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could imagine, wrought by kind grandmothers, and loving aunts and sisters, meant for a far different destination than a transient rest on the letter-openers' shelves. In one case there was a large envelope filled with loam. What could it be? Was it the specimen of the soil of a field to be purchased? Was it sacred earth to plant some cherished flower in? Was it from Jerusalem ?
dust to them is dear.” None could tell. The informing paper was extracted and consigned to the ever-gathering heap.
“ But should he write and I not get it,
'Twere but a paper lost." True, but a paper that might relieve some homesick heart -a paper that might reveal the truth which has for months been longed for -a paper, fraught with weighty messages of joy or woe to somebody. It was not, however, the beautifully written and well-filled sheets that one felt most disposed to be sentimental over. The active
which wrote these will write more. The next will perhaps be more fortunate. But the rough uncourtly paper; the awkward, unaccustomed penmanship; the sheet bought for one penny after a month's thinking about it ; the letter written with pains and much trouble, and then carefully posted in a far-off land, which was once his home, to tell “ Sandy," or
Patrick,” that his parents still live, and think of him, or that “Janet,” or “ Kathleen” would still be in the mind to come out and redeem her long
plighted troth, as soon as he can remit the dollars ; the “ yours till death ;”—is it lost to him that allimportant document? Is it to perish on the common at that auto da fé ?
Is there no means to avoid these sad inflictions ? Will they not cease until all the emigrants have gone over, and all the restless dwellers in the States have settled down, and all the correspondents have learned to write legibly? Who can tell ? but probably the melancholy heap would be reduced to onehalf its present size if it were more the custom for people to live in their own houses, so that they might have homes, instead of flitting about as they do from one boarding-house to another.
The children born and brought up in boardinghouses will never look back on the domestic hearth and the lively nursery as they do who are born at home. Regret is the deeper, when one thinks of a people so essentially Saxon, and so full of fireside charities as the Americans are, thus imperceptibly dropping into Gallican manners; kindling many an alluring ignis fatuus, and quenching or neglecting the very light of life.
When our good ship, after many days' digging and snorting her way through cross winds and a stormy ocean, reached smoother water, and caught the first glimpse of the Neversinks, it was delightful to observe mutual gratulations, and talk about expectant relatives who will be listening for the gunfire, or for the news-boys; and which will wait at home, and
which will fly down to the dock, &c. Every one
Woe worth the day when its boarding-houses, however useful and pleasant an accommodation they be to strangers, have become all the “home” Americans know, and when they shrug and say “Chez soi et voilà tout” of “Home, sweet home !"
If the descriptions of foreign travellers be not exaggerated, and some of the scenes of domestic life to be found in periodicals, painted by native pencils, be not for effect's sake coloured too highly, we must suppose that housekeepers have their own difficulties in “ getting along,” and that society is at present in the attitude of an inverted pyramid, the apex much in danger of being bruised flat, and mingled with the superincumbent weight of its base. Nevertheless, we English are not in a condition to judge the matter, unless we take in various considerations, which require to be searched about for, and hunted out of unsuspected quarters. In a newspaper account of a trial, you may see how a scavenger in the witness-box states, that “when he first observed the gentleman, he was filling the dungcart;" or in visiting that dreary police-prison, “the Tombs,” a name as dreary as itself, you will be gravely told, “The lady in this cell is not connected with me, we only live together for the present.” You might almost think they were associated together by choice. The “lady," your informant, has huge glittering ear-rings, and jet-black ringlets; and the “lady,” her “associate for the present,” has an ugly black eye, however she came by it. With this view of gentlemen and ladies, we may begin to suspect that it is not the pyramid of society which has suffered inversion, but the old ordering of language. Suppose this, and your astonishment ceases, when you hear that a person rings at your door, and asks if “the woman of the house be at home, for I am the lady that have come to help her (to) cook.”
Another circumstance, we, as lookers-on, have to learn. In that country, so plentifully supplied with luxurious food, there are no distinctions made between what is consumed in the dining-room and the hall. No fruits are so costly or rare as to be treasured up to appear again on the family table. There are no viands which the domestics are prohibited to touch. A lady receives without surprise, as an explanation why her bell has been so long unanswered, that her waiting-woman had not had anything comfortable since breakfast, and was finishing a glass of jelly recommended to her by the housekeeper.
In two houses situated in cities many hundred miles apart, the following little incident has surprised me:-The children had been allowed to sit up late to see the guests. They had bid goodnight and gone away, but presently returned ; and