Samantha at Saratoga
Part 5 out of 5
I enjoyed them hours there with 'em, jest about as well as it is
in my power to enjoy anything. They wuz all on 'em civilized
Christian folks and philanthropists of different shades and
degrees, all but one. There wuz one heathen there. A Hindoo
right from Hindoostan, and I felt kinder sorry for him. A
heathen sot right in the midst of them folks of refinement, and
culture, who had spent their hull lives a tryin' to fix over the
world, and make it good.
This poor little heathen, with a white piller case, or sunthin'
wound round his head (I s'pose he hadn't money to buy a hat), and
his small black eyes lookin' out kinder side ways from his dark
hombly little face, rousted up my pity, and my sympathy. There
had been quite a firm speech made against allowin' foreigners on
our shores. And this little heathen, in his broken speech, said,
It all seemed so funny to him, when everybody wuz foreigners in
this country, to think that them that got here first should say
they owned it, and send everybody else back. And he said, It
seemed funny to him, that the missionarys we sent over to his
land to teach them the truth, told them all about this land of
Liberty, where everybody wuz free, and everybody could earn a
home for themselves, and urged 'em all to come over here, and
then when they broke away from all that held 'em in their own
land, and came thousands and thousands of milds, to get to this
land of freedom and religion,then they wuz sent back agin, and
wuzn't allowed to land. It seemed so funny.
And so it did to me. And I said to myself, I wonder if they
don't lose all faith in the missionarys, and what they tell them.
I wonder if they don't have doubts about the other free country
they tell 'em about. The other home they have urged 'em to prepare
for, and go to. I wonder if they haint afraid, that when they
have left their own country and sailed away for that home of
Everlastin' freedom, they will be sent back agin, and not allowed
But it comferted me quite a good deal to meditate on't, that that
land didn't have no laws aginst foreign emigration. That its
ruler wuz one who held the rights of the lowest, and poorest, and
most ignerent of His children, of jest as much account as he did
the rights of a king. Thinkses I that poor little head with the
piller case on it will be jest as much looked up to, as if it wuz
white and had a crown on it. And I felt real glad to think it
But I went to every meetin' of 'em, and enjoyed every one of 'em
with a deep enjoyment. And I said then, and I say now, for folks
that had took such a hefty job as they had, they done well, nobody
could do better, and if the world wuzn't improved by their talk it
wuz the fault of the world, and not their'n.
And we went to meetin' on Sunday mornin' and night, and hearn
good sermons. There's several high big churches at Saratoga, of
every denomination, and likely folks belong to the hull on 'em:
There is no danger of folks losin' their way to Heaven unless
they want to, and they can go on their own favorite paths too, be
they blue Presbyterian paths, or Methodist pasters, or by the
Baptist boat, or the Episcopalian high way, or the Catholic
covered way, or the Unitarian Broadway, or the Shadow road of
No danger of their losin' their way unless they want to. And I
thought to myself as I looked pensively at the different steeples,
"What though there might be a good deal of'wranglin', and screechin',
and puffin' off steam, at the different stations, as there must
always be where so many different routes are a layin' side by side,
each with its own different runners, and conductors, and porters,
and managers, and blowers, still it must be, that the separate
high ways would all end at last in a serener road, where the true
wayfarers and the earnest pilgrims would all walk side by side, and
forget the very name of the station they sot out from.
I sez as much to my companion, as we wended our way home from one
of the meetin's, and he sez, "There haint but one right way, and
it is a pity folks can't see it." Sez he a sithin' deep, "Why
can't everybody be Methodists?"
We wuz a goin' by the 'Piscopal church then, and he sez a lookin'
at it, as if he wuz sorry for it, "What a pity that such likely
folks as they be, should believe in such eronious doctrines.
Why," sez he, "I have hearn that they believe that the bread at
communion is changed into sunthin' else. What a pity that they
should believe anything so strange as that is, when there is a
good, plain, practical, Christian belief that they might believe
in, when they might be Methodists. And the Baptists now," sez
he, a glancin' back at their steeple, "why can't they believe
that a drop is as good as a fountain? Why do they want to
believe in so much water? There haint no need on't. They might
be Methodists jest as well as not, and be somebody."
And he walked along pensively and in deep thought, and I a feelin'
somewhat tuckered didn't argue with him, and silence rained about
us till we got in front of the hall where the Spiritualists hold
their meetin's, and we met a few a comin' out on it and then he
broke out and acted mad, awful mad and skernful, and sez he
angrily, "Them dumb fools believe in supernatural things. They
don't have a shadow of reason or common sense to stand on. A man
is a fool to gin the least attention to them, or their doin's. Why
can't they believe sunthin' sensible? Why can't they jine a church
that don't have anything curius in it? Nothin' but plain, common
sense facts in it: Why can't they be Methodists?"
"The idee!" sez he, a breakin' out fresh. "The idee of believin'
that folks that have gone to the other world can come back agin
and appear. Shaw!" sez he, dretful loud and bold. I don't believe
I ever heard a louder shaw in my life than that wuz, or more kinder
haughty and highheaded.
And then I spoke up, and sez, "Josiah, it is always well, to shaw
in the right place, and I am afraid you haint studied on it as
much as you ort. I am afraid you haint a shawin' where you ort
"Where should I shaw?" sez he, kinder snappish.
"Wall," sez I, "when you condemn other folkses beliefs, you ort
to be careful that you haint a condemin' your own belief at the
same time. Now my belief is grounded in the Methodist meetin'
house like a rock; my faith has cast its ancher there inside of
her beliefs and can't be washed round by any waves of opposin'
doctrines. But I am one who can't now, nor never could, abide
bigotry and intolerance either in a Pope, or a Josiah Allen.
"And when you condemn a belief simply on the ground of its bein'
miraculous and beyond your comprehension, Josiah Allen, you had
better pause and consider on what the Methodist faith is founded.
"All our orthodox meetin' houses, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist,
Episcopalian, every one on 'em, Josiah Allen, are sot down on a
belief, a deathless faith in a miraculous birth, a life of
supernatural events, the resurrection of the dead, His appearance
after death, a belief in the graves openin' and the dead comin'
forth, a belief in three persons inhabitin' one soul, the constant
presence and control of spiritual influences, the Holy Ghost, and
the spirits of just men. And while you are a leanin' up against
that belief, Josiah Allen, and a leanin' heavy, don't shaw at any
other belief for the qualities you hold sacred in your own."
He quailed a very little, and I went on.
"If you want to shaw at it, shaw for sunthin' else in it, or else
let it entirely alone. If you think it lacks active Christian
force, if you think it is not aggressive in its assaults at Sin,
if you think it lacks faith in the Divine Head of the church, say
so, do; but for mercy's sake try to shaw in the right place."
"Wall," sez he, "they are a low set that follers it up mostly,
and you know it." And his head was right up in the air, and he
looked very skernful.
But I sez, "Josiah Allen, you are a shawin' agin in the wrong
place," sez I. "If what you say is true, remember that 1800
years ago, the same cry wuz riz up by Pharisees, `He eats with
Publicans and sinners.' They would not have a king who came in
the guise of the poor, they scerned a spiritual truth that did
not sparkle with worldly lustre.
"But it shone on; it lights the souls of humanity to-day. Let us
not be afraid, Josiah Allen. Truth is a jewel that cannot be
harmed by deepest investigation, by roughest handlin'. It can't
be buried, it will shine out of the deepest darkness. What is
false will be washed away, what is true will remain. For all
this frettin', and chafing, all this turbelence of conflectin'
beliefs, opposin' wills, will only polish this jewel. Truth,
calm and serene, will endure, will shine, will light up the
He begun to look considerable softer in mean, and I continued
on: "Josiah Allen, you and I know what we believe the beautiful
religion (Methodist Episcopal) that we both love, makes a light
in our two souls. But don't let us stand in that light and yell
out, that everybody else's light is darkness; that our light is
the only one. No, the heavens are over all the earth; the twelve
gates of heaven are open and a shinin' down on all sides of us.
"Jonesville meetin' house (Methodist Episcopal) haint the only
medium through which the light streams. It is dear to us, Josiah
Allen, but let us not think that we must coller everybody and
drag 'em into it. And let us not cry out too much at other
folkses superstitions, when the rock of our own faith, that
comforts us in joy and sorrow, is sot in a sea of supernaturalism.
"You know how that faith comforts our two souls, how it is to us,
like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, but they say,
their belief is the same to them, let us not judge them too
hardly. No, the twelve gates of heaven are open, Josiah Allen,
and a shinin' down onto the earth. We know the light that has
streamed into our own souls, but we do not know exactly what rays
of radience may have been reflected down into some other lives
through some one of those many gates.
"The plate below has to be prepared, before it can ketch the
picture and hold it. The light does not strike back the same
reflection from every earthly thing. The serene lake mirrors
back the light, in a calm flood of glory, the flashin' waterfall
breaks it into a thousand dazzlin' sparkles. The dewy petal of
the yellow field lily, reflects its own ray of golden light back,
so does the dark cone of the pine tree, and the diamond, the
opal, the ruby, each tinges the light with its own coloring, but
the light is all from above. And they all reflect the light, in
their own way for which the Divine skill has prepared them.
"Let us not try to compel the deep blue Ocean waves and the
shinin' waterfall, and the lily blow, to reflect back the light,
in the same identical manner. No, let the light stream down into
high places, and low ones, let the truth shine into dark hearts,
and into pure souls. God is light. God is Love. It is His
light that shines down out of the twelve gates, and though the
ruby, or the amethyst, may color it by their own medium, the
light that is reflected, back is the light of Heaven. And Josiah
Allen," sez I in a deeper, earnester tone, "let us who know so
little ourselves, be patient with other ignerent ones. Let us
not be too intolerent, for no intolerence, Josiah Allen is so
cruel as that of ignerence, an' stupidity."
Sez Josiah, "I won't believe in anything I can't see, Samantha
I jest looked round at him witheringly, and sez I, "What have
you ever seen, Josiah Allen, I mean that is worth sein'? Haint
everything that is worth havin' in life, amongst the unseen? The
deathless loves, the aspirations, the deep hopes, and faiths,
that live in us and through us, and animate us and keep us alive,
-- Whose spectacles has ever seen 'em? What are we, all of us
human creeters, any way, but little atoms dropped here, Heaven
knows why, or how, into the midst of a perfect sea of mystery,
and unseen influences. What hand shoved us forwards out of the
shadows, and what hand will reach out to us from the shadows and
draw us back agin? Have you seen it Josiah Allen? You have felt
this great onseen force a movin' you along, but you haint sot
your eyes on it.
"What is there above us, below us, about us, but a waste of
mystery, a power of onseen influences?.
"You won't believe anything you can't see: -- Did you ever see
old Gravity, Josiah Allen, or get acquainted with him? Yet his
hands hold the worlds together. Who ever see the mysterious
sunthin' in the North that draws the ship's compass round? Who
ever see that great mysterious hand that is dropped down in the
water, sweepin' it back and forth, makin' the tides come in, and
the tides go out? Who ever has ketched a glimpse of them majestic
fingers, Josiah Allen? Or the lips touched with lightnin', whose
whispers reach round the world, and through the Ocean? You haint
see 'em, nor I haint, No, Josiah Allen, we don't know much of
anything, and we don't know that for certain. We are all on us
only poor pupils down in the Earth's school-room, learnin' with
difficulty and heart ache the lessons God sets for us.
Tough old Experience gives us many a hard floggin', before we
learn the day's lessons. And we find the benches hard, long
before sundown. And it makes our hearts ache to see the mates we
love droop their too tired heads in sleep, all round us before
school is out. But we grind on at our lessons, as best we may.
Learnin' a little maybe. Havin' to onlearn a sight, as the
pinters move on towards four. Clasping hands with fellow toilers
and (hard task) onclaspin' 'em, as they go up above us, or down
nearer the foot. Havin' little `intermissions' of enjoyment,
soon over. But we plod on, on, and bimeby -- and sometimes we
think we do not care how soon -- the teacher will say to us, that
we can be 'dismissed.' And then we shall drop out of the rank of
learners, and the school will go without us, jest as busily, jest
as cheerfully, jest as laboriously, jest as sadly. Poor learners
at the hard lessons of life. Learnin' out of a book that is held
out to us from the shadows by an onseen, inexorable hand.
Settin' on hard benches that may fall out from under us at any
time. Poor ignerent creeters that we are, would it not be a too
arrant folly for us to judge each other hardly, we, all on us, so
deplorably ignerent, so weakly helpless?"
Sez Josiah, in earnest axcents, "Le's walk a little faster."
And, in lookin' up, I see that he wuz readin' a advertisement. I
ketched sight of a picture ornamentin' of it. It wuz Lydia
Pinkham. And as I see that benine face, I found and recovered
myself. Truly, I had been a soarin' up, up, fur above Saratoga,
Patent Medicines, Josiah Allen, etc., etc.
But when I found myself by the side of Josiah Allen once more, I
moved onwards in silence, and soon we found ourselves right by
the haven where I desired to be, -- our own tried and true
Truly eloquence is tuckerin', very, especially when you are a
soarin' and a walkin' at the same time.
ST. CHRISTINA'S HOME.
Wall, it wuz that very afternoon, almost immegetly after dinner,
that Josiah Allen invited me warmly to go with him to the Roller
Coaster. And I compromised the matter by his goin' with us first
to St. Christina's Home, and then, I told him, I would proceed
with him to the place where he would be. They wuz both on one
road, nigh to each other, and he consented after some words.
I felt dretfully interested in this Home, for it is a place where
poor little sick children are took to, out of their miserable,
stiflin', dirty garrets, and cellars, and kep' and made well and
happy in their pleasant, home-like surroundin's. And I thought
to myself, as I looked ont on the big grounds surroundin' it, and
walked through the clean wide rooms, that the change to these
children, brought out of their narrow dark homes of want and woe,
into this great sunshiny Home with its clean fresh rooms, its
good food, its cheery Christian atmosphere, its broad sunshiny
playgrounds, must seem like enterin' Paradise to 'em.
And I thought to myself how thankful I wuz that this pleasant
House Beautiful, wuz prepared for the rest and refreshment of the
poor little pilgrims, worn out so early in the march of life.
And I further thinkses I, "Heaven bless the kind heart that first
thought on't, and carried out the heavenly idee."
The children's faces all looked, so happy, and bright, it wuz a
treat to see 'em. And the face of the sister who showed us round
the rooms looked as calm, and peaceful, and happy, as if her face
wuz the sun from which their little lights wuz reflected.
Up amongst the rooms overhead, every one on 'em clean as a pin
and sweet and orderly, wuz one room that specially attracted my
attention. It wuz a small chapel where the little ones wuz took
to learn their prayers and say 'em. It wuzn't a big, barren barn
of a room, such as I have often seen in similar places, and which
I have always thought must impress the children with a awful sense
of the immensity and lonesomeness of space, and the intangebility,
and distance of the Great Spirit who inhabiteth Eternity. No, it
wuz small, and cozy, and cheerful, like a home. And the stained
glass window held a beautiful picture of love and charity, which
might well touch the children's hearts, sweetly and unconsciously,
with the divine worth of love, and beauty, and goodness.
And I could fancy the dear, little ones kneelin' here, and
prayin' "Our Father, who art in Heaven," and feelin' that He wuz
indeed their Father, and not a stranger, and that Heaven wuz not
fur off from 'em.
And I thought to myself "Never! never! through all their life
will they get entirely away from the pure, sweet lessons they
I enjoyed the hour I spent here with a deep, heart enjoyment, and
so did Josiah. Or, that is, I guess he did, though he whispered
to me from time to time, or even oftener, as we went through the
buildin', that we wuz a devourin' time that we might be spendin'
at the Roller Coaster.
Wall, at last, greatly to my pardner's satisfaction, we sot out
for the place where he fain would be. On our way there we roamed
through another Indian Encampment, a smaller one than that where
we had the fearful incident of the Mermaid and Sarah.
No, it wuzn't so big, but it had many innocent diversions and a
photograph gallery, and other things for its comfert. And a
standin' up a leanin' aginst a tree, by one of the little houses
stood a Injun. He wuz one of the last left of his tribe. He
seemed to be a lookin' pensively on -- and seein' how the land
that had belonged to 'em, the happy huntin'-grounds, the springs
they believed the Great Spirit had gin to 'em, had all passed
away into the bands of another race.
I wuz sorry for that Injun, real sorry. And thinkses I to
myself, we feel considerable pert now, and lively, but who knows
in another three or four hundred years, but what one of the last
of our race, may be a leanin' up aginst some new tree, right in
the same spot, a watchin' the old places passed away into other
hands, mebby black hands, or some other colored ones; mebby
yellow ones, who knows? I don't, nor Josiah don't. But my
pardner wuz a hurryin' me on, so I dropped my revery and my
umberell in my haste to foller on after his footsteps.
Josiah picked up my umberell, but he couldn't pick up my soarin'
emotions for me. No, he haint never been able, to get holt of
'em. But suffice it to say, that soon, preceded by my companion,
I found myself a mountin' the nearly precipitus stairs, that led
to the Roller Coaster.
And havin' reached the spot, who should we find there but Ardelia
Tutt and Bial Flamburg. They had been on the Roller Coaster
seven times in succession, and the car. And they wuz now a
sittin' down to recooperate their energies, and collect their
scattered wits together. The Roller Coaster is very scatterin'
to wits that are not collected firm and sound, and cemented by
strong common sense.
The reason why the Roller Coaster don't scatter such folkses wits
is supposed to be because, they don't go on to it. Ardelia
looked as if her idees wuz scattered to the four pints of the
compass. As for Bial, it seemed to me, as if he never had none
to scatter. But he spoke out to once, and said, he didn't care
to ride on 'em. (Bial Flamburg's strong pint, is his
truthfulness, I can't deny that.)
Ardelia wouldn't own up but what she enjoyed it dretfully. You
know folks are most always so. If they partake of a pleasure and
recreation that is doubtful in its effects, they will always say,
what a high extreme of enjoyment they enjoyed a partakin' of it.
Curius, haint it? Wall, Josiah had been anticipatin' so much
enjoyment from the exercise, that I didn't make no move to
prevent him from embarkin' on it -- though it looked hazardous
and dangerous in the extreme.
I looked down on the long valleys, and precipitous heights of the
assents and desents, in which my pardner wuz so soon to be
assentin' and desentin' and I trembled, and wuz jest about to
urge him to forego his diversion, for the sake of his pardner's
happiness, but as I turned to expostulate with him, I see the
beautiful, joyous, hopeful look on his liniment, and the words
fell almost dead on my tongue. I felt that I had ruther suffer
in silence than to say one word to mar that bliss.
Such is the love of pardners, and such is some of the agonies
they suffer silently to save from woundin' the more opposite one.
No, I said not a word; but silently sat, and see him makin' his
preparations to embark. He see the expression onto my face, and
he too wuz touched by it. He never said one word to me about
embarkin' too, which I laid to two reasons. One wuz my immovable
determination not to embark on the voyage, which I had confided
to him before.
And the other wuz, the added expenses of the journey if he took
his companion with him.
No, I felt that he thought it wuz better we should part temporarily
than that the expenditure should be doubled. But as the time drew
near for him to leave me, I see by his meen that he felt bad about
leavin' me. He realized what a companion I had been to him. He
realized the safety and repose he had always found at my side and
the unknown dangers he wuz a rushin' into.
And he got up and silently shook hands with me. He would have
kissed me, I make no doubt, if folks hadn't been a standin' by.
He then embarked, and with lightnin' speed wuz bore away from me,
as he dissapeared down the desent, his few gray hairs waved back,
and as he went over the last precipitus hill, I heard him cry out
in agonizin' axents, "Samantha! Samantha!"
And I rushed forwards to his rescue but so lightnin' quick wuz
their movements that I met my companion a comin' back, and I sez,
the first thing, "I heard your cry, Josiah! I rushed to save
you, my dear pardner."
"Yes," sez he, "I spoke out to you, to call your attention to the
landscape, over the woods there!"
I looked at him in a curious, still sort of a way, and didn't say
nothin' only just that look. Why, that man looked all trembly
and broke up, but he kep' on.
"Yes, it wuz beautiful and inspirin', and I knew you wuz such a
case for landscapes, I thought I would call your attention to
Sez I, coldly, "You wuz skairt, Josiah Allen, and you know it."
"Skairt! the idee of me bein' skairt. I wuz callin' your
attention to the beauty of the view, over in the woods."
"What wuz it?" sez I, still more coldly; for I can't bear deceit,
and coverin' up.
"Oh, it wuz a house, and a tree, and a barn, and things."
"A great seen to scream about," sez I. "It would probable have
stood there till you got back, but you couldn't seem to wait."
"No, I have noticed that you always wanted to see things to once.
I have noticed it in you."
"I could most probable have waited till you got back, to see a
house and a tree." And in still more -- frigid axents, I added,
"Or a barn." And I sez, kinder sarkastikly, "You enjoyed your
ride, I s'pose."
"Immensely, it wuz perfectly beautiful! So sort a free and
soarin' like. It is jest what suits a man."
"You'd better go right over it agin," sez I.
"Yes," sez the man who runs the cars. "You'd better go agin."
"Oh no," sez Josiah.
"Why not?" sez I.
"Why not?" sez the man.
Josiah Allen looked all around the room, and down on the grass,
as if trying to find a good reasonable excuse a layin' round
loose somewhere, so's he could get holt of it.
"You'd better go," sez I, "I love to see you happy, Josiah
"Yes, you'd better go," sez the man.
"No!" sez Josiah, still a lookin' round for a excuse, up into the
heavens and onto the horizon. And at last his face kinder
brightenin' up, as if he had found one: "No, it looks so kinder
cloudy, I guess I won't go. I think we shall have rain between
now and night." And so we said no more on the subject and sot
Ardelia wrote a poem on the occasion, wrote it right there, with
rapidity and a lead pencil, and handed it to me, before I left
the room. I put it into my pocket and didn't think on it, for
some days afterwards.
That night after we got home from the Roller Coaster, I felt
dretful sort a down hearted about Abram Gee, I see in that little
incident of the day, that Bial, although I couldn't like him, yet
I see he had his good qualities, I see how truthful he wuz. And
although I love truth -- I fairly worship it -- yet I felt that
if things wuz as he said they wuz, he would more'n probable get
Ardelia Tutt, for I know the power of Ambition in her, and I felt
that she would risk the chances of happiness, for the name of
bein' a Banker's Bride.
So I sat there in deep gloom, and a chocolate colored wrapper,
till as late as half past nine o'clock P. M. And I felt that the
course of Abram's love wuz not runnin' smooth. No, I felt that
it wuz runnin' in a dwindlin' torrent over a rocky bed, and a
precipitus one. And I felt that if he wuz with me then and
there, if we didn't mingle our tears together we could our
sithes, for I sithed, powerful and frequent.
Poor short-sighted creeter that I wuz, a settin' in the shadow,
when the sun wuz jest a gettin' ready to shine out onto Abram and
reflect off onto my envious heart. Even at that very time the
hand of righteous Retribution had slipped its sure noose over
Bial Flamburg's neck, and wuz a walkin' him away from Ardelia,
away from happiness (oritory).
At that very hour, half past nine P. M., Ardelia Tutt and Abram
Gee had met agin, and rosy love and happiness wuz even then a
stringin' roses on the chain that wuz to bind 'em together
The way on't wuz: It bein' early when Ardelia got here, Bial
proposed to take her out for a drive and she consented. He got a
livery horse, and buggy, and they say that the livery man knew
jest what sort of a creeter the horse wuz, and knew it wuz liable
to break the buggy all to pieces and them to, and he let 'em have
it for goin.' But howsumever, whether that is so or not, when
they got about five or six milds from Saratoga the horse skeert
out of the road, and throwed 'em both out.
It wuz a bank of sand that skeert it, a high bank that wuz piled
up by a little hovel that stood by the side of the road. The
ground all round the hut wuz too poor to raise anything else but
sand, and had raised sights of that.
A man and woman, dretful shabby lookin', wuz a standin' by the
door of the hut, and the man had a shovel in his hand, and had
been a loadin' sand into a awful big wheelbarrow that wuz a
standin' by -- seemin'ly ready to carry it acrost the fields, to
where some man wuz a mixin' some motar, to lay the foundations of
Wall, the old man stood a pantin' by the side of the wheelbarrow,
as if he had indeed got on too heavy a load. It wuz piled up
high. The horse shied, and Ardelia wuz throwed right out onto
the bank of sand, Bial by the side of her. And the old man and
woman came a runnin' up, and callin' out, "Bial, my son, my son,
are you wounded?"
And there it all wuz. Ardelia see the hull on it. The Banker
wuz before her, and she wuz a layin' on the bank. And the banker
wuz a doin' a heavy business, if anybody doubted it, let 'em take
holt and cart a load on it acrost the fields.
Wall, Ardelia wuz jarred fearful, in her heart, her ambition, her
pride, and her bones. And as the horse wuz a fleein' far away,
and no other conveyance could be found to transport her to the
next house (Ardelia wouldn't go into his'n), and night wuz
approachin' with rapid strides, the old Banker jest unloaded the
load of sand (good old creeter, he would have to load it all over
agin), and took Ardelia into the wheelbarrow, and wheeled her
over to the next house and unloaded her.
The old Banker told Ardelia that when his neighbor got home he
would take her back to Saratoga, which he did. He had been to
the village for necessaries, but he turned right round and
carried her back to Mr. Pixleyses. And I s'pose Ardelia paid
him, mebby as high as 75 cents. As for Bial, he tramped off
into the house, and she didn't see him agin, nor didn't want to.
Wall, I s'pose it wuz durin' that ride on the wheelbarrow, that
Ardelia's ambition quelled to softer emotions. I s'pose so. She
never owned it right up to me, but I s'pose so.
Bial Flamburg hadn't lied a word to her. In all her agony she
realized that. But she had built a high towerin' structure of
ambition on what he said, and it had tottered. And as is natural
in times of danger, the heart turns instinctively to its true
love, she thought of Abram Gee, she wanted him. And as if in
answer to her deep and lovin' thought, who should come out to the
buggy to help her out at Mr. Pixleyses gate, but Abram Gee? He
had come unexpected, and on the eight o'clock train, and wuz
there waitin' for her.
If Bial Flamburg had been with her, he wouldn't have gone a nigh
the buggy, but he see it was a old man, and he rushed out.
Ardelia couldn't walk a step on her feet (owin' to bein shaken
up, in bones and feelin's), and Abram jest took her in his strong
lovin' arms and carried her into the house, and she sort a clung
round his neck, and seemed tickled enough to see him,
But she wuz dretful shook up and agitated, and it wuzn't till way
along in the night some time, that she wuz able to write a poem
called, "a lay on a wheelbarrow; or, the fallen one."
Which I thought when I read it, wuz a good name for it, for truly
she had fell, and truly she had lay on it. Howsumever, Ardelia
wrote that jest because it wuz second nater to write poetry on
every identical thing she ever see or did.
She wuz glad enough to get rid of Bial Flamburg, and glad enough
to go back to her old love. Abram wuz too manly and tender to
say a word to Ardelia that night on the subject nearest to his
heart. No, he see she needed rest. But the next day, when they
wuz alone together, I s'pose he put the case all before her. All
his warm burnin' love for her, all his jealousy, and his
wretchedness while she wuz a waverin' between Banks and Bread,
how his heart had been checked by the thought that Bial would
vault over him, and in the end hold him at a discount.
Why, I s'pose he talked powerful and melted Ardelia's soft little
heart till it wuz like the softest kind of dough in his hands.
And then he went on tenderly to say, how he needed her, and how
she could mould him to her will. I s'pose he talked well, and
eloquent, I s'pose so. Anyhow she accepted him right there in
full faith and a pink and white cambric dress.
And they came over and told me about it in the afternoon P. M.
And I felt well and happy in my mind, and wished 'em joy with a
full heart and a willin' mind.
They are both good creeters. And she bein' so soft, and he so
kinder hardy and stout-hearted, I believe they will get along
firstrate. And when she once let her mind and heart free to
think on him, she worships him so openly and unreservedly (though
soft), that I don't, believe there is a happier man in the hull
Wall, I lay out to give'em a handsome present when they be
married, which will be in the fall. Mother Gee (who has got as
well as can be expected) is goin' to live with Susan. And I'm
glad on't. Mother Gee is a good old female no doubt, but it is
resky work to take a new husband to live with, and when you take
a mother-in-law too it adds to the resk.
But she is goin' to live with Susan; it is her prefference.
And Abram has done so well, that he has bought another five acres
onto his place, and is a goin' to fix his house all over splendid
before the weddin' day. And Ardelia is to go right from the
altar to her home -- it is her own wishes.
She knows enough in her way, Ardelia duz. And she has a wisdom
of the heart which sometimes I think, goes fur ahead of the
wisdom of the head. And then agin, I think they go well
together, wisdom of the head and the heart too. (The times I
think this is after readin' her poetry.)
But any way she will make Abram a good soft little wife, lovin'
and affectionate always. And good land! he loves her to that
extent that it wouldn't make no difference to him if she didn't
know enough to come in when it rained. He would fetch her in,
drippin' and worship her, damp or dry.
AN ACCIDENT WITH RESULTS.
Wall, it wuz on the very day before we laid out to leave for
home. I wuz a settin' in my room a mendin' up a rip in my
pardner's best coat, previous to packin' in his trunk, when all
of a sudden Miss Flamm's hired girl came in a cryin', and sez I,
"What is the matter?"
And sez she, "Ah! Miss Flamm has sent for you and Mr. Allen to
come over there right away. There has been a axident."
"A axident!" sez I.
"Yes," sez she. "The little girl has got hurt, and they don't
think she will live. Poor little pretty thing," sez the hired
girl, and busted out a cryin' agin.
"How did she get hurt?" sez I, as I laid down the coat, and went
to tyin' on my bunnet mekanically.
"Wall, the nurse had her out with the baby and the little boys.
And we s'pose she had been drinkin' too much. We all knew she
drinked, and she wuzn't in a condition to go out with the
children this mornin', and Miss Flamm would have noticed it and
kep' 'em in, but the dog wuz sick all night, and Miss Flamm wuz
up with it most all night, and she felt wore out this mornin'
with her anxtety for the dog, and her want of sleep, and so they
went out, and it wuzn' more'n half an hour before it took place.
She left the baby carriage and the little boys and girl in a
careless place, not knowin' what she wuz about, and they got run
over. The baby and the little boys wuzn't hurt much, but they
think the little girl will die. Miss Flamm went right into a
caniption fit," sez she, "when she wuz brung in."
"It is a pity she hadn't went into one before," sez I very dryly,
dry as a chip almost. My axents wuz fairly dusty they wuz so
dry. But my feelin's for Miss Flamm moistened up and melted down
when I see her, when we went into the room. It didn't take us
long for they are still to the tarven, and we met Josiah Allen at
the door, so he went with us.
Yes, Miss Flamm felt bad enough, bad enough. She has got a
mother's heart after all, down under all the strings and girtins,
and laces, and dogs, etc., etc., that have hid it, and surrounded
it. Her face wuz jest as white and deathly as the little girl's,
and that wuz jest the picture of stillness and death. And I
remembered then that I had heard that the little girl wuz her
favorite amongst her children, whenever she had any time to
notice 'em. She wuz a only daughter and a beauty, besides bein'
The doctor had been there and done what he could, and go gone
away. He said there wuz nothin' more to do till she came out of
that stuper, if she ever did.
But it looked like death, and there Miss Flamm sot alone with her
child, and her conscience. She wuzn't a cryin' but there wuz a
look in her eyes, in her set white face that went beyond tears,
fur beyond 'em. She gripped holt of my hand with her icy cold
ones, and sez she, "Pray for me!" She wuz brung up a Methodist,
and knew we wuz the same. My feelin's overcame me as I looked in
her face and the child's, both lookin' like dyin' faces, and I
sez with the tears a jest runnin' down my cleeks and a layin' my
hand tender on her shoulder, "Is there anything I can do for you,
you poor little creeter?"
"Pray for me," sez she agin, with her white lips not movin' in a
smile, nor a groan.
Now my companion, Josiah Allen, is a class-leader, and though I
say it that mebby shouldn't -- That man is able in prayer. He
prays as if he meant what he said. He don't try to show off in
oritory as so many do, or give the Lord information. He never
sez, "Oh Lord, thou knowest by the mornin' papers, so and so."
No, he prays in simple words for what he wants. And he always
seems to feel that somebody is nigh to him, a hearin' him, and if
it is best and right, his requests will be granted.
So I motioned for that man to kneel down by the bed and pray,
which he did. He wuz to the fore side of the bed, and Miss Flamm
and I on the other side. Wall, Josiah commenced his prayer, in a
low earnest askin' voice, then all of a sudden he begun to
hesitate, waver, and act dretful agitated. And his actions and
agitations seemed to last for some time. I thought it wuz his
feelin's overcomin' of him, and of course, my hand bein' over my
eyes in a respectful, decent way, I didin't see nothin'.
But at last, after what wuz seemingly a great effort, he began to
go on as usual agin. About that time I heard sunthin' hit the
wall hard on the other side of the room, and I heard a yelp. But
then everything wuz still and Josiah Allen made a good prayer.
And before it wuz through Miss Flamm laid her head down onto my
shoulder, and busted into tears.
And what wuz rooted up and washed away by them tears I don't
know, and I don't s'pose anybody duz. Whether vanity, and a
mistaken ambition, and the poor empty successes of a fashionable
life wuz uprooted and floated away on the awakened, sweepin' tide
of a mother's love and remorse; whether the dog floated down that
stream, and low necked dresses, and high hazardus slippers, and
strings for waists and corsets, and fashion, and folly, and
rivalry, and waltzin', and glitter, and buttons, and show; whether
they all went down that stream, swept along like bubbles on a
heavin' tumultuous tide, I don't know, nor I don't s'pose anybody
But any way, from that day on Miss Flamm has been a different
woman. I stayed with her all that night and the next day, she a
not leavin' the child's bed for a minute, and we a not gettin' of
her to, much as we tried to; eatin' whatever we could make her
eat right there by the bedside. And on the 2d day the doctor see
a change in the child and she began to roust a little out of that
stuper, and in a week's time, she wuz a beginnin' to get well.
We stayed on till she wuz out of danger and then we went home.
But I see that she wuz to be trusted with her children after
that. She dismissed that nurse, got a good motherly one, who she
said would help her take care of the children for the future;
only help her, for she should have the oversight of 'em herself,
The hired girl told me (Miss Flamm never mentioned it to me), and
she wuz glad enough of it, that the dog wuz dead. It died the
day the little girl wuz hurt. The hired girl said the doctor had
told Miss Flamm, that it couldn't live long. But it wuzn't till
we wuz on our way home that I found out one of the last eppisodes
in that dog's life. You see, sick as that dog wuz, it wuz bound
to bark at my pardner as long as it had a breath left in its body.
And Josiah told me in confidence (and it must be kep', it is right
that it should be); he said jest after he had knelt down and began
to pray he felt that dog climb up onto his heels, and pull at his
coat tails, and growl a low mad growl, and naw at 'em.
He tried to nestle round and get it off quietly but no, there it
stood right onto Josiah Allen's heels, and hung on, and tugged at
them coat-tails, and growled at 'em that low deep growl, and shook
'em, as if determined to worry 'em off. And there my companion
wuz. He couldn't show his feelin's in his face; he had got to
keep his face all right towards Miss Flamm. And his feelin's was
rousted up about her, and he wuz a wantin', and knew he wuz
expected, to have his words and manner soothin' and comfortin',
and that dog a standin' on his heels and tearin' off his coat-tails.
What to do he didn't know. He couldn't stop his prayer on such a
time as this and kill a dog, though he owned up to me that he
felt like it, and he couldn't keep still and feel his coat-tails
tore off of him, and be growled at, and shook, and pawed at all
day. So he said after the dog had gin a most powerful tug, almost
a partin' the skirts asunder from his coat, he drew up one foot
carefully (still a keepin' his face straight and the prayer agoin')
and brung it back sudden and voyalent, and he heard the dog strike
aginst the opposite side of the room with one short, sharp yelp,
and then silence rained down and he finished the prayer.
But he said, and owned it up to me, that it didn't seem to him so
much like a religious exercise, as he could wish. It didn't seem
to help his spiritual growth much, if any.
And I sez, "I should think as much," and I sez, "You wuz in a
hard place, Josiah Allen."
And he sez, "It wuz the dumbest hard place any one wuz ever in on
And I sez, "I don't know but it wuz." That man wuz to be pitied,
and I told him so, and he acted real cheerful and contented at
hearin' my mind. He owned up that he had dreaded tellin' me
about it, for fear I would upbraid him. But, good land! I would
have been a hard hearted creeter if I could upbraid a man for
goin' through such a time as that. He said he thought mebby I
would think it wuz irreverent or sunthin', the dog's actions, at
such a time.
"Wall," sez I, "you didn't choose the actions, did you? It
wuzn't nothin' you wanted."
"No," sez he feelin'ly. "Heaven knows I didn't. And I done the
best I could," sez he sort a pitiful.
Sez I, "I believe you, Josiah Allen," and sez I warmly, "I don't
believe that Alexander, or Cezar, or Grover Cleveland, could have
done any better."
He brightened all up at this, he felt dretful well to think I
felt with him, and my feelin's wuz all rousted up to think of the
sufferin's he had went through, so we felt real well towards each
other. Such is some of the comforts and consolations of pardners.
Howsumever, the dog died, and I wuz kinder sorry for the dog. I
think enough of dogs (as dogs) and always did. Always use 'em
dretful well, only it mads me to have 'em put ahead of children,
and sot up in front of 'em. I always did and always shall like a
dog as a dog.
Wall, they say that when that dog died, Miss Flamm hardly
inquired about it, she wuz so took up in gettin' acquainted with
her own children. And I s'pose they improved on acquaintance,
for they say she is jest devoted to 'em. And she got acquainted
with G. Washington too, so they say. He wuz a stiddy, quiet man,
and she had got to lookin' on him as her banker and business man.
But they say she liked him real well, come to get acquainted with
him. He always jest worshipped her, so they are real happy.
There wuz always sunthin' kinder good about Miss Flamm.
Thos. J. is a carryin' on another lawsuit for her (more money
that descended onto her from her father, or that ort to descend).
And he is carryin' it stiddy and safe. It will bring Thomas
Jefferson over 900 dollars in money besides fame, a hull lot of
Wall, we sot sail for home in good spirits, and the noon train.
And we reached Jonesville with no particular eppisodin' till we
got to the Jonesville Depot.
I rather think Ardelia Tutt wrote a poem on the cars goin' home,
though I can't say for certain.
She and Abram sot a few seats in front of us, and I thought I see
a certain look to the backside of her head that meant poetry. It
wuz a kind of a sot look, and riz up like. But I can't say for
certain for she didn't have no chance to tell me about it. Abram
looked down at her all the time as if he jest worshipped her.
And she is a good little creeter, and will make him a happy wife;
I don't make no doubt. As I said, the old lady is goin' to live
with Susan. They went right on in the train, for Ardelia's home
lays beyond Jonesville, and Abram wuz goin' home with her by
Deacon Tutt's request. They are willin'.
Wall, we disembarked from the cars, and we found the old mair and
the "Democrat" a waitin' for us. Thomas J. wuz a comin' for us,
but had spraint his wrist and couldn't drive. Wall, Josia lifted
our saddul bags in, and my umbrell, and the band box. But when
he went to lift my trunk he faltered. It wuz heavy. I had got
relicts from Mount McGregor, from the Battlefield, from the
various springs, minerals, stuns, and things, and Josiah couldn't
What added to the hardness of the job, the handles had broken
offen it, and he had to grip hold on it, by the might of his
finger nails. It wuz a hard job, and Josiah's face got red and I
felt, as well as see, that his temper wuz a risin'. And I sez,
instinctively, "Josiah, be calm!" For I knew not what unguarded
word he might drop as he vainly tried to grip hold on't, and it
eluded his efferts and came down on the ground every time, a
carryin' with it, I s'pose, portions of his fingernails, broke
off in the fray.
Wall, he wuz a strugglin' with it and with his feelin's, for I
kep' on a sayin', "Josiah, do be calm! Do be careful about usin'
a profane word so nigh home and at this time of day, and you jest
home from a tower."
And he kep' his feelin's nobly under control, and never said a
word, only to wonder "what under the High Heavens a woman wanted
to lug round a ton of stuns in her trunk for." And anon sayin'
that he would be dumbed if he didn't leave it right there on the
Savin' these few slight remarks that man nobly restrained
himself, and lugged and lifted till the blood almost gushed
through his bald head. And right in the midst of the fray, a
porter came up and went to liftin' the trunk in the usual
highheaded, haughty way Railroad officials have. But anon a
change came over his linement. And as it fell back from his
fingers to the platform for the 3d time, he broke out in a
torrent of swearin' words dretful to hear.
I felt as if I should sink through the "Democrat". But Josiah
listened to the awful words with a warm glow of pleasure and
satisfaction a beamin' from his face. I never saw him look more
complacent. And as the man moistened his hands and with another
frightful burst of profanity histed it into the end of the buggy.
Wall, I gin the man a few warnin' words aginst profanity, and
Josiah gin him a quarter for liftin' in the trunk, he said, and
we drove off in the meller glow of the summer sunset.
But it wuz duskish before we got to the turn of the road, and
considerable dark before we got to the Corners. But we went on
tbgough the shadows, a feelin' we could bear 'em, for we wuz
together, and we wuz a goin' home.
And pretty soon we got there! The door wuz open, the warm light
wuz a streamin' out from doors and windows, and there stood the
There they all wuz, all we loved best, a waitin' to welcome us.
Love, which is the light of Heaven, wuz a shinin' on their faces,
and we had got home.
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