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ness, and turn your compassionate eyes from the condition of other safes which lurk unplacarded in the wreck, and have apparently yielded up their contents in the form of charcoal. One very small wooden building boasts itself the first of the fledgling phenixes to rise from the ashes, and, having risen, has evidently nothing to do. Many rude signs direct the passer to localities where businesses have begun anew, and some of these are funny, as “Removed on account of the heat,” and other serious ones are quite as sad as if they were funny. Nothing in the way of a jest is so happy, I fancy, as that legend on a tottering corner, inscribed before the fire, and still legible, “Warfield's Cold Water Soap. Try it, will you !" Perusing this, you strive with the associations of the place, which imply that it was a fire-proof material, and that if the Mayor and Chief of the Fire Department had laid in a sufficient supply, the conflagration would have been promptly checked.

Here and there they are getting out rolls of scorched and saturated dry goods; in one place I see a great pile of sodden overcoats; odorous bits of leather kick about under foot, and the ways are very sloppy from the engines and fire-butts. In one place they are pulling down a wall which flings itself to pieces in the air long before it touches the ground, like a column of falling water dispersed in spray.

These are the sights all day long. There are other particulars, however, that one notices, such as the exceeding smallness of the sites on which those mercantile palaces lately towered. The fronts are incredibly rarrow, and the depth of the lots far less than it used to look. The whole space burnt over has suffered a like diminution. It used to be a good walk from Bedford Street to State ; but now one traverses the area between with no feeling of distance, and a space nearly a third larger than both the Common and the Public Garden does not seem half so great. All local associations are destroyed, of course, and one passes strange by the most familiar places. This heightens the confused, half-doubting sense with which you regard the ruins. You understand theoretically that this melancholy chaos was once the most magnificent part of Boston, but really it might be any other city of any other time. It relates itself, as I have hinted, to the storied and touristed ruins of old, and it is hard to believe that it is other than the mere spectacle that these have become ; that the men upon whom its disaster has fallen are all about us, alive to their loss, and summoning their energies to repair it. You know well enough how far and in what undreamt-of directions the fire darted its destroying flames, consuming this widow's portion and that orphan's slender heritage. You know that it has devoured the prosperity, not only of the young and strong, and hopeful, but of ageing men who trusted that their work was nearly done, who had earned the repose to which they looked forward, and who must now return to their blasted enterprises with the flagging spirits of declining years. But it is not in the presence of the smoking ruins that you 'can think of the loss, the sorrow, the despondency that they would imply. The community is astir with resolution to repair and rebuild, and begin again, and forget, and you think how soon it will all'appear as a vision of uneasy slumber, and you cannot bring the suffering to mind; even those whose lives were licked up by the ravening flames are as little in your compassion as the dead whose dust was quickened with long-forgotten heat in the crypt of Old Trinity.

But for this unreality in them, I could not easily forgive myself for looking at the ruins in an esthetic rather than a sympathetic mood, or for enjoying as I did a moonlight ramble through them, while they were yet in the first week of their desolation.

There was nothing more alien to our wonted life in the striking traits of that week than the occupation of our streets by the citizen soldiers, who patrolled them by night and guarded the lines enclosing the Burnt District night and day. Whether they were tramping down the pave to the beat of their drums, or picturesquely grouped in front of the City Hall, or about those places where the municipality dispensed hot coffee and other refreshments, they always gave that strangeness which our nature craves to the aspect of the city, and made one feel himself a personage in dramatic events. The mounted officer out of whose way you precipitated yourself, bestowed a tragic dignity upon you by almost riding over you. But good as these good and brave fellows were by daylight, they needed the moon to bring out what was most impressive in their presence; and as my friend and I presented our passes at one of the lines, we could not repress a thrill as the moonlight glinted upon the bayonet of the sentinel who admitted us. We even admired the officer who called us back, and made us observe that our passes, lacking the signature of the commanding military authority, were not good for a moonlight stroll among the ruins. Denied at one point, what was simpler than to try at another ? Here a solitary soldier, not veteran in years at least, opposed us with the same objection. We represented our ignorance of the new order, and the impossibility of getting the countersign at that time of night. “Well, those are my orders," said the sentry; “what's the use of my being here, if I don't obey them ?" “ That's so," we answered; "you must obey your orders.” The sentry was struck by our prompt assent to his logic; he saw that we were true men. “You can go in,” he said, and resumed his sleepless vigilance.

At other points we found the guard lounging about bivouac fires which they had kindled in the strange, desolated street, and taking

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with superb effect of light and shade the ruddy glare on their accoutrements, their jolly faces, and tbeir outstretched hands, while all round them steamed and smoked the ruin in the pale lustre of the

moon, and away by the water-side flashed the gleeful blaze of the mounds of burning coal. As we strolled up and down the lonely avenues we met a policeman on his beat, or a patrol of soldiers; and we came again and again upon the steamers at their work, each with its little group of firemen, and each sending up with its hoarse respirations black volumes of smoke, shot through and through with golden sparks. Afar off, a column of steam mounting phantasmal into the moonlight told where each jet of water descended. But for these infrequent sights and sounds, the whole Burnt District was empty and silent. All mean details were lost, and the spectacle had no elements that were not grand and simple. The gaunt and haggard walls, that climbed and seemed to tremble over the desolation, now stood black shadows against the moon, and now faintly caught its light through the wavering veils of smoke and vapour as our passing steps shifted the perspective, and the tall edifices that surrounded the place threw a deep shadow upon the border and would not let us see where the destruction ended and began. It was a scene that refused to relate itself to the city of our daily knowledge ; its sad magic estranged whoever looked upon it, and made him for the moment a spirit of other lands and ages revisiting the ruins of remotest time.

Why then could we not be content with this poetic transmutation? Why must the Shop tower insolently up from that solemn scene, and remind us that if we were going to describe it our picture would lack its finest effect unless we could get the rains of Trinity Church in, with the moon somewhere looking through them? We deliberately set about the capture of this effect; we walked from this side to that, we went up and down the street; we advanced in one direction as far as the houses would let us, in another till we were repelled by the guard. But it was in vain. The moon and the ruin declined to lend themselves to our paltry purpose. With serene and sad dignity they refused to group, and we left them with something like what I conjecture must be the feelings of a baffled interviewer.

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AFTER THE FIRE.

WHILE far along the eastern sky
I saw the flags of Havoc fly,
As if his forces would assault
The sovereign of the starry vault,

And lurl Him back the burning rain
That seared the cities of the plain,
I read as on a crimson page
The words of Israel's sceptred sage:-
For riches make them wings, and they
Do as an eagle fly awaij.
O vision of that sleepless night,
What hue shall paint the mocking light
That burned and stained the orient skies
Where peaceful morning loves to rise,
As if the sun had lost his way
And dawned to make a second day,–
Above how red with fiery glow,
How dark to those it woke below!
On roof and wall. on dome and spire,
Flashed the false jewels of the fire;
Girt with her belt of glittering panes,
And crowned with starry-gleaming vanes,
Our northern queen in glory shone
With new-born splendours not her own,
And stood, transtigured in our eyes,
A victim decked for sacrifice !
The cloud still hovers overhead,
And still the midnight sky is red;
As the lost wanderer strays alone
To seek the place be called bis own,
His devious footprints sadly tell
How changed the pathways kuown so well;
The scene, how new! The tale, how old
Ere yet the ashes have grown

cold!
Again I read the words that came
Writ in the rubric of the flame:
Howe'er we trust to mortal things,
Each hath its pair of folded wings;
Though long their terrors rest unspread,
Their fatal plumes are never shed;
At last, at last, they stretch in flight,
And blot the day and blast the night!
Hope, only Hope, of all that clings
Around us, never spreads her wings;
Love, though he break his earthly chain,
Still whispers he will come again ;
But Faith that soars to seek the sky
Shall teach our half-fledged souls to fly,
And find, beyond the smoke and flame,
The cloudless azure whence they came !

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES. Boston, November 13, 1872.

129

MATERFAMILIAS ON MISTRESSES AND MAIDS.

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“A SCBJECT that has so long been discussed that it is worn threadbare ! a vexed question which has been handled and debated till we are sick of hearing of it!-a story without an end!"-will exclaim some ladies, as they glance at the heading of this paper.

I feel the justice of the objection; I plead guilty of having taken up a theme on which there may possibly be nothing original to say! And yet I am not sure that so much ought to be admitted; at least, so sweeping an assertion requires to be somewhat qualified. Not only have the times changed and we with them, but wo are still changing, and going on to change, and every year presents us with new social problems, fresh household phenomena, unprecedented home crises, and novel experiences, which, ever blending and shifting, form the kaleidoscope-like pattern of the nation's common daily life. It was only the other day we were startled to hear that a "strike" was commencing among the servant-girls. Happily for the kitchen, as well as for the parlour, it did not spread: it attached a fleeting, half-comic interest to “Bonnie Dundee ” and a few other North British neighbourhoods, and then little more was heard about it; so we must suppose that the young women of Dundee caught the strike-fever, which has unhappily prevailed of late, and resolved to distinguish themselves. Till servants are all skilled labourers-which will not happen in this century-strikes in their ranks will be a failure, producing, it may be, temporary inconvenience, as did the gas-stokers' strike in London a very few weeks since, but resulting in still greater and more abiding inconvenience to the deluded strikers.

Go where we will, we have to listen to complaints, loud and Faried, on the vices and failings of servant-maids. Servants have been stigmatised as "the greatest plagues in life;" but I quite

; agree with a recent author, who declares that half the women in England would be “blue-moulded" if they had not their kitchen grievances to fall back upon. Once, for my sins, I was rash enough -I was young then, and did not know what I was undertakingto allow myself to be elected secretary, and in some sort president, of a "Ladies' Select Book Society.” Once a quarter we met at each other's houses in order to choose new books, to read original papers on given subjects, and to discuss them as philosophically as we were able. Alas! for our good intentions ; alas ! for the mental improvement which was to result from our literary association. All the married ladies--and they were nearly all matrons--all, save one, persisted in chattering about their servants, frequently to the ex

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