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with some rare strokes of chance as well as skill, which came opportunely on his side-lengthened out till midnight-dismissed the old gentleman at last to his bed with comparatively easy spirits.
I have been at my old friend's various times since. I do not know a visiting place where every guest is so perfectly at his ease ; nowhere, where harmony is so strangely the result of confusion. Every body is at cross purposes, yet the effect is so much better than uniformity. Contradictory orders; servants pulling one way; master and mistress driving some other, yet both diverse; visitors huddled up in corners ; chairs unsymmetrised ; candles disposed by chance ; meals at odd hours, tea and supper at once, or the latter preceding the former; the host and the guest conferring, yet each upon a different topic, each understanding himself, neither trying to understand or hear the other ; draughts and politics, chess and political economy, cards and conversation on nautical matters, going on at once, without the hope, or indeed the wish, of distinguishing them, make it altogether the most perfect concordia discors you shall meet with. Yet somehow the old house is not quite what it should be. The Admiral still enjoys his pipe, but he has no Miss Emily to fill it for him. The instrument stands where it stood, but she is gone, whose delicate touch could sometimes for a short minute appease the warring elements. He has learnt, as Marvel expresses it, to make his destiny his choice.” He bears bravely up, but he does not come out with his flashes of wild wit so thick as formerly. His sea songs seldomer escape him.
His wife, too, looks as if she wanted some younger body to scold and set to rights. We all miss a junior presence. It is wonderful how one young maiden freshens up, and keeps green, the paternal roof. Old and young seem to have an interest in her, so long as she is not absolutely disposed of. The youthfulness of the house is flown. Emily is married.
THE CHILD ANGEL.
CHANCED upon the prettiest, oddest, fantastical thing of a dream the other night, that you shall hear of. I had
been reading the “Loves of the Angels,” and went to bed with my head full of speculations, suggested by that extraordinary legend. It had given birth to innumerable conjectures; and, I remember, the last waking thought, which I gave expression to on my pillow, was a sort of wonder “what could come of it.”
I was suddenly transported, how or whither I could scarcely make out—but to some celestial region. It was not the real heavens neither-not the downright Bible heaven—but a kind of fairyland heaven, about which a poor human fancy may have leave to sport and air itself, I will hope, without presumption.
Methought-what wild things dreams are !—I was present at what would you imagine ?-at an angel's gossiping.
Whence it came, or how it came, or who bid it come, or whether it came purely of its own head, neither you nor I know—but there lay, sure enough, wrapt in its little cloudy swaddling bands -a Child Angel.
Sun-threads—filmy beams—ran through the celestial napery of what seemed its princely cradle. All the winged orders hovered round, watching when the new-born should open its yet closed eyes; which, when it did, first one, and then the other—with a solicitude and apprehension, yet not such as, stained with fear, dim the expanding eye-lids of mortal infants, but as if to explore its path in those its unhereditary palaces—what an inextinguishable titter that time spared not celestial visages ! Nor wanted there to my seemingO the inexplicable simpleness of dreams !-bowls of that cheering nectar,
-which mortals caudle call below.
Nor were wanting faces of female ministrants,stricken in years, as it might seem,--so dexterous were those heavenly attendants to counterfeit kindly similitudes of earth, to greet, with terrrestrial child-rites the young present, which earth had made to heaven.
Then were celestial harpings heard, not in full symphony as those by which the spheres are tutored; but, as loudest instruments on earth speak oftentimes, muffled; so to accommodate their sound the better to the weak ears of the imperfect-born. And, with the noise of those subdued soundings, the Angelet sprang forth, flutter:
ing its rudiments of pinions—but forthwith flagged and was recovered into the arms of those fullwinged angels. And a wonder it was to see how, as years went round in heaven- year in dreams · is as a day-continually its white shoulders put forth buds of wings, but, wanting the perfect angelic nutriment, anon was shorn of its aspiring, and fell fluttering-still caught by angel hands-for ever to put forth shoots, and to fall fluttering, because its birth was not of the unmixed vigour of heaven.
And a name was given to the Babe Angel, and it was to be called Ge-Urania, because its production was of earth and heaven.
And it could not taste of death, by reason of its adoption into immortal palaces : but it was to know weakness, and reliance, and the shadow of human imbecility ; and it went with a lame gait; but in its goings it exceeded all mortal children in grace and swiftness. Then pity first sprang up in angelic bosoms; and yearnings (like the human) touched them at the sight of the immortal lame
And with pain did then first those Intuitive Essences, with pain and strife to their natures (not grief), put back their bright intelligences, and reduce their ethereal minds, schooling them to degrees and slower processes, so to adapt their lessons to the gradual illumination (as must needs be) of the half-earth-born ; and what intuitive notices they could not repel (by reason that their nature is, to know all things at once), the halfheavenly novice, by the better part of its nature, aspired to receive into its understanding ; so that