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KIDD'S OWN JOURNAL.
THE PAST, THE PRESENT, & THE FUTURE, should be filled with love for the Maker of
Heaven and Earth! Alas! how little the regard paid to either body or soul, when feasting and excess are considered the main points of a good life! But let us change the
NATURE,-attend! Join every living soul,
HILST OUR PEN IS NOW WRITING, the Old Yearone thousand, eight hundred, and fifty-two, is, though tempestuously raging, fast declining. Ere the ink which is flowing in our pen shall be thoroughly dry, the old year will have sunk to his rest, and be known only as among the things that have been. Such is the winter of life!
The year which has just closed upon us, has been one of the most eventful within our recollection. It will be for the historian of the year, to collect the extraordinary circumstances that have occurred, both at home and abroad, within the past twelve months; and to place them in array before us. We who know them, and have watched them narrowly in their progress, can meantime ruminate on the significance of their meaning, and turn them to a profitable account. It is a favorite axiom of ours, that nothing happens by chance; and that everything that transpires is "right."
Holding such a strange doctrine as this, it will be less a matter for surprise that we have yet other singular ideas. For instance, we cannot fall in with the usual custom of seeing the Old Year out, and the New Year in-amidst riot, noise, smoke, drink, and debauchery. Let the wassail bowl have its votaries, the bottle its unflinching companions-but let us have an equally free choice. The results of intoxication have already met our eye. Men have been transformed into beasts, whilst Nature was kindly preparing to set before them the glories of a New Year! Ribald jests, profanity, and obscenity, have rent the air at a season when every voice
The seasons of the year are the topics which most concern us and our readers at this time. It will be remembered, that the Winter of 1851-2 was a remarkable one,all sorts of changes prevailing on one and the same day. It was sometimes cold, sometimes warm; sometimes frosty, and sometimes wet, all within twenty-four hours. The consequence was, · perpetual illness, almost universal sickness, and a great increase in the Bills of Mortality. Spring and Winter seemed to have formed a coalition. They were hardly discernible the one from the other. The whole of the first half-year, as a perusal of OUR JOURNAL will testify, was unseasonable in every respect. We were deluged with rain; and all of us worn out with the. pains and sufferings inseparable from such long-continued damp and cold.
Suddenly, Summer broke in upon us. And what a Summer! We rose at once from zero to boiling heat. We were all but fried as we walked along the streets. This continued for a goodly time. Our gardens soon felt the influence, and we found ourselves planted on every hand in a perfect paradise of flowers. The joys of this season we shall never forget; neither those connected with the commencement of Autumn. Our pen has already been eloquent on the subject, and our thoughts will be found registered in the leaves of OUR JOURNAL.
Of the concluding portion of Autumn, and of the commencement of Winter, we would fain be silent. We had such a constant succession of wet days, and wet nights-such storms, and such elemental discord, that we would indeed forget the remembrance of them. Many who were in the enjoyment of perfectly robust health in the Summer, were, ere the close of Autumn, consigned to their last resting place. Many, with whom we held much pleasing gossip upon bright future prospects during the past summer, have long since been
numbered with the dead. They sleep,-to meet us again in this world no more.
It is impossible to regard these things, as too many do, as mere matters of course. Old Time is stealing a march upon us, and we find our turn approaching. We know not how soon! This increases our desire, and our ardent longing, to be "useful" in our day and generation; and we will not deny that we feel some little pride in knowing that many feel interested in the extension of our life. Long ere Christmas, our earthly career was apparently at an end. Our sand, it was imagined, had nearly run out. Our life hung on doubt, for many days. had prepared for the great change.
The wise Dispenser of events, however, caused hope to spring up. In the hands of a skilful practitioner we rallied. We contended vigorously against the invasion of our internal enemy; and, being a man of the most temperate habits, we finally vanquished him. For our victory, let us thank the God of all our mercies. We do so, most devoutly; the more especially, as many who were at the same time with ourself suffering from a precisely similar malady (but who were not men of temperate habits), sank under their sufferings. Another forcible argument this, for our favorite motto-Temperance in
We have taken occasion, in former numbers of OUR JOURNAL, to commend to our readers' especial notice the due observance of Christmas,- a season when all families and their various branches should make a
point of assembling together, to cement the bond of love. Nature, no doubt, rejoices as much as we do in the various réunions that take place at such a time. Many ill-feelings have perhaps been suffered to exist, between many parties, for many months previous to this grand meeting. A kiss of love at once annihilates the remembrance of these. Fresh vows are exchanged; future meetings planned; many sweet promises of communicating more frequently are given; and so the New Year dawns auspiciously on all. We repeat, that we look upon the season of Christmas, with its holly, misseltoe, and other commendable associations, with fond delight. Nor have we been wanting this season in performing our part in what we so strongly recommend to others. We feel individually all the better for it; and we will undertake to say as much for the possessors of the many happy, cheerful, loving, and lovely countenances, with which ours has innocently come in contact.
Well; we will not now dilate upon these matters; though we feel justified in hinting at them, and in gently enforcing their obser vance. Let us turn to the New Year.
It is a wise provision of Nature, to make
certain little breaks in the routine of our too regular life. She introduces a succession of pleasing changes, to keep our minds in equilibrio. From to-day, we shall live in the hope and pleasing expectation of seeing a daily change in the aspect of our fields and gardens. Hitherto stationary, there will be a progressive movement in vegetation. Though the year is young, there is already much to delight us; for the season, having been unusually mild, many pretty little heads are modestly popping up, even now, to greet us as we pass from place to place.
We must not forget, too, that the days are gradually lengthening; and that the dear, bright, and glorious sun has commenced his new annual course. Feeble though his rays at the beginning of the month, yet is his brighter and brighter every day. enlivening countenance shining upon us Still, Winter is upon us, and we must, for a little season, amuse ourselves indoors as well as out; for the voices of the birds are not yet fully heard, their "harps are hung upon the willows."
It is a painful sight to see how some of our tiny friends are benumbed with the cold; but it is more than compensated by the pleasure we feel in welcoming them to the hospitality of our table. The wrens, the robins, Dickey Dunnock," and the blueheaded titmouse, flock around us on every side; and many a grateful song do we get, bread thrown out of the window. by the way, in return for a few crumbs of
JANUARY, in its early days, is a cold, wet, drizzly, unsatisfactory month-a month of colds and asthma, rheumatism and lumbago. All nature partakes of its blighting influence. Still it comes with its awakening hand, and shakes grey-bearded old Winter in his chilly sleep:
A wrinkled, crabbed man, they picture thee, Old Winter; with a rugged beard, as grey As the long moss upon the apple tree. Blue-lipt, an ice-drop at thy sharp blue nose; Close muffled up, and on thy dreary way Plodding alone through sleet and drifting snows. Rude, too, and violent, is the awakening hand of January, causing the very icicles which bind old Winter down, to rattle again, whilst breathing into his frozen ear tidings that each successive day is longer than the last; and bidding him prepare to abdicate in favor of the tender, delicate snowdrops, whose graceful heads are even now visible as they exert their growing energies to make their way through the frost-bound earth :
Nature! great parent! whose unceasing hand Rolls round the seasons of the changeful year, How mighty, how majestic, are thy works! With what a pleasing dread they swell the soul That sees astonished! and astonished sings! How wearisomely would the year pass away, but for these changes! How would life hang
heavily on our hands, were it not for the opening and shutting of the days, the advent and departure of flowers, the arrival and disappearance of birds, the infinitely-numerous races of insects, the wan coldness of winter, and the ruddy warmth of summer-all im parting to the year forms which correspond to our own changing existence.
We have lately taken several strolls among the lanes and bye-roads, with a view to connoitre the doings, and try to catch the voices, of the early birds of song; but alas! save the musical wren, the robin, and the hedge-sparrow, all has been desolation. The fields look cold and comfortless, the trees naked, and the hedges bare. A skylark now and then has risen on the wing, and given utterance to his short, winter note; a thrush and a blackbird, too, have been heard whistling low; but no joyous effusions of vernal melody. All this has yet to come, and it is worth waiting patiently for.
The notes of birds evidently undergo some extraordinary changes during the autumn and the winter; for we find them making many vain attempts to sing in January, with out having the power to exercise their full compass. The difficulty of utterance appears to arise from some physical impediment; and this impediment is only gradually removed. Jenyns corroborates these observations; for he remarks that as the temperature increases, their system receives a corresponding stimulus, their song becomes more melodious, and also much louder. If our readers will test this by noticing the movements of the various tribes, they will not find it an unprofitable occupation.
We will not close these few remarks on the New Year, without directing attention to the necessity there is for all who would be well, to take exercise in the open air. It is a too common practice at this season, for people, young and old, to crowd over a large fire half baking themselves on one side, whilst the other is unduly cold. This invariably produces illness. Let the apartment in which you live be well ventilated, and let a moderate fire be kept in the stove. Sit at a fair distance from it, and you will obtain an equable warmth. But ere you do this, take a nice bracing walk, if the day be dry. This will cause a due circulation of the blood, and keep you healthily warm. On your return home, your cheeks will glow with a ruddy tint, your appetite will be good, and your digestion equally so. All that is needful to guard against cold, is a proper equipment. Take no heed, young ladies, of being cele. brated for a pretty foot, or a neat ankle; especially during the season of winter. Provide good, strong boots, with moderatelythick soles, so as to exclude water and damp. Put these on whenever you walk abroad,
and you will thank us for our advice long before they are half worn out. Warm gloves, (no muff), a neat little cloak, and a warm winter's dress, will, with the addition of a little "comfortable" bonnet, put you in marching order. Never miss a single day's exercise in the open air; unless indeed the ground be saturated with rain. You cannot imagine the benefits arising from walking out, during re-the winter months. You shall do so, however, ere we have kept your company long.
We shall take upon ourself, month after month, to study your welfare; and we shall not hesitate to tell you all that we conceive to be for your benefit. "Line upon line, precept upon precept,' shall be lovingly offered; and we feel sure that we shall win our way to your favor, while laboring so earnestly for your good.
We speak now, more particularly, to our NEW Subscribers. There are many who are as yet strangers to us, and to our doctrines. Only let them listen to what we say, and let them be better acquainted with us, and we venture our reputation that we shall ALL speedily become a "United Happy Family." We begin the New Year with buoyant spirits. Nature's treasury is about to be opened. We shall be there at the opening; and whilst we expose to view all her ladyship's boundless gifts to her children, as they present themselves, we feel sure that there will be but one feeling between us and our readers,- Love to God, and good-will to man.
This is our fondest desire,-our earnest hope.
THOUGHTS SUGGESTED BY THE NEW YEAR.
It is a melancholy task, Mr. Editor, to reckon with the departed year. curious threads of affection through its manyTo trace back the colored woof, and knot anew its broken places-to number the missing objects of interest, the dead and the neglected-to sum up the broken resolutions, the deferred hopes, the dissolved phantoms of anticipation, and many wanderings from the leading star of duty-this is, indeed, a melancholy task, but, withal, a profitable, and, it may sometimes be, a pleasant and a soothing one.
It is wonderful in what short courses the objects of this world move. They are like arrows feebly shot. A year, a brief year, is full of Nothing keeps evenly on. things dwindled, and finished, and forgotten. What is there in the running calendar of the year that has departed, which has kept its place and its magnitude? Here and there an aspirant for fame still stretches after his eluding shadow-here and there and there (and alas! how rarely a friend keeps enthusiast still clings to his golden dream-here his truth, and a lover his fervor-but how many more, that were as ambitious, as enthusiastic, as loving as these when last year began, are now sluggish, and cold, and false! You may keep a
record of life; and as surely as it is human, it will be a fragmented and disjointed history, crowded with unaccountableness and change. There is nothing constant. The links of life are for ever breaking, but we rush on still. A fellowtraveller drops from our side into the grave-a guiding star of hope vanishes from the sky-a creature of our affections, a child or an idol, is snatched from us-perhaps nothing with which we began the race is left to us, and yet we do not halt. Onward-still onward,' is the eternal cry; and as the past recedes, the broken ties are forgotten, and the future occupy us alone.
There are bright chapters in the past, however. If our lot is capricious and broken, it is also new and various. One friend has grown cool, but we have won another. One chance was less fortunate than we expected, but another was better. We have encountered one man's prejudices, but, in so doing, we have unexpectedly flattered the partialities of his neighbor. We have neglected a recorded duty; but a deed of charity, done upon impulse, has brought up the balance. equable temper of mind, memory, to a man of ordinary goodness of heart, is pleasant company. A careless rhymer, whose heart is better than his head, says,
"I would not escape from Memory's land, For all the eye can view;
For there's dearer dust in Memory's land, Than the ore of rich Peru.
I clasp the fetter by Memory twined, The wanderer's heart and soul to bind."
It was a good thought suggested by an ingenious friend, to make one's will annually, and remember all whom we love in it in the degree of their deservings. I have acted upon the hint since, and truly it is keeping a calendar of one's life. I have little to bequeath, indeed—a manuscript or two, some half dozen pictures, and a two of much-thumbed and choice authors-but, slight as these poor mementoes are, it is pleasant to rate their difference, and write against them the names of our friends as we should wish them left if we knew we were presently to die. It would be a satisfying thought in sickness, that one's friends would have a memorial to suggest us when we were gone-that they would know we wished to be remembered by them; that we remembered them among the first. And it is pleasant, too, while alive, to change the order of appropriation with the ever-varying evidences of affection. It is a relief to vexation and mortified pride, to erase the name of one unworthy or false; and it is delightful, as another gets nearer to your heart, with the gradual and sure test of intimacy, to prefer him in your secret register.
If I should live to be old, I doubt not it will be a pleasant thing to look over these little testaments. It is difficult, now, with their kind offices and pleasant faces ever about one, to realise the changes of feeling between the first and the last-more difficult still, to imagine against any of those familiar names the significant asterisk that marks the dead; yet if the common chances of human truth, and the still more desperate chances of human life, continue, it is melancholy to think what a miracle it would be if even half this list,
brief and youthful as it is, should be, twenty years hence, living and unchanged.
The festivities of this part of the year always seemed to me mis-timed and revolting. I know not what color the reflections of others take, but to me it is simply the feeling of escape-the released breath of fear after a period of suspense and danger. Accident, misery, death, have been about us in their invisible shapes; and while one is tortured with pain, and another reduced to wretchodness, and another struck into the grave beside us, we know not why nor how we are still living and prosperous. It is next to a miracle that we are so. We have been on the edge of chasms continually. Our feet have tottered, our bosoms have been grazed by the thick shafts of diseasehad our eyes been spirit-keen, we should have been dumb with fear at our peril. If every tenth sunbeam were a deadly arrow-if the earth were full of invisible abysses-if poisons were sown thickly in the air, life would hardly be more insecure. We can stand upon our threshold and see it. The vigor ous are stricken down by an invisible hand-the active and busy suddenly disappear-death is caught up in the breath of the night wind, in the dropping of the dew. There is no place or moment, in which that horrible phantom is not gliding among us. It is natural at each period of escape to rejoice fervently and from the heart; but I know not, if others look upon death with the same irrepressible horror that I do, how their joy can be so thoughtlessly trifling. It seems to me matter for deep and almost fearful congratulation. It should be expressed in religious places and with the solemn voice of worship; and when the period has thus been marked, it should be speedily forgotten, lest its clouds become more depressing. I am an advocate for all the gaiety that the spirits will bear. I would reserve no particle of the treasure of happiness. The world is dull enough at the best; but do not mistake its temper. Do not press into the service of gay pleasure the thrilling solemnities of life. I think anything which reminds me of death, solemn; any time, when our escape from it is thrust irresistibly upon the mind, a solemn time; and such is the season of the new year. It should be occupied by serious thoughts. It is the time to reckon with one's heart-to renew and form resolutions— to forgive, and reconcile, and redeem.-P.