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A DINNER WITH TWO FAULTS.-Miss EDGEWORTH.
1. The dinner had two great faults-profusion and pretension. There was, in fact, ten times more on the table than was necessary; and the entertainment was far above the circumstances of the person by whom it was given : for instance, the dish of fish at the head of the table had been brought across the island from Sligo, and had cost five guineas; as the lady of the house failed not to make known.
2. But, after all, things were not of a piece: there was a disparity between the entertainment and the attendants; there was no proportion or fitness of things. A painful endeavor at what could not be attained, and a toiling in vain to conceal and repair deficiencies and blunders. Had the mistress of the house been quiet; had she, as Mrs. Broadhurst would say, but let things alone, let things take their course; all would have passed off with well-bred people.
3. But she was incessantly apologizing, and fussing and fretting inwardly and outwardly, and directing and calling to her servants—striving to make a butler who was deaf, and a boy who was hair-brained, do the business of five accomplished footmen of parts and figure. Mrs. Raffarty called “ Larry! Larry! My Lord's plate there !James ! bread to Captain Bowles ! -James ! port wine to the Major.—James ! James Kenny! James !” And panting James toiled after her in vain.
4. At length one course was fairly got through; and after a torturing half hour, the second course appeared, and James Kenny was intent upon one thing, and Larry upon another, so that the wine sauce for the hare was spilt by their collision ; but what was worse, there seemed little chance that the whole of this second course should ever be placed altogether rightly
upon the table.
5. Mrs. Raffarty cleared her throat and nodded, and pointed, and sighed, and set Larry after Kenny, and Kenny after Larry: for what one did the other undid ; but at last, the lady's anger kindled, and she spoke !—“Kenny! James Kenny, set the sea-cale at this corner, and put down the grass, cross-corners; and match your maccaroni yonder with them puddens, set – Ogh! James! the pyramid in the middle can't ye.”
6. The pyramid in changing places was overturned. Then it was, that the mistress of the feast, falling back in her seat, and lifting up her hands and eyes in despair, ejaculated : “ Oh, James ! James !”—The pyramid was raised by the assistance of the military engineers, and stood trembling again on its base; but the lady's temper could not be so easily restored to its equilibrium.
THE DESPAIRING LOVER. -WALSH.
1. DISTRACTED with care
For Phyllis the fair,
2. When in
he came there.
But à neck when once broken
3. And, that he could die
Whenever he would,
THE WORD NO.MERCHANT'S LEDGER.
1. A VERY little word is No. It is composed of but two letters and only forms a syllable. In meaning it is so definite as to defy misunderstanding. Young lips find its articulation easy. Any child can spell it. Unlike some words of learned length, spoken only on rare occasions, its use is common and familiar. Not an hour
but we hear it repeated. It would be a task to carry on conversation for a few minutes without its aid.
2. Diminutive in size, evident in import, easy of utterance, frequent in use, and necessary in ordinary speech, it seems one of the simplest and most harmless of all words. Yet there are those to whom it is almost a terror. Its sound makes them afraid. Upon their lips, when forced to pronounce it, it hangs heavily as lead. They would expurgate it from their vocabulary, if they could. An easy and good-natured class of people they are. They like always to agree with their
friends. To them me language of contradiction is uncongenial. The ranks of disputants obtain from them few recruits. They cannot differ from others without a painful effort, which they seldom make.
3. It is in their nature to drift down the stream rather than resist the current. When urged to anything by companions, they find it all but impossible to say–No. The little monosyllable sticks in their throat. Their pliable and easy temper inclines them to conformity, and frequently works their bane. Assailed by the solicitations of pleasure, they are sure to yield, for at once and resolutely they will not repeat-No.
4. Plied with the intoxicating cup, they seldom overcome, for their facile nature refuses to express itself in-No. Encountering temptation in the hard and duteous path they are likely to falter and fall, for they have not boldness to speak out the decided negative-No.
5. Amid the mists of time, and involved in the labyrinthine mazes of error, they are liable to forget eternal verities and join the ribald jest, for they have not been accustomed to utter an emphatic-No. Their talents may be of a high order, their disposition amiable and generous, and their prospects flattering; but this one weakness may at any time prove fatal to their hopes.
6. All the noblo souls and heroes of history have held themselves ready, whenever it was demanded, to say—No. The warrior said-No to the obstacles which threatened the success of his arms, and rose against them in his might, and made them as the dust of his feet. The statesman said-No to the imperious and insulting demands of an excited populace or a foreign foe, and devised the plans by which the language of demand was exchanged for the language of entreaty and supplication.
7. The poet said—No to the sloth and indolence which consumed his precious hours, and wove for himself in heavenly song a garland of immortality. The martyred hosts saidNo, to the Pagan powers that demanded a recantation of their
faith, and swift from the fire and the forture their souls uprose to the rewards and beatitude of heaven. The greatest and best of all that ever tread our earth, the holy One himself, was incessant in his labors of self-denial, and even thereby he won the honors of his cross. Great men have grown great by repeating No at every step of their progress. To ease, to inglorious joyance, to pleasure, to hardship, they said—No.
8. In the slow advancement of mankind-No has ever proved a word of power. Before it error consecrated by antiquity has fallen, and truth has risen in her splendor. Every falsehood refuted and denied is a step to truth; every impediment vanquished an advance to greatness. It is but fair to observe, however, that even in the use of this word there may be an abuse.
9. As there are minds too pliable and gentle, so there are others too dogmatic and contradictory. On little occasions, and for trifling reasons, one may acquire a vile and disagreeable habit of dispute and denial. In things of no moral or practical account it is wise to be conciliatory and compliant. The most decided of men need not be impolite, or unpleasing in society. But when duty or propriety demands it, no one should be ashamed to speak-No.
10. “Few have learned to speak this word
When it should be spoken;
Vows to virtue broken.
11. More courage is required,
This one word to say,
In the battle fray.
12. Use it fitly, and ye'll see
Many a lot below
By power to utter-'No.'"