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THE TENDER HEART.
SHE gazed upon the burnished brace
Of plump ruffed grouse he showed with pride; Angelic grief was in her face :
“How could you do it, dear ?" she sighed. “ The poor, pathetic, moveless wings !
The songs all hushed-oh, cruel shame !" Said he, “ The partridge never sings.”
Said she, “ The sin is quite the same.
A boy is always bringing in
Or butterfly upon a pin.
Impaled, the pretty trout to tease— " “ My own, we fish for trout with flies"
“Don't wander from the subject, please !" She quoted Burns's “ Wounded Hare,"
And certain burning lines of Blake's, And Ruskin on the fowls of air,
And Coleridge on the water-snakes, At Emerson's “ Forbearance” he
Began to feel his will benumbed ; At Browning's “Donald " utterly
His soul surrendered and succumbed. “Oh, gentlest of all gentle girls,"
He thought, “ beneath the blessed sun!” He saw her lashes hung with pearls,
And vowed to give away his gun.
She smiled to find her point was gained,
And went, with happy parting words,
HELEN GRAY CONE.
AN and the pocket have advanced toward the
millennium side by side; and the former would never have become the civilized being that he is without the assistance of the latter. History itself (if you look closely into the matter) is but a record of the evolution of the human pocket. God made man; but man made the pocket; and it is his alter ego—his sine qua the connecting link between the spiritual and the material worlds.
In order fully to realize the impressive fact that our pockets are in truth our other selves—and not our secondary selves either—we have only to picture to ourselves the kind of reception which an individual destitute of pockets, and of what goes into them, would meet with in any civilized community. He would be shunned, abandoned-an outcast-unsuccored, discountenanced, and discredited. Men are suspicious of even the most engaging stranger until they have (figuratively, of course) picked his pockets; and would look askance at their most familiar friend were he to turn up some morning out of pocket. For the pocket, more surely than the apparel, now proclaims the man. We become acquainted with one another through our pockets, we fall in love and are married with a view to our pockets, we go to war or accept arbitration at the instance of our pockets, and in deference to our pockets we murder, rob, lie, and accept political preferment. When a dead body is discovered, we look, in order to its identification, first in its pockets, and only afterward in its face; and that suicide must indeed despise life who, before committing the rash act, will empty his pockets. The pockets of a prisoner are searched as a sign that he is henceforth deposed from his position as a responsible human being. The test of our power over a man is the hold we have upon his pocket; and there are probably few slaves so abject as not to retain at least one small fob unrified. It is a strange anomaly in the criminal code that pocketpicking, instead of murder, is not made the capital offense, since it is the pickpocket, and not the assassin, who injures us in our most vital part. He is the bane of our civilization ; he commits the unpardonable sin ; his hand is against every man's, and every man's against him. Perhaps the most appropriate and awful punishment for the pickpocket would be, not to hang him, but to cast him adrift upon the world, forever disqualified from wearing a pocket. Such a sentence, however, the sternest judge would hesitate to inflict; and the doomed wretch would
mercy halter !
As might be expected, from what has already been advanced, pockets are in many ways a subtle and trustworthy index of character. A thoughtful observer might profitably spend many hours of his day in the shop of a fashionable tailor, in the ostensible capacity, perhaps, of deputy-assistant tape-measurer, but really with
an eye to divining the souls of the various customers from their several tastes in pockets. He would note, in the first place, that in the matter of pockets—and in that alone-does the fashionable tailor aforesaid permit his votaries any freedom of choice. For the man of shears knows, being wise in his generation, that a customer will sooner submit to wearing a fashionable strait-jacket than to giving up his pet fancy in the matter of his pockets. A haw-haw swell, for example, must have his trouser pockets cut vertically down the seam; while another, of the horsey order, must have his open horizontally across the front of the hips. Mark, again, the gulf that separates the gentleman whose handkerchief peeps from an outside breast pocket from him who wears it mysteriously within ; and how different are both from the respectable personage who produces his bandana from the skirts of his black broadcloth frock. Here, again, is a schoolboy ; little cares he for the appearance of his pockets, so they are deep and stout enough, in correspondence with his ardent and insatiable disposition. Yonder comes a yellow-taloned stock-jobber, who must needs have buttons put on his pockets; and after him a commercial traveler, whose pockets are a specialty.
When we behold an anxious, unkempt creature, who refers on all occasions to a sequestered innermost breast pocket, as though it contained the title deeds to all the corner lots in New York, or letters of recommendation from all the crowned heads of Europe, we recognize him without difficulty as a confirmed bankrupt or unsavory refugee. A timid, retiring nature has a predisposition in favor of waistcoat pockets, because they are more quickly and easily accessible than others. A large,
pompous man, on the contrary, loves to fetch out a thing from his tail pocket, with a grand sweep and flourish of the arm.
The bald-headed, complacent philanthropist rejoices in wide, baggy pockets, capacious enough to contain the overflowings of his benevolent heart; but footpads and other shady characters hide baggy pockets, too, in their overcoats, for choice. A rich country squire, cheery voiced and broad shouldered, prefers doing business with the side pockets of his knickerbocker sack-coat, which are accessible, off-hand, and without bothering; while a cab-driver, asked to change a dollar bill, seems to have forgotten where any of his pockets are, and, when he has found one, his hands seem to have grown too large to get into them.
As there are pockets proper to different types of men, so also are their pockets peculiar to all ages, from the dauntless infant with the single pocket in the right leg of his breeches, to the lean and slippered pantaloon feeling tremulously for his gold-bowed spectacles and tortoise-shell snuff-box. Pockets are of great assistance in striking an attitude; and the attitudes of a man betray his temperament and condition. Thus, insolent wealth thrusts its hands into its trouser pockets, rattles its money at you, and measures you with its eye-glass from your hat to your boots. A species of jaunty exquisite poises his white forefinger and thumb in the pocket of his waistcoat. A bluff, stern-browed man thrusts his fists defiantly into the pockets of his double-breasted pea-jacket; while an elderly, elegant gentleman of the old-fashioned school gets his slender hands into the silk-lined pockets of his broadcloth frock, and turns his back courteously upon the fire.
It would be impossible to mention a tithe of the dis