HotFreeBooks.com
Samantha at the World's Fair
by Marietta Holley
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

And lots of times them rare souls to whom the secrets of God are revealed—them who see the High White Ideal lightnin' the Darkness—the glowin' form of a New Truth shinin' out amidst the thick clouds overhead—lots of times they git bewildered and skairt by the mockin' voices about them. They drop their eyes before the insultin', oncomprehendin' sneers of the multitude, and fall into commonplace ways, and walks, to please the commonplace people about them. Jest dragged down by them Mockers and Scoffers.

Some of 'em mebby united to 'em by links of earth-made metal, Sons of God married to the Daughters of men, mebby, and castin' their kingly crowns at the feet of a Human Love.

Did Columbus do so? No, indeed. I dare presume to say that the more Miss Columbus nagged at him the more sotter he grew in his own views.

(I have used this simely on this occasion on the side of males, but it is jest as true on the side of females. For Inspiration and Genius when it falls from Heaven is jest as apt to descend and settle down onto a female's fore-top as a male's, and the blind and naggin' pardner is jest as apt to be a male—jest exactly.)

But as I wuz a-sayin', the more Columbus wuz mocked at—the more they jeered and sneered at him, the more stiddy and constant he pursued after the Land that appeared only to his prophetic eyes.

Day after day, when he wuz tired out, beat completely out by the incomprehension, and weary doubts, and empty denials of the multitude—then, like a breath of balm, came to his weary forward the soft gale from the land he sought; he saw in his own mind the tall pines reach up into the blue skies, the rich bloom and greenness of its Savannas; he inhaled the odor of rare blossoms that the Old World never saw, and then he riz up agin, refreshed, as it were, and ready to press forwards.



Yes, in every country, through all time, there has always been some Columbus, walkin' with his feet on the ground amongst mortals, and his head in the Heavens amongst Gods.

He has oftenest been poor, and always misunderstood, and undervalued, by the grosser souls about him.

The discoverers, the inventors, whom God loves best, it must be, sence He confides in 'em, and tells 'em things He keeps hid from the World. Them who apprehend while yet they cannot comprehend.

And that is what we have got to do lots of times if we git along any in this World, if we calculate to git out of its Swamps and Morasses onto any considerable rise of ground.

You can't foller a ground-mice or a snail, if you lay out to elevate yourself; no, you must foller a Star.

You have got to keep your eyes up above the ground, or your feet will never take you up any mountain side.

And how them mariners tried to make Columbus turn back after he had at last, through all his tribulations, sot sail on the broad, treacherous Ocean—jest think of his tribulations before he started!

Troubles with poverty, and ignorance, and unbelief, and perils by foes, and perils by false friends, and perils by long delay.

How for years and years he carried round them strong beliefs of hisen, ofttimes in a hungry and faint body, and couldn't git nobody to believe in 'em—couldn't git nobody to even hear about 'em.

Year after year did he toil and endeavor to git somebody to listen to his plans, and glowin' hopes.

Year after year, while the lines deepened on his patient face, and the hopes that wuz glowin' and eager became deep and fervent, and a part of him.

How strange, how strange and sort o' pitiful, this one man out of a world full of men and wimmen, this one man with his tired feet on the dust and worn sand of the Old World, and his head and heart in the New World.

No one else of the world full of men and wimmen to believe as he did—no one else to be even willin' to hear him talk about his dreams, his hopes, and impassioned beliefs.

No; and I don't know but Columbus would have dropped right down in his tracts, and we wouldn't have been discovered to this day, if a woman hadn't stepped in, and gin the seal of her earnest trust to the ideal of the ambitious man.

He a-willin' to plough the new path into the ontried fields, she a-bein' willin' to hold the plough, as you may say, or, at all events, to help him in every way in her power—with all her womanly faith, and all her ear-rings, and breast-pins, etc., etc.



She, a female woman, out of all that world full of folks, she it wuz alone that stood out boldly the friend of Columbus and Discovery.

"Male and female created He them." Another deep instance of that great truth in life and in nature, and in all matters relatin' to the good of the world. "Male and female created He them."

The world will find it out after awhile, and so will Dr. Buckley.

Ferdinand wuz a good creeter—or that is, middlin' good; but his eye-sight wuzn't such as would see down clear through the truth of Columbuses theory.

And if folks set out to blame Ferdinand too much, let 'em pause and think what the World would say and do if a man should appear in our streets to-day, and say that he believed that he had proof that there wuz a vast, beautiful country a-layin' in the skies to the west of us beyend the clouds of the sunset, and he wanted to git money to build a air-ship to sail out to it.

How much money would he git? How much stock would he sell in that enterprise? How many men would he git to sail out with him on that voyage of Discovery? What would Vanderbilt and Russell Sage say to it?



Why, they would say that the man wuz a fool, and that the only way to travel wuz on iron rails or steamships. They would say that there wuzn't any such land as he depictered. That it existed only in his crazy brain.

Wall, it wuz jest about as wild a idee that Ferdinand had to listen to; I d'no that he wuz any more to blame than they would be for not hearin' to it.

But Isabelle, she wuz built different. There wuz some divine atmosphere of Truth and Reality about this idee that reached her heart and mind. Her soul and mind bein' made in jest the right way to be touched by it.

She, too, wuz built on jest the right plan so she could apprehend what she could not yet comprehend. So she gin him her cordial sympathy, and also, as I said, her ear-rings, etc.

But after the years and years that he toiled and labored for the means to carry out his idees—after these long years of effort and hardship, and disappointments and delays—after his first vain efforts—after he did at last git launched out on the Ocean a-sailin' out on the broad, empty waste in search of sunthin' that he see only in his mind's eye—

How the storms beat on him—how the winds and waves buffeted him, and tried to drive him back—but—"No, no, he wuz bound for the New Land! he wuz bound for the West!"

How the sailors riz up and plead with him and begged him to turn back—but "No," sez he, "I go to the New Land!"

Then they would tell him that there wuzn't any such Land, and stick to it right up and down, and jeer at him.

Did it turn him round—"No! I sail onward," sez he, "I go to the West!"

Then the principalities and powers of the onseen World seemed to take it in hand and tried to drive him back. There wuz signs and omens seen that wuz reckoned disastrous, and threatened destruction.

Mebby the souls of them who had passed over from the New Land, mebby them disembodied faithful shades wuz a-tryin' to save their free sunny huntin' grounds from the hands of the invader, and their race from the fate that threatened 'em—mebby they hurled onseen tommyhawks, and shrieked down at 'em, tryin' to turn 'em back—

Mebby they did, and then agin mebby they didn't.

But anyway, there wuz lurid lightin' flashes that looked like flights of fiery arrows aimed at the heads of the Spanish seamen, and shriekin's of the tempest amidst the sails overhead that sounded like cries of anger, and distress, and warnin'.

Did Columbus heed them fearful warnin's and turn back? No; dauntless and brave, a-facin' dangers onseen, as well as seen, he sez—

"I sail onward!"

And so he did, and he sailed, and he sailed—and mebby his own brave heart grew sick and faint with lookin' on the trackless waste of waters round him, and no shore in sight for days, and for days, and for days.

But if it did, he give no signs of it—"I sail onward!" he sez.

And finally the lookout way up on the dizzy mast see a light way off on the horizon, and then the night came down dark, and when the sun wuz riz up—lo! right before 'em lay the shores of the New World. And the Man's and the Woman's belief wuz proved true—and the gainsayin' World wuz proved wrong. Success had come to 'em.

And after the doubt, and the danger, and the despair, and the discouragement had all been endured—after the ideal had been made real, why then it wuz considered quite easy to discover a New World.

It wuzn't considered very hard. Why, all you had to do wuz to sail on till you come to it.

After a thing is done it is easy enough.

Nowadays we are sot down before as great conundrums as Columbus wuz. The Old World groans under old abuses, and wrongs, and injustices. The old paths are dusty and worn with the feet of them who have marked its rocks and chokin' sands with their bleedin' feet, as they toiled on over 'em bearin' their crosses.

Dark clouds hang heavy over their paths—the atmosphere is chokin' and stiflin'.

Fur off, fresh and fair, lays the New Land of our ideal. The realm of peace, and justice to all, of temperance, and sanity, and love and joy.

Fur off, fur off, we hear the melodious swash of its waves on its green banks—we see fur off the gleam of its white, glory-lit mountain-tops.

Men have gin their strength and their lives for this ideal, this vision of glory and freedom.

Wimmen have took their jewels from their bosom, and gin 'em to this cause of Human Right. Gin 'em with breakin' hearts, and white lips that tried to smile, as the last kiss of lover and son, husband and brother, rested on 'em.

Yes, men and wimmen both have seen that Ideal Land, that New Land of Liberty and Love. They have apprehended it with finer senses than comprehension—have seen it with the clearer light of the soul's eyes.

Some green boughs from its high palms have been washed out on the swellin' waves that lay between us and that Land, and floated to our feet. Sometimes, when the air wuz very still and hushed, and a Presence seemed broodin' on the rapt listnin' earth, we have looked fur, fur up into the clear depths of blue above us, and we have ketched the distant glimpse of birds of strange plumage onknown to this Old World. Fur off, fur off their silvery wings have floated, a-comin' from the West, from the land that lays beyend the sunset's golden glory.

Some of the light of that New Country has shone on us in inspired eyes, some of its strange language has been hearn by us from inspired lips.

But oh! the wide, pathless sea that lays between us and that land of full Fruition and Glory and Freedom.

Shall we set down on the shores of our Old World, and give up the hope and glory of the New? Shall we listen to the jeers and sneers of them that tell us that there hain't any such country as that we look for—that it is impossible, that it is aginst all the laws of Nater—that it don't exist, and never can, only in our crazed brains?

No, we will man the boat, though the waves dash high, and the skies are dark—we will man and woman the life-boat—side by side will the two great forces stand, the Motherhood and the Fatherhood, Love and Justice, the hope and strength of Humanity shall stand at the hellum. The wind is a-comin' up; it is only a light breeze now, but it shall rise to a strong power that shall waft us on to the New Land of Justice and Purity and Liberty—for all that our souls long for.

But we have got to shet our eyes to the outward world that presses round us closter than the streets of Genoa did round Columbus. We have got to see things invisible, trust in things to come—sail onwards through the doubts, and the darkness, and the dangers round us, not heeding the jeers and sneers of a gainsayin' world.

Will we be discouraged and drove back by the powers of darkness? by the things seen and the things onseen?

No, the man and the woman side by side will sail on through them rough waves. The wind is a-comin' up fresh and free that shall spread the sails and waft the life-boat into the Land of Promise.

For the word is sure, and He says—

"I will bring you out into a great place."

But I am a-eppisodin', and a-eppisodin' to a length and depth almost onpresidented and onheard on—and to resoom, and go on.



CHAPTER V.

Hain't it curious how tellin' over a thing will bring back all of the circumstances a-surroundin' of it round—bring 'em all up fresh to you.

I wuz a-tellin' Krit about that Equinomical Counsel that wuz held to Washington, D.C. And though I hain't no hand and never wuz to find one word of fault with my dear companion to outsiders, still, as he wuz all in the family, I did say that his Uncle wuz at one time very anxious to go to it.

And after Krit went away—he had come over from Tirzah Ann's that day, and staid to supper with us—I sot there alone, for Josiah had took him back in the democrat, and all the circumstances of that time come back onto me agin.

It wuz on a Monday that I had my worst trial with him about that Equinomical Counsel, as I remember well. And though I didn't tell Krit any of my worst tribulations with him, still, oh, how vivid they did come back to me, as I sot there alone, and a-seamin' two and two!

As I say, it wuz on a Monday morning. The two children had invited their Pa and me to visit a good deal durin' the week before, and I had got kind a behindhand with my work.

And then I had felt so kinder mauger for a few days, that Josiah insisted that I should git a young girl in the neighborhood to help me for a few days, Philury and Ury bein' away on a visit to some relations.

Wall, that day I had washin', bakin', churnin', and some fruit cake to make.

It fairly made me ache to think on't, the numbers and amounts of the work that pressed onto me, and nobody but that young girl to help me. And she that took up with her bo, Almanzo Hagidone, that she wuz in a forgitful state more'n half the time, and liable to carry a armful of wood meant for the kitchen stove into the parlor, and put it end first onto the what-not, or pump water into Josiah's hat instead of the water-pail.

I tried to instil some common sense into her head, but her hair wuz bound up that tight with curl papers that nothin' could git past that ambuscade, so it would seem, but jest the image and the idee of Almanzo Hagidone.

Wall, I kep her pretty much in the wood-shed, when she wuz in her worst stages, where there wuzn't much besides the old cook-stove and wash-tubs that she could graze aginst and fall over.

I dast as well die as to trust her with vittles, for I felt that them wuz vital pints, and must not be meddled with by loonaticks or idiots, and with them two ranks I had to stand Mary Ann Spink in her most love-sick spazzums.

So I sot her to rubbin' onto Josiah's shirts, and I took my bowl of raisins and English currants and things into the kitchen and sot down calmly to pickin' 'em over and choppin' 'em.

My fruit cake is good, though I say it that ort not to; it is widely known and admired.

Wall, I sot there middlin' calm, and a-hummin' over a sam tune loud enough so's Mary Ann could hear it; and I hummed it, too, in a strictly moral way, and for a pattern; it was this:

"Put not your trust in mortal man, Set not your hopes on him," etc., etc., etc.



And I see I wuz impressin' of her, for I could hear after a while from the wood-shed that she too had broke forth in song, and she was a-jinin' in, low and dretful impressive, with—

"Hark from the tombs a mournful sound."

I don't think she meant my singin'—Josiah did when we talked it over afterwards.

He believed it firm.

I believe I wuz a-moralizin' of her, and should have done good if I hadn't been broke in on.

But all of a sudden Josiah Allen fairly bust into the house, all wrought up, and fearful excited.

He had been a-talkin' with Deacon Henzy out by the gate, and I spoze Deacon Henzy had disseminated some new news to him. But anyway he wuz crazy with a wild and startlin' idee.



He wanted to set off to once to the Equinomical Counsel, which he said wuz a-goin' to be held by the male Methodists in Washington, D.C. And, sez he—

"Samantha, git my fine shirt and my best necktie to once, for I want to start on the noon train."

"What for?" sez I coldly; for I discourage his wild projects all I can.

I have to act like a heavy weight in a clock movin' half the time, or he would be jest swept to and frow like a pendulum. It makes me feel queer.

Sez I, "What are you a-layin' out to set off for Washington, D.C., for?"

My tone kinder hung on to him, and stiddied him down some. And he lost some of his wild and excited mean. And he stopped onbuttonin' his vest—he had onbuttoned his shirt-collar and took his old necktie off on his way from the gate—so ardent and impulsive is my dear pardner, and so anxious to start.

"Why," sez he, "I told you, didn't I? I am goin' to Washington to tend to that Equinomical Counsel. Five hundred male men are a-goin' to git together to counsel together on the best ways of bein' equinomical. And here at last"—sez he proudly—"here at last is the chance I have always been a-lookin' out for. Here is the opportunity for me to show off, and be somebody."

And here he begun agin to onbutton his shirt-sleeves and loosen his collar.

But I sez slowly and firmly, and as much like a heavy weight as I could—

"It is three hours to train time. Set down and act like a human bein' and a Methodist, and tell me what it is you want to do."

He glanced up at the clock onto the mantelry-piece, and he see I wuz right about the time. And he sot down, and sez he—

"That is jest how I want to act, like a Methodist, and a equinomical counsellor."

"What for?" sez I. "What do you want to do?"

"Why, to teach 'em," sez he. "To show myself off. To counsel 'em."

"To counsel 'em about what?" sez I heavily, bein' bound to come to the bottom of the matter, and the sense on't, if sense there wuz in it.

"Why," sez he, "they are havin' a counsel there to see if there are any new ways for men and Methodists to be equinomical. And I'll be dumned if there is a man or a Methodist from Maine to Florida that can counsel 'em better about bein' equinomical than I can.

"Why, you have always said so," sez he. "You have called it tightness, but I have always known that it wuz pure economy; and now," sez he, "has come the chance of a lifetime, for me to rise up and show myself off before the nation. To git the high, lofty name that I ort to have, and do good."

I dropped my choppin' knife out of my hand, and rested my elbow on the table, and leaned my head on my hand in deep thought.

I see he had more sense on his side than I thought he had. I recollected the different and various ways in which he had showed his equinomical tightness sence our married life begun, and I trembled for the result.

I ruminated over our early married life, and how, in spite of his words of almost impassioned tenderness and onwillingness for me to harm and strain myself by approachin' the political pole—still how he had let me wrestle with weighty hop-poles and draw water out of a deep well with a cistern pole for more'n fourteen years.

I remembered how he had nearly flooded out his own precious and valuable insides at Saratoga by his wild efforts to git the full worth of the five cents he had advanced to the Spring-tender.

I remembered the widder's mite, how he had interpreted that scriptural incident about that noble female—as interpreters will, to suit their own idees as males—and how I had argued with him in vain on the mite, and his onscriptural and equinomical views.

I felt that he had a strong and powerful case; and though I could not brook the idee of his goin', still I thought that I must be as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a turkle-dove, to git the victory over him.

He see by the fluckuations of color on my usially calm cheek, and by the pensive and thoughtful look in my two gray orbs, that I felt the strength and powerfulness of his cause.

And as he mused, he begun in joyous and triumphant axents to bring up before me some of his latest and most striking instances of equinomical tightness.

Sez he, "Do you remember the case of Sy Biddlecomb, and them green pumpkins of mine, how I—" But I interrupted his almost fervid eloquence, and sez I, with my right hand extended in a real eloquent wave,

"Pause, Josiah Allen, and less consider and weigh things in the balances. Go not too fast, less disapintment attend your efforts, and mortification wrops you in its mantilly.

"Your equinomical ways, Josiah Allen," sez I, "it seems to me ort to rize you up above every other man on the face of the globe, and make a lion of you of the first magnitude, even a roarin' African lion, as it were."

He looked proud and happy, and I proceeded.

"But pause for one moment," sez I, in tender, cautious axents, "and think of the power, the tremendious econimy of the males you are a-tryin' to emulate and outdo. Think of how they have dealt with the cause of wimmen's liberty for the past few years, and tremble. How dast you, one weak man, though highly versed in the ways of equinomical tightness—how dast you to try and set up and be anybody amid that host?"

He looked skairt. He see what he wuz a-doin' plainer than he had seen it, and I went on:

"Think of that big Methodist Conference in New York a few years ago that Casper Keeler told us about—think how equinomical they wuz with their dealin's with wimmen on that occasion, and ever sence.

"The wimmen full of good doin's and alms deeds, who make up two thirds of the church, who raise the minister's salary, run the missionary and temperance societies, teach the Sabbath schools, etc., etc., etc.—

"Who give the best of their lives and thoughts to the meetin'-house from the time they sell button-hole bokays at church fairs in pantalettes, till they hand in their widder's mite with tremblin' fingers wrinkled with age—think of this econimy in not givin' in, not givin' a mite of justice and right to the hull caboodle of such wimmen throughout the length and breadth of the country, and then think where would your very closest and tightest counsel of econimy stand by the side of this econimy of right, and manliness, and honor, and common sense."

He quailed. His head sunk on his breast. He knew, tight as he had always been, there wuz a height of tightness he had never scaled. He knew he couldn't show off at that Equinomical Counsel by the side of them instances I had brung up, and to deepen the impression I had made, which is always the effort of the great oriter, I resoomed:

"Think of how they keep up their econimy of justice, and right, and common sense, so afraid to use a speck of 'em, especially the common sense. Think of how they refused to let wimmen set down meekly in a humble pew, and say 'Yea' in a still small voice as a delegate, so 'fraid that it wuz outstrippin' wimmen's proper spear—when these very ministers have been proud to open their very biggest meetin'-housen to wimmen, and let 'em teach 'em to be eloquent—let wimmen speak words of help and wisdom from their highest pulpits.

"Think of this instance of their equinomical doin's," sez I, "and tremble. And," sez I, still more impressively and eloquently, "what is pumpkins by the side of that?"

His head sunk down lower, and lower. He wuz dumbfoundered to think he had been outdone in his most vital parts, his most tightest ways. He felt truly that even if they would listen to his equinomical counsels, they didn't need 'em.

He looked pitiful and meek, and sot demute for a couple of minutes. I see that I had convinced him about the Equinomical Counsel; he see that it wouldn't do, and he wouldn't make no more show than a underlin'.

But anon, or about that time, he spoke out in pitiful axents—

"Samantha, if I can't show off any at the Equinomical Counsel, I'd love to see them male law-makers a-settin' in the Capitol at Washington, D.C. I'd love to mingle with 'em, Samantha. You know, and I know, too, that I am one of 'em. Wuzn't I chose arbitrator in Seth Meezik's quarrel with his father-in-law? Hain't I sot on juries in the past, and hain't I liable to set?

"I want to see them male law-makers, Samantha. I want to be intimate with 'em."

I almost trembled. I can withstand my pardner's angry or excited moods, but here I see pleadin' and longin'; I see I had a hard job in front of me. I hate to dissapint him. I hate to, like a dog. But duty nerved me, and I sez—

"Josiah, less talk it over before you decide to go. Less bring up some of the laws them males have made, or allow to go on.

"I want to talk to you about 'em, Josiah," sez I, "before I let you depart to be intimate with 'em." Sez I, "Do you remember the old adage, a dog is known by the company he keeps? Before you go to be one of them dogs, Josiah Allen, and be known as one of 'em, less recall some of the lawful incidents of a few months back." Sez I, "We won't raise our skirts and wade back into history to any great depth, and hove out a large quantity of 'em, but will keep in the shaller water of a few short fleetin' months, and pick up one or two of the innumerable number of 'em; and then, if you want to go, why—" sez I, in the tremblin' axents of fond affection—"why, I will pack your saddle-bags."

Then I went on calmly and brung up a few laws and laid 'em down before him.

I brung up the Indians doin's, the Mormons, the Chinese, all on 'em flagrant.

But still he had that longin' look on his face.

Then I brung up the rotten political doin's, the unjust laws prevailin' in regard to female wimmen, and also the onrighteousness of the liquor laws and the abomination of the license question; I talked powerful and eloquent on them awful themes, but as I paused a minute for needed breath, he murmured—

"I want to be intimate with 'em, Samantha."

And then, bein' almost at my wits' end, I dropped the general miscellaneous way I had used, and begun to bring up little separate instances of the injustices of the Law. And I see he begun to be impressed.

How true it is that, from the Bible down to Josiah Allen's Wife, you have to talk in stories in order to impress the masses! You have to hold up the hammer of a personal incident to drive home the nail of Truth and have it clench and hold fast.

But mine wuz some different—mine wuz facts, every one of 'em.

I could have brung them to that man and laid 'em down in front of him from that time, almost half past ten a.m., and kep stiddy at it till ten p.m., and then not know that I had took any from the heap, so high and lofty is the stack of injustices and wrongs committed in the name of the Law and shielded by its mantilly.

But I had only brung up two, jest two of 'em; not the most flagrant ones either, but the first ones that come into my mind, jest as it is when you go to a pile of potatoes to git some for dinner, you take the first ones you come to, knowin' there is fur bigger ones in the pile.

But them potatoes smashed up with cream and butter are jest as satisfyin' as if they wuz bigger.

So these little truthful incidents laid down in front of my pardner convinced him; so they wuz jest as good for me to use as if I had picked out bigger and more flagranter ones.

I first brung up before him the case of the good little Christian school-teacher who had toiled for years at her hard work and laid up a little money, and finally married a sick young feller more'n half out of pity, for he hadn't a cent of money, and had the consumption, and took good care of him till he died.

And wantin' to humor him, she let him make his will, though he didn't so much as own the sheet of paper he wrote on, or the ink or the pen.

And after his death she found he had willed away their onborn child, and when it wuz a few months old, and her love had sent out its strong shoots, and wropped the little life completely round, his brother she had never seen come on from his distant home and took that baby right out of its mother's arms, and bore it off, accordin' to law.

I looked curiously at him as I concluded this true tale, but he murmured almost mechanically—

"I want to mingle with 'em, Samantha; I feel that I want to be intimate with 'em."

But his axent wuz weak, weak as a cat, and I felt that my efforts wuz not bein' throwed away. So I hurriedly laid holt of another true incident that I thought on, and hauled it up in front of him.

"Think of the case of the pretty Chinese girl of twelve years—jest the age of our Tirzah Ann, when you used to be a-holdin' her on your knee, and learnin' her the Sunday-school lesson, and both on us a-kissin' her, and a-brushin' back her hair from her sweet May-day face, and a-pettin' her, and a-holdin' her safe in our heart of hearts.

"Jest think of that little girl bein' sold for a slave by her rich male father, and brought to San Francisco, the home of the brave and the free, and there put into a place which she thought wuz fur worse than the bottomless pit—for that she considered wuz jest clean brimstone, and despair, and vapory demons.

"But this child, with five or six other wimmen, wuz put into a sickenin' den polluted with every crime, and subject to the brutal passions of a crowd of live, dirty human devils.

"And when, half dead from her dreadful life, she ran away at the peril of her life, and wuz taken in by a charitable woman, and nursed back to life and sanity agin.

"The law took that baby out of that safe refuge, and give her back into the hands of her brutal master—took her back, knowin' the life she would be compelled to lead.

"Think if it wuz our Tirzah Ann, Josiah Allen!"

"Dum the dum fools!" sez he, a chokin' some, and then he pulled out his bandanna handkerchief and busted right out a-cryin' onto it.



"Dum 'em, I say!" sez he, out of its red and yeller depths. "I'd love to skin the hull on 'em, Judge and Jury."

And I sez meanin'ly, "Now, do you want to go and be intimate with them law-makers, Josiah Allen?"

"No," sez he, a-wipin' his eyes and a-lookin' mad, "no, I don't! I want sunthin' to eat!"

And I riz up imegatly, and got a good dinner—a extra good one. And he never said another word about goin' to Washington, D.C.



CHAPTER VI.

There wuz sights and sights of talk in Jonesville and the adjacent and surroundin' world about the World's Fair bein' open on Sundays.

There wuz sights and sights of fightin' back and forth about the rights and the wrongs of it.

And there wuz some talk about the saloons bein' open too, bein' open week days and Sundays.

But, of course, there wuzn't so much talk about that; it seemed to be all settled from the very first on't that the saloons wuz a-goin' to be open the hull of the time—that they must be.

Why, it seemed to be understood that drunkards had to be made and kep up; murderers, and asassins, and thieves, and robbers, and law-breakers of every kind, and fighters, and wife-beaters, and arsons, and rapiners, and child-killers had to be made. That wuz neccessary, and considered so from the first. For if this trade wuz to stop for even one day out of the seven, why, where would be the crimes and casualities, the cuttin's up and actin's, the murders and the suicides, to fill up the Sunday papers with?

And to keep the police courts full and a-runnin' over with business, and the prisons, and jails, and reformatorys full of victims, and the morgues full of dead bodies.

No; the saloons had to be open Sundays; that wuz considered as almost a settled thing from the very first on't.

Why, the nation must have considered it one of the neccessarys, or it wouldn't have gone into partnership with 'em, and took part of the pay.

But there wuz a great and almost impassioned fight a-goin' on about havin' the World's Fair, the broad gallerys of art and beauty, bein' open to the public Sunday.

Lots of Christian men and wimmen come right out and said, swore right up and down that if Christopher Columbus let folks come to his doin's on Sunday they wouldn't go to it at all.

I spoze mebby they thought that this would skare Christopher and make him gin up his doin's, or ruther the ones that wuz a-representin' him to Chicago.

They did talk fearfully skareful, and calculated to skare any man that hadn't went through with what Christopher had. They said that ruther than have the young people who would be gathered there from the four ends of the earth—ruther than have these innocent young creeters contaminated by walkin' through them rooms and lookin' at them wonders of nature and art, why, they had ruther not have any Fair at all.

Why, I read sights and sights about it, and hearn powerful talk, and immense quantities of it.

And one night I hearn the most masterly and convincin' arguments brung up on both sides—arguments calculated to make a bystander wobble first one way and then the other, with the strength and power of 'em.

It wuz at a church social held to Miss Lums, and a number of us had got there early, and this subject wuz debated on before the minister got there.

Deacon Henzy wuz the one who give utterance to the views I have promulgated.

He said right out plain, "That no matter how keen the slight would be felt, he shouldn't attend to it if it wuz open Sunday." He said "that the country would be ruined if it took place."

"Yes," sez Miss Cornelius Cork, "you are right, Deacon Henzy. I wouldn't have Cornelius Jr. go to Chicago if the Fair is open Sundays, not for a world full of gold. For," sez she, "I feel as if it would be the ruin of him."

And then sister Arvilly Lanfear (she is always on the contrary side), sez she—"Why?"

"Why?" sez Miss Cork. "You ask why? You a woman and a perfessor?"

"Yes," sez Arvilly—"why?"

Sez Miss Cork, "It would take away all his reverence for the Sabbath, and the God who appointed that holy day of rest. His morals would be all broke up, and he would be a ruined boy. I expect that he will be there two months—that would make eight days of worldliness and wickedness; and I feel that long enough before the eighth day had come his principles would be underminded, and his morals all tottered and broke down."

"Why?" sez Arvilly. "There hain't any wickedness a-goin' on to the Fair as I know of; it is a goin' to be full and overflowin' of object lessons a teachin' of the greatness and the glory of the Lord of Heaven, and the might and power of the human intellect. Wonders of Heaven, and wonders of earth, and I don't see how they would be apt to ruin and break down anybody's morals a-contemplatin' 'em—not if they wuz sound when they begun.

"It seems to me it would make 'em have ten times the reverence they had before—reverence and awe and worshipful love for the One, the great and loving mind that had thought out all these marvels of beauty and grandeur and spread 'em out for His children's happiness and instruction."

"Oh, yes," sez Miss Cork. "On week days it is a exaltin' and upliftin' and dreadful religious sight; but on Sundays it is a crime to even think on it. Sundays should be kep pure and holy and riz up, and I wouldn't have Cornelius desecrate himself and the Sabbath by goin' to the Fair not for a world full of gold."

"Where would he go Sundays while he wuz in Chicago if he didn't go there?" sez Arville.

She is real cuttin' sometimes, Arville is, but then Miss Cork loves to put on Arville, and twit her of her single state, and kinder act high-headed and throw Cornelius in her face, and act.

Sez Arville—"Where would Cornelius Jr. go if he didn't go to the Fair?"

Cornelius Jr. drinks awful and is onstiddy, and Miss Cork hemmed and hawed, and finally said, in kind of a meachin' way—

"Why, to meetin', of course."

He hadn't been in a meetin'-house for two years, and we all knew it, and Miss Cork knew that we knew it—hence the meach.

"He don't go to meetin' here to Jonesville," sez Arville.



It wuz real mean in her, but I spoze it wuz to pay Miss Cork off for her aggravatin'.

And she went on, "I live right acrost the road from Fasset's saloon, and I see him and more'n a dozen other Jonesvillians there most every Sunday.

"Goin' to Chicago hain't a-goin' to born a man agin, and change all their habits and ways to once, and I believe if Cornelius Jr. didn't go to the Fair he would go to worse places."

"Well," sez Miss Cornelius Cork, "if he did, I wouldn't have to bear the sin. I feel that it is my duty to lift my voice and my strength aginst the Sunday openin' of the Fair, and even if the boys did go to worse places, my conscience would be clear; the sin wouldn't rest on my head."

Sez Arville, "That is the very way I have heard wimmen talk who burned up their boys' cards, and checker-boards, and story-books, and drove their children away from home to find amusement.

"They wanted the boys to set down and read the Bible and sam books year in and year out, but they wouldn't do it, for there wuz times when the young blood in 'em riz up and clamered for recreation and amusement, and seein' that they couldn't git it at home, under the fosterin' care of their father and mother, why, they looked for it elsewhere, and found it in low saloons and bar-rooms, amongst wicked and depraved companions. And then, when their boys turned out gamblers and drunkards, they would say that their consciences wuz clear.

"But," says Arville, "that hain't the way the Lord done. He used Sundays and week days to tell stories to the multitude, to amuse 'em, draw 'em by the silken cord of fancy towards the true and the right, draw 'em away from the bad towards the good. And if I had ten boys—"

"Which you hain't no ways likely to have," says Miss Cork; "no, indeed, you hain't."

"No, thank Heaven! there hain't no chance on't. But if I had ten boys I would ruther have 'em wanderin' through them beautiful halls, full of the wonders of the world which the Lord made and give to His children for their amusement and comfort—I would ruther have 'em there than to have 'em help swell a congregation of country loafers in a city saloon—learnin' in one day more lessons in the height and depth of depravity than years of country livin' would teach 'em.

"These places, and worse ones, legalized places of devils' pastime, will lure and beckon the raw youth of the country. They will flaunt their gaudy attractions on every side, and appeal to every sense but the sense of decency.

"And I would feel fur safer about the hull ten of 'em, if I knew they wuz safe in the art galleries, full of beauty and sublimity, drawin' their minds and hearts insensibly and in spite of themselves upward and onward, or lookin' at the glory and wonders of practical and mechanical beauty—the beauty of use and invention.

"After walkin' through a buildin' forty-five acres big, and some more of 'em about as roomy, I should be pretty sure that they wouldn't git out of it in time to go any great lengths in sin that day; and they would be apt to be too fagged out and dead tired to foller on after Satan any great distance."

"Well," says Miss Snyder, "I d'no but I should feel safer about my Jim and John to have 'em there in the Fair buildin's than runnin' loose in the streets of Chicago. They won't go to meetin' every Sunday, and I can't make 'em; and if they do go, they will go in the mornin' late, and git out as soon as the Amen is said.

"My boys are as good as the average—full as good; but I know when they hain't got anything to do, and git with other boys, they will cut up and act."

"Well," says Miss Cornelius Cork, "I know that my Cornelius will never disgrace himself or me by any low acts."

She wuz tellin' a big story, for Cornelius Jr. had been carried home more'n once too drunk to walk, besides other mean acts that wuz worse; so we didn't say anything, but we all looked queer; and Arville kinder sniffed, and turned up her nose, and nudged Miss Snyder. But Miss Cork kep right on—she is real high-headed and conceited, Miss Cork is.

And, sez she, "Much as I want to see the Fair, and much as I want Cornelius and Cornelius Jr. to go to it, and the rest of the country, I would ruther not have it take place at all than to have it open Sundays."

"And I feel jest so," sez Miss Henzy.

Then young Lihu Widrig spoke up. He is old Elihu Widrig's only son, and he has been off to college, and is home on a vacation.

He is dretful deep learnt, has studied Greek and lots of other languages that are dead, and some that are most dead.

He spoke up, and sez he:

"What is this Sabbath, anyway?"

We didn't any of us like that, and we showed we didn't by our means. We didn't want any of his new-fangled idees, and we looked high-headed at him and riz up.

But he kep right on, bein' determined to have his say.

"You can foller the Sabbath we keep right back, straight as a string, to planet worship. Before old Babylon ever riz up at all, to say nothin' of fallin', the dwellers in the Euphrates Valley kep a Sabbath. They spozed there wuz seven planets, and one day wuz give to each of them. And Saturday, the old Jewish Sabbath, wuz given to Saturn, cruel as ever he could be if the ur in his name wuz changed to e. In those days it wuz not forbidden to work in that day, but supposed to be unlucky.

"Some as Ma regards Friday."

It wuz known that Miss Widrig wouldn't begin a mite of work Fridays, not even hemin' a towel or settin' up a sock or mitten.

And, sez he, "When we come down through history to the Hebrews, we find it a part of the Mosaic law, the Ten Commandments.

"In the second book of the Bible we find the reason given for keeping the Sabbath is, the Lord rested on that day. In the fifth book we find the reason given is the keeping of a memorial for the deliverance out of Egypt.

"Now this commandment only forbids working on that day; no matter what else you do, you are obeying the fourth commandment. According to that command, you could go to the World's Fair, or wherever you had a mind to, if you did not work.

"The Puritan Sabbath wuz a very different one from that observed by Moses and the Prophets, which wuz mainly a day of rest."

"Wall, I know," sez Miss Yerden, "that the only right way to keep the Sabbath is jest as we do, go to meetin' and Sunday-school, and do jest as we do."

Sez Lihu, "Maybe the people to whom the law wuz delivered didn't understand its meaning so well as we do to-day, after the lapse of so many centuries, so well as you do, Miss Yerden."

We all looked coldly at Lihu; we didn't approve of his talk. But Miss Yerden looked tickled, she is so blind in her own conceit, and Lihu spoke so polite to her, she thought he considered her word as goin' beyend the Bible.

Then Lophemia Pegrum spoke up, and sez she—

"Don't you believe in keeping the Sabbath, Lihu?"

"Yes, indeed, I do," sez he, firm and decided. "I do believe in it with all my heart. It is a blessed break in the hard creakin' roll of the wheel of Labor, a needed rest—needed in every way for tired and worn-out brain and muscle, soul and body; but I believe in telling the truth," sez he.

He always wuz a very truthful boy—born so, we spoze. Almost too truthful at times, his ma used to think. She used to have to whip him time and agin for bringin' out secret things before company, such as borrowed dishes, and runnin's of other females, and such.

So we wuz obliged to listen to his remarks with a certain amount of respect, for we knew that he meant every word that he said, and we knew that he had studied deep into ancient history, no matter how much mistook we felt that he wuz.

But Miss Yerden spoke up, and sez she—

"I don't care whether it is true or not. I have always said, and always will say, that if any belief goes aginst the Bible, I had ruther believe in the Bible than in the truth any time."

And more than half of us wimmen agreed with her.

You see, so many reverent, and holy, and divine thoughts and memories clustered round that book, that we didn't love to have 'em disturbed. It wuz like havin' somebody take a spade and dig up the voyalets and lilies on the grave of the nearest and dearest, to try to prove sunthin' or ruther.

We feel in such circumstances that we had ruther be mistook than to have them sweet posies disturbed and desecrated.

Holy words of counsel, and reproof, and consolation delivered from the Most High to His saints and prophets—words that are whispered over our cradles, and whose truth enters our lives with our mother's milk; that sustains us and helps us to bear the hard toils and burdens of the day of life, and that go with us through the Valley and the Shadow—the only revelation we have of God's will to man, the written testimony of His love and compassion, and the only map in which we trace our titles clear to a heavenly inheritance.

If errors and mistakes have crept in through the weaknesses of men, or if the pages have become blotted by the dust of time, we hated to have 'em brung out and looked too clost into—we hated to, like a dog.

So we, most all of us, had a fellow feelin' for Miss Yerden, and looked approvin' at her.

And Lihu, seein' we looked cold at him, and bein' sensitive, and havin' a hard cold, he said "he guessed he would go over to the drug-store and git some hoarhoun candy for his cough."

So he went out. And then Miss Cork spoke up, and sez she—

"How it would look in the eyes of the other nations to have us a breakin' Sundays after keepin' 'em pure and holy for all these years."

"Pure and holy!" sez Arvilly. "Why, jest look right here in the country, and see the way the Sabbath is desecrated. Saturday nights and Sundays is the very time for the devil's high jinks. More whiskey and beer and hard cider is consumed Saturday nights and Sundays than durin' all the rest of the week.

"Why, right in my neighborhood a man who makes cider brandy carrys off hull barrels of it most every Saturday, so's to have it ready for Sunday consumption.

"The saloons are crowded that day, and black eyes, and bruised bodies, and sodden intellects, and achin' hearts are more frequent Sundays than any other day of the week, and you know it.

"And after standin' all this desecration calmly for year after year, and votin' to uphold it, it don't look consistent to flare up and be so dretful afraid of desecratin' the Sabbath by havin' a place of education, greater than the world has ever seen or ever will see agin, open on the Sabbath for the youth of the land."

"But the nation," sez Miss Henzy, in a skareful voice. "This nation must keep up its glorious reputation before the other countries of the world. How will it look to 'em to have our Goverment permit such Sunday desecration? This is a national affair, and we should not be willin' to have our glorious nation do anything to lower itself in the eyes of the assembled and envious world."

Sez Arville, "If our nation can countenance such doin's as I have spoke of, the man-killin' and brute-makin', all day Sundays, and not only permit it, but go into pardnership with it, and take part of the pay—if it can do this Sundays, year after year, without bein' ashamed before the other nations, I guess it will stand it to have the Fair open."

"But," says Miss Bobbet, "even if it is better for the youth of the country, and I d'no but it will be, it will have a bad look to the other nations, as Sister Henzy sez—it will look bad."

Says Arville, "That is what Miss Balcomb said about her Ned when she wouldn't let him play games to home; she said she didn't care so much about it herself, but thought the neighbors would blame her; and Ned got to goin' away from home for amusement, and is now a low gambler and loafer. I wonder whether she would ruther have kep her boy safe, or made the neighbors easy in their minds.



"And now the neighbors talk as bad agin when they see him a-reelin' by. She might have known folks would talk anyway—if they can't run folks for doin' things they will run 'em for not doin' 'em—they'll talk every time."

"Yes, and don't you forgit it," sez Bub Lum.

But nobody minded Bub, and Miss Cork begun agin on another tact.

"See the Sabbath labor it will cause, the great expenditure of strength and labor, to have all them stupendious buildin's open on the Sabbath. The onseemly and deafnin' noise and clatter of the machinery, and the toil of the men that it will take to run and take care of all the departments, and the labor of the poor men who will have to carry guests back and forth all day."

"I d'no," sez Arville, "whether it will take so much more work or not; it is most of it run by water-power and electricity, and water keeps on a-runnin' all day Sunday as well as week days.

"Your mill-dam don't stop, Miss Cork, because it is Sunday."

Miss Cork's house stands right by the dam, and you can't hear yourself speak there hardly, so it wuz what you might expect, to have her object specially to noise.

Miss Cork kinder tosted her head and drawed down her upper lip in a real contemptious way, and Arvilly went on and resoomed:

"And electricity keeps on somewhere a-actin' and behavin'; it don't stop Sundays. I have seen worse thunder-storms Sundays, it does seem to me, than I ever see week days. And when old Mom Nater sets such a show a-goin' Sundays, you have got to tend it, whether you think it is wicked or not.

"And as for the work of carryin' folks back and forth to it, meetin'-housen have to run by work—hard work, too. Preachin', and singin', and ringin' bells, and openin' doors, and lightin' gas, and usherin' folks in, and etc., etc., etc.

"And horse-cars and steam-cars have to run to and frow; conductors, and brakemen, and firemen, and engineers, and etc., etc.

"And horses have to be harnessed and worked hard, and coachmen, and drivers, and men and wimmen have to work hard Sundays. Yes, indeed.

"Now, my sister-in-law, Jane Lanfear, works harder Sundays than any day out of the seven. They take a place with thirty cows on it, and she and Jim, bein' ambitious, do almost all the work themselves.

"Every Sunday mornin' Jane gets up, and she and Jim goes out and milks fifteen cows apiece, and then Jim drives them off to pasture and comes back and harnesses up and carries the milk three miles to a cheese factory, and comes back and does the other out-door chores.

"And Jane gets breakfast, and gets up the three little children, and washes 'em and dresses 'em, and feeds the little ones to the table. And after breakfast she does up all her work, washes her dishes and the immense milk-cans, sweeps, cleans lamps and stoves, makes beds, etcetry, and feeds the chickens, and ducks, and turkeys. And by that time it is nine o'clock. Then she hurries round and washes and combs the three children, curls the hair of the twin girls, and then gets herself into her best clothes, and by that time she is so beat out that she is ready to drop down.

"But she don't; she lifts the children into the democrat, climbs her own weary form in after 'em, and takes the youngest one in her lap. And Jim, havin' by this time got through with his work and toiled into his best suit, they drive off, a colt follerin' 'em, and Jim havin' to get out more'n a dozen times to head it right, and makin' Jane wild with anxiety, for it is a likely colt.

"Wall, they go four milds and a half to the meetin'-house—there hain't no Free-well Baptist nearer to 'em, and they are strong in the belief, and awful sot on that's bein' the only right way. So they go to class-meetin' first, and both talk for quite a length of time; they are quite gifted, and are called so. And then they set up straight through the sermon, and that Free-well Baptist preaches more'n a hour, hot or cold weather, and then they both teach a large class of children, and what with takin' care of the three restless children, and their own weariness on the start, they are both beat out before they start for home. And Jane has a blindin' headache.

"But she must keep up, for she has got to git the three babies home safe, and then there is dinner to get, and the dishes to wash, and the housework, and the out-door work to tend to, and what with her headache, and her tired-out nerves and body, and the work and care of the babies, Jane is cross as a bear—snaps everybody up, sets a bad pattern before her children and Jim—and, in fact, don't get over it and hain't good for anything before the middle of the week.

"The day of rest is the hardest day of the week for her.

"But she told me last night—she come in to get my bask pattern, she is anxious to get her parmetty dress done for the World's Fair—but she said that she shouldn't go if it wuz open Sunday, for her mind wuz so sot on havin' the Sabbath kep strict as a day of rest.

"Now I believe in goin' to meetin' as much as anybody, and always have been regular. But I say Jane hain't consistent." (They don't agree.)

Arvilly stopped here a minute for needed breath. Good land! I should have thought she would; and Lophemia Pegrum spoke up—she is a dretful pretty girl, but very sentimental and romantic, and talks out of poetry books. Sez she:

"Another thought: Nature works all the Sabbath day. Flowers bloom, their sweet perfume wafts abroad, bees gather the honey from their fragrant blossoms, the dews fall, the clouds sail on, the sun lights and warms the World, the grass grows, the grain ripens, the fruit gathers the sunshine in its golden and rosy globes, the birds sing, the trees rustle, the wind blows, the stars rise and set, the tide comes in and goes out, the waves wash the beach, and carries the great ships to their havens—in fact, Nature keeps her World's Fair open every day of the week just alike."

"Yes," sez Miss Eben Sanders—she is always on the side of the last speaker—she hain't to be depended on, in argument. But she speaks quite well, and is a middlin' good woman, and kind-hearted. Sez she—

"Look at the poor people who work hard all the week and who can't spend the time week days to go to this immense educational school.

"Them who have to work hard and steady every working day to keep bread in the hands of their families, to keep starvation away from themselves and children—clerks, seamstresses, mechanics, milliners, typewriters, workers in factories, and shops, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

"Children of toil, who bend their weary frames over their toilsome, oncongenial labor all the week, with the wolves of Cold and Hunger a-prowlin' round 'em, ready to devour them and their children if they stop their labor for one day out of the six—

"Think what it would be for these tired-out, beauty-starved white slaves to have one day out of the seven to feast their eyes and their hungry souls on the best of the World.

"What an outlook it would give their work-blinded eyes! What a blessed change it would make in all their dull, narrow, cramped lives! While their hands wuz full of work, their quickened fancy would live over again the too brief hours they spent in communion with the World's best—the gathered beauty and greatness and glory of the earth. Whatever their toil and weariness, they had lived for a few hours, their eyes had beheld the glory of God in His works."

Miss Cork yawned very deep here, and Miss Sanders blushed and stopped. They hain't on speakin' terms. Caused by hens.

And then Miss Cork sez severely—a not noticin' Miss Sanders speech at all, but a-goin' back to Arvilly's—she loves to dispute with her, she loves to dearly—

"You forgot to mention when you wuz talkin' about Sabbath work connected with church-goin' that it wuz to worship God, and it wuz therefore right—no matter how wearisome it wuz, it wuz perfectly right."

"Wall, I d'no," sez Arvilly—"I d'no but what some of the beautiful pictures and wonderful works of Art and Nature that will be exhibited at the World's Fair would be as upliftin' and inspirin' to me as some of the sermons I hear Sundays. Specially when Brother Ridley gits to talkin' on the Jews, and the old Egyptians.

"It stands to reason that if I could see Pharo's mummy it would bring me nearer to him, and them plagues and that wickedness of hisen, than Brother Ridley's sermon could.

"And when I looked at a piece of the olive tree under which our Saviour sot while He wuz a-weepin' over Jeruesalem or see a wonderful picture of the crucifixion or the ascension, wrought by hands that the Lord Himself held while they wuz painted—I believe it would bring Him plainer before me than Brother Ridley could, specially when he is tizickey, and can't speak loud.

"Why, our Lord Himself wuz took to do more than once by the Pharisees, and told He wuz breakin' the Sabbath. And He said that the Sabbath wuz made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

"And He said, 'Consider the Lilies'—that is, consider the Lord, and behold Him in the works of His hands.

"Brother Ridley is good, no doubt, and it is right to go and hear him—I hain't disputed that—but when he tries to bring our thoughts to the Lord, he has to do it through his own work, his writin', which he did himself with a steel pen. And I d'no as it is takin' the idees of the Lord so much at first hand as it is to study the lesson of the Lilies He made, and which He loved and admired and told us to consider.

"The World's Fair is full of all the beauty He made, more wonderful and more beautiful than the lilies, and I d'no as it is wrong to consider 'em Sundays or week days."

"But," sez Miss Yerden, "don't you know what the Bible sez—'Forget not the assemblin' of yourselves together'?"



"Well," piped up Bub Lum, aged fourteen, and a perfect imp—

"I guess that if the Fair is open Sundays, folks that are there won't complain about there not bein' folks enough assembled together. I guess they won't complain on't—no, indeed!"

But nobody paid any attention to Bub, and Arvilly continued—

"I believe in usin' some common sense right along, week days and Sundays too. It stands to reason that the Lord wouldn't gin us common sense if He didn't want us to use it.

"We don't need dyin' grace while we are a livin', and so with other things. There will be meetin'-housen left and ministers in 1894, most likely, and we can attend to 'em right along as long as we live.

"But this great new open Book of Revelations, full of God's power and grace, and the wonderful story of what He has done for us sence He wakened the soul of His servant, Columbus, and sent him over the troubled ocean to carry His name into the wilderness, and the strength and the might He has given to us sence as a nation—

"This great object lesson, full of the sperit of prophecy and accomplishment, won't be here but a few short months.

"And I believe if there could be another chapter added to the Bible this week, and we could have the Lord's will writ out concernin' it, I believe it would read—

"'Go to that Fair. Study its wonderful lessons with awe and reverence. Go week days if you can, and if you can't, go Sundays. And you rich people, who have art galleries of your own to wander through Sundays, and gardens and greenhouses full of beauty and sweetness, and the means to seek out loveliness through the world, and who don't need the soul refreshment these things give—don't you by any Pharisaical law deprive my poor of their part in the feast I have spread for both rich and poor.'"

Sez Miss Cork, "I wouldn't dast to talk in that way, Arville. To add or diminish one word of skripter is to bring an awful penalty."

"I hain't a-goin' to add or diminish," says Arville. "I hain't thought on't. I am merely statin' what, in my opinion, would be the Lord's will on the subject."

But right here the schoolmaster struck in. He is a very likely young man—smart as a whip, and does well by the school, and makes a stiddy practice of mindin' his own business and behavin'.

He is a great favorite and quite good-lookin', and some say that he and Lophemia Pegrum are engaged; but it hain't known for certain.

He spoke up, and sez he, "There is one great thing to think of when we talk on this matter. There is so much to be said on both sides of this subject that it is almost impossible to shut your eyes to the advantages and the disadvantages on both sides.

"But," sez he, "if this nation closes the Fair Sundays, it will be a great object lesson to the youth of this nation and the world at large of the sanctity and regard we have for our Puritan Sabbath—

"Of our determination to not have it turned into a day of amusement, as it is in some European countries.

"It would be something like painting up the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer in gold letters on the blue sky above, so that all who run may read, of the regard we have for the day of rest that God appointed. The regard we have for things spiritual, onseen—our conflicts and victories for conscience' sake—the priceless heritage for which our Pilgrim Fathers braved the onknown sea and wilderness, and our forefathers fought and bled for."

"They fit for Liberty!" sez Arville. She would have the last word. "And this country, in the name of Religion, has whipped Quakers, and Baptists, and hung witches—and no knowin' what it will do agin. And I think," sez she, "that it would look better now both from the under and upper side—both on earth and in Heaven—to close them murderous and damnable saloons, that are drawin' men to visible and open ruin all round us on every side, than to take such great pains to impress onseen things onto strangers."

She would have the last word—she wuz bound to.

And the schoolmaster, bein' real polite, though he had a look as if he wuzn't convinced, yet he bowed kinder genteel to Arvilly, as much as to say, "I will not dispute any further with you." And then he got up and went over and sot down by Lophemia Pegrum.

And I see there wuz no prospect of their different minds a-comin' any nearer together.

And I'll be hanged if I could wonder at it. Why, I myself see things so plain on both sides that I would convince myself time and agin both ways.

I would be jest as firm as a rock for hours at a time that it would be the only right thing to do, to shet up the Fair Sundays—shet it up jest as tight as it could be shet.

And then agin, I would argue in my own mind, back and forth, and convince myself (ontirely onbeknown to me) that it would be the means of doin' more good to the young folks and the poor to have it open.

Why, I had a fearful time, time and agin, a-arguin' and a-disputin' with myself, and a-carryin' metafors back and forth, and a-eppisodin', when nobody wuz round.

And as I couldn't seem to come to any clear decision myself, a-disputin' with jest my own self, I didn't spoze so many different minds would become simultanous and agreed.

So I jest branched right off and asked Miss Cork "If she had heard that the minister's wife had got the neuralligy."

I felt that neuralligy wuz a safe subject, and one that could be agreed on—everybody despised it.



And gradual the talk sort o' quieted down, and I led it gradual into ways of pleasantness and paths of peace.



CHAPTER VII.

Christopher Columbus Allen got along splendid with his railroad business, and by the time the rest of us wuz ready for the World's Fair, he wuz.

We didn't have so many preparations to make as we would in other circumstances, for Ury and Philury wuz goin' to move right into our house, and do for it jest as well as we would do for ourselves.

They had done this durin' other towers that we had gone off on, and never had we found our confidence misplaced, or so much as a towel or a dish-cloth missin'.

We have always done well by them while they wuz workin' for us by the week or on shares, and they have always jest turned right round and done well by us.

Thomas Jefferson and Maggie went with us. Tirzah Ann and Whitfield wuzn't quite ready to go when we did, but they wuz a-comin' later, when Tirzah Ann had got all her preperations made—her own dresses done, and Whitfield's night-shirts embroidered, and her stockin's knit.

I love Tirzah Ann. But I can't help seein' that she duz lots of things that hain't neccessary.

Now it wuzn't neccessary for her to have eleven new dresses made a purpose to go to the World's Fair, and three white aprons all worked off round the bibs and pockets.

Good land! what would she want of aprons there in that crowd? And she no need to had six new complete suits of under-clothes made, all trimmed off elaborate with tattin' and home-made edgin' before she went. And it wuzn't neccessary for her to knit two pairs of open-work stockin's with fine spool thread.

I sez to her, "Tirzah Ann, why don't you buy your stockin's? You can git good ones for twenty cents. And," sez I, "these will take you weeks and weeks to knit, besides bein' expensive in thread."

But she said "she couldn't find such nice ones to the store—she couldn't find shell-work."

"Then," sez I, "I shall go without shell-work."

But she said, "They wuz dretful ornamental to the foot, specially to the instep, and she shouldn't want to go without 'em."

"But," sez I, "who is a-goin' to see your instep? You hain't a-goin' round in that crowd with slips on, be you?"

"No," she said, "she didn't spoze she should, but she should feel better to know that she had on nice stockin's, if there didn't anybody see 'em."

And I thought to myself that I should ruther be upheld by my principles than the consciousness of shell-work stockin's. But I didn't say so right out. I see that she wouldn't give up the idee.

And besides the stockin's, which wuz goin' to devour a fearful amount of time, she had got to embroider three night-shirts for Whitfield with fine linen floss.

Then I argued with her agin. Sez I, "Good land! I don't believe that Christopher Columbus ever had any embroidered night-shirts." Sez I, "If he had waited to have them embroidered, and shell-work stockin's knit, we might have not been discovered to this day. But," sez I, "good, sensible creeter, he knew better than to do it when he had everything else on his hands. And," sez I, "with all your housework to do—and hot weather a-comin' on—I don't see how you are a-goin' to git 'em all done and git to the Fair."

And she said, "She had ruther come late, prepared, than to go early with everything at loose ends."

"But," sez I, "good plain sensible night-shirts and Lyle-thread stockin's hain't loose—they hain't so loose as them you are knittin'."

But I see that I couldn't break it up, so I desisted in my efforts.

Maggie, though she is only my daughter-in-law, takes after me more in a good many things than Tirzah Ann duz, who is my own step-daughter. Curious, but so it is.

Now, she and I felt jest alike in this.

Who—who wuz a-goin' to notice what you had on to the World's Fair; and providin' we wuz clean and hull, and respectable-lookin', who wuz a-goin' to know or care whether our stockin's wuz open work or plain knittin'?

There, with all the wonder and glory of the hull world spread out before our eyes, and the hull world there a-lookin' at it, a-gazin' at strange people, strange customs, strange treasures and curiosities from every land under the sun—wonders of the earth and wonders of the sea, marvels of genius and invention, and marvels of grandeur and glory, of Art and Nature, and the hull world a-lookin' on, and a-marvellin' at 'em. And then to suppose that anybody would be a-lookin' out for shell-work stockin's, a-carin' whether they wuz clam-shell pattern, or oyster shell.

The idee!

That is the way Maggie and I felt; why, if you'll believe it, that sweet little creeter never took but one dress with her, besides a old wrapper to put on mornin's. She took a good plain black silk dress, with two waists to it—a thick one for cool days and a thin one for hot days—and some under-clothes, and some old shoes that didn't hurt her feet, and looked decent. And there she wuz all ready.

She never bought a thing, I don't believe, not one. You wouldn't ketch her waitin' to embroider night-shirts for Thomas Jefferson—no, indeed! She felt jest as I did. What would the Christopher Columbus World's Fair care for the particular make of Thomas J's night-shirts? That had bigger things on its old mind than to stop and admire a particular posey or runnin' vine worked on a man's nightly bosom. Yes, indeed!

But Tirzah Ann felt jest that way, and I couldn't make her over at that late day, even if I had time to tackle the job. She took it honest—it come onto her from her Pa.

The preperations that man would have made if he had had his head would have outdone Tirzah Ann's, and that is sayin' enough, and more'n enough.

And the size of the shoes that man would have sot out with if he had been left alone would have been a shame and a disgrace to the name of decency as long as the world stands.

Why, his feet would have been two smokin' sacrifices laid on the altar of corns and bunions. Yes, indeed! But I broke it up.

I sez, "Do you lay out and calculate to hobble round in that pair of leather vises and toe-screws," sez I, "when you have got to be on foot from mornin' till night, day after day? Why under the sun don't you wear your good old leather shoes, and feel comfortable?"

And he said (true father of Tirzah Ann), "He wuz afraid it would make talk."



Sez I, "The idee of the World's Fair, with all it has got on its mind, a noticin' or carin' whether you had on shoes or went barefoot! But if you are afraid of talk," sez I, "I guess that it would make full as much talk to see you a-goin' round a-groanin' and a-cryin' out loud. And that is what them shoes would bring you to," sez I.

"Now," sez I, "you jest do them shoes right up and carry 'em back to the store, and if you have got to have a new pair, git some that will be more becomin' to a human creeter, let alone a class-leader, and a perfessor, and a grandfather."

So at last I prevailed—he a-forebodin' to the very last that it would make talk to see him in such shoes. But he got a pair that wuzn't more'n one size too small for him, and I presumed to think they would stretch some. And, anyway, I laid out to put his good, roomy old gaiters in my own trunk, so he could have a paneky to fall back on, and to soothe.

As for myself, I took my old slips, that had been my faithful companions for over two years, and a pair of good big roomy bootees.

I never bought nothin' new for any of my feet, not even a shoe-string. And the only new thing that I bought, anyway, wuz a new muslin night-cap with a lace ruffle.

I bought that, and I spoze vanity and pride wuz to the bottom of it. I feel my own shortcomin's, I feel 'em deep, and try to repent, every now and then, I do.

But I did think in my own mind that in case of fire, and I knew that Chicago wuz a great case for burnin' itself up—I thought in case of fire in the night I wouldn't want to be ketched with a plain sheep's-head night-cap on, which, though comfortable, and my choice for stiddy wear, hain't beautiful.

And I thought if there wuz a fire, and I wuz to be depictered in the newspapers as a-bein' rescued, I did feel a little pride in havin' a becomin' night-cap on, and not bein' engraved with a sheep's head on.

Thinks'es I, the pictures in the newspapers are enough to bring on the cold chills onto anybody, even if took bareheaded, and what—what would be the horror of 'em took in a sheep's head!

There it wuz, there is my own weakness sot right down in black and white. But, anyway, it only cost thirty-five cents, and there wuzn't nothin' painful about it, like Josiah's shoes, nor protracted, like Tirzah Ann's stockin's.

Wall, Ury and Philury moved in the day before, and Josiah and I left in the very best of sperits and on the ten o'clock train, Maggie and Thomas Jefferson and Krit a-meetin' us to the depot.

Maggie looked as pretty as a pink, if she didn't make no preperations. She had on her plain waist, black silk, and a little black velvet turban, and she had pinned a bunch of fresh rosies to her waist, and the rosies wuzn't any pinker than her pretty cheeks and lips, and the dew that had fell into them roses' hearts that night wuzn't any brighter than her sweet gray eyes.

She makes a beautiful woman, Maggie Allen duz; and she ort to, to correspond with her husband, for my boy, Thomas Jefferson, is a young man of a thousand, and it is admitted that he is by all the Jonesvillians—nearly every villian of 'em admits it.

Tirzah Ann and the babe wuz to the depot to see us off, and she said that she should come on jest as soon as she got through with her preperations.

But I felt dubersome about her comin' very soon, for she took out her knittin' work (we had to wait quite a good while for the cars), and I see that she hadn't got the first one only to the instep.

It is slow knittin'—shells are dretful slow anyway—and she wuz too proud sperited to have 'em plain clam-shell pattern, which are bigger and coarser; she had to have 'em oyster-shell pattern, in ridges.

Wall, as I say, I felt dubersome, but I spoke up cheerful on the outside—

"If you git your stockin's done, Tirzah Ann, you must be sure and come."

And she said she would.

The way she said it wuz: "One, two, three, four, yes, mother; five, six, seven, I will."

She had to count every shell from top to toe of 'em, which made it hard and wearin' both for her and them she wuz conversin' with.

Why, they do say—it come to me straight, too—that Whitfield got that wore out with them oyster-shell stockin's that he won't look at a oyster sence—he used to be devoted to 'em, raw or cooked; but they say that you can't git him to look at one sence the stockin' episode, specially scolloped ones.

No, he sez "that he has had enough oysters for a lifetime."

Poor fellow! I pity him. I know what them actions of hern is; hain't I suffered from the one she took 'em from?

But to resoom, and continue on.

Miss Gowdey come to the depot to see me off, and so did Miss Bobbet and the Widder Pooler.

Miss Gowdey wuz a-comin' to the World's Fair as soon as she made her rag-carpet for her summer kitchen; she said "she wouldn't go off and leave her work ondone, and she hadn't got more'n half of the rags cut, and she hadn't colored butnut yet, nor copperas; she would not leave her house a-sufferin' and her rags oncut."

I thought she looked sort o' reprovin' at me, for she knew that I had a carpet begun.

But I spoke up, and sez, "Truly rags will be always here with us, and most likely butnut and copperas; but the World's Fair comes but once in a lifetime, and I believe in embracin' it now, and makin' the most of it." Sez I, "We can embrace rags at any time."

"Wall," she said, "she couldn't take no comfort with the memory of things ondone a-weighin' down on her." She said "some folks wuz different," and she looked clost at me as she said it. "Some folks could go off on towers and be happy with the thought of rags oncut and warp oncolored, or spooled, or anything. But she wuzn't one of 'em; she could not, and would not, take comfort with things ondone on her mind."

And I sez, "If folks don't take any comfort with the memories of things ondone on 'em, I guess that there wouldn't be much comfort took, for, do the best we can in this world, we have to leave some things ondone. We can't do everything."

"Wall," she said, "she should, never should, go off on towers till everything wuz done."

And agin I sez, "It is hard to git everything done, and if folks waited for them circumstances, I guess there wouldn't be many towers gone off on."

But she didn't give in, nor I nuther. But jest then Miss Bobbet spoke up, and said, "She laid out to go to the World's Fair—she wouldn't miss it for anything; it wuz the oppurtunity of a lifetime for education and pleasure; but she wuz a-goin' to finish that borrow-and-lend bedquilt of hern before she started a step. And then the woodwork had got to be painted all over the house, and he was so busy with his spring's work that she had got to do it herself."

And I sez, "Couldn't you let those things be till you come back?"

And she said, "She couldn't, for she mistrusted she would be all beat out, and wouldn't feel like it when she got back; paintin' wuz hard work, and so wuz piecin' up."

And I sez, "Then you had ruther go there all tired out, had you?" sez I. "Seems to me I had ruther go to the World's Fair fresh and strong, and ready to learn and enjoy, even if I let my borrow-and-lend bedquilt go till another year. For," sez I, "bedquilts will be protracted fur beyend the time of seein' the World's Fair—and I believe in livin' up to my priveleges."

And she said, "That she wouldn't want to put it off, for it had been a-layin' round for several years, and she felt that she wouldn't go away so fur from home, and leave it onfinished."

And I see that it wouldn't do any good to argy with her. Her mind wuz made up.

Miss Pooler said, "That she wuz a-goin' to the Fair, and a-goin' in good season, too. She wouldn't miss it for anything in the livin' world. But she had got to make a visit all round to his relations and hern before she went. And," sez she, a-lookin' sort o' reproachful at me,

"I should have thought you would have felt like goin' round and payin' 'em all a visit, on both of your sides, before you went," sez she. "They would have felt better; and I feel like doin' everything I can to please the relations."

And I told Miss Pooler—"That I never expected to see the day that I hadn't plenty of relations on my side and on hisen, but I never expected to see another Christopher Columbus World's Fair, and I had ruther spend my time now with Christopher than with them on either side, spozin' they would keep."

But Miss Pooler said, "She had always felt like doin' all in her power to show respect to the relations on both sides, and make 'em happy. And she felt that, in case of anything happenin', she would feel better to know she had made 'em all a last visit before it happened."

"What I am afraid will happen, Miss Pooler," sez I, "is that you won't git to the World's Fair at all, for they are numerous on both sides, and widespread," sez I. "It will take sights and sights of time for you to go clear round."

But I see that she wuz determined to have her way, and I didn't labor no more with her.

And I might as well tell it right here, as any time—she never got to the World's Fair at all. For while she wuz a-payin' a last visit previous to her departure, she wuz took down bed-sick for three weeks. And the Fair bein' at that time on its last leglets, as you may say, it had took her so long to go the rounds—the Fair broke up before she got up agin.

Miss Pooler felt awful about it, so they say; it wuz such a dretful disapintment to her that they had to watch her for some time, she wuz that melancholy about it, and depressted, that they didn't know what she would be led to do to herself.

And besides her own affliction about the Fair, and the trouble she gin her own folks a-watchin' her for months afterwards, she got 'em mad at her on both sides. Seven different wimmen she kep to home, jest as they wuz a-startin' for the Fair, and belated 'em.

Eleven of the relations on her side and on hisen hain't spoke to her sence. And the family where she wuz took sick on their hands talked hard of suin' her for damage. For they wuz real smart folks, and had been makin' their calculations for over three years to go to the Fair, and had lotted on it day and night, and through her sickness they wuz kep to home, and didn't go to it at all.

But to resoom.

Jest as I turned round from Miss Pooler, I see Miss Solomon Stebbins and Arvilly Lanfear come in the depot.

Arvilly come to bid me good-bye, and Miss Stebbins wuz with her, and so she come in too.

Arvilly said, "That she should be in Chicago to that World's Fair, if her life wuz spared." She said, "That she wouldn't miss bein' in the place where wimmen wuz made sunthin' of, and had sunthin' to say for themselves, not for ontold wealth."

She said, "That she jest hankered after seein' one woman made out of pure silver—and then that other woman sixty-five feet tall; she said it would do her soul good to see men look up to her, and they have got to look up to her if they see her at all, for she said that it stood to reason that there wuzn't goin' to be men there sixty-five feet high.

"And then that temple there in Chicago, dreamed out and built by a woman—the nicest office buildin' in the world! jest think of that—in the World. And a woman to the bottom of it, and to the top too. Why," sez Arville, "I wouldn't miss the chance of seein' wimmen swing right out, and act as if their souls wuz their own, not for the mines of Golconda." Sez she, "More than a dozen wimmen have told me this week they wanted to go; but they wuzn't able. But I sez to 'em, I'm able to go, and I'm a-goin'—I am goin' afoot."

"Why, Arvilly," sez I, "you hain't a-goin' to Chicago a-walkin' afoot!"



"Yes, I be a-goin' to Chicago a-walkin' afoot, and I am goin' to start next Monday mornin'."

"Why'ee!" sez I, "you mustn't do it; you must let me lend you some money."

"No, mom; much obliged jest the same, but I am a-goin' to canvass my way there. I am goin' to sell the 'Wild, Wicked, and Warlike Deeds of Man.' I calculate to make money enough to get me there and ride some of the way, and take care of me while I am there; I may tackle some other book or article to sell. But I am goin' to branch out on that, and I am goin' to have a good time, too."



Miss Stebbins said, "She wanted to go, and calculated to, but she wanted to finish that croshay lap-robe before snow fell."

"Wall," sez I, "snow hain't a-goin' to fall very soon now, early in the Spring so."

"Wall," she said, "that it wuz such tryin' work for the eyes, she wouldn't leave it for nothin' till she got back, for she mistrusted that she should feel kind o' mauger and wore out. And then," she said, "she had got to make a dozen fine shirts for Solomon, so's to leave him comfortable while she wuz gone, and the children three suits apiece all round."

Sez I, "How long do you lay out to be gone?"

"About two weeks," she said.

And I told her, "That it didn't seem as if he would need so many shirts for so short a time."

But she said, "She should feel more relieved to have 'em done."

So I wouldn't say no more to break it up. For it is fur from me to want to diminish any female's relief.

And the cars tooted jest then, so I didn't have no more time to multiply words with her anyway.



CHAPTER VIII.

We were travellin' in a car they call a parlor, though it didn't look no more like our parlor than ours does like a steeple on a wind-mill. But it wuz dretful nice and comogeous.

We five occupied seats all together, and right next to us, acrost the aisle, wuz two men a-arguin' on the Injun question. I didn't know 'em, but I see that Thomas J. and Krit wuz some acquainted with 'em; they wuz business men.

When I first begun to hear 'em talk (they talked loud—we couldn't help hearin' 'em), they seemed to be kinder laughin', and one of 'em said:

"Yes, they denied the right of suffrage to wimmen and give it to the Injuns, and the next week the Injuns started off on the war-path. Whether they did it through independence or through triumph nobody knows, but it is known that they went."

And I thought to myself, "Mebby they wuz mad to think that the Goverment denied to intelligent Christian wimmen the rights gin to savages." Thinks'es I, "It is enough to make a Injun mad, or anything else."



But I didn't speak my mind out loud, and they begun to talk earnest and excited about 'em, and I could see as they went on that they felt jest alike towards the Injuns, and wanted 'em wiped off'en the face of the earth; but they disagreed some as to the ways they wanted 'em wiped. One of 'em wanted 'em shot right down to once, and exterminated jest as you kill potato-bugs.

The other wanted 'em drove further off and shet up tighter till they died out of themselves; but they wuz both agreed in bein' horrified and disgusted at the Injuns darin' to fight the whites.

And first I knew Krit jest waded right into the talk. He waded polite, but he waded deep right off the first thing.

And, sez he, "Before they all die I hope they will sharpen up their tommyhawks and march on to Washington, and have a war-dance before the Capitol, and take a few scalps there amongst the law-makers and the Injun bureau."

He got kinder lost and excited by his feelin's, Krit did, or he wouldn't have said anything about scalpin' a bureau. Good land! he might talk about smashin' its draws up, but nobody ever hearn of scalpin' a bureau or a table.

But he went on dretful smart, and, sez he, "Gentlemen, I have lived right out there amongst the Injuns and the rascally agents, and I know what I am talkin' about when I say that, instead of wonderin' about the Injuns risin' up aginst the whites, as they do sometimes, the wonder is that they don't try to kill every white man they see.

"When I think of the brutality, the cheatin', the cruelty, the devilishness of the agents, it is a wonder to me that they let one stick remain on another at the agencies—that they don't burn 'em up, root and branch, and destroy all the lazy, cheatin', lyin' white scamps they can get sight of."

The two men acted fairly browbeat and smut to hear Krit go on, and they sez—

"You must be mistaken in your views; the Goverment, I am sure, tries to protect the Injuns and take care of 'em."

"What is the Goverment doin'," sez Krit, "but goin' into partnership with lyin' and stealin,' when it knows just what their agents are doin', and still protects them in their shameful acts, and sends out troops to build up their strength? Maybe you have a home you love?" sez Krit, turnin' to the best lookin' of the men.

"Yes, indeed," sez he; "my country home down on the Hudson is the same one we have had in the family for over two hundred years. My babies are to-day runnin' over the same turf that I rolled on in my boyhood, and their great-great-grandmothers played on in their childhood.

"My babies' voices raise the same echoes from the high rock back of the orchard, the same blue river runs along at their feet, the sun sets right over the same high palisade. Why, that very golden light acrost the water between the two high rocks—that golden line of light seems to me now, almost as it did then in my childhood, the only path to Heaven.

"Heaven and Earth would be all changed to me if I had to give up my old home. Why, every tree, and shrub, and rock seems like a part of my own beloved family, such sacred associations cluster around them of my childhood and manhood. And the memories of the dear ones gone seem to be woven into the very warp and woof of the stately old elm-trees that shade its velvet lawns, and the voice of the river seems full of old words and music, vanished tones and laughter.

"No one can know, or dream, how inexpressibly dear the old home is to my heart. If I had to give it up," sez he, "it would be like tearin' out my very heart-strings, and partin' with what seems like a part of my own life."

The man looked very earnest and sincere when he said this, and even agitated. He meant what he said, no doubt on't.

And then Krit sez, "How would you like it if you were ordered to leave it at a day's notice—leave it forever—leave it so some one else, some one you hated, some one who had always injured you, could enjoy it—

"Leave it so that you knew you could never live there again, never see a sun rise or a sun set over the dear old fields, and mountains, and river, you loved so well—

"Never have the chance to stand by the graves of your fathers, and your children, that were a-sleepin' under the beautiful old trees that your grandfathers had set out—

"Never see the dear old grounds they walked through, the old rooms full of the memories of their love, their joys, and their sorrows, and your loves, and hopes, and joys, and sadness?

"What should you do if some one strong enough, but without a shadow of justice or reason, should order you out of it at once—force you to go?"

"I should try to kill him," sez the man promptly, before he had time to think what to say.

"Well," sez Krit, "that is what the Injuns try to do, and the world is horrified at it. Their homes are jest as dear to them as ours are to us; their love for their own living and dead is jest as strong. Their grief and sense of wrong and outrage is even stronger than the white man's would be, for they don't have the distractions of civilized life to take up their attention. They brood over their wrongs through long days and nights, unsolaced by daily papers and latest telegraphic news, and their famished, freezin' bodies addin' their terrible pangs to their soul's distress.

"Is it any wonder that after broodin' over their wrongs through long days and nights, half starved, half naked, their dear old homes gone—shut up here in the rocky, hateful waste, that they must call home, and probably their wives and daughters stolen from them by these agents that are fat and warm, and gettin' rich on the food and clothing that should be theirs, and receivin' nothing but insults and threats if they ask for justice, and finally a bullet, if their demands for justice are too loud—

"What wonder is it that they lift their empty hands for vengeance—that they leave their bare, icy huts, and warm their frozen veins with ghost-dances, haply practisin' them before they go to be ghosts in reality? What wonder that they sharpen up their ancestral tomahawk, and lift it against their oppressors? What wonder that the smothered fires do break out into sudden fiery tempests of destruction that appall the world?

"You say you would do the same, after your generations of culture and Christian teaching, and so would I, and every other man. We would if we could destroy the destroyers who ravage and plunder our homes, deprive us of the earnings of a lifetime, turn us out of our inheritance, and make of our wives and daughters worse than slaves.

"We meet every year to honor the memory of the old heroes who rebelled and fought for liberty—shed rivers of blood to escape from far less intolerable oppression and wrongs than the Injuns have endured for years.

"And then we expect them, with no culture and no Christianity, to practise Christian virtues, and endure buffetings that no Christian would endure.

"The whole Injun question is a satire on true Goverment, a lie in the name of liberty and equality, a shame on our civilization."

"What would you do about it?" said the kinder good-lookin' man.

Sez Krit, "If I called the Injuns wards, adopted children of the Goverment, I would try not to use them in a way that would disgrace any drunken old stepmother.

"I would have dignity enough, if I did not stand for decency, to not half starve and freeze them, and lie to them, and cheat them till the very word 'Goverment' means to them all they can picture of meanness and brutality. I would either grant them independence, or a few of the comforts I had stolen from them.

"If I drove them out of their rich lands and well-stocked hunting-grounds they had so long considered their own—if I drove them out in my cupidity and love of conquest, I would in return grant them enough of the fruits of their old homes to keep up life in their unhappy bodies.

"If I made them suffer the pains of exile, I would not let them endure also the gnawings of starvation.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse