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It is the rival, till it can be the co-operator, for food with the parent. It is never his mirth, his diversion, his solace : it never makes him young again, with recalling his young times. The children of the very poor have no young times. It makes the very heart to bleed to overhear the casual street-talk between a poor woman and her little girl, a woman of the better sort of poor, in a condition rather above the squalid beings which we have been contemplating. It is not of toys, of nursery books, of summer holidays (fitting that age); of the promised sight, or play; of praised sufficiency at school. It is of mangling and clearstarching, of the price of coals, or of potatoes. The questions of the child, that should be the very outpourings of curiosity in idleness, are marked with forecast and melancholy providence. It has come to be a woman,-before it was a child. It has learned to go to market; it chaffers, it haggles, it envies, it murmurs; it is knowing, acute, sharpened; it never prattles. Had we not reason to say, that the home of the very poor is no home?
There is yet another home, which we are constrained to deny to be one. It has a larder, which the home of the poor man wants; its fireside conveniences, of which the poor dream not. But with all this, it is no home. It is the house of the man that is infested with many visitors. May we be branded for the veriest churl, if we deny our heart to the many noble-hearted friends that at times exchange their dwelling for our poor roof! It is not of guests that we complain, but of endless,
purposeless visitants; droppers in, as they are called. We sometimes wonder from what sky they fall. It is the very error of the position of our lodging ; its horoscopy was ill calculated, being just situate in a medium-a plaguy suburban midspace-fitted to catch idlers from town or country. We are older than we were, and age is easily put out of its way. We have fewer sands in our glass to reckon upon, and we cannot brook to see them drop in endlessly succeeding impertinences. At our time of life, to be alone sometimes is as needful as sleep. It is the refreshing sleep of the day. The growing infirmities of age manifest themselves in nothing more strongly, than in an inveterate dislike of interruption. The thing which we are doing, we wish to be permitted to do. We have neither much knowledge nor devices ; but there are fewer in the place to which we hasten. We are not willingly put out of our way, even at a game of nine-pins. While youth was, we had vast reversions in time future; we are reduced to a present pittance, and obliged to economise in that article. We bleed away our moments now as hardly as our ducats. We cannot bear to have our thin wardrobe eaten and fretted into by moths. We are willing to barter our good time with a friend, who gives us in exchange his own. Herein is the distinction between the genuine guest and the visitant. This latter takes your good time, and gives you his bad in exchange. The guest is domestic to you as your good cat, or household bird ; the visitant is your fly, that flaps in at your window, and out again, leaving nothing but a
sense of disturbance, and victuals spoiled. The inferior functions of life begin to move heavily. We cannot concoct our food with interruptions. Our chief meal, to be nutritive, must be solitary. With difficulty we can eat before a guest ; and never understood what the relish of public feasting meant. Meats have no sapor, nor digestion fair play, in a crowd. The unexpected coming in of a visitant stops the machine. There is a punctual generation who time their calls to the precise commencement of your dining-hour-not to eatbut to see you eat. Our knife and fork drop instinctively, and we feel that we have swallowed our latest morsel. Others again show their genius, as we have said, in knocking the moment you have just sat down to a book. They have a peculiar compassionate sneer, with which they "hope that they do not interrupt your studies." Though they flutter off the next moment, to carry their impertinences to the nearest student that they can call their friend, the tone of the book is spoiled ; we shut the leaves, and, with Dante's lovers, read no more that day. It were well if the effect of intrusion were simply co-extensive with its presence; but it mars all the good hours afterwards. These scratches in appearance leave an orifice that closes not hastily. “It is a prostitution of the bravery of friendship," says worthy Bishop Taylor, “to spend it upon impertinent people, who are, it may be, loads to their families, but can never ease my loads." This is the secret of their gaddings, their visits, and morning calls. They too have homes, which are—no homes.
THAT YOU MUST LOVE ME AND LOVE MY DOG,
“Good sir, or madam, as it may be—we most willingly embrace the offer of your friendship. We long have known your excellent qualities. We have wished to have you nearer to us; to hold you within the very innermost fold of our heart. We can have no reserve towards a person of your open and noble nature. The frankness of your humour suits us exactly. We have been long looking for such a friend. Quick-letus disburthen our troubles into each other's bosom-let us make our single joys shine by reduplication-But yap, yap, yap! what is this confounded cur ? he has fastened his tooth, which is none of the bluntest, just in the fleshy part of my leg."
“It is my dog, sir. You must love him for my sake. Here, Test—Test—Test ! ”
“But he has bitten me.”
• Ay, that he is apt to do, till you are better acquainted with him. I have had him three years. He never bites me.”
Vap, yap, yap!-"He is at it again.”
“Oh, sir, you must not kick him. He does not like to be kicked. I expect my dog to be treated with all the respect due to myself.”
“But do you always take him out with you, when you go a friendship-hunting?"
“Invariably. 'Tis the sweetest, prettiest, bestconditioned animal. I call him my test-the touch
stone by which I try a friend. No one can properly be said to love me, who does not love him."
“Excuse us, dear sir-or madam aforesaid-if upon further consideration we are obliged to decline the otherwise invaluable offer of your friendship. We do not like dogs."
“Mighty well, sir-you know the conditionsyou may have worse offers. Come along, Test.”
The above dialogue is not so imaginary, but that, in the intercourse of life, we have had frequent occasions of breaking off an agreeable intimacy by reason of these canine appendages. They do not always come in the shape of dogs; they sometimes wear the more plausible and human character of kinsfolk, near acquaintances, my friend's friend, his partner, his wife, or his children. We could never yet form a friendship-not to speak of more delicate correspondences-however much to our taste, without the intervention of some third anomaly, some impertinent clog affixed to the relation --the understood dog in the proverb. The good things of life are not to be had singly, but come to us with a mixture ; like a schoolboy's holiday, with a task affixed to the tail of it. What a delightful companion is *** *, if he did not always bring his tall cousin with him! He seems to grow with him; like some of those double births which we remember to have read of with such wonder and delight in the old “ Athenian Oracle," where Swift commenced author by writing Pindaric Odes (what a beginning for him !) upon Sir William Temple. There is the picture of the brother, with the little brother peeping out at his shoulder ; a species of