Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

city with the watchmen, with more than the pains of an industrious clear-starcher, smoothed the placards on the fences; jumping up where they were beyond his height, as was often the case, and brushing them down, both ways, with out-spread hands, so that they should read plain and free to the simplest passer-by. Was there ever one that toiled so, with the faith and heart of an angel, in the dusty road that time-servers use to travel !

THE FLY AND THE BULLOCK.—THOMAS MOORE.

1. The wise men of Egypt were secret as dummies;

And, even when they most condescended to teach, They pack'd up their meaning, as they did their mummies,

In so many wrappers, 't was out of one's reach.

2. They were also, good people, much given to Kings

Fond of monarchs and crocodiles, monkeys and mystery, Bats, hierophants, blue-bottle flies, and such things-

As will partly appear in this very short history.

3. A Scythian philosopher (nephew, they say,

To that other great traveller, young Anacharsis) Stepp'd into a temple at Memphis one day,

To have a short peep at their mystical farces.

4. He saw a brisk blue-bottle Fly on an altar,

Made much of, and worshipp'd as something divine; While a large handsome Bullock, led there in a halter,

Before it lay stabb’d at the foot of the shrine.

5. Surprised at such doings, he whisper'd his teacher

“If 't is n't impertinent, may I ask why Should a Bullock, that useful and powerful creature, Be thus offered up to a blue-bottle Fly ?"

6.“ No wonder," said t other, “ you stare at the sight,

But we as a symbol of monarchy view it: That Fly on the shrine is Legitimate Right,

And that Bullock the people that's sacrificed to it.”

IMPERTINENT CURIOSITY.-FROM TRIALS OF A HOUSEKEEPER.

1. One chamber maid in my service, seemed to have a passion for reading other people's letters. More than once had I caught her rummaging in my drawers, or with some of my old letters in her hands; and I could not help remarking that most of the letters left at the door by the penny post, had, if they passed to me through her, a crumbled appearance.

2. One morning, after breakfast was over, and the children off to school, I drew on a cap, and went down to sweep out and dust the parlors. I had not been at work long, when I heard the bell ring. Presently Mary came tripping down the stairs. As she opened the street door, I heard her say:

“ Ah! another letter? Who is it for? Me?"

3. “ No, it is for Mrs. Smith," was answered, in the rougher voice of the Despatch Post-man,

“Oh." There was a perceptible disappointment in Mary's tone. “What's the postage ?" she asked.

Paid," said the man. The door closed, and I heard the feet of Mary slowly moving along the passage. Then the murmur of her voice reached my ears. Presently I heard her say:

I wonder who it is from ? Mrs. Smith gets a great many letters. No envelope, thank goodness! but a plain, good oldfashioned letter. I must see who it is from."

4. By this time Mary had stepped within the back parlor. I stood, hid from her view, by one of the folding doors, which was closed, but within a few feet of her.

66

[ocr errors]

“ From Mrs. Jackson! Hum-m. I wonder what she's got to say? Something about me, I'll bet a dollar."

There was a very apparent change in the thermometer of Mary's feelings at this last thought, as was evident from the tone of her voice.

5. “Lace collars-stockings-pocket han I can't make out that word, but it is handkerchiefs, of course," thus Mary read and talked to herself. “Breastpin-this is too mean! It's not true, neither. I'm a great mind to burn the letter. Mrs. Smith would never be the wiser. I won't give it to her now, at any rate. I'll put it in my pocket, and just think about it.”

6. The next sound that came to my ears was the pattering of Mary's feet as she went hurrying up the stairs.

In a few minutes I followed. In one of my chambers I found Mary, and said to her :

“ Didn't the carrier leave me a letter just now ?'' The girl hesitated a moment, and then answered : “Oh, yes, ma'am. I have it here in my pocket.”

And she drew forth the letter, crumbled, as was usually the case with all that passed through her hands.

7. I took it, with some gravity of manner; for I felt, naturally enough, indignant. Mary flushed a little under the steady eye that I fixed upon her.

The letter, or note, was from my friend, Mrs. Jackman, and read as follows:

“MY DEAR MRS. SMITH.—Do call in and see me some time to-day. I have bought some of the cheapest laces, stockings, and cambric pocket handkerchiefs that ever were seen. There are more left; and at a great bargain. You must have some. And, by the way, bring with you that sweet breastpin I saw you wear at Mrs. May's last Thursday evening. I want to examine it closely. I must have one just like it.

Do come round to-day; I've lots of things to say to you.

“ Yours, &c.”

8. 6

Nothing so dreadful in all that,” I said to myself, as I re-folded the letter. “My curious lady's conscience must be a little active! Let's see what is to come of this.” The morning passed away, and the afternoon waned until towards five o'clock, when the accumulating pressure of Mary's feelings became so great that she was compelled to seek relief. I was alone, sewing, when my chamber maid entered my

The corners of her lips inclined considerably downward. 9. “Can I speak a word with you, Mrs. Smith ?" said she.

Certainly, Mary," I replied. “ What do you wish to

room.

say ?"

Mary cleared her throat once or twice-looked very

much embarrassed, and at length stammered out.

“ You received a letter from Mrs. Jackson this morning ?”

“ No." I shook my head as I uttered this little monosyllable.

10. A flush of surprise went over the girl's face.

“ Wasn't the letter I gave you from Mrs. Jackson ?" she asked.

“No; it was from Mrs. Jackman.”

Mary caught her breath, and stammered out, in her confusion :

Oh, my! I thought it was from Mrs. Jackson. I was sure of it."

“ What right had you to think anything about it ?" I asked, with marked severity.

Mary's face was, by this time, crimsoned.

11. I looked at her for some moments, and then, taking from my drawer Mrs. Jackman's note, handed it to her, and

said :

“ There's the letter you were so curious about this morning. Read it."

Mary's eyes soon took in the contents. The moment she was satisfied, she uttered a short “Oh !” strongly expressive of mental relief, and handed me back the letter.

“I thought it was from Mrs. Jackson,” said the still embarrassed girl, looking confused and distressed.

12. “ You can now retire,” said I,“ and when another letter is left at my door, be kind enough to consider it my property, not yours. I shall make it my business to see Mrs. Jackson, and ascertain from her why you are so much afraid that she will communicate with me. There's something wrong.

13. Poor Mary still lingered.

“ Indeed, Mrs. Smith," she sobbed—“I didn't do nothing wrong at Mrs. Jackson's, but wear her clothes sometimes. Once I just borrowed a breastpin of hers out of her drawer, to wear to a party; and she saw me with it on, and said I had stolen it. But, I'd put my hand in the fire before I'd steal, Mrs. Smith! Indeed, indeed I would. I was only going to wear it to the party; and I didn't think there was any great harm in that."

14. “Of course there was harm in using other people's things without their consent," I replied severely. “And I don't wonder that Mrs. Jackson accused

you
of stealing.

But what cause had you for thinking this letter was from Mrs. Jackson?"

“ The two names are so near alike, and then Mrs. Jackson speaks about-." 15. Here Mary caught herself, and crimsoned still deeper.

That is,” said I,“ you took the liberty of peeping into my letter before you gave it to me; and this is not your first offence of the kind."

Mary was too much confounded to speak, or make any effort to excuse herself; and so thought it best to retire.

« AnteriorContinuar »