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and when she smiled, her ruddy, cherry lips played with a divine expression, showing teeth so white and regular, that nothing in art could out-rival them. Her skin was of so pure a hue, that once I put a row of costly pearls-it was great extravagance I confess-around her neck, and, in contrast, they actually seemed as stains upon her bosom. Her face was of the Grecian mould, saving that the straight line, which to my eye is almost deformity, was broken at the base of the forehead, by a gentle indenting. Her foot and hand were so small and delicately formed, that in truth, she seemed not like one of humble birth-no, for she was of nature's own nobility; her tone and figure bespoke her a lady, born to grace the proud halls of a palace: yet withal she was gentle and kind as a fawn-in my eye, that feminine softness, helplessness I might say, more than her surpassing loveliness, commended her to my heart. You may call it weakness in me, for she has been my wife for many a year-to say that, both as maid and wife, when she walks the streets, or visits public places, she is the gaze and wonder of all, so much so that it is absolutely annoying, and oftentimes even yet, to avoid the impertinent gaze of passers by, or followers on, we are obliged to call a coach. * I will say nothing further of my wife-on that point I have already shown weakness enough.
Having become sole proprietor of the linen draper's shop, as I have mentioned, business did not desert me--I attended to it, and it attended to me. Some people do not know that one great secret of gaining a good business, is, being always on the spot, and always being kind and obliging. In time I was possessor of ten thousand pounds. I once said that that would be my ultimatum, but it was not. I could not exist if I had no object in view. I again made my mark a peg higher-twenty thousand pounds. That sum I also amassed, and my peg has been gradually raised, till it now stands at one hundred thousand pounds, and, God willing, by the end of this year, I will be the possessor of that sum-even then 1 suppose I will raise the peg again somewhat higher.
Notwithstanding the great object of my ambition has been to acquire wealth, that single pursuit did not afford me happiness; notwithstanding I love and cherish my wife with all the fervour and sincerity of a loyal husband, still my heart wants something more to love. My wife never blessed me with children. I tried by turns to share my affection on a cat, a dog, yea even on a parrot and a monkey, but still these were not enough; there still was a vacancy in my heart. Rich as I am, I would give half my wealth for a son or
* This portrait, imperfect I confess, is no creation of the fancy: perchance some may read this, who will remember, that in a certain part of the country in which the scene is laid, the original lived some years ago. I hope she still lives.
daughter-but that is a vain wish. My sister-in-law has three children, she is poor, and lately I adopted my nephews and niece: they are now receiving the best education that the country affords; I love them dearly, and my heart is satisfied. In truth my ambition is to leave each fifty thousand pounds: so you may observe it is for them, (they are beautiful and to me all in all,) that I labour, and not for myself. At present I live in what is called splendid style, but in no year has the amount of my expenses even approached near to my income. My mother (she is an old woman now) and my wife live in health. I am blessed. I am a man of leisure, for being somewhat advanced in years, I am turned of fifty six, though I may look younger-I have sold out my linen draper establishment; and now dabbling in stocks, speculating in lands, and lending money, do I dispel the ennui which might else weigh heavy upon me.
This is the brief outline of my life-and much has experience taught me in its course.
I have already told you that I never read; my words were true even to a fault, but you may easily imagine that this misfortune, for such I account it, arose more from my way of life, than from a distaste of books. I have, however, read Burns' poems, Blind Harry's history of William Wallace, Pamela, Pilgrim's Progress, and the Bible. These books constituted the library of my worthy mother, in her ancient garret-room; their depository was in a “neuk o' the aumerie," whose place was often usurped by certain plates, bowls, tea cups and saucers, to the no small discomfiture of the learned leaves. I was a child when I read these books. For more than thirty years, business alone engaged my attention, and when night came, I was too much fatigued to study. Thus passed my days. I regret that I am ignorant: I wish I were only wise enough to know how ignorant 1 am: yet in my intercourse with the world, and more especially since I have given up the labour of trade, I have gathered much useful information. Experience has taught me that a man deep versed in books alone, or deep read in human nature alone, is only half learned; it requires a man to be deeply skilled in both to be wise. Experience has also taught me, that a knowledge of human nature, if not so pleasant, is more profitable than a knowledge of books, and that with the first, more than with the last, will he pass with people generally for a man of information. My experience also has taught me, that the great object of life is happiness, or in other words to apportion to life as little of misery as possible; yet perfect happiness is not the lot of mortals-content is not in this world. A man must have enough of whatever his aim may be, to enjoy even comparative happiness; yet what is enough? This question was once correctly answered to be "a little more than any man possesses."
TELL me, O mother! when I grow old,
He said-but I knew not what he meant-
He spoke of a home, where, in childhood's glee,
As its sparkling wings, the butterfly's flight;
And pulled young flowers, where they grew 'neath the beams
"Calm thy young thoughts, my own fair child!
Though pale grow thy cheeks, and thy hair turn grey,
There's a land of which thou hast heard me speak,
It was there that the old man longed to be!
"For he knew that those with whom he had played,
"Though ours be a pillared and lofty home,
For He who hath made them poor may soon
*Poetical Ephemeras. By James Pennycook Brown. Aberdeen, 1831.'
J. P. BROWN.*
TO A BIRD.
SWEET bird, that through the budding boughs art flinging
That round my very soul their web is clinging,
Within the sphere where thou apart dost sit,
For never yet, I think, to mortal wit
Hath such surpassing vision been reveal'd,
As thou proclaim'st in sounds, to them who list'ners be!
Time was, when on my solitary walk
The stars shone kindly, when before my feet,
Turn wheresoe'er I might,
The meadows lay asleep, in sunny light,
And skies and streams, and every vision bright,
And with strong incantations, strong but still,
Why pass'd these glorious powers, this strength, away?
Of light, call'd back to think of the clear day,
The old affections wake at thy sweet strain!
Thou happy creature, thou whom no annoy
To win the ancient dower
Of natural happiness; to hear the stream
Of noontide, and the whispering leaves repeat
An answering spirit in my soul, which springs
GENIUS of Silence! whose step, as thou walkest over the earth, falls as lightly as the descending snow-flake, invest me with thy mantle of down, and provide me with a quill of softest plume, while I attempt to recount all the properties and associations of thy shibboleth WHEESHT!
Every body must have more or less acquaintance with a provokingly quiet set of people, who constantly look and move as if they were saying wheesht!-a velvet-footed race, with smooth, goodly faces, who eat, drink, walk, and sleep-perhaps snore too-below their breath, and would not for the world be guilty of what they call making a fuss. This set of people are always very anxious that things should be managed in a prudent, quiet, unostentatious way. If they were going to have a ride in a coach-supposing they could bear the rattle of such a thing—they would have it drawn up six doors off.
They keep the doors within their house always well oiled, and the pulleys of their windows in the best state of repair, so that none of them may ever be guilty of a single creak or rattle. Their clothes are always very trim about their persons, or, to use a Scottish phrase, clappit; no superfluous skirts-no majestic train-not so much as a useless lappel, if it can be avoided; because such things tend to make a fuss-might even happen to pull down something that would make a crash, or a clash, or a dash, or a splash, or something else in ash. When they rise to leave a room, it is perceptible that they are sedulous to glide away as smoothly, and noiselessly, (and unobservedly, as possible: they are evidently much put about, that they cannot devolve through the key-hole, so as to save the fluster of opening the door. "We must learn to walk circumspectly. We must make no stir. Let us take things coolly. Let us do every thing with decency and propriety. Allow no room for evil tongues. As well not give people occasion to speak. We'll do very well in our own quiet way. WHEESHT!" As these people move along, they keep a clear look-out on all hands, afraid to come in contact with any thing; and they evidently would feel much convenienced, if Providence would see fit to furnish them with antennæ like the spider, or whiskers like the cat, so that they might be admonished beforehand of the chance of