Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Samantha at Coney Island - and a Thousand Other Islands
Author: Holley, Marietta, 1836-1926
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Samantha at Coney Island - and a Thousand Other Islands" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



SAMANTHA AT CONEY ISLAND



[Illustration: _Marietta Holley_ [_Samantha_]]



SAMANTHA AT CONEY ISLAND

AND

A THOUSAND OTHER ISLANDS

BY

JOSIAH ALLEN'S WIFE

(Marietta Holley)

THE CHRISTIAN HERALD

Bible House, New York



COPYRIGHT, 1911

THE CHRISTIAN HERALD

THE PLIMPTON PRESS NORWOOD MASS U.S.A.



CONTENTS


 CHAPTER ONE

 In Which the Coney Island Microbe Enters Our Quiet Home            1

 CHAPTER TWO

 We set sail for Thousand Island Park and have a real good time,
 but Josiah murmurs about Coney.                                   23

 CHAPTER THREE

 We seek Quiet and Happiness in their beautiful hants and mingle
 with the pleasure seekers of Alexandria Bay.                      39

 CHAPTER FOUR

 We enjoy the hospitalities of Whitfield's aunt's boardin'-house
 at the Park, and my pardner goes a-fishin'                        57

 CHAPTER FIVE

 Josiah's imagination about his fishin' exploits carries him to a
 pint where I have to rebuke him, which makes him dretful huffy    73

 CHAPTER SIX

 In which I draw the matrimonial line round my pardner and also
 keep my eye on Mr. Pomper                                         87

 CHAPTER SEVEN

 In which Josiah proposes to dance and Mr. Pomper makes an
 advance                                                          101

 CHAPTER EIGHT

 In which Mr. Pomper declares his intenshuns an' gives his
 views on matrimony                                               123

 CHAPTER NINE

 In which Mr. Pomper makes a offer of marriage and Faith has
 a wonderful experience                                           147

 CHAPTER TEN

 We Hear a Great Temperance Sermon, but Josiah Still Hankers
 for Coney Island                                                 163

 CHAPTER ELEVEN

 In Which We Return Home, and I Perswaide Josiah to Build a
 Cottage for Tirzah Ann                                           183

 CHAPTER TWELVE

 In Which Josiah Still Works at His Plan for Tirzah Ann's
 Cottage, and Decides to Send His Lumber C. O. W.                 201

 CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 In Which Josiah and Serenus Depart Sarahuptishusly for
 Coney Island and I Start in Pursuit                              211

 CHAPTER FOURTEEN

 The Curious Sights I Seen An' the Hair-Raisin' Episodes I
 Underwent in My Agonizin' Search for My Pardner                  221

 CHAPTER FIFTEEN

 I Visit the Moon, the Witchin' Waves, Open Air Circus,
 Advise the Monkeys, Make the Male Statute Laugh, but
 Do Not Find Josiah                                               233

 CHAPTER SIXTEEN

 The Wonderful and Mysterious Sights I Saw in Steeple Chase
 Park, and My Search There for My Pardner                         249

 CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

 In Which I Continue My Search for Josiah Through Dreamland,
 Huntin' for Him in Vain, and Return to Bildad's at Night,
 Weary and Despairin'                                             273

 CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

 Josiah Found at Last! the Awful Fire at Dreamland and the
 Terrible Sights I Saw There                                      293

 CHAPTER NINETEEN

 We Return to Jonesville and Josiah Builds Tirzah Ann's
 Cottage With Strange Inventions and Additions                    309

 CHAPTER TWENTY

 Faith Comes to Visit Us. We Attend the Camp Meetin' at
 Piller Pint, and Faith Meets the Lover of Her Youth              327



ILLUSTRATIONS

                                                                 PAGE

 _Marietta Holley_ [_Samantha_]                        _Frontispiece_

 "_Serenus Gowdey tramped up and down our
 kitchen floor swingin' his arms and describin'
 the wonders of Coney Island._"                                     8

 "_The old deacon couldn't stand such talk. He
 turned him outdoors, slammed the door in his
 face, and forbid Faith to speak to him
 again._"                                                          14

 "_I liked Castle Rest. It seemed a monument
 riz up to faithful, patient mothers by the hand
 of filial gratitude and love._"                                   49

 "_I tried to stop him. I didn't want him to
 demean himself before the oarsmen tryin' to find
 boats that hadn't been hearn on in hundreds of
 years._"                                                          68

 "_'I won't wear a veil,' sez he stoutly. But
 the next time a gale come from the sou'west I
 laid the brim back and tied the veil in a big
 bow knot under his chin._"                                        83

 _"'What does ail you, Samantha, lockin' arms
 with me all the time--it will make talk! he
 whispered in a mad, impatient whisper, but I
 would hang on as long as Mr. Pomper wuz
 around."_                                                         99

 _"As they come nigh me I riz up almost wildly
 and ketched holt of my pardner and sez I:
 'Desist! Josiah Allen, stop to once!' The aged
 female looked at me in surprise."_                               132

 "_'No,' sez Mr. Pomper, 'I want it done as
 speedily as possible, fer my late lamented left
 me thirteen children, two pairs of triplets, two
 ditto of twins, and three singles.'_"                            144

 "_Mr. Pomper, thinkin' he would see better,
 got up on the bench, and jest as he shouted out
 'How firm a foundation,' the bench broke and
 down he come._"                                                  169

 "_And then he would call in Uncle Nate Peedick
 and they would bend their two gray bald heads
 and talk about specifications and elevations
 till my brain seemed most as soft as
 theirn._"                                                        196

 "_'Serenus and Josiah are havin' a gay time at
 Coney Island. I've jest had a card from
 Serenus,' sez Miss Gowdey. You could have
 knocked me down with a pin feather._"                            215

 "_I stood before what seemed to be a great
 city. Endless white towers riz up as if callin'
 attention to 'em._"                                              227

 "_On we went under the waterfall, up, up,
 down, down, and finally shot out jest where we
 got in._"                                                        231

 THE WITCHING WAVES "_Folks get into
 little automobiles and steer 'em
 themselves._"                                                    236

 "_A boat full of men and women set out from
 the highest peak, shot down the declivity like
 lightnin' and dashed 'way out on the other side
 of the bridge._"                                                 239

 "_Rows of high-headed mettlesome hosses._"                       247

 "_I'm tellin' the livin' truth, as she towered
 up in front on me, her breast opened and a man's
 face looked out on me._"                                         254

 "_As I went down with lightnin' speed I had'nt
 time to think much._"                                            259

 "_Pretty soon it begun to move and one by one
 they wuz throwed off and went down I know not
 where._"                                                         261

 _"As I went into Dreamland it seemed as if all
 the folks in the city was there."_                               267

 _"We got in a small boat and wuz carried round
 and round till we dived into a dark tunnel."_                    277

 _"I went forward to see the Head Hunters. I
 sez to 'em 'I've hearn of your doin's and I want
 to advise you for your good_.'"                                  282

 _"It wuz a sight to see, acres and acres of
 sand dotted with men, wimmen, and children."_                    287

 "_I rushed forwards and cried to the lordly
 beast above, jest ready to spring: 'Don't harm
 Josiah! Devour me instead._'"                                    304

 "_I myself never sot foot on the Bowery; I
 wuzn't goin' to nasty up my mind with it, though
 I hearn there wuz some good things to be seen
 there._"                                                         314

 "_'The suller!' He stood agast, perfectly
 dumb-foundered but wuzn't goin' to give in he
 had made a mistake. It wuz too mortifying to his
 pride._"                                                         319

 "_I don't know how long they stood there, his
 eyes searchin' the dear face and findin' a
 sacred meanin' in it._"                                          348



CHAPTER ONE

IN WHICH THE CONEY ISLAND MICROBE ENTERS OUR QUIET HOME



SAMANTHA AT CONEY ISLAND AND A THOUSAND OTHER ISLANDS

CHAPTER ONE

IN WHICH THE CONEY ISLAND MICROBE ENTERS OUR QUIET HOME


When Serenus Gowdey got back last fall from Brooklyn, where his twin
brother, Sylvester, lives, he couldn't talk about anything but Coney
Island. He slighted religion, stopped runnin' down relations, politics
wuz left in the lurch, and cows, hens, and crops, wuz to him as if
they wuzn't. He acted crazy as a loon about that Island.

Why, Sylvester'ses wife told Miss Dagget and she told the Editor of
the Augur's wife, and she told Ben Lowry's widder, and she told the
Editor of the Gimlet's mother-in-law, and she told me. It come
straight, that Serenus only stayed there nights and to a early
breakfast, but spent his hull durin' time to Coney Island, and he a
twin too. She said Sylvester felt so hurt she wuz afraid it would
make a lastin' hardness. And it made me enough trouble too, yes
indeed! for he would come and pour out his praises of that frisky,
frivolous spot into Josiah's too willin' ears, till he got him as wild
as he wuz about it.

Why, evenin's after he'd been there recountin' its attractions till
bed-time, Josiah would be so wrought up he'd ride night mairs most all
night. He'd spring up in bed cryin' out, "All aboard for Coney
Island!" or, "There is the Immoral Railway! See the divin' girls, and
the Awful Tower. Get a hot dog; look at the alligators, etc., etc." I
gin him catnip to soothe his nerve, but that didn't git the pizen out
of his system; no, acres of catnip couldn't.

Oh, how dead sick I'd git of their talk, Coney Island! Luna Park! Well
named, I'd say to myself, it is enough to make anybody luny to hear so
much about it. Steeple Chase! chasin' steeples, folly and madness.
Dreamland! night mairs, most probable. Why, from Serenus' talk that I
hearn onwillingly about toboggan slides, merry-go-rounds, swings,
immoral railways, skatin' rinks, diving girls, loops de loops, and
bumps de bumps, trips to the moon and trashy shows of all kinds I got
the idee there wuzn't nothin' there God had made, only the Ocean and
the little incubator babies, though them two shows wuzn't what you
might call similar and the same size. Why, I myself, with my powerful
mind, would git so cumfuddled hearin' his wild and glarin'
descriptions, that my brain would seem to turn over under my foretop,
and I didn't wonder at Josiah's bein' led away by it, much as I
lamented it, for he soon declared that go there he would.

In vain I reminded him that he wuz a deacon and a grand-father. He
said he didn't care how many deacons he wuz, or how many
grand-fathers; he wuz goin' to see that beautiful and entrancin' place
with his own eyes. I tried to quell him down, but couldn't quell him
worth a cent, with Serenus firin' him up on the other side.

One Sunday, Elder Minkley preached an eloquent sermon describing the
glories of the New Jerusalem, and Josiah said goin' home that from
Serenus' tell, the elder had gin a crackin' good description of Coney
Island.

I groaned aloud. And he sez, "You may groan and sithe all you're a
minter; I shall see that magnificent place before I die."

"Well," sez I coldly, "I don't want to talk about it Sunday. If
you've got to talk about shows and Pleasure Huntin', do it week days,
and don't pollute this sacred day with it."

"Pollute nothing!" sez he, and we didn't speak for over two milds. But
another weariness wuz ahead on me, and another strain on my overworked
ear pans. Jest about this time, Whitfield Minkley, our Tirzah Ann's
husband, got jest as much carried away and enthused over some other
Islands, though he had more to show for his het up state of mind. One
thousand and seventy wuz the number of islands he fell voylently in
love with and tried to make us the same. He had been to Canada on
bizness and went through them islands, and wuz overcome by their
extreme beauty. I'd heard that Whitfield's islands wuz as beautiful as
anything this side of the Heavenly gardens. Still, with Serenus on one
side praisin' up Coney, and Whitfield on the other praisin' up his
islands, I got so dead tired of 'em that I wished there wuzn't a
single island on the hull face of the earth. Yes, extreme weariness
had got me so low down as that.

One evenin', Serenus had been there and talked three hours stiddy,
describin' the charms and attractions of his island. The rush and
roar of the mechanical amusements, so wonderful they made scientific
men wonder. The educated animals that showed how fur animals could be
made to reason and understand. The constant hustle and bustle of the
immense crowds, ever comin', ever goin', ever movin', never stoppin'.
He stood up some of the time describin' the wonders and splendors
there, and tramped up and down our kitchen floor, swingin' his arms
and actin', till, when he left at late bed-time, Josiah wuz pale with
longin', and when I got up to lock the door and let out the cat, my
head seemed to go round and round, and I had to hang onto the door nob
to stiddy myself.

And the very next forenoon Whitfield and Tirzah Ann and little Delight
come to spend the day. Her name is Anna Tirzah, but I called her
Heart's Delight, she wuz so sweet and pretty, and we've shortened it
into Delight. I wuz glad to see 'em and done well by 'em in cookin'. I
had a excelent dinner started--roast fowl and vegetables and orange
puddin', etc.--but Whitfield, jest as soon as he sot down, begun to
descant on the beauty of his islands. I groaned and sithed out in the
buttery. "Islands agin! I had one island last night till bed-time, and
now I've got one thousand and seventy ahead on me."

[Illustration: "_Serenus Gowdey tramped up and down our kitchen floor
swingin' his arms and describin' the wonders of Coney
Island._" (_See page 7_)]

He begun jest as I put my potatoes on to bile, I wuz goin' to smash
'em with plenty of cream and butter; I hearn him till dinner wuz on
the table, and I wuz turnin' out the rich, fragrant coffee and addin'
the cream to it, and his praise on 'em wuz still flowin' in a stiddy
stream, and then I asked him, in one of his short pauses for breath,
how Grout Nickelson's rumatiz wuz.

He answered polite but brief, and resoomed the subject nearest and
dearest. I then, with dizzy foretop and achin' ear pans, tried to turn
his mind onto politics and religion, no avail. I tried cotton cloth,
carbide, lamb's wool blankets, Panama Canal, literatoor, X rays, hens'
eggs, Standard Oil, the school mom, reciprocity, and the tariff; not a
mite of change, all his idees swoshin' up against them islands, and
tryin' to float off our minds there with hisen. I thought of what I'd
hearn Thomas J. read about Tennyson's character, who "didn't want to
die a listener," and I sez in a firm voice, "I've had a letter from
Cousin Faithful Smith. She's comin' here next spring to make a
visit."

Whitfield said he should love to see Cousin Faith, but whilst she wuz
here, we all ort to go to the Thousand Islands.

Sez Josiah firmly, "We ort to take her to Coney Island," and he went
on rehearsin' Serenuses praises, and the education and the bliss one
could git there. He rid his hobby nobly, but Whitfield, bein' young
and spry, could ride his hobby faster and furder, till finally Josiah
got discouraged, and sot still a spell, and then scratched his head,
and went out to the barn. And Whitfield seated himself with ease on
his hobby, which pranced about us till, well as I love the children, I
felt relieved to see 'em go, for my head felt as if the river wuz
rushin' through it. And after they left and we driv over to the post
office, it seemed as if the democrat wuz a boat and the dusty road a
broad, liquid stream, down which we wuz glidin' and the neighin' of
the old mair (we had to leave her colt to home) wuz the snort of a
steamer. My dreams that night wuz about the Saint Lawrence, kinder
swoshy and floatin' round.

Well, the cold winter passed away, as winters will, if you have
patience to wait (or if you don't either, to be exact and truthful).
The shiverin' earth begun to git a little warmer, kinder shook
herself and partly throwed off the white fur robe she'd wore all
huddled round herself so long, and as the sun looked down closter and
more smilin' it throwed it clear off and begun to put on its new green
spring suit. Them same smiles, only more warm and persuadin' like,
coaxed the sweet sap up into the bare maple tops in Josiah's sugar
bush and the surroundin' world, till them same sunny smiles wuz packed
away in depths of sugar loaves and golden syrup in our store room.
Wild-flowers peeped out in sheltered places; pussy willows bent down
and bowed low as they see their pretty faces in the onchained brook;
birds sung amongst the pale green shadders of openin' leaves; the west
wind jined in the happy chorus. And lo! on lookin' out of our winder
before we knowed it, as it were, we see Spring had come!

And with the spring come my expected visitor, Faithful Smith. She is
my own cousin on my own side, called by some a old maid. But she
hain't so very old, and she's real good-lookin'--better than when she
wuz a girl, I think, for life has been cuttin' pure and sweet meanin's
into her face, some as they carve beauty into a cameo. She's kinder
pale and her sweet soul seems to look right out at you from her soft
gray eyes, and the lay of her hull face is such that you would think,
if the fire of happiness could be built up under it (in her soul), it
would light up into loveliness.

She wuz disappinted some years ago (or I d'no what you would call it)
when she sent the man away herself. But she had a Bo when she wuz a
girl by the name of Richard West. Dick West wuz the fullest of fun you
ever see, though generous and good hearted; but he boasted on not
believin' anything, and Faithful's father, bein' a church member of
the closest kind, and she brung up as you may say, right inside the
tabernacle, with her Pa's phylakracy hangin' on the very horns of the
altar, you may know what opposition Richard got from her Pa and her
own conscience. Her conscience, as so many good girl's consciences
are, wuz a perfect tyrant, and drove her round--that, and her Pa. He
wanted to be a good man, but wuz bigoted and couldn't see no higher
than the top of the steeple, and didn't want to. And take these facts,
with her deep true love for Richard, you may know she got tossted
about more'n considerable.

Richard would make fun right in meetin'--make fun of their religious
observances--and finally, though he wuz good natured, and did all his
pranks through light-hearted mischief and not malice, yet at last he
did git mad at the old deacon, who wuz comin' it dretful strong on him
with his doctrines and exhortin' him, tellin' him he wuz a lost soul
and had been from before his birth. Then Richard sassed him right back
and told him he didn't believe in _his_ idee of the Deity.

The old deacon couldn't stand such talk. He turned him outdoors,
slammed the door in his face, and forbid Faith to speak to him again.
She obeyed her Pa and her own conscience; but it seemed to take all
the nip out of her life. You see, she loved this young man; and when
anyone like Faith loves it hain't for a week or a summer, but for
life.

He writ to her burnin' words of love and passion, for he loved her too
in the old-fashioned way Adam did Eve--no other woman round, you know.
And the words he writ wuz, I spoze, enough to melt a slate stun, let
alone a heart, tender and true. She never writ a word back, and at
last she wouldn't read his letters and sent 'em back onopened. That
madded him and he went on from bad to worse, swung right out into
wickedness. He seemed to git harder and harder, and finally seein' he
could make no more impression on Faith than he could on white clear
crystal, he went off west, as fur as Michigan at first, so I hearn,
and so on, I don't know where to.

[Illustration: "_The old deacon couldn't stand such talk. He turned him
outdoors, slammed the door in his face, and forbid Faith
to speak to him again._" (_See page 13_)]

Well, Faith lived on in the old home, very calm and sweet actin', with
a shadder on her pretty face, worryin' dretful about her lover, so it
wuz spozed. But at last it seemed to wear off and a clear white light
took its place on her gentle forward, as if her trouble had bleached
off the earthly in her nature so her white soul could show through
plain. Mebby she'd got willin' to trust even _his_ future with the
Lord.

Dretful good to children and sick folks and them that wuz in trouble,
Faith wuz. Good to her Pa, who wuz very disagreable in his last days,
findin' fault with his porridge and with sinners, and most of them
round him. But she took care on him patient, rubbed his back and
soaked his feet, and read the Sams to him, and reconciled him all she
could, and finally he went out into the Great Onknown to find out his
own mistakes if he had made any, and left Faith alone.

The house wuz a big square one with a large front yard with some
Pollard willers standin' in a row in front on't, through which the
wind come in melancholy sithes into the great front chamber at night
where Faith slept, or ruther lay. And the moon fallin' through the
willers made mournful reflections on the clean-painted floor, and I
spoze Faith looked at 'em and read her past in the white cold rays and
her future too.

She hired a man and his wife to live in part of the house, and she
herself lived on there, a life as cold and colorless as a nun's. But
there wuz them that said that she loved that young West to-day jest as
well as she did the day they parted, bein' one of the constant naters
that can't forgit; that she kep' his birthdays every year, but
sarahuptishously, and on the anniversary of the day she parted with
him, nobody ever see her from mornin' till night.

The tall Pollard willers wuz the only ones that could look down into
her chamber, and see how she looked, or what she wuz doin'. And they
never told, only jest murmured and sithed, and kinder took on about it
in their own way. But the next day, Faith always looked paler and
sweeter than ever, they said.

Well, I wuz glad enough to see Faith. I think a sight on her and she
of me, and we had a real good time. Josiah sez to me the day after
she come, "She is the flower of your family!"

And I told him I didn't know as I should put it in jest that way, and
he might jest as well be mejum, sez I, "You're quite apt to demean the
relation on my side, and if you take it into your head to praise one
of the females, you no need to go _too_ high."

"Well," he repeated, "she is the flower of the Smith race. Of course,"
sez he, glancin' at my liniment and then off towards the buttery full
of good vittles, "I always except _you_, Samantha, who I consider the
fairest flower that ever blowed out on the family tree of Smith."

Josiah is a man of excelent judgment. But to resoom backward, I had a
dretful good visit with Faith and enjoyed her bein' with us the best
that ever wuz. Instead of makin' work she helped, though I told her
not to. She would wipe and I would wash, and we would git through the
dishes in no time. She hunted round in my work basket and found some
nightcaps I'd begun and would finish 'em, put more work on 'em than I
should, for I slight my every day sheep's-head nightcaps. But she
trimmed 'em and cat-stitched 'em, till they wuz beautiful to look
upon. She wuz always very sweet and gentle in her ways. As wuz said
of her once, she entered a room so quietly and gracefully, she made
all the other wimmen there feel as if they'd come in on horse-back.
Now that I hadn't seen her for some time, it seemed as if I hadn't
remembered how lovely and interestin' she wuz.

We had a good visit talkin' about the world's work, and reciprocity,
and Woman's suffrage--which we both believed in--and hens, both
settin' and layin'. And we talked about the relation on our two sides.
Of course, some of the wimmen hadn't done as we thought they ort to;
but we didn't run 'em, only wuz sorry they wuz so different.

There wuz Aunt Nancy John and Aunt Nancy Jim, widders of the two old
Smith twins. I told Faith I wuz sorry they wuzn't more like her mother
and mine, our mothers wuz so much better dispositioned, and fur better
lookin', and didn't try to color their hair and act younger than they
wuz; and Uncle Preserved's boy, a lawyer, I told Faith it wuz a pity
he wuzn't more like our Thomas Jefferson, though it wuzn't to be
expected that there _could_ be two boys amongst the relations so
nearly perfect as Thomas Jefferson wuz; but I didn't act hauty, only
wuz sorry he hadn't turned out so well.

And Uncle Lemuel's two girls, I said I wouldn't want it told out of
the family, but they wuz extravagant and slack, and their houses
didn't look much like Tirzah Ann's and Maggie's house. But we hadn't
ort to expect many such housekeepers as our children wuz. And we
talked about the Thousand Islands and she promised to go out with
Josiah and me the next summer if nothin' happened. And Josiah then and
there, tried to make us promise to go to Coney Island on our way
there. "On our way," sez I, "it would be five hundred milds out of our
way!"

"And well worth it!" sez he, "to see what Serenus see, and hear what
Serenus hearn. Why I git so carried away jest hearin' about that
magnificent spot that I have to fairly hang onto myself to keep from
startin' there to once bareheaded."

"I know it, Josiah; you've acted luny about it. And if jest hearin'
about it harrers your nerve so, what would seein' it do?"

"My nerve ain't harrered," he sez.

Sez I, "Can you deny I have had to give you quarts of catnip after you
have had a seancy with Serenus about that frivolous spot, full of
hilarity and temptation?"

"Because you have drownded out my insides with catnip, it hain't no
sign I needed it. And I tell you, Samantha Allen, you may demean that
grand glorious place all you're a minter; I shall see it ere long. It
is the shinin' gole I have rared up in front of me and I'm bound to
set on it."

Sez I, "If you hain't got any nobler gole than that ahead on you I
pity you from the bottom of my heart." And to kinder skair him I sez
agin, "Do you, a Christian deacon, want to act frisky and go
pleasure-huntin' at your age?"

"Why," sez he, "Serenus sez it is the most entrancin'ly beautiful and
fascinatin' spot on earth. He sez, and can prove, it is the biggest
playground in the hull world, to say nothin' of what you can learn
there, and folks come from foreign countries jest to see it. Their
first question when they land is, 'Where is Coney Island? Lead me to
it!'"

"Oh shaw!" sez I.

"Well, it is so, and why should such droves of folks go there if it
hain't worth it? Serenus sez and can prove, that a million folks go
there in one day sometimes, and hundreds of thousands most every
day."

Sez I solemnly, "Do you remember the him, 'Broad is the road that
leads,' you know where. 'And thousands walk together there.' Do you
want to walk with 'em, Josiah?"

"Yes, I do, and lay out to."

Oh how deep the pizen had gone into his solar system! I see scarin'
didn't do no good, so I tried tender talk to wean him from the idee. I
told him I thought too much on him to resk him there in such crowds.
He wuz too small boneded and his head too weak to grapple with the
lures and temptations that would surround him, and I'd never give my
consent to his goin,' much less lead him into temptation.

"Lead your granny!" sez he in a rough axent. And that wuz all the good
my lovin' talk did.

Faith said she didn't care about goin'. But we took her to visit the
children, though the day I took her to Whitfield's he had of course,
jest like Josiah, to ride that hobby of hisen which raced and cavorted
round us, till before night he got us both most as wild as he wuz
about the Islands. But she had to go from our house to Uncle Ornaldo
Smithses, and had promised to visit friends out to Ohio durin' the
summer. I hated to have her go.



CHAPTER TWO

WE SET SAIL FOR THOUSAND ISLAND PARK AND HAVE A REAL GOOD TIME, BUT
JOSIAH MURMURS ABOUT CONEY.



CHAPTER TWO

WE SET SAIL FOR THOUSAND ISLAND PARK AND HAVE A REAL GOOD TIME, BUT
JOSIAH MURMURS ABOUT CONEY.


Soon after, Whitfield wuz obleeged to go to Canada agin on that
bizness and go through them Thousand Islands, and said he felt like
jumpin' off the boat, swimmin' ashore and buyin' the hull on 'em, they
wuz so entrancin'ly lovely. But by holdin' onto his principles and
patience (of course he'd got quite a lot of patience, he'd been
married a number of years) he managed to git through without jumpin'
off the boat and tacklin' the job of buyin' 'em, but said to himself,
"If my life is spared to finish up that bizness I'll come back and buy
ten or a dozen."

So sure enough on his way back he stopped off at Alexandria Bay and
tackled a real estate agent to see what he would ask for a few islands
close to the beautiful Bay. He had a idee, I spoze, of locatin' the
relation on his side and hern round on the different Islands, mebby
an island apiece. But to his surprise and horrow he found that the
price for the smallest one wuz appallin'. But he vowed that if it took
every cent of money he had (and he's quite well off) he would own a
piece of one big enough for a house.

So, after searchin' both by water and by land, he found a buildin'
spot he felt able to buy. It wuz on one end of an island that wuz
called Shadow Island, mebby because the shadder of the tall trees upon
it wuz mirrored so plain in the water, makin' it look as if there wuz
another and fairer isle below.

There wuz a big empty house standin' on one end of the Island, the
owner bein' in Europe and not wantin' to rent it. There wuz a portion
of it smooth and grassy, though the grass wuz kinder thin in places,
the rocks come up so clost to the surface. But as I told Whitfield,
stun is cleaner than dirt, and more healthy, unless you have 'em both
throwed at you, in that case dirt is more healthy. He said the spot
wuz dry and there wuz some hemlock and pine trees standin' on one end
on't, and under 'em wuz a carpet of the rich brown leaves and pine
needles that Whitfield thought would be beautiful for little Delight
to play in.

And on the spot he'd picked out for a house the soil wuz deep enough
for a good suller. Tirzah Ann always did love sullers; she kinder took
to 'em. She has to go down suller most the first thing when she comes
home visitin'. She never seems to want anything, only to sort o' look
round. Some say her ma wuz so; but there is worse things to take to
than sullers, and I wuz glad enough there wuz a place there where
Tirzah Ann could have one.

Well, I declare I fell in love with the place myself. And he beset us
to go out and see it, and early in the summer we sot sail, the hull on
us, for the Thousand Island Park, a good noble campin' ground, though
middlin' hot in some spots. I've been asked what made it so much
hotter there round the Tabernacle than it was up to Summer Land, where
the Universalists wuz encamped. And I don't spoze it is because they
believe in hotter places, but it kinder sets folks to thinkin'. Both
places are pleasant and cool enough in moderate weather.

I hadn't no idee that so beautiful a spot wuz so nigh us. For as near
as we've lived to 'em, Josiah and I never laid eyes on them islands
before. But I've hearn of folks that lived within' hearin' of Niagara
Falls that never see that grand and stupendous wonder of the world;
they didn't see it just because they _could_. Queer, hain't it? But it
is a law of nater, and can't be changed.

So one warm lovely mornin' we sot out. We went by way of Cape Vincent
which we found afterwards wuzn't the nearest way, but we didn't care,
for it gin us a bigger and longer view of the noble St. Lawrence. Cape
Vincent is a good-lookin' place, though like Josiah and myself, it
looks as if it had been more lively and frisky in its younger days.
Pretty soon the big boat hove in sight. We embarked and got good
seats, Whitfield full of bliss to think he wuz started for his
islands.

And sure enough, tongue can never tell the beauty and grandeur we
floated by that afternoon; nor pen can't, no, a quill pen made out of
a eagle's wing couldn't soar high enough. And my emotions, as I took
in that seen, would been a perfect sight if anybody could got holt of
'em, as I rode along on that mighty river that is more like a ocean
than a river, holdin' the water that flows from the five great inland
seas of North America, the only absolutely tide-less river in the
world. It is so immense in size that the spring freshets that disturbs
other big rivers has no effect on its mighty depths, though once in a
while, every three years, I think it is, the river draws in her old
breath in an enormous sithe two or three feet deep, and stays so for
some time. I d'no what makes it nor nobody duz. But truly there is
enough in this old world to sithe about, as deep sithes as a mortal or
a river can heave.

But to resoom forwards. The beautiful river bore us onwards, the green
shores receedin' on each side till pretty soon it got to be not much
shore but seemin'ly all river, all freshness and freedom and blue
sparklin' water, and blue sky above. Nater wuz foldin' us in her
faithful arms and sweepin' us away from the too civilized world into
the freshness and onstudied beauty of her own hants.

I sot there perfectly entranced, and nothin' occurred to break my rapt
musin's save my pardner's request for a nut cake and a biled egg, and
a longin' murmer about Coney Island and a wish that he wuz started for
there. But that didn't seem to quell my emotions down. I handed the
food to him with a hand that seemed some distance off from my real
self.

The first big island we went by wuz called Carleton. Standin' on it,
loomin' up tall and solemn and mysterious, wuz some high stun towers.
They stood up there as if tellin' us how little we knew. They looked
like great exclamation points set there to express the futility of our
boasted knowledge.

Who built them chimblys? Who started the fires under 'em? Who drinked
the tea that wuz steeped there? What kind of tea wuz it? Did the water
bile? How did them tea drinkers feel and look and act while them
chimblys carried off the smoke of their fire? What wuz their highest
aspirations and idees? What wuz their deepest joy and keenest pain?
What goles did they see ahead on 'em, and did they ever set down on
them goles? I can't tell nor Josiah can't. A hundred years ago one
moulderin' old head-stun leaned over the grave of one of that company.
Wuz it a glad or a sad heart that rested there in that ancient grave?
Well, the sadness or the joy is jest as much lost and forgot as the
smoke that wafted up towards the sky on the June and December mornin's
of 1600 odd.

As I thought of all these things, them lofty towers riz up like
gigantick skeleton fingers outstretched mockin'ly. They seemed to be
sayin' to me and Josiah and the world at large, "You may boast of
your inventions, your marvels of this age, your civilization, your
glory, your pryin' into dark continents and unexplored regions of land
and science. But what do you know anyway? Of what consequence are you?
How soon your life and your memory will be utterly wiped out and
forgotten. How soon the careless sun will forget the shadow you cast
on the earth's bosom. How soon the green grass of the forgettin' earth
will grow fresh and untrodden and cover up the traces of your eager
footsteps, no matter how deep you thought you had made the track you
walked in. How soon it is all wiped away as if it had never been. And
Mom Nater, instead of weepin' over your loss, goes on wreathin' new
flowers for new hands to gather, and mebby forgits to drop even a bud
on the dusty mound where you lay sleepin'--the sleep of long
forgetfulness.

"Of what account are you anyway? Poor blind voyagers, floatin' by me
jest as so many generations have gone past--canoe and white sails
floatin' along, floatin' along, comin' in view of me in the fur blue
hazy distance, comin' into the broad light before me and glidin' off
and disappearin' in the shadows. Forever and ever, new ones comin,'
comin', goin', goin', year after year, generation after generation.
And here we have stood calm, settled down, pintin' up into the heavens
where our history is gathered up, where the ones that made our history
are gathered like the drops of spray from the river that has washed on
the shores at our feet, and then evaporated up agin into the blue
sky."

And as I lost sight of them stun towers in the distance, they seemed
to say, "Float on, poor voyagers; float along with your pitiful little
crumbs of knowledge and wisdom carried so proudly. How soon the
shadows will drift apart to take you into 'em and then close up and
hold you there forever. And out of the shinin' west new faces will
come growin' plainer and plainer as the boat draws near; they will
shine out full and clear in front of me and then glide away into the
mist--I shall lose sight of 'em jest as I do of you to-day. Comin'!
comin'! goin'! goin'! They will look at me and wonder jest as you do
to-day, and I will say to 'em jest as I do to you, 'Hail and
farewell!'"

Oh what emotions I did have! And I hadn't more'n got to this pint in
my meditatin', when I hearn a voice on the off side on me (Josiah wuz
on the nigh side).

The voice said, "Oh how I wish I could be put back there jest a
minute and see what them tall towers see when they wuz built!"

I felt that here wuz a congenial soul and I felt friendly to him as
one would hail a familiar sail when they wuz floatin' on foreign
waters. The voice went on:

"Oh how I wish I could be a fly, and fly back there for a hour."

Instinctively I looked round. The speaker weighed three hundred pounds
if he did an ounce, and the idee of his bein' turned into a fly seemed
to bring down my soarin' emotions more than considerable. Truly, we
ort to be careful how we handle metafors. If he'd said he wanted to be
changed into a elephant or a camel, or even a horse, it wouldn't have
seemed so curious, but a fly!!! Dear me!

Clayton is a good-lookin' drowsy sort of a place, and kinder mixed up
lookin' from the aft forecastle, where I stood; but at last the little
foot bridge that connected us with the shore wuz took up, the old boat
gin a loud yell to skair the children and young folks back from the
water's edge, and the boat riders from fallin' off the boat, and we
sot out agin and floated along.

And now pretty soon the islands grew closter and closter together,
and we wouldn't no more than go by one lovely one, than another more
perfect lookin' hove in sight, and then another and another, each one
seemin'ly more beautiful than the last.

Some times we would go clost up to the shore, by islands whose green
forests swep' clear down to the water's edge, makin' the water look
green and cool and shady, and the water would narrow itself down
between two houses seemin'ly jest to be accomodatin', and run along
between 'em like a little rivulet with water lilies and buttercups
dippin' down into it on each side and boys wadin' acrost. Jest think
on't, that big noble-sized river, dwindlin' itself down jest to
obleege somebody.

And sometimes big houses would loom up jest above the water's edge,
their daintily shaded winders lookin' down into the green waves and
reflected there, anon a stately mansion would set back a little with
towers and pinnacles risin' above the green trees, and cool shady
walks windin' by summer houses and bright posy beds, and gayly dressed
folks walkin' along the beautiful paths, and mebby a pretty girl
settin' in a boat, and a hull fleet of boats filled with gay pleasure
seekers would glide along like gayly plumed sea birds, and fur in the
distance and on every side white sails would sail on like bigger birds
of white plumage, all set out for the Isle of Happiness.

I pinted out the metafor to Josiah.

"Isle of Happiness?" he sez, sort o' dreamy like. "That's right.
Serenus sez its everywhere, all over the place."

"What place?" sez I, suspicion darkenin' my foretop.

"Why, Coney Island," sez he, "that's the only Isle of Happiness I ever
hearn tell on."

I gin him a look. "Would you compare Coney Island with the beautiful
Isle of Happiness that the poets sing on?" I sez, severe like.

"Where is it?" sez he.

"Why," sez I, "It ain't ennywheres. Its a metafor of the brain."

"Is it ketchin'?" sez he. "Seems to me I've hearn tell of that disease
before!" And then before I could gin him an indignant response, he
stuck his fingers in his ears and sot there grinnin' like a jimpanzee
all the time I wuz speakin' out my mind. But to resoom.

Anon a bridge would rise up its fairy arch and connect two islands
together, each one holdin' a mansion that looked like a palace, and
the bright awnin's of the winders, the pillars and pinnacles, and gay
colors, reflected in the water makin' fairy palaces below as well as
above, and made the hull seen as we journeyed on one of enchantment,
that would made the grand Vizier of Bagdad turn green with envy. And
every palace, mansion, and cottage had its pretty boat-house, with the
water layin' there smooth and invitin' waitin' for the boats to be
lanched on its bosom, actin' for all the world like a first class
family stream, warranted to carry safe and not kick and act in the
harness. And then mebby the very next minute it would swell itself out
agin, and be twenty or thirty milds acrost, rushin', hurryin', and
dashin' itself along, hastenin' to the sea.

Actin' as if it had sunthin' dretful pressin' and important to tell
it, and mebby it had. Who knows the language of the liquid waves as
they whisper to each other on sunny beaches and at the meetin' of
placid waters, makin' love to each other like as not--one tellin' the
other of the sweet cow-slip and ferny medders it had to leave at the
loud call of its love, the River. The River murmuring back deep words
of worship and gratitude at the feet of its newly arrived love.

And then mebby the comin' rivulet complains, moanin' kinder low and
sorrowful, as it swashes up on sharp stuny beaches, for what it left
behind. Meadows and orchards full of May's rosy blossoms, low grassy
shores fringed with flowers and fresh, shinin' grasses. And white,
dimpled baby feet mebby that waded out in its cool shallows. Pretty
faces that bent over its sheltered pools, as in a lookin' glass,
wavin' locks that scattered gold light down into the water, bright
eyes that shone like stars above it. I shouldn't wonder a mite if it
missed 'em and tried to say so in its gentle, pensive swish, swash,
swish.

And then mebby the River resented it and kinder roared at it; mebby
that is what it is sayin' in its louder and more voylent tones,
upbraidin' it for lookin' back to its more single and lonesome career,
when it now has _Him!_ _Him!_ Rush! Roar! Crush! Roar! Roar!

We can't tell what the river is talkin' about, in its calm gentle
moods or its voylent ones. Who knows what the loud angry scream and
screech of the deep waves say as the tempest and storm presses down on
'em and the Deep answers back in a voice of thunder, with its great
heart beatin' and heavin' up and throbbin' in its mad pain and
frenzy? Who knows what it is roarin' out, as it meets opposin' forces,
wave and rock, and dashes aginst 'em--fightin' and dashin' and tryin'
to vanquish 'em like as not? Who can translate the voice of the
waters? I can't, nor Josiah, nor nobody.



CHAPTER THREE

WE SEEK QUIET AND HAPPINESS IN THEIR BEAUTIFUL HANTS AND MINGLE WITH
THE PLEASURE SEEKERS OF ALEXANDRIA BAY.



CHAPTER THREE

WE SEEK QUIET AND HAPPINESS IN THEIR BEAUTIFUL HANTS AND MINGLE WITH
THE PLEASURE SEEKERS OF ALEXANDRIA BAY


Sometimes we would sail through the green water, so clost to the shore
we could almost pick off some of the cedar and pine boughs as we went
past, and we could look off into the green and sunny aisles of the
trees into beautiful solitude and quiet. And we'd want to foller Quiet
and Happiness back into them beautiful hants. And then agin, we'd
float by an island where there would be lots of white tents, with
wimmen and children and men and boys standin' out wavin' their
handkerchiefs and shoutin' to us, good natered and sociable.

And agin we'd go by a kinder high island with a tall, noble mansion
standin' up on it with towers and balconies, and winders all
ornamented off, and flags a-flyin'. And every house and every tentin'
ground had their own little wharfs runnin' down into the water and
boats hitched to 'em, jest as we'd hitch the old mair and colt to a
hitchin' post. And most of 'em had picturesque boat-houses painted up
like the houses.

And all of these pretty houses and towers and flags and boats and
everything wuz reflected down into the water, so there wuz handsome
pictures above, and still more extremely beautiful ones below. For the
sunlight shadow pictures wuz more beautiful fur than the reality, as
is often the case. Every little sail-boat and canoe had its white
shadder floatin' along by it, shinin' out from the blue and sea-green
surface of the water.

Josiah wuz turrible interested in tryin' to see if the reflections wuz
exactly like the real seen up above, and he kept leanin' over the edge
of the boat tryin' to turn his head upside down so's to git a better
look, and at last he nearly fell overboard into the water only I
grabbed him quick.

Sometimes,--I don't know what made it,--there would be long lines of
light in different colors layin' on the water; long waveless furrows
of palest amethyst, lilock, pale rose-color, and pearl, soft green and
blue, way off and near to, wide and long and changin' all the time.
Why, some of the time it would seem as if the surface of the river wuz
a shinin' pavement made of them glowin' and lustrous colors, that you
might walk out on. And then agin, cold Reality would say to you that
if you tried it, you'd most probable git drownded.

Anon we went by a island with a house standin' on it, the hull thing
seemin'ly nothin' but house right in the strongest current of the
river, and on the end of the island wuz a wheel fixed that run all the
machinery of the house, lightin' it, and pumpin' water, and runnin'
the coffee mill and sewin' machine, and rockin' the cradle, for all I
know.

The river waitin' on 'em, and doin' it cheerful. A soarin' soul of
power and might, so strong that a wink from its old eye-lids could
swallow up a fleet of ships, and a flirt of its fingers overthrow a
army of strongest men and toss 'em about like leaves on an autumn
gale. To see such a powerful, noble body, that wuz used to doin' the
biggest kind of jobs, quietly bucklin' down pumpin' water to supply a
tea-kettle, and churn a little butter, mebby!

Why, thinks I, what a lesson to hired girls that is, they're always so
fraid of doin' a little more than it is their place to do. They're so
fraid of settin' back a chair, if it is their place to cook, and so
afraid of bilin' a egg if it is their place to slick up the house.
Why, it wuz a lesson in morals to see that big grand river crumplin'
down to do housework for a spell.

Frontenac Island used to be called Round Island, I guess because it
wuz kinder square in shape. It is a handsome place with a immense
hotel[A] settin' back most a quarter of a mild, and jined by a long
railed balcony with another, makin' room enough, it seemed to me, for
an army. The broad, handsome path leadin' up to it wuz bordered with
beautiful flowers and shrubs, lookin' lovely against the vivid green
of the lawn.

I liked the name Frontenac first rate, and Point Vivian, and the name
of the hotel on St. Lawrence Park, Lotus, seemed highly appropriate
for the idle hours of rest and pleasure in the balmy summer-time.

And that park, while it could pass itself off for an island, wuz
really the main land. And if you wanted a doctor on a dark, stormy
night, you could get one without going on the wild waves; and if you
got skairt in the night and sot off to run, you could run as fur as
you wanted to without gittin' drownded.

I spoke to Josiah about this and he agreed with me, though he took the
occasion to bring in Coney Island, much to my shagrin.

"I wish," sez he, "I wish we could stop off somewheres and git a hot
dog."

"A hot dog?" sez I, consternation showin' in my foretop. "Don't you
know that dogs roamin' round loose and overhet in this sultry weather
is apt to git mad and bite you?"

"'Tain't that kind of animile I mean. I mean the kind they eat--in
Coney Island."

"Do they eat dogs in Coney Island?" I asks in a faint voice.

"Yes," sez he.

"And would you eat enny on't?"

"Why not?" sez he.

"Why not?" I cries regainin' my voice to once. "Josiah Allen, have you
became a canibal like them as lives in heathen lands and welcomes
civilized folks with open mouths?"

"Oh," sez he, "'tain't nothin' like that. These dogs hain't made o'
people. No, they air made from sassiges and cooked in front of a open
grate fire. They call 'em hot dogs and Serenus sez--"

I didn't gin him no chance to tell what Serenus sez. I sez many things
to him there and then that wuz calculated to make him forgit Coney
Island for awhile.

But to resoom forwards. We went by a big castle that wuz built up on a
hill on a island of considerable size with quite a grove of trees on
it. It wuz a noble, gray stun castle, with high towers and pinnacles
shinin' up toward the blue sky--Castle Rest, its name wuz, and I
thought most probable anybody could rest there first rate. The one
that built it and the one it wuz built for, had gone up into another
castle to rest, the great Castle of Rest, whose walls can't be moved
by any earthly shock. A good little mother it wuz built for, a
hard-workin', patient, tired-out little mother, who wuz left with a
house full of boys, and not much in the house, only boys. How she
worked and toiled to keep 'em comfortable and git 'em headed right,
washin', cookin', makin', and mendin'; learnin' 'em truthfulness,
honesty, and industry with their letters; teachin' 'em the
multiplication table and the commandments; trimmin' off their childish
faults, same as she did their hair; clippin' 'em off with her own
anxious lovin' hands. Mebby puttin' a bowl on their heads and cuttin'
round it, or else shinglin' 'em. But 'tennyrate doin' her best for
them, soul and body, till she got 'em headed right. Some on 'em givin'
their hull lives to help men's souls, lovin' this old world mebby for
their ma's sake, because it held so many other good wimmen; for they
jest about worshipped her all on 'em. And one of her boys, while the
rest of 'em wuz helpin' men and wimmen to build up better lives, he
wuz buildin' up his creed of helpfulness and improvement in bricks and
mortar, tryin' to do good, there hain't a doubt on't.

Mebby them walls didn't stand so firm as the others did, and tottled
more now and then. Strange, hain't it, that solid bricks and stuns,
that you feel and see, are less endurin' and firm than the things you
can't see--changed lives, faith, hope, charity, love to God, good-will
to man, and that whiter ideals and loftier aims and desires may tower
up higher than any chimbly that ever belched out smoke.

Curious it is so, but so it is. But 'tennyrate this one son rode on
his sleepin' cars right into millions, and his first thought wuz how
he could please best the little Mother. So he built a castle for her.
Tired little feet, walkin' the round of humble duties, waitin' on her
small boys, did they ever expect to tread the walls of a castle? Her
own too. I'll bet it seemed dretful big to her, or would anyway if it
hadn't been so full, so runnin' over full of the love and
thoughtfulness of all of her boys--and Love will fill and glorify
cottage or castle.

But here she come yearly and gathered her strong, stalwart sons about
her, welcomin' them with the same old tender smile, and constant love,
and she, wropt completely round in the warm atmosphere of their love
and devotion. Year after year went happily by till the last time came,
and she went away out of her high castle into a still higher one. But
I liked Castle Rest, for it seemed a monument riz up to faithful,
patient mothers fur and near, rich and poor, by the hand of filial
gratitude and love.

Comfort Island is real comfortable lookin', and Friendly Island looked
friendly and neighborly. And Nobby Island looked grand and stately
instead of nobby, the great house settin' up there on a high rock with
big green lawns and windin' paths under the shade trees, and the
bright faced posies on its tall banks peekin' over to see their faces
in the deep water below, and mebby lookin' for the kind master who had
gone away to stay.

[Illustration: "_I liked Castle Rest. It seemed a monument riz up to
faithful, patient mothers by the hand of filial gratitude
and love._" (_See page 48_)]

And pretty soon our boat sorter turned round and backed up graceful
into Alexandria Bay, and we hitched it there and lay off agin the
harbor real neighborly. There wuz two hotels there in plain sight,
each one on 'em as long as from our house to Miss Derias Bobbettses,
all fixed off with piazzas and porticos and pillows and awnin's and
handsome colors from the basement clear up--up--up to the ruff, and
the grounds laid out perfectly beautiful. Grass plats and terraces and
long flights of stairs, and glowin' flower beds and summer houses and
long smooth walks and short ones, and everything. And folks all the
time santerin' up and down the terraces and walks, and up and down the
piazzas and balconies.

It beat all what a lot of steam yots and sailboats there wuz all round
us. It seemed as if every island had a boat of its own and had sent
'em all to Alexandria Bay that mornin'. I thought mebby they'd hearn
we wuz comin', and they wuz there to git a glimpse of us. But
Whitfield said the boats come to git the mail, and mebby it wuz so.

Every yot wuz tootin' on its own separate engine; it made the seen
lively but not melogious. One of the boats had a whistle that sounded
as if you'd begin to holler down real low and then let your voice rise
gradual till you yelled out jest as loud as you could, and then died
down your yell agin real low.

It sounded curous. I hearn it wuz tryin' to raise and fall the eight
notes, and it riz and fell 'em I should judge.

Some of the yots had a loud shrill whistle, some a little, fine clear
one; then one would belch out low and deep some like thunder. And anon
our steamer thundered forth its own deep belchin' whistle, and turned
round graceful and backed off, and puffed, puffed back agin down the
bay.

As we turned round, a bystander, standin' by, spoke of Bonnie Castle.
It stood up sort o' by itself on a rock one side of Alexandria Bay.
And I wondered if Holland's earnest soul that had thought so much on't
once, ever looked down on it now. For instance when the full moon wuz
high in the cloudless sky, and Bonnie Castle riz up fair as a dream,
with blue clear sky above, and silence, and deep blue shinin' water
below--and silence. And mebby some night bird singin' out of the
pretty green garden to its mate in the cool shadows. I wondered if the
lovin' soul who created it ever looked down from the blessed life,
with love and longin' to the old earth-nest--home of his heart. I
spozed that he did, but couldn't tell for certain. For the connection
has never been made fast and plain on the Star Route to Heaven. Love
rears its stations here and tries to take the bearin's, but we hain't
quite got the wires to jine. Sometimes we feel a faint jarrin' and
thrill as if there wuz hands workin' on the other end of the line. We
feel the thrill, we see the glow of the signal lights they hold up,
but we can't quite ketch the words. We strain our ears through the
darkness--listening! listening!

Right acrost from Alexandria Bay is Heart Island; you'd know it at
night if you couldn't see the island, for a big heart of flashin'
electric lights is lifted up on a high pole, that can be seen fur and
near. As well as the big shinin' cross of light that is lifted up
every night on another island nigh by in memory of a sweet soul that
used to live there, and is lookin' down on it now, more'n as likely as
not.

Heart Island is owned by a rich New York man. It is almost covered
with buildin's of different sizes and ruined castles (the ruins all
new, you know; ruined a-purpose), the buildin's made of the gray stun
the island is composed of. And there are gorgeous flower beds and
lawns green as emerald, and windin' walks lined with statuary, and
rare vases runnin' over with blossoms and foliage, and a long, cool
harbor, fenced in with posies where white swans sail, archin' up their
proud necks as if lookin' down on common ducks and geese. There wuz
ancient stun architecture, and modern wood rustic work, and I sez to
Josiah, "They believe in not slightin' any of the centuries; they've
got some of most every kind of architecture from Queen Mary down to
Taft."

And he sez, "It is a crackin' good plan too; amongst all on 'em
they're sure to git some of the best."

"Yes," sez I, "and it shows a good-hearted sperit too, not wantin' to
slight anybody."

Jest then I heard a bystander say, "Amongst all the places to the
Islands, this place and Browney's take the cake."

Brownings is another beautiful place just round the corner where the
flower-garlanded rocks looks down into the deep clear waters anxious
to see their own beauty. And a handsome residence a little back and a
big farm full of everything desirable.

Only a little way acrost from Alexandria Bay is Westminster Park, a
handsome little village, with a big hotel set back under its green
trees and lots of cottages round it. A nice meetin' house too, and
everything else for its comfort. And all the way to the Methodist
place we wuz bound for, fair islands riz up out of the water, crowned
with trees and houses and tents and everything. No sooner would you go
by one, than another would hove in sight. Anon we come in sight of a
little village of houses fringin' the shore, called Fair View, and our
next stoppin' place wuz the Camp ground. I'd hearn, time and agin,
they wuz so strict there you'd have to pay for every step you took
from the ship to your boarding place. And if you said anything, you
would have to pay so much a word; or if you sithed, you'd have to pay
so much a sithe, or breathe deep you would have to pay accordin' to
the deepness of your breath.

But it wuzn't no such thing; we never paid a cent, and I sithed deep
and frequent on the way up from the wharf, for weariness lay holt of
me and also little Delight. She preferred hangin' onto me ruther than
her parents. And I'd hearn that you'd be fined for laughin', and for
a snicker or giggle; but I heard several snickers (Whitfield is full
of fun, and young folks _will_ be young folks, and talk and laugh) and
not one cent did we see asked for 'em. Why, I'd hearn that they
wouldn't let a good smart whiff of wind land there on Sunday. The
trustees kep' 'em off and preached at 'em, and made 'em blow off
Clayton way.

And I wuz told that the Sea Serpent (you know he always duz like
summer resorts), took it into his head to go to the Islands one summer
and happened to git to the Thousand Island Park on Sunday, and wuz
swoshin' round in the water in front of the dock, kinder switchin' his
tail and actin'. And the trustees got wind on't and went down with
rails and tracts and they railed at him, and exhorted him and made him
fairly ashamed of bein' round on Sunday. And wantin' to do a clean job
with him, bein' dretful mad at his bein' out on the Sabbath day, they
got a copy of their laws and restrictions governin' the Park, and they
said when the serpent hearn that long document read over, he jest
switched his tail, kinder disgusted like, and turned right round in
the water and headed off for Kingston.

But I don't believe a word on it. I don't believe much in the sea
serpent anyway, and I don't believe it ever come nigh the Thousand
Island Park grounds--only the usual old serpent of Evil, that the good
Christians there fight agin all they can.

-----

 [A] The great hotel which Samantha here describes was destroyed
     by fire in August last.



CHAPTER FOUR

WE ENJOY THE HOSPITALITIES OF WHITFIELD'S AUNT'S BOARDIN'-HOUSE AT THE
PARK, AND MY PARDNER GOES A-FISHIN'



CHAPTER FOUR

WE ENJOY THE HOSPITALITIES OF WHITFIELD'S AUNT'S BOARDIN'-HOUSE AT
THE PARK, AND MY PARDNER GOES A-FISHIN'


Whitfield's aunt kep' a small boardin'-house at the Park. Of course we
knew it would be fur more genteel to go to the hotel, which loomed up
stately, settin' back on its green lawn right in front of us, as the
ship swep' into the harbor.

But Josiah sez, "The tender ties of relationship hadn't ort to, in
fact _musn't_ be broke by us, and Miss Dagget would probable feel
dretful hurt if she knowed we wuz to the Park and had passed her
coldly by." (She didn't ask half so much for our boards as the hotel
did; that wuz where the boot pinched on my pardner's old feet.)

Whitfield said we had better go to Aunt Dagget's that night anyway, so
we went. We found she lived in a good-lookin' cottage, and we had
everything we needed for comfort. She wuz a tall, scrawny woman, with
good principles and a black alpacky dress, too tight acrost the
chest, but she seemed glad to see us and got a good supper, broiled
steak, creamed potatoes, and cake, and such, and we all did justice to
it--yes indeed.

After supper we walked out to the post office, and round in front of
the houses--very sociable and nigh together they are. It must be
dretful easy to neighbor there, most too easy. Why, I don't see how a
woman can talk to her husband on duty, if he goes in his stockin'
feet, or stays out late nights, or acts; I don't see how she can do
the subject justice and not have everybody in the encampment know it.
Too neighborly by fur!

But off some little distance, good-lookin' houses stood with Seclusion
and Solitude guardin' their front doors--likely guards them be, and
beloved by Samantha. And back of the Island, glancin' through the
trees, wuz the same clear blue sparklin' waters of the St. Lawrence.
They said they wuz Canada waters, but I didn't see no difference, the
water wuz jest as blue and sparklin' and clear.

We retired early and our beds wuz quite comfortable, though as I told
Josiah, I had seen bigger pillers, and I wuz more settled in my mind,
as to whether the feathers in 'em wuz geese or hen.

He said he wuz glad to lay his head down on anything that would hold
it up.

And after I remembered that Miss Dagget's bed wuz jest the other side
of the thin board partition. I sez, "Yes, Josiah, with weariness and a
easy conscience, any bed will seem soft as downy pillows are."

The next day I felt pretty mauger and stayed in my room most of the
time, though Josiah and the children sallied round considerable. But
after supper I felt better and went out and set down on the piazza
that run along the front of the house, and looked round and enjoyed
myself first rate.

Way off, between the trees and between the houses, I could see the
dear old Saint meanderin' along, blue and gold colored where the sun
struck the shining surface. And, dearer sight to me, I could catch a
glimpse through the interstices of the trees, of my beloved pardner
and little Delight in her white dress and flutterin' blue ribbons
walkin' along by his side. Whitfield and Tirzah Ann had gone santerin'
off some time before.

The hour and the seen wuz both beautiful and soothin'. The little
streets between the houses stretched out on every side, some on 'em
bordered with trees. Gay awnings wuz over the doors and winders,
flowering shrubs and posies set off the yards, and the piazzas
ornamented by the good-lookin' folks settin' out on chairs and
benches, the wimmen in light, pretty summer gowns, and there wuz
babies in their perambulators perambulatin' along and pretty children
runnin' and playin' about.

Anon or oftener a group of good-lookin' cottagers would sally out of
their houses and santer along, or a pedestrian in a hurry would walk
by. It seemed like the land where it is always afternoon, that I'd
hearn Thomas J. read about,

            The island valley of Avilion,
            Where falls not rain or hail or any snow,
            Nor ever wind blows loudly--
            Deep meadowed, happy, fair with orchard lawns
            And bowery hollows, crowned by summer sea.

It wuz a fair seen! a fair seen! and my soul seemed attuned to its
perfect harmony and peace. When all of a sudden I hearn these strange
and skairful words comin' like a sharp shower of hail from a clear
June sky:--

"Malviny is goin' to _freeze_ to-night!"

There wuz a skairful axent on the word "freeze" that seemed to bring
all of Malviny's sufferin's right in front of me. But so strong is my
common sense that even in that agitatin' time I thought to myself, as
I wiped the perspiration from my foretop, "Good land! what is Malviny
made of to be even comfortable cool to say nothin' of freezin'." And
my next thought wuz, "What sort of a place have I got into?" Truly, I
had read much of the hardenin' effects of fashion and style, but I
little thought they would harden so fearful hard. None of these men
and wimmen settin' on them piazzas had gin any more attention to the
blood-curdlin' news that a feller creeter so nigh 'em wuz perishin',
no more than if they'd seen a summer leaf flutterin' down from the
boughs overhead.

I thought of the rich man and Lazarus, only kinder turned round and
freezin' instead of burnin'. I felt bad and queer. But anon he drew
nigh the porch I wuz settin' on and looked up into my face with the
same harrowin' statement, "Malviny is a-goin' to freeze to-night!"

And I said, with goose pimples runnin' down my back most as bad as I
mistrusted as Malviny had, "Who is Malviny?"

He stopped and sez, "She is my wife."

His indifferent mean madded me and I sez, "Well, you good-for-nothin'
snipe you, instead of traipsin' all over the neighborhood tellin' of
your wife's state, why hain't you to home buildin' a fire and heatin'
soap stuns and bricks, and steepin' pepper tea?"

"What for?" sez he, amazed like.

"Why, to keep Malviny from freezin'."

"I don't want to stop it," sez he.

Sez I, "Do you want your wife to freeze?"

"Yes," sez he.

Sez I, lookin' up and apostophrizin' the clear sky that looked down
like a big calm blue eye overhead, "Are such things goin' on here in a
place so good that folks can't git a letter Sundays to save their
lives, or embark to see their friends if they're dyin' or dead; is
such a place," I groaned, "to condone such wickedness!"

Sez the man, "What harm is there in Malviny's freezin'?"

Sez I, "You heartless wretch, you! if I wuz a man I'd shake some of
the wickedness out of you, if I had to be shot up the minute
afterwards!"

"What harm is there in freezin' ice-cream?" sez he.

Sez I, astounded, "Is that what Malviny's freezin'?"

"Yes," sez he.

I sunk back weak as a cat.

Sez he, "I bring it round to the cottages every time Malviny freezes;
they give me their orders if they want any."

"Well," sez I in a faint voice, "I don't want any." Truly I felt that
I had had enough chill and shock for one day.

Well, Whitfield and Tirzah Ann come in pretty soon and she wuz all
enthused with the place. They'd been up the steep windin' way to
Sunrise Mountain, and gazed on the incomparable view from there.
Looked right down into the wind-kissed tops of the lofty trees and all
over 'em onto the broad panaroma of the river, with its innumerable
islands stretched out like a grand picture painted by the one Great
Artist. They had seen the little artist's studio, perched like a
eagle's nest on top of the mountain. Some dretful pretty pictures
there, both on the inside of the studio and outside.

And they had stopped at the Indian camp, and Tirzah bought some
baskets which they see the Indians make right before their eyes out of
the long bright strips of willow. And I spoze, seein' the brown deft
fingers weavin' their gay patterns, Tirzah Ann wuz carried back some
distance into the land of romance and Cooper's novels, and "Lo the
Poor Indian" Stories. She's very romantick.

And she'd gone into the place where they blow glass right before your
eyes and then cut your name on it. I couldn't do it to save my life. I
might jest as well give right up if I wuz told that I had got to blow
jest a plain bottle out of some sand and stuff. And they blow out the
loveliest, queerest things you ever see: ships in full sail with the
ropes and riggin' of the most delicate and twisted strands of
brilliancy; tall exquisite vases with flowers twisted all about 'em.
Posies of all kinds, butterflies, cups, tumblers, etc. They had been
into all the little art and bookstores, full of pictures and needle
work, shells, painted stuns, books, and the thousand and one souvenirs
of all kinds of the Thousand Islands. When Josiah come in he said he
had interviewed ten or a dozen men about Coney Island--all on 'em had
been there--I wuz discouraged, I thought I might jest as well let him
loose with Serenus.

Well, Whitfield of course couldn't wait another minute, without seein'
Shadow Island, so the next day we went over there right after dinner.
Josiah proposed enthusiastickly to fish on the way there. Sez he,
"Samantha, how I do wish we could git a periouger to go in."

"A what?" sez I.

"A periouger," sez he, "that we could go fishin' in, a very uneek
boat."

"Uneek!" sez I, "I should think as much. Where did you ever ever hear
on't?"

"In Gasses Journal, Gass used to go round in 'em."

Sez I, "That book wuz published before George Washington wuz born, or
Bunker Hill thought on."

"What of it?" sez he; "that wouldn't hender a periouger from bein' a
crackin' good convenience to go round on the water in, and I'm goin'
to try to git one to-day. I bet my hat they have 'em to Coney
Island."

I tried to stop him. I didn't want him to demean himself before the
oarsmen and onlookers by tryin' to find boats that hadn't been hearn
on in hundreds of years. But I couldn't git the idea out of his head
till after dinner. Then he wuz more meller and inclined to listen to
reason. It wuz a oncommon good meal, and he felt quite softened down
in his mean by the time he finished. And Whitfield's boatman he'd
engaged come with a good sizeable boat and we sot sail for Shadow
Island.

[Illustration: "_I tried to stop him. I didn't want him to demean
himself before the oarsmen tryin' to find boats that
hadn't been hearn on in hundreds of years._" (_See
page 67_)]

When we got there the sun wuz tingin' the tops of the trees with its
bright light, but the water on the nigh side, where we landed, wuz
cool and green and shadowy. Dretful fresh and restful and comfortable
that hot muggy day.

We disembarked on the clean little wharf and walked up to the lot
Whitfield had bought. It wuz a pretty place in a kind of a holler
between high rocks, but with a full and fair view of the river on the
nigh side, on the off side and on the back the tall trees riz up. The
site of the house mebby bein' so low down wuz the reason that there
wuz good deep earth there. Tirzah Ann spoke of that most the first
thing:--

"I can have a good suller, can't I?"

Whitfield spoke first of the view from the river, and little Delight
sez, "Oh what soft pretty grass."

Josiah looked round for a minute on the entrancin' beauty of the water
and the islands and up into the green shadders of the trees overhead,
and then off into the soft blue haze that wrapped the beautiful shores
in the distance. After gazin' silently for a minute he turned to me
and sez, "Didn't you bring any nut cakes with you? I'd like one to eat
whilst I think of another Island far more beautiful than this, where I
yearn to be."

I groaned in spirit but handed him the desired refreshment, and then
we talked over the subject of the cottage. Whitfield thought it would
be splendid for the health of Tirzah Ann and the children, to say
nothin' of their happiness. She and Delight both looked kinder
pimpin', and he sez, "Mother, I've got the lot, and now I am going to
lay up money just as fast as I can for our house; I hope we can live
here in a year or two anyway."

Well, we stayed here for quite a spell, Whitfield and Tirzah Ann
buildin' castles higher than Castle Rest, on the foundations of their
rosy future, underlaid with youth and glowin' hope--the best-lookin'
underpinnin' you can find anywhere. And little Delight rolled on the
green moss and built her rosy castles in the illumined present, as
children do. And I looked off onto the fur blue waters some as if I
wuz lookin' into the past. And furder off than I could see the water,
the meller blue haze lay that seemed to unite earth and heaven, and I
looked on it, and way off, way off, and thought of a good many
things.

Josiah wuz tryin' to ketch a fish for supper; the boatman had a pole
and fish hook, but he couldn't ketch any, he hadn't any nack; it takes
nack to ketch fish as well as worms.



CHAPTER FIVE

JOSIAH'S IMAGINATION ABOUT HIS FISHIN' EXPLOITS CARRIES HIM TO A PINT
WHERE I HAVE TO REBUKE HIM, WHICH MAKES HIM DRETFUL HUFFY



CHAPTER FIVE

JOSIAH'S IMAGINATION ABOUT HIS FISHIN' EXPLOITS CARRIES HIM TO A
PINT WHERE I HAVE TO REBUKE HIM, WHICH MAKES HIM DRETFUL HUFFY


The next morning we went over to Alexandria Bay on a tower. We walked
up to the immense hotels past the gay flower beds that seemed to be
growing right out of the massive gray boulders, and great willer trees
wuz droppin' their delicate green branches where gayly dressed ladies
and good-lookin' men wuz settin'. And in front wuz fleets of little
boats surroundin' the big white steamboats, jest as contented as big
white geese surrounded by a drove of little goslins.

I'd hearn that the great hotel that wuz nighest to us looked by night
jest like one of the fairy palaces we read about in Arabian Nights,
and one night we see it. From the ground clear up to the high ruff it
wuz all ablaze with lines of flashin' light, and I sez instinctively
to myself, "Jerusalem the golden!" and "Pan American Electric Tower!"
And I d'no which metafor satisfied me best. 'Tennyrate this had the
deep broad river flowin' on in front, reflectin' every glowin' light
and buildin' another gleamin' castle down there more beautiful than
the one on land. Josiah's only remark wuz "Coney Island!" Everything
seems to make him think on't, from a tooth pick to a tower. Ten
thousand electric lights wuz the number that lit up that one house, so
I hearn.

The big engine and chimney they use to turn the water into glorious
light, towers up behind the hotel, and made such a noise and shook the
buildin' so that folks couldn't stand it, and they jest collared that
noise as Josiah would take a dog he couldn't stop barkin' by the
scruff of the neck and lock it up in the stable, jest so they took
that noise and rumblin' and snaked it way offen into the river in a
pipe or sunthin', so it keeps jest as still now up there as if it
wuzn't doin' a mite of work. Queer, hain't it? But to resoom.

It wuz indeed a fair seen to turn round when you wuz about half way up
the flower strewn declivity and look afar off over the wharf with its
gay crowd, over the boats gaily ridin' at anchor, and behold the
fairy islands risin' from the blue waves crested with castles, and
mansions and cottage ruffs, chimblys and towers all set in the green
of the surroundin' trees.

And, off fur as the eye could see, way through between and around, wuz
other beautiful islands and trees covered with spires and ruffs
peepin' out of the green. And way off, way off like white specks
growin' bigger every minute, wuz great ships floatin' in, and nearer
still would be anon or oftener majestic ships and steamers ploughin'
along through the blue waves, sailin' on and goin' right by and
mindin' their own bizness.

Well, when at last we did tear ourselves away from the environin' seen
and walk acrost the broad piazzas and into the two immense hotels, as
we looked around on the beauty of our surroundin's, nothin' but the
inward sense of religious duty seemed strong enough to draw us back to
Thousand Island Park, though that is good-lookin' too.

But the old meetin' house with its resistless cords, and the cast-iron
devotion of a pardner wound their strong links round me and I wuz more
than willin' to go back at night. Josiah didn't come with us, he'd
gone fishin' with another deacon he'd discovered at the Park.

Well, we santered through the bizness and residence streets and went
into the free library, a quaint pretty building full of good books
with a memorial to Holland meetin' you the first thing, put up there
by the hands of Gratitude. And we went into the old stun church, which
the dead master of Bonnie Castle thought so much on and did so much
for, and is full of memories of him. Whitfield thinks a sight of his
writings; he sez "they dignify the commonplace, and make common things
seem oncommon." Katrina, Arthur Bonniecastle, Miss Gilbert, Timothy
Titcomb the philosopher, all seemed to walk up and down with Whitfield
there.

And while there we took a short trip to the Lake of the Isles, a
lovely place, where instead of boats full of gigglin' girls with
parasols, and college boys with yells and oars, the water lilies float
their white perfumed sails, and Serenity and Loneliness seem to kinder
drift the boat onwards, and the fashion-tired beholder loves to hasten
there, away from the crowd, and rest.

Every mind can be suited at the Islands, the devotee of fashion can
swirl around in its vortex, and for them who don't care for it there
are beautiful quiet places where that vortex don't foam and geyser
round, and all crowned with the ineffable beauty of the St. Lawrence.

And we sailed by the Island of Summer Land (a good name), where a
beloved pastor and his children in the meetin' house settled down so
long ago that Fashion hadn't found out how beautiful the Thousand
Islands wuz. They come here for rest and recreation, and built their
cottages along the undulatin' shore in the shape of a great letter S.
It wuz a pretty spot.

When the boat wuz ready to go back at night I wuz, and wuz conveyed in
safety at about six p.m. to the bosom of my family. I say this
poetically, for the bosom wuzn't there when I got back; it hadn't come
in from fishin' yet, and when it did come it wuz cross and fraxious,
for the other deacon had caught two fish and he hadn't any. He said he
felt sick, and believed he wuz threatened with numony, but he wuzn't;
it wuz only madness and crossness, that kinder stuffs anybody up some
like tizik.

Well, Whitfield found a letter that made it necessary for him to
return to Jonesville to once, and of course Tirzah Ann, like the fond
wife and mother she wuz, would take little Delight and go with him.
But after talkin' to Josiah, Whitfield concluded they would stay over
one day more to go fishin'. So the very next mornin' he got a big
roomy boat, and we sot out to troll for fish. The way they do this is
to hitch a line on behind the boat and let it drag through the water
and catch what comes to it. And as our boat swep' on over the glassy
surface of the water that lay shinin' so smooth and level, not hintin'
of the rocks and depths below, I methought, "Here we be all on us, men
and wimmen, fishin' on the broad sea of life, and who knows what will
tackle the lines we drop down into the mysterious depths? We sail
along careless and onthinkin' over rush and rapid, depth and shallow,
the line draggin' along. Who knows what we may feel all of a sudden on
the end of the line? Who knows what we may be ketchin' ontirely
onbeknown to us? We may be ketchin' happiness, and we may be layin'
holt of sorrow. A bliss may be jerked up by us out of the depth; agin
a wretchedness and a heart-ache may grip holt the end of the line.
Poor fishers that we be! settin' in our frail little shallop on deep
waters over onknown depths, draggin' a onceasin' line along after us
night and day, year in and year out. The line is sot sometimes by
ourselves, but a great hand seems to be holdin' ours as we fasten on
the hook, a great protectin' Power seems to be behind us, tellin' us
where to drop the line, for we feel sometimes that we can't help
ourselves."

I wuz engaged in these deep thoughts as we glided onwards. Josiah wuz
wrestlin' with his hat brim, he would have acted pert and happy if it
hadn't been for that. At my request he had bought a straw hat to cover
his eyes from the sun and preserve his complexion, and so fur is that
man from megumness that he had got one with a brim so broad that it
stood out around his face like a immense white wing, floppin' up and
down with every gust of wind. He had seen some fashionable young
feller wear one like it and he thought it would be very becomin' and
stylish to get one for a fishin' excursion, little thinkin' of the
discomfort it would give him.

"Plague it all!" sez he, as it would flop up and down in front of his
eyes and blind him, "what made me hear to you, goin' a-fishin' blind
as a bat!"

Sez I, "Why didn't you buy a megum-sized one? Why do you always go to
extremes?"

"To please you!" he hollered out from under his blinders. "Jest to
please you, mom!"

Sez I, "Josiah Allen, you know you did it for fashion, so why lay it
off onto me? But," sez I, "if you'll keep still I'll fix it all
right."

"Keep still!" sez he, "I don't see any prospect of my doin' anything
else when I can't see an inch from my nose."

"Well," sez I, "push the brim back and I'll tie it down with my braize
veil."

"I won't wear a veil!" sez he stoutly. "No, Samantha, no money will
make me rig up like a female woman right here in a fashionable summer
resort, before everybody. How would a man look with a veil droopin'
down and drapin' his face?"

"Well," sez I, "then go your own way."

But the next time a gale come from the sou'west he wuz glad to submit
to my drapin' him; so I laid the brim back and tied the veil in a big
bow knot under his chin. Then agin he reviled the bow, and said it
would make talk. But I held firm and told him I wuzn't goin' to tear
my veil tiein' it in a hard knot. And he soon forgot his discomposure
in wearin' braize veils, in his happiness at the idee of ketchin'
fish, so's to tell the different deacons on't when he got home.

[Illustration: "_'I won't wear a veil,' sez he stoutly. But the next
time a gale come from the sou'west I laid the brim back
and tied the veil in a big bow knot under his chin._"
(_See page 82_)]

Men do love to tell fish stories. Men who are truthful on every other
pint of the law, will, when they measure off with their hands how long
the fish is that they ketched, stretch out that measure more'n
considerable.

Well, as I say, as our boat glided on between the green islands, anon
in shadder and then agin out in sunny stretches of glassy seas, I
looked off on the glorified distance and thought of things even furder
away than that. Tirzah Ann wuz engaged in tryin' to keep the sun out
of her face; she said anxiously she wuz afraid she would git a few
frecks on her nose in spite of all she could do. Whitfield wuz amusin'
Delight, and Josiah ever and anon speakin' of Coney Island and askin'
if it wuzn't time to eat our lunch. So the play of life goes on.

We didn't ketch much of anything, only I ketched considerable of a
headache. Tirzah Ann ketched quite a number of frecks; she complained
that she had burnt her nose. Delight did, I guess, ketch quite an
amount of happiness, for the experience wuz new to her, and children
can't bag any better or more agreeable game than Novelty. And
Whitfield did seem to ketch considerable enjoyment; he loves to be out
on the water.

My pardner drew up one tiny, tiny fish out of the depths; it looked
lonesome and exceedingly fragile, but oh how that man brooded over
that triumph! And by the time we reached Jonesville and he related
that experience to the awe-struck neighbors it wuz a thrillin' and
excitin' seen he depictered, and that tiny fishlet had growed, in the
fertile sile of his warm imagination, to such a length, that I told
him in confidence out to one side, that if I ever hearn him go on so
agin about it, and if that fish kep' a growin' to that alarmin'
extent, I should have to tell its exact length; it wuz jest as long as
my middle finger, for I measured it on the boat, foreseein' trouble
with him in this direction.

It made him dretful huffy, and he sez, "I can't help it if you do have
a hand like a gorilla's."

It hain't so; I never wore higher than number 7. But I have never seen
him since pull out his hands so recklessly measurin' off the
dimensions of that fish, or gin hints that it took two men to carry it
up from the boat to the hotel, and insinuate on how many wuz
nourished on it, and for how long a time.

No, I broke it up. But Josiah Allen hain't the only man that stretches
out the fish they have ketched, as if they wuz made of the best kind
of Injy rubber. It seems nateral to men's nater to tell fibs about
fish. Curious, hain't it? That is one of the curious things that lay
holt of our lines. And wimmen have to see squirmin' at their feet anon
or oftener, game that flops and wriggles and won't lay still and grows
all the time.



CHAPTER SIX

IN WHICH I DRAW THE MATRIMONIAL LINE ROUND MY PARDNER AND ALSO KEEP MY
EYE ON MR. POMPER



CHAPTER SIX

IN WHICH I DRAW THE MATRIMONIAL LINE ROUND MY PARDNER AND ALSO KEEP
MY EYE ON MR. POMPER


The next mornin' Whitfield and Tirzah went home, Josiah and I thinkin'
we would stay a few days longer. And what should I git but a letter
from Cousin Faithful Smith sayin' that her Aunt Petrie beyond Kingston
wuz enjoyin' poor health, and felt that she must have Faith come and
visit her before she went West. So she wuz goin' to cut short her
visit to the Smithses and go to her Aunt Petrie's on her way to the
West, and as she had heard Josiah and I wuz to the Islands, she would
stop and stay a few days with us there. And as the letter had been
delayed, she wuz to be there that very day on the afternoon boat. So
of course Josiah and I met her at Clayton. And I went to the
boardin'-house keeper to see if I could git her a room.

But she wuz full, Miss Dagget wuz; and when anybody is full there is
no more to be said; so with many groanin's from my pardner, on account
of the higher price, we concluded we would git rooms at the hotel,
that big roomy place, with broad piazzas runnin' round it and high
ruffs. And as Josiah said bitterly, the ruffs wuzn't any higher than
the prices. And I told him the prices wuzn't none too high for what we
got, and I sez, "We are gittin' along in years and don't often rush
into such high expenses, so we'll make the venter."

And he groaned out, "Good reason why we don't make the venter often,
unless we want to go on the Town!"

And then he kinder brightened up and wondered if he couldn't make a
dicker with the hotel-keeper to take a yearlin' steer to pay for our
two boards.

And I sez, "What duz he want of a yearlin' steer here in the midst of
a genteel fashion resort?"

And he snapped me up and said he didn't know as there wuz anything
onfashionable or ongenteel about a likely yearlin'. Sez he, "I'll bet
they'd take it at Coney Island."

"Well, what would he do with it here?" sez I.

"Why, do as I do with it; let it grow up and make clear gain on its
growth."

"Oh shaw!" sez I, "he couldn't have it bellerin' round amongst the gay
and fashionable throng."

"It wouldn't beller," sez he, "if he fed it enough."

I broke it up after a long talk, for I wouldn't let him demean himself
by askin' the question and bein' refused, and then he said he wuz
goin' to ask him if he would take white beans for his pay, or part of
it, or mebby, sez he, "he would like to take a few geese."

"Geese!" sez I, "what would they want with geese squawkin' round
here?"

"Why," sez he, "you know they would look handsome swimmin' round in
the water in front of the hotel. And he might gin out, if he wuz a
mind to, that they wuz a new kind of swans; they do such things at
Coney Island."

Sez I, "Are you a deacon or are you not? Are you a pillow in the
meetin' house or hain't you a pillow?"

"I didn't say he had _got_ to do thus and so, I said he might if he
wanted to."

Sez I, "You keep your geese and pray to not be led into temptation."
And then the truth come out, he hated the geese and wanted to git rid
of 'em. Men always hate to keep geese, it is one of their ways, though
they love soft pillows and cushions as well as wimmen do, or better,
it is one of their curious ways to love the effects of geese dearly
and hate the cause and demean it.

Well, by givin' up the best part of the forenoon to the job I ground
him down onto not tryin' to dicker with any barter, but to walk up
like a man and pay for our two boards. Faith is real well off and
kinder independent sperited, and I knew she wouldn't let us pay for
hern, and at last we got a good comfortable room for ourselves and one
for Faith, not fur from ourn. Both on 'em looked out onto the
beautiful river, and I had lots of emotions as I looked out on it,
although they didn't rise up so fur as they would, if I hadn't had
such a tussel with my pardner, so true it is that chains of cumberin'
cares and Josiahs drag down the aspirin' soul-wings for the time
bein'. But I laid out to take sights of comfort in more tranquil and
less dickerin' times, in lookin' out on the beauty and glory of the
waters, and fur off, into the beautiful distance lit with the mornin's
rosy light, and "sunset and evenin' star."

We sot off on the afternoon boat for Clayton. Faith seemed real glad
to see us and we visey versey. And it wuz a joy to me to see her
admiration of the Islands as we swep' by 'em and round 'em on our way
to the Park.

We got back in time to git ready for supper in pretty good sperits;
the dinin' room wuz large and clean and pleasant, the waiters doin'
all they could for us, and we had a good supper and enough on't. And
speakin' of the waiters, most of 'em wuz nice boys and girls, tryin'
to git an education; some on 'em had been to college and wanted to
earn a little more money to finish their education, and some wuz
learnin' music and wanted more money to go on with their lessons--good
plan, I think--they will be as likely agin to succeed as if they wuz
sot down and waited on. It is a good thing, as the Bible sez, "to bear
the yoke in your youth," and though I spoze the yoke weighed down
considerable heavy on 'em, specially on excursion days, and when there
wuz folks hard to please, yet I thought they will come out all right
in the end.

Some on 'em wuz studyin' for the ministry, and I thought they would
git a real lot of patience and other Christian virtues laid up agin
the time of need. Though here, as in every other walk of life, there
wuz some that wuz careless and slack.

But to resoom forwards. I see at the table there wuz the usual summer
tourists round me, care-worn fathers and weary dyspeptic mothers with
two or three flighty, over-dressed daughters, and a bashful, pale son
or two, and anon a lady with a waist drawed in to that extent that you
wondered where her vital organs wuz. And how could any live creeter
brook the agony them long steel cossets wuz dealin' the wearer? You
could see this agony in the dull eyes, pale face and wan holler cheeks
wearin' the hectic flush of red paint. And the little pinted shues,
with heels sot in the very center of the nerves, ready to bring on
prostration, and blindness.

Right by that agonized female would be a real lady. English, mebby,
with a waist the size the Lord give and Fashion had not taken away.
With good, sensible shues on, dealin' out comfort to the amiable
feelin' feet; rosy cheeks, bright eyes, all bearin' witness to the
joys of sensible dressin' and sensible livin'.

And then there wuz bright pert-lookin' young wimmen, travelin' alone
in pairs, and havin' a good time to all human appearance. Anon
good-lookin', manly men, with sweet pretty wives and a roguish, rosy
little child or so. Sad lookin' widder wimmen, some in their weeds,
but evidently lookin' through 'em. Anon a few single men with
good-lookin' tanned faces, enjoyin' themselves round a table of their
own, and talkin' and laughin' more'n considerable. Respectable,
middle-aged couples, takin' their comfort with kinder pensive faces,
and once in awhile a young girl as adorably sweet and pretty as only
American girls can be at their best.

But on my nigh side, only a little ways acrost from us sot the
ponderous man I remembered on my journey thither who wanted to be a
fly. Furder and furder it seemed from amongst the possibles as he
towered up sideways and seemed to dwarf all the men round him, though
they wuz sizeable. And gittin' a better look at him, I could see that
he had a broad red face, gray side whiskers and one eye. That one eye
seemed to be bright blue, and he seemed to keep it on our table from
the time we come in as long as we sat there.

That evenin' in the parlor he got introduced to us. Mr. Pomper, his
name wuz, and we all used him well, though I didn't like "the cut of
his jib," to use a nautical term which I consider appropriate at a
watering-place.

But go where we would, that ponderous figger seemed to be near. At the
table he sot, where that one eye shone on us as constant as the sun to
the green earth. In our walks he would always set on the balcony to
watch us go and welcome us back. And in the parlor we had to set under
the rakin' fire of that blue luminary. And if we went on the boats he
wuz there, and if we stayed to home there wuz he.

And at last a dretful conviction rousted up in me. It come the day we
went the trip round the Islands. We enjoyed ourselves real well, until
I discerned that huge figger settin' in a corner with that one eye
watchin' our party as clost as a cat would watch a mouse. Can it be,
sez I to myself, that that man has formed a attachment for me?

No, no, it cannot be, sez I to myself. And yet I knowed such things
did occur in fashionable circles. Men with Mormon hearts hidden under
Gentile exteriors wuz abroad in the land, and such things as I
mistrusted blackened and mormonized the bosom of Mr. Pomper, did
happen anon and oftener. And I methought if so, what must I do? Must I
tell my beloved companion? Or must I, as the poet sez, "Let
concealment, like a worm in the rug, feed on my damaged cheek?"

But thoughts of the quick, ardent temper of my beloved companion bade
me relinquish the thought of confidin' in him. No, I dassent, for I
knew that his weight wuz but small by the steelyards, and Mr. Pomper's
size wuz elephantine, with probably muscles accordin'. No, I felt I
must rely on myself. But the feelin's I felt nobody can tell. Thinks
I, "It has come onto me jest what I have always read and scorfed at";
for I had always thought and said that no self-respectin' female need
be inviggled unless she had encouraged the inviggler, or had a hand in
the invigglin'. But alas! with no fault of my own, onless it wuz my
oncommon good looks,--and of course them I couldn't help,--here I wuz
the heroine of a one-eyed tragedy, for I felt that the smoulderin'
fire burnin' in that solitary orb might bust forth at any time and
engulf me and my pardner in a common doom.

But two things I felt I could do; I could put on a real lot of
dignity, and could keep a eagle watch onto my beloved pardner, and if
I see any sign of Mr. Pompers attacktin' him, or throwin' him
overboard, I felt the strength of three wimmen would be gin to me, and
I could save him or perish myself in the attempt. In accordance with
them plans, when Mr. Pomper approached us bringin' us some easier
chairs, I confronted him with a look that must have appauled his
guilty mind, and when he sez to me:

"It is a pleasant day, mom."

I looked several daggers at him and some simiters, and never said a
word. And when a short time afterwards he asked me what time of day it
wuz, pretendin' his watch had stopped, I looked full and cold in his
face for several minutes before I sez in icy axents, "I don't know!"
Every word fallin' from my lips like ice-suckles from a ruff in a
January thaw, and then I turned my back and went away from him.

Vain attempt! What wicked arts men do possess! He pretended to believe
I wuz deef, and with that pretext he dasted to approach still nearer
to me and kinder hollered out:

"What time of day is it?"

I see I must answer him, or make a still more sentimental and
romantick seen, and I sez, with extreme frigidity and icy chill, "I
don't know anything about it."

[Illustration: _"'What does ail you, Samantha, lockin' arms with me all
the time--it will make talk!' he whispered in a mad,
impatient whisper, but I would hang on as long as Mr.
Pomper wuz around." (See page 100)_]

And then I turned on my heel and walked off. In such noble and prompt
ways did I discourage all his overtoors, and every time I see him
approach my pardner, if they wuz anywhere near the outer taff-rail of
the boat, I would approach and lock arms with Josiah Allen, killin'
two birds with one stun, for that act both ensured safety to my
heart's idol, and also struck a blow onto Mr. Pomperses nefarious
designs. He see plain that I idolized my pardner. Once or twice, so
hardly is oncommon virtue rewarded in this world, Josiah spoke out
snappishly:

"What duz ail you to-day, Samantha, lockin' arms with me all the
time--it will make talk!" he whispered in a mad, impatient whisper,
and he would kinder wiggle his arm to make me leggo'; but secure in my
own cast-iron principles, I would hang on as long as Mr. Pomper wuz
round.



CHAPTER SEVEN

IN WHICH JOSIAH PROPOSES TO DANCE AND MR. POMPER MAKES AN ADVANCE



CHAPTER SEVEN

IN WHICH JOSIAH PROPOSES TO DANCE AND MR. POMPER MAKES AN ADVANCE


The day wuz a tegus one to me, borne down as I wuz by the constrainin'
atmosphere of a onwelcome and onlawful attachment. And it took all the
principle I had by me to git up even a emotion of pity for the
one-eyed watcher, whose only recreation seemin'ly durin' that long,
long day wuz to watch our party as clost as any cat ever watched a rat
hole, and to kinder hang round us. Faith kep' pretty clost to me all
day and seemed to take a good deal of comfort watchin' the entrancin'
scenery round us.

Oh what beautiful sights! What enchantin' views of the water; or, if
the light struck it jest right, the long, blue, undilating plain,
dotted with gold points of light. Islands with the virgin forest
stretchin' down to the edge of the water, and cool green shadders
layin' on the velvet and mossy sward as you could see as you looked
into the green aisles. And all sorts of trees with different foliage,
some loose and feathery, some with shinin' leaves, glitterin' where
the rain had washed 'em the night before; some towerin' up towards the
heavens, shakin' their heads at the sun; some droopin' down as if
weighted with their wealth of branches and green leaves; anon a tree
covered with flowers, and then some evergreens, and anon one that had
ketched in its brilliant leaves the red hectic of autumn fever and
blazed out in crimson and yeller. And then a hull lot of evergreens
standin' up straight and tall by the water's edge, and as fur back as
you could see, but sort o' reachin' out their green arms towards the
river. And them on the edge, lookin' down into the clear depths and
seein' there another island, a shadow island layin' beautiful and
serene with nothin' disturbin' its beauty but the shinin' ripples
wavin' the fairy branches below, like the soft wind rustlin' the tree
tops overhead.

So we sailed on by hamlet and town, rounded tree-crowned promontores,
swep' out into broader vistas stretchin' out like a lake, anon goin'
by a big island lookin' like the shore of the mainland, goin' right up
aginst it seemin'ly, as if the boat must strike it and git onto
wheels and travel as a wagon if it calculated to proceed onwards at
all. But jest as we would think in a nautical way: "Land ahoy! land
ahoy! oh, heave out and walk afoot," jest as these nautical terms
would be passin' through our alarmed foretops, the boat would turn its
prow slowly but graceful, round to a port-the-helm, or starboard
ditto, and we would glide out through a narrow way onbeknown to us,
onto a long, glassy road layin' fair and serene ahead.

Then more islands, then more narrer channels, then more broad ones. By
Fiddler's Elbow, named Heaven knows for what purpose, for no fiddle
nor no elbow wuz in sight, nothin' but island and water and rock all
crowned with green verdure. Mebby it dates back to the time we read of
when the stars sung together, and if stars sing, why shouldn't islands
dance, and if islands dance it stands to reason they must have a
fiddle and one on 'em must fiddle. I do not say this _is_ so, but
throw out this scientific theory as one of singular interest to the
antiquarian and historian of the Thousand Islands.

Anon we entered the Lost Channel, agin the antiquarian sperit is
rousted up as we inquire, "When wuz it lost? and how long? And when
wuz it found agin, and who found it?" Way back in the dawn of
creation, did the dimplin' channel git kinder restive and try to run
off by itself, and flow round and act? Or did the big leap down
Niagara skair it so that it run away and never stopped runnin' until
it got all confused and light-headed among these countless islands,
and wandered away and got lost and by the side of itself?

Deep antiquarian conundrums; stern geological interests! In grapplin'
with 'em I leaned over the taff-rail of the boat and looked way down
into the blue green depths, seekin' a answer. But the shinin' waves on
top seemed to glitter mockin'ly and fur down, down in the green waves,
there seemed to look back a sort of a pityin' gleam that said to me:

"Poor creeter! pass on with your little vague theories and
conjectures; you don't know any more about me than the rest on 'em do,
who have tried to write about me." I felt kinder took back and queer.
So vain are we that we don't like to have our carefully constructed
theories overthrown. But even as I mused, a voice said to the right of
me--a woman talkin' to her little boy:

"The Lost Channel was named from the fact that durin' a war a large
body of troops got lost here in the channel in the late autumn and
could not find their way out, and was overtaken by the bitter cold and
perished here."

Well, mebby if is so, I d'no. But I wuzn't knowin' to it myself, nor
Josiah wuzn't. Well, onheedin' our facts or fancies, the river bore us
onwards on its breast. Past high green boulders risin' up from the
water with nothin' on 'em, not even a tree; jest gray rock lookin'
some like a geni's castle frownin' down onto the intruders into their
realm. Then anon a pile of high gray rocks crowned as the Sammist sez
"with livin' green." Then in a minute more a little landlocked bay
with placid water sweepin' back into a pretty harbor, tree shaded, and
mebby a boat anchored there like a soul at rest, or mebby a sail-boat
with two young hearts in it driftin' down the sea of their content, as
the tiny waves rippled round their oars. Then a grand big mansion
lookin' down onto us kinder superciliously. Then a small, pretty farm
house with snug outbuildings, a man lookin' at us from the open barn
door, and some children playin' round the doorstep. Then a big island
with grassy shores or wooded depths; then a tiny island, not too big
for a child's playhouse, and some that wuz only a bit of rock peekin'
out of the water.

And fur off all the time when we could see it wuz the blue hazy
distance full of beauty; ever-changin' glimpses of loveliness, givin'
place to new beauties. Fur off, fur off sometimes we could see distant
pinnacles and towers, all bathed in the blue shinin' mist. And as the
rapt eyes of our Fancy gazed on 'em, they might have been the towers
of the New Jerusalem, the Golden city, so dreamlike, so inexpressibly
lovely did they seem faintly photographed aginst the soft blue distant
heavens.

But cold Reality said in her chillin' practical whisper, "It's nothin'
but Gananoque or Clayton," and she went on, "They hain't anything like
the New Jerusalem, either of them."

Alas for us poor mortals! who drive or are driv by the two contendin'
coharts of Imagination, Idealized Fancy and practical Reality. And she
always will have the last word, Reality will, and her voice is loud
and shrill, and it penetrates into the warm, sweet Indian summer air,
where Fancy dwells and where we sometimes visit her for brief
intervals. Too brief! too brief! for cold Reality is always hangin'
round; she is always up and dressed ready to put in her note.

I mentioned the metafor to Josiah and he sez, "Yes, it minds me of the
man who was brought up before the judge by his wife. She complained he
hadn't spoke to her for five years. The judge ast him if that were so,
and he said, 'Yes, that's so.' 'But why,' sez the judge, 'why hain't
you spoke to your wife for five years?' And the man sez, 'Because I
didn't want to interrupt her.'" Josiah declares it is true, but I
believe it is jest a slur on wimmen.

But to resoom. Swiftly, silently we sped on with the islands about us,
the blue sky overhead and the shadow islands below. And innumerable
boats appeared far and near, some with white sails lifted, and
followed below by a white shadow sail, and anon a big steamer would
glide along, loaded down to its gunwale with crowds of gay pleasure
seekers, who would wave their snowy handkerchiefs and salute us, the
steamer backin' 'em with its deep grum voice. Or anon we could see a
big dark barge sailin' along, and Fancy would whisper to us as we
gazed on its mysterious dark sides without a soul in sight:

"It may be the phantom of some old Pirate ship, condemned for its
sins to cruise along forever in strange waters, homesick for its
native seas." But Reality spoke right up jest as she always will and
said it wuz probable some big lake steamer heavy loaded with grain or
some great Canadian boat. And then a new seen of beauty would drift
into our vision and take our minds off and carry 'em away some
distance. Oh, it is no wonder that Faith's soft eyes grew more tender
and luminous.

Josiah felt the beauty of the seen, he felt it deeply, but everybody
knows that beauty affects folks differently, it always seems to
sharpen up my dear companion's appetite, and three cookies in as many
minutes wuz offered up on the shrine of his vivid appreciation, and
two nut cakes.

We got back to our hotel, the sun about an hour high. Jest before our
bark swep' into the haven, and while Josiah and Faith had crossed over
to the opposite side of our bark, I hearn a voice on the off quarter
windward, and I turned round and see to my dismay that it wuz Mr.
Pomper. He sez to me in a low voice, while his looks spoke volumes of
yellow colored literatoor: "I wish to speak a few words to you alone,
mum. Can you give me the opportunity?"

I looked him full in that eye of hisen, a hauty cold look, a look as
much as 40 degrees below freeze, and said nothin' else but jest that
look.

"I have somethin' very important to say to you. Can you hear me?"

Words wuz risin' to my tongue that would wither him forever, and end
the vile persecutions I wuz undergoin', when before I could speak the
gang plank wuz charged back agin Mr. Pomper's foot in a way that made
him leap back like a sportive elephant, and for the moment I wuz free.
But as I wended my pensive way up to the hotel, I made up my mind that
if he ever approached me agin I would plainly tell him what wuz what,
and so end my purturbations of mind; for I felt if it wuz to go on
much longer I should lose a pound of flesh, and mebby a pound and a
half, in the stiddy wearin' persecution I wuz undergoin'. And that
night at dinner as I ketched the light smoulderin' in that lonely orb,
as it wuz bent on our table, and the corner in parlor and piazza where
we wuz ensconced, I wondered anew what wuz the attractions that kep'
Mr. Pomper so stiddy at my shrine, And I got so that I almost hated
the good looks that wuz ondoin' him and me too. And I looked into the
glass dreamily as I wadded up my back hair and did up the front, and
pinned my cameo pin onto my rich cotton and wool parmetty, and
wondered if it wuzn't my duty to leave off that pin, and change that
parmetty for calico, and sort o' frowzle up my hair onbecomingly in
order to wean him from me. But alas! my principles did not seem able
to git up onto that bite, so weak are we poor mortals after all our
aspirin' efforts.

One curious thing I have ever noticed among men (and wimmen too) and
that is the ease and facility with which they will slip out of
statements and idees they have promulgated, and turn around in their
tracts as easy and graceful as a dummy before a show case. Now there
wuz a party to be gin to the hotel for a charitable purpose, each man
and woman present givin' 25 cents, and then havin' a social time
afterwards, and as the object wuz good I sez to my pardner, "I would
like to attend to it." And he acted fairly skairt and horrow struck at
the idee and went on eloquent about old folks at our ages, and with
our professions, and our rumatiz, follerin' up gayety and show. Sez
he, "The place for us evenin's is in our own room readin' our Bibles
and Tracks."

And I sez as I calmly wadded up my back hair and smoothed my foretop,
"Well, I spoze I can go alone if you feel so."

Then another thought seemed to roust him up; Jealousy seemed to strike
her sharp prongs into his slender side, and he sez bitterly, "Yes,
goin' down alone into a perfect mawlstrom of men flirtin' and
actin'!"

"The mawlstrom won't hurt me," sez I, "I hain't goin' nigh it." But
even as I spoke I thought of Mr. Pomper, and sez to myself, Can I help
him from comin' nigh me? And as if in answer to my onspoken thoughts
my pardner sez:

"Mawlstroms will draw anybody in onbeknown to them; they're deadly
dangerous!" And I see him gin a kin' of a shiver. I wuz touched to the
heart by the thought of his devotion, and as I fastened my cameo pin
more firmly into the rich folds of parmetty at my neck, I sez:

"Dear Josiah, I don't know but you're right. I feel as though I want
you near me to protect me." That melted his heart, but alas, did not
affect his pocket book, and he sez, "I would go down with you in a
minute, Samantha, but jest consider on the 50 cents we would spend
there, how much comfort that would bring to some lonely widder, mebby
a blind woman, who is a-hunger and ye fed her not."

I looked stiddy at him and sez I, "Josiah Allen, will that poor widder
git that fifty cents?"

He answered evasive, and I went on, "It is easy to make the excuse
that the money you are asked for in charity will do so much more good
somewhere else, but," sez I sternly, "the money don't git there, and
you know it." He still kep' his hand in his pocket round that pocket
book I believe, whilst he took a new tact: "The air, Samantha, in that
room will be stiflin', and if I should take you into that place and
you should stifle, I should die away myself, I couldn't live a minute
without you, dear Samantha," sez he.

Well, my tizik wuz pretty bad in crowded places and suffice it to say,
that though his arguments didn't convince me, they sort o' overpowered
me for the time bein', and we stayed in our own room.

Now to show the facility with which folks will turn right round and
revolve, I will tell how Josiah seemin'ly forgot mawlstroms, bad air,
rumatiz, ages, meetin' housen, principles, etc., and turned right
round on the pivot of his inclination. A day or two after he heard
down in the office about the dancin' parties they had in the parlor
anon or oftener, and he come up into our room enthused with the idee
and wanted to branch out and go that night, and I sez:

"What about mawlstroms and gayety, Josiah Allen?"

"Oh," he sez, "I shall be there to protect you, Samantha, no mawlstrom
can draw you in and destroy you, whilst I have a drop of blood left in
my veins! I'll protect you here, and I'd protect you at Coney Island,"
sez he--(that idee never left his mind I believe).

"What about the bad air?" sez I.

"Oh the winder will probable be open, and you can take your turkey
feather fan with you." And then I dropped my half jocular tone and sez
in deadly earnest:

"Be I leanin' on a Methodist pillow or be I not? Have I a deacon by my
side or haven't I?"

But Josiah seemed calm and even gay sperited under my two reproachful
orbs that poured their search lights into his very soul, and he sez:

"From all I hear it hain't a wicked dance at all, but jest a pretty
dancin' party down in the parlor, jined in by men and wimmen and their
children and mebby their grand-children, and it is always so sweet,"
sez he, "to see a man and his grand-children dancin' together. Oh, if
Delight wuz only here!" sez he.

I riz up and sez in almost heart breakin' axents:

"Josiah Allen, be you a thinkin' of dancin' yourself?"

"No," sez he, "no, Samantha, I jest want to look on a spell, that's
all."

But there wuz a look in his eyes that I hated to see, for I had seen
it many times in the past, and it had always foreboded trials to me
and humiliation to my pardner. How queer human critters be! what
strange and mysterious tacts they will git on and how they will foller
up them tacts and fads of theirn. But I d'no as human critters are any
worse about follerin' up their tacts and fads and follerin' 'em blind,
than old Mom Nater is. Now who hain't noticed her queer moods and how
prolonged they be, and how sudden and onexpected they will come onto
her? When she takes it into her head to have a pleasant spell of
weather, how she'll foller it up, clear skies, pleasant days and
nights for weeks and weeks. And if she takes it into her head to have
it rain, how she will keep the skies drippin' right along for most all
summer. And then when she has a dry spell, how dry she is! no matter
how much the dwindlin' creeks and empty wells and springs complain,
she has got to carry out her own idees till she gits ready to change.

Josiah Allen, since I had been his pardner had took many a fad into
his old head, which he had carried out as only Nater or a man can
carry 'em, onreasonable, mysterious, out of season, but bound to let
'em run. Sometimes in the past it had been a desire for singin' base
that had laid holt on him, base in every sense the word can be used.
Then agin he had painful and prolonged spells of wantin' to be genteel
and fashionable, then anon political ambition had rousted up his rusty
old faculties and for months and months Coney Island had been his
theme, and wuz now, and so on through a long roll of characters he had
desired to play in the drama of life.

But _dancin'!_ never did I expect to see that man with his age and his
profession and his achin' old bones, wantin' to dance. But so it wuz,
as will be seen in the follerin' pages. Queer as a dog folks are on
this planet, and I d'no but the Marites and Jupiters and Saturnses are
jest as queer. But to quit eppisodin' and resoom forwards agin.

I have always found that it hain't best to draw the matrimonial rope
too tight round your pardner's jungular veins. I see he wuz sot on
goin' and I felt I would ruther he would go with me who could have
some savin' control over him, than to have him git reckless and sally
off alone. So it wuz settled that we should go that night at early
candle light. And Faith wuz to go with us. Yes, I, Josiah Allen's
wife, had gin my consent to go to a dance. But jest so the environin'
cord of circumstances gits us all wound up in its tangles time and
agin. And as the way of poor weak mortals is, havin' made up my mind
to go I tried to bring to mind all the mitigatin' circumstances I
could. I thought of how the lambs capered on the hillside, how the
leaves on the trees danced to the music of the south wind, and how
even the motes swung round with each other in the sunlight. And then I
thought of how David danced before the ark, and how Jeptha's daughter
danced out to meet her father (to be sure she had her head took off
for it, but I tried to not dwell on that side of the subject). And
then I remembered how I did love music, and in spite of myself I felt
kinder chirked up thinkin' I should enjoy quite a long spell on't. And
thinkses I, if dancin' is a little mite off from the hite Methodists
ort to stand on, music is the most heavenly thing we can lay holt of
below, so I sort o' tried to even up them two peaks in my mind and lay
a level onto 'em and try to make myself believe they struck about a
fair plane of megumness, and shet my eyes to the idee that it slanted
off some and wuz slippery.

Oh what weak creeters we be anyhow! Well, that night there wuz goin'
to be a extra big party, and I wuz for startin' at once after supper,
for truly I felt that I wuz performin' a hard and arjous job, and as
my way is I wuz for tacklin' it to once and gittin' over it. Yes, I
felt it wuz goin' to be a wearin' job to git Josiah Allen to that
parlor durin' them festivities and back agin with no damage or scandal
arisin' from the enterprise.

But Faith sez, "It will be too early, they won't begin to dance till
eight. We eat at six." And I sez, "For the land's sake! if I'd got to
dance I should begin early and stop early, so's to git a little rest."
And she sez:

"Young folks don't think about that."

Well, we compromised on half past seven (most bed-time). And when
Faith knocked at our door at that epoch of time we wuz all ready.
Josiah had carefully combed his few locks of gray hair upwards over
his bald head, had donned a sweet smilin' look, and a cravat, gayer
fur than I approved of (he'd bought it durin' the day onbeknown to
me). And I had arrayed my noble figger in my usual cotton and wool
brown dress, brightened up at the neck and sleeves with snowy collar
and cuffs, and further enriched by the large cameo pin. I also carried
a turkey feather fan that harmonized in color with my dress. I looked
exceedingly well and felt well.

And Faith, I sez proudly to myself, a sweeter face and prettier dress
won't be seen there to-night. She did look lovely. Her soft eyes
shone, her cheeks looked pinky, her hair, a sort of a golden brown
with some gray in it, crinkled back from her white forward and wuz
gathered in a loose knot on the top of her head with a high silver
comb. Her dress wuz thin and white and gauzy, and though it wuz
considerable plain it wuz made beautiful by the big bunch of pale
pink roses at her belt and bosom, jest matchin' her cheeks in color.

I wuz proud of her. And I felt quite well about my other companion,
for as I glanced at the small kerseymear figger and pert bald head, I
sez to myself, "He makes a much better escort than none at all."



CHAPTER EIGHT

IN WHICH MR. POMPER DECLARES HIS INTENSHUNS AN' GIVES HIS VIEWS ON
MATRIMONY



CHAPTER EIGHT

IN WHICH MR. POMPER DECLARES HIS INTENSHUNS AN' GIVES HIS VIEWS ON
MATRIMONY


As our party sort o' swep' gracefully down into the hall, we thought
we would step outdoors for a minute for a breath of fresh air. It
looked gay and almost fairy-like out there. The two broad piazzas wuz
all lit up with colored lights and baskets of posies hung down between
'em full of bloom, and the broad piazzas and wide flight of steps
leadin' up to 'em wuz full of folks in bright array, walkin' and
talkin' and laughin' makin' the seen more fair and picture-like. And
in front wuz the long grassy lawn with its gay flower beds, and the
long walk down to the wharf all sparklin' with lights, and beyend, in
front of it all, lay the deep river, with its sighin' voice borne in
on the stillness, jest as in the hearts of every one of that throng,
way back beyend the gayety and sparklin' mirth lay the deep sea of
their own inner life, with its melancholy hantin' memories, its
sighin' complainin' voices, its deeps that nobody else could fathom.

And while we stood there, I wrapped in reverie and a gray zephyr
shawl, a broad beam of light wuz cast from somewhere fur off, shinin'
full and square first one side then the other side of the river.
Nearer and nearer it seemed to be comin' towards us, and wherever that
light fell a picture wuz brung quick as a flash of lightnin' out of
the darkness.

It seemed some like the day of Judgment shinin' through the darkness
of men's lives and bringin' out the hidden things. Way out in the
distance where nothin' could be seen but blackness and shadows, the
beam would fall and a island would stand out plain before us, houses
with men and wimmen on the piazzas, a boat house, a boat with men and
wimmen and children in it. You could see for one dazzlin' minute the
color of their garments, and the motion of their hands and arms, then
the sea of darkness would engulf 'em agin, and on the nigh side out of
the darkness would shine out a vision of the shore with trees standin'
up green and stately, and you could see the color of leaf and bough
and almost the flutter of their leaves. A green lawn, rosy flower
beds, a pretty cottage, faces at the windows, agin darkness swallowed
it up, and broad and brilliant the great shaft of light lay on the
blackness, and on the shinin' water fur ahead a boat stood out vivid.
Its white sail shone, the young man at the helm with uplifted head wuz
wavin' a greetin', the girl in the other end of the boat looked like a
picture in her broad hat and white wrap, and beyend 'em and all round
'em, wuz little boats, and fur ahead a big steamer.

Anon it wuz turned sideways, and a dark mysterious craft wuz seen
sailin' by mysteriously, one of the big lake vessels goin' I know not
where. Anon a dazzlin' flash swep' right across us, bringin' Faith and
me and my pardner out into almost blindin' relief, his bald head
shinin' in the foreground, his cravat gleamin' almost blindin'ly, and
with music and bright light shinin' from the cabin winders, and decks
loaded with gay passengers, the Search Light Steamer swep' up to the
wharf.

The ball had not yet arrove at its hite when we entered the festivious
hall, so we readily found seats in a commogious corner. On one side on
me wuz my pardner, on the off side sot Faith in her serene beauty. In
front of me and on each side the gay crowd of dancers.

Pretty young girls arrayed in every color of the rain-bow. Handsome
young men, ditto homely ones, little children as pretty as posies with
their white dresses and white silk stockin's and slippers dancin' as
gayly as any of the rest, all on 'em big and little, graceful and
awkward, swingin', turnin', glidin' along, swingin', turnin', all
keepin' time to the sweet swayin' tones of the music, music that
seemed sometimes to bear my soul off some distance away and swing it
round and dance with it a spell, and then whirl it back agin to the
Present and Josiah. It wuz a queer time, but very riz up and enjoyable
in spite of some little sharp twinges that come anon or oftener, which
might have been conscience, but which I tried to lay off onto
rumatiz.

Two wimmen wuz talkin' near us, sez one of 'em, "There he goes agin,
see him prancin' round." And she motioned to a young chap I'd noticed
who seemed to be the most indefatigable dancer in the hull lot, and
his face wuz determined lookin', as if his hull life depended on
gallopin' round the room, and as if he never wuz goin' to stop.

"See him," sez the woman, "that young man's father and grand-father
would have swooned away if they'd thought that any of their kin would
dance."

"Wuz they so good?" sez the other woman.

"No," wuz the reply, "they had all sorts of narrowness, sins and
coniptions, but they thought dancin' wuz the wickedest thing ever
done. This boy wuz brought up as strict as a he nun, and now see him
prancin' round!"

And I spoke up and sez, "I hope he will prance off some of them
hereditary sins, if he's got to prance." They looked round at me
considerable cool and I said no more. But everybody wuzn't so clost
mouthed, for pretty soon a old lady come and sot down in a chair by
the side of me--Faith had moved a little back--and she sez:

"I want to dance; I love it dearly."

I looked up at her in amaze. Her cheeks wuz fell in. Her brow wuz
yellered and furrowed with years, and though her dress wuz gay she
couldn't conceal Time's ravages.

"Dance," sez I kinder dreamily and brow beat, "well, why don't you
dance?"

Sez she, "I don't know any of the gentlemen here."

I felt a movement on my nigh side and see that Josiah wuz leanin'
forward in deep interest, and thinkses I, he is sorry for her folly,
he has a noble heart. Well, ere long she riz up and went out into the
hall, and I mused on what I had so often mused on--how necessary it
wuz for everybody to keep on their own forts--sixty years had fled
since dancin' wuz her becomin' fort, now a rockin' chair and knittin'
work wuz her nateral fort, but she didn't realize it.

Well, the dancin' kep' on, the music pealed out sweet peals, heavenly
sweet, heavenly sad, and I wuz carried some distance away from myself
and heeded not what wuz passin' by my side. Anon a dance come on that
wuz called a German. In some of the figgers they seemed to be givin'
presents to each other, and had these presents kinder strung onto 'em,
same as savages ornament themselves with beads and things, though
these wuz quite pretty lookin' and seemed made up of posies and
ribbins and pretty little trinkets. And then the lights wuz lowered
and I see a long line of figgers come glidin' in, keepin' step to the
music, each one bearin' a pretty little colored lantern. And as I
looked on my eyes wuz almost stunted and blinded by a sight I see. Who
wuz the couple bringin' up the rear? Wuz it--it could not be--but yet
it _wuz_ my pardner, leadin' in the ancient dame, who wuz footin' it
merrily on her old toes, or as merrily as she could, liable to fall
down every step with rumatiz and old age. And what did my pardner bear
in his hand!

That very day in goin' about the place he found in a store an old tin
lantern, a relic of the past someone had left there to be sold. It wuz
a lantern that used to be in vogue before Josiah Allen wuz born, a
anteek tin lantern with holes in the sides, and one candle power. He
had bought it greedily, sayin' it wuz jest like one his grandpa had
when he wuz a child.

He had left it in the office, and had lit that lantern and wuz now
hangin' along in the rear of that gay procession, with that mummy-like
figger, a jest, a byword and a sneer, for laughter riz up round 'em
and sneers follered 'em as they swep' onwards. As they come nigh me I
riz up almost wildly and ketched holt of my pardner and sez I:

"Desist! Josiah Allen, stop to once!"

The aged female looked at me in surprise and feeble remonstrance, and
sez she:

"Can it be that you're jealous?"

[Illustration: _"As they come nigh me I riz up almost wildly and
ketched holt of my pardner and sez I: 'Desist! Josiah
Allen, stop to once!' The aged female looked at me in
surprise." (See page 131)_]

Even in that awful moment my powers of deep reasonin' didn't desert me
and I said:

"If I wuz goin' to be jealous I wouldn't be of a animated mummy, or
livin' skeleton!" And to my companion I sez, "Josiah Allen, if you
don't set down here by me, I will part with you to once before the
first Square or Justice I can ketch!"

He see determination on my eye-brow, and as they wuz in the extreme
rear of the line, and it didn't break up nothin', I ketched the
lantern out of his hand and blowed it out, and put it under his chair
as he sot down in it. And then to her I sez with a almost frozen
politeness:

"I'd advise you, mom, to soak your feet and go to bed."

She vanished. But to my pardner my voice lost that icy coldness and
become het up with indignation, and I sez, "What tempted you, Josiah
Allen, to make a perfect fool of yourself--a show for hollow
worldlings to sneer at!"

"Fool!" sez he in bitter axents, "you call me that when I wuz strictly
actin' out what you've always ordered me to do. You've always told me
to be good to females, to put myself out and make a martyr of myself
if necessary for their good. But it is the last time!" sez he
bitterly, "the very last time I will ever have anything to do with
your sect in any way, shape or manner. I get no thanks from you for
anything I do, and the worm may jest as well turn first as last."

"Do you pretend to say, Josiah, that you did this to please me?"

"Yes mom, I do! I did it to please you, and to take that woman's part.
You hearn her say she wanted to dance, but no man wuz forthcomin'."

"Dance!" sez I, "dance at ninety years old!"

"She hain't much more'n eighty," sez he, "I don't believe. But anyway,
you won't git me into such a scrape agin. Your sect may be trod on for
all that I care. They may set round till they grow to their chairs and
be trompled down into the ground--and I jest as soon tromple on a few
myself," sez he recklessly.

Oh dear me! what a mysterious curous trial pardners be more'n half the
time! but still I feel that they pay after all.

Let him talk as he would I knew he wuz only carryin' out that fad to
try to be genteel and fashionable, and oh how much trouble I've seen,
from first to last, with that sperit in my pardner!

Well, we didn't stay down much longer. Faith had stepped out of the
long winder behind us and wuz lookin' off onto the glorified river
durin' this _contrary temps_, and as I glanced out of the winder to
look for her I see the huge form of Mr. Pomper hoverin' in the
foreground, and I sez to Josiah, "I think it is time to retire and go
to bed."

And Faith bein' ready to go, we ascended to our rooms. As we passed
one of the landin' places on the staircase where some chairs wuz
placed, I see the ancient dame settin' and sarahuptishously rubbin'
her ankle jints. She straightened up and looked kinder coquetishly at
my pardner, but he swep' by her as if she wuz so much dirt under his
feet. Truly he seemed to be carryin' out his plan of ignorin' my sect
and passin' 'em by scornfully. I may see trouble with that sperit in
him yet.

The next mornin' Josiah wanted Faith and I to go out with him fishin'
and have a fish dinner, a sort of a picnic, on some island on the
fishin' grounds. That's quite a fashionable entertainment. They fish
till they git real hungry I spoze, and then the boatman puts into some
sheltered cove, and the party goes on shore, builds a fire and cooks
some of the fish they have got, and make coffee, and with the nice
lunch they took from the hotel, they have a splendid dinner I spoze,
and take sights of comfort.

Why lots of folks there would go out day after day early in the
morning, and stay until night, and then would walk proudly in with a
long string of fish, and would lay 'em on the desk in the office, and
a admirin' crowd would gather round to look at 'em and wonder how much
they weighed. Why wimmen and children would catch fish so big that it
is a wonder they could draw 'em into the boat, and I spoze they did
have help from the stronger sect (stronger arms I mean). And besides
the fish I spoze they ketch happiness and health.

Well, Josiah wuz rampant to go. He said he wanted to surprise the
crowd in the hotel and the hull of Well's Island with the fish he
would git, and then I spoze the idee of the dinner wuz drawin' him
onward. I brung up several arguments, such as the danger, fatigue,
etc., but he stood firm. But I had one weepon left that seldom failed,
and as a last resort I drawed that weepon, and he fell woonded to
once. Sez I, "Do you have any idee, Josiah Allen, how much it is goin'
to cost you?"

His linement fell. He hadn't thought on't. I see him silently draw a
boatman into a corner and interview him, and I hearn no more about a
fishin' picnic.

The very evenin' after this, Fate and Mr. Pomper gin me a chance to
carry out the plan I'd laid out heretofore. Josiah had stepped over to
the post office, and Faith had walked over with him at my request, for
she had a headache, and I told him to walk down to the wharf with her
and see if the cool air wouldn't do her good. So she had put a black
lace scarf over her pretty golden hair and went off with him.

Well, there wuz big doin's at the Tabernacle that night, and it wuz a
off night for music, and I found the parlor nearly deserted when I
walked in and sot down in my accustomed easy chair. And no sooner had
I sot down seemin'ly than Mr. Pomper's massive form emerged onto the
seen, and he drawed up a chair and sot down by my side.

Agreably to the plans I had laid down in my mind, I did not object to
the move. But though a picture of calmness on the outside, inwardly I
wuz callin' almost wildly on my powers of memory, tryin' to think jest
what Malviny had done, one of the immortal Children of the Abbey, when
Lord Mortimer approached her with his onlawful suit, and I tried also
to recall what the Mountain Mourner had done in like circumstances,
but before I had half done interviewin' them heroines in sperit my
mind wuz recalled into the onwelcome present by Mr. Pomper's voice in
my left ear:

"I asked you, Josiah Allen's wife," sez he, "to listen to me, for I
felt that you wuz the most proper person for me to state my feelings
to. Since you and your party have entered this house," sez he, "I have
had a great conflict goin' on between my mind and my heart."

"Ah indeed! have you?" sez I, liftin' my nose at a angle of from forty
to fifty degrees.

"Yes," sez he, "I have had a great struggle between my heart and my
common sense, and in the battle that ensued, Common Sense and Reason
has had to retire into the background, and Heart has triumphed."

"It is a great pity!" sez I, "Common Sense and Reason had much better
come out ahead," and agin I lifted my nose to its extremest limit, and
looked swords and prunin' knives at him.

"That is just what most folks would say, I am aware, but listen to my
story before you judge. I must reveal to you the state of my heart and
affections!"

How sure it is that when a kag is tapped the contents will run out no
matter whether it is wine or water. At them bold words accompanied by
the ardent rollin' of that lone orb, my well-laid plans all left my
mind, nothin' wuz left but pure principle and devotion and loyalty to
my pardner. The full kag emptied its contents over his nefarious
purposes, and I bust out almost onbeknown to me and sez:

"It is no use; it is vain, it is worse than vain! it is wicked!"

"What," sez he, "is she engaged to another?"

"Who?" sez I, turnin' like lightnin' and facin' him.

"Why, Miss Smith, your niece or grand-child who is with you. That
beauchious creature!" sez he.

"Faithful Smith!" sez I faintly, "is she the one you are talkin'
about?"

"Yes," sez he, "your grand-daughter, is she not?"

"My grand-daughter!" sez I in deep contempt, "she is my own cousin on
my own side."

"I thought," sez he, "from her looks and yours that she might be your
grand-child, but that is of no moment," sez he.

"It is of moment!" sez I, "she is uncle Leander Smith's own child,
and though she is a few years younger than I be, it has always been
said and thought all over Jonesville and Loontown that I hold my age
to a remarkable extent. And though I think my eyes of Faith I won't
thank you or anyone else for callin' her my grand-child!"

"But yet," sez he, "that's a tender, sweet relationship. What I want
to say to you is in relation to Miss Smith, she looks sad but
beauchious. I like her looks. You may have noticed that I have
occasionally glanced in the direction of your party."

"Yes," sez I, "Heaven knows I have noticed it!"

"Yes," sez he, "as I have looked upon her face from day to day a
conflict has been wagin' in my heart, and though you may be surprised
at the result (for I am very wealthy) I have decided to make her glad
and joyous once more."

He paused, as if for a reply, and I sez, "How did you mean to tackle
the job?"

"By makin' her my wife," sez he.

The mystery wuz all explained, my dignity and my beloved pardner's
safety all assured. I felt a feeling of infinite relief, and yet I
felt like a fool, and I blamed him severely for this ridiculous
_contrary temps_ that had occurred in my mind.

"Of course," sez he, "it is a great rise for her, I have hearn that
she hain't worth much, as I count wealth, and as we are speakin' in
confidence, I will say that there is a rich widder here who has hopes
of me, and mebby I've gin her some encouragement, kinder accidental,
as you may say, but I ort to know better. Widdowers can't be too
careful; they do great harm, let 'em be as careful as possible. They
tromple right and left over wimmen's hearts do the best they can. But
since I have seen Miss Smith and witnessed her sad face I have done a
sight of thinkin'. Here the case lays, the widder is strong, she can
stand trouble better. The widder is happy, for she has got that which
will make any woman happy--health, wealth, and property. And I've been
turnin' it over in my mind that mebby Duty is drawin' me away from the
widder and towards the maid. It hain't because the widder is homely as
the old Harry that influences me, no not at all. But the thought of
lightenin' the burden of the sad and down hearted, makin' the mournful
eyes dance with ecstasy, and the skrinkin' form bound with joy
like--like--the boundin' row on the hill tops. Now as the case stands
marry I will and must. My wife has already been lost for a period of
three months lackin' three weeks. She sweetly passed away murmurin',
'I am glad to go.'"

"No wonder at that!" I sez, "no wonder!"

"Yes, she wuz a Christian and she passed sweetly up into the Hevings,
thank the Lord!" sez he lookin' acrost onto Faith's sweet face, for
she had come back and set down acrost the room.

"She is better off, I hain't a doubt on't!" sez I fervently.

"I don't know about that. I did well by her, and she felt as well as
myself, that to be my wife wuz a fate not often gin to mortal
wimmen."

"That is so!" sez I fervently, "that is so!"

"Yes she wuz proud and happy durin' her life. I did everything for
her. I killed a chicken durin' her last sickness onasked, jest to
surprise her with soup. She lived proud and happy and died happy."

"I hain't a doubt that she died happy."

"No," sez he, "and now I must make a choice of her successor. It is a
hard job to do," sez he.

"No doubt on't," sez I, "no doubt on't!"

"Yes, whatever woman I choose, some must be left, pinin' on their
stems, to speak poetically. I can't marry every woman, that's plain to
be seen."

"Yes, thank Heaven! that's a settled thing," sez I lookin' longin'ly
at my pardner, who wuz leanin' aginst the door and conversin' with the
man of the house on his chosen theme, for anon or oftener I hearn the
words--Coney Island! Dreamland--Luny Park, etc., etc.

"No, and my choice made, I want it done as speedily as possible, for
my late lamented left as a slight token of her love thirteen children
of all ages, rangin' from six months up to twelve years, two pairs of
triplets, two ditto of twins, and three singles.

"My wealth lays in land mostly. I never believed in idle luxuries,
only comfort, solid comfort, and my wife will have a luxurious home of
a story and a half upright, and a linter, groceries and necessaries
all provided, and all she will have to do will be the housework and
gently train and care for the minds and bodies of the little ones,
with some help from the oldest set of triplets, and make my home agin
an oasis of joy, a Eden below. Oh! how happy she will be!" sez he,
"Nestlin' down like a wanderin' dove in the safety and peace and pride
of married life. When can I see Miss Smith?" sez he. "Or will you tell
her in advance of her good fortune?"

[Illustration: "_'No,' sez Mr. Pomper, 'I want it done as speedily as
possible, fer my late lamented left me thirteen children,
two pairs of triplets, two ditto of twins, and three
singles.'_" (_See page 143_)]

"No indeed!" sez I, "I make no matches nor break none. You will have
to do your own errents."



CHAPTER NINE

IN WHICH MR. POMPER MAKES A OFFER OF MARRIAGE AND FAITH HAS A
WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE



CHAPTER NINE

IN WHICH MR. POMPER MAKES A OFFER OF MARRIAGE AND FAITH HAS A
WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE


Faith had got up and gone out onto the piazza, and he riz up
ponderously and proudly and follered her. And onless I put cotton in
my ears, I couldn't help hearin' what wuz said. I could hear his proud
axent and her low gentle voice in reply.

Sez he, "Miss Smith, of course you hain't known me long, but I feel
that we are well acquainted. I have watched you when you hain't known
it."

I could imagine just how wonderingly the soft gentle eyes wuz raised
to his as he went on:

"Yes, I have kep' my eye on you, and I will say right out that I like
your looks and your ways, and I feel that you are worthy of being
promoted to the high honor I am about to heap onto you, by askin' you
to be my wife."

I heard a little low, skairt ejaculation and a chair pushed back.

"Your wife! oh no, no, you are mistaken!"

Then his voice in soothin' axents, "There, set down agin, set down. I
knew you'd take it so. I knew it would overcome you, but I say you are
worthy on't, and you needn't never be afraid I'll throw it in your
face that I am rich and you--and you----"

Then I hearn a swish of a dress float along, quick steps acrost the
piazza, a door shet, and anon Mr. Pomper come back to me.

"Jest as I told you, mom, stunted," sez he, "fairly stunted and broke
down by the suddenness of the good news. I'll give her time to git
used to the idee. I won't say no more at present."

"No," sez I dryly, "I wouldn't if I wuz in your place, I'd go and rub
some ile into my head or sweat it, or sunthin'."

"What for?" sez he in surprise, "why should I bathe my head, or
annoint it?"

"Oh nothin'," sez I, "if you don't think it needs softenin' up and
illuminatin'."

Well, I went up to my room and in a few minutes Faith come in, and she
went right by me and looked in the glass. She wuz pale and seemed to
be kinder tremblin'. She studied her face intently in the lookin'
glass, then sez she, "What is there in my face, what have I done?"
sez she, "How have I looked, that that awful man dare insult me? Oh, I
must have looked weak or acted weak, or he wouldn't have dared to!"
and she busted out cryin'.

And I sez soothin'ly, "It hain't the worst thing that could happen to
you. A offer of marriage hain't like a attack of yeller fever, or
cholera, or even the janders, nor," sez I, "it hain't like losin'
friends, or a plague of grasshoppers, or----"

And I spoze there hain't no tellin' onto what hites of eloquence I
might have riz to cheer her up. But all of a sudden she bust out
a-laughin' with the tears standin' in her big eyes and runnin' down
her cheeks.

"There," sez I, "you see I'm right, don't you?"

"Oh you dear, delicious Samantha!" sez she, and she throwed her arms
round me and kissed me. I kissed her back and then I went on brushin'
my hair for the night. I hadn't nothin' on but my skirts and dressin'
sack, but I didn't mind her. And she went and sot down by the winder
and looked off into the west. Fur off the blue hazy distance lay like
another country. The moonlight lay on the waters, a white sail fur
off seemed to float into dreamy mist. She sot there still, and a queer
look seemed to come into her face. I felt that she wuz thinkin' of
him, the lost lover of her youth. I felt that she wuz with him and not
with me. I thought from the looks of her face she might think he had
been insulted by the rude feet that had assayed to walk into the
kingdom where he had rained, and rained still, I believe. Sez I to
myself, mebby she is walkin' with him in the past, and mebby in the
futer, how could I tell, I felt queer and wadded up my hair with
emotions that never before went into them hair pins.

After I had finished I sot down, as my habit is, to read a few verses
of Skripter, to sort o' carry with me in my journey through the
unknown realms of Sleep. And as I make a practice of openin' wherever
I happen to--or I don't really like that word happen--I let the book
open where it will, and I wuz jest readin' these words:

"Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes, the signs and
the great miracles."

When I hearn through my readin', as one will, the whistle of the night
boat comin' in, and the noise of many steps goin' along the walk
below. Then I opened the book agin and went on with my readin':

"The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but these things that
are revealed belong to us."

When sunthin' made me look up, Faith wuz bendin' forward lookin' out
of the winder, though she couldn't see anyone that wuz passin' on
account of the ruff, and I see a look that I never see before on any
face, it wuz all rousted up, illuminated, glad, triumphant, sad,
glowin', blessed, and everything else.

And I said, "What is it, Faith, what do you see?"

Sez she, "I don't know."

And I said then, "What do you think it is?"

And she sez, "Cousin Samantha, do you think that those who are far
away ever return to the hearts that are mourning for them? Is there
any way that souls can meet while the bodies are far apart?"

"Why yes," sez I, "I have always thought so, I have always thought
they had some way of tellin' us they wuz nigh without usin' language
we know anything about. Many is the time I've expected visitors that I
hadn't seen or hearn from in some time, and sure enough they'd come
jest as I seemed to think they would. And letters! how many a time all
of a sudden I would most know I wuz goin' to git a letter from
somebody, and sure enough when Josiah would go to the post office he'd
bring it back with him. How them folks hundreds of milds away managed
to let me know they wuz thinkin' of me on paper, or how I knew these
friends wuz approachin' onbeknown to me, I don't know nor Josiah
don't.

"There wuzn't no U. S. stamp on these messages, nor earthly hands
didn't bring the tidin's of these visitors. No the post-masters and
messengers on that mysterious Route keep perfect silence as to where
they be, or who they be. But they are at work all the same, though who
they work for, or how they work, how can we tell? The strange rays of
light that flash through the darkness of dense bodies makin' visible
what has been onseen since the creation, hasn't discovered these
highways yet, mebby they will. The strange new air route messages that
travel acrost the stormy Atlantic may run right acrost these
mysterious highways," and for a minute my mind follered off on them
strange, strange tracks, Marconi roads lighted by X-rays and leadin'
who knows where.

When my mind kinder come back agin to what we wuz talkin' about I
resoomed, "And if this happens to us as it duz time and agin in regard
to friends and well wishers, how much more it is likely to be true of
those we love and who love us. This strange knowledge and fore-warnin'
is not material, it is independent of the body or any workin's of the
mind that we understand, and how do we know how fur reachin' and
universal that law is if our eyes wuz not held so we could discern it?
If these fine senses wuz not so unused, and as you may say bed-rid by
disuse, how do we know how truly near to us may be those who in our
blindness we say are fur away, how do we know but their spiritual
self, their real self, may be nearer to us than our neighbors in the
flesh, and those who sit by our firesides, though our mortal eyes may
not see them, and oceans and seas may divide us and mebby the Deepest
River. What do we know about the onseen roads that lay all about us,
leadin' from Loontown and Jonesville and from one continent to the
other, and mebby up through the clear fields of Light? What do we know
about them still mysterious streets windin' mebby from our home and
hearts to Thomas Jefferson's, and so on, mebby from star to star? And
what do we know of the travelers that go up and down on 'em and
outward and homeward? These roads don't need any surveyor to lay 'em
out, or path-master to clear 'em of snow and dirt, no weeds grow up by
the wayside, nor dirt lays in the track.

"No, clear and broad and unobstructed the luminous pathways may lay
all round us onknown to us. Noiseless chariots, swifter than our
imaginations can grasp now, may cleave these star routes, connecting
one land to another, and mebby jinin' immense distances to our planet,
as easy as we can hitch up and go to Jonesville.

"We don't see these noiseless conveyances, lighter and swifter than
thought, nor the forms they waft to us from afar. We can't hear their
voices, but our soul listens! We feel their nearness! For a blessed
moment we are thrilled with the bliss of their presence, their full
comprehension of pity and love.

"'Dear ones!' our heart cries, 'where are you? Come nearer! Let our
eyes behold you!' Our soul peers longin'ly through the mist of earthly
blindness, looking! listening!'"

I wuz carried some distance away from myself by my deep eppisodin'
when a sigh from Faith brung me down and landed me on terry firmy agin
and I sez,

"Why do you ask this question to-night, dear?"

"Because," sez she in a tremblin' voice, "I feel that someone long
gone and lost is near me to-night, I feel the presence nearer than you
are now," sez she, puttin' her little white tremblin' hand on my own.

"I am not mistaken," sez she with streaming eyes, "I know that in
whatever world or distant way that soul may be dwellin', it is with me
to-night. It frightens me!" sez she, white as a cloth, "And it fills
me with the blessedness of Heaven!" And she smiled with her big
luminous eyes. She wuz tremblin' like a popple leaf.

"Well, well," sez I, "shet up the winder, and take a little catnip
tea. I'll steep it on my alcohol lamp, and go to bed. You've been
excited too much to-night." I knew, though she didn't say so, that the
very idee of catnip wuz repugnant and oncongenial to her at that time,
but I felt that I had reason and common sense on my side. Faithful
hain't over strong, and had been through considerable excitement,
besides I hearn the distant step of my pardner, and his voice
parleyin' with the hall boy for sunthin'.

And though the subject broached by Faith, and believed in by me, wuz
as interestin' to me as a subject could be, yet I felt then, and feel
now, that though transcendentalism may be more agreable talkin'
matter, and may be indulged in at times, yet such commonplace subjects
as herb drink has to be brung forwards and sort o' hung onto by our
minds, in order to anchor 'em as it were to the land of Megumness,
where I would fain tarry myself and have my near and dearest dwell.
But Faith said she didn't want any catnip, and jest before Josiah come
in she kissed me good night, and I said, "Good night, dear, and 'God
be with you till we meet again.'"

I knew she thought everything of that him, and thought mebby it would
sort o' quiet her some since she rejected the paneky I spoke of. But
her face at the very last looked white and riz up and luminous, and
her eyes shone. I felt queer.

The next day wuz Sunday and Josiah and I went to the Tabernacle to
meetin'. Faith havin' a headache didn't go. But before I go any
furder I will back up the boat and moor it to the shore, while I tell
you what the result wuz so fur as Mr. Pomper wuz concerned. At the
breakfast table next mornin' he cast languishin' glances at Faith, and
then looked round the room proudly as much as to say:

"Gentlemen and ladies, behold my choice, and I hain't sorry I chose
her out of the throng of waitin' wimmen."

But some time durin' that day he found out his mistake. I don't know
exactly how Faith managed to pierce the rhinocerous hide of his
self-conceit with the truth, but she did somehow let him know that his
attentions wuz futile, futiler than he ever mistrusted his attentions
could be.

But he wuzn't danted and down-casted more'n several minutes, I guess,
for anon I see him walkin' with a woman almost as ponderous as he wuz,
and as she wuz all janglin' with black jet and as humbly as humbly
could be, I mistrusted that he had gone back to his allegiance to the
widder, and I think he looked happier than I had ever seen him. He
looked as if he wuz rejoiced that his temporary thraldom to sentiment
wuz over, and common sense and practical gain wuz in the ascendancy
agin. And though it hain't much matter, I will say I read his
marriage in the paper the next week:

"Amaziah Pomper to Euphrasia, relict of Elnathan Fatt."

But I d'no as Faith knew anything about it, for she didn't stay with
us only a few days longer, she went on to visit her aunt Petrie and so
on to the Ohio, makin' a solemn promise to me to stop and visit us on
her way home the last of September. Well, I will now onhitch the boat
and row back, and then let it sail on down the stream of history. As I
said, the next day after that singular experience of Faith's wuz
Sunday, and my pardner and I went to the Tabernacle. We wuz told that
there wuz to be oncommon exercises that day owin' to the visit of a
great Evangelist from the West. Lots of folks had come on the night
boats so as to be there to hear him. For if the angel Gabriel wanted
to preach there to lost sinners, he couldn't land there on Sunday
unless he swum or come cross lots (that is, unless he flowed down).
The folks on that island are too good to let anyone come there to
meetin' unless they come sarahuptishously. I asked a trustee once why
it wuz wicked for folks to ride there to meetin'.

And he said, "A merciful man is merciful to his beast."

Sez I, "A steamer hain't a beast, and if it wuz, it wouldn't tucker it
out much to come over from the bay or Clayton." And he said the
sailors would have to toil to git 'em there.

"So the driver and the horses have to toil to git sinners to meetin'
on the main land," sez I. And he said, "The steamers would make noise
and confusion, and disturb the sweet Sabbath calm." I felt there wuz
some truth in this, though it wouldn't make nigh so much noise as the
thousands of church bells clangin' out church time in cities and
villages.

Sez he, "If we allowed boats to land here we should be overrun with
excursionists who don't care for Sunday as a day of holy quiet and
rest, and our peaceful Sabbath would be turned into a carnival of
pleasure seekers, flirtations, giggles, brown paper parcels, egg
shells, cigar smoke and sandwiches."

And I sez, "Like as not that is so." And I felt that mebby he wuz in
the right on't. But some don't like it and feel that they'd ort to
take the resk.



CHAPTER TEN

WE HEAR A GREAT TEMPERANCE SERMON, BUT JOSIAH STILL HANKERS FOR CONEY
ISLAND



CHAPTER TEN

WE HEAR A GREAT TEMPERANCE SERMON, BUT JOSIAH STILL HANKERS FOR
CONEY ISLAND


Ever since I had been to the Thousand Island Park, my mind had roamed
onto that idee of the Tabernacle with a sort of or. It is a big
impressive word and one calculated to impress a stranger and
sojourner. And so when we made up our minds to attend to it I almost
instinctively put on my best alpacky dress (London brown) and I also
run a new ribbin into my braize veil and tied it round my bunnet so it
would hang in graceful folds adown the left side of my frame, I also
put on my black mitts and my mantilly with tabs; of course I carried
my faithful umbrell.

I looked well. Faith had a bad headache, I guess the job of gittin'
that information into Mr. Pomper's head had tuckered her out, so I and
my pardner sot off alone. All the way there my mind wuz real riz up
thinkin' I wuz goin' to see sunthin' very grand lookin' and
scriptural, and I said over and over to myself a number of times with
deep respect and or, "Tabernacle! Tabernacle!"

Yes, I felt some as if I wuz the Queen of Sheba and Josiah wuz
Solomon, though I might have knowed, my pardner lacked the first
ingregient in Solomon's nater, wisdom. And I probable wuzn't so dressy
as Miss Sheba, 'tennyrate I hadn't no crown or septer, a brown straw
bunnet and umbrell meetin' my wants better, but not nigh so dashy
lookin'. But my feelin's all come from the name of the place we wuz
bound for, and the patriarchical, Biblical past my mind wuz rovin'
round in. Yes, my mind wuz rousted up and runnin' on the trimmin's of
the Ark and Temple. I thought like as not I should see purple curtains
hung on shinin' poles, jest so many cubits long and high, and gorgeous
carpets to walk on and ornaments and fringes and tossels.

I would not ask questions, but I wuz prepared for splendid lookin'
things and lots of 'em. Well, if you'll believe me there wuzn't a
thing there that I expected to see, not a ornament or curtain or
tossel, and nothin' but jest common ground to walk on like our suller
bottom or dooryard. And long benches all through it as fur as the eye
could reach almost.

The platform wuz big as most meetin' housen, but bare and plain, and
there wuz what seemed to be sheets hung up round the hull concern,
though rolled up so we could see out all round us. There wuz only one
way it come up to my idees, and that wuz the cubits. I should think it
wuz jest about as many cubits long and broad as anything ever wuz or
ever will be. They say it will hold five thousand folks, and I should
judge they wuz all there that mornin', and had brung their children
and relations on both sides.

They wuz havin' a song service when we went in, and to hear five
thousand voices or so fillin' that Tabernacle full of high and
inspirin' melody, wuz indeed a treat. It filled it so full that it
oozed out of the sheets on all sides and soared up through the
encirclin' green trees, up, up towards the blue sky, and no knowin'
how much furder it did go upwards, clear up to Heaven like as not, for
that place we have always been told is the home of music. It wuz
sunthin' to remember as long as you lived to hear that great flood of
melody flow out and swash and sway round us, bearin' us some distance
away from ourselves.

My Josiah tuned up and sung jest as loud as any of 'em, but his
singin' would have sounded better if he had sung the tune the rest
did. He sung the tune he had always been used to singin' hims in, he
is dretful sot on it, and don't like to change. But as he seemed to
enjoy it so much, and the great rush of melody wuz so powerful his
voice wuz onnoticed. The him wuz, "How firm a foundation ye saints of
the Lord."

Mr. Pomper wuz jest ahead on us, and thinkin' he would see better, I
spoze had got up on the bench, and jest as he shouted out with the
rest, "How firm a foundation," the bench broke and down he come, but
in the big volume of sound, his yell of fright wuzn't heard no more
than the note of a mosquito in a cyclone.

In the intervals of silence Josiah sot and made comments to me on the
surroundin' seen, that alas made me know his mind wuzn't riz up on
such hites as mine wuz. He commented on the looks of the men around
him, and cast the idee in my face that there wuzn't any on 'em so good
lookin' as he wuz, or nigh so distinguished in their means. I felt
sorry to think he wuz so blinded, though of course he looks good to
me. And he talked about the wimmen and advanced the idee that they
well might take pattern by his pardner in their looks and deportment.
Josiah after all is a man of good sense.

[Illustration: "_Mr. Pomper, thinkin' he would see better, got up on
the bench, and jest as he shouted out 'How firm a
foundation,' the bench broke and down he come._"
(_See page 168_)]

As I looked round me, I liked the place more and more. What need wuz
there of upholstery and carpets? Brussels never turned out such a
carpet as old Mom Nater had spread all round that Temple of hern. Old
Gobelin never wove such tapestry. No Empress of the wonder-laden East
ever had hung in her boodore such a marvelous green texture as drooped
down in emerald canopies above us. No golden lamp ever gin such a
light as sifted down over the matchless green overhead, to light that
solemn sanctuary. No organ ever gin out such sweet sound as the birds
warbled anon or oftener. No jeweled ornaments ever sparkled on a altar
like the emerald and gold winged butterflies flutterin' round that
sacred hant, amongst the wild flowers that blossomed even up to the
door. And it seemed as if the soul could soar up easier somehow when
you could look right into the blue mystery of the sky, the trackless
path that souls mount up on in prayer and praise. Somehow plaster and
mortar seem more confinin'. Though I d'no as it really makes any
difference. Heaven is over all, and the soul's wings can pierce the
heaviest material, bein' made in jest that strong and delicate way,
but yet it seemed more free and soarin' somehow, and as if the path
heavenward wuz clearer.

The breezes kind of hung off and didn't come in. Josiah said they wuz
afraid to land on Thousand Island Park for fear of bein' fined for
travelin' on Sunday, but it wuzn't so, they didn't come because it wuz
so sultry and kinder muggy.

I'd hearn that the man who wuz goin' to preach wuz a dretful smart
man, a Evangelist and Temperance Lecturer. A man so gifted and good
that folks would go milds and milds to hear him, he seemed to hold the
secret of inspirin' men and wimmen, and rousin' 'em out of their cold
icy states, and drawin' 'em right along towards the mounts he
habitually stood on. He'd done sights of good, sights on it.

And anon I see a stir round the preacher's stand that made me know the
speaker of the day, the great Revivalist and Temperance worker had
come. And most immegiately a tall figger passed through the crowd that
made way for him reverentially. There wuz a smile and a good look on
his face for all the bretheren round him, some like a benediction,
only less formal. As he come out on the stand and stood before us I
could see that there wuz a light shinin' on his face as if ketched
from some heavenly and divine power. His eyes wuz soft and deep
lookin', as if he knew jest how mean and weak humanity wuz, and wuz
sorry for folks, and would like to tell 'em the secret he had found
out, how to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, specially
the devil.

His smile wuz sad and sweet, jest about half-and-half. His features
wuz good, and his hair, which wuz light brown to start with, wuz
considerable gray round his forward. His voice wuz like the sound of
deep waters that penetrates through all lighter voices and that you
hear through 'em all, jest as you hear the voice of the great River
through all the murmurin's of the trees and bird song on the shore. He
gin out a him in that sweet melogious voice that wuz as good as
singin' or better. The him told how, though we could not climb up into
Heaven to bring the Lord Christ down, yet how love had still its
Olivet and Faith its Galilee. And one verse wuz:

                The healing of that seamless dress
                  Is by our beds of pain;
                We touch it in life's care and stress
                  And we are strong again.

And oh the truth of them verses! As that man read and prayed and
spoke, that seamless dress seemed to float along by us, worn by the
pityin' Christ, we laid holt on it with our yearnin' longin's and
outreachin' sperits, and felt that strength had gone out of it into
our souls.

His prayer seemed to bring Heaven so near to us that we could almost
look in. He asked the Lord to draw nigh to us, and He did. He asked
Him to help us bear our daily trials and temptations, and the weary
wearin' cares of life, and we felt that He would help us. We felt that
that sweet strong appeal for the Comforter to come into our lives to
bless and strengthen us for good work, wuz answered then and there.

The Word he read wuz that incomparable chapter in Hebrews, in which
Paul tells of the mighty works wrought by faith, of them who through
faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, stopped the mouths of
lions, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight,
turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead
raised to life agin. And on to the end of that matchless chapter.

And the text wuz, "Wherefore seeing we are encompassed about by so
great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight and the sin
that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race
that is set before us."

And then follered a sermon that wuz better than any I ever hearn in my
life, and I have sot under splendid preachers in my day. But this,
though delivered in simple language wuz so helpful, lifting us,
holding us up, so we could ketch a glimpse of the right way and
inspire us with the strength to foller it.

He pinted out to us the sins that so easily beset us, easily indeed.
Not the old sins of Adam and Noah and the rest--patriarchal sins that
made us feel reproachful towards the old sinful patriarchs and
comfortable toward ourselves. No, he pinted out the besettin' sins
that are rampant and liable to ruin us in the nineteen hundreds. After
speakin' of the other deadly sins that are liable to lay holt on us,
such as oncharitableness, envy, jealousy, bigotry, intolerance,
injustice, over-weaning ambition, and other personal and national
sins, he spoke at length of that monster sin, that national disgrace,
Intemperance.

I spoze it wuz some as if when you tapped a barrel filled with pure
water, why pure water would flow out of it. And I spoze he wuz so full
of his great life work aginst that gigantick evil Intemperance, that
them ideas had to flow out when the plug of silence wuz removed. And
readin' what he had about them who through faith had stopped the mouth
of lions, escaped the edge of the sword, I spoze he wanted to make his
hearers feel that they too could so arm themselves with faith and the
power of His might, as to stop the mouths of these nineteenth century
lions, overthrow the laws entrenched in lion-like strength in the
stronghold of National protection, and escape the edge of the sword of
personal greed and selfishness, and put to flight the army of the
aliens from God and the good of humanity.

And I spoze when he thought of them wimmen who had received their dead
raised to life agin, he thought of the yearly sacrifice to
Intemperance, the thousands and thousands of husbands, sons, brothers
who are struck by the death blight now, makin' ready to fall into
those oncounted graves. And he wanted to roust 'em up and save their
souls and bodies alive and give them back to these wimmen agin, raised
from the dead.

Yes, his warnin's and appeals wuz all directed to this present time
and preached to us. He never mentioned them old Egyptians who wuz all
dead and drownded out years ago, both by the Red sea, and the long
swosh of the sea of Time, or the old Jews and Hebrews, nor he didn't
dwell on science or philosophy, but he pressed the truth home to the
hearts of his hearers, how the Lord Jesus had once dwelt upon earth,
how He had passed through all the cares and sufferings that we wuz
passing through, how He wuz tempted by the sins, pained by the griefs
of the world, and how He pitied us and would help us.

As I say, instead of Bible crimes that had been committed centuries
ago, he dwelt strong and as if his hull heart wuz in his words on that
terrible national crime back of most all the other sins and crimes of
to-day. That stands a huge black shape blocking up the world's
progress, that we ort to try our best to fight aginst, and how we had
a Helper. And his idee wuz that good men, clergymen and such, who are
wont to stand off and look down on the battlefield, ort to buckle on
their armor and join in the warfare. And he said that if sometimes
the battle smoke hid the form of our great High Priest and Helper we
mustn't forgit that He wuz there, lookin' on, seeing how the battle
went between the Right and the Wrong, and giving His help towards the
right side in His own good time, and he gin us to understand that:

           All the blood that falls in righteous cause,
           Each crimson drop shall nourish snowy flowers,
           And quicken golden grain bright sheaves of good,
           That under happier skies shall yet be reaped.

"For," sez he:

              When Right opposes Wrong, shall Evil win?
              Nay, never; but the years of God are long.

And he counseled his hearers to keep on and work--work and follow the
leadin' of Him who shall conquer all sin and evil.

It wuz a grand and powerful effort. It wuzn't so flowery as I've
hearn, but the strength, the pathos of it wuz wonderful. I didn't
wonder as I hearn him talk of what I'd been told that day by different
ones of how people flocked to hear him, how he might have the choice
of big city churches with big salaries accordin', but he had chosen to
stay by the common people. Had elected that he would not have wealth
and station, that he would go about tellin' of the love of God, urgin'
men to accept Him, goin' about doin' good.

As we listened to him, everything seemed possible, the right seemed
possible to do, it almost seemed as if we felt the crown restin' on
our tired foretops. And he ended the sermon as he had begun it with a
few words from the Book, "Now bretheren quit ye like men, be
steadfast, strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." And then
agin he breathed out his very soul in prayer, and we wuz lifted up
some distance towards the Better Country. As he ended his words we all
heaved some long sithes and seemed to fall down some distance, and
found ourselves to our great surprise still on the old earth.

A enthusiastick little woman, who'd shouted out, "Amen!" with the best
of 'em sez to me, "Wasn't that sermon a grand one?"

"Yes," sez I, "it come right from his heart, and went to mine. It
lifted me up some distance above the earth," sez I.

"Yes," sez she, "the Elder is one of the saints on earth, but we are
afraid he hain't long for this world."

"Why?" sez I.

"He don't take any care of himself. He lives alone with an old
housekeeper who is dretful slack and don't have any faculty, and he
don't have things for his comfort, though he don't complain. He gits
no end of money, but gives it all away, or it is wasted to home. I
went to his house once on business,--I am from the West," sez
she,--"and it wuz so bare and desolate lookin' that I almost cried. He
ort to marry," sez she, "I have five daughters myself, and three
onmarried nieces and they all say the same thing, that he ought to be
married to some woman who would jest worship him, for no woman could
help it, and take care on him. For," sez she with a shrewd look, "the
smartest men and the most spiritual ones are the most helpless, come
to things of this world."

"Yes," sez I, "our minister to Jonesville could no more make a mess of
cream biscuit than he could fly. He is great on the Evidences, and a
great Bible expounder, but he couldn't sew on a button so it wouldn't
pucker the cloth, if he should cry like a babe."

"No," sez she, "I presume not, my girls are splendid with the needle,
and good cooks, and so religious--it's a sight! and so are my
sister's three girls, though they don't quite come up to my five."

Well, there wuz a stir in the crowd. The Elder had come down and wuz
shakin' hands right and left with them that crowded up to him. The
little woman pressed towards him and I wuz drawed along in her wake by
the crowd, some as a stately ship is swep' on by a small tug and the
flowin' waves. And anon, after shakin' hands with her, he took my hand
in hisen. A emotion swep' through me, a sort of electric current that
connects New Jerusalem to Jonesville and Zoar. He bent his full sweet
penetratin' look onto me, it seemed to go through my head clear to my
back comb, and he sez,

"Have I met you before?"

"Yes," sez I, "in sperit, we have met, I want to thank you for the
words you have said this day. It seems to me I shall be good for some
time, it seems that I _must_ after hearin' your discourse, and I want
to thank you for it, thank you earnest and sincere."

He smiled sort o' sad and yet riz up, and sez, "We are all wayfarers
here on a hard journey, and if I can help anyone along the way, it is
I who should be thankful, and," sez he, "may God bless you, sister!"

And he passed on.

But he seemed to leave a wake of glory behind him as he went, some
like the glow on the water when the sun walks over it, a warmin' life
givin' influence that comes from a big soul filled with light and
goodness. I seemed to be riz up above the earth all the way back to
the hotel, though in body I wuz walkin' afoot by the side of my
pardner. He too wuz enthused by the sermon--I had reconized his little
treble voice shoutin' out "Amen!" and he said now that it wuz grand,
powerful!

"Yes," sez I, "and good and holy and tender!"

"Yes indeed!" sez he. And he added, "Speakin' of tenderness, I do hope
the beef will be tenderer than it wuz yesterday. I don't believe they
have such beef to Coney Island."



CHAPTER ELEVEN

IN WHICH WE RETURN HOME, AND I PERSWAIDE JOSIAH TO BUILD A COTTAGE FOR
TIRZAH ANN



CHAPTER ELEVEN

IN WHICH WE RETURN HOME, AND I PERSWAIDE JOSIAH TO BUILD A COTTAGE
FOR TIRZAH ANN


The next afternoon Faith started on her visit to her aunt beyend
Kingston. And immegiately after her departure, Josiah said he'd got to
go home right away. Sez he, "It hain't right to leave Ury to bear all
the brunt of the work alone."

Sez I, "Ury has got over the hardest of the work, and writ so."

"Well," sez he, "I'm a deacon and I can't bear the thought of
religious interests languishin' for my help."

Sez I, "Seven folks wuz baptized last Sunday: the meetin' house wuz
never so prosperous."

And then he went on and said political ties wuz drawin' him, and he
brung up fatherly feelin's for the children, and cuttin' up burdocks,
and buildin' stun walls, and etcetery. But bein' met with plain Common
Sense in front of all these things, he bust out at last with the true
reason: "I hain't no more money to spend here, and I tell you so,
Samantha, and I mean it!"

And I sez, "Why didn't you say so in the first place, it would have
been more noble."

And he said a man didn't care much about bein' noble when they'd got
down to their last cent (he's got plenty of money, though I wouldn't
want it told on, for rich folks are always imposed upon, and charged
higher).

Well, suffice it to say, we concluded to go home the next day and did
so. And though I felt bad to leave the horsepitable ruff where I'd
enjoyed so much kind and friendly horspitality yet to the true home
lover there are always strong onseen ties that bind the heart to the
old hearth stun, and they always seem to be drawin' and tuggin' till
they draw one clear back to the aforesaid stun and chimbly. Josiah
paid for our two boards like a man, and we embarked for Clayton and
from thence traveled by cars and mair to our beloved home.

And right here let me dispute another wicked wrong story, we never had
to pay a cent for gittin' offen the Thousand Island Park. It is a base
fabrication to say folks have to pay to git out. They let us out jest
as free and easy as anything, and I thought they acted kinder smilin'
and good feelin'. What a world of fibs and falsehoods we are livin'
in!

We got home in time for supper and at my companion's request I took
off the parfenalia of travel, my gray alpacky, and havin' enrobed
myself in a domestic gingham of chocklate color and a bib apron, I
proceeded to help Philury git a good supper. The neighbors all flocked
in to see us and congratulate us on our safe return from the perils
and temptations of worldly society. And Josiah wuz indeed in his glory
as he told the various deacons and church pillows that gathered round
him from time to time, of all his fashionable experiences and
dangerous exploits while absent.

Of course my time wuz more took up by my female friends, but anon or
oftener I would ketch the sound of figgers in connection with fish
that wuz astoundin' in the extreme. But when I would draw nigh the
subject would be turned and the attention of the pillows would be
drawed off onto yots, summer hotels, Tabernacles, etc., etc. Well such
is life. But anon the waves of excitement floatin' out insensibly from
the vortex in which we had so lately revolved round in, gradually
abated and went down, and the calm placid surface of life in
Jonesville wuz all we could see as we looked out of our turret
winders--(metafor).

Gradually the daily excitement of seein' the milk cans pass morning
and night, and the school children go whoopin' schoolward and
homeward, wuz the most highlarious excitement participated in. A few
calm errents of borryin' tea and spice, now and then a tin peddler and
a agent, or a neighborhood tea drinkin', wuz all that interrupted our
days serene.

And old Miss Time, that gray headed old weaver, who is never still,
but sets up there in that ancient loom of hern a weavin', while her
pardner is away mowin' with that sharp scythe of hisen from mornin'
till night, and from night till mornin', jest so stiddy did she keep
on weavin'. Noiseless and calm would the quiet days pass into her old
shuttle (which is jest as good to-day as it wuz at the creation).
Silent days, quiet days, in a broad stripe, not glistenin' or shiny,
but considerable good-lookin' after all. Then anon variegated with
moon lit starry nights, blue skies, golden sunsets, deep dark,
moonless midnights, all shaded off into soft shadders.

And then givin' way to a stripe of hit or miss, restless hours, days
when the "Fire won't burn the stick and the kid refuses to go," small
excitements, frustrated ambitions, etc.

Anon a broad gray stripe, monotony, deadly monotony, and lonesomeness,
gray as a rat both on 'em, all loosely twisted together makin' a wide
melancholy stripe. Then a more flowery piece, golden moments, mounts
of soul transfiguration, full understandin', divine hopes and
raptures, heart talks, illuminations, all striped in with images of
golden rod, evergreen trees pintin' up into the friendly blue heavens,
that leaned down so clost you could almost see into the Sweet Beyond.
Singin' rivulets, soarin' birds, green fields, rosy clouds. Anon a
plain piece, some slazy, as the shuttle seemed to go slower and kinder
lazy, and then agin quick strong beats that made the web firm as
iron.

Mebby that wuz the time that old Mr. Time hung up that old scythe of
hisen for a few minutes on the top bars of the loom, and got in and
footed it out for his pardner for a spell, while she rested her old
feet or wound her bobbins for another stripe. But such idees are
futile, futiler than I often mean to be. 'Tennyrate and anyway all the
time, all the time the shuttles moved back and forth to and fro, and
old Miss Time's tapestry widened out.

That summer my pardner had a oncommon good streak of luck, he sold two
colts and a yearlin' heifer for a price that fairly stunted us both,
it wuz so big. And his crops turned out dretful well, and he jest laid
up money by the handfuls as you may say. And one day we wuz talkin'
about what extreme good luck we'd had for the past year, and we also
talked considerable about Tirzah Ann and little Delight, and how they
wuz both pimpin' and puny. The older children away to school wuz doin'
first rate both in health and studies, but Tirzah Ann's health wuz
such that Whitfield had to keep a girl and pay doctor's bills, and I
sez to Josiah:

"I am sorry for 'em as I can be, and if this goes on much longer there
don't seem much chance of Whitfield's buildin' his house on Shadow
Island this summer."

And Josiah sez, "No indeed! if he can pay the doctor's bills and help,
he will do well. But," sez he, "he is goin' to have quite a good job
up to his folkses."

His uncle, Jotham Minkley, who is forehanded and a ship builder up in
Maine, had invited Whitfield to come and take charge of some bizness
for him, and he said he must bring Tirzah Ann and Delight. So it wuz
arranged that they wuz goin' to stay for some time. We all thought the
change would do Tirzah Ann good, and then Whitfield had been promised
good pay for his work. And then wuz the time I tackled my pardner on
the subject I had thought over so long. He looked so sort o' mournful
over the hard times Whitfield wuz havin', and Tirzah Ann's and
Delight's enjoyment of poor health, that I thought now wuz the
appinted time for me to onfold this subject to him. This idee wuz that
while Whitfield and Tirzah Ann wuz away up to Maine we should build a
pretty little house for 'em on Shadow Island. "For," sez I, "the
health and life of Tirzah Ann and Delight may hang in the balances,
and if anything will help 'em I believe that dear old Saint Lawrence
will." But Josiah demurred strongly on account of the expense. In fact
I had to use some of my strongest arguments to convince him of the
feasibility of my plans.

One of my arguments wuz that in all probability all our property would
before long descend onto the children, and so why not use some now for
'em, while they wuz sufferin' for the use on't. That wuz one of my
arguments, and my other one wuz, that he couldn't take any of his
property with him. But he had got kinder mad and when I told him in a
solemn tone, "Josiah Allen, you know you can't take any of your
property with you when you die," he snapped out, "I don't know whether
I can or not; it won't be as _you_ say about it."

"Well," sez I, in lofty axents and quotin' Skripter, "there is only
one way you can take your property with you, and that is to send it on
before you. Make friends with the Mammon of your wealth so that when
you fail here it may receive you into a everlastin' habitation. Turn
it into angels of Gratitude and Love that may be waitin' to welcome
you. Do good with your money. Lend to the Lord," sez I.

And Josiah wuz so pudgicky, he snapped out, "I didn't know as the Lord
wanted to borry any money."

But I gin him such a talkin' to that I brung him to a sense of his
sinful talk, and right then while he wuz conscience smut for as much
as seven minutes, I brung him round to the idee of buildin' the house.
But it wuz a gradual bringin'.

Of course he begged and beseeched to build it on Coney Island. Sez
he, "I wouldn't begrech the money but spend it lavish, if the house
sot there. I could go there and spend months and months of perfect
bliss, and learn more there in one day than I could in years in
Jonesville."

"Where would you build it?" sez I in frosty axents.

"Well, the top of one of them tall mountains in Luna Park Serenus
tells on would be a good spot, near the beautiful waterfall where the
boats full of happy Hilariors dash down the steep declivity and bound
way off onto the water and sail away. The view would be so lively and
inspirin', it would be equal to havin' a brass band in your bedroom."

"Yes, jest about like that," sez I. "Do you know what them mountains
are made of? They're jest about as solid as your idees."

"Well, I might build it on the other side of Surf Avenue, nigh that
long line of dashin' horses Serenus depicters, that go racin' and
cavortin' round and round, bearin' the gay and happy Hilariors on
their backs."

"How much do you spoze a lot would cost there, Josiah, if you wuz
ravin' crazy enough to want it? All the property in Jonesville
wouldn't buy a spot big as a table cloth, and I d'no as it would a
towel."

"Well," sez he real sulky, "I can let my mind dwell on it, can't I?
That is some comfort."

"I wouldn't think on't too much, you don't want to tire your mind, it
hain't over strong, you know."

It beats all how sometimes when you are doin' your very best for your
pardners, they don't like it. He acted huffy.

But at last it wuz settled, Tirzah Ann's cottage wuz to be begun the
minute they left, it wuz to be kep secret from 'em, and we wuz to have
a surprize party there, to welcome 'em home. Well, from the very day
it wuz settled begun my trials with Josiah Allen about the plan. My
idee wuz to employ a first rate architect, but he sez:

"I can tell you, Mom, if that plan is made I shall make it. There
hain't an architect in the country that could begin with me in drawin'
up this plan." Oh how I sithed and groaned when I see his sotness, and
knowed he wuz no more fit for the job than our old steer to give music
lessons on the banjo.

He went to the village that afternoon and obtained two long blank
books (oh that they could have stayed blank) and three quires of
fool's cap paper (well named) and a bottle of red ink and one of blue
ink, besides black, and a dozen pencils of different colors, and after
these elaborate preparations he begun drawin' up his plans.

He would roll up his sleeves, moisten his hands, and go to work early
in the mornin', and set and pour over 'em all day, every stormy day,
and every night he sot up so late goin' over 'em that he most
underminded his health, to say nothin' of the waste of my temper and
kerseen. And then he would call in uncle Nate Peedick and they would
bend their two gray bald heads together and talk about
"specifications" and "elevations" and "ground plans" and "suller
plans" till my head seemed to turn and my brain seemed most as soft as
theirn.

[Illustration: "_And then he would call in Uncle Nate Peedick and they
would bend their two gray bald heads and talk about
specifications and elevations till my brain seemed most as
soft as theirn._" (_See page 195_)]

And sometimes Serenus Gowdey would be called in to aid in their
deliberations, though their talk always led off onto Coney Island and
rested there, he didn't git no other idees out of him. Josiah never
called on a woman for advice and counsel, not once, though a woman
stood nigh him who wuz eminently qualified to pass a first class
judgment on the plan. But no, it wuz males only who gin him their
deepest thoughts and counsels. Once in awhile I would ask how many
stories he wuz layin' out to have it, and how big it wuz goin' to be,
and every time I asked him he said:

"Wimmen's minds wuz too weak to comprehend his views. It took a man's
mind to tackle such a subject and throw it."

And that would mad me so that it would be some time before I would ask
him agin, and then curosity would git the better of me and I would ask
him agin sunthin' about it, but his reply wuz always the same:

"Wimmen's minds wuz too weak and tottlin' to tackle the subject." So
all the light I could git wuz to hear him talk it over with some man.
I see that there wuz a great difference of opinion between 'em.
Josiah, true father of Tirzah Ann, seemed anxious mainly to unite
display and cheapness. Uncle Nate seemed more for solidity and
comfort. Sez Josiah to him:

"It is my idee to have the house riz up jest as high as the timbers
will stand, the main expense anyway is the foundation and floorin' and
I would rise up story after story all ornamented off beautiful and
cheap, basswood sawed off in pints makes beautiful ornaments, and what
a show it would make round the country, and what air you could git up
in the seventh or eight story."

So he would go on and argy, regardless of common sense or Tirzah Ann's
legs. And then Uncle Nate would reply:

"Josiah, safety lays on the ground, and in this climate more liable
each year to tornadoes and cyclones, the only safety lays in spreadin'
out on the ground. Build only one story," sez he, "and a low one at
that, and let it spread out every way as much as it wants to."

"But," sez Josiah, "to have every room on the bottom would take up all
the lot and lap over into the river."

"Better do that," sez Uncle Nate, "than to have your children and
grand-children blowed away. Safety is better than sile," sez he
solemnly. And then I hearn 'em talkin' about a travelin' woodhouse.
Josiah advoctated the idee of havin' the woodhouse made in the form of
a boat, only boarded up like a house, and have big oars fixed onto the
sides on't so's it could be used as a boat, and a house. Sez he:

"How handy it would be to jest onmoor the woodhouse and row over to
the main land and git the year's stock of wood, and then row back
agin, cast anchor and hitch it onto the house agin." But Uncle Nate
demurred. He thought the expense would be more than the worth of usin'
it once a year.

"Once a year!" sez Josiah. "You forgit how much kindlin' wood a woman
uses." Sez he, "When she that wuz Arvilly Nash worked here I believe
we used a woodhouse full a day. If we had a floatin' woodhouse here,
we should had to embark on it once a day at least and load it up with
shavin's and kindlin' wood. Samantha is more eqinomical," sez he.

"But," sez Uncle Nate, "I hearn that Whitfield's folks wuz layin' out
to use a coal oil stove durin' the summer."

Josiah's face fell. "So they be," sez he.

But he wuz loath to give up this floatin' woodhouse and went on:

"How handy it would be for a picnic, jest fill the woodhouse full of
Highlariers and set off, baskets, bundles and all. It would do away
with parasols; no jabbin' 'em into a man's eyes, or proddin' his ears
with the pints of umbrells. Or on funeral occasions," sez he, "jest
load the mourners right in, onhitch the room and sail off. Why it
would be invaluable."

But Uncle Nate wuz more conservative and cautious. He sez, "What if it
should break loose in the night and start off by itself? It would be
a danger to the hull river. How would boats feel to meet a woodhouse?
It would jam right into 'em and sink 'em--sunk by a woodhouse! It
wouldn't sound well. And row boats would always be afraid of it,
they'd be thinkin' it would be liable to come onto 'em at any time
onbeknown to 'em, 'twouldn't have no whistle or anything."

"Yes it would," sez Josiah hautily; "I laid out to fix it somehow with
a whistle."

"But it couldn't whistle itself if it sot off alone."

"Well," sez Josiah, scratchin' his head, "I hain't got that idee quite
perfected, but I might have a self actin' whistle, a stationary self
movin' gong, or sunthin' of that kind." But I didn't wait to hear any
more; I left the room, and I shouldn't wonder if I shet the door
pretty hard.



CHAPTER TWELVE

IN WHICH JOSIAH STILL WORKS AT HIS PLAN FOR TIRZAH ANN'S COTTAGE, AND
DECIDES TO SEND HIS LUMBER C. O. W.



CHAPTER TWELVE

IN WHICH JOSIAH STILL WORKS AT HIS PLAN FOR TIRZAH ANN'S COTTAGE,
AND DECIDES TO SEND HIS LUMBER C. O. W.


Wall the next evenin', Josiah would make the plan all over, would rub
out red marks and put in blue ones, and then rub 'em out with his
thumb and fore finger, and then anon, forgittin' himself, he'd rub his
forward with the same fingers, till he looked like a wild Injun
started for war. And he would sithe heart breakin' sithes, and moisten
his hands in his mouth, and roll up his shirt sleeves, and toil and
toil till he seemed to git a new plan made after Uncle Nate's idees,
as squatty and curous lookin' as I ever see as I glanced at it in a
cursory way. And he would work at that till some new man come round
with some new idee and then he would (goin' through with all the
motions and acts I have depictered) make a new one. And so it went on
till finally in the fullness of time Josiah produced a dockument
which he said wuz the finest plan ever drawed up in America.

Sez he, "I have at last reached perfection."

"I spoze you'll let me see it now it is finished," I sez.

"Yes," sez he, "I've always been willin' to give you all the chances I
could of improvin' and enlargin' your mind, all that a woman's mind is
strong enough to bear. I am willin', Samantha, that you should look at
it and admire it, now it is too late for you to advocate any
changes."

Sez I coldly, "If I am goin' to see the plan, bring it on."

He laid it before me with a hauty linement and stood off a few steps
to admire it. It wuz drawed up handsome, with little ornaments in blue
and yeller ink runnin' all round the porticos and piazzas, which wuz
in red ink. But on a closer perusal I sez to him:

"What room is this where the walls and ceilin' are all ornamented off
so?"

"The settin' room," sez he.

Sez I, "Where are the winders?"

"The winders?" sez he, lookin' closter at it.

"Yes," sez I, "as the ornaments are all fastened on now there hain't
no winders and no room for any."

"By thunder!" sez he, the second time in my life that I ever hearn him
use that wicked swear word.

And I sez, "I should think you would be afraid to be so profane, you a
deacon and a grand-father!"

But he paid no attention to my remarks, but sez agin out loud and
strong, "By thunder! I forgot the winders."

"You profane man you!" sez I, pintin' to another room, "what room is
this?"

Sez he in a lower and more mortified tone, "It is the parlor."

Sez I, "How be you goin' to git out of this room if you wuz built into
it? There hain't no door nor no place for one. You couldn't git out of
the room unless you climbed up through the chimbly and emerged onto
the ruff, and," sez I, "there hain't a sign of a stairway to git up
into the chambers, nor no chamber doors."

But all the answer my pardner made wuz to snatch up the paper and tear
it right through the middle, and sez he, "There, I hope you're
satisfied now! it is all your doin's!"

Sez I, "How, Josiah?" I spoke with calmness, for a long life passed by
the side of a man had taught me this great truth, that every man from
Adam to Josiah will blame a woman for every mistake and blunder they
make, no matter of what name or nater, from bringin' sin into the
world, to bustin' off a shirt button.

So I sez with composure, "How did I do it, Josiah?"

"Well," sez he, "the day I finished that plan you had company, and you
and Miss Gowdey and she that wuz Submit Tewksbury kep' up such a
confounded clackin' that a man couldn't hear himself think!"

Sez I, "Josiah, you finished the plan the next day."

"Well," sez he, "I kep' thinkin' of the clack. Now," sez he, "I'm
goin' to build a house by rote and not by note. I will git me away
from wimmen, and when I'm on the lot with the timber before me, my
mind will work clear."

Sez I, "Do hear to me now; do git a good builder to lay out the plan,
one that knows how."

"Well, I shan't do no such thing!"

Sez I, "Then do git a first rate carpenter!"

"No, Samantha, I shan't git any man to be bossin' me round. I shall
git some humble man that knows enough to drive a nail, to carry out
my views and be guided by me. There is so much jealousy in every walk
of life now, that when a man that shows originality and genius comes
forth from the masses, there is immegiately a desire to keep him back
and hide his talents." Sez he, "I'm afraid of this sperit so I am
goin' to git a man that can do what I tell him and ask no questions;
in these conditions," sez he, "I can swing right out and do justice to
myself."

"Then you do have some few fears about your plans yourself?"

Sez he, "Let me once git into a place where my mind can work, I'll
show what I can do, let me once git away from meddlin' and clack."

But that night of his own accord (I'd had a uncommon good supper) he
acted real affectionate and more confidentialer than he had for weeks,
an' he sez, "There is one thing, Samantha, I'm bound to have, and that
is a mullin' winder."

"A what?" sez I. "A mullin winder; what is that?"

"Why a winder made out of mullins," sez he hautily.

Sez I, "How do you make it? Mullin leaves are thick and the stalks
tougher than fury, how do you make winders out of 'em?"

"That," sez he proudly, "is the work of a architect to take stalks of
the humble mullin and transfer it into a tall and stately winder."

Sez I, "I don't believe it can be done. How would you go to work to do
it?"

Sez he, "It would be fur from me, Samantha, to muddle up a woman's
brains any more than they be muddled naturally, tryin' to inform her
how this is done. I only say there will be a mullin' winder in the
house."

Sez I, "Hain't you goin' to have a bay winder?"

"That depends on whether there will be room for the bay. But as to the
ventilation, on that pint my plans are made. I believe a house should
be ventilated to the bottom instead of the top. Air goes up instead of
down, a house should be ventilated from the mop boards, I think some
of havin' em open like a trap door to let the air through. Sime
Bentley sez have a row of holes bored right through the sides of the
house to let in the air, and when you didn't want to use 'em plug 'em
up, when you want a little air take out one stopple, when you want a
good deal take out a hull row of plugs. That's a good idee," sez
Josiah, "but I convinced him that it lacked one important thing, the
air didn't come up from the bottom as I consider it necessary for
health and perfect ventilation."

Sez I dryly, "You might have the holes bored through into the suller!"
My tone wuz as irony as a iron tea-kettle, but he didn't perceive it.

"That is a woman's idee," sez he, "rip up a breadth of carpet every
time you want a little air, keep a man down on his knee jints the hull
of the time tackin' down carpets and ontackin' 'em. Nothin' ever made
a woman so happy as to see a man down on his marrer bones tackin' down
a carpet, unless it is seein' him takin' it up and luggin' it
outdoors, histin' it up on a line and beatin' it. No, my idee is the
only right one, ventilate from the mop boards."

Well, true to his hauty resolution to not share his grand success and
triumph with anybody he went the next day and hired a man by the name
of Penstock. He had been a good carpenter in his day, but his brain
had kinder softened, yet he could work quite fast, and sez Josiah:

"He's jest the man for me. He won't be jealous, he will carry out my
views and not steal my plans or my credit. There is a lumber dealer
out to the Cape owin' me for a horse, and I propose to buy of him and
have the things landed at Shadow Island." Sez he, "I am a solid
influential man, and they will send the boards and charge 'em to me,
or send 'em C. O. W."

"C. O. W.?" sez I. "What do you mean by that?"

"Oh," sez he, "that's a bizness phrase wimmen don't understand, we men
use it often."

"But what duz it mean? Most things mean sunthin', at least they do in
wimmen's bizness."

"Well, I don't want to muddle up your head with such things, Samantha,
but if you must know, it means Collect All Winter, meanin' that I can
have till spring to pay it up."

"How do you spell all?" sez I.

"Why o-w-l of course."

And I sez, "With wimmen that spells owl, a bird that pertends to great
wisdom but don't know anything. Send your things C. O. W. by all
means!" sez I wore out. "Send 'em along and spell your all, o-w-l. I
think it is a highly figurative and appropriate expression."

"Well, that is what I thought you would say as fur as you could see
into it," sez he hautily, and in the same axent he asked me if I had
packed up a extra pair of socks for him.



CHAPTER THIRTEEN

IN WHICH JOSIAH AND SERENUS DEPART SARAHUPTISHUSLY FOR CONEY ISLAND
AND I START IN PURSUIT



CHAPTER THIRTEEN

IN WHICH JOSIAH AND SERENUS DEPART SARAHUPTISHUSLY FOR CONEY ISLAND
AND I START IN PURSUIT


That afternoon I see Josiah and Serenus leanin' on the barnyard fence
talkin' dretful earnest, I spozed about the Plan. But when I went to
put my milk pans in the sun I hearn the same old story Coney Island!
Dreamland! Luny! Bowery! etc., and I hurried into the house. When
Josiah come in he sez, "I guess I'll invite Serenus to go with me."

Sez I, "Why should you invite him to go to Shadow Island?"

"Oh he's got such good judgment," sez he.

I felt dubersome, but bein' so mellered in sperit by his consentin' to
build the cottage I didn't stand out. And they started the next
mornin' at sunrise for Shadow Island as I spozed. Till the next day
but one Miss Gowdey come over to borry a drawin' of tea and she sez,

"Serenus and Josiah are havin' a gay time at Coney Island. I've jest
had a card from Serenus."

You could have knocked me down with a pin feather. But so powerful is
my mind, though it seemed to roll to and fro under my foretop and my
knees wobbled under me, I did up the tea with marble composure and a
piece of paper, and she sot off with it, and then I fell into a
rockin' chair with almost frenzied forebodin's. What! _what_ wuz
Josiah Allen doin' in that place of folly and fashion? Could he keep
his innocence amidst the awful temptations? I'd hearn there wuz places
there where folks stood on their heads; wuz his brain strong enough to
stand the jolt?

Spozein' them iron horses should kick him over? Spozein' he got
wrecked on the Immoral railway? Or went up on the Awful Tower and fell
off? Spozein' the elephants should tread on him? Or the
boyconstructors or tigers git after him? Or he should go to the moon
and git lost there and be obleeged to stay? Oh the wild fears that
raced through my foretop; mebby they wuzn't reasonable but they gored
me jest the same. What must I, what could I do? I couldn't tell.

[Illustration: "_'Serenus and Josiah are havin' a gay time at Coney
Island. I've jest had a card from Serenus,' sez Miss
Gowdey. You could have knocked me down with a pin
feather._" (_See page 214_)]

But all of a sudden I thought of what Serenus said about a woman twice
my size dressed in gaudy red, forever takin' after folks--What would
Josiah do if she took after him? And no doubt she would, for looked at
through the magnifying lens of Absence and Anxiety he looked passingly
beautiful. As I thought of her I knowed what I would do. Sez I, "I
will go and tear him away and bring him back to duty and his mournin'
pardner."

But how could I go, wuz my next thought? How dast I venter there
alone? I lacked both courage and a summer suit. But when did Samantha
ever fail to lay holt of Duty's apron strings when they dangled in
front of her? Better go clothed in a righteous purpose and a old
parmetty than in the richest new alpacky and a craven sperit.

I knowed that if I had wanted a hobble skirt or a hayrem, or a hip
cosset there wuz no time to git 'em. But Heaven knows I didn't want
'em, treasurin' as I did the power to walk and breathe. Suffice it to
say the next mornin' the risin' sun gilded my brown straw bunnet and
umbrell as I descended from the car at the Grand Central.

Havin' walked round and round, and through and through that immense
depo, huffin' it from as fur as from our house to Jonesville, gittin'
lost time and agin, and bein' found and sot right by onlookers and
bystanders, in the fullness of time I emerged out on't with a deep
sithe of relief.

Believin' as I do that the great beneficent Power that fills the ether
about us, will bring us the help our sperit desires if we ask for it,
it didn't surprise me that almost the first man I met after I left the
press and turmoil of the throng, wuz Deacon Gansy, who moved from
Jonesville and is now runnin' a provision store in New York.

I inquired for my cousin Bildad Smith of Coney Island and told him I
wuz goin' there. Sez I, "You know Bildad's wife is runnin' down."
Which wuzn't a lie, but on the very edge on't, for what did I care for
her enjoyment of poor health? And he said he wuz goin' down there in
his delivery auto to carry 'em some fresh butter and eggs and he would
take me. I thought it wuzn't a chance to refuse. Bildad runs a eatin'
house on Coney Island.

So I sot off with Deacon Gansy, and after goin' through Chaos and
Destruction on lower New York streets, and Williamsburg bridge, and
acrost it, for all the folks in New York and Brooklyn wuz there that
day--and after passin' through crowded, hustlin', bustlin' streets, we
found ourselves anon on the broad beautiful Ocean Avenue smooth as
glass and as broad as from our house to hern that was Submit
Tewksbury's and I guess wider. Bordered on each side with four rows of
noble trees with paths between 'em. The deacon said there wuz over
'leven thousand trees along that avenue, and I didn't dispute him.

He got real talkative and kinder bragged on how much money he wuz
makin', said he'd bought a place up in Harlem, and sez he, "I've got
another auto for pleasure drivin'."

Sez I, "_Is_ it pleasure to drive a car through such crowded places as
we've been through to-day?"

And he said it wuz, if folks wouldn't act mean. Sez he, "Last Sunday I
took my wife out in the country and a old man in a buggy kep' right in
front of me and wouldn't turn out, and I had to squeeze through
between him and the ditch."

"Did you git through safe?" sez I.

"Yes, I did, but I had to bend my mud guard right up agin his hoss's
side and scraped the skin raw, and raked its collar off."

"What did the old man say?" sez I.

"I never heard such language out of the mouth of man, and of course as
a deacon I couldn't listen to such profanity, so I hurried right
away."

"Hadn't you ort to return the hoss collar, Deacon?"

"Oh no, I couldn't stop to listen to such wicked talk."

That wuz jest like deacon Gansy; he thought he wuz awful religious but
I always felt dubersome about it.

But on we went through the matchless beauty of the drive. And anon we
ketched a view of the blue tostin' waves of the Atlantic, the air jest
as fresh and invigoratin' as when it blowed unto Columbuses weary
foretop when he discovered us. And like his dantless cry to his
fearful pilot, so my soul echoed the same cry to my deprestin' fears:

"Sail on, and on, and on," to the goal of our own desires. Our two
quests wuz some different, he wuz seekin' a new continent and I an old
Josiah. But I knowed the Atlantic breezes never blowed on two more
determined and noble linements than hisen and mine. And I felt that we
would have been real congenial if he hadn't died too soon, or I been
born too late.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN

THE CURIOUS SIGHTS I SEEN AN' THE HAIR-RAISIN' EPISODES I UNDERWENT IN
MY AGONIZIN' SEARCH FOR MY PARDNER



CHAPTER FOURTEEN

THE CURIOUS SIGHTS I SEEN AN' THE HAIR-RAISIN' EPISODES I UNDERWENT
IN MY AGONIZIN' SEARCH FOR MY PARDNER


Bildad's folks wuz glad to see me. They visited us jest before they
moved there, so I felt free. But not one word did I say about my quest
for Josiah. No, such is woman's deathless devotion to the man she
loves, I'd ruther face the imputation of frivolity and friskiness, and
I spoze they think to this day I went to Coney Island out of curosity
and Pleasure Huntin', instead of the lofty motives that actuated me. I
knowed Bildad's wife wuz most bed-rid so I would be free to conduct my
search with no gossip or slurs onto Josiah.

And another reason for goin' there: I knowed the savin' sperit of my
pardner, and I thought he would ruther git a free meal than to keep
his incognito incog. And sure enough Bildad's first words wuz, "Why
didn't you come with Josiah yesterday? He wuz here to dinner."

"Where is he now?" sez I.

Sez Bildad, "The last time I see him he wuz startin' to take a trip to
the Moon."

Oh what a shock that wuz, Josiah goin' to the moon; and yet even as he
spoke I felt a relief, knowin' man's fickle nater, that the only
inhabitant I ever hearn on in the moon wuz an old man instead of a
woman. For few indeed are the men that will stand without hitchin,'
and as for girl blinders, they won't wear 'em, much as they need 'em
from the cradle to the grave.

"When wuz he layin' out to return?" sez I in a tremblin' voice.

"Oh they take trips there every half hour."

Thinks I, to-day I go there myself, and Josiah Allen will come down to
earth agin' if I know myself. But not one word did I say to demean my
pardner. Breakfast wuz ready and I sot down. But my emotions filled me
up. I couldn't seem to have any place for meat vittles, I couldn't eat
anything but some bread and butter and a glass of milk. A female
settin' by me sez, "You're not goin' to eat loose milk, are you?"

"Loose!" sez I, "Why should milk be tied up? I never wuz afraid
on't."

"I mean milk that hain't bottled," sez she. "I wouldn't eat loose
milk for the world." And she being enthusiastick gin a long eulogy of
the good men who wuz tryin' to save poor babies by givin' 'em pure
milk, and she talked bitter about the men who opposed the idee for
fear it would pauperize the babies.

And I told her it wouldn't make much difference with the babies
pizened by microby milk whether they died pauperized or onpauperized.

Well, I didn't know whether the milk wuz loose or tight, but I eat it
rapidly, so's to begin my hunt. I'd slep' some on the cars, and when I
had changed my parmetty waist for a brown gingham shirt waist, and
washed my face, and brushed back my hair, I wuz ready to start. The
room they gin me wuz so small I thought I would have to go out in the
hall to change my mind. But I did manage to change my waist. Bildad's
old colored woman wuz singin' as she made the bed in the next room
that old him "Pull for the Shore." She sung:

                  "Pull for the shore, brother,
                     Pull for the shore,
                  Heed not the rollin' pins,
                     Bend to the oar--

                  Leave the poor old straddled wreck
                     And pull for the shore."

She didn't git the words right, but her voice wuz melogious, and as I
listened my soul parodied the words to suit my needs. Yes, I felt that
I must "bend to the oar" of my purpose, I must not "heed the rollin'
waves" of weariness and anxiety, must leave "the poor old stranded
wreck" of my domestic happiness and security and pull for Josiah.

Luny Park wuz only a few steps from Bildad's and anon I stood before
what seemed to be a great city, gorgeous below and way up above the
thronged streets and mountains and flower-decked declivities, endless
white towers riz up as if callin' attention to 'em. And I didn't know
but the place had been lied about, and I asked a bystander if any of
'em wuz meetin' house steeples.

He laughed in derision at me, and I passed on and come to a lot of
girls dressed up in red, and settin' in chariots like them old Roman
females used to go to war in. I asked one on 'em if she wuz layin' out
to go to Mexico, and she replied "Ten cents," and shoved out a piece
of paper to me.

[Illustration: "_I stood before what seemed to be a great city. Endless
white towers riz up as if callin' attention to 'em._"
(_See page 226_)]

I see she wuz luny as the park, but didn't argy, and passed on furder
when a man out of a row of great tall men dressed in red, took the
piece of paper from me. He took it right out of my hand, and if there
is anything wrong goin' on between him and the girl that gin it to me
I hain't to blame, and want it understood that I hain't.

Anon I see a dancin' pavilion big enough for all the folks in
Jonesville and Zoar to dance in at one time. But I never thought of
dancin' or two-steppin' myself, though the music wuz enticin' to them
easy enticed. But knowin' the infinite variety of fads my pardner had
indulged in, I cast some searchin' glances at the dancers and
two-steppers as I went past, but to my relief I see that he wuz not
among 'em.

On the left side, as I strolled along, I see a big butcher shop, with
hull sides of beef, mutton, pork, hams, chickens, etc., hangin' up.
And a long counter, piled full of invitin' lookin' pieces ready to
roast or brile. The butcher in a clean white apron stood behind the
counter. Everything looked good and clean, but I'd hearn of city meat
givin' toe main pizen, and knowin' Josiah's fondness for meat
vittles--I asked anxiously, "Are you sure the critters this meat come
from hadn't got cow consumption, or hog cholera?"

A friendly female standin' by said, "Every mite of that is candy."
And she offered me a piece of sassidge, and asked which I preferred,
wintergreen or peppermint.

I answered mekanically that I seasoned my sassidge with sage and
pepper. Agin she affirmed that everything in the butcher shop wuz
candy.

I didn't argy, but merely said, "It is enough to deceive the very
electioneers."

Sez she, "I spoze you mean politicians, and that's so, if they're
deceived anyone can be."

I wuz talkin' Bible but didn't explain, and walked onwards. The F. F.
(friendly female) come too, and pretty soon we come to what they
called a new-matic tube and the F. F. explained it to me, sez she,
"You are shet into a car made of iron and it runs with a deafenin'
roar into a dark tunnel, and all to once the car slides down twenty
feet and dashes through another dark tunnel and then comes out where
you went in. If it wuzn't for the dretful noise," sez she, "it would
seem like a grave. Don't you want to try it?"

"No, mom," sez I, "I shan't git into any coffin' and grave till my
time comes."

"Well," sez she, "I'm goin' into the Scenic Railway, won't you come
too?" And not wantin' to act hauty and high-headed I bought a ticket
and went in with her. It looked some like a great high rock with a
cavern hollered out, and a huge devil's head with a waterfall flowin'
out of its mouth. I knowed the devil couldn't hurt us as long as he
kep' his mouth full of water. So we got on a car with about ten other
folks and they locked us in and we went right up I calculated about
half a mild, though I didn't measure, and then we sailed off and first
I knew there wuz Havana Harbor, war ships, forts, etc., and the city.
But we didn't stop for refreshments, for all of a sudden down we went
probably half a mild right straight down. I ketched holt of the F. F.
and she ketched holt of me. When all to once we wuz to the North Pole,
ice, snow drifts, white bears, etc., surrounded us and a sign with Dr.
Cook on it.

The F. F. riz up and yelled to the conductor to stop. Sez she, "I want
to get out to the Pole, I want to discover it! I want to git my name
in the papers! I want to be talked about!" sez she.

We wuz goin' up a tremengous mountain, and he sez, "Set down or you
_will_ git your name in the death notices."

Whether he laid out to kill her I don't know, for she set down. And
jest then somebody yells, "Here we go down to the bottomless pit."

I sez to the F. F., "I can't believe it! 'Tain't so! It must be
Pugatory!"

But there wuz the sign, "Hell."

[Illustration: "_On we went under the waterfall, up, up, down, down,
and finally shot out jest where we got in._" (_See
page 232_)]

"Oh!" I groaned out in agony, "what have I ever done to merit this!
Have I ever been mean enough to Josiah?" But there they wuz, fiery
pits, big devils and little ones with pitchforks and darts, etc. Only
one thought assuaged my torment, my Josiah wuzn't there. But in a
minute up we went, up--up--and come out to an open place, where I see
what I thought wuz Heaven, but it wuz only Coney Island, but after
what I'd been through even that worldly frivolous spot looked heavenly
to me. On we went under the waterfall, up, up, down, down, through hot
countries and cold, and finally shot out jest where we got in.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN

I VISIT THE MOON, THE WITCHIN' WAVES, OPEN AIR CIRCUS, ADVISE THE
MONKEYS, MAKE THE MALE STATUTE LAUGH, BUT DO NOT FIND JOSIAH



CHAPTER FIFTEEN

I VISIT THE MOON, THE WITCHIN' WAVES, OPEN AIR CIRCUS, ADVISE THE
MONKEYS, MAKE THE MALE STATUTE LAUGH, BUT DO NOT FIND JOSIAH


The Witching Waves is a track that moves up and down in waves.
Scientific folks say that it is a mechanical wonder. I couldn't see
how it wuz done. I couldn't make one to save my life. Folks git into
little automobiles and steer 'em themselves and first they know some
unseen power under 'em lifts the track right up, and of course their
car goes too with it. Then anon the track will go way down, and they
with it, mebby meetin' another car down there, and they will be all
mixed up, but first they know the track will hist up agin under 'em
and they have to foller it up agin. Dretful curious spot, well called
Witching Waves. But every owner of an auto sees curious times, and
feels witchin' waves, yes indeed!

Why, I hearn about a little girl who happened to hear a man swearin'
dretfully at sunthin and he apoligized.

"Oh," sez she, "I'm used to it, my papa owns a car." But 'tain't
necessary to swear at 'em, it don't do no good, besides the wickedness
on't.

[Illustration: THE WITCHING WAVES "_Folks get into little automobiles
and steer 'em themselves._" (_See page 235_)]

But jest as I wuz moralizin' on this, I hearn a bystander talkin'
about the Trip to the Moon. And rememberin' what Bildad said I sot out
for the air-ship that took folks there. To tell the truth, I'd always
hankered to see what wuz on the moon. Not to see that old man of the
moon (no, Josiah wuz my choice); but I always did want to know what
wuz on the other planets, and though I'm most ashamed to say it, after
all my talk agin Coney Island, yet if it hadn't been for the kankerin'
worm of anxiety knawin' at my vitals, I should have enjoyed myself
first rate as the air-ship sailed off, with a stately motion, for the
moon.

I had watched the passengers with a eagle vision but no Josiah
embarked, but the air-ship sailed off, the earth receeded, we wuz in
the clouds, anon we passed through a big thunder storm, I wuz almost
lost in thought watchin' sea and ocean when the captain called out:

"The Moon! the Moon!"

And we alighted and got off, I a-thinkin' what and who wuz I to see in
thet place I'd always hankered for. Strange shapes indeed, foreign to
our earth, birds, dragons, animals of most weird shape. Anon I see a
little figger, queer-lookin' as you might spoze. I accosted the little
Moony, my first words bein' not a question of deep historical
research, you would expect a woman with my noble brain would ask,
about that onexplored country. No, my head didn't speak, it wuz my
heart, that gushed forth in a agonized inquiry.

"Have you seen Josiah? Have you seen my beloved pardner? Is he in the
moon?"

His words in reply wuz in moon language, nothin' I ever hearn in
Jonesville or Zoar, and anon he begun to sing in that moony language,
and I see I wuz wastin' time, I must conduct my quest myself.

But oh, the seens I passed through! And oh, the queer moon landscapes!
the queer moony animals and moon creeters I passed! But all in vain,
no Josiah blessed my longin' vision. And with my brain turnin' over
and my heart achin', I agin entered the air-ship and returned to terry
cotta; or mebby I hain't got it right in my agitation, mebby I'd ort
to say visey versey. 'Tennyrate I found myself out in Luny Park agin.

Well, what wuz to be my next move? Fur up a steep hite I see water
pourin' down a deep abyss and a boat full of men and wimmen set out
from the highest peak, shot down the declivity like lightnin' and
dashed 'way out in the water on the other side of the bridge where I
wuz standin'; but my idol wuz not among 'em.

I see a great checker-board raised up, so big it wuz played with human
creeters instead of beans or kernels of corn. But no Josiah wuz there
movin' and jumpin', or bein' jumped as the case might be.

[Illustration: "_A boat full of men and women set out from the highest
peak, shot down the declivity like lightnin' and dashed
'way out on the other side of the bridge._" (_See
page 238_)]

On one side riz up a high mountain full of green shrubs and flowers,
and windin' round and round from the bottom clear to the top, went
cars filled with men and wimmen, boys and girls, up, up, down, down,
as fur as from our house to Betsy Bobbet Slimpsey's; but no Josiah wuz
among the winders up or the winders down.

Even as I looked, a elephant passed me with stately tread, bearin' on
his richly ornamented back a small-sized man with a bald head; but it
wuzn't Josiah's baldness or his small, meachin' figger.

Two high tiers of balconies stretched along on one side, ornamented
off with white pillows and posies where folks could set and eat their
good meals, and enjoy the music and the never ceasing gayety. Beneath
'em, above 'em and beyond 'em, as fur as they could, see, towers,
pinnacles, battlements, steeples, palms, flowers, color, light, music,
and the endless, endless procession of pleasure hunters passin' below.
Rich men, poor men, wimmen in satin and serge, shiffon and calico,
babies, boys and girls.

I made the calculation that about a million folks could be
accommodated on them balconies. I may have got one or two too many; I
didn't stop to count.

Lower down run a low, ornamented ruff, coverin' hundreds of little
tables where folks could set and git soft drinks and hard. The hard
drink's true to its name everyway. For when did the Whiskey Demon ever
turn out anything but hard, from the time it exhilerates the consumer
till it drives him away from love, home, friends, happiness, and at
last gives him a final hard push, sendin' him into a onlamented
grave!

But truly no one has time to moralize or eppisode to any extent amidst
the music, laughter and gay voices, the endless procession passin' by.
To most a seen of happiness, but to me they seemed like shadders; the
Reality of life, my beloved pardner, wuz lost, lost to me. A pleasant
lookin' female standin' by, seein' the emotion in my face, and wantin'
to cheer me up, I spoze, sez:

"Have you tried the Loop de Loop?"

I answered with a sad dignity, "Yes, I've done considerable tattin' in
my day."

"Mebby you'd like to try the Bump de Bump."

I sez, "No, I've enjoyed enough of that since comin' in here."

Sez she, "Have you seen the monkeys keepin' house?"

"No," sez I, "but I will." And sure enough, there wuz a big family of
monkeys housekeeping. Some eatin' dinner in the dining room, some
doin' different kinds of housework, sweepin', operatin' the dumb
waiter, payin' bills, etc. Some in the settin' room readin' the
newspaper. And there is a band of sixty monkey musicians. And I hearn
they're learnin' bridge whist; I wuz sorry to hear that, and I sez to
the oldest and wisest lookin' monkey:

"You'll sup sorrow if you go into bridge whist, gamblin' and wastin'
good daylight in civilized sports, when you might be hangin' from tree
tops, and chasin' each other 'round stumps, in a honest, oncivilized
way. If you don't look out your ladies will foller the example of the
Four Hundred and be thinkin' of a divorce and big alimony next."

He looked impressed by my noble anxiety on their behaff, but didn't
say nothin'. But mebby he'll hear to me. A little boy standin' by sez,
"Ma, Jimmy Bates sez that he and I and everybody descended from
monkeys--did I, ma?"

"I don't know," sez she, "I never knew much about your father's
family."

I didn't stay long at the Open Air Circus, though it wuz a big place
and sights goin' on there; bare-backed riders, Japanese jugglers and
acrobats, tight-rope walkers, elephants and camels with folks on their
backs, with Arabians and East Indians in their native costumes takin'
care of 'em.

Not fur off I see a male statute; lots of folks wuz congregated in
front of it, and I went up too, and I sez to a female bystander, "I
always did love to see statutes. But this one's linement is humblier
than most on 'em."

When if you'll believe it it turned round and sez, "Thank you, mom,
for the compliment." It acted mad.

Another man stood like a statute, and the woman I had spoke to sez,
"You can git a dollar if you can make that man laugh."

And I sez, "I can."

Sez she, "I don't believe it; I've read to him lots of the humorous
stories in the late magazines, and he looked fairly gloomy when I got
done."

And I sez, "I don't wonder at that, I do myself. They're awful
deprestin'."

And she sez, "I've held up in front of him the funny colored
supplements to the Sunday papers, and I thought he'd cry."

"Well," sez I, "I've pretty nigh shed tears over 'em myself, they made
me so onhappy."

"How be you goin' to make him laugh?" sez she.

"You watch me and see," sez I. So I went up to him and got his eye and
told him over a lot of laws our male statesmen have made, and are
makin'. License laws of different kinds, but all black as a coal. How
a little girl of twelve or fourteen, pronounced legally incapable of
buyin' or sellin' a sheep or a hen, can legally sell her virtue and
ruin her life. How pizen is licensed by law to make men break the law,
and then they are punished and hung by the law for doin' what the law
expected they would do.

How a woman can protect her dog by payin' a dollar, but can't protect
her boy with her hull property and her heart's blood. How mothers are
importuned by male statesmen to bring big families into a world full
of temptation and ruin, but have no legal rights to protect them from
the black dangers licensed by these law-makers.

His face looked so queer, I worried some thinkin' I should git him to
cryin' instead of laughin'; but I hurried and told him how our
statesmen would flare up now and then and turribly threaten the Mormon
who keeps on marryin' some new wives every little while, and then
elect him to Congress, and sculp his head on our warship to show
foreign nations that America approves of such doin's. And I told him
how girls and boys, hardly out of pantalettes and knee breeches, could
git married in five minutes, but have to spend months and money to
break the ties so easily made and prove they are morally fit to care
for the children born of that careless five minute ceremony.

His linement looked scornful at the idee. And I told him how they tax
wimmen without representation, and then spend millions rasin' statutes
to our forefathers for fightin' agin the same thing. And how statesmen
trust wimmen with their happiness, their lives and their honor, but
deny 'em the rights they give to wicked men, degenerates, and men
whose heads are so soft a fly will slump in if it lights on 'em. To
such men (as well as better ones) they give the right to govern the
wimmen they love, their good inteligent wives and mothers, rule 'em
through life, and award punishment and death to 'em.

"And such men," sez I, "say wimmen don't know enough to vote."

The very idee wuz so weak and inconsistent that it made the man
statute hysterical, and he bust out into a peal of derisive laughter,
and I took my dollar and walked off, though I knowed enough could be
said on this subject to make a stun statute hystericky. I lay out to
send the dollar to the W. C. T. U.

Jest after this I met Bildad, and he sez, "I jest see Josiah; he wuz
in Steeple Chase Park, talkin' with some girls there."

I didn't wait to ask what they wuz talkin' about, I hoped it wuz
religion, but felt dubersome, and hurried there fast as I could. I
crossed the automobile track where crowded cars wuz runnin' all the
while round and round, past the rows of big high headed mettlesome
hosses (this is a pun; they wuz made of metal).

But I passed 'em all as if they wuzn't there; for my mind wuz all took
up with the thought, should I find my pardner there talkin' with them
girls, and if so, what would be the subject of their conversation?
Josiah is sound; but the best of men have weak spots in their armor
which the glance of a bright eye will oft-times pierce through and do
damage. So, to protect my dear pardner from danger, I pressed forward
and wuz let in by a good-lookin' man for twenty-five cents. He gin me
a paper locket and told me to be sure and not lose it. It had a man's
face on it, and I d'no but he thought I would treasure it on account
of that.

I didn't argy with him, but jest looked him coldly in the face and
sez, "I am no such a woman, I have got a pardner of my own, though I
can't put my hand on him this minute." And I passed on.

[Illustration: "_Rows of high-headed mettlesome hosses._"]



CHAPTER SIXTEEN

THE WONDERFUL AND MYSTERIOUS SIGHTS I SAW IN STEEPLE CHASE PARK, AND
MY SEARCH THERE FOR MY PARDNER



CHAPTER SIXTEEN

THE WONDERFUL AND MYSTERIOUS SIGHTS I SAW IN STEEPLE CHASE PARK, AND
MY SEARCH THERE FOR MY PARDNER


Steeple Chase Park is most as big as Luny Park, but is mostly one huge
buildin' covered with glass, and every thing on earth or above, or
under the earth, is goin' on there, acres and acres of amusements
(so-called) in one glass house.

As I went in, I see a immense mirror turnin' round and round seemin'ly
invitin' folks to look. But as I glanced in, I tell the truth when I
say, I wuzn't much bigger round than a match, and the thinness made me
look as tall as three on me.

"Oh," sez I, "has grief wore my flesh away like this? If it keeps on I
shan't dast to take lemonade, for fear I shall fall into the straw and
be drowned."

A bystander sez, "Look agin, mom!"

I did and I wuzn't more'n two fingers high, and wide as our barn
door.

I most shrieked and sez to myself, "It has come onto me at last, grief
and such doin's as I've seen here, has made me crazy as a loon." And I
started away almost on a run.

All of a sudden the floor under me which looked solid as my kitchen
floor begun to move back and forth with me and sideways and back, to
and fro, fro and to, and I goin' with it, one foot goin' one way, and
the other foot goin' somewhere else; but by a hurculaneum effort I
kep' my equilebrium upright, and made out to git on solid floorin'.
But a high-headed female in a hobble skirt, the hobbles hamperin her,
fell prostrate. I felt so shook up and wobblin' myself, I thought a
little Scripter would stiddy me, and I sez, "Sinners stand on slippery
places."

"I see they do!" she snapped out, lookin' at me; "but I can't!"

I sez to myself as I turned away, "I'll bet she meant me." But bein'
tuckered out, I sot down on a reliable-lookin' stool, the high-headed
woman takin' another one by my side--there wuz a hull row of folks
settin' on 'em--when, all of a sudden, I d'no how it wuz done or why,
but them stools all sunk right down to the floor bearin' us with 'em
onwillin'ly.

I scrambled to my feet quick as I could, and as I riz up I see right
in front on me the gigantick, shameless female Bildad had as good as
told me Josiah had been flirtin' with. I knowed her to once, the
gaudy, flashin' lookin' creeter, bigger than three wimmen ort to be;
she wuz ten feet high if she wuz a inch. As she come up to me with
mincin' steps, I sez to her in skathin' axents:

"What have you done with my innocent pardner? Where is Josiah Allen?
Open your guilty breast and confess." And now I'm tellin' the livin'
truth, as she towered up in front on me, her breast did open and a
man's face looked out on me. My brain tottled, but righted itself with
relief, for it wuz not Josiah; it wuz probable some other woman's
husband. But I sez to myself, let every woman take care of her own
husband if she can; it hain't my funeral.

And I hurried off till I come out into a kinder open place with some
good stiddy chairs to set down on, and some green willers hangin' down
their verdant boughs over some posy beds. Nothin' made up about 'em.
Oh how good it looked to me to see sunthin' that God had made, and man
hadn't dickered with and manufactured to seem different from what it
wuz. Thinks I, if I should take hold of one of these feathery green
willer sprays it wouldn't turn into a serpent or try to trip me up, or
wobble me down. They looked beautiful to me, and beyond 'em I could
see the Ocean, another and fur greater reality, real as life, or
death, or taxes, or anything else we can't escape from.

[Illustration: "_I'm tellin' the livin' truth, as she towered up in
front on me, her breast opened and a man's face looked out
on me._" (_See page 253_)]

Settin' there lookin' off on them mighty everlastin' waves, forever
flowin' back and forth, forth and back, the world of the flimsy and
the false seemed to pass away and the Real more nigh to me than it did
in the painted land of shams and onreality I had been passin' through.
And as I meditated on the disgraceful sight I had seen--that gaudy,
guilty creeter with a man concealed in her breast. For if it wuzn't a
guilty secret, why wuz the door shet and fastened tight, till the
searchlight of a woman's indignant eyes brought him to light?

Thinkin' it over calmly and bein' reasonable and just, my feelin's
over that female kinder softened down, and I sez to myself, what if
there wuz a open winder or door into all our hearts, for outsiders to
look in, what would they see? Curious sights, homely ones and
beautiful, happy ones and sorrowful, and some kinder betwixt and
between. Sacred spots that the nearest ones never got a glimpse on.
Eyes that look acrost the coffee pot at you every mornin' never
ketched sight on 'em, nor the ones that walk up and down in them
hidden gardens. Some with veiled faces mebby, some with reproachful
orbs, some white and still, some pert and sassy.

Nothin' wicked, most likely; nothin' the law could touch you for; but
most probable it might make trouble if them affectionate eyes opposite
could behold 'em, for where love is there is jealousy, and a lovin'
woman will be jealous of a shadder or a scare-crow. It is nateral
nater and can't be helped. But if she stopped to think on't, she
herself has her hid-away nooks in her heart, dark or pleasant
landscapes, full of them, you never ketch a glimpse on do the best you
can. And jealous curosity goes deep. What would Josiah see through my
heart's open door? What would I see in hisen? It most skairs me to
think on't. No, it hain't best to have open doors into hearts. Lots of
times it would be resky; not wrong, you know, but jest resky.

Thus I sot and eppisoded, lookin' off onto the melancholy ocean,
listenin' to her deep sithes, when onbid come the agonizin' thought,
"Had Josiah Allen backslid so fur and been so full of remorse and
despair, that his small delicate brain had turned over with him, and
he had throwed himself into the arms of the melancholy Ocean? Wuz her
deep, mournful sithes preparin' me for the heart-breakin' sorrow?" I
couldn't abear the thought, and I riz up and walked away. As I did so
a bystander sez, "Have you been up on the Awful Tower?"

"No," sez I, "I've been through awful things, enough, accidental like,
without layin' plans and climbin' up on 'em." But Hope will always
hunch Anxiety out of her high chair in your head and stand up on it. I
thought I would go upstairs into another part of the buildin' and
mebby I might ketch a glimpse of my pardner in the dense crowd below.

And if you'll believe it, as I wuz walkin' upstairs as peaceful as our
old brindle cow goin' up the south hill paster, my skirts begun to
billow out till they got as big as a hogsit. I didn't care about its
bein' fashion to not bulge out round the bottom of your skirts but
hobble in; but I see the folks below wuz laughin' at me, and it madded
me some when I hadn't done a thing, only jest walk upstairs peaceable.
And I don't know to this day what made my clothes billow out so.

But I went on and acrost to a balcony, and after I went in, a gate
snapped shet behind me and I couldn't git back. And when I got to the
other side there wuzn't any steps, and if I got down at all I had to
slide down. I didn't like to make the venter, but had to, so I tried
to forgit my specs and gray hair and fancy I wuz ten years old, in a
pig-tail braid, and pantalettes tied on with my stockin's, and sot
off. As I went down with lightnin' speed I hadn't time to think much,
but I ricollect this thought come into my harassed brain:

Be pardners worth all the trouble I'm havin' and the dretful
experiences I'm goin' through? Wouldn't it been better to let him go
his length, than to suffer what I'm sufferin'? I reached the floor
with such a jolt that my mind didn't answer the question; it didn't
have time.

All to once, another wind sprung up from nowhere seemin'ly, and tried
its best to blow off my bunnet. But thank Heaven, my good green braize
veil tied round it with strong lutestring ribbon, held it on, and I
see I still had holt of my trusty cotton umbrell, though the wind had
blowed it open, but I shet it and grasped it firmly, thinkin' it wuz
my only protector and safeguard now Josiah wuz lost, and I hastened
away from that crazy spot.

[Illustration: "_As I went down with lightnin' speed I had'nt time to
think much._" (_See page 258_)]

As I passed on I see a hull lot of long ropes danglin' down. On top of
'em wuz a trolley, and folks would hang onto the handle and slide
hundreds of feet through the air. But I didn't venter. Disinclination
and rumatiz both made me waive off overtures to try it.

Pretty soon I come to a huge turn-table, big as our barn floor. It wuz
still and harmless lookin' when I first see it, and a lot of folks got
onto it, thinkin' I spoze it looked so shiny and good they'd like to
patronize it. But pretty soon it begun to move, and then to turn
faster and faster till the folks couldn't keep their seats and one by
one they wuz throwed off, and went down through a hole in the floor I
know not where.

As I see 'em disappear one by one in the depths below, thinks I, is
that where Josiah Allen has disappeared to? Who knows but he is
moulderin' in some underground dungeon, mournin' and pinin' for me and
his native land. Of course Reason told me that he couldn't moulder
much in two days, but I wuz too much wrought up to listen to Reason,
and as I see 'em slide down and disappear, onbeknown to myself I spoke
out loud and sez:

"Can it be that Josiah is incarcerated in some dungeon below? If he
is, I will find and release him or perish with him."

A woman who looked as if she belonged there, hearn me and sez, "Who is
Josiah?" "My pardner," sez I, and I continued, "You have a kind face,
mom; have you seen him? Have you seen Josiah Allen?"

[Illustration: "_Pretty soon it begun to move and one by one they wuz
throwed off and went down I know not where._" (_See
page 260_)]

"Describe him," sez she, "there wuz a man here just now hunting for
some woman."

"Oh, he is very beautiful!"

"Young?" sez she.

"Well, no; about my age or a little older."

"Light complexion? Dark hair and eyes? Stylish dressed?"

"No, wrinkled complexion, bald, and what few hairs he's got, gray."

She smiled; she couldn't see the beauty Love had gilded his image
with.

Sez I, "If he's incarcerated in some dungeon below, I too will mount
the turn-table of torture, and share his fate or perish on the turn
table."

Sez she, "There is no dungeons below; the folks come out into a vast
place as big as this. There is just as much to see down there as there
is here, just as many people and just as much amusement."

"Amusement!" sez I in a holler voice.

After I left her, I see a whisk broom hangin' up in a handy place, and
it had a printed liebill on it, "This whisk broom free." And as my
parmetty dress had got kinder dusty a slidin' and wobblin' as I had
slode and wobbled, I went to brush off my skirt with it, when all of
a sudden somebody or sunthin' gin me a stunnin' blow right in my arm
that held the brush. I dropped it without waitin' to argy the matter,
and I don't know to this day who or what struck me and what it wuz
for. But my conscience wuz clear; I hadn't done nothin'.

I santered on and entered an enclosure seemin'ly made of innocent
lookin' fence rails. I wuz kinder attracted to it, for it looked some
like the rail fence round our gooseberry bushes. But for the lands
sake! it wuzn't like any fence in Jonesville or Zoar, for though it
looked innocent, it shet me in tight and I couldn't git out.

I wandered round and round, and out and in, and it wuz a good half
hour before I got out, and I d'no but I'd have been there to this day,
if a man hadn't come and opened a gate and let me out. Only one
thought kep' up my courage in my fruitless wanderings. It wuz all done
in plain sight of everybody, and I could see for myself that Josiah
wuzn't kep' there in captivity.

There wuz a tall pole in the middle of the Amaze, as they call it
(well named, for it is truly amazin'), and the liebill on that pole
read, "Climb the pole and ring the bell on it, and we will give you a
prize."

I didn't try to climb that pole, and wouldn't if I had been a athleet.
How did I know but it would turn into a writhin' serpent, and writhe
with me? No, I thought I wouldn't take another resk in that dredful
spot. And I wuz glad I thought so, for jest a little ways off, some
honest, easy lookin' benches stood invitin' the weary passer-by to set
down and rest and recooperate. And right there before my eyes some
good lookin' folks sot down on 'em trustin'ly, and the hull bench fell
over back with 'em and then riz up agin, they fallin' and risin' with
it.

I hastened away and thought I would go up into the second story agin
and mebby ketch sight of my pardner, for the crowd had increased. And
as I stood there skannin' the immense crowd below to try to ketch a
glimpse of my lawful pardner, all to once I see the folks below wuz
laughin' at me. I felt to see if my braize veil hung down straight and
graceful, and my front hair wuz all right, and my cameo pin fastened.
But nothin' wuz amiss, and I wondered what could it be. The balcony
wuz divided off into little spaces, five or six feet square, and I
stood in one, innocent as a lamb (or mebby it would be more
appropriate to say a sheep), and leanin' on the railin', and one sassy
boy called out:

"Where wuz you ketched? Are you tame? Wuz you ketched on the Desert of
Sara? Did Teddy ketch you for the Government?" and I never knowed till
I got down what they wuz laughin' at.

The little boxes in the balcony wuz painted on the outside to
represent animal cages. On the one where I had been wuz painted the
sign Drumedary. Josiah Allen's wife took for a drumedary--The idee!

But the view I got of the crowd below wuz impressive, and though it
seemed to me that everybody in New York and Brooklyn and the adjacent
villages and country, wuz all there a Steeple Chasin', yet I knowed
there wuz jest as many dreamin' in Dreamland and bein' luny in Luny
Park. And Surf Avenue wuz full, and what they called the Bowery of
Coney Island, and all the amusement places along the shore. And all on
'em on the move, jostlin' and bein' jostled, foolin' and bein' fooled,
laughin' and bein' laughed at.

Why, I wuz told and believe, that sometimes a million folks go to
Coney Island on a holiday. And I wuz knowin' myself to over three
thousand orphan children goin' there at one time to spend a happy day,
the treat bein' gin 'em by some big-hearted men. Plenty to eat and
drink, and a hull day of enjoyment, candy, pop corn, circus, etc.,
bright day, happy hearts, how that day will stand out aginst the dull
gray background of their lives! And them men ort to hug themselves
thinkin' the thought, over three thousand happinesses wuz set down to
their credit in the books of the Recordin' Angel. And I sez to myself,
"Samantha, you ort to speak well of anything that so brightens the
lives of the children of the great city."

As I went into Dreamland Park, it seemed agin as if all the folks in
the city wuz there in the immense inner court, surrounded by
amusements on every side. They wuz comin' and goin', talkin',
laughin', hurryin', santerin', to and fro, fro and to. Lots on 'em
talkin' language I never hearn before, but I thought, poor things, you
never had the advantage of livin' in Jonesville, so I overlooked it in
'em.

[Illustration: _"As I went into Dreamland it seemed as if all the folks
in the city was there." (See page 266)_]

I see most the first thing as I entered, a place called Creation, and
feelin' dubersome that any thing more could be created than what I'd
seen that day, I bought a ticket and went in, and to my glad surprise,
I found it wuz some like a prayer meetin'. For a man with a loud
preachin' voice quoted a lot of Scripter most the first thing. After
we all got seated it turned dark as pitch all in a minute. But you
could dimly see a vast waste of water, kinder movin' and swashin' to
and fro, as if some great force wuz workin' down below. And out of the
darkness we hearn that Voice:

"In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth, and the Earth
wuz without form and void, and darkness wuz on the face of the deep."

Anon the fiery energy that wuz makin' a planet, wuz hearn in deafenin'
peals of thunder, and blazed through the sky in sheets of lightnin'
and dartin' balls of flame, quietin' down some after awhile. And the
Voice continued:

"The spirit of God moved on the face of the deep. And God said, Let
there be light; and there wuz light."

And slowly a faint light dawned and growed brighter and brighter and
fleecy clouds appeared. The sky growed golden and rosy in the east,
and the sun come up in splendor. Livin' forms appeared in the water,
monsters of all kinds and sizes, queerer than any dog I ever see, and
the Voice went on:

"And God separated the water from the land." Little peaks of land
emerged from the water or it seemed as if the water receeded from
them, and gradually the dry land appeared, and soon queer livin' forms
appeared on it. And gradually, with green grass and verdure, it become
fit for the home of man, and then Adam and Eve appeared. They wuzn't
clothed in much besides innocence, but somehow they didn't look so
immodest as some of the fashonably dressed females of to-day, with
dekolitay and peek-a-boo waists, and skin-tight drapery.

There wuz good Bible talk and sacred music all through the show. And I
felt as if I had looked on and seen a world made right before my eyes,
and that I would dearly love to make a few myself if I had time, and
Josiah wuz willin'. I wuz highly delighted with it and said as much to
the female who sot next to me. She had a discontented, onhappy face,
and I guess she had enough to make her so, for her husband who sot by
her kep' findin' fault with her all the time, till at last she
turned--for you know a angle worm will turn if it is trod on
enough--and she sez to me, but meant it for her pardner I knowed:

"The lecturer ort to gone on and told how sneakin' mean Adam treated
his wife, eatin' the apple, I'll bet down to the very core, and then
misusin' her for givin' it to him, and puttin' all the blame on her
for bringin' sin into the world, when he wuz jest as much to blame as
she wuz."

Sez her husband, "You have to slur men all the time, don't you? You
can't see or hear anything without findin' sunthin' to complain of
about men. I despise such a sperit; men don't have it."

Now, I love justice, and I hate to see my sect imposed upon, and then
whenever or wherever I travel, I always bear with me the honorary
title I won honorably. Jest as men take with 'em on sea or land their
titles of B. A. or D. D., just so I ever carry the title, won by high
minded and strenous effort, Josiah Allen's wife, P. A. and
P. I.--Public Adviser and Private Investigator. Here, I thought, is
need for a P. A. So I sez to her, yet in a voice her pardner couldn't
help hearin':

"I hearn once of a husbands' meetin' in a revival, when the minister
asked every man to git up who had complaints to make about his wife.
Every man sprung to his feet to once, except one lone man by the door.
And the minister sez, 'My friend, you are one man in a million who
have no complaints to make about your wife.' The man sez, 'That hain't
it; I'm paralyzed, I can't _git_ up.'"

I d'no as the husband I aimed this at took it kind or not, but he
didn't nag his wife any more in my hearin'.



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

IN WHICH I CONTINUE MY SEARCH FOR JOSIAH THROUGH DREAMLAND, HUNTIN'
FOR HIM IN VAIN, AND RETURN TO BILDAD'S AT NIGHT, WEARY AND DESPAIRIN'



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

IN WHICH I CONTINUE MY SEARCH FOR JOSIAH THROUGH DREAMLAND, HUNTIN'
FOR HIM IN VAIN, AND RETURN TO BILDAD'S AT NIGHT, WEARY AND DESPAIRIN'


Creation wuz such a good show I felt considerable rested and refreshed
when it wuz over. And I thought the woman looked quite a little
perter; it duz down-trod folks lots of good to have somebody take
their part. I felt kinder good to think I had lightened a sister
female's sperit a little, and wuz walkin' along quite comfortable in
mind when like an arrow out of a bo, the old pain and anxiety stabbed
me afresh. Another hour gone and Josiah Allen not found! What shall I
do? Where shall I turn the eyes of my spectacles? Jest as I wuz askin'
this question to my troubled soul I hearn a boy speak to another one
about a futur' state of punishment in sich a vulgar and familiar way
that I turned round to once, carryin' out my roll of Promisicous
Adviser, and I sez, "You wicked boys you, to talk so light of your
future states, I wonder you dast! If I wuz your mother and had had
your bringin' up, you wouldn't dast!"

They looked real impudent at me, and one on 'em sez, "You hain't the
money to go with, that's what ails you."

I sez solemnly, "Riches is a snare. I know how hard it is for the eye
of a needle to have a camel git through it; I know how the rich man
longed for a drop of water. And you'd better meditate on these things
and try to git used to heat, instead of talkin' light about 'em!" I
don't know how much longer I should have gone on as a P. A. and P. I.
but the woman I had befriended stepped up and sez, "He means the show
there." And lookin' up, if you'll believe it, I see the words "Hell
Gate," and sez she, "I have got two tickets and my husband don't care
about goin', won't you go with me?"

I thought to myself, he probably thinks he'll have chances to sample
it in the futur, but mebby he wuz jest sulky. But I only sez to her,
"It is the last place I ever laid out to go unless I wuz obleeged to.
But lead on," sez I recklessly, "I'll foller." For the thought had
come to me onbid, How did I know how fur Josiah Allen had
back-slided? How did I know but I'd find him there?

[Illustration: _"We got in a small boat and wuz carried round and round
till we dived into a dark tunnel."_]

But to my great surprise--and I wish Elder Minkley could see it, I
thought mebby it would modify his sermons some--the first thing we see
wuz a great trough of water, and I said to the woman in surprise, "I
never expected that folks would go to this hot place by water!" But
we got into a small boat and wuz carried round and round like a
whirlpool, till the boat got in the very center, when it dived down
into a dark tunnel.

At the further end we climbed out onto a platform, and found ourselves
in a long, low-vaulted place, some like a immense tunnel. We could
jest ketch a glimpse of a light way off at the end, and we sot off for
it, I lookin' clost and sharp on every side for my pardner, hopin' and
dreadin' to find him there. When all of a sudden, the most terrific
yells and shrieks sounded on every side and we see cages of wild
animals on both sides of us movin' up and down howlin' and snarlin'.

Sez the woman, "They're men dressed up as wild beasts."

Sez I, "Have they got to stay here always? Do you spoze it is wrong
doin' that has changed 'em into wild animals?" Sez I, "Judgin' from
the papers some on 'em wouldn't need much of a turn." But oh, I
groaned to myself, "Is Josiah Allen turned into a bear or a cammy
leapord! Is he here? I don't believe," sez I to myself, "he has ever
been bad enough to be turned into anything worse than a sheep or a
rooster." And as I didn't hear any blattin' or crowin', and knowed
that if he had seen me he would have tried to communicate with his
beloved pardner, I felt hopeful he wuzn't there.

We went on and as soon as we got out she asked me if I didn't want to
see the Incubator babies, and bein' agreeable to the idee, we went and
see 'em. There they lay in glass cases, pretty little creeters lookin'
like wee bits of dolls, I felt sad as I looked down on 'em, and
thought on the hard journey them tiny feet must set out on from them
glass boxes. What rough crosses the little fingers had got to grasp
holt of, and onbeknown to me my mind fell onto the follerin' poetry--

            "Our crosses are made from different trees,
            But we all of us have our Calvaries;
            We may climb the mount from a different side,
            But we all go up to be crucified."

Of course, I knowed there would be some bright posies wreathed round
the crosses; but there would be thorns in them. And though the road
might be soft and agreeable in spots, yet I knowed well what hard
rocks there wuz in the highway of life to stub toes on, even
common-sized toes, and it did seem a pity such little mites of feet
had got to git stun bruises on 'em.

Poor little creeters! I thought, little do you know what sadness and
ecstacy, what grief and joy, gloom and glory lays ahead on you. I wuz
sorry for 'em, sorry as a dog.

And then I didn't like the idee of the little helpless creeters bein'
laid out on exhibition, like shirt buttons, or hooks and eyes, to be
stared on by saint and sinner, by eyes tender or cruel--and voices
lovin' and hateful to comment on. I felt that the place for little
babies wuz to home in the bedroom. And I thought nothin' would tempt
me, if Josiah wuz a infant babe, to place him on exhibition like
Hamburg edgin', or bobbinet lace. The very idee wuz repugnant to me.
And I wuz more than willin' when the female asked me if I didn't want
to go and see the midgets, and we went.

And you don't know what interestin' little creeters they wuz, mindin'
their own bizness and midgetin' away. Actin' out a little play jest as
if a company of dolls had come to life, talkin' and actin'. They
seemed to be jest as happy and contented as if they wuz eight or ten
feet high and heavy accordin'.

As we left this place the female ketched sight of her husband. He
bagoned hautily to her with one finger, and she hastened to jine him.
Such is females. And so true it is that love in either sect will rise
up above naggin', or any other kind of pardner meanness.

I went forward alone to see the Head Hunters. And I looked on the
brown little folks with a feelin' of pity. How did I know they had
ever had good advice? I felt here wuz a noble chance for a P. A.

So I sez to 'em, "I've hearn of your doin's, and I want to advise you
for your good." They looked at me real stiddy and I went on, "You may
think you hain't so guilty because you only take folkses heads. But
for the lands sakes! did you ever stop to think on't? What can they do
without their heads? Of course," sez I reasonably, "there is a
difference in heads. Some folkses heads hain't got so much sense in
'em as others. I've seen 'em myself that I've thought a good wooden
head would be jest as useful. But they are the best they've got, and
they're attached to 'em, and they can't git along without 'em. And I
always thought you might jest as well take their hull bodies whilst
you wuz about it. Don't you see that is so? When it is pinted out to
you by a P. A.?"

[Illustration: _"I went forward to see the Head Hunters. I sez to 'em
'I've hearn of your doin's and I want to advise you for
your good_.'" (_See page 281_)]

They kinder jabbered over sunthin' to themselves, and I sez as I
turned away, "Now, don't let me hear of any more such doin's! Be
contented with the heads you've got, and don't try to git somebody
elses that don't belong to you." Sez I, "Sunthin' like that, namely
stealin' the interior of folkses heads, has been done time and agin
among more civilized folks, and it don't work; they git found out."

I left 'em getisculatin' and jabberin' in that strange lingo and am in
hopes they wuz promisin' to quit their Head Huntin', but can't tell
for certain.

As I santered along a female asked me if I had seen the Divin' Girls,
sez she, "There is a immense pond of water, and they are the best
divers and swimmers in the world."

But I sez, "Nobody can dive into deeper depths than I have doven
to-day."

"The ocean?" sez she.

"Oceans of anxiety," sez I, "rivers of grief." I spoze my dretful
emotions showed on my linement, and to git my mind off she sez, "You
ort to see the aligators."

I'd hearn they had immense tanks of water as long as from our house to
Philander Dagget's, holdin' thousands and thousands and thousands of
aligators, from them jest born, to them a hundred years old, from them
the size of your little finger weighin' a few ounces, to them big as
elephants, weighin' two tons.

But I told her I could worry along for years without aligators, I
never seemed to hanker for 'em, I wouldn't take 'em as a gift if I had
to let 'em have the run of the house. Humbly things! though I spoze
they hain't to blame for their looks, or their temperses, which are
fierce. And I didn't go into the big animal house, thinkin' I wuz so
dog tired that I would go back to Bildad's and come back the next day
and see all the animals and birds and the hundreds of other shows I'd
had to slight that day, enough to devour days of stiddy sight seein'.
The Siege of Richmond, The Great Divide, Switzerland, Congress of
Nations, Indian Village, The Orient, Bathin' Pavilions, Japanese Tea
Gardens, and etc.

I did want to see the Shimpanzee who duz everything but talk. And I
thought mebby the reason he wuz so close-mouthed wuz because he hearn
so much talkin' he wuz sick on't, as I wuz, and made a sample of
himself. But if he did nobody follered it, no indeed! Why, you jest
spozen a hundred swarms of bees big as giants, with buzzes big
accordin', all a swarmin' and a buzzin', and you'll git a little idee
of the noise and tumult of Coney Island. But you won't spozen' fur
enough, I don't believe. Yes, I laid out to spend considerable time in
Dreamland next day. But little did I think of what a day might bring
forth, and have got it to think on like them that lose friends, "Oh
why didn't I do thus and so? And now it is too late to wait on 'em,
and pay attention to 'em?" But I'm leadin' a melancholy horse up to a
mournin' wagon, before the thills are on, so I'll stop eppisodin' and
resoom forwards. Jest outside the gate of Dreamland I met Bildad, and
he sez, "Have you found Josiah yet?"

"No," I sez in despairin' axents, "I hain't seen hide nor hair on
him."

And he sez, "Mebby he's gone in bathin'."

"No," I sez, "He took a bath in the wash-tub the night before he come
here, and he hain't a man that will wash oftener than he has to."

Sez he, "Hundreds of folks take sand baths, lay in the sand and throw
it at each other, cover themselves up in it."

"What for?" I sez.

"Oh, jest for fun. They'll go into the water mebby, and then come
ashore and roll and tumble in the sand, men, wimmen, and children,
mostly foreigners," sez he.

I sez, "It don't seem as if Josiah would go into that bizness; he
always despised sand."

"Well," sez he, "as I come by there jest now, I see somebody that
looked like Josiah, goin' towards the beach with a girl by him."

I turned onto my heel to once and asked sternly, "Where is that beach?
And where is that sand?" He told me and I made for it to once. I
hain't got a jealous hair in my head, but I thought I'd go. Well, it
wuz a sight to see, acres and acres of sand dotted with men, wimmen,
and children. And beyond, the melancholy ocean, also dotted with
swimming heads, with bodies attached, so I spozed. Well might Atlantic
be melancholy to see such sights, hundreds of folks comin' out of the
water, hundreds goin' in, and other hundreds walkin' or rollin' in the
sand or throwin' it at each other or half covered up with it.

And as for the clothes they had on, I thought no wonder the Ocean and
I sithed to see it, no money would tempt me to wear 'em to mill or
meetin', or to let Josiah wear 'em. They didn't look decent. Either
they wuz scrimped for cloth, or they wanted to look so; whichever way
it wuz, I pitied 'em.

[Illustration: _"It wuz a sight to see, acres and acres of sand dotted
with men, wimmen, and children." (See page 286)_]

But where wuz Josiah? On every side wuz folks settin' and walkin', and
mounds of sand with sometimes a head stickin' out, or a foot, or a
arm, or a nose. I had hard work to keep from treadin' on 'em. There
would be little hillocks of sand with mebby a child's head or foot
stickin' out.

Anon a mound over a fat man or a woman big as a hay stack. I walked
along for some time keepin' a clost watch on every side, but no Josiah
did I see nor no mound I felt wuz hisen, till jest as I wuz ready to
drop down with fatigue with my arjous work to keep from treadin' on
folks, I ketched sight of a nose stickin' out of a small mound that I
thought sure I reconized. My heart bounded at the sight. My first look
wuz to see if any girl mound wuz nigh him. But there wuzn't nothin'
but some children's heads and feet stickin' about, and I hastened to
that nose and poked the sand from it with my umbrell cryin':

"Dear Josiah! Is this indeed your nose? Have I found you at last?"

When to my horrow a fierce red whiskered face rared itself up from the
sand, and jabbored at me in a onknown tongue; onknown the words, but
the language of anger can be read in any tongue. Hisen betokened the
most intense madness, and I spoze that in my agitation I might have
jabbed him some with my umbrell, and I hastened away, tromplin' as I
did so in my haste on various heads and arms, and follered by loud
busts of what I most know wuz blood curdlin' profanity, though not
Jonesville swearin'.

Well, I wuz tired out and discouraged. No Josiah, no pardner! I felt
some like a grass widder, or I guess it wuz more like a real widder.
'Tennyrate my feelin's wuz too awful to describe, so lonesome, so
cast-down and deprested. And no knowin' as I would ever feel any
better, no knowin' if that dear man would ever be found. And what
would life be without him? Nothin' but a holler mockery filled with
movin' shadders, the Reality of life gone and lost.

Night wuz comin' on apace and I thought I might as well abandon my
quest for the time, so I returned to Bildad's feelin' some as if I wuz
a sickly serial readin'--"To be continued in our next." For I knowed
that I would resoom the search bright and early, and find that man or
perish in my tracks.

Friday--onlucky day, as it has always been called--had gone to jine
the days of the past. I sot on the piazza at Bildad's lookin' out on
the seen that, bewilderin' as it wuz by daylight, wuz ten times more
bewilderin'ly beautiful by night. Like stars in the tropics, the
electric lights flashed out over the hull place, the greatest number
of electric lights in the same space in the world, I wuz told and
believe.

Every pinnacle, battlement, tower, balcony, winder, ruff, wuz edged
with the blazin' fire embroidery. And the tall mountains, palaces,
graceful bridges, piers, pleasure places of all kinds, looked fairy
like, under the friendly hand of Night. And 'way up to the very
heavens Dreamland tower lifted itself, a gigantic shaft of dazzling
brilliancy, dominatin' the hull island. Passingly beautiful tower by
night or day, the first thing the homesick mariner sees as he
approaches his Homeland.

Thousands and thousands and thousands of gay pleasure seekers trod the
walks to and fro. Thousands and thousands more, rich and poor dined in
the gay restaurants and balconies, surrounded with flowers and light
and music. And still other thousands enjoyed the myriad amusements
afforded them. Bildad's sister, who wuz on a visit there from
Hoboken, thinks it aristocratick, and herself more refined and rare to
run the place down. Lots of folks do that; they go there and stay from
mornin' till night, go up in the Awful Tower, take in every
Bump-de-Bump and Wobble-de-Wobble, and then turn up their noses
talkin' to outsiders about it, as fur as their different noses will
turn. She was lame at the time from tromplin' all over the place for
the past week. But she sez to me (with her nose turned up as fur as it
could, bein' a pug to start with):

"It is Common people who come here mostly." And she kinder glared at
me as if mistrustin' I wuz one of 'em.

And I sez, "Well, you know, Lucindy, who it wuz the common people
received gladly, and who dwelt among them? And you know Lincoln said,
'It must be the Lord liked the common people, He made so many on
'em.'"

She didn't reply, only with her nose, which looked disdainful. And I
sez to myself in astonishment, "Can this be Samantha, praisin' up what
she has always run down?" But I had to own up to myself that though I
had seen many places more congenial to me, yet I wuz glad that so many
people, some of 'em cut off from the beauty of life, could come here
quickly and easily, and forgit their cares and toil for awhile, and go
home refreshed and ready to take up their burdens agin. And the
children, God bless them! I knowed it wuz indeed to them, the big
Wonder Place, and beauty spot of the world and their life.



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

JOSIAH FOUND AT LAST! THE AWFUL FIRE AT DREAMLAND AND THE TERRIBLE
SIGHTS I SAW THERE



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

JOSIAH FOUND AT LAST! THE AWFUL FIRE AT DREAMLAND AND THE TERRIBLE
SIGHTS I SAW THERE


I didn't go out that evenin', weariness and rumatiz both kep me to
home a settin' on that piazza. And in vain for me did the countless
lights burn and blaze. The great tower that lighted up the deep breast
of the Atlantic, for milds and milds, couldn't light up my gloomy
sperit.

Where wuz my Josiah? Where wuz the pardner of my youth? In vain did
the melogious music blare out its loudest blares, it brought no bam to
my sperit. I sot and looked on the countless hosts passin' by as if
they wuzn't there, the man I loved wuz not among 'em. I sot there lost
in mournful thought till the endless crowd gradually dispersed. The
music ceased, the lights went out. The hand of Midnight let down her
dark mantilly of repose, spangled with stars, Silence sot on the
throne Noise had vacated.

The great City of Mirth wuz asleep. Only the Atlantic and Samantha
seemed awake, the Ocean's deep voice sounded out in the same
ontranslated language it has from the creation, and will I spoze till
there is no more sea. Ontranslated to most, but to me it thundered
out, Swish!--Swosh!--Roar! Where is Josiah? Where is Josiah? Where?
Where? Swish!--Swosh!--Roar!

I didn't want to go to bed, but knowed I needed rest for another
arjous day of Husband huntin'. I retired to bed but not to sleep.
Anxiety and Grief lay on both sides on me and crowded me, and prodded
me with their sharp elbows.

But I spoze I must have droze off, for all to once I wuz passin'
through a great silent city. Hours and hours I trod up and down broad
stun highways, through endless parks and Pleasure Places, climbin'
interminable flights of marble stairs, walkin' through immense picture
galleries. Days and days went by, whilst I wuz conductin' this quest
through a deserted city, searchin' for sunthin' I couldn't name. Till
at last I lay wore out, on a couch, and Josiah wuz bendin' over me. He
had a small green hat sot rakishly on one side, a red neck-tie flashed
out, a immense cigar wuz in his mouth, out of which streamed a flame
of fire. As he bent over me, and I see his dissolute linement and
mean, I groaned out, "Oh Josiah, is it thus we meet?"

"We meet as Highlariers!" sez he gayly, and bent still closter, I
spozed he wuz goin' to kiss me. And so philosophical is my mind asleep
or awake, I thought even then, the law couldn't touch him for it if he
did. But before his face met mine, that immense flaming cigar sot fire
to the piller case. The flames riz up round me, the smoke entered my
nostrils and nose.

I sprung up. Josiah had disappeared, but the smell of fire remained. I
hurried to the winder. As I had last seen it all the great pleasure
ground seemed fast asleep. Gone wuz the tread of the innumerable
multitude. The music of the bands wuz hushed, the cries of the
different venders and showmen, automobiles, wagons, the stiddy sound
of machinery running the mechanical amusements, and the constant sound
of footsteps and voices, that filled the day full, wuz all hushed.
Even to the long onshapely animal house Night had brought silence. The
hull place looked like a City of Dreams, only the eternal waves
washin' up on the beach, seemed to emphasize the silence.

But what wuz that I see over the dim ruffs? A slender spiral of flame
shootin' up through the shadows, and on Dreamland tower a rosy blush
seemed to grow on its whiteness. As I watched the flame, it grew
larger and larger, and my heart most stopped beatin', for I knowed
what a fire would mean in them unsubstantial buildin's. And somewhere
there under them flimsy ruffs was my Josiah!

The flame increased! Coney Island wuz afire! Made sensitive by
anxiety, I had reconized the smoke borne to me on some vagrant
breeze.

The long elaborate dream of mine hadn't lasted a second. It wuz staged
in the _real_ Dream Land, for the awful drayma so soon to be enacted
there, by the terrible actor, Fire! The most fearful and tragic actor
on the hull stage of life.

Fire! Fire! Fire!

Thus did I scream as I throwed on my clothes, I thought at the top of
my voice, but I don't spoze it wuz much above a whisper, for Bildad's
folks didn't hear me in the next room, through the thin wall, till I
rushed to their door and knocked, cryin' out:

"Bildad, git up! Josiah is afire!"

"What you say?" he called back.

"Dreamland is afire! Josiah is in danger! But I will save him or
perish!" And I ketched up a two quart pail of water, and rushed out
doors. You can't recall your exact thoughts at such a time, yet I have
a ricellection of thinkin'--Josiah is small boneded, and two quarts of
water might put him out if he had jest got afire. But where wuz the
idol of my soul? I spoze every woman on Coney Island thought them
thoughts whether she remembers it or not. Where is _he_? Will he
escape? And men wuz thinkin', Where is _she_? Is she safe? Love puts
the question, and Fear and Horrer answers it.

As I rushed along cryin' Fire! winders wuz throwed up, doors opened,
and in less time than I can tell on't, Surf Avenue wuz full of people.
Frenzied cries and shouts rung through the air. And as the flames riz
higher and higher, so did the shrieks and yells of the crowd, which
had swelled to a mob; bells clanged, fire wagons raced and jangled.

Quicker than any seen wuz ever changed at a theatre the Quiet Night
wuz turned into Pandemonium. Men, wimmen and children rushin' every
which way--police--firemen--fire bells clangin'--men shoutin'--wimmen
shriekin'--and every minute the flames increased!

The firemen did what they could, they worked like giants, but the
element they wuz workin' aginst wuz more powerful than man. Anon
burnin' timbers fell with a crash, clouds of smoke wropped us round
and choked us, the firemen sent up streams of water that turned to
mountains of steam.

I wuz carried by the screechin' mob hither and yon with no will of my
own. Another element wuz added to the dretful seen. Someone cried
out:

"The wild animals are loose!"

Wimmen fainted, and men, wimmen and children screamed louder than
ever, expectin' any minute a tiger or lion or leapord to rush at 'em,
or a maddened elephant to tromple 'em down.

They said the sight at that time in the animal house wuz enough to
turn the soundest brain, for to save the animals they had to let 'em
loose. And as they couldn't be driven out, at last it wuz a great
writhin', strugglin' mass of animal forms appallin' to see, while the
ears wuz deafened by the maddened cries of leapords and hyenas--the
wild jabberin' of monkeys, snarlin' and growlin' of panthers, tigers
and bears, roarin' of lions--hybrids--hissin' of serpents--pitiful
frightened neighing of ponies, trumpetin' of elephants. A great
screamin', roarin, hissin', writhin', fightin' mass!

But as they refused to be driven to safety, the keepers after heroic
efforts to save 'em, give 'em a more merciful death. It took fur
greater heroism to do this, for some of 'em wuz dear pets, and it wuz
like slayin' their own children, and they aimed their revolvers at 'em
through tearful eyes.

A bareheaded bystander sez, "The fire started in Hell Gate."

Sez I, "Jest what you could expect of that place, I never hearn no
good of it yet."

But the wild crowd surged to and fro. Earth and Heaven seemed filled
with the dretful roar and confusion--

It wuz a riot of deafenin' noise and clamor below, and fur fur above,
Dreamland Tower flamed up a immense pillar of fire, blazin' out for
the last time over sea and land, and with a dyin' effort at
decoration, crashed down, sendin' up a shower of golden sparks a
hundred feet high.

Jest then a woman sez, "The little Incubator Babies have been
forgotten."

"Not by me!" I sez, and I strove to push my way towards 'em, the woman
toilin' along by my side through the inferno of clamor, steam, smoke,
and shriekin' rushin' humanity. But jest before we got there we met
the good doctors and nurses who wuz bearin' 'em to safety, and I sez
to the woman, "It will be a shame if them helpless mites are ever
brought back to this place of danger."

"Danger!" the words rousted up afresh my agonized fears. Where wuz
Josiah? Where wuz my idol? The woman tried to comfort me, for I wuz
now cryin' aloud, and callin' on his name.

She sez, "He will escape; men can git round so much easier than
wimmen."

"Have you a husband in this dretful place?" sez I.

"No," sez she, "only their dust, I have got three in a vase on my
mantle piece in Surf Avenue." Instinctively I thought "she'd had
husbands to burn, but some wimmen can't get one to save their lives,
and them that get one can't keep track on him."

But I d'no whether she saved her vase or not, for we wuz parted by the
hustlin', tearin', scramblin' mob, and I wuz carried in another
direction, choked and blinded, and tossted and torn.

I hearn someone say, "Black Prince is loose, the biggest lion of all!"
And sure enough, wild and crazy with the fiery heat and noise, the
great beast rushed up and down, the crowd givin' him the Right of Way.
And at last he clim' up onto a battlement and looked down on the mad
seen below, the shoutin' yellin' mob bore me onwards, so I stood only
a stun's throw from the spot.

Never agin will there be such a seen presented to the eye of man, as
that kingly form, standin' up above the crowd aginst the background of
lurid flame.

But who wuz that standin' directly beneath, in the very middle of
danger? My heart bounded so it most broke through my bodist waist.

Did I not know that small boneded figger? That bald head lit up by the
glare of flames? It wuz! it wuz Josiah! My pardner-huntin' wuz ended,
but wuz it to be death at the gole? That agonizin' thought made me by
the side of myself, and entirely onbeknown to me I rushed forwards and
cried to the lordly beast above, jest ready to spring:

"Don't harm Josiah! Devour me instead!"

[Illustration: "_I rushed forwards and cried to the lordly beast above,
jest ready to spring: 'Don't harm Josiah! Devour me
instead._'" (_See page 303_)]

I knowed I would make a better meal for it; Josiah is lean and boney.
But I won't try to make myself out better than I am; I didn't think of
the lion's digestion, and how Josiah would set on his stomach. My only
thought wuz to save my pardner. And with a herculaneum effort I
reached his side, and snatched him away jest as a shot rung out and
the noble beast fell, his great, shaggy head restin' on the
balustrade, lookin' down on the crowd below as if in questionin' agony
and contempt, as though his last thoughts wuz:

"Did you tear me away from my own free, beautiful, tropical forest for
such a fate as this? Where is man's boasted wisdom and power? I could
have cared for myself, lived and died in happiness and safety, but
civilized man has ruined and destroyed the wild beast."

                  *       *       *       *       *

The rest of that seen is like a dream to me. I guess when the heavy
dread and fear I had carried so long, wuz lifted from my brain, it
made me light-headed. 'Tennyrate, it don't seem as if I come fully to
myself, till Josiah and I wuz takin' leave at Bildad's with tickets
for Jonesville in our pockets.

The agony I had went through there, and my joy in his recovery wuz
such, that I didn't throw Josiah's waywardness in his face (not much
of any). But if you'll believe it--and I don't spoze you will--he
turned the tables 'round, and blamed me. That is often done by
pardners of both sects, when they feel real guilty, to try to draw
attention off their own misdoin's, by findin' fault with their
pardners. It has been done time and agin, and I spoze will be, as long
as man is man, and woman is woman.

When I told him that I rid down there with Deacon Gansey, that man
acted jealous and mad as a hen. He never liked him, they fell out
years ago about a rail fence, and wuz hurt. But now he acted furious,
and his last words to Bildad wuz:

"I want you to have a funeral for Deacon Gansey before I see you agin,
and I'll pick out the him I want you to sing at his funeral:

                      "Believein', we rejoice,
                      To see the cuss removed."

But I spoke right up and sez, "Don't you bury him till he is dead,
Bildad, no matter who tells you to."

And Josiah didn't like that, or acted as if he didn't; mebby he wuz
subterfugin' to draw off attention. Truly, pardners is a mysterious
problem, and it takes sights of wisdom and patience to solve' em, and
sometimes you can't git the right answer to 'em then, male or female.

As we left Surf Avenue I looked back on the blackened ruins of what
had been the fair City of Dreamland, the broken totterin' remains of
that glorious tower, the black tangled masses of iron and steel, the
ruins of the great animal house mixed with the ashes of a hundred and
twenty animals, and I see with my mind's eye that great flat plain of
blackened ruins, all cleared away, and green velvety grass, and trees,
and fountains sprayin' over shrubs, and flowers, and white smooth
paths windin' through the bloom and verdure clear down to the clean
sand of the water's verge. And the high fence of Exclusion that shets
them from other fair parks along the shore removed, thousands and
thousands and thousands of happy children playin' there in the pure
air, takin' in in one summer day enough strength to last 'em through a
crowded, suffocatin', weary week. And grown folks, rich and poor,
tired of city sights and sounds, strollin' about or settin' on
comfortable seats lookin' off on the water, or watchin' the play of
their children, the fresh air blowin' some of their cares and troubles
away.



CHAPTER NINETEEN

WE RETURN TO JONESVILLE AND JOSIAH BUILDS TIRZAH ANN'S COTTAGE WITH
STRANGE INVENTIONS AND ADDITIONS



CHAPTER NINETEEN

WE RETURN TO JONESVILLE AND JOSIAH BUILDS TIRZAH ANN'S COTTAGE WITH
STRANGE INVENTIONS AND ADDITIONS


I told Josiah I hoped my vision would come true, and they would make
an open park of Dreamland, so the millions who visit Coney Island
could git a good look at Mom Nater and old Ocean. "And heaven knows,"
sez I, "there would be amusements enough left in Luny, and Steeple
Chase Park, and other resorts all along the shore." And he said he
didn't care a dum what they did with it. Sez he, "They needn't build
it up on my account, for I won't patronize 'em any more!" And I told
him, "I guessed he wouldn't be missed, specially Sundays and
holidays." And he said, "Miss me or not, they needn't try to git me
there agin, and they may jest as well give up hopin' to, first as
last."

Sez I, "Can't you be megum, Josiah? You wuz all carried away with it,
and now you're turned agin it; what makes you turn so _fur_? Can't
you see the good side to it?"

"No, I can't, and won't!"

So we went home some like the Baptist and the Methodist who had a
public meetin' to argy their two beliefs, on which they wuz dretful
sot, and they converted each other, so the Baptist went home a
Methodist, and the Methodist a Baptist.

I'd been considerable sot agin it, but I went home with the eye of my
spectacles able to look on both sides. The side I didn't like, that it
shares with other Pleasure Resorts. And its good side, as a care
lightener, and diversion to toil. And a golden Pleasure House to the
millions of children who go there every year, many of 'em poor
children who get there their only glimpse of rest and light hearted
enjoyment.

But my dear pardner can't be megum; that quality wuz left out when he
wuz manufactured. And now if anyone sez Coney Island, he starts for
the barn.

Serenus come home a few days after we did. He'd been on the Bowery of
Coney Island that night, Josiah havin' refused to go to such a lowdown
place with him. So as it often is in this strange world, the
wrong-doer comes out ahead, for the _present_. He made a night of it
with Jim Cobb, a rural cousin, and not a hair of his head wuz
scorched, nor the smell of fire on his garments.

But I wuz proud that Josiah withstood temptation, and told him that I
would ruther he had got afire, and burned considerable, than had him
yield to the tempter.

I myself never sot foot on the Bowery; I wuzn't goin' to nasty up my
mind with it, though I hearn there wuz some good things to be seen
there. Folks told me I'd ort to gone to Brighton, and Atlantic City,
and see the milds of beautiful Pleasure places along the ocean, but I
sez, "I thank you, but I've seen enough," though there wuz sights
there that I would loved to see.

Among 'em wuz that Mother's Camp, where thousands and thousands of
poor children and their mas go to spend a day in the bracin'
atmosphere. And the children have pure milk, and their mas good tea,
and they can go there day after day all they want to. How the children
look forward to it, and their mas too.

[Illustration: "_I myself never sot foot on the Bowery; I wuzn't goin'
to nasty up my mind with it, though I hearn there wuz some
good things to be seen there._" (_See page 313_)]

The goodness and helpfulness of such places along the beach, wrops
their bright mantillys over some of the other places not so good and
makes folks more lenitent to 'em, as they endure a poor husband for
the sake of his good wife, and visey versey.

A few days after we got home, Josiah took Penstock and they sot off
for a two weeks' stay at Shadow Island. And a few days after they got
there he writ me that they had broke ground for the cottage. And that
very day I got my feet wet down to the creek paster huntin' for a
turkey's nest, and come down with inflamatory rumatiz, and couldn't
walk a step for upwards of four weeks, and Ury's wife come and took
care on me. My head felt bad too, Coney Island had been too much for
me--

Well, Josiah would come home Sundays all wrought up and enthusiastick
boastin' what a model house it wuz, jest perfect, and what new and
magnificent discoveries he had made to lighten labor, which he wuz
goin' to git patented and probable make our everlastin' fortune, as
well as make Tirzah Ann perfectly happy. And I'd set with my foot on a
piller, and hear him go on and forebode and forebode, and I groaned
more about the house than I did with the pain in my lim, though that
wuz fearful.

Well, after it had been goin' on for about four weeks, one Saturday
when he come home over Sunday, he said the house wuz all up and
nearin' completion, and he carried the idee if he didn't come right
out and say it, that there wuzn't a mansion in the New Jerusalem that
went ahead on't. My rumatiz and head wuz quite a little better, and he
proposed that I should go back with him Monday mornin' on a short
tower and see the house, and be a humble witness and admirer of his
glorious triumph (he didn't say these words right out but carried the
idee plain in his linement, and hauty demeanor). Well, I concluded to
go, and Philury bandaged up my lim in soft flannel moistened with
anarky, and packed various bottles of linement, etc., in my portmanty
and Ury took us to the train.

Well I will pass over our voyage to Shadow Island, but in the fullness
of time we arrove there, and stood in front of the cottage. The seen
all round it wuz fair indeed, but the structure looked queer, queer as
a dog. There wuz piazzas and porticos, and ornament piled on ornament
cropped out on every side. It wuz weighted down with cheap little
sawed out peaks and pints, and triangles perforated with holes for
ornaments, but the hull thing looked shiftless, tippin' and lop sided.
I stood lookin' at it in silence for a long time, it looked so queer
that it sort o' stunted and brow beat me, and my first words wuz spoke
as much to my own soul as to my companion, "It looks strange, passin'
strange!"

"Yes," sez Josiah, "hain't it a uneek plan?"

"Yes," sez I, "a uneeker one wuz never seen on this planet." And agin
I seemed to lose myself in strange emotions, it looked so awful, a
kind of or mingled with my indignation and regret.

"Nobody will steal them idees!" sez he proudly.

"No," sez I sadly, "you're safe from that." And I sez, as I looked up
at the queer, lop sided, flighty, vain thing, "It leans over
considerable, Josiah Allen, it is very tippin'."

He looked worried, but sez in a sort of apology way, "I had it lean
over one side on account of havin' rain water dripp offen the eaves,
and have the snow slide off in drifty times. Ruffs have been known to
fall in, and I wanted to ensure Tirzah Ann's havin' a ruff over her
head anyway."

Agin I looked on in solemn or, and sez wonderin'ly, "What will Tirzah
Ann say when she sees it?"

"I don't care," sez he, "what she sez! if she don't like it she can
lump it!"

But I could see that the tippin' sides wuz done through a mistake, and
he wuz tryin' to cover it up with a mantilly of bravado and
boastfulness. I agin kep' silence for quite a spell, and my next
words, so fur as I remember 'em, wuz, "Where is the suller?"

He stood agast and repeated, "The suller!" He looked perfectly
dumb-foundered but wuzn't goin' to give in he made a mistake, it wuz
too mortifyin' to his pride, so sez he in faint axents:

"I laid out to build it after the house wuz done." Sez I, "What wuz
you goin' to do with the dirt?"

"Why, I laid out," sez he lookin' helplessly round for a excuse, "I
laid out to bring it up in baskets," and he went on brightenin' up as
a idee struck him--"I've observed, Samantha, that dirt is handy for
house plants, or to plant seeds in the spring of the year."

Sez I dryly, "I guess three or four hundred wagon loads won't be
needed for house plants, and after Tirzah Ann sees all that dirt
lugged up her suller stairs and through her kitchen she won't have
much time or ambition for posies."

[Illustration: "_'The suller!' He stood agast, perfectly dumb-foundered
but wuzn't goin' to give in he had made a mistake. It wuz
too mortifying to his pride._" (_See page 318_)]

"Well," sez he, a bright idee occurrin' to him, "it will be a first
rate job for the men to do rainy days. In buildin' a house there
hain't much a man can do durin' a hard thunder storm, or hail storm,
but they can go right on with the suller jest as well as though it wuz
a sunshiny day. That is one great thing that architects have
heretofore overlooked, work that men can do durin' cyclones--I have
met that want," sez he proudly.

"I should think as much," sez I mekanically, for my thoughts wuzn't
there, they wuz afar with Tirzah with her poor health, and the blow
that had got to come onto her, when she see this thing that wuz rared
up in front of me.

Well, I went round to the kitchen door, the winders all seemed sot in
tottlin' and shaky, and my pen fails me to tell the looks of them back
door steps, they wuz very high here, for the land sloped off sudden,
but suffice it to say that I wouldn't trust even one foot on 'em for a
dollar bill. There wuz a great long concern that looked like a huge
wooden arm that come out of the settin' room winder on that side and
seemed to reach down to the water, and sez I, "What, for the land's
sake! is that?"

"That," sez he proudly, "is the crownin' work of my life! that will
make me famous and enormously rich when it becomes known to the
world. That is a attachment to hitch onto the sewin' machine, the
churn, the coffee mill or any domestic article where foot or hand
power is used, and is to be used in pumpin' water."

"Pumpin' water!" sez I coldly, "what for?"

"Oh, for drinkin', for irrigatin', or for any use that water is used
for, puttin' out fires, or anything."

Sez I coldly, "Do you spoze that Tirzah Ann with her health, is goin'
to set at her sewin' machine and do fine sewin', and at the same time
pump water from hour to hour?"

"Yes," sez he, "and hain't it a beautiful thought, how it will add to
her sweet content and happiness as she sets sewin' on Whitfield's
shirts, and thinkin' at the same time she is benefittin' the world at
large, quietly and unostentatiously sewin' on gussets, and makin' the
desert blossom like a rosy all round her; how happy she will be," sez
he.

Sez I, "It is a crazy idee! crazy as a loon! What under the sun would
she want to pump hundreds and hundreds of barrels of water for? Half a
barrel would last 'em a day for all their work."

He murmured sunthin' about a fountain, that might be sprayin' up in
the front yard, and how beautiful it would be, and enjoyable.

And I sez, "Could you set and enjoy yourself lookin' on a fountain
risin' up and dashin' jewels of spray all round you, and thinkin' that
every drop wuz bein' pumped up by the weary feet of your own girl by
your first wife? That poor delicate little creeter's tired feet,
toilin' on hour by hour and day by day."

He looked real bad, he hadn't thought so fur, and I went on, "Don't
you know it would make the sewin' machine go so hard that no woman
could run it a minute, let alone for days and weeks?" His linement
fell two or three inches. I see he gin up it needed more strength to
run it. "And it looks like furiation too," sez I.

"Look!" He snapped out, "What do you spoze I care for looks!"

But I see his idees wuz all broke up, as well they might be, Tirzah
Ann pumpin' water all day with her feet! the idee!

Well, out on one side of the house I see a great pile of bricks, they
seemed to be divided in two piles, one wuz good sound bricks, and one
wuz broken some, and I sez, "What are these bricks divided off so
fur?"

"That," sez he, "is a sample of how men see into things."

"How?" sez I.

"Well, I'll tell you." And he went on proudly, as if glad to git a
chance to show off how fur seem' and eqinomical he wuz, and to recover
from the machinness that had settled down on him like a dark mantilly,
while we discussed the suller and pump attachment.

"I got them bricks at a bargain. I hain't got enough good bricks for
the hull chimbly, and so I'm goin' to have 'em begin the chimbly on
top instead of the usual way of beginin' at the bottom, and then I can
see jest how fur my good bricks will go."

"How be you goin' to make the top bricks stay up?" sez I, "a layin' up
on nothin'?"

"That is a man's work," sez he, "a woman couldn't understand it if I
should explain it."

"No," sez I, "Heaven knows no woman on earth would ever understand
that idee!"

Well, all I could do he would go that very afternoon and engage a
mason to do the work, build the chimbly after his views, beginin' on
top instead of the bottom. But though deeply mortified at it, that wuz
jest the move that sot me free from my anxieties about the house, for
the mason, who wuz a great case for a joke, made so much fun of the
idee, and of the hull structure, that my companion threw up the hull
job and told me that the house might go to----for anything he cared. I
will never tell the place he said the house might go to, it is too
wicked to even think on calmly, it begun with an H and that is all
that I will ever tell to anybody.

Well, when Whitfield and Tirzah Ann come back from Maine and went to
Shadow Island to see that strange queer lookin' buildin, I spoze
Whitfield laughed till his sides ached. Tirzah cried, they say; cried
partly out of sentiment to think her Pa had showed such affection for
her as to build the cottage, and partly because it looked so awful, it
made her hystericky.

But Whitfield sobered down, and when he come back to Jonesville acted
good to Josiah, he seemed to be real thankful to Josiah and me for
buildin' it, and his grateful, affectionate ways kinder took the edge
offen Josiah's humiliation, but then he would probable have sprunted
up anyway--mortification never prayed on him for more'n a short time.

Well, the end on't wuz, Whitfield hired a good carpenter to oversee
the work, and some strong workmen who wuz able to lift and lug, there
wuz plenty of lumber, and in four weeks the house wuz transmogrified
into a good lookin' cottage. They built on a L, I believe they called
it, which they're to use as a store room, and under that Tirzah Ann is
to have her suller, Whitfield wuzn't the man to deprive her of that
comfort. And in some way they straightened up the house, and put in a
winder here and there, tore off lots of the ornaments, but left on
some of the piazzas, and balconies, and things, and it wuz a pretty
and commogious lookin' cottage. They painted the hull concern a soft
buff color, with red ruffs that looked real picturesque settin' back
aginst the dark green of the trees.

And sure enough the first week in September we had our party there. It
wuzn't a surprise--no, Heaven knows the surprise wuz when we first
laid eyes on the house as Josiah left it--but it wuz a very agreable
party. Tirzah Ann did well by us in cookin' (of course we helped her)
and we all stayed three days and two nights; Thomas J. and Maggie and
the children, and Josiah and me. Tirzah Ann and Whitfield stayed
longer, so's to leave everything in first rate order for another year.
They sot out some pretty shrubs and made some posy beds under the
winders, and planted bulbs in 'em, that they spozed would rise up and
break out in sunny smiles when they met 'em another summer. They lay
out to take sights of comfort in that house--yes indeed!

And I shouldn't be at all surprised if it ended by our all havin'
cottages there for summer comfort. It looks like it now. Though I told
'em I'd ruther have our cottage on the main land pretty nigh to 'em;
there's places where the land juts out into the river havin' all the
looks of a island on the fore side, and on the hindside more solidity
somehow.

And with the society of the Saint on the front side, and Safety on the
hind side, it seems as if anybody could take considerable comfort
there.



CHAPTER TWENTY

FAITH COMES TO VISIT US. WE ATTEND THE CAMP MEETIN' AT PILLER PINT,
AND FAITH MEETS THE LOVER OF HER YOUTH



CHAPTER TWENTY

FAITH COMES TO VISIT US. WE ATTEND THE CAMP MEETIN' AT PILLER PINT,
AND FAITH MEETS THE LOVER OF HER YOUTH


Accordin' to her promise Faithful Smith come to Jonesville in the fall
and we wuz glad enough to see her.

We had laid our plans to attend the Camp Meetin' at Piller Pint, and
at last the time arriv. The day before the great meetin', the sky wuz
rosy in the mornin', the distant lake looked blue, and everything bid
fair for a good spell of weather.

Josiah iled up the old double harness and washed the democrat off and
rubbed it down with shammy skin till it shone like glass. And I
prepared a glass can of baked beans brown and crispy, but sweet and
rich tastin' as beans know how to be when well cooked, then I briled
two young chickens a light yeller brown, and basted 'em well with
melted butter, and had a new quart basin of as good dressin' as
Jonesville ever turned out, and I've seen good dressers in my day.
And a quart can of beautiful creamed potatoes all ready to warm up,
two dozen light white biscuit, a canned strawberry pie, and a dozen
sugar cookies reposed side by side in a clean market basket, and by
'em lay peacefully a little can of rich yeller butter and one of
brittle cowcumber pickles, and one dozen deviled eggs.

A better lunch wuz never prepared in the precincts of Jonesville.

Oh! and I had some jell too, and cream cheese, and the next mornin' I
made two quarts of coffee all ready to warm up in Sister Meechum's
tent (she had gin permission), and a can of sweet cream to add
richness to it, and lump sugar accordin'.

I felt that these wuz extraordinary preparations, but didn't begrech
'em, part on 'em wuz on Faith's account. Well, as I say, the
preparations wuz all completed the day before exceptin' the coffee and
creamed potatoes, and them wuz accomplised early in the mornin' while
I wuz gittin' breakfast, and we all sot off triumphant at nine A.M.

It wuz a clear cool mornin' in lovely autumn. Old Nater hadn't as you
may say finished up her fall job of colorin' and paintin', but she wuz
all rousted up tendin' to it.

All along the smooth highway leadin' to the lake, trees and bushes
bent over the roadside tinged with crimson and yeller and russet
brown, and red, and shaded gold colors mingled with the rich green of
the faithful cedars and hemlocks and pines. Sometimes up a high pine
tree or ellum a wild ivy had clum and wuz hangin' on with one hand and
wavin' out to us its banner of gold and crimson as we passed. And fur
off the maple forest looked like a vast mass of rose and amber and
golden brown, mingled with the deep green of spruces and cedars, and
furder off still a blue haze lay over all like a soft veil partly
hidin' and partly revealin' the glory of the seen. And ever and anon
the blue flashin' waters of the lake could be seen like the soul in a
woman's face, givin' life and meanin' to the picture.

Well, anon as we clumb a hill, the hull lake bust out on our vision,
it lay spread out broad and beautiful and calm, with the breezes
ripplin' its blue surface into waves, and the sunshine sparkling on
its bosom, and down under the hill on a pint of land that stretched
out into the water stood the noble grove of trees where the camp
meetin' wuz held. That wuz Piller Pint.

We descended a hill, driv along half a mild or so till we come to a
fence and a open pair of bars, in front of which stood two muscular
attendants and one on 'em sez, "We take a small fee from them that
enter."

Sez Josiah, lookin' gloomy, "I spozed religion wuz free."

"It is free," sez the man, "but this is only to smooth its way, put up
seats and such."

Sez Josiah, "I didn't know that Religion had to set down."

"Sinners have to set," sez the man.

Sez Josiah, "We hain't sinners." But I hunched him and sez, "Pay your
fee and go on." So after a deep sithe he produced his old leather
wallet and fished up ten cents out of its depths, and we proceeded
on.

The grove wuz a large one, acres and acres of big trees on every side,
and vehicles of every description from smart canopy top buggies, and
Sarah's, and automobiles, down to one horse sulkies and rickety
buck-boards, and horses of every size and color wuz hitched to 'em.
And on the fallen tree trunks sot wimmen and girls, young boys,
children, and pairs of lovers wuz walkin' afoot amidst the deep green
aisles. Way in the green depths of the woods you could see the glimpse
of a woman's dress, or see the head of a horse lookin' out peaceful.

But we advanced a little furder as the road led out amongst the trees
and pretty soon we come in sight of a large round tent where the
meetin' wuz held, and from which we could hear the voice of hims and
oratory, along on both sides of the immense tent, so's to leave a road
between, wuz rows of small tents where the campers dwelt. They
stretched on like two rows of white dwellings way off into the green
of the woods. Josiah and I are well thought on in Jonesville, and as
fur out as Loontown and Piller Pint, and a man soon advanced and gin
us an advantageous position, and Josiah hitched the mair and we
advanced into the amphitheatre.

The tent riz up like a big white umbrell, or like great broodin' wings
overhead, leavin' the sides free for the soft air to enter. There wuz
rows of seats, boards laid on wooden supports and on one side a high
wooden structure, open towards the seats, in which the preachers sot
or stood. A wooden railin' run along in front of that rough pulpit.
Under foot wuz the green moss and rich mold of the onbroken forest.
And way up over the white tent the tall tree tops arched, and you
could look way up into the green aisles of light with glimpses of
sunshine between, castin' shady shadows and golden ones on the grass
and moss below.

Folks wuz settin' round of all sorts, some handsome, some humbly, some
dressed up slick, some in rough common attire, but most on 'em looked
like good sturdy farmers and their families. The old grand-ma of
ninety with bent form and earnest face, side by side with her great
grand-child.

I myself with Josiah sot down by a large boneded woman with a big,
calm, good-lookin' face. She had on a dress and mantilly of faded
black cashmere; the mantilly wuz wadded, a pink knit woolen scarf wuz
wound loose round her neck, she had a small hat of black straw trimmed
with red poppies, and she wore a pair of large hoop ear-rings. Her
face had the calm and sunshine of perfect peace on it. Her husband, a
small pepper-and-salt iron gray man, with sandy hair and a multitude
of wrinkles, sot by her, and they had a young child elaborately
dressed in red calico between 'em.

Beyond her sot a little slender woman in a stylish dark blue dress and
turban, her face alert and eager, lit with deep gray eyes, had the
passion and zeal of a Luther or Wesley. On the nigh side of me sot two
young girls in pink and white muslin; a father and mother and three
children wuz behind us, and on the seat in front wuz some young men
and two old ones. I hearn the big calm woman say, "I shall be dretful
disappinted if he don't come to-day."

"So shall I," sez the pepper-and-salt man, "I shall feel like turnin'
right round and goin' back home, but I think he is sure to be here."
Bein' temporary neighbors I asked who it wuz that wuz expected.

"Why, the great revivalist and preacher who is expected here to-day."

Sez I, "Who is it?" The woman said she couldn't remember the name, but
he wuz the greatest preacher sence Wesley. He jest went about doin'
good, folks would go milds and milds to hear him, and he drawed their
souls and sperits right along with his fervor and eloquence. He is to
a big meetin' at Burr's Mills to-day, but is expected here for sure.
Two hundred had been converted under him at Burr's Mills. He had been
there a week.

I sez, "Whyee! is that so?"

"Yes," sez the calm woman, and she went on to say, "I hear that he
used to be a wicked man, but had some trouble that made him desperate,
and finally driv him right into the Kingdom, and sence that he can't
seem to work hard enough for the Master."

"Well," sez I, "Saul the scoffer got turned into Paul the apostle, and
that same power is here to-day."

"Speakin' of the power," sez the woman, "two wimmen and a man had the
power last night, one girl lay speechless for hours, and when she come
to said she had been ketched right up into Heaven. She talked
beautiful," sez she.

Sez I calmly, "That's jest what Paul said, he said he wuz caught up to
the Third Heaven."

Sez Josiah, "That power don't come to earth to-day, Samantha."

Sez I, "Who told you it didn't? I hain't hearn on't. Earth hain't no
furder from Heaven now than it wuz then, and the same God reigns."

"Amen," sez the pepper-and-salt man, I see he had zeal and religion,
but I felt kinder flustrated to be "amened" to in public, and I looked
kinder meachin' I spoze, and the calm woman see I did. And she sez:

"Sister Calvin Martin lays there now in her tent with the Power. She
lay there all day yesterday and all night."

Some of the boys before me begun to titter and snicker at anybody's
havin' the power, and I sez, eyein' 'em sternly, "Do you know what
you're laughin' at, young men? You talk about it real glib, but have
you any idee of the greatness and overwhelmin' might of the Force
you're speakin' of? That Power wuz at Pentecost in cloven tongues of
flame, and strange voices and words that no man could utter. Saul
laughed at the Power but it struck him blind in the street, and
ketched him up into the Seventh Heaven. When that Power comes down on
earth, let sinners quail, and saints look on with or and tremblin'."

They looked real meachin'. But jest then the Experience meetin' begun,
and a old man with thin white hair and white whiskers framin' his meek
wrinkled face, come forward, and layin' his hand on the railin' sez in
a kinder tremblin' voice, "Bless the Lord who has made His servant
able to come to this temple in the wilderness, to witness the glory He
has poured down on his people. Every camp-meetin' for years I have
thought would be my last, but bless Him who has preserved me to this
day."

"Yes, bless the Lord! Amen! amen!" wuz shouted on every side, and as
he stopped after a few minutes' exhortation, the other ministers and
some of the old bretheren crowded round the white headed old saint to
shake his hand.

Then a sweet faced little girl in a pink hat got up and said "the Lord
wuz precious to her."

"Amen! amen! Bless His name! He carries the lambs in His bosom!" said
the white headed preacher. Then a pleasant lookin' middle-aged
minister related this incident, "A young boy had been converted, and
said he had a view of Heaven. A onbeliever tried to frighten him and
asked him if he didn't tremble at the thought. Sez the boy, 'My feet
are on the rock.'

"'But don't you tremble?' sez the infidel.

"'Yes,' sez the boy, 'I do, but the rock under my feet don't
tremble.'"

                "Oh, Jesus is a rock in a weary land,
                  A weary land, a weary land--
                Oh, Jesus is a rock in a weary land--
                  A shelter in the time of storm."

High and clear this believin' song floated through our souls--and up
to Heaven.

Then a good lookin' young man arose and sez, "Did you ever hear of the
drunken horse jockey and thief down to Loontown? Well, I'm that man
clothed and in my right mind. The Lord stopped me in my evil course,
and I am His and He is mine."

A bystander sez, "That is so, he is a changed man." Then they all
sung:

               "There is a fountain filled with blood,
                 Drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
               And sinners plunged beneath its flood
                 Lose all their guilty stains.
               Lose all their guilty sta-ains;
               Lose all their guilty sta-ains;
                 And sinners plunged beneath that flood
               Lose all their guilty stains."

That is a melogious chorus, but so kinder floatin' on, and back and
forth, that I don't see how they can ever stop it when they begin. Of
course as wuz natural there wuz some there who wuz bashful and made
mistakes. A tall slim young man got up, he wuz studying for the
ministry, sez he, "My friends, I am a stranger to you all, I am a
stranger to myself, and I trust," sez he, "I am a stranger to my
God."

He left out a "wuzn't," he meant that he wuzn't a stranger to his God.
Bashfulness wuz the cause. Madder red wuz pale compared to his face
when he sot down, and his tongue wuz thick and husky. I wuz sorry for
him. Then a woman riz up with a black bunnet and veil on and white
collar and cuffs; she looked like a Quakeress, and I believe that if
Emperors and Zars had stood before her she would have been onmoved,
she wuz as calm and earnest as Ruth or Esther, or any of our good old
four-mothers. Sez she:

"My friends, I see your faces to-day and watch the different
expressions upon them. How will these faces look when we meet at the
Bar of God? Will peace be on them? Or dismay and everlastin' regret?"

"Oh yes! The Lord help! Let us hear from some one else!" A slight
pause ensued and then there riz up this melogious appealin' old him:

                  "Shall Jesus bear the cross alone,
                    And all the world go free?
                  No, there's a cross for every one,
                    And there's a cross for me."

A colored boy got up; he wuz tall and gant with big soft eyes full of
the pathetic wisdom and ignorance of his race. He spoke kinder slow
and sez, "I wuz sick once and I felt alone. I wuz afraid to die. Now
if I wuz sick I shouldn't be alone, nor afraid, I've got somebody with
me. Jesus Christ is with me all the time. I hain't lonesome no more,
nor 'fraid."

"Tell your experience, Joe, tell it here!" shouted an old man. Joe
stepped forward, took the Bible offen the rustic stand, turned over
the leaves to the first page, and slowly and laboriously read,
"Darkness was on the face of the earth--and God said, let there be
light--and there wuz light."

He closed the book and looked round with rapt luminous eyes. "That is
me," sez he, "that is my experience."

"Amen! amen!" shouted the brethren. The little refined lookin' woman
in the blue dress started this verse and sung it through almost alone,
in a clear sweet voice:

       "I am but a traveller here, Heaven is my home.
       Earth's but a desert drear, Heaven is my home.
       Time's cold and chilling blast, soon will be over past,
       I shall reach home at last, Heaven is my home."

"Amen! amen! Now let us hear from another." And one after another rose
and told of the goodness of God and what He had done for them. The
sweet earnest hims floated out ever and anon and over the place seemed
to brood a Presence that boyed our sperits up as on wings, and I felt
that we wuz there with one accord, and my soul seemed lifted up fur
above Jonesville and Josiah, and all earthly troubles.

All to once a woman rose with a light on her face as if she wuz
lookin' on sunthin' fur above this earth. She delivered a eloquent
exhortation in words of praise and ecstasy. More and more earnest and
eloquent she grew and lifted up from earthly influences. At last she
lifted her hands and stepped out with a swayin' motion of her body, as
if keepin' step to some onhearn melody that ears stuffed with the
cotton of worldliness and onbelief wuzn't fine enough to ketch, and
finally her feet begun to keep step with that mysterious music, that
for all I know might have been soundin' down from the ramparts of the
New Jerusalem. Round and round she slowly swayed and stepped. Wuz it
to the rythm of that invisible music?

There wuz a look on her pure face as if she wuz hearin' sunthin' we
didn't. I wuz riz up and carried away some distance from myself. When
still lookin' up with that rapt luminous face she fell to the ground
as prostrate as Saul did on the road to Jerusalem, and lay in that
state, so I hearn afterwards, for a day and a night. Jest as she fell
that iron gray man yelled out, "Bless the Lord!"

And I sez, bein' all wrought up, "Don't you know when to say that, and
when not to? She might have broke her nose." He looked queer.

In a few minutes I see a stir round the speakers' stand, and knew the
speaker of the day, the great revivalist from the West, had come. And
anon I see a tall noble figger passin' through the crowd that made way
for it reverentially. And lo and behold! I see as I ketched a glimpse
of his profile that it wuz the minister I had hearn at Thousand Island
Park. The same sweet smile rested on his face as he looked round on
his brethren and the crowd before him, some like a benediction, only
more tender like, and a light seemed to be shinin' through his
countenance, ketched from some Divine power.

It wuz the same face I had framed that summer day in the Tabernacle at
T. I. Park, and hung up in my mind right by the side of Isaiah and St.
Paul. Yes, I see agin the broad white forward with the brown hair
mixed with gray thrown back from it kinder careless, his eyes had the
same sweet sad expression, soft, yet deep lookin', and pitiful, as if
he wuz sorry for us and would love to teach us the secret he had found
of how to overcome the world and its sins and sorrows.

His prayer had the same power of lifting us up fur above the world and
settin' down our naked souls in the presence of Him who searcheth the
heart, searchin' and probin' to our consciences, and yet consolin',
puttin' us in mind of that text, "As a father pitieth his children"
and yet wants 'em to mind. It wuz a prayer for help and as if we would
git it.

He read in that same sweet, melogious voice I remembered so well,
Paul's wonderful words about how he wuz led from the blackness of
unbelief up into the Great Light, and how he wuz caught up into the
Third Heaven and saw things so great and glorious that it would not be
lawful for man to speak of them, and where he goes on to tell of his
belief, his hope and his faith. The text wuz Paul's words when he
recalls those divine hours up on the heights alone with God:

"Wherefore not being disobedient to the heavenly vision."

And as he went on, as uplifted as I wuz, I felt fearful ashamed to
think how many times I had been disobedient to the Heavenly vision,
the white ideals that shone out in my mind so high and clear in the
mornin' light, and I wuz so sure I could reach. But havin' set down
to rest in the heat of the day, and bein' drawn off into the shadders
and thickets of environin' cares and perplexities, I didn't git nigh
enough to grasp holt of, and I whispered as much to my pardner.

And he said he felt different, he had always ever sence he sot out
marched right straight towards the Kingdom.

Sez I, "Josiah Allen, hain't you ever meandered at all from that
straight and narrer way?"

"No mom, not a inch, not a hair's breadth." I wuz dumb-foundered by
his conceit as many times as I had witnessed it.

The sermon that follered wuz white and glowin' with the light of
Heaven. You could see that _he_ had not been disobedient to that
Divine vision that had been revealed to him. The deep sweet look of
his eyes told of them supreme heights his own soul had reached.
Upliftin', sympathizin', soul searchin', callin' on the best in every
heart there to rise up and try to fly Heavenward.

His looks and words rousted up my soul and carried me off so fur from
the world and Piller Pint, that I lost sight entirely of the crowd
around me. But anon I hearn a voice at my side and I see Faith had
come back onbeknown to me (she had been in Sister Meechum's tent
mendin' a rent in her dress). But when I looked at her I realized how
the face of St. Stephen looked. It sez, "His face shone like the face
of an angel." Faith's looked jest so, only tears wuz slowly droppin'
from her eyes and runnin' down her white cheeks. Sez I, whisperin' to
her with or in my axents,

"What is it, Faith? What is it, dear? Is it the Power?"

I most knew it wuz, and I wuz mekanically turnin' it over in my mind
what I should do with her if she fell over prostrate, and where I
should lay her out. When she turned, her glowin' awe-struck eyes held
a world of joy and glory in each one on 'em.

"Yes, it is the Power, the power and goodness of God." And she
whispered in blissful axents, "It is Richard, Richard redeemed and
working for my Master."

I see it all, it wuz the lost lover of her youth, I read it in her
face. You could have knocked me down with a clothes-pin aimed by a
infant.

"How come he here?" sez I in a onbelievin' way.

"God sent him!" She whispered. "He sent this blessedness to me, to
know his soul is saved, that he is working for Him."

I felt queer.

That afternoon they met under a ellum tree. He'd found out she wuz
there, and asked for a interview, which I see that she granted him. It
wuz a pretty spot, clost to the water, with trees of droopin' ellums
and some maples, and popples touched with fire and gold. The autumn
leaves made a sort of canopy over their heads, and all round 'em wuz
the soft melancholy quiet of the fall of the year. He stood there
waitin' for her.

"Faith!"

"Richard!"

                  *       *       *       *       *

I don't know how long they stood there, her little cold hands held in
his big warm palms, his eyes searchin' the dear face and findin' a
sacred meanin' in it, and she in hisen. He wuz pale, his voice
trembled like the popple leaves overhead, and visey versey hern.

The settin' sun glowed warm on the face of the water some as his eyes
did, readin' her sweet face, and some of that fire seemed to glow in
his deep blue eyes.

"I had been so wicked, Faith, I had done so much harm, I said I would
never seek my own happiness, I would work only for my fellow
creatures, striving if I might undo some of my evil work, but I see
to-day that I have been an egotist. God would not be offended at my
happiness if I could win the dear woman I have loved all these years.
You have forgiven me, Faith, I see it in your sweet eyes."

[Illustration: "_I don't know how long they stood there, his eyes
searchin' the dear face and findin' a sacred meanin' in
it._" (_See page 347_)]

Agin he paused, and nothin' broke the silence but the murmur of the
blue waters swashin' up on the beach, and furder off through the trees
some belated campers jest drivin' onto the ground sung out with clear
voices,

                   "God moves in a mysterious way,
                   His wonders to perform."

"He led me here to-day. I had not seen your face for twenty years, but
this morning, at day dawn, I stood at my open window striving to
decide to which place I should go to-day. Through a mistake I was
expected in two places. And as I stood thinking, your face dawned on
my inner vision as plainly as I see it now, and I _had_ to come here,
something told me I must come. He led me here and you also. He has a
meaning in this----shall we read it together, Faith?"

And through the arched vista of autumn leaves they could see that the
sky beyend the Pint gleamed out like a city of golden palaces. They
seemed to be goin' through its gates----into the glory beyend.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Samantha at Coney Island - and a Thousand Other Islands" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home