HotFreeBooks.com
Sweet Cicely - Or Josiah Allen as a Politician
by Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

"High trees cast long shadows. The happier and more blessed a woman's life is, the more does she feel for them who are less blessed than she. Highest love goes lowest, if need be. Witness the love that left Heaven, and descended onto the earth, and into it, that He might lift up the lowly.

"The pityin' words of Him who went about pleasin' not himself, hants me, and inspires me. I am sorry for Dorlesky, sorry for the hull wimmen race of the nation—and for the men too. Lots of 'em are good creeters—better than wimmen, some on 'em. They want to do jest about right, but don't exactly see the way to do it. In the old slavery times, some of the masters was more to be pitied than the slaves. They could see the injustice, feel the wrong, they was doin'; but old chains of custom bound 'em, social customs and idees had hardened into habits of thought.

"They realized the size and heft of the evil, but didn't know how to grapple with it, and throw it.

"So now, many men see the great evils of this time, want to help it, but don't know the best way to lay holt of it.

"Life is a curious conundrum anyway, and hard to guess. But we can try to get the right answer to it as fur as we can. Dorlesky feels that one of the answers to the conundrum is in gettin' her rights. She feels jest so.

"I myself have got all the rights I need, or want, as fur as my own happiness is concerned. My home is my castle (a story and a half wooden one, but dear).

"My towers elevate me, the companionship of my friends give social happiness, our children are prosperous and happy. We have property enough, and more than enough, for all the comforts of life. And, above all other things, my Josiah is my love and my theme."

"Ah! yes!" says he. "Love is a woman's empire, and in that she should find her full content—her entire happiness and thought. A womanly woman will not look outside of that lovely and safe and beautious empire."

Says I firmly, "If she hain't a idiot, she can't help it. Love is the most beautiful thing on earth, the most holy, the most satisfyin'. But which would you like best—I do not ask you as a politician, but as a human bein'—which would you like best, the love of a strong, earnest, tender nature—for in man or woman, 'the strongest are the tenderest, the loving are the daring'—which would you like best, the love and respect of such a nature, full of wit, of tenderness, of infinite variety, or the love of a fool?

"A fool's love is wearin': it is insipid at the best, and it turns to viniger. Why! sweetened water must turn to viniger: it is its nater. And, if a woman is bright and true-hearted, she can't help seem' through a injustice. She may be happy in her own home. Domestic affection, social enjoyments, the delights of a cultured home and society, and the companionship of the man she loves, and who loves her, will, if she is a true woman, satisfy fully her own personal needs and desires; and she would far rather, for her own selfish happiness, rest quietly in that love—that most blessed home.

"But the bright, quick intellect that delights you, can't help seeing through an injustice, can't help seeing through shams of all kinds—sham sentiment, sham compliments, sham justice.

"The tender, lovin' nature that blesses your life, can't help feelin' pity for those less blessed than herself. She looks down through the love- guarded lattice of her home,—from which your care would fain bar out all sights of woe and squalor,—she looks down, and sees the weary toilers below, the hopeless, the wretched; she sees the steep hills they have to climb, carry in' their crosses; she sees 'em go down into the mire, dragged there by the love that should lift 'em up.

"She would not be the woman you love, if she could restrain her hand from liftin' up the fallen, wipin' tears from weepin' eyes, speakin' brave words for them who can't speak for themselves.

"The very strength of her affection that would hold you up, if you were in trouble or disgrace, yearns to help all sorrowin' hearts.

"Down in your heart, you can't help admirin' her for this: we can't help respectin' the one who advocates the right, the true, even if they are our conquerors.

"Wimmen hain't angels: now, to be candid, you know they hain't. They hain't better than men. Men are considerable likely; and it seems curious to me, that they should act so in this one thing. For men ort to be more honest and open than wimmen. They hain't had to cajole and wheedle, and spile their natures, through little trickeries and deceits, and indirect ways, that wimmen has.

"Why, cramp a tree-limb, and see if it will grow as straight and vigorous as it would in full freedom and sunshine.

"Men ort to be nobler than wimmen, sincerer, braver. And they ort to be ashamed of this one trick of theirn; for they know they hain't honest in it, they hain't generous.

"Give wimmen 2 or 3 generations of moral freedom, and see if men will laugh at 'em for their little deceits and affectations.

"No: men will be gentler, and wimmen nobler; and they will both come nearer bein' angels, though most probable they won't be angels: they won't be any too good then, I hain't a mite afraid of it."

He kinder sithed; and that sithe sort o' brought me down onto my feet agin (as it were), and a sense of my duty: and I spoke out agin,—

"Can you, and will you, do Dorlesky's errents?"



Wall, he said, "as far as giving Dorlesky her rights was concerned, he felt that natural human instinct was against the change." He said, "in savage races, who knew nothing of civilization, male force and strength always ruled."

Says I, "History can't be disputed; and history tells of savage races where the wimmen always rule, though I don't think they ort to," says I: "ability and goodness ort to rule."

"Nature is against it," says he.

Says I firmly, "Female bees, and lots of other insects, and animals, always have a female for queen and ruler. They rule blindly and entirely, right on through the centuries. But we are more enlightened, and should not encourage it. In my opinion, a male bee has jest as good a right to be monarch as his female companion has. That is," says I reasonably, "if he knows as much, and is as good a calculator as she is. I love justice, I almost worship it."

Agin he sithed; and says he, "Modern history don't seem to encourage the skeme."

But his axent was weak, weak as a cat. He knew better.

Says I, "We won't argue long on that point, for I could overwhelm you if I approved of overwhelmin'. But I merely ask you to cast your right eye over into England, and then beyond it into France. Men have ruled exclusively in France for the last 40 or 50 years, and a woman in England: which realm has been the most peaceful and prosperous?"

He sithed twice. And he bowed his head upon his breast, in a sad, almost meachin' way. I nearly pitied him, disagreable as he wuz. When all of a sudden he brightened up; and says he,—

"You seem to place a great deal of dependence on the Bible. The Bible is aginst the idee. The Bible teaches man's supremacy, man's absolute power and might and authority."

"Why, how you talk!" says I. "Why, in the very first chapter, the Bible tells how man was jest turned right round by a woman. It teaches how she not only turned man right round to do as she wanted him to, but turned the hull world over.

"That hain't nothin' I approve of: I don't speak of it because I like the idee. That wuzn't done in a open, honorable manner, as I believe things should be done. No: Eve ruled by indirect influence,—the 'gently influencing men' way, that politicians are so fond of. And she jest brought ruin and destruction onto the hull world by it. A few years later, after men and wimmen grew wiser, when we hear of wimmen ruling Israel openly and honestly, like Miriam, Deborah, and other likely old 4 mothers, why, things went on better. They didn't act meachin', and tempt, and act indirect, I'll bet, or I wouldn't be afraid to bet, if I approved of bettin'."

He sithed powerful, and sot round oneasy in his chair. And says he, "I thought wimmen was taught by the Bible to serve, and love their homes."

"So they be. And every true woman loves to serve. Home is my supreme happiness and delight, and my best happiness is found in servin' them I love. But I must tell the truth, in the house or outdoors."

"Wall," says he faintly, "the Old Testament may teach that wimmen has some strenth and power; but in the New Testament, you will find that in every great undertakin' and plan, men have been chosen by God to carry it through."

"Why-ee!" says I. "How you talk!" says I. "Have you ever read the Bible?"

He said "He had, his grandmother owned one. And he had seen it in early youth."

And then he went on, sort o' apologizin', "He had always meant to read it through. But he had entered political life at an early age, and he believed he had never read any more of it, only portions of Gulliver's Travels. He believed," he said, "he had read as far as Lilliputions."

Says I, "That hain't in the Bible,—you mean Gallatians."

"Wall," he said, "that might be it. It was some man, he knew, and he had always heard and believed that man was the only worker God had chosen."

"Why," says I, "the one great theme of the New Testament,—the redemption of the world through the birth of the Christ,—no man had any thing to do with that whatever. Our divine Lord was born of God and woman.

"Heavenly plan of redemption for fallen humanity. God Himself called women into that work,—the divine work of helpin' a world.

"God called her. Mary had no dream of publicity, no desire for a world's work of sufferin' and renunciation. The soft airs of Gallilee wrapped her about in its sweet content, as she dreamed her quiet dreams in maiden peace, dreamed, perhaps, of domestic love and quiet and happiness.

"From that sweetest silence, the restful peace of happy, innocent girlhood, God called her to her divine work of helpin' to redeem a world from sin.

"And did not this woman's love, and willin' obedience, and sufferin', and the shame of the world, set her apart, babtize her for this work of liftin' up the fallen, helpin' the weak?

"Is it not a part of woman's life that she gave at the birth and the crucifixion?—her faith, her hope, her sufferin', her glow of divine pity and joyful martyrdom. These, mingled with the divine, the pure heavenly, have they not for 1800 years been blessin' the world? The God in Christ would awe us too much: we would shield our faces from the too blindin' glare of the pure God-like. But the tender Christ, who wept over a sinful city, and the grave of His friend, who stopped dyin' upon the cross, to comfort his mother's heart, provide for her future—it is this element in our Lord's nature that makes us dare to approach Him, dare to kneel at His feet.

"And since woman wus so blessed as to be counted worthy to be co-worker with God in the beginnin' of a world's redemption; since He called her from the quiet obscurity of womanly rest and peace, into the blessed martyrdom of renunciation and toil and sufferin', all to help a world that cared nothing for her, that cried out shame upon her,—will He not help her to carry on the work that she helped commence? Will He not approve of her continuin' in it? Will He not protect her in it?

"Yes: she cannot be harmed, since His care is over her; and the cause she loves, the cause of helpin' men and wimmen, is God's cause too, and God will take care of His own. Herods full of greed, and frightened selfishness, may try to break her heart, by efforts to kill the child she loves; but she will hold it so close to her bosom, that he can't destroy it. And the light of the divine will go before her, showin' the way she must go, over the desert, maybe; but she shall bear it into safety."

"You spoke of Herod," says he dreamily. "The name sounds familiar to me: was not Mr. Herod once in the United-States Congress?"

"No," says I. "He died some years ago. But he has relatives there now, I think, judging from recent laws. You ask who Herod was; and, as it all seems to be a new story to you, I will tell you. That when the Saviour of the world was born in Bethlehem, and a woman was tryin' to save His life, a man by the name of Herod was tryin' his best, out of selfishness, and love of gain, to murder him."

"Ah! that was not right in Herod."

"No," says I. "It hain't been called so. And what wuzn't right in him, hain't right in his relations, who are tryin' to do the same thing to-day. But," says I reasonably, "because Herod was so mean, it hain't no sign that all men was mean. Joseph, now, was likely as he could be."

"Joseph," says he pensively. "Do you allude to our senator from Connecticut,—Joseph R. Hawley?"

"No, no," says I. "He is likely, as likely can be, and is always on the right side of questions—middlin' handsome too. But I am talkin' Bible—I am talkin' about Joseph, jest plain Joseph, and nothin' else."

"Ah! I see I am not fully familiar with that work. Being so engrossed in politics, and political literature, I don't get any time to devote to less important publications."

Says I candidly, "I knew you hadn't read it, I knew it the minute you mentioned the Book of Lilliputions. But, as I was a sayin', Joseph was a likely man. He did the very best he could with what he had to do with. He had the strength to lead the way, to overcome obsticles, to keep dangers from Mary, to protect her tenderer form with the mantilly of his generous devotion.



"But she carried the child on her bosom. Pondering high things in her heart that Joseph had never dreamed of. That is what is wanted now, and in the future. The man and the woman walking side by side. He, a little ahead mebby, to keep off dangers by his greater strength and courage. She, a carryin' the infant Christ of love, bearin' the baby Peace in her bosom, carrying it into safety from them that seek to murder it.

"And, as I said before, if God called woman into this work, He will enable her to carry it through. He will protect her from her own weaknesses, and from the misapprehensions and hard judgments and injustices of a gain- saying world.

"Yes, the star of hope is rising in the sky, brighter and brighter; and the wise men are even now coming from afar over the desert, seeking diligently where this redeemer is to be found." He sot demute. He did not frame a reply: he had no frame, and I knew it. Silence rained for some time; and finally I spoke out solemnly through the rain,—

"Will you do Dorlesky's errents? Will you give her her rights? And will you break the Whisky Ring?"

He said he would love to do Dorlesky's errents. He said I had convinced him that it would be just and right to do 'em, but the Constitution of the United States stood up firm against 'em. As the laws of the United State wuz, he could not make any move towards doin' either of the errents.

Says I, "Can't the laws be changed?"

"Be changed? Change the laws of the United States? Tamper with the glorious Constitution that our 4 fathers left us—an immortal, sacred legacy?"

He jumped right up on his feet, in his surprise, and kinder shook, as if he was skairt most to death, and tremblin' with borrow. He did it to skair me, I knew; and I wuz most skaird, I confess, he acted so horrowfied. But I knew I meant well towards the Constitution, and our old 4 fathers; and my principles stiddied me, and held me middlin' firm and serene. And when he asked me agin in tones full of awe and horrow,—

"Can it be that I heard my ear aright? or did you speak of changing the unalterable laws of the United States—tampering with the Constitution?"

Says I, "Yes, that is what I said."

Oh, how his body kinder shook, and how sort o' wild he looked out of his eyes at me!

Says I, "Hain't they never been changed?"

He dropped that skairful look in a minute, and put on a firm, judicial one. He gin up; he could not skair me to death: and says he,—

"Oh, yes! they have been changed in cases of necessity."

Says I, "For instance, durin' the late war, it was changed to make Northern men cheap blood-hounds and hunters."

"Yes," he said. "It seemed to be a case of necessity and econimy."

"I know it," says I. "Men was cheaper than any other breed of blood-hounds the planters had employed to hunt men and wimmen with, and more faithful."

"Yes," he said. "It was doubtless a case of clear econimy."

And says I, "The laws have been changed to benifit whisky-dealers."

"Wall, yes," he said. "It had been changed to enable whisky-dealers to utelize the surplufus liquor they import." Says he, gettin' kinder animated, for he was on a congenial theme,—

"Nobody, the best calculators in drunkards, can't exactly calculate on how much whisky will be drunk in a year; and so, ruther than have the whisky- dealers suffer loss, the laws had to be changed.



"And then," says he, growin' still more candid in his excitement, "we are makin' a powerful effort to change the laws now, so as to take the tax off of whisky, so it can be sold cheaper, and be obtained in greater quantities by the masses. Any such great laws for the benifit of the nation, of course, would justify a change in the Constitution and the laws; but for any frivolous cause, any trivial cause, madam, we male custodians of the sacred Constitution would stand as walls of iron before it, guarding it from any shadow of change. Faithful we will be, faithful unto death."

Says I, "As it has been changed, it can be again. And you jest said I had convinced you that Dorlesky's errents wus errents of truth and justice, and you would love to do 'em."

"Well, yes, yes—I would love to—as it were—But really, my dear madam, much as I would like to oblige you, I have not the time to devote to it. We senators and Congressmen are so driven, and hard-worked, that really we have no time to devote to the cause of Right and Justice. I don't think you realize the constant pressure of hard work, that is ageing us, and wearing us out, before our day.

"As I said, we have to watch the liquor-interest constantly, to see that the liquor-dealers suffer no loss—we have to do that. And then, we have to look sharp if we cut down the money for the Indian schools."

Says I, in a sarcastick tone, "I s'pose you worked hard for that."

"Yes," says he, in a sort of a proud tone. "We did, but we men don't begrudge labor if we can advance measures of economy. You see, it was taking sights of money just to Christianize and civilize Injuns—savages. Why, the idea was worse than useless, it wus perfectly ruinous to the Indian agents. For if, through those schools, the Indians had got to be self-supporting and intelligent and Christians, why, the agents couldn't buy their wives and daughters for a yard of calico, or get them drunk, and buy a horse for a glass bead, and a farm for a pocket lookin'-glass. Well, thank fortune, we carried that important measure through; we voted strong; we cut down the money anyway. And there is one revenue that is still accruing to the Government—or, as it were, the servants of Government, the agents. You see," says he, "don't you, just how important the subjects are, that are wearing down the Congressional and senatorial mind?"

"Yes," says I sadly, "I see a good deal more than I want to."

"Yes, you see how hard-worked we are. With all the care of the North on our minds, we have to clean out all the creeks in the South, so the planters can have smooth sailing. But we think," says he dreamily, "we think we have saved money enough out of the Indian schools, to clean out most of their creeks, and perhaps have a little left for a few New-York aldermen, to reward them for their arduous duties in drinking and voting for their constituents.

"Then, there is the Mormons: we have to make soothing laws to sooth them.

"Then, there are the Chinese. When we send them back into heathendom, we ought to send in the ship with them, some appropriate biblical texts, and some mottoes emblematical of our national eagle protecting and clawing the different nations.

"And when we send the Irish paupers back into poverty and ignorance, we ought to send in the same ship, some resolutions condemning England for her treatment of Ireland."

Says I, "Most probable the Goddess of Liberty Enlightenin' the World, in New-York Harbor, will hold her torch up high, to light such ships on their way."

And he said, "Yes, he thought so." Says he, "There is very important laws up before the House, now, about hens' eggs—counting them." And says he, "Taking it with all those I have spoke of and other kindred laws, and the constant strain on our minds in trying to pass laws to increase our own salaries, you can see just how cramped we are for time. And though we would love to pass some laws of Truth and Righteousness,—we fairly ache to,—yet, not having the requisite time, we are obliged to lay 'em on the table, or under it."

"Wall," says I, "I guess I might jest a well be a goin'."

I bid him a cool good-bye, and started for the door. I was discouraged; but he says as I went out,—

"Mebby William Wallace will do the errent for you."

Says I coldly,—

"William Wallace is dead, and you know it." And says I with a real lot of dignity, "You needn't try to impose on me, or Dorlesky's errent, by tryin' to send me round amongst them old Scottish chiefs. I respect them old chiefs, and always did; and I don't relish any light talk about 'em."

Says he, "This is another William Wallace; and very probable he can do the errent."

"Wall," says I, "I will send the errent to him by Bub Smith; for I am wore out."

As I wended, my way out of Mr. Blains'es, I met the hired man, Bub Smith's friend; and he asked me,—

"If I didn't want to visit the Capitol?"

Says I, "Where the laws of the United States are made?"

"Yes," says he.

And I told him "that I was very weary, but I would fain behold it."

And he said he was going right by there on business, and he would be glad to show it to me. So we walked along in that direction.

It seems that Bub Smith saved the life of his little sister—jumped off into the water when she was most drowned, and dragged her out. And from that time the two families have thought the world of each other. That is what made him so awful good to me.

Wall, I found the Capitol was a sight to behold! Why, it beat any buildin' in Jonesville, or Loontown, or Spoon Settlement in beauty and size and grandeur. There hain't one that can come nigh it. Why, take all the meetin'-housen of these various places, and put 'em all together, and put several other meetin'-housen on top of 'em, and they wouldn't begin to show off with it.

And, oh! my land! to stand in the hall below, and look up—and up—and up —and see all the colors of the rainbow, and see what kinder curious and strange pictures there wuz way up there in the sky above me (as it were). Why, it seemed curiouser than any Northern lights I ever see in my life, and they stream up dretful curious sometimes.

And as I walked through the various lofty and magnificent halls, and realized the size and majestic proportions of the buildin', I wondered to myself that a small law, a little, unjust law, could ever be passed in such a magnificent place.



Says I to myself, "It can't be the fault of the place, anyway. They have got a chance for their souls to soar if they want to." Thinks'es I, here is room and to spare, to pass by laws big as elephants and camels. And I wondered to myself that they should ever try to pass laws and resolutions as small as muskeeters and nats. Thinks'es I, I wonder them little laws don't get to strollin' round and get lost in them magnificent corriders. But I consoled myself a thinkin' that it wouldn't be no great loss if they did.

But right here, as I was a thinkin' on these deep and lofty subjects, the hired man spoke up; and says he,—

"You look fatigued, mom." (Soarin' even to yourself, is tuckerin'.) "You look very fatigued: won't you take something?"

I looked at him with a curious, silent sort of a look; for I didn't know what he meant.

Agin he looked close at me, and sort o' pityin'; and says he, "You look tired out, mom. Won't you take something?"

Says I, "What?"

Says he, "Let me treat you to something: what will you take, mom?"

Wall, I thought he was actin' dretful liberal; but I knew they had strange ways there in Washington, anyway. And I didn't know but it was their way to make some presents to every woman who come there: and I didn't want to be odd, and act awkward, and out of style; so I says,—

"I don't want to take any thing, and I don't see any reason why you should insist on it. But, if I have got to take something I had jest as lives have a few yards of factory-cloth as any thing."

I thought, if he was determined to treat me, to show his good feelin's towards me, I would get somethin' useful, and that would do me some good, else what would be the use of bein' treated? And I thought, if I had got to take a present from a strange man, I would make a shirt for Josiah out of it: I thought that would make it all right, so fur as goodness went.

But says he, "I mean beer, or wine, or liquor of some kind."

I jest riz right up in my shoes and my dignity, and glared at him.

Says he, "There is a saloon right here handy in the buildin'."

Says I, in awful axents, "It is very appropriate to have it right here handy." Says I, "Liquor does more towards makin' the laws of the United States, from caucus to convention, than any thing else does; and it is highly proper to have some liquor here handy, so they can soak the laws in it right off, before they lay 'em onto the tables, or under 'em, or pass 'em onto the people. It is highly appropriate," says I.

"Yes," says he. "It is very handy for the senators. And let me get you a glass."

"No, you won't," says I firmly, "no, you won't. The nation suffers enough from that room now, without havin' Josiah Allen's wife let in."

Says he (his friendship for Bub Smith makin' him anxious and sot on helpin' me), "If you have any feeling of delicacy in going in there, let me make some wine here. I will get a glass of water, and make you some pure grape wine, or French brandy, or corn or rye whiskey. I have all the drugs right here." And he took out a little box out of his pocket. "My father is a importer of rare old wines, and I know just how it is done. I have 'em all here,—capiscum, coculus Indicus, alum, coperas, strychnine. I will make some of the choicest and purest imported liquors we have in the country, in five minutes, if you say so."



"No," says I firmly. "When I want to follow up Cleopatra's fashion, and commit suicide, I am goin' to hire a rattlesnake, and take my poison as she did, on the outside."

"Cleopatra?" says he inquiringly. "Is she a Washington lady?"

And I says guardedly, "She has lots of relations here, I believe."

"Wall," he said, "he thought her name sounded familiar. Then, I can't do any thing for you?" he says.

"Yes," says I calmly: "you can open the front door, and let me out."

Which he did, and I was glad enough to get out into the pure air.

When I got back to the house, I found they had been to supper. Sally had had company that afternoon,—her husband's brother. He had jest left.

He lived only a few miles away, and had come in on the cars. Sally said he wanted to stay and see me the worst kind: he wanted to throw out some deep arguments aginst wimmen's suffrage. Says she, "He talks powerful about it: he would have convinced you, without a doubt."

"Wall," says I, "why didn't he stay?"

She said he had to hurry home on account of business. He had come in to the village, to get some money. There was goin' to be a lot of men, wimmen, and children sold in his neighborhood the next mornin', and he thought he should buy a girl, if he could find a likely one.

"Sold?" says I, in curious axents.

"Yes," says Sally. "They sell the inmates of the poor-house, every year, to the highest bidder,—sell their labor by the year. They have 'em get up on a auction block, and hire a auctioneer, and sell 'em at so much a head, to the crowd. Why, some of 'em bring as high as twenty dollars a year, besides board.



"Sometimes, he said, there was quite a run on old wimmen, and another year on young ones. He didn't know but he might buy a old woman. He said there was an old woman that he thought there was a good deal of work in, yet. She had belonged to one of the first families in the State, and had come down to poverty late in life, through the death of some of her relations, and the villany of others. So he thought she had more strength in her than if she had always been worked. He thought, if she didn't fetch too big a price, he should buy her instead of a young one. They was so balky, he said, young ones was, and would need more to eat, bein' growin'. And she could do rough, heavy work, just as well as a younger one, and probably wouldn't complain so much; and he thought she would last a year, anyway. It was his way, he said, to put 'em right through, and, when one wore out, get another one."

I sithed; and says I, "I feel to lament that I wuzn't here so's he could have converted me." Says I, "A race of bein's, that make such laws as these, hadn't ort to be disturbed by wimmen meddlin' with 'em."

"Yes: that is what he said," says Sally, in a innocent way.

I didn't say no more. Good land! Sally hain't to blame. But with a noble scorn filling my eye, and floating out the strings of my head-dress, I moved off to bed.

Wall, the next mornin' I sent Dorlesky's errents by Bub Smith to William Wallace, for I felt a good deal fagged out. Bub did 'em well, and I know it.

But William Wallace sent him to Gen. Logan.

And Gen. Logan said Grover Cleveland was the one to go to: he wuz a sot man, and would do as he agreed. And Mr. Cleveland sent him to Mr. Edmunds.

And Mr. Edmunds told him to go to Samuel G. Tilden, or Roswell P. Flower.

And Mr. Flower sent him to William Walter Phelps.

And Mr. Phelps said that Benjamin P. Butler or Mr. Bayard was the one to do the errent.

And Mr. Bayard sent him to somebody else, and somebody else sent him to another one. And so it went on; and Bub Smith traipsed round, a carryin' them errents, from one man to another, till he was most dead.

Why, he carried them errents round all day, walkin' afoot.

Bub said most every one of 'em said the errents wuz just and right, but they couldn't do 'em, and wouldn't tell their reasons.

One or two, Bub said, opposed it, because they said right out plain, "that they wanted to drink. They wanted to drink every thing they could, and everywhere they could,—hard cider and beer, and brandy and whisky, and every thing."

And they didn't want wimmen to vote, because they liked to have the power in their own hands: they loved to control things, and kinder boss round— loved to dearly.

These was open-hearted men who spoke as they felt. But they was exceptions. Most every one of 'em said they couldn't do it, and wouldn't tell their reasons.

Till way along towards night, a senator he had been sent to, bein' a little in liquor at the time, and bein' talkative; he owned up the reasons why the senators wouldn't do the errents.

He said they all knew in their own hearts, both of the errents was right and just, to their own souls and their own country. He said—for the liquor had made him very open-hearted and talkative—that they knew the course they was pursuin' in regard to intemperance was a crime against God and their own consciences. But they didn't dare to tackle unpopular subjects.

He said they knew they was elected by liquor, a good many of them, and they knew, if they voted against whisky, it would deprive 'em of thousands and thousands of voters, dillegent voters, who would vote for 'em from morn in' till night, and so they dassent tackle the ring. And if wimmen was allowed to vote, they knew it was jest the same thing as breaking the ring right in two, and destroying intemperance. So, though they knew that both the errents was jest as right as right could be, they dassent tackle 'em, for fear they wouldn't run no chance at all of bein' President of the United States.

"Good land!" says I. "What a idee! to think that doin' right would make a man unpopular. But," says I, "I am glad to know they have got a reason, if it is a poor one. I didn't know but they sent you round jest to be mean."

Wall, the next mornin' I told Bub to carry the errents right into the Senate. Says I, "You have took 'em one by one, alone, now you jest carry 'em before the hull batch on 'em together." I told him to tackle the hull crew on 'em. So he jest walked right into the Senate, a carryin' Dorlesky's errents.

And he come back skairt. He said, jest as he was a carryin' Dorlesky's errents in, a long petition come from thousands and thousands of wimmen on this very subject. A plea for justice and mercy, sent in respectful, to the lawmakers of the land.

And he said the men jeered at it, and throwed it round the room, and called it all to nort, and made the meanest speeches about it you ever heard, talked nasty, and finally threw it under the table, and acted so haughty and overbearin' towards it, that Bub said he was afraid to tackle 'em. He said "he knew they would throw Dorlesky's errents under the table, and he was afraid they would throw him under too." He was afraid—(he owned it up to me)—he was afraid they would knock him down. So he backed out with Dorlesky's errents, and never give it to 'em at all.

And I told him he did right. "For," says I, "if they wouldn't listen to the deepest, most earnest, and most prayerful words that could come from the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands of the best mothers and wives and daughters in America, the most intelligent and upright and pure- minded women in the land, loaded down with their hopes, wet with their tears—if they turned their hearts', prayers and deepest desires into ridicule, throwed 'em round under their feet, they wouldn't pay no attention to Dorlesky's errents, they wouldn't notice one little vegitable widow, humbly at that, and sort o' disagreeable." And says I, "I don't want Dorlesky's errents throwed round under foot, and she made fun of: she has went through enough trials and tribulations, besides these gentlemen— or," says I, "I beg pardon of Webster's Dictionary: I meant men."

"For," as I said to Webster's Dictionary in confidence, in a quiet thought we had about it afterwards, "they might be gentlemen in every other place on earth; but in this one move of theirn," as I observed confidentially to the Dictionary, "they was jest men—the male animal of the human species."

And I was ashamed enough as I looked Noah Webster's steel engraving in the face, to think I had misspoke myself, and called 'em gentlemen.



Wall, from that minute I gin up doin' Dorlesky's errents. And I felt like death about it. But this thought held me up,—that I had done my best. But I didn't feel like doin' another thing all the rest of that day, only jest feel disapinted and grieved over my bad luck with the errents. I always think it is best, if you can possibly arrainge it in that way, to give up one day, or half a day, to feelin' bad over any perticuler disapintment, or to worry about any thing, and do all your worryin' up in that time, and then give it up for good, and go to feelin' happy agin. It is also best, if you have had a hull lot of things to get mad about, to set apart half a day, when you can spare the time, and do up all your resentin' in that time. It is easier, and takes less time than to keep resentin' 'em as they take place; and you can feel clever quicker than in the common way.

Wall, I felt dretful bad for Dorlesky and the hull wimmen race of the land, and for the men too. And I kep' up my bad feelin's till pretty nigh dusk. But as I see the sun go down, and the sky grow dark, I says,—

"You are goin' down now, but you are a comin' up agin. As sure as the Lord lives, the sun will shine agin; and He who holds you in His hand, holds the destinies of the nations. He will watch over you, and me and Josiah, and Dorlesky. He will help us, and take care of us."

So I begun to feel real well agin—a little after dusk.



CHAPTER VIII.

The next morning Cicely wuzn't able to leave her room,—no sick seemin'ly, but fagged out. She was a delicate little creeter always, and seemed to grow delicater every day.

So Miss Smith went with me, and she and I sallied out alone: her name bein' Sally, too, made it seem more singuler and coincidin'.

She asked me if I didn't want to go to the Patent Office.

And I told her, "Yes," And I told her of Betsy Bobbet's errent, and that Josiah had charged me expresly to go there, and get him a patent pail. He needed a new milk-pail, and thought I could get it cheaper right on the spot.

And she said that Josiah couldn't buy his pail there. But she told me what sights and sights of things there wus to be seen there; and I found out when I got there, that she hadn't told me the 1/2 or the 1/4 of the sights I see.

Why, I could pass a month there in perfect destraction and happiness, the sights are so numerous, and exceedingly destractin' and curious.

But I told Sally Smith plainly, that I wasn't half so much interested in apple-parers and snow-plows, and the first sewin'-machine and the last one, and steam-engines and hair-pins and pianos and thimbles, and the acres and acres of glass cases containing every thing that wus ever heard of, and every thing that never wus heard of by anybody, and etcetery, etcetery, and so 4th, and so 4th. And you might string them words out over choirs and choirs of paper, and not get half an idee of what is to be seen there.

But I told her I didn't feel half so interested in them things as I did in the copyright. I told Sally plain "that I wanted to see the place where the copyrights on books was made. And I wanted to see the man who made 'em."

And she asked me "Why? What made me so anxious?"

And I told her "the law was so curious, that I believed it would be the curiousest place, and he would be the curiousest lookin' creeter, that wuz ever seen." Says I, "I'll bet it will be better than a circus to see him."

But it wuzn't. He looked jest like any man. And he had a sort of a smart look onto him. Sally said "it was one of the clerks," but I don't believe a word of it. I believe it was the man himself, who made the law; for, as in all other emergincies of life, I follered Duty, and asked him "to change the law instantly."

And he as good as promised me he would.

I talked deep to him about it, but short. I told him Josiah had bought a mair, and he expected to own it till he or the mair died. He didn't expect to give up his right to it, and let the mair canter off free at a stated time.



And he asked me "Who Josiah was?" and I told him.

And I told him that "Josiah's farm run along one side of a pond; and if one of his sheep got over on the other side, it was sheep jest the same, and it was hisen jest the same: he didn't lose the right to it, because it happened to cross the pond."

Says he, "There would be better laws regarding copyright, if it wuzn't for selfishness on both sides of the pond."

"Wall," says I, "selfishness don't pay in the long-run." And then, thinkin' mebby if I made myself agreable and entertainin', he would change the law quicker, I made a effort, and related a little interestin' incident that I had seen take place jest before my former departure from Jonesville, on a tower.

"No, selfishness don't pay. I have seen it tried, and I know. Now, Bildad Henzy married a wife on a speculation. She was a one-legged woman. He was attached at the time to a woman with the usual number of feet; but he was so close a calculator, that he thought it would be money in his pocket to marry this one, for he wouldn't have to buy but one shoe and stockin'. But she had to jump round on that one foot, and step heavy; so she wore out more shoes than she would if she was two-footed." Says I, "Selfishness don't pay in private life or in politics."

And he said "He thought jest so," and he jest about the same as promised me he would change the law.

I hope he will. It makes me feel so strange every time I think out, as strange as strange can be.

Why, I told Sally after we went out, and I spoke about "the man lookin' human, and jest like anybody else;" and she said "it was a clerk;" and I said "I knew better, I knew it was the man himself."

And says I agin, "It beats all, how anybody in human shape can make such a law as that copyright law."

And she said "that was so." But I knew by her mean, that she didn't understand a thing about it; and I knew it would make me so sort o' light- headed and vacant if I went to explain it to her, that I never said a word, and fell in at once with her proposal that we should go and see the Treasury, and the Corcoran Art Gallery, and the Smithsonian Institute, one at a time.

And I found the Treasury wuz a sight to behold. Such sights and sights of money they are makin' there, and a countin'. Why, I s'pose they make more money there in a week, than Josiah and I spend in a year.

I s'pose most probable they made it a little faster, and more of it, on account of my bein' there. But they have sights and sights of it. They are dretful well off.

I asked Sally, and I spoke out kinder loud too,—I hain't one of the underhanded kind,—I asked her, "If she s'posed they'd let us take hold and make a little money for ourselves, they seemed to be so runnin' over with it, there."

And she said, "No, private citizens couldn't do that."

Says I, "Who can?"

She kinder whispered back in a skairt way, sunthin' about "speculators and legislators and rings, and etcetery."

But I answered right out loud,—I hain't one to go whisperin' round,—and says I,—

"I'll bet if Uncle Sam himself was here, and knew the feelin's I had for him, he'd hand out a few dollars of his own accord for me to get sunthin' to remember him by. Howsumever, I don't need nor want any of his money. I hain't beholden to him nor any man. I have got over fourteen dollars by me, at this present time, egg-money."

But it was a sight to behold, to see 'em make it.

And then, as we stood out on the sidewalk agin, the Smithsonian Institute passed through my mind; and then the Corcoran Art Gallery passed through it, and several other big, noble buildin's. But I let 'em pass; and I says to Sally,—

"Let us go at once and see the man that makes the public schools." Says I, "There is a man that I honor, and almost love."

And she said she didn't know who it wuz.

But I think it was the lamb that she had in a bakin', that drew her back towards home. She owned up that her hired girl didn't baste it enough.

And she seemed oneasy.

But I stood firm, and says, "I shall see that man, lamb or no lamb."

And then Sally give in. And she found him easy enough. She knew all the time, it was the sheep that hampered her.

And, oh! I s'pose it was a sight to be remembered, to see my talk to that man. I s'pose, if it had been printed, it would have made a beautiful track—and lengthy.

Why, he looked fairly exhausted and cross before I got half through, I talked so smart (eloquence is tuckerin').

I told him how our public schools was the hope of the nation. How they neutralized to a certain extent the other schools the nation allowed to the public,—the grog-shops, and other licensed places of ruin. I told him how pretty it looked to me to see Civilization a marchin' along from the Atlantic towards the Pacific, with a spellin'-book in one hand, and in the other the rosy, which she was a plantin' in place of the briars and brambles.

And I told him how highly I approved of compulsory education.

"Why," says I, "if anybody is a drowndin', you don't ask their consent to be drawed out of the water, you jest jump in, and yank 'em out. And when you see poor little ones, a sinkin' down in the deep waters of ignorance and brutality, why, jest let Uncle Sam reach right down, and draw 'em out." Says I, "I'll bet that is why he is pictered as havin' such long arms for, and long legs too,—so he can wade in if the water is deep, and they are too fur from the shore for his arms to reach."

And says I, "In the case of the little Indian, and other colored children, he'll need the legs of a stork, the water is so deep round 'em. But he'll reach 'em, Uncle Sam will. He'll lift 'em right up in his long arms, and set 'em safe on the pleasant shore. You'll see that he will. Uncle Sam is a man of a thousand."

Says I, "How much it wus like him, to pass that law for children to be learnt jest what whisky is, and what it will do. Why," says I, "in that very law Christianity has took a longer stride than she could take by millions of sermons, all divided off into tenthlies and twentiethlies."

Why, I s'pose I talked perfectly beautiful to that man: I s'pose so.

And if he hadn't had a sudden engagement to go out, I should have talked longer. But I see his engagement wus a wearin' on him. His eyes looked fairly wild. I only give a bald idee of what I said. I have only give the heads of my discussion to him, jest the bald heads.

Wall, after we left there, I told Sally I felt as if I must go and see the Peace Commission. I felt as if I must make some arrangements with 'em to not have any more wars. As I told Sally, "We might jest as well call ourselves Injuns and savages at once, if we had to keep up this most savage and brutal trait of theirn." Says I firmly, "I must, before I go back to Jonesville, tend to it." Says I, "I didn't come here for fashion, or dry-goods; though I s'pose lots of both of 'em are to be got here." Says I, "I may tend to one or two fashionable parties, or levys as I s'pose they call 'em here. I may go to 'em ruther than hurt the feelin's of the upper 10. I want to do right: I don't want to hurt the feelin's of them 10. They have hearts, and they are sensitive. I don't think I have ever took to them 10, as much as I have to some others; but I wish 'em well.

"And I s'pose you see as grand and curious people to their parties here, as you can see together in any other place on the globe.

"I s'pose it is a sight to behold, to see 'em together. To see them, as the poet says, 'To the manner born,' and them that wasn't born in the same manor, but tryin' to act as if they was. Wealth and display, natural courtesy and refinement, walkin' side by side with pretentius vulgarity, and mebby poverty bringin' up the rear. Genius and folly, honesty and affectation, gentleness and sweetness, and brazen impudence, and hatred and malice, and envy and uncharitableness. All languages and peoples under the sun, and differing more than stars ever did, one from another.



"And what makes it more curious and mysterius is, the way they dress, some on 'em. Why, they say—it has come right straight to me by them that know —that the ladies wear what they call full dress; and the strange and mysterius part of it is, that the fuller the dress is, the less they have on 'em.

"This is a deep subject, and queer; and I don't s'pose you will take my word for it, and I don't want you to. But I have been told so.

"Why, I s'pose them upper 10 have their hands full, their 20 hands completely full. I fairly pity 'em—the hull 10 of 'em. They want me, and they need me, I s'pose, and I must tend to some of 'em.

"And then," says I, "I did calculate to pay some attention to store- clothes. I did want to get me a new calico dress,—London brown with a set flower on it. But I can do without that dress, and the upper 10 can do without me, better than the Nation can do without Peace."

I felt as if I must tend to it: I fairly hankered to do away with war, immejiately and to once. But I knew right was right, and I felt that Sally ort to be let to tend to her lamb; so Sally and I sallied homewards.

But the hired girl had tended to it well. It wus good—very good.



CHAPTER IX.

Wall, the next mornin' Cicely wus better, and we sot sail for Mount Vernon. It was about ten o'clock A.M. when I, accompanied by Cicely and the boy, sot sail from Washington, D.C., to perform about the ostensible reason of my tower,—to weep on the tomb of the noble G. Washington.

My intentions had been and wuz, to weep for him on my tower. I had come prepared. 2 linen handkerchiefs and a large cotton one reposed in the pocket of my polenay, and I had on my new waterproof. I never do things by the 1/2s.

It was a beautiful seen, as we floated down the still river, to look back and see the Capitol risin' white and fair like a dream, the glitterin' snow of the monument, and the green heights, all bathed in the glory of that perfect May mornin'. It wuz a fair seen.

Happy groups of people sot on the peaceful decks,—stately gentlemen, handsome ladies, and pretty children. And in one corner, off kinder by themselves, sot that band of dusky singers, whose songs have delighted the world. Modest, good-lookin' dark girls, manly, honest-lookin' dark boys.

Only a few short years ago this black people was drove about like dumb cattle,—bought and sold, hunted by blood-hounds; the wimmen hunted to infamy and ruin, the men to torture and to death. The wimmen denied the first right of womanhood, to keep themselves pure. The men denied the first right of manhood, to protect the ones they loved. Deprived legally of purity and honor, and all the rights of commonest humanity—worn with unpaid toil, beaten, whipped, tortured, dispised and rejected of men.



Now, a few short years have passed over this dark race, and these children of slaves that I looked upon have been guests of the proudest and noblest in this and in foreign lands. Hands that hold the destinies of mighty empires have clasped theirs in frankest friendship, and crowned heads have bowed low before 'em to hide the tears their sweet voices have called forth. What feelin's I felt as I looked on 'em! and my soul burned inside of me, almost to the extent of settin' my polenay on fire, a thinkin' of all this.

And pretty soon, right when I was a reveryin'—right there, when we wuz a floatin' clown the still waters, their voices riz up in one of their inspired songs. They sung about their "Hard Trials," and how the "Sweet Chariot swung low," and how they had "Been Redeemed."

And I declare for't, as I listened to 'em, there wuzn't a dry eye in my head; and I wet every one of them 3 handkerchiefs that I had calculated to mourn for G. Washington on, wet as sop. But I didn't care. I knew that George had rather not be mourned for on dry handkerchiefs, than that I should stent myself in emotions in such a time as this. He loved Liberty himself, and fit for it. And anyway, I didn't sense what I was a doin', not a mite. I took out them handkerchiefs entirely unbeknown to me, and put 'em back unbeknown.

The words of them songs hain't got hardly any sense, as we earthly bein's count sense; there are scores of great singers, whose trained voices are a hundred-fold more melodious: but these simple strains move us, thrill us; they jest get right inside of our hearts and souls, and take full possession of us.

It seems as if nothin' human of so little importance could so move us. Is it God's voice that speaks to us through them? Is it His Spirit that lifts us up, sways us to and fro, that blows upon us, as we listen to their voices? The Spirit that come down to cheer them broken hearts, lift them up in their captivity, does it now sway and melt the hearts of their captors? We read of One who watches over His sorrowing, wronged people, givin' them "songs in the night."

Anon, or nearly at that time, a silver bell struck out a sweet sort of a mournful note; and we jest stood right in towards the shore, and disembarked from the bark.

We clomb the long hill, and stood on top, with powerful emotions (but little or no breath); stood before the iron bars that guarded the tomb of George Washington, and Martha his wife.

I looked at the marble coffin that tried to hold George, and felt how vain it wuz to think that any tomb could hold him. That peaceful, tree-covered hill couldn't hold his tomb. Why, it wuz lifted up in every land that loved freedom. The hull liberty-lovin' earth wuz his tomb and his monument.

And that great river flowin' on and on at his feet—as long as that river rolls, George Washington shall float on it, he and his faithful Martha. It shall bear him to the sea and the ocian, and abroad to every land.

Oh! what feelin's I felt as I stood there a reveryin', my body still, but my mind proudly soarin'! To think, he wuz our Washington, and that time couldn't kill him. For he shall walk through the long centuries to come. He shall bear to the high chamber of prince and ruler, memories that shall blossom into deeds, awaken souls, rouse powers that shall never die, that shall scatter blessings over lands afar, strike the fetters from slave and serf.

The hands they folded over his peaceful breast so many years ago, are not lying there in that marble coffin: the calm blue eyes closed so many years ago, are still lookin' into souls. Those hands lift the low walls of the poor boy's chamber, as he reads of victory over tyranny, of conquerin' discouragement and defeat.



The low walls fade away; the dusky rafters part to admit the infinite, infinite longin's to do and dare, infinite resolves to emulate those deeds of valor and heroism. How the calm blue eyes look down into the boy's impassioned soul, how the shadowy hands beckon him upward, up the rocky heights of noble endeavor, noble deeds! How the inspiration of this life, these deeds of might and valor, nerve the young heart for future strivings for freedom and justice and truth!

Is it not a blessed thing to thus live on forever in true, eager hearts, to nerve the hero's arm, to inspire deeds of courage and daring? The weary body may rest; but to do this, is surely not to die; no, it is to live, to be immortal, to thus become the beating heart, the living, struggling, daring soul of the future.

And right while I was thinkin' these thoughts, and lookin' off over the still landscape, the peaceful waters, this band of dark singers stood with reverent faces and uncovered heads, and begun singin' one of their sweetest melodies,—

"He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead."

Oh! as them inspired, hantin' notes rose through the soft, listenin' air, and hanted me, walked right round inside my heart and soul, and inspired me—why! how many emotions I did have,—more'n 85 a minute right along!

As I thought of how many times since the asscension of our Lord, tombs have opened, and the dead come forth alive; how Faith and Justice will triumph in the end; how you can't bury 'em deep enough, or roll a stun big enough and hard enough before the door, but what, in some calm mornin', the earliest watcher shall see a tall, fair angel standin' where the dead has lain, bearin' the message of the risen Lord, "He rose from the dead."

I thought how George W. and our other old 4 fathers thought in the long, toilsome, weary hours before the dawnin', that fair Freedom was dead; but she rose, she rose.

I thought how the dusky race whose sweet songs was a floatin' round the grave of him who loved freedom, and gave his life for it; I thought how, durin' the dreary time when they was captives in a strange land, chained, scourged, and tortured, how they thought, through this long, long night of years, that Justice was dead, and Mercy and Pity and Righteousness.

But there come a glorious mornin' when fathers and mothers clasped their children in their arms, their own once more, in arms that was their own, to labor and protect, and they sung together of Freedom and Right, how though they wuz buried deep, and the night wuz long, and the watchers by the tomb weary, weary unto death, yet they rose, they rose from the dead.

And then I thought of the tombs that darken our land to-day, where the murdered, the legally murdered, lay buried. I thought of the graves more hopeless fur than them that entomb the dead,—the graves where lay the livin' dead. Dead souls bound to still breathin' bodies, dead hopes, ambitions, dead dreams of usefulness and respectability, happiness, dead purity, faith, honor, dead, all dead, all bound to the still breathin' body, by the festerin', putrid death-robes of helplessness and despair.

There they lie chained to their dark tombs by links slight at first, but twisted by the hard old fingers of blind habit, to chains of iron, chains linked about, and eatin' into, not only the quiverin' flesh, but the frenzied brains, the hope less hearts, the ruined souls.

Heavy, hopeless-lookin' vaults they are indeed, whose air is putrid with the sickenin' miasma of moral loathsomness and deseese; whose walls are painted with hideous pictures of murder, rapine, lust, starvation, woe, and despair, earthly and eternal ruin. Shapes of the dreadful past, the hopeless future, that these livin' dead stare upon with broodin' frenzy by night and by day.

Oh the tombs, the countless, countless tombs, where lie these breathin' corpses! How mothers weep over them! how wives kneel, and beat their hearts out on the rocky barriers that separate them from their hearts' love, their hearts' desire! How little starvin', naked children cower in their ghostly shadows through dark midnights! How fathers weep for their children, dead to them, dead to honor, to shame, to humanity! How the cries of the mourners ascend to the sweet heavens!

And less peaceful than the graves of the departed, these tombs themselves are full of the hopeless cries of the entombed, praying for help, praying for some strong hand to reach down and lift them out of their reeking, polluted, living death.

The whole of our fair land is covered with jest such graves: its turf is tread down by the footprints of the mourners who go about the streets. They pray, they weep: the night is long, is long. But the morning will dawn at last.

And the women,—daughters, wives, mothers,—who kneel with clasped hands beside the tombs, heaviest-eyed, deepest mourners, because most helpless. Lift up your heavy eyes: the sun is even now rising, that shall gild the sky at last. The mornin' light is even now dawnin' in the east. It shall fall first upon your uplifted brows, your prayerful eyes. Most blessed of God, because you loved most, sorrowed most. To you shall it be given to behold first the tall, fair angel of Resurection and Redemption, standin' at the grave's mouth. Into your hands shall he put the key to unlock the heavy doors, where your loved has lain.

The dead shall rise. Temperance and Justice and Liberty shall rise. They shall go forth to bless our fair land. And purified and enobled, it shall be the best beloved, the fairest land of God beneath the sun. Refuge of the oppressed and tempted, inspiration of the hopeless, light of the world.

And free mothers shall clasp their free children to their hearts; and fathers and mothers and children shall join in one heavenly strain, song of freedom and of truth. And the nations shall listen to hear how "they rose, they rose, they rose from the dead."

As the tones of the sweet hymn died on the soft air, and the blessed vision passed with it; when I come down onto my feet,—for truly, I had been lifted up, and by the side of myself,—Cicely was standin' with her brown eyes lookin' over the waters, holdin' the hand of the boy; and I see every thing that the song did or could mean, in the depths of her deep, prophetic eyes. Sad eyes, too, they was, and discouraged; for the morning wus fur away—and—and the boy wus pullin' at her hand, eager to get away from where he wus.

The boy led us; and we follered him up the gradual hill to the old homestead of Washington, Mount Vernon.

Lookin' down from the broad, high porch, you can look directly down through the trees into the river. The water calm and sort o' golden, through the green of the trees, and every thing looked peaceful and serene.

There are lots of interestin' things to be seen here,—the tombs of the rest of the Washington family; the key of the Bastile, covered with the blood and misery of a foreign land; the tree that carries us back in memory to his grave, where he rests quietly, who disturbed the sleep of empires and kingdoms; the furniture of Washington and his family,—the chairs they sot in, the tables they sot at, and the rooms where they sot; the harpiscord, that Nelly Custis and Mrs. G. Washington harpiscorded on.

But she whose name wus once Smith longed to see somethin' else fur more. What wus it?

It wus not the great drawin'-rooms, the guest-chambers, the halls, the grounds, the live-stock, nor the pictures, nor the flowers.

No: it wus the old garret of the mansion, the low old garret, where she sot, our Lady Washington, in her widowed dignity, with no other fire only the light of deathless love that lights palace or hovel,—sot there in the window, because she could look out from it upon the tomb of her mighty dead.

Sot lookin' out upon the river that wus sweepin' along under sun and moon, bearing on every wave and ripple the glory and beauty of his name.

Bearing it away from her mebby, she would sometimes sadly think, as she thought of happy days gone by; for though souls may soar, hearts will cling. And sometimes storms would vex the river's unquiet breast; and mebby the waves would whisper to her lovin' heart, "Never more, never more."



As she sot there looking out, waiting for that other river, whose waves crept nearer and nearer to her feet,—that other river, on which her soul should sail away to meet her glorious dead; that river which whispers "Forever, forever;" that river which is never unquiet, and whose waves are murmuring of nothing less beautiful than of meeting, of love, and of lasting repose.



CHAPTER X.

When we got back from Mount Vernon, and entered our boardin'-house, Cicely went right up to her room. But I, feelin' kinder beat out (eloquent emotions are very tuckerin' on a tower), thought I would set down a few minutes in the parlor to rest, before I mounted up the stairs to my room.

But truly, as it turned out, I had better have gone right up, breath or no breath.

For, while I was a settin' there, a tall, sepulchral lookin' female, that I had noticed at the breakfast-table, come up to me; and says she,—

"I beg your pardon, mom, but I believe you are the noble and eloquent Josiah Allen's wife, and I believe you are a stoppin' here."

Says I calmly, "I hain't a stoppin'—I am stopped, as it were, for a few days."

"Wall," says she, "a friend of mine is comin' to-night, to my room, No. 17, to give a private seansy. And knowin' you are a great case to investigate into truths, I thought mebby you would love to come, and witness some of our glorious spirit manifestations."

I thanked her for her kindness, but told her "I guessed I wouldn't go. I didn't seem to be sufferin' for a seancy."

"Oh!" says she: "it is wonderful, wonderful to see. Why, we will tie the medium up, and he will ontie himself."

"Oh!" says I. "I have seen that done, time and agin. I used to tie Thomas J. up when he was little, and naughty; and he would, in spite of me, ontie himself, and get away."

"Who is Thomas J.?" says she.

"Josiah's child by his first wife," says I.

"Wall," says she, "if we have a good circle, and the conditions are favorable, the spirits will materialize,—come before us with a body."

"Oh!" says I. "I have seen that. Thomas J. used to dress up as a ghost, and appear to us. But he didn't seem to think the conditions wus so favorable, and he didn't seem to appear so much, after his father ketched him at it, and give him a good whippin'." And says I firmly, "I guess that would be about the way with your ghosts."

And after I had said it, the idee struck me as bein' sort o' pitiful,—to go to whippin' a ghost. But she didn't seem to notice my remark, for she seemed to be a gazin' upward in a sort of a muse; and she says,—

"Oh! would you not like to talk with your departed kindred?"

"Wall, yes," says I firmly, after a minute's thought. "I would like to."

"Come to-night to our seansy, and we will call 'em, and you shall talk with 'em."

"Wall," says I candidly, "to tell the truth, bein' only wimmen present, I'll tell you, I have got to mend my petticoat to-night. My errents have took me round to such a extent, that it has got all frayed out round the bottom, and I have got to mend the fray. But, if any of my kindred are there, you jest mention it to 'em that she that wuz Samantha Smith is stopped at No. 16, and, if perfectly convenient, would love to see 'em. I can explain it to 'em," says I, "bein' all in the family, why I couldn't leave my room."



Says she, "You are makin' fun: you don't believe they will be there, do you?"

"Wall, to be honest with you, it looks dubersome to me. It does seem to me, that if my father or mother sot out from the other world, and come down to this boardin'-house, to No. 17, they would know, without havin' to be told, that I was in the next room to 'em; and they wouldn't want to stay with a passel of indifferent strangers, when their own child was so near."

"You don't believe in the glorious manifestations of our seansys?" says she.

"Wall, to tell you the plain truth, I don't seem to believe 'em to any great extent. I believe, if God wants to speak to a human soul below, He can, without any of your performances and foolishness; and when I say performences and when I say foolishness, I say 'em in very polite ways: and I don't want to hurt anybody's feelin's by sayin' things hain't so, but I simply state my belief."

"Don't you believe in the communion of saints? Don't you believe God ever reveals himself to man?"

"Yes, I do! I believe that now, as in the past, the pure in heart shall see God. Why, heaven is over all, and pretty nigh to some."

And I thought of Cicely, and couldn't help it.

"I believe there are pure souls, especially when they are near to the other world, who can look in, and behold its beauty. Why, it hain't but a little ways from here,—it can't be, sense a breath of air will blow us into it. It takes sights of preparation to get ready to go, but it is only a short sail there. And you may go all over the land from house to house, and you will hear in almost every one of some dear friend who died with their faces lit up with the glow of the light shinin' from some one of the many mansions,—the dear home-light of the fatherland; died speakin' to some loved one, gone before. But I don't believe you can coax that light, and them voices, down into a cabinet, and let 'em shine and speak, at so much an evenin'."

"I thought," says she bitterly, "that you was one who never condemned any thing that you hadn't thoroughly investigated."

"I don't," says I. "I don't condemn nothin' nor nobody. I only tell my mind. I don't say there hain't no truth in it, because I don't know; and that is one of the best reasons in the world for not sayin' a thing hain't so. When you think how big a country the land of Truth is, and how many great unexplored regions lay in it, why should Josiah Allen's wife stand and lean up aginst a tree on the outmost edge of the frontier, and say what duz and what duzn't lay hid in them mysterius and beautiful regions that happier eyes than hern shall yet look into?

"No: the great future is the fulfillment of the prophecies, and blind gropin's of the present; and it is not for me, nor Josiah, nor anybody else, to talk too positive about what we hain't seen, and don't know.

"No: nor I hain't one to say it is the Devil's work, not claimin' such a close acquaintance with the gentleman named, as some do, who profess to know all his little social eccentricities. But I simply say, and say honest, that I hain't felt no drawin's towards seancys, nor felt like follerin' 'em up. But I am perfectly willin' you should have your own idees, and foller 'em."

"Do you believe angels have appeared to men?"

"Yes, mom, I do. But I never heard of a angel bein' stanchelled up in a box-stall, and let out of it agin at stated times, like a yearlin' colt. (Excuse my metafor, mom, I am country bred and born.) And no angel that I ever heard on, has been harnessed and tackled up with any ropes or strings whatsoever. No! whenever we hear of angels appearin' to men, they have flown down, white-winged and radiant, right out of the heavens, which is their home, and appeared to men, entirely unbeknown to them. That is the way they appeared to the shephards at Bethlahem, to the disciples on the mountain, to the women at the tomb."

"Don't you believe they could come jest as well now?"

"I don't say they couldn't. There is no place in the Bible, that I know of, where it says they shall never appear agin to man. But I s'pose, in the days I speak of, when the One Pure Heart was upon earth, Earth and Heaven drew nearer together, as it were,—the divine and the human. And if we now draw Heaven nearer to us by better, purer lives, who knows," says I dreamily (forgettin' the mejum, and other trials), "who knows but what we might, in some fair day, look up into the still heavens, and see through the clear blue, in the distance, a glimpse of the beautiful city of the redeemed?

"Who knows," says I, "if we lived for Heaven, as Jennie Dark lived for her country, in the story I have heard Thomas J. read about, but we might, like her, see visions, and hear voices, callin' us to heavenly duties? But," says I, findin' and recoverin' myself, "I don't see no use in a seansy to help us."

"Don't you admit that there is strange doin's at these seansys?"

"Yes," says I. "I never see one myself; but, from what I have heard of 'em, they are very strange."

"Don't you think there are things done that seem supernatural?"

"I don't know as they are any more supernatural than the telegraph and telefone and electric light, and many other seemin'ly supernatural works. And who knows but there may still be some hidden powers in nature that is the source of what you call supernatural?"

"Why not believe, with us, voices from Heaven speak through these means?"

"Because it looks dubersome to me—dretful dubersome. It don't look reasonable to me, that He, the mighty King of heaven and earth, would speak to His children through a senseless Indian jargon, or impossible and blasphemous speeches through a first sphere."

"You say you believe God has spoken to men, and why not now?"

"I tell you, I don't know but He duz. But I don't believe it is in that manner. Way back to the creation, when we read of God's speakin' to man, the voice come directly down from heaven to their souls.

"In the hush of the twilight, when every thing was still and peaceful, and Adam was alone, then he heard God's voice. He didn't have to wait for favorable conditions, or set round a table; for, what is more convincin', I don't believe he had a table to set round.

"In the dreary lonesomeness of the great desert, God spoke to the heart- broken Hagar. She didn't have to try any tests to call down the spirits. Clear and sudden out of heaven come the Lord's voice speaking to her soul in comfort and in prophecy, and her eyes was opened, and she saw waters flowin' in the midst of the desert.

"Up on the mountain top, God's voice spoke to Abraham; and Lot in the quiet of evening, at the tent's door, received the angelic visitants. Sudden, unbeknown to them, they come. They didn't have to put nobody into a trance, nor holler, so we read.

"In the hush of the temple, through the quiet of her motherly dreams, Hannah heard a voice. Hannah didn't have to say, 'If you are a spirit, rap so many times.' No: she knew the voice. God prepares the listenin' soul His own self. 'They know my voice,' so the Lord said.

"Daniel and the lions didn't have to 'form a circle' for him to see the one in shinin' raiment. No: the angel guest came down from heaven unbidden, and appeared to Daniel alone, in peril; and as he stood by the 'great river,' it said, 'Be strong, be strong!' preparin' him for conflict. And Daniel was strengthened, so the Bible says.

"God's hand is not weaker to-day, and His conflicts are bein' waged on many a battle-field. And I dare not say that He does not send His angels to comfort and sustain them who from love to Him go out into rightous warfare. But I don't believe they come through a seansy. I don't, honestly. I don't believe Daniel would have felt strengthened a mite, by seein' a materialized rag-baby hung out by a wire in front of a hemlock box, and then drawed back sudden.



"No: Adam and Enoch, and Mary and Paul and St. John, didn't have to say, before they saw the heavenly guests, 'If you are a spirit, manifest it by liftin' up some table-legs.' And they didn't have to tie a mejum into a box before they could hear God's voice. No: we read in the Bible of eight different ones who come back from death, and appeared to their friends, besides the many who came forth from their graves at Jerusalem. But they didn't none of 'em come in this way from round under tables, and out of little coops, and etcetery.

"And as it was in the old days, so I believe it is to-day. I believe, if God wants to speak to a human soul, livin' or dead, He don't need the help of ropes and boxes and things. It don't look reasonable to think He has to employ such means. And it don't look reasonable to me to think, if He wants to speak to one of His children in comfort or consolation, He will try to drive a hard bargain with 'em, and make 'em pay from fifty cents to a dollar to hear Him, children half price. Howsomever, everybody to their own opinions."

"You are a unbeliever," says she bitterly.

"Yes, mom: I s'pose I am. I s'pose I should be called Samantha Allen, U.S., which Stands, Unbeliever in Spiritual Seansys, and also United States. It has a noble, martyrous look to me," says I firmly. "It makes me think of my errent."

She tosted her head in a high-headed way, which is gaulin' in the extreme to see in another female. And she says,—

"You are not receptive to truth."

I s'pose she thought that would scare me, but it didn't. I says,—

"I believe in takin' truth direct from God's own hand and revelation. But I don't have any faith in modern spiritual seansys. They seem to me,—and I would say it in a polite, courtous way, for I wouldn't hurt your feelin's for the world,—all mixed up with modern greed and humbug."

But, if you'll believe it, for all the pains I took to be almost over- polite to her, and not say a word to hurt her feelin's, that woman acted mad, and flounced out of the room as if she was sent.

Good land! what strange creeters there are in the world, anyway!

Wall, I had fairly forgot that the boy wus in the room. But 1,000 and 5 is a small estimate of the questions he asked me after she went out.

"What a seansy was? And did folks appear there? And would his papa appear if he should tie himself up in a box? And if I would be sorry if his papa didn't appear, if he didn't appear? And where the folks went to that I said, come out of their graves? And did they die again? Or did they keep on a livin' and a livin' and a livin'? And if I wished I could keep on a livin' and a livin' and a livin'?"

Good land! it made me feel wild as a loon, and Cicely put the boy to bed.

But I happened to go into the bedroom for something; and he opened his eyes, and says he,—

"Say! if the dead live men's little boys that had grown up and lived and died before their pa's come out, would they come out too? and would the dead live men know that they was their little boys? and say"—

But I went out immegiatly, and s'pose he went to sleep.

Wall, the next mornin' I got up feelin' kinder mauger. I felt sort o' weary in my mind as well as my body. For I had kep' up a powerful ammount of thinkin' and medetatin'. Mebby right when I would be a talkin' and a smilin' to folks about the weather or literatoor or any thing, my mind would be hard at work on problems, and I would be a takin' silent observations, and musin' on what my eyes beheld.



And I had felt more and more satisfied of the wisdom of the conclusion I reached on my first interview with Allen Arthur,—that I dast not, I dast not let my companion go from me into Washington.

No! I felt that I dast not, as his mind was, let him go into temptation.

I felt that he wanted to make money out of the Government I loved; and after I had looked round me, and observed persons and things, I felt that he would do it.

I felt that I dast not let him go.

I knew that he wanted to help them that helped him, without no deep thought as to the special fitness of uncle Nate Gowdy and Ury Henzy for governmental positions. And after I had enquired round a little, and considered the heft of his mind, and the weight of example, I felt he would do it.

And I dast not let him go.

And, though I knew his hand was middlin' free now, still I realized that other hands just as free once had had rings slipped into 'em, and was led by 'em whithersoever the ring-makers wished to lead them.

I dast not let him go.

I knew that now his morals, though small (he don't weigh more'n a hundred,—bones, moral sentiments, and all), was pretty sound and firm, the most of the time. But the powerful winds that blew through them broad streets of Washington from every side, and from the outside, and from the under side, powerful breezes, some cold, and some powerful hot ones—why, I felt that them small morals, more than as likely as not, would be upsot, and blowed down, and tore all to pieces.

I dast not let him go.

I knew he was willin' to buy votes. If willin' to buy,—the fearful thought hanted me,—mebby he would be willin' to sell; and, the more I looked round and observed, the more I felt that he would.

I felt that I dast not let him go.

No, no! I dast not let him go.

I was a musin' on this thought at the breakfast-table where I sot with Cicely, the boy not bein' up. I was settin' to the table as calm and cool as my toast (which was very cool), when the hired man brought me a letter; and I opened it right there, for I see by the post-mark it was from my Josiah. And I read as follers, in dismay and anguish, for I thought he was crazy:—

MI DEER WYF,—Kum hum, I hav got a crik in mi bak. Kum hum, mi deer Sam, kum hum, or I shal xpire. Mi gord has withurd, mi plan has faled, I am a undun Josire. Tung kant xpres mi yernin to see u. I kant tak no kumfort lookin at ure kam fisiognimy in ure fotogrof, it maks mi hart ake, u luk so swete, I fere u hav caut a bo. Kum hum, kum hum.

Ure luvin kompanien,

JOSIRE.

vers ov poetry.

Mi krik is bad, mi ink is pale: Mi luv for u shal never fale.

I dropt my knife and fork (I had got about through eatin', anyway), and hastened to my room. Cicely followed me, anxious-eyed, for I looked bad.

I dropped into a chair; and almost buryin' my face in my white linen handkerchief, I give vent to some moans of anguish, and a large number of sithes. And Cicely says,—

"What is the matter, aunt Samantha?"

And I says,—

"Your poor uncle! your poor uncle!"

"What is the matter with him?" says she.

And I says, "He is crazy as a loon. Crazy and got a creek, and I must start for home the first thing in the mornin'."



She says, "What do you mean?" and then I showed her the letter, and says as I did so,—

"He has had too much strain on his mind, for the size of it. His plans have been too deep. He has grappled with too many public questions. I ortn't to have left him alone with politics. But I left him for his good. But never, never, will I leave that beloved man agin, crazy, or no crazy, creek, or no creek.

"Oh!" says I, "will he never, never more be conscious of the presence of the partner of his youth and middle age? Will he never realize the deep, constant love that has lightened up our pathway?"

I wept some. But I thought that mebby he would know my cream biscuit and other vittles, I felt that he would recognise them.

But by this time Cicely had got the letter read through; and she said "he wuzn't crazy, it was the new-fashioned way of spelling;" she said she had seen it; and so I brightened up, and felt well: though, as I told her,—

"The creek would drive me home in the mornin'." Says I, "Duty and Love draws me, a willin' captive, to the side of my sufferin' Josiah. I shall go home on that creek." Says I, "Woman's first duty is to the man she loves." Says I, "I come here on that duty, and on that duty I shall go back, and the creek."

Cicely didn't feel as if she could go the next day, for there was to be a great meetin' of the friends of temperance, in a few days, there; and she wanted to attend to it; she wanted to help all she could; and then, there wus a person high in influence that she wanted to converse with on the subject. That good little thing was willin' to do any thing for the sake of the boy and the Right.

But I says to her, "I must go, for that word 'plan' worrys me; it worrys me far more than the creek: and I see my partner is all unstrung, and I must be there to try to string him up agin."

So it wus decided, that I should start in the morning, and Cicely come on in a few days: she was all boyed up with the thought that at this meetin' she could get some help and hope for the boy.

But, after Cicely went to bed, I sot there, and got to thinkin' about the new spellin', and felt that I approved of it. My mind is such that instantly I can weigh and decide.

I took some of these words, photograph, philosophy, etc., in one hand, and in the other I took filosify and fotograf; and as I hefted 'em, I see the latter was easier to carry. I see they would make our language easier to learn by children and foreigners; it would lop off a lot of silent letters of no earthly use; it would make far less labor in writin', in printin', in cost of type, and would be better every way.

Cicely said a good many was opposed to it on account of bein' attached to the old way. But I don't feel so, though I love the old things with a love that makes my heart ache sometimes when changes come. But my reason tells me that it hain't best to be attached to the old way if the new is better.

Now, I s'pose our old 4 fathers was attached to the idee of hitchin' an ox onto a wagon, and ridin' after it. And our old 4 mothers liked the idee of bein' perched up on a pillion behind the old 4 fathers. I s'pose they hated the idee of gettin' off of that pillion, and onhitchin' that ox. But they had to, they had to get down, and get up into phaetons and railway cars, and steamboats.

And I s'pose them old 4 people (likely creeters they wuz too) hated the idee of usin' matches; used to love to strike fire with a flint, and trample off a mild to a neighber's on January mornin's (and their mornin's was very early) to borrow some coals if they had lost their flint. I s'pose they had got attached to that flint, some of 'em, and hated to give it up, thought it would be lonesome. But they had to; and the flint didn't care, it knew matches was better. The calm, everlasting forces of Nature don't murmur or rebel when they are changed for newer, greater helps. No: it is only human bein's who complain, and have the heartache, because they are so sot.



But whether we murmur, or whether we are calm, whether we like it, or whether we don't, we have to move our tents. We are only campin' out, here; and we have to move our tents along, and let the new things push us out of the way. The old things now, are the new ones of the past; and what seems new to us, will soon be the old.

Why, how long does it seem, only a minute, since we was a buildin' moss houses down in the woods back of the old schoolhouse? Beautiful, fresh rooms, carpeted with the green moss, with bright young faces bendin' down over 'em. Where are they now? The dust of how many years—I don't want to think how many—has sifted down over them velvet-carpeted mansions, turned them into dust.

And the same dust has sprinkled down onto the happy heads of the fresh, bright-faced little group gathered there.



Charley, and Alice! oh! the dust is very deep on her head,—the dust that shall at last lay over all our heads. And Louis! Bright blue eyes there may be to-day, old Time, but none truer and tenderer than his. But long ago, oh! long ago, the dust covered you—the dust that is older than the pyramids, old, and yet new; for on some mysterious breeze it was wafted to you, it drifted down, and covered the blue eyes and the brown eyes, hid the bright faces forever.

And the years have sprinkled down into Charley's grave business head tiresome dust of dividends and railway shares. Kate and Janet, and Will and Helen and Harry—where are you all to-day, I wonder? But though I do not know that, I do know this,—that Time has not stood still with any of you. The years have moved you along, hustled you forward, as they swept by. You have had to move along, and let other bright faces stand in front of you.

You are all buildin' houses to-day that you think are more endurin'. But what you build to-day—hopes built upon worldly wealth, worldly fame, household affection, political success—ah I will they not pass away like the green moss houses down in the woods back of the old schoolhouse?

Yes, they, too, will pass away, so utterly that only their dust will remain. But God grant that we may all meet, happy children again, young with the new life of the immortals, on some happy playground of the heavenly life!

But poor little houses of moss and cedar boughs, you are broken down years and years ago, trampled down into dust, and the dust blown away by the rushin' years. Blown away, but gathered up agin by careful old Nature, nourishin' with it a newer, fresher growth.

I don't s'pose any of us really hanker after growin' old; sometimes I kinder hate to; and so I told Josiah one day.

And he says, "Why, we hain't the only ones that is growin' old. Why, everybody is as old as we be, that wuz born, at the same time; and lots of folks are older. Why, there is uncle Nate Gowdey, and aunt Seeny: they are as old agin, almost."



Says I, "That is a great comfort to meditate on, Josiah; but it don't take away all the sting of growin' old."

And he said "he didn't care a dumb about it, if he didn't have to work so hard." He said "he'd fairly love to grow old if he could do it easy, kinder set down to it."

(Now, that man don't work so very hard. But don't tell him I said so: he's real fractious on that subject, caused, I think, by rheumatiz, and mebby the Plan.)

I told Josiah that it wouldn't make growin' old any easier to set down, than it would to stand up.

I don't s'pose it makes much difference about our bodies, anyway; they are only wrappers for the soul: the real, person is within. But then, you know, you get sort o' attached to your own body, yourself, you know, if you have lived with yourself any length of time, as we have, a good many of us.

You may not be handsome, but you sort o' like your own looks, after all. Your eyes have a sort of a good look to you. Your hands are soft and white; and they are your own too, which makes 'em nearer to you; they have done sights for you, and you can't help likin' 'em. And your mouth looks sort o' agreable and natural to you.

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