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She had been advised to come to this island, because it was full of respectable families. She had gone from house to house for two days. No one wanted her—no one cared for her. Och hone! she was homeless-she was penniless—she was friendless. What could she do ?” She wrung her despairing hands, and her tears streamed down unwiped. We told her of intelligence offices—feeling that they were but poor helps. We spoke to her of hope-of asking help of the God who had brought her safely across the sea—and gave her what would secure her a few nights' lodging, but left her where we met her, weeping on the road. If the poor stranger had had courage to leave the thronged vicinity of the city, she would doubtless soon and gladly have been engaged on a farm. Yet one does not wonder that the heart of a female should faint and shrink from such an effort. She is tempted to remain in the crowd by the likelihood of forming an engagement, and she likes to be in the midst of her own countrypeople.
It is not only within the range of emigrant ships that this out-of-doors and from-house-to-house method of seeking places is followed. In the pretty town of Springfield, Massachusetts, a very respectablelooking middle-aged person addressed to me the same inquiry. Being desirous of knowing if really good servants adopt such a method, I inquired what place she desired to occupy. She replied, that she had
acted as cook and as laundress in some of the best houses in the neighbourhood.
The influx of people, which is a perpetual stream, must speedily lessen the difficulty of procuring, and also of managing, “ helps.”
Nothing in America comes over one's feelings as so unlike home, as the manner in which everything is conducted relating to the burial of the dead.
On our landing we heard that the earth was that day to receive all that remained of a venerable and excellent lady, to see whom was one of the daydreams indulged in when preparing to cross the ocean. She had been born in a house which for many years was my happy dwelling. A degree of almost romantic sympathy had existed between us, fostered by messages and pictures of her early home, so that the news that I should not see her inflicted a real disappointment.
The next best thing was to honour her memory by waiting on the last obsequies.
So much are we the children of habit, that the sight of a polished mahogany receptacle shrunk me, as if there were an absence of reverence or of sorrow in parting with her, betrayed in the very colour of her coffin. It is true I had seen a coloured
coffin once but it was that of a Russian princess, covered with crimson velvet, and bedizened with all the blazoned heraldry which the death within mocks at, and holds at its true worth, a show of grandeur which is frequently the substitute for tears.
What was my amazement, nay, confusion, that very evening, while driving through the brilliant streets, to see whole stores set forth, with coffins of all sizes leaning against the walls—one black, to shew that they could be had in that fashion, all the others glancing in bright polish, and some with shining rows and figures of yellow nails! Coffins tall and short, for aged persons and for babes, pattern coffins for dolls, with a stand in the centre of the room covered with glass, exhibiting fashions of last garments to choose from. Everything has its fashion.-In China, it is said they mourn in yellow. With us it is all black, deep black, according to the old ballad
“In black hung the kitchen,
Lament for Lady Jane Seymour. In America the mourning is lighter, briefer, and if it happens not to suit, black garments are not assumed at all. This, in certain circumstances, is very right. Many a poor Scotch family will run in debt rather than not adopt sable decencies, or they will abstain from public worship for months rather than attend on it in coloured clothes. But polished shining coffins ! a showroom of them, as smart in its way as that of a tailor or a milliner ! One must have lived a lifetime in the one country, and then seen the other, before you can know how the heart shivers at the sight. One of the Broadway stores you will find still open at midnight ; its lamp still glaring, and reflected from those shining surfaces into the outer darkness; and a man, the watcher of the place, seated in the midst, moving his head in drowsy noddings, the dreary living thing present. Within or below the place they have accommodation for the remains that may be sent there under the cloud of night. Why such unwonted provision ? Is it not enough to prepare the narrow house when it is needed ? and may not the clay repose where the spirit left it, till the hour of its last deposit ? No, it does not suit—and here again we meet the effect of boarding-house living and dying. The living, and healthy, and gay, do not like to hear of death so near them. Many die in the house unknown to the mass of the boarders, and hence the convenience of ready-made coffins, and midnight removals of remains to the undertaker's, and of hasty funerals. Thus is death deprived of its suitable impression, and the solemn thoughts naturally associated with a spirit's entrance into the invisible world are dissipated. People seem to live in a hurry, to love, to die, to be mourned, and in too many cases to be forgotten, in a hurry, which, in this dying world, when presently it will be said of each