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January 4.

Prepare for Twelfth-day.

The "Mirror of the Months," a reflector of "The Months" by Mr. Leigh Hunt, enlarged to include other objects, adopts, "Above all other proverbs, that which says, 'There's nothing like the time present,'—partly because 'the time present' is but a periphrasis for Now!" The series of delightful things which Mr. Hunt links together by the word Now in his "Indicator," is well remembered, and his pleasant disciple tells us, "Now, then, the cloudy canopy of sea-coal smoke that hangs over London, and crowns her queen of capitals, floats thick and threefold; for fires and feastings are rife, and every body is either 'out' or 'at home' every night. Now, if a frosty day or two does happen to pay us a flying visit, on its way to the North Pole, how the little boys make slides on the pathways, for lack of ponds, and, it may be, trip up an occasional housekeeper just as he steps out of his own door; who forthwith vows vengeance, in the shape of ashes, on all the slides in his neighbourhood, not, doubtless, out of vexation at his own mishap, and revenge against the petty perpetrators of it, but purely to avert the like from others!—Now the bloom-buds of the fruit-trees, which the late leaves of autumn had concealed from the view, stand confessed, upon the otherwise bare branches, and, dressed in their patent wind-and-waterproof coats, brave the utmost severity of the season,—their hard, unpromising outsides, compared with the forms of beauty which they contain, reminding us of their friends the butterflies, when in the chrysalis state.—Now the labour of the husbandman is, for once in the year, at a stand; and he haunts the alehouse fire, or lolls listlessly over the half-door of the village smithy, and watches the progress of the labour which he unconsciously envies; tasting for once in his life (without knowing it) the bitterness of that ennui which he begrudges to his betters.—Now, melancholy-looking men wander 'by twos and threes' through market-towns, with their faces as blue as the aprons that are twisted round their waists; their ineffectual rakes resting on their shoulders, and a withered cabbage hoisted upon a pole; and sing out their doleful petition of 'Pray remember the poor gardeners, who can get no work!'"

Now, however, not to conclude mournfully, let us remember that the officers and some of the principal inhabitants of most parishes in London, preceded by their beadle in the full majesty of a full great coat and gold laced hat, with his walking staff of state higher than himself, and headed by a goodly polished silver globe, go forth from the vestry room, and call on every chief parishioner for a voluntary contribution towards a provision for cheering the abode of the needy at this cheerful season:—and now the unfeeling and mercenary urge "false pretences" upon "public grounds," with the vain hope of concealing their private reasons for refusing "public charity:"— and now, the upright and kind-hearted welcome the annual call, and dispense bountifully. Their prosperity is a blessing. Each scattereth and yet increaseth; their pillows are pillows of peace; and at the appointed time, they lie down with their fathers, and sleep the sleep of just men made perfect, in everlasting rest.


Mean Temperature   . . .   36 . 42.