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OF AN OLD BACHELOR.
FOR THE SEASON OF VALENTINES.
I am an old bachelor now, and fast ap- Now, some people may think that this proaching that period when my friends belief is not orthodox, and that it may lead would laugh at my folly if I attempted to to the effect of causing many an old maid look for a wife, and would seriously think or bachelor, that would not otherwise have of confining me in a lunatic asylum if I existed. Well, suppose it does; a'n't they were to take one. This, however, may be necessary, in this world of ours, to take partly my own fault; but I am inclined to care of those unfortunate children that have think that Fate had a great deal to do with bad parents, or no parents at all; or, what it also. I was always fond of female so- is worse, the offspring of those“ marry-forciety; and ever since I have any remem
love-and-work-for-riches” romantic part of brance of beauty, it was a pretty face be- society, who think that married life is like a longing to a little girl of about my own age. livelong summer day, no clouds to cross I was four years old at the time; and this the sun of their happiness; and, if misforremembrance clings to me as freshly now, tune does come, the husband can work his at—well, it makes no difference what age- way to California, and the wife to the almsas ever; and if any fault is on my side, that house ? In fact, independent of their use to I am not married, I presume it may have society, I consider an old bachelor quite inbeen owing to an old-fashioned notion I im- dispensable to fill up the great order of Nabibed at an early day, and which has stuck ture; without him, there would be a link to me ever since, viz, that “matches are lost from the chain. As the sponge is a type made in heaven," and that if they are of the lowest order of animal life, so the old made there, no one can prevent them on
bachelor is the lowest of the human family, earth ; do as you will, married you will be, but quite necessary to illustrate the gradual in spite of yourself; and that if no other steps that Nature takes in forming the most mode is left, owing to the opposition made perfect, which is the father of a large family by mortals, some day or night, the party of small children, all of whom are vacciwhose marriage was “heaven-recorded ” nated and have had the measles. will wake up and find himself a “Benedict.” Poets tell us of love, and lead us to sup
Where I got this idea from, I do not re- pose that such a feeling or passion never member, but always attributed it to the exists but once; that, when the heart once doctrines of Calvin, having been brought burns with such a flame, it never leaves off up in that faith. Be that the source or not, burning until it has consumed itself; or that, it has ever been a great consolation to if any part of the organ is left, it is proof me; for, after trying to obtain a wife, (and, against another attack; just like a child that from first to last, no man ever tried harder,) is teething, or has had scarlet-fever-no and as often been disappointed, I consoled danger of taking it a second time. I don't myself with the thought that it " was other
was other believe in such sentiments. I am rather wise ordered," and, like a good Christian, inclined to think that circumstances control considered it my duty to submit; believing love, and that it changes according to the with Shakspeare, that
nature or state of the constitution on which
it acts; just like any other malady. One “There's a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough hew them as we will."
man has it very severe-dangerously ill
probably leading to death by suicide or in-"the child is always father to the man," and sanity; while another gets over it lightly, if I had made as great an effort in after-life hardly causing any abstinence from busi- as I did then, to secure the continuance of ness or diet; altogether owing to difference my love, I might not now be obliged to in the patient, the disease remaining the mourn my state of “single blessedness." same in all cases. Moore, in his beautiful Talk about Jacob serving fourteen years lines entitled, “Believe me, if all those en- to obtain the chosen one of his heart; why, dearing young charms," tells us of a sun- I served twice as long—if allowance is made flower, that turned upon her god the same for the fancied length of a child's day-and look when he set as she did when he rose. sacrificed all my toys, to contribute to her Well, suppose he did say so. A sunflower joys; it was not much, to be sure, but it is not a woman, by a long odds; nor is was all I had. I don't believe a man would poets' evidence received as entitled to great have done as much, for we get rather selfish weight on the score of veracity; so I don't as we get old. Well, we got along smoothly, see any cause of changing my opinion. never dreaming that aught else than happi
Hold up! Why, where is my pen? I ness was before us—we walking hand-inintended to have told you, dear reader, of hand around the park daily, while our my first love, and the cause of my still re- nurses were chatting with the good-looking maining a bachelor, and here I am, discuss- soldiers off duty; but, like every thing else, ing the necessity of their existence. Well, there came an end to our bliss. forgive the vagaries of an old bachelor, and One day, nurse announced the fact that I will commence.
we were to leave in the afternoon for a disIt was in Europe, while traveling with tant town; and, oh! horrors ! my adored my mother, who had been ordered abroad
was not to be taken along. At this intellifor the benefit of her health, that I first be- gence, I raved and cried, just like a man, held the maiden that shot a Cupid's dart only I suppose a man would have swore into my unsuspecting bosom. It is said that and stamped upon the floor; however, I children recover from accidents or injuries cried myself to sleep, and when I awoke, rapidly, owing, I suppose, to the fact that the horses and coach at the door, with the nature has not been abused by dissipation guard in scarlet coat, made me forget; just or late hours: be that as it may, there must like a man who, satisfied with equipage and be a great deal of truth in the theory, or liveried servants, crushes the feelings of his else I never could have rallied so fast, for I heart by the heavy weight that fame or was almost gone; I neither slept nor atewealth bring to him. I remember asking two very necessary things to a boy of “four my nurse many times about my little years old”-all one night and day. The "belle;" but, at last, like larger people, I next day, however, I made out to visit my began to forget absent friends, and comfort adorer—no great feat, to be sure, as she myself with others that were present. lived next door to the hotel in which we This was my first love, and I was between resided—and, like the hero, “ told my tale four and five years of age ; the next time I of love," and had the happiness to find it took the epidemic, I was between fourteen reciprocated; upon which, like all other and fifteen. It was an epidemic, coming on weighty matters, I affixed my seal, which about every ten years of my life, only lighter then consisted of a kiss. Yes! you may at
attack. laugh, reader, at my childish notion of "fall
At this age, I was a large, stout boy; and ing in love" at that tender age. Did you as I was the only son of the family, I was never act the child, or, it may be, the fool, therefore petted, or, rather, allowed to do at a later period in your life? Well, never much as I pleased; and as my father was mind; only, don't laugh at my confessions ; a stern man, I had to be very careful that
my conduct did not partake of a silly or | ivory shoulders, massy tresses of dark wavy
I Oh, ye gods and little fishes ! but I was kept a horse of my own; and, living in a in a fix. I dare not move for fear of breakwestern country, had many opportunities of ing the spell, and prudence whispered I was doing little things which my city education making a fool of myself ; upon which pride had fitted me for, but which amongst the took the alarm, and called up dignity to natives passed for “rather smart;" and maintain the character of the man. But being pretty kind in my disposition, I was the attempt, I presume, was a very poor one, popular amongst our rustic neighbors. for I observed a smile upon her face, whether Having been absent one day on some occa- pity or derision I know not; however, it sion or other-I believe it was the location brought me to my senses, and after some of a school-house, or getting it finished for awkward attempt at gallantry, I sidled away the winter, in order to keep the young idea to make my toilet, which, I presume, emwarm while “learning to shoot ”.—whatever braced all my wardrobe, as I was very dewas the cause of my absence, it was in some sirous of shining out to the fullest extent. way connected with education, and the roads How I finished the evening I know not, but were muddy. This accounts for my absence remember perfectly well scalding myself and state of my toilet, which has a bearing with hot tea so badly as to evoke her symon my tale, as you will shortly understand. pathy, and, in my endeavors to be polite in
On arriving at home and giving my horse helping her to preserves, upset the dish, and to a servant, I approached the house in my made ruin of the table-cloth; in fact, “I soiled clothes, to which the mud clung tena- was taken in and done for.” Talk of a perciously, and, eager to divest myself of such son falling in love at first sight; here it was an encumbrance, I hastily opened the door, illustrated; I had not time to wink before when, before me--but why attempt such a I was over head and ears in it. task as to describe the vision that burst
This delicious dream lasted for one whole my sight; as well might I undertake to de- summer, during which time I was assiduous scribe the Mohammedan's paradise. in my attention upon her; there was no like a dream, the principal character of which other beau in that neighborhood that could is well remembered, but all other minor compete, for I was perfectly reckless, and circumstances that must have attended it would have gloried to have died for her. I are forgotten. My mother, however, was often wished that something would occur, heartily ashamed of the conduct of her only where I could risk my life and show my
deson, thus acting more like a country bump- votion to her. I remember that one time I kin than the intelligent youth that she was visiting her-indeed I almost lived at thought me; and, after many attempts, her brother's while she remained—and a made me comprehend that the being before gentleman called to see her, who, I learned, me, whom I supposed was an angel minus had come some fifty miles for that purpose. the wings, was sister to a friend of ours, and He, probably suspecting the state of affairs, had come to drink tea with us. I looked, wished to enjoy himself at my expense, and, I presume, like "a stuck calf,” for I could while sauntering around, kept drawing me not get a word out of my head; and as for out; at last he hazarded some remark about all the fine words and compliments that I my Dulcinea, that roused my jealousy to had picked up in my miscellaneous reading, such an extent I seized an axe that stood they were forgotten or lost. All I could see by, and had some serious thoughts of ridor think of were a pair of dark lustrous ding the world of such a monster; but, if I eyes, and above them, and falling off her was a large boy, he was a large man, as I
now remember he told me that he was six my pulse throbs stronger at the dear refeet four inches in his stocking soles. I did membrance, made hazy by the strong events not care for that then, and verily believe I of many years. Ah! I should have died would have stood up to fight it out with then, I was so happy. " Goliah of Gath,” if my
Almenia was to Like every thing human, this enjoyment have been the price of victory. My foe of had an end. She left our region, and me six feet four left, however, and I was paci- broken-hearted. The physician that atfied. Though I know now they were entended me supposed that I had something gaged to be married at that time, I did not else than a broken heart, because he could know then; and if I had, what could a not minister to such a mind diseased. I boy of fourteen say against a tale from the threw his “physic to the dogs.” I rather lips of the woman he loved, and that wo think old Hippocrates or Galen never deman twenty-five, and a heartless coquette scribed such an affection. After a few days, at that? Indeed, she only had visited our owing to a good constitution and giving the neighborhood to allow nature to repair the medicine to the dogs, I recovered, so as to ravages of a former season's dissipation. I be able to crawl about. During the time I don't know that I had any plans for the was confined to my bed, the sun had become future formed, nor that I thought of marry- dim, and every thing earthly wore a sombre ing her ; indeed, it would at that time have look of gloom. seemed a profanation to think of such a It was at this time I thought somewhat connection with the deity she appeared in of studying theology, and going out as mismy eyes; my love was a sort of “ideal,” sionary to the coast of Africa, or some dreadpartaking more of the homage due a Crea- ful place, where dreadful sacrifices were retor than the love that mortals bear towards quired, and the reward would be some one another-I suppose what poets and dreadful death ; all with the hope that it novel-writers call “spirituelle.” I remember would find its way into some book or newsone day—ah ! that was a day to be remem- paper, and in after years might meet her bered—we were walking in a romantic and eye, and cause her heart to beat one throb secluded dell, near a river; just near enough for me ; but-alas for history !-another fate that the gurgling stream, as it rolled over
awaited me. the stones, made an echo loud enough to This was the second time I had the epicause words to appear as whispers ; giving demic, and, if it was more severe than the that still, calm feeling of security that some first
, I attribute it to the fact of my constitutimes pervades the soul when the heart is tion being fuller of the vital current, and filled with happiness; and I had a dim, dis- stronger than when I had it the first time; tant hope or desire that I could live for just as all diseases attack a hearty person ever with her; and in fulness of hope, deli- with more severity than one of a spare rious with joy, I dared-ay, dared to kiss habit. her-her! Oh, that moment! I would The next year after my recovery, I was give a year of my old worn-out existence sent to college, and, as I was intended for a for such another thrill of ecstacy, such a profession, had no time to fall in love for blending of sense and soul. Pah! it is no many years. I always do whatever I atuse trying to describe ; pen could not do it, tempt with all my might, be it physical or nor magazine contain the multitude of emo- mental, and at college I was considered tions that thrilled like-like what?–a thou- rather ambitious, so no time was spared to sand times swifter than the electric telegraph; fall in love except once, and then I escaped my whole system, every fibre of my exist- entirely. But that was very slight, just a preence partaking of the delightful joy. Even monitory symptom or two, to show the state at this distant day, my heart beats faster, and l of my system, as a twinge of the rheumatism
serves to remind us of an approaching east before the time arrived. I had more courage wind. With that exception, I passed over this time, too, as my income had increased my college period tolerably well, and at last so much that I had no fear of poverty before graduated and commenced the practice of my eyes. The woman that I selected for my profession in my native town. The first the experiment was what my friends called year I had nothing to do, and came near amiable and virtuous, and many other things having another attack, as some of my friends which I find kind-hearted people utter when thought it would be beneficial to me to take they do not wish to say that a woman is a wife ; but, as I could hardly support my hideous or ugly. I did in this case what all self, I could not dare to indulge in the the rules of propriety and wisdom suggested; luxury of matrimony.
but the experiment failed, and to this day I Next year, I visited Europe to complete know not whether I loved her or she hated my studies, and, with the exception of a me. One thing I do remember; her refusal flirtation with a widow, escaped the epidemic never caused me a pang, and not a thought entirely. My period of probation had not of suicide or any of those " thousand and come to an end yet, but the cycle would one devices” that rejected lovers threaten to soon be completed. And sure enough, on do, but seldom perform, entered my mind. my return home again, I began to experience The experiment failed, as many a one does, a fluttering around my heart, that usual pre- but I learned something from it; and that cursor to my periodical disease. In this was, that prudence and propriety have case, however, it was a different kind from nothing to do, nor are of any use at all, to the others; for it was a blue eye and sim- people falling in love ; for, on investigating plicity that I caught it from, whereas it was, the matter fully, to find out the cause of my in all the other cases, a brunette hue that failure, I found that it was consummated the disease partook of. I soon rallied from every day, in direct defiance and utter ignothis attack by a liberal dose of prudence, rance of such philosophical principles. That which enabled me to see the folly and in the experiment was a failure as to prerentjustice of asking or expecting a woman to ing an entire recurrence of the epidemic, I leave a happy home for the limited one have not the least doubt, as I know that, afforded from my scanty income. A few on meeting a certain lady some time after, years more, and another cycle rolled round; I felt quite a Platonic attachment for her, and, as the complaint was growing lighter which shows that the experiment had modiin its attack every time, I thought that, as fied it a great deal, but not eradicated it children were vaccinated to prevent them entirely, for, when Platonic attachments take catching a worse disease, I might act upon the place of passionate admiration, the heart the same plan; so I determined to antici- may say, with the swarthy Moorpate the attack, and prudently fall in love
“Othello's occupation's gona."
The name of this month is derived from fied from the responsibilities of any crime the Latin, februo, signifying, I purify, and committed, or from inherent moral impuriwas given because the ceremonies of the ties. The modes of performing the LustraLustration were performed in that month tion were various; sometimes by parading by the ancient Romans. Lustration was a the body of an animal just sacrificed around religious sacrificial ritual, by which cities, the recipients, and sometimes marching the fields, and even armies, were relieved or puri- recipients of the ritual past the sacrifice.