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“I have tremor cordis on me.”—Winter’s Tale.
It is a queer world after all; manifold are its ups and downs, and life is but a medley of fair promise, excited hope, and bitter disappointment.
Never did a family party start for the metropolis with gayer hearts, or on a more agreeable mission. Our honored relative (authoritate the Methodist Magazine) had “shuffled off” in the best marching order imaginable. Before the rout had arrived, her house had been perfectly arranged, but her will, “wo [**Unreadable] day,” was afterward found to be too informal. It was hinted that the mission to Timbuctoo, although not legally binding on the next of kin, should be considered a sacred injunction and first lien on the estates. In a religious light, according to the Reverend Mr. Sharpington, formalities were unnecessary; but my father observed, sotto voce, in reply, and in the plain vernacular of the day, what in modern times would have been more figuratively expressed, namely, “Did not the gospel-trumpeters wish they might get it!” The kennel, whose door for two years had not been opened, was again unlocked; whitewashing and reparations were extensively ordered; a prudent envoy was dispatched to re-purchase the pack, which, rebut egenis, had been laid down, and the colonel, in his “mind’s eye,” and oblivious of cloth shoes, once more was up to his knees in leather, and taking everything in the shape of fence and brook, just as the Lord pleased to dispose them.
A cellar census was next decided on, and by a stout exertion, and at the same time with a heavy heart, my father hobbled down the stone steps and entered an underground repertorium, which once he took much pride in visiting. Alas! its glory had departed; the empty bins were richly fringed with cobwebbed tapestries, and silently admitted a non-occupancy by bottles for past years. The colonel sighed. He remembered his grandfather’s parting benediction. Almost in infancy, malignant fever within one brief week had deprived him of both parents, and a chasm in direct succession was thus created. A summons from school was unexpectedly received, and although the young heir and the courier borrowed liberally from the night, it was past cock-crow when they reached their destination.