[To “Voices from 19th-Century America”]

Fern Leaves from Fanny’s Portfolio (series 1)
by “Fanny Fern” [Sara Payson Willis] (1853)

“Fanny Fern” was Sara Payson Willis (1811-1872), whose father, Nathaniel Willis, founded and edited Youth’s Companion. Escaping a bad second marriage, and with two children to support, Sara turned to writing: her first essay appeared in the Olive Branch and was quickly reprinted. She soon became one of the most highly paid authors in 19th-century America; three years after her first essay was published, Payson was hired to write one essay a week for the New York Ledger for the unheard-of sum of $100 per column. Alternately humorous, satiric, and sentimental, her pieces cover the range of 19th-century American life, from the death of children to the delicate subterfuge of a widow eager to remarry.

The Widow’s Trials” is vaguely autobiographical; it explores in miniature the themes Willis would develop more fully in her first novel, Ruth Hall.

The kernel of “The Partial Mother” (p. 139) may be a standard anecdote; The Youth’s Companion printed a similar anecdote in 1849.

Illustrations are linked to a larger version.

This book has been joined with the other collection into one ebook.

Notices and reviews of both collections are on a separate page.

Fern Leaves from Fanny’s Portfolio, series one (Auburn: Derby & Miller, 1853)

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a portfolio, with book title

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


This Book

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I never had the slightest intention of writing a book. Had such a thought entered my mind, I should not long have entertained it. It would have seemed presumptuous. What! I, Fanny Fern, write a book? I never could have believed it possible.

How, then, came the book to be written? some one may ask. Well, that’s just what puzzles me. I can only answer in the dialect of the immortal “Topsy,” “I ’spect it growed!” And, such as it is, it must go forth; for “what is written, is written,” and—stereotyped.

So, dear readers (for I certainly number some warm, friendly hearts among you), here is my book, which I sincerely wish were worthier of your regard. But I can only offer you a few “Fern leaves,” gathered at random, in shady spots, where sunbeams seldom play, and which I little thought ever to press for your keeping.

Many of the articles submitted were written for

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and published in the Boston Olive Branch, Boston True Flag, and the New York Musical World and Times, while many are now here published for the first time.

Some of the articles are sad, some are gay; each is independent of all the others, and the work is consequently disconnected and fragmentary; but, if the reader will imagine me peeping over his shoulder, quite happy should he pay me the impromptu compliment of a smile or a tear, it is possible we may come to a good understanding by the time the book shall have been perused.


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The Still Small Voice” … 11

Look on This Picture, and Then on That … 16

The Widow’s Trials … 17

My Little Sunbeam … 25

Self-Conquest … 26

Our Hatty” … 33

Two in Heaven … 40

Summer Days"; or, The Young Wife’s Affliction … 41

Comfort for the Widow … 47

Thorns for the Rose … 49

Thanksgiving Story … 59

Summer Friends; or, “Will is Might” … 61

Nil Desperandum” … 67

Cecile Grey … 69

Childhood’s Trust … 74

Elise De Vaux … 75

The Wail of a Broken Heart … 81

Mary Lee … 83

A Talk About Babies … 89

Elsie’s First Trial … 91

A Night-Watch with a Dead Infant … 98

A Practical Blue-Stocking … 100

The Little Pauper … 105

Edith May; or, The Mistake of a Life-Time … 108

Mabel’s Soliloquy … 114

How Husbands May Rule … 116

Little Charley … 120

The Lost and the Living … 122

p. 8

On a Little Child, Who Had Crept Before a Looking-Glass that was Left Upon the Sidewalk … 126

Kitty’s Resolve … 128

Woman … 133

The Passionate Father … 135

The Partial Mother … 139

The Ball-Room and the Nursery … 141

All’s Well … 146

How Woman Loves … 149

A Mother’s Soliloquy … 157

The Invalid Wife … 159

The Stray Lamb … 163

Lena May; or, Darkness and Light … 166

Thoughts Born of a Caress … 173

A Chapter on Literary Women … 175

He Who Has Most of Heart … 180

Dark Days … 182

Night … 186

Children’s Rights … 188

Sorrow’s Teachings … 192

An Infidel Mother” … 194

Little Charlie, the Child-Angel … 197

The Cross and the Crown … 202

Lilla, the Orphan … 204

Observing the Sabbath … 210

The Prophet’s Chamber … 214

Lilies of the Valley … 219

Grandfather Glen … 221

The Widow’s Prayer … 227

The Step-Mother … 230

A Word to Mothers … 234

The Test of Love … 236

Child-Life … 240

The Old House” … 243

Seeing the Folly of It” … 246

The Transplanted Lily … 250

No Fiction … 257

Incident at Mount Auburn … 260

p. 9

A Sunday Morning Soliloquy … 263

Little Allie … 265

The Flirt; or, The Unfaithful Lover … 271

Fern Glen … 277

Minnie … 282

Sweet-Briar Farm … 284

The Angel-Child” … 290

Not a “Model Minister” … 293

Merry Christmas!—Happy Christmas!” … 295

Leta … 298

The Model Step-Mother … 301

A Page from a Woman’s Heart; or, Female Heroism … 303

Little May … 311


Nicodemus Ney. A Dash at a Character Whom Everybody has Seen … 315

Advice to Ladies … 317

The Model Widow … 320

The Model Widower … 322

The Tear of a Wife … 324

Editors … 326

Bachelor Housekeeping … 329

Borrowed Light … 331

Mistaken Philanthropy … 333

The Model Minister … 335

The Weaker Vessel … 337

A Tempest in a Thimble … 339

The Quiet Mr. Smith … 341

Prudence Prim … 343

Men’s Dickeys Never Fit Exactly … 345

A Little Bunker Hill … 346

Soliloquy of Rev. Mr. Parish … 348

Tim Treadwell … 350

Important for Married Men … 352

Mr. Clapp’s Soliloquy … 354

p. 10

What Mrs. Smith Said … 355

Everybody’s Vacation Except Editors’ … 357

Old Jeremiah; or, Sunny Days … 359

I Can’t” … 362

A Chapter on Clergymen … 364

Uncle Jabe … 367

An Interesting Husband … 369

The Model Lady … 372

Indulgent Husbands … 373

A Fern Soliloquy … 375

Aunt Hetty on Matrimony … 377

Was n’t You Caught Napping? … 380

A Lady on Money Matters … 382

Mrs. Croaker … 384

To the Empress Eugenia … 386

Empress Eugenia’s Maids of Honor … 389

Fast Day … 391

The Bore of the Sanctum … 392

Owls Kill Humming-Birds … 397

The Best of Men Have Their Failings” … 399

p. 11


Poor, tired little Frank! He had gazed at that stereotyped street panorama, till his eyelids were drooping with weariness. Omnibuses, carts, cabs, wheelbarrows, men, women, horses, and children; the same old story. There is a little beggar-boy driving hoop. Franky never drives hoop;—no, he is dressed too nicely for that. Once in a while he takes the air; but Peter the serving-man, or Bridget the nurse, holds his hand very tightly, lest he should soil his embroidered frock. Now little Frank changes from one foot to the other, and then he creeps up to his young mamma, who lies half-buried in those satin cushions, reading the last new novel, and lays his hand on her soft curls; but she shakes him off with an impatient “Don’t Franky;” and he creeps back again to the window.

There winds a funeral slowly past. How sad the mourners look, clad in sable, with their handkerchiefs to their eyes! It is a child’s funeral, too; for there is no hearse, and the black pall floats from the first carriage window, like a signal of distress. A sudden thought strikes Franky,—the tears spring to his eyes, and

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creeping again to his mother’s side, he says, “Mamma, must I die, too?”

The young mother says, abstractedly, without raising her blue eyes from the novel she is reading, “What did you say, Frank?”

“Mamma, must I die, too?”

“Yes—no! What an odd question! Pull the bell, Charley. Here, Peter, take Frank up stairs to the nursery, and coax Bruno along to play tricks for him;” and Frank’s mamma settles herself down again upon her luxurious cushions.

The room is very quiet, now that Franky is banished; nobody is in it but herself and the canary. Her position is quite easy; her favorite book between her fingers,—why not yield herself again to the author’s witching spell? Why do the words, “Must I die, too,” stare at her from every page? They were but a child’s words. She is childish to heed them; and she rises, lays aside the book, and sweeps her white hand across her harp-strings, while her rich voice floats musically upon the air. One stanza only she sings, then her hands fall by her side; for still that little, plaintive voice keeps ringing in her ear, “Must I die, too, mamma?”

Death!—why, it is a thing she has never thought of;—and she walks up to the long mirror. Death for her, with that beaming eye, and scarlet lip, and rosy cheek, and sunny tress, and rounded limb, and springing step?

p. 13

Death for her, with broad lands, and full coffers, and the world of fashion at her feet? Death for her, with the love of that princely husband, who covets even the kiss of the breeze as it fans her white brow? Darkness, decay—oblivion? (No, not oblivion! There is a future, but she has never looked into it.)


“Well, which is it, my pet, the opera, the concert, or Madame B.’s soirée? I am yours to command.”

“Neither, I believe, Walter. I am out of tune to-night; or, as Madame B. would say, ‘Vaporish;’ so I shall inflict myself on nobody. But—”

“O, I beg your pardon, Mrs. Rose; I am fond of a merry face, too. Smile, now, or I’m off to the club, or the billiard room; or, as husbands say when they are ‘hard up’ for an excuse, I have ‘a business engagement.’ What! a tear? What grief can you have, little Rose?”

“You know, Walter, what a strange child our Frank is. Well, he asked me such an odd, old-fashioned question to-day, ‘Must I die, too mamma?’ in that little flute-like voice of his, and it set me thinking, that’s all. I can’t rid myself of it; and, dear Walter,” said she, laying her tearful cheek upon his shoulder, “I don’t know that I ought to try.”

“O, nonsense, Rose!” said the gay husband, “don’t

p. 14

turn Methodist, if you love me. Aunt Charity has religion enough for the whole nation. You can’t ask her which way the wind is, but you have a description of ‘Canaan.’ Religion is well enough for priests; it is their stock in trade;—well enough for children and old people;—well enough for ancient virgins, who like vestry meetings to pass away a long evening; but for you, Rose, the very queen of love and beauty, in the first flush of youth and health—pshaw! Call Camille to arrange your hair, and let’s to the opera. Time enough, my pet, to think of religion, when you see your first gray hair.”

Say you so, man of the sinewy limb and flashing eye? See!—up Calvary’s rugged steep a slender form bends wearily beneath its heavy cross! That sinless side, those hands, those feet are pierced—for you. Tortured, athirst, faint, agonized,—the dark cloud hiding the Father’s face,—that mournful wail rings out on the still air, “My God! my God! why has thou forsaken me?”

The dregs of life, our offering for all this priceless love, O sinless Son of God! The palsied hand, and clouded brain, and stammering tongue, and leaden foot of age, thy trophies? God forbid! And yet, alas! amid dance, and song, and revel, that “still small voice” was hushed. The winged hours, mis-spent and wasted, flew quickly past. No tear of repentance fell; no sup-

p. 15

pliant knee was bent; no household altar flame sent up its grateful incense.


“Must I die, too?”

Sweet child!—but as the sun dies; but as the stars fade out; but as the flowers die, for a resurrection morn! Close the searching eye beneath the prisoning lid; cross the busy hands over the pulseless heart. Life—life eternal! for thee, thou young immortal!

Joy to thee, young mother! From that little grave, so tear-bedewed, the flour of repentance springs, at last. No tares shall choke it; no blight or mildew blast it! God’s smile shall be its sunshine, and heaven thy reward.


Dear reader; so the good Shepherd hides the little lamb in his arms, that she who gave it life may hear its voice and follow.

p. 16


“Father is coming!” and little, round faces grow long, and merry voices are hushed, and toys are hustled into the closet; and mamma glances nervously at the door; and baby is bribed with a lump of sugar to keep the peace; and father’s business face relaxes not a muscle; and the little group huddle like timid sheep in a corner, and tea is dispatched as silently as if speaking were prohibited by the statute book; and the children creep like culprits to bed, marvelling that baby dare crow so loud, now that “Father has come.”


“Father is coming!” and bright eyes sparkle for joy, and tiny feet dance with glee, and eager faces press against the window-pane; and a bevy of rosy lips claim kisses at the door; and picture-books lie unrebuked on the table; and tops, and balls, and dolls, and kites are discussed; and little Susy lays her soft cheek against the paternal whiskers with the most fearless “abandon;” and Charley gets a love-pat for his “medal;” and mamma’s face grows radiant; and the evening paper is read,—not silently, but aloud,—and tea, and toast, and time vanish with equal celerity, for jubilee has arrived, and “Father has come!”

p. 17


The funeral was over, and Janie Grey came back to her desolate home. There were the useless drugs, the tempting fruits and flowers, which came all too late for the sinking sufferer. Wherever her eye fell, there was some sad reminiscence to torture her. They, whose life had been all sunshine, came in from cheerful homes, whose threshold death’s shadow had never darkened, to offer consolation. All the usual phrases of stereotyped condolence had fallen upon her ear; and now they had all gone, and the world would move on just the same that there was one more broken heart in it. She must bear her weary weight of woe alone. She knew that her star had set. Earth, sea and sky had no beauty now, since the eye that worshipped them with her was closed and rayless.


“Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth,” said Uncle John, joining the tips of the fingers of either hand, and settling himself in a vestry attitude, to say his lesson. “Afflictions come not out of the ground. Man is cut

p. 18

down like a flower. God is the God of the widow and the fatherless. I suppose you find it so?” said he, looking into the widow’s face.

“I can scarcely tell,” said Janie. “This was a lightning flash from a summer cloud. My eyes are blinded; I cannot see the bow of promise.”

“Wrong; all wrong,” said Uncle John. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. You ought to be resigned. I’m afraid you don’t enjoy religion. Afflictions are mercies in disguise. I’ll lend you this volume of ‘Dew-Drops’ to read. You must get submissive, somehow, or you will have some other trouble sent upon you. Good morning.”

Uncle John was a rigid sectarian, of the bluest school of divinity; enjoyed an immense reputation for sanctity, than which nothing was dearer to him, save the contents of his pocket-book. It was his glory to be the Alpha and Omega of parish gatherings and committees; to be consulted on the expediency of sending tracts to the Kangaroo Islands; to be present at the laying of corner-stones of embryo churches; to shine conspicuously at ordinations, donation visits, Sabbath-school celebrations, colporteur meetings,—in short, anything that smacked of a church-steeple, or added one inch to the length and breadth of his pharisaical skirt. He pitied the poor, as every good Christian should; but he never allowed them to put their hands in his pocket;—that was a territory

p. 19

over which the church had no control,—it belonged entirely to the other side of the fence.

Uncle John sat in his counting-room, looking very satisfactorily at the proof-sheets of “The Morning Star,” of which he was editor. He had just glanced over his long list of subscribers, and congratulated himself that matters were in such a prosperous condition. Then he took out a large roll of bank bills, and fingered them most affectionately; then he frowned ominously at a poor beggar child, who peeped in at the door; smoothed his chin, and settled himself comfortably in his rocking-chair.

A rap at the door of the counting-room. “May I come in, uncle?” and Janie’s long, black veil was thrown back from her sad face.

“Y-e-s,” said Uncle John, rather frigidly. “Pretty busy,—’spose you won’t stay long?” and he pushed his porte-monnaie further down in his pocket.

“I came to ask,” said Janie, timidly, “if you would employ me to write for your paper. Matters are more desperate with me than I thought, and there is a necessity for my doing something immediately. I believe I have talents that I might turn to account as a writer. I have literally nothing, Uncle John, to depend upon.”

“Your husband was an extravagant man;—lived too fast,—that’s the trouble,—lived too fast. Ought to have been economical as I was, when I was a young man. Can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Can’t expect me to

p. 20

make up for other people’s deficiencies. You must take care of yourself.”

“Certainly, that’s just what I wish to do,” said Janie, struggling to restrain her tears. “I—I—” but she only finished the sentence with sobs; the contrast between the sunny past and the gloomy present was too strong for her troubled heart.

Now, if there was anything Uncle John mortally hated, it was to see a woman cry. In all such cases he irritated the victim till she took a speedy and frenzied leave. So he remarked again that “Mr. May was extravagant, else there were have been something left. He was sorry he was dead; but that was a thing he was n’t to blame for,—and he did n’t know any reason why he should be bothered about it. The world was full of widows;—they all went to work, he supposed, and took care of themselves.”

“If you will tell me whether you can employ me to write for you,” said the widow, “I will not trouble you longer.”

“I have plenty who will write for nothing,” said the old man. “Market is overstocked with that sort of thing. Can’t afford to pay contributors, specially new beginners. Don’t think you have any talent that way, either. Better take in sewing, or something,” said he, taking out his watch, by way of a reminder that she had better be going.

p. 21

The young widow could scarcely see her way out through her fast-falling tears. It was her first bitter lesson in the world’s selfishness. She, whose tender feet had been so love-guided, to walk life’s thorny path alone; she, for whom no gift was rich, or rare, or costly enough; she, who had leaned so trustingly on the dear arm now so powerless to shield her; she, to whom love was life, breath, being, to meet only careless glances,—nay, more, harsh and taunting words. O, where should that stricken heart find rest, this side heaven?

Yet she might not yield to despair; there was a little, innocent, helpless one, for whom she must live on, and toil, and struggle. Was the world all darkness? Bent every knee at Mammon’s shrine? Beat every human heart only for its own joys and sorrows?

Days and months rolled on. Uncle John said his prayers, and went to church, and counted over his dear bank bills; and the widow sat up till the stars grew pale, and bent wearily over long pages of manuscript; and little Rudolph lay with his rosy cheek nestled to the pillow, crushing his bright ringlets, all unconscious of the weary vigil the young mother was keeping. And now it was New-Year’s night; and, as she laid aside her pen, memory called her back to rich, sunny days,—to a luxurious home. Again she was leaning on that broad, true breast. Troops of friends were about them. O, where were they now? Then she looked upon her small, plainly

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furnished room, so unattractive to the eye of taste and refinement;— then it fell upon her child, too young to remember that father, whose last act was to kiss his baby brow.

Still the child slumbered on,—his red lips parted with a smile,—and, for the first time, she noted the little stocking, yet warm from the dimpled foot, hung close by the pillow, with childhood’s beautiful trust in angel hands to fill it; and, covering her face with her hands, she wept aloud, that this simple luxury must be denied a mother’s heart. Then, extinguishing her small lamp, she laid her tearful cheek against the rosy little sleeper, with that instinctive yearning for sympathy, which only the wretched know. In slumber there is, at least, forgetfulness. Kind angels whisper hope in dreams.

The golden light of New-Year’s morning streamed through the partially opened shutters upon the curly head that already nestled uneasily on its pillow. The blue eyes opened slowly, like violets kissed by the sun, and the little hand was outstretched to grasp the empty stocking. His lip quivered, and tears of disappointment forced themselves through his tiny fingers; while his mother rose, sad and unrefreshed, to meet another day of toil. And Uncle John, oblivious of everything that might collapse his purse, sat comfortably in this rocking-chair, “too busy” to call on his niece. Treading, not in his Lord’s footsteps, where sorrow, and

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misery, and want, made foot-tracks, but where the well-warmed, well-clad, and well-filled, sat at Dives’ table.

Time flew on. A brighter day dawned for Janie. She had triumphed over disappointments and discouragements before which stouter hearts than hers had quailed. Comfort and independence were again hers,— earned by her own untiring hand. Uncle John was not afraid of her now. He turned no more short corners to avoid her. She needed no assistance. Uncle John liked to notice that sort of people. He grew amiable, even facetious; and, one day, in his uproariousness, actually sent a three-cent-piece to his nephew, whom he had not inquired for for three long years.

Janie’s praises reached him from every quarter; and he took a great deal of pains to let people know that this new literary light was his niece. Had he known she would have turned out such a star, he would have employed her. Now she was swelling other editors’ subscription lists, instead of his. That was a feature of the case he was fully prepared to understand!

“No talent that way!” said Janie to herself, as she saw him, at last, very coolly transfer, with his editorial hand, her articles to “The Morning Star,” without credit, without remuneration to herself. Sanctimonious, avaricious Uncle John! Did you count the weary vigils they cost the writer? Did you count the tears which blistered their pages? Did you dream of the torturing

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process by which the bird was blinded, ere it could be learned to sing so sweetly? Knew you that those gushing notes reached you, through prison bars, from a weary captive’s throat? No, no, Uncle John! how should you? For where your heart should have been, there was a decided vacuum.

p. 25


Never saw my little sunbeam? Well, she was a little creature who passed my window each day, on her way to school, and who made my acquaintance, child fashion, with a smile. Perhaps none but myself would have called her pretty; but her eyes were full of love, and her voice of music. Every day she laid a little bunch of violets on my window. You might have thought it a trifling gift, but it was much to me; for, after my little sunbeam had vanished, I closed my eyes, and the fragrance of those tiny flowers carried me back, O, whither?

They told of a fragrant, shadowy wood; of a rippling brook; of a bird’s song; of whispered leaf-music; of a mossy seat; of dark, soul-lit eyes; of a voice sweet, and low, and thrilling; of a vow that was never broken till death chilled the lips that made it. God shield my little Sunbeam! May she find more roses than thorns in her earthly pathway.

p. 26


“Well, Bridget, what do you think of the bride?”

“O, she’s a pretty young thing; but if she had known as much as you and I do of her husband’s mother, she never would have come to live with her. She’s a regular old hyena, and if she don’t bring the tears into those blue eyes before the honeymoon is over, my name is n’t Bridget. Why, she’s the most owdacious old thing! She overhauled all her wardrobe yesterday, before she could get here; and, as I passed through the entry, I heard her muttering to herself, ‘Silk stockings, humph!—ruffled under-clothes! Wonder if she thinks I’ll have them ironed here? Embroidered night-caps, silk dresses! Destruction and ruin!”

“I’ll tell you what, Bridget, there never was a house built yet, that was big enough for two families to live in; and you’ll find out that this won’t be, I reckon.”


“What! tears, Emma?—tears!” said the young husband, as he returned from his counting-room one day, about a month after their marriage; and, with a look of

p. 27

anxiety, he drew her closer to his breast. “Tell me, you do not so soon repent your choice?” The little, rosy mouth was held up temptingly for a kiss; and in those blue eyes he read the answer his heart was seeking.

“What, then, is your pet canary sick? Can’t you dress your hair to suit you? Or are you in despair because you can’t decide in which of all your dresses you look prettiest?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Harry!” said Emma, laughing and crying together. “I feel nervous, that’s all. I’m so glad you’ve come home.”

Harry felt sure that was not all; but he forbore to question her, for he felt very sure she would tell him all in good time.

The truth was, Harry’s mother had been lecturing her daughter-in-law, all the morning, upon the degeneracy of the times;—hoped she would not think of putting on all the fine things her friends had been so foolish as to rig her out in!—times were not now as they used to be!—that if Harry gave her pocket-money, she had better give it to her to keep, and not be spending it for nonsense;—that a young wife’s place was in her husband’s house;—and she hoped she would leave off that babyish trick, of running home every day to see her mother and sisters.

Emma listened in silent amazement. She was a warm-hearted, affectionate girl, but she was very high-spirited. The color came and went rapidly in her cheek; but she

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forced back the tears that were starting to her eyes, for she had too much pride to allow her to see them fall.

After old Mrs. Hall retired, she sat for a moment or two, recalling her words. “ ‘Babyish,’ to love my own dear home, where I was as merry as a cricket from morning till night; where we all sang, and played, and read, in mother’s dear old room, and father and mother the happiest of us all—‘babyish!’ I won’t be dictated to!” said the young wife. “I’m married if I am only nineteen, and my own mistress;” and the rebellious tones would come in spite of her determination. But then she thought of Harry,—dear Harry,—whom she had already learned to love so well. Her first impulse was, to tell him. But she had a great deal of good sense, if she was young; and she said to herself, “No, that won’t do;—then he’ll have to take sides with one or the other, and either way it will make trouble. It may wean his love from me, too. No, no, I’ll try to get along without; but I wish I had known more about her, before I came here to live.”

And so she smiled and chatted gayly with Harry, and hoped he had set it down to the account of “nervousness.” Still the hours passed slowly, when he was absent at his business; and she felt uneasy every time she heard a step on the stairs, lest the old lady should subject her to some new trial.

“I wonder what has come over our Emma?” said one

p. 29

of her sisters; “she has grown so grave and matronly. I half-hated Harry when he carried her off, and I quite hate him now, for she’s so sedate and moping. I desire to keep my neck out of the matrimonial noose.”

Shortly after this, Emma’s mother sent her some little delicacy, manufactured by herself, of which she knew her daughter to be particularly fond. Mrs. Hall brought it into her room, and set it down on the table as if she were testing the strength of the dish, and said, “I wonder if your mother is afraid you’ll not have enough to eat here. One would think you were a child at a boarding-school.”

Emma controlled herself by a strong effort, and made her no reply, simply taking the gift from her hands, with a nod of acknowledgment. Every day brought her some such petty annoyance; and her father-in-law, who was old and childish, being quite as troublesome as his wife in these respects, it required all Emma’s love for Harry to carry her through.

She still adhered to her determination, however, to conceal her trouble from her husband; and though he noticed she was less vivacious, perhaps he thought the mantle of matronly dignity so becoming to his young wife, that he felt no disposition to find fault with it. In the mean time, old Mrs. Hall being confined to her room with a violent influenza, the reins of government were very unwillingly resigned into Emma’s hands. What endless charges she received about the dusting and sweeping, and

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cooking, ending always with this soliloquy, as the door closed upon Emma’s retreating form, “I am a goose to tell her anything about it. She’s as ignorant as a Hottentot,—it will all go in one ear, and out the other.” And the old lady groaned in spirit, as the vision of the nose of the tea-kettle pointing the wrong way, or the sauce-pan hung on the wrong nail, flitted through her mind. Emma exerted herself to the utmost to please her; but the gruel was always “not quite right,” the pillows not arranged easily behind her back, or she expected to find “Bedlam let loose” when she got downstairs, and various other encouraging prognostications of the same character.

“Emma,” said Harry, “how should you like living five miles out of the city? I have seen a place that just suits my fancy, and I think of hiring it on trial.”

Emma hesitated. She wished to ask, “Does your mother go with us?” but she only said, “I could not tell, dear Harry, how I should like the place, till I saw it; but I should fear it would take you too much from me. It would seem so odd to have five miles’ distance between us for the whole day. O, I’m very sure I should n’t like it, Harry!” and the thought of her mother-in-law clouded her sunny face, and, in spite of herself a tear dropped on her husband’s hand.

“Well, dear Emma, now I’m very sure you will like it,”—and his large, dark eyes had a look she did not

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quite understand, even with all her skill and practice in reading them,—“and so I’m going to drive you out there this very afternoon, and we’ll see,” said he, gayly kissing her forehead.

“O, what a little Paradise, Harry! Look at that cluster of prairie roses! What splendid old trees! See how the wind sweeps the drooping branches across the tall grass! And that little, low window, latticed over with sweet briar; and that pretty terraced flower-garden,—O, Harry!”

“Well, let us go inside, Emma;” and, applying a key he held in his hand, the door yielded to his touch, and they stood side by side in a little rustic parlor, furnished simply, yet so tastefully. Tables, stands, and mantel, covered with vases, sending forth fragrance from the sweetest of wild-wood flowers; the long, white muslin curtains, looped away from a window, whence could be seen wooded hill, and fertile valley, and silvery stream. Then they ascended into the old chamber, which was quite as unexceptional in its appointments. Emma looked about in bewildered wonder.

“But who lives here now, Harry?”


“Nobody? What a tease you are! To whom does all this furniture belong,—and who arranged everything with such exquisite taste? I have been expecting every minute to see the mistress of the mansion step out.”

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“Well, there she is,” said Harry, leading her gayly up to the looking-glass. “I only hope you admire her hair as much as I do. Do you think I’ve been blind and deaf, because I’ve been dumb? Do you think I’ve not seen my high-spirited little wife, struggling with trial, day by day, suffering, enduring, gaining the victory over her own spirit, silently and uncomplainingly? Do you think I could see all this, and not think she was the dearest little wife in the world?” and tears and smiles struggled for mastery, as he pressed his lips to her forehead. “And now you will have nobody to please here, but me, Emma. Do you think the task will be difficult?”

The answer, though highly satisfactory to the husband, was not intended for you, dear reader; so please excuse Fanny Fern.


a little girl watches a woman read


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She might have had twenty other names, but that was the only appellation I ever heard. It was, “Get out of the way, Hatty!”—“I dare say, Hatty broke that vase, or lost that book!”—“Don’t come here; what a fright you are, Hatty!” till the poor, sensitive child almost felt as if she had the mark of Cain upon her forehead. She had brothers and sisters, but they were bright, and saucy, and bold, cunning; and, when they wished to carry out a favorite scheme, could throw their arms about the parental neck, flatter some weak side, carry the day, and then laugh at their juvenile foresight; so their coffers were always filled, while poor Hatty’s was empty;—and she laid all these things up in her little grieved heart, and, as she saw duplicity better rewarded than sincerity, began to have little infidel doubts whether the Bible, that her father read so much out of, was really true; while Joseph’s “coat of many colors” flaunted ever before her tearful eyes! All her sweet, childish impulses were checked and crushed; and, where the sweet flowers of love and confidence should have sprung up, the weeds of distrust and suspicion took bitter root!

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She took no part in the conversation of the domestic circle. “She was stupid,” so they told her; and she had heard it till she believed it true. Sometimes, as was often the case, some talented person made part of the family circle; on such occasions, Hatty would listen in her corner till her great, wild eyes glowed and burned like living coals of fire. But there was one spot where none disputed Hatty’s right to reign,—a little lonely room at the top of the house, which she had fitted up in her own wild way, and where she was free from reproof or intrusion.

You should have seen her there,—with her little yearning heart half broken by neglect,—doubtful of her own powers, and weeping such passionate tears, that she was “so stupid, and ugly, and disagreeable,” that nobody could ever love her! And so she made friends with the holy stars, the fleecy clouds, and the brilliant rainbow, the silver moonbeam, and the swift lightning; and an artistic eye, seeing her soul-lit face at that small window, might have fancied her some Italian improvisatrice! There, the fetters fell off, the soul was free, and the countenance mirrored it forth. Back in the family circle, she was again “Our Hatty!”


“That young daughter of yours differs very much from the rest of the family, Mr. Lee,” said a maiden lady, who was visiting there.

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“Yes, yes!” said the old man, with a shrug. “She don’t look much like a Lee; in fact, she’s very plain. She’s a strange, unaccountable child,—likes her own company better than anybody’s else, and don’t care a rush-light for all the nick-nacks other girls are teasing for. Sometimes I think she belongs to another brood,—got changed in the cradle, or something.”

“How does she spend her time?” said Miss Tabetha.

“I’m sure I don’t know. Wife says she has a little den at the top of the house, where she sits star-gazing. Queer child, that Hatty!—plain as a pike-staff;” and Mr. Lee took up his newspaper, and put his feet on the mantel.

Miss Tabetha was confounded! She had an uncommonly warm heart, for an old maid. She had never been a parent;—she wished she had, just to show some people what a nice one she’d have made! She inwardly resolved to know more of “Our Hatty.”

Rap, tap, on the door of Hatty’s little den,—what on earth did it mean? She hoped they were not going to take that away from her; and, with a guilty, frightened look, she opened the door.

Miss Tabetha entered.

“Are you vexed with me for coming here, child? You don’t look glad to see me.”

“No, no!” said Hatty, pushing back a tangled mass

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of dark hair; “but it’s so odd you should want to come. Nobody ever wanted to see me before.”

“And why not, Hatty?”

“Well, I don’t know,” said she, with touching meekness and simplicity; “unless it’s because I’m ‘stupid, and ugly, and disagreeable.’ ”

“Who told you that, Hatty?”

“All of them down stairs,” said she; “and I don’t care about it, only—only,”—and the tears rolled down her cheeks,—“it is so dreadful to feel that nobody can ever love me!”

Miss Tabetha said, “Humph!”

“Hatty,” said she, “come here. Do you ever look in the glass?”

“Not since a long while,” said the young girl, shrinking back.

“Come here, and look in this little mirror. Do you see those large, dark, bright eyes of yours? Do you see that wealth of raven hair, which a skilful hand might render a beauty, instead of that tangled deformity? Do you see those lithe, supple limbs, which a little care and training might render graceful as the swaying willow? There is intellect in your brow; soul in your eyes; your voice has a thrilling heart-tone. Hatty, you are a gem in the rough!—you cannot be ‘ugly;’ but, listen to me. It is every woman’s duty to be lovely and attractive. You have underrated and neglected yourself, my poor

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child. Nature has been no niggard to you. I do not say this to make you vain, but to inspire you with a proper confidence in yourself. But—what have we here?” as a large portfolio fell at her feet.

“O, Miss Tabetha, please don’t! It’s only a little scribbling, just when I felt wretched!—please don’t!”

“Yes, but I shall, though. It’s just what I want to see most;” and she went on reading paper after paper, while Hatty stood like a culprit before her. When she had finished, she said, very slowly and deliberately:

“Hatty, come here! Did you know that you were a genius?”

“A what, Miss Tabetha?”

“A genius, you delicious little bit of simplicity,—a genius! You’ll know fast enough what it means; and to think I should have been the first to find it out!” and she caught the astonished child in her arms, and kissed her, till Hatty thought a genius must be the most delightful thing in the world, to bring so much love with it.

“Look here, Hatty,—does anybody know this?” holding up the manuscripts.

Hatty shook her head.

“So much the better. ‘Stupid, ugly and disagreeable!’ humph! Do you know I’m going to run off with you?” said the little old maid. “We shall see what we shall see, Miss Hatty!”


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Five years had rolled away. A new life had been opened to Hatty. She had grown into a tall, graceful woman. Her step was light as a fawn’s. Her face,—not beautiful, certainly, if tried by the rules of art,—and yet, who that watched its ever-varying expression, would stop to criticize? No one cared to analyze the charm. She produced the effect of beauty; she was magnetic; she was fascinating. Miss Tabetha was satisfied;—“she knew it would be just so.”

They had almost forgotten her at Lee house. Once in a while they wondered “if Miss Tabetha was n’t tired of her.” Miss Tabetha thought she would let them know! Unbounded was their amazement, when Miss Tabetha ushered “Our Hatty” in. It was unaccountable! She was really “almost pretty!” Still there was the same want of heart in their manner to her; and the little old maid could not have kept within bounds, had she not had powerful reasons of her own for keeping quiet awhile.

“By the way, Miss Tabetha,” said Mr. Lee, “as you are a blue-stocking, can you enlighten me as to the author of that charming little volume of poems, which has set all the literary world astir? It is n’t often I get upon stilts but I’d give something to see the woman who wrote it.”

Miss Tabetha’s time had come. Her eyes twinkled with malicious delight. She handed him a volume, saying, “Well, here is a book I was commissioned to give you by the authoress herself.”

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Mr. Lee rubbed his glasses, set them astride his nose, and read the following on the fly-leaf:

“To my dear father, James Lee; from his affectionate daughter, The Author.”

Mr. Lee sprang from his chair, and, seizing his child by both hands, ejaculated, “Hatty Lee! I’m proud of you!”

Tears gathered slowly in her large eyes, as she said, “O, not that! Dear father, fold me once to your heart, and say, ‘Hatty, I love you!’ ”

Her head sank upon his shoulder. The old man read his child’s heart at last; he saw it all,—all her childish unhappiness,—and, as he kissed her brow, and cheek, and lips, said, in a choking voice, “Forgive your old father, Hatty!”

Her hand was laid upon his lips, while smiles and tears chased over her face, like sunshine and shadow over an April sky.

O, what is Fame to a woman? Like the “apples of the Dead Sea,” fair to the sight, ashes to the touch! From the depths of her unsatisfied heart, cometh, ever a voice that will not be hushed,—Take it all back, only give me love!

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“You have two children,” said I.

“I have four,” was the reply; “two on earth, two in heaven.”

There spoke the mother! Still hers, only “gone before!” Still remembered, loved and cherished, by the hearth and at the board;— their places not yet filled; even though their successors draw life from the same faithful breast where their dying heads were pillowed.

“Two in heaven!”

Safely housed from storm and tempest. No sickness there, nor drooping head, nor fading eyes, nor weary feet. By the green pastures, tended by the good Shepherd, linger the little lambs of the heavenly fold.

“Two in heaven!”

Earth less attractive. Eternity nearer. Invisible cords, drawing the maternal soul upwards. “Still small” voices, ever whispering, Come! to the world-weary spirit.

“Two in heaven!”

Mother of angels! Walk softly!—holy eyes watch thy footsteps!—cherub forms bend to listen! Keep thy spirit free from taint; so shalt thou “go to them,” though “they may not return to thee!”

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A delightful summer we passed, to be sure, at the —— Hotel, in the quiet village of S——. A collection of prettier women, or more gentlemanly, agreeable men, were never thrown together by the necessity of seeking country quarters in the dog-days. Fashion, by common consent, was laid upon the shelf, and comfort and smiling faces were the natural result. Husbands took the cars in the morning for the city, rejoicing in linen coats and pants, and loose neck-ties; while their wives were equally independent till their return, in flowing muslin wrappers, not too dainty for the wear and tear of little climbing feet, fresh from the meadow or wild wood.

There were not separate “cliques” or “sets.” Nobody knew, or inquired, or cared, whether your great grand-father had his horse shod, or shod horses for other people. The ladies were not afraid of smutting their fingers, or their reputation, if they washed their children’s faces; and did not consider it necessary to fasten the door, and close the blinds, when they replaced a missing button on their husband’s waistband, or mended a ragged frock.

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Plenty of fruit, plenty of fresh, sweet air, plenty of children, and plenty of room for them to play in. A short nap in the afternoon, a little additional care in arranging tumbled ringlets, and in girdling a fresh robe round the waist, and they were all seated, in the cool of the evening, on the long piazza, smiling, happy, and expectant, as the car bell announced the return of their liege lords from the dusty, heated city. It was delightful to see their business faces brighten up, as each fair wife came forward, and relieved them from the little parcels and newspapers they carried in their hands, and smiled a welcome, sweet as the cool, fresh air that fanned their heated foreheads. A cool bath, a clean dickey, and they were presentable at the supper-table, where merry jokes flew round, and city news was discussed between the fragrant cups of tea, and each man fell in love with his pretty wife over again,—or his neighbor’s, if he liked!

It was one harmonious, happy family! Mrs. —— and her husband were the prime ministers of fun and frolic in the establishment. It was she who concocted all the games, and charades, and riddles, that sent our merry shouts ringing far and wide, as we sat in the evening on the long, moonlit piazza. It was she who planned the picnics and sails, and drives in the old hay-cart; the berry parties, and romps on the green; and the little cozy suppers in the back parlor, just before bedtime, that nobody but herself could have coaxed out of the

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fussy old landlord. It was she who salted our coffee and sugared our toast; it was she who made puns for us, and wrote verses; it was she who sewed up pockets in overcoats, or stole cigars, or dipped the ends in water; it was she who nursed all the sick children in the house; it was she who cut out frocks, and pinafores, and caps for unskilful mothers; it was she who was here, and there, and everywhere, the embodiment of mischief, and fun, and kindness; and as she flew past her handsome husband, with her finger on her lip, bent upon some new prank, he would look after her with a proud, happy smile, more eloquent than words.

He was the handsomest man I ever saw—tall, commanding and elegant, with dark blue eyes, a profusion of curling black hair, glittering white teeth, and a form like Apollo’s. Mary was so proud of him! She would always watch his eye when she meditated any little piece of roguery, and it was discontinued or perfected as she read its language. He was just the man to appreciate her,—to understand her sensitive, enthusiastic nature,—to know when to check, when to encourage; and it needed but a word, a look; for her whole soul went out to him.

And so the bright summer days sped fleetly on; and now autumn had come, with its gorgeous beauty, and no one had courage to speak of breaking up our happy circle; but ah, there came one, with stealthy steps, who had no such scruples!

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* * * * * *

The merry shout of the children is hushed in the wide halls; anxious faces are grouped on the piazza; for in a darkened room above lies Mary’s princely husband, delirious with fever! The smile has fled her lip, the rose her cheek; her eye is humid with tears that never fall; day and night, without sleep or food, she keeps untiring vigil; while,—unconscious of her presence,—in tones that pierce her heart, he calls unceasingly for “my wife!” She puts back the tangled masses of dark hair from his heated forehead; she passes her little hand coaxingly over it; she hears not the advice of the physician, “to procure a nurse.” She fears not to be alone with him when he is raving. She tells no one that on her delicate breast she bears the impress of an (almost) deadly blow from the hand that was never before raised but to bless her. And now the physician, who has come once, twice, thrice a day from the city, tells the anxious groups in the hall that his patient must die. No one dare break the news to the wretched Mary! There is little need! She has gazed in their faces, with a keen, agonized earnestness; she has asked no question, but she knows it all; and her heart is dying within her! No entreaty, no persuasion, can draw her from the bedside.

The old doctor, with tearful eyes, passes his arm round her trembling form, and says, “My child, you can not meet the next hour—leave him with me.”

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A mournful shake of the head is her only answer, as she takes her seat again by her husband, and presses her forehead low upon that clammy hand, praying God that she may die with him.

An hour of time—an eternity of agony—has passed! A fainting, unresisting form is borne from that chamber of death.

Beautiful, as a piece of rare sculpture, lies the husband!—no traces of pain on lip or brow; the long, heavy lashes lay upon the marble cheek; the raven locks, damp with the dew of death, clustered profusely round the noble forehead; those chiselled lips are gloriously beautiful in their repose! Tears fall like rain from kindly eyes; servants pass to and fro, respectfully, with measured tread; kind hands are busy with vain attempts to restore animation to the fainting wife. O, that bitter, bitter, waking!—for she does wake. God pity her!

Her hand is passed slowly across her forehead; she remembers—she is a widow! She looks about the room—there is his hat, his coat, his cane; and now, indeed, she throws herself, with a burst of passionate grief, into the arms of the old physician, who says, betwixt a tear and a smile, “Now, God be praised,—she weeps!”

And so, with the falling leaves of autumn, “the Great Reaper” gathered in our noble friend. Why should I dwell on the agony of the gentle wife; or tell of her return to her desolate home in the city; of the disposal of

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the rare pictures and statuary collected to grace its walls by the refined taste of its proprietor; of the necessary disposal of very article of luxury; of her removal to plain lodgings, where curious people speculated upon her history, and marked her moistened eyes; of the long, interminable, wretched days; of the wakeful nights, when she lay with her cheek pressed against the sweet, fatherless child of her love; of her untiring efforts to seek an honorable, independent support? It is but an everyday history, but—God knows—its crushing weight of agony is none the less keenly felt by the sufferer!

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A little fatherless boy, four years of age, sat upon the floor, surrounded by his toys. Catching sight of his mother’s face, as the tears fell thick and fast, he sprang to her side, and peeping curiously in her face, as he put his little hand in hers, said—“You’ve got me!” Simple, artless little comforter! Dry your tears, young mother. There is something left to live for; there are duties from which even your bleeding heart may not shrink! “A talent” you may not “bury;” a stewardship, of which your Lord must receive an account; a blank page to be filled by your hand with holy truth; a crystal vase to keep spotless and pure; a tender plant, to guard from blight and mildew; a dew-drop that must not exhale in the sun of worldliness; an angel, for whom a “white robe” must be made; a cherub, in whose hands a “golden harp” must be placed; a little “lamb,” to be led to the “Good Shepherd!”

“You’ve got me!” Ay! Cloud not his sunny face with unavailing sadness, lest he “catch the trick of grief,” and sigh amid his toys. Teach him not, by your vain repinings, that “our Father” pitieth not his children; teach

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him to love Him, as seen in the sky and sea, in rock and river; teach him to love Him in the cloud as in the sunshine! You will have your gloomy hours; there is a void even that little loving heart may not fill, but there is still another, and He said, “Me ye have always.”

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“It will be very ridiculous in you, Rose, to refuse to give up that child,” said a dark-looking man to the pretty widow Grey. “Think what a relief it will be, to have one of your children taken off your hands. It costs something to live now-a-days,”—and Uncle Ralph scowled portentously, and pushed his purse farther down in his coat-pocket,—“and you know you have another mouth to feed. They’ll educate her, clothe and feed her, and—”

“Yes,” said the impetuous, warm-hearted mother, rising quickly from her chair, and setting her little feet down in a very determined manner upon the floor, while a bright flush passed over her cheek,—“yes, Ralph, and teach her to forget and disrespect her mother!”

“Pshaw, Rose, how absurd! She’ll outgrow all that when she gets to be a woman, even if they succeed now. Would you stand in your own child’s light? She will be an heiress, if you act like a sensible woman; and, if you persist in refusing, you may live to see the day when she will reproach you for it.”

This last argument carried some weight with it; and Mrs. Selden sat down dejectedly, and folded her little

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hands in her lap. She had not thought of that. She might be taken away, and little Kathleen forced to toil for daily bread.

Uncle Ralph saw the advantage he had gained, and determined to pursue it,—for he had a great horror of being obliged eventually to provide for them himself.

“Come, Rose, don’t sit there looking so solemn; put it down, now, in black and white, and send off the letter, before one of your soft, womanish fits comes on again,”—and he pushed a sheet of paper toward her, with pen and ink.

Just then the door burst open, and little Kathleen came bounding in from her play, bright with the loveliness of youth and health, and springing into her mother’s lap, and clasping her neck, frowned from beneath her curls at Uncle Ralph, whom she suspected somehow or other to be connected with the tear-drop that was trembling on her mother’s long eye-lashes.

“I can’t do it, Ralph,” said the young widow, clasping her child to her breast, and raining tears and smiles enough upon her to make a mental rainbow.

“You are a fool!” said the vexed man, “and you’ll live to hear somebody there tell you so, I’m thinking;” and he slammed the door in a very suggestive manner, as he passed out.

Poor Mrs. Selden! Stunned by the sudden death of a husband who was all to her that her warm heart craved,

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she clung the more closely to his children. No woman ever knew better than Rose Selden the undying love of a mother. The offer that had been made her for Kathleen was from distant relatives of her husband—of whom she knew little, except that Mr. and Mrs. Clair were wealthy and childless, and had found a great deal of fault with her husband’s choice of a wife. They had once made her a short visit, and, somehow or other, all the time they were there,—and it seemed a little eternity to her for that very reason,—she never dared to creep to her husband’s side, or slide her little hand in his, or pass it caressingly over his broad white forehead, or run into the hall for a parting kiss, or do anything, in short, save to sit up straight, two leagues off, and be proper!

Now you may be sure this was all very excruciating to little Mrs. Rose, who was verdant enough to think that husbands were intended to love, and who owned a heart quite as large as a little woman could conveniently carry about. She saw nothing on earth so beautiful as those great dark eyes of his,—especially when they were bent on her,—nor heard any music to compare with that deep, rich voice; and though she had been married many happy years, her heart leaped at the sound of his footstep as it did the first day he called her “wife.”

Cared “the Great Reaper” for that? Stayed he for the clasped hands of entreaty, or the scalding tear of agony? Recked he that not one silver thread mingled

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in the dark locks of the strong man? No! by the desolation of that widowed heart, no! he laid his icy finger on those lips of love, and chilled that warm, brave heart, and then turned coldly away to seek another victim. And Rose pressed his children to her heart, with a deeper love,—a love born of sorrow,—and said, we will not part. She knew that fingers that never toiled before, must toil unceasingly now. She knew, when her heart was sad, there was no broad breast to lean upon. She had already seen days that seemed to have no end, dragging their slow, weary length along. She dared not go to a drawer, or trunk, or escritoire, lest some memento of him should meet her eye. She struggled bravely through the day to keep back the tears, for her children’s sake; but night came, when those little, restless limbs needed a respite,—even from play,—when the little prattling voices were hushed, and the bright eye prisoned beneath its snowy lid; then, indeed, the long pent-up grief, held in check through the day by a mother’s unselfish love, burst forth; till, exhausted with tearful vigils, she would creep, at the gray dawn, between the rosy little sleepers, and, nestling close to their blooming faces, dream—God knows how mockingly—of happy hours that would never come again.

And O! the slow torture of each morning waking; the indistinct recollection of something dreadful; the hand drawn slowly across the aching brow; the struggle to

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remember! Then,—the opening eye, the unfamiliar objects, the strange, new, small room; nothing home-like but those sleeping orphans.

God help the widow!


And now, as if her cup of bitterness were not full little Kathleen must leave her. Must it be? She paced the room that night after Uncle Ralph had left her, and thought of his words, “She may live to tell you so.” Then she went to the bed-side, and parted the clustering hair from Kathleen’s forehead, and marked with a mother’s pride the sweet, careless grace of those dimpled limbs, and noted each shining curl. There were the father’s long lashes, his brow, his straight, classic profile. O, what would he tell her? And, then, old memories came back with a rushing tide that swept all before it! Poor Rose!

Kathleen stirs uneasily, and calls “Mamma,” and smiles in her sleep. O, how could she part with that little, loving heart? Countless were the caresses she received from her every hour. Watchful and sensitive, she noted every shade of sorrow on her mother’s face; and, by a thousand mute remonstrances, testified her unspoken sympathy. That little, impulsive heart would be cased in an armor of frigidity at Clairville. She might be sad, or sick, or dying, and Rose shuddered and

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sat still nearer to her child. What companionship would she have? what moral influence exerted? Might she not even be weaned from the heart she had lain beneath?

Ah, Uncle Ralph! you little knew, as you sat in your office the next morning, and folded a little slip of paper back in its envelope, upon which was written these simple words, “Kathleen shall go,”— you little knew at what cost! You marked not the blistered paper and the unsteady pen-marks, as you smiled satisfactorily, and said, “Very concise and sensible, for a woman.”

Uncle Ralph did think of it again once, as he walked home to his dinner; but it was only to congratulate himself that if Rose should be unable to support herself,—which he doubted,—there would be one less for him to look after! As to a woman’s tears,—pshaw! they were always crying for something; if it was n’t for that, it would be something else.


We will pass over the distressful parting between mother and child. The little trunk was duly packed; the little clasp Bible down in one corner. A book-mark, with a lamb embroidered upon it, was slipped in at these words,—“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not.” Mother’s God would care for Kathleen; there was sweet comfort in that.

And so Rose choked back her tears, and unclasped

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again and again the little clinging arms from her neck, and bade her sunny-haired child “good-by!” and laughed hysterically, as the little hand waved another, and a last adieu. Even Uncle Ralph felt an uncomfortable sensation about his fifth button, gave his dickey a nervous twitch, and looked very steadily at the tops of the opposite houses!

* * * * * *

Two months had passed! Little Kathleen sat very quiet in that heated, close school-room. There was a dark shadow under her eyes, either from illness, or sorrow, and her face was very pale. Rose had written to her, but the letters were in the grave of Mrs. Clair’s pockets, never to be resurrectionized; so Kathleen was none the wiser or happier. Uncle Ralph made it a principle never to think of anything that impaired his digestion; so he dismissed all uneasy thoughts of, or care for, his niece, and made no inquiries; because he was firmly of the opinion, that “Where ignorance is bliss, ’t is folly to be wise.”

“You are uncommonly obtuse about your lesson this morning,” said Kathleen’s tutor; “you’ve told me twice that France was bounded south by the Gulf of Mexico. What are you thinking about?” said he, as he grasped her arm.

“Sir?” said little Kathleen, abstractedly.

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“I say, what ails you, to be so stupid this morning?” said the vexed pedagogue.

“My head aches badly,” said Kathleen; “and—and—”

“And what?” said Mr. Smith.

“And—I—want—to see—my—mother!” said the child, with a burst of tears.

“Fiddlestick!” said the amiable Mr. Smith; “if she cared much about you, I reckon she would have written to you before now. Mrs. Clair thinks she’s married again, or something of that sort; so don’t worry your head for nonsense. How’s France bounded, hey?”

The division lines on the atlas were quite concealed by Kathleen’s tears; so she was ordered into the presence of her grim relative, who coaxed and threatened in vain, and finally sent her to bed.

For two long, weary months the free, glad spirit of the child had been fettered and cramped at Clairville. No one spoke to her of home, or her mother; or, if they chanced to mention the latter, it was always in a slurring, sneering manner, more painful to the loving, sensitive child than their silence. But why did mamma not write?—that was the only wearing thought by day and night. And so Kathleen drooped, and lost color and spirits, and walked, like an automaton, up and down the stiff garden-walks, and “sat up straight,” and “turned out her toes,” as she was bid; and had a quick, frightened, nervous

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manner, as if she were constantly in fear of reproof or punishment.

“Bridget,” said Mrs. Clair, “how is Kathleen? got over her hysterics? I must break her of that.”

“Dear heart, no ma’am! She’s just fretting the soul out of her, for a sight of her mother; it’s nater, I s’pose,” said Bridget, polishing her face with her checked apron.

“Stuff, Bridget! The child’s just like her mother; and that’s saying enough! However, give her a little valerian, and sleep at the side of her bed to-night. I’ll look in, in the morning,” said the angular lady, as she smoothed out her dress and her wrinkles.

And so Bridget, obedient to orders, stretched her stout Irish limbs “at the side of the bed,” though she might as well have been in Ireland as there, for any response she made to that plaintive petition, through the long night, “O, do call my mamma! please call my mamma!”

And so night passed! and the golden morning light streamed in upon the waxen face of little Kathleen. No breath came from those parted lips; no ringlet stirred with life; the hands lay meekly beside her, and the last tear she should ever shed lay glittering like a gem upon her cheek!


“Ralph,” said Mrs. Seldon, “I shall start for Clairville tomorrow; I can stay away from Kathleen no longer.”

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“You’ll be mad if you do,” said Uncle Ralph; “the child’s well enough, or you would hear; you can’t expect them to be writing all the time. Your welcome will be a sorry one, I can tell you; so take my advice, and let well alone.”

Mrs. Seldon made no reply, but began to pack her trunk, and Uncle Ralph left the house.

In about an hour’s time he returned, and found Rose trying, in vain, to clasp the lid of her trunk.

“Do come here, Ralph,” said she, without looking up, “and settle this refractory lock. Dear little Kathleen! I’ve crammed so many traps in here for her. How glad she will be to see me!” and she turned and looked up, to see why Ralph did n’t answer.

Brow, cheek and lip were in an instant blanched to marble paleness. A mother’s quick eye had spared his tongue the sad tidings.

* * * * * *

If you visit the Lunatic Asylum at ——, you will see a very beautiful woman, her glossy ringlets slightly threaded with silver. Day after day, she paces up and down that long corridor, and says, in heart-rending tones, to every one she meets, “O, do call my mamma! won’t you please call my mamma!”

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“Mary!” said the younger of two little girls, as they nestled under a coarse coverlid, one cold night in December, “tell me about Thanksgiving-day before papa went to heaven. I’m cold and hungry, and I can’t go to sleep;—I want something nice to think about.”

“Hush!” said the elder child, “don’t let dear mamma hear you; come nearer to me;”—and they laid their cheeks together.

“I fancy papa was rich. We lived in a very nice house. I know there were pretty pictures on the wall; and there were nice velvet chairs, and the carpet was thick and soft, like the green moss-patches in the wood;—and we had pretty gold-fish on the side-table, and Tony, my black nurse, used to feed them. And papa!—you can’t remember papa, Letty,—he was tall and grand, like a prince, and when he smiled he made me think of angels. He brought me toys and sweetmeats, and carried me out to the stable, and set me on Romeo’s live back, and laughed because I was afraid! And I used to watch to see him come up the street, and then run to the door to jump in his arms;—he was a dear, kind papa,” said the child, in a faltering voice.

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“Don’t cry,” said the little one; “please tell me some more.”

“Well, Thanksgiving-day we were so happy; we sat around such a large table, with so many people,—aunts and uncles and cousins,—I can’t think why they never come to see us now, Letty,—and Betty made such sweet pies, and we had a big—big turkey; and papa would have me sit next to him, and gave me the wishbone, and all the plums out of his pudding; and after dinner he would take me in his lap, and tell me ‘Red Riding Hood,’ and call me ‘pet,’ and ‘bird,’ and ‘fairy.’ O, Letty, I can’t tell any more; I believe I’m going to cry.”

“I’m very cold,” said Letty. “Does papa know, up in heaven, that we are poor and hungry now?”

“Yes—no—I can’t tell,” answered Mary, wiping away her tears; unable to reconcile her ideas of heaven with such a thought. “Hush!—mamma will hear!”

Mamma had “heard.” The coarse garment, upon which she had toiled since sunrise, dropped from her hands, and tears were forcing themselves, thick and fast, through her closed eyelids. The simple recital found but too sad an echo in that widowed heart.

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“It is really very unfortunate, that forgery of Mr. Grant’s. I don’t see what will become of Emma. I presume she won’t think of holding up her head after it. I dare say she will expect to be on the same terms with her friends as before,—but the thing is—”

“Quite impossible!” said the gay Mrs. Blair, arranging her ringlets; “the man has dragged his family down with him, and there’s no help for it that I can see.”

“He has no family but Emma,” said her friend, “and I suppose some benevolent soul will look after her; at any rate, it don’t concern us;” and the two friends (?) tied on their hats for a promenade.

Emma Grant was, in truth, almost broken-hearted at this sad faux pas of her father’s; but, with the limited knowledge of human nature gleaned from the experience of a sunny life of eighteen happy years, she doubted not the willingness of old friends to assist her in her determination to become a teacher. To one after another of these summer friends she applied for patronage. Some “could n’t in conscience recommend the daughter of a

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defaulter;” some, less free-spoken, went on the non-committal system—“would think of it and let her know,”—taking very good care not to specify any particular time for this good purpose; others, who did n’t want their consciences troubled by the sight of her, advised her, very disinterestedly, to “go back in the country somewhere, and occupy the independent position of making herself generally useful in some farmer’s family;” others, still, dodged the question by humbly recommending her to apply to persons of greater influence than themselves; and, one and all “wished her well, and hoped she’d succeed,”—thought it very praiseworthy that she should try to do something for herself, but seemed nervously anxious that it should be out of their latitude and longitude; and so, day after day, foot-sore and weary, Emma reached home, with a discouraged heart, and a sad conviction of the selfishness and hollow-heartedness of human nature.

In one of these discouraged moods she recollected her old friend, Mr. Bliss. How strange she should not have thought of him before! She had often hospitably entertained him, as she presided at her father’s table; he stood very high in repute as a pious man, and very benevolently inclined; he surely would befriend with his influence the child of his old, though fallen, friend. With renewed courage she tied on her little bonnet, and set out in search of him. She was fortunate in finding him in; but, ah! where was the old frank smile, and extended

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hand of friendship? Mr. Bliss might have been carved out of wood for any demonstration of either that she could see. A very stiff bow, and a nervous twitch of his waistband, was her only recognition. With difficulty she choked down the rebellious feelings that sent the flush to her cheek and the indignant tears to her eyes, as she recollected the many evenings he had received a warm welcome to their hospitable fireside, and timidly explained the purpose of her visit. Mr. Bliss, employing himself during this interval in the apparent arrangement of some business papers, with an air that said, “If you were not a woman I should n’t hesitate to show you the door in a civil way; but as it is, though I may listen, that’s all it will amount to.” Like many other persons in a like dilemma, he quietly made up his mind that if he could succeed in irritating her sufficiently to rouse her spirit, he would in all probability be sooner rid of her; so he remarked that it was “a very bad affair, that of her father’s; there could be but one opinion about its disgraceful and dishonorable nature; that, of course, she was n’t to blame for it, but she could n’t expect to keep her old position now; and that, in short, under the circumstances, he did n’t feel as if it would be well for him to interfere in her behalf at present. He had no doubt in time she might ‘live down’ her father’s disgrace;” and so he very comfortably seated himself in his leather-backed armchair, and took up a book.

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A deep red spot burned on Emma Gray’s cheek, as she retraced her steps. Her lithe form was drawn up to its full height; there was a fire in her eye, and a firmness and rapidity in her step, that betokened a new energy. She would not be crushed by such selfish cowardice and pusillanimity; she would succeed,—and unaided, too, save by her own invincible determination. It must be that she should triumph yet.

“Will is might,” said Emma, as she bent all her powers to the accomplishment of her purpose; and when was that motto ever known to fail, when accompanied by a spirit undiscouraged by obstacles?

It did not. True, Emma rose early, and sat up late; she lived on a mere crust; she was a stranger to luxury, and many times to necessary comforts. Her pillow was often wet with tears from over-tasked spirits and failing strength; the malicious sneer of the ill-judging, and the croaking prophecy of the ill-natured, fell upon her sensitive ear; old friends, who had eat and drank at her table, “passed by on the other side;” and there were the usual number of good, cautious, timid souls, who stood on the fence, ready to jump down when her position was certain, and she had placed herself beyond the need of their assistance! Foremost in this rank was the correct and proper Mr. Bliss, who soiled no pharisaical garment of his, by juxtaposition with any known sinner, or doubtful person.

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At the expiration of a year, Emma’s school contained pupils from the first families in the city, with whose whole education she was entrusted, and who, making it their home with her, received, out of school hours, the watchful care of a mother. It became increasingly popular, and Emma was able to command her own price for her services.

“Why don’t you send your daughter to my friend, Miss Grant?” said Mr. Bliss to Senator Hall; “she is a little protege of mine—nice young woman!—came to me at the commencement of her school for my patronage;—the consequence is, she has gone up like a sky-rocket. They call it the ‘Model School.’ ”

Condescending Mr. Bliss! It was a pity to take the nonsense out of him; but you should have seen the crestfallen expression of his whole outer man, as the elegant widower he addressed turn on him a look of withering contempt, saying,—“The young woman of whom you speak, sir, will be my wife before the expiration of another week; and, in her name and mine, I thank you for the very liberal patronage and the many encouragement you extended to her youth and helplessness in the hour of need.”


It is needless to add how many times, in the course of the following week, the inhabitants of ——, who had

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found it convenient, entirely to forget the existence of Miss Emma Grant, were heard to interlard their conversation with “My friend, Mrs. Senator Hall.”

Alas! poor human nature!

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No, never! Every cloud has a silver lining; and He who wove it knows when to turn it out. So, after every night, however long or dark, there shall yet come a golden morning. Your noblest powers are never developed in prosperity. Any bark may glide in smooth water, with a favoring gale; but that is a brave, skilful oarsman who rows up stream, against the current, with adverse winds, and no cheering voice to wish him “God speed.” Keep your head above the wave; let neither sullen despair nor weak vacillation drag you under. Heed not the poisoned arrow of sneaking treachery that whizzes past you from the shore. Judas sold himself when he sold his Master; and for him there dawned no resurrection morning! ’Tis glorious to battle on with a brave heart, while cowering pusillanimity turns trembling back. Dream not of the word “surrender!” When one frail human reed after another breaks, or bends beneath you, lean on the “Rock of Ages.” The Great Architect passes you through the furnace but to purify. The fire may scorch, but it shall never consume you. He will yet label you “fine gold.” The narrow path may be thorny to your tender feet; but the “promised land”

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lies beyond! The clusters of Hope may be seen with the eye of faith; your hand shall yet grasp them; your eyes revel, from the mountain top, over the green pastures and still waters of peace. You shall yet unbuckle your dusty armor, while soft breezes shall fan your victor temples. Nil desperandum!

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“Alas for Love! if this be all,

And naught beyond; O earth!”

“ ’T is a girl, sir; my lady has a daughter.”

“Heaven be praised!” said the discontented father of six unruly boys. “Now I shall have something gentle to love. Small comfort to me, those boys; house topsy-turvy from morning till night, with their guns, fishing tackle, pointers, setters, hounds, spaniels and what not. Tom’s college bills perfectly ruinous—horses, oysters and cigars all lumped under the general head of et ceteras; I understand it all—or my purse does! But this little, gentle girl,—climbing upon my knee, making music and sunshine in the house, with her innocent face and silvery laugh,—this little, human blossom by life’s rough, thorny wayside, she’ll make amends. I’m not the happiest husband in the world; my heart shall find a resting-place here. She must be highly educated and accomplished. I shall spare no pains to effect that. Ah, I see, after all, I shall have a happy old age.”

Very lovely was the little Cecile. She had her mother’s soft hazel eye and waving auburn hair, and her

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father’s Grecian profile. There was a winning sweetness in her smile, and grace and poetry in every motion. It was a pretty sight, her golden tresses mingling with those silver locks, as she rested her bright head against the old man’s cheek. Even “the boys” could harbor no anger at her quiet reign. She wound herself quite as closely around their hearts. Then it was a new tie to bind the sundered husband and wife together. Something of the old, bygone tenderness crept unconsciously into their manner to each other. It was their idol; and they pressed her rapturously to the parental heart, forgetting she was but clay.

Tutors and governesses without limit went and came, before the important selection was made. Then, so many injunctions! She “must not study so much as to spoil her fine eyes;” she “must draw only a few minutes at a time, lest it should cause a stoop in her shoulders;” she “must not go out in the sun, for fear of injuring her complexion.” She was told, every hour in the day, of some rare perfection; now her attitude—then her eyes—then her shape; she “danced like a fairy”—“sang like a seraph”—in short, needed wings only, to make her an angel!

Every servant in the house knew that his or her fortune was made if Miss Cecile was pleased, and shaped their course accordingly. If “the boys” were doubtful of the success of a request, Cecile was employed secretly

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to negotiate. The reins of household government were in those little, fairy fingers.

No wonder the little Cecile thought herself omnipotent. No wonder she stood before her “Psyche,” arranging, with a maiden’s pride, those glossy ringlets. Small marvel that she saw with exultation those round, polished limbs, pearly teeth, and starry eyes, and tossed her bright curls in triumph, at the hearts that were already laid at her feet. Her mirror but silently repeated the voice of flattery that met her at every step. Cecile was beautiful! The temple was passing fair; but, ah! there rose from its altar no incense to Heaven. Those bright eyes opened and closed like the flowers, and like them drank in the dew and the sunlight, regardless of the Giver.

It was Cecile’s eighteenth birthday. The most expensive preparations had been made to celebrate it. She was to electrify the beau monde with her debut. A gossamer robe, fit for a Peri, silvery and light, floated soft as a fleecy cloud around those matchless limbs. Gems and jewels would have been out of place beside those starry eyes. Nature’s simplest offering, the drooping lily, blended with her tresses. The flush of youth and hope was on her cheek; her step was already on the threshold of that brilliant, untried world, which her beauty was to dazzle and conquer. Other sylph-like forms there were, and bright faces, that made sunlight in

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happy homes; but the peerless Cecile quenched their beams on that happy birth-night.

The proud father looked on exultingly. “Beautiful as a dream!” echoed from one end of the saloon to the other. His eye followed her, noted every glance of admiration, and then he said to himself, “The idol is mine.” Say you so, fond father? See, her head droops heavily,—her limbs relax,—she has fainted! They gather round her,—they bathe her pale face and powerless hands; then they bear her to her dressing-room, and she lies on that silken couch, like some rare piece of sculpture. The revellers disperse; the garlands droop; darkness and silence reign where merry feet tripped lightly. The physician sits by the bedside of his fair patient, and, with mistaken kindness, he says to the frantic parents, “She will be easier soon,—she will be free from pain tomorrow;” and then he leaves her with the anxious watchers.

Morning dawned. Yes, Cecile was “better,”—so her father said; and she sat up, and put her fair arms about his neck, and called him “her own dear father!” and he smiled through his tears, and parted the bright, damp locks from her brow, and said “she should have another ball, gayer than the last, and look lovelier than ever;” and then her mother laid a bandeau of pearls across her pale forehead, and said, “they became her passing well.” Cecile smiled faintly when she replaced them in their

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case, and then her mother came back again to the bedside. Ah! what fearful shadow, in that momentary interval, had crept over that sweet face? “Cecile! Cecile!” said the bewildered woman, shivering with an indefinable terror; “speak to me, Cecile! what is it?”

“Am I dying, mother?—O, mother! you never taught me how to die!”


In the still gray dawn, at sultry noon, in the hushed and starry night, long after that bright young head was covered with the violets, rang that plaintive, reproachful voice in the parental ear, “You never taught me how to die!”

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“ ‘I asked God to take care of Johnny, and then I went to sleep,’ said a little boy, giving an account of his wandering in the wood.”

How sublime! how touching! Holy childhood! Let me sit at thy feet and learn of thee. How dost thou rebuke me, with thy simple faith and earnest love! O, earth! what dost thou give us in exchange for its loss?—Rainbows, that melt as we gaze; bubbles that burst as we grasp; dew-drops, that exhale as our eye catches their sparkle. The warm heart, chilled by selfishness, fenced in by doubts, and thrown back upon itself. Eye, lip and brow, trained to tell no tale at the portal, of what passes within the temple. Tears, locked in their fountain, save when our own household gods are shivered. The great strife, not which shall “love most,” but “which shall be the greater;” and aching hearts the stepping-stones to wealth and power. Immortal, yet earth-wedded! Playing with shells upon the shore of time, with the broad ocean of eternity before us. Careful and troubled about trifles, forgetting to “ask God to take care of Johnny,”—and so, the long night of death comes on, and we sleep our last sleep!

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“Well, doctor, what do you think of her? She has set her heart upon going to that New-Year’s ball, and it will never do to disappoint her,—poor thing!”

The blunt old doctor bit his lip impatiently, and, striking his gold-headed cane in no very gentle manner upon the floor, said: “ ‘Think!’ I think it would be perfect insanity for her to attempt it. I won’t be answerable for the consequences.”

“Pshaw! my dear sir; she has had a dozen attacks before, quite as bad, and—”

“And that is the very reason she should be more cautious now, madam. Good morning—good morning!—Heaven save me from these fashionable mother!” he muttered, as he banged the door to behind him. “She’ll kill the girl, and then her death will be laid at my door—ugh! It would be a comfort if one could meet a sensible woman, occasionally.”

Elise was sitting in bed, propped up by pillows, when her mother entered. If youth, grace and beauty, could bribe the destroyer, or turn aside his unerring aim, then had she been spared. Her cheek was marble pale, and rested wearily on one little hand; the eyes were closed

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as if sleeping, and from the other hand a few choice flowers had escaped, and lay scattered upon the snowy counterpane.

“O, is that you, mamma? I hope you will have made that stupid doctor give you something that will set me up. I feel such a deadly sinking, from want of nourishment, I fancy. Do pray see what you can get for me. I hope Dr. Wynn did n’t presume to interfere about my going to the ball; because I intend to go, dead or alive; and, mamma, while my lunch is getting ready, just bring me my dress, and let me see if Jeannet has placed the trimmings where they should be; and have a ruche placed around the wrist of my kid gloves; and, mamma, don’t forget to send Tom to Anster’s for that pearl spray I selected for my hair; and, by the way, just hand me that mirror,—I am afraid I’m looking awfully pale.”

“Not now,” said the frightened mother; “you are too weary. Wait till you have had some refreshment;” and the pale beauty sank back on her pillow, crushing a wealth of dark ringlets, and closed her eyes wearily, in spite of her determination to be well.

A ring at the door. A bright flush came to her cheek. “That’s Vivian, mamma. Tell him—tell him”—and a sharp pain through her temples forced her to pause—“tell him I’m better; and he may call for me at ten, tomorrow night; and, mamma, hand him this;” and

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she drew a little perfumed note from beneath her pillow, with a rosebud crushed in its folds.

“Draw aside the curtain, Jeannet. O, we shall have a nice evening for the dance! Now hand me my dressing-gown. Mamma, that medicine is perfectly miraculous; I never felt better. Heaven knows where I should have been, had you not called in a better counsellor than Dr. Wynn. He would like me for a patient a year, I dare say; but I knew better than to line his pockets that way;” and she skipped gayly across the floor to a large fauteuil, and called Jeannet to arrange her hair.

“Softly, softly, Jeannet! My head is n’t quite right, yet. There, that will do,” said Elise, as the skilful French woman bound tress after tress in complicated glossy braids around her well-formed head. “Now place that pearl spray a little to the left, just over my ear. Pretty, is it not mamma?”

“Here, Jeannet!” and she extended the dainty foot for its silken hose and satin slipper.

“Rest awhile, now, Elise,” said her mother, as she looked apprehensively at the bright crimson spot on her cheek, that grew deeper every moment, and contrasted so strikingly with the marble paleness of her brow. “I’m afraid you are going beyond your strength.”

“Mamma, what are you thinking about? Look at me, and see how well I look! Besides, I’d go to this ball, to-night, if it cost me my life. Mabel has triumphed

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over me once; she shall not do it a second time. Besides, there is really no danger. I feel wild with spirits, to-night, and anticipate a most brilliant evening;” and she clasped the pearl pendants in her small ears; and the light, fleecy dress fell in soft folds about her graceful person, and upon her fair arm she placed his gift; and, taking in her hand the rich bouquet, every flower of which whispered hope to her young heart, she held up her cheek with a bewitching smile, and said: “Now kiss me, mamma, and say that you are proud of Elise.”

And now Jeannet, with officious care, draws the rich opera cloak about her shoulders, and with a thousand charges from mamma, “to beware of the draughts, partake sparingly of ice, and not fatigue herself with dancing,” the carriage wheels roll away from the door, freighted with their lovely burden.

“Elise de Vaux, here!” said a tall, queenly girl, attired in black velvet; and she curled her pretty lip with ill-concealed vexation. “I thought her dying, or near it.” And, as Elise glided gracefully past in the dance, every eye following her, and every tongue eloquent in her praise, Mabel’s cheek paled with anger.

“How radiant she is!—how dazzling! Sickness has but enhanced her beauty,—and how proudly Vivian bears her through the waltz! Every step they take is on my heart-strings. This must not,—shall not be! Courage, coward heart!”—and, mastering her feelings

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with a strong effort, she joined the dancers. Excitement and exercise soon brought the rose to her cheek; her eyes grew wildly brilliant, and, had Vivian not been magnetized past recall, his eye would have been caught by the dazzling vision.

All eyes were fixed upon the rival belles; and, amid the voluptuous swell of music, the flashing of lights, the overpowering sweetness of myriad flowers, and the rapid, whirling motion of the dance, every brain and heart were dizzy with excitement.

“Heavens! that is not Elise de Vaux,” said a nephew of Dr. Wynn’s. “What mad folly! My uncle told me, if she came, it would be at the price of her life. How surpassingly beautiful she is!”

Still on, on they whirled—the dancers—till the stars grew pale, and the sweet flowers drooped in the heated atmosphere.

“No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet,

To chase the glowing hours, with flying feet”

“What unearthly beauty!” said an old gentleman to a young man, upon whose arm he was leaning, as Elise glided past. “Who is she?”

“Elise de Vaux,” said the young man, mechanically, his eyes riveted to her figure.

“Do you know what you are saying?” said he, tapping him gently on the arm.

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“Yes. Elise de Vaux.”

“Well, why do you look at her so wildly? Has Cupid aimed a dart at you, from out those blue eyes?”

“Good God!” said the young man, leaping forward, as a piercing shriek came upon the air. “Make room!—help!—throw up the windows!” and Elise was borne past, gasping, senseless, to the cool night air.

Ay, Vivian! Kneel at her side, chafe the little jewelled hands, put back the soft hair from the azure-veined temples, press the pulseless wrist, listen for the beating heart,—in vain! Elise is dead!

And in the arms of him, for whom she had thrown away her young life, she was borne to her home;—the diamond sparkled mockingly on the clay-cold finger; the pearls still lingering amid her soft ringlets; the round, symmetrical limbs still fair in their beautiful proportions. The heart she coveted was gained,—the dear-bought victory was won.

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“ ’T is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”

O, no; no!—else you have never passed from the shield of a broad, true breast, where for long years you had been lovingly folded, to a widow’s weeds, and the rude jostling, and curious gaze, of the heartless crowd!—never knew long, wretched days, that seemed to have no end,—never turned, with a stifled sob, from the clasp of loving little arms, and the uplifted gaze of an eye upon whose counterpart you had watched the death-film gather,—never saw that sunny little face overshadowed with grief, when other children gleefully called “Papa!” nor ever heard the wail of a little one, who might never remember its father’s face!—

No! no!—or you have never turned shudderingly away, in the crowded street, from the outline of a form, or the cast of a face, or the tone of a voice, that brought the dead mockingly before you!—never lain upon a sick bed, among careless strangers, lacking comforts where luxury once abounded, and listening in vain for that footfall, whose lightest tread could charm your pain away!—never draped from your aching sight the

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picture lineaments, that quickened busy and torturing memory, till your heart was breaking!—never waked from a dream of Paradise, to weep unavailing, bitter tears at the sad reality!—and never—alas!—bent your rebellious knee at God’s altar, when your tongue was dumb, to praise Him, and your lips refused to kiss the Smiter’s rod!

O, no; no! better never to have loved!—Tenfold more gloomy is the murky day, whose sunny morning was ushered in with dazzling, golden brightness! Agonizing is the death-struggle of the shipwrecked mariner who perishes in sight of shore and home! Harshly fall careless words upon the ear trained to the music of a loving voice. Wearily stumble the tender feet unguarded by love’s watchful eye! O, no; no! better never to have loved!—He, whose first breath was drawn in a dungeon, never pines for green fields, and blue skies, and a freer air!—God pity the desolate, loving heart, the only star of whose sky has gone out in utter darkness!

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“Percy, dear Percy, take back those bitter words! As Heaven is my witness, they are undeserved by me. See, my eye quails not beneath yours; my cheek blanches not. I stand before you, at this moment, with every vow I made you at the altar unbroken, in letter and spirit;” and she drew closer to him, and laid her delicate hand upon his broad breast. “Wrong me not, Percy, even in thought.”

The stern man hesitated. Had he not wilfully blinded himself, he had read truth and honor in the depths of the clear blue eyes that looked so unflinchingly into his own. For a moment, their expression overcame him; then, dashing aside the slender fingers that rested upon him, he left her with a muttered oath.

Mary Lee had the misfortune to be very pretty, and the still greater misfortune to marry a jealous husband. Possessing a quick and ready wit, and great conversational powers, a less moderate share of personal charms would have made her society eagerly sought for.

As soon as her eyes were opened to the defect alluded to in her husband’s character, she set herself studiously to avoid the shoals and quicksands that lay in the matri-

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monial sea. One by one, she quietly dropped the acquaintance of gentlemen, who, from their attractiveness or preference for her society, seemed obnoxious to Percy.

Mary was no coquette. Nature had given her a heart; and superior as she was to her husband, she really loved him. To most women, his exacting unreasonableness would only have stimulated to a finished display of coquetry; but Mary, gentle and yielding, made no show of opposition to the most absurd requirements. But all these sacrifices had been unavailing to propitiate the fiend of jealousy;—and there she sat, an hour after her husband had left her, with her hands pressed tightly together, pale and tearless, striving, in vain, to recall any cause of offence.

Hour after hour passed by, and still he came not. The heavy tramp of feet had long since ceased beneath the window; the pulse of the great city was still; silence and darkness brooded over its slumbering thousands. Mary could endure it no longer. Rising, and putting aside the curtain, she pressed her face close against the window-pane, as if her straining eye could pierce the gloom of midnight. She hears a step! it is his!

Trembling, she sank upon the sofa to await his coming, and nerve himself to bear his bitter harshness.

Percy came gayly up to her and kissed her forehead! Mary passed her hand over her eyes and looked at him

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again. No! he was not exhilarated with wine. What could have caused this sudden revulsion of feeling? Single-hearted and sincere herself, she never dreamed of treachery.

“Percy regrets his injustice,” she said to herself. “Men are rarely magnanimous enough to own they have been in the wrong;” and, with the generosity of a noble heart, she resolved never to remind him, by speech or look, that his words had been like poisoned arrows to her spirit.

The following day, Percy proposed their taking “a short trip into a neighboring town,” and Mary, glad to convince him how truly she forgave him, readily complied. It was a lovely day in spring, and the fresh air and sweet-scented blossoms might have sent a thrill of pleasure to sadder hearts than theirs.

“What a pretty place!” said Mary. “What a spacious house, and how tastefully the grounds are laid out! Do you stop here?” she continued, as her husband reined the horse into the avenue.

“A few moments. I have business here,” replied Percy, slightly averting his face, “and you had better alight too, for the horse is restive and may trouble you.”

Mary sprang lightly from the vehicle and ascended the capacious stone steps. They were met at the door by a respectable gray-haired porter, who ushered them into a receiving room. Very soon, a little, sallow-faced man,

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bearing a strong resemblance to a withered orange, made his appearance, and casting a glance upon Mary, from his little twinkling black eyes, that made the blood mount to her cheeks, made an apology for withdrawing her husband for a few minutes, “on business,” to an adjoining room.

As they left, a respectable, middle-aged woman entered, and invited Mary to take off her hat. She declined, saying, “she was to leave with her husband in a few minutes.”

The old woman then jingled a small bell, and another matron entered.

“Better not use force,” said she, in a whisper. “Poor thing! So pretty, too! She don’t look as though she’d wear a ‘strait-jacket.’ ”

The truth flashed upon Mary at once! She was in a Lunatic Hospital! Faint with terror, she demanded to see her husband,—assured them she was perfectly sane; to all of which they smiled quietly, with an air that said “We are used to such things here.”

By and by, the little wizen-faced doctor came in, and, listening to her eloquent appeal with an abstracted air, as one would tolerate the prattle of a petted child, he examined her pulse, and motioned the attendants to “wait upon her to her room.” Exhausted with the tumult of feeling she had passed through, she followed without a show of resistance; but who shall describe the death-chill

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that struck to her heart as she entered it? There was a bed of snowy whiteness, a table, a chair, all scrupulously neat and clean; but the breath of the sweet-scented blossoms came in through a grated window!

Some refreshment was brought her, of which she refused to partake. She could not even weep; her eyes seemed turned to stone. She could hear the maniac laughter of her fellow-prisoners,—she could see some of the most harmless marching in gloomy file through the grounds, with their watchful body-guard.

Poor Mary! She felt a stifled, choking sensation in her throat, as if the air she breathed were poison; and, with her nervous, excitable temperament, God knows the chance she stood to become what they really thought her. To all her eager inquiries she received only evasive answers; or else the subject was skilfully and summarily dismissed to make place for one in which she had no interest.

Little Dr. Van Brunt daily examined her pulse, and “hoped she was improving”—or, if she was n’t, it was his interest to issue a bulletin to that effect, and all “company” was vetoed as “exciting and injurious to the patient.” And so day after day, night after night, dragged slowly along. And Percy, with the meanness of a revengeful spirit, was “biding his time,” till the punishment should be sufficiently salutary to warrant his recalling her home. But while he was

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quietly waiting the accomplishment of his purpose, the friend of the weary came to her relief.

“Leave me, please, will you?” said Mary to the nurse, as she turned her cheek to the pillow, like a tired child. “I want to be alone.”

The old woman took her sewing and seated herself just outside the door, thinking she might wish to sleep. In a few moments she peeped cautiously through the open door. Mrs. Percy still lay there, in the same position, with her cheek nestling in the palm of her little hand.

“She sleeps sweetly,” she muttered to herself as she resumed her work.

Yes, Dame Ursula, but it is the “sleep” from which only the trump of the archangel shall wake her!

Mary’s secret died with her, and the remorse that is busy at the heart of Percy is known only to his Maker.

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“Baby carts on narrow sidewalks are awful bores, especially to a hurried business man.”

Are they? Suppose you, and a certain pair of blue eyes, that you would give half your patrimony to win, were joint proprietors of that baby! I should n’t dare to stand very near you, and call it a “nuisance.” It’s all very well for bachelors to turn up their single-blessed noses at these little dimpled Cupids; but just wait till their time comes! See them the minute their name is written “Papa,” pull up their dickeys, and strut off down street, as if the Commonwealth owed them a pension! When they enter the office, see their old married partner—to whom babies have long since ceased to be a novelty—laugh in his sleeve at the new-fledged dignity with which that baby’s advent is announced! How perfectly astonished they feel that they should have been so infatuated as not to perceive that a man is a perfect cipher till he is at the head of a family! How frequently one may see them now, looking in at the shop windows, with intense interest, at little hats, coral and bells, and baby-jumpers! How they love to come home to dinner, and press that little velvet cheek to their

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business faces? Was ever any music half so sweet to their ear, as its first lisped “Papa”? O, how closely and imperceptibly, one by one, that little plant winds its tendrils round the parent stem! How anxiously they hang over its cradle when the cheek flushes, and the lip is fever-parched; and how wide, and deep, and long a shadow, in their happy homes, its little grave would cast!

My dear sir, depend upon it, one’s own baby is never “a nuisance.” Love heralds its birth!

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Five happy years had Elsie Lee slept on her husband’s bosom. False prophets were they, who shook their heads at her bridal, and said she would rue the day she wedded Harry Lee;—that he was “unsteady, impulsive and fickle.”

She knew it was true, as they said, that he had loved unhappily before she met him; but the bright vision that had bewildered him was far beyond the seas;—she might never cross his path again. Be that as it may, Elsie was not the woman to cloud the sunshine of the present with dim forebodings, or question the past of the history of a heart now so loyal to her.

They were not rich; but light hearts seldom keep company with heavy coffers; and Elsie’s fairy hand had made their small house better worth the seeing, than many a gorgeous drawing-room with its upholstery show. And for sculpture, she could show you a little dimpled fairy, whose golden head was nightly pillowed on her breast, and whose match it were hard to find in any artist’s studio in the land. Yes, with Harry by her side and her babe upon her knee, Elsie defied the world. Kings and

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queens might lord it where they liked,—her reign was absolute in her own little kingdom.


“So you are married and settled since I went abroad,” said Vincent to Harry;—“have a nice little wife, so I hear;—‘sown all your wild oats,’ and made up your mind to be virtuous. Now, I shan’t come to witness your felicity, for two reasons. Firstly, if your wife is n’t pretty, I don’t want to see her. I think it every ugly woman’s pious duty to make way with herself! Secondly, if she is handsome, I should make love to her, spite fate or you; for I’m neither a ‘non-resistant’ nor a ‘perfectionist,’ as you very well know. And, thirdly, to sum up all I have to say, your old ideal, Miss ——, returned in the steamer with me, lovely as a Peri. She inquired about you; and, if your little wife will allow you,”—and a slight sneer curled his handsome lip,—“I’d advise you to call on her; but, prenez garde, Harry, I defy any man to withstand her witchery. I’m an old stager myself, but she plays the very mischief with my petrified heart, for all that.”

“If his little wife would let him!” It rang in Harry’s ear all the way home. Vincent thought him already in leading-strings. That would never do!—and so he persuaded himself this was the reason he intended calling on the fair Marion,—just to show Vincent how angelic Elsie

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was, and how far above such a petty feeling as jealousy. And then his imagination wandered by to bygone days, when a radiant smile of Marion’s, a flower she had worn in her hair, a touch of her small hand, was worth all the mines of Peru to him.

“Pshaw! how foolish!—and I a married man!”—and he stepped off briskly, as if in that way he could rid himself of such foolish thoughts.

Elsie met him at the door, fresh and sweet as a daisy.

“You are not well, Harry,” she said, as she marked his heightened color; “you’ve been annoyed with business.”

“Not a bit,” said he, patting her on the cheek, and tossing up his child. “Not a bit; and now let’s have dinner, for I’ve a business engagement at four.”

How absent he was!—how abstracted!—he seemed to eat just for the form of the thing, although she had been all the morning preparing his favorite dish. “Never mind,” said the gentle little wife to herself; “he has some business perplexity that he is too thoughtful to annoy me with;” and she passed her hand caressingly over his forehead, as if to assure him silently of her sympathy.

“Elsie,” said he, with a slight heart-twinge, “you have heard me speak of Marion Ruthven? Vincent says she has returned with him in the steamer, and as she is a

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stranger in the city, I feel as if I must call on her. She leaves soon for her brother’s house in New York.”

Elsie’s heart throbbed quickly, but she bent her graceful head very closely over the little frock she was embroidering, so that Harry could not see the expression of her face, and said, in her usual tone, “Don’t apologize to me, dear Harry, if you wish to go.”

“Like yourself, dear Elsie!” said he, kissing her cheek. And in half an hour afterwards he emerged from his dressing-room, where he had made himself very unnecessarily handsome, by a most careful toilette.

Elsie complimented him on his appearance, and gave him her usual warm-hearted kiss as he left; and Harry said to himself, as he went down the street, “How glad I am she is not jealous! Some women would have made quite a scene.”

Short-sighted Harry!—look back into that little room. The frock has fallen from her fingers, and tears are falling fast upon it. Now she paces the floor. What! she jealous of Harry? O, no, no!—but the bright, dazzling Marion!—so talented, so gifted, so fascinating! If Harry’s old penchant for her should return! O! what had she to oppose to all her witchery! Only a sweet, childish face, and a heart whose every pulsation was love, love for him who had won it. O, why did she ever come back? Such a happy dream as her wedded life had been, thus far!

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O, how slowly the hours passed, as she gave herself up to this voluntary self-torture! Harry must not see her thus—no. She rose and bathed her eyes, and tried to busy herself with her accustomed occupations, and so far succeeded, that when he sat opposite her at the tea-table, that evening, he was quite convinced that he could repeat his call without giving his little wife a single heart-pang. Poor little, proud Elsie!—he did n’t know how you longed to throw your arms about his neck, and say, “O, never look on those bright eyes again, dear Harry! Be mine—mine only!”

No, he did n’t know that! The spell had begun to work,—he was blinded! Elsie hoped the fair enchantress would soon leave; but it was not so, and Harry became more abstracted every day, although his manner still continued kind as usual.

Elsie’s heart could not be deceived. It was not “business” that kept him so often from his hearth-stone. No, she had twice, thrice, heard him murmur the bright stranger’s name in his dreams. But no word fell from her lips to remind him of all this heart-wandering. She was more studious than ever for his comfort. She never upbraided, never questioned. He went and came, as he liked. Still it was telling fast, this secret sorrow, upon the patient little wife. There was a pallor on her cheek that told its own story,—or would have done so, to eyes less blinded than Harry’s.

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Our sorrows are so lightened by sympathy; but the grief that may not be spoken,—the weight of trouble that slender shoulders must bend under alone,—who shall know, save those who have borne it?

Elsie was alone in her dressing-room, where she had sat for hours, motionless. A sudden thought seemed to inspire her. She started up, bathed her pale face, smoothed her sunny ringlets, and arrayed herself with more than usual care.

“That will be better,” she murmured to herself, as she passed through the busy street to lady Marion’s dwelling.

“I do not recollect,” said Marion, with a graceful courtesy, and blushing slightly, as Elsie entered.

“I am a stranger to you,” said Elsie, her silvery voice tremulous with agitation; and, as her eye glanced over Marion’s full, round figure, with its queenly grace of motion, and noted her large, bright eyes, and raven hair, and snowy shoulders, she marvelled not at the spell! “I am Harry Lee’s wife,” said Elsie. “O, lady Marion! of all the hearts your beauty wins, only one I claim! For God’s sake, do not wrest it from me! Earth would be so dark to me without my husband’s love!” and her tears fell fast upon the fair stranger’s hand.

“As God is my witness, never!” said the impulsive woman, touched with her sweet confidence. “I will

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never see him again;” and she drew her to her side with a sister’s fondness.

“God bless you!” said the happy Elsie. “And you will keep my secret!”

“Elsie, ’t is very odd you were never the least bit jealous of my old friend Marion,” said Harry, a few days after the above occurrence. “Very shabby of her, don’t you think so, to leave town without even saying good-by to me? N’importe; my little wife is worth a dozen of her;” and Harry kissed her cheek fondly.

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Moorest thou thy bark so soon little voyager? Through those infant eyes, with a prophet’s vision, sawest thou life’s great battle-field, swarming with fierce combatants? Fell upon thy timid ear the far-off din of its angry strife? Drooped thy head wearily on the bosom of the Sinless, fearful of earth taint? Fluttered thy wings impatiently against the bars of thy prison-house, sweet bird of Paradise?

God speed thy flight! No unerring sportsman shall have power to ruffle thy spread pinions, or maim thy soaring wing. No sheltering nest had earth for thee, where the chill wind of sorrow might not blow! No garden of Eden, where the serpent lay not coiled beneath the flowers! No “Tree of Life,” whose branches might have sheltered thee for aye!

Warm fall the sunlight on thy grassy pillow, sweet human blossom! Softly fall the night dews on the blue-eyed violet above thee! Side by side with thee are hearts that have long since ceased hoping, or aching. There lies the betrothed maiden, in her unappropriated loveliness; the bride, with her head pillowed on golden

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tresses, whose rare beauty even the Great Spoiler seemed loth to touch; childhood, but yesterday warm and rosy on its mother’s breast; the loving wife and mother, in life’s sweet prime; the gray-haired pastor, gone to his reward; the youth of crisped locks and brow unfurrowed by care; the heart-broken widow, and tearful orphan,—all await with folded hands, closed eyes, and silent lips, alike with thee, the resurrection morn.

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“Have you called on your old friend, James Lee, since your return?” said Mr. Seldon to his nephew.

“No, sir; I understand he has the misfortune to have a blue-stocking for a wife, and whenever I have thought of going there, a vision with inky fingers, frowzled hair, rumpled dress, and slip-shod heels has come between me and my old friend,—not to mention thoughts of a disorderly house, smoky puddings, and dirty-faced children. Defend me from a wife who spends her time dabbling in ink, and writing for the papers. I’ll lay a wager James has n’t a shirt with a button on it, or a pair of stockings that is not full of holes. Such a glorious fellow as he used to be, too!” said Harry soliloquizingly, “so dependent upon somebody to love him. By Jove, it’s a hard case.”

“Harry, will you oblige me by calling there?” said Mr. Seldon with a peculiar smile.

“Well, yes, if you desire it; but these married men get so metamorphosed by their wives, that it’s a chance if I recognize the melancholy remains of my old friend. A literary life!” and he shrugged his shoulders contemptuously.

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At one o’clock the next afternoon, Harry might have been seen ringing the bell of James Lee’s door. He had a very ungracious look upon his face, as much as to say,—“My mind is made up for the worst, and I must bear it for Jemmy’s sake.”

The servant ushered him into a pretty little sitting-room, not expensively furnished, but neat and tasteful. At the further end of the room were some flowering plants, among which a sweet-voiced canary was singing. Harry glanced round the room; a little light-stand or Chinese table stood in the corner, with pen, ink, and papers scattered over it.

“I knew it,” said Harry; “there’s the sign! horror of horrors! an untidy, slatternly blue-stocking! how I shall be disgusted with her! Jemmy’s to be pitied.”

He took up a book that lay upon the table, and a little manuscript copy of verses fell from between the leaves. He dropped the book as if he had been poisoned; then picking up the fallen manuscript with his thumb and forefinger, he replaced it with an impatient pshaw! Then he glanced round the room again,—no! there was not a particle of dust to be seen, even by his prejudiced eyes; the windows were transparently clean; the hearth-rug was longitudinally and mathematically laid down; the pictures hung “plumb” upon the wall; the curtains were fresh and gracefully looped; and, what was a greater marvel, there was a child’s dress half finished in a dainty

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little work-basket, and a thimble of fairy dimensions in the immediate neighborhood thereof. Harry felt a perverse inclination to examine the stitches, but at the sound of approaching footsteps he braced himself up to undergo his mental shower-bath.

A little lady tripped lightly into the room, and stood smilingly before him; her glossy black hair was combed smoothly behind her ears, and knotted upon the back of a remarkably well-shaped head; her eyes were black and sparkling, and full of mirth; her dress fitted charmingly to a very charming little figure; her feet were unexceptionably small, and neatly gaitered; the snowy fingers of her little hand had not the slightest “soupcon” of ink upon them, as she extended them in token of welcome to her guest.

Harry felt very much like a culprit, and greatly inclined to drop on one knee, and make a clean breast of a confession, but his evil bachelor spirit whispered in his ear,—“Wait a bit, she’s fixed up for company; cloven foot will peep out by and by!”

Well, they sat down! The lady knew enough,—he heard that before he came;—he only prayed that he might not be bored with her book-learning, or blue-stockingism. It is hardly etiquette to report private conversations for the papers,—so I will only say that when James Lee came home, two hours after, he found his old friend Harry in the finest possible spirits, tête-a-tête with his “blue”

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wife. An invitation to dinner followed. Harry demurred,—he had begun to look at the little lady through a very bewitching pair of spectacles, and he hated to be disenchanted,—and a blue-stocking dinner!

However, his objections, silent though they were, were over-ruled. There was no fault to be found with that table-cloth, or those snowy napkins; the glasses were clean, the silver bright as my lady’s eyes; the meats cooked to a turn, the gravies and sauces perfect, and the dessert well got up and delicious. Mrs. Lee presided with ease and elegance; the custards and preserves were of her own manufacture, and the little prattler, who was introduced with them, fresh from her nursery bath, with moist ringlets snowy robe, and dimpled shoulders, looked charmingly well cared for.

As soon as the two gentlemen were alone, Harry seized his friend’s hand, saying, with a half smile, “James, I feel like an unmitigated scoundrel! I have heard your wife spoken of as a ‘blue-stocking,’ and I came here prepared to pity you as the victim of an unshared heart, slatternly house, and indigestible cooking; but may I die an old bachelor if I don’t wish that woman, who has just gone out, was my wife.”

James Lee’s eyes moistened with gratified pride. “You don’t know half,” said he. “Listen;—some four years since I became involved in business; at the same time my health failed me; my spirits were broken, and I was get-

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ting a discouraged man. Emma, unknown to me, made application as a writer to several papers and magazines. She soon became very popular; and not long after placed in my hands the sum of three hundred dollars, the product of her labor. During this time, no parental or household duty was neglected; and her cheerful and steady affection raised my drooping spirits, and gave me fresh courage to commence the world anew. She still continues to write, although, as you see, my head is above water. Thanks to her as my guardian angel, for she says, ‘We must lay up something for a rainy day.’ God bless her sunshiny face!”

The entrance of Emma put a stop to any further eulogy, and Harry took his leave in a very indescribable and penitential frame of mind, doing ample penance for his former unbelieving scruples, by being very uncomfortably in love with a “Blue-Stocking.”


a woman accosts a ragged little girl


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It is only a little pauper. Never mind her. You see she knows her place and keeps close to the wall, as if she expected an oath or a blow. The cold winds are making merry with those thin rags. You see nothing of childhood’s rounded symmetry in those shrunken limbs and pinches features. Push her one side,—she’s used to it,—she won’t complain; she can’t remember that she ever heard a kind word in her life. She’d think you were mocking if you tried it.

She passes into the warm kitchen, savory with odorous dainties, and is ordered out with a threat by the portly cook. In the shop windows she sees nice fresh loaves of bread, and tempting little cakes. Rosy little children pass her on their way to school, well-fed, well-clad and joyous, with a mother’s parting kiss yet warm on their sweet lips.

There seems to be happiness enough in the world, but it never comes to her. Her little basket is quite empty; and now, faint with hunger, she leans wearily against that shop window. There is a lovely lady, who has just passed in. She is buying cakes and bon-bons for her

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little girl, as if she had the purse of Fortunatus. How nice it must be to be warm, and have enough to eat! Poor Meta! She has tasted nothing since she was sent forth with a curse in the morning, to beg or steal; and the tears will come. There is happiness and plenty in the world, but none for Meta!

Not so fast, little one! Warm hearts beat sometimes under silk and velvet. That lady has caught sight of your little woe-begone face and shivering form. O, what if it were her child! And, obeying a sweet maternal impulse, she passes out the door, takes those little, benumbed fingers in her daintily gloved hands, and leads the child,—wondering, shy and bewildered,—into fairy land.

A delightful and novel sensation of warmth creeps over those frozen limbs; a faint color tinges the pale cheeks, and the eyes grow liquid and lovely, as Meta raises them thankfully to her benefactress. The lady’s little girl looks on with an innocent joy, and learns, for the first time, how “blessed are the merciful.”

And then Meta passes out, with a heavy basket, and a light heart. Surely the street has grown wider, and the sky brighter! This can scarcely be the same world! Meta’s form is erect now; her step light, as a child’s should be. The sunshine of human love has brightened her pathway! Ah, Meta!—earth is not all darkness—bright angels yet walk the earth. Sweet-voiced Pity

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and heaven-eyed Charity sometimes stoop to bless. God’s image is only marred, not destroyed. He who feeds the ravens, bends to listen. Look upward little Meta!

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A lover’s quarrel! A few hasty words,—a formal parting between two hearts, that neither time nor distance could ever disunite,— then, a lifetime of misery!

Edith May stood before me in her bridal dress. The world was to be made to believe she was happy and heart-whole. I knew better. I knew that no woman, who had once loved Gilbert Ainslie, could ever forget him,—least of all, such a heart as Edith’s. She was pale as a snow-wreath, and bent her head gracefully as a water lily, in recognition of her numerous friends and admirers.

“What a sacrifice!” the latter murmured, between their set teeth! “What a sacrifice!” my heart echoed back.

Mr. Jefferson Jones was an ossified old bachelor. He had but one idea in his head, and that was, to make money. There was only one thing he understood equally well, and that was, to keep it. He was angular, prim, cold and precise; mean, grovelling, contemptible and cunning.

And Edith!—our peerless Edith, whose lovers were

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“legion,”—Edith, with her passionate heart, her beauty, grace, taste and refinement,—Edith, to vow “love and honor” to such a soulless block! It made me shudder to think of it! I felt as though his very gaze were profanation.

Well, the wedding was over; and she was duly installed mistress of Jefferson House. She had fine dresses, fine furniture, a fine equipage, and the stupidest possible incumbrance, in the shape of a husband.

Mr. Jefferson Jones was very proud of his bride;—firstly, because she added to his importance; secondly, because he plumed himself not a little in bearing off so dainty a prize. It gave him a malicious pleasure to meet her old admirers, with the graceful Edith upon his arm. Of course she preferred him to them all; else, why did she marry him?

Then, how deferential she was in her manner since their marriage; how very polite, and how careful to perform her duty to the letter! Mr. Jones decided, with his usual acumen, that there was no room for a doubt, on that point! He noticed, indeed, that her girlish gayety was gone; but that was a decided improvement, according to his view. She was Mrs. Jones now, and meant to keep all whiskered popinjays at a respectful distance,. He liked it!

And so, through those interminable evenings, Edith sat, playing long, stupid games of chess with him, or

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listening (?) to his gains or losses, in the way of trade; or reading political articles, of which the words conveyed no ideas to her absent mind.

She walked through the busy streets, leaning on his arm, with an unseen form ever at her side; and slept—God forgive her!—next his heart, when hers was far away! But when she was alone,—no human eye to read her sad secret, her small hands clasped in agony, and her fair head bent to the very dust,—was he now avenged?


It was a driving storm;—Mr. Jones concluded to dine at a restaurant instead of returning home. He had just seated himself, and given his orders to the obsequious waiter, when his attention was attracted by the conversation of two gentlemen near him.

“Have you see la belle Edith, since her marriage, Harry?”

“No; I feel too much vexed with her. Such a splendid specimen of flesh and blood to marry such an idiot! All for a foolish quarrel with Ainslie. You never saw such a wreck as it has made of him. However, she is well punished; for, with all her consummate tact and effort to keep up appearances, it is very plain that she is the most miserable woman in existence; as Mr. Jefferson Jones, whom I have never seen, might perceive,

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if he was n’t, as all the world says, the very prince of donkeys.”

Jones seized his hat, and rushed into the open air, tugging at his neck-tie as if he were choking. Six times he went, like a comet, round the square; then, settling his beaver down over his eyes, in a very prophetic manner, he turned his footsteps deliberately homeward. It was but the deceitful calm before the whirlwind!

He found Edith, clam, pale, and self-possessed, as usual. He was quite as much so himself,—even went so far as to compliment her on a coquettish little jacket that fitted her round figure very charmingly.

“I’m thinking of taking a short journey, Edith,” said he, seating himself by her side, and playing with the silken cord and tassels about her waist. “As it is wholly a business trip, it would hamper me to take you with me; but you’ll hear from me. Meanwhile, you know how to amuse yourself, hey, Edith?”

He looked searchingly in her face. There was no conscious blush, no change of expression, no tremor of the frame. He might as well have addressed a marble statue.

Mr. Jefferson Jones was posed! Well, he bade her one of his characteristic adieus; and when the door closed, Edith felt as if a mountain weight had been lifted off his heart. There was but one course for her to pursue. She knew it;—she had already marked it out.

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She would deny herself to all visitors,—she would not go abroad till her husband’s return. She was strong in her purpose. There should be no door left open for busy scandal to enter. Of Ainslie she knew nothing, save that a letter reached her from him after her marriage, which she had returned unopened.

And so she wandered restlessly through those splendid rooms, and tried, by this self-inflicted penance, to atone for the defection of her heart. Did she take her guitar, old songs they had sang together came unbidden to her lips;—that book, too, they had read. O, it was all misery, turn where she would!

Day after day passed by,—no letter form Mr. Jones! The time had already passed that was fixed upon for his return; and Edith, nervous from close confinement and the weary inward struggle, started like a frightened bird, at every footfall.

It came at last—the letter—sealed with black! “He had been accidentally drowned. His hat was found; all search for the body had been unavailing.”

Edith was no hypocrite. She could not mourn for him, save in the outward garb of woe; but now that he was dead, conscience did its office. She had not, in the eye of the world, been untrue; but there is an Eye that searches deeper!—that scans thoughts as well as actions.

Ainslie was just starting for the continent, by order of

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a physician, when the news reached him. A brief time he gave to decorum, and then they met. It is needless to say what that meeting was. Days and months of wretchedness were forgotten, like some dreadful dream. She was again his own Edith, sorrowing, repentant and happy.

They were sitting together one evening,—Edith’s head was upon his shoulder, and her face radiant as a seraph’s. They were speaking of their future home.

“Any spot on the wide earth but this, dear Ainslie. Take me away from these painful associations.”

“Say you so, pretty Edith?” said a well-known voice. “I but tried that faithful heart of yours, to prove it! Pity to turn such a pretty comedy into a tragedy; but I happen to be manager here, young man!” said Mr. Jones, turning fiercely toward the horror-struck Ainslie.

The revulsion was too dreadful. Edith survived but a week. Ainslie became hopelessly insane.

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“This is a heartless life to lead,” said Mabel Gray, as she unbanded her long hair, and laid aside her rich robe. “It is a life one might lead, were there no life beyond. When I left the heated ball-room to-night, the holy stars, keeping their tireless watch, sent a thrill through me;—and the little prayer I used to say at my dead mother’s knee came unbidden to my lip. There’s Letty, now;—she’s happier than her mistress. Come here, child;—unbraid my hair, and sing me that little Methodist hymn of yours,

‘Jesus, I my cross have taken.’

“That will do,—thank you, child,—now you may go. What a sweet voice she has! Either that, or my tears, have eased my heart. I’m too restless to sleep. How softly the moonlight falls to-night!—and years hence, when these myriad sleepers shall have sunk to their dreamless rest, earth will still be as fair, the silver moon will ride on as triumphantly. How many sad hearts she looks down upon to-night; and never a thanksgiving has gone up from my lips for countless blessings! Soft sleep with balmy touch has closed these thankless eyes; the

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warm, fresh blood of youth and health has flowed on, unchecked by disease. I have sat at the table of ‘Dives,’ while ‘Lazarus’ has starved at the gate. The gold and purple robe of sunset has been woven for me; the blue vault of heaven arched over my head; the ever-changing, fleecy cloud has gone drifting by; the warm sunlight has kissed open the flowers I love; the green moss has spread a carpet for my careless foot; and I have revelled in all this beauty and luxury—God forgive me!—unmindful of the Giver.”

Dear reader, shall it be only at “Bethesda’s Pool” that you seek your Benefactor? While your life-cup overflows with blessings, when the warm blood courses swiftly, shall there come no generous response to that still small voice, “Jesus of Nazareth passeth by?”

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“Dear Mary,” said Harry —— to his little wife, “I have a favor to ask of you. You have a friend whom I dislike very much, and who I am quite sure will make trouble between us. Will you give up Mrs. May for my sake, Mary?”

A slight shade of vexation crossed Mary’s pretty face, as she said, “You are unreasonable, Harry. She is lady-like, refined, intellectual, and fascinating, is she not?”

“Yes, all of that; and, for that very reason, her influence over one so yielding and impulsive as yourself is more to be dreaded, if unfavorable. I’m quite in earnest, Mary. I could wish never to see you together again.”

“Pshaw! dear Harry, that’s going too far. Don’t be disagreeable; let us talk of something else. As old Uncle Jeff says, ‘How’s trade?’ ” and she looked archly in his face.

Harry did n’t smile.

“Well,” said the little wife, turning away, and patting her foot nervously, “I don’t see how I can break with her, Harry, for a whim of yours; besides, I’ve promised to go there this very evening.”

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Harry made no reply, and in a few moments was on his way to his office.

Mary stood behind the curtain, and looked after him as he went down the street. There was an uncomfortable, stifling sensation in her throat, and something very like a tear glittering in her eye. Harry was vexed,—she was sure of that; he had gone off, for the first time since their marriage, without the affectionate good-by that was usual with him, even when they parted but for an hour or two. And so she wandered, restless and unhappy, into her little sleeping-room.

It was quite a little gem. There were statuettes, and pictures, and vases, all gifts from him either before or since their marriage; each one had a history of its own,—some tender association connected with Harry. There was a bouquet, still fresh and fragrant, that he had purchased on his way home, the day before, to gratify her passion for flowers. There was a choice edition of Poems they were reading together the night before, with Mary’s name written on the leaf, in Harry’s bold, handsome hand. Turn where she would, some proof of his devotion met her eye. But Mrs. May! She was so smart and satirical! She would make so much sport of her, for being “ruled” so by Harry! Had n’t she told him “all the men were tyrants,” and this was Harry’s first attempt to govern her. No, no, it would n’t do for her to yield.

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So the pretty evening dress was taken out; the trimmings readjusted, and remodelled, and all the little et ceteras of her toilette decided. Yes, she would go; she had quite made up her mind to that. Then she opened her jewel-case; a little note fell at her feet. She knew the contents very well. It was from Harry,—slipped slyly into her hand on her birthday, with that pretty bracelet. It could n’t do any harm to read it again. It was very lover-like for a year old husband; but she liked it! Dear Harry! and she folded it back, and sat down, more unhappy than ever, with her hands crossed in her lap, and her mind in a most pitiable state of irresolution.

Perhaps, after all, Harry was right about Mrs. May; and if he was n’t, one hair of his head was worth more to her than all the women in the world. He had never said one unkind word to her,—never! He had anticipated every wish. He had been so attentive and solicitous when she was ill. How could she grieve him?

Love conquered! The pretty robe was folded away, the jewels returned to their case, and, with a light heart, Mary sat down to await her husband’s return.

The lamps were not lit in the drawing-room, when Harry came up the street. She had gone, then!—after all he had said! He passed slowly through the hall, entered the dark and deserted room, and threw himself on the sofa with a heavy sigh. He was not angry, but he was grieved and disappointed. The first doubt that

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creeps over the mind, of the affection of the one we love, is so very painful.

“Dear Harry!” said a welcome voice at his side.

“God bless you, Mary?” said the happy husband; “you’ve saved me from a keen sorrow!”

Dear reader,—won’t you tell?—there are some husbands worth all the sacrifices a loving heart can make!

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It is hard to lie upon a bed of sickness, even though that bed be of down. Nauseous, too, is the healing-draught, though sipped from a silver cup, held by a loving hand. Wearisome are the days and nights, even with the speaking eye of love over your pillow. But what if the hand of disease lie heavily on the poor? What if the “barrel of meal and cruse of oil” fail? What if emaciated limbs shiver under a tattered blanket? What if lips, parched with fever, mutely beg for a permitted but unattainable luxury? What if the tones of the voice be never modulated to the delicately sensitive ear? What if at every inlet of the soul come sights and sounds harsh and dissonant? Ah! who shall measure the sufferings of the sick poor?

Dear little Charley! you were as much out of place, in that low, dark, wretched room, as an angel could well be on earth. Meekly, in the footsteps of Him who loveth little children, were those tiny feet treading. Patiently, unmurmuringly, uncomplainingly, were those racking pains endured. A tear, a contraction of the brow, a slight, involuntary clasping of the attenuated fingers, were the

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only visible signs of agony. What a joy to sit beside him,—to take that little feverish hand in mine,—to smooth that rumpled pillow,—to part the tangled locks on that transparent forehead,—to learn of one, of whom the Saviour says, “Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven!” But never did I bless God so fully, so gratefully, for the gift of song, as when, with that little, sensitive heart held close to mine, I made him forget his pain by some simple strain. I had sung for my own amusement; I had sung when dazzling lights, and fairy forms, and festal hours, were inspiration; but never with such a zest, and with such a thrill of happiness, as when, in that wretched room, I soothed the sufferings of “little Charley.” The garland-crowned prima donna, with half the world at her feet, might have envied me the tightened clasp of that little hand, the suffused, earnest gaze of that speaking eye, and that half-whispered, plaintive,—“One more! Charley is so happy now!”

Ay! Charley is happy now! Music, such as only the blessed hear, fills his soul with rapture. Never a discordant note comes from the harp swept by that cherub hand, while forever that majestic anthem rolls on, in which his infant voice is joining,—“Worthy the Lamb.”

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“The husband’s tears may be few and brief,

He may woo and win another;

But the daughter clings in unchanging grief

To the image of her mother!”

But a fleeting twelvemonth had passed since the heart, that for years had beat against his own, was forever stilled, when Walter Lee brought again a fair young creature to share his widowed home. Nor father nor mother, brother nor sister, claimed any part of the orphan heart that he coveted and won. No expense or pains had he spared to decorate the mansion for her reception. Old familiar objects fraught with tenderest associations, had been removed, to make way for the upholsterer’s choicest fancies. There was no picture left upon the wall, with sweet, sad, mournful eyes, to follow him with silent reproach. Everything was fresh and delightful as the newborn joy that filled his heart.

“My dear Edith,” said he, fondly pushing back the hair from her forehead, “there should be no shadow in your pathway, but I have tried in vain to induce Nelly to give you the welcome you deserve; however, she shall

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not annoy you. I shall compel her to stay in the nursery till she yields to my wishes.”

“O, no! don’t do that,” said the young stepmother, anxiously; “I think I understand her. Let me go to her, dear Walter;” and she tripped lightly out of the room.

Walter Lee looked after her retreating figure with a lover-like fondness. The room seemed to him to grow suddenly darker, when the door closed after her. Reaching out his hand, he almost unconsciously took up a book that lay near him. A slip of paper fluttered out from between the leaves, like a white-winged messenger. The joyous expression of his face faded into one of deep sorrow, as he read it. The hand-writing was his child’s mother’s. It ran thus:—

“O, to die, and be forgotten! This warm heart cold—these active limbs still—these lips dust! Suns to rise and set, flowers to bloom, the moon to silver leaf and tree around my own dear home,—the merry laugh, the pleasant circle, and I not there! The weeds choking the flowers at my headstone; the severed tress of sunny hair forgotten in its envelope; the sun of happiness so soon absorbing the dew-drop of sorrow! The cypress changed for the orange wreath! O, no, no; don’t quite forget! close your eyes sometimes, and bring before you the face that once made sunshine in your home! feel again the

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twining clasp of loving arms; the lips that told you—not in words—how dear you were. O, Walter, don’t quite forget! From Nelly’s clear eyes let her mother’s soul still speak to you.

Mary Lee.”

Warm tears fell upon the paper as Walter Lee folded it back. He gave himself time to rally, and then glided gently up to the nursery door. It was partially open. A little fairy creature of some five summers stood in the middle of the floor. Her tiny face was half hidden in sunny curls. Her little pinafore was full of toys, which she grasped tightly in either hand.

“No, you are not my mamma,” said the child. “I want my own, dead mamma, and I’m sorry papa brought you here.”

“O, don’t say that!” said the young stepmother; “don’t call me ‘mamma,’ if it gives you pain, dear. I am quite willing you should love your own mamma best.”

Nelly looked up with a pleased surprise.

“I had a dear mamma and papa once,” she continued; “and brothers and sisters so many, and so merry! but they are all dead, and sometimes my heart is very sad; I have no one, now to love me, but your papa and you.”

Nelly’s eyes began to moisten; and taking out one after another of the little souvenirs and toys from her pinafore, she said, “And you won’t take away this—and this—and this—that my dead mamma gave me?”

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“No, indeed, dear Nelly!”

“And you will let me climb in my papa’s lap, as I used; and put my cheek to his, and kiss him? and love him as much as I ever can, won’t you?”

“Yes, yes, my darling.”

Walter Lee could hear no more,—his heart was full.

What! Mary’s child pleading with a stranger for room in a father’s heart! In the sudden gush of this new fount of tenderness, had he forgotten or overlooked the claims of that helpless little one? God forbid! “From Nelly’s clear eyes let her mother’s soul still speak to you.” Ay! it did!

When next Walter Lee met his young bride, it was with a chastened tenderness. Nelly’s loving little heart was pressed closely against his own. He was again “her own papa!” No, he did not “quite forget!”

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What do you see, pretty one? Large, wondering blue eyes; a tangled mass of sunny curls; small, pearly teeth; plump, white shoulders, that the ragged dress has failed to hide! Saw you never that little face before? A smile of innocent pleasure curls your lip;—ah! you have found out, that little face is fair! Poor and beautiful—holy angels shield you, little one! I look at you with a tear and a smile. Shall sin cast its dark shadow over those clear, pure eyes? Shall the hollow-hearted sensualist find you out? Shall you turn from homely, but honest toil, to honeyed words and liveried shame? Shall you curse the day you first crept to that mirror, and saw your sunny face?

O, heard you never of Him who biddeth “little children come?” In your dark and noisome home, heard you never the name of “Jesus,” save from blasphemous lips? Closed those blue eyes never with a murmured “Our Father?” Have the rough grasp and brutal blow descended on that fair young head? Has daily bread

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come sparingly to those cherry lips? Crept you out into the warm sunlight, under the bright blue sky, with a bird’s longing to soar?

Soar you may, pretty one;—there’s a “song,” and a “harp,” and a “white robe” for you! Just such as you were “blessed” with holy hands; sacred lips have said, “Of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” God keep you undefiled, little earth pilgrim!

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It would puzzle a Philadelphia lawyer to tell why Kitty Gray looks so serious as she sits by her latticed window this bright summer morning. Is she not the undisputed belle of —— ?—adored by the young men, envied by the girls, who try in vain to find out the spell by which she monopolizes all hearts. Has she, at last, found one insensible mortal, cold-hearted enough to resist all love’s artillery? That would be a novelty for Kitty! Has she detected a gray hair stealing in among her tresses, or an incipient crow’s-foot at the corner of her eye? Banish the thought, at sweet eighteen!

Mirror never reflected back lovelier tresses, brighter eyes, a fairer brow, or more symmetrical form. The hand her cheek rests on is faultless, and her foot is as perfect as a model. Ah, Miss Kitty, you were cut out for a coquette, but spoilt in the making! Nature gave you a heart. You are neither making a female Alexander of yourself by sighing for fresh hearts to conquer, nor considering profoundly the fashion of your next ball-dress. You have lived eighteen years in this blessed world, and your life has been all sunshine. Why not?

Beauty and wealth have made you omnipotent; but

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you are weary of your crown. My little queen has on her “thinking cap,” and it becomes that sweet brow passing well. She wonders, “Is this all of life?” Has a pretty woman nothing to do but smile and look captivating, and admire herself? She might as well be the marble Venus in her dressing-room! And then she casts her mental eye over the circle of her acquaintance. For aught she sees, they are quite satisfied with the same butterfly existence. Women frivolous; men, on the coxcomb order,—all but Harvey Fay. He is talented; owns a soul; is not dependent on a moustache or French boots for happiness; is refined in all his tastes, and a gentleman in the highest sense of the word; can sing the soul out of you, and make time fly faster than any man you ever saw. Alas! that there must always be a “but!” Harvey, the peerless Harvey, had one sad foible—and it was that which had clouded Kitty’s brow and saddened her heart. True, it had not, as yet, become a fixed habit, but where was the security for the future?

And so Kitty sat leaning her cheek upon her hand, and wondering if a woman’s power, if her nice tact and delicacy, were not bestowed upon her for something better than to further her own selfish purposes? Harvey was sensitive, proud and high-spirited,—it must be a very gentle hand that would turn him back from that dizzy precipice. Could she not save him? She resolved

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to try; she would exert her power—for once—for some noble purpose.


It was a gay scene—that ballroom! The fairy forms that floated down the dance, with flowing tresses and sparkling eyes, and snowy necks, might have bewildered the sober head of age. Soft, entrancing music, brilliant lights, and the overpowering perfume of myriad sweet flowers, all lent their aid to complete the spell. Kitty shone, as usual, the brightest star of the evening. One cannot gaze long at a “star” without being dazzled; so how can I describe it? I can only say Kitty was irresistible. One minute you’d think it was her eyes; then, the little dimpled hand that rested on your arm; then, her golden ringlets, or the tiny feet that supported that swaying, graceful figure. As to her eyes, whether black, or blue, or hazel, you could not tell. You only knew it was very dangerous looking at them long at a time, unless you had made up your mind to surrender.

Well, Kitty had received her usual share of homage, with her usual sweet nonchalance, and now accepted the arm of a gentleman to the supper-table, where wit flew like champagne corks, and hearts were lost and won with a celerity worthy this progressive age. Harvey was as handsome as he well could be, and be mortal; in high good-humor, and as felicitous as only he knew how to be, in saying a thousand brilliant nothings.

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Kitty followed him with her eyes, and saw him, ere long, retire to a side-table, and, turning out a glass of wine, hold it to his lips. In an instant she was by his side.

“It is mine!” said she, playfully, extending her little hand to grasp it; but there was a deep glow upon her cheek, and an earnest, imploring look in her eyes, that said more than her words, and deepened the flush on Harvey’s temples.

“As you will, fair lady,” said he, with a slight shade of embarrassment; “but wherefore?”

“O, only a woman’s whim!” said Kitty. “You are not true knight, if you cannot serve a lady without a reason.”

“I’d serve you forever!” said Harvey, as he looked admiringly upon her changing countenance.

“Then drink no wine to-night, unless I fill the glass for you,” said she, smiling, as she joined the dancers.

“Only a woman’s whim!” Harvey did n’t believe it. “How very lovely she looked! What could she mean? Could it be she thought him in danger? Had he gone so far, almost imperceptibly to himself? Could Kitty think that of him? Pshaw! it could n’t be;” and he drew himself proudly up. “It must be some girlish nonsense,—a wager, or a bet of some kind. But that imploring, timid look! O there was something in it,

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after all! He would n’t be so tortured; he would know before he slept that night.”

There’s an end to all things, and balls are no exception. Happy cavaliers were performing the agreeable duty of settling refractory shawls upon round, white shoulders. “Rigoletts” were to be tied under pretty chins, and lace kerchiefs around swan-like throats.

These interminable matters being concluded, Kitty accepted Harvey as her escort home. They talked about a thousand little nothings, about which neither cared, when Harry cut it all short, very suddenly, with,

“Miss Gray, will you tell me frankly why you ‘tabooed’ that glass of wine?”

All Kitty’s practiced self-possession forsook her. She hesitated a moment;—she feared to wound his feelings. No, she would not falter! So she said, in a clear, low voice, while her long lashes swept her cheek, “Because I knew that to you it was a poisoned draught, Mr. Fay; and I were not true friend did I fail to warn you. You will not be vexed with me?” said she, with winning sweetness, as she extended him her hand.

Harvey’s answer is not recorded; but it is sufficient to say, that the secret of his high legal eminence is known only to the belle of ——.

Alas! that woman, gifted with an angel’s powers, sent on an angel’s mission, should so often be content with the butterfly life of a pleasure-seeking fashionist!

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“If a woman once errs,

Kick her down, kick her down;

If misfortune is hers,

Kick her down;

Though her tears fall like rain,

And she ne’er smiles again,

Kick her down.

If man breaks her heart,

Kick her down, kick her down;

Redouble the smart—

Kick her down;

And if low her condition,

On, on to perdition,—

Kick her down.”

Ay! pass her by on the other side; speak no word of encouragement to her; measure not her fall by her temperament, or her temptations, but by the frigidity of your own unsolicited, pharisaical heart. Leave no door of escape open; close your homes and your hearts; crush every human feeling in her soul; teach her that the Bible and religion are a fable; check the repentant prayer on her Magdalen lip; thrust her back upon the cruel

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tender mercies of those who rejoice at her fall; send her forth with her branded beauty, like a blight and a mildew. “Stand aside, for thou art holier;”—holier than the Sinless, whose feet were bathed with her tears, “and wiped with the hairs of her head.” Cast the “first stone” at her, O thou whited sepulchre! though those holy lips could say, “Neither do I condemn thee,—go and sin no more.”

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“Greater is he who ruleth his spirit, than he who taketh a city.”

“Come here, sir!” said a strong, athletic man, as he seized a delicate-looking lad by the shoulder. “You’ve been in the water again, sir! Have n’t I forbidden it?”

“Yes, father, but—”

“No ‘buts!’—have n’t I forbidden it, hey?”

“Yes, sir. I was—”

“No reply, sir!” and the blows fell like a hail-storm about the child’s head and shoulders.

Not a tear started from Harry’s eye, but his face was deadly pale, and his lips firmly compressed, as he rose and looked at his father with an unflinching eye.

“Go to your room, sir, and stay there till you are sent for. I’ll master that spirit of yours before you are many days older!”

Ten minutes after, Harry’s door opened, and his mother glided gently in. She was a fragile, delicate woman, with mournful blue eyes, and temples startlingly transparent. Laying her hand softly upon Harry’s head, she stooped and kissed his forehead.

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The rock was touched, and the waters gushed forth. “Dear mother!” said the weeping boy.

“Why did n’t you tell your father that you plunged into the water to save the life of your playmate?”

“Did he give me a chance?” said Harry, springing to his feet, with a flashing eye. “did n’t he twice bid me be silent, when I tried to explain? Mother, he’s a tyrant to you and to me!”

“Harry, he’s my husband and your father!”

“Yes, and I’m sorry for it. What have I ever had but blows and harsh words? Look at your pale cheeks and sunken eyes, mother! It’s too bad, I say! He’s a tyrant, mother!” said the boy, with a clenched fist and set teeth; “and if it were not for you, I would have been leagues off long ago. And there’s Nellie, too, poor, sick child! What good will all her medicine do her? She trembles like a leaf when she hears his footsteps. I say, ’t is brutal, mother!”

“Harry”—and a soft hand was laid on the impetuous boy’s lips—“for my sake—”

“Well, ’t is only for your sake,—yours and poor Nellie’s,—or I should be on the sea somewhere—anywhere but here.”

Late that night, Mary Lee stole to her boy’s bedside, before retiring to rest. “God be thanked, he sleeps!” she murmured, as she shaded her lamp from his face. Then, kneeling at his bedside, she prayed for patience

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and wisdom to bear uncomplainingly the heavy cross under which her steps were faltering; and then she prayed for her husband.

“No, no, not that!” said Harry, springing from his pillow, and throwing his arms about her neck. “I can forgive him what he has done to me, but I never will forgive him what he has made you suffer. Don’t pray for him,—at least, don’t let me hear it!”

Mary Lee was too wise to expostulate. She knew her boy was spirit-sore, under the sense of recent injustice; so she lay down beside him, and, resting her tearful cheek against his, repeated, in a low, sweet voice, the story of the crucifixion. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do!” fell upon his troubled ear. He yielded to the holy spell.

“I will!” he sobbed. “Mother, you are an angel; and if I ever get to heaven, it will be your hand that has led me there.”


There was hurrying to and fro in Robert Lee’s house that night. It was a heavy hand that dealt those angry blows on that young head!

The passionate father’s repentance came too late,—came with the word that his boy must die!

“Be kind to her!” said Harry, as his head drooped on his mother’s shoulder.

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It was a dearly-bought lesson! Beside that lifeless corpse, Robert Lee renewed his marriage vow; and now, when the hot blood of anger rises to his temples, and the hasty word springs to his lip, the pale face of the dead rises up between him and the offender, and an angel voice whispers, “Peace, be still!”

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Mother. Is that you, my darling?

Child. No, mamma, ’t is only me!

Fancy that little, pale, neglected, sensitive child, meekly returning that touching answer to the mother of her petted, beautiful sister! Who would not find a warm corner in their heart for her? Who would not hasten to make those sad, pensive eyes beam happiness? Who would not raise her estimate of her own powers, chilled and crushed in the germ, by the hand that should wipe away every childish tear? Ah! “the coat of many colors” is not yet worn out. The sullen brow of defiance, or the early grave, is too often the sad penalty. Other Josephs and Ishmaels may yet “thirst in the desert;” other Jacobs and Elis have their “gray hairs brought with sorrow to the grave.” How seldom is equal justice done to the children of a large family! The superficial, the brilliant, the showy, the witty, throw a dazzling glare over parental eyes. They mark not the less gifted, but often warmer-hearted, child, as she creeps with swelling heart and filling eyes to some unnoticed corner, to sob, with passionate tears, “Ah, it’s only me!”

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Frown not, impatience, at the little, shrinking creature at your side,—slow of speech and stammering of tongue, turning his eye timidly even from a mother’s glance,—because the quick flush of embarrassment mounts to his forehead, and he stands not up with a bold, flashing eye, to answer the pleased guest! Chide him not! Let him hide his tearful eye and blushing cheek in the folds of your dress, if he will; put a loving arm about him, and let him creep to your heart, and nestle there, till the little dove gains courage to flutter and soar with a strong wing. He shall yet, eagle-like, face the sun! You shall yet scarce keep in sight his soaring pinions! Bear with him yet a while, ambitious mother!

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“You are quite beautiful to-night,” said Frank Fearing to his young wife, as she entered the drawing-room dressed for a ball; “I shall fall in love with you over again. What! not a smile for your lover-husband? and a tear in your eye, too! What does this mean, dearest?”

Mary leaned her beautiful head upon her husband’s shoulder, and turned pale as she said:

“Frank, I feel a strange, sad presentiment of some impending evil; from whence, I cannot tell. I have striven to banish it, but it will not go away. I had not meant to speak of it to you, lest you should think me weak or superstitious; and, Frank,” said his sweet wife, in pleading tones, “this is a frivolous life we lead. We are all the world to each other,—why frequent such scenes as these? A fearful shadow lies across my path. Stay at home with me, dearest; I dare not go to-night.”

Frank looked at her thoughtfully a moment, then, gayly kissing her, he said,

“This vile east wind has given you the blues; the more

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reason you should not give yourself time to think of them; beside, do you think me such a Blue Beard as to turn the key on so bright a jewel as yourself? No, no, Mary, I would have others see it sparkle and shine, and envy me its possession; so throw on your cloak, little wife, and let us away.”

“Stop a moment, then,” said Mary, with a smile and a sigh, “let me kiss little Walter before I go; he lies in his little bed so rosy and so bright. Come with me, Frank, and look at him.”

With kisses on lip, brow, and cheek, the child slumbered on, and the carriage rolled away from the door to the ball.

It was a brilliant scene; that ball-room!—Necks and arms, that shamed for whiteness the snowy robes that floated around them; eyes rivalling the diamond’s light; tresses whose hue was borrowed from the sun; manhood’s peerless form and noble brow; odorous garlands, flashing lights, music to make the young blood race more swiftly through the veins; all—all—were there, to intoxicate and bewilder.

Peerless in the midst—queen of hearts and of the dance—stood the young wife of Frank Fearing. Accepting the offered hand of an acquaintance, she took her place among the waltzers. She made a few turns upon the floor, then, pale as death, she turned to her husband, saying,

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“O, Frank, I cannot,—I feel such an oppression here, here;” and she placed her hand on heart and brow.

Frank looked annoyed; he was very fond of his wife; her beauty was the admiration of the room. She had never looked lovelier than to-night. Whispering in her ear, “For my sake, Mary, conquer this weakness,” he led her again to the dancer. With a smile of gratified pride he followed her with his eyes, as her fairy form floated past him, excitement and exercise lending again to her cheek its loveliest glow, while on all sides murmurs of “Beautiful,—most beautiful!” fell on his ear. “And that bright vision is mine,” said Frank to himself; “I have won her from hearts that were breaking for her.”

When the dance was over, following her to the window, he arranged her scarf about her neck, with a fond care; and with a “Thank you, dearest,” was leaving her, when she again laid her hand upon his arm, saying, with a wild brilliancy in her eye, “Frank! something has happened to Walter! take me home now.”

“Pshaw! Mary, dear; you looked so radiant, I thought you had danced the vapors away. One more, dearest, and then, if you say so, we will go.”

Suffering herself to be persuaded, again those tiny feet were seen spurning the floor; towards the close, her face grew so deadly pale, that her husband, in alarm, flew to her side.

“The effort costs you too much, Mary,” said Frank;

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“let us go home.” He wrapped her cloak carefully about her. She was still, and cold as a marble statue.

As her carriage stopped at their door, she rushed past him with the swiftness of an antelope, and, gaining her boy’s chamber, Frank heard her exclaim, as she fell senseless to the floor, “I knew it, I told you so!” The child was dead.

The servant in whose care it had been left,—following the example of her mistress,—had joined some friends in a dance in the hall. That terrible scourge of children, the croup, had attacked him, and alone, in the still darkness, the fair boy wrestled with the “King of Terrors.”

From whence came the sad presentiment that clouded the fair brow of the mother; or the mysterious magnetism drawing her so irresistibly back to her dying child? Who shall tell?

For months she lay vibrating between life and death.

“Yet the Healer was there, who had smitten her heart,

And taken her treasure away;

To allure her to Heaven, he has placed it on high,

And the mourner will sweetly obey.”

“There had whispered a voice,—’t was the voice of her God,—

‘I love thee! I love thee! pass under the rod!”

* * * * * * * *

Other fair children now call her “mother;” but never again, with flying feet, has she chased the midnight hours away. Nightly, as they return, they find her within the

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quiet circle of home,—within call of helpless childhood. Dearer than the admiration of the gay throng,—sweeter to her than viol or harp,—is the music of their young voices, and tenderly she leads their little feet “into the green pastures and unto the still waters of salvation;” blest with the smile of the Good Shepherd, who saith, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not.”

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“Twelve o’clock at night, and all’s well!”

False prophet! Still and statue-like, at yonder window, stands the wife. The clock has told the small hours; yet her face is pressed closely against the window-pane, striving in vain, with straining eye, to pierce the darkness. She sees nothing; she hears nothing, but the beating of her own heart. Now she takes her seat; opens a small Bible, and seeks from it what comfort she may, while tears blister the pages. Then she clasps her hands, and her lips are tremulous with mute supplication. Hist! There is an unsteady step in the hall; she knows it! Many a time and oft it has trod on her very heart-strings. She glides down gently to meet the wanderer. He falls heavily against her; and, in maudlin tones, pronounces a name he had long since forgotten “to honor.” O, all-enduring power of woman’s love! No reproach, no upbraiding—the slight arm passed around that reeling figure, once erect in “God’s own image.” With tender words of entreaty, which he is powerless to resist, if he would, she leads him in. It is but a repetition of a thousand such vigils! It is the performance of a vow,

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with a heroism and patient endurance too common and everyday to be chronicled on earth; too holy and heavenly to pass unnoticed by the “registering angel” above!

“All’s well!”

False prophet! In yonder luxurious room sits one whose curse it was to be fair as a dream of Eden. Time was when those clear eyes looked lovingly into a mother’s face—when a gray-haired father laid his trembling hand, with a blessing, on that sunny head—when brothers’ and sisters’ voices blended with her own, in heart-music, around that happy hearth. O! where are they now? Are there none to say to the repenting Magdalen, “Neither do I condemn thee,—go, and sin no more?” Must the gilded fetter continue to bind the soul that loathes it, because man is less merciful than God?

“All’s well!”

False prophet! There lies the dead orphan. In all the length and breadth of the green earth there was found no sheltering nest where that lonely dove could fold its wings, when the parent birds had flown. The brooding wing was gone, that covered it from the cold winds of neglect and unkindness. Love was its life; and so it drooped!

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“All’s well!”

False prophet! Sin walks the earth in purple and fine linen; honest poverty, with tear-bedewed face, hungers and shivers and thirsts, “while the publican stands afar off!” The widow pleads in vain to the ermined judge for “justice;” and, unpunished of Heaven, the human tiger crouches in his lair, and springs upon his helpless prey!

“All’s well!”

Ah, yes, all is well!—for “He who seeth the end from the beginning” holds evenly the scales of justice. “Dives” shall yet beg of “Lazarus.” Every human tear is counted. They shall yet sparkle as gems in the crown of the patient and enduring disciple! When the clear, broad light of eternity shines upon life’s crooked paths, we shall see the snares and pitfalls from which our hedge of thorns has fenced us in; and, in the maturity of our full-grown faith, we shall exultingly say,—“Father! not as I will, but as Thou wilt!”

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“Walter,” said Mrs. Clay, “you have not tasted your coffee this morning; are you ill?” and she leaned across the table, and laid her hand upon his arm.

“No—yes, not quite well. I had a great deal to occupy me yesterday;” and he arose from his seat to avoid the scrutiny of those clear eyes, adding, “If I should n’t be home at the dinner-hour, Marion, don’t wait for me;—I may be detained by business. And now kiss me before I go.”

“If Walter would only leave that odious bank!” said Marion to herself. “Such a tread-mill life for him to lead,—they are killing him with such close application;” and she moved about, busying her little head devising certain pathetic appeals to the “Board of Directors” for a mitigation of his sufferings.

When one is away from a dear friend, ’t is a satisfaction to be employed in performing some little service for them, how trifling soever it may be. So Marion passed into the library;—arranging Walter’s books and papers, producing order out of confusion from a discouraging and heterogeneous heap of pamphlets and letters; moved

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his easy-chair round to the most inviting locality; and then her eyes fell upon a little sketch he had drawn. “Poor Walter!” said she; “with his artist eye and poet heart, to be counting up those interminable rows of figures, day after day, that any man who had brains enough for the rule of three could do just as well. To think he must always lead such a tread-mill life!—never feast his eyes on all that is beautiful and glorious beyond the seas, while so many stupid people are galloping over the continent, getting up fits of sham enthusiasm, just as the ‘Guide Books’ direct! It is too bad.” She wished heartily she had brought him other dowry than her pretty face and warm heart.

Well, dinner-hour came, but came not Walter. Marion was not anxious, because he had prepared her for his absence; but she missed his handsome face at the table, and pushed away her food untasted. She was unfashionable enough to love him quite as well—although she had been married many happy years—as on the day when the priest’s blessing fell on her maiden ear.

“Come here, Nettie,” said she to a noble boy. “Spring into my lap, and let me look at papa’s eyes;”—and she pushed back the clustering curls from his broad, white forehead. “Tell me, Nettie, which do you love best, papa or me?”

“Papa said I must love you best, because he does,” said the child.

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“Bless your baby lips for that sweet answer! Where can that dear papa be, I wonder?”

The words had but just escaped her lips when her father entered. Not with his usual beaming smile and extended hand, but with a slow, uncertain step, as if he could with difficulty sustain himself. And such a haggard look!

“Send away the child,” said he, huskily; “I want to speak with you, Marion.”

“He is not dead?—don’t tell me that!” said she, with ashen lips—her thoughts at once reverting to her husband.

“Better so, better so,” said the old man, shaking his gray head, “than to live to disgrace us all as he has!”

“Who dare couple ‘disgrace’ with Walter’s name?” said Marion, with a flashing eye. “Not you, O, not you, dear father!” and she looked imploringly in his face.

“He has disgraced us all, I say!” said the proud old man;—“you and I, and that innocent child. He has embezzled money to a large amount, and is now in custody; and I’ve come to take you home with me,—you and Nettie,—for you must forget him, Marion.”

“Never, never, never!” said she, solemnly. “ ’T is false!—my noble, generous, high-minded husband!—never! There is a conspiracy,—it will all be cleared up. O, father, unsay those dreadful words! I will

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never leave him, though all the world forsake him. Let me go to him, father!”

“Marion,” said the old man, “he will be sentenced to a felon’s cell;—there is no escape for him. When that takes place, the law frees you. Would you disgrace your boy? Come back to your childhood’s home, and forget him,—’t is your duty. He is unworthy your love or mine. If not,” said the old man, marking her compressed lip and heightened color, “if not—”

“What then?” said Marion, calmly.

“You are no child of mine!” said the irritated old man.

“God help me, then!” said Marion; “for I will never leave nor forsake him.”


It was a sight to move the stoutest heart, that fair, delicate woman in the prison cell. Walter started to his feet, but he did not advance to meet her. There was little need. Her arms were about his neck, her head upon his breast. Once, twice he essayed to speak, but her hand was laid upon his lips;—she would not hear, even from his own mouth, that he had fallen. The old jailer, stony-hearted as he was, drew his coat-sleeve across his eyes, as he closed the door upon them.

“Some fiend from hell tempted me!” said the wretched man, at last; “but the law frees you from me, Marion,” said he, bitterly.

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“Yours till death!” whispered the weeping wife.

“God bless your noble heart, Marion! Now I can bear my punishment.”

If “death loves a shining mark,” so does malice. Every petty underling, who owed Walter Clay a grudge, took this opportunity to pay the debt. The past was ransacked for all the little minutiae of his history; dark hints and innuendoes were thrown out, to prejudice still more the public mind. There were cowardly stabs in the dark, from the pusillanimous villains, who would have been livid with fear had their victim been free to face them. Reporters nibbed their pens with an appetite; and the “extras” teemed with exaggerated accounts of the prisoner and the trial. Even the sacredness of the wife’s sorrow was intruded upon by those ravenous, must-have-a-paragraph gentry. Then there were the usual number of sagacious people, who shook their empty heads, and “always expected he would turn out so, because those who held their heads so high generally did.” First and foremost were these “Good Samaritans” at the trial; noting every flitting expression of the agonized prisoner’s face, and only wishing it were in their power to prolong his acute suffering and their exquisite enjoyment months instead of hours. “Good enough for him!” was their final doxology, when the verdict of “Guilty” was rendered. “It will take his pride down a peg.” O, most Pharisaical censors! who shall say, that, with equal

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opportunity and temptation, your vaunted virtue would have better stood the test?

“The worst is over now,” said Walter, as Marion bathed his temples. “I will struggle to bear the rest, since you do not desert me, Marion; but Nettie, poor, innocent Nettie!” and the strong man bowed his head, and wept at the heritage of shame for that brave boy.

And so days, and weeks, and months, dragged their slow length along to the divided pair. He, in the livery of ignominy, bearing his sentence as best he might among the desperate and degraded; experiencing every moment a refinement of torture of which their dull intellects and deadened sensibilities knew nothing. She, pointed out as the “felon’s wife” by the rude crowd; shrinking nervously from notice; trembling at the apprehension of insult, as she toiled on heroically, day by day, for daily bread.

Whence came that quiet dignity with which Walter Clay exacted respect even from his jailers? Ah! there was a true heart throbbing for him outside those prison walls. Nightly was he remembered in her prayers. Daily she taught their boy to lisp, even now, his father’s name. Like music to his ear was that light footstep echoing through the gloomy corridor to his cell. Tenderly those loving arms twined about his neck; sacred and true were the holy words with which she cheered his sinking spirit. Hopefully she painted the future—this trial past—when, in some home beyond the seas, he should

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yet be the happier for being so chastened by sorrow, and where no malicious tongue should remind him of his temptation or his fall. Sweetly upon his ear fell those soothing words—first uttered by sacred lips—“Go and sin no more.”

No, Walter Clay was not deserted quite! He was not degraded, even there and thus, while he could hold up his head and boast of a love so devoted, so pure, so holy!

The hour of emancipation came at last, and Walter Clay stepped forth under the broad, blue sky, once more a free man; and in the little room where the heroic wife had suffered and toiled, she once more clasped her husband to her breast.

“And Nettie, where is he? Let me kiss my boy,” said the joyful father. “Where’s Nettie?”

“On the Saviour’s bosom!” said Marion, with a choking voice.

“Dead? And you have buried this sad secret in your breast, and borne this great grief unshared, lest you should add to my sorrow!” and he knelt at her feet reverently.

“God knows you had enough to bear!” said Marion, as they mingled their tears together, and gazed at the long, bright, golden tress, all that remained to them of little Nettie.


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“What an interesting couple!” said a travelling artist in Italy to his companion. “That woman’s face reminds one of a Madonna,—so pensive, sweet and touching. If she would but sit to me. Who are they, Pietro?”

“They came here about a year since,—live in the greatest seclusion, and seem anxiously to avoid all contact with their own countrymen. All the poor peasantry bless them; and Father Giovanni says they are the best people, for heretics, he ever saw.”

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’T is mine! Bound to me by a tie that death itself cannot sever. That little heart shall never thrill with pleasure, or throb with pain, without a quick response from mine. I am the centre of its little world; its very life depends on my faithful care. It is my sweet duty to deck those dimpled limbs,—to poise that tiny, trembling foot. Yet stay,—my duty ends not here! A soul looks forth from those blue eyes,—an undying spirit, that shall plume its wing for a ceaseless flight, guided by my erring hand.

The hot blood of anger may not poison the fount whence it draws its life, or the hasty word escape my lip, in that pure presence. Wayward, passionate, impulsive,—how shall I approach it, but with a hush upon my spirit, and a silent prayer!

O, careless sentinel! slumber not at thy post over its trusting innocence!

O, reckless “sower of the seed!” let not “the tares” spring up!

O, unskilful helmsman! how shalt thou pilot that

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little bark, o’er life’s tempestuous sea, safely to the eternal shore?

“ ’Tis ours!”

A father bends proudly over that little cradle! A father’s love, how strong, how true! But O, not so warm, not so tender, as hers whose heart that babe hath lain beneath!

Fit me for the holy trust, O good Shepherd, or fold it early to thy loving bosom!

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“Every wife needs a good stock of love to start with.”

Don’t she?—You are upon a sick bed; a little, feeble thing lies upon your arm, that you might crush with one hand. You take those little velvet fingers in yours, close your eyes, and turn your head languidly to the pillow. Little brothers and sisters,—Carry, and Harry, and Fanny, and Frank, and Willy, and Mary, and Kitty,—half a score,—come tiptoeing into the room, “to see the new baby.” It is quite an old story to “nurse,” who sits there like an automaton, while they give vent to their enthusiastic admiration of its wee toes and fingers, and make profound inquiries, which nobody thinks best to hear. You look on with a languid smile, and they pass out, asking, “Why they can’t stay with dear mamma, and why they must n’t play puss in the corner,” as usual? You wonder if your little croupy boy tied his tippet on when he went to school, and whether Betty will see that your husband’s flannel is aired, and if Peggy has cleaned the silver, and washed off the front-door steps, and what your blessed husband

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is about, that he don’t come home to dinner. There sits old nurse, keeping up that dreadful tread-mill trotting, “to quiet the baby,” till you could fly through the key-hole in desperation. The odor of dinner begins to creep up stairs. You wonder if your husband’s pudding will be made right, and if Betty will remember to put wine in the sauce, as he likes it; and then the perspiration starts out on your forehead, as you hear a thumping on the stairs, and a child’s suppressed scream; and nurse swathes the baby up in flannel to the tip of its nose, dumps it down in the easy-chair, and tells you to “leave the family to her, and go to sleep.” By and by she comes in,—after staying down long enough to get a refreshing cup of coffee,—and walks up to the bed with a bowl of gruel, tasting it, and then putting the spoon back into the bowl. In the first place, you hate gruel; in the next, you could n’t eat it, if she held a pistol to your head, after that spoon has been in her mouth; so you meekly suggest that it be set on the table to cool—hoping, by some providential interposition, it may get tipped over. Well, she moves round your room with a pair of creaking shoes, and a bran-new gingham gown, that rattles like a paper window-curtain, at every step; and smooths her hair with your nice little head-brush, and opens a drawer by mistake (?), “thinking it was the baby’s drawer.” Then you hear little nails scratching on the door; and Charley whispers through the key-

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hole, “Mamma, Charley’s tired; please let Charley come in.” Nurse scowls, and says no; but you intercede—poor Charley, he’s only a baby himself. Well, he leans his little head wearily against the pillow, and looks suspiciously at that little, moving bundle of flannel in nurse’s lap. It’s clear he’s had a hard time of it, what with tears and molasses! The little shining curls, that you have so often rolled over your fingers, are a tangled mass; and you long to take him, and make him comfortable, and cosset him a little and, then, the baby cries again, and you turn your head to the pillow with a smothered sigh. Nurse hears it, and Charley is taken struggling from the room. You take your watch from under the pillow, to see if husband won’t be home soon, and then look at nurse, who takes a pinch of snuff over your bowl of gruel, and sits down nodding drowsily, with the baby in alarming proximity to the fire. Now you hear a dear step on the stairs. It’s your Charley! How bright he looks! and what nice fresh air he brings with him from out doors! He parts the bed-curtains, looks in, and pats you on the cheek. You just want to lay hour head on his shoulder, and have such a splendid cry! but there sits that old Gorgon of a nurse,—she don’t believe in husbands, she don’t! You make Charley a free-mason sign to send her down stairs for something. He says,—right out loud,—men are so stupid!—“What did you say, dear?” Of course, you protest

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you did n’t say a word,—never thought of such a thing!—and cuddle your head down to your ruffled pillows, and cry because you don’t know what else to do, and because you are weak and weary, and full of care for your family, and don’t want to see anybody but “Charley.” Nurse says “she shall have you sick,” and tells your husband “he’d better go down, and let you go to sleep.” Off he goes, wondering what on earth ails you, to cry!—wishes he had nothing to do but lie still, and be waited upon! After dinner he comes in to bid you good-by before he goes to his office,—whistles “Nelly Bly” loud enough to wake up the baby, whom he calls “a comical little concern,”—and puts his dear, thoughtless head down to your pillow, at a signal from you, to hear what you have to say. Well, there’s no help for it, you cry again, and only say “Dear Charley;” and he laughs, and settles his dickey, and says you are “a nervous little puss,” gives you a kiss, lights his cigar at the fire, half strangles the new baby with the first whiff, and takes your heart off with him down the street!

And you lie there and eat that gruel! and pick the fuzz all off the blanket, and make faces at the nurse, under the sheet, and wish Eve had never ate that apple,—Genesis 3:16,—or that you were “Abel” to “Cain” her for doing it!

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I was walking through the streets yesterday, chilled outwardly and inwardly, as one is apt to be, by the first approach of winter,—somewhat out of humor with myself, and indisposed to be pleased with others,—when I noticed before me, on foot, a party of emigrants in a very destitute condition. One of the women was tottering under the weight of a huge chest she carried upon her head; most of them were ragged, and all travel-stained and careworn. Bringing up the rear, with uncertain, faltering steps, somewhat behind the rest of the party, was a little girl of eight years, bonnetless, bare-footed and bare-legged, her scanty frock barely reaching to her little, purpled knees; her tangled brown hair the sport of the winds. She stepped wearily, as if she had neither aim nor object in moving on; showing neither wonder nor childish curiosity at the new sights and scenes before her. It seemed to be a matter of indifference to the rest of the party whether she kept pace with them or not. My heart ached for her, she looked so friendless, so prematurely careworn.

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What should be her future fate in this great city of snares and temptations? Who should take her by the hand? Ah, look! the Good Shepherd watches over the stray lamb! I hear a shriek of joy! A well-dressed woman before me sees her; with the spring of an antelope she seizes her, presses her lips to those little chilled limbs, then holds her, at arms’ length, pushes back the hair from her forehead, strains her again to her breast, while tears of gratitude fall like rain from her eyes; then lifts her far above her head, as if to say, “O God, I thank thee!”

What can this pantomime mean?—for not a word have they spoken, amid all these sobs and caresses. “What does this mean?” said I to a bystander. “O and it’s a child come over from the old counthry, ma’am, to find her mother; and sure, she’s just met her in the street, and the hearts of ’em are most breaking with the joy, you see.” “God be thanked!” said I, as I wept too; “the dove has found the ark, the lamb its fold. Let the chill wind blow, she will heed it not! The little, weary head shall be pillowed, sweetly, to-night, on that loving breast; the chilled limbs be warmed and clothed; the desolate little heart shall beat quick with love and hope.” And there I left them,—still caressing, still weeping,—unconscious of the crowd that had gathered about them, forgetting the weary years of the past,

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pressing a life-time of happiness into the joy of those blissful moments.

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones, for I say unto you that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father.”


artist and model gaze languidly at each other across an easel


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Such a gloomy room as it was! You may sometimes have seen one just like it. The walls were dingy, the windows small, the furniture scanty and shabby. In one corner was a small bed, and on it a boy of about nine years; so pallid, so emaciated, that, as he lay there with his long lashes sweeping his pale cheek, you could scarce tell if he were living. At the foot of the bed sat a lady, whose locks sorrow, not time, had silvered. Her hands were clasped hopelessly in her lap, and her lips moved as if in silent prayer.

“Good morning, Mrs. May,” said the doctor, as he laid aside his gold-headed cane, very pompously. “I have but a minute to spare. General Clay has another attack of the gout, and can’t get along without me. How’s the boy?” and he glanced carelessly at the bed.

“He seems more than usually feeble,” said the mother, dejectedly, as the doctor examined his pulse.

“Well, all he wants is something strengthening, in the way of nourishment, to set him on his feet. Wine and

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jellies, Mrs. May,—that’s the thing for him,—that will do it. Good morning, ma’am.”

“Wine and jellies!” said the poor widow; and the tears started to her eyes, for she remembered sunnier days, when those now unattainable luxuries were sent away untasted from her well-furnished table, rejected by a capricious appetite; and she rose and laid her hand lovingly on the little sufferer’s head, and prisoned the warm tears ’neath her closed eyelids.

Little Charley was blind. He had never seen the face that was bending over him; but he knew, by the tone of her voice, whether she was glad or grieving; and there was a heart-quiver in it now, as she said, “Dear, patient boy,” that made his little heart beat faster; and he pressed his pale lips to her hand, as if he would convey all he felt in that kiss; for love and sorrow had taught Charley a lesson—many of his seniors were more slow to learn—to endure silently, rather than add to the sorrow of a heart so tried and grief-stricken. And so, through those tedious days, and long, wearisome nights, the little sufferer uttered no word of complaint, though the outer and inner world was all darkness to him.


Gently, noiselessly, a young, fair girl glided into the room. She passed to the bedside; then, stooping so low

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that her raven ringlets floated on the pillow, she lightly pressed her dewy lips to the blind boy’s forehead.

“That’s your kiss, Lena,” said he, tenderly. “I’m so glad you are come!” and he threw his wasted arms about her neck. “Put your face down here,—close, Lena, close. The doctor has been here, and mamma thought me sleeping; but I heard all. He said I must have wine and jellies to make me well, and dear mamma so poor, too! O, you should have heard her sigh so heavily! And, Lena, though I cannot see, I was sure her eyes were brimming, for her voice had tears in it. Now, Lena, I want you to tell her not to grieve, because Charley is going to heaven. I dreamed about it last night, Lena. I was n’t a blind boy any longer; and I saw such glorious things.”

“Don’t, don’t, Charley!” said the young girl, sobbing. “Take your arms from my neck. You shall live, Charley,—you shall have everything you need. Let me go, now, there’s a darling;” and she tied on her little bonnet, and passed through the dark, narrow court, and gained the street.

“Wine and jellies!”—yes, Charley must have them; but how? Her little purse was quite empty, and the doctor’s bill was a perfect night-mare to think of. O, how many tables were loaded with the luxuries that were strength, health, life, to poor Charley!—and she walked on despairingly. The bright blue sky seemed to mock

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her; the well-clad forms and happy faces to taunt her. O, throbbed there on the wide earth one heart of pity? Poor Lena!—excitement lent a deeper glow to her cheek, and a brighter lustre to her eye; and the cold wind blew her long tresses wildly about. One could scarce see a lovelier face than Lena’s then,—so full of love, so full of sorrow.

At least so thought Ernest Clay; for he stopped and looked, and passed, and looked again. It was the embodiment of all his artist dreams. “I must sketch it,” said he to himself. “She is poor,—that is evident from her dress; that she is pure and innocent, one may see in the holy expression of her face.” And low and musical was the voice which expressed his request to Lena. His tone was respectful; but his ardent look embarrassed her, and she veiled her bright eyes with their long lashes, without replying.

“If your time is precious, you shall be well paid;—it will not take you long. Will money be any object to you?”

“O, yes, yes!” said Lena, despair giving her courage. “O, sir, I have a brother, sick, dying for necessaries beyond our reach! Give me some wine to keep him from sinking—now, if you please, sir!”—and she blushed at her own earnestness,—“then I will come to you tomorrow. My name is Lena May.”


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“Dear, dear mother!—wine for Charley, and more when this is gone.”

“Lena!” said her mother, alarmed at her wild, excited manner.

“An artist, mother, gave me this, if I would let him make a sketch of me. Dear Charley!”—and she held the tempting luxury to his fever-parched lip,—“drink, Charley. Now you’ll be strong and well, and all for this foolish face;” and she laughed hysterically; then her hands fell at her side, her head drooped; the excitement was too much for her,—she had fainted.


“There, that will do; thank you. Now turn your head a trifle to the left, so;” and the young artist’s eye brightened as his hand moved over the canvas. In truth it were hard to find a lovelier model. That full, dark eye and Grecian profile; that wealth of raven hair, those dimpled shoulders. Yes, Lena was the realization of all his artist dreams;—and then, she was so pure, so innocent. Practiced flatterer as he was, professionally, praise seemed out of place now,—it died upon his lip. He had transferred many a lovely face to canvas, but never one so holy in its expression.

And little Charley, day by day, grew stronger; and rare flowers lay upon his bed; and he inhaled their fra-

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grance, and passed his slender fingers over them caressingly, as if their beauty could be conveyed by the touch. And then he would listen for Lena’s light footstep, and ask her, on her return, a thousand questions about the picture, and sigh as he said, “I can never know, dear sister, if it is like you;” and then he would say, “You will not love this artist better than me, Lena?” and then Lena would blush, and say, “No, you foolish boy!”


“Well, Lena,” said Ernest, “your picture will be finished to-day. I suppose you are quite glad it is over with?”

“Charley misses me so much!” was love’s quick evasion.

“There are still many comforts you would get for Charley, were you able, Lena?”

“O, yes, yes!” said the young girl, eagerly.

“And your mother, she is too delicate to toil so unremittingly?”

“Yes,” said Lena, dejectedly.

“Dear, good, lovely Lena! they shall both have such a happy home, only say you will be mine.”

Dear reader, you should have peeped into that artist’s home. You should have seen the proud, happy husband. You should have seen with what a sweet grace the little

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child-wife performed her duty as its mistress. You should have seen Charley with his birds and his flowers, and heard his merry laugh, as he said to his mother, that “if he was blind, he always saw that Ernest would steal away our Lena.”

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“O, what a nice place to cry!” said a laughing little girl, as she nestled her head lovingly on her mother’s breast.

The words were spoken playfully, and the little fairy was all unconscious how much meaning lay hid in them; but they brought tears to my eyes, for I looked forward to the time when care and trial should throw their shadows over that laughing face,—when adversity should overpower,—when summer friends should fall off like autumn leaves before the rough blast of misfortune,—when the faithful breast she leaned upon should be no longer warm with love and life,—when, in all the wide earth, there should be for that little one “no nice place to cry.”

God shield the motherless! A father may be left,—kind, affectionate, considerate, perhaps,—but a man’s affections form but a small fraction of his existence. His thoughts are far away, even while his child clambers on his knee. The distant ship with its rich freight, the state of the money-market, the fluctuations of trade, the office, the shop, the bench; and he answers at random the little

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lisping immortal, and gives the child a toy, and passes on. The little, sensitive heart has borne its childish griefs through the day unshared. She don’t understand the reason for anything, and nobody stops to tell her. Nurse “don’t know,” the cook is “busy,” and so she wanders restlessly about, through poor mamma’s empty room. Something is wanting. Ah, there is no “nice place to cry!”

Childhood passes; blooming maidenhood comes on; lovers woo; the mother’s quick instinct, timely word of caution, and omnipresent watchfulness, are not there. She gives her heart, with all its yearning sympathies, into unworthy keeping. A fleeting honeymoon, then the dawning of a long day of misery; wearisome days of sickness; the feeble moan of the first-born; no mother’s arm in which to place, with girlish pride, the little wailing stranger; lover and friend afar; no “nice place to cry!”

Thank God!—not unheard by Him, who “wipeth all tears away,” goeth up that troubled heart-plaint from the despairing lips of the motherless!

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“Well, Colonel, what engrosses your thoughts so entirely this morning? The last new fashion for vests, the price of Macassar oil, or the misfit of your last pair of primrose kids? Make a ‘clean breast’ of it.”

“Come, Minnie, don’t be satirical. I’ve a perfect horror of satirical women. There’s no such thing as repose in their presence. One needs to be always on the defensive, armed at all points; and then, like as not, some arrow will pierce the joints of his armor. Be amiable, Minnie, and listen to me. I want a wife.”

“You! a man of your resources! Clubs, cigars, fast horses, operas, concerts, theatres, billiard-rooms! Can’t account for it,” said the merciless Minnie. “Had a premonitory symptom of a crow’s foot, or a gray hair? Has old Time begun to step on your bachelor toes?” and she leveled her eye-glass at his fine figure.

The Colonel took up a book, with a very injured air, as much as to say,—Have it out, fair lady, and when you get off your stilts, I’ll talk reason to you.

But Minnie had no idea of getting off her stilts; so she

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proceeded,—“Want a wife, do you? I don’t see but your buttons, and strings, and straps, are all tip-top. Your laundress attends to your wardrobe, your hôtel de maître to your appetite, you’ve nice snug quarters at the —— House, plenty of ‘fine fellows’ to drop in upon you, and what in the name of the gods do you want of a ‘wife?’ And if it is a necessity that is not postponable, what description of apron-string does your High Mightiness desire? I’ve an idea you’ve only to name the thing, and there’d be a perfect crowd of applicants for the situation. Come, bestir yourself, Sir Oracle, open your mouth, and trot out your ideal.”

“Well, then, negatively, I don’t want a literary woman. I should desire my wife’s thoughts and feelings to centre in me,—to be content in the little kingdom where I reign supreme,—to have the capacity to appreciate me, but not brilliancy enough to outshine me, or to attract ‘outsiders.’ ”

“I like that, because ’t is so unselfish,” said Minnie, with mock humility. “Go on.”

“You see, Minnie, these literary women live on public admiration,—glory in seeing themselves in print. Just fancy my wife’s heart turned inside-out to thousands of eyes beside mine, for dissection. Fancy her quickening ten thousand strange pulses with ‘thoughts that breathe and words that burn.’ Fancy me walking meekly by her side, known only as Mr. Somebody, that the talented Miss

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—— condescended to marry. Horrible! Minnie, I tell you, literary women are a sort of nondescript monsters; nothing feminine about them. They are as ambitious as Lucifer; else, why do they write?”

“Because they can’t help it,” said Minnie, with a flashing eye. “Why does a bird carol? There is that in such a soul that will not be pent up,—that must find voice and expression; a heaven-kindled spark, that is unquenchable; an earnest, soaring spirit, whose wings cannot be earth-clipped. These very qualities fit it to appreciate, with a zest none else may know, the strong, deep love of a kindred human heart. Reverence, respect, indeed, such a soul claims and exacts; but think you it will be satisfied with that? No! It craves the very treasure you would wrest from it, Love! That there are vain and ambitious female writers, is true; but pass no sweeping condemnation; there are literary women who have none the less deserved the holy names of wife and mother, because God has granted to them the power of expressing the same tide of emotions that sweep, perchance, over the soul of another, whose lips have never been touched ‘with a coal from the altar.’ ”


“Good morning, Colonel,” said Minnie; “how did you like the lady to whom I introduced you last evening?”

“Like her? I don’t like her at all,—I love her!

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She took me by storm! Minnie, that woman must be Mrs. Col. Van Zandt. She’s my ideal of a wife embodied.”

“I thought she’d suit you,” said Minnie, not trusting herself to look up. “She’s very attractive; but are you sure you can secure her?”

“Well, I flatter myself,” said the Colonel, glancing at an opposite mirror, “I shall, at least, ‘die making an effort,’ before I take No for an answer. Charming woman! feminine from her shoe-lacings to the tips of her eyebrows; no blue-stockings peeping from under the graceful folds of her silken robe. What a charmed life a man might lead with her! Her fingers never dabbled with ink, thank Heaven! She must be Mrs. Col. Van Zandt, Minnie!”

She was “Mrs. Col. Van Zandt.” A week after their marriage, Minnie came in, looking uncommonly wicked and mischievous. “What a turtle-dove scene!” said she, as she stood at the door. “Do you know I never peep into Paradise, that I don’t feel a Luciferish desire to raise a mutiny among the celestials? And apropos of that, you recollect ‘Abelard,’ Colonel; and the beautiful ‘Zeluka,’ by the same anonymous writer; and those little essays by the same hand, that you hoarded up so long? Well, I’ve discovered the author,—after a persevering investigation among the knowing ones,—the anonymous author, with the signature of ‘Heloise.’ You

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have your matrimonial arm around her this minute! May I be kissed if you have n’t!” and she threw herself on the sofa in a paroxysm of mirth. “O, Colonel! ‘marry a woman who has just sense enough to appreciate you, and not brilliancy enough to attract outsiders! Fancy my wife quickening ten thousand strange pulses with thoughts that breathe, and words that burn! Fancy me walking meekly by her side, known only as the Mr. Somebody the talented Miss —— condescended to marry’! I declare, I’m sorry for you, Colonel; you have my everlasting sympathy; you look already like a man ‘transported for life!’ ”

“Laugh away, Minnie! You might have played me a worse trick,—for instance, had you married me yourself! ‘Heloise’ or Amy, ’t is all one to me, so long as I can call her wife. I’m quite happy enough to be willing you should enjoy your triumph; and quite willing to subscribe, on my knees, to your creed, that a woman may be literary, and yet feminine and lovable; content to find her greatest happiness in the charmed circle of Home.”

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“He who has most of heart knows most of sorrow.”

Yes, yes,—they are a fair target for the envious, the malicious, the selfish, and the crafty. God pity them, when the wide world is before them;—when every rough breath of unkindness sends a chill like death to the trusting heart;—when the coarse sneer, and brutal jest, fall with a crucifying sharpness on the sensitive ear,—when private griefs and sorrows, borne with all their crushing weight unshared, too sacred to be trusted to ears that may prove treacherous, are rudely probed, and laid bare to careless eyes, by hands and tongues that should say, “Lean on me, I will shelter you.”

Yes, yes,—most of heart, most of sorrow! Treachery repaid for trust,—once, twice, thrice,—the heart still throwing out its tendrils to clasp again but a crumbling ruin. Leaves—buds—flowers—stem, all trampled under the ruthless foot. The same blue, mocking sky overhead; the same heavy thunder-cloud ever looming up in the distance. The little bark, feebly piloted, dashing on amid the billows, amid rocks, and shoals, and quicksands;

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no strong arm to help; no friendly voice to say, “God speed you!” no hope on earth; no haven of rest; no olive branch for the weary dove. The waters never assuaged; the bow of peace never in the heavens. The feeble, fluttering wing beaten earthward when it would soar. O, surely, “he who has most of heart knows most of sorrow!”

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“Dying! How can you ever struggle through the world alone? Who will care for you, Janie, when I am dead?”


“Have you rooms to let?” said a lady in sable to a hard-featured person.

“Rooms? Why—yes—we have rooms;” surveying Mrs. Grey very deliberately. “You are a widow, I suppose? Thought so by the length of your veil. Been in the city long? How long has your husband been dead? What was the matter of him? Take in sewing or anything? Got any reference? How old is that child of yours?”

“I hardly think the situation will suit,” said Mrs. Grey, faintly, as she rose to go.

“Don’t cry, mamma,” said Charley, as they gained the street. “Won’t God take care of us?”


“Put another stick of wood on the fire, Charley; my fingers are quite benumbed, and I’ve a long while to work yet.”

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“There’s not even a chip left,” said the boy, mournfully, rubbing his little purple hands. “It seems as though I should never grow a big man, so that I could help you!”


“Hist! there’s a rap.” “Work done?” said a rough voice; “cause, if you ain’t up to the mark, you can’t have any more. ‘No fire, and cold fingers.’ Same old story. Business is business; I’ve no time to talk about your affairs. Women never can look at a thing in a commercial p’int of view. What I want to know is in a nut-shell. Is them shirts done or not, young woman?”

“Indeed, there is only one finished, though I have done my best,” said Mrs. Grey.

“Well, hand it along; you won’t get any more; and sit up to-night and finish the rest, d’ye hear?”


“Have you vests that you wish embroidered, sir?”

“Y-e-s,” said the gentleman (?) addressed, casting a look of admiration at Mrs. Grey.—“Here, James, run out with this money to the bank.—Wish it for yourself, madam?” said he blandly. “Possible? Pity to spoil those blue eyes over such drudgery.”

A moment, and he was alone.


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“He’s a very sick child,” said the doctor, “and there’s very little chance for him to get well here;” drawing his furred coat to his ears, as the wind whistled through the cracks. “Have you no friends in the city, where he could be better provided for?”

Mrs. Grey shook her head mournfully.

“Well, I’ll send him some medicine to-night, and tomorrow we will see what can be done for him.”

“Tomorrow!” All the long night the storm raged fearfully. The driving sleet sifted in through the loose windows, that rattled, and trembled, and shook. Mrs. Grey hushed her breath, as she watched the little, waxen face, and saw that look creep over it that comes but once. The sands of life were fast ebbing. The little taper flickered and flashed—and then—went out forever!


It was in the “poor man’s lot” that Harry Grey’s pet boy was buried. There were no carriages, no mourners, no hearse. Mrs. Grey shuddered, as the wagon jolted over the rough stones to the old burying-place. She uttered a faint scream, as the sexton hit the coffin against the wagon in lifting it out. Again and again she stayed his hand, when he would have fastened down the lid; she heard with fearful distinctness the first heavy clod that fell upon her boy’s breast; she looked on with a dreadful fascination, while he filled up the grave; she saw the last

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shovelful of earth stamped down over him, and when the sexton touched her arm, and pointed to the wagon, she followed him mechanically, and made no objection, when he said “he guessed he’d drive a little faster, now that the lad was out.” He looked at her once or twice, and thought it very odd that she did n’t cry; but he did n’t profess to understand women folks. So, when it was quite dusk, they came back again to the old wooden house; and there he left her, with the still night and her crushing sorrow.


“Who will care for you, Janie, when I am dead?”

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Night! The pulse of the great city lies still. The echo of hurrying feet has long since died away. The maiden dreams of her lover; the wife, of her absent husband; the sick, of health; the captive, of freedom. Softly falls the moonlight on those quiet dwellings; yet, under those roofs are hearts that are throbbing and breaking with misery too hopeless for tears; forms bent before their time with crushing sorrow; lips that never smile, save when some mocking dream comes to render the morrow’s waking tenfold more bitter. There, on a mother’s faithful breast, clam and beautiful, lies the holy brow of infancy. O, could it but pass away thus, ere the bow of promise has ceased to span its future!—ere that serenest sky be darkened with lowering clouds!—ere that loving heart shall feel the death-pang of despair!

There, too, sits Remorse, clothed in purple and fine linen, “the worm that never dieth” hid in its shining folds. There, the weary watcher by the couch of pain, the dull ticking of the clock striking to the heart a nameless terror. With straining eye its hours are counted; with nervous hand the draught that brings no healing is held to the pallid lip.

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The measured tread of the watchman as he passes his round, the distant rumble of the coach, perchance the disjointed fragment of a song from bacchanalian lips, alone breaks the solemn stillness. At such an hour, serious thoughts, like unbidden guests, rush in. Life appears like the dream it is. Eternity, the waking; and, involuntarily, the most careless eye looks up appealingly to Him by whom the hairs of our heads are all numbered.

Blessed night! Wrap thy dark mantle round these weary earth-pilgrims! Over them all the “Eye that never slumbereth” keepeth its tireless watch. Never a fluttering sigh escapes a human breast unheard by that pitying ear. Never an unspoken prayer for help, that finds not its pitying response in the bosom of Infinite mercy.

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Men’s rights! Women’s rights! I throw down the gauntlet for children’s rights! Yes, little pets, Fanny Fern’s about “takin’ notes,” and she’ll “print ’em,” too, if you don’t get your dues. She has seen you seated by a pleasant window, in a railroad car, with your bright eyes dancing with delight, at the prospect of all the pretty things you were going to see, forcibly ejected by some overgrown Napoleon, who fancied your place, and thought, in his wisdom, that children had no taste for anything but sugar-candy. Fanny Fern knew better. She knew that the pretty trees and flowers, and bright blue sky, gave your little souls a thrill of delight, though you could not tell why; and she knew that great big man’s soul was a great deal smaller than yours, to sit there and read a stupid political paper, when such a glowing landscape was before him, that he might have feasted his eyes upon. And she longed to wipe away the big tear that you did n’t dare to let fall; and she understood how a little girl or boy, that did n’t get a ride every day in the year, should not be quite able to swallow that great big lump in the throat, as he or she sat jammed down in a

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dark, crowded corner of the car, instead of sitting by that pleasant window.

Yes; and Fanny has seen you sometimes, when you’ve been muffled up to the tip of your little nose in woollen wrappers, in a close, crowded church, nodding your little drowsy heads, and keeping time to the sixth-lie and seventh-lie of some pompous theologian, whose preaching would have been high Dutch to you, had you been wide awake.

And she has seen you sitting, like little automatons, in a badly-ventilated school-room, with your nervous little toes at just such an angle, for hours; under the tuition of a Miss Nancy Nipper, who did n’t care a rush-light whether your spine was as crooked as the letter S or not, if the Great Mogul Committee, who marched in once a month to make the “grand tour,” voted her a “model school-marm.”

Yes, and that ain’t all. She has seen you sent off to bed, just at the witching hour of candle-light, when some entertaining guest was in the middle of a delightful story, that you, poor, miserable “little pitcher,” was doomed never to hear the end of! Yes, and she has seen “the line and plummet” laid to you so rigidly, that you were driven to deceit and evasion; and then seen you punished for the very sin your tormentors helped you to commit. And she has seen your ears boxed just as hard for tearing a hole in your best pinafore, or breaking a

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China cup, as for telling as big a lie as Ananias and Sapphira did.

And when, by patient labor, you had reared an edifice of tiny blocks,—fairer in its architectural proportions, to your infantile eye, than any palace in ancient Rome,—she has seen it ruthlessly kicked into a shattered ruin, by somebody in the house, whose dinner had n’t digested!

Never mind. I wish I was mother to the whole of you! such glorious times as we’d have! Reading pretty books, that had no big words in ’em; going to school where you could sneeze without getting a rap on the head for not asking leave first; and going to church on the quiet, blessed Sabbath, where the minister—like our dear Saviour—sometimes remembered to “take little children in his arms, and bless them.”

Then, if you asked me a question, I would n’t pretend not to hear; or lazily tell you I “did n’t know,” or turn you off with some fabulous evasion, for your memory to chew for a cud till you were old enough to see how you had been fooled. And I’d never wear such a fashionable gown that you could n’t climb on my lap whenever the fit took you; or refuse to kiss you, for fear you’d ruffle my curls, or my collar, or my temper,—not a bit of it; and then you should pay me with your merry laugh, and your little confiding hand slid ever trustingly in mine.

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O, I tell you, my little pets, Fanny is sick of din and strife, and envy, and uncharitableness!—and she’d rather, by ten thousand, live in a little world full of fresh, guileless, loving little children, than in this great museum full of such dry, dusty, withered hearts.

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“How is it,” said I, despondingly, to Aunt Milly, “that you, who have been steeped to the lips in trouble, can be so cheerful?”

“Listen to me, Ellen. You know my first great sorrow,—the loss of my husband. When the grave closed over him, the star of hope faded from my sky. I could see no mercy in the Hand that dealt that blow. The green earth became one wide sepulchre; the sweet ministrations of nature had no healing power. In my selfish despair, I would have shrouded the blue heavens in sable, and thrown a pall of gloom over every happy heart. Months passed by slowly, wearily, and I found no alleviation of my sorrow; no tears came to ease that dull, dead pain that seemed crushing the life from out my heart; no star of Bethlehem shone through the dark cloud over my head.

“I was sitting one afternoon, as usual, motionless and speechless. It was dark and gloomy without, as my soul within. The driving sleet beat heavily against the windows. Twilight had set in. My little Charley had patiently tried for hours to amuse himself with his toys,

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now and then glancing sadly at my mournful face. But the oppressive gloom was becoming unendurable to the child. At length, creeping slowly to my side, and leaning heavily against my shoulder, he said, in a half sob, ‘Does God love to see you look so, mamma?’

“ ‘No, no, Charley!’ said I, as I clasped him to my heart with repentant tears. ‘No, no!—I’ll cloud your sunny face no longer.’

“Alas! dear Ellen, I but turned from one idol to another;—I gave God the second place, and lived only for my boy; and so my wayward heart needed another lesson. The grave took in my last earthly treasure. But when the Smiter had done his work, those little lips, though silent, still said to me, ‘God loveth the cheerful giver;’ and so, smiling through my tears, I learned to say, ‘Thy will be done.’ Dear Ellen, if the good Father takes away with one hand, he gives with the other. There is always some blessing left. ‘Ilka blade of grass keeps its ain drap o’ dew!’ ”

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Can it be? Can you look into the depths of those clear blue eyes, that seek yours in such confiding, innocent trust,—can you deck those dimpled limbs, so “fearfully and wonderfully made,”—can you watch with him the first faint streak of light, that ushers in another happy day,—can you point him to the gold and purple sunset glory,—can you look upward with him to the shining host, or place in his eager hand the field flowers which bend their dewy eyes with grateful thanks, and never name “Our Father!”

When, at dead of night, you watch beside his sick couch; when you hush your very breath, to listen to his pained moan; when every gust of wind makes your cheek grow pale; when you turn with trembling hand the healing drops; when every tick of the clock seems beating against your heart; when the little, pallid face looks beseechingly into yours, for the “help” you cannot give; O, where can you turn the suppliant eye, if you see not the “Great Physician?”

When health slowly returns; when the eye brightens, and the red blood colors cheek and lip; when the vacant

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chair is again filled; when the little feet are again busy; when loving arms in playful glee twine again around your neck;—comes there from that mother’s heart of thine no burst of grateful thanks to Him who notes even the sparrow’s fall?


Suppose death come. You fold away the little, useless robes; you turn with a filling eye from toys and books, and paths those little feet have trod; you feel ever the shadowy clasp of a little hand in yours; you turn heart-sick from happy mothers, who number no missing lamb from their flock. A sunny ringlet, a rosy cheek, or a piping voice, gives your heart a death-pang. You walk the busy street, and turn your head involuntarily when a little, strange voice calls “Mother!” O, where can you go for comfort then, if you believe not that the “good Shepherd” folds your lamb to his loving breast?


There is perfidy at your household hearth. There are broken vows, which you may not breathe to human ear. There is treachery repaid for trust! Childhood looks on with a sad wonder; you must “go backward and cast the mantle” of evasion over the moral deformity. Whence shall strength come to your slender shoulders, to bear this heavy cross? How silence the ready tempter’s

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voice? Where shall all those warm affections now be garnered up, if not in heaven?

O, you have no anchor, no rudder or compass!—your little bark is adrift, at the mercy of every pitiless gale,—the sea is dark and fearful, the billows mountain high, the sky black with darkness, if you turn from the Great Pilot!

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I am one of that persecuted class, denominated old maids. By going quietly about the world, taking care not to jostle my neighbors, or hit against any of their rough angles, I manage to be cheerful, contented and happy. In my multitudinous migrations, I have had some opportunity to study human nature. Lately, I have become a temporary inmate of a crowded boarding-house. My little room has already begun to look home-like. The cheerful sun has expanded the fragrant flowers I love so well to nurture; my canary trills his satisfaction in a gayer song than ever; and my pictures, book, and guitar, drive “dull care away,” and beguile many a pleasant hour. And now my heart has found a new object of interest. I’ve noticed on the staircase, and in the hall and lobby, a lovely child, who seemed wandering about at his own sweet will; sometimes sitting wearily on the stairs, almost asleep; then loitering at the kitchen door, watching the operations of the cook; then peeping into the half-open doors of the different apartments. As, by a rule of the house, “no children were permitted at

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table,” it was some time before I could ascertain who claimed this little stray waif.

One morning, attracted by the carol of my canary, he ventured to put his little, curly head inside my door. He needed little urging to enter, for he read, with a child’s quick instinct, his welcome in my face. An animated conversation soon ensued about birds, flowers, and pictures,—his large, blue eyes growing bright, and his cheek flushing with pleasure, as story followed story, while he sat upon my knee.

At length I said to him, “Charlie, won’t mamma be anxious about you, if you stay so long?”

“O, no,” said he, “Lizzie don’t care.”

“Who’s Lizzie?”

“Why, my mamma! She don’t care, if I’m only out of the way. Lizzie made me this pretty dress,” said he, holding up his richly-embroidered frock; “but Lizzie don’t know any stories, and she says I’m a bore. What is a ‘bore?’ ” said the sweet child, as he looked trustingly in my face.

“Never mind, now,” said I, tearfully; “you may stay with me whenever you like, and we will be very good friends.”

The dinner-bell sounding, a gayly-dressed young thing vociferated, in a voice anything but musical, “Charlie, Charlie!” When I apologized for keeping him, she said, carelessly, as she rearranged her bracelets, “O, it

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don’t signify, if you can have patience with him, he’s so tiresome with his questions. I’ve bought him heaps of toys, but he never wants to play, and is forever asking me such old-fashioned questions. Keep him and welcome, when you like; but take my word for it, you’ll repent your bargain!” and she tripped gayly down to dinner.

Poor little Charlie! Time in plenty to adjust all those silken ringlets; time to embroider all those little gay dresses; time to linger till midnight over the last new novel; but for the soul that looked forth from those deep blue eyes, no time to sow the good seed, no time to watch lest the enemy should “sow tares.”

From that time Charlie and I were inseparable. The thoughtless mother, well content to pass her time devouring all sorts of trashy literature, or in idle gossip with her drawing-room companions. The young father, weary with business troubles, contenting himself with a quiet “good-night,” and closing the day by a visit to the theatre or concert-room. Poor Charlie, meanwhile, put to bed for safe-keeping, would lie hours, tossing restlessly from side to side, “with nothing in his mind,” as he innocently said to me. What a joy to sit by his side and beguile the lonely hours! There I learned to understand the meaning of our Saviour’s words, “For of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

In his clear, silvery tones, he would repeat after me

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“Our Father,” asking me the meaning of every petition; then he would say, “Why don’t you tell Lizzie? Lizzie don’t know any prayers!”

One night I sang him these lines,—

“Sweet fields, beyond the swelling flood,

Stand dressed in living green;”—

he raised himself in bed, while the tears trembled on his long lashes, and said, “O, sing that again,—it seems as if I saw a beautiful picture!” Then, taking my guitar, I would sit by his bedside, and watch the blue eyes droop and grow heavy with slumber as I sang to him. And she, whose duty, and joy, and pride, it should have been to lead those little feet to Him who biddeth, “little children come,” was indolently and contentedly bound in flowery fetters of her own weaving, unmindful than an angel’s destiny was intrusted to her careless keeping.


Little Charlie lay tossing in his little bed, with a high fever. It is needless to tell of the hold he had upon my heart and services. His childish mother, either unable or unwilling to see his danger, had left me in charge of him,—drawn from his side by the attraction of a great military ball. I changed his heated pillows, gave him the cooling draught, bathed his feverish temples, and, finally, at his request, rocked him gently to quiet his

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restlessness. He placed his little arms caressingly about my neck, and said, feebly, “Sing to me of heaven.” When I finished, he looked languidly up, saying, “Where’s Lizzie?—I must kiss Lizzie!” and as the words died upon his lips, his eyes drooped, his heart fluttered like a prisoned bird, and little Charlie was counted one in the heavenly fold.

As I closed his eyes, and crossed the dimpled hands peacefully upon his little breast, his last words rang fearfully in my ears,—“Where’s Lizzie?”

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Are there no martyrs of whom the world never hears? Are there no triumphs save where one can grasp earth’s laurel crown? See you none who rise early and sit up late, and turn with a calm, proud scorn from a gilded fetter to honest toil? Pass you never, in your daily walks, slight forms, with calm brows, and mild eyes, whose whole life has been one prolonged self-struggle? Lip, cheek and brow tell you no tale of the spirit’s unrest!

The “broad road” is passing fair to look upon. The coiled serpent is not visible ’mid its luxurious foliage. The soft breeze fans the cheek wooingly, laden with the music of happy, careless idlers. Youth, and bloom, and beauty,—ay, even silver hairs, are there! No tempest lowers; the sky is clear and blue. What stays yonder slender foot? Why pursue so courageously the thorny, rugged, stumbling path? The eye is bright; the limbs are round and graceful; the blood flows warm and free; the shining hair folds softly away from a pure, fair brow; there are sweet voices yonder to welcome; there is an

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inward voice to hush; there are thrilling eyes there, to bewilder! What stays that slender foot?

Ah! the foot-prints of Calvary’s sufferer are in that “narrow path!” That youthful head bends low and unshrinkingly to meet its “crown of thorns.” The “star in the east” shines far above those rugged heights, on which its follower reads,—“To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the Tree of Life.”

Dear reader, for a brief day the Cross for uncounted ages the Crown!

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It was a rough, dark, unsightly looking old farmhouse. The doors were off the hinges, panes of glass were broken in the windows, the grass had overgrown the little gravel path, and the pigs and poultry went in and out the door as if they were human. Farmer Brady sat sunning his bloated face on the door-step, stupid from the effects of the last debauch; his ungainly, idle boys were quarrelling which should smoke his pipe, and two great romps of girls, with uncombed locks and tattered clothes, were swinging on the gate in front of the house.

Everything within doors was in keeping with the disorder that reigned without, save a young, fair girl, who sat at the low window, busily sewing on a coarse garment. Her features were regular and delicate, her hands and feet, small and beautifully formed, and, despite her rustic attire, one could see, with a glance, that she was a star that had wandered from its sphere.

“I say, Lilla,” said one of the hoydens, bounding into the kitchen, and pulling the comb out of Lilla’s head as she bent over her work, shedding the long, brown hair around her slight figure, till her white shoulders and

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arms were completely veiled,; “I say, make haste about that gown. Ma said you should finish it by noon, and you don’t sew half fast enough.”

Lilla’s cheeks flushed, and the small hands wandered through the mass of hair in the vain attempt to confine it again, as she said, meekly, “Won’t you come help me, Betsey? My head aches sadly, to-day.”

“No, I won’t. You think, because you are a lady, that you can live here on us, and do nothing for a living; but you won’t; and you are no better than Peggy and I, with your soft voice, and long hair, and doll face.” So saying, the romp went back again to her primitive gymnasium, the gate.

Lilla’s tears flowed fast, as her little fingers flew more nimbly; and by afternoon her task was completed, and she obtained permission from her jailers to take a walk. It was a joy to Lilla to be alone with nature. It was a relief to free herself from vulgar sights and sounds; to exchange coarse taunts, and rude jests, and harsh words, for the song of birds, the ripple of the brook, and the soft murmur of the wind as it sighed through the tall tree-tops.

Poor Lilla!—with a soul so tuned to harmony, to be condemned to perpetual discord! Through the long, bright summer days, to drudge at her ceaseless toil, at the bidding of those harsh voices. At night, to creep into her little bed, but to recall tearfully a dim vision of

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childhood;—a gentle, wasted form; a fair, sweet face growing paler day by day; large, lustrous, loving eyes that still followed her by day and night; then, a confused recollection of a burial,—afterwards, a dispute as to her future home, ending in a long, dismal journey. Since then, scanty meals, the harsh blow, coarse clothing, taunting words and bitter servitude; and then she would sob herself to sleep, as she asked, “Must it always be thus? Is there none to care for me?”

The golden days of summer faded away; the leaves put on their dying glory; the soft wind of the Indian summer lifted gently the brown tresses from Lilla’s sweet face. She still took her accustomed walks, but it was not alone. A stranger had taken up his residence at the village inn. He had met Lilla in her rambles, and his ready ingenuity soon devised a self-introduction. He satisfied himself that she claimed no affinity to the disorderly inmates of the farm-house. He drew from her her little history, and knew that she was an orphan, unprotected in her own sweet innocence, save by Him who guards us all.

And so the dewy, dim, twilight witnessed their meetings, and the color came to the pale cheek of Lilla, and her eyes grew wondrously beautiful, and her step was as light as her heart, and harsh household words fell to the ground like arrows short of the mark; for Lilla was happy. In the simplicity of her guileless heart, how should

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she know that Vincent lived only for the present? That she was to him but one of many beautiful visions, admired to-day, forgotten tomorrow? It was such a joy to be near him, to feel herself appreciated, to know that she was beloved!

And so time passed on;—but their meetings had not been unnoticed. Rough threats were uttered to Lilla, if they were continued, for she had made herself too useful to be spared. All this was communicated to her lover, as they met again at the old trysting-place; and then, as she leaned trustingly on his arm, Vincent whispered in her ear words whose full import she understood not. Slowly the truth revealed itself! Her slight figure grew erect, as she withdrew from his supporting arm;—her soft eye flashed with indignation, and the man of the world stood abashed in the presence of innocence! A moment—and he was alone, beneath the holy stars!

That night Lilla fled her home. She could scarce be more desolate or unprotected. The next day found her, foot-sore and weary, in the heart of the great city, startled and trembling like the timid deer fleeing from its pursuers.

Lilla knew that she was beautiful. She read it in the lengthened gaze of the passers-by. Friendless, houseless and beautiful! God help thee, Lilla!


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In a dark, unhealthy garret sat Lilla! Her face, still lovely, was pale as marble. Her fingers flew with lightning rapidity over the coarse work that yielded her only a shelter. But there were angel faces,—unseen by her,—smiling approval; and she could clasp those small hands, when the day’s toil was over, and say, “Our Father,” with the innocent heart of childhood; and invisible ones had charge to guard her footsteps, and “He who feedeth the ravens” gave her “daily bread.”

One day she took her little bundle, as usual, to the shop of her employers; and, while waiting for the small pittance due, her eye fell upon an advertisement “for a housekeeper,” in a newspaper before her. But how could she obtain it, without recommendation, without friends? She resolved to try. Her little hand trembled nervously as she pulled the bell of the large, handsome house. She was preceded by the servant into the library, where sat a fine-looking man, in the prime of life. He looked admiringly upon the shrinking, modest face and form before him. She told him, in a few simple words, her history.

The eccentric old bachelor paused for a moment, then taking her hand, he said, “I advertised for a housekeeper, but I’m more in need of a wife. Will you marry me?”

And so Lilla became a happy, honored wife. And

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if a flush pass over her sweet face when she meets Vincent in the circle of her husband’s acquaintances, it is from no lingering feeling of affection for the treacherous heart, that held in such light estimation the sacred name of Orphan.

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“And ye shall call the Sabbath a delight, Holy of the Lord, honorable.”

“Don’t accept the invitation sent you to that Sunday excursion, Harry.”

“What a solemn phiz, Fan!—why not? The better the day the better the deed.”

“My dear coz, if the fourth commandment has no restraining power, then avoid it for its vulgarity. Depend upon it, it is the more coarse and unrefined portion of the community who outrage the feelings of church-going people by Sabbath desecration. Let good taste deter you from it, Harry, if I must resort to so weak an argument, when so many better ones are on my side.”

“Well;—but, coz, I have already given my word that I will accept.”

“Break it, then;—you owe allegiance to a friend who has a prior claim.”

“Now, Fan, if I would do it for anything, I would do

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it for you; but, do you know, I don’t believe in Sunday, and in going to meeting?”

“Your mother did, Harry.”

“Yes—I—know,” said he, thoughtfully; “and, strange as it may seem to you, that is the reason I don’t. When I was a ‘little shaver,’ Sunday was the gloomiest day in the calendar, to me. From sunrise to sunset, we were scarcely allowed to wink. As soon as we were dressed, we were seated in a row, with our Bibles, catechisms and hymn-books. Even religious newspapers were prohibited; and we should as soon have thought of dancing a hornpipe on the pulpit stairs, as stepping over the threshold of the door, except to church. There we sat, repeating hymns, creeds and commandments, till the bell summoned us to a change of scene; and he was a very bold urchin who dared stop to pluck a tempting daisy or buttercup by the roadside. Our patriarchal pastor was fond of disentangling knotty theological snarls, and diving beyond his depth, in the doctrines of election and total depravity. Our childish minds refused to follow in those labyrinthine mazes, though we had sundry pulls by the ears, and raps on the knuckles, by way of reminders. Amid all this ‘strong meat,’ the ‘milk for babes,’ ordered by the infant-loving Saviour, was quite overlooked.

“Our Sunday dinner was looked forward to as a sort of juvenile ‘millennium;’ though our inclination to pro-

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long it indefinitely was unceremoniously cut short by sending us back to our little chairs and big catechisms. The advent of a vagrant fly, or profane mosquito, was hailed with an internal thanksgiving, as affording a convenient respite for the study of anatomy and natural history; stray leaves of ‘Tom Thumb,’ ‘Mother Goose,’ and ‘Sinbad the Sailor,’ occasionally found their way between the pages of more doctrinal reading; and the soporific tendency of a second sermon from our argumentative pastor, bade defiance to every attempt of our vigilant parents to keep us from migrating to the land of Nod.

“With what anxiety and impatience we watched for the disappearance of ‘Old Sol’ behind the hills! What a welcome release for overtasked spirits, what stretching of wearied limbs, as his last golden beam was lost in the twilight! With what a feeling of complete disenthralment we threw ourselves on the grass, beneath the old apple-tree, or explored the meadow behind the house, or drove ‘old Brindle’ home from pasture! And when we crept into our little beds at night, what sorrowful discussions we held upon that sentence in father’s prayer, that announced ‘Heaven to be one eternal Sabbath!’ O, coz, Sunday was made a weariness in my boyhood!”

Very true, thought I, sorrowfully, as he gayly waved an adieu. The cord was drawn too tightly, and this

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is the rebound! And yet it is an old-fashioned error; caution points with her finger to the other extreme, at the present day. Discretion and wisdom mark out a middle path.

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My grandfather’s house was, to all intents and purposes, a ministerial tavern;—lacking the sign. But though “entertainment for man and beast” was not written upon the door-posts, yet one might read it, in very legible characters, in the faces of its master and mistress, and in the very aspect of the mansion itself. At least, so the travelling world, especially the clerical part of it, seemed to think; for almost every steamboat, stage and railroad car brought them a visitor. They dropped their carpet-bags in the hall with the most perfect certainty of a welcome; and if the inmates were out, the fire was not, and the boot-jack and slippers of “Brother Clapp” were in the same old place. You should have seen the “Prophet’s Chamber,”—that never, within my recollection, was unoccupied more than time enough “to clear it up,”—with its old-fashioned bedstead and hangings, its capacious old arm-chair, its manifold toilet accommodations, its well-furnished, writing-desk, its large fire-place filled up,—not with a black, gloomy, funereal-looking pillar of a stove, with an isinglass window about as big as a ninepence, mocking the

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chilled traveller with its muffled blaze,—but great, stalwart logs of wood, laid over the large, old-fashioned andirons, that stood guard, like two brazen sentinels, over the bright flame that flickered and flashed, and leaped forth exultingly, lighting up the faces of the saints and martyrs that hung upon the wall, from the time of John Rogers down to the last poor missionary that was ate up by the savages in our own day. There was a very orthodox atmosphere in that room, you may be sure; and when my grandmother used to send me up,—then a little girl,—with some dainty morsel, prepared by her own skilful hands for the “good minister,” I used to stop at the door till I imagined my little, round face was drawn down to the proper length, before I dared show it on the other side. How glad I was when that dyspeptic Mr. Ney’s visit was at an end, with his “protracted” walkings up and down, and across the floor, and his sighs and groans, and “O dear me’s!” and how grandmother used to shake her head at me, and pity him, with his “big family, and large parish, and small salary.” And when he went home, how full she used to stuff that old carpet-bag of his, which I used to think must have been made of India rubber, for it always held just as much as she had to put in it, more or less; and how I used to wonder if my heart was as “awful hard, and dreadful wicked,” as he used to tell me! Poor Mr. Ney! I understand it better now; it was disease, not religion, that made him so

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gloomy. His sky was always lead color; no flowers bloomed under his feet; his ears heard nothing but “the thunder and lightning;” his eyes saw only the “thick cloud upon the mount.”

But what a sunshine brightened the Prophet’s Chamber when dear Mr. Temple came to stay with us! I used to think our Saviour must have such a smile when he said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” How low and musical was his voice! How gently he would lay his dear hand upon my head, when I stooped to put on his slippers, and say, “ ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me,’—God bless you, my daughter!” And when the excitement of preaching brought one of those cruel attacks of nervous headache, what a pleasure it was, when I stood up on the little cricket behind his chair, to pass my little hand slowly across his broad, pale forehead, till the long silken lashes drooped heavily upon his cheek, and he sank into a soothing slumber! How softly I would tiptoe back to my little seat by the fire-place, to watch for his waking, to gaze upon his sweet, quiet face, and wonder if he would n’t look like that in heaven! And, then, proud and happy I was, when he awoke refreshed, to be beckoned to my old place on his knee, and to hear the pretty story of the “Little Syrian Maid,” or “Abraham and Isaac,” or the “Resurrection of Lazarus,”—possessing some new charm for me every time he related them! And how

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soft and liquid his large, dark eyes grew, and how tremulous his low voice, as he told me of “the Crucifixion!” And how I used to think if I could always live with dear Mr. Temple I should never be a naughty little girl again in my life—never! never!

And years afterwards, when I had grown a tall girl, and he chanced to come to preach in the place where I was sent to a boarding-school, he selected me from a hundred romping girls, and, laying his dear hand again on my head, said to my teacher, “This is one of my lambs!” was n’t that a proud and happy day for me?

But to return to my grandfather’s. You should have been there “Anniversary Week!” “Such a many ministers!” as little Charley used to say. How all of us children gave up our little bedrooms, and huddled, promiscuously, in one room! What nice things grandmother was getting ready, weeks and weeks beforehand! What appetites they did have, and how bright grandmother’s face shone, the more they ate and drank and the more they made themselves at home! And how pleasant it was to sit in the corner with my bit of gingerbread, and hear them talk! And how I used to wonder if they really were all “brothers”—as they called each other when they spoke;—and what they all meant by calling my grandmother “Sister Clapp.” Well-a-day!—years have flown by, since then. Dear grandmother and kind Mr. Temple sleep quietly in the church-yard. Sacrilegious

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feet have trod the “Prophet’s Chamber.” Poor, gloomy Mr. Ney is walking the New Jerusalem, and a new song is put in his mouth,—the song of Canaan. “Anniversary week” is not now what it used to be then. People’s hearts and houses have contracted; and, growing “forgetful to entertain strangers,” they miss the presence of the “angel that cometh unawares.”

* * * * * * *

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To the unknown friend who sent me a bouquet of “lilies of the valley”:—

You dream not, as the soft wind stirs those little bells on their delicate stems, that my heart is filled with a sad pleasure. Each one has a voice for my heart; in each cup there is a history.

They bring before me a little form, fragile and sweet as themselves. I hear again the soft fall of little tripping feet. Large, brown, spiritual eyes gaze upward into mine. A cloud of shining hair shades a brow too holy for earth. Again, as in the olden time, I wander with the clasp of a little hand in cool, mossy paths; for that fair young head I bind wreaths of these sweet lilies. Silently I watch with her for the stealing forth of evening’s first star. The gray dawn, the sultry noon, the solemn midnight, find us side by side. I tremble when I look into those deep eyes. As childhood’s years pass on, no taint of earth comes over that pure heart. The passerby gazes, and turns, and looks again, and marvels whence comes the spell which chains his eye to that little face.

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Gray-haired wisdom smiles sadly, and says the dewdrop will exhale.

* * * * * * *

When the careless feet which lightly tread the sacred paths of Mount Auburn, have left its quiet sleepers to the hush of evening, then go with me; and we will sit down together, on that mossy seat under the hawthorn; and, with only the holy stars for listeners, I will tell you how gently that little hand pushed aside the cup of life;—of that long, last earnest look which was bent on me, when the tongue was powerless to speak its love;—of the gradual flickering and fading out of life’s little taper. Then you shall retrace with me a rough and thorny path of trial, which those little feet were spared from treading; and we will kneel beside that marble cross, and say, from full hearts, “It is well with the child!”

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The driving snow and hail beat mercilessly again the windows; the piercing north wind seemed to search the very bones. Shivering pedestrians were seen hurrying through the streets, tightly grasping their umbrellas rendered almost useless by the fury of the storm. Robust men turned their collars about their ears, and snapped their frost-bitten fingers, and stamped their feet to promote circulation; dainty dames, muffled to the chin in costly furs, were to be seen through the closed window of carriages.

It was a day to bless God for warmth, and food, and think shudderingly of the houseless poor. It was Thanksgiving day,—known throughout New England as a day of unlimited feasting and rejoicing, warm heart-greetings and glad memories. At the windows of elegant mansions, where rarest flowers blossomed, and birds warbled, as if in midsummer, where heavy silken curtains, and warm fires, bade defiance to the chill blast, were seen happy faces and graceful forms, clad in tints rivalling autumn’s gayest livery.

In such a mansion as this, around a daintily spread

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tables, were seated Mr. Glen’s wife and family,—children and children’s children. The little, high chair, in which, regularly, sat a new baby every year, had been duly placed at the table, and its little, curly-headed occupant, in scarlet dress and white apron, looked the picture of childish happiness. Sons and daughters, in manly beauty and womanly grace, made the scene fair to look upon.

A servant entered, with a note for Mr. Glen. As he read, the color mounted to his temples, but, shaking his hand angrily, and saying, “There is no answer,” he addressed himself again to the pleasures of the table. It was from his truant daughter, Ellen, who, years before, had clandestinely given her heart and hand to a youthful lover. Mr. Glen had said “he would never see her more.” All his household were forbidden to see or speak to her.

“Think of her as one dead,” said he, “and never let her name be mentioned in my presence.”

Everything that could remind him of her he caused to be removed from his sight. The key was turned upon the room she occupied; there lay her guitar, with the blue ribbon, that had so often rested on her fair neck; there were her work-box, drawing materials, a faded bunch of flowers, dainty little slippers, fairy robes, and the mirror which had so often reflected back the form that had lent such a grace to them all.

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Her father had said she was “dead to him,” and he tried to think so; and yet, he would start nervously at a household tone, or a remembered strain of music, or a soft footfall; and ever, in his dreams, a sweet, pale face looked tearfully out from amid its golden tresses, and a soft voice plead musically for pardon; but the morrow’s sun found him colder, sterner, more unyielding than ever.

In vain the faithful wife of his youth, around whose brow silver threads were twining, plead with a mother’s love for her child. In vain did the moistened eyes of brother and sister add their silent eloquence.

And there he sat, at his Thanksgiving board;—he had just refused her last request. For him the viands had now lost their flavor. He could only see before him shivering forms and haggard faces.


In an upper chamber, in a shattered, rickety building, lay a man in the last stage of consumption. At his bedside sat a sweet, pale creature, upon whose face sorrow, more than time, had left its traces. At her knee stood a noble boy of six years, striving with his tiny hand to wipe away the tears that were falling thick and fast among his clustering locks. Through the broken panes of glass the snow was forcing its way; the little handful of fire on the hearth was fast dying out, and the sick man’s hollow cough echoed fearfully through the desolate

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chamber, as he shiveringly drew around his emaciated limbs the scanty bed-clothing.

“Don’t cry, Ellen,” said he; “when I am gone, your father will relent.”

“No, no,” sobbed his wife, as she laid her pale cheek to his; “no, no! it must be that he will pity us now.”

As she spoke, her father’s refusal was handed to her.

“I told you so,” said the sick man, groaning, as he turned his face to the wall.

Ellen stood still a moment; then calling her boy to her side, while her face grew ashy pale, she parted the rich curls from his forehead, and wrapping about him her own tattered mantle, she sent him forth, in the storm, like Noah’s dove from the ark.

Mr. Glen sat at his table, nervously twisting his napkin between his fingers, absorbed in thought. The storm, that raged so fearfully without, was emblematical of the conflicting feelings in his breast. He turned his head towards the opening door, and before him stood a little creature, in whose curly locks the drifting snow still lingered, his cheeks reddened with intense cold, and his little toes and fingers peeping out, blue and benumbed, from their scanty covering.

“Where’s my Grandfaver Glen?” said the child, as he looked innocently and fearlessly round upon the group.

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Mr. Glen gazed at him, as if spell-bound. There were Ellen’s ringlets; those clear, blue eyes and silvery tones were hers.

The child advanced and laid his little, benumbed hand upon his grandfather’s knee. Nature could no longer dissemble. The old man pressed him to his breast, laid his silver locks upon his sunny head, chafed his shivering limbs, and offered him food.

“No—no,” said the child, refusing to eat, “I want some for poor mamma, she’s so hungry, and papa is dying, and—”

The little creature, overcome with excitement, sobbed as if his heart were breaking.

A few moments found Mr. Glen and his wife, with Charley for a guide, on the way to their suffering children. A servant accompanied them, carrying wine and refreshments. They threaded the dark alley, climbed the rickety stairway, preceded by Charley, whose eyes sparkled with delight. Throwing wide open the door of the miserable room, he said,

“Wake up, mamma; wake up, dear papa;—here’s something to make you well.”

“Merciful God!” said Mr. Glen, “we are too late,” as his eye rested on the lifeless forms of his daughter and her husband.

In vain he listened to hear them breathe; trouble, sorrow, cold and famine had too surely done their work.

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With bitter tears they laid together in the tomb those who, even in death, could not be divided.


The April tears of childhood are soon dried, and little Charley is now the sunbeam in the house of “Grandfaver Glen.”

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“Something to moisten my lips,” said the restless sufferer, as he turned his head languidly towards his widowed mother. The cool, refreshing draught was handed him, and a soft hand was laid on his throbbing temples, and the anxious mother turned away her head, that the quivering lip and falling tear might not distress her boy. He was her only child; and, through a tedious and sickly infancy, she had patiently endured wearisome days and wakeful nights, until at last he stood before her with cheeks mantling with the huge of health, and limbs strong and graceful in youthful beauty. No music was so sweet to her as his ringing laugh; and, when he slept, he would creep to his bedside, as the bright eyes lay veiled under their long, sweeping lashes, and the thick curls were carelessly tossed from his white temples; and happy tears fell from her eyes as the lost husband of her youth was again restored to her in the person of her sleeping boy. And she would picture a long, happy future, a quiet old age; and for him, honor and renown, and fame; and his children should climb her knee. But now—there he laid! “there was but a step between him

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and death;” the bright eye faded, the features sharpened by disease, the round limbs wasted and shrunken.

And then to that house of mourning came the holy man of God. On his bended knee, at the bedside of the dying boy, fervently he prayed that “if it be God’s will the life so dear might be spared.” “If it be God’s will?—it must be God’s will,” said the insubmissive mother, as she rose sobbing from her knees. And “the Highest” heard her prayer!

The sun shone brightly and cheerfully into the sick room. The hue of health took the place of pallor on the face of the invalid; the locks, that were damp with the dew of agony, grew crisp and glossy; the bright eye sparkled; the old familiar smile played upon the red lips; the dainty morsels, prepared by the hand of the happy mother, were partaken of with the keen relish of returning health. He was rescued!—he was saved! The gift was accepted, but the Giver was forgotten, and the Great Physician went unthanked. And so the boy grew up to manhood;—and his slightest word was law, and the glance of his eye was a command, to the mother who bore him; and she, who should have received obedience, rendered it; and to her own child she was a willing slave!

* * * * * * *

The governor of —— sat in his drawing-room, surrounded by a pleasant party of friends. A woman

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begged an immediate audience. She was old and feeble, and travel-stained; her gray locks floated unchecked over her furrowed temples. Panting, exhausted, she could only stammer forth, “For God’s sake, a pardon for my only son, condemned to die!” The man relented, but the judge was inexorable! “Justice must have its due.” Large drops of agony started from those furrowed temples. Clasping his knee, she cried, “A reprieve, then!—have mercy!—a reprieve!” It was a vain prayer; for ere the morning sun should rise, the head that had slumbered so often on her breast would be laid by rough hands in a dishonored grave; and then, too late, she knew, that not in mercy, but in wrath, that impious prayer had been answered,—“It must be God’s will!”

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“Mother, I want to slide on the ice?”

“No, my dear; the air is sharp and cold, and your cough was very bad last night;” and Mrs. Lansing passed her hand affectionately over the silken hair of the little Minnie, as if to conciliate her.

The child shrugged her little, fat shoulders, and withdrew, pouting, to the other side of the room, saying, “I wish my own mamma was out of the ground; she’d let me go. I don’t love you!”

Tears sprang to the eyes of the gentle step-mother, but she wavered not in what she believed to be her duty. Soon after she left the room, and returned with some pretty paper dolls, calling to Minnie to come and help dress them; but the child’s wayward temper was not to be so conciliated. Another shrug of the shoulders and a portentous frown were the only answer.

Mrs. Lansing did not enter upon the marriage relation unapprized of the trials to which a “step-mother” is always exposed. She shrank timidly from the responsibility involved in the charge of Minnie, and fully expressed these feelings to her father; but Mr. Lansing

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repeatedly assured her that “he had seen no one, since his wife’s death, to whom he would so readily intrust the care of his child;” and her sensitive fears were quieted. From her infancy, Minnie had been accustomed to rule. With the want of energy attendant upon feeble health, her mother had yielded to her imperious temper, rather than provoke a struggle; and Mr. Lansing, being necessarily absent on business, Minnie was left to the injudicious chance-training of nurses and hirelings. After his wife’s death, the widowed father’s heart was more closely knit in love to his child; and, with mistaken kindness, he overlooked her little, perverse fits of temper, and humored her waywardness. Minnie, who was quick of perception, and wise beyond her years, soon found out that the staff was in her own hands; and the injurious phrase, repeated unthinkingly in her hearing, about “cruel step-mothers,” but ill prepared her to submit to Mrs. Lansing’s gentle sway. With the promptings of a naturally kind heart, quickened by a sense of duty, and a desire to win this child of her heart’s adoption, she endeavored by every ingenious device to conciliate her; but her efforts hitherto had been unavailing, or short-lived. On Mr. Lansing’s return at night, Minnie would climb his knee, and, placing her little mouth close to his ear,—with a defying glance at Mrs. Lansing,—repeat her little, distorted story of complaint, unrebuked, and receive from the inexhaustible pocket a package of bon-bons, or a new toy, by way of

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sedatives, which she, of course, contrasted, in her wise little head, most unfavorably with the gentle firmness with which Mrs. Lansing strove to govern her. All this told most disastrously upon the disposition of the child, and undermined every attempt at reformation. Added to this—although it might be passed unnoted by a casual observer—the sensitive spirit of Mrs. Lansing was wounded on those occasions, by perceiving the slightly clouded brow of her husband. The smile, so dearly prized, so jealously watched for, was a shade less beaming,—the tone of the loved voice less cordial and heart-cheering; and she soon found that to retain his love she must sacrifice her duty to his child! Curious eyes, too, watched for her halting. Inquisitive neighbors tortured every accidental circumstance to extract food for their own suspicions, or skilfully catechized the child, by questions suggestive of an answer to their liking. There was no human ear into which the loving wife could pour her sorrow.

One evening, before retiring to rest, she entered the room where Minnie lay sleeping. The dimpled arms were tossed, with the careless grace of childhood, over the little curly head; the pearly teeth were peeping from beneath the coral lips, and in broken murmurs the child repeated the name of “Mother.” Mrs. Lansing knelt by the bedside, and her tears flowed freely. She asked herself, had no jealous feeling of rivalry in the father’s

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love clouded her sense of justice toward the wilful little sleeper? With the angel eye of her whom she believed to be still hovering over the child, bent full upon her, she weighed every motive, and questioned every passing feeling; and conscience acquitted her of being actuated by any other motive than that of a desire to perform faithfully her duty. And now, should she waver? The thought of risking the father’s love was torture to her. Covering her face with her hands, she prayed,—“If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”

There had been an unnoticed listener to this spirit-conflict; and when she rose from her knees, she was folded to a heart that manfully sustained her in every future struggle; and Minnie joined him, in after years, in thanking God for the gift of a Christian step-mother.

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“Dear mother,” said a delicate little girl, “I have broken your China vase!”

“Well, you are a naughty, careless, troublesome little thing, always in some mischief. Go up stairs and stay in the closet till I send for you!”

And this was a Christian mother’s answer to the tearful little culprit, who had struggled with, and conquered, the temptation to tell a falsehood to screen her fault! With a disappointed, disheartened look, the child obeyed; and, at that moment, was crushed in her little heart the sweet flower of truth, perhaps never again in after years to be revived to life. O, what were the loss of a thousand “vases,” by comparison!

’T is true, an angel might shrink from the responsibilities of a mother. It needs an angel’s powers. The watch must never, for an instant, be let up; the scales of justice must always be nicely balanced; the hasty word, that the overtasked spirit sends to the lip, must die there ere it is uttered. The timid and sensitive child must have a word of encouragement in season; the forward and presuming, checked with gentle firmness; there

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must be no deception, no evasion, no trickery, for the keen eye of childhood to mark. And all this, when the exhausted frame sinks with ceaseless vigils, perhaps, and the thousand petty interruptions and unlooked-for annoyances of every hour, almost set at defiance any attempt at system. Still must that mother wear an unruffled brow, lest the smiling cherub on her knee catch the angry frown. Still must she “rule her own spirit,” lest the boy, so apparently engrossed with his toys, repeat the next moment the impatient word his ear has caught. For all these duties, faithfully and conscientiously performed, a mother’s reward is in secret and in silence. Even he, on whose earthly breast she leans, is too often unmindful of the noiseless struggle, until, too late, alas! he learns to value the delicate hand that has kept in unceasing flow the thousand springs of his domestic happiness!

But what if, in the task that devolves upon the other, she utterly fail? What if she consider her duty performed when her child is fed, and warm, and clothed? What if the priceless soul be left to the chance-training of hirelings? What if she never teach those little lips to lisp “Our Father”? What if she launch her child upon life’s stormy sea without rudder, or compass, or chart? God forbid that there should be many such mothers!

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“For charity’s sake, take me in!” said the lively little Mrs. Grey, with a look of mock-distress, as she peeped her bright face into my room. “If you’ll credit it, my husband has n’t spoken five consecutive words since tea-time; and I’m quite undecided whether to request to have the roof raised, so that I can breathe freer, or to go into a violent fit of hysterics. Matty,” said she, with a ludicrously solemn air, “I should n’t be surprised if I had married the wrong man! Now, Edward is one of the best creatures in the world;—there, that’s just it,” said she, jumping up, “he’s too good. I can’t think of a fault he has; he’s awfully correct,—a living reproof to me. Do compassionate me, Matty; I have what the old ladies call ‘a model husband.’ Now, is n’t it a pity that goodness and stupidity generally go together?” said she, laughing. “Ned is so matter-of-fact! Now, if I’m reading a book, and come across a passage that delights me, I always want to put my arms round the author’s neck and kiss him. Well, I read it to Ned, and he says, quietly,—without looking up from his newspaper,—‘Yes, it is pretty good.’ O, dear! he never gets up enthusiasm about anything. He lacks feeling. It’s

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really pitiable, Matty;”—throwing herself on the sofa with a suppressed yawn.

“ ‘All is not gold that glitters,’ Mary; and there are gems, of whose value the possessor is sometimes ignorant. These butterflies, that dazzle in society, are mostly mere moths at home. Abroad they are elegant, refined, polished, graceful, full of repartee and wit; but by their own hearth-stones silent, moody, selfish, exacting and uninteresting. You’d never recognize them! You remember Vivian ——? Well, that’s his mental daguerreotype; in private he is the most unlovable of mortals.”

“Well, this world is a humbug, then,” said Mary, “or I’m one of its restless, dissatisfied ones; and, by the way, Matty, how came you to be an old maid?”

“Simply because you appropriated the only man I ever wanted,” was Matty’s quiet reply.

The blood rushed to Mary’s temples; she was by Matty’s side in an instant, urging her to “full confession.”

“Ah, I see, my little lady, your heart is in the right place, after all, else you would not be jealous. I have great hopes of you! ‘Blessings often brighten’ when we imagine they are ‘about to take flight!’ Your husband never spoke a word of love to me in his life,—I only wish that he had! I shall not enjoin secrecy upon you as to my preference, because I know very well you

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would not have him know it for a kingdom! So I am safe! But seriously, Mary, you don’t know how to value Edward. A few more years over your sunny head, and a little more experience of the world, and you would not barter him for the most brilliant idol your imagination ever set up for your heart to worship.”

That day was nearer than Matty prophesied! Mary, shortly after, was taken dangerously ill. For weeks she balanced between life and death. Whose supplicating eye sought the physician’s with such tearful anxiety? Whose hand, with more than a woman’s tenderness, smoothed her pillow, and shaded the light from her aching eyeballs? Who, with uplifted finger, crept softly about the house, hushing every noisy footfall? Who surrounded her with every comfort and luxury that affection could think of, or money—hardly earned—could procure? Who, when wearied with business cares, still kept tireless vigil, till the stars faded away, at the bedside of the poor sufferer?

Who grasped the physician’s hand, saying, “Save her! It is life or death with me, as well as Mary?” Who but the “matter-of-fact” Edward?

One day, after Mary was convalescent, I called to see her. She was looking very lovely, though pale and wasted. “Thank God you are spared to us!” said I, touching my lips to her forehead.

“After Him, thank my husband,” said Mary, with eyes

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liquid with feeling. “In this sick-room I have learned a lesson I shall never forget. O, Matty! there may be deep, strong love in the heart where deeds, not words, are the interpreters! Please God to spare my life, my poor love shall be his reward for this!”

Mary kept her word.

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How often do we hear a mother say, complainingly, of her child, “She has such exuberant spirits!—she is so full of life!” Hush! lay your finger on your lip. Thank God for it. He who appointeth our lot knows for what purpose it was given. Have you never observed that the pathway of such an one is sure to be marked by no ordinary trials? It is a wise bestowment, from Him who seeth the end from the beginning. Deal tenderly with her; check not her innocent gayety. Make her childhood and youth happy. Cloud not her sunny brow by drawing, unnecessarily, dark pictures of life; fill not her confiding heart with distrust towards its fellows.

Let her read, if she will, love in human faces. Earth is not all a charnel-house of decayed hopes and blasted anticipations. “God is love.” Life is beautiful. Midnight,—starry, silent midnight,—with its glorious beauty; the silver moon riding in majesty or veiled in fleecy clouds; the cheerful sun walking in brightness; the rainbow-tinted sunset clouds; the sweet gray dawn, with its stirring life; the forest-clad hills crowned with the bow of promise; the towering rock, the shining river, the

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flower-wreathed meadow, the deep blue sea, the grand old woods, with their whispered music; and in and among them all, still, hearts that are noble, good, and true, beat with sympathy for a brother’s wrongs, and are open-handed to the call of charity. Tell not the young heart, so keenly susceptible, that every cup is drugged with poison; that ’neath every flower a serpent coils. Who, among us, could fearlessly again enter upon life, and cheerfully enjoy it with such a chart of shoals and quicksands before our vision? God, in His mercy, has hidden the future from our vision. “Give us this day our daily bread,” is the petition He has taught us. Shall the blessings of to-day be received with a churlish spirit, because we know not what tomorrow may bring us? That morrow we may never see; nor should we impatiently demand to know, whether for us it come frighted with joy or sorrow.

I have read a story of three little trout, which, discontented and unhappy, desired each to have a wish that should be granted. The first wished for wings, that it might fly; the next wished for a great deal of knowledge, and to understand all about hooks and nets, that it might keep out of danger; the third,—a poor ignorant fish, and not knowing what was best,—wished that God would take care of him, and choose for him, and give him just what he saw best. So God gave wings to the first; and, delighted with the exercise of his new power, he flew far,

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far away, to a desert, where he died from thirst. To the second he gave knowledge, and so he was all the time in terror; he was afraid to go into deep water, lest the great fishes should swallow him, and he was afraid to go into shallow water, lest it should dry up and leave him. He dared not eat anything, lest a hook might be concealed in it; and so he pined away and died.

But God loved the third little trout (who trusted in Him), and took care of him, and kept him from all dangers, so that he was always happy.

My story carries with it its own moral. Let the buoyant-hearted, hopeful little mariner you love, launch his little bark on life’s ocean, praying always the Great Pilot for a happy voyage and safe port.

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With its ancient elms, its ambitious woodbine,—which never was weary of trying to peep into the fourth-story window;—its honeysuckle porch, where lovers came for a bright-eyed welcome, and lingered to repeat their adieux; where papa made his appearance at the orthodox hour of “nine,” to warn bewitched daughters of—“the night air” (?); where midnight serenaders charmed open the eyes of beauty; where the poor, maimed and blind came, sure of a wholesome morsel; where relations—by Adam, and nearer—had carte blanche to pass in, and take their own time to pass out; where the hummingbird and drowsy bee lingered lovingly amid the flowers; where the soft west wind lifted refreshingly the silver hair of age, the silken tendrils of the infant, and the glossy tresses of laughing girlhood.

Now pass we in through the wide hall. See the antique clock, surmounted by a picture of a sailor approaching a tavern. Papa is a stanch Taylorite; so he has had “Bethel” inscribed over the inn door, and Jack is arbitrarily made a temperance man;—and has held that Bible in his hand ever since I wore

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pantalettes! And here is the old-fashioned parlor, with its broad fireplace, its carved moldings, and its anti-modern landscape paper,—so interesting to the juveniles. Here the timid, doubtful lover first asked consent of papa “to hang up his hat.” Here the die was cast whether the son should be allowed to be, what nature made him, a poet! Here were read the confidential family letters from college and boarding-school. Here was planted the “Christmas tree,” with its shining lights and glittering gifts. Here was spread our New Year’s supper, with its little remembrances; here our Thanksgiving dinner, with “chicken fixins” enough to feed a small army. Here sat the newly-affianced maiden, bearing, with the best grace she might, certain allusions to “next year at this time!” Happy grandpapa, as he “numbered the people”!—smiling as he looked backward on life’s track, tearful as he glanced forward to its goal! Under that window,

“The hand of blessing was trembling laid

On snowy forehead and simple braid;

And the words were spoken

By lips that never their trust betrayed.”

Under that window rested the coffin of the bride of a year! There, too, we looked our last upon the face of “sweet, lovely Lena!” There the dimpled hands of childhood were crossed by the broken-hearted mother. There, dear, warm-hearted grandmother received the

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caresses of her children with—for the first time—neither smile nor word of blessing! We shall surely “meet again.” But now “the old house” is desolate! The roses and clematis are rooted up, like our hopes. The utilitarian axe has been laid at the root of every tree. A house has been planted in the garden; the blessed sunlight streams no longer in our pleasant sitting-room. The fingers which swept the guitar, at that vine-clad door, are dust! The tips that sang of heaven, are “nearer home.” Husband and wife sleep peacefully, unmindful of the storm which beats down the fluttering wings of their timid household doves. The widow walks alone. The orphan finds no heart so true as the one over which the green sod is pressing. Far and wide are scattered the remnant of that household band. Oceans have been crossed, foreign lands travelled o’er, silver threads have mingled in dark tresses; but “may our right hand forget its cunning,” if that dear “old house” be not treasured in our hearts as a sacred thing forever!

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“Now, mother,” said Edward, “don’t say a word against Etta’s going to the dance to-night. I have talked myself hoarse, before I could bring father over. The sleighing is fine, and, with a swift horse, ten miles will soon be compassed,—and Etta is such a pretty dancer!”

“But you don’t consider, Edward, that your sister’s health is delicate, and a change of dress will be a great exposure. And, then, the biting cold.”

“Mother, you would n’t have talked so at nineteen,” said Edward, laughing. “You forget when you and father used to dance till two in the morning.”

“Ah!” said Mrs. Leland, with a sigh, “but we’ve seen the folly of it.”

“Well, that’s just what we want to do! There’s nothing like experience, you know. We want to see the folly of it, too; so say no more, please!” said the coaxing boy.

Mrs. Leland, persuaded against her judgment, gave a reluctant consent. “Remember, Edward,” said she, “it must be the last time.”

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“Thanks for so much, then,” said Ned, as he flew upstairs to find his sister. “Come, Etta, I am victor; leave your guitar, pick up your trinkets, and brush out those long curls. The sleigh will be here in an hour, and we must meet our party at the hotel by eight. Wear a becoming dress, and look your prettiest. I have a reason of my own for being over-particular to-night. Mother has gone out, but she has charged me to tell you to wrap up warm. One would think you were sixty, instead of sixteen.”

And so the bright ringlets were smoothed, and the silken stocking was drawn over the graceful ankle, and the snowy arms glittered with gems, and the warm merino dress was discarded, and the round, white shoulders rose fair from the blue robe that fitted so charmingly, and the little rose that nestled in her curls looked not fresher or sweeter than the wearer.

“That’s a darling!” said Edward; “you are looking your very best. I don’t know how you are going to ‘wrap up,’ though,” said the thoughtless boy; “but I suppose women understand such things. I never shall hear the last of it, if you should happen to sneeze tomorrow. But here’s the sleigh. What a nice horse! How the snow will fly from under his feet! Won’t we have a merry time, hey?”

The buffalo robes were carefully wrapped about them, and Edward took the reins. The fleet horse skimmed

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the ground like a bird on the wing; the city was soon left behind; fences, houses, trees, disappeared as if by magic. They chatted and laughed, and for the first few miles, Etta enjoyed the swift motion and keen, frosty air.

“I can’t think what mother meant,” said Edward, “by saying that this must be your ‘last time!’ I had made up my mind for a dozen more frolics like this, before winter is over; and father and mother used to be so gay, too, at our time of life. I have heard Uncle Ralph tell what a belle mother was, and how handsome she used to look; and that we used to be fed on ‘Godfrey’s Cordial’ by the nurse, to keep us quiet till she came back. Well, well; we will have a good time to-night, if we never have another. What, shivering? Here, curl down under the buffalo, pull your veil down, and nestle up to me;” and, spurring up the spirited horse anew, they dashed on. Etta kept very quiet; and Ned, intent upon gaining the hotel in the shortest possible space of time, left her reverie undisturbed. On—on—on they went, distancing all competitors, till the foaming, panting horse had performed well his task!

“Come, Etta, we are here at last. Fast asleep, I declare! It would be a joke to take her up, furs and all, and carry her in, just as she is.” Suiting the action to the words, he carefully lifted his light burthen, and,

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entering the little parlor appropriated to their reception, and, “Here, girls; Etta is fast asleep, or pretending to be;—any of you who choose may unroll the mummy. I think you will find her fresher than Glidden’s!” The gay bevy gathered round her, and, untying her thick veil, stood speechless with horror. Poor Etta was frozen to death! It was, indeed, “her last time!”

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They were neat little pallets. One could find no fault with them, with their snowy sheets and Mosaic quilts of patchwork. In each was a little, homeless, houseless orphan, taken in for shelter. “Miss Betsey” had been the rounds, and seen each little head duly deposited on its pillow. A very nice, particular, proper person, was Miss Betsey! The “Board of Directors” said so, and Miss Betsey thought so herself! Her hair was as smooth as her tongue, and her kerchief starched as stiff as her manners. Not one of those little vagrant hands would have thought of touching that immaculate calico dress. She had heard them all say their prayers,—listened at the door to see if any dared break the rule that “forbade their speaking,” and went down to a comfortable dish of tea and hot buttered muffins, satisfied that she had ministered to every want of their childish natures, temporal and spiritual. Blind Miss Betsey! There are depths, even in a child’s soul, yours cannot fathom!

A little head is cautiously raised from its pillow. The eyes that look slowly around upon those sleeping forms, are large, dark, and sorrowful. Hot tears fall thick

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and fast upon the clasped hands. “Mother! mother!” is wrung from a little heart, too young to bear its weight of grief unshared; and the little head falls back again in helpless, hopeless misery, on the pillow. Lily closes her eyes, but she is not asleep. No, no! She sees a form, languid and emaciated, stretched upon a dying bed. She feels the soft touch of a dear hand on her forehead; large, mournful eyes follow, follow, follow her, sleeping or waking. A sweet, low voice lingers ever in her ear; “God protect my orphan child!”

Miss Betsey has told Lily that He has done it; that she ought to be very thankful she is in such a nice institution; and that if she is “good,” she shall live out to service, some day, with a good lady. And Lily pushes back the thick hair with her delicate hand, and wonders what “going out to service,” means; and Miss Betsey takes the long curls she has clipped from her head, and throws them out the window, and asks her if she don’t feel grateful she has such a kind friend as herself? And Lily tries to swallow a great lump in her throat, that seems like to choke her, and says, “Yes, ma’am;” while she forces back to their source the large tears that are gathering under her eyelids. Then she looks at the unbending, prim figure of Miss Betsey, and wonders was she ever a little girl? And did her mother ever die, and leave her all, all alone? And she feels as if she must throw herself on somebody’s neck, and ask them to love

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her. And then she looks again at Miss Betsey; but the quick instinct of childhood says,—“No, no, not there!” And then she wonders what makes all the children in the house seem like grown people; and why they tremble if they tumble down, or drop a book by accident; and why they eat less and less, every day, of their little soup dinners; and what makes her head so dizzy when she tries to knit. And then she wonders if heaven is a great way off, and how long it will be before she gets there. And then her over-charged heart can restrain itself no longer amid those voiceless, silent sleepers, but finds vent in a long, long, bitter cry of anguish.

“Miss Betsey” comes up, and tells her she is “very naughty to break the rules;” and Lily says, amid her sobs, that she “wants to go to heaven, with mamma!” And Miss Betsey asks, “if mamma belonged to the church?” and Lily “thinks not.” And Miss Betsey shakes her head, doubtfully,—tells her she hopes she will be better than her mother. Advises her to “say her prayers,” and goes down again to her buttered muffins.”


“I’m tired of life, Mary!” said the elegant widow Gray. “I’m sick of its hollowness and insincerity. I owe all my friends, save yourself, to the accidents of wealth and position. If Heaven had only blessed me

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with children! Could I find one to my mind, I’d adopt it tomorrow; but it must be a poetical child, Mary,—a little, fragile, spiritual, delicate blossom. Wouldn’t it be a joy to watch such a mind unfold itself!—to listen to all its naive, original sayings, and teach it to love me as only such a child can love! Where’s my bonnet? I’m off to the —— Asylum! That imaginary child of mine must have its human counterpart somewhere.”

“Stay!” said her thoughtful friend. “Such a child as you speak of—should you find it—requires skilful training. No careless, unpracticed hand should sweep so delicate a harp. A heart with such a capacity to love, has a capacity equally intense for suffering. When you have trained her to habits of luxury, and refined her tastes, if you weary of your charge, and allow her to fall back upon the guardianship of the rough, the coarse, and unfeeling, who would consider her superiority only a fit mark for the brutal sneer or coarse jest,—spiteful, because so far beneath her,—what then?”

“O, don’t preach, Mary! ‘Sufficient unto the day,’ &c. Where’s my hat and shawl?” said the impulsive woman.


“This is our school-room, Mrs. Gray,” said Miss Betsey. “The children are all very comfortable and very

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happy, as you see. It would be hard for one of them to leave me, I suppose; but I shall say ‘It is for the best,’ if you find one to your mind.”

Mrs. Gray glanced up and down the long rows of benches, and her artistic eye failed to be favorably impressed with the little cropped heads and bolster-like forms, swathed up in factory gingham; and she was just about retiring, disappointed, when her eye caught sight of “Lily.” A quick, bright flush came to her cheek, and her eye kindled, as she stood before her.

The vigil of the night previous had exhausted the little creature. Her knitting lay upon the floor, her small hands had fallen listlessly on her lap, her head resting lovingly on the shoulder of her next neighbor. Her long lashes were damp with tears that still trembled on her cheek; her silken hair, in spite of Miss Betsey, had formed itself in little rings about her temples; and the careless grace of her attitude, notwithstanding her unbecoming dress, was a study for a painter.

“Will you go with this lady?” said the prim Miss Betsey, as the startled child unclosed her eyes at the touch of those skeleton fingers. Lily brushes her hand across her eyes, as if bewildered with the sweet face before her, and not quite sure that she is not dreaming. “My mother smiled at me so,” said she, musingly, as she slid her little hand into Mrs. Gray’s.


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At the side of a richly canopied bed, kneels our little Lily. “Please God bless my new mamma, and let her go to heaven with me.” Mrs. Gray stands concealed behind the curtain. Her lip quivers, her eyes fill; she has never prayed that prayer for herself! She struggles a moment with her pride, then, gliding forward, she kneels by the side of the little petitioner, and says, “Let us pray together, Lily.”

And days, and months, and years glide by, and Lily grows more beautiful every day, in the sunshine of love, unspoiled by prosperity. The gay world has lost its power to charm the mother; her ear is deaf to the voice of adulation, for she has taken an angel to her bosom, and in that pure presence, she looks shuddering back upon long, wasted years of frivolity, and blesses God “that a little child” hath “let her.”

But Lily’s mission now is over. The bright hectic glows with fearful brilliancy on that marble cheek. the eyes are bright with a fire that is fast consuming her. Mother and child! knit together by a spiritual birth, how shall they part now? “Earth is still fair; Heaven is fairer!” whispers Lily.

“Arms empty of her child she lifts,

With spirit unbereaven,—

God will not take back all his gifts,

My Lily’s mine in heaven.

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Still mine,—maternal rights serene,

Not given to another,

The crystal bars shine faint between

The souls of child and mother.

Well done of God to halve the lot,

And give her all the sweetness!

To us, the empty room and cot;

To her, the heaven’s completeness.

To us, this grave; to her, the rows

The mystic palm trees spring in;

To us, the silence in the house;

To her, the choral singing!

For her, to gladden in God’s view;

For us, to hope and bear on;

Grow, Lily, in thy garden new,

Beside the Rose of Sharon!”

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The last ray of sunlight faded from Helen Gray’s attic window, as she folded the coarse garment upon which she had toiled, unceasingly, since daylight. Leaning her head wearily upon the window sill, her eyes rested upon the large house opposite. A servant had just drawn aside the rich curtains at the bidding of his mistress. With what a queenly grace the Lady Emma reclined upon that blue satin fauteuil! How softly the light fell upon braided hair, fair brow, and soft, dark eyes! Passing well those rare gems became her slender fingers! Helen’s eyes noted it all, even to the rich vases, and glittering harp, and sweet pictures. “Beauty and wealth, and wedded love!” she sighed, as she closed the casement,—that must be happiness.

Helen rose the next morning, restless and miserable; her little room seemed to have contracted and grown darker; her work looked coarser and more repulsive. She looked at her hands, they were slender and delicate,—like Lady Emma’s;—her brown hair was parted over as fair a brow; the coarse robe which necessity compelled her to wear covered limbs as round and symmetrical.

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“O! why not some of the pain to her, and some of the joy to me?” she murmured, as rebellious tears forced themselves through her slender lashes.

Short-sighted Lily!

It is midnight. The Lady Emma sits alone in her room, with unbanded hair, ungirdled robe, and swollen eyelids. Costly gems and rich robes lie there unheeded; her small foot is half-buried in the thick, rich carpet. Everywhere the eye sees luxury, and in the midst a broken-heart! She has lived to see him who stood by her side at God’s altar, and who promised there to “protect and cherish her,” persecute her with the malice of a fiend. In no point of a wife’s duty has she failed toward him; but when she is present he is overlooked; he cannot forgive her mental superiority. Money, that he thought would buy him respect and deference, has but made more glaring his mental deficiencies, and careless in his revenge that the slanders he sets in circulation, will, if believed, dishonor as well the circulator as his victim, he stops short of no underhand baseness to accomplish his purpose.

He would rob her, if he could, of what is dearer to a woman than life itself,—her good name. He would make it—by an unseen agency—a gibe, a sneer, a taunt, wherever her feet shall pass. For this purpose, her escritoire has been rifled in her absence,—private letters unsuccessfully perused, while, before God, he knows her to be spotlessly innocent. Harsh words drive

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the color from her lips, as he enters the house; the rough grasp of the delicate arm, contempt in the presence of servants, and the accursed sneer in the presence of a boon companion, giving encouragement to bandy the sacred name of wife with treacherous lips, have all been added. What human ear is a safe receptacle for such fireside treachery? And this is the Lady Emma’s happiness!

O, dry those envious tears, sweet Lily! and know that it is the lofty oak, in its beauty and glory, that is riven by the lightning stroke; while the humble violet breathes out its little day of sweetness in unmolested peace.


two women in a cemetary gasp as a ghostly little figure runs toward them


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A mother had laid her darling in the earth. Many mothers have done this; it is an everyday occurrence. Myriads of little sculptured forms have been thus laid to rest, with blinding tears,—like little Mary.

Friends and acquaintances accompany them to “the narrow door,” and there they leave them. Not so the mother! Ah! there is an empty crib in the nursery; there is an untenanted chair at the table; there are little frocks hanging up in the wardrobe; there are half-worn shoes about, with the impress of a chubby little foot; there is a little, useless straw hat in the entry, there are toys that have borne its wearer happy company; there are little sisters left,—and they are loved. But, O, not like the dead! It was the first-born, and every mother who reads this will understand the height and breadth, and length and depth of that word. In all the wide earth there is no spot so dear to her as the little mound that covers her child, and she weeps and shudders when the cold wind sweeps past as night, and would fain warm its chilled limbs in the familiar resting-place. She knows the casket is rifled of the gem, but

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the eye of faith is blind with tears, and she would make her home at its grave, and would not, if she could, divest herself of the idea that such companionship would make that “long, last sleep” more peaceful.

So felt my bereaved friend, Emma ——, and the watchful love of her husband provided her a temporary home near the grave of little Mary. The rough gardener would draw his hand across his eyes, as he passed her every morning, at early dawn, sitting by that little headstone, crowning her child with the flowers she loved best; while the uplifted finger and softened tread of the stranger testified his mute sympathy.

One evening she expressed a desire to go in after the “gates were closed.” She was so restlessly miserable that it seemed a cruelty to deny her, and we effected an entrance through a broken palisade. Amid that silent company we were alone! The stars shone on as brightly as when the rayless eyes beneath had looked lovingly and hopefully upon their radiance. The timid little birds fluttered under the leaves as we passed. The perfume of a thousand flowers was borne past us on the night breeze. In that spiritual atmosphere earth seemed to dwindle, and the spirit, like a caged bird, beat against the bars of its prison-house, and longed to try its pinions in a freer air. There was an unearthly expression on Emma’s face which recalled me to myself. I gently drew her away from the grave, but no persua-

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sion could induce her to leave the cemetery. Her cheek was as pale as a snow-wreath, but we wandered on—on—till, reaching a low seat, beneath the trees, she wearily leaned her head upon my shoulder, and we sat silently down.

Listen! Distinctly, a sweet, childish voice rings out upon the still air: “Mother! mother!” Emma started to her feet,—clasping me tightly,—with lips apart, and eyes fixed in the direction of the sound. Neither spoke; and, though I am no believer in the supernatural, my limbs tottered under me. With trembling finger, Emma silently pointed in an opposite direction. It was no illusion! There was a little figure, in white, gleaming through the darkness, with outstretched arms, and snowy robe, and flowing hair! “Mother! mother!” As it approached nearer, Emma fell heavily to the ground.

It was long before she recovered from the shock; and yet, dear reader, the solution of the mystery is simple. Her youngest child, escaping from its bed, and the charge of a careless nurse, had started, with childhood’s fearless confidence, to seek us in the dim labyrinthine paths of the cemetery.

Ah, little Minnie! After all, it was “an angel” that we saw, “robed in white,” with that shining hair and seraph face!

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I wonder if one could n’t stay at home from church to-day? I’ve a threatening of a headache,—it’s uncomfortably hot,—it’s a trouble to dress. It would be so much more comfortable to sit here in this cool room, with closed blinds, en dishabille, than to encounter this hot, August sun, and sit down among a handful of people, and listen, perchance, to some inanimate preacher, who would drawl out the hymns very much as an ignorant nursery-maid might repeat melodies to a sleepy child.

Now, here’s a nice book to read,—newspapers, too; and there’s that seductive little rocking chair. O, I’ll stay at home! No I won’t; it’s a bad habit. I always feel happier if I go to church. I always come home, wishing I was more of a saint and less of a sinner. The little trifles and vexations of everyday life dwindle when viewed from Mount Calvary. One thinks tearfully of the hasty word, when its meek Sufferer is mentioned! Ah! we have need of all these helps to arrest the tide of worldliness which rushes over our spirits through the week. The stupidest preacher utters some truths. If

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the messenger have a stammering tongue, I’ll think more of his errand and the Master who sent him.

If there are but a handful of people, the more need I should not stay away. Yes, I’ll go, and I’ll go to the poor man’s church, where the pale cheek of labor is not flushed with embarrassment as the robe of plenty sweeps past; where, side by side, as they should, kneel mistress and maid, in God’s presence, of one clay. The prayer-book, which has been handled by the statesman, passed through the toil-hardened hands of his servant. Thank God, one day in the week he can realize his soul is of as much value as his master’s! How soothing is that solemn chant! How impressive the words of “Life!” How blessed is the influence of the Sabbath!

And so, with chastened spirits, we return home; and the little creature who holds my hand, says, naively,—“Aunty, I liked that sermon; it seemed just like a hymn!” An older head might less graphically have described the poet preacher’s discourse.

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The day was gloomy and chill. At the freshly-opened grave stood a little, delicate girl of five years, the only mourner for the silent heart beneath. Friendless, hopeless, homeless, she had wept till she had no more tears to shed, and now she stood, with her scanty clothing fluttering in the chill wind, pressing her little hands tightly over her heart, as if to still its beating.

“It’s no use fretting,” said the rough man, as he stamped the last shovelful of earth over all the child had left to love. “Fretting won’t bring dead folks to life. Pity you had n’t got no ship’s cousins somewheres, to take you. It’s a tough world, this ere, I tell ye. I don’t see how ye’re going to weather it. Guess I’ll take ye round to Miss Fetherbee’s; she’s got a power of children, and wants a hand to help her; so come along. If you cry enough to float the ark, it won’t do you no good.” Allie obeyed him mechanically, turning her head every few minutes to take another look where her mother lay buried.

The morning sun shone in upon an underground kitchen in the crowded city. Mrs. Fetherbee, attired in a gay-

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colored calico dress, with any quantity of tinsel jewelry, sat sewing some showy cotton lace on a cheap pocket-handkerchief. A boy of five years was disputing with a little girl of three, about an apple;—from big words they had come to hard blows; and peace was finally declared, at the price of an orange apiece and a stick of candy,—each combatant “putting in” for the biggest.

Poor Allie, with pale cheeks and swollen eyelids, was staggering up and down the floor, under the weight of a mammoth baby, who was amusing himself, by pulling out at intervals little handfuls of her hair.

“Quiet that child, can’t ye?” said Mrs. Fetherbee, in no very gentle tone. “I don’t wonder the darling is cross to see such a solemn face. You must get a little life into you somehow, or you won’t earn the salt to your porridge, here. There, I declare, you’ve half put his eyes out with those long curls, dangling round. Come here, and have ’em cut off; they don’t look proper for a charity child;” and she glanced at the short, stubby crops on the heads of the little Fetherbees.

Allie’s lip quivered, as she said, “Mother used to love to brush them smooth every morning. She said they were like little dead sister’s;—please don’t!” said she, beseechingly.

“But I tell you I do please to cut ’em off; so there’s an end of that!” said she, as the severed ringlets fell in

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a shining heap on the kitchen floor. “And do, for creation’s sake, stop talking about ‘dead’ folks;—and now eat your breakfast, if you want it. I forgot you had n’t had any. There’s some of the children’s left; if you’re hungry, it will go down; and if you ain’t, you can go without.”

Poor Allie! The daintiest morsel would n’t have “gone down.” Her eyes filled with tears that would n’t be forced back, and she sobbed out, “I must cry, if you beat me for it, my heart pains me so bad.”

“H-i-t-y, T-i-t-y! What’s all this?” said a broad-faced, rosy milkman, as he set his shining can down on the kitchen table. “What’s all this, Miss Fetherbee? I’d as lief eat pins and needles as hear a child cry. Who is she?” pointing at Allie, “and what’s the matter of her?”

“Why, the long and the short of it is, she’s a poor pauper that we’ve taken in out of charity, and she’s crying at her good luck,—that’s all,” said the lady, with a vexed toss of her head. “That’s the way benevolence is always rewarded. Nothing on earth to do here, but tend the baby, and amuse the children, and run to the door, and wash the dishes, and dust the furniture, and tidy the kitchen, and go of a few errands. Ungrateful little baggage!”

Jemmy’s heart was as big as his farm, and that covered considerable ground. Glancing pitifully at the lit-

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tle weeper, he said, skilfully, “That child’s going to be sick, Miss Fetherbee, and then what are you going to do with her? Besides, she’s too young to be of much use to you. You’d better let me take her.”

“Well, I should n’t wonder if you was half right,” said the frightened woman. “She’s been trouble enough, already. I’ll give her a ‘quit-claim.’ ”

“Will you go with me, little maid?” said Jemmy, with a bright, good-natured smile.

“If you please,” said Allie, laying her little hand confidingly in his rough palm.

“Sit up closer,” said Jemmy, as he put one arm round her, to steady her fragile figure, as they rattled over the stony pavement. “We shall soon be out of this smoky old city. Consarn it!—I always feel as if I was poisoned every time I come into town. And then we’ll see what sweet hay-fields, and new milk, and clover blossoms, and kind hearts, will do for you, you poor little plucked chicken! Where did you come from when you came to live with that old Jezebel?”

“From my mother’s grave!” said Allie.

“Poor thing!—poor thing!” said Jemmy, wiping away a tear with his coat-sleeve. “Well, never mind. I wish I had n’t asked you. I’m always running my head agin’ a beam. Do you like to feed chickens, hey? Did you ever milk a cow, or ride on top a hay-cart, or go a berrying? Do you love bouncing red apples, and

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peaches as big as your fist? It shall go hard if you don’t have ’em all. What’s come of your hair, child? Have you had your head shaved?”

“Mrs. Fetherbee cut if off,” said Allie.

“The old vixen! I wish I’d come in a little quicker. Was it your curls them young ’uns was playing with? Well, never mind,” said he, looking admiringly at the sweet face before him; “you don’t need ’em; and they might get you to looking in the glass oftener than was good for you.”

“Well, here we are, I declare;—and there stands my old woman in the door-way, shading her eyes from the sun. I guess she wonders where I raised you!”

“Look here, Betsey; do you see this child? The earth is fresh on her mother’s grave! She has neither kith nor kin. I’ve brought her from that old skinflint of a Fetherbee’s, and here she is. If you like her, it’s well and good; and if you don’t, she’ll stay here just the same. But I know you will!” said he, coaxingly, as he passed his brawny arm round her capacious waist. “And now get her something that will bring the color to her cheeks; for, mind you, I’ll have no white slaves on my farm!”

How sweetly Allie’s little, tired limbs rested in the fragrant lavendered sheets! A tear lingered on her cheek but its birth was not of sorrow. Jemmy pointed it out

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to his wife, as they stood looking at her before retiring to rest.

“Never forget it, Betsey!” said he. “Harsh words ain’t for the motherless. May God forget me, if she ever hears one from my lips!”

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Kate Stanley was a brilliant, sparkling brunette. Woe to the rash youth who exposed his heart to her fascinations! If he were not annihilated by the witching glance of her bright eye, he would be sure to be caught by the dancing dimple that played “hide-and-seek” so roguishly in her rosy cheek, or the little, rounded waist that supported her faultless bust, or the tiny feet that crept, mice-like, in and out from under the sweeping folds of her silken robe.

I am sorry to say Miss Kitty was an arrant coquette. She angled for hearts with the skill of a practiced sportsman, and was never satisfied till she saw them quivering and bleeding at her feet; then, they might flounce and flutter, and twist and writhe at their leisure,—it was no further concern of hers. She was off for a new subject.

One fine morning she sat listlessly in her boudoir, tapping one little foot upon the floor, and sighing for a new sensation, when a note was handed her. It ran thus:

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Dear Kitty:—Our little cottage home is looking lovely, this ‘leafy June.’ Are you not weary of city life? Come and spend a month with us, and refresh heart and body. You will find nothing artificial here, save yourself!



Just the thing,” said Kitty. “But the girl must be crazy, or intolerably vain, to bring me into such close contact with her handsome lover. I might as well try to stop breathing as to stop flirting; and the country, of all places, for a flirtation! The girl must be non compos. However, it’s her own affair, not mine;” and she glanced triumphantly at her beautiful face, and threaded her jewelled fingers through her long ringlets, and conquered him—in imagination!

“When do you expect your friend?” said a laughing young girl to Nelly. “From the descriptions I have had of her, your bringing her here will be something akin to the introduction of Satan into Paradise. You would not find me guilty of such a folly, were I engaged to your handsome Fitz. Now you know, Nelly dear, that although you are fascinating and intellectual, you have no pretensions to beauty, and there are few men who prize a gem, unless it is handsomely set, however great its value. Now be warned in time, and send him off on a

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pilgrimage, till her visit is over. I won’t bet on his constancy!”

“On the contrary,” said Nelly, as she rose slowly from the little couch where she was reclining, and her small figure grew erect, and her large eyes lustrous, “I would marry no man who could not pass through such an ordeal and remain true to me. I am, as you see, hopelessly plain and ungraceful; yet, from my earliest childhood, I have been a passionate worshipper of beauty. I never expect to win love; I never expected to marry; and when Fitz, with all his glorious beauty, sued for my hand, I could not convince myself that it was not all a bewildering dream. It was such a temptation to a heart so isolated as mine; and eloquently it pleaded for itself! When I drank in the music of his voice, I said, ‘Surely I must be lovely in his eyes; else why has he sought me?’ Then, in my solitary moments, I said, sadly, ‘There are none to dispute the prize with me here. He is deceiving himself. He has mistaken his own heart.’ Then, again, I would ask myself, ‘Can nothing but beauty win a noble heart? Are all my intellectual gifts valueless?’ And still, Fitz, unable to understand my contradictory moods, passionately urged his suit. It needed not that waste of eloquence; my heart was already captive. And now, by the intensity of that happiness of which I know myself to be capable, I will prove him. Kate’s beauty,—Kate’s witchery, shall be the test! If

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his heart remains loyal to me, I am his. If not,”—and her cheek grew pale, and large tears gathered slowly in her eyes,—“I have saved myself a deeper misery!”

Fitz Allan had “travelled;” and that is generally understood to mean to go abroad and remain a period of time long enough to grow a fierce beard, and fiercer moustache, and cultivate a thorough contempt for everything in your own country. This was not true of Fitz Allan. It had only bound him the more closely to home and friends. His splendid person and cultivated manners had been a letter of recommendation to him in cultivated society. He was no fop, and yet he was fully aware of these personal advantages. What handsome man is not? He had trophies of all kinds, to attest his skilful generalship; such as dainty satin slippers, tiny kid gloves, faded roses, ringlets of all colors, ebony, flaxen and auburn, and bijouterie without limit.

Happy Fitz! What spell bound him to the plain, but lovable Nelly? A nature essentially feminine; a refined, cultivated taste; a warm, passionate heart. Did he remember, when he listened to that most musical of musical voices, and sat hour after hour, magnetized by its rare witchery, as it glanced gracefully and skilfully from one topic to another, that its possessor had not the grace and beauty of a Hebe or a Venus?

It was a bright, moonlight evening. Fitz and Nelly were seated in the little rustic parlor, opening upon the

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piazza. The moon shone full upon Kate, as she stood in the low doorway. Her simple white dress was confined at the waist by a plain silken cord. Her fair white shoulders rose gracefully from the snowy robe. Her white arms, as they were crossed upon her breast, or raised above her head to catch playfully the long tendrils of the woodbine, as the wind swept them past her forehead, gleamed fair in the moonlight; and each and all had their bewildering charm. She seated herself upon the low doorstep. Song after song was borne upon the air. Her eyes now flashing with the enthusiasm of an improvisatrice; then, soft, and lustrous, and liquid, and—dangerous! Nelly’s heart beat quick; a deep crimson spot glowed upon her cheek, and, for once, she was beautiful.

Kate, apparently, took but little notice of the lovers; but not an expression that flitted across the fine face of Fitz Allan passed unnoticed by her. And she said, proudly, to herself, “I have conquered him!”

And so the bright summer month passed by, and they rambled through the cool woods, and rose through the winding paths, and sang to the quiet stars in the dim, dewy evening.

* * * * * *

“Fie, Mr. Fitz Allen! What would Nelly say, to see you kneeling here at my feet? You forget,” said the gay beauty, mockingly curling her rosy lip, “that you

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are an affianced lover, when you address such flattering language to me!”

“I only know that you are beautiful as a dream!” said the bewildered Fitz, as he passionately kissed the jewelled hand that lay unresistingly in his own.

That night, Fitz might be seen pacing his room with rapid strides, crushing in his hands a delicate note, from Nelly, containing these words:

“ ‘The moon looks on many brooks;

The brook sees but one moon.’



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“I love God, and every little child.”—Richter

A very nice old gentleman is Uncle Peter! Who minds if he does live in a rickety old house? Who ever stops to think that the cut of his coat may have been borrowed from Noah’s tailor? Who cares if he does cook his own food, and do his own waiting and tending? What if he does turn his head the other way when he sees a bonnet, with a woman under it? There is a tender place somewhere in his heart, or he would not be afraid of them! Well, never mind that. Where do the kites, and bats, and balls, and bows, and arrows, and sleds, all come from, for half the urchins in the village, if not from Uncle Peter? Are not those capacious pockets of his filled with nuts and checkerberries, and apples, and maple sugar, till the seams burst? Has he not been driving round all this blessed morning, to hunt up everything in the shape of a child, to take tea with him this afternoon?

A handsome old man is Uncle Peter! They say he has been “crossed in love.” Pity it did not happen oftener,

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then, I say, if it would make other people like him! There he stands, in the midst of his lilacs and laburnums, as simple, and child-like, and young at heart, as if the snows of age had not long since crowned his head. The birds peep curiously out from the tiny house he has leased to them, and Uncle Peter taxes them only for—songs.

There they come—the children—head-over-heels! No fear of scowls, or frowns, or boxed ears, or birchen rod, at Fern Glen. On they come!—a merry troop, with shining cheeks, bright eyes, and clean pinafores. Rosy Tom, laughing Ellen, timid Fanny, pensive Laura, queenly Kate, modest Mary, romping Ruth,—ay, Uncle Peter! “May you play with the hay? To be sure, you little monkey;—did n’t I have it cut on purpose?” Is n’t that a pretty sight, now? See that little curly head emerging from the hay-heap! With what a pretty grace she shakes out those long ringlets, and smooths her tumbled dress with those little, fat hands. Now she is in Uncle Peter’s arms, as much at home as if she had been cradled there all her life. ’T is spring and autumn! The little, rosy lips are held temptingly up for a kiss. Uncle Peter’s eyes moisten. There is a stone in yonder churchyard, that covers the heart the child has lain beneath. The blue eyes, that look so lovingly in his, have borrowed their hue from those now so dark and rayless. The mother smiles again upon the solitary man.

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He holds little Nelly closer to his heart;—the wide earth contains nothing for him so precious as the love of that sweet child. Uncle Peter thanks God there is no trace, on lip, or cheek, or brow, of him who won the mother’s love but to break her heart. But no more reveries, if you please, Uncle Peter! Curious eyes have been peeping through that vine-clad bower, at the “good things” spread upon that rustic table. Strawberries, red and tempting as childhood’s lip; cakes, that only Uncle Peter could conjure up; sugar-plums and candy, from Betty Prim’s thread-and-needle store; sweet milk from steady old Brindle; crispy little crackers for cunning little mouths, and a bunch of wood violets for each little plate.

And now the dimpled hands are reverently folded, and laughing eyes grow serious, for good old Uncle Peter cannot forget to thank “Our Father” for daily bread and for the sweet solace of childhood’s love. And soon the table is cleared, as if scoured by a party of squirrels; and what cannot be eaten is stowed away in little pockets, for future use. They all gather round Uncle Peter, and every story he tells is “prime,” and better than the one that went before. There are no captious critics in his audience, you may be sure! Little Nelly is nestled in his arms; the dimple in her rosy cheek has ceased to play; the long lashes lay wearily over the violet eyes, and the silver locks of age mingle lovingly with childhood’s sunny

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ringlets, as her little head droops on his shoulder. The rest of the merry troop all say, “Good night, good night;” still there sit Uncle Peter and Nelly. The old crone who has charge of her, cares little how long she stays at Fern Glen; and the wretched father, in his recklessness, willingly forgets the angel whose pure presence is a living rebuke to his vices; so Uncle Peter watches the flush deepen on that little cheek, and thinks, dreamily, of the past, and wishes he might never part with his little treasure.


Beautiful as the poet’s vision was Nelly on her eighteenth birthday. Peter’s wish had been granted,—the treasure was his. The death of the father had left her to the only heart which loved her, and for years she has been the sunshine of Fern Glen. It was she who placed the arm-chair under the old elm, when the sun was declining. It was her round arm which supported the trembling limbs of the aged man to his accustomed resting-place. It was she who smoothed the silver locks on his aged temples. It was her voice, whose sweet carol woke him to the enjoyment of another happy day. It was her hand which held the cooling draught to his lips; and there was not a moment when his eye did not linger with a blessing upon the light figure that flitted like an angel visitant before him.


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“And so you will leave your old uncle, and marry this fine gentleman?” said old Peter, as he pushed back the clustering hair from her blushing face.

“Never, never, dear uncle!” said the young girl, as she laid her rosy cheek caressingly to his withered face. “Naught but death shall part thee and me!”


In one corner of Fitz Roy’s travelling carriage Uncle Peter was snugly ensconced with his staff and his snuff-box,—the simple villagers crowding round, to take a last look of him and “The Rose of Fern Glen;” and many a little brimless hat went up in the air, as a farewell salute to “dear old Uncle Peter, God bless him!”

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“I wish I could extract the secret of Minnie’s happiness,” said the languid Mrs. Grey, as she lounged upon the sofa. “Such a world of trouble as she has had, first and last,—enough to annihilate a dozen women, yet, she is quite embonpoint, and always smiling and joyous. Well dressed,—nobody knows how,—never troubling her head about what this, or that, or the other person says;—flitting round, bee-fashion, gathering only honey. I declare, she’s beyond my penetration to sound. Miss Prue Pry made a special errand over there, the other day, to tell her something that ought to have worried her half to death; but I don’t believe she heard half she said; or, if she did, it did n’t move her any. She is contented anywhere, while I am ennuyed to death.”

Ah, Mrs. Grey, Minnie sings with the poet, “My mind to me a kingdom is!” Your eye is quick to detect a camel’s hair shawl, a mock diamond, or a ruinous lace. You know the damage of an upholsterer’s permit to remodel and drapery your parlors; the very last new mode for toilette; who is, and who is not, of the charmed “upper ten,” and how to graduate your bows

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accordingly. You understand “keeping tradespeople in their proper place,” and never make a mistake in selecting the shade of a silk, or a ribbon. You were brought up with an eye to “an establishment,” and you have fulfilled your destiny!

Minnie, the happy Minnie, lives in a world of her own creating, and people it to her own taste. Sunshine and rainbows come at her bidding. Poor, yet rich! “Her mind to her a kingdom is!” A golden-tinted cloud, a whispering zephyr, a twinkling star, a silver moon-beam, a rippling wave, a child’s carol, a bird’s song, a dewy flower! Behold Minnie’s dower!

Ah, Mrs. Grey, you never closed your world-dazzled eyes to listen to fairy whispers; you never walked with shadowy forms invisible to other eyes; you never heard music inaudible to other ears; you never shed delicious, happy tears at the magnetic bidding of minstrel or poet! These charmed lines are written in an unknown tongue to you!

“Take, O, boatman, thrice thy fee,—

Take, I give it willingly;

For, invisible to thee,

Spirits twain have crossed with me!

And so, smile on, joyous Minnie! Your alchemist touch turns dross to gold. Your altar-flame shall never die out;—the star you gaze at shall never dim. Sing “Eureka!” Minnie.

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“Dear father, I am so sick of brick and mortar! Have pity on me, and exile me to the woods, where I can hear the birds sing, and catch a glimpse of blue skies and green fields.”

“Can’t spare you, Kitty,” said old Mr. Kaime. “Who’ll attend to my gouty old foot; and keep the flies away when I take my nap; and hand me my cane? And whom shall I lean on when I go to walk? And who’ll read me the newspaper—politics and all—over my coffee? And what will all your lovers do, little puss?”

“Let her go,” chimed in dear, homely, cheerful Aunt Mary; “I’ll take care of you. Let her stay till she is stick of it; and, as to the ‘lovers,’ they must take care of themselves.”


“Wife,” said Farmer Moore, as he sat eating a huge bowl of bread and milk at the kitchen table, “I’ve had a letter from Cousin Walter, and he wants his daughter to come and make us a visit.”

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“She can’t come,” said Mrs. Moore, in a peevish tone. “I hate these city folks, with their thin shoes and fine manners, and flounced dresses and furbelows. She’d set me distracted with her airs. What did you tell him?”

“I told him to send her along,” said blunt old Uncle Tim, setting his bowl down with an extra flourish, as if he had quite made up his mind on the subject.

Aunt Betsey Moore drew a long sigh, as if she was regularly victimized. She was an inefficient, dawdling, nervous, fidgety woman, taking no interest either in house or farm; always fancying herself “just gone” with some incurable complaint; exacting, peevish and fretful; making everybody as uncomfortable as herself. Uncle Tim bore it like a philosopher, availing himself of every stray gleam of sunshine which shone across his path, among which Kitty was brightest. His heart turned to love, like a flower to the sunlight, and his cheerfulness brought its own reward. His two sons, Jonathan and Pete, had brought themselves up, and were straight-limbed, strong-minded, “go-ahead” specimens of Yankeeism, profoundly ignorant of the last D’Orsay cravat tie, and quite benighted as to the most fashionable cut for dress coats and pantaloons; more learned in hay-making than in Greek and Latin; and quite well satisfied with the rustic Venuses which graced the village church of a Sunday. They made it their

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home in the kitchen, year in and year out,—Aunt Betsey having no desire to superintend the sweeping of another room. The “best parlor” was consequently given over to its green paper curtains, and yellow wooden chairs, except on such time-honored occasions as Thanksgiving and Fourth of July, when Uncle Tim persisted in brushing down the cobwebs, and letting in a little daylight.

Pete and Jonathan were raking hay, in front of the house, when the stage drove up with Kitty. They had cased themselves in an impenetrable armor of reserve, determined to take as little notice as possible of their city cousin. Kitty sprang lightly to the ground, and Pete, being the boldest man of the two, advanced to give her a welcome. There was no withstanding her gay, good-humored smile, and no resisting the dainty little hand that was extended to clasp his rough palm. Pete’s reserve vanished in the sunshine of her smile; he thought her “a little the prettiest girl he ever saw,” and for the first time in his life distrusted his ability to “make an impression.” Aunt Betsey smiled a grim dyspeptic welcome, and Kitty, nothing daunted, seated herself on the kitchen doorstep, among a brood of chickens, and began fanning herself with a huge plantain leaf. “How very delicious this all is!” said she, as the cool breeze lifted the curls from her forehead. “What a charming little brook that is yonder! and what a fine tree! and, O,

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that must be Uncle Tim coming up the lane with the hay-cart! I do love to ride on a hay-cart.” And away she bounded to meet him. Pete looked after her in a sort of amazed bewilderment, and wished he was as old as his father when he saw her kiss him! Uncle Tim was delighted with his niece, and even Aunt Betsey’s muscles began to relax when Kitty insisted on turning out tea and waiting on her uncle. The next morning she was up with the lark, had sketched the great tree under the window, trained a stray rosebush over the door-way, and taken a general survey of the premises, including the mysterious “best parlor.”

When Uncle Tim came home, weary, to his dinner, Kitty handed him a glass of milk, cool and sweet; brought him a basin to lave his hands and face, and then drew him gently toward the best parlor. What a metamorphosis! The stiff green paper curtains had disappeared, and simple white muslin was gracefully looped in their place. A vase of wild flowers, exquisitely arranged, stood on the little table. A distorted drawing of “Time with his scythe and hour-glass” was skilfully concealed under a frame of evergreen. The blinds were but partially closed, and every breeze wafted in a fragrant shower of rose-leaves; and, better than all, Aunt Betsey sat in the corner, with her knitting and footstool to her mind, and something very like her old smile playing round the corners of her mouth.

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“I wish we could keep you here always,” said Uncle Tim, as his brown hand rested on her white forehead. “You are a ray of sunshine yourself!”

“I never’ll say any more agin city folks,” said Aunt Betsey, “except that they are not all like Kitty.”

Days flew by like magic, and Kitty was here, and there, and everywhere; skimming the ground like a swallow on the wing; down in the meadow with Uncle Tim, “taking after;” then in the barn with Pete, petting the pony; now in the garden culling flowers; then, with her dimpled arms bare, preparing some little dainty “for Uncle Tim’s supper.” Aunt Betsey forgot her “last complaint;” the boys grew fond of staying in the house, and Kitty had a general admiration for everything on the farm, down to the speckled chicken. Meanwhile, her city adorers grew desperate at her long absence, and one, more determined than the rest, made up his mind to try if his wooing would not be more prosperous in the country than in the city. A shrewd calculation, Mr. Frank! there were ugly, crooked stiles to be helped over! There were dim, fragrant old woods to traverse, in search of wild flowers; there were cool, delicious sunsets, and balmy, still moonlight evenings; and little Miss Kitty began to think Frank had “improved wonderfully;” and that it would be very ridiculous for her to keep up stiff city manners at “Sweet Briar Farm.” Uncle Tim saw “which way the wind blew,”

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as he said, but wisely kept his own counsel; and when Frank, proud and happy, drove off triumphantly with their pretty cousin, Pete and Jonathan both agreed that very nice, warm-hearted people might be “raised” even in the artificial atmosphere of a city.

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Little Mabel had no mother. She was slight, and sweet, and fragile, like her type, the lily of the valley. Her little hand, as you took it in yours, seemed almost to melt in your clasp. She had large, dark eyes, whose depths, with all your searching, you might fail to fathom. Her cheek was very pale, save when some powerful emotion lent it a passing flush; her fair, open brow might have defied an angel’s scrutiny; her little footfall was noiseless as a falling snow-flake; and her voice was sweet and low as the last note of the bird ere it folds its head under its wing for nightly slumber.

The house in which Mabel lived was large and splendid. You would have hesitated to crush with your foot the bright flowers on the thick, rich carpet. The rare old pictures on the walls were marred by no envious cross-lights. Light and shade were artistically disposed. Beautiful statues, which the sculptor, dream-inspired, had risen from a feverish couch to finish, lay bathed in the rosy light which streamed through the silken curtains. Obsequious servants glided in and out, as if

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taught by instinct to divine the unspoken wants of their mistress.

I said the little Mabel had no mother; and yet there was a lady, fair and bright, of whose beautiful lip, and large, dark eyes, and graceful limbs, little Mabel’s were the mimic counterpart. Poets, artists and sculptors had sung, and sketched, and modelled her charms. Nature had been most prodigal of adornment. Rhere was only one little thing she had forgotten,—the Lady Mabel had no soul.

Not that she forgot to deck little Mabel’s limbs with costliest fabrics of most unique fashioning. Not that every shining ringlet on that graceful little head was not arranged, by Mademoiselle Jennet, in strict obedience to orders; not that a large nursery was not fitted up luxuriously at the top of the house, filled with toys which its little owner never cared to look at; not that the Lady Mabel’s silken robe did not sweep, once a week, with a queenly grace through the apartment, to see if the mimic wardrobe provided for its little mistress fitted becomingly, or needed replenishing, or was kept in order by the smart French maid. Still, as I said before, the little Mabel had no mother!

See her, as she stands there by the nursery window, crushing her bright ringlets in the palm of her tiny hand. Her large eyes glow; her cheek flushes, then pales; now the little breast heaves; for the gorgeous west is one sea

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of molten gold. Each bright tint thrills her with strange rapture. She almost holds her breath, as they deepen, then fade and die away. And now the last bright beam disappears behind the hills, and the soft, gray twilight comes creeping on. Amid its deepening shadows, one bright star springs suddenly to its place in the heavens. Little Mabel cannot tell why the warm tears are coursing down her sweet face; or why her limbs tremble, and her heart beats so fast; or why she dreads lest the shrill voice of Mademoiselle Jennet should break the spell. She longs to soar, like a bird, or a bright angel. She had a nurse once, who told her “there was a God.” She wants to know if He holds that bright star in its place. She wants to know if heaven is a long way off, and if she shall ever be a bright angel; and she would like to say a little prayer, her heart is so full, if she only knew how; but, poor, sweet little Mabel,—she has no mother!

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What a pity people will not fulfil their destiny, and stay in their own proper niche in this world’s gallery! Why will they mistake their vocation? Now don’t think this is a great portico before a little building, for the matter I am about to speak of is a “crying evil.”

Yesterday was a beautiful Sunday,—just such a day as makes one feel devotional, whether or no;—quiet and still, soft and balmy. Little children,—the flowers and poetry of life’s wayside,—looking fresh and sweet as if the Saviour’s hands had just blessed them; and fathers and mothers, forgetting life’s cares and turmoil, to look heavenward; the dim, subdued light of the time-honored chapel; the grand, solemn voluntary on the organ,—all were suggestive and impressive. The clergyman rose, and read that beautiful hymn,—

“There is a land of pure delight.”

Shade of Watts!—how it was murdered! Commas, semicolons and periods, of no account at all. The perspiration stood in drops on my forehead. I could have rushed through the eye of a needle, had I as many humps

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on my back as a camel! Well, the singing brought me to a little;—revived me in time for a fresh—crucifixion! Why need he have selected the beautiful story of the little ewe lamb? Such a sledge-hammer, wooden delivery! His voice and right hand went up and down together, as if they were keeping time on a wager. I could not stand it;—I took up the hymn-book to read, till I remembered that I should respect “the Master,” though I might dislike the messenger. “O, your heart was not right!” I beg your pardon;—I started fair; never felt so good in my life, till he knocked it all in the head! O, I so love beauty and harmony in everything! A very good, careful merchant was spoiled when that black coat was put on; somebody ought to tell him of it,—I dare not! He was as much out of place in that pulpit, as I should be commanding a ship of war. O-o-h, that hymn is ringing in my ears yet!


a woman embraces a sailor


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How it flew from one laughing lip to another!—trembling on the tongue of decrepitude; lisped by prattling infancy, and falling like a funeral knell on the ear of the grief-stricken!

Little, busy feet were running to and fro, trumpeting the fame of “good Santa Claus.” The pretty blue-eyed maiden blushed, as she placed her Christmas gift on the betrothal finger. Yes, it might have been ten times colder than it was, and nobody would have know it, everybody’s heart was so warm.

See that great house opposite! How bright the fire-light falls on those rare old pictures; on marble, and damask, and gold and silver! Now, they are decking a Christmas-tree. Never a diamond sparkled brighter than those children’s eyes. ’T is all sunshine at the great house.

Kathleen sits at her low, narrow window. She sees it all. There are no pictures on her walls; though she has known the time when they were decked with the rarest. There is nothing there, now, that the eye would look

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twice upon, save the fair, sad face of its inmate. But it is not of gilded splendor she is thinking.

Last Christmas the wealth of a noble heart was laid at her feet. Now she is written widow! How brief a word to express such a far-reaching sorrow! Walter and she were so happy. “Only one voyage more, dear Katie, and then I will turn landsman, and stay with you on shore;” and so Kathleen clung, weeping, to his neck, and bade him a silent farewell. And since! * * * O, how wearily pass time’s leaden footsteps, to the watchful eye and the listening ear of love! “Her eyes were with her heart, and that was far away.”

Day after day crept on. Then came, at last, these crushing words,—“All on board perished!”

With that short sentence, the light of hope died out in her heart, and the green earth became one wide sepulchre. The blight fell early on so fair a flower. There were many who would gladly have lit again the love-light in those soft, blue eyes; but from all Kathleen turned, heart-sick, away to her little, lonely room, to toil, and dream, and weep, and pray.

And now the twilight has faded away, and the holy stars, one by one, have come stealing out, to witness her sorrow. There she sits, with a filling eye and an aching heart, and watches the merry group yonder. Life is so bright to them; so weary to her, without that dear arm to lean upon. Could she but have pillowed that dying

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head; heard him say but once more, “I love you, Kathleen.” But that despairing struggle with those dark, billowy waves; that shriek for “help,” where no help could come; that strong arm and brave heart so stricken down! Poor Kathleen!

Blessed sleep!—touch those sad eyes lightly. Torture not that troubled heart with mocking dreams. See, she smiles!—a warm flush creeps to her cheek, and dries away the tear. Sleep has restored the dear one to her. Dream on while you may, sweet Kathleen!


“That is the house, sir. God bless me, that you should be alive! That one, sir, with the small windows. No light there. Find the way, sir?”

Tap, tap, on the window! Kathleen wakes from that sweet dream to listen. She does not tremble, for grief like hers knows neither hope nor fear. She is soon apparelled, and, shading the small lamp with her little hand, advances to the door. Its flickering ray falls upon the stalwart form before her. What is there in its outline to palsy her tongue, and blanch her cheek? This torturing suspense! If the stranger would but speak!


With one wild cry of joy, she falls upon his neck.

Ah, little Katie! Dreams are not always a mockery! A merry Christmas to you!

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“Be careful, dear father,” said Leta, as she smoothed the old man’s gray locks, and placed a little basket in his hand. “Mind the crossings,—you are so hard of hearing, and the streets are so crowded. If you would but wait till I get this work done.”

“Never fear,” said the old man, taking his staff from the corner; “I shall be back before you hardly know I’m gone. These old limbs won’t carry me far. My work is most done, Leta. I shall have my six feet of earth before long, and that’s all the richest man in the land can hold at the last.”


Hurry, drive and bustle; coaches, wheelbarrows, carts and omnibuses, dogs and children, ladies and shop-girls, apprentices and masters, each one at tip-top speed, as if they were going to sign a quit-claim to life the next minute. Everybody looking out for number one, and caring little who jostled past, if their rights were not infringed. Very gay the ladies looked in their rainbow dresses; the

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school-room, flushed with delight at their temporary emancipation, and their little owners were trying the strength of their respective lungs in a way that made the old man’s deafness a very questionable affliction. The overtasked sempstress, in her shabby little bonnet, looked on hopelessly at the moving panorama. She had become habituated to brick pavements and Babel sounds, an aching side, weary eyes and a dull, dead weight at her heart; and so she creeps home from her daily task,—home to her gloomy attic, to look at the patch of blue sky from her roof window. Now and then a blade of grass, that has forced its way through the brick pavements, brings to her mind the fragrant hay-field, and sunny meadow, and dim old woods of her country home; and she wonders if the little wild-flowers still grow in their favorite nook; and if the little brook, where she bathed her feet, goes babbling on as musically as ever; and if the golden moss blossoms out on the rock clefts; and if the wind makes sweet leaf-music in the tall tree-tops; and if the bright sunset clouds still rest like a glory on the mountain-brow; and if the little lake lies like a sheet of silver in the clear moonbeams; and if her old father sits in the honeysuckle porch, that the wind may lift the silver hairs from his heated temples; and if her little brother and sister still sit under the old shady oak, making tea-sets of acorns.

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Hurry, bustle and drive!—on they go, and the little sempstress disappears around the corner with the crowd.

A shriek, a shout! Poor, old man!—there he lies under the horses’ hoofs, his gray hairs trampled in the dust, struggling, with what strength he may, for the remnant of his poor life. The coachman “was not to blame.” Nobody is ever “to blame,” now-a-days! So he swore as he dismounted, and dragging the old man, covered with dust and blood, to the sidewalk, jumped on his coach-box, cracked his whip, and thanked his stars it was “nothing but an old beggar-man, whom nobody cared for.” And the young physician, whose maiden sign was that morning hung out the door, popped his head out the window, took a professional bird’s-eye view of the case,—sighed, as he returned to this cigar, that accidents always seemed to happen, now-a-days, to people from whom one could not get a fee. It was a case he did not feel called upon to notice. His net was spread for golden fish.

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Gratifies every childish desire, how injurious soever, or unreasonable, and yet maintains the most perfect government;—is perfectly willing her step-children’s relatives should feed them to surfeiting, with pickles, preserves, and sugar,—meekly holding herself in readiness for a two months’ siege by a sickbed rather than venture a remonstrance;—has no objection to their being stopped on the way to school, by a self-appointed committee of Paul Prys in petticoats, to pass an examination as to the fitness of their shoe-strings, pinafores and satchels;—always lets “the children” take papa’s two hands going to church, and walks behind herself, if the neighbors think best;—is quite charmed to welcome a stage-load of their relatives, who come on a foraging expedition, to see “how the dear children are treated;”—looks as sweet as a June morning, when she finds them peeping into tea-caddies, and punching their knuckles into the bread, “to see if it has riz;”—goes through the catechism, without flinching, from the price of brown soap and the wages of her cook, to the straw mat in the

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entry, and the trimming on her Sunday gown;—is perfectly willing to see them holding little, private caucuses with the juveniles, who are keen enough to see which way they are expected to answer;—shuts her own children up in a dark room, if they make any objection to being used for a pincushion, or to being scalped, one hair at a time, by the strange brood;—after wearing herself to a skeleton trying to please everybody, has the satisfaction of hearing herself called “a cruel, hard-hearted step-mother!”

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“How did you come in possession of this?” said a young man, directing the pawnbroker’s attention to a small, ruby pin in the show-case.

“That? O, that was brought here last night, by a prettyish young woman, who seemed to be in a great fluster about the money; and so I bought it of her.”

“How did she look? Had she blue eyes? Was she tall and slender?”

“Lord bless your soul!” said the pawnbroker, “I has hundreds of ’em in here every day; I never looks twice at ’em. She was a broken-down lady, I reckon. Somebody said she lived up that court yonder. Like to redeem the brooch, sir?”

“Yes, certainly,” said Ernest; and, paying the extortioner five times what he had given for it, he deposited it in his vest pocket.

“Good God! that Agnes Kearn should come to this!” was his first exclamation on reaching the street. “That brooch, that I have seen sparkle on her snowy neck thou-

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sands of times, when I could have kissed the very ground her little foot trod upon! Agnes in a pawnbroker’s shop!” And he reeled and leaned for support against a jutting wall of the old building. Just then, a little girl tripped past, and, striking her foot against the curbstone, fell heavily against him. Ernest raised her in a moment, and kissing her little, innocent face, was about releasing her, when the thought struck him that she might assist him in his search for Agnes.

“Where do you live, pretty one?” said he, looking into her bright blue eyes.

“I can’t tell,” said the child, blushing; “my mamma bids me not talk to strangers. Won’t you please put me down, sir?”

“Yes, certainly,” said Ernest, as he saw her little lip begin to quiver; “only tell me your name first.”

“I can’t tell,” said she again, with a womanly decision that would have amused him at any other time. So, putting her gently down upon the pavement, he prepared to follow her at a distance. There was something in the expression of her face that interested him,—that reminded him of one he had loved, O, how deeply! And then he counted the weary years that had intervened since her marriage. Yes; it might be her child.

On she went, little Minnie, turning corner after corner, with the speed of an antelope, then disappeared up the

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small, dingy court, into the doorway of a small, black house, never once turning her graceful little head.

Ernest followed; she opened a small door, and, for getting in her haste to close it after her, he heard her say,—almost breathless from speed and agitation,—“I did n’t tell mamma; I did n’t tell. The gentleman asked me my name, and where I lived; but,—kiss me, mamma,—I certainly did n’t tell him.”

“Dear child,” said the mother, as she gave her a kiss.

That voice! there was but one in the wide world that could so thrill him.

“O, mamma, here he is!” said Minnie, as she tried to close the door. “I certainly did n’t tell him,” and she began to sob piteously.

“Agnes! Ernest!” They were simple words to convey so much meaning! “You husband, Agnes, is he dead? Why do I find you here?” She shook her head, and turned deadly pale.

“What then?” said Ernest, drawing himself up as if he were already called upon to protect her.

“Dead to me,” said Agnes, in a low voice.

Ernest took from his pocket the small brooch. “You must have suffered much, ere you would have parted with this, Agnes. It has told me a silent tale of misery, that I will not pain your heart to echo. I ask you not of him. It is enough for me, that he is living, while you

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are suffering here. I will not curse him in your presence; but, Agnes, you must give me the right of an old friend to care for you; you must leave this wretched place;” and he looked first at her, then at the miserable surroundings.

“Your father, Agnes! does he know of this? Is money still his god?”

Agnes replied only by her tears.

“Tell me,—how have you lived?” said Ernest.

She pointed to a small escritoire in the corner of the room.

“Slow starvation!” said he contemptuously. “This is folly, Agnes. Just look at your position; deserted, from avaricious motives, by those who should rally around you in your hour of trial; wasting your youth and health in humbling yourself for employment to those who can neither understand your position nor appreciate yourself. Agnes, give me,—if I may claim no dearer title,—a brother’s right to provide and care for you.”

Agnes Kearn rose from her chair, pale, but calm. “Listen to me, Ernest. What I have been, you know; what I am now, by God’s dark providence, you see. That I have suffered more keenly than even you, who read my heart so well, can dream, I acknowledge. Nothing that meets my eye here that is not coarse and repulsive. I have deprived myself of food, that my child might not hunger. I have toiled till morn-

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ing for my daily bread. I have no earthly father save in name; but through all this, Ernest, I have maintained my self-respect, and I would rather die than take one dollar, even as a loan, from you. Nay, hear me out,” said she, laying her hand upon his arm, as he strode impatiently across the room. “This poor, weary heart is tried and tasked to the utmost. Like Noah’s dove, it finds no resting-place. Nay, spare your reproaches, and be generous. Think you it costs that heart nothing to turn coldly away, and say Nay?” and her voice trembled, and her eyes filled. “Ernest, my heart may not echo back your words of kindness; the love that is born of sorrow is strong, and wild, and deep. Leave me, Ernest. Do not deceive yourself; it is not a brother’s heart you offer me. I must toil on, unaided by you. The night has been long, tedious and starless; the morning must dawn ere long. I will wait and trust. If I forsake not myself, God will not forsake me.”

“Once more,—shall I leave you, Agnes?” said the young man, as he took her hand.

“God wills it,” was her low reply.

The door closed upon Ernest’s retreating figure; then her woman’s heart gave way. Covering her face with her hands, she wept long and bitterly; then came a holy calm,—a peace which only those may know who are self-conquerors.

And where was that “earthly father?” He ate and

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drank and slept, careless who befriended his child; careless of the more than mortal strength she needed to keep that warm and tried heart from yielding to the pressure of poverty, temptation and despair. “Like as a father pitieth his children” were unmeaning words to poor Agnes.


“This is a very correct translation,” said the pedantic Professor Boggs; “very well done, madam; could n’t have done better myself; and that’s the highest praise I can bestow upon it. I suppose you expect to be well paid for it, like all the rest of our applicants for this sort o’ thing.”

“I need all you can give me,” said Agnes dejectedly; “it has cost me a week of unremitting labor.”

“V-e-r-y p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e,” said the professor, looking at her through his glasses; “I’m told you are the daughter of old Mr. Kearn; he is a man who is well off; how came you to be reduced to this extremity?” (Cruel, avaricious father! the dagger again driven home to that suffering heart by your neglectful hand!)

Agnes replied, “You will excuse me, sir, from entering into the details of my private history. If the translation pleases you, I shall be happy to dispose of it; if not, I must look elsewhere.”

Mr. Boggs returned it, with a stately bow. Agnes

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found her way into the open air. The excitement of her interview with Ernest, fasting and fatigue, “told” at last. Her steps became unsteady, her sight failed her; she reeled, and fell upon the pavement.

“Drunk!” said one of the bystanders, with a sneer.

“A fallen angel!” said another.

“Take her to the watch-house,” said a third.

“Here, little girl,” said a rowdy lad, seizing a child, who seemed quite bewildered by the crowd, “don’t you want to get a sight of the drunken woman?”

“No, no,” said the child, struggling to free herself as he lifted her above their heads; then, with a piercing shriek, as her eyes fell on the prostrate form, “O, it is my mamma! my own dear mamma! she’s dead! my mamma is dead!” and making her way to her side, she kissed her pale lips, and sobbed, and clung to her neck, till there was not a dry eye in the crowd.

“Mr. Kearn,” said a little, dapper man, as he touched that gentleman’s gold-headed cane, “do you see that crowd yonder?”

“Yes—yes—what of it? A crowd is nothing. What of it?”

“Nothing in particular,—only they are looking at your daughter Agnes, who has fainted from fasting and hard work; and your little grandchild is sobbing over her as if her heart would break. Now, look here, sir! I respect gray hairs; but if it was n’t for that, I would call

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you (what your Bible calls those who fail to provide for their own households) ‘worse than an infidel!’ Now I am a rich, childless old man, and I’m going to take her off your hands. She told my nephew, Ernest, when she nobly refused his assistance, that ‘if she did not forsake herself, God would not forsake her;’—and He has not! She is my daughter from this day, sir, and may God forgive your avarice!”

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“I wonder who made God? Mamma don’t know. I thought mamma knew everything. The minister don’t know, because I asked him. I wonder do the angels know? I wonder shall I know, when I go to heaven?”

Dear little May! She looked like an angel then, as she stood under the linden-tree, with her eyes fixes on the far-off sky, and the sunlight falling on that golden hair, till it shone like a glory round her head. You would have loved our little May,—not because her face had such a pensive sweetness in it, or that her step was light as a fawn’s, or her little limbs so gracefully moulded,—but because her heart was full of love for every living thing which God had made. One day I rambled with her in the wood. She had gathered her favorite flowers,—the tiniest and most delicate;—the air was full of music, and the breeze laden with fragrance; the little birds were not happier than we. Little May stood still; her large eyes grew moist with happy tears, and, dropping her little treasures of moss, leaves, and flowers, at my feet, she said, “Dear Fanny, let me pray.”

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She knew that the good God scattered all this beauty so lavishly about us, and she could not enjoy it without thanking Him. Dear little May! we listen in vain for her voice of music now.

“The church-yard hath an added stone,

And Heaven one spirit more.”

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a man looks down his nose at a woman with her hand out


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Mr. Nicodemus Ney is a philanthropist,—so the world says; (and I, as in duty bound, have a great respect for the opinion of the world;) that is, he goes about collecting ninepences and half-dollars from poor, overtasked servant girls, and half-fed clerks, for the founding of “charitable institutions” for all sorts of distressed persons, who never knew what an unfortunate situation they were in, until he told them.

How much of the money thus obtained is paid out for the purpose specified is “nothing to nobody!” He often takes long journeys to Niagara, and other places of fashionable resort; but it would be very malicious “to put that and that together.” Some of the donors, too, are occasionally impertinent enough to inquire, point blank, what has become of their funds! As if a man who belongs to the church, wears such a long face, fortified with such a white and stiff cravat, makes such long prayers, and has such a narrow creed, could be anything but the quintessence of honesty! It is astonishing how

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suspicious and impertinent some people are! Beside, don’t Nicodemus dine once a week with the Hon. Dives Doncaster? And is he not always on the platform on all public occasions, as solemn as an owl, alongside of the other great guns? You can see, with half an eye, that suspicion of him is perfectly ridiculous.

Should Mr. Nicodemus Ney sit toasting his feet at the fire, after a surfeiting dinner, and should a poor, down-trodden creature come in for relief, you could not expect him to disturb his digestion by attending to such a petty case of distress. He is a great man, and only does things on a large scale,—on a scale that will tell! Beside, it is his forte to draw money out of people’s pockets, not to put it in.

Very circumspect is Nicodemus. It would puzzle you to keep track of any of his personal or domestic expenditures; all his bargains are strictly “private,” and he was never known to answer the simplest question without first doubling Cape Look-out! Is he attacked? He goes whining to “Dives;” and I would like to see any dog bark when a rich man tells him to hold his tongue.

And so Nicodemus grows fatter and sleeker every year, keeping wrinkled and rumors at bay. The poor draw a long, hopeless sigh as he passes them, and the uninitiated touch their hats respectfully, and say, “It is Nicodemus Ney, the great philanthropist!”

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When the spirit moves you to amuse yourself with “shopping,” be sure to ask the clerk for a thousand-and-one articles you have no intention of buying. Never mind about the trouble you make him; that’s part of the trade. Pull the fingers of the gloves you are examining quite out of shape; inquire for some nondescript color, or some scarce number, and, when it is found, “think you won’t take any this morning;” then, keep him an hour hunting for your sun-shade, which you, at length, recollect you “left at home;” and depart without having invested a solitary cent.

When you enter a crowded lecture-room, and a gentleman rises politely,—as American gentlemen always do,—and offers to give up his seat,—which he came an hour ago to secure for himself,—take it, as a matter of course; and don’t trouble yourself to thank him, even with a nod of your head. As to feeling uneasy about accepting it, that is ridiculous! because, if he don’t fancy standing during the service, he is at liberty to go home; it is a free country!

When you enter the cars, and all the eligible places

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are occupied, select one to your mind; then walk up to the gentleman, who is gazing at the fine scenery through the open window, and ask him for it, with a queenly air, as if he would lose caste instanter, did he hesitate to comply. Should any persons seat themselves near you, not exactly of “your stamp,” gather up the folds of your dress cautiously, as if you were afraid of contagion, and apply a “vinaigrette” to your patrician nose!

Understand, thoroughly, the dexterous use of a sun-shade, in enabling you to avoid the infliction of a “bore,” or an “unpresentable person,” in the street; avoiding, under that shield, the unladylike impropriety of the “cut direct,”—allowable only in cases of undisguised impertinence.

Should you receive an invitation to a concert, manage to accept it,—conditionally;—leaving a door to escape, should a more eligible offer present itself.

When solicited to sing at a party, decline, until you have drawn around you the proper number of entreating swains; then yield gracefully, as if it were a great sacrifice of your timidity.

Flirt with an admirer to the last end of the chapter, and then “be so taken by surprise” when he makes the declaration you were driving at! As “practice makes perfect,” every successful attempt of this nature will render you more expert at angling for hearts, besides exerting a very beneficial effect upon your character.

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As to cultivating your mind, that is all waste powder; you have better ammunition to attack the enemy; and as to cultivating your heart, there is no use in talking about a thing that is unfashionable! So, always bear in mind that all a pretty woman is sent into the world for, is to display the fashions as they come out; waltz, flirt, dance, sing, and play the mischief generally!

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Would not wear her veil up, on any account;—thinks her complexion looks fairer than ever, in contrast with her sables;—sends back her new dress, because the fold of crape on the skirt “is not deep mourning enough;”—steadfastly refuses to look in the direction of a “dress coat” for—one week!—wonders if that handsome Tompkins, who passes her window every day, is insane enough to think she will ever marry again;—is fond of drawing off her glove, and resting her little, white hand on her black bonnet, thinking it may be suggestive of an early application for the same;—concludes to give up the loneliness of housekeeping, and try boarding at a hotel;—accepts Tompkins’ invitation to “attend the children’s concert,” just to please little Tommy. Tommy is delighted, and thinks Tompkins “a very kind gentleman,” to give him so much candy and so many bonbons. His mamma begins to admit certain alleviations of her sorrow, in the shape or protracted conversations, walks, rides, calls, &c. She cries a little, when Tommy asks her if she has not “forgotten to plant the flowers” in a certain cemetery. Tompkins comes in, and thinks her love-

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lier than ever, smiling through her tears. Tommy is sent out into the garden, to make “pretty dirt pies,”—to the utter demolition of a new frock and trousers,—and returns very unexpectedly, to find his mamma’s cheeks very rosy, and to be tossed up in the air by Tompkins, who declares himself “his new papa.”

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Begins to think of No. 2 before the weed on his hat loses its first gloss;—may be seen assisting young girls to find a seat in church, or ordering carts off dry crossings, for pretty feet that are waiting to pass over;—is convinced he “never was made to live alone;”—his “children must be looked after,” or, if he has not any, he would like to be looked after—himself;—draws a deep sigh every time a dress rustles past, with a female woman in it;—is very particular about the polish of his boots and the fit of his gloves;—thinks he looks very interesting in black;—don’t walk out in public much with his children; when he does, takes the youngest;—revives his old taste for moonlight and poetry;—pities single men with all his heart; wonders how they contrive to exist!—reproves little John for saying “Pa” so loud, when he meets him in the street;—sets his face against the practice of women’s going home “alone and unprotected” from evening meeting;—tells the widows his heart aches for them!—wonders which, of all the damsels he sees, he shall make up his mind to marry;—is sorry he shall be obliged to disappoint them all but one!—has long since preferred

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orange-blossoms to the cypress-wreath;—starts up, some fine day, and refurnishes his house from garret to cellar;—hangs his first wife’s portrait in the attic,—shrouded in an old blanket,—and marries a playmate for his oldest daughter.

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“The tear of a loving girl is like a dew-drop on a rose; but on the cheek of a wife, is a drop of poison to her husband.”

It is “an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” Papas will be happy to hear that twenty-five dollar pocket-handkerchiefs can be dispensed with now, in the bridal trousseau. Their “occupation’s gone”! Matrimonial tears “are poison.” There is no knowing what you will do, girls, with that escape-valve shut off; but that is no more to the point, than—whether you have anything to smile at or not; one thing is settled—you must not cry! Never mind back-aches, and side-aches, and head-aches, and dropsical complaints, and smoky chimneys, and old coats, and young babies! Smile! It flatters your husband. He wants to be considered the source of your happiness, whether he was baptized Nero or Moses! Your mind never being supposed to be occupied with any other subject than himself, of course a tear is a tacit reproach. Besides, you miserable little whimperer! what have you to cry for? A-i-n-t y-o-u m-a-r-r-i-e-d? Is n’t that the summum bonum,—the height of feminine ambition? You can’t get beyond that! It

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is the jumping-off place! You’ve arriv!—got to the end of your journey! Stage puts up there! You have nothing to do but retire on your laurels, and spend the rest of your life endeavoring to be thankful that you are Mrs. John Smith! “Smile!” you simpleton!

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We know of no state of slavery on earth like that attendant upon the newspaper life, whether it be as director or subordinate. Your task never ended, your responsibility never secured, the last day’s work is forgotten at the close of the day on which it appeared, and the dragon of tomorrow waits open-mouthed to devour your thoughts, and snap up one morsel more of your vexed existence. Be as successful as is the nature of things to be;—write with the least possible degree of exertion;—be indifferent to praise, and lion-hearted against blame;—still will the human heart wear out before its time, and your body, if not your mind, exhibit every symptom of dry rot.—Newspaper

“Dry” fiddlestick! That man’s dinner did not digest; or the wind was “dead east;” or his wife had astonished him with a pair of twins; or his boots pinched him.

I will wager you a new neck-tie that he is one of the cross-grained sort, who would go to fisticuffs with Gabriel and raise a rebellion in Paradise. There is not a word of truth in what he says. I have been behind the curtain, and I will speak this time! I tell you that editors are just the fattest, sleekest, happiest, most rolicksome, the cleverest, brightest, most intelligent and lovable set of humans in existence; and the only reason they don’t

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“own up,” is because they are afraid to let the world in general know how many little favors and perquisites fall to their lot!

They go down to the office in the morning,—after a careful toilette and a comforting breakfast,—make up a fire in the stove hot enough to roast an Icelander, “hermetically seal” every door and window, put on a pair of old slippers, light a cigar, draw up a huge easy-chair, stick their feet up twice as high as their heads, and—proceed to business (?); that is to say, between the whiffs of that cigar they tell excruciatingly funny stories, poke each other in the ribs, agree to join the mutual admiration society, retail all the “wire-pulling” behind the scenes, calculate which way the political cat is going to jump, and shape the paragraphs accordingly;—tell who threw that huge bouquet, at last night’s concert, to Madam Fitz Humbug;—shake hands, and make room for all the “hale-fellows-well-met” that drop in to see them;—keep their intellects sharpened up by collision with the bright and gifted,—in short, live in one perpetual clover-field, and when they die, all the newspapers write nice little obituary notices, and give them a free pass to Paradise. I would like to know if that looks like a “vexed existence?”

Time would fail me to tell of the wedding-cake, and flowers, and fruits, and annuals, embroidered purses and tasselled smoking-caps, pretty little notes, braided watch-

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chains, the handkerchiefs they get perfumed, and gloves mended,—for nothing!

How everybody nudges his neighbor, when they appear at lecture, or concert, or opera, and says, “There’s that clever fellow, the editor of The Comet!” How he has a season-ticket to a free seat by a Frog Pond; how he has,—but there is no use in telling all a body knows! Christopher Columbus! Editor’s life a “vexed existence!”

“Let those laugh now who never laughed before,

And those who always laughed now laugh the more.”

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Mr. Brown.—Pray, Jane, what on earth is the reason I am kept waiting for my breakfast in this way?

Jane.—Please, sir, the rolls is n’t come, and there’s no bread in the house.

Mr. Brown.—Now, upon my word! How can you annoy me with such trifles? No bread! then bring me some toast. (Exit Jane in dismay.)

I think I see him! Ragged dressing-gown; beard two days old; depressed dickey; scowling face; out at elbows, out of sorts, and—out of “toast!” Poor thing! Don’t the sight make my heart ache? How should he be expected to know that bread was the fore runner of toast, without a wife to tell him?

Bachelors never cut their “wisdom teeth!” It is astonishing how people can make themselves merry at their expense. I consider their case calls for the deepest commiseration. It is not toast they want,—it is a wife! Toast will naturally follow,—and in fine order, too! But, bless your soul! the poor creaturs don’t know, half the time, what ails them. They have a general undefined feeling of discomfort which they cannot account for; never can find their winter or summer

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clothes when they want them; moths eat up all their woolens; the washerwoman ruins their flannels,—letting them soak in the water,—scorches their Sunday dickey, and irons off their shirt-buttons; stockings get mis-mated;—if you pulled off their boots, you would find they were—“Odd Fellows!” Silk neck-ties want hemming; when they run their arm into a coat-sleeve it gets tangled in a ragged lining; lose their portemonnaies, because the daylight shines through their pockets; fingers all peeping out their gloves; miss half their duds, moving from one boarding-house to another; chamber-maids thumb their nice books with greasy fingers, use all their Cologne, and make acquaintance with their head and tooth brush; let all their letters and notes,—everything but their tailor’s bills—stay downstairs a week before they are delivered.

Poor things!—they feel themselves perfect ciphers, every time they see a family man go strutting past, like chanticleer with his hen and chickens! Afraid to ask a woman to have them, for fear she will say “No!” Ain’t their sufferings intolerable?

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“Don’t rely too much on the torches of others;—light one of your own.”

Don’t you do it!—borrowed light is all the fashion. For instance, you wake up some morning, fully persuaded that your destiny lies undeveloped in an ink stand. Well, select some popular writer; read over his or her articles carefully; note their peculiarities and fine points, and then copy your model just as closely as possible. Borrow whole sentences, if you like, taking care to transpose the words a little. Baptize all your heroes and heroines at the same font;—be facetious, sentimental, pathetic, terse, or diffuse, just like your leader. It may astonish you somewhat to ascertain how articles which read so easy, are, after all, so difficult of imitation; but, go on, only take the precaution, at every step, to sneer at your model, for the purpose of throwing dust in people’s eyes.

Of course, nobody sees through it; nobody thinks of the ostrich who hides his head in the sand, imagining his body is not seen. Nobody laughs at your servility; nobody exclaims, “There’s a counterfeit!” Nobody says, what an unintentional compliment you pay your leader.

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In choosing your signature, bear in mind that nothing goes down now-a-days, but alliteration. For instance, Delia Daisy, Fanny Foxglove, Harriet Honeysuckle, Lily Laburnum, Paulena Poppy, Minnie Mignonette, Julia Jonquil, Seraphina Sunflower, etc., etc.

If anybody has the impertinence to charge you with being a literary pirate, don’t you stand it. Bristle up like a porcupine, and declare that it is a vile insinuation; that you are a full-rigged craft yourself, cruising round on your own hook, and scorning to sail under false colors. There’s nothing like a little impudence!

That’s the way it’s done, my dear. Nobody but regular workies ever “light a torch of their own.” It’s an immensity of trouble to get it burning; and it is sure to draw round it every little buzzing, whizzing, stinging insect there is afloat. No, no!—make somebody else light the torch, and do you flutter round in its rays; only be careful not to venture so near the blaze as to singe those flimsy wings of yours.

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“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

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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 begins to flood the eye, and a hopeless look of discouragement settles 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; and are entitled to the gratitude of a life-time! If he ever presumes to think differently from you, after that, he is an “ungrateful wretch,” and “ought to suffer.” As to the “golden rule,” that was made in old times; everything is changed now; it is not suited to our meridian.

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

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He never exchanges;—is not particular whether he occupies a four-story house or a ten-footer for a parsonage;—considers “donation parties” an invention of the adversary;—preaches round and round the commandments, in such a circular way as not to hit the peculiarities of any of his parishioners;—selects the hymn to suit the singing choir instead of himself;—never forgets, when excited in debate, that pulpit cushions are expensive articles;—visits all his people once a month, and receive their visits whenever they choose to inflict them;—brings forth things “new and old” every Sunday, more particularly new;—knows, by intuition, at a funeral, the state of mind of every distant relative of the deceased, and always hits the right nail on the head in his prayers;—when he baptizes a girl-baby, never afflicts the anxious mother by pronouncing Louisa, Louizy;—frowns upon all attempts to get him a new cloak;—looks upon bronchitis, throat complaints, and journeys to Europe, as modern humbugs;—never wears a better coat than any of his parishioners;—submits his private personal expenses to a committee of the greatest dunderheads in his

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congregation;—has the eloquence of Paul, the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job, the meekness of Moses, the constitution of an elephant, and—lives on two hundred dollars a year!

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“Time after time you must have known women decide questions on the instant, with unerring accuracy, which you had been poring over for hours, perhaps, with no other result than to find yourself getting deeper in the tangled noose of difficulties. A witty French writer says, ‘When a man has toiled step by step, up a flight of stairs, he will be sure to find a woman at the top.’ ”

My dear Monsieur, that’s Gospel truth; but only a gallant Frenchman like you would own it. “Jonathan” would whittle, and John Bull would eat roast-beef, till jack-knife and digestion gave out, before they would step into that confession-box. You are a gentleman, and a scholar, if you do live on fricasseed kittens and frog-soup. I’ll tell you what it is, Monsieur,—between you and I and your snuff-box,—when an American woman gets to the top of that mental staircase, she is obliged to appear entirely unconscious of it, or it would be “disputed territory” quicker than a report of your musket. You may have heard of a place this side of the “big pond,” called “Bunker Hill;”—if you have n’t, John Bull knows all about it. Well, all the husbands over here have signed the “Declaration of Independence,”—that’s all,—and the way they won’t surrender to flesh and blood, or even

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to one of their own “ribs,” would be edifying to your French ears. Consequently, my dear Monsieur, what can’t be had by force, must be won by stratagem. So we sit on “that top stair,” and laugh in our sleeves at them,—all the time demurely deferring to their opinion. Just so long as they have no suspicion of bit, bridle, or mistress, they can be led by the nose. It is only very fresh ones, Monsieur, who keep the reins in sight. You won’t be astonished to hear, in such cases, that there is great rearing, and plunging, and curveting, without even the reward of “throwing dust in the eyes” of the animal driven. I think you will agree with me, that it is a great mistake to contend with one of the “lords of creation.” A little finesse, Monsieur;—you understand!—walk round the bump of antagonism, and pat the bump of self-conceit. That’s the way we do it.

Remember me to “my uncle’s” nephew; and tell him he is about as near the mental state of “Napoleon,” as Tom Thumb is to the Colossus of Rhodes! Bon jour!

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Never in Frogtown? That shows you have not made the “grand tour.” It had one long street, one orthodox steeple, one blacksmith’s shop, one town-pump, one pair of hay-scales, and a little thread-and-needle shop, four feet square. Should you go into the latter to buy a spool of cotton, the number of your spool, and the name of the purchaser, would be ticketed on the village record in less than half an hour.

Was n’t there a hum-buzz in Frogtown when sunset released all the gossips from their labors? Did n’t they collect in knots in the doorways, on the fences, on barn-yard gates, and on the church steps, and, with rolled up sleeves and eyes, empty each their particular budget of news, and compare notes and observations? The tailor, the farmer, the dressmaker and the milliner, loved scandal, better than patronage, or coppers, or crops. The price of the minister’s last new hat, or his wife’s new churn, was no more of a secret than the fall of Adam. They “guessed that the ’squire and his wife had had a falling out,” and “they guessed the ’squire did n’t know about the smart young man who walked about with his pretty wife,” just as if they were not posted up, when every

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bush in Frogtown had an eavesdropper under it, and every tree had a “Zachheus” perched in its branches! And Miss Pinch, the seamstress, who had been five-and-forty years trying to solve the problem of her single-blessedness, laughed derisively, till her little gooseberry eyes were quite shut up, at the idea of there being a secret in the village that she could not be at the top and bottom of.

O, Frogtown was a great place! Did a stranger walk through it, the plough was left sticking in the furrow; the children flew out, with unwashed faces; the matrons ran to the door, with the suds dripping from their red elbows; the dogs barked, and poor old Brindle’s milk was riled up for an hour, trying to fathom the disturbance!

You ought to have been there! Such an event as it was, when the “Neptune” was dragged from the engine-house, once a week, to be washed; when the “trainers” shared the village green with the pigs, on a muster-day; when the old cracked school-house bell summoned the Fogtownites to “town meetin’;” when the minister’s son walked up the aisle, on a Sunday, in his first long-tail coat! Kossuth’s advent, or the nuptials of Louis Napoleon, were nothing to it. The excitement was perfectly tremendous.

O, they are “fast” livers in Frogtown! After getting seasoned up there, one might venture to spend the “carnival” at Rome or a winter in Paris!

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“What a quiet man your husband is, Mrs. Smith!”

Quiet! a snail is “an express train” to him! If the top of his house should blow off, he’d just sit still and spread his umbrella! He’s a regular pussy-cat. Comes into the front door as though the entry was paved with eggs, and sits down in his chair as if there was a nest of kittens under the cushion. He’ll be the death of me yet! I read him all the horrid accidents, dreadful collisions, murders and explosions, and he takes it just as easy as if I was saying the Ten Commandments. He is never astonished, or startled, or delighted. If a cannon-ball should come through that window, he would n’t move an eye-lash. If I should make the voyage of the world, and return some fine day, he’d take off his spectacles, put them in the case, fold up the newspaper and settle his dickey, before he’d be ready to say, “Good morning, Mrs. Smith.” If he’d been born of a poppy he could n’t be more soporific. I wonder if all the Smiths are like him. When Adam got tired of naming his numerous descendants, he said, “Let all the rest be called Smith!” Well, I don’t care for that, but he ought to

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have known better than to call my husband Abel Smith! Do you suppose, if I were a man, I would let a woman support me? Where do you think Abel’s coats and cravats, and canes and cigars come from? Out of my brain! “Quiet?”—it’s perfectly refreshing to me to hear of a comet, or see a locomotive, or look at a streak of chain lighting! I tell you he is the expressed essence of chloroform!

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I don’t know about this being “a very nice world,” said Aunt Sally. There’s people enough in it, such as they are; and enough of them if they can’t be any better; but if there’s one kind that I can’t get along with, it is the hypocrites! Now, when anybody swears, or steals, or cuts another’s throat, I understand it; I know—on the spot—which commandment has been tripped over; but these two-faced, oily-tongued people, who twist, and turn, and double, like rabbits in a wood, why, it needs a gun that will shoot round a corner to hit them, and somebody that is deeper than I to see through them. How exactly they will mark out the path of duty for other people’s feet to tread! What magnifying glasses they wear to look at other people’s sins, and how very good they are till their principles conflict with their interest!

Prudence Prim was of this order. How careful and conscientious she was to admit the right sort of toys into her shop for the children! All the drummers, and fifers, and “sojers,” underwent an anatomical examination before they stood up in her shop-window; all the little sixpenny

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cotton handkerchiefs had hymns and creeds printed on them, and “golden rules,” and all that sort of thing. To be sure, Prudence sometimes gave them the wrong change; but I’ve known that done in other places than Primtown! Be that as it may, she reigned there “triumphant, happy and glorious,” with an undisputed monopoly of juvenile coppers, till “eleven-foot” came, at last, in the shape of Miss Giggle and a rival toy-shop! Prudence watched her with a jealous eye; and, finally, thought it her “duty” to remonstrate against the Fanny Elssler dolls she was exhibiting in her shop-window. They were “frivolous” and “improper,” and she was astonished Miss Giggle “could let herself down so!” The little folks were of a different opinion, and coaxed papas and mammas into the same belief. Coppers changed hands, and flew with astonishing celerity into the Giggle treasury. Mirth went ahead of melancholy, till Prudence could stand it no longer; but took a darling leap over her “principles” for the sake of interest, and Fanny Elssler dolls were forthwith seen kicking up their unrebuked heels in Miss Prim’s shop-window! “This would be a dull world without laughing!” she said, apologetically!

Never mind, Aunt Prudence; we won’t inquire too particularly into the date of that newborn opinion! You are not the only specimen extant of an iron creed, and an India-rubber conscience!

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Now that must be a mistake! Husbands don’t bring home a “new dickey pattern,” or a “French fit,” oftener than seven days out of a week,—I’m sure of it! You never saw one sit down with a dozen sheets of paper in his lap, take up your scissors,—looking as wise as Diogenes,—and after wasting any quantity of paper, and making as much litter on the parlor carpet as a carpenter with his chips, hand you a nondescript-looking thing, saying, “Now, Susan—if—you—make—those—dickeys—exactly—like—that—pattern (?), you’ll hit it.” Well, with a solemn sense of the responsibility of the undertaking, “Susan” does as she is bid,—former experience, however, making her rather more skeptical than Diogenes about the “hit!” The dickey is done; washed, starched, sprinkled, ironed and put on. In about an hour, Diogenes comes tearing back from the office to say that “Tom Smith’s dickey is a little lower in front, and a little higher behind, and a little more hollowed out in the sides, and has two rows of stitching, and fastens before instead of behind, and if Susan will make these little alterations it will suit him, and no mistake!”

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“No person should be delicate about asking for what is properly his due. If he neglects doing so, he is deficient in that spirit of independence which he should observe in all his actions. Rights are rights, and, if not granted, should be demanded.”

A little “Bunker Hill” atmosphere about that! It suits my republicanism; but I hope no female sister will be such a novice as to suppose it refers to any but masculine rights. In the first place, my dear woman, “female rights” is debatable ground; what you may call a “vexed question.” In the next place (just put your ear down, a little nearer), granted we had “rights,” the more we “demand,” the more we shan’t get them. I’ve been converted to that faith this some times. No sort of use to waste lungs and leather trotting to SIGH-racuse about it. The instant the subject is mentioned, the lords of creation are up and dressed; guns and bayonets the order of the day; no surrender on every flag that floats! The only way left is to pursue the “Uriah Heep” policy; look ’umble, and be desperate cunning. Bait them with submission, and then throw the noose over the will. Appear not to have any choice, and as true as gospel

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you’ll get it. Ask their advice, and they’ll be sure to follow yours. Look one way, and pull another! Make your reins of silk, keep out of sight, and drive where you like!

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“I’ve really an intolerable pain in my chest, sitting here in my study so long. I should like to work a little in my garden; but Deacon Smith thinks ‘it looks too secular.’ Brother Clapp has offered me his horse and chaise; but Deacon Smith says

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people will talk, if I ride about. Well, I’ll take a walk with my wife,—I suppose I can do that. Here’s a hole in my coat;—it’s all holes. I wonder where that new one is which wife’s father sent me. O, I recollect, Deacon Smith says it will cause heart-burnings in the church if I wear so fine a broadcloth. Well, I’ll go in my old one. No, I can’t either; Deacon Smith says it’s a reflection on the parish for me to go out in an old coat. I wish my people would pay me the last two quarters’ salary;—think I’ll write, and tell them how closely I’m cornered. No, it won’t do; Deacon Smith says if there’s anything that deserves a rebuke, it’s a minister who thinks about money. I wonder how long I had better make my sermon next Sabbath. Brother Jones says half an hour; Brother Clapp three quarters, and Deacon Smith says they don’t get their money’s worth if ’t is short of an hour long. Brother Jones is a temperance man—Brother Clapp is n’t;—Brother Harris is an abolitionist—Deacon Smith says he’s anti-fuss! and wants the world to go on the old-fashioned way!

Wife has just been in, and wants to know “if John may go a fishing;” but Deacon Smith says minister’s boys never ought to be born with the bump of destruction. Little Susy wants a doll; but Deacon Smith says it’s too much like worshipping wooden idols, forbid in the Scriptures! My wife is worn out, and needs a servant; but Deacon Smith says ministers’ wives should never be weary in well-doing. Wife’s sister made me a present of a book-mark for the pulpit Bible, in the form of a cross; Deacon Smith says “it’s a rag of popery!”—Mem. To have it removed before next Sunday. I should like to change with Brother Putnam; but Deacon Smith says he has never made it quite clear, to his mind, whether little babies are admitted to heaven at nine months and two days, or two months and nine days!— Brother Hill, too, is a very good man, but Deacon Smith says he ought never to have entered the ministry if he could n’t get the curl out of his hair! Really, I’m quite puzzled to find out the path of duty!”

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Never saw Tim Treadwell? I am astonished! Well, he bore a striking resemblance to a pair of rusty tongs in locomotion. His bow was a cross between a St. Vitus shake and a galvanic spasm. It was edifying to see him go over the ground, with so little superfluous play of limb or muscle; coat, vest, dickey and pants, all in unyielding harness. Tim had a realizing sense of the value of the dimes and dollars his Benedict foresight had accumulated, and poised every ninepence long and affectionately on his forefinger before committing it to the tender mercies of this horse-leech world. It mattered little to him how narrow was the door of humiliation through which he crawled to get a step higher on this world’s ladder; he was perfectly contented to play lackey, for the time being, to any pompous aristocrat who would condescend to notice him in public next time they met. But what was very astonishing (notwithstanding, Tim owned a looking-glass), he labored under the hallucination that every woman he met was plotting against his single-blessedness. He read a story once, in an old-fashioned book, in which “Delilah” figured very con-

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spicuously; and, though it would have been a puzzle to Solomon, where Tim’s “great strength” lay, he had a mortal and daily horror of being “Samson”-ized. Not that he lacked appreciation of a pretty face or form, but he considered it safer to admire at a distance, and never passed a widow without an involuntary “pater noster.” There were other safe and innocent amusements which he did n’t feel called upon to deny himself. For instance, he had the scent of a pointer for partridges and woodcock, and ever failed to call in, by accident, when they were served up at a cozy little family supper, or when a birthday was gastronomically celebrated. He had a taste for music, too, and might be seen, solus, at all the concerts, taking a free gratis opera-glass scrutiny of the pretty women whose company other Benedicts considered cheaply purchased at the tune of a bouquet, a carriage, and a three-dollar seat. Tim never was known to make but one female call, and then he took his friend, Harry Smith, along, to neutralize the force of the compliment. He was fully persuaded that the ladies were ready to drop into his mouth like so many ripe peaches; but he had no idea,—not he!—of shaking the matrimonial tree! The greatest proof on record of his extraordinary sagacity was the delightful feeling of safety which came over him, in the company of a married lady. Poor Tim! Profound Tim! Requiescat in pace!

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“The Budget says, that a lady lost the use of her tongue for nearly a week the other day, from eating too many tomatoes. The price of this indispensable vegetable will, no doubt, rise in consequence.”

No it won’t! There is nothing in this world—with one exception—that gentlemen love so well as to hear women talk to each other. You are sitting tete-a-tete with Moses, at your domestic fireside. A lady friend comes in; she is bright, and witty, and agreeable. You have both a tremendous budget of feminine “bon mots” and good things to share with each other. The question is, how to get rid of Moses. You hint that there is a great political meeting at Tammany Hall, on which occasion Cass, or whoever is god of your husband’s political idolatry, is going to speak. He don’t stir a peg. Then you adroitly raise the window-curtain, and speak of the beauty of the night, and how many gentlemen are out with cigars in their mouths. It don’t “end in—smoke!” Then you ask him “if he has carried the morning’s paper over to his mother?” He is as deaf as a “post!” Finally, in despair, you get into the remotest

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corner of the room, and commence operations, leaving Moses to his corner and his book, for fear of disturbing (?) him.

Kitty tells you a most excruciating story, and you tell her another; and you laugh till the tears start. Well, now you just creep slily round Moses’ chair, and take a peep at him. St. Cecilia! if that book is not upside down, and his mouth stretched from ear to ear! He has swallowed every word with the avidity of a cat over her first mouse banquet; and yet, if you did not face him up with that upside down book, he would persist he had been reading the funniest book alive! And so he has, but it was not bound in “calf” or “sheep-skin!”

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Another girl! What can Mrs. Clapp be thinking of? It’s perfectly ridiculous! There’s four of them now, and that’s four more than is necessary. I don’t believe in girls,—lovers and laces, ringlets and romances, jewelry and jump-ropes, silks and satins. What’s to be done? There’s a whole chest full of my old coats I’ve been saving to make my boys’ jackets. I wish Mrs. Clapp would think as I do. Another girl! Who’s to keep the name in the family, I’d like to know? I shall be extinct! And now she wants me to put up a note in the church for “blessings received!”

Mrs. Clapp has a very obstinate streak in her disposition in this respect. It’s wasting powder to reason with her. It seems to go into one ear and out at the other. If she gets going on one particular track, you may just fold your arms and let her take her time to get off it. She knows I prefer boys,—that woman does,—just as well as she knows her name is Hetty. Well, there’s a limit to human patience. I shall tell her, very decidedly, as soon as her gruel-probation is over, that a stop must be put to this. It’s no use for a man to pretend to be master in his own house, when he is n’t!

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“Saint Agatha!—not been out of the city this summer?”

“No;—Mr. Jones said he could n’t afford it.”

“My dear, innocent Abigail! Mr. Jones smokes his forty-nine cigars a day, as usual, don’t he?”


“Well, he rides horseback every morning?”


“Well, he plays billiards, and takes his sherry and hock, and all that sort o’ thing down town, don’t he?”


“Well, put that and that together! Just so Mr. Smith told me—‘could n’t afford it.’ I did n’t dispute the point. It was too much trouble. I smiled just as sweetly at him as if I did n’t know it was all a humbug. But I very quietly went to my boudoir, and dispatched a note to that jewel of a doctor, ——, saying that I should be taken violently ill about the time Mr. Smith came home to dinner, and should n’t probably recover till after a trip to Saratoga, or Niagara, or some of those quiet places. Well, he is as keen as a briar; and when Mr. Smith sent for him, he came in and found me in a state of foreor-

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dained exhaustion, in the hands of my maid, Libby. He felt my pulse, looked wise and oracular, and said I ‘must have instant change of air.’ Of course I objected; declared I never could bear to be moved; was quite entirely run down, etc. Doctor said he ‘would n’t be answerable for the consequences,’ and finally, to oblige Mr. Smith, I gave in. Understand? Nothing like a little diplomacy. Always use the check-rein, my dear, if you want to start Jones off in a new direction. Men are little contrary, that’s all. They’d be perfect treasures, every mother’s son of them, if it was n’t for that!”

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“Everybody is having a vacation except editors.”

I should like to have the editor who wrote that, look me in the face, answer the following “catechize,” and then dare whine after that fashion! Who gets tickets to all the Siamese boys, fat girls, white negroes, learned pigs, whistling canaries, circuses, concerts and theatres? Who has a free pass to railroad celebrations, water excursions, balloon ascensions, anti-slavery fights, Webster dinners, Kossuth suppers, and “great rejection” meetings? Who has the first great squash of the season? Who feeds on anonymous pears and nectarines, strawberries, grapes, peaches and melons? Who gets a slice of wedding-cake every time a couple make fools of themselves, and who had “pi” in his office, year in and year out? Who has all the big and lesser literary lights, male and female, constantly revolving round him? Who amasses a magnificent library, free gratis for nothing,—save a puff or two? Who gets pretty bouquets when he

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is sick, from his lady contributors? “Vacation!” forsooth! Don’t talk to me! I know all about it! The first gentleman I ever saw was “an editor.” I have been acquainted with them ever since I was knee high to a huckleberry!


a little girl watches a cobbler


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It was a sultry morning in August when I first halted under the shade of Jeremiah Crispin’s old sycamore trees. Bless the old house, with its red eaves, and the little shoe-maker’s shop adjoining, where for many a long year he had hammered away at his lap-stone, at peace with all mankind! His wife slept quietly in the moss-grown church-yard nearby; and Jeremiah and his daughter Xantippe were sole tenants of the red-eaved house. I beg pardon of Miss Xantippe, for allowing her father to precede her! It is a sin I should not dare to be guilty of, were there not a good twenty miles between us; for, truth to tell, the old man’s shop was the only place where he could reign unmolested by petticoat government. Dear old Jeremiah! When the house was too hot for us, what an ark of refuge was the old shop; and what cozy talks we used to have over that old lap-stone! With what native politeness he would clear a place for me to sit beside him, where “my dress should not be soiled!” What long, wonderful stories I used to hear about “the Brit-

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ish;” and how skilfully he wove “a moral” into the warp and woof of his narrative! How many sermons in disguise did I voraciously swallow! and how sorry we were when Xantippe’s shrill voice called us in “to supper!” With what a sublime unconsciousness of “outward appearances” did Jeremiah, in his leather apron and rolled-up shirt-sleeves, grasp the back of the rude chair, with his toil-worn hands, and say “grace,”—travelling over the world, never forgetting a tribe or nation that the sun shone upon,—embracing Jew and Hottentot, black and white, in the open arms of his Christian philanthropy,—to the manifest discomfort of the carnal-minded hens and chickens, under the table, who were impatiently waiting for their share of the loaves and fishes! How patiently he listened, for the five hundred and fortieth time, to Xantippe’s account of the obstreperous conduct of old Brindle in “kicking over the milk-pail;” and of the ingratitude of the hens, who persisted in laying Jeremiah eggs in neighbor Hiram Smith’s barn! How uncomplainingly he crumbed Xantippe’s sour bread—manufactured simultaneously with the perusal of “The Young Woman’s Guide”—into his scanty allowance of milk! How circumspectly he set the four legs of that chair down in its appropriate corner! How many impromptu errands he got up to the village, after sundown, for “leather” and “meal,” (?) as much to my delight, as to the astonishment and indignation of the asthmatic old horse, who

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had a way of his own remonstrating, by quietly standing still every three paces, until reminded by the whip, that—when Xantippe was not present—Jeremiah held the reins! What sweet mouthfuls of berries and pretty bunches of flowers found their way into the wagon, never forgetting the mullein stalk and elder blow, to stow away under the seat as a propitiatory “olive branch” to Miss Xantippe! How many nights I have been lulled to sleep with the song of “happy Canaan,” issuing from the old raftered chamber across the entry! How many mornings, with the first golden sunbeams, has come to my ear the tremulous voice of old Jeremiah, “wrestling” like the angel at “day-break,” for a blessing!

God be thanked,—in this day of many creeds, of intolerance, and sham piety,—these memories sweep over my soul’s dark hours, soothing as the sweet music of David’s harp to Saul’s chafed spirit.

Jeremiah’s simple, unpretending piety, and childlike trust and love, chase away every shadow of unbelief, and again I am a guileless child, listening with round-eyed wonder to lessons of wisdom,—then but half understood,—from the silver-haired patriarch, over the old lap-stone.

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“I CAN’T.”

Apollo!—what a face! Doleful as a hearse; folded hands; hollow chest; whining voice; the very picture of cowardly irresolution. Spring to your feet, hold up your head, set your teeth together, draw that fine form of yours up to the height that God made it; draw an immense long breath, and look about you. What do you see? Why, all creation taking care of number one;—pushing ahead like the car of Juggernaut, over live victims. There it is; and you can’t help it. Are you going to lie down and be crushed?

By all that is manly, no!—dash ahead! You have as good a right to mount the triumphal car as your neighbor. Snap your fingers at croakers. If you can’t get round a stump, leap over it, high and dry. Have nerves of steel, a will of iron. Never mind sideaches, or heartaches, or headaches,—dig away without stopping to breathe, or to notice envy or malice. Set your target in the clouds, and aim at it. If your arrow falls short of the mark, what of that? Pick it up and go at it again. If you should never reach it, you will shoot higher than if you only aimed at a bush. Don’t whine, if your friends

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fall off. At the first stroke of good luck, by Mammon! they will swarm around you like a hive of bees, till you are disgusted with human nature.

“I can’t!” O, pshaw! I throw my glove in your face, if I am a woman! You are a disgrace to corduroys. What! a man lack courage? A man want independence? A man to be discouraged at obstacles? A man afraid to face anything on earth, save his Maker? Why! I have the most unmitigated contempt for you, you will pusillanimous pussy-cat! There is nothing manly about you, except your whiskers.

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O, walk in, Mr. Jones, walk in! A minister’s time is not of much account. He ought to expect to be always ready to see his parishioners. What’s the use of having a minister, if you can’t use him? Never mind scattering his thoughts to the four winds, just as he gets them glowingly concentrated on some sublime subject,—that is a trifle. He has been through college, has n’t he? Then he ought to know a thing or two, and be able to take up the thread of his argument where he laid it down; else where is the astonishing difference between him and a layman? If he can’t make a practical use of his Greek and Latin and Theology, he had better strip off his black coat, unshake his “right hand of fellowship,” and throw up his commission. Take a seat, Mr. Jones. Talk to him about your crops; —make him plough over a dozen imaginary fields with you; he ought to be able to make a quick transit from “predestination” to potatoes. Why, just think of the man’s salary,—and you helping to pay it! Nebuchadnezzar!—have you not hired him, soul and body? He don’t belong to himself at all, except when he is asleep. Mind

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and give him a little wholesome advice before you leave. Inquire how many pounds of tea he uses per week, and ask him how he came to be so unclerical as to take a ride on horseback the other day;—and how much the hostler charged him for the animal; and whether he went on a gallop, or a canter, or an orthodox trot? Let him know, very decidedly, that ministers are not expected to have nerves, or headaches, or sideaches, or heartaches. If they are weary writing,—which they have no right to be,—let them go down cellar and chop wood. As to relaxation, suggestive of beautiful thoughts, which a gallop on a fleet horse through the country might furnish,—where the sweet air fans the aching temples caressingly; where fields of golden grain wave in the glad sunlight; where the blended beauty of sky and sea, and rock, and river, hill and valley, send a thrill of pleasure through every inlet of the soul,—pshaw! that is all transcendental nonsense, fit only for green boarding-school girls and silly, scribbling women. A minister ought to be above such things, and have a heart as tough as the doctrine of election. He ought to be a regular theological sledge-hammer, always sharpened up, and ready to do execution without any unnecessary glitter.

The fact is, Mr. Jones,—between you and me and the vestry door,—it is lucky there are some philanthropic layman, like yourself, who are willing to look after

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these ministers. It is the more generous in you, because we are all aware it is a thing you don’t take the slightest pleasure in doing (?). You may not get your reward for it in this world, but if you don’t in the next, I shall make up my mind that Lucifer is remiss in his duty.

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“I’ve always noticed,” said Uncle Jabe, “that the man who speaks disrespectfully of a woman, is very apt to be an unmitigated scoundrel.”

Softly, softly, Uncle Jabe! Mind whose toes you tread on; you may make them hobble. What’s the use of being a man if you can’t say just what you like? It’s a pantaloons’ perquisite. Out with it, either by word of mouth or in print; free your manly bosom!

If you know a literary lady who prefers a quiet life to notoriety, don’t let any scruples prevent you from intruding on that privacy. Trot her out before a gaping public. Notice her fine personal points, with the same free and easy familiarity that you would if speaking of a well-formed horse or pointer. Mention her in a dashing, insolent vein of admiration, as if it were something she was more likely to elicit than respect.

Advise everybody to cultivate her delightful and fascinating acquaintance as intimately as you have (?), if he can! Not a bad idea, you see, of advertising yourself, by hitching on to her literary apron-string, especially when your own ascension-robe has been tediously long in making.

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Don’t be afraid of consequences. You know you can say a thousand things about a bonnet, that would not be quite safe to say about a hat. Immense advantage that, to a gentleman (?) of weak nerves and courage! The most a woman can do is to turn the “cold shoulder” to you, and that don’t begin to hurt like a cold bullet!

Imitate your type,—the highwayman,—who, when requested by the lady he was robbing to desist, “as she was alone and defenseless,” replied, with a grin, “That’s the very reason why I do it!”

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“If you could see my husband, Solomon Stillweather! It is my firm conviction, he will be the death of me! I am naturally a happy, bright, energetic, warm-hearted, chain-lightning, impulsive woman,—born after stages were exploded, and in the days of railroads and steam engines. I have the most capacious heart that ever thumped against a silken bodice;—can hate like Lucifer, and love in proportion, and be eternally grateful to one who is kind to me. Now, S-o-l-o-m-o-n is a perpetual calm. Nothing ruffles him, nothing disturbs him. Mount Vesuvius could n’t make him hurry. He does everything,—mercantile and matrimonial,—by rule, square and compass. When the proper time arrives, it ‘comes off,’ and it don’t a fraction of a second before. Were the house on fire, he would stop to take the lint off his coat, and brush his teeth, before starting. If I ask him a question at breakfast, I never get an answer before tea. He walks around the house with a noiseless, velvety tread, like a superannuated pussy-cat. Should the children in their play knock

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over the tea-table and its contents, he looks quietly up from his book, and drawls out, ‘A-i-n-’t y-o-u r-a-t-h-e-r r-u-d-e, c-h-i-l-d-r-e-n?’

“One summer evening, in the country, as he sat on the grass, smoking his cigar, it occurred to me whether anything short of an earthquake would start him up; so I placed a string of crackers directly behind him, and touched ’em off; and, as sure as I’m a living woman, he never so much as winked.

“You should see him getting ready for church on Sunday, as he pares and polishes his fingernails, lays every hair on his head over its appropriate bump, sprinkles a drop of cologne on the north-west corner of his pocket handkerchief, and ties the bow of that cravat for the for-tieth time. I never saw Solomon excited. I never heard him laugh;—and he don’t know the luxury of tears. Now, if I could only get up a domestic squabble!—thunder clouds clear the atmosphere, you know,—but it’s no use. I’ve tried to stir him up on politics; but he’s ‘on the fence,’—had as lief jump one way as another, too. I’ve put on the sulks, and been distant and dignified; I tell you, he likes it,—besides, you could n’t freeze him colder than he is. I’ve been loving, and petted him; it’s a waste of ammunition,—he can’t be thawed out!

“It’s my solemn belief, he was originally intended

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for an old maid, but, by some horrid mistake—he’s my husband. I can double Cape Horn while he is saying, ‘My dear.’ O—O! when the Coroner’s Jury sits on me, won’t the verdict be,—‘Died of excess of Still-weather?’ ”

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Puts her children out to nurse and tends lap-dogs;—lies in bed till noon;—wears paper-soled shoes, and pinches her waist;—gives the piano fits, and forgets to pay her milliner;—cuts her poor relations, and goes to church when she has a new bonnet;—turns the cold shoulder to her husband, and flirts with his “friend;”—never saw a thimble;—don’t know a darning-needle from a crow-bar;—wonders where puddings grow;—eats ham and eggs in private, and dines on a pigeon’s leg in public;—runs mad after the last new fashion;—dotes on Byron;—adores any man who grins behind a moustache;—and when asked the age of her youngest child, replies, “Don’t know, indeed; ask Betty!”

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“A husband too indulging is apt to make an impertinent wife.”

Now, how did you know that, Mr. True Flag? Bachelors never cut their wisdom teeth. Put ’t is as true as gospel. If you did take it on credit, I endorse it. A husband should always wrap himself in a mantle of dignity,—never step off his pedestal to be communicative or facetious. The very minute you do it your wife will take advantage of it. I should n’t wonder if she sat down on the other half of your chair, or pushed the hair off your godlike forehead, or settled your neck-tie with her profane little fingers. Just think of it once. You ought to be on your guard, and mind what precedents you set up. You ought not to call her anything but MRS. Jeremiah Jones; and, if the little monkey gets loquacious, just make her ask you a question a dozen times over, to show her that you have a few other topics under consideration besides those she suggests; and don’t, for mercy’s sake, ever ask her opinion about anything. I would n’t give a soap-bubble for your connubial sceptre after you have committed that egregious blunder. If you can ever get

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the noose over her wilful head after that, my name is n’t Fanny. She’ll arch her neck, and canter off to the farthest limit of the matrimonial pasture; ten to one she’ll leap the bars if you persist! Just as if, when you had allowed her to taste the sweets of liberty, she would bend her head and be dragged off, to trot only at your pace, for the rest of your life. Never a bit! So I tell you,—mind how you begin. Women are like children; they won’t bear petting. It makes them saucy as the mischief! They never will stop till they get ready, after they once get a-going, if you frown at them till your face looks like “Glidden’s Mummy.” It stands to reason a man can’t be trifled with that way. A lord of creation, too! Where’d be the distinction between a hat and a bonnet, I’d like to know? Jupiter Olympus! It would be perfectly ridiculous!

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That I, who detest uniformity; who go frantic at a pair of anything; who hate “a four-leaved clover;” who adore “striped grass,” because there’s no two blades alike; who love the clouds, because they change as I gaze; the sea, because it ebbs and flows; the wind, because it is untameable and fetterless,—first an anthem, then a wail, then a soft, low sigh; that I, by some mysterious Providence, should have a pew behind the six Misses Pecksniff, with their six pink silk bonnets, and six rosettes on corresponding sides; with their six sky-blue shawls, crossed over their six unappropriated hearts; six pair of brimstone kid gloves, clutching six Village Hymn Books, folded in six pocket-handkerchiefs trimmed with sham cotton lace; six muslin collars, embracing their six virgin jugulars, fastened with six gold crosses all of a size! It’s perfectly annihilating! I can’t think what I’ve done to be punished that way. I never “stole;” I never “coveted;” I never—well, at any rate, I wish they’d catch the cholera or a husband—either will answer my purpose, as far as they are concerned;—wish they would n’t sit down on the pew-cushion as if it

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was stuffed with live kittens;—wish they’d take a nap in meeting, or get off the track in singing time, or get into the wrong pew;—wish there’d come a shower and spoil their six pink bonnets;—wish they’d do anything but sit there, so straight, so proper, and so pasteboard-y. O, I shall die of excess of Pecksniff, I’m sure of it, if the sexton don’t put some of them out of sight!

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“Now girls,” said Aunt Hetty, “put down your embroidery and worsted work; do something sensible, and stop building air-castles, and talking of lovers and honeymoons. It makes me sick; it is perfectly antimonial. Love is a farce; matrimony is a humbug; husbands are domestic Napoleons, Neroes, Alexander,—sighing for other hearts to conquer, after they are sure of yours. The honeymoon is as short-lived as a lucifer-match; after that you may wear your wedding-dress at breakfast, and your night-cap to meeting, and your husband would n’t know it. You may pick up your own pocket-handkerchief, help yourself to a chair, and split your gown across the back reaching over the table to get a piece of butter, while he is laying in his breakfast as if it was the last meal he should eat in this world. When he gets through he will aid your digestion,—while you are sipping your first cup of coffee,—by inquiring what you’ll have for dinner; whether the cold lamb was all ate yesterday; if the charcoal is all out, and what you gave for the last green tea you bought. Then he gets up from the table, lights his cigar with the last evening’s

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paper, that you have not had a chance to read; gives two or three whiffs of smoke,—which are sure to give you a headache for the afternoon,—and, just as his coat-tail is vanishing through the door, apologizes for not doing ‘that errand’ for you yesterday,—thinks it doubtful if he can to-day,—‘so pressed with business.’ Hear of him at eleven o’clock, taking an ice-cream with some ladies at a confectioner’s, while you are at home new-lining his coat-sleeves. Children by the ears all day; can’t get out to take the air; feel as crazy as a fly in a drum. Husband comes home at night; nods a ‘How d’ye do, Fan?’ boxes Charley’s ears; stands little Fanny in the corner; sits down in the easiest chair in the warmest nook; puts his feet up over the grate, shutting out all the fire, while the baby’s little pug nose grows blue with the cold; reads the newspaper all to himself; solaces his inner man with a cup of tea, and, just as you are laboring under the hallucination that he will ask you to take a mouthful of fresh air with him, he puts on his dressing-gown and slippers, and begins to reckon up the family expenses; after which he lies down on the sofa, and you keep time with your needle, while he sleeps till nine o’clock. Next morning, ask him to leave you a ‘little money,’ he looks at you as if to be sure that you are in your right mind, draws a sigh long enough and strong enough to inflate a pair of bellows, and asks you ‘what you want with it, and if a half-a-dollar won’t do?’ Gracious

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king! as if those little shoes, and stockings, and petticoats could be had for half-a-dollar! O, girls! set your affections on cats, poodles, parrots or lap-dogs; but let matrimony alone. It’s the hardest way on earth of getting a living. You never know when your work is done. Think of carrying eight or nine children through the measles, chicken-pox, rash, mumps, and scarlet fever,—some of them twice over. It makes my head ache to think of it. O, you may scrimp and save, and twist and turn, and dig and delve, and economize and die; and your husband will marry again, and take what you have saved to dress his second wife with; and she’ll take your portrait for a fire-board!

“But, what’s the use of talking? I’ll warrant every one of you’ll try it the first chance you get; for, somehow, there’s a sort of bewitchment about it. I wish one half the world were not fools, and the other half idiots.”

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Tupper, speaking of the choice of a wife, says, “Hath she wisdom? it is well, but beware that thou exceed!”

My dear sir, was n’t you caught napping that time? Did n’t you speak in meeting? Did n’t cloven feet peep out of your literary shoe? Don’t it take an American woman to see through you? Is n’t that a tacit acknowledgment that there are women who do “exceed”? Wouldn’t you think so if you lived this side the pond? Hope you don’t judge us by John Bull’s daughters, who stupefy themselves on roast beef and porter. I tell you, Yankee women are on the squirrel order. You’d lose your English breath trying to follow them. There is not a man here in America who knows as much as his wife. Some of them own it, and some don’t but they all believe it like gospel. They ask our opinion about everything; sometimes straight forward, and sometimes in a circle; but they ask it! There are petticoats in the pulpit, petticoats in the editorial chair, petticoats in the lecturer’s desk, petticoats behind the counter, petticoats labelled “M.D.” O, they “exceed”! no mistake about that. All femality is wide awake, over

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here, Mr. Tupper. They crowd, and jostle, and push, just as if they wore hats. I don’t uphold them in that, because, as I tell them, ’t is better policy to play possum, and wear the mark of submission. No use in rousing any unnecessary antagonism. But they don’t all know as much as I do. I shall reach the goal just as quick, in my velvet shoes, as if I tramped on rough-shod, as they do, with their Woman’s Rights Convention brogans!

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“The Military Argus has a long and prosy article, headed ‘How to make Home Happy.’ A friend of ours has now a work in preparation, which solves the question. ‘It is, to give your wife as much money as she asks for.’ This entirely abolishes the necessity of kisses and soft sawder.”

Betty! throw up the windows, loosen my belt, and bring my vinaigrette!

It’s no use to faint, or go into hysterics, because there’s nobody here just now that understands my case! But I’d have you to understand, sir—(fan me, Betty!)—that—o-o-h!—that—(Julius Caesar, what a Hottentot!)—that if you have a wife, who deserves the name, neither “kisses,” “soft sawder,” nor “money,” can ever repay her for what she is to you.

Listen to me! Do you remember when you were sick? Who tip-toed round your room, arranging the shutters and curtain-folds, with an instinctive knowledge of light, to a ray that your tortured head could bear? Who turned your pillow to the cool side, and parted the thick, matted locks from your hot temples? Who moved glasses and spoons and phials without collision or jingle? Who looked at you with a compassionate smile, when you

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persisted you “would n’t take your medicine because it tasted so bad;” and kept a sober face, when you lay chafing there, like a caged lion, calling for cigars and newspapers, and mint-juleps, and whiskey punches? Who migrated, unceasingly and uncomplainingly, from the big baby before her to the little baby in the cradle, without sleep, food or rest? Who tempted your convalescent appetite with some rare dainty of her own making, and got fretted at because there was “not sugar enough in it?” Who was omnipresent in chamber, kitchen, parlor and nursery, keeping the domestic wheels in motion, that there should be no jar in the machinery? Who oiled the creaking door that set your quivering nerves in a twitter? Who ordered tan to be strewn before the house, that your slumbers might be unbroken by noisy carriage-wheels? Who never spoke of weary feet or shooting pains in the wide, or chest, as she toiled up and down stairs to satisfy imaginary wants, that “nobody but wife” could attend to? And who, when you got well and moved about the house just as good as new, choked down the tears, as you poised the half-dollar she asked you for, on your forefinger, while you inquire “how she spent the last one?”

“Give her what money she asks for!” Julius Caesar!—Betty! come here and carry away my miserable remains!—Nobody but a polar bear or a Hottentot would wait to have a wife “ask” for “money!”

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“How do you manage your husband, Mrs. Croaker? Such a job as I have of it with Smith!”

“Easiest thing in the world, my dear;—give him a twitch backwards, when you want him to go forward. For instance, you see, to-day I had a loaf of cake to make. Well, do you suppose, because my body is in the pastry-room, that my soul need be there, too? Not a bit of it! I’m thinking of all sorts of celestial things the while. Now, Croaker has a way of tagging round at my heels, and bringing me plump down, in the midst of my aerial flights, by asking the ‘price of the sugar I’m using.’ Well, you see, it drives me frantic! And when I woke up this morning, and saw this furious storm, I knew I had him on my hands for the day, unless I managed right;—so I told him that I hoped he would n’t think of going out to catch his death, such weather;—that if he was n’t capable of taking proper care of himself, I should do it for him;—that it was very lonesome, rainy days, and that I wanted him to stay at home and talk to me; at any rate, he must n’t go out; and I hid his umbrella and india-rub-

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bers. Well, of course, he flared up directly,—just as I expected,—and in less than five minutes, he was streaking off down street, at the rate of ten knots an hour.

“You see there’s nothing like understanding human nature! No woman should be married till she is thoroughly posted up in this branch of her education.”

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“The new Empress of France had fifty-eight splendid wedding dresses made a few days previous to her marriage. Her pocket handkerchiefs, it is said, cost 2000 francs apiece.”

It can’t be possible, my dear woman, that you sold all your bright charms for that silly trash! It is my female opinion, that those “two thousand franc” pocket handkerchiefs will be pretty well tear-stained before you get through with them. You ambitious little monkey! you played your card to perfection. I like you for that, because I like to see everything thoroughly done, if it is only courting; but if you don’t get tired to death of that old roue, my name is not Fanny. He bears about as much resemblance to his “uncle,” as Tom Thumb does to the Colossus of Rhodes. He is an effeminate, weak-minded, vacillating, contemptible apology for a man;—never has done anything worthy the name of Napoleon, that ever I heard of. Keep him under your thumb, you beautiful little witch, or your pretty head may pay the forfeit,—who knows? It won’t require much diplomacy, for you are the smarter of the two, unquestionably; but you had better look as meek as Moses, and “keep dark”

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about that. Don’t let that managing mother of yours be poking her Spanish nose into French state secrets. Give her a baby to tend, and keep her quiet. Look as handsome as you can. Frenchmen adore beauty;—in that respect differ from men in general! Keep on good terms with the common people, and don’t flirt—if you can help it—with the prime ministers. If you can get a chance to think, and to improve your mind, I would;—but it don’t matter much; you are so handsome you will be a “card,” anyhow. I wonder if you have a true woman’s heart, hey!—or are you nothing but a miserable little butterfly of a coquette? Do you like anything so well as your own pretty self? And have you any resources when your youth and beauty have flown? Bless my soul! what a stupid Americanism! I humbly beg your Highness’ pardon,—I forgot that a French woman never grows old or ugly! Well, dance away, little Empress; but I tell you that you are dancing over a volcano. I would not be in your satin slippers for a bright sixpence. In the first place, I should despise such a doll-baby husband. In the next place, I hate form, and state, and etiquette. I should be as nervous as an eel in a frying-pan, to have all those maids of honor tagging at my heels. I know that I should be sure to laugh in the wrong place, and cry when I felt like it, spite of dukes and duchesses. I should be just as likely to tell Napoleon to tie up my slipper, or pull his moustache, if he

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said anything I did not like. Yes, a French court would not take my republican blood. I will give you permission, my dear, to drop me a line now and then, when your old gentleman is asleep, or closeted with some of his old “parlez vous,” and tell me if you don’t tire of all their French grandeur, and long to drop your regal robes, and slip off incog. to some dim old wood, where you can lay your soft cheek to the cool grass, and hear only the little birds sing! My name is Fanny Fern, your Highness; and any further information you may require, you can procure of anybody in the United States, for they all know more about my own affairs than I do myself!

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“Rumor tell us that two New York ladies, Mad. R., late Miss L., and Mrs. R., formerly Miss C., have been appointed dames d’honeur of the Empress Eugenia.”

Certainly! it takes American gems to sparkle in foreign diadems. Now, my dears, stand up for your own country, and all its institutions, till your last gasp. Send over here for all your boots and bonnets. Tell them France is a villainous place, and you are never sure you are not eating a defunct frog in your fricassee; that here in America we all have our blessed little homes, full of love and sunlight, and don’t go wandering round spending half our lives in a cafe, and the other half in a theatre. Tell them that all the proceeds from the sale of Uncle Tom’s Cabin the authoress will devote to liberating, and educating, and polishing up all the dark meat in slaverydom (?), and that the American woman don’t go stampeding round the country in dickeys and broadcloth, vociferating for “Woman’s Rights!” (?)

Yes, and see you keep a stiff upper lip when that milk and water Napoleon speaks to you, and give those little dapper Frenchmen fits all round. Tell them they make

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passable cavaliers; but it would take a whole nation of them, fed on frogs’ legs, and sugar and water, to make one of our satisfactory, magnificent, American husbands. Stay that our men are the handsomest, and the most gallant, and the bravest, and the best informed of any nation upon the face of the globe; that our babies are all born repeating “the Declaration of Independence;” and that our backs will be up quicker than the click of a musket, if things are not managed over there to suit our Bunker Hill notions.

And now, good-by; toss your bonnets up in the air every time you see “the stars and stripes;” hiss at the “Marseilles Hymn,” and clap your hands till they are blistered whenever our blessed “Yankee Doodle” strikes upon your ear.

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What is Fast Day? O! ’t is a day set apart by “his Excellency the Governor,” for the special benefit of fast men, fast horses, fat foot-balls, fast cricket-matches, fast eating, fast drinking, fast billiard-playing, and fast ninepin-rolling. A fast day for theatres, and concerts, and museums,—for the literary pig,—for the calf with two heads,—and for the nondescript animal captured by Capt. Humbug, which measures ’zactly six feet form his nose to his tail, and ten feet from his tail to his nose!

A day when the “upper ten” stay carefully within doors because the “snobs” go out; a day when Nancy hangs up her mop at an early hour, puts on a yellow bonnet and a rainbow gown, and rest the tips of her cotton gloves confidingly on John’s broadcloth, as they saunter lovingly round the Frog Pond.

A day when “Brother Jonathan” yawns prodigiously at the idea of a whole day of pleasuring; when the straight-laced earn an uproarious appetite for an early tea; when the ministers fire off political squibs,—for their audience, the sexton;—and when the streets and environs of the city look as if Boston had taken an emetic.

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Walk in, Mr. Leisure; you are perfectly welcome. There is never anything of importance going on in an Editor’s Sanctum; visitors are always anxiously expected, and the advent of anybody like yourself is a perfect God-send. Editors have nothing of consequence to do; they are only drones in the literary hive, living on the honey made by their subordinates. They have a little manuscript and a few letters to read occasionally, and perhaps a bill or two to settle, now and then; but that is nothing.

Take the arm-chair, Mr. Leisure,—the one with a cushion and revolving seat; draw it up to the table, and with one sweep of your elbow send all the Editor’s scissor-ations flying, like snow-flakes, into the air; examine the superscriptions of his letters, and peep inside of them if you like. What’s the use of calling this a free country, if you can’t act with freedom? Pull over the “exchanges,” tear off the wrappers, and pocket any papers you may fancy, before the Editor has had an opportunity of seeing them, and without troubling yourself to ascertain whether you are welcome to do so, or not. Suppose you are not, that’s nothing to you; and what the Editor’s wishes may be, is of no consequence.

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Order the office boy to make up more fire, or to open a window, just as your individual thermometer may dictate. You will, of course, wish to write a letter. Very well; help yourself to paper,—there is plenty of it, you see; and a pen and ink, too. Interrupt the Editor’s cogitations by asking him the day of the month, and what county the town of Shrewsbury, state of Iowa, is in. Tell him that his ink is abominable and his pen perfectly atrocious,—throwing in a few general remarks, to the effect that editorial and hotel pens are always unmitigatedly bad,—and set him rummaging for something better. Then tell him that your letter is to a lady, and that, of course, you want a white envelope, instead of “one of those yellow things;” and a letter stamp, too, as you must prepay it. If he has no white envelopes or letter stamps, request him to send the boy out for some; and express your regret that you have no small change to pay for them, saying,—and you can laugh at your wit, and so pass the thing off handsomely,—“But these little things always regulate themselves in the end.” Having sealed your letter, vociferate to the “devil” to come and carry it to the post-office, quick; and borrow a quarter of the editor to pay him for carrying it; remarking that it is a principle with you never to ask a gratuitous favor of anybody, especially of a boy; but that you always pay for services rendered. Now, you borrow a cigar from the editor’s case; call for matches;

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“apply the caloric to the prepared weed;” throw your muddy boots over a pile of “accepted manuscripts,” and puff away; occasionally humming, in a tone between a gurgle and a howl, snatches of—

“I knew by the smoke that so gracefully curled,”—

or of something else “appropriate to the occasion;” ever an anon knocking off your cigar ashes into the ink stand.

Your cigar finished, turn around to your victim, and ask, in a confidential tone, “What is the exact circulation of his paper?” and stick to the point till you get some definite information about it. Try, also, to worm out of him what each assistant editor gets a week; what contributors receive; how much the advertisements annually yield; if some persons don’t get advertising cheaper than others; if the Journal is really honest and impartial in its criticisms; who actually writes the leaders; who writes the “searching” articles on the rascality of the Aldermen; how many share-holders there are in the Journal, and who owns the most stock; what is the actual valuation of the establishment, and what percentage it pays, and who writes the musical criticisms; continuing this pumping process as long as it may prove agreeable—to you.

Ah! here comes a lot of proof. Pounce upon it, Mr. Leisure, and read it slowly; although you see the compositor waiting for the editor to correct it. Try your

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hand at making a few corrections yourself. You will, of course, scratch and blot the proof so as to render it illegible; but no matter; you can make that all square by throwing it down, at last, with the exclamation, “that you never could get the hang of correcting proof.” And now, while the editor is restoring the defaced document, you should carefully examine the manuscript copy; as you may, perhaps, recognize the handwriting, and thus make another addition to your stock of useful information. Proofs of the telegraphic despatches and other postscript matter are now brought in; the paper is nearly ready to go to press, and these should be read and returned at once; but never mind; you must have the first look at them,—you are so anxious to know what has “turned up.”

You can wind up by giving the editor some wholesome advice about the management of his paper. Tell him it lacks life and variety; that he harps too much on one string; that there is not back-bone enough in his articles; that his course lacks unity, and is not always in harmony with itself; that he should have more young blood in his editorial corps; that, if you had time, you would give him a lift yourself, by sending in a few spicy and nervous articles on miscellaneous topics. Take another cigar from his case; light it; throw the unextinguished match into a heap of papers; drag your hat across the editor’s table, upsetting his ink stand and knocking

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over his wafer-box; carry off his scissors and penknife by mistake; leave the door swinging wide open as you pass out, and tell your friend, Tom Smith, on the next corner, that of all the bores you ever knew, the editor of the Journal is the greatest; that his paper can’t live long, he is so stupid; that he has no appreciation of courteous attentions; for you have been in his sanctum nearly all day, doing your best to entertain him, but that he never looked pleased, or even once smiled, while you were there.

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“We are not to suppose that the oak wants stability because its light and changeable leaves dance to the music of the breeze;—nor are we to conclude that a man wants solidity and strength of mind because he may exhibit an occasional playfulness and levity.”

No, indeed! So, if you have the bump of mirthfulness developed, don’t marry a tombstone. You come skipping into the parlor, with your heart as light as a feather, and your brain full of merry fancies. There he sits! stupid—solemn—and forbidding.

You go up and lay your hand on his arm; he’s magnetized about as much as if an omnibus-driver had punched him in the ribs for his fare; and looks in your face with the same expression he’d wear if contemplating his ledger.

You turn away and take up a newspaper. There’s a witty paragraph; your first impulse is to read it aloud to him. No use! He would n’t see through it till the middle of next week. Well, as a sort of escape-valve to your ennui, you sit down to the piano and dash off a waltz; he interrupts you with a request for a dirge.

Your little child comes in,—Heaven bless her!—and utters some one of those innocent pettinesses which are

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always dropping like pearls from children’s mouths. You look to see him catch her up and give her a smothering kiss. Not he! He’s too dignified!

Altogether, he’s about as genial as the north side of a meeting-house. And so you go plodding through life with him to the dead-march of his own leaden thoughts. You revel in the sunbeams; he likes the shadows. You are on the hill-tops; he is in the plains. Had the world been made to his order, earth, sea, and sky would have been one universal pall—not a green thing in it except himself! No vine would “cling,” no breeze “dally,” no zephyr “woo.” Flowers and children, women and squirrels, would never have existed. The sun would have been quenched out for being too mercurial, and we should have crept through life by the light of the pale, cold moon!

No—no—make no such shipwreck of yourself. Marry a man who is not too ascetic to enjoy a good, merry laugh. Owls kill humming-birds!

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I wish I could ever take up a paper that endorsed my liberal sentiments. I’ve always warped to the opinion that good men were as safe as homoeopathic pills. You don’t suppose they ever patronize false words or false weights, false measures or false yardsticks? You don’t suppose they ever slander their neighbors after making a long-winded exhortation in a vestry meeting? You don’t suppose they ever lift their beavers to a long purse, and turn their backs on a thread-bare coat? You don’t suppose they ever bestow a charity to have it trumpeted in the newspapers? You don’t suppose, when they trot devoutly to meeting twice a day on Sunday, that they overhaul their ledgers in the intermission? You don’t suppose they ever put doubtful-looking bank bills in the contribution box? You don’t suppose they ever pay their minister’s salary in consumptive hens and damaged turkeys? I wish people were not so uncharitable and suspicious. It disgusts me with human nature.

Now, if I once hear a man make a prayer, that’s enough said. After that, Gabriel could n’t make me

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believe he was a sinner. If his face is of an orthodox length, and his creed is dyed in the wool, I consider him a prepared subject for the undertaker. If his toes are on an evangelical platform, I am morally certain his eyes never will [go on] a “fool’s errand.” If he has a proper reverence for a church steeple, I stake my life on it, his conduct will be perpendicular. I should be perfectly willing to pin my faith on his sleeve till the final consummation of all things. Yes, I’ve the most unswerving, indestructible, undying confidence in any man who owns a copy of Watts’ Psalms and Hymns. Such a man never trips, or, if he does, you never catch him at it!

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