The banner of the South. (Augusta, Ga.) 1868-1870, June 13, 1868, Image 1
V"Oil,. I. [For the Bonner of the South. Presentiment. HI MOIXA. Cometh * Toiee from a Far-Land! Beautiful, nart, and lovr; Shineth a light from a Star-land, Down on the Night of rny woe; And a white hand, with a garland, Biildeth my spirit to go; Away and afar from the Night-land, Where aorrovrs o’er shadow my war, To the splendors and skies of a Light-land, Where reigneth Eternity's day; To the cloudless and shadowless Bright-lancL Whose sun never passeth away. And T knew tho voic©—not a swaeter In earth or In heaven can be, And never did shadows pass fleeter Than it and its strange melody; And I know I must hasten to meet her, “Yea, sister! thou oailost to me.” And I saw tho Light ; *twas not seeming; It flashed from the crown that she wore; And the brow, that with jewels was gloaming My lips had kissed often of yore, And tho eyes, that with rapture were beaming, Had smiled on me sweetly before. And I saw tho hand with tho garland, My sister’s hand holy, and fair; Who went long ago to the Far-land, To wt«vo mo the wreath I shall wear; And to-night I look up to tho Star-land, And pray that I soon may be thoro. A u grata, June 3d. [Com tho Atlantic Monthly.] f m ismm. “Emma, go to the bureau in my bed room, and in the second drawer, in the right-hand corner, you’ll see the pile of aprons; the third one from the top is your blue-and-brown gingham. Put it on, and I will button it up for you,” “1 hate that old apron!” said Emma, undutifully. “I don’t want to wear it!” “Emma, do as I bid you this instant,” said Mrs. Gourlay, with authority. ' Hate the clothes that mother makes for you! what a wicked girl!” ‘lt’s faded, and there’s a great patch where I burnt it, and Kitty will laugh at me. Aunty never makes her wear such old things.” kitty will most likely 7 see the day when she will be glad of a much worse one, and have to go without. l r our aunt brings up her children to all sorts of ex travagant notions, hut I’m thankful that 1 know my duty better.” Spito of her frowning remonstrances, the unwilling Emma was duly invested with the despised garment, and dis patched to school, where the spectacle of her cousin in a prettily shaped white apon, made with pockets, and fastened by rows of dear little pearl buttons, served greatly to intensify her wrath and disgust. Meanwhile, Mrs. Gourlay seated her sch before her work-basket. Before it —ler it was no trumpery affair, decked with ribbons, and holding a gold thimble fail frill, or perchance a bit of tatting. It voisa large substantial willow structure, piled with all sorts of heavy, ugly gar ments, in the cut-out state. This basket was poor Emma’s abhorrence. She had inn daily part to do towards reducing its contents; and her little hands grew weary ami her little heart yet wearier, over bug fells and clumsy seams of Canton flannel. Mrs. Gourlay had no sympathy v»itn such weariness. Canton flannel was an oi dering ot Providence; and if any oue found sewing on it to be tedious it was clearly due to her own rebellious and impatient spirit. . 1 wisil you could have seen the room m which this good lady presently com posed herself to sewing ; though, indeed “composed” is hardly the word for that iu and euergetic plying of the needle which straightway began. It was not a large apartment, nor a lolty; I believe Mrs. Gourlay, having never chanced ; inhabit such rooms herself, had a no con that some sort of moral obliquity at tached to their possession; nor could it tho ornament of rare or costly furniture; but how beautifully clean, bow exactly ordered, was every portion of it! The window-panes glittered like mirrors; the Holland shades hung “plumb” their rollers; the carpet -—ingrain of the best quality and uglieit imaginable pattern—was free from shred or speck; the maple chairs, with their eane seats, shone as if just home from the cabinet-maker’s ; well-starched tidies protected the green moreen of the rock ing-chairs from profaning contact. Eve ry inch of paint, every bit of brass or steel, was fresh and shining as the hands could make it. Even the pendulum of the clock on the high mantel looked bigger and brighter than that of other clocks, as it glanced momently through its little window. Yet, as there was a serpent in Eden, so there was one element oi’ disor der even in this otherwise perfect room. The oover of the lounge, put on to pre serve undimmed its green-and-crimson glories, had a trick of getting awry when Mr. Gourlay or the children sat or moved heedlessly upon it. This was one of Mrs Gourlay’s trials ; a cross borne daily with more or less meekness, as might happen. She was not partial to the lounge herself, preferring seats of more upright and rigid tendency ; but once a day or so she sat down upon it in an illustrative manner, merely to prove how entirely unnecessary were the twitching and rumpling of its cover which ensued upon the presence of anybody else. But the lessons were un fruitful; the chintz still twisted, and the children still caught admiring glimpses of the splendors beneath This morning there was great peace in the room and in Mrs. Gourlay’s mind. The children were at school, and her hus band at his office. Undisturbed quiet reigned, and would reign till the noon hour brought tho return of the beloved ones and the infraction of order. For the time being she was almost as happily situated as a maiden lady or a childless widow. She set a huge patch in John's trousers with the finish and exactness of mosaic-work, turned thence to Mr. Gourlay’s hose, and meditated mean while on the extravagance and general delinquencies of Jane Maria. Jane Maria was her sister-in-law, the wile of Mr. Gourlay’s younger brother ; and between the two ladies existed all that fond affection which the relationship commonly engenders. It so happened that Jane Maria’s husband was the more prosperous of the two, a state of things not acceptable to Mrs. Gourlay, and a great pity every way she considered. For ouly to see how much more account a good property could be turned in a small family like her own, than in her broth er’s great household. The number of Jane Maria’s children seemed to her a part of the general want of management and thrift displayed in the establishment. Four boys and twogirls, and all allowed pieces between meals. No wonder there was a grease-spot as large as a six-pence on the dining room carpet the last time she was there, and that Jane Maria put up jam enough every fall to supply a regiment. And now Emma was getting older, and noticed things, she supposed there would he an endless trouble about her clothes. Well, no matter. If Jane Maria chose to waite her husband’s money in dressing up her children every day, as it they were going to a party, it was not her allair; she should not be led away by an) 7 such extravagance. Euuna must learn to wear what was given her without gainsaying. So pleasantly and profitably did time pass in these reveries, that the hand of the clock pointed to eleven ere she w T as aware. With rapid fingers she folded up her sewing, picked a stray thread from the carpet, and, proceeding to the kitchen, su- 1 pet-intended Melinda, the help, in the preparation of an excellent meal; think luo, meanwhile, of that other kitchen, Lher<‘ almost everything was left to AUGUSTA, G A., JUNE IS, 1868. “girls,” and choice cookery was unknown. The children came flying in at the back door a little after twelve. Their father was allowed to use the front entrance on condition of his assuming his slippers the moment that the portal closed after him. Ibis was one of the by-laws of the house of Gourlay. The large, cheery man sub mitted to it as to other domestic edicts. If ever ho wounded his wife’s feelings in any oi those sacred household tenets wherein they were most tender, it was unwittingly. Prime among his articles of faith was that which held Martha, his wife, to be the very crown and exemplar of woman’s excellence. In return she strove to bear with resignation his many breaches of propriety ; only said, “0 Mr. Gourlay!" in a despairing tone, when he threw a wet overcoat down on the hall table, and shook her head with languid disdain when he proposed to summon all the flies in the neighborhood by lighting a fire on a cool summer day. “Isn’t it a great while since we had William’s people here to tea ?’’ observed Mr. Gourlay, as he discussed apprecia tively his chicken-pie. “Suppose you ask ’em over.’’ Mrs. Gourlay’s first impulse was to negative this proposition. Visits were not often exchanged between the two families, which enjoyed a sufficiency of each other’s society in informal calls and running in and out. Two or three times a year, however, there were invitations to a regu lar tea-drinking, and a slight effort of memory showed her that the period for her own share in these hospitalities had nearly come round; besides which she had one or two chefs-d’cevre in the sweetmeat line which she by 7 no means objected to exhibit to Jane Maria. She acquiesced amiably, therefore, in her hus band’s suggestion.” “Emma, you may go to your aunt Wil liam’s after school, and say we shall be happy to see her and uncle and all the children to tea to-morrow afternoon. “Bless me! is it going to boa party?” said Mr. Gourlay. “Howlong notice do you need to give? Why not have them to-day? You’re always prepared enough. Give them whatever you happen to have.” “That's Jane Maria’s way, I know,” replied Mrs Gourlay, with stately disap proval. “But I understand a little better, I hope, what is due to guests, than to set them down to stale bread and last week’s cake.” “Just as you like ; only don't make the children sick with goodies.” “It isn’t my fault, Mr. Gourlay, if they find things so much uicer than they are used to that they are tempted to overeat. Besides, their mother will be here; can’t she restrain them?” “Fault? No, of course not. Who ever heard of its being a fault to set the best table in town? Only it spoils a man for taking a meal out of his own house,” said Mr. Gourlay, roused to new consciousness of the treasure he possessed. His wife smiled; she saw through the kind hypocrisy of this remark. Long, but vainly, had she tried to educate him up to her own high standard; it remained a mournful faet that he could make as good a dinner from the homeliest fare as from her most carefully studied dainties. Yet he made an effort in the right direc tion ; he appreciated her superiority en masse, if not iu detail, and this observa tion showed it. Emma delivered her message accord ing to instructions. “Tell your mamma we shall be happy to come,” responded her aunt, graciously. ‘‘Going to Aunt Martha’s?” cried George, when he heard the news, “O, bully!” “For shame!”said his sister Cecilia, a young prude of eleven, or so. “One would think you never had anything to eat at home.” “Who talked about eating?” demanded George, with in jured innocence. “I didn’t. Guess you must have been thinking about it yourself.” “It’s the only treat you could look forward to there,” said their mother, when she and Cecilia were alone, “I’m sure I m always in a fever, from the time we enter the house, lest something should be injured. Not that there’s anything so very choice, but your aunt is so particu lar.” 1 “Yes,” acquiesced Cecilia, quite old enough to understand the family hostili ties. “Aunt Martha thinks her kitchen chairs are better than other people’s par lor ones.” Tliis remark was considered by Mrs. William to be a triumph of shrewdness, and repeated as such to her husband in the evening. At the other house great preparations were going on, The sponge was set for those miraculous biscuit in which Mrs. Gourlay gloried, cake was concocted, sil ver rubbed up, and many a secret nook invaded in the hope, still futile, of discov iug some dust therein. “Shall we have the cover off the lounge, ma?” asked Emma. “I don’t know,” said Mrs. Gourlay, doubtfully. Those Vandals of children would be sprawling all over it, and dig ging their heels and elbows into it; so much was certain. On the other hand, she should like to show Jane Maria the advantage there was in taking a little care of things; her lounge was never covered, and faded and shabby enough it looked already, though not a year old yet. This desire conquered, and the valued article shone forth unobscured.— Emma was allowed to come home early from school, and to view her mother as she cut the cake, and shaved down the smoked beef with a nicety unattainable by auy other hand. She was further priviliged to appropriate such precious crumbs and scraps as resulted from this work. “Careful, child! I’m afraid you’ll have your fingers off!” exclaimed Mrs Gour lay, as the little hand dived almost under her keen knife in pursuit of a particu arly choice bit of beef. “How thin you cut itp said Emma, admiringly! “Aunty has hers different. It’s in quite thick pieces.” “I know 7 it. Emma,” returned her moth er. No further comment than her tone was needful. Between four and five the door-yard gate opened, and the expected party ap peared ; Cecilia, very smart in anew. muslin, leading the youngest trot, deckej out in infant finery; Kitty walked with her mother, and wearing sash and shoes that smote poor Emma’s heart. She looked down at her ov 7 n thick boots, and sighed. “The boys will be here presently,” said Mrs. V illiam, as she greeted her hostess. “They were not quite ready and I thought we wouldn’t wait for them.” “There they are now,” announced Em ma, a few minutes later, as the little group was about searing itself in the par lor. “0, my! how they are running right through that mud in the middle of the road!’’ “Don’t give yourself any trouble about them,” said their mother, as Mrs. Gour lay hurried to the door. “They’ll hunt up John somewhere about the premises, I dare say.” “He’s walking up and down the back stoop, whistling, with his hands in his pockets,” said Emma. Cecilia turned, while a very prim ex pression compressed her small mouth; “I think,” she said, “that John might have come and spoken to his aunt and cousins.” “Perhaps he did not know that we were here, my dear,” observed her mother. Cecilia looked gimlet-wise at little Em ma, who colored guiltily, and vouched no further information. She knew very well that John had said, “I ain’t going in ! 1 shall see aunty at tea, and you don’t catch me near Cecilia Gourlay if I can help it. I ain’t going to liavc her telling me what’s proper!” The lady of the house returned from overseeing the proper use of scraper and mat on the part of her nephews, who sought the recreant John in his “position in the rear,” and the visit began. She observed with secret reprobation, though without surprise, that Jane Maria had no work, and bore her testimony against such lack of thrift by unusual energy in knitting. “What are you doing?” asked Mrs. William. “Cotton stockings?” Don’t you find them very tedious?” “Not as tedious us to mend the holes in woven ones.” “Yes, they are sometimes fearful,” said Jane Maria, smiling. “I often wonder what my boys’ feet are made of, they go through their stockings so fast.” “We always think knitted stockings are the best economy,” said Mrs. Gourlay. Now, if thare was a word in the world that Mrs. William hated, it was that “we.” It referrod to Mrs. Gourlay’s mother anil sisters, and thence back to her grand mother and great-aunts, each, in her day, a burning and shining light, and a terror to all less accomplished housekeepers. When Mrs Gourlay said “we,” it sug gested, not only her own perfections, but those of her whole race; it was a sort of royal “we,” and implied a superiority hopeless of attainment £>y any lowlier lineage, “Sometimes I think so, and again not,” said Mrs William. “It makes them very dear if you hire them done, and of course I can t keep sucii a tribe supplied myself. So I buy sometimes, and again have some oue knit for us.” Os course. Just what might be ex pected. Never able to make up her mind to one thing or the other. But then it would not do to say a word. These re flections imparted a severity to Mrs. Gourlay’s countenance, observed by Ce cilia, and considered by her to add a quite superfluous depth to her aunt’s ug liness. But Cecilia had mistaken views of personal appearance. Mrs. Gourlay was really a well-looking woman, or would have been had she brought a little taste and care to the aid of her native attrac tions. But her hair was always brushed straight back from her forehead and twisted in the tightest of knots; her gowns were often old-fashioned, and apt to be short and scanty in the skirt. Thought i for dress, except in the matter of being clean and whole, she regarded as a weak ness criminally unworthy ot a woman who had the solemn trust of a house commit ted to her charge. Not, indeed, that she was so insensible to her own claims as to possess no good or valuable clothing. There were times and seasons- Sundays, Thanksgivings, and formal visits—when oertain garments, now hanging darkly in the closet of the spare bedroom, were brought forth to light and wear. Ou such occasions little Emma viewed her mother’s unwonted magnificence with awful veneration, and never dreamed that tho fineness ot the merinoes, or the weight and lustre of the, silks could be matched in any other wardrobe. Jane Maria, on the contrary, was nut above such moderate personal adorn ment as the mother of six children might reasonably indulge in. Her hair, which was dark and abundant, was arranged with reference, if not in absolute confor mity, to the reigning mode; when her apj parel became old-fashioned, she had it made up anew. r io-day, her large, but well-moulded form, was arrayed in some sort of gray material, light of texture, as beeamo the season, and relieved by blue trimmings. The skirt was full, and flowed away in soft, silky-looking ampli tude; the azure ribbons suited their wearer’s fair and placid style ; the ches lmt locks were rolled back from the white temples, and brushed to lustrous smooth ness. Altogether, Mrs. William was what you would call a fine, stylish-looking v,o- ISTo. 13.