Samantha at Saratoga
Part 3 out of 5
And she a goin' at the rate of so many knots.
Oh! the agony of them several minutes, while these thoughts wuz
rampagin through my destracted brain.
Oh! if pardners only knew the agony they bring onto their devoted
companions, by their onguarded and thoughtless acts, and
attentions to other females, gin without proper reseerch and
precautions, it would draw their liniments down into expressions
of shame and remorse. Josiah wouldn't have gone with her if he
had known the number of knots she wuz a goin', no, not one step --
then why couldn't he have found out the number of them knots --
why couldn't he? Why can't pardners look ahead and see to where
their gay attentions, their flirtations that they call mild and
innercent, will lead 'em to? Why can't they realize that it haint
only themselves they are injurin', but them that are bound to 'em
by the most sacred ties that folks can be twisted up in? Why
can't they realize that a end must come to it, and it may be a
fearful and a shameful one, and if it is a happiness that stops,
it will leave in the heart when happiness gets out, a emptiness, a
holler place, where like as not onhappiness will get in, and mebby
stay there for some time, gaulin' and heart-breakin' to the
opposite pardner to see it go on?
If it is indifference, or fashion, or anything of that sort, why
it don't pay none of the time, it don't seem to me it duz, and the
end will be emptier and hollerer then the beginnin'.
In the case of my pardner it wuz fashion, nothing but the
butterfly of fashion he wuz after, to act in a high-toned,
fashionable manner, like other fashionable men. And jest see the
end on't why he had brought sufferin' of the deepest dye onto his
companion, and what, what hed he brought onto himself -- onto his
Oh! the agony of them several moments while them thoughts was a
rackin' at me. The moments swelled out into a half hour, it must
have been a long half hour, before I see far ahead, for the eyes
of love is keen - a form a settin' on the grass by the wayside,
that I recognized as the form of my pardner. As we drew nearer we
all recognized the figure -- but Josiah Allen didn't seem to
notice us. His boots was off, and his stockin's, and even in that
first look I could see the agony that was a rendin' them toes
almost to burstin'. Oh, how sorry I felt for them toes! He was a
restin' in a most dejected and melancholy manner on his hand, as
if it wuz more than sufferin' that ailed him -- he looked a
sufferer from remorse, and regret, and also had the air of one
whom mortification has stricken.
He never seemed to sense a thing that wuz passin' by him, till the
driver pulled up his horses clost by him, and then he looked up
and see us. And far be it from me to describe the way he looked
in his lowly place on the grass. There wuz a good stun by him on
which he might have sot, but no, he seemed to feel too mean to get
up onto that stun; grass, lowly, unassumin' grass, wuz what seemed
to suit him best, and on it he sot with one of his feet stretched
out in front of him.
Oh! the pitifulness of that look he gin us, oh! the meakinness of
it. And even, when his eye fell on the Deacon a settin' by my
side, oh! the wild gleam of hatred, and sullen anger that glowed
within his orb, and revenge! He looked at the Deacon, and then at
his boots, and I see the wild thought wuz a enterin' his sole, to
throw that boot at him. But I says out of that buggy the very
first thing the words I have so oft spoke to him in hours of
"Joisiah, be calm!"
His eye fell onto the peaceful grass agin, and he says: "Who
hain't a bein' calm? I should say I wuz calm enough, if that is
what you want."
But, oh, the sullenness of that love.
Says Ezra, good man -- he see right through it all in a minute,
and so did Druzilla and the Deacon -- says Ezra, "Get up on the
seat with the driver, Josiah Allen, and drive back with us."
"No," says Josiah, "I have no occasion, I am a settin' here,"
(looking round in perfect agony) "I am a settin' here to admire
Then I leaned over the side of the buggy, and says I, "Josiah
Allen, do you get in and ride, it will kill you to walk back; put
on your boots if you can, and ride, seein' Ezra is so perlite as
to ask you."
"Yes, I see he is very perlite, I see you have set amongst very
perlite folks, Samantha," says he, a glarin' at Deacon Balch as if
he would rend him from lim to lim, "But as I said, I have no
occasion to ride, I took off my boots and stockin's merely --
merely to pass away time. You know at fashionable resorts," says
he, "it is sometimes hard for men to pass away time."
Says I in low, deep accents, "Do put on your stockin's, and your
boots, if you can get 'em on, which I doubt, but put your
stockin's on this minute, and get in, and ride."
"Yes," says Ezra, "hurry up and get in, Josiah Allen, it must be
dretful oncomfortabe a settin' down there in the grass."
"Oh, no!" says Josiah, and he kinder whistled a few bars of no
tune that wuz ever heard on, or ever will be heard on agin, so
wild and meloncholy it wuz -- "I sot down here kind o' careless.
I thought seein' I hadn't much on hand to do at this time o' year,
I thought I would like to look at my feet -- we hain't got a very
big lookin' glass in our room."
Oh, how incoherent and over-crazed he was a becomin'! Who ever
heard of seein' anybody's feet in a lookin' glass -- of dependin'
on a lookin' glass for a sight on 'em? Oh, how I pitied that man!
and I bent down and says to him in soothin' axents: "Josiah Allen,
to please your pardner you put on your stockin's and get into this
buggy. Take your boots in your hand, Josiah, I know you can't get
'em on, you have walked too far for them corns. Corns that are
trampled on, Josiah Allen, rise up and rends you, or me, or
anybody else who owns 'em or tramples on 'em. It hain't your
fault, nobody blames you. Now get right in."
"Yes, do," says the Deacon.
Oh! the look that Josiah Allen gin him. I see the voyolence of
that look, that rested first on the Deacon, and then on that,
And agin I says, "Josiah Allen." And agin the thought of his own
feerful acts, and my warnin's came over him, and again
mortification seemed to envelop him like a mantilly, the tabs
goin' down and coverin' his lims -- and agin he didn't throw that
boot. Agin Deacon Balch escaped oninjured, saved by my voice, and
Josiah's inward conscience, inside of him.
Wall, suffice it to say, that after a long parley, Josiah Allen
wuz a settin' on the high seat with the driver, a holdin' his
boots in his hand, for truly no power on earth could have placed
them boots on Josiah Allen's feet in the condition they then wuz.
And so he rode on howewards, occasionally a lookin' down on the
Deacon with looks that I hope the recordin' angel didn't
photograph, so dire, and so revengeful, and jealous, and -- and
everything, they wuz. And ever, after ketchin' the look in my
eye, the look in his'n would change to a heart-rendin' one of
remorse, and sorrow, and shame for what he had done. And the
Deacon, wantin' to be dretful perlite to him, would ask him
questions, and I could see the side of Josiah's face, all glarin'
like a hyena at the sound of his voice, and then he would turn
round and ossume a perlite genteel look as he answered him, and
then he glare at me in a mad way every time I spoke to the Deacon,
and then his mad look would change, even to one of shame and
meakinness. And he in his stockin' feet, and a pertendin' that he
didn't put his boots on, because it wuzn't wuth while to put 'em
on agin so near bed-time. And he that sot out that afternoon a
feelin' so haughty, and lookin' down on Ezra and Druzilla, and
bein' brung back by 'em, in that condition -- and bein' goured all
the time by thoughts of the ignominious way his flirtin' had
ended, by her droppin' him by the side of the road, like a weed
she had trampled on too hardly. And a bein' gourded deeper than
all the rest of his agonies, by a senseless jealousy of Deacon
Balch -- and a thinkin' for the first time in his life, what it
would be, if her affections, that had been like a divine beacon to
him all his life, if that flame should ever go out, or ever
flicker in its earthly socket -- oh, those thoughts that he had
seemed to consider in his own mad race for fashion -- oh, how that
sass that had seemed sweet to him as a gander, oh how bitter and
poisonous it wuz to partake of as a goose.
Oh! the agony of that ride. We went middlin' slow back -- and
before we got to Saratoga the English girl went past us, she had
been to the Sulphur Springs and back agin. She didn't pay no
attention to us, for she wuz alayin' on a plan in her own mind,
for a moonlight pedestrian excursion on foot, that evenin', out to
the old battle ground of Saratoga.
Josiah never looked to the right hand or the left, as she passed
him, at many, many a knot an hour. And I felt that my pardner's
sufferin from that cause was over, and mine too, but oh! by what
agony wuz it gained. For 3 days and 3 nights he never stood on
any of his feet for a consecutive minute and a half, and I bathed
him with anarky, and bathed his very soul with many a sweet moral
lesson at the same time. And when at last Josiah Allen emerged
from that chamber, he wuz a changed man in his demeanor and
liniment, such is the power of love and womanly devotion.
He never looked at a woman durin' our hull stay at Saratoga, save
with the eye of a philosopher and a Methodist.
MISS G. WASHINGTON FLAMM.
Miss G. Washington Flamm is a very fashionable woman. Thomas
Jefferson carried her through a law-suit, and carried her stiddy
and safe. (She wuz in the right on't, there haint no doubt of
She had come to Jonesville for the summer to board, her husband
bein' to home at the time in New York village, down on Wall
street. He had to stay there, so she said. I don't know why,
but s'pose sunthin' wuz the matter with the wall; anyway he
couldn't leave it. And she went round to different places a good
deal for her health. There didn't seem to be much health round
where her husband wuz, so she had to go away after it, go a
huntin' for it, way over to Europe and back ag'in; and away off
to California, and Colorado, and Long Branch, and Newport, and
Saratoga, and into the Country. It made it real bad for Miss
Now I always found it healthier where Josiah wuz than in any
other place. Difference in folks I s'pose. But they say there
is sights and sights of husbands and wives jest like Miss Flamm.
Can't find a mite of health anywhere near where their families
is, and have to poke off alone after it. It makes it real bad
But anyway she came to Jonesville for her health. And she hearn
of Thomas Jefferson and employed him. It wuz money that fell
onto her from her father, or that should have fell, that she wuz
a tryin' to git it to fall. And he won the case. It fell. She
wuz rich as a Jew before she got this money, but she acted as
tickled over it as if she wuzn't worth a cent. (Human nater.)
She paid Thomas J. well and she and Maggie and he got to be quite
She is a well-meanin', fat little creeter, what there is of her.
I have seen folks smaller than she is, and then ag'in we seen
them that wuzn't so small. She is middlin' good lookin', not old
by any means, but there is a deep wrinkle plowed right into her
forward, and down each side of her mouth. They are plowed deep.
And I have always wondered to myself who held the plow.
It wuz'nt age, for she haint old enough. Wuz it Worry? That
will do as good a day's work a plowin' as any creeter I ever see,
and work as stiddy after it gits to doin' day's works in a
Waz it Dissatisfaction and Disappointment? They, too, will plow
deep furrows and a sight of 'em. I don't know what it wuz.
Mebby it wuz her waist and sleeves. Her sleeves wuz so tight
that they kep' her hands lookin' a kinder bloated and swelled all
the time, and must have been dretful painful. And her waist --
it wuz drawed in so at the bottom, that to tell the livin' truth
it wuzn't much bigger'n a pipe's tail. It beat all to see the
size immegatly above and below, why it looked perfectly
meraculous. She couldn't get her hands up to her head to save
her life; if she felt her head a tottlin' off her shoulders she
couldn't have lifted her hands to have stiddied it, and, of
course, she couldn't get a long breath, or short ones with any
Mebby that worried her, and then ag'in, mebby it wuz dogs. I
know it would wear me out to take such stiddy care on one, day
and night. I never seemed to feel no drawin's to take care of
animals, wash 'em, and bathe 'em, and exercise 'em, etc., etc.,
never havin' been in the menagery line and Josiah always keepin'
a boy to take care of the animals when he wuzn't well. Mebby it
wuz dogs. Anyway she took splendid care of hern, jest wore
herself out a doin' for it stiddy day and night and bein'
trampled on, and barked at almost all the time she wuz a bringin'
on it up.
Yes, she took perfectly wonderful care on't, for a woman in her
health. She never had been able to take any care of her
children, bein' VERY delicate. Never had been well enough to
have any of 'em in the room with her nights, or in the day time
either. They tired her so, and she wuz one of the wimmen who
felt it wuz her DUTY to preserve her health for her family's
sake. Though WHEN they wuz a goin' to get the benefit of her
health I don't know.
But howsumever she never could take a mite of care of her
children, they wuz brought up on wet nurses, and bottles, etc.,
etc., and wuz rather weakly, some on 'em. The nurses, wet and
dry ones both, used to gin 'em things to make 'em sleep, and
kinder yank 'em round and scare 'em nights to keep 'em in the
bed, and neglect 'em a good deal, and keep 'em out in the brilin'
sun when they wanted to see their bows; and for the same reeson
keepin' em out in their little thin dresses in the cold, and
pinch their little arms black and blue if they went to tell any
of their tricks. And they learnt the older ones to be deceitful
and sly and cowerdly. Learnt 'em to use jest the same slang
phrases and low language that they did; tell the same lies, and
so they wuz a spilin' 'em in every way; spilin' their brains with
narcotics, their bodies by neglect and bad usage, and their minds
and morals by evil examples.
You see some nurses are dretful good. But Miss Flamm's health
bein' so poor and her mind bein' so took up with fashion, dogs,
etc., that she couldn't take the trouble to find out about their
characters and they wuz dretful poor unbeknown to her. She had
dretful bad luck with 'em, and the last one drinked, so I have
Yes, it made it dretful bad for Miss Flamm that her health was so
poor, and her fashionable engagements so many and arduous that
she didn't have the time to take a little care of her children
and the dog too. For you could see plain, by the care that she
took of that dog, what a splendid hand she would be with the
children, if she only had the time and health.
Why, I don't believe there wuz another dog in America, either the
upper or lower continent, that had more lovin', anxus,
intelligent, devoted attention than that dog had, day and night,
from Miss Flamm. She took 2 dog papers, so they say, to get the
latest information on the subject; she compared notes with other
dog wimmen, I don't say it in a runnin' way at all. I mean
wimmen who have gin their hull minds to dog, havin', some on 'em,
renounced husbands, and mothers, and children for dog sake.
You know there are sich wimmen, and Miss Flamm read up and
studied with constant and absorbed attention all the latest
things on dog. Their habits, their diet, their baths, their
robes, their ribbons, and bells, and collars, their barks --
nothin' escaped her; she put the best things she learned into
practice, and studied out new ones for herself. She said she had
reduced the subject to a science, and she boasted proudly that
her dog, the last one she had, went ahead of any dog in the
country. And I don't know but it did. I knew it had a good
healthy bark. A loud strong bark that must have made it bad for
her in the night. It always slept with her, for she didn't dast
to trust it out of her sight nights. It had had some spells in
the night, kinder chills, or spuzzums like, and she didn't dast
to be away from it for a minute.
She wouldn't let the wet nurse tech it, for her youngest child,
little G. Washington Flamm, Jr., wuzn't very healthy, and Miss
Flamm thought that mebby the dog might ketch his weakness if the
nurse handled it right after she had been nursin' the baby. And
then she objected to the nurse, so I hearn, on account of her
bein' wet. She wanted to keep the dog dry. I hearn this; I
don't know as it wuz so. But I hearn these things long enough
before I ever see her. And when I did see her I see that they
didn't tell me no lies about her devotion to the dog, for she
jest worshiped it, that was plain to be seen.
Wall, she has got a splendid place at Saratoga; a cottage she
calls it. I, myself, should call it a house, for it is big as
our house and Deacon Peddick'ses and Mr. Bobbett'ses all put
together, and I don't know but bigger.
Wall, she invited Josiah and me to drive with her, and so her dog
and she stopped for us. (I put the dog first, for truly she
seemed to put him forward on every occasion in front of herself,
and so did her high-toned relatives, who wuz with her.)
Or I s'pose they wuz her relatives for they sot up straight, and
wuz dretful dressed up, and acted awful big-feelin' and never
took no notice of Josiah and me, no more than if we hadn't been
there. But good land! I didn't care for that. What if they
didn't pay any attention to us? But Josiah, on account of his
tryin' to be so fashionable, felt it deeply, and he sez to me
while Miss Flamm wuz a bendin' down over the dog, a talkin' to
him, for truly it wuz tired completely out a barkin' at Josiah,
it had barked at him every single minute sense we had started,
and she wuz a talkin' earnest to it a tryin' to soothe it, and
Josiah whispered to me, "I'll tell you, Samantha, why them
fellers feel above me; it is because I haint dressed up in sech a
dressy fashion. Let me once have on a suit like their'n, white
legs and yellow trimmin's, and big shinin' buttons sot on in
rows, and white gloves, and rosettes in my hat -- why I could
appear in jest as good company as they go in."
Sez I, "You are too old to be dressed up so gay, Josiah Allen.
There is a time for all things. Gay buttons and rosettes look
well with brown hair and sound teeth, but they ort to gently pass
away when they do. Don't talk any more about it, Josiah, for I
tell you plain, you are too old to dress like them, they are
"Wall," he whispered, in deep resolve, "I will have a white
rosette in my hat, Samantha. I will go so far, old or not old.
What a sensation it will create in the Jonesville meetin'-house
to see me come a walkin' proudly in, with a white rosette in my
"You are goin' to walk into meetin' with your hat on, are you?"
sez I coldly.
"Oh, ketch a feller up. You know what I mean. And don't you
think I'll make a show? Won't it create a sensation in
Sez I: "Most probable it would. But you haint a goin' to wear no
bows on your hat at your age, not if I can break it up," sez I.
He looked almost black at me, and sez he, "Don't go too fur,
Samantha! I'll own you've been a good wife and mother and all
that, but there is a line that you must stop at. You mustn't go
too fur. There is some things in which a man must be footloose,
and that is in the matter of dress. I shall have a white rosette
on my hat, and some big white buttons up and down the back of my
overcoat! That is my aim, Samantha, and I shall reach it if I
walk through goar."
He uttered them fearful words in a loud fierce whisper which made
the dog bark at him for more'n ten minutes stiddy, at the top of
its voice, and in quick short yelps.
If it had been her young child that wuz yellin' at a visitor in
that way and ketchin' holt of him, and tearin' at his clothes,
the child would have been consigned to banishment out of the
room, and mebby punishment. But it wuzn't her babe and so it
remained, and it dug its feet down into the satin and laces and
beads of Miss Flamm's dress, and barked to that extent that we
couldn't hear ourselves think.
And she called it "sweet little angel," and told it it might
"bark its little cunnin' bark." The idee of a angel barkin';
jest think on't. And we endured it as best we could with shakin'
nerves and achin' earpans.
It wuz a curius time. The dog harrowin' our nerve, and snappin'
at Josiah anon, if not oftener, and ketchin' holt of him
anywhere, and she a callin' it a angel; and Josiah a lookin' so
voyalent at it, that it seemed almost as if that glance could
It wuz a curius seen. But truly worse wuz to come, for Miss
Flamm in an interval of silence, sez, "We will go first to the
Gizer Spring, and then, afterwards, to the Moon."
Or, that is what I understand her to say. And though I kep'
still, I wuz determined to keep my eyes out, and if I see her
goin' into anything dangerus, I wuz goin' to reject her overtures
to take us. But thinkses I to myself, "We always said I believed
we should travel to the stars some time, but I little thought it
would be to-day, or that I should go in a buggy."
Josiah shared my feelin's I could see, for he whispered to me,
"Don't le's go, Samantha, it must be dangerus!"
But I whispered back, "Le's wait, Josiah, and see. We won't do
nothin' percipitate, but," sez I, "this is a chance that we most
probable never will have ag'in. Don't le's be hasty." We talked
these things in secret, while Miss Flamm wuz a bendin' over, and
conversin' with the dog. For Josiah would ruther have died than
not be s'pozed to be "Oh Fay," as Maggie would say, in everything
fashionable. And it has always been my way to wait and see, and
count 10, or even 20, before speakin'.
And then Miss Flamin sez sunthin' about what beautiful fried
potatoes you could get there in the moon, and you could always
get them, any time you wanted 'em.
And the very next time she went to kissin' the dog so voyalently
as not to notice us, my Josiah whispered to me and sez, "Did you
have any idee that wuz what the old man wuz a doin'? I knew he
wuz always a settin' up there in the moon, but it never passed my
mind that he wuz a fryin' potatoes."
But I sez, "Keep still, Josiah. It is a deep subject, a great
undertakin', and it requires caution and deliberation."
But he sez,"I haint a goin', Samantha! Nor I haint a goin' to
let you go. It is dangerus."
But I kinder nudged him, for she had the dog down on her lap, and
was ready to resoom conversation. And about that time we got to
the entrance of the spring, and one of her relatives got down and
opened the carriage door.
I wondered ag'in that she didn't introduce us. But I didn't care
if she didn't. I felt that I wuz jest as good as they wuz, if
they wuz so haughty. But Josiah wantin' to make himself
agreeable to 'em (he hankers after gettin' into high society), he
took off his hat and bowed low to 'em, before he got out, and sez
he, "I am proud to know you, sir," and tried to shake hands with
him. But the man rejected his overtoors and looked perfectly
wooden, and oninterested. A big-feelin', high-headed creeter.
Josiah Allen is as good as he is any day. And I whispered to him
and sez, "Don't demean yourself by tryin' to force your company
onto them any more."
"Wall," he whispered back, "I do love to move in high circles."
Sez I, "Then I shouldn't think you would be so afraid of the
undertakin' ahead on us. If neighborin' with the old man in the
moon, and eatin' supper with him, haint movin' in high circles,
then I don't know what is."
"But I don't want to go into anything dangerus," sez he.
But jest then Miss Flamm.spoke to me, and I moved forward by her
side and into a middlin' big room, and in the middle wuz a great
sort of a well like, with the water a bubblin' up into a clear
crystal globe, and a sprayin' up out of it, in a slender misty
sparklin' spray. It wuz a pretty sight. And we drinked a glass
full of it a piece, and then we wandered out of the back
door-way, and went down into the pretty; old-fashioned garden
back of the house.
Josiah and me and Miss Flamm went. The dog and the two relatives
didn't seem to want to go. The relatives sot up there straight
as two sticks, one of 'em holdin' the dog, and they didn't even
look round at us.
"Felt too big to go with us," sez Josiah, bitterly, as we went
down the steps. "They won't associate with me."
"Wall, I wouldn't care if I wuz in your place, Josiah Allen," sez
I, "you are jest as good as they be, and I know it."
"You couldn't make 'em think so, dumb 'em," sez he.
I liked the looks of it down there. It seems sometimes as if
Happiness gets kinder homesick, in the big dusty fashionable
places, and so goes back to the wild, green wood, and kinder
wanders off, and loafs round, amongst the pine trees, and cool
sparklin' brooks and wild flowers and long shinin' grasses and
slate stuns, and etc., etc.
I don't believe she likes it half so well up in the big hotel
gardens or Courtin' yards, as she does down there. You see it
seems as if Happiness would have to be more dressed up, up there,
and girted down, and stiff actin', and on her good behavior, and
afraid of actin' or lookin' onfashionable. But down here by the
side of the quiet little brook, amongst the cool, green grasses,
fur away from diamonds, and satins, and big words, and dogs, and
parasols, and so many, many that are a chasin' of her and a
follerin' of her up, it seemed more as if she loved to get away
from it all, and get where she could take her crown off, lay down
her septer, onhook her corset, and put on a long loose gown, and
lounge round and enjoy herself (metafor).
We had a happy time there. We went over the little rustick
bridges which would have been spilte in my eyes if they had been
rounded off on the edges, or a mite of paint on 'em. Truly, I
felt that I had seen enough of paint and gildin' to last me
through a long life, and it did seem such a treat to me to see a
board ag'in, jest a plain rough bass-wood board, and some stuns a
lyin' in the road, and some deep tall grass that you had to sort
a wade through.
Miss Flamm seemed to enjoy it some down there, though she spoke
of the dog, which she had left up with her relatives.
"3 big-feelin' ones together," I whispered to Josiah.
And he sez, "Yes, that dog is a big-feelin' little cuss-tomer.
And if I wuz a chipmunk he couldn't bark at me no more than he
And I looked severe at Josiah and sez I, "If you don't jine your
syllables closer together you will see trouble, Josiah Allen.
You'll find yourself swearin' before you know it."
"Oh shaw, sez he, "customer haint a swearin' word; ministers use
it. I've hearn 'em many a time."
"Yes," sez I, "but they don't draw it out as you did, Josiah
"Oh! wall! Folks can't always speak up pert and quick when they
are off on pleasure exertions and have been barked at as long as
I have been. But now I've got a minutes chance," sez he, "let me
tell you ag'in, don't you make no arraingments to go to the Moon.
It is dangerus, and I won't go myself, nor let you go."
"Let," sez I to myself. "That is rather of a gaulin' word to me.
Won't let me go." But then I thought ag'in, and thought how love
and tenderness wuz a dictatin' the term, and I thought to myself,
it has a good sound to me, I like the word. I love to hear him
say he won't let me go.
And truly to me it looked hazerdus. But Miss Flamm seemed ready
to go on, and onwillin'ly I followed on after her footsteps. But
I looked 'round, and said "Good-bye" in my heart, to the fine
trees, and cleer, brown waters of the brook, the grass, and the
wild flowers, and the sweet peace that wuz over all.
"Good-bye," sez I. "If I don't see you ag'in, you'll find some
other lover that will appreciate you, though I am fur away."
They didn't answer me back, none on 'em, but I felt that they
understood me. The pines whispered sunthin' to each other, and
the brook put its moist lips up to the pebbly shore and whispered
sunthin' to the grasses that bent down to hear it. I don't know
exactly what it wuz, but it wuz sunthin' friendly I know, for I
felt it speak right through the soft, summer sunshine into my
heart. They couldn't exactly tell what they felt towards me, and
I couldn't exactly tell what I felt towards them, yet we
understood each other; curi'us, haint it?
Wall, we got into the carriage ag'in, one of her relatives
gettin' down to open the door. They knew what good manners is;
I'll say that for 'em. And Miss Flamm took her dog into her arms
seemin'ly glad to get holt of him ag'in, and kissed it several
times with a deep love and devotedness. She takes good care of
that dog. And what makes it harder for her to handle him is, her
dress is so tight, and her sleeves. I s'pose that is why she
can't breathe any better, and what makes her face and hands red,
and kinder swelled up. She can't get her hands to her head to
save her, and if a assassin should strike her, she couldn't raise
her arm to ward off the blow if he killed her. I s'pose it
And she has to put her bunnet on jest as quick as she gets her
petticoats on, for she can't lift he arms to save her life after
she gets her corsets on. She owned up to me once that it made
her feel queer to be a walkin' 'round her room with not much on
only her bunnet all trimmed off with high feathers and artificial
But she said she wuz willing to do anythin' necessary, and she
felt that she must have her waist taper, no matter what stood in
the way on't. She loves the looks of a waist that tapers. That
wuz all the fault she found with the Goddus of Liberty
enlightenin' the world in New York Harber. We got to talkin'
about it and she said, "If that Goddus only had corsets on, and
sleeves that wuz skin tight, and her overskirt looped back over a
bustle, it would be perfect!"
But I told her I liked her looks as well ag'in as she wuz. "Why,"
sez I, "How could she lift her torch above her head? And how could
she ever enlighten the world, if she wuz so held down by her corsets
and sleeves that she couldn't wave her torch?"
She see in a minute that it couldn't be done. She owned up that
she couldn't enlighten the world in that condition, but as fur as
looks went, it would be perfectly beautiful.
But I don't think so at all. But, as I say, Miss Flamm has a
real hard time on't, all bard down as she is, and takin' all the
care of that dog, day and night. She is jest devoted to it.
Why jest before we started a little lame girl with a shabby
dress, but a face angel sweet, came to the side of the carriage
to sell some water lilies. Her face looked patient, and wistful,
and she jest held out her flowers silently, and stood with her
bare feet on the wet ground and her pretty eyes lookin' pitifully
into our'n. She wanted to sell 'em awfully, I could see. And I
should have bought the hull of 'em immegitly, my feelin's was
sech, but onfortionably I had left my port-money in my other
pocket, and Josiah said he had left his (mebby he had). But Miss
Flamm would have bought 'em in a minute, I knew, the child's face
looked so mournful and appealin'; she would have bought 'em, but
she wuz so engrossed by the dog; she wuz a holdin' him up in
front of her a admirin' and carressin' of him, so's she never
ketched sight of the lame child.
No body, not the best natured creeter in the world, can see
through a dog when it is held clost up to the eye, closer than
Wall, we drove down to what they called Vichy Spring and there on
a pretty pond clost to the springhouse, we see a boat with a
bycycle on it, and a boy a ridin' it. The boat wuz rigged out to
look like a swan with its wings a comin' up each side of the boy.
And down on the water, a sailin' along closely and silently wuz
another swan, a shadow swan, a follerin' it right along. It wuz
a fair seen.
And Josiah sez to me, "He should ride that boat before he left
Saratoga; he said that wuz a undertakin' that a man might be
proud to accomplish."
Sez I, "Josiah Allen, don't you do anything of the kind."
"I MUST, Samantha," sez he. And then he got all animated about
fixin' up a boat like it at home. Sez he, "Don't you think it
would be splendid to have one on the canal jest beyond the
orchard?" And sez he, "Mebby, bein' on a farm, it would be more
appropriate to have a big goose sculptured out on it; don't you
Sez I, "Yes, it would be fur more appropriate, and a goose a
ridin' on it. But," sez I, "you will never go into that
undertakin' with my consent, Josiah Allen."
"Why," sez he, "it would be a beautiful recreation; so uneek."
But at that minute Miss Flamm gin the order to turn round and
start for the Moon, or that is how I understood her, and I
whispered to Josiah and sez, "She means to go in the buggy, for
the land's sake!"
And Josiah sez, "Wall, I haint a goin' and you haint. I won't
let you go into anythin' so dangerus. She will probably drive
into a baloon before long, and go up in that way, but jest before
she drives in, you and I will get out, Samantha, if we have to
"I never heard of anybody goin' up in a baloon with two horses
and a buggy," sez I.
"Wall, new things are a happenin' all the time, Samantha. And I
heard a feller a talkin' about it yesterday. You know they are a
havin' the big political convention here, and he said, (he wuz a
real cute chap too,) he said, 'if the wind wasted in that
convention could be utilized by pipes goin' up out of the ruff of
that buildin' where it is held,' he said, 'it would take a man up
to the moon.' I heerd him say it. And now, who knows but they
have got it all fixed. There wuz dretful windy speeches there
this mornin'. I hearn 'em, and I'll bet that is her idee, of
bein' the first one to try it; she is so fashionable. But I
haint a goin' up in no sech a way."
"No," sez I. "Nor I nuther. It would be fur from my wishes to
be carried up to the skies on the wind of a political convention.
"Though," sez I reasonably, "I haint a doubt that there wuz
sights, and sights of it used there."
But jest at this minute Miss Flamm got through talkin' with her
relatives about the road, and settled down to caressin' the dog
ag'in, and Josiah hadn't time to remark any further, only to say,
"Watch me, Samantha, and when I say jump, jump."
And then we sot still but watchful. And Miss Flamm kissed the
dog several times and pressed him to her heart that throbbed full
of such a boundless love for him. And he lifted his head and
snapped at a fly, and barked at my companion with a renewed energy,
and showed his intellect and delightful qualities in sech remarkable
ways, that filled Miss Flamm's soul deep with a proud joy in him.
And then he went to sleep a layin, down in her lap, a mashin' down
the delicate lace and embroidery and beads. He had been a eating
the beads, I see him gnaw off more than two dozen of 'em, and I
called her attention to it, but she said, "The dear little darlin'
had to have some such recreation." And she let him go on with it,
a mowin' 'em down, as long as he seemed to have a appetite for 'em.
And ag'in she called him "angel." The idee of a angel a gnawin'
off beads and a yelpin'!
And I asked her, and I couldn't help it. How her baby wuz that
afternoon, and if she ever took it out to drive?
And she said she didn't really know how it wuz this afternoon; it
wuzn't very well in the mornin'. The nurse had it out somewhere,
she didn't really know just where. And she said, no, she didn't
take it out with her at all -- fur she didn't feel equal to the
care of it, in this hot weather.
Miss Flamm haint very well I could see that. The care of that
dog is jest a killin' her, a carryin' it round with her all the
time daytimes, and a bein' up with it so much nights. She said
it had a dretful chill the night before, and she had to get up to
warm blankets to put round it; "its nerves wuz so weak," she
said, "and it wuz so sensative that she could not trust it to a
nurse." She has a hard time of it; there haint a doubt of it.
Wall, it wuz anon, or jest about anon, that Miss Flamm turned to
me and sez, "Moon's is one of the pleasantest places on the lake.
I want you to see it; folks drive out there a sight from
And then I looked at Josiah, and Josiah looked at me, and peace
and happiness settled down ag'in onto our hearts.
Wall, we got there considerably before anon and we found that
Moon's insted of bein' up in another planet wuz a big, long sort
a low buildin' settled right down onto this old earth, with a
immense piazza stretchin' along the side on't.
And Miss Flamm and Josiah and me disembarked from the carriage
right onto the end of it. But the dog and her relatives stayed
back in the buggy and Josiah spoke bitterly to me ag'in but low,
"They think it would hurt 'em to associate with me a little, dumb
'm; but I am jest as good as they be any day of the week, if I
haint dressed up so fancy."
"That's so," sez I, whisperin' back to him, "and don't let it
worry you a mite. Don't try to act like Haman," sez I. "You are
havin' lots of the good things of this world, and are goin' to
have some fried potatoes. Don't let them two Mordecais at the
gate, poison all your happiness, or you may get come up with jest
as Haman wuz."
"I'd love to hang'em," sez he, "as high as Haman's gallows would
let 'em hang."
"Why," sez I, "they haint injured you in any way. They seem to
eat like perfect gentlemen. A little too exclusive and
aristocratic, mebby, but they haint done nothin' to you."
"No," sez he, "that is the stick on it, here we be, three men
with a lot of wimmen. And they can't associate with me as man
with man, but set off by themselves too dumb proud to say a word
to me, that is the dumb of it."
But at this very minute, before I could rebuke him for his
feerful profanity, Miss Flamm motioned to us to come and take a
seat round a little table, and consequently we sot.
It was a long broad piazza with sights and sights of folks on
it a settin' round little tables like our'n, and all a lookin'
happy, and a laughin', and a talkin' and a drinkin' different
drinks, sech as lemonade, etc., and eatin' fried potatoes and
And out in the road by which we had come, wuz sights and sights
of vehicles and conveyances of all kinds from big Tally Ho
coaches with four horses on 'em, down to a little two wheeled
buggy. The road wuz full on'em.
In front of us, down at the bottom of a steep though beautiful
hill, lay stretched out the clear blue waters of the lake.
Smooth and tranquil it looked in the light of that pleasant
afternoon, and fur off, over the shinin' waves, lay the island.
And white-sailed boats wuz a sailin' slowly by, and the shadow of
their white sails lay down in the water a floatin' on by the side
of the boats, lookin' some like the wings of that white dove that
used to watch over Lake Saratoga.
And as I looked down on the peaceful seen, the feelin's I had
down in the wild wood, back of the Gizer Spring come back to me.
The waves rolled in softly from fur off, fur off, bringin' a
greetin' to me unbeknown to anybody, unbeknown to me. It come
into my heart unbidden, unsought, from afur, afur.
Where did it come from that news of lands more beautiful than
any that lay round Mr. Moons'es, beautiful as it wuz.
Echoes of music sweeter fur than wuz a soundin' from the band
down by the shore, music heard by some finer sense than heard
that, heavenly sweet, heavenly sad, throbbin' through the
remoteness of that country, through the nearness of it, and
fillin' my eyes with tears. Not sad tears, not happy ones, but
tears that come only to them that shet their eyes and behold the
country, and love it. The waves softly lappin' the shore brought
a message to me; my soul hearn it. Who sent it? And where, and
when, and why?
Not a trace of these emotions could be read on my countenance as
I sot there calmly a eatin' fried potatoes. And they did go
beyond anything I ever see in the line of potatoes, and I thought
I could fry potatoes with any one: Yes, such wuz my feelin's when
I sot out for Mr. Moons'es. But I went back a thinkin' that
potatoes had never been fried by me, sech is the power of a grand
achievment over a inferior one, and so easy is the sails taken
down out of the swellin' barge of egotism.
No, them potatoes you could carry in your pocket for weeks right
by the side of the finest lace, and the lace would be improved by
the purity of 'em. Fried potatoes in that condition, you could
eat 'em with the lightest silk gloves one and the tips of the
fingers would be improved by 'em; fried potatoes, jest think
Wall, we had some lemonade too, and if you'll believe it, -- I
don't s'pose you will but it is the truth, -- there wuz straws in
them glasses too. But you may as well believe it for I tell the
truth at all times, and if I wuz a goin' to lie, I wouldn't lie
about lemons. And then I've always noticed it, that if things
git to happenin' to you, lots of things jest like it will happen.
That made twice in one week or so, that I had found straws in my
tumbler. But then I have had company three days a runnin', rainy
days too sometimes. It haint nothin' to wonder at too much. Any
way it is the truth.
Wall, we drinked our lemonade, I a quietly takin' out the straws
and droppin' 'em on the floor at my side in a quiet ladylike
manner, and Josiah, a bein' wunk at by me, doin' the same thing.
And anon, our carriage drove up to the end of the piazza agin and
we sot sail homewards. And the dog barked at Josiah almost every
step of the way back, and when we got to our boardin' place, Miss
Flamm shook hands with us both, and her relatives never took a
mite of notice of us, further than to jump down and open the
carriage door for us as we got out. (They are genteel in their
manners, and Josiah had to admit that they wuz, much as his
feelin's wuz hurt by their haughtiness towards him.)
And then the dog, and Miss Flamm and Miss Flamm's relatives drove
VISIT TO THE INDIAN ENCAMPMENT.
It wuz a fair sunshiny mornin' (and it duz seem to me that the
fairness of a Saratoga mornin' seems fairer, and the sunshine
more sunshiny than it duz anywhere else), that Josiah and Ardelia
and me sot sail for the Indian Encampment, which wuz encamped on
a little rise of ground to the eastward of where we wuz.
Ardelia wuz to come to our boardin' place at halfpast 9 A. M.,
forenoon, and we wuz to set out together from there. And
punctual to the very half minute I wuz down on the piazza, with
my mantilly hung over my arm and my umberel in my left hand.
Josiah Allen was on the right side on me. And as Ardelia hadn't
come yet we sot down in a middlin' quiet part of the piazza, and
waited for her. And as we sot there, I sez to Josiah, as I
looked out on the fair pleasant mornin' and the fair pleasant
faces environin' of us round, sez I, "Saratoga is a
good-natured place, haint it, Josiah?"
And he said (I mistrust his corns ached worse than common, or
sunthin'), he said, he didn't see as it wuz any better-natured
than Jonesville or Loontown.
And I sez, "Yes it is, Josiah Allen." Sez I, folks are happier
here and more generous, the rich ones seem inclined to help them
that need help to a little comfort and happiness. Jest as I have
always said, Josiah Allen. When folks are happy, they are more
inclined to do good."
"Oh shaw!" sez Josiah. "That never made no difference with me."
"What didn't?" sez I.
"I'm always good," sez he, and he snapped out the words real
snappish, and loud.
And I sez mildly, "Wall, you needn't bring the ruff down to prove
And he went on: "I don't see as they are so pesky good here; I
haint seen nothin' of it."
"Wall," sez I, "when I look over Yaddo, and Hilton Park, it makes
me reconciled, Josiah, to have men get rich; it makes me willin',
And he sez (cross), He guessed men would get rich whether I wuz
willin' or not; he guessed they wouldn't ask me.
"Wall, you needn't snap my head off, Josiah Allen," sez I,
"because I love to see folks use their wealth to make pleasant
places for poor folks to wander round in, and forget their own
narrow rocky roads for a spell. It is a noble thing to do,
Josiah Allen; they might have built high walls round 'em if they
had been a mind to, and locked the gates and shet out all the
poor and tired-out ones, But they didn't, and I am highly tickled
at the thought on't, Josiah Allen."
"Wall, I don't shet up our sugar lot, do I? and I have never
heerd you say one word a praisin' me up for that."
"That is far different, Josiah Allen," sez I, "there is nothin'
there that can git hurt, only stumps. And you have never laid
out a cent of money on it. And they have spent thousands and
thousands of dollars; and the poorest little child in Saratoga,
if it has beauty-lovin' eyes, can go in and enjoy these places
jest as much as the owners can. And it is a sweet thought to me,
"Oh wall," sez he, "you have probable said enough about it."
Now I never care for the last word, some wimmen do, but I never
do. But still I wuzn't goih' to be shet right eff from talkin'
about these places, and I intimated as much to him, and he said,
"Dumb it all! I could talk about 'em all day, if I wanted to,
and about Demorist's Woods too."
"Wall," sez I, "that is another place, Josiah Allen, that is a
likely well-meanin' spot. Middlin' curius to look at," sez I,
reesonably. "It makes one's head feel sort a strange to see them
criss-cross, curius poles, and floors up in trees, and ladders,
and teterin' boards, and springs, etc., etc., etc. But it is a
well-meanin' spot, Josiah Allen. And it highly tickled me to
think that the little fresh air children wuz brung up there by
the owner of the woods and the poor little creeters, out of their
dingy dirty homes, and filthy air, wandered round for one happy
day in the green woods, in the fresh air and sunshine. That wuz
a likely thing to do, Josiah Allen, and it raises a man more in
my estimation when he's doin' sech things as that, than to set up
in a political high chair, and have a lot of dirty hands clapped,
and beery breaths a cheerin' him on up the political arena."
"Oh wall," sez Josiah, "the doin's in them woods is enough to
make anybody a dumb lunatick. The crazyest lookin' lot of stuff
I ever set eyes on."
"Wall, anyway," sez I, "it is a good crazy, if it is, and a
"Oh, how cross Josiah Allen did look as he heered me say these
words. That man can't bear to hear me say one word a praisin' up
another man, and it grows on him.
But good land! I am a goin' to speak out my mind as long as my
breath is spared. And I said quite a number of words more about
the deep enjoyment it gin' me to see these broad, pleasure
grounds free for all, rich and poor, bond and free, hombly and
handsome, etc., etc.
And I spoke about the charitable houses, St. Christiana's home,
and the Home for Old Female Wimmen, and mentioned the fact in
warm tones of how a good, noble-hearted woman had started that
charity in the first on't.
And Josiah, while I wuz talkin' about these wimmen, became meak
as a lamb. They seemed to quiet him. He looked real mollyfied
by the time Ardelia got there, which wuz anon. And then we sot
sail for the Encampment.
The Encampment is encamped on one end of a big, square,
wild-lookin' lot right back of one of the biggest tarvens in
Saratoga. It is jest as wild lookin' and appeerin' a field as
there is in the outskirts of Loontown or Jonesville. Why Uncle
Grant Hozzleton's stunny pasture don't look no more sort a broke
up and rural than that duz. I wondered some why they had it
there, and then I thought mebby they kep' it to remember Nater
by, old Nater herself, that runs a pretty small chance to be
thought on in sech a place as this.
You know there is so much orniment and gildin' and art in the
landscape and folks, that mebby they might forget the great
mother of us all, that is, right in the thickest of the crowd
they might, but they have only to take these few steps and they
will see Ma Nater with her every-day dress on, not fixed up a
mite. And I s'pose she looks good to 'em.
I myself think that Mother Nater might smooth herself out a
little there with no hurt to herself or her children. I don't
believe in Mas goin' round with their dresses onhooked, and
slip-shod, and their hair all stragglin' out of their combs. (I
say this in metafor. I don't spose Ma Nater ever wore a back
comb or had hooks and eyes on her gown; I say it for oritory, and
would wish to be took in a oritorius way.
And I don't say right out, that the reeson I have named is the
one why they keep that place a lookin' so like furey, I said,
MEBBY. But I will say this, that it is a wild-lookin' spot, and
Wall, on the upper end on't, standin' up on the top of a sort of
a hill, the Indian Encampment is encamped. There is a hull row
of little stores, and there is swings, and public diversions of
different kinds, krokay grounds, etc., etc., etc.
Wall, Ardelia stopped at one of these stores kep' by a Injun, not
a West, but a East one, and began to price some wooden bracelets,
and try 'em on, and Josiah and me wandered on.
And anon, we came to a tent with some good verses of Scripter on
it; good solid Bible it wuz; and so I see it wuz a good creeter
in there anyway. And I asked a bystander a standin' by, Who wuz
in there, and Why, and When?
And he said it wuz a fortune-teller who would look in the pamm of
my hand, and tell me all my fortune that wuz a passin' by. And I
said I guessed I would go in, for I would love to know how the
children wuz that mornin' and whether the baby had got over her
cold. I hadn't heerd from 'em in over two days.
Josiah kinder hung 'round outside though he wuz willin' to have
me go in. He jest worships the children and the baby. And he
sees the texts from Job on it, with his own eyes.
So I bid him a affectionate farewell, and we see the woman a
lookin' out of the tent and witnessin' on't. But I didn't care.
If a pair of companions and a pair of grandparents can't act
affectionate, who can? And the world and the Social Science
meetin' might try in vain to bring up any reeson why they
So I went in, with my mind all took up with the grandchildern.
But the first words she sez to me wuz, as she looked close at the
pamm of my hand, "Keep up good spirits, Mom; you will get him in
spite of all opposition."
"Get who?" sez I, "And what?"
"A man you want to marry. A small baldheaded man, a amiable-lookin',
slender man. His heart is sot on you. And all the efferts of the
light-complected woman in the blue hat will be in vain to break it
up. Keep up good courage, you will marry him in spite of all," sez
she, porin' over my pamm and studyin' it as if it wuz a jography.
"For the land's sake!" sez I, bein' fairly stunted with the idees
"Yes, you will marry him, and be happy. But you have had a
sickness in the past and your line of happiness has been broken
once or twice."
Sez I, "I should think as much; let a woman live with a man, the
best man in the world for 20 years, and if her line of happiness
haint broke more than once or twice, why it speaks well for the
line, that is all. It is a good, strong line."
"Then you have been married?" says she.
"Yes, Mom," sez I.
"Oh, I see, down in the corner of your hand is a coffin, you are
a widow, you have seen trouble. But you will be happy. The
mild, bald gentleman will make you happy. He will lead you to
the altar in spite of the light-complected woman with the blue
Ardelia Tutt had on a blue hat, the idee! But I let her go on.
Thinkses I, "I have paid my money and now it stands me in hand to
get the worth on't." So she comferted me up with the hope of
gettin' my Josiah for quite a spell.
Gettin' my pardner! Gettin' the father of my childern, and the
grandparent of my grandchildren! Jest think on't, will you?
But then she branched off and told me things that wuz truly
wonderful. Where and how she got 'em wuz and is a mistery to me.
True things, and strange.
Why it seemed same as if them tall pines, that wuz a whisperin'
together over the Encampment wuz a peerin' over into my past, and
a whisperin' it down to her. Or, in some way or other, the truth
wuz a bein' filtered down to her comprehension through some
avenue beyond our sense or sight.
It is a curious thing, so I think, and so Josiah thinks. We
talked it over after I came out, and we wuz a wanderin' on about
the Encampment. I told him some of the wonderful things she had
told me and he didn't believe it. "For," sez he, "I'll be hanged
if I can understand and I won't believe anything that I can't
And I pointed with the top of my umberel at a weed growin' by the
side of the road, and sez I, "When you tell me jest how that weed
draws out of the back ground jest the ingredients she needs to
make her blue foretop, and her green gown, then I'll tell you all
about this secret that Nater holds back from us a spell, but will
reveel to us when the time comes."
"Oh shave!" sez Josiah, "I guess I know all about a jimson weed.
Why they groin; that is all there is about them. They grow, dumb
'em. I guess if you'd broke your back as many times as I have a
pullin' 'em up, yon would know all about' em. Dumb their dumb
picters," sez he, a scowlin' at 'em.
It wuz the same kind of weed that growed in our onion beds. I
recognized it. Them and white daisies, our garden wuz overrun by
But I sez, "Can you tell how the little seed of this weed goes
down into the earth and selects jest what she wants out of the
great storehouse below? She never comes out in a pink head-dress
or a yellow gown. No, she always selects what will make the blue.
It shows that it has life, intelligence, or else it couldn't think,
way down under the ground, and grope in the dark, but always
gropin' jest right, always a thinkin' the right thing, never, never
in the hundreds and thousands of years makin' a mistake. Why, you
couldn't do it, Josiah Allen, nor I couldn't.
"And we set and see these silent mysteries a goin' on right at
our door-step day by day, and year by year, and think nothin' of
it, because it is so common. But if anything else, some new law,
some new wonder we don't understand comes in our way, we are
ready to reject it and say it is a lie. But you know, Josiah
Allen," sez I, jest ready to go on eloquent -
But I wuz interrupted jest here by my companion hollerin' up in a
loud voice to a boy, "Here! you stop that, you young scamp! Don't
you let me see you a doin' that agin!"
Sez I, "What is it, Josiah Allen?"
"Why look at them young imps, a throwin' sticks at that feeble
old woman, over there."
I looked, and my own heart wuz rousted up with indignation. I
stood where I couldn't see her face, but I see she wuz old,
feeble, and bent, a withered poor old creeter, and they had
marked up over her, her name, Aunt Sally.
I too wuz burnin' indignant to see a lot of young creeters a
throwin' sticks at her, and I cried out loud, "Do you let Sarah
They turned round and laughed in our faces, and I went on: "I'd
be ashamed of myself if I wuz in your places to be a throwin'
sticks at that feeble old woman. Why don't you spend your
strengths a tryin' to do sunthin' for her? Git her a home, and
sunthin' to eat, and a better dress. Before I'd do what you are
a doin' now, I'd growvel in the dust. Why, if you wuz my boys
I'd give you as good a spankin' as you ever had."
But they jest laughed at us, the impudent Greeters. And one of
the boys at that minute took up a stick and threw it, and hit
Sarah right on her poor old head.
Sez Josiah, "Don't you hit Sarah agin."
Sez the boys, "We will," and two of 'em hit her at one time. And
one of 'em knocked the pipe right out of her mouth. She wuz a
smokin', poor old creeter. I s'pose that wuz all the comfort she
took. But did them little imps care? They knocked her as if
they hated the sight of her. And my Josiah (I wuz proud of that
man) jest advanced onto 'em, and took 'em one in each hand, and
gin 'em sech a shakin', that I most expected to see their bones
drop out, and sez he between each shake, "Will you let Sarah
I wuz proud of my Josiah, but fearful of the effect of so much
voyalence onto his constitution, and also onto the boys' frames.
And I advanced onto the seen of carnage and besought him to be
calm. Sez he, "I won't be calm!" sez he, "I haint the man,
Samantha, to stand by and see one of your sect throwed at, as I
have seen Sarah throwed at, without avengin' of it."
And agin he shook them boys with a vehemence. The pennies and
marbles in their pockets rattled and their bones seemed ready to
part asunder. I wuz proud of that noble man, my pardner. But
still I knew that if their bones was shattered my pardner would
be avenged upon by incensed parents. And I sez, "I'd let 'em go
now, Josiah. I don't believe they'll ever harm Sarah agin." Sez
I, "Boys, you won't, will you ever strike a poor feeble old woman
agin?." Sez I, "promise me, boys, not to hurt Sarah."
I don't know what the effect of my words would have been, but a
man came up just then and explained to me, that Aunt Sally wuz a
image that they throwed at for one cent apiece to see if they
could break her pipe.
I see how it wuz, and cooled right down, and so did Josiah. And
he gin the boys five cents apiece, and quiet rained down on the
But I sez to the man, "I don't like the idee of havin' my sect
throwed at from day to day, and week to week." Sez I, "Why didn't
you have a man fixed up to throw at, why didn't you have a Uncle
Sam?" Sez I, "I don't over and above like it; it seems to be a
sort of a slight onto my sect."
Sez the man winkin' kind a sly at Josiah, "It won't do to make
fun of men, men have the power in their hands and would resent it
mebby. Uncle Sam can't be used jest like Aunt Sally."
Sez I, "That haint the right spirit. There haint nothin' over
and above noble in that, and manly."
I wuz kinder rousted up about it, and so wuz Josiah. And that is
I s'pose the reasun of his bein' so voyalent, at the next place
of recreation we halted at Josiah see the picture of the mermaid;
that beautiful female, a, settin' on the rock and combin' her
long golden hair. And he proposed that we should go in and see
Sez I, "It costs ten cents apiece, Josiah Allen. Think of the
cost before it is too late." Sez I, "Your expenditure of money
today has been unusial." Sez I, "The sum of ten cents has jest
been raised by you for noble principles, and I honer you for it.
But still the money has gone." Sez I, "Do you feel able to incur
the entire expense?"
Sez he, "All my life, Samantha, I have jest hankered after seein'
a mermaid. Them beautiful creeters, a settin' and combin' their
long golden tresses. I feel that I must see it. I fairly long
to see one of them beautiful, lovely bein's before I die."
"Wall," sez I, "if you feel like that, Josiah Allen, it is not
fur from me to balk you in your search for beauty. I too admire
loveliness, Josiah Allen, and seek after it." And sez I, "I will
faithfully follow at your side, and together we will bask in the
rays of beauty, together will we be lifted up and inspired by the
immortal spirit of loveliness."
So payin' our 30 cents we advanced up the steps, I expectin' soon
to be made happy, and Josiah held up by the expectation of soon
havin' his eyes blest by that vision of enchantin' beauty, he had
so long dremp of.
He advanced onto the pen first and before I even glanced down
into the deep where as I s'posed she set on a rock a combin' out
her long golden hair, a singin' her lurin' and enchanted song, to
distant mariners she had known, and to the one who wuz a showin'
of her off, before I had time to even glance at her, the maid, I
was dumbfounded and stood aghast, at the mighty change that came
over my pardner's linement.
He towered up in grandeur and in wrath before me. He seemed
almost like a offended male fowl when ravenin' hawks are angerin'
of it beyond its strength to endure. I don't like that metafor;
I don't love to compare my pardner to any fowl, wild or tame; but
my frenzied haste to describe the fearful seen must be my excuse,
and also my agitation in recallin' of it.
He towered up, he fluttered so to speak majestically, and he says
in loud wild axents that must have struck terror to the soul of
that mariner, "Where is the hair-comb?"
And then he shook his fist in the face of that mariner, and cries
out once agin, "Where is them long golden tresses? Bring 'em on
this instant! Fetch on that hair-comb, in a minute's time, or
I'll prosecute you, and sue you, and take the law to you - !"
The mariner quailed before him and sez I, "My dear pardner, be
calm! Be calm!"
"I won't be calm!"
Sez I mildly, but firmly, "You must, Josiah Allen; you must! or
you will break open your own chest. You must be calm."
"And I tell you I won't be calm. And I tell you," says he, a
turnin' to that destracted mariner agin "I tell you to bring on
that comb and that long hair, this instant. Do you s'pose I'm
goin' to pay out my money to see that rack-a-bone that I wouldn't
have a layin' out in my barn-yard for fear of scerin' the dumb
scere-crows out in the lot. Do you s'pose I'm goin' to pay out
my money for seein' that dried-up mummy of the hombliest thing
ever made on earth, the dumbdest, hombliest; with 2 or 3 horse
hairs pasted onto its yellow old shell! Do you spose I'm goin'
to be cheated by seein' that, into thinkin' it is a beautiful
creeter a playin' and combin' her hair? Bring on that beautiful
creeter a combin' out her long, golden hair this instant, and
bring out the comb and I'll give you five minutes to do it in."
He wuz hoorse with emotion, and he wuz pale round his lips as
anything and leis eyes under his forward looked glassy. I wuz
fearful of the result.
Thinkses I, I will look and see what has wrecked my pardner's
happiness and almost reasen. I looked in and I see plain that
his agitation was nothin' to be wondered at. It did truly seem
to be the hombliest, frightfulest lookin' little thing that wuz
ever made by a benignant Providence or a taxy-dermis. I couldn't
tell which made it. I see it all, but I see also, so firm, sot
is my reasun onto its high throne on my heart, I see that to
preserve my pardner's sanity, I must control my reasun at the
sight that had tottered my pardner's.
I turned to him, and tried to calm the seethin' waters, but he
loudly called for the comb, and for the tresses, and the lookin'
glass. And, askin' in a wild' sarcastic way where the song wuz
that she sung to mariners? And hollerin' for him to bring on
that rock at that minute, and them mariners, and ordered him to
set her to singin'.
The idee! of that little skeletin with her skinny lips drawed
back from her shinin' fish teeth, a singin'. The idee on't!
But truly, he wuz destracted and knew not what he did. The
mariner in charge looked destracted. And the bystanders a
standin' by wuz amazed, and horrowfied by the spectacle of his
actin' and behavin'. And I knew not how I should termonate the
seen, and withdraw him away from where he wuz.
But in my destraction and agony of sole, I bethought me of one
meens of quietin' him and as it were terrifyin' him into silence
and be the meens of gettin' on him to leave the seen. I begoned
to Ardelia to come forward and I sez in a whisper to her, "Take
out your pencil and a piece of paper and stand up in front of him
and go to writin' some of your poetry,"
And then I sez agin in tender agents, "Be calm, Josiah."
"And I tell you that I won't be calm! And I tell you," a shakin'
his fist at that pale mariner, "I tell you to bring out -- "
At that very minute he turned his eyes onto Ardelia, who stood
with a kind of a fur-away look in her eyes in front of him with
the paper in her hand, and sez he to me, "What is she doin'?"
"She is composin' some poetry onto you, Josiah Allen," sez I, in
tremblin' axents; for I felt that if that skeme failed, I wuz
undone, for I knew I had no ingredients there to get him a extra
good meal. No, I felt that my tried and true weepon wuz fur
away, and this wuz my last hope.
But as I thought these thoughts with almost a heatlightnin'
rapidety, I see a change in his liniment. It did not look so
thick and dark; it began to look more natural and clear.
And sez he in the same old way I have heerd him say it so many
times, "Dumb it all! What duz she want to write poetry on me
for? It is time to go home." And so sayin', he almost tore us
from the seen.
I gin Ardelia that night 2 yards of lute-string ribbon, a light
pink, and didn't begrech it. But I have never dast, not in his
most placid and serene moments - I have never dast, to say the
word "Mermaid' to him.
Truly there is something that the boldest female pardner dassent
do. Mermaids is one of the things I don' dast to bring up. No!
no, fur be it from me to say "Mermaid" to Josiah Allen.
A DRIVE TO SARATOGA LAKE.
Josiah and me took a short drive this afternoon, he hirin' a
buggy for the occasion. He called it "goin' in his own conveniance,"
and I didn't say nothin' aginst his callin' it so. I didn't break
it up for this reasun, thinkses I it is a conveniance for us to
ride in it, for us 2 tried and true souls to get off for a minute
Wall, Josiah wuz dretful good behaved this afternoon. He helped
me in a good deal politer than usual and tucked the bright
lap-robe almost tenderly round my form.
Men do have sech spells. They are dretful good actin' at times.
Why they act better and more subdueder and mellerer at sometimes
than at others, is a deep subject which we mortals cannot as yet
fully understand. Also visey versey, their cross, up headeder
times, over bearin' and actin'. It is a deep subject and one
freighted with a great deal of freight.
But Josiah's goodness on this afternoon almost reached the
Scripteral and he sez, when we first sot out, and I see that the
horse's head wuz turned towards the Lake. Sez he, "I guess we'll
go to the Lake, but where do you want to go, Samantha? I will go
anywhere you want to go."
And he still drove almost recklessly on lakewards. And sez he,
"We had better go straight on, but say the word, and you can go
jest where you want to." And he urged the horse on to still
greater speed. And he sez agin, "Do you want to go any
particular place, Samantha?"
"Yes," sez I, "I had jest as leves go there as not."
"Wall, I knew there would be where you would want to go." And he
drove on at a good jog. But no better jog than we had been a
Wall the weather wuz delightful. It wuz soft and balmy. And my
feelin's towered my pardner (owin' to his linement) wuz soft and
balmy as the air. And so we moved onwards, past the home of one
who wuz true to his country, when all round him wuz false, who
governed his state wisely and well, held the lines firm, when she
wuz balky, and would have been glad to take the lines in her
teeth and run away onto ruin; past the big grand house of him who
carried a piece of our American justice way off into Egypt and
carried it firm and square too right there in the dark. I s'pose
it is dark. I have always hearn about its bein' as dark as
Egypt. Wall, anyway he is a good lookin' man. They both on 'em
are and Josiah admitted it - after some words.
Wall anon, or perhaps a little after, we came to where we could
see the face of Beautiful Saratoga Lake, layin' a smilin' up into
the skies. A little white cloud wuz a restin' up on the top of
the tree-covered mountain that riz up on one side of the lake,
and I felt that it might be the shadow form of the sacred dove
Saderrosseros a broodin' down over the waters she loved.
That she loved still, though another race wuz a bathin' their
weary forwards in the tide. And I wondered as I looked down on
it, whether the great heart of the water wuz constant; if it ever
heaved up into deep sithes a thinkin' of the one who had passed
away, of them who once rested lightly on her bosem, bathed their
dark forwards and read the meanin' of the heavens, in the moon
and stars reflected there.
I don't know as she remembered 'em, and Josiah don't. But I know
as we stood there, a lookin' down on her, the lake seemed to give
a sort of a sithe and a shiver kind a run over her, not a cold
shiver exactly, but a sort of a shinin', glorified shiver. I see
it a comin' from way out on the lake and it swept and sort a
shivered on clean to the shore and melted away there at our feet.
Mebby it wuz a sort o' sithe, and mebby agin it wuzn't.
I guess it felt that it wuz all right, that a fairer race had
brought fairer customs and habits of thoughts, and the change wuz
not a bad one. I guess she looked forward to the time when a
still grander race should look down into her shinin' face, a race
of free men, and free wimmen; sons and daughters of God, who
should hold their birthright so grandly and nobly that they will
look back upon the people of to-day, as we look back upon the
dark sons and daughters of the forest, in pity and dolor.
I guess she thought it wuz all right. Any way she acted as if
she did. She looked real sort o' serene and calm as we left her,
and sort o' prophetic too, and glowin'.
Wall, we went by a long first rate lookin' sort of a tarven, I
guess. It wuz a kind of a dark red color, and dretfully flowered
off in wood - red wood. And there we see standin' near the
house, a great big round sort of a buildin', and my Josiah sez,
"There! that is a buildin' I like the looks on. That is a barn I
like; built perfectly round. That is sunthin' uneek. I'll have
a barn like that if I live. I fairly love that barn." And he
stopped the horse stun still to look at it.
And I sez in sort o' cool tones, not entirely cold, but coolish:
"What under the sun do you want with a round barn? And you don't
need another one."
"Wall, I don't exactly need it, Samantha, but it would be a
comfert to me to own one. I should dearly love a round barn."
And he went on pensively, - "I wonder how much it would cost. I
wouldn't have it quite so big as this is. I'd have it for a
horse barn, Samantha. It would look so fashionable, and genteel.
Think what it would be, Samantha, to keep our old mair in a round
barn, why the mair would renew her age."
"She wouldn't pay no attention to it," sez I. "She knows too
much." And I added in cooler, more dignifieder tones, but dretful
meanin' ones, "The old mair, Josiah Allen, don't run after every
new fancy she hears on. She don't try to be fashionable, and she
haint high-headed, except," sez I, reasenably, "when you check her
up too much."
"Wall," sez he, "I am bound to make some enquiries. Hello!" says
he to a bystander a comin' by. "Have you any idee what such a
barn as that would cost? A little smaller one, I don't need so
big a one. How many feet of lumber do you s'pose it would take
for it? I ask you," sez he, "as between man and man."
I nudged him there, for as I have said, I didn't believe then,
and I don't believe now, that he or any other man ever knew or
mistrusted what they meant by that term "as between man and man."
I think it sounds kind o' flat, and I always oppose Josiah's
usin' it; he loves it.
Wall, the man broke out a' laughin' and sez he, "That haint a
barn, that is a tree."
"A tree!" sez I, a sort o' cranin' my neck forward in deep amaze.
And what exclamation Josiah Allen made, I will not be coaxed into
revealin'; no, it is better not.
But suffice it to say that after a long explanation my companion
at last gin in that the man wuz a tellin' the truth, and it wuz
the lower part of a tree-trunk, that growed once near the Yo Semity
valley of California. Good land! good land!
Josiah drove on quick after the man explained it, he felt
meachin', but I didn't notice his linement so much, I wuz so deep
in thought, and a wonderin' about it; a wonderin' how the old
tree felt with her feet a restin' here on strange soil - her
withered, dry old feet a standin' here, as if jest ready to walk
away restless like and feverish, a wantin' to get back by the
rushin' river that used to bathe them feet in the spring overflow
of the pure cold mountain water. It seemed to me she felt she
was a alien, as if she missed her strong sturdy grand old body,
her lofty head that used to peer up over the mountains, and as if
some day she wuz a goin' to set off a walkin' back, a tryin' to
I thought of how it had towered up, how the sun had kissed its
branches, how the birds had sung and built their nests against
her green heart, hovered in her great, outstretched arms. The
birds of a century, the birds of a thousand years. How the
storms had beat upon her; the first autumn rains of a thousand
years, the first snow-flakes that had wavered down in a slantin'
line and touched the tips of her outstretched fingers, and then
had drifted about her till her heart wuz almost frozen and she
would clap her cold hands together to warm 'em, and wail out a
dretful moanin' sound of desolation, and pain.
But the first warm rain drops of Spring would come, the sunshine
warmed her, she swung out her grand arms in triumph agin, and
joined the majestic psalm of victory and rejoicing with all her
grand sisterhood of psalmists. The stars looked down on her, the
sun lit her lofty forward, the suns and stars of a thousand
years. Strange animals, that mebby we don't know anything about
now, roamed about her feet, birds of a different plumage and song
sung to her (mebby).
Strange faces of men and women looked up to her. What faces had
looked up to her in sorrow and in joy? I'd gin a good deal to
know. I'd have loved to see them strange faces touched with
strange pains and hopes. Tribulations and joys of a thousand
years ago. What sort of tribulations wuz they, and what sort of
joys? Sunthin' human, sunthin' that we hold in common, no doubt.
The same pain that pained Eve as she walked down out of Eden, the
same joy that Adam enjoyed while they and the garden wuz
prosperus, wuz in their faces most probable whether their
forwards wuz pinted or broad, their faces black, copper colored
And the changes, the changes of a thousand years, all these the
old tree had seen, and I respected her dry dusty old feet and wuz
sorry for 'em. And I reveryed on the subject more'n half the way
home, and couldn't help it. Anyway my revery lasted till jest
before we got to the big gate of the Race Course.
And right there, right in front of them big ornamental doors, we
see Miss G. Washington Flamm, with about a thousand other carriages
and wagons and Tally ho's and etcetry, and etcetry. Josiah thinks
there wuz a million teams, but I don't. I am mejum; there wuzn't
probable over a thousand right there in the road.
Miss Flamm recognized us and asked us if we didn't want to go in.
Wall, Josiah wuz agreeable to the idee and said so. And then she
said sunthin' to the man that tended to the gate, probably
sunthin' in our praise, and handed him sunthin', it might have
been a ten cent piece, for all I know.
But anyway he wuz dretful polite to us, and let us through. And
my land! if it wuzn't a sight to behold! Of all the big roomy
places I ever see all filled with vehicles of all shapes and
sizes and folks on foot and big high platforms, all filled with
men and wimmen and children! And Josiah sez to me, "I thought
the hull dumb world wuz there outside in the road, and here there
is ten times as many in here."
And I sez, "Yes, Josiah, be careful and not lose me, for I feel
like a needle in a hay mow."
He looked down on me and sort a smiled. I s'pose it wuz because
I compared myself to a needle, and he sez, "A cambric needle, or
a darnin' needle?"
And I sez, "I wouldn't laugh in such a time as this, Josiah Allen."
Sez I, "Do jest look over there on the race course."
And it wuz a thrillin' seen. It wuz a place big enough for all
the horses of our land to run 'round in and from Phario's horses
down to them of the present time. And beautiful broad smooth
roads cut in the green velvet of the grass, and horses goin'
'round jest like lightnin', with little light buggys hitched to
'em, some like the quiver on sheet lightnin' (only different
shape) and men a drivin' 'em.
And then there wuz a broad beautiful race course with little
clusters of trees and bushes, every little while right in the
road, and if you'll believe it, I don't s'pose you will, but it
is the livin' truth, when them horses, goin' jest like a flash of
light, with little boys all dressed in gay colors a ridin' 'em --
when them horses came to them trees instid of goin' 'round 'em,
or pushin' in between 'em, or goin' back agin, they jumped right
over 'em. I don't spose this will be believed by lots of folks
in Jonesville and Loontown, but it is the truth, for I see it
with both my eyes. Josiah riz right up in the buggy and cheered
jest as the rest of 'em did, entirely unbeknown to himself, so he
said, to see it a goin' on.
Why he got nearly rampant with excitement. And so did I, though
I wouldn't want it known by Tirzah Ann's husband's folks and
others in Jonesville. They call it "steeple chasin'" so if they
should hear on't, it wouldn't sound so very wicked any way. I
should probable tell 'em if they said too much, "That it wuz a
pity if folks couldn't get interested in a steeple and chase it
up." But between you and me I didn't see no sign of a steeple,
nor meetin' house nor nuthin'. I s'pose they gin it that name to
make it seem more righter to perfessors. I know it wuz a great
comfort to me. (But I don't think they chased a steeple, and
Josiah don't, for we think we should have seen it if they had.)
Wall, as I say, we wuz both dretfully interested, excited, and
wrought up, I s'pose I ort to say, when a chap accosted me and
says to me sunthin' about buyin' a pool. And I shook my head and
sez, "No, I don't want to buy no pool."
But he kep' on a talkin' and a urgin', and sez, "Won't you buy a
French pool, mom, you can make lots of money out of it."
"A pool," sez I in dignified axents, and some stern, for I wuz
weary with his importunities. "What do I want a pool for? Don't
you s'pose there's any pools in Jonesville, and I never thought
nothin' on 'em, I always preferred runnin' water. But if I wuz a
goin' to buy one, what under the sun do you s'pose I would buy
one way off here for, hundreds of miles from Jonesville?"
"I might possibly," sez I, not wantin' to hurt his feelin's and
tryin' to think of some use I could put it tot " might if you had
a good small American pool, that wuz a sellin' cheap; and I could
have it set right in our back yard, clost to the horse barn, why
I might possibly try to make a dicker with you for it. I might
use it for raisin' ducks and geese, though I'd rather have a
runnin' stream then. But how under the sun you think I could
take a pool home on a tower, how I could pack it, or transport
it, or drive it home is a mystery to me."
Again he sez mechinecally, "Lots of wimmen do get 'em."
"Wall, some wimmen," sez I mildly, for I see he wuz a lookin' at
me perfect dumbfoundered. I see I wuz fairly stuntin' him with
my eloquence. "Some wimmen will buy anything if it has a French
name to it. But I prefer my own country, land or water. And
some wimmen," sez I, "will buy anything if they can get it cheap,
things they don't need, and would be better off without, from a
eliphant down to a magnificent nothin' to call husband. They'll
buy any worthless and troublesome thing jest to get 'em to goin'.
Now such wimmen would jest jump at that pool. But that haint my
way. No, I don't want to purchase your pool."
Sez he, "You are mistaken, mom!"
"No I haint," sez I firmly and with decesion. "No I haint. I
don't need no pool. It wouldn't do me no good to keep it on my
hands, and I haint no notion of settin' up in the pool or pond
business, at my age."
"And then," sez I reasonably, "the canal runs jest down below our
orchard, and if we run short, we could get all the water we
wanted from there. And we have got two good cisterns and a well
on the place."
Sez he, "What I mean is, bettin' on a horse. Do you want to bet
on which horse will go the fastest, the black one or the bay one?"
"No," sez I, "I don't want to bet."
But he kep' on a urgin' me, and thinkin' I had disappinted him in
sellin' a pool, or rather pond, I thought it wouldn't hurt me to
kinder gin in to him in this, so I sez mildly, "Bettin' is sunthin'
I don't believe in, but seein' I have disappinted you in sellin'
your water power, I don't know as it would be wicked to humor you
in this and say it to please you. You say the bay horse is the
best, so I'll say for jest this once - There! I'll bet the bay
one will go the best."
"Where is your money?" sez he. "It is five dollars for a bet.
You pay five dollars and you have a chance to get back mebby 100."
I riz right up in feerful dignity, and the buggy and I sez that
one feerful word to him, "Gamblin'!" He sort a quailed. But sez
he, "you had better take a five-dollar chance on the bay horse."
"No," sez I, with a freezin' coldness, that must have made his
ears fairly tingle it wuz so cold, "no I shall not gamble, neither
on foot nor on horseback."
Then I sot down and I sez in the same lofty tones to Josiah
Allen, "Drive on, Josiah, instantly and to once."
He too had heerd the fearful word and his princeples too wuz
rousted up. He driv right on rapidly, out of the gate and into
the highway. But as he druv on fast and almost furius I heerd
him murmur words to himself, that accounted for his eager looks
while the man wuz dickerin' about the pool. He sez, "It is dumb
hard work pumpin' water for so many head of cattle." He thought
a pool would come handy, so I see. But it wuz all done and I
would have done the same thing if it was to do over agin, so I
didn't say nuthin', but kep' a serene silence, and let him drive
along in quiet; and anon, I see the turbelence of his feelin's
subsided in a measure.
It wuz a gettin' along towards sundown and the air wuz a growin'
cool and balmy, as if it wuz a blowin' over some balm flowers,
and we begun to feel quite well in our minds, though the crowd
in the road wuz too big for comfert. The crowd of carriages and
horses, and vehicles of all kinds, seemed to go in two big full
rows or streams, one a goin' down on one side of the road, and
the other a goin' up on the other. So the 2 tides swept past
each other constantly -- but the bubbles on the tide wuzn't foam
but feathers, and bows, and laces, and parasols, and buttons, and
diamonds, and etcetry, etcetry, etcetry.
And all of a sudden my Josiah jest turned into a big gate that
wuz a standin' wide open and we drove into a beautiful quiet road
that went a windin' in under the shadows of the tall grand old
trees. He did it without askin' my advice or sayin' a word to
me. But I wuzn't sorry. Fur it wuz beautiful in there. It
seemed as if we had left small cares and vexations and worryments
out there in the road and dust, and took in with us only repose
and calmness, and peace, and they wuz a journeyin' along with us
on the smooth road under the great trees, a bendin' down on each
side on us. And pretty soon we came to a beautiful piece of
water crossed by a rustick bridge, and all surrounded by green
trees on every side. Then up on the broad road agin, sweepin'
round a curve where we could see a little ways off a great mansion
with a wall built high round it as if to shet in the repose and
sweet home-life and shet out intrusion, sort a protect it from the
too curius glances of a curius generation. Some as I hold my hand
up before my face to keep off the too-scorchin' rays of the sun,
when I am a lookin' down the western road for my Josiah.
It wuz a good lookin' spot as I ever want to see, sheltered,
quiet and lovely. But we left it behind us as we rode onwards,
till we came out along another broad piece of the water, and we
rode along by the side of it for some time.
Beautiful water with the trees growin' up on every side of it,
and their shadows reflected so clearly in the shinin' surface,
that they seemed to be trees a growin' downwards, tall grand
trees, wavin' branches, goin' down into the water and livin' agin
in another world, -- a more beautiful one.
The sun wuz a gettin' low and piles of clouds wuz in the west and
all their light wuz reflected in the calm water. And the beautiful
soft shadows rested there on that rosy and golden light, some like
the shadow of a beautiful and sorrowful memory, a restin' down and
reposin' on a divine hope, an infinite sweetness.
VISITS TO NOTABLE PLACES.
It is a perfect sight to behold, to set on the piazzas at Saratoga,
and see the folks a goin' past.
Now in Jonesville, when there wuz a 4th of July, or campmeetin',
or sunthin' of that kind a goin' on, why, I thought I had seen
the streets pretty full. Why, I had counted as many as seven
teams in the road at one time, and I had thought that wuz pretty
lively times. But good land? Good land! You would have gin up
in ten minutes time here, that you had never seen a team (as it
Why I call my head a pretty sound one, but I declare, it did
fairly make my head swim to set there kinder late in the
afternoon, and see the drivin' a goin' on. See the carriages a
goin' this way, and a goin' that way; horses of all colers, and
men and wimmen of all colers, and parasols of all colers, and
hats, and bonnets and parasols, and satins, and laces, and
ribbins, and buttons, and dogs, and flowers, and plumes, and
parasols. And horses a turnin' out to go by, and horses havin'
gone by, and horses that hadn't gone by. And big carriages with
folks inside all dressed up in every coler of the rain beaux.
And elligent gentlemen dressed perfectly splendid, a settin' up
straight behind. With thin yellow legs, or stripes down the side
on 'em, and their hats all trimmed off with ornaments and buttons
up and down their backs.
Haughty creeters they wuz, I make no doubt. They showed it in
their looks. But I never loved so much dress in a man. And I
would jest as soon have told them so; as to tell you. I hain't
one to say things to a man's back that I won't say to his face,
whether it be a plain back or buttoned.
Wall, as I say, it wuz a dizzy sight to set there on them piazzas
and see the seemin'ly endless crowd a goin' by; back and forth,
back and forth; to and fro, to and fro. I didn't enjoy it so
much as some did, though for a few minutes at a time I looked
upon it as a sort of a recreation, some like a circus, only more
But some folks enjoyed it dretfully. Yes, they set a great deal
on piazzas at Saratoga. And when I say set on 'em, I mean they
set a great store on 'em, and they set on 'em a great deal. Some
folks set on 'em so much, that I called them setters. Real likely
creeters they are too, some on 'em, and handsome; some pious,
sober ones, some sort a gay. Some not married at all, and some
married a good deal, and when I say a good deal I meen, they have
had various companions and lost 'em.
Now there wuz one woman that I liked quite well.
She had had 4 husbands countin' in the present one. She wuz a
good lookin' woman and had seen trouble. It stands to reeson she
had with 4 husbands. Good land!
She showed me one day a ring she wore. She had took the weddin'
rings of her 4 pardners and had 'em all run together, and the
initials of their first names carved inside on it. Her first
husband's name wuz Franklin, her next two wuz Orville and Obed,
and her last and livin' one Lyman. Wall, she meant well, but she
never see what would be the end on't and how it would read till
she had got their initials all carved out on it.
She wuz dretfully worked up about it, but I see that it wuz right.
For nobody but a fool would want to run all these recollections
and memories together, all the different essociations and emotions,
that must cluster round each of them rings. The idee of runnin'
'em all together with the livin' one! It wuz ectin' like a fool
and it seemed fairly providential that their names run in jest
Why, if I had had 2 husbands, or even 4, I should want to keep
'em apart - settin' up in high chairs on different sides of my
heart. Why, if I'd had 4, I'd have 'em to the different pints of
the compass, east, west, north, south, as far apart from each
other as my heart would admit of. Ketch me a lumpin' in all the
precious memories of my Josiah with them of any other man, bond
or free, Jew or Genteel; no, and I'd refrain from tellin' to the
new one about the other ones.
No, when a pardner dies and you set out to take another one, bury
the one that has gone right under his own high chair in your heart,
don't keep him up there a rattlin' his bones before the eyes of
the 2d, and angerin' him, and agonizen' your own heart. Bury him
before you bring a new one into the same room.
And never! never! even in moments of the greatest anger, dig him
up agin or even weep over his grave, before the new pardner. No;
under the moonlight, and the stars, before God only, and your own
soul, you may lay there in spirit on that grave, weep over it,
keep the turf green. But not before any one else. And I wouldn't
advise you to go there alone any too often. I would advise you to
spend your spare time ornementin' the high chair where the new one
sets, wreathin' it round with whatever blossoms and trailin' vines
of tenderness and romance you have left over from the first great
romance of life.
It would be better for you in the end.
I said some few of these little thoughts to the female mentioned;
and I s'pose I impressed her dretfully, I s'pose I did. But I
couldn't stay to see the full effects on't, for another female
setter came up at that minute to talk with her, and my companion
came up at that very minute to ask me to go a walkin' with him up
to the cemetery.
That is a very favorite place for Josiah Allen. He often used to
tell the children when they wuz little, that if they wuz real
good he would take 'em out on a walk to the grave-yard.
And when I first married to him, if I hadn't broke it up, that
would have been the only place of resort that he would have took
me to Summers. But I broke it up after a while. Good land!
there is times to go any where and times to stay away. I didn't
want to go a trailin' up there every day or two; jest married
But to-day I felt willin' to go. I had been a lookin' so long at
the crowd a fillin' the streets full, and every one on 'em in
motion, that I thought it would be sort a restful to go out to a
place where they wuz still. And so after a short walk we came to
the village that haint stirred by any commotion or alarm. Where
the houses are roofed with green grass and daisies, and the white
stun doors don't open to let in trouble or joy, and where the
inhabitants don't ride out in the afternoon.
Wall, if I should tell the truth which I am fur from not wantin'
to do, I should say that at first sight, it wuz rather of a
bleak, lonesome lookin' spot, kinder wild and desolate lookin'.
But as we went further along in it, we came to some little nooks
and sheltered paths and spots, that seemed more collected
together and pleasant. There wuz some big high stuns and
monuments, and some little ones but not one so low that it hadn't
cast a high, dark shadow over somebody's life.
There wuz one in the shape of a big see shell. I s'pose some
mariner lay under that, who loved the sea. Or mebby it wuz put
up by some one who had the odd fancy that put a shell to your ear
you will hear a whisperin' in it of a land fur away, fur away.
Not fur from this wuz a stun put up over a young engineer who had
been killed instantly by his engine. There wuz a picture of the
locomotive scraped out on the stun, and in the cab of the engine
wuz his photograph, and these lines wuz underneath:
My engine now lies still and cold,
No water does her boiler hold;
The wood supplies its flames no more,
My days of usefulness are o'er.
We wended our way in and out of the silent streets for quite a
spell, and then we went and sot down on the broad piazza of the
sort of chapel and green-house that stood not fur from the
entrance. And while we sot there we see another inhabitent come
there to the village to stay.
It wuz a long procession, fur it wuz a good man who had come.
And many of his friends come with him jest as fur as they could:
wife, children, and friends, they come with him jest as fur as
they could, and then he had to leave 'em and go on alone. How
weak love is, and how strong. It wuz too weak to hold him back,
or go with him, though they would fain have done so. But it wuz
strong enough to shadow the hull world with its blackness, blot
out the sun and the stars, and scale the very mounts of heaven
with its wild complaints and pleadin's. A strange thing love is,
Wall, we sot there for quite a spell and my companion wantin', I
spose, to make me happy, took out a daily paper out of his pocket
and went to readin' the deaths to me. He always loves to read
the deaths and marriages in a paper. He sez that is the
literature that interests him. And then I s'pose he thought at
such a time, it wuz highly appropriate. So I didn't break it up
till he began to read a long obituary piece about a child's
death; about its being cut down like a flower by a lightin'
stroke out of a cloudless sky, and about what a mysterious
dispensation of Providence it wuz, etc., etc. And then there wuz
a hull string of poetry dedicated to the heart-broken mother
bewailin' the mystery on't, and wonderin' why Providence should
do such strange, onlookedfor things, etc., and etcetery, and so
And I spoke right up and sez, "That is a slander onto Providence
and ort to be took as such by every lover of justice."
Josiah wuz real horrified, he had been almost sheddin' tears he
wuz so affected by it; to think the little creeter should be torn
away by a strange chance of Providence from a mother who worshipped
her, and whose whole life and every thought wuz jest wrapped up in
the child, and who never had thought nor cared for anything else
only just the well bein' of the child and wardin' trouble off of
her, for so the piece stated. And he sez in wild amaze, "What do
you mean, Samantha? What makes you talk so?"
"Because," sez I, "I know it is the truth. I know the hull
story;" and then I went on and told it to him, and he agreed with
me and felt jest as I did.
You see, the mother of the child wuz a perfect high flyer of
fashion and she always wore dresses so tight, that she couldn't
get her hands up to her head to save her life, after her corset
wuz on. Wall, she wuz out a walkin' with the child one day, or
rather toddlin' along with it, on her high-heeled sboes. They
wuz both dressed up perfectly beautiful, and made a most splendid
show. Wall, they went into a store on their way to the park, and
there wuz a big crowd there, and the mother and the little girl
got into the very middle of the crowd. They say there wuz some
new storks for sale that day, and some cattail flags, and so
there wuz naturelly a big crowd of wimmen a buyin' 'em, and
cranes. And some way, while they stood there a heavy vase that
stood up over the child's head fell down and fell onto it, and
hurt the child so, that it died from the effects of it.
The mother see the vase when it flrst begun to move, she could
have reached up her hands and stiddied it, and kep' it from
fallin', if she could have got 'em up, but with that corset on,
the hull American continent might have tumbled onto the child's
head and she couldn't have moved her arms up to keep it off;
couldn't have lifted her arms up over the child's head to save
her life. No, she couldn't have kep' one of the States off, nor
nothin'. And then talk about her wardin' trouble offen the
child, why she COULDN'T ward trouble off, nor nothin' else with
that corset on. She screemed, as she see it a comin' down onto
the head of her beloved little child, but that wuz all she could
Back to Full Books