Page images

"Some minds,' he replied, derive more pleasure from the play of their own sympathies, than from those of their friends, which are apt to be mingled with too great a spice of idle curiosity; and perhaps such is the case with my own. You shall hear my misfortunes, how. ever, and then you will be better able to judge, whether, as they arose in part from my own indiscretions, they do or do not merit your sympathy.'

'APPLES OF SODOM.' 'Tis said that on the blackened shore

Of that dull lake that slumbereth
Where guilty Sodom stood of yore,

Ere whelmed beneath her fiery death,
A tree of stunted growth is found,
Shading the dun, sulphureous ground,
Whose fruit with colors fair and bright
Attracts the thirsty traveller's sight,
And gives him hope of richer draught
Than lip of luxury e'er quaffed :
Eager he grasps the tempting prize -

Eager divides the glowing rind ;
Alas! he loathes with bitter sighs

The store his cheated senses find;
Hope promised nectar — but disgust
Presents him cinders — sulphur - dust

Can such deceitful tree alone
By the Dead Sea's dark shores be shown 1
Ah! earth hath many a spot beside,
With such delusive fruit supplied ;
So soft to touch, so fair to sight,

That man its treasures seeks to win,
And finds the vesture of delight

Holds but a skeleton within.

Behold the tree Ambition reare —
How fair its topmost bough appears!
How, as it waveth to and fro,
In gales which fame and fortune blow,

Its golden apples flash and glow,
In hope's undimmed meridian sun,

Dazzling the eyes of him below,
Who deems the prize might well be won :
He girds him for the long ascent,
And branch and bough and limb are benly
As, straining to the giddy height,
He keeps the treasure still in sight,
Till to his panting lip is prest
The fruit by hope so richly drest.

And is there that within to pay
The toil and peril of the way?
Doth nectar from its covering burst,
To slake his hot, impatient thirst ?
No! that which seemed below so fair,
Hath many a thorn implanted there,
And nought the wounded hand can press
From that rough rind, but bitterness.

Behold the graceful tree which grows
Above the bower of Love's repose !

The sportive sunbeams, flickering through

Its dancing leaves and clustering fruit,
Tinged with a soft, empurpled hue,

Mix with warm shadows at its root,
And form a dim, luxurious shade,
As for unbroken rapture made.
And will those glowing clusters keep

Their lovely promise to the eye?
Or shall the cheated gatherer weep

The touch of cold reality ? Those clusters crushed, to brain and heart, A maddening rapture will impart, Which must subside, and heart and brain Will calmly feel and think again, Yet feel and think that hope hath been Beguiled and dazzled by the sheen or fruits which glorious promise made Of bliss unmingled, undecayed.

Behold the tree of Wealth, which spreads A thousand branches far around,

Each, like the banyan, weaving threads
For future roots to clasp the ground.
Lo! how it fashes on ihe eight
With golden fruit, so rich and bright,
That Atalanta's self might stay
To pluck at least one branch away:
Each breeze that sways the loaded limb,
Bears through the vistas long and dim
Soft-ringing music and saint wail,
Like golden hells in fairy tale ;
And eye and ear the influence feel,

Till the heart dreams that bliss must flow From that which offers to unseal

Each treasured wish that man can know. And pain and labor, day by day, Will man endure, to bear away Those fruits, which to his upturned eye Blaze with unmingled brilliancy.

The prize is gained -- the golden skin
Severed, and what appears within ?
The laint of care, the seeds of pain,

The blackened core of selfishness,
The draught that wakens thirst again,

The opiate sleep will never bless :
And more - the bitter drop of fear
That speaks of evil ever near.
Not all is sweet that seemeth fair,

Not all that richly glitters, gold;
The softest rose a thorn may bear,

The goodliest fruit a worm enfold.

There is one tree of fairer fruit Than Love, Ambition, Wealth can show;

A tree whose wide, heav'n-planted root Nor storm nor whirlwind can o'erthrow Its root Religion, pure and true Its stem is Virtue and the dew That bathes its branches comes from GOD, And gives them strength to spread abroad, Till in their mighiy shadows rise All charities of social ties; All fadeless flowers of brightest hope, All duties in their widest scope: No eye such glorious fruit hath seen

As that which hangs abundant there, Yet with the richness hid within,

No other richness can compare :

The heart hath not a secret pain
Which that blessed fruit may not restrain ;
No grief, no passion, and no pang,
No secret care with venamed fang,
Which may not find relief or cure
From fruit 80 precious and so pure.

Pluck thou that fruit, nor fear to tasto
Thy fiercest thirst its juice can slake ;

For all — rich, mighty, or abased

Ils treasures hang — may all partake! Dorchester, February, 1837.

J. H. c.



THE PARVENUS. • The Giblets were seen here and there and every where : they visited every body they knew, and every body they did not know; aud there was no getting along for the Giblets. Their plan at length succecded. By dint of dinners, of feeding and frolicking the town, the Giblet family worked tbeinselves into potice, and enjoyed the ineffable pleasure of being for ever pestered by visiters who cared nothing about them; of being squeezed and smothered and parboiled at nightly halls and evening tea-parties; they were allowed the privilege of forgetting ihe very few old friends they once possessed ; they turned up their noses at every thing that was not genteel; and their superb manders and sublime affectation at length left it no longer a matter of doubt that the Giblets were perfectly in the style.'


· Alice,' said Mary Liston to her sister, 'I have most delightful news to tell you. Dr. Penrose has been to see ma, and says that a trip to the Springs will do her more good than all his medicines. He recommended the White Sulphur, but Saratoga is to be the fashionable resort this summer, and I want your assistance in persuading pa to take the northern tour, as I believe that one watering place will do as well as another for ma, for you know she is only nervous.'

• Indeed, my dear sister,' said Alice, ‘I cannot do this, for if Dr. Penrose thinks that the White Sulphur will be more beneficial to ma's health, we should surely consult this, rather than our own gratification.'

* Nonsense!- a fig for Dr. Penrose !' exclaimed Mary; that is just like you, Alice; you seem determined to cross my wishes in every thing. But my heart is fixed on going to Saratoga, and I am determined to carry the point, in despite of all opposition.'

Mary Liston was the beauty and the favorite, and her easily-governed parents

seldom denied her requests. As soon as one of her plans had succeeded, she brought forward another, which was, to take their new equipage with them, that they might pass among strangers for persons of wealth and consequence. Mr. Liston, although a foolishly-indulgent father, was a plain old man, and instead of studiously concealing his humble origin, made it a frequent subject of boasting, that he owed his fortune to his own exertions, and that he had risen from the poor orphan apprentice of a watch-maker and jeweller, to the high station he then held among merchants and bankers. With the strictest economy, and the closest management in business, he united the most lavish expenditure upon his family : and he gratified Mary by consenting to purchase a carriage in NewYork, for their use while at Saratoga, of which she should make choice. This amendment was as agreeable to her as the original scheme. In gaining this point, she found an able ally in her mother, who was soon won over by her daughter's powerful argument, that a display of wealth was the surest means of securing a splendid alliance. Having put her dearest wishes in a fair train for their fulfilment, her next step was to school her old father into the requisite gentility of manner.

• Mind, pa,' she said, 'you must never speak of the time when you were a watch-maker, for people of fashion will look on us with contempt, if you do, and you will ruin our prospects.'

• If there is any danger of injuring my daughters, in any one's estimation, by talking about it, I will not, if I can help it; but I cannot understand why a man should try to hide that which ought to be a source of pride to him; and I own it will be difficult for me to hold my tongue, when I see some whipper-snapper dandy of fortune, who has never earned a dollar in his life, turning up his nose at honest and industrious men, the producers of their own wealth, because he has been living in idleness on the hoards that his father or grandfather left him.'

• But, pa, it is not genteel to acknowledge you have been a me. chanic, for you know they are considered among the dregs of society.'

• The dregs of society,' indeed! Show me a fashionable family in our city, whose father or grandfather has not handled a tool, of some kind or another ! Why, child, no one thought less of old Ben. Franklin, because he was a printer, or of Roger Sherman, on account of his being a shoe-maker. Those were glorious old times, when men were more respected for their character than their calling. But the world is strangely altered, I confess; and I suppose honest John Liston must go with the tide.'

Mary Liston and her mother were characteristic specimens of a class that is, unfortunately, a very numerous one in most of our commercial cities — those whose newly-acquired wealth is ostentatiously displayed, as a means of elevating them into 'good society.' The most cherished wish of Mrs. Liston's heart, was to see her daughters take a high stand in the fashionable world, and her first step was to place them at a school where the rank of the pupils was more carefully inquired into than the capability of their instructors. She charged them to cultivate the acquaintance of those who would be of greatest advantage to them in future. Alice followed the letter of her mother's instructions; for her friends were chosen among the intelligent and the virtuous, without any regard to their wealth or fashion. But Mary was quickly initiated into their spirit for, with the skill of a courtier, she soon ingratiated herself into the favor of those whose parents belonged to the highest circles of society. But when the important period of her coming out' had arrived, she met with many disappointments. A few who still felt something of their school-friendship toward her, occasionally returned her visits; but she was often fated to meet the 'cut direct,' or the distant bow of unwilling recognition, from those whose acquaintance she was most

desirous of retaining. The mother and the daughter were not easily repelled ; and with an energy and perseverence worthy a better cause, they continued to repeat their advances, in despite of repulsion, until they at last gained quiet possession of the outworks of that citadel they had so long been besieging. Though Mrs. Liston endeavoured to shake off all her old friends, whose presence was a continual memento of her former obscurity, yet some of them possessed a pertinacity equal to her own; and it was quite amusing to see the variety of characters who sometimes happened to meet in her drawing-room as morning visiters. The annoying fact that Mrs. Chad met Mrs. B- was frequently a source of as much vexation to them, as it was a subject of ridicule to those who had so lately admitted them into their society.

When the Listons arrived at New-York, Mary was delighted with every thing she saw. The dashing equipages — the crowds of stylish women and foreign-looking coxcombs that thronged the fashionable promenades- the display of wealth in the lofty mansions, with their richly-furnished drawing-rooms - so completely fascinated her, that she was anxious to prolong their stay far beyond the time fixed on for their departure to Saratoga. But with the retiring Alice, the bustle and gayety of the city made her often sigh for the rural quiet and the green fields of Arlington, her father's summer residence. Her refined tastes and intellectual pursuits were so opposite to the enjoyments and pleasures of her fashionable mother and sister, that ihey thought her a strange being, and feared that she would never be a credit to their family.

Mary was fully compensated for leaving New-York, when she found among the visiters at Saratoga several titled Europeans. She looked on them with reverence, as beings of a superior order; and her happiness was complete, when she afterward received a formal introduction to the Count de and Don Alonzo — Their imperfectly-pronounced English was music to her ear, and their words of idle gallantry were favorably interpreted as proofs of an awakening attachment. Bright visions of foreign courts began to float before her fancy, and she pictured herself as a newly-admitted member of their polished circles, with the alluring title of coun: tess or donna. But she was soon after destined to find a powerful rival to the favor of the count, in a school acquaintance, Emily Courtney, who, with her parents and sister, arrived at the Springs a few days after the Listons.

Mary was seated beside a lately acquired friend from New York, when the Courtneys first entered the drawing-room. Sophia, the younger sister, advanced toward her with a friendly familiarity, which was hastily repulsed, by a cold and distant salutation. Her fashionable friend noticed her manner, and as soon as the warm-hearted Sophia had left them, she said: “They are from your own city, I believe ; who are they ?'

• They belong to our class of parvenus,' replied Mary, “and have presumed upon their school acquaintance, I suppose, for we have never visited them. Their father was a tobacconist, and accumulated a large fortune by retailing snuff and segars. He has lately built a new front, and added an additional story, to his dwelling, and has

« PreviousContinue »