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Miscellany: The Minister's Dinner

Miscellany: The Minister's Dinner image
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The Rev. Mr. N . was a man of excellent tempe., generous teeliñgs, and wull cukivated ïnind, but he waseccenirie even to oddity. Ue was a powerfui preacher. jnd lus ininistraiion was biest to tiie reformauon ot many ot lus parish. Ai the age of thifiy-four. he becúnie enaiuured of a beauuiul light-heaited girl ol seveïneen, and who imagined that to re.'use the hand ot' u minister would be a sin bonlering hard u;on the unpardonable. Well, the marrüige wns coiisuminatud, iho bride's fat partion paid; and t;ie husband, as husbands in their fir-t love aie apt 10 do. gave in 10 the humor ot his wile. and acconipanied her to 6everal festivo pariies givon by lus woalthy ncighbors, in honor ot his rüdrriuge. The liappy couple we re sitiing togetlier in n comiortablü purlir, ono eVejiing toward epiing, the reverend getHleman studymg tiie VeneraUlo Bede, and his wife equally iment up in a pinte oí the latest lashions. whéñ she suddenly looked up with an expression beiween hupe and lear, anJ thus addreeeed hercompanion. My dear husbund, I have a request to makc.' 'Well, Nancy. nny ihing conaiateru.' 'You do not imagine 1 voulJ make an inconsistent request, surely?' 'No - not a requust youconsidcred inconsistent. Uut come, what is mí'1 'Why, my dear sir. and her voicc trcmblccl a llttle, 'we have been to seveial parties among the neighboring gentry, nnd novv 1 ihink tnnt to maintain our poeiiion in society, we should make a party too.' Tiie minisrer loolted blauk. 'Uliat son ofn paity, Nancy í' lie said at length. 'Why,' she replied; 'such a party as those wx have nitended. Wc must make an elegant dinner, and havo dnncin.j aiier it. 'Dancing! in a minister' a house.' eiaculated Mr. N 'Why, yes, certninly,' replied his wife coaxingly. 'You will nut dance, i.he party will bu mine; and then we have been to similar parties all winter.' True, tiu3, he mutterred with i pcri)excd air. and sat silent for some time as ii conüiilering. Ai bngth he spoke. 'ïes, Nancy. you may have a pnrty, give a dinncr. and f the guests desire it you may dance ' 'Thank you, love,' sha cried, putting he. a:ms around his neck. But I have some stipulations to mnke about it.' he siid; 'I must select and invite the guesis, and yo must allo w me to place some ot my favorite tlishes on the tablc.' 'As you picase, love,' ehe answered delighted}f, 'but when shnll it beT 'Wext Wedjwfdey, jf you pleaw.' 'lit our turuuure and wiuduw draptsnes aie veryold fashioned. lt is nuw time we liad iiew.' 4 sliould think it hardly necessary to relurmsh our rooms, Nancy. All our turniiureis excellent of' the kind.' 'Bui our smooth carpeta, white draperie6, and cano chairs have such col'f look, do consent to have the rooms new littid, we can move these tilinga to the unlurnislied chambers.' 'And of wJiat use wil! they be in those rooms which we never occupy? Beiidc9. it ie ner spring, and to lit up now for winter, is supurfluous.' 'Well, I would not care, thi persisted, 'only people will culi us narsitnodioua and ungcnteel.' Oh, if that is a!l,' lic said gaily, '1 will promïse to expend a thousnnd dollars on the evening of the party, not in furnit.ire, biu in a manner which will be ar more graief'ul to our guesis, and prolitable to ourselves, and whic-h pIitiII exonérate us frorn nll impuiations of parsimony; anti you mny expend in dress, eatables and deseit, just what bUin you piense, and do not forget the wines.' And so the cuil.iquy ended. Ue resumed his studie, and she gave her mind to :he consideration ol tho dress whieh would be the most becoining; tnd the viands that were moet expensive. - The next d:iy she went busily about hor prepa. ation, wondering all tlie time how her husbnnd would expend his thousand dollar?, bui as she liad discovercd some.hing of the ecccntricuy oi his character, she doudted not that be meant to give anagreeable 6i-rprise; nnd lier curiosity grew so grent, ihat she could hardly sleep dunng the intervi 1. At length the momentous day nrrived. The arrangements were all complete, and Mrs. N retired to p rfórin the all-important buinefs of arraying her fine person in fine attire. She lingered long at the toilet, relying on the fushionable unpuncualiiy of ihshionable people. and Wh'oni the hour8iruck, le't her ehamber arrayed like Judiih of old gloriously, to alluie the eyes of all who should look upon her, and i'ull of sweet smiles and graces, notvvithstanding the uneornIbrtalile pinchingof her shoes and coisels. Uer hu&band her in the hall. 'Our guesls have all anived,' he 6aid. andqpened the dour of the receiving ioo:n. Wonderlul! wonderful! What a strange nssembly. There were congregatcd the cripple, the maimed, and the blind; the palsied, tlie extreme aged, and a group ofchildren froni thealmsrmuse, who regarded the fine lady, some with wide open mouths, others with buth hands in their hair, while some peeped from behuid the furnimre. to the covert oi which they had retreated from her dar.zling presence. She was petriried with astonishment, ihen a displeasure crosscd her face til! having run her t-yej over the grotcsque assembly. she met the comicaüy grave exj)ression of her hushand's countenancè, when 6he burst into a violera fit of Liugli ter, during the paroxysms of which the bursting of her corset laces could he distinctly heard by the compnny. Nancy!' at length said 'ter husband, sternly. - She suppressed her mirth.. stammered an excuse, and added, 'You will forgive me, and beheve yourselves quite weleome.' 'That is well done, whispered Mr. N, - --, ;then. mv fiiends,' hesnid, 'as my wi.'e is nol acquainted with you J will make a few preseniauona.' 7'hen leading her toward an einaciated crjature, whose distoited limbs were unaMe to support his body, he said 'This genilemun, Nancy, is the Rey. Mr. Niles, who in his youth travelled and endured much in the ot our common Master. A violent rheumatism. induced bycoids, contracrea nrnong tne new settiements ol ihe west, where he wnseaiploveJ in preaching the gospel to the puor. h;is reduced him to his present concliion. This lady. biá wife, has piously sustained him. and by her own labor proeurcd a niaimennuce lor herself' and hiin. But she is old and i"eebleno%v as you see.' Then turning to a group with silvcr Iocks and threadbare conts, hecontinued. -These are suldiers oí the revolución. They were all sons oí ricli men. They went out in their young strenglh to delend their oppressed country. They enduied harJships, toils and sufft-rings, and euch as we deeni ït haidly pussibla for men to endure and live: they returned home at tl. e close of the war, mnimed in iheir limbs, and with biokenconstitutiüris. to fïnd their patiimonies dcs.'royed e, or the chances of war, or their property oiherwise tilchi d and wrested froni then. And these woriby men live inpoverty and neglectin the lundfor the prosper ity ot which they s:icriiiced tlieir all. These venenible Jadíes are wives of those patriois, and widows of others who huve gonc to their reward - Thev could teil tnlcs that would thrill your heart, and make it better. This is the cefe-braietl and learned Dr. B , who snved hundieds oi iives dunng the spotted epidemie. Eui his gieat success roused ihe animosity of his medical bieduen. who succci-ded in ruining his practice. and whëh lilindness carne upon hiin, he was lorgotten by those ,vho!n he had deiivered from deuth. This lovely creature is his o ily child and she is nioih eiless. She leads him dpily by the hand, and earns the food she sets before him. Yet her leaming ar.d acc-m:)iis!im3n!s are wonderlul, and she is the uuth.)r olihose exquisite puems ironi which appeai ex racis occasionaliy ui the Magazine. These (hildren wère orphuned in thtir mfancy by the Asiatic cholera, and tlieirsad heans have sekionicd heen cheeied by a sniile, or their pahitcs regaled by delicióos food. Nuw dry your eyes, love. and lead on the diningroom.' bhe obeyed, and notwiihstanding her emolions, the thumping ol' coi-rse shots, and rattling ol sticks, crutcles, and wooden legs behind her,wcll nigli threw her into another indecorous laugli. To dlvert heratteniion she glanced over the ta!!e. Thcie stood tlie dislua lor which her husbimd had st'.pulaied. in the sh.ipeof two m.nstrou3. homcly louking meat pies. and two eniTmous platte s of baked mea's and vegetubles, loukiug like mighty mountfiin amóiig delicate vi;mds thüt she had prepajed for the relined compuny which she expecied. if tie rouk her place and prepared to do ilie table honos.. but her huebanu, aficr n short thanksgíving to a Bountilui God, addressed the company with i:Now, n.y brethren, !ieip yourselvesand one another. to wlintever you deern pnferable. J will wait upon the children." A hearty and jovud uieal was made, the iiiim&eisetting iheexample.and iisthe heans of the old sol Jieis wtro waruied wuh winé, tHjév bcciime gurful nis. and éach reounted sonie wonderiul or tiuilllng ádyentnre.pfthe revolntionaiy war; and ihe ild ladies told their mIc.s of pnv;i'.ion and sullering, ind interwove with thein the histories ol ibtpers, iiroihejs, lovers, who died lor hbeny. Mm. S was sijbbing convulsively wlien her husland carne round, and louching her shoulder. whi.spered, "My love, tshall we have dancing?' Thnt word, wiih ts l'idicrotis associations, iairly thrtw ner into hysterics, and she laughed onJ wept at once. VVhen she became quicscent, Mr N thus iddressed the compnny: '1 fear, my friende. that you wiil think iny wife n frivolous, inconsisicm ei enture, and 1 tiiust ihere¦jre apologize fer her We weie rriarriëd öJy Lst . fan, and have attended sevt;:al gny partjes. which our rich ne ghbors gave in honor ot our nuptials. and in' wiie tliouglu it would 6e geneel to give a ilinner in return; 1 consented on jondttions, orw of' wbich was thnt 1 shoislJ inviit he guc:s. So being n prolessed minister ol him who was made so low in henrt, 1 followed the word of command, 'IJut when thou mnkest a feast cali tbe poor, ihe mairned, the lame, the blind" -yuu uil lec.i.eci tie passage. Air. ÍM n.. Knowing who her guesis werc whs highïy dcligln ed wiili the rust 1 have provided; nnd l d lioj bcüuve ihere luis heen bj noble and honornblti . COmpa ;y assembled thia winter. JVly wile destrec! new lurniiuro. lest we should bi! deenied parèinx - uious. I pled'g diiiys-ell to uxpend one thousnrn, doliara in a nimmer more pleaëirijï to our uettcaijl whieh woiild obvíalo tiiy such iinpuiaiiuii.' Then add ess na the chüdren, liesaid, Yon will ancla be removed to-morrow to excellent places, nid ilyou coniinuc to bc iniiusirjuus, nnd periectly hmu-st in word and deed. you wiil become respectiible numbers of soeitty. To y.u. Jr. B , uivier God, J owe niy üfe. I du) not know your locaüty. nciihcr had I henrJ oí your uiisfortunes until a ícw days since. I cun oever repuy tlie debt I owe you, bnt il you npd vuur dnüghter will accept the nent f'ur ished liouse adjoininsr mine I will sec that you i-.ever ;int ygain. To you. patriot .nthers. und these nnistnu: niothers ofoiir country, I present the onc thou-iaod dyllfliö. It is just one liundred dollnrsto eicli soldier, and's widow. It is a mere iriile. Ni Uwnks my ftiends. You. Mr. Nitec, are my father in the Lord. Undor your pieachng I first beenme convinced o! sin, nnd it was your voice thnt brought me the vrorda of silvation. You wül remnin with n-e. I have a room pr,e cd for you. and a pious srvnnt to attend you. It is time you were at peace, and your excellent adv reüeved of her heavy burden.' The cri iplcd preacher feil prostrate on the carpet, and poured out such thanksL'ivins and prayer, ns !ouml wuy to the heart of Mra N -, who uHimaiély becanie n nicek and j)ioua woman. a fit help mate dr n flevrtted aro&pèj min s'èr.


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