Chatting merrily, they soon arrived at home. Mrs. Burrell ran straightway upstairs to look at that “blessed baby;” she found him sleeping soundly, and looking as comfortable and happy as it is possible for a sleeping baby to look—so she bestowed upon him a perfect avalanche of kisses, and retired to her own peaceful pillow.
And now, having thus satisfactorily arranged for our young friend Charlie, we will leave him for a few years engaged in his new pursuits.
Many Years After.
Old Father Time is a stealthy worker. In youth we are scarcely able to appreciate his efforts, and oftentimes think him an exceedingly slow and limping old fellow. When we ripen into maturity, and are fighting our own way through the battle of life, we deem him swift enough of foot, and sometimes rather hurried; but when old age comes on, and death and the grave are foretold by trembling limbs and snowy locks, we wonder that our course has been so swiftly run, and chide old Time for a somewhat hasty and precipitate individual.
The reader must imagine that many years have passed away since the events narrated in the preceding chapters transpired, and permit us to re-introduce the characters formerly presented, without any attempt to describe how that long period has been occupied.
First of all, let us resume our acquaintance with Mr. Stevens. To effect this, we must pay that gentleman a visit at his luxurious mansion in Fifth Avenue, the most fashionable street of New York—the place where the upper ten thousand of that vast, bustling city most do congregate. As he is an old acquaintance (we won’t say friend), we will disregard ceremony, and walk boldly into the library where that gentleman is sitting.
He is changed—yes, sadly changed. Time has been hard at work with him, and, dissatisfied with what his unaided agency could produce, has called in conscience to his aid, and their united efforts have left their marks upon him. He looks old—aye, very old. The bald spot on his head has extended its limits until there is only a fringe of thin white hair above the ears. There are deep wrinkles upon his forehead; and the eyes, half obscured by the bushy grey eyebrows, are bloodshot and sunken; the jaws hollow and spectral, and his lower lip drooping and flaccid. He lifts his hand to pour out another glass of liquor from the decanter at his side, when his daughter lays her hand upon it, and looks appealingly in his face.
She has grown to be a tall, elegant woman, slightly thin, and with a careworn and fatigued expression of countenance. There is, however, the same sweetness in her clear blue eyes, and as she moves her head, her fair flaxen curls float about her face as dreamily and deliciously as ever they did of yore. She is still in black, wearing mourning for her mother, who not many months before had been laid in a quiet nook on the estate at Savanah.