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innovation as an inevitable concession to the
mode; I ceased to think the dolls' prayer-book
very irreverent; and, one day, when somebody
had died at the great milliner's next door,
and the portals were hung with black, with
the escutcheon of the deceased's initials, and
the bier was at the door with the tapers and
the holy water, I turned to the window of the
good Caliph of Bagdad, and looked long and
anxiously for symptoms of a doll's coffin or a dolls'
winding-sheet, or for some notification that
funereal pomps were performed under the
auspices of the Caliph for the dolls who died. I found,
indeed, not these; but there were, really, several
complete suits of dolls' mourningmorsels of
millinery furnished forth with crape, and
bombazine, and black bugles; and the sight of these
little sable vanities made me laugh a bitter
laugh, and think there might be often quite as
much, or as little, genuine grief in a doll's mourning,
as in the black weeds we wear for grown up
men and women. Ladies in black came often to
buy mourning dolls for their children. The
children themselves came in great state to select
articles for their dolls' toilettes. It used to be
a rare sight, to see little misses of eight or ten,
gravely turning over the multifarious trifles, now
discarding this as out of the fashion, or
censuring that as inimical to the laws of harmony,
or the prismatic fitnesses of contrast. I need
scarcely say that the Caliph's customers were
almost exclusively of the wealthiest and most
aristocratic classes. The good Caliph did not
wake for poor dolls. He was man-milliner to
the Brahmins and the rich Baboos, not to the
Pariahs and sweepers. I remember seeing, one
fine afternoon, a miniature princess, by herself
(the meek governess counted for nothing), in a
grand barouche drawn by magnificent black
horses with silvered harness, and two footmen
sitting behind with folded arms: their furred
pelissesit was semi-wintertimearranged
symmetrically over the reredos of the dickey, drive
up to the Caliph's establishment. The barouche
was all over heraldic quarterings; and I have
no doubt that the little girl in the frock and
the fringed sombrero, with a pheasant's-wing
feather in it, was a princess in good earnest. She
was too high and mighty to alight, and the good
Caliph himself came out to her with his wares
in a pasteboard box, and she fingered and flirted
with them daintily and mincingly, to the immense
amusement of your humble servant, and the
pleased astonishment of an honest negro servant
attached, I believe, to the suite of Mrs. General
Zebedee Colepepper, U.S., then staying at the
Hôtel du Louvre, and who had come to the
Caliph's to buy a muff and a bandbox for his
little piccaninny missee.

There is a young person in England to whom
I am partial, who has a particular penchant for
going into the City: not with the view of seeing
any "parties" there, of getting bills discounted
there, of speculating on the Stock Exchange
or in the Share Market, but to look at the shop
windows, whose stores she declares to be much
wealthier and more interesting than in the
kindred emporiums of the West-end. She is a
tender-hearted young person, and frequently
sheds tears when she mentions the shops where
children's things are sold: expatiating in a very
soft and womanish manner on the tiny boots and
shoes, the miniature socks and gloves, the dainty
little shirts and caps and hoods, that are by
women regarded as the apples of their eyes,
but which we ruder men-folk pass by in
indifference or in unconsciousness. I only wish that
young person had been with me, in the days
when I first became acquainted with the good
Caliph of Bagdad. Ah! the smiles she would
have smiled, the happy tears she would have
shed, beholding that potentate in his golden
prime! The many little odds and ends of pretty
fancy, to my coarser sense invisible, that she
would have discovered at a glance!

I took the Caliph's childishnesses, I hope, in
my time, kindly, and regarded them in no morose
or cynical spirit. I tried to banish from my mind
the notion that the Caliph was a profound and
Machiavellic politician, and that, bearing
Béranger's immortal song of the "Infinitely Little"
in his mind, he intended his wardrobe-shop to
be a satirical microcosm of Petty France, of the
Human Smallnesses of Bagdad, and of the
world: a foreshadowing of the time when the
Infinitely Little was to reign on earth; when
little regiments beating little drums, and
dragging little cannon, were to wage little
wars on little frontiers for little quarrels'
sakes; and when little priests would brandish
little crucifixes and mutter little curses from
their little lips, till at last a great man came
and put priests and peopleall the Lilliputians
into his pocket. I say I banished the theory;
I tried, instead, to think how happy we should
all be, if the world were a nursery, and dolls and
little children had the best of it; how blest
would be the age in which the greatest
reward were a toy or a sweetmeat, and the
greatest sorrow a "good cry;" and the direst
effect of a revolution the deposition of a
nurse, and the enactment of a solemn edict
abolishing the capital punishments of whipping
and the corner. Then I awoke to the Actualities,
and found no four-leaved shamrock in the
Caliph's shop; but, after many moons, I weaned
myself from the doll-world, and went forth into
the real one of men and women, walking back
streets no more. So I came to forget my grief, and
laboured and prospered; and though idle this
theme and shallow this philosophy, I gleaned a
store of good human thingsalbeit the fat
Frenchman and the wasp-waisted matron recked
little of themfrom the toy-wardrobe of the
good Caliph of Bagdad.

I GAVE the reins to Fancy, as the day
   Withdrew its golden presence from my room,
  And, noble in their glory and their gloom,
Had glimpses of old grandeurs passed away.

And there was Greece, with all her greatness, gone
   A sounding pageant on the track of time;
  And Athens, rising from her sleep sublime,
Set on her queenly brow the Parthenon.