Samantha at Saratoga
Part 4 out of 5
do. The child wuz wedged in by the throng of folks and couldn't
stir, and they wuz all engrossed in their own business which wuz
pressin', and very important, a buyin' plates, and plaks, with
bull-rushes, and cranes, and storks on 'em, so naturelly, they
didn't mind what wuz a goin' on round 'em. And down it come!
And there it wuz put down in the paper, "A mysterious dispensation
of Providence." Providence slandered shamefully and I will say so
with my last breath.
What are mothers made for if it haint to take care of the little
ones God gives 'em. What right have they to contoggle themselves
up in a way that they can see their children die before 'em, and
they not able to put out a hand to save 'em. Why, a savage
mother is better than this, a heathen one. And if I had my way,
there would be a hull shipload of savages and heathens brought
over here to teach and reform our too civilized wimmen. I'd
bring 'em over this very summer.
Wall, we sot there on the stoop for quite a spell and then we
wended our way down to the highway, and as we arrived there my
companion proposed that we should take a carriage and go to the
Toboggen slide. Sez I, "Not after where we have been today,
And he sez, "Why not?"
And I sez, "It wouldn't look well, after visitin' the folks we
have jest now."
"Wall," sez he, "they won't speak on't to anybody, if that is
what you are afraid on, or sense it themselves."
And I see in a minute, he had some sense on his side, though his
words shocked me some at first, kinder jarred aginst some
sensitive spot in my nater, jest as pardners will sometimes,
however devoted they may be to each other. Yet I see he wuz in
the right on't.
They wouldn't sense anything about it. And as for us, we wuz in
the world of the livin' still, and I still owed a livin' duty to
my companion, to make him as happy as possible. And so I sez,
mildly, "Wall, I don't know as there is anything wrong in slidin'
down hill, Josiah. I s'pose I can go with you."
"No," sez he, "there haint nothin' wrong about slidin' down hill
unless you strike too hard, or tip over, or sunthin'." So he
bagoned to a carriage that wuz passin', and we got into it, and
sot sail for the Toboggen slide.
We passed through the village. (Some say it is a city, but if it
is, it is a modest, retirin' one as I ever see; perfectly
unassumin', and don't put on a air, not one.)
But howsumever, we passed through it, through the rows and rows
of summer tarvens and boardin' houses, good-lookin' ones too;
past some good-lookin' private houses -- a long tarven and a
pretty red brick studio and rows of summer stores, little nests
that are filled up summers, and empty winters, then by some more
of them monster big tarvens where some of the 200,000 summer
visitors who flock here summers, find a restin' place; and then
by the large respectable good-lookin' stores and shops of the
natives, that stand solid, and to be depended on summer and
winter; by churches and halls, and etc., and good-lookin' houses
and then some splendid-lookin' houses all standin' back on their
grassy lawns behind some trees, and fountains, and flower beds,
Better-lookin' houses, I don't want to see nor broader, handsomer
streets. And pretty soon fur away to the east you could see
through the trees a glimpse of a glorious landscape, a broad
lovely view of hill and valley, bounded by blue mountain tops.
It was a fair seen - a fair seen. To be perfectly surrounded by
beauty where you, wuz, and a lookin' off onto more. There I
would fain have lingered, but time and wagons roll stidily
onward, and will not brook delay, nor pause for women to soar
So we rolled onwards through still more beautiful, and quiet
pictures. Pictures of quiet woods and bendin' trees, and a
country road windin' tranquilly beneath, up and down gentle hills,
and anon a longer one, and then at our feet stood the white walls
of a convent, with 2 or 3 brothers, a strollin' along in their
long black gowns, and crosses, a readin' some books.
I don't know what it wuz, what they wuz a readin' out of their
books, or a readin' out of their hearts. Mebby sunthin' kinder
sad and serene. Mebby it wuz sunthin' about the gay world of
human happiness, and human sorrows, they had turned backs to
forever. Mebby it wuz about the other world that they had sot
out for through a lonesome way. Mebby it wuz "Never" they wuz a
readin' about, and mebby it wuz "Forever." I don't know what it
wuz. But we went by 'em, and anon, yes it wuz jest anon, for it
wuz the very minute that I lifted my eyes from the Father's calm
and rather sad-lookin' face, that I ketched sight on't, that I
see a comin' down from the high hills to the left on us, an
immense sort of a trough, or so it looked, a comin' right down
through the trees, from the top of the mountain to the, bottom.
And then all acrost the fields as fur, as fur as from our house
way over to Miss Pixley's wuz a sort of a road, with a row of
electric lights along the side on't.
We drove up to a buildin' that stood at the foot of that immense
slide, or so they called it, and a female woman who wuz there
told us all about it. And we went out her back door, and see way
up the slide, or trough. There wuz a railin' on each side on't,
and a place in the middle where she said the Toboggen came down.
And sez Josiah, "Who is the Toboggen, anyway? Is he a native of
the place or a Injun? Anyway," sez he, "I'd give a dollar bill
to see him a comin' down that place."
And the woman said, "A Toboggen wuz a sort of a long sled, that
two or three folks could ride on, and they come down that slide
with such force that they went way out acrost the fields as far
as the row of lights, before it stopped."
Sez I, "Josiah Allen, did you ever see the beat on't?" Sez I,
"Haint that as far as from our house to Miss Pixley's?"
"Yes," says he, "and further too. It is as far as Uncle Jim
"Wall," says I, "I believe you are in the right on't."
And sez Josiah, "How do they get back agin? Do they come in the
cars, or in their own conveniences?"
"There is a sleigh to bring 'em back, but sometime they walk
back," sez the woman.
"Walk back!" sez I, in deep amaze. "Do they walk from way out
there, and cleer up that mountain agin?"
"Yes," sez she. "Don't you see the place at the side for 'em to
draw the Toboggen up, and the little flights of steps for 'em to
go up the hill?"
"Wall," sez I, in deep amaze, and auxins as ever to get
information on deep subjects, "where duz the fun come in, is it
in walkin' way over the plain and up the hills, or is it in
And she said she didn't know exactly where the fun lay, but she
s'posed it wuz comin' down. Anyway, they seemed to enjoy it
first rate. And she said it wuz a pretty sight to see 'em all on
a bright clear night, when the sky wuz blue and full of stars,
and the earth white and glistenin' underneath to see 7 or 800,
all dressed up in to gayest way, suits of white blankets, gay
borders and bright tasseled caps of every color, and suits of
every other pretty color all trimmed with fur and embroideries,
to see 'em all a laughin' and a talkin', with their cheeks and
eyes bright and glowin', to see 'em a comin' down the slide like
flashes of every colored light, and away out over the white
glistenin' plains; and then to see the long line of happy laughin'
creeters a walkin' back agin' drawin' the gay Toboggens. She
said it wuz a sight worth seein'.
"Do they come down alone?" sez Josiah.
"Oh no!" sez she. "Boys and their sweethearts, men and wives,
fathers and mothers and children, sometimes 4 on a Toboggan."
Sez Josiah, lookin' anamated and clever, "I'd love to take you on
one on 'em, Samantha.'
"Oh no!" sez I, "I wouldn't want to be took."
But a bystander a standin' by said it wuz a sight to behold to
stand up on top and start off. He said the swiftness of the
motion, the brightness of the electric lights ahead, the gleam of
the snow made it seem like plungin' down a dazzlin' Niagara of
whiteness and glitterin' light; and some, like bein' shot out of
a cannon. Why, he said they went with such lightnin' speed, that
if you stood clost by the slide a waitin' to see a friend go by,
you might stand so near as to touch her, but you couldn't no more
see her to recognize her, than you could recognize one spoke from
another in the wheel of a runaway carriage. You would jest see a
red flash go by, if so be it wuz a red gown she had on. A red
flash a dartin' through the air, and a disappearin' down the long
glitterin' lane of light.
You could see her a goin' back, so they said, a laughin' and a
jokin' with somebody, if so be she walked back, but there wuz
long sleighs to carry 'em back, them and their Toboggens, if they
wanted to ride, at the small expenditure of 10 cents apiece.
They go, in the fastest time anybody can make till they go on the
lightnin', a way in which they will go before long, I think, and
Josiah duz too.
"They said there wuzn't nothin' like it. And I said, "Like as
not." I believed 'em. And then the woman said, "This long room
we wuz a standin' in," for we had gone back into the house,
durin' our interview, this long room wuz all warm and light for
'em to come into and get warm, and she said as many as 600 in a
night would come in there and have supper there.
And then she showed us the model of a Toboggen, all sculped out,
with a man and a woman on it. The girl wuz ahead sort a drawin'
the Toboggen, as you may say, and her lover. (I know he wuz,
from his looks.) He wuz behind her, with his face right clost to
And I'll bet that when they started down that gleamin' slide,
they felt as if they 2 wuz alone under the stars and the heavens,
and wuz a glidin' down into a dazzlin' way of glory. You could
see it in their faces. I liked their faces real well.
But the sight on 'em made Josiah Allen crazier'n ever to go too,
and he sez, "I feel as if I must Toboggen, Samantha!"
Sez I, "Be calm! Josiah, you can't slide down hill in July."
"How do you know?" sez he, "I'm bound to enquire." And he asked
the woman if they ever Toboggened in the summer.
"No, never!" sez she.
And I sez, "You see it can't be done."
"She never see it tried," sez he. "How can you tell what you can
do without tryin'?" sez he lookin' shrewdly, and longingly, up
the slide. I trembled, for I knew not what the next move of his
would be. But I bethought me of a powerful weepon I had by me.
And I sez, "The driver will ask pay for every minute we are
And as I sez this, Josiah turned and almost flew down the steps
and into the buggy. I had skairt him. Truly I felt relieved,
and sez I to myself, "What would wimmen do if it wuzn't for these
little weepons they hold in their hands, to control their
pardners with." I felt happy.
But the next words of Josiah knocked down all that palace of
Peace, that my soul had betook herself to. Sez he, "Samantha
Allen, before I leave Saratoga I shall Toboggen."
Wall, I immegetly turned the subject round and talked wildly and
almost incoherently on politicks. I praised the tariff amost
beyond its deserts. I brung up our foreign relations, and spoke
well on 'em. I tackled revenues and taxation, and hurried him
from one to the other on 'em, almost wildly, to get the idee out
of his head. And I congratulated myself on havin' succeeded.
Alas! how futile is our hopes, sometimes futiler than we have any
By night all thoughts of danger had left me, and I slept sweetly
and peacefully. But early in the mornin' I had a strange dream.
I dreamed I wuz in the woods with my head a layin' on a log, and
the ground felt cold that I wuz a layin' on. And then the log
gin way with me, and my head came down onto the ground. And then
I slept peaceful agin, but chilly, till anon, or about that time,
I beard a strange sound and I waked up with a start. It wuz in
the first faint glow of mornin' twilight. But as faint as the
light wuz, for the eye of love is keen, I missed my beloved
pardner's head from the opposite pillow, and I riz up in wild
agitation and thinkses I, "Has rapine took place here; has Josiah
Allen been abducted away from me? Is he a kidnapped Josiah?"
At that fearful thought my heart begun to beat so voyalently as
to almost stop my breath, and I felt I wuz growin' pale and wan,
wanner, fur wanner than I had been sense I came to Saratoga. I
love Josiah Allen, he is dear to me.
And I riz up feelin' that I would find that dear man and rescue
him or perish in the attempt. Yes, I felt that I must perish if
I did not find him. What would life be to me without him? And
as I thought that thought the light of the day that wuz a
breakin', looked sort of a faint to me, and sickish. And like a
flash it came to me, the thought that that light seemed like the
miserable dawns of wretched days without him, a pale light with
no warmth or brightness in it.
But at that very minute I heard a noise outside the door, and I
heard that beloved voice a sayin' in low axents the words I had
so often heard him speak, words I had oft rebuked him for, but
now, so weak will human love make one, now, I welcome them gladly
-- they sounded exquisitely sweet to me. The words wuz, "Dumb
And I joyfully opened the door. But oh! what a sight met my eye.
There stood Josiah Allen, arrayed in a blanket he had took from
our bed (that accounted for my cold feelin' in my dream). The
blanket wuz white, with a gay border of red and yellow. He had
fixed it onto him in a sort of a dressy way, and strapped it
round the waist with my shawl strap. And he had took a bright
yeller silk handkerchief of hisen, and had wrapped it round his
head so's it hung down some like a cap, and he wuz a tryin' to
fasten it round his forward with one of my stockin' supporters.
He couldn't buckle it, and that is what called forth his
exclamations. At his feet, partly upon the stairs, wuz the
bolster from our bed (that accounted for the log that had gin
way). And he had spread a little red shawl of mine over the top
on't, and as I opened the door he wuz jest ready to embark on the
bolster, he waz jest a steppin' onto it. But as he see me he
paused, and I sez in low axents, "What are you a goin' to do,
"I'm a goin' to Toboggen," sez he.
Sez I, "Do you stop at once, and come back into your room."
"No, no!" sez he firmly, and preparin' to embark on the bolster,
"I am a goin' to Toboggen. And you come and go to. It is so
fashionable," sez he, "such a genteel diversion."
Sez I, "Do you stop it at once, and come back to your room.
Why," sez I, "the hull house will be routed up, and be up here in
"Wall," sez he, "they'll see fun if they do and fashion. I am a
goin', Samantha!" and be stepped forward.
Sez I, "They'll see sunthin' else that begins with a f, but it
haint fun or fashion.' And agin I sez, "Do you come back, Josiah
Allen. You'll break your neck and rout up the house, and be
called a fool."
"Oh no, Samantha! I must Toboggen. I must go down the slide
once." And he fixed the bolster more firmly on the top stair.
"Wall," sez I, feelin' that I wuz drove to my last ambush by him,
sez I, "probably five dollars won't make the expenses good,
besides your doctor's bill, and my mornin'. And I shall put on
the deepest of crape, Josiah Allen," sez I.
I see he wavered and I pressed the charge home. Sez I, "That
bolster is thin cloth, Josiah Allen, and you'll probably have to
pay now for draggin' it all over the floor. If anybody should
see you with it there, that bolster would be charged in your
bill. And how would it look to the neighbors to have a bolster
charged in your bill? And I should treasure it, Josiah Allen, as
bein' the last bill you made before you broke your neck !"
"Oh, wall," sez he, "I s'pose I can put the bolster back." But
he wuz snappish, and he kep' snappish all day.
He wuzn't quelled. Though he had gin in for the time bein' I see
he wuzn't quelled down. He acted dissatisfied and highheaded,
and I felt worried in my mind, not knowin' what his next move
Oh! the tribulations it makes a woman to take care of a man. But
then it pays. After all, in the deepest of my tribulations I
feel, I do the most of the time feel, that it pays. When he is
good he is dretful good.
Wall, I went over to see Polly Pixley the next night, and when I
got back to my room, there stood Josiah Allen with both of his
feet sort a bandaged and tied down onto sumthin', which I didn't
at first recognize. It waz big and sort a egg shaped, and open
worked, and both his feet wuz strapped down tight onto it, and he
wuz a pushin' himself round the room with his umberell.
And I sez, "What is the matter now, Josiah Allen; what are you a
"Oh I am a walkin' on snow-shoes, Samantha! But I don't see,"
sez he a stoppin' to rest, for he seemed tuckered out, "I don't
see how the savages got round as they did and performed such
journeys. You put 'em on, Samantha," sez he, "and see if you can
get on any faster in 'em."
Sez I, coldly, "The savages probable did'nt have both feet on one
shoe, Josiah Allen, as you have. I shall put on no snowshoes in
the middle of July; but if I did, I should put 'em on accordin'
to a little mite of sense. I should try to use as much sense as
a savage any way."
"Why, how it would look to have one foot on that great big
snow-shoe. I always did like a good close fit in my shoes. And
you see I have room enough and to spare for both on 'em on this.
Why it wouldn't look dressy at all, Samantha, to put 'em on as
Sez I very coldly, "I don't see anything over and above dressy in
your looks now, Josiah Allen, with both of your feet tied down
onto that one shoe, and you a tryin' to move off when you can't.
I can't see anything over and above ornamental in it, Josiah
"Oh! you are never willin' to give in that I look dressy,
Samantha. But I s'pose I can put my feet where you say. You are
so sot, but they are too big for me -- I shall look like a fool."
I looked at him calmly over my specks, and sez I, "I guess I
sha'n't notice the difference or realize the change. I wonder,"
sez I, in middlin' cold axents, "how you think you are a lookin'
now, Josiah Allen."
"Oh! keep a naggin' at me!" sez he. But I see he wuz a gittin'
kinder sick of the idee.
"What you mean by puttin' 'em on at all is more than I can say,"
sez I, "a tryin to walk on snowshoes right in dog-days."
"I put 'em on," Samantha, sez he, a beginnin' to unstrap 'em, "I
put 'em on because I wanted to feel like a savage."
"Wall," sez I, "I have seen you at times durin' the last 20 years,
when I thought you realized how they felt without snow-shoes on,
(These little interchanges of confidence will take place in
every-day life.) But at that very minute Ardelia Tutt rapped at
the door, and Josiah hustled them snow-shoes into the closet, and
that wuz the last trial I had with him about 'em. He had
Wall, Ardelia wuz dretful pensive, and soft actin' that night,
she seemed real tickled to see us, and to get where we wuz. She
haint over and above suited with the boardin' place where she is,
I think. I don't believe they have very good food, though she
won't complain, bein' as they are relations on her own side. And
then she is sech a good little creeter anyway. But I had my
suspicions. She didn't seem very happy. She said she had been
down to the park that afternoon, she and the young chap that has
been a payin' her so much attention lately, Bial Flamburg. She
said they had sot down there by the deer park most all the
afternoon a watchin' the deer. She spoke dretful well of the
deer. And they are likely deer for anything I know. But she
seemed sort a pensive and low spirited. Mebby she is a beginnin'
to find Bial Flamburg out. Mebby she is a beginnin' to not like
his ways. He drinks and smokes, that I know, and I've mistrusted
worse things on him.
LAKE GEORGE AND MOUNT McGREGOR.
It wuz on a nice pleasant day that Ardelia Tuit, Josiah Allen,
and me, met by previous agreement quite early in the mornin', A.
M., and sot out for Lake George. It is so nigh, that you can
step onto the cars, and go out and see George any time of day.
It seemed to me jest as if George wuz glad we had come, for there
wuz a broad happy smile all over his face, and a sort of a dimplin'
look, as if he wanted to laugh right out. All the beckonin' shores
and islands, with their beautiful houses on 'em, and the distant
forests, and the trees a bendin' over George, all seemed to sort a
smile out a welcome to us. We had a most beautiful day, and got
back quite late in the afternoon, P. M.
And the next day, a day heavenly calm and fair, Josiah Allen and
me sot sail for Mount McGregor -- that mountain top that is
lifted up higher in the hearts of Americans than any other peak
on the continent -- fur higher. For it is the place where the
memory of a Hero lays over all the peaceful landscape like a
inspiration and a benediction, and will rest there forever.
The railroad winds round and round the mountain sometimes not
seemin'ly goin' up at all, but gradually a movin' in' on towards
the top, jest as this brave Hero did in his career. If some of
the time he didn't seem to move on, or if some of the time he
seemed to go back for a little, yet there wuz a deathless fire
inside on him, a power, a strength that kep' him a goin' up, up,
up, and drawin' the nation up with him onto the safe level ground
We got pleasant glimpses of beauty, pretty pictures on't, every
little while as we wended our way on up the mountains. Anon we
would go round a curve, a ledge of rocks mebby, and lo! far off a
openin' through the woods would show us a lovely picture of hill
and dell, blue water and blue mountains in the distance. And
then a green wood picture, shut in and lonely, with tall ferns,
and wild flowers, and thick green grasses under the bendin'
trees. Then fur down agin' a picture of a farmhouse, sheltered
and quiet, with fields layin' about it green and golden.
But anon, we reached the pretty little lonesome station, and
there we wuz on top of Mount McGregor. We disembarked from the
cars and wended our way up the hill up the windin' foot path,
wore down by the feet of pilgrims from every land, quite a tegus
walk though beautiful, up to the good-lookin', and good appearin'
I would fain have stopped at that minute at the abode the Hero
had sanctified by his last looks. But my companion said to me
that he wuz in nearly a starvin' state. Now it wuzn't much after
11 A. M. forenoon, and I felt that he would not die of starvation
so soon. But his looks wuz pitiful in the extreme and he reminded
me in a sort of a weak voice that he didn't eat no breakfast
I sez truthfully, "I didn't notice it, Josiah." But sez I, "I
will accompany you where your hunger can be slaked." So we went
straight up to the tarven.
But I would stop a minute in front of it, to see the lovely,
lovely seen that wuz spread out before our eyes. For fur off
could we see milds and milds of the beautiful country a layin'
fur below us. Beautiful landscape, dotted with crystal lakes,
laved by the blue Hudson and bordered by the fur-away mountains.
It wuz a fair seen, a fair seen. Even Josiah wuz rousted up by
it, and forgot his hunger. I myself wuz lost in the contemplation
on it, and entirely by the side of myself. So much so, that I
forgot where I wuz, and whether I wuz a wife or a widow, or what
But anon, as my senses came back from the realm of pure beauty
they had been a traversin', I recollected that I wuz a wife, that
Providence and Elder Minkley had placed a man in my hands to take
care on; and I see he wuz gone from me, and I must look him up.
And I found that man in one of the high tallish lookin' swing
chairs that wuz a swingin' from high poles all along the brow of
the hill. They looked some like a stanchol for a horse, and some
like a pair of galluses that criminals are hung on.
Josiah wuzn't able to work it right and it did require a deep
mind to get into one without peril. And he wuz on the brink of
a catastrophe. I got him out by siezin' the chair and holdin'
it tight, till he dismounted from it -- which he did with words
unadapted to the serenity of the atmosphere. And then we went
out the broad pleasant door-yard up into the tarven, and my
companion got some coffee, and some refreshments, to refresh
ourselves with. And then he, feelin' clever and real
affectionate to me (owin' partly I s'pose to the good dinner),
we wended our way down to the cottage where the Hero met his
last foe and fell victorious.
We went up the broad steps onto the piazza, and I looked off from
it, and over all the landscape under the soft summer sky, lay
that same beautiful tender inspired memory. It lay like the hush
that follows a prayer at a dyin' bed. Like the glow that rests
on the world when the sun has gone down in glory. Like the
silence full of voices that follows a oriter's inspired words.
The air, the whole place, thrilled with that memory, that
presence that wuz with us, though unseen to the eyes of our
spectacles. It followed us through the door way, it went ahead
on us into the room where the pen wuz laid down for the last
time, where the last words wuz said. That pen wuz hung up over
the bed where the tired head had rested last. By the bedside wuz
the candle blowed out, when he got to the place where it is so
light they don't need candles. The watch stopped at the time
when he begun to recken time by the deathless ages of immortality.
And as I stood there, I said to myself, "I wish I could see the
faces that wuz a bendin' over this bed, August 11th, 1885."
All the ministerin' angels, and heroes, and conquerors, all a
waitin' for him to join 'em. All the Grand Army of the Republic,
them who fell in mountain and valley; the lamented and the
nameless, all, all a waitin' for the Leader they loved, the
silent, quiet man, whose soul spoke, who said in deeds what
weaker spirits waste in language.
I wished I could see the great army that stood around Mount
McGregor that day. I wished I could hear the notes of the
immortal revelee, which wuz a soundin' all along the lines
callin' him to wake from his earth sleep into life -- callin'
him from the night here, the night of sorrow and pain, into
And as I lifted my eyes, the eyes of the General seemed to look
cleer down into my soul, full of the secrets that he could tell
now, if he wanted to, full of the mysteries of life, the mysteries
of death. The voiceless presence that filled the hull landscape,
earth and air, looked at us through them eyes, half mournful,
prophetic, true and calm, they wuz a lookin' through all the past,
through all the future. What did they see there? I couldn't tell,
In another room wuz the flowers from many climes. Flowers
strewed onto the stage from hands all over the world, when the
foot lights burned low, and the dark curtain went down for the
last time on the Hero. Great masses of flowers, every one on
'em, bearin' the world's love, the world's sorrow over our
I had a large quantity of emotions as I stood there, probably as
many as 48 a minute for quite a spell, and that is a large number
of emotions to have, when the size of 'em is as large as the
sizes of 'em wuz. I thought as I stood there of what I had hearn
the Hero said once in his last illness, that, liftin' up his
grand right arm that had saved the Nation, he said, "I am on duty
from four to six."
Yes, thinkses I, he wuz on duty all through the shadows and the
darkness of war, all through the peril, and the heartache, and
the wild alarm of war, calm and dauntless, he wuz on duty till
the mornin' of peace came, and the light wuz shinin'.
On duty through the darkness. No one believed, no one dared to
think that if peril had come again to the country, he would not
have been ready,-- ready to face danger and death for the people
he had saved once, the people whom he loved, because he had dared
death for 'em.
Yes, he wuz on duty.
There wuz a darker shadow come to him than any cloud that ever
rose over a battle-field when, honest and true himself as the
light, he still stood under the shadow of blame and impendin'
want, stood in the blackest shadow that can cover generous,
faithful hearts, the heart-sickenin' shadow of ingratitude; when
the people he had saved from ruin hesitated, and refused to give
him in the time of his need the paltry pension, the few dollars
out of the millions he had saved for them, preferring to allow
him, the greatest hero of the world, the man who had represented
them before the nations, to sell the badges and swords he had
worn in fightin' their battles, for bread for himself and wife.
But he wuz on duty all through this night. Patient, uncomplainin'.
And not one of these warriors fightin' their bloodless battle of
words aginst him, would dare to say that he would not have been
ready at any minute, to give his life agin for these very men, had
danger come to the country and they had needed him.
And when hastened on by the shock, and the suspense, death seemed
to be near him, so near that it seemed as if the burden must needs
be light -- the tardy justice that came to him must have seemed
like an insult, but if he thought so he never said it; no, brave
and patient, he wuz on duty.
And all through the long, long time that he looked through the
shadows for a more sure foe than had ever lain in Southern ambush
for him, he wuz on duty. Not an impatient word, not an anxious
word. Of all the feerin', doubtin', hopin', achin' hearts about
him, he only wuz calm.
For, not only his own dear ones, but the hull country, friends
and foes alike, as if learnin' through fear of his loss how grand
a hero he wuz, and how greatly and entirely he wuz beloved by
them all, they sent up to Heaven such a great cloud of prayers
for his safety as never rose for any man. But he only wuz calm,
while the hull world wuz excited in his behalf.
For the sight of his patient work, the sight of him who stopped
dyin' (as it were) to earn by his own brave honest hand the
future comfort of his family, amazed, and wonderin' at this
spectacle, one of the greatest it seems to me that ever wuz seen
on earth, the hull nation turned to him in such a full hearted
love, and admiration, and worship, that they forgot in their
quicker adorin' heart-throbs, the slower meaner throbs they had
gin him, this same brave Hero, jest as brave and true-hearted in
the past as he wuz on his grand death-bed.
They forgot everything that had gone by in their worship, and I
don't know but I ort to. Mebby I had. I shouldn't wonder a mite
if I had. But all the while, all through the agony and the labor,
and when too wearied he lay down the pen, -- he wuz on duty.
Waitin' patiently, fearlessly, till he should see in the first
glow of the sunrise the form of the angel comin' to relieve his
watch, the tall, fair angel of Rest, that the Great Commander
sent down in the mornin' watches to relieve his weary soldier,
that divinest angel that ever comes to the abode of men, though
her beauty shines forever through tears, led by her hand, he has
left life's battle-field forever; and what is left to this nation
but memory, love, and mebby remorse.
But little matters it to him, the Nation's love or the Nation's
blame, restin' there by the calm waters he loved. The tides come
in, and the tides go out; jest as they did in his life; the
fickle tide of public favor that swept by him, movin' him not on
his heavenly mission of duty and patriotism.
The tides go out, and the tides come in; the wind wails and the
wind sings its sweet summer songs; but he does not mind the
melody or the clamor. He is resting. Sleep on, Hero beloved,
while the world wakes to praise thee.
Wall, we sot sail from Mount McGregor about half-past four P. M.,
afternoon. And we wound round and round the mountain side jest
as he did, only goin' down into the valley instid of upwards.
But the trees that clothed the bare back of the mountain looked
green and shinin' in the late afternoon sunlight, and the fields
spread out in the valley looked green and peaceful under the cool
shadows of approachin' sunset.
And right in the midst of one of these fields, all full of white
daisies, the cars stopped and the conductor sung out: "Five
minutes' stop at Daisy station. Five minutes to get out and pick
And sez Josiah to me in gruff axents, when I asked him if he wuz
goin' to get out and pick some. Sez he, "Samantha, no man can go
ahead of me in hatin' the dumb weeds, and doin' his best towards
uprootin' 'em in my own land; and I deeply sympathize with any
man who is over run by 'em. But why am I beholdin' to the man
that owns this lot? Why should I and all the rest of this
carload of folks, all dressed up in our best too, lay hold and
weed out these infernal nuisances for nothin'?"
Yes, he said these fearfully profane words to me and I herd him
in silence, for I did not want to make a seen in public. Sez I,
"Josiah, they are pickin' 'em because they love 'em."
"Love 'em!" Oh, the fearful, scornful unbelievin' look that came
over my pardner's face, as I said these peaceful words to him.
And he added a expletive which I am fur from bein' urged to ever
repeat. It wuz sinful.
"Love 'em!" Agin he sez. And agin follerd a expletive that wuz
still more forcible, and still more sinful. And I felt obliged
to check him which I did. And after a long parlay, in which I
used my best endeavors of argument and reason to convince him
that I wuz in the right on't, I see he wuzn't convinced. And
then I spoke about its bein' fashionable to get out and pick 'em,
and he looked different to once. I could see a change in him.
All my arguments of the beauty and sweetness of the posies had no
effect, but when I said fashionable, he faltered, and he sez, "Is
it called a genteel diversion?"
And I sez, "Yes."
And finally he sez, "Wall, I s'pose I can go out and pick some
for you. Dumb their dumb picters."
Sez I, "Don't go in that spirit, Josiah Allen."
"Wall, I shall go in jest that sprit," he snapped out, "if I go
at all." And he went.
But oh! it wuz a sight to set and look on, and see the look onto
his face, as he picked the innocent blossoms. It wuz a look of
such deep loathin', and hatred, combined with a sort of a genteel,
Altogether it wuz the most curius, and strange look, that I ever
see outside of a menagery of wild animals. And he had that same
look onto his face as he came in and gin 'em to me. He had
yanked'em all up by their roots too, which made the Bokay look
more strange. But I accepted of it in silence, for I see by his
mean that he wuz not in a condition to brook another word.
And I trembled when a bystander a standin' by who wuz arrangin'
a beautiful bunch of 'em, a handlin' 'em as flowers ort to be
handled, as if they had a soul, and could feel a rough or tender
touch, -- this man sez to Josiah, "I see that you too love this
I wuz glad the man's eyes wuz riveted onto his Bokay, for the
ferocity of Josiah Allen's look wuz sunthin' fearful. He looked
as if he could tear him lim' from lim'.
And I hastily drawed Josiah to a seat at the other end of the
car, and voyalently, but firmly, I drawed his attention off onto
I sez, "Josiah, do you believe we had better paint the steeple of
the meetin'-house, white or dark colered?"
This wuz a subject that had rent Jonesville to its very twain.
And Josiah had been fearfully exercised on it. And this plan of
mine succeeded. He got eloquent on it, and I kinder held off,
and talked offish, and let him convince me.
I did it from principle.
ADVENTURES AT VARIOUS SPRINGS.
A few days after this, Josiah Allen came in, and sez he, "The
Everlastin' spring is the one for me, Samantha! I believe it
will keep me alive for hundreds and hundreds of years."
Sez I, "I don't believe that, Josiah Allen."
"Wall, it is so, whether you believe it or not. Why, I see a
feller just now who sez he don't believe anybody would ever die
at all, if they kep' themselves' kind a wet through all the time
with this water."
Sez I, "Josiah Allen, you are not talkin' Bible. The Bible sez,
'all flesh is as grass.'"
"Wall, that is what he meant; if the grass wuz watered with that
water all the time, it would never wilt."
"Oh, shaw!" sez I. (I seldom say shaw, but this seemed to me a
time for shawin'.)
But Josiah kep' on, for he wuz fearfully excited. Sez he, "Why,
the feller said, there wuz a old man who lived right by the side
of this spring, and felt the effects of it inside and out all the
time, it wuz so healthy there. Why the old man kep' on a livin',
and a livin' till he got to be a hundred. And he wuz kinder lazy
naturally and he got tired of livin'. He said he wuz tired of
gettin' up mornin's and dressin' of him, tired of pullin' on his
boots and drawin' on his trowsers, and he told his grandson Sam
to take him up to Troy and let him die.
"Wall, Sam took him up to Troy, and he died right away, almost.
And Sam bein' a good-hearted chap, thought it would please the
old man to he buried down by the spring, that healthy spot. So
he took him back there in a wagon he borrowed. And when he got
clost to the spring, Sam heard a sithe, and he looked back, and
there the old gentleman wuz a settin' up a leanin' his head on
his elbo and he sez, in a sort of a sad way, not mad, but
melanecolly, `You hadn't ort to don it, Sam. You hadn't ort to.
I'm in now for another hundred years.'"
I told Josiah I didn't believe that. Sez I, "I believe the
waters are good, very good, and the air is healthy here in the
extreme, but I don't believe that."
But he said it wuz a fact, and the feller said he could prove it.
"Why," Josiah sez, "with the minerals there is in that spring, if
you only take enough of it, I don't see how anybody can die."
And sez Josiah, "I am a goin' to jest live on that water while I
"Wall," sez I, "you must do as you are a mind to, with fear and
I thought mebby quotin' Scripture to him would kinder quell him
down, for he wuz fearfully agitated and wrought up about the
Everlastin' spring. And he begun at once to calculate on it, on
how much he could drink of it, if he begun early in the mornin'
and drinked late at night.
But I kep' on megum. I drinked the waters that seemed to help me
and made me feel better, but wuz megum in it, and didn't get over
excited about any on 'em. But oh! oh! the quantities of that
water that Josiah Allen took! Why, it seemed as if he would make
a perfect shipwreck of his own body, and wash himself away, till
one day he came in fearful excited agin, and sez he, in agitated
axents, "I made a mistake, Samantha. The Immortal spring is the
one for me."
"Why?" sez I.
"Oh, I have jest seen a feller that has been a tellin' me about it."
"What did he say?" sez I, in calm axents.
"Wall, I'll tell you. It has acted on my feelin's dretful." Says
he, "I have shed some tears." (I see Josiah Allen had been a
cryin' when he came in.)
And I sez agin, "What is it?"
"Wall," he said, "this man had a dretful sick wife. And he wuz a
carryin' her to the Immortal spring jest as fast as he could, for
he felt it would save her, if he could get her to it. But she
died a mile and a half from the spring. It wuz night, for he had
traveled night and day to get her there, and the tarvens wuz all
shut up, and he laid her on the spring-house floor, and laid down
himself on one of the benches. He took a drink himself, the last
thing before he laid down, for he felt that he must have sunthin'
to sustain him in his affliction.
"Wall, in the night he heard a splashin', and he rousted up, and
he see that he had left the water kinder careless the night before,
and it had broke loose and covered the floor and riz up round the
body, and there she wuz, all bright and hearty, a splashin' and a
swimmin' round in the water." He said the man cried like a child
when he told him of it.
And sez Josiah, "It wuz dretful affectin'. It brought tears from
me, to hear on't. I thought what if it had been you, Samantha!"
"Wall," sez I, "I don't see no occasion for tears, unless you
would have been sorry to had me brung to."
"Oh!" sez Josiah, "I didn't think! I guess I have cried in the
Sez I coldly, "I should think as much."
And Josiah put on his hat and hurried out. He meant well. But
it is quite a nack for pardners to know jest when to cry, and
when to laff.
Wall, he follered up that spring, and drinked more, fur more than
wuz good for him of that water. And then anon, he would hear of
another one, and some dretful big story about it, and he would
foller that up, and so it went on, he a follerin' on, and I a
bein' megum, and drinkin' stiddy, but moderate. And as it might
be expected, I gained in health every day, and every hour. For
the waters is good, there haint no doubt of it.
But Josiah takin' em as he did, bobbin' round from one to the
other, drinkin' 'em at all hours of day and night, and floodin'
himself out with 'em, every one on 'em -- why, he lost strength
and health every day, till I felt truly, that if it went on much
longer, I should go home in weeds. Not mullein, or burdock, or
anything of that sort, but crape.
But at last a event occurred that sort a sot him to thinkin' and
quelled him down some. One day we sot out for a walk, Josiah and
Ardelia Tutt and me. And in spite of all my protestations, my
pardner had drinked 11 glasses full of the spring he wuz a
follerin' then. And he looked white round the lips as anything.
And Ardelia and I wuz a sittin' in a good shady place, and Josiah
a little distance off, when a man ackosted him, a man with black
eyes and black whiskers, and sez, "You look pale, Sir. What
water are you a drinkin'?"
And Josiah told him that at that time he wuz a drinkin' the water
from the Immortal spring.
"Drinkin' that water?" sez the man, startin' back horrefied.
"Yes," sez Josiah, turnin' paler than ever, for the man's looks
wuz skairful in the extreme.
"Oh! oh!" groaned the man. "And you are a married man?" he groaned
out mournfully, a lookin' pitifully at him. "With a family?"
"Yes," sez Josiah, faintly.
"Oh dear," sez the man, "must it be so, to die, so -- so lamented?"
"To die!" sez Josiah, turnin' white jest round the lip.
"Yes, to die! Did you not say you had been a drinkin' the water
from the Immortal spring?"
"Yes," sez Josiah.
"Wall, it is a certain, a deadly poison."
"Haint there no help for me?" sez Josiah.
"Yes," sez the man, "You must drink from the Live-forever spring,
at the other end of the village. That water has the happy effect
of neutralizin' the poisons of the Immortal spring. If anything
can save you that can. Why," sez he, "folks that have been
entirely broke down, and made helpless and hopeless invalids,
them that have been brung down on their death-beds by the use of
that vile Immortal water, have been cured by a few glasses of the
pure healin' waters of the Live-forever spring. I'd advise you
for your own sake, and the sake of your family, who would mourn
your ontimely decese, to drink from that spring at once."
"But," sez Josiah, with a agonized and hopeless look, "I can't
drink no more now."
"Why?" sez the man.
"Because I don't hold any more. I don't hold but two quarts, and
I have drinked 11 tumblers full now."
"Eleven glasses of that poison?" sez the man.
"Wall, if it is too late I am not to blame. I've warned you.
Farewell," sez he, a graspin' holt of Josiah's hand. "Farewell,
forever. But if you do live," sez he, "if by a miricle you are
saved, remember the Live-forever spring. If there is any help
for you it is in them waters."
And he dashed away, for another stranger wuz approachin' the
I, myself, didn't have no idee that Josiah wuz a goin' to die.
But Ardelia whispered to me, she must go back to the hotel, so
she went. I see she looked kinder strange, and I didn't object
to it. And when we got back she handed me some verses entitled:
"Stanzas on the death of Josiah Allen."
She handed 'em to me, and hastened away, quick. But Josiah Allen
didn't die. And this incident made him more megum. More as I
wanted him to be. Why, you have to be megum in everything, no
matter how good it is. Milk porridge, or the Bible, or anything.
You can kill yourself on milk porridge if you drink enough. And
you can set down and read the Bible, till you grow to your chair,
and lose your eyesight.
Now these waters are dretful good, but you have got to use some
megumness with 'em, it stands to reason you have. Taint megum to
drink from 10 to 12 glasses at a time, and mix your drinks goin'
round from spring to spring like a luny. No; get a good doctor
to tell you what minerals you seem to stand in need on the most,
and then try to get 'em with fear and tremblin'. You'll get help
I haint a doubt on't. For they are dretful good for varius
things that afflict the human body. Dretful!
AT A LAWN PARTY.
Wall, the very next mornin' Miss Flamm sent word for Josiah and me
to come that night to a lawn party. And I sez at once, "I must go
and get some lawn."
Sez Josiah, "What will you do with it?"
And I sez, "Oh, I s'pose I shall wrap it round me, I'll do what
the rest do."
And sez Josiah, "Hadn't I ort to have some too? If it is a lawn
party and everybody else has it, I shall feel like a fool without
And I looked at him in deep thought, and through him into the
causes and consequences of things, and sez I, "I s'pose you do ort
to have a lawn necktie, or handkerchief, or sunthin'."
Sez he, "How would a vest look made out of it, a kinder sprigged
one, light gay colors on a yaller ground-work?"
But I sez at once, "You never will go out with me, Josiah, with a
lawn vest on." And I settled it right there on the spot.
Then he proposed to have some wrapped round his hat, sort a
festooned. But I stood like marble aginst that idee. But I knew
I had got to have some lawn, and pretty soon we sallied out
together and wended our way down to where I should be likely to
find a lawn store.
And who should we meet a comin' out of a store but Ardelia. Her
3d cousin had sent her over to get a ingregient for cookin'.
Good, willin' little creeter! She walked along with us for a
spell. And while she wuz a walkin' along with us, we come onto a
sight that always looked pitiful to me, the old female that wuz
always a' sittin' there a singin' and playin' on a accordeun. And
it seemed to me that she looked pitifuller and homblier than ever,
as she sot there amongst the dense crowd that mornin' a singin'
and a playin'. Her tone wuz thin, thin as gauze, hombly gause
too. But I wondered to myself how she wuz a feelin' inside of her
own mind, and what voices she heard a speakin' to her own soul,
through them hombly strains. And, ontirely unbeknown to myself, I
fell into a short revery (short but deep) right there in the
street, as I looked down on her, a settin' there so old, and
patient and helpless, amongst the gay movin' throng.
And I wondered what did she see, a settin' there with her blind
eyes, what did she hear through them hombly tones that she wuz a
singin' day after day to a crowd that wuz indifferent to her, or
despised her? Did she hear the song of the mornin', the spring
time of life? Did the song of a lark come back to her, a lark
flyin' up through the sweet mornin' sky over the doorway of a
home, a lark watched by young eyes, two pairs of 'em, that made
the seein' a blessedness? Did a baby's first sweet blunders of
speech, and happy laughter come back to her, as she sot there a
drawin' out with her wrinkled hands them miserable sounds from the
groanin' instrument? Did home, love, happiness sound out to her,
out of them hombly strains? I'd have gin a cent to know.
And I'd have gin a cent quick to know if the tread -- tread --
tread of the crowd goin' past her day after day, hour after hour,
seems to her like the trample of Time a marchin' on. Did she hear
in 'em the footsteps of child, or lover, or friend, a steppin'
away from her, and youth and happiness, and hope, a stiddy goin'
away from her?
Did she ever listen through the constant sound of them steps,
listen to hear the tread of them feet that she must know wuz a
comin' nigh to her -- the icy feet that will approach us, if their
way leads over rocks or roses?
Did she hate to hear them steps a comin' nearer to her, or did she
strain her ears to hear 'em, to welcome 'em? I thought like as
not she did. For thinkses I to myself, and couldn't help it, if
she is a Christian she must be glad to change that old accordeun
for a harp of any size or shape. For mournfuller and more
melancholy sounds than her voice and that instrument made I never
hearn, nor ever expect to hear, and thin.
Poor, old, hombly critter, I gin her quite a lot of change one
day, and she braced up and sung and drawed out faster than ever,
and thinner. Though I'd have gladly hearn her stop.
When I come up out of my revery, I see Ardelia lookin' at her
stiddy and kind a sot. And I mistrusted trouble wuz ahead on me,
and I hurried Josiah down the street. Ardelia a sayin' she had
got to turn the corner, to go to another place for her 3d cousin.
Jest as we wuz a crossin' a street my companion drawed my
attention to a sign that wuz jest overhead, and sez lie, "That
means me, I'm spoke of right out, and hung up overhead."
And sez I, "What do you mean?"
Sez he, "Read it -- 'The First Man-I-Cure Of The Day.' That's me,
Samantha; I haint a doubt of it. And I s'pose I ort to go in and
be cured. I s'pose probably it will be expected of me, that I
should go in, and let him look at my corns."
Sez I, "Josiah Allen, I've heerd you talk time and agin aginst big
feelin' folks, and here you be a talkin' it right to yourself, and
callin' yourself the first man of the day."
"Wall," sez he firmly, "I believe it, and I believe you do, and
you'd own up to it, if you wuzn't so aggravatin'."
"Wall, sez I mildly, "I do think you are the first in some things,
though what them things are, I would be fur from wantin' to tell
you. But," I continued on, "I don't see you should think that
means you. Saratoga is full of men, and most probable every man
of 'em thinks it means him."
"Wall," sez he, "I don't think it means me, I know it. And I
s'pose," he continued dreamily, "they'd cure me, and not charge a
"Wall," sez I, "wait till another time, Josiah Allen." And jest
at this minute, right down under our feet, we see the word "Pray,"
in big letters scraped right out in stun. And Josiah sez, "I
wonder if the dumb fools think anybody is goin to kneel down right
here in the street, and be run over. Why a man would be knocked
over a dozen times, before he got through one prayer, Now I lay me
down to sleep, or anything."
"Wall," sez I, mildly, "I don't think that would be a very
suitable prayer under the circumstances. It haint expected that
you'd lay down here for a nap -- howsumever," sez I reesunably
"their puttin' the word there shows what good streaks the folks
here have, and I don't want you to make light on't, and if you
don't want to act like a perfect backslider you'll ceese usin'
such profane language on sech a solemn subject."
Wall, we went into a good lookin'store and I wuz jest a lookin' at
some lawn and a wonderin' how many yards I should want, when who
should come in but Miss Flamm to get a rooch for her neck.
And she told me that I didn't need any lawn, and that it wuz a
Garden party, and folks dressed in anything they wuz a mind to,
though sez she, "A good many go in full dress."
"Wall," sez I calmly, "I have got one." And she told me to come
in good season.
That afternoon, Josiah a bein' out for a walk, I took out of my
trunk a dress that Alminy Hagidon had made for me out of a very
full pattern I had got of a peddler, and wanted it all put in,
so's it would fade all alike, for I mistrusted it wouldn't wash.
It wuz gethered-in full round the waist, and the sleeves wuz set
in full, and the waist wuz kinder full before, and it had a deep
high ruffle gathered-in full round the neck. It wuz a very full
dress, though I haint proud, and never wuz called so. Yet anybody
duz take a modest pleasure in bein' equal to any occasion and
comin' up nobly to a emergency. And I own that I did say to
myself, as I pulled out the gethers in front, "Wall, there may be
full dresses there to-night, but there will be none fuller than
And I wuz glad that Alminy had made it jest as she had. She had
made it a little fuller than even I had laid out to have it, for
she mistrusted it would shrink in washin'. It wuz a very full
dress. It wuz cambrick dark chocolate, with a set flower of a
kind of a cinnamon brown and yellow, it wuz bran new and looked
Wall, I had got it on, and wuz contemplatin' its fullness with
complacency and a hand-glass, a seein' how nobly it stood out
behind, and how full it wuz, when Josiah Allen came in. I had
talked it over with him, before he went out -- and he wuz as
tickled as I wuz, and tickleder, to think I had got jest the right
dress for the occasion. But he sez to me the first thing -- "You
are all wrong, Samantha, full dress means low neck and short
Sez I, "I know better!"
Sez he, "It duz."
Sez I, "Somebody has been a foolin' you, Josiah Allen! There
ain't no sense in it. Do you s'pose folks would call a dress
full, when there wuzn't more'n half a waist and sleeves to it.
I'd try to use a little judgment, Josiah Allen! "
But he contended that he wuz in the right on't. And he took up
his best vest that lay on the bed, and sot down, and took out his
jack knife and went a rippin' open one of the shoulders, and sez
I, "What are you doin', Josiah Allen?"
"Why, you can do as you are a mind to, Samantha Allen," sez he.
"But I shall go fashionable, I shall go in full dress."
Sez I, "Josiah Allen do you look me in the face and say you are a
goin' in a low neck vest, and everything, to that party to-night?"
"Yes, mom, I be. I am bound to be fashionable." And he went to
rollin' up his shirt sleeves and turnin' in the neck of his shirt,
in a manner that wuz perfectly immodest.
I turned my head away instinctively, for I felt that my cheek wuz
a gettin' as red as blood, partly through delicacy and partly
through righteous anger. Sez I, "Josiah Allen, be you a
calculatin' to go there right out in public before men and wimmen,
a showin' your bare bosom to a crowd? Where is your modesty,
Josiah Allen? Where is your decency?"
Sez he firmly, "I keep 'em where all the rest do, who go in full
I sot right down in a chair and sez I, "Wall there is one thing
certain; if you go in that condition, you will go alone. Why,"
sez I, "to home, if Tirzah Ann, your own daughter, had ketched you
in that perdickerment, a rubbin' on linement or anything, you
would have jumped and covered yourself up, quicker'n a flash, and
likeways me, before Thomas Jefferson. And now you lay out to go
in that way before young girls, and old ones, and men and wimmen,
and want me to foller on after your example. What in the world
are you a thinkin' on, Josiah Allen?"
"Why I'm a thinkin, on full dress," sez be in a pert tone, a
kinder turnin' himself before the glass, where he could get a good
view of his bones. His thin neck wuzn't much more than bones,
anyway, and so I told him. And I asked him if he could see any
beauty in it, and sez I, "Who wants to look at our old bare necks,
Josiah Allen? And if there wuzn't any other powerful reeson of
modesty and decency in it, you'd ketch your death cold, Josiah
Allen, and be laid up with the newmoan. You know you would," sez
I, "you are actin' like a luny, Josiah Allen."
"It is you that are actin' like a luny," sez he bitterly. "I
never propose anything of a high fashionable kind but what you
want to break it up. Why, dumb it all, you know as well as I do,
that men haint called as modest as wimmen anyway. And if they
have the name, why shouldn't they have the game? Why shouldn't
they go round half dressed as well as wimmen do? And they are as
strong agin; if there is any danger to health in it they are
better able to stand it. But," sez he, in the same bitter axents,
"you always try to break up all my efforts at high life and
fashion. I presume you won't waltz to-night, nor want me to."
I groaned several times in spite of myself, and sithed, "Waltz!"
sez I in awful axents. "A classleader! and a grandfather! and
talkin' about waltzin'!"
Sez Josiah, "Men older than me waltz, and foller it up. Put their
arms right round the prettiest girls in the room, hug 'em, and
swing 'em right round" -- sez he kinder spoony like.
I said nothin' at them fearful words, only my groans and sithes
became deeper and more voyalent. And in a minute I see through
the fingers with which I had nearly covered my face, that he wuz a
pullin' down his shirt sleeves and a puttin' his jack knife in his
That man loves me. And love sways him round often times when
reesun and sound argument are powerless. Now, the sound reesun of
the case didn't move him, such as the indelicacy of makin' a
exhibition of one's self in a way that would, if displayed in a
heathen, be a call for missionarys to convert 'em, and that makes
men blush when they see it in a Christian woman.
The sound reason of its bein' the fruitful cause of disease and
death, through the senseless exposure.
The sound reason of the worse than folly of old and middle-aged
folks thinkin' that the exhibition is a pretty one when it haint.
The sound reason of its bein' inconsistent for a woman to allow
the familiarity of a man and a stranger, a walkin' up and puttin'
his arm round her, and huggin' her up to him as clost as he can;
that act, that a woman would resent as a deadly insult and her
incensed relatives avenge with the sword, if it occurred in any
other place than the ball-room and at the sound of the fiddle.
The utter inconsistency of her meetin' it with smiles, and making
frantic efforts to get more such affronts than any other woman
present -- her male relatives a lookin' proudly on.
The inconsistency of a man's bein' not only held guiltless but
applauded for doin' what, if it took place in the street, or
church, would make him outlawed, for where is there a lot of manly
men who would look on calmly, and see a sweet young girl insulted
by a man's ketchin' hold of her and embracin' of her tightly for
half an hour, -- why, he would be turned out of his club and
outlawed from Christian homes if it took place in silence, but yet
the sound of a fiddle makes it all right.
And I sez to myself mildly, as I sot there, "Is it that men and
wimmen lose their senses, or is there a sacredness in the strains
of that fiddle, that makes immodesty modest, indecency decent, and
immorality moral?" And agin I sithe heavy and gin 3 deep groans.
And I see Josiah gin in. All the sound reasons weighed as nothin'
with him, but 2 or 3 groans, and a few sithes settled the matter.
Truly Love is a mighty conqueror.
And anon Josiah spoke and sez, "Wall, I s'pose I can gin it all
up, if you feel so about it, but we shall act like fools,
Samantha, and look like 'em."
Sez I sternly, "Better be fools than naves, Josiah Allen! if we
have got to be one or the other, but we haint. We are a standin'
on firm ground, Josiah Allen," sez I. "The platform made of the
boards of consistency, and common sense, and decency, is one that
will never break down and let you through it, into gulfs and
abysses. And on that platform we will both stand to-night, dear
I think it is always best when a pardner has gin in and you have
had a triumph of principle, to be bland; blander than common to
him. I always love at such times to round my words to him with a
sweet affectionateness of mean. I love to, and he loves it.
We sot out in good season for the Garden party. And it wuz indeed
a sight to behold! But I did not at that first minute have a
chance to sense it, for Miss Flamm sent her hired girl out to ask
me to come to her room for a few minutes. Miss Flamm's house is a
undergoin' repairs for a few weeks, sunthin' had gin out in the
water works, so she and her hired girl have been to this tarven
for the time bein'. The hired girl got us some good seats and
tellin' Josiah to keep one on 'em for me, I follered the girl, or
"maid," as Miss Flamm calls her. But good land! if she is a old
maid, I don't see where the young ones be.
Miss Flamm had sent for me, so she said, to see if I wanted to
ride out the next day, and what time would be the most convenient
to me, and also, to see how I liked her dress. She didn't know as
she should see me down below, in the crowd, and she wanted me to
see it. (Miss Flamm uses me dretful well, but I s'pose 2/3ds of
it, is on Thomas J's account. Some folks think she is goin' to
have another lawsuit, and I am glad enough to have him convey her
lawsuits, for they are good, honerable ones, and she pays him
splendid for carryin' 'em.)
Wall, she had her skirts all on when I went in, all a foamin' and
a shinin', down onto the carpet, in a glitterin' pile of pink
satin and white lace and posys. Gorgus enough for a princess.
And I didn't mind it much, bein' only females present, if she wuz
exposin' of herself a good deal. I kinder blushed a little as I
looked at her, and kep' my eyes down on her skirts all I could,
and thinkses I to myself, -- "What if G. Washington should come
in? I shouldn't know which way to look." But then the very next
minute, I says to myself, "Of course he won't be in till she gets
her waist on. I'm a borrowin' trouble for nothin'."
At last Miss Flamm spoke and says she, as she kinder craned
herself before the glass, a lookin' at her back (most the hull
length on it bare, as I am a livin' creeter); and says she,," How
do you like my dress?"
"Oh," says I, wantin' to make myself agreeable (both on account of
principle, and the lawsuit), "the skirts are beautiful but I can't
judge how the hull dress looks, you know, till you get your waist
"My waist?" says she.
"Yes," says I.
"I have got it on," says she.
"Where is it?" says I, a lookin' at her closer through my specks,
"Where is the waist?"
"Here," says she, a pintin' to a pink belt ribbon, and a string of
beads over each shoulder.
Says I, "Miss Flamm, do you call that a waist?"
"Yes," says she, and she balanced herself on her little pink
tottlin' slippers. She couldn't walk in 'em a good honerable walk
to save her life. How could she, with the instep not over two
inches acrost, and the heels right under the middle of her foot,
more'n a finger high? Good land, they wuz enuff to lame a Injun
savage, and curb him in. But she sort o' balanced herself unto
'em, the best she could, and put her hands round her waist -- it
wuzn't much bigger than a pipe-stem, and sort o' bulgin' out both
ways, above and below, some like a string tied tight round a
piller, - and says she complacently, "I don't believe there will
be a dress shown to-night more stylish and beautiful than mine."
Says I, "Do you tell me, Miss Flamm, that you are a goin' down
into that crowd of promiscus men and women, with nothin' but them
strings on to cover you?" Says I, "Do you tell me that, and you a
perfesser and a Christian?"
"Yes," says she, "I paid 300 dollars for this dress, and it haint
likely I am goin' to miss the chance of showin' it off to the
other wimmen who will envy me the possession of it. To be sure,"
says she, "it is a little lower than Americans usually wear. But
in fashion, as in anything else, somebody has got to go ahead.
This is the very heighth of fashion," says she.
Says I in witherin' and burnin' skorn, "It is the heighth of
And I jest turned my back right ont' her, and sailed out of the
room. I wuzn't a a goin' to stand that, lawsuit or no lawsuit. I
wuz all worked up in my mind, and by the side of myself, and I
didn't get over it for some time, neither.
Wall, I found my companion seated in that comfertable place, and a
keepin' my chair for me, and so I sot down by him, and truly we
sot still, and see the glory, and the magnificence on every side
on us. There wuz 3 piazzas about as long as from our house to
Jonesville, or from Jonesville to Loontown, all filled with folks
magnificently dressed, and a big garden layin' between 'em about
as big as from our house to Miss Gowdey's, and so round crossways
to Alminy Hagidone's brother's, and back agin'. It wuz full as
fur as that, and you know well that that is a great distance.
There wuz some big noble trees, all twinklin' full of lights, of
every coler, and rows of shinin' lights, criss-crossed every way,
or that is, every beautiful way, from the high ornimental pillers
of the immense house, that loomed up in the distance round us on
every side, same as the mountains loom up round Loontown.
There wuz a big platform built in the middle of the garden, with
sweet music discoursin' from it the most enchantin' strains. And
the fountains wuz sprayin' out the most beautiful colers you ever
see in your life, and fallin' down in pink, and yellow, and gold,
and green, and amber, and silver water; sparklin' down onto the
green beautiful ferns and flowers that loved to grow round the big
marble basin which shone white, risin' out of the green velvet of
Josiah looked at that water, and sez he, "Samantha, I'd love to
get some of that water to pass round evenin's when we have
company." Sez he, "It would look so dressy and fashionable to
pass round pink water, or light blue, or light yeller. How it
would make Uncle Nate Gowdey open his eyes. I believe I shall buy
some bottles of it, Samantha, to take home. What do you say? I
don't suppose it would cost such a dretful sight, do you?"
Sez he, "I s'pose all they have to do is to put pumps down into a
pink spring, or a yeller one, as the case may be, and pump. And I
would be willin' to pump it up myself, if it would come cheaper."
But my companion soon forgot to follow up the theme in lookin'
about him onto the magnificent, seen, and a seein' the throngs of
men and wimmen growin' more and more denser, and every crowd on
'em that swept by us, and round us, and before us, a growin' more
gorgus in dress, or so it seemed to us. Gemms of every gorgus
coler under the heavens and some jest the coler of the heavens
when it is blue and shinin' or when it is purplish dark in the
night time, or when it is full of white fleecy clouds, or when it
is a shinin' with stars.
Why, one woman had so many diamonds on that she had a detective
follerin' her all round wherever she went. She wuz a blaze of
splendor and so wuz lots of 'em, though like the stars, they
differed from each other in glory.
But whatever coler their gowns wuz, in one thing they wuz most all
alike -- most all of 'em had waists all drawed in tight, but a
bulgin' out on each side, more or less as the case might be. Why
some of them waists wuzn't much bigger than pipe's tails and so I
And he whispered back to me, and sez he, "I wonder if them wimmen
with wasp waists, think that we men like the looks on 'em. They
make a dumb mistake if they do. Why," sez he, "we men know what
they be; we know they are nothin' but crushed bones and flesh."
Sez he, "I could make my own waist look jest like 'em, if I should
take a rope and strap myself down."
"Wall," sez I, in agitated axents, "don't you try to go into no
such enterprise, Josiah Allen."
I remembered the eppisode of the afternoon, and I sez in anxins
axents, and affectionate, "Besides not lookin' well, it is
dangerous, awful dangerous. And how I should blush," sez I, "if I
wuz to see you with a leather strap or a rope round your waist
under your coat, a drawin' you in ; a changin' your good honerable
shape. And God made men's and wimmen's waists jest alike in the
first place, and it is jest as smart for men to deform themselves
in that way as it is for wimmen. But oh, the agony of my soul if
I should see you a tryin' to disfigure yourself in that way."
"You needn't be afraid, Samantha," sez he, "I am dressy, and
always wuz, but I haint such a fool as that, as to kill myself in
perfect agony, for fashion."
I didn't say nothin' but instinctively I looked down at his feet,
"Oh, you needn't look at my feet, Samantha, feet are very
different from the heart, and lungs, and such. You can squeeze
your feet down, and not hurt much moren the flesh and bones. But
you are a destroyin' the very seat of life when you draw your
waist in as them wimmen do."
"I know it," sez I, "but I wouldn't torture myself in any way if I
wuz in your place."
"I don't lay out to," sez he. "I haint a goin' to wear corsets,
it haint at all probable I shall, though I am better able to stand
it, than wimmen be."
"I know that," sez I. "I know men are stronger and better able to
bear the strain of bein' drawed in and tapered." I am reesonable,
and will ever speak truthful and honest, and this I couldn't deny
and didn't try to.
"Wall, dumb it, what makes men stronger?" sez he.
"Why," sez I, "I s'pose one great thing is their dressin'
"Wall, I am glad you know enough to know it," sez he. "Why," sez
he, "jest imagine a man tyin' a rope round his waist, round and
round; or worse yet, take strong steel, and whalebones, and bind
and choke himself down with 'em, and tottlin' himself up on high
heel slippers, the high heels comin' right up in the ball of his
foot -- and then havin' heavy skirts a holdin' him down, tied back
tight round his knees and draggin' along on the ground at his feet
-- imagine me in that perdickerment, Samantha."
I shuddered, and sez I, "Don't bring up no such seen to harrow up
my nerve." Sez I, "You know I couldn't stand it, to see you a
facin' life and its solemn responsibilities in that condition. It
would kill me to witness your sufferin'," sez I. And agin' I
shuddered, and agin I sithed.
And he sez, "Wall, it is jest as reasonable for a man to do it as
for a woman; it is far worse and more dangerous for a woman than a
"I know it," sez I, between my sithes. "I know it, but I can't, I
can't stand it, to have you go into it."
"Wall, you needn't worry, Samantha, I haint a fool. You won't
ketch men a goin' into any such performances as this, they know
too much." And then he resumed on in a lighter agent, to get my
mind still further off from his danger, for I wuz still a sithin',
frequent and deep.
Sez he, as he looked down and see some wimmen a passin' below; sez
hey "I never see such a sight in my life, a man can see more here
in one evenin' than he can in a life time at Jonesville."
"That is so, Josiah," sez I, "you can." And I felt every word I
said, for at that very minute a lady, or rather a female woman,
passed with a dress on so low in the neck that I instinctively
turned away my head, and when I looked round agin, a deep blush
wuz mantlin' the cheeks of Josiah Allen, a flushin' up his face,
clear up into his bald head.
I don't believe I had ever been prouder of Josiah Allen, than I
wuz at that minute. That blush spoke plainer than words could, of
the purity and soundness of my pardner's morals. If the whole
nation had stood up in front of me at that time, and told me his
morals wuz a tottlin' I would have scorned the suggestion. No,
that blush telegraphed to me right from his soul, the sweet
tidin's of his modesty and worth.
And I couldn't refrain from sayin' in encouragin', happy axents,
"Haint you glad now, Josiah Allen, that you listened to your
pardner; haint you glad that you haint a goin' round in a low
necked coat and vest, a callin' up the blush of skern and outraged
modesty to the cheeks 'of noble and modest men?"
"Yes," sez he, graspin' holt of my hand in the warmth of his
gratitude, for he see what I had kep' him from. "Yes, you wuz in
the right on't, Samantha. I see the awfulness of the peril from
which you rescued of me. But never," sez he, a lookin' down
agin over the railin', onto some more wimmen a passin' beneath,
"never did I see what I have seen here to-night. Not," sez he
dreemily, "sense I wuz a baby."
"Wall," sez I, "don't try to look, Josiah; turn your eyes away."
And I believe he did try to -- though such is the fascination of a
known danger in front of you, that it is hard to keep yourself
from contemplatin' of it. But he tried to. And he tried to not
look at the waltzin' no more than he could help, and I did too.
But in spite of himself he had to see how clost the young girls
wuz held; how warmly the young men embraced 'em. And as he looked
on, agin I see the hot blush of shame mantillied Josiah's cheeks,
and again he sez to me in almost warm axents, "I realize what you
have rescued me from, Samantha."
And I sez, "You couldn't have looked Elder Minkley in the face,
could you? if you had gone into that shameful diversion."
"No, I couldn't, nor into yourn nuther. I couldn't have looked
nobody in the face, if I had gone on and imposed on any young girl
as they are a doin', and insulted of her. Why," sez he, "if it
wuz my Tirzah Ann that them, men wuz a embracin', and huggin', and
switchin' her round, as if they didn't have no respect for her at
all, -- why, if it wuz Tirzah Ann, I would tear 'em 'em from lim."
And he looked capable on't. He looked almost sublime (though
small). And I hurried him away from the seen, for I didn't know
what would ensue and foller on, if I let him linger there longer.
He looked as firm and warlike as one of our bantam fowls, a male
one, when hawks are a hoverin' over the females of the flock. And
when I say Bantam I say it with no disrespect to Josiah Allen.
Bantams are noble, and warlike fowls, though small boneded.
I got one more glimps of Miss Flamm jest as we left the tarven.
She wuz a standin' up in the parlor, with a tall man a standin' up
in front of her a talkin'. He seemed to be biddin' of her
good-bye, for he had holt of her hand, and be wuz a sayin' as we
went by 'em, sez he, "I am sorry not to see more of you."
"Good land!" thinkses I, "what can the man be a thinkin' on? the
mean, miserable creeter! If there wuz ever a deadly insult gin to
a woman, then wuz the time it wuz gin. Good land! good land!"
I don't know whether Miss Flamm resented it, or not, for I hurried
Josiah along. I didn't want to expose him to no sich sights,
good, innocent old creeter. So I kep' him up on a pretty good jog
till I got him home.
A TRIP TO SCHUYLERVILLE.
It wuz a lovely mornin' when my companion and me sot out to visit
Schuylerville to see the monument that is stood up there in honor
of the Battle of Saratoga, one of 7 great decisive battles of the
Wall, the cars rolled on peacefully, though screechin' occasionally,
for, as the poet says, "It is their nater to," and rolled us away
from Saratoga. And at first there wuzn't nothin' particularly
insperin' in the looks of the landscape, or ruther woodscape. It
wuz mostly woods and rather hombly woods too, kinder flat lookin'.
But pretty soon the scenery became beautiful and impressive. The
rollin' hills rolled down and up in great billowy masses of green
and pale blue, accordin' as they wuz fur or near, and we went by
shinin' water, and a glowin' landscape, and pretty houses, and
fields of grain and corn, etc., etc. And anon we reached a place
where "Victory Mills" wuz printed up high, in big letters. When
Josiah see this, he sez, "Haint that neighborly and friendly in
Victory to come over here and put up a mill? That shows, Samantha,"
sez he, "that the old hardness of the Revolution is entirely done
He wuz jest full of Revolutionary thoughts that mornin', Josiah
Allen wuz. And so wuz I too, but my strength of mind is such,
that I reined 'em in and didn't let 'em run away with me. And I
told him that it didn't mean that. Sez I, "The Widder Albert
wouldn't come over here and go to millin', she nor none of her
"But," sez he, "the name must mean sunthin'. Do you s'pose it is
where folks get the victory over things? If it is, I'd give a
dollar bill to get a grist ground out here, and," sez he, in a
sort of a coaxin' tone, "le's stop and get some victory, Samantha."
And I told him, that I guessed when he got a victory over the
world, the flesh, or the -- David, he would have to work for it,
he wouldn't get it ground out for him. But anon, he cast his eyes
on sunthin' else and so forgot to muse on this any further. It
wuz a fair seen.
Anon, a big manufactory, as big as the hull side of Jonesville
almost, loomed up by the side of us. And anon, the fair, the
beautiful country spread itself out before our vision. While fur,
fur away the pale blue mountains peeked up over the green ones, to
see if they too could see the monument riz up to our National
Liberty. It belonged to them, jest as much as to the hill it wuz
a standin' on, it belongs to the hull liberty-lovin' world.
Wall, the cars stopped in a pretty little village, a clean,
pleasant little place as I ever see, or want to see. And Josiah
and me wended our way up the broad roomy street, up to where the
monument seemed to sort a beegon to us to come. And when we got
up to it; we see it wuz a sight, a sight to behold.
The curius thing on't wuz, it kep a growin' bigger and bigger all
the time we wuz approachin' it, till, as we stood at its base, it
seemed to tower up into the very skies.
There wuz some flights of stun steps a leadin' up to some doors in
the side on't. And we went inside on't after we had gin a good
look at the outside. But it took us some time to get through
gazin' at the outside on't.
Way up over our heads wuz some sort a recesses, some like the
recess in my spare bed-room, only higher and narrower, and kinder
nobler lookin'. And standin' up in the first one, a lookin'
stiddy through storm and shine at the North star, stood General
Gates, bigger than life considerable, but none too big; for his
deeds and the deeds of all of our old 4 fathers stand out now and
seem a good deal bigger than life. Yes, take 'em in all their
consequences, a sight bigger.
Wall, there he stands, a leanin' on his sword. He'll be ready
when the enemy comes, no danger but what he will.
On the east side, is General Schuyler a horsback, ready to dash
forward against the foe, impetuous, ardent, gallant. But oh! the
perils and dangers that obstruct his pathway; thick underbrush and
high, tall trees stand up round him that he seemin'ly can't get
But his gallant soldiers are a helpin' him onward, they are a
cuttin' down the trees so's he can get through 'em and dash at the
enemy. You see as you look on him that he will get through it
all. No envy, nor detraction, nor jealousy, no such low
underbrush full of crawlin' reptiles, nor no high solid trees, no
danger of any sort can keep him back. His big brave, generous
heart is sot on helpin' his country, he'll do it.
On the south side, is the saddest sight that a patriotic American
can see. On a plain slab stun, lookin' a good deal like a
permanent grave-stun, sot up high there, for Americans to weep
over forever, bitter tears of shames, is the name, "Arnold."
He wuz a brave soldier; his name ort to be there; it is all right
to have it there and jest where it is, on a gravestun. All
through the centuries it will stand there, a name carved by the
hand of cupidity, selfishness, and treachery.
On the west side, General Morgan is standin' up with his hands
over his eyes; lookin' away into the sunset. He looked jest like
that when he wuz a lookin' after prowlin' red skins and red coats;
when the sun wuz under dark clouds, and the day wuz dark 100 years
But now, all he has to do is to stand up there and look off into
the glowin' heavens, a watchin' the golden light of the sun of
Liberty a rollin' on westward. He holds his hand over his eyes;
its rays most blind him, he is most lost a thinkin' how fur, how
fur them rays are a spreadin', and a glowin',way, way off, Morgan
is a lookin' onto our future, and it dazzles him. Its rays
stretch off into other lands; they strike dark places; they burn!
they glow! they shine! they light up the world!
Hold up your head, brave old General, and your loyal steadfast
eyes. You helped to strike that light. Its radience half-frights
you. It is so heavenly bright, its rays, may well dazzle you.
Brown old soldiers, I love to think of you always a standin' up
there, lifted high up by a grateful Nation, a lookin' off over all
the world, a lookin' off towards the glowin' west, toward our
On the inside too, it wuz a noble seen. After you rose up the
steps and went inside, you found yourself in a middlin' big room
all surrounded by figures in what they called Alto Relief, or
sunthin' to that effect. I don't know what Alto they meant. I
don't know nobody by that name, nor I don't know how they relieved
him. But I s'pose Alto when he wuz there wuz relieved to think
that the figures wuz all so noble and impressive. Mebby he had
been afraid they wouldn't suit him and the nation. But they did,
they must have. He must have been hard to suit, Alto must, if he
wuzn't relieved, and pleased with these.
On one side wuz George the 3d of England, in his magnificent
palace, all dressed up in velvet and lace, surrounded by his slick
drestup nobles, and all of 'em a sittin' there soft and warm, in
the lap of Luxury, a makin' laws to bind the strugglin' colonies.
And right acrost from that, wuz a picture of them Colonists, cold
and hungry, a havin' a Rally for Freedom, and a settin' up a Town
meetin! right amongst the trees, and under-brush that hedged 'em
all in and tripped 'em up at every step; and savages a hidin'
behind the trees, and fears of old England, and dread of a
hazerdous unknown future, a hantin' and cloudin' every glimpse of
sky that came down on 'em through the trees. But they looked
earnest and good, them old 4 fathers did, and the Town meetin'
looked determined, and firm principled as ever a Town meetin'
looked on the face of the earth.
Then there wuz some of the women of the court, fine ladies, all
silk, and ribbons, and embroideries, and paint, and powder, a
leanin' back in their cushioned arm-chairs, a wantin' to have the
colonies taxed still further so's to have more money to buy lace
with and artificial flowers. And right acrost from 'em wuz some
of our old 4 mothers, in a rude, log hut, not strong enough to
keep out the cold, or the Injuns.
One wuz a cardin' wools, one of 'em wuz a spinnin' 'em, a tryin'
to make clothes to cover the starved, half-naked old 4 fathers who
wuz a tramplin' round in the snow with bare feet and shiverin'
lims. And one of 'em had a gun in her hand. She had smuggled the
children all in behind her and she wuz a lookin' out for the foe.
These wimmen hadn't no ribbons on, no, fur from it.
And then there wuz General Schuyler a fellin' trees to obstruct
the march of the British army. And Miss Schuyler a settin' fire
to a field of wheat rather than have it help the enemy of her
country. Brave old 4 mother, worthy pardner of a grand man, she
wuz a takin' her life in her hand and a destroyin' her own
property for the sake of the cause she loved. A emblem of the way
men and women sot fire to their own hopes, their own happiness,
and burnt 'em up on the altar of the land we love.
And there wuz some British wimmen a follerin' their husbands
through the perils of danger and death, likely old 4 mothers they
wuz, and thought jest as much of their pardners as I do of my
Josiah. I could see that plain. And could see it a shinin'
still plainer in another one of the pictures -- Lady Aukland a
goin' over the Hudson in a little canoe with the waves a dashin'
up high round her, to get to the sick bed of her companion. The
white flag of truce wuz a wavin' over her head and in her heart
wuz a shinin' the clear white light of a woman's deathless
devotion. Oh! there wuz likely wimmen amongst the British, I
haint a doubt of it, and men too.
And then we clim a long flight of stairs and we see some more
pictures, all round that room. Alto relieved agin, or he must
have been relieved, and happified to see 'em, they wuz so
impressive. I myself had from 25 to 30 emotions a minute while I
stood a lookin' at em -- big lofty emotions too.
There waz Jennie McCrea a bein' dragged offen her horse, and
killed by savages. A dreadful sight -- a woman settin' out
light-hearted toward happiness and goin' to meet a fearful doom.
Dreadful sight that has come down through the centuries, and
happens over and over agin amongst female wimmen. But here it wuz
fearful impressive for the savages that destroyed her wuz in
livin' form, they haint always materialized.
Yes, it wuz a awful seen. And jest beyond it, wuz Burgoyne a
scoldin' the savages for the cruelty of the deed. Curius, haint
it? How the acts and deeds of a man that he sets to goin', when
they have come to full fruition skare him most to death, horrify
him by the sight. I'll bet Burgoyne felt bad enough, a lookin' on
her dead body, if it wuz his doin's in the first place, in lettin'
loose such ignerance and savagery onto a strugglin' people.
Yes, Mr. Burgoyne felt bad and ashamed, I haint a doubt of it.
His poet soul could suffer as well as enjoy -- and then I didn't
feel like sayin' too much aginst Mr. Burgoyne, havin' meditated so
lately in the treachery of Arnold, one of our own men doin' a act
that ort to keep us sort a humble-minded to this day.
And then there wuz the killin' and buryin' of Frazier both
impressive. He wuz a gallant officer and a brave man. And then
there wuz General Schuyler (a good creeter) a turnin' over his
command to Gates. And I methought to myself as I looked on it,
that human nater wuz jest about the same then; it capered jest
about as it duz now in public affairs and offices. Then there wuz
the surrender of Burgoyne to Gates. A sight impressive enough to
furnish one with stiddy emotions for weeks and weeks. A thinkin'
of all he surrendered to him that day, and all that wuz took.
The monument is dretful high. Up, up, up, it soars as if it wuz
bound to reach up into the very heavens, and carry up there these
idees of ourn about Free Rights, and National Liberty. It don't
go clear up, though. I wish it did. If it had, I should have
gone up the high ladder clear to the top. But I desisted from the
enterprise for 2 reasons, one wuz, that it didn't go, as I say,
clear up, and the other wuz that the stairs wuzn't finished.
Josiah proposed that he should go up as he clim up our well, with
one foot on each side on't. He said he wuz tempted to, for he
wanted dretfully to look out of them windows on the top. And he
said it would probable be expected of him. And I told him that I
guessed that the monument wouldn't feel hurt if he didn't go up; I
guessed it would stand it. I discouraged the enterprise.
And anon we went down out of the monument, and crossed over to the
good-lookin' house where the man lives who takes care of the
monument, and shows off its good traits, a kind of a guardian to
it. And we got a first-rate dinner there, though such is not
their practice. And then he took us in a likely buggy with 2
seats, and a horse to draw it, and we sot out to see what the
march of 100 years has left us of the doin's of them days.
Time has trampled out a good many of 'em, but we found some. We
found the old Schuyler mansion, a settin' back amongst the trees,
with the old knocker on it, that had been pulled by so many a old
4 father, carryin' tidin's of disappointment, and hope, and
triumph, and encouragement, and everything. We went over the
threshold wore down by the steps that had fell there for a hundred
years, some light, some heavy steps.
We went into the clean, good-lookin' old kitchen, with the
platters, and shinin' dressers and trays; the old-fashioned
settee, half-table and half-seat. And we see the cup General
Washington drinked tea out of, good old creeter. I hope the water
biled and it wuz good tea, and most probable it wuz. And we see
lots of arms that had been carried in the war, and cannon balls,
and shells, and tommy-hawks, and hatchets, and arrows, and etc.,
etc. And down in one room all full of other curiosities and
relicts, wuz the skull of a traitor. I should judge from the
looks on't that besides bein' mean, he wuz a hombly man. Somebody
said folks had made efforts to steal it. But Josiah whispered to
me, that there wuzn't no danger from him, for he would rather be
shet right up in the Tombs than to own it, in any way.
And I felt some like him. Some of his teeth had been stole, so
they said. Good land! what did they want with his teeth! But it
wuz a dretful interestin' spot. And I thought as I went through
the big square, roomy rooms that I wouldn't swap this good old
house for dozens of Queen Anns, or any other of the fashionable,
furbelowed houses of to-day. The orniments of this house wuz more
on the inside, and I couldn't help thinkin' that this house,
compared with the modern ornimental cottages, wuz a good deal like
one of our good old-fashioned foremothers in her plain gown,
compared with some of the grandma's of to-day, all paint, and
furbelows, and false hair.
The old 4 mothers orniments wuz on the inside, and the others wuz
more up on the roof, scalloped off and gingerbreaded, and
The old house wuz full of rooms fixed off beautiful. It wuz quite
a treat to walk throngh'em. But the old fireplaces, and mantle
tray shelves spoke to our hearts of the generations that had poked
them fires, and leaned up against them mantle trays. They went
ahead on us through the old rooms; I couldn't see 'em, but I felt
their presence, as I follered 'em over the old thresholts their
feet had worn down a hundred years ago. Their feet didn't make no
sound, their petticoats and short gowns didn't rustle against the
old door ways and stair cases.
The dear old grandpas in their embroidered coats, didn't cast no
shadow as they crossed the sunshine that came in through the
old-fashioned window panes. No, but with my mind's eye (the best
eye I have got, and one that don't wear specks) I see 'em, and I
follerd 'em down the narrow, steep stair case, and out into the
broad light of 4 P. M., 1886.
Anon, or shortly after, we drove up on a corner of the street jest
above where the Fish creek empties into the Hudson, and there,
right on a tall high brick block, wuz a tablet, showin' that a
tree once stood jest there, under which Burgoyne surrendered. And
agin, when I thought of all that he surrendered that day, and all
that America and the world gained, my emotions riz up so powerful,
that they wuzn't quelled down a mite, by seein' right on the other
side of the house wrote down these words, "Drugs, Oils, etc."
No, oil couldn't smooth 'em down, nor drugs drug 'em; they wuz too
powerful. And they lasted jest as soarin' and eloquent as ever
till we turned down a cross street, and arrove at the place, jest
the identical spot where the British stacked their arms (and
stacked all their pride, and their ambitious hopes with 'em). It
made a high pile.
Wall, from there we went up to a house on a hill, where poor
Baroness Riedesel hid with her three little children, amongst the
wounded and dyin' officers of the British army, and stayed there
three days and three nights, while shots and shells wuz a
bombardin' the little house -- and not knowin' but some of the
shots had gone through her lover husband's heart, before they
struck the low ruff over her head.
What do you s'pose she wuz a thinkin' on as she lay hid in that
suller all them three days and three nights with her little girls'
heads in her lap? Jest the same thoughts that a mother thinks
to-day, as she cowers down with the children she loves, to hide
from danger; jest the same thoughts that a wife thinks today when
her heart is out a facing danger and death, with the man she
She faced danger, and died a hundred deaths in the thought of the
danger to them she loved. I see the very splinters that the cruel
shells and cannon balls split and tore right over her head. Good
honorable splinters and not skairful to look at today, but hard,
and piercin', and harrowin' through them days and nights.
Time has trampled over that calash she rode round so much in (I
wish I could a seen it); but Time has ground it down into dust.
Time's hand, quiet but heavy, rested down on the shinin' heads of
the three little girls, and their Pa and Ma, and pushed 'em gently
but firmly down out of sight; and all of them savages who used to
follow that calash as it rolled onwards, and all their canoes, and
war hoops, and snowshoes, etc., etc.
Yes, that calash of Miss Riedesel has rolled away, rolled away
years ago, carryin' the three little girls, their Pa and Ma and
all the fears, and hopes, and dreads, and joys, and heartaches of
that time it has rolled on with 'em all; on, on, down the dusty
road of Oblivion, -- it has disappeared there round the turn of
road, and a cloud of dust comes up into our faces, as we try to
follow it. And the Injuns that used to howl round it, have all
follered on the trail of that calash, and gone on, on, out of
sight. Their canoes have drifted away down the blue Hudson, away
off into the mist and the shadows. Curius, haint it?
And there the same hills and valleys lay, calm and placid, there
is the same blue sparklin' Hudson. Dretful curius, and sort a
heart breakin' to think on't -- haint it? Only jest a few more
years and we, too, shall go round the turn of the road, out of
sight, out of sight, and a cloud of dust will come up and hide us
from the faces of them that love us, and them, too, from the eyes
of a newer people.
All our hopes, all our ambitious, all our loves, our joys, our
sorrows, -- all, all will be rolled away or floated away down the
river, and the ripples will ripple on jest as happy; the Sunshine
will kiss the hills jest as warmly, and lovin'ly; but other eyes
will look on 'em, other hearts will throb and burn within 'em at
Kinder sad to think on, haint it?
THE SOCIAL SCIENCE MEETING.
One day Josiah and me went into a meetin' where they wuz kinder
fixin' over the world, sort a repairin' of it, as you may say.
Some of the deepest, smartest speeches I ever hearn in my life, I
You know it is a middlin' deep subject. But they rose to it.
They rose nobly to it. Some wuz for repairin' it one way, and
some another -- some wanted to kinder tinker it up, and make it
over like. Some wanted to tear it to pieces, and build it over
new. But they all meant well by the world, and nobody could help
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