Page images
PDF
EPUB

1

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,

a

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

coveries which will reward the student who contemplates life diligently through a pocket lens. But, after all, it sometimes seems as if the smaller a man's nature is the more self-conscious and artificial—the more he runs to pocket. The more pocket, in other words, the less man. He who despises pockets avouches the depth and richness of his internal resources. Heroes make little account of pockets, or put their hands in them only for the purpose of taking something out of them to do good with. The hands of simple, great, preoccupied men commonly hang down by their sides; awkwardly, perhaps, but respectably. Pockets, it may be, are agnostic, if not atheistic. At all events, the Christian apostles could have needed none; and so all devout souls must believe that they will be looked for in vain in the good time coming. It is a tremendous thought-but as likely as not to be true that the Ideal is pocketless !

JULIAN HAWTHORNE.

THE COW AND THE BISHOP.

[ocr errors]

ON
NCE, in a good old college town,
Where learned doctors in

cap
and

gown
Taught unfledged theologues how to preach, -
Youths of many a land and speech,-
There was a student, studious ever,
Whom fellows and townsfolk counted clever;

Despite red hair and an awkard gait,
“He'll be a great man,” they said, “just wait!"

[ocr errors]

So it chanced, on a chill September day,
When the wind was sharp and the sky was gray,

[ocr errors]

This student, deep in a study brown,
Was striding along on the edge of the town.
A tiny cottage he neared and passed,
When the sound of footsteps approaching fast,
And his own name called, as in urgent need,
Made him abruptly slacken his speed.
As he turned, a woman had reached his side.
“Oh, sir! you are learned and good," she cried,
“And my cow is dying, my own cow Pink;

There's nothing she'll eat and nothing she'll drink,
She seems to be moaning her life away ;—.

Oh, lose not a moment, but come, I pray!”
“Good madam,” he said, with a puckered brow,
My knowledge, I fear, would not help your cow
On cattle diseases I'm all unread,-
You'd better consult a physician instead.”
Why, sir,” said the woman, with pleading eyes,
They told me you were uncommonly wise,
And for hours I've waited and watched for

you, In hopes you would pass, as you often do.”

So the student suffered himself to be led
To the poor old cow, in the rickety shed.

And he thought, as he looked her carefully over, “How I wish you were out among the clover!

But I must do something, right or wrong,
Better than all this talk prolong.”
Now, this quiet student loved a joke
As well as many merrier folk ;
So, pausing a moment, as if in doubt,
He traced a circle the cow about,

Which thrice he reversed, with measured tread,
Stopping thrice at the creature's head,
While with solemn face, besuiting the time,
Thrice he intoned this impromptu rhyme:
"Here a suffering animal lies,

Faithful, trusty, and true;
If she lives, she lives,-if she dies, she dies;

And nothing more can I do.'

[ocr errors]

Then he said, in the tone of an ardent lover,
I heartily trust this cow will recover!"
While the woman, watching with wide-open eyes
And awe-struck face, was dumb with surprise ;
Till the student, with, “ Madam, a very good day!"
Was out of the shed, up the road, and away

Had the woman heard the laugh ring out
When the story was told that night, no doubt
Her faith in the charm she would hardly have kept;
But, hearing naught, she believed and slept.

Years afterward in that same town
There lived a bishop of much renown;
Wise theologians spoke his fame,
And the little children loved his name.
But one sad day the bishop fell ill,
And the news spread broad, as such news will ;
One said to another, with tear or sigh,-
Nothing can save him—our bishop must die!"

In his sunlit chamber, smiling and calm
As a child unconscious of aught to harm,
The sufferer waited with heart of peace,-
Patiently waited for Death's release.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »