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gain ber breast; and my first essays in the art of walking, have been memorialized, by a multiplicity of scars, occasioned by violent contact with chairs, tables, and other articles of domestic usefulness. As a boy, I was still more deserving of commiseration. In fact, my misfortunes seemed to accumulate with my growth. The delicacies of the dinner table were invariably appropriated by my brothers and sisters, before I could be made conscious of their presence ; and if I failed to examine closely every particle upon the pronge of my fork, or in the concave of my spoon, I might inadvertently swallow a red pepper for a sausage, or masticate a quantity of horse-radish for as much sugar or Sago cheese. My good old aunt, pitying my situation, resolved to better it, and for this purpose purchased me a pair of spectacles, the first I had worn. For a time I got on very well, in the way of eating comfortable dinners ; but this fortune was too good to last long. My affectionate brethren and sisters contrived to abstract my glasses. In vain I replaced them. They were continually stolen ; and I was every day compelled to partake of what they, in the fulness of their stomachs, thought proper to leave me.
In due season, I was ushered into the solar system of society; but I had not revolved a month upon my own axis, among the planets and sattelites of the beau ciel, before they all complained that I passed them in my diurnal transits without a smile or bow of recognition, and unanimously concluded to eject me from their sphere. I deprecated their displeasure, acknowledged the imperfection of my vision, and was again admitted in their circles. I now resolved to speak to every one I passed; "and then,' thought I, in the fondness of my imagination, there will be no mistake! I put my resolution at once in practice, and for a while things went swimmingly on; but at length the same result was the consequence.
•What have I done, now ?' asked I of a friend : 'why am I again thrust without the pale of society ?'
• The reason is, simply,' said he, gazing about to see that no one observed him speaking to so proscribed a being as I, 'that people are not willing to meet on terms of sociability and equality a man who claims the acquaintance of every loafer, male or female, he may chance to meet. At Trinity Church, last Sunday, you offered your arm to a chamber-maid ; and you were yesterday observed by a party of ladies in the act of making a profound bow to three of the most notorious courtezans in town.'
'Good God !' exclaimed I, is it possible ?'
These were not the only bad effects of my politeness. A great six-foot whiskerando charged me with the heinous crime of insulting his sister, by speaking to her without the previous formality of an introduction; and it was with the greatest difficulty that I could persuade the fellow to refrain from horse-whipping me - a thing which he had fully resolved upon, and which nothing but my humble apologies, and labored explanations, joined to the entreaties of one or two of my personal friends, deterred him from putting into practice.
Happier,' thought I, ‘far happier, had I been born blind, for then I should at least have avoided the tissue of blunders into which I hourly stumbled. My life has been one continued series of getting
scrapes in the worst way, and getting out of them the best way I
could. Why am I coupled with such a destiny? I am one of the gentlest and most inoffensive of mankind, and yet the sulkiest blackguard about town encounters not half the difficulties which fall to my lot.'
Such were my musings, as I passed down Broadway - such my reflections - when my dog - as I thought, but alas ! it was another's — rushed between my legs, and nearly tripped me up. Although naturally, or rather commonly, a good-natured man, I was not at that precise moment, as the reader may imagine, in my smoothest mood. The current of my mind had been agitated by more than one circumstance that day, and the little dog rendered me absolutely angry. With an exclamation of wrath, 1 gave this member of the canine race a kick, which sent him howling to the opposite side of the street.
Sare,' said a tall, swarthy, Frenchified, ferocious-looking personage, bowing until his mustaches brushed my nose, “ You av', by H— 11! kick my dog! What for you 'av' done dis for, eh ?
My dear Sir,' exclaimed I, terribly discomposed, 'I beg ten thousand pardons. I really thought it was my own dog.'
* Ah, you t'ought it was your dog, eh? No, sare, it is my leetle dog dat you 'av' kick!'
* Sir, I am exceedingly sorry ; I mistook him for my own dog. I assure you, I thought it was my own dog, at the time.
· By Gar, Sare, dey is not resemblance dere ; de one dog is of de white, and de oder dog is of de black color. Beside, Sare, de one
got de ear ver' wide, and de oder ver' short; de one 'av' got de tail ver' much, and de oder 'av' lose he tail ver' much !'
But, Sir, I am near-sighted; my eyes are impaired; I could not distinguish between the dogs.'
The foreigner looked steadily in my face for a moment; but perceiving nothing there but truth, his countenance became calm, and comparatively pleasant.
You 'av', den, Monsieur, de vision not very far, eh ?' I assented.
Ah! den dat is all de apology which I demand :' and, with a graceful adieu, he passed on.
* How fortunate for me,' soliloquized I, 'that he was a Frenchman! Had he been one of my own countrymen, I should no doubt have figured in the gutter.' Strange, strange people, these Americans ! They punish an offence first, and inquire into its causes and effects afterward. My apology would have been laughed at by a Yankee. They have generally so much in view themselves, that they cannot appreciate the difficulties of one whose vision is not as extensive as their own.
Alas !' sighed I, pausing, and wiping the glasses of my spectacles,' who ever pitied a near-sighted man?'
It was nearly sunset. The benches and avenues of the Battery were thronged with human beings. The rich, the poor, the young, the old, the gay, the dignified, the ungainly and the beautiful — the merchant, the artizan, the statesman and the philosopher — the nearsighted and the far-sighted -- all recreated themselves here, promenading or sitting, thinking or talking, as their several inclinations prompted ; for no matter how different the tastes and pursuits of men may be, they all coincide in the admiration of nature.
How glorious ! how magnificent !' ejaculated a pale, middle-aged man, extending his right hand toward the Jersey shore. 'Yon purple cloud, so chastely tipped with glowing silver, sails slowly and gracefully along; and lo! the topmost leaves of all yonder forest seem gilded and burnished o'er, a thousand times.'
* That 'ere chap is eyther crazy, or he's a poet,' said a loafer to a very disreputable-looking individual, who accompanied him.
'I guess he's a poet, Sam,' said the other, in reply : 'them 'ere fellers is always crazy.?
• The bay,' resumed the pale, middle-aged man, “looks like a purple mirror, and yon fairy islands so many emerald spots upon
its surface. The monuments of man's industry, too, serve to glorify the scene ; and Nature and Art stand hand-in-hand, smiling complacently upon their splendid representatives.'
Interested by the poetry of this description, I looked forth upon all this space of beauty, but saw nothing, except a dim conglomeration of hazy coloring. Never before had I experienced so painful a sense of my misfortune.
I grew dizzy and sick at heart, and wheeling about, sought my way homeward, full of the bitterest reflections. An omnibus was just on the eve of departure; and mistaking the inscription of Bowery and the Battery for · Broadway and BleeckerStreet,' I jumped in, and was whirled some two miles and a half out of my proper way, before I was made acquainted with my error.
I now resolved to adopt a new course. "Am I not,' asked I of myself, the author of many of my own misfortunes ? Surely, my errors are chiefly caused by my impatience and impetuosity. I am too hasty. I will endeavor to be more moderate. I will examine before I proceed, and remove the difficulties that may occur in my way. In a word, I will be more discreet in all things.'
On the following day, I dined with a friend at one of the most fashionable hotels of the city, and was for a while, as I thought, extremely lucky, having as yet made but one faux pas, which was merely the drinking of a glass of brandy for as much wine take, by the way, which might have occurred to almost any one. A tremendously-stout gentleman from Mississippi was seated on my left. This individual had just cleared his plate of a large quantity of roast beef, and was engaged in gazing ominously at a lobster, his shut right hand, in the mean time, resting upon the table. Unfortunately for myself, at this particular juncture, I happened to stand in need of a piece of bread; and raising my eyes in search of the necessary article, I mistook his clenched fist for a loaf. Taking up my fork very deliberately, I hitched up the sleeve of my coat, and plunged the sharp steel instrument into the fleshy part of the man's hand. With a noise between a roar and a growl, the victim jumped upon his feet, knocking down the gentleman who sat next him, and upsetting a waiter who was hurrying along with a large supply of custards. I, of course, jumped up too, frightened, as may well be supposed, almost to death, and attempted to explain matters ; but scarcely had I opened my mouth for the purpose, when I was floored by a tremendous blow from the wounded limb, directly in my face. No sooner had the avenger knocked me down, than he unsheathed a huge glittering Bowie knife, and advanced to annihilate me altogether. VOL. IX.
Words cannot portray the horror of my emotions. I had seen the fellow carve a pig a few moments before, and had myself admired his dexterity in the proceeding.
The company, however, interfered between the Mississipian and my destruction. My friends made known the imperfection of my vision, and the man of the far west became satisfied. I was borne to bed, nearly senseless, and have not yet recovered from the effects of that adventure, although my physician is one of the most learned and efficient in the city. He is an Englishman; and when I related to him the occurrence, he shook his head, saying :
. Terrible chaps, those fellows from Mississippi; 'orrible beings! Wonder he did'nt cut your ’ed off, haltogether!'
A VOICE FROM THE PAST.
In olden time, when Greece had lost her sway,
Life! 't is a cheat!
But its splendor is fleet;
Life! 't is a cheat!
'Hope! thou art vain!
But sorrow and pain
Hope! thou art vain!
'Love! what art thou ?
Yet the altered brow,
Love! 'what art thou?'
'Friendship deceives !
And while it believes,
Friendship deceives !
Death! thou art blest!
Do joyfully rest,
Death! thou art blest!'
December 31, 1836.
C. W. E.
Before entering upon my college life, it is necessary to despatch all my childish education, the more easily to trace the causes of future character.
To a kind and sympathetic heart, the feeling of love - sexual love —comes early. A mind of ordinary tenderness must always love something; the object is indefinite, for the sentiment is vague. The natural affinity of the sexes is in the bud, and the love of which I speak is a natural impulse. It is a rare occurrence that we find little boys misusing little girls. Nature teaches the male that the female is under his protection. We call this instinct in animals, and why is it not instinct in ourselves ?
This early fondness is a modification of the same passion which governs men. That only is called love, which ends in matrimony or madness, though it is quite clear that any man might have married quite differently from what he has, and yet felt that his destiny was fulfilled. Love is of all passions the least understood; and there is more faith in it than in any thing else. We believe in miracles in love, though not in religion. We let run the whole length of our imaginations upon the subject, and think we are mighty reasonable all the time. Every man, to the lookers-on, appears very silly ; he commits extravagancies with all the sincerity in the world ; he laughs at others, too, in the same situation with himself, and prides himself upon his consistency. It is lucky, after all that is said in favor of self-knowledge, that we cannot see ourselves as others see us: if we could, I fear the whole wheel of human society would stop; we should move so timidly, as hardly to move at all; or else we should become perfect at once, and this planet no longer be earth, but heaven; which, by the by, would turn very many great projects and projectors topsy-turvy. Mr. Owen would no longer esteem himself a martyr, nor Mrs. Fry a philanthropist.
But whatever may be the foundation of the passion of love, it seems not altogether to arise from our physical nature, for we feel it very young. Perhaps the strongest passion I ever felt was for a pretty little girl of my own age
about seven. Our parents lived neighbors and friends, and were accustomed to meet and walk much together in the public resorts. The idea of a little wife was given to me, and I was made to take this little Miss by the hand, and taught to show her trifling attentions. I have since thought that our parents had some idea of having the wealth of the families united in our persons. We know such contrivances do take place every day; and it is quite amusing to observe the plans of poor but aspiring mothers to bring their children into notice with the children of the rich ; to get them to forming little intimacies and friendships, and sometimes plighting troths unbeknown to the wealthy parents. Such plans, too, are sometimes successful; and as in this country a young man may marry any woman, and if he be rich, her pedigree is never inquired into, the only evil resulting from them is, that it brings many vulgarly-educated women into an influence in society, which they are apt to misuse.