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whose aim it seemed to be to atone for the parsimony of nature towards her person, by loading herself with every attainable gewgaw, giving preference to those which would be likely to strike at the greatest distance. This could be none other than a distinguished guest in our village, where finery is "a sight for sair e'en."
Not that we have not some attempts at the beautifying art. Some of our fair damsels will line their straw bonnets with coarse cotton flowers, which appear with enhanced meanness lying near such fresh, rose-bud complexions. And they are apt to be fond of doleful caricatures of jewelry-"whiting's eyes for pearls," and copper brooches set with green glass.
When I see these sad-looking affairs, I am sometimes tempted to ask (being a little given to moralising), wherein, after all, consists the essential difference between mean and costly ornaments? The one strikes us as palpably absurd; how much less absurd is the other? Why is a necklace that costs fifty cents more ridiculous than one at fifty
dollars? By what standard is finery legitimated? Should it be proportioned to the means of the wearer? Is every woman to get as much as she can? If so, let no smile curl the lip of the town-bred dame as she casts her careless eye around the humble village church. The rustic maiden only follows her example, and she is not to blame for the partiality of fortune. What does mere ornament do for either? It may flush with pride a cheek otherwise wan and lifeless, but will it smooth a harsh skin, blanch a brown throat, or give a soft, womanly tenderness to the light of a haughty eye?
It may not be disputed that the habit of wearing counterfeits is of unmixed evil meaning; but here the country girl is clearly superior. She wears every thing in good faith, and leaves the shame of a false outside to those who despise her.
It would require no laboured argument to prove that the country girl's longing after finery has no inherent vulgarity that does not attach with equal force to the more successful and costly efforts of the city
— but, as we were saying, or about to
Miss Henrietta Duncan had been a guest at Mrs. Flyaway's for a full fortnight, and in that time she had had time and opportunity to make a great impression by the elegance of her appearance. She wore a pink bonnet with rainbow-tinted "chanyoysters" all over it; and, depending from its very small front, a long white veil, under which her nose made a kind of masked sortie, as a chicken's elbow will sometimes do in the thin cover of a pâté. Her robe was a blue mousseline, splashed with gorgeous flowers; and this was set off by a sentimental black scarf, and a muslin pocket kerchief, edged with broad cotton lace, and much embroidered in the corners. All these charms were heightened by glistening ear-drops, four party-coloured bracelets on one arm, a brooch large enough for a dressing-glass, and a long string of blue glass beads; - not to mention collars, ribands, and all the etcetera of the feminine armoury.
The lady herself was of a pale brunette
complexion, deepened not a little by masses of curls, black and shining as if they had been japanned. Her eyes were not very bright, but they were very scornful, which did as well, and produced a greater sensation. She generally wore at meeting a doubleflounced apron, into one pocket of which was thrust the central part of the mouchoir brodé before mentioned, and into the other a scarlet hymn-book, by the aid of which Miss Duncan performed a very high and conspicuous part in the music. But I need not dwell on particulars. The tout ensemble was very dashing.
Mrs. Flyaway lived near Mr. Beamer's; and being a very busy lady with but little to do at home, she had time to do a good deal for other people; and she took some pains to encourage an intimacy between Candace and Miss Duncan, hoping (we may suppose) that high breeding would prove contagious.
After a while, Miss Duncan, whose visit seemed of an elastic quality, was transferred, chest and all, to Mr. Beamer's, and so had an
opportunity for much private tuition of the guileless Candace.
The latter had imbibed a profound respect for Miss Duncan's finery when she first beheld it at a distance. Some vague notions of power and dignity, as connected with such splendour of costume, had then dawned upon her for the first time; and when we consider how much this sort of impression is counted upon in the greater world, we must make allowance for our little rustic. And when this bright, particular star became an acquaintance an inmate, and seemed disposed, too, to treat the humble country maiden with such marked consideration, to patronise her, in fact (for things may be done on all scales) her gratitude and her deference knew no bounds. She listened to every suggestion for the improvement of her own appearance with a feeling of new selfimportance, and congratulated herself upon each successful attempt to imitate the elegant airs of Miss Duncan.
"Well!" said the model, "if my hair was all wavy like yours, and would curl every