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one year of attendance at the town school, a square building, with one room for both sexes, near an open common, without a shrub or tree to grace or shade it. Thither, bearing my own satchel, I walked a mile, being a journey of four miles daily, to make my “young idea shoot.” I will not say much for my ideas, but my limbs were not backward in the process. I shot up into a tall girl, and was allowed to go occasionally with my mother to take tea sociably with her friends at four o'clock, carrying my knittingwork for occupation. My accomplishments are soon told. I opened an exhibition ball with one of the slow minuets of the last century, and I cannot but stop to render a tribute of admiration to that charming movement, in spite of the admirers of the lazy quadrille, or the seductive waltz. A single courtesy or bow, when well ordered, is graceful; think then how delightful must be the spectacle of a series of these beautiful curves, performed to slow and appropriate music, by so attractive a couple as I certainly believed Clarissa Gray and my partner Benjamin Homes to be. He was a red-cheeked boy of thirteen, and had a pair of new white gloves for the occasion, unharmed by contact with mine, for the minuet allows but the meeting of the extremities of the fingers, and that lightly. I know not thy destiny, Benjamin, but I have sometimes wished thou mightst tread through life on such polished footing, with sweet music to lead thee, and a partner as kind. My teacher honoured, or rewarded, me with a choice of fancy dances, and I decided on the slow minuet. How brilliant was the scene ! Our old clergyman and his lady were stationed in conspicuous seats, and looked on with benevolent smiles. We scarcely felt the floor while moving with a step closely resembling the waltz, our hands raised, the top of each fore-finger making a circle with the thumb, then slowly descending, while with sidelong glances, and sidelong steps, with measured obeisances, we evolved the “poetry of motion.”
I commenced learning music upon an old spinet of my mother's; but her indulgence soon imported for me a harpsichord of the latest fashion, and though my more fastidious ear may be critically pleased with the improvements in the modern piano-forte, I have never felt so rapt and raised as when I sang to a silent circle, “Henry's Cottage Maid,” or “Her mouth which a smile,” to my own harpsichord. My sampler was one of unrivalled beauty. It possessed every shade and glory of tentstitch. At the upper corners were cherubs' heads and wings. Under the alphabets stood Adam and Eve, draperied with fig-leaves, and between them these appropriate lines—
Clarissa Gray is my name,
My age is ten.
This work in hand my friends may have,
When I am dead and laid in grave. This sampler was a matter of curiosity, and sometimes of ridicule, to my children; but now that they perceive my gray hairs and increasing infirmities, I find the sampler neatly folded and laid aside, and sometimes a conscious look reveals to me that they think I may soon be folded to rest in the grave. Our pecuniary circumstances enabled us to indulge in the luxuries of life; but none of these interfered with my education for usefulness. My mother was proud to say that I could manufacture a frilled shirt in two days, with stitches that required a microscope to detect them. I made my own bed, swept and dusted the apartments, mended my own clothes, and when pudding or cake was to be made, rolled up my sleeves, and went to beating eggs, with strokes that I should half like to see given to lazy modern girls, lolling over new-fangled cookerybooks. But this was not all. “Clarissa,” said my judicious mother, “by not knowing how to make puddings and pies, you may be occasionally mortified; but if you are ignorant of roasting and boiling, you may be annoyed every day.” On washing and ironing days, therefore, I spent a large portion of my time in the kitchen; well known, on such occasions, as the NewEngland Pandemonium. Quite contented did I feel, if able to retire to my bed-room, “my loop-hole of retreat,” by four o'clock in the afternoon. The only domestic I distinctly remember in my mother's establishment was a washerwoman, called Ma'am Bridge, whose mouth and chin resembled the modern pictures of old Mother Hubbard, and who was an extra assistant on washing days. She wore a mob cap, with a broad unstarched frill, which, in hanging out clothes against the wind, fell back, displaying her sharp physiognomy. One day I was laying some ham on the gridiron, my mother preferring it broiled to fried, while Ma'am Bridge was sudsing the clothes in a tub before her, and dexterously throwing them into a rinsing tub behind. A sudden thunder-gust had arisen, and a brilliant flash of lightning blazed through the kitchen. I heard a great splash, and turning round saw Ma'am Bridge seated in the wash-tub, with the water gushing out on all sides; her head was thrown back,