash her stain away. I see one on whom
mercy’s gate is forever shut, by her own unrelenting, unforgiving sex.
I see one who was young, beautiful, poor and friendless. They who make
long prayers, and wrap themselves up in self-righteousness, as with
a garment, turned a deaf ear, as she plead for the bread of honest
toil. Earth looked cold, and dark, and dreary; feeble feet stumbled
wearily on life’s rugged, thorny road. Oh, judge her not harshly,
pure but frigid censor; who shall say that with her desolation--her
temptation--your name too might not have been written “Magdalen.”


  How unmercifully the heavy cart wheels rattle over the stony
pavements; how unceasing the tramp of busy, restless feet; how loud
and shrill the cries of mirth and traffic. You turn heavily to your
heated pillow, murmuring, “Would God it were night!” The pulse of the
great city is stilled at last; and balmy sleep, so coveted, seems about
to bless you--when hark! a watchman’s rattle is sprung beneath your
window, evoking a score of stentorian voices, followed by a clanging
bell, and a rushing engine, announcing a conflagration. Again you turn
to your sleepless pillow; your quivering nerves and throbbing temples
sending to your pale lips this prayer, “Would to God it were morning!”

  Death comes, and releases you. You are scarcely missed. Your
next-door neighbor, who has lived within three feet of you for three
years, may possibly recollect having seen the doctor’s chaise before
your door, for some weeks past; then, that the front blinds were
closed; then, that a coffin was carried in; and he remarks to his wife,
as he takes up the evening paper, over a comfortable dish of tea, that
“he shouldn’t wonder if neighbor Grey were dead,” and then they read
your name and age in the bill of mortality, and wonder “what disease
you died of;” and then the servant removes the tea-tray, and they
play a game of whist, and never think of you again, till they see the
auctioneer’s flag floating before your door.

  The house is sold; and your neighbor sees your widow and little ones
pass out over the threshold in tears and sables (grim poverty keeping
them silent company); but what of that? The world is _full_ of widows
and orphans; one can’t always be thinking of a charnel-house; and so he
returns to his stocks and dividends, and counting-room, and ledger, in
a philosophical state of serenity.

  Some time after, he is walking with a friend; and meets a lady in
rusty mourning, carrying a huge bundle, from which “slop work” is
seen protruding, (a little child accompanies her, with its feet out
at the toes.) She has a look of hopeless misery on her fine but sad
features. She is a _lady still_ (spite of her dilapidated wardrobe
and her bundle.) Your neighbor’s companion touches his arm, and says,
“Good God! isn’t that Grey’s widow?” He glances at her carelessly, and
answers, “Shouldn’t wonder;” and invites him home to dine on trout,
cooked in claret, and hot-house peaches, at half a dollar a-piece.

       *       *       *       *       *


  On the fragrant breeze, through your latticed window, come the
twitter of the happy swallow, the chirp of the robin, and the drowsy
hum of the bee. From your pillow you can watch the shadows come and go,
over the clover meadow, as the clouds go drifting by. Rustic neighbors
lean on their spades at sunset at your door, and with sympathising
voices “hope you are better.” The impatient hoof of the prancing horse
is checked by the hand of pity; and the merry shout of the sunburnt
child (musical though it be,) dies on the cherry lip, at the uplifted
finger of compassion. A shower of rose-leaves drifts in over your
pillow, on the soft sunset zephyr. Oh, earth _is_ passing fair; but
_Heaven is fairer_!

  Its portals unclose to you! Kind, neighborly hands wipe the
death-damp from your brow; speak words of comfort to your weeping wife,
caress your unconscious children. Your fading eye takes it all in, but
your tongue is powerless to speak its thanks. They close your drooping
lids, they straighten your manly limbs, they lay your weary head on its
grassy pillow, they bedew it with sympathetic tears; they pray God,
that night, in their cottage homes, to send His kind angel down, to
whisper words of peace to the broken hearts you have left behind.

  _They do something besides pray._ From unknown hands, the widow’s
“cruse of oil,” and “barrel of meal,” are oft replenished. On your
little orphans’ heads, many a rough palm is laid, with tearful
blessing. Many a dainty peach, or pear, or apple is tossed them, on
their way to school. Many a ride they get “to mill,” or “hay-field,”
or “village,” while their mother shades her moistened eyes in the
door-way, quite unable to speak. The old farmer sees it; and knowing
better how to bestow a kindness than to bear such expressive
thanks, cuts Dobbin in the flanks, then starting tragically at the
_premeditated rear_, asks her, with an hysterical laugh, “_if she ever
saw such an uneasy beast_!”

  Wide open fly their cottage doors and hearts, at “Christmas”
and “Thanksgiving,” for your stricken household. There may be
little city etiquette at the feast, there may be ungrammatical
words and infelicitous expressions,--but, thank God, unchilled by
selfishness, unshrivelled by avarice, human hearts throb warmly


       “The hand that can make a pie is a continual feast to the
     husband that marries its owner.”

  Well, it is a humiliating reflection, that the straightest road to a
man’s heart is through his palate. He is never so amiable as when he
has discussed a roast turkey. Then’s your time, “Esther,” for “half
his kingdom,” in the shape of a new bonnet, cap, shawl, or dress. He’s
too complacent to dispute the matter. Strike while the iron is hot;
petition for a trip to Niagara, Saratoga, the Mammoth Cave, the White
Mountains, or to London, Rome, or Paris. Should he demur about it,
the next day cook him another turkey, and pack your trunk while he is
eating it.

  There’s nothing on earth so savage--except a bear robbed of her
cubs--as a hungry husband. It is as much as your life is worth to
sneeze, till dinner is on the table, and his knife and fork are in
vigorous play. Tommy will get his ears boxed, the ottoman will be
kicked into the corner, your work-box be turned bottom upwards, and the
poker and tongs will beat a tattoo on that grate that will be a caution
to dilatory cooks.

  After the first six mouthfuls you may venture to say your soul is
your own; his eyes will lose their ferocity, his brow its furrows,
and he will very likely recollect to help you to a cold potato! Never
mind--_eat it_. You might have to swallow a worse pill--for instance,
should he offer to kiss you!

  Well, learn a lesson from it--keep him well fed and languid--live
yourself on a low diet, and cultivate your thinking powers; and
you’ll be as spry as a cricket, and hop over all the objections and
remonstances that his dead-and-alive energies can muster. Yes, feed him
well, and he will stay contentedly in his cage, like a gorged anaconda.
If he were my husband, wouldn’t I make him heaps of _pison_ things!
Bless me! I’ve made a mistake in the spelling; it should have been
_pies and things_!



  It was a simple dress of snowy muslin, innocent of the magic touch
of a French _modiste_. There was not an inch of lace upon it, nor a
rosette, nor a flower; it was pure, and simple, and unpretending as its
destined wearer. A pair of white kid gloves, of fairy-like proportions,
lay beside it, also a tiny pair of satin slippers. There was no bridal
_trousseau_; no--Meta had no rich uncles, or aunts, or cousins,--no
_consistent_ god-parents who, promising at her baptism that she should
“renounce the pomp and vanities of the world,” redeemed their promise
by showering at her bridal feet, diamonds enough to brighten many a
starving fellow-creature’s pathway to the tomb.

  Did I say there was no bridal _trousseau_? There was _one_ gift, a
little clasp Bible, with “Meta Grey” written on the flyleaf, in the
bridegroom’s bold, handsome hand. Perchance some gay beauty, who reads
this, may curl her rosy lip scornfully; but well Meta knew how to
value such a gift. Through long dreary years of orphanage “God’s Word”
had been to her what the star in the East was to Bethlehem’s watching
shepherds. Her lonely days of toil were over now. There was a true
heart, whose every pulsation was love for her--a brave arm to defend
her helplessness, and a quiet, sunny home where Peace, like a brooding
dove, should fold his wings, while the happy hours flew uncounted by.

  Yes; Meta was looked for, every hour. She was to leave the group of
laughing hoidens, (before whom she had forbidden her lover to claim
her,) and thereafter confine her teachings to one pupil, whose “reward
of merit” should be the love-light in her soft, dark eyes. Still, it
was weary waiting for her; her last letter was taken, for the hundredth
time, from its hiding-place, and read and refolded, and read again,
although he could say it all, with his eyes shut, in the darkest corner
in Christendom. But you know all about it, dear reader, if you own a
heart, and if you don’t, the sooner you drop my story the better.

  Well; he paced the room up and down, looked out the window, and
down the street: then he sat down in the little rocking-chair he had
provided for her, and tried to imagine it was tenanted by _two_;
then, delicious tears sprang to his eyes, that such a sweet fount of
happiness was opened to him--that the golden morn, and busy noon,
and hushed and starry night, should find them _ever_ side by side.
Care?--he didn’t know it! Trouble?--what trouble could _he_ have, when
all his heart craved on earth was bounded by his clasping arms? And
then, Meta was an orphan--he was scarcely sorry--there would be none
for her heart to go out to now but himself; he must be brother, sister,
father, mother--_all_ to her; and his heart gave a full and joyful
response to each and every claim.

  --But what a little loiterer! He was half vexed; he paced the room
in his impatience, handled the little slippers affectionately, and
caressed the little gloves as if they were filled by the plump hand of
Meta, instead of his imagination. Why _didn’t_ she fly to him? Such an
angel should have wings--he was sure of that.

  --Wings? God help you, widowed bridegroom! Who shall have the heart
to read you this sad paragraph?

       “ONE OF THE NORWALK VICTIMS.--The body of a young lady, endowed
     with extraordinary personal beauty, remains yet unrecognized. On
     her countenance reposes an expression of pleasure, in striking and
     painful contrast to the terrible scene amid which she breathed her
     last. She was evidently about twenty years old, doubtless the glory
     of some circle of admiring friends, who little dream where she is,
     and of her shocking condition.”


       “The love of a spirited woman is better worth having than that
     of any other female individual you can start.”

  I wish I had known that before! I’d have plucked up a little spirit,
and not gone trembling through creation, like a plucked chicken, afraid
of every animal I ran _a-fowl_ of. I have not dared to say my soul was
my own since the day I was married, and every time Mr. Jones comes into
the entry and sets down that great cane of his, with a thump, you might
hear my teeth chatter, down cellar! I always keep one eye on him, in
company, to see if I am saying the right thing; and the middle of a
sentence is the place for me to stop, (I can tell you,) if his black
eyes snap! It’s so aggravating to find out my mistake at this time
o’ day. I ought to have carried a stiff upper lip, long ago. Wonder
if little women can look dignified? Wonder how it would do to turn
straight about now? I’ll try it!

  Harry will come home presently and thunder out, as usual, “Mary,
why the deuce isn’t dinner ready?” I’ll just set my teeth together,
put my arms akimbo, and look him right straight----oh, mercy! I
can’t! I should dissolve! Bless your soul, he’s a six-footer; such
whiskers--none of your sham settlements! Such eyes! and such a nice
mouth. Come to think of it, I really believe I love him! Guess I’ll go
along the old way!


  “This will never do,” said little Mrs. Kitty; “how I came to be such
a simpleton as to get married before I knew how to keep house, is more
and more of an astonisher to me. I _can_ learn, and I _will_! There’s
Bridget told me yesterday there wasn’t time to make a pudding before
dinner. I had my private suspicions she was imposing upon me, though
I didn’t know enough about it to contradict her. The truth is, I’m no
more mistress of this house than I am of the Grand Seraglio. Bridget
knows it, too; and, there’s Harry (how hot it makes my cheeks to think
of it!) couldn’t find an eatable thing on the dinner table yesterday.
He loves me too well to say anything, but he had such an ugly frown on
his face when he lit his cigar and went off to his office. Oh, I see
how it is:

    “‘One must eat in matrimony,
    And love is neither bread nor honey,
    And so, you understand.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

  “What on earth sent you over here in this dismal rain?” said Kitty’s
neighbor, Mrs. Green. “Just look at your gaiters.”

  “Oh, never mind gaiters,” said Kitty, untying her “rigolette,” and
throwing herself on the sofa. “I don’t know any more about cooking than
a six-weeks’ kitten; Bridget walks over my head with the most perfect
Irish _nonchalance_; Harry looks as solemn as an ordained bishop; the
days grow short, the bills grow long, and I’m the most miserable little
Kitty that ever mewed. Do have pity on me, and initiate me into the
mysteries of broiling, baking, and roasting; take me into your kitchen
now, and let me go into it while the fit is on me. I feel as if I could
roast Chanticleer and all his hen-harem!”

  “You don’t expect to take your degree in one forenoon?” said Mrs.
Green, laughing immoderately.

  “Not a bit of it! I intend to come every morning, if the earth don’t
whirl off its axle. I’ve locked up my guitar and my French and Italian
books, and that irresistible ‘Festus,’ and nerved myself like a female
martyr, to look a gridiron in the face without flinching. Come, put
down that embroidery, there’s a good Samaritan, and descend with me
into the lower regions, before my enthusiasm gets a shower-bath,” and
she rolled up her sleeves from her round white arms, took off her
rings, and tucked her curls behind her ears.

  Very patiently did Mrs. Kitty keep her resolution; each day added
a little to her store of culinary wisdom. What if she did flavor her
first custards with peppermint instead of lemon? What if she did
“baste” a turkey with saleratus instead of salt? What if she did season
the stuffing with ground cinnamon instead of pepper? Rome wasn’t built
in a day;--cooks can’t be manufactured in a minute.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Kitty’s husband had been gone just a month. He was expected home
that very day. All the morning the little wife had been getting up a
congratulatory dinner, in honor of the occasion. What with satifaction
and the kitchen fire, her cheeks glowed like a milkmaid’s. How her eyes
sparkled, and what a pretty little triumphant toss she gave her head,
when that big trunk was dumped down in the entry! It isn’t a bad thing,
sometimes, to have a secret even from one’s own husband.

  “On my word, Kitty,” said Harry, holding her off at arm’s length,
“you look most provokingly ‘well-to-do’ for a widow ‘pro tem.’ I don’t
believe you have mourned for me the breath of a sigh. What have you
been about? who has been here? and what mine of fun is to be prophesied
from the merry twinkle in the corner of your eye? Anybody hid in the
closet or cupboard? Have you drawn a prize in the lottery?”

  “Not since I married you,” said Mrs. Kitty; “and you are quite
welcome to that sugar-plum to sweeten your dinner.”

  “How Bridget has improved,” said Harry, as he plied his knife and
fork industriously; “I never saw these woodcock outdone, even at our
bachelor club-rooms at ---- House. She shall have a present of a pewter
cross, as sure as her name is McFlanigan, besides absolution for all
the detestable messes she used to concoct with her Catholic fingers.”

  “Let me out! let me out!” said a stifled voice from the closet; “you
can’t expect a woman to keep a secret forever.”

  “What on earth do you mean, Mrs. Green?” said Harry, gaily shaking
her hand.

  “Why, you see, ‘Bridget has improved;’ i. e. to say, little Mrs.
Kitty there received from my hands yesterday a diploma, certifying her
Mistress of Arts, Hearts and Drumsticks, having spent every morning of
your absence in perfecting herself as a housekeeper. There now, don’t
drop on your knees to her till I have gone. I know very well when three
is a crowd, or, to speak more fashionably, when I am ‘_de trop_,’ and
I’m only going to stop long enough to remind you that there are some
_wives_ left in the world, and that Kitty is one of ’em.”

  And now, dear reader, if you doubt whether Mrs. Kitty was rewarded
for all her trouble, you’d better take a peep into that parlor,
and while you are looking, let me whisper a secret in your ear
confidentially. You may be as beautiful as Venus, and as talented as
Madame de Stael, but you never’ll reign supreme in your liege lord’s
affections, till you can roast a turkey.


  “There’s no calculating the difference between men and women
boarders. Here’s Mr. Jones, been in my house these six months, and no
more trouble to me than my gray kitten. If his bed is shook up once a
week, and his coats, cravats, love-letters, cigars and patent-leather
boots left undisturbed in the middle of the floor, he is as contented
as a pedagogue in vacation time.

  “Take a woman to board, and (if it is perfectly convenient) she would
like drapery instead of drop-curtains; she’d like the windows altered
to open at the top, and a wardrobe for her flounced dresses, and a few
more nails and another shelf in her closet, and a cricket to put her
feet on, and a little rocking-chair, and a big looking-glass, and a
pea-green shade for her gas-burner.

  “She would like breakfast about ten minutes later than your usual
hour; tea ten minutes earlier, and the gong, which shocks her nerves
_so_, altogether dispensed with.

  “She can’t drink coffee, because it is exhilarating; broma is too
insipid, and chocolate too heavy. She don’t fancy cocoa. ‘English
breakfast tea’ is the only beverage which agrees with her delicate
spinster organization.

  “She can’t digest a roast or a fried dish; she might _possibly_
peck at an egg, if it were boiled with one eye on the watch. Pastry
she never eats, unless she knows from what dairy the butter came,
which enters into its composition. Every article of food prepared with
butter, salt, pepper, mustard, vinegar or oil; or bread that is made
with yeast, soda, milk or saleratus, she decidedly rejects.

  “She is constantly washing out little duds of laces, collars,
handkerchiefs, chemisettes and stockings, which she festoons up to the
front windows, to dry; giving passers-by the impression that your house
is occupied by a _blanchesseuse_;--then jerks the bell-wire for an hour
or more, for relays of hot smoothing irons, to put the finishing stroke
to her operations.

  “She is often afflicted with interesting little colds and influenzas,
requiring the immediate consolation of a dose of hot lemonade or ginger
tea; choosing her time for these complaints when the kitchen fire has
gone out and the servants are on a furlough. Oh! nobody knows, but
those who’ve tried, how immensely troublesome women are! I’d rather
have a whole regiment of men boarders. All you have to do is, to
wind them up in the morning with a powerful cup of coffee, give them
_carte-blanche_ to smoke, and a night-key, and your work is done.”


  What a warm Sunday! and what a large church! I wonder if it will be
half-filled! Empty pews are a sorry welcome to a pastor. Ah! no fear;
here comes the congregation in troops and families; now the capacious
galleries are filled; every pew is crowded, and seats are being placed
in the aisles.

  The preacher rises. What a young “David!” Still, the “stone and
sling” will do their execution. How simple, how child-like that prayer;
and yet how eloquent, how fervent. How eagerly, as he names the text,
the eye of each is riveted upon the preacher, as if to secure his
individual portion of the heavenly manna.

  Let us look around, upon the audience. Do you see yonder gray-haired
business man? Six days in the week, for many years, he has been
Mammon’s most devoted worshipper. According to time-honored custom, he
has slept comfortably in his own pew each Sunday, lulled by the soft
voice of the shepherd who “prophesieth smooth things.” One pleasant
Sabbath, chance, (I would rather say an overruling Providence,) led
him here. He settles himself in his accustomed Sunday attitude, but
sleep comes not at his bidding. He looks disturbed. The preacher is
dwelling upon the permitted but fraudulent tricks of business men,
and exposing plainly their turpitude in the sight of that God who
holds “evenly the scales of justice.” As he proceeds, Conscience
whispers to this aged listener, “Thou art the man!” He moves uneasily
on his seat; an angry flush mounts to his temples: What right has that
boy-preacher to question the integrity of men of such unblemished
mercantile standing in the community as himself? He is not accustomed
to such a spiritual probing knife. _His_ spiritual physician has always
“healed the hurt of his people slightly.” He don’t like such plain
talking, and sits the service out only from compulsion. But when he
passes the church porch, he does not leave the sermon there, as usual.
No. He goes home perplexed and thoughtful. Conscience sides with the
preacher; self-interest tries to stifle its voice with the sneering
whisper of “priest-craft.” Monday comes, and again he plunges into the
maelstrom of business, and tries to tell the permitted lie with his
usual _nonchalance_ to some ignorant customer, but his tongue falters
and performs its duty but awkwardly; a slight blush is perceptible upon
his countenance; and the remainder of the week chronicles similar and
repeated failures.

  Again it is Sunday. He is not a church-member: he can stay at home,
therefore, without fear of a canonical committee of Paul Prys to
investigate the matter: he can look over his debt and credit list if
he likes, without excommunication: he certainly will not put himself
again in the way of that plain-spoken, stripling priest. The bell peals
out, in musical tones, seemingly this summons: “Come up with us, and
we will do you good.” By an irresistible impulse, he finds himself
again a listener. “Not that he _believes_ what that boy says:” Oh no:
but, somehow, he likes to listen to him, even though he attack that
impregnable pride in which he has wrapped himself up as in a garment.

  Now, why is this? Why is this church filled with such wayside

  Why, but that all men--even the most worldly and unscrupulous--pay
involuntary homage to earnestness, sincerity, independence and
Christian boldness, in the “man of God?”

  Why? Because they see that he stands in that sacred desk, not that
his lips may be tamed and held in, with a silver bit and silken bridle:
not because preaching is his “trade,” and his hearers must receive
their _quid pro quo_ once a week--no, they all see and feel that his
_heart_ is in the work--that he _loves_ it--that he comes to them fresh
from his closet, his face shining with the light of “the Mount,” as did

  The preacher is remarkable for fertility of imagination, for rare
felicity of expression, for his keen perception of the complicated and
mysterious workings of the human heart, and for the uncompromising
boldness with which he utters his convictions. His earnestness of
manner, vehemence of gesture and rapidity of utterance, are, at times,
electrifying; impressing his hearers with the idea that language is too
poor and meager a medium for the rushing tide of his thoughts.

  Upon the lavish beauty of earth, sea, and sky, he has evidently gazed
with the poet’s eye of rapture. He walks the green earth in no monk’s
cowl or cassock. The tiniest blade of grass with its “drap o’ dew,”
has thrilled him with strange delight. “God is love,” is written for
him in brilliant letters, on the arch of the rainbow. Beneath that
black coat, his heart leaps like a happy child’s to the song of the
birds and the tripping of the silver-footed stream, and goes up, in the
dim old woods, with the fragrance of their myriad flowers, in grateful
incense of praise, to Heaven.

  God be thanked, that upon all these rich and rare natural gifts,
“Holiness to the Lord” has been written. Would that the number of
such gospel soldiers was “legion,” and that they might stand in
the forefront of the hottest battle, wielding thus skillfully and
unflinchingly the “Sword of the Spirit.”


       “I can bear misfortune and poverty, and all the other ills of
     life, but to be an _old maid_--to droop and wither, and wilt and
     die, like a single pink--I can’t _endure_ it; and _what’s more, I

  Now there’s an appeal that ought to touch some bachelor’s heart.
There she is, a poor, lone spinster, in a nicely furnished room--sofa
big enough for _two_; _two_ arm chairs, _two_ bureaus, _two_
looking-glasses--everything hunting in couples except herself! I
don’t wonder she’s frantic! She read in her childhood that “matches
were made in Heaven,” and although she’s well aware there are some
_Lucifer matches_, yet she has never had a chance to try either
sort. She has heard that there “never was a soul created, but its
twin was made somewhere,” and she’s a melancholy proof that ’tis a
mocking lie. She gets tired sewing--she can’t knit forever on that
eternal stocking--(besides, _that_ has a _fellow_ to it, and is only
an aggravation to her feelings.) She has read till her eyes are half
blind,--there’s nobody to agree with her if she likes the book, or
argue the point with her if she don’t. If she goes out to walk, every
woman she meets has her husband’s arm. To be sure, they are half of
them ready to scratch each other’s eyes out; but that’s a little
business matter between themselves. Suppose she feels devotional, and
goes to evening lectures, some ruffianly coward is sure to scare her to
death on the way. If she takes a journey, she gets hustled and boxed
round among cab-drivers, and porters, and baggage-masters; her bandbox
gets knocked in, her trunk gets knocked off, and she’s landed at the
wrong stopping place. If she wants a load of wood, she has to pay twice
as much as a man would, and then she gets cheated by the man that saws
and splits it. She has to put her own money into the bank and get it
out, hire her own pew, and wait upon herself into it. People tell her
“husbands are often great plagues,” but she knows there are times when
they are indispensable. She is very good looking, black hair and eyes,
fine figure, sings and plays beautifully, but she “can’t be an old
maid, and _what’s more_--SHE WON’T.”


       “What is the height of a woman’s ambition? Diamonds.”--_Punch._

  Sagacious Punch! Do you know the reason? It is because the more
“diamonds” a woman owns, the more _precious_ she becomes in the eyes
of your discriminating sex. What pair of male eyes ever saw a “crow’s
foot,” grey hair, or wrinkle, in company with a _genuine diamond_?
Don’t you go down on your marrow-bones, and vow that the owner is a
Venus, a Hebe, a Juno, a sylph, a fairy, an angel? Would you stop to
look (_connubially_) at the most bewitching woman on earth, whose only
diamonds were “_in her eye_?” Well, it is no great marvel, Mr. Punch.
The race of _men_ is about extinct. Now and then you will meet with a
specimen; but I’m sorry to inform you that the most of them are nothing
but coat tails, walking behind a moustache, destitute of sufficient
energy to earn their own cigars and “Macassar,” preferring to dangle at
the heels of a _diamond_ wife, and meekly receive their allowance, as
her mamma’s prudence and her own inclinations may suggest.


  You have never heard FATHER TAYLOR, the Boston Seaman’s preacher?
Well--you should go down to his church some Sunday. It is not at the
court-end of the town. The urchins in the neighborhood are guiltless
of shoes or bonnets. You will see quite a sprinkling of “Police” at
the corners. Green Erin, too, is well represented: with a dash of
Africa--checked off with “dough faces.”

  Let us go into the church: there are no stained-glass windows--no
richly draperied pulpit--no luxurious seats to suggest a nap to your
sleepy conscience. No odor of patchouli, or _nonpareil_, or _bouqet
de violet_ will be wafted across your patrician nose. Your satin
and broadcloth will fail to procure you the highest seat in the
synagogue,--they being properly reserved for the “old salts.”

  Here they come! one after another, with horny palms and bronzed
faces. It stirs my blood, like the sound of a trumpet, to see them. The
seas they have crossed! the surging billows they have breasted! the
lonely, dismal, weary nights they have kept watch!--the harpies in port
who have assailed their generous sympathies! the sullen plash of the
sheeted dead, in its vast ocean sepulchre!--what stirring thoughts and
emotions do their weather-beaten faces call into play! God bless the
sailor!--Here they come; sure of a welcome--conscious that they are no
intruders on aristocratic landsmen’s soil--sure that each added face
will send a thrill of pleasure to the heart of the good old man, who
folds them all, as one family, to his patriarchal bosom.

  There he is! How reverently he drops on his knee, and utters that
silent prayer. Now he is on his feet. With a quick motion he adjusts
his spectacles, and says to the tardy tar doubtful of a berth, “Room
here, brother!” pointing to a seat _in the pulpit_. Jack don’t know
about _that_! He can climb the rigging when Boreas whistles his
fiercest blast; he can swing into the long boat with a stout heart,
when creaking timbers are parting beneath him: but to mount the
_pulpit_!--Jack doubts his qualifications, and blushes through his mask
of bronze. “Room enough, brother!” again reässures him; and, with a
litle extra fumbling at his tarpaulin, and hitching at his waistband,
he is soon as much at home as though he were on his vessel’s deck.

  The hymn is read with a _heart-tone_. There is no mistaking either
the poet’s meaning or the reader’s devotion. And now, if you have a
“scientific musical ear,” (which, thank heaven, I have not,) you may
criticise the singing, while I am not ashamed of the tears that steal
down my face, as I mark the effect of good _Old Hundred_ (minus trills
and flourishes) on Neptune’s honest, hearty, whole-souled sons.

  --The text is announced. There follows no arrangement of dickys, or
bracelets, or eye-glasses. You forget your ledger and the fashions,
the last prima donna, and that your neighbor is not one of the “upper
ten,” as you fix your eye on that good old man, and are swept away
from worldly moorings by the flowing tide of his simple, earnest
eloquence. You marvel that these uttered truths of his, never struck
your thoughtless mind before. My pen fails to convey to you the play of
expression on that earnest face--those emphatic gestures--the starting
tear or the thrilling voice;--but they all _tell_ on “Jack.”

  And now an infant is presented for baptism. The pastor takes it on
one arm. O, surely he is himself a father, else it would not be poised
so gently. Now he holds it up, that all may view its dimpled beauty,
and says: “Is there one here who doubts, should this child die to-day,
its right among the blessed?” One murmured, spontaneous _No!_ bursts
from Jacks’ lips, as the baptismal drops lave its sinless temples.
Lovingly the little lamb is folded, with a kiss and a blessing, to the
heart of the earthly shepherd, ere the maternal arms receive it.

  Jack looks on and weeps! And how can he help weeping? _He_ was
once as pure as that blessed innocent! His _mother_--the sod now
covers her--often invoked heaven’s blessing on _her_ son; and well he
remembers the touch of her gentle hand and the sound of her loving
voice, as she murmured the imploring prayer for him: and how has her
sailor boy redeemed his youthful promise? He dashes away his scalding
tears, with his horny palm; but, please God, that Sabbath--that
scene--shall be a talisman upon which memory shall ineffaceably

    “Go, and sin no more.”


  E-Q-U-I--equi, D-O-M-E--dome, “Equidome.” Betty, hand me my

  Well, now, who would have believed that I, Fanny Fern, would have
tripped over a “stable?” That all comes of being “raised” where people
persist in calling things by their right names. I’m very certain that
it is useless for me to try to circumnavigate the globe on stilts.
There’s the “Hippodrome!” I had but just digested that humbug: my
tongue kinked all up trying to pronounce it; and then I couldn’t find
out the meaning of it; for Webster didn’t inform me that it was a place
where vicious horses broke the necks of vicious young girls for the
amusement of vicious spectators.

  --“Jim Brown!” What a relief. I can understand that. I never saw Jim,
but I’m positively certain that he’s a monosyllable on legs--crisp as a
cucumber. Ah! here are some more suggestive signs.

  “Robert Link--Bird Fancier.” I suggest that it be changed to
Bob-o’Link; in which opinion I shall probably be backed up by all
musical people.

  Here we are in Broadway junior, alias the “Bowery.” I don’t see but
the silks, and satins, and dry goods generally, are quite equal to
those in Broadway; but, of course, Fashion turns her back upon them,
for they are only half the price.

  What have we here, in this shop window? What are all those silks, and
delaines, and calicoes, ticketed up that way for?--“Superb,” “Tasty,”
“Beautiful,” “Desirable,” “Cheap for 1_s._,” “Modest,” “Unique,”
“Genteel,” “Grand,” “Gay!” It is very evident that Mr. Yardstick takes
all women for fools, or else he has had a narrow escape from being one

  There’s a poor, distracted gentleman in a milliner’s shop, trying
to select a bonnet for his spouse. What a _non compos_! See him poise
the airy nothings on his great clumsy hands! He is about as good a
judge of bonnets as I am of patent ploughs. See him turn, in despairing
bewilderment, from blue to pink, from pink to green, from green to
crimson, from crimson to yellow. The little witch of a milliner sees
his indecision, and resolves to make a _coup d’état_; so, perching one
of the bonnets (blue as her eyes) on her rosy little face, she walks
up sufficiently near to give him a magnetic shiver, and holding the
strings coquettishly under her pretty little chin, says:

  “Now, I’m sure, you can’t say _that_ isn’t pretty!”

  Of course he can’t!

  So, the bonnet is bought and band-boxed, and Jonathan (who is sold
with the bonnet) takes it home to his wife, whose black face looks in
it like an overcharged thunder-cloud set in a silver lining.

  Saturday evening is a busy time in the Bowery. So many little things
wanted at the close of the week. A pair of new shoes for Robert, a
tippet for Sally, a pair of gloves for Johnny, and a stick of candy
to bribe the baby to keep the peace while mamma goes to “meetin” on
Sunday. What a heap of people! What a job it must be to take the census
in New York. Servant girls and their beaux, country folks and city
folks, big boys and little boys, ladies and women, puppies and men!
There’s a poor laboring man with his market basket on one arm, and his
wife on the other. He knows that he can get his Sunday dinner cheaper
by purchasing it late on Saturday night, when the butchers are not
quite sure that their stock will “keep” till Monday. And then it is
quite a treat for his wife, when little Johnny is asleep, to get out
to catch a bit of fresh air, and a sight of the pretty things in the
shop windows, even if she cannot have them; but the little feminine
diplomatist knows that husbands always feel clever of a Saturday night,
and that then’s the time “_just to stop and look_” at a new ribbon or

  See that party of country folks, going to the “National” to see
“Uncle Tom.” Those pests, the bouquet sellers, are offering them their
stereotyped, cabbage-looking bunches of flowers with,

  “Please buy one for your lady, sir.”

  Jonathan don’t understand dodging such appeals; beside, he would
scorn to begrudge a “quarter” for _his lady_! So he buys the nuisance,
and scraping out his hind foot, presents it, with a bow, to Araminta,
who “walks on thrones” the remainder of the evening.

  There’s a hand organ, and a poor, tired little girl, sleepily playing
the tambourine. All the little ragged urchins in the neighborhood are
grouped on that door step, listening. The connoisseur might criticise
the performance, but no Cathedral _Te Deum_ could be grander to that
unsophisticated little audience. There is one little girl, who spite of
her rags, is beautiful enough for a seraph. _Poor and beautiful!_ God
help her.


  “Stitch--stitch--stitch! Will this _never_ end?” said a young girl,
leaning her head wearily against the casement, and dropping her small
hands hopelessly in her lap. “Stitch--stitch--stitch! from dawn till
dark, and yet I scarce keep soul and body together;” and she drew her
thin shawl more closely over her shivering shoulders.

  Her eye fell upon the great house opposite. There was comfort there,
and luxury, too; for the rich, satin curtains were looped gracefully
away from the large windows; a black servant opens the hall door: see,
there are statues and vases and pictures there: now, two young girls
trip lightly out upon the pavement, their lustrous silks, and nodding
plumes, and jeweled bracelets glistening, and quivering, and sparkling
in the bright sunlight. Now poising their silver-netted purses upon
the daintily gloved fingers, they leap lightly into the carriage in
waiting, and are whirled rapidly away.

  That little seamstress is as fair as they: her eyes are as soft and
blue; her limbs as lithe and graceful; her rich, brown hair folds
as softly away over as fair a brow; her heart leaps, like theirs,
to all that is bright and joyous; it craves love and sympathy, and
companionship as much, and yet she must stitch--stitch--stitch--and
droop under summer’s heat, and shiver under winter’s cold, and
walk the earth with the skeleton starvation ever at her side, that
costly pictures, and velvet carpets, and massive chandeliers, and
gay tapestry, and gold and silver vessels may fill the house of her
employer--that _his_ flaunting equipage may roll admired along the
highway, and India’s fairest fabrics deck his purse-proud wife and

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: “Tut, tut, young woman! don’t quarrel with your bread
and butter!”]

  It was a busy scene, the ware-room of Simon Skinflint & Co. Garments
of every hue, size and pattern, were there exposed for sale. Piles
of coarse clothing lay upon the counter, ready to be given out to
the destitute, brow-beaten applicant who would make them for the
smallest possible remuneration; piles of garments lay there, which such
victims had already toiled into the long night to finish, ticketed to
bring enormous profits into the pocket of their employer: groups of
dapper clerks stood behind the counter, discussing, in a whisper, the
pedestals of the last new _danseuse_--ogling the half-starved young
girls who were crowding in for employment, and raising a blush on the
cheek of humble innocence by the coarse joke and free, libidinous gaze;
while their master, Mr. Simon Skinflint, sat, rosy and rotund, before a
bright Lehigh fire, rubbing his fat hands, building imaginary houses,
and felicitating himself generally, on his far-reaching financial

  “If you could but allow me a trifle more for my labor,” murmured a
low voice at his side; “I have toiled hard all the week, and yet--”

  “Young woman,” said Mr. Skinflint, pushing his chair several feet
back, elevating his spectacles to his forehead, and drawing his satin
vest down over his aldermanic proportions--“young woman, do you observe
that crowd of persons besieging my door for employment? Perhaps you
are not aware that we turn away scores of them every day; perhaps you
don’t know that the farmers’ daughters, who are at a loss what to do
long winter evenings, and want to earn a little dowry, will do our work
for less than we pay you? But you feminine operatives don’t seem to
have the least idea of trade. Competition is the soul of business, you
see,” said Mr. Skinflint, rubbing his hands in a congratulatory manner.
“Tut--tut--young woman! don’t quarrel with your bread and butter;
however, it is a thing that don’t concern me at all; if you _won’t_
work, there are plenty who _will_,”--and Mr. Skinflint drew out his
gold repeater, and glanced at the door.

  A look of hopeless misery settled over the young girl’s face, as she
turned slowly away in the direction of home. _Home_ did I say? The word
was a bitter mockery to poor Mary. She had a home once, where she and
the little birds sang the live-long day: where flowers blossomed, and
tall trees waved, and merry voices floated out on the fragrant air, and
the golden sun went gorgeously down behind the far-off hills; where
a mother’s loving breast was her pillow, and a father’s good-night
blessing wooed her rosy slumbers. It was past now. They were all
gone--father, mother, brother, sister. Some with the blue sea for a
shifting monument; some sleeping dreamlessly in the little church-yard,
where her infant footsteps strayed. Rank grass had o’ergrown the
cottage gravel walks; weeds choked the flowers which dust-crumbled
hands had planted; the brown moss had thatched over the cottage eaves,
and still the little birds sang on as blithely as if Mary’s household
gods had not been shivered.

  Poor Mary! The world was dark and weary to her: the very stars, with
their serene beauty, seemed to mock her misery. She reached her little
room. Its narrow walls seemed to close about her like a tomb. She
leaned her head wearily against the little window, and looked again
at the great house opposite. How brightly, how cheerfully the lights
glanced from the windows! How like fairies glided the young girls
over the softly carpeted floors! How swiftly the carriages whirled
to the door, with their gay visitors? Life was such a rosy dream to
_them_--such a brooding nightmare to _her_! Despair laid its icy hand
on her heart. Must she _always_ drink, unmixed, the cup of sorrow? Must
she weep and sigh her youth away, while griping Avarice trampled on her
heart-strings? She could not weep--nay, worse--she could not pray. Dark
shadows came between her soul and heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

  The little room is empty now. Mary toils there no longer. You will
find her in the great house opposite: her dainty limbs clad in flowing
silk; her slender fingers and dimpled arms glittering with gems:
and among all that merry group, Mary’s laugh rings out the merriest.
Surely--surely, this is better than to toil, weeping, through the long
weary days in the little darkened room.

  Is it, Mary?

       *       *       *       *       *

  There is a ring at the door of the great house. A woman glides
modestly in; by her dress, she is a widow. She has opened a small
school in the neighborhood, and in the search for scholars has wandered
in here. She looks about her. Her quick, womanly instinct sounds the
alarm. She is not among the good and pure of her sex. But she does
not scorn them. No; she looks upon their blighted beauty, with a
Christ-like pity; she says to herself, haply some word of mine may
touch their hearts. So, she says, gently, “Pardon me, ladies, but I had
hoped to find scholars here; you will forgive the intrusion, I know;
for though you are not mothers, you have all _had_ mothers.”

  Why is Mary’s lip so ashen white? Why does she tremble from head to
foot, as if smitten by the hand of God? Why do the hot tears stream
through her jeweled fingers? Ah! Mary. That little dark room, with its
toil, its gloom, its _innocence_, were Heaven’s own brightness now, to
your tortured spirit.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Pitilessly the slant rain rattled against the window panes awnings
creaked and flapped, and the street lamps flickered in the strong
blast: full-freighted omnibuses rolled over the muddy pavements: stray
pedestrians turned up their coat-collars, grasped their umbrellas
more tightly, and made for the nearest port. A woman, half-blinded by
the long hair which the fury of the wind had driven across her face,
drenched to the skin with the pouring rain--shoeless, bonnetless,
_homeless_, leans unsteadily against a lamp-post, and in the maudlin
accents of intoxication curses the passers-by. A policeman’s strong
grasp is laid upon her arm, and she is hurried, struggling, through the
dripping streets, and pushed into the nearest “station house.” Morning
dawns upon the wretched, forsaken outcast. She sees it not. Upon those
weary eyes only the resurrection morn shall dawn.

  No more shall the stony-hearted shut, in her imploring face, the door
of hope; no more shall gilded sin, with Judas smile, say, “Eat, drink,
and be merry;” no more shall the professed followers of Him who said,
“Neither do I condemn thee,” say to the guilt-stricken one, “Stand
aside--for I am holier than thou.” No, none may tempt, none may scorn,
none may taunt her more. A pauper’s grave shall hide poor Mary and her

  God speed the day when the Juggernaut wheels of Avarice shall no
longer roll over woman’s dearest hopes; when thousands of doors, now
closed, shall be opened for starving Virtue to earn her honest bread;
when he who would coin her tears and groans to rear his palaces, shall
become a hissing and a by-word, wherever the sacred name of Mother
shall be honored.


  The bored editor; who, for one millennial day, in slippered feet,
controls his arm chair, exchanges, stove, and inkstand; who has time
to hunt up delinquent subscribers; time to decipher hieroglyphical
manuscripts; time to make a bonfire of bad poetry; time to kick out
lozenge boys and image venders; time to settle the long-standing
quarrel between Nancy, the type-setter, and Bill, the foreman, and time
to write complimentary letters to himself for publication in his own
paper, and to get up a new humbug prospectus for the dear, confiding

  Who loves a rainy day?

  The little child of active limb, reprieved from bench, and book, and
ferule; between whom and the wire-drawn phiz of grim propriety, those
friendly drops have drawn a misty vail; who is now free to laugh, and
jump, and shout, and ask the puzzling question--free to bask in the
sunny smile of her, to whom no sorrow can be trivial that brings a
cloud over that sunny face, or dims the brightness of that merry eye.

  Who loves a rainy day?

  The crazed clergyman, who can face a sheet of paper, uninterrupted by
dyspeptic Deacon Jones, or fault-finding brother Grimes; or cautious
Mr. Smith; or the afflicted Miss Zelia Zephyr, who, for several long
years, has been “unable to find out the path of duty;” or the zealous
old lady Bunce, who hopes her pastor will throw light on the precise
locality fixed upon in the future state for idiots, and those heathen
who have never seen a missionary.

  Who loves a rainy day?

  The disgusted clerk, who, lost in the pages of some care-beguiling
volume, forgets the petticoat destiny which relentlessly forces him to
unfurl endless yards of tinsel lace and ribbon, for lounging dames,
with empty brains and purses, whose “chief end” it seems to be to put
him through an endless catechism.

  Who loves a rainy day?

  The tidy little housewife, who, in neat little breakfast-cap and
dressing-gown, overlooks the short-comings of careless cook and
house-maid; explores cupboards, cellars, pantries, and closets;
disembowels old bags, old boxes, old barrels, old kegs, old firkins;
who, with her own dainty hand, prepares the favorite morsel for the
dear, absent, toiling husband, or, by the cheerful nursery fire, sews
on the missing string or button, or sings to soothing slumbers a pair
of violet eyes, whose witching counterpart once stole her girlish heart

  Who loves a rainy day?

  _I do!_ Let the rain fall; let the wind moan; let the leafless trees
reach out their long attenuated fingers and tap against my casement:
pile on the coal; wheel up the arm-chair; all hail loose ringlets and
loose dressing-robe. Not a blessed son or daughter of Adam can get here
to-day! Unlock the old writing desk; overlook the old letters. There
is a bunch tied with a ribbon blue as the eyes of the writer. Matrimony
quenched their brightness long time ago.

    Irish _help_ (?) and crying babies,
    I grieve to say, are ’mong the may-be’s!

And here is a package written by a despairing Cœlebs--once intensely
interested in the price of hemp and prussic acid; now the rotund and
jolly owner of a princely house, a queenly wife, and six rollicksome
responsibilities. Query: whether the faculty ever dissected a _man_ who
had died of a “broken heart?”

  Here is another package. Let the fire purify them; never say you
_know_ your friend till his tombstone is over him.

  What Solomon says “handwriting is an index of character?” Give him
the cap and bells, and show him those bold pen-marks. They were traced
by no Di Vernon! Let me sketch the writer:--A blushing, smiling, timid,
loving little fairy, as ever nestled near a true heart; with a step
like the fall of a snowflake, and a voice like the murmur of a brook
in June. Poor little Katie! she lays her cheek now to a little cradle
sleeper’s, and starts at the distant footstep, and trembles at the
muttered curse, and reels under the brutal blow, and, woman-like--loves

  And what have we here? A sixpence with a ribbon in it! Oh, those
Saturday and Wednesday afternoons, with their hoarded store of nuts and
candy--the broad, green meadow, with its fine old trees--the crazy old
swing, and the fragrant tumble in the grass--the wreath of oak leaves,
the bunch of wild violets, the fairy story book, the little blue
jacket, the snowy shirt-collar, the curly, black head, with its soft,
blue eyes. Oh, first love, sugar-candy, torn aprons, and kisses! where
have ye flown?

  What is this? only a pressed flower; but it tells me of a shadowy
wood--of a rippling brook--of a bird’s song--of a mossy seat--of
whispered leaf-music--of dark, soul-lit eyes--of a voice sweet, and
low, and thrilling--of a vow never broken till death chilled the lips
that made it. Little need to look at the pictured face that lies beside
me. It haunts me sleeping or waking. I shall see it again--life’s
trials passed.


       “There is no object in nature so beautiful as a conscientious
     young man.”-- _Exchange._

  Well; I’ve seen the “Sea-Dog,” and Thackeray; and Tom Thumb and
Kossuth; the “Bearded Lady” and Father Matthew; the whistling Canary,
and Camille Urso; the “white negro,” and Mrs. Stowe; “Chang and Eng,”
and Jenny Lind; and Miss Bremer, and Madame Sontag. I have been to
the top of the State House, made the tour of the “Public Garden,” and
crossed the “Frog Pond.” I’ve seen Theodore Parker, and a locomotive.
I’ve ridden in an omnibus, heard a Fourth-of-July oration, and I once
saw the sun rise; but I never, _never_ never saw “a conscientious young

  If there is such an “organization” on the periphery of this globe, I
should like to see him. If he _is_, _where is_ he? Who owns him? Where
did they raise him? What does he feed on? For whom does he vote? On
what political platform do his conscientious toes rest? Does he know
the difference between a Whig and a Democrat? between a “Hunker” and
a “Barnburner?” between a “hard-shell” and a “soft-shell?” between a
“uniform national currency” and a “sound constitutional currency?”
Does he have chills, or a fever, when he sees a bonnet! Does he look
at it out of the sides of his eyes, like a bashful, barn-yard bantam,
or dare he not look at all? Does he show the “white feather,” or crow
defiance? Does he “go to roost” at sun-down? and does he rest on an
aristocratic perch? I’m all alive to see the specimen. My opera-glass
is poised. Will he be at the World’s Fair? Might I be permitted to
shake hands with, and congratulate him! I pause for a reply.



  “Each to his taste,” somebody says: so say I: so says Gotham. Look at
that splendid house, with its massive door-way, its mammoth plate-glass
windows, its tasteful conservatory, where the snowy Orange blossom,
and clustering Rose, and crimson Cactus, and regal Passion-flower,
and fragrant Heliotrope breath out their little day of sweetness. See
that Gothic stable, with its faultless span of horses, and liveried
coachman, and anti-republican carriage, whose coat of arms makes our
National Eagle droop his fearless pinions. Then cast your eye on that
tumble-down, wooden grocery adjoining, sending up its reeking fumes
of rum, onions, and salt fish, into patrician nostrils! Go where you
will in New York, you see the same strong contrasts. Feast your eyes on
beauty, and a skeleton startles you at its side. Lazarus sitteth ever
at the Gate of Dives.

  Here is a primary school: what a host of little ragged urchins are
crowding in! Suppose I step in quietly among them. Now, they take their
places in seats terraced off one above another, so that each little
face is distinctly visible. What a pretty sight! and how Nature loves
to compensate! sending beauty to the hovel, deformity to the hall.
There’s a boy, now, in that ragged jacket, who is a study for an
artist. See his broad, ample forehead; mark how his dark eyes glow: and
that little girl at his side, whose chestnut curls droop so gracefully
over her soft-fringed eyes and dimpled shoulders. And that dream-child
in yonder corner, with blue-veined, transparent temples, whose
spiritual eyes even now can see that fadeless shore to which bright
angels beckon him. Deal gently with him--he is passing away!

  Here comes the teacher, brisk, angular, and sharp-voiced. Heaven
pity the children! She’s a human icicle--pastboard-y and proper!
I already experience a mental shiver. Now she comes up and says,
(apologetically to my new satin cloak,) “You see, madam, these are
_only_ poor children.” The toadying creature! Lucky for her that
I’m not “a committee.” Can’t her dull eyes recognize God’s image in
linsey-woolsey? Can she see no genius written on yonder broad forehead?
No poetry slumbering in yonder sweet eyes? Did Franklin, Clay, and
Webster study _their_ alphabet in silk and velvet? She ought to be
promoted to the dignity of toe-nail polisher to Queen Victoria. Now she
hands me a book, in which visitors’ names are inscribed, and requests
me to write mine. Certainly. “Mrs. John Smith:” there it is. Hope she
likes it as well as I do.

  --Speaking of names, I read on a sign yesterday, that “Richard Haas:”
to-day I saw, down street, that “John Haas.” I’m sure I’m glad of it.
I congratulate both those enterprising gentlemen. There goes a baker’s
cart, with “Ernest Flog-er” painted on the side. It is my impression
that if you do it, Ernest, “_your_ cake will be dough;” 1853 being
considered the millenium of “strong-minded women.” Here we are, most
to the Battery. “_Fanfernot_ & Dulac:” that must be a chain-lightning
firm. Wonder if “Fanfernot” is the _silent_ partner?

  Here’s a man distributing tracts. Now, if he hands me one, I’ll throw
it down. See how meekly he picks it up, and hands me another. “That’s
right, friend Colporteur, I only wanted to see if you were in earnest:
glad to see you so well employed.”

  “Yes, Ma’am,” he says, much relieved, “sinners here in New York need
waking up”--which sentiment I endorse, and advise him to call at the
_N. Y. Tribune_ office.

  Down comes the rain: had I taken my umbrella, not a drop would have
fallen. “I ’spect” I was born on a Friday; but as that can’t be helped
now, I’ll step into that book-store till the shower is over. The owner
politely gives me a chair, and then hands me, for my edification, the
_last fashion prints_! F-a-n-n-y F-e-r-n! can it be possible that you
look so frivolous? Tracts and fashion prints, both offered you in one
forenoon! Wonder if there’s a second-hand drab Quaker bonnet anywhere,
that will subdue your “style?”

  See that little minstrel in front of the store, staggering under
the weight of a hand-organ. What a crowd of little beggar-boys
surround him, petitioning “for _just one tune_.” Now, I wonder if
the rough school that boy has been in, has hardened his heart? Has
he grown prematurely worldly-wise and selfish? Will he turn gruffly
away from that penniless, Tom Thumb audience, or will he give them
a _gratuitous_ tune? God be thanked, his childish heart yet beats
warm and true under that tattered jacket. He smiles sweetly on the
eager group, and strikes up “Lang Syne.” Other than mortal ears are
listening! That deed, unnoticed by the hurrying Broadway throng, is
noted by the Recording Angel. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of
the least of these, ye have done it unto Me.”

  Sunshine again! dripping awnings and sloppy pavements. There’s a man
preaching an out-door temperance sermon: what a bungling piece of work
he makes of it! If he would lend me that pro tem barrel-pulpit I’d
astonish _him_, and take the feather out of “Miss Lucy Stone’s” bonnet.

  Let us cross the Park. There’s an Irishman seated on the withered
grass, with his spade beside him, leaning wearily against that leafless
tree. I wonder is he ill? I must walk that way and speak to him. What a
sudden change comes over his rough face! it looks quite beautiful. Why
do his eyes kindle? Ah, I see: a woman approaches from yonder path; now
she seats herself beside him, on the grass, and drawing the cover from
a small tin kettle, she bends over the steaming contents, and says,
with a smile, that is a perfect heart-warmer, “_Dear_ Dennis!” Oh, what
a wealth of love in those two simple words; what music in that voice!
Who says human nature is _all_ depravity? Who says this earth is but a
charnel-house of withered hopes? Who says the “Heart’s Ease” springs
never from the rock cleft? Who says it is only on _patrician_ soil the
finer feelings struggle into leaf and bud and blossom? No--no--that
humble, faithful creature has traveled weary miles with needful food,
that “Dennis” may waste no unnecessary time from labor. And there
they sit, side by side, happy and blessed in each other, deaf to the
ceaseless tide of business and pleasure flowing past, blind to the
supercilious gaze of the pompous millionaire, the curious stare of
pampered beauty, the derisive laugh of “Young America,” and the little
romance they have set my brain a-weaving! What a pretty episode amid
all this Babel din! What a delicious little bit of nature midst this
fossil hearted Gotham!

  How true--how beautiful the words of Holy Writ! “Better is a dinner
of herbs, _where love is_, than a stalled ox, and hatred therewith.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  What an immensely tall man! he looks like a barber’s pole in those
serpentine pants. Why does he make those gyrations? Why does he beckon
that short man to his side? Well, I declare! everything comical comes
to my net! He has taken out a slip of paper, and using the short
man’s head for a writing-desk, is scribbling off some directions for
a porter in waiting! The lamb-like non-resistance of the short man is
only equalled by the cool impudence of the scribe! What a picture for



  The fashionables are yet yawning on their pillows. Nobody is abroad
but the workies. So much the better. Omnibus drivers begin to pick up
their early-breakfast customers. The dear little children, trustful
and rosy, are hurrying by to school. Apple women are arranging their
stalls, and slyly polishing their fruit with an old stocking. The
shopkeepers are placing their goods in the most tempting light, in the
store windows; and bouquet venders, with their delicious burthens, have
already taken their stand on the saloon and hotel steps.

  Here come that de-socialized class, the New York business men, with
their hands thrust moodily into their coat pockets, their eyes buttoned
fixedly down to the sidewalk, and “the almighty dollar” written legibly
all over them. If the automatons would but show _some_ sign of life;
were it only by a whistle. I’m very sure the tune would be

    “I know a--_Bank!_”

  See that pretty little couple yonder, crouched upon the sidewalk?
What have you there, little ones? Five little, fat, roly-poly puppies,
as I live, all heads and tails, curled up in that comical old basket!
And you expect to get “a dollar apiece” for them? Bless your dear
little souls, Broadway is full of “puppies,” who never “bring” anything
but odious cigar smoke, that ever I could find out. Puppies are at a
discount, my darlings. Peanuts are a safer investment.

  Here we are at Trinity Church. I doubt if human lips within those
walls ever preached as eloquently as those century grave-stones. How
the sight of them involuntarily arrests the bounding footstep, and the
half-developed plan of the scheming brain, and wakes up the slumbering
immortal in our nature. How the eye turns a questioning glance from
those moss-grown graves, inward--then upward to the soft, blue heavens
above us. How for a brief moment the callous heart grows kindly, and we
forget the mote in our brothers eye, and cease to repulse the outspread
palm of charity, and recognise the claims of a common brotherhood; and
then how the sweeping tide comes rolling over us, and the clink of
dollars and cents drowns “the still small voice,” and Eternity recedes,
and Earth only seems tangible, and Mammon, and Avarice, and Folly rule
the never returning hours.

  Now glance over the church-yard yonder into the street below. Cholera
and pestilence, what a sight! flanked on one side by the charnel-house,
on the other by houses whose basements are groggeries and markets, and
at whose every pane of glass may be seen a score of dirty faces: the
middle of the street a quagmire of jelly-mud, four inches deep, on
which are strewn, ad-infinitum, decayed potatoes and cabbage stumps,
old bones and bonnets, mouldy bread, salt fish and dead kittens. That
pussy-cat New York corporation should be put on a diet of peppered
thunder and gunpowder tea, and harnessed to a comet for six months. I
doubt if even then the old poppies would wake up.

  Do you see that piece of antiquity playing the bagpipe? He is as much
a fixture as your country cousin. There he sits, through heat and cold,
squeezing out those horrible sounds with his skinny elbow, and keeping
time with his nervous eye-winkers. He gets up his own programme, and is
his own orchestra, door-keeper and audience: nobody stops to listen,
nobody fees him, nobody seems to enjoy it so hugely as himself.

  Who talks about wooden nutmegs in the hearing of Gotham? Does a
shower come up? Men start up as if by magic, with all-sized India
rubbers for sale, and ragged little boys nudge your elbows to
purchase “cheap cotton umbrellas.” Does the wind veer round south? A
stack of palm-leaf fans takes the place of the umbrellas. Have you
the misfortune to trip upon the sidewalk? a box of Russia salve is
immediately unlidded under your nose. Do you stop to arrange your
gaiter boot? whole strings of boot-lacings are dangled before your
astonished eyes. Do your loosened waistbands remind you of the dinner
hour? before your door stands a man brandishing “patent carving
knives,” warranted to dissever the toughest old rooster that ever
crowed over a hen harem.

  Speaking of hens--see that menagerie, in one of the handsomest parts
of Broadway, defaced by that blood and murder daub of a picture,
representing every animal that ever flew or trotted into Noah’s
ark, beside a few that the good old gentleman never undertook to
perpetuate. See them lashing their tails, bristling their manes,
ploughing the air and tossing high above their incensed horns, that
distracted gory biped, whose every individual hair is made to stand on
end with horror, and his coat-tail astonishingly to perpendicularize.
Countrymen stand agape while pickpockets lighten them of their purses;
innocent little children, with saucer eyes, shy to the further edge
of the sidewalk, and hurry home with an embryo nightmare in their
frightened craniums. “Jonathan” pays his “quarter,” and is astonished
to find upon entering, a very tame collection of innocent beasts and
beastesses, guiltless of any intention to growl, unless poked by the
long pole of curiosity. Dissatisfied, he descends to the cellar, to see
the elephant, who holds a sleepy levee, for all who feel inclined to
pack his trunk with the apples and cake, which a shrewd stall-keeping
Yankee in the corner disinterestedly advises them to buy, “just to see
how the critter eats.”

  Well; two-headed calves, one-eyed buffaloes, skeleton ostriches,
and miles of serpents, are every day matters; but yonder is an
announcement that “Two Wild Men from Borneo” may be seen within. Now
that interests me. “They have the faculty of speech, but are deficient
in memory.” Bless me, you don’t mean to say that those little Hop o’
my Thumbs have the temerity to call themselves “_Men?_” little humbug,
pocket editions. But what pretty little limbs they have, and how
they shiver in this cold climate, spite of the silk and India-rubber
dress they wear under those little tights. “The youngest weighs only
twenty-seven, the oldest thirty-four pounds;” so the keeper says, who,
forming a circle, lays one hand on the head of each, and commences
his stereotyped, menagerie exordium, oblivious of commas, colons,
semi-colons, periods or breath; adding at the close, that the Wild
Men will now shake hands with any child who may be present, but will
“_always bite an adult_.” Nothing like a barrier to make femininity
leap over. I’m bent upon having the first “adult” shake. The keeper
says, “Better not, Ma’am,” (showing a scar on his finger,) “they bit
that een-a-most to the bone.” Of course, snapping at masculinity, is
no proof to me of their unsusceptibility to feminine evangelization;
on the contrary. So, taking a cautious patrol around the interesting
little savages, I hold out my hand. Allah be praised! they take it, and
my five digits still remain at the service of printers and publishers!



  What a never-ceasing bell-jingling, what a stampede of servants,
what a continuous dumping down of big trunks; what transits, what
exits, what a miniature world is a hotel! Panorama-like, the scene
shifts each hour; your vis-a-vis at breakfast, supping, ten to one, in
the Rocky Mountains. How delightful your unconsciousness of what you
are foreordained to eat for dinner; how nonchalantly in the morning
you handle tooth-brush and head-brush, certain of a cup of hot coffee
whenever you see fit to make your advent. How scientifically your
fire is made, without any unnecessary tattooing of shovel, tongs
and poker. What a chain-lightning answer to your bell summons; how
oblivious is “No. 14” of your existence; how indifferent is “No.
25” whether you sneeze six or seven times a day; how convenient
are the newspapers and letter-stamps, obtainable at the clerk’s
office; how digestible your food; how comfortable your bed, and how
never-to-be-sufficiently-enjoyed the general let-alone-ativeness.

  Avaunt, ye lynx-eyed “private boarding-houses,” with your two
slip-shod Irish servants; your leaden bread, leather pies, ancient
fowls, bad gravies, omnium gatherum bread puddings, and salt fish, and
cabbage perfumed entries; your washing-day “hashes,” your ironing-day
“stews,” and all your other “comforts of a home” (?) not _explicitly_
set forth in your advertisements.

  Rat-tat, rat-tat-tat! what a fury that old gentleman seems to be
in. Whoever occupies No. 40, must either be deaf or without nerves.
Rat-tat! what an obstinate human! there he goes again! ah, now the
door opens, and a harmless-looking clergyman glides past him, down the
stairs. Too late--too late, papa--the knot is tied; no use in making a
fuss. Just see that pretty little bride, blushing, crying, and clinging
to her boy husband. Just remember the time, sir, when the “auld wife”
at home made _you_ thrill to the toes of your boots; remember how
perfectly oblivious you were of guide-boards or mile-stones, when you
went to see her; how you used to hug and kiss her little brother Jim,
though he was the ugliest, mischievous-est little snipe in Christendom;
how you used to read books for hours upside down, and how you wondered
what people meant by calling the moon “cold;” how you wound up your
watch half-a-dozen times a day, and hadn’t the slightest idea whether
you were eating geese or grindstones for dinner; how affectionately
you nodded to Mr. Brown, of whom her father bought his groceries; how
complacently you sat out the minister’s seventh-lie by her side at
church; how wolfy you felt if any other piece of broadcloth approached
her; how devoutly you wished you were that little bit of blue ribbon
round her throat; and how, one moonlight night, when she laid her head
against your vest-pattern, you----didn’t care a mint-julep whether
the tailor ever got paid for it or not! Now, just imagine her papa,
stepping in and deliberately turning all _that_ cream to vinegar;
wouldn’t _you_ have effervesced? Certainly.

  See that little army of boots in the entry outside the doors. May I
need a pair of spectacles, if one of their owners has a decent foot!
No. 20 turns his toes in, No. 30 treads over at the side; No. 40 has a
pedestal like an elephant. Stay!--there’s a pair now--Jupiter! what a
high instep! what a temper that man has! wonder if those are married
boots? Heaven help _Mrs._ Boots, when her husband finds a button
missing! It strikes me that I should like to _mis-mate_ all those
boots, and view, at a respectful distance, the young tornado in the
entry, when the gong sounds!

  Oh, you cunning little curly-headed, fairy-footed, dimple-limbed
pet! Who is blessed enough to own you? Did you know, you little human
blossom, that I was aunt to all the children in creation? Your eyes are
as blue as the violets, and your little pouting lip might tempt a bee
from a rose. Did mamma make you that dainty little kirtle? and papa
find you that horsewhip?

  “Papa is dead, and mamma is dead, too. Mamma can’t see Charley any

  God bless your sweet helplessness! creep into my arms, Charley. My
darling, you are never alone!--mamma’s sweet, tender eyes look lovingly
on Charley out of Heaven; mamma’s bright angel wings ever overshadow
little Charley’s head; mamma and the holy stars keep watch over
Charley’s slumbers. Mamma sings a sweeter song when little Charley
says a prayer. Going?--well, then, one kiss; for sure I am, the angels
will want you before long.

  What is that? A sick gentleman, borne in on a litter, from
shipboard. Poor fellow! how sunken are his great dark eyes! how
emaciated his limbs! What can ail him? Nobody knows; not a word of
English can he speak; and the captain is already off, too happy to
rid himself of all responsibility. Lucky for the poor invalid that
our gallant host has a heart warm and true. How tenderly he lifts the
invalid to his room; how expeditiously he dispatches his orders for a
Spanish doctor and nurse; how imploringly the sufferer’s speaking eyes
are fastened upon his face. Ah! Death glided in at yonder door with the
sick man; his grasp is already on his heart; the doctor stands aside
and folds his hands--there’s no work for _him_ to do; dark shadows
gather round the dying stranger’s eyes; he presses feebly the hand
of his humane host, and gasps out the last fluttering breath on that
manly heart. Strange hands are busy closing his eyes; strange hands
straighten his limbs; a strange priest comes all too late to shrive
the sick man’s soul; strange eyes gaze carelessly upon the features,
one glimpse of which were worth Golconda’s mines to far-off kindred.
Now the undertaker comes with the coffin. Touch him gently, man of
business; lay those dark locks tenderly on the satin pillow; hear you
not a far-off wail from sunny Spain, as the merry song at the vintage
feast dies upon the lip of the stricken-hearted?




  Defend my ears! Do you suppose Noah had to put up with such a
cackling and crowing as this, in his ark? I trust ear-trumpets are
cheap, for I stand a chance of becoming as deaf as a husband, when his
wife asks him for money.

  I have always hated a rooster; whether from his perch, before
daylight, he shrilly, spitefully, and unnecessarily, recalled me from
rosy dreams to stupid realities; or when strolling at the head of his
hang-dog looking seraglio of hens, he stood poised on one foot, gazing
back at the meek procession with an air that said, as plain as towering
crests and tail feathers could say it--“Stir a foot if you dare, till I
give you the signal!”--at which demonstration, I looked instinctively
about, for a big stone, to take the nonsense out of him!

  Save us, what a crowd! There are more onions here than patchouli,
more worsted wrappers than Brummel neck-ties, and more brogans than
patent leather. Most of the visitors gaze at the perches, through
barn-yard spectacles. For myself, I don’t care an egg-shell, whether
that old “Shanghai” knew who her grandfather was or not, or whether
those “Dorkings” were ever imprudent enough to let their young
affections rove from their native roost. Yankee eyes were made to be
used, and the first observation mine take, is, that those gentlemen
fowls seem to have reversed the order of things here in New York, being
very superior in point of beauty to the feminines. Of course they know
it. See them strut! There never was a masculine yet whom you could
enlighten on such a point.

  Now, were I a hen, (which, thank the parish register, I am not,) I
would cross my claws, succumb to that tall Polander with his crested
helmet of black and white feathers, and share his demonstrative perch.

  Oh, you pretty little “carrier doves!” I _could_ find a use for
_you_. Do you ever tap-tap at the wrong window, you little snow-flakes?
Have you learned the secret of soaring above the heads of your enemies?
Are you impregnable to bribes, in the shape of feed?

  There’s an Eagle, fierce as a Hospodar. Bird of Jove! that _you_
should stay caged in the tantalizing vicinity of those fat little
bantams! Try the strength of your pinions, grim old fellow; call no man
jailer; turn your back on Barnum, and stare the sun out of countenance!

  Observe with what aristocratic nonchalance those salmon-colored
pigeons sit their perch! See that ruffle of feathers about their
dignified Elizabethan throats. I am not at all sure that I should have
intruded into their regal presence, without being heralded by a court

  Do you call those two moving bales of wool, sheep? Hurrah for
“Ayrshire” farming! Fleece six inches deep, and the animals not half
grown. Comfortable looking January-defiers, may your shearing be
mercifully postponed till the dog days.

  Pigs, too? petite, white and frisky; two hundred dollars a pair!
P-h-e-w! and such pretty little gaiter boots to be had in Broadway!
Disgusting little porkers, don’t wink your pink eyes at my Jewish

  Puppies for sale? long-eared and short-eared, shaggy and shaven,
bobtailed--curtailed--and to be re-tailed! Spaniel terrier and embryo
Newfoundland. Ho! ye unappropriated spinsters, with a superfluity of
long evenings--ye forlorn bachelors, weary of solitude and boot-jacks,
listen to these yelping applicants for your yearning affections, and
“down with the dust.”

  “Nelly for sale, at twenty dollars.” Poor little antelope! The gods
send your soft, dark eyes an appreciative purchaser. I look into their
human-like depths, and invoke for you the velvety, flower-bestrewn
lawn, the silver lake, in which your graceful limbs are mirrored as
you stoop to drink, the leafy shade of fret-work leaves in the panting
noon-tide heat, and the watchful eye and caressing hand of some bright
young creature, to whom the earth is one glad anthem, and whose sweet
young life (like yours) is innocent and pure.

  Avaunt, pretentious peacocks, flaunting your gaudy plumage before
our sated eyes. See that beautiful “Golden Pheasant,” on whose plump
little body, clad in royal crimson, the sunlight lingers so lovingly.
See the silky fall of those flossy, golden feathers about his arching
neck. Glorious pheasant! do you know that “a thing of beauty is a joy
forever?” Make your home with me, and feast my pen-weary eyes: flit
before me when the sunlight of happiness is clouded in, and the gray,
leaden clouds of sorrow overcast my sky; perch upon my finger; lay your
soft neck to my cheek; bring me visions of a happier shore, where love
is written on the rainbow’s arch, heard in the silver-tripping stream,
seen in the blossom-laden bough and bended blade, quivering under the
weight of dewy gems, and hymned by the quiet stars, whose ever-moving
harmony is unmarred by the discord of envy, hate, or soul-blasting
uncharitableness. Beautiful pheasant! come, bring thoughts of beauty
and peace to me!

  --Loving Jenny Lind smiles upon us from yonder canvass. Would that
we might hear her little Swedish chicken peep! Not a semi-quaver
careth the mother-bird for the homage of the Old World or New. The
artless clapping of little Otto’s joyous hands, drowns all the ringing
plaudits, wafted across the ocean. A Dead Sea apple is fame, dear
Jenny, to a true woman’s heart. Happy to have hung thy laurel wreath on
Otto’s little cradle.


  You will always see Mrs. Judkins in her place at the sunrise
prayer-meeting. She is secretary to the “Moral Reform,” “Abolition,”
“Branch Colporteur and Foreign Mission” Societies. She is tract
distributor, manager of an “Infant School,” cuts out all the work for
the Brown Steeple Sewing Circle; belongs to the “Select Female Prayer
Meeting;” goes to the Friday night church meeting, Tuesday evening
lecture, and Saturday night Bible Class, and attends three services on
Sunday. Every body says, “What an eminent Christian is Mrs. Judkins!”

  Mrs. Judkins’ house and servants take care of themselves. Her little
boys run through the neighborhood, peeping into grocery and provision
stores, loitering at the street corners, and throwing stones at the
passers-by. Her husband comes home to a disorderly house, eats
indigestible dinners, and returns to his gloomy counting-room, sighing
that his hard earnings are wasted, and his children neglected; and
sneering at the _religion_ which brings forth such questionable fruits.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Mrs. Brown is a church member. Mrs. Judkins has called upon her, and
brought the tears into her mild blue eyes, by telling her that she in
particular, and the church in general, have been pained to notice Mrs.
Brown’s absence from the various religious gatherings and societies
above mentioned; that it is a matter of great grief to them, that she
is so lukewarm, and does not enjoy religion as much as they do.

  Mrs. Brown has a sickly infant; her husband (owing to sad reverses)
is in but indifferent circumstances; they have but one inexperienced
servant. All the household outgoings and incomings, must be carefully
watched, and looked after. The little wailing infant is never out of
the maternal arms, save when its short slumbers give her a momentary
reprieve. Still, the little house is in perfect order. The table
tasteful and tempting, although the bill of fare is unostentatious;
the children are obedient, respectful, happy and well cared for.
Morning and evening, amid her varied and pressing cares, she bends the
knee in secret, to Him whom her maternal heart recognizes as “My Lord
and my God.” No mantle of dust shrouds the “Holy Book.” The sacred
_household_ altar flame never dies out. Little dimpled hands are
reverently folded; little lips lisping say, “Our Father.” Half a day
on each returning Sabbath, finds the patient mother in her accustomed
place in the sanctuary. At her hearth and by her board, the holy
man of God hath smiling welcome. “Her children rise up and call her
blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her;” while on high, the
recording angel hath written, “_She hath done what she could._”


       “Some of our leading hotel-keepers are considering the policy of
     employing female waiters.”

  Good news for you, poor pale-faced sempstresses! Throw your thimbles
at the heads of your penurious employers; put on your neatest and
_plainest_ dress; see that your feet and fingers are immaculate, and
then rush _en masse_ for the situation, ousting every white jacket in
Yankeedom. Stipulate with your employers, for leave to carry in the
pocket of your French apron, a pistol loaded with cranberry sauce, to
plaster up the mouth of the first coxcomb who considers it necessary to
preface his request for an omelette, with “_My dear_.” It is my opinion
that one such hint will be sufficient; if not, you can vary the order
of exercises, by anointing him with a “HASTY plate of soup” at dinner.

  Always make a moustache wait twice as long as you do a man who wears
a clean, presentable lip. Should he undertake to expedite your slippers
by “a fee,” tell him that hotel bills are _generally_ settled at the
clerk’s office, except by _very_ verdant travelers.

  Should you see a woman at the table, digging down to the bottom of
the salt cellar, as if the top stratum were too plebeian; or ordering
ninety-nine messes (turning aside from each with affected airs of
disgust,) or rolling up the whites of her eyes, declaring that she
never sat down to a dinner-table before minus “finger glasses,” you
may be sure that her aristocratic blood is nourished, _at home_, on
herrings and brown bread. When a masculine comes in with a white vest,
flashy neck-tie, extraordinary looking plaid trousers, several yards
of gold chain festooned over his vest, and a mammoth seal ring on his
little finger, you may be sure that his tailor and his laundress are
both on the anxious seat; and whenever you see travelers of _either_
sex peregrinating the country in their “best bib and tucker,” you can
set them down for unmitigated “snobs,” for high-bred people can’t
afford to be so extravagant!

  I dare say you’ll get sick of so much pretension and humbug. Never
mind; it is better than to be stitching yourselves into a consumption
over six-penny shirts; you’ll have your fun out of it. This would be a
horridly stupid world, if every body were sensible. I thank my stars
every day, for the share of fools a kind Providence sends in my way.


       A PARIS LETTER says:--Lady Montijo has left Paris for Spain. She
     was extremely desirous of remaining and living in the reflection
     of her daughter’s grandeur, but Louis Napoleon, who shares in the
     general prejudice against step-mothers, gave her plainly to
     understand, that because he had married Eugenia, she must not
     suppose he had married her whole family. She was allowed to linger
     six weeks, to have the _entree_ of the Tuileries, and to see her
     movements chronicled in the _Pays_. She has at last left us, and
     the telegraph mentions her arrival at Orleans, on her way to the

  There Teba! did not I say you would need all those two-thousand-franc
pocket-handkerchiefs before your orange wreath had begun to give signs
of wilting? Why did you let your mamma go, you little simpleton? Before
Nappy secured your neck in the matrimonial noose, you should have had
it put down, in black and white, that Madame Montijo was to live with
you till--the next revolution, if you chose to have her. Now you have
struck your colors, of course everything will “go by the board.” I tell
you Teba, that a fool is the most unmanageable of all beings. He is as
dogged and perverse as a broken-down donkey. You can neither goad nor
coax him into doing anything he should do, or prevent his doing what he
should not do. You will have to leave Nappy and come over here;--and
then everybody will nudge somebody’s elbow and say, “That is Mrs. Teba
Napoleon, who does not live with her husband.” And some will say it is
your fault; and others will say ’tis his; and all will tell you a world
more about it, than _you_ can tell _them_.

  Then, Mrs. Samuel Snip (who has the next room to yours, who murders
the king’s English most ruthlessly, and is not quite certain whether
Barnum or Christopher Columbus discovered America,) will have her
Paul Pry ear to the keyhole of your door about every other minute,
(except when her husband is on duty,) to find out if you are properly
employed;--and no matter what Mrs. Snip learns, or even if she does
not learn anything, she will be pretty certain to report, that, in
her opinion, you are “no better than you should be.” If you dress
well (with your splendid form and carriage you could not but seem
well-dressed) she will “wonder how you got the means to do it”;
prefacing her remark with the self-evident truth that, “to be sure, it
is none of her business.”

  If you let your little Napoleon get out of your sight a minute,
somebody will have him by the pinafore and put him through a catechism
about his mamma’s mode of living and how she spends her time. If you
go to church, it will be “to show yourself;” if you stay at home, “you
are a publican and a sinner.” Do what you will, it will all be wrong:
if you do nothing, it will be still worse. Our gentlemen (so called)
knowing that you are defenceless and taking it for granted that your
name is “Barkis,” will all stare at you; and the women will dislike
and abuse you just in proportion as the opposite sex admire you. Of
course you will sweep past them all, with that magnificent figure of
yours, and your regal chin up in the air, quietly attending to your own
business, and entirely unconscious of their pigmy existence.


  How often, when wedged in a heated concert room, annoyed by the
creaking of myriad fans, and tortured optically, by the glare of
gas-light, have I, with a gipsey longing, wished that the four walls
might be razed, leaving only the blue sky over my head, that the tide
of music might unfettered flow over my soul.

  How often, when dumb with delight, in the midst of some scene of
surpassing natural beauty, have I silently echoed the poet’s words:

    “Give me music, or I die.”

  My dream was all realized at a promenade concert at Castle Garden,
last night. Shall I ever forget it? That glorious expanse of sea,
glittering in the moonbeams; the little boats gliding smoothly over
its polished surface; the cool, evening zephyr, fanning the brow
wooingly; the music--soothing--thrilling--then quickening the pulse and
stirring the blood, like the sound of a trumpet; then, that rare boon,
a companion, who had the good taste to be _dumb_, and not disturb my

  There was one drawback. After the doxology, I noticed some
matter-of-fact wretches devouring ice creams. May no priest be found
to give them absolution. I include, also, in this anathema, those
ever-to-be-avoided masculines, who, then and there, puffed cigar smoke
in my face, and the moon’s.


  Matrimony and the toothache _may_ be survived, but of all the
evils feminity is heir to, defend me from a shopping excursion. But,
alas! bonnets, shoes and hose will wear out, and shop-keepers will
chuckle over the sad necessity that places the unhappy owners within
their dry-goods clutches. Felicitous Mrs. Figleaf! why taste that
Paradisaical apple?

  Some victimised females frequent the stores where soiled and damaged
goods are skillfully announced as selling at an “immense sacrifice,”
by their public-spirited and disinterested owners. Some courageously
venture into more elegant establishments, where the claim of the
applicant to notice, is measured by the costliness of her apparel, and
where the clerks poise their eye-glass at any plebeian shopperess bold
enough to inquire for silk under six dollars a yard. Others, still,
are tortured at the counter of some fussy old bachelor, who always
ties up, with distressing deliberation, every parcel he takes down for
inspection, before he can open another, and moves round to execute
your orders as if Mt. Atlas were fastened to his heels; or perhaps get
petrified at the store of some snap-dragon old maid, whose victims
serve as escape-valves for long years of bile, engendered by Cupid’s
oversights. Meanwhile, the vexed question is still unsolved, Where can
the penance of shopping be performed with the least possible wear and
tear of patience and prunella? The answer seems to me to be contained
in six letters--“Stewart’s.”

  “_Stewart’s?_” I think I hear some old lady exclaim, dropping her
knitting and peering over her spectacles; “Stewart’s! yes, if you have
the mines of California to back you.” Now I have a profound respect
for old ladies, as I stand self-pledged to join that respectable
body on the advent of my very first gray hair; still, with due
deference to their catnip and pennyroyal experience, I conscientiously

  You may stroll through his rooms free to gaze and admire, without
being annoyed by an impertinent clerk dogging your footsteps; you can
take up a fabric, and examine it, without being bored by a statement of
its immense superiority over every article of the kind in the market,
or without being deafened by a detailed account of the enormous sums
that the mushroom aristocracy have considered themselves but _too_
happy to expend, in order to secure a dress from that very desirable,
and altogether unsurpassed, and unsurpassable, piece of goods!

  You can independently say that an article does not exactly suit you,
though your husband may not stand by you with a drawn sword. You will
encounter no ogling, no impertinent cross-questioning, no tittering
whispers, from the quiet, well-bred clerks, who attend to their own
business and allow you to attend to yours.

  ’Tis true that you may see at Stewart’s, cobweb laces an inch or two
wide, for fifty or one hundred dollars a yard, which many a brainless
butterfly of fashion is supremely happy in sporting: but at the very
next counter you may suit yourself, or your country cousin, to a
sixpenny calico, or a shilling de laine; and, what is better, be quite
as sure that her verdant queries will be as respectfully answered as if
liveried Pompey stood waiting at the door to hand her to her carriage.

  You can go into the silk department, where, by a soft descending
light, you will see dinner dresses that remind you of a shivered
rainbow, for _passé_ married ladies who long since ceased to celebrate
their birth-days, and who keep their budding daughters carefully
immured in the nursery: or, at the same counter, you can select a
modest silk for your minister’s wife, at six shillings a yard, that
will cause no heart-burnings in the most Argus-eyed of Paul Pry

  Then if you patronise those ever-to-be-abominated and
always-to-be-shunned nuisances called parties, where fools of both
sexes gather to criticise their host and hostess, and cut up characters
and confectionary, you can step into that little room from which
day-light is excluded, and select an evening dress, _by gas-light_,
upon the effect of which you can, of course, depend, and to which
artistic arrangement many a New York belle has probably owed that much
prized possession--her “last conquest.”

  Now, if you please, you can go into the upholstery-room and furnish
your nursery windows with a cheap set of plain linen curtains; or
you can expend a small fortune in regal crimson, or soft-blue damask
drapery, for your drawing-room; and without troubling yourself to
thread the never-ending streets of Gotham for an upholsteress, can
have them made by competent persons in the upper loft of the building,
who will also drape them faultlessly about your windows, should you so

  Now you can peep into the cloak room, and bear away on your graceful
shoulders a six, twenty, thirty, or four hundred dollar cloak, as the
length of your husband’s purse, or your own fancy (which in these
degenerate days amounts to pretty much the same thing) may suggest.

  Then there is the wholesale department, where you will see shawls,
hosiery, flannels, calicoes, and de laines, sufficient to stock all the
nondescript country stores, to say nothing of city consumption.

  Now, if you are not weary, you can descend (under ground) into
the carpet department, from whence you can hear the incessant roll
of full-freighted omnibuses, the ceaseless tramp of myriad restless
feet, and all the busy train of out-door life made audible in all the
dialects of Babel. Here you can see every variety of carpet, from the
homespun, unpretending straw, oil cloth, and Kidderminster, to the
gorgeous Brussels and tapestry, (above whose traceried buds and flowers
the daintiest foot might well poise itself, loth to crush,) up to the
regal Axminster, of Scottish manufacture, woven without seam, and
warranted, in these days of late suppers and tobacco smoking, _to last
a life-time_.

  Emerging from this subterranean region, you will ascend into
daylight, and reflecting first upon all this immense outlay, and then
upon the frequent and devastating conflagrations in New York, inquire
with solicitude, Are you _insured_? and regret to learn that there is
too much risk to effect an _entire_ insurance, although Argus-eyed
watchmen keep up a night-and-day patrol throughout the handsome


  “Modern improvements?” I wonder where they are? Perhaps it is the
fashionable cloaks, that take leave of their shivering owners at the
hips; or the long skirts, whose muddy trains every passing pedestrian
pins to the sidewalk; or the Lilliputian bonnets, that never a
string in shop-dom can keep within hailing distance of the head; or
the flowing sleeves, through which the winter wind plays around the
arm-pits; or the break-neck, high-heeled boots, which some little,
dumpy feminine has introduced to gratify her _rising_ ambition, and
render her tall sisters hideous; or the gas-lit, furnace-heated
houses, in which the owners’ eyes are extinguished, and their skins
dried to a parchment; or, perhaps, it is the churches, of such
cathedral dimness, that the clergyman must have candles at noonday,
and where the congregation are forbidden to express their devotion
by singing, and forced to listen to the trills and quavers of some
scientific stage mountebank; or perhaps ’tis the brazen irreverence
with which Young America jostles aside gray-headed Wisdom: perhaps the
comfortless, forsaken fireside of the “strong-minded woman:” perhaps,
the manly gossip, whose repetition of some baseless rumor dims the
bright eyes of defenceless innocence with tears of anguish: perhaps
the schools, where a superficial show of brilliancy on exhibition
days, is considered the ne plus ultra of teaching: perhaps it is the
time-serving clergyman, whose tongue is fettered by a monied clique:
perhaps, the lawyers who lie--under a mistake!--perhaps it is the
doctor, whom I saw yesterday at Aunt Jerusha’s sick-room, a little
thing with bits of feet, and mincing voice, and lily-white hands, and
perfumed moustache. I wanted to inquire what ailed Jerusha, so I waited
to see him. I wanted to ask him how long it would take him to cure her,
and if he preferred pills to powders, blisters to plasters, oat-meal
to barley-gruel, wine-whey to posset, arrow-root to farina, and a few
such little things, you know. He stared at me over his dicky, as if I
had been an unevangelized kangaroo; then he sidled up to Jerusha, pryed
open her mouth, and said “humph”--in Latin. Then he crossed his legs,
and rolled up the whites of his eyes at the ceiling, as if he expected
some Esculapian hand writing on the wall to enlighten him as to the
seat of Aunt Jerusha’s complaint. Then, he drew from his pocket a box
with a whole army of tiny bottles; and uncorking two of them he nipped
out a little white speck from each, which he dissolved in four quarts
of water, and told Jerusha “to take a drop of the water once in eight
hours.” Tom Thumb and Lilliput! he might as well have tried to salt the
Atlantic Ocean with a widower’s tear! He should be laid gently on a
lily leaf, and consigned to the first stray zephyr.

  Ah, you should have seen our good, old-fashioned Dr. Jalap; with a
fist like a sledge-hammer, a tramp like a war-horse, and a laugh that
would puzzle an echo. He wasn’t penurious of _his_ physic: _he_ didn’t
care a pin how much he put down your throat--no, nor the apothecary
either. He pill-ed and potioned, and emetic-ed, and blistered, and
plastered, till you were so transparent, that even John Mitchell (and
he’s the shortest-sighted being alive) could have seen through you.
And then he braced you up with Iron and Quinine, till your muscles
were like whip-cords, and your hair in a bristle of kinks. He was
human-like, too; he didn’t stalk in as if Napoleon and the Duke of
Wellington were boiled down to make his grandfather. No; he’d just
as lief sit down on a butter-firkin as on a velvet lounge. He’d pick
up Aunt Esther’s knitting-needles, and talk to grandpa about Bunker
Hill, and those teetotally discomfrizzled, bragging British, and offer
grandma a pinch of snuff, and trot the baby, and stroke the cat,
and go to the closet and eat up the pickles and doughnuts, and make
himself useful generally. _He_ didn’t have to stupefy his patients
with ether, so that they needn’t find out how clumsily he operated.
No, it was quite beautiful to see him take a man’s head between his
knees, and drag his double teeth out. He didn’t write a prescription
for molasses and water, in High Dutch: he didn’t tell you that you were
booked for the river Styx, and he was the only M. D. in creation who
could annihilate the ferryman waiting to row you over. He didn’t drive
through the town with his horse and gig, at break-neck speed, just as
meeting was out, as if life and death were hanging on his profitless
chariot wheels: he didn’t stick up over his door--“_at home between
nine and ten_,” as if that consecrated hour were _all_ he could bestow
upon a clamorous public, when he was angling in vain for a patient
every hour in the twenty-four; nor did he give little boys shillings to
rush into church, and call him out in the middle of the service. No:
Dr. Jalap was not a “modern improvement.”


       “An elderly gentleman, formerly a well-known merchant, wishes a
     situation; he will engage in any respectable employment not too
     laborious.”--_New York Daily Paper._

  I don’t know the old man. I never saw him on ’change, in a fine
suit of broadcloth, leaning on his gold-headed cane; while brokers,
and insurance officers, and presidents of banks raised their hats
deferentially, and the crowd respectfully made way for him. I never
kept account of the enormous taxes he annually paid the city, or saw
his gallant ships ploughing the blue ocean with their costly freight,
to foreign ports. I never saw him in his luxurious home, taking his
quiet siesta, lulled by the liquid voice of his fairy daughter. No:
nor did I hear the auctioneer’s hammer in that home, nor see the red
flag floating, like a signal of distress, before the door. I didn’t
read the letter that recalled his only boy from college, or see the
humbled family, as they passed, shrinking, over the threshold, into
poor lodgings, whose landlord coarsely stipulated for “a week’s rent in

  “Any occupation not _too laborious_.” How mournfully the old man’s
words fall upon the ear! Life to commence anew, with the silver head,
and bent form, and faltering step, and palsied hand of age! With the
first ray of morning light, that hoary head must be lifted from an
unquiet pillow, to encounter the drenching rain, and driving sleet,
and piercing cold. No reprieve from that wearisome ledger, for the
throbbing brow and dimmed eye. Beardless clerks make a jest of “the
old boy;” superciliously repeating, in his sensitive ear, their mutual
master’s orders. With them he meekly receives his weekly pittance;
sighing, as he counts it over, to think of the few comforts it will
bring to the drooping hearts at home. Foot-weary, he travels through
the crowded streets; his threadbare coat, and napless hat, and dejected
face, all unnoticed by the thriving young merchant, whom the old man
helped to his present prosperous business position. The birth-days of
his delicate daughter come and go, all unmarked by the joy-bestowing
gift. With trouble and exposure, sickness comes at last: then, the
tardy foot, and careless, professional touch of the callous-hearted
dispensary doctor: then, the poor man’s hearse stands before the door;
then winds unheeded through busy streets, to the “Potter’s field,”
while his former cotemporaries take up the daily paper, and sipping
their wine, say carelessly, as if _they_ had a quit-claim from sorrow,
“Well, Old Smith, the broken-down millionaire, is dead.”

  Ah, there are tragedies of which editors and printers little dream,
woven in their daily advertising sheets: the office boy feeds the fire
with many a tear-blotted manuscript, penned by trembling fingers, all
unused to toil.


  The Smiths have just been moving. They always move “for the last
time,” on the first of May. “Horrid custom!” exclaims Smith, wiping
the perspiration from his brow, and pulling up his depressed dickey.
“How my blood curdles and my bones ache, at the thought!” It was on
Tuesday, the third of May, that the afflicting rite was celebrated.
Cartmen--four of them--were engaged the Saturday previous, to be on
hand at six o’clock on Tuesday morning, to transport the household
goods from the habitation of ’52-3 to that of ’53-4. Smith was to pay
them three dollars each--twelve dollars in all. They would not come for
a mill less; Smith tried them thoroughly.

  On Monday, Smith’s house is turned into a sort of Bedlam, minus
the beds. They are tied up, ready for the next morning’s Hegira; the
Smiths sleeping on the floor on Monday night. Smith can’t sleep on the
floor; he grows restless; he receives constant reminders from Mrs.
Smith to take his elbow out of the baby’s face; he has horrid visions
and rolls about: therefore, he is not at all surprised, on waking at
cock-crow, to find his head in the fire-place, and his hair powdered
with soot. The occasion of his waking at that time, was a dream of
an unpleasant nature. He dreamed that he had rolled off the world
backwards, and lodged in a thorn-bush. Of course, such a thing was
slightly improbable; but how could Smith be responsible for a dream?

  On Tuesday morning, the Smiths are up with the dawn. The household
being mustered, it is found that the servant girl, who had often
averred that, “she lived out, just for a little exercise,” had deserted
her colors. The grocer on the corner politely informs Smith, (whom
Mrs. S. had sent on an errand of inquiry) that, on the night previous,
the servant left with him a message for her employers, to the effect
that “she didn’t consider moving the genteel thing, at all; and that a
proper regard for her character and position in society, had induced
her to get a situation in the family of a gentleman who owned the house
he lived in.”

  This is severe: Smith feels it keenly; Mrs. Smith leans her head
against her husband’s vest pattern, and says “She is quite crushed,”
and “wonders how Smith can have the heart to whistle. But, it is always
so,” she remarks. “Woman is the weaker vessel, and man delights to
trample on her.” Smith indignantly denies this sweeping assertion, and
says “he tramples on nothing;” when Mrs. Smith points to a bandbox
containing her best bonnet, which he has just put his foot through.
Smith is silent.

  The cartmen were to be on the premises at six o’clock. Six o’clock
comes--half-past six--seven o’clock--but no cartmen. Here is a dilemma!
The successors to the Smiths are to be on the ground at eight o’clock;
and being on the ground, they will naturally wish to get into the
house; which they cannot well do, unless the Smiths are out of it.

  Smith takes a survey of his furniture, with a feeling of intense
disgust. He wishes his cumbrous goods were reduced to the capacity of a
carpet-bag, which he could pick up and walk away with. The mirrors and
pianoforte are his especial aversion. The latter is a fine instrument,
with an Eolian attachment. He wishes it had a sheriff’s attachment;
in fact, he would have been obliged to any officer who should, at
that wretched moment, have sold out the whole establishment, at the
most “ruinous sacrifice,” ever imagined by an auctioneer’s fertile

  --Half-past seven, and no cartmen yet. What is to be done? Ah! here
they come, at last. Smith is at a loss to know what excuse they will
make. Verdant Smith! _They make no excuse._ They simply tell him, with
an air which demands his congratulations, that they “picked up a nice
job by the way, and stopped to do it. You see,” says the principal,
“we goes in for all we can get, these times, and there’s no use of
anybody’s grumbling. Kase, you see, if one don’t want us, another will;
and it’s no favor for anybody to employ us a week either side the first
of May.” The rascal grins, as he says this; and Smith, perceiving the
strength of the cartman’s position, wisely makes no reply.


    “They met, ’twas in a crowd”--

on the stairs, and Smith

    “Thought that Brown would shun him,”

--but he didn’t!]

  They begin to load. Just as they get fairly at work, the Browns (the
Smiths’ successors) arrive, with an appalling display of stock. Brown
is a vulgar fellow, who has suddenly become rich, and whose ideas of
manliness all center in brutality. He is furious because the Smiths
are not “clean gone.” He “can’t wait there, all day, in the street.”
He orders his men to “carry the things into the house,” and heads the
column himself with a costly rocking-chair in his arms. As Brown comes
up with his rocking-chair, Smith, at the head of his men, descends,
with a bureau, from the second floor.

    “They met, ’twas in a crowd”--

on the stairs, and Smith

    “Thought that Brown would shun him,”

--but he didn’t! The consequence was, they came in collision; or,
rather, Smith’s bureau and Brown’s rocking-chair came in collision.
Now, said bureau was an old-fashioned, hardwood affair, made for
service, while Brown’s rocking-chair was a flimsy, showy fabric, of
modern make. The meeting on the stairs occasions some squeezing, and
more stumbling, and Brown suddenly finds himself and chair under the
bureau, to the great injury of his person and his furniture. (Brown
has since recovered, but the case of the rocking-chair is considered
hopeless.) This discomfiture incenses the Browns to a high degree,
and they determine to be as annoying as possible; so they persist in
bringing their furniture into the house, and up stairs, as the Smiths
are carrying theirs out of the house, and down stairs. Collisions are,
of course, the order of the day; but the Smiths do not mind this much,
as they have a great advantage, viz: _their furniture is not half so
good as Brown’s_. After a few smashes, Brown receives light on this
point, and orders his forces to remain quiet, while the foe evacuates
the premises; so the Smiths retire in peace--and much of their
furniture in pieces.

  The four carts form quite a respectable procession; but there is
no disguising the fact that the furniture looks very shabby (and
whose furniture does not look shabby, piled on carts?); so the Smiths
prudently take a back street, that no one may accuse them of owning
it. Smith has to carry the baby and a large mirror, which Mrs. S. was
afraid to trust to the cartmen, there being no insurance on either. It
being a windy day, both the mirror and Smith’s hat veer to all points
of the compass, while the baby grows very red in the face at not being
able to possess himself of them. Between the wind, the mirror, his hat
and the baby, Smith has an unpleasant walk of it.

  About ten o’clock, they arrive at their new residence, and find, to
their horror, that their predecessors have not begun to move. They
inquire the reason. The feminine head of the family informs them, with
tears in her eyes, that her husband, (Mr. Jonas Jenkins,) has been sick
in Washington for five weeks; that, in consequence of his affliction,
they have not been able to provide a new tenement; that she is quite
unwell, and that one of her children (she has six) is ill, also; that
she don’t know what is to become of them, &c., &c. Smith sets his
hat on the back of his head, gives a faint tug at his neck-tie and
confesses himself--quenched! His furniture looks more odious every
minute. He once felt much pride in it, but he feels none now: he feels
only disgust. The cartmen begin to growl out that they “can’t stand
here all day,” and request to be informed “where we shall drop the big
traps.” Hereupon, Smith ventures, with a ghastly attempt at a smile,
to inquire of Mrs. Jenkins why she didn’t tell him, when he called,
on Saturday, of her inability to procure a house? To which that lady
innocently replies that she didn’t wish to give him any “unnecessary
trouble!” which reply satisfies him as to Mrs. Jenkin’s claim to force
of intellect.

  At this juncture, Smith falls into a profound reverie. He thinks
that, after all, Fourier is right--“that the Solidarity of the human
race is an entity;” that “nobody can be happy, until everybody is
happy.” He agrees with the great philosopher, that the “series
distributes the harmonies.” He realizes that “society is organized (or,
rather, disorganized) on a wrong basis;” that it is in an “amorphous
condition,” whereas it should be “crystalized.” With our celebrated
“down east” poet, Ethan Spike, Esq., he begins to think that,

    “The etarnal bung is loose,”

and that, unless it be soon tightened, there is danger that

    “All nater will be spilt.”

He comes to the conclusion, finally, that “something must be done,” and
that speedily, to “secure a home for every family.”

  At this point, he is aroused by his tormenters, the cartmen, who
inform him that they are in a “Barkis” state of mind, (willin’) to
receive their twelve dollars. Smith pays the money, and turns to
examine the premises. He finds that Mrs. Jenkins has packed all her
things in the back basement and the second-floor sitting-room. Poor
thing! she has done her best, after all. She is in ill health; her
husband is sick, and away from home; and her children are not well.
God pity the unfortunate who live in cities, especially in the “moving
season.” But Smith is a kind-hearted man. With a few exceptions, the
Smiths are a kind-hearted race--and that’s probably the reason they are
so numerous.

  Smith puts on a cheerful countenance, and busies himself in arranging
his furniture. Mrs. Smith, kind soul, forgets the destruction of her
bandbox and bonnet, and cares not how long or how loud Smith whistles.
Suddenly the prospect brightens! Mrs. Jenkins’ brother-in-law appears,
and announces that he has found rooms for her, a little higher up town.
Cartmen are soon at the door, and the Jenkinses are on their “winding
way” to their new residence.

  --But the Smiths’ troubles are not yet over. The painters, who were
to have had the house all painted the day before, have done nothing but
leave their paint-pots in the hall, and a little Smithling, being of an
investigating turn of mind, and hungry, withal, attempts to make a late
breakfast off the contents of one of them. He succeeds in eating enough
to disgust him with his bill of fare, and frighten his mamma into
hysterics. A doctor is sent for: he soon arrives, and, after attending
to the mother, gives the young adventurer a facetious chuck under
the chin, and pronounces him perfectly safe. The parents are greatly
relieved, for Willy is a pet; and they confidently believe him destined
to be President of the United States, if they can only keep paint-pots
out of his way.

  It takes the Smiths some ten days to get “to rights.” The
particulars of their further annoyances--how the carpets didn’t fit;
how the cartmen “lost the pieces;” how the sofas couldn’t be made to
look natural; how the pianoforte was too large to stand behind the
parlor door, and too small to stand between the front windows; how
the ceiling was too low, and the book-case too high; how a bottle of
indelible ink got into the bureau by mistake and “marked” all Mrs.
Smith’s best dresses--I forbear to inflict on the reader. Suffice it
to say, the Smiths are in “a settled state;” although their apartments
give signs of the recent manifestation of a strong disturbing
force--reminding one, somewhat, of a “settlement” slowly recovering
from the visitation of an earthquake. Still, they are thankful
for present peace, and are determined, _positively_, not to move
again--until next May.


  I am weary of this hollow show and glitter--weary of fashion’s
stereotyped lay-figures--weary of smirking fops and brainless belles,
exchanging their small coin of flattery and their endless genuflexions:
let us go out of Broadway--somewhere, anywhere. Turn round the wheel,
Dame Fortune, and show up the other side.

  “The Tombs!”--we never thought to be there! nevertheless, we are
not to be frightened by a grated door or a stone wall, so we pass in;
leaving behind the soft wind of this Indian summer day, to lift the
autumn leaves as gently as does a loving nurse her drooping child.

  We gaze into the narrow cells, and draw a long breath. Poor
creatures, tempted and tried. How many to whom the world now pays
its homage, who sit in high places, _should_ be in their stead? God
knoweth. See them, with their pale faces pressed up against the grated
windows, or pacing up and down their stone floors, like chained beasts.
There is a little boy not more than ten years old; what has _he_ done?

  “Stolen a pair of shoes!”

  Poor child! he never heard of “Swartout.” How should he know that
he was put in there not for _stealing, but for doing it on so small a

  Hist! Do you see that figure seated in the farther corner of that
cell, with his hands crossed on his knees? His whole air and dress are
those of a gentleman. How came such a man as that here?

  “For murder?” How sad! Ah! somewhere in the length and breadth of the
land, a mother’s heart is aching because she spared the rod to spoil
the child.

  There is a coffin, untenanted as yet, but kept on hand; for Death
laughs at bolts and fetters, and many a poor wretch is borne struggling
within these gloomy walls, only to be carried to his last home, while
none but God may ever know at whose fireside stands his vacant chair.

  And here is a woman’s cell. There are two or three faded dresses
hanging against the walls, and a bonnet, for which she has little use.
Her friends have brought her some bits of carpeting, which she has
spread over the stone floor, with her womanly love of order, (poor
thing,) to make the place look _home-like_. And there is a crucifix in
the corner. See, she kneels before it! May the Holy Virgin’s blessed
Son, who said to the sinning one, “Neither do I condemn thee,” send
into her stricken heart the balm of holy peace.

  Who is that? No! it _cannot_ be--but, yes, it is he--and what a
wreck! See, he shrinks away, and a bright flush chases the marble
paleness from his cheek. God bless me! That R----, should come to this!
Still, Intemperance, with her thousand voices, crieth “Give! give!”
and still, alas! it is the gifted, and generous, and warm-hearted, who
oftenest answer the summons.

  More cells?--but there is no bed in them; only a wooden platform,
raised over the stone floor. It is for gutter drunkards--too foul, too
loathsome to be placed upon a bed--turned in here like swine, to wallow
in the same slough. Oh, how few, who, festively sipping the rosy wine,
say “_my_ mountain stands strong,” e’er dream of such an end as this.

  Look there! tread softly: angels are near us. Through the grated
window the light streams faintly upon a little pallet, where, sweet
as a dream of heaven, lies a sleeping babe! Over its cherub face a
smile is flitting. The cell has no other occupant; angels only watch
the slumbers of the prison-cradled. The place is holy. I stoop to kiss
its forehead. From the crowd of women pacing up and down the guarded
gallery, one glides gently to my side, saying, half proudly, half
sadly, “’Tis _my_ babe.”

  “It is _so_ sweet, and pure, and holy,” said I.

  The mother’s lip quivered; wiping away a tear with her apron, she
said, in a choking voice:

  “Ah, it is little the likes of you, ma’am, know how hard it is for us
to get the honest bread!”

  God be thanked, thought I, that there is one who “judgeth _not_ as
man judgeth;” who holdeth evenly the scales of justice; who weigheth
against our sins the _whirlpool_ of our temptations, who forgetteth
never the countless struggles for the victory, ere the desponding,
weary heart shuts out the light of Heaven.


  Dear me! how expensive it is to be poor. Every time I go out, my best
bib and tucker has to go on. If Zebedee were worth a cool million, I
might wear a coal-hod on my head, if I chose, with perfect impunity.
There was that old nabob’s wife at the lecture, the other night, in
a dress that might have been made for Noah’s great grandmother. She
can afford it! Now, if it rains knives and forks, I must sport a ten
dollar hat, a forty dollar dress, and a hundred dollar shawl. If I go
to a concert, I must take the highest priced seat, and ride there and
back, just to let “Tom, Dick and Harry” see that I can afford it. Then,
we must hire the most expensive pew in the broad-aisle of a tip-top
church, and give orders to the sexton not to admit any strangers into
it who look snobbish. Then my little children, Napoleon Bonaparte and
Donna Maria Smith, can’t go to a public school, because, you know, we
shouldn’t have to pay anything.

  Then, if I go shopping, to buy a paper of needles, I have to get a
little chap to bring them home, because it wouldn’t answer for me to
be seen carrying a bundle through the streets. We have to keep three
servants, where one might do; and Zebedee’s coats have to be sent to
the tailor when they need a button sewed on, for the look of the thing.

  Then, if I go to the sea-shore, in summer, I can’t take my comfort,
as rich people do, in gingham dresses, loose shoes and cambric
sun-bonnets. No! I have to be done up by ten o’clock in a Swiss-muslin
dress, and a French cap; and my Napoleon Bonaparte and Donna Maria
can’t go off the piazza, because the big rocks and little pebbles cut
their toes so badly through their patent kid slippers.

  Then, if Zebedee goes a fishing, he dare not put on a linen coat,
for the price of his reputation. No, indeed! Why, he never goes to the
barn-yard without drawing on his white kids. Then he orders the most
ruinous wines at dinner, and fees those white jackets, till his purse
is as empty as an egg-shell. I declare, it is abominably expensive. I
don’t believe rich people have the least idea how much it costs poor
people to live!


  Such a crowd, such a rush, such a confusion I never expect to see
again. Equestrians and pedestrians; omnibuses and carriages; soldiers,
civilians and _uncivil_-ians; carts and curricles; city exquisites,
and country nondescripts; men on the run; women tiptoe-ing, with
all sails spread; papas in a putter; fat men sweltering; lean men,
with tempers as sharp as their bones, ruthlessly pushing through the
crowd; musicians perspiring in tuneful agony; thermometer evidently
on a spree; shirt-collars prostrate; dust everywhere; police nowhere;
everybody in somebody’s way;--whizz--buzz--rattle--bang--crash--smash;
“Oh _dear_! where’s Pa?”--“Sarah Maria, take care of your
flounces.”--“Get out of the way, can’t you?”--“Take your cane out of my
eye, will you?”--“Mr. Jones, just see the way that baby’s best bonnet
is jammed!”--“Hurry!”--“I _can’t_ hurry; somebody has trod on my skirt,
and burst off the hooks; so much for not letting me wear Bloomers!
What a figure I cut, to appear before the President, and no chance to
apologize, Mr. Jones!”

  --Well; it’s eleven o’clock, and after several abortive attempts,
we succeed in arresting an omnibus, labelled “for the Hippodrome and
Crystal Palace.” Away we go--dashing through the crowd, regardless
of limbs, vehicular or human. Broadway is lined, on either side, with
a dense throng of questionable looking expectants, waiting “to see
the procession.” Short people are at a discount; no chance for the
poor wretches, strain and tiptoe it as they will. One tall man, who
evidently knew the worth of his inches, seemed to think himself too
valuable to be let out all at once; so, he elevated himself, jack-screw
fashion, letting out one link of his vertebral column after another,
until he towered above his neighbors like a pine tree among scrub oaks.
What altitude he finally reached, I am unable to say, as he was still
on his way up (like Jack’s bean-stalk) when our omnibus passed him.

  “Everything comes in use once in seven years,” says the old proverb.
I had often wondered of what earthly use could be the tottering
brick-piles, which disfigure every block in Broadway. To-day, I was
enlightened; they served admirably as points of observation for
the more adventurous spectators, and each pile was covered with
eager gazers. The windows overlooking Broadway were all filled with
neatly dressed ladies, and as the eye swept through this magnificent
thoroughfare, the rushing vehicles, the swaying, motley multitudes,
the gaily dressed ladies, the waving flags and banners which floated
over the more public and prominent edifices, presented an ever varying
panorama, that was far from being the least attractive and impressive
feature of the day. I have often thought when the people come out “to
see a sight,” that they themselves are far more imposing than what they
came to see.

  On entering the Palace, we (my companion and I) found that all the
most eligible seats were already occupied, and that what were left were
reserved for some man of straw and his wife. It was no use to show
one’s ticket. “You mustn’t sit here!”--“You mustn’t sit there!”--“You
can’t stand in that place!”--“You can’t go there!”--“You can’t come
here!”--and so the throng went forlornly about and around--old men
and maidens--heads of families--clergymen--elegant ladies--all sorts
of people--seeking places whereon they might rest, and finding none.
We finally resolved on action, seized a couple of boxes of workmen’s
tools, emptied the contents on the floor, and converted the boxes into
comfortable seats, in the most commanding position in the eastern
gallery, notwithstanding the impertinent expostulations of the rosetted

  Above us was the lofty stained dome, a most imposing feature;--flags
of all nations waved from the latticed balconies; beneath, the jeweled
arms of ladies fair gleamed and flashed in the sunlight. Directly
below us was Marochetti’s equestrian statue of Washington, of colossal
proportions. Years ago, dear general, you rode into my young affections
on that very horse, as represented on a ninepenny printed cotton
handkerchief, given me as a “reward of merit” for correctly “declining
to love”--(I wish I had always declined it!) In the immediate
neighborhood, our eye rested on a gigantic statue of Webster. There
were his features, certainly, all correct, by line and plummet; but
_where’s the expression_? It was soulless and corpse-like--it failed to
magnetize me.

  An hour has passed; our eyes are weary with gazing; still, no
President. The singers have taken their places--the organ has emitted
one or two premonitory subterranean grumbles, and the platform is
beginning to fill with lesser dignitaries. The richly-cushioned
Presidential chair, has been wheeled about in the most inviting
locality; a huge bouquet is placed under it by way of _bait_, but
still the President doesn’t nibble! So we bide our time with what
patience we may--though the thought of a glass of ice-water, or a cake,
occasionally quenches our patience and patriotism.

  Another hour has passed! Even feminine curiosity cannot exist much
longer on such unsubstantial aliment as pontifical robes and empty
glitter. My companion is certainly a wizard! He has conjured up some
ice cream and cake:--now I shall have strength to cheer the President.
Here he comes, God bless him! You won’t see a sight like that out of
America. The representative of a mighty nation--one of the mightiest on
earth--receiving the homage of expectant thousands, standing without
“star” or “order,” or insignia of power, other than that with which the
Almighty has stamped him. No “body guard,” no hedging him in from the
people. It is sublime!

  --Now the Bishop reads an eloquent prayer; then follows an ode, sung
to the time-honored tune of _Old Hundred_, echoing from hundreds of
voices, through those deep naves, with such thrilling majesty that you
feel as if wings were growing from out your shoulders, and you _must_
soar; and suggesting the song of the redeemed, sung by thousands and
tens of thousands, before the great White Throne.

  Now the speeches commence--but as I see a whole army of reporters,
down below, I shall use their ears instead of my own, and make my
escape while an omnibus is to be had. Some day, when the President is
not present to eclipse them, I shall return and examine all the _chef
de’oeuvres_ of art here collected.

  --Stay! here’s a pretty conceit I must look at, as we pass along
out--a mock garden of moss and flowers, about the size of a lady’s work
table, from the center of which plays a fountain of eau de cologne,
beneath whose drops any lady can perfume her kerchief _en passant_, a
dainty invention for a boudoir. Need I say its birth-place is Paris.

  There’s the statue of the Amazonian Queen, startled by the sudden
spring of a tiger at her horse’s throat. Hartshorn and smelling salts,
_it’s alive_!--no; it is lifeless bronze, but so full of vitality and
expression, it makes me shiver to look at it.

  Now my eye is arrested by an imposing group of Thorwalsden, “Christ
and his Apostles.” It is not _my_ Christ. It is not He who said,
“Suffer little children to come unto me.” It is not He who said to the
weeping Magdalen, “Neither do I condemn thee.” It is not He who raised
for the meek Mary, the dead Lazarus. It is not He who, dying, cried,
“Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.” It is a form,
stern, unbending, forbidding. My heart refuses its allegiance.

  But I fear I am wearying the reader; so, let me close by saying,
that what astonished me more than anything else, was the appearance
of four of the most consummate _Knaves_ in the world. They occupied
conspicuous positions during the public exercises, and in fact, all
the time I was there. Indeed, I am informed that they have been in
regular attendance ever since the Palace was opened, notwithstanding
they are well known, not only to the police, but to the officers of
the exhibition. It is even whispered that the latter named gentlemen
connive at their attendance, unblushingly bestow many attentions upon
them, and will, undoubtedly, permit them to be present during the
entire exhibition. That the public may know and recognize them, I will
give their names: they are the North Nave, the South Nave, the East
Nave, and the West Nave!


  You have a pretty, attractive child; she is warm-hearted and
affectionate, but vivacious and full of life. With judicious
management, and a firm, steady rein, she is a very lovable one. You
take her with you on a visit, or to make a call. You are busy, talking
with the friend you went to see. A gentleman comes in and throws
himself indolently on the sofa. His eye falls upon little Kitty. He is
just in the mood to be amused, and makes up his mind to banter her a
little, for the sake of drawing her out. So he says--

  “Jemima, dear--come here!”

  The child blushes, and regards him as if uncertain whether he
intended to address her. He repeats his request, with a laugh.
She replies, “my name is Kitty, not Jemima,” which her tormentor
contradicts. Kitty looks puzzled, (just as he intended she should,)
but it is only for a moment. She sees he is quizzing her. Well, Miss
Kitty likes a frolic, if that is what he wants; so she gives him a pert
answer--he laughs uproariously, and rattles fun round her little ears
like a hail storm; Kitty has plenty of answers ready for him, and he
enjoys the sport amazingly.

  By-and-by, he gets weary, and says,--“There--run away now, I’m going
to read the newspaper;” but Kitty is wide awake, and has no idea of
being cut short in that summary way; so she continues her Lilliputian
attacks, till finally he gets up and beats a despairing retreat,
muttering, “what a very _disagreeable_ child.”

  Mamma sees it all from a distance; she does not interfere--no--for
she believes in “Children’s Rights.” Kitty was quiet, well behaved and
respectful--till the visitor undertook to quiz, and tease her, for his
own amusement. He wanted a frolic--and he has had it: _they who play
with children must take children’s play_.


  I never could see the reason why your smart housekeepers must, of
necessity, be Xantippes. I once had the misfortune to be domesticated
during the summer months with one of this genus.

  I should like to have seen the adventurous spider that would have
dared to ply his cunning trade in Mrs. Carrot’s premises! Nobody was
allowed to sleep a wink after daylight, beneath her roof. Even her old
rooster crowed one hour earlier than any of her neighbors’. “Go ahead,”
was written on every broomstick in the establishment.

  She gave her husband his breakfast, buttoned up his overcoat, and put
him out of the front door, with his face in the direction of the store,
in less time than I’ve taken to tell it. Then she snatched up the six
little Carrots; scrubbed their faces, up and down, without regard to
feelings or noses, till they shone like a row of milk pans.

  “Clear the track” was her motto, washing and ironing days. She never
drew a long breath till the wash-tubs were turned bottom upwards again,
and every article of wearing apparel sprinkled, folded, ironed, and
replaced on the backs of their respective owners. It gave me a stitch
in the side to look at her!

  As to her “cleaning days,” I never had courage to witness one. I used
to lie under an apple tree in the orchard, till she was through. A
whole platoon of soldiers wouldn’t have frightened me so much as that
virago and her mop.

  You should have seen her in her glory on “baking days;” her sleeves
rolled up to her arm-pits, and a long, check apron swathed around her
bolster-like figure. The great oven glowing, blazing, and sparkling,
in a manner very suggestive, to a lazy sinner, like myself. The
interminable rows of greased pie-plates; the pans of rough and ready
gingerbread; the pots of pork and beans, in an edifying state of
progression; and the immense embryo loaves of brown and wheaten bread.
To my innocent inquiry, whether she thought the latter would “rise,”
she set her skinny arms akimbo, marched up within kissing distance of
my face, cocked her head on one side, and asked if I thought she looked
“like a woman to be trifled with by a loaf of bread!” The way I settled
down into my slippers, without a reply, probably convinced her that I
was no longer skeptical on that point.

  Saturday evening she employed in winding up everything that was
unwound in the house--the old entry clock included. From that time till
Monday morning, she devoted to her husband and Sabbatical exercises.
All I have to say is, it is to be hoped she carried some of the fervor
of her secular employments into those halcyon hours.


  It is possible that every stranger may suppose, as I did, on first
approaching Barnum’s Museum, that the greater part of its curiosities
are on the outside, and have some fears that its internal will not
equal its external appearance. But, after crossing the threshold, he
will soon discover his mistake. The first idea suggested will perhaps
be that the view, from the windows, of the motley, moving throng in
Broadway--the rattling, thundering carts, carriages and omnibuses--the
confluence of the vehicular and human tides which, from so many
quarters, come pouring past the museum--is, (to adopt the language of
advertisements,) “worth double the price of admission.”

  The visitor’s attention will unquestionably be next arrested by the
“Bearded Lady of Switzerland”--one of the most curious curiosities ever
presented. A card, in pleasant juxtaposition to the “lady,” conveys
the gratifying intelligence that, “Visitors are allowed to touch the
beard.” Not a man in the throng lifts an investigating finger! Your
penetration, Madame Clofullia, does you infinite credit. You knew well
enough that your permission would be as good as a handcuff to every
pair of masculine wrists in the company. For my own part, I should no
more meddle with your beard, than with Mons. Clofullia’s. I see no
feminity in it. Its shoe-brush aspect puts me on my decorum. I am glad
you raised it, however, just to show Barnum that there is something
“new under the sun,” and to convince men in general that a woman can
accomplish about anything she undertakes.

  I have not come to New York to stifle my inquisitiveness. How did
you raise that beard? Who shaves first in the morning? you, or your
husband? Do you use a Woman’s Rights razor? Which of you does the
_strap_-ping? How does your baby know you from its father? What do you
think of us, smooth-faced sisters? Do you (between you and me) prefer
to patronize dress-makers, or tailors? Do you sing tenor, or alto? Are
you master, or mistress of your husband’s affections?--Well, at all
events, it has been something in your neutral pocket to have “tarried
at Jericho till your beard was grown.”

  --What have we here? Canova’s Venus. She is exquisitely beautiful,
standing there, in her sculptured graces; but where’s the Apollo?
Ah, here’s a sleeping Cupid, which is better. Mischievous little
imp! I’m off before you wake!--Come we now to a petrifaction of a
horse and his rider, crushed in the prehensile embrace of a monstrous
serpent, found in a cave where it must have lain for ages, and upon
which one’s imagination might pleasantly dwell for hours.--Then, here
are deputations from China-dom, in the shape of Mandarins, ladies
of quality, servants, priests, &c., with their chalky complexions,
huckleberry eyes and shaven polls. Here, also, is a Chinese criminal,
packed into a barrel, with a hole in the lid, from which his head
protrudes, and two at the sides, from whence his helpless paws depend.
Poor Min Yung, you ought to reflect on the error of your ways, though,
I confess, you’ve not much chance to _room_-inate.

  Here are snakes, insects, and reptiles of every description, corked
down and pinned up, as all such gentry should be,--most of them, I
perceive, labeled in the masculine gender! Then there’s a “bear,” the
thought of whose hug makes me utter an involuntary _pater noster_, and
cling closer to the arm of my guide. I tell you what, old Bruin, as I
hope to travel, I trust you’ve left none of your cubs behind.

  --Here is a group of Suliote chiefs, and in their midst Lord Byron,
with his shirt upside down; and here is the veritable carriage that
little Victoria used to ride in, before the crown of royalty fretted
her fair, girlish temples. Poor little embryo queen! How many times
since, do you suppose, she has longed to step out of those bejeweled
robes, drop the burdens state imposes, and throw her weary limbs, with
a child’s careless _abandon_, on those silken cushions, free to laugh
or cry, to sing or sigh.

  --Then, here’s a collection of stuffed birds, whose rainbow plumage
has darted through clustering foliage, fostered in other latitudes
than ours. Nearly every species of beings that crawl, or fly, or walk,
or swim, is here represented. And what hideous monsters some of them
are! A “pretty kettle of fish,” some of the representatives of the
finny tribe would make! I once thought I would like to be buried in the
ocean, but I discarded that idea before I had been in the museum an
hour. I shouldn’t want such a “scaly set” of creatures swimming in the
same pond with me.

  --I had nearly forgotten to mention the “Happy Family.” Here are
animals and birds which are the natural prey of each other, living
together in such pleasant harmony as would make a quarrelsome person
blush to look upon. A sleek rat, probably overcome by the oppressive
weather, was gently dozing--a cat’s neck supporting his sleepy head in
a most pillow-ly manner. Mutual vows of friendship had evidently been
exchanged and rat-ified by these natural enemies. I have not time to
mention in detail the many striking instances of fraternization among
creatures which have been considered each other’s irreconcilable foes.
Suffice it to say that Barnum and Noah are the only men on record who
have brought about such a state of harmonic antagonisms, and that
Barnum is the only man who has ever made money by the operation.

  --Heigho! time fails us to explore all the natural wonders gathered
here, from all climes, and lands, and seas, by the enterprise of
perhaps the only man who could have compassed it. We turn away, leaving
the greater portion unexamined, with an indistinct remembrance of what
we have seen, but with a most distinct impression that the “getting up”
of Creation was no ordinary affair, and wondering how it could ever
have been done in six days.


  Dear me, I must go shopping. Shopping is a nuisance: clerks are
impertinent: feminity is victimized. Miserable day, too: mud plastered
an inch thick on the side walk. Well, if we drop our skirts, gentlemen
cry “Ugh!” and if we lift them from the mud, they level their
eye-glasses at our ankles. The true definition of a gentleman (not
found in incomplete Webster) is--a biped, who, of a muddy day, is
perfectly oblivious of anything but the shop signs.

  _Vive la France!_ Ingenious Parisians, send us over your clever
invention--a chain suspended from the girdle, at the end of which is
a gold _hand_ to clasp up the superfluous length of our promenading
robes; thus releasing our human digits, and leaving them at liberty to
wrestle with rude Boreas for the possession of the detestable little
sham bonnets, which the milliners persist in hanging on the backs of
our necks.

  Well, here we are at Call & Ketchum’s dry-goods store. Now comes the
tug of war: let Job’s mantle fall on my feminine shoulders.

  “Have you _blue_ silk?”

  Yardstick, entirely ignorant of colors, after fifteen minutes of
snail-like research, hands me down a silk that is as _green_ as

  Oh! away with these stupid masculine clerks, and give us _women_, who
know by intuition what we want, to the immense saving of our lungs and

  Here’s Mr. Timothy Tape’s establishment.

  “Have you lace collars, (in points,) Mr. Tape?”

  Mr. Tape looks beneficent, and shows me some _rounded_ collars. I
repeat my request in the most pointed manner for _pointed_ collars. Mr.
Tape replies, with a patronizing grin:

  “Points is going out, Ma’am.”

  “So am I.”

  Dear me, how tired my feet are! nevertheless, I must have some
merino. So I open the door of Mr. Henry Humbug’s dry-goods store, which
is about half a mile in length, and inquire for the desired article.
Young Yardstick directs me to the counter, at the _extreme_ end of
the store. I commence my travels thitherward through a file of gaping
clerks, and arrive there just ten minutes before two, by my repeater;
when I am told “they are quite out of merinos; but won’t Lyonnese cloth
do just as well?” pulling down a pile of the same. I rush out in a
high state of frenzy, and, taking refuge in the next-door neighbor’s,
inquire for some stockings. Whereupon the clerk inquires (of the wrong
customer,) “What price I wish to pay?” Of course, I am not so verdant
as to be caught in that trap; and, teetotally disgusted with the entire
institution of shopping, I drag my weary limbs into Taylor’s new
saloon, to rest.

  Bless me! what a display of gilding, and girls, and gingerbread! what
a heap of mirrors! There’s more than one Fanny Fern in the world. I
found that out since I came in.

  “What will you be pleased to have?” J-u-l-i-u-s C-æ-s-a-r! look at
that white-aproned waiter pulling out his snuff-box and taking a pinch
of snuff right over that bowl of white sugar, that will be handed me in
five minutes to sweeten my tea! And there’s another combing his hair
with a pocket-comb, over that dish of oysters.

  “What will I have?” Starve me, if I’ll have anything, till I can find
a cleaner place than this to eat in.

  Shade of old Paul Pry Boston! what do I hear? Two--(well I declare,
I am not sure whether they are ladies or women; I don’t understand
these New York feminities). At any rate, they wear bonnets, and are
telling the waiter to bring them “a bottle of Maraschino de Zara,
some sponge-cake, and some brandy drops!” See them sip the cordial
in their glasses, with the gusto of an old toper. See their eyes
sparkle and their cheeks flush, and just hear their emancipated little
tongues go. Wonder if their husbands know that they--but of course
they don’t. However, it is six of one and half a dozen of the other.
They are probably turning down sherry cobblers, and eating oysters, at
Florence’s; and their poor hungry children (while their parents are
dainty-izing) are coming home hungry from school, to eat a fragmentary
dinner, picked up at home by a lazy set of servants.

  Heigho! Ladies sipping wine in a public saloon! Pilgrim rock! hide
yourself under-ground! Well, it is very shocking the number of married
women who pass their time ruining their health in these saloons,
devouring Parisian confectionary, and tainting their children’s blood
with an appetite for strong drink. Oh, what a mockery of a home must
theirs be! Heaven pity the children reared there, left to the chance
training of vicious hirelings.


       “There is no better test of moral excellence, than the keenness
     of one’s sense, and the depth of one’s love, of all that is

  I don’t endorse that sentiment. I am acquainted with Apollo Hyacinth.
I have read his prose, and I have read his poetry; and I have cried
over both, till my heart was as soft as my head, and my eyes were as
red as a rabbit’s. I have listened to him in public, when he was, by
turns, witty, sparkling, satirical, pathetic, till I could have added
a codicil to my will, and left him all my worldly possessions; and
possibly you have done the same. He has, perhaps, grasped you cordially
by the hand, and, with a beaming smile, urged you, in his musical
voice, to “call on him and Mrs. Hyacinth;” and you have called: but,
did you ever find him “in?” You have invited him to visit you, and have
received a “gratified acceptance,” in his elegant chirography; but,
_did he ever come_? He has borrowed money of you, in the most elegant
manner possible; and, as he deposited it in his beautiful purse, he has
assured you, in the choicest and most happily chosen language, that he
“should never forget your kindness;” but, _did he ever pay_?

  Should you die to-morrow, Apollo would write a poetical obituary
notice of you, which would raise the price of pocket-handkerchiefs; but
should your widow call on him in the course of a month, to solicit his
patronage to open a school, she would be told “he was out of town,” and
that it was “quite uncertain when he would return.”

  Apollo has a large circle of relatives; but his “keenness of
perception, and deep love, of the beautiful” are so great, that none of
them _exactly_ meet his views. His “moral excellence,” however, does
not prevent his making the most of them. He has a way of dodging them
adroitly, when they call for a reciprocation, either in a business or a
social way; or, if, at any time, there is a necessity for inviting them
to his house, he does it when he is at his _country_ residence, where
their _greenness_ will not be out of place.

  Apollo never says an uncivil thing--never; he prides himself on that,
as well as on his perfect knowledge of human nature; therefore, his
sins are all sins of omission. His tastes are very exquisite, and his
nature peculiarly sensitive; consequently, he cannot bear trouble. He
will tell you, in his elegant way, that trouble “annoys” him, that it
“bores” him; in short, that it unfits him for life--for business; so,
should you hear that a friend or relative of his, even a brother or a
sister, was in distress, or persecuted in any manner, you could not do
Apollo a greater injury (in his estimation) than to inform him of the
fact. It would so grate upon his sensitive spirit,--it would so “annoy”
him; whereas, did he not hear of it until the friend, or brother, or
sister, were relieved or buried, he could manage the matter with his
usual urbanity and without the slightest draught upon his exquisitely
sensitive nature, by simply writing a pathetic and elegant note,
expressing the keenest regret at not having known “all about it” in
time to have “flown to the assistance of his dear”----&c.

  Apollo prefers friends who can stand grief and annoyance, as a
rhinoceros can stand flies--friends who can bear their own troubles and
all his--friends who will stand between him and everything disagreeable
in life, and never ask anything in return. To such friends he clings
with the most touching tenacity--as long as he can use them; but
let their good name be assailed, let misfortune once overtake them,
and his “moral excellence” compels him, at once, to ignore their
existence, until they have been extricated from all their troubles, and
it has become perfectly safe and _advantageous_ for him to renew the

  Apollo is keenly alive to the advantages of social position, (not
having always enjoyed them;) and so, his Litany reads after this
wise: From all questionable, unfashionable, unpresentable, and vulgar
persons, Good Lord, deliver us!


       “Boo-hoo!--I’ve eaten so--m-much bee-eef and t-turkey, that I
     can’t eat any p-p-plum p-p-pudding!”

  Miserable little Pitcher! Take your fists out of your eyes, and know
that thousands of grown-up pinafore graduates, are in the same Slough
of Despond with your epicurean Lilliputian-ship. Having washed the
platter clean of every crumb of “common fixins,” they are left with
cloyed, but tantalizing desires, for the spectacle of some mocking
“plum pudding.”

  “_Can’t eat your pudding!_”

  Why, you precious, graceless young glutton! you have the start of me,
by many an _ache_-r. I expect to furnish an appetite for every “plum
pudding” the fates are kind enough to cook for me, from this time till
Teba Napoleon writes my epitaph.

  Infatuated little Pitcher! come sit on my knee, and take a little
advice. Don’t you know you should only take a nibble out of each dish,
and be parsimonious at that; always leaving off, be the morsel ever
so dainty, before your little jacket buttons begin to tighten; while
from some of the dishes, you should not even lift the cover; taking
aunt Fanny’s word for it, that their spicy and stimulating contents
will only give you a pain under your apron. Bless your little soul,
life’s “bill of fare” can be spun out as ingeniously as a cobweb, if
you only understand it; and then you can sit in the corner, in good
digestive order, and catch your flies! But if you once get a surfeit of
a dainty, it takes the form of a pill to you, ever after, unless the
knowing _cuisinier_ disguise it under some novel process of sugaring;
and sadder still, if you exhaust yourself in the gratification of gross
appetites, you will be bereft of your faculties for enjoying the pure
and heavenly delights which “Our Father” has provided as a _dessert_
for his children.


       “Why _will_ ladies wear those ugly brown vails, which look like
     the burnt edge of a buckwheat cake? We vote for green

  Mr. Critic: Why don’t you hit upon something objectionable? Such as
the passion which stout ladies have for wearing immense plaids, and
whole stories of flounces! Such as thin, bolster-like looking females
wearing narrow stripes! Such as brunettes, gliding round like ghosts,
in pale blue! Such as blondes blowing out like dandelions in bright
yellow! Such as short ladies swathing up their little fat necks in
voluminous folds of shawls, and _shingle_ women, rejoicing in strips of

  _Then the gentlemen!_

  Your stout man is sure to get into a frock coat, with baggy trowsers;
your May-pole, into a long-waisted body-coat, and “continuations”
unnecessarily compact; your dark man looks like an “east wind”
daguerreotyped, in a light blue neck-tie; while your pink-and-white
man looks as though he wanted a pitcher of water in his face, in a
salmon-colored or a black one.

  Now allow _me_ to suggest. Your thin man should always close the
thorax button of his coat, and the last two at his waistband, leaving
the intermediate open, to give what he needs--more breadth of chest.
Your stout man, who has almost always a nice arm and hand, should have
his coat sleeve a _perfect fit_ from the elbow to the wrist, buttoning
_there tightly_--allowing a nice strip of a white linen wristband below

  I understand the architecture of a coat to a charm; know as quick as
a flash whether ’tis all right, the minute I clap my eye on it. As to
vests, I call myself a connoisseur. “_Stocks_” are only fit for Wall
Street! Get yourself some nice silk neck-ties, and ask your wife, or
somebody who knows something, to longitudinize them to your jugular.
Throw your colored, embroidered, and ruffled shirt-bosoms overboard;
leave your cane and cigar at home; wear a pair of neat, _dark_ gloves;
sport an immaculate pocket-handkerchief and dicky--don’t say naughty
words--give us ladies the _inside_ of the walk--speak of every woman as
you would wish _your_ mother or _your_ sister spoken of, and you’ll do!


  To be able to appreciate Mr. Pease’s toils, and sacrifices, and
self-denying labors at the Five Points House of Industry, one must
visit the locality:--one must wind through those dirty streets and
alleys, and see the wrecks of humanity that meet him at every step;--he
must see children so dirty and squalid that they scarcely resemble
human beings, playing in filthy gutters, and using language that would
curdle his blood to hear from _childhood’s_ lips;--he should see men,
“made in God’s own image,” brutalised beyond his power to imagine;--he
should see women (girls of not more than twenty years) reeling about
the pavements in a state of beastly intoxication, without a trace of
feminity in their vicious faces;--he should pass the rum shops, where
men and women are quarreling and fighting and swearing, while childhood
listens and _learns_!--he should pass the second-hand clothes cellars,
where hard-featured Jewish dealers swing out faded, refuse garments,
(pawned by starving virtue for bread,) to sell to the needy, half-naked
emigrant for his last penny;--he should see decayed fruit and
vegetables which the most ravenous swine might well root twice over
before devouring, purchased as daily food by these poor creatures;--he
should see _gentlemen_ (?) threading these streets, not to make all
this misery less, God knows, but to sever the last thread of hope to
which many a tempted one is despairingly clinging.

  One must see all this, before he can form a just idea of the
magnitude and importance of the work that Mr. Pease has single-handed
and nobly undertaken; remembering that men of wealth and influence have
their own reasons for using that wealth and influence to perpetuate
this modern Sodom.

  One should spend an hour in Mr. Pease’s house, to see the constant
drafts upon his time and strength, in the shape of calls and messages,
and especially the applications for relief that _his_ slender purse
alas! is often not able to answer;--he should see his unwearied
patience and activity, admire the kind, sympathetic heart--unaffected
by the toil or the frowns of temporizing theorists--ever warm, ever
pitiful, giving not only “the _crumbs_ from his table,” but often his
own meals to the hungry--his own wardrobe to the naked;--he should see
_this_, and go away _ashamed_ to have lived so long and done so little
to help the maimed, and sick, and lame, to Bethesda’s Pool.

  I will relate an incident which occurred, some time since, at
the House of Industry, and which serves as a fair sample of daily
occurrences there.

  One morning an aged lady, of respectable appearance, called at the
Mission House and enquired for Mr. Pease. She was told that he was
engaged, and asked if some one else would not do as well. She said,
respectfully, “No; my business is with him; I will wait, if you please,
till he can see me.”

  Mr. Pease immediately came in, when the old lady commenced her story:

  “I came, sir,” said she, “in behalf of a poor, unfortunate woman and
three little children. She is living now”--and the tears dropped over
her wrinkled face--“in a bad place in Willet-street, in a basement.
There are rum shops all around it, and many drunken people about the
neighborhood. She has made out to pay the rent, but has had no food for
the poor little children, who have subsisted on what they could manage
to beg in the day time. The landlord promised, when she hired the
basement, to put a lock on the door, and make it comfortable, so that
‘the Croton’ need not run in; but he got his rent and then broke his
promise, and they have not seen him since.”

  “Is the woman respectable?” enquired Mr. Pease.

  “Yes--no--not exactly,” said the poor old lady, violently agitated.
“She was well brought up. She has a good heart, sir, but a bad head,
and then trouble has discouraged her. Poor Mary--yes sir, it _must_
have been the _trouble_--for I know her _heart_ is good, sir. I”--tears
choked the old lady’s utterance. Recovering herself; she continued:

  “She had a kind husband once. He was the father of her two little
girls: six years ago he died, and--the poor thing--oh, sir, you don’t
know how dear she is to _me_!” and burying her aged face in her hands,
she sobbed aloud.

  Mr. Pease’s kind heart interpreted the old lady’s emotion, without
the pain of an explanation. In the weeping woman before him he saw the
_mother_ of the lost one.

  Yes, she was “Mary’s” mother. Poverty could not chill her love; shame
and the world’s scorn had only filled her with a God-like pity.

  After a brief pause, she brushed away her tears and went on:

  “Yes, sir; Mary was a good child to me _once_; she respected religion
and religious people, and used to love to go to church, but lately,
sir, God knows she has almost broke my heart. Last spring I took her
home, and the three dear children; but she would not listen to me, and
left without telling me where she was going. I heard that there was a
poor woman living in a basement in Willet street, with three children,
and my heart told me that that was my poor, lost Mary, and there I
found her. But, oh, sir--oh, sir”--and she sobbed as if her heart were
breaking--“_such_ a place! _My_ Mary, that I used to cradle in these
arms to sleep, that lisped her little evening prayer at _my_ knee--_my_
Mary, _drunk_ in that terrible place!”

  She was getting so agitated that Mr. Pease, wishing to turn the
current of her thoughts, asked her if she herself was a member of any
church. She said yes, of the ---- street Baptist Church. She said she
was a widow, and had had one child beside Mary--a son. And her face
lighted up as she said:

  “Oh sir, he was such a _fine_ lad. He did all he could to make me
happy; but he thought, that if he went to California he could make
money, and when he left he said ‘Cheer up, dear mother; I’ll come back
and give my money all to _you_, and you shall never work any more.’”

  “I can see him now, sir, as he stood there, with his eye kindling.
Poor lad! poor lad! He came back, but it was only to die. His last
words were, ‘God will care for you, mother--I know it--when I’m gone to
Heaven.’ Oh! if I could have seen my poor _girl_ die as he did, before
she became so bad. Oh, sir, _won’t_ you take her _here_?--_won’t_ you
try to make her good?--_can’t_ you make her good, sir? I _can’t_ give
Mary up. Nobody cares for Mary now but me. Won’t you try, sir?”

  Mr. Pease promised that he would do all he could, and sent a person
out with the old lady, to visit “Mary,” and obtain particulars: he soon
returned and corroborated all the old lady’s statements. Mr. Pease then
took a friend and started to see what could be done.

  In Willet street is a rickety old wooden building, filled to
overflowing with the very refuse of humanity. The basement is lighted
with two small windows half under ground; and in this wretched hole
lived Mary and her children. As Mr. Pease descended the steps into
the room, he heard some one say, “Here he comes, grandmother! he’s
come--he’s come!”

  The door was opened. On a pile of rags in the corner lay Mary, “my
Mary,” as the old lady tearfully called her.

  God of mercy! what a wreck of beautiful womanhood! Her large blue
eyes glared with maniac wildness, under the influence of intoxication.
Long waves of auburn hair fell, in tangled masses, over a form wasted,
yet beautiful in its graceful outlines.

  Poor, lost Mary!

  “_Such_ a place!” as her mother had, weeping, said. Not a table, or
chair, or bedstead, or article of furniture in it, of any description.
On the mantle-piece stood a beer-bottle with a half burnt candle in its
nose. A few broken, dirty dishes stood upon the shelf, and a quantity
of filthy rags lay scattered round the floor.

  The grandmother was holding by the hand a sweet child of eight years,
with large, bright eyes, and auburn hair (like poor Mary’s) falling
about her neck. An older girl of twelve, with a sweet, Madonna face,
that seemed to light up even _that_ wretched place with a beam of
Heaven, stood near, bearing in her arms a babe of sixteen months, which
was not so large as one of eight months should have been. Its little
hands looked like bird’s claws, and its little bones seemed almost
piercing the skin.

  The old lady went up to her daughter, saying, “Mary, dear, this is
the gentleman who is willing to take you to his house, if you will try
to be good.”

  “Get out of the room, you old hypocrite,” snarled the intoxicated
woman, “or I’ll----(and she clutched a hatchet beside her)--I’ll show
you! You are the worst old woman I ever knew, except the one you
brought in here the other day, and she is a fiend outright. Talk to
_me_ about being _good_!--ha--ha”--and she laughed an idiot laugh.

  “Mother,” said the eldest child, sweetly laying her little hand upon
her arm,--“_dear_ mother, don’t, please don’t hurt grandmother. She is
good and kind to us; she only wants to get you out of this bad place,
where you will be treated kindly.”

  “Yes, dear mother,” chimed in the younger sister, bending her little
curly head over her, “mother, you said once you _would_ go. Don’t keep
us here any longer, mother. We are cold and hungry. Please get up and
take us away; we are afraid to stay here, mother, dear.”

  “Yes, Mary,” said the old lady, handing her down a faded, ragged
gown, “here is your dress; put it on, wont you!”

  Mary raised herself on the pile of rags on which she was lying, and
pushing the eldest girl across the room, screamed out, “Get away, you
impudent little thing! you are just like your old grandmother. I tell
you _all_,” said she, raising herself on one elbow, and tossing back
her auburn hair from her broad, white forehead, “I tell you all, I
_never_ will go from here, _never_! I _love_ this place. So many fine
people come here, and we have such good times. There is a gentleman
who takes care of me. He brought me some candles, last night, and he
says that I shan’t want for anything, if I will only get rid of these
troublesome children--_my husband’s_ children.” And she hid her face in
her hands and laughed convulsively.

  “You may have _them_,” she continued, “just as soon as you like--baby
and all! but I never will go from this place. I _love_ it. A great many
fine people come here to see me.”

  The poor old lady wrung her hands and wept, while the children clung
round their grandmother, with half-averted faces, trembling and silent.

  Mr. Pease said to her, “Mary, you may either go with me, or I’ll
send for an officer and have you carried to the station-house. Which
will you do?”

  Mary cursed and raved, but finally put on the dress the old lady
handed her, and consented to go with them. A carriage was soon
procured, and Mary helped inside--Mr. Pease lifting in the baby and the
two little girls, and away they started for the Five Points House of

  “Oh, mother!” exclaimed the younger of the girls, “how very pleasant
it is to ride in this nice carriage, and to get away from that dirty
place; we shall be so happy now, mother; and Edith and the baby too:
see, he is laughing: he likes to ride. You will love sister Edith and
baby, and me, _now_, wont you, dear mother? and you wont frighten us
with the hatchet any more, or hurt dear grandmother, will you?”

  Arriving at Mr. Pease’s house, the delight of the little creatures
was unbounded. They caught hold of their mother’s faded dress, saying,
“Didn’t we _tell_ you, mother, that you would have a pleasant home
here? Only see that nice garden! you didn’t have a garden in Willet
Street, mother!”

  Reader, would you know that mother’s after history?

  Another “Mary” hath “bathed the Saviour’s feet” with her tears, and
wiped them with the hairs of her head. Her name is no longer written
Mary _Magdalena_. In the virtuous home of her aged mother, she sits
clothed in her right mind, “and her children rise up and call her


  I wonder if that is the bride, over at that window? Poor thing,
how I pity her! Every thing in her house so bran new and fresh and
uncomfortable. Furniture smelling like a mahogany coffin; every thing
set up spick and span in its place; not a picture awry; not a chair out
of its orbit; not a finger mark on the window panes; not a thread on
the carpet; not a curtain fold disarranged; china and porcelain set up
in alphabetical order in the pantry; bureau drawers fit for a Quaker;
no stockings, to mend; no strings or buttons missing; no old rag-bags
to hunt over; no dresses to re-flounce, or re-tuck, or re-fashionize;
not even a hook or eye absent. Sauce pans, pots, and kettles, fresh
from the “furnishing house;” servants fresh; house as still as a
cat-cornered mouse. Nothing stirring, nothing to do. Land of Canaan!
I should think it would be a relief to her to hear the braying and
roaring in Driesbach’s Menagerie.

  Well, there’s one consolation; in all human probability, it is a
state of things that won’t last long.


     “I love God and every little child.”--_Richter._

  I wonder if I have any little pinafore friends among the readers of
_Fern Leaves_? any little Nellys, or Katys, or Billys, or Johnnys,
who ever think of Fanny? Do you know that I like children much better
than grown-up people? I should so like to have a whole lap full of
your bright eyes, and rosy cheeks, and dimpled shoulders, to kiss. I
should like to have a good romp with you, this very minute. I don’t
always keep this old pen of mine scratching. If a bright cloud comes
sailing past my window, I throw down my pen, toss up the casement,
and drink in the air, like a gipsey. I feel just as you do, when you
are pent up in school, some bright summer day, when the winds are at
play, and the flowers lie languidly drooping under the blue, arching
sky;--when the little butterfly poises his bright wings on the rose,
too full of joy even to sip its sweets;--when the birds sing, because
they can’t help it, and the merry little swallow skims the ground,
dips his bright wing in the lake, circles over head, and then flies,
twittering, back to his cunning little brown nest, under the eaves.
On such a day, _I_ should like to be your school-mistress. I’d throw
open the old school-room door, and let you all out under the trees. You
should count the blades of grass for a sum in addition; you should
take an apple from a tree, to learn subtraction; you should give me
kisses, to learn multiplication. You shouldn’t go home to dinner. No:
we’d all take our dinner-baskets and go into the woods; we’d hunt for
violets; we’d lie on the moss under the trees, and look up at the bits
of blue sky, through the leafy branches; we’d hush our breath when the
little chipmunk peeped out of his hole, and watch him slily snatch the
ripe nut for his winter’s store. And we’d look for the shy rabbit; and
the little spotted toad, with its blinking eyes; and the gliding snake,
which creeps out to sun itself on the old gray rock. We’d play hide and
seek, in the hollow trunks of old trees; we’d turn away from the gaudy
flowers, flaunting their showy beauty in our faces, and search, under
the glossy leaves at our feet, for the pale-eyed blossoms which nestle
there as lovingly as a timid little fledgling under the mother-bird’s
wing; we’d go to the lake, and see the sober, staid old cows stand
cooling their legs in the water, and admiring themselves in the broad,
sheeted mirror beneath; we’d toss little pebbles in the lake, and see
the circles they made, widen and widen toward the distant shore--like
careless words, dropped and forgotten, but reaching to the far-off
shore of eternity.

  And then you should nestle ’round me, telling all your little griefs;
for well I know that childhood has its griefs, which are all the
keener because great, wise, grown-up people have often neither time
nor patience, amid the bustling whirl of life, to stop and listen to
them. I know what it is for a timid little child, who has never been
away from its mother’s apron string, to be walked, some morning, into a
great big school-room, full of strange faces;--to see a little urchin
laugh, and feel a choking lump come in your little throat, for fear he
was laughing at you;--to stand up, with trembling legs, in the middle
of the floor, and be told to “find big A,” when your eyes were so full
of tears that you couldn’t see anything;--to keep looking at the ferule
on the desk, and wondering if it would ever come down on your hand;--to
have some mischievous little scholar break your nice long slate-pencil
in two, to plague you, or steal your bit of gingerbread, out of your
satchel, and eat it up, or trip you down on purpose, and feel how
little the hard-hearted young sinners cared when you sobbed out, “I’ll
tell my mother.”

  I know what it is, when you have lain every night since you were
born, with your hand clasped in your mother’s, and your cheek cuddled
up to hers, to see a new baby come and take your place, without even
asking your leave;--to see papa, and grandpa, and grandma, and uncle,
and aunt, and cousins, and all the neighbors, so glad to see it, when
_your_ heart was almost broke about it. I know what it is to have
a great fat nurse (whom even mamma herself had to mind) lead you,
struggling, out of the room, and tell Sally to see that you didn’t
come into your own mamma’s room again all that day. I know what it is
to have that fat old nurse sit in mamma’s place at table, and cut up
your potato and meat all wrong;--to have her put squash on your plate,
when you _hate_ squash;--to have her forget (?) to give you a piece
of pie, and eat two pieces _herself_;--to have Sally cross, and Betty
cross, and everybody telling you to “get out of the way;”--to have your
doll’s leg get loose, and nobody there to hitch it on for you;--and
then, when it came night, to be put away in a chamber, all alone by
yourself to sleep, and have Sally tell you that “if you wasn’t good an
old black man would come and carry you off;”--and then to cuddle down
under the sheet, till you were half stifled, and tremble every time the
wind blew, as if you had an ague fit. Yes, and when, at last, mamma
came down stairs, I know how _long_ it took for you to like that new
baby;--how every time you wanted to sit in mamma’s lap, he’d be sure to
have the stomach-ache, or to want his breakfast; how he was _always_
wanting something, so that mamma couldn’t tell you pretty stories, or
build little blocks of houses for you, or make you reins to play horse
with; or do any of those nice little things, that she used to be always
doing for you.

  To be sure, my little darlings, I know all about it. I have cried
tears enough to float a steamship, about all these provoking things;
and now whenever I see a little child cry, I never feel like laughing
at him: for I know that often his little heart is just ready to break,
for somebody to pet him. So I always say a kind word, or give him a pat
on the head, or a kiss; for I know that though the little insect has
but one grain to carry, he often staggers under it: and I have seen the
time when a kind word, or a beaming smile, would have been worth more
to me, than all the broad lands of merrie England.

Transcriber’s Note:

  The illustrations which were plates in the book have been moved
near to the text they illustrate. The page numbers in the list of
illustrations are for the original position of the plates.

  This book contains inconsistent hyphenations which have been left as
printed. Corrections to punctuation have been made without comment.
Other changes that have been made are:

  Page  21 From he had whippped
           To   he had whipped

  Page  21 From The guantlet of defiance
           To   The gauntlet of defiance

  Page 128 From Susannna
           To   Susanna

  Page 133 From Now take a a little advice
           To   Now take a little advice


  Page 141 From The more fuss the the better
           To   The more fuss the better

  Page 263 From where-[new line]ever
           To   wherever

  Page 279 From What on earth sent yon
           To   What on earth sent you

  Page 356 From arrranging his furniture
           To   arranging his furniture

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