A vase of rock crystal, set in precious stones, seen today, could never have belonged to aught but some beauty, for whom it was selected by an adoring lover or husband, ere yet the honeymoon had passed. A chased gold etui, enriched with oriental agates and brilliants, must have appertained to some grande dame, on whose table it rested in a richly-decorated salon; and could it speak, what piquant disclosures might it not make!
The fine old watch, around the dial of which sparkle diamonds, and on the back the motto, executed in the same precious stones, “Vous me faites oublier les heures,” once adorned the slender waist of some dainty dame,—a nuptial gift. The silvery sound of its bell often reminded her of the flight of Time, and her caro sposo of the effects of it on his inconstant heart, long before her mirror told her of the ravages of the tyrant. The flacon so tastefully ornamented, has been held to delicate nostrils when the megrim—that malady peculiar to refined organisations and susceptible nerves—has assailed its fair owner; and the heart-shaped pincushion of crimson velvet, inclosed in its golden case and stuck with pins, has been likened by the giver to his own heart, pierced by the darts of Love—a simile that probably displeased not the fair creature to whom it was addressed.
Here are the expensive and tasteful gifts, the gages d’amour, not often disinterested, as bright and beautiful as when they left the hands of the jeweller; but the givers and the receivers where are they? Mouldered in the grave long, long years ago! Through how many hands may these objects not have passed since Death snatched away the persons for whom they were originally designed! And here they are in the ignoble custody of some avaricious vender, who having obtained them at the sale of some departed amateur for less than half their first cost, now expects to extort more than double.
He takes them up in his unwashed fingers, turns them—oh, profanation!—round and round, in order to display their various merits, descants on the delicacy of the workmanship, the sharpness of the chiseling, the pure water of the brilliants, and the fine taste displayed in the form; tells a hundred lies about the sum he gave for them, the offers he has refused, the persons to whom they once belonged, and those who wish to purchase them!
The flacon of some defunct prude is placed side by side with the vinaigrette of some jolie danseuse who was any thing but prudish. How shocked would the original owner of the flacon feel at the friction! The fan of some grande dame de la cour touches the diamond-mounted etui of the wife of some financier, who would have given half her diamonds to enter the circle in which she who once owned this fan found more ennui than amusement. The cane of a deceased philosopher is in close contact with the golden-hilted sword of