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PLEASE TO LEAVE YOUR UMBRELLA.

I MADE a visit the other day to the Palace
at Hampton Court. I may have had my little
reason for being in the best of humours with
the Palace at Hampton Court; but that little
reason is neither here (ah! I wish it were
here!) nor there.

In the readiest of moods for complying with
any civil request, I was met, in the entrance-
hall of the public apartments at Hampton
Court, by the most obliging of policemen, who
requested me to leave my umbrella in his
custody at the foot of the stairs. "Most
willingly," said I, "for my umbrella is very
wet." So the policeman hung it on a rack, to
drip on the stone floor with the sound of an
irregular clock, and gave me a card of
authority to reclaim it when I should come
out again. Then, I went prosperously through
the long suites of deserted rooms, now looking
at the pictures, and now leaning over the
broad old window-seats and looking down
into the rainy old gardens, with their formal
gravel walks, clipped trees, and trim turf
banksgardens with court-suits on. There
was only one other visitor (in very melancholy
boots) at Hampton Court that blessed day:
who soon went his long grave way, alternately
dark in the piers and light in the windows,
and was seen no more.

"I wonder," said I, in the manner of the
Sentimental Journeyer, "I wonder, Yorick,
whether, with this little reason in my bosom,
I should ever want to get out of these same
interminable suites of rooms, and return to noise
and bustle! It seems to me that I could stay
here very well until the grisly phantom on
the pale horse came at a gallop up the stair-case,
seeking me. My little reason should
make of these queer dingy closet-rooms, these
little corner chimney-pieces tier above tier, this
old blue china of squat shapes, these dreary
old state bedsteads with attenuated posts,
nay, dear Yorick," said I, stretching forth my
hand towards a stagnant pool of blacking in
a frame, "should make, even of these very
works of art, an encompassing universe of
beauty and happiness. The fountain in the
staid red and white courtyard without (for we
had turned that angle of the building),
would never fall too monotonously on my
ear, the four chilled sparrows now fluttering
on the brink of its basin would never chirp
a wish for change of weather, no bargeman
on the rain-speckled river; no wayfarer rain-
belated under the leafless trees in the park,
would ever come into my fancy as examining
in despair those swollen clouds, and vainly
peering for a ray of sunshine. I and my little
reason, Yorick, would keep house here, all
our lives, in perfect contentment; and when
we died, our ghosts should make of this
dull Palace the first building ever haunted
happily!"

I had got thus far in my adaptation of the
Sentimental Journey when I was recalled
to my senses by the visible presence of the
Blacking which I just now mentioned. "Good
Heaven! " I cried, with a start; "now I
think of it, what a number of articles that
policeman below stairs required me to leave
with him!"

"Only an umbrella. He said no more
than, Please to leave your umbrella."

"Faith, Yorick," I returned, "he insisted
on my putting so much valuable property
into my umbrella, and leaving it all at the
foot of the stairs before I entered on the
contemplation of many of these pictures, that
I tremble to think of the extent to which I
have been despoiled. That policeman
demanded of me, for the time being, all the
best bumps in my head. Form, color, size,
proportion, distance, individuality, the true
perception of every object on the face of the
earth or the face of the Heavens, he insisted
on my leaving at the foot of the stairs, before
I could confide in the catalogue. And now
I find the moon to be really made of green
cheese; the sun to be a yellow wafer or a
little round blister; the deep wild sea to be
a shallow series of slate-colored festoons turned
upside down; the human face Divine to be
a smear; the whole material and immaterial
universe to be sticky with treacle and polished
up with blacking. Conceive what I must be,
through all the rest of my life, if the policeman
should make off with my umbrella and
never restore it!"

Filled with the terrors of this idea, I
retraced my steps to the top of the stairs, and
looked over the hand-rail for my precious
property. It was still keeping time on the
stone pavement like an irregular clock, and,
the policeman (evidently possessed by no

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