Imagens das páginas



and presence

I found her—as ladies are apt to be found,
When the time intervening between the first sound
Of the bell and the visitor's entry is shorter
Than usual—I found—I won't say I caught her-
Intent on the pier-glass, undoubtedly meaning
To see if, perhaps, it didn't want cleaning.
She turned as I entered.--"Why, Harry, you sinner,
I thought that you went to the Flashers to dinner !”
“So I did," I replied, “but the dinner is swallowed,

And digested, I trust, for 'tis now nine and more;
So, being relieved from that day duty, I followed
Ínclination, which led me, you see, to your

And now will your ladyship so condescend
As just to inform me if you intend
Your beauty, and grace,

to lend (All which, when I own, I hope no one will borrow) To the Stuckups', whose party, you know, is to-morrow?" The fair Flora looked up with a pitiful air, And answered quite promptly, “Why Harry, mon cher, I should like, above all things, to go with you there, But really and truly I've nothing to wear. “Nothing to wear! Go just as you are; Wear the dress you have on, and you'll be by far, I

engage, the most bright and particular star
On the Stuckup horizon.” I stopped, for her eye,
Notwithstanding this delicate onset of flattery,
Opened on me, at once, a most terrible battery
Of scorn and amazement. She made no reply,
But gave a slight turn to the end of her nose

(That pure Grecian feature), as much as to say, “How absurd that any sane man should suppose That a lady would go to a ball in the clothes,

No matter how fine, that she wears every day!" So I ventured again : “Wear your crimson brocade." (Second turn up of nose) “That's too dark by a shade.* . Your blue silk.” “That's too heavy." “Your pink.” “That's too light.” “Wear tulle over satin.” “I can't endure white." “Your rose-coloured, then, the best of the batch." “I haven't a thread of point-lace to match.”



“ Your brown moire antique.” “Yes,and look like a quaker.” “The pearl-coloured." " I would, but that plaguy dress

maker Has had it a week.” "Then, that exquisite lilac, In which you would melt the heart of a Shylock.” (Here the nose took again the same elevation), « I wouldn't wear that for the whole of creation."

“Why not ? It's my fancy; there's nothing could strike it As more comme il faut.“Yes, but, dear me, that lean

Sophronia Stuckup has got one just like it. And I won't appear dressed like a chit of sixteen.” “Then that splendid purple, that sweet mazarine, That superb point d'aiguille, that imperial green, That zephyr-like tarleton, that rich grenadine." “Not one of all which is fit to be seen,” Said the lady, becoming excited and flushed. Then wear," I exclaimed, in a tone which quite crushed Opposition, “that gorgeous toilette which you sported In Paris last spring, at the grand presentation,

When you quite turned the head of the head of the nation; And by all the grand court were so very much courted.”

The end of the nose was portentously tipped up, And both the bright eyes shot forth indignation : “I have worn it three times at the least calculation,

And that and the most of my dresses are ripped up !". Here I ripped out something, perhaps rather rash,

Quite innocent though ; but, to use an expression More striking than classic, it "settled my hash,"

and proved very soon the last act of our session. " Fiddlesticks, is it, sir? I wonder the ceiling Doesn't fall down and crush you. Oh, you men have no

feeling; You selfish, unnatural, illiberal creatures, Who set yourselves up as patterns and preachers. Your silly pretence- why, a mere guess it is ! Pray, what do you know of a woman's necessities? I have told you and shown you I have nothing to wear, And it's perfectly plain you not only don't care, But you do not believe me" (here the nose went still higher); “I suppose if you


would call me a liar.
Our engagement is ended, sir,-yes, on the spot:
You're a brute, and a monster, and I don't know what."
I mildly suggested the words—Hottentot,



Pickpocket, and cannibal, Tartar, and thief,
As gentle expletives which might give relief ;
But this only proved as spark to the powder,
And the storm I had raised came faster and louder:
It blew and it rained, thundered, lightened, and hailed
Interjections, verbs, pronouns, till language quite failed
To express the abusive, and then its arrears
Were brought up all at once by a torrent of tears,
And my last, faint, despairing attempt at an obs-
Ervation was lost in a tempest of sobs.
Well, I felt for the lady, and felt for my hat too,
Improvised on the crown of the latter a tattoo,
In lieu of expressing the feelings which lay
Quite too deep for words, as Wordsworth would say ;
Then, without going through the form of a bow,
Found myself in the entry--I hardly knew how
On doorstep, and sidewalk, past lamp-post and square,
At home and up-stairs in my own easy chair ;

Poked my feet into slippers, my fire into blaze,
And said to myself, as I lit my cigar,
Supposing a man had the wealth of the Czar

Of the Russians to boot, for the rest of his days,
On the whole, do you think he would have much to spare,
If he married a woman with nothing to wear ?
Since that night, taking pains that it should not be bruited
Abroad in society, I've instituted
A course of inquiry, extensive and thorough,
On this vital subject, and find, to my horror,
That the fair Flora's cause is no means surprising,

But that there exists the greatest distress In our female community, solely arising

From this uńsupplied destitution of dress, Whose unfortunate victims are filling the air With the pitiful wail of “ Nothing to Wear,"

Oh, ladies, dear ladies, the next sunny day
Please trundle your hoops just out of Broadway,
From its whirl and its bustle, its fashion and pride,
And the Temples of Trade which tower on each side,
To the alleys and lanes, where Misfortune and Guilt
Their children have gathered, their city have built ;



Where Hunger and Vice, like twin beasts of prey,

Have hunted their victims to gloom and despair ; Raise the rich, dainty dress, and the fine broidered skirt, Pick your delicate way through the dampness and dirt,

Grope through the dark dens-climb the rickety stair To the garret, where wretches, the young and the old, Half-starved and half-naked, lie crouched from the cold. See those skeleton limbs, those frost-bitten feet, All bleeding and bruised by the stones of the street; Hear the sharp cry of childhood, the deep groans that swell

From the poor dying creature who writhes on the floor ; Hear the curses that sound like the echoes of Hell,

As you sicken and shudder, and fly from the door; Then home to your wardrobes, and say, if


Spoiled children of Fashion-you've nothing to wear.
And oh! if perchance there should be a sphere
Where all is made right that so puzzles us here,
Where the glare, and the glitter, and tinsel of Time
Fade and die in the light of that region sublime ;
Where the soul, disenchanted of flesh and of sense,
Unscreened by its trappings, and shows, and pretence,
Must be clothed for the life and the service above,
With purity, truth, faith, meekness, and love ;
Oh, daughters of earth ! foolish virgins, beware !
Lest in that upper realm you have nothing to wear.

W. A. Butler.


STOP!—for thy tread is on an empire's dust!
An earthquake's spoil is sepulchred below!
Is the spot marked with no colossal bust?
Nor column trophied for triumphal show?
None : but the moral's truth tells simpler so.
As the ground was before, thus let it be ;
How that red rain hath made the harvest grow!

And is this all the world has gained by thee,
Thou first and last of fields ! king-making victory?



There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
Her Beauty and her Chivalry; and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men;
A thousand hearts beat happily ; and when
Music arose, with its voluptuous sweil,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,

And all went merry as a marriage bell
But hush ! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell !

Did ye not hear it ? No; 'twas but the wind
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street:
On with the dance ! let joy be unconfined ;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet-
But hark! that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;

And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before !
Arm ! arm ! it is ! it is !—the cannon's opening roar !

Within a window'd niche of that high hall
Sat Brunswick's fated chieftain ; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with Death's prophetic ear ;
And when they smiled because he deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretch'd his father on a bloody bier,

And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell ;
He rush'd into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell !

Ah ! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago
Blush'd at the praise of their own loveliness ;
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated ! Who could guess

If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise ?

And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;

« AnteriorContinuar »