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where between the Greek Calends and Latter Lammas.
Ash Wednesday, being now called upon for a song, with his eyes fast stuck in his head, and as well as the Canary he had swallowed would give him leave, struck up a Carol, which Christmas Day had taught him for the nonce; and was followed by the latter, who gave “Miserere" in fine style, hitting off the mumping notes and lengthened drawl of Old Mortification with infinite humour. April Fool swore they had exchanged conditions ; but Good Friday was observed to look extremely grave; and Sunday held her fan before her face that she might not be seen to smile.
Shrove-tide, Lord Mayor's Day, and April Fool, next joined in a glee
Which is the properest day to drink? in which all the Days chiming in, made a merry burden.
They next fell to quibbles and conundrums. The question being proposed, who had the greatest number of followers—the Quarter Days said, there could be no question as to that; for they had all the creditors in the world dogging their heels. But April Fool gave it in favour of the Forty Days before Easter; because the debtors in all cases outnumbered the creditors, and they kept Lent all the year.
All this while Valentine's Day kept courting pretty May, who sate next him, slipping amorous billets-doux under the table, till the Dog Days (who are naturally of a warm constitution) began to be jealous, and to bark and rage exceedingly. April Fool, who likes a bit of sport above measure, and had some pretensions to the lady besides, as being but a cousin once removed, -clapped and balloo'd them on; and as fast as their indignation cooled, those mad wags, the Ember Days, were at it with their bellows, to blow it into a flame; and all was in ferment, till old Madam Septuagesima (who boasts herself the Mother of the Days) wisely diverted the conversation with a tedious tale of the lovers which she could reckon when she was young, and of one Master Rogation Day in particular, who was for ever putting the question to her ; but she kept him at a distance, as the chronicle-would tell—by which I apprehend she meant the Almanack. Then she rambled on to the Days that were gone, the good old Days, and so to the Days before the Flood—which plainly showed her old head to be little better than crazed and doited.
Day being ended, the Days called for their cloaks and great-coats, and took their leave. Lord Mayor's Day went off in a Mist, as usual; Shortest Day in a deep black Fog, that wrapt the little gentleman all round like a hedge-hog. Two Vigils —so watchmen are called in heaven-saw Christmas Day safe home-they had been used to the business before. Another Vigil—a stout, sturdy patrole, called the Eve of St. Christopher»-seeing Ash Wednesday in a condition little better than he should be-e'en whipt him over his shoulders, pick-a-back fashion, and Old Mortification went Hoating home singing
On the bat’s back I do fly, and a number of old snatches besides, between drunk and sober ; but very few Aves or Penitentiaries (you may believe me) were among them. Longest Day set off westward in beautiful crimson and gold-the rest, some in one fashion, some in another; but Valentine and pretty May took their departure together in one of the prettiest silvery twilights a Lover's Day could wish to set in.
990 HAVE an almost feminine partiality U S for old china. When I go to see any
a 2 great house, I inquire for the chinaPer closet, and next for the picture-gallery. I cannot defend the order of preference, but by saying that we have all some taste or other, of too ancient a date to admit of our remembering distinctly that it was an acquired one. I can call to mind' the first play, and the first exhibition, that I was taken to; but I am not conscious of a time when china jars and saucers were introduced into my imagination.
I had no repugnance then-why should I now have?—to those little, lawless, azure-tinctured grotesques, that, under the notion of men and women, float about, uncircumscribed by any element, in that world before perspective--a china tea-cup.
I like to see my old friends—whom distance cannot diminish-figuring up in the air (so they appear to our optics), yet on terra firma still-.for so we must in courtesy interpret that speck of deeper blue, which the decorous artist, to prevent absurdity, had made to spring up beneath their sandals.
I love the men with women's faces, and the
women, if possible, with still more womanish expressions.
Here is a young and courtly Mandarin, handing tea to a lady from a salver-two miles off. See how distance seems to set off respect! And here the same lady, or another-for likeness is identity on tea-cups—is stepping into a little fairy boat, moored on the hither side of this calm garden river, with a dainty mincing foot, which in a right angle of incidence (as angles go in our world) must infallibly land her in the midst of a flowery meada furlong off on the other side of the same strange stream!
Farther on—if far or near can be predicated of their world-see horses, trees, pagodas, dancing the hays.
Here-a cow and rabbit couchant, and co-extensive-so objects show, seen through the lucid atmosphere of fine Cathay.
I was pointing out to my cousin last evening, over our Hyson (which we are old-fashioned enough to drink unmixed still of an afternoon), some of these speciosa miracula upon a set of extraordinary old blue china (a recent purchase) which we were now for the first time using; and could not help remarking, how favourable circumstances had been to us of late years, that we could afford to please the eye sometimes with trifles of this sort-when a passing sentiment seemed to overshade the brows of my companion. I am quick at detecting these summer clouds in Bridget.
“I wish the good old times would come again,” she said, “when we were not quite so rich. I do not mean that I want to be poor ; but there was a middle state”—so she was pleased to ramble on,s in which I am sure we were a great deal happier.