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bow Fairies shone bright, as she approached them, and they lowered their wands, and sung, as they flew away—
Mortal, pass on,
And now every footstep was on flowers, that yielded beneath their feet, as if their pathway had been upon a cloud. The delicious fragrance could almost be felt, yet it did not oppress the senses with its heaviness; and loud, clear, and liquid, came the sound of the waters as they fell in music. And now the cascade is seen leaping and sparkling over crystal rocks—a rainbow arch rests above it, like a perpetual halo; the spray falls in pearls, and forms fantastic foliage about the margin of the fountain. It has touched the webs woven among the grass, and they have become pearl-embroidered cloaks for the Fairy Queen. Deep and silent, below the foam, is the Immortal Fountain! Its amber coloured waves flow over a golden bed; and as the fairies bathe in it, the diamonds in their hair glance like sunbeams on the waters.
"Oh let me bathe in the Fountain!" cried Marion, clasping her hands in delight. " Not yet,"said the Queen. "Behold the Purple Fairies with golden wands that guard its brink!" Marion looked, and saw beings far lovelier than any her eye had ever rested on. "You cannot pass them yet," said the Queen. Go home—For one year drive away all evil feelings, not for the sake of bathing in the fountain, but because goodness is lovely and desirable for its own sake. Purify the inward motive, and your work is done."
This was the hardest task of all. For she had been willing to be good, not because it was right to be good, but because she had wished to be beautiful. Three times she sought the grotto, and three times she left it in tears; for the golden specks grew dimat her approach, and the golden wands were still crossed, to shut her from the Immortal Fountain. The fourth time she prevailed. The Purple Fairies lowered their wands, singing,
Thou haot scaled the mountain,
Marion was about to plunge in; but the Queen touched her saying, " Look into the mirror of the waters. Art thou not already as beautiful as heart can wish?"
Marion looked at herself, and she saw that her eye sparkled with new lustre, that a bright colour shone through her cheeks, and dimples played sweetly about her mouth. "I have not touched the Immortal Fountain," saidshe, turning in surprise to the Queen. "True," replied the Queen; "but its waters have been within your soul. Know that a pure heart and clean conscience are the only Immortal Fountain of Beauty."
When Marion returned, Rose clasped her to her bosom, and kissed her fervently. "I knowall," said she; "though I have notasked you a question. I have been in Fairy-land, disguised as a bird, and I have watched all your steps. When you first went to the grotto, I begged the Queen to grant your wish."
Ever after that, the sisters lived lovingly together. It was the remark of every one, " How handsome Marion has grown. The ugly scowl has departed from her face; and the light of her eye is so mild and pleasant, and her mouth looks so smiling and good-natured, that to my taste, I declare, she is as handsome as Rose."
THE LADY OF MY LOVE,
I look, with ardent eyes,
That holds the All I prize.
Half hid behind the grove,
The lady of my love, my love,
Oh! I could muse for ever here,
Unwearied of the scene,
On balcony or green.
I would not seek to rove,
With visions of my love, my love,
The sky above, the earth below,
Are studded each with flowers;
We see them at all hours;
Opes those that shine above,
Brings dreams of her I love, I love,
THE LAST BACHELOR.
Not a divorce stirring—but a great many in embryo in the shape of marriages.
It was on New Year's Eve in 1820, that twelve young professional men sat round the table of a club room, at supper. The cloth had been removed, and nothing was left on tho mahogany but an expressive black bottle, and a single thin spirituelle looking glass to each member. They had drank up to Gallagher's best.
The Old South struck eleven, and the last hour of the year was hailed with an uproarious welcome.
"A bumper, gentlemen," said Harry St John, the 'sad dog' of the club, "brim your beakers, my friends, and let every man be under the table when the ghost of the old year passes over."
"No, no!" timidly remonstrated Ernest Gourlay, a pale graduate just from the University, who sat modestly at the bottom of the table, "no, no! it is a sad hour, not a merry one! Cork the bottle till after twelve! We have lost too many hours of the year to throw away the last! let us be rational till the clock strikes, at least, and then drink if you will. For my part, I never pass these irrevocable periods without a chill at my heart. Come, St John, indulge me this time! Push back the bottle!" The dark eyes of the handsome student flashed as he looked around, and the wild spirits of the club were sobered for a moment—only!
"Good advice," said Fred Esperel, a young physician, breaking the silence, "but, like my own pills, to be taken at discretion. Sink moralizing, I say. There are times and places enough when we must be grave. I for one will never mope when I can be merry; what say, O'Lavender? Fill your glass, and trump my philosophy."
"Smother me! but you're all wrong," hiccupped the dandy, who was always sentimental in his cups, "Gourlay, there, (I am shocked at your atrocious cravat, by the way, Ernest,) Gourlay is nearer to it—but—but he smacks of his vocation: No preaching—let us be (pass the bottle, Tom!) sober. Send fora dozen 'white top'—and when the clock strikes tw-twelve (those cur-cursed olives make me stutter) seal it up—solemnly—for the last surviving m-m-member— solemnly, I say!"
"What's the use!" thundered Tom Corliss, who, till the third bottle, had not spoken a word, and from sundry such symptoms was strongly suspected of being in love, "who would drink it? not I, 'faith! What! sit down when eleven such fellows 'slept without their pillows,' to drink! It's an odd taste of yours, my dear macaroni! It would be much better to travestie that whim, and seal a bottle of vinegar for the last bachelor /"
The proposition was received with a universal shout of approbation. The vinegar was ordered, with pen, ink, and paper. Gourlay wrote out a bond by which every member bound himself to drink it, in case it fell to his lot, on the night the last man, save himself, was married; and after passing round the table, it was laid aside, with its irregular signatures, till twelve. As the clock struck, the seal was set upon the bottle, and after a somewhat thoughtful bumper, the host was called, and the deposit with its document was formally charged to his keeping.
# * # *
It was on the last night of 1830, that a gentleman, slightly corpulent, and with here and there a gray hair about his temples, sat down alone at the club table in —— Street, with a dusty bottle and a single glass before him. The rain was beating violently against the windows, and in a pause of the gust, as he sat with his hands thrust deeply into his pockets, the solemn tones of the Old South, striking eleven, Teached Jus ear. He started, and, seizing the bottle, held it up to the light, with a contraction of the muscles of his face, and a shudder of disgust quite incomprehensible to the solitary servant who waited his pleasure.
"You may leave the room, William," said he, and as the door closed, he drew from his pocket a smoky, time-stained manuscript, and a number of letters, and threw them impatiently on the table. After sitting a moment and tightening his coat about him in the manner of one who screws up his resolution with some difficulty, he filled his glass from the bottle, and drank it with a sudden and hysterical gulp.
"Pah! it cuts like a sword. And so here I am—the last bachelor'. I little thought it ten years ago, this night. How fresh it is in my mind! Ten years since I put the seal on that bottle with my own hand! It seems impossible. How distinctly I remember those dozen rascally Benedicts who are laughing at me to-night, seated round this very table, and roaring at my proposition! All married —St John, and Fred Esperel and little Gourlay, and to night, last of all, O'Lavender has got before me with his cursed alacrity. And I am—it's useless to deny it—the old bachelor. I, Tom Corliss— that am as soft in my nature as a 'milk diet!' I—that could fall in love, any time in my life, from mere propinquity! I—thathave sworn (and broken) more vows than Mercury! I—that never saw a bright eye, nor touched a delicate finger, nor heard a treble voice without making love presently to its owner! I, Tom Corliss—an old bachelor 1 Was it for this I flirted with you, — ——? Was it for this I played shadow three nights successively to you, — — 'i
Was it for this, oh , that I flattered you into the belief
that you was a wit, and found you in puns for a fortnight to keep up the illusion? Was it for this I forswore laughter, oh serious — —.—, and smothered your mother with moral saws? Was it for this, I say, that I have danced with time-out-of-mind wall-flowers, and puckered my wits into birth-day rhymes, and played groomsman monthly and semi-monthly at an unknown expense for new kerseymeres and bridal serenades? Oh, Tom Corliss! Tom Corliss! thou hast beaten the bush for every body, but hast caught no bird for thyself!
And so—they have each written me a letter, as they promised Let me see:—
Dear Tom—How is the hippocrene? I think I see you with the bottle before you! Who would have dreamed that you would drink it? Pour moi-meme, I am married as you know, and my children sing '' we are seven." I am very happy—very. My wife—(you knew her)—is a woman of education, and knows every thing. I can't say but she knows too much. Her learning does pester me, now and then— I confess that I think if I were to marry again, it would be a woman that didn't read Greek. Farewell Tom. Marry and be virtuous.
... ,Yours, Hahhv.
N. B. Never marry a " woman of talents."
Ha! ha! "happy—very happy!" Humbug, my dear Harry. Your wife is a blue, as virulent as verdigris, and you are the most unhappy of Benedicts. So much for your crowing. We'll see another:—
Tom, I pity thee. Thou poor, flannel-wrapped, forsaken, fidgetty bachelor! drink thy vinegar and grow amiable! Here am I, blessedas Abraham. My wife is the most innocent (that's her fault by the way)—the most innocent creature that lives. She loves me to a foolish degree. She has no opinion but mine—no will of her own (except such as I give her, you understand)—no faults, and no prominent propensities. I am happy as I can expect in this sad world. Marry, Tom, marry. "The world must be peopled." Thine ever, I , Fbed.
N. B. Don't marry a woman that is remarkable for her " simplicity." ,
I envy not thee, Fred Esperel! Thy wife is a fool, and thy children, egregious ninnies, every one! Thou wouldst give the whole bunch of their carroty heads for thy liberty again. Once more :—
Tom, my lad! get married! "Matrimony," you know, "is like Jeremiah's figs—the good are very good"—(the rest of the quotation is inapt). My wife is the prettiest woman in the parish. (I wish she wasn't, by the way!) My house is the resort of all the gay fellows about town. I'm quite the thing (my wife is, that is to say) every where. I am excessively happy—excessively—assure yourself of that, I grow thin, they say—but