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Lo! they are cast aside, dethroned, forlorn,
Defaced, outworn, Like the world's childish dolls, which but insult
Its age adult, Or prostrate scarecrows, on whose rags we tread, With scorn proportion'd to our former dread.
Alas, for human reason ! all is change,
Ceaseless and strange, All ages form new systems, leaving heirs
To cancel theirs ; The future will but imitate the past, And instability alone will last.
Is there no compass, then, by which to steer
This erring sphere?
To God, mankind ?
There is ! there is! One primitive and sure,
Religion pure, Unchanged in spirit, though its forms and codes
Wear myriad modes, Contains all creeds within its mighty spanTHE LOVE OF GOD, DISPLAY'D IN LOVE OF MAN.
This is the Christian's faith, when rightly read :
Oh! may it spread Till Earth, redeem'd from every hateful leaven,
Makes peace with Heaven ; Below-one blessed brotherhood of love, One Father-worshipp'd with one voice-above ! PEOPLE WHEN AT HOME:
A PRIVATE VIEW.
(CONFESSIONS OF A KEYHOLE.)
BY LAMAN BLANCHARD, ESQ.
Nor poets only, but persons who ought to know better, are apt to discourse Auently upon the sanctities of home. Home's home, says the wise proverb, abstaining from going beyond a bare fact. Home's sacred, says the dealer in false dogmas, caring nothing about fact.
" Approach," cries the sentimentalist, “but approach slowly and with reverence. This is hallowed ground. Home is at hand. Pause ere you presumptuously cross the threshold, or look lightly in at the open door. A man's house is his castle. Sanctity dwells there. Direct not a flying glance at the window ; let not even one heedless, wandering look find its way in at the half-closed blinds. As for the keyhole-take care, or your ear may come accidentally in contact with it; for heaven's sake take care, or your eye may be drawn by the strong current of air to the aperture, and with one compulsory peep you may violate all the sanctities ! Home is sacred.”
But why are the sentimentalist's fellow-mortals to enter these precincts thus cautiously and reverentially! Why dread to intrude! Why step as if upon holy ground! Why shrink from knocking uninvited! Why not enter without ceremony! A man's home is the place where a man is most himself; home, then, is the very place of all others where we should rush in at all hours to see him, sure of never taking him at a disadvantage.
When somebody is seen to make himself vastly comfortable, and to indulge at ease in the enjoyment of his own natural manner, he is said, though wandering all the time a thousand miles from his hearthstone, to be quite at home.
Human nature, at home, then, is a true thing—a veritably honest existence. It is not a semblance of the man, but the man. He has scraped off his hypocrisy with the dirt from his shoes at the street-door, ere he entered; he has left his mask, comic or tragic, with his hat on the appointed peg, not wanting either by the fireside where he unfolds himself; and he has thrown off the garb of outward manner which he has perhaps all day worn, as effectually as he has relieved himself of his travelling incumbrances. He has now no more power to act a part than he would have in sleep. His face is his natural face, his manner is his own personal property, and his speech is not a kind of ventriloquism, but describes his real feelings in tones unaffected.
Is this a state of things that should make delicate people blush at the bare idea of their own intrusiveness? This the temple, the preciacts whereof they should enter with reverential awe lest they should start a secret unawares! into whose privacies they religiously shrink from penetrating, in the conviction that listening is flat burglary—and peeping, privately stealing in a dwelling-house. Why surely, to a man whose true nature, so often voluntarily and involuntarily concealed from the gaze of his lorethren in clay, may thus be beheld as distinctly as he can ever behold his own image in a mirror, an eaves-dropper must be a blessing, a pair of prying eyes a godsend.
The case is altogether different when the same person, who is so naturally and entirely himself amidst the privacies of home, happens to be encountered on the highways or byways of the world ; the thronged marts of blessing-bearing commerce, the busy restless haunts of idleness, or the giddy mazes of pleasure. There he might be considered privileged ; and there it might be a point of true delicacy, seeing that he wears a mask and walks in disguise, to assume that he has no desire to be recognised, and to pass him by accordingly.
The sacredness associated with "home" is, in plain English (one of the dead languages), a convenient cloak for playing pranks in, securely and unobserved. When people find it a relief to leave off acting for a few hours, they fly to the domesticities. At home thy are behind the scenes, out of view, and at liberty to be themselves again. As at the touch of a wand, off goes the finery; the finished gentleman growls, grimaces, kicks the cat, and curses the servant, with an exquisite relish of ease and freedom; the tragedy-queen tosses off her pot of porter in comfort; the sage grave man is a giddy vagabond ; the dashing spendthrift a sudden convert to penuriousness; the arbiter of all fashion, a seedy scarecrow ; the advocate of temperance asks for a corkscrew; the saint swears he is as tired as the devil; and the charming young lady sits down to sulk, and think spiteful things of that Miss Grigs, who was asked to dance eleven times to her nine. »
The sacredness of home! Why it often exhibits spectacles and echoes sounds the most opposite to sanctity. No sprite ever lurked in keyhole with eye or ear half open, without soon learning secrets well worth knowing, even in the best regulated families.” To see some people there, to get the happy peep when not so much as a fly is supposed to be looking at them, is to observe them by an agency wonderful as the microscope. If we could see their tears, we should see also prodigious crocodiles and other ugly things crawling and swimming in the bright drops. What swarms of horrid secrets would necessarily be disclosed, if that microscopic medium of inspection were available to the universal eye, and every body could see and hear of others what at present they know only of themselves! What need of Momus's famous pane in the breast, the heart's window !
Friend Homo, in fact, seems to have been originally born“ a twin." Every human being is his own double-with this distinction, that his double is his opposite and not his counterpart. He has a public self and a private self; individually, he is Dick; socially, he is Harry : indoors he is clay-coloured, out of doors perhaps sky-blue; alone he is but a grub, but abroad he is a full-fledged fly. His smeared morninggown and his evening dress-coat are not more unlike. He goes out Pegasus, and comes home Rosinante. You thought him porcelain, and now he is delf. If he seem as champagne to the multitude, probably he is water-gruel at the fireside; or if the difference be less great, even if the change be in his favour, still he seems not formed exactly
of the same materials in society and in solitude ; and is in verity no more the same person, than the flesh he carries about him is the same flesh he wore when a boy, which has all oozed away, every particle, and made room for a fresh accumulation of mysteriously commingling atoms, which are ever flying off, and giving place to a series of vanishing successors in turn.
No inhabitant of the many-tenanted apartment I belong to, was ever seen under circumstances of more striking contrast than the fair, the beautiful, the delicate Mrs. Swansdowne. What a light broke into the room when she first entered it, flushing all things, ceiling, walls, and floor, with magic loveliness, and kindling in every crevice and corner a golden lustre. Her presence almost dispensed visible rays, such whiteness and rosiness were mingled in her beauty, such a hármony was seen and felt in all her gestures, looks, and movements.
But Mrs. Swansdowne was by no means the handsomest woman in the world. Beauty of a far higher, far more perfect character than hers, has been often seen; and blessings on the pleasure-giving stock whence it comes! will often be seen again. Her face might have been more exquisitely formed, her features might have been more regular; her figure was not faultless, and to a completer symmetry might possibly have been added a fuller and finer grace of air or carriage. But however all this might be, there she was, in her collected charms, which it was base clownishness and insensibility to criticise, a living rival to the statue that enchants the world ; there she stood, walked, or sat, scattering delights by infinite careless graces of expressive attitude, and looking, at every turn of the varied picture, more enchanting perhaps than even a prouder and more perfect beauty would do.
This probably was in some degree the effect of that nameless but essential charm, which softens refines and elevates every other in woman—that charm which can have no existence but in the habitual exercise of a taste the most pure, and a pervading delicacy peculiar to the feminine mind. This was seen in her air, it governed every motion, it was heard in the very tones of her voice, and it was discernible in all the arrangements of her dress.
In her dress, especially, was Mrs. Swansdowne "a real blessing to mothers,” by showing them how their daughters should be arrayed, and how they themselves might find adornment without resorting to an unseemly mimicry of youth. Young herself, though the object of admiring affection shining through the eyes of her pretty girls, she was the mirror in which they might look for grace, propriety, and becomingness, all represented in her person, the model by which they might acquire the true art and style of ornament.
In this ornament, however, there was no foreign aid;" in other words, no dash, no splendour, no excess; even the loveliness of Mrs. Swansdowne would have been crushed under the weight of lavish decoration; it was too tender to admit of being surrounded with glitter and rich colours. The essence, the spirit of it was simplicity; that destroyed or hidden, it would have ceased to exist; and upon this principle, therefore, her dress was arranged in its minutest particulars. Jan.-Vol. LXX. NO. CCLXXVII.
The nicest art was invisibly present; taste and elegance had left nothing further to be accomplished. After all, if the term neatness may be understood to comprise enough of embellishment, it might be said that Neatness was the favourite attendant-nymph at her toilet.
Happily for the father, the girls promised to be amazingly like their mother; and happily for the mother, the father was mighty proud of them all. Mr. Swansdowne was perhaps something of a goose ; but he had brains enough to know where his heart lay. He was passionately fond of his wife, but it would have been quite superfluous for him to tell her so; for his eyes, as they obeyed the law of fascination, and followed her about, left his tongue no eloquence. To bim
She was a form of life and light,
That seen became a part of sight. She was evidently all in all to him ; the heart of his enjoyment, the soul of all his earthly interest; and rapturous idolatry, the loving and generous capacity of thus living devotedly and solely for another,
finding a new and sweeter existence in the mere sense of her perfections, invested a character, otherwise commonplace enough, with something of dignity.
Love made poor Swansdowne a noble fellow; as the great enlightening, humanizing, purifying, beneficent passion has made noble, millions and millions of natures, that else had grovelled in the dust and mire of the slavish sensual world. Something of Cymon is in all men, and Iphigenias are not scarce. The transforming power rarely, if ever, fails. Where one creature has been debased, thousands have been exalted by love; where one has been crushed and trampled by his violence, thousands, countless thousands, have been raised, refined, enraptured, and redeemed.
A happy family were the Swansdownes, on the day of their arrival, and each of them in turn, girls and mother, might have sat to Sir Joshua for her picture. Each was apparently in high fashion ; choicely apparelled ; arrayed as for the reception of company, with the nicest taste and care ; and yet dress was so worn by each as if it were impossible she could ever dress otherwise. They all seemed to be so attired, not that they might look well in strange or even in friendly eyes, but simply that they might be pleasing in the sight of one another.
Assembled at breakfast the next morning, these rainbow-tints had totally fled the group composing the family picture. They had arrived the day before at their new abode, with the feeling of visiters, and they had besides paraded gaily in the sunshine of Pall-mall.
Now they were at home. A more unsightly set of drabs never yet took tea for breakfast. I could hardly at first put faith in my spying faculty, so singular and deceptive was the transformation.
The queen-sloven possessed hopeful subjects, but these young things were far from coming up to the elaborate disorder of the elder style. Mrs. Swansdowne, indeed, was superb and unapproachable in her display of the negligences. She was a paragon of déshabille, a pattern for the contemners of appearances, a high priestess in the temple of no-fashion, a mirror and a model for the whole tribe of slatterns. She might have been ever crying with the forlorn, bewildered Beatrice,