Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXIV, No. 5, May 1849 online

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VOL. XXXIV. May, 1849. No. 5.

Table of Contents

Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson Jones
Lines to an Idea that Wouldn’t “Come.”
A Summer Evening Thought
The Naval Officer
The Rustic Shrine
Luna.—An Ode.
From Buchannan
The Recluse. No. II.
A Voice from the Wayside
A Sonnet
Passages of Life in Europe
The Grass of the Field
To an Absent Sister
The Man of Mind and the Man of Money
A May Song
Fifty Suggestions
History of the Costume of Men
Wild-Birds of America
Ariel in the Cloven Pine
Montgomery’s House
Editor’s Table
Review of New Books
Virtue’s Evergreen

Transcriber’s Notes can be found at the end of this eBook.

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[Illustration: Anaïs Toudouze

Boulevart S^{t}. Martin, 61.
_Robes de M^{me}._ Bara Bréjard, _r. Lafitte, 5—_
_Coiffures de_ Hamelin, _pass. du Saumon, 21_.
_Fleurs de_ Chagot ainé, _r. Richelieu, 81—Dentelles de_ Violard, _r.
Choiseul, 2^{bis}_.
Graham’s Magazine]

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“These are the spiders of society.”

Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson Jones were commonplace people, but like him
who cried because there were no more worlds to conquer, they were
ambitious. There was one sphere within whose sacred precincts they could
not enter, and they wanted—to be fashionable. They looked around—they
beheld others, who, like themselves, had once been excluded from the
“land of promise,” and with a mighty resolution, determined to die or
conquer—to overthrow the _chevaux-de-frise_ surrounding Japonicadom,
with “the impudence of wealth;” and at length—at length the charmed
gates at which Mrs. Jones had sat in an agony of despair, burst open to
her delighted gaze, and she rose in public estimation high as the frothy
pyramids with which she ornamented her expensive suppers and baited her

After all, and in spite of the old copy that we have written, about the
root of all evil, money is a “great invention;” especially here, where
it bestows wit on fools, beauty on beasts, and covering the blots on all
escutcheons, forces us to that promiscuous mingling which out-democrats
democracy. How magnanimous it makes us! While the friends of the needy
assist them down the hill of fortune and bid them farewell, they turn to
help the lucky over its stepping stones, and lifting the pedlar’s pack
from his shoulders, rub them down, and push him into what we call “our
first circle”. And a pretty circle it would be, were the beginning
known! But the shining gold that glitters through a handsome purse, is
the _passe partout_; and like the princess in the fairy tale, nobody
looks behind for fear of hobgoblin discoveries of his next door
neighbor. Besides, reduced people are _so_ contemptible! Put them out!
With each new reign new peers arise, and so new houses should rear their
tops over the old ones, when the owners are useless and the furniture

Such a generation as we are! Such an age of refinement! Who would sit
down in the year 1849, to a dinner on a square-table! Who would touch
any but a Westphalia ham—drink champagne from a narrow glass—take a
cup of tea from any but a silver urn—sit in any but a Louis
Quatorze—kiss a baby that wore corals—notice an acquaintance with a
last winter bonnet, or a _visite_ instead of a Jenny Lind? Dear me! dear
me! I have been thinking a long time, and don’t know anybody that would!

Mrs. Jones knew better for one—so did Mr. Jones; and while they were as
vulgar as pride and ignorance could make them, learned to look upon
themselves as “glasses of fashion and moulds of form.” They had to labor
for the distinction with a zeal worthy a better cause; and my readers
shall have the benefit of their attempts if they are not already too
tired to proceed.

Mrs. Jones canvassed among her female acquaintances for popularity, by
calling, flattering, cringing, and sending them delicacies made by her
own fair hands; and Mr. Jones, who was very anxious to be “genteel,”
studied Chesterfield, and wondered what it meant. He belonged to one of
the first families of a state, in which all the families were first—a
universal right of distinction. His connections would have been titled
in an aristocracy; but their respect for the American government made
them condescend to be plain Misters, Madams, and Misses.

Mr. Jones himself was a little finnikin man, with sharp, black eyes, and
high cheek bones, upon which rested two red spots like the remains of a
fly-blister. He combed his hair into a stiff _toupet_, that made him
look like an inverted furniture-brush, with the usual equivocal portrait
of some very great individual upon it.

Fortune particularly distinguished Mr. Jones and saved him the trial of
an impossibility—the one of distinguishing himself. She gave him the
key to every door when she made him wealthy, and in pure gratitude he
converted his soul into a cent, and his heart into hard specie.

Then, Fortune bestowed on him the would-be-elegant Miss Pushaw, as
high-born as himself; and he was certainly a happy man when he stood up
with a bride whose dress was, like Margaret Overreach’s, “sprinkled o’er
with gold.” He was soon dazzled by her manœuvering qualities, and
touched by the congeniality of feeling which existed between them. An
adoration of fine clothes, fine furniture, and fashionable people, was
the sacred link that bound these loving hearts into one; and upon their
removal from the country to the city, no marble-cutter labored harder,
or struck more small pieces right and left, than did Mr. and Mrs. John
Johnson Jones, when they fawned and flattered, and ran small errands for
the neighbors that surrounded them, “the great Athenians.”

Mrs. Jones kept a small confectionary establishment in her pantry, for
all the ladies who fell sick; and Mr. Jones was kind enough to open a
cigar and drinking establishment for the gentlemen who were obliging
enough to call. They progressed, however, slowly in the affections of
the proud ——ians, and were somewhat discouraged, but recollecting the
pretty motto of “Hope on, hope ever,” they did not despair, and
contemplated taking larger strides toward gentility.

Mrs. Jones had been originally called Sally, but changed the appellation
for the softer one of Sara. Spring came on, and she resolved to follow
the world of fashion to one of its favorite resorts, the little village
of Quiproquo. She persuaded her loving spouse to rent one of its
cottages; and covering some old sofas and chairs with new chintz,
furnished it nicely and neatly enough to have satisfied the most
fastidious. But to every visiter the same apology was made for its
plainness; and Mrs. Jones informed them all that “her house in town was
furnished _elegunt_, but she didn’t like to bring out her mahogany
cheers,” while her husband’s invariable rejoinder was, “Why, Sara, there
are plenty more where them came from!” A mere playful allusion to the
amount of his fortune, a fact he never lost sight of, and in time it had
its due effect on his listeners.

This house became at length the _pied-à-terre_ for all the high-bred
loungers that had nothing to do but smoke, drink, and play Boston in the
summer months; the season of inevitable idleness for all Southerners of
all professions—doctors excepted.

Mrs. Jones talked very loud and very much _du nez_; she took all the
empty speeches she listened to for witticisms, and was forever busy in
the service of others, running about shaking a little basket of keys, to
impress them with a due sense of her importance.

Mr. Jones’s wine flowed freely, (so did his brandy par parenthesis.
Brandy-and-water drinking becomes a solemn duty in the warm weather,
among the inhabitants of Quiproquo.) Then the boxes of best Havanas were
fast emptied, and clouds of smoke arose from the front piazza,
frightening the neighbors into thinking the house was on fire until they
were used to it. And Boston! and whist! there was no end to these
favorite games, while the gossips of the village whispered that it was a
very profitable amusement to Mr. Jones.

But there was still a Mordecai at the gate of poor Mrs. Jones’s soul.
Many had called to see her, whose nod a few months previous was as great
as Jove’s from Mount Olympus; but like all who strive for much, she
wanted more. There was one card whose reception would at once stamp her
“a peer,” give her the right to place the golden grasshopper in her
hair; for Mrs. Macfuss was one of the proud Autochthones whose boast was
that she had never been but the first among the first. She had been
heard to say that she could not think of encouraging such persons as the
Joneses! And such a speech from the cynosure of all eyes threw Mrs.
Jones into hysterics.

Mrs. Macfuss’s house was the house par excellence; her suppers were
given in the Hall of Apollo, where Lucullus supped with Lucullus. The
dinners were triumphs of culinary art, over which the very spirit of Ude
must have presided. Her toilette was ever in the most exquisite taste.
Her dresses gave the _ton_, and her patronage decided the fate of a
mantuamaker for life. The entire race of milliners would have credited
her forever sooner than lose the honor of her custom; and she it was for
whose favor poor Mrs. Jones pined in green and yellow melancholy. She
cried for very spite, while Mr. Jones swore that he would trample on the
d—n proud set after a while.

They determined to make a mighty effort, and commenced preparations for
a ball. Invitations were written on scented paper, and put into
envelopes with embossed vines and bouquets over the seal. These were
sent to her new acquaintances, and the “picked and chosen” of her old
ones; and breaking through the charmed rules of etiquette, Mrs. Jones’s
cards were slipped into some of the invitations and left at Mrs.
Macfuss’s for herself and family. A band of music was engaged, and every
thing prepared on a large scale.

Mrs. Jones was seen rushing in and out of the house in an old loose gown
looking like—herself; sleeves up to her elbows, and said elbows covered
with eggs, sugar and butter; while behind her ran Master Pushaw Jones,
on a pair of hard fat, blue legs, his face besmeared with the same sweet
compound that graced his mamma’s arms, enlivening the scene with shrill
screams for egg-shells, into which he concocted sundry messes that defy

In every sunny spot around the house were tables covered with cakes like
pyramids of snow, so white and smooth was the icing poured over them. In
the kitchen were fowls roasting and hams boiling; turkeys innumerable in
their tin houses, getting basted and browned; and oysters getting
plumped and pickled, peppered and spiced. There was more shuffling,
running about, upsetting and breaking, than can be imagined, and
fussing, to Mrs. Jones’s content. Baskets of champagne arriving from
town; blocks of ice; borrowed china and glass; lamps, candelabras, &c.,
&c. Servants rushing out to assist the draymen, shouting, tumbling over
one another in an agony of amazement at “Miss Sally’s importance,” and
ransacking drawers and closets for cup-towels and tumbler-towels that
were insufficient for all the wiping that was to be done.

The table was set out—and a magnificent one it was, if profusion is
beauty. There was nothing wanting. Plenty of lights, too, were in
readiness, and nearly all was completed the evening before, to poor Mrs.
Jones’s relief. She went to bed, endeavoring to think the fatigue a
pleasure, and slept soundly enough to feel recruited.

But, alas! a bad day and a worse night damped her expectations, and she
walked about, giving her directions with less buoyancy than the evening
previous. _Then_, the fair moon was filling the earth with her silver
light, and covering the galleries (whereon the guests were to have
promenaded) with her radiance. _Now_, the air was damp and chilly, the
rain was still dropping over the roof, and the roads were, of course,
almost impassable. The grandees shrugged their shoulders at the idea of
a wet drive to Mrs. Jones’s party, and many who would have gone,
remained at home for want of comfortable equipages.

The musicians called the quadrilles in hoarse voices, and their
instruments were out of tune. The wind blew out the lights, and great
confusion prevailed among the dancers. The icing ran down the sides of
the cakes, the Charlotte Russes flowed over and the beautiful jelly, so
perfectly moulded, melted away like a dream. Mrs. Jones was ready to
swoon, but rallied, and talked louder than ever as she ran to and fro,
in great agony of mind. Her husband suffered less; he was winning at
cards, and the expenses of the party were much lessened as some of the
guests pockets lightened. He even forgot the absent Macfusses, and
wondered that Sara “took on so.” Supper was announced—the champagne
foamed and sparkled, the corks flew about like hail-stones, and every
body was pleased but poor Mrs. Jones, who was glad when it ended, and
lay down at length with a terrible _migraine_. Then came the nightmare
in the shape of one of her own black cakes thrown at her head by Mrs.
Macfuss—and so ended the party for her.

She had, however, the consolation of telling her next door neighbor, who
was too sick to accept her invitation, what an “elegant supper she had,
and how much it had cost her.” She enumerated the number of empty
bottles that _had_ been full, the loaves of sugar that were broken up,
and the hundreds of pounds of ice that had been used for freezing, &c.,
&c. The dozens of eggs, the ounces of gelatin! She had followed Miss
Leslie’s receipts, “and,” added she, taking breath, “you know, Mrs.
Hill, that you _must_ go to vast expense for that, as she directs you to
take the best of every thing.”

Mrs. Hill did not doubt it, and as she afterward told her sister, heard
an account so minute of the costs of the entertainment, that she could
easily have made out the bills for the city confectioners and grocers.

“But she did not tell me who were her guests, Eda; and I really had no
opportunity of asking,” said she, smiling. “Now I might have learned
something more interesting for your benefit.”

“Not for mine, Fanny,” returned Miss Seymour, laughing. “Poor Mrs.
Jones! she could not tell you that Mrs. Macfuss did not accept her
polite invitation, and in _her_ absence, she considered her rooms empty.
Is she not a host within herself?”

“I should like to have seen _her_ reception of Mrs. Jones’s envelopes
and cards,” exclaimed young Seymour, rising from the sofa, and seating
himself at his sister’s side. “It is certainly a bore to have such
vulgarians thrust themselves among us. Fancy your compliance with the
request I heard her make _you_, Eda, to ‘Come over and be intimate!’”

“You may look as disdainful as you please, my exclusive brother,” said
Mrs. Hill, laying her white hand upon his own, “but I prophecy Mrs.
Jones’s rise in the world of fashion as a thing of certain occurrence,
as much as we all now laugh at and despise her vulgarity and ignorance.
She will be as well considered as you or I, and more, for she has
wealth, and we have only education and high-breeding.”

“Tell it not in Gath! What, Macfusses and all, Fanny!” cried her
brother. “Impossible! No one is a prophet in his own country, my dear
sister, and thus I console myself for the shock you have given me.”

“_Nous verrons, ce que nous verrons_, Harry,” said Mrs. Hill, smiling,
“but I think I am right. Human nature is the same all over the world,
and I have learned to study it of late years. Did not Lady Montague
write, that wherever she had gone in her travels in Europe and the East,
she met with ‘men and women!’”

“Very true, Fanny, but if what you predict comes to pass, I shall play
Timon of Athens, and fly to Texas.”

“O, lame and impotent conclusion!” said Eda, rising and running her
fingers over the harp-strings, sending a full, clear strain through the

“‘If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that surfeiting—’

I may forget Fanny’s shocking view of fashionable human nature. She is a
perfect old Diogenes, and deserves no better than a tub! Play, Eda, that
‘music for a time may change _her_ nature.’”

“Nay, sing, sister,” said Fanny; “’twill soothe his troubled spirit
sooner. Sing something from Lucia di Lammermoor, and I will promise not
to repeat my offence.”

But Mrs. Hill was right. She did not presume to deny the title of every
one in our own free country to the equality it claims. She would exclude
none from the advantages of society, let their pedigree be what it
might. She respected honesty, and venerated truth. She knew that wealth
could not confer either, and was too often acquired in their absence; to
her it covered no faults, mended no reputation, refined no coarseness of
mind, and looking upon it as affording opportunities of relieving
misery, ways of making others happy, of giving to genius the advantages
of education and learning, it was no wonder that she sighed, as she
witnessed its daily influence on the minds and hearts of those with whom
she mingled. There was no bitterness in her contemplation of its
consequences, for she was too good and gentle to be envious, too pious
to repine. She had been in the sunshine of the great world’s favor, and
was now beginning to see its clouds, as her means of affording mere
entertainment to its votaries began to decline. But, although she felt
privations, the want of comforts to which she had ever been accustomed;
although she felt that wealth can bestow much happiness on those who
know its proper use, she murmured not, nor thought more of those on whom
fortune was conferring her choicest favors. No wonder, then, that she
could foresee the success of Mrs. Jones, when with _her_ accomplishments
and fine, noble mind, the diminution of prosperity brought her less
consideration. The mortification to her was, not the loss of fortune,
but the mistake she made in fancying that her real worth had been
appreciated. She knew that true hearts could not forsake her, that true
friends could not be changed, and the rest passed from her mind as a
dream that had lasted too long.

Winter approached, and after giving dinners, suppers, and picknicks
innumerable in honor of her new acquaintance, Mrs. Jones prepared to
remove into her house in town. At the same time Mrs. Macfuss was ready
to do the like, and as mortified as the former felt at her palpable
neglect, it was a comfort to know that their furniture-wagons went side
by side for six good miles.

And so ended Mrs. Jones’s first year of climbing. The ladder seemed not
so steep, nor the ascent so difficult; she could look up and smile on
those at the top, while hands were held out to help her as she mounted.

She dreamed of Paradise, and began to breathe and hope. Who would not in
her place? She talked louder than ever, and began to patronize a few,
offering to chaperone very young ladies, or ladies of a certain age. Her
toilette was magnificent, and began to be elegant. Mrs. Jones had
improved decidedly.

The house continued to be thronged with her usual visiters. Her parlors
were a kind of club-room for young men who staggered about, half-sober,
after having played cards all night, or rested their weary heads upon
the satin pillows of her sofas, and dozed off the effect of the
champagne. Mrs. Jones declined all further communication with her former
friends, and wrote pompous notes to all who took any liberty with her
name. It was a thing she could not think of allowing; she had certainly
the right of choosing her associates, and neither herself nor Mr. Jones
could permit any one to question their conduct in any manner. Indeed,
she was often upon the point of requesting Mr. Jones to impress it upon
the minds of the silly creatures, that she could not acknowledge the
acquaintance of such a promiscuous set. They had fastened upon her
during her residence at “the Creek,” and she could not shake them off;
she never dreamed of encouraging them, and had resolved on her return
from the North, not to notice any calls paid her by such an obstinate

“Ah, indeed!” exclaimed the bosom-friend of days gone by, upon hearing
all this repeated; “she don’t intend to know us! Perhaps she forgets how
glad she was when aunt invited her and her sister to a party, and they
mortified us so, by coming with paper crowns on their heads, and little
baskets filled with artificial flowers on their arms?”

“And every one laughed so!” cried another. “She came to see _me_ once,
with a colored dress on, trimmed all over with broad white ruffles.
Wasn’t that a costume? I wonder who _she_ is, to slight us! She would do
better to recollect what she springs from. Indeed! the time was—”

But we have not time to repeat the angry sayings of Mrs. Jones’ friends.
Some were told to her, but she cared not a _sous_, since the old set and
the new would never meet to canvass her pedigree or her paper wreaths of
yore. So, bidding a long farewell to them all, she left for New York, in
all the glory of traveling-dresses, trunks labeled “John Johnson Jones,”
and a white nurse for Master Pushaw.


“I dressed myself from top to toe.”

“Are you going out this morning, Sara?” said Mr. Jones, as he saw an
unusual quantity of finery on the dressing-table, embroidered collars,
cuffs, handkerchiefs and gay ribbons.

“Yes; I have some calls to make—no very important ones to be sure; I
intend dining out to Mrs. Hill’s place at Summerfield. But as I think it
a duty to assist in putting down the pride of such people, I wish to go
with some eeclaw, and will take Pushaw with me, to show off his handsome
suit. Some of my friends told me it was folly in me to put myself to the
trouble of calling, but I wish them to see how mistaken they were, poor
things! when they took upon themselves to treat us with so much
indifference when we were neighbors. The Hills are of no earthly use,
everybody knows that! and I vow and declare that I saw Mrs. Hill wear
that shine silk of hers two winters ago. I really must ask some of her
acquaintances; it is worth while to ascertain it. I suppose I must go
alone, for I could not ask any one to be charitable enough to go with
me; and after this, I mean to cut the Seymour and Hill clique most

Mrs. Jones took breath, and laughed at her own wit as though she
relished it; and well she might, for the idea of her being able to “cut
people” was a very funny one to be sure.

“Hill is doing a bad business this winter,” said her husband, buttoning
his coat, and straightening himself before the glass. “He’ll be ‘done
up’ at the end of it, I’ll wager any thing, for he sold his beautiful
horse a short time since, and a man must be in a poor way to part with
such an animal as that is. Sinclair bought him, and hardly knows how to

“Well, I’m sure _I_ don’t care, for one,” remarked Mrs. Jones, with
great elegance of manner and tone, as she threw over her shoulders a

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Online LibraryVariousGraham's Magazine, Vol. XXXIV, No. 5, May 1849 → online text (page 1 of 15)