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very nearly so, with any five acres he may select in the vicinity of Flushing, or in some other equally eligible locality, if any locality as eligible as that delightful and fashionable village can be found—a point about which, until my lots are sold, I shall continue to have very great doubts.

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CHAPTER XI.
THE FLUSHING SRATING-POND—A DIGRESSION.

66 ‘ELL,” said Weeville one day, during the en- suing winter, as he dropped into my quiet office in the city, where I try to forget the charms and allurements of the country, and devote myself to Coke, Blackstone, and Kent, “we have finally put our skating-pond in good hands. Last year there was much complaint because the snow was not cleared off, and the best days in the season were wasted from this neglect; but now we shall have no farther trouble. You know the ice-man, Willis, who supplies the residents with ice—he has taken hold of it. His services were engaged at considerable expense, because we all knew his long experience had made him thoroughly acquainted with the subject. He

has had to do with ice ever since he was a boy; he

has cut it, and packed it, and sold it, and can make it freeze if there is any freeze in it. During the mildest winters his supply has never failed; he is a re

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markable man in that line. We have a splendid
pond, nicely fenced in, and much superior to your
Central Park affairs, where the boys jostle and upset
you, or to the petty concerns got up as rinks, and
occupying half a city block, where you can scarcely
turn round. There is plenty of room on our lake,
and the company is select. You are fond of skating.
Why don't you make up a party and run out some
day? All the best people go there, and you know
how pretty our girls are in Flushing.”
I had come to the city quite early, not being en-
tirely satisfied, in my blind ignorance, that winters in
the country, with snow or mud on the ground, the
thermometer clinging to zero, and the wind having
full sweep, were as pleasant as they are in New York,
even when streets are impassable and sidewalks slip-
pery. Nevertheless, I am devotedly fond of skating;
not that I excel in the art; for, on the contrary, I can

do little more than the simplest steps, and generally

return from every expedition with bruised body and sore limbs. I keep on hoping that I shall improve, and make the most of the fresh air and exercise, although the fancy steps, and my efforts to disregard the simplest laws of equilibrium, bring me to grief. It is pleasant to skate, and pleasant to see others skate, especially of the female sex, with their cheeks

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aglow and their eyes sparkling, and with their neat dresses and dainty feet. On the Central Park the troublesome boys annoy me, and the private ponds are so filled with superior artists that I am ashamed to appear on them; skating is not only a fashionable recreation, but peculiarly a country pastime, where ponds abound, not having been filled up to make city lots; so I determined to take advantage of Weeville's Suggestion. Moreover, I am fond of the best people; I like good society. It is pleasant to mention that I met so and so, and imply that we are on intimate terms. Of course, all are equals in this country, and my family is exceedingly old, going back almost to the time of my grandfather. I have a right to consideration, but still one feels better to be among the best. Besides these two attractions, Weeville had intimated that the young ladies of the neighborhood frequented that favored pond; this was a still stronger inducement. Woman is pretty in every costume that fashion adopts; she is angelic in high bonnets and divine in flat hats; she is bewitching in tight skirts, and enrapturing in balloon crinoline; she is entrancing in short robes, and overwhelming in long trains; whether she wears feathers or ribbons, crape or colors, high necks or low necks, she is charming; but in a skating costume, with her dress high looped up, her red balmoral appearing below, and her dear little feet— seeming smaller from being strapped to skates— peeping out from under all, and occasionally exhibiting an ankle above, she becomes tenfold more enchanting. The exercise and cold air are splendid artists for painting her cheeks, and the Swan is nowhere in comparison with her grace of motion. No

place so abounds in the beautiful of their sex as

Flushing. So I resolved that I would steal a day
from pressing cares and labors, and collect a few
friends to visit the skating pond.
The house had been finished and closed, and had
been given in Patrick's charge; some furniture had
been left there, and it was merely necessary to make
a few arrangements to receive hospitably the guests
who had been invited. Weeville was to bring me
word when the ice was solid, so that we might start
on the ensuing morning early. The thermometer
was the subject of much interest for some days. It

went down finally, and staid down resolutely; ru

mors circulated that the New York Rink was frozen, and skating had commenced there; next the public conveyances bore announcements that the opposition private pond was solid; and finally the red ball went up, and thousands rushed to the Central Park. Our

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