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Fall! How eloquent the word! The flowers fall in the gardens, the fruits fall in the orchards, the nuts fall in the woods, the stars ' fall in the sky, the rains fall from the clouds, the mercury falls in the tubes, the leaves fall every where, and Fall it is.
The wind is sighing round the corners, moaning over the thresholds, singing at the windows, roaring over the chimney-tops, and harping through the forests. The gray clouds look
and sullen. The great, heavy drops come driving against the window-panes ; the cattle stand in the fields, with the wind astern; the sheep gather under the lee of the barn. They banked up the house, yesterday ; put the cabbages in the cellar, the day before; will cover the potatoes
to-morrow. Mack and Port call for their mittens
the blue and white mittens—the immemorial mittens, tethered with a string.
The black-birds, a rabble rout, hold high council of flight, on a dry elm in the meadow ; there is a twitter, and a flutter, and a great acclamation. Up go the swallows in a cloud; away ride the sparrows on the billowy air. The robin and his wife hear the sound of wings in the thicket, and go too. The owl looks out from his hollow tree, and gathers still closer, his russet muffler about his ears.
The ridged and tawny fields look like corduroy; their rustling and golden glories have departed. The corn stands shivering in long lines, wrapped in rusty overalls, like a regiment of
• Old Continentals in their ragged regimentals;'
The pumpkins lie in great heaps, here and there, liko cannon-shot.
Little · flurries' of snow whirl doubtfully through the cloudy air, and sift over the dark, old fallow. The sun goes down with a bounce; it is dark before night.
The asparagus is bundled out of the fire-place, the old andirons are wheeled into line, the hearth is a
blaze, the windows are curtained, the old circle is narrowed around the old-fashioned fire.
Just the season for Saturday nights! What blessed things they are, and what would the world do without them? Those breathing momente in the tramping march of life; those little twilights in the broad and garish glare of noon, when pale yesterdays look beautiful through the shadows, and faces changed' long ago, smile sweetly again in the hush ; when one remembers 'the old folks at home,' and the old-fashioned fire, and the old arm-chair, and the little brother that died, and the little sister that was translated.'
Saturday nights make people human ; set their hearts to beating softly, as they used to do, before the world turned them into war-drums, and jarred them to pieces with tattoos.
The ledger closes with a clash; the iron-door'd vaults come to with a bang ; up go the shutters with a will ; click, goes the key in the lock. It is Saturday night, and Business breathes free again. Homeward, ho! The door that has been ajar all the week, gently closes behind him ; the world is shut out. Shut
Shut in, the rather. Here are his treasures after all, and not in the vault, and not in the book,
(save the record in the old family Bible, and not in the bank.
Happy is the man who has a little home and a little angel in it, of a Saturday night. Such a night as last night was : cloudy, gloomy, gusty, rainy. Casements rattling, storm driving, lake roaring along the shore.
So much for the out-door scenery. Now for the in-door; a martin-box of a house, no matter how little, provided it will hold two or so ; no matter how humbly furnished, provided there is hope in it. Let the winds blow-close the curtains! What if they are calico, or plain white, without border, or tassel, or any such thing? Let the rains come down : heap up the fire, but it must be an open fire; none of your dark, prison-looking stoves. No matter if
haven't a candle to bless yourself with, for what a beautiful light glowing coals make, reddening, clouding, shedding a sunset through the little room; just light enough to talk by; not loud, as in the highwaysnot rapid, as in the hurrying world; but softly, slowly, whisperingly, with pauses between, for the storm without, and the thoughts within, to fill up.
Then wheel the sofa round before the fire. No
matter if the sofa's a settee, uncushioned at that, if so be it is just long enough for two, or say two and a half, with the two or two and a half in it. How sweetly the music of silver bells from the time to come, falls on the listening heart then. How mournfully swell the chimes of the days that are no more.'
Under such circumstances, and at such a time, one can get at least sixty-nine and a half statute miles nearer ' kingdom come,' than from any other point in this world laid down in 'Malte Brun.'
Maybe you smile at this picture. Well, smile on, there is a secret between us, viz. : it is a copy of picture, rudely done, but true as the Pentateuch, of an original in every really human heart. Are you so old or so wicked, that the cabinet picture is dimmed or damaged beyond restoration? Then be shrived, make a Saturday night of life, and bid 'good night' to the world.
Maybe you think this a ridiculous picture : then Heaven mend and Alison cultivate your taste.
Maybe you are a bachelor, frosty and forty. Then, poor
fellow! Saturday night's nothing to you, just as you are nothing to any body. Get a wife, blue-eyed or black-eyed, but above all, true-eyed, get a little home, no matter how little, and a little sofa, just to hold two, or two and a half, and then get the two, or