The Ladies' Vase eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 106 pages of information about The Ladies' Vase.

I waited and I watched.  One ran the point of his fork into the table-cloth; another balanced her spoon on the tea-cup; a third told backwards and forwards the rings on her fingers, as duly as a friar tells his beads.  As such actions sometimes are the symptoms of mental occupation, I began to anticipate the brilliant results of so much thinking.  I cried, hem! in hopes to rouse them to expression—­and not quite unsuccessfully:  for one remarked, it was a wretched day; another wished it was fine; and a third hoped it shortly would be so.  Meantime, the index of the clock went round; it was gaining close upon ten before all had withdrawn from the table.  My eye followed one to the window-place; where, with her back to the wall, and her eyes fixed without, she passed a full half hour in gazing at the prospect without, or wishing, perhaps, the mist did not prevent her seeing it.  A very young lady was so busy in pulling the dead leaves from a geranium, and crumbling them in her fingers, I could not doubt but some important purpose was in the task.  A third resumed the newspaper he had read for a whole hour before, and betook himself, at last, to the advertisements.  A fourth repaired to the alcove, gathered some flowers, picked them to pieces, threw them away again, and returned.  “Cease thy prating, thou never-resting time-piece!” said I to myself, “for no one heeds thy tale.  What is it to us that each one of thy tickings cuts a link from our brief chain of life?  Time is the gift of Heaven, but man has no use for it!”

I had scarcely thought out the melancholy reflection, when a young lady entered with an elegant work-box, red without and blue within, and filled with manifold conveniences for the pursuance of her art.  Glad was I most truly at the sight.  By the use of the needle, the naked may be clothed; ingenuity may economize her means, and have more to spare for those who need it; invention may multiply the ways of honest subsistence, and direct the ignorant to the use of them.  Most glad was I, therefore, that the signal of industry drew more than one wanderer to the same pursuit, though not till much time had been consumed in going in and out, and up and down, in search of the materials.  All were found at last; the party worked, and I, as usual, listened.  “I think this trimming,” said one, “will repay me for my trouble, though it has cost me three months’ work already, and it will be three months more before it is finished.”  “Indeed!” rejoined her friend; “I wish I were half as industrious; but I have been working six weeks at this handkerchief, and have not had time to finish it:  now the fashion is passed, and I shall not go on.”  “How beautifully you are weaving that necklace!  Is it not very tedious?” “Yes, almost endless; but I delight in the work, otherwise I should not do it, for the beads cost almost as much as I could buy it for.”  “I should like to begin one this morning,” interposed a fourth, “but the milliner has sent home my bonnet so ill-trimmed,

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The Ladies' Vase from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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