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Reprinted Pieces

A Flight
WHEN Don Diego de - I forget his name - the inventor of the last new Flying Machines,
price so many francs for ladies, so many more for gentlemen - when Don Diego, by
permission of Deputy Chaff-wax and his noble band, shall have taken out a Patent for
the Queen's dominions, and shall have opened a commodious Warehouse in an airy
situation; and when all persons of any gentility will keep at least a pair of wings, and be
seen skimming about in every direction; I shall take a flight to Paris (as I soar round the
world) in a cheap and independent manner. At present, my reliance is on the South-
Eastern Railway Company, in whose Express Train here I sit, at eight of the clock on a
very hot morning, under the very hot roof of the Terminus at London Bridge, in danger
of being 'forced' like a cucumber or a melon, or a pine-apple. And talking of pine-
apples, I suppose there never were so many pine-apples in a Train as there appear to
be in this Train.
Whew! The hot-house air is faint with pine-apples. Every French citizen or citizeness is
carrying pine-apples home. The compact little Enchantress in the corner of my carriage
(French actress, to whom I yielded up my heart under the auspices of that brave child,
'MEAT-CHELL,' at the St. James's Theatre the night before last) has a pine-apple in her
lap. Compact Enchantress's friend, confidante, mother, mystery, Heaven knows what,
has two pine-apples in her lap, and a bundle of them under the seat. Tobacco-smoky
Frenchman in Algerine wrapper, with peaked hood behind, who might be Abd-el- Kader
dyed rifle-green, and who seems to be dressed entirely in dirt and braid, carries pine-
apples in a covered basket. Tall, grave, melancholy Frenchman, with black Vandyke
beard, and hair close-cropped, with expansive chest to waistcoat, and compressive
waist to coat: saturnine as to his pantaloons, calm as to his feminine boots, precious as
to his jewellery, smooth and white as to his linen: dark-eyed, high-foreheaded, hawk-
nosed - got up, one thinks, like Lucifer or Mephistopheles, or Zamiel, transformed into a
highly genteel Parisian - has the green end of a pine-apple sticking out of his neat
valise.
Whew! If I were to be kept here long, under this forcing-frame, I wonder what would
become of me - whether I should be forced into a giant, or should sprout or blow into
some other phenomenon! Compact Enchantress is not ruffled by the heat - she is
always composed, always compact. O look at her little ribbons, frills, and edges, at her
shawl, at her gloves, at her hair, at her bracelets, at her bonnet, at everything about her!
How is it accomplished? What does she do to be so neat? How is it that every trifle she
wears belongs to her, and cannot choose but be a part of her? And even Mystery, look
at HER! A model. Mystery is not young, not pretty, though still of an average candle-
 
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