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Fool perceiving, told him he did well, for pancakes were proper to a good fry-day.
In another part, a hubbub arose about the Thirtieth of January, who, it seems, being a sour, puritanic character, that thought nobody's meat good or sanctified enough for him, had smuggled into the room a calf's head, which he had had cooked at home for that purpose, thinking to feast thereon incontinently; but as it lay in the dish, March Manyweathers, who is a very fine lady, and subject to the meagrims, screamed out there was a "human head in the platter," and raved about Herodias' daughter to that degree, that the obnoxious viand was obliged to be removed; nor did she recover her stomach till she had gulped down a Restorative, confected of Oak Apple, which the merry Twenty-Ninth of May always carries about with him for that purpose.
goblet (and by her example the rest of the company) with garlands. This being done, the lordly New Year, from the upper end of the table, in a cordial but somewhat lofty tone, returned thanks. He felt proud on an occasion of meeting so many of his worthy father's late tenants, promised to improve their farms, and at the same time to abate (if anything was found unreasonable) in their rents.
At the mention of this, the four Quarter Days involuntarily looked at each other, and smiled; April Fool whistled to an old tune of "New Brooms ;" and a surly old rebel at the further end of the table (who was discovered to be no other than the Fifth of November) muttered out, distinctly enough to be heard by the whole company, words to this effect, that "when the old one is gone, he is a fool that looks for a better." Which rudeness of his, the guests resenting, unanimously voted his expulsion; and the malecontent was thrust out neck and heels into the cellar, as the properest place for such a boutefeu and firebrand as he had shown himself to be.
Order being restored-the young lord (who, to say truth, had been a little ruffled, and put beside his oratory) in as few, and yet as obliging words as possible, assured them of entire welcome; and, with a graceful turn, singling out poor Twenty-Ninth of February, that had sate all this while mumchance at the side-board, begged to couple his health with that of the good company before him-which he drank accordingly; observing that he had not seen his honest face any time these four years-with a number of endearing expressions besides. At the same time, removing the solitary Day from the forlorn seat which had been assigned him, he stationed him at his own board, somewhere between the Greek Calends and Latter Lammas.
Ash Wednesday, being now called upon for a song, with his eyes fast stuck in his head, and as well as the Canary he had swallowed would give him leave, struck up a Carol, which Christmas Day had taught him for the nonce; and was followed by the latter, who gave "Miserere," in fine style, hitting off the mumping notes and lengthened drawl of Old Mortification with infinite humour. April Fool swore they had exchanged conditions;
but Good Friday was observed to look extremely grave; and Sunday held her fan before her face that she might not be seen to smile.
when she was young; and of one Master Rogation Day in particular, who was for ever putting the question to her; but she kept him at a distance, as the chronicle
Shrove-tide, Lord Mayor's Day, and April would tell-by which I apprehend she Fool, next joined in a gleemeant the Almanack. Then she rambled on to the Days that were gone, the good old Days, and so to the Days before the Flood
Which is the properest day to drink?
in which all the Days chiming in, made a which plainly showed her old head to be little better than crazed and doited. merry burden.
They next fell to quibbles and conundrums. The question being proposed, who had the greatest number of followers-the Quarter Days said, there could be no question as to that; for they had all the creditors in the world dogging their heels. But April Fool gave it in favour of the Forty Days before Easter; because the debtors in all cases out-home-they had been used to the business numbered the creditors, and they kept lent all the year.
Day being ended, the Days called for their cloaks and great-coats, and took their leaves. Lord Mayor's Day went off in a Mist, as usual; Shortest Day in a deep black Fog, that wrapt the little gentleman all round like a hedge-hog. Two Vigils-so watchmen are called in heaven-saw Christmas Day safe
On the bat's back do I fly,
All this while Valentine's Day kept courting pretty May, who sate next him, slipping amorous billets-doux under the table, till the Dog Days (who are naturally of a warm constitution) began to be jealous, and to bark and rage exceedingly. April Fool, who likes a bit of sport above measure, and had some pretensions to the lady besides, as being but a cousin once removed,-clapped and halloo'd them on; and as fast as their indignation cooled, those mad wags, the Ember Days, were at it with their bellows, to blow it into a flame; and all was in a ferment; till old Madam Septuagesima (who boasts herself the Mother of the Days) wisely diverted the conversation with a tedious silvery twilights a Lover's Day could wish tale of the lovers which she could reckon to set in.
and a number of old snatches besides, between drunk and sober; but very few Aves or Penitentiaries (you may believe me) were among them. Longest Day set off westward in beautiful crimson and gold - the rest, some in one fashion, some in another; but Valentine and pretty May took their departure together in one of the prettiest
I HAVE an almost feminine partiality for old china. When I go to see any great house, I inquire for the china-closet, and next for the picture gallery. I cannot defend the order of preference, but by saying, that we have all some taste or other, of too ancient a date to admit of our remembering distinctly that it was an acquired one. I can call to mind the first play, and the first exhibition, that I was taken to; but I am not conscious
before. Another Vigil-a stout, sturdy, patrole, called the Eve of St. Christopherseeing Ash Wednesday in a condition little better than he should be e'en whipt him over his shoulders, pick-a-back fashion, and Old Mortification went floating home singing
they appear to our optics), yet on terra firma saving we could hit upon, that should be an still-for so we must in courtesy interpret equivalent. A thing was worth buying then, that speck of deeper blue,—which the decorous when we felt the money that we paid for it. artist, to prevent absurdity, had made to spring up beneath their sandals.
I love the men with women's faces, and the women, if possible, with still more womanish expressions.
"Do you remember the brown suit, which you made to hang upon you, till all your friends cried shame upon you, it grew so thread-bare-and all because of that folio Beaumont and Fletcher, which you dragged home late at night from Barker's in Covent
Here is a young and courtly Mandarin, handing tea to a lady from a salver-two garden? Do you remember how we eyed it miles off. See how distance seems to set off for weeks before we could make up our respect! And here the same lady, or minds to the purchase, and had not come to another for likeness is identity on tea-cups- a determination till it was near ten o'clock is stepping into a little fairy boat, moored on of the Saturday night, when you set off from the hither side of this calm garden river, Islington, fearing you should be too latewith a dainty mincing foot, which in a right and when the old bookseller with some angle of incidence (as angles go in our world) grumbling opened his shop, and by the must infallibly land her in the midst of a twinkling taper (for he was setting bedflowery mead-a furlong off on the other wards) lighted out the relic from his dusty side of the same strange stream! treasures-and when you lugged it home, wishing it were twice as cumbersome-and when you presented it to me--and when we were exploring the perfectness of it (collating you called it) - and while I was repairing some of the loose leaves with paste, which your impatience would not suffer to be left till daybreak-was there no pleasure in being a poor man? or can those neat black clothes which you wear now, and are so careful to keep brushed, since we have become rich and finical, give you half the honest vanity, with which you flaunted it about in that overworn suit-your old corbeau-for four or five weeks longer than you should have done, to pacify your conscience for the mighty sum of fifteen-or sixteen shillings was it?-a great affair we thought it then-which you had lavished on the old folio. Now you can afford to buy any book that pleases you, but I do not see that you ever bring me home any nice eld purchases now.
"When you came home with twenty apologies for laying out a less number of shillings upon that print after Lionardo, which we christened the 'Lady Blanch ;' when you looked at the purchase, and thought of the money-aud thought of the money, and looked again at the picture-was there no pleasure in being a poor man? Now, you have nothing to do but to walk into Colnaghi's, and buy a wilderness of Lionardos. Yet do you?
"Then, do you remember our pleasant
Farther on-if far or near can be predicated of their world-see horses, trees, pagodas, dancing the hays.
Here-a cow and rabbit couchant, and coextensive so objects show, seen through the lucid atmosphere of fine Cathay.
I was pointing out to my cousin last evening, over our Hyson, (which we are oldfashioned enough to drink unmixed still of an afternoon) some of these speciosa miracula upon a set of extraordinary old blue china (a recent purchase) which we were now for the first time using; and could not help remarking, how favourable circumstances had been to us of late years, that we could afford to please the eye sometimes with trifles of this sort-when a passing sentiment seemed to overshade the brows of my companion. I am quick at detecting these summer clouds in Bridget.
"I wish the good old times would come again," she said, "when we were not quite so rich. I do not mean, that I want to be poor; but there was a middle state"- -so she was pleased to ramble on,—“in which I am sure we were a great deal happier. A purchase is but a purchase, now that you have money enough and to spare. Formerly it used to be a triumph. When we coveted a cheap luxury (and, O! how much ado I had to get you to consent in those times!)—we were used to have a debate two or three days before, and to weigh the for and against, and think what we might spare it out of, and what
walks to Enfield, and Potter's bar, and impossible for them to fill up. With such Waltham, when we had a holyday-holydays, reflections we consoled our pride then-and and all other fun, are gone now we are rich I appeal to you, whether as a woman, I —and the little hand-basket in which I used met generally with less attention and accomto deposit our day's fare of savory cold lamb modation than I have done since in more and salad-and how you would pry about at expensive situations in the house? The noon-tide for some decent house, where we getting in indeed, and the crowding up those might go in and produce our store-only inconvenient staircases, was bad enough,paying for the ale that you must call for- but there was still a law of civility to woman and speculate upon the looks of the landlady, recognised to quite as great an extent as and whether she was likely to allow us a we ever found in the other passages—and table-cloth and wish for such another how a little difficulty overcome heightened honest hostess, as Izaak Walton has described the snug seat and the play, afterwards! Now many a one on the pleasant banks of the we can only pay our money and walk in. Lea, when he went a fishing-and sometimes You cannot see, you say, in the galleries now. they would prove obliging enough, and some- I am sure we saw, and heard too, well enough times they would look grudgingly upon us- then-but sight, and all, I think, is gone but we had cheerful looks still for one another, with our poverty. and would eat our plain food savorily, scarcely grudging Piscator his Trout Hall? Now when we go out a day's pleasuring, which is seldom moreover, we ride part of the way—and go into a fine inn, and order the best of dinners, never debating the expense-which after all, never has half the relish of those chance country snaps, when we were at the mercy of uncertain usage, and a precarious welcome.
"There was pleasure in eating strawberries, before they became quite commonin the first dish of peas, while they were yet dear-to have them for a nice supper, a treat. What treat can we have now? If we were to treat ourselves now-that is, to have dainties a little above our means, it would be selfish and wicked. It is the very little more that we allow ourselves beyond what the actual poor can get at, that makes what I call a treat—when two people living together, as we have done, now and then indulge themselves in a cheap luxury, which both like; while each apologises, and is willing to take both halves of the blame to his single share. I see no harm in people making much of themselves, in that sense of the word. It may give them a hint how to make much of others. But now, what I mean by the word -we never do make much of ourselves. None but the poor can do it. I do not mean the veriest poor of all, but persons as we were, just above poverty.
"I know what you were going to say, that it is mighty pleasant at the end of the year to make all meet, and much ado we used to have every Thirty-first Night of December to account for our exceedings-many a long face did you make over your puzzled accounts, and in contriving to make it out how we had spent so much—or that we had not spent so much-or that it was impossible we should spend so much next year-and still we found our slender capital decreasingbut then,-betwixt ways, and projects, and compromises of one sort or another, and
"You are too proud to see a play anywhere now but in the pit. Do you remember where it was we used to sit, when we saw the Battle of Hexham, and the Surrender of Calais, and Bannister and Mrs. Bland in the Children in the Wood-when we squeezed out our shillings a-piece to sit three or four times in a season in the one-shilling gallery —where you felt all the time that you ought not to have brought me—and more strongly I felt obligation to you for having brought me—and the pleasure was the better for a little shame and when the curtain drew up, what cared we for our place in the house, or what mattered it where we were sitting, when our thoughts were with Rosalind in Arden, or with Viola at the Court of Illyria. You used to say, that the Gallery was the best place of all for enjoying a play socially -that the relish of such exhibitions must be in proportion to the infrequency of goingthat the company we met there, not being in general readers of plays, were obliged to attend the more, and did attend, to what was going on, on the stage-because a word lost would have been a chasm, which it was
talk of curtailing this charge, and doing without that for the future-and the hope that youth brings, and laughing spirits (in which you were never poor till now), we pocketed up our loss, and in conclusion, with lusty brimmers (as you used to quote it out of hearty cheerful Mr. Cotton, as you called him), we used to welcome in the coming guest.' Now we have no reckoning at all at the end of the old year-no flattering promises about the new year doing better for us."
Bridget is so sparing of her speech on most occasions, that when she gets into a rhetorical vein, I am careful how I interrupt it. I could not help, however, smiling at the phantom of wealth which her dear imagina- | those inconvenient staircases, pushed about, tion had conjured up out of a clear income of and squeezed, and elbowed by the poorest poor — hundred pounds a year. "It is rabble of poor gallery scramblers- could true we were happier when we were poorer, I once more hear those anxious shrieks but we were also younger, my cousin. I am of yours-and the delicious Thank God, afraid we must put up with the excess, for if we are safe, which always followed when we were to shake the superflux into the sea, topmost stair, conquered, let in the we should not much mend ourselves. That first light of the whole cheerful theatre we had much to struggle with, as we grew down beneath us-I know not the fathom up together, we have reason to be most line that ever touched a descent so deep thankful. It strengthened and knit our com- as I would be willing to bury more wealth pact closer. We could never have been what in than Croesus had, or the great Jew
we have been to each other, if we had always | R
is supposed to have, to purchase it. And now do just look at that merry little Chinese waiter holding an umbrella, big enough for a bed-tester, over the head of that pretty insipid half Madona-ish chit of a lady in that very blue summer-house."
mentary youth, a sorry supplement indeed, but I fear the best that is to be had. We must ride where we formerly walked: live better and lie softer-and shall be wise to do so-than we had means to do in those good old days you speak of. Yet could those days return-could you and I once more walk our thirty miles a day-could Bannister and Mrs. Bland again be young, and you and I be young to see them-could the good old oneshilling gallery days return-they are dreams, my cousin, now-but could you and I at this moment, instead of this quiet argument, by our well-carpeted fireside, sitting on this luxurious sofa-be once more struggling up
THE CHILD ANGEL; A DREAM.
I was suddenly transported, how or whither I could scarcely make out-but to some celestial region. It was not the real heavens neither-not the downright Bible
I CHANCED upon the prettiest, oddest, fan- heaven-but a kind of fairy-land heaven, tastical thing of a dream the other night, that about which a poor human fancy may have you shall hear of. I had been reading the leave to sport and air itself, I will hope, "Loves of the Angels," and went to bed with without presumption. my head full of speculations, suggested by that extraordinary legend. It had given birth to innumerable conjectures; and, I remember the last waking thought, which I gave expression to on my pillow, was a sort of wonder," what could come of it."
Methought-what wild things dreams are! I was present-at what would you imagine ?-at an angel's gossiping.
Whence it came, or how it came, or who bid it come, or whether it came purely of its own head, neither you nor I know-but there lay, sure enough, wrapt in its little cloudy swaddling-bands—a Child Angel.
Sun-threads-filmy beams-ran through the celestial napery of what seemed ita