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Title: The Minute Man of the Frontier
Author: Puddefoot, W. G.
Language: English
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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.

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[Illustration: W. G. Puddefoot with hand-written signature]

  THE MINUTE MAN
  ON THE
  FRONTIER

  BY

  THE REV. W. G. PUDDEFOOT, A.M.

  FIELD SECRETARY OF THE HOME MISSIONARY SOCIETY

  NEW YORK: 46 EAST 14TH STREET

  THOMAS Y. CROWELL & COMPANY

  BOSTON: 100 PURCHASE STREET

  COPYRIGHT, 1895,
  BY THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO.

  TYPOGRAPHY BY C. J. PETERS & SON,
  BOSTON.



PREFACE.


In a very able review of Maspero's "Dawn of Civilization," the writer
says "that for hundreds of years it was believed that history had two
eyes; but now we know she has at least three, and that archæology is
the third."

This may account for the saying that "history is a lie agreed to;" for
it needs to be argus-eyed to give us any adequate idea of the truth;
and while the writer of the following sketches does not aspire to the
rank of a historian, he has been induced to print them for two or
three reasons. First, because urged to by friends; and secondly,
because of the unique condition of American frontier life that is so
rapidly passing away forever.

One may read Macaulay, Froude, Knight, and, in fact, a half-dozen
histories of England, and then sit down to the gossipy sketches of
Sidney culled from Pepys's, Evelyn's, and other diaries, and get a
truer view of English life than in all the great histories combined.
It would be impossible to give even the slightest sketch of a country
so large as ours for a single decade in many volumes; although, in one
sense, we are more homogeneous than many suppose.

There was a greater difference in two counties in England before the
advent of the railways than between two of our Northern States to-day.
To-day a man may travel from Boston to San Francisco, and he will find
the same headlines in his morning papers, and for three thousand miles
will find the scenery desecrated by the wretched quack medicine
advertisements that produce "that tired feeling" which they profess to
cure.

If he goes into one county in the mother country, he will find the
people singeing the bristles of their swine, and counting by the
score, in another by the stone, etc., and customs kept up that had
grown settled before travel became general. But with us it is
different. We had no time to become crystallized before the iron
horse, the great cosmopolitan of the age, rapidly levelled all
distinctions; and it is only by getting away from the railway, and
into settlements that still retain all the primitiveness of an earlier
day, that we find the conditions of which much of this book treats.



CONTENTS.


   CHAPTER                                        PAGE

          PREFACE                                  iii

       I. THE FRONTIER IN RELATION TO THE WORLD      1

      II. EARLY REMINISCENCES                       11

     III. THE MINUTE-MAN ON THE FRONTIER            22

      IV. THE IMMIGRANT ON THE FRONTIER             48

       V. THE ODDITIES OF THE FRONTIER              61

      VI. LIGHTS AND SHADOWS                        68

     VII. SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN THE SOUTH           77

    VIII. ALL SORTS AND CONDITIONS OF MEN           82

      IX. THE SOUTH IN SPRINGTIME                   91

       X. THE NORTH-WEST                           102

      XI. A BRAND NEW WOODS VILLAGE                107

     XII. OUT-OF-THE-WAY PLACES                    123

    XIII. COCKLE, CHESS, AND WHEAT                 134

     XIV. CHIPS FROM OTHER LOGS                    142

      XV. A TRIP IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN              151

     XVI. BLACK CLOUDS WITH SILVER LININGS         163

    XVII. SAD EXPERIENCES                          171

   XVIII. A SUNDAY ON SUGAR ISLAND                 180

     XIX. THE NEEDS OF THE MINUTE-MAN              189

      XX. THE MINUTE-MAN IN THE MINER'S CAMP       197

     XXI. THE SABBATH ON THE FRONTIER              211

    XXII. THE FRONTIER OF THE SOUTH-WEST           220

   XXIII. DARK PLACES OF THE INTERIOR              227

    XXIV. THE DANGEROUS NATIVE CLASSES             235

     XXV. CHRISTIAN WORK IN THE LUMBER-TOWN        244

    XXVI. TWO KINDS OF FRONTIER                    255

   XXVII. BREAKING NEW GROUND                      262

  XXVIII. SOWING THE SEED                          270

    XXIX. "HARVEST HOME"                           277

     XXX. INJEANNY VS. HEAVEN                      285

    XXXI. THE LATEST FRONTIER--OKLAHOMA            293

   XXXII. THE PIONEER WEDDING                      318



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


  PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR                _Frontispiece_

  INDIAN CAMP, GRAND TRAVERSE BAY              Page 16

  VIEW NEAR PETOSKEY, MICH.                         20

  TYPICAL LOG HOUSE                                 46

  TYPICAL SOD HOUSE                                 61

  A SOUTHERN SAW-MILL                               91

  WINTER SCENE IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN                127

  A MINUTE MAN'S PARSONAGE                         190

  OLDEST HOUSE IN THE UNITED STATES, SANTA FÉ,
  NEW MEXICO                                       220

  BREAKING NEW GROUND                              262

  LOOKING FOR A TOWN LOT                           294

  FORMING IN LINE TO VOTE FOR MAYOR                296

  INDIANS AT PAWNEE, OKLAHOMA TER.                 301

  AFTER A STORM, GUTHRIE, OKLAHOMA TER.            306

  FIRST CHURCH AND PARSONAGE, ALVA, OKLAHOMA TER.  307

  AT A CHURCH DEDICATION                           310



THE MINUTE-MAN ON THE FRONTIER.



I.

THE FRONTIER IN RELATION TO THE WORLD.


The opening up of a new frontier is world-wide in its operations.
Minnesota entered the Union as a State in 1858. The putting to
practical use the Falls of St. Anthony was felt all over Europe.
Thousands of little country mills, nestling amid the trees, and adding
to the beauty of the English pastoral scenery, to-day stand idle, the
great wheels covered with green moss; and Tennyson's "Miller" becomes
a reminiscence. Iowa became a State in 1846, and now leads the world
in the production of corn; and although it is a thousand miles from
the seaboard, yet through its immense production, and with the
cheapening of transportation, we find over seventy thousand Italians
emmigrating to this country, as, in spite of low wages, they cannot
compete on the plains of Lombardy. (See Wells's "Economic
Changes.")--We find that the man at the front can ship from Chicago to
Liverpool the product of five acres of grain for less money than the
cost of manuring one acre of land in England. (_Ibid._)

Every time a new frontier in America is opened, it means both
prosperity and disaster. So large are the opportunities, so rich the
results, that at first all calculations are upset. Natural gas in the
Middle States changes the price of coal in Europe. The finding of a
tin-mine is felt in Cornwall and Wales the next day. The opening of
the iron-mines in Michigan makes Cornish towns spring up in the upper
peninsula, while the finding of ore in desolate places has caused
communities to spring up with all the conditions of a cosmopolitan
civilization, and we have to-day men living twenty-five miles from
trees or grass. But such is the energy of the frontier type, that
grass-plats have been carried and planted on the solid rocks, as in
Duluth, where hundreds of thousands of dollars are expended in the
grading of streets, and the opening of the sewers, all having to be
blasted to do the work.

North Dakota was a wilderness of 150,000 square miles, and had not
produced a single bushel of wheat for sale, in 1881. In 1886 it
produced nearly 35,000,000 bushels; in 1887, 62,553,000. (See Wells's
"Recent Economic Changes.") The opening up of these immense
territories starts railways from California to Siberia; for, with the
Great West competing, Russia is stirred to greater effort. India, with
her great commerce with Great Britain, needs a shorter route; and the
Suez canal is made. Australia must compete with the Western plains;
and great steamers, filled with refrigerators, are constructed for
carrying fresh beef. The South American republics respond in return.

The hardy pioneer, ever on the move, explores well nigh impracticable
routes in search of precious metals. The inventive mechanic must
respond with an engine that can climb anywhere; and in almost
inaccessible mountain eyries the eagle is disturbed by the shriek of
the locomotive, and the bighorn must take refuge with the bison in the
National Park. The news of new mines flies around the world, fortunes
are made and lost in a day, and the destinies of nations determined. A
great crop starts railways, steamships. Miners, smelting-works, iron
and steel, respond. Letters fly across the Atlantic, and returning
steamers are filled with eager men and women, who answer the letters
in person. Down from the far north, Sweden and Norway have responded
with over a million of their children. Great Britain has sent nearly
six millions. Germany follows with 4,417,950; Italy, 392,000; France,
315,130; Austria, 304,976; Denmark, 114, 858; Hungary, 141,601;
Switzerland, 167,203; Russia and Poland, 326,994; Netherlands, 99,516;
and so on: in all, a total for Europe in fifty years of over
13,000,000, the great majority of whom have been started from their
homes by the opening up of new frontiers.

It has been stated on good authority, that sixty per cent of the
Germans that come are between the ages of fifteen and forty, while all
Germany has only thirty per cent of that age.

On the authority of Dr. Farr, quoted by R. Mayo Smith in his
"Emigration and Immigration," he calculates the money value of the
immigrants from the British Isles from 1837 to 1876 reached the
enormous sum of 1,400,000 pounds sterling, or 7,000,000,000 of
dollars, an average of 175,000,000 dollars a year; while the amount
sent back from British North America and the United States since 1848
was but £32,294,596. And what has been produced by the immigrant and
exported amounts to many hundred millions of dollars. It has been
computed that the country has been pushed forward a quarter of a
century by this vast mass of immigrants, nearly all of whom labor for
a living.

The frontiers of America will yet change the world. When in the not
distant future hundreds of millions cover the great continent, dotted
with schools and churches, and an intelligent population speaking one
language, and with other millions in Africa, Australia, and the
islands of the sea, using the same language, the time will come when
they will arbitrate for the world, and war shall be no more. Long
before the Atlantic cable was stretched across the ocean, millions of
heartstrings were vibrating from this land to all parts of Europe; and
to-day the letters fly homeward from the frontier immigrants in their
sod houses, bearing good cheer in words and money.

The freedom of the frontier is contagious, and the poor European
strives harder than ever to reach his kin across the sea. And when we
consider that only 300,000 square miles out of 1,500,000 miles of
arable land is under cultivation, and that already the farmers of
England and most parts of Europe are being pushed to the wall, we
begin to realize that the growth of the frontiers of the United States
not only influences our own land, but changes materially the course of
events in the whole world. The above figures are by Mr. Edward
Atkinson, as quoted in substance from "Recent Economic Changes."

To show the growth of one State during the past fifty years, let us
take Michigan. In 1840 Michigan had a population of 212,267; in 1890,
2,093,889. In 1840 there were three small railroads, with a total
mileage of 59 miles. In 1890 there were over 7,000 miles. "In 1840 [I
quote from Hon. B. W. Cutcheon, in "Fifty Years' Growth in Michigan"]
mining had not begun. In 1890 over 7,000,000 tons of iron were shipped
from her mines; while the output of copper had reached over a
100,000,000 lbs., and valued at $15,845,427.28. The salt industry, a
late one, rose from 4,000 bbls. in 1860 to 3,838,937 bbls. in 1890;
while the value of her lumber products for 1890 was over $55,000,000.
In 1840 there were neither graded nor high schools, normal schools nor
colleges. In 1890, 654,502 children were of school age, with an
enrolment of 427,032, with 33,975 additional attending private
schools. These children were taught by 15,990 teachers, who received
in salaries $3,326,287."

In 1840 Michigan had 30,144 horses and mules, 185,190 neat cattle,
99,618 sheep. In 1890 there were 579,896 horses, 3,779 mules, of milch
cows 459,475, oxen and other cattle 508,938, of sheep 2,353,779, of
swine 893,037. The total value came to $74,892,618. Over 1,700 men are
engaged in the fisheries, with nearly a million dollars invested, with
a total yield of all fish of 34,490,184 lbs., valued at over a million
and a half of dollars. The value of her apples and peaches in 1890
was $944,332; of cherries, pears, and plums, $65,217; of strawberries,
$166,033; of other berries, $267,398; and of grapes, $122,394. The
wheat crop for 1891 was valued at $27,486,910; the oats at $9,689,441;
besides 811,977 bushels of buckwheat, and 2,522,376 bushels of barley.
The capital invested in lumber alone was $111,302,797. "While her
great University, which saw its first student in 1841, and which had
but three teachers, one of them acting as president, has grown to be
one of the largest in the nation, with eighty professors and
instructors and 2,700 students registered on her rolls, conferring 623
degrees upon examination." And all this but the partial record of
fifty years in one State.

Since Michigan was entered as a State fourteen new States have been
formed (not counting Texas) and three Territories, with an aggregate
of over 17,000,000 square miles of land, and a population of nearly
15,000,000, nearly all of which fifty years ago was wilderness, the
home of the Indian and the wild beasts. With such stupendous changes
in so short a time, we see that the American frontiers have a direct
and powerful influence in changing the histories and destinies of the
nations of the whole world.



II.

EARLY REMINISCENCES.


It was in the spring of 1859 that I first saw the frontier. Our way
was over the New York Central, very little of which had two tracks. I
have a very vivid recollection of the worm fences, the log houses, and
the great forests that we passed on our way to Upper Canada. I
remember the hunters coming towards the train with their moccasons on
and the bucks slung over their shoulders. I have since that time seen
many men who were the first to cut a tree in this county or that town.
There were about forty thousand miles of railway in the whole land at
that date, against nearly two hundred thousand miles to-day. Cities
which are now the capitals of States were the feeding-ground of
buffalo; wolves and black bears had their dens where to-day we can
see a greater miracle in stone than Cheops; i.e., a stone State House
built inside the appropriation! Then six miles of travel on the new
roads smashed more china than three thousand miles by sea and rail.
The little towns were but openings in a forest that extended for
hundreds of miles. The best house in the village without a cellar;
roots were kept in pits. Houses could be rented for two dollars per
month, where to-day they are twelve dollars. Pork was two dollars a
hundred; beef by the quarter, two and one-half cents a pound;
potatoes, fifteen cents a bushel. Men received seventy-five cents a
day for working on the railroad. Cord-wood was two dollars a cord; and
you could get it cut, split, and piled for fifty cents a cord. Men
wore stogy boots, generally with one leg of the trousers outside and
one in. Blue denham was the prevailing suit for workingmen. The
shoemaker cut his shoes, and they were sent out to be bound by women.
The women wore spring-heeled shoes, print dresses, and huge
sunbonnets; and in the summer-time the settlers went barefooted. The
roads were simply indescribable. When a tree fell, it was cut off
within an inch of the ruts; the wagon would sink to the hubs, and need
prying out with poles; harnesses were never cleaned, and boot-blacking
had no sale. But the schoolhouse was in every township. In the older
settlements could be seen the log hut in which the young couple
started housekeeping, then a log house of more pretentious size; the
frame-house which followed, and a fine brick house where the family
now lived, showing the rapid progress made.

This was in western Canada. Toronto was separated from Yorkville, but
was a busy, substantial city. I remember the stores being closed when
Lincoln was buried, and black bunting hung along the principal
streets. I remember, too, the men who were loudest in their curses at
the government and against Lincoln, how the tears came to their eyes,
and how that event brought them to their senses. Most of them were
shoemakers from New England.

In 1873 I crossed into Michigan with my family. Even as late as that
the greater part of northern Michigan, and especially the upper
peninsula, was _terra incognita_ to most of the people of that State.
The railroads stopped at a long distance this side the Straits of
Mackinaw. The lumbermen had but skimmed the best of the trees; and,
with the exception of a few isolated settlements on the lakes and up
the larger rivers, it was an unbroken wilderness, abounding in fish,
deer, bears, wolves, and wild-cats; in fact, a hunter's paradise, as
it is even to this day.

But with the extension of the railways to the Straits of Mackinaw, and
the opening of new lines to the north into the iron mines of Menominee
to the Gogebic range, the great copper mines of the Keweenaw
peninsula, and the ever-increasing traffic of the lakes, the changes
were simply marvellous. Some things I shall say will seem paradoxical,
but they are nevertheless true to life.

The greater parts of southern Michigan and southern Wisconsin were
settled by people from New York State; and long before the northern
parts of Michigan and Wisconsin were opened up, new States had risen
in the West, and the tide of immigration swept past towards new
frontiers, leaving vast frontiers behind them. Sometimes a few stray
men with money at their command would pierce the country and form a
settlement, as in the case of Traverse City. Here for years the mail
was brought by the Indians on dog-sledges in the winter. It took eight
days to reach Grand Rapids on snow-shoes. It is four hundred miles by
water to Chicago. Sometimes the winters were so long that the
provisions had to be dealt out very sparingly; but all the time the
little colony was growing, and when at last the railroads reached it,
the traveller, after riding for miles through virgin forests, would
come upon a little city of four thousand people, with good churches,
fine schools, and one store that cost one hundred thousand dollars to
build.

If it chanced to be summer-time he would see the tepees of the Indians
along the bay, and two blocks back civilized homes with all the
conveniences and luxuries of modern life. Here a huge canoe made of a
single log, and there a mammoth steamer with all the elegances of an
ocean-liner. Should he go on board of one of the steamers coasting
around the lakes with supplies, he would pass great bays with lovely
islands, and steam within a stone's throw of a comparatively rare
bird, the great northern diver, and suddenly find himself near a wharf
with a village in sight--a great saw-mill cutting its hundreds of
thousands of feet of lumber a day; and near by, Indian graves with the
food still fresh inside, and a tame deer with a collar and bell around
its neck trotting around the streets.

[Illustration: INDIAN CAMP, GRAND TRAVERSE BAY, MICHIGAN.

_Page 16._]

He can sit and fish for trout on his doorstep that borders the little
stream, or he can get on the company's locomotive and run twenty miles
back into the woods and see the coveys of partridges rising in clouds,
and here and there a timid doe and her fawn, whose curiosity is
greater than their fears, until the whistle blows, and they are off
like a shot into the deep forest, near where the black bear is
munching raspberries in a ten-thousand-acre patch, while millions of
bushels of whortleberries will waste for lack of pickers. He can sit
on a point of an inland lake and catch minnows on one side, and pull
up black bass on the other; and if a "tenderfoot" he will bring home
as much as he can carry, expecting to be praised for his skill. He is
mortified at the request to please bury them. He will ride over ground
that less than fifteen years ago could be bought for a song and to-day
produces millions, and is dotted with towns and huge furnaces glowing
night and day.

If in the older settled parts, he will ride through cornfields whose
tassels are up to the car windows, where the original settler paddled
his skiff and caught pickerel and the ague at the same time, and who
is still alive to tell the story. He can talk with a man who knew
every white man by name when he first went there, and remembers the
Indian peeping in through his log-cabin window, but whose
grandchildren have graduated from a university with twenty-seven
hundred students, where he helped build the log schoolhouse; who
remembers when he had to send miles for salt, and yet was living over
a bed of it big enough to salt the world down.

He had nothing but York State pumpkins and wild cranberries for his
Thanksgiving dinner, with salt pork for turkey; and he lives to-day in
one of the great fruit belts of the world, and ships his turkeys by
the ton to the East; and to-day in the North the same experience is
going on. Places where the mention of an apple makes the teeth water,
and where you can still see them come wrapped in tissue paper like
oranges, and yet, paradoxical as it may seem, you can enter a
lumber-camp and find the men regaled on roast chicken and eating
cucumbers before the seed is sown in that part of the country.

Here are farms worth over eighty thousand dollars, which but a few
years ago were entered by the homesteader who had to live on potatoes
and salt, and cut wild hay in summer, and draw it to town on a cedar
jumper, in order to get flour for his hungry children. Here on an
island are men living who used to leave their farming to see the one
steamer unload and load, or watch a schooner drawn up over the Rapids,
and who now see sweeping by their farms a procession of craft whose
tonnage is greater than all the ocean ports of the country.

I have sat on the deck of a little steamer and drawn pictures for the
Indians, who took them and marched off with the smile of a schoolboy
getting a prize chromo, and in less than five years from that time I
have at the same place sat down in a hotel lighted with electricity,
and a menu equal to any in the country, with a bronze portrait of
General Grant embossed on the top. Within ten years I have preached,
with an Indian chief for an interpreter, in a log house in which a
half-brother of Riel of North-Western fame was a hearer, where to-day
there are self-supporting churches and flourishing schools.

Less than sixteen years ago I stopped at the end of the Michigan
Central Railway, northern division; every lot was filled with stumps.
A school was being rapidly built, while the church had a lot only. The
next time I visited the town it had fine churches and schools. The
hotel had a beautiful conservatory filled with choice flowers. I could
take my train, pass on over the Straits of Mackinaw, on by rail again,
and clear to the Pacific, with sleeper and dining-car attached.

[Illustration: VIEW NEAR PETOSKEY, MICHIGAN.

_Page 20._]

But once leave your railway, and soon you can get to settlements
twenty years old which saw the first buggy last year come into the
clearings. Here are deep forests where the preacher on his way home
from church meets the panther and the wild-cat, and where as yet he
must ford the rivers and build his church, the first in nine thousand
square miles.



III.

THE MINUTE-MAN ON THE FRONTIER.


The minute-men at the front are the nation's cheapest policemen; and
strange as it may seem, these men stand in vital relations to all the
great cities of the country from which they are so far removed. It is
a well-known fact that every city owes its life and increase to the
fresh infusion of country blood, and it depends largely on the purity
of that blood as to what the moral condition of the city shall be.
Therefore it is of the utmost importance that Zion's watchmen shall
lift up their voices day and night, until not only the wilderness
shall be glad because of them, but that the city's walls may be named
Salvation and her gates Praise.

Let us make the rounds among our minute-men to see how they live and
what they do. Our road leads along the Grand Rapids and Indiana
Railway. All day long we have been flitting past new towns, and toward
night we plunge into the dense forests with only here and there an
opening. The fresh perfume of the balsam invades the cars, the clear
trout-streams pass and repass under the track, a herd of deer scurry
yonder, and once we see a huge black bear swaying between two giant
hemlocks.

At eleven P.M. we leave the train. There is a drizzling rain through
which we see a half-dozen twinkling lights. As the train turns a curve
we lose sight of its red lights, and feel we have lost our best
friend. A little boy, the sole human being in sight, is carrying a
diminutive mail-bag. The sidewalk is only about thirty-six feet long.
Then among the stumps we wind our slippery way, and at last reach the
only frame house for miles. To the north and east we see a wilderness,
with here and there a hardy settler's hut, sometimes a wagon with a
cover and the stump of a stove-pipe sticking through the top.

After climbing the stairs, which are destitute of a balustrade, we
enter our room. It is carpeted with a horse-blanket. Starting out with
a lumber wagon next morning, with axes and whip-saw, we hew our way
through the forest to another line of railway, and returning, are
asked by the people in the settlement, "Will it ever be settled?"
"Could a man raise apples?" "Snow too deep?" "Mice girdle all the
trees, eh?" etc.

Five years later, on a sleeping-car, we open our eyes in the morning,
and what a change! The little solitary stations that we passed before
are surrounded with houses. White puffs of steam come snapping out
from factories. A weekly paper, a New York and Boston store, and the
five- and ten-cent counter store are among the developments. Our train
sweeps onward, miles beyond our first stop; and instead of the lonely
lodging-house, palatial hotels invite us, bands of music are playing,
the bay is a scene of magic, here a little naphtha launch, and there a
steam yacht, and then a mighty steamer that makes the dock cringe its
whole length as she slowly ties up to it.

Night comes on, but the woods are as light as day with electric
lights. Rustic houses of artistic design are on every hand. Here,
where it was thought apples could not be raised because of mice and
deep snow, is a great Western Chautauqua.

Eighty thousand people are pushing forward into the northern counties
of this great State. Roads, bridges, schoolhouses,--all are building.
Most of the settlers are poor, sometimes having to leave part of their
furniture to pay freight. They are from all quarters of our own and
other lands. Here spring up great mill towns, mining towns, and county
seats; and here, too, our minute-man comes. What can he do? Nearly all
the people are here to make money. He has neither church, parsonage,
nor a membership to start with. Here he finds towns with twenty
saloons in a block, opera house and electric plants, dog-fights,
men-fights, no Sabbath but an extra day for amusements and
debauchery.

The minute-man is ready for any emergency; he takes chances that would
appall a town minister. He finds a town without a single house that is
a home; he has missed his train at a funeral. It is too cold to sleep
in the woods, and so he walks the streets.

A saloon-keeper sees him. "Hello, Elder! Did ye miss yer train? Kind
o' tough, eh?" with a laugh. "Well, ye ken sleep in the saloon if ye
ken stand it." And so down on the floor he goes, comforting himself
with the text, "Though I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there."

Another minute-man in another part of the country finds a town given
up to wickedness. He gets his frugal lunch in a saloon, the only place
for him.

"Are you a preacher?"

"Yes."

"Thought so. You want to preach?"

"I don't know where I can get a hall."

"Oh, stranger, I'll give ye my dance-hall; jest the thing, and I tell
ye we need preaching here bad."

"Good; I will preach."

The saloon man stretches a large piece of cotton across his bar, and
writes,--

"Divine service in this place from ten A.M. to twelve to-morrow. No
drinks served during service."

It is a strange crowd: there are university men, and men who never saw
a school. With some little trembling the minute-man begins, and as he
speaks he feels more freedom and courage. At the conclusion the host
seizes his big hat, and with a revolver commences to take up a
collection, remarking that they had had some pretty straight slugging.
On the back seats are a number of what are called five-cent-ante men;
and as they drop in small coin, he says,--

"Come, boys, ye have got to straddle that."

He brings the hat to the parson, and empties a large collection on the
table.

"But what can I do with these colored things?"

"Why, pard, them's chips; every one redeemable at the bar in gold."

Sometimes the minute-man has a harder time. A scholarly man who now
holds a high position in New England was a short time since in a
mountain town where he preached in the morning to a few people in an
empty saloon, and announced that there would be service in the same
place in the evening. But he reckoned without his host. By evening it
was a saloon again in full blast. Nothing daunted, he began outside.

The men lighted a tar-barrel, and began to raffle off a mule. Just
then a noted bravo of the camps came down; and quick as a flash his
shooting-irons were out, and with a voice like a lion he said,--

"Boys, I drop the first one that interferes with this service."

Thus under guard from unexpected quarters, the preacher spoke to a
number of men who had been former church-members in the far East.

Often these minute-men must build their own houses, and live in such a
rough society that wife and children must stay behind for some years.
One minute-man built a little hut the roof of which was shingled with
oyster-cans. His room was so small that he could pour out his coffee
at the table, and without getting up turn his flapjacks on the stove.
A travelling missionary visiting him, asked him where he slept. He
opened a little trap-door in the ceiling; and as the good woman peered
in she said,--

"Why, you can't stand up in that place!"

"Bless your soul, madam," he exclaimed, "a home missionary doesn't
sleep standing up."

Strapping a bundle of books on his shoulders, this minute-man starts
out on a mule-trail. If he meets the train, he must step off and
climb back. He reaches the distant camp, and finds the boys by the
dozen gambling in an immense saloon. He steps up to the bar and
requests the liberty of singing a few hymns. The man answers
surlily,--

"Ye ken if ye like, but the boys won't stand it."

The next minute a rich baritone begins, "What a friend we have in
Jesus," and twenty heads are lifted. He then says,--

"Boys, take a hand; here are some books." And in less than ten minutes
he has a male choir of many voices. One says, "Pard, sing number so
and so;" and another, "Sing number so and so." By this time the
saloon-keeper is growling; but it is of no use; the minister has the
boys, and starts his work.

In some camps a very different reception awaits him, as, for instance,
the following: At his appearance a wild-looking Buffalo-Bill type of
man greeted him with an oath and a pistol levelled at him.

"Don't yer know thar's no luck in camp with a preacher? We are going
to kill ye."

"Don't you know," said the minute-man, "a minister can draw a bead as
quick as any man?" The boys gave a loud laugh, for they love grit, and
the rough slunk away. But a harder trial followed.

"Glad to see ye, pard; but ye'll have to set 'em up 'fore ye
commence--rule of the camp, ye know." But before our man could frame
an answer, the hardest drinker in the crowd said,--

"Boys, he is the fust minister as has had the sand to come up here,
and I'll stand treat for him."

It is a great pleasure to add that the man who did this is to-day a
Christian.

One man is found on our grand round, living with a wife and a large
family in a church. The church building had been too cold to worship
in, and so they gave it to him for a parsonage. The man had his study
in the belfry, and had to tack a carpet up to keep his papers from
blowing into the lake. This man's life was in constant jeopardy, and
he always carried two large revolvers. He had been the cause of
breaking up the stockade dens of the town, and ruffians were hired to
kill him. He seemed to wear a charmed life--but then, he was over six
feet high, and weighed more than two hundred pounds. Some of the facts
that this man could narrate are unreportable.

The lives lost on our frontiers to-day through sin in all its forms
are legion, and no man realizes as well as the home missionary what it
costs to build a new country; on the other hand, no man has such an
opportunity to see the growth of the kingdom.

There died in Beloit, recently, the Rev. Jeremiah Porter, a man who
had been a home missionary. His field was at Fort Brady before
Chicago had its name. His church was largely composed of soldiers; and
when the men were ordered to Fort Dearborn, he went with them, and
organized what is now known as the First Presbyterian Church of
Chicago. This minute-man lived to see Chicago one million two hundred
thousand strong.

We should have lost the whole Pacific slope but for our minute-man,
the glorious and heroic Whitman, who not only carried his wagon over
the Rockies, but came back through stern winter and past hostile
savages, and by hard reasoning with Webster and others secured that
vast possession for us. As a nation we owe a debt we can never repay
to the soldiers of the cross at the front, who have endured (and
endure to-day) hardships of every kind. They are cut off from the
society which they love; often they live in dugouts, sometimes in
rooms over a saloon; going weeks without fresh meat, sometimes
suffering from hunger, and for a long time without a cent in the
house. Yet who ever heard them complain? Their great grief is that
fields lie near to them white for the harvest, while, with hands
already full, they can only pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth
more laborers.

Often there is but one man preaching in a county which is larger than
Massachusetts. He is cut off from libraries, ministers' meetings, and
to a large extent from the sympathies of more fortunate brethren, and
is often unable to send his children to college. These men still stand
their ground until they die, ofttimes unknown, but leaving foundations
for others to build on.

One place visited by a general missionary was so full of reckless men
that the station-agent always carried a revolver from his house to the
railway station. A vile variety show, carried on by abandoned women,
was kept open day and night. Sunday was the noisiest day of all. Yet
in this place a church was formed; and many men and women, having
found a leader, were ready to take a stand for the right.

I am not writing of the past; for all the conditions that I have
spoken of exist in hundreds, yes, thousands, of places all over the
land. One need not go to the far West to find them; they exist in
every State of the Union, only varying in their types of sin.

Visiting a home missionary in a mining region within two hours' ride
of the capital, in a State not four hundred miles from the Atlantic, I
found the man in one of the most desolate towns I ever saw. The most
prosperous families were earning on an average five dollars a week,
store pay. All were in debt. When the missionary announced his
intention of going there, he was warned that it was not safe; but that
did not alter his plans.

The first service was held in a schoolhouse, the door panels of which
were out and not a pane of glass unbroken. A roaring torrent had to be
passed on an unsteady plank bridge, over which the women and children
crawled on hands and knees. It was dark when they came. The preacher
could see the gleam of the men's eyes from their grimy faces as the
lanterns flickered in the draughts. He began to preach. Soon white
streaks were on the men's cheeks, as tears from eyes unused to weeping
rolled down those black faces. At the close a church was organized, a
reading-room was added, and many a boy was saved from the saloon by
it. Yet, strange to say, although the owners (church members too) had
cleared a million out of those mines, the money to build the needed
church and parsonage had to be sent from the extreme East.

Hundreds of miles eastward I have found men living, sixty and seventy
in number, in a long hut, their food cooked in a great pot, out of
which they dipped their meals with a tin dipper. No less than
seventy-five thousand Slovaks live in this one State, and their only
spiritual counsel comes from a few Bible-readers. Ought we not then,
as Christians, to help those already there, and give of our plenty to
send the men needed to carry the light to thousands of places that as
yet sit in the darkness and the shadow?

     HOW THE HOME MISSIONARY BEGINS WORK IN THE NEW COMMUNITY.

_First_, pastoral visiting is absolutely necessary to success. The
feelings of newcomers are tender after breaking the home ties and
getting to the new home, and a visit from the pastor is sure to bring
satisfactory results. Sickness and death offer him opportunities for
doing much good, especially among the poor, and they are always the
most numerous.

Some very pathetic cases come under every missionary's observation.
Once a man called at the parsonage and asked for the elder, saying
that a man had been killed some miles away in the woods, and the
family wanted the missionary to preach the funeral sermon. The next
morning a ragged boy came to pilot the minister. The way led through
virgin forests and black-ash swamps. A light snow covered the ground
and made travelling difficult, as much of the way was blocked by
fallen trees. After two hours' walking the house was reached; and here
was the widow with her large family, most of them in borrowed clothes,
the supervisor, a few rough men, and a county coffin.

The minister hardly knew what to say; but remembering that that
morning a large box had been sent containing a number of useful
articles, he made God's providence his theme. A few days after, the
box was taken to the widow's home. When they reached the shanty they
found two little bunks inside. Her only stove was an oven taken from
an old-fashioned cook-stove. The oven stood on a dry-goods box.

The missionary said, "Why, my poor woman, you will freeze with this
wretched fire."

"No," she said; "it ain't much for cooking and washing, but it's a
_good_ little heater."

A few white beans and small potatoes were all her store, with winter
coming on apace. When she saw the good things for eating and wearing
that had been brought to her, she sobbed out her thanks.

In the busy life of a missionary the event was soon forgotten, until
one day a woman said, "Elder, do you recollect that 'ar Mrs. Sisco?"

"Yes."

"She is down with a fever, and so are her children."

At this news the minister started with the doctor to see her. As they
neared the place he noticed some red streaks gleaming in the woods,
and asked what they were.

"Oh," said the doctor, "that is from the widow's house. She had to
move into a stable of the deserted lumber camp."

The chinks had fallen out from the logs, and hence the gleam of fire.
The house was a study in shadows--the floor sticky with mud brought in
with the snow; the _débris_ of a dozen meals on the table; a lamp,
without chimney or bottom, stuck into an old tomato-can, gave its
flickering light, and revealed the poor woman, with nothing to shield
her from the storm but a few paper flour-sacks tacked back of the bed.
Two or three chairs, the children in the other bed, the baby in a
little soapbox on rockers, were all the wretched hovel contained.
Medicine was left her, and the minister's watch for her to time it. He
exchanged his watch for a clock the next day. By great persuasion the
proper authorities were made to put her in the poorhouse, and she was
lost to sight; but there was a bright ending in her case.

About a year after, a rosy-faced woman called at the parsonage. The
pastor said, "Come in and have some dinner."

"I got some one waiting," she said.

"Why, who is that?"

"My new man."

"What, you married again?"

"Yes; and we are just going after the rest of the traps up at the
shanty, and I called to see whether you would give me the little clock
for a keepsake?"

"Oh, yes."

Away she went as happy as a lark. Less than two years from the time
she was left a widow, a rich old uncle found in her his long-lost
niece, and the woman became heiress to thousands of dollars.

Sometimes dreadful scenes are witnessed at funerals where strong drink
has suddenly finished the career of father or mother. At the funeral
of a little child smothered by a drunken father, the mother was too
sick to be up at the funeral, the father too drunk to realize what was
taking place, and twice the service was stopped by drunken men. At
another funeral a dog-fight began under the coffin. The missionary
kicked the dogs out, and resumed as well as he could.

At another wretched home the woman was found dying, the husband drunk,
no food, mercury ten degrees below zero, and the little children
nearly perishing with cold. The drunken man pulled the bed from under
his dying wife while he went to sleep. His awakening was terrible, and
the house crowded at the funeral with morbid hearers.

In one town visited, a county town at that, the roughs had buried a
man alive, leaving his head above ground, and then preached a mock
funeral sermon, remarking as they left him, "How natural he looks!"

As the nearest minister is miles away, the missionary has to travel
many miles in all weathers to the dying and dead. Visiting the sick,
and sitting up with those with dangerous diseases, soon cause the
worst of men not only to respect but to love the missionary; and no
man has the moulding of a community so much in his hands as the
courageous and faithful servant of Christ. The first missionary on the
field leaves his stamp indelibly fixed on the new village. Towns left
without the gospel for years are the hardest of all places in which
to get a footing. Some towns have been without service of any kind for
years, and some of the young men and women have never seen a minister.
There are townships to-day, even in New York State, without a church;
and, strange as it may seem, there are more churchless communities in
Illinois than in any other State in the Union. Until two years ago
Black Rock, with a population of five thousand, had no church or
Sunday-school. Meanwhile such is the condition of the Home Missionary
Society's treasury that they often cannot take the students who offer
themselves, and the churchless places increase.

All kinds of people crowd to the front,--those who are stranded, those
who are trying to hide from justice, men speculating. Gambling dens
are open day and night, Sundays of course included, the men running
them being relieved as regularly as guards in the army.

In purely agricultural districts a different type is met with. Many
are so poor that the men have to go to the lumber woods part of the
year. The women thus left often become despondent, and a very large
per cent in the insane asylum comes from this class.

One family lived so far from town that when the husband died they were
obliged to make his coffin, and utilized two flour-barrels for the
purpose.

So amid all sorts and conditions of men, and under a variety of
circumstances, the minute-man lives, works, and dies, too often
forgotten and unsung, but remembered in the Book; and when God shall
make up his jewels, some of the brightest gems will be found among the
pioneers who carried the ark into the wilderness in advance of the
roads, breaking through the forest guided by the surveyor's blaze on
the trees.

There are hundreds of people who pierce into the heart of the country
by going up the rivers before a path has been made. In one home found
there, the minute-man had the bed in a big room down-stairs, while
the man, with his wife and nine children, went up steps like a
stable-ladder, and slept on "shakedowns," on a floor supported with
four rafters which threatened to come down. But the minute-man, too
tired to care, slept the sleep of the just. Often not so fortunate as
then, he finds a large family and but one room. Once he missed his
way, and had to crawl into two empty barrels with the ends knocked
out. Drawing them as close together as he could, to prevent draughts,
he had a short sleep, and awoke at four A.M. to find that a house and
bed were but twenty rods farther.

In a new village, for the first visit all kinds of plans are made to
draw the people out. Here is one: The minute-man calls at the school,
and asks leave to draw on the blackboard. Teacher and scholars are
delighted. After entertaining them for a while, he says, "Children,
tell your parents that the man who chalk-talked to you will preach
here at eight o'clock." And the youngsters, expecting another such
good time as they have just enjoyed, come out in force, bringing both
parents with them. The village is but two years old. At first the
people had the drinking-water brought five miles in barrels on the
railroad, and for washing melted the snow. Then they took maple sap,
and at last birch sap; but, "Law," said a woman, "it was dreadful
ironin'!"

[Illustration: A TYPICAL LOG HOUSE.

_Page 46._]

Here was a genuine pioneer: his house of logs, hinges wood, latch
ditto, locks none; a black bear, three squirrels, a turtle-dove, two
dogs, and a coon made up his earthly possessions. He was tired of the
place.

"Laws, Elder! when I fust come ye could kill a deer close by, and
ketch a string of trout off the doorsteps; but everything's sp'iled.
Men beginning to wear b'iled shirts, and I can't stand it. I shall
clear as soon as I can git out. Don't want to buy that b'ar, do ye?"

In this little town a grand minute-man laid down his life. He was so
anxious to get the church paid for, that he would not buy an
overcoat. Through the hard winter he often fought a temperature forty
degrees below zero; but at last a severe cold ended in his death. His
good wife sold her wedding-gown to buy an overcoat, but all too late;
and a bride of a twelvemonth went out a widow with an orphan in her
arms.

Yet the children of God are said to add to their already large store
four hundred million dollars yearly, and some think of building a
ten-million-dollar temple to honor God--while temples of the Holy
Ghost are too often left to fall, through utter neglect, because we
withhold the little that would save them. We shall never conquer the
heathen world for Christ until we have learned the way to save
America. Save America, and we can save the world.



IV.

THE IMMIGRANT ON THE FRONTIER.


Whatever may be the effect of immigrants in cities, the immigrant on
the frontier has sent the country ahead a quarter of a century. In the
first place, the pioneer immigrants are in the prime of life. They
generally bring enough money to make a start. They need houses, tools,
horses, and all the things needful to start. They seldom fail. Used to
privation at home, they make very hardy settlers. In some States they
comprise seventy per cent of the voters; and the getting of a piece of
land they can call their own makes good citizens of them sooner than
any other way. You can't make a dangerous kind of a man of him who can
call a quarter section his own.

In order to show how the pioneer settler from Europe prospers, let us
begin with him at the wharf. There floats the leviathan that has a
whole villageful on board,--over twelve hundred. They are on deck; and
a motley crowd they appear, for they are from all lands. Here is a
girl dressed in the picturesque costume of Western Europe, and here a
man with a great peak to his hat, an enormous long coat, his beard
half way down his breast, a china pipe as big as a small teacup in his
mouth, his wife like a bundle of meal tied in the middle, with immense
earrings, and an old colored handkerchief over her head. Behind them a
half-dozen little ones with towheads of hair, looking as shaggy as
Yorkshire terriers, blue-eyed and healthy. They are carrying copper
coffee-pots and kettles; and away they march, eight hundred of them
and more, up Broadway.

Here and there a man steps into a bakery, and comes out with a yard of
bread, and breaks it up into hunks; and the little children grind it
down without butter, with teeth that are clean from lack of meat,
with all the gusto of Sunday-school children with angel-cake at a
picnic. They are soon locked in the cars, and night comes on. Go
inside and you will see the good mother slicing up bolognas or a
Westphalia ham, and handing around slices of black bread. After supper
reading of the Bible and prayers; and then the little ones are put
into sack-like nightgowns, and put up in the top bunks, where they
lie, watching their elders playing cards, until they fall asleep.

In the morning you go up to one of the women who is washing a boy and
ask, as you see the great number of children around her, whether they
are all hers: she courtesies and says, "Me no spik Inglish;" but by
pantomime you make her understand, and she laughingly says, "Yah,
yah;" and you think of Russell's song,--

    "To the West, to the West, to the land of the free,
    Where Mighty Missouri rolls down to the sea;
    Where a man is a man, if he's willing to toil,
    And the humblest may gather the fruits of the soil.
    Where children are blessings, and he who has most,
    Has aid for his fortune, and riches to boast;
    Where the young may exult and the aged may rest--
    Away, far away, to the land of the West!"

Their train is a slow one; it is side-tracked for the great fliers as
they reach a single-track road.

The very cattle-trains have precedence of them. We watch their train
as it reaches the great brown prairie; a little black shack or two is
all you can see. The very tumble-weeds outstrip their slow-moving
train; but after many weary hours they reach the end of the road, so
far as it is built that day; it will go three miles farther to-morrow.
As yet there are no freight-sheds, and they camp out on the prairie.
The cold stars come out, the coyotes' sharp bark is heard in the
distance, blended with the howl of the prairie wolf. Some of them dig
holes in the side-hill, and put their little ones in them for the
night. Tears come into the eyes of the mothers as they think of home
and relatives beyond the seas.

And there we will leave them for twelve years, and then on one of our
transcontinental palaces on wheels we will follow the immigrant trail.
Where they passed black ash-swamps and marshes and scattered homes, we
go through villages with public libraries; where they touched the
brown prairie, we view a sea of living green; where they took five
days, we go in two; where they stepped off at the end of the road, we
stop at a junction whose steel rails run on to the Pacific or the Gulf
of Mexico; where they made the shelter for their little ones in the
ground, we find a good hotel, a city alive to the finger-tips,
electric cars on the streets, an opera-house, and a high school just
about to keep its commencement. On the street we notice some people
that appear somewhat familiar, but we are not sure. When we spoke to
them twelve years ago they said with a courtesy, "Me no spik Inglish;"
but now without a courtesy they talk in broken English. The man has
lost his big beard, his clothes are well-made; the wife is no longer
like a bag of meal with a string around it. No; with a daily hint from
Paris, she has all the feathers the law allows.

They are making for the high schoolhouse, and we follow them. A chorus
of fifty voices, with a grand piano accompaniment, is in progress as
we take our seats, after which a boy stands forth and declaims his
piece. We should never know him. It is one of our tow-headed
youngsters from the wharf. The old father sits with tears of joy
running down his wrinkled face. He can hardly believe his senses. He
remembers when his grandsire was a serf under Nicholas, and it seems
too good to be true. But he hears the neighing of his percherons under
the little church-shed; and by association of ideas his fields and
waving grain, his flocks, herds, and quarter section, rise before his
mind's view, and he opens his eyes to see his favorite daughter step
on the platform dressed in white, and great June roses drooping on her
breast; and the old man's eyes sparkle as his daughter steps down
amid a round of applause as she says in the very spirit of old
Cromwell, "Curfew shall not ring to-night."

And this is real. It has been going on for a quarter of a century.
States with whole counties filled with Russians voting, and being the
banner counties to have prohibition in the State's Constitution; or,
like North Dakota, with nearly seventy per cent foreign voters,
driving the lottery from them when needing money sorely. Men and women
who could scarcely speak the English language living to see their sons
senators and governors.

All the dismal prophecies about ruin from the immigrant are disproved
as one looks over Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas to-day; and
instead of having a great German nation on this side of the Atlantic,
as one writer predicted, we have in the great agricultural States some
of our stanchest American citizens.

One of the mightiest factors in human life to-day is the language we
use. Three centuries ago there were about 6,000,000 using it; to-day
125,000,000 speak the English tongue. The Duke of Argyle was once
asked which was the best language. He said, "If I want to be polite I
use the French, if I want to be understood I take the English, if I
want to praise my Maker I take the Gaelic, my mother-tongue."
Foreigners coming here think in their own language, even though they
may be able to speak in ours; gradually they come to think in English,
but still they dream in their mother-tongue; at last they dream,
think, and speak in the language of the land, and become homogeneous
with the nation.

God's greatest gift to this New World is the foreigner. The thought
came to me while on my way to Savannah: Why did not the discoverers of
the Western Hemisphere find a higher civilization than the one they
left? Why should God have kept so large a portion of the world hidden
from the eyes of Europe for thousands of years? Had he not some grand
design that in the fulness of time he would lead Columbus, like
Abraham of old, to found a new nation?

Take your map and find those States which the stream of immigration
has passed by, and in every case you find them behind the times.
Strange how prejudice warps our vision! Jefferson said, "Would to God
the Atlantic were a sea of flame;" and Washington said, "I would we
were well rid of them, except Lafayette." Strange words for a man who
would not have been an American had his ancestors not been immigrants.
Hamilton, the great statesman, was an immigrant. Albert Gallatin the
financier, Agassiz the scientist, and thousands of illustrious names,
make a strong list. One-twelfth of the land foreigners!--but
one-fourth of the Union armies were foreigners too.

                        WHAT THEY BECOME.

When Linnæus was under gardener, the head gardener had a flower he
could not raise. He gave it to Linnæus, who took it to the back of a
pine, placed broken ice around it, and gave it a northern exposure. In
a few days the king with delight asked for the name of the beautiful
gem. It was the Forsaken Flower.

So there are millions of our fellow-men in Europe to-day, in a harsh
environment, sickly, poor, and ready to die; but when they are
transplanted, they find a new home, clothes, food, and, above all, the
freedom that makes our land the very paradise for the poor of all
lands. These immigrants have made the brown prairie to blossom as the
rose, the wilderness to become like the garden of the Lord. They drove
the Louisiana Lottery out of North Dakota; they voted for temperance
in South Dakota. Their hearts beat warm for their native land, but
they are true to their adopted country.

The mixture of the nationalities is the very thing that makes us
foremost: it has produced a new type; and if we but do our duty we
shall be the arbitrator of the nations. There is no way to lift Europe
so fast as to evangelize her sons who come to us. Sixteen per cent go
home to live, and these can never forget what they saw here; did we
but teach them aright, they would be an army of foreign missionaries,
fifty thousand strong, preachers of the gospel to the people in the
tongue in which they were born, and thus creating a perpetual
Pentecost.

One other great fact needs pointing out. The discovery of this land
was by the Latin races; and yet they failed to hold it, lacking the
genius for colonization for which the Anglo-Saxon is pre-eminent.
During the last fifty years, over 13,000,000 immigrants have come to
this land. Great Britain sent nearly 6,000,000; Germany, 4,500,000;
Norway and Sweden, 939,603; Denmark, 144,858; the Netherlands, 99,522;
Belgium, 42,102. Here we have over 11,000,000 Anglo-Saxon, Teutonic,
and Scandinavian, of the 13,000,000, and almost half of them speaking
English, while Italy, Russia, Poland, France, Austria, Switzerland,
Hungary, Spain, Portugal, and all other nations sent but 1,708,897 out
of the 13,296,157. And we must note also that nearly all of the Latin
races came within the last few years; so that we were a nation
50,000,000 strong before many of them came, and eighty per cent of all
our people speak English.

No nation ever drove out its people without loss, as witness Spain and
France with their Protestants and Huguenots. England took them, and
they helped to make her great. Often when a nation has actually been
conquered in war, she in turn conquers her victors and is made better.
Germany conquered Rome; but Roman laws and Roman government conquered
the invaders, and made Germany the mother of modern civilization.
Norsemen, Danes, and Saxons invaded Britain, and drenched her fields
in blood. The Normans brought their beef, their mutton, and their
pork, but the English kept their oxen, sheep, and swine; and
eventually from the Norman, Dane, and others came the Anglo-Saxon
race. England has four times as much inventive genius as the rest of
Europe, but America has ten times as much as England; and why? Because
added to the English colony is all Europe; and in our own people we
have the practical Englishman, the thoughtful German, the metaphysical
Scot, the quick-witted Irishman, the sprightly Gaul, the musical and
artistic Italian, the hardy Swiss, the frugal and clear-headed Swede
and Norwegian; and all united make the type which the world will yet
come to, the manhood which will recognize the inherent nobility of the
race, its brotherhood, and the great God, Father.

[Illustration: A TYPICAL SOD HOUSE.

_Page 61._]



V.

THE ODDITIES OF THE FRONTIER.


As the waves of the sea cast up all sorts of things, so the waves of
humanity that flood the frontiers cast up all sorts and conditions of
men. To go into a sod house and find a theological library belonging
to the early part of the century, or to hear coming up through the
ground a composition by Beethoven played on a piano, is a startling
experience; so are some of the questions and assertions that one hears
in a frontier Sunday-school.

I remember one old man who was in class when we were studying that
part of the Acts of the Apostles where the disciples said, "It is not
reason that we should leave the word of God and serve tables;" the old
fellow said, "I have an idee that them tables was the two tables of
stone that Moses brought down from the Mount." This was a stunner. I
thought afterwards that the old man had an idea that they were to
leave the law and stick to the gospel; but still it did not seem right
to pick out men to serve the tables if that was what he meant.

Another would be satisfied with nothing but the literal meaning of
everything he read. So when I explained to the class the modern idea
of the Red Sea being driven by the wind so as to leave a road for
light-laden people to walk over, the old man was up in arms at once,
"Why," said he, "it says a wall;" and no doubt the pictures which he
had seen in his youth, of the children of Israel walking with
bottle-green waters straight as two walls on either side, and the
reading of a celebrated preacher's sermon, where it spoke of the fish
coming up to peep at the little children, as if they would like a
nibble, confirmed the old man in his views.

In vain I told him that a wind that would hold up such a vast mass of
water would blow the Israelites out of their clothes; still he stuck
to his position until I asked him whether, when Nabal's men told him
that David's men had been a wall unto them day and night, he thought
that David had plastered them together?

He said, "No; it meant a defence," and apparently gave in, but
muttered, "It says a wall, anyway."

Another man told me that if a man cut himself in the woods, there was
a verse in the Bible so that if he turned to it and put his finger
upon it, the blood would at once stop running; and he wanted to know
whether I knew where to find it. I told him I was very sorry that I
did not know.

On the other hand, you may find a man with a Greek Testament, and well
up in Greek, making his comments from the original. Here a Barclay &
Perkins brewer from London, who has plunged into the woods to get rid
of drink, and succeeded. Here a family, one of whom was Dr. Norman
McLeod's nurse, and a playmate of the family. Another informs you he
preached twenty-five years, "till his voice give out;" and here a
Hard-shell Baptist, who "don't believe in Sunday-schools nohow."

The minute-man at the front needs to be ready for all emergencies, for
he meets all kinds of original characters. One of the most successful
men I ever heard of was the famous Father Paxton described by the Rev.
E. P. Powell in the _Christian Register_ in a very bright article from
which I quote:--

     When "blue," I always went down to the Depository, and
     begged him for a few stories. He rode a splendid horse, that
     was in full sympathy with his master, and bore the
     significant name, Robert Raikes. There were few houses
     except those built of logs, and these were not prejudiced
     against good ventilation. He laughed long and loud at his
     experience in one of these, which he reached one night in a
     furious storm. He was welcomed to the best, which was a
     single rude bed, while the family slept on the floor, behind
     a sheet hung up for that special occasion. Paxton was so
     thoroughly tired that he slept sound as soon as he touched
     the bed; but he half waked in the morning with the barking
     of a dog. The master of the house was shaking him, and
     halloing, "I say, stranger! pull in your feet or Bowser 'll
     bite 'em!" Stretching out in the night, he had run his feet
     through the side of the house, between the logs; and the dog
     outside had gone for them. The time he took in pulling in
     was so trifling as to be hardly worth the mention.

     Those who know little of frontier life can have no idea of
     the difficulties to be met by a man with Paxton's mission.
     There was one district, not far from Cairo, that was ruled
     by a pious old fellow who swore that no Sunday-school should
     be set up "in that kidntry." Some one cautioned "the
     missioner" to keep away from M----, who would surely be as
     good as his word and thrash him. M---- was a Hard-shell
     Baptist, and owned the church, which was built also of logs.
     He lived in the only whitewashed log house of the region.
     Instead of avoiding him, Father Paxton rode up one day, and
     jumping off Robert Raikes, hitched him to the rail that
     always was to be found before a Southern house. Old M----
     sat straddle of a log in front of his door eating peaches
     from a basket. Paxton straddled the log on the other side of
     the basket, and helped himself. This was Southern style. You
     were welcome to help yourself so long as there was anything
     to eat. The conversation that started up was rather wary,
     for M---- suspected who his visitor was. Pretty soon Paxton
     noticed some hogs in a lot near them. "Mighty fine lot of
     hogs, stranger!"

     "And you mought say well they be a mighty fine lot of hogs."

     "How many mought there be, stranger?"

     "There mought be sixty-two hogs in that there lot, and they
     can't be beat."

     Just then a little boy went up and grabbed a peach.

     "Mought that be your young un, stranger?" asked Paxton.

     "As nigh as one can say, that mought be mine."

     "And a fine chap he be, surely."

     "A purty fine one, I reckon myself."

     "How many young ones mought you have, my friend?"

     "Well, stranger, that's where you have me. Sally, I say,
     come to the door there! You count them childer while I name
     'em--no, you name 'em, and I'll count."

     So they counted out seventeen children. Paxton had his cue
     now, and was ready.

     "Stranger, I say," he said, "this seems to me a curious kind
     of a kidntry."

     "Why so, stranger?"

     "Because, when I axed ye how many hogs ye had, ye could tell
     me plum off; but when I axed ye how many children ye had, ye
     had to count right smart before ye could tell. Seems to me
     ye pay a lettle more attention to your hogs than ye do to
     your childer."

     "Stranger," shouted M----, "ye mought sure be the missioner.
     You've got me, sure! You shall have the church in the
     holler next Sunday, and me and my wife and my seventeen
     shall all be there."

     True to his word, he helped Paxton to establish a school.
     When I was in St. Louis, there was a Sunday-school
     convention there. A fine-looking young man came up to Father
     Paxton, who was then in charge of the Sunday-school
     Depository, and said,--

     "Don't ye know me, Father Paxton?"

     "No," said Paxton; "I reckon I don't recall ye."

     "Well, I am from ----; and I am one of the seventeen
     children of M----. And I am a delegate here, representing
     over one hundred Sunday-schools sprung from that one."



VI.

LIGHTS AND SHADOWS.


Perhaps no man gets such a vivid idea of the dark and bright sides of
frontier life as the general missionary. One week among the rich,
entertained sumptuously, and housed with all the luxuries of hot air
and water and the best of cooking; and then, in less than twelve
hours, he may find himself in a lumber-wagon, called a stagecoach,
bumping along over the wretched roads of a new country, and lodged at
night in a log house with the wind whistling through the chinks where
the mud has fallen out, to sit down with a family who do not taste
fresh meat for weeks together, who are twelve miles from a doctor and
as many from the post-office.

Nowhere in the world can a man so soon exchange the refinements of
civilized life for one of hardship and toil as in a new country. Our
minute-man must share with the settler all his toils, and yet often
forego the settler's hope. The life among frontiersmen is apt to unfit
a man for other work. His scanty salary will not allow many new books,
and often his papers are out of date. The finding of a home is one of
the worst of hardships. Let us start with the missionary to the front;
our way lies through a rich valley. The moon is at her full, and we
pass fine farms. The scent of the hay floats in at the car windows;
fine orchards surround the houses, while great flocks of sheep are
seen feeding, and herds resting, comfortably chewing the cud.

But morning comes, and we must change cars. We are in a city of 80,000
people, with 498 factories with 15,000 employees, where a few years
ago a few log houses only were in sight. As we change cars we change
company too. We left the train at a Union Station, with its green
lawns and trim garden, to find a station with old oil-barrels around
it, the mud all over everything, the train filled with lumbermen, with
their red mackinaw shirts and great boots spiked on the bottoms, and a
comforter tied around the waist.

A few women are on the train, often none at all. Our new road is
poorly ballasted, and the train bounces along like a great bumble-bee.
The men are all provided with pocket-pistols that are often more
deadly than a revolver. At the first station--a little mouse-colored
affair, sometimes without a ticket-agent--we notice the change. The
stumps are thick in the fields; many of the houses have the
building-paper fluttering in the wind; the streets are of sawdust. You
can see the flags growing up from the swamp beneath. The saloons are
numerous; and as the train is a mixed one in more senses than one,
abundant time is given while shunting the freight-cars for the men to
reload their pocket-pistols and get gloriously drunk.

    "Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious."

And so on we go again for forty miles, when all leave the train but
one solitary man, who lies prostrate in the car, too big for our
little conductor to lift, and so he goes to the terminus with us. It
is getting late, and the last ten miles are through a wilderness of
dead pines, with here and there a winding line of timothy and clover
that has sprung up from seeds dropped by the supply teams. But
presently we see a pretty stream with bosky glades, and visions of
speckled trout come up; then an immense mill, and a village of white
houses with green Venetian blinds, and a pert little church. We had
expected some good deacon to meet us and take us home to dinner; but,
alas! no deacon is waiting, or dinner either for some time. For out of
eight hundred people only five church-members can be found, four of
them women.

It well nigh daunts the minute-man's courage as he sees the open
saloons, the big, rough men, the great bull-terriers on the steps of
the houses. The awful swearing and vile language appal him, and the
thought of bringing his little ones to such a place almost breaks his
spirits; but here he has come to stay and work. The hotel is his home
until he can find a house for his family. There is but one place to
rent in the town, and that is in a fearful condition. It is afterwards
whitewashed and used as a chicken-coop. But at length a family moves
away, and the house is secured just in time; for the new schoolmaster
is after it, and meets the man on the way with a long face.

"You got the house?"

"Yes."

"What can I do? my goods are on the way!"

"Oh, they will build one for you, but not for a preacher."

"No, they won't. Could I get my things in for eight or ten days?"

"Oh, yes." The minister is so glad to get the place that he feels
generous. But the good man stays eleven months; and he has besides
his wife and child, a mother-in-law, a grandmother-in-law, a niece, a
_protégée_, and a young man, a nephew, who has come to get an
education and do the chores. They are all very nice people, but it
leaves the minute-man and his wife and four children with but three
rooms. The beds must stand so that the children have to climb over the
head-boards to get at them. The family sit by the big stove at their
meals, and can look out on the glowing sand and see the swifts darting
about; while in the winter the study is sitting-room and playground
too.

But this is luxury. Often the minute-man must be content with one
room, for which the rent charged may be extortionate. Even then he
must keep his water in a barrel out in the hall. In cold weather
perhaps it must be chopped before getting it into the kettle.

I knew of one man who lived in a log house. It had been lathed and
plastered on the inside, and weather-boarded on the outside, so that
it was very warm, and so thick that you could not hear the storms
outside, which raged at times for days together.

One day late in March a fearful snowstorm arose, and for three days
and nights the snow came thick and fast. Luckily it thawed fast too.
On the fourth day there was need for the minute-man to go for the
doctor, who lived some miles away. On the road he engaged a woman to
go to his house, where her services were in demand. After he had
summoned the doctor the good man took his time, and reached home in
the afternoon. He was greeted by a duet from two young strangers from
a far land.

Night closed in fast; the house was so thick that no one suspected
another storm; but on going out to milk the cow, it was storming
again, and the man saw he had need to be careful or he would not find
his way back from the barn, though it was only a few yards away.

When he reached the house, the good lady visitor, who had insisted
that she could not stay later than evening, gave up all hope of
getting home that night. She stayed a fortnight! For this time the
storm raged without thawing, and for three nights and days the snow
piled up over the windows, and almost covered the little pines, in
drifts fifteen feet deep. Not a horse came by for two weeks.

Once another man started in a storm on a similar errand; but in spite
of his love, courage, and despair, he was overwhelmed, and sinking in
agony in the drift, he never moved again. When the storm was over, the
sun came out; and what a mockery it seemed! The squirrels ran nimbly
up the trees, the blue jays called merrily; but the settlers looked
over the white expanse, and missed the gray smoke that usually rose
from the little log shanty.

The men gathered to break the roads; the ox-team and snow-plough were
brought out, and the dogs were wild with delight as they ploughed up
the snow with their snouts, and barked for very joy; but the men were
sorrowful, and worked as for life and death. Half way to the house the
husband was found motionless as a statue, his blue eyes gazing up into
the sky. The men redoubled their efforts, and gained the house. The
stoutest heart quailed. A poor cat was mewing piteously in the window.
And when at last the oldest man went in, he found mother and new-born
child frozen to death.



VII.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN THE SOUTH.


The South has two kinds of frontier,--that which has never been
settled, and once thickly settled parts that have grown up to wild
woods and wastes since the war. In old times the slave had a
half-holiday on Saturday, which custom the colored brother still keeps
up; and a more picturesque scene is not to be found than that
presented by a town, say of three thousand inhabitants, where the
county has seven colored people to one white.

Never was such a motley company gathered in one place,--old men with
grizzled heads, all with a rabbit-foot in their pocket, a necklace for
a charm around their necks, their bronzed breasts open to view; old
mammies with scarlet bandannas; young belles of all shades--here a
mulatto girl in pale-blue dress and pointed shoes, her waist as
disfigured as any Parisian's, there a mammoth, coal-black negro
driving a pair of splendid mules.

Here is an original turnout; it was once a sulky. The shafts stick out
above the great ears of the mule; the seat has been replaced by an old
rocking-chair; the wheels are wired-up pieces of a small barrel that
have replaced some of the spokes, while fully half the harness is made
up of rope, string, and wire. The owner's clothes are one mass of
patchwork, and his hat is full of holes, out of which the unruly wool
escapes and keeps his hat from blowing off.

The sidewalk presents a moving panorama unmatched for richness of
color. As we leave the town, we ride past plantations that once had
palatial residences, whose owners had from one to three thousand
slaves, the little log cabins arranged around and near the house. In
many cases the houses are still there, but dilapidated.

Here, where each white person was once worth on an average thirty
thousand dollars, to-day you may buy land for a dollar an acre, with
all the buildings. It is a lovely park-like country, with clear
streams running through meadows, branching into a dozen channels,
where the fish dart about; and the trees shade and perfume the air
with their rich blossoms, and the whole region is made exquisitely
vocal with the song of the peerless mocking-bird. Here, too, the
marble crops out from the soil, and some of the richest iron ore in
the world, all waiting for the spirit of enterprise to turn the land
into an Eldorado.

To be sure, there are obstacles; but the Southern man of to-day was
born into conditions for which he is not responsible, any more than
his father and ancestors before him were responsible for theirs. And
those that started the trouble lived in a day when men knew no better.
Did not old John Hawkins as he sailed the seas in his good ship Jesus,
packed with Guinea negroes, praise God for his great success? So we
find the men of that day piously presenting their pastor and the
church with a good slave, and considering it a meritorious action.

Time, with colonies settling in the new South, will yet bring back
prosperity without the old taint, and keep step with all that is good
in the nation. It cannot be done at once. I knew an energetic American
who had built a town, and thought he would go South, and at least
start another; but, said he, "I had not been there a week when I felt,
as I rocked to and fro, listening to the music of the birds, and
catching the fragrance of the jessamine, that I did not care whether
school kept or not."

There is no great virtue in the activity that walks fast to keep from
freezing. We owe a large portion of our goodness to Jack Frost.

Dr. Ryder tells a story of one of our commercial travellers who had
been overtaken by night, and had slept in the home of a poor white.
In the morning he naturally asked whether he could wash. "Ye can, I
reckon, down to the branch." A little boy belonging to the house
followed him; for such clothes and jewellery the lad had never before
seen. After seeing the man wash, shave, and clean his teeth, he could
hold in no longer, and said,--

"Mister, do you wash every day?"

"Yep."

"And scrape yer face with that knife?"

"Yep."

"And rub yer teeth too?"

"Yep."

"Wal, yer must be an awful lot of trouble to yerself."

Civilization undoubtedly means an awful lot of trouble.



VIII.

ALL SORTS AND CONDITIONS OF MEN.


The frontier is the place to find all sorts of conditions and also of
men. Monotony is not one of the troubles of the minute-man. He is
frequently too poor to dress in a ministerial style, and quite often
he is not known until he begins the services. This sometimes leads to
the serio-comic, as witness the following:--

Our man was looking over a portion of the country where he wished to
locate, and in making the necessary inquiries he asked many questions
about homesteads and timber claims. Notice having been given that
there would be preaching at the schoolhouse, the people assembled; and
while waiting for the preacher, they discussed this stranger, whom
they all thought to be a claim jumper. He certainly was not a very
handsome man. They proposed to hang him to the first tree. Trees were
scarce there, and possibly that fact saved him. He came up while they
were talking, entered the schoolhouse, and from the desk told them he
was the preacher, and was going to settle among them. Here was a
promising field, where people were ready to hang a man on their way to
church. It is a fact that where we find people ready for deeds of this
kind we have the material for old-fashioned revivals of the Cartwright
type.

When Jesse James was shot, it was easy to find a man to preach a
sermon full of hope to the bereaved relations, and to crown the
ruffian with martyrdom.

The minute-man has some hair-breadth escapes. He comes upon a crowd of
so-called vigilants, who have just hanged some men for horse-thievery;
and, as he has on store-clothes, he narrowly escapes the same fate. In
one instance he was able to prove too late that they had hanged an
innocent lad; and in that case the poor boy had not only pleaded his
innocence but had explained that he was tired, and had been invited to
ride by the gang who had stolen the horses, the men themselves
corroborating his story; but it did not avail; and the poor boy was
strung up, and a mother's heart was broken in the far East. Often
these border ruffians act from unaccountable impulse, just as the
Indians would torture some captives and adopt others from mere whim.

It is an awful commentary on the condition of things on our frontiers,
that a man has a better chance of escape when he has murdered a fellow
creature than when he has stolen a horse. And yet in this year 1895, I
have seen a man who was trying in vain to sell a horse for $1.50.

To illustrate how much more valuable life is than gold, a minister
relates this anecdote of a California miner who, to save a young girl
in a shipwreck, threw his belt of gold away and saved her life. After
the meeting was over a matronly woman came up to him and said, "Sir,
I was the young girl the miner saved." Or he enters a log house, and
finds a beautiful woman and her no less beautiful daughter, and soon
learns that, a few years before, they were moving among the brilliant
throng that surround royalty in Europe; and in that little room the
mother has the dress and some of the jewels in which she was presented
to Queen Victoria. He finds them in the little log house, apparently
contented; but there is a romance and a mystery here that many would
like to unravel. Or, maybe, he enters the neat frame house of a
broken-down Wall-street stockbroker, who with the remnants of his
fortune hopes to retrieve himself upon his one hundred and sixty acre
homestead, and who, with his refined and cultured family, makes an
oasis in the desert for the tired missionary.

In the winter he sometimes rides a hundred miles to Conference, and
time and again is upset as he attempts to pass through the immense
drifts. His harness gives way when he is miles from a house; and he
must patch it up as best he can from the other harness, and lead one
horse. He must learn to ride a tricking broncho, to sleep out on the
prairie, to cover himself with a snowdrift to keep from freezing, and
in case of extremity to kill his horse and crawl inside, perhaps
barely to escape with his life as the warm body changes into a
refrigerator. If he lives in a sod house, he must often put the sheets
above his head to keep away the lizards that crawl out as the weather
becomes warm, and an occasional rattler waking up from his torpid
winter sleep. At times the rains thaw his roof out, and it drops too;
and then he must reshingle with sod.

Often he is called to go forty and fifty miles to visit the sick, to
sit up with the dying, and to cheer their last moments. He can and
does do more useful work when attending the poor and sickly than in
any other way. Many a family has been won through the devotion of the
minute-man to some poor little sufferer.

One day he meets a man hauling wood with a pair of wretched mules. The
man is dressed in blue denim, the trousers are stuffed into boots that
are full of holes. A great sombrero hat is on his head. By his side is
a beautiful young woman. She is the wife. He finds on inquiry that the
man has been a brilliant preacher, writer, and lecturer; yet here, two
thousand miles from his Eastern home, he is hauling railway ties for a
living.

I once visited a family living in a house so small that the kitchen
would barely hold more than one person at a time. There was a sick man
there, whom I used to call upon two and three times a week. In order
to turn himself, he had a leather strap hung from the rafters. The
woman of the house was of a cruel disposition. She was the second wife
of the sick man's brother, and had a daughter who was about thirteen
years of age, but who was large for her years. I used to find this
child working about in her bare feet and singing, "I'm so glad that my
Father in heaven." And I felt quite encouraged, as the child had a bad
reputation.

One day this girl came to the parsonage and brought a silver
napkin-ring, saying it was a New Year's gift, and that her mother was
sorry she could not have engraved upon it "For my dear _pasture_." My
wife said we ought not to take it; but I replied,--

"Yes; these people get fair wages, and would feel offended."

So we kept it. Some days after, as two men were felling a large
pine-tree which was hollow at the base, they were surprised to see
albums, bracelets, napkin-rings, combs, spoons, and other articles
falling out. About this time a saleswoman had been missing just such
things from her counter; and it was soon discovered that my youthful
convert was a first-class kleptomaniac, equal to any city thief of
the same class. Her mode of operation was to call the woman's
attention to something on the shelf behind her; then taking anything
within reach, and with an "Oh, how pretty!" she would decamp.

I met the mother on my way to visit the sick man. "O Elder!" she said,
"I am in a peck of trouble. That gal of mine has cleared off on a raft
with a lumberman, and she has been stealing too. What shall I do?"

As I knew that the woman had tied the girl's tongue with whip-cord,
and beaten it with birch bark until it bled, to cure her of lying, I
said, "You had better send her to the Reform School." It appeared
afterward that the man who had run off with the girl was a minister's
son; and he said in court he had taken pity on the girl, and wanted to
save her from the cruelty of her mother. The girl was sent to the
Reform School at Adrian, but not before she had given the sheriff the
slip, and taken another girl with her, getting as far as Rochester,
N. Y., before she was recaptured.

Sometimes in these frontier towns the sermon is stopped in a most
unexpected way. I remember one good man preaching on Jacob. An old
woman, who was sitting on the front bench, became deeply interested;
and when the minister said, "When the morning came, Jacob, who had
served all these long years for his wife, found not the beautiful
Rachel, but the weak-eyed Leah," the old lady broke out with "Oh, my
God, what a pity!" That ended the discourse, and the benediction was
omitted.

In another back settlement a young student was preaching on the
Prodigal Son. "And what, my friends, would you have done had your son
come home in that way after such conduct?" The answer was prompt, "I
would have shot the boy, and saved the calf."

[Illustration: A SOUTHERN SAWMILL.

_Page 91._]



IX.

THE SOUTH IN SPRINGTIME.


"You are going the wrong time of the year," was the reiterated warning
of friends who heard that I was to make a Southern trip. Experience
proved them to be as far astray as if they had warned one from going
North in June; for the May of the South is the June of the North.
Nature was revelling in her fullest dress, making a symphony in
green,--all shades, from the pale tint of the chinquapin and
persimmon, to the deep indigo of the long-leafed pine, and the tender
purple green of the distant hills,--a perfect extravaganza of
vegetable growth.

The weather was delicious; from the south and east came the ocean air,
and from the north and west the balsam-laden ozone of the mountains,
every turn in the road revealing new beauties. The cool Southern
homes, with their wide verandas covered with honeysuckle, and great
hallways running right through the house, often revealing some of the
daintiest little pictures of light and shade, from apple or china tree
varied with the holly, the Cape jasmine, and scuppernong vines, the
latter often covering a half-acre of land, while chanticleer and his
seraglio strutted in proud content, monarch of all he surveyed. High
on a pole hung the hollowed gourds, homes for the martins and
swallows. The mistress sat at her sewing in the shady porch, while out
beyond, under a giant oak, with gracefully twined turban and brilliant
dress, the sable washerwoman hung out her many-colored pieces, making
altogether a scene of rural beauty seldom surpassed.

What joy to sit in the ample porch and look over the great
cotton-fields with their regular rows of bluish green, variegated by
the tender hue of the young corn, and a dozen shades of as many
species of oak, while the brilliant tulip-tree and the distant hills,
now of softest blue, contrasting with the rich, red ochre of the soil,
make up a picture never to be forgotten. Cooled by the breezes that
sweep through the porch, one dozes away an hour of enchantment. The
negroes with their mules, in the distance, in almost every field, add
to its piquancy, and often, floating on the wind, come wild snatches
in weird minor notes the broken rhythm of their old Virginia reel,
performed with the rollicking exuberance of the race.

The reader must not suppose that all Southern homes answer to the
above description. Thousands of houses are without a porch or any
shade save that which nature gives. The chimneys are built on the
outside, sometimes of stone, sometimes of brick or of clay, while
layers of one-inch slats hold the chimney together; but, as a rule, so
prodigal is nature that a vine of some kind will entwine around their
otherwise bare and severe outlines, and make them, like some dogs,
homely enough to be handsome.

Although these poorer houses are devoid of all artificial attempts to
beautify, they are frequently built near a great oak and the dense
china-tree for shade, while wild fruits of many kinds grow
promiscuously about. In every hedgerow, and within a stone's throw of
nearly every country home, will be found partridges, wild pigeons, and
all sorts of small game, with plenty of foxes to keep it in reasonable
bounds, while every household has a number of hounds and curs for the
foxes. But with all the varied beauty of the scene, the New Englander
constantly misses the well-kept lawn,--for here bare ground always
takes the place of grass,--and there are no village green and fine
shaded roads, and that general neatness which distinguishes the rural
scenes of "the Pilgrim land."

A few words about the people. They are as warm-hearted as their
climate; the stranger is greeted with such invitations as these:
"Come in;" "Take a chair;" "Have some of the fry;" "Have some fresh
water." They are up with the sun--family prayer by five, A.M.;
breakfast half an hour later; dinner at one; supper at seven; to bed
by dark. The churches are plain, costing seldom more than eight
hundred or one thousand dollars; doors on all sides opposite each
other to allow for a good circulation of air. A pail of water stands
on a form near the pulpit. The church generally stands in a grove or
the forest itself.

The people are very fond of preaching. The whole family, from the
oldest to the youngest, go; and one may often see the mother at the
communion with a little one at the breast. Sometimes eleven or more of
a family will occupy a wagon filled with oak-splint chairs.

It takes one back thirty years ago to the West, as one stands at the
church-door and sees the people flocking in through winding roads in
the woods, the sunlight and shadow dancing upon the moving teams that
shine like satin in the bright morning air. The dogs are wild with
delight as they start a covey of partridges, and make music in the
deep shadows of the woods. Here a group of young men and maidens are
drinking at the spring.

The preacher often is a jack-of-all-trades--sometimes a doctor,
getting his degree from the family medicine-book; and strange to say,
though an ardent believer in faith-cure, and with marvellous accounts
of cures in answer to prayer, yet prescribing a liver invigorator when
that organ is in trouble. Some of these men are natural orators, and
with their bursts of eloquence often hush their hearers to holy awe
and inspiration. They have one book, and believe it. No doubts trouble
them. Higher criticism has never reached them. Mosaic origin of the
Pentateuch is unquestioned. Moses and no other, to them, wrote the
five books, including the account of his own burial. They know
nothing of pre-exilic Psalms or Greek periods of Daniel; but all
preach Jesus, no matter whence they draw their text. In an instant
they make a short cut for Calvary.

One brother, over eighty years of age, walks fifteen miles, and
preaches three times. Some of his sermons take two hours in delivery,
without the aid of a scrap of note; and the talk for days after is on
the sermon. No quarterlies, monthlies, or weeklies lie at home to
divert. No lecturer strays to that region. Here and there is a village
house with an organ or a piano, and, of course, a paper.

I am speaking of the rural South,--and nearly all the South is rural,
nearly all American, even the cities, with few exceptions, and the
operatives are Southern, and mostly from the farms; so that one may
find a city whose operatives live in another State, across a river, in
a community numbering nearly seven thousand souls, and most of them
keeping pigs and a cow (or, rather, not keeping them, for they roam
at their own sweet will down grassy, ungraded streets). In such a
place one meets old ladies of quite respectable appearance, with the
little snuffing-stick in their mouths, or a pipe; and here one small
grocery shop may sell two hundred dozen of little tin snuff-boxes in a
month! There are cities in the South where you will find as fine
hotels and stores as any on the continent. But from any such city it
is only a step to the most primitive conditions.

Let me describe a characteristic night scene near a large city. My
friend met me at the depot with his little light wagon and diminutive
mule, and we started for the homestead. Our road lay between banks of
honeysuckle that saturated the air with its rich perfume; wild-goose
plum, persimmon, bullice, and chinquapin (the latter somewhat like a
chestnut, but smaller), huckleberries on bushes twelve feet high,
called currants there, lined the road on either side. The house was
surrounded by the _débris_ of former corn-cribs and present ones;
stables were scattered here and there in picturesque confusion. One
end of the house was open, and had been waiting for years for its
chimney; there was shrubbery of every kind all about. I had the usual
hearty welcome and supper, and then attended the inevitable meeting in
the grove.

In the glare of the setting sun everything seemed indescribably
wretched; but it was May, and night came on apace. The stars in the
deep blue glowed like gems; and then the queen of night on her sable
throne threw her glamour over the scene, and the stencil-marked ground
became a fairy scene. High perched upon a mighty oak the mistress of
the grove rained music on the cool night air,--first a twitter like a
chaffinch, then an aria worthy of Patti, then the deep notes of the
blackbird, then a whip-poor-will, then a grand chorus of all the
night-birds.

A short breathing-spell, and off on another chorus, and so the whole
night through. When we awoke the music still poured from that
wondrous throat of the American mocking-bird. How calm, how peaceful,
was the scene, how pure the air! The lights went out from neighboring
cots, and the heavenly hosts seemed to sing together once more the
song of Bethlehem--but alas! Herod plots while angels sing. Not far
off is another little house with its small outbuildings. This night it
is occupied by a mother and three children. The father is away
attending a religious meeting. The servant who usually sleeps in the
house when the man is away gives a trifling excuse and sleeps in the
shed. Before retiring she quietly unfastens the pin which holds the
shutter. At midnight the mother is awakened from her troubled sleep
and sees the shadow of a man, and then another shadow, and still
another. The children shrink to the back of their bunk. Oh, what a
triple crime was enacted under that peaceful sky! Morning came. The
mocking-bird still sang, and cheered the returning husband. But alas,
it was a mocking song for him; for instead of pleasant welcomes, he
found his wife delirious, and his children cowering like hunted
partridges in a neighbor's house. The frenzied husband, soon joined by
friends made furious by the atrocious crime (so common in the South),
soon hunted the ravishers of the little home; and when the moon arose
the next night, the beauty of the scene was marred by three black
corpses swinging from a bridge.



X.

THE NORTH-WEST.


The first impression a man has of the North-west is like Pats in St.
Patrick's Cathedral,--"Begorra, it's bigger inside than out."

Take the map, and see what a little thin strip the upper peninsula of
Michigan makes. Now start on the best train at St. Ignace in the
morning, and it is eight at night before you reach the copper regions
or the Gogebic Range. When I lived in St. Ignace, and the connections
were poor, it took two days to travel from that port to Calumet. If we
went by water we had to sail forty miles east before we doubled Point
Detour; and then we threaded our way among scenes of beauty equal to
the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence. Every mile of the way is
alive with historic interest. In St. Ignace lie the bones of Father
Marquette; across the Straits, Mackinaw City, where the terrible
massacre occurred, spoken of by Parkman; midway, is Mackinaw Island,
called by the Indians The Great Turtle.

Here to-day on the Island are the old block forts, and here the little
iron safe in which John Jacob Astor kept his money when in the
fur-trade. Full of natural beauty, to-day the past and present crowd
one another. Here are Indians, half-breeds, and Americans, and modern
hotels. There are no mosquitoes; for the Island is but three miles in
diameter, and the wind blows too strong for them. Here you may find
the lilac in full bloom on the Fourth of July, and in the fall
delicious blue plums that have not been hurt by the black knot. The
daylight is nearly eighteen hours long in midsummer. The people are
sowing oats when the southern farmers in the State are thinking of
cutting theirs. In April, near Grand Rapids, I picked the arbutus. In
early May, at Vanderbilt, I picked it again, and saw pure white snow
in patches in the woods. Later in May I saw it again north of the
Straits of Mackinaw, and in June I found it in the Keweenak Peninsula.
At Hancock I saw a foot of snow compressed under the cordwood, and
some between buildings not exposed to the sun. On account of the
lateness of the season, pease escape the bugs, which are elsewhere so
destructive; and thousands of bushels of seed are sent every year to
the upper Peninsula.

But to return to St. Ignace. It is so unlike any other American town,
that I did not wonder at an old lady of over ninety, who was born
there, speaking of her visit to Detroit as the time when she went to
the States. Here the old Catholic church dates back to the early days
of French settlement. The lots run from the water-front back. Your
Frenchman must have a water-front, no matter how narrow. So the town
was four miles long, and composed mostly of one street, which
followed the water-front; and although there were four thousand
people living there in 1884, and we had a mayor, the primeval forest
came right into the city.

The only house I could get was new,--so new that we moved in while the
floors were still wet. The lumber in it was green, and we could not
open the sashes for months; but before winter came, the shrinkage
caused the windows to rattle like castanets. To get our furniture
there, we had to cross the railway tracks twice,--once the regular
road, and then the branch which ran to the great furnace at the point.
And yet so new was everything in this old town, that our street had
not been graded, and our wagons had to cross land where they sunk up
to the axles. A few miles up the road the deer, the wolves, and black
bear lived; and no less than eleven deer were seen in the road at one
time near Allenville. We moved in the month of June, and put up our
base-burner, and started the fire.

The climate is delicious from June to October; the air and waters are
as clear as crystal. You can see fish forty feet below you, and the
color of the pebbles at the bottom. There is an indescribable beauty
about these northern shores; the tender green of the larch-fir, or
tamarack, the different shades of blue-green among the cedars, the
spruce, hemlock, and balsam, mixed with the lovely birch, and
multi-colored rocks, make up some of the loveliest scenery on the
continent. Little islands, so small that but one or two trees can find
root, up to the islands that take hours to steam by, while the streams
team with trout and grayling, the lakes with white-fish, muskalonge,
and mackinaw trout and herring. Thousands of men are engaged in the
fisheries, and millions of dollars are invested.

You sit at your door, and can see the home and people of old France,
with their primitive canoe, and at the same time see propellers of
three thousand tons' burden glide stately by.



XI.

A BRAND NEW WOODS VILLAGE.


It does not take long to build a new village on the prairie,--the
hardest work, the clearing of the ground, is already done; but here in
the dense forest it is a different thing, even when the railway runs
through it. First the men go in, and begin to clear the ground. It is
virgin soil, and not an inch of ground but has something growing.
Giant maples--some of them bird's-eye, some curly--are cut down and
made into log heaps; black walnuts are burned up, that, made into
veneer, would bring thousands of dollars.

Such was the state of things within twelve years. To-day it is
different. The settler will take a quarter section, bark the trees to
find the desired kind, cut them down, and leave for another section.
Rich companies came in, and began to devastate the forests to make
charcoal, until the State had to make a law that only a certain number
of acres in the hundred may be cut.

In some few cases women will go with their husbands, and sometimes one
woman will find herself miles and miles away from another. I visited
one such house; and while the good woman was getting the dinner ready,
I strolled about and took notes. On the rude mantel-shelf, I saw some
skulls, and asked what kind of an animal they belonged to. She said,--

"Oh! them's beavers' skulls. My! I wish we had some beavers here now;
I would make you some beaver-tail soup."

"Why, did you have them here since you came?"

"Oh, yes! plenty of them. When I got lonesome--and that was pretty
much every day--I used to go and watch them build their dams. I don't
know how they did it; but I have seen them sink a log so that it would
stay put, and not come up. I tried it dozens of times, but could not
do it. I had lots of time, nothing to read, and the nearest town
fifteen miles away. I used to think I should go mad sometimes, and
even a land-hunter coming from outside was a godsend. Indeed, I
remember one coming here, and he took sick, and died in spite of all
we could do. We had neither boards nor planks, nothing but logs. So we
slipped two flour-barrels over him, and he looked real nice. We buried
a little boy too. I keep the graves clear of weeds, and plant flowers
about them, and often sit there with my work and think of those early
days."

"How long ago was that?" I asked.

"Four years ago! Why, you know there wan't no railway then; but
now,--why, I got Zeke to cut down the trees, and I can see the trains
go by with parlor cars and sleepers. There'll be one pretty soon if it
is on time." And sure enough, in a few minutes a long train thundered
by.

Sometimes a train stopped near us, and hundreds of men from the south
of Ohio came with their dogs, guns, and men-servants, and went hunting
and fishing; and, strange as it may seem, you can find ten times as
many deer to-day as you could forty years ago. The settling of new
lands has driven them into closer quarters, and the game-law does much
good. The State fish-hatcheries supply the streams with fry; and at
times the men sent out to stock the streams get misled by the
settlers, who show them the different streams, and only too late they
find they have put the whole stock of young fry into the same stream.
The average conscience is not yet fine enough to see anything but a
joke in this.

But to the building of our village. Often at first no house has more
than one room. The men are making their homes, and will stop to cut
out a piece of the log, and make a place for a little child's doll.
Cupboards, too, are made in the same way.

Water is one of the indispensable necessities; and, as a rule, the
town will be built on a stream, or near a spring. Sometimes wells have
to be dug over a hundred feet deep. Arrow-heads, and implements of the
chase, and bones of men and extinct races of animals, turn up.

In one town I visited, before the wells were dug, the water for
drinking was brought in barrels on flat cars, while melted snow
answered for washing.

"But what did you do when that was gone?" I asked.

"Well, the maple-sap begun to run, and then the birch, which was
better; but lor! you couldn't iron nothin'."

I passed a little log house standing out of line with the street; and
I thought it was a chicken-coop, and asked why it was built that way.

"My!" said the woman with a laugh, "that ain't a chicken-coop; that's
our first meeting-house. Us women built that. We had one or two old
men to help, and the children; and we women did the rest. We were
quite proud of it too. It cost fourteen dollars complete. For the
minister's chair we cut down a barrel, and covered it with green
baize."

A minister writes, "My room is one end of the garret of a log house,
where I can barely stand erect under the ridgepole. My study-table and
bookcase I made from rough boards. As I sit writing, I look forth from
a window two by three, upon a field dotted with stumps, log huts, and
charcoal kilns, and skirted with dense forests."

While I was visiting this section, a woman showed me her hands cracked
with the frost. The tears came to her eyes as she said, "I tell ye
it's pretty hard lines to have to milk cows when it is forty below
zero." No man can imagine the arduous work and the awfulness of life
in a northern winter. What is a joy to the well-dressed, well-fed man,
with his warm house and the comforts of a civilized community, is
often death to the poor minute-man and settler on the frontier. I
have sat by the side of the minute-man, and heard from him a story
that would bring tears to the eyes of the most cynical.

One man I shall never forget, a good hardy Scotchman, with a brave
little wife and four children. His field was near Lake Superior; his
flock poor homesteaders and Indians. The winters have a hundred and
fifty days' sleighing; the frost sometimes reaches 50° below zero, and
is often for days together 30° below; so that when it suddenly rises
to zero, one can hardly believe it is freezing. Here is his story:--

"We were twelve miles from a doctor; and towards spring two of our
children complained of sore throats. It proved to be diphtheria. We
used all the remedies we had, and also some herbs given us by an old
squaw; but the children grew worse, and we determined to go back to
the old settlement. My wife carried the youngest, and I the next one.
The other children walked behind, their little legs getting scratched
with the briers. We had twelve miles to go to reach the steamer. When
we got there, one of the little ones died; and before we reached home
the other expired. We buried our two treasures among the friends in
the cemetery; and after a while I said to my wife,--

"'Shall we go back to the field? Ought we to go?'

"Her answer was, 'Yes.'

"We went back. Our old parishioners were delighted to see us; and soon
we were hard at work again. Winter came on, and God gave us another
little one. You may be sure he had a double welcome; but as the cold
became intense, our little lamb showed signs of following his
brothers. I tried to keep my wife's spirits up, while I went about my
work dazed. At last the little fellow's eyes seemed so large for his
face, and he would look at us so pitifully, that I would break down in
spite of myself.

"He died; and the ground was frozen over six feet deep, and we had to
bury him in a deep snow-bank that nearly covered our little shanty. My
wife would go out nights when she could hear the wolves howling, and
stand with an old Paisley shawl over her head, while I was miles away
preaching to a handful of settlers in a log cabin; and when I would
return I would find her there keeping watch, and sometimes I would
have hard work to get her into the house. Pardon these tears, my
brother, but come they will."

He need not have said it; my own were running, though my head was
turned away.

Yes, we weep, and hold on to our money, while brave men and women,
with their little ones, suffer for the lack of it, and lay down their
lives for those who come after them. How men and women can live in
fine homes, and spend ten times as much on luxuries as they give to
the Lord, and still sing they love his kingdom, is more than I can
understand --except it be they don't mean what they sing.

The first thing one notices after passing the great iron dock are the
odd names on some of the signs. There is the "Golden Rule" livery
stable, with its attendant saloon. On its left, quaintly linking the
past with the present, is an old log house, built in past century
style, with its logs hewn, tongued, and grooved, but used at present
as a printing-office, with the latest style of presses. One can easily
imagine the time when beside its huge fireplace the half-breed and the
Indian squatted, smoked their pipes, and told their stories; for it is
not four years since that was so. Outside, nailed to the logs, is a
coon-skin, and underneath it the legend, "Hard Cider." From this
primitive place issues the democratic _Free Press_. A little farther
on, and we notice "Dr. ----, horse doctor and saloon keeper." A very
few more steps brings us to the Home Saloon, the Mansion House, the
Clarendon, and the Young Canadian.

Besides these, there are twenty other saloons, with and without names;
you will not be surprised when I tell you that, on my first visit
here, I found a poor man had cut his throat after a heavy spree. The
shame he felt at the thought of meeting wife and children (who were on
their way, expecting to find a home) was too much for him, and hence
suicide. So when wife and little ones arrived they found only a dying
husband and father.

Not long after this a young man, the only support of his parents, went
out into the dark night from a dance, dazed with drink. He fell on the
track, and the morning express crushed him to death. Brother Newberry,
going to condole with the parents, found the poor father bedridden by
an accident, and the mother, who was furious with drink, held by two
men. Down on the dock, one evening, a poor man fell into the lake. He
had been drinking to drown his sorrows (a man having run away with his
wife). The bystanders, among whom was his own son, seemed stupidly
indifferent to his fate; and when they did arouse themselves it was
only to bring up his dead body. This they laid in the freight shed,
while the son went coolly to work on a vessel close by, and brutal men
made jests of the misery of the dead man's married life.

To give you an idea of the zest with which the liquor traffic is
carried on, let me say that three days after the ferry-boat "Algomah"
was stuck fast in the ice-drift, and while it was yet dangerous to
cross the strait by sleigh, a saloon was built on the ice about a mile
from shore to catch the teamsters as they passed with freight. When I
saw it five days later, it had been removed nearer the shore; so that
it was built and taken down and put up again all within a week.

But come with me out of so baneful an atmosphere. Let us cross the
Strait of Mackinaw on the ice by moonlight. What a scene! It is a wild
midnight, the moon at the full, a light snow falling; and although it
is here only six miles to the other side, you cannot see the shore, as
the snow thickens. There are miles upon miles of ice, driven by the
fierce gale, sometimes into the depths, again mounting the crest of
some mighty billow, groaning and cracking up into all shapes and
sizes, swirling as if in some giant whirlpool, transfixed and left in
all its awful confusion. It is glittering with beauty to-night; yet so
wild, so weird, so awfully grand and solemn, that we involuntarily
repeat, "Lord, what is man that thou art mindful of him?"

The sleighs look, in the distance, like a little dog-train. Now you
are gliding over a mile of ice, smooth as glass, while all around it
is heap upon heap; then you pass through gaps cut by the road-makers,
who have left little pine-trees to guide you; and though the ice in
places is packed thirty feet deep, you feel a sense of comfort and
safety as you pass from the bleak sweep of the wind into the thick
cedars on the shore, and nestle down as if in the shadow of His wing.

The next crossing is by early morn. The sun comes cheerily up from out
a great cloud of orange and vermilion, while here and there are
crimson clots and deep indigo-colored clouds rolling off to follow the
night. I cannot describe the beauty of this scene; that needs a poet;
but I can tell you of the odd side. Away we go behind two Indian
ponies, snorting and prancing as if they, too, enjoyed the beauty of
the scene. But look! not forty yards away is the "Algomah." After
being resurrected from the ice with dynamite, she has begun her
regular trips. Bravely she ploughs through two feet of blue ice; and
when she comes to the high ridges backs up and charges them again and
again. After hours of faithful work, she makes St. Ignace after
sundown, seven miles from the spot she left at sunrise.

You will not be surprised, perhaps, to find your missionary from
Northern Michigan turning up at Olivet, Southern Michigan where the
Lord graciously baptized the meetings with his Holy Spirit. I
collected seventy-two dollars towards a little church, to be called
Olivet Chapel; and, better still, quite a number decided to be
Christians. Best of all, thirteen young Christian students gave
themselves to God, and will be ready when the time comes for the work
of Christian missions.

At Ann Harbor I was most cordially welcomed by Brother Ryder and his
church, and received from them hopeful assurance of help for our
church at Sugar Island; so the time was not thrown away in going
South. At Newberry, Brother Curry has been offered the use of the new
church built by Mrs. Newberry of Detroit. So the Lord is opening the
way. If we could only get one or two of those ministers who were seen
"out West" sitting on the four posts of the newly surveyed town,
waiting to build churches, we could furnish parishes already
inhabited. Seney, Grand Marais, Point Detour, Drummond Island, and
many more, are growing, with no churches.

The last time I visited Detour, a large mill had been finished and was
running. The owners would give a lot, and help build a church. There
are some good people living there. They gave me a cordial welcome and
the best bed. I was very tired the first night and slept soundly; so I
was surprised in the morning when the lady asked me if I was
disturbed. On my saying "No," she said that on account of the rats her
husband had to pull up the ladder, as they were sleeping on
shakedowns; but she was glad I was not disturbed. The next night they
kindly lent me a little black-and-tan terrier; so I slept, was
refreshed, and started for home, promising I would send a missionary
as soon as possible.



XII.

OUT-OF-THE-WAY PLACES.


In making a visit to one Home Missionary, I found him living in a
little board house, battened on the outside, but devoid of plaster.
His study-table was a large dry-goods box, near the cook-stove, and on
it, among other things, a typewriter. It looked somewhat incongruous;
and on mentioning this, the good brother said, "Oh that is nothing;
wait until it is dark and I will show you something else."

And sure enough, soon after supper he hung up a sheet, and gave me
quite an elaborate entertainment with the help of a stereopticon. It
seemed very strange to be seated in this little shell of a house, in
such a new town among the pine stumps; and I could hardly realize my
position as I sat gazing at the beautiful scenes which were flashed
upon the sheet.

Across the road was a dance-house; and we could hear the scraping of
the fiddler, the loud voice calling off the dances, and the heavy
thump of the dancers in their thick boots. Afterwards the missionary
gave me a short account of his trials and victories on coming to the
new field, and it illustrates how God opens the way when to all human
wisdom it seems closed.

When he tried to hire a house, the owner wanted a month's rent in
advance; but a short time after called on him and gave him the house
and lot with a clear deed of the property for one dollar! At the same
time he told him that there were lots of cedar posts in the woods for
his garden fence, if he would cut them, and added that maybe some one
would haul them for him. The missionary chopped the posts, "some one"
hauled them for him, and up went the fence.

The missionary felt so rich that he asked the price of a fine
cooking-stove that this man had loaned him. "Oh," he said, "I _gave_
you that." The next thing was to find a place suitable to worship
in--often no easy thing in a new town. At last a man said, "You can
have the old boarding-house." This was said with a sly wink at the men
standing by. So into the old log house went our friend, with his wife;
and after a day's work with hoe, shovel, and whitewash, the place was
ready. The whitewash was indispensable; for though the men had
deserted it, there was still a great deal of life in it.

When the men saw the earnestness of the missionary they turned in and
helped him, and became his friends; and in the old log boarding-house
were heard the songs of praise instead of ribaldry, and prayers
instead of curses, while Bibles and Sunday-school leaflets took the
place of the _Police Gazette_.

The other field in which this brother works would delight Dr.
Gladden's heart: 350 people, 17 denominations, all "mothered" by a
Congregational church; and I don't know of another church under the
sun that could brood such a medley under its wings. When the church
was building, one might have seen a Methodist brother with a load of
boards, a Presbyterian hauling the shingles, a Baptist with some
foundation-stones, and a Mormon hewing the sills--not a Mormon of the
"Latter-Day swindle variety," though, but a Josephite. In this place
our brother had many a trial, however, before getting his conglomerate
together.

The head man of the village offered to give a lot if the church would
buy another; and in the meanwhile his charge was five dollars each
time they used the hall. But the next time our brother went, the man
gave both the lots; the next time, he said he would not charge for the
hall; and finally he gave the lumber for the church. The church was
finished, and a good parsonage added; and to-day fashionable summer
resorters sit under its shadow, and never dream of the wild
lawlessness that once reigned there.

[Illustration: A WINTER SCENE IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN.

_Page 127._]

The next new place I visited was well out into Lake Michigan, and yet
sheltered by high bluffs clothed with a rich growth of forest trees,
so that, notwithstanding its northern latitude, six degrees below zero
was the lowest the mercury reached, up to the middle of February. This
is saying much in favor of its winter climate, when we consider the
fact that in the rest of the State it has often been from zero down to
forty below for nearly a month at a time.

I do not remember such another month in years,--wind, snow, fires,
intense cold, and disease, all combined. However, in spite of
everything, the people turned out remarkably well, and I managed to
preach twenty-eight times, besides giving talks to the children.

It took twelve hours of hard driving to make the forty miles between
home and the appointment, and we were only just in time for the
services. I was surprised to see the number present; but what looked
to me like impassable drifts were nothing to people who had sat on
the top of the telegraph-poles, and walked in the up-stairs windows
off from a snow-bank, as they actually did four winters previously.
The church here has a good building, heated with a furnace, and owns a
nice parsonage where the minister lives with his wife and four
children. Although it stormed every day but one, the meetings were
blessed by the conversion of some, and the church rejoiced with a new
spirit for work.

I next visited E----, a place seven years old, which ran up to fifteen
hundred inhabitants in the first three years of its existence. It had
about twelve hundred inhabitants, and ours was the only
church-building in the place. When the pastor first came, there was
neither church to worship in nor house to live in, save an old shingle
shanty into which they went. It was so close to the railway that it
required constant care in the daytime to keep the children safe, and
not a little watching at night to keep the rough characters out.
Quite a change for the better has taken place, and a bell now rings
each night at nine o'clock to warn saloons to close.

It was a hard winter, and the storms came thicker than ever,
blockading all railways, and making the walking almost impossible.
Service on the first evening after the storm was out of the question,
and for days after the walks were like little narrow sheep tracks.
There are a great many things to contend with in these new mill towns
under the best of circumstances; but when you add to the saloons and
worse places, the roller skating-rink, a big fire, and diphtheria, you
have some idea of the odds against which we worked.

In two places I visited, a fire broke out; and one could not but
notice the ludicrous side in the otherwise terrible calamity that a
fire causes in these little wooden towns in winter. The stores, built
close together, look like rows of mammoth dry-goods boxes. When once
fire gets a start, they crackle and curl up like pasteboard. At one
fire a man carefully carried a sash nearly a block, and then pitched
it upon a pile of cordwood, smashing every pane. Others were throwing
black walnut chairs and tables out of the upper story; while I saw
another throwing out a lamp-glass, crying out as he did so, "Here
comes a lamp-glass!" as if it were a meritorious action that deserved
notice.

At the other fire I saw a man wandering aimlessly about with a large
paper advertisement for some kind of soap, while the real article was
burning up. I could not but think how like the worldling he
was--intent upon his body and minor things while his soul was in
danger; and also how like is the frantic mismanagement at the breaking
out of a fire to the sudden call of death to a man in his sins. To add
to the misery of these houseless people during this intense cold,
diphtheria was carrying off its victims, so that the schools were
closed for the second time that winter. These things were used readily
as excuses by those who did not wish to attend the meetings. Yet the
skating-rink was in full blast. But with all these impediments, the
conversions in the meetings, and the quickening of the church to more
active life, more than repaid for all the trouble and disappointment.

We often hear of "the drink curse" in these places, and it is not
exaggerated; but there is one crime in these new towns of the north
that to my mind is worse, and a greater barrier to the conversion of
men and women. It is licentiousness. One little place not far from
where I was preaching boasts of not having a single family in it that
is not living openly in this sin. Although this is the worst I ever
heard of, it is too true that our woods towns are thus honeycombed.

About the only hope the missionary has in many cases is in the
children, even though he begins, as did one pastor that I know of,
with two besides his own. He started his school in a deserted log
shanty where it grew to be forty strong, and in spite of obstacles it
grew. It was hard work sometimes, when the instinct of the boy would
show itself in the pleasures of insect hunting with a pin along the
log seats. Yet there the missionary's wife sat and taught. They soon
had a nice church, paid for within the year.

I did not expect to find within six miles of a large city such a state
of things as existed in Peter Cartwright's time in Michigan, but I
did; and lest I should be called unfair, I will say I found there a
few of the excellent of the earth.

Let me describe the meeting-place. It was in an old hall, the floor
humped up in the middle; there was an old cook-stove to warm it, while
a few lanterns hung among faded pine boughs gave out a dim light. A
few seats without backs completed the furniture. Here it was that a
good brother, while preaching, had the front and rear wheels of his
buggy changed, making rough riding over roads none too smooth at their
best. Another from the Y. M. C. A. rooms of the neighboring city had
his buffalo robes stolen and every buckle of the harness undone while
he was conducting services.

Knowing these things, I was not surprised at finding a rough old Roman
Catholic Irishman trying to make a disturbance; but a kind word or two
won him over to good behavior. Much less tractable were the young
roughs, who reap all the vices of the city near by, and get none of
its virtues. I had to tell them of the rough places I had seen, and
that this was the first place I had been where the young men did not
know enough to behave themselves in church. Promising without fail to
arrest the first one that made a disturbance, I secured quiet. Of
course I had to make friends with them afterwards and shake hands. Oh,
how hard it is to preach the gospel after talking law in that fashion;
but, friends, think how much it is needed. As a little bit of bright
for so black a setting, let me say, that on the second night some kind
friends substituted a box-stove for the cook-stove, lamps for
lanterns, and an organ to help in the praise.



XIII.

COCKLE, CHESS, AND WHEAT.


Rather a strange heading! I know it; but I have lost an hour trying to
think of a better; and is not society composed (figuratively speaking)
of cockle, chess, and wheat? In old settled parts and in cities we see
society like wheat in the bulk. The plump grain is on top, but there
are cockle and chess at the bottom. On the frontier the wheat is
spread on the barn floor, and the chess and cockle are more plainly
seen. As the fanning-mill lets the wheat drop near it and the lighter
grains fly off, so in the great fanning-mill of the world, the good
are in clusters in the towns and settled country, while the cockle and
chess are scattered all over the borders. Of course in screenings,
there is always considerable real wheat, though the grains are small.
Under proper cultivation, however, these will produce good wheat.
These little grains among the screenings are the children, and they
are the missionaries' hope.

In my pastoral work I have met with all kinds of humanity,--here a man
living a hermit life, in a little shanty without floor or windows, his
face as yellow as gold, from opium; there an old man doing chores in a
camp, who had been a preacher for twenty-five years; here a graduate
from an Eastern college, cashier of a bank a little while ago, now
scaling lumber when not drunk; occasionally one of God's little ones,
striving to let his light shine o'er the bad deeds of a naughty world.

It was my custom for nearly a year to preach on a week-night in a
little village near my home, sometimes to a houseful, oftener to a
handful. Few or many, I noticed one man always there; no matter how
stormy or how dark the night, I would find him among the first
arrivals. He lived farther from the meeting than I, and it was not a
pleasant walk at any time. One was always liable to meet a gang of
drunken river-men spoiling for a fight; and there was a trestle bridge
eighty rods in length to walk over, and the ties in winter were often
covered with snow and ice.

Then after reaching the schoolhouse the prospect was not enchanting;
windows broken, snow on the seats, the room lighted sometimes with
nothing but lanterns, one being hung under the stove-pipe. Under these
circumstances I became very much interested in the young man. He never
spoke unless he was spoken to, and then his answers were short, and
not over bright; but as he became a regular attendant on all the means
of grace,--Sunday-school, prayer-meetings, and the preaching of the
Word,--I strove to bring him to a knowledge of the truth, and was much
pleased one evening to see him rise for prayers. As he showed by his
life and conversation that he had met with a change (he had been a
drunkard), he was admitted into the church, and some time after was
appointed sexton.

One night, on my way to prayer-meeting, I saw a dark object near the
church which looked suspicious. On investigation it proved to be our
sexton, with his face terribly disfigured, and nearly blind. Some
drunken ruffian had caught him coming out of the church, and,
mistaking him for another man, had beaten him and left him half dead.
I took the poor fellow to the saloons, to show them their work. They
did not thank me for this; but we found the man, and he was "sent up"
for ninety days.

Soon after this in my visits I found a new family, and I wish I could
describe them. The old grandmother, weighing about two hundred pounds,
was a sight,--short, stocky, with piercing eyes, and hair as white as
wool. She welcomed me in when she heard that I was "the minister," and
brought out her hymn-book, and had me sing and pray with her. She
belonged to one of the numerous sects in Pennsylvania. She said it was
a real treat to her, as she was too fleshy to get to church, and with
her advancing years found it hard to walk. I found out afterward,
however, that this did not apply to side-shows. From her I learned the
young man's history. He had lost his parents when young; but not
before they had beaten his senses out, and left him nearly deaf; and
he was looked upon as one not "right sharp." Afterwards he was
concerned in the murder of an old man, and was sent to State prison
for life. He was brother to the old woman's daughter-in-law, an
innocent looking body. There were several children, bright as dollars.

The old lady informed me that she had another son in town whom I must
visit. I did so; and found him living with his family in a little
house (?), the front of which touched the edge of the bank, the back
perched on two posts, with a deep ravine behind, where the water
ebbed and flowed as the dams were raised and lowered. I made some
remarks on the unhealthiness of the location; and the man said, "It's
curious, but you can smell it stronger farther off than you can close
by!" I thought, what an illustration of the insidious approaches of
sin! He was right, so far as the senses were concerned; but his nose
had become used to it. I was not surprised to be called soon after to
preach a funeral sermon there. One of the daughters, a bright girl of
twelve years, had died of malignant diphtheria. It was a piteous
sight. We dared not use the church, and the house was too small to
turn round in, what with bedsteads, cook-stove, kitchen-table, and
coffin. On the hillside, with logs for seats, we held the service.

It was touching to see the mute grief of some of the little ones; one
elder sister could with difficulty be restrained from kissing the
dead. She was a fine girl in spite of her surroundings, and in her
grief, in a moment of confidence, said her uncle had murdered a man
down South, and it preyed on her mind; but she was afraid to tell the
authorities, for the uncle had threatened to kill her if she told.
This confession was made to the woman she was working for; and though
I did not think it unlikely, I treated it as gossip. But with the
facts related in the former part of this chapter before me, I have no
doubt that she spoke the truth. One murderer has gone to meet the
Judge of all the earth; the other is in State prison for life.

The cockle and chess are gone; but the wheat (the children) are
left,--bright, young, pliant, strong,--what shall we do with them? Let
them grow more cockle instead of wheat, and chess instead of barley?
Or shall they be of the wheat to be gathered into the Master's garner?
If you desire the latter, pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he will
send more laborers into the harvest.

I once saw an old farmer in Canada who offered ten dollars for every
thistle that could be found on his hundred acres. I have seen him
climb a fence to uproot thistles in his neighbor's field. When asked
why he did that extra work, he said, because the seeds would fly over
to _his_ farm. Was he not a wise man?

Perhaps no greater danger threatens our Republic to-day than the
neglect of the children--millions of school age that are not in
school, and in the great cities thousands who cannot find room. Is it
any wonder that we have thirty millions of our people not in touch
with the church?



XIV.

CHIPS FROM OTHER LOGS.


In the Rev. Harvey Hyde's "Reminiscences of Early Days," occurs the
following interesting notes:--

"In the spring of 1842 I made a horseback journey across the State
(Michigan), from Allegan to Saginaw, up the Grand River Valley, past
where now Lansing boasts its glories, but where then in the dense
forests not a human dwelling was to be seen for many miles, on to
Fentonville. Coming on Saturday night to a lonely Massachusetts
tavern-keeper, I found a hearty welcome to baked beans and brown
bread, and preached on the Sabbath in his barroom to his assembled
neighbors--the first minister ever heard in the neighborhood. Arriving
at Saginaw, after a ride for miles through swamps, with from six to
ten inches of water, sometimes covered with ice, at the close of a
March day I found myself on the east side of the broad river, with not
a human being or dwelling in sight, darkness already fallen, and only
twinkling lights on the other side. It seemed a cold welcome; but
after much shouting and waiting, kind friends appeared. Man and horse
were cared for, and two pleasant years were spent there.

"My nearest ministerial neighbor of any denomination was twenty-five
miles off on one side, and as far as the North Pole on the other. To a
funeral or a wedding a fifteen-mile ride was a frequent occurrence.
Many scenes come back to memory, some provocative of sadness, some of
mirth. We were raising the frame of our new church-building one Monday
afternoon, when a stranger came with a call to ride twenty-five miles
alone through an unknown wood-road without a clearing for sixteen
miles, to cross the Kalamazoo River by ferry at midnight, with the
ferryman asleep on the other bank, and the mosquitoes abundant and
hungry--to preach, and commit to the grave the bodies of eight men,
women, and children who had been drowned on the Sabbath by the
upsetting of a pleasure-boat. Such a sight have my eyes never looked
upon, where all felt that God had rebuked their Sabbath-breaking. This
was near Lake Michigan.

"Passing across the State, exchanging one Sabbath with Rev. O. S.
Thompson of St. Clair, after retiring to rest for the night, I was
aroused by a cry from Mrs. Thompson; and descending with speed, found
that, hearing steps on her piazza, she had discovered the door ajar,
and a huge bear confronting her on the outside. She slammed the door
in his face, and cried for help. I looked outside, examined the
pig-pen, to find all safe; no bear was visible. Returning to bed
again, I was dropping to sleep, when a more startling shriek called me
to look out of the window; and I saw the bear just leaping the fence,
and making for the woods. This time he had placed his paws on the
window at Mrs. Thompson's bedside, and was looking her in the face;
and the prints of his muddy feet remained there many days. On the
following Monday we were greeted by a bride and groom, who, with their
friends, had crossed the river from Canada to get married. One being a
Catholic, and the other a Protestant, the priest would not marry them
without a fee of five dollars, which they thought too much. I married
them, and received the munificent sum of seventy-five cents.

"I have had too sorrowful proof that prayers, even from the pulpit,
are not always answered. On one occasion our house of worship was
borrowed for a funeral by another denomination. Going late, I slipped
in behind the leader at prayer as quietly as possible, to hear the
petition that 'God would make the minister of this church a perfect
gentleman, and surround his church with a halo of _cheveau-de-frise_.'
The first I am sure was not answered; I am not sure about the others.

"Of personal hair-breadth escapes from sudden death my wife kept a
record until she got to fifteenthly, and then stopped. Twice from
drowning, twice from being run over by a loaded wagon, the last time
the hind wheel stopping exactly at my head, but utterly spoiling my
best silk hat, and showing the blessing of a good stout head."

The place where this man reined up his horse in the swamp, and had to
call for a ferry, and where neither dwelling nor human being was in
sight, is to-day for twenty miles almost a continuous city along the
river bank. Everything is changed except the black flies and
mosquitoes, which are as numerous as ever. Now, one other thing, and a
curious fact too. You might dig all day and not find a worm to bait
your hook, where to-day a spadeful of earth has worms enough to last
the day; and this is true of all new countries. I have sent
thirty-five miles for a pint of worms--all the way from St. Ignace to
Petoskey; and however much the worms may have had to do with the
vegetable mould of the earth, it is only where human beings live that
the common angle-worm is found.

The incident of the wedding calls to mind one I heard of by a justice
of the peace, a rough drinking-man, who before the advent of our
minute-man performed all the marriage ceremonies. A young couple found
him at the saloon. His first question was, "Want to be married?"--"Yes."--
"Married, two dollars, please,--nuff said."

A few miles above this place the first minister who went in was so
frightened the next morning that he took to his heels, leaving his
valise behind. The landlady, a Roman Catholic, put the boys up to
pretend they were going to shoot him, and so fired their revolvers
over his head; he felt it was no place for him, and away he went.
Indeed, it was as well for him that he did go; for often, after they
were drunk, what was commenced in fun ended in real earnest. However,
I will say this for the frontiersman, rough as he often is, he
respects a true man, but is quick to show profound contempt for any
man of the "Miss Nancy" order.

Ireland is not the only country that suffers from absentee landlords.
The difference in the lumber-camps is often determined by the foreman.
I have known places where the owners of a large tract of land were
clergymen, and the foreman was an infidel. His camp was a fearful
place on Christmas Eve. Twelve gallons of whiskey worked the men up
until they acted like demons. In the morning men were found with
fingers and thumbs bitten off, eyes gouged out, and in some few cases
maimed for life. In other places I have known a good foreman or boss
to hitch up the teams and bring enough men down on Sunday evening to
half fill the little mission church.

There ought to be in all the lumber-camps a first-class library, and
suitable amusements for the men; for when a few days of wet weather
come together, there is nothing to hold them, and away they go in
companies of six, seven, and a dozen, and meet with others from all
directions, making for the village and the saloons; and then rioting
and drunkenness make a pandemonium of a place not altogether heavenly
to start with. I have known men who were religious who had to retire
to the forest to pray, or be subjected to the outrageous conduct of
their fellow workmen.

One man whom I knew kicked his wife out-of-doors because she objected
to having dances in their home. She was his second wife, and was about
to become a mother, but died, leaving her little one to the tender
mercies of a brutal father. I remember preaching a rather harsh sermon
at the funeral; but some years after I found the sermon had a mission.
I met the man some hundreds of miles north. When he saw me he said he
had never forgotten the sermon, and added, to my surprise, that he
was a Christian now, and living with his first wife!

How men can lead such lives, involving the misery of others, and often
compassing their death, and afterwards live happily, I cannot
understand, except for the fact that often for generations these
people have been out of the reach of Christian civilization, and so
far as morals are concerned have been practically heathen. Yet, after
all, I am not sure but that, in the day of judgment, they will be
judged less harshly than those who have neglected to send the gospel
to them.



XV.

A TRIP IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN.


I had been exploring nearly every part of the Upper Peninsula where
there was any chance of an opening for Christian work; had visited
thirteen churches, and held meetings with most of them; had a few
conversions and two baptisms. I found the villages and towns on the
Chicago and North-Western Railway nearly all supplied. There was one
place with 1,500 people, and another with 2,000. The former had a
Baptist church with about twenty members, and a Methodist Episcopal
with about fifteen. The Baptists were building. The rest were more or
less Lutheran, Catholic, and Nothingarian.

Surely there is need of mission work here, _but_--There are large
new-fashioned mills here, with forty years' cutting ahead of them at
the rate of fifty million feet of lumber per year. I had excellent
audiences here and at Thompson, six miles away, where there was no
church. Between these two places is Perryville, with 200 people and no
church. Both are lumbering-towns.

Another town of importance is Iron Mountain, which then had 2,000
people; two Methodist churches, one Swedish, the other English-speaking.
The place was alive with men and full of sin. Where are the right men
to send to such places? If one sits in his study and consults
statistics, they are plenty; but when you come down to actual facts,
they are not to be found. "The Christian League of Connecticut" has
much truth in it, but not all the truth. Without doubt their unwise
distribution has much to do with "the lack of ministers;" but it is
still a lamentable fact that the laborers _are_ few. Not with us
alone. The oft-repeated saying that "the Methodist church has a place
for every man, and a man for every church," is to be taken with a
grain of salt. I meet men every week who tell me they have five,
seven, nine, and even eleven charges. We have a thousand just such
places.

Now, if churches will put up with the fifth, seventh, ninth, or
eleventh part of a man, they can have "a church for every minister,
and a minister for every church." This unchristian way of pushing and
scrambling in our little villages goes a long way to explain the
dearth of men on the frontier; and the seizing on "strategic points"
in a new country often presents a sad spectacle.

I was much perplexed about one place. Our minister was the first on
the ground; the people voted for a union church and for him; yet two
other churches organized. When I visited the place I found our brother
with a parsonage half built. There was nothing but the bare studding
inside--no plaster, winter coming on, and his little ones coughing
with colds caught by the exposure. Then, to crown all, the house was
found to be on the wrong lot, which brought the building to a
stand-still; after that two other denominations rushed up a
building--one only a shell, but dedicated. There was only a handful of
hearers, and our minister preached more than two-thirds of the sermons
there. We had the best people with us; and yet it was plain to me
there was one church more than there ought to be. Had we not been
first there, and things as they were, I should say, "Arise, let us go
hence!"

I am constantly asked, "When are you going to send us a man?" and we
have places where there is only one minister for two villages. Ah, if
the pastors hanging around our city centres only knew how the people
flock to hear the Word in these new places, surely they would say,
"Here am I, Lord; send me."

In one place I went to, there were two women who walked eight miles to
hear the sermon. One of them was the only praying person for miles
around, and for some years back the only one to conduct a funeral
service, to pray, or to preach. At this place there was an old lady
who came nine miles every Sunday on foot, and sometimes carried her
grandchild. Think of that, you city girls in French-heeled boots! In
another place of two hundred people, where there was no church, a
little babe died. The mother was a Swede, only a little while out.
Would you believe it, there was not a man at the funeral! Women nailed
the little coffin-lid down, and women prayed, read the Scriptures, and
lowered the little babe into a grave half filled with water.

In another new settlement I visited, they were so far from railway or
stage that they buried a man in a coffin made of two flour-barrels,
and performed the funeral rites as best they could. But these people
have great hearts--bigger than their houses. When a brother minister
was trying to find a place for me to stay, a man said, "Let him come
with me."--"Have you room?"--"Lots of it." So I went. In a little
clearing I found the most primitive log house I ever saw; but the
"lots of room"--that was out-of-doors. The man and his wife told me
that when they came there it was raining; so they stripped some bark
from a tree, and, leaning it against a fallen log, they crept
underneath; and for three days it rained. The fourth being Sunday and
a fine day, the settlers mocked them for not building. On Monday and
Tuesday it rained again; "but we were real comfortable; weren't we,
Mary?" said the man.

Then he and Mary built the house together. There was only one room and
one bed; but they took off the top of the bedding, and put one tick on
the floor. "That's for me," I thought. Not a bit of it. I was to have
the place of honor. So, hanging some sheets on strings stretched
across the room, they soon partitioned off the bed for me. Then, after
reading and prayers, the man said, "Now, any time you are ready for
bed, Elder, you can take that bed." But how to get there? First I went
out and gave them a chance; but they did not take it. I thought
perhaps they would go and give me a chance; but they did not. So I
began to disrobe. I took a long while taking off coat and vest; then
slowly came the collar and neck-tie; next came off my boots and
stockings. Now, I thought, they will surely step out; but no; they
talked and laughed away like two children. Slipping behind the sheet,
and fancying I was in another room, I balanced myself as well as I
could on the feather bed, and managed to get off the rest of my
clothes, got into bed, and lay looking at the moonbeams as they
glanced through the chinks of the logs, and thinking of New England
with her silk bed-quilts and bath-rooms, till, as I mused, sleep
weighed down my drowsy eyelids, and New England mansions and Michigan
log huts melted into one, and they both became one Bethel with the
angels of God ascending and descending.

I visited Lake Linden, and found the people ready for organization as
soon as they could have a pastor. A brother had just left for this
field; and I thought it safe to say that we should have a
self-supporting church there at no distant day. We did. While staying
there a man came after me to baptize two children. I went, and one
would think he had been suddenly transferred to Germany. Great
preparations had been made. I noticed a large bowl of lemons cut up,
and the old ladies in their best attire. I was requested to give them
a baptismal certificate, and to sign the witnesses' names, as they
said that was done by the minister. It was a delicate way of telling
me they could not write.

But that was not the strangest part of the ceremony. The father and
mother stood behind the witnesses, the latter being two men and two
women. The women held the children until all was ready, then handed
them to the men, who held them during baptism. I preached to them a
short sermon of five minutes or so, and then, when I had written the
certificate, each witness deposited a dollar on the table. The father
was about to hand me five dollars; but I made him give four of it to
the children. They would not take a cent of the witness money; that
would be "bad luck," they said. It was a new experience to me. The
people had no Bible in the house. As I had left mine at the village, I
had to use what I had in my heart. Here again, I thought, what work
for a colporteur?

A great work might be done by one or two men who could travel all the
time with Bibles and other good books, and preach where the
opportunity offered. We might not see the result, but it would be just
as certain; and though the people might not stay here, they will be
somewhere. There are many places where neither railway, steamboat, nor
stage ever reaches, and yet the people have made and are making homes
there. They went up the rivers on rafts, and worked their way through
the wilderness piecemeal. Missionary Thurston carried his parlor
stove slung on a pole between himself and another man.

At one place, while preaching, I noticed a man fairly glaring at me.
At first I thought he was an intensely earnest Christian, but he "had
a devil." After meeting he told the people, "If that man talks like
that to-night, I'll answer him right out in meeting." He came, and
behaved himself. Some time after he had to leave town on account of a
stabbing-affray, and I lost sight of him for a while. Long after I was
in another place, one hundred and twenty miles away; and while talking
with our missionary there, I saw a man coming from a choir-practice. I
said, "Is that their minister?"

"No; he is our new school-teacher."

"Why," I said, "that is the very man I was talking to you about, who
was so wroth with the sermon."

"Oh, no! you are mistaken; he is a very pious young man--opens school
with prayer, and attends all our meetings; and I know it is not put on
to please the trustees, for they are not that kind of men." But it
_was_ the same man, minus the devil, "for behold he prayeth."

At another place I preached in a little log schoolhouse. Close to my
side sat a man who would have made a character for Dickens. He had
large, black, earnest eyes, face very pale, was deformed, and, with a
little tin ear-trumpet at his ear, he listened intently. I was invited
by his mother to dine with them. I found, living in a little house
roofed with bark, the mother and two sons. One of the boys was
superintendent of the Sunday-school. I was surprised at the first
question put by my man with the ear-trumpet,--

"Elder, what do you think of that sermon of ----'s in Chicago? I have
always been bothered with doubts, and that unsettled me worse than
ever."

Who would have thought to hear, away up in the woods, in such a house,
from such a man, such a question? I tried to take him away from ----
to Christ. After dinner he opened a door and said, "Look here."

There, in a little workshop, was a diminutive steam-engine, of nearly
one-horse power, made entirely by himself; the spindles, shafts,
steam-box, and everything finished beautifully. The shafts and rods
were made with much pains from large three-cornered files. He was
turning cant-hook and peevy handles for a living, and to pay off the
debt on their little farm. The brother had a desk and cabinet of his
own make, which opened and shut automatically. I was delighted. They
were hungry for books and preaching. Are not such people worth saving?

These conditions existed over twelve years ago, but they are as true
to-day in all parts of the newer frontiers. Meanwhile some of the
above churches have become self-supporting, and are supporting a
minister in foreign lands.



XVI.

BLACK CLOUDS WITH SILVER LININGS.


In a former chapter I was just starting for the copper regions. Come
with me, we will board the train bound for Marquette.

For some miles our way ran through thick cedar forests; then we
reached a hard-wood region where we found a small village and a number
of charcoal kilns; a few miles farther on, another of like character.
Then, with the exception of a way station or siding, we saw no more
habitations of men until we reached the Vulcan iron furnace of
Newberry, fifty-five miles from Point St. Ignace. The place had about
800 population, mostly employed by the company.

Twenty-five miles farther on we reached Seney, where we stayed for
dinner. This is the headquarters for sixteen lumber camps, with
hundreds of men working in the woods or on the rivers, year in and
year out. They never hear the gospel except as some pioneer home
missionary pays an occasional visit. There are some 40,000 men so
employed in Northern Michigan.

After another seventy-five miles we glided into picturesque Marquette,
overlooking its lovely Bay, a thriving city of some 7,000 population,
the centre of the iron mining region. Here we had to wait until the
next noon before we could go on.

Our road now led through the very heart of the iron country.
Everything glittered with iron dust, and thousands of cars on many
tracks showed the proportions this business had attained. We have been
mounting ever since leaving Marquette, and can by looking out of the
rear window see that great "unsalted sea," Lake Superior.

We soon reached Ishpeming, with its 8,000 inhabitants. A little
farther on we passed Negaunee, claiming over 5,000 people, where
Methodism thrives by reason of the Cornish miners. After passing
Michigamme we saw but few houses.

Above Marquette the scenery changes; there are rocks, whole mountains
of rocks as large as a town, with a few dead pines on their scraggy
sides; we pass bright brown brooks in which sport the grayling and the
speckled trout. Sometimes a herd of deer stand gazing with
astonishment at the rushing monster coming towards them; then with a
stamp and a snort they plunge headlong into the deep forest. Away we
go past L'Anse, along Kewenaw Bay, and at last glide between two
mighty hills the sides of which glow and sparkle with great furnace
fires and innumerable lamps shining from cottage windows, while
between lies Portage Lake, like a thread of gold in the rays of the
setting sun; or, as it palpitates with the motion of some giant
steamboat, its coppery waters gleam with all the colors of the
rainbow.

Just across this narrow lake a royal welcome awaited us from the
pastor of the First Congregational Church of Hancock. This fine church
is set upon a hill that cannot be hid. The audience fills the room,
and pays the closest attention to the speaker. They had the best
Sunday-school I ever saw. Everything moved like clockwork; every one
worked with vim. In addition to the papers that each child received,
seventy-five copies of the _Sunday School Times_ were distributed to
the teachers and adult scholars. The collection each Sunday averaged
over three cents a member for the whole school, to say nothing of
Christmas gifts to needy congregations, and memorial windows telling
of the good works in far-off fields among the mission churches. It was
my privilege to conduct a few gospel meetings which were blessed to
the conversion of some score or more of souls who were added to the
church.

Thirteen miles farther north, and we were in the very heart of the
Lake Superior region. It had been up-hill all the way. We went on the
Mineral Range narrow gauge railway; but at broad-gauge price, five
cents a mile, and no half-fare permits; so we were thankful to learn
the little thing was only thirteen miles long.

Here we are in Calumet. At the first glance you think you are in a
large city; tall chimney stacks loom up, railways crossing and
recrossing, elevated railways for carrying ore to the rock-houses,
where they crush rock enough to load ten trains of nearly forty cars
per day, for the stamping-works of the Calumet and Hecla Company. You
cannot help noticing the massive buildings on every hand, in one of
which stands the finest engine in the country--4,700 horse-power--that
is to do the whole work of the mines. Everything about these great
shops works easily and smoothly.

At the mine's mouth we look down and see the flashing of the lights in
the miners' hats as they come up, twelve feet at a stride, from 3,000
feet below; hear the singing as it rolls up from the hardy Cornish
men like a song of jubilee. Come to the public school and listen to
the patter of the little feet as nearly 1,600 children pour out of
their great schoolhouse, and you will be glad to know there are good
churches here for training the little ones. Calumet, Red Jacket, and
its suburbs cannot have much less than 10000 inhabitants.

But here comes the minister of the Congregational church, with a
hearty Scotch welcome on his lips as he hurries us into the snug
parsonage, and makes us forget we ever slept in a basswood house
partitioned with sheets. Here, too, we stayed and held a series of
meetings. This is one of the few frontier churches that sprung,
Minerva-like, full armed for the work. Never receiving, but giving
much aid to others, it has increased. Here, too, I found another best
Sunday-school. In this school on Sunday are scattered good papers as
thick as the snowflakes on the hills; and the 300 scholars have
packed away in their hearts over 52,000 verses of the Bible, that will
bring forth fruit in old age. It is rich, too, in good works--one
little girl gave all her Christmas money to help build the parsonage.
Over a hundred of the young people came out in the meetings, and
signed a simple confession of faith; fifty of them went to the
Methodist church, the rest remained with us.

From this place we go to Lake Linden, on Torch Lake, where are the
stamping-works of the Calumet and Hecla mines. This company have some
2,000 men in their employ, and expend some $500,000 per year on new
machinery and improvements. Everything in this place is cyclopean; ten
great ball stamps, each weighing 640 lbs., with other smaller ones,
shake the earth for blocks away as their ponderous weight crushes the
rocks as fast as men can shovel them in. Each man works half an hour,
and is then relieved for half an hour. Over 300 carloads of ore are
required daily to keep these monsters at work, day and night the year
round, except Sundays. A stoppage here of an hour means $1,000 lost.
One stands amazed to see the foundations of some new buildings--bricks
enough for a block of houses, 2,000 barrels of Portland cement and
trap-rock are mixed, the whole capped off with Cape Ann granite. Two
wheels, 40 feet in diameter, are to swing round here, taking up
thousands of gallons of water every minute.



XVII.

SAD EXPERIENCES.


Fourteen years ago I attended fifty-one funerals in twenty-one months.
This large number was due to the fact that toward the south and west
the nearest minister was ten miles off, north and east over twenty
miles; and though there were only some 450 souls in White Cloud, we
may safely put down 3,000 as the number who looked to this point for
ministerial aid in time of trouble.

The traveller by rail passes a few small places, and may think that
between stations there is nothing but a wilderness, for such it often
appears. He would be surprised to learn that one mile from the line,
at short intervals, are large steam-mills with little communities--forty,
fifty, and sixty souls.

Here and there are many of the Lord's people, who, overwhelmed by the
iniquity they see and hear, have hung their harps upon the willows,
and have ceased to sing the Lord's song. They feel that if some one
could lead, they would follow; and the call for help is imperative, if
we take no higher grounds than that of self-protection. Hundreds of
children are growing up in ignorance, and will inevitably drift to the
cities. It is from these sources that the dangerous classes in them
are constantly augmented.

It is hard to believe that in our day, in Michigan, should be found
such a spiritual lack as the following incident reveals. One night
just as I was falling asleep, a knock aroused me. A man had come for
me to go some five miles through the woods to see a poor woman who was
dying. The moon was shining when we started, and we expected soon to
reach the place. But we had scarcely reached the forest when a storm
broke upon us. The lightning was so vivid that the horse came to a
stand. The trees moaned and bent under the heavy wind, and threatened
to fall on us. No less than seven trees fell in that road some few
hours later. Our lantern was with difficulty kept alight, so that we
made but little progress; for it was dangerous to drive fast, and,
indeed, to go slow, for that matter. We spent two hours in going five
miles. As we were fastening the horse, I heard cries and groans
proceeding from the house, and was met at the door with exclamations
of sorrow, and, "Oh, sir, you are too late, too late!"

This was an old, settled community of farmers; some eight or ten men
and women at the house, some of whom have had Christian parents, and
yet not one to pray with the poor woman or point her to the Lamb of
God.

Did they think I could absolve her? Did they look upon a minister as a
telegraph or a telephone operator, whom they must call to send the
message?

We often read of the overworked city pastor, and the contrast of his
busy life with the quiet of his country brother. But the contrast does
not apply to the home missionary who has a large field, as most of
them have. Let me give some incidents of one week of home missionary
experience. On Saturday, a funeral service. Sabbath, two
Sunday-schools and preaching. Monday, I visited a poor Finnish woman,
suddenly bereft of her husband, who had been fishing on Sunday in
company with three others--a keg of beer which they took with them
explained the trouble. Tuesday, attended the funeral, closing the
service just in time to catch the train to reach an appointment nine
miles off. Friday, received a telegram to come immediately to a
village, where a man was killed in the mill. While there, waiting for
the relatives, expected on the next train, another telegram came from
home, calling me back instantly.

Yet we cannot stop, for the work presses. Did we not know that the
Lord is above the water floods, we should be overwhelmed.

I am tempted to write a few lines about a family that came to
Woodville just before Christmas. It consisted of a mother, son-in-law,
three daughters, and two sons. Before they had secured a house their
furniture (save a stove and a few chairs) was burned. They were very
poor, and moved the few things they had left into two woodsheds, one
of which was lower than the other, so that after the end of one was
knocked out there was a long step running right across the house. Now,
fancy a family of six in here in winter time, with no bedsteads, a
table, and some broken chairs and stove, and you can imagine what sort
of a home it was. The widow felt very despondent, hinted about being
tired of life, and mentioned poison. One morning, after drinking a
great quantity of cold water, she turned in her bed and died. The
coroner's jury pronounced it dropsy of the heart, and waived a
_post-mortem_ examination.

I felt much drawn toward the children during the funeral service, and
spoke mainly to them. They seemed to drink in every word, and I
believe understood all.

Three weeks later a daughter lay dying of diphtheria. She called the
doctor, and told him she was going home to live with Jesus, and was
quite happy. One week from that time a son followed, twelve years of
age. He also went quite resigned. I shall never forget the scene
presented at this time; the dark room, the extemporized bedsteads, the
wind playing a dirge through the numerous openings, the man worn out
with night-work and watching, stretched beside the coffin, the dead
boy on the other bed, two more children sick with the same disease.
People seemed afraid to visit them. I gave the little ones some money
each time I went. The little four-year-old, a pretty boy, said,--

"You won't have to give any for Willie this time, I have his."

Death seemed to have no terrors for the little ones. I talked to them
of Jesus, and told them he was our Elder Brother and God was our
Father. The little boy listened as I talked of heaven, and seemed very
thoughtful. In another week, to a day, I was there again. The little
fellow was going too; and now he said,--

"I want you to buy me a pretty coffin, won't you? and put nice leaves
and flowers in it. I am going to heaven, you know, and I shall see my
brother. Jesus is my brother, you know."

And so he passed away like one falling to sleep. I could not but think
of the glorious change for these little ones, now "safe in the arms of
Jesus." From a hut to a mansion, from hearing the hoarse, gruff
breathing of the mill to the chanting of the heavenly choirs, from the
dark squalor and rags to see the King in his beauty, to hunger no
more, to thirst no more, neither to have the sun light on them nor any
heat, to be led to living fountains of waters, to have all tears
wiped from their eyes--who would wish them back?

I remember in one case a man whose wife had run off with another man,
and had left him with two boys, one an idiot. The poor little child
was found dead under the feet of the oxen, and when the funeral took
place the man with his remaining son came through the woods and across
lots to the cemetery, while a man with the coffin in a cart came by
the road. The only ones at the funeral were these two and the carter,
with myself.

I visited one home where nine out of eleven were down with diphtheria.
Two young girls in a fearful condition were in the upper rooms;
nothing but horse-blankets were hung up in the unplastered rooms, but
they did not keep out the snow. The father and the man who drove were
the only ones beside myself at this funeral. In one family four died
before the first was buried.

It made me think of the plague in London, and the man tolling the
bell and crying, "Bring out your dead." Scarlet fever, small-pox, and
typhoid were epidemic for some time, and it was then the people began
to appreciate the services of the minute-man.

Some cases were rather odd, to say the least. One night a boy was
lost. I suggested to his mother that he might be drowned, and that the
pond ought to be searched. Her reply was amazing: "Well, if he's
drownded, he's drownded, and what's the use till morning." Here was
philosophy. Yet at the funeral this woman was so punctilious about the
ceremonies that, seeing a horse which broke into a trot for a few
steps, she said "it didn't look very well at a funeral to be
a-trottin' hosses."



XVIII.

A SUNDAY ON SUGAR ISLAND.


Sugar Island is about twelve miles from Sault Ste. Marie. It is
twenty-four miles long and from three to twelve wide. Its shape is
somewhat like an irregularly formed pear. Seven-tenths of its people
are Roman Catholic; quite a number of them came from Hudson's Bay, and
what others call a terrible winter is to them quite mild.

One Scotchman, who lived there thirty years, had never seen a
locomotive or been on board of a steamboat, although numbers of the
latter might be seen daily passing his house all summer long,--little
tugs drawing logs, and the great steamers of the Canadian Pacific
Railway, with their powerful engines, and lighted by electricity. He
came by way of Hudson's Bay, which accounts for his never having seen
a locomotive; and he rather prided himself on never having been on
board a steamboat. Like many of the trappers of an early day, he
married an Indian woman. Quite a number of the descendants of these
old pioneers live on the island. Some of them formed part of Brother
Scurr's membership and congregation; one of them was a deacon, and a
good one too.

But now for our journey. It was eight miles to our first appointment,
and we went by water. Mrs. Scurr and the two children, with a little
maid, made up our company, so that our boat was well filled. My hands,
not used to rowing, soon gave out, and Brother Scurr had to do nearly
all of that work. It was a hot, bright morning in the latter part of
June--a lovely day--and we soon passed down the river into Lake
George, and after two hours' steady pulling, made a landing opposite a
log house just vacated by the settlers for one more convenient.

This was our sanctuary for the morning. Here we found a mixed
company--settlers from Canada, "the States," Chippewas, etc., men,
women, and children. Some of them came four, five, and eight miles;
some in boats, some on foot. One old Indian was there who did not know
a word of English, but sat listening as intently as if he took it all
in.

After the sermon, nearly all present partook of the Lord's Supper.
There were not so many there as usual; for one of the friends had just
lost a little child by diphtheria, and two more lay sick; and such is
the difficulty of communication that it was buried before Brother
Scurr had heard of its death. This kept many away.

We now took to our boat again, and, after rowing three miles, thought
we espied a beautiful place to dine; but we had reckoned without our
host. Mosquitoes and their cousins, the black flies, were holding
their annual camp-meeting, and about the time we landed were in the
midst of a praise service. It was at once broken up on our arrival;
and, without even waiting for an invitation, they joined in our
repast. This was considerably shortened, under the circumstances, and
we were glad to take to the water again. A word about the insect world
in this region. They are very different from those farther south,
being as active in the daytime as in the night. Perhaps, because of
shorter seasons, they have to be at it all the time to get in their
work.

Another good pull at the oar and a little help from the wind brought
us to our second stage, the Indian village. On the hillside stood the
schoolhouse where we were to preach. The view from this spot was
lovely. Lake George lay flashing in the sunshine, and beyond the great
hills stretched as far as the eye could reach, and seemed in the
distance to fold one over the other, like purple clouds, until both
seemed mingled into one.

We had a somewhat different audience this time, only four white men
being present; but all could understand English, except our old Indian
friend of the morning, who was again present, and for whose benefit
the chief's son arose after I was through, and interpreted the whole
discourse, save a little part which he said he condensed as the time
was short. I was both astonished and delighted. The people told me he
could do so with a sermon an hour long, without a break. Most of the
company, as a rule, understand both languages, and keep up a keen
watch for mistakes. It is a wonderful feat. The man's gestures were
perfect; he was a natural orator. I asked him if he did not find it
much harder to follow some men than others. He said, "Ough! Some go
big way round before they come to it; they awful hard to follow."

We took leave of our Indian friends with mingled feelings of hope as
to what they might be, and of pity for what they were.

I noticed a lot of new fence-rails around the fields on the Canada
side, and remarked that the people were industrious. "Oh, yes," said
our brother; "because they burnt their fences last winter for firing."
Sure enough; what is the use of a fence in winter except to burn? And
then the wood is well seasoned. One church over there bought nearly
all the members of the other with flour and pork; and if you ask an
Indian in that region to-day to unite with your church, he says, "How
much flour you give me to join?" That's business.

But it was getting late, and we had four miles' rowing yet before us.
After a good hour's pull at the oars we reached the parsonage, just as
the sun was setting in purple and gold behind the blue hills of
Algoma. And there, as we sat watching the deepening twilight, brother
Scurr told me some of the trials of missionary life in that region.

Often walking miles through the wet grass and low places, in the
spring and fall, standing in his wet shoes while preaching, and then
returning--in the winter on snow-shoes, following the trail (for there
are no roads); in the summer, when the weather permits, by boat. When
the snow was deep, and the wind was howling around his house, he had
to leave his sick wife to keep his appointments miles away, and was
almost afraid to enter the house on his return, for fear she had left
him alone with his little ones in the wilderness. It was twelve miles
to the nearest doctor on the mainland; and the only congenial
companion for his wife was the missionary's wife on the Canadian side,
a mile and a half away. This good sister knew something of the shady
side of a missionary wife's life, as she lay for weeks hovering
between life and death.

One touching little incident brother Scurr told me that deeply
affected me. One dark night Deacon John Sebastian came and told him
his daughter, a fine girl of some sixteen years of age, was dying,
and wished to see him. The mother was a Roman Catholic; but the
daughter, who attended our church with her father, had accepted Christ
for her Saviour, and now desired to partake of the Lord's Supper with
us ere she departed. There in the farmhouse at midnight the little
company, with the mother joining, partook of the sacrament. All church
distinctions were forgotten, as the Protestant father and Catholic
mother sat with clasped hands, and with tear-bedimmed eyes saw their
loved one go into the silent land. I left the next morning, promising
to call again as soon as I could, and some time to hold meetings with
them when the men were at home from fishing in the winter.

I attended the dedication of a new church at Alba costing a little
over $1,000, all paid or provided for, $137 being raised on the night
of dedication, in sums from two cents, given by a little girl, up to
ten dollars, the highest sum given that night by one person. All our
people in the rural districts are very poor, but often generous and
self-denying. I know of one good mother in Israel who went without her
new print dress for the summer in order to give the dollar to the
minister at Conference. Think of that dollar dress, my good sisters,
when you are perplexed about whether you shall have yours cut bias, or
gored, or Mother Hubbard style, or--well, I don't know much about
styles; but "think on these things."



XIX.

THE NEEDS OF THE MINUTE-MAN.


The needs of the minute-man are as great as his field. If the army
sent its minute-men to the front as poorly equipped for battle as our
army of minute-men often are, it would be defeated. The man needs,
besides a home, a library and good literature up to date. Religious
papers a year or two old make good reading, and biographies of good
men are very stimulating. A full set of Parkman's works would be of
inestimable value in keeping up his courage and helping his faith. The
smaller the field, the greater the need of good reading; for on the
frontier you miss the society of the city, and its ministers'
meetings, and the great dailies, and all the rush of modern life that
is so stimulating. And yet you find men of all conditions and mental
stature. A man who can get up two good sermons a week that will feed
the varied types that he will meet at church needs to be a genius.

[Illustration: A MINUTE MAN'S PARSONAGE.

_Page 190._]

When a man has access to all the great reviews, to fine libraries,
public and private, and has the stimulation that comes from constant
intercourse with others, besides an income that will allow him to buy
the best books, when his services begin with forty-five minutes of
liturgy and song, backed with a fine pipe-organ, when he enjoys two or
three months vacation into the bargain, he must be a very small
specimen of a man if he cannot write a thirty-minute sermon; but when
all a man's books can be put on one shelf, when his salary barely
keeps the pot boiling, and he has fifty-two Sundays to fill, year in
and year out, it is no wonder that short pastorates are the rule. When
a man reaches his new field with no better start than many have,--the
majority without a college training, and some without even a
high-school education,--it is not long before some of his parish
will be asking a superintendent or presiding elder whether he cannot
send them a good man. "Our man here," he says, "is good, but he can't
preach for shucks." The new man comes, and in three months he is in
the same boat. And another comes; and after a little there is as much
money spent for the sustaining of these families as would keep a good
man.

So it goes on, year after year. Sectarian jealousies and sectarian
strivings are as bad for the spiritual development of a country as
saloons. So that we find to-day, in little towns of two thousand
inhabitants, ten or eleven churches, all of them little starveling
things, "No one so poor to do them reverence;" while the real frontier
work is left with thousands of churchless parishes.

If a man properly fitted out for his field could go at first, it would
often stop the multiplication of little sects whose chief article of
faith is some wretched little button-hook-and-eye or feet-washing
ceremony. In the beginning, such is the weakness of the new community,
a union church is inevitable, there not being enough of a kind to go
around; and nothing but a lack of Christianity will break that church
up.

For an example, here is a superintendent with a field a thousand miles
by four hundred. He hears that a new town is started up in the
mountains, a hundred and fifty miles from the railway. The stage is
the only means of reaching it; no stopping on the road but twenty
minutes for meals. After a tedious journey he reaches the place, and
finds the usual conditions,--saloons, gambling-houses by the score,
houses of every description in the process of erection.

He goes up to the hotel man, and asks whether he can procure a place
for preaching. He is given the schoolhouse. He announces preaching
service, and begins. The people crowd the little building; they sit or
stand outside. Here are members of a dozen sects, and a solitary
feet-washer feeling lonely enough. The work crowds him; and he wires
to headquarters at New York,--a strange telegram,--"For the love of
God, send me a man." Just as the telegram arrives, a man who has just
come from England steps into the office. He is examined, and asked
whether he would like to go beyond the Rocky Mountains. He is the
right stuff. "Anywhere," is the answer; and as fast as limited express
can take him he hurries to the new field. He finds a great crowd
outside the schoolhouse, a revival going on, and he has hard work to
reach the minister. A church is organized, and it is to be a union
church. What a calamity to have the brethren living together in unity!
To have Christ's prayer answered that they may be one! It's dreadful.
But never mind; the Devil, in the shape of sect that holds its
deformity higher than Christ, soon makes an end of that; so that the
real-estate agent advertises good water, good schools, and good
churches.

The only way I see out of this anti-christian warfare is to send a
well-balanced, well-paid man to start with. In the case just stated,
the man was a good one, and held the fort, and managed skilfully his
united flock.

There are times when the best men will fail, as they do in business.
The place promises great growth, and peters out; but in these small
towns, where the growth will never be large, your faithful man often
does a mighty work. His flock are constantly moving away, but new ones
are constantly coming; and so his church is helping to fill others
miles away, and it will not be until he is translated that we shall
see how grand a man he was.

I remember one man with his wife and family presenting himself one day
to the Superintendent of Missions. He had just left a pretty little
rose-covered parsonage in England. The only place open was a very cold
and hard field. The forests had been destroyed by fire. The climate
was intense, either summer or winter; but he said, "I will go. I do
not want to be a candidate."

And off he went with his family. In the winter his bedroom was often
so cold that the thermometer registered 20° below zero; and in spite
of a big stove, the temperature was at zero in mid-day near the door
and windows. One of his little ones born there was carried in blankets
to be baptized in the little church when it was 2° below zero. I used
to send this man small sums of money that were given me by kind
friends. All the money promised on this field from three churches was
twenty dollars a year, and part of that paid in potatoes. The last
five dollars I sent him came back. He said he felt it would not be
right to take it, as he had just accepted a call to a Presbyterian
church. He felt almost like making an apology for doing so, as he
said, "My boys are growing up, and they can get so little schooling
here that I am going to move where they can at least get an
education." And then he was going to have seven hundred dollars a
year. I sent the money back, saying that, as he was moving, he would
probably need it. The answer that came said he had just spent his last
two cents for a postage-stamp when the five dollars came.

I suppose there are at least ten thousand minute-men on the field
to-day, working under the different home missionary societies. Most of
them have wives, and with their children will make an army of fifty
thousand strong, the average of whose salaries will not exceed five
hundred dollars per year. And on this small sum your minute-man must
feed, clothe, and educate his family; and how much can he possibly use
to feed his own mind?--the man who ought to be able to stand in the
front ranks at all times, in order to gain the respect of the
community in which he should be the leader in all good works.



XX.

THE MINUTE-MAN IN THE MINER'S CAMP.


When the first minute-men went to the Pacific slope, they had a long
and dangerous voyage by sea round Cape Horn; and on their arrival they
had to live in a tent, pay a dollar a pound for hay, and a dollar
apiece for potatoes and onions. To-day it is a very different thing to
reach the mining-camps. No matter how high the mountains are, your
train can climb them, doubling on itself, crossing or recrossing; or
when the way is too steep, cogging its way up.

Not long since I sat in a nicely furnished room taking my dinner. My
host was talking through a telephone to a man miles away, and then,
with a good-by, came back to the table. I said, "That is a great
contrast with your first days here." He laughed, and said, "Yes. The
boats came up to where there are now great blocks of buildings; and
when I preached on Sunday afternoon, I always had a bull and a bear
fight to contend with around the corner. I remember one time," he
said, "when the bull broke loose, and ran down the street past where I
was preaching. I saw at a glance that I must close the meeting, and so
pronounced the benediction; when I opened my eyes not a living soul
was in sight except my wife."

At another time he approached two miners who were at work; and he told
them he was building a little church, and thought they might like to
help. "Yes," said one of them, "you ain't the first man that's been
around here a-beggin' fer a orphan asylum. You git!" And as this was
accompanied with a loaded revolver levelled at him, he obeyed. They
were good men, but thought he was a gambler, as he had on a black
suit. When they afterwards found out that he was all right, they
helped him. Gambling in all mining-camps was the common amusement.
Some little camps had scarcely anything in sight but gambling-saloons,
all licensed.

This has continued even as late as July, 1895. The first preacher in
Deadwood stood on a box preaching when all around him were saloons,
gambling-houses, and worse. He was listened to by many in spite of the
turmoil all around him, and the collection was of gold-dust. It was
accidentally spilled on the ground, when some good-hearted miner
washed it out for him. The good man was shot the next day as he was
going over the divide to preach in Lead City. The miners had nothing
to do with it; but they not only got up a generous collection, but
sent East and helped the man's family.

Often a preacher has his chapel over a saloon where the audience can
hear the sharp click of the billiard-balls, the rattle of the dice,
and the profanity of the crowd below. One day a man who was rapidly
killing himself with drink recited in a voice so that all in the
little church could hear him:--

    "There is a spirit above,
    There is a spirit below,
    A spirit of joy,
    A spirit of woe.
    The spirit above
    Is the spirit divine,
    The spirit below
    Is the spirit of wine."

It was hard work under such circumstances to hold an audience. From
the room where the man preached twelve saloons were in sight, and the
audience could hear the blasting from the mines beneath them. The
communion had to be held at night, as the deacons were in the mine all
day. And yet those that did come were in earnest, I think. The very
deviltry and awfulness of sin drove some men to a better life who
under other conditions would never have gone to church. Many men were
hanged for stealing horses, very few for killing a man; while many a
would-be suicide has been saved by the efforts of a true-hearted
minute-man. No one but a genuine lover of his kind can do much good
among the miners. In no place is a man weighed quicker. The miners are
a splendid lot to work with, and none more gallant and respectful to a
good woman in the world.

The free and easy style of a frontiersman is refreshing. You never
hear the question as to whether the other half of your seat is
engaged; although, if you are a minister in regulation dress, you will
often have the seat to yourself. I remember once, when travelling in a
part of the country where both lumbermen and miners abounded, a big
man sat down by my side. He dropped into the seat like a bag of
potatoes. After a moment's look at me, he said, "Live near here?"

"Yes, at ----."

"Umph! In business?"

"Yes; I have the biggest business in the place."

"I want to know. You ain't Wilcox?"

"I know that."

"Well, don't he own that mill?"

"Yes; but I have a bigger business than any mill."

"What are you, then?"

"I am a home missionary."

The laugh the giant greeted this with stopped all the games and
conversation in the car for a moment; but I was able to give him a
good half-hour's talk, which ended by his saying, "Well, Elder, if I
am ever near your place, I am coming to hear ye, sure."

I was often taken for a commercial traveller, and asked what house I
was travelling for. I invariably said, "The oldest house in the
country," and that we were doing a bigger business than ever. "What
line of goods do you carry?" the man would ask, looking at my grip.
"Wine and milk, without money and without price. Can I sell you an
order?"

At first the man would hardly believe I was a preacher. I remember
talking for an hour on the boat with one young man, and after leaving
him I began to read my Bible. He saw me reading, and said, "Oh! come
off, now; that's too thin."

"What is the matter?" I said. "Do you mean that the paper is thin? It
is; but there's nothing thin about the reading."

He at once whispered to the captain; and after the captain had
answered him, he came over and apologized. "Why did you not tell me
you were a minister?"

"I had no reason to," I said. "Did I say anything in my talk with you
of an unchristian nature?"

"No; but I should never have known you were a minister by your
clothes."

"No; and I don't propose that my tailor shall have the ministerial
part of my makeup."

Time was when every trade was known by the clothes worn, and the
minister is about the only one to keep his sign up. It is just as well
on the frontier for him to be known by his life, his deeds, and his
words. The young man above had been a wide reader; and for two hours
that night under the veranda of our hotel I talked with him, and
afterwards had some very interesting letters from him.

The town that same night was filled with wild revelry. It was on the
eve of the Fourth of July, and newly sworn-in deputies swarmed;
rockets and pistols were fired with fatal carelessness; and yet amidst
it all we sat and talked, so intensely interested was the man in
regard to his soul.

I close this chapter with a portion of Dr. McLean's sermon on the
flowing well (he was the man our minute-man was talking with by
telephone mentioned in the first part of this chapter) which will show
how well it pays to place the gospel in our new settlement:--

     "The first instance of which I myself happen to have had
     some personal observation, is of a well opened thirty years
     ago. Fifteen persons met in a little house, still standing,
     in what was then a community of less than fifteen hundred
     souls. They came to talk and counsel, for they were men and
     women in touch with God. They were considering the matter of
     a flowing well of the spiritual sort. There was the valley,
     opportunity; and there was the lack of sufficient religious
     ministration. The moral aspect of the place could not be
     better surmised than by the prophets word, 'Tongue faileth
     for thirst.'

     "They consulted and prayed, and said, 'We'll do it!' They
     joined heart and hand, declaring, 'Cost what it may, we'll
     sink the well!' And they did. But ah, it was a stern task.
     For many a day those fifteen and the few others who joined
     them ate the bread of self-denial. Delicately reared women
     dismissed their household help and did the work themselves.
     Enterprising, ambitious men turned resolutely away from
     golden schemes, and made their small invested capital still
     smaller. A few days later on (it will be thirty years the
     ninth of next December) eight men and seven women, standing
     up together in a little borrowed room, solemnly plighted
     their faith, and joyfully covenanted to established a church
     of Christ of the Pilgrim order.

     "What has been the outcome of that faith and self-denial? It
     has borne true Abrahamic fruit. There stands to-day, on that
     foundation, a church of more than eleven hundred members. It
     has multiplied its original seventeen by more than the
     hundred fold, having received to its membership one thousand
     nine hundred and fifty-six souls, of whom one-half have come
     upon confession. It is a church which is teaching to-day
     seventeen hundred in its Sunday-schools; possesses an
     enrolled battalion of two hundred valiant soldiers of
     Christian Endeavor, which maintains kindergartens and all
     manner of mission-industrial work; and held the pledge, at a
     recent census, of thirteen hundred and twenty-two persons to
     total abstinence. It has a constituency of one thousand
     families. It reaches each week, with some form of religious
     ministration, two thousand five hundred persons, and has
     five thousand regularly looking to it for their spiritual
     supplies. To as many more, doubtless, does it annually
     furnish, in some incidental way, at least a cup of cold
     water in the Master's name. It is a church which has been
     privileged of God in its thirty years to bring forth nine
     more churches within the field itself originally occupied,
     and to lend a hand frequently with members, habitually with
     money in it, to four times nine new churches in fields
     outside its own. It is a church also, which, with no credit
     to itself,--for, brethren, only sink the well, pipe it, keep
     an open flow, and it is God who, from his bare heights and
     the rivers opened on them, will supply the water,--it is a
     church which has enjoyed the great blessedness of
     contributing its part to every good thing in a growing city
     which has grown in the thirty years from fifteen hundred to
     sixty thousand souls. This church, having been enabled to
     help on almost every good thing in its State, is recognized
     to-day throughout a widely extended territory as an adjunct
     and auxiliary of all good things in morals, politics, in
     charity, and the general humanities,--a power for God and
     good in a population which, already dense, is fast becoming
     one of the ganglion centres of American civilization. It is
     also laying its serviceable touch upon trans-oceanic
     continents and intervening islands of the sea. It has
     furnished ministers for the pulpit, and sent Sunday-school
     superintendents and Christian workers out over a wide area;
     it has consecrated already six missionaries to foreign
     service, and has two others under appointment by the board;
     and as for wives to missionaries and ministers, brethren,
     you should just see those predatory tribes swoop down upon
     its girls!

     "It is a true flowing well in the midst of a valley. Ah!
     those fifteen who met thirty years ago next October made no
     mistake. They were within God's artesian belt. Their
     divining-rod was not misleading. Their call was genuine;
     their aim unerring. They struck the vein. The flow of the
     rivers breaking out from bare heights did not disappoint
     them. And now behold this wide expanse of spiritual
     fertility! This church was not, in form, a daughter of the
     American Home Missionary Society. Its name does not appear
     upon your family record, and yet, in the true sense, it is
     your daughter. In its infant days it sucked the breasts of
     churches which had sucked yours. Its swaddling bands you
     made. It was glad to get them even at second hand. The
     other instance I have to quote is of but recent
     standing,--of not thirty years, but only three.

     "On the 26th of May, three years ago, a pastor in Central
     California was called five hundred miles into the southern
     part of the State to assist in organizing a Pilgrim church.
     A good part of the proposing members being from his own
     flock, their appeal was urgent, and was acceded to. An
     infant organization of a few persons was brought together,
     and christened the Pilgrim Church of Pomona. The
     organization was effected in a public hall, loaned for the
     occasion; the church's stipulated tenure of the premises
     expiring at precisely 3 P.M., in order that the room might
     be put in order for theatrical occupancy at night. The
     accouchment was therefore naturally a hurried one. The
     constituting services had to be abbreviated. Among the
     things cast out was the sermon, which the visiting pastor
     from the north had come five hundred miles to preach. Well,
     sweet are the uses of adversity! Never, apparently, did loss
     so small gain work so great. On the lack of that initiatory
     sermon the Pilgrim Church of Pomona has most wonderfully
     thriven. The church was poor at the outset. It possessed no
     foot of ground, no house; only a Bible, a dozen hymn-books,
     and as many zealous members. Over this featherless chick was
     spread the brooding wing of the American Home Missionary
     Society. 'It was a plucky bird,' said the wise-hearted
     pastor, already on the ground. 'Here's a case where the
     questionable old saw, "Half a loaf better than no bread,"
     won't work at all. If this new well is to be driven, it must
     be driven to the vein. If there is to be but surface
     digging, let there be none. If the American Home Missionary
     society will supply us with six hundred dollars for the
     first six months, we'll make no promises, but we'll do the
     best we can.' Well, the G. O. S.--Grand Old
     Society--responded, and gave the six hundred for the desired
     six months. At the expiration of that period the Pilgrim
     Church of Pomona, located upon land and in a house of its
     own, bade its temporary foster-mother a grateful good-by;
     and, as it did so, put back into her hand two hundred of the
     six hundred dollars which had been given. What has been the
     outcome? That noble church, headed by a noble Massachusetts
     pastor, has become in the matter of home missions at
     least--but not in home missions only--the leading church of
     Southern California. It has to-day an enrolment of two
     hundred and twenty; has contributed this year three hundred
     and fifty dollars to your society. Alert in all activities
     of its own, it is a stimulus to all those of its neighbors.
     It had not yet got formally organized--the audacious little
     strutling!--before it had made a cool proposition to the
     handful of Pilgrim churches then existing in Southern
     California for the creation of a college; secured the
     location in its own town; itself appointed the first board
     of trust; and named it Pomona College. It never waited to be
     hatched before it began to crow; and to such purpose that it
     crowed up a college, which now owns two hundred acres of
     choice land, has a subscription-list of twenty-five thousand
     dollars for buildings, besides a present building costing
     two hundred and five thousand dollars. It has in its senior
     class eleven students, in its preparatory department
     seventy-one; and in a recent revival interest numbers a
     goodly group of converts; and, finally, the general
     association of Southern California, at its meeting within a
     month, committed its fifty churches fully to the subject of
     Christian education, to the annual presentation of the
     advantages and claims of Pomona College, and to an annual
     collection for its funds. All this, brethren, out of one of
     your flowing wells in three years."



XXI.

THE SABBATH ON THE FRONTIER.


We hear a good deal of talk about the American Sabbath, so that one
would think it was first introduced here; and, indeed, the American
Sabbath is our own patent. Not but what Scotland and rural England had
one somewhat like it; but the American Sabbath _par excellence_ is not
the Jewish Sabbath, or the European Sabbath, but the Sunday of Puritan
New England, which is generally meant when we hear of the American
Sabbath. But the American Sabbath of the frontier can never become the
European Sabbath without getting nearer to the New England type; for
in Europe people do go to church in the morning, if they attend the
beer-gardens in the afternoon. The Sabbath of the frontier has no
church, and the beer-garden is open all day.

Some reader will wonder what kind of a deacon a man would make who
worked on Sunday. Well, he might be better; but, remember, that for
one deacon who breaks the Sabbath, there are ten thousand who break
the tenth commandment, which is just as important. The fact is, you
must do the best you can under the circumstances, and wait for the
next generation to go up higher. It is no use finding fault with
candles for the poor light and the smell of the tallow. There is only
one way: you must light the gas; and it, too, must go when electricity
comes. You might as well expect concrete roads, Beethoven's
Symphonies, and the Paris opera, as to have all the conditions of New
England life to start with under such environments. Man has greater
power to accommodate himself to new conditions than the beasts that
perish; nevertheless, he is subject to them, at least for a time.

I know some will be thinking of the Pilgrim Fathers, staying in the
little Mayflower rather than break the Sabbath; but we must not
forget, that, as a rule, the frontiers are not peopled with Pilgrim
Fathers. It is true, the wildest settlers are not altogether bad; for
you could have seen on their prairie schooners within the last year
these words, "In God we trusted, in Kansas we busted;" which is much
more reverent than "Pike's Peak or bust," if not quite so terse.

This is not meant for sarcasm. These words were written in a county
that has been settled over two hundred and fifty years, and has not
had a murderer in its jail yet, where the people talk as if they were
but lately from Cornwall, where the descendants of Mayhew still
live,--Mayhew, who was preaching to the Indians before the saintly
Eliot.

We must remember, too, that the good men who first settled at Plymouth
could do things conscientiously that your frontiersman would be
shocked at. Think, too, of good John Hawkins sailing about in the ship
Jesus with her hold full of negroes, and pious New Englanders selling
slaves in Deerfield less than a hundred and ten years ago; of the
whipping-post and the persecuting of witches; and that these good men,
who would not break the Sabbath, often in their religious zeal broke
human hearts. No living man respects them more than I do. You cannot
sing Mrs. Hemans's words,

    "The breaking waves dashed high,"

without the tears coming to these eyes; and one sight of Burial Hill
buries all hard thoughts I might have about their stern rule. They
were fitted for the times they lived in, and we must see to it that we
do our part in our time.

In my first field I well remember being startled at a tiny girl
singing out, "Hello, Elder!" and on looking up there was a batch of
youngsters from the Sunday-school playing croquet on Sunday afternoon.
"Hello!" said I; and I smiled and walked on. Wicked, was it not? I
ought to have lectured them? Oh, yes! and lost them. Were they playing
a year after? Not one of them. And, better still, the parents, who
were non-churchgoers, had joined the church.

The saloons and stores were open, and doing a big business, the first
year; but both saloons and stores were closed, side-doors too, after
that. Some of the saloon-keepers' boys, who played base-ball on
Sunday, were in the Sunday-school and members of a temperance society.
These saloon-keepers, and men who were not church-members, paid dollar
for dollar with the Christians who sent missionary money to support
the little church; and not only that, but paid into the benevolences
of the church from five to twenty-five dollars. There is no possible
way so good of getting men to be better as to get them to help in a
good cause. I know men who would not take money that came from the
saloon; but I did. I remembered the words, "The silver and the gold
are mine," and Paul's saying, "Ask no question for conscience' sake."
We might as well blame the Creator for growing the barley because of
its being put to a bad use, as to blame a man for using the money
because it came from a bad business. Men ought to use common sense,
even in religious things.

When a man hitches up his horse on Sunday morning and drives fifty
miles that day and preaches four times, we admire his zeal. There are
some who will not blame him if he hires a livery rig, who would
condemn him if he rode on the street-cars or railway. I well remember
a good man, who was to speak in a church a few miles away, saying to
me, "How shall we get there?" I said, "The street-cars go right past
the door."

"Oh! I can't ride in a street-car."

"Why? Make you sick?"

It never came into my head that the man meant he could not ride on
Sunday in a street-car.

"I will tell you," said he, "what we will do. I will get a livery
rig."

I was much amused, and bantered him, and said,--

"I don't know about breaking the Sabbath fifty per cent. I am willing
to plead limited liability with a hundred others in the street-car."

Just then a man drove up with a buggy who had been sent for us. It
seemed to take a load off my friend's mind. Now, there are men who
would condemn a man for this, and say he should walk; and I know men
who walk ten and twelve miles on Sunday. If that is not work I do not
know what is. This month I saw an article in a paper condemning the
young people who had to ride on Sunday to reach their meeting. The
writer would not have them travel, even in an emergency. I wonder when
the Pilgrims would have reached us on that basis. It is a far cry from
the Mayflower to the Lucania. Is the Sabbath greater than its Lord? I
was told of one preacher who was so particular that he sent word that
no appointment must be made for him that involved street-car or
railway travel. So a horse was driven ten miles to fetch him, and ten
miles to take him back. When the horse reached his stable that night
he had travelled forty miles to keep this man from breaking the
Sabbath. Who gave these brethren the right to work their horses this
way, and break the Sabbath? If Moses had a man stoned to death for
gathering sticks on the Sabbath, what right have you to be toasting
your shins over a register that your man-servant must keep going
evenly or catch it? In short, what right has any man to tamper with
one of the commandments to suit himself, and place the remainder
higher than love to his neighbor?

So long as the frontier Sabbath is what it is, it will be lawful to do
good on the Sabbath day. Far be it from me to undervalue the Sabbath.
I value it highly, but I value freedom more. The man who rides in his
carriage to church has no right to condemn my riding in the
street-car, and he who rides in the street-car has no right to judge
the man on the train. "Who art thou that judgest another man's
servant?" "One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth
every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
"Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us
free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."



[Illustration: OLDEST HOUSE IN THE UNITED STATES, SANTA FÉ, NEW
MEXICO.

_Page 220._]

XXII.

THE FRONTIER OF THE SOUTH-WEST.


The South-west is different from all other parts of the country. The
Anglo-Saxon is everywhere else in the ascendant. Here the Latin races
are dominant. It is astonishing to find so many oldest churches all
over the country. The superlative is a national trait. We have either
the oldest or the youngest, the greatest or the smallest, or the only
thing in the world. However, it is almost certain that the oldest
church and house are to be found in Santa Fé. The Church of San Miguel
was built seventy years before the landing of the Pilgrims, and the
house next to the church fifty years. It is the oldest settled, is the
farthest behind, has the most church-members per capita, and is the
most ignorant and superstitious part of the land. In one part
Mormonism holds sway. In the other, Roman Catholicism of two
centuries ago is still the prevailing religion.

It is a curious fact; but in this latter respect the North-east and
the South-west almost join hands; for Lower Canada sent us Old France,
and the South-west remains Old Spain. Here, as a man travels through
Western Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, only his Pullman car, and
especially his Pullman porter, makes him realize that he is in
America. In the eastern part of Texas the buzzards fill the air as
they are hovering over the dead cattle. In the western part the dead
cattle dry up and are blown away. Meat keeps indefinitely. There are
no flies there, few insects, and the flowers are almost odorless,
perhaps on account of the lack of insect-life. The very butcher-signs
look strange. Instead of the fat, meek ox on a sign, we have a mad
bull charging a Spanish matador.

Here comes a Mexican with a fifty-dollar hat on his head, and fifty
cents would almost buy the rest of his clothes. He marches by with
the strut of a drum-major. The best streets and the finest houses are
often not homes. The plains look as if they would not keep a cow
alive; and yet here in the South-west we find some of the finest
grazing-lands in the world, although it takes twenty-five acres to
feed a cow. But what of that? the acres are unlimited. The
black-tailed antelope are seen running from your train; while the
prairie-dog sits, like all small things, barking impudently, or, with
a few electric twists of his little tail he dives below, where a
rattlesnake and an owl keep his house in order, i.e., keep the
population down so that the progeny would not kill all the grass, and
so starve at last; with himself would go the cattle; so the economy of
nature keeps up its reputation everywhere. As some have said, when
salmon are scarce hens' eggs become dear; for the otter takes to the
land and kills the rabbits, and the weasel, finding his stores low,
visits the hen-coops--and up goes the price of eggs.

The minute-man in the South-west has a big field. He is often hundreds
of miles from his next church. He preaches to the cowboys one day, to
the Digger Indians or the blanket variety the next. He is off among
the miners, and sometimes in less than four hours he must change from
the cold mountain air to the heat which requires two roofs to the
house in order to keep it cool enough. He eats steak that has come one
thousand miles from the East, although ten thousand cattle are all
about him. He passes a million cows, and yet has to use condensed milk
for his coffee or go without.

He finds himself in the midst of the grandest scenery on the
continent. In his long journey he often finds himself sleeping on the
plain outside the teepees of his red brother, rather risking the
tarantulas, lizards, and rattlers that may come, than the thousands of
smaller nuisances that are sure to come if he goes under cover. He is
in the midst of a past age; and as he visits the pueblos, he would not
be surprised to see De Soto come forth, so Spanish are his
surroundings. The adobe building prevails everywhere, cool in summer,
warm in winter, and in this climate well nigh indestructible.

The priesthood are centuries removed from those of the East. Here he
will meet with men living in the Middle Ages, beating their backs with
cactus until the blood streams, and often dying under self-inflicted
blows. We often hear of America having no ruins, no ancient history.
This may be so in regard to time; but in regard to conditions we are
in the time of Boadicea of the ancient Briton, and in the South-west
are ruins of buildings that were inhabited when William was crowned at
Westminster. So great are the States of the South-west that the
counties are larger than New England States; and you may be stuck in a
blizzard in northern Texas, while people in the southern portion are
eating oranges out-doors with the oleanders for shade-trees.

I will close this chapter with a description given me in part by the
Rev. E. Lyman Hood, who was Superintendent of Missions in the
South-west until he was broken down by his arduous toil.

One evening he found himself at the opening of an immense cañon, on
the lofty tops of which the snow was perpetual. Sheltered beneath its
mighty walls, flowers of semi-tropical luxuriance flourished, and
birds of gorgeous plumage flitted here and there; while humming-birds,
like balls of metal, darted among the flowers. A little silver
streamlet ran down the cañon until lost in the blue distance; and here
our minute-man stood lost in reverent admiration. The sun was going
down in pomp of purple and gold; and the little stream changed its
colors with the clouds, until in a moment it became black; a cold wind
came down the cañon, the flowers closed their petals, and with a
twitter here and there the birds went to roost. And then our
minute-man looked up aloft, where the sun still gilded the great
cañon's shoulders until they glowed like molten metal, and kissed the
forehead of an Indian who stood like a statue waiting the sun's
setting. Another moment and it was gone, and our Indian stood like a
silhouette against the sky, when he at once wheeled toward the east,
and, stooping, lit a fire; then drawing his ragged blanket around him,
prepared to watch all night until the sun came up in the eastern
horizon, watching for the return of his Saviour Montezuma. And thus
far he has watched in vain.

A strange fact,--a poor tribe still waiting and watching for a Saviour
in a land where there are over twenty million church-members, some of
whom ride past him in their palace-cars to take a palatial steamer,
and travel thousands of miles to find a soul to save. Over twelve
denominations striving in Mexico to win souls, and scarcely a thing
done for the hundreds of thousands of Mexicans in our own land, and
over forty tribes of Indians. And all this in the year of our Lord
1895.



XXIII.

DARK PLACES OF THE INTERIOR.


I want to picture out in this chapter one of the hardest fields the
minute-man has to labor in. I think there are greater inequalities to
be found in our land than in any other, at least a greater variety of
social conditions. Times have changed much in the last twenty-five
years. The consolidating of great business concerns has made a wide
gulf between the employer and employee such as never before existed
outside of slavery.

It is not true to say that the rich are growing richer, and the poor
poorer; for the poor could not be poorer. There never was a time when
men were not at starvation-point in some places. We have to-day
thousands of men who never saw the owner of the property that they
work upon. There is a fearful distance between the gentlemen and
ladies in their four-in-hand turnout and the begrimed men who come up
into the daylight out of our great coal-mines, or those who handle the
heavy iron ore. I have seen men whose hands could be pared like a
horse's hoof without drawing the blood, who were going back to Germany
to stay,--men who had been lured over by the promise of big wages,
who, as they said, averaged "feefty cent a day." I have seen sixty and
seventy men living in a big hut, with two or three women cooking their
vegetables in a great iron kettle, and dipping them out with tin
ladles. I have seen little boys by the score working for a few cents a
day, and four, five, and seven families living in one house, and where
all the pay was store-pay, and did not average five dollars a week,
and where it was not safe to walk at night, and murder was
common,--and you could find within a few miles cities where there were
men who would say that the whole of the above was a lie.

When I first talked on these regions, I could think of nothing else;
and some good men advised me not to tell of what I had seen. It
smacked too much of socialism, they said. I remarked, "You will hear
of starving, bloodshed, and riot from that region before long." And so
they did. The State troops were called out more than once. And here in
the midst of this misery our minute-man went. Before the mines were
opened, a little stream of clear water flowed between green banks and
through flowery meads; cattle dotted the meadows, and peaceful
farm-houses nestled under the trees. But all this was soon changed.
The green sod was turned up, the clear stream became a muddy,
discolored torrent, and wretched little houses took the place of the
farm-houses. Low saloons abounded. Our minute-man was warned that his
life would be in danger. On the other hand, he was offered three times
the salary he was getting as a missionary if he would become a
foreman. But the man is one of the last of that noble army of
pioneers that count not their life dear.

When our man tried to find a place to preach, there was none save an
old dilapidated schoolhouse. The window-sashes were broken, the panels
of the door gone. The place was beyond a little stream, which had to
be crossed upon a log. It was nearly dark before his audience arrived.
The women, much as they wanted to go, were ashamed of the daylight.
Many of the young girls had on but one garment. The men were a
rough-looking lot. The place was lighted with candles in lanterns, the
flames of which fluttered with the draughts, and gutters of tallow ran
down. What a contrast to the church a few miles away, where the seats
were cushioned, and a quartet choir sang, "The Earth is the Lord's,"
with a magnificent organ accompaniment! What a gulf between these poor
souls and those who came in late, not because of poor clothes, but
because of fine ones! And yet I suppose they did not perceive it,
perhaps they did not know. But it does seem to me that when men hear
that "The Earth is the Lord's," it ought to make them think how small
a proportion of earth they will make when mingled with the dust from
which they came.

But to return to our meeting. Our man is not from the colleges, but is
a rare man (don't misunderstand me. Nothing is so much needed to-day
as well-educated men; and I am not one of those who think that it
spoils a razor to sharpen it); and he has not spoken long before the
tears fall fast, and many a poor fellow who once sang the songs of
Zion comes home to his Father's house. Still, they tell our man it is
not safe for him to come; but he does; and under great difficulties he
builds a church and parsonage. And then he tries to have a
reading-room. Naturally he thinks that the man who is making so much
money out of the earth will help him. He offers twenty-five dollars,
which our minute-man spurns. He is going to give double that out of
his meagre salary, and tells the man so; but the man's excuse is that
he pays four hundred dollars a year towards the church music. Think of
that. And he pays to hear that "The Earth is the Lord's," and still
does not hear. The little room is built and furnished without his
help, and saves many a poor fellow from drink.

Our man has several other places to preach in, each worse than the
other. In one town it is on Sunday afternoon, but he has to wait for
the room until the dance is over. In another town he builds a church;
and to this day may be seen the bullet-holes near the pulpit, where
men have shot at him, hoping to kill their best friend. As he is
passing along the street one day with a companion, a man runs across
the road from a saloon, plunges a knife into the heart of the man who
is walking with our minute-man, and he drops dead in his tracks. Amid
such scenes as this our hero still works. He has been the means of
stopping more than one strike; and one would think that the rich
companies would at least give more than they do to help these men at
the front, who would make Pinkerton's men and State troops
unnecessary.

In the meantime the men are here. Can we expect that these men, coming
from their huts on the Danube,--seeing our fine houses, the American
workingmen's children well clothed and attending school,--are going to
be content? Do we want them to be? The worst thing that could happen
to them and ourselves would be for them to be content with their
present condition. No greater danger could menace the Republic than
thousands of Europeans coming here to live, and remaining in their
present condition. We condemn them for coming and underworking our
men; and we condemn them when they want more, and are bound to get it.

Many say, "Keep them out." But there are several things in the way.
Rich corporations, mine-owners, and railways are bound to get them.
And would you keep the men from which we sprung in overcrowded Europe,
while we have a continent with but seventy millions? Is there any real
love in that which sends a missionary to Europe to save souls on the
Don, that will not let their bodies live on the Hudson? Do we believe
that "The Earth is the Lord's"? Let me close this chapter with a
quotation from Roger Williams's letter to the Town of Providence:--

"I have only one motion and petition which I earnestly pray the town
to lay to heart, as ever they look for a blessing from God on the
town, in your families, your corn and cattle, and your children after
you. It is this, that after you have got over the black brook of some
soul bondage yourselves, you tear not down the bridge after you, by
leaving no small pittance for distressed souls that come after you."



XXIV.

THE DANGEROUS NATIVE CLASSES.


We hear much about the dangerous foreigners that come to us, but
little about the dangerous native. There is not a type, whether of
poverty or ignorance, but what we can match it. Leaving out the negro,
we have over ninety per cent Anglo-Saxon in the South. Here we find a
strange lot of paradoxes,--the most American, the most ignorant, the
most religious, the most superstitious, and the most lawless. Take the
lowest class of Crackers, and we have the whole of the above combined,
with millions of mountain whites to match. Yet in this same South land
are the most gentlemanly, and the most lady-like, and the most
hospitable people in the country. The Cracker classes are descendants
of the English, but what kind of English? The offscourings of prison
and dockyards, sent over to work on the plantations before slave labor
was introduced.

The mountain whites are the descendants of the Scotch-Irish. As many
people seem to think this means a Scotch parent on one side and an
Irish upon the other, it may be well to state that the Scotch-Irish
are the descendants of Scotch people who immigrated to Ireland. But it
ought not to be forgotten that the mountain whites are the descendants
of Scotch-Irish of two centuries ago, a very different people from the
Scotch-Irish of to-day. Here in the mountains we find some three
millions, often without schools, and waiting sometimes for years for a
funeral sermon after the person has been buried. Towns can be found
over seventy years old organized with a court-house and no church.

"Yes," they say, "the Methodists started one some years ago; but the
Baptists threw the timber into the Cumberland, and sence then we ain't
had no church."

Here one of our minute-men had two horses shot under him, and another
missionary was nearly killed.

Here you may find families of twenty and more, living in a wretchedly
constructed house, on bacon and corn-meal, hoe-cakes, and dodgers. I
started once to stay over night in one of these houses. As we came
near to the place, I found that my host was a school-teacher. He had
taught twenty-two schools. He meant by this that he had taught that
many years. The kitchen was as black as smoke could make it; the
butter was stringy, caused by the cows eating cotton-seed; and my seat
a plank worn smooth by use, with legs which stuck up through it, which
would have been better had they been worn more. I suppose in some way
I involuntarily showed my feelings; for the woman noticed it, and
said, "Yer oughter put up with one night what we uns have ter all the
time."

I said "That's the trouble; I could when I got used to it."

The room I slept in had a hole in the end that you could drive a span
of horses through. It had been left for a chimney. As I found out that
the day before a rattlesnake had come into the house, and the good
woman had to defend herself with the fire-poker, I did not sleep so
well as I might. The possibility of a rattler in the dark, and no
poker handy, filled me with uneasy thoughts; but as people get up with
the sun, the time passed, and I was glad to get back to civilized
life.

I noticed that the cotton was ridged up with concave rows of earth,
which was covered with rank weeds. This was done to keep the water
from running off too quickly. I asked whether sage would not hold the
ridges as good as weeds. "Oh, yes!" they said, and it brought a dollar
a pound; but they had never thought of that.

Some of the States do not have seventy school-days in the year; and
the whole South to-day has not as many public libraries as the State
of Massachusetts. A man needs perfect health to enjoy some of the
pastoral work which he must do if he intends making a success among
the mountain whites. One thing should never be forgotten. The poor
whites of the mountains were loyal to the Union, and out from this
type came the greatest American we have had, Abraham Lincoln.

Here, then, is plenty of material to work on,--families big enough to
start a small church, and who do not send to England for pug-dogs for
lack of progeny. Here is the rich fields, and here must the race be
lifted before the millions of blacks can have a chance. Education must
be pushed; and then will come a period of scepticism, for this people
are fifty years behind the times.

Several people were sitting on a large veranda; and one man, a
preacher lately from Texas, was telling us of his visit. Among other
things he spoke of the cyclone-pits, and said, "Seems to me, brother,
a man can't have much faith in God who would go into a pit. I would
not; would you?"

"No," replied mine host. "Men seem to me to be losing faith. I once
raised a woman up by prayer that three doctors had given up. Aunt
Sally, have ye any of that liver invigorator? I kind of feel as if I
needed some."

Here was a man who had prayed a woman out of the jaws of death,
calling for liver medicine. None of them seemed to see the incongruity
of it. One good old deacon that I knew horrified his pastor, who was a
strong temperance man, by furnishing the communion with rye whiskey.
The old man meant all right; but he had neglected to replenish the
wine, and thought something of a spirituous nature was needed, and so
brought the whiskey.

It is a fact worth noting, that we have to-day, in the year 1895,
millions of men living in conditions as primitive as those of the
eighteenth century, while in the same land we are building houses
which are lighted and heated with electricity; that some men worship
in houses built of logs, without glass windows, and others worship in
buildings that cost millions; that in the former case men have lived
in this way for over two hundred years, and the latter less than fifty
since the Indian's tepee was the only dwelling in sight; that to-day
may be seen the prairie schooner drawn by horses, oxen, or mules, and
in one case a horse, a cow, and a mule, the little shanty on wheels,
the man sitting in the doorway driving, and his wife cooking the
dinner. But so it is. We have all the varieties of habitation, from
the dugout of the prairie to the half-million summer cottage at Bar
Harbor; and from a single Indian pony, we have all kinds of
locomotion, up to the vestibuled palace on wheels.

That I may not seem to be over stating the condition of the mountain
whites, and the dangers among our own people, I close with a quotation
from Dr. Smart's Saratoga address:--

     "Let me tell you of just one experiment of letting a people
     alone, and its result. Shall we trust that American
     institutions and American ideas, that the press and schools,
     will ultimately Americanize them? In the eastern part of
     Kentucky, in the western part of North Carolina and West
     Virginia, there is a section of country about the size of
     New Hampshire and New York,--one of the darkest spots on the
     map of the South. The people living there have been there
     for over a hundred years, and are of Scotch-Irish
     extraction. Whole counties can be found in which there is
     not a single wagon-road. Most of the houses are of one
     story, without a window, or only a small one; and the door
     has to be kept open to let in the light. I have it from good
     authority that when the first schoolmistress went there to
     teach, she stipulated that she should have a room with a
     window in it, and a lock to the door. Very few of the people
     can read or write. They have no newspapers, no modern
     appliances for agriculture, no connection with the world
     outside and around them. This is the land of the
     'moonshiner.' They love whiskey, and so they manufacture it.
     The pistol and bowie-knife are judge and sheriff. Bloodshed
     is common, and barbarism a normal state of society. These
     men were not slaveholders in the times before the war. They
     were as loyal to the Union as any others who fought for the
     old flag, and they served in the Union army when they got a
     chance. When Bishop Smith in a large and influential
     meeting spoke of them, he touched the Southern and Kentucky
     pride, especially when he pointed out what a moral and
     spiritual blot they were upon the South. Now, why are they
     there a hundred years behind us in every respect? Why are
     they sunk so low? Simply because they have been let alone.
     They are just as much separated from this land, without any
     share in its marvellous progress, as if a Chinese wall had
     been built around them. They have been let alone; and
     American institutions, American schools, and the American
     press, have flowed around them and beyond them without
     effect."



XXV.

CHRISTIAN WORK IN A LUMBER-TOWN.


Until a few years ago I knew little or nothing of mill-towns or
lumber-camps. I had seen a saw-mill that cut its thousand feet a day
when running, and it was generally connected with some farm through
which ran a stream. It was a very innocent affair. But in 1889 I saw
for the first time the great forests of pine, and became acquainted
with part of the immense army of lumbermen. Michigan alone had at that
time some forty thousand; Wisconsin has as many; Georgia, Alabama, and
Louisiana are now engaged in a vast work; and when we add the great
States of Oregon and Washington, with their almost illimitable
forests, we feel that we are speaking within bounds when we say an
immense army.

The one great difficulty of the problem is the transitory character of
the work--like Count Rumford's stoves, if they could only have been
patented and money made out of them, every house would use them; so if
the lumber village had come to stay, many a church would have gone in
and built. But more than once a man in authority has said, "Oh, I have
looked that field over, and it won't amount to much." No one who has
not had experience in the field can form any adequate idea of its
vastness or its crying needs. The one great trouble of the whole
question is the massing of so many men away from the softening
influence of wife and mother. It is unnatural; and nature's laws, as
sacred as the Decalogue, are broken in unnatural crimes, and sins
unknown to the common run of men.

The lumber business may be divided into three distinct classes of
workers,--the mill-men, the camp-men, and the river-men. The last are
the smallest company, but the hardest to reach. They flit from stream
to river, from the river to the lake, from scenes of sylvan beauty to
the low groggery--and worse. Their temporary home is often made of
blackened logs papered with _Police Gazettes_, which come in vast
numbers, and form the largest part of their not very select reading.
Books of the Zola type, but without their literary excellence, are
legion. Good books and good literature would be a boon in these camps.

To give you an idea of the rapid march of the lumber-camp, come with
me into the primeval forest. It is a winter day. The snow is deep, and
the lordly pines are dressed like brides in purest white; one would
think, to look at their pendent branches, that Praxiteles and all his
pupils had worked for a century in sculpturing these lovely forms. Not
a sound is heard save our sleigh-bells, or some chattering squirrel
that leaps lightly over the powdery snow; a gun fired would bring down
a harmless avalanche. It is a sight of unsurpassed beauty in nature's
privacy; but alas, how soon the change!

An army of brawny men invade the lovely scene. Rude houses of logs are
quickly erected; and men with axe and saw soon change the view, and
with peavey and cant-hook the logs are loaded and off for the rollway.
Inside the largest house are bunks, one above another; two huge stoves
with great iron cylinders, one at each end, give warmth; while in
picturesque confusion, socks and red mackinaws and shirts hang
steaming by the dozens. There is a cockloft, where the men write their
letters, and rude benches, where they sit and smoke and tell yarns
till bedtime. In a few weeks at the farthest the grand old forest is a
wreck; a few scrubby oaks or dwindling beech-trees are all that are
left. The buildings rot down, the roofs tumble in, and a few
camp-stragglers trying to get a living out of the stumpy ground are
all that are left; and solitude reigns supreme.

On stormy days hundreds of the men go into the nearest village, and
sin revels in excess. In many a small town, mothers call their little
ones in from the streets, which are soon full of men drunken and
swearing, ready for fight or worse. At such times they hold the
village in a reign of terror, and often commit crimes of a shocking
nature, and no officer dares molest them. A stranger coming at such a
time would need to conduct himself very discreetly or he would get
into trouble. A volume might be filled with the outrageous things done
in these small lumber-towns. Ireland is not the only place that
suffers from absentee landlords.

The condition of the children is pitiable, brought up in an atmosphere
of drunkenness and debauchery; swearing as natural as breathing;
houses packed so closely that you can reach across from one window to
another. The refuse is often emptied between the houses; diseases of
all kinds flourish, and death is ever busy. Eight or ten nationalities
are often found in these towns,--men who cannot spell their names,
and men who went to St. Paul's and admired Canon Liddon, or New York
men that went to Beecher's church.

Here a house which cost less than a hundred dollars, and inside of it
an organ costing one hundred and twenty-five dollars, and a
forty-dollar encyclopædia. The next house is divided by stalls like a
stable, with bed in one, stove in another, and kitchen in the third.
With a population as mixed as this, and in constant flux, what, you
ask, can the church do? I answer, much, very much, if you can only get
a church there; but when the church which gives much more than any
other gives but a quarter of a cent per day per member, is it any
wonder that hundreds of churchless lumber-towns call in vain for help
from the sanctuary? Some small villages can be found where every
family is living in unlawful relations.

Now, remember this, the lumberman is made of the same clay that we
are, and it is his environment that brings to the front the worst
that is in him. He is reached by practical Christianity as easily as
any other man. The shame and reproach belong to us for neglecting him,
and there is no other way that we so dishonor him whom we call Master
as to say his commands are not practicable. Is it asking too much from
the rich men who get their money by the toil of these men, that out of
their millions they should spend thousands for the moral welfare of
those who make them rich? And yet too often they do not even know
their own foremen, and in many cases have never visited the property
they own.

I once asked a rich lumber-man for a subscription for missions, saying
I was sorry he was not at the church when I took up my collection.
"Jinks! I am glad I was not there," he said; "I gave away ten dollars
Saturday night."

Now, this man had been cutting off from his land for thirty years, and
had just sold a quarter of a million dollars' worth of it, and still
had land left. But on the other hand, be it known that the men in
these villages who make no profession of religion actually give dollar
for dollar with the Christian church-members to sustain the frontier
churches. Saloon-keepers, and often Roman Catholics, help to support
the missionary church.

The mission churches of the lumber regions are like springs in the
desert, but for which the traveller would die on his way; and
thousands of church-members scattered from ocean to ocean were born of
the Spirit in some one of these little churches that did brave work in
a transient town.

To do work in these places aright, one must drop all denominational
nonsense,--be as ready to pray and work with the dying Roman Catholic
as with a member of his own church, and do as I did,--lend the church
building to the priest, because disease in the town would not permit
of using the private houses at the time, and so help to fill up the
gap between us and the old mother that nursed us a thousand years.

In every new town, in every camp, should be a standing notice, "No
cranks need apply."

Here is a brawny man who does not like the church. He hates the name
of preacher, and threatens that he had better not call at his house.
Scarlet fever takes his children down. The despised preacher, armed
with a basket of good things, raps at the door. Pat opens it.
"Good-morning, Pat. I heard your little ones were sick, and my wife
thought your wife would have her hands full, and she has sent a few
little things--not much, but they will help a little, I hope."

The tears are in Pat's eyes. "Come in, Elder, if you are not afraid,
for we have scarlet fever here."

"That is the very reason I came, my boy;" and Pat is won. The very man
that swore the hardest because the elder was near, now says, "Don't
swear, boys; there's the elder."

Yes; and when men have heard that the new preacher has helped in the
house stricken with small-pox or typhoid, he has the freedom of the
village, or the camp, and is respected. And so the village missionary
does some good in the mill-town. But what is one man among so many?
See this little place with less than five hundred population. Two
thousand men come there for their mail, and the average distance to
the next church is over twenty miles; and one man is totally
inadequate to the great work before him.

These villages and camps ought to have good libraries, a hall well
lighted, innocent amusements, lectures, and entertainments, and in
addition to this, an army of men carrying good books and visiting all
the camps; and there is nothing to hinder but the lack of money, and
the lack of will to use it in those who have abundance. I lately
passed through a lumber-town of seven thousand inhabitants. Four or
five millionnaires lived there. One had put up an $80,000
training-school, another a memorial building costing $160,000. This
is the other extreme. But up to date the lumber-regions have been
shamefully neglected, and thousands of boys and girls are growing up
to drift to our great cities and form the dangerous classes, fitted
for it by their training. It is better to clear the water-sheds than
to buy filters, and the cheapest policeman of the city is the
missionary in the waste places of our land.



XXVI.

TWO KINDS OF FRONTIER.


Some years ago it is said that a man lost his pig, and in searching
for it he found it by hearing its squealing. The pig had fallen in a
hole; and in getting it out, the man saw the rich copper ore which led
to the opening of the Calumet and Hecla mines, and more recently the
Tamarack. More ore per ton goes into the lake from the washing than
comes out of most mines. So rich is this ore that very few fine
mineral specimens are found in the mines. Millions of money have been
expended in developing them, and millions more have come out of them.

With such richness one would expect to find the usual deviltry that
abounds in mining regions; but such is not the case. In the early
days, the mines were worked on Sunday in the Keweenaw region; but
through the resolute stand of two Scotchmen, who would not work on
Sunday, the work was stopped on Saturday night at twelve o'clock, and
resumed again Monday at twelve A.M. And this was found to be a benefit
all round, as it generally is. I knew of a salt-well where the man
thought it must be kept going all the time; but one Sunday he let it
rest, and found that, instead of coming up in little spits, it
accumulated, so that, as he said, it came "ker-plump, ker-plump."

When the little church was first started in Calumet, the projectors of
it were asked how much money they would want from the society to help
them. The answer was, a check for two hundred dollars for home
missions. Knowing this, I was not surprised to find good churches,
good schools, good society, a good hotel, and as good morals as you
can find anywhere. Not a drop of liquor is sold in Calumet. This shows
what may be done by starting right; and there is no occasion for a
mining-camp to be any worse except through criminal neglect of the
owners.

We pass on to the new mines farther west, and what do we find? Saloons
packed twenty in a block, dance-houses with the most degrading
attachments, scores of young lives sacrificed to man's lust, the
streets dangerous after dark, and not pleasant to be on at any time.
The local newspaper thus heralded a dog-fight at the theatre, "As both
dogs are in good condition, it will prove one of the most interesting
fights ever seen on this range."

Here is the copy of an advertisement: "At the Alhambra Theatre.
Prize-fight, thirty rounds or more. Prize, $200,00. Don't mistake this
for a hippodrome. Men in fine condition. Plucky. Usual price."

Here is another: "Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, balloon ascension. A
lady from the East will go up hanging by her toes. At a great height
she will drop deeds of lots, the lucky possessor only to write his or
her name to own the lot. Persons coming from a distance, and buying
lots, will have railroad money refunded. Men leaving work, and buying,
their wages paid. Everybody come and have a good time. Remember the
date's Saturday, Sunday, and Monday."

Here pandemonium reigned. What a place to raise a family! Thousands of
little children were growing up under these awful conditions. I have
gone up the lake more than once when innocent young girls were on the
boat, expecting to find places at the hotel, only to meet with
temptation and ruin; some committing suicide, some becoming more
reckless than the brutes that duped them.

The harbor could be reached only by daylight, and with vessels of
light draft; and no sooner were they unloaded than they steamed off
again, not to return for a week. Thus there was no way for these
unfortunate girls to get back if they wished, for it was a dense
forest for thirty miles to the nearest railway point, in the
meanwhile, worse than death came to those who fell into the clutches
of such fiends in human shape.

One man, the chief owner there, threatened the bold rascals; but they
said they would build their house upon a raft and defy him. He said,
"I will cut you loose." They snapped their fingers at him, burnt his
hotel, and shot him. Did this go on in the dark? No; the Chicago and
Minneapolis and St. Paul's newspapers wrote it up. I spoke of it until
warned I must not tell such awful things: it would be too shocking.

Into such awful places our minute-man goes, and takes his family too.
It is hard work at first, but little by little sin must give way
before righteousness. It is strange that Christian men and women can
draw incomes from these mines, and feel no duty towards the poor men
who work for them. I met one such man upon the steamer coming from
Europe. He had been over twice that season. He had made his
thousands, and was going back with his family to travel in Egypt, and
leave his children with their nurses at Cairo.

He admitted everything I told him about the condition of things on his
own property; and in answer as to whether he would help, said, "No;
it's none of my funeral." How any man could walk those streets, and
see fair young girls drunk at nine A.M., and in company with some of
the worst characters that ever disgraced humanity, and not feel his
obligations to his Lord and fellow-man, is more than I can understand.

The awful cheapness of human life, the grim jokes upon the most solemn
things, could only be matched in the French Revolution. I saw in one
store, devoted to furniture and picture-frames, a deep frame with a
glass front, and inside a knotted rope, and written underneath,
"Deputy-sheriff's necktie, worn by ---- for murdering Mollie ----" on
such a date. This was for the sheriff's parlor.

Hard times have made a great change since I walked those streets. The
roar of traffic has given place to the howl of hungry wolves that have
prowled among the deserted shanties in midday in search of food; and
the State has had to supply food and clothing to the poor, while my
man, who had made his thousands, was studying the cuneiform
inscription, in Egypt. It ought to make him think, when he sees the
mummies of dead kings being shipped to England to raise turnips, that
some day he will have a funeral all his own.

[Illustration: BREAKING NEW GROUND.

_Page 262._]



XXVII.

BREAKING NEW GROUND.

    _"This is the forest primeval."_


A grand sight is the forest primeval when the birds fill all its
arches with song, or we sweep through them to the music of
sleigh-bells. A pleasant sight is the farmer, surrounded by his wife
and children, with well-kept farm, ample barns, and well-fed stock.
But what wild desolation once reigned where now these fine farms are
seen! The great trees stretched on for hundreds of miles. The hardy
settler came with axe and saw and slow-paced oxen, cleared a little
space, and built a log hut. For a little time all goes well; then
thistles, burdocks, mulleins, and briers come to pester him and
increase his labors. Between the blackened log-heaps fire-weeds spring
up. The man and his wife grow old fast. Ague shakes their
confidence as well as their bodies. Schools are few, the roads mere
trails.

Then a village starts. First a country store; then a saloon begins to
make its pestilential influence felt. The dance thrives. The children
grow up strong, rough, ignorant. The justice of the peace marries
them. No minister comes. The hearts once tender and homesick, in the
forest grow cold and hardened. At funerals perhaps a godly woman
offers prayer. Papers are few and poor. Books are very scarce. In
winter the man is far off, with his older boys, in the lumber-camps,
earning money to buy seed, and supplies for present wants. The woman
pines in her lonely home. The man breaks down prematurely. Too many of
these pioneers end their days in insane asylums. It is the third
generation which lives comfortably on pleasant farms, or strangers
reap that whereon they bestowed no labor.

This may seem too dark a picture. Song and story have gilded the
pioneer life so that its realities are myths to most people. It is
better when a colony starts with money, horses, books, etc.; but it is
hard enough then. Few keep their piety. I visited a community where
nearly every family were church-members in their early homes; but,
after twenty years, only one family had kept up the fire upon the
altar. It is hard to break up such fallows. How different had a
minister gone with them, and a church been built!

The missionary has different material altogether to work on in the
natural born pioneer. I visited one family which had a black bear, two
hounds, some pet squirrels, cats, and a canary; over the fireplace
hung rifles, deer-horns, and other trophies of the chase. The man was
getting ready to move. At first his nearest neighbors were bears and
deer; but now a railway had come, also schools and churches. He said,
"'Tain't like it was at fust; times is hard; have to go miles for a
deer; folks is getting stuck up, wearing biled shirts, getting spring
beds and rockers, and then ye can't do nothin' but some one is making
a fuss. I shall cl'ar out of this!"

And he did, burying himself and family in the depths of the woods. The
homesteader often takes these deserted places, after paying a mere
trifle for the improvements.

Homesteaders are numerous, generally very poor, and are apt to have
large families. One man, who had eight hundred dollars, was looked
upon as a Rothschild. Many families had to leave part of their
furniture on the dock, as a pledge of payment for their passage or
freight-bill. But, homesteaders or colonists, all must work hard, be
strong, live on plain fare, and dress in coarse clothing. The
missionary among these people must do the same. A good brother told me
that, on a memorable cold New Year's Day, he went into the woods to
cut stove-wood, taking for his dinner a large piece of dry bread. By
noon it was frozen solid; but, said he, "I had good teeth, and it
tasted sweet." Another lived without bread for some time, being
thankful for corn-meal. Those who live far from the railways are often
brought to great straits, through stress of weather and the wretched
roads. Little can be raised at first; the work must be done in a
primitive way.

As it is with the farmer, so it is with the missionary. The breaking
of new ground is hard work. Everything at first seems delightful. The
people are glad, "seeing they have a Levite for their priest." They
promise well. The minister starts in with a brave heart, and commences
to underbrush and cut down the giant sins that have grown on such fat
soil. But as they come down, he, too, finds the thistles and mulleins;
jealousies, sectarian and otherwise, come in and hinder him, and it is
a long, weary way to the well-filled church, the thriving
Sunday-school, and the snug parsonage.

Often he fares like the early farmer. The pioneer preacher is seldom
seen in the pretty church, but a man of a later generation. The old
man is alive yet, and perhaps his good wife; but they are plain folks,
and belong to another day. Sometimes they look back with regret to the
very hardships they endured, now transfigured and glorified through
the mists of years. Should the reader think the picture too dark, here
are two condensed illustrations from Dr. Leach's "History of Grand
Traverse Region." Remember, this was only a few years ago, and where
to-day seventy thousand people dwell, on improved farms, and in
villages alive with business, having all the comforts, and not a few
of the luxuries, of civilized life.

In those early days, Mr. Limblin, finding he had but one bushel and a
half of corn left, and one dollar and a half in money, prevailed on a
Mr. Clark to take both corn and money to Traverse City, thirty miles
away, and get groceries with the money, and have the corn ground, Mr.
Clark to have half for the work. One ox was all the beast of burden
they had. Mr. Clark started with the corn on the back of the ox;
about half-way he exchanged for a pony and sled for the rest of the
road, leaving the ox with the Indians till his return. On his way
back, a fierce snowstorm hid the shores of the bay from view.
Presently he came to a wide crack in the ice; his pony, being urged,
made a spring, but only got his fore hoofs on the other side. Mr.
Clark sprang over and grasped the pony's ears, but, as he pulled, his
feet slipped, and down he came. His cries brought the Indians, who
rescued him and the pony. Exhausted, he crawled back to their camp.
But, alas! the corn-meal and groceries were at the bottom of the bay.
A sad scene it was to see his poor wife's tears on his arrival home.

Rev. Peter Daugherty, now of Wisconsin, was the first missionary in
these parts. He once missed his way; and night coming on, he saw that
he must sleep in the woods. The air was chill. Not daring to build a
fire for fear of the damage it might do to the dry woods, he cast
about for a shelter. Spying two headless barrels on the beach, with
much trouble he crawled into them, drawing them as close together as
he could, and so passed the night. He got up very early and finished
his journey. But do we have such places yet? and does the missionary
still have to expose himself? Yes, friends, there are scores of such
places in every frontier State and Territory; and strong men are
needed more than ever to break up new ground, and cause the desert and
solitary places to be glad and blossom as the rose. Send us such men!



XXVIII.

SOWING THE SEED.


The land is bound to grow its crop. The more the land has been
enriched, the greater will be that crop, of useful grain or rank
weeds. And the only way to keep the weeds from gaining the victory is
by sowing good seed and pulling the weeds. A friend in Detroit once
called my attention to the luxuriant weeds in a fenced lot we were
walking by. In the vacant lot close by, the weeds were stunted. In the
fenced lot a market gardener once lived. He had enriched the soil.

Our country is to have a rank growth of something. Rich in the blood
of many nationalities, with freedom well-nigh to license, what will
the harvest be if left without spiritual husbandry? Dr. Mulhall's
"Dictionary of Statistics" tells us how the crop looks now. The ratio
of murders to each million inhabitants has stood as follows in the
countries named: England, 711; Ireland, 883; France, 796; Germany,
837; and the United States, 2,460. Only Italy and Spain exceed us. Do
we wonder why the foreigner is worse here than at home? The answer is
easy. He has left the restraints of a watchful government; our liberty
is for him license. On the frontier he is exposed to the worst
influences, and for years has no religious instruction nor even
example. Is it strange that death reaps such a harvest? The sowers go
forth to sow. In due time that seed ripens to the harvest.

The _Police Gazette_ is sowing dragon's teeth most diligently. The log
shanties of the lumbermen are often papered with them. Nice primers
these for "young America"! Sober Maine sends streams of polluted
literature out here, with cheap chromo attachments, and the
Sunday-school lesson in them for an opiate. The infidel lecturer is
sowing his seed on the fruitful soil of runaway guilt. The callow
scientist is dropping seed long since _dropped_ in another way by real
scientists. The whole country is sown with newspapers of all grades,
and the crop is coming up. What shall the harvest be?

"Be not deceived, whatsoever a nation soweth, that shall it also
reap."

In a very large number of new settlements all the above agencies are
in active operation before the missionary arrives; and, oh, what a
field he finds! The farmer on the new farm cannot use the drill and
improved implements for the uneven places and stumps, but must needs
sow by hand, and sometimes between the log piles, a little here and a
little there, and then, between times, spend his strength
underbrushing.

So the missionary starts without a church building, choir, organ, or
even a membership, his pulpit a box in a vacant store, or in a
schoolhouse or railway depot, or some rude log house of the settler;
his audience is gathered from the four corners of the earth--
representatives of a dozen sects, backsliders in abundance, and
those who have run away from the light of civilized life. Many among
the latter have broken their marriage vows, and are now living in
unlawful wedlock.

I remember once preaching on this evil to an audience of less than
twenty, and was surprised at the close of the meeting to hear a woman
say, "Did you know you gave Mrs. ---- an awful crack on the knuckles
to-day?"

I said, "No!"

"Well, ye did, ye know."

Mentioning the circumstance with surprise to another, I received for
an answer, "Well, she needn't say nothin'; she's in the same boat
herself!"

Depressed in spirits, I told my troubles to a good lady who I knew was
"one of the salt of the earth," and noticing a smile come over her
face, I asked her what she was smiling at. She replied, "The third
was as bad as the other two!"

Just here is one of the greatest hindrances the missionary has to
contend with. I am not sure but it rivals the saloon. One missionary I
visited told me that in one little hamlet, on his field, there was not
a single family living in lawful wedlock. It is next to impossible to
do anything with the parents in such cases. But there is one bright
side to this dark picture. Almost without exception, they like to have
their children attend the Sabbath-school. Here is prolific soil in
which to sow good seed, and we cannot commence too soon.

We are living in rushing times. I have just read in a paper that one
town in Ontonagon County, one year and a half old, has three thousand
inhabitants, forty-five saloons, twelve hotels, two papers,
forty-eight stores, two opera houses, and an electric plant! With
villages springing up in every county, and the immense onflowing tide
from foreign shores, the lone missionary on the frontier ofttimes
would despair, but for the promise of the Master, the miracles of the
past, and the joy of hope's bright harvest in the future. And so,
"going forth weeping, bearing precious seed," he sows beside all
waters, with full expectations that "He shall come again rejoicing,
bringing His sheaves with Him."

That the reader may have an idea of the vastness of the field, and the
distances between the workers, I will jot down a few facts. In 1887
there were thirty Congregational churches in the three conferences of
Grand Traverse, Cheboygan, and Chippewa and Mackinac. These
conferences had an average width of sixty miles, and stretch from
Sherman, in the south of Grand Traverse Conference, for a hundred and
fifty-eight miles, as the bird flies, to Sugar Island, in the north of
Chippewa and Mackinac Conference.

No one can say we were crowded. My nearest neighbor was sixteen miles
away, the next thirty, and the next forty; and, unless a change has
come very lately, this is the only self-supporting church in the three
conferences--and that because it was settled thirty years prior to
many of the other churches. Ten years ago there were hundreds of miles
of unbroken forests where to-day are crowded summer resorts and busy
villages, filled with representatives of the most diverse
nationalities under the sun. I have preached to a good-sized audience
with not a single person in it that was born in the United States. And
the cry is, Still they come. Now send on your harvesters!



XXIX.

"HARVEST HOME."


After all the hopes and fears and toil of the summer, the farmer's
most beautiful sight is to see the last great load safe in the barn,
the stock fattening on the rich, sweet aftermath, the golden fruit in
the orchard, and the big, red, harvest moon smiling over all. This is
a frequent sight, despite poor crops and bad weather. The successful
farmer does not rely on one, but a variety of crops. Then, if the
season is bad for corn, it will be good for oats or wheat. Some crop
will repay his labor.

Here is a hint for the home missionary who goes forth to sow spiritual
seed. If he expects to get a crop of Congregationalists, he will often
lament over poor returns. Often the missionary finds himself in a
miscellaneous gathering, like that of Pentecost in its variety, and
no mere "ism" will crystallize them. One is of Paul, another of
Apollos or Cephas, and he must "determine not to know anything among
them save Christ and him crucified." He must drop minor points, and
adopt that plan on which all can agree.

Here is a bit of experience. In a community of seven hundred souls,
the following denominations were represented: Baptists, three kinds;
Presbyterians, two kinds; Methodists, four kinds; Christians, "Church
of God," Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, Seventh-day Adventists,
Lutherans of all branches, Quakers, and Congregationalists. One day I
found three married women making ready to keep house in what had been
a large store, the only vacant place in which to live; their husbands
were working and living in camp. I said, "I am glad to see you. I
suppose you are all Christians?"

To my surprise, they all cheerfully responded, "Yes."

"Well, that is good news," I said. "And to what church do you belong?"

"Church of God," was their answer.

"Good; so do I. Have you brought your letters?"

"No."

"But do you really belong to the 'Church of God'?" said one. "Well, I
_am_ glad to think we should find a 'Church of God' minister way up
here!"

This she said addressing the other women.

"Oh, well," said one, "he means that every church is a church of God!"

"Oh!" was the answer, with a shade of disappointment on her face.

"Well, well," I said, "is not that true?"

"Y-a-as; but it is not like ourn."

"What do you believe different from me?"

"Well, we believe in feet-washing for one thing, and in immersion."

"Oh, well, I think Christians should wash their feet too."

"Now, Elder, that ain't right to be making fun of Scripter; for
Christ told his disciples to wash one another's feet, and said, 'Happy
are ye if ye do these things.'"

I explained what I thought was the meaning of the lesson, but she
shook her head.

I said, "Are you happy?"

"Not very. I feel lonesome here."

"But is not Christ here too?"

"Oh, yes; but it is not home."

"Well, I am glad you belong to Christ, and hope you will unite with us
in fighting the common foe. Will you come to church, and bring the
children to our Sabbath-school?"

"Well, we shall do that."

As I was leaving one of them said, "There is a new-comer across the
street. She belongs to some church _outside_." By "outside" she meant
the old, settled parts. "You better call on her."

I did so, and said that I was the home missionary. I asked her how she
liked her new home?

"Not much. It is a dreadfully wicked place."

"Yes, that is true; and I hope you will lend a hand in the good work.
You are a Christian, I believe?"

"Yes; but I don't belong to your church."

"What church are you now a member of?"

"Well, there is only one of my kind in the State that I know of."

"You must feel lonesome at times; but in what do you differ from us?"

"Well, we believe in being immersed three times in succession, face
downwards. I intend doing what I can."

After giving her a cordial invitation to attend the church, I left the
good woman, saying I hoped I could depend on her being at church. But,
alas! trade became so brisk that the good sister had to work Sundays.
She felt very sorry, she said, but it did seem as if it was impossible
to live a Christian life in such a wicked place; and she had concluded
not to give her letter to the church until she could get into a
better community, where she would not have to work Sundays. I told her
I was surprised that one who had been so thoroughly cleansed should
have fallen away so quickly.

"Yes; but it is such a wicked place."

"I know; but you have only to be just a small Christian here to pass
for a first-class saint!"

She smiled sadly, and said she guessed she would wait.

A man that must have a "New England element" to work in will feel
depressed in such a field. But if, like Wesley, his field is the
world, or, like Paul, he can say to the people, "called to be saints,"
then he can thrust in the sickle and begin harvesting. We must not
only sow beside all waters, but reap too. Do not harvest the weeds and
the darnel, nor reject the barley because it is not wheat. Often in
the new settlements there are enough Christians to form the nucleus of
one church; whereas, if we wait to have a church for each sect, it
means waste of money and waste of men.

In one small town of less than three hundred people, where there were
many denominations represented, the company that owned nearly all the
land gave a lot and the lumber for a church. Most of the Christians
united, and a minister was secured. Some, however, would not join with
their brethren, but waited on the superintendent to get a lot for
themselves. He said, "Yes, we will give you all a lot and help you
build. Just as soon as this church becomes self-supporting we will
give the next strongest a lot, and so on to the end."

This is level-headed Christian business. If we want to reap the
harvest, we must "receive him that is weak in the faith." Hidden away
in trunks are hundreds of church letters that should be coaxed out.
Faithful preaching, teaching, and visiting, will bring a glorious
"Harvest Home." A goodly sight it is to see, under one roof, all these
different branches of the Lord's army worshipping the same Master,
rejoicing in the same hope, and realizing in a small degree that there
is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female, but that all
are one in Christ Jesus.



XXX.

INJEANNY VS. HEAVEN.


The title to this chapter bears about the same relation to its
contents as the name of one sermon does to the other twenty in a given
volume. I gave it this title because it must have some heading;
everything has a heading. Graves have headstones.

No greater variety of character exists on the frontier than elsewhere,
but peculiar cases come to the surface oftener. Those women living in
the woods, who belonged to the "Church of God," are good
illustrations. They had some peculiar ideas about the Scriptures, but
it was much more refreshing to the missionary to find _peculiar_ views
than none at all. I often introduced myself to them with a text of
Scripture, and tried hard to induce them to move into the next village
for their children's sake. It was a much better place morally,
although but a mile distant. But the influence of an organized church,
with a good building and Sunday-school, made a greater difference than
the distance would seem to warrant. One day, as I was passing their
home, I shouted out, "Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will
destroy this city!" The next day I was off on my way to the other side
of the State. As my journey well illustrates the difficulties of
travel in a new country, I will describe it.

At my first change of cars, I found that my train was delayed by a
fire along the track, so that I could not make my next connection with
a cross-country train. This troubled me, as it was Friday, and the
young minister whom I was about to visit was doing manual work on his
church building, and would probably be ill-prepared to preach himself.
I telegraphed him, and was just turning away when my eye caught sight
of a map, and I noticed that the road I was on and the road he was
on, although a hundred miles apart where I was then, gradually
approached until within thirteen miles of each other, one hundred
miles north. Remembering that a stage crossed at this point, I started
on the late train, which, like a human being, seldom makes up for lost
time, and was dropped into the pitch darkness about eleven P.M. The
red lights of the train were soon lost in the black forest; I felt
like Goldsmith's last man.

Two or three little lights twinkled from some log cabins. A small boy,
with a dilapidated mail-bag and a dirty lantern, stood near me. I
asked him if there was a hotel in town.

He said, "Yep."

Would he guide me to it?

"Yep."

I next inquired whether the stage made connections with the train on
the other road.

"Wal, yes, it gineraley does."

"Why, does it not to-morrow?"

"Guess not."

"Why?"

"Cos' of the ternado."

"Tornado?"

"Yes; didn't ye know we had a ternado?"

"No."

"Well, we did, ye know; tore the trees up hullsale, and just played
Ned. Rain cum down like suds."

"Well, can I get a buggy or wagon?"

"Guess not; both out in the woods; can't git home."

I felt sick at hearing this; for how to get across with two grips
filled with books, theological books too, troubled me. I slept little.
My room was bare; the rain pattering on the roof, the mosquitoes
inside, and my own thoughts, routed me out early Saturday morning. I
was pleased to find that the man had returned with the wagon, and
after much persuasion, I engaged him for five dollars to take me
across.

We started off with an axe. The old settlers laughed at our attempt,
but we were young. Over the fallen trees we went bumping along; but,
alas, we tried too big a maple, and out came the reach-pole and left
us balanced on the tree. After a tiring walk through the
"shin-tangles"--that is, ground hemlock--we reached the road, and
mounted bareback. We met some commercial travellers cutting their way
through, with a settler's help, passed a horse and buggy (minus a
driver), with a bottle of whiskey in the bottom. We then had the good
fortune to borrow a single wagon of a minister, who lived near on a
farm. Our horses had to walk in the water by the edge of the lake, and
the leeches fastened on them by the dozen. Finally we met the stage,
and knew our way was clear. We were drenched with the rain, but it was
clearing, and so we cheered up.

I asked the stage-driver whether I could catch the train.

He said, "Well, if ye _drive_, ye can."

The emphasis he put into the drive made us whip up. Presently the
village could be seen, a half-mile away. The engine was on the
turntable. How fast it went around! I was getting nervous. I asked the
man to get my grips out, while I got my ticket; and rushing into the
office, I snapped out, "Ticket for ----!"

The man turned his head with a jerk, and stared at me so intently that
I thought something was wrong. So I said, "What time does the train
start?"

"In about an hour."

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I felt like Sir Francis
Drake, when his vessel seemed to be going over in the Thames. "What!
have I sailed the ocean," said he, "to be drowned in a ditch?" So, I
thought, "Have I come a hundred miles out of my way, to miss the
train?"

I boarded the cars, cleaned my valises, and found the color running
from my book-covers. My boots were like brown paper, so sodden were
they. I dried myself by the stove; but my troubles were not over. The
train-boy called out the station at the water-tank. The rain was
pouring down; I was in for it again; so I walked down between the
freight cars, went to the hotel and dried myself again, and, after
dancing around the room on one foot to get my boots on, I started off
to find my man.

He was out of town! Expected home with a funeral soon. I was foolish
enough to make myself known as soon as he got off the cars, and he
coaxed me into taking charge of the funeral. Then for the third time I
was soaked, as we stood in the new cemetery, while a hymn of six
verses was rendered. But what flattened me worse than all was that the
young man had not received my second telegram, which I sent to relieve
his supposed excited feelings, and had not been troubled in the least,
but was going to make Fred. Robertson ("who being dead yet speaketh")
do duty for him. Tired out, I flung myself on a bed, and slept in
spite of--well never mind what. I had to change quarters next night,
for I was not so sleepy.

I received a letter from the student who had taken my charge, saying,
"----is burnt to the ground, and all north of the railway." In an
instant there flashed on my mind the words of the woman: "Up, get you
out," etc. The same words came home to the women as they saw their
homes going up in smoke.

"What did the elder say?" said they to one another.

The excitement of the fire brought on brain fever in the case of the
youngest child.

On my return, while trying to comfort the little one (who we thought
was dying), and telling her about heaven, she cried out in her
feebleness, "I don't want to go to heaven! I want to go to Injeanny."

And, sure enough, she got well, and did go to "Injeanny."



XXXI

THE LATEST FRONTIER--OKLAHOMA.


Collier, in his "Great Events of History," tells of a million warriors
who, leaving their wives and children, crossed the Danube, and swore
allegiance to Rome. Since that time a great many immigrations have
taken place, but none on so large a scale. But, large or small, the
settlements of the Indian Territory, now called Oklahoma, are the most
unique.

It would have been hard to have devised a worse way to open a new
country. Thousands of people--strong, weak, the poor settler, the
speculator, the gambler--were all here, man and wife, and spinster on
her own responsibility. All waited for weeks on the border-land. At
last the time came, and the gun was fired, and in confusion wild as a
Comanche raid, the great rush was made. Many sections being claimed
by two and three parties, the occasion had its comic side, amid more
that was tragic. Thousands went in on cattle-cars, and as many more
filled common coaches inside and out, and clung to the cow-catcher of
the engine. In places wire fences were on either side of the railway;
and men in trying to get through them in a hurry, often reached their
land minus a large part of their clothing.

[Illustration: LOOKING FOR A TOWN LOT.

_Page 294._]

In one case a portly woman, taking the tortoise plan of slow and
steady, reached the best section, while the men still hung in the
fence like victims of a butcher-bird. It is said of one young woman,
who made the run on horseback, that reaching a town-site, her horse
stumbled, and she was thrown violently to the ground and stunned. A
passing man jumped off his horse, and sprinkled her face with water
from his canteen; and as she revived, the first thing she said was,
"This is my lot."

"No, you don't," said the man. But to settle it they went to law, and
the court decided in favor of the woman, as she struck the ground
first.

Among much that was brutal and barbarous, some cases of chivalry were
noticed. In one case a young woman was caught in a wire fence, and two
young men went back, helped her out, and allowed her to take her
choice of a section. One man, in his eagerness, found himself many
miles from water. As he was driving his stake, he noticed that his
horse was dying; and realizing his awful situation, being nearly
exhausted with thirst, he cut his horses throat, drank the blood, and
saved his own life.

The work done in six years is simply marvellous. Imagine the prairie
described by Loomis as the place where you could see day after
to-morrow coming up over the horizon; at times covered with flowers
fair as the garden of the Lord, or covered with snow, and nothing to
break the fury of the wind. Seventy-five thousand Indians the only
permanent residents in the morning; at night hundreds of thousands of
whites--villages, towns, and cities started, in some of them a mayor
chosen, a board of aldermen elected, and the staked-out streets under
police control. The inhabitants were under tents for a few weeks,
while sickness of all kinds attacked them. There were rattlesnakes of
two varieties, tarantulas, two kinds of scorpions,--one, the most
dangerous, a kind of lizard, which also stings with its tail, and with
often deadly effect,--and centipedes that grow to six inches in
length. One of the latter was inside a shirt which came home from the
laundry, and planted his many feet on the breast of one of our
minute-men, and caused it to swell so fearfully that he thought at one
time he should die. He recovered, but still at times feels the effect
of the wounds, which are as numerous as the feet. The pain caused is
intense, and the parts wounded slough off.

[Illustration: FORMING IN LINE TO VOTE FOR MAYOR.

_Page 296._]

Now imagine all this; and then six years after you visit this land,
and find cities of ten thousand inhabitants, banks with polished
granite pillars,--polished with three per cent per month
interest,--great blocks, huge elevators, and fine hotels. And nowhere,
even in Paris, will you find more style than among the well-to-do. And
on the same streets where I saw all this, I also saw men picking
kernels of corn out of an old cellar close by a second-hand store,
where already the poor had given up and sold their furniture to get
home.

I looked out of my hotel window one morning in "Old Oklahoma," and saw
a lady walking past dressed in a lavender suit, a white hat with great
ostrich feathers on it, by her side a gentleman as well groomed as any
New York swell, an English greyhound ambled by their side, while in
the rear were rough men with the ugly stiff hats usually worn by your
frontier rough. Storekeepers were going to work in their
shirt-sleeves. This was in a town of two thousand inhabitants, where
there were four banks, four newspapers, eleven churches, and only
three saloons.

While I was there a most brutal murder took place,--a woman shot her
step-daughter, killing her instantly. The husband, the girl's father,
swept the blood from the sidewalk, and went down to the jail that
night and stayed with the woman, while a fiddler was sent down to
cheer her. This man was her fifth husband.

In the two weeks I was in that vicinity seven persons were killed.
Three men had shot down some train-robbers, and after they were dead
had filled their bodies with bullets. This so incensed the friends of
the dead men that a number of them went to the house where the men had
fortified themselves. When they saw how large a force was against
them, they surrendered, their wives in the meanwhile begging the men
who had come not to molest their husbands. But the women were pushed
rudely aside, and the men were carried to the hills and lynched.
One murderer cost the Territory over fifteen thousand dollars. Banks
have loaded pistols behind the wire windows, where they can be reached
at a moment's notice.

Still, lawlessness is not the rule; and it has never been as bad as
one city was farther north, where men were held up on the main street
in broad daylight. Such facts may just as well be known, because there
is a better time coming, and these things are but transitory.

In the old settled parts, peach orchards are already bearing; and if
there is a moderate rainfall, and the people can get three good crops
out of five, such is the richness of the soil, the people will be
rich. But to me the western part of the Territory seems like an
experiment as yet. There are many places in the same latitude farther
north utterly deserted; and empty court-houses, schools, and churches
stand on the dry prairie as lonesome as Persepolis without her
grandeur.

But now let us go into "The Strip." ("The Strip" is the Cherokee
Strip, the last but one opened; the Kickapoo being opened this May.)
It has been settled about eighteen months. It is May, 1895. We leave
the train, and start across the prairie in a buggy with splendid
horses that can be bought for less than forty dollars each. We pass
beautiful little ponies that you can buy for ten to twenty dollars. On
either side we pass large herds of cattle and many horses. Few houses
are in sight, as most of them are very small and hardly
distinguishable from the ground, while some are under ground. Here and
there a little log house, made from the "black jacks" that border the
stream, which is often a dry ditch. The rivers, with banks a quarter
of a mile apart at flood can be stepped over to-day.

Fifty miles of riding bring us to a county town. All the county towns
in "The Strip" were located by the Government, and have large squares,
or rather oblongs, in which the county buildings stand. It is the
day before the Indians are paid. Here we find every one busy. Streets
are being graded, and a fine court-house in process of erection.
Stores are doing an immense business, one reaching over one hundred
thousand dollars a year; another, larger still, being built. By their
sides will be a peanut-stand, a sod store, another partly of wood and
partly of canvas, and every conceivable kind of building for living in
or trading. And here is a house with every modern convenience, up to a
set of china for afternoon teas, and a club already formed for
progressive euchre.

[Illustration: INDIANS AT PAWNEE, OKLAHOMA TERRITORY.]

The Indian is not a terror to the settlers, as in early days; but he
exasperates him, stalking by to get his money from the Government. He
spends it like a child, on anything and everything to which he takes a
notion. He lives on canned goods, and feasts for a time, then fasts
until the Great Fathers send him more money. On the reservation,
gamblers fleece him; but he does not seem to care, for he has a
regular income and all the independence of a pauper.

It seemed very strange to look out of the car window, and see the
tepees of the Indians, and on the other side of the car a lady in
riding-habit with a gentleman escort--a pair who would have been in
their place in Rotten Row.

Now we must turn westward for a hundred miles, and in all the long
ride pass but one wheatfield that will pay for cutting; and that
depends on rain, and must be cut with a header. Dire distress already
stares the settler in the face; and even men, made desperate by hunger
in Old Oklahoma, are sending their petitions to Guthrie for food.
There are hundreds of families who have nothing but flour and milk,
and some who have neither. When a cry goes up for help, it is soon
followed by another, saying things are not so bad. This latter cry
comes from those who hold property, and who would rather the people
starve than that property should decrease.

I saw men who had cut wood, and hauled it sixteen miles, then split
it, and carried it twelve miles to market, and after their three days'
work the two men had a load for themselves and one dollar and a
quarter left. And one man said, "Mine is a case of 'root hog or die,'"
and so got fifty cents for his load of wood he had brought fourteen
miles; while another man returned with his, after vainly offering it
for forty cents. In one town I saw a horse,--a poor one, it is
true,--but the man could not get another bid after it had reached one
dollar and a half.

Of course there are thousands who are better off; but in the case of
very many they were at the very last degree of poverty when they went
in. Many of our minute-men preached the first Sunday. They were among
the men who sat on the cow-catcher of the engine, and made the run for
a church-lot and to win souls. They preached that first Sunday in a
dust-storm so bad that you could scarcely see the color of your
clothes. To those who never saw one, these dust-storms are past
belief. Even when the doors and windows are closed, the room seems as
if it were in a fog; for the fine particles of dust defy doors and
windows. And should a window be left open, you can literally use a
shovel to get the dust off the beds.

You may be riding along, as I was, the hot wind coming in puffs, the
swifts gliding over the prairie by your side, the heat rising visibly
on the horizon, when in a flash, a dust-storm from the north came
tearing along, until you could not see your pony's head at times,
drifts six inches deep on the wheat, and your teeth chattering with
the cold at one P.M., when at eleven A.M. you were nearly exhausted
with the heat.

Strange when you ask people whether it is not extremely hot in the
Middle West, they say, "Yes; but we always have cool nights." And, as
a rule, that is so; but now as I write, July 9, 1895, comes the news
of intense heat,--thermometer a hundred and nine in the shade, and
ninety-eight at midnight, followed by a storm that shot pebbles into
the very brickwork of the houses.

Every man who can, has a cyclone cellar. Some are fitted up so that
you could keep house in them. In one town where I went to speak, the
meeting was abandoned on account of a storm which was but moderate;
but such is the fear of the twister that nearly all the people were in
their pits.

In the Baptist church, where they had a full house the night before, I
found one woman and two men; and they were blowing out the lights. The
telegrams kept coming, telling of a storm shaking buildings, and
travelling forty miles an hour; but it was dissipated before it
reached me, and I escaped. Yet I found a man who had lived over a
quarter of a century in the West, and had never seen one.

It is a big country. A friend of mine in England wrote me that they
feared for me as they read of our fearful cyclones. I was living near
Boston, Mass. I wrote back, saying I felt bad for them in London when
the Danube overflowed. I had to go over and explain it before they saw
my joke.

[Illustration: AFTER A STORM, GUTHRIE, OKLAHOMA TERRITORY.

_Page 306._]

The cyclone, however, is no joke. Nevertheless, it performs some queer
antics. One cyclone struck a house, and left nothing but the floor and
a tin cuspidore. The latter stood by a stove which weighed several
hundredweight, and which was smashed to atoms.

In another house a heavy table was torn to pieces, while the
piano-cover in the same room was left on the piano. In one house all
had gone into the cellar, when they remembered the sleeping baby. A
young girl sprang in, and got the baby; and just as she stepped off,
the house went, and she floated into the cellar like a piece of
thistle-down. A school-teacher was leaving school, when she was thrown
to the ground, and every bit of clothing was stripped from her,
leaving her without a scratch.

[Illustration: FIRST CHURCH AND PARSONAGE, ALVA, OKLAHOMA TERRITORY.

_Page 307._]

Perhaps the most remarkable escape was a few years ago in Kansas City.
When a young school-teacher reached home, her mother said, "Why did
you not bring your young brother?" She hastened back; and as she
reached the room where her brother was, she grasped him around the
waist, and jumped out of the window just as the building was struck.
She was carried two blocks, and dropped without injury to either of
them. These things are hard to believe, but no one will be lost who
does not believe them.

But to return to our journey. We had three churches to dedicate in
three days, two on one day. And here let me say, a church could be
organized every day in the year, and not trespass on any one's work.
We could see the little building loom up on the horizon, appearing
twice its size, as things do on the prairie with nothing to contrast
them with, for the houses were almost invisible. The place was
crowded, so that the wagon-seats were brought in; and a very affecting
sight it was to see the communion-wine brought in a ketchup bottle.
The people were good, but very poor, although nearly all owned horses,
for in that country this is no sign of wealth.

After a few hours' drive, we came to our second church. The prairie
here was broken up by small cañons, interspersed with streams, and was
quite pretty. A grocery and a blacksmith-shop, the latter opened
Tuesday and Thursday only, comprised the village. A small house where
the proprietor of the store lived, and the church, were all the
buildings one could see. The people were very cordial and intelligent.
The daughters of mine host were smart, handsome girls, that could do
almost everything,--ride a wild broncho, and shoot a rattler's head
off with a bullet, and yet were modest, well-dressed, and
good-mannered young ladies.

I was taken down stairs cut out of the clay, and covered with carpet,
into a room the sides of which were the cañon. It looked out over the
great expanse. The beds were lifted up so as to form walls around
the room, and take up less space.

After a bountiful supper, I looked at the church, which stood on a
sightly hill. I wondered where the people were coming from, but was
told it would be filled. It was on a Thursday night. I looked over the
prairie; and in all directions I saw dark spots in motion, that grew
larger. I said, "They appear as if rising from the ground."

"Well," said mine host, "most of them are."

By eight o'clock three hundred were there, most of them bringing
chairs; by 8.30, there were four hundred; at 9 o'clock, by actual
count, five hundred people crowded in and around the door of the
church. It was a sight never to be forgotten, to see this great
company start off across the prairie in the full moonlight. I spoke to
some of them, saying, "Why, you were out at the afternoon
meeting."--"Yes," said the man, "I should have come if we had to ride
a cow all the way from Enid." This was a place thirty miles away.
This church was built by the people, one man working for a dollar a
week and his dinner, the farmers working his farm for him while he was
at the building.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AT A CHURCH DEDICATION.

_Page 310._]

The church had not yet received its chairs, and was seated with boards
laid across nail-kegs.

Here our minute-man preaches in houses so small that the chairs had to
be put outside, and the people packed so thickly that they touched
him. It ought to touch the Christian reader to help more. We had fifty
miles to ride the next day, into a county town. We found it all alive;
for nearly four hundred lawsuits were on the docket, mostly for timber
stealing.

"Poor fellows," I thought, "Uncle Sam ought to give you the timber for
coaxing you here."

However, the judge was a fine, well-read man, and let them off easy.
Deputy-sheriffs by the score were stalking about, with their deadly
revolvers sticking out from under their short coats.

The best hotel was crowded, and I had for that night to sleep in
another one. The house was old, and had been taken down and brought
here from Kansas and rebuilt. The doors up-stairs once had glass in
them; rough boards covered the broken places. One door was made up
entirely of old sign-boards, which made it appear like so many Chinese
characters, such as Pat said he could not read, but thought he could
play it if he had his flute with him.

I was ushered into a room, and requested to put the light out when I
was through with it; meaning I was to place it outside, which I did
not do. But what a room! The wainscoting did not reach the floor.
Small bottles of oil, with feathers in them, looked awfully
suspicious. There was no washstand or water. The pillow looked like a
little bag of shot, and was as dirty as the bed-clothes. The door was
fastened with a little wooden button, which hung precariously on a
small nail.

I took off my coat, and put it on again, and finally lay down on the
bed, after placing something between my head and that pillow.

I had to go several blocks in the morning to find a place to wash, so
dirty were the towels down-stairs. I was then given a house to myself,
which consisted of a single room, eight by ten, or ten by twelve, I
forget which. It was originally the church and parsonage. Here the
church was organized, and the first wedding took place.

A fine church, the largest and handsomest in the Territory, was next
door, and was to be dedicated the next day, which would be Sunday.
This building had been brought all the way from Kansas, and the very
foundation-stones carried with it, and put up in better shape than
ever. Three times next day it was crowded, even to the steps outside,
many coming twenty miles to attend. One lady came twice who lived six
miles away, and said, "Oh, how I wish I could come again to-night! But
I have six cows to milk, and it would mean twelve miles to ride there
and back, and then six miles to go home; yet I would if I could. Oh!
sometimes I think I should die but for God and my little girl."

As the people came in, I said to myself, "Where have I seen these
ladies before,--pink and lemon-colored silk dresses, pointed buff
shoes, ostrich feathers in their enormous hats,--oh! I have it, in the
daily hints from Paris."

The men wore collars as ugly and uncomfortable as they could be made,
which made them keep their chins up; and right by their sides were
women whose hats looked like those we see in boxes outside the stores,
your choice for five cents; there were four or five little sunburned
children, some of whom were in undress uniform, and their fathers in
homespun and blue jeans.

Close by in the cañons crouched a fugitive from justice. Two men
started out to take him, but came home without their guns. Then a
brave, cool-headed man of experience went, and slept in the timber
where our desperado lay concealed, thinking to catch him in the
morning before the robber awoke; but while he was rubbing his own
sleepy eyes the words, sharp as a rifle report, came, "Hold up your
hands!" And number three came home minus his shooting-irons.

Oklahoma differs in many ways from other frontiers. You find greater
extremes, but you also find a higher type intellectually. The
_Century_ and _Harper's_ and the popular magazines sell faster, and
more of them, than the _Police Gazette_.

On the other hand, settled _en masse_ as it has been, the church has
not begun to reach the people except in county towns, where, as usual,
it is too often, but not always, overdone. In one case I found a man
who was trying to organize with one member; and in another a man
actually built a church before a single member of his denomination
was there, and there were none there when I left. In some cases I
found our minute-man an old soldier; and more than once for weeks at a
time he had to sleep in his clothes, and keep his rifle by his side.

In some cases the Government had located a county town, and the
railway company had chosen another site close by. Then the fight
began. The railway at first ignored the Government's site, and ran
their trains by; built a station on their own site, and would have no
other. Then the people on the Government site tore up the tracks, and
incendiarism became so common that the insurance agent came and
cancelled all the policies except the church and parsonage where our
minute-man stood guard. This was done in several places, and the end
is not yet.

Now, to the general reader, everything seems in a hopeless muddle, and
he is glad he is not living there. But remember this. It is better
than some older settlements, where men had to give eighty bushels of
wheat for a pair of stogy boots, as they did in Ohio, and fight the
Indian as well as the wolf from the door, or in Kansas forty years
ago, where corn brought five cents a bushel, and men had to go a
hundred miles to the mill. In order to show the hopeful side, I will
give an illustration.

I was to speak at a meeting in Illinois. My way was through Missouri,
where spiritual and civilized prosperity has not kept pace with her
wealth and opportunities. I was entertained in a mansion built sixty
years ago. The city, of sixteen thousand inhabitants, could hardly be
matched in New England,--many fine streets, shaded with grand old
elms; the roads bricked and well graded; the houses beautiful,
artistic, and surrounded with lovely lawns; a college, a ladies'
seminary, and many fine schools and churches.

The lady of the house said, "My mother crossed the mountains many
times to Washington, to live with her husband, who represented the
State there." At last she had to take two carriages and two horses,
and it became too hard work, when her husband built the house which is
still a beautiful home, with magnificent elms, planted by its original
owner, shading it. In that day the rattlesnake glided about the
doorway, the Indians roamed everywhere, and the wolves actually licked
the frosting off the cakes that were set to cool on the doorstep,
while the Indians stole the poor woman's dinner who lived close by.
To-day a park adorns the front, given by the generous owner to the
city; and where the wolves and the Indians roamed, lives the daughter
of Governor Duncan, with her husband and family, in one of the finest
cities of its size in the world. Nowhere in all this wide world can
the advance of civilization during the last fifty years be found on so
large a scale as here on the American frontiers.



XXXII.

THE PIONEER WEDDING.


As one travels over our country to-day, one will see as lowly homes,
as acute poverty, and as congested a population, as he can find
anywhere in Europe, with this great difference,--our people are filled
with hope. There is a buoyancy about American life that is lacking in
Europe. It is, as Emerson expressed it, a land of opportunity; and
this difference is everything to the immigrant and the native pioneer.
And this means much to us. The great majority of immigrants are from
the most thrifty of the poor.

I have in mind now a family, who once lived in a large city. It took
all the strength of husband and wife to make both ends meet; but by
dint of rigid economy, they saved enough to take them across the water
in the steerage of a great ship. This couple, with their little ones,
found themselves at the end of their journey on a homestead, but with
scarcely a cent left. The people around them were very poor, some of
them living the first winter on potatoes and salt, not having either
bread or milk. But in some way they managed to live, cheered by the
hope that any move must be upward, and in the near future comfort, and
farther on affluence. The same economy that saved the passage-money
kept a little for a rainy day, no matter how hard the times were.

When I became acquainted with them they owned a large farm, a small
log house and stable, several cows, horses, pigs, and poultry. Around
the house was a neat picket-fence, every picket being cut out and made
with axe and jack-knife during the long winter months. The vegetable
garden was well-stocked; but what appealed to me most was the richness
and the variety of the flower-garden,--roses, pansies, wallflowers,
sweet-pease, hollyhocks, and mignonette. It was truly a feast for the
eyes. The little house and the milk-room, the latter made of
lilliputian logs, were dazzling white by the repeated coats of
whitewash. The whole formed a pretty picture; and for so new a country
it was more than a picture,--it was an education for every settler
near them.

I tried to fancy my host's feelings as he thought of the sharp
struggle in the old land, and as he looked over his broad acres now,
richer than the farmers he once envied as they drove in on their stout
cobs to market.

Near by was another home. Here, too, were fine gardens, and another
old couple out of the grip of poverty, which well-nigh killed them in
the struggle. This good lady was once the only white woman on a large
island, which to-day is laid out in sections, has towns, villages,
schoolhouses, and churches, and every farm occupied. The old couple
had an unmarried son left; and he, too, was about to quit the parent
nest, and start a home for himself. And now I must tell about the
wedding.

But first a word about the climate, soil, and conditions, in order to
understand what follows. The whole country had once been forest, the
home of the Hurons, Chippewas, and other tribes of Indians. The Jesuit
had roamed here, suffered, and often become a martyr. Some time in the
past, either from Indian fires or carelessness, the forest caught
fire, and tens of thousands of acres of choice maples and birch were
burnt down to the very roots. The soil is clay, but so charged with
lime that you can plough while the water follows the horses in the
furrows in rivulets that dash against their fetlocks. This in clay, as
a rule, would mean utter ruin until frost came, and the ground thawed
again. But not so here. As the ground becomes dry, it pulverizes
easily under the harrow.

This section was subject to storms that filled the narrow streams
until they became dangerous torrents, sweeping all before them, and
sometimes making a jam of logs twenty miles long. One spring I
noticed that all the bridges were new, and that they had all been
built some four feet higher than before. I was told that the spring
freshets had swept everything before them, and had been so unusually
high that the change of level became necessary.

It was the night before the wedding, and I was preaching in a little
schoolhouse that held about twenty people. It was a very hot night for
that latitude, and every one was depressed with the heat. A great
black cloud covered the heavens, except an ugly streak of dirty yellow
in the west. It was not long before the yellow glare was swallowed up
by the night; and then from out of the dense black canopy shot streaks
of vivid lightning, forked, chained, and of every variety, and "long
and loud the thunder bellowed."

We were not long in closing that meeting. All that rode in our wagon
had more than two miles to go. The horses were terrified, but to those
who enjoy a thunder-storm it was sublime. We crossed one bridge in
the nick of time; for it went thundering down as the back wheel bumped
against the road, only just clear of it.

One man was asleep in his shanty, and did not know of the storm until
his little dog, tired of swimming around the room, climbed on the bed,
and licked his face. The man awoke, and put his hand out of the
clothes and felt the water. He sprang up and lit a lamp, and found two
feet of water in his room. In the morning it had run off and taken all
the bridges again.

And this was the wedding morn. The bridegroom had been away for the
ring, but had not returned. We were getting anxious for him when we
saw two horses coming on the jump, and a wagon that was as often off
the ground as on it, as it thumped along the macadamized road of a new
country, with stones as large as a cocoanut, five and six feet apart;
but, as the settlers said, it was good to what it once was, and I
believed it too.

He came in splashed with mud; but although he had been without sleep,
victorious love shone in those light blue eyes, and with his fair
complexion and rich rosy cheeks he was the personification of a Viking
after victory. He had covered four times the distance on account of
bridges carried away.

A hasty breakfast, and off we started, forgetting, until we were
almost there, the bridge which had gone down the night before. We
turned back to find another bridge afloat and in pieces; but, luckily,
the stream had become shallow, and after the horses had danced a
cotillon, we succeeded in getting across.

As we came to the farm where the fair young bride was waiting, we
found the fields under water nearly to the house. I hardly knew how we
should reach it. But the bridegroom and the horses had been there
before; and, as the water was only a few inches deep, we were soon at
the house. The youngsters were all in great spirits. This was the
first wedding in the family; and I remember how awestruck the
children seemed when the bride came out, looking queenly in her white
robes, but soon recovered themselves as they recognized their own
sister.

The wedding over, then came the dinner. Who would have thought, as
they passed that farm, of the world of happiness in that little log
house? And the dinner,--a huge sirloin, which made us sing, "Oh, the
roast beef of old England!" Precious little had these people had in
old England; but now, besides the mighty sirloin, there were capons,
ducks, lamb and green pease, mint sauce, delicious wild strawberries,
damson pie, and raspberry-wine vinegar for drink.

Thank God for the possibilities of our glorious land to those who are
frugal and industrious.

After dinner we sang "The Mistletoe Bough," "To the West, to the
West," "Far, far, upon the Sea," "Home, Sweet Home," and "America,"
the youngsters singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," and some of the
old ones "God save the Queen," to the same tune.

The young couple had the only spare room in the house, and the rest of
us went up-stairs into a room that was the size of the house. There
father and mother hung a sheet up, and went to bed. Some grain-sacks
made the next partition; and a young student and myself took the next
bed. Golden seed-corn hung over my head from the rafters; oats, pease,
and wheat were in bins on either side of the bed.

To-day that one family has become many families. The old people go to
church in a covered buggy. The youngest are on the home farm, and live
with the parents, and lovingly tend those two brave hearts who now sit
content in their golden age, waiting for the call to that better land,
where the Elder Brother has prepared a mansion for them and a marriage
supper, with everlasting joy.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been retained
except in obvious cases of typographical error.

The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up
paragraphs.





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