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tripping sportively along, resembled a procession of shadows, returning to their graves at the crowing of the cock.
This meagerness I first ascribed to their excessive volubility; for I have somewhere seen it advanced by a learned doctor, that the sex were endowed with a peculiar activity of tongue, in order that they might practise talking as a healthful exercise, necessary to their confined and sedentary mode of life. This exercise, it was natural to suppose, would be carried to great excess in a logocracy. “Too true," thought I, “they have converted, what was undoubtedly meant as a beneficent gift, into a noxious habit, that steals the flesh from their bones, and the rose from their cheeks—they absolutely talk themselves thin!” Judge then of my surprise, when I was assured, not long since, that this meagerness was considered the perfection of personal beauty, and that many a lady starved herself, with all the obstinate perseverance of a pious dervise, into a fine figure! “Nay, more,” said my informer, “they will often sacrifice their healths in this eager pursuit of skeleton beauty, and drink vinegar, eat pickles, and smoke tobacco, to keep themselves within the scanty outlines of the fashions.” Faugh! Allah preserve me from such beauties, who contaminate their pure blood with noxious recipes; who impiously sacrifice the best gifts of Heaven to a preposterous and mistaken vanity. Ere long, I shall not be surprised to see them scarring their faces like the negroes of Congo, flattening their noses in imitation of the Hottentots, or like the barbarians of Ab-al Timar, distorting their lips and ears out of all natural dimensions. Since I received this information, I cannot contemplate a fine figure, without thinking of a vinegar cruet; nor look at a dashing belle without fancying her a pot of pickled cucumbers! What a difference, my friend, between those shades and the plump beauties of Tripoli-what a contrast between an infidel fair one and my favourite wife,
Fatima, whom I bought by the hundred weight, and had trundled home in a wheelbarrow!
But enough for the present. I am promised a faithful account of the arcana of a lady's toileta complete initiation into the arts, mysteries, spells, and potions, in that the whole chemical process, by which she reduces herself down to the most fashionable standard of insignificance; together with specimens of the strait waistcoats, the lacings, ihe bandages, and the various ingenious instruments with which she puts nature to the rack, and tortures herself into a proper figure to be admired.
Farewell, thou sweetest of slave drivers! The echoes that repeat to a lover's ear the song of his mistress, are not more soothing than tidings from those we love. Let thy answer to my letters be speedy; and never, I pray thee, for a moment, cease to watch over the prosperity of my house, and the welfare of my beloved wives. Let them want for nothing, my friend, but feed them plentifully on honey, boiled rice, and water-gruel; so that when I return to the blessed land of my fathers, if that can ever be, I may find them improved in size and love. liness, and sleek as the graceful elephants that range the green valley of Abimar.
When a man is quietly journeying downwards into the valley of the shadow of departed youth, and begins to contemplate in a shortened perspective, the end of his pilgrimage, he becomes more solicitous than ever that the remainder of his wayfaring should be smooth and pleasant, and the evening of his life, like the evening of a summer's day, fade away in mild uninterrupted serenity. If haply his heart has escaped uninjured, through the dangers of a seductive world, it may then administer to the purest of his felicities, and its chords vibrate more musically for the trials they have sustained-like the viol which yields a melody, sweet in proportion to its age.
To a mind thus temperately harmonized, thus matured and mellowed by a long lapse of years, there is something truly congenial in the quiet enjoyment of our early autumn, amid the tranquillities of the country. There is a sober and chastened air of gaiety diffused over the face of nature, peculiarly interesting to an old man; and when he views the surrounding landscape withering under his eye, it seems as if he and nature were taking a last farewell of each other, and parting with a melancholy smile-like a couple of old friends, who, having sported away the spring and summer of life together, part at the approach of winter, with a kind of prophetic fear that they are never to meet again.
It is either my good fortune or mishap to be keenly susceptible to the influence of the atmosphere; and I can feel in the morning, before I open my window, whether the wind is easterly. It will not, therefore, I presume, be considered an extravagant instance of vainglory, when I assert, that there are few men who can discriminate more accurately in the different varieties of damps, fogs, Scotch-mists, and northeast storms, than myself. To the great discredit of my philosophy, I confess, I seldom fail to anathematize and excommunicate the weather, when it sports too rudely with my sensitive system; but then I always endeavour to atone, therefore, by eulogizing it when deserving of approbation. And as most of my readers, simple folk! make but one distinction, to wit, rain and sunshine-living in most honest ignorance of the various nice shades which distinguish one fine day from another-I take the trouble, from time to time, of letting them into some of the secrets of nature; so will they be the better enabled to enjoy
her beauties, with the zest of connoisseurs, and derive at least as much information from my pages, as from the weather-wise lore of the almanac.
Much of my recreation, since I retreated to the Hall, has consisted in making little excursions through the neighbourhood; wřich abounds in the variety of wild, romantic, and luxuriant landscape that generally characterizes the scenery in the vicinity of our rivers. There is not an eminence within a circuit of many miles, but commands an extensive range of diversified and enchanting prospect.
Often have I rambled to the summit of some favourite hill, and thence, with feelings sweetly tranquil as the lucid expanse of the heavens that canopied me, have noted the slow and almost imperceptible changes that mark the waning year. There are many features peculiar to our autumn, and which give it an individual character: the “ green and yellow melancholy” that first steals over the landscape-the mild and steady serenity of the weather, and the transparent purity of the atmosphere, speak not merely to the senses, but the heart-it is the season of liberal emotions. To this succeeds fantastic gaiety, a motley dress, which the woods assume, where green and yellow, orange, purple, crimson, and scarlet, are whimsically blended together. A sickly splendour this !-like the wild and broken-hearted gaiety that sometimes precedes dissolution, or that childish sportiveness of superannuated age, proceeding, not from a vigorous flow of animal spirits, but from the decay and imbecility of the mind. We might, perhaps, be deceived by this gaudy garb of nature, were it not for the rustling of the falling leaf, which, breaking on the stillness of the scene, seems to announce, in prophetic whispers, the dreary winter that is approaching. When I have sometimes seen a thrifty young oak changing its hue of sturdy vigour, for a bright but transient glow of red, it has recalled to my mind the treacherous bloom that once mantled the cheek of a friend
who is now no more; and which, while it seemed to promise a long life of jocund spirits, was the sure precursor of premature decay. In a little while, and this ostentatious foliage disappears--the close of autumn leaves but one wide expanse of dusky brown, save where some rivulet steals along, bordered with little stripes of green grass—the woodland echoes no more to the carols of the feathered tribes that sported in the leafy covert, and its solitude and silence are uninterrupted, except by the plaintive whistle of the quail, the barking of the squirrel, or the still more melancholy wintry wind, which, rushing and swelling through the hollows of the mountains, sighs through the leafless branches of the grove, and seems to mourn the desolation of the year.
To one who, like myself, is fond of drawing comparisons between the different divisions of life and those of the seasons, there will appear a striking analogy which connects the feelings of the aged with the decline of the year. Often as I contemplate the mild, uniform, and genial lustre with which the sun cheers and invigorates us in the month of October, and the almost imperceptible haze which, without obscuring, tempers all the asperities of the landscape, and gives to every object a character of stillness and repose, I cannot help comparing it with that portion of existence, when the spring of youthful hope and summer of the passions having gone by, reason assumes an undisputed sway, and lights us on with bright but undazzling lustre, adown the hill of life. There is a full and mature luxuriance in the fields, that fills the bosom with generous and disinterested content. It is not the thoughtless extravagance of spring, prodigal only in blossoms, nor the languid voluptuousness of summer, feverish in its enjoyments, and teeming only with immature abundance: it is that certain fruition of the labours of the past—that prospect of comfortable realities, which those will be sure to enjoy, who have improved the bounteous smiles of Heaven, nor wasted away their