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down by the rain waits for the sunshine ; sighs and droops when the clouds of sorrow cast their shadows over him; joys when his hopes brighten ; ministers to his every comfort, and seems a being as closely bound to him as light is to the diamond. Suppose that he to whom you have entrusted her, the innermost heart-jewel of yourself, the bright corner of your domestic fire-side ; imagine that he should grow cold and unmindful of her peace; that his love for her should fade; that her smile should fall upon him cold as torch-light on a funeral pall; that her voice should no longer be music to his ear; that he should seek for other smiles, and give to other ears the words which were alone her due; when you saw her drooping, fading, dying beneath the shadow of his neglect, what would you do ?
• Slay him! by the HAND which made me! I would slay him as a dog that had bitten or a serpent which had stung me!!
Even as I spoke, I thought of my own deserted wife, and Conscience I took a pull at ihe halliards' of my heart, and wrung it to the very core. I felt as if I could have given a world, had it been mine to give, if I could be placed along-side the couch of my lonely bride ; and I vowed in my soul never to grieve her again, should I return unharmed from the dreadful scenes of that night.
· Lady,' said I, “if your first tale be, as I feel it is, true ; if you have slain him who wrought your ruin, and have chosen me to aid you in your dreadful task, I pray you to hasten the deed. Let there be no delay.'
* Then follow me!' said she; 'you need not follow far.'
She led me on a few steps, into what I supposed to be another room: here she bade me to pause, and calm myself. I must acknowledge that I felt greatly agitated; but mustering all my self-possession and pre. sence of mind, I prepared to cast aside the veil, at her bidding, and determined not to shrink from the horrible duty which lay before me.
She lifted the veil from my head. A blaze of light forced me to close my eyes; and then I dared not open them. Imagination painted a scene before me which I feared to gaze upon. At last shame unclosed my eye-lids, and I gazed around. : Surprise almost stunned me.
It could not be ! - yet so it was! I stood within my own bed. room! The stranger raised her mask. My wife's large black eyes looked sorrowfully out upon me; she cast the long tresses of glossy hair from her head; and then appeared her own soft curling ringlets playing about her neck. She had fallen upon this plan to punish me for seeking pleasure at a time when she, by reason of sickness and suffering, could not enjoy it with me. She had indeed taught me a les. son of conjugal fidelity.
My own volante had driven me at full speed over half the city! I had been led through a back-gate, and had traversed a part of my house which I had never before entered; and all through the contrivance of my witch of a wife! Borrowed jewels had disguised her hands; she had spoken in an altered voice beneath her mask; and I, like most men, ever ready to be pleased with a new object, had actually fallen in love with my own wife!
What a 'fix for a married man to be in ! Nashville, March, 1845.
LADIES and gentlemen; kind friends and candid readers — I will have nothing to do with any others — the top of the morning to you, and a New-Year's benison ! The young Year has spread out his pinions before you, bright and beautiful as the wings of an angel. May you all have cause to look forward with hope to his progress, and back with regret on his departure! If you shall be good -- good in its broad and comprehensive sense -- you will be intrinsically happy: if not, you will be deservedly miserable. This is a truism. Ah! why should men forget it?
But while tendering you the compliments of the season, "filled, pressed down, and running over with all kindliest wishes, I am myself the subject of bodily pain and mental embarrassment. Some lingering disease, deep-seated and ineradicable, which physicians may discover but cannot banish, may name but cannot cure, has invaded the interior of my microcosm, and encamped among some of the pectoral organs. He has struck his fangs into my breast, sides, and back, encircling my chest, as it were with a 'torrid zone.' By day I am constantly shifting my position, as if to shun his darts, and when the sun has closed his golden eyelids on the world he had all day illumined, I sleep with the nightmare, or toss from side to side, feverish and restless, like the Roman Regulus in his narrow cage, floored, ceiled, and wainscoted with piercing nails. Ere long, perhaps, with me, as soon or late with you all, Death will ascend the crumbling throne, and wave his bony sceptre over the vacant realms of life. Perhaps, too, the sweet breath of Spring, in the leafy month of June,' may diffuse through my frame-work, as through all animate and inanimate Nature, the joy and vigor of rejuvenescence. The shadow may go backward ten degrees on the dial,' and 'fifteen years' more be granted to lengthen out that pilgrimage, whose end and final resting-place is the tomb : who knows? But as that awful day approaches, when we shall • turn our faces to the wall,' and close our eyes in deadly sickness on all the gloom and glory of the earth, may I, may you, may all, receive a practical knowledge of the octogenarian Waller's noble lines :
'THE soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed,
Lets in new light through chinks which Time has made.' I do not, however, intend to write you a sermon, which might be more appropriately preached to myself; and I must apologize for the gloomy tenor of this introduction, by the plea that invalids, whether of the body or of the mind, are necessarily prone to seek relief by the garrulous recital of their woes. A sorrow published is a sorrow half-forgotten.
But what is the cause of my mental embarrassment ? Why, gentle reader, it is my inability to decide on what theme I shall endeavor to
amuse or profit you, and obtain a brief oblivion of myself. In reference to the various subjects, from which to select for the nucleus of a short ‘palaver,'I am laboring under “l'embarras des richesses:' in reference to the ideas, which should cluster around this nucleus, I am in a state of collapse,' like a frog dying for want of breath in an exhausted receiver. Certainly from a long course of reading and study I had once laid away in the lumber-room of my upper story' a few bars of gold, some of silver, more of copper and iron, beside heaps of dross, and mayhap a whole mine of lead. Of all these materials I can'at this present scarce find enough for the construction of a phrenagogue' or ó mentiduct — do n’t consult the Dictionary ; I mint the words from me to you. And where are the electric sparks of feeling, and the mercurial flow of thought, to fill that mysterious conduit ? Ah, me! I am compelled to join in the dirge over the harvest-time of the Past, so often chanted by those whose life begins to weaken and waste and wane away :
'Petti, nibil me, sicut antea, juvat
Loth, however, to sever the pleasing chain — pleasing, at least, to me - which links me, a sort of eremite, to your sympathies and to the billowy world of mind, I am disposed to seek some theme, to lift the spell from the slumbering tides of thought. Suppose that, instead of attempting to originate the plan as well as the materials, instead of hunting for an unworn subject, and fresh-made thoughts, we make a few extracts from our Note-Book - a chaos of embryon atoms,' each struggling for the right of primogeniture. January 9, 1845.
SELF-CONTENTMENT. It is a very happy thing, the way in which some persons will always find something to render them satisfied with themselves, their condition, and all their circumstances and belongings. They are blessed in another sense and more restricted manner with the quality attributed to the Deity :
"From seeming evil still educing good.' This faculty is closely allied 10 vanity, and while of equally sedative effect on its possessors, is scarcely less ridiculous in its displays. I once had a friend, who was the greatest blunderer ' in nature' — in all his thoughts and actions a perfect specimen of topsy-turvitude. Every thing he said was said à contre-sens : every thing he did was done à contretems : and I do not remember that he ever brought a single enterprise, of whatever magnitude, to a successful termination. But he never was in fault. Oh, no! 'Twas his unlucky star. At each successive failure he would say, with a smile of cordial contentment, .See there again! Well, is n't Fate against me! I should have come out splendidly, if it had n't been for - something, and a few 'et ceteras' beside. Poor fellow! He died at last from a cold caught in visiting Washington to apply for office through the mediation of a political and personal foe!
I have an acquaintance, a lawyer, of brilliant natural endowments,
but of inveterate and incurable indolence. From the moment he first appeared at the bar, and a most powerful maiden-speech had opened a shining upward path before him, he gave way to his love of discursiye reading, and literary far niente ; and his character and fortune have
; been gradually ebbing away, till he is left on the bare sand without a copper or a case. But his consciousness of ability to recall the falling tide has consoled him during every hour of its recession, and he is still perfectly satisfied with doing and being nothing, in the knowledge that he can do and be any thing.
I know a good mother, whose sons are the expressed essence of stupidity, being unable, I verily believe, to distinguish between pleasure and pain. The worthy matron is, in some measure, conscious that her offspring are not mental race-horses : but she contrives to please herself with their stationary trade, by thinking that “they are slow, but solid, as, in truth, they are, impenetrably solid. She considers also that Chatterton died early ; that many a sword of such ethereal temper has soon eaten out its mortal scabbard; and that, in short, to employ the poetical phraseology of the ancient adage, “Soon ripe, soon rotten!'
I am acquainted with a young man of narrow means, but unexampled extravagance, who shakes hands with the sheriff oftener than mere sociability would dictate, and is afraid to look a man he meets in the face, for fear he should see a frowning creditor. How, think you, does he comfort himself amid his duns and miseries? Why, first, money is trash, and the love of it ignoble. ''Twas mine, 't is his,' etc. Secondly, his great uncle was governor of one of the Old Thirteen.' Thirdly, the great Julius Cæsar, before he crossed the Rubicon and seized the treasury of Rome, was involved in an amount of millions.
MINOR MORALITY: ABSTRACTION. THERE are many very good men, who are careless of minor morali. ties, and while their attention is absorbed by the affairs of another world, they neglect the concerns of this; while their eyes are fixed upon the wonders of the heavens, their feet stumble among the impediments of earth. There are also many great philosophers, whose thoughts are so deeply buried in investigating the pure elements of social science, in solving on abstract principles those theorems which lie at the foundation of the great problems to be wrought out by man with the instruments of government and law, that they forget the variable quantities and mixed analysis that must enter into the calculation; they overlook the complex and ever-shifting character of human history, and the change that is hourly coming over the spirit of its dream.' In respect to their utter heedlessness of the little duties of man, and the daily mutations of his social character, they resemble the actors in that awful struggle, wherein the combatants were so engaged in the convulsive agony of their strife, that they noticed not the throes and heavings of the world around them, and
• An earthquake rolled unheededly away!
Nor is this disregard unnatural. For as the telescope of the astronomer