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The butter is nauseating.
She has no other, and hopes you'll not raise a storm about butter a little turned. I think I see myself, ruminated I, sitting meekly at table, scarce daring to lift up my eyes, utterly fagged out with some quarrel of yesterday, choking down detestably sour muffins, that my wife thinks are "deliciousslipping in dried mouthfuls of burnt ham off the side of my forktines-slipping off my chair sideways at the end, and slipping out with my hat between my knees, to business, and never feeling myself a competent, sound-minded man till the oak door is between me and Peggy.
"Ha-ha! not yet!" said I, and in so earnest a tone that my dog started to his feet, cocked his eye to have a good look into my face, met my smile of triumph with an amiable wag of the tail, and curled up again in the corner.
Again, Peggy is rich enough, well enough, mild enough, only she doesn't care a fig for you. She has married you because father or grandfather thought the match eligible, and because she didn't wish to disoblige them. Besides, she didn't positively hate you, and thought you were a respectable enough young person; she has told you so repeatedly at dinner. She wonders you like to read poetry; she wishes you would buy her a good cook-book; and insists upon your making your will at the birth of the first baby.
She thinks Captain So-and-So a splendid-looking fellow, and wishes you would trim up a little, were it only for appearance' sake.
You need not hurry up from the office so early at night, she, bless her dear heart! does not feel lonely. You read to her a love tale: she interrupts the pathetic parts with directions to her seamstress. You read of marriages: she sighs, and asks if Captain So-and-So has left town. She hates to be mewed
up in a cottage, or between brick walls; she does so love the Springs!
But, again, Peggy loves you-at least she swears it, with her hand on "The Sorrows of Werter." She has pin-money which she spends for the "Literary World" and the "Friends in Council." She is not bad-looking, save a bit too much of forehead; nor is she sluttish, unless a negligé till three o'clock, and an ink-stain on the forefinger be sluttish; but then she is such a sad blue!
You never fancied, when you saw her buried in a three-volume novel, that it was anything more than a girlish vagary; and when she quoted Latin, you thought innocently that she had a capital memory for her samplers. But to be bored eternally about divine Dante and funny Goldoni is too bad. Your copy of Tasso, a treasure print of 1680, is all bethumbed and dog's-eared, and spotted with baby gruel. Even your Seneca-an Elzevir-is all sweaty with handling. She adores La Fontaine, reads Balzac with a kind of artist scowl, and will not let Greek alone.
You hint at broken rest and an aching head at breakfast, and she will fling you a scrap of Anthology-in lieu of the camphorbottle or chant the aiaî aiaî of tragic chorus.
The nurse is getting dinner; you are holding the baby; Peggy is reading Bruyère.
The fire smoked thick as pitch, and puffed out little clouds over the chimney-piece. I gave the fore-stick a kick, at the thought of Peggy, baby, and Bruyère.
Suddenly the flame flickered bluely athwart the smokecaught at a twig below-rolled round the mossy oak-sticktwined among the crackling tree-limbs-mounted-lit up the whole body of smoke, and blazed out cheerily and bright. Doubt vanished with smoke, and hope began with flame.
A YEAR or two since, a weekly paper was started in London called the Illustrated News. It was filled with tolerably executed woodcuts, representing scenes of popular interest; and though perhaps better calculated for the nursery than the reading-room, it took very well in England, where few can read but all can understand pictures, and soon attained immense circulation. As when the inimitable London Punch attained its world-wide celebrity, supported by such writers as Thackeray, Jerrold, and Hood, would-be funny men on this side of the Atlantic attempted absurd imitations-the Yankee Doodle, the John Donkey, etc.—which as a matter of course proved miserable failures; so did the success of this illustrated affair inspire our money-loving publishers with hopes of dollars, and soon appeared from Boston, New York, and other places pictorial and illustrated newspapers, teeming with execrable and silly effusions, and filled with the most fearful wood-engravings, "got up regardless of expense" or anything else; the contemplation of which was enough to make an artist tear his hair and rend his garments. A Yankee named Gleason, of Boston, published the first, we believe, calling it Gleason's Pictorial (it should have been Gleason's Pickpocket) and Drawing-Room Companion. In this he presented to his unhappy subscribers views of his house in the country, and his garden, and, for aught we know, of "his ox and his ass, and the stranger within his gates." A detestable invention for transferring daguerreotypes to plates for engraving, having
come into notice about this time, was eagerly seized upon by Gleason for further embellishing his catchpenny publication -duplicates and uncalled-for pictures were easily obtained, and many a man has gazed in horror-stricken astonishment on the likeness of a respected friend as a "Portrait of Monroe Edwards," or that of his deceased grandmother in the character of "One of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence." They love pictures in Yankeedom; every tin-pedler has one on his wagon, and an itinerant lecturer can always obtain an audience by sticking up a likeness of some unhappy female, with her ribs laid open in an impossible manner, for public inspection, or a hairless gentleman, with the surface of his head laid out in eligible lots duly marked and numbered. The factory girls of Lowell, the professors of Harvard, all bought the new Pictorial. (Professor Webster was reading one when Doctor Parkman called on him on the morning of the murder.) Gleason's speculation was crowned with success, and he bought himself a new cooking-stove, and erected an outbuilding on his estate, with both of which he favored the public in a new woodcut immediately.
Inspired by his success, old Feejee-Mermaid-Tom-ThumbWoolly-Horse-Joyce-Heth-Barnum forthwith got out another illustrated weekly, with pictures far more extensive, letterpress still sillier, and engravings more miserable, if possible, than Yankee Gleason's. And then we were bored and buffeted by having incredible likenesses of Santa Anna, Queen Victoria and poor old Webster thrust beneath our nose, to that degree that we wished the respected originals had never existed, or that the art of wood-engraving had perished with that of painting on glass.
It was, therefore, with the most intense delight that we saw a notice the other day of the failure and stoppage of Barnum's
Illustrated News; we rejoiced thereat greatly, and we hope that it will never be revived, and that Gleason will also fail as soon as he conveniently can, and that his trashy Pictorial will perish with it.
It must not be supposed from the tenor of these remarks that we are opposed to the publication of a properly conducted and creditably executed illustrated paper. "On the contrary, quite the reverse." We are passionately fond of art ourselves, and we believe that nothing can have a stronger tendency to refinement in society than presenting to the public chaste and elaborate engravings, copies of works of high artistic merit, accompanied by graphic and well-written essays. It was for the purpose of introducing a paper containing these features to our appreciative community that we have made these introductory remarks, and for the purpose of challenging comparison, and defying competition, that we have criticized so severely the imbecile and ephemeral productions mentioned above. At a vast expenditure of money, time, and labor, and after the most incredible and unheard-of exertion on our part, individually, we are at length able to present to the public an illustrated publication of unprecedented merit, containing engravings of exceeding costliness and rare beauty of design, got up on an expensive scale which never has been attempted before in this or any other country.
We furnish our readers this week with the first number, merely premising that the immense expense attending its issue will require a corresponding liberality of patronage on the part of the Public, to cause it to be continued.