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John whistled. Twenty-four hours afterwards, little Slyder Downehylle was still more cross; he had been happy with candy, with cakes, and with pies, until he was very uncomfortable indeed; he had been happy with toys, until he had quarrelled with his little companions, and strewed the room with broken playthings; he had been happy with his hobbyhorse, until he got a fall.
"O, what a stupid day!” said little Slyder Downehylle. “I wish to-morrow would come - I'll be so happy at aunt
It is unnecessary to intrude at aunt Betsy's, for the events there were of a character strongly resembling what had already occurred. Little Slyder Downehylle went to bed in tears.
It was always so with the unfortunate Slyder Downehylle. Throughout life he wanted something to be happy with; and, strangely enough, it universally occurred, that, when he had obtained the thing, it did not prove to be exactly the thing he wanted. His expectations were never realized, and he was, therefore, constantly in a state of disappointment. Unlucky Slyder Downehylle! It was deplorable, too, that such should be the case, for Slyder Downehylle was anxious to be happy - he was always looking forward to be happyfor something to be happy with.
When he got up in the morning, it was always his resolve to be happy in the afternoon; and, if not successful in accomplishing his purpose at that time, he endeavored, as far as possible, to retrieve the failure by forming a similar determination for the evening. No one ever had a greater variety of schemes for living happy-very happy-than he; for living happy next week, for living happy next month, or next year; but it appeared to him that a malignant fate was sure to interfere, in order that his projects might be frustrated.
At school, he was always thinking how happy he would on Saturday afternoon; but then sometimes it rained on Saturday afternoon, or his companions would not do as he wished them to do on Saturday afternoon, or it may be th although he had toiled hard for pleasure on Saturday afternoon, and the toil for pleasure is often the severest of work, - he returned home weary, dispirited, and out of temper. Of course, it was unavoidable that his pleasure should be postponed until some other Saturday afternoon. And it was even so with the larger holidays. They never were exactly what they ought to have been - what they promised to be -- what they seemed to be, when viewed from a distance.
If Slyder Downehylle went a-fishing, why, a treacherous bank would often give way; and then - pray who can possibly be happy when dripping wet with his clothes on? No body but poodles. What felicity is there in losing one's shoe in a swamp ? Then, if Slyder Downehylle went skating, it not unfrequently happened that he cried with cold. What a strange arrangement it is not to have the best of skating on the warmest days!
The young Downehylle, finding that happiness eluded his grasp while a boy, made sure of throwing a noose over its head when he should be a man. What on earth is there to prevent a man's being happy, if he chooses - especially if a man has money, as was the case in the present instance, uncle John and aunt Betsy both being gathered to their fathers and mothers. May not a man do as he pleases ? - go to bed when he pleases, and get up when he pleases ? - eat what he pleases, and drink what he pleases ? A man is not compelled to learn lessons.
All his afternoons are Saturday afternoons his holidays last all the year round. Who would not be a man? “I want to be a man!” cried Slyder Downehylle, with impatience.
And Slyder Downehylle was a man at last, though, on the whole, it must be confessed that he did not derive the satisfaction from it that he had been led to expect.
In theorizing on happiness, he thought it was, to some degree, vehicular -- that, like respectability, it was to be found in a gig, if it were to be found any where. So he bought him a sulky and a fast trotter a mile in two minutes or thereabouts. What could escape a man who followed so rapidly? If you wish to be successful in the pursuit of happiness, do not forget to buy a sulky - there's nothing like a suiky.
Aha! that's it!” muttered Slyder Downehylle, as he tugged at the reins, and went whizzing along the turnpike in a cloud of dust, passing every thing on the road, and carrying consternation among the pigs, the ducks, and the chickens.
Slyder thought that this was "it" for several consecutive days; but as the novelty wore off - there's the rub - Slyder was not so sure whether it was the thing exactly; and on the recommendation of his friend, who borrowed a hundred on the occasion, he endeavored to improve it a little by playing billiards, at the “Cottage."
“ Now I'm happy," said Slyder Downehylle, as he stood on the portico of the “ Cottage," and saw every eye fixed with admiration on his establishment, as the boy led his horse and sulky through the crowd of vehicles. “That's it, at last!” " There
let him go!” said he, tossing a half-dollar to the hostler's deputy.
Mr. Downehylle's sulky flew like lightning across the lawn. “ Splendid !" ejaculated the spectators.
The dogs barked - the colored gentlemen, who officiated as waiters, grinned from ear to ear. There was quite a sensation at the “ Cottage.”
“ That's it, at last !” said Slyder Downehylle, triumphantly. But he forgot that existence, short as it is, cannot be crowded all into the exhilarating moment of a "start." Life is not to be distilled and condensed in this way, though his life seemed to come as near it as possible, on the occasion referred to.
Why are we made ambitious ? Why will we endeavor to jump over puddles that are too wide, when we so often miss immortality by no more than a hair's breadth? But "touch and go" is the secret of great enterprises. Downehylle was allowed to “ touch”
we often do that but there was a veto on his “go.” He wished to shave the gate-post, in his curricular enthusiasm — to astonish the natives with his charioteering skill. Yet the poplars might have reminded him of Phaëton — of Phaëton's sisters weeping, lank and long.
Mr. Downehylle was out in his calculation by about the sixteenth part of an inch. He was on a lee shore.
A cloud of splinters went up and came down again. “ There is but a Frenchman the more in France,” said a Bourbon on the restoration. It was also quite evident that there was a sulky the less in existence. As this could not be considered the “ fast trotter's” business, he having no further concern with the matter than to do a certain number of miles in a specific number of minutes, — he therefore went straight on to fulfil his part of the contract; and it is to be presumed that he was successful, as nothing has been heard from him since.
“That's not it, after all,” murmured Mr. Slyder Downehylle, as he was carried into the “Cottage” for surgical aid.
The by-standers, lately so full of admiration, ungraciously placed their thumbs upon their noses, and waggled their fingers. Greatness always fahs, when it meets with an upset.
“What could you expect from a fellow that holds his elbows so when he drives !"
was the general remark. When we are down, every one can see the reason why. The world is always full of sagacity, after the event.
He never hunted happiness in a buggy again, but went slowly home in the omnibus; and, though it did not enable him to journey very rapidly, he yet contrived, while in it, to arrive at the conclusion that, if “ fast trotters” carried others to felicity, the mode of travel was too rough for him.
He was puzzled. What could be the matter ? He was a man, a man of cash — money in both pockets; but yet Slyder Downehylle was not happy - not particularly happy. On the contrary, striking an average, he was, for the most part, decidedly miserable. He yawned about all the morning; he was not hungry in the afternoon; he was seldom sleepy at night. Vexatious!
“There's something I want,” thought Slyder Downehylle; “ but what it is — that's more than I can tell; but it is something to be happy with. What other people get for the purpose, that they go grinning about so, I cannot discover"
130. The Same, continued.
SLYDER DOWNEHYLLE was rather good looking; and so, as nature had been propitious, he struck out a new line very popular line — the hair line. He cultivated whiskers,
fringing the base of his countenance;” he set up a moustache; he starred his under lip with an imperial, and he balanced the superstructure with the classical “ 'goatee
"! Medusa herself never had more luxuriant curls. When Slyder Downehylle wanted to find himself, he was obliged to beat the bushes. He passed half the day with a brush in his hand, in adjusting his embellishments — in giving them irresistible expression; and the rest of the time was consumed in carrying them up and down all manner of streets, and to all sorts of public places. Slyder Downehylle was now the envy of the young bloods about town, and was regarded as a perfect Cupidon by the ladies. How, indeed, could it be otherwise!
Birnam Wood had come to Dunsinane - not a feature was discernible. But, notwithstanding the fact that Sam son found strength in his hair, Slyder was not so lucky. A thickset hedge cannot keep out ennui. It is true that the buffalo and the bison at the menagerie took Mr. Slyder Downehylle for a patriarch of the tribe, fresh from the head waters of the Oregon; yet, after all, Slyder's spirit was nearly as bald of comfort as ever. It must be con