"And I would not send out to 'em the Bible and whiskey packed in one wagon, appeals to Christian living and the sure means to overthrow it.
"I would not send 'em religious tracts, implorin' 'em to come to Christ's kingdom, packed in the same hamper with kegs of brandy, which the Bible and the tracts teach that those that use it are cursed, and that no drunkard can inherit the kingdom."
But, sez Krit, "The Bible they should have. And after they had mastered its simplest teachings, they should don their war-paint and feathers, and go out with it in their hands as missionaries to the white race, to try to teach them its plainest and simplest doctrines, of justice, and mercy, and love."
But at this very minute the cars tooted, and the two men seized their satchels, and after a sort of a short bow to Krit and the rest of us, they rushed offen the train.
I believe they wuz conscience-smut, but I don't know.
When we arrove at the big depot at Chicago, the sun wuz jest a-drawin' up his curtains of gorgeous red, and yeller, and crimson, and wuz a-retirin' behind 'em to git a little needed rest.
The glorious counterpane wuz kinder heaped up in billowy richness on his western couch, but what I took to be the undersheet—a clear long fold of shinin' gold color—lay straight and smooth on the bottom of the gorgeous bed.
And the sun's face wuz just a-lookin' out above it, as if to say good-bye to Chicago, and trouble, and the World's Fair, and Josiah and me, as we sot our feet on terry firmy. (That is Latin that I have hearn Thomas J. use. Nobody need to be afraid of it; it is harmless. My boy wouldn't use a dangerous word.)
But to resoom and go on. As I ketched the last glimpse of the old familier face of the sun, that I had seen so many times a-lookin' friendly at me through the maple trees at Jonesville, and that truly had seemed to be a neighbor, a-neighborin' with me, time and agin—when I see him so peaceful and good-natured a-goin' to his nightly rest, I thought to myself—
Oh! how I wish I could foller his example, for it duz seem to me that nowhere else, unless it wuz at the tower of Babel, wuz there ever so much noise, and of such various and conflictin' kinds.
Instinctively I ketched holt of my pardner's arm, and sez I, "Stay by me, Josiah Allen; if madness and ruin result from this Pandemonium, be with me to the last."
He couldn't hear a word I said, the noise wuz that deafnin' and tremendious. But he read the silent, tender language of the brown cotton glove on his arm, and he cast a look of deep affection on me, and sez he in soulfull axents—
"Hurry up, can't you? Wimmen are always so slow!"
I responded in the same earnest, heartfelt way. And anon, or perhaps a little before, Thomas J. and Krit hurried us and our satchel bags into a big roomy carriage, and we soon found ourselves a-wendin' our way through the streets of the great Western city, the metropolis of the Settin' Sun.
Street after street, mild after mild of high, towerin' buildin's did we pass. Some on 'em I know wuz high enough for the tower of Babel—and old Babel himself would have admitted it, I bet, if he had been there.
And as the immense size and magnitude of the city come over me like a wave, I thought to myself some in Skripter and some in common readin'.
When I thought that fifty years ago the grassy prairie lay stretched out in green repose where now wuz the hard pavements worn with the world's commerce; when I thought that little prairie-dogs, and mush-rats, and squirells wuz a-runnin' along ondisturbed where now stood high blocks full of a busy city's enterprise; when I thought that little pretty, timid birds wuz a-flyin' about where now wuz steeples and high chimblys—why, when I thought of all this in common readin', then the Skripter come in, and I sez to myself in deep, solemn axents—
"Who hath brought this thing to pass?"
And then anon I went to thinkin' in common readin' agin, and thinks'es I—
A little feeble woman died a few days ago—not so very old either—who wuz the first child born in Chicago—and I thought—
What a big, big day's work wuz done under her eye-sight! What a immense house-warmin' she would had to had in order to warm up all the housen built under her eye!
Millions of folks did she see move into her neighborhood.
And what a party would she had to gin to have took all her neighbors in! What a immense amount of nut-cakes would she have had to fry, and cookies!
Why, countin' two nut-cakes to a person—and that is a small estimate for a healthy man to eat, judgin' by my own pardner—she would have had to fry millions of nut-cakes. And millions of cookies, if they wuz made after Mother's receipt handed down to me; that wouldn't have been one too many.
And where could she spread out her dough for her cookies—why, a prairie wouldn't have been too big for her mouldin' board. And the biggest Geyser in the West, old Faithful himself, wouldn't have been too big to fry the cakes in, if you could fry 'em in water, which you can't.
But mebby if she had gin the party, she could have used that old spoutin' Geyser for a teapot or a soda fountain—if she laid out to treat 'em to anything to drink.
But good land! there is no use in talkin', if she had used a volcano to steep her tea over, she couldn't made enough to go round.
Wall, after a numerous number of emotions we at last reached our destination and stoppin'-place. And I gin a deep sithe of relief as the wheel of the carriage grated on the curb-stun, in front of the boardin' house where my Josiah and me laid out to git our two boards.
Thomas J. and Krit wanted to go to one of the big hotels. I spozed, from their talk, it wuz reasonable, and wuz better for their business, that they should be out amongst business men.
But Josiah and I didn't want to go to any such place. We had our place all picked out, and had had for some time, ever sence we had commenced to git ready for the World's Fair.
We had laid out to git our two boards at a good quiet place recommended by our own Methodist Episcopal Pasture, and a distant relation of his own.
It wuz to Miss Ebenezer Plank'ses, who took in a few boarders, bein' middlin' well off, and havin' a very nice house to start with, but wanted to add a little to her income, so she took in a few and done well by 'em, so our pasture said, and so we found out. It wuz a splendid-lookin' house a-standin' a-frontin' a park, where anybody could git a glimpse of green trees and a breath of fresh air, and as much quiet and rest as could be found in Chicago durin' the summer of 1893, so I believed.
Thomas J. and Maggie wuz perfectly suited with the place for us—and Thomas J. parleyed with Miss Plank about our room, etc.—and we wuz all satisfied with the result.
And after Josiah and me got settled down in our room, a good-lookin' one, though small, the children sot off for their hotel, which wuzn't so very fur from ourn, nigh enough so that they could be sent for easy, if we wuz took down sudden, and visey versey.
I found Miss Plank wuz a good-appearin' woman, and a Christian, I believe, with good principles, and a hair mole on her face, though she kep 'em curbed down, and cut off (the hairs).
Her husband had been a man of wealth, as you could see plain by the house that he left her a-livin' in. But some of her property she had lost through poor investments—and don't it beat all how wimmen do git cheated, and every single man she deals with a-tellin' her to confide in him freely, for he hain't but one idee, and that is to look out for her interests, to the utter neglect of his own, and a-warnin' her aginst every other man on earth but himself.
But, to resoom. She had lost some of her property, and bein' without children, and kind o' lonesome, and a born housekeeper and cook, her idee of takin' in a few respectable and agreeable boarders wuz a good one.
She wuz a good calculator, and the best maker of pancakes I ever see, fur or near. She oversees her own kitchen, and puts on her own hand and cooks, jest when she is a mind too. She hain't afraid of the face of man or woman, though she told me, and I believe it, that "her cook wuz that cross and fiery of temper, that she would skair any common person almost into coniption fits."
"But," sez she, "the first teacup that she throwed at me, because I wanted to make some pancakes, wuz the last."
I don't know what she done to her, but presoom that she held her with her eye. It is a firm and glitterin' one as I ever see.
Anyway, she put a damper onto that cook, and turns it jest when she is a mind to—to the benefit of her boarders; for better vittles wuz never cooked than Miss Plank furnishes her boarders at moderate rates and the comforts of a home, as advertisements say.
Her house wuz kep clean and sweet too, which wuz indeed a boon.
She talked a sight about her husband, which I don't know as she could help—anyway, I guess she didn't try to.
She told me the first oppurtunity what a good Christian he wuz, how devoted to her, and how much property he laid up, and that he wuz "in salt."
I thought for quite a spell she meant brine, and dassent hardly enquire into the particulars, not knowin' what she had done by the departed, widders are so queer.
But after she had mentioned to me more'n a dozen times her love for the departed, and his industrious and prosperous ways, and tellin' me every single time, "he wuz in salt," I found out that she meant that he wuz in the salt trade—bought and sold, I spozed.
I felt better.
But oh, how she did love to talk about that man; truly she used his sirname to connect us to the vast past, and to the mysterious future. We trod that Plank every day and all day, if we would listen to her.
And sometimes when I would try to get her offen that Plank for a minute, and would bring up the World's Fair to her, and how big the housen wuz, I would find my efforts futile; for all she would say about 'em wuz to tell what Mr. Plank would have done if he had been a-livin', and if he had been onhampered, and out of salt, how much better he would have done than the directors did, and what bigger housen he would have built.
And I would say, "A house that covers over most forty acres is a pretty big house."
But she seemed to think that Mr. Plank would have built housen that covered a few more acres, and towered up higher, and had loftier cupalos.
And finally I got tired of tryin' to quell her down, and I got so that I could let her talk and keep up a-thinkin' on other subjects all the time. Why, I got so I could have writ poetry, if that had been my aim, right under a constant loadin' and onloadin' of that Plank.
Curious, hain't it?
As I said, there wuz only a few boarders, most of 'em quiet folks, who had been there some time. Some on 'em had been there long enough to have children born under the ruff, who had growed up almost as big as their pa's and ma's. There wuz several of 'em half children there, and among 'em wuz one of the same age who wuz old—older than I shall ever be, I hope and pray.
He wuz gloomy and morbid, and looked on life, and us, with kinder mad and distrustful eyes. Above all others, he wuz mean to his twin sister; he looked down on her and browbeat her the worst kind, and felt older than she did, and acted as if she wuz a mere child compared to him, though he wuzn't more'n five minutes older than she wuz, if he wuz that.
Their names wuz Algernon and Guenivere Piddock, but they called 'em Nony and Neny—which wuz, indeed, a comfort to bystanders. Folks ort to be careful what names they put onto their children; yes, indeed.
Neny wuz a very beautiful, good-appearin' young girl, and acted as if she would have had good sense, and considerable of it, if she hadn't been afraid to say her soul wuz her own.
But Nony wuz cold and haughty. He sot right by me on the north side, Josiah Allen sot on my south. And I fairly felt chilly on that side sometimes, almost goose pimples, that young man child felt so cold and bitter towards the world and us, and so sort o' patronizin'.
He didn't believe in religion, nor nothin'. He didn't believe in Christopher Columbus—right there to the doin's held for him, he didn't believe in him.
"Why," sez I, "he discovered the land we live in."
He said, "He was very doubtful whether that wuz so or not—histories made so many mistakes, he presoomed there never was such a man at all."
"Why," sez I, "he walked the streets of Genoa."
And he sez, "I never see him there."
And, of course, I couldn't dispute that.
And he added, "That anyway there wuz too much a-bein' done for him. He wuz made too much of."
He didn't believe in wimmen, made a specialty of that, from Neny back to Rachael and Ruth. He powed at wimmen's work, at their efforts, their learnin', their advancement.
Neny, good little bashful thing, wuz a member of the WCTU and the Christian Endeavor, and wanted to do jest right by them noble societies and the world. But, oh, how light he would speak of them noble bands of workers in the World's warfare with wrong! To how small a space he wanted to reduce 'em down!
And I sez to him once, "You can't do very much towards belittlin' a noble army of workers as that is—millions strong."
"Millions weak, you mean," sez he. "I dare presoom to say there hain't a woman amongst 'em but what is afraid of a mouse, and would run from a striped snake."
Sez I, "They don't run from the serpent Evil, that is wreathin' round their homes and loved ones, and a-tryin' to destroy 'em—they run towards that serpent, and hain't afraid to grapple with it, and overthrow it—by the help of the Mighty," sez I.
Sez he, "There is too much made of their work." Sez he, "There hain't near so much done as folks think; the most of it is talk, and a-praisin' each other up."
"Wall," sez I, "men won't never be killed for that in their political rivalin's, they won't be condemned for praisin' each other up."
"No," sez he, "men know too much."
And then I spoke of that silver woman—how beautiful and noble an appearance she made, in the spear she ort to be in, a-representin' Justice.
And Nony said, "She wuz too soft." Sez he, "It is with her as it is with all other wimmen—men have to stand in front of her with guns to keep her together, to keep her solid."
That kinder gaulded me, for there wuz some truth in it, for I had seen the men and the rifles.
But I sprunted up, and sez I—
"They are a-guardin' her to keep men from stealin' her, that is what they are for. And," sez I, "it would be a good thing for lots of wimmen, who have got lots of silver, if it hain't in their bodies, if they had a guard a-walkin' round 'em with rifles to keep off maurauders."
Why, there wuzn't nothin' brung up that he believed in, or that he didn't act morbid over.
Why, I believe his Ma—good, decent-lookin' widder with false hair and a swelled neck, but well-to-do—wuz ashamed of him.
Right acrost from me to the table sot a fur different creeter. It wuz a man in the prime of life, and wisdom, and culture, who did believe in things. You could tell that by the first look in his face—handsome—sincere—ardent. With light brown hair, tossed kinder careless back from a broad white forward—deep blue, impetuous-lookin' eyes, but restrained by sense from goin' too fur. A silky mustache the same color of his hair, and both with a considerable number of white threads a-shinin' in 'em, jest enough so's you could tell that old Time hadn't forgot him as he went up and down the earth with his hour-glass under his arm, and his scythe over his shoulder.
He had a tall, noble figger, always dressed jest right, so's you would never think of his clothes, but always remember him simply as bein' a gentleman, helpful, courteous, full of good-nature and good-natured wit and fun. But yet with a sort of a sad look underlyin' the fun, some as deep waters look under the frothy sparkle on top, as if they had secrets they might tell if they wuz a mind to—secrets of dark places down, fur down, where the sun doesn't shine; secrets of joy and happiness, and hope that had gone down, and wuz carried under the depths—under the depths that we hadn't no lines to fathom.
No, if there wuz any secrets of sadness underlyin' the frank openness and pleasantness of them clear blue eyes, we hadn't none of us no way of tellin'.
We hadn't no ways of peerin' down under the clear blue depths, any further than he wuz willin' to let us.
All we knew wuz, that though he looked happy and looked good-natured, back of it all, a-peerin' out sometimes when you didn't look for it, wuz a sunthin' that looked like the shadder cast from a hoverin' lonesomeness, and sorrow, and regret.
But he wuz a good-lookin' feller, there hain't a doubt of that, and good actin' and smart.
He wuz a bacheldor, and we could all see plain that Miss Plank held his price almost above rubies.
If there wuz any good bits among vittles that wuz always good, it wuz Miss Plank's desire that he should have them bits; if there wuz drafts a-comin' from any pint of the compass, it wuz Miss Plank's desire to not have him blowed on. If any soft zephyr's breath wuz wafted to any one of us from a open winder on a hot evenin' or sunny noon, he wuz the one she wanted wafted to, and breathed on.
If her smiles fell warm on any, or all on us, he wuz the one they fell warmest on. But we all liked him the best that ever wuz. Even Nony Piddock seemed to sort of onbend a little, and moisten up with the dew of charity his arid desert of idees a little mite, when he wuz around.
And occasionally, when the bacheldor, whose name wuz Mr. Freeman, when he would, half in fun and half in earnest, answer Nony's weary and bitter remarks, once in a while even that aged youth would seem to be ashamed of himself, and his own idees.
There wuz another widder there—Miss Boomer; or I shouldn't call her a clear widder—I guess she wuz a sort of a semi-detached one—I guess she had parted with him.
Wall, she cast warm smiles on Mr. Freeman—awful warm, almost meltin'.
Miss Plank didn't like Miss Boomer.
Miss Piddock didn't want to cast no looks onto nobody, nor make no impressions. She wuz a mourner for Old Piddock, that anybody could see with one eye, or hear with one ear—that is, if they could understand the secrets of sithes; they wuz deep ones as I ever hearn, and I have hearn deep ones in my time, if anybody ever did, and breathed 'em out myself—the land knows I have!
Miss Plank loved Miss Piddock like a sister; she said that she felt drawed to her from the first, and the drawin's had gone on ever sence—growin' more stronger all the time.
Wall, there wuz two elderly men, very respectable, with two wives, one apiece, lawful and right, and their children, and Miss Schack and her three children, and a Mr. Bolster, and that wuz all there wuz of us, includin' and takin' in my pardner and myself.
Mr. Freeman wuz very rich, so Miss Plank said, and had three or four splendid rooms, the best—"sweet"—in the house, she said.
I spoze she spoke in that way to let us know they wuz furnished sweet—that is, I spoze so.
His mother had died there, and he couldn't bear to know that anybody else had her rooms; so he kep 'em all, and paid high for 'em, so she said, and wuz as much to be depended on for punctuality, and honesty, as the Bank of England, or the mines of Golcondy.
Yes, Miss Plank said that, with all his sociable, pleasant ways with everybody, he wuz a millionare—made it in sugar, I believe she said—I know it wuz sunthin' good to eat, and sort o' sweet—it might have been molasses—I won't be sure.
But anyway he got so awful rich by it that he could live anywhere he wuz a mind to—in a palace, if he took it into his head to want one.
But instead of branchin' out and makin' a great show, he jest kep right on a-livin' in the rooms he had took so long ago for his family. But they had all gone and left him, his mother dead, and his two nieces gone with their father to California, where they wuz in a convent school. And he kep right on a-livin' in the old rooms.
Miss Plank told me in confidence, and on the hair-cloth sofa in the upper hall, that it would be a big wrench if he ever left there.
She said, "She didn't say it because he wuz a bacheldor and she a widder, she said it out of pure-respect."
And I believed it, a good deal of the time I did; for good land! she wuz old enough to be his ma, and more too.
But he acted dretful pretty to her, I could see that. Not findin' no fault, eatin' hash jest as calm as if he wuzn't engaged in a strange and mysterious business.
For great, great is the mystery of boardin'-house hash.
Not a-mindin' the children's noise—indeed, a-courtin' it, as you may say, for he would coax the youngest and most troublesome one away from its tired mother sometimes, and keep it by him at the table, and wait on it.
He thought his eyes of children, so Miss Plank said.
I might have thought that he took care of the child on its mother's account, out of sentiment instead of pity, if Miss Schack hadn't been as humbly as humbly could be, and a big wart on the end of her nose, and a cowlick. She had three children, and they wuz awful, awful to git along with.
Her husband "wuz on the road," she said. And we couldn't any of us really make out from what she said what he wuz a-doin' there, whether he wuz a-movin' along on it to his work, or jest a-settin' there.
But anyway she talked a good deal about his "bein' on the road," and how much better the children behaved "before he went on it."
They jest rid over her, and over us too, if we would let 'em.
They wuz the awfullest children I ever laid eyes on, for them that had such pious and well-meanin' names.
There wuz John Wesley, and Martin Luther, and little Peter Cooper Schack.
Miss Schack wuz a well-principled woman, no doubt, and I dare say had high idees before they wuz jarred, and hauled down, and stomped and trampled on, by noise and confusion. And I dare presoom to say that she had named them children a-hopin' and a-expectin' some of the high and religious qualities of their namesakes would strike in. But to set and hear Martin Luther swear at John Wesley wuz a sight. And to see John Wesley clench his fists in Martin Luther's hair and kick him wuz enough to horrify any beholder. But Peter Cooper wuz the worst; to see him take everything away from his brothers he possibly could, and devour it himself, and want everything himself, and be mad if they had anything, and steal from 'em in the most cold-blooded way, and act—why, it wuz enough to make that blessed old philanthropist, Peter Cooper, turn over in his grave.
They wuz dretful troublesome and worrisome to the rest of the boarders, but Mr. Freeman could quell 'em down any time—sometimes by lookin' at 'em and smilin', and sometimes by lookin' stern, and sometimes by candy and oranges.
I declare for't, as I told Miss Plank sometimes, I didn't know what we would have done durin' some hot meal times if it hadn't been for that blessed bacheldor.
I said that right out openly to Miss Plank, and to everybody else. Bein' married happy, I felt free to speak my mind about bacheldors, or anything. Of course, bein' a widder, Miss Plank felt more hampered.
And he wuz good to me in other ways, besides easin' my cares and nerves at the table.
His rooms wuz jest acrost the hall from ourn, and my Josiah's and my room wuz very small; it wuz the best that Miss Plank could do, so I didn't complain. But it wuz very compressed and confined, and extremely hot.
When we wuz both in there sometimes on sultry days, I felt like compressed meat, or as I mistrusted that would feel, sort o' canned up, as it were.
And one warm afternoon, 'most sundown, jest as I opened my door into the hall, to see if I could git a breath of fresh air to recooperate me, Josiah a-pantin' in the rockin'-chair behind me, Mr. Freeman opened his door, and so there we wuz a-facin' each other.
And bein' sort o' took by surprise, I made the observation that "I wuz jest about melted, and so wuz my Josiah, and my room wuz like a dry oven and a tin can."
I wouldn't have said it if I hadn't been so sort o' flustrated, and by the side of myself.
And he jest swung open his door into a big cool parlor, and I could see beyend the doors open into two or three other handsome rooms.
And, sez he, "I wish, Mrs. Allen, that you and your husband would come in here and see if it isn't cooler." Sez he, "I feel rather lonesome, and would be glad to have you come in and visit for a spell."
He told me afterwards that it wuz the anniversary of his mother's death.
He looked sort o' sad, and as if he really wanted company. So we thanked him, or I did, and we walked in and sot down in some big, cool cane-seat easy-chairs.
And we sot there and visited back and forth for quite a spell, and took comfort. Yes, indeed, we did. This room wuz on the cool side of the house, and the still side. And it wuz big and furnished beautiful. It wuzn't Miss Plank's taste, I could see that.
No, her taste is fervent and gorgeous. Gildin' is her favorite embellishment, and chromos, high-colored, and red.
This room wuz covered with pure white mattin', and such rugs on it scattered over the floor as I never see, and don't know as I ever shall see agin.
Some on 'em was pure white silky fur, and some on 'em as rich in colorin' as the most wonderful sunset colors you ever see in the red and golden west, or in the trees of a maple forest in October.
And such pictures as hung on the walls I never see.
Why, on one side of the room hung a picture that looked as if you wuz a-gazin' right out into a green field at sunset. There wuz a deep, cool rivulet a-gurglin' along over the pebbles, and the green, moist rushes—why, you could almost hear it.
And the blue sky above—why, you could almost see right up through it, it looked so clear and transparent. And the cattle a-comin'up through the bars to be milked. Why, you could almost hear the girl call, "Co, boss! co, boss!" as she stood by the side of the bars with her sun-bunnet a-hangin' back from her pretty face, and her milk-pail on her arm.
Why, you could fairly hear the swash, swash of the water, as the old brindle cow plashed through its cool waves.
It beat all I ever see, and Josiah felt jest as I did. The beautiful face of the girl looked dretful familiar to me, though I couldn't tell for my life who it wuz that she looked so much like.
And there on every side of us wuz jest as pretty pictures as that, and some white marble figures, that stood up almost as big as life on their marble pedestals, and aginst the dark red draperies.
Why, take it all in all, it was the prettiest room I had ever looked at in my life, and so I told Mr. Freeman.
And, if you'll believe it, that man up and said right there that we wuz perfectly free to use that room jest as much as we wanted to.
He said he had another room as large as this that he staid in most of his time when he was at home—his writin'-desk wuz in that room. But he was not here much of the time, only to sleep and to his meals.
And as he said this, what should that almost angel man do but to put a key in my hand, so Josiah and I could come in any time, whether he wuz here or not.
Why, I wuz fairly dumbfoundered, and so wuz Josiah. But we thanked him warm, very warm, warmer than the weather, and that stood more'n ninety in the shade.
And I told him—for I see that he really meant what he said—I told him that the chance of comin' in there and settin' down in that cool, big room, once in a while, as a change from our dry oven, would be a boon. And I didn't know but it would be the means of savin' our two lives, for meltin' did seem to be our doom and our state ahead on us, time and time agin.
And he spoke right up in his pleasant, sincere way, and said, "The more we used it the more it would please him."
And then he opened the doors of a big bookcase—all carved off the doors wuz, and the top, and the beautiful head of a white marble female a-standin' up above it. And he sez—
"Here are a good many books that are fairly lonesome waiting to be read, and you are more than welcome to read them."
Wall, I thanked him agin, and I told him that he wuz too good to us. And I couldn't settle it in my own mind what made him act so. Of course, not knowin' at that time that I favored his mother in my looks—his mother he had worshipped so that he kep her room jest as she left it, and wouldn't have a thing changed.
But I didn't know that, as I say, and I said to my Josiah, after we went back into our room—
Sez I, "It must be that we do have a good look to us, Josiah Allen, or else that perfect stranger wouldn't treat us as he has."
"Perfect stranger!" sez Josiah. "Why, we have neighbored with him 'most a week. But," sez he, "you are right about our looks—we are dum good-lookin', both on us. I am pretty lookin'," says he, firmly, "though you hain't willin' to own up to it."
Sez he, "I dare presoom to say, he thought I would be a sort of a ornament to his rooms—kinder set 'em off. And you look respectable," sez he, sort o' lookin' down on me—
"Only you are too fat!" Sez he, "You'd be quite good-lookin' if it wuzn't for that."
And then we had some words.
And I sez, "It hain't none of our merits that angel looks at; it is his own goodness."
"Wall, there hain't no use in your callin' him an angel. You never called me so."
"No, indeed!" sez I; "I never had no occasion, not at all."
And then we had some more words—not many, but jest a few. We worship each other, and it is known to be so, all over Jonesville, and Loontown, and Zoar. And I spozed by that time that Chicago wuz a-beginnin' to wake up to the truth of how much store we sot by each other. But the fairest spring day is liable to have its little spirts of rain, and they only make the air sweeter and more refreshin'.
Wall, from that time, every now and then—not enough to abuse his horsepitality, but enough to let him know that we appreciated his goodness—when our dry oven become heated up beyend what we could seem to bear, we went into that cool, delightful room agin, and agin I feasted my eyes on the lovely pictures on the wall; most of all on that beautiful sunset scene down by the laughin' stream.
And as hot and beat out as I might be, I would always find that pretty girl a-standin', cool and fresh, and dretful pretty, by the old bar post, with her orburn hair pushed back from her flushed cheeks, and a look in her deep brown eyes, and on her exquisite lips, that always put me dretfully in mind of somebody, and who it wuz I could not for my life tell.
Josiah used to take a book out of the bookcase, and read. Not one glance did I ever give, or did I ever let Josiah Allen give to them other rooms that opened out of this, nor into anything or anywhere, only jest that bookcase. We didn't abuse our priveleges; no, indeed!
And Josiah would lean back dretful well-feelin', and thinkin' in his heart that it wuz his good looks that wuz wanted to embellish the room, and I kep on a wonderin' inside of myself what made Mr. Freeman so oncommon good to us, till one day he told us sunthin' that made it plainer to us, and Josiah Allen's pride had a fall (which, if his pride hadn't been composed of materials more indestructible than iron or gutty perchy, it would have been broke to pieces long before, so many times and so fur had it fell).
But Mr. Freeman one day showed us a picture of his mother in a little velvet case. And, sez he to me—
"You look like her; I saw it the first time I met you."
And I do declare the picture did look like me, only mebby—mebby I say, she wuzn't quite so good-lookin'.
Yes, I did look like his mother. And then I see the secret of his interest in, and his kindness to me and mine.
And Mr. Freeman wuz raised up in my mind as many as 2 notches, and I don't know but 3 or 4. To think that he loved his mother's memory so well as to be so kind for her sake, for the sake of a fleetin' likeness, to be so good to another female.
But Josiah Allen looked meachin'. I gin him a dretful meanin' look. I didn't say nothin', only jest that look, but it spoke volumes and volumes, and my pardner silently devoured the volumes, and, as I say, looked meachin' for pretty near a quarter of a hour.
And that is a long time for a man to look smut, and conscience-struck. It hain't in 'em to be mortified for any length of time, as is well known by female pardners.
But we kep on a-goin'. And every single time I went into that beautiful room, whether it wuz broad daylight or lit up by gas, every single time the face of that tall slender girl, a-standin' there so calm by the crystal brook, would look so natural to me, and so sort o' familiar, that I almost ketched myself sayin'—
"Good-evenin', my dear," to it, which would have been perfectly ridiculous in me, and the very next thing to worshippin' a graven image.
And what made it more mysterious to me, and more like a circus (a solemn, high-toned circus), wuz, to ketch ever and anon, and I guess oftener than that, Mr. Freeman's eyes bent on that pretty young face with a look as if he too recognized her, and wanted to talk to her. And some, too, he looked as if she wuz dead and buried, and he wuz a-mournin' deep for her, very deep.
As curious a look as I ever see; and if I hain't seen curious looks in my time, then I will say nobody has. Yes, indeed! I have seen curious looks in my journey through life, curious as a dog, and curiouser.
But there she stood, no matter what looks wuz cast on her from friend or foe—and I guess it would sound better to say from friend or lover, for nobody could be a foe to that radiant-faced, beautiful creeter.
There she stood, in sun or shade, knee-deep in them fresh green grasses, a-lookin' off onto them sunset clouds always rosy and golden, by the side of that streamlet that always had the sparkle on its tiny waves.
I might be tired and weak as a cat, and Mr. Freeman might have the headache, and Josiah Allen be cross, and all fagged out—
But her face wuz always serene, and lit up with the glow of joy and health, and her sweet, deep eyes always held the secret that she couldn't be made to tell.
Mr. Bolster was a stout, middle-aged man, with bald head, side whiskers, and a double chin. And his big blue eyes kinder stood out from his face some. He was a real estate agent, so Miss Plank said. But his principal business seemed to be a-praisin' up Chicago, and a-puffin' up the World's Fair.
Good land! Columbus didn't need none of his patronizin' and puffin' up, and Chicago didn't, not by his tell.
Josiah wuz dretful impressed by him. We didn't lead off to the Fair ground the next day after our arrival. No; at my request, we took life easy—onpacked our trunks and got good and rested, and the mornin' follerin' we got up middlin' early, bein' used to keepin' good hours in Jonesville, and on goin' down to the breakfast-table we found that there wuzn't nobody there but Mr. Bolster. He always had a early breakfast, and drove his own horse into the city to his place of business.
He looked that wide awake and active as if he never had been asleep, and never meant to.
And my companion bein' willin', and Mr. Bolster bein' more than willin', they plunged to once into a conversation concernin' Chicago, Miss Plank and I a-listenin' to 'em some of the time, and some of the time a-talkin' on our own hook, as is the ways of wimmen.
Mr. Bolster—and I believe he knew that we wuz from York State, and did it partly in a boastin' way—he begun most to once to prove that Chicago wuz the only place in America at all suitable to hold the World's Fair in.
And I gin him to understand that I thought that New York would have been a good place for it, and it wuz a disapintment to me and to several other men and wimmen in the State to not have it there.
But Mr. Bolster says, "Why, Chicago is the only place at all proper for it. Why," sez he, "in a way of politeness, Chicago is the only place for it. In what other city could the foreigners be welcomed by their own people as they can here?" Sez he—
"In Chicago over 75 per cent of the population is foreign."
"Yes," sez Josiah, with a air as if he had made population a study from his youth.
But he didn't know nothin' about it, no more than I did.
Sez Mr. Bolster, "Out of a population of a little over a million 200,000, we have nine hundred and 14,000 foreigners. That shows in itself that Chicago is the only city calculated to make our foreign friends feel perfectly at home."
"Yes," sez Josiah, "that is very true."
But I sez to Miss Plank, "There is other folks I like jest as well as I do my relations, and if they had thought so much on 'em, why didn't they stay with 'em in the first place?"
And Miss Plank kinder looked knowin' and nodded her head; she couldn't swing right out free, as I could, bein' hampered by not wantin' to offend any of her boarders.
Sez Mr. Bolster, "Chicago has the most energetic and progressive people in the world. It hain't made up, like a Eastern village, of folks that stay to home and set round on butter-tubs in grocery stores, talkin' about hens. No, it is made up of people who dared—who wuz too energetic, progressive, and ambitious, to settle down and be content with what their fathers had. And they struck out new paths for themselves, as the Pilgrim Fathers did.
"And it is of these people, who represent the advancin' and progressive thought of the day, that Chicago is made up. It embodies the best energy and ambition of the Eastern States and of Europe."
"Yes," sez Josiah, "that is jest so."
And then, sez Mr. Bolster, "Chicago is, as is well known, in the very centre of the earth."
"Yes," sez Josiah.
But I struck in here, and couldn't help it, and, sez I, "That is what Boston has always thought;" and, sez I, candidly, "That is what has always been thought about Jonesville."
He looked pityin'ly at me, and, sez he, "Where is Jonesville?"
And I sez, "Jest where I told you, in the very centre of the earth, as nigh as we can make out."
"How old is the place?" sez Mr. Bolster.
Sez I proudly, "It is more than a hundred and fifty years old, for Uncle Nate Bently's grandfather built the first store there, and helped build the first Meetin'-House; and," sez I, "Uncle Nate is over ninety."
"How many inhabitants has it?" sez he briskly.
And then my own feathers had to droop; and as I paused to collect my thoughts, Josiah spoke up—he is always so forward—and, sez he, "About 200 and 10 or 11."
But I sez, with dignity, "Perhaps I know more about some things than you do, Josiah. There may be, by this time, one or two more inhabitants."
Sez Mr. Bolster, "A growth of about 200 in one hundred years! Chicago is about half as old, and has one million eight hundred thousand population. In ten years the population has increased 108 per cent, and property has increased in the same time 656 per cent, the greatest growth in the world."
He regarded Jonesville as he would a fly in dog days. He went right by it.
"As I was saying, we say nothing about Chicago but what we can prove. Look on the map and you will see for yourself that Chicago is right in the centre of the habitable portion of North America. Put your thumb down on Chicago, and then sweep round it in an even circle with your middle finger, and you will see that it takes in with that sweep all the settled portion of North America."
"Yes," sez Josiah, with a air as if he had proved it with his thumb and finger, time and agin, but he hadn't no such thing.
Sez Mr. Bolster, "We say nothing about our City that we can't prove. As Chicago is in the very centre of productive North America, so it is the centre of population of the United States.
"It is the centre of the raw materials for manufactures, cotton, wool, metals, coal, gas, oil fields, all sorts of food. And as it is the centre of supply, so it is of distribution—60 railroads and branches bring freight and carry out manufactured products to every part of the country—to say nothing of the great number of lines of water transportations—connecting with all parts of the world. Why, last year Chicago had 50 per cent more arrivals and clearances than New York. It is the greatest shipping place in America. And," sez Mr. Bolster, "not only can we prove that Chicago is the centre of the world for manufactures, but it is the healthiest place to live in."
And then agin I spoke out, and, sez I, "I always hearn that it was built on low, swampy ground."
"Yes," sez Mr. Bolster cheerfully, "that is the reason why it is healthy. The ground was originally low and wet, and so it was elevated, filled in. Why, just before the great fire we lifted up all the houses, in the best part of the city, on jack-screws for eight feet, and filled the ground under them. The idea of lifting up a whole city eight feet and making new ground under it! There never was such an undertaking before since the world began.
"And then the fire come, and the city was rebuilt just as we wanted it. Why, the death-rate of Chicago is lower than almost any city of the world except London—it is just about the same as that. Then," sez he, "our climate is perfect; it is so temperate and even that folks don't have to spend all their energies in keeping warm, as they do in colder climates, nor is it so warm that they have to spend their vital energies in fanning themselves."
Sez Josiah, "I had ruther mow a beaver medder in dog days than to fan myself—it wouldn't tire me so much."
Sez Mr. Bolster, "The climate is just right to call forth the prudent saving qualities to provide for the winter; and warm enough to keep them happy and cheerful looking forward to bounteous harvests."
"Wall," sez I, "it got burnt up, anyway."
It fairly provoked me to see him look down so on all the rest of the world.
"Yes," sez he, "that is another evidence of the city's marvellous power and resources. Find me another city, if you can, where in a few hours 200 millions of dollars were burnt up, two thousand 100 acres burnt over, right in the heart of a big city, with a loss of two hundred and ninety million dollars, and then to have it spring up in a marvellously short time—not only as good as new, but infinitely better; so much better that the disaster proved to be an untold blessing to the city."
Truly, as I see, swamps couldn't dround out his self-conceit, nor fire burn it up.
And I knew myself that Chicago had great reason to be proud of her doin's, and I felt it in my heart, only I couldn't bear to see Mr. Bolster act so haughty.
And I sez to my pardner, with quite a lot of dignity, "I guess it is time we are goin', if we get to the Fair in any season."
And Mr. Bolster to once told us what way would be best for us to go. A good-natured creeter he is, without any doubt.
But jest as we wuz startin' I happened to think of a errent that had been sent me by Jim Meesick, he that wuz Philura Meesick's brother.
He wanted to get a place to work somewhere in Chicago, through the Fair, so's to pay his way, and gin him a chance to go to the Fair.
I had already asked Miss Plank about it, but she didn't know of no openin' for him, and I happened to think, mebby Mr. Bolster, seein' he knew everything else, might know of a place where Jim could get work.
And, sez I, "He is handy at anything, and I spoze there are lots of folks here in Chicago that hire help. I spoze some of 'em have as many as four or five hired men apiece."
Sez I, "There are them in Jonesville, durin' the summer time, who employ as high as two men by the day, besides the regular hired man, and I spoze it is so here."
"Yes," sez he; "Mr. Pullmen has five thousand four hundred and fifty hired men, and Philip Armoor has seven thousand seven hundred and seventy-five."
Wall, there wuz no more to be said. Bolster had done what he sot out to do—he had lowered my pride down lower than the Queen of Sheba's ever wuz, by fur. I had no sperit left in me. He might have gone on to me by the hour, and I not sensed it.
But I didn't let on how I felt. I only sez weakly, "Wall, they hain't a-sufferin' for help, I guess, and I'll write to Philura so."
But Bolster, good-natured agin, sez, "I will look round, and see what I can do for him." And he snatched out a note-book, and writ his name down. And I thanked him, and weakly follered my companion from the room.
And I felt that if the door had been much smaller I could have got out of it. I felt very diminutive—very—almost tiny. But I got over it pretty soon. I felt about my usial size as we descended the stairs and stood on the steps, ready to sally out and take the street cars that wuz to transport our bodys to the Christopher Columbus World's Fair.
But while we wuz a-standin' there a-lookin' round to see jest which wuz the best way to go to get to the corner Miss Plank had directed us to, Mr. Bolster come down the steps spry and active as a young cat, and, sez he—
"My carriage is waiting to take me to my orfice, and I will be glad to take you both in, and take you past some of our city sights, and I will leave you at a station where the train will take you right to the grounds."
So we accepted his offer, Josiah with joy and I with a becomin' dignity, and the carriage sot off down the street.
And what follers truly seems like a dream to me, and so duz the talk accompanyin' it. The tall buildin's we looked at, one of 'em 260 feet high, 20 storys—elevators that carry 40,000 passengers—and a garden on the roof, a garden 260 feet in the air, where you can set and talk and eat nut-cakes, and fried oysters—the idee!
And then the block that Mr. Bolster said wuz the largest business block in the world, it accomidated 6000 people. And then we went by big meetin'-housen, and other big housen, whose ruffs seemed so high that it seemed as if you could stand up on the chimblys and shake hands with the man in the moon, and neighbor with him.
And then the talk I hearn—22 miles of river frontage sweepin' up from the lake into the heart of the city, where the giant elevators unload their huge traffic. He told us what the revenue of the city wuz yearly, $25,000,000, 25 millions—the idee!
And Jonesville, fifty years older than Chicago, thinks she has done well if she has 3 dollars and 25 cents in her treasury.
Why, that man used so many immense sums in his talk, that I got all muddled up, and a ort seemed to me almost like a million—I felt queer.
And then the system of Parks and Boulevards, the finest in the world—100 miles of them beautiful pleasure drives. I believe, from what I see afterwards, that he told the truth, for no city, it seems to me, could improve on that long, broad, beautiful way, smooth and tree-bordered, edged with stately homes, leadin' into the matchless beauty of the Parks.
But anon, when I felt that I wuz bein' crushed down beneath a gigantic weight of figgers, and estimates, elevators, population, hite, depth, underground tunnels, and systems of drainage—though every one of 'em wuz a grand and likely subject and awful big—but I felt that I wuz a-bein' crushed by 'em—I felt that the Practical, the Real wuz a crushin' me down—the weight, and noise, and size of the mighty iron wheel of Progress, that duz roll faster in Chicago than in any other place on earth, it seems to me. But I felt so trodden down by it, and flattened out, that I thought I would love to see sunthin' or other different, sunthin' kinder spiritual, and meditate a spell on some of the onseen forces that underlays all human endeavor.
So, at my request, we went out of our way a little, so I could set my eyes on that Temple dreamed out by a woman and wrought a good deal by faith, some like the walls of Jericho, only different, for whereas they fell by faith, this wuz riz up by it.
And my feelin's as I looked at that Temple wuz large and noble-sized as you will find anywhere.
A Temple consecrated not so much to the Almighty in Heaven, who don't need it, as to God in Humanity—to the help of the Divine as it shows itself half buried and lost in the clay of the human—a help to relieve the God powers from the trammels of the fiend—
A Temple—not so much to set, and pray, and sing in, about the beauties of our Heavenly home, as to build up God's kingdom on earth, show forth His praise in helpin' His poor, and weak, and sinful.
My feelin's wuz a sight—a sight to behold, as I sot and looked at it—that tall, noble, majestic pile, and thought of the way it wuz built, and what it wuz built for.
But as we drove on agin, my mind got swamped once more in a sea of immense figgers that swashed up agin me—elevators that carry grain up to the top of towerin' buildin's, 10,000 bushels a hour, and then come down its own self and weigh itself, and I guess put itself into bags and tie 'em up—though he didn't speak in particuler about the tyin' up.
And then he praised their stores—one of 'em which employed 2,000,400 men. And then he praised up their teliphone system, so perfect that nothin' could happen in any part of the city without its bein' known to once at police headquarters.
And then he praised up agin and agin the business qualities and go-ahead-it-ivness of the people, and how property had riz.
"Why," sez he, "Chicago and three hundred miles around it wuz bought for five shillings not so long ago as your little town was founded, and now look at the uncounted millions it represents."
And then he boasted about the Board of Trade, and said its tower wuz 300 feet high. And, sez he, "While folks all over the world are prayin' for their daily bread, the men inside that building was deciding whether they could get it or not."
And after he talked about everything else connected with Chicago, and hauled up figgers and heaped 'em up in front of me till my brain reeled, and my mind tottered back, and tried to lean onto old Rugers' Rithmatick—and couldn't, he wuz so totally inadequate to the circumstances—he mentioned "that they had 6000 saloons in Chicago, and made twenty-one million barrels of beer in a year."
"Wall," sez I, a-turnin' round in the buggy, "my brain has been made a wreck by the figgers you have brung up and throwed at me about the noble, progressive doin's of Chicago, and," sez I firmly, "I wuz willin' to have it, for I respect and honor the people who could do such wonders, and keepon a-doin' 'em, to the admiration of the world. But," sez I, "my brain shall not totter under none of your beer and whiskey statisticks." And as I spoke I put my hand to my fore-top, and I looked quite bad, and truly I felt so.
He glanced at me, and see that I wuz not in a situation to be trifled with.
And as we wuz jest approachin' the station where we wuz to be left, he ceased his remarks, and held his horse in.
He helped me to alight, and I thanked him for his kindness, and acted as polite as a person could whose brain lay a wreck in the upper part of her head. The last word Mr. Bolster said to us wuz, as he gathered up the reins, sez he:
"Thirty-six lines of cars come to and leave Chicago, which, with its immense shipping facilities, makes it the—"
But the cars tooted jest then, and I didn't hear his last words, and I wuz glad on't, as I say, I had thanked him before.
But good land! he would have carried two giraffes or camels willin'ly if he could have got 'em into his buggy, and sot 'em up by him on the seat, and could have boasted to 'em understandin'ly about Chicago. But I guess he is well-meanin'.
Wall, after he left us we boarded some cars, and found ourselves, with the inhabitants of several States, I should judge, borne onwards towards the White City.
And anon, or about that time, we found ourselves at a depot, where wuz the entire census of several other States, and Territories.
There we wuz right in front of the Gole, and I don't believe there wuz a better-lookin' Gole sence the world begun.
The minute we left the cars we found ourselves between two lines of wild-lookin' and actin' men, a-tryin' to sell us things we hadn't no need on.
What did I want with a cane? or Josiah with a little creepin' beetle? And what did I want with galluses?
They didn't use no judgment, and their yellin's wuz fearful; whatever else they had, they didn't have consumption, I don't believe.
After payin' our two fares, a little gate sort o' turned round and let us in to the Columbian World's Fair—that marvellous city of magic; and anon, if not a little before, the Adminstration Buildin' hove up in front of us.
All the descriptions in the World can't give no idee of the wonderful proportions of the buildin's and the charm of the surroundin's. The minute you pass the gate you are overwhelmed with the greatness, charm, and nobility, the impressive, onspeakable aspect of the buildin's.
The stucco, of which most of the buildin's are composed, made it possible for the artist and the architect to carry out their idees to a magnitude never before attempted. It is a material easy to be moulded into all rare and artistic shapes and groupin's, and still cheap enough to be used as free as their fancy dictated, and is as beautiful as marble.
Colossial buildin's, beautiful enough for any Monarch, and which no goverment on earth wuz ever rich enough to carry out in permanent form.
Wall, as I said, the Adminstration Buildin' wuz the one that hove up directly in front of us.
It towers up in the circumambient air with its great gilded dome, and seems to begen to us all to come and pass through it into the marvels beyend.
This buildin' is like a main spring to a watch, or the pendulum to a gigantick clock—it regulates the hull of the rest of the works. Here is the headquarters of the managers of the World's Fair—the fire and police departments—the press, and them that have charge of the foreign nations.
Here is a bank, post-office, and the department of general information about the Fair.
And never, never sence the creation of the world has old General Information had a better-lookin' place to stay in.
Why, some folks call this high, magnificent buildin', with its great shinin' dome, the handsomest buildin' amongst that city of matchless palaces. It covers four acres, every acre bein' more magnificent than the other acres. Why, the Widder Albert herself gin Mr. Hunt, the architect, a ticket, she was so tickled with his work.
The dome on top of it is the biggest dome in the world, with the exception of St. Peter's in Rome. And it seemed to me, as I looked up at the dome, that Peter might have got along with one no bigger than this.
Howsumever, it hain't for me to scrimp anybody in domes. But this wuz truly enormious.
But none too big, mebby, for the nub on top of the gate of the World's Fair. That needs to be mighty in size, and of pure gold, to correspond with what is on the inside of the gate.
But never wuz there such a gorgeous gate-way before, unless it wuz the gate-way of Paradise.
Why, as you stood inside of that dome and looked way up, up, up towards the top, your feelin's soared to that extent that it almost took you offen your feet.
Noble pictures and statutes you see here, too. Some on 'em struck tremendious hard blows onto my appreciation, and onto my head also.
And a-lookin' on 'em made me feel well, dretful well, to see how much my sect wuz thought on in stun, and canvas, and such.
There wuz Diligence, a good-lookin' woman, workin' jest as she always has, and is willin' to; there she sot a-spinnin' and a-bringin' up her children as good as she knew how.
Mebby she wuz a-teachin' a Sunday-school lesson to the boy that stood by her.
He had his arms full of ripe fruit and grapes. I am most afraid for his future, but she wuz a-teachin' him the best she could; you could see that by her looks.
Then there wuz Truth, another beautiful woman, a-holdin' a lookin'-glass in her hand, and a-teachin' another little boy. Mebby it wuz the young Future she wuz a-learnin' to tell the truth, anyway, no matter how much it hurt him, how hard it hit aginst old custom and prejudices. He wuz a-leanin' affectionate on her, but his eyes wuz a-lookin' away—fur off. Mebby he'll hear to her, mebby he will—he's young; but I feel kinder dubersome about it.
She held her glass dretful high. Mebby she laid out that Uncle Sam should see his old features in it, and mebby she wuz a-remindin' him that he ortn't to carve woman as a statute of Truth, and then not be willin' to hear her complaints when she tries to tell him about 'em, in his own place, where he makes his laws, year in and year out.
If he believes she is truthful—and he must, or he wouldn't name her Truth and set her up so high for the nations to look at—what makes him, year after year, act towards wimmen as if he believed she wuz a-lyin'? It is onreasonable in him.
And then there wuz Abundance, a woman and a man. I guess they had an abundance of everything for their comfort, and it looked real good to see they wuz both a-sharin' it.
She wuz a-settin' in a chair, and he wuz on the floor. That might do for a Monument, or Statute, but I don't believe they would foller it up so for day after day in real life, and they hadn't ort to. Men and wimmen ort to have the same settin' accommodations, and standin' too, and ort to be treated one of 'em jest as well as the other. They are both likely creeters, a good deal of the time.
Then there wuz Tradition. Them wuz two old men, as wuz nateral—wimmen wuzn't in that—woman is in the future and the present. Them two men, a-lookin' considerable war-like, wuz a-talkin' over the past—the deeds of Might.
They didn't need wimmen so much there, and I didn't feel as if I cared a cent to have her there.
When they git to talkin' over the deeds of Right, I'd want wimmen to be present. And she will be there.
And then there wuz Liberty, agin a woman, beautiful and serene, a-depicterin' Liberty, and agin a-holdin' her arms round a young male child, and a-teachin' him.
That, too, filled me with high hope, that Uncle Sam had at last discovered the mean actions that wuz a-goin' on about wimmen; that he had seen the chains that wuz a-bindin' her, and a-gaulin' her.
He wouldn't be likely to depicter her as Liberty, and set her up so high in the gate-way to the World's Fair, if he calculated to keep her on in the slavery she is now, a-bindin' her with her own heart-strings—takin' away her power to help her own heart's dearest, in their fights aginst the evils and temptations of the World.
No, I believe Uncle Sam is a-goin' to turn over a new leaf—anyway, Liberty sot up there, a-lookin' off with a calm mean, and there wuz a smile on her face, as if she see a light in the future that begened to her.
And then, there wuz Charity; of course she wuz a woman—she always is.
She had two little boys by her; one had his hand on her heart, and that faithful heart wuz filled with love and pity for him, jest as it always has been, and always will be. Another wuz a-kneelin' at her feet, with her fosterin' hand on his head. A good-lookin' creeter Charity wuz, and well behaved.
Joy seemed to be enjoyin' herself first rate. Her pretty face seemed to answer back the music that the youth at her feet wuz a-rousin' from his magic flute.
Theology wuz a wise, reverend-lookin' old man, a-thinkin' up a sermon, or a-thinkin' out some new system of religion, I dare presoom to say, for his book seemed to be half closed, and he wuz lost in deep thought.
He looked first rate—a good and well-behaved old man, I hain't a doubt on't.
Then, there wuz Patriotism—a man and a woman. He, a-standin' up ready to face danger, or die for his country; she, with her arms round him, a-lookin' up into his face, as if to say—
"If you must go, I will stay to home with a breakin' heart, and take care of the children, and do the barn chores."
They both looked real good and noble. Mr. Bitters done first rate—Josiah couldn't have begun to done so well, nor I nuther.
Then there wuz a dretful impressive statute there, a grand-lookin' old man, with his hand uplifted, a-tellin' sunthin' to a young child, who wuz a-listenin' eagerly.
I d'no who the old man wuz; there wuz broad white wings a-risin' up all round him, and it might be he wuz meant to depicter the Recordin' Angel; if he wuz, he could have got quills enough out of them wings to do all his writin' with.
And it might be that it wuz Wisdom instructin' youth.
And it might be some enterprisin' old goose-raiser a-tellin' his oldest boy the best way to save the white wings of ganders.
But I don't believe this wuz so. There wuz a riz up, noble look on the old man's face that wuz never ketched, I don't believe, with wrestlin' with geese on a farm, and neighbors all round him.
No, I guess it wuz the gray and wise old World a-instructin' the young Republic what to do and what not to do.
The child looked dretful impetuous and eager, and ready to start off any minute, a good deal as our country does, and I presoom wherever the child wuz a-startin' for it will git there.
A noble statute. Mr. Bitters did first rate.
But when I git started on pictures and statutes—I don't know where or when to stop.
But time hastens, and to resoom.
As I reluctantly tore myself away from the glory and grandeur inside, and passed through the buildin' to the outside, and a full view of the Court of Honor busted on to our bewildered vision, I did—I actually did feel weak as a cat.
Never agin—never agin will such a seen glow and grow before mine eyes, till the streets of the New Jerusalem open before my vision.
Beyend that wide Plaza, that long basin of clear sparklin' water, dotted all over its glowin' bosom with fairy-like gondolas, and gondolers, dressed in all the colors of the rainbow, or picturesque launches, with their gay freight of happy sightseers. And here and there, jest where they wuz needed, to look the best, wuz statutes and banners and the most gorgeous fountain that ever dripped water.
Then the broad flights of snowy marble steps risin' from the water to the green flowery terraces, and then above them the magnificent white wonders of the different buildin's.
And standin' up aginst the sky, and the blue waters of the lake, the tall ivory columns of the Perestyle stood, like a immense beautiful screen, to guard this White City of magic splendor.
And risin' from the blue waters of the Basin stands the grand figure of the Republic, towerin' up a hundred feet high, lookin' jest as she ort to look. Calm, stately, but knowin' in her heart jest what she had done, and jest what she hadn't done, knowin' jest what she had to be proud on, if she only let her mind run on't.
But there wuz no high-headedness, no tostin' of her neck. No, fair and stately and serene as a dream Queen, she stood a fittin' centre for the onspeakable beauty of her surroundin's.
It wuz all perfect, everything—no flaw in the perfect harmony of the seen. No limit to its onapproachable beauty. Yes, the glory of that seen as it bust onto my raptured vision will go with me through life, and won't never be outdone and replaced by anything more perfect, till that rapt hour when the mortal puts on immortality, and the glory that no eye hath seen busts on my glorified vision.
And as we wended onwards and got still further views of the matchless wonders of the Columbus World's Fair—wall, I gin in, and felt and said, that I spozed I had had emotions all my life, and sights of 'em; why, I have had 'em as high as from 70 to 80 a minute right along for a hour on a stretch—sometimes when I have been rousted up about sunthin'.
But when I stood stun still in my tracts, and the full glory and beauty of that seen of wonder and enchantment broke onto my almost enraptured vision, I gin up that I never had had a emotion in my hull life, not one, nothin' but plain, common breathin's and sithes.
When I see these snowy palaces, vast and beautiful and dreamlike, risin' up from the blue waters, and their pure white columns and statuary reflected into the mirrow below, and the green beauty of the Wooded Island, and the tall trees a-dottin' them here and there—
And when I see the lagoon a-windin' along, and arched over with bridges, like the best of the beauty of Venice born agin, perfect and fresh in the heart of the New World—
When I beheld the immense quantity of shrubs and flowers of every kind known to the world—
And all along the blue waters of the Grand Basin, surrounded by the magnificence and glory of these beautiful palaces—the fountains a-sprayin' up, and waters a-flashin', and banners a-flyin', and the tall white statutes a-standin' on every side of us a-watchin' us with their still eyes, to see how we took in the transcendent seen, and how we appeared under the display—wall, I stood, as I say, stun still in my tracts, and sez to myself—
"It would be jest as easy to comprehend the wonder of this Exposition by readin' about it, as it would be for any one to try to judge Niagara by lookin' at a pan of dishwater."
They are both water, but different, fur different.
And you have got to take in the wonder and majesty of the sight, through the pores as it wuz, through all your soul, not at first, but it has got to grow and soak in, and make it a part of yourself.
And then, when you have, you hain't a-goin' to describe it—words can't do it; you can walk through it and talk about the size of the buildin's, and the wonders of the display, but that hain't a-goin' to describe it, no more than the pan of dishwater can explain Niagara.
You can converse about Niagara, the depth, the eddies, the swirl of the waters, the horseshoe falls, the rainbow that rises over it, the grotto, the slate-stun on the banks below, and so forth, and so forth, and so on.
And how to show off the might and rush of the volume of water that shakes the earth, the mountain of shinin' mist that floats up to the wonderin' and admirin' heavens—how to paint this wonderful and inexpressible glory by tongue, how to put in words that which is mightier than any words that wuz ever said or sung! Wonder and awe, overwhelmin' sensation that makes the pulse stop and then beat agin in bounds.
When you paint a picture showin' the full power and depth of a mother's love; when you can paint the ardor and extacy that inspires the hero's soul as he leads the forlorn hope, and dies with his face to the foe—
Then you may try to describe Niagara; no pen, no tongue can describe this ever rushin', ever old and ever new Wonder of the new world.
And no more can any pen describe the World's Fair, the tall, towerin' fruit of the four-century tree of civilization, and liberty, and equal rights.
You can talk about the buildin's—how they are made, how long and wide they are. You can talk about the lagoons, the Grand Basin, the Bridges, the Statutes, the Fountains, the wonders of the flowers and foliage, the grandeur of the display, and so forth, and so forth, and so forth.
But how to describe this as a hull, its immensity, its concentrated might of material, practical beauty and use, that moves the world with its volume and power—
Or the more wonderful forces and influences that arise from it, like a gold mist seekin' the Heavens, to fall in showers of blessin's to the uttermost ends of the earth—knowledge, wisdom, and beauty, of Freedom, and Individual Liberty, Educational, Moral, and Beneficent influences—who is a-goin' to describe all this?
I can't, nor Josiah, nor Miss Plank, nor nobody. No, Mr. Bolster couldn't.
Why, jest a-lookin' at it cracked the Old Liberty Bell, and I don't wonder. I spoze she tried to swing out and describe it, and bust her old sides in the attempt; anyway, that is what some think. The new crack is there, anyway. Who'd a thought on't—a bell that has stood so many different sights, and kep herself together? But I wuzn't surprised a mite to think it wuz too much for her—no, nobody could describe it.
I know Miss Plank couldn't, for we met her there, or ruther she come onto us, as I stood stun still and nearly lost, and by the side of myself, and I felt so queer that I couldn't hardly speak to her. I don't know but she thought I felt big and haughty, but good land! how mistook she wuz if she thought so! I felt as small as I stood there that very minute, as one drop of milk in the hull milky way.
But when my senses got kinder collected together, and my emotions got quelled down a little, I passed the usual compliments with Miss Plank—"How de do?" and so forth.
And she proposed that we should go round a little together—she said that she had been here so many times, that she felt she could offer herself as our "Sissy Roney."
She looked at Josiah as she spoke kinder kokettish, and I thought to myself, You are a-actin' pretty kittenish for a woman of your age.
"Sissy!" Sez I to myself, the time for you to be called "sissy" rightfully lays fur back in the past—as much as fifty years back, anyway. As for the "Roney," I didn't know what she did mean, but spozed it wuz some sort of a pet name that had been gin her fur away in that distant past.
And I spozed she had brung it up to kinder attract Josiah Allen; but, good land! if his morals hadn't been like iron for solidity, I knew that for her to try to flirt wuz like a old hen to try to bite; they don't have no teeth, hens don't, even when they are young, and they won't be likely to have any when they are fifty or sixty years old. So I looked on with composure, and didn't take no notice of her flirtacious ways, and I consented to her propisition, and Josiah did too. That man hadn't been riz up by his emotions as I had, by the majesty and glory of the scene—no, he felt pretty chipper; and Miss Plank, after she quieted down a little, and ceased talkin' about her girlish days, she could think, even in that rapt hour, of pancakes; for she mentioned, when I spoke of how high the waters of the fountain riz up, "Yes," sez she—
"Speakin' of risin', I left some pancakes a-risin' before I left home;" and she wondered if the cook would tend to 'em.
Pancakes! in such a time as this.
And then Josiah proposed to go and see the live stock, and Miss Plank said dreamily that she would like to go to a certain restaurant at the fur end of the grounds to see the cookin' of a certain chef; she had heard it went ahead of anything in America.
"Chef"—I didn't want to act green, but I did wonder what "chef" wuz. I thought mebby it wuz chaff she meant, and I spozed they had got up some new way to cook chaff.
I would liked to seen it and tasted of it, but Duty begened to me, and I followed her blindly, and I sez, as I planted my umbrell firm down on the ground, sez I—
"Here I take my stand; I don't often stand out and try to have my way—"
Here Josiah gin a deep groan out to one side, but he no need to—I spoke truth, or pretty near the truth, anyway.
Sez I, "Here I take my stand!" and I brung down my good cotton umbrell agin firmly, as if to punctuate my remarks, and add weight to it, and I wuz so earnest that before I knew it I fell into a fervid eloquence—catched from my old revolutionary 4 fathers, I spoze—and, sez I—
"I care not what course others may take—"
"But," sez Miss Plank, "we will hang together in such a crowd as this."
"Yes," sez Josiah; "you mustn't go wanderin' off by yourself, Samantha; it hain't safe."
I wuz brung down some, but I kep on with considerable eloquence, though it wuz kinder drizzlin' away onbeknown to me, such is the power of environment.
Sez I, "I care not what course others may take, I will go first to the place my proud heart has dwelt on ever sence the Fair wuz opened—
"I will go first to the Woman's Buildin', home of my sect, and my proud ambition and love."
Miss Plank demurred, and said "that it wuz some distance off;" but I held firm—Josiah see that I wuz firm—and he finally gin in quite graciously, and, sez he—
"I don't spoze it will take long, anyway, to see all that wimmen has brung here—and I spoze the buildin' will be a sight—all trimmed off with ornaments, and flowers, and tattin'; mebby they will have lace all festooned on the outside."
Sez he, "I always did want to see a house trimmed with bobinet lace on the outside, and tattin' and ribbin streamers."
I wouldn't dain a reply; he did it to lower my emotions about wimmen.
But it wuz impossible. So we turned our bodies round and set off north by northwest.
Agin Miss Plank mentioned the distance, and agin my Josiah spoke longin'ly of the live stock.
And I sez with a calm dignity, "Josiah, you are not a woman."
"No," sez he, "dum it all, I know I hain't, and so there hain't much chance of my gettin' my way."
I kep on calmly, and with the same lofty mean, "You are not a woman, and therefore you can't tell a woman's desires that go with me, to see the glorification of her own sect, in their great and lofty work, and the high thrones on which they have sot themselves in the year of our Lord, 1893; I am sot," sez I, "I am sot as ever the statute of America is on her marble pedestal, jest so solid am I riz up on the firm and solid foundation of my love, and admiration, and appreciation for my own sect."
And so, as I say, we turned round in our tracts and went back round that noble Adminstration Buildin'—
Josiah a-talkin' anon or oftener about what he expected to see in the Woman's Buildin', every one on 'em light and triflin' things, such as gauzes, and artificial flowers, and cossets, and high-heel shoes, and placks, and tattin', and etc.
And I anon a-answerin' his sneerin' words, and the onspoken but fatigued appeals in Miss Plank's eyes, by sayin'—
"Do you suppose I would hurt the feelin's of my sect, do you suppose I would mortify 'em before the assembled nations of the earth, by slightin' 'em, by not payin' attention to 'em, and makin' 'em the first and prime object of my distinguished and honorable consideration?
"No, indeed; no, indeed!"
So we went on at a pretty good jog, and a-meetin' every single person in the hull earth, every man, woman, and child, black and white, bond and free, lame and lazy, or it did seem so to my wearied and bewildered apprehenshion.
And I sez to myself mekanicly, what if conflagrations should break out in Asia, or the chimbly get afire in Australia, or a earthquake take place in Africa, or a calf get into the waterin' trough at Jonesville, who would git it out or put 'em out?
Everybody in the hull livin' world is here; the earth has dreaned off all its livin' inhabitants down into this place; some of the time I thought mebby one or two would be left in Jonesville, and Loontown, and the hind side of Asia, and Hindoostan; but as I wended on and see the immense crowd, a-passin' out of one buildin' and a-passin' in to another, and a-swarmin' over the road and a-coverin' the face of the water, I sez to myself—
"No, there hain't a soul left in Hindoostan, or Jonesville, not one; nor Loontown, nor Shackville, nor Africa, nor Zoar."
It wuz a curious time, very, but anon, after we had wended on for some distance, and Miss Plank looked some wilted, and Josiah's steps dragged, and my own frame felt the twinges of rheumatiz—
Miss Plank spoke up, and sez she, "If you are bound on going to the Woman's Building first, why not take a boat and go around there, and that will give you a good view of the buildings."
I assented to her propisition with alacrity, and wondered that I hadn't thought of it before, and Josiah acted almost too tickled.
That man loves to save his steps; and then, as I soon see, he had another idee in his head.
Sez he, "I always wanted to be a mariner—I will hire a boat and be your boatman."
"Not with me for a passenger, Josiah Allen," sez I. "I want to live through the day, anyway; I want to live to see the full glory of my sect; I don't want to be drownded jest in front of the gole."
He looked mad—mad as a hen; but he see firmness in my mean, so we went back, and down a flight of steps to the water's edge, and he signalled a craft that drew up and laid off aginst us—a kinder queer-shaped one, with a canopy top, and gorgeous dressed boatmen—and we embarked and floated off on the clear waters of the Grand Basin. Oh! what a seen that would have been for a historical painter, if Mr. Michael Angelo had been present with a brush and some paint!
Josiah Allen's Wife a-settin' off for the express purpose of seein' and admirin' the work of her own sect, and right in front of her the grand figger of Woman a-standin' up a hundred feet high; but no higher above the ordinary size of her sect wuz she a-standin' than the works of the wimmen I wuz a-settin' out to see towered up above the past level of womankind. Oh, what a hour that wuz for the world! and what a seen that wuz for Josiah Allen's Wife to be a-passin' through, watched by the majestic figger of Woman.
The green, tree-dotted terraces bloomin' with flowers a-risin' up from the blue water, and above the verdent terraces the tall white walls of them gorgeous palaces, a-risin' up with colonades, and statutes, and arabesques, and domes, and pinnacles, and on the smooth white path that lay in front of 'em, and on every side of 'em, the hull world a-walkin' and a-admirin' the seen jest as much as we did. And if there wuzn't everything else to look at and admire, the looks of that crowd wuz enough—full enough—for one pair of eyes; for they wuz from every country of the globe, and dressed in every fashion from Eve, and her men folks, down to the fashions of to-day.
And anon we would come to a bridge gracefully arched over the water, and float under it, and then sail on, and on, and on, past the vast palace 45 acres big, and every single acre of 'em majestic and beautiful more than tongue can tell or give any idee on, and then by some more of them matchless marvels of housen crowned with pinnacles, and domes, and wavin' banners, and then by the electrical buildin', with white towers, and battlements, and sculptured loveliness, on one side of us, and, on the other, that beautiful Wooded Island, that is a hantin' dream of beauty inside of a dream of matchless loveliness.
Acres and acres of flowers of every kind and color; the perfume floated out and wrapped us round like a sweet onseen mantilly, as we floated past fur dim isles of green trees, with domes and minarets a-risin' up above the billows of emerald richness, and then anon, under another bridge, and more of them enchantin' wonders of Art, and on, under another one, and another.
And my emotions all of the time wuz what no man might number, and as for the size of 'em, there hain't no use of talkin' about sortin' 'em out, or weighin' 'em—no steel yards on earth could weigh the little end on 'em, let alone weighin' the hull caboodle of 'em.
No Rasfodist that ever rasfodized could do justice to the transcendent grandeur that shone out on every side of us.
No, the rasfodist would have to set down and hold up his hands before him, as I have done sometimes before a big pile of work, when I have seen a wagon load of visitors a-stoppin' at the gate to stay all day.
I have just clasped my hands and sez, "Oh dear me!"
Or in aggravated cases I would say, mebby,
"Oh dear me suz!"
And that wuz about all I could say here.
Yes, my feelin's, I do believe, if they could have been gazed on, would have been jest about as a impressive a sight to witness as the Columbian Fair.
But anon my rapt musin's wuz broke into sudden; I heard as through a dream a voice say—
"If she forgets to take the dough off from the dry oven, the pancakes will run over."
It wuz like Peri in Paradise callin' for root-beer; it brung me down to the world agin, and anon I heard my pardner say—
"Wall, I wish I had a few of 'em this minute, Miss Plank."
Eatin' at such a time as this—the idee!
But I wuz brung clear down, and I don't know but it wuz jest as well, for it wuz time for us to alight from our bark.
And with the feelin's I had ever sence I started, I wuz that riz up that I could almost expect to step over the lagoon at one stride and swing my foot clear over the hull noble flight of marble steps, and the wide terrace, and land in front of the Woman's Buildin'. With my head even with its highest cupalo, I wuz fearfully riz up, and by the side of myself.
But these allusions to pancakes had brung me down, so I stepped meekly out on to the broad, noble flight of steps, and the full beauty of the Woman's Buildin' riz up in front of us.
Even Josiah wuz impressed with the simple, noble perfection of that buildin'. I heard him say—
"By Crackey! not a bit of lace or tattin'; not a streamer of ribbin. Well done for wimmen; they have riz up for once above gauzes, and flummeries, and ornaments."
"No," sez I; "if you want to look at ornament, you might look at the Adminstration Buildin', designed by a man. Men love ornament, Josiah Allen."
He quailed; he hadn't forgot the pink necktie he wanted to adorn himself with, and the breastpin he wanted to put on that mornin'.
The waters of the lagoon in front of the buildin' is as wide as a bay; from the centre of this rises the grand landin' and staircase, leadin' to a terrace six feet above the water.
The first terrace is laid out in glowin' flower-beds, and anon, green flowerin' shrubs, above which the ivory white balustrade shines out, separatin' it from the upper terrace.
And along the upper terrace, about one hundred feet back, the beautiful Woman's Buildin' rises, with a background of stately old oak trees.
This most artistic and beautiful buildin' consists of a centre pavilion, flanked at each end by corner pavilions, connected by open corridors forming a sheltered and beautiful walk the hull length of the structure. On goin' through a wide lobby you come into a vast open rotunda reachin' clear up to the top of the buildin', where the sunlight falls down most graciously through a richly ornamented skylight. This rotunda is surmounted by a two-story open arcade, as delicate and refined in its beauty as the outside of the buildin', givin' light and air in abundance to all of the rooms openin' into the interior space. On the first floor, on the right hand, is located a model kindergarten; on the left, a model horsepital. You see, these two things are attended to the first thing by wimmen.
Wimmen have always had to take time by the forelock and do the most important things first, or she never would be done with her work.
Before she tackled the ironin', or dishwashin', or piecin' up bedquilts, or knittin', she has always had to dress, and nurse, and take care of the children, make them comfortable, and take care of the sick; had to, or it wouldn't be done.
And she wuzn't goin' to stop her good, tender, motherly doin's here—not at all. No; the children, the future hope of our country, the Lord's work laid onto mothers, is on the right side.
Here are shown the very latest and best helps in takin' care and trainin' up these little immortals, teachin' them to be good first, and then wise, and healthy all the time—the most important work in the hull world, in my estimation; for the children we spank to-day will hold the destinies of the human race in their hands to-morrow.
Yes, on the right hand the children; on the left hand is a model horsepital, not merely a exhibit, but a real horsepital, at full work in its blessed and sanctified labor, a-takin' care of the sick and smoothin' the brows racked with agony, alleviatin' the distresses of the frame racked with pain.
What another good work! Can a man show anything at their hull Columbus World's Fair—anything that will equal these two blessed labors?
No; he can show lots of knowledge and wisdom, and he can show guns, and cannons, and pistols, boey-knives, to cut and slash; but it is woman's work (blessed angel that she is, a good deal of the time), it is them that shows this broad, efficient system of relieving the hurts and distresses of the world. Besides the most skilled of our own country, foreign nations send their best-trained nurses from their trainin' schools, showin' the latest and most perfect methods of relievin' pain and agony.
And not contented with showin' off here what they could do, and how they do it—not content with makin' this one big room a perfect nest for female good Samaritans—a carin' for the sick and dyin'—
They have soared out of this room—60 by 80 feet couldn't confine 'em—they have located all over the grounds horsepitals to care for them who are took sick here at Columbuses doin's, and, good creeters, I suppose they will have their hands full, specially in dog days.
Yes, woman begun her work jest as she ort to, right on the ground floor—on the right, the children; on the left, the sick and helpless.
Right opposite the main front is the library, furnished by the wimmen of New York. It is one of the largest and finest rooms in the house, and every book in it writ by a woman.
And right here I see my own books; there they wuz a-standin' up jest as noble and pert as if they wuz to home in the what-not behind the parlor door, not a-feelin' the least mite put out before princes, or zars. A-standin' jest as straight in front of a king as a cow-boy, not a-humpin' themselves up in the latter instance, or a-meachin' in the more former one.
I felt proud on 'em to see their onbroken dignity and simplicity of mean. And, thinkses I, the demeanor of them books is a lesson to Republics—how to act before Royalties; not a-backin' up and a-actin', not put out a mite, not forward, and not too backward—jest about megum.
A-keepin' right on in their own spear, jest as usial, not intrudin' themselves and a-pushin', but ready to greet 'em and give 'em the best there wuz in 'em, if occasion called for it, and then ready to bid 'em a calm, well-meanin' farewell when the time come to part.
It wuz a great surprise to me, and how they got there wuz a mystery. But I spoze the nation collected 'em together and sot 'em up there because it sets such a store by me. It is dretful fond of me, the nation is, and well it may be. I have stood up for it time and agin, and then I've done a sight for it in the way of advisin' and bracin' it up.
As I stood and looked at them books I got carried a good ways off a-ridin' on Wonder—a-wonderin' whether them books had done any good in the world.
I'd wanted 'em to, I'd wanted 'em to like a dog. Sometimes I'd felt real riz up a-thinkin' they had, and then agin I've felt dubersome.
But I knew they had gin great enjoyment, I'd hearn on't. Why, the minister up to Zoar had told me of as many as seven relations of hisen, who, when they wuz run down and weak, and had kinder lost their minds, had jest clung to them books.
In softenin' of the brain now, or bein' kicked on the head, or nateral brain weakness—why, them books are invaluable, so I spoze.
But to resoom. The corner pavilion, like all the rest of the buildin', have each a open colonade above the main cornice. Here are the hangin' gardens, and also the committee rooms of the lady managers.
This palace of beauty wuz designed by a woman—woman has got to have the credit for everything about it.
A woman designed the hull buildin'; a woman modelled the figgers that support the ruff; a woman won fairly in competition the right to decorate the cornice. The interior decoration, much of it carved work, is done by wimmen; panels wuz carved by wimmen all over the country and brought here to decorate the walls.
And not only decorated, but in a good many rooms the woodwork wuz finished by wimmen. California has a room walled and ceiled with redwood by wimmen.
And wimmen of all the States, from Maine and Florida, have joined to make the place beautiful. Even the Indian wimmen made richly embroidered hangin's for the doors and windows.
The wimmen managers wuz the first wimmen that wuz ever officially commissioned by Congress, and never have wimmen swung out so, or, to be poetical, never have they cut so wide and broad a swath on the seedy old fields of Time, as they do to this Fair. They can exhibit with the best of the contestants, men or wimmen, and by act of Congress represent their own sect on the Jury of Award.
Congress did the fair thing by wimmen in this matter. Let him step up one step higher on the hill of justice, and gin 'em the right to set on the jury of award or punishment when their own honor is at the stake.
It has let wimmen tell which is the best piece of woosted work, or tattin'; now let her be judged by her peers when life or death is the award meted out to 'em. But to resoom.
The Gallery of Honor is the centre hall of the buildin', and runs almost the entire length, and openin' out of it is the display that shows that wimmen wuz really the first inventors and producers of what wuz useful as well as beautiful, and that men took up the work when money could be made from it.
Here is the work of the first and rudest people, but all made by female wimmen—the rough, hard buds of beauty and labor; and in the Central hall, like these buds open in full bloom and beauty, is the fruit of the most advanced thought and genius.
The interior glows with soft and harmonious colors, and chaste ornamentation.
Mrs. Candace Wheeler, of New York, had charge of the decoration, which is sayin' enough for its beauty, if you didn't say anything else, and Illinois and the rest of the world wuz grand helpers in the work of beauty.
The Gallery of Honor, the central hall of the buildin', runs almost the entire length. The noble, harmonious beauty of this room strikes you as you first enter, some as it would if you come up sudden out of the woods, a-facin' a gorgeous sunset—or sunrisin', I guess, would be a suitabler metafor.
The colorin' of this room is ivory and gold, in delicate and beautiful designs. But the pictures that cover the walls adds the bright tints neccessary to make the hull picture perfect.
The beautiful panels on the side walls are the work of American artists. One, on the west side, by Amanda Brewster Sewall, represents an Algerian pastural seen, showing country maids tendin' their flocks; which proves that Algerian girls are first-rate lookin', and that dumb brutes in Algeria, though it is so fur from Jonesville, have got to be tended to, and that wimmen have got to tend to 'em a good deal of the time.
The other paintin', on the same side, is the work of Miss Fairchild, of Boston, and it shows our old Puritan 4 Mothers hard to work, a-takin' care of their housen and doin' up the work. Likely old creeters they wuz, and industrius.
Opposite, on the east side, is a panel by Mrs. Lydia Emmet Sherwood—another group of wimmen; good-lookin' wimmen they be, all on 'em. And the other panel, by Miss Lydia Emmet, shows the interior of a studio, with young females a-studyin' different arts that are useful and ornamental, and calculated to help themselves and the world along. At the north end of this great gallery is a large panel by Mrs. MacMonnies, wife of the sculptor, representin' Primitive Wimmen. A-showin', plain as nobody less gifted than she could, jest how primitive wimmen used to be.
Opposite, on the south side, is a companion piece by Miss Cassette, of Paris, called Modern Wimmen, and a-showin' up first rate how fur wimmen have emerged from the shadders of the past.
The centre panel depicters a orchard covered with bright green grass, and graceful female wimmen a-gatherin' apples offen the tree.
Apples of knowledge, I spoze, but different from Eve's—fur different; these wuz peaceful Knowledge, Literature, Art, and all beautiful and useful industries.
A smaller panel describes Music and Dancin' in a charmin' way.
On the other side of the central panel are several maidens pursuin' a flyin' figger.
Mebby it wuz the Ideal. If it wuz, I wuz glad to see them young females a-follerin' it up so clost. But girls will be more apt to catch her, when they leave off cossets, and long trains, and high-heeled shoes (metafor). But these seemed to be a-doin' the best they could, anyway.