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hung upon her words, “is there no mistake about those five thou. sand dollars ?"
“ Upon my word and honor, there is none,” replied she. “The jury gave me every cent the rascal had—and I have kept it all for my dear Bullfrog !"
“Then, thou dear woman,” cried I, with an overwhelming gush of tenderness, “ let me fold thee to my heart! The basis of matrimonial bliss is secure, and all thy litle defects and frail. ties are forgiven. Nay, since the result has been so fortunate, I rejoice at the wrongs which drove thee to this blessed lawsuit. Happy Bullfrog that I am !”
IT 15 & great revolution in social and domestic life-and no less 50 in the life of the secluded student—this almost universal exchange of the open fire-place for the cheerless and ungenial stove. On such a morning as now lowers around our old grey parsonage, I miss the bright face of my ancient friend, who was wont to dance upon the hearth, and play the part of a more familiar sunshine. It is sad to turn from the cloudy sky and sombre landscape-froin yonder hill, with its crown of rusty, black pines, the foliage of which is so dismal in the absence of the sun; that bleak pasture land, and the broken surface of the potato field, with the brown clods partly concealed by the snow.fall of last night; the swollen and sluggish river, with ice-encrusted bor. ders, dragging its bluish grey stream along the verge of our orchard, like a snake half torpid with the cold—it is sad to turn from an outward scene of so little comfort, and find the same sullen influences brooding within the precincts of my study. Where is that brilliant guest—that quick and subtle spirit whom Prometheus lured from Heaven to civilize mankind, and cheer them in their wintry desolation-that comfortable inmate, whose smile, during eight months of the year, was our sufficient consolation for summer's lingering advance and carly flight? Alas! blindly in hospitable, grudging the food that kept him cheery and mercurial, we have thrust him into an iron prison, and compel him to smoulder away his life on a daily pittance which once would have been too scanty for his breakfast! Without a meta. phor, we now make our fire in an air-tight stove, and supply it with some half-a-dozen sticks of wood between dawn and nightfall.
I never shall be reconciled to this enormity. Truly may it be said, that the world looks darker for it. In one way or another, here and there, and all around us, the inventions of mankind are fust blotting the picturesque, the poetic, and the beautiful, out of human life. The domestic fire was a type of all these attributes, and seemed to bring might and majesty, and wild Nature, and a spiritual essence, into our inmost home, and yet to dwell with us in such friendliness, that its mysteries and marvels excited no dismay. The same mild companion, that smiled so placidly in our faces, was he that comes roaring out of Ætna, and rushes madly up the sky, like a fiend breaking loose from torment, and fighting for a place among the upper angels. He it is, too, that Icaps from cloud to cloud amid the crashing thunder-storm. It was he whom the Gheber worshipped, with no unnatural idolatry; and it was he who devoured London and Moscow, and many another famous city, and who loves to riot through our own dark forests, and sweep across our prairies, and to whose ravenous maw, it is said, the universe shall one day be given as a final feast. Meanwhile he is the great artizan and laborer by whose aid men are enabled to build a world within a world, or, at least, to smoothe down the rough creation which Nature flung to us. He forges the mighty anchor, and every lesser instrument. He drives the steamboat and drags the rail-car. And it was he-this creature of terriblo might, and so many-sided utility, and all. comprehensive destructiveness—that used to be the cheerful, homely friend of our wintry days, and whom we have made the prisoner of this iron cage!
How kindly he was, and, though tho tremendous agent of change, yet bearing himself with such gentleness, so rendering
himself a part of all life-long and age-coeval associations, that it seemed as if he were the great conservative of Nature! While a man was true to the fireside, so long would he be true to country and law-to the God whom his fathers worshipped—to the wife of his youth-and to all things else which instinct or religion have taught us to consider sacred. With how sweet humility did this elemental spirit perform all needful offices for the house. hold in which he was domesticated! He was equal to the concoction of a grand dinner, yet scorned not to roast a potato, or toast a bit of cheese. How humanely did he cherish the school. boy's icy fingers, and thaw the old man's joints with a genial warmth, which alınost equalled the glow of youth! And how carefully did he dry the cow-hide boots that had trudged through mud and snow, and the shaggy outside garment, stiff with frozen sleet; taking heed, likewise, to the comfort of the faithful dog who had followed his master through the storm! When did he refuse a coal to light a pipe, or even a part of his own substance to kindle a neighbor's fire ? And then, at twilight, when laborer or scholar, or mortal of whatever age, sex, or degree, drew a chair beside him, and looked into his glowing face, how acute, how profound, how comprehensive was his sympathy with the mood of each and all! He pictured forth their very thoughts. To the youthful he showed the scenes of the adventurous life before them; to the aged, the shadows of departed love and hope ; and, if all earthly things had grown distasteful, he could gladden the fireside muser with golden glimpses of a better world. And, amid this varied communion with the human soul, how busily would the sympathizer, the deep moralist, the painter of magic pictures, be causing the teakettle to boil !
Nor did it lessen the charm of his soft, familiar courtesy and helpfulness, that the mighty spirit, were opportunity offered him, would run riot through the peaceful house, wrap its inmates in his terrible embrace, and leave nothing of them save their whitened
bones. This possibility of mad destruction only made his do mestic kindness the more beautiful and touching. It was so sweet of him, being endowed with such power, to dwell, day after day, and one long, lonesome night after another, on the dusky hearth, only now and then betraying his wild nature, by thrusting his red tongue out of the chimney-top! True, he had done much mischief in the world, and was pretty certain to do more ; but his warm heart atoned for all. He was kindly to the race of man; and they pardoned his characteristic imperfections.
The good old clergyman, my predecessor in this mansion, was well acquainted with the comforts of the fireside. His yearly allowance of wood, according to the terms of his settlement, was no less than sixty cords. Almost an annual forest was converted from sound oak logs into ashes, in the kitchen, the parlor, and this little study, where now an unworthy successor—not in the pastoral office, but merely in his earthly abode-sits scribbling beside an air-tight stove. I love to fancy one of those fireside days, while the good man, a contemporary of the Revolution, was in his early prime, some five-and-sixty years ago. Before sunrise, doubtless, the blaze hovered upon the grey skirts of night, and dissolved the frost-work that had gathered like a curtain over the small windowpanes. There is something peculiar in the aspect of the morning fireside ; a fresher, brisker glare; the absence of that mellowness, which can be produced only by halfconsumed logs, and shapeless brands with the white ashes on them, and mighty coals, the remnant of tree trunks that the hun. gry elements have gnawed for hours. The morning hearth, too, is newly swept, and the brazen andirons well brightened, so that the cheerful fire may see its face in them. Surely it was happi. ness, when the pastor, fortified with a substantial breakfast, sat down in his armchair and slippers, and opened tho Wholo Body of Divinity, or the Commentary on Job, or whichever of his old folios or quartos might fall within the range of his weekly