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for his special accommodation.” And as we have continued to indulge him, he has continued to require the indulgence. He will not remain for a single minute on any of the tabourets. He seems to have an antipathy to worsted-work.” “A most sensible grimalkin"—observed Denham. “I honour that cat.” But seeing his sisters look much displeased, the heart of our hero smote him for opposing so severely their favourite occupation, and for ridiculing the elaborate productions of their needles, particularly as he had just returned to them after a long separation. So he said, good-humouredly, “Well—well—girls—amuse yourselves in the way you like best—I will endeavour to ‘consider it not so deeply.” And it is not only in looking at worsted-work that one subject may be mistaken for another, but in painting also. I recollect being in Philadelphia, once, when a new drop-curtain. was exhibited at the Chesnut street theatre; and this drop-curtain was universally regarded by the spectators as a scene from that chapter of Gil Blas in which the carriage of Don Alvar is attacked by Rolando's troop of robbers, Don Alvar killed, and his wife Donna Mencia dragged forth in a fainting fit. The newspapers made laudatory mention of this new drop-curtain, as a well-painted subject from Le Sage's novel; and the people admired it, as such, for many successive nights, till they were undeceived by a communication from the theatre, implying that it was intended to represent the murder of Archbishop Sharpe. And it was then discovered that the figure which every body had taken for Gil Blas de Santillane, was in reality Balfour of Burley, the supposed Don Alvar being in truth the old archbishop, and the fainted lady his grace's daughter.” The Miss Kingsburys were restored to smiles by this little anecdote, the truth of which can be corroborated by many Philadelphians who must recollect the Gil Blas drop-curtain. Denham Kingsbury then changed the conversation by inquiring after certain families whom he had formerly known. And the two girls, as soon as they quitted the table, repaired to the front parlour, and sat down with determined faces to their worsted-frames. “By the bye, Denham”—said his mother— “your old drawing master Alan Stanford, who instructed you when we lived in the city, is now in Thessaly. Soon after you sailed for India he went to Europe to improve in his profession. He remained there six or seven years, became an excellent water-colour artist, and also painted miniatures exceedingly well. He made London his head-quarters; but a severe winter in that damp heavy atmosphere destroyed the health of his wife, and she died there in a rapid consumption. After her death, he longed to return to his own country, and he came home, expecting to make a good living by his water-colour designs from
works of fiction. In this the unfortunate man has been sadly disappointed; and he was willing to paint miniatures or teach drawing, or employ his pencil in any way by which he could decently support his daughter and himself. But finding no opening for him in either of the other cities, he returned to New York, and hearing that many rich people were living in Thessaly, he has come up here to endeavour to get a class of pupils in drawing, and to obtain some miniatures to paint. I at once employed him to take mine, and when I show it to you I am sure you will consider it excellent. I wish both the girls to sit to him, but they say they have at present no time; and, for the same reason I cannot persuade them to take lessons of Mr. Stanford in drawing.” “I will sit to him myself”—said Denham, starting up—“Where does he live? I will go to him at once.” Mrs. Kingsbury gave her son a direction to Mr. Stanford's, and added—“He has his daughter with him; a very lovely girl about eighteen, who must have been a child when you went away.” “Is it little Clemira”—said Denham—“I have seen her often, and recollect her perfectly. A sweet lovely creature she was.” “And is still”—pursued Mrs. Kingsbury— “She is beautiful, modest, intelligent, and clever at every thing. And she does all in her power to assist her father. She even copies music, translates from the French, and corrects proof-sheets. She not only draws charmingly, but she embroiders in the most exquisite manner; and indeed she excels in every sort of needle-work both plain and ornamental. And then having no false pride, she makes no secret of her earnest desire to turn her numerous talents to profitable account. She is truly a most extraordinary girl.” Denham Kingsbury now concluded that he would not go to Mr. Stanford's till he had made some improvement in his dress. And running up to his room, he spent rather a long time at his toilet, his hair being more difficult to arrange than usual. This important business accomplished, he soon found himself at the lodgings of his ex-drawing master, who had apartments in the house of a small private family at the upper end of the town. Having sent up his name by a boy that came to the street-door, Kingsbury was received at the head of the stair-case by his old friend Stanford with open arms, and ushered into his little frontroom, where the ever-industrious artist had been engaged in finishing a drawing, and where his daughter sat near the window occupied with some embroidery. Her father introduced her as Clemira Stanford; and she began to put up her work preparatory (as Kingsbury feared) to leaving the room. But on his begging that he might not interrupt her, she bowed her head in acknowledgement, and quietly resumed her needle. While her father was talking of England, and of English artists, and of the delight of gazing by the hour on fine pictures, the eyes of Kingsbury wandered towards the beautiful girl. She was yet in half-mourning for her mother. Her elegant and symmetrical figure was attired in a plain black silk, with a clear muslin chemisette which had a very becoming lappel collar trimmed with a narrow pleated frill, and slightly thrown back from her white and finely-formed neck. Her smooth and glossy dark chesnut hair, wreathed in a plat behind, and fastened with a long pin or bodkin of jet, was parted on her noble and intellectual forehead; and as she bent her graceful head over her work, her clustering ringlets half-shaded a cheek which was delicately rounded, and delicately tinted with that exquisite blending of rose and lily that art can never equal. Her features were classically beautiful, her eyes when she raised them to speak, (and she spoke only to reply when addressed by Kingsbury or her father) beamed with that light of the soul that can never be mistaken. She was embroidering a scarf of dove-coloured silk for a lady to whom Mrs. Kingsbury had recommended her. The eyes of our hero rested upon it, and he saw that Clemira Stanford's needle-work was such as could only be done by a woman that was a proficient in drawing. Her embroidery was indeed painting with the needle, and exquisite it was, with its rich and glossy silks, and its almost imperceptible stitches blending into each other. The flowers were elegantly arranged, both in form and colour, and were of a far more recherché description than those that are usually introduced into embroidery. It was easy to see that originally they had been taken from nature. Kingsbury thought of the worsted-work of his sisters, and it seemed to him worse than ever. The visit of our hero had extended to an hour before he supposed it to have exceeded fifteen minutes; and he was only apprised of its real length by the striking of the church clock. It was not till he had risen to take leave that he recollected the business on which he had come, that of engaging Stanford to paint his miniature. It was soon arranged that the first sitting should take place next morning, Stanford giving lessons at the boys' academy in the afternoon. He had no female pupils in drawing, and his daughter could obtain none to instruct in embroidery: all the young girls of Thessaly being devoted to worsted-work, which is so far easy as to require neither taste nor talent, but exactly the contrary. Next day Denham Kingsbury's miniature was commenced: and it proceeded so rapidly as to be finished in a week. To the great disappointment of our hero, Clemira Stanford never entered the room during the sittings. And yet he liked her the better for it. But he found that she and her father took a walk together every morning before breakfast; and he immediately discovered that an early morning walk was the best possible preservative of health, and that though perfectly well at present, it would be right and prudent in him to take precautionary measures for continuing so. Therefore, he set about rising always at daylight,
10 THE KINGS BURYS.
and he always contrived to join the Stanfords in their walk; and then he soon fell into a habit of spending every alternate evening with them. At home, Denham Kingsbury had little society but that of his mother, who was always much occupied with household affairs, (her daughters being entirely useless to her,) with visiting the sick, with procuring work for the indigent, and with dispensing her charities to those who were unable to assist themselves. Rosella and Minetta Kingsbury were no companions for their brother or for any one else. They sat all day in silence over their frames with their patterns before them, and their crewel balls beside them, scarcely allowing time to make an occasional visit to any of their friends: all those friends being equally infected with the worstedworking mania. The Miss Kingsburys had read nothing for the last two years, alleging that they had no time for reading. The numerous new books were all unknown to them, and they had forgotten their old ones. If spoken to, they looked up annoyed at the interruption, answered abstractedly, and in a moment their heads were again bent over their canvas. Mrs. Kingsbury had grieved from the beginning at this misapplication of time and attention: yet she found that she could not check it but at the expense of witnessing perpetual dissatisfaction and frequent poutings on the part of her daughters; therefore she left them to take their course, consoling herself with the hope that the thing must in time go out of fashion, or that the fancy would go off of itself. The ridicule from which their brother could not always refrain, only served to irritate them, and to render them more resolute in persisting. In a short time, Denham Kingsbury spent all his evenings with the Stanfords, enjoying their bright and amusing conversation, and almost forgetting the personal beauty of Clemira in admiring the graces of her mind. His sisters showed no inclination to cultivate an acquaintance with the artist's daughter, and had no desire to see her embroidery. At the end of a month, Mrs. Kingsbury accompanied her son on a visit to the Stanfords, for the purpose of expressing to Clemira her pleasure at the prospect of that young lady shortly becoming her daughter-in-law, an event which this kindest of parents had wished for from the time of Denham's return to his own country. And Denham presented his affianced bride with the miniature which her father had painted of him. It was now beautifully set as a locket. The Miss Kingsburys awoke as out of a dream when they understood that their brother was going to be married to Clemira Stanford, and neither of them worked another stitch for at least half an hour. When they resumed their needles, Minetta extended the blue of Sir Walter's eyes far down into his nose, and Rosella carried the white of Columbus's ruff far up over his mouth. Finding themselves totally be wildered with the idea of having Clemira Stanford for a sister-in-law, and
very much discomposed, they tacitly concluded to put away their frames for that day, and then they talked to each other, quite fluently, about Denham's extraordinary taste in choosing a wife. But having heard and remembered that the more the marriage of a brother is opposed by his sisters, “the more he won't mind,” the Miss Kingsburys wisely agreed to consent with a good grace to what they knew would inevitably take place, whether they consented or not. In a few weeks, the union of Denham Kingsbury and Clemira Stanford was solemnized at an early hour in the principal church of the village, in the presence of their relatives only. The same morning the whole party embarked for the city, where Kingsbury had taken a very handsome house, and, with the assistance of Mrs. Lamberton, had prepared it for the reception of his bride. Mrs. Kingsbury and her daughters, by earnest invitation, passed a month with the new-married couple, partaking of the civilities that were shown to Denham and his wife by many of the principal families in New York. In this circle no worstedwork was seen or heard of; and the Miss Kingsburys began to find that they could exist without it. They now became very fond of their sister-inlaw, whom indeed it was impossible to know intimately and not to love and admire; and her welldirected influence wrought insensibly a speedy improvement in their tastes and habits. It was arranged that they should spend the next winter in the city, and take lessons in drawing from Mr. Stanford. Kingsbury relieved his father-in-law from all necessity of farther exertion as an artist, and gave him a delightful home at his house, the walls of which were soon decorated with the beau
tiful productions of Mr. Stanford's pencil.
On the next visit of Denham and Clemira to Thessaly, they found the tabourets, &c. covered once more with damask, the worsted things having all been taken off and consigned to an old chest in one of the attic closets. The proposed disfigurement of the ottomans being abandoned, the cushions were allowed to remain in their original state. The new patterns, with their appropriate crewels, were divided between the daughters of the baker and the daughters of the butcher, after hearing that those young ladies had taken tremendously to worsted-work.
To the great delight of their mother, Rosella and Minetta Kingsbury begin to evince a desire of acquiring some knowledge of household affairs, and under her guidance they cannot remain very long deficient in this important part of the female character. The worsted mania having passed away from them, their minds, no longer pressed down by one senseless object, seem to have recovered their spring, and to be capable of better things than was generally supposed when all their powers were devoted to counting stitches and arranging shades; and when their eyes did nothing but glance alternately from a coarse and ridiculous picture on paper to one still coarser and more ridiculous on canvas.
Now that the Miss Kingsburys have found time
for reading, and for mixing in society, they feel better, think better, and talk better. The beaux (having hitherto kept aloof) begin now to come about them. And this being the case, it is morally impossible that our two young ladies will ever return to the unsocial stupidity of time-wasting, sense-dulling, taste-spoiling worsted-work.