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gratifications of a refined taste with the exercise of an enlightened intellect, then must reading aloud hold a prominent place amongst those arts which impart a charm to social intercourse at the same time that they elevate and purify the associations of ordinary life. The art of reading aloud and reading well is thus entitled to our serious consideration, inasmuch as it may be made a highly influential means of imparting a zest and an interest to domestic associations; and of investing with the charm of perpetual freshness the conversation of the family circle, the intercourse of friendship, and the communion of “mutual minds.” One of the highest offices of thought, when communicated by one individual, is to strike out thoughts from others.
There are books which operate in this manner to such an extent as almost to create a new era in the intellect
ual existence of the reader; and where this is the case, how vastly superior is the enjoyment always arising out of new trains and fresh combinations of ideas, when shared with others, than when only confined to ourselves! Books are often our best friends, and therefore we ought to share them together." The remarks on the art of reading well we beg most pointedly to recommend to our fair readers, assured that they must benefit by a study of the advice there conveyed, while we are equally assured that they will be amused as well as instructed by the succeeding selection of extracts, which is modern, and made with much taste and care; at the same time the pieces are not of such length as to infringe on the copyrights of the authors, but are rather brief specimens of their style and mode of thought.
COSTUMES OF ALL NATIONS.—THIRD SERIES.
THE TOILET IN IRELAND
The ancient dress of the Irish appears to be but little known till the twelfth century, when it is said to have been much the same as that worn by the southern Britons. After the garments of skins were discarded, the Irish adopted breeches, a cota, and a mantle, fastened, as usual, with a brooch or bodkin. Armillæ and torques were favorite ornaments among them. Giraldus Cambriensis says of the Irish in the twelfth century: “ They wear their woollen clothes mostly black, because the sheep in Ireland are în general of that color; the dress itself is of a barbarous fashion. They wear moderate closehooded or cowled mantles, which spread over their shoulders and reach down to the elbow, composed of small pieces of cloth, of different kinds and colors, for the most part sewed together; beneath which they have woollen phalinges, instead of a cloak, or breeches and stockings in one piece, and these generally dyed of some color.”
The mantle and brogues are two well known parts of an Irish costume. Froissart, in Richard the Second's reign, mentions the four Irish kings who swore allegiance to that monarch, and says that linen drawers were ordered to be made for them, and houpelands of silk, trimmed with miniver and gris. “For," adds the chronicler," formerly these Irish kings were thought to be well dressed if wrapped up in an Irish mantle.” The dress of the females up to this time is but little known; but it is supposed that they wore mantles, bodkins in their hair, and various ornaments of jewels; they are said to have been very partial to long hair, and allowed it to grow lank and rough, and to fall over their ears.
Fine cloth, silks, and cloth of gold, it is said, wero worn by the higher ranks in the sixteenth century, and worsted and canvas materials by the lower orders. In the reign of Henry the Eighth, an act was passed to prevent the Irish wearing clothes dyed of their favorite color, saffron; the number of yards also allowed for their garments is specified, and women are ordered not to wear dresses of the Irish fashion. This edict leads us to suppose that they had a form and shape for their garments peculiar to themselves. The yellow, or saffron color, is often mentioned as being a very favorite hue, and one which they usually employed in dyeing their habits.
Spensor greatly censured the ancient Irish dress. He considered the cloak “a fit house for an outlaw, a meet bed for a rebel, and an apt cloke for a thief.” He also strongly objects to the custom of women wearing mantles, and mentions several articles of their dress : “a linen roll which they sometimes wear upon their heads, a thick linen shirt, a longsleeved smock, a half-sleeved coat, and silken fillet.” And Camden informs us that when, in Queen Elizabeth's reign, the Prince of Ulster came to the Eng. lish court, with his attendants, they all wore “their hair flowing in long locks upon their shoulders, and had shirts dyed with saffron; their sleeves were large, their tunics short, and their mantles jagged.”
A writer of the reign of James I. says : “Touching the mean or wild Irish, it may be truly said of them, which of old was spoken of the Germans; namely, that they wander slovenly and naked. The gentlemen, or lords of counties, wear close breeches and stockings, of the same piece of cloth, of red, or such light color, and a loose coat, and a cloak, or a three-cornered mantle, of coarse light stuff, made at home, and their linep is coarse; and,” adds the writer, “ their shirts, before the last rebellion, were made of twenty or thirty ells, folded in wrinkles, and colored with saffron. * # The women," he goes on to say, " living among the English, wear linen, a gown, and a mantle, and cover their heads
toms and dresses, such as fine-laced hose, golden plates buckled round their legs, high-beeled shoes, stitched with silk, and covered with tissue of gold, jackets that buttoned on the side, with sleeves ten feet long, very narrow, and plaited up to the shoulders."
By this account, we may imagine that the Norwegians were eager followers of fashion, and that at the time of which Snoro Sturleson writes, they dressed like other European nations. We find, how. ever, in another part of the same work, that the long garments were not quite discarded in Norway till about the year 1100, and then King Magnus Olufsen introduced short clothes and bare legs.
The lower order of peasants rarely trouble themselves about Fashion's vagaries ; and the patives of this foreign clime still retain the costume that has descended to them from father to son. Some wear breeches and stockings all in one, and waistcoats of the same, and, if they wish to be very smart, they cover the seams with cloth of a different color.
The Hardanger peasants always wear black clothes edged with red; the Vaasserne wear all black ; the Strite, white, edged with black; and those near Soynefiord, prefer black and yellow; so that almost every parish has its own color.
They wear on their heads a broad-brimmed hat, or else a gray, brown, or black cap. Their shoes are without heels, and consist of two pieces of leather; the upper part sits close to the foot, and the other is joined to it in folds. In winter, they have laced half-boots, but when on the ice they put on skates, about ten feet long, covered with sealskin. The peasants never wear a neckcloth, but leave their throats and necks entirely uncovered. Sometimes they fasten a leathern belt round the body, to hold their knives and other implements.
At church, and on holidays, the Norwegian wo.
in the Turkish fashion, with many ells of linen, only the Turkish turban is more round at the top, while that worn by the Irish is flatter and broader.” Speed also speaks of wide-sleeved linen shirts, stained yellow, tho mantles, and the skeins, and says : “ The women wore their hair plaited in a curious manner, hanging down their backs and shoulders, from under the folden wreaths of fine linen rolled about their heads."
From the time of Charles II. the gentlemen in Ireland are said to have gradually abandoned the national costume, and to have adopted the English fashions. The lower orders, however, retained their dress to a much later period, and even now the brogues and mantles are constantly seen, and still oftener the feet unincumbered with shoes or stockings.
THE TOILET IN NORWAY.
The ancient dress of the Norwegian peasants was made of the reindeer's skin. From what old authors say, it seems to have consisted of a cloak or mantle; but we find that about the middle of the eleventh contury, when King Oluf Haraldren founded the city of Bergen, he brought thither a great many foreign merchants, who carried their fashions with them. In the Norwegian Chronicles we read: " Then the Norwegians took up many foreign cus.
men wear laced jackets and leathern girdles, adorned with silver. They are also fond of a chain, which
they put three or four times round their necks, and hang a gilt ornament at the end of it. Their handkerchiefs and caps are covered with plates of silver, brass, and tin, buttons, and rings; and, of the latter, they wear quantities on their fingers. The young women plait their hair, and, while employed
in their household affairs, they wear a shift and a petticoat; the collar of the former reaches to the throat, and they have a sack, generally of a black color, twisted round the waist. The linen they wear is very fine, and this simple costume is said to be very becoming
AUNT MILLY'S VISIT TO THE WATERING-PLACE.
BY PANNY BRACY.
AUNT Milly considered herself an invalid, not that she had any particular complaint or suffered at all from debility. But she had been for years accustomed to sigh and moan habitually, to tie a handkerchief around her face lest that lately fashionable terror neuralgia should make her a victim. She ate rye bread for fear of dyspepsia, took seltzer every morning to guard against nervous headache, and never drank coffee or green tea, for the same
When winter set in, she was swallowed in flannel, because her father had been dreadfully amicted with rheumatism, and it was said to be hereditary. Sho kept cough drops in her pocket, and took posset every night, for her chest was weak; she dreaded walking fast because she was sure that she was threatened with palpitation of tho heart, and when she drove out, sank back in the carriage overwhelmed with the exertion of asking John if everything were safe-shafts, axle-tree, springs, wheels, tires, harness, reins, and check-reins.
My uncle Jones called in physicians, and consulted medical works. He could find nothing in reference to her many nervous attacks, and gave up in despair. Numberless were the plain bread pills Aunt Milly swallowed, countless the vials of colored waters that she imbibed. She could not sleep without two pills at night, and fancied herself dying, if, throughout the day, her teaspoonful of mixtures had been omitted, or five minutes of the exact time had been allowed to elapse before her maid prepared them.
She knew by heart the name of every wateringplace in the Union, and declared that she would die, a victim to Mr. Jones's indifference, if she were to be deprived of the benefit attending Sulphur Springs, Sweet Springs, sea-bathing, and salt air.
He had a holy horror of travelling. He could not be convinced of the necessity of shifting from place to place, deprived of his usual comforts, when he could stay at home and have everything he wanted. So, for years, Aunt Milly was allowed to groan and hint, and tie up her head in vain. She could not move his obdurate heart, and resigned herself to die of neglect.
“My dear, you can go where you like," said he ; “ but you must not expect me to accompany you. I
am no invalid, and have always a good appetite, and a fondness for my own bed, uninfested by little unmentionable insects that devour you in hotels and wayside inns. So leave me at home, and travel from South to North, and East to West. Drink sulphur water, bathe in hot springs, enjoy salt air, and sleep in dirty places, since you have a fancy for it; but let me have my way here."
"I sleep in dirty places, Mr. Jones! You forget yourself, indeed! When did I ever express a liking that way, sir? But let me die. You know I cannot go without you, ill and feeble as I am. I am resigned to my fate, poor, neglected creature ! Oh, my side! My heart beats so painfully! Joanna! quick with the white mixture ! Joanna! Joanna! Mr. Jones, will you ring the bell? Dou't you see the state I'm in ?”
“I do, and hear, too," said he, seizing the bellrope. “But you look remarkably well under the excitement, Milly; and you only want exercise and fresh air to make you a sensible woman once more. Whereas, with your swaddling in flannel, burying yourself in your room, and drugging from sunrise till sunset, you are getting to be like a withered apple-withered and screwed into wrinkles while you are yet a young woman; for a woman of thirtynine is by no means old, unless illness, and a fancy for illness, make her so."
“You are surely crazy, Mr. Jones," cried my aunt, rising and looking in the glass. " I look withered! How decidedly ungentlemanly of you to say so! I defy you to show me a more youthful-looking woman of my age than I am; and will thank you not to remember my years either, or to show a greener memory. I am not thirty-nine yet, thank Heaven!"
“Well, convince me of that, Milly, and I'll be as green as you can expect," said he, slyly, as he winked his eye at me. “When were you born, my dear ?"
“Pshaw, Mr. Jones! What is the use of being so foolish? Go and ask my grandmother such questions. She could tell to a minute : old people are forever talking about ages. It seems to be one of their infirmities." And here Aunt Milly rather tossed her head.
"Well, may be so, Milly ; but is it not singular that you should be losing your memory at your time of life? Your grandmother has been dead these fifteen years past, and you bid me go and ask her about your birth !"
“La, Jones, you know I was jesting," said his wife, a little put out.
"Well, then, Milly, let's be serious now.” And my uncle took a chair. “Every year I am tormented with your passion for travelling. Now we are going to make a bargain. Does it never occur to you that you might lose your husband's affection by this constant hypochondria of yours--don't interrupt me—this cessation of all pleasant intercourse between man and wife? There was a time, Milly, when our tastes were mutual ; you loved me enough to try and make me happy, and I was happy. I love you as fondly as ever, because I am not one to change; yet there is but little domestic bliss falling to my share now. You complain all day, and leave me to enjoy myself as I can, without interesting yourself any more in my pursuits than if I were a stranger."
Aunt Milly began to cry; but he went on earnestly, not stopping to comfort her as usual, and I could see that this was the “crisis," as the doctors term it.
“Now, I detest travelling; I have a horror of your fashionable watering-places; but, for our mutual benefit, I will promise to go with you where you like, if you, in your turn, will promise to get well before we come home again."
“How do I know that I will recover my health ?" asked Aunt Milly, wiping her eyes. “I think it wrong to exact such a promise from an uncertain, impotent mortal."
“As you please, my dear," said Uncle Jones, thrusting his hands in his pockets; "as you please. I have made you a reasonable offer, and on those conditions alone will I accompany you when you wish to go. So make up your mind, and let me know your decision."
Decision was a fearful word to Aunt Milly. She had never been decided in all her life, and it was late to begin now. She looked at me, at Joanna, and at her husband; but we dared not look up, and she took her knitting from the work-stand.
“You see, Fanny,” said she, throwing the yarn across her little finger; "you see, my dear, I cannot promise to get well just in one moment, as your uncle wishes. Suppose that I should not improve, I couldn't come back home to run about, here and there, as I used to. But, Lord! if I were to miss the opportunity! Fanny, I wish you would advise me, child. Do you think I 'll be benefited enough by the change of air to get my strength again ? Don't tell me that you can't tell. Can't you reflect? If I go, I may get well, to be sure ; but then-oh, I declare, Mr. Jones is provoking! But, then, how am I to promise, when I can't? I vow it is too bad to exact such unjustifiable things from people whose
nerves are as weak as mine! I do believe he thinks I can get well when I make up my mind to it, as if it depended on me."
My uncle whistled, and put on his hat.
“Well, Milly, take your time about deciding. I'll give you all day. And, meanwhile, I 'll take my gun and bring you a bag of game for your dinner."
“Now do stop, John! What is the use of fiying off in that way? How, in the name of common sense, can you leave me in this way? There, he is gone, and I really don't know what to do. Joanna, see if all my morning caps are nicely done up; you know I must have them all. But, you see, Fanny, if I should not improve, I will lose the benefit of Dr. Ring's attendance and his excellent medicines. I may die in consequence of your uncle's unfeeling conduct. Perhaps, however, I had better go, and try what virtue there is in salt bathing. See to my collars, my dear; look over them carefully to-day, and make me some fresh knots to wear with them. If I do go, I must make a good appearance. I declare, Fanny, I am bewildered. Send for Mrs. Martin to come in, my child; I'll consult her. She is a woman of excellent judgment, and knows my disease as well as a physician."
I was rejoiced at this. Mrs. Martin was an excellent auxiliary, and a good friend. She did not always agree with Aunt Milly about her ill health, for she comprehended that it was a mania for medicine and nervousness indulged. They had known each other since childhood, and Aunt Milly loved her dearly, in spite of their arguments.
So I dispatched Joanna, and, shortly after, sam Mrs. Martin riding up the lane in a brisk trot. I hastened to meet her.
“Fanny, how do you do? What is the matter with Milly now? More nerves to-day ?"
I explained as I led her in, and she nodded her head approvingly, promising to influence my aunt as far as she was able, as it was an excellent idea. I left them together, and went to look at the collars and knots, convinced of the result; and, before I had quite finished, Joanna came to call me, as her mistress had made up her mind to go, and wanted me immediately.
How hard we worked I cannot say, for the entire household was topsy turvy for my aunt's sake. Washing, ironing, clear starching, sewing, mending, and running errands after ribbons, muslins, and laces. When all was ready, and I saw the carriage at the door, I could not help pitying my uncle. He walked about uneasily, gave orders concerning his gun and hunting accoutrements, fishing-rods and flagons; but I could see how he hated the prospect before him of discomfort and daily annoyance. I do believe he would have been glad if Aunt Milly had remained, and been all nerves for the rest of her days.
At length they set off, my aunt crying bitterly,
and Joanna in a whirl of delight at seeing "somethin' 'sides the everlastin' piny woods." The journey was short enough ; but her mistress looked upon it as a dreadful undertaking, and I wondered, as I went in the house, whether my uncle's plan would cure her of hypochondria, or bring her back a victim to coughs, colds, and imaginary catarrhs.
I had enough to do in their absence, and a week passed swiftly enough. My uncle wrote to say that they had reached their first place of destination, and wished himself safe home again. “So I believe Milly does, if she would acknowledge it," added he; “ but I am determined to make her believe I am more and more charmed as she grows more disgusted."
Three weeks from the day they arrived at I was surprised to see a carriage coming along the lane, loaded with trunks and carpet-bags. I went to the door, and wondered who it could be; for, although we had plenty of visiting neighbors, I did not expect any one to stay while my aunt was gone. The horses came slowly on until they reached the circle in front of the house. Then they whirled in, the driver drew in his reins, and I recognized my uncle and his wife !
“What on earth has happened ?" cried I, springing down the steps, and catching Aunt Milly in my erms. “Is my aunt ill ?"
“Oh, Fanny, my child ! I'm so glad to get back ! Bo enchanted! You may well kiss your uncle, for he is a person of excellent sound sense.”
He winked his eye mischievously at me, and my aunt went up the front steps unassisted, a thing she had not done for years.
“Come along, child, I'm dying to tell you all. Come on, Mr. Jones, I want you to listen, or Fanny will certainly think I am exaggerating.”
Here, Joanna lifted a basket awkwardly, and out rolled a large box of pills, the contents scattering in every direction. She flew to pick them up, but my aunt interposed
“Let the pills go, Joanna, I don't mind them; bring in the things, and set them in my room."
I looked at my uncle, who smiled significantly, and we followed Aunt Milly in the ball, then into the sitting-room, where, having satisfactorily possessed herself of her individual rocking-chair and foot-stool, she ordered me to sit near her. I suggested that she had better divest herself of her bonDet and mantilla, which she laughingly declared she had forgotten. At length she composed herself, and I prepared to listen with all my ears, for I was wondering what to think of the sudden return and my aunt's recovery.
“Now, Fanny, you can never imagine the dirt we eat, drank, saw, and slept in, during our four days' journey. I thought I should die outright; but your unele declared it was delightful, and pretended that he found everything cleaner than it was at home. Just think of that, my dear child! He
wouldn't agree with me in a single opinion I expressed, and wished the distance were greater yet from here to
The evening we arrived, there was a ball, and everybody's head seemed to be turned. We waited for an hour in the hotel parlor before we could get a room, there was such a crowd ; and the women peeped at me, and giggled like so many fools, walking arm in arm with gentlemen whom I took to be their husbands and brothers, but found out afterwards 'twas no such thing. Well, at last we were led to our rooms; two poor little pens, with a comfortless appearance that chilled me. I went to bed directly, telling Jones to send my tea up to me; but waited two mortal hours for it, Joanna running down every five minutes to try and get it. When it did come, it was a slop, to be sure! Fod. der tea would be nectar to it, upon my word. I couldn't drink it, and, in despair, tried to sleep. Oh, Fanny, such beds and pillows! If they were not stuffed with oyster-shells, they were with pounded brickbats, for I never laid my poor head upon such stony things in all my life. Fortunately, I had brought two pillows with me, and I sent after the baggage that remained down stairs. My dear child, I had to wait till next morning! Then I rolled up some of my shawls under my head, and hoped to rest; but the music began in the ball-room, and I was nearly wild. Your uncle came up laughing fit to kill himself, and insisted on my getting up and dressing myself to go and see them dance. You may imagine, Fanny, how miserable I must have felt when I consented to this; but I put on my black levantine and a new cap, and took Jones's arm. We reached the ball-room at last, and found a seat. Everybody was up on the floor, it seemed to me, for my head was in a whirl. The men all look drunk, and half the women, instead of being dressed, were in their bodied petticoats. I wanted to go out, but Jones would not let me, so I looked on. The queerest dances you ever saw were performing; for it certainly was a performance. The gentlemen hugged their partners close to their breasts, and, with their faces close together, they began to slide first one side then another, and then hop all round on one foot. Some just slided, others gave a little kick, then a hop, and then a kick again, all the time as close as could be to one another. You may well open your big eyes, Fanny; for I would sooner see you dead than engaged in those improper dances. I thought, at first, that they were dancing with their husbands, these half-dressed ladies ; but I give you my word, that I never saw man and wife together while I was away. They didn't soem to caro a snap for one another, and flirted worse than any wild unmarried belle I ever heard of.
“Well, at twelve o'clock, they had supper, and your uncle dragged me along. There were bony chickens and thin turkeys, oyster soup and fried oysters. Sloppy blancmange, stale cakes, and blue milk frozen into what they called ice-cream. Oh,