Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/127

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121
THE SISTER YEARS.

am going to deposit, in the receptacle of things past and forgotten. We sisterhood of Years never carry any thing really valuable out of the world with us. Here are patterns of most of the fashions which I brought into vogue, and which have already lived out their allotted term. You will supply their place, with others equally ephemeral. Here, put up in little China pots, like rouge, is a considerable lot of beautiful women's bloom, which the disconsolate fair ones owe me a bitter grudge for stealing. I have likewise a quantity of men's dark hair, instead of which, I have left gray locks, or none at all. The tears of widows and other afflicted mortals, who have received comfort during the last twelve months, are preserved in some dozens of essence bottles, well corked and sealed. I have several bundles of love-letters, eloquently breathing an eternity of burning passion, which grew cold and perished, almost before the ink was dry. Moreover, here is an assortment of many thousand broken promises, and other broken ware, all very light and packed into little space. The heaviest articles in my possession are a large parcel of disappointed hopes, which, a little while ago, were buoyant enough to have inflated Mr. Lauriat's balloon.'

'I have a fine lot of hopes here in my basket,' remarked the New Year. 'They are a sweet-smelling flower—a species of rose.'

'They soon lose their perfume,' replied the sombre Old Year. 'What else have you brought to insure a welcome from the discontented race of mortals?'

'Why, to say the truth, little or nothing else,' said her sister, with a smile—'save a few new Annuals