|Chapter Title||A FUNERAL.-ST. JAMES'S PALACE.-THE PRINCE OF WALES. (Continued from our last.)|
|Newspaper Title||The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859)|
|Trove Title||The Story of a Feather|
THE STORY OF A FEATHER.
33y 3Bou£ia¿ ¿errata.
(A Story from " PUNCH.")
A FUNERAL.-ST. JAMES'S PALACE.-THE
PRINCE OF WALES.
(Continued ft oni our last)
We give Ihte hearty thanks far that it bath pleased Thee to deliver this our sister out of the miseries of this sinful world-"
Thu9,' in measured metallic note, spoke the curate of St. Mnrtio's-in-the-Fields-whilst the daughter Putty could have screamed In anguish at the thanksgiving. A few more words -another and another look-yet another-now the piling earth lius hidden all-and the forlorn creature stands alone in the world. The last few moments have struck apart the last link that still held her to a beloved object-and novv indeed she feels it is in eternity. Two or three women press about her turn her from the grave-and, garrulously kind, preach to her deaf ears that "allis for the best," and that "to mourn is a
All this I gathered from the gossips who brought back Patty lo ber dreary, empty home. There, after brief and common consolation, they quitted her-and there, for a time, the reader must leave the stricken, meek-hearted feather-dresser.
Early the next morning, I found myself in the bands of Mr. Flamingo. 'I he slight disorder-in truth, more imaginary than real-I had suffered in the round-house, had, in the eyes of the tradesman, been amply remedied by Putty, and my owner turned *ne reverently between his thumb and finger-and gazed and gai .' .«» me as though, for his especial prout only, I had dropt fililí the wing of an angel.
Great was the stir throughout the household of Flamingo and great the cause thereof, lie had received an order from the Palace of St. James's : his very soul was plumed-for be
should get off his feathers.
Tills I heard and saw, and-I confess it-with the trepidation of expectant vanity, beheld the feather-merchant make selection from bis stock. At length, with melting looks, and a short, self-complacent sigh, he placed mc-I was sure of it-as the crowning glory, the feather of feathers, among my kind. I was to wave my snowy purity in St. James's !
And for this, thought 1, was 1 drcst-prepared by the lean fingers of want in an unwholesome garret I Alas 1 1 have since felt-ay, a thousand times-that if dim-eyed Vanity would but use the spectacles of truth, she would see blood on her sutins blood on her brocades-blood on her lace-on every rich and glistening thread that hangs about ber-blood. She would see herself a grim idol, worshipped by the world's unjust necessities -and so beholding, would feel a quicker throb of heart, a larger compassion for her forced idolaters.
" To the Palace," cried Flamingo to the hackney-coachman summoned to bear myself and companions on our glorious mission. "To the Palace," cried the feather-merchant, with new lustre in his eyes, harmony in his voice, and a delicious tingling of every nerve that filled his whole anatomy with music. " To the palace," were really the words uttered by Flamingo ; yet in very truth, he believed he snid-" To Paradise."
Not thot St. James's was terra incognita to Mr. Flamingo ; a Marco Polo's domain filled with golden dreams. Certainly not; Mr. Flamingo knew exactly the number of steps composing that private way to heaven, - the back-staircase. He had smiled, and trembled, and boned and wriggled, nnd smirked and cringed his way to the patronage of Queen Char- lotte (of blessed memory.) This exalting truth Mr. Flamingo bad several times tested ; and that in a matter peculiarly flat- tering to himself. For instance, a very fine cockatoo had been thrown in to the tradesman among a lot of foreign feathers ; this cockatoo Mr. Flamingo submitted to the inspection of Her Majesty, who was graciously pleased to say to it " Pretty Poll, " On another occasion, Flamingo took a Java torn-tit to the palace, which bird was graciously permitted by the Queen to perch upon her little Gngcr, her Majesty still further con- descending to cry " Swee-e-c-t 1" These circumstances were at the time totally overlooked by the Court historian ; but they ure recorded, written in very fine round-hand, in the " Fla-
mingo Papers "
I liad scarcely been an hour in the Palace, ere my memory began to fail me. Yes, all the previous scenes of my existence, th it an hour before lived mo3t vividly In my recollection, began to fade anti grow dim, and take the mingled extravagance and obscurity of a dream. Was it possible th.it I had ever been a thing of barter between a savage and a suilor for pig-tail? Could I have ever known n Jack Lipscombe ? Had I crossed the seas in the dungeon of a ship ? Was it possible that I could detect the odour of bilge-water ? Was there such a haunt for human kind as the ¡Miñones? And that old Jew-surely be was a spectre-a part of a night-mare! His large-lipped, globe-eyed daughter, too, she-with all her plumpness-was no more substantial. And then, that dim garret in the alley-the death and enduring innocence-the heaviness und misery of human days-the suffering that made of mortal breath a weary- ing disease-all the worst penalty of life-had I known and witnessed It? Could it be possible? And was there really a Patty Butler looking with meek face upon a frowning world, and smiling down misfortune into pity ?
I confess that-having delighted in the atmosphere of a palace for scarcely an hour-all these realities seemed waning into visions of a fevered sleep. It was only by a strong effort hy a determination to analyse my past emotions-that I could convince myself of the existence of a world of wretchedness without-of want, nnd suffering, and all the sad and wicked
inequalities of human life. Sudden prosperity ever mingles
Lethe in its nectar.
I pass by moments of tumultuous anxiety-of hope, painful in its sweet intensity-of the delirium of assured aggrandise- ment. It is now the remnant of my former self that speaks, and, therefore, be the utterance calm and philosophic.
It was my fate to be chosen one of the three plumes-be it remembered, the middle and the noblest one-to nod above the
baby Prince of Wales, all royally slumbering in his royal
It was my destiny, in 1762-lo commemorate the conquest and bloodshed of 1345-to represent an ancestral plume whereof poor John of Bohemia was plucked that he of the black mail
might be nobly feathered : yes, it was my happy duty to wave
above Ich Dien in 1762.
Ich Dien-" I serve. " Such Is Ibe Prince of Wnles's motlo . nnd looking down upon the Prlncelet's face-upon his velvet eheek brought into the world for the world's incense-viewing the fleshy idol in its weak babyhood,-I repeated for it " I serve I ' and then, in the spirit of ttic future, asked-What ? Bacchus-Venus-or what nobler deity ?
The Prince of Wales-a six weeks' youngling-sleeps, and Ceremony, with stinted breath, waits at the cradle, flow glo- rious that yoting one's destiny I How moulded and marked expressly fashioned for the high delights of earth-the chosen one of millions for millions' homage t The terrible beauty of a crown shall clasp those baby temples-that rose-bud mouth shall speak the iron law-that little pulpy hand shall bold the sceptre and the ball. But now, asleep In the sweet mjstery of babyhood, the little brain already busy with the things that meet us at the vestibule of life-for even then we arc not alone, but surely have about us the bum and echo of the coming world,-but now thus, and now upon a giddying throne 1 What grandeur-what intensity of bliss-what an almighty heritage lobe born to-to be sent upon this earth, accompanied by invisible angels, to take possession oft
The baby king cooes in his sleep, whilst a thousand spirits meet upon the palace floor-sport in the palace air-hover about the cradle-and with looks divine and loving as those that watched the bulrush ark tossed on the wave of Egypt, gaze upon the bright new-comer,-on him that shall be the Lord's anointed I What purifying blessings purge the atmosphere of all earthly taint I What a halo of moral glory beams around that baby bead-that meek vicegerent of the King of king* 1 Wisdom will nune him on ber knees-Pity and Goodness be his play-fellowS-Humility and Gentleness his close compa-
nions-and late for all men, a monitor constant as the pulses
of bis heart!
Arid will It, Indsed, be to? Poor little child-hapless crea- ture-most unfortunate in the fortune of a prince I Are such, indeed, the taffuencesaboutyour cradle-will such, in very truth, ' be your teaching ? Will you, indeed, be taught a* one of earth -a thing of common wants and common affection» ? Will you be schooled in tbe open pages of humanity-or taught by roté tbe common'cant of kings? Will you not, with tbe first .lira glimmerings of human pride, see yourself a thing aloof
from all-a piece of costly selfishness-an idol formed only for the knees of men-a superhuman creature, yea, a wingless deity? Will not this be the teaching of the court-this the lesson that shall prate pure nature from your heart, and place therein a swelling arrogance, divorcing you from all, and wor- shipping self in its most tyrannous desires, in its deepest abo- minations ? Will you remain among the brotherhood of men, -or will you be set apart only to snuff their incense and to hear their proyers ? Splendid solitude of state-most desolate privi- lege of princes 1
With this thought, I felt n stange compassion for the Prince of Wales. AU the glories of the palace seemed to vunish from ubout mc, and I looked down upon the sleeping creature whom 1 was there to honour, with n deep pity, a sorrow for the rough and trying fortune ho was born to.
(To he continued.)