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"Miss Mndge; or, may I not say f My dear Miss Mndge," (unites the tender with the respectful—)
"Prompted by feelings which I cannot explain (of course not; 'oause if I did, I'd get myself in a nice box), I sit down, this rainy afternoon, to throw myself (figuratively) at your feet. There may be those who prefer the fleeting beauty of extreme youth, but I have always resolved to choose a woman for her worth (in solid coin, or stocks and bonds). Such a woman I believe I have found in you (or I shouldn't be making up a wry face over the cruel necessity) ; you are rich in all that makes your sex most precious (unless Bangs lies). What care I that you are poor, as I am told you are? that yoii have no fortune to bring to increase my own? (That'1l bring her to terms, if it's disinterested love she's after.) All that I have is yours (in welcome). It is true I have not much to offer; but hearts that are devoted to each other feel not the want of this world's goods, and I presume that by industry and close attention to business, I shall merit, as the advertisements say, a fair share of the public patronage. (That means never to neglect my clothes, nor lose an opportunity of exciting the envy of the other fellahs.) I know that you admire me—I mean you know that I admire you; you must have seen it in my looks, my words, my actions. Dare I hope that you may be induced to reciprocate my feelings? to yield your happiness into my keeping (with a deed of all your real estate) f Do not hesitate on account of your poverty (I don't on account of mine), nor the brevity of our acquaintance. Bangs will tell you that I am O. K. I need not hint that you will not be likely ever to have another such a chance; there are not many that can discover the diamond in its plain setting (I rather guess not, unless they're told), as I have done, and I'm called the best-dressed man in the city. Can you resist such inducements? My heart assures me that you cannot. Let us be married on the same day with Bangs and Evelyn. What do you say, my sweetest Lncinda? I shall call for your answer, in person, to-morrow afternoon. (I '11 have to squeeze the black lace mitten.)
Yours, in expectation (of a hundred thousand dollars), Fbbdbbic Fitzquisite."
Aw, Dora, got back with the paper and envelopes 1 All right! that's the style. I would give you a dime, Dora, seeing that you've got wet, but I haven't any about me. Unlucky, reawlly. Wish I had—do, reawlly. What's
that? A quarther would do as well? Oh, to be sure—would it, now f How funny you are for a creature moving in your sphere of life— aw! Can't understand how you came so. Let me see—haven't any small change at all, positively. Shut the door, Dora; the air from that cold hall makes me shnddah.
Engaged! haw I distressing, very, but has to be submitted to. I almost felt as if I'd rather go to work for a living when she met me at the door, and threw her arms about my neck in that demonstrative manner. Crushed my collah and disarranged my hair! If it had been Miss Evelyn, might possibly have stood it, in onsideration of youth, beauty, etc. Bless my soul! I believe she'd stand any amount of that kind of story that I'd a mind to tell her. Reawlly thinks I 'm dead in love with her own charms, and that I haven't the most distant idea of the delightful surprise which she has in store for me. Shows how insufferably egotistical people can be 1 as if a fellah that half the girls in the city are dying for—aw 1 could be induced to make such a choice, if there were not some stronger attraction! It's lucky for me she has deceived herself. I shall be quite ready to be surprised with the brilliant revelation. Won't I throw up my hands and eyes, and then tell her that I'm almost sorry she's turned out rich, because it spoils my chance of proving my devotion—ugh! and my unselfish passion—aw! She '11 swallow anything, after that story I told her last evening. I was bound Bangs shouldn't see what hard work it was, after the trick he played me, peeping through the glass door of the dining-room, with that saucy young lady, and tittering over the hug that old she-tiger gave me. I knew he was listening, and it induced me to pile up the agony a little higher than I otherwise would. I was extremely provoked at Miss Evelyn, for looking so confounded pretty and well-dressed, and laughing every time she caught my eye, in that sly, bewitching way. Bangs will be a happy dog. Heigh-ho! I've half a mind to back out; but if I should, she'd sue me for breach of promise, and the fellahs would make fun of me. She could prove it by those two witnesses, if she wanted. And then, after all, when I've once got her money, I needn't be bothered much with her. I can contrive ^o pass the most of my time away from home. Sometimes I think I'd like a nice little wife—handsome, ana gay, and all that; but to have to work to support one would be paying too dear for the whistle. Sho'd have to have bonnets, and dresses, and things, and I should ho so bothered of mornings, with the baby crying, and nil that, I shouldn't have time to comb my hair nor pay proper attention to myself. I might even have to go to the butcher's or the grocer's, or some such coarse place. Couldn't stand it—nevah!
I think, if I had the right kind of a horse— one that looked spirited, but wouldn't run away with me —and a nice light sulky, and a splendid pair of fdriving gloves, and one of those fancy caps, and a perfect stunner in the way of fancy pants, and it wasn't too breezy on the Bloomingdale Road for my health, that I could contrive to get along and be tolerably happy; if the atmosphere was stormy at home, I'd just try the weather out-doors, you see.
And in the summer I'd have a yacht; yes, I would. If Mrs. Fitzquisite didn't give it to me, I VI stay away until she was glad to come to terms. I wouldn't go to Newport with her, and let her show me off as her husband, if she didn't buy me a yacht to swell around the bay in. A horse and sulky, a yacht, and a set of those newstyle diamond buttons at Ball & Black's ; never any more trouble about my washerwoman's bills; dress-coats, gloves, and perfumery, tul infinitum; a cweature to black my boots, and an ondless supply of hair-oil; these will satisfy all the longings of my nature ; these will justify me in sacrificing my good looks upon the altar of Miss Mndge. The fellahs may joke me, if they want to; they'd do the same, if they only had the chance. I was afraid I should have to degenerate into the shabby-genteel after my little means were exhausted; I could bear any fate better than that, to have to go without gloves, and button up my coat to hide my want of fresh linen would kill me - I should expire, reawlly, of mortification!
Bangs told me on the way home that Evelyn had promised to marry him as soon as the trotaseau could be prepared; they wanted to have the affair over before Lent, so as to enjoy a little gayety. We '11 be married at the same time, and I shall step right into the same set with the Mndges. I used to think Bangs tried to shake me off and keep me out; but he's been good-natured enough recently. S'pose he '11 want to be borrowing money of me after I come into my fortune. Ha I ha 1 Somehow I don't feel quite easy about him; he's always playing off his practical jokes, and it seems to me he has a queer kind of a look whenever he speaks of my matrimonial prospects. I hdpe he won't be so mean as to blow on me, let that romantic antique know that I am pursuing her
from interested motives, just in time to break off the match.
If I thought he'd do anything as mean as that, I'd hurry up affairs without his knowledge; I'd persuade the old lady into a runaway match without loss of time. She'd be delighted, take it as another proof of my ardent and romantic disposition. Really, I've a great mind to do it any how; it will make matters sure; and another thing, it will save the display of a public wedding. I've been dreading the ordeal of standing up with that ancient dame. How do I know but she '11 take a fancy to be married in yellow satin with black trimmings? It will be a great loss to society not to 6ee me in my wedding-suit—aw; but they will have to submit to it, I 'm afraid.
I believe we 're going to have a fall of snow; looks like it. It's beginning to come down thick and fast. There '11 be capital sleighing by to-morrow, if it keeps on. Heigh-ho! I wish I could afford a sleigh-ride. If ever I feel more keenly than usual the want of a rich wife to give me what I desire, it's when I see these fast fellahs driving off in their splendid sleighs, looking as if they could afford to pay thirty dollars a clay for an establishment, and consider it fun. A stylish fellah like me looks out of place walking when every one he knows is driving a handsome turn-out. It's queer how fortune deals out her cards. There are some who seem to have rattans and mint-juleps rained upon them; they can get credit to any amount with the tailors and livery-men; but somehow I never could. It can't be because I haven't sufficient impndence; if I thought it was, I'd make a business of cultivating more. I thought I'd graduated in polite impertinence some time ago. No, I'm convinced it isn't that; it's my ill-luck. Fate has fastened upon me Miss Mndge. If I am to have the fortune I deserve, I must have it with—Miss Mndge. Oh, Miss Mndge! why couldn't you have been Mand Evelyn Mndge, and still have been mine and an heiress? But no 1 that pretty piece of good-lack was reserved for Bangs; his bread is always buttered twice 1 Well, well, well,, there's no use groaning over a special dispensation of Providence. Can't expect the sweet without a little bitter. O gwncious, a little! She's bitter as tansy, Miss Mudge is!
Yes, there's going to be sleighing. All last winter I never had a ride. My life is one of extweme privation. Minus sulkies, gigs, cutters, sleighs, horses, suppers, champagne, and sometimes almost a scarcity of Lubin's Extracts, handkerchiefs, and hair-oil. I can't stand it
much longer—nevah! I did wise in proposing to that enamored being, and there 's no use in indulging in doleful reflections. I wish Bangs would quit tormenting me; he has some joke at my expense constantly. Evelyn was asking him last night his opinion about wedding-dresses; if she should have a silk or satin dress, with an over-robe of lace. He said he should prefer satin, but he'd no doubt Fitzquisite would prefer the moire-antique article. He said, also, that he had observed a new style of bridal veil, the peculiarity of which was that it completely covered the face of the fair wearer, and that he thought it would be immensely becoming to Miss Mndge, if she should have occasion to need one—on account of her timidity, of course.
Never mind. "Let them laugh who win." I don't look upon Miss Mndge as a woman or a wife—aw! I regard her with the eye of a professor of fortune-hunting, and in that professional light she simply appears to my vision as the incarnation of the aforesaid horses, buggies, suppers, yachts, etc. She is the goddess of liberty stamped upon unnumbered golden coins, which accounts for her complexion having such a yellow cast.
There's an idea strikes me, I —if Bangs was here, he'd ask me if I wasn't astonished at anything so uncommon, when everybody's heard that before! This prospect of snow has put the idea in my head. If I've got to run away with that scarecrow, why not invite her to take it sleigh-ride? We 'll drive out to King's Bridge or somewhere, and on the way there I '11 urge the romance and the delight of an elopement. I '11 persuade her to have the ceremony done up before we return. We 'll order supper, and send for the clergyman, and have this affair off my mind in time to have some jolly drives yet this season, with a wife to foot the bills. I 'll take her back home as soon as the ceremony is over, under the pretence that it 's necessary to keep the match secret for a few weeks. But of course she 'll lend me a little money to meet a contingency. "Hard times, men won't pay me, money don't come in, all be right in a short time, will have to look up something that will insure a proper subsistence to my precious Luoindal" Then she 'll come down magnificently with the needful, surprise me with her fortune, delight me with her generosity. "Her Frederic shall never be compelled to exert himself; she has enough to gratify his lightest whim!" Aw! affecting, very 1 That's the way we 'll manage it. The expense of the ride, supper, clergyVol. txiv.—24
man, etc., will be more than saved by the seclusion of the affair. I '11 outwit Bangs for once, if he has any idea of giving her warning. So, now that it's all settled, I may as well compose myself, and order something decent to eat. I don't know but on the strength of my prospects I'd be justified in treating myself to that set of buttons I want so much, and a dozen of those new-style ties.
Hallo, BangsI walk in. Reawly, quite surprised to receive a call from you. Came pretty near not discovering my lodgings? Well, they are rather obscure for a stylish fellah like me; hard times, you see. Hope to change to better before long—ha, Bangs, you understand! Take a seat. Aw, beg pawdon—my curling-tongs; didn't observe they were in the chair. How do you like my new waistcoat? stunner, isn't it f I think we shall have sleighing if it keeps on snowing till there's snow enough. Think you might invite a fellah to take a seat in your slashing cutter. Otherwise engaged? haw, I s'pose so. Came to suggest that I get a sleigh to-morrow and run away with Miss Mndge? Why, old fellah, what on earth put that into your head? I was just thinking about that very thing myself, and you're the last person I should have confided in—meant to have given you the slip. Oh, you think it 'll be a good joke, and you 're afraid she 'll change her mind if she has to wait very long—suspicious of me, and making inquiries about me? Don't say so! thank you for giving me due warning. But do you think she could be persuaded into such a hasty affair? Not the least doubt of it; crazy to marry, and affects the romantic. You 'll send a clergyman out to unite us, and we can return immediately to avoid suspicion? Oh, yes, I've no objection to that. And then I 'll be sure of her, and it will be convenient to hare somebody to cash my drafts? Thank you, my boy; but really can't see why you should take so much interest in me. Don't want to borrow money, do you? 'cause I tell you beforehand, that when I'm provided for, I don't intend to borrow nor lend. You have no other object than my welfare? You say that as grave as the judge, Bangs; and that's enough to make any one suspect you of a trick—the more solemn you look, the more tricky you are—but as your advice agrees so well with my own judgment, I think I 'll try it for once.
Very fine dinnah, Mrs. FiUquisite. They get up things in good style out here. Favorite resort of fashionable young fellahs. Rather expensive, though, I think, my dear, you'd better resume your cloak and bonnet; I've ordered the sleigh to b« lit the door by four o'clock, and it's nearly that now. Don't see why we need to be in such a hurry? Well, there isn't any particular reason, except to avoid suspicion. Aw, you impede my respiration, you do, upon my honor, and if you should crush my collar, somebody might take notice of it. Is this your bonnet ? here, let me tie it for you. Believe me, I shall be as impatient as yourself to rend the veil of secrecy which for the present must keep our marriage from the world. If those who owe me would pay up, I could satisfy my creditors, and all would be clear again. A few hundred dollars would answer, for the present, to make things right. I wish I had a friend of whom I could borrow it. ( " I wish you had, my precious Frederick V' Why, in conscience, then, doesn't she offer to do it, herself?) Yes, if I had, say, a thousand dollars down, I could square accounts, and say to you, "Mrs. Fitzquisite, come to the home I have prepared for you; it is poor, but our love will make it rich." ("Oh, I wish you could say it to-day!" Why, in thunder, then, doesn't she offer me a home ?) There, there, my dears, you are bending your bonnet all out of shape; that must do for the present. As soon as fate places it in my power, I will claim this hand which is bound with the marriage-ring to me. As it is, I must settle the bill, and go. I see the sleigh has come round, and your friends will wonder what has become of you. My sweet Lucinda, do not you know of some one who would advance the necessary means? ("Ah, no, I wish I did!" Well, I must say, that wasn't exactly what I expected. How much longer is she going to keep this thing up? I'm getting tired of it.) Well, then, my dawling wife, I shall have to confide to you that I'm very bad off—actually suffering, as it were, for the necessaries of life. I shall be compelled to ask you, : as my wife, to bestow upon me enough funds to keep in" going for the present. Funds? Yes, Mrs. Fitzquisite, funds! I take it you know the meaning of the term, a woman as accustomed to handling them as you are. "Do I mean money?" Why, yes, what else could I mean ?" I am willing to give you all I have, my precious Frederick, if that will be enough." Enough? Oh, I don't want it all at once 1 As I said before, my dawling, a thousand dollars will be as much as I absolutely require torday. If you could write me a check upon your banker for that amount, I should be much obliged. Wedding presents, you see, Mrs. Fitzquisite, bawl "A thousand dollars!" I said so, madam.
"All that I have is yours, Frederick; every cent that I have in the world is in this purse; take it in welcome." Three dollars and fifty cents I Not enough to pay for the wedding-dinner. Come, Mrs. Fitzquisite, hav'n't you carried the joke far enough? "Nojoket" You never said you were worth anything? No, you never did ; but Bangs told me you were, or what do you suppose I married you for, Mrs. Fitzquisite ?" For love." Haw, love! haw, love! Well, actually, now, if that isn't the coolest joke of the season! There, there, restrain yourself! Don't try to scratch or bite, angelic creature, don't! Love! ha, ha. Tie on your bonnet, and pull down your veil, and we 'll finish this delightful sleighride, Mrs. Fitzquisite.
Awrwardness.—Women have a permanent advantage over men. Not only does timidity in them naturally find more graceful expression, but they can generally find something legitimate to do with their hands—some little occupation with the needle, the shuttle, or the fan—to mitigate the pains of embarrassment, from which men's hands have no safer refuge than the pocket, most other expedients proving it worse, and often mischievous alternative. And if hands are a difficulty to the shy man, what can we say of legs, which, we presume, women never think of as an incumbrance at all? Where is he to put them? How is he to keep them in order, so that they shall not betray the perplexity of his soul? What an infinite variety of bad tricks, with these particular members, does not the demon of shcepishness suggest to its victim in the hour of trial! What postures! What oscillations! Who does not remember the curate immortalized in Shirlet, who, in the critical moment of courtship, contrived with his own hands to tie his legs so firmly together with his pocket-handkerchief, that he could not set himself at liberty when retreat from the scene of discomfiture became essential!
Maxims For Parents And Teachers.—Never give reproof, if it can be avoided, while the feelings of either party are excited. If the parent or teacher be not ,calm, his influence is diminished, and a bad example is set. If a ohild is excited or provoked, he will not feel the force of argument or rebuke. On the other hand, do not defer too long. Seize the first favorable opportunity while the circumstances are fresh in the memory. Reprove each fault as it occurs, and do not suffer them to accumulate, lest the offender be discouraged by the amount.