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ON THE STAIRS.
(WITH AN ILLUSTRATION.)
AWAY from the lights and the dancers
Away from the heat and the crowd:
Let us talk where our questions and answers Need scarcely be uttered aloud.
A question may well be unmeaning—
An answer may well be absurd
When some crash of the waltz intervening Leaves question and answer unheard.
Permit me to try and contrive you
A little settee on the stair;
I imagine the change will revive you-
In June. May I fetch you an ice?
This news from abroad is alarming ;-
Oh, Ilma de Murska was charming
I fear that the Drama's declining;
Well, the best of the season is over,— "Twill be a relief, I declare,
To hurry to Folkestone or Dover
En route for-one doesn't mind where!
I started last year, I remember,
Some weeks before Fashion took flight; Then-just at the end of SeptemberYour carriage already?-Good-night!
CAUGHT AT LAST.
THAT'S in a name?' asks the
poet-'a rose by any other name,' &c.; and yet, there has been a difference of opinion on the subject. Jonathan Bugg thought he should smell sweeter as Norfolk Howard; while as for myself-the humble writer of this story-I attribute the greatest misfortune of my life, by a roundabout way of reasoning, to being called 'Johnny.' My name has always been' Johnny,' and I think my nature, so to speak, gradually grew Johnnish; for didn't every 'Jack' of my boyish days naturally hold a high hand over a Johnny? Petticoat government was the absolute monarchy by which I was governed. My father died before I could lisp; and my mother (with the best of intentions, doubtless), had old-established rules on the subject of education. Dr. Watts was her demigod; and though, in the primeval times in which that gentleman lived, when the rose was 'the glory of April and May!' he may have served as a sort of forcingbox for the young, yet now-a-days nature grows better by itself, even though the roses are delayed till June. Train up a child in the way he should go,' says the wisest of men. Here again my mother thought she understood the wisest of men thoroughly; only unfortunately her idea of the way to be gone in was so narrow, that it was a moral impossibility for any one to walk in it. My early youth, therefore, was a series of deviations from, and draggings back into my mother's 'way,' -she vigorously compressing her petticoats, lest in getting me back she should wander a step out of it herself. Birds'-nesting was not in this way-indeed it would be easier to say what was not in it than what was, it being a path of the barest. I only say this to show the system on which I was nourished, and by which I came through my college career (at St. Bees) in my mother's eyes triumphant.
I was ordained, and was going down to my first curacy in a small country village, where my mother
thought I should encounter fewer of those snares she dreaded for me than in a town.
'Good-bye, my dear boy!' said she, with a tear in each eye. 'I shall come and see you by-and-by. Heaven bless you!-and do see that the sheets are aired.'
This was pleasant. My hat-box was inside the carriage, which contained both a young and old lady; my foot on the step.
My mother, in losing me, lost all consciousness of any one else the train might hold. I blushed to my hair, stumbled over my hat-box, and felt in the first stage of infancy as the train moved on with me to my first curacy.
It was not till some stations had been passed that I glanced up at my travelling companions.
I had had a vague consciousness of the young lady suppressing a laugh as I entered, that was all.
Still I was a man, though shy and nervous; so I looked at the young one first. A pretty girl, with golden hair knotted up under a small round hat, that my mother I would have condemned at once as unfeminine- and yet the small, rather pouting mouth, was very womanly. She looked alive for amusement, and dissatisfied with her materials.
Leaving myself out of the question, the materials weren't promising. Her companion was a tall, gaunt, bony woman, with a severe expression. Her eyes were closed, and on her knee there rested a speaking-trumpet. After looking, there seemed nothing more for me to do, and I turned my eyes upon the fields and trees we were passing. The young lady, however, was of the opinion that as Mahomet would not go to the mountain, as was natural, the mountain could go to Mahomet.
'Would you like to see " Punch"?" she asked; and, though I doubted the propriety of the proceeding with our chaperon asleep, and thought the mice disposed to play too much, with the cat away, yet I