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“ Miss Morsel, sir.” “ What the deuce have I to do with Miss Morsel ?" said Thornton. Why don't
tell your mistress?" Tom coloured up to his eyes, but replied, “That's what Martha said, sir; she said she wanted to see you.” “ Martha humbugs you, Tom, about ten times a day. But show Miss Morsel in here, and then she can suit herself.”.
And give me another cup and saucer, said his mistress. 'Is the parlour fire burning?"
Welf, pretty smart," said Tom, doubtfully; " not over and above."
Never ask Miss Morsel to walk in here." And meeting her visitor at the door, Rosalie explained to her how she thought the warmest room was the best that morning.
“ So good of you!” said Miss Morsel, who was a benign, anxiouslooking, somewhat care-worn little personage. Yes, it is rather cold this morning—the wind blows quite keen.' And she shivered in her winter habiliments, which were none of the thickest.
“ It is particularly cold at this time in the morning,” said Rosalie, as she brought Miss Morsel round to the side of the table next the fire. “You must sit down and take some breakfast with us.” “O no, my dear, thank you, I can't indeed.”
Not a cup of coffee?"
Well, a single cup,” said Miss Morsel, her face brightening up under bright influences-for it was a wonderfully pleasant thing to be so gently put into that comfortable chair by the fire.
"I believe I must take a single cup-and only one lump of sugar if you please. It don't matter much about the size of it, but not more than one lump. I came out this morning-queer, isn't it?but I came out to see your brother. Captain Thornton, is it a true statement of facts that the city's bombarded :"
Not unless the reports have deafened my ears," said Thornton, fortifying himself with half a cup of coffee before he spoke. “I have heard nothing of it.”.
"Well, I thought it couldn't be," said Miss Morsel, looking very much relieved, “ for I've heard nothing of it either; only last night a boy was screaming about the streets. It's astonishing to me that boys are suffered to go at large as they are.
Instead of shutting them up like any other wild animals," said Thornton.
“ That's what I said to ma," said Miss Morsel, " that it ought to be, and she said it never used to be in her time, that boys never were wild then, nor girls neither. It was ma that was so scared last night, for she always thinks something is going to happen to her, though I tell her she's just as liable to live as I am. No, my dear-no more. It's really a shame to eat two breakfasts, though to be sure, something depends upon how much a person took at the first.”
0 have another cup!" said Thornton, “and you'll stand the bombardment better.
“I don't know about that,” said Miss Morsel-but handing her cup at the same time, “it seems too bad to enjoy oneself now-adays. It's a good thing we're none of us married people, for separations in families are dreadful; and gentlemen are the property of the government now, I suppose, to have and to hold, as the sa ging is.'
It was hard to tell which was most discomposed by this speechTom or his master.
Are married people essential to your idea of a family?” said Rosalie, smiling. Certainly,” said the little woman, gravely.
“ Now for instance - I can't call myself a family, you know,-it would be absurd."
“ Most true,” said Thornton. But here Rosalie and I have a family, Miss Morsel, and if either of us should get married it would break it up at once.
O dear!" said Miss Morsel. “How could that be?".
Why, not to go any further," said Thornton, “ Rosalie is so fond of having the upper hand, that she never would endure to see my wife manage me.
“ But your wife would be a very nice person, of course," said Miss Morsel; "and, dear me! that is a great pity. I always thought you would all live together so delightfully. I declare it has quite spoiled my breakfast—though to be sure I had eaten all I could.'
It must have been the bombardment,” said Thornton, laughing. “Well, maybe," said Miss Morsel. “But now, Captain Thornton, what is the news, really?".
Really, Miss Morsel, there isn't much. Bonaparte has blown up the Kremlin and left Moscow, and Lord Wellington has left Madrid—that's the last news from Europe. Out west here the Indians have been defeated, and Tecumseh taken prisoner; and nearer home still, one of our harbours is blockaded by a gun brig, a 74, and two frigates.”
“ What is a gun brig?" said Miss Morsel, -—"a brig loaded with guns?"
Sounds enough like it,” said Thornton. " What a dreadful thing it must be to be blockaded !” said Miss Morsel. “ Which harbour is it?"
“ Our own here—of New York.”
“ New York harbour blockaded !" exclaimed Miss Morsel. “And has the bay and Staten Island and Fort Hamilton, and all those beautiful places come into possession of the British ?"
I wish they had,” said Thornton. “ Never mind, Miss Morsel, there are a good many, guns between you and them yet. Tom, bring some more cakes.”
What will they do there?" said Miss Morsel, curiously.
Find out how little of our bread and butter comes that way, maybe," said Thornton. “Miss Morsel, you have not half fortified yourself for a siege.”
“O dear !” said poor Miss Morsel. “If I thought I was ever to be besieged and taken, I shouldn't eat another ounce from now till then. You don't really think there's any danger?"
" Not a bit,” said Thornton, laughing. “I should like to see
anybody attempt it! I'll let you know a week beforehand, Miss Morsel, and you can put up your defences."
“ Thank you-I'm sure you're very kind,” said Miss Morsel; “but then you know we haven't got any. We never did have anything that could be called arms in our house. But I must go—it's so warm here and pleasant, that I believe I forgot there was anybody out in the cold. Poor man!” said Miss Morsel, looking out at her driver, I daresay he's been clapping his hands this whole time, and not for joy, either. It was very extravagant in me to ride, but I wanted to know so much about things, and I can't always keep warm in the snow-and I'm afraid to take cold, you know, for ma's sake.
“ You have not learned much, after all,” said Thornton. "O a great deal! You say Cumsetah's certainly taken?"
“ Tecumseh !” said Rosalie, with a kind smile. Yes, I saw the account myself.” “ Thank you my dear--and for telling me the man's
real name again, -I'm so apt to forget. But you're so good-and I do like to get things straight, though you wouldn't think it. Tecumseh-I shant forget-you spoke it so distinctly for me. Do you know I always do understand what you say? Some people confuse me so, and then I get hold of the wrong ball of yarn and begin at the toe of my stocking. Tecumseh—but who took him?"
“ One of Harrison's officers," said Thornton. “But mind you tell the story to-day, Miss Morsel, for he'll probably escape before to-morrow.
Dreadful creature!" said Miss Morsel,-“I hope not. I hope they'll take good care of him though. Thank you, my dear, very much-your coffee was excellent.'
“I will try to have it just as good whenever you will come and breakfast with us,” said Rosalie, as she shook hands with her poor little guest.
you. would come oftener." * I'm sure you do!" said Miss Morsel, earnestly; "and there isn't much else in the world I am sure of. But you're like nobody else,-such Christmas presents and all, and I haven't said a word about them--because I couldn't. I don't know nowwere they yours or your brother's?" Not mine,
said Thornton; “ Rosalie does everything good that is done in this house. But mine shall come, Miss Morsel,-I shall remember it now, as surely as you will Tecumseh."
“Tecumseh-yes, I'll remember. But you are all so good-to let me come and talk, talk-not a bit like rich people-and it's such a comfort sometimes and smile at me just as sweetly when I come as when I go. O, there'll be one blessing upon your heads if words can call it down!"
And she slid out of the room; while Thornton having found out that he did not want to go and put her in the old coach-body, went -and made her perfectly happỳ thereby.
“ Not quite all the good that is done in this house," said his sister, meeting him when he came back with a look that was worth the purchase.
“The Sun has as much to do with the Moon's light as with his
own," said Thornton, rather sadly. “I am dark enough when I am turned away from you, Alie. You never turn from me-like a blessed child as you are.
But, brother, let your reprehension
But rather use the soft persuading way.-BEN JONSON. A FINE body of snow lay on the ground. White, white,-cheerful and cold ; the trees rearing through the still air their part of the earth's burden; the sky in dazzling contrast to the bright roofs on which the sun poured down his full complement of rays—in vain ;-the snow laughed at them. A very merry laugh if it was a cold one.
The side-walks were cleared and dry; for in those unsophisticated days, laws were not only made but enforced; and footpassengers went comfortably along in their sphere of action, while a host of sleighs swept by in theirs. Neither division of the public crowded into an undistinguishable throng as now—both people and sleighs had a pretty setting of air and snow; then was it easy to see and to be seen.
In this reign of fur and velvet, cloth boots and wadded cloaks, the merging is a less matter; but when the weaker sex protected themselves with white dresses and stockings to match, and shoes that matched anything but the season,—when high-coloured and fly-away little capes were the best defence that the Commander-inchief of the feminine forces allowed during a winter campaign,then elbow-room was a thing of some moment. It would have been intolerable to have one's own scarlet wings confounded with a neighbouring pair of blue, and so to present a general appearance of a two-headed butterfly, somewhat diversified as to his pinions; or worse still, to have no room for them to fly at all. But no such' misfortune befel the ladies of 1813; the field was clear, and spotted with butterflies as a field should be each in its turn the observed of all observers."
Thornton's horses were shaking their heads and jingling their bells at his door; snorting, and pawing the snow, and putting their heads together with every symptom of readiness and impatience, the white foam frozen in a thick crust upon mouth and bit, the sun glancing from every metallic spot on the bright harness. On the steps stood Mr. Clyde himself, in much the same mood as his horses,—the minute-hand of his watch seeming to mark the hours. One butterfly after another sailed down the street-or fluttered, as the case might be; now beating about in the cool wind, and then bearing down wing-and-wing upon the enemy; and soon espying Mr. Clyde's position, gracefully inclined its pretty head that way, and glanced at the gay horses. And Mr. Clyde's arms being for the tenth time forced from their position to return such courtesies,
enwrapped themselves thereafter more closely than ever; and when the closing of the hall door drew his attention, he turned sharply round.
No butterfly stood there—and yet it might have been a creature with wings; but not such as are ever spread on earth except to fly away withaí.
“ What wonder will come next?” she said, smiling. "Thornton and his horses both here five minutes before the time!"
“You are not going to wear that veil ?" was the abrupt reply. “ With your favour, yes.”
“I do detest veils !" said Thornton, impatiently.. “The man who invented them should have had his head muffled in one for the rest of his life.'
“ It was probably a woman,” said Rosalie, smiling. * Then my wish was doubtless accomplished.”. “But the wind is so keen when one is riding," urged his sister.
I can stand it.” Rosalie laid her hand on his cheek, with a laughing look that said his face was ever so little case-hardened. But he moved away, and putting his sisters into the sleigh, bestowed himself there with a very decided air of dissatisfaction.
“It's so excessively stupid,” he said. “What if people do stare at you they can't carry off anything but the remembrance, and I am willing anybody should have that. One might as well go up Broadway with a nun for company!".
The veil was quietly put aside-neither wind nor starers mattered much now, she had other things to think of. But with her usual quick desire that her brother should not think her sad and wrapped up in her own thoughts, Rosalie came resolutely out of them, and exerted herself to talk and be pleased.
It was a pretty sight. The gaily-dressed ladies, the broadcloth gentlemen, the bright-coloured sleighs and their buffalo-skin comforts, were a pretty mingling of shade and tint; and the exhi. larated horses caught the very spirit of the fun, and dashed along as if nothing had been at their heels but a little cloud of snow. Light weight, indeed, many of the sleighs were, and small resistance gave the smooth snow to the smooth runners,—there was nothing to check the speed. Little cutters, and large double sleighs with sweeping skins, appeared in the distance on some Broadway hill; and came flying down at a rate which just left the riders their breath, their amusement, and their politeness. Nods, þows, smiles, the eye's admiration, and the hand's salute, glanced about like deputy sunbeams; and the bells rang out after the fashion of the gipsy song,
“Es summ't, es schwirt, und singt, und ringt, tra la, la, la, tra la, la, la." A faint jingle would be heard in the distance of a cross street, then in a moment nearer and nearer, till the little punt dashed out into the thoroughfare,—the good horse ploughing his way through the snow with head up ad breast
forward, as if he elt proud of his work. Then came another equipage that was but a compound of plain boards, plain men, and clear fun. Neither skins nor seats