The Mirror’s Dream

“The very idea of putting me in the attic!” said the little old-fashioned table, as it spread out both leaves in a gesture of despair. “I have stood in the parlor down-stairs for fifty years, and now I am consigned to the rubbish-room,” and it dropped its leaves at its side with a sigh.

“I was there longer than that,” said the sofa. “Many a courtship I have helped along.”

“What do you think of me?” asked an old mirror that stood on the floor, leaning against the wall. “To be brought to the attic after reflecting generation after generation. All the famous beauties have looked into my face; it is a degradation from which I can never recover. This young mistress who has come here to live does not seem to understand the dignity of our position. Why, I was in the family when her husband’s grandmother was a girl and she has doomed me to a dusty attic to dream out the rest of my days.”

The shadows deepened in the room and gradually the discarded mirror ceased to complain. It had fallen asleep, but later the moonlight streamed in through the window and showed that its dreams were pleasant ones, for it dreamed of the old and happy days.

The door opened softly and a young girl entered. Her hair was dark and hung in curls over her white shoulders. Her dark eyes wandered over the room until she saw the old mirror.

She ran across the room and stood in front of it. She wore a hoop-skirt over which hung her dress of pale gray, with tiny pink ruffles that began at her slender waist and ended at the bottom of her wide skirt.

Tiny pink rosebuds were dotted over the waist and skirt, and she also wore them in her dark curls, where one stray blossom bolder than the others rested against her soft cheek.

She stood before the mirror and gazed at her reflection a minute; then she curtsied, and said, with a laugh, “I think you will do; he must speak to-night.”

She seemed to fade away in the moonlight, and the door opened again and a lady entered, and with her came five handsome children.

They went to the mirror, and one little girl with dark curls and pink cheeks went close and touched it with her finger. “Look,” she said to the others, “I look just like the picture of mother when she was a girl.” And as they stood there a gentleman appeared beside them and put his arm around the lady and the children gathered around them. They seemed to walk along the moonlight path and disappear through the window.

Softly the door opened again and an old lady entered, leaning on the arm of an old gentleman. They walked to the mirror and he put his arms around her and kissed her withered cheek.

“You are always young and fair to me,” he said, and her face smiled into the depths of the old mirror.

The moonlight made a halo around their heads as they faded away.

The morning light streamed in through the window and the mirror’s dream was ended.

By and by the door opened and a young girl came in the room. Her dark hair was piled high on her head, and her dark eyes looked over the room until they fell upon a chest in the corner. She went to it and opened it and took out a pale-gray dress with pink ruffles. She put it on; then she let down her hair, which fell in curls over her shoulders.

She ran to the old mirror and looked at herself. “I do look like grandmother,” she said. “I will wear this to the old folks’ party to-night. Grandfather proposed to grandmother the night she wore this dress.” Her cheeks turned very pink as she said this, and she ran out of the room.

Then one day the door opened again and a bride entered, leaning on the arm of her young husband. There were tears in her eyes, although she was smiling. She led him in front of the old mirror. “This old mirror,” she said, “has seen all the brides in our family for generations, and I am going far away and may never look into it again. My brother’s wife does not want it down-stairs, and I may be the last bride it will ever see,” and she passed her hand over its frame caressingly.

And then she went away and the old mirror was left to its dreams for many years. Then one day the door opened again and a lady entered; with her was a young girl.

The lady looked around the attic room until she saw the mirror. “There it is,” she said. “Come and look in it, dear.” The young girl followed her. “The last time I looked into this dear old mirror,” the lady said, “was the day your father and I were married. I never expected to have it for my own then. But your uncle’s wife wants to remodel the house, and these things are in the way; she does not want old-fashioned things, and they are willing I should have them.”

“Oh, mother, they are beautiful!” said the girl, looking around the room. “We will never part with them; we will take them to our home and make them forget they were ever discarded.”

And so the mirror and the sofa and the table and many other pieces of bygone days went to live where they were loved, and the old mirror still reflects dark-haired girls and ladies, who smile into its depths and see its beauty as well as their own.

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