THIS morning, as I was sitting at my study-table, drawing wisdom from the fountain of old-time erudition, and endeavoring to reconcile the conflicting opinions of two commentators who evidently looked upon each other as little better than horse-thieves, - and who shall say that they erred? - when a modest, single knock was heard at my door. It heralded a son of Israel, daintily apparelled, and resplendent in jewelry, though neglectful or ignorant of the properties of soap and water in combination; he wanted to buy my old hat, - the which and three dollars would procure one of Solomons' glossiest castors. I enounced the usual formula for "ol'-clo'" men; hadn't any hat, coat, waistcoat, - anything suited to purposes of dicker. Had plenty of money, and when I did get low in funds would let him know. (I had shortly before assured a pedler of patent book-rests that I was completely "broke," and should n't have a remittance till March.)
Sell my old hats indeed! As well turn an honest penny by putting up at auction my old keepsakes and gifts. As well exchange my old dog for a nice new one, paying only three dollars for the bargain. As well give up all memory of the old times, if three dollars will substitute a neatly bound new one with such dainty white pages! Sell old hats indeed! Go to!
Why, to me those venerable relics which are hung upon my walls are the best refreshers of memory imaginable. Supposing half one's time to be spent out of doors; during this time he naturally wears a hat; and whatever events a sight of the old beaver over the fireplace or the brown straw with the faded blue ribbon will bring back, first the season when it was worn, then particular scenes and experiences. Thus is half one's past kept at hand in a convenient treasury, from which the wealth of the past is easiest drawn, - by old hats.
There is a small disreputable-looking cap, resting in a half-intoxicated manner on the frame of "Ariadne"; it and its like were called the "Black Crook." Mine was of an olive color, and faded early to a sickly green. But what glorious times have we had together! I mentally poke it in the ribs, and we laugh over that first suspension in Freshman year. Sell old hats! Get thee gone, son of Haman, or I may do thee an injury!