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THE VILLAGE GATHERING.

An advertisement "of the size of a bed-quilt,” as Nimrod remarked, gave promise of a show unparalleled in village annals ; and life, and spirit, and sleepless nights pressed heavily upon the nervous system of many an anxious inhabitant in the village and in the regions round about. The eve of the long-looked for day was closing in, with the rumbling of distant thunder, that, with poetic license, might have been mistaken for the roar of the enraged lion.

At length the advanced guard of the caravan, consisting of four lumbering wagons, arrived with the tents and camp equipage of the menagerie. The interest that seemed to cluster the populace around the rude machinery in preparation for the exhibition, bid fair for a bright gala-day on the morrow. The grave, as well as those of gay humours, the aged, as well as the juvenile, the fair, with the ruder members of the human family, wondered if the animals would certainly come, rain or shine !! On the morning of the great day, the elements burst upon the excited multitude with gusts of thunder, and rain, and flashes of vivid lightning that pressed down the elastic spirits of a multitude of hope-inspired beings. At length the cloud passed over, and the main body of the caravan appeared. The tide of spectators now began to pour in from the country, by every road that diverged from the village. When will the show begin?" was anxiously uttered by a thousand tremulous organs of speech. At length the music within the wings of the great pavilion struck up “ Jenny, put the kettle on," and a mighty rush was made towards the door of entrance. This office of discount and deposite, made up of the great disbursing community and the receivers of public money, practically tested the value of a good sound currency. The interior of the pavilion contained all of ugliness, ferocity, and bad taste in animated nature that could be concentrated in so small a compass, except the exhibition of capital punishment, and a monster with two heads, or one with fifty per cent. advance on the ordinary complement of legs. As the elephant, in his native nakedness, was led out, followed by his hump-backed countryman, the dromedary, even the Shetland pony pricked his ears in scorn at the deformity of these Africans ; and an old Congo negro was heard to mutter, “ No wonder nigger born ugly in dat country, what produce such homely beast.” It was a bad morning for snaking, and the torpor of the boa constrictor was easily accounted for: The snake-man" was ill at ease when the reptile was twining himself around his person, and seemed as much disposed to make a contusion on his head as the serpent did to bruise his heel. The little slop-shop clad baboon waggishly pulled up his shirt-collar, as the lean old lion, who was travel worn, like an ancient mail-carrier, was required to 'roar; and the chattering little monkey laughed out at the abortive effort he was finally forced to make, for the sound was like an indifferent cross between a base-drum and a tambarine. “Show your beauty-spots !” exclaimed the keeper of the hyena; and the leopard rose up, as much as to say, “ Did you speak to

sir ?" The hyena snarled an ill-natured response to the caution the keeper had given, while the ferocious animal seemed brooding in carnivorous imagination over a battle-field all spotted with bones and half-peeled sculls. At this stage of the exhibition, the zebra, which had been freshly painted for the occasion, strutted up and down the promenade, and a facetious grocer offered the elephant a cigar,

The horned horse, like a poor country cousin amid his town kindred, now thrust himself into good society, in an audacious attempt to match himself alongside the Shetland pony. The whip cracked, and round flew the equestrian monkey, leave ing horney far in the distance. At this moment an old, bearded, drunkard-looking goat was seen claiming kin with the horned horse ; while the dromedary having offered a passing salutation to an acquaintance in a cage, the lama was observed to spit in

me,

his philosophic face. The gentleman from Africa bore the affront with dromedary fortitude, and, humping onward, trod on the tail of a monkey, by way of reprisal. The music, consisting of a cracked violin with three good strings, and a broken base, a clarinet, dangerously ill with influenza, and the basest of all base-drums, struck up Mrs. Trollope's march, as an accompaniment to the roar of the lion, that had been made more ferocious by the answering echo from the musical throat of a stray ass.

The stage-manager of the Varmint Theatre now came for. ward with an apology for the ill manners of his monkeys, the absence of the kangaroo, a “ bran new" panther, and two likely catamounts from Wisconsin, all of them having been detained by indisposition. He returned thanks to the multitude for their patronage. He then locked up the snake, the great coil of attraction, and put the key in his breeches pocket. The multitude now departed in peace, animated with the music of the bugler, who was answered by a peacock on a garden fence in corresponding tasteful execution.

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