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Our loving tendencies, like Bob Acres' valor, sometime ooze out, if not from the finger ends, yet in forms the most various and fantastic imaginable. All of us have our little oddities, minor loves and minor interests, objects trifling, and perhaps ridiculous in themselves, and yet were we at strict confessional, perchance, it would appear that these pet. notions are as much heart.binders as mightier things. For my part, I see nothing to be ashamed of in the minute eccentricities of our wayward hearts, restless minds, or fanciful idealities. I love to see human nature vindicate itself, however quaintly. It is a proof of the ethereal essence of the soul that when a man is entombed between four bare walls, he will, like poor Trenck, cherish amity with a dungeon mouse, or love, like Pellico, of prison memory, to minister to the pleasure of a spider. Pet-notions, like every other spe. cies of the immense family of notions, are highly reprehensible in their excess. When instead of serving their appropriate office of nooks for the play of our little amiable humors, they are made the sole fields for the free bounding affections to revel in, then are pet-notions rendered stocks wherein to cramp and pervert humanity. I would fain believe that this is less the case than formerly. Here and there only in the wide world, I ween, may the wo. man now be found whose love has yielded up its sanctity, and become concentrated in a poodle-dog or a parrot. The pet-notions of our day, I take to be legitimate, and not seldom interesting. They are what they should be, tiny curious leaves, peeping out comically from among the more umbrageous foliage of our love-bowers.
Few things minister more generally and appropriately to the pet passions than flowers. Beautiful provision does Flora make for our little loves. I marvel not that many are touched with an universal affection for the entire con. tents of the goddess's cornucopia ; and, like Horace Smith, merge in attachment to the delightful family their partiality for an individual member, and exclaim, with that fond bard,
"Floral apostles ! that in dewy splendor
Weep without wo, and blush without a crime !
Your lore sublime !".
But it is essential to a pet-passion that its objects should be petty and single, minute, and, as far as may be, unique. Accordingly those who love flowers at all, generally love, with especial affection, a particular species. Could the truth be known, I think the above.named Horace is partial to some bell-flower, he speaks so touchingly of the
“ Floral bell that swingeth
But however that may be, it is an obvious fact that petflowers are remarkably common. Witness the tributary stanzas of the standard poets; and observe how individual characteristics are shadowed forth even in pet. notions. Who but poor Burns could have written so lov. ingly of a mountain daisy? His deep, tender spirit of humanity led him to cherish the wee bit flower as it did to note the young castaway, with a sympathy surpassing what gaudier flowers and more prosperous human beings could lospire. Does not Wordsworth affect primroses because they are so common and grow wild? Mrs. Hemans, methinks, would scarcely have spoken of any but a pet-flower as she has of the water-lily; and of a truth, I know of few similitudes whereby her own sweet self can be better typified. Graceful, lovely, and upward gazing is the lily and so was the poetess. A friend of mine is passionately fond of pinks. In you may know him among a thousand, by one of his little favorites protruding from his button.hole or twirling between his lips. There is an analogy between his petflower and himself. He admires neatness, order, and symmetry of arrangement. He suffers if a picture hangs awry, and wherever he is, begs leave to right its position. A smile lights up his countenance whenever a man of well-arranged exterior presents himself. In a word, my friend is • as neat as a pink.'
There are those who have so little of their proper humanity remaining, that nature furnishes no little em blems which please them by affinity; so, their pet. notions are confined to some trinket of rare materials or peculiar
workmanship. There's old Carville—who with much precision of character unites not a little of superstition and technicality-one of that class so admirably describ. ed as endeavoring to atone by microscopic accuracy for imbecility in fundamental principles.' Carville's pet-notion some time ago, was a very small and exquisitely wrought death's head, which he carried in his waiscoat pocket, to remind him, as he said, • of his coming change.' Now he has the key of his tomb hung up above his writing desk for the same purpose.
I've heard of a gentleman who carries a phrenological chart on the lid of his snuff-box. This pet-notion ministers highly to his pleasure and ad. vantage, since all his brother mortals are, as soon seen, brought to trial, as his eye glances from his mull to their crauiums. Medals, coins, old china, and autographs, are the pets of many.
The pet-notions of others are far more abstract than these; they consist of words or phrases which have be. come, from long use, inseparably associated with the individual. They may have been first adopted from ca. price; but usually we find the person has, or fancies he has, the tact of making them very expressive, or they mean much in his estimation, suit his voice and air, or indicate from his mouth a mystic profundity of knowledge, wit, or sentiment. At all events, they are pet-notions, as you may kuow from their frequent use, and the aim at effect with which they are uttered. An acquaintance of mine exclaims, My dear fellow' every five minutes, with an affectionateness which is touching in the extreme. He knows it, and therefore has petted the phrase till now
he would as soon part with his own name as discontinue the moving enunciation. A fashionable, conversable lady, whom I have often heard talk, expresses her assent to whatever views are promulgated to her by the term decidedly,' uttered with an intonation and nod superlative. ly impressive. It was a decidedly pet-notion of hers to introduce this word continually into her vivacious chattings. i know a poetical dandy who used to accomplish the same object by the phrase • true, true. The articulation of these words did not cost him much breath, of which tight garments left him litile to waste ; there was a dignity in their very brevity, and therefore were they complacently adopted into his petty vocabulary.
My quondam friend in the city of — was a finehearted old Italian bachelor, who had sojourned years bygone in this country. He spoke tolerable English, except the accent and nasal melody with which the words were connected at long intervals. Now the choice of a phrase for a pet was of no small importance to the good signor. In the first place, it ought to be a priori, of universal applicability, in order to come in whenever his verbal memory should fail-an accident by the way, of no unfrequent occurrence—then it should have a latent wisdom, for my old friend prided himself upon his know. ledge of the world, and delivered the most ordinary expressions with an air of oriental gravity ; therefore must the phrase be rife with meaning. Whether these considerations led to its selection, whether he gleaned it from learned men of this land, consulted Dr. Johnson, or bit upon it by a happy effort of his own genius, I cannot