« AnteriorContinuar »
alized, and he was, therefore, constantly in a state of disappointment. Unlucky Slyder Downehylle! It was deplorable, too, that such should be the case, for Slyder Downehylle was anxious to be happy-he was always looking forward to be happy-for something to be happy with.
6. When he got up in the morning, it was always his resolve to be happy in the afternoon; and, if not successful in accomplishing his purpose at that time, he endeavored, as far as possible, to retrieve the failure by forming a similar determination for the evening. No one had ever a greater variety of schemes for living happy-very happy—than he; for living happy next week, for living happy next month, or next year; but it appeared to him that a malignant fate was sure to interfere, in order that his projects might be frustrated.
7. At school, he was always thinking how happy he would be on Saturday afternoon; but then sometimes it rained on Saturday afternoon, or his companions would not do as he wished them to do on Saturday afternoon, or it may be that although he had toiled hard for pleasure on Saturday afternoon,--and the toil for pleasure is often the severest of work, --he returned home weary, dispirited, and out of temper. Of course, it was unavoidable that his pleasure should be postponed until some other Saturday afternoon. And it was even so with the larger holidays. They never were exactly what they ought to have been—what they promised to be what they seemed to be, when viewed from a distance.
8. If Slyder Downehylle went a-fishing, why, a treacherous bank would often give way; and then-pray who can possibly be happy when dripping wet with his clothes on? Nobody but poodles. What felicity is there in losing one's shoe in a swamp? Then, if Slyder Downehylle went skating, it not unfrequently happened that he cried with cold. What a strange arrangement it is not to have the best of skating on the warmest days!
9. The young Downehylle, finding that happiness eluded his grasp
while a boy, made sure of throwing a noose over its head when he should be a man. What on earth is there to prevent a man's being happy, if he chooses—especially if a man has money, as was the case in the present instance, uncle John and aunt Betsy both being gathered to their fathers and mothers.
10. May not a man do as he pleases ?-go to bed when he pleases ?-eat what he pleases, and drink what he pleases ? A man is not compelled to learn lessons. All his afternoons are Saturday afternoons—his holidays last all the year round. Who would not be a man? “I want to be a man!” cried Slyder Downehylle, with impatience.
And Slyder Downehylle was a man at last, though, on the whole, it must be confessed that he did not derive the satisfaction from it that he had been led to expect.
11. In theorizing on happiness, he thought it was, to some degree, vehicular—that, like respectability, it was to be found in a gig, if it were to be found anywhere. So he bought him a sulky and a fast trotter—a mile in two minutes or thereabouts. What could escape a man who followed so rapidly? If you wish to be successful in the pursuit of happiness, do not forget to buy a sulky—there's nothing like a sulky.
“Aha!-that's it!” muttered Slyder Downehylle, as he tugged at the reins, and went whizzing along the turnpike in a cloud of dust, passing everything on the road, and carrying consternation among the pigs, the ducks, and the chickens.
12. Slyder thought that this was “it” for several consecutive days; but as the novelty wore off-there's the rubSlyder was not so sure whether it was the thing exactly; and on the recommendation of his friend, who borrowed a hundred on the occasion, he endeavored to improve it a little by playing billiards at the “Cottage."
13. “Now I'm happy," said Slyder Downehylle, as he stood on the portico of the “Cottage," and saw every eye fixed with admiration on his establishment, as the boy led his horse and sulky through the crowd of vehicles. “That's it, at last !”
“There— let him go!" said he, tossing a half dollar to the hostler's deputy.
14. Mr. Downehylle's sulky flew like lightning across the lawn. “Splendid !" ejaculated the spectators.
The dogs barked-the colored gentlemen who officiated as waiters, grinned from ear to ear. There was quite a sensation at the “Cottage."
“ That's it, at last !” said Slyder Downehylle, triumphantly. But he forgot that existence, short as it is, cannot be crowded all into the exhilarating moment of start.” Life is not to be distilled and condensed in this way, though his life seemed to come as near it as possible, on the occasion referred to.
15. Why are we made ambitious ? Why will we endeavor to jump over puddles that are too wide, when we so often miss immortality by no more than a hair's breadth? But "touch and go" is the secret of great enterprises. Downehylle was allowed to “ touch”—we often do that—but there was a veto on his «
“go.” He wished to shave the gate-post, in his curricular enthusiasm to astonish the natives with his charioteering skill. Yet the poplars might have reminded him of Phaëton—of Phaëton's sisters weeping, lank and long.
16. Mr. Downehylle was out in his calculation about the sixteenth part of an inch. He was on a lee shore.
A cloud of splinters went up and came down again. “There is but a Frenchman the more in France,” said a Bourbon on the restoration. It was also quite evident that there was a sulky the less in existence. As this could not be considered the “ fast trotter's” business,-he having no further concern with the matter than to do a certain number of miles in a specific number of minutes,-he therefore went straight on to fulfill his part of the contract; and it is to be presumed that he was successful, as nothing has been heard from him since.
17. “That's not it, after all,” murmured Mr. Slyder Downéhylle, as he was carried into the “Cottage" for surgical aid.
The by-standers, lately so full of admiration, ungraciously placed their thumbs upon their noses, and waggled their fingers. Greatness always falls when it meets with an upset!
“What could you expect from a fellow that holds his elbows so when he drives !” was the general remark. When we are down, every one can see the reason why. The world is always full of sagacity after the event.
HORACE ON POLITICS.-FROM SIMM's EGERIA,
1. STUFF, Tom! no more of politics,
This strife 'twixt ins and outs;
So long as Demus shouts!
2. I've seen and heard for twenty years,
And every wretched shoat,
That he should have my vote!
3. He is the patriot, born to save,
The country from its fate;
That threatens most the State.
4. Don't you believe the rascal tale!
Were such as he at rest:
As safely as the best.
5. Suppose the State in danger !-well,
Look on him where he stands ;-
6. What has he done, endured or shown,
And claim the right to guide ?
But can he aught beside ?
7. 'Tis one thing surely, to assert
But quite another, when,
And make him first of men !
8. No! no! good Tom !—There may be strife, And storm,—for these still follow life ;
But for these mouths that feed,
Not help it at its need.
9. For us, good Tom, 'tis quite enough,
When comes the time, we stand,
For home and Fatherland!