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thing about the matter, what barm was done? And if he chanced to discover the secret, surely he would forgive her—forgive and love her still, if his affection was sincere,' and more to that effect. She further related that she had consented to meet him at an early hour the next morning (perhaps, at this very moment, his happiness is complete !) and, for his peace and her own, to grant him all! Afterward, she thought (do you hear me, Lauretta!) afterward, this affair du coeur would soon be at an end. (This is what the French ladies call 'passer les caprices !') In conclusion, she timidly begged for—absolution —beforehand! It would be so comforting!— and she obtained it from the holy man! How has this little history pleased you, my lover' continued the Marquis, raising himself from his horrible scat, on which no sign of motion was discernible.
"Of a truth," he proceeded in a sportive tone, "our reverend pastors are somewhat too indulgent to the tender passion. I speak of the greater number of them. No doubt our excellent old friend'and spiritual counselor, Father Gregorio, would have taken a fair lady to task in a different way; if you, for example, Lauretta, had"— As he spoke, he slowly returned the pillow to its place, and dashed aside the coverlet. Before him lay the architect, Giulio Balzetti! He had ceased to breathe. .
"Have you been lately to confession, Laura?" asked the Marquis.
"There, you have pins in your mouth, though I hive so often warned you against the practice. Tell me, is it long since you were at confession?" he proceeded, in a somewhat louder tone.
"Not long," returned his wife, with almost stilled accents.
"Apropos," resumed the Marquis, again hiding the hard and frightfully distorted features with the counterpane, " we are to go together to the grand ceremony at the Church of the Holy Magdalen. Precisely at twelve the procession will commence, and I must take my place at that hour. I can delay no longer."
He stepped into the dressing-room. His wife sat reclined in a large arm-chair, her luxuriant raven locks hanging in wild disorder about her neck. A death-like paleness overspread her cheeks and forehead; and both hands rested on her knees.
"What ails thee, my child?" said the Marquis, with an air of deep concern, and with unaltered cordiality of tone. "You have risen too early this morning, and it must be fatiguing to make your toilette without assistance. Has not Rebecca been summoned? Shall I ring for her?"
He touched the bell-string; then, approaching his wife, imprinted a kiss on her forehead, and left the room.
t # * # #
At mid-day, while all tho bells of the city were chiming together in a festive discordance, the magnificent state-carriage of the Marquis, drawn by four horses, richly caparisoned, drove through Vol. IX.—No. 49.—G
the arched gateway of the palace, where a troop of bedizened pages, lacqueys, chasseurs, and running footmen awaited the arrival of the lord and lady.
But a short interval had elapsed when the Marquis, attired in a magnificent court-suit—the star of knighthood glittering on his breast—was seen descending the broad marble staircase. In one hand he carried his hat; with the other he led, with a ceremonious courtesy, his young, beautiful, and almost unconscious wife. Her face was of the hue of death—stone-cold and rigid as the statues past which she glided with a spirit-like motion. His countenance was lit up with unwonted animation; his eye sparkled with a peculiar brightness.
The attendants flew to their several posts—the carriage emerged from the court-yard, and moved at a slow pace through the crowded streets and squares; while not a few passers-by, as they stood still to contemplate the passage of the noble pair, exclaimed involuntarily, " There goes a loving couple!"
The absence of Balzetti was the subject of general remark at the church.
No one suspected that on the day of the file, to which his presiding genius had imparted the chief eclat, tho artist lay cold and stiff in death, with livid and frightfully distorted visage, amid a confused heap of robes, laces, slippers, and bandboxes, on the floor of a lady's dressing-room; or that his body was transported at midnight, on the back of a mule, by a confidential servant of the Marchioness, to a neighboring gorge of the mountain, and hurled from the precipice into the torrent beneath.
A convent of the Magdalen was endowed with a considerable sum for masses for the repose of his soul.
Don Gregorio, the popular father-confessor of the aristocratic world, was missing soon afterward; but he was allowed to pine away the remainder of his days in a subterranean dungeon of a monastery of Camaldolese, whither he had been conveyed by the influence of the Marquis.
As may bo surmised, the confessional box, No. 6, was removed from its place.
The Marquis never once alluded'to the foregoing transaction in the presence of his wife. In society, and at home, he continued to deport himself toward her with the most perfect courtesy; at times, indeed, with a tenderness altogether foreign from his character. Within her chamber he never again set foot.
MORE FACTS WORTH KNOWING.
LET a man roll a little air in his mouth, and what is that! Let Napoleon twist it between his lips and all the world is at war—give it to Fenelon and he shall so manage it with his tongue that there shall be every where peace. It is but a little agitated air that sets mankind in motion. If we could live without air wo could not talk, sing, or hear any sounds without it. There would be a blazing sun in a black sky— sunshine mingled with thick darkness, and there would be every where an awful silence. There is less air in the upper than in the lower regions of the atmosphere; the bottom crust of air is, of course, densest. Saussure fired a pistol on the summit of Mont Blane, and the report was like the snapping of a stick. There is a well at Fulda three hundred palms deep; throw a stone down it, and the noiso it makes in its descent will be like the firing of a park of cannon. It goes down among dense air, and also it reverberates. When a man speaks he strikes air with his throat and mouth as a stone strikes water, and from his tongue, as from the stone, spread undulating circles with immense rapidily. Those circles may be checked and beaten back in their course, as it is with the waves of sound made by the stone tumbling down a well, beaten back and curiously multiplied. At the Castle of Simonetti, near Milan, one low note of music will beget a concert, for the note is echoed to and fro by the great wings of the building that reflect and multiply a sound just as two mirrors reflect and multiply a lighted candle. Sound is, in fact, reflected just as light is, and may be brought quite in the same way to a focus. A word spoken in the focus of one ellipse will be heard in the focus of an opposite ellipse hundreds of yards away. Such a principle was illustrated oddly in the great church of Agrigentum in Sicily. The architect—perhaps intentionally— built several confessionals of an elliptic form, with corresponding opposite ellipses, in which whoever stood heard all the secrets whispered to the priest. A horrible amount of scandal sprang up in the town; nobody's sins were safe from getting into unaccountable publicity. Intriguing ladies changed their lovers and their priests. It was in vain; their misdeeds still remained town property. The church soon became such a temple of truth that nothing was left to be hidden in it, but at last by chance a discovery was made of the character of the tale-telling stones, and the walls had their cars stopped.
From the sounds that travel through the air, we will turn once more to the substances, the birds, and say a word or two of them: regarding them especially as travelers, by whom oceans are crossed and countries traversed. The migration of birds used to be denied, or sometimes it was asserted that they did not migrate but wintered with the fishes at the bottom of lakes and rivers. Dr. Mather taught that they flew to an undiscovered satellite, a little moon that had escaped observation, but was at no very great distance from the earth. The fact of their migration is now not only established but so very notorious in almost all its details that little need be here said about it. Only we must remark upon the marvelousness of the fact that every bird knows when to go abroad, and times its departure not to an exact date but to the exact and fit time every season. Birds arrive in their foreign haunts just when the fruits are ripe on which they go to feed, or which they are sent to protect by the suppression of any too great ravages from insects. How does the loriot, resident
near Paris, know every year precisely on what day there will be the first ripe figs in islands of the Southern Archipelago? He is never—no migratory bird ever is—cheated of his dues by a late season. If the season be late he arrives late. How can a bird know, hundreds of miles away, what sort of weather there will be in Greece, in Egypt, or in England? Eastern nations that observed this close agreement between the movements of birds and the appearance of insects or of fruits, observed or invented sometimes a like concord between birds and flowers. W hen the nightingales appear, it is said, in certain parts of India, the roses burst spontaneously into blossom.
Then there are other things that travel through the air, of man's invention, simple applications to use—or to no use—of the pow ers of nature, balloons. There were balloons before Mongolfier. The Father Menestricr, a historian of Lyons, relates that at the end of the reign of Charlemagne there fell in that town « balloon with several people. The skymen were surrounded by the town's-people, who took them for magicians sent to devastate the land by Grimwald, Duke of Benevento, and they were only saved from destruction by the interference of the learned and enlightened bishop Agoberd. Father Kircber also tells how, long ago, some Jesuits imprisoned among Indians tried in vain by various ways to recover liherty, and at last one of them, who was free, constructed a big dragon of paper. He then went to the barbarians nnd told them that they were menaced by the wrath of Heaven with great evils, which they could avert only by the liberation of his countrymen. The savages laughed. The priest then went to his dragon, and having suspended in the midst of it a composition of pitch, wax, and sulphur, fastened behind it a portentous tail, and sent the beast up into the clouds, where it appeared to vomit fire. There Was written on it, in the language of the country, "The wrath of God is about to fall on you!" The barbarians in great terror ran to free the Jesuits. Soon afterward, the paper having caught fire, the dragon fluttered, struggled, and disappeared in flame, and the barbarians took its withdrawal for a sign of the divine approval of their conduct.
Let us turn our faces now to the great fire dragon of the sky, the sun. Every one knows that there are spots upon its face. Leibnitz, writing in a courtly way for the edification of an old-world Queen of Prussia, called them beauty-spots, giving them out for a sublime justification of the use of patches. The sun is a long way off, its light is eight minutes on the road before it reaches us, although light travels with amazing speed. A cannon-ball, if it could be fired up at the sun, its speed never diminishing, would about hit its mark at tho end of eighteen years. Yet, though the sun is so distant, and light travels so far in eight minutes, there are other stars so distant that their light is six years on the joumey to our eyes. Let such a star be now annihilated, and for six years we shall still wee it. The light of other stars that make a mist before our telescopes comes from Ro far away that it has been traveling even for two millions of years before it reached the point in space that this our world (as we call it) occupies.
We might sec more or less with other senses. The eagle has a telescopic eye, sunk in its orbit as within a tube, and possibly the eagle sees the moons of Saturn glittering, has long since known that in our moon there are mountains and valleys, and had at a very remote period of our history discovered more stars than Herschell, or Adams, or Hind.
There are stars upon earth apart from the opera—fire-flies and luminous insects. An old traveler tells a pretty story about them. He says that on the coast of Guinea he used to see the blacks preparing to go out to fish soon after sunset. The young girls were the fishers, who pushed out to sea in boats and made long tracks of light on the phosphorescent water. They seemed to be at work in fire where they were stirring about with fish baskets, seizing fishes and detaching shells from rocks. After a time they returned singing, wet from their task, and their whole persons covered with living fire. They brought with them gigantic crabs and frightful rays, and thousands of shells all glittering with light, which they poured out upon the grass, and then often they would dance, naked savages as they were, about their huts, and look like fairies, or fire-spirits.
Now that we are by the sea, we will abide upon it. What if there were no waves nor tides, nor currents in the ocean! What if it were not saltl To take only one consideration. What if it were possible for the sea to become frozen over like the Serpentine! Put upon a short allowance of vapor, when all the summer supply had been duly condensed and discharged in rain, we should have dry winters and springs, wo should want clouds, want rain, want water-, springs and water. The sand islands and marshes, and the many diverging channels, naturally formed as a delta at the mouth of most great rivers, are very ugly; but they are formed naturally, and, like all things in nature, have their use. We may say that they exist where it is geographically inevitable that they should exist, but He who made alike the laws and the things under the laws, so made them, that whatever accident may arise from their working, whatever secondary or other combinations they may run into, every thing has more than one use for good. Where we see no use the fault is in our ignorance; for we have millions of years of work to do, before we can say that we have turned out all the knowledge that is locked up in this little cabinet we call our world. The marshes and low islands at a river's mouth serve, we may say, as breakwaters for the protection of the inner country.
When we feel inclined to pride ourselves on our great wisdom, let us think how very little they appeared to know of nature who lived in the world before us, and feel that the very
rapidity with which new information is now pouring in will in the end tell of our ignorance more tales than of our wisdom, since it will cause us also hereafter to appear marvelously shortsighted in the eyes of those by whom our places will be taken. The tides to which we have been just referring, Kepler took for the respirations of the earth, which he regarded as a living animal, and Blackmore attributed the eruptions of Mount Etna ty fits of colic. We have pushed out into somewhat deeper soundings, but they still will deepen as we go, and of the sea of knowledge we may say too, as of the salt water sea, that there are parts of it which no man may ever expect to fathom.
POOR MAN'S PUDDING
POOR MIX'S PUDDING.
"VOU see," said poet Blandniour, enthusi-L astically — as some forty years ago we walked along the road in a soft, moist snow-fall, toward the end of March—" you see, my friend, that the blessed almoner, Nature, is in all things beneficent; and not only so, but considerate in her charities, as any discreet human philanthropist might be. This snow, now, which seems so unseasonable, is in fact just what a poor husbandman needs. Rightly is this soft March snow, falling just before .seed-time, rightly is it called 'Poor Man's Manure.' Distilling from kind heaven upon the soil, by a gentle penetration it nourishes every clod, ridge, and furrow. To the poor farmer it is as good as the rich farmer's farm-yard enrichments. And the poor man has no trouble to spread it, while the rich man has to spread his."
"Perhaps so," said I, without equal enthusiasm, brushing some of the damp flakes from my chest. "It may be as you say, dear Blandniour. But tell me, how is it that the wind drives yonder drifts of ' Poor Man's Manure' off poor Coulter's two-acre patch here, and piles it up yonder on rich Squire Teamster's twentyacre field?"
"Ah! to be sure—yes—well; Coulter's field, I suppose, is sufficiently moist without further moistenings. Enough is as good as a least, you know."
"Yes," replied I, " of this sort of d amp fare," shaking another shower of the damp flakes from my person. "But tell me, this warm springsnow may answer very well, as you say; but how is it with the cold snows of the long, long winters here?"
'' Why, do you not remember the words of the Psalmist 1—' The Lord giveth snow like wool;' meaning not only that snow is white as wool, but warm, too, as wool. For the only reason, as I take it, that wool is comfortable, is because air is entangled, and therefore wanned among its fibres. Just so, then, take the temperature of a December field when covered with this snowfleece, and you will no doubt find it several degrees above that of the air. So, you see, the winter's snow itself is beneficent; under the pretense of frost—a sort of gruff philanthropist— actually warming the earth, which afterward is to he fertilizingly moistened by these gentle flakes of March."
"I like to hear you talk, dear Blandmour; nnd, guided by your benevolent heart, can only wish to poor Coulter plenty of this 'Poor Man's Manure.'" •'
"But that is not all," said Blandmour, eagerly. "Did you never hear of the 'Poor Man's Eye-water V"
'' Take this soft March snow, melt it, and bottle it. It keeps pure as aleohol. The very best lhing in the world for weak eyes. I have a whole demijohn of it myself. But the poorest man, afflicted in his eyes, can freely help himself to this same all-bountiful remedy. Now, what a kind^J provision is that!"
'' Then i Poor Man's Manure' is 'Poor Man's Eye-water' too V
'' Exactly. And what could be more economically contrived? One thing answering two ends— r-nds so very distinct."
'' Very distinct, indeed"
"Ah! that is your way. Making sport of earnest. But never mind. We have been talking t1f snow; but common rain-water—such as falls ill the year round—is still more kindly. Not to ipoak of its known fertilizing quality as to fields, consider it in one of its minSr lights. - Pray, did you ever hear of a 'Poor Man's Egg V"
"Never. What is that, now?"
"Why, in making some culinary preparations of meal and flour, where eggs arc recommended m the receipt-book, a substitute for the eggs may he had in a cup of cold rain-water, which acts as leaven. And so a cup of cold rain-water thus used is called by housewives a 'Poor Man's Egg.' And many rich men's housekeepers sometimes use it."'
"But only when they are out of hen's eggs, I presume, dear Blandmour. But your talk is—I sincerely say it—most agreeable to me. Talk on."
"Then there's 'Poor Man's Plaster' for wounds and other bodily harms; an alleviative ind curative, compounded of simple, natural things; and Ro, being very cheap, is accessible to the poorest of sufferers. Rich men often use 'Poor Man's Plaster.'"
"But not without the judicious advice of a foe'd physician, dear Blandmour."
"Doubtless, they first consult the physician; but that may be an unnecessary precaution."
"Perhaps so. I do not gainsay it. Go on."
"Well, then, did you ever eat of a t Poor Man's Pudding >'"
"I never so much as heard of it before."
"Indeed! Well, now you shall eat of one; and you shall cat it, too, as made, unprompted, by a poor man's wife, and you shall eat it at a poor man's table, and in a poor man's house. Come now, and if after this eating, you do not
say that a 'Poor Man's Pudding' is as relishable as a rich man's, I will give up the point altogether; which briefly is: that, through kind Nature, the poor, out of their very poverty, extract comfort."
Not to narrate any more of our conversations upon this subject (for we had several—I being at that time the guest of Blandmour in the country, for the benefit of my health), suffice it that, acting upon Blandmour's hint, I introduced myself into Coulter's house on a wet Monday noon (for the snow had thawed), under the innocent pretense of craving a pedestrian's rest and refreshment for an hour or two.
I was greeted, not without much embarrassment—owing, I suppose, to my dress—but still with unaffected and honest kindness. Dame Coulter was just leaving the wash-tub to get ready her one o'clock meal against her good man's return from a deep wood about a mile distant among the hills, where he was chopping by day's-work—seventy-five cents per day and found himself. The washing being done outside the main building, under an infirm-looking old shed, the dame stood upon a half-rotten, soaked board to protect her feet, as well as might be, from the penetrating damp of the bare ground; hence she looked pale and chill. But her paleness had still another and more secret cause—the paleness of a mother to be. A quiet, fathomless heart-trouble, too, couched beneath the mild, resigned blue of her soft and wife-like eye. But she smiled upon me, as apologizing for the unavoidable disorder of a Monday and a washingday, and, conducting me into the kitchen, set me down in the best seat it had—an old-fashioned chair of an enfeebled constitution.
I thanked her; and sat rubbing my hands before the ineffectual low fire, and—unobservantly as I could—glancing now and then about the room, while the good woman, throwing on more sticks, said she was sorry the room was no wanner. Something more she said, too—not repiningly, however—of the fuel, as old and damp; picked-up sticks in Squire Teamster's forest, where her husband was chopping the sappy logs of the living tree for the Squire's fires. It needed not her remark, whatever it was, to convince me of the inferior quality of the sticks; some being quite mossy and toad-stooled with long lying bedded among the accumulated dead leaves of many autumns. They made a sad hissing, and vain spluttering enough.
"You must rest yourself here till dinner-time, at least," said the dame; "what I have you are heartily weleome to."
I thanked her again, and begged her not to heed my presence in the least, but go on with her usual affairs."
I was struck by the aspect of the room. The house was old, and constitutionally damp. The window-sills had beads of exuded dampness upon them. The shriveled sashes shook in their frames, and the green panes of glass were clouded with the long thaw. On some little errand the dame passed into an adjoining chamber, leaving the door partly open. The floor of that room was carpetless, as the kitchen's was. Nothing but bare necessaries were about me; and those not of the best sort. Not a print on the wall; but an old volume of Doddridge lay on the smoked chimney-shelf.
"You must have walked a long way, sir; you sigh so with weariness."
"No, I am not nigh so weary as yourself, I dare say.''
"Oh, but / am accustomed to that; you are not, I should think," and her soft, sad blue eye ran over my dress. "But I must sweep these shavings away; husband made him a new axhelve this morning before sunrise, and I have been so busy washing, that I have had no time to clear up. But now they are just the thing I want for the fire. They'd be much better though, were they not so green."
Now if Blandmour were here, thought I to myself, he would call those green shavings "Poor Man's Matches," or " Poor Man's Tinder," or some pleasant name of that sort.
"I do not know," said the good woman, turning round to me again—as she stirred among her pots on the smoky fire—" I do not know how you will like our pudding. It is only rice, milk, and salt boiled together." i
"Ah, what they call ' Poor Man's Pudding,' I suppose you mean."
A quick flush, half resentful, passed over her face.
"We do not call it so, sir," she said, and was silent.
Upbraiding myself for my inadvertence, I could not but again think to myself what Blandmour weuld have said, had he heard those words and seen that flush.
At last a slow, heavy footfall was heard; then a scraping at the door, and another voice said, "Come, wife; come, come — I must be back again in a jif—if you say I must take all my meals at home, you must be speedy; because the Squire—Good-day, sir," he exclaimed, now first catching sight of me as he entered the room. He turned toward his wife, inquiringly, and stood stock-still, while the moisture oozed from his patched boots to the floor.
"This gentleman stops here awhile to rest and refresh: he will take dinner with us, too. All will be ready now in a trice: so sit down on the bench, husband, and be patient, I pray. You see, sir," she continued, turning to me, "William there wants, of mornings, to carry a cold meal into the woods with him, to save the long one-o'clock walk across the fields to and fro. But I won't let him. A warm dinner is more than pay for the long walk."
"I don't know about that," said William, shaking his head. "I have often debated in my mind whether it really paid. There's not much odds, either way, between a wet walk after hard work, and a wet dinner before it. But I like to oblige a good wife like Martha. And you know, sir, that women will have their whimseys."
"I wish they all had as kind whimseys as your wife has," said I. .
"Well, I've heard that some women ain't all maple-sugar; but, content with dear Martha, I don't know much about others."
"You find rare wisdom in the woods," mused I.
"Now, husband, if you ain't too tired, just lend a hand to draw the table out."
"Nay," said I; "let him rest, and let me help."
',' No," said William, rising.
"Sit still," said his wife to me.
The table set, in due time we all found ourselves with plates before us.
"You see what we have," said Coulter—" salt pork, rye-bread, and pudding. Let me help you I got this pork of the Squire; some of his last year's pork, which he let me have on account It isn't quite so sweet as this year's would be; but I find it hearty enough to work on, and that's all I eat for. Only let the rheumatiz and other sicknesses keep clear of me, and I ask no flavors or favors from any. But you don't eat of tht pork!"
"I see," said the wife, gently and gravely. "that the gentleman knows the difference between this year's and last year's pork. But perhaps he will like the pudding."
1 summoned up all my self-control, and smilingly assented to the proposition of the pudding, without by my looks casting any reflections upon the pork. But, to tell the truth, it was quite impossible for me (not being ravenous, but only a little hungry at the time) to eat of the latter. It had a yellowish crust all round it, and was rather rankish, I thought, to the taste. I observed, too, that the dame did not eat of it, though she suffered some to be put on her plate, and pretended to be busy with it when Coulter looked that way. Bat she ate of the rye-bread, and so did I.
"Now, then, for the pudding," said Coulter. "Quick, wife; the Squire sits in his sitting-room window, looking far out across the fields. His time-piece is true."
"He don't play the spy on you, does hs!" said I.
"Oh, no!—I don't say that. He's a goodenough man. He gives me work. But he's particular. Wife, help the gentleman. You see, sir, if I lose the Squire's work, what will become of—" and, with a look for which I honored humanity, with sly significance he glanced toward his wife; then, a little changUg his voice, instantly continued—"that fine horse I am going to buy."
"I guess," said the dame, with a strange, subdued sort of inefficient pleasantry—" I guess that fine horse you sometimes so merrily dream of will long stay in the Squire's stall. But sometimes his man gives me a Sunday ride."
"A Sunday ride!" said I.
"You see," resumed Coulter, "wife loves to go to church; but the nighest is four miles off. over yon snowy hills. So she can't walk it; and I can't carry her in my arms, though I have carried her up-stairs before now. But, as she says, the Squire's man sometimes gives her a lift on the road; and for this cause it is that I speak of