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There is an oíd, a very old and beau: tiful simile which we are all familiar with. I do not suppose any one knows who tirst ventured upon it, or to which special ]oet or philosopher it belongs. In truth it is so trite that neither dead nor living would care to claim it. I confess I like it as I like many old fashioned things. It is simply this: life is a mountain up which the traveler must climb. The path is ï'ugged and sharp, but the summit must be reached. In youth we go up hill, ardent joyous, and imagining a wonderful world beyond tliat steep peak in the blue sky. As we reach it, panting and rather worn out with the journey. our ardour flags, and so does hope. We begin to suspect that down hill may be like up hill, worse perhaps, and without the enchantment of desire to lure us on. When we stand on the topmost crag we plant our flag and cry hurrah ! But are we so glad, so very glad, after all? I doubt it. There are many winds up there ; snow hides in the clefts ; it is evening, too, grey evening, lone and chili ; the darkness deepens aroundus as we go down, and at the f oot of the mountain black night lies in wait for us. Some divine heavenly stars pierce that glooin, and we know that a pure morning and a glorious day lie beyond it, but we also know that to reach these we must pass through the night, and I have f ound no heart, hovvever brave, whom the thought did not appal! Very few people say so, however. It is amazing how limited is the number of men and women who feardeath. A week ago 1 was in a village by the aeaside. Cholera suddenly appeared amongst us. and, monster-lik e ''" J2SLgÖ ift afófiieJ,1' in the grey inorning, some in the night, but no one acknowledtced fear; business, the weather, &c.,&c, summoned them all iiway, and cholera had nothing to do with tlieir departure. Be it so. I confesa I feit extremely uneasy, and though I took my three days to pack - I am a methodical old maid, and cannot do with less- I, too, left, only I never denied my real motive for doing so ; to that bravery, such as it is, I lay claim. But to return to my simile. For the last few years 1 have been on the top of the mountain ; that is to say, 1 know exactly the down-hill road which lies before me, and take no delight in the prospect. Far pleasanter do I ünd it to look back upon the road which brought me up here. How calm, how sunny were the early hours of that long ascent. No wonder that in all autobiography so large a space is given to childhood. lts few years generally fill pages, whereas lines are of ten made to comprise the events of later life. The writer who bas lingered over the loss of a tame bird, and if you are at all tender hearted, made ou shed foolish tears thereby, tells_ you in a breath that he married a" charming girl, lost her at the end of seven years, and took a second wif e when he was out of mourning, I believe that is one of the reasons why I shun reading all such productions unless they relate to great public events, dramas of history, and so forth. They sadden me dreadf ully ; I like novéis a great deal better. My first were fairy tales, or course The very spot where I reafl them is delightful to remember. My parents were poor or thouglit themselves so, and accordingly carried their poverty to the Continent, as was the fashion of those remóte times. They took up their abode in a quaint little French town, half town, half village, which lay bidden in a nook of the Norman eoast, and there spent years. always talking of a going home which caine not. My father was a great sports man, and game was abundant in our neighborhood. My dear mother hated chauge, and I believe liked dating her letters f rom the Chateau de Gravilles ; so, what with game, cheapness, and a little innocent vanity, we made ourselves a new home and were forgotten in the old one. Gravilles was a dear old place. It had one long sunny street with stone houses, all unlike each other, but all deliciously uncomfortable. I thought them mansions in those days, and the rickety old chateau we li ved in, with its dingy rooms, its court, its garden and orehard was a palace in my eyes. In one of its upper rooms on a sunny May morning, with birds singing In the garden below, and the green boughs of a young poplar quivering close to the open window, 1 read my first fairy tale. Blessed be the day, the spot, and the hour. The story was "The Sleepiiii, Beauty in the Wood," poetry, love, anc romance all in one. Well, I maintaii it without fear, there is nothing likc fairy tales. They are just enougli like life to attract, for they deal with men and women, and they are too unlike it not to charm forever. Ilere are no oppressed innocents sinking hopelessly under the weight of their sorrows ; no triumphant wrongdoers for whom retribution shall be put olï till the nex world. We can take up a fairy tale in most del'ghtlul security concernmg its ending, and perhapa lts greal attraction is that it never disappoints or deceives us. The brutal gia,nt is always conquered, the malicious fairy is always defeated, the innocent beauty is always delivered, and the brave knigfa or chivalrous young prince is eve biest in love or war. Hew f ar it may b wise to presen such views of life to little inen and women, 1 cannot say. I am an olu maid, and know nothing about children or rather about education; but I do not mind confessing that 1 feil desperately in love with the prince who woke the sleeping beauty. I dare say I should have identified myself with that persecuted young princess if I could at all have fancied myself sleeping for so toany suminers and winters, but that was out of the question. 1 was a lively, wakef ui child, and that long nap was too much for me. Besides, I was fairhaiied and flckle, and soon forgot the prince for another, the lover of Cinderella. These princes are all so much alike, all so young, so handsome, so chivalrous, and so faithful, that it really is not easy, especially for a young, inexperienced person, to know one from the other. I confess their identity bewildered me, and I am afraid to add that I was in love with them all. My brother John liked the princess, but was not a bit more faithful to them than I was to the princes. Each had her turn, however, till Cinderella eame and ruled them all with her little glass slipper. Dear John! He reminded me of that time in his last letter: the letter he wrote to me the night before his ahip wíis lost on the Irish coast. Oh! how strange and dreary it was to read, "Do you remember Cinderella V" and to know that the young hand that had traced these words was lying cold and nerveless fathoms deep in the pitiless sea. My father never recovered irom the blow, and from that day forth my dear, gentle mother became f retf ui and irritable. I was seventeen then, and was left to myself and my grief. The grief 1 survived, but my own companionship left some deep traces in my life. I had entered Fairyland in childhood. and I am not at all certain but this pleasant country is the right place for youths ; but very sure am I that Dreamland, which had my next visit, is the last spot I would takemy daughter to, if I had one, which, being an old maid. is not the case you see. But the worst of Dreamland is that no one takes you to it. You co to it of your own accord, and its boundaries are so fine that they are crossed before' you know anything about it. Some peo)le have never visited that country, tiey say, but that I deny. To think of lie future is to go to Dreamland traight. Well, few people can lead long lives, :. suppose, and not look back to the ast and read there with some wonder ïow they imagined that their future vhich has since become another past. 'hese two are so uniike, you see ; the magination and the fulflllment. The orrows are never those we dreaded ; 0 more than the blessings are those ve longed and prayed for. Por my art I very well remember the time hen twenty-iive was to be the vanishng point in my little perspective of a fe. Beyond these remote years I did ot gp JThis i,y jffitú'en 'f in y dreaming I placed events, dventures, sorrows and joys more ïan I could number. These seven ears were a long gallery with niches n either side, and every nicli had its ;ory. There was the nich of love', of ourse, and the nich of vain glory, and ie niche of sacrifice and that of sorow ; and in the last I saw myself sit,ing, a calm worn woman of twentyve, looking at life with folded hands nd pitying eyes, and a heart set on he better world and the better part. Af ter reaching this bourne I was to ener a sort of a spiritual monastery. accordingly closed its gates upon inyelf, and did not even seek to imagine what kind of a life I might lead behind hem. I doubt if youth ever really onceives age. To me I know that vrinkles and silvery hair were dimly emote ; I could not go beyond twentyve. Now, of course, all this seems very bsurd, and yet there was but one folly n it: I was in two great a hurry. My conception of life was a pretty true ne ; but I mistook the proportions in which all these things were to come to pass. Most of the niches I had filled up remained vacant, or nearly so, but other niches, unsuspected by poor me, appeared as I went on my journey. The niche of love was inexorably closed, and that of money cares most unexpectedly opened. Some other mistakes I found that I had committed. For instance, twenty-five, instead of a resting place, proved the threshold of a life. I was never more restless than at that time, which I had fancied so serene and so calm. Indeed, finding that I had been all wrong, and that this was not the goal of life, I gently pushed it back to thirty, and built another gallery more sober and with fewer niches in it than the flrst. And were they filled 'i- never. Troubles which I had not conceived came and took hold of me. My dreams, not very rosy ones, however, melted one by one before the chili breath of life. And thirty found me conlonted onougli, oml happy enough too ; but oh! how uniike the woman of twenty-flve the girl of eighteen had imaeined What the woman is now matters very little. I have ceased to look f orward, and I take life as a sort of daily bread; but sometimes I cannot help sighing when I look back and think of my short-comings. For you see I was young, and I worshiped heroism and goodness in those days, and being a vain and silly creature, as most girls are, I made a pretty little image of myself and set it up for domestic adoration. I was to be generous, oh ! so generous. I was to be good, not in a foolish cominon-place sort of way, but after a noble fashion. Then I was to be heroic. Not that I wa3 to do such wonderful things- I had a grain oi sense left - but great suffering, or greal trials were to come in my way, and I was to take and accept them grandly To go amongst the heathen, be tied to astake and die singing God's praises with the llames rising around me would have been the very summit of my ambition if I could have looked so high ; but to be candid, 1 could not - 1 was afraid of the fire. Some other things, however, I feit quite equal to We all know how Poetus, fearing to die, was addressed by his wife, Arria how she stabbed herself, then handec him the knife, and uttered the words "Pretus, it does not hurt." Well, thai 1 could have managed very well. I will venture to say that it was quite in my way, only we have no tyrants nowa-days who compel us to commit suicido. 1 had also my doubts about Pcetus. He was weak and pusillani mous, and was it needf ui that I shouli kill myself in order to set him an ex ampie. I only mention this instance to givethe standard of my heroism. I was equal to death, to a noble one of course, but not to pain. ïiow, il any giggling schoolgirl reads tliis, I know whttt slie thinks of me, I know slie thinks she is not and never could be so foolish. That may be, child; you live in a wiser age than was mine, and as your age is so you are- a cool-headed young lady who talks slang and scorns romance. That may be, child, that may be; but I will teil you what you do and what I never did. You build your little castle in the air about Mr. Johnson. He half squeezed your hand last night, and forthwith you are ar-1 rayed in white, and the orange-blossom nods on your brow, and you are spending your honey-moon by the lakes. My dear child, better dream of seeing A rria or of Joan of Are herself than this. You see when dreams belong wholly to Dreamland they lose half their mischievous power. Of course they are very foolish, and a terrible loss of time, but they have this great salve - they lead to nothing. The dream which weaves itself around reality, in which, with time, reality gets so blended that the dreamer cannot well teil which is which, is purely and simply pestilential. That grain of sense to which I have alluded, and a spark of prudence with it, saved me from this. Of course I too had my temptations, and sometimes they took the fascinating aspect of Mr. Johnson, and sometimes they did not. But no sooner did my careless foot tread on the serpent than I started back amazed and frightened. I would have fallen in love with Pcetus (nmself, though he was but a poor .hing, rather than indulge in so dan'erous a pastime. It was all very well to play with fancy in her fair Eden, but I knew it would never do to treat these flowery plains as if they were this firm stony earth of ours. I inew a dream was a dream, so, though Sir. Johnson did squeeze my hand sometimes - and he did, whatever you may think- I looked at him with a prudent eye, and made no god of that roung gentleman; and perhaps that was why my niche of love was never iilled up, but remained cold aiyi vacant. Once indeed - but I shall say naught about that now, it having nothing to do with Dreaniland. I do not mean to add much concerning my sojourn in that country. My excursions to it grew fewer as years crept upon me, and have now ceased ïntirely. Sometimes I try to go back ;o that pleasaut región, but I cannot. Formerly it was all clear and open ; a a word, a line in a book, a cloud in the sky would take me to it, swift as the wing of any bird. Now all that is altered. A thorny forest lies between Dreamland and me, and beyond that I tnow there are heavy iron gates locked and barred - gates which are ever closed on faded faces and white locks. There is no help for it ; the evil, if evil t be, must be borne patiently; but when the sense of my powerlessness resses udc"j Tnuigtsii !■■' ■■- i - öicd to wisdom, I think of dear Föhn, who went down with his Dreamand full upon him.


Old News
Michigan Argus