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by [?]

Keturah wishes to state primarily that she is good-natured. She thinks it necessary to make this statement, lest, after having heard her story, you should, however polite you might be about it, in your heart of hearts suspect her capable not only of allowing her angry passions to rise, but of permitting them to boil over “in tempestuous fury wild and unrestrained.” If it were an orthodox remark, she would also add, from like motives of self-defence, that she is not in the habit of swearing.

Are you accustomed, O tender-hearted reader, to spend your nights, as a habit, with your eyes open or shut? On the answer to this question depends her sole hope of appreciation and sympathy.

She begs you will understand that she does not mean you, the be-ribboned and be-spangled and be-rouged frequenter of ball and soiree , with your well-taught, drooping lashes, or wide girl’s eyes untamed and wondering, your flushing color, and your pulse up to a hundred. You are very pretty for your pains,—O, to be sure you are very pretty! She has not the heart to scold you, though you are dancing and singing and flirting away your golden nights, your restful, young nights, that never come but once,—though you are dancing and singing and flirting yourselves merrily into your grave. She would like to put in a plea before the eloquence of which Cicero and Demosthenes, Beecher and Sumner, should pale like wax-lights before the sun, for the new fashion said to be obtaining in New York, that the soiree shall give place to the matinee , at which the guests shall assemble at four o’clock in the afternoon, and are expected to go home at seven or eight. That would be not only civilized, it would be millennial.

But Keturah is perfectly aware that you will do as you will. If the excitement of the “wee sma’ hours ayont the twal” prove preferable to a quiet evening at home, and a good, Christian, healthy sleep after it, why the “sma’ hours” it will be. If you will do it, it is “none of her funerals,” as the small boy remarked. Only she particularly requests you not to insult her by offering her your sympathy. Wait till you know what forty-eight mortal, wide-awake, staring, whirring, unutterable hours mean.

Listen to her mournful tale; and, while you listen, let your head become fountains of water, and your eyes rivers of tears for her, and for all who are doomed to reside in her immediate vicinity.

“Tired nature’s sweet restorer,” as the newspapers, in a sudden and severe poetical attack, remarked of Jeff Davis, “refuses to bless” Keturah, except as her own sweet will inclines her. They have a continuous lover’s quarrel, exceedingly bitter while it rages, exceedingly sweet when it is made up. Keturah attends a perfectly grave and unimpeachable lecture,—the Restorer pouts and goes off in a huff for twenty-four hours. Keturah undertakes at seven o’clock a concert,— announced as Mendelssohn Quintette, proving to be Gilmore’s Brassiest,—and nothing hears she of My Lady till two o’clock, A. M. Keturah spends an hour at a prayer-meeting, on a pine bench that may have heard of cushions, but certainly has never seen one face to face; and comes home at eight o’clock to the pleasing discovery that the fair enslaver has taken some doctrinal offence, and vanished utterly.

Though lost to sight she’s still to memory dear, and Keturah penitently betakes herself to the seeking of her in those ingenious ways which she has learned at the school of a melancholy experience. A table and a kerosene lamp are brought into requisition; also a book. If it isn’t the Dictionary, it is Cruden’s Concordance. If these prove too exciting, it is Edwards on the Will. Light reading is strictly forbidden. Congressional Reports are sometimes efficacious, as well as Martin F. Tupper, and somebody’s “Sphere of Woman.”