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er; but soon we hear the broad, quiet, mixed up with their nature, that they slow, and sure recommencement of the can be cheered by the thought that the rain. The river, if I mistake not, has sunshine will return ? or do they think, risen considerably during the day, and as I almost do, that there is to be no its current will acquire some degree of sunshine any more ? Very disconenergy
solate must they be among the dripping In this sombre weather, when some leaves; and when a single summer mortals almost forget that there ever makes so important a portion of their was any golden sunshine, or ever will lives, it seems hard that so much of it be any hereafter, others seem absolute- should be dissolved in rain. I, likely to radiate it from their own hearts wise, am greedy of the summer-days and minds. The gloom cannot per- for my own sake: the life of man does vade them; they conquer it, and drive not contain so many of them that one it quite out of their sphere, and create can be spared without regret. a moral rainbow of hope upon the blackest cloud. As for myself, I am little Tuesday, August 30th.--I was promother than a cloud at such seasons, but ised, in the midst of Sunday's rain, such persons contrive to make me a that Monday should be fair, and, besunny one, shining all through me. hold! the sun came back to us, and And thus, even without the support of a brought one of the most perfect days stated occupation, I survive these sul- ever made since Adam was driven out len days and am happy.
of Paradise. By the by, was there This morning we read the Sermon on ever any rain in Paradise? If so, how the Mount. In the course of the fore comfortless must Eve's bower have noon, the rain abated for a season, and been! It makes me shiver to think I went out and gathered some corn of it. Well, it seemed as if the world and summer-squashes, and picked up was newly created yesterday morning, the windfalls of apples and pears and and I beheld its birth; for I had risen peaches. Wet, wet, wet, - everything before the sun was over the hill, and was wet; the blades of the corn-stalks had gone forth to fish. How instanmoistened me; the wet grass soaked taneously did all dreariness and heavimy boots quite through ; the trees ness of the earth's spirit flit away bethrew their reserved showers upon my fore one smile of the beneficent sun! head; and soon the remorseless rain This proves that all gloom is but a began anew, and drove me into the dream and a shadow, and that cheerhouse. When shall we be able to walk fulness is the real truth. It requires again to the far hills, and plunge into many clouds, long brooding over us, to the deep woods, and gather more car- make us sad, but one gleam of sundinals along the river's margin? The shine always suffices to cheer up the track along which we trod is probably landscape. The banks of the river acunder water now. How inhospitable tually laughed when the sunshine fell Nature is during a rain! In the fer- upon them; and the river itself was vid heat of sunny days, she still retains alive and cheerful, and, by way of fun some degree of mercy for us; she and amusement, it had swept away has shady spots, whither the sun can- many wreaths of meadow-hay, and old, not come; but she provides no shelter rotten branches of trees, and all such against her storms. It makes one trumpery. These matters came floatshiver to think how dripping with wet ing downwards, whirling round and are those deep, umbrageous nooks, round in the eddies, or hastening onthose overshadowed banks, where we ward in the main current; and many of find such enjoyment during sultry af- them, before this time, have probably ternoons. And what becomes of the been carried into the Merrimack, and birds in such a soaking rain as this ? will be borne onward to the sea. The Is hope and an instinctive faith so spots where I stood to fish, on my
preceding excursion, were now under ed. Such were my observations as she water; and the tops of many of the approached through the scattered sunbushes, along the river's margin, bare- shine and shade of our long avenue, ly emerged from the stream. Large until, reaching the door, she gave a spaces of meadow are overflowed.
knock, and inquired for the lady of the There was a northwest wind through- house. Her manuscript contained a out the day; and as many clouds, the certificate, stating that the old woman remnants of departed gloom, were scat- was a widow from a foreign land, who tered about the sky, the breeze was had recently lost her son, and was now continually blowing them across the utterly destitute of friends and kindred, sun.
For the most part, they were and without means of support. Appendgone again in a moment; but some- ed to the certificate there was a list of times the shadow remained long enough names of people who had bestowed charto make me dread a return of sulky ity on her, with the amounts of their weather. Then would come the burst several donations, - none, as I recollect, of sunshine, making me feel as if a higher than twenty-five cents. Here is rainy day were henceforth an impossi- a strange life, and a character fit for bility. ...
romance and poetry. All the early In the afternoon Mr. Emerson called, part of her life, I suppose, and much bringing Mr.
He is a good sort of her widowhood were spent in the of humdrum parson enough, and well quiet of a home, with kinsfolk around fitted to increase the stock of manu- her, and children, and the life - long script sermons, of which there must be gossiping acquaintances that some a fearful quantity already in the world. women always create about them. Mr. -, however, is probably one of But in her decline she has wandered the best and most useful of his class, be- away from all these, and from her nacause no suspicion of the necessity of tive country itself, and is a vagrant, yet his profession, constituted as it now is, with something of the homeliness and to mankind, and of his own usefulness decency of aspect belonging to one and success in it, has hitherto dis- who has been a wife and mother, and turbed him; and therefore he labors has had a roof of her own above her with faith and confidence, as ministers head, — and, with all this, a wildness did a hundred years ago.
proper to her present life. I have a After the visitors were gone, I sat at liking for vagrants of all sorts, and the gallery window, looking down the never, that I know of, refused my mite avenue, and soon there appeared an to a wandering beggar, when I had elderly woman, a homely, decent old anything in my own pocket. There is so matron, dressed in a dark
and much wretchedness in the world, that with what seemed a manuscript book we may safely take the word of any morunder her arm. The wind sported tal professing to need our assistance; with her gown, and blew her veil across and even should we be deceived, still her face, and seemed to make game the good to ourselves resulting from of her, though on a nearer view she a kind act is worth more than the trifle looked like a sad old creature, with a by which we purchase it. It is desirapale, thin countenance, and somewhat ble, I think, that such persons should of a wild and wandering expression. be permitted to roam through our land She had a singular gait, reeling, as it of plenty, scattering the seeds of tenwere, and yet not quite reeling, from derness and charity, as birds of pasone side of the path to the other; go- sage bear the seeds of precious plants ing onward as if it were not much mat- from land to land, without even dreamter whether she went straight or crook- ing of the office which they perform.
THE CHIMNEY-CORNER FOR 1866.
HOW SHALL WE ENTERTAIN OUR COMPANY?
IE fact is," said Marianne, "we kid gloves and finery. Now there are
Bob don't our neighbors, the Browns. When they like to hear of it, but it must come. drop in of an evening, she knitting, We are in debt to everybody: we and he with the last article in the paper, have been invited everywhere, and she really comes out with a great deal never had anything like a party since of fresh, lively, earnest, original talk. we were married, and it won't do.” We have a good time, and I like her
“For my part, I hate parties," said so much that it quite verges on loving ; Bob. “They put your house all out of but see her in a party, when she maniorder, give all the women a sick-head- fests herself over five or six flounces ache, and all the men an indigestion; of pink silk and a perfect egg-froth of you never see anybody to any pur- tulle, her head adorned with a thicket pose; the girls look bewitched, and of craped hair and roses, and it is the women answer you at cross-pur- plain at first view that talking with her poses, and call you by the name of is quite out of the question. What has your next-door neighbor, in their agita- been done to her head on the outside tion of mind. We stay out beyond has evidently had some effect within, our usual bedtime, come home and for she is no longer the Mrs. Brown you find some baby crying, or child who knew in her every-day dress, but Mrs. has been sitting up till nobody knows Brown in a party state of mind, and too when; and the next morning, when I distracted to think of anything in parmust be at my office by eight, and ticular. She has a few words that she wife must attend to her children, we answers to everything you say, as, for are sleepy and headachy. I protest example, ‘O, very!'. Certainly !'How against making overtures to entrap extraordinary!' So happy to,' &c. The some hundred of my respectable mar- fact is, that she has come into a state ried friends into this snare which has in which any real communication with so often entangled me.
If I had my
her mind and character must be susway, I would never go to another par- pended till the party is over and she is ty; and as to giving one -- I suppose, rested. Now I like society, which is since my empress has declared her in
the reason why I hate parties.” tentions, that I shall be brought into “But you see,” said Marianne, doing it; but it shall be under protest.”
what are we
to do? Everybody “But, you see, we must keep up can't drop in to spend an evening with society,” said Marianne.
you. If it were not for these parties, " But I insist on it,” said Bob, “it there are quantities of your acquaintis n't keeping up society. What earth- ances whom you would never meet.” ly thing do you learn about people by “And of what use is it to meet them ? meeting them in a general crush, where Do you really know them any better all are coming, going, laughing, talking, for meeting them got up in unusual and looking at each other? No person dresses, and sitting down together of common sense ever puts forth any when the only thing exchanged is the idea he cares twopence about, under remark that it is hot or cold, or it such circumstances; all that is ex- rains, or it is dry, or any other patent changed is a certain set of common- surface-fact that answers the purpose places and platitudes which people of making believe you are talking when keep for parties, just as they do their neither of you is saying a word ? "
“Well, now, for my part,” said Ma- everything that is given at the other rianne, “I confess I like parties : they parties, or wherefore do we live? And
I come home feeling kind- caterers and waiters rack their brains er and better to people, just for the lit- to devise new forms of expense and extle I see of them when they are all travagance; and when the bill comes dressed up and in good humor with in, one is sure to feel that one is paying themselves. To be sure we don't say a great deal of money for a great deal anything very profound, - I don't think of nonsense. It is, in fact, worse than the most of us have anything very pro- nonsense, because our dear friends are found to say ; but I ask Mrs. Brown in half the cases, not only no better, but where she buys her lace, and she a great deal worse, for what they have tells me how she washes it, and some- eaten." body else tells me about her baby, “ But there is this advantage to soand promises me a new sack-pattern. ciety,” said Rudolph, —"it helps us Then I like to see the pretty, nice young physicians. What would the young girls flirting with the nice young physicians do if parties were abolished ? men ; and I like to be dressed up a Take all the colds that are caught by little myself, even if my finery is all our fair friends with low necks and old and many times made over. It short sleeves, all the troubles from does me good to be rubbed up and dancing in tight dresses and inhaling brightened."
bad air, and all the headaches and indi“ Like old silver,” said Bob.
gestions from the mélange of lobster“Yes, like old silver, precisely; and salad, two or three kinds of ice-cream, even if I do come home tired, it does cake, and coffee on delicate stomachs, my mind good to have that change of and our profession gets a degree of scene and faces. You men do not encouragement that is worthy to be know what it is to be tied to house and thought of.” nursery all day, and what a perfect “ But the question arises,” said my weariness and lassitude it often brings wife," whether there are not ways of on us women. For my part, I think promoting social feeling less expensive, parties are a beneficial institution of so- more simple and natural and rational. ciety, and that it is worth a good deal I am inclined to think that there are." of fatigue and trouble to get one up.” “Yes,” said Theophilus Thoro; “ for
“Then there's the expense,” said large parties are not, as a general Bob. “What earthly need is there thing, given with any wish or intenof a grand regale of oysters, chicken- tion of really improving our acquaintsalad, ice-creams, coffee, and cham- ance with our neighbors. pagne, between eleven and twelve cases they are openly and avowedly a o'clock at night, when no one of us general tribute paid at intervals to sowould ever think of wanting or taking ciety, for and in consideration of which any such articles upon our stomachs in you are to sit with closed blinds and our own homes? If we were all of us doors and be let alone for the rest of in the habit of having a regular repast
Mrs. Bogus, for instance, at that hour, it might be well enough lives to keep her house in order, her to enjoy one with our neighbor ; but closets locked, her silver counted and the party fare is generally just so much in the safe, and her china-closet in unin addition to the honest three meals disturbed order. Her “best things are which we have eaten during the day. put away with such admirable precisNow, to spend from fifty to one, two, ion, in so many wrappings and foldings, or three hundred dollars in giving all and secured with so many a twist and our friends an indigestion from a twine, that to get them out is one of the midnight meal, seems to me a very seven labors of Hercules, not to be poor investment. Yet if we once be- lightly or unadvisedly taken in hand, gin to give the party, we must have but reverently, discreetly, and once for
all, in an annual or biennial party. Then - great general pay-days of social says Mrs. Bogus, ' For Heaven's sake, debts, – but small, well-chosen circles let 's have every creature we can think of people, selected so thoughtfully, with of, and have 'em all over with at once. a view to the pleasure which congenial For pity's sake, let 's have no drib- persons give each other, as to make lets left that we shall have to be invit- the invitation an act of real personal ing to dinner or to tea. No matter kindness. She always manages to have whether they can come or not, - only something for the entertainment of her send them the invitation, and our part friends, so that they are not reduced to is done; and, thank Heaven! we shall the simple alternatives of gaping at be free for a year.'”
each other's dresses and eating lobster“ Yes," said
my a great stand- salad and ice-cream. There is either up party bears just the same relation some choice music, or a reading of fine towards the offer of real hospitality and poetry, or a well- acted charade, or a good-will as Miss Sally Brass's offer of portfolio of photographs and pictures, meat to the little hungry Marchioness, to enliven the hour and start conversawhen, with a bit uplifted on the end tion ; and as the people are skilfully of a fork, she addressed her, “Will you chosen with reference to each other, have this piece of meat? No? Well
, as there is no hurry or heat or confuthen, remember and don't say you sion, conversation, in its best sense, have n't had meat offered to you !' You can bubble up, fresh, genuine, clear, are invited to a general jam, at the risk and sparkling as a woodland spring, of your life and health ; and if you re- and one goes away really rested and fuse, don't say you have n't had hospi- refreshed. The slight entertainment tality offered to you. All our debts are provided is just enough to enable you wiped out and our slate clean ; now we to eat salt together in Arab fashion, will have our own closed doors, no not enough to form the leading feature company and no trouble, and our best of the evening. A cup of tea and a china shall repose undisturbed on its basket of cake, or a salver of ices, shelves. Mrs. Bogus says she never silently passed at quiet intervals, do could exist in the way that Mrs. Easy- not interrupt conversation or overload go does, with a constant drip of compa- the stomach." ny, — two or three to breakfast one “ The fact is,” said I, “that the art day, half a dozen to dinner the next, of society among us Anglo-Saxons is and little evening gatherings once or yet in its ruder stages.
We are not, as twice a week. It must keep her house a race, social and confiding, like the in confusion all the time; yet, for real French and Italians and Germans. We social feeling, real exchange of thought have a word for home, and our home is and opinion, there is more of it in often a moated grange, an island, a casone half-hour at Mrs. Easygo's than tle with its drawbridge up, cutting us in a dozen of Mrs. Bogus's great par
off from all but our own home-circle. ties.
In France and Germany and Italy there “ The fact is, that Mrs. Easygo really are the boulevards and public gardens, does like the society of human be- where people do their family living in ings. She is genuinely and heartily common. Mr. A is breakfasting under social; and, in consequence, though she one tree, with wife and children around,
limited means, and no money and Mr. B is breakfasting under another to spend in giving great entertainments, tree, hard by; and messages, nods, and her domestic establishment is a sort of smiles pass
backward and forward. social exchange, where more friendships Families see each other daily in these are formed, more real acquaintance public resorts, and exchange mutual ofmade, and more agreeable hours spent, fices of good-will. Perhaps from these than in any other place that can be customs of society come that naïve named. She never has large parties, simplicity and abandon which one re