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« A HAPPY New.Year! my dear young lady,” said like Milton, you would be happy," interrupted the the schoolmaster, as he entered the parlour of Mrs. schoolmaster. * Is that what you mean?" Marvin, early in the evening, and held out his hand “ I am not quite so ambitious," replied Ellen to Ellen, with that benignant smile on his truth- smiling at the ridiculous aspect of her wishes when telling face, which stamps good wishes with their placed in such strong light, and yet she felt that the only worth—sincerity.
caricature wore a close resemblance to the reality. Ellen warmly responded his sentiment, adding the “Still I own that I do offen wish we women could hyperbole of orientalism, “ May you enjoy a thousand use the influence, which men so often flatter us with such years!"
possessing, to promote achievements, lasting as the “ No, no-do not wish any portionless number of pyramids, and glorious as the epic.” days or years for me," said the good man. “I only “ This you may do, if you choose,” said the desire to live while I can increase my own happiness schoolmaster, gravely. by adding somewhat to the innocent enjoyments of “ In what manner ?" inquired Ellen. At that others. Existence, without the power of doing a moment the door opened, and Charles Howard enlittle good, must be a burden indeed.”
tered. His face was glowing with the excitement “Yet a burden few are willing to lay down," ob- which a brisk walk from Boston to Roxbury, in the served Mrs. Marvin, who at that moment entered teeth of a sweeping wind, had called up. His dark the room.
“ It often seems very strange to me that hair clustered in matted curls around his broad, high we can be so attached to life, when it is, at the best, forehead, and as his eye flashed with the animation only a scene of cares and toils. There never in this which meeting with those he held dear, and finding world, comes a year of rest."
himself welcomed with kind wishes and smiles called " True," said the schoolmaster, " the German poet forth, the schoolmaster thought he never had looked has given a quaint but strikingly true description of on a finer specimen of the human form, made the universal human destiny, which every child should “divine" by the predominance of a cultivated intelbe taught:
lect and ardent but pure and governed affections.
“Oh!" exclaimed Ellen, after the New Year's "Thy lot is appointed, go follow its hest ; Thy journey's begun, thou must move and not rest;
greetings were over, “ do you know, Cousin Charles, For sorrow and woe cannot alter thy case,
that I am going to become famous.” And running, not raging, will win thee the race."
“ Yes; our good friend here has promised to teach " A sad lesson for New Year's day," said Ellen me the art of doing great things. So pray don't sighing,
interrupt him by any of your trifling remarks on the “Why sad ?" inquired the schoolmaster. “ You, weather, the ladies, or the times." I
do not reckon the privilege of idleness “ Three of the most important topics of conver. among your list of coveted blessings for the coming sation which can be found,” said the schoolmaster, year."
" as I could show you, if I had time to go into the “ No, not that. But is it not sad to think that of subject. Two of these I have thought sufficiently all we perform, all our purposes and hopes, so little great to form the basis of my report for this eventrace will remain at the close of the year ?" said ing."
" It seems mere folly, to be constantly busy “ A story—have you written the story you pro. and yet accomplish nothing lasting. If I could mised ?" inquired Ellen, eagerly. only—"
“ Excuse me, I think I did not promise you a “ Build a pyramid, like Cheops, or write an epic story; but something that should entertain Mrs.
Marvin. Now she shall be the judge," said the as necessary, even under the embarrassments so schoolmaster, unfolding a paper which he had taken loudly complained of. Few would attempt to prac. some time before from his pocket, (he never would tise it, and fewer still would be benefitted by it. But adopt the fashionable method of carrying his papers in yet it is, in my opinion, within the power of our inhis hat,) “ of the merits of my essay; and you, Ellen, telligent and accomplished women to check, in a may learn from it my notion of the way in which very great degree, the present ruinous extravagance woman may make her influence most greatly and which pervades all classes. They may do more; beneficially felt."
they may gain to themselves a permanent influence They all drew around the centre-table, Mrs. Marvin and a respect, which the distinction of leading in and Ellen with their work, and Charles Howard, who the present frippery fashions can never confer. Let was seated next the latter, busy in unwinding and them unite to give a new diversion to fashionable winding again her spool of cotton, while the school. taste. master read as follows:
“ There is no ambition in our republic so mis * Many different causes are assigned by politicians chievous as that personal display—the display of dress; and political economists, to account for the present because it cannot, for the present, be expensively distress of the commercial part of the community in indulged, without fostering the industry and prospeparticular, and which through them embarrasses all rity of foreign countries to the detriment of our own. classes in our country, except, perhaps, the farmers. It is often urged that the rich, by expending We hear it ascribed to the banks, the government, their income in the luxuries which taste and fashions the failure of the crops in Europe, the stoppage of prescribe, encourage ingenuity and the arts, and thus the trade with China, etc, etc., till the people, bewil. render a greater benefit to society than they could do dered by so many causes, which they are told con- by any other method of disbursement. spire to ruin them, scarcely think it worth inquiring This may be true, or partly so, in the rich and whether, as individuals, they have had any share in over peopled portions of the old world, where wealth their own undoing.
is chiefly in the hands of a few—but the reasoning “ T'he times—the hard times," effect all the mis- does not apply to us. The costly and curious fabrics chief. Not a man is ruined by his own folly; nor and stuffs, with which our ladies form their fashion. does a woman dress herself, or arrange her establish- able dresses, are not wrought in America; consement in a style beyond what she is absolutely obliged quently, all that is paid for such articles, beyond the to do, to maintain her station in society. All have price of the original material, goes to foreign artisans. done the best they possibly could—but the times—the “ But still, if our citizens, by their labour in the hard times,
cultivation of cotton and other agricultural products, “ What nonsense! The times in our own country and raw materials, could realize a sufficient profit to were never better, if peace, health, and abundance of pay the foreign manufacturer of gauzes, muslins, silks, all things, (except money,) would satisfy us. The etc., for their products, there would be no good reason whole, or certainly the greater part of this money why we should not consider the purchasing and pressure, so loudly complained of, is the effect of the wearing such superfluities in reality affording encouvanity and extravagance of our people. Almostragement to our own productive industry, and thus every man knows he has, for the last few years, lived adding to national wealth as well as affording indi. beyond his actual income, and women--they are too vidual gratification. busy with the expenditures to trouble themselves “ But when such profits are not realized, when about the receipts,
like the simple Indian, we are giving not only our “ Self-accusation is always an unpleasant task, yet productions, but our lands for beads and baubles, (it there is a crisis when self-flattery proves fatal. If is calculated that American merchants now owe sixty Americans are not convinced that most of the em- millions for foreign manufactures,) is it not high time barrassments they now suffer are the effect of their to consider whether we cannot better dispense with own foolish and wicked haste to be rich, or of their the finery than with the means of living ? pride and extravagance, they will never apply the This revolution in fashionable sentiment can be only remedy which can effectually remove the evils brought about by the ladies. Indeed it must be done now pressing on the community. It is not that by them, if it be accomplished at all; for they are the talismanic word · Economy,' that will do it. The arbiters of taste, and, in a great measure, of public wildest extravagances, as well as the most paltry opinion. And it has been they who have been the meannesses are practised under the name of economy. patrons and purchasers of all showy luxuries, and As it is commonly understood, it only means the art thus have become the accessaries of merchants who of saving appearances, substituting one extravagance introduce a love for these silly superfluities among for another less obnoxious to public censure; or at best it is only thought a necessary virtue for the poor « No one doubts the patriotism of our women. to practise, or those who wish to amass a fortune. They would, were the republic in danger from a
“ Economy is not a pleasant word to any one, foreign foe, submit cheerfully, as they did in the war excepting a politician or philosopher; and as ladies of the Revolution, to any privation or suffering which are not permitted to become politicians, and rarely the public good required. But to give up their costly encouraged in the study of philosophy, how can they jewels and rich silks, merely because the country is be admirers of economy?
not rich enough to afford such expensive array, is “ They have not, or but few among them have, en- horrid vulgar. joyed the advantages of a rational education, and a “ Make it genteel, and the difficulty is vanquished. romantic economist is usually the most extravagant And if our fashionables, our belles, would only appear woman in society.
in simple costume, such would be considered most " It would, therefore, be useless to urge on the genteel. They fear, if they would do this, that the attention of the ladies any rigid system of economy difference between the rich and the poor would not