Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

12 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



HOW JOHN CLIFFORD LOST HIS BABY. On New Year's Day, 185—, a grand fancy bazaar Was held at ihe house of a country gentleman, in the ounty of S-, the proceeds of which were to be given to a charitable fund, in which the worthy host took a great interest, and, in consequence, all the neighbours for miles round were invited to his hospitable seat; but all were expected to Durchase some article or other at the bazaar. When the evening arrived, the old hall was lighted up with innumerable chandeliers, and the buzz and hum of many voices could be heard, mingled with peals of laughter, and exclamations of pleasure and admiration; and the gay crowd came pouring in, like a living torrent, through the arcades of the great fancy fair rooms. Among the rest was a Mr Seymour Vale, who, dandy like, came sauntering down the crowded aisles-not so much to view the articles for sale as the vendors; indeed, he had come there specially to see the bright faces behind the various stalls, and not the wares upon them. Come, Mr Yale," exclaimed a silvery little voice, and a small hand seized Seymour's coat-skirts as he was struggling by, you shall buy a ticket for my raffle." Seymour turned bashfully round, and found himself the captive of a black-eyed girl, with cheeks like pink satin, and short jetty curls that never seemed to stay two minutes in any one plaoe, but to dance about, like a band of elfin sprites. Do you hear ? pursued the curly-headed madcap. Such a splendid great doll! And the tickets only ten shillings each "But," said Seymour, diffidently," what on earth should I do with a doll ? CI Do? Why give it to some of your nephews and nieces, of course Come, where's your purse ?" Seymour obediently produced his portemonnaie, and Miss Corwin, sitting down on the edge of the table, dived into its scarlet-lined depths, and, passing con- temptuously the smaller coins, pounced on a sovereign. "For you may as well take two shares while you are about it," said she. "Well," said Seymour, with a face of hopeless resig- nation, I don't know what will become of me if I win the doll! Such a beauty as it is chimed in Miss Nina Corwin; with eyes that open and shut, and the sweetest little squeaking voice." Seymour involuntarily turned pale. If there was anything on earth he held in fear and dread, it was a live baby and to come into possession of so gtotesque a fac-simile, was rather more than he could with equanimity contemplate. He shuddered in spite ot himself. Don't be afraid," said Nina, encouragingly. There are your tickets-nine and seventeen! Your chance is' doubly good." I hope not! muttered Seymour. How he wished he bad the moral courage to refuse Miss Corwin's request! Suppose-juit for one minute suppose-that the abominable piece of wax and wood should fall to his lot! W hat should he do with it ? How should he dispose of the horrible incubus ? At length the dreaded summons came. "Come, Mr Vale!" exelaimed Nina, running up to him and clipping her little hands, let me congratulate you! Nine is the lucky number-you've won the doll. Come up by my table-the girls have gone to get the prize." And she danced about him like a prownie let loose, all in a sparkle with roguish glee. Won the doll!" repeated Seymour, in accents of breathless consternation. "Of course you have, you fortunate mortal! Now was not the sovereign well invested? 0 dear! what does detain the giils so? -and you are all impatience, Mr Vale! I'll just run and see." She flitted away on tip-toe, and Seymour for one moment contemplated the possibility of abject flight. But alas no there were too many people around. He vould have been captured, and brought ignominiously back so he meekly resizned himself to circumstances, and waited the advent of the miserable doll. Meanwhile Nina had bounded away to another room, where a group of girls had gathered around some object or other. "Nina! Nina! do look here—the strangest thing!" exclaimed half-a-dozen in chorus. When we came to look for the doll, it wasn't here, but instead And they parted, to admit Nina into their circle. There lay a plump, pearly-fisted baby, with round blue eyes, and cheeks like the inside leaves of a crimson rose- 'no creature of wax and kid, but a rosy, smiling, cooing, live, baby, with a blue celshmera dress, and long embroidered skirts, and a tiny hood of azure silk, edged with a soft white foam of swansdown, scarcely whiter thtn the velvet brow it shadowed. I declare," ejaculated Nina, the fairies have been bete, and turned our dull into a baby. Where on earth did this little minikin come from ? That is the marvel," exclaimed the other girls in a chorus. Wb've made inquiries everywhere, and nobody knows anything about it! And the doll r" It is not here." el Well," exclaimed Nina, "I believe we are under some mysterious spell! Am I Nina Corwin, or an old 'Woman with a crooked stick ? Is this our fair room, or a haanted glen beside a lovely lake ?" She rubbed her pretty eyes vigorously as she spoke. There's only one thing to be done about it," she continued, catching the little bundle of lace aad cash- mere up in her arms. Mr Vale hy won the doll, alive or dead, and he's fairly entitled to it." And she ran back into the main ball, very red in the face with trying to keep back her mischievous tides of laughter. Seymour Vale stood disconsolately awaiting his fate, with a countenance of ludicrous apprehension, and both bands thrust nervous y into his pockets. The crowd gave way on either side, to allow Nina to pass with her dimpled burden, and, ere he knew it, the baby was laid, crowing and smiling, in Seymour's arms. "Why, it's alive!" ejaculated the young man, re- coiling, as a small hand clutched at his whiskers. Of course returned Nina. Didn't I tell you it could open and shut its eyes ?" Somebody take the thing!" shouted Seymour, growing pale, and looking round for aid, "I shall certainly drop it J—what is it opening its mouth for in that way ?" Dear heart alive!" said Nina, pettishly; what is the matter with the man ? You've won the prize, and I am sure it's wortl a s vereign." Miss Corwin," said Seymour, all this may be an excellent joke; but has it not-I asy you in all good faith proceeded sufficiently far ?" "No jo^ke*t all," said Nina, demurely. "There— don't hold the little creature by its head in that way. Fate has bestowed it upon you, and there's nothing left but for you to make the best of things." Seymour stood in blind tdismay at this unexpected stroke of fortune. What had he done-be of all men, who abhorred the very sound of a baby's piping squall -that his life should be made hideous by a small incum- brance like this ? I've had terrible dreams before now," he thought, "but I've always waked up before the catastrophe! Now, suppose this baby should begin to cry—there's no telling what a baby may do, at any moment!—what should I do ? What shall I do ? He looked hopelessly aroand, but in vain. At that instant Nina was called upon to answer some inquiries as to the price of various nick-nacks on her table and when she next looked up, Seymour Vale was sitting upon a box of tea-sets, dangling his pocket handkerchief in a wooden, mechanical kind of a way, to keep the baby from crying. Could the most fertile brain imagine a more piteous predicament for a bachelor ? The snowy roads sparkled as if they bad been sown with innumerable seed-diamonds, in the clear, frigid moonlight, as John Clifford's old-fashioned gig slowly jogged on towards his home. Well, Dora!" said John, giving the reins a little twitch as he turned to his wife, who was snugly packed alongside; do you feel any better for having seen the 1ine things at the great fancy fair ?" Ob, yes returned Dora—a little woman, who was 10 thoroughly bundled op ia furs that only the flash of 111 pair of brilliant blue eyes could be seen. Wasn't it beautiful? But, John, do you know that I think most of the things weren't veryxiseful John burst into a genial laugh, that startled the sleeping echoes over all the snowy hills. "I could have told you that before, little wife!" he said, gaily. I was a little frightened, though," pursued the soft voice behind the furs, when you laid baby down so carelessly, and forgot her. Suppose we had lost her And the accents sank into a horrified whisper. No danger said John, carelessly touching up his horse. 'ihe little love said Mrs Clifford enthusiastically. "How good she has been!-not cried a bit all the evening! John, I mean to turn back the pink shawl, and see her darling blue eyes." I wouldn't wake her up," said John, philosophically. "Let well enough alone that's a mayim women can never learn." I won't disturb her," whispered Dora, softly bend- ing down to a bundle of wrappings that lay in her lap. The next second she burst into a hysteric scream, that started old Bonnie into a lawless jump, and made John I spring to his feet. Dora! Wife What's the matter ? "My baby!" screamed the almost frantic mother. "John! John! where is the baby ? Why, in your lap there, isn't she ? exclaimed the husband, a vague fear crossing his mind that hit wife was insane. Ob, no no!—it is only a great wax doll! See!" and she held up the pink and white effigy of humanity, with quiveting hands. "Ob! where, where is my baby ? What does this mean ?" John stared, and screwed his knuckles into his eyes as if the snow and moonshine had dazzled them, and stared again. Whew-w-w," he whistled, as if some mist were cleared away from his mental vision. I can tell you how it is, Dora; When I laid baby down for in moment, and got a little turned round in the crowd, and you sent me back after her, I must have picked up this huge doll in my hurry. This blanket is edged with swansdown, just like Sissy's, you see, and Oh, tttru back this minute! urged the agonised mother, with hysterical earnestness. 14 Who knows what may have happened to the dear little birdling ? Ob, how could we have been so careless ? John, great soft-hearted fellow that he was, instinc- tively felt his wife's tict and kindness in including herself in the careless we," and turned Bonnie round without a word. Bonnie, who had been indulging in anticipatory dreams of his snug stall at home, gave hit head one remonstrating shake, but flev onward with a zeal truly laudable under the discouraging aspect of affairs. "I don't believe anything has happened to baby!" said John, cheerfully, as he felt his wife's heart beating against his arm. Oh, John, if-" But Dora wasn't able to get any farther. Scarcely half an^hour had elapsed from the time old Bonnie turned round on the snowy road, before Dora Clifford rushed into the brilliant rooms that were yet thronged with gay crowda. The very fiM object on which her eye fell was Seymour Vale, in a rigid attitude of stony despair, and, in his arms, held straight out from the shoulder, her own baby, its peachy face flushed with slumber, and its tiny fiita clenched tightly, as if a diamond had been concealed in either palm. Bbe gave a little shriek of intense joy and relief, and caught the sleeper to her heart. My baby!—my lost pet! It's your baby, is it ? said Seymour, who had by this time beoome reduced to a state of apathy, which an earthquake would tave failed, to disturb. Well, I supposed it WfK somebody's baby Honest John, who was following closely behind, now explained the circumstances oat of which this awkward condition of matters had sprung. I am very sorry, Mr he added. "Pray don't grieve oa my account!" said Seymour, rising as if a thousand-pound weight had been lifted off his shoulders. It's a very nice baby, I dare say, but -1 don't particularly fancy babies! Mr Clifford and Dora gazed at him with as mttph horror as if he bad said he didn't particularly fancy angels, but Seymour Vale was past eating for their criticism. Mr Vnle Mr Vale! aren't you going to stop and get the doll?" called Nina Corwin, who had mischie- vously watched the tffeola progress of events. But Seymour gave the gigantic doll an irreverent impetus with hij foot, which sent it spinning under the table, and kept o"- bio way in dignified silence. And, not until he was eafa out uruler tbs starry canopy ot night did he eaprees his mind, to the following effect:— "No!—I'm mi goiag to stop and get the doll! Hang the doll! This is the lsst time I shall ever have anything to do/vith dollj, or raffles, or fancy fairs, or pert young; biases either If I break this vow may I be sentenced to hold u baby for-ever, witk a whole crowd of people looking oa But he ntwer brofeo it, and, in consequence thereof, lived a bachelor to the en4 of hio dayt. HOW THE FREISCH FATTEN THEIR POULTRY.— Any of our countrymen who, from rheumatic gout or any other ailment may be sent to Vichy, would do well, as soon as they have sufficiently re- covered the use of their lege, to pay a visit to the Villa Belvedere, wlere a very singular mode of fattening poultry has for some time been success- fully pursued. A large circular building, admir- ably ventilated, sad with the light partially *ex- cluded, is fitted up with circular cages, in tiers rotating on a central axis, and capable of being elevated, depressed, or rotated, which are so ar- ranged' that each bird has as it were a separate stall, containing a perch. The birds art placed with their tails converging to a common centre, while the head of each may be brought in front by a similar rotatory movement of the central axis. Each bird is fastened to its cell by leathern letters, which prevent movement except of the head and wings, without occasioning pain. When the feed- ing time comes the bird is enveloped in a wooden case, from which the head and neck alone appear, and which is popularly known as its paletot, by which means all unnecessary struggling is avoided. The attendant (a young girl) seizes the head in her left hand, and gently presses the beak, in order to open it; then, with her right, she introduces into the gullet a tin tube about the size of a finger. This tube is united to a flexible pipe, which com- municates with the dish in which the food has been placed, and from which the desired quantity is instantaneously injected into the stomach. The feeding process is so short, that two hundred birds can be fed by one person in an hour. The food is a liquid paste composed of Indian corn and barley saturated with milk. It is administered three times a day, in quantities varying according to the condition of each bird. The food seems to be very satisfactory, for if any chances to fall they devour it all as soon as they are released from their paletots. The poultry house is well ventilated but, of course, it is impossible for any place in which six hundred fowls are confined to be entirely free from smell. It takes about a fortnight to fatten a bird by this method. Before being killed the birds are left in a dark but well-ventilated chamber for twet\ty-four hours without food. Each fowl is then taken up by its feet, is wrapped up so as to prevent all struggling, and then bled so adroitly in the throat, that its death seems in- stantaneous. The blood is then allowed to flow from it, and finally, after .being plucked, washed, and cleaned, it is wrapped in a damp cloth, and is ready for sale. From forty to fifty fowls are thus killed and sold daily.—Once a Week. >











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