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The meteor flag of England
and feast shall flow
A MOVING TALE.
depressed perspiration improbable character Tuesday thoroughly responsible society previous occasion averred assertion The Smiths have just been moving. They always
“ for the last time” on the first of May. “Horrid custom !” exclaims Smith, wiping the per. spiration from his brow, and pulling up his depressed dickey. “How
my blood curdles and my bones ache, at the thought!" It was on Tuesday, the third of May, that the afflicting rite was celebrated. Cartmen
-four of them-were engaged the Saturday previous, to be on hand at six o'clock on Tuesday morning, to transport the household goods from the habitation of '52–3 to that of '53—4. Smith was to pay them three dollars each-twelve dollars in all.
They would not come for a cent less ; Smith tried them thoroughly.
On Monday, Smith's house is turned into a sort of Bedlam, minus the beds. They are tied up, ready for
the next morning's flight; the Smiths sleeping on the floor on Monday night. Smith can't sleep on the floor; he grows restless ; he receives constant reminders from Mrs. Smith to take his elbow out of the baby's face; he has horrid visions and rolls about: therefore, he is not at all surprised, on waking at cock-crow, to find his head in the fire-place, and his hair powdered with soot. The occasion of his waking at that time was a dream of an unpleasant nature. He dreamed that he had rolled off the world backwards, and lodged in a thorn-bush. Of course, such a thing was slightly improbable; but how could Smith be responsible for a dream ?
On Tuesday morning, the Smiths are up with the dawn. The household being mustered, it is found that the servant girl, who had often averred that
‘she lived out, just for a little exercise,” had deserted her colours. The grocer at the corner politely informs Smith (whom Mrs. S. had sent on an errand of inquiry) that, on the night previous, the servant left with him a message for her employers, to the effect that “she didn't consider moving the genteel thing, at all; and that a proper regard for her character and position in society had induced her to get a situation in the family of a gentleman who owned the house he lived in."
This is severe: Smith feels it keenly; Mrs. Smith leans her head against her husband's vest pattern, and says, “She is quite crushed,” and “wonders how Smith can have the heart to whistle. But it is always so," she remarks. “ Woman is the weaker vessel and man delights to trample on her.” Smith indignantly denies this sweeping assertion, and says tramples on nothing," when Mrs. Smith points to a
band-box containing her best bonnet, which he has just put his foot through. Smith is silent.
. The cartmen were to be on the premises at six o'clock. Six o'clock comes—half-past six-seven o'clock-but no cartmen. Here is a dilemma ! The successors to the Smiths are to be on the ground at eight o'clock; and being on the ground, they will naturally wish to get into the house! which they cannot well do, unless the Smiths are out of it.
Smith takes a survey of his furniture, with a feeling of intense disgust. He wishes his cumbrous goods were reduced to the capacity of a carpet-bag, which he could pick up and walk away with. The mirrors and pianoforte are his especial aversion. The latter is a fine instrument, with an Eolian attachment. He wishes it had a sheriff's attachment; in fact, he would have been obliged to any officer who should, at that wretched moment, have sold out the whole establishment, at the most “ruinous sacrifice” ever imagined by an auctioneer's fertile marvellousness."
-Half-past seven, and no cartmen yet. What is to be done ? Ah! here they come, at last. Smith is at a loss to know what excuse they will make. Verdant Smith! They make no excuse. They simply tell him, with an air which demands his congratulations, that they “picked up a nice job by the way, and stopped to do it. You see,” says the principal, “we goes in for all we can get, these times, and there's no use of anybody's grumbling. Because, you see, if one don't want us, another will; and its no favour for anybody to employ us a week either side the first of May." The rascal grins as he says this; and Smith, perceiving the strength of the cartmen's position, wisely makes no reply.
They begin to load. Just as they get fairly at work,
the Browns (the Smith's successors) arrive, with an appalling display of stock. Brown is a vulgar fellow, who has suddenly become rich, and whose ideas of manliness all centre in brutality. He is furious because the Smiths are not “clean gone.” He “can't wait there all day, in the street." He orders his men to “ carry the things into the house,” and heads the column himself with a costly rocking-chair in his arms. As Brown comes up with his rocking-chair, Smith, at the head of his men, descends with a bureau from the second floor.
“ They met, 'twas in a crowd”— on the stairs, and Smith
Thought that Brown would shun him," — but he didn't ! The consequence was, they came in collision; or, rather, Smith's bureau and Brown's rocking-chair came in collision. Now, said bureau was an old-fashioned, hard-wood affair, made for service, while Brown's rocking-chair was a flimsy, showy fabric, of modern make. The meeting on the stairs occasions some squeezing, and more stumbling, and Brown suddenly finds himself and chair under the bureau, to the great injury of his person and his furniture. (Brown has since recovered, but the case of the rocking-chair is considered hopeless). This discomfort incenses the Browns to a high degree, and they determine to be as annoying as possible; so they persist in bringing their furniture into the house, and up stairs, as the Smiths are carrying theirs out of the house, and down stairs. Collisions are, of course, the order of the day; but the Smiths do not mind this much, as they have a great advantage, viz: their furniture is not half so good as Brown's. After a few smashes, Brown receives light on this point, and
orders his forces to remain quiet, while the foe evacuates the premises; so the Smiths retire in peace, and much of their furniture in pieces.
The four carts form quite a respectable procession; but there is no disguising the fact that the furniture looks very shabby (and whose furniture does not look shabby, piled on carts ?); so the Smiths prudently take a back street, that no one may accuse them of owning it. Smith has to carry the baby and a large mirror, which Mrs. S. was afraid to trust to the cartmen, there being no insurance on either. It being a windy day, both the mirror and Smith's hat veer to all parts of the compass, while the baby grows very red in the face at not being able to possess himself of them. Between the wind, the mirror, his hat, and the baby, Smith, has an unpleasant walk of it.
About ten o'clock, they arrive at their new residence and find, to their horror, that their predecessors have not begun to move. They inquire the reason. The feminine head of the family informs them, with tears in her eyes, that her husband (Mr. Jonas Jenkins) has been sick in Washington for five weeks; that in consequence of his affliction, they have not been able to provide a new tenement; that she is quite unwell, and that one of her children (she has six) is ill, also ; that she don't know what is to become of them, &c. &c. Smith sets his hat on the back of his head, gives a faint tug at his neck-tie and confesses himself-quenched ! His furniture looks more odious
minute. He once felt much pride in it, but he feels none now: he feels only disgust. The cartmen begin to growl out that they “ can't stand here all day,” and request to be informed “ where we shall drop the big traps.” Hereupon, Smith, ventures, with a ghastly attempt at a