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for this I played shadow three nights successively to you,
Was it for this, oh that I flattered you into the belief that you was a wit, and found you in puns for a fortnight to keep up the illusion? Was it for this I forswore laughter, oh serious
and smothered your mother with moral saws? Was it for this, I say, that I have danced with time-out-of-mind wall-flowers, and puckered my wits into birth-day rhymes, and played groomsman monthly and semi-monthly at an unknown expense for new kersey meres and bridal serenades? Oh, Tom Corliss! Tom Corliss! thou hast beaten the bush for every body, but hast caught no bird for thyself!
And so they have each written me a letter, as they promised Let me see:
Dear Tom-How is the hippocrene? I think I see you with the bottle before you! Who would have dreamed that you would drink it? Pour moi-meme, I am married as you know, and my children sing "we are seven." I am very happy-very. My wife-(you knew her)-is a woman of education, and knows every thing. I can't say but she knows too much. Her learning does pester me, now and then- I confess that I think if I were to marry again, it would be a woman that didn't read Greek. Farewell Tom, Marry and be virtuous.
N. B. Never marry a "woman of talents."
Ha! ha! "happy-very happy!" Humbug, my dear Harry. Your wife is a blue, as virulent as verdigris, and you are the most unhappy of Benedicts. So much for your crowing. We'll see another :
Tom, I pity thee. Thou poor, flannel-wrapped, forsaken, fidgetty bachelor! drink thy vinegar and grow amiable! Here am I, blessed as Abraham. My wife is the most innocent (that's her fault by the way)—the most innocent creature that lives. She loves me to a foolish degree. She has no opinion but mine-no will of her own (except such as I give her, you understand)—no faults, and no prominent propensities. I am happy as I can expect in this sad world. Marry, Tom, marry. "The world must be peopled." Thine ever, N. B. Don't marry a woman that is remarkable for her "simplicity."
I envy not thee, Fred Esperel! Thy wife is a fool, and thy children, egregious ninnies, every one! Thou wouldst give the whole bunch of their carroty heads for thy liberty again. Once
Tom, my lad! get married! "Matrimony," you know, "is like Jeremiah's figs-the good are very good"-(the rest of the quotation is inapt). My wife is the prettiest woman in the parish. (I wish she wasn't, by the way!) My house is the resort of all the gay fellows about town. quite the thing (my wife is, that is to say) every where. I am excessively happy-excessively-assure yourself of that I grow thin, they say-but
that's age. And I've lost my habit of laughing-but that's proper, as I'm warden. On the whole, however, I'm tolerably contented, and I think I shall live these ten years-if my wife settles down-as she will, you know. God bless you, Tom. How is the vinegar? Well-marry! mind that. Yours always, N. B. I wouldn't marry a beauty if I were you, Tom.
Poor Gourlay! His wife's a belle, and he's as jealous as Bluebeard-dying absolutely of corrosion. It's eating him up by inches. Hang the letters! they make me melancholy. One more, and I'll throw the boding things into the fire:
My sweet Tom-I hope the gods have promised thee a new weasand The vinegar improves, doubtless, by age. It must be a satisfaction, too, that it is nectar of your own bottling. Here I am-the happiest dog that is coupled. My wife (I took warning from Gourlay) is not run after by a pack of puppies. She's not handsome, Heaven knows-(I wish she were
trifle prettier) but she's as good as Dorcas. Ah! how we walk and talk, evenings. (I prefer that time, as I can imagine her pretty, when I don't see her, you know, Tom) And how we sit in the dim light of the boudoir, and gaze at each other's just perceptible figure, and sigh! Ah, Tom! marry and be blessed-as I am! Yours truly, PHIL
P. S. Marry a woman that is at least pretty, Tom.
The gods forbid that I should marry one like yours, Phil! She is enough to make one's face ache! And so you are all discontented -one's wife is too smart, another's too simple, another's too pretty, and another's too plain! And what might not mine have been, had I, too, been irreparably a husband!
Well I am an "old bachelor." I didn't think it though, till now. How hard it is to believe one's self past any thing in this world! And is it my lot, with all my peculiar fitness for matrimony,—with all ny dreams of woman, my romance, my skill in philandering—is it my lot to be laid on the shelf, after all! Am I to be shunned by sixteen as a bore to be pointed at by schoolboys as an "old bachelor"
(shocking title!) to be invited to superannuated tea-drinkings-to be quizzed with solicitations for foundling hospitals-to be asked of my rheumatism, and pestered for snuff, and recommended to warm chairs! The gods pity me!
But, not so fast! What is the prodigious difference! What if I were married! I should have to pay for a whole house instead of a part-to feed Heaven-knows-how-many mouths instead of one-to give up my whole bed for a half or quarter-to dine at another's hour and not my own-to adopt another's friendships and submit my own to her pleasure—to give up my nap after dinner for a romp with a child to turn my library into a nursery, and my quiet fire into a Babel-to call on my wife's cronies, and dine my wife's followers, and humour my wife's palate, at the expense of my own cronies, followers, and palate. "But there's domestic felicity," says the imp
at my elbow, "and interchange of sentiment, and sweet reliance, and the respectability of a man with a family, and duty to the state, C and perpetuation of name, and comfort, and attention, and love." Prizes in a lottery-all! and a whole life the price of a ticket!
And why not live single, then. What should I have then, which I cannot have now. Company at my table? I can have it when I like-and what is better, such as I like. Personal attention? Half a wife's pin-money will purchase the most assiduous. Love? What need have I of that? or how long does it last when it is compulsory? Is there a treasure in my heart that will canker if it is not spent? Have I affections that will gnaw like a hunger if they are not fed. Must I love and be beloved? I think not. But this is the rub, if
there be one.
I'll look into it the first day I feel metaphysical.
American Monthly Mag.
THE Swallow is a bonnie bird, comes twitt'ring o'er the sea,
The lambs like snow all nibbling go upon the ferny hills,
Thine be sweet mornings with the bee that's out for honey dew,
The river blue that rushes through the valley hears thee sing,
The silent power that brought thee back, with leading-strings of love,
Oh! all thy life's one pleasant hymn to God who sits on high,
THE GRATEFUL NEGRO.*
In the island of Jamaica, there lived two planters; whose methods of managing their slaves were as different as possible. Mr Jefferies considered the negroes as an inferior species, incapable of gratitude, disposed to treachery, and to be roused from their natural indolence only by force: he treated his slaves, or rather suffered his overseer to treat them, with the greatest severity. Jefferies was not a man of a cruel, but of a thoughtless and extravagant temper. He was of such a sanguine disposition, that he always calculated upon having a fine season, and fine crops on his plantation; and never had the prudence to make allowance for unfortunate accidents: he required, as he said, from his overseer, produce, and not excuses.
Durant, the overseer, did not scruple to use the most cruel and varbarous method of forcing the slaves to exertions beyond their strength. Complaints of his brutality, from time to time, reached his master's ears; but, though Mr Jefferies was moved to momentary compassion, he shut his heart against conviction: he hurried away to the jovial banquet, and drowned all painful reflections in wine. He was this year much in debt; and, therefore, being more than usually anxious about his crop, he pressed his overseer to exert himself to the utmost.
The wretched slaves, upon his plantation, thought themselves still more unfortunate, when they compared their condition with that of the negroes on the estate of Mr Edwards. This gentleman treated his slaves with all possible humanity and kindness. He wished that there was no such thing as slavery in the world; but he was convinced, by the arguments of those who have the best means of obtaining information, that the sudden emancipation of the negroes would rather increase than diminish their miseries. His benevolence therefore confined itself within the bounds of reason. He adopted those plans, for the amelioration of the state of the slaves, which appeared to him the most likely to succeed without producing any violent agitation or revolution. For instance, his negroes had reasonable and fixed daily tasks; and, when these were finished, they were permitted to employ their time for their own advantage, or amuse ment. If they chose to employ themselves longer for their master, they were paid regular wages for their extra work. This reward, for as such it was considered, operated most powerfully upo.. the slaves. Those who are animated by hope can perform what would seem impossibilities, to those who are under the depressing influence
* One of Miss Edgeworth's "Popular Tales."
of fear. The wages, which Mr Edwards promised, he took care to see punctually paid. He had an excellent overseer, of the name of Abraham Bayley; a man of a mild but steady temper, who was attached not only to his master's interests but to his virtues; and who therefore was more intent upon seconding his humane views, than upon squeezing from the labour of the negroes the utmost produce. Each negro had, near his cottage, a portion of land, called his provision-ground; and one day in the week was allowed for its cultivation.
It is common in Jamaica for the slaves to have provision-grounds, which they cultivate for their own advantage; but it too often happens that, when a good negro has successfully improved his little spot of land, when he has built himself a house, and begins to enjoy the fruits of his industry, his acquired property is seized upon by the sheriff's officer for the payment of his master's debts: he is forcibly separated from his wife and children, dragged to public auction, purchased by a stranger, and perhaps sent to terminate his miserable existence in the mines of Mexico; excluded for ever from the light of heaven! and all this without any crime or imprudence on his part, real or pretended. He is punished because his master is unfortunate. To this barbarous injustice the negroes on Mr Edwards's plantation were never exposed. He never exceeded his income; he engaged in no wild speculations; he contracted no debts; and his slaves, therefore, were in no danger of being seized by a sheriff's officer: their property was secured to them by the prudence as well as by the generosity of their master.
One morning, as Mr Edwards was walking in that part of his plantation which joined to Mr Jefferies' estate, he thought he heard the voice of distress, at some distance. The lamentations grew louder and louder as he approached a cottage, which stood upon the borders of Jefferies' plantation. This cottage belonged to a slave of the name of Cæsar, the best negro in Mr Jefferies' possession. Such had been his industry and exertion, that, notwithstanding the severe tasks imposed by Durant, the overseer, Cæsar found means to cultivate his provision-ground to a degree of perfection, no where else to be seen, on this estate. Mr Edwards had often admired this poor fellow's industry; and now hastened to inquire what misfortune had befallen him.
When he came to the cottage, he found Cæsar standing with his arms folded, and his eyes fixed upon the ground. A young and beautiful female negro was weeping bitterly, as she knelt at the feet of Durant, the overseer, who regarded her with a sullen aspect, repeated, "He must go. I tell you, woman, he must go. What signifies all this nonsense?"
At the sight of Mr Edwards, the overseer's countenance suddenly