Samantha at Saratoga
Part 2 out of 5
her. Why I have hearn him sing that old him, a lookin' right at
"Oh to be nothin', nothin'!"
And thinks I to myself, "if this keeps on, you are in a fairway
to git your wish."
He wuz a good singer, a beartone, and she a secent. They loved
to sing together. They needed some air, but then they got along
without it; and it sounded quite well, though rather low and
Wall, it run along for weeks and weeks, he with his hopes a
risin' up sometimes like his yeast and then bein' pounded down
ag'in like his bread, under the hard knuckles of a woman's
capricious cruelty. For I must say that she did, for sech a soft
littte creeter, have cold and cruel ways to Abram. (But I s'pose
it wuz when she got to thinkin' about the Prince, or some other
But her real feelin's would break out once in a while, and lift
him up to the 3d heaven of happiness and then he'd have to totter
and fall down ag'in. Abram Gee had a hard time on't. I pitied
him from nearly the bottom of my heart. But I still kep' a
thinkin' it would turn out well in the end. For it wuz jest
about this time that I happened to find this poetry in a book
where she had, I s'posed, left it. And I read 'em, almost
entirely unbeknown to myself.
It wuz wrote in a dreatful blind way but I recognized it at once.
I looked right through it, and see what she wuz a writin' about
though many wouldn't, it wuz wrote in sech a deep style.
"STANZAS ON BREAD;
"A LAY OF A BROKEN HEART.
"Oh Bread, dear Bread, that seemest to us so cold,
Oft'times concealed thee within, may be a sting!
Sweet buried hopes may in thy crust be rolled;
A sad, burnt crust of deepest suffering.
"There are some griefs the female soul don't tell,
And she may weep, and she may wretched be;
Though she may like the name of Abram well
And she may not like dislike the name of G ,
"Oh Fel Ambition, how thou lurest us on,
How by thy high, bold torch we're stridin' led:
Thou lurest us up, cold mountain top upon,
And seated by us there, thou scoffest at bread.
"Thou lookest down, Ambition, on the ovens brim;
Thou brookest not a word of him save with contumalee:
And yet, wert thou afar, how sweet to set by him
And cut low slices of sweet joy with G ,
"Oh! Fel Ambition, wert but thou away,
Could we thy hauntin' form no more, nor see;
How sweet 'twould be to linger on with A-,
How sweet 'twould be to dwell for aye with G-."
Wall, as I say, she gin good satisfaction in the deestrict and I
declare for it, I got to likin' her dretful well before the
winter wuz over. Softer she wuz, and had to be, than any fuz
that was ever on any cotton flannel fur or near. And more verses
she wrote than wuz good for her, or for anybody else, - Why she
would write "Lines on the Tongs," or "Stanzas on the Salt
Suller," if she couldn't do any better; it beats all! And then
she would read 'em to me to get my idees on 'em. Why I had to
call on every martyr in the hull string of martyrs sometimes to
keep myself from tellin' her my full mind about 'em unbeknown to
me. For, if I had, it would have skairt the soft little creeter
out of what little wit she had.
So I kep' middlin' still, and see it go on. For she wuz a good
little soul, affectionate and kinder helpful. A good creeter now
to find your speks. Why she found 'em for me times out of
number, and I got real attached to her and visey versey. And
when she came a visitin' me in the spring (at my request), and I
happened to mention that Josiah and me laid out to go to Saratoga
for the summer, what did the soft little creeter want to do but
to go too. Her father was well off and wuz able to send her, and
she had relatives there on her own side, some of the Pixleys, so
her board wouldn't cost nothin'. So it didn't look nothin'
unreasonable, though whether I could get her there and back
without her mashin' all down on my hands, like a over ripe peach,
she wuz that soft, wuz a question that hanted me, and so I told
But Josiah kinder likes young girls (nothin' light; a calm
meetin'-house affection), it is kinder nater that he should, and
he sez: "Better let her go, she won't make much trouble."
"No," sez I, "not to you, but if you had to set for hours and
hours and hear her verses read to you on every subject -- on
heaven, and earth, and the seas, and see her a measurin' of it
with a stick to get the lines the right length; if you had to go
through all this, mebby you would meditate on the subject before
you took it for a summer's job."
" Wall," sez he, "mebby she won't write so much when she gets
started; she will be kinder jogged round and stirred up in body
and mebby her feelins' will kinder rest. I shouldn't wonder a
mite if they did," sez he. "And then she can take a good many
steps for you, and I love to see you favored," sez he.
He wanted her to go, I see that, and I see that it wuz natur that
he should, and so I consented in my mind -- after a parlay.
She found his specks a sight and his hat. Nothin' seemed to
please her better than to be gropin' round after things to please
somebody; her disposition wuz such. So it wuz settled that she
should accompany and go with us. And the mornin' we started she
met us at the Jonesville Depot in good sperits and a barege
delaine dress, cream color, and a hat of the same.
I hadn't seen her for some weeks, and she seemed softly tickled
to see Josiah and me, and asked a good many questions about
Jonesville, kinder turnin' the conversation gradually round onto
bread, as I could see. So I branched right out, knowin' what she
wanted of me, and told her plain, that "Abram Gee wuz a lookin'
kinder mauger. But doin' his duty stiddy," sez I, lookin' keenly
at her, "a doin' his duty by everybody, and beloved by everybody,
him and his bread too."
She turned her head away and kinder sithed, and I guess it wuz as
much as a quarter of a hour after that, that I see her take out a
pencil and a piece of paper out of her portmonny, and a little
stick, and she went to makin' some verses, a measurin' 'em
careful as she wrote 'em, and when she handed 'em to me they wuz
"A LAY ON A CAR;
"THE LESSON OF A LOCOMOTIVE."
After I had read it and handed it back to her, she sez, "Don't
you think I improve on the melody and rhythm of my poetry? I
take this little stick with me now wherever I go, and measure my
lines by it. They are jest of a length, I am very particular;
you know you advised me to be."
"Yes," sez I mechaniklly, "but I didn't mean jest that." Sez I,
"the poetry I wuz a thinkin' on, is measured by the soul, the
enraptured throb of heart and brain; it don't need takin' a stick
to it. Howsumever," sez I, for I see she looked sort a
disapinted, "howsumever, if you have measured 'em, they are
probable about the same length: it is a good sound stick, I
haint no doubt;" and I kinder sithed.
And she sez, "What do you think of the first verse? Haint that
verse as true as fate, or sadness, or anything else you know of?"
"Oh yes," sez I candidly, "yes; if the cars run backwards we
shouldn't go on; that is true as anything can be. But if I wuz
in your place, Ardelia," sez I, "I wouldn't write any more
to-day. It is a kind of muggy damp day. It is a awfully bad day
for poetry to-day. And," sez I, to get her mind offen it, "Have
you seen anything of my companion's specks?"
And that took her mind offen poetry and she went a huntin' for
'em, on the seat and under the seat. She hunted truly high and
low and at last she found 'em on my pardner's foretop, the last
place any of us thought of lookin'. And she never said another
word about poetry, or any other trouble, nor I nuther.
WE ARRIVE AT SARATOGA.
We arrived at Saratoga jest as sunset with a middlin' gorgeous
dress on wuz a walkin' down the west and a biddin' us and the
earth good-bye. There wuz every color you could think on almost,
in her gown and some stars a shinin' through the floatin' drapery
and a half moon restin' up on her cloudy foretop like a beautiful
(I s'pose mebby it is proper to describe sunset in this way on
goin' to such a dressy place, though it haint my style to do so, I
don't love to describe sunset as a female and don't, much of the
time, but I love to see things correspond.)
Wall, we descended from the cars and went to the boardin' place
provided for us beforehand by the look out of friends. It wuz a
good place, there haint no doubt of that, good folks; good fare
Ardelia parted away from us at the depo. She wuz a goin' to board
to a smaller boardin' house kep' by a second cousin of her
father's brother's wife's aunt. It wuz her father's request that
she should get her board there on account of its bein' in the
family. He loved "to see relations hang together;" so he said,
and "get their boards of each other." But I thought then, and I
think now, that it wuz because they asked less for the board.
Deacon Tutt is close. But howsumever Ardelia went there, and my
companion and me arrove at the abode where we wuz to abide, with
no eppisode only the triflin' one of the driver bein' dretful
mistook as to the price he asked to take us there.
I thought, and Josiah thought, that 50 cents wuz the outlay of
expendatur he required to carry us where we would be; it wuz but a
short distance. But no! He said that 5 dollars wuz what he said,
that is, if we heard anything about a 5. But he thought we wuz
deef, and dident hear him. He thought he spoke plain, and said 4
dollars for the trip.
And on that price he sot down immovible. They arged, and Josiah
Allen even went so far as to use language that grated on my nerve,
it wuz so voyalent and vergin' on the profane. But there the man
sot, right onto that price, and he had to me the appeerance of one
who wuz goin' to sot there on it all night. And so rather than to
spend the night out doors, in conversation with him, he a settin'
on that price, and Josiah a shakin' his fist at it, and a jawin'
at it, I told Josiah that he had better pay it. And finally he
did, with groanin's that could hardly be uttered.
Wall, after supper (a good supper and enough on't), Josiah proposed
that we should take a short walk, we two alone, for Ardelia wuz
afar from us, most to the other end of the village, either asleep
or a writin' poetry, I didn't know which, but I knew it wuz one or
the other of 'em. And I wuz tired enough myself to lay my head
down and repose in the arms of sleep, and told my companion so,
but he said:
"Oh shaw! Let old Morpheus wait for us till we get back, there'll
be time enough to rest then."
Josiah felt so neat, that he wuz fairly beginnin' to talk high
learnt, and classical. But I didn't say nothin' to break it up,
and tied on my bonnet with calmness (and a double bow knot) and we
Soon, or mebby a little after, for we didn't walk fast on account
of my deep tucker, we stood in front of what seemed to be one hull
side of a long street, all full of orniments and open work, and
pillows, and flowers, and carvin's, and scallops, and down between
every scollop hung a big basket full of posys, of every beautiful
color under the heavens. And over all, and way back as fur as we
could see, wuz innumerable lights of every color, gorgeousness a
shinin' down on gorgeousness, glory above, a shinin' down on glory
below. And sweet strains of music wuz a floatin, out from
somewhere, a shinin' somewhere, renderin' the seen fur more
beautiful to all 4 of our wraptured ears.
And Josiah sez, as we stood there nearly rooted to the place by
our motions, and a picket fence, sez he dreamily,
"I almost feel as if we had made a mistake, and that this is the
land of Beuler." And he murmured to himself some words of the old
"Oh Beuler land! Sweet Beuler land!"
And I whispered back to him and sez - "Hush they don't have brass
bands in Beulah land."
And he sez, "How do you know what they have in Beuler?"
"Wall," sez I, "'taint likely they do."
But I don't know as I felt like blamin' him, for it did seem to me
to be the most beautiful place that I ever sot my eyes on. And it
did seem fairly as if them long glitterin' chains and links of
colored lights, a stretchin' fur back into the distance sort a
begoned for us to enter into a land of perfect beauty and Pure
And then them glitterin' chains of light would jine onto other
golden, and crimson, and orange, and pink, and blue, and amber
links of glory and hang there all drippin' with radiance, and way
back as fur as we could see. And away down under the shinin'
lanes the white statues stood, beautiful snow-white females, a
lookin' as if they enjoyed it all. And the lake mirrowed back all
of the beauty.
Right out onto the lake stood a fairy-like structure all glowin'
with big drops of light and every glitterin' drop reflected down
in the water and the fountain a sprayin' up on each side. Why it
sprayed up floods of diamonds, and rubys, and sapphires, and
topazzes, and turkeys, and pearls, and opals, and sparklin' 'em
right back into the water agin.
And right while we stood there, neerly rooted to the spot and
gazin' through extacy and 2 pickets, the band gin a loud burst of
melody and then stopped, and after a minute of silence, we hearn a
voice angel-sweet a risin' up, up, like a lark, a tender-hearted,
High, high above all the throngs of human folks who wuz cheerin'
her down below - up above the sea of glitterin' light - up above
the bendin' trees that clasped their hands together in silent
applaudin' above her, up, up, into the clear heavens, rose that
glorious voice a singin' some song about love, love that wuz
Why it seemed as if the very clouds wuz full of shadowy faces a
bendin' down to hear it, and the new moon, shaped just like a
boat, had glided down, down the sky to listen.
If the man of the moon was there he wuz a layin' in the bottom of
the boat, he wuzn't in sight. But if he heard that music I'll bet
he would say he wuzn't in the practice of hearin' any better. And
Josiah stood stun still till she had got done, and then he sort a
"Oh, it seems as if it must be Beuler land! Do you s'pose,
Samantha, Beuler land is any more beautiful?"
And I sez, "I haint a thinkin' about Beulah." I sez it pretty
middlin' tart, partly to hide my own feelin's, which wuz perfectly
rousted up, and partly from principle, and sez I, "Don't for
mercy's sake call it Beuler."
Josiah always will call it so. I've got a 4th cousin, Beulah Smith
(my own age and unmarried up to date), and he always did and would
call her Beuler. Truly in some things a pardner's influence and
encouragement fails to accomplish the ends aimed at.
Wall, it wuz after some words that I drew Josiah away from that
seen of enchantment - or he me, I don't exactly know which way it
wuz - and we wended onwards in our walk.
The hull broad streets wuz full of folks, full as they could be,
all on 'em perfect strangers to us and who knew what motives or
weapons they wuz a carryin' with 'em; but we knew we wuz safe,
Josiah and me did, for way up over all our heads, stood a big
straight soldier, a volunteer volunteerin, to see to the hull crew
on 'em below, a seein' that they behaved themselves. His age wuz
seventy-seven as near as I could make out but he didn't look
more'n half that. He had kep' his age remarkable.
Wall, it wuz, if I remember right, jest about now that we see a
glitterin' high up over our heads some writen in flame. I never
see such brilliant writin, before nor don't know as I ever shall
And Josiah stopped stun still, and stood a lookin' perfectly
dumfoundered at it. And finally he sez, "I'd give a dollar bill
if I could write like that."
I see he wuz deeply rousted up for 2 cents is as high as he
usually goes in betted. I see he felt deep and I didn't blame
him. Why," sez he, "jest imagine, Samantha, a hull letter wrote
like that! how I'd love to send one back to Uncle Nate Gowdey.
"How Uncle Nate's eyes would open, and he wouldn't want no
spectacles nor nothin' to read it with, would he? I wonder if I
could do it," sez he, a beginnin' to be all rousted up.
But I sez, "Be calm," for so deep is my mind that I grasped the
difficuties of the undertaken' at once. "How could yon send it,
Josiah Allen? Where would you get a envelop? How could you get
it into the mail bag?" Sez I, "When anybody would send a letter
wrote like that, they would want to write it on sheets of
lightnin', and fold it up in the envelopin' clouds of the skies,
and it should be received by a kneelin' and reverent soul. Who is
Uncle Nate that he should get it? He has not a reverent Soul and
he has also rheumatiz in his legs."
And then I thought, so quick and active is my mind when it gets to
startin' off on a tower, I thought of what I had hearn a few days
before, of how the secret had been learnt by somebody who lived
right there in the village, of floatin' letters up at sea from one
ship to another, sigualin' out in letters of flame -
"Help! I'm a sinkin'!" or "Danger ahead! Look out!"
And I thought what it must be to stand on a dusky night on a lone
deck and see up on the broad, dark; lonesome sky above, a sudden
message, a flash of vivid lightnin', takin' to itself the form of
language. And I wondered to myself if in the future we should use
the great pages of the night-sky to write messages from one city
to another, or from sea to land, of danger and warnin'; and then I
thought to myself, if souls clog-bound to earth are able to
accomplish so much, who knows but the freed soul goin' outward and
onward from height to height of wisdom may yet be able to signal
down from the Safe Land messages of help and warnin' to the souls
it loved below.
The souls a sailin' and a driftin' through the dark night of
despair - a dashin' along through fog and mist and darkness aginst
rocks. What it would be to one kneelin' in the lonesome night
watches by a grave, if the dark sky could grow luminous and he
could read, - "Do not despair! I am alive! I love you!"
Or, in the hour of the blackest temptation and dread, when the
earth is hollow and the sky a black vault, and the only way of
happiness on God's earth seems down the dangerous, beautiful way,
God-forbidden, what would it be to have the empty vault lit up
with "Danger ahead! We will help you! be patient a little
Oh how fur my thoughts wuz a travellin', and at what a good jog,
but not one trace did my companion see on my forward of these
thoughts that wuz a passin' through my foretop: and at that very
minute, we came up nigh enough to see that right back of the
glitterin' language overhead, went a long line of big, glowin'
stars of glory way up over our heads, and leadin' down a gentle
declivity and Josiah sez, "Let's foller on, and see what it will
lead us to, Samantha."
"Wall," sez I, "light is pretty generally, safe to foller, Josiah
Allen." And so we meandered along, keepin' our 2 heads as nigh as
we could under that long glitterin' chain of golden drops that wuz
high overhead. And on, and on, we follered it dilligently; till
for the land's sake! if it didn't lead us to another one of them
openwork buildin's, fixed off beautiful, and we could see inside 2
big wells like, with acres of floor seemin'ly on each side of 'em,
and crowds of folks a walkin' about and settin' at little tables
and most all of 'em a drinkin'.
The water they drinked we could see wuz a bubblin' up and a
runnin' over all the time, in big round crystal globes. And up,
up on a slender pole way up over one of the wells hung another one
of them crystal bowls, a bubblin' over with the water and
And ag'in Josiah asked me if I thought Beuler land could compare
And I told him ag'in kinder sharp, That I wuzn't a thinkin' about
Beuler, I didn't know any sech a place or name. I wish he would
call things right.
Wall, he wuz so dead tired by this time, that we sot sail homewards;
that is, my feet wuz tired, and my bones, but my mind seemed more
rousted up than common.
SARATOGA BY DAYLIGHT.
Wall, the next mornin' Josiah and me sallied out middlin' early to
explore still further the beauties and grandness of Saratoga. I
had on a black straw bonnet, a green vail, and a umbrell. I also
have my black alpacky, that good moral dress.
My dress bein' such a high mission one choked me. It wuz so high
in the neck it held my chin up in a most uncomfortable position,
but sort a grand and lofty lookin'. My sleeves wuz so long that
more'n half the time my hand wuz covered up by 'em and I wuz too
honerable to wear 'em for mits; no, in the name of principle I
wore 'em for sleeves, good long sleeves, a pattern to other
grandmas that I might meet.
I felt that when they see me and see what I wuz a doin' and
endurin' fur the cause of female dressin' they would pause in
their wild career, and cover up their necks and pull their sleeves
Wall, it haint to be expected that I could walk along carryin'
such hefty emotions as I wuz a carryin', and havin' my neck held
high and stiddy both by principle and alpacky, and see to every
step I wuz a takin'. And, first I knew, right while I was
enjoyin' the loftiest of these emotions, I ketched my foot in
sunthin', and most fell down. Instinctively (such is the power of
love) I put out my hand and clutched at the arm of my pardner.
But he too wuz nearly fallin' at the same time. It wuz a narrow
chance that we wuz a runnin' from having our prostrate forms a
layin' there outstretched on the highway.
Instinctively I sez, "Good land!" and Josiah sez -- wall, it is
fur from me to tell what he said, but it ended up with these
words, "Dumb them dumb sidewalks anyway;" and sez he, "I should
think it would pay to have a little less gilt paint and spangles
and orniments overhead and a few more solid bricks unless they
want more funerals here, dumb 'em!"
Sez I,"Be calm! who be you a talkin' about? who do you want to
bring down your fearful curses on, Josiah Allen?"
"Why, onto the dumb bricks," sez he.
He wuz agitated and I said no more. But four times in that first
walk, did I descend almost precipitously into declivities amongst
the bricks, risin' simultaneously on similar elevations.
It wuz a fearful ordeel and I felt it so, but upheld by principle
and Josiah, I moved onwards, through what seemed to be 5 great
throngs and masses of people, 3 on the ground and 2 hinted up
above us on tall pillows.
Them immense places overhead long as the streets, wuz kinder
scalloped out and trimmed off handsum with railin's, etc. And on
it -- oh! what a vast congregation of heads of all sorts and sizes
and colors. And oh! what a immense display of parasols; why no
parasol store in the land could begin with what I see there.
I can truly say that I thought I knew somethin' about parasols;,
havin' owned 3 different ones in the course of my life, and havin'
one covered over. I thought I knew somethin' of their nater and
habits, which is a good deal, so I had always s'posed, like a
umbrell's. But good land! I gin up that I knew them not, nor
Why anybody could learn more on 'em through one jerney down that
street, than from a hull lifetime in Jonesville. Truly travel is
very upliftin' and openin' and spreadin' out to the mind, both in
parasols and human nater.
Wall, them 2 masses over our heads wuz 2, then the one in which we
wuz a strugglin' and the one opposite to it made 4. For anybody
with any pretence to learnin' knows that twice 2 is 4. And then
in the middle of the broad street was a bigger mass of chariots
and horsemen, and carts and carriages, and great buggies and
little ones, and big loads of barrels, and big loads of ladies,
and then a load of wood, and then a load of hay, and then a pair
of young folks pretty as a picture. And then came some high big
coaches as big as our spare bedroom, and as high as the roof on
our horse barn, with six horses hitched to e'm, all runnin' over
on top with men; and wimmen, and children, and parasols, and
giggles, and ha ha's. And a man wuz up behind a soundin' out on a
trumpet, a dretful sort of a high, sweet note, not dwindlin' down
to the end as some music duz, but kinder crinklin' round and
endin' up in the air every time.
Josiah wuz dretful took with it and he told me in confidence that
he laid out when he got home to buy a trumpet and blow out jest
them strains every time he went into Jonesville or out of it. He
said it would sound so sort a warlike and impressive.
I expostulated aginst the idee. But sez he, "You'll enjoy it when
you get used to it."
"Never!" sez I.
"Yes you will," sez he, "and while I live I lay out that you shall
have advantages, and shall enjoy things new and uneek."
"Yes," sez I feelin'ly, "I expect to, Josiah Allen, as long as I
live with you." And I sithed. But I had little time to enjoy
even sithin', for oh! the crowd that wuz a pressin' onto us and
surroundin' us on every side, some on 'em curius and strange
lookin', some on 'em beautiful and grand. Pretty young girls
lookin' sweet enough to kiss, and right behind 'em a Chinese man
with a long dress, and wooden shoes, and his hair in a long braid
behind, and his eyes sot in sideways. And then would come on a
hull lot of wimmen in dresses ev'ry color of the rainbow, and some
men. Then a few childern, lookin' sweet as roses, with their
mothers a pushin' the little carts ahead on 'em. And if you'll
believe it, I don't s'pose you will, but it is true, that lots of
black ma's had childern jest as white as snow, and pretty as
rosebuds, took after their fathers I s'pose. But I don't believe
in a mixin' of the races. And when I see 'em a kissin' the pretty
babys, I begun to muse a very little on the feelin's of the
indignent South, at havin' a colered girl set in the same car with
'em, or on a bench in the same school room.
I mewsed on how they held the white forms clost to their black
breasts at birth, and in the hour of death -- the black lips
pressed to the white cheeks and lips, in both cases. And all the
way between life and death they mingle clost as they can, some in
some cases like the hill of knowledge. Then the contact is too
clost, when they sot out to climb up by 'em. Truly there are deep
conundrums and strange ones, all along through life; though the
white man may be, and is, cleer up out of his way, on the sunshiny
brow of the hill, and the black man at the foot, way down amongst
the shadows and darkness of the low grounds. They don't come very
nigh each other. But the arms that have felt the clasp and the
lips that have felt the kisses of that very same black climber all
through life, moves 'em and shouts 'em to "go down," to "go back,"
"The contact is getting too clost, danger is ahead." Curious,
haint it? Jest as if any danger is so dangerous as ignorance and
brutality. Curious, haint it? But I am a eppisodin', and to
Wall, right after the babies we'd meet a Catholic priest with a
calm and fur away look on his face, a lookin' at the crowd as if
he wuz in it, but not of it. And then a burgler, mebby, anyway a
mean lookin' creeter, ragged and humble. And then 2 or 3 men
foreign lookin', jabberin' in a tongue I know nothin' of, nor
Josiah either. And then some more childern, and wimmen, and dogs,
and parasols, and men, and babies, and Injuns, and Frenchmen, and
old young wimmen, and young old ones, and handsome ones, and
hombly ones, and parasols, and some sweet young girls ag'in, and
some black men, and some white men, and some more wimmen, and
parasols, and silk, and velvet, and lace, and puckers, and
raffles, and gethers, and gores, and flowers, and feathers, and
fringes, and frizzles, and then some men, some Southerners from
the South, some Westerners from the West, some Easterners from the
East, and some Cubebs from Cuba, and some Chinamen from China.
Oh! what a seen! What a seen! back and forth, passin' and
repassin', to and fro, parasols, and dogs, and wimmen, and men,
and babies, and parasols, to and fro, to and fro. Why, if I stood
there long so crazed would I have become at the seen, that I
should have felt that Josiah wuz a To and I wuz a Fro, or I wuz a
parasol and he wuz a dog.
And to prevent that fearful catastrophe, I sez, "If we ever get
beyond this side of the village that seems all run together, if we
ever do get beyond it, which seems doubtful, le's go and sit down,
in some quiet spot, and try to collect our scattered minds." Sez
I, "I feel curius, Josiah Allen!" and sez I, "How do you feel?"
His answer I will not translate; it was neither Biblical nor even
moral. And I sez agin, "Hain't it strange that they have the
village all run together with no streets turnin' off of it." Sez
I, "It makes me feel queer, Josiah Allen, and I am a goin' to
enquire into it." So we wended our way some further on amongst
the dense crowd I have spoken of, only more crowded and more
denser, and anon, if not oftener, Josiah's head would be scooped
in by passin' parasols, and then in low, deep tones, Josiah would
use words that I wouldn't repeat for a dollar bill, till at last I
asked a by bystander a standin' by, and sez I, "Is this village
all built together -- don't you have no streets a turnin' off of
"Yes," sez he, "you'll find a street jest as soon as you get by
I stopped right in my tracts; I wuz dumbfoundered. Sez I, "Do you
mean to say that this hull side of the street that we have been a
traversin' anon, or long before anon, -- do you say that this is
all one buildin'?"
"Yes mom," sez he.
Sez I, in faint axents, "When shall we get to the end on it?"
Sez he, "You have come jest about half way."
Josiah gin a deep groan and turned him round in his tracts and
sez, "Le's go back this minute."
I too thought of the quiet haven from whence we had set out, with
a deep longin', but sech is the force and strength of my mind that
I grasped holt of the situation and held it there tight. If we
wuz half way across it wouldn't be no further to go on than it
would to go back. Such wuz my intellect that I see it to once,
but Josiah's mind couldn't grasp it, and with words murmured in my
ears which I will never repeat to a livin' soul he wended on by my
side through the same old crowd -- parasols, and wimmen, and dogs,
and babies, and men, and parasols, and Injuns, and Spanards, and
Creoles, and pretty girls, and old wimmen, and puckers, and
gethers, and bracelets, and diamonds, and lace, and parasols.
Several times, if not more, wuz Josiah Allen scooped in by a
parasol held by a female, and I felt he wuz liable to be torn from
me. His weight is but small. 3 times his hat fell off in the
operation and wuz reskued with difficulty, and he spoke words I
blush to recall as havin' passed my pardner's lips.
Wall, in the fullness of time, or a little after, for truly I wuz
not in a condition to sense things much, we arrove at a street and
we gladly turned our 2 frames into it, and wended our way on it,
goin' at a pretty good jog. The crowd a growin' less and less and
we kep a goin', and kep a goin', till Josiah sez in weary axents:
"Where be you a goin', Samantha? Haint you never goin' to stop?
I am fairly tuckered out."
And I sez in faint axents, "I would fain reach a land where
parasols and puckers are not and dogs and diamonds are no more."
I wuz middlin' incoherent from my agitation. But I meant well. I
wuz truly in hopes I would reach some quiet place where Josiah and
me could set down alone. Where I could look in quiet and repose
upon that dear bald head, and recooperate my strength.
We went by beautiful places, grand houses of different colors but
every one on 'em good lookin' ones, a settin' back amongst their
green trees, with shady grass-covered yards, and fountains and
flower beds in front of 'em, and more grand handsome houses, and
more big beautiful yards, green velvet grass and beautiful flowers
and fountains, and birds and beauty on every side on us.
And though I felt and knew that in them big carriages that was a
passin' 2 and fro all the time, though I felt that parasols, and
puckers, and laces, and dogs, and diamonds, wuz a bein' borne past
me all the time, yet sech is the force of my mind that I could
withdraw my specks from 'em, and look at the beautiful works of
nater (assisted by man) that wuz about me on every hand.
Finally my long search wuz rewarded, we came to a big open gateway
that seemed to lead into a large, quiet delightful forest. And in
that lovely, lonesome place, Josiah and me sot down to recooperate
our 2 energies.
Josiah looked good to me. Men are nice creeters, but you don't
want to see too meny of 'em to once, likeways with wimmen. Josiah
looked to me at that moment some like a calico dress that you have
picked out of a dense quantity of patterns of calico at a store,
it looks better to you when you get it away from the rest. Josiah
Allen looked good to me.
But anon, after I had bathed my distracted eyes (as you may say)
in the liniment of my pardner, I began to take in the rare beauty
of the seen laid out before me and we arose and wended our way
onwards peaceful and serene, as 2 childern led on by their mother.
Dear Mother Nature! how dost thou rest and soothe thy distracted
childern when too hardly used by the grindin', oppressive hands of
fashion,and the weerisome elements of a too civilized life. Maybe
thou art a heathen mother, oneducated and ignorant in all but the
wisdom of love, but thy bosom is soft and restful, and thy arms
lovin' and tender. And, heathen if thou art, we love thee first
and at last. We are glad to slip out of all the vain and gilded
supports that have held us weerily up, and lay down our tired
heads on thy kindly and unquestionin' bosom and rest.
As we rose from the soft turf, on which we had been a restin', and
meandered on through that beautiful park, (so tenderly had nature
used him,) not one trace of the wild commotion that had almost
rent Josiah Allen's breast, could be seen save one expirin'
threeoh of agony. As we started out ag'in, he looked down onto my
faithful umberell, that had stiddied me on so many towers of
principle, and sez he, in low concentrated axents of skern and
bitterness, "If that wuz a dumb parasol, Samantha, I would crush
it to the earth and grind it to atoms."
Truly he could not forget how his bald head had been gethered in
like a ripe sheaf, by 7 females, during that very walk, hombly
ones too, so it had happened. But I sez nothin' in reply to this
expirin' note of the crysis he had passed through, knowin' this
was not the time for silver speech but for golden silence, and so
we meandered onwards.
And it wuz anon that we see in the distance a fair white female a
standin' kinder still in the edge of the woods, and Josiah spoke
in a seemin'ly careless way, and sez he, "She don't seem to have
many clothes on, Samantha."
Sez I, "Hush, Josiah! she has probably overslept herself, and come
out in a hurry, mebby to look for some herbs or sunthin'. I
persoom one of her childern are sick, and she sprung right up out
of bed, and come out to get some weather-wort, or catnip, or
And as I spoke I drawed Josiah down a side path away from her.
But he stopped stun still and sez he, "Mebby I ought to go and
help her Samantha."
Sez I, "Josiah Allen, sense I lived with you, I don't think I have
been shamder of you;" sez I, "it would mortify her to death if she
should mistrust you had seen her in that condition."
"Wall," sez he, still a hangin' back, "if the child is very sick,
and I can be any help to her, it is my duty to go."
His eye had been on her nearly every moment of the time, in spite
of my almost voyalent protests, and sez he, kinder excited like,
"She is standin' stun still, as if she is skarit; mebby there is a
snake in front of her or sunthin', or mebby she is took paralysed,
I'd better go and see."
Sez I, in low, deep axents, "You stay where you be, Josiah Allen,
and I will go forward, bein' 2 females together, it is what it is
right to do and if we need your help I will holler."
And finally he consented after a parlay.
Wall, as I got up to her I see she wuzn't a live, meat woman, but
a statute and so I hastened back to my Josiah and told him there
wuzn't no need of his help and he wuz in the right on't -- she wuz
He said he guessed we'd better go that way. And I sez, "No,
Josiah, I want to go round by the other road."
Wall, we got back to our abode perfectly tuckered out, but
perfectly happy. And we concluded that after dinner we would set
out and see the different springs and partake of 'em. Had it not
been for our almost frenzied haste to get away from parasols and
dogs and destraction into a place of rest we should have beheld
them sooner. And our afternoon's adventures I will relate in
SEEING THE DIFFERENT SPRINGS.
Immegeatly after dinner (a good one) Josiah Allen, Ardelia Tutt
and me sot out to view and look at the different springs and to
partake of the same. We hadn't drinked a drop of it as yet.
Ardelia had come over to go with us. She had on a kind of a
yellowish drab dress and a hat made of the same, with some drab
and blue bows of ribbon and some pink holly-hawks in it, and she
had some mits on (her hands prespired dretfully, and she sweat
easy). As I have said, she is a good lookin' girl but soft. And
most any dress she puts on kinder falls into the same looks. It
may be quite a hard lookin' dress before she puts it on, but
before she has wore it half a hour it will kinder crease down into
the softest lookin, thing you ever see. And so with her bonnets,
and mantillys, and everything.
The down onto a goslin's breast never looked softer than every rag
she had on this very afternoon, and no tender goslin' itself wuz
ever softer than she wuz on the inside on't. But that didn't
hinder my likin' her.
Wall, anon, or a little before, we came to that long, long
buildin', beautiful and dretful ornimental, but I could see plain
by daylight what I had mistrusted before, that it wuzn't built for
warmth. It must be dretful cold in the winter, and I don't see
how the wimmen folks of the home could stand it, unless they hang
up bed quilts and blankets round the side, and then, I should
think they would freeze. They couldn't keep their house plants
over winter any way - and I see they had sights of 'em - unless
they kep' 'em down suller.
But howsumever, that is none of my lookout. If they want to be so
fashionable, as to try to live out doors and in the house too,
that is none of my business. And of course it looked dretful
ornimental and pretty. But I will say this, it haint bein' mejum.
I should rather live either out doors, or in the house, one of the
2. But I am a eppisodin'. And to resoom.
Josiah Allen paid the money demanded of him and we went in and
advanced onwards to where a boy wuz a pullin' up the water and
handin' of it round.
It looked dretful bubblin' and sparklin'. Why sunthin' seemed to
be a sparklin' up all the time in the water and I thought to
myself mebby it wuz water thoughts, mebby it wanted to tell
sunthin', mebby it has all through these years been a tryin' to
bubble up and sparkle out in wisdom but haint found any one yet
who could understand its liquid language. Who knows now?
I took my glass and looked close - sparkle, sparkle, up came the
tiny thought sparks! But I wuzn't wise enough to read the
glitterin' language. No I wuzn't deep enough. It would take a
deep mind, mebby thousands of feet deep, to understand the great
glowin' secret that it has been a tryin' to reveal and couldn't.
Mebby it has been a tryin' to tell of big diamond mines that it
has passed through - great cliffs and crags of gold sot deep with
the crystalized dew of diamonds.
But no, I didn't believe that wuz it. That wouldn't help the
world, only to make it happier, and these seemed to me to be
dretful inspirin', upliftin' thoughts. No, mebby it is a tryin'
to tell a cold world about a way to heat it. Mebby it has been a
runnin' over and is sparklin' with bright thoughts about how deep
underneath the earth lay a big fireplace, that all the cold
beggars of mortality could set round and warm their frozen fingers
by, - a tryin' to tell how the heat of that fire that escapes now
up the chimbleys of volcanoes, and sometimes in sudden drafts
blows out sideways into earthquakes, etc., could be utilized by
conveyin' it up on top of the ground, and have it carried into the
houses like Croton water. Who knows now? Mebby that is it!
Oh! I felt that it would be a happy hour for Samantha when she
could bile her potatoes by the heat of that large noble fire-place.
And more than that, far more wuz the thought that heat might become,
in the future, as cheap as cold. That the little cold hands that
freeze every winter in the big cities, could be stretched out before
the big generous warmth of that noble fire-place. And who built
that fire in the first place? Who laid the first sticks on the
handirons, and put the match to it? Who wuz it that did it, and
how did he look, and when wuz he born, and why, and where?
These, and many other thoughts of similar size and shape, filled
my brane almost full enough to lift up the bunnet, that reposed
gracefully on my foretop, as I stood and held the sparklin' glass
in my hands.
Sparkle! sparkle! sparkle! what wuz it, it wuz a tryin' to say to
me and couldn't? Good land! I couldn't tell, and Josiah
couldn't, I knew instinctively he couldn't, though I didn't ask
No, I turned and looked at that beloved man, for truly I had for
the time bein' been by the side of myself, and I see that he wuz
a drinkin' lavishly of the noble water. I see that he wuz a
drinkin' more than wuz for his good, his linement showed it, and
sez I, for he wuz a liftin' another tumbler full onto his lips,
sez I, "Pause, Josiah Allen, and don't imbibe too much."
"Why," he whispered, "you can drink all you are a mind to for 5
cents. I am bound for once, Samantha Allen, to get the worth of
And he drinked the tumbler full down at one swoller almost, and
turned to the weary boy for another. He looked bad, and eager,
and sez I, "How many have you drinked?"
Sez he, in a eager, animated whisper, "9." And he whispered in
the same axents, "5 times 9 is 45 ; if it had been to a fair, or
Fourth of July, or anything, it would have cost me 45 cents, and
if it had been to a church social - lemme see - 9 times 10 is 90.
It would have cost me a dollar bill! And here I am a havin' it
all for 5 cents. Why," sez he, "I never see the beat on't in my
And ag'in he drinked a tumbler full down, and motioned to the
frightened boy for another.
But I took him by the vest and whispered to him, sez I, "Josiah
Allen, do you want to die, because you can die cheap? Why," sez
I, "it will kill you to drink so much."
"But think of the cheapness on't Samantha! The chance I have of
getting the worth of my money."
But I whispered back to him in anxus axents and told him, that I
guessed if funeral expenses wuz added to that 5 cents it wouldn't
come so cheap, and sez I, "you wont live through many more glasses,
and you'll see you wont. Why," sez I, "you are a drowndin' out
He wuz fairly a gettin' white round the mouth, and I finally got
him to withdraw, though he looked back longingly at the tumblers
and murmured even after I had got him to the door, that it wuz a
dumb pity when anybody got a chance to get the worth of their
money, which wuzn't often, to think they couldn't take advantage
And I sez back to him in low deep axents, "There is such a thing
as bein' too graspin', Josiah Allen." Sez I, "The children of
Israel used to want to lay up more manny than they wanted or
needed, and it spilte on their hands." And sez I, "you see if it
haint jest so with you; you have been in too great haste to enrich
yourself, and you'll be sorry for it, you see if you haint."
And he was. Though he uttered language I wouldn't wish to repeat,
about the children of Israel and about me for bringin' of 'em up.
But the man wuz dethly sick. Why he had drinked 11 tumblers full,
and I trembled to think what would have follered on, and ensued,
if I hadn't interfered. As it wuz, he wuz confined to our abode
for the rest of the day.
But I wouldn't have Josiah Allen blamed more than is due for this
little incedent, for it only illustrates a pervailin' trait in
men's nater, and sometimes wimmen's - a too great desire to amass
sudden riches, and when opportunity offers, burden themselves with
useless and wearysome and oft-times painful gear.
They don't need it but seeing they have a chance to get it cheap,
"dog cheap " as the poet observes, why they weight themselves down
with it, and then groan under the burden of unnecessary and wearin'
wealth. This is a deep subject, deep as the well from which my
companion drinked, and nearly drinked himself into a untimely grave.
Men heap up more riches than they can enjoy and then groan and
rithe under the taxes, the charity given, the envy, the noteriety,
the glare, and the glitter, the crowd of fortune-hunters and
greedy hangers-on, and the care and anxiety. They orniment the
high front of their houses with the paint, the gildin', the
fashion, and the show of enormous wealth, and while the crowd of
fashion-seekers and fortune-hunters pour in and out of the lofty
doorway they set out on the back stoop a groanin' and a sithin' at
the cares and sleepless anxietes of their big wealth, and then
they git up and go down street and try their best to heap up more
treasure to groan over.
And wimmen now, when wuz there ever a woman who could resist a
good bargain? Her upper beauro draws may be a runnin' over with
laces and ribbons, but let her see a great bargain sold for
nothin' almost, and where is the female woman that can resist
addin' to that already too filled up beauro draw.
A baby, be he a male, or be he a female child, when he has got a
appel in both hands, will try to lay holt of another, if you hold
it out to him. It is human nater. Josiah must not be considered
as one alone in layin' up more riches than he needed. He suffered,
and I also, for sech is the divine law of love, that if one member
of the family suffers, the other members suffer also, specially
when the sufferin' member is impatient and voyalent is his distress,
and talks loud and angry at them who truly are not to blame.
Now I didn't make the springs nor I wuzn't to blame for their
bein' discovered in the first place. But Josiah laid it to me.
And though I tried to make him know that it wuz a Injun that
discovered 'em first, he wouldn't gin in and seemed to think they
wouldn't have been there if it hadn't been for me.
I hated to hear him go on so. And in the cause of Duty, I brung
up Sir William Johnson and others. But he lay there on the lounge,
and kep' his face turned resolute towards the wall, in a dretful
oncomfertable position (sech wuz his temper of mind), and said,
he never had heard of them, nor the springs nuther, and shouldn't
if it hadn't been for me.
Why, sez I, "A Injun brought Sir William Johnson here on his
"Wall," sez he, cross as a bear, "that is the way you'll have to
take me back, if you go on in this way much longer."
"In what way, Josiah?" sez I.
"Why a findin' springs and draggin' a man off to 'em, and makin'
"Why, Josiah Allen," sez I, "I told you not to drink - don't you
"No! I don't remember nuthin', nor don't want to. I want to go
to sleep!" sez he, snappish as anything, so I went out and let him
think if he wanted to, that I made the Springs, and the Minerals,
and the Gysers, and the Spoutin' Rock, and everything. Good land!
I knew I didn't; but I had to rest under the unkind insinnuation.
Such is some of the trials of pardners.
But Josiah waked up real clever. And I brung him up some delicate
warm toast and some fragrant tea, and his smile on me wuz dretful
good-natured, almost warm. And I forgot all his former petulence
and basked in the rays of love and happiness that beamed on me out
of the blue sky of my companion's eyes. The clear blue sky that
held two stars, to which my heart turned.
Such is some of the joys of pardners with which the world don't
meddle with, nor can't destroy.
But to resoom. Ardelia sot down awhile in our room before she
went back to her boardin' house. I see she wuz a writin' for she
had a long lead pencil in her right hand and occasionally she
would lean her forrerd down upon it, in deep thought, and before
she went, she slipped the verses into my hand.
Sez I, a lookin' over my specks at Ardelia after I had finished
readin' the verses: "What does 'ron' mean? I never heerd of that
word before, nor knew there wuz sech a one."
Sez she, "I meant ran, but I s'pose it is a poetical license to
say 'ron,' don't you think so?"
"Oh, yes," sez I, "I s'pose so, I don't know much about licenses,
nor don't want to, they are suthin' I never believed in. But,"
sez I, for I see she looked red and overcasted by my remarks, "I
don't s'pose it will make any difference in a 100 years whether
you say ran or ron."
But sez I, "Ardelia, it is a hot day, and I wouldn't write any
more if I wuz in your place. If you should heat your bra-, the
upper part of your head, you might not get over it for some time."
"But," sez she, "you have told me sometimes to stop on account of
"Wall," sez I, "most any kind of weather is hard on some kinds of
poetry." Sez I, "Poetry is sunthin' that takes particular kinds
of folks and weather to be successful." Sez I, "It is sunthin'
that can't be tampered with with impunity by Christians or world's
people. It is a kind of a resky thing to do, and I wouldn't write
any more to-day, Ardelia."
And she heard to me and after a settin' a while with us, she went
back to Mr. Pixley's.
JOSIAH AND SAMANTHA TAKE A LONG WALK.
Wall, we hadn't been to Saratoga long before Aunt Polly Pixley
came over to see us, for Aunt Polly had been as good as her word
and had come to Saratoga, to her 2d cousins, the Mr. Pixley'ses,
where Ardelia wuz a stopping. Ardelia herself is a distant
relation to Aunt Polly, quite distant, about 40 or 50 miles
distant when they are both to home.
Wall, the change in Aunt Polly is wonderful, perfectly wonderful.
She don't look like the same woman.
She took her knittin' work and come in the forenoon, for a all
day's visit, jest as she wuz used to in the country, good old soul
- and I took her right to my room and done well by her, and we
talked considerable about other wimmen, not runnin' talk, but good
She thinks a sight of the Saratoga water, and well she may, if
that is what has brung her up, for she wuz always sick in
Jonesville, kinder bedrid. And when she sot out for Saratoga she
had to have a piller to put on the seat behind her to sort a prop
her up (hen's feather).
And now, she told me she got up early every mornin' and walked
down to the spring for a drink of the water - walked afoot. And
she sez, "It is astonishin' how much good that water is a doin'
me; for," sez she, "when I am to home I don't stir out of the
house from one day's end to the other; and here," sez she, "I set
out doors all day a'most, a listenin' to the music in the park
mornin' and evenin' I hear every strain on't."
Aunt Polly is the greatest one for music I ever see, or hearn on.
And I sez to her, "Don't you believe that one great thing that is
helpin' you, is bein' where you are kep' gay and cheerful, - by
music and good company; and bein' out so much in the sunshine and
pure air." (Better air than Saratoga has got never wuz made; that
is my opinion and Josiah's too.) And sez I, "I lay a good deal to
"No," she said, "it wuz the water."
Sez I, "The water is good, I don't make no doubts on't." But I
continued calmly - for though I never dispute, I do most always
maintain my opinion - and I sez again calmly, "There has been a
great change in you for the better, sense you come here, Miss
Pixley. But some on't I lay to your bein' where things are so
much more cheerful and happyfyin'. You say you haint heerd a
strain of music except a base viol for over 14 years before you
come here. And though base viols if played right may be
melodious, yet Sam Pixley's base viol wuz a old one, and sort a
cracked and grumbly in tone, and he wuzn't much of a player
anyway, and to me, base viols always sounded kinder base anyway."
And sez I, "Don't you believe a gettin' out of your little low
dark rooms, shaded by Pollard willers and grave stuns, and gettin'
out onto a place where you can heer sweet music from mornin' till
night, a liftin' you up and makin' you happier - don't you believe
that has sunthin' to do with your feelin' so much better - that
and the pure sweet air of the mountains comin' down and bein'
softened and enriched by the breath of the valley, and the minerals,
makin' a balmy atmosphere most full of balm - I lay a good deal to
"Oh no," sez she, "it is the water."
"Yes," sez I, in a very polite way, - I will be polite, "the water
is good, first rate."
But at that very minute, word come to her that she had company,
and she sot sail homewards immegetly, and to once.
And now I don't care anything for the last word, some wimmen do,
but I don't. But I sez to her, as I watched her a goin' down the
stairway, steppin' out like a girl almost, sez I, "How well you do
seem, Aunt Polly; and I lay a good deal on't to that air."
Now who would have thought she would speak out from the bottom of
the stairway and say, "No, it is the water?"
Wall, the water is good, there haint no doubt, and anyway, through
the water and the air, and bein' took out of her home cares, and
old surroundin's onto a brght happy place, the change in Polly
Pixley is sunthin' to be wondered at.
Yes, the water is good. And it is dretful smart, knowin' water
too. Why, wouldn't anybody think that when it all comes from the
same place, or pretty nigh the same place anyway, that they would
get kinder flustrated and mixed up once in a while?
But they don't. These hundreds and thousands of years, and I
don't know how much longer, they have kep' themselves separate
from each other, livin' nigh neighbors there down under the
ground, but never neighborin' with each other, or intermarryin' in
each other's families. No, they have kep' themselves apart,
livin' exclosive down below and bubblin' up exclosive.
They know how to make each other keep their proper distance, and I
s'pose through all the centuries to come they will bubble up,
right side by side, entirely different from each other.
Curius, hain't it? Dretful smart, knowin' waters they be, fairly
sparklin' and flashin' with light and brightness, and intelligence.
They are for the healin' and refreshin' of ,the nations, and the
nations are all here this summer, a bein' healed by 'em. But still
I lay a good deal to that air.
Amongst the things that Aunt Polly told me about wimmen that day,
wuz this, that Ardelia Tutt had got a new Bo, Bial Flamburg, by
She said Mr. Flamburg had asked Ardelia's 3d cousin to introduce
him to her, and from that time his attentions to her had been
unremittent, voyalent, and close. She said that to all human
appearance he wuz in love with her from his hat band down to his
boots and she didn't know what the result would be, though she
felt that the situation wuz dangerus, and more'n probable Abram
Gee had more trouble ahead on him. (Aunt Polly jest worships
Abram Gee, jest as everybody duz that gets to know him well.)
And I too, felt that the situation wuz dubersome. For Ardelia I
knew wuz one of the soft little wimmen that has got to have men
a trailin' round after 'em; and her bein' so uncommon tender
hearted, and Mr. Flamburg so deep in love, I feared the result.
Wall, I wuz jest a thinkin' of this that day after dinner when
Josiah proposed a walk, so we sot out. He proposed we should walk
through the park, so we did. The air wuz heavenly sweet and that
park is one of the most restful and beautiful places this side of
Heaven, or so it seemed to us that pleasant afternoon. The music
was very soft and sweet that day, sweet with a undertone of
sadness, some like a great sorrowful soul in a beautiful body.
The balmy south wind whispered through the branches of the bendin'
trees on the hill where we sot. The light was a shinin' and a
siftin' down through the green leaves, in a soft golden haze, and
the music seemed to go right up into them shadowy, shinin' pathways
of golden misty light, a climbin' up on them shadowy steps of mist
and gold, and amber, up, up into the soft depths of the blue
overhead - up to the abode of melody and love.
Down the hill in the beautiful little valley, all amongst the
fountains and windin' walks and white statutes, and green, green,
grass, little children wuz a playin'. Sweet little toddlers, jest
able to walk about, and bolder spirits, though small, a trudgin'
about with little canes, and jumpin' round, and havin' a good
Little boys and little girls (beautiful creeters, the hull on
'em), for if their faces, every one on 'em, wuzn't jest perfect!
They all had the beauty of childhood and happiness. And crowds of
older folks wuz there. And some happy young couples, youths and
maidens, wuz a settin' round, and a wanderin' off by themselves,
and amongst them we see the form of Ardelia, and a young man by
She wuz a leanin' on the stun railin' that fences in the trout
pond. She wuz evidently a lookin' down pensively at the shinin'
dartin' figures of the trout, a movin' round down in the cool
I wuzn't nigh enough to 'em to see really how her companion
looked, but even at that distance I recognized a certain air and
atmosphere a surroundin' Ardelia that I knew meant poetry.
And Josiah recognized it too, and he sez to me, "We may as well go
round the hill and out to the road that way," sez he, (a pointin'
to the way furthest from Ardelia) "and we may as well be a goin'."
That man abhors poetry.
Wall, we wandered down into the high way and havin' most the hull
afternoon before us, we kinder sauntered round amongst the stores
that wuz pretty nigh to where we wuz. There is some likely good
lookin' stores kep' by the natives, as they call the stiddy
dwellers in Saratoga. Good lookin' respectable stores full of
comfort and consolation, for the outer or inner man or woman. (I
speak it in a mortal sense).
But with the hundred thousand summer dwellers, who flock here with
the summer birds, and go out before the swallers go south, there
comes lots of summer stores, and summer shops, and picture
studios, etc., etc. Like big summer bird's-nests, all full and a
runnin' over with summer wealth, to be blowed down by the autumn
winds. These shops are full of everything elegant and beautiful
and useful. The most gorgeous vases and plaks and chiner ware of
every description and color, and books, and jewelry, and rugs, and
fans, and parasols, and embroideries, and laces, and etc., etc.,
And one shop seemed to be jest full of drops of light, light and
sunshine, crystalized in golden, clear, tinted amber. There wuz a
young female statute a standin' up in the winder of that store
with her hands outstretched and jest a drippin' with the great
glowin' amber drops. Some wuz a hangin' over her wings for she
was a young flyin' female. And I thought to myself it must be she
would fly better with all that golden light a drippin' about her.
Josiah liked her looks first rate. And he liked the looks of some
of the pictures extremely. There wuz lots of places all full of
pictures. A big collection of water colors, though as Josiah said
and well said, How they could get so many colors out of water wuz
a mystery to him.
But my choice out of all the pictures I see, wuz a little one
called "The Sands of Dee." It wuz "Mary a callin' the cattle
home." The cruel treacherus water wuz a risin' about her round
bare ankles as she stood there amongst the rushes with her little
milk-bucket on her arm.
Her pretty innocent face wuz a lookin' off into the shadows, and
the last ray of sunset was a fallin' on her. Maybe it wuz the
pity on't that struck so hard as I looked at it, to know that the
"cruel, crawli'n foam" wuz so soon to creep over the sweet young
face and round limbs. And there seemed to be a shadow of the
comin' fate, a sweepin' in on the gray mist behind her.
I stood for some time, and I don't know but longer, a lookin' at
it, my Josiah a standin' placidly behind me, a lookin' over my
shoulder and enjoyin' of it too, till the price wuz mentioned.
But at that fearful moment, my pardner seized me by the arm, and
walked me so voyalently out of that store and down the walk that I
did not find and recover myself till we stood at the entrance to
And I wuz so out of breath, by his powerful speed, that she didn't
look nateral to me, I hardly recognized Philey. But Josiah
hurried me down Philey and wanted to get my mind offen Mary Dee I
knew, for he says as we come under a sign hangin' down over the
road, "Horse Exchange," sez he, "What do you say, Samantha, do you
spose I could change off the old mair, for a camel or sunthin'?
How would you like a camel to ride?"
I looked at him in speechless witherin' silence, and he went on
hurridly, "It would make a great show in Jonesville, wouldn't it,
to see us comin' to meetin' on a camel, or to see us ridin' in a
cutter drawed by one. I guess I'll see about it, some other
And he went on hurridly, and almost incoherently as we see another
sign, over the road - oh! how vollubly he did talk - "Quick,
"I hate to see folks so dumb conceeted! Now I don't spose that
man has got any hosses much faster than the old mair."
"'Wing's!' Shaw! I don't believe no such thing - a livery on
wings. I don't believe a word on't. And you wouldn't ketch me on
one on 'em, if they had!"
"'Yet Sing!"' sez he, a lookin' accost the street into a laundry
house. "What do I care if you do sing? 'Taint of much account if
you do any way. I sing sometimes, I yet sing," says he.
"Sing," sez I in neerly witherin' tone. "I'd love to hear you
sing, I haint yet and I've lived with you agoin' on 30 years."
"Wall, if you haint heerd me, it is because you are deef," sez he.
But that is jest the way he kep' on, a hurryin' me along, and a
talkin' fast to try to get the price of that picture out of my
head. Anon, and sometimes oftener, we would come to the word in
big letters on signs, or on the fence, or the sides of barns,
"Pray." And sometimes it would read, "Pray for my wife!" And
Josiah every time he came to the words would stop and reflect on
"`Pray!' What business is it of yourn, whether I pray or not?
`Pray for my wife!' That haint none of your business."
Sez he, a shakin' his fist at the fence, "'Taint likely I should
have a wife without prayin' for her. She needs it bad enough,"
sez he once, as he stood lookin' at it.
I gin him a strange look, and he sez, "You wouldn't like it, would
you, if I didn't pray for you?"
"No," sez I, "and truly as you say, the woman who is your wife
needs prayer, she needs help, morn half the time she duz."
He looked kinder dissatisfied at the way I turned it, but he sez,
"'Plumbin' done here!'"
"I'd love to know where they are goin' to plum. I don't see no
sign of plum trees, nor no stick to knock 'em off with." And agin
he sez, "You would make a great 'fuss, Samantha, if I should say
what is painted up right there on that cross piece. You would say
I wuz a swearin'."
Sez I coldly, (or as cold as I could with my blood heated by the
voyalence and rapidity of the walk he had been a leadin' me,)
"There is a Van in front of it. Van Dam haint swearin'."
"You would say it wuz if I used it," sez he reproachfully. "If I
should fall down on the ice, or stub my toe, and trip up on the
meetin' house steps, and I should happen to mention the name of
that street about the same time, you would say I wuz a swearin'."
I did not reply to him; I wouldn't. And ag'in he hurried me on'ards
by some good lookin' bildin's, and trees, and tavrens, and cottages,
and etc., etc., and we come to Caroline street, and Jane, and
Matilda, and lots of wimmen's names.
And Josiah sez, "I'll bet the man that named them streets wuz love
But he wuzn't no such thing. It was a father that owned the land,
and laid out the streets, and named 'em for his daughters. Good
old creeter! I wuzn't goin' to have him run at this late day, and
run down his own streets too.
But ag'in Josiah hurried me on'ards. And bimeby we found
ourselves a standin' in front of a kind of a lonesome lookin'
house, big and square, with tall pillows in front. It wuz a
standin' back as if it wuz a kinder a drawin' back from company,
in a square yard all dark and shady with tall trees. And it all
looked kinder dusky, and solemn like. And a bystander a standin'
by told us that it wuz "ha'nted."
Josiah pawed at it, and shawed at the idee of a gost.
But I sez, "There! that is the only thing Saratoga lacked to make
her perfectly interestin', and that is a gost!"
But agin Josiah pawed at the idee, and sez, "There never wuz such
a thing as a gost! and never will be." And sez he, "what an
extraordenary idiot anybody must be to believe in any sech thing."
And ag'in he looked very skernful and high-headed, and once ag'in
And I kep' pretty middlin' calm and serene and asked the
bystander, when the gost ha'nted, and where?
And he said, it opened doors and blowed out lights mostly, and
trampled up stairs.
"Openin', and blowin', and tramplin'," sez I dreamily.
"Yes," sez the man, "that's what it duz."
And agin Josiah shawed loud. And agin I kep' calm, and sez I,
"I'd give a cent to see it." And sez I, "Do you suppose it would
blow out and trample if we should go in?"
But Josiah grasped holt of my arm and sez, "'Taint safe! my dear
Samantha! don't le's go near the house."
"Why? " sez I coldly, "you say there haint no sech thing as a
gost, what are you afraid on?"
His teeth wuz fairly chatterin'. "Oh! there might be spiders
there, or mice, it haint best to go."
I turned silently round and started on, for my companion's looks
was pitiful in the extreme. But I merely observed this, as we
wended onwards, "I have always noticed this, Josiah Allen, that
them that shaw the most at sech things, are the ones whose teeth
chatter when they come a nigh 'em, showin' plain that the shawers
are really the ones that believe in 'em."
"My teeth chattered," sez he, "because my gooms ache."
"Well," sez I, "the leest said the soonest mended." And we went
on fast ag'in by big houses and little, and boardin' houses, and
boardin' houses, and boardin' houses, and tavrens, and tavrens,
and he kept me a walkin' till my feet wuz most blistered.
I see what his aim wuz; I had recognized it all the hull time.
But as we went up the stairway into our room, perfectly tuckered
out, both on us, I sez to him, in weary axents, "That picture wuz
cheap enough, for the money, wuzn't it?"
He groaned aloud. And sech is my love for that man, that the
minute I heard that groan I immegetly added, "Though I hadn't no
idee of buyin' it, Josiah."
Immegetly he smiled warmly, and wuz very affectionate in his
demeener to me for as much as two hours and a half. Sech is the
might of human love.
His hurryin' me over them swelterin' and blisterin' streets, and
showin' me all the beauty and glory of the world, and his
conversation had no effect, skercely on my mind. But what them
hours of frenzied effert could not accomplish, that one still,
small groan did. I love that man. I almost worship him, and he
me, vise versey, and the same.
We found that Ardelia Tutt had been to see us in our absence. She
had been into our room I see, for she had dropped one of her mits
there. And the chambermaid said she had been in and waited for us
quite a spell - the young man a waitin' below on the piazza, so I
I expect Ardelia wanted to show him off to us and I myself wuz
quite anxus to see him, feelin' worried and oncomfertable about
Abram Gee and wantin' to see if this young chap wuz anywhere nigh
as good as Abram.
Well about a hour after we came back, Josiah missed his glasses he
reads with. And we looked all over the house for 'em, and under
the bed, and on the ceilin', and through our trunks and bandboxes,
and all our pockets, and in the Bible, and Josiah's boots, and
everywhere. And finely, after givin' 'em up as lost, the idee
come to us that they might possibly have ketched on the fringe of
Ardelia's shawl, and so rode home with her on it.
So we sent one of the office-boys home with her mit and asked her
if she had seen Josiah's glasses. And word come back by the boy
that she hadn't seen 'em, and she sent word to me to look on my
pardner's head for 'em, and sure enough there we found 'em, right
on his foretop, to both of our surprises.
She sent also by the boy a poem she had wrote that afternoon, and
sent word how sorry she wuz I wuzn't to home to see Mr. Flamburg.
But I see him only a day or two after that, and I didn't like his
looks a mite.
But he said, and stuck to it, that his father owned a large bank,
that he wuz a banker, and a doin' a heavy business.
Wall, that raised him dretfully in Ardelia's eyes; she owned up to
me that it did. She owned to me that she lead always thought she
would love to be a Banker's Bride. She thought it sounded rich.
She said, "banker sounded so different from baker."
I sez to her coolly, that "it wuz only a difference of one letter,
and I never wuz much of a one to put the letter N above any of the
others, or to be haughty on havin' it added to, or diminished from
But she kep' on a goin' with him. She told me it wuz real
romanticle the way he got aquanted with her. He see her onbeknown
to her one day, when she wuz a writin' a poem on one of the
benches in the park.
"A Poem on a Bench!"
She wuz a settin' on the bench, and a writin' about it, she was a
writin' on the bench in two different ways. Curius, haint it?
But to resoom. He immegetly fell in love with her. And he got a
feller who wuz a boardin' to his boardin' place to interduce him
to Ardelia's relative, Mr. Pixley, and Mr. Pixley interduced him
to Ardelia. He told Ardelia's relatives the same story - That
his father wuz a banker, that he owned a bank and wuz doin' a
Wall, I watched that young chap, and watched him close, and I see
there wuz one thing about him that could be depended on, he wuz
He seemed almost morbid on the subject, and would dispute himself
half a hour, to get a thing or a story he wuz tellin' jest exactly
right. But he drinked; that I know for I know the symptoms.
Coffee can't blind the eyes of her that waz once Smith, nor
peppermint cast a mist before 'em. My nose could have took its
oath, if noses wuz ever put onto a bar of Justice - my nose would
have gin its firm testimony that Bial Flamburg drinked.
And there wuz that sort of a air about him, that I can't describe
exactly - a sort of a half offish, half familier and wholly
disagreeable mean, that can be onderstood but not described. No,
you can't picture that liniment, but you can be affected by it.
Wall, Bial had it.
And I kep' on a not likin' him, and kep' stiddy onwards a likin'
Abram Gee. I couldn't help it, nor did'nt want to. And I looked
out constant to ketch him in some big story that would break him
right down in Ardelia's eyes, for I knew if she had been brought
up on any one commandment more'n another, it wuz the one ag'inst
lyin'. She hated lyin'.
She had been brought up on the hull of the commandments but on
that one in particeler; she wuz brung up sharp but good. But not
one lie could I ketch him in. And he stuck to it, that his father
wuz a banker and doin' a heavy business.
Wall, it kep' on, she a goin' with him through ambition, for I see
plain, by signs I knoo, that she didn't love him half as well as
she did Abram. And I felt bad, dretful bad, to set still and see
Ambition ondoin' of her. For oft and oft she would speak to me of
Bial's father's bank and the heft of the business he wuz a doin'.
And I finally got so worked up in my mind that I gin a sly hint to
Abram Gee, that if he ever wanted to get Ardelia Tutt, he had
better make a summer trip to Saratoga. I never told Ardelia what
I had done, but trusted to a overrulin' destiny, that seems to
enrap babys, and lunatiks, and soft little wimmen, when their
heads get kinder turned by a man, and to Abram's honest face when
she should compare it with Bial Flamburg's, and to Abram's pure,
sweet breath with that mixture of stale cigars, tobacco, beer, and
But Abram wrote back to me that his mother wuz a lyin' at the
p'int of death with a fever - that his sister Susan wuz sick a bed
with the same fever and couldn't come a nigh her and he couldn't
leave what might be his mother's death-bed. And he sez, if
Ardelia had forgot him in so short a time, mebby it wuz the best
thing he could do, to try and forget her. Anyway, he wouldn't
leave his dying mother for anything or anybody.
That wuz Abram Gee all over, a doin' his duty every time by bread
and humanity. But he added a postscript and it wuz wrote in a
agitated hand - that jest as soon as his mother got so he could
leave her, he should come to Saratoga.
JOSIAH 'S FLIRTATIONS.
They say there is a sight of flirtin' done at Saratoga. I didn't
hear so much about it as Josiah did, naturally there are things
that are talked of more amongst men than women. Night after night
he would come home and tell me how fashionable it wuz, and pretty
soon I could see that he kinder wanted to follow the fashion.
I told him from the first on't that he'd better let it entirely
alone. Says I, "Josiah Allen, you wouldn't never carry it through
successful if you should undertake it -- and then think of the
But he seemed sot. He said "it wuz more fashionable amongst
married men and wimmen, than the more single ones," he said "it
wuz dretful fashionable amongst pardners."`
"Wall," says I, "I shall have, nothin' to do with it, and I advise
you, if you know when you are well off, to let it entirely alone."
"Of course," says he, fiercely, "You needn't have nothin' to do
with it. It is nothin' you would want to foller up. And I would
ruther see you sunk into the ground, or be sunk myself, than to
see you goin' into it. Why," says he, savagely, "I would tear a
man lim from lim, if I see him a tryin' to flirt with you."
(Josiah Allen worships me.) "But," says he, more placider like,
"men have to do things sometimes, that they know is too hard for
their pardners to do -- men sometimes feel called upon to do
things that their pardners don't care about -- that they haint
strong enough to tackle. Wimmen are fragile creeters anyway."
"Oh, the fallacy of them arguments -- and the weakness of 'em.
But I didn't say nothin' only to reiterate my utterance, that "if
he went into it, he would have to foller it up alone, that he
musn't expect any help from me."
"Oh no!" says he. "Oh! certainly not."
His tone wuz very genteel, but there seemed to be sumthin' strange
in it. And I looked at him pityin'ly over my specks. The hull
idea on it wuz extremely distasteful to me, this talk about
flirtin', and etc., at our ages, and with our stations in the
Jonesville meetin' house, and with our grandchildren.
But I see from day to day that he wuz a hankerin' after it, and I
almost made up my mind that I should have to let him make a trial,
knowin' that experience wuz the best teacher, and knowin' that his
morals wuz sound, and he wuz devoted to me, and only went into the
enterprize because he thought it wuz fashionable.
There wuz a young English girl a boardin' to the same place we
did. She dressed some like a young man, carried a cane, etc. But
she wuz one of the upper 10, and wuz as pretty as a picture, and I
see Josiah had kinder sot his eyes on her as bein' a good one to
try his experiment with. He thought she wuz beautiful. But good
land! I didn't care. I liked her myself. But I could see, though
he couldn't see it, that she wuz one of the girls who would flirt
with the town pump, or the meetin' house steeple, if she couldn't
get nobody else to flirt with. She wuz born so, but I suppose
ontirely unbeknown to her when she wuz born.
Wall, Josiah Allen would set and look at her by the hour --
dretful admirin'. But good land! I didn't care. I loved to look
at her myself. And then too I had this feelin' that his morals
wuz sound. But after awhile, I could see, and couldn't help
seein', that he wuz a tryin' in his feeble way to flirt with her.
And I told him kindly, but firmly, "that it wuz somethin' that I
hated to see a goin' on."
But he says, "Well, dumb it all, Samantha, if anybody goes to a
fashionable place, they ort to try to be fashionable. 'Taint
nothin' I want to do, and you ort to know it."
And I says in pityin' axents but firm, "If you don't want to,
Josiah, I wouldn't, fashion or no fashion."
But I see I couldn't convince him, and there happened to be a
skercity of men jest then -- and he kep' it up, and it kep' me on
the key veav, as Maggie says, when she is on the tenter hooks of
I felt bad to see it go on, not that I wuz jealous, no, my foretop
lay smooth from day to day, not a jealous hair in it, not one --
but I felt sorry for my companion. I see that while the endurin'
of it wuz hard and tejus for him (for truly he was not a addep at
the business; it come tuff, feerful tuff on him), the endin' wuz
sure to be harder. And I tried to convince him, from a sense of
duty, that she wuz makin' fun of him -- he had told me lots of the
pretty things she had said to him -- and out of principle I told
him that she didn't mean one word of 'em. But I couldn't convince
him, and as is the way of pardners, after I had sot the reasen and
the sense before him, and he wouldn't hear to me, why then I had
to set down and bear it. Such is some of the trials of pardners?
Wall, it kep' agoin' on, and a goin' on, and I kep' a hatin' to
see it, for if anybody has got to flirt, which I am far from
approvin' of, but if I have got to see it a goin' on, I would fain
see it well done, and Josiah's efforts to flirt wuz like an effort
of our old mair to play a tune on the melodian, no grace in it, no
system, nor comfort to him, nor me.
I s'pose the girl got some fun out of it; I hope she did, for if
she didn't it wuz a wearisome job all round.
Wall, a week or so rolled on, and it wuz still in progress. And
one day an old friend of ours, Miss Ezra Balch, from the east part
of Jonesville, come to see me. She come to Saratoga for the
rheumatiz, and wuz gettin' well fast, and Ezra was gettin' entirely
cured of biles, for which he had come, carbunkles.
Wall, she invited Josiah and me to take a ride with 'em, and we
both accepted of it, and at the appointed time I wuz ready to the
minute, down on the piazza, with my brown cotton gloves on, and my
mantilly hung gracefully over my arm. But at the last minute,
Josiah Allen said "he couldn't go."
I says "Why can't you go?"
"Oh," he says, kinder drawin' up his collar, and smoothin' down
his vest, "Oh, I have got another engagement."
He looked real high-headed, and I says to him:
"Josiah Allen didn't you promise Druzilla Balch that you would go
with her and Ezra to-day?"
"Wall yes," says he, "but I can't."
"Why not?" says I.
"Wall, Samantha, though they are well meanin', good people, they
haint what you may call fashionable, they haint the upper 10."
Says I, "Josiah Allen you have fell over 15 cents in my estimation,
sense we have begun talkin', you won't go with 'em because they
haint fashionable. They are good, honest Christian Methodists,
and have stood by you and me many a time, in times of trouble,
and now," says I, "you turn against 'em because they haint
fashionable." Says I, "Josiah Allen where do you think you'll
"Oh, probable down through Congress Park, and we may walk up as
fur as the Indian Encampment. I feel kinder mauger to-day, and my
corns ache feerful." (His boots wuz that small that they wuz
sights to behold, sights!) "We probably shan't walk fur," says
I see how 'twuze in a minute. That English girl had asked him to
walk with her, and my pardner had broken a solemn engagement with
Ezra and Druzilla Balch to go a walkin' with her. I see how
'twuz, but I sot in silence and one of the big rockin' chairs, and
didn't say nothin'.
Finally he says, with a sort of a anxious look onto his foreward:
"You don't feel bad, do you Samantha? You haint jealous, are
"Jealous!" says I, a lookin' him calmly over from head to feet --
it wuz a witherin' look, and yet pitiful, that took in the hull
body and soul, and weighed 'em in the balances of common sense,
and pity, and justice. It wuz a look that seemed to envelop him
all to one time, and took him all in, his bald head, his vest, and
his boots, and his mind (what he had), and his efforts to be
fashionable, and his trials and tribulations at it, and -- and
everything. I give him that one long look, and then I says:
"Jealous? No, I haint jealous."
Then silence rained again about us, and Josiah spoke out (his
conscience was a troublin' him), and he says:
"You know in fashionable life, Samantha, you have to do things
which seem unkind, and Ezra, though a good, worthy man, can't
understand these things as I do."
Says I: "Josiah Allen, you'll see the day that you'll be sorry for
your treatment of Druzilla Balch, and Ezra."
"Oh wall," says he, pullin' up his collar, "I'm bound to be
fashionable. While I can go with the upper 10, it is my duty and
my privilege to go with 'em, and not mingle in the lower classes
like the Balches."
Says I firmly, "You look out, or some of them 10 will be the death
of you, and you may see the day that you will be glad to leave
'em, the hull 10 of em, and go back to Druzilla and Ezra Balch."
But what more words might have passed between us, wuz cut short by
the arrival of Ezra and Druzilla in a good big carriage, with Miss
Balch on the back seat, and Ezra acrost from her, and a man up in
front a drivin'. It wuz a good lookin' sight, and I hastened down
the steps, Josiah disappearin' inside jest as quick as he ketched
sight of their heads.
They asked me anxiously "where Josiah wuz and why he didn't come?"
And I told 'em, "that Josiah had told me that mornin' that he felt
manger, and he had some corns that wuz a achin'."
So much wuz truth, and I told it, and then moved off the subject,
and they seein' my looks, didn't pursue it any further. They
proposed to go back to their boardin' place, and take in Deacon
Balch, Ezra's brother from Chicago, who wuz stayin' there a few
days to recooperate his energies, and get help for tizick. So
they did. He wuz a widowed man. Yes, he was the widower of
Cornelia Balch who I used to know well, a good lookin' and a good
actin' man. And he seemed to like my appeerance pretty well,
though I am fur from bein' the one that ort to say it.
And as we rolled on over the broad beautiful road towards Saratoga
Lake, I begun to feel better in my mind.
The Deacon wuz edifyin' in conversation, and he thought, and said,
"that my mind was the heftiest one that he had ever met, and he
had met hundreds and hundreds of 'em." He meant it, you could see
that, he meant every word he said. And it wuz kind of comfortin'
to hear the Deacon say so, for I respected the Deacon, and I knew
he meant just what he said.
He said, and believed, though it haint so, but the Deacon believed
it, "that I looked younger than I did the day I wuz married."
I told him "I didn't feel so young."
"Wall," he said, "then my looks deceived me, for I looked as
young, if not younger."
Deacon Balch is a good, kind, Christian man.
His conversation was very edifyin', and he looked kinder good, and
warm-hearted at me out of his eyes, which wuz blue, some the color
of my Josiah's. But alas! I felt that though some comforted and
edified by his talk, still, my heart was not there, not there in
that double buggy with 2 seats, but wuz afur off with my pardner.
I felt that Josiah Allen wuz a carryin' my heart with him wherever
he wuz a goin'. Curious, haint it? Now you may set and smile,
and talk, and seem to be enjoyin' yourself first-rate, with
agreeable personages all around you, and you do enjoy yourself
with that part of your nater. But with it all, down deep under
the laughs, and the bright words, the comfort you get out of the
answerin' laughs, the gay talk, under it all is the steady
consciousness that the real self is fur away, the heart, the soul
is fur away, held by some creeter whether he be high, or whether
he be low, it don't matter -- there your heart is, a goin' towards
happiness, or a travellin' towards pain as the case may be --
curious, haint it?
Wall, Ezra and Druzilla wanted to go to the Sulphur Springs way
beyend Saratoga Lake, and as the Deacon wuz agreeable, and I also,
we sot out for it, though, as we all said, it wuz goin' to be a
pretty long and tegus journey for a hot day. But we went along
the broad, beautiful highway, by the high, handsome gates of the
Racing Park, down, down, by handsome houses and shady woods, and
fields of bright-colored wild flowers on each side of the road,
down to the beautiful lake, acrost it over the long bridge, and
then into the long, cool shadows of the bendin' trees that bend
over the road on each side, while through the green boughs, jest
at our side we could ketch a sight of the blue, peaceful waters, a
lyin' calm and beautiful jest by the side of us -- on, on, through
the long, sheltered pathway, out into the sunshine for a spell,
with peaceful fields a layin' about us, and peaceful cattle a
wanderin' over 'em, and then into the shade agin, till at last we
see a beautiful mountin', with its head held kinder high, crowned
with ferns and hemlocks, and its feet washed by the cool water of
the beautiful lake.
The shadows of this mountin', tree crowned, lay on the smooth,
placid wave, and a white sail boat wuz a comin' round the side
on't, and floatin' over the green, crystal branches, and golden
shadows. It wuz a fair seen, seen for a moment, and then away we
went into the green shadows of the woods again, round a corner,
and here we wuz, at the Sulphur Springs.
It wuz a quiet peaceful spot. The house looked pleasant, and so
did the Landlord, and Landlady, and we dismounted and walked
through a long clean hall, and went out onto a back piazza and sot
down. And I thought as I sot there, that I would be glad enough
to set there, for some time. Everything looked so quiet and
serene. The paths leadin' up the hills in different directions,
out into the green woods, looked quiet; the pretty, grassy
backyard leadin' down to the water side looked green and
peaceable, and around all, and beyond all, wuz the glory of the
waters. They lay stretched out beautiful and in heavenly calm,
and the sun, which wuz low in the West, made a gold path acrost
'em, where it seemed as if one could walk over only a little ways,
into Perfect Repose. The Lake somehow looked like a glowin'
pavement, it didn't look like water, but it seemed like broad
fields of azure and palest lavender, and pinky grey, and pearly
white, and every soft and delicate color that water could be
crystalized into. And over all lay the glowin', tender sunset
skies -- it wuz a fair seen. And even as I looked on in a almost
rapped way, the sun come out from behind a soft cloud, and lay on
the water like a pillow of fire jest as I dream that pillow did,
that went ahead of my old 4 fathers.
The rest on 'em seemed to be more intent on the lemonade with 2
straws in 'em. I didn't make no fuss. They are nice, clean
folks, I make no doubt. I wouldn't make no fuss and tell on the
hired man -- women of the house have enough to worry 'em anyway.
But he had dropped some straws into our tumblers, every one on
'em, I dare presume to say they had been a fillin' straw ticks. I
jest took mine out in a quiet way, and throwed 'em to one side.
The rest on 'em, I see, and it wuz real good in 'em, drinked
through 'em, as we used to at school. It wuz real good in
Druzilla, and Ezra, and also in the Deacon. It kinder ondeared
the hull on 'em to me. I hope this won't be told of, it orto be
kep -- for he wuz a goodnatured lookin' hired man, black, but not
to blame for that -- and good land! what is a straw? -- anyway
they wuz clean.
There wuz some tents sot up there in the back yard, lookin' some
as I s'pose our old 4 fathers tents did, in the pleasant summer
times of old. And I asked a bystander a standin' by, whose tents
they wuz, and he said they wuz Free Thinkers havin' a convention.
And I says, "How free?"
And he said "they wuz great cases to doubt everything, they
doubted whether they wuz or not, and if they wuz or when, and if
And he says, "won't you stay to-night over and attend the meetin'?"
And I says, "What are they goin' to teach tonight?"
And he says, "The Whyness of the What"
I says, "I guess that is too deep a subject for me to tackle," and
says I, "Don't they believe anything easier than that?"
And he says, "They don't believe anything. That is their belief
-- to believe nothin'."
"Nothin'!" says I.
"Yes," says he, "Nothin'." And, says he, "to-morrer they are
goin' to prove beyond any question, that there haint any God, nor
anything, and never wuz anything."
"Be they?" sez I.
"Yes," says he, "and won't you come and be convinced?"
I looked off onto the peaceful waters, onto the hills that lay as
the mountains did about Jerusalem, onto the pillow of fire that
seemed to hold in it the flames of that light that had lighted the
old world onto the mornin' of the new day, -- and one star had
come out, and stood tremblin' over the brow of the mountain and I
thought of that star that had riz so long time ago, and had guided
the three wise men, guided 'em jest alike from their three
different homes, entirely unbeknown to each other, guidin' 'em to
the cradle where lay the infant Redeemer of the world, so long
foretold by bard and prophet. I looked out onto the heavenly
glory of the day, and then inside into my heart, that held a faith
jest as bright and undyin' as the light of that star -- and I
says, "No, I guess I won't go and be convinced."
Wall, we riz up to go most immediately afterwerds, and the Deacon
(he is very smart) observed:
"How highly tickled and even highlarious the man seemed in talkin'
about there not bein' any future." And he says, "It wuz a good
deal like a man laughin' and clappin' his hands to see his house
And I sez, "it wuz far wurse, for his home wouldn't stand more'n a
100 years or so, and this home he wuz a tryin' to destroy, wuz one
that would last through eternity." "But," says I, "it hain't
built by hands, and I guess their hands hain't strong enough to
tear it down, nor high enough to set fire to it."
And the Deacon says, "Jest so, Miss Allen, you spoke truthfully,
and eloquent." (The Deacon is very smart.)
When we got into the buggy to start, the Deacon says, "I would
like to resoom the conversation with you, Josiah Allen's wife, a
And Druzilla spoke right out and says, "I will set on the front
seat by Ezra." I says, "Oh no, Druzilla, I can hear the Deacon
from where I sot before."
But the Deacon says, Talkin' loud towards night always offected
his voice onpleasantly, mebby Druzilla and he had better change
Again I demurred. And then Druzilla said she must set by Ezra,
she wanted to tell him sumthin' in confidence.
And so it wuz arraigned, for I felt that I wuz not the one to
come between pardners, no indeed. The road laid peacefuller and
beautifuller than ever, or so it seemed under the sunset glory
that sort o' hung round it. Jest about half way through the woods
we met the English girl, a stridin' along alone, each step more'n
3 feet long, or so it seemed to me. There wuz a look of health,
and happy determination on her forwerd as she strided rapidly by.
I would have fain questioned her concernin' my pardner, as she
strode by, but before I could call out, or begon to her she wuz
far in the rearwerd, and goin' in a full pressure and in a knot of
several miles an hour.
Wall, from that minute I felt strange and curious. And though
Druzilla and Ezra was agreeable and the Deacon edifyin', I didn't
seem to feel edified, and the most warm-hearted looks didn't seem
to warm my heart none, it wuz oppressed with gloomy forebodings
of, Where wuz my pardner? They had laid out to set out together.
Had they sot? This question was a goverin' me, and the follerin'
one: If they had sot out together, where wuz my pardner, Josiah
Allen, now? As I thought these feerful thoughts, instinctively I
turned around to see if I could see a trace of his companion in
the distance. Yes, I could ketch a faint glimpse of her as she
wuz mountin' a diclivity, and stood for an instant in sight, but
long before even, she disopeered agin, for her gait wuz
tremendous, and at a rate of a good many knots she wuz a goin',
that I knew. And the fearful thought would rise, Josiah Allen
could not go more than half a knot, if he could that. He wuz a
slow predestinatur any way, and then his corns was feerful, and
never could be told -- and his boots had in 'em the elements of
feerful sufferin'. It wuz all he could do when he had 'em on to
hobble down to the spring, and post-office. Where? where wuz he?
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