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our efforts could not recall her. There gentler sex, this inordinate appetite for we were forced to sit with staring eyes, intelligence in regard to dress must of and listen to a conversation which necessity be laid exclusively to the door could neither engage our thoughts, nor of the ladies. Their patronage of the allow them to be engaged about any- magazines proves nothing for literature, thing else.
but, on the contrary, it is the strongest Dress is the great staple of a wo- evidence they could give that they have man's thoughts; she talks of it on all no sympathies to bestow upon literary occasions; she meditates on it in all exercises, since they will not subscribe places, and for sake of it she makes her for a work which does not contain a greatest sacrifices. She goes to church pattern of a new boddice or a lace cap. to display her own dress and to criticise İf you pass through Broadway on a the dress of her neighbors. She goes pleasant morning, you see a great to balls and tea-parties for the same number of daily carriages, drawn by purpose; she walks up and down Broad- horses which cause you to break the way for no other reason. It is the great tenth commandment, though you be point when she marries, and the selec- never so pious a churchman, and you tion of her wedding gown costs her a wonder on what expedition they can thousand times more anxiety than the be bound ; you watch their stoppingchoice of her husband; and when she places, and you find them at the doors loses him, her first thought is her mourn- of mantua-makers'and milliners' shops. ing, not her weeping. Her children are They are kept for the express purpose objects of great interest to her, because of carrying ladies, when they go in she can dress them to suit her fancy, search of dresses, and when they go to and the litile unconscious innocents are display them, either in the ball or the made to toddle about the streets as a house of prayer. At church they make kind of advertisement of their mother's a very grand display of the laiest imtaste. Do you doubt this ? Then walk portations from Paris, while their horses down Broadway some sunshiny morn- and their coachmen are waiting on the ing and look at ihe little bits of human- outside. This they do in obedience to ity which dot the side-walks the the fourth commandment. Let nolady whole length of that famous avenue, say that we scandalize the sex, unless decorated with all the fantasies which she can name the gentle being who velvet and gold cord are capable of will go to church in a last year's hat. creating. Do you doubt the controlling Now, the ladies assembled at Mrs. thought of women ? Look at the popu. Pederson's tea-party were by no means lar magazines of the day! Not one of exceptions to the peculiarities of the them can be supported without the ap- sex, and such a din as they contrived pendage of a fashion-plate; but with it to raise about mousseline-de-laines and they flourish like willows by the water chène silks would be passing belief, courses, though they may have nothing except with those who have witnessed else to recommend them. There are similar things themselves. We could some half a dozen of these monthly not, of course, join in such a conversadistributors of ladies' fashions and lite- tion; and as there were but three men rature, varying in their circulation from present beside ourself, we had a severe ten to fifty thousand copies, and they time of it, for neither of the gentlemen all thrive and bring money to their pub- would talk of anything but the times; lishers; while it is a fact too well known a subject which means, like many to need penning, that no mere literary other conversational topics, anything periodical has ever flourished in this or nothing, but generally, as was the country, although there have been case pow, nothing. many established and sustained by the The“ times,” with our companions, very highest talent in the nation (the meant the price of oats, which to us Democratic for example), although they was a matter of not the slightest imhave been continued in an enduring portance; and when we had been infaith that the public sentiment would formed that oats weighing twenty-nine come right in the end.
pounds could be bought at two-and-sixAs no magazine publishes fashion- pence per bushel, there was an end to plates for men, and as no man, except the subject. It was suggestive of noing a silk-jobber, can be supposed to thing but the wretch Tiius Oates; and care a copper about the fashions of the as we named the name of that paltry
creature, quite unconsciously, our party of hot rolls and buttered toast up and friends caught it up, and remarked that down from hand to hand, until all the they had never "hearn tell” of that guests were supplied : next came little kind of grain before. We were just on plates of smoked beef, cut into thin the point of making an explanation, slices like a leather-dresser's shavings; when Mrs. Pederson's colored girl en- and these were followed by plates of tered the parlor, and announced that cheese cut in little square lumps; thea tea was ready, upon which all conver- plates of crackers were handed round, sation was suddenly suspended; and and one said that the butter was after a good deal of coquetting as to “beautiful,” and another that the bread who should lead the way, we all was “elegant;" and as the remarks shambled out into the next room, where were not addressed to Mrs. Pederson, the tea-table was spread, at which we but intended for her ear, the gratified sal down, looking very stiff and very lady, as soon as she heard them, said, serious, as though lea-drinking was not “she was sure the butter was not fit to to be laughed at. The ladies all sat eat, and that the bread was not nice at on one side, with the gentlemen oppo- all.” Somebody having conceived that site, and cast down their eyes very de- a sufficient quantity of bread had been voutly while one of my companions, a eaten, took up a plate of crullers, and vestryman, implored a blessing. We set them a.going, while two or three are by no means disposed to object to more guests took up plates of sponge an appeal to the Throne of Grace at cake, and plum cake, and citron cake, any time; but it has always seemed to and put them in circulation, while us that the form of supplications used others began to dish out preserved at tea-parties is extremely ill-placed. quinces, and gages, and plums, and If we should ask for grace to go through peaches, and the whole table was alive with the infliction on such an occasion with glass saucers and little plates. with patience, and ask to be forgiven After a time, the company had « eaten for misspending our time, there would sufficient,” and Mrs. Pederson “was be some sense in it.
sure nobody had eaten anything;" and Mrs. Pederson sat at the head of the then followed a few minutes of very table, and “poured out;” but before solemn looks, and upon a signal given passing the cups she inquired of each by somebody, we all got up from table of her guests whether they drank sugar and retired into the parlor again, where and cream; and as some took one the ladies took their old subject afresh, without the other, and some both, and and the gentlemen returned to their some neither, it followed as a matter oats. And after spending two or three of course that nobody was exactly hours more in this pleasant manner, suited. Those who drank sugar but we all took leave of Mrs. Pederson and no cream, got cream but no sugar; went home. As the night was dark, while those who drank neither, got and the roads were miry, we had both, and those who drank both, got abundant time to moralize with our neither. But they all said it was very wife about tea-parties; but she would good, when Mrs. Pederson asked if the not look upon the subject with our eyes, tea was “agreeable," although they and maintained that people must live suggested a slight alteration when they like oiher people, or it " would be no passed their cups a second time; but use;" and that, for her part, she not as the tea-pot had been replenished only liked to go to parties but she with hot water, the second cup gave meant to give one herself. as little real satisfaction as the first. When we found that she was reso
The table was covered after the most lutely bent on giving a tea-party, we approved fashion; and if Mrs. Pederson made use of all our rhetorical abilities had been ill-disposed towards her in trying to persuade her to surprise guests, she could not have contrived a her guests with something a little difmore ingenious plan for making them ferent from what they had been accusparticularly wretched. It is an under- tomed to get at other houses; but she stood point at all tea-parties, that the would not consent to the slightest deguests must commence with bread-and- viation, alleging, what perhaps was butter, and end with cakes and pre- very true, that if she did not do as other serves; and the first business of the people did, she would be the talk of the tea-table was passing overloaded plates whole county. In truth, she gave us to
understand as the Peruvians did their riod, and our house had, in consequence, conquerors, that she wanted no change, been shunned like a pest-house." Here and least of all such change as we was an instance of rancorous party should be likely to recommend. We spirit. It was impossible to guess at soon perceived that our wife was a the individual who had done us so great staunch conservative, and that like all a wrong. Our wife was in an ecstasy other conservatives, she preferred a bad of passion; but for ourself, we consid- L old practice to a good new one, and we ered the thing a capital joke, and endetermined to let her manage her idols joyed it much more than we should in her own way.
have enjoyed the party had it taken The invitations were issued nearly a place. week a-head, and the intervening nights It was a long while before she reand days were devoted to preparations, gained her usual spirits; the disappointwhich, considering our moderate in ment and mortification affected her come, were on a scale of frightful ex. deeply, leaving out of consideration her travagance. At last the day arrived, feverish curiosity to learn who the authe rooms were put in order, the fires thor of the outrage was; but in time lighted, the candles were all decorated she began to recover, and as she was with paper frills, and our wife, dressed one of those neat persons whoare never in her best gown, sat down to wait for happy but when employed in “cleaning her company. We had calculated on up," ihat is, in the midst of a wild conall the guests arriving before five fusion of mops and dusters, whilewash o'clock, but five o'clock came and was brushes and black Nannies, her resucceeded by six o'clock, and not a soul turning cheerfulness first manifested ithad come. Our wife was on the point of self by her engaging with great vigor hysterics; she kept running to the door, in her favorite employments, and she and casting anxious glances up the road continued her labors to so late an hour and down the road, but no one came; in the afternoon, that she was surprised the children were crying for their sup- in the middle of the hubbub by the unper, the cook was scolding, the hours usual call of the minister's wife and her were flying, but the guests came not, three daughters, who were dressed in and at nine o'clock we sat down to sup- quite a remarkable style for a call, and per, amazed, confounded and horror- showed an evident disposition to stay struck. Not a soul had sent an excuse, to tea. and the whole matter was shrouded in The confusion of our household may the deepest mystery. What could it well be conceived by those who have mean! Towards midnight we retired been similarly caught, but the confuto bed, but not to sleep, for our sion of our wife it would be impossible minds were too much engrossed by the for anybody to conceive, because nostrange event to rest. Our wife was body but herself can know in what awe very serious, believing that the world she held the minister's wife. The lady was coming to a speedy end, for we and her daughters had hardly seated could not persuade her that it was one themselves in the parlor when a carof those strange coincidences that some- riage stopped at the door and discharged times occur, and not some rare convul. Mrs. Pederson; who was immediately sion of nature which had kept her in- followed by a succession of visitors, vited guests at home.
until half the county were assembled in The sun rose as brightly as ever the our rooms and about the house. Here next morning, exactly at his appointed was another mystery. They had all time, the birds chirped as gaily, and all received cards of invitation to tea for nature looked as steadfast and composed that very day. To entertain them was as though nothing unusual had taken impossible. No preparations had been place. In the course of the day the made, and they were all packed off supmystery was cleared up, although not perless, and for the most part in a dreadwithout creating another. It appeared ful state of ill humor. on inquiry that every one of our invited We tried in vain to discover the auguests had received a note the night thor of these pleasant little freaks, notbefore the party was to take place, withstanding that a considerable restating that in consequence of a case ward was offered for his detection. of small-pox in the family the party But a year or two afterwards the perhad been deferred to an indefinite de. netrator was discovered.
religious revival in the neighborhood, wards our wife, who had forgotten to a young lady somewhat advanced in invite her to our lea-party. years, Miss Matilda Ann Marrowfat, In talking the affair over with our min. confessed from the “anxious seat" that ister and the storekeeper, they agreed she was the guilty person, having been that it was the most outrageous exhibi. instigated by pure malice and spite to- tion of party spirit they had ever heard of.
THE CHRISTIAN PROMISE.
When He who spake as never man hath spoken,
Came to our earth to elevate and bless,
And cheered the widow and the fatherless.
That love and justice unto all are due;
Even as ye would that they should do to you."
Enslaved and burdened by some regal line,
To tyrannize o'er them by right divine.
Linking our birthright with the infinite whole;
Teaching the priceless value of the soul !
Which would transform this earth to paradise !
In thought and life, by toil and sacrifice!
Where strong self-interests tempt so oft aside,
Take Jesus for their pattern and their guide.
And faith undoubting and true Christian heart,
And in no wrong or selfishness have part.
Through the thick clouds of eighteen hundred years;
And earth be gladdened with millenial years.
With joy his upward tendencies we hail;
And“ truth is mighty and will yet prevail !"
CHARLES J. Fox
THE YUCATAN RUINS.*
The universality of taste for reading in tenths, probably, of those who read the this country, stimulated and satisfied as monthly or the quarterly read also the it is by the immense supply of reading new works of which it discourses; and material which it calls into existence- even those who do not happen to read the demand and the supply having a any given work itself, are morally cermutual action and reaction, in the dou- tain to have become tolerably familiar ble nature of cause and effect-although with its character, long before the exceedingly favorable to authors, in one monthly or quarterly comes out, through sense at least, operates unluckily for us the abominable officiousness of the Reviewers—it gives us but shortest dailies and weeklies, which have got space in which to avail ourselves of into the way of taking strange liberties that mainly attractive feature, novelty. with our rights and privileges, and exIn England, where books are dear and ercise their pens and scissors as freely a sale of two or three thousand copies upon new books as though literature is considered great success—where not was not our exclusive province. It is a one person in fifty buys the new books melancholy truth that the business of as they come out, and not more than criticism is in a declining, way, like one in twenty reads them, even by the banking; cheap publishing has given it dilatory aid of a circulating library- a terrible blow; and if we continue to where the circulation of quarterlies and furnish our readers, from time to time, monthlies is in like manner limited, and with an elaborate and extended review even the daily or weekly newspaper is of some new work, it is more out of reto a vast majority of the population a spect for an ancient and venerable cusfar-off and unattainable existence, from tom than from any hope or belief that want of ability either to buy or read — what we can offer in that way will have in England, we say, where each review much attraction, either of novelty or and magazine and newspaper has its otherwise, for our readers. regular set of readers, who read that Consider these superb volumes on and nothing else, as must always be the the ruins of Yucatan, for example. case when the habit of reading is limit. They have been before the public a ed and the material is expensive, the whole month-an eternity as it were, gentleman who finds sustenance for his reckoning by the brief existences of literary life by dissecting the works of most books that are now-a-days pubothers, can always reckon upon a sure lished. Within that month who has market for his ware, however delibe. not devoured them at ease in the quiet rate he may be in performing his task possession of his own or a borrowedcopy? of criticism. He knows that his choice Who has not curiously scanned the mulcollection of extracts, even though it titudinous engravings in which the skill be made from a recent production of of Catherwood and the marvellous some very popular author, will come fidelity of the daguerreotype have fresh and racy to the circle in which he given perpetuity, in representation at revolves, and that there is little or no least, to those magnificent relics of andanger of his “ article” being disgrace- cient American architecture and art fully skipped” as antiquated, by a set which the terrible energy of tropical of impertinents who have been so in- vegetation is hurrying so rapidly to considerate as to read the whole book destruction? Who has not accompawhile he was ingeniously culling its nied the adventurous author and his best bits to enliven his connecting chain companions through all the dangers of common-places. But with us the and privations of their devious route case is widely different. Here books among crumbling ruins, underground are published, not by hundreds, but by vaults, caves, ranchos, desert islands, thousands and tens of thousands; nine. convents, haciendas, casas reales, fleas,
Incidents of Travel in Yucatan. By John L. Stephens, author of “Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petræa, and the Holy Land,” « Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan," &c. Illustrated by 120 Engravings. New York ; Harper and Brothers. 2 vols. 8vo.