The monkey, meanwhile, with a thick tail curling out into preposterous

prolixity from beneath his tartans, took his station at the Italian's

feet. He turned a wrinkled and abominable little visage to every

passer-by, and to the circle of children that soon gathered round, and

to Hepzibah's shop-door, and upward to the arched window, whence Phoebe

and Clifford were looking down. Every moment, also, he took off his

Highland bonnet, and performed a bow and scrape. Sometimes, moreover,

he made personal application to individuals, holding out his small

black palm, and otherwise plainly signifying his excessive desire for

whatever filthy lucre might happen to be in anybody's pocket. The mean

Advertisement..

and low, yet strangely man-like expression of his wilted countenance;

the prying and crafty glance, that showed him ready to gripe at every

miserable advantage; his enormous tail (too enormous to be decently

concealed under his gabardine), and the deviltry of nature which it

betokened,--take this monkey just as he was, in short, and you could

desire no better image of the Mammon of copper coin, symbolizing the

grossest form of the love of money. Neither was there any possibility

of satisfying the covetous little devil. Phoebe threw down a whole

handful of cents, which he picked up with joyless eagerness, handed

them over to the Italian for safekeeping, and immediately recommenced a

series of pantomimic petitions for more.

Doubtless, more than one New-Englander--or, let him be of what country

he might, it is as likely to be the case--passed by, and threw a look

at the monkey, and went on, without imagining how nearly his own moral

condition was here exemplified. Clifford, however, was a being of

another order. He had taken childish delight in the music, and smiled,

too, at the figures which it set in motion. But, after looking awhile

at the long-tailed imp, he was so shocked by his horrible ugliness,

spiritual as well as physical, that he actually began to shed tears; a

weakness which men of merely delicate endowments, and destitute of the

fiercer, deeper, and more tragic power of laughter, can hardly avoid,

when the worst and meanest aspect of life happens to be presented to

them.

Pyncheon Street was sometimes enlivened by spectacles of more imposing

pretensions than the above, and which brought the multitude along with

them. With a shivering repugnance at the idea of personal contact with

the world, a powerful impulse still seized on Clifford, whenever the

rush and roar of the human tide grew strongly audible to him. This was

made evident, one day, when a political procession, with hundreds of

flaunting banners, and drums, fifes, clarions, and cymbals,

reverberating between the rows of buildings, marched all through town,

and trailed its length of trampling footsteps, and most infrequent

uproar, past the ordinarily quiet House of the Seven Gables. As a mere

object of sight, nothing is more deficient in picturesque features than

a procession seen in its passage through narrow streets. The spectator

feels it to be fool's play, when he can distinguish the tedious

commonplace of each man's visage, with the perspiration and weary

self-importance on it, and the very cut of his pantaloons, and the

stiffness or laxity of his shirt-collar, and the dust on the back of

his black coat. In order to become majestic, it should be viewed from

some vantage point, as it rolls its slow and long array through the

centre of a wide plain, or the stateliest public square of a city; for

then, by its remoteness, it melts all the petty personalities, of which

it is made up, into one broad mass of existence,--one great life,--one

collected body of mankind, with a vast, homogeneous spirit animating

it. But, on the other hand, if an impressible person, standing alone

over the brink of one of these processions, should behold it, not in

its atoms, but in its aggregate,--as a mighty river of life, massive in

its tide, and black with mystery, and, out of its depths, calling to

the kindred depth within him,--then the contiguity would add to the

effect. It might so fascinate him that he would hardly be restrained

from plunging into the surging stream of human sympathies.