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smoothing of plaits that I have witnessed, to modify any unseemly excrescence at the back of the neck ! 0, the patience required to overcome the stubbornness of rebellious sleeves, which threatened to obscure the delicate slope of a pair of drooping shoulders 0, the care that has been required to prevent the beautiful sinuosity of a falling-in back from being too much veiled, or the utter annihilation of the far-famed Grecian bend, in the sweep of its remorseless folds !
All this have I witnessed; yet if any sceptical reader doubt the fidelity of my sketch, and inquire how I became acquainted with all these mysteries, I may tell him that I do not know by what authority he presumes to doubt my veracity. If, however, a knowledge of the truth will lull his suspicions, I may as well confess the fact,
“ That the glance which I cherished most fondly and dearly,
Beamed from under a bonnet of drab-coloured hue;"
and that though my fair one, had the bad taste to prefer a husband from among her own people,”-that though I am in my forty-fifth year, and a bachelor for her sake, still I cannot forget the trepidation which the rustle of a certain drab-coloured gown used to produce, or the hopes which a placid, sister-like smile once excited in my heart. These are—it may be-dull reminiscentes, still I can never see a covey of these human partridges in their annual migration, without a certain
aguish feel, nearly allied to melancholy. Still I am unable to pass the plainest of the sisterhood, without internally wishing her “God speed,” for the sake of one who was the flower of the flock, and the queen of them all.
A friend who did me the favour to read the above pages, observed, “ Yes, it is a pretty picture, but how do you reconcile inconsistences? By your own account, there may be as much vanity in the russet stole, as in the gold brocade.” I acknowledge the fact fully; I know very well that vanity is indigenous in the human heart, and that if it be to be rooted out at all, it must be by attacking the citadel, not the mere out-works. I might have commented on the monkish austerity of rendering the narrow path still narrower, by the use of their peculiar dialect : I might have remarked on the absurdity of making that which was the ordinary attire of sober matrons of the reign of James the Second, the standard for those of the reign of William the Fourth—to prove the inefficiency of rules, where the letter may be preserved and the spirit evaded. I might have observed on the tolerance of pink cotton, and the intolerance of pink silk: I might have animadverted on their rejection of that pure source of enjoyment, music, on the sole plea that it was so liable to be abused; but I undertook, not to defend thei: principles, but to delineate their “outward seeming.” If
I have not pointed out where they are vulnerable, neither have I borne my testimony (as well I might) to their great domestic virtues; to their solid intellectual endowments; to their meek endurance of “the world's dread laugh ;” nor to their active spirit of benevolence: for it was THEY who suggested that beautiful axiom of the first female writer of this, or perhaps of any age, that “the care of the poor is the profession of the ladies.”* Yes, if they are seldom recognised on the highways of charity bazaars, sure am I that their presence is not wanting in the hedges, where unfriended suffering makes its pitiless abode.
I have furnished the pour, the contra I leave to be supplied by another hand.
Z. M. W.
• Hannah More.
THE DOOMED KING,
BY MARY HOWITT.
The voice of an archangel spake
“ A dark one draweth near, Covered with guilt as with a robe ;
Wherefore doth he appear?” And another answered solemnly
“ He comes for judgment here!”
Through myriad, myriad shapes of bliss,
On went the Spectre King,
A guilty, trembling thing!
“ I was an earthly king last night,”
With a hollow voice he spoke; “I drank the wine, I sank to sleep —
Oh! how have I awoke!
“ Alas! my life has been a dream
A sinful dream: 't is o'er ! And through eternity my soul
Shall slumber never more!
“ Back through the past my soul is urged;
Back through each guilty stain ; And every thought, and word, and deed,
Unperished lives again!
“ For, as a leaf before the storm
Is bowed and borne away,
And it must have its way;
I dare not disobey !
“ I see a white, low village-home;
I see a woman there;
And murmurs out its prayer.
“It is the first-born of her love
Fairest, and most caressed; Heaven only has a second place
Within that woman's breast.