In this village is their housen, their earth huts, their tepees, orniments, reindeers, dogs, sledges, fur clothin', boats, fishin' tackle, etc., etc.
As queer a sight as I ever see, and here it wuz agin, my Josiah and me a-journeyin' way off in Lapland—the idee!
The Dahomey Village come next. This shows the homes and customs of that country where the wimmen do all the fightin'.
I sez to Josiah, "What a curiosity that wuz!"
And he sez, "I d'no about the curiosity on't. It don't seem so to me; some wimmen fight with their fists," sez he, "and some with their tongues."
That wuz his mean, onderhanded way of talkin'.
But these wimmen are about as humbly as they make wimmen anywhere.
And as for clothes, they are about as poor on't for 'em as anybody I see to the Fair. They had on jest as few as they could.
They say their war dances is a sight to see. But I didn't let Josiah look on any dancin' or anything of the kind that I could help. I did not forget what I mistrusted he sometimes lost sight on, when he's on towers—that he wuz a deacon and a grandpa.
He acted kinder longin' to the last. He said "he spozed it wuz a sight to see 'em dance and beat their tom-toms."
And I sez, "I don't want to see no children beat; and," sez I, "what did Tom do to deserve beatin'?"
Sez he, "I meant their drums, and the stuns they roll round in their husky skin bags, and cymbals," sez he.
"Then," sez I, "why didn't you say so?"
Sez he, "I spoze to see them humbly creeters with rings in their noses, a-dancin' and contortin' their bodies, and twistin' 'em round, is a sight. And I spoze the noises is as deafenin' as it would be for all the Jonesville meetin'-house to knock all the tin pans and bilers they could git holt of together, and yell.
"And they don't wear nothin' but some feathers," sez he.
"Wall," sez I, "I don't want to see no sech sight, and I don't want you to."
And dretful visions, as I said it, rolled through my mind of the awful day it would be for Jonesville, if Josiah Allen should carry home any such wild idees, and git the other old Jonesvillians stirred up in it.
To see him, and Deacon Henzy, and Deacon Bobbet, and the rest dressed up in a few feathers a-jumpin' round, and a-beatin' tin-pans, and a-contortin' their old frames, would, I thought, be the finishin' touch to me. I had stood lots of his experimentin' and branchin's out into new idees, but I felt that I could not brook this, so I would not heed his desire to stop. I made him move onwards.
And then come Austria. There is thirty-six buildin's here, and they show Austrian life and costumes in every particular.
Then come the Police Station, and Fire Department, and then a French Cider Press; but I didn't care nothin' about seein' that—cider duz more hurt than whiskey enough sight, American or French, and it wuzn't any treat to me to see it made, or drunk up, nor the effects on it nuther.
Then there wuz a large French Restaurant, one of the best-built structures on the ground.
Then come right along St. Peter's, jest as it is in this world, saints a-follerin' sinners.
It is the exact model of the Church of St. Peter's at Rome.
I would go in to see that, and Josiah consented after a parley.
It is the exact model down to the most minute details of that most wonderful glory of art. It is about thirty feet long, and about three times as high as Josiah, and it is a sight to remember; it is perfectly beautiful.
In this buildin' where the model is seen is some portraits of the different Popes, and besides these large models is some smaller ones of the beautiful Cathedral of Milan, the Piambino Palace, the Pantheon, and a statute of St. Peter himself.
Good old creeter, how I've always liked him, and thought on him!
But Josiah hurried me almost beyend my strength on the way out, for the Ferris Wheel wuz indeed nigh to us, and I forgive Josiah for his ardor when I see it.
If there wuz nothin' else to the World's Fair but jest that wheel, it would pay well to go clear from Jonesville to Chicago to see it. It stands up aginst the sky like a huge spider-web. It is two hundred and fifty feet in diameter—jest one wheel; think of that! As wide as twenty full-sized city houses—the idee! And there are thirty-six cars hitched to it, and sixty persons can ride in each car. So you can figger it out jest how much that huge spider-web catches when it gits in motion. Wall, my feelin's when I wuz a-bein' histed up through the air wuz about half and half—half sublimity and orr as I looked out on the hull glory of the world spread at my feet, and Lake Michigan, and everything—
That part wuz clear riz up and noble, and then the other half wuz a skittish feelin' and a-wonderin' whether the tacklin' would give way, and we should descend with a smash.
But the fifty-nine other people in the car with me didn't seem to be afraid, and I thought of the thirty-five other cars, all full, and a-swingin' up in the air with me; and the thought revived me some, and I managed to maintain my dignity and composure.
Josiah acted real highlarious, and he wanted to swing round time and agin; he said "he would give a cent to keep a-goin' all day long."
But I frowned on the idee, and I hurried him off by the model of the Eiffel Tower into Persia.
There it wuz agin, my pardner and I a-travellin' in Persia—the very same Persia that our old Olney's gography had told us about years and years ago—a-visitin' it our own selves.
I see the bazaars and booths all filled with the costliest laces, and rugs, and embroideries, and the Persians themselves a-sellin' 'em.
But Josiah hurried me along at a fearful rate, for I had got my eye onto some lace that I wanted.
I did not want to be extravagant, but I did want some of that lace; I thought how it would set off that night-cap.
But he said "that Jonesville lace wuz good enough if I had got to have any; but," sez he, "I don't wear lace on my night-cap."
"No," sez I; "how lace would look on a red woollen night-cap!"
"Wall," sez he, "why don't you wear red woollen ones?"
Sez I, "Josiah, you're not a woman."
"No," sez he; "you wouldn't catch a man goin' to Persia for trimmin' for a night-cap."
His axents jarred onto me, and mechanically I follered him into the Moorish Palace.
One reason why I follered him so meekly and willin'ly, I didn't know but he would broach the subject of seein' them Persian wimmen dance.
And I felt that I would ruther give a hull churnin' of fall's butter than to have his moral old mind contaminated with the sight.
For they do say, them who have seen the sight, that "them Persian dancin' girls carry dancin' clear to the very verge of ondecency, and drop way off over the verge."
I see lots of wimmen comin' out with their fan held before their blushin' faces.
They say that wimmen fairly enjoy a-goin' in there to be horrified.
They go day after day, they say, so to come out all horrified up, and their faces bathed in blushes.
The men didn't come out at all, so they said.
Wall, Josiah Allen didn't git in—no, indeed. I remembered the Jonesville meetin'-house, our pasture, and the grandchildren, and kept 'em before him all the time, so I tided him over that crisis.
Now, I never had paid any attention to the Moors, and Josiah hadn't; we never had had any to neighbor with, and I felt that I wuzn't acquainted with 'em at all, unless of course I had a sort of bowin' acquaintance, as it wuz, with that one old Moor in my Olney's gography in my school-days.
And what I'd seen of him didn't seem to make me hanker after any further acquaintance with him.
But when I see that Palace of theirn I felt overwhelmed with shame and regret to think I'd always slighted 'em so, and never had made any overtoors towards becomin' intimate with 'em.
The outside on't wuz splendid enough to almost take your breath, with its strange and gorgeous magnificence. It wuz sech a contrast in its construction to the Exposition Buildin's that lift their domes in such glory on the East.
But if the outside struck a blow onto our admiration and astonishment, what—what shall I say of the inside?
Why, as I entered that magnificent arched vestibule, with my faithful pardner by my side, and my good cotton umbrell grasped in my right hand, the view wuz pretty nigh overwhelmin' in its profusion of orniment and gorgeous decoration.
That first look seemed to take me back to Spain right out of Chicago, and other troubles. I wuz a-roamin' there with Mr. Washington Irving, and Mr. Bancroft, and other congenial and descriptive minds, and surrounded with the gorgeous picters of that old time.
I wuz back, I should presoom to say, as much, if not more, than four hundred years, when all to once I was recalled by my companion.
"Dum it, I didn't know they charged folks for goin' to meetin'!"
"Hush!" sez I; "this is not a meetin'-house, this is a palace; be calm!"
And comin' down through the centuries as sudden as if jerked by a electric lasso of lightnin', I see that old familiar sight of a man a-settin' a-sellin' tickets.
And Josiah with a deep sithe paid our fares, and we meandered onwards.
Right beyend the ticket man, to the right on him, wuz a colonnade runnin' round a circular room covered with a ruff in the shape of a tent. The ceilin' and walls are covered with landscape views of Southern Spain, and a mandolin orchestra carried out the idee of a Andulusian Garden.
And then comes a labyrinth of columns and mirrors, and through 'em and round 'em and up overhead wuz splendor on splendor of orniment, gorgeousness on gorgeousness.
These columns are made to put one in mind of the Alhambria, where we so often strayed with our friend Washington Irving.
And oh, what curious feelin's it did make me have to cast my eyes onwards amongst these splendid arches and pillows, and see anon or oftener a tall Moor, with his long robe and his white turban, or whatever they call it, a-fallin' round his face!
And then another and another of the white-robed figgers, a-glidin' round in amongst the arches, or a-settin' there in a vista of gorgeousness, like ghosts of the past come to visit the Columbus Fair.
Way beyend the labyrinths, and to the left on't, is the Palm Garden, with lounging places for three or four hundred visitors, and a Moorish orchestra hid by a cluster of branchin' palms, and Arab attendants in native costumes.
And then there wuz grottoes and fountains lit by electric lights, and groups of statuary illustratin' famous historical seens.
And right here, while the past wuz a-pressin' so clost to us, that we wuz almost took back there in the body—our minds wuz there, way, way back—
When sudden, swift, wuz we brung back from the past—brung back to conscientousness, as it were, by two forms and two voices.
Here of all places in the world, in the heart of a Moorish palace, did my eyes fall upon the faces of Bizer Dagget, and Selinda, his wife.
And I sez, as my eyes fell from the contemplation of art-decked freeze and fretted archways onto the old familar freckled face, and green alpaca dress, and Bizer's meek sandy whiskers, and pepper-and-salt suit—
Sez I, "Whyee, Selinda and Bizer, is it you? How do you do? When did you git here? You didn't lay out to come when we started."
"No," sez Selinda; "you know jest how it wuz, you know we had his folks to take care on, and Father Dagget wuz so helpless that we had to lift him round. And we shouldn't been able to git here at all, only Father had a severe fall out o' bed one night in the dead of night. He wuz all alone, and skairt—so we spoze—and that fall took him off on the second day.
"And as quick as we could git ready we sot off here.
"It didn't seem really right, but you know Father hain't known anything for upwards of two years, and you know jest how bad we did want to come here.
"But I don't know as it wuz exactly right to come off so soon after he fell. I spoze it will make talk, I spoze his folks will talk, and the Jonesvillians."
"But," I sez, for I wanted to comfort her—she's a good creeter—
Sez I, "Columbus had to wait before he sot out to discover us, till Grenada fell, and that made talk." Sez I, "Probable Columbuses folks talked as much as Bizer's folks will. But," sez I, "it wuz all for the best.
"And," sez I, "your Father Dagget wuz a good creeter before he lost his mind."
"Yes," sez she, "but for upwards of two years he's tried to put his pantaloons on over his head, and he'd put his arms in his boots every time if we'd let him, thinkin' it wuz a vest."
"Wall," sez I, "you've did well by him, Selinda, and now if I wuz in your and Bizer's place, I'd try to look round all I could and git my mind off, and see everything I could see."
Sez she with a deep sithe, "There hain't no trouble about that; there is enough to see." Sez she, "It seems as though I had seen enough every five minutes sence I come, if it wuz spread out even and smooth, to cover a hull lifetime, and cover it thick, too," sez she.
"And," sez I, warmly and candidly, "Heaven knows that is true—true as gospel."
And then Selinda and Bizer, and Josiah and me walked on into other parts of the buildin', and there we see a small-lookin' model of the Santa Maria, the Admiral's flag-ship, manned by men with the same clothes on as wuz wore by Columbuses mariners. That filled me with large emotions, and Selinda felt it too.
And it wuz here that Josiah nudged me, and sez he, "You've always throwed it into my face that men don't think so much of each other as wimmen do; and now," sez he, "look at them two men—I've watched 'em as long as ten minutes—a-holdin' each other's hands."
And sure enough, I turned, and I see two good-lookin' men a-holdin' each other by the hand as if they loved each other fondly—
As if they couldn't bear to leggo. They wuz first-rate lookin' men, too, and you could see plain by their liniments how much store they sot by each other.
Wall, Josiah and I wended off and looked at the wax figgers of Lincoln, and the death of Marie Antoinette, and lots of other interestin' wax statutes; and when we come back, there stood them two men still a-holdin' each other by the hand; and Josiah whispered agin, "How they love each other! no gabblin' and gushin', like wimmen, but jest silent, clost, deep love."
"But," I sez, "I believe there is sunthin' wrong about 'em. It hain't nateral for men to stand still so long holt of hands. I believe they're in a fit or sunthin'."
"A fit!" sez he. "I spoze a woman would have a fit if she had to keep still a minute with another woman in gunshot of her.
"But to satisfy you," sez he, "I'll see."
So he accosted 'em, and sez he, "I will ask the way to Noah's Ark." So he advanced with a polite air, and sez he, "Could either one of you two gentlemen tell me where Noah's Ark is situated?" Sez he, "Bizer is anxious to see it."
They didn't move or stir, and Josiah agin sez, "Do you know where Noah's Ark is?" and he laid his hand on the arm of one of the men who stood near him.
A Columbian Guard who stood near sez, "Keep your hand offen the wax figger!"
Josiah wuz mortified most to death. He'd wanted to show off the equality of his sect, and to have man's love and fidelity proved to be but wax wuz harrowin'.
But he didn't stay mortified more'n a minute and a half on sech a business.
And the Guard told us where Noah's Ark wuz.
And Bizer and Josiah wuz all carried away with it. This wuz in the children's room, and all the animals are reproduced life size, every one of 'em two and two, jest as they enter the Ark.
We couldn't hardly tear our two pardners away, Selinda and I couldn't.
Josiah said, "It wuz so beautiful and interestin'," and so Bizer said.
But I believe what made them men cling to it so for sech a length of time, they hearn us talk about how we wanted to go into the Bazaar, where there wuz lots of things to sell.
But finally they see they couldn't hold us back no longer, so we went through that gorgeous place, all full of bronzes, rugs, vases, pipes, and etcetry.
We didn't stay long here, though, for Bizer and Josiah said that the air wuz that bad they wuz chokin', and that they couldn't stan' it.
And Selinda and I a-feelin' that chokin' a pardner wuz the last thing we wanted to undertake, we went through it at a pretty good jog, and anon we found ourselves in Turkey; and here I found the Turkeys had done first-rate.
Why, one piece of their hand-wrought lace wuz worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. While I wuz a-admirin' of it, Josiah whispered firmly—
"Don't go to thinkin' of that old night-cap in sech a time as this."
And I whispered back, "I hain't no more idee on't than you have of buyin' that old tent to take down to the lake with you a-fishin'."
That very old battle-tent wuz all hand work, embroidered in gold and silver and silk in nateral figgers, and they said it wuz worth five millions of dollars—
And a silver bedstead the Sultan is a-goin' to give to his daughter as a part of her settin' out when she marries wuz worth four hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
You can from this form some idee of the value of the other enormous exhibits.
And the most beautiful horses you ever see, right from the Sultan's stable, wuz a-prancin' round. And one hundred Beoudins with camels and dromedaries added to the picteresqueness of the seen.
And then we see Cleopatri's needle, that tall column a-risin' up to the sky, all covered with writin' worse than mine, and that's a-sayin' a good deal. I couldn't read a word on't, nor Josiah couldn't.
And to the back of the Grand Bazaar wuz leven cottages, where male and female Turkeys wuz workin' at their different trades, showin' jest how rugs, and carpets, and embroideries, and brass work is made.
As I said to Selinda, "Would you believed it possible, Selinda, if we'd been told on't a dozen years ago that you and I should be a-travellin' in Turkey to-day?"
And she said, "No, indeed; she had never imagined that she should ever visit sech foreign shores."
Yes, we felt considerable riz up to think that we wuz engaged in foreign travel, but not hauty. No, we are both on us well-principled, and don't believe in puttin' on airs.
Wall, we stayed here a good while, and Josiah thought he'd eat sunthin' here, too. If he'd had his way, he would had a good square meal in every foreign country, and native one, too. That man's appetite is wonderful. Foreign countries can't quell it down, nor rumatiz, nor nothin'.
Hakenbeck's animal show comes next, and it is the most complete—so they say—that wuz ever exhibited.
The tent is two hundred feet square, and is filled with all the animals that ever went into the Ark, and more, too, I believe. Five thousand people can go in here at one time, and set down, and see lions a-ridin' on horseback, with a woman to run the performance, and see animals a-doin' everything else that ever wuz done by 'em, and tigers, and elephants, and performin' horses, and two hundred monkeys, and one thousand parrots.
We didn't go in, but Josiah slipped in one day when I wuzn't with him, and he described it to me. He owned up to me that he had.
And he said he did it to keep me from havin' sech a skair.
"Why," sez he, "a woman that is afraid of a gobbler, and runs from a snake—
"Why," sez he, "I wouldn't as a man of feelin' take her right in the way of havin' her feelin's hurt and skairin' her most to death for nothin' this world could give."
And I said—and I meant it—"If it hadn't been for the fifty cents I guess you wouldn't felt so, Josiah Allen."
But he stuck to it that it wuz pure affection and principle. I d'no what to think about it, but I have my suspicions.
Wall, at the next place Josiah could not be restrained. It wuz the good old-fashioned New England house with gable ends, and here a good New England dinner wuz served.
And sez Josiah, "I don't leave this house till I have a good square meal."
Bizer felt jest so, and so Selinda and I jined 'em in a meal most as good as she and I got up to hum, and that is sayin' a great deal.
Josiah's satisfaction in eatin' that pork and beans, and them doughnuts, wuz a sight to witness.
Bizer called for cold biled vittles, and sure enough, they brung 'em on.
And the enjoyment of them two men wuz extreme. Selinda and I took comfort in some old-fashioned pound-cake and custard pie.
Selinda said she'd love to have the receipt of that pound-cake.
Selinda is a good plain cook. She can't cook like me, of course, but she duz well.
Wall, their extra good meal had sot up Josiah and Bizer to a wonderful extent (they had drunk coffee too strong for 'em by half, and I knew it), and them two men wanted to go back into the Cairo Street. Bizer and Selinda had never seen it, and all the way there Josiah seemed to be on the lookout to do sunthin' heroic and surprisin' to Bizer.
And jest after we got there, we did see as strange a sight as I ever see. It wuz a Eastern Fakir, as they called him. He wuz performin' one of his strange sights right there before our face and eyes.
A big crowd wuz gathered round him of human bein's in all strange costumes, and camels and their drivers, and dromedaries, and donkeys, and everything else under the sun. But this man stood calm under the sights and ear-piercin' yells and jabbers.
And in some way, I d'no how, nor Josiah don't, he wuz a-holdin' another Japan or Turkey—anyway, one of them foreign men—suspended right up in the air.
I see it, and Josiah see it, and Bizerses folks. Eight eyes from Jonesville looked at it, to say nothin' of the assembled crowd.
He wuzn't restin' on nothin' at all, so fur as we could see. What material wrought out of the Occult World wuz piled up under him I d'no.
There might have been a sofa and two cushions wrought out of another fabric different from what we know anything about, and that don't make any show aginst the summer sky.
And then, agin, it might be that Josiah wuz right.
He sez, "It's easy enough to do that. He casts a mist before our eyes, and we have to see jest what he wanted us to."
"Wall," sez I, "if I had to do one of 'em to entertain the Missionary Society at Jonesville, I d'no but I had jest as soon hist Submit Tewksbury up in the air, and suspend her there in our parlor, as to cast mists before the eyes of the Jonesvillians and make 'em see her there when she wuz a-settin' on the sofa. Either one on 'em is queer—queer as a dog."
"Wall," sez he, "you don't want to go into any sech a job. You'll kill Submit, anyway, experimentin' on her."
And I sez, "You needn't worry; I hain't a-goin' to try to branch out into no sech doin's." Sez I, "I wuz usin' Submit as a metafor."
Wall, the Fakir after a while asked the queer-lookin' crowd gathered round him for money to try more experiments with.
And wantin' to branch out and outdo Bizer, and make himself a hero, Josiah planked out a five-dollar bill.
And then the man asked Josiah to look in his hat, and there inside the band he found the money, or so it seemed.
And then he told me to look in my pocket, and there wuz five silver dollars to all appearance.
I felt real well about it, and wuz about to put 'em into my portmoney, thinkin' that they wuz my lawful prey, seein' they had fell onto me through my pardner's weakness, when lo and behold! they wuzn't there.
I felt real stunted, and kinder sot back.
"Slight of hand," sez Josiah to me and Bizer. "Don't be afraid, I'll make it all right." And he reached out his hand to git the money back. The man handed the money back, or so we spozed, and vanished in the crowd.
And Josiah, when he went to look in his hand, found some pink and white paper. He hollered round and acted for quite a spell, but the man wuz gone for good, and Josiah's money with him. Wall, Josiah wuz almost broken-hearted over the loss of his money; he felt awful browbeat and smut, and acted so.
And then it wuz Bizer's time to show off and act. Nothin' to do but what Selinda had got to ride a camel.
She hung back and acted 'fraid. She hain't a bit well, for all she is so fat. She has real dizzy spells sometimes, and is that cowardly that she'd be 'fraid to ride a cow, let alone one of them tall, humbly monsters. But nothin' to do but what Bizer would have his way.
He did it jest to go ahead of us, and I knew it, for I put my foot right down in the first on't.
Josiah would a paid out the money willin'ly ruther than had Bizer go ahead of him.
Bizer said he wanted to give Selinda all the enjoyment he could while on her tower, she had been shet up so much, and hadn't had the pleasures she ort to had.
I knew his motives and Selinda's feelin's, but couldn't break it up, for Selinda had always follered Elder Minkley's orders strict, that he gin her at the altar—
"Wives, obey your husbands."
She didn't rebel outward, but she whispered to me in pitiful axents—
"I hate to ride that creeter—oh, how I hate to! But you know my principles," sez she; "you know I always said that wives ort to obey their pardners."
And I sez, "When pardners and common sense conflict, I foller common sense every time. Howsumever," sez I, "if you want to air them principles of yourn, you won't be apt to find a more lofty place to exhibit 'em."
And I glanced up the gray precipitous sides of that camel, and she looked up 'em, too, with fear and tremblin', but begun to gird her lions, figgeratively speakin', to obey Bizer and embark.
She has always boasted to me and the other neighborin' wimmen that she has never disobeyed her husband once; and I sez to her cheerfully, "Wall, I have, and expect to agin, if the Lord spares my life."
And so Miss Bobbet told her, and Miss Gowdy, and Miss Peedick, and all the rest. She acted so high-headed about it, that we said it some to take down her pride, and some on principle.
We believed there wuz reason in all things, and none of us wimmen felt that we would stand
"On a burnin' deck, Whence all but we had fled,"
and burn up, even if our pardners had ordered us to. We wuz law-abidin', every one on us, but we felt there wuz times where law ended and common sense begun.
But Selinda argued, I well remember, that if Bizer had ordered her to stay on that deck, she should stay and be sot fire to.
And she praised up little Casey Bianky warmly, while we thought and said that Casey acted like a fool, and felt that Mr. Bianky would much ruther had him run and save himself than to burn up; anyway, old Miss Bianky would, and I believe his pa would.
Men are good-hearted creeters the biggest heft of the time, but failable in judgment sometimes, jest like female wimmen.
But Selinda wuz firm in her belief.
And here this day in Chicago she gin one of the most remarkable proofs of it ever seen in this country.
So while Selinda trembled like a popple leaf, and her false teeth rattled over her dry tongue (besides the camel, she wuz 'fraid as death of the Turkey that driv it, and he did look fierce), the camel knelt down, and the almost swoonin' Selinda was histed up onto his back by the proud and haughty Bizer, and the strange-lookin' Turkey.
She had no more than got seated when the driver give a skairful yell, and the camel give a fearful lunge, and straightened up on its feet, and Selinda's bunnet fell back onto her neck, and lay there through the hull of the enterprise, and her gray hair floated back onchecked, for she dassent let her hands go a minit to fix it.
It wuz a mournin' bunnet and veil, but black gittin' soiled so easy, she had put on a bright green alpaca dress she had, thinkin' that she wouldn't see nobody she knew; and she wore some old yeller mitts for the same reason, and some low, shabby-lookin' shoes, and some white stockin's.
And her weight bein' two hundred and forty, she showed off vivid aginst the settin' sun.
Selinda is a meek woman and obedient, but she cries easy. You have got to take good traits and bad ones in folks. She can't help it. She always cries in class meetin', or anywhere—has cried time and agin a-tellin' how she would be trompled on and lay down and have her head chopped off if Bizer told her to.
And of course it couldn't be expected she would go through this fearful experience without sheddin' tears. No; before she had been up there two minits she begun to cry.
She always makes up pitiful faces when she weeps. It has been talked on a sight in Jonesville, some sayin' she might help it, and some contendin' that she couldn't; but she skairs children frequent.
But now she dassent leggo a minit to git her handkerchief, so she rode along weepin' silently, and a fearful sight for men or angels, but truly a cryin' monument of wifely devotion.
As she moved off, I could see at the first strain her dress waist, bein' one of the short round ones with a belt, had bust asunder, leavin' a white waist of cotton flannel between 'em, which seemed to be a-growin' wider and wider all the time. (She wears cotton flannel for her health.)
As I see this, and not knowin' what would ensue and take place in her clothin', I cast onto the wind my own fears, and the shrinkin' timidity of my sect, and graspin' my umbrell in my hand, I run along by the side of the lofty quadreped, a-tryin' to reach up and fix her a little.
But I could not; her position wuz too lofty, the mount wuz too precipitous on which she sot.
She see me, but she didn't stop her cryin', and the faces she wuz a-makin' wuz pitiful in the extreme, and skairful to anybody that hadn't seen 'em so much as I had. She wuz half bent, which made her cotton-flannel infirmity harder to witness.
The camel wuz a-swayin' fearful from side to side, and a-lurchin' forwards and a lurchin' backwards at a dangerous rate.
Oh, how dizzy-headed Selinda must have been! How skairt and how dretful her feelin's wuz!
Sez I, "Dismount to once, Selinda Dagget."
"No," sez she; "Bizer has placed me here, and here I will stay."
"You don't know whether you will or not," sez I. "I believe you are a-fallin' off; and," sez I, "I'm 'fraid you'll git killed, Selinda; do git down!"
"I fear it too," sez she, and she looked down on me with agony in her mean, and sez she—
"Good-bye, Sister Allen; if we don't meet agin, we both believe in a better country."
I wuz all carried away by my emotions, or wouldn't spoke out so; but I sez—
"This country is all right enough, if folks didn't act like fools in it." Sez I, "Do you git down and pull down your bask, and wipe your nose and eyes; you look like fury, Selinda Dagget."
"No," sez she; "Bizer wanted me to ride, and I shall die a-pleasin' him. I took vows of obedience onto me at the altar, and if I die here, Sister Allen, tell the female sistern at Jonesville that I died a-keepin' them vows."
Sez I, "I'll tell 'em you died a nateral fool;" and sez I agin, "Git down offen that camel, Selinda Dagget, before you fall off."
And I kep clost by her, and kinder poked at her with my umbrell, to let her know I hadn't deserted her, and havin' a blind idee that I could hold her up with it if the worst come.
Where wuz Bizer durin' this fearful seen? while I wuz a-showin' plain the deathless devotion to my sect—to another one in distress.
He wuz all took up with his own feelin's of pride and show.
He wuz a-ridin' a donkey, and it wuz a-backin' up and a-actin', and took every mite of his strength and firmness to keep on.
He had a tall white hat with a mournin' weed on't, and a long linen duster, and the wind blowed this out some like a balloon.
He looked queer; but as soon as he stiddied himself on't he tried his best to reach the side of Selinda—I'll say that for him. But the donkey wuz obstinate, and kep a-backin' up, and Bizer, bein' his legs dragged, kinder walked along with the donkey under him. Occasionally he would set down for a spell, but the most of his journey wuz done a-walkin' afoot. And the crowd see it and cheered.
It wuz hard on Bizer. Nothin' but pride and ambition led him into the undertakin', or kep him up through it.
As for me, I lost all patience, and my breath, too, and went back to my pardner.
And anon or about that time they made their rounds, and come back where Josiah and I stood.
I reached up a handkerchief to Selinda as quick as I could, but she couldn't wipe her eyes or tend to her nose until she dismounted, or fix the gapin' kasum at the back of her waist.
She greeted me warmly the minit her feet touched terry firmy, as one might who had come out of great peril. She's a good-hearted creeter.
And between us both, with some pins I took out of my huzzy I always carry with me, we fixed her up agin.
And if you'll believe it, the very minit I got her pinned up she begun to act high-headed and to boast of how much principle she'd shown.
And I said, "You've shown more'n principle, Selinda; you've showed cotton flannel that you had ort to have kep to yourself. You have made a panorama that can't be described."
"Yes," sez she; "it will be sunthin' to tell on all my life."
She took it as a compliment. Oh dear me suz!
Bizer had scraped the patent leather all offen the toes of his shoes, and had squandered three dollars in money, but he felt good. Yes, they both said what a excitement this adventure would make in Jonesville when they told on't.
And I thought to myself, if the Jonesvillians could see jest how she looked, and he too, it would be apt to make a excitement.
How many times did I digest this great truth while on my tower! How little we know sometimes what a appearance we are a-makin' before men and angels, when we think we are a-doin' sunthin' wonderful!
Wall, Josiah wuz all took aback; he couldn't seem to bear Bizer's patronizin' ways so well as I could Selinda's. Truly, females learn the lesson well to suffer and be calm.
But he acted kinder surly, and proposed that we should go hum; and bein' tired as a dog, I gin a willin' consent, and Bizer and Selinda parted from us, their way layin' different from ourn.
Wall, that night, after we got back to Miss Plankses, I felt all kind o' shook up in sperit, and considerable as I do when I've eat too hearty, and of too many kinds of food.
You know, you mustn't swaller a big meal too quick, or eat too many kinds of food when you're tired, or it won't set right on your stomach.
I felt real dyspeptic in my mind that night, and I felt that I had wandered out of the sweet, level paths of Moderation and Megumness that I love to wander in.
But I am a eppisodin', and to resoom.
It seemed as if the bed never felt so good to me as it did that night; and the pillers never felt so soft, and quiet, and comfortable. And with a deep sithe of content I went out at once into the Land of Sleep, and bein' too tired to
"tread its windin' ways Beyend the reach of busy feet,"
I sunk down under the shade of a branchin' Poppy Tree, and laid there becalmed and peaceful till Miss Plankses risin' bell rung—way up the stairway, up into my bedroom—and echoed over into the Land, shook the drowsy boughs over my head, and waked me up.
And then, tired as I wuz the night before, I felt considerable chipper.
Wall, this mornin' we sot off in good season. We would always lay our plans in the mornin', and that mornin' I said, "I would love to tackle the Agricultural Buildin'."
And Josiah gin his willin' consent. He said, "After so much gildin' and orniments, he would love to look at a potato, or a rutabagy, or a cowcumber."
And I sez, "If you lay out to git rid of seein' orniments, you had better not stir out of your tracks."
And Nony Piddock said, "It sickened a man to see so much vain orniment."
And the Twin said, "It wuz perfectly beautiful to see it."
And the rest of the boarders bein' agreed jest about as well on't, we set out for the Agricultural Hall in pretty good sperits.
Wall, truly did Nony say that the orniments wuz impressive and overwhelmin'.
Now, I thought I had seen orniments, and I thought I had seen pillows.
Why, Father Allen had a porch held up by as many as five pillows—holler ones—boarded round and painted to look like granite stun.
And our Meetin'-House steeple wuz, I had always spozed, ornimented.
Why, we had gin as high as fourteen dollars for the ornimental work on that steeple, and the Jonesvillians, and the Loontowns, and the Zoarites come from fur and near to look at it and admire it, the Jonesvillians in pride and the others in envy, and a-hankerin' to have one like it.
But truly our pride in that steeple tottered and fell when we hove in sight of that Agricultural Hall.
And when you look at the size of that buildin', and the grandeur of it, you can see plain what sort of a place Agriculture holds in the minds of the world, and how much store folks set on eatin'; and truly, how could the world git along without it? It would run right down.
Why, imagine, if you can, eight hundred feet one way and five hundred the other way, all orniments and pillows, pillows and orniments, and one big towerin' dome in the centre, and lots of smaller ones, each one topped off with the most beautiful figger, and groups of figgers, you ever laid eyes on.
Where wuz Father Allen's pillow, and our steeple? Gone, crushed down under twenty-six hundred feet of clear pillows and orniments.
On top of the great central dome stands the beautiful figger of Diana, who had flown away from Madison Square, New York, and had settled down here on purpose to delight the beholders of the United Globe with her beauty and grace.
She wuz still a-holdin' her arrows in her hand, still a-turnin' her beautiful face around so everybody could see it, still a-kickin' at the wind with her pretty heel. But, as in the past, so now, let her kick ever so hard, she couldn't turn the wind a mite when it got its mind made up to blow from any particular pint of the compass.
And besides this figger on the dome, every little while on the four corners of the buildin' wuz long, low groups of female wimmen a-holdin' garlands, depicterin' the four seasons.
And the long line of pillows would be broken by noble piers, with a beautiful group of figgers on every one on 'em, and some flags a-wavin' out, as if to draw attention to the perfectness of the statutes.
One on 'em wuz a good-lookin' man a-holdin' two prancin' horses, and I sez to myself, I am glad to see a man a-holdin' the bits for once.
But come to look closter, I see that there wuz two figgers—little girls, I guess—that wuz holt of the horses' heads. And then I see the man had a sword in one hand and a club in the other. He wuzn't to blame—he couldn't hold 'em. Jest like Josiah; lots of times he would be real glad to do things, only his hands are full.
And then another group wuz a beautiful female a-standin' up between two great, big, long-horned oxen, a-holdin' them powerful-lookin' beasts with a rope made of posies.
Good land! I wouldn't held 'em with iron chains. They looked so high-headed, and their horns looked so long, and it seemed too bad to put her at such a dangerous job.
But she didn't seem to be a mite afraid; she looked calm, and she had on plenty of store clothes, which wuz indeed a comfort.
And then, besides these main piers, with their large, beautiful groups, there wuz fifty-two smaller piers, each one havin' a handsome statute, representin' winged Geniis, sometimes a-holdin' tablets in their hands, and anon horns of plenty, and abundance.
Most of this beautiful sculpture wuz designed by a man named Martiney, French born, but I guess a-callin' himself an American now.
And I thought, as I looked at it, I would love to see him, and tell him how well I thought on him and his works. He also made the beautiful orniments in the interior of the large rotunda, and the great figger of Ceres that stands in the centre.
In the pediment over the main entrance stands another beautiful figger of Ceres—she that wuz Demetor Saturn.
I spoze, mebby, now we ort to call her Miss Jupiter. But, anyway, she is as good-hearted as can be, always a-handin' out grain and food to the perishin'.
Here she stands in the sculpture, which is made by an American, Mr. Mead by name—here she stands, tall and benignant, in the centre of as many as twenty men, wimmen, and children, a-sufferin' from hunger the most on 'em, and she a-handin' out food right and left. What a good creeter she is, anyway!
Wall, mebby I have gin you a faint, a very faint idee of the beauty of the hull twenty-six hundred feet of solid loveliness and perfection.
But who—who will tell what we see inside on't?
In this buildin' every State in the Union, and almost every civilized nation of the world, is represented with agricultural exhibits, and food products in their manufactured state. Prizes will be gin at the end of the Fair to the best.
Every nation is shown up here; and if you have got any learnin', you can look it up in your own Gography, and realize the number on 'em, and the immense size of the exhibition.
And then there is the most interestin' exhibits in agricultural teachin', Schools and Colleges of different nations, side by side with the best American colleges of Agriculture, and Experimental Stations.
Here in this exhibit you can see everything eatable and drinkable, from Jonesville wheat to palm sugar, and all sorts of vegetables that wuz ever seen, and the very biggest ones that wuz ever grown, from a sweet potato to a squash, and peanuts to cocoanuts—
And all sorts of animal products, from a elephant's tusk, from Africa, to a sleek deacon's skin, from Jonesville.
And then, besides the exhibit of raw products of every kind, from Egypt to Shackville, there are shown off all sorts of manufactured foods, and everything else, and so forth and so on.
If you stay here long enough, say from 2 to 3 months, you can git a good idee of what the world feeds on, from Hindoostan to Loontown and Zoar.
Josiah enjoyed himself here richly.
He hardly could be torn away.
And I took comfort, too, in the dairy, where the butter and cheese from the different States is shown off in handsome cases, and kep cool and fresh in dog-days. This wuz, I spoze, to test the merits of the different breeds of dairy cattle, and teach the very best methods of makin' butter and cheese.
I took solid comfort here, and I also got some new and useful idees that I could disseminate to Miss Isham, and she that wuz Submit Tewksbury.
As for Philury, I mean to give her lessons daily (she runs our dairy in my absence).
In the annex of this buildin' wuz exhibits of all the Agricultural implements ever known or hearn on, from the first old rickety reaper up to the noble machine of to-day, that will cut the grain, and take out a string and tie it up in sheafs; and I guess if it wuz encouraged enough, it would take it to the mill and grind it—
And the first old cotton-gin and mower up to the finished machines of to-day.
Outside this buildin', directly on the lagoon, wuz exhibits of gates, fences, and all sorts of wind-mills, from the picteresque old Dutch mills up to the ones of eighteen hundred and ninety-three.
And engines, portable and traction ones.
I asked Josiah, "What he spozed a traction engine wuz," and he sez, "One that is tractable—easy to manage." Sez he, "Some on 'em, you know, is obstropolos."
I don't know whether he got it right or not, but he seemed sure on't, and that is half the battle, so fur as makin' a show is concerned, in this world.
Jined to this department is a Assembly Hall, on purpose for speakers and orators to disseminate the best and latest idees about agriculture.
And, take it all in all, what a boon to Jonesville and the World the hull exhibit is!
It wuz a sight!
Wall, bein' pretty nigh to it—only a little walk acrost a tree-shaded green—I acceded to my pardner's request that I would go with him to the Stock Exhibit. He had been before, but I hadn't got round to it.
It is sixty-three acres big, forty-four acres under ruff.
Think of a house forty-four acres big!
Wall, here we see every live animal that wuz ever seen, from a little trick pony to a elephant, and from a sheep to a camel—a dretful interestin' exhibit, but noisy.
And all kinds of dogs, from a poodle to a mastiff.
Why, there wuz one dog there that wuz worth three thousand and seven hundred dollars; it is the biggest dog in the world.
But I told Josiah that I wouldn't gin a cent for it if I had got to have it round; it wuz so big that it wuz fairly skairful. Why it weighed about two hundred and fifty pounds.
It wuz a St. Bernard; but I told Josiah, "Santi or not, I wouldn't want to meet it alone in the back lane in the evenin'."
It would skair a young child into fits to go through this department; some of them wild creeters look so ferocious, especially the painters, they made my blood fairly curdle.
Wall, we stayed here for some time, or until my ear-pans seemed to be ruined for life. And then we had a little time on our hands, and Josiah proposed that we should go out on the water and take a short voyage to rest off. I gin a glad consent, and we sot off.
Wall, after bein' on the water a little while, I begun to feel so much rested that I proposed that we should row round to the other end of the park, and pay attention to some of the State Buildin's.
"For," sez I, "if the different countries should hear on't that I have been here all this while, without payin' 'em any attention, they will feel hurt." And sez I, "I had ruther give a cent than to have Great Britain feel hurt, and lots of the rest on 'em.
"And then," sez I, "it hain't right to slight 'em, even if they never heard on't."
"Oh, shaw!" sez Josiah, "I guess that they would git along if you didn't go at all; I guess that they hain't a-sufferin' for company this year."
"But," sez I with dignity, "this is a fur different thing, and as fur as our own United States Buildin's are concerned, I feel bound to 'em, bein' such a intimate friend to their Father-in-law."
"What do you mean?" sez Josiah.
"Why, Uncle Sam," sez I—"U.S. Epluribus Unim."
Agin he sez, "Oh, shaw!" But I held firm, and at my request the boat headed that way.
And we landed as nigh 'em as we could.
You see, all the United States, and most of the Foreign Countries, have a separate buildin', mostly gin up to social and friendly purposes, where natives of that State and country can go in and rest, and recooperate—see some of their friends, and so on, and so forth.
Wall, we laid out to pay attention to a lot on 'em that day.
But, as it turned out, we didn't go to but jest three on 'em, the reasons of which I will set down, and recapitulate.
I felt that we had to go to New York and Illinois. Loyalty and Politeness stood on both sides of us, a-leadin' us to the home of our own native State, and the folks we wuz a-visitin'; and we found New York a perfect palace, modelled after an Italian one. And the row of green plants a-standin' on the ruff all round made it look real uneek and dretful handsome. And inside it wuz fitted up as luxurious as any palace need to be, with a banquet hall eighty-four feet long and forty-six feet high; a glow of white, and gold, and red, and crystal.
Yes, the hull house wuz pleasant and horsepitable, as become the dwellin' place of the Empire State.
And Illinois! You might know what you'd expect to find inside, when you see what they had outside on't.
That statute, "Hide and Seek," before the entrance, wuz, I do believe, the very best thing I see to the hull Fair—
Five little children with merry, laughin' faces a-playin' at hide and seek in a broken gray old stump, and flowers, and vines, and mosses a-runnin' round it and over it as nateral as life.
Wall, I stood before that beautiful object till Josiah had to draw me away from it almost by main force.
But inside it come my time to draw him away.
When we see that picter of the old farm made in seeds, he wuz as rooted to the spot as if he intended to remain sot out there, and grow up with the State.
And it wuz a dretful interestin' sight—the farm-house, the barns, the well, the old windmill, the long fields a-stretchin' back, and fenced off, with different crops on 'em, the good-lookin' men and wimmen, and the horses, with their glossy hides and silky manes and tails, and all made of different kinds of seeds and grasses. It wuz a sight to see the crowd that stood before that from mornin' till night, and you ask ten folks what impressed 'em the most at the Fair, and more'n half on 'em would most likely say that it wuz that seed picter in the Illinois Buildin'. Over one side on't wuz draped sunthin' that I took to be the very richest silk or velvet, all fringed out with a deep fringe on the end on't. But it wuz all made of grasses of different kinds—the idee! Fifteen young ladies of Illinois made that, and they done first-rate. I want 'em to know what I think on't, and what Josiah duz.
Wall, inside the buildin' wuz full and runnin' over with beautiful objects—lovely picters, noble statuary, beautiful works of art and industry done by the sons and daughters of the State.
It would take more'n a week to do any justice to it. Illinois done splendid. I want her to know how I appreciated it. She'll be glad to know how riz up I felt there.
Wall, when we left there we had a little dialogue—not mad exactly, but earnest.
I wanted to go and see Great Britain, and Josiah wanted to go to Vermont (he has got a third cousin a-livin' there, and he wanted to see him). "Wall," sez I, "we've got a mother to tend to; the Mother Country calls for a little filial attention."
"Oh, shaw!" sez he; "I guess you feel more related than they do; and," sez he, "I shall go to Vermont. Mebby I shall meet Bildad Allen right there in the settin'-room."
So there it wuz—we wuz both determined. I see by my companion's mean that it wouldn't do to insist on Great Britain.
But a woman hates to give in awful. So I suggested makin' a compromise on California.
And he agreed to it. He, too, had seen a look of marble determination on my mean, and he dassent press the Vermont question too hard.
So we directed our steps towards the California Buildin'. It is a exact reproduction of the old Monastery of San Diego, and one hundred thousand square feet is the size on't.
It is full of the products of California. Sech fruit and flowers I never see, and don't expect to agin.
The flowers wuz gorgeous, and perfectly beautiful, and I spoze, though I don't really want to twit 'em of it, yet I do spoze they brought every mite of fruit out of California for this occasion. I don't spoze there wuz a orange left there, or a grape, nor anything else in the line of fruit. Mebby there might a been one or two green oranges left, but I doubt it.
And as for canned and dried fruit, I don't spoze there wuz a teacupful left in the hull State.
Why, jest think of the dried prunes it must have took to make that horse that wuz rared up there seven feet from the floor!
And wuzn't that horse a sight to see?—jest as nateral as though he wuz made of flesh instead of fruit.
I hearn, but mebby it come from some of their own folks—but I hearn that California had the best exhibits of all kinds of any of the States. But I wouldn't want it told from me. I don't want to git thirty or forty States mad as a hen at me; the States are dretful touchy, anyway, in the matter of State Rights and pride.
But the show wuz impressive—dretful.
This house wuz built, I spoze, in honor of Spain, like a old Spanish Mission Buildin'; and up in the towers which rise up on the four corners are belfrys, in which are some of the old Spanish bells, that still ring out and call to prayers, when the good old Fathers that used to hear 'em, and the Injun converts, generations and generations of 'em, have slept so sound that the bells can't wake 'em.
And the bells still swing out over this restless and ambitious generation, and they will swing and echo jest the same when we too have gone to sleep, and sleep sound.
Queer, hain't it, that a little dead lump of metal should outlive the beatin' human heart—the active, outreachin' human life, with its world-wide activities and Heaven-high aspiration?
But so it is; generations and generations are born, live, and die, and the old bells, a-takin' life easy, jest swing on, and ring out jest as sweet and calm and kinder careless at our death as at our birth.
The bells sounded dretful melancholy and heart achin' to me; that day they seemed to be soundin' a requiem clear from California to Jonesville for the good Man who had passed away.
Jest as we went down the steps we hearn a bystander a-tellin' another one "that Leland Stanford wuz dead." And I wuz fearful rousted up about it; I felt like death to hear on't; and to think that I never had a chance to tell him what I thought on him. I was fearful agitated, and almost by the side of myself; but jest at that juncture—jest as I sez to Josiah, "I shouldn't felt so bad if I had had a chance to tell him what I thought on him, and encourage him in his noble doin's, and warn him in one or two things"—jest at that minit, sez Josiah, "I've lost my bandanny handkerchief;" and he told me, "To wait there for him, that he thought that he remembered where he had dropped it—back in a antick room in the back part of the house."
And I thought more'n like as not that wuz the last I should see of him for hours and hours, the crowd wuz so immense and the search wuz so oncertain.
But it wuz a good new handkerchief—red and yeller, with a palm-tree pattern on it—and I couldn't discourage him from huntin' for it.
And jest as he turned to go back, he sez—
"Why, if there hain't Deacon Rogers of Loontown!"
And he advanced onto a good-lookin' man, who wuz a-standin' some distance off.
My pardner put out his hand and stepped forward with a glad face till he got to within three feet of him, and then his gladness died out, and he looked meachin'.
It wuzn't Rogers. And my pardner jest turned on his tracks, and disappeared round the buildin'. A bystander who wuz a-standin' by spoke up and sez:
"That is Governor Markham, of California."
"Why'ee!" sez I, "is that so?" and then the thought come to me that the pityin' Providence that had removed Senator Stanford from my encouragement, and warnin', had throwed this man in my way.
I see in a minit what would be expected of me both by the nation and by my own Gardeen Angel of Duty.
I must encourage him by tellin' him what I thought of the noble doin's of one of his folks, and I must warn him on a few things, and git him to turn round in his tracks.
So I advanced, and accosted him.
He was a-standin' out a little ways to one side a-lookin' up to the handsome front of the house, and I sez to him, in a voice nearly tremblin' with emotion—
"I have wanted to tell you, Governor Markham, how I feel, and how Josiah feels."
He turned round and looked kinder surprised, but good-natered, and I see then that he wuz a real good-lookin' man, and sez he—"Who is Josiah?"
And I sez, "My own pardner. I am Josiah Allen's Wife."
And as I sez this, bein' very polite, I kinder bowed my head, and he kinder bowed his head too. We appeared real well, both on us.
And sez I, "We feel it dretful, the passin' away and expirin' of one of your folks."
And sez he, "You allude to Senator Stanford?"
And I sez, "Yes; when I think of that noble school of hisen that he has sot up there in your great State—the finest school in the world for poor boys and poor girls, as well as rich ones—when I think what that great educational power is a-goin' to do for the children of this great country, rich and poor, I think on him almost by the side of Christopher Columbus. For if Christopher discovered a new world, Senator Stanford wuz a-takin' the youth of this country into a new realm—a-sailin' 'em out into a new world, and a grander one than they'd any idee on—a-sailin' 'em out on the great ship of his magnificent Charity; and that Ship," sez I, in a kind of a tremblin' voice, "wuz wafted out at first on the sombre wings of a heart-breakin' sorrow; but they grew white," sez I—"they grew silver white as that great Ship sailed on and on.
"And up through the cloudless blue overhead I believe an angel looks down smilin'ly and lovin'ly on what has been done, and what is a-doin' now—that youth whose tender heart, while he walked with man, wuz so tender and compassionate to the poor, and so wise to help 'em."
The Governor showed plain in his good-lookin' face how deeply he felt what I said, and I hastened to add—
"I wanted to thank him who is gone for this great and noble work; and as he has passed on beyend this world's praise, or blame, I want to tell you about it, seein' that you're at the head of the family.
"I speak," sez I, "in the name of Jonesville!"
"Whose name?" sez he.
And I sez, "My own native land, Jonesville, nigh to Loontown, seven milds from Zoar."
"Oh!" sez he.
"Yes," sez I, "Jonesville wuz proud of his doin's, and she thinks a sight of California.
"But in one thing she feels bad: she don't want California to make so much wine; she wishes you'd stop it.
"She's proud of your fruit, your flowers, your big trees, and other products, but she wishes you'd stop makin' so much wine. Jonesville wouldn't care if you made a couple of quarts for sickness or jell, but she feels as if she couldn't bear to see you swing out and make so much." Sez I, "Jonesville and I want you to stop makin' it—we want you to like dogs."
And then sez I, in still firmer axents, "It hain't a-settin' a good example to the schoolchildren in Palo Alto and the United States."
He looked real downcasted and sad, some as if he'd never thought on't in that light before.
He didn't really promise me, but I presoom to say that he won't never make another drop.
But his face looked dretful deprested. I see that he felt it deeply to think I had found fault with him.
But to resoom. Sez I—for here my gardeen angel hunched me hard and told me that here wuz a chance to do good—mebby the Governor could carry out the wishes of him that wuz gone—sez I, "Another great thing that Jonesville and I approve of wuz Senator Stanford's bill about lendin' money." Sez I, "There never wuz a better bill brought before America, and if Uncle Sam don't pass it, he hain't the old man I think he is.
"For," sez I, "jest take the case of Jim Widrig alone; that would pay for the trouble of passin' it.
"He has got a big farm of more'n two hundred acres, but the land is all run down—he can't raise nothin' on it hardly, it needs enrichin' so; he hain't no stock, and, as he often sez, 'If I should run in debt for 'em, we should soon be landed in the Poor-House.' He's got a wife and seven boys.
"Wall, now if he could only borry 2000 dollars of Uncle Sam, and only pay forty dollars a year for it—why, they would be jest made.
"They could put on twenty young cows on the place, two good horses, and go right on to success, for Jim is hard-workin', and Mahala Widrig is one of the best hard-workin' wimmen in the precincks of Jonesville, and I don't believe she has got a second dress to her back."
The Governor murmured sunthin' about a engagement he had. He looked worried and anxious, but I and my Gardeen Angel hadn't no idee of lettin' him go while there wuz a chance for us to plead for the Right.
And I hastened to say, "Uncle Sam needn't be 'fraid of lendin' money on that farm, for it is there solid, clear down to China; it can't run away."
The Governor kinder moved off a little, as if meditatin' flight, and I spoke up some louder, bein' determined to do all I could for Mahala Widrig—good, honest, hard-workin' creeter.
Sez I, "It will be the makin' of Jim Widrigses folks and more'n fifty others right there round Jonesville, to say nothin' about the hull of the United States; and it will be money in Uncle Sam's pocket, too, in the end, and he will own up to me that it is."
The Governor here took out his watch and looked at it almost onbeknown to me, I wuz so took up a-talkin' for Justice and Mahala.
Sez I, "This bill will bring money into Uncle Samuel's pocket in the end, for it will keep the boys to hum on the old farm." Sez I, "It is Poverty that has driv the boys off—hard work, high taxes, and ruinous mortgages drives to the city lots of 'em, to add to the pauper and criminal classes—boys that Uncle Sam might have kep to hum by the means I speak of, to grow up into sober, respectable, prosperous citizens, a strength and a safeguard to the Republic, but whom he now will have to support in prisons and almshouses, a danger and menace to the Goverment.
"Poor Uncle Sam!—poor, well-meanin', but oft misguided old creeter! It would be easier for him, if he only knew it, to do what Mr. Stanford wanted him to.
"Besides, think of the masses of fosterin' crime he would be a-pressin' back and a-turnin' into good, pure influences to bless the world! And besides, the oncounted gain to Heaven and earth! Uncle Sam would git the two-cent mortgages back a dozen times in the increase of taxable property."
The Governor murmured agin that he wuz wanted to once, in a distant part of the city—he must start for California imegatly, and on the next train. Sez he incoherently, "That school wuz about to open; he must be to the University to once."
He wuz nearly delirious—I spoze he wuz nearly overcome by my remarkable eloquence, but don't know.
But as he sot off, a-movin' backward in a polite way but swift, entirely onbeknown to him he come up aginst a big tree, and with a hopeless look of resignation he leaned up aginst it, while I, a-feelin' that Providence had interfered to give me another chance at him, advanced onwards, and sez to him in a real eloquent way, "That bill will do more than any amount of beggin', or jawin', or preachin', towards keepin' the boys to hum on the old deserted farms that are so thick in the country; and," sez I, "now that bill has fell out of his hands, I want you to take it up and pass it on to success."
Sez I, "Let Uncle Sam and you go out, as I have, in the country byroads in Jonesville, and Loontown, and Zoar, and you'll both gin in that I'm a-tellin' the truth."
Sez I, "If it hain't a pitiful sight in one short mornin's ride to go by more'n a dozen of them poor deserted old homes, as I have many a time, and I spoze they lay jest as thick scattered all over the State and country as they do round Jonesville."
Sez I, "To see them old brown ruffs a-humpin' themselves up jest as lonesome-lookin' and cold—no smoke a-comin' out of the chimblys to cheer 'em up—to see the bare winders a-facin' the west, and no bright eyes a-lookin' out, nor curly locks for the sunlight to git tangled in—to see the poor old door-step a-settin' there alone, as if a-tellin' over its troubles to the front gate, and that a-creakin' back to it on lonesome nights or cold, fair mornin's—
"And the old well-sweep a-pintin' up into the sky overhead, as if a-callin' Heaven to witness that it wuzn't to blame for the state of things—
"And the apple trees, with low swingin' branches, with no bare brown feet to press on 'em on the way up to the robin's nest overhead—empty barns, ruins, weedy gardens, long, lonesome stretches of paster and medder lands—
"Why, if Uncle Sam could look on sech sights, and have me right by him to tell him the reason on't—to tell him that two thousand dollars lent on easy interest would turn every one of them worthless, decayin' pieces of property into beautiful, flourishin', prosperous homes, he'd probable feel different about passin' the bill from what he duz now—
"When I told him that most generally out behind the barn, and under the apple trees and gambrul ruff, wuz crouchin' the monster that had sapped the life out of the hum—the bloated, misshapen form of a mortgage at six per cent, and that old, insatiable monster had devoured and drinked down every cent of the earnin's that the hull family could bring to appease it with—
"It would open its snappin' old jaws and swaller 'em all down, and then set down refreshed but unappeased to wait for the next earnin's to be brung him.
"Wall, now, if they could pay off that mortgage, and git rid of it, they could walk over its prostrate form into prosperity; they could afford to lighten up the bare poverty of a country farm, so repellin' to the young, with some touches of brightness. Books, music, good horses, carriages would preach louder lessons of content to the children than any they would hear from their pa's or ma's or ministers.
"They would love their hums—would make them yield, instead of ruin and depressin' influences, a good income to themselves, and good tax-payin' property to help Uncle Sam—
"Decrease vice, increase virtue—lead away from prisons and almshousen, lead toward meetin'-housen, and the halls of justice, mebby. For in the highest places of trust and honor in the United States to-day is to be found the sons and daughters of country homes."
Here, at jest this juncture, my umbrell fell out of my hand, and it brung my eyes down to earth agin; for some time, entirely onbeknown to me, I had been a-lookin' up into the encirclin' heavens, and a-soarin' round there in oratory.
But as my eyes fell onto the Governor, I noticed the extreme weariness and mute agony on his liniment; he picked up my umbrell and handed it to me, and sez he, a-speakin' fast and agitated, as if in fear of sunthin' or ruther:—
"Your remarks are truly eloquent, and I believe every word on 'em; but," sez he, "I have an engagement of nearly life and death; I must leave you," and he sot off nearly on a run.
And I spread my umbrell and walked off with composure and dignity to tackle the next buildin', which wuz Oregon.
But my pardner jined me at that minit with his handkerchief held triumphantly in his hand.
And at his earnest request we didn't examine clost any of the State buildin's—that is, we didn't go in and look 'em over; but, from the outside view, we had a high opinion on 'em.
They wuz beautiful and extremely gorgeous, some on 'em.
And they looked real good, too, and wuz comfortable inside, I hain't a doubt on't.
I felt bad not to pay attention to every State jest as they come, and I know that they'll feel it if they ever hear on't.
But, as Josiah said, there wuz so many to pay attention to 'em, that they wouldn't mind so much as if they wuz more alone and lonely.
Wall, Josiah felt as if he'd got to have a bite of sunthin' to eat, and so we sot off at a pretty good jog for the nearest restaurant, and there we got a good lunch, and after we had done eatin', and Josiah wuz in a real good frame of mind, to all human appearance, I sez, "I'm a-goin' to see Hatye, if I don't see nothin' else."
And Josiah sez, "Where is Hatye?"
And I sez, "Not but a little ways from the German Buildin'."
And sez he, "Who is Hatye, anyway?"
And I sez, "Hatye is one of the first islands that Columbus discovered, and it ort to take a front rank in his doin's, and for lots of other reasons, too," sez I. "It is there that we see the exhibit of our colored men and bretheren."
We found Hatye a good-lookin' buildin', a story and a half high, with a good-lookin' dome a-risin' out of the centre.
And inside on't we found exhibits in fruit, grain, and machinery, and all sorts of products, and in the picters and other works of art we see that the Hatyeans wuz a-doin' first rate.
And, as I remarked to Josiah, sez I, "If Christopher Columbus stood right here by my side, he'd say—
"'Josiah Allen's wife, Hatye has done real well, and I am glad that I discovered it.'"
Wall, that night, when I got back to Miss Plankses, I found a letter from Tirzah Ann, and my worst apprehensions I had apprehended in her case wuz realized.
She and Whitfield wuzn't a-comin' to the Fair at all.
By the time she got her oyster-shell stockin's done, the weather had moderated, so it wuz too cool to wear 'em, and it was too late then to begin woosted ones (of course, she could buy stockin's, but she wuz sot on havin' hand-made ones, bein' so much nicer, and so much more liable to attract respect and admiration)—
And then by that time the weather wuz so variable that she didn't know whether to take summer clothes or winter ones, and so she dallied along till it got so late that Whitfield didn't dast to take her out at all, she wuz so kinder mauger.
She had wore herself all out a-bonin' down and knittin' them stockin's, and embroiderin' them night-shirts, and preparin' for the Fair, so they gin up comin'.
I felt bad.
Wall, it wuz all settled as I wanted it to be. Them two angels, as I couldn't hardly keep callin' 'em, if one of 'em wuz a he angel—them two lovely good creeters wuz married right in the place where I wanted 'em to be married—right in our parlor, in front of the picter of Grant, and not fur back of the hangin' lamp, but fur enough back so's to allow of a lovely bell of white roses and lilies to swing over their heads.
The bell wuz made of the white roses, and a fair white lily hung down, a-swingin' its noiseless music out into the hearts below—sacred music which we all seemed to hear in our inmost hearts as we looked into the faces that stood under that magic bell.
Isabelle had on a white muslin gown, plain, but shear and fine, and she wore a bunch of white roses at her belt and at her white throat, and she carried in her hand a bunch of rare ones.
But it all corresponded, for she wuz the white lily herself, as tall, and fair, and queenly.
Only when the words wuz said that made her Tom's wife, her cheeks flushed up as no white lily ever did, even under the sun's rosiest rays.
But a sun wuz a-shinin' on her that went beyend any earthly sun—it wuz the rays of the great planet Love that illuminated her face, and lit up her glorified eyes with the light that wuz never on sea nor on shore.
Her husband looked right into her face all the while the Elder wuz a-unitin' 'em, a-lookin' at her as if he could not quite believe in his happiness yet—looked at her as one looks at a pearl of great price, when he has recovered it after a long loss.
I sez to Josiah, as I see that look on his face—
"Many waters may not quench it, Josiah Allen, nor floods drown it, can they?"
And he brung me back to the present by remarkin'—
"I wouldn't bring up drowndins and conflagrations at such a time as this, Samantha."
And I sithed and sez to myself, what I have said so many times to she that wuz Samantha Smith, in strict confidence—
"How different, how different Josiah Allen and I look at things! And still we worship each other, jest about."
Wall, Thomas Jefferson and Maggie wuz there, and Tirzah Ann and Whitfield, and the children, and Krit. The two girls, our daughters, wuz dressed in white, and the Babe stood up by the bride dressed in white, and holdin' a cunnin' little basket of posies in her hand, and they all looked pretty, and felt pretty, and acted so.
We had good refreshments to refresh ourselves with, and everything went off happy and joyous, as weddings should, and will, if True Love stands up with 'em; and she is the only Bridesmaid worth a cent.
(I am aware that it is usual to call Love a he, but I believe in fair play, and you may as well call it a she once in a while, specially as the female sect are as lovin' agin as the he ones, so I think.)
Wall, they had lots and lots of presents—nice ones too. Mr. Freeman's gift to her wuz two diamond and ruby bracelets, that shone on her white wrists like sparks of fire and dew.
Them diamonds seemed to be the mates of the ones that had burned on her finger ever sence a day or two after they met at the World's Fair.
So you see, though she gin her jewels away in her youth, she found 'em agin in her ripe, sweet womanhood. She gin away the jewels of her ambition, her glowin' hopes and desires, for a career, and she found 'em more than all made up to her.
But the jewels her husband prized most in her wuz the calm light of patience, and love, and womanliness that shone on her face. They wuz made, them pure pearls of hern, as pearls always are, by long sufferin' and endurance, and the "constant anguish of patience."
Krit give her for his gift a beautiful cross of precious stones, and I mistrusted, from what I see in her face when he gin it to her, that he meant it to be symbolical, and then agin I don't know. But, anyway, she wore it a-fastenin' the lace at her white throat.
But I do know that the girls and I gin her some good linen napkins, and towels, and table-cloths, and the boys a handsome set of books.
And I do know that the supper afterwards wuz, although well I know the impoliteness of my even hintin' at it—I do know, and I should lie if I said that I didn't know it, that that supper wuz a good one—as good a one, so fur as my knowledge goes, as wuz ever put on a table in the town of Lyme, or the village of Jonesville.
And Josiah Allen, he eat too much—fur, fur too much. And I hunched him three times to that effect at the time, to no avail.
And once I stepped on his toe—a dretful warnin' steppin'—and he asked me out loud and snappish (I hit a corn, I spoze, onbeknown to me)—and he asked me right out before 'em all, voyalent, "What I wuz a-steppin' on his toe for?"
And so, of course, that curbed me in, and I had to let him go on, and cut a full swath in the vittles. But it wuz some comfort for me to think that most likely he wouldn't be tempted by a weddin' supper agin—not for some time, anyway. For the Babe wuz but young yet, and we wuz gettin' along.
Yes, that hull weddin' went off perfectly beautiful, and there wuzn't but one drawback to my happiness on that golden day that united them two happy lovers.
Yes, onbeknown to me a feelin' of sadness come over me—sadness and regret.
It wuzn't any worriment and concern about the fate of Isabelle and her husband —no; True Love wuz a-goin' out with 'em on their weddin' tower, and I knew if he went ahead of 'em, and they wuz a-walkin' in the light of his torch, their way wuz a-goin' to be a radiant and a satisfyin' one, whether it led up hill or down or over the deep waters—yea, even over the swellin' of Jordan.
No, it wuzn't that, nor anything relatin' to the children, or my dress, or anything—
No, my dress—a new lilock gray alpaca—sot out noble round my form, and my new head-dress wuz foamin' lookin', but it didn't foam too much.
No, it wuzn't that, nor anything about the neighbors—no; they looked some envious at our noble doin's, and walked by the house considerable, and the wimmen made errents, and borrowed more tea and sugar, durin' the preparations, than it seemed as if they could use in two years; but I pitied 'em, and forgive 'em—
And it wuzn't anything about the children or Krit.
For the children wuz happy in their happy and prosperous hums, and Krit, they say—I don't tell it for certain—but they say that he come back engaged to a sweet young girl of Chicago—
Come back from the great New World of the World's Fair, as his illustrious namesake went home so long ago, in chains—
Only Krit's chains wuz wrought of linked love and blessedness instead of iron—so they say.
I've seen her picter; but good land! how can I tell who or what it is? It is pretty as a doll, and Krit seems to think his eyes on it; but he's so full of fun, I can't git any straight story out of him.
But Thomas Jefferson says she is a bonny fidy girl—a good one and a pretty one, and has got a father dretful well off; and he sez that she and Krit are engaged. So I spoze more'n like as not they be.
And I also learnt, through a letter received that very day, that Mr. Bolster has led Miss Plank to the altar, or she has led him—it don't make much difference. Anyway, she has walked offen the Plank of widowhood, and settled down onto a Bolster for life.
I wuz glad on't. She wanted a companion, and he loves to converse, Heaven knows; and he is sure of one thing—he's almost certain, or as certain as we can be of anything in this life, that he will have the best pancakes that hands can make or spoons stir up.
I learnt also from her letter—Miss Bolster's, knee Plankses—that Nony Piddock wuz a-goin into the ministery. What a case for funerals he will be, and shockin' casualities! But he won't be good for much on a weddin' occasion.
And speakin' of weddin's brings me back to my subject agin.
No, it wuzn't any of these things that cast that mournful shadder on my eyebrows, anon, and even oftener, when I wuz out by myself—
And I spoze that I might as well tell what it wuz that I regretted and missed—
It wuz Christopher Columbus! the Brave Admiral! good, noble creeter!
I felt, in view of all he had done for America and the world, it wuz too bad that he had to die without havin' the privilege of seein' Jonesville, and bein' with us that day, and seein' what we see, and hearin' what we heard, and eatin' what we eat—
It wuz his doin's, the hull on't wuz Christopher Columbuses doin's. For if he hadn't discovered America, why, he wouldn't had no World's Fair for him. And then it stands to reason that Josiah and I shouldn't have gone to it. And if we hadn't gone to Miss Plankses, Mr. Freeman and Isabelle wouldn't have met.
Yes, I felt to lay the praise of it all to that blessed old mariner—I felt that I hadn't done nothin' towards it to what he had. And I kep on a-sayin' to myself—
"Oh, if he could only have been here, and seen with his own eyes what he had done!"
And when I thought how he walked hungry through the streets of Genoa, oh, how I did wish he could have had some of my scolloped oysters, and pressed chickens, and jell-cake, and tarts, and my heartfelt pity and sympathy, to say nothin' of other vittles, and well-meanin' actions accordin'.
Of course, I would have been pleased to have had Queen Isabelle and Ferdinand there—
There wuz cake enough, and ice-cream, and oysters, and everything. And everybody that knows me knows that I hain't one to begrech havin' one or two more visitors to wait on and provide for than I had planned havin'.
Yes, I should have been glad to seen 'em, and wait on 'em. But I didn't seem to care anything about seein' 'em, compared to my feelin's about Christopher Columbus.
Yes, Christopher wuz my theme, and my constant burden of mind.
But I had to gin it up. I couldn't expect a man to live four or five hundred years jest to please me, and gratify Jonesville.
No, Columbus wuzn't there. He wuz off somewhere a-discoverin' new continents, or planets, mebby.
For I don't believe he crumpled right down, and sot down forever on them golden streets.
No; I believe the eager, active mind would be a-reachin' out, a-findin' out new truths, new discoveries, so great that it would probable make us shet our eyes before the blindin' glory of 'em, if we could only git a glimpse of 'em.
But there, in that New World that lays beyend the sunset, he is happy at last—blest in the companionship of other true prophetic ones, whose deepest strivin's wuz, like his, to make the world better and wiser—them who longed for deeper, fuller understandin', and who walked the narrer streets of earth, like him, in chains and soul-hunger.
I love to think that now, onhampered by mutinous foes, or mortal weakness, they are a-sailin' out on that broad sea of full knowledge, and comprehension, and divine sympathy. Lit by the sunshine of infinite love, they sail on, and on, and on.
Other Works by Joshiah Allen's Wife.
A Charming Volume of Poetry. Beautifully Illustrated by W. Hamilton Gibson and other Artists. Bound in Colors. Square 12mo, 216 pp. Cloth, $2.00.
"Will win for her a title to an honorable place among American poets."—Chicago Standard.
"Miss Holley has here more than sustained her previous high literary reputation."—Interior, Chicago.
SAMANTHA AMONG THE BRETHREN.
By "Josiah Allen's Wife." Illustrated. Square 12mo, 452 pp. Cloth, $2.50.
"It is irresistibly humorous and true."—Bishop John P. Newman.
"It is as full of meat as an egg.... Calculated to do immense good in that department of woman's rights which relates to her participation in the great work of the Church of Christ, beyond the scrubbing and papering of the meeting-house."—Ex-Judge Noah Davis.
"It abounds in mingled humor, pathos and inexorable common sense."—Will Carleton.
"It is exceedingly entertaining."—New York Observer.
Or, Josiah Allen as a Politician. A Fascinating Story. Square 12mo, 390 pp. Cloth, $2.00.
"The interest of the book is intense.... Never was such a defender of woman's rights, never was such an exponent of woman's wrongs! In Samantha's pithy, pointed, scornful utterances we have in very truth the expression of feelings common to most thoughtful women, well understood among them, but rarely finding voice except in confidential intercourses and for sympathetic ears. Other women besides poor Cicely, and warm-hearted, clear-headed Samantha, and 'humble' Dorlesky eat their hearts out over the injustice of laws that they have no hand in making, and can have no hand in altering, though ruin and agony are their result.... It would be impossible to find in literature anything more pitiful than this story of the struggle of a gentle-natured woman against the dangers which surround her child, and her agony as she realizes her helplessness to avert evil from her fellow-sufferers. If it were not for the strong vein of humor which lightens up the darkest passages, the interest would be too painful. But Samantha intervenes with her quaint epigrams and keen-witted analysis, and lo, a smile broadens before the tear has dried!... Alongside of the fun are genuine eloquence and profound pathos; we scarcely know which is the more delightful."—The Literary World, London, Eng.
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