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And now reader, I have brought you, after a tedious narrative, to where we started from-poor Annie Medway's grave; and if by chance you ever pass that way, point not with scorn to mark her last abode—but rather drop a tear of pity for her sake, in hope that it may help to wash her garments white, and look with lenient eye upon her frailty, remembering that she was more sinned against than sinningthat her simplicity became her sin-her very innocence was cause of guilt, and that her fault—if fault it was-was this, she loved, not wisely, but too well.
BY ONE OF THEMSELVES.
It is astonishing to observe how impressions are produced on the common-place mind, which, on a more refined one would be totally different ; in other words, how differently the mind is affected by impressions from without, according to the culture and discipline of the faculties within. In saying this, we are not losing sight of the fact that of course the mind is in a great measure affected by certain qualities which exist irrespective of the influences of education, though beyond doubt much under its control; among these, the emotions may be safely classified.
The common occurrences of every-day life affect all mnen more or less, since Nature, in polishing off the human family can scarcely be supposed to have had much concern for the probable occupations and stations to be assumed by her chil.. dren ; but those whose minds are not strung up to the necessary pitch of accomplishment which enables them tothink patiently and reflect calmly and dispassionately on those casualties which may suddenly come upon them, are the persons whom we are desirous of typifying in the present paper, knowing that the class is one of the most comprehensive description. Our As might be expected, Mrs. Jones kept strict watch and ward on the premises of Mr. and Mrs. Forbes ; not a being could enter or leave between sunrise and sunset, without her knowledge ; she was now engaged, as she fancied herself, in the cause of her country, and her vigilance was unceasing,
One day a hamper arrived, carried to the door by a suspicious-looking character, he entered the hall, but fortunately the door was left open. Mrs. Jones strained her eyes to the utmost, the hamper unpacked, the straw removed, and lo! a number of short black articles like hand grenades were brought. forth. The secret was discovered ; but with unexampled prudence she called her maid Betty to run and see what they were. Betty flew to inspect the dreadful instruments of destruction, when lo! she discovered sundry bottles of wine ranged in the passage.
The wine was followed by sundry articles of a similarly destructive character, the destruction being, like Polonius at supper, on their own proper persons ; and Mrs. Jones was at length relieved from her dreadful state of suspense. relief was only temporary; she had discovered that Mr. Forbes was not contemplating the reduction of Barnsbury Park to ashes, but merely the giving of an entertainment to some of his friends, but for whom was this entertainment? who shall be there ? now opened to her enquiring genius, and Mrs. Jones
on the rack.” During all this time, Mr. and Mrs. Forbes were little aware of the sensation they were creating in Barnsbury Park, and never dreamed that their forthcoming entertainment had given rise to so many rumours and such dreadful anticipations. They contemplated, it is true, giving their friends and neighbours a surprise, but of a very different character from that which they had inflicted on them ; hence the mystery which Mrs. Jones was unable to unveil for such a length of time, and hence the anticipated conflicts of the members of the Apollo club at the Grapes.
Mr. and Mrs. Forbes were about bringing their eldest daughter home from school; they were preparing, for her reception, a grand entertainment to their friends on the occasion; they had been repairing, painting, and papering their state-rooms, and were now preparing the more tangible necessaries ; but this they sought to accomplish in secret, without their neighbours knowing a word about it, so that they might burst upon them in all their glory, and astound them by the
was once more
magnificence of their entertainment. With this view, the carpenters, painters, &c., &c., were compelled to enter at the rear of the premises, so that Mrs. Jones lost sight of them at the corner of the street adjoining Mr. Forbes's residence, and being thus unable to trace them to their destination, conjured up, in her fertile imagination, an attack on the district of Barnsbury Park, by the revolutionists of the day.
The Misses Miggles kept an Establishment for Young Ladies. The Retreat-for that was the name of the establishment, was to be found between Hampstead and Highgate, and was, of course, as those places always are, situated in a most healthy spot, commanding a most extensive view of everywhere there was a large garden for the pupils (to play in, the walks in the neighbourhood were lovely and invigorating, there was every convenience for everything, and masters into the bargain. At least so said the circulars, and so said the Miggles', when applied to by Mr. and Mrs. Forbes when that worthy couple applied for information as to whether there was a
vacancy. Now an advertisement in the Times had stated that there were two, but in reality there were ten, for it was always a leading principle with the Misses Miggles to assume a certain aristocraticality of inanner which they thought imposing:
There was some little disparity in point of years between the two schoolmistresses. Miss Miggles was of mature ageindeed she had attained that staid sort of crustiness of manner which attracted the admiration of mamas, and her years had got so far the better of her that she seriously thought of calling herself “Mrs.” although she was not legally entitled to that honourable prefix, never having entered the holy state of matrimony. Miss Miggles was certainly an intelligent person, and had not lived half a century in vaini, It had been her misfortune to be thwarted in early life in an affair of love; in the extremity of her anguish she vowed eternal celibacy as the only means of being out of the reach of the faithlessness of man, and she had kept her vow.
Miss Jemima Miggles, however, had entered into no such bond, nor did she contemplate any i'esolve of thiě kind. Younger than her sister by some fifteen years, Miss Jemima had all the vivacity peculiar to a cheerful and almost amiable disposition. She was pleasing, though perhaps not handsome, and as regards the perfections peculiar to her day, she might be considered accomplished. The two sisters agreed very well together, the prudishness of the one counteracting the exuberant vivacity of the other, while the cheerfulness of the younger seemed as it were to some extent to antagonise the acerbity of the elder.
It had been the great object of the Misses Miggles' existence to introduce into the discipline adopted at The Retreat such principles as could not fail to ensure the advancement of the pupil in study, and at the same time, by strictly pursuing a steady system of moral training, to promote the happiness of the young and tender mind. Their advertisements said so
-their circulars said so; and these documents were so successfully worded, that the most scrutinising reader would scarcely suppose that the Misses Miggles ever intended anything but what was intended for the advancement of mankind generally in happiness and improvement, and that the absurd sum of twenty-five pounds per annum for young ladies under sixteen --who must also bring a silver fork, spoon, and six towelswas a mere secondary consideration. Masters were extras, of course ; and although Miss Jemima taught music exclusively, she was considered as good as a master, and the item was charged in the bill accordingly.
But the grand leading principle which the Misses Miggles attributed to themselves was, the avoidance of anything like coercion, and the substitution of such treatment as would, in the opinion of the Misses Miggles, lead to the attainment of the desired end, without recourse to extremities. This consisted in allowing all the pupils to have their own way as much as they liked. This involved many things that were unpleasant; but the pupils themselves were so delighted with that kind of treatment that they all unanimously cried when the holidays came, knowing that they would be placed under much greater restraint at home than at the Retreat. But the principle was good, as far as regarded the Misses Miggles; for the account given of the Retreat was such as to induce fond parents to believe that their children were so happy it would be a pity to remove them, and that perhaps they would improve more next half year.
The time at which we are desirous to introduce the reader to the Retreat is the festive season of Christmas, when the vacation is about to commence. There is a great bustle from the top of the house to the bottom. 'Young ladies of all ages from six to sixteen are tearing up and down stairs in a most riotous manner, screaming from one landing to the other after the servants, to whom they apply some playful little sobriquet of their own; the rooms, without an exception, are in the greatest disorder, the sorting and packing up of the clothes all being done on the bare floors and the bits of carpet kicked up in every direction. Square spotted-paper trunks stand open here and there, some half filled and others crammed to excess, whilst others have been very carefully packed and left, without being locked, just long enough for some playful pupil to kick over and run away.
Some pupils are going away that day, others are going to stop a few days longer in order to be present at the little breaking-up ball which the Misses Miggles always make a point of giving, more perhaps with a view of showing off the proficiency of some pupils in the art of dancing, as well perhaps as to give parents generally an insight into the comforts of the Retreat. Such papas and mamas as are within reach are invited, and more particularly those whose children are considered most proficient and who are likely to be shown off to the greatest advantage.
The drawing-room—which is only used as a reception room for parents enquiring the terms of the Retreat-is beautifully furnished, and is, of course, laid out to every possible advantage ; the covers are pulled off the sofa, the ottomans and chair-bottoms; wax candles are thrust into the hands of bronze maidens standing on pedestals in the corner of the room, and also into the glass shades at each end of the mantel-piece ; and all the other numberless little adornments to match are carefully brought into requisition.
Pea and muffins for thirty are ordered at five, but as every thing is of course left till the last, nobody is dressed to receive the company except Miss Miggles, who is found sitting by herself, reading “Burke on the Sublime,' her head bedizened with a huge turban of black velvet trimmed with gold lace, a black satinet dress with full sleeves, black satin shoes and sandals, and mittens to match.
Mr. and Mrs. Doodle arrive. Miss Miggles does not rise from her seat till they are actually in the room when she welcomes them, remarks how cold it is, bids them draw closer to the fire, and says the little folks will be down directly. The “ little folks” arrive by instalments, all dressed alike in bookmuslins, with short sleeves, pink sashes, and satin shoes,