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"I declare," said she, turning it from side to side, "I hadn't the least idea how had this room looked. I meant to have been in applepie order, but the train must have been earlier than usual, so I didn't get cleared up. However, it doesn't make any difference, as you are all in the family now."
"' They must take us as they find us,' I said to Sophia," remarked Mr. Taylor, as Marie gladly rose to follow her hostess. What would Aunt l'ierson, who was the soul of order, have said to that parlor? Marie was thankful she was not there to see; she could make allowances, for was not Mrs. Taylor Morgan's own sister? and certainly no one could be kinder, or try to make her more at home.
This she said to Morgan when he came up to brush off the dust of travel, a little afraid of her first impressions, but, little self-deceiver and hypocrite as she was, he failed to detect any disappointment on her part; and they went down to tea so happy in each other that it would have taken more than heavy biscuit and burnt spring chicken to spoil it.
They were to stay only a day at Groton, and Marie behaved in the most amiable manner towards mother and children, while Morgan went to visit the mills with Mr. Taylor, who was manager and part owner. She listened to the endless stream of anecdote and praise of the children which Mrs. Taylor poured forth, applanded "There is a happy land" and "I want to be an Angel," which Hatty, after wearying solicitations and two pieces of wedding-cake, with a great deal of frosting, was persuaded to warble; was immensely disappointed because Charlie declined a recitation after frandulently possessing himself of a large slice on promise of so doing; petted Morgan particularly, because he was his uncle's namesake, allowed him to " blow" her watch open at least forty-nine times, and did not even shrink from baby's bread and buttery hands, which, considering her new silver gray poplin, was making an heroic sacrifice for her husband's relatives.
She was not sorry, though, to find herself once more alone with her husband, and thought with some satisfaction that the mills were a long day's ride from Chester, and that Sophia seldom left her family. She was a little conscience-stricken, too, at echoing Sophia's regret that they should see so little of each other, in such a very fervent tone. Morgan's pride did not allow him to make any uncomfortable allusions to his sister and her family, so long as Marie appeared unconscious, and were they
not to be'at home that very night, really settled down and blissfully happy f
It was a delicious spring day, the fields already brightening with a flush of green, and the willows and dogwood quite out. The carriage rolled smoothly along, the driver appeared absorbed in his horses—Mr. Ash had no misgivings as to what Harriet's reception was to be—and they caught a glimpse of the white steeples of Chester before they began to think they were at their journey's end.
"I am glad we have a little daylight left," said Mr. Ash, as he identified these landmarks. "You will have a look at Elm street, and the office as we drive by."
He thought with considerable more satisfaction what a sensation it would make when he was seen driving up the fashionable promenade at an hour when every one was sure to be out, or at their front windows, in such handsome style, and with his bride! He did not say so, for Marie would have pulled down the fluttering little gray veil sooner; it was done when she began to find her husband bowing and smiling to every third person they met, and curious looks directed towards herself. It was "the prondest day of his life," though he did not make that time-honored remark, when Morgan Ash drove up the main street of Chester bringing home his pretty bride.
(To be continued.)
Independence.—Men are never in a state of total independen.ce of each other. It is not the condition of our nature; nor is it conceivable how any man can pursue a considerable course of action without its having some effect upon others; or, of course, without producing some degree of responsibility for his conduct. The situations in which men relatively stand, produce the rules and principles of that responsibility, and afford directions to prndence in exacting it.
Industry.—People may tell you of your being unfit for some peculiar occupations in life; but heed them not; whatever employ you follow with perseverance and assiduity, will be found fit for you; it will be your support in youth and comfort in age. In learning the useful part of hny profession, very moderate abilities will suffice: great abilities are generally injurious to the possessors. Life has been compared to a race; but the allusion still improves by observing that the most swift are ever the most apt to stray from the course.
MR. JOHN SMITH.
3 y HART FORM A.N.
It was a dreary day in the month of December, 1800, when I left the railway station at
L to start on a walk across a new (to me)
road to find the house of my old friend, Dr. Harris. I had never visited him in this, his new residence, before; but his invitation to spend the Christmas holidays was so urgent, that I accepted it, as heartily as it was given— sure of a warm reception from my friend, Mrs. Harris, and the three fair daughters who were still at home. Armed with the most precise directions from a man whom I met at the railway station, and not expecting any conveyance, as I had not written to say by what train I should arrive, I started blithely on my walk, hoping to reach the house before nightfall. I had not gone more than a few rods from the station, when the snow, which had been threatening all day, began to fall in thick flakes, filling the air, and laying in a smooth sheet upon the hard dry ground. Although I am a bachelor of only fifty, I will own that of late years, snow air affects me with curious pains, not rheumatism; I am hardly old enough for that, but odd shooting pains, which make me avoid giving any occasion for them, if possible, and which made my present situation decidedly uncomfortable. Whether the snow-filled air blinded me, or the directions were not sufficiently clear, I cannot tell, but certain it is,that
I lost my way. The little village of L lay
far behind me; night was coming on, and the early twilight of winter had already fallen, yet not a house could I see where I might buy a night's lodging, or even inquire the way to my friends. In this emergency, my delight may be imagined at a brilliant light suddenly appearing at some little distance, evidently from the window of a house near at hand. Another and another gleam followed, till the whole front of a large house was illuminated. By this light I easily found a little gate which opened with some difficulty on account of the snow, but which finally yielded to my efforts, and admitted me into a large inclosure, at the back of which stood the house I have mentioned. Plodding on through the snow, I at length reached the high flight of steps, which led to the door. The wide porch was sheltered by an overhanging roof; and, having shaken off the snow from my coat and hat, I found the bell handle, and gave it a vigorous pull.
The door was thrown open by a tall man in neat livery, and before I had time to make my inquiries, he asked eagerly—
"Are you Mr. John Smith?"
"I am," I replied.
"From New York?"
"Come in! The young ladies will be so glad I They 've been expecting you ever since morning; I'll tell them you are here," and throwing open the parlor door he motioned to me to enter, and then left me.
"Lo," I thought, "I have stumbled upon the right house after all. The young ladies are very kind." And I involuntarily gave my collar a twitch higher, and stole a glance at the long mirror over the mantle-piece. My survey was interrupted by seeing reflected in the glass a female figure, who was just entering the room. Surprise kept me motionless for an instant, for it was the most extraordinary figure for a private parlor in a country house. The lady was very tall, and wore a white garment, which fell in long loose folds from her throat to the ground, unconfined at the waist. Her round, white arms were bare, excepting that upon the left wrist she wore a steel fetter, to which was attached a chain; the companion fetter, evidently intended for the other wrist, she held in her hand. Her face was ghastly pale; indeed it looked as if it had a thick coating of powder over the natural complexion, and her hair, which was long, thick, and black as a raven's wing, hung in long masses far below her waist. I turned to face this damsel, wondering if either of the doctor's daughters could be insane, and expecting a raving speech or at the least a burst of tears. She advanced, however, with a graceful, easy step, and said quietly—
"Mr. Smith, I believe?"
"I am Mr. Smith, Miss. May I inquire—"
"I will tell you all; but as we are rather pressed for time, on account of your late arrival, I must be brief. I presume the storm delayed you. You will find refreshment in the library, and—"
"Ellen 1" screamed a voice in the distance.
"Coming!" answered the lady beside me, in a scream that fairly made me jump. "I cannot wait," she added, hurriedly; "I am called; you will find pen, ink, and paper on the table.
Pray lose no time, for it is nearly six now. The third door on the left in this entry."
A man's voice in the entry at this moment exclaimed in thundering tones—
"Here let us, then, divide; each in his round
"Ellen !" he added. "Where the mischief is Ellen ?"—and, entering, the owner of the voice proved to be a tall, handsome man in a cavalier's dress, who came in hastily, saying, "Have I found you at last?"
"Mr. Smith—Mr. Johnson," said the tall damsel.
"I am glad you've come at last. You will find a table in the library ready for you," said the new-comer. "It's horrid late. Jane, they wait the Lady Jane."
"She comes," said the lady whom he had just before called Ellen. "You will excuse us, Mr. Smith; we are very busy just now." And before I could put a question they were gone.
Where was the doctor? What was the solution of this odd conduct? Hoping to find an answer to both questions in the library, I went out; found by the bright light in the hall the door to which I had been directed. Upon opening it, I found myself in a room lighted only by the reflection from the hall lamp which I had just admitted through the doorway. A figure in a dark dress stood in one corner, and, as I appeared, cried, in a frantic tone— "Where is he? They said he was with you; he—thou knowest Whom I would say."
"Upon my word, I don't," I said; but she continued—
"I heard ye loud. I thought
The question was put in such a yell that I was positively alarmed.
"My dear madam," I said.
"Are you Mr. Smith?" inquired the lady, coming forward, and speaking in a natural tone.
"I am, madam; I came here—"
"Yes, I know; it's all right. I will not interrupt you, of course. I thought when you opened the door that it was—Mercy on me! there's the bell." And this second singular female rushed off like a young whirlwind.
I was beginning to feel rather uncomfortable. I knew that my friend Harris was rather Quixotic in some of his ideas, and I began to fear that he had turned his house into a private lunatic asylum. Perhaps, I argued, some ex
planation may be found here. I drew from my pocket my little match-box, which I carry to light my cigars, and struck a match. The light flashed for an instant, and then went out; but I reeled back, for that one flash showed me, gaping at my feet, an empty coffin.
A faint scream from the next room came to my ears as I stood panting against the doorway.
"Oh, Lily," said a soft voice, "don't scream
Another scream, a little louder, followed.
"Pinch her," said a man's voice.
Apparently the suggestion was acted upon, for a long, loud, piercing shriek followed, and was greeted by a roar of laughter from several voices.
"Bravo, Lily !" said one voice.
"No danger of consumption there ; her lungs are good," said another.
"Nell pinched awfully," said a lady's voice, laughingly.
"I shall certainly do it again at the proper time," said the voice of the lady whom I had met in the parlor.
"The brutes are making game of some unfortunate idiot," I thought, indignantly.
"Perdition seize my soul, but I do love thee!" shouted a voice so close to the door that I jumped as if a pistol had been fired there.
"Where is the shroud ?" said a new voice.
"In the box with the wineglasses," said another.
The empty coffin flashed on my mind, and I determined to explore the library still further. I had dropped my match-box in my first fright, and I stooped to find it. A round, hard substance was the first object I touched, and I drew it out to the light. Imagine my horror! it was a grinning skull. I dropped it with a cry, which attracted no attention in this queer house; and then, summoning up all my resolution, stooped again for my match-box; this time I was more successful, for I found it immediately.
At that instant a scream so long, loud, and piercing that it seemed the concentrated yell of a dozen demons sounded at the head of the stairs, and then a woman in a long black dress and with a veil over her face dashed down the staircase, across the entry, past me, and stood panting under the hall lamp. An instant later, a man in the ordinary dress of a gentleman came from the same landing, and ran lightly down the stairs.
"Back !" cried tho lady, in a voice denoting an agony of terror. "One step noarer, and I plunge this dagger into my heart!" And she
actually drew a dagger from her belt, and held it up.
"Come in here," said a voice from the mysterious room; "don't go on that way in the entry."
Apparently the voice restored the lady to her senses, for she held out her hand to the gentleman, and they went in together. My position in the doorway had shielded me from the notice of this couple, and also prevented my obtaining a view of the room from which so many strange sounds proceeded.
Half frantic, I struck another match, and this time succeeded In lighting the astral lamp which stood upon a large round table in the centre of the library. By this light, I glanced fearfully round the room, not knowing from what corner some lunatic might pounce upon me. The usual furniture of the room seemed to be piled away in one corner, excepting only the bookcases, whose tall, upright frames stood against the walls. The coffin still gaped near the door, and in it was the skull which I had dropped. Upon a chair near it hang a velvet pall with a heavy black fringe. On another chair lay a red velvet mantle, and across this lay a naked sword. Turning my head, I saw in another corner a block soch a3 was anciently used for beheading criminals, and across it lay a bloody axe. I felt sick, suffocated with these horrors, when another pile attracted me. Here were pistols, daggers, and swords, in amiable companionship with crowns, masks, purses of money, velvet caps, a violin, and a large pitcher of silver. Upon the centre-table stood the astral lamp, writing materials, and a small tray, upon which were a cold chicken, a plate of biscuit, and a bottle of wine. Despite the singularity of my position, I remembered that 1 had been invited to partake of refreshment in the library, and I drew up the only vacant chair in the room, and attacked the supper. I was just comfortably seated, and had taken one mouthful, when a man rushed into the room, exclaiming—
"Here I can be alone for five minutes." Then, seeing me, he said, " Mr. Smith?"
"Yes, sir; will you be kind enough—"
"In a. minute; in a minute! don't let me interrupt you. I will be gone in five minutes."
He was as bad as the woman. He wore a long black cloak, and in his hand held a naked sword, which he flourished within an inch of my nose.
"But, my dear sir," I began.
"Don't bother me now." And making savage passes with his sword he shouted, "Down,
down, dog! dost thou beard me still?" Then striking an attitude, with the point of his sword making a fearful hole in the carpet, he cried, "So perish all who cross me on my path."
A voice from the next room said—
"Burn the witch 1"
Apparently the advice was followed, for a scream of pain followed, and the gentleman in the cloak, crying, "It is her voice 1 on, on!" darted out of the room.
"That's better, Lily," said the unseen burner (I presume); "you don't scream worth a cent, generally."
A loud voice at this moment began to sing, in good time and tune, "Here 's to the maiden of bashful fifteen.'' A dozen male voices took up the chorus, and the song was well sung throughout. I had finished my supper, and was meditating and hoping the doctor would soon arrive, when a gentleman, in a powdered wig, breeches, and tights, came to the door and looked in. Seeing that I was alone, he advanced and said, in a low tone—
"Yes, sir; will you tell me—"
"By and by; I have not a moment to spare. I only came to say to you that they are determined upon the murder of your—some one comes—be on your guard, and if you cannot prevent them from seeing it, call for me, and I will deliver it in a style befitting—hush !" and the gentleman withdrew with his finger upon his lip.
"If you please, Mr. Smith." I looked up to see a little black-eyed girl, in a picturesque peasant's dress, in the doorway. "You're wanted, now," she said.
"Yes, sir, we're ready for you."
"Are you? Where?"
"Come, Susy, hurry!" said an impatient voice in the distance.
"Coming. Come, Mr. Smith."
Determined to see the meaning of all this strange conduct,"and emboldened by a glass of wine, I followed my pretty conductress to the next room.
Some twenty or thirty gentlemen and ladies occupied this apartment, which was immensely large, uncarpeted, and unfurnished. Such a strange scene I never beheld. In one comer 'a sailor was fencing with a Turk, while a little negro girl urged the combat forward. In another place, my white-robed, black-haired damsel was composedly fettering herself with her steel bracelets. The lady in black was pacing "What did you think ?" inquired another.
up and down in the back-ground, talking to herself in a low tone, and gesticulating violently as she moved backward and forward. One man, in a corsair's dress, was kneeling at the feet of an exceedingly pretty nun, who was toying with the cnrls on his forehead, and arranging them in picturesque confusion. My arrival was unnoticed for an instant, then a gentleman in a white sheet, apparently, came over to me.
"Yes, sir; will you have the goodness—"
"Oh, Mr. Smith," said the lady in black, coming forward, "did Harry remember the owl?"
"And the torches; are the torches coming?" said the pretty brunette.
"Oh, Mr. Smith, who 's to speak?"
As they were by this time all speaking at once, I considered this question rather superfluous. I was almost deafened.
"Why didn't you come'together?" cried one.
> "Harry's dreadfully late," screamed another.
"Are they written ?" yelled a third.
"We are mined without the owl," murmured the lady in black.
"Ladies and gentlemen," I began.
"Oh, bother, a speech!" said the corsair, impatiently. "Give me the papers."
"No," interrupted the powdered-wiggedgentleman, "give them to me."
"But, really, my friends !" I said, again.
"Come, old fellow, the papers. Hand them over," said the sailor, joining the outcry.
"Here I am, at last!" cried a cheerful voice behind me.
We all turned to see the new-comer, who stood in the doorway. He was a ta", rosycheeked young man, evidently just in from the storm.
"Nellie," he said, tossing a bundle of papers to the fettered damsel. "Here are the papers. The other things are in the library; Smith couldn't come."
"Couldn't come!" cried a chorus of voices, and all eyes turned upon me.
"Why," said the new-comer, "whom have we here?"
Glad to have an opportunity of speaking, I said—
"lam Mr. Smith, sir, from New York, who, having lost his w.iy in the storm—"
A roar of laughter interrupted me, and then one after another my tormentors spoke.
"The wrong man !" said one.
"Of all absurd things, this is the funniest," said a third.
"Such a remarkable name," said a fourth.
"We owe you a thousand apologies," said the brigand, raising his voice above the Babel of tongues, and silencing them; "and must trust to your good nature to grant us a pardon for our error. Allow me, ladies and gentlemen, to explain the facts to this gentleman." Then to me again, he said: "We are a party of amateur actors and actresses, sir, and this evening give our first performance here in about an hour. My brother Harry went to New York yesterday to secure the services of a friend of his, Mr. Smith, who was to come down, write our prologue and epilogue, and act as prompter. We have been expecting him all day, and the similarity of names must be our excuse for our error. If you will accept a place in front here, we shall be very happy to have your opinion of our performance."
I need only add that, after seeing several fine tableaux, scenes from different plays, and hearing some good, some bad recitations, I was shown to a comfortable room for the night, and after partaking of a hearty breakfast, at which the white-robed lady presided in a pretty wrapper, with the hair "done up" in approved style, I was driven to my friend's house, where my late adventures made a hearty laugh for the old doctor.
Simplicity Of Dkess.—Female loveliness never appears to so good advantage as when set off with simplicity of dress. No artist ever decks his angels with towering feathers and gaudy jewelry; and our dear human angels—if they would make good their title to that name— should carefully avoid ornaments which properly belong to African princesses and Indian squaws. These tinselries may serve to give effect on the stage, or upon a ballroom floor, but in daily life there is no substitute for the charm of simplicity. A vulgar taste is not to be disguised by gold and diamonds. The absence of a true taste and real refinement or delicacy cannot be compensated for by the possession of the most princely fortune. Mind measures gold, but gold cannot measure mind. Through dress the mind may be read, as through the delicate tissue of the lettered page. A modest woman will dress modestly: a really refined and intellectual woman will bear the niaiks of careful selection and faultless taste.