Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

galley, with great respect; but it is in judging any woman I should much impossible to believe the being exists prefer learning the name of her favorite who wishes that either of them had novel to that of the church she attends.· lived in his time, or who cherishes a So entirely do I regard novel-reading regret at not having met them person- as the true feminine Bohemia, that I am ally; while towards this lion-hearted not sure men who trench upon this reformer all our social and human in- pleasure-ground may not be considered stincts go out, and there is probably no and treated as trespassers. historic individual in whose private

The Bohemia of boys ought properly Bohemia we would so gladly have to be situated in the isles of the sea. chosen a place.

But as these are unattainable, it must Dr. Johnson must also be admitted to be looked for at present in “ Robinson a place upon our roll-call. He also was Crusoe,” the “Swiss Family Robinson," one of the lions who occasionally lay and the works of Captain Mayne Reid. down with the lambs. In spite of his With the “ Arabian Nights” added, youthful contemporary's remark that that the East as well as the West may be “he could not see any thing wonderful represented, I think there are few boys in Dr. Johnson, except that bow-woro who would not claim ownership. way he had,” there were times when he To those who wish to view my theory did not delight to bark and bite. A from a poetic stand-point, I recommend very grim old gentleman in some as- the perusal of Mrs. Browning's “ Lost pects; a sorely-tried soul and body, Bower;" which I never read without tortured, almost maddened by poverty mentally changing the last word of the and the king's evil-but, on the other title, feeling convinced that part of the hand, did he not rule over a house poem is only Browningese for a descripnominally possessed by one Mrs. Thrale, tion of a lost Bohemia. where there was a perpetual feast of For the past week I have been exreason and flow of soul (to say nothing periencing some of the sensations thereof the flow of many other good things), in described, though certainly in a very where Fanny Burney and numerous different form; and this little sketch pleasant persons lored and honored and was suggested, and is now written, flattered him to his heart's content ? and somewhat in memoriam. It has been where, in return, he “roared them gent- my great good fortune to possess from ly as a sucking dove."

childhood (in common with my family There are certain Bohemias which and friends) a visible, concrete Bohepertain to whole classes, having the mia, from which we are about to part. delightful peculiarity of being equally The fate of Mr. Paul Potiphar public and private, whose charm is that upon us—we are to move. Like that they belong absolutely to each possessor, gentleman, we are down-town, and the and yet are free to all. The chief of march of civilization and manifest desthese I take to be novel-reading. To tiny alike forbid us to remain. emotional and imaginative persons, es- Now that our departure is a fixed pecially women, the title-page of a and near fact, we have all discovered novel is the door to fairy-land. They that we have grown to our old home lose their individuality and become the like moss to rock. But though each heroine whose fortunes they are follow- room in this house is brightened or ing; the deficiencies of their own lives shaded by some memory of the past, fade from sight, and they live a charm- there is none to which we all cling so ed existence until the last page. I closely as our “ library," so called, perknow no more substantial bond of haps, from the fact that no one ever friendship between women, than having reads in it. One of its sides is covered selected the same novel for their special with books, but the room might much devotion. Its character is perhaps the more truly be said to be devoted to surest test of their characters; indeed, song and story. It has often been re

marked that it resembled that other nature unrivalled in the history of philibrary known to fame, Mr. Ponto's, losophers. “which consisted chiefly of boots." By The “librarians are of every age a beautiful provision of the law of and disposition, from the gentle matchances, every article in the room has ronly presence which presides over all been ordered by a different person,-of our pleasures, to the grandchild of nine the result it may be said, as of Mr. Bob -a preternaturally sharp boy, who, Sawyer's chorus, in which each gentle- under the influences of the place, has man sung the tune he knew best, “the developed a capacity for annihilating effect was very striking.” The walls are retort only to be equalled among the blue, because one member of the family race of newsboys. To him most of the so fancied; the carpet is green, because remarks are addressed, and his amuseanother possessed, I suppose, an uncon

ment serves as an excuse for any degree scious weakness for grass, an inarticulate of childishness on the part of the love of Nature; and so on, until every adults. For his entertainment pictures law of color and contrast is violated. are drawn-as, for instance, that of the The chairs, tables, and sofas fully sus- Angular Saxon, a man's figure done tain the same principle: whatever is con- entirely in angles and straight lines, sidered unsuitable for any other room is with a square head, from which he was consigned to this; sometimes, I am pronounced to be clearly a blockhead. afraid, in a condition which would sug- For bim, also, parodies are improvised gest the theory that we looked upon -as, upon one very cold night, that our library as a hospital for slightly harmless nursery-rhyme, concerning the invalided furniture, or that we believed troubles of poor little Robin Redbreast that chairs, like hearts,

during inclement weather, was suddenly

perverted to a description of the course “may break, yet brokenly live on.”

of a dissipated young man of the name Here abide banjo and guitar; here won- of Robert, and in this form sung in full ders of whistling and singing are per

chorus: formed; here a gypsy-tent seems always The north wind doth blow,

And we shall have snow, pitched, and under its shades the family

And what will poor Robin do then, and a few tried friends assemble.

Poor thing? To elect a person even temporarily a

IIe'll sit in the bar-room, “librarian,” is, in our eyes, the highest And keep himself warum (pure Celtic), compliment we can pay bim. The bond And never say “No” to gin-sling, of union is not culture, nor literary

Poor thing! taste; for I am convinced more than Reading, some time ago, an article in one prominent member believes in his the Atlantic Monthly, entitled “Negro secret soul that Solomon's chief claim to Spirituals,” I was reminded of a contribe considered the wisest man lies in the

bution of one of the librarians to the fact of his having said that “much general entertainment. Entering one study is a wcariness to the flesh.” But evening, he asked if we would like to then such a perfect sense of humor as hear a genuine specimen of African these persons possess—they recognize Psalmody; and, upon our assenting, wit under any disguise; as it were, they gave us the following description of the snuff the battle from afar.

overthrow of King Pharaoh and his One article of faith we all hold—that host, sung to a strange, minor melody, first-class nonsense is rarer, more diffi- half chant, half tune : cult to produce, and, from a conversa

Did'n ole Phay get loss,

Get loss, get loss ? tional point of view, more precious than

Did'n ole Phay get loss first-class sense; as we all likewise be

In de Red Sea ? lieve that the man who said, “ here

Phayo say, I gwine across

In de Red Sea, comes a fool-we must talk sense,” dis

So whip up your horses an' gallop across, played a perception of truth and human

In de Red Sea.

In de Red Sea ?

In de Red Sea !

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Did'n ole Phay get loss,

The male “librarians,” in common Get loss, get loss?

with all masculine Bohemians, evidentDid'n ole Phay get loss In de Red Sea ?

ly believe their thoughts and fancies to Phayo say, I gwine along home I

have something in their nature analoIn de Red Sea,

gous to the flesh of swine; that they Oh, how I wish I hadn't a-come, In de Red Sea !

are in a crude state-mere pork, as it

were—until, by the influence of smoke, Did'n ole Phay get loss,

they are cured into a consistency corGet loss, get loss? Did'n ole Phay get loss

responding to wholesome and palatable

bacon. Consequently, we might be perHebrews say, We got across now,

manently described as under a cloud. In de Red Sea, At Thy feet we humblie bow,

Not long since, these librarians took

under consideration “ Tobacco as a At first we strongly suspected it had moral agent;" and, starting from Dr.

; its origin in his fertile brain; but

upon Watts' principle, that strict inquiry it was found to be a veri

Satan finds some mischief still table native production, sung constant

For idle hands to do, ly in the colored churches of Baltimore, and familiar to and often performed by proved to their own satisfaction that it the sable inhabitants of our kitchens.

must have accomplished incalculable As such, I present it to that large class good to the human race.

Then it was inquired, whether the for whom every thing connected with

red man could properly be spoken of as the race seems to have such a singular fascination. As a condensed piece of

Lo, the poor Indian; description, it appears to me admirable.

even though he has an 6 untutored The way in which the event is deline- mind;" though small-pox and the warated by indicating the emotions of the path bave borne hardly upon him, when actors is really artistic; and the psy- it is recollected at what an early date chological insight displayed in the sin

tobacco was known to him, and that he gle line,

is still capable of enjoying an unlimited Oh, how I wish I hadn't a-come!

number of pipes. is beyond praise. You feel convinced A suspicion arises in my mind, that that such and such only was the senti. this account of our private Bohemia ment which filled King Pharaoh's soul will chiefly suggest the counterpart of as he saw the watery walls descend. Mr. Pickwick's sensation, when told by

I never take up a newspaper, with its Mr. Peter Magnus that he sometimes, in: account of civil commotions, without writing to his friends, signed himself being reminded of a peculiarity of the P. M., afternoon; as it amused them. discoverer of this gem. After fighting "Mr. Pickwick rather envied the ease through the entire war, he never speaks with which Mr. Peter Magnus' friends of the time which has since elapsed were amused.” But this is precisely one except as—"since peace broke out.” of the points I am trying to set forth,

Ι The conversation turning upon the that a capacity for being easily amused license of expression now taken by is really the most enviable of characterwomen both in public and private, one istics. Blessed is the man to whom it of our band inquired, “In what particu- has been given. To him there is no lar do women of the present day resem- need to “ Would he were a boy again," ble St. Paul ?” The entire company for he carries within him a fountain of replied by simply denying the possibili- perpetual youth. Better still, his title ty of such a likeness; but were forced to a private Bohemia is undeniable. to retract when informed that it was In parting, dear reader, I can express “because they speak after the manner no better wish for your happiness, than of men,"

that your claim is also secure.

OUR WILLIE.

This is his picture! Can it be
That such a perfect child is he-
That dearest of all babes to me,

Our Willie ?

My own child's child, just one year old !
Do I at length his face behold,
His noble brow, his curls of gold

Our Willie ?

Yes, these are his young mother's eyes,
Lucid and blue as summer-skies,
Brimming with love that in her lies--

Her Willie !

Out of their depths to me she speaks, Whose heart her mother's heart yet seeks Stop! I must kiss those rosy cheeks,

Our Willie !

What! no sweet kiss returned again ?
Ah! now comes back the cruel pain-
To seek thy fond embrace in vain,

Our Willie !

Here but thy beauty's semblance beams-
This is the picture of my dreams,
'Tis not thyself-it only seems

Our Willie !

I touch the dimpled neck and arms—
No start-no infant fear alarms!
Oh, I cannot infold thy charms,

Our Willie !

This portrait gives thee to my eye-
Enraptured, Come to me!” I cry:
No little arms reach out to try,

Ah, Willie!

This is not what my heart demands-
No! I must feel thee with my hands,
The living touch Love understands,

My Willie !

I long to dimple with my kiss
That baby-flesh-to feel the bliss
Of pressing this new charm, and this,

Sweet Willie!

Against my own warm cheek and breast
To hush thy fluttering fears to rest-
To feel once so supremely blest,

Our Willie !

It cannot be! Weeks, months, aye, years
Of fruitless longings, hopes, and fears,
Must pass, ere thou shalt dry my tears,

Ah, Willie!

And yet, kind Father, this forbid !
Love's yearnings thou hast never chid;
Oh! lift the drooping heart and lid-

Bring Willie!
That longed-for, blessed moment speed
When Love this picture will not need,
But living, breathing, fold indeed

Our Willie !

BITS.

FASHIONS.

that old gossip, History, may be trust“ Nothing is new but what is forgot- ed-often devoted hours at a time to ten !” exclaimed that very great philos- the study of furbelows and flounces for opher, the court-milliner of Marie An- the adornment of his own royal person, toinette. Old fashions, and old names of his mignons, of the court-ladies, or for them, are forever reviving. Crino- of his own quiet, harmless queen. Legline goes back as far as the sixteenth of-mutton sleeves may have originated century. In 1587 we are told of a in this way, in the royal cabinet of mixture of crin et bourre, over which Henri. They were called, at that day, gowns were spread to show off their manches d la gigotte, instead of the greatest amplitude. Perchance the in- gigot of 1840. Hideous these must vention, if followed up to its sources, always have been. But those ancient might even be traced to the profound legs-of-mutton would appear to have calculations of a royal brain, that of been very costly, and something quite Henri III., famous as that sovereign formidable, indeed, recalling the times was for deep reflection and great in- when a full harness of steel was the daily ventive powers, where dress was con- garb of gallant knights. A courtly pair cerned. His gentle queen, Louise de of these manches à la gigotte, when out Vaudemont, was generally tricked out of repair, must needs be sent to the king's in a wardrobe of her royal husband's jeweller, requiring his delicate workmancontriving. “ Monsieur ne reçoit pas : ship. Items of this nature are found reMonsieur compose ! was the answer corded in royal archives of expenditure. given by the porter of one of the great It would seem that these sleeves were Parisian men-milliners of our own day, stretched over a complicated and exin answer to an application for admit- pensive frame of light wirework, which tance, at his Hôtel in the Chaussée needed expert fingers to put together D'Antin; some new device in the out- when out of order. line, or some new combination of col- While ladies wore these manches à la oring, of chapeau, or cache-peigne, was gigotte on their shoulders, courtly gal

floating through his mind, and must be lants had their haut-de-chausses enlarged seized and brought to successful com- by a device of the same kind, still larger. pleteness ere the happy idea had van- An exquisite of that day measured five ished. The chamberlains of Henri III. or six feet about the hips, the protumight often have given the same an- berance tapering down to the knee, at swer to ambassadors and counsellors : which point the leg appeared of its “ Le roi compose ! ” His Majesty—if natural size.

VOL. II.-10

« IndietroContinua »