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Title: Samantha at Saratoga
Author: Marietta Holley
Release Date: April 26, 2001 [eBook #3425]
[Most recently updated: February 21, 2020]
Language: English
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: an anonymous volunteer

Samantha at Saratoga

by Marietta Holley

Marietta Holley (1836-1926) has been called America’s first female humorist. She was an extremely popular author and a well-known suffragette. Holley, who never married, published her first books as Josiah Allen’s Wife, only adding her own name after her success was established. She lived in an 18 room home she built in Jefferson County, New York and drove a Pierce-Arrow. Her legacy of more than 20 books has mostly been forgotten today but they are still very good reading.

I have no information about the illustrator.





* * * * * * * * * * *





When Josiah read my dedication he said “it wuz a shame to dedicate a book that it had took most a hull bottle of ink to write, to a lot of creeters that he wouldn’t have in the back door yard.”

But I explained it to him, that I didn’t mean tramps with broken hats, variegated pantaloons, ventilated shirt-sleeves, and barefooted. But I meant tramps with diamond ear-rings, and cuff-buttons, and Saratoga trunks, and big accounts at their bankers.

And he said, “Oh, shaw!”

But I went on nobly, onmindful of that shaw, as female pardners have to be, if they accomplish all the talkin’ they want to.

And sez I, “It duz seem sort o’ pitiful, don’t it, to think how sort o’ homeless the Americans are a gettin’? How the posys that blow under the winders of Home are left to waste their sweet breaths amongst the weeds, while them that used to love ’em are a climbin’ mountain tops after strange nosegays.”

The smoke that curled up from the chimbleys, a wreathin’ its way up to the heavens—all dead and gone. The bright light that shone out of the winder through the dark a tellin’ everybody that there wuz a Home, and some one a waitin’ for somebody—all dark and lonesome.

Yes, the waiter and the waited for are all a rushin’ round somewhere, on the cars, mebby, or a yot, a chasin’ Pleasure, that like as not settled right down on the eves of the old house they left, and stayed there.

I wonder if they will find her there when they go back again. Mebby they will, and then agin, mebby they won’t. For Happiness haint one to set round and lame herself a waitin’ for folks to make up their minds.

Sometimes she looks folks full in the face, sort o’ solemn like and heart-searchin’, and gives ’em a fair chance what they will chuse. And then if they chuse wrong, shee’ll turn her back to ’em, for always. I’ve hearn of jest such cases.

But it duz seem sort o’ solemn to think—how the sweet restful felin’s that clings like ivy round the old familier door steps—where old 4 fathers feet stopped, and stayed there, and baby feet touched and then went away—I declare for’t, it almost brings tears, to think how that sweet clingin’ vine of affection, and domestic repose, and content—how soon that vine gets tore up nowadays.

It is a sort of a runnin’ vine anyway, and folks use it as sech, they run with it. Jest as it puts its tendrils out to cling round some fence post, or lilock bush, they pull it up, and start off with it. And then its roots get dry, and it is some time before it will begin to put out little shoots and clingin’ leaves agin round some petickular mountain top, or bureau or human bein’. And then it is yanked up agin, poor little runnin’ vine, and run with—and so on—and so on—and so on.

Why sometimes it makes me fairly heart-sick to think on’t. And I fairly envy our old 4 fathers, who used to set down for several hundred years in one spot. They used to get real rested, it must be they did.

Jacob now, settin’ right by that well of his’n for pretty nigh two hundred years. How much store he must have set by it during the last hundred years of ’em! How attached he must have been to it!

Good land! Where is there a well that one of our rich old American patriarks will set down by for two years, leavin’ off the orts. There haint none, there haint no such a well. Our patriarks haint fond of well water, anyway.

And old Miss Abraham now, and Miss Isaac—what stay to home wimmen they wuz, and equinomical!

What a good contented creeter Sarah Abraham wuz. How settled down, and stiddy, stayin’ right to home for hundreds of years. Not gettin’ rampent for a wider spear, not a coaxin’ old Mr. Abraham nights to take her to summer resorts, and winter hants of fashion.

No, old Mr. Abraham went to bed, and went to sleep for all of her.

And when they did once in a hundred years, or so, make up their minds to move on a mile or so, how easy they traveled. Mr. Abraham didn’t have to lug off ten or twelve wagon loads of furniture to the Safe Deposit Company, and spend weeks and weeks a settlin’ his bisness, in Western lands, and Northern mines, Southern railroads, and Eastern wildcat stocks, to get ready to go. And Miss Abraham didn’t have to have a dozen dress-makers in the house for a month or two, and messenger boys, and dry goods clerks, and have to stand and be fitted for basks and polenays, and back drapery, and front drapery, and tea gowns, and dinner gowns, and drivin’ gowns, and mornin’ gowns, and evenin’ gowns, and etectery, etcetery, etcetery.

No, all the preperations she had to make wuz to wrop her mantilly a little closter round her, and all Mr. Abraham had to do wuz to gird up his lions. That is what it sez. And I don’t believe it would take much time to gird up a few lions, it don’t seem to me as if it would.

And when these few simple preperations had been made, they jest histed up their tent and laid it acrost a camel, and moved on a mild or two, walkin’ afoot.

Why jest imagine if Miss Abraham had to travel with eight or ten big Saratoga trunks, how could they have been got up onto that camel? It couldn’t lave been done. The camel would have died, and old Mr. Abraham would also have expired a tryin’ to lift ’em up. No, it was all for the best.

And jest think on’t, for all of these simple, stay to home ways, they called themselves Pilgrims and Sojourners. Good land! What would they have thought nowadays to see folks make nothin’ of settin’ off for China, or Japan or Jerusalem before breakfast.

And what did they know of the hardships of civilization? Now to sposen the case, sposen Miss Abraham had to live in New York winters, and go to two or three big receptions every day, and to dinner parties, and theatre parties, and operas and such like, evenin’s, and receive and return about three thousand calls, and be on more ’n a dozen charitable boards (hard boards they be too, some on ’em) and lots of other projects and enterprizes—be on the go the hull winter, with a dress so tight she couldn’t breathe instead of her good loose robes, and instead of her good comfortable sandals have her feet upon high-heeled shoes pinchin’ her corns almost unto distraction. And then to Washington to go all through it agin, and more too, and Florida, and Cuba; and then to the sea-shore and have it all over agin with sea bathin’ added.

And then to the mountains, and all over agin with climbin’ round added. Then to Europe, with seas sickness, picture galleries, etc., added. And so on home agin in the fall to begin it all over agin.

Why Miss Abraham would be so tuckered out before she went half through with one season, that she would be a dead 4 mother.

And Mr. Abraham—why one half hour down at the stock exchange would have been too much for that good old creeter. The yells and cries, and distracted movements of the crowd of Luker Gatherers there, would have skairt him to death. He never would have lived to follow Miss Abraham round from pillow to post through summer and winter seasons—he wouldn’t have lived to waltz, or toboggen, or suffer other civilized agonies. No, he would have been a dead patriark. And better off so, I almost think.

Not but what I realize that civilization has its advantages. Not but what I know that if Mr. Abraham wanted Miss Abraham to part his hair straight, or clean off his phylackrity when she happened to be out a pickin’ up manny, he couldn’t stand on one side of his tent and telephone to bring her back, but had to yell at her.

And I realize fully that if one of his herd got strayed off into another county, they hadn’t no telegraf to head it off, but the old man had to poke off through rain or sun, and hunt it up himself. And he couldn’t set down cross-legged in front of his tent in the mornin’, and read what happened on the other side of the world, the evenin’ before.

And I know that if he wanted to set down some news, they had to kill a sheep, and spend several years a dressin’ off the hide into parchment—and kill a goose, or chase it up till they wuz beat out, for a goose-quill.

And then after about 20 years or so, they could put it down that Miss Isaac had got a boy—the boy, probably bein’ a married man himself and a father when the news of his birth wuz set down.

I realize this, and also the great fundimental fact that underlies all philosophies, that you can’t set down and stand up at the same time—and that no man, however pure and lofty his motives may be, can’t lean up against a barn door, and walk off simultanious. And if he don’t walk off, then the great question comes in, How will he get there? And he feels lots of times that he must stand up so’s to bring his head up above the mullien and burdock stalks, amongst which he is a settin’, and get a wider view-a broader horizeon. And he feels lots of time, that he must get there.

This is a sort of a curius world, and it makes me feel curius a good deal of the time as we go through it. But we have to make allowances for it, for the old world is on a tramp, too. It can’t seem to stop a minute to oil up its old axeltrys—it moves on, and takes us with it. It seems to be in a hurry.

Everything seems to be in a hurry here below. And some say Heaven is a place of continual sailin’ round and goin’ up and up all the time. But while risin’ up and soarin’ is a sweet thought to me, still sometimes I love to think that Heaven is a place where I can set down, and set for some time.

I told Josiah so (waked him up, for he wuz asleep), and he said he sot more store on the golden streets, and the wavin’ palms, and the procession of angels. (And then he went to sleep agin.)

But I don’t feel so. I’d love, as I say, to jest set down for quite a spell, and set there, to be kinder settled down and to home with them whose presence makes a home anywhere. I wouldn’t give a cent to sail round unless I wuz made to know it wuz my duty to sail. Josiah wants to.

But, as I say, everybody is in a hurry. Husbands can’t hardly find time to keep up a acquaintance with their wives. Fathers don’t have no time to get up a intimate acquaintance with their children. Mothers are in such a hurry—babys are in such a hurry—that they can’t scarcely find time to be born. And I declare for’t, it seems sometimes as if folks don’t want to take time to die.

The old folks at home wait with faithful, tired old eyes for the letter that don’t come, for the busy son or daughter hasn’t time to write it—no, they are too busy a tearin’ up the running vine of affection and home love, and a runnin’ with it.

Yes, the hull nation is in a hurry to get somewhere else, to go on, it can’t wait. It is a trampin’ on over the Western slopes, a trampin’ over red men, and black men, and some white men a hurryin’ on to the West—hurryin’ on to the sea. And what then?

Is there a tide of restfulness a layin’ before it? Some cool waters of repose where it will bathe its tired forward, and its stun-bruised feet, and set there for some time?

I don’t s’pose so. I don’t s’pose it is in its nater to. I s’pose it will look off longingly onto the far off somewhere that lays over the waters—beyend the sunset.


NEW YORK, June, 1887.

Chapter I.

The idee on’t come to me one day about sundown, or a little before sundown. I wuz a settin’ in calm peace, and a big rockin’ chair covered with a handsome copperplate, a readin’ what the Sammist sez about “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.” The words struck deep, and as I said, it was jest that very minute that the idee struck me about goin’ to Saratoga. Why I should have had the idee at jest that minute, I can’t tell, nor Josiah can’t. We have talked about it sense.

But good land! such creeters as thoughts be never wuz, nor never will be. They will creep in, and round, and over anything, and get inside of your mind (entirely unbeknown to you) at any time. Curious, haint it?—How you may try to hedge ’em out, and shet the doors and everything. But they will creep up into your mind, climb up and draw up their ladders, and there they will be, and stalk round independent as if they owned your hull head; curious!

Well, there the idee wuz—I never knew nothin’ about it, nor how it got there. But there it wuz, lookin’ me right in the face of my soul, kinder pert and saucy, sayin’, “You’d better go to Saratoga next summer; you and Josiah.”

But I argued with it. Sez I, “What should we go to Saratoga for? None of the relations live there on my side, or on hison; why should we go?”

But still that idee kep’ a hantin me; “You’d better go to Saratoga next summer, you and Josiah.” And it whispered, “Mebby it will help Josiah’s corns.” (He is dretful troubled with corns.) And so the idee kep’ a naggin’ me, it nagged me for three days and three nights before I mentioned it to my Josiah. And when I did, he scorfed at the idee. He said, “The idee of water curing them dumb corns—“

Sez I, “Josiah Allen, stranger things have been done;” sez I, “that water is very strong. It does wonders.”

And he scorfed agin and sez, “Don’t you believe faith could cure em?”

Josiah in woodlot

Sez I, “If it wuz strong enough it could.”

But the thought kep a naggin’ me stiddy, and then—here is the curious part of it—the thought nagged me, and I nagged Josiah, or not exactly nagged; not a clear nag; I despise them, and always did. But I kinder kep’ it before his mind from day to day, and from hour to hour. And the idee would keep a tellin’ me things and I would keep a tellin’ ’em to my companion. The idee would keep a sayin’ to me, “It is one of the most beautiful places in our native land. The waters will help you, the inspirin’ music, and elegance and gay enjoyment you will find there, will sort a uplift you. You had better go there on a tower;” and agin it sez, “Mebby it will help Josiah’s corns.”

And old Dr. Gale a happenin’ in at about that time, I asked him about it (he doctored me when I wuz a baby, and I have helped ’em for years. Good old creetur, he don’t get along as well as he ort to. Loontown is a healthy place.) I told him about my strong desire to go to Saratoga, and I asked him plain if he thought the water would help my pardner’s corns. And he looked dreadful wise and he riz up and walked across the floor 2 and fro several times, probably 3 times to, and the same number of times fro, with his arms crossed back under the skirt of his coat and his eyebrows knit in deep thought, before he answered me. Finely he said, that modern science had not fully demonstrated yet the direct bearing of water on corn. In some cases it might and probably did stimulate ’em to greater luxuriance, and then again a great flow of water might retard their growth.

Sez I, anxiously, “Then you’d advise me to go there with him?”

“Yes,” sez he, “on the hull, I advise you to go.”

Samantha and Dr. Gale

Them words I reported to Josiah, and sez I in anxious axents, “Dr. Gale advises us to go.”

And Josiah sez, “I guess I shan’t mind what that old fool sez.”

Them wuz my pardner’s words, much as I hate to tell on ’em. But from day to day I kep’ it stiddy before him, how dang’r’us it wuz to go ag’inst a doctor’s advice. And from day to day he would scorf at the plan. And I, ev’ry now and then, and mebby oftener, would get him a extra good meal, and attack him on the subject immegatly afterwards. But all in vain. And I see that when he had that immovible sotness onto him, one extra meal wouldn’t soften or molify him. No, I see plain I must make a more voyalent effort. And I made it. For three stiddy days I put before that man the best vittles that these hands could make, or this brain could plan.

And at the end of the 3d day I gently tackled him agin on the subject, and his state wuz such, bland, serene, happified, that he consented without a parlay. And so it wuz settled that the next summer we wuz to go to Saratoga. And he began to count on it and make preparation in a way that I hated to see.

Yes, from the very minute that our two minds wuz made up to go to Saratoga Josiah Allen wuz set on havin’ sunthin new and uneek in the way of dress and whiskers. I looked coldly on the idee of puttin’ a gay stripe down the legs of the new pantaloons I made for him, and broke it up, also a figured vest. I went through them two crisises and came out triumphent.

Then he went and bought a new bright pink necktie with broad long ends which he intended to have float out, down the front of his vest. And I immegatly took it for the light-colored blocks in my silk log-cabin bedquilt. Yes, I settled the matter of that pink neck-gear with a high hand and a pair of shears. And Josiah sez now that he bought it for that purpose, for the bedquilt, because he loves to see a dressy quilt,—sez he always enjoys seein’ a cabin look sort o’ gay. But good land! he didn’t. He intended and calculated to wear that neck-tie into Saratoga,—a sight for men and angels, if I hadn’t broke it up.

But in the matter of whiskers, there I was powerless. He trimmed ’em (unbeknow to me) all off the side of his face, them good honerable side whiskers of hisen, that had stood by him for years in solemnity and decency, and begun to cultivate a little patch on the end of his chin. I argued with him, and talked well on the subject, eloquent, but it wuz of no use, I might as well have argued with the wind in March.

He said, he wuz bound on goin’ into Saratoga with a fashionable whisker, come what would.

And then I sithed, and he sez,—“ You have broke up my pantaloons, my vest, and my neck-tie, you have ground me down onto plain broadcloth, but in the matter of whiskers I am firm! Yes!” sez he “on these whiskers I take my stand!”

And agin I sithed heavy, and I sez in a dretful impressive way, as I looked on ’em, “Josiah Allen, remember you are a father and a grandfather!”

And he sez firmly, “If I wuz a great-grandfather I would trim my whiskers in jest this way, that is if I wuz a goin’ to set up to be fashionable and a goin’ to Saratoga for my health.”

And I groaned kinder low to myself, and kep’ hopin’ that mebby they wouldn’t grow very fast, or that some axident would happen to ’em, that they would get afire or sunthin’. But they didn’t. And they grew from day to day luxurient in length, but thin. And his watchful care kep’ ’em from axident, and I wuz too high princepled to set fire to ’em when he wuz asleep, though sometimes, on a moonlight night, I was tempted to, sorely tempted.

But I didn’t, and they grew from day to day, till they wuz the curiusest lookin’ patch o’ whiskers that I ever see. And when we sot out for Saratoga, they wuz jest about as long as a shavin’ brush, and looked some like one. There wuz no look of a class-leader, and a perfesser about ’em, and I told him so. But he worshiped ’em, and gloried in the idee of goin’ afar to show ’em off.

But the neighbors received the news that we wuz goin’ to a waterin’ place coldly, or with ill-concealed envy.

Uncle Jonas Bently told us he shouldn’t think we would want to go round to waterin’ troughs at our age.

And I told him it wuzn’t a waterin’ trough, and if it wuz, I thought our age wuz jest as good a one as any, to go to it.

He had the impression that Saratoga wuz a immense waterin’ trough where the country all drove themselves summers to be watered. He is deef as a Hemlock post, and I yelled up at him jest as loud as I dast for fear of breakin’ open my own chest, that the water got into us, instid of our gettin’ into the water, but I didn’t make him understand, for I hearn afterwards of his sayin’ that, as nigh as he could make out we all got into the waterin’ trough and wuz watered.

The school teacher, a young man, with long, small lims, and some pimpley on the face, but well meanin’, he sez to me: “Saratoga is a beautiful spah.”

Samantha and the school

And I sez warmly, “It aint no such thing, it is a village, for I have seen a peddler who went right through it, and watered his horses there, and he sez it is a waterin’ place, and a village.”

“Yes,” sez he, “it is a beautiful village, a modest retiren city, and at the same time it is the most noted spah on this continent.”

I wouldn’t contend with him for it wuz on the stoop of the meetin’ house, and I believe in bein’ reverent. But I knew it wuzn’t no “spah,”—that had a dreadful flat sound to me. And any way I knew I should face its realities soon and know all about it. Lots of wimen said that for anybody who lived right on the side of a canal, and had two good, cisterns on the place, and a well, they didn’t see why I should feel in a sufferin’ condition for any more water; and if I did, why didn’t I ketch rain water?

Such wuz some of the deep arguments they brung up aginst my embarkin’ on this enterprise, they talked about it sights and sights;—why, it lasted the neighbors for a stiddy conversation, till along about the middle of the winter. Then the Minister’s wife bought a new alpacky dress—unbeknown to the church till it wuz made up—and that kind o’ drawed their minds off o’ me for a spell.

Aunt Polly Pixley wuz the only one who received the intelligence gladly. And she thought she would go too. She had been kinder run down and most bed rid for years. And she had a idee the water might help her. And I encouraged Aunt Polly in the idee, for she wuz well off. Yes, Mr. and Miss Pixley wuz very well off though they lived in a little mite of a dark, low, lonesome house, with some tall Pollard willows in front of the door in a row, and jest acrost the road from a grave-yard.

Her husband had been close and wuzn’t willin’ to have any other luxury or means of recreation in the house only a bass viol, that had been his father’s—he used to play on that for hours and hours. I thought that wuz one reason why Polly wuz so nervous. I said to Josiah that it would have killed me outright to have that low grumblin’ a goin’ on from day to day, and to look at them tall lonesome willows and grave stuns.

But, howsumever, Polly’s husband had died durin’ the summer, and Polly parted with the bass viol the day after the funeral. She got out some now, and wuz quite wrought up with the idee of goin’ to Saratoga.

But Sister Minkley; sister in the church and sister-in-law by reason of Wbitefield, sez to me, that she should think I would think twice before I danced and waltzed round waltzes.

And I sez, “I haint thought of doin’ it, I haint thought of dancin’ round or square or any other shape.”

Sez she, “You have got to, if you go to Saratoga.”

Sez I, “Not while life remains in this frame.”

And old Miss Bobbet came up that minute—it wuz in the store that we were a talkin’—and sez she, “It seems to me, Josiah Allen’s wife, that you are too old to wear low-necked dresses and short sleeves.”

“And I should think you’d take cold a goin’ bareheaded,” sez Miss Luman Spink who wuz with her.

Sez I, lookin’ at ’em coldly, “Are you lunys or has softness begun on your brains?”

“Why,” sez they, “you are talking about goin’ to Saratoga, hain’t you?”

“Yes,” sez I.

“Well then you have got to wear ’em,” says Miss Bobbet. “They don’t let anybody inside of the incorporation without they have got on a low-necked dress and short sleeves.”

“And bare-headed,” sez Miss Spink; “if they have’ got a thing on their heads they won’t let ’em in.”

Sez I, “I don’t believe it”

Sez Miss Bobbet, “It is so, for I hearn it, and hearn it straight. James Robbets’s wife’s sister had a second cousin who lived neighbor to a woman whose niece had been there, been right there on the spot. And Celestine Bobbet, Uncle Ephraim’s Celestine, hearn it from James’es wife when she wuz up there last spring, it come straight. They all have to go in low necks.”

“And not a mite of anything on their heads,” says Miss Spink.

Sez I in sarcastical axents, “Do men have to go in low necks too?”

“No,” says Miss Bobbet. “But they have to have the tails of their coats kinder pinted. Why,” sez she, “I hearn of a man that had got clear to the incorporation and they wouldn’t let him in because his coat kinder rounded off round the bottom, so he went out by the side of the road and pinned up his coat tails, into a sort of a pinted shape, and good land the incorporation let him right in, and never said a word.”

I contended that these things wuzn’t so, but I found it wuz the prevailin’ opinion. For when I went to see the dressmaker about makin’ me a dress for the occasion, I see she felt just like the rest about it. My dress wuz a good black alpacky. I thought I would have it begun along in the edge of the winter, when she didn’t have so much to do, and also to have it done on time. We laid out to start on the follerin’ July, and I felt that I wanted everything ready.

I bought the dress the 7th day of November early in the forenoon, the next day after my pardner consented to go, and give 65 cents a yard for it, double wedth. I thought I could get it done on time, dressmakers are drove a good deal. But I felt that a dressmaker could commence a dress in November and get it done the follerin’ July, without no great strain bein’ put onto her; and I am fur from bein’ the one to put strains onto wimmen, and hurry ’em beyend their strength. But I felt Almily had time to make it on honor and with good buttonholes.

“Well,” she sez, the first thing after she had unrolled the alpacky, and held it up to the light to see if it was firm—sez she:

“I s’pose you are goin’ to have it made with a long train, and low neck and short sleeves, and the waist all girted down to a taper?”

I wuz agast at the idee, and to think Alminy should broach it to me, and I give her a piece of my mind that must have lasted her for days and days. It wuz a long piece, and firm as iron. But she is a woman who likes to have the last word and carry out her own idees, and she insisted that nobody was allowed in Saratoga—that they wuz outlawed, and laughed at if they didn’t have trains and low necks, and little mites of waists no bigger than pipe-stems.

Sez I, “Alminy Hagidone, do you s’pose that I, a woman of my age, and a member of the meetin’ house, am a goin’ to wear a low-necked dress?”

“Why not?,” sez she, “it is all the fashion and wimmen as old agin as you be wear ’em.”

Well, sez I, “It is a shame and a disgrace if they do, to say nothin’ of the wickedness of it. Who do you s’pose wants to see their old skin and bones? It haint nothin’ pretty anyway. And as fer the waists bein’ all girted up and drawed in, that is nothin’ but crushed bones and flesh and vitals, that is just crowdin’ down your insides into a state o’ disease and deformity, torturin’ your heart down so’s the blood can’t circulate, and your lungs so’s you can’t breathe, it is nothin’ but slow murder anyway, and if I ever take it into my head to kill myself, Alminy Hagidone, I haint a goin’ to do it in a way of perfect torture and torment to me, I’d ruther be drownded.”

She quailed, and I sez, “I am one that is goin’ to take good long breaths to the very last.” She see I wuz like iron aginst the idee of bein’ drawed in, and tapered, and she desisted. I s’pose I did look skairful. But she seemed still to cling to the idee of low necks and trains, and she sez sort a rebukingly:

“You ortn’t to go to Saratoga if you haint willin’ to do as the rest do. I spose,” sez she dreamily, “the streets are full of wimmen a walkin’ up and down with long trains a hangin’ down and sweepin’ the streets, and ev’ry one on ’em with low necks and short sleeves, and all on ’em a flirting with some man”

“Truly,” sez I, “if that is so, that is why the idee come to me. I am needed there. I have a high mission to perform about. But I don’t believe it is so.”

“Then you won’t have it made with a long train?” sez she, a holdin’ up a breadth of the alpacky in front of me, to measure the skirt.

“No mom!” sez I, and there wuz both dignity and deep resolve in that “mom.” It wuz as firm and stern principled a “mom” as I ever see, though I say it that shouldn’t. And I see it skairt her. She measured off the breadths kinder trembly, and seemed so anxious to pacify me that she got it a leetle shorter in the back than it wuz in the front. And (for the same reason) it fairly clicked me in the neck it wuz so high, and the sleeves wuz that long that I told Josiah Allen (in confidence) I was tempted to knit some loops across the bottom of ’em and wear ’em for mits.

But I didn’t, and I didn’t change the dress neither. Thinkses I, mebby it will have a good moral effect on them other old wimmen there. Thinkses I, when they see another woman melted and shortened and choked fur principle’s sake, mebby they will pause in their wild careers.

Wall, this wuz in November, and I wuz to have the dress, if it wuz a possible thing, by the middle of April, so’s to get it home in time to sew some lace in the neck. And so havin’ everything settled about goin’ I wuz calm in my frame most all the time, and so wuz my pardner.

And right here, let me insert this one word of wisdom for the special comfort of my sect and yet it is one that may well be laid to heart by the more opposite one. If your pardner gets restless and oneasy and middlin’ cross, as pardners will be anon, or even oftener—start them off on a tower. A tower will in 9 cases out of 10 lift ’em out of their oneasiness, their restlessness and their crossness.

Why this is so I cannot tell, no more than I can explain other mysteries of creation, but I know it is so. I know they will come home more placider, more serener, and more settled-downer. Why I have known a short tower to Slab City or Loontown act like a charm on my pardner, when crossness wuz in his mean and snappishness wuz present with him. I have known him to set off with the mean of a lion and come back with the liniment of a lamb. Curious, haint it?

And jest the prospect of a tower ahead is a great help to a woman in rulin’ and keepin’ a pardner straight and right in his liniments and his acts. Somehow jest the thought of a tower sort a lifts him up in mind, and happifys him, and makes him easier to quell, and pardners must be quelled at times, else there would be no livin’ with ’em. This is known to all wimmen companions and and men too. Great great is the mystery of pardners.

Josiah mad and happy

Chapter II.

But to resoom and continue on. I was a settin’ one day, after it wuz all decided, and plans laid on; I wuz a settin’ by the fire a mendin’ one of Josiah’s socks. I wuz a settin’ there, as soft and pliable in my temper as the woosted I wuz a darnin’ ’em with, my Josiah at the same time a peacefelly sawin’ wood in the wood-house, when I heard a rap at the door and I riz up and opened it, and there stood two perfect strangers, females. I, with a perfect dignity and grace (and with the sock still in my left hand) asked ’em to set down, and consequently they sot. Then ensued a slight pause durin’ which my two gray eyes roamed over the females before me.

The oldest one wuz very sharp in her face and had a pair of small round eyes that seemed when they were sot onto you to sort a bore into you like two gimlets. Her nose was very sharp and defient, as if it wuz constantly sayin’ to itself, “I am a nose to be looked up to, I am a nose to be respected, and feared if necessary.” Her chin said the same thing, and her lips which wuz very thin, and her elbow, which wuz very sharp.

Her dress was a stiff sort of a shinin’ poplin, made tight acrost the chest and elboes. And her hat had some stiff feathers in it that stood up straight and sort a sharp lookin’. She had a long sharp breast-pin sort a stabbed in through the front of her stiff standin’ collar, and her knuckles sot out through her firm lisle thread gloves, her umberell wuz long and wound up hard, to that extent I have never seen before nor sense. She wuz, take it all in all, a hard sight, and skairful.

The other one wuzn’t no more like her in looks than a soft fat young cabbage head is like the sharp bean pole that it grows up by the side on, in the same garden. She wuz soft in her complexion, her lips, her cheeks, her hands, and as I mistrusted at that first minute, and found out afterwards, soft in her head too. Her dress wuz a loose-wove parmetty, full in the waist and sort a drabbly round the bottom. Her hat wuz drab-colored felt with some loose ribbon bows a hangin’ down on it, and some soft ostridge tips. She had silk mits on and her hands wuz fat and kinder moist-lookin’. Her eyes wuz very large and round, and blue, and looked sort o’ dreamy and wanderin’ and there wuz a kind of a wrapped smile on her face all the time. She had a roll of paper in her hand and I didn’t dislike her looks a mite.

Finally the oldest female opened her lips, some as a steel trap would open sudden and kinder sharp, and sez she: “I am Miss Deacon Tutt, of Tuttville, and this is my second daughter Ardelia. Cordelia is my oldest, and I have 4 younger than Ardelia.”

I bowed real polite and said, “I wuz glad to make the acquaintance of the hull 7 on ’em.” I can be very genteel when I set out, almost stylish.

“I s’pose,” says she, “I am talkin’ to Josiah Allen’s wife?”

I gin her to understand that that wuz my name and my station, and she went on, and sez she: “I have hearn on you through my husband’s 2d cousin, Cephas Tutt.”

“Cephas,” sez she, “bein’ wrote to by me on the subject of Ardelia, the same letter containin’ seven poems of hern, and on bein’ asked to point out the quickest way to make her name and fame known to the world at large, wrote back that he havin’ always dealt in butter and lard, wuzn’t up to the market price in poetry, and that you would be a good one to go to for advice. And so,” sez she a pointin’ to a bag she carried on her arm (a hard lookin’ bag made of crash with little bullets and knobs of embroidery on it), “and so we took this bag full of Ardelia’s poetry and come on the mornin’ train, Cephas’es letter havin’ reached us at nine o’clock last night. I am a woman of business.”

The bag would hold about 4 quarts and it wuz full. I looked at it and sithed.

“I see,” sez she, “that you are sorry that we didn’t bring more poetry with us. But we thought that this little batch would give you a idee of what a mind she has, what a glorious, soarin’ genus wuz in front of you, and we could bring more the next time we come.”

I sithed agin, three times, but Miss Tutt didn’t notice ’em a mite no more’n they’d been giggles or titters. She wouldn’t have took no notice of them. She wuz firm and decided doin’ her own errent, and not payin’ no attention to anything, nor anybody else.

“Ardelia, read the poem you have got under your arm to Miss Allen! The bag wuz full of her longer ones,” sez she, “but I felt that I must let you hear her poem on Spring. It is a gem. I felt it would be wrongin’ you, not to give you that treat. Read it Ardelia.”

I see Ardelia wuz used to obeyin’ her ma. She opened the sheet to once, and begun. It wuz as follows:


“Oh spring, sweet spring, thou comest in the spring;
Thou comest in the spring time of the year.
We fain would have thee come in Autumn; fling-
est thou so sad a shade, oh Spring, so dear?

“So dear the hopes thou draggest in thy rear,
So mournful, and so wan, and not so sweet;
So weird thou art, and oh, all! all! too dear
Art thou, alas! oh mournful spring; my ear—

“My ear that long did lay at gate of hope,
Prone at the gate while years glided by—
I fain would lift that ear, alas, why cope
With cruel wrong, it must lie there so heavy ’tis my eye—

“My eye, I fling o’er buried ruins long,
I flung it there, regardless of the loss;
That eye, I fain would gather in with song;
In vain! ’tis gone, I bow and own the cross.

“Dear ear, lone eye, sweet buried hopes, alas,
I give thee to the proud inexorable main;
Deep calls to deep, and it doth not reply,
But sayeth my heart, they will not be mine own again.”

Ardelia reads

Jest the minute Ardelia stopped readin’ Miss Tatt says proudly: “There! haint that a remarkable poem,?”

Sez I, calmly, “Yes it is a remarkable one.”

“Did you ever hear anything like it?” says she, triumphly.

“No,” sez I honestly, “I never did.”

“Ardelia, read the poem on Little Ardelia Cordelia; give Miss Allen the treat of hearin’ that beautiful thing.”

I sort a sithed low to myself; it wuz more of a groan than a common sithe, but Miss Tutt didn’t heed it, she kep’ right on—

“I have always brought up my children to make other folks happy, all they can, and in rehearsin’ this lovely and remarkable poem, Ardelia will be not only makin’ you perfectly happy, givin’ you a rich intellectual feast, that you can’t often have, way out here in the country, fur from Tuttville; but she will also be attendin’ to the business that brought us here. I have always fetched my children up to combine joy and business; weld ’em together like brass and steel. Ardelia, begin!”

So Ardelia commenced agin’. It wuz wrote on a big sheet of paper and a runnin’ vine wuz a runnin’ all ’round the edge of the paper, made with a pen, it was as follows:


“Wrote on the death of Ardelia Cordelia, who died at the age of seven days and seven hours.”

“Sweet little thing, that erst so soon did bloom,
And didest but fade, as falls the mystic flower!
Sweet little thing, we did but erst low croon
To thee a plaintive lay, and lo! for hour and hour—
Sweet little thing.

“For hours we sang to thee of high emprise, the songs of hope
Though aged but week (and seven hours) thou laughested in thy sleep;
We cling to that in peace, though mope
The dullard knave, and biddest us go and weep—
Sweet little thing.

“Thou laughested at high emprise, and yet, in sooth,
’Twere craven to say thou couldst not rise
To scale the mounts! to soar the cliffs! if worth
Were the test, twice worthy thou, in that the merit lies—
Sweet little thing.

“Thy words that might have shook the breathless world with might;
Alas! I catchested not on any earthly ground,
That voice that might have guided nations high aright,
Congealed within thy tiny windpipe ’twas, it did not steal around—
Sweet little thing.

“Sweet little thing, so soon thy wings unfurled
A wing, a feather lone low floated up the yard;
A world might weep, a world might stand appalled,
To hear it low rehearsed by tearful female bard—
Sweet little thing.”

Jest as soon as Ardelia stopped rehearsin’ the verses, Miss Tutt sez agin to me:

“Haint that a most remarkable poem?”

And agin I sez calmly, and trutbfully, “Yes, it is a very remarkable one!”

“And now,” sez Miss Tutt, plungin’ her hand in the bag, and drawin’ out a sheet of paper, “to convince you that Ardelia has always had this divine gift of poesy—that it is not, all the effect of culture and high education—let me read to you a poem she wrote when she wuz only a mere child,” and Miss Tutt read:


“At the age of fourteen years, two months and eight days.

“Oh Cat! Sweet Tabby cat of mine;
6 months of age has passed o’er thee,
And I would not resign, resign
The pleasure that I find in you.
Dear old cat!”

“Don’t you think,” sez Miss Tutt, “that this poem shows a fund of passion, a reserve power of passion and constancy, remarkable in one so young?”

“Yes,” sez I reasonably, “no doubt she liked the cat. And,” sez I, wantin’ to say somethin’ pleasant and agreeable to her, “no doubt it was a likely cat.”

“Oh the cat itself is of miner importance,” sez Miss Tutt. “We will fling the cat to the winds. It’s of my daughter I would speak. I simply handled the cat to show the rare precocious intellect. Oh! how it gushed out in the last line in the unconquerable burst of repressed passion—’Dear old cat!’ Shakespeare might have wrote that line, do you not think so?”

“No doubt he might,” sez I, calmly, “but he didn’t.”

I see she looked mad and I hastened to say: “He wuzn’t aquainted with the cat.”

She looked kinder mollyfied and continued:

“Ardelia dashes off things with a speed that would astonish a mere common writer. Why she dashed off thirty-nine verses once while she wuz waitin’ for the dish water to bile, and sent ’em right off to the printer, without glancin’ at ’em agin.’

“I dare say so,” sez I, “I should judge so by the sound on ’em.”

“Out of envy and jealousy, the rankest envy, and the shearest jealousy, them verses wuz sent back with the infamous request that she should use ’em for curl papers. But she sot right down and wrote forty-eight verses on a ‘Cruel Request,’ wrote ’em inside of eighteen minutes. She throws off things, Ardelia does, in half an hour, that it would take other poets, weeks and weeks to write.”

At the printers

“I persume so,” sez I, “I dare persume to say, they never could write ’em.”

“And now,” sez Miss Tutt, “the question is, will you put Ardelia on the back of that horse that poets ride to glory on? Will you lift her onto the back of that horse, and do it at once? I require nothin’ hard of you,” sez she, a borin’ me through and through with her eyes. “It must be a joy to you, Josiah Allen’s wife, a rare joy, to be the means of bringin’ this rare genius before the public. I ask nothin’ hard of you, I only ask that you demand, demand is the right word, not ask; that would be grovelin’ trucklin’ folly, but demand that the public that has long ignored my daugther Ardelia’s claim to a seat amongst the immortal poets, demand them, compel them to pause, to listen, and then seat her there, up, up on the highest, most perpendiciler pinnacle of fame’s pillow. Will you do this?”

I sat in deep dejection and my rockin’ chair, and knew not what to say—and Miss Tutt went on:

“We demand more than fame, deathless, immortal fame for ’em. We want money, wealth for ’em, and want it at once! We want it for extra household expenses, luxuries, clothing, jewelry, charity, etc. If we enrich the world with this rare genius, the world must enrich us with its richest emmolients. Will you see that we have it! Will you at once do as I asked you to? Will you seat her immegately where I want her sot?

Sez I, considerin’, “I can’t get her up there alone, I haint strong enough.” Sez I, sort a mekanikly, “I have got the rheumatez.”

“So you scoff me do you? I came to you to get bread, am I to get worse than a stun—a scoff?”

“I haint gin you no scoff,” sez I, a spunkin’ up a little, “I haint thought on it. I like Ardelia and wish her well, but I can’t do merikles, I can’t compel the public to like things if they don’t.”

Sez Miss Tutt, “You are jealous of her, you hate her.”

“No, I don’t,” sez I, “I haint jealous of her, and I like her looks first-rate. I love a pretty young girl,” sez I candidly, “jest as I love a fresh posy with the dew still on it, a dainty rose-bud with the sweet fragrance layin’ on its half-folded heart. I love ’em,” sez I, a beginnin’ to eppisode a little unbeknown to me, “I love ’em jest as I love the soft unbroken silence of the early spring mornin’, the sun all palely tinted with rose and blue, and the earth alayin’ calm and unwoke-up, fresh and fair. I love such a mornin’ and such a life, for itself and for the unwritten prophecis in it. And when I see genius in such a sweet, young life, why it makes me feel as it duz to see through all the tender prophetic beauty of the mornin’ skies, a big white dove a soarin’ up through the blue heavens.”

Sez Miss Tutt, “You see that in Ardelia, but you wont own it, you know you do.”

“No!” sez I, “I would love to tell you that I see it in Ardelia; I would honest, but I can’t look into them mornin’ skies and say I see a white dove there, when I don’t see nothin’ more than a plump pullet, a jumpin’ down from the fence or a pickin’ round calmly in the back door-yard. Jest as likely the hen is, as the white dove, jest as honerable, but you mustn’t confound the two together.”

“A hen,” sez Miss Tutt bitterly. “To confound my Ardelia with a hen! And I don’t think there wuz ever a more ironieler ‘hen’ than that wuz, or a scornfuller one.”

“Why,” sez I reasonably. “Hens are necessary and useful in any position, both walkin’ and settin’, and layin’. You can’t get’em in any position hardly, but what they are useful and respectable, only jest flyin’. Hens can’t fly. Their wings haint shaped for it. They look some like a dove’s wings on the outside, the same feathers, the same way of stretchin’ ’em out. But there is sunthin lackin’ in ’em, some heaven-given capacity for soarin’ an for flight that the hens don’t have. And it makes trouble, sights and sights of trouble when hens try to fly, try to, and can’t!

“At the same time it is hard for a dove to settle down in a back yard and stay there, hard and tegus. She can and duz sometimes, but never till after her wings have been clipped in some way. Poor little dove! I am always sorry for ’em to see ’em a walkin’ round there, a wantin’ to fly—a not forgettin’ how it seemed to have their wings soarin’ up through the clear sky, and the rush of the pure liquid windwaves a sweepin’ aginst ’em, as they riz up, up, in freedom, and happiness, and glory. Poor little creeters.

“Yes, but doves can, if you clip their wings, settle down and walk, but hens CAN’T fly, not for any length of time they can’t. No amount of stimulatin’ poultices applied to the ends of their tail feathers and wings can ever make ’em fly. They can’t; it haint their nater. They can make nests, and fill them with pretty downy chicks, they can be happy and beautiful in life and mean; they can spend their lives in jest as honerable and worthy a way as if they wuz a flyin’ round, and make a good honerable appearance from day to day, till they begin to flop their wings, and fly—then their mean is not beautiful and inspirin’; no, it is fur from it. It is tuff to see ’em, tuff to see the floppin’, tuff to see their vain efforts to soar through the air, tuff to see ’em fall percepitously down onto the ground agin. For they must come there in the end; they are morally certain to.

“Now Ardelia is a sweet pretty lookin’ girl, she can set down in a cushioned arm-chair by a happy fireside, with pretty baby faces a clusterin’ around her and some man’s face like the sun a reflectin’ back the light of her happy heart. But she can’t sit up on the pinnacle of fame’s pillow. I don’t believe she can ever get up there, I don’t. Honestly speakin’, I don’t.”

“Envy!” sez Miss Tutt, “glarin’, shameless envy! You don’t want Ardelia to rise! You don’t want her to mount that horse I spoke of; you don’t want to own that you see genius in her. But you do, Josiah Allen’s wife, you know you do—“

“No,” sez I, “I don’t see it. I see the sweetness of pretty girlhood, the beauty and charm of openin’ life, but I don’t see nothin’ else, I don’t, honest. I don’t believe she has got genius,” sez I, “seein’ you put the question straight to me and depend a answer; seein’ her future career depends on her choice now, I must tell you that I believe she would succeed better in the millionary trade or the mantilly maker’s than she will in tryin’ to mount the horse you speak on.

“Why,” sez I, candidly, “some folks can’t get up on that horse, their legs haint strong enough. And if they do manage to get on, it throws ’em, and they lay under the heels for life. I don’t want to see Ardelia there, I don’t want to see her maimed and lamed and stunted so early in the mornin’ of life, by a kick from that animal, for she can’t ride it,” sez I, “honestly she can’t.

“There is nothin’ so useless in life, and so sort a wearin’ as to be a lookin’ for sunthin’ that haint there. And when you pretend it is there when it haint, you are addin’ iniquity to uselessness; so if you’ll take my advice, the advice of a wellwisher, you will stop lookin’, for I tell you plain that it haint there.”

Sez Miss Tutt, “Josiah Allen’s wife, you have for reasens best known to your conscience baulked my hopes of a speedy immortality. You have willfully tried to break down my hopes of an immense, immediate income to flow out of them poems for luxuries, jewelry, charity, etc. But I can at least claim this at your hands, I demand honesty. Tell me honestly what you yourself think of them poems.”

Sez I (gettin’ up sort a quick and goin’ into the buttery, and bringin’ out a little basket), “Here are some beautiful sweet apples, won’t you have one?”

Apples, at such a time as this;” sez Miss Tutt “When the slumberin’ world trembles before the advancin’ tread of a new poet—When the heavens are listenin’ intently to ketch the whispers of an Ardelia’s fate—Sweet apples! in such a time as this!” sez she. But she took two.

“I demand the truth,” sez she. “And you are a base, trucklin’ coward, if you give it not.”

Sez I, tryin’ to carry off the subject and the apples into the buttery; “Poetry ort to have pains took with it.”

“Jealousy!” sez Miss Tutt. “Jealousy might well whisper this. Envy, rank envy might breathe the suspicion that Ardelia haint been took pains with. But I can see through it,” sez she. “I can see through it.”

“Well,” sez I, wore out, “if they belonged to me, and if she wuz my girl, I would throw the verses into the fire, and set her to a trade.”

She stood for a minute and bored me through and through with them eyes. Why it seemed as if there wuz two holes clear through my very spirit, and sole; she partly lifted that fearful lookin’ umberell as if to pierce me through and through; it wuz a fearful seen.

At last she turned, and flung the apple she wuz a holdin’ onto the floor at my feet—and sez she, “I scorn ’em, and you too.” And she kinder stomped her feet and sez, “I fling off the dust I have gethered here, at your feet.”

Now my floor wuz clean and looked like yeller glass, almost, it wuz so shinin’ and spotless, and I resented the idee of her sayin’ that she collected dust off from it. But I didn’t say nothin’ back. She had the bag of poetry on her arm, and I didn’t feel like addin’ any more to her troubles.

But Ardelia, after her mother had swept out ahead, turned round and held out her hand, and smiled a sweet but ruther of a despondent and sorrowful smile, and I kissed her warmly. I like Ardelia. And what I said, I said for her good, and she knew it. I like Ardelia.

Well, Miss Tutt and Ardelia went from our house to Eben Pixley’s. They are distant relatives of hern, and live about 3 quarters of a mile from us. The Pixleys think everything of Ardelia but they can’t bear her mother. There has been difficulties in the family.

But Ardelia stayed there mor’n two weeks right along. She haint very happy to home I believe. And before she went back home it wuz arranged that she should teach the winter’s school and board to Miss Pixley’s. But Miss Pixley wuz took sick with the tyfus before she had been there two weeks—and, for all the world, if the deestrict didn’t want us to board her. Josiah hadn’t much to do, so he could carry her back and forth in stormy weather, and it wuz her wish to come. And it wuz Josiah’s wish too, for the pay wuz good, and the work light—for him. And so I consented after a parlay.

But I didn’t regret it. She is a good little creeter and no more like her mother than a feather bed is like a darnin’ needle. I like Ardelia: so does Josiah.

The schoolroom

Chapter III.

We have been havin’ a pound party here in Jonesville. There wuz a lot of children left without any father or mother, nobody only an old grandma to take care of ’em, and she wuz half bent with the rheumatiz, and had a swelled neck, and lumbago and fits.

They lived in an old tumble-down house jest outside of Jonesville. The father wuz, I couldn’t deny, a shiftless sort of a chap, good-natured, always ready to obleege a neighbor, but he hadn’nt no faculty. And I don’t know, come to think of it, as anybody is any more to blame if they are born without a faculty, than if they are born with only one eye. Faculty is one of the things that you can’t buy.

He loved to hunt. That is, he loved to hunt some kinds of things. He never loved to hunt stiddy, hard work, and foller on the trail of it till he evertook success and captured it. No, he druther hunt after catamounts and painters, in woods where catamounts haint mounted, and painters haint painted sence he wuz born.

He generally killed nothin’ bigger than red squirrels and chipmunks. The biggest game he ever brought down wuz himself. He shot himself one cold day in the fall of the year. He wuz gettin’ over a brush fence, they s’posed the gun hit against somethin’ and went off, for they found him a layin’ dead at the bottom of the fence.

I always s’posed that the shock of his death comin’ so awful sudden unto her, killed his wife. She had been sick for a long spell, she had consumption and dropsy, and so forth, and so forth, for a long time, and after he wuz brought in dead, she didn’t live a week. She thought her eyes of him, for no earthly reason as I could ever see. How strange, how strange a dispensation of Providence it duz seem, that some women love some men, and vicy versey and the same.

But she did jest about worship him, and she died whisperin’ his name, and reachin’ out her hands as if she see him jest ahead of her. And I told Josiah I didn’t know but she did. I shouldn’t wonder a mite if she did see him, for there is only the veil of mystery between us and the other world at any time, and she had got so nigh to it, that I s’pose it got so thin that she could see through it.

Just as you can see through the blue haze that lays before our forest in Injun summer. Come nigh up to it and you can see the silvery trunks of the maples and the red sumac leaves, and the bright evergreens, and the forms of the happy hunters a passin’ along under the glint of the sunbeams and the soft shadows.

They died in Injun summer. I made a wreath myself of the bright-colored leaves to lay on their coffins. Dead leaves, dead to all use and purpose here, and yet with the bright mysterious glow upon them that put me in mind of some immortal destiny and blossoming beyond our poor dim vision. Jane Smedley wuz a good woman, and so wuz Jim, good but shiftless.

But I made the same wreath for her and Jim, and the strange mellow light lay on both of ’em, makin’ me think in spite of myself of some happy sunrisin’ that haply may dawn on some future huntin’ ground, where poor Jim Smedley even, may strike the trail of success and happiness, hid now from the sight of Samantha, hid from Josiah.

Wall, they died within a week’s time of each other, and left nine children, the oldest one of ’em not quite fifteen. She, the oldest one, wuz a good girl, only she had the rickets so that when she walked, she seemed to walk off all over the house backwards, and sideways, and every way, but when she sot down, she wuz a good stiddy girl, and faithful; she took after her mother, and her mother took after her grandmother, so there wuz three takin’ after each other, one right after the other.

Jane wuz a good, faithful, hard-workin’ creeter when she wuz well, brought up her children good as she could, learnt ’em the catechism, and took in all kinds of work to earn a little somethin’ towards gettin’ a home for ’em; she and her mother both did, her mother lived with ’em, and wuz a smart old woman, too, for one that wuz pretty nigh ninety. And she wuzn’t worrysome much, only about one thing—she wanted a home, wanted a home dretfully. Some wimmen are so; she had moved round so much, from one poor old place to another, that she sort o’ hankered after bein’ settled down into a stiddy home.

Wall, there wuz eight children younger than Marvilla, that wuz the oldest young girl’s name. Eight of ’em, countin’ each pair of twins as two, as I s’pose they ort. The Town buried the father and mother, which wuz likely and clever in it, but after that it wouldn’t give only jest so much a week, which wuz very little, because it said, Town did, that they could go to the poor-house, they could be supported easier there.

I don’t know as the Town could really be blamed for sayin’ it, and yet it seemed kinder mean in it, the Town wuz so big, and the children, most of ’em, wuz so little.

But any way, it wuz jest sot on it, and there wuz the end of it, for you might jest as well dispute the wind as to dispute the Town when it gets sot.

Wall, the old grandma said she would die in the streets before she would go to the poor-house. She had come from a good family in the first place,

They say she run away and left a good home and got married, and did dretful poor in the married state. He waz shiftless and didn’t have nothin’ and didn’t lay up any. And she didn’t keep any of her old possessions only jest her pride. She kept that, or enough of it to say that she would die on the road before she would go to the poor-house. And once I see her cry she wanted a home so bad.

And lots of folks blamed her for it, blamed the old woman awfully. They said pride wuz so wicked. Wimmen who would run like deers if company came when they wuzn’t dressed up slick, they would say the minute they got back into the room, all out of breath with hurryin’ into their best clothes, they’d say a pantin’ “That old woman ought to be made to go to the poorhouse, to take the pride out of her, pride wuz so awfully, dretfully wicked, and it wuz a shame that she wuz so ongrateful as to want a home of her own.” And then they would set down and rest.

Wall, the family wuz in a sufferin’ state. The Town allowed ’em one dollar a week. But how wuz ten human beings to live on a dollar a week. The children worked every chance they got, but they couldn’t earn enough to keep ’em in shoes, let alone other clothin’ and vittles. And the old house wuz too cold for ’em to stay in durin’ the cold weather, it wuz for Grandma Smedley, anyway, if the children could stand it she couldn’t. And what wuz to be done. A cold winter wuz a cumin’ on, and it wouldn’t delay a minute because Jim Smedley had got shot, and his wife had follered him, into, let us hope, a happier huntin’ ground than he had ever found in earthly forests.

Wall, I proposed to have a pound party for ’em. I said they might have it to our house if they wanted it, but if they thought they wanted it in a more central place (our house wuz quite a little to one side), why we could have it to the schoolhouse.

I proposed to Josiah the first one. He wuz a settin’ by the fire relapsed into silence. It wuz a cold night outside, but the red curtains wuz down at our sitting-room winders, shettin’ out the cold drizzlin’ storm of hail and snow that wuz a deseendin’ onto the earth. The fire burned up warm and bright, and we sot there in our comfortable home, with the teakettle singin’ on the stove, and the tea-table set out cosy and cheerful, for Josiah had been away and I had waited supper for him.

As I sot there waitin’ for the tea-kettle to bile (and when I say bile, I mean bile, I don’t, mean simmer) the thought of the Smedleys would come in. The warm red curtains would keep the storm out, but they couldn’t keep the thought of the children, and the feeble old grandmother out of the room. They come right in, through the curtains, and the firelight, and everything, and sot right down by me and hanted me.

And what curious creeters thoughts be, haint they? and oncertain, too. You may make all your plans to get away from ’em. You may shet up your doors and winders, and set with a veil on and an umbrell up - but good land! how easy they jest ontackle the doors and windows, with no sounds of ontacklin’ and come right in by you.

First you know there they be right by the side of you, under your umbrell, under your veil, under your spectacles, a lookin’ right down into your soul, and a hantin’ you.

And then agin, when you expect to be hanted by ’em, lay out to, why, they’ll jest stand off somewhere else, and don’t come nigh you. Don’t want to. Oncertain creeters, thoughts be, and curious, curious where they come from, and how.

Why, I got to thinkin’ about it the other day, and I got lost, some like children settin’ on a log over a creek a ridin’; there they be, and there the log is, but they don’t seem to be there, they seem to be a floatin’ down the water.

And there I wuz, a settin’ in my rockin’ chair, and I seemed to be a floatin’ down deep water, very deep. A thinkin’ and a wonderin’. A thinkin’ how all through the ages what secrets God had told to man when the time had come, and the reverent soul below was ready to hear the low words whispered to his soul, and a wonderin’ what strange revelation God held now, ready to reveal when the soul below had fitted itself to hear, and comprehend it.

Ah! such mysteries as He will reveal to us if we will listen. If we wait for God’s voice. If we did not heed so much the confusing clamor of the world’s voices about us. Emulation, envy, anger, strife, jealousy; if we turned our heads away from these discords, and in the silence which is God’s temple, listened, listened,—who knows the secrets He would make known to us?

Secrets of the day, secrets of the night, the sunshine, the lightning, the storm. The white glow of that wonderful light that is not like the glow of the sun or of the moon, but yet lighteth the world. That strange light that has a soul - that reads our thoughts, translates our wishes, overleaps distance, carrying our whispered words after holding our thoughts for ages, and then unfoldin’ ’em at will. What other wondrous mysteries lie concealed, wrapped around by that soft pure flame, mysteries that shall lie hidden until some inspired eye shall be waiting, looking upward at the moment when God’s hand shall draw back the shining veil for an instant, and let him read the glowing secret.

Secrets of language! shall some simple power, some symbol be revealed, and the nations speak together?

Secrets of song! shall some serene, harmonious soul catch the note to celestial melodies?

Secrets of sight! shall the eyes too dim now, see the faces of the silent throngs that surround them, “the great cloud of witnesses”?

Secrets of the green pathways that lead up through the blue silent fields of space - shall we float from star to star?

Secrets of holiness! shall earthly faces wear the pure light of the immortals?

But oh! who shall be the happy soul that shall be listening when the time has fully come and He shall reveal His great secret? The happy soul listening so intently that it shall catch the low, clear whisper.

Listening, maybe, through the sweet twilight shadows for the wonderful secret, while the silver shallop of the moon is becalmed over the high northern mountains, as if a fleet of heavenly guests had floated down through the clear ocean waves of the sky to listen too - to hear the wonderful heavenly secret revealed to man - and a clear star looks out over the glowing rose of the western heavens, looking down like God’s eye, searching his soul, searching if it be worthy of the great trust.

Maybe it will be in the fresh dawning of the day, that the great secret will grow bright and clear and luminous, as the dawning of the light.

Maybe it will be in the midst of the storm - a mighty voice borne along by the breath of the wind and the thunder, clamoring and demanding the hearer to listen.

Oh! if we were only good enough, only pure enough, what might not our rapt vision discern?

But we know not where or when the time shall be fully come, but who, who, shall be the happy soul that shall, at the time, be listening?

Oh! how deep, how strange the waters wuz, and how I floated away on ’em, and how I didn’t. For there I wuz a settin in my own rockin’ chair and there opposite me sot my own Josiah a whittlin’, for the World hadn’t come, and he wuz restless and ill at ease, and time hung heavy on his hands.

There I sot the same Samantha - and the thought of the Smedleys, the same old Smedleys, was a hantin’ of me, the same old hant, and I says to my Josiah, says I: “Josiah, I can’t help thinkin’ about the Smedleys,” says I. “What do you think about havin’ a pound party for ’em, and will you take holt, and do your part?”

“Good land, Samantha! Are you crazy? Crazy as a loon? What under the sun do you want to pound the Smedleys for? I should think they had trouble enough without poundin’ ’em. Why,” says he, “the old woman couldn’t stand any poundin’ at all, without killin’ her right out and out, and the childern haint over tough any of ’em. Why, what has got into you? I never knew you to propose anything of that wicked kind before. I sha’n’t have anything to do with it. If you want ’em pounded you must get your own club and do your own poundin’.”

Says I, “I don’t mean poundin’ ’em with a club, but let folks buy a pound of different things to eat and drink and carry it to ’em, and we can try and raise a little money to get a warmer horse for ’em to stay in the coldest of the weather.”

“Oh!” says he, with a relieved look. “That’s a different thing. I am willin’ to do that. I don’t know about givin’ ’em any money towards gettin’ ’em a home, but I’ll carry ’em a pound of crackers or a pound of flour, and help it along all I can.”

Josiah is a clever creeter (though close), and he never made no more objections towards havin’ it.

Wall, the next day I put on my shawl and hood (a new brown hood knit out of zephyr worsted, very nice, a present from our daughter Maggie, our son Thomas Jefferson’s wife), and sallied out to see what the neighbor’s thought about it.

The first woman I called on wuz Miss Beazley, a new neighbor who had just moved into the neighborhood. They are rich as they can be, and I expected at least to get a pound of tea out of her.

She said it wuz a worthy object, and she would love to help it along, but they had so many expenses of their own to grapple with, that she didn’t see her way clear to promise to do anything. She said the girls had got to have some new velvet suits, and some sealskin sacques this winter, and they had got to new furnish the parlors, and send their oldest boy to college, and the girls wanted to have some diamond lockets, and ought to have ’em but she didn’t know whether they could manage to get them or not, if they did, they had got to scrimp along every way they could. And then they wuz goin’ to have company from a distance, and had got to get another girl to wait on ’em. And though she wished the poor well, she felt that she could not dare to promise a cent to ’em. She wished the Smedley family well—dretful well—and hoped I would get lots of things for ’em. But she didn’t really feel as if it would be safe for her to promise’em a pound of anything, though mebby she might, by a great effort, raise a pound of flour for ’em, or meal.

Says I dryly (dry as meal ever wuz in its dryest times), “I wouldn’t give too much. Though,” says I, “A pound of flour would go a good ways if it is used right.” And I thought to myself that she had better keep it to make a paste to smooth over things.

Wall, I went from that to Miss Jacob Hess’es, and Miss Jacob Hess wouldn’t give anything because the old lady wuz disagreeable, old Grandma Smedley, and I said to Miss Jacob Hess that if the Lord didn’t send His rain and dew onto anybody only the perfectly agreeable, I guessed there would be pretty dry times. It wuz my opinion there would be considerable of a drouth.

There wuz a woman there a visitin’ Miss Hess—she wuz a stranger to me and I didn’t ask her for anything, but she spoke up of her own accord and said she would give, and give liberal, only she wuz hampered. She didn’t say why, or who, or when, but she only sez this that “she wuz hampered,” and I don’t know to this day what her hamper wuz, or who hampered her.

And then I went to Ebin Garven’ses, and Miss Ebin Garven wouldn’t help any because she said “Joe Smedley had been right down lazy, and she couldn’t call him anything else.”

“But,” says I, “Joe is dead, and why should his children starve because their pa wasn’t over and above smart when he wuz alive?” But she wouldn’t give.

Wall, Miss Whymper said she didn’t approve of the manner of giving. Her face wuz all drawed down into a curious sort of a long expression that she called religus and I called somethin’ that begins with “h-y-p-o”—and I don’t mean hypoey, either.

No, she couldn’t give, she said, because she always made a practise of not lettin’ her right hand know what her left hand give.

And I said, for I wuz kinder took aback, and didn’t think, I said to her, a glancin’ at her hands which wuz crossed in front of her, that I didn’t see how she managed it, unless she give when her right hand was asleep.

And she said she always gave secret.

And I said, “So I have always s’posed—very secret.”

I s’pose my tone was some sarcastic, for she says, “Don’t the Scripter command us to do so?”

Says I firmly, “I don’t believe the Scripter means to have us stand round talkin’ Bible, and let the Smedleys starve,” says I. “I s’pose it means not to boast of our good deeds.”

Says she, “I believe in takin’ the Scripter literal, and if I can’t git my stuff there entirely unbeknown to my right hand I sha’n’t give.”

“Wall,” says I, gettin’ up and movin’ towards the door, “you must do as you’re a mind to with fear and tremblin’.”

I said it pretty impressive, for I thought I would let her see I could quote Scripter as well as she could, if I sot out.

But good land! I knew it wuz a excuse. I knew she wouldn’t give nothin’ not if her right hand had the num palsy, and you could stick a pin into it—no, she wouldn’t give, not if her right hand was cut off and throwed away.

Wall, Miss Bombus, old Dr. Bombus’es widow, wouldn’t give—and for all the world—I went right there from Miss Whymper’ses. Miss Bombus wouldn’t give because I didn’t put the names in the Jonesville Augur or Gimlet, for she said, “Let your good deeds so shine.”

“Why,” says I, “Miss Whymper wouldn’t give because she wanted to give secreter, and you won’t give because you want to give publicker, and you both quote Scripter, but it don’t seem to help the Smedleys much.”

She said that probably Miss Whymper was wrestin’ the Scripter to her own destruction.”

“Wall,” says I, “while you and Miss Whymper are a wrestin’ the Scripter, what will become of the Smedleys? It don’t seem right to let them ‘freeze to death, and starve to death, while we are a debatin’ on the ways of Providence.”

But she didn’t tell, and she wouldn’t give.

A woman wuz there a visitin’, Miss Bombus’es aunt, I think, and she spoke up and said that she fully approved of her niece Bombus’es decision. And she said, “As for herself, she never give to any subject that she hadn’t thoroughly canvassed.”

Says I, “There they all are in that little hut, you can canvass them at any time. Though,” says I, thoughtfully, “Marvilla might give you some trouble.” And she asked why.

And I told her she had the rickets so she couldn’t stand still to be canvassed, but she could probably follow her up and canvass her, if she tried hard enough. And says I, “There is old Grandma Smedley, over eighty, and five children under eight, you can canvass them easy.”

Says she, “The Bible says, ‘Search the Sperits.’”

And I was so wore out a seein’ how place after place, for three times a runnin the Bible was lifted up and held as a shield before stingy creeters, to ward off the criticism of the world and their own souls, that I says to myself—loud enough so they could hear me, mebbe, “Why is it that when anybody wants to do a mean, ungenerous act, they will try to quote a verse of Scripter to uphold ’em, jest as a wolf will pull a lock of pure white wool over his wolfish foretop, and try to look innocent and sheepish.”

I don’t care if they did hear me, I wuz on the step mostly when I thought it, pretty loud.

Wall, from Miss Bombus’es I went to Miss Petingill’s.

Miss Petingill is a awful high-headed creeter. She come to the door herself and she said, I must excuse her for answerin’ the door herself. (I never heard the door say anything and don’t believe she did, it was jest one of her ways.) But she said I must excuse her as her girl wuz busy at the time.

She never mistrusted that I knew her hired girl had left, and she wuz doin’ her work herself. She had ketched off her apron I knew, as she come through the hall, for I see it a layin’ behind the door, all covered with flour. And after she had took me into the parlor, and we had set down, she discovered some spots of flour on her dress, and she said she “had been pastin’ some flowers into a scrap book to pass away the time.” But I knew she had been bakin’ for she looked tired, tired to death almost, and it wuz her bakin’ day. But she would sooner have had her head took right off than to own up that she had been doin’ housework—why, they say that once when she wuz doin’ her work herself, and was ketched lookin’ awful, by a strange minister, that she passed herself off’ for a hired girl and said, “Miss Petingill wasn’t to home, and when pressed hard she said she hadn’t “the least idee where Miss Petingill wuz.”

‘Hired’ girl

Jest think on ’t once—and there she wuz herself. The idee!

Wall, the minute I sot down before I begun my business or anything, Miss Petingill took me to do about puttin’ in Miss Bibbins President of our Missionary Society for the Relief of Indignent Heathens.

The Bibbins’es are good, very good, but poor.

Says Miss Petingill: “It seems to me as if there might be some other woman put in, that would have had more influence on the Church.”

Says I, “Haint Miss Bibbins a good Christian sister, and a great worker?”

“Why yes, she wuz good, good in her place. But,” she said, “the Petingills hadn’t never associated with the Bibbins’es.”

And I asked her if she s’posed that would make any difference with the heathen; if the heathen would be apt to think less of Miss Bibbins because she hadn’t associated with the Petingills?

And she said, she didn’t s’pose “the heathens would ever know it; it might make some difference to ’em if they did,” she thought, “for it couldn’t be denied,” she said, “that Miss Bibbins did not move in the first circles of Jonesville.”

It had been my doin’s a puttin’ Miss Bibbins in and I took it right to home, she meant to have me, and I asked her if she thought the Lord would condemn Miss Bibbins on the last day, because she hadn’t moved in the first circles of Jonesville?

And Miss Petingill tosted her head a little, but had to own up, that she thought “He wouldn’t.”

“Wall, then,” sez I, “do you s’pose the Lord has any objections to her working for Him now?”

“Why no, I don’t know as the Lord would object.”

“Wall,” sez I, “we call this work the Lord’s work, and if He is satisfied with Miss Bibbins, we ort to be.”

But she kinder nestled round, and I see she wuzn’t satisfied, but I couldn’t stop to argue, and I tackled her then and there about the Smedleys. I asked her to give a pound, or pounds, as she felt disposed.

But she answered me firmly that she could’t give one cent to the Smedleys, she wuz principled against it.

And I asked her, “Why?”

And she said, because the old lady wuz proud and wanted a home, and she thought that pride wuz so wicked, that it ort to be put down.

Wall, Miss Huff, Miss Cephas Huff, wouldn’t give anything because one of the little Smedleys had lied to her. She wouldn’t encourage lyin’.

And I told her I didn’t believe she would be half so apt to reform him on an empty stomach, as after he wuz fed up. But she wouldn’t yield.

Wall, Miss Daggett said she would give, and give abundant, only she didn’t consider it a worthy object.

But it wuzn’t nothin’ only a excuse, for the object has never been found yet that she thought wuz a worthy one. Why, she wouldn’t give a cent towards painting the Methodist steeple, and if that haint a high and worthy object, I don’t know what is. Why, our steeple is over seventy feet from the ground. But she wouldn’t help us a mite—not a single cent.

Take such folks as them and the object never suits ’em. They won’t come right out and tell the truth that they are too stingy and mean to give away a cent, but they will always put the excuse onto the object—the object don’t suit ’em.

Why, I do believe it is the livin’ truth that if the angel Gabriel wuz the object, if he wuz in need and we wuz gittin’ up a pound party for him—she would find fault with Gabriel, and wouldn’t give him a ounce of provisions.

Yes, I believe it—I believe they would tost their heads and say, they always had had their thoughts about anybody that tooted so loud—it might be all right but it didn’t look well, and would be apt to make talk. Or they would say that he wuz shiftless and extravagant a loafin’ round in the clouds, when he might go to work—or that he might raise the money himself by selling the feathers offen his wings for down pillers—or some of the rest of the Gabriel family might help him—or something, or other—anyway they would propose some way of gittin’ out of givin’ a cent to Gabriel. I believe it as much as I believe I live and breathe; and so does Josiah.

Wall, Miss Mooney wouldn’t give anything because she thought Jane Smedley wuzn’t so sick as she thought she wuz; she said “she was spleeny.”

And I told Miss Mooney that when a woman was sick enough to die, I thought she ort to be called sick.

But Miss Mooney wouldn’t give up, and insisted to the very last that Miss Smedley wuz hypoey and spleeny—and thought she wuz sicker than she really wuz. And she held her head and her nose up in a very disagreeable and haughty way, and said as I left, that she never could bear to help spleeny people.

Wall, all that forenoon did I traipse through the street and not one cent did I get for the Smedleys, only Miss Gowdey said she would bring a cabbage and Miss Deacon Peedick and Miss Ingledue partly promised a squash apiece. And I mistrusted that they give ’em more to please me than anything else.

Wall, I wuz clean discouraged and beat out, and so I told Josiah. But he encouraged me some by sayin’:

“Wall, I could have told you jest how it would be,” and, “You would have done better, Samantha, to have been to home a cookin’ for your own famishin’ family.” And several more jest such inspirin’ remarks as men will give to the females of their families when they are engaged in charitable enterprises.

But I got a good, a very good dinner, and it made me feel some better, and then I haint one to give up to discouragements, anyway.

So I put on a little better dress for after noon, and my best bonnet and shawl, and set sail again after dinner.

And if I ever had a lesson in not givin’ up to discouragements in the first place I had it then. For whether it wuz on account of the more dressy look of my bonnet and shawl—or whether it wuz that folks felt cleverer in the afternoon—or whether it wuz that I had gone to the more discouragin’ places in the forenoon, and the better ones in the afternoon—or whether it wuz that I tackled on the subject in a better way than I had tackled ’em—whether it wuz for any of these reasons, or all of ’em or somethin’—anyway my luck turned at noon, 12 M., and all that afternoon I had one triumph after another—place after place did I collect pound or pounds as the case may be (or collected the promises of ’em, I mean). I did splendid, and wuz prospered perfectly amazing—and I went home feelin’ as happy and proud as a king or a zar.

And the next Tuesday evenin’ we had the pound party. They concluded to have it to our house. And Thomas Jefferson and Maggie, and Tirzah Ann and Whitefield came home early in the afternoon to help trim the parlor and setin’ room with evergreens and everlastin’ posies, and fern leaves.

They made the room look perfectly beautiful. And they each of ’em, the two childern and their companions, brought home a motto framed in nice plush and gilt frames, which they put up on each side of the settin’ room, and left them there as a present to their pa and me. They think a sight of us, the childern do—and visey versey, and the same.

One of ’em wuz worked in gold letters on a red back-ground “Bear Ye One Another’s Burdens.” And the other wuz “Feed my Lambs.”

They think a sight on us, the childern do—they knew them mottoes would highly tickle their pa and me. And they did seem to kinder invigorate up all the folks that come to the party.

And they wuz seemingly legions. Why, they come, and they kept a comin’. And it did seem as if every one of ’em had tried to see who could bring the most. Why, they brought enough to keep the Smedleys comfortable all winter long. It wuz a sight to see ’em.

The Pound Party

It wuz a curious sight, too, to set and watch what some of the folks said and done as they brought their pounds in.

I had to be to the table all the time a’most, for I wuz appointed a committee, or a board—I s’pose it would be more proper to call myself a board, more business like. Wall, I wuz the board appointed to lay the things on—to see that they wuz all took care of, and put where they couldn’t get eat up, or any other casuality happen to ’em.

And I declare if some of the queerest lookin’ creeters didn’t come up to the table and talk to me. There wuz lots of ’em there that I didn’t know, folks that come from Zoar, Jim Smedley’s old neighborhood.

There wuz a long table stretched acrost one end of the settin’ room, and I stood behind it some as if I wuz a dry goods merchant or grocery, and some like a preacher.

And the women would come up to me and talk. There wuz one woman who got real talkative to me before the evenin’ wuz out. She said her home wuz over two miles beyond Zoar.

She had a young babe with her, a dark complexioned babe, with a little round black head, that looked some like a cannon ball. She said she had shingled the child that day about eight o’clock in the forenoon; she talked real confidential to me.

She said the babe had sights of hair, and she told her husband that day that if he would shingle the babe she would come to the party and if he wouldn’t shingle it she wouldn’t come. It seemed they had had a altercation on the subject; she wanted it shingled and he didn’t. But it seemed that ruther than stay away from the party—he consented, and shingled it. So they come.

They brought a eight pound loaf of maple sugar and two dozen eggs. They did well. Then there wuz another woman who would walk her little girl into the bedroom every few minutes, and wet her hair, and comb it over, and curl it on her fingers. The child had a little blue flannel dress on, with a long plain waist, and a long skirt gethered on full all round. Her hair lay jest as smooth and slick as glass all the time, but five times did she walk her off, and go through with that performance. She brought ten yards of factory cloth, and a good woollen petticoat for the old grandma. She did first-rate.

And then there wuz another woman who stayed by the table most all the evenin’. She would gently but firmly ask everybody who brought anything, what the price of the article wuz—and then she would tackle the different women who come up to the table for patterns. I do believe she got the pattern of every bask waist there wuz there, and every mantilly.

And Abram Gee brought twenty-five loaves of bread—of different sizes, but all on ’em good. And he looked at Ardelia Tutt every minute of the time. And Ardelia brought a lot of verses,—“Stanzas on a Grandmother.” I didn’t think they would do Grandma Smedley much good, and then on the other hand I didn’t s’pose they would hurt her any.

But we had a splendid good time after the things wuz all brought in—of course, bein’ a board the fore part of the evenin’ I naturally had a harder time than I did the latter part, after I had got over it.

The children, Thomas J., and Tirzah Ann, and Ardelia Tutt, and Abram Gee, and some of the rest of the young folks sung and played some beautiful pieces, and they had four tablows, which wuz perfectly beautiful.

And then we passed good nice light biscuit and butter, and hot coffee, and pop corn and apples. And it did seem, and all the neighbors said so, that it wuz the very best party they had ever attended to.

And before they went away they made a motion some of the responsable men did—some made the motions and some seconded ’em—that they would adjourn till jest one year from that night, when if the Smedleys was still alive and in need—we would have jest such a party ag’in.

And at the last on’t Elder Minkley made a prayer—a very thankful and good prayer, but short. And then they went home.

Wall, the next mornin’ we started to carry the things to the Smedleys. It wuz very early, for Josiah had got to go clear to Loontown on business, and I wuz goin’ to stay with the childern till he got back.

It wuz a very cold mornin’. We hadn’t heard from the Smedleys for two or three days, because we wanted to surprise ’em, so we didn’t want to give ’em a hint beforehand of what we wuz a doin’. So, as I say, it wuz a number of days sense we had heard from ’em, and the weather wuz cold.

When we got to the door it seemed to be dretful still there inside. And there wuz some white frost on the latch jest as if a icy, white hand had onlatched the door, and had laid on it last.

We rapped, but nobody answered. And then we opened the door and went in, and there they all lay asleep. The children waked up. But old Grandma didn’t.

Nobody answered

There wuzn’t any fire in the room, and you could see by the freezing coldness of the air that there hadn’t been any for a day or two.

Grandma Smedley had took the poor old coverin’s all off from herself, and put ’em round the youngest baby, little Jim. And he lay there all huddled up tight to his Grandma, with his red cheek close to her white one, for he loved her.

Josiah cried and wept, and wept and cried onto his bandana—but I didn’t.

The tears run down my face some, to see the childern feel so bad when Grandma couldn’t speak to ’em.

But I knew that the childern would be took care of now, I knew the Jonesvillians would be all rousted up and sorry enough for ’em, and would be willin’ to do anything now, when it wuz some too late.

And I felt that I couldn’t cry nor weep (and told Josiah so), the tears jest dripped down my face in a stream, but I wouldn’t weep—for as I said to myself:

While the Jonesvillians had been a disputin’ back and forth, and wrestin’ Scripter, and the meanin’ of Providence in regard to helpin’ Grandma Smedley and gittin’ her a comfortable place to stay in, and somethin’ to eat, the Lord himself had took the case in hand and had gin her a home and the bread that satisfies.”

Samantha and Josiah at

Chapter IV.

Wall, I don’t s’pose there had been a teacher in our deestrict for years and years that gin’ better satisfaction than Ardelia Tutt. Good soft little creeter, the scholars any one of ’em felt above hurtin’ on her or plagin’ her any way. She sort a made ’em feel they had to take care on her, she wuz so sort a helpless actin’, and good natured, and yet her learnin’ wuz good, fust-rate.

Yes, Ardelia was thought a sight on in Jonesville by scholars and parents and some that wuzn’t parents. One young chap in perticiler, Abram Gee by name, who had just started a baker’s shop in Jonesville, he fell so deep in love with her from the very start that I pitied him from about the bottom of my heart. It wuz at our house that he fell.

The young folks of our meetin’-house had a sort of a evenin’ meetin’ there to see about raisin’ some money for the help of the steeple—repairin’ of it. Abram is a member, and so is Ardelia, and I see the hull thing. I see him totter and I see him fall. And prostrate he wuz, from that first night. Never was there a feller that fell in love deeper, or lay more helpless. And Ardelia liked him, that wuz plain to see; at fust as I watched and see him totter, I thought she wuz a sort o’ wobblin’ too, and when he fell deep, deep in love, I looked to see her a follerin’ on. But Ardelia, as soft as she wuz, had an element of strength. She wuz ambitious. She liked Abram, but she had read novels a good deal, and she had for years been lookin’ for a prince to come a ridin’ up to their dooryard in disguise with a crown on under his hat, and woo her to be his bride.

The Prince

And so she braced herself against the sweet influence of love and it wuz tuff—I could see for myself that it wuz, when she had laid out to set on a throne by the side of a prince, he a holdin’ his father’s scepter in his hand—to descend from that elevation and wed a husband who wuz a moulder of bread, with a rollin’ pin in his hand. It wuz tuff for Ardelia; I could see right through her mind (it wuzn’t a great distance to see), and I could see jest how a conflict wuz a goin’ on between love and ambition.

But Abram had my best wishes, for he wuz a boy I had always liked. The Gees had lived neighbor to us for years. He wuz a good creeter and his bread wuz delicious (milk emptin’s). He wuz a sort of a hard, sound lookin’ chap, and she, bein’ so oncommon soft, the contrast kinder sot each other off and made ’em look well together.

He had a house and lot all paid for, with no incumbrances only a mortgage of 150 dollars and a lame mother. But he laid out to clear off the mortgage this year, and I wuz told that mother Gee wuz a goin’ to live with her daughter Susan, who had jest come into a big property—as much as 700 dollars worth of land, besides cows, 2 heads of cow, and one head of a calf.

I knew Mother Gee and she wuz goin’ to stay with Abram till he got married and then she wuz goin’ to live with Susan. And I s’pose it is so. She is a likely old woman with a milk leg.

Wall, Abram paid Ardelia lots of attention, sech as walkin’ home with her from protracted meetin’s nights, and lookin’ at her durin’ the meetin’s more protracted than the meetin’s wuz fur. And 3 times he sent her a plate of riz biscuit sweetened, sweetened too sweet almost, he went too fur in this and I see it.

Yes, he done his part as well as his condition would let him, paralyzed by his feelin’s—but she acted kinder offish, and I see that sonthin’ wuz in the way. I mistrusted at first, it might be Abram’s incumbrance, but durin’ a conversation I had with her, I see I wuz in the wrong on’t. And I could see plain, though some couldn’t, that she liked Abram as she did her eyes. Somebody run him down a little one day before me and she sprouted right up and took his part voyalent. I could see her feelin’s towards him though she wouldn’t own up to ’em. But one day she came out plain to me and lamented his condition in life. Somebody had attact her that day before me about marryin’ of him—and she owned up to me, that she had laid out to marry somebody to elevate her. Some one with a grand pure mission in life.

And I spoke right up and sez, “Why bread is jest as pure and innocent as anything can be, you won’t find anything wicked about good yeast bread, nor,” sez I, cordially, “in milk risin’, if it is made proper.”

But she said she preferred a occupation that wuz risin’, and noble, and that made a man necessary and helpful to the masses.

And I sez agin—“Good land! the masses have got to eat. And I guess you starve the masses a spell and they’ll think that good bread is as necessary and helpful to ’em as anything can be. And as fer its bein’ a risin’ occupation, why,” sez I, “it is stiddy risen’—risin’ in the mornin,’ and risin’ at night, and all night, both hop and milk emptin’s. Why,” sez I, “I never see a occupation so risin’ as his’n is, both milk and hop.” But she wouldn’t seem to give in and encourage him much only by spells.

And then Abram didn’t take the right way with her. I see he wuz a goin’ just the wrong way to win a woman’s love. For his love, his great honest love for her made him abject, he groveled at her feet, loved to grovel.

I told him, for he confided in me from the first on’t and bewailed her coldness to me, I told him to sprout up and act as if he had some will of his own and some independent life of his own. Sez I, “Any woman that sees a man a layin’ around under her feet will be tempted to step on him,” sez I. “I don’t see how she can help it, if she calcerlates to get round any, and walk.” Sez I, “Sprout up and be somebody. She is a good little creeter, but no better than you are, Abram; be a man.”


And he would try to be. I could see him try. But one of her soft little glances, specially if it wuz kind and tender to him, es it wuz a good deal of the time, why it would just overthrow him ag’in. He would collapse and become nothin’ ag’in, before her. Why I have hearn him sing that old him, a lookin’ right at Ardelia stiddy:

“Oh to be nothin’, nothin’!”

And thinks I to myself, “if this keeps on, you are in a fairway to git your wish.”

He wuz a good singer, a beartone, and she a secent. They loved to sing together. They needed some air, but then they got along without it; and it sounded quite well, though rather low and deep.

Wall, it run along for weeks and weeks, he with his hopes a risin’ up sometimes like his yeast and then bein’ pounded down ag’in like his bread, under the hard knuckles of a woman’s capricious cruelty. For I must say that she did, for sech a soft littte creeter, have cold and cruel ways to Abram. (But I s’pose it wuz when she got to thinkin’ about the Prince, or some other genteel lover.)

But her real feelin’s would break out once in a while, and lift him up to the 3d heaven of happiness and then he’d have to totter and fall down ag’in. Abram Gee had a hard time on’t. I pitied him from nearly the bottom of my heart. But I still kep’ a thinkin’ it would turn out well in the end. For it wuz jest about this time that I happened to find this poetry in a book where she had, I s’posed, left it. And I read ’em, almost entirely unbeknown to myself.

It wuz wrote in a dreatful blind way but I recognized it at once. I looked right through it, and see what she wuz a writin’ about though many wouldn’t, it wuz wrote in sech a deep style.

“ or

“Oh Bread, dear Bread, that seemest to us so cold,
Oft’times concealed thee within, may be a sting!
Sweet buried hopes may in thy crust be rolled;
A sad, burnt crust of deepest suffering.

“There are some griefs the female soul don’t tell,
And she may weep, and she may wretched be;
Though she may like the name of Abram well
And she may not like dislike the name of G-,

“Oh Fel Ambition, how thou lurest us on,
How by thy high, bold torch we’re stridin’ led:
Thou lurest us up, cold mountain top upon,
And seated by us there, thou scoffest at bread.

“Thou lookest down, Ambition, on the ovens brim;
Thou brookest not a word of him save with contumalee:
And yet, wert thou afar, how sweet to set by him
And cut low slices of sweet joy with G—,

“Oh! Fel Ambition, wert but thou away,
Could we thy hauntin’ form no more, nor see;
How sweet ’twould be to linger on with A—,
How sweet ’twould be to dwell for aye with G—.”

Wall, as I say, she gin good satisfaction in the deestrict and I declare for it, I got to likin’ her dretful well before the winter wuz over. Softer she wuz, and had to be, than any fuz that was ever on any cotton flannel fur or near. And more verses she wrote than wuz good for her, or for anybody else,—Why she would write “Lines on the Tongs,” or “Stanzas on the Salt Suller,” if she couldn’t do any better; it beats all! And then she would read ’em to me to get my idees on ’em. Why I had to call on every martyr in the hull string of martyrs sometimes to keep myself from tellin’ her my full mind about ’em unbeknown to me. For, if I had, it would have skairt the soft little creeter out of what little wit she had.

So I kep’ middlin’ still, and see it go on. For she wuz a good little soul, affectionate and kinder helpful. A good creeter now to find your speks. Why she found ’em for me times out of number, and I got real attached to her and visey versey. And when she came a visitin’ me in the spring (at my request), and I happened to mention that Josiah and me laid out to go to Saratoga for the summer, what did the soft little creeter want to do but to go too. Her father was well off and wuz able to send her, and she had relatives there on her own side, some of the Pixleys, so her board wouldn’t cost nothin’. So it didn’t look nothin’ unreasonable, though whether I could get her there and back without her mashin’ all down on my hands, like a over ripe peach, she wuz that soft, wuz a question that hanted me, and so I told Josiah.

But Josiah kinder likes young girls (nothin’ light; a calm meetin’-house affection), it is kinder nater that he should, and he sez: “Better let her go, she won’t make much trouble.”

“No,” sez I, “not to you, but if you had to set for hours and hours and hear her verses read to you on every subject—on heaven, and earth, and the seas, and see her a measurin’ of it with a stick to get the lines the right length; if you had to go through all this, mebby you would meditate on the subject before you took it for a summer’s job.”

“ Wall,” sez he, “mebby she won’t write so much when she gets started; she will be kinder jogged round and stirred up in body and mebby her feelins’ will kinder rest. I shouldn’t wonder a mite if they did,” sez he. “And then she can take a good many steps for you, and I love to see you favored,” sez he.

He wanted her to go, I see that, and I see that it wuz natur that he should, and so I consented in my mind—after a parlay.

She found his specks a sight and his hat. Nothin’ seemed to please her better than to be gropin’ round after things to please somebody; her disposition wuz such. So it wuz settled that she should accompany and go with us. And the mornin’ we started she met us at the Jonesville Depot in good sperits and a barege delaine dress, cream color, and a hat of the same.

At the depot

I hadn’t seen her for some weeks, and she seemed softly tickled to see Josiah and me, and asked a good many questions about Jonesville, kinder turnin’ the conversation gradually round onto bread, as I could see. So I branched right out, knowin’ what she wanted of me, and told her plain, that “Abram Gee wuz a lookin’ kinder mauger. But doin’ his duty stiddy,” sez I, lookin’ keenly at her, “a doin’ his duty by everybody, and beloved by everybody, him and his bread too.”

She turned her head away and kinder sithed, and I guess it wuz as much as a quarter of a hour after that, that I see her take out a pencil and a piece of paper out of her portmonny, and a little stick, and she went to makin’ some verses, a measurin’ ’em careful as she wrote ’em, and when she handed ’em to me they wuz named

“ or

“Oh cars that bearest us on; oh cars that run
If backward thou didst go, we should not near
The place we started for at break of sun;
The place we love, with love devout, sincere.

“Oh! snortin’ Engine, didst thou not so snort
Thou wouldst not start, and lo! we see—
Our sorrows’ hidden griefs, they do not come for nort
They start the Locomotive, Life, with screechin’ agony

“Oh passengers that wail, and dread the screech,
Wail not; but lift eyes o’er the chimney top
As they bend over the Locomotive; beach
Thy hopes on fairer shores, a sweeter crop.”

After I had read it and handed it back to her, she sez, “Don’t you think I improve on the melody and rhythm of my poetry? I take this little stick with me now wherever I go, and measure my lines by it. They are jest of a length, I am very particular; you know you advised me to be.”

“Yes,” sez I mechaniklly, “but I didn’t mean jest that.” Sez I, “the poetry I wuz a thinkin’ on, is measured by the soul, the enraptured throb of heart and brain; it don’t need takin’ a stick to it. Howsumever,” sez I, for I see she looked sort a disapinted, “howsumever, if you have measured ’em, they are probable about the same length: it is a good sound stick, I haint no doubt;” and I kinder sithed.

And she sez, “What do you think of the first verse? Haint that verse as true as fate, or sadness, or anything else you know of?”

“Oh yes,” sez I candidly, “yes; if the cars run backwards we shouldn’t go on; that is true as anything can be. But if I wuz in your place, Ardelia,” sez I, “I wouldn’t write any more to-day. It is a kind of muggy damp day. It is a awfully bad day for poetry to-day. And,” sez I, to get her mind offen it, “Have you seen anything of my companion’s specks?”

And that took her mind offen poetry and she went a huntin’ for ’em, on the seat and under the seat. She hunted truly high and low and at last she found ’em on my pardner’s foretop, the last place any of us thought of lookin’. And she never said another word about poetry, or any other trouble, nor I nuther.


Chapter V.

We arrived at Saratoga jest as sunset with a middlin’ gorgeous dress on wuz a walkin’ down the west and a biddin’ us and the earth good-bye. There wuz every color you could think on almost, in her gown and some stars a shinin’ through the floatin’ drapery and a half moon restin’ up on her cloudy foretop like a beautiful orniment.

(I s’pose mebby it is proper to describe sunset in this way on goin’ to such a dressy place, though it haint my style to do so, I don’t love to describe sunset as a female and don’t, much of the time, but I love to see things correspond.)

Wall, we descended from the cars and went to the boardin’ place provided for us beforehand by the look out of friends. It wuz a good place, there haint no doubt of that, good folks; good fare and clean.

Ardelia parted away from us at the depo. She wuz a goin’ to board to a smaller boardin’ house kep’ by a second cousin of her father’s brother’s wife’s aunt. It wuz her father’s request that she should get her board there on account of its bein’ in the family. He loved “to see relations hang together;” so he said, and “get their boards of each other.” But I thought then, and I think now, that it wuz because they asked less for the board. Deacon Tutt is close. But howsumever Ardelia went there, and my companion and me arrove at the abode where we wuz to abide, with no eppisode only the triflin’ one of the driver bein’ dretful mistook as to the price he asked to take us there.

I thought, and Josiah thought, that 50 cents wuz the outlay of expendatur he required to carry us where we would be; it wuz but a short distance. But no! He said that 5 dollars wuz what he said, that is, if we heard anything about a 5. But he thought we wuz deef, and dident hear him. He thought he spoke plain, and said 4 dollars for the trip.

And on that price he sot down immovible. They arged, and Josiah Allen even went so far as to use language that grated on my nerve, it wuz so voyalent and vergin’ on the profane. But there the man sot, right onto that price, and he had to me the appeerance of one who wuz goin’ to sot there on it all night. And so rather than to spend the night out doors, in conversation with him, he a settin’ on that price, and Josiah a shakin’ his fist at it, and a jawin’ at it, I told Josiah that he had better pay it. And finally he did, with groanin’s that could hardly be uttered.

They argued

Wall, after supper (a good supper and enough on’t), Josiah proposed that we should take a short walk, we two alone, for Ardelia wuz afar from us, most to the other end of the village, either asleep or a writin’ poetry, I didn’t know which, but I knew it wuz one or the other of ’em. And I wuz tired enough myself to lay my head down and repose in the arms of sleep, and told my companion so, but he said:

“Oh shaw! Let old Morpheus wait for us till we get back, there’ll be time enough to rest then.”

Josiah felt so neat, that he wuz fairly beginnin’ to talk high learnt, and classical. But I didn’t say nothin’ to break it up, and tied on my bonnet with calmness (and a double bow knot) and we sallied out.

Soon, or mebby a little after, for we didn’t walk fast on account of my deep tucker, we stood in front of what seemed to be one hull side of a long street, all full of orniments and open work, and pillows, and flowers, and carvin’s, and scallops, and down between every scollop hung a big basket full of posys, of every beautiful color under the heavens. And over all, and way back as fur as we could see, wuz innumerable lights of every color, gorgeousness a shinin’ down on gorgeousness, glory above, a shinin’ down on glory below. And sweet strains of music wuz a floatin, out from somewhere, a shinin’ somewhere, renderin’ the seen fur more beautiful to all 4 of our wraptured ears.

And Josiah sez, as we stood there nearly rooted to the place by our motions, and a picket fence, sez he dreamily,

“I almost feel as if we had made a mistake, and that this is the land of Beuler.” And he murmured to himself some words of the old him:

“Oh Beuler land! Sweet Beuler land!”

And I whispered back to him and sez—“Hush they don’t have brass bands in Beulah land.”

And he sez, “How do you know what they have in Beuler?”

“Wall,” sez I, “’taint likely they do.”

But I don’t know as I felt like blamin’ him, for it did seem to me to be the most beautiful place that I ever sot my eyes on. And it did seem fairly as if them long glitterin’ chains and links of colored lights, a stretchin’ fur back into the distance sort a begoned for us to enter into a land of perfect beauty and Pure Delight.

And then them glitterin’ chains of light would jine onto other golden, and crimson, and orange, and pink, and blue, and amber links of glory and hang there all drippin’ with radiance, and way back as fur as we could see. And away down under the shinin’ lanes the white statues stood, beautiful snow-white females, a lookin’ as if they enjoyed it all. And the lake mirrowed back all of the beauty.

Right out onto the lake stood a fairy-like structure all glowin’ with big drops of light and every glitterin’ drop reflected down in the water and the fountain a sprayin’ up on each side. Why it sprayed up floods of diamonds, and rubys, and sapphires, and topazzes, and turkeys, and pearls, and opals, and sparklin’ ’em right back into the water agin.

And right while we stood there, neerly rooted to the spot and gazin’ through extacy and 2 pickets, the band gin a loud burst of melody and then stopped, and after a minute of silence, we hearn a voice angel-sweet a risin’ up, up, like a lark, a tender-hearted, golden-throated lark.

High, high above all the throngs of human folks who wuz cheerin’ her down below - up above the sea of glitterin’ light - up above the bendin’ trees that clasped their hands together in silent applaudin’ above her, up, up, into the clear heavens, rose that glorious voice a singin’ some song about love, love that wuz deathless, eternal.

Why it seemed as if the very clouds wuz full of shadowy faces a bendin’ down to hear it, and the new moon, shaped just like a boat, had glided down, down the sky to listen.

If the man of the moon was there he wuz a layin’ in the bottom of the boat, he wuzn’t in sight. But if he heard that music I’ll bet he would say he wuzn’t in the practice of hearin’ any better. And Josiah stood stun still till she had got done, and then he sort a sithed out:

“Oh, it seems as if it must be Beuler land! Do you s’pose, Samantha, Beuler land is any more beautiful?”

And I sez, “I haint a thinkin’ about Beulah.” I sez it pretty middlin’ tart, partly to hide my own feelin’s, which wuz perfectly rousted up, and partly from principle, and sez I, “Don’t for mercy’s sake call it Beuler.”

Josiah always will call it so. I’ve got a 4th cousin, Beulah Smith (my own age and unmarried up to date), and he always did and would call her Beuler. Truly in some things a pardner’s influence and encouragement fails to accomplish the ends aimed at.

Wall, it wuz after some words that I drew Josiah away from that seen of enchantment - or he me, I don’t exactly know which way it wuz - and we wended onwards in our walk.

The hull broad streets wuz full of folks, full as they could be, all on ’em perfect strangers to us and who knew what motives or weapons they wuz a carryin’ with ’em; but we knew we wuz safe, Josiah and me did, for way up over all our heads, stood a big straight soldier, a volunteer volunteerin, to see to the hull crew on ’em below, a seein’ that they behaved themselves. His age wuz seventy-seven as near as I could make out but he didn’t look more’n half that. He had kep’ his age remarkable.

The soldier

Wall, it wuz, if I remember right, jest about now that we see a glitterin’ high up over our heads some writen in flame. I never see such brilliant writin, before nor don’t know as I ever shall ag’in.

And Josiah stopped stun still, and stood a lookin’ perfectly dumfoundered at it. And finally he sez, “I’d give a dollar bill if I could write like that.”

I see he wuz deeply rousted up for 2 cents is as high as he usually goes in betted. I see he felt deep and I didn’t blame him. Why,” sez he, “jest imagine, Samantha, a hull letter wrote like that! how I’d love to send one back to Uncle Nate Gowdey.

“How Uncle Nate’s eyes would open, and he wouldn’t want no spectacles nor nothin’ to read it with, would he? I wonder if I could do it,” sez he, a beginnin’ to be all rousted up.

But I sez, “Be calm,” for so deep is my mind that I grasped the difficuties of the undertaken’ at once. “How could yon send it, Josiah Allen? Where would you get a envelop? How could you get it into the mail bag?” Sez I, “When anybody would send a letter wrote like that, they would want to write it on sheets of lightnin’, and fold it up in the envelopin’ clouds of the skies, and it should be received by a kneelin’ and reverent soul. Who is Uncle Nate that he should get it? He has not a reverent Soul and he has also rheumatiz in his legs.”

And then I thought, so quick and active is my mind when it gets to startin’ off on a tower, I thought of what I had hearn a few days before, of how the secret had been learnt by somebody who lived right there in the village, of floatin’ letters up at sea from one ship to another, sigualin’ out in letters of flame -

“Help! I’m a sinkin’!” or “Danger ahead! Look out!”

And I thought what it must be to stand on a dusky night on a lone deck and see up on the broad, dark; lonesome sky above, a sudden message, a flash of vivid lightnin’, takin’ to itself the form of language. And I wondered to myself if in the future we should use the great pages of the night-sky to write messages from one city to another, or from sea to land, of danger and warnin’; and then I thought to myself, if souls clog-bound to earth are able to accomplish so much, who knows but the freed soul goin’ outward and onward from height to height of wisdom may yet be able to signal down from the Safe Land messages of help and warnin’ to the souls it loved below.

The souls a sailin’ and a driftin’ through the dark night of despair - a dashin’ along through fog and mist and darkness aginst rocks. What it would be to one kneelin’ in the lonesome night watches by a grave, if the dark sky could grow luminous and he could read, - “Do not despair! I am alive! I love you!”

Or, in the hour of the blackest temptation and dread, when the earth is hollow and the sky a black vault, and the only way of happiness on God’s earth seems down the dangerous, beautiful way, God-forbidden, what would it be to have the empty vault lit up with “Danger ahead! We will help you! be patient a little longer!”

Oh how fur my thoughts wuz a travellin’, and at what a good jog, but not one trace did my companion see on my forward of these thoughts that wuz a passin’ through my foretop: and at that very minute, we came up nigh enough to see that right back of the glitterin’ language overhead, went a long line of big, glowin’ stars of glory way up over our heads, and leadin’ down a gentle declivity and Josiah sez, “Let’s foller on, and see what it will lead us to, Samantha.”

“Wall,” sez I, “light is pretty generally, safe to foller, Josiah Allen.” And so we meandered along, keepin’ our 2 heads as nigh as we could under that long glitterin’ chain of golden drops that wuz high overhead. And on, and on, we follered it dilligently; till for the land’s sake! if it didn’t lead us to another one of them openwork buildin’s, fixed off beautiful, and we could see inside 2 big wells like, with acres of floor seemin’ly on each side of ’em, and crowds of folks a walkin’ about and settin’ at little tables and most all of ’em a drinkin’.

The water they drinked we could see wuz a bubblin’ up and a runnin’ over all the time, in big round crystal globes. And up, up on a slender pole way up over one of the wells hung another one of them crystal bowls, a bubblin’ over with the water and sparklin’.

And ag’in Josiah asked me if I thought Beuler land could compare with it?

And I told him ag’in kinder sharp, That I wuzn’t a thinkin’ about Beuler, I didn’t know any sech a place or name. I wish he would call things right.

Wall, he wuz so dead tired by this time, that we sot sail homewards; that is, my feet wuz tired, and my bones, but my mind seemed more rousted up than common.


Chapter VI.

Wall, the next mornin’ Josiah and me sallied out middlin’ early to explore still further the beauties and grandness of Saratoga. I had on a black straw bonnet, a green vail, and a umbrell. I also have my black alpacky, that good moral dress.

My dress bein’ such a high mission one choked me. It wuz so high in the neck it held my chin up in a most uncomfortable position, but sort a grand and lofty lookin’. My sleeves wuz so long that more’n half the time my hand wuz covered up by ’em and I wuz too honerable to wear ’em for mits; no, in the name of principle I wore ’em for sleeves, good long sleeves, a pattern to other grandmas that I might meet.

I felt that when they see me and see what I wuz a doin’ and endurin’ fur the cause of female dressin’ they would pause in their wild career, and cover up their necks and pull their sleeves down.

Wall, it haint to be expected that I could walk along carryin’ such hefty emotions as I wuz a carryin’, and havin’ my neck held high and stiddy both by principle and alpacky, and see to every step I wuz a takin’. And, first I knew, right while I was enjoyin’ the loftiest of these emotions, I ketched my foot in sunthin’, and most fell down. Instinctively (such is the power of love) I put out my hand and clutched at the arm of my pardner. But he too wuz nearly fallin’ at the same time. It wuz a narrow chance that we wuz a runnin’ from having our prostrate forms a layin’ there outstretched on the highway.

Instinctively I sez, “Good land!” and Josiah sez—wall, it is fur from me to tell what he said, but it ended up with these words, “Dumb them dumb sidewalks anyway;” and sez he, “I should think it would pay to have a little less gilt paint and spangles and orniments overhead and a few more solid bricks unless they want more funerals here, dumb ’em!”

Sez I,”Be calm! who be you a talkin’ about? who do you want to bring down your fearful curses on, Josiah Allen?”

“Why, onto the dumb bricks,” sez he.

He wuz agitated and I said no more. But four times in that first walk, did I descend almost precipitously into declivities amongst the bricks, risin’ simultaneously on similar elevations.

It wuz a fearful ordeel and I felt it so, but upheld by principle and Josiah, I moved onwards, through what seemed to be 5 great throngs and masses of people, 3 on the ground and 2 hinted up above us on tall pillows.

Them immense places overhead long as the streets, wuz kinder scalloped out and trimmed off handsum with railin’s, etc. And on it—oh! what a vast congregation of heads of all sorts and sizes and colors. And oh! what a immense display of parasols; why no parasol store in the land could begin with what I see there.

I can truly say that I thought I knew somethin’ about parasols;, havin’ owned 3 different ones in the course of my life, and havin’ one covered over. I thought I knew somethin’ of their nater and habits, which is a good deal, so I had always s’posed, like a umbrell’s. But good land! I gin up that I knew them not, nor never had.

Why anybody could learn more on ’em through one jerney down that street, than from a hull lifetime in Jonesville. Truly travel is very upliftin’ and openin’ and spreadin’ out to the mind, both in parasols and human nater.

Wall, them 2 masses over our heads wuz 2, then the one in which we wuz a strugglin’ and the one opposite to it made 4. For anybody with any pretence to learnin’ knows that twice 2 is 4. And then in the middle of the broad street was a bigger mass of chariots and horsemen, and carts and carriages, and great buggies and little ones, and big loads of barrels, and big loads of ladies, and then a load of wood, and then a load of hay, and then a pair of young folks pretty as a picture. And then came some high big coaches as big as our spare bedroom, and as high as the roof on our horse barn, with six horses hitched to e’m, all runnin’ over on top with men; and wimmen, and children, and parasols, and giggles, and ha ha’s. And a man wuz up behind a soundin’ out on a trumpet, a dretful sort of a high, sweet note, not dwindlin’ down to the end as some music duz, but kinder crinklin’ round and endin’ up in the air every time.

Josiah wuz dretful took with it and he told me in confidence that he laid out when he got home to buy a trumpet and blow out jest them strains every time he went into Jonesville or out of it. He said it would sound so sort a warlike and impressive.

I expostulated aginst the idee. But sez he, “You’ll enjoy it when you get used to it.”

“Never!” sez I.

“Yes you will,” sez he, “and while I live I lay out that you shall have advantages, and shall enjoy things new and uneek.”

“Yes,” sez I feelin’ly, “I expect to, Josiah Allen, as long as I live with you.” And I sithed. But I had little time to enjoy even sithin’, for oh! the crowd that wuz a pressin’ onto us and surroundin’ us on every side, some on ’em curius and strange lookin’, some on ’em beautiful and grand. Pretty young girls lookin’ sweet enough to kiss, and right behind ’em a Chinese man with a long dress, and wooden shoes, and his hair in a long braid behind, and his eyes sot in sideways. And then would come on a hull lot of wimmen in dresses ev’ry color of the rainbow, and some men. Then a few childern, lookin’ sweet as roses, with their mothers a pushin’ the little carts ahead on ’em. And if you’ll believe it, I don’t s’pose you will, but it is true, that lots of black ma’s had childern jest as white as snow, and pretty as rosebuds, took after their fathers I s’pose. But I don’t believe in a mixin’ of the races. And when I see ’em a kissin’ the pretty babys, I begun to muse a very little on the feelin’s of the indignent South, at havin’ a colered girl set in the same car with ’em, or on a bench in the same school room.

Black Ma’s

I mewsed on how they held the white forms clost to their black breasts at birth, and in the hour of death—the black lips pressed to the white cheeks and lips, in both cases. And all the way between life and death they mingle clost as they can, some in some cases like the hill of knowledge. Then the contact is too clost, when they sot out to climb up by ’em. Truly there are deep conundrums and strange ones, all along through life; though the white man may be, and is, cleer up out of his way, on the sunshiny brow of the hill, and the black man at the foot, way down amongst the shadows and darkness of the low grounds. They don’t come very nigh each other. But the arms that have felt the clasp and the lips that have felt the kisses of that very same black climber all through life, moves ’em and shouts ’em to “go down,” to “go back,”

“The contact is getting too clost, danger is ahead.” Curious, haint it? Jest as if any danger is so dangerous as ignorance and brutality. Curious, haint it? But I am a eppisodin’, and to resoom.

Wall, right after the babies we’d meet a Catholic priest with a calm and fur away look on his face, a lookin’ at the crowd as if he wuz in it, but not of it. And then a burgler, mebby, anyway a mean lookin’ creeter, ragged and humble. And then 2 or 3 men foreign lookin’, jabberin’ in a tongue I know nothin’ of, nor Josiah either. And then some more childern, and wimmen, and dogs, and parasols, and men, and babies, and Injuns, and Frenchmen, and old young wimmen, and young old ones, and handsome ones, and hombly ones, and parasols, and some sweet young girls ag’in, and some black men, and some white men, and some more wimmen, and parasols, and silk, and velvet, and lace, and puckers, and raffles, and gethers, and gores, and flowers, and feathers, and fringes, and frizzles, and then some men, some Southerners from the South, some Westerners from the West, some Easterners from the East, and some Cubebs from Cuba, and some Chinamen from China.

Oh! what a seen! What a seen! back and forth, passin’ and repassin’, to and fro, parasols, and dogs, and wimmen, and men, and babies, and parasols, to and fro, to and fro. Why, if I stood there long so crazed would I have become at the seen, that I should have felt that Josiah wuz a To and I wuz a Fro, or I wuz a parasol and he wuz a dog.

And to prevent that fearful catastrophe, I sez, “If we ever get beyond this side of the village that seems all run together, if we ever do get beyond it, which seems doubtful, le’s go and sit down, in some quiet spot, and try to collect our scattered minds.” Sez I, “I feel curius, Josiah Allen!” and sez I, “How do you feel?”

His answer I will not translate; it was neither Biblical nor even moral. And I sez agin, “Hain’t it strange that they have the village all run together with no streets turnin’ off of it.” Sez I, “It makes me feel queer, Josiah Allen, and I am a goin’ to enquire into it.” So we wended our way some further on amongst the dense crowd I have spoken of, only more crowded and more denser, and anon, if not oftener, Josiah’s head would be scooped in by passin’ parasols, and then in low, deep tones, Josiah would use words that I wouldn’t repeat for a dollar bill, till at last I asked a by bystander a standin’ by, and sez I, “Is this village all built together—don’t you have no streets a turnin’ off of it?”

“Yes,” sez he, “you’ll find a street jest as soon as you get by this hotel.”

I stopped right in my tracts; I wuz dumbfoundered. Sez I, “Do you mean to say that this hull side of the street that we have been a traversin’ anon, or long before anon,—do you say that this is all one buildin’?”

“Yes mom,” sez he.

Sez I, in faint axents, “When shall we get to the end on it?”

Sez he, “You have come jest about half way.”

Josiah gin a deep groan and turned him round in his tracts and sez, “Le’s go back this minute.”

I too thought of the quiet haven from whence we had set out, with a deep longin’, but sech is the force and strength of my mind that I grasped holt of the situation and held it there tight. If we wuz half way across it wouldn’t be no further to go on than it would to go back. Such wuz my intellect that I see it to once, but Josiah’s mind couldn’t grasp it, and with words murmured in my ears which I will never repeat to a livin’ soul he wended on by my side through the same old crowd—parasols, and wimmen, and dogs, and babies, and men, and parasols, and Injuns, and Spanards, and Creoles, and pretty girls, and old wimmen, and puckers, and gethers, and bracelets, and diamonds, and lace, and parasols. Several times, if not more, wuz Josiah Allen scooped in by a parasol held by a female, and I felt he wuz liable to be torn from me. His weight is but small. 3 times his hat fell off in the operation and wuz reskued with difficulty, and he spoke words I blush to recall as havin’ passed my pardner’s lips.

Wall, in the fullness of time, or a little after, for truly I wuz not in a condition to sense things much, we arrove at a street and we gladly turned our 2 frames into it, and wended our way on it, goin’ at a pretty good jog. The crowd a growin’ less and less and we kep a goin’, and kep a goin’, till Josiah sez in weary axents:

“Where be you a goin’, Samantha? Haint you never goin’ to stop? I am fairly tuckered out.”

And I sez in faint axents, “I would fain reach a land where parasols and puckers are not and dogs and diamonds are no more.”

I wuz middlin’ incoherent from my agitation. But I meant well. I wuz truly in hopes I would reach some quiet place where Josiah and me could set down alone. Where I could look in quiet and repose upon that dear bald head, and recooperate my strength.

We went by beautiful places, grand houses of different colors but every one on ’em good lookin’ ones, a settin’ back amongst their green trees, with shady grass-covered yards, and fountains and flower beds in front of ’em, and more grand handsome houses, and more big beautiful yards, green velvet grass and beautiful flowers and fountains, and birds and beauty on every side on us.

And though I felt and knew that in them big carriages that was a passin’ 2 and fro all the time, though I felt that parasols, and puckers, and laces, and dogs, and diamonds, wuz a bein’ borne past me all the time, yet sech is the force of my mind that I could withdraw my specks from ’em, and look at the beautiful works of nater (assisted by man) that wuz about me on every hand.

Finally my long search wuz rewarded, we came to a big open gateway that seemed to lead into a large, quiet delightful forest. And in that lovely, lonesome place, Josiah and me sot down to recooperate our 2 energies.

Josiah looked good to me. Men are nice creeters, but you don’t want to see too meny of ’em to once, likeways with wimmen. Josiah looked to me at that moment some like a calico dress that you have picked out of a dense quantity of patterns of calico at a store, it looks better to you when you get it away from the rest. Josiah Allen looked good to me.

But anon, after I had bathed my distracted eyes (as you may say) in the liniment of my pardner, I began to take in the rare beauty of the seen laid out before me and we arose and wended our way onwards peaceful and serene, as 2 childern led on by their mother.

Dear Mother Nature! how dost thou rest and soothe thy distracted childern when too hardly used by the grindin’, oppressive hands of fashion,and the weerisome elements of a too civilized life. Maybe thou art a heathen mother, oneducated and ignorant in all but the wisdom of love, but thy bosom is soft and restful, and thy arms lovin’ and tender. And, heathen if thou art, we love thee first and at last. We are glad to slip out of all the vain and gilded supports that have held us weerily up, and lay down our tired heads on thy kindly and unquestionin’ bosom and rest.

As we rose from the soft turf, on which we had been a restin’, and meandered on through that beautiful park, (so tenderly had nature used him,) not one trace of the wild commotion that had almost rent Josiah Allen’s breast, could be seen save one expirin’ threeoh of agony. As we started out ag’in, he looked down onto my faithful umberell, that had stiddied me on so many towers of principle, and sez he, in low concentrated axents of skern and bitterness, “If that wuz a dumb parasol, Samantha, I would crush it to the earth and grind it to atoms.”

Truly he could not forget how his bald head had been gethered in like a ripe sheaf, by 7 females, during that very walk, hombly ones too, so it had happened. But I sez nothin’ in reply to this expirin’ note of the crysis he had passed through, knowin’ this was not the time for silver speech but for golden silence, and so we meandered onwards.

And it wuz anon that we see in the distance a fair white female a standin’ kinder still in the edge of the woods, and Josiah spoke in a seemin’ly careless way, and sez he, “She don’t seem to have many clothes on, Samantha.”

Sez I, “Hush, Josiah! she has probably overslept herself, and come out in a hurry, mebby to look for some herbs or sunthin’. I persoom one of her childern are sick, and she sprung right up out of bed, and come out to get some weather-wort, or catnip, or sunthin’.”

And as I spoke I drawed Josiah down a side path away from her. But he stopped stun still and sez he, “Mebby I ought to go and help her Samantha.”

Sez I, “Josiah Allen, sense I lived with you, I don’t think I have been shamder of you;” sez I, “it would mortify her to death if she should mistrust you had seen her in that condition.”

“Wall,” sez he, still a hangin’ back, “if the child is very sick, and I can be any help to her, it is my duty to go.”

His eye had been on her nearly every moment of the time, in spite of my almost voyalent protests, and sez he, kinder excited like, “She is standin’ stun still, as if she is skarit; mebby there is a snake in front of her or sunthin’, or mebby she is took paralysed, I’d better go and see.”

Sez I, in low, deep axents, “You stay where you be, Josiah Allen, and I will go forward, bein’ 2 females together, it is what it is right to do and if we need your help I will holler.”

Woman in the woods

And finally he consented after a parlay.

Wall, as I got up to her I see she wuzn’t a live, meat woman, but a statute and so I hastened back to my Josiah and told him there wuzn’t no need of his help and he wuz in the right on’t—she wuz stun still.”

He said he guessed we’d better go that way. And I sez, “No, Josiah, I want to go round by the other road.”

Wall, we got back to our abode perfectly tuckered out, but perfectly happy. And we concluded that after dinner we would set out and see the different springs and partake of ’em. Had it not been for our almost frenzied haste to get away from parasols and dogs and destraction into a place of rest we should have beheld them sooner. And our afternoon’s adventures I will relate in another epistol.

crowed street

Chapter VII.

Taking a walk

Immegeatly after dinner (a good one) Josiah Allen, Ardelia Tutt and me sot out to view and look at the different springs and to partake of the same. We hadn’t drinked a drop of it as yet. Ardelia had come over to go with us. She had on a kind of a yellowish drab dress and a hat made of the same, with some drab and blue bows of ribbon and some pink holly-hawks in it, and she had some mits on (her hands prespired dretfully, and she sweat easy). As I have said, she is a good lookin’ girl but soft. And most any dress she puts on kinder falls into the same looks. It may be quite a hard lookin’ dress before she puts it on, but before she has wore it half a hour it will kinder crease down into the softest lookin, thing you ever see. And so with her bonnets, and mantillys, and everything.

The down onto a goslin’s breast never looked softer than every rag she had on this very afternoon, and no tender goslin’ itself wuz ever softer than she wuz on the inside on’t. But that didn’t hinder my likin’ her.

Wall, anon, or a little before, we came to that long, long buildin’, beautiful and dretful ornimental, but I could see plain by daylight what I had mistrusted before, that it wuzn’t built for warmth. It must be dretful cold in the winter, and I don’t see how the wimmen folks of the home could stand it, unless they hang up bed quilts and blankets round the side, and then, I should think they would freeze. They couldn’t keep their house plants over winter any way - and I see they had sights of ’em - unless they kep’ ’em down suller.

But howsumever, that is none of my lookout. If they want to be so fashionable, as to try to live out doors and in the house too, that is none of my business. And of course it looked dretful ornimental and pretty. But I will say this, it haint bein’ mejum. I should rather live either out doors, or in the house, one of the 2. But I am a eppisodin’. And to resoom.

Josiah Allen paid the money demanded of him and we went in and advanced onwards to where a boy wuz a pullin’ up the water and handin’ of it round.

It looked dretful bubblin’ and sparklin’. Why sunthin’ seemed to be a sparklin’ up all the time in the water and I thought to myself mebby it wuz water thoughts, mebby it wanted to tell sunthin’, mebby it has all through these years been a tryin’ to bubble up and sparkle out in wisdom but haint found any one yet who could understand its liquid language. Who knows now?

I took my glass and looked close - sparkle, sparkle, up came the tiny thought sparks! But I wuzn’t wise enough to read the glitterin’ language. No I wuzn’t deep enough. It would take a deep mind, mebby thousands of feet deep, to understand the great glowin’ secret that it has been a tryin’ to reveal and couldn’t. Mebby it has been a tryin’ to tell of big diamond mines that it has passed through - great cliffs and crags of gold sot deep with the crystalized dew of diamonds.

But no, I didn’t believe that wuz it. That wouldn’t help the world, only to make it happier, and these seemed to me to be dretful inspirin’, upliftin’ thoughts. No, mebby it is a tryin’ to tell a cold world about a way to heat it. Mebby it has been a runnin’ over and is sparklin’ with bright thoughts about how deep underneath the earth lay a big fireplace, that all the cold beggars of mortality could set round and warm their frozen fingers by,—a tryin’ to tell how the heat of that fire that escapes now up the chimbleys of volcanoes, and sometimes in sudden drafts blows out sideways into earthquakes, etc., could be utilized by conveyin’ it up on top of the ground, and have it carried into the houses like Croton water. Who knows now? Mebby that is it!

Oh! I felt that it would be a happy hour for Samantha when she could bile her potatoes by the heat of that large noble fire-place. And more than that, far more wuz the thought that heat might become, in the future, as cheap as cold. That the little cold hands that freeze every winter in the big cities, could be stretched out before the big generous warmth of that noble fire-place. And who built that fire in the first place? Who laid the first sticks on the handirons, and put the match to it? Who wuz it that did it, and how did he look, and when wuz he born, and why, and where?

These, and many other thoughts of similar size and shape, filled my brane almost full enough to lift up the bunnet, that reposed gracefully on my foretop, as I stood and held the sparklin’ glass in my hands.

Sparkle! sparkle! sparkle! what wuz it, it wuz a tryin’ to say to me and couldn’t? Good land! I couldn’t tell, and Josiah couldn’t, I knew instinctively he couldn’t, though I didn’t ask him.

No, I turned and looked at that beloved man, for truly I had for the time bein’ been by the side of myself, and I see that he wuz a drinkin’ lavishly of the noble water. I see that he wuz a drinkin’ more than wuz for his good, his linement showed it, and sez I, for he wuz a liftin’ another tumbler full onto his lips, sez I, “Pause, Josiah Allen, and don’t imbibe too much.”

Taking the water

“Why,” he whispered, “you can drink all you are a mind to for 5 cents. I am bound for once, Samantha Allen, to get the worth of my money.”

And he drinked the tumbler full down at one swoller almost, and turned to the weary boy for another. He looked bad, and eager, and sez I, “How many have you drinked?”

Sez he, in a eager, animated whisper, “9.” And he whispered in the same axents, “5 times 9 is 45 ; if it had been to a fair, or Fourth of July, or anything, it would have cost me 45 cents, and if it had been to a church social - lemme see - 9 times 10 is 90. It would have cost me a dollar bill! And here I am a havin’ it all for 5 cents. Why,” sez he, “I never see the beat on’t in my life.”

And ag’in he drinked a tumbler full down, and motioned to the frightened boy for another.

But I took him by the vest and whispered to him, sez I, “Josiah Allen, do you want to die, because you can die cheap? Why,” sez I, “it will kill you to drink so much.”

“But think of the cheapness on’t Samantha! The chance I have of getting the worth of my money.”

But I whispered back to him in anxus axents and told him, that I guessed if funeral expenses wuz added to that 5 cents it wouldn’t come so cheap, and sez I, “you wont live through many more glasses, and you’ll see you wont. Why,” sez I, “you are a drowndin’ out your insides.”

He wuz fairly a gettin’ white round the mouth, and I finally got him to withdraw, though he looked back longingly at the tumblers and murmured even after I had got him to the door, that it wuz a dumb pity when anybody got a chance to get the worth of their money, which wuzn’t often, to think they couldn’t take advantage on it.

And I sez back to him in low deep axents, “There is such a thing as bein’ too graspin’, Josiah Allen.” Sez I, “The children of Israel used to want to lay up more manny than they wanted or needed, and it spilte on their hands.” And sez I, “you see if it haint jest so with you; you have been in too great haste to enrich yourself, and you’ll be sorry for it, you see if you haint.”

And he was. Though he uttered language I wouldn’t wish to repeat, about the children of Israel and about me for bringin’ of ’em up. But the man wuz dethly sick. Why he had drinked 11 tumblers full, and I trembled to think what would have follered on, and ensued, if I hadn’t interfered. As it wuz, he wuz confined to our abode for the rest of the day.

But I wouldn’t have Josiah Allen blamed more than is due for this little incedent, for it only illustrates a pervailin’ trait in men’s nater, and sometimes wimmen’s - a too great desire to amass sudden riches, and when opportunity offers, burden themselves with useless and wearysome and oft-times painful gear.

They don’t need it but seeing they have a chance to get it cheap, “dog cheap “ as the poet observes, why they weight themselves down with it, and then groan under the burden of unnecessary and wearin’ wealth. This is a deep subject, deep as the well from which my companion drinked, and nearly drinked himself into a untimely grave.

Men heap up more riches than they can enjoy and then groan and rithe under the taxes, the charity given, the envy, the noteriety, the glare, and the glitter, the crowd of fortune-hunters and greedy hangers-on, and the care and anxiety. They orniment the high front of their houses with the paint, the gildin’, the fashion, and the show of enormous wealth, and while the crowd of fashion-seekers and fortune-hunters pour in and out of the lofty doorway they set out on the back stoop a groanin’ and a sithin’ at the cares and sleepless anxietes of their big wealth, and then they git up and go down street and try their best to heap up more treasure to groan over.

And wimmen now, when wuz there ever a woman who could resist a good bargain? Her upper beauro draws may be a runnin’ over with laces and ribbons, but let her see a great bargain sold for nothin’ almost, and where is the female woman that can resist addin’ to that already too filled up beauro draw.

A baby, be he a male, or be he a female child, when he has got a appel in both hands, will try to lay holt of another, if you hold it out to him. It is human nater. Josiah must not be considered as one alone in layin’ up more riches than he needed. He suffered, and I also, for sech is the divine law of love, that if one member of the family suffers, the other members suffer also, specially when the sufferin’ member is impatient and voyalent is his distress, and talks loud and angry at them who truly are not to blame.

Now I didn’t make the springs nor I wuzn’t to blame for their bein’ discovered in the first place. But Josiah laid it to me. And though I tried to make him know that it wuz a Injun that discovered ’em first, he wouldn’t gin in and seemed to think they wouldn’t have been there if it hadn’t been for me.

I hated to hear him go on so. And in the cause of Duty, I brung up Sir William Johnson and others. But he lay there on the lounge, and kep’ his face turned resolute towards the wall, in a dretful oncomfertable position (sech wuz his temper of mind), and said, he never had heard of them, nor the springs nuther, and shouldn’t if it hadn’t been for me.

Why, sez I, “A Injun brought Sir William Johnson here on his back.”

“Wall,” sez he, cross as a bear, “that is the way you’ll have to take me back, if you go on in this way much longer.”

“In what way, Josiah?” sez I.

“Why a findin’ springs and draggin’ a man off to ’em, and makin’ him drink.”

“Why, Josiah Allen,” sez I, “I told you not to drink - don’t you remember?”

“No! I don’t remember nuthin’, nor don’t want to. I want to go to sleep!” sez he, snappish as anything, so I went out and let him think if he wanted to, that I made the Springs, and the Minerals, and the Gysers, and the Spoutin’ Rock, and everything. Good land! I knew I didn’t; but I had to rest under the unkind insinnuation. Such is some of the trials of pardners.

But Josiah waked up real clever. And I brung him up some delicate warm toast and some fragrant tea, and his smile on me wuz dretful good-natured, almost warm. And I forgot all his former petulence and basked in the rays of love and happiness that beamed on me out of the blue sky of my companion’s eyes. The clear blue sky that held two stars, to which my heart turned.

Such is some of the joys of pardners with which the world don’t meddle with, nor can’t destroy.

But to resoom. Ardelia sot down awhile in our room before she went back to her boardin’ house. I see she wuz a writin’ for she had a long lead pencil in her right hand and occasionally she would lean her forrerd down upon it, in deep thought, and before she went, she slipped the verses into my hand:


“Oh! waters that doth bubble up and spout
Oh, didst thou bubble down insted of up,
Thou couldest not with all thy minerals get out
We could not then arise and drink thee in a cup.

“Oh! human waves that float and seeth and tear
Oh wiltest thou not too a learn to bubble up
Instead of down, a lesson deep to bear,
Oh Soul, can here be learned, one smooth, or rough.

“A lesson deep of powerful min-er-als
That act with power the constitution on,[1]
And still that softly bubbles up, and tells
To souls unborn, how sweetly they have ron.

“Oh water that doth mount on slender tip,
And spoutest up some 30 feet, through pole;
Oh Hope, learn thou a lesson from the water’s lip,
Spout out, spout out, in peace from hollow soul.”

[1] As in the case of Mr. Allen, poor dear man.

Sez I, a lookin’ over my specks at Ardelia after I had finished readin’ the verses: “What does ‘ron’ mean? I never heerd of that word before, nor knew there wuz sech a one.”

Sez she, “I meant ran, but I s’pose it is a poetical license to say ‘ron,’ don’t you think so?”

“Oh, yes,” sez I, “I s’pose so, I don’t know much about licenses, nor don’t want to, they are suthin’ I never believed in. But,” sez I, for I see she looked red and overcasted by my remarks, “I don’t s’pose it will make any difference in a 100 years whether you say ran or ron.”

But sez I, “Ardelia, it is a hot day, and I wouldn’t write any more if I wuz in your place. If you should heat your bra-, the upper part of your head, you might not get over it for some time.”

“But,” sez she, “you have told me sometimes to stop on account of cold weather.”

“Wall,” sez I, “most any kind of weather is hard on some kinds of poetry.” Sez I, “Poetry is sunthin’ that takes particular kinds of folks and weather to be successful.” Sez I, “It is sunthin’ that can’t be tampered with with impunity by Christians or world’s people. It is a kind of a resky thing to do, and I wouldn’t write any more to-day, Ardelia.”

And she heard to me and after a settin’ a while with us, she went back to Mr. Pixley’s.

Samantha tastes the water

Chapter VIII.

Wall, we hadn’t been to Saratoga long before Aunt Polly Pixley came over to see us, for Aunt Polly had been as good as her word and had come to Saratoga, to her 2d cousins, the Mr. Pixley’ses, where Ardelia wuz a stopping. Ardelia herself is a distant relation to Aunt Polly, quite distant, about 40 or 50 miles distant when they are both to home.

Wall, the change in Aunt Polly is wonderful, perfectly wonderful. She don’t look like the same woman.

She took her knittin’ work and come in the forenoon, for a all day’s visit, jest as she wuz used to in the country, good old soul - and I took her right to my room and done well by her, and we talked considerable about other wimmen, not runnin’ talk, but good plain talk.

She thinks a sight of the Saratoga water, and well she may, if that is what has brung her up, for she wuz always sick in Jonesville, kinder bedrid. And when she sot out for Saratoga she had to have a piller to put on the seat behind her to sort a prop her up (hen’s feather).

And now, she told me she got up early every mornin’ and walked down to the spring for a drink of the water - walked afoot. And she sez, “It is astonishin’ how much good that water is a doin’ me; for,” sez she, “when I am to home I don’t stir out of the house from one day’s end to the other; and here,” sez she, “I set out doors all day a’most, a listenin’ to the music in the park mornin’ and evenin’ I hear every strain on’t.”

Aunt Polly is the greatest one for music I ever see, or hearn on. And I sez to her, “Don’t you believe that one great thing that is helpin’ you, is bein’ where you are kep’ gay and cheerful, - by music and good company; and bein’ out so much in the sunshine and pure air.” (Better air than Saratoga has got never wuz made; that is my opinion and Josiah’s too.) And sez I, “I lay a good deal to that air.”

“No,” she said, “it wuz the water.”

Sez I, “The water is good, I don’t make no doubts on’t.” But I continued calmly - for though I never dispute, I do most always maintain my opinion - and I sez again calmly, “There has been a great change in you for the better, sense you come here, Miss Pixley. But some on’t I lay to your bein’ where things are so much more cheerful and happyfyin’. You say you haint heerd a strain of music except a base viol for over 14 years before you come here. And though base viols if played right may be melodious, yet Sam Pixley’s base viol wuz a old one, and sort a cracked and grumbly in tone, and he wuzn’t much of a player anyway, and to me, base viols always sounded kinder base anyway.”

And sez I, “Don’t you believe a gettin’ out of your little low dark rooms, shaded by Pollard willers and grave stuns, and gettin’ out onto a place where you can heer sweet music from mornin’ till night, a liftin’ you up and makin’ you happier - don’t you believe that has sunthin’ to do with your feelin’ so much better - that and the pure sweet air of the mountains comin’ down and bein’ softened and enriched by the breath of the valley, and the minerals, makin’ a balmy atmosphere most full of balm - I lay a good deal to that.”

“Oh no,” sez she, “it is the water.”

“Yes,” sez I, in a very polite way, - I will be polite, “the water is good, first rate.”

But at that very minute, word come to her that she had company, and she sot sail homewards immegetly, and to once.

And now I don’t care anything for the last word, some wimmen do, but I don’t. But I sez to her, as I watched her a goin’ down the stairway, steppin’ out like a girl almost, sez I, “How well you do seem, Aunt Polly; and I lay a good deal on’t to that air.”

Now who would have thought she would speak out from the bottom of the stairway and say, “No, it is the water?”

Wall, the water is good, there haint no doubt, and anyway, through the water and the air, and bein’ took out of her home cares, and old surroundin’s onto a brght happy place, the change in Polly Pixley is sunthin’ to be wondered at.

Yes, the water is good. And it is dretful smart, knowin’ water too. Why, wouldn’t anybody think that when it all comes from the same place, or pretty nigh the same place anyway, that they would get kinder flustrated and mixed up once in a while?

But they don’t. These hundreds and thousands of years, and I don’t know how much longer, they have kep’ themselves separate from each other, livin’ nigh neighbors there down under the ground, but never neighborin’ with each other, or intermarryin’ in each other’s families. No, they have kep’ themselves apart, livin’ exclosive down below and bubblin’ up exclosive.

They know how to make each other keep their proper distance, and I s’pose through all the centuries to come they will bubble up, right side by side, entirely different from each other.

Curius, hain’t it? Dretful smart, knowin’ waters they be, fairly sparklin’ and flashin’ with light and brightness, and intelligence. They are for the healin’ and refreshin’ of ,the nations, and the nations are all here this summer, a bein’ healed by ’em. But still I lay a good deal to that air.

Amongst the things that Aunt Polly told me about wimmen that day, wuz this, that Ardelia Tutt had got a new Bo, Bial Flamburg, by name.

She said Mr. Flamburg had asked Ardelia’s 3d cousin to introduce him to her, and from that time his attentions to her had been unremittent, voyalent, and close. She said that to all human appearance he wuz in love with her from his hat band down to his boots and she didn’t know what the result would be, though she felt that the situation wuz dangerus, and more’n probable Abram Gee had more trouble ahead on him. (Aunt Polly jest worships Abram Gee, jest as everybody duz that gets to know him well.) And I too, felt that the situation wuz dubersome. For Ardelia I knew wuz one of the soft little wimmen that has got to have men a trailin’ round after ’em; and her bein’ so uncommon tender hearted, and Mr. Flamburg so deep in love, I feared the result.

Wall, I wuz jest a thinkin’ of this that day after dinner when Josiah proposed a walk, so we sot out. He proposed we should walk through the park, so we did. The air wuz heavenly sweet and that park is one of the most restful and beautiful places this side of Heaven, or so it seemed to us that pleasant afternoon. The music was very soft and sweet that day, sweet with a undertone of sadness, some like a great sorrowful soul in a beautiful body.

The balmy south wind whispered through the branches of the bendin’ trees on the hill where we sot. The light was a shinin’ and a siftin’ down through the green leaves, in a soft golden haze, and the music seemed to go right up into them shadowy, shinin’ pathways of golden misty light, a climbin’ up on them shadowy steps of mist and gold, and amber, up, up into the soft depths of the blue overhead - up to the abode of melody and love.

Down the hill in the beautiful little valley, all amongst the fountains and windin’ walks and white statutes, and green, green, grass, little children wuz a playin’. Sweet little toddlers, jest able to walk about, and bolder spirits, though small, a trudgin’ about with little canes, and jumpin’ round, and havin’ a good time.

Little boys and little girls (beautiful creeters, the hull on ’em), for if their faces, every one on ’em, wuzn’t jest perfect! They all had the beauty of childhood and happiness. And crowds of older folks wuz there. And some happy young couples, youths and maidens, wuz a settin’ round, and a wanderin’ off by themselves, and amongst them we see the form of Ardelia, and a young man by her side.

She wuz a leanin’ on the stun railin’ that fences in the trout pond. She wuz evidently a lookin’ down pensively at the shinin’ dartin’ figures of the trout, a movin’ round down in the cool waters.

I wuzn’t nigh enough to ’em to see really how her companion looked, but even at that distance I recognized a certain air and atmosphere a surroundin’ Ardelia that I knew meant poetry.

And Josiah recognized it too, and he sez to me, “We may as well go round the hill and out to the road that way,” sez he, (a pointin’ to the way furthest from Ardelia) “and we may as well be a goin’.”

That man abhors poetry.

Wall, we wandered down into the high way and havin’ most the hull afternoon before us, we kinder sauntered round amongst the stores that wuz pretty nigh to where we wuz. There is some likely good lookin’ stores kep’ by the natives, as they call the stiddy dwellers in Saratoga. Good lookin’ respectable stores full of comfort and consolation, for the outer or inner man or woman. (I speak it in a mortal sense).

But with the hundred thousand summer dwellers, who flock here with the summer birds, and go out before the swallers go south, there comes lots of summer stores, and summer shops, and picture studios, etc., etc. Like big summer bird’s-nests, all full and a runnin’ over with summer wealth, to be blowed down by the autumn winds. These shops are full of everything elegant and beautiful and useful. The most gorgeous vases and plaks and chiner ware of every description and color, and books, and jewelry, and rugs, and fans, and parasols, and embroideries, and laces, and etc., etc., etc.

And one shop seemed to be jest full of drops of light, light and sunshine, crystalized in golden, clear, tinted amber. There wuz a young female statute a standin’ up in the winder of that store with her hands outstretched and jest a drippin’ with the great glowin’ amber drops. Some wuz a hangin’ over her wings for she was a young flyin’ female. And I thought to myself it must be she would fly better with all that golden light a drippin’ about her.

Josiah liked her looks first rate. And he liked the looks of some of the pictures extremely. There wuz lots of places all full of pictures. A big collection of water colors, though as Josiah said and well said, How they could get so many colors out of water wuz a mystery to him.

But my choice out of all the pictures I see, wuz a little one called “The Sands of Dee.” It wuz “Mary a callin’ the cattle home.” The cruel treacherus water wuz a risin’ about her round bare ankles as she stood there amongst the rushes with her little milk-bucket on her arm.

Her pretty innocent face wuz a lookin’ off into the shadows, and the last ray of sunset was a fallin’ on her. Maybe it wuz the pity on’t that struck so hard as I looked at it, to know that the “cruel, crawli’n foam” wuz so soon to creep over the sweet young face and round limbs. And there seemed to be a shadow of the comin’ fate, a sweepin’ in on the gray mist behind her.

I stood for some time, and I don’t know but longer, a lookin’ at it, my Josiah a standin’ placidly behind me, a lookin’ over my shoulder and enjoyin’ of it too, till the price wuz mentioned. But at that fearful moment, my pardner seized me by the arm, and walked me so voyalently out of that store and down the walk that I did not find and recover myself till we stood at the entrance to Philey street.

At the art gallery

And I wuz so out of breath, by his powerful speed, that she didn’t look nateral to me, I hardly recognized Philey. But Josiah hurried me down Philey and wanted to get my mind offen Mary Dee I knew, for he says as we come under a sign hangin’ down over the road, “Horse Exchange,” sez he, “What do you say, Samantha, do you spose I could change off the old mair, for a camel or sunthin’? How would you like a camel to ride?”

I looked at him in speechless witherin’ silence, and he went on hurridly, “It would make a great show in Jonesville, wouldn’t it, to see us comin’ to meetin’ on a camel, or to see us ridin’ in a cutter drawed by one. I guess I’ll see about it, some other time.”

And he went on hurridly, and almost incoherently as we see another sign, over the road - oh! how vollubly he did talk - “Quick, Livery.”

“I hate to see folks so dumb conceeted! Now I don’t spose that man has got any hosses much faster than the old mair.”

“‘Wing’s!’ Shaw! I don’t believe no such thing - a livery on wings. I don’t believe a word on’t. And you wouldn’t ketch me on one on ’em, if they had!”

“‘Yet Sing!’” sez he, a lookin’ accost the street into a laundry house. “What do I care if you do sing? ’Taint of much account if you do any way. I sing sometimes, I yet sing,” says he.

Sing,” sez I in neerly witherin’ tone. “I’d love to hear you sing, I haint yet and I’ve lived with you agoin’ on 30 years.”

“Wall, if you haint heerd me, it is because you are deef,” sez he.

But that is jest the way he kep’ on, a hurryin’ me along, and a talkin’ fast to try to get the price of that picture out of my head. Anon, and sometimes oftener, we would come to the word in big letters on signs, or on the fence, or the sides of barns, “Pray.” And sometimes it would read, “Pray for my wife!” And Josiah every time he came to the words would stop and reflect on ’em.

“‘Pray!’ What business is it of yourn, whether I pray or not? ‘Pray for my wife!’ That haint none of your business.”

Sez he, a shakin’ his fist at the fence, “’Taint likely I should have a wife without prayin’ for her. She needs it bad enough,” sez he once, as he stood lookin’ at it.

I gin him a strange look, and he sez, “You wouldn’t like it, would you, if I didn’t pray for you?”

“No,” sez I, “and truly as you say, the woman who is your wife needs prayer, she needs help, morn half the time she duz.”

He looked kinder dissatisfied at the way I turned it, but he sez, “‘Plumbin’ done here!’”

“I’d love to know where they are goin’ to plum. I don’t see no sign of plum trees, nor no stick to knock ’em off with.” And agin he sez, “You would make a great ‘fuss, Samantha, if I should say what is painted up right there on that cross piece. You would say I wuz a swearin’.”

Sez I coldly, (or as cold as I could with my blood heated by the voyalence and rapidity of the walk he had been a leadin’ me,) “There is a Van in front of it. Van Dam haint swearin’.”

“You would say it wuz if I used it,” sez he reproachfully. “If I should fall down on the ice, or stub my toe, and trip up on the meetin’ house steps, and I should happen to mention the name of that street about the same time, you would say I wuz a swearin’.”

I did not reply to him; I wouldn’t. And ag’in he hurried me on’ards by some good lookin’ bildin’s, and trees, and tavrens, and cottages, and etc., etc., and we come to Caroline street, and Jane, and Matilda, and lots of wimmen’s names.

And Josiah sez, “I’ll bet the man that named them streets wuz love sick!”

But he wuzn’t no such thing. It was a father that owned the land, and laid out the streets, and named ’em for his daughters. Good old creeter! I wuzn’t goin’ to have him run at this late day, and run down his own streets too.

But ag’in Josiah hurried me on’ards. And bimeby we found ourselves a standin’ in front of a kind of a lonesome lookin’ house, big and square, with tall pillows in front. It wuz a standin’ back as if it wuz a kinder a drawin’ back from company, in a square yard all dark and shady with tall trees. And it all looked kinder dusky, and solemn like. And a bystander a standin’ by told us that it wuz “ha’nted.”

The haunted house

Josiah pawed at it, and shawed at the idee of a gost.

But I sez, “There! that is the only thing Saratoga lacked to make her perfectly interestin’, and that is a gost!”

But agin Josiah pawed at the idee, and sez, “There never wuz such a thing as a gost! and never will be.” And sez he, “what an extraordenary idiot anybody must be to believe in any sech thing.” And ag’in he looked very skernful and high-headed, and once ag’in he shawed.

And I kep’ pretty middlin’ calm and serene and asked the bystander, when the gost ha’nted, and where?

And he said, it opened doors and blowed out lights mostly, and trampled up stairs.

“Openin’, and blowin’, and tramplin’,” sez I dreamily.

“Yes,” sez the man, “that’s what it duz.”

And agin Josiah shawed loud. And agin I kep’ calm, and sez I, “I’d give a cent to see it.” And sez I, “Do you suppose it would blow out and trample if we should go in?”

But Josiah grasped holt of my arm and sez, “’Taint safe! my dear Samantha! don’t le’s go near the house.”

“Why? “ sez I coldly, “you say there haint no sech thing as a gost, what are you afraid on?”

His teeth wuz fairly chatterin’. “Oh! there might be spiders there, or mice, it haint best to go.”

I turned silently round and started on, for my companion’s looks was pitiful in the extreme. But I merely observed this, as we wended onwards, “I have always noticed this, Josiah Allen, that them that shaw the most at sech things, are the ones whose teeth chatter when they come a nigh ’em, showin’ plain that the shawers are really the ones that believe in ’em.”

“My teeth chattered,” sez he, “because my gooms ache.”

“Well,” sez I, “the leest said the soonest mended.” And we went on fast ag’in by big houses and little, and boardin’ houses, and boardin’ houses, and boardin’ houses, and tavrens, and tavrens, and he kept me a walkin’ till my feet wuz most blistered.

I see what his aim wuz; I had recognized it all the hull time.

But as we went up the stairway into our room, perfectly tuckered out, both on us, I sez to him, in weary axents, “That picture wuz cheap enough, for the money, wuzn’t it?”

He groaned aloud. And sech is my love for that man, that the minute I heard that groan I immegetly added, “Though I hadn’t no idee of buyin’ it, Josiah.”

Immegetly he smiled warmly, and wuz very affectionate in his demeener to me for as much as two hours and a half. Sech is the might of human love.

His hurryin’ me over them swelterin’ and blisterin’ streets, and showin’ me all the beauty and glory of the world, and his conversation had no effect, skercely on my mind. But what them hours of frenzied effert could not accomplish, that one still, small groan did. I love that man. I almost worship him, and he me, vise versey, and the same.

We found that Ardelia Tutt had been to see us in our absence. She had been into our room I see, for she had dropped one of her mits there. And the chambermaid said she had been in and waited for us quite a spell - the young man a waitin’ below on the piazza, so I s’posed.

I expect Ardelia wanted to show him off to us and I myself wuz quite anxus to see him, feelin’ worried and oncomfertable about Abram Gee and wantin’ to see if this young chap wuz anywhere nigh as good as Abram.

Well about a hour after we came back, Josiah missed his glasses he reads with. And we looked all over the house for ’em, and under the bed, and on the ceilin’, and through our trunks and bandboxes, and all our pockets, and in the Bible, and Josiah’s boots, and everywhere. And finely, after givin’ ’em up as lost, the idee come to us that they might possibly have ketched on the fringe of Ardelia’s shawl, and so rode home with her on it.

So we sent one of the office-boys home with her mit and asked her if she had seen Josiah’s glasses. And word come back by the boy that she hadn’t seen ’em, and she sent word to me to look on my pardner’s head for ’em, and sure enough there we found ’em, right on his foretop, to both of our surprises.

She sent also by the boy a poem she had wrote that afternoon, and sent word how sorry she wuz I wuzn’t to home to see Mr. Flamburg. But I see him only a day or two after that, and I didn’t like his looks a mite.

But he said, and stuck to it, that his father owned a large bank, that he wuz a banker, and a doin’ a heavy business.

Wall, that raised him dretfully in Ardelia’s eyes; she owned up to me that it did. She owned to me that she lead always thought she would love to be a Banker’s Bride. She thought it sounded rich. She said, “banker sounded so different from baker.”

I sez to her coolly, that “it wuz only a difference of one letter, and I never wuz much of a one to put the letter N above any of the others, or to be haughty on havin’ it added to, or diminished from my name.”

But she kep’ on a goin’ with him. She told me it wuz real romanticle the way he got aquanted with her. He see her onbeknown to her one day, when she wuz a writin’ a poem on one of the benches in the park.

“A Poem on a Bench!”

She wuz a settin’ on the bench, and a writin’ about it, she was a writin’ on the bench in two different ways. Curius, haint it?

But to resoom. He immegetly fell in love with her. And he got a feller who wuz a boardin’ to his boardin’ place to interduce him to Ardelia’s relative, Mr. Pixley, and Mr. Pixley interduced him to Ardelia. He told Ardelia’s relatives the same story - That his father wuz a banker, that he owned a bank and wuz doin’ a heavy business.

Wall, I watched that young chap, and watched him close, and I see there wuz one thing about him that could be depended on, he wuz truthful.

He seemed almost morbid on the subject, and would dispute himself half a hour, to get a thing or a story he wuz tellin’ jest exactly right. But he drinked; that I know for I know the symptoms. Coffee can’t blind the eyes of her that waz once Smith, nor peppermint cast a mist before ’em. My nose could have took its oath, if noses wuz ever put onto a bar of Justice - my nose would have gin its firm testimony that Bial Flamburg drinked.

And there wuz that sort of a air about him, that I can’t describe exactly - a sort of a half offish, half familier and wholly disagreeable mean, that can be onderstood but not described. No, you can’t picture that liniment, but you can be affected by it. Wall, Bial had it.

And I kep’ on a not likin’ him, and kep’ stiddy onwards a likin’ Abram Gee. I couldn’t help it, nor did’nt want to. And I looked out constant to ketch him in some big story that would break him right down in Ardelia’s eyes, for I knew if she had been brought up on any one commandment more’n another, it wuz the one ag’inst lyin’. She hated lyin’.

She had been brought up on the hull of the commandments but on that one in particeler; she wuz brung up sharp but good. But not one lie could I ketch him in. And he stuck to it, that his father wuz a banker and doin’ a heavy business.

Wall, it kep’ on, she a goin’ with him through ambition, for I see plain, by signs I knoo, that she didn’t love him half as well as she did Abram. And I felt bad, dretful bad, to set still and see Ambition ondoin’ of her. For oft and oft she would speak to me of Bial’s father’s bank and the heft of the business he wuz a doin’.

And I finally got so worked up in my mind that I gin a sly hint to Abram Gee, that if he ever wanted to get Ardelia Tutt, he had better make a summer trip to Saratoga. I never told Ardelia what I had done, but trusted to a overrulin’ destiny, that seems to enrap babys, and lunatiks, and soft little wimmen, when their heads get kinder turned by a man, and to Abram’s honest face when she should compare it with Bial Flamburg’s, and to Abram’s pure, sweet breath with that mixture of stale cigars, tobacco, beer, and peppermint.

But Abram wrote back to me that his mother wuz a lyin’ at the p’int of death with a fever - that his sister Susan wuz sick a bed with the same fever and couldn’t come a nigh her and he couldn’t leave what might be his mother’s death-bed. And he sez, if Ardelia had forgot him in so short a time, mebby it wuz the best thing he could do, to try and forget her. Anyway, he wouldn’t leave his dying mother for anything or anybody.

That wuz Abram Gee all over, a doin’ his duty every time by bread and humanity. But he added a postscript and it wuz wrote in a agitated hand - that jest as soon as his mother got so he could leave her, he should come to Saratoga.

The verses that Ardelia sent over to me wuz as follers:


“Oh trout, sweet female trout, oh fain would I
In hottest day, perspirin’ dretfelee
Desend, and dressed most cool like thee, would lie
As deep in water, some two feet, or three
Or even four.

“Who would not dress like thee on summer day?
How cool thy robes—lo! not one boddice waist
Or corset stay, to make thee taper small.
Thou taperest without them, and not then with haste,
Or Bandaline.

“Thou crimpest not, or bangest up thy hair;
Thou hast no hair to bang, sweet trout so dear,
Thou dost not dance round dances, nor repair
Unto the thronged piazzas, nor appear,
Sweet modest trout.

“In long and haughty trains thou never dost appear
And switch them up and down the corredere and hall
With diamond jewels hanging to thy ear;
Thou hast not ears to hang them on, no! not at all.
No, not one ear.

“Thou walkest not in high heeled shoes, thou cannest not
For reesons it were vain to now relate.
Ah no! But let us cast one eye adown thy grot
And see thee sweet and patient wear thy fate,
And wear it well.

“At Garden parties, Race Course, Music Hall,
We ne’er have set our weary eyes thy form upon;
Thou dost not ramble in the crowded maul,
Thou hast no legs sweet trout to ramble on;
Ah! no! dear one.

“And so thou seemest well content to saunter not,
Or waltz about in garments fine and gay;
Oh. Mortal Man! a lesson learn of Trout
If thou no legs hast got, why seek to waltz away,
Or promenade?

“And, beautius female, learn thou of dear trout
So move and swim in thine own native way;
Seek not high stations, titles great, and flout
Not thou at fate, but gently swim away
On native waves.

“Cool blooded hold thy heart, like female trout;
Melt not at sweet, false words, that melt and seeth and burn;
She melteth not, oh no! she cooly turns about
And nibbles on, so thou, and follow on
Sweet female one.”

Chapter IX.

They say there is a sight of flirtin’ done at Saratoga. I didn’t hear so much about it as Josiah did, naturally there are things that are talked of more amongst men than women. Night after night he would come home and tell me how fashionable it wuz, and pretty soon I could see that he kinder wanted to follow the fashion.

I told him from the first on’t that he’d better let it entirely alone. Says I, “Josiah Allen, you wouldn’t never carry it through successful if you should undertake it—and then think of the wickedness on’t.”

But he seemed sot. He said “it wuz more fashionable amongst married men and wimmen, than the more single ones,” he said “it wuz dretful fashionable amongst pardners.”

“Wall,” says I, “I shall have, nothin’ to do with it, and I advise you, if you know when you are well off, to let it entirely alone.”

“Of course,” says he, fiercely, “You needn’t have nothin’ to do with it. It is nothin’ you would want to foller up. And I would ruther see you sunk into the ground, or be sunk myself, than to see you goin’ into it. Why,” says he, savagely, “I would tear a man lim from lim, if I see him a tryin’ to flirt with you.” (Josiah Allen worships me.) “But,” says he, more placider like, “men have to do things sometimes, that they know is too hard for their pardners to do—men sometimes feel called upon to do things that their pardners don’t care about—that they haint strong enough to tackle. Wimmen are fragile creeters anyway.”

No flirting

“Oh, the fallacy of them arguments—and the weakness of ’em.

But I didn’t say nothin’ only to reiterate my utterance, that “if he went into it, he would have to foller it up alone, that he musn’t expect any help from me.”

“Oh no!” says he. “Oh! certainly not.”

His tone wuz very genteel, but there seemed to be sumthin’ strange in it. And I looked at him pityin’ly over my specks. The hull idea on it wuz extremely distasteful to me, this talk about flirtin’, and etc., at our ages, and with our stations in the Jonesville meetin’ house, and with our grandchildren.

But I see from day to day that he wuz a hankerin’ after it, and I almost made up my mind that I should have to let him make a trial, knowin’ that experience wuz the best teacher, and knowin’ that his morals wuz sound, and he wuz devoted to me, and only went into the enterprize because he thought it wuz fashionable.

There wuz a young English girl a boardin’ to the same place we did. She dressed some like a young man, carried a cane, etc. But she wuz one of the upper 10, and wuz as pretty as a picture, and I see Josiah had kinder sot his eyes on her as bein’ a good one to try his experiment with. He thought she wuz beautiful. But good land! I didn’t care. I liked her myself. But I could see, though he couldn’t see it, that she wuz one of the girls who would flirt with the town pump, or the meetin’ house steeple, if she couldn’t get nobody else to flirt with. She wuz born so, but I suppose ontirely unbeknown to her when she wuz born.

Wall, Josiah Allen would set and look at her by the hour—dretful admirin’. But good land! I didn’t care. I loved to look at her myself. And then too I had this feelin’ that his morals wuz sound. But after awhile, I could see, and couldn’t help seein’, that he wuz a tryin’ in his feeble way to flirt with her. And I told him kindly, but firmly, “that it wuz somethin’ that I hated to see a goin’ on.”

Josiah admires

But he says, “Well, dumb it all, Samantha, if anybody goes to a fashionable place, they ort to try to be fashionable. ’Taint nothin’ I want to do, and you ort to know it.”

And I says in pityin’ axents but firm, “If you don’t want to, Josiah, I wouldn’t, fashion or no fashion.”

But I see I couldn’t convince him, and there happened to be a skercity of men jest then—and he kep’ it up, and it kep’ me on the key veav, as Maggie says, when she is on the tenter hooks of suspense.

I felt bad to see it go on, not that I wuz jealous, no, my foretop lay smooth from day to day, not a jealous hair in it, not one—but I felt sorry for my companion. I see that while the endurin’ of it wuz hard and tejus for him (for truly he was not a addep at the business; it come tuff, feerful tuff on him), the endin’ wuz sure to be harder. And I tried to convince him, from a sense of duty, that she wuz makin’ fun of him—he had told me lots of the pretty things she had said to him—and out of principle I told him that she didn’t mean one word of ’em. But I couldn’t convince him, and as is the way of pardners, after I had sot the reasen and the sense before him, and he wouldn’t hear to me, why then I had to set down and bear it. Such is some of the trials of pardners?

Wall, it kep’ agoin’ on, and a goin’ on, and I kep’ a hatin’ to see it, for if anybody has got to flirt, which I am far from approvin’ of, but if I have got to see it a goin’ on, I would fain see it well done, and Josiah’s efforts to flirt wuz like an effort of our old mair to play a tune on the melodian, no grace in it, no system, nor comfort to him, nor me.

I s’pose the girl got some fun out of it; I hope she did, for if she didn’t it wuz a wearisome job all round.

Wall, a week or so rolled on, and it wuz still in progress. And one day an old friend of ours, Miss Ezra Balch, from the east part of Jonesville, come to see me. She come to Saratoga for the rheumatiz, and wuz gettin’ well fast, and Ezra was gettin’ entirely cured of biles, for which he had come, carbunkles.

Wall, she invited Josiah and me to take a ride with ’em, and we both accepted of it, and at the appointed time I wuz ready to the minute, down on the piazza, with my brown cotton gloves on, and my mantilly hung gracefully over my arm. But at the last minute, Josiah Allen said “he couldn’t go.”

I says “Why can’t you go?”

“Oh,” he says, kinder drawin’ up his collar, and smoothin’ down his vest, “Oh, I have got another engagement.”

He looked real high-headed, and I says to him:

“Josiah Allen didn’t you promise Druzilla Balch that you would go with her and Ezra to-day?”

“Wall yes,” says he, “but I can’t.”

“Why not?” says I.

“Wall, Samantha, though they are well meanin’, good people, they haint what you may call fashionable, they haint the upper 10.”

Says I, “Josiah Allen you have fell over 15 cents in my estimation, sense we have begun talkin’, you won’t go with ’em because they haint fashionable. They are good, honest Christian Methodists, and have stood by you and me many a time, in times of trouble, and now,” says I, “you turn against ’em because they haint fashionable.” Says I, “Josiah Allen where do you think you’ll go to?”

“Oh, probable down through Congress Park, and we may walk up as fur as the Indian Encampment. I feel kinder mauger to-day, and my corns ache feerful.” (His boots wuz that small that they wuz sights to behold, sights!) “We probably shan’t walk fur,” says he.

I see how ’twuze in a minute. That English girl had asked him to walk with her, and my pardner had broken a solemn engagement with Ezra and Druzilla Balch to go a walkin’ with her. I see how ’twuz, but I sot in silence and one of the big rockin’ chairs, and didn’t say nothin’.

Finally he says, with a sort of a anxious look onto his foreward:

“You don’t feel bad, do you Samantha? You haint jealous, are you?”

“Jealous!” says I, a lookin’ him calmly over from head to feet—it wuz a witherin’ look, and yet pitiful, that took in the hull body and soul, and weighed ’em in the balances of common sense, and pity, and justice. It wuz a look that seemed to envelop him all to one time, and took him all in, his bald head, his vest, and his boots, and his mind (what he had), and his efforts to be fashionable, and his trials and tribulations at it, and—and everything. I give him that one long look, and then I says:

“Jealous? No, I haint jealous.”

Then silence rained again about us, and Josiah spoke out (his conscience was a troublin’ him), and he says:

“You know in fashionable life, Samantha, you have to do things which seem unkind, and Ezra, though a good, worthy man, can’t understand these things as I do.”

Says I: “Josiah Allen, you’ll see the day that you’ll be sorry for your treatment of Druzilla Balch, and Ezra.”

“Oh wall,” says he, pullin’ up his collar, “I’m bound to be fashionable. While I can go with the upper 10, it is my duty and my privilege to go with ’em, and not mingle in the lower classes like the Balches.”

Says I firmly, “You look out, or some of them 10 will be the death of you, and you may see the day that you will be glad to leave ’em, the hull 10 of em, and go back to Druzilla and Ezra Balch.”

But what more words might have passed between us, wuz cut short by the arrival of Ezra and Druzilla in a good big carriage, with Miss Balch on the back seat, and Ezra acrost from her, and a man up in front a drivin’. It wuz a good lookin’ sight, and I hastened down the steps, Josiah disappearin’ inside jest as quick as he ketched sight of their heads.

They asked me anxiously “where Josiah wuz and why he didn’t come?” And I told ’em, “that Josiah had told me that mornin’ that he felt manger, and he had some corns that wuz a achin’.”

So much wuz truth, and I told it, and then moved off the subject, and they seein’ my looks, didn’t pursue it any further. They proposed to go back to their boardin’ place, and take in Deacon Balch, Ezra’s brother from Chicago, who wuz stayin’ there a few days to recooperate his energies, and get help for tizick. So they did. He wuz a widowed man. Yes, he was the widower of Cornelia Balch who I used to know well, a good lookin’ and a good actin’ man. And he seemed to like my appeerance pretty well, though I am fur from bein’ the one that ort to say it.

And as we rolled on over the broad beautiful road towards Saratoga Lake, I begun to feel better in my mind.

The Deacon wuz edifyin’ in conversation, and he thought, and said, “that my mind was the heftiest one that he had ever met, and he had met hundreds and hundreds of ’em.” He meant it, you could see that, he meant every word he said. And it wuz kind of comfortin’ to hear the Deacon say so, for I respected the Deacon, and I knew he meant just what he said.

He said, and believed, though it haint so, but the Deacon believed it, “that I looked younger than I did the day I wuz married.”

I told him “I didn’t feel so young.”

“Wall,” he said, “then my looks deceived me, for I looked as young, if not younger.”

Deacon Balch is a good, kind, Christian man.

His conversation was very edifyin’, and he looked kinder good, and warm-hearted at me out of his eyes, which wuz blue, some the color of my Josiah’s. But alas! I felt that though some comforted and edified by his talk, still, my heart was not there, not there in that double buggy with 2 seats, but wuz afur off with my pardner. I felt that Josiah Allen wuz a carryin’ my heart with him wherever he wuz a goin’. Curious, haint it? Now you may set and smile, and talk, and seem to be enjoyin’ yourself first-rate, with agreeable personages all around you, and you do enjoy yourself with that part of your nater. But with it all, down deep under the laughs, and the bright words, the comfort you get out of the answerin’ laughs, the gay talk, under it all is the steady consciousness that the real self is fur away, the heart, the soul is fur away, held by some creeter whether he be high, or whether he be low, it don’t matter—there your heart is, a goin’ towards happiness, or a travellin’ towards pain as the case may be—curious, haint it?

Wall, Ezra and Druzilla wanted to go to the Sulphur Springs way beyend Saratoga Lake, and as the Deacon wuz agreeable, and I also, we sot out for it, though, as we all said, it wuz goin’ to be a pretty long and tegus journey for a hot day. But we went along the broad, beautiful highway, by the high, handsome gates of the Racing Park, down, down, by handsome houses and shady woods, and fields of bright-colored wild flowers on each side of the road, down to the beautiful lake, acrost it over the long bridge, and then into the long, cool shadows of the bendin’ trees that bend over the road on each side, while through the green boughs, jest at our side we could ketch a sight of the blue, peaceful waters, a lyin’ calm and beautiful jest by the side of us—on, on, through the long, sheltered pathway, out into the sunshine for a spell, with peaceful fields a layin’ about us, and peaceful cattle a wanderin’ over ’em, and then into the shade agin, till at last we see a beautiful mountin’, with its head held kinder high, crowned with ferns and hemlocks, and its feet washed by the cool water of the beautiful lake.

The shadows of this mountin’, tree crowned, lay on the smooth, placid wave, and a white sail boat wuz a comin’ round the side on’t, and floatin’ over the green, crystal branches, and golden shadows. It wuz a fair seen, seen for a moment, and then away we went into the green shadows of the woods again, round a corner, and here we wuz, at the Sulphur Springs.

It wuz a quiet peaceful spot. The house looked pleasant, and so did the Landlord, and Landlady, and we dismounted and walked through a long clean hall, and went out onto a back piazza and sot down. And I thought as I sot there, that I would be glad enough to set there, for some time. Everything looked so quiet and serene. The paths leadin’ up the hills in different directions, out into the green woods, looked quiet; the pretty, grassy backyard leadin’ down to the water side looked green and peaceable, and around all, and beyond all, wuz the glory of the waters. They lay stretched out beautiful and in heavenly calm, and the sun, which wuz low in the West, made a gold path acrost ’em, where it seemed as if one could walk over only a little ways, into Perfect Repose. The Lake somehow looked like a glowin’ pavement, it didn’t look like water, but it seemed like broad fields of azure and palest lavender, and pinky grey, and pearly white, and every soft and delicate color that water could be crystalized into. And over all lay the glowin’, tender sunset skies—it wuz a fair seen. And even as I looked on in a almost rapped way, the sun come out from behind a soft cloud, and lay on the water like a pillow of fire jest as I dream that pillow did, that went ahead of my old 4 fathers.

The rest on ’em seemed to be more intent on the lemonade with 2 straws in ’em. I didn’t make no fuss. They are nice, clean folks, I make no doubt. I wouldn’t make no fuss and tell on the hired man—women of the house have enough to worry ’em anyway. But he had dropped some straws into our tumblers, every one on ’em, I dare presume to say they had been a fillin’ straw ticks. I jest took mine out in a quiet way, and throwed ’em to one side. The rest on ’em, I see, and it wuz real good in ’em, drinked through ’em, as we used to at school. It wuz real good in Druzilla, and Ezra, and also in the Deacon. It kinder ondeared the hull on ’em to me. I hope this won’t be told of, it orto be kep—for he wuz a goodnatured lookin’ hired man, black, but not to blame for that—and good land! what is a straw?—anyway they wuz clean.

There wuz some tents sot up there in the back yard, lookin’ some as I s’pose our old 4 fathers tents did, in the pleasant summer times of old. And I asked a bystander a standin’ by, whose tents they wuz, and he said they wuz Free Thinkers havin’ a convention.

And I says, “How free?”

And he said “they wuz great cases to doubt everything, they doubted whether they wuz or not, and if they wuz or when, and if so, why?”

And he says, “won’t you stay to-night over and attend the meetin’?”

And I says, “What are they goin’ to teach tonight?”

And he says, “The Whyness of the What”

I says, “I guess that is too deep a subject for me to tackle,” and says I, “Don’t they believe anything easier than that?”

And he says, “They don’t believe anything. That is their belief—to believe nothin’.”

“Nothin’!” says I.

“Yes,” says he, “Nothin’.” And, says he, “to-morrer they are goin’ to prove beyond any question, that there haint any God, nor anything, and never wuz anything.”

“Be they?” sez I.

“Yes,” says he, “and won’t you come and be convinced?”

I looked off onto the peaceful waters, onto the hills that lay as the mountains did about Jerusalem, onto the pillow of fire that seemed to hold in it the flames of that light that had lighted the old world onto the mornin’ of the new day,—and one star had come out, and stood tremblin’ over the brow of the mountain and I thought of that star that had riz so long time ago, and had guided the three wise men, guided ’em jest alike from their three different homes, entirely unbeknown to each other, guidin’ ’em to the cradle where lay the infant Redeemer of the world, so long foretold by bard and prophet. I looked out onto the heavenly glory of the day, and then inside into my heart, that held a faith jest as bright and undyin’ as the light of that star—and I says, “No, I guess I won’t go and be convinced.”

Wall, we riz up to go most immediately afterwerds, and the Deacon (he is very smart) observed:

“How highly tickled and even highlarious the man seemed in talkin’ about there not bein’ any future.” And he says, “It wuz a good deal like a man laughin’ and clappin’ his hands to see his house burn down”

And I sez, “it wuz far wurse, for his home wouldn’t stand more’n a 100 years or so, and this home he wuz a tryin’ to destroy, wuz one that would last through eternity.” “But,” says I, “it hain’t built by hands, and I guess their hands hain’t strong enough to tear it down, nor high enough to set fire to it.”

And the Deacon says, “Jest so, Miss Allen, you spoke truthfully, and eloquent.” (The Deacon is very smart.)

When we got into the buggy to start, the Deacon says, “I would like to resoom the conversation with you, Josiah Allen’s wife, a goin’ back.”

And Druzilla spoke right out and says, “I will set on the front seat by Ezra.” I says, “Oh no, Druzilla, I can hear the Deacon from where I sot before.”

But the Deacon says, Talkin’ loud towards night always offected his voice onpleasantly, mebby Druzilla and he had better change seats.

Again I demurred. And then Druzilla said she must set by Ezra, she wanted to tell him sumthin’ in confidence.

And so it wuz arraigned, for I felt that I wuz not the one to come between pardners, no indeed. The road laid peacefuller and beautifuller than ever, or so it seemed under the sunset glory that sort o’ hung round it. Jest about half way through the woods we met the English girl, a stridin’ along alone, each step more’n 3 feet long, or so it seemed to me. There wuz a look of health, and happy determination on her forwerd as she strided rapidly by.

I would have fain questioned her concernin’ my pardner, as she strode by, but before I could call out, or begon to her she wuz far in the rearwerd, and goin’ in a full pressure and in a knot of several miles an hour.

Wall, from that minute I felt strange and curious. And though Druzilla and Ezra was agreeable and the Deacon edifyin’, I didn’t seem to feel edified, and the most warm-hearted looks didn’t seem to warm my heart none, it wuz oppressed with gloomy forebodings of, Where wuz my pardner? They had laid out to set out together. Had they sot? This question was a goverin’ me, and the follerin’ one: If they had sot out together, where wuz my pardner, Josiah Allen, now? As I thought these feerful thoughts, instinctively I turned around to see if I could see a trace of his companion in the distance. Yes, I could ketch a faint glimpse of her as she wuz mountin’ a diclivity, and stood for an instant in sight, but long before even, she disopeered agin, for her gait wuz tremendous, and at a rate of a good many knots she wuz a goin’, that I knew. And the fearful thought would rise, Josiah Allen could not go more than half a knot, if he could that. He wuz a slow predestinatur any way, and then his corns was feerful, and never could be told—and his boots had in ’em the elements of feerful sufferin’. It wuz all he could do when he had ’em on to hobble down to the spring, and post-office. Where? where wuz he? And she a goin’ at the rate of so many knots.

Oh! the agony of them several minutes, while these thoughts wuz rampagin through my destracted brain.

Oh! if pardners only knew the agony they bring onto their devoted companions, by their onguarded and thoughtless acts, and attentions to other females, gin without proper reseerch and precautions, it would draw their liniments down into expressions of shame and remorse. Josiah wouldn’t have gone with her if he had known the number of knots she wuz a goin’, no, not one step—then why couldn’t he have found out the number of them knots—why couldn’t he? Why can’t pardners look ahead and see to where their gay attentions, their flirtations that they call mild and innercent, will lead ’em to? Why can’t they realize that it haint only themselves they are injurin’, but them that are bound to ’em by the most sacred ties that folks can be twisted up in? Why can’t they realize that a end must come to it, and it may be a fearful and a shameful one, and if it is a happiness that stops, it will leave in the heart when happiness gets out, a emptiness, a holler place, where like as not onhappiness will get in, and mebby stay there for some time, gaulin’ and heart-breakin’ to the opposite pardner to see it go on?

If it is indifference, or fashion, or anything of that sort, why it don’t pay none of the time, it don’t seem to me it duz, and the end will be emptier and hollerer then the beginnin’.

In the case of my pardner it wuz fashion, nothing but the butterfly of fashion he wuz after, to act in a high-toned, fashionable manner, like other fashionable men. And jest see the end on’t why he had brought sufferin’ of the deepest dye onto his companion, and what, what hed he brought onto himself—onto his feet?

Oh! the agony of them several moments while them thoughts was a rackin’ at me. The moments swelled out into a half hour, it must have been a long half hour, before I see far ahead, for the eyes of love is keen - a form a settin’ on the grass by the wayside, that I recognized as the form of my pardner. As we drew nearer we all recognized the figure—but Josiah Allen didn’t seem to notice us. His boots was off, and his stockin’s, and even in that first look I could see the agony that was a rendin’ them toes almost to burstin’. Oh, how sorry I felt for them toes! He was a restin’ in a most dejected and melancholy manner on his hand, as if it wuz more than sufferin’ that ailed him—he looked a sufferer from remorse, and regret, and also had the air of one whom mortification has stricken.

He never seemed to sense a thing that wuz passin’ by him, till the driver pulled up his horses clost by him, and then he looked up and see us. And far be it from me to describe the way he looked in his lowly place on the grass. There wuz a good stun by him on which he might have sot, but no, he seemed to feel too mean to get up onto that stun; grass, lowly, unassumin’ grass, wuz what seemed to suit him best, and on it he sot with one of his feet stretched out in front of him.

Oh! the pitifulness of that look he gin us, oh! the meakinness of it. And even, when his eye fell on the Deacon a settin’ by my side, oh! the wild gleam of hatred, and sullen anger that glowed within his orb, and revenge! He looked at the Deacon, and then at his boots, and I see the wild thought wuz a enterin’ his sole, to throw that boot at him. But I says out of that buggy the very first thing the words I have so oft spoke to him in hours of danger:

“Joisiah, be calm!”

His eye fell onto the peaceful grass agin, and he says: “Who hain’t a bein’ calm? I should say I wuz calm enough, if that is what you want.”

But, oh, the sullenness of that love.

Says Ezra, good man—he see right through it all in a minute, and so did Druzilla and the Deacon—says Ezra, “Get up on the seat with the driver, Josiah Allen, and drive back with us.”

“No,” says Josiah, “I have no occasion, I am a settin’ here,” (looking round in perfect agony) “I am a settin’ here to admire the scenery.”

Then I leaned over the side of the buggy, and says I, “Josiah Allen, do you get in and ride, it will kill you to walk back; put on your boots if you can, and ride, seein’ Ezra is so perlite as to ask you.”

“Yes, I see he is very perlite, I see you have set amongst very perlite folks, Samantha,” says he, a glarin’ at Deacon Balch as if he would rend him from lim to lim, “But as I said, I have no occasion to ride, I took off my boots and stockin’s merely—merely to pass away time. You know at fashionable resorts,” says he, “it is sometimes hard for men to pass away time.”

Says I in low, deep accents, “Do put on your stockin’s, and your boots, if you can get ’em on, which I doubt, but put your stockin’s on this minute, and get in, and ride.”

“Yes,” says Ezra, “hurry up and get in, Josiah Allen, it must be dretful oncomfortabe a settin’ down there in the grass.”

“Oh, no!” says Josiah, and he kinder whistled a few bars of no tune that wuz ever heard on, or ever will be heard on agin, so wild and meloncholy it wuz—“I sot down here kind o’ careless. I thought seein’ I hadn’t much on hand to do at this time o’ year, I thought I would like to look at my feet—we hain’t got a very big lookin’ glass in our room.”

Oh, how incoherent and over-crazed he was a becomin’! Who ever heard of seein’ anybody’s feet in a lookin’ glass—of dependin’ on a lookin’ glass for a sight on ’em? Oh, how I pitied that man! and I bent down and says to him in soothin’ axents: “Josiah Allen, to please your pardner you put on your stockin’s and get into this buggy. Take your boots in your hand, Josiah, I know you can’t get ’em on, you have walked too far for them corns. Corns that are trampled on, Josiah Allen, rise up and rends you, or me, or anybody else who owns ’em or tramples on ’em. It hain’t your fault, nobody blames you. Now get right in.”

“Yes, do,” says the Deacon.

Oh! the look that Josiah Allen gin him. I see the voyolence of that look, that rested first on the Deacon, and then on that, boot.

And agin I says, “Josiah Allen.” And agin the thought of his own feerful acts, and my warnin’s came over him, and again mortification seemed to envelop him like a mantilly, the tabs goin’ down and coverin’ his lims—and agin he didn’t throw that boot. Agin Deacon Balch escaped oninjured, saved by my voice, and Josiah’s inward conscience, inside of him.

Wall, suffice it to say, that after a long parley, Josiah Allen wuz a settin’ on the high seat with the driver, a holdin’ his boots in his hand, for truly no power on earth could have placed them boots on Josiah Allen’s feet in the condition they then wuz.

And so he rode on howewards, occasionally a lookin’ down on the Deacon with looks that I hope the recordin’ angel didn’t photograph, so dire, and so revengeful, and jealous, and—and everything, they wuz. And ever, after ketchin’ the look in my eye, the look in his’n would change to a heart-rendin’ one of remorse, and sorrow, and shame for what he had done. And the Deacon, wantin’ to be dretful perlite to him, would ask him questions, and I could see the side of Josiah’s face, all glarin’ like a hyena at the sound of his voice, and then he would turn round and ossume a perlite genteel look as he answered him, and then he glare at me in a mad way every time I spoke to the Deacon, and then his mad look would change, even to one of shame and meakinness. And he in his stockin’ feet, and a pertendin’ that he didn’t put his boots on, because it wuzn’t wuth while to put ’em on agin so near bed-time. And he that sot out that afternoon a feelin’ so haughty, and lookin’ down on Ezra and Druzilla, and bein’ brung back by ’em, in that condition—and bein’ goured all the time by thoughts of the ignominious way his flirtin’ had ended, by her droppin’ him by the side of the road, like a weed she had trampled on too hardly. And a bein’ gourded deeper than all the rest of his agonies, by a senseless jealousy of Deacon Balch—and a thinkin’ for the first time in his life, what it would be, if her affections, that had been like a divine beacon to him all his life, if that flame should ever go out, or ever flicker in its earthly socket—oh, those thoughts that he had seemed to consider in his own mad race for fashion—oh, how that sass that had seemed sweet to him as a gander, oh how bitter and poisonous it wuz to partake of as a goose.

Oh! the agony of that ride. We went middlin’ slow back—and before we got to Saratoga the English girl went past us, she had been to the Sulphur Springs and back agin. She didn’t pay no attention to us, for she wuz alayin’ on a plan in her own mind, for a moonlight pedestrian excursion on foot, that evenin’, out to the old battle ground of Saratoga.

Josiah never looked to the right hand or the left, as she passed him, at many, many a knot an hour. And I felt that my pardner’s sufferin from that cause was over, and mine too, but oh! by what agony wuz it gained. For 3 days and 3 nights he never stood on any of his feet for a consecutive minute and a half, and I bathed him with anarky, and bathed his very soul with many a sweet moral lesson at the same time. And when at last Josiah Allen emerged from that chamber, he wuz a changed man in his demeanor and liniment, such is the power of love and womanly devotion.

Sore feet

He never looked at a woman durin’ our hull stay at Saratoga, save with the eye of a philosopher and a Methodist.

Changed man

Chapter X.

Miss G. Washington Flamm is a very fashionable woman. Thomas Jefferson carried her through a law-suit, and carried her stiddy and safe. (She wuz in the right on’t, there haint no doubt of that.)

She had come to Jonesville for the summer to board, her husband bein’ to home at the time in New York village, down on Wall street. He had to stay there, so she said. I don’t know why, but s’pose sunthin’ wuz the matter with the wall; anyway he couldn’t leave it. And she went round to different places a good deal for her health. There didn’t seem to be much health round where her husband wuz, so she had to go away after it, go a huntin’ for it, way over to Europe and back ag’in; and away off to California, and Colorado, and Long Branch, and Newport, and Saratoga, and into the Country. It made it real bad for Miss Flamm.

Now I always found it healthier where Josiah wuz than in any other place. Difference in folks I s’pose. But they say there is sights and sights of husbands and wives jest like Miss Flamm. Can’t find a mite of health anywhere near where their families is, and have to poke off alone after it. It makes it real bad for ’em.

But anyway she came to Jonesville for her health. And she hearn of Thomas Jefferson and employed him. It wuz money that fell onto her from her father, or that should have fell, that she wuz a tryin’ to git it to fall. And he won the case. It fell. She wuz rich as a Jew before she got this money, but she acted as tickled over it as if she wuzn’t worth a cent. (Human nater.) She paid Thomas J. well and she and Maggie and he got to be quite good friends.

She is a well-meanin’, fat little creeter, what there is of her. I have seen folks smaller than she is, and then ag’in we seen them that wuzn’t so small. She is middlin’ good lookin’, not old by any means, but there is a deep wrinkle plowed right into her forward, and down each side of her mouth. They are plowed deep. And I have always wondered to myself who held the plow.

It wuz’nt age, for she haint old enough. Wuz it Worry? That will do as good a day’s work a plowin’ as any creeter I ever see, and work as stiddy after it gits to doin’ day’s works in a female’s face.

Waz it Dissatisfaction and Disappointment? They, too, will plow deep furrows and a sight of ’em. I don’t know what it wuz. Mebby it wuz her waist and sleeves. Her sleeves wuz so tight that they kep’ her hands lookin’ a kinder bloated and swelled all the time, and must have been dretful painful. And her waist—it wuz drawed in so at the bottom, that to tell the livin’ truth it wuzn’t much bigger’n a pipe’s tail. It beat all to see the size immegatly above and below, why it looked perfectly meraculous. She couldn’t get her hands up to her head to save her life; if she felt her head a tottlin’ off her shoulders she couldn’t have lifted her hands to have stiddied it, and, of course, she couldn’t get a long breath, or short ones with any comfort.

Mebby that worried her, and then ag’in, mebby it wuz dogs. I know it would wear me out to take such stiddy care on one, day and night. I never seemed to feel no drawin’s to take care of animals, wash ’em, and bathe ’em, and exercise ’em, etc., etc., never havin’ been in the menagery line and Josiah always keepin’ a boy to take care of the animals when he wuzn’t well. Mebby it wuz dogs. Anyway she took splendid care of hern, jest wore herself out a doin’ for it stiddy day and night and bein’ trampled on, and barked at almost all the time she wuz a bringin’ on it up.

Yes, she took perfectly wonderful care on’t, for a woman in her health. She never had been able to take any care of her children, bein’ very delicate. Never had been well enough to have any of ’em in the room with her nights, or in the day time either. They tired her so, and she wuz one of the wimmen who felt it wuz her duty to preserve her health for her family’s sake. Though when they wuz a goin’ to get the benefit of her health I don’t know.

But howsumever she never could take a mite of care of her children, they wuz brought up on wet nurses, and bottles, etc., etc., and wuz rather weakly, some on ’em. The nurses, wet and dry ones both, used to gin ’em things to make ’em sleep, and kinder yank ’em round and scare ’em nights to keep ’em in the bed, and neglect ’em a good deal, and keep ’em out in the brilin’ sun when they wanted to see their bows; and for the same reeson keepin’ em out in their little thin dresses in the cold, and pinch their little arms black and blue if they went to tell any of their tricks. And they learnt the older ones to be deceitful and sly and cowerdly. Learnt ’em to use jest the same slang phrases and low language that they did; tell the same lies, and so they wuz a spilin’ ’em in every way; spilin’ their brains with narcotics, their bodies by neglect and bad usage, and their minds and morals by evil examples.

You see some nurses are dretful good. But Miss Flamm’s health bein’ so poor and her mind bein’ so took up with fashion, dogs, etc., that she couldn’t take the trouble to find out about their characters and they wuz dretful poor unbeknown to her. She had dretful bad luck with ’em, and the last one drinked, so I have been told.

Yes, it made it dretful bad for Miss Flamm that her health was so poor, and her fashionable engagements so many and arduous that she didn’t have the time to take a little care of her children and the dog too. For you could see plain, by the care that she took of that dog, what a splendid hand she would be with the children, if she only had the time and health.

Why, I don’t believe there wuz another dog in America, either the upper or lower continent, that had more lovin’, anxus, intelligent, devoted attention than that dog had, day and night, from Miss Flamm. She took 2 dog papers, so they say, to get the latest information on the subject; she compared notes with other dog wimmen, I don’t say it in a runnin’ way at all. I mean wimmen who have gin their hull minds to dog, havin’, some on ’em, renounced husbands, and mothers, and children for dog sake.

You know there are sich wimmen, and Miss Flamm read up and studied with constant and absorbed attention all the latest things on dog. Their habits, their diet, their baths, their robes, their ribbons, and bells, and collars, their barks—nothin’ escaped her; she put the best things she learned into practice, and studied out new ones for herself. She said she had reduced the subject to a science, and she boasted proudly that her dog, the last one she had, went ahead of any dog in the country. And I don’t know but it did. I knew it had a good healthy bark. A loud strong bark that must have made it bad for her in the night. It always slept with her, for she didn’t dast to trust it out of her sight nights. It had had some spells in the night, kinder chills, or spuzzums like, and she didn’t dast to be away from it for a minute.

She wouldn’t let the wet nurse tech it, for her youngest child, little G. Washington Flamm, Jr., wuzn’t very healthy, and Miss Flamm thought that mebby the dog might ketch his weakness if the nurse handled it right after she had been nursin’ the baby. And then she objected to the nurse, so I hearn, on account of her bein’ wet. She wanted to keep the dog dry. I hearn this; I don’t know as it wuz so. But I hearn these things long enough before I ever see her. And when I did see her I see that they didn’t tell me no lies about her devotion to the dog, for she jest worshiped it, that was plain to be seen.

Wall, she has got a splendid place at Saratoga; a cottage she calls it. I, myself, should call it a house, for it is big as our house and Deacon Peddick’ses and Mr. Bobbett’ses all put together, and I don’t know but bigger.

Wall, she invited Josiah and me to drive with her, and so her dog and she stopped for us. (I put the dog first, for truly she seemed to put him forward on every occasion in front of herself, and so did her high-toned relatives, who wuz with her.)

Or I s’pose they wuz her relatives for they sot up straight, and wuz dretful dressed up, and acted awful big-feelin’ and never took no notice of Josiah and me, no more than if we hadn’t been there. But good land! I didn’t care for that. What if they didn’t pay any attention to us? But Josiah, on account of his tryin’ to be so fashionable, felt it deeply, and he sez to me while Miss Flamm wuz a bendin’ down over the dog, a talkin’ to him, for truly it wuz tired completely out a barkin’ at Josiah, it had barked at him every single minute sense we had started, and she wuz a talkin’ earnest to it a tryin’ to soothe it, and Josiah whispered to me, “I’ll tell you, Samantha, why them fellers feel above me; it is because I haint dressed up in sech a dressy fashion. Let me once have on a suit like their’n, white legs and yellow trimmin’s, and big shinin’ buttons sot on in rows, and white gloves, and rosettes in my hat—why I could appear in jest as good company as they go in.”

In the Carriage

Sez I, “You are too old to be dressed up so gay, Josiah Allen. There is a time for all things. Gay buttons and rosettes look well with brown hair and sound teeth, but they ort to gently pass away when they do. Don’t talk any more about it, Josiah, for I tell you plain, you are too old to dress like them, they are young men.”

“Wall,” he whispered, in deep resolve, “I will have a white rosette in my hat, Samantha. I will go so far, old or not old. What a sensation it will create in the Jonesville meetin’-house to see me come a walkin’ proudly in, with a white rosette in my hat.”

“You are goin’ to walk into meetin’ with your hat on, are you?” sez I coldly.

“Oh, ketch a feller up. You know what I mean. And don’t you think I’ll make a show? Won’t it create a sensation in Jonesville?”

Sez I: “Most probable it would. But you haint a goin’ to wear no bows on your hat at your age, not if I can break it up,” sez I.

He looked almost black at me, and sez he, “Don’t go too fur, Samantha! I’ll own you’ve been a good wife and mother and all that, but there is a line that you must stop at. You mustn’t go too fur. There is some things in which a man must be footloose, and that is in the matter of dress. I shall have a white rosette on my hat, and some big white buttons up and down the back of my overcoat! That is my aim, Samantha, and I shall reach it if I walk through goar.”

He uttered them fearful words in a loud fierce whisper which made the dog bark at him for more’n ten minutes stiddy, at the top of its voice, and in quick short yelps.

If it had been her young child that wuz yellin’ at a visitor in that way and ketchin’ holt of him, and tearin’ at his clothes, the child would have been consigned to banishment out of the room, and mebby punishment. But it wuzn’t her babe and so it remained, and it dug its feet down into the satin and laces and beads of Miss Flamm’s dress, and barked to that extent that we couldn’t hear ourselves think.

And she called it “sweet little angel,” and told it it might “bark its little cunnin’ bark.” The idee of a angel barkin’; jest think on’t. And we endured it as best we could with shakin’ nerves and achin’ earpans.

It wuz a curius time. The dog harrowin’ our nerve, and snappin’ at Josiah anon, if not oftener, and ketchin’ holt of him anywhere, and she a callin’ it a angel; and Josiah a lookin’ so voyalent at it, that it seemed almost as if that glance could stun it.

It wuz a curius seen. But truly worse wuz to come, for Miss Flamm in an interval of silence, sez, “We will go first to the Gizer Spring, and then, afterwards, to the Moon.”

Or, that is what I understand her to say. And though I kep’ still, I wuz determined to keep my eyes out, and if I see her goin’ into anything dangerus, I wuz goin’ to reject her overtures to take us. But thinkses I to myself, “We always said I believed we should travel to the stars some time, but I little thought it would be to-day, or that I should go in a buggy.”

Josiah shared my feelin’s I could see, for he whispered to me, “Don’t le’s go, Samantha, it must be dangerus!”

But I whispered back, “Le’s wait, Josiah, and see. We won’t do nothin’ percipitate, but,” sez I, “this is a chance that we most probable never will have ag’in. Don’t le’s be hasty.” We talked these things in secret, while Miss Flamm wuz a bendin’ over, and conversin’ with the dog. For Josiah would ruther have died than not be s’pozed to be “Oh Fay,” as Maggie would say, in everything fashionable. And it has always been my way to wait and see, and count 10, or even 20, before speakin’.

And then Miss Flamin sez sunthin’ about what beautiful fried potatoes you could get there in the moon, and you could always get them, any time you wanted ’em.

And the very next time she went to kissin’ the dog so voyalently as not to notice us, my Josiah whispered to me and sez, “Did you have any idee that wuz what the old man wuz a doin’? I knew he wuz always a settin’ up there in the moon, but it never passed my mind that he wuz a fryin’ potatoes.”

But I sez, “Keep still, Josiah. It is a deep subject, a great undertakin’, and it requires caution and deliberation.”

But he sez,”I haint a goin’, Samantha! Nor I haint a goin’ to let you go. It is dangerus.”

But I kinder nudged him, for she had the dog down on her lap, and was ready to resoom conversation. And about that time we got to the entrance of the spring, and one of her relatives got down and opened the carriage door.

I wondered ag’in that she didn’t introduce us. But I didn’t care if she didn’t. I felt that I wuz jest as good as they wuz, if they wuz so haughty. But Josiah wantin’ to make himself agreeable to ’em (he hankers after gettin’ into high society), he took off his hat and bowed low to ’em, before he got out, and sez he, “I am proud to know you, sir,” and tried to shake hands with him. But the man rejected his overtoors and looked perfectly wooden, and oninterested. A big-feelin’, high-headed creeter. Josiah Allen is as good as he is any day. And I whispered to him and sez, “Don’t demean yourself by tryin’ to force your company onto them any more.”

“Wall,” he whispered back, “I do love to move in high circles.”

Sez I, “Then I shouldn’t think you would be so afraid of the undertakin’ ahead on us. If neighborin’ with the old man in the moon, and eatin’ supper with him, haint movin’ in high circles, then I don’t know what is.”

“But I don’t want to go into anything dangerus,” sez he.

But jest then Miss Flamm.spoke to me, and I moved forward by her side and into a middlin’ big room, and in the middle wuz a great sort of a well like, with the water a bubblin’ up into a clear crystal globe, and a sprayin’ up out of it, in a slender misty sparklin’ spray. It wuz a pretty sight. And we drinked a glass full of it a piece, and then we wandered out of the back door-way, and went down into the pretty; old-fashioned garden back of the house.

Josiah and me and Miss Flamm went. The dog and the two relatives didn’t seem to want to go. The relatives sot up there straight as two sticks, one of ’em holdin’ the dog, and they didn’t even look round at us.

“Felt too big to go with us,” sez Josiah, bitterly, as we went down the steps. “They won’t associate with me.”

“Wall, I wouldn’t care if I wuz in your place, Josiah Allen,” sez I, “you are jest as good as they be, and I know it.”

“You couldn’t make ’em think so, dumb ’em,” sez he.

I liked the looks of it down there. It seems sometimes as if Happiness gets kinder homesick, in the big dusty fashionable places, and so goes back to the wild, green wood, and kinder wanders off, and loafs round, amongst the pine trees, and cool sparklin’ brooks and wild flowers and long shinin’ grasses and slate stuns, and etc., etc.

I don’t believe she likes it half so well up in the big hotel gardens or Courtin’ yards, as she does down there. You see it seems as if Happiness would have to be more dressed up, up there, and girted down, and stiff actin’, and on her good behavior, and afraid of actin’ or lookin’ onfashionable. But down here by the side of the quiet little brook, amongst the cool, green grasses, fur away from diamonds, and satins, and big words, and dogs, and parasols, and so many, many that are a chasin’ of her and a follerin’ of her up, it seemed more as if she loved to get away from it all, and get where she could take her crown off, lay down her septer, onhook her corset, and put on a long loose gown, and lounge round and enjoy herself (metafor).

We had a happy time there. We went over the little rustick bridges which would have been spilte in my eyes if they had been rounded off on the edges, or a mite of paint on ’em. Truly, I felt that I had seen enough of paint and gildin’ to last me through a long life, and it did seem such a treat to me to see a board ag’in, jest a plain rough bass-wood board, and some stuns a lyin’ in the road, and some deep tall grass that you had to sort a wade through.

Miss Flamm seemed to enjoy it some down there, though she spoke of the dog, which she had left up with her relatives.

“3 big-feelin’ ones together,” I whispered to Josiah.

And he sez, “Yes, that dog is a big-feelin’ little cuss-tomer. And if I wuz a chipmunk he couldn’t bark at me no more than he duz.”

And I looked severe at Josiah and sez I, “If you don’t jine your syllables closer together you will see trouble, Josiah Allen. You’ll find yourself swearin’ before you know it.”

“Oh shaw, sez he, “customer haint a swearin’ word; ministers use it. I’ve hearn ’em many a time.”

“Yes,” sez I, “but they don’t draw it out as you did, Josiah Allen.”

“Oh! wall! Folks can’t always speak up pert and quick when they are off on pleasure exertions and have been barked at as long as I have been. But now I’ve got a minutes chance,” sez he, “let me tell you ag’in, don’t you make no arraingments to go to the Moon. It is dangerus, and I won’t go myself, nor let you go.”

Let,” sez I to myself. “That is rather of a gaulin’ word to me. Won’t let me go.” But then I thought ag’in, and thought how love and tenderness wuz a dictatin’ the term, and I thought to myself, it has a good sound to me, I like the word. I love to hear him say he won’t let me go.

And truly to me it looked hazerdus. But Miss Flamm seemed ready to go on, and onwillin’ly I followed on after her footsteps. But I looked ’round, and said “Good-bye” in my heart, to the fine trees, and cleer, brown waters of the brook, the grass, and the wild flowers, and the sweet peace that wuz over all.

“Good-bye,” sez I. “If I don’t see you ag’in, you’ll find some other lover that will appreciate you, though I am fur away.”

They didn’t answer me back, none on ’em, but I felt that they understood me. The pines whispered sunthin’ to each other, and the brook put its moist lips up to the pebbly shore and whispered sunthin’ to the grasses that bent down to hear it. I don’t know exactly what it wuz, but it wuz sunthin’ friendly I know, for I felt it speak right through the soft, summer sunshine into my heart. They couldn’t exactly tell what they felt towards me, and I couldn’t exactly tell what I felt towards them, yet we understood each other; curi’us, haint it?

Wall, we got into the carriage ag’in, one of her relatives gettin’ down to open the door. They knew what good manners is; I’ll say that for ’em. And Miss Flamm took her dog into her arms seemin’ly glad to get holt of him ag’in, and kissed it several times with a deep love and devotedness. She takes good care of that dog. And what makes it harder for her to handle him is, her dress is so tight, and her sleeves. I s’pose that is why she can’t breathe any better, and what makes her face and hands red, and kinder swelled up. She can’t get her hands to her head to save her, and if a assassin should strike her, she couldn’t raise her arm to ward off the blow if he killed her. I s’pose it worrys her.

And she has to put her bunnet on jest as quick as she gets her petticoats on, for she can’t lift he arms to save her life after she gets her corsets on. She owned up to me once that it made her feel queer to be a walkin’ ’round her room with not much on only her bunnet all trimmed off with high feathers and artificial flowers.

But she said she wuz willing to do anythin’ necessary, and she felt that she must have her waist taper, no matter what stood in the way on’t. She loves the looks of a waist that tapers. That wuz all the fault she found with the Goddus of Liberty enlightenin’ the world in New York Harber. We got to talkin’ about it and she said, “If that Goddus only had corsets on, and sleeves that wuz skin tight, and her overskirt looped back over a bustle, it would be perfect!”

But I told her I liked her looks as well ag’in as she wuz. “Why,” sez I, “How could she lift her torch above her head? And how could she ever enlighten the world, if she wuz so held down by her corsets and sleeves that she couldn’t wave her torch?”

She see in a minute that it couldn’t be done. She owned up that she couldn’t enlighten the world in that condition, but as fur as looks went, it would be perfectly beautiful.

But I don’t think so at all. But, as I say, Miss Flamm has a real hard time on’t, all bard down as she is, and takin’ all the care of that dog, day and night. She is jest devoted to it.

Why jest before we started a little lame girl with a shabby dress, but a face angel sweet, came to the side of the carriage to sell some water lilies. Her face looked patient, and wistful, and she jest held out her flowers silently, and stood with her bare feet on the wet ground and her pretty eyes lookin’ pitifully into our’n. She wanted to sell ’em awfully, I could see. And I should have bought the hull of ’em immegitly, my feelin’s was sech, but onfortionably I had left my port-money in my other pocket, and Josiah said he had left his (mebby he had). But Miss Flamm would have bought ’em in a minute, I knew, the child’s face looked so mournful and appealin’; she would have bought ’em, but she wuz so engrossed by the dog; she wuz a holdin’ him up in front of her a admirin’ and carressin’ of him, so’s she never ketched sight of the lame child.

No body, not the best natured creeter in the world, can see through a dog when it is held clost up to the eye, closer than anything else.

Wall, we drove down to what they called Vichy Spring and there on a pretty pond clost to the springhouse, we see a boat with a bycycle on it, and a boy a ridin’ it. The boat wuz rigged out to look like a swan with its wings a comin’ up each side of the boy. And down on the water, a sailin’ along closely and silently wuz another swan, a shadow swan, a follerin’ it right along. It wuz a fair seen.

And Josiah sez to me, “He should ride that boat before he left Saratoga; he said that wuz a undertakin’ that a man might be proud to accomplish.”

Sez I, “Josiah Allen, don’t you do anything of the kind.”

“I must, Samantha,” sez he. And then he got all animated about fixin’ up a boat like it at home. Sez he, “Don’t you think it would be splendid to have one on the canal jest beyond the orchard?” And sez he, “Mebby, bein’ on a farm, it would be more appropriate to have a big goose sculptured out on it; don’t you think so?”

Sez I, “Yes, it would be fur more appropriate, and a goose a ridin’ on it. But,” sez I, “you will never go into that undertakin’ with my consent, Josiah Allen.”

“Why,” sez he, “it would be a beautiful recreation; so uneek.”

But at that minute Miss Flamm gin the order to turn round and start for the Moon, or that is how I understood her, and I whispered to Josiah and sez, “She means to go in the buggy, for the land’s sake!”

And Josiah sez, “Wall, I haint a goin’ and you haint. I won’t let you go into anythin’ so dangerus. She will probably drive into a baloon before long, and go up in that way, but jest before she drives in, you and I will get out, Samantha, if we have to walk back.”

“I never heard of anybody goin’ up in a baloon with two horses and a buggy,” sez I.

“Wall, new things are a happenin’ all the time, Samantha. And I heard a feller a talkin’ about it yesterday. You know they are a havin’ the big political convention here, and he said, (he wuz a real cute chap too,) he said, ‘if the wind wasted in that convention could be utilized by pipes goin’ up out of the ruff of that buildin’ where it is held,’ he said, ‘it would take a man up to the moon.’ I heerd him say it. And now, who knows but they have got it all fixed. There wuz dretful windy speeches there this mornin’. I hearn ’em, and I’ll bet that is her idee, of bein’ the first one to try it; she is so fashionable. But I haint a goin’ up in no sech a way.”

“No,” sez I. “Nor I nuther. It would be fur from my wishes to be carried up to the skies on the wind of a political convention. “Though,” sez I reasonably, “I haint a doubt that there wuz sights, and sights of it used there.”

But jest at this minute Miss Flamm got through talkin’ with her relatives about the road, and settled down to caressin’ the dog ag’in, and Josiah hadn’t time to remark any further, only to say, “Watch me, Samantha, and when I say jump, jump.”

And then we sot still but watchful. And Miss Flamm kissed the dog several times and pressed him to her heart that throbbed full of such a boundless love for him. And he lifted his head and snapped at a fly, and barked at my companion with a renewed energy, and showed his intellect and delightful qualities in sech remarkable ways, that filled Miss Flamm’s soul deep with a proud joy in him. And then he went to sleep a layin, down in her lap, a mashin’ down the delicate lace and embroidery and beads. He had been a eating the beads, I see him gnaw off more than two dozen of ’em, and I called her attention to it, but she said, “The dear little darlin’ had to have some such recreation.” And she let him go on with it, a mowin’ ’em down, as long as he seemed to have a appetite for ’em. And ag’in she called him “angel.” The idee of a angel a gnawin’ off beads and a yelpin’!

And I asked her, and I couldn’t help it. How her baby wuz that afternoon, and if she ever took it out to drive?

And she said she didn’t really know how it wuz this afternoon; it wuzn’t very well in the mornin’. The nurse had it out somewhere, she didn’t really know just where. And she said, no, she didn’t take it out with her at all—fur she didn’t feel equal to the care of it, in this hot weather.

Miss Flamm haint very well I could see that. The care of that dog is jest a killin’ her, a carryin’ it round with her all the time daytimes, and a bein’ up with it so much nights. She said it had a dretful chill the night before, and she had to get up to warm blankets to put round it; “its nerves wuz so weak,” she said, “and it wuz so sensative that she could not trust it to a nurse.” She has a hard time of it; there haint a doubt of it.

Wall, it wuz anon, or jest about anon, that Miss Flamm turned to me and sez, “Moon’s is one of the pleasantest places on the lake. I want you to see it; folks drive out there a sight from Saratoga.”

And then I looked at Josiah, and Josiah looked at me, and peace and happiness settled down ag’in onto our hearts.

Wall, we got there considerably before anon and we found that Moon’s insted of bein’ up in another planet wuz a big, long sort a low buildin’ settled right down onto this old earth, with a immense piazza stretchin’ along the side on’t.

And Miss Flamm and Josiah and me disembarked from the carriage right onto the end of it. But the dog and her relatives stayed back in the buggy and Josiah spoke bitterly to me ag’in but low, “They think it would hurt ’em to associate with me a little, dumb ’m; but I am jest as good as they be any day of the week, if I haint dressed up so fancy.”

“That’s so,” sez I, whisperin’ back to him, “and don’t let it worry you a mite. Don’t try to act like Haman,” sez I. “You are havin’ lots of the good things of this world, and are goin’ to have some fried potatoes. Don’t let them two Mordecais at the gate, poison all your happiness, or you may get come up with jest as Haman wuz.”

“I’d love to hang’em,” sez he, “as high as Haman’s gallows would let ’em hang.”

“Why,” sez I, “they haint injured you in any way. They seem to eat like perfect gentlemen. A little too exclusive and aristocratic, mebby, but they haint done nothin’ to you.”

“No,” sez he, “that is the stick on it, here we be, three men with a lot of wimmen. And they can’t associate with me as man with man, but set off by themselves too dumb proud to say a word to me, that is the dumb of it.”

But at this very minute, before I could rebuke him for his feerful profanity, Miss Flamm motioned to us to come and take a seat round a little table, and consequently we sot.

It was a long broad piazza with sights and sights of folks on it a settin’ round little tables like our’n, and all a lookin’ happy, and a laughin’, and a talkin’ and a drinkin’ different drinks, sech as lemonade, etc., and eatin’ fried potatoes and sech.

The Piazza

And out in the road by which we had come, wuz sights and sights of vehicles and conveyances of all kinds from big Tally Ho coaches with four horses on ’em, down to a little two wheeled buggy. The road wuz full on’em.

In front of us, down at the bottom of a steep though beautiful hill, lay stretched out the clear blue waters of the lake. Smooth and tranquil it looked in the light of that pleasant afternoon, and fur off, over the shinin’ waves, lay the island. And white-sailed boats wuz a sailin’ slowly by, and the shadow of their white sails lay down in the water a floatin’ on by the side of the boats, lookin’ some like the wings of that white dove that used to watch over Lake Saratoga.

And as I looked down on the peaceful seen, the feelin’s I had down in the wild wood, back of the Gizer Spring come back to me. The waves rolled in softly from fur off, fur off, bringin’ a greetin’ to me unbeknown to anybody, unbeknown to me. It come into my heart unbidden, unsought, from afur, afur.

Where did it come from that news of lands more beautiful than any that lay round Mr. Moons’es, beautiful as it wuz.

Echoes of music sweeter fur than wuz a soundin’ from the band down by the shore, music heard by some finer sense than heard that, heavenly sweet, heavenly sad, throbbin’ through the remoteness of that country, through the nearness of it, and fillin’ my eyes with tears. Not sad tears, not happy ones, but tears that come only to them that shet their eyes and behold the country, and love it. The waves softly lappin’ the shore brought a message to me; my soul hearn it. Who sent it? And where, and when, and why?

Not a trace of these emotions could be read on my countenance as I sot there calmly a eatin’ fried potatoes. And they did go beyond anything I ever see in the line of potatoes, and I thought I could fry potatoes with any one: Yes, such wuz my feelin’s when I sot out for Mr. Moons’es. But I went back a thinkin’ that potatoes had never been fried by me, sech is the power of a grand achievment over a inferior one, and so easy is the sails taken down out of the swellin’ barge of egotism.

No, them potatoes you could carry in your pocket for weeks right by the side of the finest lace, and the lace would be improved by the purity of ’em. Fried potatoes in that condition, you could eat ’em with the lightest silk gloves one and the tips of the fingers would be improved by ’em; fried potatoes, jest think on’t!

Wall, we had some lemonade too, and if you’ll believe it,—I don’t s’pose you will but it is the truth,—there wuz straws in them glasses too. But you may as well believe it for I tell the truth at all times, and if I wuz a goin’ to lie, I wouldn’t lie about lemons. And then I’ve always noticed it, that if things git to happenin’ to you, lots of things jest like it will happen. That made twice in one week or so, that I had found straws in my tumbler. But then I have had company three days a runnin’, rainy days too sometimes. It haint nothin’ to wonder at too much. Any way it is the truth.

Wall, we drinked our lemonade, I a quietly takin’ out the straws and droppin’ ’em on the floor at my side in a quiet ladylike manner, and Josiah, a bein’ wunk at by me, doin’ the same thing.

And anon, our carriage drove up to the end of the piazza agin and we sot sail homewards. And the dog barked at Josiah almost every step of the way back, and when we got to our boardin’ place, Miss Flamm shook hands with us both, and her relatives never took a mite of notice of us, further than to jump down and open the carriage door for us as we got out. (They are genteel in their manners, and Josiah had to admit that they wuz, much as his feelin’s wuz hurt by their haughtiness towards him.)

And then the dog, and Miss Flamm and Miss Flamm’s relatives drove off.

Chapter XI.

It wuz a fair sunshiny mornin’ (and it duz seem to me that the fairness of a Saratoga mornin’ seems fairer, and the sunshine more sunshiny than it duz anywhere else), that Josiah and Ardelia and me sot sail for the Indian Encampment, which wuz encamped on a little rise of ground to the eastward of where we wuz.

Ardelia wuz to come to our boardin’ place at halfpast 9 A. M., forenoon, and we wuz to set out together from there. And punctual to the very half minute I wuz down on the piazza, with my mantilly hung over my arm and my umberel in my left hand. Josiah Allen was on the right side on me. And as Ardelia hadn’t come yet we sot down in a middlin’ quiet part of the piazza, and waited for her. And as we sot there, I sez to Josiah, as I looked out on the fair pleasant mornin’ and the fair pleasant faces environin’ of us round, sez I, “Saratoga is a good-natured place, haint it, Josiah?”

And he said (I mistrust his corns ached worse than common, or sunthin’), he said, he didn’t see as it wuz any better-natured than Jonesville or Loontown.

And I sez, “Yes it is, Josiah Allen.” Sez I, folks are happier here and more generous, the rich ones seem inclined to help them that need help to a little comfort and happiness. Jest as I have always said, Josiah Allen. When folks are happy, they are more inclined to do good.”

“Oh shaw!” sez Josiah. “That never made no difference with me.”

“What didn’t?” sez I.

“I’m always good,” sez he, and he snapped out the words real snappish, and loud.

And I sez mildly, “Wall, you needn’t bring the ruff down to prove your goodness.”

And he went on: “I don’t see as they are so pesky good here; I haint seen nothin’ of it.”

“Wall,” sez I, “when I look over Yaddo, and Hilton Park, it makes me reconciled, Josiah, to have men get rich; it makes me willin’, Josiah.”

And he sez (cross), He guessed men would get rich whether I wuz willin’ or not; he guessed they wouldn’t ask me.

“Wall, you needn’t snap my head off, Josiah Allen,” sez I, “because I love to see folks use their wealth to make pleasant places for poor folks to wander round in, and forget their own narrow rocky roads for a spell. It is a noble thing to do, Josiah Allen; they might have built high walls round ’em if they had been a mind to, and locked the gates and shet out all the poor and tired-out ones, But they didn’t, and I am highly tickled at the thought on’t, Josiah Allen.”

“Wall, I don’t shet up our sugar lot, do I? and I have never heerd you say one word a praisin’ me up for that.”

“That is far different, Josiah Allen,” sez I, “there is nothin’ there that can git hurt, only stumps. And you have never laid out a cent of money on it. And they have spent thousands and thousands of dollars; and the poorest little child in Saratoga, if it has beauty-lovin’ eyes, can go in and enjoy these places jest as much as the owners can. And it is a sweet thought to me, Josiah Allen.”

“Oh wall,” sez he, “you have probable said enough about it.”

Now I never care for the last word, some wimmen do, but I never do. But still I wuzn’t goih’ to be shet right eff from talkin’ about these places, and I intimated as much to him, and he said, “Dumb it all! I could talk about ’em all day, if I wanted to, and about Demorist’s Woods too.”

“Wall,” sez I, “that is another place, Josiah Allen, that is a likely well-meanin’ spot. Middlin’ curius to look at,” sez I, reesonably. “It makes one’s head feel sort a strange to see them criss-cross, curius poles, and floors up in trees, and ladders, and teterin’ boards, and springs, etc., etc., etc. But it is a well-meanin’ spot, Josiah Allen. And it highly tickled me to think that the little fresh air children wuz brung up there by the owner of the woods and the poor little creeters, out of their dingy dirty homes, and filthy air, wandered round for one happy day in the green woods, in the fresh air and sunshine. That wuz a likely thing to do, Josiah Allen, and it raises a man more in my estimation when he’s doin’ sech things as that, than to set up in a political high chair, and have a lot of dirty hands clapped, and beery breaths a cheerin’ him on up the political arena.”

“Oh wall,” sez Josiah, “the doin’s in them woods is enough to make anybody a dumb lunatick. The crazyest lookin’ lot of stuff I ever set eyes on.”

“Wall, anyway,” sez I, “it is a good crazy, if it is, and a well-meanin’ one.”

“Oh, how cross Josiah Allen did look as he heered me say these words. That man can’t bear to hear me say one word a praisin’ up another man, and it grows on him.

But good land! I am a goin’ to speak out my mind as long as my breath is spared. And I said quite a number of words more about the deep enjoyment it gin’ me to see these broad, pleasure grounds free for all, rich and poor, bond and free, hombly and handsome, etc., etc.

And I spoke about the charitable houses, St. Christiana’s home, and the Home for Old Female Wimmen, and mentioned the fact in warm tones of how a good, noble-hearted woman had started that charity in the first on’t.

And Josiah, while I wuz talkin’ about these wimmen, became meak as a lamb. They seemed to quiet him. He looked real mollyfied by the time Ardelia got there, which wuz anon. And then we sot sail for the Encampment.

The Encampment is encamped on one end of a big, square, wild-lookin’ lot right back of one of the biggest tarvens in Saratoga. It is jest as wild lookin’ and appeerin’ a field as there is in the outskirts of Loontown or Jonesville. Why Uncle Grant Hozzleton’s stunny pasture don’t look no more sort a broke up and rural than that duz. I wondered some why they had it there, and then I thought mebby they kep’ it to remember Nater by, old Nater herself, that runs a pretty small chance to be thought on in sech a place as this.

You know there is so much orniment and gildin’ and art in the landscape and folks, that mebby they might forget the great mother of us all, that is, right in the thickest of the crowd they might, but they have only to take these few steps and they will see Ma Nater with her every-day dress on, not fixed up a mite. And I s’pose she looks good to ’em.

I myself think that Mother Nater might smooth herself out a little there with no hurt to herself or her children. I don’t believe in Mas goin’ round with their dresses onhooked, and slip-shod, and their hair all stragglin’ out of their combs. (I say this in metafor. I don’t spose Ma Nater ever wore a back comb or had hooks and eyes on her gown; I say it for oritory, and would wish to be took in a oritorius way.

And I don’t say right out, that the reeson I have named is the one why they keep that place a lookin’ so like furey, I said, mebby. But I will say this, that it is a wild-lookin’ spot, and hombly.

Wall, on the upper end on’t, standin’ up on the top of a sort of a hill, the Indian Encampment is encamped. There is a hull row of little stores, and there is swings, and public diversions of different kinds, krokay grounds, etc., etc., etc.

Wall, Ardelia stopped at one of these stores kep’ by a Injun, not a West, but a East one, and began to price some wooden bracelets, and try ’em on, and Josiah and me wandered on.

And anon, we came to a tent with some good verses of Scripter on it; good solid Bible it wuz; and so I see it wuz a good creeter in there anyway. And I asked a bystander a standin’ by, Who wuz in there, and Why, and When?

And he said it wuz a fortune-teller who would look in the pamm of my hand, and tell me all my fortune that wuz a passin’ by. And I said I guessed I would go in, for I would love to know how the children wuz that mornin’ and whether the baby had got over her cold. I hadn’t heerd from ’em in over two days.

Josiah kinder hung ’round outside though he wuz willin’ to have me go in. He jest worships the children and the baby. And he sees the texts from Job on it, with his own eyes.

So I bid him a affectionate farewell, and we see the woman a lookin’ out of the tent and witnessin’ on’t. But I didn’t care. If a pair of companions and a pair of grandparents can’t act affectionate, who can? And the world and the Social Science meetin’ might try in vain to bring up any reeson why they shouldn’t.

So I went in, with my mind all took up with the grandchildern. But the first words she sez to me wuz, as she looked close at the pamm of my hand, “Keep up good spirits, Mom; you will get him in spite of all opposition.”

“Get who?” sez I, “And what?”

“A man you want to marry. A small baldheaded man, a amiable-lookin’, slender man. His heart is sot on you. And all the efferts of the light-complected woman in the blue hat will be in vain to break it up. Keep up good courage, you will marry him in spite of all,” sez she, porin’ over my pamm and studyin’ it as if it wuz a jography.

The Fortuneteller

“For the land’s sake!” sez I, bein’ fairly stunted with the idees she promulgated.

“Yes, you will marry him, and be happy. But you have had a sickness in the past and your line of happiness has been broken once or twice.”

Sez I, “I should think as much; let a woman live with a man, the best man in the world for 20 years, and if her line of happiness haint broke more than once or twice, why it speaks well for the line, that is all. It is a good, strong line.”

“Then you have been married?” says she.

“Yes, Mom,” sez I.

“Oh, I see, down in the corner of your hand is a coffin, you are a widow, you have seen trouble. But you will be happy. The mild, bald gentleman will make you happy. He will lead you to the altar in spite of the light-complected woman with the blue bat on.”

Ardelia Tutt had on a blue hat, the idee! But I let her go on. Thinkses I, “I have paid my money and now it stands me in hand to get the worth on’t.” So she comferted me up with the hope of gettin’ my Josiah for quite a spell.

Gettin’ my pardner! Gettin’ the father of my childern, and the grandparent of my grandchildren! Jest think on’t, will you?

But then she branched off and told me things that wuz truly wonderful. Where and how she got ’em wuz and is a mistery to me. True things, and strange.

Why it seemed same as if them tall pines, that wuz a whisperin’ together over the Encampment wuz a peerin’ over into my past, and a whisperin’ it down to her. Or, in some way or other, the truth wuz a bein’ filtered down to her comprehension through some avenue beyond our sense or sight.

It is a curious thing, so I think, and so Josiah thinks. We talked it over after I came out, and we wuz a wanderin’ on about the Encampment. I told him some of the wonderful things she had told me and he didn’t believe it. “For,” sez he, “I’ll be hanged if I can understand and I won’t believe anything that I can’t understand!”

And I pointed with the top of my umberel at a weed growin’ by the side of the road, and sez I, “When you tell me jest how that weed draws out of the back ground jest the ingredients she needs to make her blue foretop, and her green gown, then I’ll tell you all about this secret that Nater holds back from us a spell, but will reveel to us when the time comes.”

“Oh shaw!” sez Josiah, “I guess I know all about a jimson weed. Why they grow; that is all there is about them. They grow, dumb ’em. I guess if you’d broke your back as many times as I have a pullin’ ’em up, yon would know all about’ em. Dumb their dumb picters,” sez he, a scowlin’ at ’em.

It wuz the same kind of weed that growed in our onion beds. I recognized it. Them and white daisies, our garden wuz overrun by ’em both.

But I sez, “Can you tell how the little seed of this weed goes down into the earth and selects jest what she wants out of the great storehouse below? She never comes out in a pink head-dress or a yellow gown. No, she always selects what will make the blue. It shows that it has life, intelligence, or else it couldn’t think, way down under the ground, and grope in the dark, but always gropin’ jest right, always a thinkin’ the right thing, never, never in the hundreds and thousands of years makin’ a mistake. Why, you couldn’t do it, Josiah Allen, nor I couldn’t.

“And we set and see these silent mysteries a goin’ on right at our door-step day by day, and year by year, and think nothin’ of it, because it is so common. But if anything else, some new law, some new wonder we don’t understand comes in our way, we are ready to reject it and say it is a lie. But you know, Josiah Allen,” sez I, jest ready to go on eloquent -

But I wuz interrupted jest here by my companion hollerin’ up in a loud voice to a boy, “Here! you stop that, you young scamp! Don’t you let me see you a doin’ that agin!”

Sez I, “What is it, Josiah Allen?”

“Why look at them young imps, a throwin’ sticks at that feeble old woman, over there.”

I looked, and my own heart wuz rousted up with indignation. I stood where I couldn’t see her face, but I see she wuz old, feeble, and bent, a withered poor old creeter, and they had marked up over her, her name, Aunt Sally.

I too wuz burnin’ indignant to see a lot of young creeters a throwin’ sticks at her, and I cried out loud, “Do you let Sarah be.”

They turned round and laughed in our faces, and I went on: “I’d be ashamed of myself if I wuz in your places to be a throwin’ sticks at that feeble old woman. Why don’t you spend your strengths a tryin’ to do sunthin’ for her? Git her a home, and sunthin’ to eat, and a better dress. Before I’d do what you are a doin’ now, I’d growvel in the dust. Why, if you wuz my boys I’d give you as good a spankin’ as you ever had.”

But they jest laughed at us, the impudent Greeters. And one of the boys at that minute took up a stick and threw it, and hit Sarah right on her poor old head.

Sez Josiah, “Don’t you hit Sarah agin.”

Aunt Sally

Sez the boys, “We will,” and two of ’em hit her at one time. And one of ’em knocked the pipe right out of her mouth. She wuz a smokin’, poor old creeter. I s’pose that wuz all the comfort she took. But did them little imps care? They knocked her as if they hated the sight of her. And my Josiah (I wuz proud of that man) jest advanced onto ’em, and took ’em one in each hand, and gin ’em sech a shakin’, that I most expected to see their bones drop out, and sez he between each shake, “Will you let Sarah alone now?”

I wuz proud of my Josiah, but fearful of the effect of so much voyalence onto his constitution, and also onto the boys’ frames. And I advanced onto the seen of carnage and besought him to be calm. Sez he, “I won’t be calm!” sez he, “I haint the man, Samantha, to stand by and see one of your sect throwed at, as I have seen Sarah throwed at, without avengin’ of it.”

And agin he shook them boys with a vehemence. The pennies and marbles in their pockets rattled and their bones seemed ready to part asunder. I wuz proud of that noble man, my pardner. But still I knew that if their bones was shattered my pardner would be avenged upon by incensed parents. And I sez, “I’d let ’em go now, Josiah. I don’t believe they’ll ever harm Sarah agin.” Sez I, “Boys, you won’t, will you ever strike a poor feeble old woman agin?.” Sez I, “promise me, boys, not to hurt Sarah.”

Josiah’s Anger

I don’t know what the effect of my words would have been, but a man came up just then and explained to me, that Aunt Sally wuz a image that they throwed at for one cent apiece to see if they could break her pipe.

I see how it wuz, and cooled right down, and so did Josiah. And he gin the boys five cents apiece, and quiet rained down on the Encampment.

But I sez to the man, “I don’t like the idee of havin’ my sect throwed at from day to day, and week to week.” Sez I, “Why didn’t you have a man fixed up to throw at, why didn’t you have a Uncle Sam?” Sez I, “I don’t over and above like it; it seems to be a sort of a slight onto my sect.”

Sez the man winkin’ kind a sly at Josiah, “It won’t do to make fun of men, men have the power in their hands and would resent it mebby. Uncle Sam can’t be used jest like Aunt Sally.”

Sez I, “That haint the right spirit. There haint nothin’ over and above noble in that, and manly.”

I wuz kinder rousted up about it, and so wuz Josiah. And that is I s’pose the reasun of his bein’ so voyalent, at the next place of recreation we halted at Josiah see the picture of the mermaid; that beautiful female, a, settin’ on the rock and combin’ her long golden hair. And he proposed that we should go in and see it.

Sez I, “It costs ten cents apiece, Josiah Allen. Think of the cost before it is too late.” Sez I, “Your expenditure of money today has been unusial.” Sez I, “The sum of ten cents has jest been raised by you for noble principles, and I honer you for it. But still the money has gone.” Sez I, “Do you feel able to incur the entire expense?”

Sez he, “All my life, Samantha, I have jest hankered after seein’ a mermaid. Them beautiful creeters, a settin’ and combin’ their long golden tresses. I feel that I must see it. I fairly long to see one of them beautiful, lovely bein’s before I die.”

“Wall,” sez I, “if you feel like that, Josiah Allen, it is not fur from me to balk you in your search for beauty. I too admire loveliness, Josiah Allen, and seek after it.” And sez I, “I will faithfully follow at your side, and together we will bask in the rays of beauty, together will we be lifted up and inspired by the immortal spirit of loveliness.”

So payin’ our 30 cents we advanced up the steps, I expectin’ soon to be made happy, and Josiah held up by the expectation of soon havin’ his eyes blest by that vision of enchantin’ beauty, he had so long dremp of.

He advanced onto the pen first and before I even glanced down into the deep where as I s’posed she set on a rock a combin’ out her long golden hair, a singin’ her lurin’ and enchanted song, to distant mariners she had known, and to the one who wuz a showin’ of her off, before I had time to even glance at her, the maid, I was dumbfounded and stood aghast, at the mighty change that came over my pardner’s linement.

He towered up in grandeur and in wrath before me. He seemed almost like a offended male fowl when ravenin’ hawks are angerin’ of it beyond its strength to endure. I don’t like that metafor; I don’t love to compare my pardner to any fowl, wild or tame; but my frenzied haste to describe the fearful seen must be my excuse, and also my agitation in recallin’ of it.

He towered up, he fluttered so to speak majestically, and he says in loud wild axents that must have struck terror to the soul of that mariner, “Where is the hair-comb?”

And then he shook his fist in the face of that mariner, and cries out once agin, “Where is them long golden tresses? Bring ’em on this instant! Fetch on that hair-comb, in a minute’s time, or I’ll prosecute you, and sue you, and take the law to you - !”

The mariner quailed before him and sez I, “My dear pardner, be calm! Be calm!”

“I won’t be calm!”

Sez I mildly, but firmly, “You must, Josiah Allen; you must! or you will break open your own chest. You must be calm.”

“And I tell you I won’t be calm. And I tell you,” says he, a turnin’ to that destracted mariner agin “I tell you to bring on that comb and that long hair, this instant. Do you s’pose I’m goin’ to pay out my money to see that rack-a-bone that I wouldn’t have a layin’ out in my barn-yard for fear of scerin’ the dumb scere-crows out in the lot. Do you s’pose I’m goin’ to pay out my money for seein’ that dried-up mummy of the hombliest thing ever made on earth, the dumbdest, hombliest; with 2 or 3 horse hairs pasted onto its yellow old shell! Do you spose I’m goin’ to be cheated by seein’ that, into thinkin’ it is a beautiful creeter a playin’ and combin’ her hair? Bring on that beautiful creeter a combin’ out her long, golden hair this instant, and bring out the comb and I’ll give you five minutes to do it in.”

He wuz hoorse with emotion, and he wuz pale round his lips as anything and leis eyes under his forward looked glassy. I wuz fearful of the result.

Thinkses I, I will look and see what has wrecked my pardner’s happiness and almost reasen. I looked in and I see plain that his agitation was nothin’ to be wondered at. It did truly seem to be the hombliest, frightfulest lookin’ little thing that wuz ever made by a benignant Providence or a taxy-dermis. I couldn’t tell which made it. I see it all, but I see also, so firm, sot is my reasun onto its high throne on my heart, I see that to preserve my pardner’s sanity, I must control my reasun at the sight that had tottered my pardner’s.

I turned to him, and tried to calm the seethin’ waters, but he loudly called for the comb, and for the tresses, and the lookin’ glass. And, askin’ in a wild’ sarcastic way where the song wuz that she sung to mariners? And hollerin’ for him to bring on that rock at that minute, and them mariners, and ordered him to set her to singin’.

The idee! of that little skeletin with her skinny lips drawed back from her shinin’ fish teeth, a singin’. The idee on’t!

But truly, he wuz destracted and knew not what he did. The mariner in charge looked destracted. And the bystanders a standin’ by wuz amazed, and horrowfied by the spectacle of his actin’ and behavin’. And I knew not how I should termonate the seen, and withdraw him away from where he wuz.

But in my destraction and agony of sole, I bethought me of one meens of quietin’ him and as it were terrifyin’ him into silence and be the meens of gettin’ on him to leave the seen. I begoned to Ardelia to come forward and I sez in a whisper to her, “Take out your pencil and a piece of paper and stand up in front of him and go to writin’ some of your poetry,”

And then I sez agin in tender agents, “Be calm, Josiah.”

“And I tell you that I won’t be calm! And I tell you,” a shakin’ his fist at that pale mariner, “I tell you to bring out—“

At that very minute he turned his eyes onto Ardelia, who stood with a kind of a fur-away look in her eyes in front of him with the paper in her hand, and sez he to me, “What is she doin’?”

“She is composin’ some poetry onto you, Josiah Allen,” sez I, in tremblin’ axents; for I felt that if that skeme failed, I wuz undone, for I knew I had no ingredients there to get him a extra good meal. No, I felt that my tried and true weepon wuz fur away, and this wuz my last hope.

But as I thought these thoughts with almost a heatlightnin’ rapidety, I see a change in his liniment. It did not look so thick and dark; it began to look more natural and clear.

And sez he in the same old way I have heerd him say it so many times, “Dumb it all! What duz she want to write poetry on me for? It is time to go home.” And so sayin’, he almost tore us from the seen.

I gin Ardelia that night 2 yards of lute-string ribbon, a light pink, and didn’t begrech it. But I have never dast, not in his most placid and serene moments - I have never dast, to say the word “Mermaid’ to him.

Truly there is something that the boldest female pardner dassent do. Mermaids is one of the things I don’ dast to bring up. No! no, fur be it from me to say “Mermaid” to Josiah Allen.

On the Porch

Chapter XII.

Josiah and me took a short drive this afternoon, he hirin’ a buggy for the occasion. He called it “goin’ in his own conveniance,” and I didn’t say nothin’ aginst his callin’ it so. I didn’t break it up for this reasun, thinkses I it is a conveniance for us to ride in it, for us 2 tried and true souls to get off for a minute by ourselves.

Wall, Josiah wuz dretful good behaved this afternoon. He helped me in a good deal politer than usual and tucked the bright lap-robe almost tenderly round my form.

Men do have sech spells. They are dretful good actin’ at times. Why they act better and more subdueder and mellerer at sometimes than at others, is a deep subject which we mortals cannot as yet fully understand. Also visey versey, their cross, up headeder times, over bearin’ and actin’. It is a deep subject and one freighted with a great deal of freight.

But Josiah’s goodness on this afternoon almost reached the Scripteral and he sez, when we first sot out, and I see that the horse’s head wuz turned towards the Lake. Sez he, “I guess we’ll go to the Lake, but where do you want to go, Samantha? I will go anywhere you want to go.”

And he still drove almost recklessly on lakewards. And sez he, “We had better go straight on, but say the word, and you can go jest where you want to.” And he urged the horse on to still greater speed. And he sez agin, “Do you want to go any particular place, Samantha?”

“Yes,” sez I, “I had jest as leves go there as not.”

“Wall, I knew there would be where you would want to go.” And he drove on at a good jog. But no better jog than we had been a goin’ on.

Wall the weather wuz delightful. It wuz soft and balmy. And my feelin’s towered my pardner (owin’ to his linement) wuz soft and balmy as the air. And so we moved onwards, past the home of one who wuz true to his country, when all round him wuz false, who governed his state wisely and well, held the lines firm, when she wuz balky, and would have been glad to take the lines in her teeth and run away onto ruin; past the big grand house of him who carried a piece of our American justice way off into Egypt and carried it firm and square too right there in the dark. I s’pose it is dark. I have always hearn about its bein’ as dark as Egypt. Wall, anyway he is a good lookin’ man. They both on ’em are and Josiah admitted it - after some words.

Wall anon, or perhaps a little after, we came to where we could see the face of Beautiful Saratoga Lake, layin’ a smilin’ up into the skies. A little white cloud wuz a restin’ up on the top of the tree-covered mountain that riz up on one side of the lake, and I felt that it might be the shadow form of the sacred dove Saderrosseros a broodin’ down over the waters she loved.

That she loved still, though another race wuz a bathin’ their weary forwards in the tide. And I wondered as I looked down on it, whether the great heart of the water wuz constant; if it ever heaved up into deep sithes a thinkin’ of the one who had passed away, of them who once rested lightly on her bosem, bathed their dark forwards and read the meanin’ of the heavens, in the moon and stars reflected there.

I don’t know as she remembered ’em, and Josiah don’t. But I know as we stood there, a lookin’ down on her, the lake seemed to give a sort of a sithe and a shiver kind a run over her, not a cold shiver exactly, but a sort of a shinin’, glorified shiver. I see it a comin’ from way out on the lake and it swept and sort a shivered on clean to the shore and melted away there at our feet. Mebby it wuz a sort o’ sithe, and mebby agin it wuzn’t.

I guess it felt that it wuz all right, that a fairer race had brought fairer customs and habits of thoughts, and the change wuz not a bad one. I guess she looked forward to the time when a still grander race should look down into her shinin’ face, a race of free men, and free wimmen; sons and daughters of God, who should hold their birthright so grandly and nobly that they will look back upon the people of to-day, as we look back upon the dark sons and daughters of the forest, in pity and dolor.

I guess she thought it wuz all right. Any way she acted as if she did. She looked real sort o’ serene and calm as we left her, and sort o’ prophetic too, and glowin’.

Wall, we went by a long first rate lookin’ sort of a tarven, I guess. It wuz a kind of a dark red color, and dretfully flowered off in wood - red wood. And there we see standin’ near the house, a great big round sort of a buildin’, and my Josiah sez,

“There! that is a buildin’ I like the looks on. That is a barn I like; built perfectly round. That is sunthin’ uneek. I’ll have a barn like that if I live. I fairly love that barn.” And he stopped the horse stun still to look at it.

And I sez in sort o’ cool tones, not entirely cold, but coolish: “What under the sun do you want with a round barn? And you don’t need another one.”

“Wall, I don’t exactly need it, Samantha, but it would be a comfert to me to own one. I should dearly love a round barn.”

And he went on pensively, - “I wonder how much it would cost. I wouldn’t have it quite so big as this is. I’d have it for a horse barn, Samantha. It would look so fashionable, and genteel. Think what it would be, Samantha, to keep our old mair in a round barn, why the mair would renew her age.”

A Round Barn

“She wouldn’t pay no attention to it,” sez I. “She knows too much.” And I added in cooler, more dignifieder tones, but dretful meanin’ ones, “The old mair, Josiah Allen, don’t run after every new fancy she hears on. She don’t try to be fashionable, and she haint high-headed, except,” sez I, reasenably, “when you check her up too much.”

“Wall,” sez he, “I am bound to make some enquiries. Hello!” says he to a bystander a comin’ by. “Have you any idee what such a barn as that would cost? A little smaller one, I don’t need so big a one. How many feet of lumber do you s’pose it would take for it? I ask you,” sez he, “as between man and man.”

I nudged him there, for as I have said, I didn’t believe then, and I don’t believe now, that he or any other man ever knew or mistrusted what they meant by that term “as between man and man.” I think it sounds kind o’ flat, and I always oppose Josiah’s usin’ it; he loves it.

Wall, the man broke out a’ laughin’ and sez he, “That haint a barn, that is a tree.”

“A tree!” sez I, a sort o’ cranin’ my neck forward in deep amaze. And what exclamation Josiah Allen made, I will not be coaxed into revealin’; no, it is better not.

But suffice it to say that after a long explanation my companion at last gin in that the man wuz a tellin’ the truth, and it wuz the lower part of a tree-trunk, that growed once near the Yo Semity valley of California. Good land! good land!

Josiah drove on quick after the man explained it, he felt meachin’, but I didn’t notice his linement so much, I wuz so deep in thought, and a wonderin’ about it; a wonderin’ how the old tree felt with her feet a restin’ here on strange soil - her withered, dry old feet a standin’ here, as if jest ready to walk away restless like and feverish, a wantin’ to get back by the rushin’ river that used to bathe them feet in the spring overflow of the pure cold mountain water. It seemed to me she felt she was a alien, as if she missed her strong sturdy grand old body, her lofty head that used to peer up over the mountains, and as if some day she wuz a goin’ to set off a walkin’ back, a tryin’ to find ’em.

I thought of how it had towered up, how the sun had kissed its branches, how the birds had sung and built their nests against her green heart, hovered in her great, outstretched arms. The birds of a century, the birds of a thousand years. How the storms had beat upon her; the first autumn rains of a thousand years, the first snow-flakes that had wavered down in a slantin’ line and touched the tips of her outstretched fingers, and then had drifted about her till her heart wuz almost frozen and she would clap her cold hands together to warm ’em, and wail out a dretful moanin’ sound of desolation, and pain.

But the first warm rain drops of Spring would come, the sunshine warmed her, she swung out her grand arms in triumph agin, and joined the majestic psalm of victory and rejoicing with all her grand sisterhood of psalmists. The stars looked down on her, the sun lit her lofty forward, the suns and stars of a thousand years. Strange animals, that mebby we don’t know anything about now, roamed about her feet, birds of a different plumage and song sung to her (mebby).

Strange faces of men and women looked up to her. What faces had looked up to her in sorrow and in joy? I’d gin a good deal to know. I’d have loved to see them strange faces touched with strange pains and hopes. Tribulations and joys of a thousand years ago. What sort of tribulations wuz they, and what sort of joys? Sunthin’ human, sunthin’ that we hold in common, no doubt. The same pain that pained Eve as she walked down out of Eden, the same joy that Adam enjoyed while they and the garden wuz prosperus, wuz in their faces most probable whether their forwards wuz pinted or broad, their faces black, copper colored or white.

And the changes, the changes of a thousand years, all these the old tree had seen, and I respected her dry dusty old feet and wuz sorry for ’em. And I reveryed on the subject more’n half the way home, and couldn’t help it. Anyway my revery lasted till jest before we got to the big gate of the Race Course.

And right there, right in front of them big ornamental doors, we see Miss G. Washington Flamm, with about a thousand other carriages and wagons and Tally ho’s and etcetry, and etcetry. Josiah thinks there wuz a million teams, but I don’t. I am mejum; there wuzn’t probable over a thousand right there in the road.

Race Course Entry

Miss Flamm recognized us and asked us if we didn’t want to go in. Wall, Josiah wuz agreeable to the idee and said so. And then she said sunthin’ to the man that tended to the gate, probably sunthin’ in our praise, and handed him sunthin’, it might have been a ten cent piece, for all I know.

But anyway he wuz dretful polite to us, and let us through. And my land! if it wuzn’t a sight to behold! Of all the big roomy places I ever see all filled with vehicles of all shapes and sizes and folks on foot and big high platforms, all filled with men and wimmen and children! And Josiah sez to me, “I thought the hull dumb world wuz there outside in the road, and here there is ten times as many in here.”

And I sez, “Yes, Josiah, be careful and not lose me, for I feel like a needle in a hay mow.”

He looked down on me and sort a smiled. I s’pose it wuz because I compared myself to a needle, and he sez, “A cambric needle, or a darnin’ needle?”

And I sez, “I wouldn’t laugh in such a time as this, Josiah Allen.” Sez I, “Do jest look over there on the race course.”

And it wuz a thrillin’ seen. It wuz a place big enough for all the horses of our land to run ’round in and from Phario’s horses down to them of the present time. And beautiful broad smooth roads cut in the green velvet of the grass, and horses goin’ ’round jest like lightnin’, with little light buggys hitched to ’em, some like the quiver on sheet lightnin’ (only different shape) and men a drivin’ ’em.

And then there wuz a broad beautiful race course with little clusters of trees and bushes, every little while right in the road, and if you’ll believe it, I don’t s’pose you will, but it is the livin’ truth, when them horses, goin’ jest like a flash of light, with little boys all dressed in gay colors a ridin’ ’em—when them horses came to them trees instid of goin’ ’round ’em, or pushin’ in between ’em, or goin’ back agin, they jumped right over ’em. I don’t spose this will be believed by lots of folks in Jonesville and Loontown, but it is the truth, for I see it with both my eyes. Josiah riz right up in the buggy and cheered jest as the rest of ’em did, entirely unbeknown to himself, so he said, to see it a goin’ on.

Why he got nearly rampant with excitement. And so did I, though I wouldn’t want it known by Tirzah Ann’s husband’s folks and others in Jonesville. They call it “steeple chasin’” so if they should hear on’t, it wouldn’t sound so very wicked any way. I should probable tell ’em if they said too much, “That it wuz a pity if folks couldn’t get interested in a steeple and chase it up.” But between you and me I didn’t see no sign of a steeple, nor meetin’ house nor nuthin’. I s’pose they gin it that name to make it seem more righter to perfessors. I know it wuz a great comfort to me. (But I don’t think they chased a steeple, and Josiah don’t, for we think we should have seen it if they had.)

Wall, as I say, we wuz both dretfully interested, excited, and wrought up, I s’pose I ort to say, when a chap accosted me and says to me sunthin’ about buyin’ a pool. And I shook my head and sez, “No, I don’t want to buy no pool.”

But he kep’ on a talkin’ and a urgin’, and sez, “Won’t you buy a French pool, mom, you can make lots of money out of it.”

“A pool,” sez I in dignified axents, and some stern, for I wuz weary with his importunities. “What do I want a pool for? Don’t you s’pose there’s any pools in Jonesville, and I never thought nothin’ on ’em, I always preferred runnin’ water. But if I wuz a goin’ to buy one, what under the sun do you s’pose I would buy one way off here for, hundreds of miles from Jonesville?”

“I might possibly,” sez I, not wantin’ to hurt his feelin’s and tryin’ to think of some use I could put it tot “ might if you had a good small American pool, that wuz a sellin’ cheap; and I could have it set right in our back yard, clost to the horse barn, why I might possibly try to make a dicker with you for it. I might use it for raisin’ ducks and geese, though I’d rather have a runnin’ stream then. But how under the sun you think I could take a pool home on a tower, how I could pack it, or transport it, or drive it home is a mystery to me.”

Again he sez mechinecally, “Lots of wimmen do get ’em.”

“Wall, some wimmen,” sez I mildly, for I see he wuz a lookin’ at me perfect dumbfoundered. I see I wuz fairly stuntin’ him with my eloquence. “Some wimmen will buy anything if it has a French name to it. But I prefer my own country, land or water. And some wimmen,” sez I, “will buy anything if they can get it cheap, things they don’t need, and would be better off without, from a eliphant down to a magnificent nothin’ to call husband. They’ll buy any worthless and troublesome thing jest to get ’em to goin’. Now such wimmen would jest jump at that pool. But that haint my way. No, I don’t want to purchase your pool.”

Sez he, “You are mistaken, mom!”

“No I haint,” sez I firmly and with decesion. “No I haint. I don’t need no pool. It wouldn’t do me no good to keep it on my hands, and I haint no notion of settin’ up in the pool or pond business, at my age.”

“And then,” sez I reasonably, “the canal runs jest down below our orchard, and if we run short, we could get all the water we wanted from there. And we have got two good cisterns and a well on the place.”

Sez he, “What I mean is, bettin’ on a horse. Do you want to bet on which horse will go the fastest, the black one or the bay one?”

“No,” sez I, “I don’t want to bet.”

But he kep’ on a urgin’ me, and thinkin’ I had disappinted him in sellin’ a pool, or rather pond, I thought it wouldn’t hurt me to kinder gin in to him in this, so I sez mildly, “Bettin’ is sunthin’ I don’t believe in, but seein’ I have disappinted you in sellin’ your water power, I don’t know as it would be wicked to humor you in this and say it to please you. You say the bay horse is the best, so I’ll say for jest this once - There! I’ll bet the bay one will go the best.”

“Where is your money?” sez he. “It is five dollars for a bet. You pay five dollars and you have a chance to get back mebby 100.”

I riz right up in feerful dignity, and the buggy and I sez that one feerful word to him, “Gamblin’!” He sort a quailed. But sez he, “you had better take a five-dollar chance on the bay horse.”

Feerful Dignity

“No,” sez I, with a freezin’ coldness, that must have made his ears fairly tingle it wuz so cold, “no I shall not gamble, neither on foot nor on horseback.”

Then I sot down and I sez in the same lofty tones to Josiah Allen, “Drive on, Josiah, instantly and to once.”

He too had heerd the fearful word and his princeples too wuz rousted up. He driv right on rapidly, out of the gate and into the highway. But as he druv on fast and almost furius I heerd him murmur words to himself, that accounted for his eager looks while the man wuz dickerin’ about the pool. He sez, “It is dumb hard work pumpin’ water for so many head of cattle.” He thought a pool would come handy, so I see. But it wuz all done and I would have done the same thing if it was to do over agin, so I didn’t say nuthin’, but kep’ a serene silence, and let him drive along in quiet; and anon, I see the turbelence of his feelin’s subsided in a measure.

It wuz a gettin’ along towards sundown and the air wuz a growin’ cool and balmy, as if it wuz a blowin’ over some balm flowers, and we begun to feel quite well in our minds, though the crowd in the road wuz too big for comfert. The crowd of carriages and horses, and vehicles of all kinds, seemed to go in two big full rows or streams, one a goin’ down on one side of the road, and the other a goin’ up on the other. So the 2 tides swept past each other constantly—but the bubbles on the tide wuzn’t foam but feathers, and bows, and laces, and parasols, and buttons, and diamonds, and etcetry, etcetry, etcetry.

And all of a sudden my Josiah jest turned into a big gate that wuz a standin’ wide open and we drove into a beautiful quiet road that went a windin’ in under the shadows of the tall grand old trees. He did it without askin’ my advice or sayin’ a word to me. But I wuzn’t sorry. Fur it wuz beautiful in there. It seemed as if we had left small cares and vexations and worryments out there in the road and dust, and took in with us only repose and calmness, and peace, and they wuz a journeyin’ along with us on the smooth road under the great trees, a bendin’ down on each side on us. And pretty soon we came to a beautiful piece of water crossed by a rustick bridge, and all surrounded by green trees on every side. Then up on the broad road agin, sweepin’ round a curve where we could see a little ways off a great mansion with a wall built high round it as if to shet in the repose and sweet home-life and shet out intrusion, sort a protect it from the too curius glances of a curius generation. Some as I hold my hand up before my face to keep off the too-scorchin’ rays of the sun, when I am a lookin’ down the western road for my Josiah.

It wuz a good lookin’ spot as I ever want to see, sheltered, quiet and lovely. But we left it behind us as we rode onwards, till we came out along another broad piece of the water, and we rode along by the side of it for some time.

Beautiful water with the trees growin’ up on every side of it, and their shadows reflected so clearly in the shinin’ surface, that they seemed to be trees a growin’ downwards, tall grand trees, wavin’ branches, goin’ down into the water and livin’ agin in another world,—a more beautiful one.

The sun wuz a gettin’ low and piles of clouds wuz in the west and all their light wuz reflected in the calm water. And the beautiful soft shadows rested there on that rosy and golden light, some like the shadow of a beautiful and sorrowful memory, a restin’ down and reposin’ on a divine hope, an infinite sweetness.

The Race Course

Chapter XIII.

It is a perfect sight to behold, to set on the piazzas at Saratoga, and see the folks a goin’ past.

Now in Jonesville, when there wuz a 4th of July, or campmeetin’, or sunthin’ of that kind a goin’ on, why, I thought I had seen the streets pretty full. Why, I had counted as many as seven teams in the road at one time, and I had thought that wuz pretty lively times. But good land? Good land! You would have gin up in ten minutes time here, that you had never seen a team (as it were).

Why I call my head a pretty sound one, but I declare, it did fairly make my head swim to set there kinder late in the afternoon, and see the drivin’ a goin’ on. See the carriages a goin’ this way, and a goin’ that way; horses of all colers, and men and wimmen of all colers, and parasols of all colers, and hats, and bonnets and parasols, and satins, and laces, and ribbins, and buttons, and dogs, and flowers, and plumes, and parasols. And horses a turnin’ out to go by, and horses havin’ gone by, and horses that hadn’t gone by. And big carriages with folks inside all dressed up in every coler of the rain beaux. And elligent gentlemen dressed perfectly splendid, a settin’ up straight behind. With thin yellow legs, or stripes down the side on ’em, and their hats all trimmed off with ornaments and buttons up and down their backs.

Haughty creeters they wuz, I make no doubt. They showed it in their looks. But I never loved so much dress in a man. And I would jest as soon have told them so; as to tell you. I hain’t one to say things to a man’s back that I won’t say to his face, whether it be a plain back or buttoned.

Wall, as I say, it wuz a dizzy sight to set there on them piazzas and see the seemin’ly endless crowd a goin’ by; back and forth, back and forth; to and fro, to and fro. I didn’t enjoy it so much as some did, though for a few minutes at a time I looked upon it as a sort of a recreation, some like a circus, only more wilder.

But some folks enjoyed it dretfully. Yes, they set a great deal on piazzas at Saratoga. And when I say set on ’em, I mean they set a great store on ’em, and they set on ’em a great deal. Some folks set on ’em so much, that I called them setters. Real likely creeters they are too, some on ’em, and handsome; some pious, sober ones, some sort a gay. Some not married at all, and some married a good deal, and when I say a good deal I meen, they have had various companions and lost ’em.

Now there wuz one woman that I liked quite well.

She had had 4 husbands countin’ in the present one. She wuz a good lookin’ woman and had seen trouble. It stands to reeson she had with 4 husbands. Good land!

She showed me one day a ring she wore. She had took the weddin’ rings of her 4 pardners and had ’em all run together, and the initials of their first names carved inside on it. Her first husband’s name wuz Franklin, her next two wuz Orville and Obed, and her last and livin’ one Lyman. Wall, she meant well, but she never see what would be the end on’t and how it would read till she had got their initials all carved out on it.

She wuz dretfully worked up about it, but I see that it wuz right. For nobody but a fool would want to run all these recollections and memories together, all the different essociations and emotions, that must cluster round each of them rings. The idee of runnin’ ’em all together with the livin’ one! It wuz ectin’ like a fool and it seemed fairly providential that their names run in jest that way.

Why, if I had had 2 husbands, or even 4, I should want to keep ’em apart - settin’ up in high chairs on different sides of my heart. Why, if I’d had 4, I’d have ’em to the different pints of the compass, east, west, north, south, as far apart from each other as my heart would admit of. Ketch me a lumpin’ in all the precious memories of my Josiah with them of any other man, bond or free, Jew or Genteel; no, and I’d refrain from tellin’ to the new one about the other ones.

No, when a pardner dies and you set out to take another one, bury the one that has gone right under his own high chair in your heart, don’t keep him up there a rattlin’ his bones before the eyes of the 2d, and angerin’ him, and agonizen’ your own heart. Bury him before you bring a new one into the same room.

And never! never! even in moments of the greatest anger, dig him up agin or even weep over his grave, before the new pardner. No; under the moonlight, and the stars, before God only, and your own soul, you may lay there in spirit on that grave, weep over it, keep the turf green. But not before any one else. And I wouldn’t advise you to go there alone any too often. I would advise you to spend your spare time ornementin’ the high chair where the new one sets, wreathin’ it round with whatever blossoms and trailin’ vines of tenderness and romance you have left over from the first great romance of life.

It would be better for you in the end.

I said some few of these little thoughts to the female mentioned; and I s’pose I impressed her dretfully, I s’pose I did. But I couldn’t stay to see the full effects on’t, for another female setter came up at that minute to talk with her, and my companion came up at that very minute to ask me to go a walkin’ with him up to the cemetery.

That is a very favorite place for Josiah Allen. He often used to tell the children when they wuz little, that if they wuz real good he would take ’em out on a walk to the grave-yard.

And when I first married to him, if I hadn’t broke it up, that would have been the only place of resort that he would have took me to Summers. But I broke it up after a while. Good land! there is times to go any where and times to stay away. I didn’t want to go a trailin’ up there every day or two; jest married too!

But to-day I felt willin’ to go. I had been a lookin’ so long at the crowd a fillin’ the streets full, and every one on ’em in motion, that I thought it would be sort a restful to go out to a place where they wuz still. And so after a short walk we came to the village that haint stirred by any commotion or alarm. Where the houses are roofed with green grass and daisies, and the white stun doors don’t open to let in trouble or joy, and where the inhabitants don’t ride out in the afternoon.

Wall, if I should tell the truth which I am fur from not wantin’ to do, I should say that at first sight, it wuz rather of a bleak, lonesome lookin’ spot, kinder wild and desolate lookin’. But as we went further along in it, we came to some little nooks and sheltered paths and spots, that seemed more collected together and pleasant. There wuz some big high stuns and monuments, and some little ones but not one so low that it hadn’t cast a high, dark shadow over somebody’s life.

There wuz one in the shape of a big see shell. I s’pose some mariner lay under that, who loved the sea. Or mebby it wuz put up by some one who had the odd fancy that put a shell to your ear you will hear a whisperin’ in it of a land fur away, fur away. Not fur from this wuz a stun put up over a young engineer who had been killed instantly by his engine. There wuz a picture of the locomotive scraped out on the stun, and in the cab of the engine wuz his photograph, and these lines wuz underneath:

My engine now lies still and cold,
No water does her boiler hold;
The wood supplies its flames no more,
My days of usefulness are o’er.

We wended our way in and out of the silent streets for quite a spell, and then we went and sot down on the broad piazza of the sort of chapel and green-house that stood not fur from the entrance. And while we sot there we see another inhabitent come there to the village to stay.

It wuz a long procession, fur it wuz a good man who had come. And many of his friends come with him jest as fur as they could: wife, children, and friends, they come with him jest as fur as they could, and then he had to leave ’em and go on alone. How weak love is, and how strong. It wuz too weak to hold him back, or go with him, though they would fain have done so. But it wuz strong enough to shadow the hull world with its blackness, blot out the sun and the stars, and scale the very mounts of heaven with its wild complaints and pleadin’s. A strange thing love is, haint it?

Wall, we sot there for quite a spell and my companion wantin’, I spose, to make me happy, took out a daily paper out of his pocket and went to readin’ the deaths to me. He always loves to read the deaths and marriages in a paper. He sez that is the literature that interests him. And then I s’pose he thought at such a time, it wuz highly appropriate. So I didn’t break it up till he began to read a long obituary piece about a child’s death; about its being cut down like a flower by a lightin’ stroke out of a cloudless sky, and about what a mysterious dispensation of Providence it wuz, etc., etc. And then there wuz a hull string of poetry dedicated to the heart-broken mother bewailin’ the mystery on’t, and wonderin’ why Providence should do such strange, onlookedfor things, etc., and etcetery, and so 4th.

And I spoke right up and sez, “That is a slander onto Providence and ort to be took as such by every lover of justice.”

Josiah wuz real horrified, he had been almost sheddin’ tears he wuz so affected by it; to think the little creeter should be torn away by a strange chance of Providence from a mother who worshipped her, and whose whole life and every thought wuz jest wrapped up in the child, and who never had thought nor cared for anything else only just the well bein’ of the child and wardin’ trouble off of her, for so the piece stated. And he sez in wild amaze, “What do you mean, Samantha? What makes you talk so?”

“Because,” sez I, “I know it is the truth. I know the hull story;” and then I went on and told it to him, and he agreed with me and felt jest as I did.

You see, the mother of the child wuz a perfect high flyer of fashion and she always wore dresses so tight, that she couldn’t get her hands up to her head to save her life, after her corset wuz on. Wall, she wuz out a walkin’ with the child one day, or rather toddlin’ along with it, on her high-heeled sboes. They wuz both dressed up perfectly beautiful, and made a most splendid show. Wall, they went into a store on their way to the park, and there wuz a big crowd there, and the mother and the little girl got into the very middle of the crowd. They say there wuz some new storks for sale that day, and some cattail flags, and so there wuz naturelly a big crowd of wimmen a buyin’ ’em, and cranes. And some way, while they stood there a heavy vase that stood up over the child’s head fell down and fell onto it, and hurt the child so, that it died from the effects of it.

The mother see the vase when it flrst begun to move, she could have reached up her hands and stiddied it, and kep’ it from fallin’, if she could have got ’em up, but with that corset on, the hull American continent might have tumbled onto the child’s head and she couldn’t have moved her arms up to keep it off; couldn’t have lifted her arms up over the child’s head to save her life. No, she couldn’t have kep’ one of the States off, nor nothin’. And then talk about her wardin’ trouble offen the child, why she couldn’t ward trouble off, nor nothin’ else with that corset on. She screemed, as she see it a comin’ down onto the head of her beloved little child, but that wuz all she could do. The child wuz wedged in by the throng of folks and couldn’t stir, and they wuz all engrossed in their own business which wuz pressin’, and very important, a buyin’ plates, and plaks, with bull-rushes, and cranes, and storks on ’em, so naturelly, they didn’t mind what wuz a goin’ on round ’em. And down it come!

And there it wuz put down in the paper, “A mysterious dispensation of Providence.” Providence slandered shamefully and I will say so with my last breath.

What are mothers made for if it haint to take care of the little ones God gives ’em. What right have they to contoggle themselves up in a way that they can see their children die before ’em, and they not able to put out a hand to save ’em. Why, a savage mother is better than this, a heathen one. And if I had my way, there would be a hull shipload of savages and heathens brought over here to teach and reform our too civilized wimmen. I’d bring ’em over this very summer.

Wall, we sot there on the stoop for quite a spell and then we wended our way down to the highway, and as we arrived there my companion proposed that we should take a carriage and go to the Toboggen slide. Sez I, “Not after where we have been today, Josiah Allen.”

And he sez, “Why not?”

And I sez, “It wouldn’t look well, after visitin’ the folks we have jest now.”

“Wall,” sez he, “they won’t speak on’t to anybody, if that is what you are afraid on, or sense it themselves.”

And I see in a minute, he had some sense on his side, though his words shocked me some at first, kinder jarred aginst some sensitive spot in my nater, jest as pardners will sometimes, however devoted they may be to each other. Yet I see he wuz in the right on’t.

They wouldn’t sense anything about it. And as for us, we wuz in the world of the livin’ still, and I still owed a livin’ duty to my companion, to make him as happy as possible. And so I sez, mildly, “Wall, I don’t know as there is anything wrong in slidin’ down hill, Josiah. I s’pose I can go with you.”

“No,” sez he, “there haint nothin’ wrong about slidin’ down hill unless you strike too hard, or tip over, or sunthin’.” So he bagoned to a carriage that wuz passin’, and we got into it, and sot sail for the Toboggen slide.

We passed through the village. (Some say it is a city, but if it is, it is a modest, retirin’ one as I ever see; perfectly unassumin’, and don’t put on a air, not one.)

But howsumever, we passed through it, through the rows and rows of summer tarvens and boardin’ houses, good-lookin’ ones too; past some good-lookin’ private houses—a long tarven and a pretty red brick studio and rows of summer stores, little nests that are filled up summers, and empty winters, then by some more of them monster big tarvens where some of the 200,000 summer visitors who flock here summers, find a restin’ place; and then by the large respectable good-lookin’ stores and shops of the natives, that stand solid, and to be depended on summer and winter; by churches and halls, and etc., and good-lookin’ houses and then some splendid-lookin’ houses all standin’ back on their grassy lawns behind some trees, and fountains, and flower beds, etc., etc.

Better-lookin’ houses, I don’t want to see nor broader, handsomer streets. And pretty soon fur away to the east you could see through the trees a glimpse of a glorious landscape, a broad lovely view of hill and valley, bounded by blue mountain tops. It was a fair seen - a fair seen. To be perfectly surrounded by beauty where you, wuz, and a lookin’ off onto more. There I would fain have lingered, but time and wagons roll stidily onward, and will not brook delay, nor pause for women to soar over seenery.

So we rolled onwards through still more beautiful, and quiet pictures. Pictures of quiet woods and bendin’ trees, and a country road windin’ tranquilly beneath, up and down gentle hills, and anon a longer one, and then at our feet stood the white walls of a convent, with 2 or 3 brothers, a strollin’ along in their long black gowns, and crosses, a readin’ some books.

I don’t know what it wuz, what they wuz a readin’ out of their books, or a readin’ out of their hearts. Mebby sunthin’ kinder sad and serene. Mebby it wuz sunthin’ about the gay world of human happiness, and human sorrows, they had turned backs to forever. Mebby it wuz about the other world that they had sot out for through a lonesome way. Mebby it wuz “Never” they wuz a readin’ about, and mebby it wuz “Forever.” I don’t know what it wuz. But we went by ’em, and anon, yes it wuz jest anon, for it wuz the very minute that I lifted my eyes from the Father’s calm and rather sad-lookin’ face, that I ketched sight on’t, that I see a comin’ down from the high hills to the left on us, an immense sort of a trough, or so it looked, a comin’ right down through the trees, from the top of the mountain to the, bottom. And then all acrost the fields as fur, as fur as from our house way over to Miss Pixley’s wuz a sort of a road, with a row of electric lights along the side on’t.

We drove up to a buildin’ that stood at the foot of that immense slide, or so they called it, and a female woman who wuz there told us all about it. And we went out her back door, and see way up the slide, or trough. There wuz a railin’ on each side on’t, and a place in the middle where she said the Toboggen came down.

And sez Josiah, “Who is the Toboggen, anyway? Is he a native of the place or a Injun? Anyway,” sez he, “I’d give a dollar bill to see him a comin’ down that place.”

And the woman said, “A Toboggen wuz a sort of a long sled, that two or three folks could ride on, and they come down that slide with such force that they went way out acrost the fields as far as the row of lights, before it stopped.”

Sez I, “Josiah Allen, did you ever see the beat on’t?” Sez I, “Haint that as far as from our house to Miss Pixley’s?”

“Yes,” says he, “and further too. It is as far as Uncle Jim Hozzleton’s.”

“Wall,” says I, “I believe you are in the right on’t.”

And sez Josiah, “How do they get back agin? Do they come in the cars, or in their own conveniences?”

“There is a sleigh to bring ’em back, but sometime they walk back,” sez the woman.

“Walk back!” sez I, in deep amaze. “Do they walk from way out there, and cleer up that mountain agin?”

“Yes,” sez she. “Don’t you see the place at the side for ’em to draw the Toboggen up, and the little flights of steps for ’em to go up the hill?”

“Wall,” sez I, in deep amaze, and auxins as ever to get information on deep subjects, “where duz the fun come in, is it in walkin’ way over the plain and up the hills, or is it in comin’ down?”

And she said she didn’t know exactly where the fun lay, but she s’posed it wuz comin’ down. Anyway, they seemed to enjoy it first rate. And she said it wuz a pretty sight to see ’em all on a bright clear night, when the sky wuz blue and full of stars, and the earth white and glistenin’ underneath to see 7 or 800, all dressed up in to gayest way, suits of white blankets, gay borders and bright tasseled caps of every color, and suits of every other pretty color all trimmed with fur and embroideries, to see ’em all a laughin’ and a talkin’, with their cheeks and eyes bright and glowin’, to see ’em a comin’ down the slide like flashes of every colored light, and away out over the white glistenin’ plains; and then to see the long line of happy laughin’ creeters a walkin’ back agin’ drawin’ the gay Toboggens. She said it wuz a sight worth seein’.

“Do they come down alone?” sez Josiah.

“Oh no!” sez she. “Boys and their sweethearts, men and wives, fathers and mothers and children, sometimes 4 on a Toboggan.”

Sez Josiah, lookin’ anamated and clever, “I’d love to take you on one on ’em, Samantha.’

“Oh no!” sez I, “I wouldn’t want to be took.”

But a bystander a standin’ by said it wuz a sight to behold to stand up on top and start off. He said the swiftness of the motion, the brightness of the electric lights ahead, the gleam of the snow made it seem like plungin’ down a dazzlin’ Niagara of whiteness and glitterin’ light; and some, like bein’ shot out of a cannon. Why, he said they went with such lightnin’ speed, that if you stood clost by the slide a waitin’ to see a friend go by, you might stand so near as to touch her, but you couldn’t no more see her to recognize her, than you could recognize one spoke from another in the wheel of a runaway carriage. You would jest see a red flash go by, if so be it wuz a red gown she had on. A red flash a dartin’ through the air, and a disappearin’ down the long glitterin’ lane of light.

You could see her a goin’ back, so they said, a laughin’ and a jokin’ with somebody, if so be she walked back, but there wuz long sleighs to carry ’em back, them and their Toboggens, if they wanted to ride, at the small expenditure of 10 cents apiece. They go, in the fastest time anybody can make till they go on the lightnin’, a way in which they will go before long, I think, and Josiah duz too.

“They said there wuzn’t nothin’ like it. And I said, “Like as not.” I believed ’em. And then the woman said, “This long room we wuz a standin’ in,” for we had gone back into the house, durin’ our interview, this long room wuz all warm and light for ’em to come into and get warm, and she said as many as 600 in a night would come in there and have supper there.

And then she showed us the model of a Toboggen, all sculped out, with a man and a woman on it. The girl wuz ahead sort a drawin’ the Toboggen, as you may say, and her lover. (I know he wuz, from his looks.) He wuz behind her, with his face right clost to her shoulder.

And I’ll bet that when they started down that gleamin’ slide, they felt as if they 2 wuz alone under the stars and the heavens, and wuz a glidin’ down into a dazzlin’ way of glory. You could see it in their faces. I liked their faces real well.

But the sight on ’em made Josiah Allen crazier’n ever to go too, and he sez, “I feel as if I must Toboggen, Samantha!”

Sez I, “Be calm! Josiah, you can’t slide down hill in July.”

“How do you know?” sez he, “I’m bound to enquire.” And he asked the woman if they ever Toboggened in the summer.

“No, never!” sez she.

And I sez, “You see it can’t be done.”

“She never see it tried,” sez he. “How can you tell what you can do without tryin’?” sez he lookin’ shrewdly, and longingly, up the slide. I trembled, for I knew not what the next move of his would be. But I bethought me of a powerful weepon I had by me. And I sez, “The driver will ask pay for every minute we are here.”

Down the Steps

And as I sez this, Josiah turned and almost flew down the steps and into the buggy. I had skairt him. Truly I felt relieved, and sez I to myself, “What would wimmen do if it wuzn’t for these little weepons they hold in their hands, to control their pardners with.” I felt happy.

But the next words of Josiah knocked down all that palace of Peace, that my soul had betook herself to. Sez he, “Samantha Allen, before I leave Saratoga I shall Toboggen.”

Wall, I immegetly turned the subject round and talked wildly and almost incoherently on politicks. I praised the tariff amost beyond its deserts. I brung up our foreign relations, and spoke well on ’em. I tackled revenues and taxation, and hurried him from one to the other on ’em, almost wildly, to get the idee out of his head. And I congratulated myself on havin’ succeeded. Alas! how futile is our hopes, sometimes futiler than we have any idee on!

By night all thoughts of danger had left me, and I slept sweetly and peacefully. But early in the mornin’ I had a strange dream. I dreamed I wuz in the woods with my head a layin’ on a log, and the ground felt cold that I wuz a layin’ on. And then the log gin way with me, and my head came down onto the ground. And then I slept peaceful agin, but chilly, till anon, or about that time, I beard a strange sound and I waked up with a start. It wuz in the first faint glow of mornin’ twilight. But as faint as the light wuz, for the eye of love is keen, I missed my beloved pardner’s head from the opposite pillow, and I riz up in wild agitation and thinkses I, “Has rapine took place here; has Josiah Allen been abducted away from me? Is he a kidnapped Josiah?”

At that fearful thought my heart begun to beat so voyalently as to almost stop my breath, and I felt I wuz growin’ pale and wan, wanner, fur wanner than I had been sense I came to Saratoga. I love Josiah Allen, he is dear to me.

And I riz up feelin’ that I would find that dear man and rescue him or perish in the attempt. Yes, I felt that I must perish if I did not find him. What would life be to me without him? And as I thought that thought the light of the day that wuz a breakin’, looked sort of a faint to me, and sickish. And like a flash it came to me, the thought that that light seemed like the miserable dawns of wretched days without him, a pale light with no warmth or brightness in it.

But at that very minute I heard a noise outside the door, and I heard that beloved voice a sayin’ in low axents the words I had so often heard him speak, words I had oft rebuked him for, but now, so weak will human love make one, now, I welcome them gladly—they sounded exquisitely sweet to me. The words wuz, “Dumb ’em!”

And I joyfully opened the door. But oh! what a sight met my eye. There stood Josiah Allen, arrayed in a blanket he had took from our bed (that accounted for my cold feelin’ in my dream). The blanket wuz white, with a gay border of red and yellow. He had fixed it onto him in a sort of a dressy way, and strapped it round the waist with my shawl strap. And he had took a bright yeller silk handkerchief of hisen, and had wrapped it round his head so’s it hung down some like a cap, and he wuz a tryin’ to fasten it round his forward with one of my stockin’ supporters. He couldn’t buckle it, and that is what called forth his exclamations. At his feet, partly upon the stairs, wuz the bolster from our bed (that accounted for the log that had gin way). And he had spread a little red shawl of mine over the top on’t, and as I opened the door he wuz jest ready to embark on the bolster, he waz jest a steppin’ onto it. But as he see me he paused, and I sez in low axents, “What are you a goin’ to do, Josiah Allen?”

“I’m a goin’ to Toboggen,” sez he.


Sez I, “Do you stop at once, and come back into your room.”

“No, no!” sez he firmly, and preparin’ to embark on the bolster, “I am a goin’ to Toboggen. And you come and go to. It is so fashionable,” sez he, “such a genteel diversion.”

Sez I, “Do you stop it at once, and come back to your room. Why,” sez I, “the hull house will be routed up, and be up here in a minute.”

“Wall,” sez he, “they’ll see fun if they do and fashion. I am a goin’, Samantha!” and be stepped forward.

Sez I, “They’ll see sunthin’ else that begins with a f, but it haint fun or fashion.’ And agin I sez, “Do you come back, Josiah Allen. You’ll break your neck and rout up the house, and be called a fool.”

“Oh no, Samantha! I must Toboggen. I must go down the slide once.” And he fixed the bolster more firmly on the top stair.

“Wall,” sez I, feelin’ that I wuz drove to my last ambush by him, sez I, “probably five dollars won’t make the expenses good, besides your doctor’s bill, and my mornin’. And I shall put on the deepest of crape, Josiah Allen,” sez I.

I see he wavered and I pressed the charge home. Sez I, “That bolster is thin cloth, Josiah Allen, and you’ll probably have to pay now for draggin’ it all over the floor. If anybody should see you with it there, that bolster would be charged in your bill. And how would it look to the neighbors to have a bolster charged in your bill? And I should treasure it, Josiah Allen, as bein’ the last bill you made before you broke your neck !”

“Oh, wall,” sez he, “I s’pose I can put the bolster back.” But he wuz snappish, and he kep’ snappish all day.

He wuzn’t quelled. Though he had gin in for the time bein’ I see he wuzn’t quelled down. He acted dissatisfied and highheaded, and I felt worried in my mind, not knowin’ what his next move would be.

Oh! the tribulations it makes a woman to take care of a man. But then it pays. After all, in the deepest of my tribulations I feel, I do the most of the time feel, that it pays. When he is good he is dretful good.

Wall, I went over to see Polly Pixley the next night, and when I got back to my room, there stood Josiah Allen with both of his feet sort a bandaged and tied down onto sumthin’, which I didn’t at first recognize. It waz big and sort a egg shaped, and open worked, and both his feet wuz strapped down tight onto it, and he wuz a pushin’ himself round the room with his umberell.

And I sez, “What is the matter now, Josiah Allen; what are you a doin’ now?”

“Oh I am a walkin’ on snow-shoes, Samantha! But I don’t see,” sez he a stoppin’ to rest, for he seemed tuckered out, “I don’t see how the savages got round as they did and performed such journeys. You put ’em on, Samantha,” sez he, “and see if you can get on any faster in ’em.”


Sez I, coldly, “The savages probable did’nt have both feet on one shoe, Josiah Allen, as you have. I shall put on no snowshoes in the middle of July; but if I did, I should put ’em on accordin’ to a little mite of sense. I should try to use as much sense as a savage any way.”

“Why, how it would look to have one foot on that great big snow-shoe. I always did like a good close fit in my shoes. And you see I have room enough and to spare for both on ’em on this. Why it wouldn’t look dressy at all, Samantha, to put ’em on as you say.”

Sez I very coldly, “I don’t see anything over and above dressy in your looks now, Josiah Allen, with both of your feet tied down onto that one shoe, and you a tryin’ to move off when you can’t. I can’t see anything over and above ornamental in it, Josiah Allen.”

“Oh! you are never willin’ to give in that I look dressy, Samantha. But I s’pose I can put my feet where you say. You are so sot, but they are too big for me—I shall look like a fool.”

I looked at him calmly over my specks, and sez I, “I guess I sha’n’t notice the difference or realize the change. I wonder,” sez I, in middlin’ cold axents, “how you think you are a lookin’ now, Josiah Allen.”

“Oh! keep a naggin’ at me!” sez he. But I see he wuz a gittin’ kinder sick of the idee.

“What you mean by puttin’ ’em on at all is more than I can say,” sez I, “a tryin to walk on snowshoes right in dog-days.”

“I put ’em on,” Samantha, sez he, a beginnin’ to unstrap ’em, “I put ’em on because I wanted to feel like a savage.”

“Wall,” sez I, “I have seen you at times durin’ the last 20 years, when I thought you realized how they felt without snow-shoes on, either.”

(These little interchanges of confidence will take place in every-day life.) But at that very minute Ardelia Tutt rapped at the door, and Josiah hustled them snow-shoes into the closet, and that wuz the last trial I had with him about ’em. He had borrowed ’em.

Wall, Ardelia wuz dretful pensive, and soft actin’ that night, she seemed real tickled to see us, and to get where we wuz. She haint over and above suited with the boardin’ place where she is, I think. I don’t believe they have very good food, though she won’t complain, bein’ as they are relations on her own side. And then she is sech a good little creeter anyway. But I had my suspicions. She didn’t seem very happy. She said she had been down to the park that afternoon, she and the young chap that has been a payin’ her so much attention lately, Bial Flamburg. She said they had sot down there by the deer park most all the afternoon a watchin’ the deer. She spoke dretful well of the deer. And they are likely deer for anything I know. But she seemed sort a pensive and low spirited. Mebby she is a beginnin’ to find Bial Flamburg out. Mebby she is a beginnin’ to not like his ways. He drinks and smokes, that I know, and I’ve mistrusted worse things on him. Before Ardelia went away, she slipped the followin’ lines into my hand, which I read after she had left. They wuz rather melancholy and ran as follows:


“Oh deer, sweet deer that softly steppeth out
From out thy rustick cot beneath the hill;
We would not meet thee with a wild, wild shout,
But with the low voice, low and sweet, and still
As anything.

“And in thine ear would whisper thoughts that swell
Our bosom nigh beyond our corset’s bound;
As lo! we see thee step along the dell
And with thy horns, and eyes look all around
And up, and down.

“We think of all thy virtue, and thy ways,
Thy simple ways of eating hay and grass;
We would not cause thy cheek to blush with praise,
Yet we have marked thee, marked thee as thou pass
We could but fain.

“And lo! our admiration thou dost win
Thou in the haunts of fashion keep afar,
Thou dost not lo! imbibe vile beer or gin,
Or smoke with pipe, or with a bad cigar,
Or cigarette.

“Thou dost not flirt nor cast sheep eyes on her
Who is bound unto another by a vow—
Thou dost not murmur love words in her ear,
While husband’s prowl about, to make a row
Or shoot with gun.

“Thou dost not drive in tandem, or on high—
In stately loneliness, in Tally Ho go round,
Thou dost not on a horse back nobly canter by,
Or drive in dog carts up and down the land,
By day or night.

“For ice cream, or for custard pie thou hankerest not,
Yearn not for caramels, nor apple sass,
Thou dost not eat pop corn, or peanuts down the grot,
Ah! no, sweet deer, thou meekly eatest grass
In peace.

“A lesson man might learn of thee full well,
To eat with sweet content tough steak, or thin;
Cold toast, or hot imbibe, think of that dell—
That patient deer, and eat in peace, nor sin
With profane word.

“If waiters do not come with food, think on that deer,
If food be bad and cold, think on that dell,
Strike not for vengeance with a deadly spear,
Learn of that angel deer and murmur, all is well,
While eating grass.”

Chapter XIV.

It wuz on a nice pleasant day that Ardelia Tuit, Josiah Allen, and me, met by previous agreement quite early in the mornin’, A. M., and sot out for Lake George. It is so nigh, that you can step onto the cars, and go out and see George any time of day.

It seemed to me jest as if George wuz glad we had come, for there wuz a broad happy smile all over his face, and a sort of a dimplin’ look, as if he wanted to laugh right out. All the beckonin’ shores and islands, with their beautiful houses on ’em, and the distant forests, and the trees a bendin’ over George, all seemed to sort a smile out a welcome to us. We had a most beautiful day, and got back quite late in the afternoon, P. M.

And the next day, a day heavenly calm and fair, Josiah Allen and me sot sail for Mount McGregor—that mountain top that is lifted up higher in the hearts of Americans than any other peak on the continent—fur higher. For it is the place where the memory of a Hero lays over all the peaceful landscape like a inspiration and a benediction, and will rest there forever.

The railroad winds round and round the mountain sometimes not seemin’ly goin’ up at all, but gradually a movin’ in’ on towards the top, jest as this brave Hero did in his career. If some of the time he didn’t seem to move on, or if some of the time he seemed to go back for a little, yet there wuz a deathless fire inside on him, a power, a strength that kep’ him a goin’ up, up, up, and drawin’ the nation up with him onto the safe level ground of Victory.

We got pleasant glimpses of beauty, pretty pictures on’t, every little while as we wended our way on up the mountains. Anon we would go round a curve, a ledge of rocks mebby, and lo! far off a openin’ through the woods would show us a lovely picture of hill and dell, blue water and blue mountains in the distance. And then a green wood picture, shut in and lonely, with tall ferns, and wild flowers, and thick green grasses under the bendin’ trees. Then fur down agin’ a picture of a farmhouse, sheltered and quiet, with fields layin’ about it green and golden.

But anon, we reached the pretty little lonesome station, and there we wuz on top of Mount McGregor. We disembarked from the cars and wended our way up the hill up the windin’ foot path, wore down by the feet of pilgrims from every land, quite a tegus walk though beautiful, up to the good-lookin’, and good appearin’ tarven.

I would fain have stopped at that minute at the abode the Hero had sanctified by his last looks. But my companion said to me that he wuz in nearly a starvin’ state. Now it wuzn’t much after 11 A. M. forenoon, and I felt that he would not die of starvation so soon. But his looks wuz pitiful in the extreme and he reminded me in a sort of a weak voice that he didn’t eat no breakfast hardly.

I sez truthfully, “I didn’t notice it, Josiah.” But sez I, “I will accompany you where your hunger can be slaked.” So we went straight up to the tarven.

But I would stop a minute in front of it, to see the lovely, lovely seen that wuz spread out before our eyes. For fur off could we see milds and milds of the beautiful country a layin’ fur below us. Beautiful landscape, dotted with crystal lakes, laved by the blue Hudson and bordered by the fur-away mountains.

It wuz a fair seen, a fair seen. Even Josiah wuz rousted up by it, and forgot his hunger. I myself wuz lost in the contemplation on it, and entirely by the side of myself. So much so, that I forgot where I wuz, and whether I wuz a wife or a widow, or what I wuz.

But anon, as my senses came back from the realm of pure beauty they had been a traversin’, I recollected that I wuz a wife, that Providence and Elder Minkley had placed a man in my hands to take care on; and I see he wuz gone from me, and I must look him up.

And I found that man in one of the high tallish lookin’ swing chairs that wuz a swingin’ from high poles all along the brow of the hill. They looked some like a stanchol for a horse, and some like a pair of galluses that criminals are hung on.

Josiah wuzn’t able to work it right and it did require a deep mind to get into one without peril. And he wuz on the brink of a catastrophe. I got him out by siezin’ the chair and holdin’ it tight, till he dismounted from it—which he did with words unadapted to the serenity of the atmosphere. And then we went out the broad pleasant door-yard up into the tarven, and my companion got some coffee, and some refreshments, to refresh ourselves with. And then he, feelin’ clever and real affectionate to me (owin’ partly I s’pose to the good dinner), we wended our way down to the cottage where the Hero met his last foe and fell victorious.

The Swing Chair

We went up the broad steps onto the piazza, and I looked off from it, and over all the landscape under the soft summer sky, lay that same beautiful tender inspired memory. It lay like the hush that follows a prayer at a dyin’ bed. Like the glow that rests on the world when the sun has gone down in glory. Like the silence full of voices that follows a oriter’s inspired words.

The air, the whole place, thrilled with that memory, that presence that wuz with us, though unseen to the eyes of our spectacles. It followed us through the door way, it went ahead on us into the room where the pen wuz laid down for the last time, where the last words wuz said. That pen wuz hung up over the bed where the tired head had rested last. By the bedside wuz the candle blowed out, when he got to the place where it is so light they don’t need candles. The watch stopped at the time when he begun to recken time by the deathless ages of immortality. And as I stood there, I said to myself, “I wish I could see the faces that wuz a bendin’ over this bed, August 11th, 1885.”

All the ministerin’ angels, and heroes, and conquerors, all a waitin’ for him to join ’em. All the Grand Army of the Republic, them who fell in mountain and valley; the lamented and the nameless, all, all a waitin’ for the Leader they loved, the silent, quiet man, whose soul spoke, who said in deeds what weaker spirits waste in language.

I wished I could see the great army that stood around Mount McGregor that day. I wished I could hear the notes of the immortal revelee, which wuz a soundin’ all along the lines callin’ him to wake from his earth sleep into life—callin’ him from the night here, the night of sorrow and pain, into the mornin’.

And as I lifted my eyes, the eyes of the General seemed to look cleer down into my soul, full of the secrets that he could tell now, if he wanted to, full of the mysteries of life, the mysteries of death. The voiceless presence that filled the hull landscape, earth and air, looked at us through them eyes, half mournful, prophetic, true and calm, they wuz a lookin’ through all the past, through all the future. What did they see there? I couldn’t tell, nor Josiah.

In another room wuz the flowers from many climes. Flowers strewed onto the stage from hands all over the world, when the foot lights burned low, and the dark curtain went down for the last time on the Hero. Great masses of flowers, every one on ’em, bearin’ the world’s love, the world’s sorrow over our nation’s loss.

I had a large quantity of emotions as I stood there, probably as many as 48 a minute for quite a spell, and that is a large number of emotions to have, when the size of ’em is as large as the sizes of ’em wuz. I thought as I stood there of what I had hearn the Hero said once in his last illness, that, liftin’ up his grand right arm that had saved the Nation, he said, “I am on duty from four to six.”

Yes, thinkses I, he wuz on duty all through the shadows and the darkness of war, all through the peril, and the heartache, and the wild alarm of war, calm and dauntless, he wuz on duty till the mornin’ of peace came, and the light wuz shinin’.

On duty through the darkness. No one believed, no one dared to think that if peril had come again to the country, he would not have been ready,—ready to face danger and death for the people he had saved once, the people whom he loved, because he had dared death for ’em.

Yes, he wuz on duty.

There wuz a darker shadow come to him than any cloud that ever rose over a battle-field when, honest and true himself as the light, he still stood under the shadow of blame and impendin’ want, stood in the blackest shadow that can cover generous, faithful hearts, the heart-sickenin’ shadow of ingratitude; when the people he had saved from ruin hesitated, and refused to give him in the time of his need the paltry pension, the few dollars out of the millions he had saved for them, preferring to allow him, the greatest hero of the world, the man who had represented them before the nations, to sell the badges and swords he had worn in fightin’ their battles, for bread for himself and wife.

But he wuz on duty all through this night. Patient, uncomplainin’. And not one of these warriors fightin’ their bloodless battle of words aginst him, would dare to say that he would not have been ready at any minute, to give his life agin for these very men, had danger come to the country and they had needed him.

And when hastened on by the shock, and the suspense, death seemed to be near him, so near that it seemed as if the burden must needs be light—the tardy justice that came to him must have seemed like an insult, but if he thought so he never said it; no, brave and patient, he wuz on duty.

And all through the long, long time that he looked through the shadows for a more sure foe than had ever lain in Southern ambush for him, he wuz on duty. Not an impatient word, not an anxious word. Of all the feerin’, doubtin’, hopin’, achin’ hearts about him, he only wuz calm.

For, not only his own dear ones, but the hull country, friends and foes alike, as if learnin’ through fear of his loss how grand a hero he wuz, and how greatly and entirely he wuz beloved by them all, they sent up to Heaven such a great cloud of prayers for his safety as never rose for any man. But he only wuz calm, while the hull world wuz excited in his behalf.

For the sight of his patient work, the sight of him who stopped dyin’ (as it were) to earn by his own brave honest hand the future comfort of his family, amazed, and wonderin’ at this spectacle, one of the greatest it seems to me that ever wuz seen on earth, the hull nation turned to him in such a full hearted love, and admiration, and worship, that they forgot in their quicker adorin’ heart-throbs, the slower meaner throbs they had gin him, this same brave Hero, jest as brave and true-hearted in the past as he wuz on his grand death-bed.

They forgot everything that had gone by in their worship, and I don’t know but I ort to. Mebby I had. I shouldn’t wonder a mite if I had. But all the while, all through the agony and the labor, and when too wearied he lay down the pen,—he wuz on duty.

Waitin’ patiently, fearlessly, till he should see in the first glow of the sunrise the form of the angel comin’ to relieve his watch, the tall, fair angel of Rest, that the Great Commander sent down in the mornin’ watches to relieve his weary soldier,that divinest angel that ever comes to the abode of men, though her beauty shines forever through tears, led by her hand, he has left life’s battle-field forever; and what is left to this nation but memory, love, and mebby remorse.

But little matters it to him, the Nation’s love or the Nation’s blame, restin’ there by the calm waters he loved. The tides come in, and the tides go out; jest as they did in his life; the fickle tide of public favor that swept by him, movin’ him not on his heavenly mission of duty and patriotism.

The tides go out, and the tides come in; the wind wails and the wind sings its sweet summer songs; but he does not mind the melody or the clamor. He is resting. Sleep on, Hero beloved, while the world wakes to praise thee.

Wall, we sot sail from Mount McGregor about half-past four P. M., afternoon. And we wound round and round the mountain side jest as he did, only goin’ down into the valley instid of upwards. But the trees that clothed the bare back of the mountain looked green and shinin’ in the late afternoon sunlight, and the fields spread out in the valley looked green and peaceful under the cool shadows of approachin’ sunset.

And right in the midst of one of these fields, all full of white daisies, the cars stopped and the conductor sung out: “Five minutes’ stop at Daisy station. Five minutes to get out and pick daisies.”

And sez Josiah to me in gruff axents, when I asked him if he wuz goin’ to get out and pick some. Sez he, “Samantha, no man can go ahead of me in hatin’ the dumb weeds, and doin’ his best towards uprootin’ ’em in my own land; and I deeply sympathize with any man who is over run by ’em. But why am I beholdin’ to the man that owns this lot? Why should I and all the rest of this carload of folks, all dressed up in our best too, lay hold and weed out these infernal nuisances for nothin’?”

Yes, he said these fearfully profane words to me and I herd him in silence, for I did not want to make a seen in public. Sez I, “Josiah, they are pickin’ ’em because they love ’em.”

“Love ’em!” Oh, the fearful, scornful unbelievin’ look that came over my pardner’s face, as I said these peaceful words to him. And he added a expletive which I am fur from bein’ urged to ever repeat. It wuz sinful.

“Love ’em!” Agin he sez. And agin follerd a expletive that wuz still more forcible, and still more sinful. And I felt obliged to check him which I did. And after a long parlay, in which I used my best endeavors of argument and reason to convince him that I wuz in the right on’t, I see he wuzn’t convinced. And then I spoke about its bein’ fashionable to get out and pick ’em, and he looked different to once. I could see a change in him. All my arguments of the beauty and sweetness of the posies had no effect, but when I said fashionable, he faltered, and he sez, “Is it called a genteel diversion?”

And I sez, “Yes.”

And finally he sez, “Wall, I s’pose I can go out and pick some for you. Dumb their dumb picters.”

Sez I, “Don’t go in that spirit, Josiah Allen.”

“Wall, I shall go in jest that sprit,” he snapped out, “if I go at all.” And he went.

But oh! it wuz a sight to set and look on, and see the look onto his face, as he picked the innocent blossoms. It wuz a look of such deep loathin’, and hatred, combined with a sort of a genteel, fashionable air.

Altogether it wuz the most curius, and strange look, that I ever see outside of a menagery of wild animals. And he had that same look onto his face as he came in and gin ’em to me. He had yanked’em all up by their roots too, which made the Bokay look more strange. But I accepted of it in silence, for I see by his mean that he wuz not in a condition to brook another word.

And I trembled when a bystander a standin’ by who wuz arrangin’ a beautiful bunch of ’em, a handlin’ ’em as flowers ort to be handled, as if they had a soul, and could feel a rough or tender touch,—this man sez to Josiah, “I see that you too love this beautiful blossom.”

I wuz glad the man’s eyes wuz riveted onto his Bokay, for the ferocity of Josiah Allen’s look wuz sunthin’ fearful. He looked as if he could tear him lim’ from lim’.

And I hastily drawed Josiah to a seat at the other end of the car, and voyalently, but firmly, I drawed his attention off onto Religion.

I sez, “Josiah, do you believe we had better paint the steeple of the meetin’-house, white or dark colered?”

This wuz a subject that had rent Jonesville to its very twain. And Josiah had been fearfully exercised on it. And this plan of mine succeeded. He got eloquent on it, and I kinder held off, and talked offish, and let him convince me.

I did it from principle.

Chapter XV.

A few days after this, Josiah Allen came in, and sez he, “The Everlastin’ spring is the one for me, Samantha! I believe it will keep me alive for hundreds and hundreds of years.”

Sez I, “I don’t believe that, Josiah Allen.”

“Wall, it is so, whether you believe it or not. Why, I see a feller just now who sez he don’t believe anybody would ever die at all, if they kep’ themselves’ kind a wet through all the time with this water.”

Sez I, “Josiah Allen, you are not talkin’ Bible. The Bible sez, ‘all flesh is as grass.’”

“Wall, that is what he meant; if the grass wuz watered with that water all the time, it would never wilt.”

“Oh, shaw!” sez I. (I seldom say shaw, but this seemed to me a time for shawin’.)

But Josiah kep’ on, for he wuz fearfully excited. Sez he, “Why, the feller said, there wuz a old man who lived right by the side of this spring, and felt the effects of it inside and out all the time, it wuz so healthy there. Why the old man kep’ on a livin’, and a livin’ till he got to be a hundred. And he wuz kinder lazy naturally and he got tired of livin’. He said he wuz tired of gettin’ up mornin’s and dressin’ of him, tired of pullin’ on his boots and drawin’ on his trowsers, and he told his grandson Sam to take him up to Troy and let him die.

“Wall, Sam took him up to Troy, and he died right away, almost. And Sam bein’ a good-hearted chap, thought it would please the old man to he buried down by the spring, that healthy spot. So he took him back there in a wagon he borrowed. And when he got clost to the spring, Sam heard a sithe, and he looked back, and there the old gentleman wuz a settin’ up a leanin’ his head on his elbo and he sez, in a sort of a sad way, not mad, but melanecolly, ‘You hadn’t ort to don it, Sam. You hadn’t ort to. I’m in now for another hundred years.’”

The Everlastin’ Spring

I told Josiah I didn’t believe that. Sez I, “I believe the waters are good, very good, and the air is healthy here in the extreme, but I don’t believe that.”

But he said it wuz a fact, and the feller said he could prove it. “Why,” Josiah sez, “with the minerals there is in that spring, if you only take enough of it, I don’t see how anybody can die.” And sez Josiah, “I am a goin’ to jest live on that water while I am here.”

“Wall,” sez I, “you must do as you are a mind to, with fear and tremblin’.”

I thought mebby quotin’ Scripture to him would kinder quell him down, for he wuz fearfully agitated and wrought up about the Everlastin’ spring. And he begun at once to calculate on it, on how much he could drink of it, if he begun early in the mornin’ and drinked late at night.

But I kep’ on megum. I drinked the waters that seemed to help me and made me feel better, but wuz megum in it, and didn’t get over excited about any on ’em. But oh! oh! the quantities of that water that Josiah Allen took! Why, it seemed as if he would make a perfect shipwreck of his own body, and wash himself away, till one day he came in fearful excited agin, and sez he, in agitated axents, “I made a mistake, Samantha. The Immortal spring is the one for me.”

“Why?” sez I.

“Oh, I have jest seen a feller that has been a tellin’ me about it.”

“What did he say?” sez I, in calm axents.

“Wall, I’ll tell you. It has acted on my feelin’s dretful.” Says he, “I have shed some tears.” (I see Josiah Allen had been a cryin’ when he came in.)

And I sez agin, “What is it?”

“Wall,” he said, “this man had a dretful sick wife. And he wuz a carryin’ her to the Immortal spring jest as fast as he could, for he felt it would save her, if he could get her to it. But she died a mile and a half from the spring. It wuz night, for he had traveled night and day to get her there, and the tarvens wuz all shut up, and he laid her on the spring-house floor, and laid down himself on one of the benches. He took a drink himself, the last thing before he laid down, for he felt that he must have sunthin’ to sustain him in his affliction.

“Wall, in the night he heard a splashin’, and he rousted up, and he see that he had left the water kinder careless the night before, and it had broke loose and covered the floor and riz up round the body, and there she wuz, all bright and hearty, a splashin’ and a swimmin’ round in the water.” He said the man cried like a child when he told him of it.

The Immortal Spring

And sez Josiah, “It wuz dretful affectin’. It brought tears from me, to hear on’t. I thought what if it had been you, Samantha!”

“Wall,” sez I, “I don’t see no occasion for tears, unless you would have been sorry to had me brung to.”

“Oh!” sez Josiah, “I didn’t think! I guess I have cried in the wrong place.”

Sez I coldly, “I should think as much.”

And Josiah put on his hat and hurried out. He meant well. But it is quite a nack for pardners to know jest when to cry, and when to laff.

Wall, he follered up that spring, and drinked more, fur more than wuz good for him of that water. And then anon, he would hear of another one, and some dretful big story about it, and he would foller that up, and so it went on, he a follerin’ on, and I a bein’ megum, and drinkin’ stiddy, but moderate. And as it might be expected, I gained in health every day, and every hour. For the waters is good, there haint no doubt of it.

But Josiah takin’ em as he did, bobbin’ round from one to the other, drinkin’ ’em at all hours of day and night, and floodin’ himself out with ’em, every one on ’em—why, he lost strength and health every day, till I felt truly, that if it went on much longer, I should go home in weeds. Not mullein, or burdock, or anything of that sort, but crape.

But at last a event occurred that sort a sot him to thinkin’ and quelled him down some. One day we sot out for a walk, Josiah and Ardelia Tutt and me. And in spite of all my protestations, my pardner had drinked 11 glasses full of the spring he wuz a follerin’ then. And he looked white round the lips as anything. And Ardelia and I wuz a sittin’ in a good shady place, and Josiah a little distance off, when a man ackosted him, a man with black eyes and black whiskers, and sez, “You look pale, Sir. What water are you a drinkin’?”

And Josiah told him that at that time he wuz a drinkin’ the water from the Immortal spring.

“Drinkin’ that water?” sez the man, startin’ back horrefied.

“Yes,” sez Josiah, turnin’ paler than ever, for the man’s looks wuz skairful in the extreme.

“Oh! oh!” groaned the man. “And you are a married man?” he groaned out mournfully, a lookin’ pitifully at him. “With a family?”

“Yes,” sez Josiah, faintly.

“Oh dear,” sez the man, “must it be so, to die, so—so lamented?”

“To die!” sez Josiah, turnin’ white jest round the lip.

“Yes, to die! Did you not say you had been a drinkin’ the water from the Immortal spring?”

“Yes,” sez Josiah.

“Wall, it is a certain, a deadly poison.”

“Haint there no help for me?” sez Josiah.

“Yes,” sez the man, “You must drink from the Live-forever spring, at the other end of the village. That water has the happy effect of neutralizin’ the poisons of the Immortal spring. If anything can save you that can. Why,” sez he, “folks that have been entirely broke down, and made helpless and hopeless invalids, them that have been brung down on their death-beds by the use of that vile Immortal water, have been cured by a few glasses of the pure healin’ waters of the Live-forever spring. I’d advise you for your own sake, and the sake of your family, who would mourn your ontimely decese, to drink from that spring at once.”

“But,” sez Josiah, with a agonized and hopeless look, “I can’t drink no more now.”

“Why?” sez the man.

“Because I don’t hold any more. I don’t hold but two quarts, and I have drinked 11 tumblers full now.”

“Eleven glasses of that poison?” sez the man.

“Wall, if it is too late I am not to blame. I’ve warned you. Farewell,” sez he, a graspin’ holt of Josiah’s hand. “Farewell, forever. But if you do live,” sez he, “if by a miricle you are saved, remember the Live-forever spring. If there is any help for you it is in them waters.”

The Live-forever Spring

And he dashed away, for another stranger wuz approachin’ the seen.

I, myself, didn’t have no idee that Josiah wuz a goin’ to die. But Ardelia whispered to me, she must go back to the hotel, so she went. I see she looked kinder strange, and I didn’t object to it. And when we got back she handed me some verses entitled:

“Stanzas on the death of Josiah Allen.”

She handed ’em to me, and hastened away, quick. But Josiah Allen didn’t die. And this incident made him more megum. More as I wanted him to be. Why, you have to be megum in everything, no matter how good it is. Milk porridge, or the Bible, or anything. You can kill yourself on milk porridge if you drink enough. And you can set down and read the Bible, till you grow to your chair, and lose your eyesight.

Now these waters are dretful good, but you have got to use some megumness with ’em, it stands to reason you have. Taint megum to drink from 10 to 12 glasses at a time, and mix your drinks goin’ round from spring to spring like a luny. No; get a good doctor to tell you what minerals you seem to stand in need on the most, and then try to get ’em with fear and tremblin’. You’ll get help I haint a doubt on’t. For they are dretful good for varius things that afflict the human body. Dretful!

These are the verses of Ardelia:


“Oh! angel man that erst did live and move,
Thy wings close furled within a broad cloth vest,
With cambric back, oh, soul of love
That in those depths reposed—Alas why wrest
Why wildly tear,

“Oh death, that soul, white nigh upon as snow,
From body, small perhaps, by stillyards weighed,
And full as light complexioned, as men go,
As is the common run of men, arrayed,
Oh yes, arrayed,

“In graces full he wentest to his fate,
His doom wuz pure as men’s dooms ever are;
Not by the brandy bottle fell he desolate
No, by sweet water fell he, with a noble air,
And breath of balm,

“Not with a feud with neighbor foe he fell
Nor scaffolds did he tread with aching feet
Nor arson he, nor rapine down the dell,
No, pure white soul, he fell by water sweet;
All innocent.

“Had whisky strong his slight form overthrew—
We’d weep with finger hiding all our face,
To think a sling should slung at him and slew,
But no, by water fell he, no disgrace—
No direful shame.

“Rests on his tomb, his bride; the world around,
Methinks a world might wish to fall like him
The prophets of old time who smiled and frowned
Could court such fate, we feel Abim—
We feel Abim—

“ilek, or Job, might be content to die
With crystal water, drunken from a glass,
Held by a boy, and no great quantitie
Drunk he, not over nine in all, alas,
Or ten, or ’leven.

“Oh, spring, oh, magnesie percipitate
And sodium and iron—and everything,
Methinks ye’ll sadder feel, since his sad fate
Who drunk thee up, not thinking anything—
We do suppose—

“Not anything of poison ye might keep
Might hold within thy crystal foaming breast
Why did he not the other spring drink deep,
And live? But oh! why ask? sweet angel spirit rest
From water far.

“Dear man, we raise this mound of verse o’er thee,
Would that ’twere higher, and more fiery bright.
We will, we will, while nations disagree,
Sit down and write as many as it seemeth right
Unto his wife.”

On the other side of the paper, as if wrote later, wuz the follerin’ lines. Ardelia is truthful. This is her strong point, that and her ambition.


“Oh who can tell when air is full of warn
What crystal drop shall speed us to our fate,
And I alas, so blind, shall still drink on,
Shall drink thee early, and shall drink thee late
From every spring.

“Shall drink as many glasses as I hold,
One quart, or two, as fate shall thus decree,
Some are but vessels weak, some bold
And dauntless, hold from two quarts up to three,
Or thereabouts.

“Shall drink from wells all gemmed with crystal rays
With golden sheen, up sparkling to the rim,
And that is pure and clear to outward gaze
With hathorn bending gently o’er the brim
And every sort.”

Chapter XVI.

Wall, the very next mornin’ Miss Flamm sent word for Josiah and me to come that night to a lawn party. And I sez at once, “I must go and get some lawn.”

Sez Josiah, “What will you do with it?”

And I sez, “Oh, I s’pose I shall wrap it round me, I’ll do what the rest do.”

And sez Josiah, “Hadn’t I ort to have some too? If it is a lawn party and everybody else has it, I shall feel like a fool without any lawn.”

And I looked at him in deep thought, and through him into the causes and consequences of things, and sez I, “I s’pose you do ort to have a lawn necktie, or handkerchief, or sunthin’.”

Sez he, “How would a vest look made out of it, a kinder sprigged one, light gay colors on a yaller ground-work?”

But I sez at once, “You never will go out with me, Josiah, with a lawn vest on.” And I settled it right there on the spot.

Then he proposed to have some wrapped round his hat, sort a festooned. But I stood like marble aginst that idee. But I knew I had got to have some lawn, and pretty soon we sallied out together and wended our way down to where I should be likely to find a lawn store.

And who should we meet a comin’ out of a store but Ardelia. Her 3d cousin had sent her over to get a ingregient for cookin’. Good, willin’ little creeter! She walked along with us for a spell. And while she wuz a walkin’ along with us, we come onto a sight that always looked pitiful to me, the old female that wuz always a’ sittin’ there a singin’ and playin’ on a accordeun. And it seemed to me that she looked pitifuller and homblier than ever, as she sot there amongst the dense crowd that mornin’ a singin’ and a playin’. Her tone wuz thin, thin as gauze, hombly gause too. But I wondered to myself how she wuz a feelin’ inside of her own mind, and what voices she heard a speakin’ to her own soul, through them hombly strains. And, ontirely unbeknown to myself, I fell into a short revery (short but deep) right there in the street, as I looked down on her, a settin’ there so old, and patient and helpless, amongst the gay movin’ throng.

And I wondered what did she see, a settin’ there with her blind eyes, what did she hear through them hombly tones that she wuz a singin’ day after day to a crowd that wuz indifferent to her, or despised her? Did she hear the song of the mornin’, the spring time of life? Did the song of a lark come back to her, a lark flyin’ up through the sweet mornin’ sky over the doorway of a home, a lark watched by young eyes, two pairs of ’em, that made the seein’ a blessedness? Did a baby’s first sweet blunders of speech, and happy laughter come back to her, as she sot there a drawin’ out with her wrinkled hands them miserable sounds from the groanin’ instrument? Did home, love, happiness sound out to her, out of them hombly strains? I’d have gin a cent to know.

And I’d have gin a cent quick to know if the tread—tread—tread of the crowd goin’ past her day after day, hour after hour, seems to her like the trample of Time a marchin’ on. Did she hear in ’em the footsteps of child, or lover, or friend, a steppin’ away from her, and youth and happiness, and hope, a stiddy goin’ away from her?

Did she ever listen through the constant sound of them steps, listen to hear the tread of them feet that she must know wuz a comin’ nigh to her—the icy feet that will approach us, if their way leads over rocks or roses?

Did she hate to hear them steps a comin’ nearer to her, or did she strain her ears to hear ’em, to welcome ’em? I thought like as not she did. For thinkses I to myself, and couldn’t help it, if she is a Christian she must be glad to change that old accordeun for a harp of any size or shape. For mournfuller and more melancholy sounds than her voice and that instrument made I never hearn, nor ever expect to hear, and thin.

Poor, old, hombly critter, I gin her quite a lot of change one day, and she braced up and sung and drawed out faster than ever, and thinner. Though I’d have gladly hearn her stop.

When I come up out of my revery, I see Ardelia lookin’ at her stiddy and kind a sot. And I mistrusted trouble wuz ahead on me, and I hurried Josiah down the street. Ardelia a sayin’ she had got to turn the corner, to go to another place for her 3d cousin.

Jest as we wuz a crossin’ a street my companion drawed my attention to a sign that wuz jest overhead, and sez lie, “That means me, I’m spoke of right out, and hung up overhead.”

And sez I, “What do you mean?”

Sez he, “Read it—‘The First Man-I-Cure Of The Day.’ That’s me, Samantha; I haint a doubt of it. And I s’pose I ort to go in and be cured. I s’pose probably it will be expected of me, that I should go in, and let him look at my corns.”

Sez I, “Josiah Allen, I’ve heerd you talk time and agin aginst big feelin’ folks, and here you be a talkin’ it right to yourself, and callin’ yourself the first man of the day.”

“Wall,” sez he firmly, “I believe it, and I believe you do, and you’d own up to it, if you wuzn’t so aggravatin’.”

“Wall, sez I mildly, “I do think you are the first in some things, though what them things are, I would be fur from wantin’ to tell you. But,” I continued on, “I don’t see you should think that means you. Saratoga is full of men, and most probable every man of ’em thinks it means him.”

“Wall,” sez he, “I don’t think it means me, I know it. And I s’pose,” he continued dreamily, “they’d cure me, and not charge a cent.”

“Wall,” sez I, “wait till another time, Josiah Allen.” And jest at this minute, right down under our feet, we see the word “Pray,” in big letters scraped right out in stun. And Josiah sez, “I wonder if the dumb fools think anybody is goin to kneel down right here in the street, and be run over. Why a man would be knocked over a dozen times, before he got through one prayer, Now I lay me down to sleep, or anything.”

“Wall,” sez I, mildly, “I don’t think that would be a very suitable prayer under the circumstances. It haint expected that you’d lay down here for a nap—howsumever,” sez I reesunably “their puttin’ the word there shows what good streaks the folks here have, and I don’t want you to make light on’t, and if you don’t want to act like a perfect backslider you’ll ceese usin’ such profane language on sech a solemn subject.”

Wall, we went into a good lookin’store and I wuz jest a lookin’ at some lawn and a wonderin’ how many yards I should want, when who should come in but Miss Flamm to get a rooch for her neck.

Looking at some lawn

And she told me that I didn’t need any lawn, and that it wuz a Garden party, and folks dressed in anything they wuz a mind to, though sez she, “A good many go in full dress.”

“Wall,” sez I calmly, “I have got one.” And she told me to come in good season.

That afternoon, Josiah a bein’ out for a walk, I took out of my trunk a dress that Alminy Hagidon had made for me out of a very full pattern I had got of a peddler, and wanted it all put in, so’s it would fade all alike, for I mistrusted it wouldn’t wash. It wuz gethered-in full round the waist, and the sleeves wuz set in full, and the waist wuz kinder full before, and it had a deep high ruffle gathered-in full round the neck. It wuz a very full dress, though I haint proud, and never wuz called so. Yet anybody duz take a modest pleasure in bein’ equal to any occasion and comin’ up nobly to a emergency. And I own that I did say to myself, as I pulled out the gethers in front, “Wall, there may be full dresses there to-night, but there will be none fuller than mine.”

And I wuz glad that Alminy had made it jest as she had. She had made it a little fuller than even I had laid out to have it, for she mistrusted it would shrink in washin’. It wuz a very full dress. It wuz cambrick dark chocolate, with a set flower of a kind of a cinnamon brown and yellow, it wuz bran new and looked well.

Wall, I had got it on, and wuz contemplatin’ its fullness with complacency and a hand-glass, a seein’ how nobly it stood out behind, and how full it wuz, when Josiah Allen came in. I had talked it over with him, before he went out—and he wuz as tickled as I wuz, and tickleder, to think I had got jest the right dress for the occasion. But he sez to me the first thing—“You are all wrong, Samantha, full dress means low neck and short sleeves.”

Sez I, “I know better!”

Sez he, “It duz.”

Sez I, “Somebody has been a foolin’ you, Josiah Allen! There ain’t no sense in it. Do you s’pose folks would call a dress full, when there wuzn’t more’n half a waist and sleeves to it. I’d try to use a little judgment, Josiah Allen! “

But he contended that he wuz in the right on’t. And he took up his best vest that lay on the bed, and sot down, and took out his jack knife and went a rippin’ open one of the shoulders, and sez I, “What are you doin’, Josiah Allen?”

“Why, you can do as you are a mind to, Samantha Allen,” sez he. “But I shall go fashionable, I shall go in full dress.”

Sez I, “Josiah Allen do you look me in the face and say you are a goin’ in a low neck vest, and everything, to that party to-night?”

“Yes, mom, I be. I am bound to be fashionable.” And he went to rollin’ up his shirt sleeves and turnin’ in the neck of his shirt, in a manner that wuz perfectly immodest.

I turned my head away instinctively, for I felt that my cheek wuz a gettin’ as red as blood, partly through delicacy and partly through righteous anger. Sez I, “Josiah Allen, be you a calculatin’ to go there right out in public before men and wimmen, a showin’ your bare bosom to a crowd? Where is your modesty, Josiah Allen? Where is your decency?”

Sez he firmly, “I keep ’em where all the rest do, who go in full dress.”

I sot right down in a chair and sez I, “Wall there is one thing certain; if you go in that condition, you will go alone. Why,” sez I, “to home, if Tirzah Ann, your own daughter, had ketched you in that perdickerment, a rubbin’ on linement or anything, you would have jumped and covered yourself up, quicker’n a flash, and likeways me, before Thomas Jefferson. And now you lay out to go in that way before young girls, and old ones, and men and wimmen, and want me to foller on after your example. What in the world are you a thinkin’ on, Josiah Allen?”

Full Dress

“Why I’m a thinkin, on full dress,” sez be in a pert tone, a kinder turnin’ himself before the glass, where he could get a good view of his bones. His thin neck wuzn’t much more than bones, anyway, and so I told him. And I asked him if he could see any beauty in it, and sez I, “Who wants to look at our old bare necks, Josiah Allen? And if there wuzn’t any other powerful reeson of modesty and decency in it, you’d ketch your death cold, Josiah Allen, and be laid up with the newmoan. You know you would,” sez I, “you are actin’ like a luny, Josiah Allen.”

“It is you that are actin’ like a luny,” sez he bitterly. “I never propose anything of a high fashionable kind but what you want to break it up. Why, dumb it all, you know as well as I do, that men haint called as modest as wimmen anyway. And if they have the name, why shouldn’t they have the game? Why shouldn’t they go round half dressed as well as wimmen do? And they are as strong agin; if there is any danger to health in it they are better able to stand it. But,” sez he, in the same bitter axents, “you always try to break up all my efforts at high life and fashion. I presume you won’t waltz to-night, nor want me to.”

I groaned several times in spite of myself, and sithed, “Waltz!” sez I in awful axents. “A classleader! and a grandfather! and talkin’ about waltzin’!”

Sez Josiah, “Men older than me waltz, and foller it up. Put their arms right round the prettiest girls in the room, hug ’em, and swing ’em right round”—sez he kinder spoony like.

I said nothin’ at them fearful words, only my groans and sithes became deeper and more voyalent. And in a minute I see through the fingers with which I had nearly covered my face, that he wuz a pullin’ down his shirt sleeves and a puttin’ his jack knife in his pocket.

That man loves me. And love sways him round often times when reesun and sound argument are powerless. Now, the sound reesun of the case didn’t move him, such as the indelicacy of makin’ a exhibition of one’s self in a way that would, if displayed in a heathen, be a call for missionarys to convert ’em, and that makes men blush when they see it in a Christian woman.

The sound reason of its bein’ the fruitful cause of disease and death, through the senseless exposure.

The sound reason of the worse than folly of old and middle-aged folks thinkin’ that the exhibition is a pretty one when it haint.

The sound reason of its bein’ inconsistent for a woman to allow the familiarity of a man and a stranger, a walkin’ up and puttin’ his arm round her, and huggin’ her up to him as clost as he can; that act, that a woman would resent as a deadly insult and her incensed relatives avenge with the sword, if it occurred in any other place than the ball-room and at the sound of the fiddle. The utter inconsistency of her meetin’ it with smiles, and making frantic efforts to get more such affronts than any other woman present—her male relatives a lookin’ proudly on.

The inconsistency of a man’s bein’ not only held guiltless but applauded for doin’ what, if it took place in the street, or church, would make him outlawed, for where is there a lot of manly men who would look on calmly, and see a sweet young girl insulted by a man’s ketchin’ hold of her and embracin’ of her tightly for half an hour,—why, he would be turned out of his club and outlawed from Christian homes if it took place in silence, but yet the sound of a fiddle makes it all right.

And I sez to myself mildly, as I sot there, “Is it that men and wimmen lose their senses, or is there a sacredness in the strains of that fiddle, that makes immodesty modest, indecency decent, and immorality moral?” And agin I sithe heavy and gin 3 deep groans. And I see Josiah gin in. All the sound reasons weighed as nothin’ with him, but 2 or 3 groans, and a few sithes settled the matter. Truly Love is a mighty conqueror.

And anon Josiah spoke and sez, “Wall, I s’pose I can gin it all up, if you feel so about it, but we shall act like fools, Samantha, and look like ’em.”

Sez I sternly, “Better be fools than naves, Josiah Allen! if we have got to be one or the other, but we haint. We are a standin’ on firm ground, Josiah Allen,” sez I. “The platform made of the boards of consistency, and common sense, and decency, is one that will never break down and let you through it, into gulfs and abysses. And on that platform we will both stand to-night, dear Josiah.”

I think it is always best when a pardner has gin in and you have had a triumph of principle, to be bland; blander than common to him. I always love at such times to round my words to him with a sweet affectionateness of mean. I love to, and he loves it.

We sot out in good season for the Garden party. And it wuz indeed a sight to behold! But I did not at that first minute have a chance to sense it, for Miss Flamm sent her hired girl out to ask me to come to her room for a few minutes. Miss Flamm’s house is a undergoin’ repairs for a few weeks, sunthin’ had gin out in the water works, so she and her hired girl have been to this tarven for the time bein’. The hired girl got us some good seats and tellin’ Josiah to keep one on ’em for me, I follered the girl, or “maid,” as Miss Flamm calls her. But good land! if she is a old maid, I don’t see where the young ones be.

Miss Flamm had sent for me, so she said, to see if I wanted to ride out the next day, and what time would be the most convenient to me, and also, to see how I liked her dress. She didn’t know as she should see me down below, in the crowd, and she wanted me to see it. (Miss Flamm uses me dretful well, but I s’pose 2/3ds of it, is on Thomas J’s account. Some folks think she is goin’ to have another lawsuit, and I am glad enough to have him convey her lawsuits, for they are good, honerable ones, and she pays him splendid for carryin’ ’em.)

Wall, she had her skirts all on when I went in, all a foamin’ and a shinin’, down onto the carpet, in a glitterin’ pile of pink satin and white lace and posys. Gorgus enough for a princess.

And I didn’t mind it much, bein’ only females present, if she wuz exposin’ of herself a good deal. I kinder blushed a little as I looked at her, and kep’ my eyes down on her skirts all I could, and thinkses I to myself,—“What if G. Washington should come in? I shouldn’t know which way to look.” But then the very next minute, I says to myself, “Of course he won’t be in till she gets her waist on. I’m a borrowin’ trouble for nothin’.”

At last Miss Flamm spoke and says she, as she kinder craned herself before the glass, a lookin’ at her back (most the hull length on it bare, as I am a livin’ creeter); and says she, “How do you like my dress?”

How do you like my

“Oh,” says I, wantin’ to make myself agreeable (both on account of principle, and the lawsuit), “the skirts are beautiful but I can’t judge how the hull dress looks, you know, till you get your waist on.”

“My waist?” says she.

“Yes,” says I.

“I have got it on,” says she.

“Where is it?” says I, a lookin’ at her closer through my specks, “Where is the waist?”

“Here,” says she, a pintin’ to a pink belt ribbon, and a string of beads over each shoulder.

Says I, “Miss Flamm, do you call that a waist?”

“Yes,” says she, and she balanced herself on her little pink tottlin’ slippers. She couldn’t walk in ’em a good honerable walk to save her life. How could she, with the instep not over two inches acrost, and the heels right under the middle of her foot, more’n a finger high? Good land, they wuz enuff to lame a Injun savage, and curb him in. But she sort o’ balanced herself unto ’em, the best she could, and put her hands round her waist—it wuzn’t much bigger than a pipe-stem, and sort o’ bulgin’ out both ways, above and below, some like a string tied tight round a piller, - and says she complacently, “I don’t believe there will be a dress shown to-night more stylish and beautiful than mine.”

Says I, “Do you tell me, Miss Flamm, that you are a goin’ down into that crowd of promiscus men and women, with nothin’ but them strings on to cover you?” Says I, “Do you tell me that, and you a perfesser and a Christian?”

“Yes,” says she, “I paid 300 dollars for this dress, and it haint likely I am goin’ to miss the chance of showin’ it off to the other wimmen who will envy me the possession of it. To be sure,” says she, “it is a little lower than Americans usually wear. But in fashion, as in anything else, somebody has got to go ahead. This is the very heighth of fashion,” says she.

Says I in witherin’ and burnin’ skorn, “It is the heighth of immodesty.”

And I jest turned my back right ont’ her, and sailed out of the room. I wuzn’t a a goin’ to stand that, lawsuit or no lawsuit. I wuz all worked up in my mind, and by the side of myself, and I didn’t get over it for some time, neither.

Wall, I found my companion seated in that comfertable place, and a keepin’ my chair for me, and so I sot down by him, and truly we sot still, and see the glory, and the magnificence on every side on us. There wuz 3 piazzas about as long as from our house to Jonesville, or from Jonesville to Loontown, all filled with folks magnificently dressed, and a big garden layin’ between ’em about as big as from our house to Miss Gowdey’s, and so round crossways to Alminy Hagidone’s brother’s, and back agin’. It wuz full as fur as that, and you know well that that is a great distance.

There wuz some big noble trees, all twinklin’ full of lights, of every coler, and rows of shinin’ lights, criss-crossed every way, or that is, every beautiful way, from the high ornimental pillers of the immense house, that loomed up in the distance round us on every side, same as the mountains loom up round Loontown.

There wuz a big platform built in the middle of the garden, with sweet music discoursin’ from it the most enchantin’ strains. And the fountains wuz sprayin’ out the most beautiful colers you ever see in your life, and fallin’ down in pink, and yellow, and gold, and green, and amber, and silver water; sparklin’ down onto the green beautiful ferns and flowers that loved to grow round the big marble basin which shone white, risin’ out of the green velvet of the grass.

Josiah looked at that water, and sez he, “Samantha, I’d love to get some of that water to pass round evenin’s when we have company.” Sez he, “It would look so dressy and fashionable to pass round pink water, or light blue, or light yeller. How it would make Uncle Nate Gowdey open his eyes. I believe I shall buy some bottles of it, Samantha, to take home. What do you say? I don’t suppose it would cost such a dretful sight, do you?”

Sez he, “I s’pose all they have to do is to put pumps down into a pink spring, or a yeller one, as the case may be, and pump. And I would be willin’ to pump it up myself, if it would come cheaper.”

But my companion soon forgot to follow up the theme in lookin’ about him onto the magnificent, seen, and a seein’ the throngs of men and wimmen growin’ more and more denser, and every crowd on ’em that swept by us, and round us, and before us, a growin’ more gorgus in dress, or so it seemed to us. Gemms of every gorgus coler under the heavens and some jest the coler of the heavens when it is blue and shinin’ or when it is purplish dark in the night time, or when it is full of white fleecy clouds, or when it is a shinin’ with stars.

Why, one woman had so many diamonds on that she had a detective follerin’ her all round wherever she went. She wuz a blaze of splendor and so wuz lots of ’em, though like the stars, they differed from each other in glory.

But whatever coler their gowns wuz, in one thing they wuz most all alike—most all of ’em had waists all drawed in tight, but a bulgin’ out on each side, more or less as the case might be. Why some of them waists wuzn’t much bigger than pipe’s tails and so I told Josiah.

And he whispered back to me, and sez he, “I wonder if them wimmen with wasp waists, think that we men like the looks on ’em. They make a dumb mistake if they do. Why,” sez he, “we men know what they be; we know they are nothin’ but crushed bones and flesh.” Sez he, “I could make my own waist look jest like ’em, if I should take a rope and strap myself down.”

“Wall,” sez I, in agitated axents, “don’t you try to go into no such enterprise, Josiah Allen.”

I remembered the eppisode of the afternoon, and I sez in anxins axents, and affectionate, “Besides not lookin’ well, it is dangerous, awful dangerous. And how I should blush,” sez I, “if I wuz to see you with a leather strap or a rope round your waist under your coat, a drawin’ you in ; a changin’ your good honerable shape. And God made men’s and wimmen’s waists jest alike in the first place, and it is jest as smart for men to deform themselves in that way as it is for wimmen. But oh, the agony of my soul if I should see you a tryin’ to disfigure yourself in that way.”

“You needn’t be afraid, Samantha,” sez he, “I am dressy, and always wuz, but I haint such a fool as that, as to kill myself in perfect agony, for fashion.”

I didn’t say nothin’ but instinctively I looked down at his feet, “Oh, you needn’t look at my feet, Samantha, feet are very different from the heart, and lungs, and such. You can squeeze your feet down, and not hurt much moren the flesh and bones. But you are a destroyin’ the very seat of life when you draw your waist in as them wimmen do.”

“I know it,” sez I, “but I wouldn’t torture myself in any way if I wuz in your place.”

“I don’t lay out to,” sez he. “I haint a goin’ to wear corsets, it haint at all probable I shall, though I am better able to stand it, than wimmen be.”

“I know that,” sez I. “I know men are stronger and better able to bear the strain of bein’ drawed in and tapered.” I am reesonable, and will ever speak truthful and honest, and this I couldn’t deny and didn’t try to.

“Wall, dumb it, what makes men stronger?” sez he.

“Why,” sez I, “I s’pose one great thing is their dressin’ comfortable.”

“Wall, I am glad you know enough to know it,” sez he. “Why,” sez he, “jest imagine a man tyin’ a rope round his waist, round and round; or worse yet, take strong steel, and whalebones, and bind and choke himself down with ’em, and tottlin’ himself up on high heel slippers, the high heels comin’ right up in the ball of his foot—and then havin’ heavy skirts a holdin’ him down, tied back tight round his knees and draggin’ along on the ground at his feet—imagine me in that perdickerment, Samantha.”

I shuddered, and sez I, “Don’t bring up no such seen to harrow up my nerve.” Sez I, “You know I couldn’t stand it, to see you a facin’ life and its solemn responsibilities in that condition. It would kill me to witness your sufferin’,” sez I. And agin’ I shuddered, and agin I sithed.

And he sez, “Wall, it is jest as reasonable for a man to do it as for a woman; it is far worse and more dangerous for a woman than a man.”

“I know it,” sez I, between my sithes. “I know it, but I can’t, I can’t stand it, to have you go into it.”

“Wall, you needn’t worry, Samantha, I haint a fool. You won’t ketch men a goin’ into any such performances as this, they know too much.” And then he resumed on in a lighter agent, to get my mind still further off from his danger, for I wuz still a sithin’, frequent and deep.

Sez he, as he looked down and see some wimmen a passin’ below; sez hey “I never see such a sight in my life, a man can see more here in one evenin’ than he can in a life time at Jonesville.”

“That is so, Josiah,” sez I, “you can.” And I felt every word I said, for at that very minute a lady, or rather a female woman, passed with a dress on so low in the neck that I instinctively turned away my head, and when I looked round agin, a deep blush wuz mantlin’ the cheeks of Josiah Allen, a flushin’ up his face, clear up into his bald head.

I don’t believe I had ever been prouder of Josiah Allen, than I wuz at that minute. That blush spoke plainer than words could, of the purity and soundness of my pardner’s morals. If the whole nation had stood up in front of me at that time, and told me his morals wuz a tottlin’ I would have scorned the suggestion. No, that blush telegraphed to me right from his soul, the sweet tidin’s of his modesty and worth.

And I couldn’t refrain from sayin’ in encouragin’, happy axents, “Haint you glad now, Josiah Allen, that you listened to your pardner; haint you glad that you haint a goin’ round in a low necked coat and vest, a callin’ up the blush of skern and outraged modesty to the cheeks ‘of noble and modest men?”

“Yes,” sez he, graspin’ holt of my hand in the warmth of his gratitude, for he see what I had kep’ him from. “Yes, you wuz in the right on’t, Samantha. I see the awfulness of the peril from which you rescued of me. But never,” sez he, a lookin’ down agin over the railin’, onto some more wimmen a passin’ beneath, “never did I see what I have seen here to-night. Not,” sez he dreemily, “sense I wuz a baby.”

“Wall,” sez I, “don’t try to look, Josiah; turn your eyes away.”

And I believe he did try to—though such is the fascination of a known danger in front of you, that it is hard to keep yourself from contemplatin’ of it. But he tried to. And he tried to not look at the waltzin’ no more than he could help, and I did too. But in spite of himself he had to see how clost the young girls wuz held; how warmly the young men embraced ’em. And as he looked on, agin I see the hot blush of shame mantillied Josiah’s cheeks, and again he sez to me in almost warm axents, “I realize what you have rescued me from, Samantha.”

And I sez, “You couldn’t have looked Elder Minkley in the face, could you? if you had gone into that shameful diversion.”

“No, I couldn’t, nor into yourn nuther. I couldn’t have looked nobody in the face, if I had gone on and imposed on any young girl as they are a doin’, and insulted of her. Why,” sez he, “if it wuz my Tirzah Ann that them, men wuz a embracin’, and huggin’, and switchin’ her round, as if they didn’t have no respect for her at all,—why, if it wuz Tirzah Ann, I would tear ’em ’em from lim.”

And he looked capable on’t. He looked almost sublime (though small). And I hurried him away from the seen, for I didn’t know what would ensue and foller on, if I let him linger there longer. He looked as firm and warlike as one of our bantam fowls, a male one, when hawks are a hoverin’ over the females of the flock. And when I say Bantam I say it with no disrespect to Josiah Allen. Bantams are noble, and warlike fowls, though small boneded.

I got one more glimps of Miss Flamm jest as we left the tarven. She wuz a standin’ up in the parlor, with a tall man a standin’ up in front of her a talkin’. He seemed to be biddin’ of her good-bye, for he had holt of her hand, and be wuz a sayin’ as we went by ’em, sez he, “I am sorry not to see more of you.”

“Good land!” thinkses I, “what can the man be a thinkin’ on? the mean, miserable creeter! If there wuz ever a deadly insult gin to a woman, then wuz the time it wuz gin. Good land! good land!”

I don’t know whether Miss Flamm resented it, or not, for I hurried Josiah along. I didn’t want to expose him to no sich sights, good, innocent old creeter. So I kep’ him up on a pretty good jog till I got him home.

The next mornin’ Ardelia Tutt sent me over a copy of the followin’ verses, which wuz as follers:


“Oh mournful sounds that riseth through the air,
Not very far, but far enough to hear.
We fain would say to thee forbear, forbear!
As we adown the road, our pathway steer.

“Oh! had thy voice not been so low and thin
It would have been more high, and loud and deep—
And thine Ackordeun, oh could it, could it win,
A glorious voice of soul, methinks I’d weep—

“With joy. But now I weep not, nay, nor fain
Would set me down beneath thy song-tree blest;
More fain I would relate, it giveth me pain
To list the strains, and listening lo! I sigh for rest, sweet rest.

“For ah! no nightingale art thou, nor lark,
Nor thrush, nor any other bird, afar or nigh
Thy instrument hath not the thunder shock
That calleth nation’s wildly, wet or dry.

“A lesson thou mightest learn oh! female sweet!
If thou no voice hast got, soar not in song,
Much noise the lonely aching ear doth greet,
That maketh sad, and ’tis a fearful wrong.

“A fearful wrong to pound pianos with a fiendish will
Misuse them far above their feeble power to bear,
Ah! could pianos cower down, and lo! be still,
’Twould calm the savage breast, and smooth the brow of care.”

Chapter XVII.

It wuz a lovely mornin’ when my companion and me sot out to visit Schuylerville to see the monument that is stood up there in honor of the Battle of Saratoga, one of 7 great decisive battles of the world.

Wall, the cars rolled on peacefully, though screechin’ occasionally, for, as the poet says, “It is their nater to,” and rolled us away from Saratoga. And at first there wuzn’t nothin’ particularly insperin’ in the looks of the landscape, or ruther woodscape. It wuz mostly woods and rather hombly woods too, kinder flat lookin’. But pretty soon the scenery became beautiful and impressive. The rollin’ hills rolled down and up in great billowy masses of green and pale blue, accordin’ as they wuz fur or near, and we went by shinin’ water, and a glowin’ landscape, and pretty houses, and fields of grain and corn, etc., etc. And anon we reached a place where “Victory Mills” wuz printed up high, in big letters. When Josiah see this, he sez, “Haint that neighborly and friendly in Victory to come over here and put up a mill? That shows, Samantha,” sez he, “that the old hardness of the Revolution is entirely done away with.”

He wuz jest full of Revolutionary thoughts that mornin’, Josiah Allen wuz. And so wuz I too, but my strength of mind is such, that I reined ’em in and didn’t let ’em run away with me. And I told him that it didn’t mean that. Sez I, “The Widder Albert wouldn’t come over here and go to millin’, she nor none of her family.”

“But,” sez he, “the name must mean sunthin’. Do you s’pose it is where folks get the victory over things? If it is, I’d give a dollar bill to get a grist ground out here, and,” sez he, in a sort of a coaxin’ tone, “le’s stop and get some victory, Samantha.”

And I told him, that I guessed when he got a victory over the world, the flesh, or the—David, he would have to work for it, he wouldn’t get it ground out for him. But anon, he cast his eyes on sunthin’ else and so forgot to muse on this any further. It wuz a fair seen.

Anon, a big manufactory, as big as the hull side of Jonesville almost, loomed up by the side of us. And anon, the fair, the beautiful country spread itself out before our vision. While fur, fur away the pale blue mountains peeked up over the green ones, to see if they too could see the monument riz up to our National Liberty. It belonged to them, jest as much as to the hill it wuz a standin’ on, it belongs to the hull liberty-lovin’ world.

Wall, the cars stopped in a pretty little village, a clean, pleasant little place as I ever see, or want to see. And Josiah and me wended our way up the broad roomy street, up to where the monument seemed to sort a beegon to us to come. And when we got up to it; we see it wuz a sight, a sight to behold.

The curius thing on’t wuz, it kep a growin’ bigger and bigger all the time we wuz approachin’ it, till, as we stood at its base, it seemed to tower up into the very skies.

There wuz some flights of stun steps a leadin’ up to some doors in the side on’t. And we went inside on’t after we had gin a good look at the outside. But it took us some time to get through gazin’ at the outside on’t.

Way up over our heads wuz some sort a recesses, some like the recess in my spare bed-room, only higher and narrower, and kinder nobler lookin’. And standin’ up in the first one, a lookin’ stiddy through storm and shine at the North star, stood General Gates, bigger than life considerable, but none too big; for his deeds and the deeds of all of our old 4 fathers stand out now and seem a good deal bigger than life. Yes, take ’em in all their consequences, a sight bigger.

Wall, there he stands, a leanin’ on his sword. He’ll be ready when the enemy comes, no danger but what he will.

On the east side, is General Schuyler a horsback, ready to dash forward against the foe, impetuous, ardent, gallant. But oh! the perils and dangers that obstruct his pathway; thick underbrush and high, tall trees stand up round him that he seemin’ly can’t get through.

But his gallant soldiers are a helpin’ him onward, they are a cuttin’ down the trees so’s he can get through ’em and dash at the enemy. You see as you look on him that he will get through it all. No envy, nor detraction, nor jealousy, no such low underbrush full of crawlin’ reptiles, nor no high solid trees, no danger of any sort can keep him back. His big brave, generous heart is sot on helpin’ his country, he’ll do it.

On the south side, is the saddest sight that a patriotic American can see. On a plain slab stun, lookin’ a good deal like a permanent grave-stun, sot up high there, for Americans to weep over forever, bitter tears of shames, is the name, “Arnold.”

He wuz a brave soldier; his name ort to be there; it is all right to have it there and jest where it is, on a gravestun. All through the centuries it will stand there, a name carved by the hand of cupidity, selfishness, and treachery.

On the west side, General Morgan is standin’ up with his hands over his eyes; lookin’ away into the sunset. He looked jest like that when he wuz a lookin’ after prowlin’ red skins and red coats; when the sun wuz under dark clouds, and the day wuz dark 100 years ago.

But now, all he has to do is to stand up there and look off into the glowin’ heavens, a watchin’ the golden light of the sun of Liberty a rollin’ on westward. He holds his hand over his eyes; its rays most blind him, he is most lost a thinkin’ how fur, how fur them rays are a spreadin’, and a glowin’,way, way off, Morgan is a lookin’ onto our future, and it dazzles him. Its rays stretch off into other lands; they strike dark places; they burn! they glow! they shine! they light up the world!

Hold up your head, brave old General, and your loyal steadfast eyes. You helped to strike that light. Its radience half-frights you. It is so heavenly bright, its rays, may well dazzle you. Brown old soldiers, I love to think of you always a standin’ up there, lifted high up by a grateful Nation, a lookin’ off over all the world, a lookin’ off towards the glowin’ west, toward our glorious future.

On the inside too, it wuz a noble seen. After you rose up the steps and went inside, you found yourself in a middlin’ big room all surrounded by figures in what they called Alto Relief, or sunthin’ to that effect. I don’t know what Alto they meant. I don’t know nobody by that name, nor I don’t know how they relieved him. But I s’pose Alto when he wuz there wuz relieved to think that the figures wuz all so noble and impressive. Mebby he had been afraid they wouldn’t suit him and the nation. But they did, they must have. He must have been hard to suit, Alto must, if he wuzn’t relieved, and pleased with these.

On one side wuz George the 3d of England, in his magnificent palace, all dressed up in velvet and lace, surrounded by his slick drestup nobles, and all of ’em a sittin’ there soft and warm, in the lap of Luxury, a makin’ laws to bind the strugglin’ colonies.

And right acrost from that, wuz a picture of them Colonists, cold and hungry, a havin’ a Rally for Freedom, and a settin’ up a Town meetin! right amongst the trees, and under-brush that hedged ’em all in and tripped ’em up at every step; and savages a hidin’ behind the trees, and fears of old England, and dread of a hazerdous unknown future, a hantin’ and cloudin’ every glimpse of sky that came down on ’em through the trees. But they looked earnest and good, them old 4 fathers did, and the Town meetin’ looked determined, and firm principled as ever a Town meetin’ looked on the face of the earth.

Then there wuz some of the women of the court, fine ladies, all silk, and ribbons, and embroideries, and paint, and powder, a leanin’ back in their cushioned arm-chairs, a wantin’ to have the colonies taxed still further so’s to have more money to buy lace with and artificial flowers. And right acrost from ’em wuz some of our old 4 mothers, in a rude, log hut, not strong enough to keep out the cold, or the Injuns.

One wuz a cardin’ wools, one of ’em wuz a spinnin’ ’em, a tryin’ to make clothes to cover the starved, half-naked old 4 fathers who wuz a tramplin’ round in the snow with bare feet and shiverin’ lims. And one of ’em had a gun in her hand. She had smuggled the children all in behind her and she wuz a lookin’ out for the foe. These wimmen hadn’t no ribbons on, no, fur from it.

And then there wuz General Schuyler a fellin’ trees to obstruct the march of the British army. And Miss Schuyler a settin’ fire to a field of wheat rather than have it help the enemy of her country. Brave old 4 mother, worthy pardner of a grand man, she wuz a takin’ her life in her hand and a destroyin’ her own property for the sake of the cause she loved. A emblem of the way men and women sot fire to their own hopes, their own happiness, and burnt ’em up on the altar of the land we love.

And there wuz some British wimmen a follerin’ their husbands through the perils of danger and death, likely old 4 mothers they wuz, and thought jest as much of their pardners as I do of my Josiah. I could see that plain. And could see it a shinin’ still plainer in another one of the pictures—Lady Aukland a goin’ over the Hudson in a little canoe with the waves a dashin’ up high round her, to get to the sick bed of her companion. The white flag of truce wuz a wavin’ over her head and in her heart wuz a shinin’ the clear white light of a woman’s deathless devotion. Oh! there wuz likely wimmen amongst the British, I haint a doubt of it, and men too.

And then we clim a long flight of stairs and we see some more pictures, all round that room. Alto relieved agin, or he must have been relieved, and happified to see ’em, they wuz so impressive. I myself had from 25 to 30 emotions a minute while I stood a lookin’ at em—big lofty emotions too.

There waz Jennie McCrea a bein’ dragged offen her horse, and killed by savages. A dreadful sight—a woman settin’ out light-hearted toward happiness and goin’ to meet a fearful doom. Dreadful sight that has come down through the centuries, and happens over and over agin amongst female wimmen. But here it wuz fearful impressive for the savages that destroyed her wuz in livin’ form, they haint always materialized.

Yes, it wuz a awful seen. And jest beyond it, wuz Burgoyne a scoldin’ the savages for the cruelty of the deed. Curius, haint it? How the acts and deeds of a man that he sets to goin’, when they have come to full fruition skare him most to death, horrify him by the sight. I’ll bet Burgoyne felt bad enough, a lookin’ on her dead body, if it wuz his doin’s in the first place, in lettin’ loose such ignerance and savagery onto a strugglin’ people.

Yes, Mr. Burgoyne felt bad and ashamed, I haint a doubt of it. His poet soul could suffer as well as enjoy—and then I didn’t feel like sayin’ too much aginst Mr. Burgoyne, havin’ meditated so lately in the treachery of Arnold, one of our own men doin’ a act that ort to keep us sort a humble-minded to this day.

And then there wuz the killin’ and buryin’ of Frazier both impressive. He wuz a gallant officer and a brave man. And then there wuz General Schuyler (a good creeter) a turnin’ over his command to Gates. And I methought to myself as I looked on it, that human nater wuz jest about the same then; it capered jest about as it duz now in public affairs and offices. Then there wuz the surrender of Burgoyne to Gates. A sight impressive enough to furnish one with stiddy emotions for weeks and weeks. A thinkin’ of all he surrendered to him that day, and all that wuz took.

The monument is dretful high. Up, up, up, it soars as if it wuz bound to reach up into the very heavens, and carry up there these idees of ourn about Free Rights, and National Liberty. It don’t go clear up, though. I wish it did. If it had, I should have gone up the high ladder clear to the top. But I desisted from the enterprise for 2 reasons, one wuz, that it didn’t go, as I say, clear up, and the other wuz that the stairs wuzn’t finished.

Josiah proposed that he should go up as he clim up our well, with one foot on each side on’t. He said he wuz tempted to, for he wanted dretfully to look out of them windows on the top. And he said it would probable be expected of him. And I told him that I guessed that the monument wouldn’t feel hurt if he didn’t go up; I guessed it would stand it. I discouraged the enterprise.

And anon we went down out of the monument, and crossed over to the good-lookin’ house where the man lives who takes care of the monument, and shows off its good traits, a kind of a guardian to it. And we got a first-rate dinner there, though such is not their practice. And then he took us in a likely buggy with 2 seats, and a horse to draw it, and we sot out to see what the march of 100 years has left us of the doin’s of them days.

Time has trampled out a good many of ’em, but we found some. We found the old Schuyler mansion, a settin’ back amongst the trees, with the old knocker on it, that had been pulled by so many a old 4 father, carryin’ tidin’s of disappointment, and hope, and triumph, and encouragement, and everything. We went over the threshold wore down by the steps that had fell there for a hundred years, some light, some heavy steps.

We went into the clean, good-lookin’ old kitchen, with the platters, and shinin’ dressers and trays; the old-fashioned settee, half-table and half-seat. And we see the cup General Washington drinked tea out of, good old creeter. I hope the water biled and it wuz good tea, and most probable it wuz. And we see lots of arms that had been carried in the war, and cannon balls, and shells, and tommy-hawks, and hatchets, and arrows, and etc., etc. And down in one room all full of other curiosities and relicts, wuz the skull of a traitor. I should judge from the looks on’t that besides bein’ mean, he wuz a hombly man. Somebody said folks had made efforts to steal it. But Josiah whispered to me, that there wuzn’t no danger from him, for he would rather be shet right up in the Tombs than to own it, in any way.

And I felt some like him. Some of his teeth had been stole, so they said. Good land! what did they want with his teeth! But it wuz a dretful interestin’ spot. And I thought as I went through the big square, roomy rooms that I wouldn’t swap this good old house for dozens of Queen Anns, or any other of the fashionable, furbelowed houses of to-day. The orniments of this house wuz more on the inside, and I couldn’t help thinkin’ that this house, compared with the modern ornimental cottages, wuz a good deal like one of our good old-fashioned foremothers in her plain gown, compared with some of the grandma’s of to-day, all paint, and furbelows, and false hair.

The old 4 mothers orniments wuz on the inside, and the others wuz more up on the roof, scalloped off and gingerbreaded, and criss-crossed.

The old house wuz full of rooms fixed off beautiful. It wuz quite a treat to walk throngh’em. But the old fireplaces, and mantle tray shelves spoke to our hearts of the generations that had poked them fires, and leaned up against them mantle trays. They went ahead on us through the old rooms; I couldn’t see ’em, but I felt their presence, as I follered ’em over the old thresholts their feet had worn down a hundred years ago. Their feet didn’t make no sound, their petticoats and short gowns didn’t rustle against the old door ways and stair cases.

The dear old grandpas in their embroidered coats, didn’t cast no shadow as they crossed the sunshine that came in through the old-fashioned window panes. No, but with my mind’s eye (the best eye I have got, and one that don’t wear specks) I see ’em, and I follerd ’em down the narrow, steep stair case, and out into the broad light of 4 P. M., 1886.

Ghosts of the Past

Anon, or shortly after, we drove up on a corner of the street jest above where the Fish creek empties into the Hudson, and there, right on a tall high brick block, wuz a tablet, showin’ that a tree once stood jest there, under which Burgoyne surrendered. And agin, when I thought of all that he surrendered that day, and all that America and the world gained, my emotions riz up so powerful, that they wuzn’t quelled down a mite, by seein’ right on the other side of the house wrote down these words, “Drugs, Oils, etc.”

No, oil couldn’t smooth ’em down, nor drugs drug ’em; they wuz too powerful. And they lasted jest as soarin’ and eloquent as ever till we turned down a cross street, and arrove at the place, jest the identical spot where the British stacked their arms (and stacked all their pride, and their ambitious hopes with ’em). It made a high pile.

Wall, from there we went up to a house on a hill, where poor Baroness Riedesel hid with her three little children, amongst the wounded and dyin’ officers of the British army, and stayed there three days and three nights, while shots and shells wuz a bombardin’ the little house—and not knowin’ but some of the shots had gone through her lover husband’s heart, before they struck the low ruff over her head.

What do you s’pose she wuz a thinkin’ on as she lay hid in that suller all them three days and three nights with her little girls’ heads in her lap? Jest the same thoughts that a mother thinks to-day, as she cowers down with the children she loves, to hide from danger; jest the same thoughts that a wife thinks today when her heart is out a facing danger and death, with the man she loves.

She faced danger, and died a hundred deaths in the thought of the danger to them she loved. I see the very splinters that the cruel shells and cannon balls split and tore right over her head. Good honorable splinters and not skairful to look at today, but hard, and piercin’, and harrowin’ through them days and nights.

Time has trampled over that calash she rode round so much in (I wish I could a seen it); but Time has ground it down into dust. Time’s hand, quiet but heavy, rested down on the shinin’ heads of the three little girls, and their Pa and Ma, and pushed ’em gently but firmly down out of sight; and all of them savages who used to follow that calash as it rolled onwards, and all their canoes, and war hoops, and snowshoes, etc., etc.

Yes, that calash of Miss Riedesel has rolled away, rolled away years ago, carryin’ the three little girls, their Pa and Ma and all the fears, and hopes, and dreads, and joys, and heartaches of that time it has rolled on with ’em all; on, on, down the dusty road of Oblivion,—it has disappeared there round the turn of road, and a cloud of dust comes up into our faces, as we try to follow it. And the Injuns that used to howl round it, have all follered on the trail of that calash, and gone on, on, out of sight. Their canoes have drifted away down the blue Hudson, away off into the mist and the shadows. Curius, haint it?

And there the same hills and valleys lay, calm and placid, there is the same blue sparklin’ Hudson. Dretful curius, and sort a heart breakin’ to think on’t—haint it? Only jest a few more years and we, too, shall go round the turn of the road, out of sight, out of sight, and a cloud of dust will come up and hide us from the faces of them that love us, and them, too, from the eyes of a newer people.

All our hopes, all our ambitious, all our loves, our joys, our sorrows,—all, all will be rolled away or floated away down the river, and the ripples will ripple on jest as happy; the Sunshine will kiss the hills jest as warmly, and lovin’ly; but other eyes will look on ’em, other hearts will throb and burn within ’em at the sight.

Kinder sad to think on, haint it?

The Butgoynes

Chapter XVIII.

One day Josiah and me went into a meetin’ where they wuz kinder fixin’ over the world, sort a repairin’ of it, as you may say. Some of the deepest, smartest speeches I ever hearn in my life, I hearn there.

You know it is a middlin’ deep subject. But they rose to it. They rose nobly to it. Some wuz for repairin’ it one way, and some another—some wanted to kinder tinker it up, and make it over like. Some wanted to tear it to pieces, and build it over new. But they all meant well by the world, and nobody could help respectin’ ’em.

I enjoyed them hours there with ’em, jest about as well as it is in my power to enjoy anything. They wuz all on ’em civilized Christian folks and philanthropists of different shades and degrees, all but one. There wuz one heathen there. A Hindoo right from Hindoostan, and I felt kinder sorry for him. A heathen sot right in the midst of them folks of refinement, and culture, who had spent their hull lives a tryin’ to fix over the world, and make it good.

This poor little heathen, with a white piller case, or sunthin’ wound round his head (I s’pose he hadn’t money to buy a hat), and his small black eyes lookin’ out kinder side ways from his dark hombly little face, rousted up my pity, and my sympathy. There had been quite a firm speech made against allowin’ foreigners on our shores. And this little heathen, in his broken speech, said, It all seemed so funny to him, when everybody wuz foreigners in this country, to think that them that got here first should say they owned it, and send everybody else back. And he said, It seemed funny to him, that the missionarys we sent over to his land to teach them the truth, told them all about this land of Liberty, where everybody wuz free, and everybody could earn a home for themselves, and urged ’em all to come over here, and then when they broke away from all that held ’em in their own land, and came thousands and thousands of milds, to get to this land of freedom and religion,then they wuz sent back agin, and wuzn’t allowed to land. It seemed so funny.

And so it did to me. And I said to myself, I wonder if they don’t lose all faith in the missionarys, and what they tell them. I wonder if they don’t have doubts about the other free country they tell ’em about. The other home they have urged ’em to prepare for, and go to. I wonder if they haint afraid, that when they have left their own country and sailed away for that home of Everlastin’ freedom, they will be sent back agin, and not allowed to land.

But it comferted me quite a good deal to meditate on’t, that that land didn’t have no laws aginst foreign emigration. That its ruler wuz one who held the rights of the lowest, and poorest, and most ignerent of His children, of jest as much account as he did the rights of a king. Thinkses I that poor little head with the piller case on it will be jest as much looked up to, as if it wuz white and had a crown on it. And I felt real glad to think it wuz so.

But I went to every meetin’ of ’em, and enjoyed every one of ’em with a deep enjoyment. And I said then, and I say now, for folks that had took such a hefty job as they had, they done well, nobody could do better, and if the world wuzn’t improved by their talk it wuz the fault of the world, and not their’n.

And we went to meetin’ on Sunday mornin’ and night, and hearn good sermons. There’s several high big churches at Saratoga, of every denomination, and likely folks belong to the hull on ’em: There is no danger of folks losin’ their way to Heaven unless they want to, and they can go on their own favorite paths too, be they blue Presbyterian paths, or Methodist pasters, or by the Baptist boat, or the Episcopalian high way, or the Catholic covered way, or the Unitarian Broadway, or the Shadow road of Spiritualism.

No danger of their losin’ their way unless they want to. And I thought to myself as I looked pensively at the different steeples, “What though there might be a good deal of’wranglin’, and screechin’, and puffin’ off steam, at the different stations, as there must always be where so many different routes are a layin’ side by side, each with its own different runners, and conductors, and porters, and managers, and blowers, still it must be, that the separate high ways would all end at last in a serener road, where the true wayfarers and the earnest pilgrims would all walk side by side, and forget the very name of the station they sot out from.

I sez as much to my companion, as we wended our way home from one of the meetin’s, and he sez, “There haint but one right way, and it is a pity folks can’t see it.” Sez he a sithin’ deep, “Why can’t everybody be Methodists?”

We wuz a goin’ by the ’Piscopal church then, and he sez a lookin’ at it, as if he wuz sorry for it, “What a pity that such likely folks as they be, should believe in such eronious doctrines. Why,” sez he, “I have hearn that they believe that the bread at communion is changed into sunthin’ else. What a pity that they should believe anything so strange as that is, when there is a good, plain, practical, Christian belief that they might believe in, when they might be Methodists. And the Baptists now,” sez he, a glancin’ back at their steeple, “why can’t they believe that a drop is as good as a fountain? Why do they want to believe in so much water? There haint no need on’t. They might be Methodists jest as well as not, and be somebody.”

And he walked along pensively and in deep thought, and I a feelin’ somewhat tuckered didn’t argue with him, and silence rained about us till we got in front of the hall where the Spiritualists hold their meetin’s, and we met a few a comin’ out on it and then he broke out and acted mad, awful mad and skernful, and sez he angrily, “Them dumb fools believe in supernatural things. They don’t have a shadow of reason or common sense to stand on. A man is a fool to gin the least attention to them, or their doin’s. Why can’t they believe sunthin’ sensible? Why can’t they jine a church that don’t have anything curius in it? Nothin’ but plain, common sense facts in it: Why can’t they be Methodists?”

“The idee!” sez he, a breakin’ out fresh. “The idee of believin’ that folks that have gone to the other world can come back agin and appear. Shaw!” sez he, dretful loud and bold. I don’t believe I ever heard a louder shaw in my life than that wuz, or more kinder haughty and highheaded.

And then I spoke up, and sez, “Josiah, it is always well, to shaw in the right place, and I am afraid you haint studied on it as much as you ort. I am afraid you haint a shawin’ where you ort to.”

“Where should I shaw?” sez he, kinder snappish.

“Wall,” sez I, “when you condemn other folkses beliefs, you ort to be careful that you haint a condemin’ your own belief at the same time. Now my belief is grounded in the Methodist meetin’ house like a rock; my faith has cast its ancher there inside of her beliefs and can’t be washed round by any waves of opposin’ doctrines. But I am one who can’t now, nor never could, abide bigotry and intolerance either in a Pope, or a Josiah Allen.

“And when you condemn a belief simply on the ground of its bein’ miraculous and beyond your comprehension, Josiah Allen, you had better pause and consider on what the Methodist faith is founded.

“All our orthodox meetin’ houses, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, every one on ’em, Josiah Allen, are sot down on a belief, a deathless faith in a miraculous birth, a life of supernatural events, the resurrection of the dead, His appearance after death, a belief in the graves openin’ and the dead comin’ forth, a belief in three persons inhabitin’ one soul, the constant presence and control of spiritual influences, the Holy Ghost, and the spirits of just men. And while you are a leanin’ up against that belief, Josiah Allen, and a leanin’ heavy, don’t shaw at any other belief for the qualities you hold sacred in your own.”

He quailed a very little, and I went on.

“If you want to shaw at it, shaw for sunthin’ else in it, or else let it entirely alone. If you think it lacks active Christian force, if you think it is not aggressive in its assaults at Sin, if you think it lacks faith in the Divine Head of the church, say so, do; but for mercy’s sake try to shaw in the right place.”

“Wall,” sez he, “they are a low set that follers it up mostly, and you know it.” And his head was right up in the air, and he looked very skernful.

But I sez, “Josiah Allen, you are a shawin’ agin in the wrong place,” sez I. “If what you say is true, remember that 1800 years ago, the same cry wuz riz up by Pharisees, ‘He eats with Publicans and sinners.’ They would not have a king who came in the guise of the poor, they scerned a spiritual truth that did not sparkle with worldly lustre.

“But it shone on; it lights the souls of humanity to-day. Let us not be afraid, Josiah Allen. Truth is a jewel that cannot be harmed by deepest investigation, by roughest handlin’. It can’t be buried, it will shine out of the deepest darkness. What is false will be washed away, what is true will remain. For all this frettin’, and chafing, all this turbelence of conflectin’ beliefs, opposin’ wills, will only polish this jewel. Truth, calm and serene, will endure, will shine, will light up the world.”

He begun to look considerable softer in mean, and I continued on: “Josiah Allen, you and I know what we believe the beautiful religion (Methodist Episcopal) that we both love, makes a light in our two souls. But don’t let us stand in that light and yell out, that everybody else’s light is darkness; that our light is the only one. No, the heavens are over all the earth; the twelve gates of heaven are open and a shinin’ down on all sides of us.

“Jonesville meetin’ house (Methodist Episcopal) haint the only medium through which the light streams. It is dear to us, Josiah Allen, but let us not think that we must coller everybody and drag ’em into it. And let us not cry out too much at other folkses superstitions, when the rock of our own faith, that comforts us in joy and sorrow, is sot in a sea of supernaturalism.

“You know how that faith comforts our two souls, how it is to us, like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, but they say, their belief is the same to them, let us not judge them too hardly. No, the twelve gates of heaven are open, Josiah Allen, and a shinin’ down onto the earth. We know the light that has streamed into our own souls, but we do not know exactly what rays of radience may have been reflected down into some other lives through some one of those many gates.

“The plate below has to be prepared, before it can ketch the picture and hold it. The light does not strike back the same reflection from every earthly thing. The serene lake mirrors back the light, in a calm flood of glory, the flashin’ waterfall breaks it into a thousand dazzlin’ sparkles. The dewy petal of the yellow field lily, reflects its own ray of golden light back, so does the dark cone of the pine tree, and the diamond, the opal, the ruby, each tinges the light with its own coloring, but the light is all from above. And they all reflect the light, in their own way for which the Divine skill has prepared them.

“Let us not try to compel the deep blue Ocean waves and the shinin’ waterfall, and the lily blow, to reflect back the light, in the same identical manner. No, let the light stream down into high places, and low ones, let the truth shine into dark hearts, and into pure souls. God is light. God is Love. It is His light that shines down out of the twelve gates, and though the ruby, or the amethyst, may color it by their own medium, the light that is reflected, back is the light of Heaven. And Josiah Allen,” sez I in a deeper, earnester tone, “let us who know so little ourselves, be patient with other ignerent ones. Let us not be too intolerent, for no intolerence, Josiah Allen is so cruel as that of ignerence, an’ stupidity.”

Sez Josiah, “I won’t believe in anything I can’t see, Samantha Allen.”

I jest looked round at him witheringly, and sez I, “What have you ever seen, Josiah Allen, I mean that is worth sein’? Haint everything that is worth havin’ in life, amongst the unseen? The deathless loves, the aspirations, the deep hopes, and faiths, that live in us and through us, and animate us and keep us alive,—Whose spectacles has ever seen ’em? What are we, all of us human creeters, any way, but little atoms dropped here, Heaven knows why, or how, into the midst of a perfect sea of mystery, and unseen influences. What hand shoved us forwards out of the shadows, and what hand will reach out to us from the shadows and draw us back agin? Have you seen it Josiah Allen? You have felt this great onseen force a movin’ you along, but you haint sot your eyes on it.

“What is there above us, below us, about us, but a waste of mystery, a power of onseen influences?.

“You won’t believe anything you can’t see:—Did you ever see old Gravity, Josiah Allen, or get acquainted with him? Yet his hands hold the worlds together. Who ever see the mysterious sunthin’ in the North that draws the ship’s compass round? Who ever see that great mysterious hand that is dropped down in the water, sweepin’ it back and forth, makin’ the tides come in, and the tides go out? Who ever has ketched a glimpse of them majestic fingers, Josiah Allen? Or the lips touched with lightnin’, whose whispers reach round the world, and through the Ocean? You haint see ’em, nor I haint, No, Josiah Allen, we don’t know much of anything, and we don’t know that for certain. We are all on us only poor pupils down in the Earth’s school-room, learnin’ with difficulty and heart ache the lessons God sets for us.

Tough old Experience gives us many a hard floggin’, before we learn the day’s lessons. And we find the benches hard, long before sundown. And it makes our hearts ache to see the mates we love droop their too tired heads in sleep, all round us before school is out. But we grind on at our lessons, as best we may. Learnin’ a little maybe. Havin’ to onlearn a sight, as the pinters move on towards four. Clasping hands with fellow toilers and (hard task) onclaspin’ ’em, as they go up above us, or down nearer the foot. Havin’ little ‘intermissions’ of enjoyment, soon over. But we plod on, on, and bimeby—and sometimes we think we do not care how soon—the teacher will say to us, that we can be ‘dismissed.’ And then we shall drop out of the rank of learners, and the school will go without us, jest as busily, jest as cheerfully, jest as laboriously, jest as sadly. Poor learners at the hard lessons of life. Learnin’ out of a book that is held out to us from the shadows by an onseen, inexorable hand. Settin’ on hard benches that may fall out from under us at any time. Poor ignerent creeters that we are, would it not be a too arrant folly for us to judge each other hardly, we, all on us, so deplorably ignerent, so weakly helpless?”

Sez Josiah, in earnest axcents, “Le’s walk a little faster.”

And, in lookin’ up, I see that he wuz readin’ a advertisement. I ketched sight of a picture ornamentin’ of it. It wuz Lydia Pinkham. And as I see that benine face, I found and recovered myself. Truly, I had been a soarin’ up, up, fur above Saratoga, Patent Medicines, Josiah Allen, etc., etc.

But when I found myself by the side of Josiah Allen once more, I moved onwards in silence, and soon we found ourselves right by the haven where I desired to be,—our own tried and true boardin’ house.

Truly eloquence is tuckerin’, very, especially when you are a soarin’ and a walkin’ at the same time.


Chapter XIX.

Wall, it wuz that very afternoon, almost immegetly after dinner, that Josiah Allen invited me warmly to go with him to the Roller Coaster. And I compromised the matter by his goin’ with us first to St. Christina’s Home, and then, I told him, I would proceed with him to the place where he would be. They wuz both on one road, nigh to each other, and he consented after some words.

I felt dretfully interested in this Home, for it is a place where poor little sick children are took to, out of their miserable, stiflin’, dirty garrets, and cellars, and kep’ and made well and happy in their pleasant, home-like surroundin’s. And I thought to myself, as I looked ont on the big grounds surroundin’ it, and walked through the clean wide rooms, that the change to these children, brought out of their narrow dark homes of want and woe, into this great sunshiny Home with its clean fresh rooms, its good food, its cheery Christian atmosphere, its broad sunshiny playgrounds, must seem like enterin’ Paradise to ’em.

And I thought to myself how thankful I wuz that this pleasant House Beautiful, wuz prepared for the rest and refreshment of the poor little pilgrims, worn out so early in the march of life. And I further thinkses I, “Heaven bless the kind heart that first thought on’t, and carried out the heavenly idee.”

The children’s faces all looked, so happy, and bright, it wuz a treat to see ’em. And the face of the sister who showed us round the rooms looked as calm, and peaceful, and happy, as if her face wuz the sun from which their little lights wuz reflected.

Up amongst the rooms overhead, every one on ’em clean as a pin and sweet and orderly, wuz one room that specially attracted my attention. It wuz a small chapel where the little ones wuz took to learn their prayers and say ’em. It wuzn’t a big, barren barn of a room, such as I have often seen in similar places, and which I have always thought must impress the children with a awful sense of the immensity and lonesomeness of space, and the intangebility, and distance of the Great Spirit who inhabiteth Eternity. No, it wuz small, and cozy, and cheerful, like a home. And the stained glass window held a beautiful picture of love and charity, which might well touch the children’s hearts, sweetly and unconsciously, with the divine worth of love, and beauty, and goodness.

And I could fancy the dear, little ones kneelin’ here, and prayin’ “Our Father, who art in Heaven,” and feelin’ that He wuz indeed their Father, and not a stranger, and that Heaven wuz not fur off from ’em.

And I thought to myself “Never! never! through all their life will they get entirely away from the pure, sweet lessons they learn here.”

I enjoyed the hour I spent here with a deep, heart enjoyment, and so did Josiah. Or, that is, I guess he did, though he whispered to me from time to time, or even oftener, as we went through the buildin’, that we wuz a devourin’ time that we might be spendin’ at the Roller Coaster.

Wall, at last, greatly to my pardner’s satisfaction, we sot out for the place where he fain would be. On our way there we roamed through another Indian Encampment, a smaller one than that where we had the fearful incident of the Mermaid and Sarah.

No, it wuzn’t so big, but it had many innocent diversions and a photograph gallery, and other things for its comfert. And a standin’ up a leanin’ aginst a tree, by one of the little houses stood a Injun. He wuz one of the last left of his tribe. He seemed to be a lookin’ pensively on—and seein’ how the land that had belonged to ’em, the happy huntin’-grounds, the springs they believed the Great Spirit had gin to ’em, had all passed away into the bands of another race.

I wuz sorry for that Injun, real sorry. And thinkses I to myself, we feel considerable pert now, and lively, but who knows in another three or four hundred years, but what one of the last of our race, may be a leanin’ up aginst some new tree, right in the same spot, a watchin’ the old places passed away into other hands, mebby black hands, or some other colored ones; mebby yellow ones, who knows? I don’t, nor Josiah don’t. But my pardner wuz a hurryin’ me on, so I dropped my revery and my umberell in my haste to foller on after his footsteps.

Josiah picked up my umberell, but he couldn’t pick up my soarin’ emotions for me. No, he haint never been able, to get holt of ’em. But suffice it to say, that soon, preceded by my companion, I found myself a mountin’ the nearly precipitus stairs, that led to the Roller Coaster.

The Rollercoaster

And havin’ reached the spot, who should we find there but Ardelia Tutt and Bial Flamburg. They had been on the Roller Coaster seven times in succession, and the car. And they wuz now a sittin’ down to recooperate their energies, and collect their scattered wits together. The Roller Coaster is very scatterin’ to wits that are not collected firm and sound, and cemented by strong common sense.

The reason why the Roller Coaster don’t scatter such folkses wits is supposed to be because, they don’t go on to it. Ardelia looked as if her idees wuz scattered to the four pints of the compass. As for Bial, it seemed to me, as if he never had none to scatter. But he spoke out to once, and said, he didn’t care to ride on ’em. (Bial Flamburg’s strong pint, is his truthfulness, I can’t deny that.)

Ardelia wouldn’t own up but what she enjoyed it dretfully. You know folks are most always so. If they partake of a pleasure and recreation that is doubtful in its effects, they will always say, what a high extreme of enjoyment they enjoyed a partakin’ of it. Curius, haint it? Wall, Josiah had been anticipatin’ so much enjoyment from the exercise, that I didn’t make no move to prevent him from embarkin’ on it—though it looked hazardous and dangerous in the extreme.

I looked down on the long valleys, and precipitous heights of the assents and desents, in which my pardner wuz so soon to be assentin’ and desentin’ and I trembled, and wuz jest about to urge him to forego his diversion, for the sake of his pardner’s happiness, but as I turned to expostulate with him, I see the beautiful, joyous, hopeful look on his liniment, and the words fell almost dead on my tongue. I felt that I had ruther suffer in silence than to say one word to mar that bliss.

Such is the love of pardners, and such is some of the agonies they suffer silently to save from woundin’ the more opposite one. No, I said not a word; but silently sat, and see him makin’ his preparations to embark. He see the expression onto my face, and he too wuz touched by it. He never said one word to me about embarkin’ too, which I laid to two reasons. One wuz my immovable determination not to embark on the voyage, which I had confided to him before.

And the other wuz, the added expenses of the journey if he took his companion with him.

No, I felt that he thought it wuz better we should part temporarily than that the expenditure should be doubled. But as the time drew near for him to leave me, I see by his meen that he felt bad about leavin’ me. He realized what a companion I had been to him. He realized the safety and repose he had always found at my side and the unknown dangers he wuz a rushin’ into.

And he got up and silently shook hands with me. He would have kissed me, I make no doubt, if folks hadn’t been a standin’ by. He then embarked, and with lightnin’ speed wuz bore away from me, as he dissapeared down the desent, his few gray hairs waved back, and as he went over the last precipitus hill, I heard him cry out in agonizin’ axents, “Samantha! Samantha!”

And I rushed forwards to his rescue but so lightnin’ quick wuz their movements that I met my companion a comin’ back, and I sez, the first thing, “I heard your cry, Josiah! I rushed to save you, my dear pardner.”

“Yes,” sez he, “I spoke out to you, to call your attention to the landscape, over the woods there!”

I looked at him in a curious, still sort of a way, and didn’t say nothin’ only just that look. Why, that man looked all trembly and broke up, but he kep’ on.

“Yes, it wuz beautiful and inspirin’, and I knew you wuz such a case for landscapes, I thought I would call your attention to it.”

Sez I, coldly, “You wuz skairt, Josiah Allen, and you know it.”

“Skairt! the idee of me bein’ skairt. I wuz callin’ your attention to the beauty of the view, over in the woods.”

“What wuz it?” sez I, still more coldly; for I can’t bear deceit, and coverin’ up.

“Oh, it wuz a house, and a tree, and a barn, and things.”

“A great seen to scream about,” sez I. “It would probable have stood there till you got back, but you couldn’t seem to wait.”

“No, I have noticed that you always wanted to see things to once. I have noticed it in you.”

“I could most probable have waited till you got back, to see a house and a tree.” And in still more—frigid axents, I added, “Or a barn.” And I sez, kinder sarkastikly, “You enjoyed your ride, I s’pose.”

“Immensely, it wuz perfectly beautiful! So sort a free and soarin’ like. It is jest what suits a man.”

“You’d better go right over it agin,” sez I.

“Yes,” sez the man who runs the cars. “You’d better go agin.”

“Oh no,” sez Josiah.

“Why not?” sez I.

“Why not?” sez the man.

Josiah Allen looked all around the room, and down on the grass, as if trying to find a good reasonable excuse a layin’ round loose somewhere, so’s he could get holt of it.

“You’d better go,” sez I, “I love to see you happy, Josiah Allen.”

“Yes, you’d better go,” sez the man.

“No!” sez Josiah, still a lookin’ round for a excuse, up into the heavens and onto the horizon. And at last his face kinder brightenin’ up, as if he had found one: “No, it looks so kinder cloudy, I guess I won’t go. I think we shall have rain between now and night.” And so we said no more on the subject and sot out homewards.

Ardelia wrote a poem on the occasion, wrote it right there, with rapidity and a lead pencil, and handed it to me, before I left the room. I put it into my pocket and didn’t think on it, for some days afterwards.

That night after we got home from the Roller Coaster, I felt dretful sort a down hearted about Abram Gee, I see in that little incident of the day, that Bial, although I couldn’t like him, yet I see he had his good qualities, I see how truthful he wuz. And although I love truth—I fairly worship it—yet I felt that if things wuz as he said they wuz, he would more’n probable get Ardelia Tutt, for I know the power of Ambition in her, and I felt that she would risk the chances of happiness, for the name of bein’ a Banker’s Bride.

So I sat there in deep gloom, and a chocolate colored wrapper, till as late as half past nine o’clock P. M. And I felt that the course of Abram’s love wuz not runnin’ smooth. No, I felt that it wuz runnin’ in a dwindlin’ torrent over a rocky bed, and a precipitus one. And I felt that if he wuz with me then and there, if we didn’t mingle our tears together we could our sithes, for I sithed, powerful and frequent.

Poor short-sighted creeter that I wuz, a settin’ in the shadow, when the sun wuz jest a gettin’ ready to shine out onto Abram and reflect off onto my envious heart. Even at that very time the hand of righteous Retribution had slipped its sure noose over Bial Flamburg’s neck, and wuz a walkin’ him away from Ardelia, away from happiness (oritory).

At that very hour, half past nine P. M., Ardelia Tutt and Abram Gee had met agin, and rosy love and happiness wuz even then a stringin’ roses on the chain that wuz to bind ’em together forever.

The way on’t wuz: It bein’ early when Ardelia got here, Bial proposed to take her out for a drive and she consented. He got a livery horse, and buggy, and they say that the livery man knew jest what sort of a creeter the horse wuz, and knew it wuz liable to break the buggy all to pieces and them to, and he let ’em have it for goin.’ But howsumever, whether that is so or not, when they got about five or six milds from Saratoga the horse skeert out of the road, and throwed ’em both out.

It wuz a bank of sand that skeert it, a high bank that wuz piled up by a little hovel that stood by the side of the road. The ground all round the hut wuz too poor to raise anything else but sand, and had raised sights of that.

A man and woman, dretful shabby lookin’, wuz a standin’ by the door of the hut, and the man had a shovel in his hand, and had been a loadin’ sand into a awful big wheelbarrow that wuz a standin’ by—seemin’ly ready to carry it acrost the fields, to where some man wuz a mixin’ some motar, to lay the foundations of a barn.

Wall, the old man stood a pantin’ by the side of the wheelbarrow, as if he had indeed got on too heavy a load. It wuz piled up high. The horse shied, and Ardelia wuz throwed right out onto the bank of sand, Bial by the side of her. And the old man and woman came a runnin’ up, and callin’ out, “Bial, my son, my son, are you wounded?”

The Accident

And there it all wuz. Ardelia see the hull on it. The Banker wuz before her, and she wuz a layin’ on the bank. And the banker wuz a doin’ a heavy business, if anybody doubted it, let ’em take holt and cart a load on it acrost the fields.

Wall, Ardelia wuz jarred fearful, in her heart, her ambition, her pride, and her bones. And as the horse wuz a fleein’ far away, and no other conveyance could be found to transport her to the next house (Ardelia wouldn’t go into his’n), and night wuz approachin’ with rapid strides, the old Banker jest unloaded the load of sand (good old creeter, he would have to load it all over agin), and took Ardelia into the wheelbarrow, and wheeled her over to the next house and unloaded her.

Ardelia in the

The old Banker told Ardelia that when his neighbor got home he would take her back to Saratoga, which he did. He had been to the village for necessaries, but he turned right round and carried her back to Mr. Pixleyses. And I s’pose Ardelia paid him, mebby as high as 75 cents. As for Bial, he tramped off into the house, and she didn’t see him agin, nor didn’t want to. Wall, I s’pose it wuz durin’ that ride on the wheelbarrow, that Ardelia’s ambition quelled to softer emotions. I s’pose so. She never owned it right up to me, but I s’pose so.

Bial Flamburg hadn’t lied a word to her. In all her agony she realized that. But she had built a high towerin’ structure of ambition on what he said, and it had tottered. And as is natural in times of danger, the heart turns instinctively to its true love, she thought of Abram Gee, she wanted him. And as if in answer to her deep and lovin’ thought, who should come out to the buggy to help her out at Mr. Pixleyses gate, but Abram Gee? He had come unexpected, and on the eight o’clock train, and wuz there waitin’ for her.

If Bial Flamburg had been with her, he wouldn’t have gone a nigh the buggy, but he see it was a old man, and he rushed out. Ardelia couldn’t walk a step on her feet (owin’ to bein shaken up, in bones and feelin’s), and Abram jest took her in his strong lovin’ arms and carried her into the house, and she sort a clung round his neck, and seemed tickled enough to see him,

But she wuz dretful shook up and agitated, and it wuzn’t till way along in the night some time, that she wuz able to write a poem called, “a lay on a wheelbarrow; or, the fallen one.”

Which I thought when I read it, wuz a good name for it, for truly she had fell, and truly she had lay on it. Howsumever, Ardelia wrote that jest because it wuz second nater to write poetry on every identical thing she ever see or did.

She wuz glad enough to get rid of Bial Flamburg, and glad enough to go back to her old love. Abram wuz too manly and tender to say a word to Ardelia that night on the subject nearest to his heart. No, he see she needed rest. But the next day, when they wuz alone together, I s’pose he put the case all before her. All his warm burnin’ love for her, all his jealousy, and his wretchedness while she wuz a waverin’ between Banks and Bread, how his heart had been checked by the thought that Bial would vault over him, and in the end hold him at a discount.

Why, I s’pose he talked powerful and melted Ardelia’s soft little heart till it wuz like the softest kind of dough in his hands. And then he went on tenderly to say, how he needed her, and how she could mould him to her will. I s’pose he talked well, and eloquent, I s’pose so. Anyhow she accepted him right there in full faith and a pink and white cambric dress.

And they came over and told me about it in the afternoon P. M. And I felt well and happy in my mind, and wished ’em joy with a full heart and a willin’ mind.

They are both good creeters. And she bein’ so soft, and he so kinder hardy and stout-hearted, I believe they will get along firstrate. And when she once let her mind and heart free to think on him, she worships him so openly and unreservedly (though soft), that I don’t, believe there is a happier man in the hull country.

Wall, I lay out to give’em a handsome present when they be married, which will be in the fall. Mother Gee (who has got as well as can be expected) is goin’ to live with Susan. And I’m glad on’t. Mother Gee is a good old female no doubt, but it is resky work to take a new husband to live with, and when you take a mother-in-law too it adds to the resk.

But she is goin’ to live with Susan; it is her prefference.

And Abram has done so well, that he has bought another five acres onto his place, and is a goin’ to fix his house all over splendid before the weddin’ day. And Ardelia is to go right from the altar to her home—it is her own wishes.

She knows enough in her way, Ardelia duz. And she has a wisdom of the heart which sometimes I think, goes fur ahead of the wisdom of the head. And then agin, I think they go well together, wisdom of the head and the heart too. (The times I think this is after readin’ her poetry.)

But any way she will make Abram a good soft little wife, lovin’ and affectionate always. And good land! he loves her to that extent that it wouldn’t make no difference to him if she didn’t know enough to come in when it rained. He would fetch her in, drippin’ and worship her, damp or dry.

Them verses of Ardelia’s, that she handed me, by the Roller Coaster wuz as follows—


“Oh was thy track all straight, and smooth like glass
Thou couldest not mount the hills, and lo, the dells,
The hills and dells oh! Roller Coaster pass
In peace, believing all things well.

“The hills of life go down, and mount elate
We mount or sink on them, as case may be
All seated on the wagon seat of life—
A holdin’ on in peace, or screamin’ fearfulee.

“Hold then thy breath, and go, e’en up or down,
Hold to the seat, and hold to royal hope,
Hope for the best, so shalt thou wear a crown,
A clinging hope to hold, is better than a rope.

“Mount then the Mounts, Oh Roller Coaster mount,
And sink then in the dells with brow serene;
’Tis no disgrace to sink a spell, we count
Him coward, knave, who floats and calls it mean.”

Ardelia always will stand up for Josiah Allen, and I am glad on’t. I should jest as soon be jealous of one of Josiah’s gingham neckties, one of the thinnest and stringiest ones, as to be jealous of her. She means well, Ardelia duz.

Chapter XX.

Wall, it wuz on the very day before we laid out to leave for home. I wuz a settin’ in my room a mendin’ up a rip in my pardner’s best coat, previous to packin’ in his trunk, when all of a sudden Miss Flamm’s hired girl came in a cryin’, and sez I, “What is the matter?”

And sez she, “Ah! Miss Flamm has sent for you and Mr. Allen to come over there right away. There has been a axident.”

“A axident!” sez I.

“Yes,” sez she. “The little girl has got hurt, and they don’t think she will live. Poor little pretty thing,” sez the hired girl, and busted out a cryin’ agin.

“How did she get hurt?” sez I, as I laid down the coat, and went to tyin’ on my bunnet mekanically.

“Wall, the nurse had her out with the baby and the little boys. And we s’pose she had been drinkin’ too much. We all knew she drinked, and she wuzn’t in a condition to go out with the children this mornin’, and Miss Flamm would have noticed it and kep’ ’em in, but the dog wuz sick all night, and Miss Flamm wuz up with it most all night, and she felt wore out this mornin’ with her anxtety for the dog, and her want of sleep, and so they went out, and it wuzn’ more’n half an hour before it took place. She left the baby carriage and the little boys and girl in a careless place, not knowin’ what she wuz about, and they got run over. The baby and the little boys wuzn’t hurt much, but they think the little girl will die. Miss Flamm went right into a caniption fit,” sez she, “when she wuz brung in.”

“It is a pity she hadn’t went into one before,” sez I very dryly, dry as a chip almost. My axents wuz fairly dusty they wuz so dry. But my feelin’s for Miss Flamm moistened up and melted down when I see her, when we went into the room. It didn’t take us long for they are still to the tarven, and we met Josiah Allen at the door, so he went with us.

Yes, Miss Flamm felt bad enough, bad enough. She has got a mother’s heart after all, down under all the strings and girtins, and laces, and dogs, etc., etc., that have hid it, and surrounded it. Her face wuz jest as white and deathly as the little girl’s, and that wuz jest the picture of stillness and death. And I remembered then that I had heard that the little girl wuz her favorite amongst her children, whenever she had any time to notice ’em. She wuz a only daughter and a beauty, besides bein’ smart.

The doctor had been there and done what he could, and go gone away. He said there wuz nothin’ more to do till she came out of that stuper, if she ever did.

But it looked like death, and there Miss Flamm sot alone with her child, and her conscience. She wuzn’t a cryin’ but there wuz a look in her eyes, in her set white face that went beyond tears, fur beyond ’em. She gripped holt of my hand with her icy cold ones, and sez she, “Pray for me!” She wuz brung up a Methodist, and knew we wuz the same. My feelin’s overcame me as I looked in her face and the child’s, both lookin’ like dyin’ faces, and I sez with the tears a jest runnin’ down my cleeks and a layin’ my hand tender on her shoulder, “Is there anything I can do for you, you poor little creeter?”

“Pray for me,” sez she agin, with her white lips not movin’ in a smile, nor a groan.

Now my companion, Josiah Allen, is a class-leader, and though I say it that mebby shouldn’t—That man is able in prayer. He prays as if he meant what he said. He don’t try to show off in oritory as so many do, or give the Lord information. He never sez, “Oh Lord, thou knowest by the mornin’ papers, so and so.” No, he prays in simple words for what he wants. And he always seems to feel that somebody is nigh to him, a hearin’ him, and if it is best and right, his requests will be granted.

So I motioned for that man to kneel down by the bed and pray, which he did. He wuz to the fore side of the bed, and Miss Flamm and I on the other side. Wall, Josiah commenced his prayer, in a low earnest askin’ voice, then all of a sudden he begun to hesitate, waver, and act dretful agitated. And his actions and agitations seemed to last for some time. I thought it wuz his feelin’s overcomin’ of him, and of course, my hand bein’ over my eyes in a respectful, decent way, I didin’t see nothin’.

But at last, after what wuz seemingly a great effort, he began to go on as usual agin. About that time I heard sunthin’ hit the wall hard on the other side of the room, and I heard a yelp. But then everything wuz still and Josiah Allen made a good prayer. And before it wuz through Miss Flamm laid her head down onto my shoulder, and busted into tears.

And what wuz rooted up and washed away by them tears I don’t know, and I don’t s’pose anybody duz. Whether vanity, and a mistaken ambition, and the poor empty successes of a fashionable life wuz uprooted and floated away on the awakened, sweepin’ tide of a mother’s love and remorse; whether the dog floated down that stream, and low necked dresses, and high hazardus slippers, and strings for waists and corsets, and fashion, and folly, and rivalry, and waltzin’, and glitter, and buttons, and show; whether they all went down that stream, swept along like bubbles on a heavin’ tumultuous tide, I don’t know, nor I don’t s’pose anybody duz.

But any way, from that day on Miss Flamm has been a different woman. I stayed with her all that night and the next day, she a not leavin’ the child’s bed for a minute, and we a not gettin’ of her to, much as we tried to; eatin’ whatever we could make her eat right there by the bedside. And on the 2d day the doctor see a change in the child and she began to roust a little out of that stuper, and in a week’s time, she wuz a beginnin’ to get well.

We stayed on till she wuz out of danger and then we went home. But I see that she wuz to be trusted with her children after that. She dismissed that nurse, got a good motherly one, who she said would help her take care of the children for the future; only help her, for she should have the oversight of ’em herself, always.

The hired girl told me (Miss Flamm never mentioned it to me), and she wuz glad enough of it, that the dog wuz dead. It died the day the little girl wuz hurt. The hired girl said the doctor had told Miss Flamm, that it couldn’t live long. But it wuzn’t till we wuz on our way home that I found out one of the last eppisodes in that dog’s life. You see, sick as that dog wuz, it wuz bound to bark at my pardner as long as it had a breath left in its body. And Josiah told me in confidence (and it must be kep’, it is right that it should be); he said jest after he had knelt down and began to pray he felt that dog climb up onto his heels, and pull at his coat tails, and growl a low mad growl, and naw at ’em.

Josiah prays

He tried to nestle round and get it off quietly but no, there it stood right onto Josiah Allen’s heels, and hung on, and tugged at them coat-tails, and growled at ’em that low deep growl, and shook ’em, as if determined to worry ’em off. And there my companion wuz. He couldn’t show his feelin’s in his face; he had got to keep his face all right towards Miss Flamm. And his feelin’s was rousted up about her, and he wuz a wantin’, and knew he wuz expected, to have his words and manner soothin’ and comfortin’, and that dog a standin’ on his heels and tearin’ off his coat-tails.

What to do he didn’t know. He couldn’t stop his prayer on such a time as this and kill a dog, though he owned up to me that he felt like it, and he couldn’t keep still and feel his coat-tails tore off of him, and be growled at, and shook, and pawed at all day. So he said after the dog had gin a most powerful tug, almost a partin’ the skirts asunder from his coat, he drew up one foot carefully (still a keepin’ his face straight and the prayer agoin’) and brung it back sudden and voyalent, and he heard the dog strike aginst the opposite side of the room with one short, sharp yelp, and then silence rained down and he finished the prayer.

But he said, and owned it up to me, that it didn’t seem to him so much like a religious exercise, as he could wish. It didn’t seem to help his spiritual growth much, if any.

And I sez, “I should think as much,” and I sez, “You wuz in a hard place, Josiah Allen.”

And he sez, “It wuz the dumbest hard place any one wuz ever in on earth.”

And I sez, “I don’t know but it wuz.” That man wuz to be pitied, and I told him so, and he acted real cheerful and contented at hearin’ my mind. He owned up that he had dreaded tellin’ me about it, for fear I would upbraid him. But, good land! I would have been a hard hearted creeter if I could upbraid a man for goin’ through such a time as that. He said he thought mebby I would think it wuz irreverent or sunthin’, the dog’s actions, at such a time.

“Wall,” sez I, “you didn’t choose the actions, did you? It wuzn’t nothin’ you wanted.”

“No,” sez he feelin’ly. “Heaven knows I didn’t. And I done the best I could,” sez he sort a pitiful.

Sez I, “I believe you, Josiah Allen,” and sez I warmly, “I don’t believe that Alexander, or Cezar, or Grover Cleveland, could have done any better.”

He brightened all up at this, he felt dretful well to think I felt with him, and my feelin’s wuz all rousted up to think of the sufferin’s he had went through, so we felt real well towards each other. Such is some of the comforts and consolations of pardners. Howsumever, the dog died, and I wuz kinder sorry for the dog. I think enough of dogs (as dogs) and always did. Always use ’em dretful well, only it mads me to have ’em put ahead of children, and sot up in front of ’em. I always did and always shall like a dog as a dog.

Wall, they say that when that dog died, Miss Flamm hardly inquired about it, she wuz so took up in gettin’ acquainted with her own children. And I s’pose they improved on acquaintance, for they say she is jest devoted to ’em. And she got acquainted with G. Washington too, so they say. He wuz a stiddy, quiet man, and she had got to lookin’ on him as her banker and business man. But they say she liked him real well, come to get acquainted with him. He always jest worshipped her, so they are real happy. There wuz always sunthin’ kinder good about Miss Flamm.

Thos. J. is a carryin’ on another lawsuit for her (more money that descended onto her from her father, or that ort to descend). And he is carryin’ it stiddy and safe. It will bring Thomas Jefferson over 900 dollars in money besides fame, a hull lot of fame.

Wall, we sot sail for home in good spirits, and the noon train. And we reached Jonesville with no particular eppisodin’ till we got to the Jonesville Depot.

I rather think Ardelia Tutt wrote a poem on the cars goin’ home, though I can’t say for certain.

She and Abram sot a few seats in front of us, and I thought I see a certain look to the backside of her head that meant poetry. It wuz a kind of a sot look, and riz up like. But I can’t say for certain for she didn’t have no chance to tell me about it. Abram looked down at her all the time as if he jest worshipped her. And she is a good little creeter, and will make him a happy wife; I don’t make no doubt. As I said, the old lady is goin’ to live with Susan. They went right on in the train, for Ardelia’s home lays beyond Jonesville, and Abram wuz goin’ home with her by Deacon Tutt’s request. They are willin’.

Wall, we disembarked from the cars, and we found the old mair and the Democrat a waitin’ for us. Thomas J. wuz a comin’ for us, but had spraint his wrist and couldn’t drive. Wall, Josia lifted our saddul bags in, and my umbrell, and the band box. But when he went to lift my trunk he faltered. It wuz heavy. I had got relicts from Mount McGregor, from the Battlefield, from the various springs, minerals, stuns, and things, and Josiah couldn’t lift it.

What added to the hardness of the job, the handles had broken offen it, and he had to grip hold on it, by the might of his finger nails. It wuz a hard job, and Josiah’s face got red and I felt, as well as see, that his temper wuz a risin’. And I sez, instinctively, “Josiah, be calm!” For I knew not what unguarded word he might drop as he vainly tried to grip hold on’t, and it eluded his efferts and came down on the ground every time, a carryin’ with it, I s’pose, portions of his fingernails, broke off in the fray.

Wall, he wuz a strugglin’ with it and with his feelin’s, for I kep’ on a sayin’, “Josiah, do be calm! Do be careful about usin’ a profane word so nigh home and at this time of day, and you jest home from a tower.”

trying to lift trunk

And he kep’ his feelin’s nobly under control, and never said a word, only to wonder “what under the High Heavens a woman wanted to lug round a ton of stuns in her trunk for.” And anon sayin’ that he would be dumbed if he didn’t leave it right there on the platform.

Too heavy!

Savin’ these few slight remarks that man nobly restrained himself, and lugged and lifted till the blood almost gushed through his bald head. And right in the midst of the fray, a porter came up and went to liftin’ the trunk in the usual highheaded, haughty way Railroad officials have. But anon a change came over his linement. And as it fell back from his fingers to the platform for the 3d time, he broke out in a torrent of swearin’ words dretful to hear.

I felt as if I should sink through the Democrat. But Josiah listened to the awful words with a warm glow of pleasure and satisfaction a beamin’ from his face. I never saw him look more complacent. And as the man moistened his hands and with another frightful burst of profanity histed it into the end of the buggy.

Wall, I gin the man a few warnin’ words aginst profanity, and Josiah gin him a quarter for liftin’ in the trunk, he said, and we drove off in the meller glow of the summer sunset.

But it wuz duskish before we got to the turn of the road, and considerable dark before we got to the Corners. But we went on tbgough the shadows, a feelin’ we could bear ’em, for we wuz together, and we wuz a goin’ home.

And pretty soon we got there! The door wuz open, the warm light wuz a streamin’ out from doors and windows, and there stood the children!

There they all wuz, all we loved best, a waitin’ to welcome us. Love, which is the light of Heaven, wuz a shinin’ on their faces, and we had got home.

The End
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