Samantha Among the Brethren, Complete
Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)
Part 2 out of 5
under his ruff. I happened to mention one day how extremely anxious I
wuz to have females set on the Conference; and then, wantin' to dispute
me, and also bein' set on that side, she run down the project, and
called it all to nort--and when too late she see that she had got over
on Josiah Allen's side of the fence.
But it had one good effect. When that man see she wuz there, he waded
off, way out of sight of the project, and wouldn't mention it--it madded
him so to be on the same side of the fence she wuz--so that it seemed
to happen all for the best.
Why, I took her as a dispensation from the first, and drawed all sorts
of morels from her, and sights of 'em--sights.
But oh, it wuz tuff on me, fearful tuff.
And when she calculated and laid out to make out her visit and go, wuz
more than we could tell.
For two weeks had passed away like a nite mair of the nite--and three
weeks, and four weeks--and she didn't seem to be no nigher goin' than
she did when she came.
And I would not make a move towards gettin' rid of her, not if I had
dropped down in my tracts, because she wuz one of the relatives on his
But I wuz completely fagged out; it did seem, as I told Tirzah Ann one
day in confidence, "that I never knew the meanin' of the word 'fag'
And Tirzah Ann told me (she couldn't bear her) that if she wuz in my
place, she would start her off. Sez she:
"She has plenty of brothers and sisters, and a home of her own, and why
should she come here to torment you and father;" and sez she, "I'll talk
to her, mother, I'd jest as leve as not." Sez I, "Tirzah Ann, if you
say a word to her, I'll--I'll never put confidence in you agin;" sez I,
"Life is full of tribulations, and we must expect to bear our crosses;"
sez I, "The old martyrs went through more than Lodema."
Sez Tirzah Ann, "I believe Lodema would have wore out John Rogers."
And I don't know but she would, but I didn't encourage her by ownin' it
up that she would; but I declare for't, I believe she would have been
more tegus than the nine children, and the one at the breast, any way.
Wall, as I said, it wuz durin' the fifth week that Josiah Allen turned
right round, and used her first rate.
And when she would talk before folks about how much filial affection she
had for him, and about his always havin' been jest like a parent to her,
and everything of the kind--he never talked back a mite, but looked
clever, and told me in confidence, "That he had turned over a new leaf,
and he wuz goin' to surprise her--give her a happy surprise."
And he seemed, instead of lovin' to rile her up, as he had, to jest put
his hull mind on the idee of the joyful surprise.
Wall, I am always afraid (with reason) of Josiah Allen's enterprizes.
But do all I could, he wouldn't tell me one word about what he wuz goin'
to do, only he kep it up, kep a-sayin' that,
"It wuz somethin' I couldn't help approvin' of, and it wuz somethin'
that would happify me, and be a solid comfort to her, and a great gain
So (though I trembled some for the result) I had to let it go on, for
she wuz one of the relations on his own side, and I knew it wouldn't do
for me to interfere too much, and meddle.
Why, he did come right out one day and give hints to me to that effect.
Sez I, "Why do you go on and be so secret about it? Why don't you tell
your companion all about it, what you are a-goin' to do, and advise with
And he sez, "I guess I know what I am about. She is one of the relations
on my side, and I guess I have got a few rights left, and a little
"Yes," sez I, sadly, "you have got the spunk."
"Wall," sez he, "I guess I can spunk up, and do somethin' for one of my
own relations, without any interference or any advice from any of the
Smith family, or anybody else."
Sez I, "I don't want to stop your doin' all you can for Lodema, but why
not tell what you are a-goin' to do?"
"It will be time enough when the time comes," sez he. "You will find it
out in the course of next week."
Wall, it run along to the middle of the next week. And one day I had
jest sot down to tie off a comforter.
It wuz unbleached cheese cloth that I had bought and colored with tea
leaves. It wuz a sort of a light mice color, a pretty soft gray, and I
wuz goin' to tie it in with little balls of red zephyr woosted, and work
it in buttonhole stitch round the edge with the same.
It wuz fur our bed, Josiah's and mine, and it wuz goin' to be soft and
warm and very pretty, though I say it, that shouldn't.
[Illustration: "I HAD JEST SOT DOWN TO TIE OFF A COMFORTER."]
It wuzn't quite so pretty as them that hain't colored. I had 'em for my
spare beds, cream color tied with pale blue and pink, that wuz perfectly
beautiful and very dressy; but I thought for everyday use a colored one
would be better.
Wall, I had brought it out and wuz jest a-goin' to put it onto the
frames (some new-fashioned ones I had borrowed from Tirzah Ann for the
And Cousin Lodema had jest observed, "that the new-fashioned frames with
legs wuzn't good for nothin', and she didn't like the color of gray,
it looked too melancholy, and would be apt to depress our feelin's too
much, and would be tryin' to our complexions."
And I told her "that I didn't spoze there would be a very great
congregation in our bedroom, as a general thing in the dead of night, to
see whether it wuz becomin' to Josiah and me or not. And, it bein' as
dark as Egypt, our complexions wouldn't make a very bad show any way."
"Wall," she said, "to tie it with red wuzn't at all appropriate, it wuz
too dressy a color for folks of our age, Josiah's and mine." "Why," sez
she, "even _I_, at _my_ age, would skurcely care to sleep under one so
gay. And she wouldn't have a cheese cloth comforter any way." She sort
o' stopped to ketch breath, and Josiah sez:
"Oh, wall, Lodema, a cheese cloth comforter is better than none, and I
should think you would be jest the one to like any sort of a frame on
But I wunk at him, a real severe and warnin' wink, and he stopped short
off, for all the world as if he had forgot bein' on his good behavior;
he stopped short off, and went right to behavin', and sez he to me:
"Don't put on your comforter to-day, Samantha, for Tirzah Ann and
Whitfield and the babe are a-comin' over here bimeby, and Maggie is
a-comin', and Thomas Jefferson."
"Wall," sez I, "that is a good reason why I should keep on with it; the
girls can help me if I don't get it off before they get here."
And then he sez, "Miss Minkley is a-comin', too, and the Elder."
"Why'ee," sez I, "Josiah Allen, why didn't you tell me before, so I
could have baked up somethin' nice? What a man you are to keep things;
how long have you known it?"
"Oh, a week or so!"
"A week!" sez I; "Josiah Allen, where is your conscience? if you have
got a conscience."
"In the same old place," sez he, kinder hittin' himself in the pit of
"Wall, I should think as much," sez I.
And Lodema sez, sez she: "A man that won't tell things is of all
creeters that walks the earth the most disagreeable. And I should think
the girls, Maggie and Tirzah Ann, would want to stay to home and clean
house such a day as this is. And I should think a Elder would want to
stay to home so's to be on hand in case of anybody happenin' to be
exercised in their minds, and wantin to talk to him on religious
subjects. And if I wuz a Elder's wife, I should stay to home with him;
I should think it wuz my duty and my privilege. And if I wuz a married
woman, I would have enough baked up in the house all the time, so's not
to be afraid of company."
But I didn't answer back. I jest sot away my frames, and went out and
stirred up a cake; I had one kind by me, besides cookies and jell tarts.
But I felt real worked up to think I hadn't heard. Wall, I hadn't more'n
got that cake fairly into the oven when the children come, and Elder
Minkley and his wife. And I thought they looked queer, and I thought the
Elder begun to tell me somethin', and I thought I see Josiah wink at
him. But I wouldn't want to take my oath whether he wunk or not, but I
_thought_ he wunk.
I wuz jest a turnin' this over in my mind, and a carryin' away their
things, when I glanced out of the settin' room winder, and lo, and
behold! there wuz Abi Adsit a comin' up to the front door, and right
behind her wuz her Pa and Ma Adsit, and Deacon Henzy and his wife,
and Miss Henn and Metilda, and Lute Pitkins and his wife, and Miss
Petengill, and Deacon Sypher and Drusilly, and Submit Tewksbury--a hull
string of 'em as long as a procession.
Sez I, and I spoke it right out before I thought--sez I--
"Why'ee!" sez I. "For the land's sake!" sez I, "has there been a
funeral, or anything? And are these the mourners?" sez I. "Are they
stoppin' here to warm?"
For it wuz a cold day--and I repeated the words to myself mechanically
as it wuz, as I see 'em file up the path.
"They be mourners, hain't they?"
"No," sez Josiah, who had come in and wuz a standin' by the side of me,
as I spoke out to myself unbeknown to me--sez he in a proud axent--
"No, they hain't mourners, they are Happyfiers; they are Highlariers;
they have come to our party. We are givin' a party, Samantha. We are
havin' a diamond weddin' here for Lodema."
"A diamond weddin'!" I repeated mechanically.
"Yes, this is my happy surprise for Lodema."
I looked at Lodema Trumble. She looked strange. She had sunk back in her
chair. I thought she wuz a-goin' to faint, and she told somebody the
next day, "that she did almost lose her conscientiousness."
"Why," sez I, "she hain't married."
[Illustration: "WE ARE GIVIN' A PARTY, SAMANTHA."]
"Wall, she ort to be, if she hain't," sez he. "I say it is high time for
her to have some sort of a weddin'. Everybody is a havin' 'em--tin, and
silver and wooden, and basswood, and glass, and etc.--and I thought it
wuz a perfect shame that Lodema shouldn't have none of no kind--and I
thought I'd lay to, and surprise her with one. Every other man seemed
to be a-holdin' off, not willin' seemin'ly that she should have one, and
I jest thought I would happify her with one."
"Wall, why didn't you make her a silver one, or a tin?" sez I.
"Or a paper one!" screamed Lodema, who had riz up out of her almost
faintin' condition. "That would have been much more appropriate," sez
"Wall, I thought a diamond one would be more profitable to her. For I
asked 'em all to bring diamonds, if they brought anything. And then I
thought it would be more suitable to her age."
"Why!" she screamed out. "They have to be married seventy-five years
before they can have one."
"Yes," sez he dreemily, "I thought that would be about the right
Lodema wuz too mad to find fault or complain or anything. She jest
marched up-stairs and didn't come down agin that night. And the young
folks had a splendid good time, and the old ones, too.
Tirzah Ann and Maggie had brought some refreshments with 'em, and so had
some of the other wimmen, and, with what I had, there wuz enough, and
more than enough, to refresh ourselves with.
Wall, the very next mornin' Lodema marched down like a grenideer, and
ordered Josiah to take her to the train. And she eat breakfast with her
things on, and went away immegiately after, and hain't been back here
And I wuz truly glad to see her go, but wuz sorry she went in such a
way, and I tell Josiah he wuz to blame,
But he acts as innocent as you pleese. And he goes all over the
arguments agin every time I take him to do about it. He sez "she wuz old
enough to have a weddin' of some kind."
And of course I can't dispute that, when he faces me right down, and
"Hain't she old enough?"
And I'll say, kinder short--
"Why, I spoze so!"
"Wall," sez he, "wouldn't it have been profitable to her if they had
brought diamonds? Wouldn't it have been both surprisin' and profitable?"
And sez he, "I told 'em expressly to bring diamonds if they had more
than they wanted. I charged old Bobbet and Lute Pitkins specially on the
subject. I didn't want 'em to scrimp themselves; but," sez I, "if you
have got more diamonds than you want, Lute, bring over a few to Lodema."
[Illustration: "IF YOU HAVE GOT MORE DIAMONDS THAN YOU WANT."]
"Yes," sez I, coldly, "he wuz dretful likely to have diamonds more then
he wanted, workin' out by day's work to support his family. You know
there wuzn't a soul you invited that owned a diamond."
"How did I know what they owned? I never have prowled round into their
bureau draws and things, tryin' to find out what they had; they might
have had quarts of 'em, and I not know it."
Sez I, "You did it to make fun of Lodema and get rid of her. And it only
makes it worse to try to smooth it over." Sez I, "I'd be honorable about
it if I wuz in your place, and own up."
"Own up? What have I got to own up? I shall always say if my orders wuz
carried out, it would have been a profitable affair for Lodema, and it
would--profitable and surprisin'."
And that is all I can get him to say about it, from that day to this.
But truly the labors that descended onto my shoulders immegiately after
Lodema's departure wuz hard enough to fill up my hull mind, and tax
every one of my energies.
Yes, my labors and the labors of the other female Jonesvillians wuz deep
and arjuous in the extreme (of which more and anon bimeby).
I had been the female appinted in a private and becomin' female way, to
go to Loontown to see the meetin' house there that we heard they had
fixed over in a cheap but commojous way. And for reasons (of which more
and anon) we wanted to inquire into the expense, the looks on't, etc.,
So I persuaded Josiah Allen to take me over to Loontown on this pressin'
business, and he gin his consent to go on the condition that we should
stop for a visit to Cephas Bodley'ses. Josiah sets store by 'em. You
see they are relations of ourn and have been for some time, entirely
unbeknown to us, and they'd come more'n a year ago a huntin' of us up.
They said they "thought relations ought to be hunted up and hanged
together." They said "the idea of huntin' us up had come to 'em after
readin' my books." They told me so, and I said, "Wall!" I didn't add nor
diminish to that one "wall," for I didn't want to act too backward, nor
too forward. I jest kep' kinder neutral, and said, "Wall!"
You see Cephas'ses father's sister-in-law wuz stepmother to my aunt's
second cousin on my father's side. And Cephas said that "he had felt
more and more, as years went by, that it wuz a burnin' shame for
relations to not know and love each other." He said "he felt that he
loved Josiah and me dearly."
I didn't say right out whether it wuz reciprokated or not I kinder said,
And I told Josiah, in perfect confidence and the wood-house chamber,
"that I had seen nearer relations than Mr. Bodley'ses folks wuz to us,"
[Illustration: "CEPHAS SAID IT WUZ A BURNIN' SHAME FOR RELATIONS TO
NOT KNOW AND LOVE EACH OTHER."]
Howsumever, I done well by 'em. Josiah killed a fat turkey, and I baked
it, and done other things for their comfort, and we had quite a good
time. Cephas wuz ruther flowery and enthusiastick, and his mouth and
voice wuz ruther large, but he meant well, I should judge, and we had
quite a good time.
She wuz very freckled, and a second-day Baptist by perswasion, and wuz
piecin' up a crazy bedquilt. She went a-visitin' a good deal, and got
pieces of the women's dresses where she visited for blocks. So it wuz
quite a savin' bedquilt, and very good-lookin', considerin'.
But to resoom and continue on. Cephas'ses folks made us promise on our
two sacred honors, Josiah's honor and mine, that we would pay back the
visit, for, as Cephas said, "for relatives to live so clost to each
other, and not to visit back and forth, wuz a burnin' shame and a
disgrace." And Josiah promised that we would go right away after
We wouldn't promise on the New Testament, as Cephas wanted us to (he is
dretful enthusiastick); but we gin good plain promises that we would go,
and laid out to keep our two words.
Wall, we got there onexpected, as they had come onto us. And we found
'em plunged into trouble. Their only child, a girl, who had married a
young lawyer of Loontown, had jest lost her husband with the typus, and
they wuz a-makin' preparations for the funeral when we got there. She
and her husband had come on a visit, and he wuz took down bed-sick there
I told 'em I felt like death to think I had descended down onto 'em at
such a time.
But Cephas said he wuz jest dispatchin' a messenger for us when we
arrove, for, he said, "in a time of trouble, then wuz the time, if ever,
that a man wanted his near relations clost to him."
And he said "we had took a load offen him by appearin' jest as we
did, for there would have been some delay in gettin' us there, if the
messenger had been dispatched."
He said "that mornin' he had felt so bad that he wanted to die--it
seemed as if there wuzn't nothin' left for him to live for; but now he
felt that he had sunthin' to live for, now his relatives wuz gathered
Josiah shed tears to hear Cephas go on. I myself didn't weep none, but I
wuz glad if we could be any comfort to 'em, and told 'em so.
And I told Sally Ann, that wuz Cephas'ses wife, that I would do anything
I could to help 'em. And she said everything wuz a-bein' done that
wuz necessary. She didn't know of but one thing that wuz likely to be
overlooked and neglected, and that wuz the crazy bedquilt. She said
"she would love to have that finished to throw over a lounge in the
settin'-room, that wuz frayed out on the edges, and if I felt like it,
it _would_ be a great relief to her to have me take it right offen her
hands and finish it."
So I took out my thimble and needle (I always carry such necessaries
with me, in a huzzy made expressly for that purpose), and I sot down and
went to piecin' up. There wuz seventeen blocks to piece up, each one
crazy as a loon to look at, and it wuz all to set together.
She had the pieces, for she had been off on a visitin' tower the week
before, and collected of 'em.
So I sot in quiet and the big chair in the settin'-room, and pieced up,
and see the preparations goin' on round us.
I found that Cephas'ses folks lived in a house big and showy-lookin',
but not so solid and firm as I had seen.
It wuz one of the houses, outside and inside, where more pains had been
took with the porticos and ornaments than with the underpinnin'.
It had a showy and kind of a shaky look. And I found that that extended
to Cephas'ses business arrangements. Amongst the other ornaments of his
buildin's wuz mortgages, quite a lot of'em, and of almost every variety.
He had gin his only child, S. Annie (she wuz named after her mother,
Sally Ann, but spelt it this way), he had gin S. Annie a showy
education, a showy weddin', and a showy settin'-out. But she had
had the good luck to marry a sensible man, though poor.
[Illustration: "So I SOT IN QUIET AND THE BIG CHAIR."]
He took S. Annie and the brackets, the piano and hangin' lamps and
baskets and crystal bead lambrequins, her father had gin her, moved
'em all into a good, sensible, small house, and went to work to get a
practice and a livin'. He was a lawyer by perswasion.
Wall, he worked hard, day and night, for three little children come to
'em pretty fast, and S. Annie consumed a good deal in trimmin's and
cheap lace to ornament 'em; she wuz her father's own girl for ornament.
But he worked so hard, and had so many irons in the fire, and kep' 'em
all so hot, that he got a good livin' for 'em, and begun to lay up money
towards buyin' 'em a house--a home.
He talked a sight, so folks said that knew him well, about his consumin'
desire and aim to get his wife and children into a little home of their
own, into a safe little haven, where they could live if he wuz called
away. They say that that wuz on his mind day and night, and wuz what
nerved his hand so in the fray, and made him so successful. Wall, he had
laid up about nine hundred dollars towards a home, every dollar on
it earned by hard work and consecrated by this deathless hope and
affection. The house he had got his mind on only cost about a thousand
dollars. Loontown property is cheap.
Wall, he had laid up nine hundred, and wuz a-beginnin' to save on the
last hundred, for he wouldn't run in debt a cent any way, when he wuz
took voyalent sick there to Cephas'ses; he and S. Annie had come home
for a visit of a day or two, and he bein' so run down, and weak with his
hard day work and his night work, that he suckumbed to his sickness, and
passed away the day before I got there.
Wall, S. Annie wuz jest overcome with grief the day I got there, but the
day follerin' she begun to take some interest and help her father in
makin' preparations for the funeral.
The body wuz embalmed, accordin' to Cephas'ses and S. Annie's wish, and
the funeral wuz to be on the Sunday follerin', and on that Cephas and S.
Annie now bent their energies.
To begin with, S. Annie had a hull suit of clear crape made for herself,
with a veil that touched the ground; she also had three other suits
commenced, for more common wear, trimmed heavy with crape, one of which
she ordered for sure the next week, for she said, "she couldn't stir out
of the house in any other color but black."
I knew jest how dear crape wuz, and I tackled her on the subject, and
"Do you know, S. Annie, these dresses of your'n will cost a sight?"
"Cost?" sez she, a-bustin' out a-cryin'. "What do I care about cost? I
will do everything I can to respect his memory. I do it in remembrance
Sez I, gently, "S. Annie, you wouldn't forget him if you wuz dressed in
white. And as for respect, such a life as his, from all I hear of it,
don't need crape to throw respect on it; it commands respect, and gets
it from everybody."
"But," sez Cephas, "it would look dretful odd to the neighbors if she
didn't dress in black." Sez he in a skairful tone, and in his intense
[Illustration: "WHAT IS LIFE WORTH WHEN FOLKS TALK?"]
"I would ruther resk my life than to have her fail in duty in this way;
it would make talk. And." sez he, "what is life worth when folks talk?"
I turned around the crazed block and tackled it in a new place (more
luny than ever it seemed to me), and sez I, mekanickly--
"It is pretty hard work to keep folks from talkin'; to keep 'em from
But I see from their looks it wouldn't do to say anything more, so I had
to set still and see it go on.
At that time of year flowers wuz dretful high, but S. Annie and Cephas
had made up their minds that they must have several flower-pieces from
the city nighest to Loontown.
One wuz a-goin' to be a gate ajar, and one wuz to be a gate wide open,
and one wuz to be a big book. Cephas asked what book I thought would be
preferable to represent. And I mentioned the Bible.
But Cephas sez, "No, he didn't think he would have a Bible; he didn't
think it would be appropriate, seein' the deceased wuz a lawyer." He
said "he hadn't quite made up his mind what book to have. But anyway it
wuz to be in flowers--beautiful flowers." Another piece wuz to be his
name in white flowers on a purple background of pansies. His name wuz
Wellington Napoleon Bonaparte Hardiman. And I sez to Cephas--"To save
expense, you will probable have the moneygram W.N.B.H.?"
"Oh, no," sez he.
Sez I, "hen the initials of his given names, and the last name in
"Oh, no," he said; "it wuz S. Annie's wish, and hisen, that the hull
name should be put on. They thought it would show more respect."
I sez, "Where Wellington is now, that hain't a goin' to make any
difference, and," sez I, "Cephas, flowers are dretful high this time of
year, and it is a long name."
But Cephas said agin that he didn't care for expense, so long as respect
wuz done to the memory of the deceased. He said that he and S. Annie
both felt that it wuz their wish to have the funeral go ahead of any
other that had ever took place in Loontown or Jonesville. He said that
S. Annie felt that it wuz all that wuz left her now in life, the memory
of such a funeral as he deserved.
Sez I, "There is his children left for her to live for," sez I--"three
little bits of his own life, for her to nourish, and cherish, and look
"Yes," sez Cephas, "and she will do that nobly, and I will help her.
They are all goin' to the funeral, too, in deep-black dresses." He said
"they wuz too little to realize it now, but in later and maturer years
it would be a comfort to 'em to know they had took part in such a
funeral as that wuz goin' to be, and wuz dressed in black."
"Wall," sez I (in a quiet, onassumin' way I would gin little hints of my
mind on the subject), "I am afraid that will be about all the comforts
of life the poor little children will ever have," sez I. "It will be if
you buy many more flower-pieces and crape dresses."
Cephas said "it wouldn't take much crape for the children's dresses,
they wuz so little, only the baby's; that would have to be long."
Sez I, "The baby would look better in white, and it will take sights of
crape for a long baby dress."
"Yes, but S. Annie can use it afterwards for veils. She is very
economical; she takes it from me. And she feels jest as I do, that the
baby must wear it in respect to her father's memory."
Sez I, "The baby don't know crape from a clothes-pin."
"No," sez Cephas, "but in after years the thought of the respect she
showed will sustain her."
"Wall," sez I, "I guess she won't have much besides thoughts to live on,
if things go on in this way."
I would give little hints in this way, but they wuzn't took. Things went
right on as if I hadn't spoke. And I couldn't contend, for truly, as a
bad little boy said once on a similar occasion, "it wuzn't my funeral,"
so I had to set and work on that insane bedquilt and see it go on. But
I sithed constant and frequent, and when I wuz all alone in the room I
indulged in a few low groans.
We dressmakers wuz in the house, to stay all the time till the dresses
wuz done; and clerks would come around, anon, if not oftener, with
packages of mournin' goods, and mournin' jewelry, and mournin'
handkerchiefs, and mournin' stockings, and mournin' stockin'-supporters,
and mournin' safety-pins, and etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.
Every one of 'em, I knew, a-wrenchin' boards offen the sides of that
house that Wellington had worked so hard to get for his wife and little
Wall, the day of the funeral come. It wuz a wet, drizzly day, but Cephas
wuz up early, to see that everything wuz as he wanted it to be.
As fur as I wuz concerned, I had done my duty, for the crazy bedquilt
wuz done; and though brains might totter as they looked at it, I felt
that it wuzn't my fault. Sally Ann spread it out with complacency over
the lounge, and thanked me, with tears in her eyes, for my noble deed.
Along quite early in the mornin', before the show commenced, I went in
to see Wellington.
He lay there calm and peaceful, with a look on his face as if he had got
away at last from a atmosphere of show and sham, and had got into the
great Reality of life.
It wuz a good face, and the worryment and care that folks told me had
been on it for years had all faded away. But the look of determination,
and resolve, and bravery,--that wuz ploughed too deep in his face to be
smoothed out, even by the mighty hand that had lain on it. The resolved
look, the brave look with which he had met the warfare of life, toiled
for victory over want, toiled to place his dear and helpless ones in a
position of safety,--that look wuz on his face yet, as if the deathless
hope and endeavor had gone on into eternity with him.
And by the side of him, on a table, wuz the big high flower-pieces,
beginnin' already to wilt and decay.
Wall, it's bein' such an uncommon bad day, there wuzn't many to the
funeral. But we rode to the meetin'-house in Loontown in a state and
splendor that I never expect to again. Cephas had hired eleven mournin'
coaches, and the day bein' so bad, and so few a-turnin' out to the
funeral, that in order to occupy all the coaches--and Cephas thought it
would look better and more popular to have 'em all occupied--we divided
up, and Josiah went in one, alone, and lonesome as a dog, as he said
afterwards to me. And I sot up straight and oncomfortable in another one
on 'em, stark alone.
Cephas had one to himself, and his wife another one, and two old maids,
sisters of Cephas'ses who always made a point of attendin' funerals,
they each one of 'em had one. S. Annie and her children, of course, had
the first one, and then the minister had one, and one of the trustees in
the neighborhood had another; so we lengthened out into quite a crowd,
all a-follerin' the shiny hearse, and the casket all covered with showy
plated nails. I thought of it in jest that way, for Wellington, I knew,
the real Wellington, wuzn't there. No, he wuz fur away--as fur as the
Real is from the Unreal. Wall, we filed into the Loontown meetin'-house
in pretty good shape. The same meetin'-house I had been sent to
reconoiter. But Cephas hadn't no black handkerchief, and he looked
worried about it. He had shed tears a-tellin' me about it, what a
oversight it wuz, while I wuz a fixin' on his mournin' weed. He took it
into his head to have a deeper weed at the last minute, so I fixed it
on. He had the weed come up to the top of his hat and lap over. I never
see so tall a weed. But it suited Cephas; he said "he thought it showed
"Wall," sez I, "it is a deep weed, anyway--the deepest I ever see." And
he said as I wuz a sewin' it on, he a-holdin' his hat for me, "that
Wellington deserved it; he deserved it all."
But, as I say, he shed tears to think that his handkerchief wuzn't
black-bordered. He said "it wuz a fearful oversight; it would probably
"But," I sez, "mebby it won't be noticed."
[Illustration: "AS A PROCESSION WE WUZ MIDDLIN' LONG, BUT RUTHER
"Yes, it will," sez he. "It will be noticed." And sez he, "I don't care
about myself, but I am afraid it will reflect onto Wellington. I am
afraid they will think it shows a lack of respect for him. For
Wellington's sake I feel cut down about it."
And I sez, "I guess where Wellington is now, the color of a handkerchief
border hain't a-goin' to make much difference to him either way."
And I don't spoze it wuz noticed much, for there wuzn't more'n ten or a
dozen folks there when we went in. We went in in Injin file mostly by
Cephas'ses request, so's to make more show. And as a procession we wuz
middlin' long, but ruther thin.
The sermon wuz not so very good as to quality, but abundant as to
quantity. It wuz, as nigh as I could calkerlate, about a hour and
three-quarters long. Josiah whispered to me along about the last that
"we had been there over seven hours, and his legs wuz paralyzed."
And I whispered back that "seven hours would take us into the night, and
to stretch his feet out and pinch 'em," which he did.
But it wuz long and tegus. My feet got to sleep twice, and I had hard
work to wake 'em up agin. The sermon meant to be about Wellington, I
s'pose; he did talk a sight about him, and then he kinder branched off
onto politics, and then the Inter-State bill; he kinder favored it, I
Wall, we all got drippin' wet a-goin' home, for Cephas insisted on our
gettin' out at the grave, for he had hired some uncommon high singers
(high every way, in price and in notes) to sing at the grave.
And so we disembarked in the drippin' rain, on the wet grass, and formed
a procession agin. And Cephas had a long exercise light there in the
rain. But the singin' wuz kinder jerky and curius, and they had got
their pay beforehand, so they hurried it through. And one man, the
tenor, who wuz dretful afraid of takin' cold, hurried through his part
and got through first, and started on a run for the carriage. The others
stood their grounds till the piece wuz finished, but they put on some
dretful curius quavers. I believe they had had chills; it sounded like
Take it altogether, I don't believe anybody got much satisfaction out of
it, only Cephas. S. Annie sp'ilt her dress and bonnet entirely--they wuz
wilted all down; and she ordered another suit jest like it before
she slept. Wall, the next mornin' early two men come with plans for
monuments. Cephas had telegrafted to 'em to come with plans and bid for
the job of furnishin' the monument.
And after a good deal of talk on both sides, Cephas and S. Annie
selected one that wuz very high and p'inted.
The men stayed to dinner, and I said to Cephas out to one side--
"Cephas, that monument is a-goin' to cost a sight."
"Wall," sez he, "we can't raise too high a one. Wellington deserved it
Sez I, "Won't that and all these funeral expenses take about all the
money he left?"
"Oh, no!" sez he. "He had insured his life for a large amount, and it
all goes to his wife and children. He deserves a monument if a man ever
"But," sez I, "don't you believe that Wellington would ruther have S.
Annie and the children settled down in a good little home with sumthin'
left to take care of 'em, than to have all this money spent in perfectly
"_Useless!_" sez Cephas, turnin' red. "Why," sez he, "if you wuzn't a
near relation I should resent that speech bitterly."
"Wall," sez I, "what do all these flowers, and empty carriages, and
silver-plated nails, and crape, and so forth--what does it all amount
"Respect and honor to his memory," sez Cephas, proudly.
Sez I, "Such a life as Wellington's had them; no body could take 'em
away nor deminish 'em. Such a brave, honest life is crowned with honor
and respect any way. It don't need no crape, nor flowers, nor monuments
to win 'em. And, at the same time," sez I dreamily, "if a man is mean,
no amount of crape, or flower-pieces, or flowery sermons, or obituries,
is a-goin' to cover up that meanness. A life has to be lived out-doors
as it were; it can't be hid. A string of mournin' carriages, no matter
how long, hain't a-goin' to carry a dishonorable life into honor, and
no grave, no matter how low and humble it is, is a-goin' to cover up a
"Such a life as Wellington's don't need no monument to carry up the
story of his virtues into the heavens; it is known there already. And
them that mourn his loss don't need cold marble words to recall his
goodness and faithfulness. The heart where the shadow of his eternal
absence has fell don't need crape to make it darker.
"Wellington wouldn't be forgot if S. Annie wore pure white from day
today. No, nobody that knew Wellington, from all I have hearn of him,
needs crape to remind 'em that he wuz once here and now is gone.
"Howsomever, as fur as that is concerned, I always feel that mourners
must do as they are a mind to about crape, with fear and tremblin'--that
is, if they are well off, and _can_ do as they are a mind to; and the
same with monuments, flowers, empty coaches, etc. But in this case,
Cephas Bodley, I wouldn't be a doin' my duty if I didn't speak my mind.
When I look at these little helpless souls that are left in a cold world
with nothin' to stand between them and want but the small means their pa
worked so hard for and left for the express purpose of takin' care of
'em, it seems to me a foolish thing, and a cruel thing, to spend all
that money on what is entirely onnecessary."
"Onnecessary!" sez Cephas, angrily. "Agin I say, Josiah Allen's wife,
that if it wuzn't for our close relationship I should turn on you. A
worm will turn," sez he, "if it is too hardly trampled on."
"I hain't trampled on you," sez I, "nor hain't had no idea on't. I wuz
only statin' the solemn facts and truth of the matter. And you will see
it some time, Cephas Bodley, if you don't now."
Sez Cephas, "The worm has turned, Josiah Allen's wife! Yes, I feel that
I have got to look now to more distant relations for comfort. Yes, the
worm has been stomped on too heavy."
He looked cold, cold as a iceickle almost. And I see that jest the few
words I had spoke, jest the slight hints I had gin, hadn't been took as
they should have been took. So I said no more. For agin the remark of
that little bad boy came up in my mind and restrained me from sayin' any
Truly, as the young male child observed, "it wuzn't my funeral."
We went home almost immegiately afterwards, my heart nearly a-bleedin'
for the little children, poor little creeters, and Cephas actin' cold
and distant to the last And we hain't seen 'em sence. But news has come
from them, and come straight. Josiah heerd to Jonesville all about it.
And though it is hitchin' the democrat buggy on front of the mare--to
tell the end of the funeral here--yet I may as well tell it now and be
done with it.
The miller at Loontown wuz down to the Jonesville mill to get the loan
of some bags, and Josiah happened to be there to mill that day, and
heerd all about it.
Cephas had got the monument, and the ornaments on it cost fur more than
he expected. There wuz a wreath a-runnin' round it clear from the bottom
to the top, and verses a kinder runnin' up it at the same time. And it
cost fearful. Poetry a-runnin' up, they say, costs fur more than it duz
on a level.
Any way, the two thousand dollars that wuz insured on Wellington's life
wuzn't quite enough to pay for it. But the sale of his law library and
the best of the housen' stuff paid it. The nine hundred he left went,
every mite of it, to pay the funeral expenses and mournin' for the
[Illustration: CARRIED TO THE COUNTY POOR HOUSE.]
And as bad luck always follers on in a procession, them mortgages of
Cephas'ses all run out sort o' together. His creditors sold him out,
and when his property wuz all disposed of it left him over fourteen
hundred dollars in debt.
The creditors acted perfectly greedy, so they say--took everything they
could; and one of the meanest ones took that insane bedquilt that I
finished. That _wuz_ mean. They say Sally Ann crumpled right down
when that wuz took. Some say that they got hold of that tall weed of
Cephas'ses, and some dispute it; some say that he wore it on the last
ride he took in Loontown.
But, howsomever, Cephas wuz took sick, Sally Ann wuzn't able to do
anything for their support, S. Annie wuz took down with the typhus, and
so it happened the very day the monument wuz brought to the Loontown
cemetery, Cephas Bodley's folks wuz carried to the county house, S.
Annie, the children and all.
And it happened dretful curius, but the town hired that very team that
drawed the monument there, to take the family back.
It wuz a good team.
The monument wuzn't set up, for they lacked money to pay for the
underpinnin'! (Wuz n't it curius, Cephas Bodley never would think of the
underpinnin' to anything?) But it lay there by the side of the road, a
great white shape.
And they say the children wuz skairt, and cried when they went by
it--cried and wept.
But I believe it wuz because they wuz cold and hungry that made 'em cry.
I don't believe it wuz the monument.
A few days follerin' on and ensuin' after this
eppisode, Submit Tewksburv wuz a takin' supper with me. She had come
home with me from the meetin' house where we had been to work all day.
I had urged her to stay, for she lived a mile further on the road, and
had got to walk home afoot.
And she hain't any too well off, Submit hain't--she has to work hard for
every mite of food she eats, and clothes she wears, and fuel and lights,
So I keep her to dinners and suppers all I can, specially when we are
engaged in meetin' house work, for as poor as Submit is, she will insist
on doin' for the meetin' house jest as much as any other female woman in
She is quite small boneded, and middlin' good lookin' for a women of her
years. She has got big dark eyes, very soft and mellow lookin' in
expression--and a look deep down into 'em, as if she had been waitin'
for something, for some time. Her hair is gettin' quite gray now, but
its original color was auburn, and she has got quite a lot of it--kinder
crinkly round her forward. Her complexion is pale. She is a very good
lookin' woman yet, might marry any day of the week now, I hain't no
doubt of it. She is a single woman, but is well thought on in
Jonesville, and the southern part of Zoar, where she has relatives on
her mother's side.
[Illustration: SUBMIT TEWKSBURY.]
She has had chances to my certain knowledge (widowers and such).
But if all the men in the world should come and stand in rows in front
of her gate with gilded crowns in their hands all ready to crown her,
and septers all ready for her to grasp holt of, and wield over the
world, she would refuse every one of 'em.
She has had a disappointment, Submit has. And she looked at the world so
long through tears, that the world got to lookin' sort o' dim like and
shadowy to her, and the whole men race looked to her fur off and misty,
as folks will when you look at 'em through a rain.
She couldn't marry one of them shadows of men, if she tried, and she
hain't never tried. No, her heart always has been, and is now, fur away,
a-travellin' through unknown regions, unknown, and yet more real to her
than Jonesville or Zoar, a-follerin' the one man in the world who is a
reality to her. Submit wuz engaged to a young Methodist minister by the
name of Samuel Danker. I remember him well. A good lookin' young fellow
at the time, with blue eyes and light hair, ruther long and curly, and
kinder wavin' back from his forward, and a deep spiritual look in his
eyes. In fact, his eyes looked right through the fashions and follys of
the civilized world, into the depths of ignorance, rivers of ruin and
despair, that wuz a-washin' over a human race, black jungles where naked
sin and natural depravities crouched hungry for victims.
Samuel Danker felt that he had got to go into heathen lands as a
missionary. He wuz engaged to Submit, and loved her dearly, and he urged
her to go too.
But Submit had a invalid father on her hands, a bed rid grandfather, and
three young brothers, too young to earn a thing, and they all on 'em
together hadn't a cent of money to their names. They had twenty-five
acres of middlin' poor land, and a old house.
Wall, Submit felt that she couldn't leave these helpless ones and go
to more foreign heathen lands. So, with a achin' heart, she let Samuel
Danker go from her, for he felt a call, loud, and she couldn't counsel
him to shet up his ears, or put cotton into 'em. Submit Tewksbury had
always loved and worked for the Methodist meetin' house (she jined it
on probation when she wuz thirteen). But although she always had been
extremely liberal in givin', and had made a practice of contributin'
every cent she could spare to the meetin' house, it wuz spozed that
Samuel Danker wuz the biggest offerin' she had ever give to it.
Fur it wuz known that he went to her the night before he sot sail, took
supper with her, and told her she should decide the matter for him,
whether he went or whether he staid.
It wuz spozed his love for Submit wuz so great that it made him waver
when the time come that he must leave her to her lot of toil and
sacrifice and loneliness.
But Submit loved the Methodist meetin' house to that extent, she leaned
so hard on the arm of Duty, that she nerved up her courage anew, refused
to accept the sacrifice of his renunciation, bid him go to his great
work, and quit himself like a man--told him she would always love him,
pray for him, be constant to him. And she felt that the Master they both
wanted to serve would some day bring him back to her.
So he sailed away to his heathens--and Submit stayed to home with her
five helpless males and her achin' heart. And if I had to tell which
made her the most trouble, I couldn't to save my life.
She knew the secret of her achin' heart, and the long dark nights she
kep awake with it. The neighbors couldn't understand that exactly, for
there hain't no language been discovered yet that will give voice to
the silent crys of a breakin' heart, a tender heart, a constant heart,
cryin' out acrost the grayness of dreary days acrost the blackness of
But we could see her troubles with the peevish paralasys of age, with
the tremendus follys of undisciplined youth.
But Submit took care of the hull caboodle of 'em; worked out some by
days' works, to get more necessaries for 'em than the poor little
farm would bring in; nursed the sick on their sick-beds and on their
death-beds, till she see 'em into Heaven--or that is where we spoze
they went to, bein' deservin' old males both on 'em, her father and her
grandfather, and in full connectin with the Methodist Episcopel meetin'
She took care of her young brothers, patient with 'em always, ready to
mend bad rents in their clothin' and their behavior--tryin' to prop up
their habits and their morals, givin' 'em all the schoolin' she could,
givin' 'em all a good trade, all but the youngest, him she kep with her
always till the Lord took him (scarlet fever), took him to learn the
mysterius trade of the immortals.
Submit had a hard fit of sickness after that. And when she got up agin,
there wuz round her pale forward a good many white hairs that wuz orburn
before the little boy went away from her.
Sense that, the other boys have married, and Submit has lived alone in
the old farm-house, lettin' the farm out on shares. It is all run
down; she don't get much from it; it don't yield much but trouble and
burdocks, but as little as she gets, she always will, as I say, do her
full share, and more than her share, for the meetin' house.
[Illustration: "HE TOOK SUPPER WITH HER FOR THE LAST TIME."]
Some think it is on account of her inherient goodness, and some think
it is on account of Samuel Danker.
We all spose she hain't forgot Samuel. And they do say that every year
when the day comes round, that he took supper with her for the last
time, she puts a plate on for him--the very one he eat on last---a pink
edged chiny plate, with gilt sprigs, the last one left of her mother's
first set of chiny.
That is what they _say_, I hain't never seen the plate.
It is now about twenty years sense Samuel Danker went to heathen lands.
And as it wuz a man-eatin' tribe he went to preach to, and as he hain't
been heern of from that day to this, it is spozed that they eat him up
some years ago.
But it is thought that Submit hain't gin up hope yet. We spoze so, but
don't know, on account of her never sayin' anything on the subject. But
we judge from the plate.
Wall, as I say (and I have episoded fearfully, fearfully), Submit took
supper with me that night. And after Josiah had put out his horse (he
had been to Jonesville for the evenin' mail, and stopped for us at the
meetin' house on his way back), he took the _World_ out of his pocket,
and perused it for some time, and from that learned the great news that
wimmen wuz jest about to be held up agin, to see if her strength wuz
sufficient to set on the Conference.
And oh! how Josiah Allen went on about it to Submit and me, all the
while we wuz a eatin' supper--and for more'n a hour afterwuds.
Submit wuz very skairt to heern him go on (she felt more nervous on
account of an extra hard day's work), and I myself wuz beat out, but I
wuzn't afraid at all of him, though he did go on elegant, and dretful
empressive and even skairful.
He stood up on the same old ground that men have always stood up on,
the ground of man's great strength and capability, and wimmen's utter
weakness, helplessness, and incapacity. Josiah enlarged almost wildly on
the subject of how high, how inaccessibley lofty the Conference wuz, and
the utter impossibility of a weak, helpless, fragaile bein' like a women
ever gettin' up on it, much less settin' on it. And then, oh how vividly
he depictered it, how he and every other male Methodist in the land
loved wimmen too well, worshipped 'em too deeply to put such a wearin'
job onto 'em. Oh how Josiah Allen soared up in eloquence. Submit shed
tears, or, that is, I thought she did--I see her wipe her eyes any way.
Some think that about the time the Samuel Danker anniversary comes
round, she is more nervous and deprested. It wuz very near now, and
take that with her hard work that day, it accounts some for her extra
depression--though, without any doubt, it wuz Josiah's talk that started
I couldn't bear to see Submit look so mournful and deprested, and so,
though I wuz that tired myself that I could hardly hold my head up, yet
I did take my bits in my teeth, as you may say, and asked him--
What the awful hard job wuz that he and other men wuz so anxus to ward
And he sez, "Why, a settin' on the Conference."
And I sez, "I don't believe that is such a awful hard job to tackle."
"Yes, indeed, it is," sez Josiah in his most skairful axent, "yes, it
And he shook his head meenin'ly and impressively, and looked at me and
Submit in as mysterius and strange a way, es I have ever been looked at
in my life, and I have had dretful curius looks cast onto me, from first
to last. And he sez in them deep impressive axents of hisen,
"You jest try it once, and see--I have sot on it, and I know."
Josiah wuz sent once as a delegate to the Methodist Conference, so I
spozed he did know.
But I sez, "Why you come home the second day when you sot as happy as a
king, and you told me how you had rested off durin' the two days, and
how you had visited round at Uncle Jenkins'es, and Cousin Henn's, and
you said that you never had had such a good time in your hull life, as
you did when you wuz a settin'. You looked as happy as a king, and acted
Josiah looked dumbfounded for most a quarter of a minute. For he knew my
words wuz as true es anything ever sot down in Matthew, Mark, or Luke,
or any of the other old patriarks. He knew it wuz Gospel truth, that
he had boasted of his good times a settin', and as I say for nearly a
quarter of a minute he showed plain signs of mortification.
But almost imegietly he recovered himself, and went on with the doggy
obstinacy of his sect: "Oh, wall! Men can tackle hard jobs, and get some
enjoyment out of it too, when it is in the line of duty. One thing that
boys em' up, and makes em' happy, is the thought that they are a keepin'
trouble and care offen wimmen. That is a sweet thought to men, and
always wuz. And there wuz great strains put onto our minds, us men that
sot, that wimmen couldn't be expected to grapple with, and hadn't ort to
try to. It wuz a great strain onto us."
"What was the nater of the strain?" sez I. "I didn't know as you did a
thing only sot still there and go to sleep. _You_ wuz fast asleep there
most the hull of the time, for it come straight to me from them that
know. And all that Deacon Bobbet did who went with you wuz to hold up
his hand two or three times a votin'. I shouldn't think that wuz so
And agin I sez, "What wuz the strain?"
But Josiah didn't answer, for that very minute he remembered a pressin'
engagement he had about borrowin' a plow. He said he had got to go up to
Joe Charnick's to get his plow. (I don't believe he wanted a plow that
time of night.) But he hurried away from the spot. And soon after Submit
went home lookin' more deprested and down-casted than ever.
And Josiah Allen didn't get home till _late_ at night. I dare persume to
say it wuz as late as a quarter to nine when that man got back to the
bosom of his family.
And I sot there all alone, and a-meditatin' on things, and a-wonderin'
what under the sun he wuz a-traipsin up to Joe Charnick's for at that
time of night, and a-worryin' some for fear he wuz a-keepin' Miss
Charnick up, and a-spozin' in my mind what Miss Charnick would do, to
get along with the meetin' house, and the Conference question, if she
wuz a member. (She is a _very_ sensible woman, Jenette Charnick is,
_very_, and a great favorite with me, and others.)
And I got to thinkin' how prosperus and happy she is now, and how much
she had went through. And I declare the hull thing come back to me, all
the strange and curius circumstances connected with her courtship and
marriage, and I thought it all out agin, the hull story, from beginnin'
The way it begun wuz--and the way Josiah Allen and me come to have any
connectin with the story wuz as follers:
Some time ago, and previus, we had a widder come to stay with us a
spell, she that wuz Tamer Shelmadine, Miss Trueman Pool that now is.
Her husband died several years ago, and left her not over and above
well off. And so she goes round a-visitin', and has went ever sense his
death. And finds sights of faults with things wherever she is, sights of
Trueman wuz Josiah's cousin, on his own side, and I always made a
practice of usin' her quite well. She used to live neighbor to me before
I wuz married, and she come and stayed nine weeks.
She is a tall spindlin' woman, a Second Adventist by perswasion, and
weighs about ninety-nine pounds.
Wall, as I say, she means middlin' well, and would be quite agreeable
if it wuzn't for a habit she has of thinkin' what she duz is a leetle
better than anybody else can do, and wantin' to tell a leetle better
story than anybody else can.
Now she thinks she looks better than I do. But Josiah sez she can't
begin with me for looks, and I don't spoze she can, though of course it
hain't to be expected that I would want it told of that I said so. No, I
wouldn't want it told of pro or con, especially con. But I know Josiah
Allen has always been called a pretty good judge of wimmen's looks.
[Illustration: "SHE IS A TALL SPINDLIN' WOMAN."]
And now she thinks she can set hens better than I can--and make better
riz biscuit. She jest the same as told me so. Any way, the first time
I baked bread after she got here, she looked down on my loaves real
haughty, yet with a pityin' look, and sez:
"It is very good for yeast, but I always use milk emptin's."
And she kinder tested her head, and sort o' swept out of the room, not
with a broom, no, she would scorn to sweep out a room with a broom or
help me in any way, but she sort o' swept it out with her mean. But I
didn't care, I knew my bread wuz good.
Now if anybody is sick, she will always tell of times when she has been
sicker. She boasts of layin' three nights and two days in a fit. But we
don't believe it, Josiah and me don't. That is, we don't believe she lay
there so long, a-runnin'.
We believe she come out of 'em occasionally.
But you couldn't get her to give off a hour or a minute of the time.
Three nights and two days she lay there a-runnin', so she sez, and she
has said it so long, that we spoze, Josiah and me do, that she believes
it herself now.
Curius, hain't it? How folks will get to tellin' things, and finally
tell 'em so much, that finally they will get to believin' of 'em
themselves--boastin' of bein' rich, etc., or bad. Now I have seen folks
boast over that, act real haughty because they had been bad and got over
it. I've seen temperance lecturers and religious exhorters boast sights
and sights over how bad they had been. But they wuzn't tellin' the
truth, though they had told the same thing so much that probable they
had got to thinkin' so.
But in the case of one man in petickuler, I found out for myself, for I
didn't believe what he wuz a sayin' any of the time.
Why, he made out in evenin' meetin's, protracted and otherwise, that he
had been a awful villain. Why no pirate wuz ever wickeder than he made
himself out to be, in the old times before he turned round and become
[Illustration: "HIS FACE WUZ A GOOD MORAL FACE."]
But I didn't believe it, for he had a good look to his face, all but the
high headed look he had, and sort o' vain.
But except this one look, his face wuz a good moral face, and I knew
that no man could cut up and act as he claimed that he had, without
carryin' some marks on the face of the cuttin' up, and also of the
And so, as it happened, I went a visitin' (to Josiah's relations) to the
very place where he had claimed to do his deeds of wild badness, and I
found that he had always been a pattern man--never had done a single
mean act, so fur as wuz known.
Where wuz his boastin' then? As the Bible sez, why, it wuz all vain
talk. He had done it to get up a reputation. He had done it because he
wuz big feelin' and vain. And he had got so haughty over it, and had
told of it so much, that I spoze he believed in it himself.
Curius! hain't it? But I am a eppisodin', and to resoom. Trueman's wife
would talk jest so, jest so haughty and high headed, about the world
comin' to a end.
She'd dispute with everybody right up and down if they disagreed with
her--and specially about that religion of hern. How sot she wuz, how
But then, it hain't in me, nor never wuz, to fight anybody for any
petickuler religion of theirn. There is sights and sights of different
religions round amongst different friends of mine, and most all on 'em
quite good ones.
That is, they are agreeable to the ones who believe in 'em, and not over
and above disagreeable to me.
Now it seems to me that in most all of these different doctrines and
beliefs, there is a grain of truth, and if folks would only kinder hold
onto that grain, and hold themselves stiddy while they held onto it,
they would be better off.
But most folks when they go to follerin' off a doctrine, they foller too
fur, they hain't megum enough.
Now, for instance, when you go to work and whip anybody, or hang 'em, or
burn 'em up for not believin' as you do, that is goin' too fur.
It has been done though, time and agin, in the world's history, and
mebby will be agin.
But it hain't reasonable. Now what good will doctrines o' any kind do to
anybody after they are burnt up or choked to death?
You see such things hain't bein' megum. Because I can't believe jest as
somebody else duz, it hain't for me to pitch at 'em and burn 'em up, or
even whip 'em.
No, indeed! And most probable if I should study faithfully out their
beliefs, I would find one grain, or mebby a grain and a half of real
truth in it.
[Illustration: "EF I FELL ON A STUN."]
Now, for instance, take the doctrines of Christian Healin', or Mind
Cure. Now I can't exactly believe that if I fell down and hurt my head
on a stun--I cannot believe as I am a layin' there, that I hain't fell,
and there hain't no stun--and while I am a groanin' and a bathin' the
achin' bruise in anarky and wormwood, I can't believe that there hain't
no such thing as pain, nor never wuz.
No, I can't believe this with the present light I have got on the
But yet, I have seen them that this mind cure religion had fairly riz
right up, and made 'em nigher to heaven every way--so nigh to it that
seemin'ly a light out of some of its winders had lit up their faces with
its glowin' repose, its sweet rapture.
I've seen 'em, seen 'em as the Patent Medicine Maker observes so
frequently, "before and after takin'."
Folks that wuz despondent and hopeless, and wretched actin', why, this
belief made 'em jest blossom right out into a state of hopefulness, and
calmness, and joy--refreshin' indeed to contemplate.
Wall now, the idee of whippin' anybody for believin' anything that
brings such a good change to 'em, and fills them and them round 'em with
so much peace and happiness.
Why, I wouldn't do it for a dollar bill. And as for hangin' 'em, and
brilin' 'em on gridirons, etc., why, that is entirely out of the
question, or ort to be.
And now, it don't seem to me that I ever could make a tree walk off, by
lookin' at it, and commandin' it to--or call some posys to fall down
into my lap, right through, the plasterin'--
Or send myself, or one of myselfs, off to Injy, while the other one of
me stayed to Jonesville.
Now, honestly speakin', it don't seem to me that I ever could learn to
do this, not at my age, any way, and most dead with rheumatiz a good
deal of the time.
I most know I couldn't.
But then agin I have seen believers in Theosiphy that could do wonders,
and seemed indeed to have got marvelous control over the forces of
And now the idee of my whippin' 'em for it. Why you wouldn't ketch me at
And Spiritualism now! I spoze, and I about know that there are lots
of folks that won't ever see into any other world than this, till the
breath leaves their body.
Yet i've seen them, pure sweet souls too, as I ever see, whose eyes
beheld blessed visions withheld from more material gaze.
Yes, i've neighbored with about all sorts of religius believers, and
never disputed that they had a right to their own religion.
And I've seen them too that didn't make a practice of goin' to any
meetin' houses much, who lived so near to God and his angels that they
felt the touch of angel hands on their forwards every day of their
lives, and you could see the glow of the Fairer Land in their rapt eyes.
They had outgrown the outward forms of religion that had helped them
at first, jest as children outgrow the primers and ABC books of their
childhood and advance into the higher learnin'.
I've seen them folks i've neighbored with 'em. Human faults they had,
or God would have taken them to His own land before now. Their
imperfections, I spoze sort o' anchored 'em here for a spell to a
But you could see, if you got nigh enough to their souls to see anything
about 'em--you could see that the anchor chains wuz slight after all,
and when they wuz broke, oh how lightly and easily they would sail away,
away to the land that their rapt souls inhabited even now.
Yes, I've seen all sorts of religius believers and I wuzn't goin' to be
too hard on Tamer for her belief, though I couldn't believe as she did.
He come to our house a visitin' along the first week in June, and the
last day in June wuz the day they had sot for the world to come to an
end. I, myself, didn't believe she knew positive about it, and Josiah
didn't either. And I sez to her, "The Bible sez that it hain't agoin'
to be revealed to angels even, or to the Son himself, but only to the
Father when that great day shall be." And sez I to Trueman's wife, sez
I, "How should _you_ be expected to know it?"
Sez she, with that same collected together haughty look to her, "My name
wuzn't mentioned, I believe, amongst them that _wuzn't_ to know it!"
And of course I had to own up that it wuzn't. But good land! I didn't
believe she knew a thing more about it than I did, but I didn't dispute
with her much, because she wuz one of the relatives on his side--you
know you have to do different with 'em than you do with them on your own
side--you have to. And then agin, I felt that if it didn't come to an
end she would be convinced that she wuz in the wrong on't, and if she
did we should both of us be pretty apt to know it, so there wuzn't much
use in disputin' back and forth.
But she wuz firm as iron in her belief. And she had come up visitin' to
our home, so's to be nigh when Trueman riz. Trueman wuz buried in the
old Risley deestrict, not half a mile from us on a back road. And she
naterally wanted to be round at the time.
She said plain to me that Trueman never could seem to get along without
her. And though she didn't say it right out, she carried the idea (and
Josiah resented it because Trueman was a favorite cousin of his'n on
his own side.) She jest the same as said right out that Trueman, if she
wuzn't by him to tend to him, would be jest as apt to come up wrong end
up as any way.
Josiah didn't like it at all.
Wall, she had lived a widowed life for a number of years, and had said
right out, time and time agin, that she wouldn't marry agin. But Josiah
thought, and I kinder mistrusted myself, that she wuz kinder on the
lookout, and would marry agin if she got a chance--not fierce, you know,
or anything of that kind, but kinder quietly lookin' out and standin'
ready. That wuz when she first come; but before she went away she acted
[Illustration: "BURIED IN THE OLD RISLEY DEESIRICT."]
Wall, there wuz sights of Adventists up in the Risley deestrict, and
amongst the rest wuz an old bachelder, Joe Charnick.
And Joe Charnick wuz, I s'poze, of all Advents, the most Adventy. He
jest _knew_ the world wuz a comin' to a end that very day, the last day
of June, at four o'clock in the afternoon. And he got his robe all made
to go up in. It wuz made of a white book muslin, and Jenette Finster
made it. Cut it out by one of his mother's nightgowns--so she told me in
confidence, and of course I tell it jest the same; I want it kep.
She was afraid Joe wouldn't like it, if he knew she took the nightgown
for a guide, wantin' it, as he did, for a religious purpose.
But, good land! as I told her, religion or not, anybody couldn't cut
anything to look anyhow without sumpthin' fora guide, and she bein' an
old maiden felt a little delicate about measurin' him.
His mother wuz as big round as he wuz, her weight bein' 230 by the
steelyards, and she allowed 2 fingers and a half extra length--Joe is
tall. She gathered it in full round the neck, and the sleeves (at his
request) hung down like wings, a breadth for each wing wuz what she
allowed. Jenette owned up to me (though she wouldn't want it told of
for the world, for it had been sposed for years, that he and she had a
likin' for each other, and mebby would make a match some time, though
what they had been a-waitin' for for the last 10 years nobody knew). But
she allowed to me that when he got his robe on, he wuz the worst lookin'
human bein' that she ever laid eyes on, and sez she, for she likes a
joke, Jenette duz: "I should think if Joe looked in the glass after he
got it on, his religion would be a comfort to him; I should think he
would be glad the world _wuz_ comin' to a end."
But he _didn't_ look at the glass, Jenette said he didn't; he wanted to
see if it wuz the right size round the neck. Joe hain't handsome, but
he is kinder good-lookin', and he is a good feller and got plenty to do
with, but bein' kinder big-featured, and tall, and hefty, he must
have looked like fury in the robe. But he is liked by everybody, and
everybody is glad to see him so prosperous and well off.
He has got 300 acres of good land, "be it more or less," as the deed
reads; 30 head of cows, and 7 head of horses (and the hull bodies of
'em). And a big sugar bush, over 1100 trees, and a nice little sugar
house way up on a pretty side hill amongst the maple trees. A good, big,
handsome dwellin' house, a sort of cream color, with green blinds; big
barn, and carriage house, etc., etc., and everything in the very best of
order. He is a pattern farmer and a pattern son--yes, Joe couldn't be a
more pattern son if he acted every day from a pattern.
He treats his mother dretful pretty, from day to day. She thinks that
there hain't nobody like Joe; and it wuz s'pozed that Jenette thought so
But Jenette is, and always wuz, runnin' over with common sense, and she
always made fun and laughed at Joe when he got to talkin' about his
religion, and about settin' a time for the world to come to a end. And
some thought that that wuz one reason why the match didn't go off, for
Joe likes her, everybody could see that, for he wuz jest such a great,
honest, open-hearted feller, that he never made any secret of it.
And Jenette liked Joe _I_ knew, though she fooled a good many on the
subject. But she wuz always a great case to confide in me, and though
she didn't say so right out, which wouldn't have been her way, for, as
the poet sez, she wuzn't one "to wear her heart on the sleeves of her
bask waist," still, I knew as well es I wanted to, that she thought her
eyes of him. And old Miss Charnick jest about worshipped Jenette, would
have her with her, sewin' for her, and takin' care of her--she wuz sick
a good deal, Mother Charnick wuz. And she would have been tickled most
to death to have had Joe marry her and bring her right home there.
And Jenette wuz a smart little creeter, "smart as lightnin'," as Josiah
She had got along in years, Jenette had, without marryin', for she staid
to hum and took care of her old father and mother and Tom. The other
girls married off, and left her to hum, and she had chances, so it wuz
said, good ones, but she wouldn't leave her father and mother, who wuz
gettin' old, and kinder bed-rid, and needed her. Her father, specially,
said he couldn't live, and wouldn't try to, if Jenette left 'em, but he
said, the old gentleman did, that Jenette should be richly paid for her
goodness to 'em.
That wuzn't what made Jenette good, no, indeed; she did it out of the
pure tenderness and sweetness of her nature and lovin'heart. But I used
to love to hear the old gentleman talk that way, for he wuz well off,
and I felt that so far as money could pay for the hull devotion of a
life, why, Jenette would be looked out for, and have a good home, and
enough to do with. So she staid to hum, as I say, and took care of'em
night and day; sights of watching and wearisome care she had, poor
little creeter; but she took the best of care of 'em, and kep 'em kinder
comforted up, and clean, and brought up Tom, the youngest boy, by hand,
and thought her eyes on him.
And he wuz a smart chap--awful smart, as it proved in the end; for he
married when he wuz 21, and brought his wife (a disagreeable creeter)
home to the old homestead, and Jenette, before they had been there 2
weeks, wuz made to feel that her room wuz better than her company.
That wuz the year the old gentleman died; her mother had died 3 months
prior and beforehand.
Her brother, as I said, wur smart, and he and his wife got round the old
man in some way and sot him against Jenette, and got everything he had.
He wuz childish, the old man wuz; used to try to put his pantaloons on
over his head, and get his feet into his coat sleeves, etc., etc.
And he changed his will, that had gi'n Jenette half the property, a good
property, too, and gi'n it all to Tom, every mite of it, all but one
dollar, which Jenette never took by my advice.
For I wuz burnin' indignant at old Mr. Finster and at Tom. Curius, to
think such a girl as Jenette had been--such a patient, good creeter, and
such a good-tempered one, and everything--to think her pa should have
forgot all she had done, and suffered, and gi'n up for 'em, and give
the property all to that boy, who had never done anything only to spend
their money and make Jenette trouble.
But then, I s'poze it wuz old Mr. Finster's mind, or the lack on't, and
I had to stand it, likewise so did Jenette.
But I never sot a foot into Tom Finster's house, not a foot after that
day that Jenette left it. I wouldn't. But I took her right to my house,
and kep her for 9 weeks right along, and wuz glad to.
That wuz some 10 years prior and before this, and she had gone round
sewin' ever sense. And she wuz beloved by everybody, and had gone round
highly respected, and at seventy-five cents a day.
Her troubles, and everybody that knew her, knew how many she had of 'em,
but she kep 'em all to herself, and met the world and her neighbors with
a bright face.
If she took her skeletons out of the closet to air 'em, and I s'poze she
did, everybody duz; they have to at times, to see if their bones are in
good order, if for nothin' else. But if she ever did take 'em out and
dust 'em, she did it all by herself. The closet door wuz shet up and
locked when anybody wuz round. And you would think, by her bright,
laughin' face, that she never heard the word skeleton, or ever listened
to the rattle of a bone.
And she kep up such a happy, cheerful look on the outside, that I s'poze
it ended by her bein' cheerful and happy on the inside.
The stiddy, good-natured, happy spirit that she cultivated at first
by hard work, so I s'poze; but at last it got to be second nater,
the qualities kinder struck in and she _wuz_ happy, and she _wuz_
contented--that is, I s'poze so.
Though I, who knew Jenette better than anybody else, almost, knew how
tuff, how fearful tuff it must have come on her, to go round from home
to home--not bein' settled down at home anywhere. I knew jest what a
lovin' little home body she wuz. And how her sweet nater, like the sun,
would love to light up one bright lovin' home, and shine kinder stiddy
there, instead of glancin' and changin' about from one place to another,
like a meteor.
Some would have liked it; some like change and constant goin' about, and
movin' constantly through space--but I knew Jenette wuzn't made on the
meteor plan. I felt sorry for Jenette, down deep in my heart, I did; but
I didn't tell her so; no, she wouldn't have liked it; she kep a brave
face to the world. And as I said, her comin' wuz looked for weeks and
weeks ahead, in any home where she wuz engaged to sew by the day.
Everybody in the house used to feel the presence of a sunshiny, cheerful
spirit. One that wuz determined to turn her back onto troubles she
couldn't help and keep her face sot towards the Sun of Happiness. One
who felt good and pleasant towards everybody, wished everybody well.
One who could look upon other folks'es good fortune without a mite
of jealousy or spite. One who loved to hear her friends praised and
admired, loved to see 'em happy. And if they had a hundred times the
good things she had, why, she was glad for their sakes, that they had
'em, she loved to see 'em enjoy 'em, if she couldn't.
And she wuz dretful kinder cunnin' and cute, Jenette wuz. She would make
the oddest little speeches; keep everybody laughin' round her, when she
got to goin'.
[Illustration: "Dretful kinder cunnin' and cute, Jenette wuz."]
Yes, she wuz liked dretful well, Jenette wuz. Her face has a kind of a
pert look on to it, her black eyes snap, a good-natured snap, though,
and her nose turns up jest enough to look kinder cunnin', and her hair
curls all over her head.
Smart round the house she is, and Mother Charnick likes that, for she is
a master good housekeeper. Smart to answer back and joke. Joe is slow of
speech, and his big blue eyes won't fairly get sot onto anything, before
Jenette has looked it all through, and turned it over, and examined it
on the other side, and got through with it.
Wall, she wuz to work to Mother Charnick's makin' her a black alpacka
dress, and four new calico ones, and coverin' a parasol.
A good many said that Miss Charnick got dresses a purpose for Jenette to
make, so's to keep her there. Jenette wouldn't stay there a minute only
when she wuz to work, and as they always kep a good, strong, hired girl,
she knew when she wuz needed, and when she wuzn't. But, of course, she
couldn't refuse to sew for her, and at what she wuz sot at, though she
must have known and felt that Miss Charnick wuz lavish in dresses. She
had 42 calico dresses, and everybody knew it, new ones, besides woosted.
But, anyway, there she was a sewin' when the word came that the world
was a comin' to a end on the 30th day of June, at 4 o'clock in the
Miss Charnick wuz a believer, but not to the extent that Joe was. For
Jenette asked her if she should stop sewin', not sposin' that she would
need the dresses, specially the four calico ones, and the parasol in
case of the world's endin'.
And she told Jenette, and Jenette told me, so's I know it is true, "that
she might go right on, and get the parasol cover, and the trimmins to
the dresses, cambrick, and linin' and things, and hooks and eyes."
And Miss Charnick didn't prepare no robe. But Jenette mistrusted, though
Miss Charnick is close-mouthed, and didn't say nothin', but Jenette
mistrusted that she laid out, when she sees signs, to use a nightgown.
She had piles of the nicest ones, that Jenette had made for her from
time to time, over 28, all trimmed off nice enough for day dresses, so
Jenette said, trimmed with tape trimmin's, some of 'em, and belted down
Wall, they had lots of meetin's at the Risley school-house, as the time
drew near. And Miss Trueman Pool went to every one on 'em.
She had been too weak to go out to the well, or to the barn. She wanted
dretfully to see some new stanchils that Josiah had been a makin', jest
like some that Pool had had in his barn. She wanted to see 'em dretful,
but was too weak to walk. And I had had kind of a tussle in my own mind,
whether or not I should offer to let Josiah carry her out; but kinder
hesitated, thinkin' mebby she would get stronger.
But I hain't jealous, not a mite. It is known that I hain't all through
Jonesville and Loontown. No, I'd scorn it. I thought Pool's wife would
get better and she did.
One evenin' Joe Charnick came down to bring home Josiah's augur, and
the conversation turned onto Adventin'. And Miss Pool see that Joe wuz
congenial on that subject; he believed jest as she did, that the world
would come to an end the 30th. This was along the first part of the
[Illustration: "Joe Charnick came down to bring home Josiah's augur."]
He spoke of the good meetin's they wuz a-havin' to the Risley
school-house, and how he always attended to every one on 'em. And the
next mornin' Miss Trueman Pool gin out that she wuz a-goin' that
evenin'. It wuz a good half a mile away, and I reminded her that Josiah
had to be away with the team, for he wuz a-goin' to Loontown, heavy
loaded, and wouldn't get back till along in the evenin'.
But she said "that she felt that the walk would do her good."
I then reminded her of the stanchils, but she said "stanchils and
religion wuz two separate things." Which I couldn't deny, and didn't try
to. And she sot off for the school-house that evenin' a-walkin' a foot.
And the rest of her adventins and the adventins of Joe I will relate in
another epistol; and I will also tell whether the world come to an end
or not. I know folks will want to know, and I don't love to keep folks
in onxiety--it hain't my way.
Wall, from that night, Miss Trueman Pool attended to the meetins at the
Risley school-house, stiddy and constant. And before the week wuz out
Joe Charnick had walked home with her twice. And the next week he
carried her to Jonesville to get the cloth for her robe, jest like
his'n, white book muslin. And twice he had come to consult her on a
Bible passage, and twice she had walked up to his mother's to consult
with her on a passage in the Apockraphy. And once she went up to see if
her wings wuz es deep and full es his'n. She wanted 'em jest the same
Miss Charnick couldn't bear her. Miss Charnick wuz a woman who had
enjoyed considerble poor health in her life, and she had now, and had
been havin' for years, some dretful bad spells in her stomach--a sort of
a tightness acrost her chest. And Trueman's wife argued with her that
her spells had been worse, and her chest had been tighter. And the
old lady didn't like that at all, of course. And the old lady took
thoroughwert for 'em, and Trueman's wife insisted on't that thoroughwert
And then there wuz some chickens in a basket out on the stoop, that the
old hen had deserted, and Miss Charnick wuz a bringin' 'em up by hand.
And Mother Chainick went out to feed 'em, and Trueman's wife tosted her
head and said, "she didn't approve of it--she thought a chicken ought to
be brung up by a hen."
But Miss Charnick said, "Why, the hen deserted 'em; they would have
perished right there in the nest."
But Trueman's wife wouldn't gin in, she stuck right to it, "that it wuz
a hen's business, and nobody else's."
And of course she had some sense on her side, for of course it is a
hen's business, her duty and her prevelege to bring up her chickens. But
if she won't do it, why, then, somebody else has got to--they ought to
be brung. I say Mother Charnick wuz in the right on't. But Trueman's
wife had got so in the habit of findin' fault, and naggin' at me, and
the other relations on Trueman's side and hern, that she couldn't seem
to stop it when she knew it wuz for her interest to stop.
And then she ketched a sight of the alpacker dress Jenette wuz a-makin'
and she said "that basks had gone out."
And Miss Charnick was over partial to 'em (most too partial, some
thought), and thought they wuz in the height of the fashion. But
Trueman's wife ground her right down on it.
"Basks _wuz out_, fer she knew it, she had all her new ones made
And hearin' 'em argue back and forth for more'n a quarter of an hour,
Jenette put in and sez (she thinks all the world of Mother Charnick),
"Wall, I s'pose you won't take much good of your polenays, if you have
got so little time to wear 'em."
And then Trueman's wife (she wuz meen-dispositioned, anyway) said
somethin' about "hired girls keepin' their place."
And then Mother Charnick flared right up and took Jenette's part. And
Joe's face got red; he couldn't bear to see Jenette put upon, if she wuz
makin' fun of his religeon. And Trueman's wife see that she had gone too
fur, and held herself in, and talked good to Jenette, and flattered up
Joe, and he went home with her and staid till ten o'clock.
They spent a good deal of their time a-huntin' up passages, to prove
their doctrine, in the Bible, and the Apockraphy, and Josephus, and
It beat all how many Trueman's wife would find, and every one she found
Joe would seem to think the more on her. And so it run along, till folks
said they wuz engaged, and Josiah and me thought so, too.
And though Jenette wuzn't the one to say anything, she begun to look
kinder pale and mauger. And when I spoke of it to her, she laid it to
her liver. And I let her believe I thought so too. And I even went so
fur as to recommend tansey and camomile tea, with a little catnip mixed
in--I did it fur blinders. I knew it wuzn't her liver that ailed her. I
knew it wuz her heart. I knew it wuz her heart that wuz a-achin'.
Wall, we had our troubles, Josiah and me did. Trueman's wife wuz dretful
disagreeable, and would argue us down, every separate thing we tried to
do or say. And she seemed more high-headed and disagreeable than ever
sence Joe had begun to pay attention to her. Though what earthly good
his attention wuz a-goin' to do, wuz more than I could see, accordin' to
But Josiah said, "he guessed Joe wouldn't have paid her any attention,
if he hadn't thought that the world wuz a-comin' to a end so soon. He
guessed he wouldn't want her round if it wuz a-goin' to stand."
Sez I, "Josiah, you are a-judgin' Joe by yourself." And he owned up that
Wall, the mornin' of the 30th, after Josiah and me had eat our
breakfast, I proceeded to mix up my bread. I had set the yeast
overnight, and I wuz a mouldin' it out into tins when Trueman's wife
come down-stairs with her robe over her arm. She wanted to iron it out
and press the seams.
I had baked one tin of my biscuit for breakfast, and I had kep 'em warm
for Trueman's wife, for she had been out late the night before to a
meetin' to Risley school-house, and didn't come down to breakfast. I
had also kep some good coffee warm for her, and some toast and steak.
She laid her robe down over a chair-back, and sot down to her breakfast,
but begun the first thing to find fault with me for bein' to work on
that day. She sez, "The idee, of the last day of the world, and you
a-bein' found makin' riz biscuit, yeast ones!" sez she.
"Wall," sez I, "I don't know but I had jest as soon be found a-makin'
riz biscuit, a-takin' care of my own household, as the Lord hes
commanded me to, as to be found a-sailin' round in a book muslin Mother
"It hain't a Mother Hubbard!" sez she.
"Wall," sez I, "I said it for oritory. But it is puckered up some like
them, and you know it." Hers wuz made with a yoke.
And Josiah sot there a-fixin' his plantin' bag. He wuz a-goin' out that
mornin' to plant over some corn that the crows had pulled up. And she
bitterly reproved him. But he sez, "If the world don't come to a end,
the corn will be needed."
"But it will," she sez in a cold, haughty tone.
[Illustration: "WALL," SEZ HE, "IF IT DOES, I MAY AS WELL BE DOIN'
THAT AS TO BE SETTIN' ROUND."]
"Wall," sez he, "if it does, I may as well be a-doin' that as to be
settin' round." And he took his plantin' bag and went out. And then she
jawed me for upholdin' him.
And sez she, as she broke open a biscuit and spread it with butter
previous to eatin' it, sez she, "I should think _respect_, respect for
the great and fearful thought of meetin' the Lord, would scare you out
of the idea of goin' on with your work."
Sez I calmly, "Does it scare you, Trueman's wife?"
"Wall, not exactly scare," sez she, "but lift up, lift up far above
bread and other kitchen work."
And again she buttered a large slice, and I sez calmly, "I don't s'poze
I should be any nearer the Lord than I am now. He sez He dwells inside
of our hearts, and I don't see how He could get any nearer to us than
that. And anyway, what I said to you I keep a-sayin', that I think He
would approve of my goin' on calm and stiddy, a-doin' my best for the
ones He put in my charge here below, my husband, my children, and my
grandchildren." (I some expected Tirzah Ann and the babe home that day
"Wall, you feel very diffrent from some wimmen that wuz to the
school-house last night, and act very diffrent. They are good Christian
females. It is a pity you wuzn't there. P'raps your hard heart would
have melted, and you would have had thoughts this mornin' that would
soar up above riz biscuit."
And as she sez this she begun on her third biscuit, and poured out
another cup of coffee. And I, wantin' to use her well, sez, "What did
they do there?"
"Do!" sez she, "why, it wuz the most glorious meetin' we ever had. Three
wimmen lay at one time perfectly speechless with the power. And some of
em' screemed so you could hear 'em fer half a mile."
I kep on a-mouldin' my bread out into biscuit (good shaped ones, too, if
I do say it), and sez calmly, "Wall, I never wuz much of a screemer. I
have always believed in layin' holt of the duty next to you, and doin'
_some_ things, things He has _commanded_. Everybody to their own way.
I don't condemn yourn, but I have always seemed to believe more in the
solid, practical parts of religion, than the ornimental. I have always
believed more in the power of honesty, truth, and justice, than in the
power they sometimes have at camp and other meetins. Howsumever," sez I,
"I don't say but what that power is powerful, to the ones that have it,
only I wuz merely observin' that it never wuz _my_ way to lay speechless
or holler much--not that I consider hollerin' wrong, if you holler from
principle, but I never seemed to have a call to."
"You would be far better if you did," sez Trueman's wife, "far better.
But you hain't good enough."
"Oh!" sez I, reasonably, "I could holler if I wanted to, but the Lord
hain't deef. He sez specilly, that He hain't, and so I never could see
the _use_ in hollerin' to Him. And I never could see the use of tellin'
Him in public so many things as some do. Why He _knows_ it. He _knows_
all these things. He don't need to have you try to enlighten Him as if
you wuz His gardeen--as I have heard folks do time and time agin. He
_knows_ what we are, what we need. I am glad, Trueman's wife," sez I,
"that He can look right down into our hearts, that He is right there in
'em a-knowin' all about us, all our wants, our joys, our despairs, our
temptations, our resolves, our weakness, our blindness, our defects, our
regrets, our remorse, our deepest hopes, our inspiration, our triumphs,
our glorys. But when He _is_ right there, in the midst of our soul, our
life, why, _why_ should we kneel down in public and holler at Him?"
"You would be glad to if you wuz good enough," sez she; "if you had
attained unto a state of perfection, you would feel like it."
That kinder riled me up, and I sez, "Wall, I have lived in this house
with them that wuz perfect, and that is bad enough for me, without bein'
one of 'em myself. For more disagreeable creeters," sez I, a prickin' my
biscuit with a fork, "more disagreeable creeters I never laid eyes on."
Trueman's wife thinks she is perfect, she has told me so time and
agin--thinks she hain't done anything wrong in upwards of a number of
But she didn't say nothin' to this, only begun agin about the wickedness
and immorality of my makin' riz biscuit that mornin', and the deep
disgrace of Josiah Allen keepin' on with his work.
But before I could speak up and take his part, for I _will_ not hear my
companion found fault with by any female but myself, she had gathered up
her robe, and swept upstairs with it, leavin' orders for a flatiron to
be sent up.
Wall, the believers wuz all a-goin' to meet at the Risley school-house
that afternoon. They wuz about 40 of 'em, men and wimmen. And I told
Josiah at noon, I believed I would go down to the school-house to the
meetin'. And he a-feelin', I mistrust, that if they should happen to be
in the right on't, and the world should come to a end, he wanted to be
by the side of his beloved pardner, he offered to go too. But he never
had no robe, no, nor never thought of havin'.
The Risley school-house stood in a clearin', and had tall stumps round
it in the door-yard. And we had heard that some of the believers wuz
goin' to get up on them stumps, so's to start off from there. And sure
enough, we found it wuz the calculation of some on 'em.
The school-boys had made steps up the sides of some of the biggest
stumps, and lots of times in political meetin's men had riz up on 'em to
talk to the masses below. Why I s'poze a crowd of as many as 45 or 48,
had assembled there at one time durin' the heat of the campain.
But them politicians had on their usual run of clothes, they didn't have
on white book muslin robes. Good land!
Wall, lots of folks had assembled to the school-house when we got there,
about 3 o'clock P.M.--afternoon. Believers, and world's people, all
a-settin' round on seats and stumps, for the school-house wuz small and
warm, and it wuz pleasanter out-doors.
We had only been there a few minutes when Mother Charnick and Jenette
walked in. Joe had been there for sometime, and he and the Widder Pool
wuz a-settin' together readin' a him out of one book. Jenette looked
kinder mauger, and Trueman's wife looked haughtily at her, from over the
top of the him book.
Mother Charnick had a woosted work-bag on her arm. There might have been
a night gown in it, and there might not. It wuz big enough to hold one,
and it looked sort o' bulgy. But it wuz never known--Miss Charnick is a
smart woman. It never wuz known what she had in the bag.
Wall, the believers struck up a him, and sung it through--as mournful,
skairful sort of a him as I ever hearn in my hull life; and it swelled
out and riz up over the pine trees in a wailin', melancholy sort of a
way, and wierd--dretful wierd.
And then a sort of a lurid, wild-looking chap, a minister, got up and
preached the wildest and luridest discourse I ever hearn in my hull
days. It wuz enough to scare a snipe. The very strongest and toughest
men there turned pale, and wimmen cried and wept on every side of me,
and wept and cried.
I, myself, didn't weep. But I drawed nearer to my companion, and kinder
leaned up against him, and looked off on the calm blue heavens, the
serene landscape, and the shinin' blue lake fur away, and thought--jest
as true as I live and breathe, I thought that I didn't care much, if God
willed it to be so, that my Josiah and I should go side by side, that
very day and minute, out of the certainties of this life into the
mysteries of the other, out of the mysteries of this life into
the certainties of the other.
[Illustration: "A SORT OF A LURID, WILD-LOOKING CHAP."]
For, thinks I to myself, we have got to go into that other world pretty
soon, Josiah and me have. And if we went in the usual way, we had got to
go alone, each on us. Terrible thought! We who had been together under
shine and shade, in joy and sorrow. Our two hands that had joined at the
alter, and had clung so clost together ever sence, had got to leggo of
each other down there in front of the dark gateway. Solemn gateway! So
big that the hull world must pass through it--and yet so small that the
hull world has got to go through it alone, one at a time.
My Josiah would have to stand outside and let me go down under the dark,
mysterious arches, alone--and he knows jest how I hate to go anywhere
alone, or else I would have to stop at the gate and bid him good-by. And
no matter how much we knocked at the gate, or how many tears we shed
onto it, we couldn't get through till our time come, we had _got_ to be
And now if we went on this clear June day through the crystal gateway of
the bendin' heavens--we two would be together for weal or for woe. And
on whatever new, strange landscape we would have to look on, or wander
through, he would be right by me. Whatever strange inhabitants the
celestial country held, he would face 'em with me. Close, close by my
side, he would go with me through that blue, lovely gateway of the soft
June skies into the City of the King. And it wuz a sweet thought to me.
Not that I really _wanted_ the world to come to a end that day. No,
I kinder wanted to live along for some time, for several reasons: My
pardner, the babe, the children, etc.; and then I kinder like to live
for the _sake_ of livin'. I enjoy it.
But I can say, and say with truth, and solemnity, that the idee didn't
scare me none. And as my companion looked down in my face as the time
approached, I could see the same thoughts that wuz writ in my eyes
a-shinin' in his'n.
Wall, as the pinter approached the hour, the excitement grew nearly, if
not quite rampant. The believers threw their white robes on over their
dresses and coats, and as the pinter slowly moved round from half-past
three to quarter to 4--and so on--they shouted, they sung, they prayed,
they shook each other's hands--they wuz fairly crazed with excitement
and fervor, which they called religion--for they wuz in earnest, nobody
could dispute that.
Joe and Miss Pool kinder hung together all this time--though I ketched
him givin' several wistful looks at Jenette, as much as to say, "Oh, how
I hate to leave you, Jenette!"
But Miss Pool would roust him up agin, and he would shout and sing with
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