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wide and undefined a region, is capable of being made practically useful to us.

We then discover that it is nearer home, and hanging upon the walls of our own parlours and drawing-rooms, that the map of the land we wish to explore is to be found. It is by the fireside that human life the most simply and sincerely developes itself. It is within that small but infinitely comprehensive circle that the true diagram is drawn, and we demonstrate to our own satisfaction (or dissatisfaction, as the case may be) and that of others, the great problem of what we are, and probably what we shall be to the end of our days.

Life by the fireside," this, then, is my theme, gentle reader. A prolific one, you will surely allow, and not altogether an uninteresting one. "That," you will say, "depends upon the way in which I may happen to treat it." 66 Well, I can only promise to do my best." "But why should you trouble yourself to do anything at all in the case?" you may possibly ask. "Who invites you to obtrude your particular views of life by the fireside, or anywhere else, upon your fellow-creatures? more particularly when you told us in your

last work, that you should probably never again appear before the world as an author?

"What you say is very true, my friend; and when I made the statement to which you allude, I supposed it would be so. But I am lonely, and want occupation. Solitary life, and advancing life ask for recreation, and, feeling the want of some variety in a lot not overcrowded with the resources of society and amusement, I have fallen on my present occupation; in which, craving your patronage, or at all events, your courteous hearing, I come forth to do, as I have said, my best, and tell a little of what I know, and more of what I believe, respecting life by the fireside."

CHAPTER I.

A FAMILY FIRESIDE.

Of all the specimens of life by the fireside with which I am cognizant, with the exception of my own, which is rather a life of cogitation than of action, that of the suburban order is the one with which I am the most familiar. Let us then drop in upon my neighbours Mr. and Mrs. Freeman, and assuming the privilege of being silent and invisible, or anything else that suits our purpose as mere observers, let us join their tea-table party.

It is Saturday night, and Mr. Freeman is not yet come home from his place of business in the city. He is always late on Saturday nights, and always hungry, and angry too, if Mrs. Freeman has not caused to be cooked some little delicacy wherewith to "smooth the rugged brow of care;" for Mr. Freeman, like many more of his species, discovers an anodyne

for much mental disquiet in the enjoyment of a savoury morsel with his tea. It is remarkable indeed, and, were it not so common, it might be a little humbling to observe how soon the tossings and growlings of the old Adam are quieted by the sight of a beef-steak or muttonchop, properly dressed and served up.

A tender, juicy beef-steak is now on the gridiron in the kitchen, and frequent are the ejaculations of Mrs. Freeman indicative of her "hoping to goodness," that Mr. Freeman will not be long of coming, for it is all but done exactly as he would have it; and "if it should be dried up or burnt, you know, Lucy, how angry your papa will be."

The young lady to whom this pathetic appeal for sympathy is proposed, does not appear to be altogether so much interested in the question as the appellant. She has cares of her own, and of a totally different kind from those which are agitating the mind of her mamma. At present she is engaged in putting on the last bow, and the finishing stroke to a new bonnet which is to be first launched upon notice the following day at church. Of the hopes and expectations associated with this bonnet, we may say more when we have

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