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How, do you ask, came such a thing about? What prompted me to dare connubial bliss ? What worked the wondrous metamorphosis? What made so great a change—a change like

that? Imagine. Guess. You give it up?

A hat! A hat, in short, like all the hats you seeA plain silk stove-pipe hat. This did for me. A plain black hat, just like the one that's here.

A hat?
Why, yes.
But how ?

Well, lend an ear.

One day this winter I went out to dine. All was first-rate—the style, the food, the wine. A concert afterward-en règle—just so. The hour arrived. I entered, bowing low, My heels together. Then I placed my hat On something near, and joined the general chat.

At half-past eight we dined. All went off well.
Trust me for being competent to tell!
I sat between two ladies-mute as fishes-
With nothing else to do but count the dishes.
I learned each item in each course by heart.
I hate tobacco, but as smoke might part
Me from those ladies, with a sober face
I took a strong cigar, and kept my place.
The concert was announced for half-past ten,
And at that hour I joined a crowd of men.
The ladies, arm to arm, sweet, white, we

found,
Like rows of sugared almonds, seated round.
I leaned against the door—there was no chair.
A stout, fierce gentleman, got up with care
(A cuirassier I set him down to be),
Leaned on the other door-post, hard by me,
Whilst far off in the distance some poor girl
Sang, with her love-lorn ringlets out of curl,
Some trashy stuff of love and love's distress.
I could see nothing, and could hear still less.
Still, I applauded, for politeness' sake.

Next a dress-coat of fashionable make Came forward and began. It clad a poet. That's the last mode in Paris. Did you know it? Your host or hostess, after dinner, chooses To serve you up some effort of the Muses, Recited with vim, gestures, and by-play By some one borrowed from the great Fran

çais.

I blush to write it-poems, you must know, All make me sleepy; and it was so now. For as I listened to the distant drone Of the smooth lines, I felt my lids droop down, And a strange torpor I could not ignore Came creeping o'er me.

“Heavens! suppose I snore ! Let me get out,” I cried, “or else—"

With that I cast my eyes around to find my hat.

The console where I laid it down, alas! Was now surrounded (not a mouse could pass)

By triple rows of ladies gayly dressed,
Who fanned and listened calmly, undistressed.
No man through that fair crowd could work

his way.

Rank behind rank rose heads in bright array. Diamonds were there, and flowers, and, lower

still, Such lovely shoulders ! Not the smallest thrill They raised in me. My thoughts were of my

hat.
It lay beyond where all those ladies sat,
Under a candelabrum, shiny, bright,
Smooth as when last I brushed it, full in sight,
Whilst I, far off, with yearning glances tried
Whether I could not lure it to my side.

Why may my hand not put thee on my head,
And quit this stifling room?" I fondly said.
“Respond, dear hat, to a magnetic throb.
Come, little darling; cleave this female mob.
Fly over heads; creep under. Come, oh, come!
Escape. We'll find no poetry at home.”

And all the while did that dull poem creep Drearily on, till, sick at last with sleep, My eyes fixed straight before me with a stare, I groaned within me:

“Come, my hat-fresh air! My darling, let us both get out together. Here all is hot and close; outside, the weather Is simply perfect, and the pavement's dry. Come, come, my hat--one effort! Do but try. Sweet thoughts the silenceand soft moon will stir Beneath thy shelter.”

Here a voice cried :

“ Sir,

Have

you done staring at my daughter yet? By Jove! sir.”

My astonished glance here met The angry red face of my cuirassier. I did not quail before his look severe, But said, politely,

Pardon, sir, but I Do not so much as know her.”

What, sir! Why,

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