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eaten, the dishes carried off by the waiter from the restaurant, they changed places, and the washers wrung and hung up, while the others washed.
Six o'clock saw the last shirt hanging in damp limpness over the parlor chandelier; the handkerchiefs waved from the mantelpiece, and the stockings dangled from the bars of the Canterbury.
"They always iron the next day, so they can dry in the night," said Harry.
After another slaughter of roaches in the morning, the fire was lighted, the irons put on, and the clothes collected, rough dry, for the final touches. Every man had visions of smooth, clean linen to repay him for his unaccustomed efforts. Such is hope 1
Charley took the first step. Planting his iron on the front of a shirt, a smell greeted his nostrils, and he lifted it again to behold a large brown mark, the precise shape of the flatiron, burned on the bosom of his "go-to-meeting" shirt. Minnie's iron, being almost cold, was travelling briskly up and down his shirt, but producing no visible effect.
It was humiliating, but true, that Joe took an order to a gentlemen's furnishing store that morning for a supply of linen, and the "washed clothes" were consigned to the "pot closet" to await, Susy's return.
Susy's return 1 How can I describe it! Every man on that day found he had an imperative engagement abroad, and the little maiden found an empty house. She went first to the parlor. Dust lay in piles. One curtain was torn from the cornice, and lay in limp folds against the window. Cigars lay about loose, some whole, some half smoked, some reduced to a mere stump; spittoons were in every corner; the chairs were "promiscuously deranged ;" on the centre-table three bottles, two demijohns, a pack of cards, and about two dozen tumblers replaced her pretty book. The piano bore two pairs of boots, deposited there when the owners were too tired to go np stairs, and forgotten afterwards; the Canterbury had a dish of chicken salad reposing peacefully upon it; one ottoman supported a hat and cane, another a coat; every chair carried some relio of the departed guests, here a handkerchief, there a cigar-case, on one a pocliet comb, on another a toothpick. Susy was dismayed ; but, like a brave little woman, determined to face ell "the muss" at once. The kitchen came next. As we have described it on the eventful ironing day, so it remained, roaches inclusive, meandering everywhere. The library was next
in order, and it was the counterpart of the parlor, only more so; dining-room ditto; bedrooms to match.
Susy looked at the washboards in the bathroom, the market-basket in the library, the parlor chairs in the kitchen (" It was nearest," Joe said when he brought them out); the frying pan in the best bedroom (Charley broke his basin) ; the bread-pan in the spare room (for dirty water, Joe said); the'dish-cloths in the bedrooms (towels all dirty). She contemplated the floors, unswept for a mouth; marked the dust, the accumulation of a similar time; and then went to her own room, the only orderly because undisturbed place in the house. A little note lay on her table :—
We own beat! It takes a woman! We beg pardon! We '11 never do so no more I Clear up, and invite us to dinner.
Five Repentant Bachelors.
Meteorologists observe that daring the still dark weather which usually happens abont the Brumal Solstice, cocks often crow all day and all night: hence the belief that they crow all night on the vigil of the Nativity.
There is this remarkable circumstance about the crowing of cocks: they seem to keep nightwatches, or to have general crowing matches at certain periods, as—soon after twelve, at two, and again at daybreak. These are the Alectrophones mentioned by St. John. To us these cockcrowings do not appear quite so regular in their times of occurrence, though they observe certain periods, when not interrupted by changes of the weather, which generally produce a great deal of crowing; indeed, the song of all birds is much influenced by the state of the air.
It seems that crepusculum, or twilight, is the sort of light during which cocks crow most. This has been observed during the darkness of eclipses of the sun, as iu that of September 4, 1820.
It was long ago believed among the common people that at the time of cockcrowing the midnight spirits forsook .these lower regions, and went to their proper places. This notion is very ancient; for Prudentius, the Christian poet of the fourth century, has a hymn, the opening of which is thus translated:
"Thoy say the wandering powers that lovo
This idea is illustrated by Shakspeare in " Hamlet," where the ghost was "about to speak, when the cock crew;" ami " faded at the crowing of the cock." By a passage in " Macbeth," "we were carousing till the second cock," it appears that there were two separate times of cockcrowing; and in "King Lear" we have, "he begins at curfew, and walks till the first cock." And in "Romeo and Juliet," "The second cock has crow'd, The curfew hell has toll'd; 'tis three o'clock."
Chaucer, in his "Assemblie of Foules," has: "The cocke, that horologe is of Thropes lite;" . i. e. the clock of the villages.
The disappearance of spirits at cockcrow is a frequent fanny of the poets. Herrick, in his "llesperides," "The old Wive's Prayer," has, "Drive all hurtful fiends us fro' By the time the cocks first crow."
Spenser says of one of his spirits:
"The morning cock crew lond;
In two lines ascribed to Drayton:
"And now the cocke, tho morning's trumpeter,
Butler, in "Hndibras," part iii. canto 1, has:
"Tho cock crows, and the morn draws on,
And in Blair's "Grave," the apparition evanishes at the crowing of the cock.
Tusser gives the order of crowing, in his "Five Hundred l'ointes of Good Husbandrie," as follows :—
*'Cocke croweth at midnight, times few above six,
Or, who can forget the allusion in Milton's "Comus," where the two brothers, benighted in the forest, implore that they may but hear the village cock "Count tho night-watches to his feathery dames?" Bourne thus illustrates the sacredness and solemnity of the periods of crowing:—
"It was about the time of cockcrowing when our Saviour was born. The angels sung the first Christmas carol to the poor shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem. Now it may be presumed, as the Saviour of the world was then boni, and the heavenly Host had then descended to proclaim the news, that the Angels of Darkness would be terrified and confounded, and immediately fly away; and perhaps this consideration has partly been the foundation of
this opinion. It was, too, about this time when our Saviour rose from the dead. A third reason is, the passage in the Book of Genesis, where Jacob wrestled with the Angel for a blessing; where the Angel says unto him: 'Let mu go, for the day breaketh.'"
Bourne likewise attaches much importance to "(he circumstances of the time of cockcrowing, being so natural a figure and representation of the Morning of the Resurrection; the Night as shadowing out the Night of the grave; the third watch being, as some suppose, the time our Saviour will come to Jndgment at; the noise of the Cock awakening sleepy man, and telling him, as it were, the Night is far spent, and the day is at hand, representing so naturally the voice of the Archangel awakening the dead, and calling up the righteous to everlasting Day: so naturally does the time of cockcrowing shadow out these things, that probably some good, well-meaning men might have been brought to believe that the very Devils themselves, when the Cock crow and reminded them of them, did fear and tremble, and shun the Light."
In the Great or Passion Week, as kept in the fourth century, the fast of Good Friday was prolonged by all who were able to bear it, over the succeeding Saturday, while Christ continued in the tomb, till Cockcrow on the Easter morning.
During Lent, so late as the reign of George I., an officer of the Court, denominated "the King's cockcrower," crowed the hour every night within the precincts of the palace, instead of calling it in the ordinary manner. In Debrett's "Imperial Calendar" for the year 1822, in the list of persons holding appointments in the Lord Steward's department of the royal household, occurs the "Cock and Cryer at Scotland-yard."
The Water Lilt.—It is a marvel whence this perfect flower derives its loveliness and perfume, springing as it does from tho black mud over which the river sleeps, and where lurk the slimy eel and speckled frog, and tho mud turtle, which continual washing cannot cleanse. This is the very same black mnd out of which the yellow lily sucks its obscure life and noisome odor. Thus we see, too, in the world, that some persons assimilate only what is ugly and evil from the same moral circumstances which supply good and beautiful results —the fragrance of celestial flowers—to the daily life of others.
It was Into when my ball-dress was sent home, and Lisette, my dainty-fingered French dressing-maid, whom I had brought with me from my last year's trip to Paris, had finished braiding my heavy black hair and adjusted my new headdress, an exquisite diamond bandeau Tiffany had just imported. So the dress came just in time. I knew Marinette would not disappoint me, for I was one of her moat liberal patrons ; and when the hell rang, Milly brought it up, nicely folded, and Lisette sprang to take it from its wrappings and lay it out on the bed.
*( Ah, c'est exquisite—cJest une lovely affaire /" exclaimed Lisette, admiringly, holding up both her hands with a theatrical air. '-Cue jolie robe, madame!"
I knew as well as she that it was beautiful and in perfect taste; the rich mauve-colored silk, with sprays of gold flowers, for I had spent two hours at Stewart's over the selection, and got bored enough with it all. But it was to be worn to the opening ball of the season, at Madame Flashington's, and I, Mrs. Henderson, famed for my beauty and exquisite taste in dressing, and the pattern of my set, must keep good my station as a leader in society.
As Lisette lifted the dress and shook its rich folds, a slip of paper fell to the carpet. It was Marinette's bill, and I was a little startled as my eye ran over it—fifty-five dollars 1 But then the trimmings, a rich lace and cord d or, were perfect. Marinette did run up shockingly, though! and these hard times, too I It was an expensive dress; one hundred at Stewart's for the pattern, and now fifty-five for the trimmings and making 1 I didn't think it would be quite that, and Mr. Henderson had said that money had been getting tight for some time back. I wouldn't show him the bill just yet; so I thrust it into a drawer of my dressingbureau, and turned to Lisette, who stood with the dress awaiting me.
f do not think I ever wore anything that more became my style of dark, brilliant beauty than that rich silk, with the brilliant trimmings and the superb fall of the costly lace; and Lisette was going off into raptures, and I was contemplating my reflection in the long toilet mirror with much complacency, when the door of my dressing-room opened, and Mr. Henderson came in. For a moment I was half frightened at his
pale face and grave air, and was just going to ask him if he were ill; but he said: "I only stopped a moment, Mrs. Henderson, to say that I shall not be able to join you at madame's to-night. Some business affairs will keep me down town late."
I had half a mind to ask him what he thought of my dress, for I observed his eye noting it; but before I could speak he turned, and presently I heard the street door close. It was nothing new for me to attend parties without the escort of my husband, for somehow he was always immersed in business, and there were too many gentlemen who courted the favor of the beautiful queen of society to allow Mrs. Warren Henderson to lack for attentions; neither was it new for Mr. Henderson to look grave or pale; somehow he had lost his fresh color these late years; yet I did not feel quite at ease as I finished my toilet.
Lisette's skilful fingers arranged everything. It was so comfortable to know that you might leave yourself in her hands, and be turned out more exquisitely dressed than any lady you would meet at Madame Flashington's. My little French maid had such perfect taste! I often told Mr. Henderson that I would rather part with Catherine, the cook, or with Milly, or with John than with her. Not a lady in my set but envied me my dressing-maid.
At length I wrapped myself in the soft folds of my ermine-lined opera-cloak, drew the hood over my braided hair, received my gloves and fan from Lisette's hands, and went down to the drawing-room, where the gaslight fell in softened light on rich and luxurious carpets, pictures, and statues, and the air was tempered to summer warmth and fragrance; and presently the carriage drove round, John's foot was on the steps, and I left my home for Madame Flashington's.
One ball or soiree is so similar to another in the world of fashion that to recount how the hours passed in madame's crowded drawingrooms would subject me to the charge of taxing your patience, so I will only say that, long after the midnight chimes had rung, I was handed from my carriage to my own door by the most distinguished gentleman of my set, who had attached himself as escort to the queen of the ball, and I stood within my own drawing-room with the satisfaction of knowing that Mrs. Warren Henderson swam on the topmost ware of the sea of New York fashionable life.
The atmosphere of the drawing-room was Jeliciously warm in contrast with the temperature of the sharp January night without; the gas was turned down to a pleasing dimness, and I left the long mirror before which I had paused to throw back my ermined cloak and meet the reflection of a Juno form, magnificently arrayed, crimson cheeks, and eyes whose flash outshone the diamonds amid my coroneted braids, and sank half wearily into the depths of the capacious velvet chair drawn up beside the open register. Sitting there, I complacently reviewed the events of the evening, and recalled all the acknowledgments of my sway. Not a lady in madame's rooms but had envied me my exquisite toilet; two distinguished senators had held me in conversation; the new star in Fifth Avenue circles, Count Le Flenm, had complimented me on my "style," which he said could only have been acquired from a knowledge of Parisian society and life abroad; and Auguste Sonnettier had whispered to madame, who, in turn, whispered to me before a half hour his intention of dedicating his new volume to the beautiful and accomplished Madame Henderson.
It was pleasant to sit there with my dainty slippered feet over the register, and the waves of lustrous silk bathing the carpet, with my white, jewelled fingers resting on the blood-red crimson of the chair, and my head crushing the soft folds of my cloak hood, and reflect that I, Mrs. Warren Henderson, in my position and beauty, was second to none in all the great world of fashion in the city around me. It was something to be a queen of your set, to know that nobody was over you; it was inexpressibly soothing to an indolent and beautiful woman; and so the chimes rang out from the church towers, and the,night was gliding, and my complacent dreams and the warm air stealing up from the register soothed my senses to dclicions calmness.
Snddenly, while I sat thinking, from the dim corners of the drawing-room seemed to glide out a train of figures, each dressed in unfashionable garments of bygone days; and yet, strange to say, each garment was recognized by me as something that I had worn in those days; and in the face of each figure as she turned toward me I beheld my own! Round and round me, in a misty circle, the figures glided; then seated themselves in a row before me on the opposite side of the apartment, on
the velvet chairs and fautenils of my drawingroom, and all sat looking at me steadily and untiringly with my own dark eyes 1 It was strange, but I felt no shiver of fear creep over me; on the contrary, I gazed composedly at these forms, wearing, not only the clothes I had worn in former periods of my existence, but even my own identity, and awaited their errands or pleasure. And Bo we sat, gazing at each other in silence, until gradually the figure nearest my right seemed to invest itself with the accessories of a picture, and a thin mist hid the others from my sight. So I gazed intently, while memory glided to my side and uplifted her wand over me, and picture the first was slowly unfolded before my gaze.
A child of ten summers stood in the yard of an old brown farmhouse, with the westering light of the sunset streaming over the old house, and bathing her tiny figure in a flood of gold. Her hair is in confusion, a mass of midnight curls, damp with perspiration, matted over her low white forehead; her cheeks are crimson; her breath comes hard and quick, as though from vjplent running; her little hands are brown and tanned, but dimpled and plnmp; her frock is of gingham, but there is a large rent in it; her sunbonnet hangs over one arm by its strings, and her pretty pink apron is crowded with dandelions, violets, brake leaves, wood mosses, and last, but not least, a little bird's nest, with three cunning blue eggs 1 And now a sweet, mild-faced woman appears at the door of the farmhouse, and says tenderly: "Come in, Mattie; Bupper is ready. But what have you got there, my daughter ?'' And Mattie hugs her apron tighter with her little brown hands, and shows her treasures, and with crimson cheeks tells mother that "she found the nest at the foot of the great pear-tree in the orchard, not an egg broken, and that some great ugly boy must have shook it down just for fun; but she got it and brought it home; and now, wouldn't mother ask father to put it up in the tree again, so the dear old mother bird might find all her blue eggs once more?" And so mother promised, and father sent a supple-jointed hired boy to climb the pear-tree and replace the nest in the highest limb, and Mattie washed her brown dimpled hands and heated forehead, and ate her supper, and said "Our Father" and "Now I lay me" beside her mother's knee; and then laid her rosy cheek to the white pillow and slept the slumber of a care-free child.
I did not speak, even in a whisper, while the picture was uurolled before me; but thoughts like these glided athwart my brain: "Was / once that happy-hearted, wild, romping child, whose greatest care was to please her parents, and whose greatest grief the loss of some woodland pet 1 And is it possible that twenty-five years have passed since then f that father and mother are both sleeping, and stranger feet go in and out the old farmhouse, and other children pluck the spring flowers, find the robins' nests, or play in the orchard close?" For this dimpled child, in the torn frock and with the apron crowded with blossoms, was myself! Even while I sat gazing, and a warm sweet breath blew out of my backward childhood-land, and softened my being, the scene slowly faded, and out from the dim mists that had enfolded the figure nearest the child rose fair and clear the second picture before me.
A slender, beautiful maiden stood in the moonlight beneath the rustic porch draped with honeysuckles that climbed over the farmhouse door. It was Mattie, but a child no longer. The days of bird's-nesting, sports, and romps were for her no more. The curls were smoothed and straightened, and lay in heavy braids about her small and shapely head; the little hands wore no shade of tan now, but, though busied many an hour in lightening her mother's household tasks, were dainty as a high-born lady's; and her throat was arched and white as the swan's. She wore a neat but simple dress of pale pink muslin—how cheaply it contrasted with the waves of my mauve silk sweeping down from my velvet chair!—and a single white rose, plucked from the bush beside the door-step, adorned her hair. But yet the cheap muslin was not unbecoming, with its low neck, from which rounded up her white shoulders, and with the sash that girdled her slender waist. What a contrast was that slender, well-turned waist of seventeen with the en bon point I had gained since then! No, the dress was not unbecoming to the wearer. I had once thought it a handsome thing, and it was kept for company or meeting in those days, and yet it was but two shillings the yard. My Lisette would not wear so cheap a dress now. Suddenly a firm step came up the walk leading to the farmhouse, and the girl shrank half bashfully away under the shadows of the thick matted honeysuckles, as though, if she waited for some one, she would not seem to be waiting. It was a young and frank-faced man who joined her; and Mattie blushed, and they went in and sat down together in the moonlight by the west room window. The furniture of that dear old west room—how different from my elegant drawing-room! A neat chintz-covered lounge,
flag-bottomed chairs, a table with a few books, white muslin curtains, a pair of china vases on the high mantel, and a few of Mattie's drawings in narrow gilt frames on the wall. But rosewood, and statuary, and velvet were not necessary to love in those days; and Mattie and Warren Henderson—how unlike the haggard, grave-faced Warren Henderson of to-day! —sat longin themoonlight, and talked together. Nineo'clockstruck; Warren had always thought he must leave at that hour, but he is in no haste to-night. Ten, half past ten, eleven goes by, and then they stand under the honeysuckles in the moonlight; and when they part, a tender kiss burns on Mattie's cheek, and a slender gold ring gleams on her finger. She and Warren are betrothed, and she goes to her chamber to sleep the first dream of a happy plighted love; and Warren walks down the moonlit highway with hope and love standing side by side in the vantage-ground of his heart; and on the morrow he goes back to his place in the great toiling city, where he has already laid the corner-stone to his future fortune—the fortune which he would acquire to lay at Mattie's feet.
Oh, moonlit night of eighteen years ago! oh, betrothal under the whispering honeysuckles, with the breath of the June winds and roses on our cheeks! and for a moment I stretch out my hands toward the maiden in the farmhouse, and gaze longingly after the manly figure receding down the country road; but the scene grows dim, the longings die unuttered upon my lips, the figures fade, and another picture unfolds before my view.
It was a bridal scene. Father had gone to his rest beneath the greensoddedchurchyard on the hill, but mother was there, paler, thinner, but calm-browed as of yore; and theold white-haired minister, and a group of young girl-friends, and Mattie, and Warren were gathered in the little west parlor. Warren had grown older and more grave-looking, for he was a business man now; and three years had added beauty to Mattie's fuller figure, and lent a glossier sheen to her braided hair; but both were trusting and beloved, and saw no clouds but clouds of gold in the long vista of their future. Mattie's dress was simple still; a neat Swiss muslin, with white rosebuds on her bosom ; and. though Warren had brought it rich gift of jewels, yet she did not wear them on her bridal morn. As yet, her heart and soul were uuperverted by the withering Midas-touch of the fashionable world. And so the vows were said, the kisses given and received, the good-byes embalmed