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shall be obliged to appear with a new stomacher at the least.

"3. That no one be actually married until she hath the child-bed pillows, &c, ready stitched, as likewise the mantle for the boy quite finished.

"These laws, if I mistake not, would effectually restore the decayed art of needlework, and make the virgins of Great Britain exceedingly nimblefingered in their business."

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"And often did she look
On that which in her hand she bore,
In velvet bound and broider'd o'er—
Her breviary book."—Marmion.

({ Books are ours,
Within whose silent chambers treasure lies
Preserved from age to age—
These hoards of truth we can unlock at will."—Wordsworth.

Deep indeed are our obligations for those treasures which "we can unlock at will:" treasures of far more value than gold or gems, for they oftentimes bestow that which gold cannot purchase—even forgetfulness of sorrow and pain. Happy are those who have a taste for reading and leisure to indulge it. It is the most beguiling solace of life: it is its most ennobling pursuit. It is a magnificent thing to converse with the master spirits of past ages, to behold them as they were; to mingle thought with thought and mind with mind; to let the imagination rove—based however on the authentic record of the past—through dim and distant ages; to behold the fathers and prophets of the ancient earth; to hold communion with martyrs and prophets, and kings; to kneel at the feet of the mighty lawgiver: to bend at the shrine of the eternal poet; to imbibe inspiration from the eloquent, to gather instruction from the wise, and pleasure from the gifted; to behold, as in a glass, all the majesty and all the beauty of the mighty Past, to revel in all the accumulated treasures of Time—and this, all this, we have by reading the privilege to do. Imagination indeed, the gift of heaven, may soar elate, unchecked, though untutored through time and space, through Time to Eternity, and may people worlds at will; but that truthful basis which can alone give permanence to her visions, that knowledge which ennobles and purifies and elevates them is acquired from books, whether

"Song of the Muses, says historic tale,
Science severe, or word of Holy Writ,
Announcing immortality and joy."

The " word of Holy Writ," the Bible—we pass over its hopes, its promises, its consolations—these themes are too sacred even for reference on our light page—but here, we may remark, we see the world in its freshness, its prime, its glory. We converse truly with godlike men and angelic women. We see the mighty and majestic fathers of the human race ere sin had corrupted all their godlike seeming; ere sorrow — the bequeathed and inherited sorrows of ages—had quite seared the " human face divine;" ere sloth, and luxury, and corruption, and decay, had altered features formed in the similitude of heaven to the gross semblance of earth; and we walk step by step over the new fresh earth as yet untrodden by foot of man, and behold the ancient solitudes gradually invaded by his advancing steps.

Most gentle, most soothing, most faithful companions are books. They afford amusement for the lonely hour; solace perchance for the sorrowful one: they offer recreation to the light-hearted; instruction to the inquiring; inspiration to the aspiring mind; food for the thirsty one. They are inexhaustible in extent as in variety: and oh! in the silent vigil by the suffering couch, or during the languor of indisposition, who can too highly praise those silent friends—silent indeed to the ear, but speaking eloquently to the heart—which beguile, even transiently, the mind from present depressing care, strengthen and elevate it by communion with the past, or solace it by hopes of the future!

Listen how sweetly one of the first of modern men apostrophises his books :—

"My days among the dead are past;
Around me I behold,
Where'er these casual eyes are cast,

The mighty minds of old;
My never-failing friends are they,
With whom I converse day by day.

"With them I take delight in weal,
And seek relief in woe;
And while I understand and feel

How much to them I owe,
My cheeks have often been bedew'd,
With tears of thoughtful gratitude.

"My thoughts are with the dead; with them
I live in long past years j
Their virtues love, their faults condemn,

Partake their hopes and fears,
And from their lessons seek and find
Instruction with a humble mind.

"My hopes are with the dead; anon My place with them will be, And I with them shall travel on

Through all futurity;
Yet leaving here a name, I trust,
That will not perish in the dust." *

Yet how little are we of the present day, who have books poured into our laps, able to estimate their real value! Nor is it possible that they can ever again be estimated as they once were. The universal diffusion of them, the incalculable multiplication of them, seems to render it impossible that the world can ever be deprived of them. No. We must call up some of the spirits of the "pious and painful" amanuenses of those days when the fourth estate of the realm, the public press—Was Not—to tell us the real value of the literary treasures we now esteem so lightly. He will tell us that in his day the donation of a single book to a religious house was thought to give the donor a claim to eternal salvation ; and that an offering so valued, so cherished, would be laid on the high altar amid pomp and pageantry. He might perhaps personally remember the prior and convent of Rochester pronouncing an irrevocable sentence of damnation on him who should purloin or conceal their treasured Latin translation of Aristotle's physics. He would tell us that the holiest and wisest of men would forego ease and luxury and spend laborious years in transcribing books for the good of others; he will tell us that amongst many others, Osmond, Bishop of Salisbury, did this, and

* Southey.

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