A border in rich colors went all round the picture, and in the corners wuz medallions all full of sweet babies—perfect cherubs of loveliness.
In some things the picture mebby could have been bettered a little—mebby the ladder wuzn't quite stiddy enough—mebby I should ruther have not clumb up it. But the colorin' of the picture is superb. So rich and gorgus that it put me in mind of our own Jonesville woods in September, when you look off into the maple forests, and your eyes would fairly be dazzled with the blaze of the colors, if they wuzn't so soft and rich, and blended into each other so perfect.
Yes, Miss Cassette done real well, and so did Mrs. MacMonnies, too.
And all round this room hung pictures that filled me with delight, and the proudest kind of pride, to think my own sect had done 'em all—had branched out into such noble and beautiful branchin's, for the statutes wuz jest as impressive as the pictures. There wuz one statute in the centre of the main corridor that I liked especially.
It wuz Maud Muller. As I looked on Maud, I thought I could say with the Judge, when he first had a idee of payin' attention to her—
"A sweeter face I ne'er have seen." And I thought, too, I could read in Maud's face a sort of a sad look, as if the shadder Pride, and Fate, held above her, wuz sort o' shadin' her now. Miss Blanche Nevins done first rate, and I'd loved to told her so.
And then there wuz a statute of Elaine that rousted up about every emotion I had by me.
There she wuz, "Elaine the fair," the lovable, the lily maid of Astolot.
I always thought a sight of her, and I've shed many a tear over her ontimely lot. I knew she thought more of Mr. Lancelot than she'd ort to, specially he bein' in love with a married woman at the same time.
Her face looked noble, and yet sweet, riz up jest as it must have been when she argued with her pa about the man she loved.
"Never yet was noble man, but made ignoble talk; He makes no friends who never made a foe."
And down under the majesty of her mean wuz the tenderness and pathos of her own little song; for, as Alfred Tennyson said, and said well, "Sweetly could she make, and sing."
"Sweet is true love, though given in vain, in vain; And sweet is Death, who puts an end to pain. I know not which is sweeter—no, not I."
There wuzn't hardly a dry eye in my head as I stood a-lookin' at Elaine.
And jest at this wropped moment I heard some voices nigh me that I recognized a-sayin' in glad and joyous axents, "How do you do, Josiah Allen's Wife?"
I turned and met seven glad extended hands, and thirteen eyes lookin' at mine, in joyous welcome, besides one glass eye (and you couldn't tell the difference, it wuz so nateral—Oren bought the best one money could git when his nigh eye wuz put out by a steer gorin' it). Yes, it wuz Oren Rumble and Lateza, his wife, and the hull of the family—the five girls, Barthena, Calfurna, Dalphina, Albiny, and Lateza.
But what a change had swep' over the family sence I had last looked on 'em!
I could hardly believe my two eyes when I looked at their costooms, for the hull family had dressed in black for upwards of 'leven years, and Jonesvillians had got jest as ust to seein' 'em as they wuz a-seein' a flock of crows in the spring.
And I do declare it wuz jest as surprisin' to me to see the way they wuz rigged out as it would be to see a lot of crows a-settlin' down on our cornfield with red and yeller tail feathers.
To home they didn't go nowhere, only to meetin'—the mother bein' very genteel, comin' down as she did from a very old and genteel family. Dretful blue blood I spoze her folks had—blue as indigo, I spoze. And she didn't think it wuz proper to go into society in mournin' clothes—she thought it would make talk for mourners to git out and enjoy themselves any in crape.
Oren wuz naterally of a lively disposition, and loved to visit round, and it made it bad for him. But he felt quite proud of marryin' such a aristocratic woman, and so he had to take the bitter with the sweet.
Besides their bein' so old, she had come from a mournin' family—her folks always mourned for everybody and everything they could. (You know some families are so, and I spoze they git some comfort out of it. And black duz look real respectable, but considerable gloomy.)
Their house wuz always shet up, and Oren walked round (rebellin' inside) under a mournin' weed.
And the six wimmen was all swathed in crape, and the hull house smelt of crape and logwood.
As I sez more formally, Lateza was brung up to it. She wuz ready to mourn on the slightest pretext, and mourn jest as long and stiddy as possible.
Wall, black wuz becomin' to her. Bein' tall and spindlin', black sot her off, and crape draperies sort o' rounded off her figger and made her look some impressive.
And she loved to stay at home—she wuz made that way.
But I always felt that if she wanted to make a raven of herself for life, she no need to dye the feathers of the hull family in logwood, and tie 'em all up clost to the nest.
Oren had chafed aginst it bitterly, but he bore the sable yoke until the youngest girl, Lateza (and mebby she inherited some of the aristocratic sotness of her mother with the name)—
Anyway, when she come home from school she come dressed in gay colors. She had on a yeller woosted dress with sky-blue trimmin's, a pink hat, a lilock veil, and a bunch of flowers in her bosom—too many colors to look well, but she did it to break her yoke.
This kinder stunted the mother, so she wuz easier to handle, bein' kinder dazed.
So they took her off to a Christian Science meetin', and got her converted the first thing.
This broke her chain, for they don't believe in mournin' as one without hope, and they believe in wanderin' round and seein' the beautiful world all you can, and takin' some comfort while you are in it.
So while the zeal of the convert wuz on her, and she didn't feel like disputin', the girls made her some red dresses, and some yeller ones, and had some white streamers put onto a white bunnet she had. And they bought themselves the most gorgeous and gay clothin' Jonesville and Loontown afforded. Oren is well off, and he wouldn't stent 'em in such a cause as this—no, indeed!
And Oren bought some bright, gay-lookin' suits, and some brilliant neckties—pale blue silk, with red polka dots on 'em, and some otter-colored ones.
He had on the day we met him a bright plaid suit and a red necktie spangled with yeller, hangin' out kinder loose in front.
And Oren bought a three-seated carriage, and they jest scoured the hull country—went to all the parties they could hear on, and the fairs, and camp-meetin's, and such. They wuz on the go the hull time; and Lateza Alzina got to likin' it as much as Oren did.
I don't spoze they wuz to home hardly enough to eat their meals whilst they wuz in Jonesville; they had a good hired girl, so they wuz free to wander all they wuz a mind to.
This summer Lateza Alzina told me that they had been up to the upper end of Canada and British America on a tower, and come home round by Lake Champlain, and Lake George, and Saratoga; they'd stayed there three weeks, and then they went home and hurried and got ready for the Fair. They come the first day it wuz opened in the mornin', and laid out to go home the last day of the Fair along in the night, so Oren said.
They all looked real happy, but some fagged out from seein' so much.
I'm dretful afraid that the pendulum, havin' swung too fur on one side, is a-goin' too fur on the other; it is nater.
But mebby they'll settle down and be more megum when the pendulum gits kinder settled down some, and its vibration ceases to be so vibratin'.
Anyway, I'm glad to see 'em a-steppin' out of their weeds, and I told 'em so.
Sez I, "You wuz in mournin' a awful while, wuzn't you?"
Oren fairly gritted his teeth, and before Lateza Alzina could speak, he busted out—
"By Vum! I've mourned all I'm a-goin' to! I've staid penned up in the house all I'm a-goin' to!
"I've quit it, by Vum! First my stepfather passed away. I never liked him—he always imposed on me; but we all went into deep mournin', staid out of society—jest shet ourselves up in a black jail for years.
"Then my mother-in-law left me—then three years more of solid black and solid stayin' to home.
"Then, at the end of the third year, we kinder quit off and begun to creep out a little and kinder lighten ourselves up a little; but then my wife's brother that she never see died way out to California and left a big property, but not a cent to us.
"But the rest of the family wanted to mourn, so my wife had to foller on and mourn too.
"And there it wuz agin, another time of gloom—another time of stayin' to home.
"Time after time, jest as we got out a little, we had to plunge back into gloom agin.
"But now we're out of it, and by Heavens and earth we're a-goin' to stay out! There hain't a-goin' to be any more mournin' done in this family—not if I know myself, there hain't."
But I sez, "Oren, don't talk so; folks have to mourn; this is a World of trials, and grief is nateral to it."
"Wall, I'll mourn in pepper and salt, and I'll mourn out-doors. I hain't a-goin' to wind myself up in crape, and shet myself up in a black hole no more, mourn or not mourn.
"And I'm a-goin' to laugh when I want to." And he jest laid his head back and bust out into a horse-laugh at nothin'.
But they didn't seem to mind it; I guess they wuz ust to it, and the girls kinder put in and laughed too. Lateza Alzina didn't laugh out loud, but she kinder snickered some.
It made me feel queer.
I see—I see the truth; the bow had been drawed too tight back, and now it wuz a-goin' to shoot too fur—way over the mark.
But still I felt that Oren had some truth on his side.
And I sez, "I always felt that you shet yourselves up too much and mourned too deep."
"Wall," sez Lateza Alzina, "my folks always brung me up to think that it would be apt to make talk if folks went out any while they wuz in black."
"Wall," sez I, "I always felt that folks had better set down and calculate which would be the most agreeable to 'em, to shet themselves up and lose their health, and die, or to let folks talk.
"And then act on them thoughts, and do as they want to with fear and tremblin'.
"And," sez I, "folks would talk whilst you wuz dyin', anyway; you can't keep folks from talkin'." Sez I, "Like as not they'd say it wuz a guilty conscience that made you droop round and stay to home so."
"Wall," sez Lateza Alzina, "I wuz brought up to think that it showed so much respect to them that wuz gone to stay to home in black."
"Wall," sez I, "if the ones that wuz gone loved you, they would want you to git all the consolation you could whilst you wuz parted. Jest as a mother lets her child have some picture-books to comfort it while she leaves it a spell.
"And if you loved them," sez I, "their memory would go out-doors with you, and go back into the house with you. You would see the beloved face lookin' down at you from every mountain you would climb, and the shadder of their form would seem to appear in the mist of every valley. Every sunset would gleam with the smilin' light of their eyes, and every sunrise would begen to you, tellin' you that one more night had gone, and you wuz so much nearer to the Eternal Reunion.
"Folks don't have to stay indoors to remember, Lateza. I have remembered folks out-doors, it seems to me, more than I ever did in the house.
"And the voice you loved would seem to be a-tellin' you, 'Keep well, beloved, so you can do some of my day's work I had to lay down, as well as your own, and the meetin' will be all the gladder and more joyous.'
"And as for puttin' on black, the dear remembered voice seems to be a-sayin' to me, 'Don't put on the symbol of sorrow for one who has found the very secret of happiness, who has left the dark shadders and has gone into the great brightness. Don't carry the idee to the world that you have lost me, for I am nearer to you than I ever could have been on earth, for the clay has only fell off from my soul, leavin' the barrier but thin indeed between us now.
"'Don't act as if you wuz mournin' for me, dear heart. Let the world see your thought, see the truth we both know, by its reflection in your face.'
"These are my idees, Lateza Alzina," sez I; "but howsumever, in this, as in every other matter that don't have any moral wickedness in it, let everybody be fully persuaded in their own mind, if they have got a mind, and do as they want to, if they know what they want to do."
Oren had looked real tickled all the while I had been speakin'. And he stood there on his bright plaid legs, and smoothed out the ends of his gorgeous necktie with his yeller gloved hand, a happy and triumphant mean onto him.
And the girls and their ma stood round him like a flock of gay-plumaged birds, or a bokay of brilliant blossoms, and seemed real happified and contented.
Wall, they wuz a-boardin' way out to the other end of the city, almost 'leven milds from there, so they had to leave middlin' early.
And they all come back in the evenin', they said. "They boarded a good ways out—they enjoyed the ride so much a-goin' and comin'."
Sometimes I'm afraid the pendulum will break down, it swings so fur, and then agin I don't know.
But anyway, they bid me a glad adoo, and the proud and gay Oren led his brood off.
And to resoom.
The English Vestibule is decorated with panels painted by the wimmen of that country. There wuz one by Mrs. Swimerton, of London, that appealed strong to my heart; it was a seen from the temporary hospital at Scutori.
Florence Nightingale stood in the foreground—good, pityin' female angel that she wuz—and all round her lay sick and dyin' soldiers, and she a-doin' all she could to help 'em.
This picture, showin' woman as a Healer and Consoler, is in the centre, as it ort to be. On one side of it is a panel called Motherhood, an Italian mother a-holdin' a baby in her arms, and on the other side is Old Age and Youth, an old female bein' tenderly took care on by the beautiful young girl who kneels before her.
On the other side of the vestibule is the paintin's of Mrs. Merritt, of London. The centre piece shows a number of likely lookin' young females a-studyin' art, and the panels on either side shows young girls and older ones all a-studyin' and workin', and doin' the best they could with what they had to do with.
Dretful upliftin' to my sect it wuz to look on them pictures, all on 'em.
Wall, if I'd spent a month I couldn't begin to tell all the contents of them rooms—the paintin's and statuary, laces, embroidery, tapestry, and etc., and etc., and everything under the sun, moon, and stars, and so forth, and so on.
All the works of wimmen from the present age of the world back to that wonderful book writ by the Abbess Herrard in the twelfth century, which contains about all the knowledge of that date.
And tapestries wrought by hands that have been dust for hundreds and hundreds of years. But the work them hands wrought still remains, giving the best descriptions of them times we have now, of the manners and customs of that fur back time.
They show off the part wimmin have took in philanthropy in all ages. They show that all through time that wimmen have been a help-meet. And you can see the tender, strong faces of them that have helped the world.
One of the most interestin' things in the hull buildin' wuz the exhibit of the Beneficent Societies formed by wimmen all over the world—what they have done in war, pestilence, and famine, what they have done in wrestlin' with that deadly serpent, whose folds encompass the earth—the foulest serpent of Intemperance. What my sect have done banded together to promote liberty, to establish religion, and all good works.
The decoration of the big room set apart for the association and organizations are strikin'.
Fifty-four organizations of Christian wimmen and workers for righteousness in different ways have their headquarters here.
The Wimmen's Christian Temperance Union makes a big display; from post to post is extended long links of pledge cards signed by boys and girls of forty-four countries—France, Africa, Japan, China, etc., etc., etc.
What links them wuz that bound them children to a future of temperance and usefulness! Strong cords a-spreadin' out to the very ends of the earth, and a-bringin' them all together and tyin' 'em up to the ramparts of Heaven.
Denmark has a display of seven little wimmen a-wearin' the white ribbon.
In the Japanese department hangs a large bell all made of pipes, and Josiah sez—
"It's curious that wimmen, who run smokin' so, should have such a lot of pipes to sell." Sez he, "I'm most a-mind to buy one, smokin' is gittin' so fashionable, and lady-like. Mebby you'd better have one, Samantha."
I looked at him witherin'ly, but he didn't seem to wither any.
But a bystander spoke up and sez, "These are the pipes of opium-smokers, who have given up the vile habit. They wuz collected in Japan and presented to that noble worker, Mary Allen West."
And the bell rung for the first time at her funeral in way-off Japan, where she laid down her sickle on her ripe sheaves, and rested from her labors.
(These last lines are my own eppisodin; he simply related the facts.)
There wuz associations on exhibition from all the different countries of the globe, of Christian workers of all kinds, in organizations, horsepitals, missionary fields, etc. from Loontown clear to Turkey.
The Turkish Compassionate Fund rousted up sights of emotions in me. When you looked at the marvellous Oriental embroideries of the Mahommeden wimmen, you didn't dispute that their work has devoloped a new art.
You see, them female Turkeys wuz drove from their homes by the Tigers, War, and Starvation, and the Baroness Burdette Coutts and Lady Layard bought the materials and organized this work. There are two thousand engaged in it now.
Madame Zarcoff, who is in charge of it now, has a medal gin her by the Sultan, with "Charity" engraved on it in the language of the Turkeys.
I couldn't read it, or Josiah. But she told us what it wuz.
Wall, as I say, there wuz displays of every other kind of Christian work, and a-lookin' over them records, and seein' the benign faces of them wimmen who had led on the fight aginst the banded powers of Hell—why, the tears jest run down my face some like rain water, and Josiah asked me anxiously, "If I wuz took with a cramp."
And I sez, "No, fur from it. I am took with the sperit of rejoicin', and wonder, and thanksgivin', and everything else."
And he sez, "Wall, I wouldn't stand up and cry; if I wuz a-goin' to cry, I would set down to it."
And agin I sez, as I had said before, "Josiah, you're not a woman."
And he sez, "No, indeed; you wouldn't catch a man a-cryin' because he wuz tickled about sunthin'; he would more likely snap his fingers, and whistle."
But I heeded not his remarks, and we wended onwards.
And I see, with everything else under the sun, moon, and stars, a collection of all the kinds of flowers in the country, clear from Maine to California; and lots of the flowers preserved in their nateral colors.
And if you think this is a easy job, I can tell you that you are very much mistaken.
Why, jest a-walkin' over to Miss Alexander Bobbet'ses, acrost lots, I have come acrost more than forty different kinds of wild flowers, and then, when I got there, I can't begin to tell how many flowers she had in her dooryard.
More than a hundred, anyway; and then if I come home by she that wuz Submit Tewksbury—why, my 'rithmetic would fairly gin out a-countin' before I got home; and then to think of all the broad acres of land, hills and valleys, mountains and forests between Oregon, and New Jersey, and Maine, and Florida, and California!
Wuz it a easy job that wimmen took on to themselves, then?
No, indeed; no, indeed!
But wimmen are ust to hard jobs, and if she begins 'em she will carry 'em out and finish 'em; as wuz proved by the cloak we see there, made of feathers, that took five years to make.
But when I go to talk about the paintin's, and statutes, and the embroideries my sect shows off in that buildin', then agin I draw deep breaths full of praise and admiration, sunthin' like sithes, only happier ones, to think mine eyes had been permitted to gaze on the marvels and wonders my own sect had wrought.
And then I thought of Isabelle, and I thought I would love to have her there to neighbor with; thinkses I, if it hadn't been for her we wouldn't have been discovered at all, as I know on, and then where would have been the Woman's Buildin'? I thought I would love to talk it over with her; how, though she furnished the means for a man to discover us, yet four hundred years had to wear away before men thought that wimmen wuz capable of takin' part in any Internatinal Exposition. I wanted Isabelle there that day—I wanted her like a dog.
But my thoughts wuz brought back from my rapt contemplation by my companion's voice. He sez:
"By Jocks! I hadn't no idee that wimmen had ever done so much work that is useful as well as ornamental." Sez he, "I had read a sight about the Lady Managers, and I had got the idee that them ladies couldn't do much more than to set down and tend poodles, and knit tattin'. I hadn't no idee that they wuz a-goin' to swing out and make such a show as this."
Them remarks of hisen wuz wrung out of him by the glory of the display, as the sweet sap is brung out of the maple trees by the all-powerful influence and glory of the spring sun, and they show more plain than song or poem of the wonders about us.
Josiah don't love to praise wimmen—he hates to. But I answered him proudly, "Yes, this Magic Wonder Land o' beauty and practical use wuz wrought by Sophia Haydon, and other noble wimmen. They must have the credit for everything about it, and for all the work it shows off within its borders."
Sez I, "Uncle Sam was a good-actin' creeter for once, anyway, when he made that act of Congress about the World's Columbian Exposition. He made that body of men appoint a board of Lady Managers—two ladies from each State and Territory, and eight lady managers at large, and nine at Chicago."
That name "Lady Manager" wuz done by Uncle Sam's over-politeness to the sect, and I don't know as Josiah wuz to blame. You would think by the name that them ladies wuz a-settin' in rows of gilded chairs, a-holdin' a rosy in their hands.
But, in fact, amongst them female managers there wuz one hard-workin' doctor and lawyer, real-estate agents, journalists, editors, merchants, two cotton planters, teachers, artists, farmers, and a cattle queen.
And you'd think to hear it talked on that there wuz only eight ladies at large amongst 'em—that the rest on 'em wuz kinder shet up and hampered. But you'd git that idee out of your head after one look in that Woman's Buildin'. You'd think that not only the hull board of Lady Managers wuz at large, but that every female woman the hull length and breadth of our country not only wuz at large, but the wimmen of the hull world. Why, connected with this great work is not only the hull caboodle of our own wimmen, fur or near—American wimmen, every one on 'em a queen, or will be when she gits her rights; besides them wimmen, the Queen of England's daughter, the Princess Christian, is at the head of the British wimmen at the Fair.
And Queen Victoria herself has sent over some things, amongst 'em them napkins of hern, spun and wove by her own hands.
What a lesson for snobbish young ladies, who would think it lowerin' to hem a napkin! What would they think to tackle 'em in the flax? And then there wuz a hat made by England's Queen, and gin to her grand-daughter; and there wuz six pictures painted by her, original sketches from nater. One view wuz from the Queen's own room at Balmoral.
And then the Princess of Wales sent a chair of carved walnut, upholstered with leather, all the work of her own hands.
What another lesson that is to our lazy, fashionable girls! And Princess Maud of Wales sent a embroidered piano stool. And Princess Louise—Miss Lorne that now is—and Princess Beatrice sent the work of their own brains and hands.
I guess queens have always made a practice of workin'.
Why, I see there—and I could have wept when I seen it if I'd had the time—an elegant bedquilt made by poor Mary Queen of Scots. She sot the last stitches in it the day before her death.
What queer stitches them must have been—Agony and Remorse a-twistin' the thread in the needle.
And then there wuz a piece of embroidery by Queen Marie Antoinette. What queer stitches them must have been, if she could have seen the End!
And then there wuz a portrait of Maria de Medici, Queen of France, made by herself.
And then there wuz a Bible presented by Queen Anne to the Moravian Church of New York, and a Bible of Princess Christian's.
The fine needlework of the wimmen of Greece makes a splendid show. The Queen of Greece is at the head of their commission.
The Queen of Italy goes ahead of all the other monarchs; she shows her own private collection of lace handkerchiefs, and neckties, and mantillys, and so forth. And even her crown laces—them beautiful laces that droop down over her regal head-dress when she sets with her crown on, and her sceptre held out in her hand.
The Queen of Belgium is at the head of their exposition. And the German commission is headed by a Princess.
Wall, you see from what I have said that there wuz a great variety of Queens a-showin' off in that buildin'; and as for Baronnesses, and Duchesses, and Ladies, etc., etc.—why, they wuz as common there as clover in a field of timothy. You felt real familiar with 'em.
The reception-room of Mrs. Palmer, the beautiful President of the Woman's Committee, is a fittin' room for the presidin' genius.
All along the walls below the ceilin' runs a design of roses, scattered and grouped with exquisite taste. Miss Agnes Pitman, of Cincinnati, decorated that room.
In Mrs. Palmer's office is a wonderful table donated by the wimmen of Pennsylvania.
In that table is cedar from Lebanon, oak from the yoke of Liberty Bell, oak from the good old ship Constitution, from Washington's headquarters at Valley Forge, and wood from other noted places.
And none of the woods wuz ever put to better use than now, to hold the records of woman's Aspirations and Success in 1893.
The ceilin' of the New York room wuz designed by Dora Keith Wheeler, and is beautiful and effective. And the room is full of objects of beauty and use.
The gorgeous President's chair from Mexico is a sight; and so to me wuz the chair in the Kentucky room, three hundred years old, that used to be sot in by old Elder Brewster, of Plymouth.
Good old creeter! if he could have been moved offen that rock of hisen three hundred years ago, into this White City, he would have fell out of that chair in a fit—I most know he would.
And then there wuz a silk flag made by General Sheridan's mother when she wuz eighty years old, and a group of dolls dressed in costooms illustrating American history.
And there wuz a shirt of old Peter Stuyvesent's and a baby dress of De Witt Clinton's.
I never mistrusted that he wuz ever a baby till I seen that dress. I'd always thought on him as the first Governor of New York.
And speakin' of babys—why, I wuz jest a-lookin' at that dress when I met Miss Job Presley, of Loontown.
And I sez, almost the first thing, "Where is your baby?"
And she sez, "It is in the Babys' Buildin'. I have got a check for her—one for her, and one for my umbrell." And she showed 'em to me.
"Wall," sez I, "that is a good, noble idee to rest mothers' tired arms; but it must make you feel queer."
And she said, as she put the checks back into her portmoney, "That it did make her feel queer as a dog."
Wall, there wuz a table from Pennsylvania, containin' more than two thousand pieces of native wood; and there wuz a Scotchwoman with her good old spinnin'-wheel, and a Welsh girl a-weavin' cloth.
And inventions of females of all kinds, from a toboggan slide, and a system of irrigation, and models of buildin's of all kinds, to a stock car.
Why, the very elevator you rode up to the ruff garden on wuz made by a woman.
And then there wuz cotton raised and ginned by wimmen of the South, and nets by the wimmen of New Jersey, and fruit raised by the wimmen of California—the most beautiful fruit I ever sot my eyes on, and wine made by her, too.
(I could have wept when I see that, but presoom it wuz for sickness.)
And from Colorado there wuz tracin's of minin' surveys. Wimmen a-findin' out things hid in the bowels of the earth! O good land! the idee on't!
And engravin's and etchin's done by wimmen way back to 1581.
And in stamped leather, wall decoration, furniture, it wuz a sight to see the noble doin's of my sect; and a exhibit that done my soul good wuz from Belva Lockwood, admittin' wimmen to practise in the Supreme Court. That wuz better than leather work, though that is worthy, and wuz more elevatin' to my sect than the elevator.
The British exhibit is arranged splendidly to show off wimmen's noble work in charity, education, manafacture, art, literature, etc., and amongst their patents is one for a fire-escape, and one to extract gold from base metals. Both of these are good idees, as there can't anybody dispute.
Another exhibit there that appeals strong to the feelin' heart wuz Kate Marsdon's Siberian leper village.
She is a nurse of the Red Cross, and her heart ached with pity for them wretched lepers, in their dretful lonely huts in the forests of Siberia.
She went herself to see their awful condition, and tried to help 'em; she raised money herself for horsepitals and nurses.
Here is a model of the village, with church, horsepital, schoolhouse, store, and cottages for them that are able to work.
Here is the saddle she wore durin' her long, dretful journey to Siberia, and the knife she carried, and some of the miserable, hard black bread she had to eat.
Here are letters to her from Queen Victoria, and the Empress of Russia.
But a Higher Power writ to her, writ on her heart, and went with her acrost the dark fields of snow and ice.
Wall, after lookin' at everything under the sun, from a Lion's Head, by Rosa Bonhuer, to a piece of bead-work by a Injun, and every queer and beautiful Japan thing you ever thought on, or ever didn't think on, and everything else under the sun, moon, and stars, that wuz ever made by a woman—and there is no end to 'em—we went up into the ruff garden, where, amidst flowers, and fountains, and fresh air, happy children wuz a-playin', with birds and butterflies a-flyin' about 'em over their heads.
The birds couldn't git out, nor the children either, for up fifteen feet high a wire screen wuz stretched along, coverin' the hull beautiful garden. Nothin' could git in or out of it but the sweet air and the sunshine.
Oh, what a good idee! You could see that the Woman's Buildin' wuz full of beautiful, practical idees, from the ground floor to the very top; as you could see plain by this that the children wuz thought on and cared for, from the bottom to the top of this palace. Some say that wimmen soarin' out in art and business makes 'em hard and ontender; you can see that this is a plain falsehood jest by walkin' once through the Woman's Buildin'.
If ever wimmen soared out in art and business, and genius, and philanthropy, and education, and religion, she does here; and from the floor to the ruff is the highest signs of her tenderness for the children, and all weak and helpless ones.
Oh, what emotions I had in that buildin', and of what a immense size! Some of the time I got lost and by the side of myself, a-thinkin' such deep and high thoughts about the World's Fair, and wimmen, etc., and they wuz so fur-reachin', too; it wuz a sight.
For I knew on that openin' day, when the hammer struck that marvellous golden nail, and this world of treasures opened at the signal—I knew that the echo of that blow wuzn't a-goin' to die out on Lake Michigan. I knew that at its echo old Prejudice, and Custom, and Might wuz a-goin' to skulk back and hide their hoary heads; and Young Progress, and Equality, and Right wuz a-goin' to advance and take their places.
Stiflin', encumberin' veils wuz a-goin' to fall from the sad eyes of the wimmen of the East. Chains wuz a-goin' to fall from the delicate wrists of the wimmen of the West.
I hailed that sound as helpin' forward the era of Love, Peace, goodwill to men and wimmen.
Yes, it wuz a happy hour for her who was once Smith, when man, in the shape of President Cleveland, pressed the button with his thumb. And woman, in the form of Bertha Honore Palmer, drove that nail home with a hammer.
Josiah thought it ort to been the other way. He sez, "That men wuz so used to hammer and nails;" and he sez, and stuck to it, that, "No woman livin' ever druv a nail home without splittin' her own nail in the effort, and bendin' the nail she driv sideways."
But I sot him down in my mind as representin' Old Prejudice, and I did not dain a reply to him. Only I merely said—
"Wall, she did drive the nail in straight, and she clinched it solid with the golden words of her address."
Yes, Mrs. Palmer has stood up on a high mount durin' the hard years past since the Fair wuz thought on.
She has stood up so high that she could see things hid from them on the ground.
She could see over the hull world, and could see that, like little children of one family, the nations wuz all havin' their own separate work to do to help their Pa's and Ma's—their Pa Progress, and Grandpa Civilization, and their Ma and Grandma Love and Humanity.
She could see that some of the children wuz dark complexioned, and some lighter, and some kinder yeller favored, and some wuz big, and some wuz small.
They differed in looks and behavior, as every big family will, and she could see that they had their little squabbles together, a-quarrelin' among themselves over their possessions, their toys and their rights—they wuz jealous of each other, and greedy, as children will be; and they had their perplexities, and their deep troubles, and their vexations, as children must have in this world, and some wuz fractious, and some wuz balky, and some wuz good dispositioned, and some wuz cross and mean, and had to be spanked more or less.
But she could see from her sightly place that the hull of the children wuz a-movin' on, some slower and some faster, movin' on, and a-gittin' into line, and a-fallin' into step, to the music of the future.
She could see, and she has seen from the first minute she wuz lifted up and looked off over the world, that this gatherin' of all the children together, a-showin' the best they had done, or could do, wuz a-goin' to help the hull family along more than tongue could tell, or mind could conceive of.
She could see that it wuz encouragin' the good children to do still better. Allowin' the smart ones to show off their smartness to the best advantage. Awakenin' a spirit of helpful emulation in the more backward and sluggish of 'em.
Yes, the light from this big house-warmin' she knew would penetrate and glow into the darkest corners of the earth, and, like a great warm sun, bring forth a glowin' and never-endin' harvest of blessed results.
The hull family wuz a-doin' first rate, and their Pa and Ma wuz proud enough of 'em.
And they felt well, for they knew that they wuz advancin' rapid, and with quick steps and with happy hearts.
And when she looked way back, and watched the long procession a-defilin' along, some a-walkin' swift and some a-laggin' back with slower, more burdened footsteps (chains of different kinds a-draggin' on 'em)—
When she see the dark shadders of the past behind 'em—the dretful shapes of ignorance and evil a-lurkin' in the heavy blackness from which they wuz emergin'—her tender heart ached with sympathy.
But when she looked fur off, fur off, ahead on 'em the gole that they wuz a-settin' out for, she had to almost lift her hands and hide her eyes from the dazzlin' glory.
It most blinded her, so bright it wuz, and so golden the rays streamed out.
Equal rights, Freedom for all, Love, Peace, Joy. I spoze she see a sight.
Her face shone!
But to resoom: Josiah wuz dretful interested in the Agricultural display of the ladies of Iowa, and it wuz interestin' to look at.
On one end is panels of pansies all made out of kernels of corn, so nateral that you almost wanted to pick 'em off and make a posey of 'em.
On one of the other walls is a row of wimmen's heads done in corn; the hair is done in corn silks, and their clothes out of the husks.
And then there is a border made of corn, illustratin' the story of corn in Greek Mythology.
There is a picture called the Water Carrier—a woman made of different kinds of corn, jest as nateral as life, and the landscape round her made of grasses, and trees of sorghum, and the frame is made of ears of corn.
Josiah wuz crazy to have one to home. Sez he, "Samanthy, I am bound to have your picture took in corn, it is so cheap." Sez he, "Ury and I could do it some rainy day, and how you would treasure it!" sez he.
Sez he, "I could make your hair out of white silk grass, and your face out of red pop-corn mostly." Sez he, "Of course, to make you life size it would take a big crop of corn. I should judge," sez he, "that it would take about two bushels to make your waist ribbon; but I wouldn't begretch it."
Sez I, "If you want to make me happy in corn, Josiah Allen, take it to the mill and grind it into samp or good fine meal. You and Ury can't bring happiness to me by paintin' me in corn, so dismiss the thought to once, for I will not be took."
"Yes, break it up," sez he bitterly; "you always do, if I branch out into anything uneek."
It wuz some time before I could quiet him down.
The display by Norway and Sweden is very complete, showin' the work of the lower and upper classes, laces, and embroideries, etc., etc.
And so they wuz from every other nation of the Globe. It fairly makes my brain reel now, to think of the wonder and the glory of 'em.
Wall, towards the last we went to see the model kitchen. And Miss Plank, who had been off with some friends, jined us here, and she wuz happy here, as happy as a queen on her throne; and Josiah, and I thought he richly deserved it, in the restaurant attached, he eat such a lunch as only a hungry man can eat, cooked jest as good as vittles can be, and all done by wimmen. Why, Miss Rorer herself, that I have kep (in book form) on my buttery shelf for years, wuz here in the body, a-learnin' folks to cook. That is sayin' enough for the vittles to them that knows her (in book form).
There wuz every appliance and new-fangled invention to help wimmen cook, and do her work, and every old-fangled one. Miss Plank hunted hard to find sunthin' to make better pancakes than hern, but couldn't.
But it wuz a sight—a sight, the things we see there.
Wall, we spent the hull of the day here—never stepped our feet outside, and didn't want to, or at least I didn't.
And as Night softly onrolled her mantilly, previous to drawin' it over her face and goin' to sleep, we reluctantly turned our feet away from this beautiful, sacred place, and went home on the cars. And didn't the bed feel good? And didn't Sleep come like a sweet, consolin' friend and lay her hand on my gray hair and weary fore-top jest as lovin' as Mother Smith ust to, and murmur in my ear, jest as soft and low as Ma Smith did, "Hush, my dear; lie still and slumber."
Wall, the next mornin'—such is the wonderful balm of onbroken sleep that any one takes in onbeknown to themselves—we felt considerable brisk.
And Josiah proposed that we should go and pay attention to the Buildin' of Liberal Arts and Manafactures that day.
Havin' had my way the day before on goin' to the home and headquarters of my sect first, I thought it wuzn't no more than right that my pardner should have his way that day as to what buildin' we should pay attention to, and he wanted to go to the biggest one next.
He said that, "When he wuz a-shearin' sheep he always wanted to tackle the biggest one first, and he felt jest so about any hard job."
I kinder wanted to go to the Art Gallery that mornin'; first wimmen, and then Art—them wuz my choices. But Love prevailed. And the feelin' that, after seein' the display that wimmen had wrought, that mebby it wuz best to go next to the largest house on the grounds, and the most liberal one.
So we sot off, after a good breakfast.
We thought we would meander kinder slow that mornin', and examine things closely. Truly we had been too much overcome by that first visit the day before to take much notice of things in particular.
When that seen had bust onto us it wuz some like a blind man comin' to his sight in the middle of a June day. He wouldn't pay any particular attention to each separate glory that made up the seen—blue sky, green fields, sunshine, white clouds, sparklin' waters, rustlin' trees, wavin' grass, roses, green fields, and so forth and so forth.
No, it would all mingle in one dazzlin' picture before his astounded eyeballs. So it had been with us, or with me, at any rate.
Now we laid out to go slower and take things in more separate—one by one, as it were; and we seemed to realize more than we had sensed it the immense—immense size of the depot, the rumble of the elevated trains overhead, and the abundance of the facilities to git into the Columbian World's Fair.
Why, there is about fifty places right there to git tickets, and ninety-six turnstiles—most a hundred! The idee!
Wall, with no casualities worth enumeratin', we found ourselves in that glorious Court of Honor, and pretty nigh that gorgeous fountain of MacMonnies. This matchless work of art occupies the place of honor amidst the incomparable group of wonders in that Court of Honor, and it deserves it. Yes, indeed! its size is immense, but it don't show it, owin' to the size of the buildin's surroundin' it.
Here in this fountain, as elsewhere at Columbus's doin's, female wimmen are put forward in the highest and loftiest places.
High up, enthroned in a mammoth boat, stately and beautiful in design, sets a impressive female figger, her face all lit up with Truth and Earnest Purpose as she towers up above the others. The boat seems to be a-goin' aginst the wind, as boats that amount to anything and git there always have in the past, and most likely will in the future. And the keen wind wuz a-blowin' hard aginst the female figger that wuz a-standin' up in front of the boat, but she didn't care; it blowed her drapery back some, but it only floated out her wings better.
She held a bugle in her hand, a-soundin' out, I should judge from her looks—
"How goes the world? I am comin' to help, but you needn't wait for me—I will overtake you!"
She wuz bound to help the old world along, as you could see by her looks.
I thought when I first looked at it that the hull thing wuz to show forth the powers of electricity. I thought that that wuz Electricity on top of that throne, and the woman in front wuz a-gazin' out fur ahead, a-tryin' to catch sight of that most wondrous New World that that strange Magician is a-goin' to sail us into. And I didn't wonder that she wuz a-gazin' so intent fur off ahead.
For we don't know no more about that strange, onknown world than Columbus did when he sot sail from Genoa.
A few strange birds have flown from it and lighted on the heads of the Discoverers, a few spars of wisdom has been washed ashore, and some strange leaves and sea-weeds, all tellin' us that they have come from a new world different from ours, and one more riz up like—more like the Immortal.
But of the hull world of wonder, it is yet to be discovered; and I thought, as I looked at it, I shouldn't wonder if they will get there—the figger on the throne wuz so impressive, and the female in front so determined.
Wisdom, and courage, and joyful hope and ardor.
Helped by 'em, borne along by 'em in the face of envy, and detraction, and bigotry, and old custom, the boat sails grandly.
"Ho! up there on the high mast! What news?"
"Light! light ahead!"
But to resoom: a-standin' up on each side of that impressive figger wuz another row of females—mebby they had oars in their hands, showin' that they wuz calculatin' to take hold and row the boat for a spell if it got stuck; and mebby they wuz poles, or sunthin'.
But I don't believe they meant to use 'em on that solitary man that stood in back end of the boat, a-propellin' it—it would have been a shame if they had.
No; I believe that they meant to help at sunthin' or ruther with them long sticks.
They wuz all a-lookin' some distance ahead, all a-seemin' bound to get where they started for.
Besides bein' gorgeous in the extreme, I took it as bein' a compliment to my sect, the way that fountain wuz laid out—ten or a dozen wimmen, and only one or two men. But after I got it all fixed out in my mind what that lofty and impressive figger meant, a bystander a-standin' by explained it all out to me.
He said that the female figger way up above the rest wuz Columbia, beautiful, strong, fearless.
And that it wuz Fame that stood at the prow with the bugle, and that it wuz Father Time at the hellum, a-guidin' it through the dangers of the centuries.
And the female figgers around Columbia's throne wuz meant for Science, Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, Music, Drama, Paintin', and Literature, all on 'em a-helpin' Columbia along in her grand pathway.
And then I see that what I had hearn wuz true, that Columbia had jest discovered Woman. Yes, the boat wuz headed directly towards Woman, who stood up one hundred feet high in front.
And I see plain that Columbia couldn't help discoverin' her if she wanted to, when she's lifted herself up so, and is showin' plain in 1893 jest how lofty and level-headed, how many-sided and yet how symmetrical she is.
There she stands (Columbia didn't have to take my word for it), there she wuz a-towerin' up one hundred feet, lofty, serene, and sweet-faced, her calm, tender eyes a-lookin' off into the new order of centuries.
And Columbia wuz a-sailin' right towards her, steered by Time, the invincible.
I see there wuz a great commotion down in the water, a-snortin', and a-plungin', and a-actin' amongst the lower order of intelligences.
But Columbia's eyes wuz clear, and calm, and determined, and Old Time couldn't be turned round by any prancin' from the powers below.
Woman is discovered.
But to resoom. This immense boat wuz in the centre, jest as it should be; and all before it and around wuz the horses of Neptune, and mermaids, and fishes, and all the mystery of the sea.
Some of the snortin' and prancin' of the horses of the Ocean, and pullin' at the bits, so's the men couldn't hardly hold 'em, wuz meant, I spoze, to represent how awful tuckerin' it is for humanity to control the forces of Nater.
Wall, of all the sights I ever see, that fountain wuz the upshot and cap sheaf; and how I would have loved to have told Mr. MacMonnies so! It would have been so encouragin' to him, and it would have seemed to have relieved that big debt of gratitude that Jonesville and America owed to him; and how I wish I could make a good cup of tea for him, and brile a hen or a hen turkey! I'd do it with a willin' mind.
I wish he'd come to Jonesville and make a all-day's visit—stay to dinner and supper, and all night if he will, and travel round through Jonesville the next day. I would enjoy it, and so would Josiah. Of course, we couldn't show off in fireworks anything to what he does, havin' nothin' but a lantern and a torchlight left over from Cleveland's campain. No; we shouldn't try to have no such doin's. I know when I am outdone.
Bime-by we stood in front of that noble statute of the Republic.
And as I gazed clost at it, and took in all its noble and serene beauty, I had emotions of a bigger size, and more on 'em, than I had had in some time.
Havin' such feelin's as I have for our own native land—discovered by Christopher Columbus, founded by George Washington, rescued, defended, and saved by Lincoln and Grant (and I could preach hours and hours on each one of these noble male texts, if I had time)—
Bein' so proud of the Republic as I have always been, and so sot on wantin' her to do jest right and soar up above all the other nations of the earth in nobility and goodness—havin' such feelin's for her, and such deep and heartfelt love and pride for my own sect—what wuz my emotions, as I see that statute riz up to the Republic in the form of a woman, when I went up clost and paid particular attention to her!
A female, most sixty-five feet tall! Why, as I looked on her, my emotions riz me up so, and seemed to expand my own size so, that I felt as if I, too, towered up so high that I could lock arms with her, and walk off with her arm in arm, and look around and enjoy what wuz bein' done there in the great To-Day for her sect, and mine; and what that sect wuz a-branchin' out and doin' for herself.
But, good land! it wuz only my emotions that riz me up; my common sense told me that I couldn't walk locked arms with her, for she wuz built out in the water, on a stagin' that lifted her up thirty or forty feet higher.
And her hands wuz stretched out as if to welcome Columbia, who wuz a-sailin' right towards her. On the right hand a globe was held; the left arm extended above her head, holdin' a pole.
I didn't know what that pole wuz for, and I didn't ask; but she held it some as if she wuz liable to bring it down onto the globe and gin it a whack. And I didn't wonder.
It is enough to make a stun woman, or a wooden female, mad, to see how the nation always depicters wimmen in statutes, and pictures, and things, as if they wuz a-holdin' the hull world in the palm of their hand, when they hain't, in reality, willin' to gin 'em the right that a banty hen has to take care of their own young ones, and protect 'em from the hoverin' hawks of intemperance and every evil.
But mebby she didn't have no idee of givin' a whack at the globe; she wuz a-holdin' it stiddy when I seen her, and she looked calm, and middlin' serene, and as beautiful, and lofty, and inspirin' as they make.
She wuz dressed well, and a eagle had come to rest on her bosom, symbolical, mebby, of how wimmen's heart has, all through the ages, been the broodin' place and the rest of eagle man, and her heart warmed by its soft, flutterin' feathers, and pierced by its cruel beak.
The crown wore on top of her noble forehead wuz dretful appropriate to show what wuz inside of a woman's head; for it wuz made of electric lights—flashin' lights, and strange, wrought of that mysterious substance that we don't understand yet.
But we know that it is luminous, fur-reachin' in its rays, and possesses almost divine intelligence.
It sheds its pure white light a good ways now, and no knowin' how much further it is a-goin' to flash 'em out—no knowin' what sublime and divine power of intelligence it will yet grow to be, when it is fully understood, and when it has the full, free power to branch out, and do all that is in it to do.
Jest like wimmen's love, and divine ardor, and holy desires for a world's good—jest exactly.
It wuz a good-lookin' head-dress.
Her figger wuz noble, jest as majestic and perfect as the human form can be. And it stood up there jest as the Lord meant wimmen to stand, not lookin' like a hour-glass or a pismire, but a good sensible waist on her, jest as human creeters ort to have.
I don't know what dressmakers would think of her. I dare presoom to say they would look down on her because she didn't taper. And they would probable be disgusted because she didn't wear cossets.
But to me one of the greatest and grandest uses of that noble figger wuz to stand up there a-preachin' to more than a million wimmen daily of the beauty and symmetry of a perfect form, jest as the Lord made it, before it wuz tortured down into deformity and disease by whalebones and cosset strings.
Imagine that stately, noble presence a-scrunchin' herself in to make a taper on herself—or to have her long, graceful, stately draperies cut off into a coat-tail bask—the idee!
Here wuz the beauty and dignity of the human form, onbroken by vanity and folly. And I did hope my misguided sect would take it to heart.
And of all the crowds of wimmen I see a-standin' in front of it admirin' it, I never see any of 'em, even if their own waists did look like pismires, but what liked its looks.
Till one day I did see two tall, spindlin', fashionable-lookin' wimmen a-lookin' at it, and one sez to the other:
"Oh, how sweet she would look in elbow-sleeves and a tight-fittin' polenay!"
"Yes," sez the other; "and a bell skirt ruffled almost to the waist, and a Gainsboro hat, and a parasol."
"And high-heel shoes and seven-button gloves," sez the other.
And I turned my back on them then and there, and don't know what other improvements they did want to add to her—most likely a box of French candy, a card-case, some eye-glasses, a yeller-covered novel, and a pug dog. The idee!
And as I wended on at a pretty good jog after hearin' 'em, I sez to myself—
"Some wimmen are born fools, some achieve foolishness, and some have foolishness thrust on 'em, and I guess them two had all three of 'em."
I said it to myself loud enough so's Josiah heard me, and he sez in joyful axents—
"I am glad, Samantha, that you have come to your senses at last, and have a realizin' sense of your sect's weaknesses and folly."
And I wuz that wrought up with different emotions that I wuz almost perfectly by the side of myself, and I jest said to him—
I wouldn't argy with him. I wuz fearful excited a-contemplatin' the heights of true womanhood and the depths of fashionable folly that a few—a very few—of my sect yet waded round in.
But after I got quite a considerable distance off, I instinctively turned and looked up to the face of that noble creeter, the Republic.
And I see that she didn't care what wuz said about her.
Her face wuz sot towards the free, fresh air of the future—the past wuz behind her. The winds of Heaven wuz fannin' her noble fore-top, her eyes wuz lookin' off into the fur depths of space, her lips wuz wreathed with smiles caught from the sun and the dew, and the fire of the golden dawn.
She wuz riz up above the blame or praise—the belittlin', foolish, personal babblin' of contemporary criticism.
Her head wuz lifted towards the stars.
But to resoom, and continue on.
After we reluctantly left off contemplatin' that statute of Woman, we wended along to the buildin' of Manafactures and Liberal Arts, that colossial structure that dwarfs all the other giants of the Exposition.
This is the largest buildin' ever constructed by any exposition whatsoever.
It covers with its galleries forty acres of land—it is as big as the hull of Elam Bobbet's farm—and Elam gets a good livin' offen that farm for him and Amanda and eight children, and he raises all kinds of crops on it, besides cows, and colts, and hens, grass land and pasture, and a creek goes a-runnin' through it, besides a piece of wood lot.
And then, think to have one buildin' cover a place as large as Elam's farm! Why, jest the idee on't would, I believe, stunt Amanda Bobbet, or else throw her into spazzums.
For she has always felt dretful proud of their farm, and the size of it; she has always said that it come hard on Elam to do all the work himself on such a big farm. She has acted haughty.
And then, if I could have took Amanda by the hand, and sez—
"Here, Amanda, is one house that covers as much ground as your hull farm!"
I believe she would have fell right down in a coniption fit.
But Amanda wuzn't there; I had only my faithful pardner to share my emotions, as I went into one of its four great entrances, under its triumphal arches, each one bein' 40 feet wide and 80 feet high—as long as from our house to the back pasture.
The idee! the idee!
Why, to change my metafor a little about the bigness of this buildin', so's to let foreign nations git a little clearer idee of the size on't, I will state—
This one house is bigger than all those of Jonesville, and Loontown, and Shackville, and Zoar. It is the biggest house on this planet. Whether they have got any bigger ones in Mars, or Jupiter, or Saturn, I don't know; but I will say this—if they have, and the Marites, and Jupiterians, and Satens, are made up as we be, and calculate to go through the buildin's, I am sorry for their legs.
It faces the lake, in plain view of all admirin' mariners, the long row of arches, and columns; is ornamented beyend anything that Jonesville ever drempt of, or Zoar, and a gallery fifty feet wide runs all round the buildin'; and from this gallery runs eighty-six smaller galleries, so nothin' hinders folks from lookin' down into the big hall below, and seein' the gorgeous seen of the Exposition, and the immense throng of people admirin' it.
As Josiah and I wuz a-wendin' along on the gallery a-frontin' the lake, I heard a man—he looked some like a minister, too—say to another one, sez he, "The style of this buildin' is Corinthian."
And I spoke right up, bein' determined that Josiah and I too should be took for what we wuz—good, Bible-readin' Methodists.
I said to Josiah, but loud enough so that the man should hear—
"The New Testament hain't got a better book in it than Corinthians—it is one of my favorites; I am glad that this buildin' takes after it."
He looked kinder dumfoundered, and then he looked tickled; he see that we wuz congenial, though we met only as two barks that meet on the ocean, or two night-hawks a-sailin' past each other in the woods at Jonesville.
But true it is that a good-principled person is always ready to stand by his colors.
But the crowd swept us on, and we wuz divided—he to carry his good, solid principles out-doors, and disseminate 'em under the open sky; I to carry mine inside that immense—immense buildin'.
Why, a week wouldn't do justice at all to this buildin'—you ort to come here every day for a month at least, and then you wouldn't see a half or a quarter of what is in it.
Why, to stand and look all round you, and up and down the long aisles that stretch out about you on every side, you feel some as a ant would feel a-lookin' up round it in a forest, (I mean the ant "Thou sluggard" went to, not your ma's sister.)
Fur up, fur up the light comes down through the immense skylight, so it is about like bein' out-doors, and in the night it is most as light as day, for the ark lights are so big that, if you'll believe it, there are galleries of 'em up in the chandliers, and men a-walkin' round in 'em a-fixin' the lights look like flies a-creepin' about. The idee!
And the exhibits in that buildin' are like the sands of the sea for number, and it would be harder work to count 'em if you wuz a-goin' to tackle the job, for they hain't spread out smooth, like sea sand, but are histed up into the most gorgeous and beautiful pavilions, fixed off beyend anything you ever drempt on, or read of in Arabian Nights, or anywhere else.
They wuz like towerin' palaces within a palace, and big towers all covered with wonderful exhibits, and cupalos, and peaks, and scollops, and every peak and every scollop ornamented and garnished beyend your wildest fancy.
The United States don't make such a big show as Germany duz, right acrost, but come to look clost, you'll see that she holds her own.
Why, Tiffany's and Gorham's beautiful pavilion, that rises up as a sort of a centre piece to the United States exhibit, some think are the most beautiful in the hull Exposition.
Big crowds are always standin' in front of that admirin'ly; the decoration and colorin' are perfect.
The pavilions of the different nations tower up in all their grandeur that their goverments could expend on 'em, and they rival each other in beauty; but private undertakin's show off nobly.
There wuz one man who sells stoves who has built a stove as big as a house—put electric lights in it, to show off its name, and he asks folks to step into the stove, which is a pavilion, to see what he has to sell.
And then one man—a trunk-maker—has made a glass trunk as big as a house, and shows off his exhibits there.
And take the thousands and thousands of pavilions and pagodas on every side of you, and every one of 'em filled with thousands and millions of beautiful exhibits, and you can see what a condition your head would be in after a half a day in that buildin', let alone your legs.
Some think that the German Pavilion is the most notable of any. Never wuz such iron gates seen in this country, a-towerin' up twenty feet high, and ornamented off in the most elaborate manner, and high towers crowned by their gold eagles; and high up in the back is a majestic bronze Germania. On either side, and in the centre, are other wonderful pavilions. If you go through these gates you will want to stay there a week right along, examinin' the world of objects demandin' your attention—marvellous tapestry, porcelain, paintin', statuary, furniture, hammered iron, copper, printin', lithographin', etc., and etcetry.
It wuz here that we see the Columbian diamond, a blue brilliant, the finest diamond at the Exposition.
The French pavilion is a dream of beauty. It rises up in white, marble-like beauty, not excelled by any country, it seems to me, and is filled with the very finest things to be found in the French shops, and that is sayin' the finest in the world.
Here are beautiful figgers in wax, wearin' the most magnificent dresses you ever hearn on—Papa, Mama, Grandma, Baby, and Nurse—all fitted out in clothes suitable, and the hite of beauty and elegance.
Why, in goin' through this section you can jest imagine the most beautiful and perfect things you ever hearn on in dress, furniture, jewelry, etc., etc., and multiply 'em by one hundred, and then you wouldn't figger out the result half gorgeous enough.
Why, it is insured for ten millions, and it is worth it. I wouldn't take a cent less for it—not a cent; and so I told Josiah.
Why, there is one baby's cradle worth thirty-one thousand dollars, and a vase at twenty thousand, and a parasol at two thousand five hundred, and other things accordin'—the idee!
The Gobelin tapestries that are loaned by the French Goverment are absolutely priceless.
Austria's big pavilion has her double eagles reared up over it; it stands up sixty-five feet high, and is full of splendor.
Bohemian glass in every form and shape bein' one of its best exhibits, and terry-cotty figgers, and beautiful gifts of Honor loaned by the Emperor, and etc.
And you can tell the Russian pavilion as fur as you can see it by its dark, strong architecture.
Along the outer court runs a long platform ornamented with urns and vases of hewn marble and other hard stuns, from the exile mines of Siberia.
I wondered how many tears had wet the stuns as they wuz hewn out.
But, howsumever, the Russians did well; their enamel in this exhibit is the best shown anywhere. They are dretful costly, but not any too much for the value of 'em. They don't want to cheat America, the Russians don't—they remember the past.
One giant punch-bowl of gilt enamel is claimed to be the finest thing of the kind ever done in the Empire.
Their bronzes are wonderful—there is vigor and life in 'em. A Laplander in his sledge, drawn by reindeers over the frozen sea, and a dromedary and his driver on the sandy desert, shows plain how fur the Zar's dominions extend.
A Laplander killin' a seal in a ice hole—Two horses a-goin' furiously, tryin' to drag a sleigh away from pursuin' wolves—Mounted Cossacks—Farmers ploughin' the fields—A woman ridin' a farm horse, with a long rake in her hand—
A woman standin' on tiptoe to kiss her Cossack as he bends from his saddle—A rough rider out on the steepes a-catchin' a wild horse.
After ten or twelve acres of Nymphs and Venuses in bronze, these are real refreshin' to see, and a change. And in furs and such their display is magnificent.
Russia shows eight hundred schools in the Liberal Art Department, and it is here that the beautiful pieces of embroidery made by the larger scholars for Mrs. Grover Cleveland are displayed.
No, Russia don't forgit the past.
And the display of laces in the Belgian exhibit is sunthin' to remember for a hull lifetime, and its pottery, and gems, and bronzes. And the exhibit of Switzerland, though not so large as some of the rest, is uneek. Their exhibit is all surrounded by a panorama of the Alps, the high mountains a-lookin' down into the peaceful valley, with its arts and industries.
Great Britain don't make so much show in her pavilions and in showin' off her things; but come to examine it clost, and you'll see, as is generally the case with our Ma Country, the sterling, sound qualities of solid worth.
Her immense display of furniture, jewelry, and all objects of art and industry are worth spendin' weeks over, and then you'd want to stay longer.
They don't make any attempt at display in pavilions and show winders. But in the plain, rich cases you find some of the most wonderful and gorgeous works of man.
I spoze, mebby, as is the nater of showin' off, the Ma Country felt some as if she wuz right in the family, and she and her daughter America hadn't ort to dress up and try to put on so many ornaments as the visitors.
I make a practice of that myself, to try to not dress up quite so ornamental as my company duz.
But for solid worth and display, as I say, Great Britain and the United States are where they always are—in the first rank.
But, speakin' of the visitors of the nation, if you want to git a good sight of 'em, jest stand in the clock tower, which looms up in the centre of the forty-acre buildin', as high as a Chicago house (and that is sayin' enough for hite), and you'll see all round you all the nations of the earth.
The guests of the nation occupy the place of honor, as they ort to.
Lookin' down, you see the flags of Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Austria, Japan, India, Switzerland, Persia, Mexico, etc., etc., etc.
Wall, Josiah wanted to go up to the top of the buildin' on the elevator, and though I considered it resky, I consented, and would you believe it—I don't suppose you will—but to look down from that hite, human bein's don't look much larger than flies. There they wuz, a-creepin' round in their toy-house fly-traps; it wuz a sight never to be forgot as long as Memory sets upon her high throne.
Wall, as I said, in them pavilions and gorgeous glass cases in that vast buildin' you can find everything from every country on the globe.
Everything you ever hearn on, and everything you ever didn't hearn on, from the finest lace to iron gates and fences—
From big, splendid rooms, all furnished off in the most splendid manner with the most gorgeous draperies and furniture, to a tiny gold and diamond ring for a baby, and everything else under the sun, moon, and stars, from a pill to a monument.
Pictures, and statuary, and bronzes, and every other kind of beautiful ornament, that makes you fairly stunted with admiration as you look on 'em.
At one place a silver fountain wuz sendin' up constantly a spray of the sweetest perfume, and when I first looked at it, Josiah wuz a-holdin' his bandana handkerchief under it, and he wuz a-dickerin' with the girl that stood behind it as to what such a fountain cost, and where he could git the water to run one.
Sez he, "I'd give a dollar bill to have such a stream a-runnin' through our front yard."
I hunched him, and sez I, "Keep still; don't show your ignorance. It hain't nateral water; it is manafactured."
"Wall, all water is manafactured! Dum it, the stream that runs through our beaver medder is made somehow, or most probable it wouldn't be there."
But I drawed him away and headed him up before some lovely dresses—the handsomest you ever see in your life—all trimmed with gold and pearl trimmin'. The price of that outfit wuz only twenty thousand dollars.
And when I mentioned how becomin' such a dress would become me, I see by his words and mean that he had forgot the fountain.
The demeanin' words that he used about my figger would keep females back from matrimony, if they knew on 'em.
But I won't tell. No, indeed!
And then there wuz all sorts of art work on enamel and metal, and all sorts of dazzlin' jewelry that wuz ever made or thought on, and all the silverware that wuz ever hearn or drempt of—why, jest one little service of seven pieces cost twenty thousand dollars.
In Tiffany's gorgeous display wuz a case that illustrated the arts in Ireland in the fourteenth century.
They said that it contained a tooth of St. Patrick. Mebbe it wuz his tooth; I can't dispute it, never havin' seen his gooms.
Then there wuz a Latin book of the eighth century, containin' the four gospels; and in another wuz St. Peter's cross, they said. Mebby it wuz Peter's!
And every kind of silk fabric that wuz ever made—raw silk, jest as the worm left it when she sot up as a butterfly, and jest what man has done to it after that—spinnin', weavin', dyein'—up to the time when it appears in the finest ribbon, and glossiest silk, and crapes, and gauzes, and velvets, and knit goods of every kind, and etc., and so forth.
And every kind of cloth, and felt, and woollen, and carpets enough to carpet a path clear from Chicago to Jonesville for me and Josiah to go home in a triumphal procession, if they had felt like it.
In front of the French section I see another statute of the Republic.
She wuz a-settin' down. Poor creeter, she wuz tired; and then agin she had seen trouble—lots of it.
Her left arm was a-restin' firm on a kind of a square block, with "The Rights of Man" carved on it, and half hidin' them words wuz a sword, which she also held in her left hand.
The rights of Man and a sword wuz held in one hand, jest as they always have been.
But, poor creeter! her right arm wuz gone—her good right hand wuz nowhere to be seen.
I don't like to talk too glib about the judgments of Providence. The bad boys don't always git drownded when they go fishin' Sundays—they often git home with long strings of trout, and lick the good boys on their way home from Sunday-school. Such is real life, too oft.
But I couldn't help sayin' to Josiah—
"Mebby if they had put onto that little monument she holds, 'The Rights of Man and Woman'—mebby she wouldn't had her arm took off."
But anyway, judgment or not, anybody could see with one eye how one-sided, and onhandy, and cramped, and maimed, and everything a Republic is who has the use of only one of her arms. Them that run could read the great lesson—
"Male and female created He them."
Both arms are needed to clasp round the old world, and hold it firm—Justice on one side, Love on the other.
I felt sorry for the Republic—sorry as a dog.
But that wuz the first time I see her. The next time she had had her arm put on.
I guess Uncle Sam done it. That old man is a-gittin' waked up, and Eternal Right is a-hunchin' him in the sides.
She wuz a-holdin' that right arm up towards the Heavens; the fingers wuz curved a little—they seemed to be begenin' to sunthin' up in the sky to come down and bless the world.
Mebby it wuz Justice she wuz a-callin' on to come down and watch over the rights of wimmen. Anyway, she looked as well agin with both arms on her.
Amongst the wonders of beauty in the French exhibit we see that vase of Gustave Dore's. That attracted crowds of admirers the hull time; it stood up fifteen feet high, and every inch of it wuz beautiful enough for the very finest handkerchief pin!
There wuz hundreds of figgers from the animal and vegetable kingdom, and Mythology—cupids, nymphs, birds, and butterflies disportin' themselves in the most graceful way, and such beautiful female figgers!—Venuses as beautiful as dreams, and over all, and through all, wuz a-trailin' the rich clusters of the vine.
The figgers seemed at first sight to kind o' encourage wine-makin' and wine-drinkin'. But look clost, and you'd see on one side, workin' his stiddy way up through the fairy landscape, up through the gay revellers, a venemous serpent wuz a-creepin'.
He wuz bound to be there, and Venus or Nymph, or any of 'em that touched that foamin' wine, had to be stung by his deadly venoms. Mr. Dore made that plain.
Wall, we tried to the best of our ability to not slight a single country, but I'm afraid we did; I tried to act the part of a lady and pay attention to the hull on 'em, but I'm afraid that fifty or sixty countries had reason to feel that we slighted 'em; but I hope that this will explain matters to 'em.
I felt that I hadn't done justice to our own country and our Ma Country, not at all; but when you jest think how big the United States is, and how many firms try to show off in every county of every State—why, it tires anybody jest to think on't; and Great Britain too; for, as I thought, what good duz visitors do when their brain is a-reelin' under their head-dresses, and stove-pipe hats! And truly that wuz our condition before we fairly begun to go through the countries.
Beautiful works of art—marvellous exhibits to the right of us, to the left of us, and before us and behind us—forty-five acres on 'em. What wuz two small pair of eyes and four ears to set up aginst this colossial and imeasureable show!
We went till we wuz ready to drop down, and then Josiah sez, "Less take the rest of the grandeur for granted, and less go somewhere and git a cup of tea, and a nip of sunthin' to eat."
I said sunthin' about hurtin' the different countries feelin's by not payin' attention to 'em.
And he sez, "Dum it all, I don't know as it would make 'em any happier to have two old folks die on their hands; and I feel, Samantha, that the end is a-drawin' near," sez he.
He did look real bad. So we went to the nearest place and got a cup of tea, and rested a spell, and when we come back we kinder left the Manafactures part, and tackled the Liberal part, and I declare that wuz the best of all by fur.
That wuz enough to lift up anybody's morals, and prop 'em up strong, to see how much attention is paid to education and trainin' right from the nursery up—devolipin' the mind and the body.
It wuz some as if the Manafactures part tended to the house and clothin', and this part tended to the livin' soul that inhabited it.
It wuz dretful interestin' to see everything about devolipin' the strength and muscle in gymnasiums, skatin', rowin', boatin', and every other way. Food supply and its distribution, school kitchens. How to make buildin's the best way for health and comfort for workin'men, school-housen, churches, and etc. How to heat and ventilate housen, how to keep the sewers and drains all right, and how neccessary that is! Some folkses back doors are a abomination when their front doors are full of ornament.
All kinds of instruction in infant schools, kindergartens; domestic and industrial trainin' for girls, models for teachin' and cookery, housework, dressmakin', etc.; how neccessary this is to turn out girls for real life, so much better than to have 'em know Greek, but not know a potatoe from a turnip; to understand geology, but not recognize a shirt gusset from a baby's bib!
Books, literature, examples of printin' paper, bindin', religion, natural sciences, fine arts, school-books, newspapers, library apparatus, publications by Goverment, etc.
And wuzn't it a queer coincidence? that right where books wuz all round me, right while my eyes wuz sot on 'em—
I hearn a voice I recognized. It wuz a-givin' utterance to the words I had heard so often—
"Two dollars and a half for cloth—three for sheep, and four for morocco."
I turned, and there she wuz; there stood Arvilly Lanfear. She wuz in front of a good, meek-lookin' freckled woman, a-canvassin' her.
Or, that is, she wuzn't exactly applyin' the canvas to her, but she wuz a-preparin' her for it.
It seemed that she had been introduced to her, and wuz a-goin' to call on her the next day with the book.
Sez I, advancin' onto her, "Arvilly Lanfear, did you really git here alive and well?"
"Wall," sez she, "I shouldn't have got here, most likely, if I wuzn't alive, and I never wuz so well in my life, in body and in sperits. Hain't it glorious here?" sez she.
"Yes," sez I; and, sez I, "Arvilly, did you walk afoot all the way here?"
And then she went on and related her experience.
She said that she wuz five weeks on her way, and made money all the way over and above her expenses. She walked the most of the way.
She wuz now a-boardin' with a old acquaintance at five dollars a week, and she canvassed three days in the week, and come three days to the Fair, and more'n paid her way now.
Sez I, "Arvilly, you look better than I ever knew you to look; you look ten years younger, and I don't know but 'leven."
Sez I, "Your face has got a good color, and your eyes are bright." Sez I, "You hain't enjoyin' sech poor health as you did sometimes in Jonesville, be you?"
Sez she, "I never wuz so well before in my life!"
Sez I, "You've somehow got a different look onto you, Arvilly." Sez I, "Somehow, you look more meller and happy."
"I be happy!" sez she.
Sez I, "I spoze you are still a-sellin' the same old book, the 'Wild, Wicked, and Warlike Deeds of Man'?"
She kinder blushed, and, sez she, "No; I have took up a new work."
"What is it?" sez I, for she seemed to kinder hang back from tellin', but finally she sez, "It is the 'Peaceful, Prosperous, and Precious Performances of Man.'"
"Wall," sez I, "I'm glad on't. Men should be walked round and painted on all sides to do justice to 'em.
"'Im real glad that you're a-goin' to canvas on his better side, Arvilly."
"Yes," sez she, "men are amiable and noble creeters when you git to understand 'em."
The change in her mean and her sentiments almost made my brain reel under my slate-colored straw bunnet, and my knees fairly trembled under my frame.
And, sez I, "Arvilly, explain to a old and true friend the change that has come onto you."
So we withdrew our two selves to a sheltered nook, and there the story wuz onfolded to me in perfect confidence, and it must be kep. I will tell it in my own words, for she rambles a good deal in her talk, and that is, indeed, a fault in female wimmen.
Thank Heaven! I hain't got it.
It seems that when she sot out for the World's Fair with the "Wild, Wicked, and Warlike Deeds of Man," she had only a dollar in her pocket, but hoards and hoards of pluck and patience.
She canvassed along, a-walkin' afoot—some days a-makin' nothin' and bein' clear discouraged, and anon makin' a little sunthin', and then agin makin' first rate for a day or two, as the way of agents is.
Till one day about sundown—she hadn't seen a house for milds back—she come to a little house a-standin' back on the edge of a pleasant strip of woods. A herd of sleek cows and some horses and some sheep wuz in pastures alongside of it, and a little creek of sparklin' water run before it, and she went over a rustic bridge, up through a pretty front yard, into a little vine-shaded porch, and rapped at the door.
Nobody come; she rapped agin; nobody made a appearance.
But anon she hearn a low groanin' and cryin' inside.
So, bein' at the bottom one of the kindest-hearted creeters in the world, but embittered by strugglin' along alone, Arvilly opened the door and went in. She went through a little parlor into the back room, and wuzn't that a sight that met her eyes?
A good-lookin' man of about Arvilly's age laid there all covered with blood and fainted entirely away, and on his breast wuz throwed the form of a little lame girl all covered with blood, and a-cryin' and a-groanin' as if her heart would break.
She thought her Pa wuz dead.
It seemed that he had cut his head dretfully with a tree branch a-fallin' onto it, and had jest made out to git to the house before he fainted; and his little girl, havin' never seen a faint, thought it wuz death; and it is its first cousin.
Wall, here wuz a place for Arvilly's patience, and pluck, and faculty, to soar round in.
The first thing, she took up the little lame girl in her arms—a sweet little creeter of five summers—and sot her in a chair, and comforted her by tellin' her that her Pa would be all right in a few minutes.
And she then, (and I don't spoze that she had ever been nigher to a good-lookin' man than from three to five feet,) but she had to lift up his head and wash the blood from the clusterin' brown hair, with some threads of silver in it, and tear her own handkerchief into strips to bind up his wounds; and she had some court-plaster with her and other neccessaries, and some good intment, and she is handy at everything, Arvilly is.
Wall, by the time that a pair of good-lookin' blue eyes opened agin on this world, Arvilly had got the pretty little girl all washed and comforted, and a piller under his head; and the minute his blue eyes opened a spark flew out of 'em right from that piller that kindled up a simultanous one in the cool gray orbs of Arvilly.
Wall, although he had his senses, he couldn't move or be moved for a day and a half. He didn't want nobody sent for, and Arvilly dassent leave 'em alone to go; so as a Christian she had to take holt and take care on 'em.
Wall, Arvilly always wuz, and always will be, I spoze, as good a housekeeper and cook as ever wuz made.
So I spoze it wuz a sight to see how quick she got that disordered settin'-room to lookin' cozy and home-like, and a good supper on a table drawed up to the side of the little lame girl.
And I spoze that it wuz one of the strangest experiences that ever took place on this planet, and I d'no as they ever had any stranger ones in Mars or Jupiter. Arvilly had to kinder feed the invalid man, Cephus Shute by name—had to kinder kneel down by him and hold the plate and teacup, and help him to eat.
And, strange to say, Arvilly wuzn't skairt a mite—she ruther enjoyed it of the two; for before two days wuz over she owned up that if there wuz any extra good bits she'd ruther he'd have 'em than to have 'em herself.
The world is full of miracles; Sauls breathin' out vengeance are dropped down senseless by the power of Heaven.
Pilgrim Arvilly's displayin' abroad the "Wild, Wicked, and Warlike Deeds of Man" are struck down helpless and mute by the power of Love.
In less than three days she had promised to marry Cephus in the Fall.
He had a good little property—his wife had been dead two years. His hired girl—a shiftless creeter—had flown the day Arvilly got there, and nothin' stood in the way of marriage and happiness.
Arvilly's heart yearned over the little girl that had never walked a step, and she loved her Pa, and the Pa loved her.
When she sot off from there a week later—for she wuz bound to see the Fair, and quiltin' had to be done, and clothin' made up before marriage, no matter how much Cephus plead for haste—he had got well enough to carry her ten milds to the cars, and she had come the rest of the way by rail; and she said, bein' kinder sick of canvassin' for that old book, she had tackled this new one, and wuz havin' real good luck with it.
Wall, I wuz tickled enough for Arvilly, and I made up my mind then and there to give her a good linen table-cloth and a pair of new woollen sheets for a weddin' present, and I subscribed for the "Precious Performances" on the spot. I didn't spoze that I should care much about readin' "The Peaceful, Prosperous, and Precious Performances of Man"—
But I bought it to help her along. I knew that she would have to buy her "true so" (that is French, and means weddin' clothes), and I thought every little helped; but she said that it wuz "A be-a-u-tiful book, so full of man's noble deeds."
"Wall," sez I, "you know that I always told you that you run men too much."
"But," sez she, "I never drempt that men wuz such lovely creeters."
"Oh, wall," sez I, "as for that, men have their spells of loveliness, jest like female mortals, and their spells of actin', like the old Harry."
"Oh, no," sez she; "they are a beautiful race of bein's, almost perfect."
"Wall," sez I, "I hope your opinion will hold out." But I don't spoze it will. Six months of married life—dry days, and wet ones, meals on time, and meals late, insufficient kindlin' wood, washin' days, and cleanin' house will modify her transports; but I wouldn't put no dampers onto her.
I merely sez, "Oh, yes, Arvilly, men are likely creeters more'n half the time, and considerable agreeable."
"Agreeable!" sez she; "they're almost divine." Arvilly always wuz most too ramptious in everything she undertook; she never loved to wander down the sweet, calm plains of Megumness, as I do.
And then I spoze Cephus made everything of her, and it wuz a real rarity to her to be made on and flattered up by a good-lookin' man.
But well he might make of her—he will be doin' dretful well to git Arvilly; she's a good worker and calculator, and her principles are like brass and iron for soundness; and she's real good-lookin', too, now—looks 'leven years younger, or ten and a half, anyway.
But jest as Arvilly and I wuz a-withdrawin' ourselves from each other, I sez,
"Arvilly, have you been to the Fair Sundays?"
"No," sez she; "I didn't lay out to, for I could go week days. 'The Precious Performances' yields money to spare to take me there week days, and you know that I only wanted it open for them that couldn't git there any day but Sundays. And also," sez she honestly,
"I talked a good deal, bein' so mad at the Nation for makin' such dretful hard work partakin' of a gnat, and then swallerin' down Barnum's hull circus, side-shows and all.
"Why didn't the Nation shet up the saloons?" sez she, in bitter axents. "Folks can have their doubts about Sunday openin' bein' wicked, but the Lord sez expressly that 'no drunkard can inherit Heaven.' The nation wuz so anxious to set patterns before the young—why wuzn't it afraid to turn human bein's into fiends before 'em, liable to shoot down these dear young folks, or lead 'em into paths worse than death?
"And it wuz so anxious to show off well before foreign nations. Wuz it any prettier sight to reel round before 'em, drunk as a fool, a-committin' suicide, and rapinin', and murder, and actin'? I wuz so mad," sez Arvilly, "that I felt ugly, and spoze I talked so."
"Wall," sez I, "they've acted dretful queer about Sunday openin', take it from first to last.
"But," sez I, reasonably, "takin' such a dretful big thing onto their hands to manage would be apt to make folks act queer.
"I spoze," sez I, fallin' a little ways into oritory—"I spoze that if Josiah and me had took a rinosterhorse to board durin' the heated term, our actions would often be termed queer by our neighbors. To begin with, it's bein' such new business to us, we shouldn't know what to feed it, to agree with its immense stomach; we should, I dare presoom to say, try experiments with it before we got the hang of its feed, and peek through the barn doors dretful curious at it to see how it wuz a-actin', and how its food wuz agreein' with it.
"We shouldn't dast to ride it to water, or holler at it, as if it wuz a calf; and if it should happen to break loose, Heaven knows what we should do with it!
"And I spoze every fence would be full of neighbors a-standin' safe on their own solid premises, a-hollerin' out to us what to do, and every one on 'em mad as hens if we didn't foller their directions.
"Some on 'em hollerin' to us to mount up on it and ride it back into the barn, when they knew that it would tear us to pieces if we went nigh it when it wuz mad. And some on 'em orderin' us to git rid of it. And how could we dispose of a ragin' rinosterhorse at a minute's notice? And some on 'em a-yellin' at us to kill it. How could we kill it, when the creeter didn't belong to us?
"And some on 'em, not realizin' that our rinosterhorse boardin' wuz new business to us, and we wuz liable to make mistakes, standin' up on the ruff of their own barns, safe and sound, a-readin' the Bible to us and warnin' us, and we tuggin' away and swettin' with this wild creeter on our hands, and tryin' to do the best we could with it.
"And then, right on top of this, Jonesville might serve a injunction onto us, that we had no right to let such a dangerous creeter into the precincts of Jonesville; and then we, feelin' kinder sorry, mebby, that we had ondertook the job, tried to git rid on't; and the rinosterhorse owner serves another injunction on us, makin' us keep it, sayin' that he'd paid its board in advance, and that he wouldn't take it back.
"And there we would be, all wore out with our job, and not pleasin' nobody, nor nothin', but makin' the hull caboodle mad as hens at us; and we a-not meanin' any hurt, none of the time, a-meanin' well towards Jonesville and rinosterhorses. Wouldn't we be in a situation to be pitied, Arvilly?"
"Yes," sez she, "it is jest so as I tell you; Cephus sez that he won't wait a minute longer than September."
I see how it wuz—she hadn't hearn a word of my remarkable eloquence. Like all the rest, she had vivid idees about Sunday closin'; but come to the p'int, her own affairs wuz of the most consequence. She forgot all about the struggles of the Directors in their efforts to do what wuz right and best, in thoughts of Cephus.
But I considered it human nater, and forgive her. Wall, after Arvilly left me, I returned agin to the sights in the noble Liberal Arts Department, and see everything else that wuz riz up and helpful; and finding out everything about the land and sea, the Heavens, and depths below the earth and seas.
And oh, what queer, queer feelin's that sight gin me; they hain't to be described upon, and I hain't a-goin' to try to; it would be too much—too much for the public to hear about it, and for me to record 'em; though there wuz plenty of weights, measures, and balances, if I had tried to tackle the job of weighin' 'em.
Now, what I have said of the liberal part, and especially of the trainin' of the young, you can see plain that it wuz as much more interestin' than the manafactures part as the soul is superior to the body, or eternity is longer than time.
So, the world bein' such a sort of a curious place, it didn't surprise me a mite to see that this department, that wuz the most important in the hull Columbian World's Fair, wuz dretful cramped for room, and kinder put away upstairs.
For, as I sez to myself, the old world has such dretful curious kinks in it, it didn't surprise me a mite to have this department sort o' squeezed into the end o' one buildin', and upstairs kinder, while the display for horned cattle covered over sixty acres.
A good many farmers are as careful agin of their blooded stock as they are of the welfare of their wives and children.
They will put work and hardship on the mother of their children that they wouldn't think of darin' to venture with their cows with a pedigree, for they would say, such overwork will injure the calf.
How is it with their own children, when the delicate mother does all the household drudgery of a farm, and milks seven or eight cows night and mornin'?
Toilin' till late bedtime, gettin' up before half rested, and takin' up agin the hard toil till the little feeble child-life is born into the world.
How is it with the mother and the child?
For answer, I refer you to countless newspaper files, under the headin' of "mysterious dispensations of Providence," and to old solitary churchyards, and to the insane statisticks of the country.
The bereaved husband, a-blamin' Providence, but takin' some comfort in the thought that "the Lord loveth whom He chasteneth," walks out under his mournin' weed, and pats the sleek sides of his Alderney cow, and its fat, healthy young one, and ponders on how he could improve their condition, and better the stock, and mebby has passin' thoughts on some bloomin' young girl, who he could persuade to try the fate of the first.
And he'll have no trouble in doin' so—not at all; putty is hard in comparison to wimmin's heads and hearts, sometimes.
But I am, indeed, eppisodin', and to resoom, and proceed.
In this world, where the material, the practical, so oft overshadows the spiritual, it didn't surprise me a mite to have this noble—noble liberal art display crowded back by less riz up and exalted ones.
And oh, what curious things we did see in this Hall of Wonders—curious as a dog, and curiouser.
The New South Wales exhibit in the west gallery is awful big, and divided into five courts, and all full of Beauty and Use.
These Australians are pert and kinder sassy; they look on our country as old, and wore out—some as we look at our Ma Country.
But their exhibit is a wonderful one—exhibit of their mines, that they say are a-goin' to be the richest in the World.
And lots of pictures showin' their strange, melancholy Australian scenery.
And their big trees. Why, one of these trees, they say, is the biggest yet discovered in the World; it is 400 and 80 feet high.
And it wuz here that I see the very queerest thing that I ever did see in my life; it wuz in their collection of strange stuffed birds, and animals which wuz large, and complete, and rangin' from the Emu down to a pure white hummin'-bird.
It wuz here that I see this Thing that Scientists hain't never classified; it is about the size of a beaver—has fur like a seal, eyes like a fish, is web-footed, lays eggs, and hatches its young and lives in the water.
It is called a Platypus—there wuz four on 'em.
Queer creeter as I ever see. No wonder that Scientists furled their spectacles in front of it, and sot down discouraged.
Wall, we hung round there till most night, and Josiah and I went home as tired as two dogs, and tireder. And we both gin in that we hadn't seen nothin' to what we might have seen there; as you may say, we hadn't done any more justice to the contents of that buildin' than we would if we had undertook to count the slate-stuns in our old creek back of our house clear from Jonesville to Zoar—- more'n five miles of clear slate-stun. What could we do to it in one day?
But fatigue and hunger—on Josiah's part, a prancin' team—bore us away, and we went home in pretty good sperits after all, though some late.
Miss Plank had a good supper. We wuz late, but she had kept it warm for us—some briled chicken, and some green peas, and a light nice puddin', and other things accordin'; and Josiah did indeed do justice to it.
Wall, the next day after our visit to the Manafactures and Liberal Arts Buildin', I told Josiah to-day I wouldn't put it off a minute longer, I wuz goin' to see the Convent of La Rabida; and sez I, "I feel mortified and ashamed to think I hain't been before." Sez I, "What would Christopher Columbus say to think I had slighted him all this time if he knew on't!"
And Josiah said "he guessed I wouldn't git into any trouble with Columbus about it, after he'd been dead four hundred years."
"Wall," sez I, "I don't spoze I would, but I d'no but folkses feelin's can be hurt if their bodies have moved away from earth. I d'no anything about it, nor you don't, Josiah Allen."
"Wall," he said, "he wouldn't be afraid to venter it."
He wanted to go to the Live-Stock Exhibit that day—wanted to like a dog.
But I persuaded him off the notion, and I don't know but I jest as soon tell how I done it.
I see Columbus's feelin's wouldn't do, and so forth, nor sentiment, nor spirituality, don't appeal to Josiah Allen nothin' as vittles do.
So I told him, what wuz indeed the truth, that a restaurant was nigh there where delicious food could be obtained at very low prices.
He yielded instantly, and sez he, "It hain't hardly fair, when Christopher is the cause of all these doin's, that he should be slighted so by us."
And I sez, "No, indeed!" so we went directly there by the nearest way, which wuz partly by land and partly by water; and as our boat sailed on through the waves under the brilliant sunshine and the grandeur of eighteen ninety-three, did it not make me think of Him, weary, despairin', misunderstood, with his soul all hemmed in by envious and malicious foes, so that there wuz but one open path for him to soar in, and that wuz upward, as his boat crept and felt its way along through the night, and storm, and oncertainty of 1492.
Wall, anon or about that time, we drew near the place where I wanted to be.
The Convent of La Rabida is a little to the east of Agricultural Hall, a sort of a inlet lake that feeds a long portion of the grand canal.
A promontory is formed by the meetin' of the two waters, and all round this point of land, risin' to a height of twenty-two feet, is a rough stun wall.
This wall is a reproduction of the dangerous coast of Spain, and back on this rise of ground can be seen the Convent of La Rabida, a fac-simile, or, as you might say, a similer fact, a exact reproduction of the convent where Columbus planned out his voyage to the new world.
Yes, within these walls wuz born the great and darin' scheme of Columbus—a great birth indeed; only next to us in eternal consequences to the birth in the manger.
It stands jest as it ort to, a-facin' the risin' sun.
A low, eight-sided cupalo surmounts the choir space inside the chapel, and above the nave rises the balcony.
On three sides of a broad, open court are the lonesome cloisters in which the Monks knelt in their ceaseless prayers.
The chapel floor is a little higher than the court and cloisters, and is paved with bricks.
It wuz at this very convent door that Columbus arrived heart-sore and weary after seven years' fruitless labor in the cause he held so clost to his heart.
Seven long years that he had spent beggin' and importunin' for help to carry out his Heaven-sent visions.