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And that rather decayed but well-known work of art
Which Miss Flora persisted in styling her "heart."
So we were engaged. Our troth had been plighted,
Not by moonbeam or starbeam, by fountain or grove,
But in a front parlor, most brilliantly lighted,
Beneath the gas-fixtures, we whispered our love.
Without any romance, or raptures, or sighs,
Without any tears in Miss Flora's blue eyes,
Or blushes, or transports, or such silly actions,
It was one of the quietest business transactions,
With a very small sprinkling of sentiment, if any,
And a very large diamond imported by Tiffany.
On her virginal lips, while I printed a kiss,
She exclaimed, as a sort of parenthesis,
And by way of putting me quite at my ease,
"You know I'm to polka as much as I please,
And flirt when I like - now, stop, don't you speak -
And you must not come here more than twice in the week,
Or talk to me either at party or ball,
But always be ready to come when I call;
So don't prose to me about duty and stuff,
If we don't break this off, there will be time enough
For that sort of thing; but the bargain must be
That, as long as I choose, I am perfectly free -
For this is a kind of engagement, you see,
Which is binding on you, but not binding on me."

Well, having thus wooed Miss M'Flimsey and gained her,
With the silks, crinolines, and hoops that contained her,
I had, as I thought, a contingent remainder
At least in the property, and the best right
To appear as its escort by day and by night;
And it being the week of the Stuckups' grand ball -
Their cards had been out a fortnight or so,
And set all the Avenue on the tiptoe -
I considered it only my duty to call,
And see if Miss Flora intended to go.
I found her - as ladies are apt to be found,
When the time intervening between the first sound
Of the bell and the visitor's entry is shorter
Than usual - I found; I won't say - I caught her,
Intent on the pier-glass, undoubtedly meaning
To see if perhaps it didn't need cleaning.
She turned as I entered - "Why, Harry, you sinner,
I thought that you went to the Flashers' to dinner!"
"So I did," I replied; "the dinner is swallowed,
And digested, I trust, for 'tis now nine and more,
So, being relieved from that duty, I followed
Inclination, which led me, you see, to your door;
And now will your ladyship so condescend
As just to inform me if you intend
Your beauty, and graces, and presence to lend
(All of which, when I own, I hope no one will borrow)
To the Stuckups', whose party, you know, is to-morrow?"
The fair Flora looked up, with a pitiful air,
And answered quite promptly, "Why, Harry, _mon cher_,
I should like above all things to go with you there,
But really and truly - I've nothing to wear."
"Nothing to wear! Go just as you are;
Wear the dress you have on, and you'll be by far,
I engage, the most bright and particular star
On the Stuckup horizon - - " I stopped, for her eye,
Notwithstanding this delicate onset of flattery,
Opened on me at once a most terrible battery
Of scorn and amazement. She made no reply,
But gave a slight turn to the end of her nose
(That pure Grecian feature), as much as to say,
"How absurd that any sane man should suppose
That a lady would go to a ball in the clothes,
No matter how fine, that she wears every day!"
So I ventured again: "Wear your crimson brocade;"
(Second turn up of nose) - "That's too dark by a shade."
"Your blue silk" - "That's too heavy." "Your pink" - "That's too light."
"Wear tulle over satin" - "I can't endure white."
"Your rose-colored, then, the best of the batch" -
"I haven't a thread of point-lace to match."
"Your brown _moire antique_" - "Yes, and look like a Quaker."
"The pearl-colored" - "I would, but that plaguy dressmaker
Has had it a week." "Then that exquisite lilac,
In which you would melt the heart of a Shylock;"
(Here the nose took again the same elevation) -
"I wouldn't wear that for the whole of creation."
"Why not? It's my fancy, there's nothing could strike it
As more _comme it faut_" - "Yes, but, dear me, that lean
Sophronia Stuckup has got one just like it,
And I won't appear dressed like a chit of sixteen."
"Then that splendid purple, the sweet Mazarine;
That superb _point d'aiguille_, that imperial green,
That zephyr-like tarletan, that rich _grenadine_" -
"Not one of all which is fit to be seen,"
Said the lady, becoming excited and flushed.
"Then wear," I exclaimed, in a tone which quite crushed
Opposition, "that gorgeous _toilette_ which you sported
In Paris last spring, at the grand presentation,
When you quite turned the head of the head of the nation,
And by all the grand court were so very much courted."
The end of the nose was portentously tipped up
And both the bright eyes shot forth indignation,
As she burst upon me with the fierce exclamation,
"I have worn it three times, at the least calculation,
And that and most of my dresses are ripped up!"
Here I _ripped out_ something, perhaps rather rash,
Quite innocent, though; but to use an expression
More striking than classic, it "settled my hash,"
And proved very soon the last act of our session.
"Fiddlesticks, is it, sir? I wonder the ceiling
Doesn't fall down and crush you - you men have no feeling;
You selfish, unnatural, illiberal creatures,
Who set yourselves up as patterns and preachers,
Your silly pretense - why, what a mere guess it is!
Pray, what do you know of a woman's necessities?
I have told you and shown you I've nothing to wear,
And it's perfectly plain you not only don't care,
But you do not believe me" (here the nose went still higher).
"I suppose, if you dared, you would call me a liar.
Our engagement is ended, sir - yes, on the spot;
You're a brute, and a monster, and - I don't know what."
I mildly suggested the words Hottentot,
Pickpocket, and cannibal, Tartar, and thief,
As gentle expletives which might give relief;
But this only proved as a spark to the powder,
And the storm I had raised came faster and louder;
It blew and it rained, thundered, lightened and hailed
Interjections, verbs, pronouns, till language quite failed
To express the abusive, and then its arrears
Were brought up all at once by a torrent of tears,
And my last faint, despairing attempt at an obs-
Ervation was lost in a tempest of sobs.

Well, I felt for the lady, and felt for my hat, too,
Improvised on the crown of the latter a tattoo,
In lieu of expressing the feelings which lay
Quite too deep for words, as Wordsworth would say;
Then, without going through the form of a bow,
Found myself in the entry - I hardly know how,
On doorstep and sidewalk, past lamp-post and square,
At home and upstairs, in my own easy-chair;
Poked my feet into slippers, my fire into blaze,
And said to myself, as I lit my cigar,
"Supposing a man had the wealth of the Czar
Of the Russias to boot, for the rest of his days,
On the whole, do you think he would have much to spare,
If he married a woman with nothing to wear?"

Since that night, taking pains that it should not be bruited
Abroad in society, I've instituted
A course of inquiry, extensive and thorough,
On this vital subject, and find, to my horror,
That the fair Flora's case is by no means surprising,
But that there exists the greatest distress
In our female community, solely arising
From this unsupplied destitution of dress,
Whose unfortunate victims are filling the air
With the pitiful wail of "Nothing to wear."

Researches in some of the "Upper Ten" districts
Reveal the most painful and startling statistics,
Of which let me mention only a few:
In one single house on the Fifth Avenue,
Three young ladies were found, all below twenty-two,
Who have been three whole weeks without anything new
In the way of flounced silks, and thus left in the lurch,
Are unable to go to ball, concert or church.
In another large mansion near the same place
Was found a deplorable, heartrending case
Of entire destitution of Brussels point-lace.
In a neighboring block there was found, in three calls,
Total want, long continued, of camel's-hair shawls;
And a suffering family, whose case exhibits
The most pressing need of real ermine tippets;
One deserving young lady almost unable
To survive for the want of a new Russian sable;
Still another, whose tortures have been most terrific
Ever since the sad loss of the steamer _Pacific_,
In which were engulfed, not friend or relation
(For whose fate she, perhaps, might have found consolation,
Or borne it, at least, with serene resignation),
But the choicest assortment of French sleeves and collars
Ever sent out from Paris, worth thousands of dollars,
And all as to style most _recherché_ and rare,
The want of which leaves her with nothing to wear,
And renders her life so drear and dyspeptic
That she's quite a recluse, and almost a skeptic,
For she touchingly says that this sort of grief
Cannot find in Religion the slightest relief,
And Philosophy has not a maxim to spare
For the victims of such overwhelming despair.
But the saddest, by far, of all these sad features,
Is the cruelty practised upon the poor creatures
By husbands and fathers, real Bluebeards and Timons,
Who resist the most touching appeals made for diamonds
By their wives and their daughters, and leave them for days
Unsupplied with new jewelry, fans or bouquets,
Even laugh at their miseries whenever they have a chance,
And deride their demands as useless extravagance.
One case of a bride was brought to my view,
Too sad for belief, but alas! 'twas too true,
Whose husband refused, as savage as Charon,
To permit her to take more than ten trunks to Sharon.
The consequence was, that when she got there,
At the end of three weeks she had nothing to wear;
And when she proposed to finish the season
At Newport, the monster refused, out and out,
For his infamous conduct alleging no reason,
Except that the waters were good for his gout;
Such treatment as this was too shocking, of course,
And proceedings are now going on for divorce.

But why harrow the feelings by lifting the curtain
From these scenes of woe? Enough, it is certain,
Has here been disclosed to stir up the pity
Of every benevolent heart in the city,
And spur up humanity into a canter
To rush and relieve these sad cases instanter.
Won't somebody, moved by this touching description,
Come forward to-morrow and head a subscription?
Won't some kind philanthropist, seeing that aid is
So needed at once by these indigent ladies,
Take charge of the matter? Or won't Peter Cooper
The corner-stone lay of some new splendid super-
Structure, like that which to-day links his name
In the Union unending of Honor and Fame,
And found a new charity just for the care
Of these unhappy women with nothing to wear,
Which, in view of the cash which would daily be claimed,
The _Laying-out_ Hospital well might be named?
Won't Stewart, or some of our dry-goods importers,
Take a contract for clothing our wives and our daughters?
Or, to furnish the cash to supply these distresses,
And life's pathway strew with shawls, collars and dresses,
Ere the want of them makes it much rougher and thornier,
Won't some one discover a new California?
O! ladies, dear ladies, the next sunny day,
Please trundle your hoops just out of Broadway,
From its swirl and its bustle, its fashion and pride
And the temples of Trade which tower on each side,
To the alleys and lanes, where Misfortune and Guilt
Their children have gathered, their city have built;
Where Hunger and Vice, like twin beasts of prey,
Have hunted their victims to gloom and despair;
Raise the rich, dainty dress, and the fine broidered skirt,
Pick your delicate way through the dampness and dirt.
Grope through the dark dens, climb the rickety stair
To the garret, where wretches, the young and the old,
Half starved and half naked, lie crouched from the cold;
See those skeleton limbs, those frost-bitten feet,
All bleeding and bruised by the stones of the street;
Hear the sharp cry of childhood, the deep groans that swell
From the poor dying creature who writhes on the floor;
Hear the curses that sound like the echoes of Hell,
As you sicken and shudder and fly from the door;
Then home to your wardrobes, and say, if you dare -
Spoiled children of fashion - you've nothing to wear!

And O! if perchance there should be a sphere
Where all is made right which so puzzles us here,
Where the glare and the glitter and tinsel of Time
Fade and die in the light of that region sublime,
Where the soul, disenchanted of flesh and of sense,
Unscreened by its trappings and shows and pretense,
Must be clothed for the life and the service above,
With purity, truth, faith, meekness and love,
O daughters of Earth! foolish virgins, beware!
Lest in that upper realm you have nothing to wear!


A BOY'S ESSAY ON GIRLS

"Girls are very stuckup and dignefied in their manner and behaveyour.
They think more of dress than anything and like to play with dowls and
rags. They cry if they see a cow in afar distance and are afraid of
guns. They stay at home all the time and go to Church every Sunday. They
are al-ways sick. They are al-ways funy and making fun of boys hands and
they say how dirty. They cant play marbles. I pity them poor things.
They make fun of boys and then turn round and love them. I dont beleave
they ever kiled a cat or any thing. They look out every nite and say oh
ant the moon lovely. Thir is one thing I have not told and that is they
al-ways now their lessons bettern boys."




HENRY WARD BEECHER


DEACON MARBLE

How they ever made a deacon out of Jerry Marble I never could imagine!
His was the kindest heart that ever bubbled and ran over. He was
elastic, tough, incessantly active, and a prodigious worker. He seemed
never to tire, but after the longest day's toil, he sprang up the moment
he had done with work, as if he were a fine steel spring. A few hours'
sleep sufficed him, and he saw the morning stars the year round. His
weazened face was leather color, but forever dimpling and changing to
keep some sort of congruity between itself and his eyes, that winked and
blinked and spilled over with merry good nature. He always seemed
afflicted when obliged to be sober. He had been known to laugh in
meeting on several occasions, although he ran his face behind his
handkerchief, and coughed, as if _that_ was the matter, yet nobody
believed it. Once, in a hot summer day, he saw Deacon Trowbridge, a
sober and fat man, of great sobriety, gradually ascending from the
bodily state into that spiritual condition called sleep. He was
blameless of the act. He had struggled against the temptation with the
whole virtue of a deacon. He had eaten two or three heads of fennel in
vain, and a piece of orange peel. He had stirred himself up, and fixed
his eyes on the minister with intense firmness, only to have them grow
gradually narrower and milder. If he held his head up firmly, it would
with a sudden lapse fall away over backward. If he leaned it a little
forward, it would drop suddenly into his bosom. At each nod, recovering
himself, he would nod again, with his eyes wide open, to impress upon
the boys that he did it on purpose both times.

In what other painful event of life has a good man so little sympathy as
when overcome with sleep in meeting time? Against the insidious
seduction he arrays every conceivable resistance. He stands up awhile;
he pinches himself, or pricks himself with pins. He looks up helplessly
to the pulpit as if some succor might come thence. He crosses his legs
uncomfortably, and attempts to recite the catechism or the
multiplication table. He seizes a languid fan, which treacherously
leaves him in a calm. He tries to reason, to notice the phenomena. Oh,
that one could carry his pew to bed with him! What tossing wakefulness
there! what fiery chase after somnolency! In his lawful bed a man cannot
sleep, and in his pew he cannot keep awake! Happy man who does not sleep
in church! Deacon Trowbridge was not that man. Deacon Marble was!

Deacon Marble witnessed the conflict we have sketched above, and when
good Mr. Trowbridge gave his next lurch, recovering himself with a
snort, and then drew out a red handkerchief and blew his nose with a
loud imitation, as if to let the boys know that he had not been asleep,
poor Deacon Marble was brought to a sore strait. But I have reason to
think that he would have weathered the stress if it had not been for a
sweet-faced little boy in the front of the gallery. The lad had been
innocently watching the same scene, and at its climax laughed out loud,
with a frank and musical explosion, and then suddenly disappeared
backward into his mother's lap. That laugh was just too much, and Deacon
Marble could no more help laughing than could Deacon Trowbridge help
sleeping. Nor could he conceal it. Though he coughed and put up his
handkerchief and hemmed - it _was_ a laugh - Deacon! - and every boy in the
house knew it, and liked you better for it - so inexperienced were
they. - _Norwood._


THE DEACON'S TROUT

He was a curious trout. I believe he knew Sunday just as well as Deacon
Marble did. At any rate, the Deacon thought the trout meant to aggravate
him. The Deacon, you know, is a little waggish. He often tells about
that trout. Says he: "One Sunday morning, just as I got along by the
willows, I heard an awful splash, and not ten feet from shore I saw the
trout, as long as my arm, just curving over like a bow and going down
with something for breakfast. Gracious says I, and I almost jumped out
of the wagon. But my wife Polly, says she, 'What on airth are you
thinkin' of, Deacon? It's Sabbath day, and you're goin' to meetin'! It's
a pretty business for a deacon!' That sort o' cooled me off. But I do
say that, for about a minute, I wished I wasn't a deacon. But 'twouldn't
make any difference, for I came down next day to mill on purpose, and I
came down once or twice more, and nothin' was to be seen, tho' I tried
him with the most temptin' things. Wal, next Sunday I came along agin,
and, to save my life I couldn't keep off worldly and wanderin' thoughts.
I tried to be sayin' my catechism, but I couldn't keep my eyes off the
pond as we came up to the willows. I'd got along in the catechism, as
smooth as the road, to the Fourth Commandment, and was sayin' it out
loud for Polly, and jist as I was sayin': '_What is required in the
Fourth Commandment?_' I heard a splash, and there was the trout, and,
afore I could think, I said: 'Gracious, Polly, I must have that trout.'
She almost riz right up, 'I knew you wa'n't sayin' your catechism
hearty. Is this the way you answer the question about keepin' the Lord's
day? I'm ashamed, Deacon Marble,' says she. 'You'd better change your
road, and go to meetin' on the road over the hill. If I was a deacon, I
wouldn't let a fish's tail whisk the whole catechism out of my head;'
and I had to go to meetin' on the hill road all the rest of the
summer." - _Norwood._


THE DOG NOBLE AND THE EMPTY HOLE

The first summer which we spent in Lenox we had along a very intelligent
dog, named Noble. He was learned in many things, and by his dog-lore
excited the undying admiration of all the children. But there were some
things which Noble could never learn. Having on one occasion seen a red
squirrel run into a hole in a stone wall, he could not be persuaded that
he was not there forevermore.

Several red squirrels lived close to the house, and had become familiar,
but not tame. They kept up a regular romp with Noble. They would come
down from the maple trees with provoking coolness; they would run along
the fence almost within reach; they would cock their tails and sail
across the road to the barn; and yet there was such a well-timed
calculation under all this apparent rashness, that Noble invariably
arrived at the critical spot just as the squirrel left it.

On one occasion Noble was so close upon his red-backed friend that,
unable to get up the maple tree, the squirrel dodged into a hole in the
wall, ran through the chinks, emerged at a little distance, and sprang
into the tree. The intense enthusiasm of the dog at that hole can hardly
be described. He filled it full of barking. He pawed and scratched as if
undermining a bastion. Standing off at a little distance, he would
pierce the hole with a gaze as intense and fixed as if he were trying
magnetism on it. Then, with tail extended, and every hair thereon
electrified, he would rush at the empty hole with a prodigious
onslaught.

This imaginary squirrel haunted Noble night and day. The very squirrel
himself would run up before his face into the tree, and, crouched in a
crotch, would sit silently watching the whole process of bombarding the
empty hole, with great sobriety and relish. But Noble would allow of no
doubts. His conviction that that hole had a squirrel in it continued
unshaken for six weeks. When all other occupations failed, this hole
remained to him. When there were no more chickens to harry, no pigs to
bite, no cattle to chase, no children to romp with, no expeditions to
make with the grown folks, and when he had slept all that his dogskin
would hold, he would walk out of the yard, yawn and stretch himself, and
then look wistfully at the hole, as if thinking to himself, "Well, as
there is nothing else to do, I may as well try that hole again!" - _Eyes
and Ears._

* * * * *

N. P. Willis was usually the life of the company he happened to be in.
His repartee at Mrs. Gales's dinner in Washington is famous. Mrs. Gales
wrote on a card to her niece, at the other end of the table: "Don't
flirt so with Nat Willis." She was herself talking vivaciously to a Mr.
Campbell. Willis wrote the niece's reply:

"Dear aunt, don't attempt my young feelings to trammel.
Nor strain at a Nat while you swallow a Campbell."


OLD GRIMES

Old Grimes is dead; that good old man
We never shall see more:
He used to wear a long, black coat,
All button'd down before.

His heart was open as the day,
His feelings all were true:
His hair was some inclined to gray -
He wore it in a queue.

Whene'er he heard the voice of pain,
His breast with pity burn'd:
The large, round head upon his cane
From ivory was turn'd.

Kind words he ever had for all;
He knew no base design:
His eyes were dark and rather small,
His nose was aquiline.

He lived at peace with all mankind,
In friendship he was true:
His coat had pocket-holes behind,
His pantaloons were blue.

Unharm'd, the sin which earth pollutes
He pass'd securely o'er,
And never wore a pair of boots
For thirty years or more.

But good old Grimes is now at rest,
Nor fears misfortune's frown:
He wore a double-breasted vest -
The stripes ran up and down.

He modest merit sought to find,
And pay it its desert:
He had no malice in his mind,
No ruffles on his shirt.

His neighbors he did not abuse -
Was sociable and gay:
He wore large buckles on his shoes.
And changed them every day.

His knowledge, hid from public gaze,
He did not bring to view,
Nor made a noise, town-meeting days,
As many people do.

His worldly goods he never threw
In trust to fortune's chances,
But lived (as all his brothers do)
In easy circumstances.

Thus undisturb'd by anxious cares.
His peaceful moments ran;
And everybody said he was
A fine old gentleman.




ALBERT GORTON GREENE.


IDENTIFIED

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a kind-hearted man as well as a great novelist.
While he was consul at Liverpool a young Yankee walked into his office.
The boy had left home to seek his fortune, but evidently hadn't found it
yet, although he had crossed the sea in his search. Homesick,
friendless, nearly penniless, he wanted a passage home. The clerk said
Mr. Hawthorne could not be seen, and intimated that the boy was not
American, but was trying to steal a passage. The boy stuck to his point,
and the clerk at last went to the little room and said to Mr. Hawthorne:
"Here's a boy who insists upon seeing you. He says he is an American,


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