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sorry, and cried, I told her she'd amused me. And there we were, and I now found out that she was very beautiful.
Selina loitered, putting things wrong, and then arranging them, and I encouraged her; while tender reminiscences of bygone years rushed fast upon me. I longed to be once more upon the earth in living flesh. I sighed—it could not be ! yet meagre
it was, my whole frame vibrated.
* I'm new to Heartshire,' said Selina. And I remarked condolingly, “Ah, so am I.'
• You must visit Countrees far more beautiful at times,' said she. “Ah, I should like to be a Spectre !
No, really !' I said ; but why?' · Because I'd take a great fly off somewhere, I know I would,' Selina said, with earnestness. She stopped her work and looked at me with perfect confidence, and I was pleased. It now struck four. •Light no more fires,' I said ; 'I feel no cold.' She then withdrew, wishing, she said, that all were Spectres at Welcome Grange; for rubbing grates so soiled her fingers—and they were pretty ones—for letter-writing, I think she said.
She soon returned to say the women of the Old Countree were home, and would I see them ? Selina's sweet voice faltered. Was I in an enchanted house? What made me dwell upon her every word and gesture, to the utter distraction of my Spectral soul ? Each moment she grew more beautiful. Even when she bit her pretty little finger-nails—a habit I did not admire—I loved her for it. Was she transforming me? My lank old limbs were almost in a glow; I dared not breathe a word; and then—and then-she'd glided out unconsciously before I could utter the words,
I'll see them all, if they'll oblige so far.'
Another door in the capacious room now opened. Oh, how my Spectral heart leaped to my spectral mouth! I bowed my best Spectral bow, while hundreds of glorious creatures curtsied as they entered. And there we stood confronting one another. What a delicious moment !
It now was evident by their movement that they appreciated my warm though Spectral admiration of them. Ah, it must end too soon! I at once nerved myself to my task.
Did I say, "Divine creatures ! Haw-permit me-haw'? No; but I did tremblingly venture to breathe into their loving ears, while they looked on enchantingly,
I am here to ask you to allow me to dedicate a book upon a subject of universal interest to you ; most respectfully, I assure
Respectfully?' all voices cried. Some of the loveliest quickly towards the door; others raised their wonderfully some arms reproachfully; while all of these superb creatures 1 aghast! Ah, what had I done? • Affectionately,' I urget
The loveliest ones about the door now paused. A few signs of coming back, the gorgeously handsome arms of dropped, -all seemed inclined to hear if not yield to my red Still I saw a kind of hesitation amongst the most bewitt ones, and it was the ears of these who influenced the world all created things I wanted to catch. Ah, how their divine wa and radiance glowed like sunbeams in their path about the ro They could not touch a Spectre, but again the memory of days, intensified a thousand-fold, now rushed across me. Lo all self-command, seizing the moment ere it had passed, I ob the instinct of the moment.
Recalling the bright, the vivid past, my Spectral br coming so quick that I could scarce utter the words which treml on my Spectral lips, I bowed low at the glorious feet of the enslaving ones.
'Endearingly !' I now breathed into their willing beaute
Oh, the ecstacy of that moment ! to witness those loveliest countenances radiant with untold affection! to watch the rich of heavenly colours mantling and diffusing themselves among those god-like features ! and then to see the soft, winning sm of grace, of beauty, and of love echoing and re-echoing among them until you never knew when it had died out,-leaving in i train so exquisite a sense of its reality, that though lustrous ey sparkled less brilliantly, yet ever and anon stray gleams sh forth, kindling afresh the holy flame which encircled them.
Rise, Spectre, rise ! I heard from voices all around mi Need I say that I was overcome, even to Spectral faintness, as a these wondrously-alluring creatures crowded in upon me; but thei warm, loving eyes looked, ah, so nice ! that my request wa granted without a dissentient voice; and that I felt during those few moments mere supremely happy than ever I had been eithe in the flesh or in Specteria ?
For without Thee I would not die,' sang a queenly-looking creature in the capacious drawing-room at Welcome Grange. It was now evening. Our first, brief mutual surprise had been long over, and these adorable creatures had settled down into their easy, flowing, graceful manner. The voice of her who had been singing was clear and rich—her heart big and warm, for I could see its pulsations tell as I gazed upon her incomparably lovely bosom. She was not ashamed of anybody knowing how grand, how throbbing it was!
She now advanced towards me, and asked, in a voice so ringing and so kindly, what was the nature of the book I wished to dedicate to the Ladies of the Old Countree?
To the Women, if you please,' I gently breathed. We are all Ladies here,' said she. "Ah, but you are Women indeed,' I said. 'I seek to enlist your sympathies—for Woman rules the world.' · Woman rules the world !' said she. · Woman rules man !' cried all. . We always thought that Man rules Woman—at least, he says he does.'
believe him ? I asked of all. • Woman rules him most who most rebels against her sway. All men are in their hands. They're like the potter's clay; you make of them just what you will—to honour one; and another to disgrace.
''Twas ever thus. Hark! that voice of Sacred History comes rolling through the mighty depths of ages! I know not whence it came, nor how; but there, 'tis writ—ye see it every day—“The woman tempted me, and I did eat.” 'Twas thus her power for weal or woe was first proclaimed. A written monument of sadness, yet of truth! Else whence the sorrowful idea ?
A warning voice proclaimed, “She tempted me, and I did eat." The world's great Lawgiver has not erred; the thought is fixed upon the human mind. 'Twas thus her influence began. And if began in sorrow and in shame, shall it not end in joy??
They all were silent. So again I asked them :
"Do you still believe him? Take a case then. Yon crabbed bachelor hates all womankind. He would not have one enter his abode for half his worth. “They sha'n't come meddling here," says he, “not they.” He thinks he's free from their control, nor listens to their“whimpering nonsense.” He'll growljust as he likes ;
• Do you
nor by word nor gesture shall they bid him nay. Savage by nature, softness never sways his soul. Fool! who, thus eschewing intercourse with woman and dreading fellowship with her, fearful to lose his liberty, becomes the very slave of slaves! Nor dare he
say his castle is his own, nor that the chimney smokes, nor quick runs out the kitchen beer, how rapidly the bills mount up, how followers increase, wages multiply, holidays recur, so many breakages, such kitchen gossip! And why? That liberty which women of sense and beauty would dearly prize he has surrendered tohis cook.'
A pretty little wench stepped up and gave me a sweet nosegay of Heartshire flowers. For sticking up for us,' she said. all nonsense, Spectre, though; you can't mean what you say. Why, men rule the Old Countree-men rule everywhere. I think it nice; it saves a lot of trouble.'
Your pretty little flowers I'll waft to Spectre-land,' I breathed into her sweet tiny ear. “They never shall die there, but flower on in everlasting bloom. If men rule the Old Countree, yet woman rules the men. Who governs this your land ? Who rules the Old Countree? A woman—a Queen. She reigns in every heart, herself, not Her Majesty ! That woman's kindly heart whose pulses tell in every poor man's cottage. 'Tis this pervades the Old Countree.
"So used are ye to gentle, queenly sway,
The fulness of its gladness.
The measure of a nation's sadness.'
· Right loyal, noble heart!' cried she of stately mien ‘pray give your reasons.' • Reasons for what ?' I asked. · For what you tell us now concerning this our Queen. Speak freely, for ours are women's hearts.' • Concerning your Queen. Her gentle heart is touched by others' woes. She hears of sudden misery, sickness, or death, and straight away she goes, nor needs great Counsellor's assistance. But quick she writes with her own gentle hand sweet words of comfort to some lone, weeping widow; or to parents just bereft of offspring dear she flashes messages of kindliest sympathy. That is the woman who governs the Old Countree; who makes of her what she now is, who sways her rude strong hearts. Whence comes that message full and strong, that hope-inspiring word ? Straight from her warm, throbbing bosom, from the warm, loving bosom of your Queen. Nor can she richer gifts from Heaven implore than blessings besought by her devoted
These glorious creatures were magnificent in their enthusiasm. Tell, oh, tell us, Spectre,' each and all replied, 'what it's about, this book of yours? We'll help you, if we can.'
· Be ye my patrons, judges, friends,' I asked them quietly. · Hear all I've got to say, and then you shall review.'
And 'twas agreed. I was about to bid adieu. Could Spectres weep, I should have sobbed at leaving those lovely creatures.
"He had a face like a benediction,'— CERVANTES. THAT's Mr. Bull ! all cried. “We know his knock of old ; just like the Spectre's too: one, two, three, four.'
It seems to say “Let me come in,” I breathed. “I'm but just come from seeing Mrs. Bull, so with your leave I'll wait and see her husband.' ‘Do, do !' they said.
• The work is new to us; perhaps he'll help.'
The door now opened wide. "Good-evening, ladies all,' said Mr. Bull. He seemed in a tremendous heat and bustle; but quickly advanced into their midst with such a jolly, beaming countenance, I felt quite glad I'd waited.
He chatted on so gaily, all felt at their ease. He seemed "all there,” which I need not add the Spectre always is.
Mr. John Bull now wiped the perspiration off his brow.
* About the Undone Vortex then,' said he to me. I've left Snug Villa in hot haste to reach
left the Grange. I've caught it so from Mrs. Bull for what she calls “shirking my duty,” that here I am entirely at your service. Make any use of me, my name- -my reputation! MINE !' thundered he. And when I say a thing, I mean it. I am John Bull all over.' • I'm sure I'm very glad to hear it, Mr. Bull,' I said. • But now I dedicate my work to these, my good friends here—the Women of the Old Countree, with their gracious, charming permission.'
The air vibrated as they looked their tender acknowledgments to the bow I made to them. “Deuce take it; deuce take it ! cried he in a voice choking with ill-suppressed wrath. You see, Mr. Spectre, times have changed so since you first called on me. Who could then have conjectured that one's own boys would so soon have taken to Vortexing? There's that Harry now, as fine a lad as ever stept; made a little money first, but he's been dropping it