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but I know he isn't." Hawthorne came out of the room and looked keenly
at the eager, ruddy face of the boy. "You want a passage to America?"

"Yes, sir."

"And you say you're an American?"

"Yes, sir."

"From what part of America?"

"United States, sir."

"What State?"

"New Hampshire, sir."

"Town?"

"Exeter, sir."

Hawthorne looked at him for a minute before asking him the next
question. "Who sold the best apples in your town?"

"Skim-milk Folsom, sir," said the boy, with glistening eye, as the old
familiar by-word brought up the dear old scenes of home.

"It's all right," said Hawthorne to the clerk; "give him a passage."


ONE BETTER

Long after the victories of Washington over the French and English had
made his name familiar to all Europe, Doctor Franklin chanced to dine
with the English and French Ambassadors, when, as nearly as the precise
words can be recollected, the following toasts were drunk:

"England' - The _Sun_, whose bright beams enlighten and fructify the
remotest corners of the earth."

The French Ambassador, filled with national pride, but too polite to
dispute the previous toast, drank the following:

"France' - The _Moon_, whose mild, steady and cheering rays are the
delight of all nations, consoling them in darkness and making their
dreariness beautiful."

Doctor Franklin then arose, and, with his usual dignified simplicity,
said:

"George Washington' - The Joshua who commanded the Sun and Moon to stand
still, and they obeyed him."


MY AUNT

My aunt! my dear unmarried aunt!
Long years have o'er her flown;
Yet still she strains the aching clasp
That binds her virgin zone;
I know it hurts her - though she looks
As cheerful as she can;
Her waist is ampler than her life,
For life is but a span.

My aunt, my poor deluded aunt!
Her hair is almost gray;
Why will she train that winter curl
In such a spring-like way?
How can she lay her glasses down,
And say she reads as well,
When, through a double convex lens,
She just makes out to spell?

Her father - grandpapa! forgive
This erring lip its smiles -
Vowed she would make the finest girl
Within a hundred miles.
He sent her to a stylish school;
'Twas in her thirteenth June;
And with her, as the rules required,
"Two towels and a spoon."

They braced my aunt against a board,
To make her straight and tall;
They laced her up, they starved her down,
To make her light and small;
They pinched her feet, they singed her hair,
They screwed it up with pins -
O never mortal suffered more
In penance for her sins.

So, when my precious aunt was done,
My grandsire brought her back
(By daylight, lest some rabid youth
Might follow on the track);
"Ah!" said my grandsire, as he shook
Some powder in his pan,
"What could this lovely creature do
Against a desperate man!"

Alas! nor chariot, nor barouche,
Nor bandit cavalcade
Tore from the trembling father's arms
His all-accomplished maid.
For her how happy had it been!
And Heaven had spared to me
To see one sad, ungathered rose
On my ancestral tree.

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.




N. P. WILLIS


MISS ALBINA McLUSH

I have a passion for fat women. If there is anything I hate in life, it
is what dainty people call a _spirituelle_. Motion - rapid motion - a
smart, quick, squirrel-like step, a pert, voluble tone - in short, a
lively girl - is my exquisite horror! I would as lief have a _diable
petit_ dancing his infernal hornpipe on my cerebellum as to be in the
room with one. I have tried before now to school myself into liking
these parched peas of humanity. I have followed them with my eyes, and
attended to their rattle till I was as crazy as a fly in a drum. I have
danced with them, and romped with them in the country, and periled the
salvation of my "white tights" by sitting near them at supper. I swear
off from this moment. I do. I won't - no - hang me if ever I show another
small, lively, _spry_ woman a civility.

Albina McLush is divine. She is like the description of the Persian
beauty by Hafiz: "Her heart is full of passion and her eyes are full of
sleep." She is the sister of Lurly McLush, my old college chum, who, as
early as his sophomore year, was chosen president of the _Dolce far
niente_ Society - no member of which was ever known to be surprised at
anything - (the college law of rising before breakfast excepted). Lurly
introduced me to his sister one day, as he was lying upon a heap of
turnips, leaning on his elbow with his head in his hand, in a green lane
in the suburbs. He had driven over a stump, and been tossed out of his
gig, and I came up just as he was wondering how in the D - - l's name he
got there! Albina sat quietly in the gig, and when I was presented,
requested me, with a delicious drawl, to say nothing about the
adventure - it would be so troublesome to relate it to everybody! I loved
her from that moment. Miss McLush was tall, and her shape, of its kind,
was perfect. It was not a _fleshy_ one exactly, but she was large and
full. Her skin was clear, fine-grained and transparent; her temples and
forehead perfectly rounded and polished, and her lips and chin swelling
into a ripe and tempting pout, like the cleft of a bursted apricot. And
then her eyes - large, liquid and sleepy - they languished beneath their
long black fringes as if they had no business with daylight - like two
magnificent dreams, surprised in their jet embryos by some bird-nesting
cherub. Oh! it was lovely to look into them!

She sat, usually, upon a _fauteuil_, with her large, full arm embedded
in the cushion, sometimes for hours without stirring. I have seen the
wind lift the masses of dark hair from her shoulders when it seemed like
the coming to life of a marble Hebe - she had been motionless so long.
She was a model for a goddess of sleep as she sat with her eyes half
closed, lifting up their superb lids slowly as you spoke to her, and
dropping them again with the deliberate motion of a cloud, when she had
murmured out her syllable of assent. Her figure, in a sitting posture,
presented a gentle declivity from the curve of her neck to the instep of
the small round foot lying on its side upon the ottoman. I remember a
fellow's bringing her a plate of fruit one evening. He was one of your
lively men - a horrid monster, all right angles and activity. Having
never been accustomed to hold her own plate, she had not well extricated
her whole fingers from her handkerchief before he set it down in her
lap. As it began to slide slowly toward her feet, her hand relapsed into
the muslin folds, and she fixed her eye upon it with a kind of indolent
surprise, drooping her lids gradually till, as the fruit scattered over
the ottoman, they closed entirely, and a liquid jet line was alone
visible through the heavy lashes. There was an imperial indifference in
it worthy of Juno.

Miss McLush rarely walks. When she does, it is with the deliberate
majesty of a Dido. Her small, plump feet melt to the ground like
snowflakes; and her figure sways to the indolent motion of her limbs
with a glorious grace and yieldingness quite indescribable. She was
idling slowly up the Mall one evening just at twilight, with a servant
at a short distance behind her, who, to while away the time between his
steps, was employing himself in throwing stones at the cows feeding
upon the Common. A gentleman, with a natural admiration for her splendid
person, addressed her. He might have done a more eccentric thing.
Without troubling herself to look at him, she turned to her servant and
requested him, with a yawn of desperate ennui, to knock that fellow
down! John obeyed his orders; and, as his mistress resumed her lounge,
picked up a new handful of pebbles, and tossing one at the nearest cow,
loitered lazily after.

Such supreme indolence was irresistible. I gave in - I - who never
before could summon energy to sigh - I - to whom a declaration was
but a synonym for perspiration - I - who had only thought of love
as a nervous complaint, and of women but to pray for a good
deliverance - I - yes - I - knocked under. Albina McLush! Thou wert too
exquisitely lazy. Human sensibilities cannot hold out forever.

I found her one morning sipping her coffee at twelve, with her eyes wide
open. She was just from the bath, and her complexion had a soft, dewy
transparency, like the cheek of Venus rising from the sea. It was the
hour, Lurly had told me, when she would be at the trouble of thinking.
She put away with her dimpled forefinger, as I entered, a cluster of
rich curls that had fallen over her face, and nodded to me like a
water-lily swaying to the wind when its cup is full of rain.

"Lady Albina," said I, in my softest tone, "how are you?"

"Bettina," said she, addressing her maid in a voice as clouded and rich
as the south wind on an ├ćolian, "how am I to-day?"

The conversation fell into short sentences. The dialogue became a
monologue. I entered upon my declaration. With the assistance of
Bettina, who supplied her mistress with cologne, I kept her attention
alive through the incipient circumstances. Symptoms were soon told. I
came to the avowal. Her hand lay reposing on the arm of the sofa, half
buried in a muslin _foulard_. I took it up and pressed the cool soft
fingers to my lips - unforbidden. I rose and looked into her eyes for
confirmation. Delicious creature! she was asleep!

I never have had courage to renew the subject. Miss McLush seems to have
forgotten it altogether. Upon reflection, too, I'm convinced she would
not survive the excitement of the ceremony - unless, indeed, she should
sleep between the responses and the prayer. I am still devoted, however,
and if there should come a war or an earthquake, or if the millennium
should commence, as is expected in 18 - - , or if anything happens that
can keep her waking so long, I shall deliver a declaration, abbreviated
for me by a scholar-friend of mine, which, he warrants, may be
articulated in fifteen minutes - without fatigue.


A SMACK IN SCHOOL

A district school, not far away,
'Mid Berkshire's hills, one winter's day,
Was humming with its wonted noise
Of threescore mingled girls and boys;
Some few upon their tasks intent,
But more on furtive mischief bent.
The while the master's downward look
Was fastened on a copy-book;
When suddenly, behind his back,
Rose sharp and clear a rousing smack!
As 'twere a battery of bliss
Let off in one tremendous kiss!
"What's that?" the startled master cries;
"That, thir," a little imp replies,
"Wath William Willith, if you pleathe - -
I thaw him kith Thuthanna Peathe!"
With frown to make a statue thrill,
The master thundered, "Hither, Will!"
Like wretch o'ertaken in his track,
With stolen chattels on his back,
Will hung his head in fear and shame,
And to the awful presence came - -
A great, green, bashful simpleton,
The butt of all good-natured fun.
With smile suppressed, and birch upraised,
The thunderer faltered - "I'm amazed
That you, my biggest pupil, should
Be guilty of an act so rude!
Before the whole set school to boot - -
What evil genius put you to't?"
"'Twas she herself, sir," sobbed the lad;
"I did not mean to be so bad;
But when Susannah shook her curls,
And whispered, I was 'fraid of girls
And dursn't kiss a baby's doll,
I couldn't stand it, sir, at all,
But up and kissed her on the spot!
I know - boo - hoo - I ought to not,
But, somehow, from her looks - boo - hoo - -
I thought she kind o' wished me to!"

WILLIAM PITT PALMER.


A RENDITION

Two old British sailors were talking over their shore experience. One
had been to a cathedral and had heard some very fine music, and was
descanting particularly upon an anthem which gave him much pleasure. His
shipmate listened for awhile, and then said:

"I say, Bill, what's a hanthem?"

"What," replied Bill, "do you mean to say you don't know what a hanthem
is?"

"Not me."

"Well, then, I'll tell yer. If I was to tell yer, 'Ere, Bill, give me
that 'andspike,' that wouldn't be a hanthem;' but was I to say, 'Bill,
Bill, giv, giv, give me, give me that, Bill, give me, give me that hand,
handspike, hand, handspike, spike, spike, spike, ah-men, ahmen. Bill,
givemethat-handspike, spike, ahmen!' why, that would be a hanthem."




B. P. SHILLABER ("Mrs. Partington")


FANCY DISEASES

"Diseases is very various," said Mrs. Partington, as she returned from a
street-door conversation with Doctor Bolus. "The Doctor tells me that
poor old Mrs. Haze has got two buckles on her lungs! It is dreadful to
think of, I declare. The diseases is so various! One way we hear of
people's dying of hermitage of the lungs; another way, of the brown
creatures; here they tell us of the elementary canal being out of order,
and there about tonsors of the throat; here we hear of neurology in the
head, there, of an embargo; one side of us we hear of men being killed
by getting a pound of tough beef in the sarcofagus, and there another
kills himself by discovering his jocular vein. Things change so that I
declare I don't know how to subscribe for any diseases nowadays. New
names and new nostrils takes the place of the old, and I might as well
throw my old herb-bag away."

Fifteen minutes afterward Isaac had that herb-bag for a target, and
broke three squares of glass in the cellar window in trying to hit it,
before the old lady knew what he was about. She didn't mean exactly what
she said.


BAILED OUT

"So, our neighbour, Mr. Guzzle, has been arranged at the bar for
drunkardice," said Mrs. Partington; and she sighed as she thought of his
wife and children at home, with the cold weather close at hand, and the
searching winds intruding through the chinks in the windows, and waving
the tattered curtain like a banner, where the little ones stood
shivering by the faint embers. "God forgive him, and pity them!" said
she, in a tone of voice tremulous with emotion.

"But he was bailed out," said Ike, who had devoured the residue of the
paragraph, and laid the paper in a pan of liquid custard that the dame
was preparing for Thanksgiving, and sat swinging the oven door to and
fro as if to fan the fire that crackled and blazed within.

"Bailed out, was he?" said she; "well, I should think it would have been
cheaper to have pumped him out, for, when our cellar was filled, arter
the city fathers had degraded the street, we had to have it pumped out,
though there wasn't half so much in it as he has swilled down."

She paused and reached up on the high shelves of the closet for her pie
plates, while Ike busied himself in tasting the various preparations.
The dame thought that was the smallest quart of sweet cider she had ever
seen.


SEEKING A COMET

It was with an anxious feeling that Mrs. Partington, having smoked her
specs, directed her gaze toward the western sky, in quest of the
tailless comet of 1850.

"I can't see it," said she; and a shade of vexation was perceptible in
the tone of her voice. "I don't think much of this explanatory system,"
continued she, "that they praise so, where the stars are mixed up so
that _I_ can't tell Jew Peter from Satan, nor the consternation of the
Great Bear from the man in the moon. 'Tis all dark to me. I don't
believe there is any comet at all. Who ever heard of a comet without a
tail, I should like to know? It isn't natural; but the printers will
make a tale for it fast enough, for they are always getting up comical
stories."

With a complaint about the falling dew, and a slight murmur of
disappointment, the dame disappeared behind a deal door like the moon
behind a cloud.


GOING TO CALIFORNIA

"Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Partington sorrowfully, "how much a man will
bear, and how far he will go, to get the soddered dross, as Parson
Martin called it when he refused the beggar a sixpence for fear it might
lead him into extravagance! Everybody is going to California and Chagrin
arter gold. Cousin Jones and the three Smiths have gone; and Mr. Chip,
the carpenter, has left his wife and seven children and a blessed old
mother-in-law, to seek his fortin, too. This is the strangest yet, and I
don't see how he could have done it; it looks so ongrateful to treat
Heaven's blessings so lightly. But there, we are told that the love of
money is the root of all evil, and how true it is! for they are now
rooting arter it, like pigs arter ground-nuts. Why, it is a perfect
money mania among everybody!"

And she shook her head doubtingly, as she pensively watched a small mug
of cider, with an apple in it, simmering by the winter fire. She was
somewhat fond of a drink made in this way.


MRS. PARTINGTON IN COURT

"I took my knitting-work and went up into the gallery," said Mrs.
Partington, the day after visiting one of the city courts; "I went up
into the gallery, and after I had adjusted my specs, I looked down into
the room, but I couldn't see any courting going on. An old gentleman
seemed to be asking a good many impertinent questions - just like some
old folks - and people were sitting around making minutes of the
conversation. I don't see how they made out what was said, for they all
told different stories. How much easier it would be to get along if they
were all made to tell the same story! What a sight of trouble it would
save the lawyers! The case, as they call it, was given to the jury, but
I couldn't see it, and a gentleman with a long pole was made to swear
that he'd keep an eye on 'em, and see that they didn't run away with it.
Bimeby in they came again, and they said somebody was guilty of
something, who had just said he was innocent, and didn't know nothing
about it no more than the little baby that had never subsistence. I come
away soon afterward; but I couldn't help thinking how trying it must be
to sit there all day, shut out from the blessed air!"

* * * * *

Apropos of Superintendent Andrews's reported objection to the singing of
the "Recessional" in the Chicago public schools on the ground that the
atheists might be offended, the _Chicago Post_ says:

For the benefit of our skittish friends, the atheists, and in order not
to deprive the public-school children of the literary beauties of
certain poems that may be classed by Doctor Andrews as "hymns," we
venture to suggest this compromise, taking a few lines in illustration
from our National anthem:

"Our fathers' God - assuming purely for the
sake of argument that there is a God - to Thee,
Author of liberty - with apologies to our friends,
the atheists -

To Thee I sing - but we needn't mean it, you
know.

Long may our land be bright,

With freedom's holy light;

Protect us by Thy might - remember, this is
purely hypothetical - -

Great God - again assuming that there is a God - our
king - simply an allegorical phrase and
not intended offensively to any taxpayer."




OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES


THE DEACON'S MASTERPIECE; Or, the Wonderful "One-hoss Shay"

A LOGICAL STORY

Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss shay
That was built in such a logical way,
It ran a hundred years to a day,
And then, of a sudden, it - ah, but stay,
I'll tell you what happened without delay,
Scaring the parson into fits,
Frightening people out of their wits - -
Have you ever heard of that, I say?

Seventeen hundred and fifty-five.
_Georgius Secundus_ was then alive - -
Snuffy old drone from the German hive.
That was the year when Lisbon-town
Saw the earth open and gulp her down,
And Braddock's army was done so brown,
Left without a scalp to its crown.
It was on the terrible Earthquake day
That the Deacon finished the one-hoss shay.

Now in building of chaises, I tell you what,
There is always _somewhere_ a weakest spot - -
In hub, tire, felloe, in spring or thill,
In panel, or crossbar, or floor, or sill,
In screw, bolt, thoroughbrace - lurking still,
Find it somewhere you must and will - -
Above or below, or within or without - -
And that's the reason, beyond a doubt,
That a chaise _breaks down_, but doesn't _wear out_.

But the Deacon swore (as deacons do,
With an "I dew vum," or an "I tell _yeou_")
He would build one shay to beat the taown
'N' the keounty, 'n' all the kentry raoun';
It should be so built that it _couldn'_ break daown:
- "Fur," said the Deacon, "'t's mighty plain
Thut the weakes' place mus' stan' the strain;
'N' the way t' fix it, uz I maintain,
Is only jest
T' make that place uz strong uz the rest."

So the Deacon inquired of the village folk
Where he could find the strongest oak,
That couldn't be split nor bent nor broke - -
That was for spokes and floor and sills;
He sent for lancewood to make the thills;
The crossbars were ash, from the straightest trees,
The panels of white-wood, that cuts like cheese,
But lasts like iron for things like these;
The hubs of logs from the "Settler's ellum" - -
Last of its timber - they couldn't sell 'em,
Never an ax had seen their chips,
And the wedges flew from between their lips,
Their blunt ends frizzled like celery-tips;
Step and prop-iron, bolt and screw,
Spring, tire, axle, and linchpin, too,
Steel of the finest, bright and blue;
Thoroughbrace bison-skin, thick and wide;
Boot, top, dasher, from tough old hide
Found in the pit when the tanner died.
That was the way he "put her through" - -
"There!" said the Deacon, "naow she'll dew!"

Do! I tell you, I rather guess
She was a wonder and nothing less!
Colts grew horses, beards turned gray,
Deacon and Deaconess dropped away,
Children and grandchildren - where were they?
But there stood the stout old one-hoss shay
As fresh as on Lisbon-earthquake day!

Eighteen hundred - it came and found
The Deacon's masterpiece strong and sound.
Eighteen hundred increased by ten - -
"Hahnsum kerridge" they called it then.
Eighteen hundred and twenty came - -
Running as usual; much the same.
Thirty and forty at last arrived,
And then come fifty, and FIFTY-FIVE.

Little of all we value here
Wakes on the morn of its hundredth year
Without both feeling and looking queer.
In fact, there's nothing that keeps its youth,
So far as I know, but a tree and truth.
(This is a moral that runs at large;
Take it - You're welcome - No extra charge.)

First of November - the Earthquake-day - -
There are traces of age in the one-hoss shay,
A general flavor of mild decay,
But nothing local, as one may say.
There couldn't be - for the Deacon's art
Had made it so like in every part
That there wasn't a chance for one to start.
For the wheels were just as strong as the thills,
And the floor was just as strong as the sills,
And the panels just as strong as the floor,
And the whipple-tree neither less nor more,
And the back crossbar as strong as the fore,
And spring and axle and hub _encore_.
And yet, _as a whole_, it is past a doubt
In another hour it will be _worn out_!

First of November, 'Fifty-five!
This morning the parson takes a drive.
Now, small boys, get out of the way!
Here comes the wonderful one-hoss shay,
Drawn by a rat-tailed, ewe-necked bay.
"Huddup!" said the parson - Off went they.
The parson was working his Sunday's text - -
Had got to _fifthly_, and stopped perplexed
At what the - Moses - was coming next.

All at once the horse stood still,
Close by the meet'n' house on the hill.
- First a shiver, and then a thrill,
Then something decidedly like a spill - -
And the parson was sitting upon a rock,
At half-past nine by the meet'n'-house clock - -
Just the hour of the Earthquake shock!
- What do you think the parson found,
When he got up and stared around?
The poor old chaise in a heap or mound,
As if it had been to the mill and ground!
You see, of course, if you're not a dunce,
How it went to pieces all at once - -
All at once, and nothing first - -
Just as bubbles do when they burst.

End of the wonderful one-hoss shay.
Logic is logic. That's all I say.

* * * * *

A certain learned professor in New York has a wife and family, but,
professor-like, his thoughts are always with his books.

One evening his wife, who had been out for some hours, returned to find
the house remarkably quiet. She had left the children playing about, but


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