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Father is here already, and will remain through the examination. For his sake, I trust I shall receive some prize. He is much pleased with my improvement, and is glad I am so willing to go home. Yet he does not often trust himself to speak of it, for the subject touches too nearly on sorrowful themes. Yesterday we rode out to Beechnuts, and I took a last farewell of Aunt Mary's grave. Father was exceedingly affected. It pained him, he afterward told me, that two sisters who had been so attached in life, should in death be so far separated; my mother lying among her husband's ancestors in the church at Beverley, and Aunt Mary in the new cemetery at Beechnuts. But what matters it, when we know their spirits are united, never again to be parted ?
Father does not often speak of my step-mother; he evidently desires me to form an unbiased opinion of her; but how is this possible, when all I remember of her is indelibly imprinted on my mind? I was only eight years old when my father married, but I recollect as if it were only yesterday, that the first change she made in the arrangements of the household, was to order my dear mamma's portrait from the parlor to the garret; and how my sister Agnes hung the picture with a gauze curtain, going up every day to gaze upon the loved face, and often to weep bitter tears! I can never forget the passionate rebuke of my high-spirited brother, nor the heart-rending tears he shed when his passion had subsided. Dear, but reckless boy! For many years he has known no home but the ocean; the wild winds and waters have long been to him a mother's voice and bosom, and ambition his only friend, and, I fear, his God. Alas! alas ! for the selfish interest that robbed a loving heart of society and affection. Assuredly, in the day of coming judgment, he who refused even a cup of cold water to a little one, will be accounted guilty of a great transgression.
Father tells me that Margaret has grown quite pretty, and almost as tall as myself. I cannot reconcile this with the fragile child who followed my foot-steps like a shadow. The dear girl sent kisses to me, and thereby I know that the fountain of affection that gushed so freely in her childish heart, bursts forth as generously as then. Elfie's miniature was sent me last year, and father says she is not changed. Mother sent her love to me, and cheered by this favorable auspice, I can look forward with a more serene mind.
Allow me to thank you most sincerely, my dear Emily, for the kindness you have manifested in forbearing to speak of things that might annoy me. I cannot express the comfort it has given me to pour out my whole heart to you, well knowing you will not misrepresent or reveal any of its musings. You have evinced a characteristic delicacy in avoiding all unpleasant things that you knew took place at Poplar Hill; nor have I failed to notice the cautious manner in which you speak of my return home. You so often ask the question, 'Does not your own heart draw you homeward ?' that my wavering mind was soon shamed of its cowardice. Since father came, I have scarcely looked at him without a self-reproach. His health has not improved during the last year; and though you may not remark it, there is to me a sadness in bis voice and an abstractedness in his manner, quite unusual.
How frail human nature shrinks before the contemplation of a new duty! Who can tell whether I shall walk rightly in this new path! Who can foresee the temptations, the dangers, the guilt, that may lie before me? If you, loved Emily, might be with me constantly, I should have no fear. Your gentleness and quietness, as antidotes to my hasty temper, might accomplish wonders. It is singular that I did not imbibe some of these characteristics on the principle of absorption. Give me an opportunity of so doing by meeting me in the parlor at Poplar Hill next Friday afternoon. You will not disappoint me, Emily, for I shall not feel at home if your loving smile does not greet me.
Thank your papa for the papers he sent me; and tell Charlotte I am coming home to realize her bright anticipations for my future. Father has come for me to walk with him, so I must close this somewhat lengthened letter. Most sincerely I remain
'It is still the same weapon: the truth is quite clear,
Another like weapon disclosed :
It is plain the professor was posed !
‘AFTER all, except in some few instances, I am not very partial to literary ladies : they almost always bring to mind the female astronomer, who, after applying her nocturnal telescope for a long series of months, declared her only object was to discover if there were men in the moon.'
I HAVE hinted at the literary tendencies of Miss JEMIMA FUDGE. Like most literary ladies, she keeps a journal, in which a great deal of pent-up tenderness overflows. Very much of that sort of tenderness which afflicts ladies of a certain age, would, if put in print and distributed in the leaves of a popular magazine, dispose people to tears. It is fortunate for people that it does not so appear.
We have tears enough of our own, I think, without finding them started by every distracted lady who chooses to take a pen. There are griefs seaming the texture of every mortal's life; and dispirited ladies have no right to think, or to say, with their hands on their bosoms: ‘Every heart has its own bitterness ; ' as if the proverb applied to them, and no body else. There is, in fact, an immense deal of affliction, and an immense deal of sentimental affliction in the world, which needs only to be ripped open to make a very bloody show. But a better way of treating it is, to poultice with common-sense, and to follow this up with a strong plaster of duty; and in a month's time the evil is cured : or, what is as well — is forgotten.
But cousin JEMIMA was not of this way of thinking: she loved to fancy her little tweaks of sensitiveness were the irradiations (so she called them) of a delicate nature ; and she nourished them, and fondled them accordingly, as many a weaker man or woman has done before her, and, it is to be feared, will continue to do, till the crack of doom. It is surprising what a magnificent growth of griefs our own fancy can germinate, if it be only set in that direction. It is frightful to contemplate the unmitigated personal woes which play before the vision of a poeticallydisposed young lady, dancing and gleaming every twilight, like sheetlightning in a bad atmosphere.
As I said, the best way to disperse it all, is to set about some healthful, honest, hearty work, though it be no better than darning stockings for the children of a ragged-school.
Miss Jemima, instead, wrote verses; and when rhyme failed, wrote in her journal. There she unbosomed herself; there she strewed passion, VOL. XLII.
grief, Byron, Mr. Smith, heart-speech, TUPPER, BLIMMER, hope, desolation - in a flood.
I shall publish a portion of it herewith.
Will Jemima be offended when she finds the world called in to sympathize with her bewildered heart? Will she feel wronged to meet, through printed pages, the pulsations of other hearts attuning themselves to hers? Oh no! oh no! I'm sure she won't.
Ladies of my cousin JEMIMA's cast of thought love the fragmentary form; and I should be doing injustice to her, as well as to all kindred natures, if I were to alter it in the slightest degree:
‘And can it be, do I find my poor heart yielding? Is it gone, or is it mine own? How strange and inscrutable are our natures! Like harps of à thousand strings. Tupper says as much, but in a far different way. How poor is language, at least such as mine, to express all our
feelings! And yet - and yet, I feel, I know, that it is bubbling over as richly, and from as deep sources, as that of any poet in the world. Oh! for a pen from an eaglet's wing!
(Which, I may remark from actual experience, is very flimsy until the eaglet is eight months old.)
Do I love Mr. BLIMMER? Alas! my poor beating heart! That he loves me, I am convinced. His is not a poetic, but an earnest nature. Why ought I to look for more ? The world is a broken and unripe world: opposites combine harmoniously. I admire the rude energy of his character: is not thís a poem?
"And yet I fear that my delicacy has shocked him; he is fearful; he distrusts; alas! if he knew my weakness! Men give us credit for more resolution than we possess. A word more, and I feel that I should have given myself to him for ever; strange thought! to be given to another for ever! To find these emotions, these feelings, these burning, suffocating feelings, all centred in one object!
*He was here this very day.'
The interview having been already described, I shall not repeat here the account of Miss JEMIMA, but pass on to subsequent entries, which will advance the FUDGE story.
He has not come: does he doubt me? does he doubt my feeling -- feeling growing stronger with delay? Have I treated him coolly? Forbidding thought! I'must wait patiently the issue.
"Is it not a strange dispensation of fortune, that we, whose susceptibilities are so keen, whose feelings are so delicate, should by the rule of custom be denied all open utterance of the heart, until first we have won the accidental favor of an admirer? How much better it would be if only we could throw open the flood-gates of our feeling whenever strong feeling is called 'into
being? Is not this truer to our own poetic nature, and truer to the first design of PROVIDENCE?
Why is it that woman alone of all creatures is compelled to cloak her deepest and strongest feelings, and oftentimes, alas ! to carry them with her to the grave unuttered ? Is it not a folly and a wickedness so to belie ourselves?'
Miss JEMIMA here interpolates quotations from Mrs. Hemans and Young's Night Thoughts, which I omit.
'It is true that Mr. Blimmer is not all that I could wish for in a husband; or rather, he does not seem wholly equal to the ideal I had formed in seasons of rhapsody; yet what woman has ever yet found her ideal realized ? Is it not tempting PROVIDENCE to pursue still farther the poetic images of a fond heart and teeming imagination? Did not Mrs. Brown, the poetess, marry a common-place man; and does not Mrs. Brown indulge in her ideal flights as much as ever? Did not Mr. PEABODY, the delightful sentimental writer, marry a short, fat woman, and yet draw the same graceful pictures of female loveliness, and broken hearts, that he did before he commenced house-keeping with Mrs. PEABODY, who wears spectacles? Is not the mind, after all, capable of mak. ing its own poetic world to live in, whatever becomes of the less ethereal portions of our nature? Would not the mental part of Jemima Fudge remain itself, with its own instincts and capacities, although the world should call me Mrs. BLIMMER? I cannot and will not believe otherwise.'
Then here occurs a chasm in the journal, which begins again, in a nervous hand, thus :
"Tue faithlessness and the folly of men! A woman's heart is the toy that evil men play tricks upon. How little they know the depth and earnestness of the feelings with which they trifle! I am deceived in BLIMMER. He is the basest of his sex. Yet what on earth can have induced him to pay court to that dear little simpleton, KITTY FLEMING? He is old enough to be her father; the villain! Is it that he despaired of winning my affections? Does he wish to kindle my jealousy?
But I will control myself, and make a record of his strange proceedings. He had scarce seen me, or met me only in the most ceremonious manner, since the eventful day of our conversation. I attributed this to a high-toned respect for my agonized feelings; I might possibly have relented. It is well I did not. My looks have been of marble. Matters were going on thus, and Kitty getting ready for her departure, when she ran to me in tears only yesterday, with a letter, an avowal of love, from that’unnatural man, BLIMMER. It was better conceived than I judged him capable of. There was intensity in it, though in parts badly spelled. He pretended that he has loved her long: what fearful falsity!
“Kitty, poor little thing, was overwhelmed with grief. I endeavored to comfort her; I assured' her that no harm should happen to her: Bridget and myself have devoted ourselves to her relief. BLIMMER will find himself circumvented in his designs; we have forbidden him an interview. Kitty is quieter. I have myself dictated her reply; a cutting reply. His offers have been repelled with deserved scorn: his age was alluded to - perhaps too pointedly. Yet it does not matter: what feeling but scorn can be entertained for one so false-hearted ? He promised her wealth; can it be that the Blimmerville property is rising in value? Should he relent, it may not yet be too late. Alas! the struggles of a woman's heart!
"I abandon the pen; I give myself for a moment to tears; not private tears, but tears for the feebleness and depravity of human nature. Would that they might wash it out!'
I may remark here that this is a common indulgence, and a common infatuation of over-sentimental natures. Tears are very good things in their place, it is true; and I like to see them sometimes. But they will not wash away any considerable amount of human depravity or human weakness, however frequent they are, or however easily called up. As a general thing, I am disposed to believe, on the contrary, that they blind our eyes to the sight of a great deal of service which might be rendered to the world in general by a good, straight forward look into the face and eyes of Duty. It is all very well to bemoan such matters of grief as gain large proportion by the magnifying property of an eyeful of tears; but a handful of help is better every way. Miss JEMIMAʼs, however, was one of those delicate natures which shrunk from the positive, and ran irresistibly to the ideal. A great deal of far-away, goodnatured enterprise is unfortunately made up in the same way; and I could put my thumb in the button-holes of a great many church-going men who give fat subscriptions for very far-off good things, and who would not pick a poor dog out of a home-lying ditch. Idealism is very well where it belongs — in the clouds. It makes pretty rain-bows, and that sort of thing; but the bows, so far as I have observed, are lost when they touch ground, and neither hold their color nor any thing else. There is an immense deal of dreamy philanthropy which floats about in verse and romantic spray, very gorgeous indeed, but lost so soon as you try to squeeze out of it some palpable, fertilizing drops.
Miss Jemima possessed a mass of this sort of philanthropy, and pursued charity very much as the Humble Lieutenant, in FLETCHER's play, pursued his love — too far off.
"You will be nipt o'th' bud with nothing: