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in some lighter colour would have raised more mirth at my expense, than the anomaly had created censure. But I could perceive that the bride's mother, and some elderly ladies present (God bless them !) would have been well content, if I had come in any
other colour than that. But I got over the omen by a lucky apologue, which I remembered out of Pilpay, or some Indian author, of all the birds being invited to the linnets' wedding, at which, when all the rest came in their gayest feathers, the raven alone apologised for his cloak because “ he had no other.” This tolerably reconciled the elders.
But with the young people all was merriment, and shaking of hands, and congratulations, and kissing away the bride's tears, and kissings from her in return, till a young lady, who assumed
ssumed some experience in these matters, having worn the nuptial bands some four or five weeks longer than her friend, rescued her, archly observing, with half an eye upon the bridegroom, that at this rate she would have 1 left.”
My friend the admiral was in fine wig and buckle on this occasion-a striking contrast to his usual neglect of personal appearance.
He did not once shove up his borrowed locks (his custom ever at his morning studies) to betray the few grey stragglers of
beneath them. He wore an aspect of thoughtful satisfaction. I trembled for the hour, which at length approached, when after a protracted breakfast of three hours—if stores of cold fowls, tongues, hams, botargoes, dried fruits, wines, cordials, &c., can deserve so meagre an appellation-the coach was announced, which was come to carry off the bride and bridegroom for a season (as custom has sensibly ordained) into the country; upon which design, wishing them a felicitous journey, let us return to the assembled guests.
As when a well-graced actor leaves the stage,
so idly did we bend our eyes upon one another, when the chief performers in the morning's pageant had vanished. None told his tale. None sipped her glass. The poor Admiral made an effort-it was not much. I had anticipated so far. Even the infinity of full satisfaction, that had betrayed itself through the prim looks and quiet deportment of his lady, began to wane into something of misgiving. No one knew whether to take their leaves or stay. We seemed assembled upon a silly occasion. În
In this crisis, betwixt tarrying and departure, I must do justice to a foolish talent of mine, which had otherwise like to have brought me into disgrace in the fore-part of the day ; I mean a power, in any emergency, of thinking and giving vent to all manner of strange nonsense. In this awkward dilemma I found it sovereign. I rattled off some of my most excellent absurdities. All were willing to be relieved, at any expense of reason, from the pressure of the intolerable vacuum which had succeeded to the morning bustle. By this means I was fortunate in keeping together the better part of the company to a late hour: and a rubber of whist (the Admiral's favourite game) with some rare strokes of chance as well as skill, which came opportunely on his side-lengthened out till midnight--dismissed the old gentleman at last to his bed with comparatively easy spirits.
I have been at my old friend's various times since. I do not know a visiting place where every guest is so perfectly at his ease ; nowhere, where harmony is so strangely the result of confusion. Every body is at cross purposes, yet the effect is so much better than uniformity. Contradictory orders; servants pulling one way ; master and mistress driving some
other, yet both diverse; visitors huddled up in corners ; chairs unsymmetrised ; candles disposed by chance ; meals at odd hours, tea and supper at once, or the latter preceding the former ; the host and the guest conferring, yet each upon a different topic, each understanding himself, neither trying to understand or hear the other; draughts and politics, chess and political economy, cards and conversation on nautical matters, going on at once, without the hope, or indeed the wish, of distinguishing them, make it altogether the most perfect concordia discors you shall meet with. Yet somehow the old house is not quite what it should be. The Admiral still enjoys his pipe, but he has no Miss Emily to fill it for him. The instrument stands where it stood, but she is gone, whose delicate touch could sometimes for a short minute appease the warring elements. He has learnt, as Marvel expresses it, to make his destiny his choice.” He bears bravely up, but he does not come out with his flashes of wild wit so thick as formerly. His sea songs seldomer escape him. His wife, too, looks as if she wanted some younger body to scold and set to rights. We all miss a junior presence. It is wonderful how one young maiden freshens up, and
, keeps green, the paternal roof. Old and young seem to have an interest in her, so long as she is not absolutely disposed of. The youthfulness of the house is flown. Emily is married.
CHANCED upon the prettiest, oddest, fantas
tical thing of a dream the other night, that you shall hear of. I had been reading the “Loves of the Angels,” and went to bed with my head full of speculations, suggested by that extraordinary legend. It had given birth to innumerable conjectures; and, I remember, the last waking thought, which I gave expression to on my pillow, was a sort of wonder < what could come of it."
I was suddenly transported, how or whither I could scarcely make out—but to some celestial region. It was not the real heavens neither—not the downright Bible heaven-but a kind of fairyland heaven, about which a poor human fancy may have leave to sport and air itself, I will hope, without presumption.
Methought—what wild things dreams are !-I was present—at what would you imagine ?—at an angel's gossiping.
Whence it came, or how it came, or who bid it come, or whether it came purely out of its own head, neither you nor I know—but there lay, sure enough, wrapt in its little cloudy swaddling bands a Child Angel.
Sun-threads - filmy beams - ran through the celestial napery of what seemed its princely cradle. All the winged orders hovered round, watching when the new-born should open its yet closed eyes; which, when it did, first one, and then the other—with a solicitude and apprehension, yet not such as, stained with fear, dim the expanding eye-lids of mortal infants, but as if to explore its path in those its unhereditary palaces—what an inextinguishable titter that time spared not celestial visages ! Nor wanted there to my seeming-O the inexplicable simpleness of dreams !-bowls of that cheering nectar,
-which mortals caudle call below.
Nor were wanting faces of female ministrants,stricken in years, as it might seem,—so dexterous were those heavenly attendants to counterfeit kindly similitudes of earth, to greet, with terrestrial childrites the young present, which earth had made to heaven.
Then were celestial harpings heard, not in full symphony as those by which the spheres are tutored ; but, as loudest instruments on earth speak oftentimes, muffed ; so to accommodate their sound the better to the weak ears of the imperfect-born. And, with the noise of those subdued soundings, the Angelet sprang forth, fluttering its rudiments of pinions—but forthwith fagged and was recovered into the arms of those full-winged angels. And a wonder it was to see how, as years went round in heaven—a year in dreams is as a day—continually its white shoulders put forth buds of wings, but, wanting the perfect angelic nutriment, anon was shorn of its aspiring, and fell Auttering-still caught by angel hands—for ever to put forth shoots, and to fall fluttering,