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and who never omitted to turn her head to look at me as she went by; so that, at last, we became well acquainted with each other. I must confess, that, at this period of my life, I was in great danger of becoming insufferably vain, from the regards that were then paid me; and, perhaps, I am not the only individual, who has formed mistaken notions of the attentions he receives in society.
My vanity, however, received a considerable check from one circumstance: nearly all the goods by which I was surrounded, in the shop window, though, many of them, much more homely in their structure, and humble in their destinations, were disposed of sooner than myself. I had the mortification of seeing one after another bargained for and sent away, while I remained, month after month, without a purchaser.
At last, however, a gentleman and lady, from the country who had been standing some time in the street, inspecting and, as I perceived, conversing about me, walked into the shop; and, after some altercation with my master, agreed to purchase me; upon which, I was packed up, and sent off.
was very curious, you may suppose, upon arriving at my new quarters, to see what kind of life I was likely to lead. I remained, however, some time, unmolested in my packingcase, and very flat I felt there.
Upon being, at last, unpacked, I found myself in the hall of a large, lone house in the country. My master and mistress, I soon learned, were new-married people, just setting up house-keeping; and I was intended to decorate their best parlour, to which I was presently conveyed, and, after some little discussion between them, in fixing my longitude and latitude, I was hung up opposite the fire-place, in an angle of ten degrees from the wall, according to the fashion of those times.
And there I hung, year after year, almost in perpetual solitude. My master and mistress were sober, regular, oldfashioned people; they saw no company, except at fair time and Christmas-day; on which occasions, only, they occupied the best parlour. My countenance used to brighten up, when I saw the annual fire kindled in that ample grate, and when a cheerful circle of country cousins assembled round it. At those times I always got a little notice from the young folks; but, those festivities over, I was condemned to another half year of complete loneliness.
How familiar to my recollection, at this hour, is that large,
old-fashioned parlour! I can remember, as well as if I had seen them but yesterday, the noble flowers on the crimson damask chair-covers and window-curtains; and those curiously carved tables and chairs. I could describe every one of the stories on the Dutch tiles that surrounded the grate, the rich China ornaments on the wide mantel-piece, and the pattern of the paper hangings, which consisted alternately of a parrot, a poppy, and a shepherdess, a parrot, a poppy, and a shepherdess.
The room being so little used, the window-shutters were rarely opened; but there were three holes cut in each, in the shape of a heart, through which, day after day, and year after year, I used to watch the long, dim, dusty sunbeams, streaming across the dark parlour. I should mention, however, that I seldom missed a short visit from my master and mistress on a Sunday morning, when they came down stairs ready dressed for church. I can remember how my mistress used to trot in upon her high-heeled shoes; unfold a leaf of one of the shutters; then come and stand straight before me; then turn half round to the right and left; never failing to see if the corner of her well-starched handkerchief was pinned exactly in the middle. I think I can see her now, in her favourite dove-coloured lustring, (which she wore every Sunday in every summer for seven years at the least,) and her long, full ruffles, and worked apron. Then followed my good master, who, though his visit was somewhat shorter, never failed to come and settle his Sunday wig before me.
Time rolled away, and my master and mistress, with all that appertained to them, insensibly suffered from its influWhen I first knew them, they were a young, blooming couple as you would wish to see; but I gradually perceived an alteration. My mistress began to stoop a little; and my master got a cough, which troubled him, more or less, to the end of his days. At first, and for many years, my mistress' foot upon the stairs was light and nimble, and she would come in as blithe and as brisk as a lark; but, at last, it was a slow, heavy step; and even my master's began to totter. And, in these respects, every thing else kept pace with them: the crimson damask, that I remembered so fresh and bright, was now faded and worn; the dark polished mahogany was, in some places, worm eaten; the parrot's gay plumage on the walls grew dull; and I myself, though long unconscious of it, partook of the universal decay.
The dissipated taste I acquired upon my first introduction to society, had, long since, subsided; and the quiet, sombre life I led, gave me a grave, meditative turn. The change, which I witnessed in all things around me, caused me to reflect much on their vanity; and when, upon the occasions before-mentioned, I used to see the gay, blooming faces of the young saluting me with so much complacency, I would fain have admonished them of the alteration they must soon undergo, and have told them how certainly their bloom, also, must fade away as a flower. But, alas! you know, sir, looking-glasses can only reflect.
The Silent Expression of Nature.-ANONYMOUS.*
"There is no speech nor language- -their voice is not heard."-Ps xix. 3.
WHEN, thoughtful, to the vault of heaven
Night reigns, in silence, o'er the pole,
* From "Musæ Biblicæ," published, London 1819.
Noiseless the sun emits his fire,
The hand that moves, and regulates,
Their amaranthine bowers;
Sick of the vanity of man,
His noise, and pomp, and show,-
A Thought.-BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE.
O COULD we step into the grave,
And look upon the greedy worms
It well might change the reddest cheek Into a lily white,
And freeze the warmest blood, to look Upon so sad a sight!
Yet still it were a sadder sight,
O pity, then, the living heart,-
A BARKING Sound the shepherd hears,
The dog is not of mountain breed;
Nor is there any one in sight,
All round, in hollow, or on height;
It was a cove, a huge recess,
That keeps, till June, December's snow ; A lofty precipice in front,
A silent tarn* below!
Far in the bosom of Helvellyn,
There, sometimes, does a leaping fish
Tarn is a small mere or lake, mostly high up in the mountains.