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Juggernaut of the land. If slain by band's nephew, but very amiable and wheel or paddle, of course no one is to
considerate in making arrangements for blame. Or possibly the locomotive may my comfort. The physicians having have been slightly in fault-was the especially ordered that I should inake machine censured, sir ?"
no attempt to go up or down stairs for • Not that I know of,” replied my the next three months, a spacious room uncle.
was provided for me on the third floor“On second thoughts, such a course that appropriated to the young ladies was not likely. Its prospects in life of the family, and the sons when at might have been injured by anything so
home. unpleasant as punishment. Locomo- You see, Tom, we include you in tives have rights, whatever passengers
the family ; you will find your cousin: may have,” I added, as a sharp twinge close at hand. The front room yonder, in the broken hip interrupted the con- a sort of snuggery of theirs, will, I dare versation.
say, be open to you, though closed to The next day, my worthy uncle car- most gentlemen. ried me off with him to town, and estab- • You will be less alone on this floor, lished me under the roof of what choice Mr. Fairfax; the morning-room is selwriters in newspapers call bis “ elegant dom empty, and you will improve it, I mansion," in Thirtietb street. My uncle trust, by making a better acquaintance was a merchant prince. However rare with some of your cousins," added my other princes may be among us, we all new aunt, alluding to her own fair know that such men as the Tuscan Cos- daughters, of whom, indeed, I knew mo and Lorenzo abound in Wall street, little as yet. as plenty as blackberries at the Stump- “I am a lucky dog, indeed !" I reery. My uncle was one of these-he plied, after the best bow to be made on bad long been one of them. I found, crutches. “ But a pretty figure I shall however, on arriving in town, that great be among so many beauties — à satyr enlargement and aggrandizement of his and nymphs !” principality had recently taken place. Truly grateful I was, however, for He had, within a year or so, built him
the kindness shown me, and the prosself a new "palatial edifice"--vide news- pect of having half-a-dozen lovely girls papers—and still more recently he had to amuse me for the next three inonths invited a fair dame to share the prince- was delightful. Some wise philosoly daïs with him. My new aunt, by pher-Plato or Confucius—has already marriage, had been, a few months earlier, remarked, I believe, what may now be the widow of another mercantile prince- most feelingly repeated by the Sage of ly house of high estate and celebrity; the Stumpery-that we little know what and as such I had occasionally met her awaits us. Could I have foreseen some in society. This alliance rendered my of the hours passed on that third floor, good uncle's establishment still more in such near neighborhood to this brilbrilliant than it had formerly been. I liant troop of beauties, I should have found the new house one of the grand wheeled about on my crutches, and est in town; grand in itself, and most hobhled down stairs as fast as wood luxuriously fitted up—the upbolstery could carry me. Instead of this sud. was gorgeous, mirrors superb, gilding den stampedo, however, I sank luxuriprofuse, plate magnificent. My new ously into a very comfortable chair, aunt was in her element doing the and, as the door closed ou my uncle and honors—she was the very sultana fitted his wife, indulged in very agreeable for such an abode—while her three day dreams. daughters, each a beauty in her way, Coming from my bachelor solitude, might bave passed for a trio of Circas- freshly arrived from the weedy hempsian odalisques. The bouse was, indeed, field and the stupid first volume, things very richly garnished with pretty faces, looked charmingly in the third story my cousins, Olivia, Carrie, and Emma, of No. – Thirtieth street. Most luxubeing generally considered among the rious, assuredly, was the hospital into prettiest girls in town. The reception which the lame kinsman had received accorded to me was as kind as possible; admittance ; delightful was the prospect Mrs. Glittery, the new lady of the house of being amused, petted, nursed, by halfnaturally a woman of kindly feeling, a-dozen of the prettiest girls in New was not only hospitable to her hus- York. While thus complacently fancy.
ing myself most fortunate of cripples- sonages to fill Mrs. Glittery's magnifi. an object of compassion to the stately cent saloons, that kindly face seemed Laura, the graceful Carrie, the dimpled moving about me more distinct and Emma, to Olivia the gazelle-eyed, to the lifelike than usual. * Pshaw!" said I rosy-mouthed Julia, the golden-haired to myself at length; "what a fool I Helen-oddly enough there was still am! What business have I, of all men, another face, to me more attractive than to be thinking of sweet countenances ?" either of these, which hovered about me, and, resolved to be rational, I sternly full of simple sweetness, seeming to of- bade the gentle face begone! Meekly fer, again and again, the cup of pure fresh as Griselda of old, it faded away, and I water of which I had drank so thank- took up that antidote to all romance fully in the railroad shanty. More than the
evening paper. once the same sweet countenance had The following morning, in obedienou appeared to me, in the troubled dreams to a kind invitation to that effect, I paid of the last three months ; oftener still my court to the ladies' “ snuggery,” as in the twilight hours at the Stumpery ; my uncle called their morning-room. and it always came, picture-like, framed Some such snuggery" Aspasia or in the simple straw hat and the light shawl Cleopatra may have oocupied. Not, on which my eye had been intently fixed however, that the atmosphere was in at the fatal moment of the collision. I the least classical or Grecian, never, asremember that, during this first solitary suredly wore there ladies less • blue" evening in Tbirtieth street, as I sat than the Misses Frippery- they were all pondering over the changes of the last pure rose-color. Such was the extreme few months, and listening to the rolling elegance of the apartment, the luxurious carriages which were, at the moment, splendor of the tout ensemble, that bringing hundreds of fashionable per- when Enrique, the mulatto page, open
ed its gilded doors, I actually stood for tion of the toilet,” replied the fair a moment bewildered. Draperies of creature, with more animation than she rose-colored velvet, moire-antique and had yet shown. lace, carpets of the richest French “ Ab, that is even more alarming tapestry, mirrors so vast as to prodace than law or physic. I am a terrible a magic mirage of fashion, Italian mar ignoramus in such matters. But, perbles and mosaics, Sevres porcelains. haps, that is just what you are wishing ivory, ebony, papier-maché, rosewood for-a natural common sense opinionand mother of pearl-how can a clown I can play Molière's old woman on the like myself do justice to such exquisite occasion, if this is all you require." richness of detail? Imagine, moreover, The fair Laura looked a little puzhalf-a-dozen beautiful girls robed in the zled. Molière's old woman was evidentmost delicate webs and woofs ever ap- ly not on her visiting list—and I fancy propriated to a morning-dress, dainti- she suspected both common-sense and ly frilled, laced, ribboned to the top- myself of being rather vulgar. She most height of the very latest half- graciously condescended, however, to hour's caprice of the mode, and you explain herself more fully. A fancy inay comprehend the dazzling effect ball, long announced by a fashionable likely to be produced on a rustic dog of lady, was drawing near. The boudoir a bachelor.
looked much like the show-room of a “ And do you really deign to receive great millinery; it was littered with in your bower, lovely ladies, an uncouth finery of all kinds--silks, satins, velvets, four-legged monster, like myself !” I laces, feathers, flowers, were thrown exclaimed, in reply to a gracious greet- about on tables and chairs in rich coning.
fusion. The characters had already Half-a-dozen diamond rings, on pâte been chosen. The superb Laura was d'amande fingers,were immediately ex- to be Night-in black velvet and diatended towards me in the most amia- monds. The bright and rosy Julia, ble manner; a vast lounging-chair, ela- would appear as Morning-in tulle and borately carved, was wheeled towards pearls. The tiny Emma was to be me, and, in another moment, I sank Queen of the Fairies, in lace and silhalf smothered among eider-down and ver; while the remaining three had pink velvet.
chosen court-beauties of past centu“We are not only glad to see you, ries. A choice of characters, however, but you have come very opportunely: was an easy matter, compared with a You can give us some advice," observed choice of dresses—so, at least, I discovthe beautiful Laura.
ered on this occasion. The boudoir “ Legal advice ? All my little knowl. was soon in a perfect
bubbub of girlish edge and experience shall revive in flutter and chatter. The novelty of the your behalf.”
thing amused me exceedingly; from the “Oh, this is a question more inter- dusty law-office in Nassau street, or esting than anything in your stupid the turnip-field at the Stumpery, the law-books—"
change was great indeed! The young “ The choice of a new novel, perhaps, ladies looked charmingly, and I scarcefor the morning reading ?”
ly knew when to admire them most, “Oh no; we always read the last whether in their elegant Parisian mornnovel, good, bad, or, indifferent. If it is ing-dresses, or in the brilliant magnifinow, you know, that is all one cares for cence of the costumes preparing for the in a story."
fête. Sparkling eyes were gleaming “ How, then, can I serve you? Is on me, rosy lips were smiling in every Monmouth ailing ?" I inquired, looking direction, as I sat there enthroned in down at the little King Charles lying the velvet chair, arbiter elegantiarum. at her feet, on a velvet cushion embroi- Never had I seen these young creadered with Roman pearls.
tures in greater beauty, or more charm“No, thank you ; the little darling ingly animated, the eagerness of discusis quite well to-day. It is on a point sion, as one piece of lace or ribbon after of taste that I wish to consult you." another passed from hand to hand, "My taste is highly flattered ! In
brought out more variety of expression what department of aesthetics, pray, is than I bad hitherto believed to exist in its nicety to be tried ?"
some of those pretty faces. It soon be“ Nothing of that kind ; it is a ques- came evident that Laura was the ruling spirit; to her decision, as to a court of Queen of the Fairies—the upper robe appeals, all was finally referred. Olivia being gauze-fell short by half a yard might have an exquisite eye for colors, of the necessary quantity! Julia was the most knowing in laces, "Ob! oh! ob! What shall I do, Carrie was strong on trimmings, still it my dear cousin Tom! Only think, full was Laura who held the casting vote, half a yard wanting! And such a lovewho pronounced the final decision on ly tissue, the only piece in town, too !" every point. There was a depth of exclaimed the rosy-lipped Emma, every knowledge, a fund of experience and dimple gone, and a frown of horror ap
a observation, in the lightest of her com- pearing on her beautiful brow. I had ments on these important subjects, that heard of cutting a coat according to excited my admiration. There was the cloth,” and suggested that possibly science in the disposition of every knot a skirt might be managed in the same of ribbon, of each bit of fringe. The way. I wish you could have seen Misses Frippery, as Olivia observed to Laura's expression, it was sublime in me, were generally considered the very its contempt for an utterly unworthy best dressers in New York ; but while sentiment. Rachel might have envied the public at large could judge of gene- it. ral effects only, it was for me, lucky “Never! With my consent, never !" dog, introduced behind the scenes, free she exclaimed emphatically. • Never of the green-room as it were, to watch shorten a skirt, or narrow it one half the gradual progress and development inch beyond the best fashion of the of this branch of high art.
hour! Don't think of it, if
love A very agreeable morning I had, at me, Emma. Rather give up the whole this first introduction to the boudoir, dress and character at once. I should we laughed, and flirted, and chatted, die of mortification at seeing a sister weighed, and measured, and pondered, of mine in anything skimped!" and reflected—the fair creatures made Emma gave a deep sigh of despair, themselves very merry over my igno- in which we all sympathized. The rance, which was indeed lamentable, French dress-maker, however, advancwhere silks and laces were concerned, ing from the group of assistants, but, thanks to a severe lesson from Julia somewhat relieved our anxiety : “Le and Emma, I was taught to distinguish chagrin de mademoiselle est vraiment between Honiton and Valenciennes, touchant !" she observed, adding that during the course of the morning. possibly a few yards of the same mate
Our next day's séance was a protract- rial might still be found at Charleston, ed one, and very arduous indeed. We where a piece had been sent by their were thrown into great dismay and house a month earlier. Instantly those agitation on several points of the last useful institutions of modern times, teleimportance. The piece of silver tissue graph, express, and post-office, were put destined to form the under skirt of the in requisition, to supply the missing
breadth for the Fairy Queen's robe, ditional annoyances were also experiand we breathed more freely.
enced, on this occasion, with regard to But a severe trial awaited Laura, too. promised fan, surpassingly beautiful, “Night" was to appear in a black vel. intended to complete the costume of vet robe, garnished with black lace and Nell Gwynn, represented by Helen, and diamonds lace and diamonds were al- a huge old-fashioned watch and pocketready provided; both, it is needless to glass required to finish the dress of say, of the richest fabric and the purest Olivia, who was to appear as Marguewater. A magnificent piece of velvet rite de Valois. If the choice of these had been seen at Beck's a day or two last characters should surprise the readearlier, and, with her usual decision, er, let him not confess the sensation. Laura had instantly ordered it home; “Nonsense, Tom, we mean no harm. but the order had most unaccountably What are the characters to us? The been misunderstood; no velvet appear- dress, as you very well know, is all we ed, and to-day the mortifying intelli- care for, and we have set our hearts on gence arrived that some lady, on a these very costumes. You are altoshopping excursion from Baltimore, had gether too prudish at the Stumpery," carried off the entire piece. Conceive exclaimed Olivia, in reply to a very our just indignation if you can! That subdued and kind hint of mine on this an order so positively given, an order point. of Miss Frippery, should thus be neg- Hobbling into the boudoir the follected, was past comprehension. În lowing morning, I found the young ladies vain were all apologies and explanations engaged in a very animated discussion. -in vain were twenty pieces of very “ Berthe,” “bretelles," “ bretelles," rich velvets, from the principal ware- " berthe,” were the words which greetbouses in town, unrolled and displayed ; ed me, repeated over and over again, in the beauty was not to be appeased. True the usual tones of the sisters, whichto her noble feelings, she scorned even let me whisper the fact in the reader's to touch, with her taper finger, any in- ear-were often rather shrillish. ferior fabric. The lost piece was gener- " A berthe en caur, I assure you. ally admitted to have been unrivaled, Good-morning, Mr. Fairfax. Bretelles a richer velvet had never yet crossed spring from a higher point, and droop the ocean, and nothing, a shade less lower. Clearly a berthe à façon," obperfect, would Laura condescend to served the fair Laura, as I took a seat wear. It was impossible not to admire near her.
* A berthe à façon, trimmed Laura as she stood in tragic dignity the with næudlets—white satin naudlets, centre of a sympathizing circle; her with a pearl edge, a Tom Thumb tassel beautiful figure swelling with proud dis- drooping from each, and just touching pleasure ; her fine head turned in wrath the row of Honiton inserting, within towards the luckless apologizing clerk ; which ran a galon satiné, taste width !" her magnificent eyes flashing with in- “ Berthe," bretelles," " Honiton," dignation. Again the French lady came “ Tom Thumb tassels,” "neudlets," to our relief.
Send to Paris, she pro- " bretelles," " berthe,” “ Maltese," was posed. Six weeks must still elapse be- the rather confused chorus in which fore the fête of Madame
the other sisters joined. The last word weeks a velvet equally rich with that caught Laura's attention. mademoiselle had lost might arrive in “ Maltese! My dear Olivia, the 80New York. True, the time was short; cond row was Honiton!" true, also, that velvets of that highly “ Maltese,' Honiton, Honiton," superior quality were extremely rare " second row," " first row," " Maltese," even in Paris; still she felt convinced “ second row,” third row,” "Malthat, within six weeks, a piece, equally tese, Maltese," uttered the chorus. faultless with that now enriching the • You are certainly mistaken, Laura wardrobe of the Baltimore dame, might – the second row was Maltese, and the even be manufactured, and reach Thir. third Honiton,”-repeated Olivia again, tietb street in time for the great occa- with some decision. sion. This was tolerably satisfactory, “My dear Olivia ! where were your though a certain degree of anxiety must oyes! The second row was Honiton, still be felt. O, for the submarine tele- of a most delicate rose-bud pattern, the graph! Why was it not in activity for most perfect Honiton inserting I ever ihis our great emergency! Somo ad. beheld."