Sweet Cicely - Or Josiah Allen as a Politician
by Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)
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And she kep' right on with her tender, earnest voice, and her eyes a shinin' like stars,—

"Have I not a right to help him? Is he not my child? Did not God give me a right to him, when I went down into the darkness with God alone, and a soul was given into my hands? Did I not suffer for him? Have I not been blessed in him? Why, his little hands held me back from the gates of death. By all the rights of heavenliest joy and deepest agony—is he not mine? Have I not a right to help him in his future?

"Now I hold him in my arms, my flesh, my blood, my life. I hold him on my heart now: he is mine. I can shield him from danger: if he should fall into the flames, I could reach in after him, and die with him, or save him. God and man give me that right now: I do not have to ask for it.

"But in a few years he will go out from me, carrying my own life with him, my heart will go with him, to joy or to death. He will go out into dangers a thousand-fold worse than death,—dangers made respectable and legal,— and I can't help him.

"I his mother, who would die for him any hour—I must stand with my eyes open, but my hands bound, and see him rushing headlong into flames tenfold hotter than fire; see him on the brink of earthly and eternal ruin, and can't reach out my hand to hold him back. My boy! My own! Is it right? Is it just?"

And she got up, and walked the room back and forth, and says,—

"How can I bear the thought of it? How can I live and endure it? And how can I die, and leave the boy?"

And her eyes looked so big and bright, and that spot of red would look so bright on her white cheeks, that I would get skairt. And I'd try to sooth her down, and talk gentle to her. And I says,—

"All things are possible with God, and you must wait and hope."

But she says, "What will hope do for me when my boy is lost? I want to save him now."

It did beat all, as I told Josiah, out to one side, to see such hefty principles and emotions in such a little body. Why, she didn't weigh much over 90, if she did any.

And Josiah whispered back, "All women hain't like Cicely."

And I says in the same low, deep tones, "All men hain't like George Washington! Now get me a pail of water."

And he went out. But it did beat all, how that little thing, when she stood ready, seemin'ly, to tackle the nation—I've seen her jump up in a chair, afraid of a mice. The idee of anybody bein' afraid of a mice, and ready to tackle the Constitution!

And she'd blush up red as a rosy if a stranger would speak to her. But she would fight the hull nation for her boy.

And I'd try to sooth her (for that red spot on her cheeks skairt me, and I foreboded about her). I said to her after Josiah went out, a holdin' her little hot hands in mine,—for sometimes her hands would be hot and feverish, and then, agin, like two snowflakes,—

"Cicely, women's voting on intemperance would, as your uncle Josiah says, be a experiment. I candidly think and believe that it would be a good thing,—a blessin' to the youth of the land, a comfort to the females, and no harm to the males. But, after all, we don't know what it would do"—

"I know" says she. And her eyes had such a far-off, prophetic look in 'em, that I declare for't, if I didn't almost think she did know. I says to myself,—

"She's so sweet and unselfish and good, that I believe she's more than half-ways into heaven now. The Holy Scriptures, that I believe in, says, 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.' And it don't say where they shall see Him, or when. And it don't say that the light that fell from on high upon the blessed mother of our Lord, shall never fall again on other heart-broken mothers, on other pure souls beloved of Him."

And it is the honest truth, that it would not have surprised me much sometimes, as she wus settin' in the twilight with the boy in her arms, if I had seen a halo round her head; and so I told Josiah one night, after she had been a settin' there a holdin' the boy, and a singin' low to him,—

"'A charge to keep I have,— A God to glorify; A never-dying soul to save, And fit it for the sky.'"

It wuzn't her soul she wus a thinkin' of, I knew. She didn't think of herself: she never did.

And after she went to bed, I mentioned the halo. And Josiah asked what that was. And I told him it was "the inner glory that shines out from a pure soul, and crowns a holy life."

And he said "he s'posed it was some sort of a headdress. Wimmen was so full of new names, he thought it was some new kind of a crowfar."

I knew what he meant. He didn't mean crowfar, he meant crowfure. That is French. But I wouldn't hurt his feelin's by correctin' him; for I thought "fur" or "fure," it didn't make much of any difference.

Wall, the very next day, when Josiah came from Jonesville,—he had been to mill,—he brought Cicely a letter from her aunt Mary. She wanted her to come on at once; for her daughter, who wus a runnin' down, wus supposed to be a runnin' faster than she had run. And her aunt Mary was goin' to start for the Michigan very soon,—as soon as she got well enough: she wasn't feelin' well when she wrote. And she wanted Cicely to come at once.

So she went the next day, but promised that jest as quick as she got through visitin' her aunt and her other relations there, she would come back here.

So she went; and I missed her dretfully, and should have missed her more if it hadn't been for the state my companion returned in after he had carried Cicely to the train.

He come home rampant with a new idee. All wrought up about goin' into politics. He broached the subject to me before he onharnessed, hitchin' the old mair for the purpose. He wanted to be United-States senator. He said he thought the nation needed him.

"Needs you for what?" says I coldly, cold as a ice suckle.

"Why, it needs somebody it can lean on, and it needs somebody that can lean. I am a popular man," says he. "And if I can help the nation, I will be glad to do it; and if the nation can help me, I am willin'. The change from Jonesville to Washington will be agreeable and relaxin', and I lay out to try it."

Says I, in sarkastick tones, "It is a pity you hain't got your free pass to go on:—you remember that incident, don't you, Josiah Allen?"

"What of it?" he snapped out. "What if I do?"

"Wall, I thought then, that, when you got high-headed and haughty on any subject agin, mebby you would remember that pass, and be more modest and unassuming."

He riz right up, and hollered at me,—

"Throw that pass in my face, will you, at this time of year?"

And he started for the barn, almost on the run.

But I didn't care. I wus bound to break up this idee of hisen at once. If I hadn't been, I shouldn't have mentioned the free pass to him. For it is a subject so gaulin' to him, that I never allude to it only in cases of extreme danger and peril, or uncommon high-headedness.

Now I have mentioned it, I don't know but it will be expected of me to tell about this pass of hisen. But, if I do, it mustn't go no further; for Josiah would be mad, mad as a hen, if he knew I told about it.

I will relate the history in another epistol.


This free pass of Josiah Allen's wus indeed a strange incident, and it made sights and sights of talk.

But of course there wus considerable lyin' about it, as you know the way is. Why, it does beat all how stories will grow.

Why, when I hear a story nowadays, I always allow a full half for shrinkage, and sometimes three-quarters; and a good many times that hain't enough. Such awful lyin' times! It duz beat all.

But about this strange thing that took place and happened, I will proceed and relate the plain and unvarnished history of it. And what I set down in this epistol, you can depend upon. It is the plain truth, entirely unvarnished: not a mite of varnish will there be on it.

A little over two years ago Josiah Allen, my companion, had a opportunity to buy a wood-lot cheap. It wus about a mild and a half from here, and one side of the lot run along by the side of the railroad. A Irishman had owned it previous and prior to this time, and had built a little shanty on it, and a pig-pen. But times got hard, the pig died, and owing to that, and other financikal difficulties, the Irishman had to sell the place, "ten acres more or less, runnin' up to a stake, and back again," as the law directs.

Wall, he beset my companion Josiah to buy it; and as he had plenty of money in the Jonesville bank to pay for it, and the wood on our wood-lot wus gettin' pretty well thinned out, I didn't make no objection to the enterprize, but, on the other hand, I encouraged him in it. And so he made the bargain with him, the deed wus made out, the Irishman paid. And Josiah put a lot of wood-choppers in there to work; and they cut, and drawed the wood to Jonesville, and made money. Made more than enough the first six months to pay for the expenditure and outlay of money for the lot.

He did well. And he calculated to do still better; for he said the place bein' so near Jonesville, he laid out, after he had got the wood off, and sold it, and kep' what he wanted, he calculated and laid out to sell the place for twice what he give for it. Josiah Allen hain't nobody's fool in a bargain, a good deal of the time he hain't. He knows how to make good calculations a good deal of the time. He thought somebody would want the place to build on.

Wall, I asked him one day what he laid out to do with the shanty and the pig-pen that wus on it. The pig-pen wus right by the side of the railroad- track.

And he said he laid out to tear 'em down, and draw the lumber home: he said the boards would come handy to use about the premises.

Wall, I told him I thought that would be a good plan, or words to that effect. I can't remember the exact words I used, not expectin' that I would ever have to remember back, and lay 'em to heart. Which I should not had it not been for the strange and singular things that occurred and took place afterwards.

Then I asked my companion, if I remember rightly, "When he laid out to draw the boards home?" For I mistrusted there would be some planks amongst 'em, and I wanted a couple to lay down from the back-door to the pump. The old ones wus gettin' all cracked up and broke in spots.

And he said he should draw 'em up the first day he could spare the team. Wall, this wus along in the first week in April that we had this talk: warm and pleasant the weather wus, exceedingly so, for the time of year. And I proposed to him that we should have the children come home on the 8th of April, which wus Thomas J.'s birthday, and have as nice a dinner as we could get, and buy a handsome present for him. And Josiah was very agreeable to the idee (for when did a man ever look scornfully on the idee of a good dinner?).

And so the next day I went to work, and cooked up every thing I could think of that would be good. I made cakes of all kinds, and tarts, and jellys. And I wus goin' to have spring lamb and a chicken-pie (a layer of chicken, and a layer of oysters. I can make a chicken-pie that will melt in your mouth, though I am fur from bein' the one that ort to say it); and I wus goin' to have a baked fowl, and vegetables of all kinds, and every thing else I could think of that wus good. And I baked a large plum-cake a purpose for Whitfield, with "Our Son" on it in big red sugar letters, and the dates of his birth and the present date on each side of it.

I do well by the children, Josiah says I do; and they see it now, the children do; they see it plainer every day, they say they do. They say, that since they have gone out into the world more, and seen more of the coldness and selfishness of the world, they appreciate more and more the faithful affection of her whose name wus once Smith.

Yes, they like me better and better every year, they say they do. And they treat me pretty, dretful pretty. I don't want to be treated prettier by anybody than the children treat me.

And their affectionate devotion pays me, it pays me richly, for all the care and anxiety they caused me. There hain't no paymaster like Love: he pays the best wages, and the most satisfyin', of anybody I ever see. But I am a eppisodin', and to resoom and continue on.

Wall! the dinner passed off perfectly delightful and agreeable. The children and Josiah eat as if—Wall, suffice it to say, the way they eat wus a great compliment to the cook, and I took it so.

Thomas J. wus highly delighted with his presents. I got him a nice white willow rockin'-chair, with red ribbons run all round the back, and bows of the same on top, and a red cushion,—a soft feather cushion that I made myself for it, covered with crimson rep (wool goods, very nice). Why, the cushion cost me above 60 cents, besides my work and the feathers.

Josiah proposed to get him a acordeun, but I talked him out of that; and then he wanted to get him a bright blue necktie. But I perswaided him to give him a handsome china coffee cup and saucer, with "To My Son" painted on it; and I urged him to give him that, with ten new silver dollars in it. Says I, "He is all the son you have got, and a good son." And Josiah consented after a parlay. Why, the chair I give him cost about as much as that; and it wuzn't none too good, not at all.

Wall, he had a lovely day. And what made it pleasanter, we had a prospect of havin' another jest as good. For in about 2 months' time it would be Tirzah's Ann's birthday; and we both told her, Josiah and me, both did, that she must get ready for jest another such a time. For we laid out to treat 'em both alike (which is both Christian and common sense). And we told 'em they must all be ready to come home that day, Providence and the weather permittin'.

Wall, it wus so awful pleasant when the children got ready to go home, that Josiah proposed that he and me should go along to Jonesville with 'em, and carry little Samantha Joe. And I wus very agreeable to the idee, bein' a little tired, and thinkin' such a ride would be both restful and refreshin'.

And, oh! how beautiful every thing looked as we rode along! The sun wus goin' down in glory; and Jonesville layin' to the west of us, we seemed to be a ridin' along right into that glory—right towards them golden palaces, and towers of splendor, that riz up from the sea of gold. And behind them shinin' towers wus shadowy mountain ranges of softest color, that melted up into the tender blue of the April sky. And right in the east a full moon wuz sailin', lookin' down tenderly on Josiah and me and the babe—and Jonesville and the world. And the comet sot there up in the sky like a silent and shinin' mystery.

The babe's eyes looked big and dreamy and thoughtful. She has got the beautifulest eyes, little Samantha Joe has. You can look down deep into 'em, and see yourself in 'em; but, beyond yourself, what is it you can see? I can't tell, nor nobody. The ellusive, wonderful beauty that lays in the innocent baby eyes of little Samantha Joe. The sweet, fur-off look, as if she wus a lookin' right through this world into a fairer and more peaceful one.

And how smart they be, who can answer their questioning,—questionin' about every thing. Nobody can't—Josiah can't, nor I, nor nobody. Pretty soon she looked up at the comet; and says she, "Nama,"—she can't say grandma,—"Nama, is that God's comma?"

Now, jest see how deep that wuz, and beautiful, very. The heavens wuz full of the writin' of God, writin' we can't read yet, and translate into our coarser language; and she, with her deep, beautiful eyes, a readin' it jest as plain as print, and puttin' in all the marks of punctuation. Readin' the marvellous poem of glory, with its tremblin' pause of flame.

Josiah says, it is because she couldn't say comet; but I know better. Says I, "Josiah Allen, hain't it the same shape as a comma?"

And he had to gin it up that it was. And in a minute or two she says agin,—

"Nama, what is the comma up there for?"

Now hear that, how deep that wuz. Who could answer that question? I couldn't, nor Josiah couldn't. Nor the wisest philosopher that ever walked the earth, not one of 'em. From them that kept their night-watches on the newly built pyramids, to the astronimers of to-day who are spending their lives in the study of the heavens. If every one of them learned men of the world, livin' and dead, if they all stood in rows in our door-yard in front of little Samantha Joe, they would have to bow their haughty heads before her, and put their finger on their lips. Them lips could say very large words in every language under the sun; but they couldn't answer my baby's question, not one of 'em.

But I am eppisodin' fearfully, fearfully; and to resoom.

We left the children and the babe safe in their respective housen', and happy; and we went on placidly to Jonesville, got our usual groceries, and stopped to the post-office. Josiah went into the office, and come out with his "World," and one letter, a big letter with a blue envelope. I thought it had a sort of a queer look, but I didn't say nothin'. And it bein' sort o' darkish, he didn't try to open it till we got home. Only I says,—

"Who do you s'pose your letter is from, Josiah Allen?"

And he says, "I don't know: the postmaster had a awful time a tryin' to make out who it was to. I should think, by his tell, it wus the dumbdest writin' that ever wus seen. I should think, by his tell, it went ahead of yourn."

"Wall," says I, "there is no need of your swearin'." Says I, "If I wus a grandfather, Josiah Allen, I would choose my words with a little more decency, not to say morality."

"Wall, wall! your writin' is enough to make a man sweat, and you know it."

"I hadn't disputed it," says I with dignity. And havin' laid the blame of the bad writin' of the letter he had got, off onto his companion, as the way of male pardners is, he felt easy and comfortable in his mind, and talked agreeable all the way home, and affectionate, some.

Wall, we got home; and I lit a light, and fixed the fire so it burnt bright and clear. And I drawed up a stand in front of the fire, with a bright crimson spread on it, for the lamp; and I put Josiah's rockin'- chair and mine, one on each side of it; and put Josiah's slippers in front of the hearth to warm. And then I took my knittin'-work, and went to knittin'; and by that time Josiah had got his barn-chores all done, and come in.

And the very first thing he did after he come in, and drawed off his boots, and wondered "why under the gracious heavens it was, that the bootjack never could be found where he had left it" (which was right in the middle of the settin'-room floor). But he found it hangin' up in its usual place in the closet, only a coat had got hung up over it so he couldn't see it for half a minute.

And after he had his warm slippers on, and got sot down in his easy-chair opposite to his beloved companion, he grew calmer again, and more placider, and drawed out that letter from his pocket.

And I sot there a knittin', and a watchin' my companion's face at the same time; and I see that as he read the letter, he looked smut, and sort o' wonder-struck: and says I,—

"Who is your letter from, Josiah Allen?"

And he says, lookin' up on top of it,—

"It is from the headquarters of the Railroad Company;" and says he, lookin' close at it agin, "As near as I can make out, it is a free pass for me to ride on the railroad."

Says I, "Why, that can't be, Josiah Allen. Why should they give you a free pass?"

"I don't know," says he. "But I know it is one. The more I look at it," says he, growin' excited over it,—"the more I look at it, the plainer I can see it. It is a free pass."

Says I, "I don't believe it, Josiah Allen."

"Wall, look at it for yourself, Samantha Allen" (when he is dretful excited, he always calls me Samantha Allen), "and see what it is, if it hain't that;" and he throwed it into my lap.

I looked at it close and severe, but not one word could I make out, only I thought I could partly make out the word "remove," and along down the sheet the word "place," and there wus one word that did look like "free." And Josiah jumped at them words; and says he,—

"It means, you know, the pass reads like this, for me to remove myself from place to place, free. Don't you see through it?" says he.

"No," says I, holdin' the paper up to the light. "No, I don't see through it, far from it."

"Wall," says he, highly excited and tickled, "I'll try it to-morrow, anyway. I'll see whether I am in the right, or not."

And he went on dreamily, "Lemme see—I have got to move that lumber in the mornin' up from my wood-lot. But it won't take me more'n a couple of hours, or so, and in the afternoon I'll take a start."

Says I, "What under the sun, Josiah Allen, should the Railroad Company give you a free pass for?"

"Wall," says he, "I have my thoughts."

He spoke in a dretful sort of a mysterious way, but proud; and I says,—

"What do you think is the reason, Josiah Allen?"

And he says, "It hain't always best to tell what you think. I hain't obleeged to," says he.

And I says, "No. As the poet saith, nobody hain't obleeged to use common sense unless they have got it;" and I says, in a meanin' tone, "No, I can't obleege you to tell me."

Wall, sure enough, the next day, jest as quick as he got that lumber drawed up to the house, Josiah Allen dressed up, and sot off for Jonesville, and come home at night as tickled a man as I ever see, if not tickleder.

And he says, "Now what do you think, Samantha Allen? Now what do you think about my ridin' on that pass?"

And I says, "Have you rode on it, Josiah Allen?"

And he says, "Yes, mom, I have. I have rode to Loontown and back; and I might have gone ten times as fur, and not a word been said."

And I says, "What did the conductor say?"

And he says, "He didn't say nothin'. When he asked me for my fare, I told him I had a free pass, and I showed it to him. And he took it, and looked at it close, and took out his specks, and looked and looked at it for a number of minutes; and then he handed it back to me, and I put it into my pocket; and that wus all there was of it."

Says I, "How did the conductor look when he was a readin' it?"

And he owned up that he looked dubersome. But, says he, "I rode on it, and I told you that I could."

"Wall," says I, sithin', "there is a great mystery about it."

Says he, "There hain't no mystery to me."

And then I beset him agin to tell me what he thought the reason wus they give it to him.

And he said "he thought it was because he was so smart." Says he, "I am a dumb smart feller, Samantha, though I never could make you see it as plain as I wanted to." And then says he, a goin' on prouder and prouder every minute,—

"I am pretty-lookin'. I am what you might call a orniment to any car on the track. I kinder set a car off, and make 'em look respectable and dressy. And I'm what you might call a influential man, and I s'pose the railroad-men want to keep the right side of me. And they have took the right way to do it. I shall speak well of 'em as long as I can ride free. And, oh! what solid comfort I shall take, Samantha, a ridin' on that pass! I calculate to see the world now. And there is nothin' under the sun to hender you from goin' with me. As long as you are the wife of such a influential and popular man as I be, it don't look well for you to go a mopein' along afoot, or with the old mare. We will ride in the future on my free pass."

"No," says I. "I sha'n't ride off on a mystery. I prefer a mare."

Says he, for he wus that proud and excited that you couldn't stop him nohow,—

"It will be a dretful savin' of money, but that hain't what I think of the most. It is the honor they are a heapin' onto me. To think that they think so much of me, set such a store by me, and look up to me so, that they send me a free pass without my makin' a move to ask for it. Why, it shows plain, Samantha, that I am one of the first men of the age."

And so he would go on from hour to hour, and from day to day; and I wus that dumbfoundered and wonderin' about it, that I couldn't for my life tell what to think of it. It worried me.

But from that day Josiah Allen rode on that pass, every chance he got. Why, he went to the Ohio on it, on a visit to his first wive's sister; and he went to Michigan on it, and to the South, and everywhere he could think of. Why, he fairly hunted up relations on it, and I told him so.

And after he got 'em hunted up, he'd take them onto that pass, and ride round with 'em on it.

And he told every one of 'em, he told everybody, that he thought as much agin of the honor as he did of the money. It showed that he wus thought so much of, not only in Jonesville, but the world at large.

Why, he took such solid comfort in it, that it did honestly seem as if he grew fat, he wus so puffed up by it, and proud. And some of the neighbors that he boasted so before, wus eat up with envy, and seemed mad to think he had come to such honor, and they hadn't. But the madder they acted, the tickleder he seemed, and more prouder, and high-headeder.

But I could not feel so. I felt that there wus sunthin' strange and curius about it. And it wus very, very seldom that Josiah could get me to ride on it. Though I did take a few short journeys on it, to please him. But I felt sort o' uneasy while I was a ridin' on it, same as you feel when you are goin' up-hill with a heavy load and a little horse. You kinder stand on your feet, and lean forward, as if your bein' oncomfortable, and standin' up, helped the horse some.

I had a good deal of that restless feelin', and oneasy. And as I told Josiah time and time again, "that for stiddy ridin' I preferred a mare to a mystery."

Wall, it run along for a year; and Josiah said he s'posed he'd have to write on, and get the pass renewed. As near as he could make out, it run out about the 4th day of April. So he wrote down to the head one in New- York village; and the answer came back by return mail, and wrote in plain writin' so we could read it.

It seemed there wus a mistake. It wuzn't a free pass, it wus a order for Josiah Allen to remove a pig-pen from his place on the railroad-track within three days.

There it wuz, a order to remove a nuisence; and Josiah Allen had been a ridin' on it for a year, with pride in his mean, and haughtiness in his demeanor.

Wall, I never see a man more mortified and cut up than Josiah Allen wuz. If he hadn't boasted so over its bein' gin to him on account of his bein' so smart and popular and etcetery, he wouldn't have felt so cut up. But as it was, it bowed down his bald head into the dust (allegory).

But he didn't stay bowed down for any length of time: truly, men are constituted in such a way that mortification don't show on 'em for any length of time.

But it made sights and sights of talk in Jonesville. The Jonesvillians made sights and sights of fun of him, poked fun at him, and snickered. I myself didn't say much: it hain't my way. I merely says this: says I,—

"You thought you wus so awful popular, Josiah Allen, mebby you won't go round with so haughty a mean onto you right away."

"Throw my mean in my face if you want to," says he. "But I guess," says he, "it will learn 'em another time to take a little more pains with their duck's tracks, dumb 'em!"

Says I, "Stop instantly." And he knew what I meant, and stopped.


Josiah is as kind-hearted a man as was ever made. And he loves me with a devotion, that though hidden sometimes, like volcanic fires, and other married men's affections for their wives, yet it bursts out occasionally in spurts and jets of unexpected tenderness.

Now, the very next mornin' after Cicely left for her aunt Mary's, he gave me a flaming proof of that hidden fire that burns but don't consume him.

A agent come to our dwelling, and with the bland and amiable air of their sect, asked me,—

"If I would buy a encyclopedia?"

I was favorable to the idee, and showed it by my looks and words; but Josiah wus awful set against it. And the more favorable I talked about it, the more horrow-struck and skairt Josiah Allen looked. And finally he got behind the agent, and winked at me, and made motions for me to foller him into the buttery. He wunk several times before I paid much attention to 'em; but finally, the winks grew so violent, and the motions so imperious, yet clever, that I got up, and follered him into the buttery. He shet the door, and stood with his back against it; and says to me, with his voice fairly tremblin' with his emotions,—

"It will throw you, Samantha! you don't want to buy it."

"What will throw me? and when?" says I.

"Why," says he, "you can't never ride it! How should I feel to see you on one of 'em! It skairs me most to death to see a boy ride 'em; and at your age, and with your rheumatiz, you'd get throwed, and get your neck broke, the first day." Says he, "If you have got to have something more stylish, and new-fangled than the old mair, I'd ruther buy you a philosopher. They are easier-going than a encyclopedia, anyway."

"A philosopher?" says I dreamily.

"Yes, such a one as Tom Gowdey has got."

Says I, "You mean a velocipede!"

"Yes, and I'll get you one ruther than have you a ridin' round the country on a encyclopedia."

His tender thoughtfulness touched my heart, and I explained to him all about 'em. He thought it was some kind of a bycicle. And he brightened up, and didn't make no objections to my gettin' one.

Wall, that very afternoon he went to Jonesville, and come home, as I said, all rousted up about bein' a senator. I s'pose Elburtus'es bein' there, and talkin' so much on politics, had kinder sot him to thinkin' on it. Anyway, he come home from Jonesville perfectly rampant with the idee of bein' United-States senator. "He said he had been approached on the subject."

He said it in that sort of a haughty, high-headed way, such as men will sometimes assume when they think they have had some high honors heaped onto 'em.

Says I, "Who has approached you, Josiah Allen?"

"Wall," he said, "it might be a foreign minister, and it might be uncle Nate Gowdey." He thought it wouldn't be best to tell who it was. "But," says he, "I am bound to be senator. Josiah Allen, M.C., will probable be wrote on my letters before another fall. I am bound to run."

Says I coldly, "You know you can't run. You are as lame as you can be. You have got the rheumatiz the worst kind."

Says he, "I mean runnin' with political legs—and I do want to be a senator, Samantha. I want to, like a dog, I want the money there is in it, and I want the honor. You know they have elected me path-master, but I hain't a goin' to accept it. I tell you, when anybody gets into political life, ambition rousts up in 'em: path-master don't satisfy me. I want to be senator: I want to, like a dog. And I don't lay out to tackle the job as Elburtus did, and act too good."

"No!" says I sternly. "There hain't no danger of your bein' too good."

"No: I have laid my plans, and laid 'em careful. The relation on your side was too willin', and too clever. And witnessin' his campaign has learnt me some deep lessons. I watched the rocks he hit aginst; and I have laid my plans, and laid 'em careful. I am going to act offish. I feel that offishness is my strong holt—and endearin' myself to the masses. Educatin' public sentiment up to lovin' me, and urgin' me not to be so offish, and to obleege 'em by takin' a office—them is my 2 strong holts. If I can only hang back, and act onwillin', and get the masses fierce to elect me—why, I'm made. And then, I've got a plan in my head."

I groaned, in spite of myself.

"I have got a plan in my head, that, if every other plan fails, will elect me in spite of the old Harry."

Oh! how that oath grated against my nerve! And how I hung back from this idee! I am one that looks ahead. And I says in firm tones,—

"You never would get the nomination, Josiah Allen! And if you did, you never would be elected."

"Oh, yes, I should!" says he. But he continued dreamily, "There would have to be considerable wire-pullin'."

"Where would the wires be?" says I sternly. "And who would pull 'em?"

"Oh, most anywhere!" says he, lookin' dreamily up onto the kitchen ceilin', as if wires wus liable to be let down anywhere through the plasterin'.

Says I, "Should you have to go to pullin' wires?"

"Of course I should," says he.

"Wall," says I, "you may as well make up your mind in the first ont, that I hain't goin' to give my consent to have you go into any thing dangerous. I hain't goin' to have you break your neck, at your age."

Says he, "I don't know but my age is as good a age to break my neck in as any other. I never sot any particular age to break my neck in."

"Make fun all you are a mind to of a anxious Samantha," says I, "but I will never give my consent to have you plunge into such dangerous enterprizes. And talkin' about pullin' wires sounds dangerous: it sounds like a circus, somehow; and how would you, with your back, look and feel performin' like a circus?"

"Oh, you don't understand, Samantha! the wires hain't pulled in that way. You don't pull 'em with your hands, you pull 'em with your minds."

"Oh, wall!" says I, brightenin' up. "You are all right in that case: you won't pull hard enough to hurt you any."

I knew the size and strength of his mind, jest as well as if I had took it out of his head, and weighed it on the steelyards. It was not over and above large. I knew it; and he knew that I knew it, because I have had to sometimes, in the cause of Right, remind him of it. But he knows that my love for him towers up like a dromedary, and moves off through life as stately as she duz—the dromedary. Josiah was my choice out of a world full of men. I love Josiah Allen. But to resoom and continue on.

Josiah says, "Which side had I better go on, Samantha?" Says he, kinder puttin' his head on one side, and lookin' shrewdly up at the stove-pipe, "Would you run as a Stalwart, or a Half-breed?"

Says I, "I guess you would run more like a lame hen than a Stalwart or a Half-breed; or," says I, "it would depend on what breeds they wuz. If they wus half snails, and half Times in the primers, maybe you could get ahead of 'em."

"I should think, Samantha Allen, in such a time as this, you would act like a rational bein'. I'll be hanged if I know what side to go on to get elected!"

Says I, "Josiah Allen, hain't you got any principle? Don't you know what side you are on?"

"Why, yes, I s'pose I know as near as men in gineral. I'm a Democrat in times of peace. But it is human nater, to want to be on the side that beats."

I sithed, and murmured instinctively, "George Washington!"

"George Granny!" says he.

I sithed agin, and kep' sithin'.

Says I, "It is bad enough, Josiah Allen, to have you talk about runnin' for senator, and pullin' wires, and etcetery. But, oh, oh! my agony to think my partner is destitute of principle."

"I have got as much as most political men, and you'll find it out so, Samantha."

My groans touched his heart—that man loves me.

"I am goin' to work as they all do. But wimmen hain't no heads for business, and I always said so. They don't look out for the profits of things, as men do."

I didn't say nothin' only my sithes, but they spoke volumes to any one who understood their language. But anon, or mebby before,—I hadn't kep' any particular account of time, but I think it wus about anon,—when another thought struck me so, right in my breast, that it most knocked me over. It hanted me all the rest of that day: and all that night I lay awake and worried, and I'd sithe, and sposen the case; and then I'd turn over, and sposen the case, and sithe.

Sposen he would be elected—I didn't really think he would, but I couldn't for my life help sposen. Sposen he would have to go to Washington. I knew strange things took place in politics. Strange men run, and run fur: some on 'em run clear to Washington. Mebby he would. Oh! how I groaned at the idee!

I thought of the awfulness of that place as I had heard it described upon to me; and then I thought of the weakness of men, and their liability to be led astray. I thought of the powerful blasts of temptation that blowed through them broad streets, and the small size of my pardner, and the light weight of his bones and principles.

And I felt, if things wuz as they had been depictered to me, he would (in a moral sense) be lifted right up, and blowed away—bones, principles, and all. And I trembled.

At last the idee knocked so firm aginst the door of my heart, that I had to let it in. That I must, I must go to Washington, as a forerunner of Josiah. I must go ahead of him, and look round, and see if my Josiah could pass through with no smell of fire on his overcoat—if there wuz any possibility of it. If there wuz, why, I should stand still, and let things take their course. But if my worst apprehensions wuz realized, if I see that it was a place where my pardner would lose all the modest worth and winnin' qualities that first endeared him to me—why, I would come home, and throw all my powerful influence and weight into the scales, and turn 'em round.

Of course, I felt that I should have to make some pretext about goin': for though I wus as innocent as a babe of wantin' to do so, I felt that he would think he wus bein' domineered over by me. Men are so sort o' high- headed and haughty about some things! But I felt I could make a pretext of George Washington. That dear old martyr! I felt truly I would love to weep upon his tomb.

And so I told Josiah the next mornin', for I thought I would tackle the subject at once. And he says,—

"What do you want to weep on his tomb for, Samantha, at this late day?"

Says I, "The day of love and gratitude never fades into night, Josiah Allen: the sun of gratitude never goes down; it shines on that tomb to-day jest as bright as it did in 1800."

"Wall, wall! go and weep on it if you want to. But I'll bet half a cent that you'll cry onto the ice-house, as I've heard of other wimmen's doin'. Wimmen don't see into things as men do."

"You needn't worry, Josiah Allen. I shall cry at the right time, and in the right place. And I think I had better start soon on my tower."

I always was one to tackle hard jobs immejutly and to once, so's to get 'em offen' my mind.

"Wall, I'd like to know," says he, in an injured tone, what you calculate to do with me while you are gone?"

"Why," says I, "I'll have the girl Ury is engaged to, come here and do the chores, and work for herself; they are goin' to be married before long: and I'll give her some rolls, and let her spin some yarn for herself. She'll be glad to come."

"How long do you s'pose you'll be gone? She hain't no cook. I'd as lives eat rolls, as to eat her fried cakes."

"Your pardner will fry up 2 pans full before she goes, Josiah; and I don't s'pose I'll be gone over four days."

"Oh, well! then I guess I can stand it. But you had better make some mince-pies ahead, and other kinds of pies, and some fruit-cake, and cookies, and tarts, and things: it is always best to be on the safe side, in vittles."

So it wus agreed on,—that I should fill two cubbard shelves full of provisions, to help him endure my absence.

I wus some in hopes that he might give up the idee of bein' United-States senator, and I might have rest from my tower; for I dreaded, oh, how I dreaded, the job! But as day by day passed, he grew more and more rampant with the idee. He talked about it all the time daytimes; and in the night I could hear him murmur to himself,—

"Hon. Josiah Allen!"

And once I see it in his account-book, "Old Peedick debtor to two sap- buckets to Hon. Josiah Allen."

And he talked sights, and sights, about what he wus goin' to do when he got to Washington, D.C.—what great things he wus goin' to do. And I would get wore out, and say to him,—

"Wall! you will have to get there first."

"Oh! you needn't worry. I can get there easy enough. I s'pose I shall have to work hard jest as they all do. But as I told you before, if every thing else fails, I have got a grand plan to fall back on—sunthin' new and uneek. Josiah Allen is nobody's fool, and the nation will find it out so."

Then, oh, how I urged him to tell his plan to his lovin' pardner! but he wouldn't tell.

But hours and hours would he spend, a tellin' me what great things he wus goin' to do when he got to Washington.

Says he, "There is one thing about it. When I get to be United-States senator, uncle Nate Gowdey shall be promoted to some high and responsible place."

"Without thinkin' whether he is fit for it or not?" says I.

"Yes, mom, without thinkin' a thing about it. I am bound to help the ones that help me."

"You wouldn't have him examined," says I,—"wouldn't have him asked no questions?"

"Oh, yes! I'd have him pass a examination jest as the New-York aldermen do, or the civil-service men. I'd say to him, 'Be you uncle Nate Gowdey?'


"'How long have you been uncle Nate Gowdey?'

"And he'd answer; and I'd say,—

"'How long do you calculate to be uncle Nate?'

"And he'll tell; and then I'll say,—

"'Enough: I see you have all the qualifications for office. You are admitted.' That is what I would do."

I groaned. But he kep' on complacently, "I am goin' to help the ones that elect me, sink or swim; and I calculate to make money out of the project, —money and honor. And I shall do a big work there,—there hain't no doubt of it.

"Now, there is political economy. I shall go in strong for that. I shall say right to Congress, the first speech I make to it, I shall say, that there is too much money spent now to hire votes with; and I shall prove it right out, that we can get votes cheaper if we senators all join in together, and put our feet right down that we won't pay only jest so much for a vote. But as long as one man is willin' to pay high, why, everybody else has got to foller suit. And there hain't no economy in it, not a mite.

"Then, there is the canal question. I'll make a thorough end of that. There is one reform that will be pushed right through."

"How will you do it?" says I.

"I will have the hull canal cleaned out from one end to the other."

"I was readin' only yesterday," says I, "about the corruption of the canal question. But I didn't s'pose it meant that."

"That is because you hain't a man. You hain't got the mind to grasp these big questions. The corruption of the canal means that the bottom of the canal is all covered with dead cats and things; and it ort to be seen to, by men that is capable of seein' to such things. It ort to be cleaned out. And I am the man that has got the mind for it," says he proudly.

"Then, there is the Star Route. Nothin' but foolishness from beginnin' to end. They might have known they couldn't make any road through the stars. Why, the very Bible is agin it. The ground is good enough for me, and for any other solid man. It is some visionary chap that begun it in the first place. Nothin' but dumb foolishness; and so uncle Nate Gowdey said it was. We got to talkin' about it yesterday, and he said it was a pity wimmin couldn't vote on it. He said that would be jest about what they would be likely to vote for.

"He is a smart old feller, uncle Nate is, for a man of his age. He talked awful smart about wimmin's votin'. He said any man was a fool to think that a woman would ever have the requisit grasp of intellect, and the knowledge of public affairs, that would render her a competent voter.

"I tell you, you have got to understand things in order to tackle politicks. Politicks takes deep study.

"Now, there is the tariff question, and the revenue. I shall most probable favor 'em, and push 'em right through."

"How?" says I.

"Oh, wall! a woman most probable couldn't understand it. But I shall push 'em forward all I can, and lift 'em up."

"Where to?" says I.

"Oh, keep a askin', and a naggin'! That is what wears out us public men,— wimmin's questionin'. It hain't so much the public duties we have to perform that ages us, and wears us out before our time,—it is woman's weak curiosity on public topics, that her mind is too feeble to grasp holt of. It is wearin'," says he haughtily.

Says I, "Specially when they don't know what to answer." Says I, "Josiah Allen, you don't know this minute what tariff means, or revenue."

"Wall, I know what starvation means, and I know what vittles means, and I know I am as hungry as a bear."

Instinctively I hung on the teakettle. And as Josiah see me pare the potatoes, and grind the coffee, and pound the steak, he grew very pleasant again in his demeanor; and says he,—

"There will be some abuses reformed when I get to Washington, D.C.; and you and the nation will see that there will. Now, there is the civil- service law: Uncle Nate and I wus a talkin' about it yesterday. It is jest what we need. Why, as uncle Nate said, hired men hain't civil at all, nor hired girls either. You hire 'em to serve you, and to serve you civil; and they are jest as dumb uppish and impudent as they can be. And hotel- clerks—now, they don't know what civil-service means."

"Why, uncle Nate said when he went to the Ohio, last fall, he stayed over night to Cleveland, and the hotel-clerk sassed him, jest because he wanted to blow out his light: he wanted uncle Nate to turn it off.

"And uncle Nate jest spoke right up, smart as a whip, and said, 'Old- fashioned ways was good enough for him: blows wus made before turners, and he should blow it out.' And the hotel-clerk sassed him, and swore, and threatened to make him leave.

"And ruther than have a fuss, uncle Nate said he turned it out. But it rankled, uncle Nate says it did, it rankled deep. And he says he wants to vote for that special. He says he'd love to make that clerk eat humble- pie.

"Uncle Nate is a sound man: his head is level.

"And good, sound platforms, that is another reform, uncle Nate said we needed the worst kind, and he hoped I would insist on it when I got to be senator. He said there was too much talk about 'em in the papers, and too little done about 'em. Why, Elam Gowdey, uncle Nate's youngest boy, broke down the platform to his barn, and went right down through it, with a load of hay. And nothin' but that hay saved his neck from bein' broke. It spilte one of his horses.

"Uncle Nate had been urgin' him to fix the platform, or build a new one; but he was slack. But, as uncle Nate says, if such things are run by law, they will have to be done.

"And then, there is another thing uncle Nate and I was talkin' about," says he, lookin' very amiable at me as I rolled out my cream biscuit— almost spooney.

"I shall jest run every poor Irishman and Chinaman out of the country that I can."

"What has the Irishmen done, Josiah Allen?" says I.

"Oh! they are poor. There hain't no use in our associatin' with the poor."

Says I dreamily, "Did I not read once, of One who renounced the throne of the universe to dwell amongst the poor?"

"Oh, wall! most probable they wuzn't Irish."

"And what has the Chinaman done?" says I.

"Why, they are heathens, Samantha. What does the United States want with heathens anyway? What the country needs is Methodists."

"Somewhere did I not once hear these words," says I musin'ly, as I set the coffee-cups on the table,—"'You shall have the heathen for an inheritance'—and 'preach the gospel to the heathen'—and 'we who were sometime heathens, but have received light'? Did not the echo of some such words once reach my mind?"

"Oh, wall! if you are goin' to quote readin', why can't you quote from 'The World'? you can't combine Bible and politics worth a cent. And the Chinaman works too cheap—are too industrious, and reasonable in their charges, they hain't extravagant—and they are too dumb peacible, dumb 'em!"

"Josiah Allen!" says I firmly, "is that all the fault you find with 'em?"

"No, it hain't. They don't want to vote! They don't care a cent about bein' path-master or President. And I say, that after givin' a man a fair trial and a long one, if he won't try to buy or sell a vote, it is a sure sign that he can't asimulate with Americans, and be one with 'em; that he can't never be mingled in with 'em peacible. And I'll bet that I'll start the Catholics out—and the Jews. What under the sun is the use of havin' anybody here in America only jest Methodists? That is the only right way. And if I have my way, I'll get rid of 'em,—Chinamen, Irishmen, Catholics,—the hull caboodle of 'em. I'll jest light 'em out of the country. We can do it too. That big statute in New-York Harbor of Liberty Enlightenin' the World, will jest lift her torch up high, and light 'em out of the country:—that is what we had her for."

I sithed low, and says, "I never knew that wus what she wus there for. I s'posed it wus a gift from a land that helped us to liberty and prosperity when we needed 'em as bad as the Irishmen and Chinamen do to-day; and I s'posed that torch that wus lit for us by others' help, we should be willin' and glad to have it shine on the dark cross-roads of others."

"Wall, it hain't meant for no such purpose: it is to light up our land and our waters. That's what she's there for."

I sithed agin, a sort of a cold sithe, and says,—

"I don't think it looks very well for us New-Englanders a sittin' round Plymouth Rock, to be a condemnin' anybody for their religeous beliefs."

"Wall, there hain't no need of whittlin' out a stick, and worshipin' it, as the Chinamen do."

"How are you goin' to help 'em to worship the true God if you send 'em out of the country? Is it for the sake of humanity you drive 'em out? or be you, like the Isrealites of old, a worshipin' the golden calf of selfishness, Josiah Allen?"

"I hain't never worshiped no calf, Samantha Allen. That would be the last thing I would worship, and you know it."

(Josiah wus very lame on his left leg where he had been kicked by a yearlin'. The spot wus black and blue, but healin'.)

"You have blanketed that calf with thick patriotic excuses; but I fear, Josiah Allen, that the calf is there.

"Oh!" says I dreamily, "how the tread of them calves has moved down through the centuries! If every calf should amble right out, marked with its own name and the name of its owner, what a sight, what a sight it would be! On one calf, right after its owner's name, would be branded, 'Worldly Honor and Fame.'"

Josiah squirmed, for I see him, but tried to turn the squirm in' into a sickly smile; and he murmured in a meachin' voice, and with a sheepish smile,—

"'Hon. Josiah Allen. Fame.' That wouldn't look so bad on a likely yearlin' or two-year old."

But I kep' right on. "On another would be marked, 'Wealth.' Very yeller those calves would be, and a long, long drove of 'em.

"On another would be, 'Earthly Love.' Middlin' good-lookin' calves, these, and sights of 'em. But the mantillys that covered 'em would be all wet and wore with tears.

"'Culture,' 'Intellect,' 'Refinement.' These calves would march right along by the side of 'Pride,' 'Vanity,' 'Old Creeds,' 'Bigotry,' 'Selfishness.' The last-named would be too numerous to count with the naked eye, and go pushin' aginst each other, rushin' right through meetin'-housen, tearin' and actin'. Why," says I, "the ground trembles under the tread of them calves. I can hear 'em whinner," says I, fillin' up the coffee-pot.

"Calves don't whinner!" says Josiah.

Says I, "I speak parabolickly;" and says I, in a very blind way, "Parables are used to fit the truth to weak comprehensions."

"Wall!" says he, kinder cross, "your potatoes are a burnin' down."

I turned the water off, and mashed 'em up, with plenty of cream and butter; and them, applied to his stomach internally, seemed to sooth him, —them, and the nice tender steak, and light biscuit, and lemon puddin' and coffee, rich and yellow and fragrant.

He never said a word more about politics till after dinner. But on risin' up from the table he told me he had got to go to Jonesville to get the old mare shod. And I see sadly, as he stood to the lookin'-glass combin' out his few hairs, how every by-path his mind sot out on led up gradually to Washington, D.C. For as he stood there, and spoke of the mare's feet, he says,—

"The mare is good enough for Jonesville, Samantha. But when we get to Washington, we want sunthin' gayer, more stylish, to ride on. I calculate," says he, pullin' up his collar, and pullin' down his vest,—"I lay out to dress gay, and act gay. I calculate to make a show for once in my life, and put on style. One thing I am bound on,—I shall drive tantrum."

"How?" says I sternly.

"Why, I shall buy another mare, most probable some gay-colored one, and hitch it before the old white mare, and drive tantrum. You know, it is all the style. Mebby," says he dreamily, "I shall ride the drag. I s'pose that is fashionable. But I'll be hanged if I should think it would be easy ridin' unless you had the teeth down. Dog-carts are stylish, I hear; but our dog is so dumb lazy, you couldn't get him to go out of a walk. But tantrum I will drive."

I groaned, and says, "Yes, I hain't no doubt that anybody that sees you at Washington, will see tantrums, strange tantrums. But you hain't there yet."

"No, but I most probable shall be ere long."

He had actually begun to talk in high-flown, blank verse sort of a way. "Ere long!" that wus somethin' new for Josiah Allen.

Alas! every thought of his heart wus tuned to that one political key. I mentioned to him that "the bobbin to my sewin'-machine was broke, and asked him to get a new one of the agent at Jonesville."

"Yes," says he benignantly, "I will tend to your machine; and speakin' of machines, that makes me think of another thing uncle Nate and I wus talkin' about."

"Machine politics, I sha'n't favor 'em. What under the sun do they want machines to make politics with, when there is plenty of men willin', and more than willin', to make 'em? And it is as expensive agin. Machines cost so much. I tell you, they cost tarnation high."

"I can understand you without swearin', Josiah Allen."

"I hain't a swearin': 'tarnation' hain't swearin', nor never wuz. I shall use that word most likely in Washington, D.C."

"Wall," says I coldly, "there will have to be some tea and sugar got."

He did not demur. But, oh! how I see that immovible setness of his mind!

"Yes, I will get some. But won't it be handy, Samantha, to have free trade? I shall go for that strong. Why, I can tell you, it will come handy along in the winter when the hens don't lay, and we don't make butter to turn off—it will come dretful handy to jest hitch up the mare, and go to the store, and come home with a lot of groceries of all kinds, and some fresh meat mebby. And mebby some neckties of different colors."

"Who would pay for 'em?" says I in a stern tone; for I didn't somehow like the idee.

"Why, the Government, of course."

I shook my head 2 or 3 times back and forth. I couldn't seem to get the right sense of it. "I can't understand it, Josiah. We heard a good deal about free trade, but I can't believe that is it."

"Wall, it is, jest that. Free trade is one of the prerequisits of a senator. Why, what would a man want to be a senator for, if they couldn't make by it?"

"Don't you love your country, Josiah Allen?"

"Yes, I do: but I don't love her so well as I do myself; it hain't nateral I should."

"Surely I read long ago,—was it in the English Reader?" says I dreamily, "or where was it? But surely I have heard of such things as patriotism and honor, love of country, and love of the right."

"Wall, I calculate I love my country jest as well as the next man; and," says he firmly, "I calculate I can make jest as much out of her, give me a chance. Why, I calculate to do jest as they all do. What is the use of startin' up, and bein' one by yourself?"

Says I, "That is what Pilate thought, Josiah Allen." Says I, "The majority hain't always right." Says I firmly, "They hardly ever are."

"Now, that is a regular woman's idee," says he, goin' into the bedroom for a clean shirt. And as he opened the bureau-draw, he says,—

"Another thing I shall go for, is abolishin' lots of the bureaus. Why, what is the use of any man havin' more than one bureau? It is nothin' but nonsense clutterin' up the house with so many bureaus.

"When wimmen get to votin'," says he sarcastickly, "I'll bet their first move will be to get 'em back agin. I'll bet there hain't a women in the land, but what would love to have 20 bureaus that they could run to."

"Then, you think wimmen will vote, do you, Josiah Allen?"

"I think," says he firmly, "that it will be a wretched day for the nation if she does. Wimmen is good in their places," says he, as he come to me to button up his shirtsleeves, and tie his cravat.

"They are good in their places. But they can't have, it hain't in 'em to have, the calm grasp of mind, the deep outlook into the future, that men have. They can't weigh things in the firm, careful balences of right and wrong, and have that deep, masterly knowledge of national affairs that we men have. They hain't got the hard horse sense that anybody has got to have in order to make money out of the nation. They would have some sentimental subjects up of right or wrong to spend their energies and their hearts on. Look at Cicely, now. She means well. But what would she do? What would she make out of votin'? Not a cent. And she never would think of passin' laws for her own personal comfort, either. Now, there is the subsidy bill. I'll see that through if I sweat for it.

"Why, it would be worth more than a dollar-bill to me lots of times to make folks subside. Preachers, now, when they get to goin' beyond the 20ethly. No preacher has any right to go to wanderin' round up beyond them figures in dog-days. And if they could be made to subside when they had gone fur enough, why, it would be a perfect boon to Jonesville and the nation.

"And sewin'-machine agents—and—and wimmen, when they get all excited a scoldin', or talkin' about bonnets, and things. Why! if a man could jest lift up his hand, and say 'Subside!' and then see 'em subside—why, I had ruther see it than a circus any day."

I looked at him keenly, and says I,—

"I wish such a bill had even now passed; that is, if wimmen could receive any benefit from it."

"Wall, you'll see it after I get to Washington, D.C., most probable. I calculate to jest straighten out things there, and get public affairs in a good runnin' order. The nation needs me."

"Wall," says I, wore out, "it can have you, as fur as I am concerned."

And I wus so completely fagged out, that I turned the subject completely round (as I s'posed) by askin' him if he laid out to sell our apples this year where he did last. The man's wife had wrote to me ahead, and wanted to know, for they had bought a new dryin'-machine, and wanted to make sure of apples ahead.

"Wall," says Josiah, drawin' on his overshoes, "I shall probable have to use the apples this fall to buy votes with."

"To buy votes?" says I, in accents of horrow.

"Yes. I wouldn't tell it out of the family. But you are all in the family, you know, and so I'll tell you. I sha'n't have to buy near so many votes on account of my plan; but I shall have to buy some, of course. You know, they all do; and I sha'n't stand no chance at all if I don't."

My groans was fearful that I groaned at this; but truly, worse was to come. He looked kinder pitiful at me (he loves me). But yet his love did not soften the firm resolve that wus spread thick over his linement as he went on,—

"I lay out to get lots of votes with my green apples," says he dreamily. "It seems as if I ought to get a vote for a bushel of apples; but there is so much iniquity and cheatin' a goin' on now in politics, that I may have to give a bushel and a half, or two bushels: and then, I shall make up a lot of the smaller ones into hard cider, and use 'em to—to advance the interests of myself and the nation in that way.

"There is hull loads of folks uncle Nate says he can bring to vote for me, by the judicious use of—wall, it hain't likely you will approve of it; but I say, stimulants are necessary in medicine, and any doctor will tell you so—hard cider and beer and whiskey, and so 4th."

I riz right up, and grasped holt of his arm, and says in stern, avengin' tones,—

"Josiah Allen, will you go right against God's commands, and put the cup to your neighbor's lips, for your own gain? Do you expect, if you do, that you can escape Heaven's avengin' wrath?"

"They hain't my neighbors: I never neighbored with 'em."

Says I sternly, "If you commit this sin, you will be held accountable; and it seems to me as if you can never be forgiven."

"Dumb it all, Samantha, if everybody else does so, where will I get my votes?"

"Go without 'em, Josiah Allen; go down to poverty, or the tomb, but never commit this sin. 'Cursed is he that putteth the cup to his neighbor's lips.'"

"They hain't my neighbors, and it probable hain't no cup that they will drink out of: they will drink out of gobblers" (sometimes when Josiah gets excited, he calls goblets, gobblers). But I wus too wrought up and by the side of myself to notice it.

Says I, "To think a human bein', to say nothin' of a perfessor, would go to work deliberate to get a man into a state that is jest as likely as not to end in a murder, or any crime, for gain to himself." Says I, "Think of the different crimes you commit by that one act, Josiah Allen. You make a man a fool, and in that way put yourself down on a level with disease, deformity, and hereditary sin. You steal his reason away. You are a thief of the deepest dye; for you steal then, from the man you have stole from— steal the first rights of his manhood, his honor, his patriotism, his duty to God and man. You are a thief of the Government—thief of God, and right.

"Then, you make this man liable to commit any crime: so, if he murders, you are a murderer; if he commits suicide, your guilty soul shall cower in the presence of Him who said, 'No self- murderer shall inherit eternal life.' It is your own doom you shall read in them dreadful words."

"Good landy, Samantha! do you want to scare me to death?" and Josiah quailed and shook, and shook and quailed.

"I am only tellin' you the truth, Josiah Allen; and I should think it would scare anybody to death."

"If I don't do it, I shall appear like a fool: I shall be one by myself."

Oh, how Josiah duz want to be fashionable!

"No, you won't, Josiah Allen—no, you won't. If you try to do right, try to do God's will, you have His armies to surround you with a unseen wall of Strength." "Why, I hain't seen you look so sort o' skairful and riz up, for years, Samantha."

"I hain't felt so. To think of the brink you wuz a standin' on, and jest a fallin' off of."

Josiah looked quite bad. And he put his hand on his side, and says, "My heart beats as if it wuz a tryin' to get out and walk round the room. I do believe I have got population of the heart."

Says I, in a sarcasticker tone than I had used,—

"That is a disease that is very common amongst men, very common, though they hain't over and above willin' to own up to it. Too much population of the heart has ailed many a man before now, and woman too," says I in reasonable axents. "But you mean palpitation."

"Wall, I said so, didn't I? And it is jest your skairful talk that has done it."

"Wall, if I thought I could convince men as I have you, I would foller the business stiddy, of skairin' folks, and think I wuz doin' my duty." Says I, my emotions a roustin' up agin,—

"I should call it a good deal more honorable in you to get drunk yourself; and I should think more of you, if I see you a reelin' round yourself, than to see you make other folks reel. I should think it was your own reel, and you had more right to it than to anybody else's.

"Oh! to think I should have lived to see the hour, to have my companion in danger of goin' aginst the Scripter—ready to steal, or be stole, or knock down, or any thing, to buy votes, or sell 'em!"

"Wall, dumb it all, do you want me to appear as awkward as a fool? I have told you more than a dozen times I have got to do as the rest do, if I want to make any show at all in politics."

I said no more: but I riz right up, and walked out of the room, with my head right up in the air, and the strings of my head-dress a floatin' out behind me; and I'll bet there wus indignation in the float of them strings, and heart-ache, and agony, and—and every thing.

I thought I had convinced him, and hadn't. I felt as if I must sink. You know, that is all a woman can do—to sink. She can't do any thing else in a helpful way when her beloved companion hangs over political abysses. She can't reach out her lovin' hand, and help stiddy him; she can't do nothin' only jest sink. And what made it more curious, these despairin' thoughts come to me as I stood by the sink, washin' my dinner-dishes. But anon (I know it wus jest anon, for the water wus bilein' hot when I turned it out of the kettle, and it scalded my hands, onbeknown to me, as I washed out my sass-plates) this thought gripped holt of me, right in front of the sink,—

"Josiah Allen's wife, you must not sink. You must keep up. If you have no power to help your pardner to patriotism and honor, you can, if your worst fears are realized, try to keep him to home. For if his acts and words are like these in Jonesville, what will they be in Washington, D.C., if that place is all it has been depictered to you? Hold up, Samantha! Be firm, Josiah Allen's wife! John Rogers! The nine! One at the breast!"

So at last, by these almost convulsive efforts at calmness, I grew more calmer and composeder. Josiah had hitched up and gone.

And he come home clever, and all excited with a new thing.

They are buildin' a new court-house at Jonesville. It is most done, and it seemed they got into a dispute that day about the cupelow. They wanted to have the figger of Liberty sculped out on it; and they had got the man there all ready, and he had begun to sculp her as a woman,—the goddess of Liberty, he called her. But at the last minute a dispute had rosen: some of the leadin' minds of Jonesville, uncle Nate Gowdey amongst 'em, insisted on it that Liberty wuzn't a woman, he wuz a man. And they wanted him depictered as a man, with whiskers and pantaloons and a standin' collar, and boots and spurs—Josiah Allen wus the one that wanted the spurs.

He said the dispute waxed furious; and he says to 'em,—

"Leave it to Samantha: she'll know all about it."

And so it was agreed on that they'd leave it to me. And he drove the old mare home, almost beyond her strength, he wus so anxious to have it settled.

I wus jest makin' some cream biscuit for supper as he come in, and asked me about it; and a minute is a minute in makin' warm biscuit. You want to make 'em quick, and bake 'em quick. My mind wus fairly held onto that dough—and needed on it; but instinctively I told him he wus in the right ont. Liberty here in the United States wuz a man, and, in order to be consistent, ort to be depictered with whiskers and overcoat and a standin' collar.

"And spurs!" says Josiah.

"Wall," I told him, "I wouldn't be particular about the spurs." I said, "Instead of the spurs on his boots, he might be depictered as settin' his boot-heel onto the respectful petition of fifty thousand wimmen, who had ventured to ask him for a little mite of what he wus s'posed to have quantities of—Freedom.

"Or," says I, "he might be depictered as settin' on a judgment-seat, and wavin' off into prison an intelligent Christian woman, who had spent her whole noble, useful life in studyin' the laws of our nation, for darin' to think she had as much right under our Constitution, as a low, totally ignorant coot who would most likely think the franchise wus some sort of a meat-stew."

Says I, "That will give Liberty jest as imperious and showy a look as spurs would, and be fur more historick and symbolical."

Wall, he said he would mention it to 'em; and says he, with a contented look,—

"I told uncle Nate I knew I wus right. I knew Liberty wus a man."

Wall, I didn't say no more: and I got him as good a supper as the house afforded, and kep' still as death on politics; fur I could not help havin' some hopes that he might get sick of the idee of public life. And I kep' him down close all that evenin' to religion and the weather.

But, alas! my hopes wus doomed to fade away. And, as days passed by, I see the thought of bein' a senator wus ever before him. The cares and burdens of political life seemed to be a loomin' up in front of him, and in a quiet way he seemed to be fittin' himself for the duties of his position.

He come in one day with Solomon Cypher'ses shovel, and I asked him "what it wuz?"

And he said "it wus the spoils of office."

And I says, "It is no such thing: it is Solomon Cypher'ses shovel."

"Wall," says he, "I found it out by the fence. Solomon has gone over to the other party. I am a Democrat, and this is party spoils. I am goin' to keep this as one of the spoils of office."

Says I firmly, "You won't keep it!"

"Why," says he, "if I am goin' to enter political life, I must begin to practise sometime. I must begin to do as they all do. And it is a crackin' good shovel too," says he pensively.

Says I, "You are goin' to carry that shovel right straight home, Josiah Allen!"

And I made him.

The idee.

But I see in this and in many kindred things, that he wuz a dwellin' on this thought of political life—its honors and emollients. And often, and in dark hints, he would speak of his Plan. If every other means failed, if he couldn't spare the money to buy enough votes, how his plan wus goin' to be the makin' of him.

And I overheard him tellin' the babe once, as he wus rockin' her to sleep in the kitchen, "how her grandpa had got up somethin' that no other babe's grandpa had ever thought of, and how she would probable see him in the White House ere long."

I wus makin' nut-cakes in the buttery; and I shuddered so at these words, that I got in most as much agin lemon as I wanted in 'em. I wus a droppin' it into a spoon, and it run over, I wus that shook at the thought of his plan.

I had known his plans in the past, and had hefted 'em. And I truly felt that his plans wus liable any time to be the death of him, and the ruination.

But he wouldn't tell!

But kep' his mind immovibly sot, as I could see. And the very day of the shovel episode, along towards night he rousted out of a brown study,—a sort of a dark-brown study,—and says he,—

"Yes, I shall make out enough votes if we have a judicious committee."

"A lyin' one, do you mean?" says I coldly. But not surprized. For truly, my mind had been so strained and racked that I don't know as it would have surprized me if Josiah Allen had riz up, and knocked me down.

"Wall, in politics, you have to add a few orts sometimes."

I sithed, not a wonderin' sithe, but a despairin' one; and he went on,—

"I know where I shall get a hull lot of votes, anyway."

"Where?" says I.

"Why, out to that nigger settlement jest the other side of Jonesville."

"How do you know they'll vote for you?" says I.

"I'd like to see 'em vote aginst me!" says he, in a skairful way.

"Would you use intimidation, Josiah Allen?"

"Why, uncle Nate Gowdey and I, and a few others who love quiet, and love to see folks do as they ort to, lay out to take some shot-guns and make them niggers vote right; make 'em vote for me; shoot 'em right down if they don't. We have got the campaign all planned out."

"Josiah Allen," says I, "if you have no fear of Heaven, have you no fear of the Government? Do you want to be hung, and see your widow a breakin' her heart over your gallowses?"

"Oh! I shouldn't get hung. The Government wouldn't do nothin'. The Government feels jest as I do,—that it would be wrong to stir up old bitternesses, and race differences. The bloody shirt has been washed, and ironed out; and it wouldn't be right to dirty it up agin. The colored race is now at peace; and if they will only do right, do jest as the white men wants 'em to, Government won't never interfere with 'em."

I groaned, and couldn't help it; and he says,—

"Why, hang it all, Samantha, if I make any show at all in public life, I have got to begin to practise sometime."

"Wall," says I, "bring me in a pail of water." But as he went out after it, I murmured sternly to myself,—

"Oh! wus there ever a forerunner more needed run?" and my soul answered, "Never! never!"

So with sithes that could hardly be sithed, so big and hefty wuz they, I commenced to make preparations for embarkin' on my tower. And no martyr that ever sot down on a hot gridiron wus animated by a more warm and martyrous feelin' of self-sacrifice. Yes, I truly felt, that if there wus dangers to be faced, and daggers run through pardners, I felt I would ruther they would pierce my own spare-ribs than Josiah's. (I say spare- ribs for oritory—my ribs are not spare, fur from it.)

I didn't really believe, if he run, he would run clear to Washington. And yet, when my mind roamed on some public men, and how fur they run, I would groan, and hurry up my preparations.

I knew my tower must be but a short one, for sugarin'-time wus approachin' with rapid strides, and Samantha must be at the hellum. But I also knew, that with a determined mind, and a willin' heart, great things could be accomplished speedily; so I commenced makin' preparations, and layin' on plans.

As become a woman of my cast-iron principles, I fixed up mostly on the inside of my head instead of the outside. I studied the map of the United States. I done several sums on the slate, to harden my mind, and help me grasp great facts, and meet difficulties bravely. I read Gass'es "Journal,"—how he rode up our great rivers on a perioger, and shot bears. Expectin', as I did, to see trouble, I read over agin that book that has been my stay in so many hard-fit battle-fields of principle,—Fox'es "Book of Martyrs."

I studied G. Washington's picture on the parlor-wall, to get kinder stirred up in my mind about him, so's to realize to the full my privileges as I wept onto his tomb, and stood in the capital he had foundered.

Thomas J. come one day while I wus musin' on George; and he says,—

"What are you lookin' so close at that dear old humbug for?"

Says I firmly, and keepin' the same posture, "I am studyin' the face of the revered and noble G. Washington. I am going shortly to weep on his tomb and the capital he foundered. I am studyin' his face, and Gass'es 'Journal,' and other works," says I.

"If you are going to the capital, you had better study Dante."

Says I, "Danty who?"

And he says, "Just plain Dante." Says he, "You had better study his inscription on the door of the infern"—

Says I, "Cease instantly. You are on the very pint of swearin';" and I don't know now what he meant, and don't much care. Thomas J. is full of queer remarks, anyway. But deep. He had a sick spell a few weeks ago; and I went to see him the first thing in the mornin', after I heard of it. He had overworked, the doctor said, and his heart wuz a little weak. He looked real white; and I took holt of his hand, and says I,—

"Thomas J., I am worried about you: your pulse don't beat hardly any."

"No," says he. And he laughed with his eyes and his lips too. "I am glad I am not a newspaper this morning, mother."

And I says, "Why?"

And he says, "If I were a morning paper, mother, I shouldn't be a success, my circulation is so weak."

A jokin' right there, when he couldn't lift his head. But he got over it: he always did have them sort of sick spells, from a little child.

But a manlier, good-hearteder, level-headeder boy never lived than Thomas Jefferson Allen. He is just right, and always wuz. And though I wouldn't have it get out for the world, I can't help seein' it, that he goes fur ahead of Tirzah Ann in intellect, and nobleness of nater; and though I love 'em both devotedly, I do, and I can't help it, like him jest a little mite the best. But this I wouldn't have get out for a thousand dollars. I tell it in strict confidence, and s'pose it will be kep' as such. Mebby I hadn't ort to tell it at all. Mebby it hain't quite orthodox in me to feel so. But it is truthful, anyway. And sometimes I get to kinder wobblin' round inside of my mind, and a wonderin' which is the best,—to be orthodox, or truthful,—and I sort o' settle down to thinkin' I will tell the truth anyway.

Josiah, I think, likes Tirzah Ann the best.

But I studied deep, and mused. Mused on our 4 fathers, and our 4 mothers, and on Liberty, and Independence, and Truth, and the Eagle. And thinkin' I might jest as well be to work while I was a musin', I had a dress made for the occasion. It wus bran new, and the color wus Bismark Brown.

Josiah wanted me to have Ashes of Moses color.

But I said no. With my mind in the heroic state it was then, I couldn't curb it down onto Ashes of Moses, or roses, or any thing else peacible. I felt that this color, remindin' me of two grand heroes,—Bismark, John Brown,—suited me to a T. There wus two wimmen who stood ready to make it,—Jane Bently and Martha Snyder. I chose Martha because Martha wus the name of the wife of Washington.

It wus made with a bask.

When the news got out that I wus goin' to Washington on a tower, the neighbors all wanted to send errents by me.

Betsey Bobbet wanted me to go to the Patent Office, and get her two Patent-office books, for scrap-books for poetry.

Uncle Jarvis Bently wanted me to go to the Agricultural Bureau, and get him a paper of lettis seed. And Solomon Cypher wanted me to get him a new kind of string-beans, if I could, and some cowcumber seeds.

Uncle Nate Gowdey, who talked of paintin' his house over, wanted me to ask the President what kind of paint he used on the White House, and if he put in any sperits of turpentime. And Ardelia Rumsey, who wuz goin' to be married soon, wanted me, if I see any new kinds of bed-quilt patterns to the White House, or to the senators' housen, to get the patterns for her. She said she wus sick of sunflowers, and blazin' stars, and such. She thought mebby they'd have suthin' new, spread-eagle style, or suthin' of that kind. She said "her feller was goin' to be connected with the Government, and she thought it would be appropriate."

And I asked her "how?" And she said, "he was goin' to get a patent on a new kind of a jack-knife."

I told her "if she wanted a Government quilt, and wanted it appropriate, she ort to have it a crazy-quilt."

And she said she had jest finished a crazy-quilt, with seven thousand pieces of silk in it, and each piece trimmed with seven hundred stitches of feather stitchin': she counted 'em. And then I remembered seein' it. There wus some talk then about wimmen's rights, and a petition wus got up in Jonesville for wimmen to sign; and I remember well that Ardelia couldn't sign it for lack of time. She wanted to, but she hadn't got the quilt more'n half done then. It took the biggest heft of two years to do it. And so, of course, less important things had to be put aside till she got it finished.

And I remember, too, that Ardelia's mother wanted to sign it; but she couldn't, owin' to a bed-spread she wus a makin'. She wuz a quiltin' in Noah's ark, and all the animals, at that time, on a Turkey-red quilt. I remember she wuz a quiltin' the camel that day, and couldn't be disturbed. So we didn't get the names. It took the old lady three years to quilt that quilt. And when it wuz done, it wuz a sight to behold. Though, as I said then, and say now, I wouldn't give much to sleep under so many animals. But folks went from fur and near to see it, and I enjoyed lookin' at it that day. And I see jest how it wuz. I see that she couldn't sign. It wuzn't to be expected that a woman could stop to tend to Justice or Freedom, or any thing else of that kind, right in the midst of a camel.

Zebulin Coon wanted me to carry a new hen-coop of hisen to get it patented. And I thought to myself, I wonder if they'll ask me to carry a cow.

And sure enough, Josiah wanted me to dicker, if I could, for a calf from Mount Vernon,—swop one of our yearlin's for it if I couldn't do no better.

But I told him right out and out, that I couldn't go into a calf-trade with my mind wrought up as I knew it would be.

Wall, it wuzn't more'n 2 or 3 days after I begun my preparations, that Dorlesky Burpy, a vegetable widow, come to see me; and the errents she sent by me wuz fur more hefty and momentous than all the rest put together, calves, hen-coop, and all.

And when she told 'em over to me, and I meditated on her reasons for sendin' 'em, and her need of havin' 'em done, I felt that I would do the errents for her if a breath was left in my body. I felt that I would bear them 2 errents of hern on my tower side by side with my own private, hefty mission for Josiah.

She come for a all day's visit; and though she is a vegetable widow, and very humbly, I wuz middlin' glad to see her. But thinks'es I to myself as I carried away her things into the bedroom, "She'll want to send some errent by me;" and I wondered what it wouldn't be.

And so it didn't surprise me any when she asked me the first thing when I got back "if I would lobby a little for her in Washington."

And I looked agreeable to the idee; for I s'posed it wuz some new kind of tattin', mebby, or fancy work. And I told her "I shouldn't have much time, but I would try to buy her some if I could."

And she said "she wanted me to lobby, myself."

And then I thought mebby it wus some new kind of waltz; and I told her "I was too old to lobby, I hadn't lobbied a step since I was married."

And then she said "she wanted me to canvass some of the senators."

And I hung back, and asked her in a cautius tone "how many she wanted canvassed, and how much canvass it would take?"

I knew I had a good many things to buy for my tower; and, though I wanted to obleege Dorlesky, I didn't feel like runnin' into any great expense for canvass.

And then she broke off from that subject, and said "she wanted her rights, and wanted the Whiskey Ring broke up."

And then she says, going back to the old subject agin, "I hear that Josiah Allen has political hopes: can I canvass him?"

And I says, "Yes, you can for all me." But I mentioned cautiously, for I believe in bein' straightforward, and not holdin' out no false hopes,—I said "she must furnish her own canvass, for I hadn't a mite in the house."

But Josiah didn't get home till after her folks come after her. So he wuzn't canvassed.

But she talked a sight about her children, and how bad she felt to be parted from 'em, and how much she used to think of her husband, and how her hull life wus ruined, and how the Whiskey Ring had done it,—that, and wimmen's helpless condition under the law. And she cried, and wept, and cried about her children, and her sufferin's she had suffered; and I did. I cried onto my apron, and couldn't help it. A new apron too. And right while I wus cryin' onto that gingham apron, she made me promise to carry them two errents of hern to the President, and to get 'em done for her if I possibly could.

"She wanted the Whiskey Ring destroyed, and she wanted her rights; and she wanted 'em both in less than 2 weeks."

I wiped my eyes off, and told her I didn't believe she could get 'em done in that length of time, but I would tell the President about it, and "I thought more'n as likely as not he would want to do right by her." And says I, "If he sets out to, he can haul them babys of yourn out of that Ring pretty sudden."

And then, to kinder get her mind off of her sufferin's, I asked her how her sister Susan wus a gettin' along. I hadn't heard from her for years— she married Philemon Clapsaddle; and Dorlesky spoke out as bitter as a bitter walnut—a green one. And says she,—

"She is in the poorhouse."

"Why, Dorlesky Burpy!" says I. "What do you mean?"

"I mean what I say. My sister, Susan Clapsaddle, is in the poorhouse."

"Why, where is their property all gone?" says I. "They was well off—Susan had five thousand dollars of her own when she married him."

"I know it," says she. "And I can tell you, Josiah Allen's wife, where their property is gone. It has gone down Philemon Clapsaddle's throat. Look down that man's throat, and you will see 150 acres of land, a good house and barns, 20 sheep, and 40 head of cattle."

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