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privilege of entrance without knocking. We cannot, we cannot, dear reader, while our heart is thus warming toward thee, enter upon formal explanations, or draw up here a frigid business-like agreement, as to the footing we are hereafter to be upon together. Let our publishers and the public settle those musty matters between them, while we two, quietly, after a simple fashion, talk over our affairs as if no one else were by.
And first, let us tell thee that as regards the little sketch overleaf, which the uninitiated will view with indifference, or perhaps overlook entirely, there is a mystery about it which concerns both of us mightily. Thou must know then that one day, not a great while since, as we were musing in our study upon the best method of first introducing ourselves to thy acquaintance, a circumstance, or rather a train of circumstances—a scene-occurred, so singular, if not supernatural, that we almost hesitate in this unbelieving age to recount it even to thee. As the cause of truth, however, could never be advanced did every one shrink from relating the facts that occur under his individual observation, merely because they do not fall within the train of common events, we will even detail here those strange things which have lately come within the experience of our own senses; leaving it for those idle carpers and arrant infidels, the critics and philosophers, to make what they can of this exposure of mysterious doings, shouldst thou, gentle reader, by any accident betray to such people the confidence that is here unreservedly reposed in thee.
It was in the afternoon, just before sunset, during one of those delicious • Indian-summer days, the peculiar boast of our climate, of which, the autumn just passed, was more than usually bountiful, that while, as we have mentioned, meditating alone in our study upon the prospects of the new Magazine, these marvelous occurrences took place. The goldenhued smoke of our juelta was rising before our line of vision and mellowing each object, like the warm atmosphere that gives such rich repose to the pictures of Claude, when, as we
, watched its light flakes as they floated through the open window, and mingled with the silver haze without, they seemed after a while, instead of dissipating themselves in their kindred atmosphere, to form gradually into a murky cloud, which at last filled the whole apartment. This was indeed singular; but so completely lost were we in idle reverie, that it did not strike us at the moment as strange, nor at all prepare us for the
phenomena that followed its disappearance, and gradually made us conscious that a mysterious influence prevailed in the room where we were sitting. By degrees the gaudy paper hangings around us faded into dullness, and then, while their gay colours were darkening into one uniform shade of brown, slowly in their stead panels of burnished oak grew out upon the walls, and glistened in the setting sun. And now each veined spot upon the mantelpiece of variegated marble, became gradually larger and more distinct in form and color, till every one at last assuming a rectangular shape, settled into a separate porcelain tile of smoky blue, like those one may still see ornamenting the fire-place in our old Dutch edifices. The disappearance of the grate we did not note; but it was gone, and there certainly was sufficient room where it had stood to swallow up a dozen between those yawning jams.
The most striking metamorphosis, however, was that which the furniture underwent. The slender maple chairs became gradually bloated and dropsical in their appearance, until they swelled at last into a most antiquated and preposterous size. Their backs became broad and crooked, and from their sides huge arms unfolded, while hideous claws protruded from the small round knobs on which they formerly rested, and slowly sprawled upon the floor; and next, the perforated cane work which erst formed their bottoms, after swimming thick before our eyes for a moment, became gradually opaque, and then plumped up into fat and portly cushions. Nor was this all; the very table upon which our elbow rested while watching the mysterious change going forward around us, was not exempt from its influence: sensibly could we perceive--and yet not so abruptly as to startle us-sensibly could we feel its velvet cover chilling and hardening and smoothing beneath our pressure into a slab of polished marble, while the one stout central supporter, severed into four slender legs, tattooed with quaint devices, each of which quietly slipped into a socket prepared for it under the carved head of a lion that grinned at either corner.
But the most remarkable of all amid these miraculous doings remains yet to be mentioned; our own figure reflected in the mirror opposite, seemed to share the general change, and after vainly trying to recognize its lineaments in those that met our gaze, we at length observed, upon looking more narrowly, that the frame of the mirror had disappeared. The mirror itself was gone, and instead of being a reflection