« PreviousContinue »
guileless rapture, taste the honey of life. It will soon merge into age; when stern engagements will herald care.
Not one word of condemnation shall pass our lips against adults who, having provided against a holiday, make mirth in dancing. Occasionally, a rest from toil, a forgetfulness of all social, political, and domestic strife, a whole day spent in the country with the village beaux, a pic-nic and lively country dance, will each and all compensate for the time and expense, in yielding a pleasure for remembrance, and a hearty, thorough English happiness.
We are not “strait-laced,” and therefore cannot say that dancing should be prohibited, or confined solely to the young.
We would urge, by all incentive means, reform in the habit of public balls. Whilst urging such desirable reform, we would not unjustly censure those who have been educated to the pastime, without moral preparation.
There is nothing on the face of God's universe which may not be abused. Human society is made up of incongruities; scarcely any definable order or system. Class-habit, class-leaning, class-deed, class-creed, stand opposed as barricades to domestic and social progress.
“When to stop,” is what society needs to know. Up to a certain point there may be good in recreation and all other practices. Beyond that point there may be error. The great work of philanthropy and wisdom, is to discover the exact altitude essential to moral and religious health to which our race must rise, above which we cannot safely go.
Whilst recognising the harmlessness and possible good of temperate dancing, we must not fail to express unmistakably our disapproval of those who are “old enough to know better,” who make ball-rooms their almost constant places of resort. We would ask them in “true kindness,” Is there no better way by which time can be spent? Are there no books to read ? No life-work to be done ? No higher ideal for existence ? If not, we mourn for humanity. Better break stones on the common road-side, carry water from house to house, excavate the mine, plough the frosty glebe, buffet the storms, and track the billows of the ocean, do anything, in fact, rather than hang on to the midnight ball, flapping the tails of your coat in token of the celerity with which you exercise your feet.
To the ladies, whose rouged faces and sweet glancings we fancy we can see stealing sighs at midnight from certain half-grown men, who never acquired the art of dancing at home, we politely say a word. Ladies, your presence, in all the witcheries of nature and art, in the midnight ball-room, gives a triumph to the ceremonial habit of midnight revelry. Be you mindful of virtue, wisdom, duty; watch you
of your smiles, and the influence of your acts. The masculine gender would, without you, soon become neuter. It is your presence, ladies, which gives stamina to the practice of midnight dancing. Abandon the habit, ladies, then reform in these things will come; gentlemen will, somehow or other, desiring ever to please you, so arrange the order of their daily duties, as to enable them to trip with you in the fairy dance in the seasonable time of mirth.
By exchanging the midnight hour for the morning or evening hour, you will find less of the fatigue, disease, and premature death, which are common to the ball-room. Ladies, more delicately constituted than gentlemen, render themselves predisposed to unhealthy influences. They very often dance till the dawn of morn, and then, in a state of extreme perspiration, take cold, which not unfrequently brings on a fatal climax. If ladies would only choose to forego a habit, opposed to themselves and their partners in the scene, and would just determine to be subjected to the dictates of sober, Saxon, common sense, which will teach them to be moderate and modest, there would be little to lament from “public dances.”
The ladies ;-well, we had better forego ourselves (by way of example) any harsh stricture on their conduct. But to be just to truth and common sense, we must say just this—(it is a bit of our mind). Ladies with plenty of cash, and nothing to do, may occasionally grace the dance with little evil result, providing they are discreet. But those who have husbands and children, and withal (small coin), should leave dancing with their teens, and remember how numerous are the “things to be done” by themselves ere they can be faithful to Duty.
We do not say there should be no cessation of work for the married fair one; that she, because she hath much “ to do,” should never be allowed a light hour in the gay assembly, if such mode of pastime suits her. What we say is this (don't be angry, if you can help it, fair ladies),-married women are little likely to prove good companions to their husbands, and worthy mothers to their children, if they value the ball-room more than they do their homes;
if they delight in aping the steps of strange gentlemen, more than they delight in walking in the ways of domestic life.
We admire good dancing as we love good fare, but we only value either in moderation. Let dancing serve its true purpose. It is an institution of a practically beneficial character under restraint. But let not dancing monopolise our sole time, or even interrupt any true world-work. Let dancing exist as a recreative and healthyielding agent; but away for ever with the midnight public places known as ball-rooms, where all that is decent is made to blush, and virtue expires, as the taper, consumed to the wick, waning by degrees in the silent, solemn midnight.
THE WOODMAN.-PART III.
BY J. H. POWELL.
The Woodman felt, as noiseless years
Gaily the summer bees fly,
Gaily the soaring larks sing,
Laughs at everything ;
Lovely the flowers that bloom,
Lovely the chrystaline stream ;
Which gleams in the summer beam.
Joyous the innocent child,
Joyous the maiden in love;
With peace of the peaceful dove;
Thus Gertrude sang. The Woodman and his mate
When Toil was hush'd in rest, and Night was Queen,
The Woodman's cot is now the scene of bliss,
The Woodman's wife a mother's name can own ;
To Felix, when its precious truth is known !
In breathless ecstacy the Woodman hies
To Gertrude, with the tidings of the birth ;
Prays that the child may shine a star on earth.
TIMOTHY TOMPKINS.—CHAPTER III.
In due time the large Assembly Room at the King's Arms was illuminated, and fitted for the reception of the public, to view the wonderful magical skill of Professor Schelterchinesey. A table stood in front of the Professor, on which was placed an assortment of glasses, bottles, and coins. A red curtain, spangled with silver stars and charmed representations, was suspended from the ceiling, and gave a dazzling character to the scene. Behind this curtain the magician had stored a large box, containing the machinery of a host of tricks he did not desire his patrons to discover. The hour for commencing operations had arrived. The Professor was waiting with his watch in his hand; he was waiting with visible impatience. He was waiting—for disappointment; for the public were callous to his call, and savagely indifferent to his genius. The Professor waited exactly half an hour over the time announced to display his