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men, that what will 'last your time,' be
Just enough to last for ever!"


WHEN I became incumbent of the parochial
district of St. Barnabas, Copenhagen Lanes, I
lodged in Peppermint Place. It was then
creeping its way into the fields, with the
apparent determination not to stop till it
had reached Highgate. The brick-and-mortar
invasion had extended to two ranks of
houses, which were then in all conditions,
from neat snug finish, to cheerless rooflessness.
When I went to take the rooms in
number one, on a drizzling afternoon, my
landlord was pleased to assure me, while
sweeping his arm out of a back window
over a landscape in the last stage of damp
decay, that the situation was "uncommonly
cheerful." The view consisted of a few
dismantled garden allotments; a superannuated
summer-house was lying in an attitude
of utter despondency against a deserted
pigsty; bunches of drooping hollyhocks,
broken down by the weight of their misfortunes,
wept rain-drops; patches of the
cabbage and other greens were sicklied over
with the pale cast of lime and mortar; and
tulips struggled up out of their beds between
brick-bats, in the last agonies of strangulation.
This uncommonly "cheerful situation" was
finished off in the back ground by a damp
and ragged hedge; the whole presenting a
vivid tableau of the insatiable Ogre, Town,
swallowing up the passive, pastoral, Country.

The chief attraction from my sitting-room
was a clayey slough, in which a constant
succession of brick-carts were continually stuck
during all the working hours of the day; yet
the boundary to this prospect was far from
uninviting. Several of the opposite houses
were finished and inhabited. The neatest and
prettiest of them was that immediately facing
my room. If window curtains were ever
made of woven snow, that must have been the
material of those at the first-floor window of
that modest habitation;—they were so
white and transparent. There was such
variety in their arrangement: so much taste
in the disposition of the crocuses and
snowdrops in the window-sill; such evident pleasure
taken in concealing the wires of the
bird cage in impromptu arbours, now of
geranium, now of myrtle, or else by an
intertwining of cut primrosesthat I was
irresistibly reminded of one of those charming
little cottage windows in the scenes
of a French vaudeville. Nor was this impression
weakened when I occasionally espied
but very seldombetween the rows of bob-
fringe that dangled merrily from the curtains,
the face of a lovely brunette, framed in
bandeaux of jet hair, and illuminated by a pair of
piercing black eyes.

What busy eyes they were! Though I
seldom saw them, I could see what they were
doing all day long; for, every thing being dark,
as if to correspond to them, (their owner was
in mourning), I could observe the plainer
how the little lady in black employed herself
behind the film of white curtain. She was
incessantly bending over a frame, and I could
guess, from the motion of the arm nearest the
window, that she embroidered, or did
something of that sort, all day long. Now and
then the hand appeared to move higher than
the frame, and I supposed, from the angle of
the elbow, that she was pressing it against
her over-wrought eyes. Poor girl!—No
wonder if they ached; for, from morning till
evening, every day, except Sundays, during
all that cold and cheerless spring, she was to
be seen in busy motion. Except on Sunday
morningsI suppose to go to churchshe
never went abroad; and no other living soul
was ever observed in her room.

In the course of months, my observations
of the captivating SILHOUETTEso I had
nicknamed the little black profilewere
more frequent than polite. The delicious little
gauze of mystery which half-veiled her, piqued
my curiosity; and I could safely indulge
in it, as my draperies were much less aerial
than hers. Though the east wind blew with
continued intensity, and it was quite an effort
to leave one's fireside, she was never, during
daylight, away from her window.
Sometimes I could distinguish that she paused,
leant her head on her hand, and gazed with
earnest intensity directly under where I sat.
Then, as if suddenly caught in the act, she
would turn like lightning to her frame, and
the little black arm would move up and down
with unusual rapidity. There was a curious
circumstance connected with these fits of
abstraction and starts of work: I remarked
that they happened inversely to the
proceedings of my clever young landlord below
(an in-layer, carver, and cabinet-maker);
for, during the moments of my Silhouette's
fascination, his saw, his chisel, or plane, or
hammer were in full and noisy operation; and
it was exactly at the instant that either of
these tools were laid down and the sound
ceased, that my little lady resumed her
work. I was convinced one morning that
this coincidence was no mere fancy. I had
by this time got used to the noises in the
shop below, and could distinguish, on the
forenoon referred to, that friend Bevil was
making, at each stroke of his plane, very long
shavings. While trying to guess, from the
sounds, the length of the plank he was
smoothing, I observed the damsel opposite
tracing an embroidery pattern against the
glass. The tracing goes on well enough for
awhile; but, presently, the left-hand is lifted
to the little head, the tip of the elbow rests
against the window-frame, the tracing hangs
against the glass by the point of the pencil
held in the other hand; and the black eyes
pour their rays straight into the window
below me. The long shavings are turned off

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