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My Spring Campaign

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Twenty years ago my aunt asked for the privilege of giving her name to a little, ugly mass of fiesh, blood and contortions, and I was duly dubbed Betsy Jane Herrick. I have been told I was quite a pretty child, when my face was straight, (and that was likc angel's risita,) for it was aimost eonstantly in a squalüng attitude. Indeed, ny mother told me that she would never ïave had the patience to raise me, if she ïad not thought I would make somcthing when growu. I have made something - nohing Kiorc nor loss than a Bloomer ! [ have the misfortune, at present, to be the only survivinir child. The others - tliere were tbree of thera - being a degree crosser than myself, eried thcmselves to death - said to have died njits. When I arrivcd at my fifteenth year, my parents coneluded that Betsy Jane needed some polisbing, and as farmer Jones was about te send his Julia to boarding school, it was deeided that I should also liave a smattering of' fashionablc scliool training. I was alrcady beginning to see tliat ïny eognoinen was far from being poética!, so I gave my nanio in to the Secrctary at the Seminary as " 13. Jennie Herriek." That was enöugh to give an apprccialivo ininu a decp iinpression of uiy iniportance. Three years wero spont in conjugating the verb to love through Freneh, Germán and Latin, with tbc other aecoutrements of rausic, drawing and painting. I 1 died ojueL ; but my chum said Í always reeitcd at my turn, so tíiat at the close of my school life, I acquitted myselfasa very good acholar - though not at all polished ; for if I wanted to laugli, it was loud cnough to awaken from his snoring a moderate sleeper a quarter of a mile awaj'. A year wasspent in travellug - a season n looking at the different dresses at Saratoga and Newport - a winter divided between " The Hnb of the Universe," " The Pure City" and the city of' " Brotherly Love." The last year has been spent at homo mostly, surrounded by a flock of lovers - lovers of Squire Herrick's dollars, lovers of Squire Herrick's hospitality, and lovers of nonsense eompoundcd and gudcd with fashion. A little thing turns the tide in one's üfe somctimes. A Httle thing caused me to look inside at my poor miserable life, as barren of beauty as a desert - as uselcss and aimless as an idiot's - as contemptible and deplorable as an office seeker's. It made me sick of mysolf. My advantages bad been liberal, and mv talents of no mean order. And thero had been, notwithstanding, an unceasing rouud of beaux, partios, a terrible expenditure of money, and all to no purpose. I was disgustcd with it. It was all eolii, bollow, and meaningless. It was weanng my Jite out. X was growing I nervous, hysterical, had a poor appetite, j and troubled with tbat everlasting complaint of woman's, the headache. How I Jiated it all ! But what should I do ? I thought of a variety of cmploymcnts, but it would nccd time for the carrying out of such plans. I wanted eomething itnmcdiate, for fear my newresolutions miglitweaken. If Ihad been a man, I should have done as our heat ftid nohlcst have done, (jone to war. I did the next patriotic tliin, and went to war with myself. My adorable lovers ! - could they endure the trial to which their nerveswere to be subjected. Tltey were but human, and a breeze 'of sonso ípight blow them away. My first battle was with my parents the nest morniug. " I've a retjuest to inake, father and mother, and I very nmoli desire that }Tou grant it." My face flushed all over at this. I could feel the blood tingliog at my very finger ends. " What is it, Betsy Jane ?" says father. " Has Will Hastings been making" - " No - Will Uastinars has nothing to do with it, nor anybody's witt but aiy own. - 'Tis just this ; I waut you to dismiss otir help girl ; tliere are only three of us in the faqiily, and I really thiuk weneed no girl." " But," jnterrupted mother, " do you tliink your poor old motber wants to kill herself?" " No - I mean tbat I don't %vaut to kill myseïf doing nothiog. I've lived uselcssiy long eriough." Tbere were numberless objections to this, but by diligent eutreaty and argument, I carried the day. ïhreo days later I assumod the pesition of Bridget. But before half the moruing liad elapsed I was (tred to death ! - ves, " niy lady was tired to death." I If I went up stairs, one band must hold up a quantity of crinoline aud skirts. If I came down stairs, tbere was the rat, tat, tat of steel upon the stairs. If I passed into a narrow place, both hands must be enHsterl ia squeczing the baMoon in a 1 sod state. I was in constant fear of tipping over boxes, jugs, catcbing my dress on nails, or wiping off some convenient black kettle. My dress ruust be pinncd up, or be beautifully drabbled around the bottom. - My slioes were too thin for out-door wear. I bad another battle to fight. ïhero were no lives sacrificed - only a few falso notions of graeefulness, dignity, &c, quiot ly beheaded and buried. My first attack was at the shoc store, and resulted in the capture of a pair of bnlmoral calf' skins - No. 5 - legally captured of courso. The question occupied my attentionnext. T jad heard of Blootpers, but most ungraciously stuek up my elegant proboscis'at tlieni, like hundreds of other foolish women viholnow nothing of their excellencie?. I did uot' have any of Dr. Harriet Austin's patterna or guides- neither wanted any. I took from my wardrobe a castoff-dress, very good, exeept it was most sbamefully switchcd out around the bottom. Cutting oflf the rags and hemming it up, I had a dress two or thrco inches above the tops of my shocs. Xext morning I appeared iii the kitchen sans crinoline, sans trail, satis flummydiddles. Cousin John, who happened in to see fatlicr, cries out, " Och ! andBridget, how long since ye carne over from ould Ireland ?'' This put us all in a roar of laughter, which of itself was enough to pay for one Bloomer scène. Father, who, like sensible men, never admired the " institution," (as lie calis crinoline,) said " Botsy Jane never looked botter." fie always calis me Bctsy Jane, and thinks it is a substantial name. He says these Jennies, Garries and Lotties do very well for high-flowu folks who are always running after some new-fangled notions My ncw liarness fitted mo so wcll that I found my work completed in half tbo time and with moro than twioe the ease. I could now hunt for Eèn's nests without frightening the hens with a transient ghost of a hay-stack. So I startod for the barn. On n:y way, uiy unele passed with " Wcll, there, you look like the last run of shad ! My Katie had on soraething like that the other day, and I threateued to tura her away." " Whenever you tire of her," I replied, " send her here- tljis shall be an asylum for the opprossed hercafter." I had a fine time hunting eggs. My movenients were so free and untramnieled, that it seemed like living over my childhood. Just before sitting down to dinner, Cousin John carne in, saying, " I thought ['d come over and diue with you, Jemiie, ánd see how you hold out in your new-fangled costume." " Well, Sir John, despite all your easm, I hold out faïtbful, and with the aid j of cnmmon sense iutend to while my laborng lifo lasts." Will you roceive visitors this afternoon in your really eharming habit V' u I ehall ' dress up' afternoons. But if my friends make morning calis, they will find nre in my working dress." " l'ut what if Dr. Wilson, or Hayward, or" " I YOuldn't run for all the gentlemen in town . I presume the said dandies would stare and wonder if I was sane, few-fawr fum awhile, suddenly cali to mind an engagement, and vaniose. You need'ntlaugh, Couüin John, and think I will uot daro do as I say. I know I ain surrounded by fasliion, and easte is at a premium, and woracn are saerifieing health, comfort and happincss fur the ' looks of the thiug.' It is really a relief for mo to see how a woman really does look. Shc has been confounded witli stays auá iioop so long tliut wc not help faneying her a raoving pyramid. It aften remiuds me of an incident in Coritme. An African woman seeing a Fronch nsadame with a grand pa?iier under her long robe, exclaimod ' Madame, ioid cela esi-il vous-meme ?' No wonder the Japaneee thought American women very quecr specimens of the genus homo. I'm sure you wonldn't hand down dry goods, rummage amoug boxes and trunipcrj', with an hogshead attached to your suspenderá." The dress question sub&ided by John's asking for acother eup of coffee, to "quiet i his nerves," adding ifc was quite palatable j for a " green hand." Next inoruing, jinI gle went the door-bell at half past uine. I i ariswered the summons, and had the merrimeut of seeing Dr. Wilson look at me as though I was a sight to behold. I itivited him into the drawing-room and did my best to entertain him, which was poorly enouuh. He is wlint goes to the mnking up of a fasliionable gallant, knows how to briug in pretty sayings about your face, eyes, hair, ügure, piek up hamlkcrckiefs, and alrnost an Aaron Barr in hclping a woman iuto a carriage. His patent leuther boots were as bright and pólisneá as a stool niirrof, ana ouoaised a foot, smal!, of course, to compare ' with his brains. After a somewhat i rassing silence, the Doctor sfammerea out with, " Reaüy, Miss Ilerrick, am I to , sume that you have adopted your present style of costume ?" " I am happy to inform you that I have adopted it." " You certain'y do uot intend to eoutiuue the wearing of it ?" " I do. Havo you nny senous objections to rny dressing mysclf acuording to ni y business ?" " Pray, wliat business have you tliat rcquires it ?" " Moroiy tliat I Lave volunteorcd to go to work and do something. Vea goiug to take caro of ihe garden thissr.mnier iu addition to housework. Our former gardner has gonc to tho army, and there seems to be a demand for the spirit of our good oíd revolutionary motiléis. I am proud there is cnongh ot' it in me to asaert its sway." I could feel my cheek flushing asi spoko. A sickcning leer liung round the lids ot the Doctor's moutli. Fie ovidently " failed to see the point." He had studied ir.edieine, obtained bis title, but never had the anibition or tact to distinguish liiraself in Lis profeBsion. He gloried in liis idleness and thirty thousand dollars. He left with much fewer ílourishes of bis corapliinents than usual, and was üiiooeiíded by Mr. Hayward. Whon he left, Mr. Bower carne, and I was not slow to surmise that Cousin John liad been using " strategy" and giving my courage a trial. Tlioy all left with the impression tliat 1 was fust becomhig a strong niinded wonian and altogetber too solid for their soft appliances of compliments. My new coaturnc acted as .an emetic upon my stomacli of " dear friends," for they quietly withdrevv, leaving 11 I cared for, howc.ver. Among tho latter was George Waync. He was neither ricb, like Wilson, nor grulant like Hayward. You could feel bis goodness botter than teil it. It wassometliing iudefinablo that pleased and satisfied you. II e had good, hard sonse, and tliat is worth more tlian accomplishuicnts without it. Ile did not turn up bis nose at my new detorniinations, but with his fine, gray eyes kindled with a glow of honcst admiratior. and entliuaiasm, said - "I am glad, Jennio, f there is nne woman in the village who lias the independeuee and spirit to act in aeenrdfincu with the dicíales of her botter judgment. I was fearful tliat you hclonged to the frivolous, heartless, useless elass of womén, so common among the rieh. I tried to believe otherwise. I thank you that by your 'chango of base' you have proven to me that you ars, what I wish all women wcre, less euslaved by fashion and give'n to false notions of propriety." My ladv friends were npparontly taken by storm. ïhey wondered how I could wear calf skin shoes, and how I conld en duro to have my bande browned and hardened by labor. They would much soouer think of going to war than to raking garden, or pincping tlio runners off strawberry plants, or killing bngs on cucuinber?, or feeding ehickens. And so they dawdled away their time upon sueh delectables as Wilson, Hayward and troupe, rejoicing in palé faces, with spots of rouge, and in delightful headaches and delicate health. On the contrary, for tho present enjoyment, I am as healthy, red cheel;i;d, red lipped and happy as an English girl. My hands are brown and hard, but stronger for tlie piano, while my voice fuller and cicarcr than I ever dared hope it might be. I can make capital bread and pastry, and expeet the finest strawberries in the town. Moroover, I shall havo forty dollars to pay into my ehurch, the Sanïtary Coimnission - the amount saved by substituting myself in Bridget's position. For fear some onc may be tnalicious enough to think I am advertising my newly developed virtues and apply for a placo in my good graces, I'll simply mA that George Waync, wlion home on liis last furlough, took tho precaution to Recurc a life lease from the snid 15. Jonnie Herrick, including brown bands, Bloomer.and all, and when t!ie war is over she wül thcti swear cteruul allegianeé to a blue coat.


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