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Title: My Opinions and Betsey Bobbet's - Designed as a Beacon of Light to Guide Women to Life Liberty - and the Pursuit of Happiness, But Which May Be Read by - Members of the Sterner Sect without Injury to Themselves - or the Book
Author: Holley, Marietta
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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Transcriber’s Note: Obvious printer and punctuation errors have been
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(haint/hain’t, their/thier, etc) are left untouched.

[Illustration: MR. BOBBET TELLS NEWS.]

                               MY OPINIONS
                            BETSEY BOBBET’S.

                               DESIGNED AS
                             A BEACON LIGHT,
                        BUT WHICH MAY BE READ BY
                      MEMBERS OF THE STERNER SECT,
                      WITHOUT INJURY TO THEMSELVES

                          JOSIAH ALLEN’S WIFE.

         “_Who will read the Book, Samantha, when it is rote?_”

                            HARTFORD, CONN.:
                      AMERICAN PUBLISHING COMPANY.

     Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by the
                      AMERICAN PUBLISHING COMPANY,
       In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

                         This Book is Dedicated

                        To my own Lawful Pardner,


                 Whom (although I have been his Consort
                    for a little upwards of 14 years)
                           I still Love with a

                         CAST-IRON DEVOTEDNESS.


Which is to be read, if it haint askin’ too much of the kind hearted

In the first days of our married life, I strained nearly every nerve
to help my companion Josiah along and take care of his children by his
former consort, the subject of black African slavery also wearin’ on me,
and a mortgage of 200 and 50 dollars on the farm. But as we prospered and
the mortgage was cleared, and the children were off to school, the black
African also bein’ liberated about the same time of the mortgage, then
my mind bein’ free from these cares--the great subject of Wimmen’s Rites
kept a goarin’ me, and a voice kept a sayin’ inside of me,

“Josiah Allen’s wife, write a book givin’ your views on the great subject
of Wimmen’s Rites.” But I hung back in spirit from the idea and says I,
to myself, “I never went to school much and don’t know nothin’ about
grammer, and I never could spell worth a cent.”

But still that deep voice kept a ’swaiden me--“Josiah Allen’s wife, write
a book.”

Says I, “I can’t write a book, I don’t know no underground dungeons, I
haint acquainted with no haunted houses, I never see a hero suspended
over a abyss by his gallusses, I never beheld a heroine swoon away, I
never see a Injun tommy hawked, nor a ghost; I never had any of these
advantages; I can’t write a book.”

But still it kept a sayin’ inside of my mind, “Josiah Allen’s wife write
a book about your life, as it passes in front of you and Josiah, daily,
and your views on Wimmen’s Rites. The great publick wheel is a rollin’
on slowly, drawin’ the Femail Race into liberty; Josiah Allen’s wife, put
your shoulder blades to the wheel.”

And so that almost hauntin’ voice inside of me kept a ’swaidin me, and
finally I spoke out in a loud clear voice and answered it--

“I _will_ put my shoulder blades to the wheel.”

I well remember the time I said it, for it skairt Josiah almost to death.
It was night and we was both settin’ by the fire relapsted into silence
and he--not knowin’ the conversation goin’ on inside of my mind, thought
I was crazy, and jumped up as if he was shot, and says he, in tremblin’

“What is the matter Samantha?”

Says I, “Josiah I am goin’ to write a book.”

This skairt him worse than ever--I could see, by his ghastly
countenance--and he started off on the run for the camfire bottle.

Says I, in firm but gentle axcents, “camfire can’t stop me Josiah, the
book will be wrote.”

He see by my pale but calm countenance, that I was not delirious any, and
(by experience) he knows that when my mind is made up, I have got a firm
and almost cast iron resolution. He said no more, but he sot down and
sithed hevily; finally he spoke out in a despairin’ tone, he is pretty
close (but honest),

“Who will read the book Samantha? Remember if you write it you have got
to stand the brunt of it yourself--I haint no money to hire folks with
to read it.” And again he sithed two or three times. And he hadn’t much
more than got through sithein’ when he asked me again in a tone of almost

“Who will read the book Samantha after you write it?”

The same question was fillin’ me with agonizin’ apprehension, but I
concealed it and answered with almost marble calm,

“I don’t know Josiah, but I am determined to put my shoulder blades to
the wheel and write it.”

Josiah didn’t say no more then, but it wore on him--for that night in the
ded of night he spoke out in his sleep in a kind of a wild way,

“Who will read the book?”

I hunched him with my elbo’ to wake him up, and he muttered--“I won’t pay
out one cent of my money to hire any body to read it.”

I pitied him, for I was afraid it would end in the Night Mair, and I
waked him up, and promised him then and there, that I never would ask
him to pay out one cent to hire any body to read it. He has perfect
confidence in me and he brightened up and haint never said a word sense
against the idea, and that is the way this book come to be wrote.



    Livin’ up to one Idee--Love at First Sight--A Marriage of
    Love--Why did I Love Josiah?--A Becon that has never gone
    out--Men can’t stand Flattery--My Present feelin’s towards
    Josiah--Objections to Widowers--Comparin’ Wives--Josiah not
    encouraged in it--Rule for Domestic Happiness                    17-20


    A hard row for Step-Mothers--Thomas Jefferson and Tirzah
    Ann--Thomas J. on Foreordination--Tirzah Ann’s sentiments--A
    Hefty Angel--Makin’ excuses at table--How to make Bad Cake
    taste good--Our Farm on the Canal--Plenty of Garden Sass--4
    Tons to the acre                                                 21-25


    Betsey Bobbet introduced--While there is Life there is Hope of
    getting married--Betsey’s personal appearance--Betsey’s Opinions
    and Views of a Woman’s Speah--Betsey writes Poetry--A Specimen
    of it--Owed to Josiah--Josiah makes a Confession and gets
    Rebuked--Betsey Bobbet visits me unexpectedly--Gushin’s of a
    Tendeh Soul--The Editah with Twins--Weddin’ Affinities           26-37


    Down to Jonesville--In Mr. Gansey’s Aunty Room--Preparin’ for
    a Picture--The Editer of the Augur--Daughters of Bachus and
    Venus--Haunts of the Graces--“Logical Reveries”--A Poem--My
    Picture Took                                                     38-45


    My opinions of Surprises--I am persuaded to go--A Surprise
    Party Surprised--Not wanted just then--An Upset in the snow--A
    Peaceful Evening at home--Josiah and I enjoying ourselves
    Doctorin’--Our Happiness interrupted--Surprised by a Party of
    50--Fearful excitement of Josiah--The Enemy retire--The Editer
    surprised--Betsey writes a Poem upon it                          46-57


    Sugerin’ Time--Woman’s work--Man’s work--The Editer brings his
    Twins--There first doin’s--The trouble begins--Betsey Bobbet
    arrives--I think of John Rogers and have Patience--Betsey and
    the twins--A Soothin’ Poultice--An Argument with Betsey--I
    Preach and Practice--Betsey asks Advice and gets It--Betsey
    reads a Poem--She gets more of my Opinions--Return of the
    Editer--Concludes to stay to Dinner--Sees Betsey and changes
    his mind--Grand Tableaux by the whole company                    58-68


    Thomas J. believes in water for the Baptists--Reasons for goin’
    to Quiltin’s--The Baptist Quiltin’ Party--We dispose of all our
    neighbors not present--Miss Dobbin, a peacemaker--The Minister’s
    wife discussed--Betsey Bobbet arrives--She labors under great
    excitement and overwhelms the party with her mysterious
    words--Astounding disclosures--Thomas J.’s story to Betsey--The
    story discussed--Handsome Ministers--Wimmen flingin’ stuns--The
    Minister arrives--The mystery solved                             69-84


    A Wimmen’s Rights Meetin’--A Wimmen’s Rights man--Idiots,
    Lunatics and Wimmen--The Woman sheep-stealer--Wimmen have a right
    to go to Prison and be Hung--Wimmen in Court--The right to go to
    the Hop and Cistern Poles--An anti Wimmen’s Rights man--Hired
    Husbands--Marriage and Slavery--True Marriages--Happy Homes and
    Children--An Angel calling for Fire Wood                         85-98


    Bothered by Hens--A model Pup Dog--A Fall--Very sick
    a-bed--“That’s what’s the matter”--What makes Angels--Too much of
    a thing--Josiah being cheerful--I use Strategim--Betsey visits me
    and brings her Bed-Quilt--Come to spend the day--All the Family
    comin’--Keepin’ me quiet and Chirkin’ me up--She flies in terror
    from my wrath--Blasted Hopes                                    99-111


    Worryin’ about Girls and not about Boys--Wimmen’s Charity for
    Wimmen--The Prodigal Daughter’s return--What is good for a Boy
    is good for a Girl--A Spy in the Family--Tirzah Ann’s future
    Marriage--Thomas J. prefers a back seat--He describes the
    Quire--We go up to the Rehersal--A United Quire--The Entire
    Orkusstree--A Artistic Duett--Josiah breaks out in Song--Betsey
    Remonstrates in Verse                                          112-126


    Josiah gives up Singin’--Betsey feelin’ lonesome, visits
    me--She bemoans her lone state--Betsey is willin’ but the men
    haint--A smile or a supper--Correctin’ a Husband--Woman as a
    runnin’ vine--The Elder’s Choice--The Carpet Pedler--Bound for
    a Trade--Bill Shakespeare’s present--An affectin’ story--Betsey
    makes a purchase--Thomas J. turns poet--Betsey shows her
    prize--The Minister’s Wife’s old Jewelry--Betsey sick at heart,
    goes home                                                      127-144


    A Serenade disturbed by Thomas J.--Musical powers of Cats--Josiah
    on the war-path--Another Serenade--Josiah swears--“Come, oh come
    with me”--Josiah shows wickedness--A “meloncholly man”--The
    Serenader “languishes”--An Address by Thomas J.--Relics left on
    the field                                                      145-156


    The Professor’s Poem--The Celebration on the field--Professor
    Aspire Todd--The Professor’s Speech--Old Mr. Bobbet endorses
    the speaker--The Editer interferes--“Yes! dround the Black
    Cat”--The next Speaker--An Argument Illustrated--A Wife’s
    Devotion--Adjournment for Dinner--Toasts given--A Poem by B.
    B.--At Home Countin’ the Cost--What good has it done?          157-174


    Thomas J. discusses the Jews--He expresses his Opinion of
    Betsey’s Religion--A visit from Simon Slimpsey--His
    appearance--A Victim of bad luck--“She’ll get round me”--A
    Poem for Modest Wimmen, by B. B.--Slimpsey don’t want to
    marry--Reconciled to the loss of his late Consort--Overcome
    by his fears for the future                                    177-187


    A Beautiful October day, good to pull Beets--Betsey gets Kissed
    at last--A Professor that was married some--Married Men good
    for some purposes--A Free Love Song--A war Cry--Professor
    Gusher’s Visit--Peppermint recommended to the Professor for his
    troubles--No Yearnin’ for Freedom--Value of Divorce Bills--What
    I would do if I Yearned--A Mean Business                       188-200


    Betsey visits me and brings her Tattin’--She Mourns over her
    neglected duties--She decides in future to work and also to
    prey--The Donation Party--Josiah objects to them--Quotes
    the ’postle Paul as an Example--How we went and what was
    Donated--Brother Minkley re-preaches his sermon to me--The
    Elder tempted--The Grab Bag--The Elder throws the tempter--A
    new attack of the Enemy--Grab Bags and Huzzies finally
    overcome--Match Makin’--The Editer arrives--He congratulates
    himself--Married and Saved--Betsey’s disappointment and wild
    agony--She seeks relief in Poetry--She desires to be a ghost   201-221


    The new Preacher clung to--A Visit from Betsey--A Discussion
    on Wimmen’s Speah--Female Delicacy as shown in Waltzin’ with
    Pirates mebbe--Wimmen as boards--Tattin’ and Paintin’--Dressin’
    and Flirtin’--Readin’ Novels--Paul’s Letters--Wimmen’s
    talk--Itchin’ ears--Betsey’s new Poem on Matrimony--True
    Marriage--About Divorces--Clingers--Baptist Wimmen Voters--Nater
    will out: a hen will Scratch--Wimmen won’t be driven--Betsey
    prefers to walk home and is accommodated                       222-243


    Progress of affairs at Jonesville--Peace and Plenty--Betsey
    alive but Quiet--H. Greeley and I differ in some things--I
    propose a Tower--Josiah shows Jealousy--Democrats short of
    President Stuff--H. G. up for President--Effect of Suspense on
    me--Josiah consents to the Tower--Preparations--An Overskirt
    important--Josiah sells the Critter                            244-257


    Open preparations for the Tower--Josiah’s White Hat--My
    Principles induce me also to wear one--Old “Hail the Day”
    contributes Feathers--On the Political Fence--Betsey also
    proposes a Tower--At the Depott--Betsey Explains--The 1st
    Partin’ for 15 years                                           258-271


    The Ticket Master--Folks I met with--Lack of Water
    Privileges--A Cigar without smoke--The Smilin’ Stranger--Bad
    use of Eggs--Grant and Colfax--“Ulysses, how do you do”--Betsey
    reads a Poem to Gen’l Grant--“Let us have Peace”--Betsey
    overcome by Strategim                                          272-287


    A Familiar Stranger--“Will you have a bus?”--Betsey’s Hopes--A
    Vegetable Widow--Procession on Broadway--Miss Asters’es
    Tavern--The Register--The Elevator--First thoughts in the
    Mornin’--Breakfast table--An Insult--Store Tea--I leave the
    Water Runnin’--Betsey Disappointed again                       288-305


    Call on Miss Hooker--Engaged and what of it--At Miss
    Woodhull’s door--Of Doubtful Gender--Miss Dr.
    Walker--Admittance obtained--A newly Married Man--Two Roman
    Noses                                                          306-312


    Elizabeth Cady Stanton--H. W. Beecher--Isabella Beecher
    Hooker--Susan B. Anthony--Theodore Tilton--Victory
    Woodhull--Male and Female Angels--Feathers on Angel’s
    Wings--Blind Marriages--Thoroughwert Pukes--Theodore’s
    Opinions--He Advocates Divorces--To Marry and not to Marry
    both Solemn--Betsey’s Prayer--Theodore yields                  313-335


    A Visitor--Been on a Lecture Tower--Tyrant man--A Cure for
    Pantin’ Hearts--A Star of Hope--Dress and Statesmanship--A
    Dinner and a Desert                                            336-347


    Mr. Cash’es Family--Alexander don’t take Butter, Eggs, Socks,
    or Barter--A Look at Calicos--Foreign Princes--Dolly Varden
    and her Acquaintances--A Dreadful Discovery--Betsey’s Poetry
    in Market                                                      348-356


    A poor Maniac--A Affectin’ Sight--A Ear for Music--Tirzah
    Ann a Musician--Operation of the D-David--Farewell to Mrs.
    Asters’es                                                      357-364


    First Impressions of him--No Peace for Candidates--Men
    all Alike--Darwin’s Idees--Horace’s old Letters--His
    Admissions--Wimmen’s Influence at Washington--The Wrong
    Foot Forrerd--A Woman, or Patrick Oh Flanegan--The Widder
    Albert--Queen Bees--Paul’s Opinions--Christ’s Example--Nearly
    Overcome--Betsey’s Overtures--Horace and I Part                365-396


    Left by the Cars--On the Canal Boat--Terrible Storm--Dangers
    Surround Us--Betsey Writes a Poem--Sings Sea Odes--The
    Poem--At Home                                                  397-405


    Betsey Bobbet Married--Poor Simon Slimpsey--Betsey at Home--Her
    Last Poem--The End                                             406-420


    Bad News--Horace Greeley dead--A Review of my Tower--Victory
    in Jail--Miss Aster a deception--Beecher slandered--Tilton
    do. do.--Doubts of Josiah--My Kitchen--I wear a bow on
    principle--Our supper--Josiah grows sentimental--I don’t
    discourage him                                                 421-434



     1 THE PLEASANT SUPPER (FULL PAGE)                    (_Frontispiece_)

     2 I AND JOSIAH                                                     19

     3 REFRESHMENTS (TAIL PIECE)                                        20

     4 TIRZAH ANN                                                       23

     5 BETSEY BOBBET                                                    27

     6 READIN’ POETRY                                                   33

     7 LOOKING FOR A VICTIM (TAIL PIECE)                                37

     8 PREPARIN’ FOR A PICTURE                                          39

     9 THE PICTURE                                                      45

    10 THE SURPRISE PARTY (FULL PAGE)                                   53

    11 DELICIOUS (TAIL PIECE)                                           57

    12 THE QUILTIN’ PARTY (FULL PAGE)                                   77

    13 SCANDALIZED (TAIL PIECE)                                         84

    14 AN ACCIDENT                                                     101

    15 JOSIAH BEIN’ CHEERFUL                                           105

    16 KEEPIN’ THE SICK QUIET                                          109

    17 A FULL QUIRE                                                    123

    18 THE EAR RING PEDLER (FULL PAGE)                                 141

    19 DISGUST (TAIL PIECE)                                            144

    20 THE SERENADERS (FULL PAGE)                                      150

    21 MEWSIN’ (TAIL PIECE)                                            156

    22 THE FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION (FULL PAGE)                      162

    23 WHAT HAPPENED AT THE DINNER (FULL PAGE)                         170

    24 COUNTIN’ THE COST (FULL PAGE)                                   175

    25 SIMON SLIMPSEY                                                  182

    26 SIMON OVERWHELMED                                               187

    27 PROF. GUSHER                                                    195

    28 LIVIN’ ON GOSPEL                                                204

    29 THE ENEMY ATTACKED                                              210

    30 THE ELDER ON THE ALERT                                          213

    31 BETSEY SEEKS RELIEF                                             219

    32 A STRONG ATTACHMENT (TAIL PIECE)                                221

    33 FEMALE DELICACY                                                 224

    34 NO TIME TO VOTE                                                 226

    35 DREADFUL SHORT OF TIME                                          227

    36 NO TIME TO STUDY LAWS                                           228

    37 A WOMAN’S RIGHTS (FULL PAGE)                                    234

    38 PRIMARY MEETINGS AND RESULTS (FULL PAGE)                        241

    39 A VICTORY (TAIL PIECE)                                          256

    40 VISIT TO JONESVILLE (FULL PAGE)                                 263

    41 GONE (TAIL PIECE)                                               271

    42 THE SMILIN’ STRANGER (FULL PAGE)                                278

    43 “LET US HAVE PEACE” (FULL PAGE)                                 284

    44 ON THE STREET                                                   305

    45 HARD AT WORK (FULL PAGE)                                        317

    46 BETSEY’S PRAYER                                                 334

    47 ON A LECTURIN’ TOWER (FULL PAGE)                                339

    48 HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT?                                          342

    49 FEMALE STATESMANSHIP                                            345

    50 DON’T TAKE BARTER                                               350

    51 DOLLY VARDEN                                                    354

    52 A HARROWIN’ SCENE                                               358

    53 INTERVIEW WITH HORACE (FULL PAGE)                               369


    55 AT HOME                                                         402

    56 MR. BOBBET TELLS NEWS (FULL PAGE)                               407


If anybody had told me when I was first born that I would marry to a
widower, I should have been mad at ’em. I lived up to this idee quite
a number of years, how many, is nobody’s business, that I will contend
for. I laughed at the idee of love in my blindness of eye. But the first
minute I sot my grey eye onto Josiah Allen I knew my fate. My heart was a
pray to feelin’s it had heretofore been a stranger to.

Sez I to myself “Is this love?” I couldn’t answer, I was too agitated.

Josiah told me afterwards that he felt jest exactly the same, only,
when his heart wildly put the question to him, “Is it love you feel for
Samantha Smith?” he havin’ experience in the same, answered, “Yes, it is

I married Josiah Allen (in mother’s parlor, on the fourteenth day of
June, in a bran new silk dress with a long boddis waist) from pure love.
Though why I loved him, I know not. I looked at his mild face beamin’ on
me from above his black silk stock, which kep’ his head kinder stiff, and
asked myself this question, “Why do you love him?” I reckolected then,
and I have recalled it to his mind several times sense in our little
differences of opinion, which occur in the happiest families--that I had
had offers from men, handsomer than him, with more intelect than him,
with more riches than him, with less children than him. Why didn’t I love
these various men? I knew not. I can only repeat in the immortal and
almost deathless lines of the poet, “Love will go where it is sent.”

Yes, Josiah Allen was my fate, and when I laid my light silk glove in
his’en (they was almost of a color, a kind of cinnemen broun) before the
alter, or that is before Elder Wesley Minkley, I did it with the purest
and tenderest emotions of love.

And that love has been like a Becon in our pathway ever sense. Its pure
light, though it has sputtered some, and in tryin’ times such as washin’
days and cleanin’ house times has burnt down pretty low,--has never gone

When I married him the bald spot on his head wuzn’t much bigger than a
new silver dollar. Now the top of his head is as smooth and clean as one
of my stun china dinner plates, and if any horse jocky was to try to
judge of his age by lookin’ at his teeth, they would be baffled, not but
what he has got some teeth, but they are pretty scatterin’. But still
that Becon shines, that pure love triumphs over lost teeth and vanished
sandy hair. There haint a man on the face of the earth that looks so
good to me as Josiah Allen. I don’t tell him this, mind you, 14 years
experience of married life has taught me caution. Josiah is as good as
they’ll average generally, but no man can’t stand too much flattery, men
are naturally vain.

[Illustration: I AND JOSIAH.]

As I said in the commencement of this plain and unvarnished history,
I had almost a deadly objection to widowers owin’ to their habit of
comparin’ their second wives to their first relict, to the disadvantage
of the first-named pardner. Josiah tride it with me when we was first
married. But I _didn’t encourage him in it_. He began on several various
times, “It seems to me Samantha that Polly Ann used to fry up her meat a
little cripsier,” or “It seems as if Polly Ann used to make my collers a
little stiffer.” He stopped it before we had been married a year, for _I
didn’t encourage it in him_.

As I mean that this book shall be a Becon light, guidin’ female wimmen,
to life, liberty, and the pursuit of true happiness, I would insert right
here this word of solem’ warnin’ to my sect situated in the tryin’ place
of second consorts, if the relict goes to comparin’ you to his foregone
consort, _don’t encourage him in it_. On this short rule hangs the hope
of domestick harmony.



But step-mothers have a pretty hard row to hoe, though I don’t complain.
I like children, clean children first rate, and I have tried to do my
duty by his’en. I have done as well by ’em as I knew how to, and I think
a sight of Thomas Jefferson and Tirzah Ann. Tirzah Ann is dreadful
sentimental, that is what spiles her mostly. And Thomas Jefferson thinks
he knows more than his father, that is his greatest failin’. But take ’em
all through, they are _full_ as good as other folks’es children, and I
know it. Thomas Jefferson is dreadful big feelin’, he is 17 years old,
he wears a stove pipe hat, and is tryin’ to raise a moustache, it is now
jest about as long as the fuzz on cotton flannel and most as white. They
both go to Jonesville to high school, (we hire a room for ’em to Mother
Allen’s, and they board themselves,) but they are to home every Saturday,
and then they kinder quarell all day jest as brothers and sisters will.
What agravates Thomas J. the worst is to call him “bub,” and Tirzah Ann
don’t call him anything else unless she forgets herself.

He seems to think it is manly to have doubts about religeon. I put
him through the catechism, and thought he was sound. But he seems to
think it is manly to argue about free moral agency, foreordination, and
predestination, and his father is jest fool enough to argue with him. Sez
he last Saturday,

“Father, if it was settled beyond question six or seven thousand years
ago that I was goin’ to be lost what good does it do for me to squirm?
and if it was settled that I was goin’ to be saved, how be I goin’ to
help myself?” sez he, “I believe we can’t help ourselves, what was meant
to happen, will happen.”

Before his father had time to speak--Josiah is a slow spoken man, Tirzah
Ann spoke up--

“Bub, if it was settled six or seven thousand years ago that I should
take your new jockey club and hair oil, and use ’em all myself, why then
I shall.”

“Tirzah Ann,” says he “If you should touch ’em it was foreordained from
creation that you would get dreadfully hurt.” But I spoke up then for the
first time, says I,

“You see Thomas J. that come to fighting you have moral agency enough--or
immoral agency. Now,” says I, “I won’t hear another word from you, you
Thomas J. are a young fool, and you Josiah Allen are a old one, now,”
says I “go to the barn, for I want to mop.”

Tirzah Ann as I said is dreadful sentimental, I don’t know which
side she took it from, though I mistrust that Josiah if he had any
encouragement would act spoony. I am not the woman to encourage any kind
of foolishness. I remember when we was first engaged, he called me “a
little angel.” I jest looked at him calmly and says I,

“I weigh two hundred and 4 pounds,” and he didn’t call me so again.

[Illustration: TIRZAH ANN.]

No! sentiment aint my style, and I abhor all kinds of shams and
deceitfulness. Now to the table you don’t ketch me makin’ excuses. I
should feel as mean as pusley if I did. Though once in a while when I
have particuler company, and my cookin’ turns out bad, I kinder turn the
conversation on to the sufferin’s of our four fathers in the Revolution,
how they eat their katridge boxes and shoe leather. It don’t do us no
hurt to remember their sufferin’s, and after talkin’ about eatin’ shoe
leather most any kind of cake seems tender.

I spose that life runs along with Josiah and the children and me about
as easy as it does with most men and female wimmen. We have got a farm
of 75 acres of land all paid for. A comfortable story and a half yeller
house--good barns, and a bran new horse barn, and health. Our door yard
is large and shady with apple, and pear, and cherry trees; and Tirzah
Ann has got posy beds under the winders that look first rate. And where
there haint no posy beds nor shade trees, the grass grows smooth and
green, and it is a splendid place to dry clothes. On the north side of
the house is our orchard, the trees grow clear up to our kitchen winder,
and when the north door is open in the spring of the year, and I stand
there ironin’, the trees all covered with pink blows it is a pleasant
sight. But a still pleasanter sight is it in the fall of the year to
stand in the door and see Josiah and Thomas Jefferson pickin’ up barells
of the great red and yeller grafts at a dollar a bushel. Beyond the
orchard down a little bit of a side hill runs the clear water of the
canal. In front of the house towards the south--but divided from it by a
good sized door yard and a picket fence, runs the highway, and back of
the house, if I do say it that ortn’t to, there is as good a garden as
there is in these parts. For I set my foot down in the first ont, that I
_would_ have garden sass of all kinds, and strawberrys, and gooseberrys,
and currant, and berry bushes, and glad enough is Josiah now to think
that he heard to me. It took a little work of course, but I believe in
havin’ things good to eat, and so does Josiah. That man has told me
more’n a hundred times sense that “of all the sass that ever was made,
garden sass was the best sass.” To the south of the house is our big
meadow--the smell of the clover in the summer is as sweet as anything,
our bees get the biggest part of their honey there, the grass looks
beautiful wavin’ in the sunshine, and Josiah cut from it last summer 4
tons of hay to the acre.


I suppose we are about as happy as the most of folks, but as I was
sayin’, a few days ago to Betsy Bobbet a neighborin’ female of
ours--“Every Station house in life has its various skeletons. But we
ort to try to be contented with that spear of life we are called on to
handle.” Betsey haint married and she don’t seem to be contented. She is
awful opposed to wimmen’s rights, she thinks it is wimmen’s only spear
to marry, but as yet she can’t find any man willin’ to lay holt of that
spear with her. But you can read in her daily life and on her eager
willin’ countenance that she fully realizes the sweet words of the poet,
“while there is life there is hope.”

Betsey haint handsome. Her cheek bones are high, and she bein’ not much
more than skin and bone they show plainer than they would if she was in
good order. Her complexion (not that I blame her for it) haint good, and
her eyes are little and sot way back in her head. Time has seen fit
to deprive her of her hair and teeth, but her large nose he has kindly
suffered her to keep, but she has got the best white ivory teeth money
will buy; and two long curls fastened behind each ear, besides frizzles
on the top of her head, and if she wasn’t naturally bald, and if the
curls was the color of her hair they would look well. She is awful
sentimental, I have seen a good many that had it bad, but of all the
sentimental creeters I ever did see Betsey Bobbet is the sentimentalest,
you couldn’t squeeze a laugh out of her with a cheeze press.

[Illustration: BETSEY BOBBET.]

As I said she is awful opposed to wimmin’s havein’ any right only the
right to get married. She holds on to that right as tight as any single
woman I ever see which makes it hard and wearin’ on the single men round
here. For take the men that are the most opposed to wimmin’s havin’ a
right, and talk the most about its bein’ her duty to cling to man like a
vine to a tree, they don’t want Betsey to cling to them, they _won’t let_
her cling to ’em. For when they would be a goin’ on about how wicked it
was for wimmin to vote--and it was her only spear to marry, says I to
’em “Which had you ruther do, let Betsey Bobbet cling to you or let her
vote?” and they would every one of ’em quail before that question. They
would drop their heads before my keen grey eyes--and move off the subject.

But Betsey don’t get discourajed. Every time I see her she says in a
hopeful wishful tone, “That the deepest men of minds in the country agree
with her in thinkin’ that it is wimmin’s duty to marry, and not to vote.”
And then she talks a sight about the retirin’ modesty and dignity of
the fair sect, and how shameful and revoltin’ it would be to see wimmen
throwin’ ’em away, and boldly and unblushin’ly talkin’ about law and

Why to hear Betsey Bobbet talk about wimmin’s throwin’ their modesty away
you would think if they ever went to the political pole, they would have
to take their dignity and modesty and throw ’em against the pole, and go
without any all the rest of their lives.

Now I don’t believe in no such stuff as that, I think a woman can be bold
and unwomanly in other things besides goin’ with a thick veil over her
face, and a brass mounted parasol, once a year, and gently and quietly
dropping a vote for a christian president, or a religeous and noble
minded pathmaster.

She thinks she talks dreadful polite and proper, she says “I was
cameing” instead of “I was coming,” and “I have saw” instead of “I have
seen,” and “papah” for paper, and “deah” for dear. I don’t know much
about grammer, but common sense goes a good ways. She writes the poetry
for the Jonesville Augur, or “Augah,” as she calls it. She used to write
for the opposition paper, the Jonesville Gimlet, but the editer of
the Augur, a long haired chap, who moved into Jonesville a few months
ago, lost his wife soon after he come there, and sense that she has
turned Dimocrat, and writes for his paper stiddy. They say that he is a
dreadful big feelin’ man, and I have heard--it came right straight to
me--his cousin’s wife’s sister told it to the mother in law of one of my
neighbor’s brother’s wife, that he didn’t like Betsey’s poetry at all,
and all he printed it for was to plague the editer of the Gimlet, because
she used to write for him. I myself wouldn’t give a cent a bushel for
all the poetry she can write. And it seems to me, that if I was Betsey,
I wouldn’t try to write so much, howsumever, I don’t know what turn I
should take if I was Betsey Bobbet, that is a solemn subject and one I
don’t love to think on.

I never shall forget the first piece of her poetry I ever see. Josiah
Allen and I had both on us been married goin’ on a year, and I had
occasion to go to his trunk one day where he kept a lot of old papers,
and the first thing I laid my hand on was these verses. Josiah went with
her a few times after his wife died, a 4th of July or so and two or
three camp meetin’s, and the poetry seemed to be wrote about the time
_we_ was married. It was directed over the top of it “Owed to Josiah,”
just as if she were in debt to him. This was the way it read.


  Josiah I the tale have hurn,
  With rigid ear, and streaming eye,
  I saw from me that you did turn,
  I never knew the reason why.
          Oh Josiah,
          It seemed as if I must expiah.

  Why did you, Oh why did you blow
  Upon my life of snowy sleet,
  The fiah of love to fiercest glow,
  Then turn a damphar on the heat?
          Oh Josiah,
          It seemed as if I must expiah.

  I saw thee coming down the street,
  _She_ by your side in bonnet bloo;
  The stuns that grated ’neath thy feet
  Seemed crunching on my vitals too.
          Oh Josiah,
          It seemed as if I must expiah.

  I saw thee washing sheep last night,
  On the bridge I stood with marble brow,
  The waters raged, thou clasped it tight,
  I sighed, ‘should both be drownded now--’
          I thought Josiah,
          Oh happy sheep to thus expiah.”

I showed the poetry to Josiah that night after he came home, and told him
I had read it. He looked awful ashamed to think I had seen it, and says
he with a dreadful sheepish look,

“The persecution I underwent from that female can never be told, she
fairly hunted me down, I hadn’t no rest for the soles of my feet. I
thought one spell she would marry me in spite of all I could do, without
givin’ me the benefit of law or gospel.” He see I looked stern, and he
added with a sick lookin’ smile, “I thought one spell, to use Betsey’s
language, ‘I was a gonah.’”

I didn’t smile--oh no, for the deep principle of my sect was reared up--I
says to him in a tone cold enough to almost freeze his ears, “Josiah
Allen, shet up, of all the cowardly things a man ever done, it is goin’
round braggin’ about wimmen’ likin’ em, and follerin’ em up. Enny man
that’ll do that is little enough to crawl through a knot hole without
rubbing his clothes.” Says I, “I suppose you made her think the moon rose
in your head, and set in your heels, I dare say you acted foolish enough
round her to sicken a snipe, and if you make fun of her now to please me
I let you know you have got holt of the wrong individual.” Now, says I,
“go to bed,” and I added in still more freezing accents, “for I want to
mend your pantaloons.” He gathered up his shoes and stockin’s and started
off to bed, and we haint never passed a word on the subject sence. I
believe when you disagree with your pardner, in freein’ your _mind_ in
the first on’t, and then not be a twittin’ about it afterwards. And as
for bein’ jealous, I should jest as soon think of bein’ jealous of a
meetin’-house as I should of Josiah. He is a well principled man. And I
guess he wasn’t fur out o’ the way about Betsey Bobbet, though I wouldn’t
encourage him by lettin’ him say a word on the subject, for I always make
it a rule to stand up for my own sect; but when I hear her go on about
the editor of the Augur, I can believe anything about Betsey Bobbet. She
came in here one day last week, it was about ten o’clock in the mornin’.
I had got my house slick as a pin, and my dinner under way, (I was goin’
to have a biled dinner, and a cherry puddin’ biled, with sweet sass to
eat on it,) and I sot down to finish sewin’ up the breadth of my new rag
carpet. I thought I would get it done while I hadn’t so much to do, for
it bein’ the first of March, I knew sugarin’ would be comin’ on, and then
cleanin’ house time, and I wanted it to put down jest as soon as the
stove was carried out in the summer kitchen. The fire was sparklin’ away,
and the painted floor a shinin’ and the dinner a bilin’, and I sot there
sewin’ jest as calm as a clock, not dreamin’ of no trouble, when in came
Betsey Bobbet.

I met her with outward calm, and asked her to set down and lay off her
things. She sot down, but she said she couldn’t lay off her things. Says
she, “I was comin’ down past, and I thought I would call and let you
see the last numbah of the Augah, there is a piece in it concernin’ the
tariff that stirs men’s souls, I like it evah so much.”

[Illustration: READING POETRY.]

She handed me the paper, folded so I couldn’t see nothin’ but a piece of
poetry by Betsey Bobbet. I see what she wanted of me and so I dropped my
breadths of carpetin’ and took hold of it and began to read it.

“Read it audible if you please,” says she, “Especially the precious
remahks ovah it, it is such a feast for me to be a sitting, and heah it
reheahsed by a musical vorce.”

Says I, “I spose I can rehearse it if it will do you any good,” so I
began as follers:

“It is seldem that we present to the readers of the Augur (the best
paper for the fireside in Jonesville or the world) with a poem like
the following. It may be by the assistance of the Augur (only twelve
shillings a year in advance, wood and potatoes taken in exchange) the
name of Betsey Bobbet will yet be carved on the lofty pinnacle of fame’s
towering pillow. We think however that she could study such writers as
Sylvanus Cobb, and Tupper with profit both to herself and to them.

                                                    EDITOR OF THE AUGUR.”

Here Betsey interrupted me, “The deah editah of the Augah had no need to
advise me to read Tuppah, for he is indeed my most favorite authar, you
have devorhed him havn’t you Josiah Allen’s wife?”

“Devoured who?” says I, in a tone pretty near as cold as a cold icicle.

“Mahten, Fahyueah, Tuppah, that sweet authar,” says she.

“No mom,” says I shortly, “I hain’t devoured Martin Farquhar Tupper, nor
no other man, I hain’t a cannibal.”

“Oh! you understand me not, I meant, devorhed his sweet, tender lines.”

“I hain’t devoured his tenderlines, nor nothin’ relatin’ to him,” and I
made a motion to lay the paper down, but Betsey urged me to go on, and so
I read.


  Oh let who will,
  Oh let who can,
  Be tied onto
  A horrid male man.

  Thus said I ’ere,
  My tendah heart was touched,
  Thus said I ’ere
  My tendah feelings gushed.

  But oh a change
  Hath swept ore me,
  As billows sweep
  The “deep blue sea.”

  A voice, a noble form,
  One day I saw;
  An arrow flew,
  My heart is nearly raw.

  His first pardner lies
  Beneath the turf,
  He is wandering now,
  In sorrows briny surf.

  Two twins, the little
  Deah cherub creechahs,
  Now wipe the teahs,
  From off his classic feachahs.

  Oh sweet lot, worthy
  Angel arisen,
  To wipe the teahs,
  From eyes like his’en.

“What think you of it?” says she as I finished readin’.

I looked right at her most a minute with a majestic look. In spite of her
false curls, and her new white ivory teeth, she is a humbly critter. I
looked at her silently while she sot and twisted her long yeller bunnet
strings, and then I spoke out,

“Hain’t the Editor of the Augur a widower with a pair of twins?”

“Yes,” says she with a happy look.

Then says I, “If the man hain’t a fool, he’ll think you are one.”

“Oh!” says she, and she dropped her bunnet strings, and clasped her long
bony hands together in her brown cotton gloves, “oh, we ahdent soles of
genious, have feelin’s, you cold, practical natures know nuthing of, and
if they did not gush out in poetry we should expiah. You may as well try
to tie up the gushing catarack of Niagarah with a piece of welting cord,
as to tie up the feelings of an ahdent sole.”

“Ardent sole!” says I coldly. “Which makes the most noise, Betsey Bobbet,
a three inch brook or a ten footer? which is the tearer? which is the
roarer? deep waters run stillest. I have no faith in feelin’s that stalk
round in public in mournin’ weeds. I have no faith in such mourners,”
says I.

“Oh Josiah’s wife, cold, practical female being, you know me not; we are
sundered as fah apart as if you was sitting on the North pole, and I was
sitting on the South pole. Uncongenial being, you know me not.”

“I may not know you, Betsey Bobbet, but I do know decency, and I know
that no munny would tempt me to write such stuff as that poetry and send
it to a widower, with twins.”

“Oh!” says she, “what appeals to the tendah feeling heart of a single
female woman more, than to see a lonely man who has lost his relict?
And pity never seems so much like pity as when it is given to the deah
little children of widowehs. And,” says she, “I think moah than as likely
as not, this soaring soul of genious did not wed his affinity, but was
united to a weak women of clay.”

“Mere women of clay!” says I, fixin’ my spektacles upon her in a most
searchin’ manner, “where will you find a woman, Betsey Bobbet, that
hain’t more or less clay? and affinity, that is the meanest word I ever
heard; no married woman has any right to hear it. I’ll excuse you, bein’
a female, but if a man had said it to me, I’d holler to Josiah. There is
a time for everything, and the time to hunt affinity is before you are
married; married folks hain’t no right to hunt it,” says I sternly.

“We kindred souls soah above such petty feelings, we soah fah above them.”

“I hain’t much of a soarer,” says I, “and I don’t pretend to be, and to
tell you the truth,” says I, “I am glad I hain’t.”

“The Editah of the Augah,” says she, and she grasped the paper off’en
the stand and folded it up, and presented it at me like a spear, “the
Editah of this paper is a kindred soul, he appreciates me, he undahstands
me, and will not our names in the pages of this very papah go down to
posterety togathah?”

Then says I, drove out of all patience with her, “I wish you was there
now, both of you, I wish,” says I, lookin’ fixedly on her, “I wish you
was both of you in posterity now.”



The very next Saturday after I had this conversation with Betsey, I went
down to Jonesville to have my picture took, Tirzah Ann bein’ to home so
she could get dinner for the menfolks. As for me I don’t set a great deal
of store by pictures, but Josiah insisted and the children insisted, and
I went. Tirzah Ann wanted me to have my hair curled, but there I was
firm, I give in on the handkerchief pin, but on the curl business, there
I was rock.

Mr. Gansey the man that takes pictures was in another room takin’ some,
so I walked round the aunty room, as they call it, lookin’ at the
pictures that hang up on the wall, and at the people that come in to have
theirs took. Some of ’em was fixed up dreadful; it seemed to me as if
they tried to look so that nobody wouldn’t know whose pictures they was,
after they was took. Some of ’em would take off their bunnets and gaze
in the lookin’-glass at themselves and try to look smilin’, and get an
expression onto their faces that they never owned.


In one corner of the room was a bewrow, with a lookin’-glass and hair
brushes onto it, and before it stood a little man dreadful dressed up,
with long black hair streamin’ down over his coat coller, engaged in
pouring a vial of oil onto his head, and brushing his hair with one of
the brushes. I knew him in a minute, for I had seen him come into the
meetin’ house. Afterwards when I was jest standin’ before the picture of
a dreadful harmless lookin’ man--he looked meek enough to make excuses to
his shadder for goin’ before it, and I was jest sayin’ to myself, “There
is a man who would fry pancakes without complainin’,” I heard a voice
behind me sayin’,

“So the navish villian stalks round yet in decent society.”

I turned round imegiately and see the little man, who had got through
fixin’ his hair to have his pictur took, standin’ before me.

“Who do you mean?” says I calmly. “Who is stalkin’ round?”

“The Editor of the Gimlet,” says he, “whose vile image defiles the walls
of this temple of art, the haunt of Aglia, Thalia, and Euphrosine.”

“Who?” says I glancin’ keenly at him over my specks, “the haunt of who?”

Says he “The daughters of Bachus and Venus.”

Says I “I don’t know anything about Miss Bachus, nor the Venus girls,”
and says I with spirit, “if they are any low creeters I don’t thank you
for speakin’ of ’em to me, nor Josiah won’t neether. This room belongs
to Jeremiah Gansey, and he has got a wife, a likely woman, that belongs
to the same meetin’ house and the same class that I do, and he haint no
business to have other girls hauntin’ his rooms. If there is anything
wrong goin’ on I shall tell Sister Gansey.”

Says he “Woman you mistake, I meant the Graces.”

“Graces!” says I scornfully, “what do I care for their graces. Sister
Gansey had graces enough when he married her,” says I. “That is jest
the way, a man will marry a woman jest as pretty as a new blown rose,
and then when she fades herself out, till she looks more like a dead
dandyline than a livin’ creeter, cookin’ _his_ vittles, washin’ _his_
dishes, and takin’ care of _his_ children; then he’ll go to havin’ other
girls hauntin’ him, there haint no gospel in it,” says I.

I looked him keenly in the face all the time I spoke, for I thought he
was kinder’ upholdin’ Sister Gansey’s husband, and I wanted my words to
apaul him, but I suppose he made a mistake, and thought I was admirin’ of
him I looked so earnest at him, for he spoke up and says he,

“I see by your stiddy glance that you have discovered who I be. Yes
Madam, you see before you the Editor of the Augur, but don’t be nervous,
don’t let it affect you more than you can help, I am a mortal like

I looked at him with my most majestic look, and he continued.

“The masses who devoured my great work ‘Logical Reveries on the Beauties
of Slavery,’ are naturally anxious to see me. I don’t wonder at it, not
at all.”

I was austerely silent and withdrawed to a winder and set down. But he
followed me and continued on.

“That tract as you are doubtless aware, was written just before the
war, and a weaker minded man might have been appalled by the bloodshed
that followed its publication. But no! I said calmly, it was written
on principle, and if it did bring ruin and bloodshed on the country,
principle would in the end prevail. The war turned out different from
what I hoped, chains broke that I could have wept to see break--but still
I hung on to principle. Might I ask you Madam, exactly what your emotions
were when you read ‘Logical Reveries’ for the first time? I suppose no
President’s message was ever devoured as that was.”

“I never see nor heard of your ‘Logical Reveries,’” says I coldly.
“And thank fortune nobody can accuse me of ever touchin’ a President’s
message--unless they belie me.”

He rolled up his eyes toward the cielin’ and sithed hevily, and then says
he, “Is it possible that in this enlightened community there is still
such ignorance amongst the masses. I have got a copy in my pocket, I
never go without one. And I will read it to you and it may be pleasant
for you to tell your children and grandchildren in the future, that the
author of “Logical Reveries on the Beauties of Slavery” told you with
his own lips, how the great work came to be written. A poem was sent
me intended as a satire on the beautiful and time hallowed system of
slavery, it was a weak senseless mass of twaddle, but if the author could
have foreseen the mighty consequences that flowed from it, he might well
have trembled, for senseless as it was it roused the lion in me, and I
replied. I divided my great work into two parts, first, that slavery
was right, because the constitution didn’t say it was wrong, and then I
viewed the subject in a Bible and moral light, but the last bein’ of less
importance, of course I didn’t enlarge on it, but on the first I come out
strong, there I shone. I will read you a little of the poem that was sent
me, that you may understand the witherin’ allusions I make concernin’ it.
I won’t read more than is necessary for that purpose, for you may get
sleepy listenin’ to it, but you will wake up enough when I begin to read
the “Logical Reveries,” I guess there couldn’t anybody sleep on them. The
poem I speak of commenced in the following weak illogical way.


  So held my eyes I could not see
  The righteousness of slavery,
  So blind was I, I could not see
  The ripe fruit hang on wisdom’s tree;
  But groping round its roots did range,
  Murmuring ever, strange, oh strange

  That one handful of dust should dare
  Enslave another God had made,
  From his own home and kindred tear,
  And scourge, and fetter, steal and trade.
  If ’twas because they were less wise
  Than our wise race, why not arise,
  And with pretext of buying teas,
  Lay in full cargoes of Chinese.
  Let Fee Fo Fum, and Eng, and Chen,
  Grow wise by contact with wise men;
  If weakness made the traffic right,
  Why not arise in manhood’s might,
  And bind old grandmothers with gyves,
  And weakly children, and sick wives.

  If ’twas the dark hue of their face,
  Then why not free our noble race
  Forever from all homely men?
  With manly zeal, and outstretched hand,
  Pass like a whirlwind o’er the land.
  Let squint eyed, pug-nosed women be
  Only a thing of memory.
  Though some mistakes would happen then,
  For many bond servants there are,
  Fair faced, blue eyed, with silken hair.
  How sweet, how pleasant to be sold
  For notes in hand, or solid gold,
  To benefit a brother
  Both children of one father,
  With each a different mother.
  One mother fair and richly clothed,
  One worn with toil and vain despair
  Down sunken to a life she loathed;
  Both children with proud saxon blood,
  In one breast mixed with tropic flame,
  One, heir to rank and broad estates
  And one, without even a name.

Jest as he arrived to this crysis in the poem, Mr. Gansey came out into
the aunty room, and told me he was ready to take my picture. The Editer
seein’ he was obleeged to stop readin’ told me, he would come down to
our house a visitin’ in sugarin’ time, and finish readin’ the poetry to
me. I ketched holt of my principles to stiddy ’em, for I see they was a
totterin’ and says to him with outward calmness,

“If you come fetch the twins.”

He said he would. I then told Mr. Gansey I was ready for the picture.
I believe there haint nothin’ that will take the expression out of
anybody’s eyes, like havin’ poetry read for a hour and a half, unless it
is to have your head screwed back into a pair of tongs, and be told to
look at nothin’ and wink at it as much as you are a mind to. Under both
of these circumstances, it didn’t suprise me a mite that one of my eyes
was took blind. But as Mr. Gansey said as he looked admirin’ly on it,
with the exception of that one blind eye, it was a perfect and strikin’
picture. I paid him his dollar and started off home, and I hope now that
Josiah and the children will be satisfied.

[Illustration: THE PICTURE.]


About one week after this picture eppysode, there was a surprise party
appointed. They had been havin’ ’em all winter, and the children had been
crazy to have me go to ’em--everybody went, old and young, but I held
back. Says I: “I don’t approve of ’em, and I won’t go.”

But finally they got their father on their side; says he: “It won’t hurt
you Samantha, to go for once.”

Says I: “Josiah, the place for old folks is to home; and I don’t believe
in surprise parties anyway, I think they are perfect nuisances. It stands
to reason if you want to see your friends, you can invite ’em, and if
anybody is too poor to bake a cake or two, and a pan of cookies, they
are too poor to go into company at all.” Says I: “I haint proud, nor
never was called so, but I don’t want Tom, Dick and Harry, that I never
spoke to in my life, feel as if they was free to break into my house at
any time they please.” Says I: “it would make me feel perfectly wild, to
think there was a whole drove of people, liable to rush in here at any
minute, and I won’t rush into other people’s housen.”

“It would be fun, mother,” says Thomas J.; “I should love to see you and
Deecon Gowdey or old Bobbet, playin’ wink ’em slyly.”

“Let ’em wink at me if they dare to,” says I sternly; “let me catch ’em
at it. I don’t believe in surprise parties,” and I went on in about as
cold a tone as they make. “Have you forgot how Mrs. Gowdey had her parlor
lamp smashed to bits, and a set of stun china? Have you forgot how four
or five stranger men got drunk to Peedicks’es, and had to be carried
up stairs and laid out on her spare bed? Have you forgot how Celestine
Wilkins fell with her baby in her arms, as she was catchin’ old Gowdey,
and cracked the little innocent creeter’s nose? Have you forgot how
Betsey Bobbet lost out her teeth a runnin’ after the editor of the Augur,
and he stepped on ’em and smashed ’em all to bits? Have you forgot these
coincidences?” Says I: “I don’t believe in surprise parties.”

“No more do I,” says Josiah; “but the children feel so about our goin’,
sposen’ we go, for once! No livin’ woman could do better for children
than you have by mine, Samantha, but I don’t suppose you feel exactly as
I do about pleasin’ ’em, it haint natteral you should.”

Here he knew he had got me. If ever a woman wanted to do her duty by
another woman’s children, it is Samantha Allen, whose maiden name was
Smith. Josiah knew jest how to start me; men are deep. I went to the very
next party, which was to be held two miles beyond Jonesville; they had
had ’em so fast, they had used up all the nearer places. They had heard
of this family, who had a big house, and the women had been to the same
meetin’ house with Betsey Bobbet two or three times, and she had met her
in a store a year before, and had been introduced to her, so she said she
felt perfectly free to go. And as she was the leader it was decided on.
They went in two big loads, but Josiah and I went in a cutter alone.

We got started ahead of the loads, and when we got to the house we see it
was lit up real pleasant, and a little single cutter stood by the gate.
We went up to the door and knocked, and a motherly lookin’ woman with a
bunch of catnip in her hand, came to the door.

“Good evenin’,” says I, but she seemed to be a little deaf, and didn’t
answer, and I see, as we stepped in, through a door partly open, a room
full of women.

“Good many have got here,” says I a little louder.

“Yes, a very good doctor,” says she.

“What in the world!”--I begun to say in wild amaze.

“No, it is a boy.”

I turned right round, and laid holt of Josiah; says I, “Start this
minute, Josiah Allen, for the door.” I laid holt of him, and got him to
the door, and we never spoke another word till we was in the sleigh, and
turned round towards home; then says I,

“Mebby you’ll hear to _me_, another time, Josiah.

“I wish you wouldn’t be so agravatin’,” says he.

Jest then we met the first load, where Tirzah Ann and Thomas Jefferson
was, and we told ’em to “turn round, for they couldn’t have us, they had
other company.” So they turned round. We had got most back to Jonesville,
when we met the other load; they had tipped over in the snow, and as we
drove out most to the fence to get by ’em, Josiah told ’em the same we
had the other load.

Says Betsey Bobbet, risin’ up out of the snow with a buffalo skin on her
back, which made her look wild,

“Did they say we _must not_ come?”

“No, they didn’t say jest that,” says Josiah. “But they don’t want you.”

“Wall then, my deah boys and girls,” says she, scramblin’ into the
sleigh. “Let us proceed onwards, if they did not say we _should not_

Her load went on, for her brother, Shakespeare Bobbet, was the driver.
How they got along I haint never enquired, and they don’t seem over free
to talk about it. But they kep’ on havin’ ’em, most every night. Betsey
Bobbet as I said was the leader, and she led ’em once into a house where
they had the small pox, and once where they was makin’ preparations for
a funeral. Somehow Tirzah and Thomas Jefferson seemed to be sick of ’em,
and as for Josiah, though he didn’t say much, I knew he felt the more.

This coinsidense took place on Tuesday night, and the next week a Monday
I had had a awful day’s work a washin’, and we had been up all night the
night before with Josiah, who had the new ralegy in his back. We hadn’t
one of us slept a wink the night before, and Thomas Jefferson and Tirzah
Ann had gone to bed early. It had been a lowery day, and I couldn’t hang
out my calico clothes, and so many of ’em was hung round the kitchen on
lines and clothes bars, and nails, that Josiah and I looked as if we
was a settin’ in a wet calico tent. And what made it look still more
melancholy and sad, I found when I went to light the lamp, that the
kerosene was all gone, and bein’ out of candles, I made for the first
time what they call a “slut,” which is a button tied up in a rag, and put
in a saucer of lard; you set fire to the rag, and it makes a light that
is better than no light at all, jest as a slut is better than no woman at
all; I suppose in that way it derived its name. But it haint a dazzlin’
light, nothin’ like so gay and festive as gas.

I, beat out with work and watchin’, thought I would soak my feet before
I went to bed, and so I put some water into the mop pail, and sot by the
stove with my feet in it. The thought had come to me after I got my
night-cap on. Josiah sot behind the stove, rubbin’ some linament onto his
back; he had jest spoke to me, and says he,

“I believe this linament makes, my back feel easier, Samantha, I hope I
shall get a little rest to-night.”

Says I, “I hope so too, Josiah.” And jest as I said the words, without
any warning the door opened, and in come what seemed to me at the time to
be a hundred and 50 men, wimmen, and children, headed by Betsey Bobbet.

Josiah, so wild with horror and amazement that he forgot for the time
bein’ his lameness, leaped from his chair, and tore so wildly at his
shirt that he tore two pieces right out of the red flannel, and they
shone on each shoulder of his white shirt like red stars; he then backed
up against the wall between the back door and the wood box. I rose up and
stood in the mop pail, too wild with amaze to get out of it, for the same
reason heedin’ not my night-cap.

“We have come to suprize you,” says Betsey Bobbet, sweetly.

I looked at ’em in speechless horror, and my tongue clove to the roof of
my mouth; no word did I speak, but I glared at ’em with looks which I
suppose filled ’em with awe and dread, for Betsey Bobbet spoke again in
plaintive accents,

“Will you not let us suprize you?”

Then I found voice, and “No! no!” says I wildly. “I won’t be suprized!
you sha’n’t suprize us to-night! We won’t be suprized! Speak, Josiah,”
says I, appealin’ to him in my extremity. “Speak! tell her! will we be
suprized to-night?”

“No! no!” says he in firm, decided, warlike tones, as he stood backed up
against the wall, holdin’ his clothes on--with his red flannel epaulettes
on his shoulders like a officer, “no, we won’t be suprized!”

“You see, deah friends,” says she to the crowd, “she will not let us
suprize her, we will go.” But she turned at the door, and says she in
reproachful accents, “May be it is right and propah to serve a old friend
and neighbah in this way--I have known you a long time, Josiah Allen’s

“I have known you plenty long enough,” says I, steppin’ out of the pail,
and shettin’ the door pretty hard after ’em.

Josiah came from behind the stove pushin’ a chair in front of him, and
says he,

“Darn suprize parties, and darn--”

“Don’t swear, Josiah, I should think you was bad enough off without

“I _will_ darn Betsey Bobbet, Samantha. Oh, my back!” he groaned, settin’
down slowly, “I can’t set down nor stand up.”

“You jumped up lively enough, when they come in,” says I.

[Illustration: THE SURPRISE PARTY.]

“Throw that in my face, will you? What could I du? And there is a pin
stickin’ into my shoulder, do get it out, Samantha, it has been there all
the time, only I haint sensed it till now.”

“Wall,” says I in a kinder, soothin tone, drawin’ it out of his shoulder,
where it must have hurt awfully, only he hadn’t felt it in his greater
troubles--“Less be thankful that we are as well off as we be. Betsey
might have insisted on stopin’. I will rub your shoulders with the
linament, and I guess you will feel better; do you suppose they will be

“I don’t know, nor I don’t care, but I hope so,” says he.

And truly his wish come to pass, for Betsey was real mad; the rest didn’t
seem to mind it. But she was real short to me for three days. Which shows
it makes a difference with her who does the same thing, for they went
that night right from here to the Editor of the Augur’s. And it come
straight to me from Celestine Wilkins, who was there, that he turned ’em
out doors, and shet the door in their faces.

The way it was, his hired girl had left him that very day, and one of
the twins was took sick with wind colic. He had jest got the sick baby
to sleep, and laid it in the cradle, and had gin the little well one
some playthings, and set her down on the carpet, and he was washin’ the
supper dishes, with his shirt sleeves rolled up, and a pink bib-apron
on that belonged to his late wife. They said he had jest finished, and
was wringin’ out his dishcloth, when he heard a awful screamin’ from the
well twin, and he rushed out with his dishcloth hangin’ over his arm,
and found that she had swallowed a side-thimble; he ketched her up, and
spatted her back, and the thimble flew out half way across the floor. She
screamed, and held her breath, and the sick one waked up, and sot up in
the cradle and screamed fearfully, and jest then the door bust open, and
in come the suprize party headed by Betsey Bobbet. They said that he,
half crazy as he was, told Betsey that “if she didn’t head ’em off that
minute, he would prosecute the whole of ’em.” Some of ’em was mad about
it, he acted so threat’nin’, but Betsey wasn’t, for in the next week’s
Augur these verses came out:


  It is sweet to be--it is sweet to live,
  But sweeteh the sweet word “forgive;”
  If harsh, loud words should spoken be,
  Say “Soul be calm they come from he--
  When he was wild with toil and grief,
  When colic could not find relief;
  Such woe and cares should have sufficed,
  Then, he should not have been surprized.”

  When twins are well, and the world looks bright,
  To be surprized, is sweet and right,
  But when twins are sick, and the world looks sad,
  To be surprized is hard and bad,
  And when side thimbles swallowed be,
  How can the world look sweet to he--
  Who owns the twin--faih babe, heaven bless it,
  Who hath no own motheh to caress it.

  Its own motheh hath sweetly gone above,
  Oh how much it needs a motheh’s love.
  My own heart runs o’er with tenderness,
  But its deah father tries to do his best,
  But house-work, men can’t perfectly understand,
  Oh! how he needs a helping hand.
  Ah! when twins are sick and hired girls have flown,
  It is sad for a deah man to be alone.



Sugerin’ time come pretty late this year, and I told Josiah, that I
didn’t believe I should have a better time through the whole year, to
visit his folks, and mother Smith, than I should now before we begun to
make sugar, for I knew no sooner had I got that out of the way, than it
would be time to clean house, and make soap. And then when the dairy work
come on, I knew I never should get off. So I went. But never shall I
forget the day I got back. I had been gone a week, and the childern bein’
both off to school, Josiah got along alone. I have always said, and I say
still, that I had jest as lives have a roarin’ lion do my house-work, as
a man. Every thing that could be bottom side up in the house, was.

I had a fortnight’s washin’ to do, the house to clean up, churnin’ to do,
and bakin’; for Josiah had eat up everything slick and clean, the buttery
shelves looked like the dessert of Sarah. Then I had a batch of maple
sugar to do off, for the trees begun to run after I went away and Josiah
had syruped off--and some preserves to make, for his folks had gin me
some pound sweets, and they was a spilein’. So it seemed as if everything
come that day, besides my common house-work--and well doth the poet
say--“That a woman never gets her work done up,” for she don’t.

Now when a man ploughs a field, or runs up a line of figgers, or writes
a serming, or kills a beef critter, there it is done--no more to be
done over. But sposen’ a woman washes up her dishes clean as a fiddle,
no sooner does she wash ’em up once, than she has to, right over and
over agin, three times three hundred and 65 times every year. And the
same with the rest of her work, blackin’ stoves, and fillin’ lamps, and
washin’ and moppin’ floors, and the same with cookin’. Why jest the idee
of paradin’ out the table and tea-kettle 3 times 3 hundred and 65 times
every year is enough to make a woman sweat. And then to think of all the
cookin’ utensils and ingredients--why if it wuzzn’t for principle, no
woman could stand the idee, let alone the labor, for it haint so much the
mussle she has to lay out, as the strain on her mind.

Now last Monday, no sooner did I get my hands into the suds holt of one
of Josiah’s dirty shirts, than the sugar would mount up in the kettle and
sozzle over on the top of the furnace in the summer kitchen--or else the
preserves would swell up and drizzle over the side of the pan on to the
stove--or else the puddin’ I was a bakin’ for dinner would show signs
of scorchin’, and jest as I was in the heat of the warfare, as you may
say, who should drive up but the Editor of the Agur. He was a goin’ on
further, to engage a hired girl he had hearn of, and on his way back, he
was goin’ to stop and read that poetry, and eat some maple sugar; and he
wanted to leave the twins till he come back.

Says he, “They won’t be any trouble to you, will they?” I thought of the
martyrs, and with a appearance of outward composure, I answered him in a
sort of blind way; but I won’t deny that I had to keep a sayin’, ‘John
Rogers! John Rogers’ over to myself all the time I was ondoin’ of ’em,
or I should have said somethin’ I was sorry for afterwards. The poetry
woried me the most, I won’t deny.

After the father drove off, the first dive the biggest twin made was
at the clock, he crep’ up to that, and broke off the pendulum, so it
haint been since, while I was a hangin’ thier cloaks in the bedroom. And
while I was a puttin’ thier little oversocks under the stove to dry, the
littlest one clim’ up and sot down in a pail of maple syrup, and while I
was a wringin’ him out, the biggest one dove under the bed, at Josiah’s
tin trunk where he keeps a lot of old papers, and come a creepin’ out,
drawin’ it after him like a hand-sled. There was a gography in it, and a
Fox’es book of martyrs, and a lot of other such light reading, and I let
the twins have ’em to recreate themselves on, and it kep’ ’em still most
a minute.

I hadn’t much more’n got my eye off’en that Fox’es book of Martyrs--when
there appeared before ’em a still more mournful sight, it was Betsey
Bobbet come to spend the day.

I murmured dreamily to myself “John Rogers”--But that didn’t do, I had to
say to myself with firmness--“Josiah Allen’s wife, haint you ashamed of
yourself, what are your sufferin’s to John Rogers’es? Think of the agony
of that man--think of his 9 children follerin’ him, and the one at the
breast, what are your sufferin’s compared to his’en?” Then with a brow of
calm I advanced to meet her. I see she had got over bein’ mad about the
surprise party, for she smiled on me once or twice, and as she looked at
the twins, she smiled 2 times on each of ’em, which made 4 and says she
in tender tones,

“You deah little motherless things.” Then she tried to kiss ’em. But the
biggest one gripped her by her false hair, which was flax, and I should
think by a careless estimate, that he pulled out about enough to make
half a knot of thread. The little one didn’t do much harm, only I think
he loosened her teeth a little, he hit her pretty near the mouth, and I
thought as she arose she slipped ’em back in thier place. But she only

“Sweet! sweet little things, how ardent and impulsive they are, so like
thier deah Pa.”

She took out her work, and says she, “I have come to spend the day. I saw
thier deah Pa bringin’ the deah little twins in heah, and I thought maybe
I could comfort the precious little motherless things some, if I should
come over heah. If there is any object upon the earth, Josiah Allen’s
wife, that appeals to a feelin’ heart, it is the sweet little children
of widowers. I cannot remember the time when I did not want to comfort
them, and thier deah Pa’s. I have always felt that it was woman’s highest
speah, her only mission to soothe, to cling, to smile, to coo. I have
always felt it, and for yeahs back it has been a growin’ on me. I feel
that you do not feel as I do in this matter, you do not feel that it is
woman’s greatest privilege, her crowning blessing, to soothe lacerations,
to be a sort of a poultice to the noble, manly breast when it is torn
with the cares of life.”

This was too much, in the agitated frame of mind I then was.

“Am I a poultice Betsey Bobbet, do I look like one?--am I in the
condition to be one?” I cried turnin’ my face, red and drippin’ with
prespiration towards her, and then attacked one of Josiah’s shirt sleeves
agin. “What has my sect done,” says I, as I wildly rubbed his shirt
sleeves, “That they have got to be lacerator soothers, when they have got
everything else under the sun to do?” Here I stirred down the preserves
that was a runnin’ over, and turned a pail full of syrup into the sugar
kettle. “Everybody says that men are stronger than women, and why should
they be treated as if they was glass china, liable to break all to pieces
if they haint handled careful. And if they have got to be soothed,” says
I in an agitated tone, caused by my emotions (and by pumpin’ 6 pails of
water to fill up the biler), “Why don’t they get men to sooth’em? They
have as much agin time as wimmen have; evenin’s they don’t have anything
else to do, they might jest as well be a soothin’ each other as to be a
hangin’ round grocery stores, or settin’ by the fire whittlin’.”

I see I was frightenin’ her by my delerious tone and I continued more
mildly, as I stirred down the strugglin’ sugar with one hand--removed
a cake from the oven with the other--watched my apple preserves with a
eagle vision, and listened intently to the voice of the twins, who was
playin’ in the woodhouse.

“I had jest as soon soothe lacerations as not, Betsey, if I hadn’t
everything else to do. I had jest as lives set down and smile at Josiah
by the hour, but who would fry him nut-cakes? I could smoothe down his
bald head affectionately, but who would do off this batch of sugar?
I could coo at him day in and day out, but who would skim milk--wash
pans--get vittles--wash and iron--and patch and scour--and darn and
fry--and make and mend--and bake and bile while I was a cooin’, tell me?”
says I.

Betsey spoke not, but quailed, and I continued--

“Women haint any stronger than men, naturally; thier backs and thier
nerves haint made of any stouter timber; their hearts are jest as liable
to ache as men’s are; so with thier heads; and after doin’ a hard day’s
work when she is jest ready to drop down, a little smilin’ and cooin’
would do a woman jest as much good as a man. Not what,” I repeated in the
firm tone of principle “Not but what I am willin’ to coo, if I only had

A pause enshued durin’ which I bent over the wash-tub and rubbed with
all my might on Josiah’s shirt sleeve. I had got one sleeve so I could
see streaks of white in it, (Josiah is awful hard on his shirt sleeves),
and I lifted up my face and continued in still more reesonable tones, as
I took out my rice puddin’ and cleaned out the bottom of the oven, (the
pudden had run over and was a scorchin’ on), and scraped the oven bottom
with a knife,

“Now Josiah Allen will go out into that lot,” says I, glancein’ out of
the north window “and plough right straight along, furrow after furrow,
no sweat of mind about it at all; his mind is in that free calm state
that he could write poetry.”

“Speaking of poetry, reminds me,” said Betsey, and I see her hand go into
her pocket; I knew what was a comin’, and I went on hurriedly, wavin’
off what I knew must be, as long as I could. “Now, I, a workin’ jest
as hard as he accordin’ to my strength, and havin’ to look 40 ways to
once, and 40 different strains on my mind, now tell me candidly, Betsey
Bobbet, which is in the best condition for cooin’, Josiah Allen or me?
but it haint expected of him,” says I in agitated tones, “I am expected
to do all the smilin’ and cooin’ there is done, though you know,” says I
sternly, “that I haint no time for it.”

“In this poem, Josiah Allen’s wife, is embodied my views, which are
widely different from yours.”

I see it was vain to struggle against fate, she had the poetry in her
hand. I rescued the twins from beneath a half a bushel of beans they had
pulled over onto themselves--took off my preserves which had burnt to the
pan while I was a rescuin’, and calmly listened to her, while I picked up
the beans with one hand, and held off the twins with the other.

“There is one thing I want to ask your advice about, Josiah Allen’s
wife. This poem is for the Jonesville Augah. You know I used always to
write for the opposition papah, the Jonesville Gimlet, but as I said
the othah day, since the Editah of the Augah lost his wife I feel that
duty is a drawing of me that way. Now do you think that it would be any
more pleasing and comforting to that deah Editah to have me sign my
name Bettie Bobbet--or Betsey, as I always have?” And loosin’ herself
in thought she murmured dreamily to the twins, who was a pullin’ each
other’s hair on the floor at her feet--

“Sweet little mothahless things, you couldn’t tell me, could you, deahs,
how your deah Pa would feel about it?”

Here the twins laid holt of each other so I had to part ’em, and as I did
so I said to Betsey, “If you haint a fool you will hang on to the Betsey.
You can’t find a woman nowadays that answers to her true name. I expect,”
says I in a tone of cold and almost witherin’ sarcasm, “that these old
ears will yet hear some young minister preach about Johnnie the Baptist,
and Minnie Magdalen. Hang on to the Betsey; as for the Bobbet,” says I,
lookin’ pityingly on her, “that will hang on for itself.”

I was too well bread to interrupt her further, and I pared my potatoes,
pounded my beefsteak, and ground my coffee for dinner, and listened. This
commenced also as if she had been havin’ a account with Love, and had
come out in his debt.


  Ah, when my deah future companion’s heart with grief is rife,
  With his bosom’s smart, with the cares of life,
  Ah, what higher, sweeter, bliss could be,
  Than to be a soothing poultice unto he?

  And if he have any companions lost--if they from earth have risen,
  Ah, I could weep tears of joy--for the deah bliss of wiping away his’en;
  Or if he (should happen to) have any twins, or othah blessed little ties,
  Ah, _how willingly_ on the altah of duty, B. Bobbet, herself would

  I would (all the rest of) life to the cold winds fling,
  And live for love--and live to cling.
  Fame, victuals, away! away! our food shall be,
  His smile on me--my sweet smile on he.

There was pretty near twenty verses of ’em, and as she finished she said
to me--

“What think you of my poem, Josiah Allen’s wife?”

Says I, fixin’ my sharp grey eyes upon her keenly, “I have had more
experience with men than you have, Betsey;” I see a dark shadow settlin’
on her eye-brow, and I hastened to apologise--“you haint to blame for it,
Betsey--we all know you haint to blame.”

She grew calm, and I proceeded, “How long do you suppose you could board
a man on clear smiles, Betsey--you jest try it for a few meals and you’d
find out. I have lived with Josiah Allen 14 years, and I ought to know
somethin’ of the natur of man, which is about alike in all of ’em, and I
say, and I contend for it, that you might jest as well try to cling to
a bear as to a hungry man. After dinner, sentiment would have a chance,
and you might smile on him. But then,” says I thoughtfully, “there is the
dishes to wash.”

Jest at that minute the Editor of the Augur stopped at the gate, and
Betsey, catchin’ up a twin on each arm, stood up to the winder, smilin’.

He jumped out, and took a great roll of poetry out from under the buggy
seat--I sithed as I see it. But fate was better to me than I deserved.
For Josiah was jest leadin’ the horse into the horse barn, when the
Editor happened to look up and see Betsey. Josiah says he swore--says he
“the d----!” I won’t say what it was, for I belong to the meetin’ house,
but it wasn’t the Deity though it begun with a D. He jumped into the
buggy agin, and says Josiah,

“You had better stay to dinner, my wife is gettin’ a awful good one--and
the sugar is most done.”

Josiah says he groaned, but he only said--

“Fetch out the twins.”

Says Josiah, “You had better stay to dinner--you haint got no women folks
to your house--and I know what it is to live on pancakes,” and wantin’ to
have a little fun with him, says he, “Betsey Bobbet is here.”

Josiah says he swore agin, and agin says he, “fetch out the twins.” And
he looked so kind o’ wild and fearful towards the door, that Josiah
started off on the run.

Betsey was determined to carry one of the twins out, but jest at the door
he tore every mite of hair off’en her head, and she, bein’ bald naturally,
dropped him. And Josiah carried ’em out, one on each arm, and he drove
off with ’em fast. Betsey wouldn’t stay to dinner all I could do and say,
she acted mad. But one sweet thought filled me with such joyful emotion
that I smiled as I thought of it--I shouldn’t have to listen to any more
poetry that day.


The Baptists in our neighborhood have been piecen’ up a bedquilt for
their minister. He has preached considerable, and held a Sunday school
to our school-house, and I wasn’t goin’ to have any bedquilts done for
him without havin’ my hand in it to help it along. I despise the idee of
folks bein’ so sot on their own meetin’ housen. Thier is enough worldly
things for neighbors to fight about, such as hens, and the school-marm,
without takin’ what little religion they have got and go to peltin’ each
other with it.

Sposen’ Baptists do love water better’n they do dry land? What of it?
If my Baptist brethren feel any better to baptise thierselves in the
Atlantic ocian, it haint none of my business. Somehow Josiah seems to be
more sot onto his own meetin’ house than I do. Thomas Jefferson said when
we was a arguin’ about it the mornin’ of the quiltin’, says he, “The more
water the better,” says he, “it would do some of the brethren good to
put ’em asoak and let ’em lay over night.”

I shet him up pretty quick, for I will not countenance such light
talk--but Josiah laughed, he encourages that boy in it, all I can do and

I always make a pint of goin’ to quiltin’s any way, whether I go on
Methodist principle (as in this case) or not, for you can’t be backbited
to your face, that is a moral certainty. I know women jest like a book,
for I have been one quite a spell. I always stand up for my own sect,
still I know sartin effects foller sartin causes. Such as two bricks
bein’ sot up side by side, if one tumbles over on to the other, the other
can’t stand up, it haint natur. If a toper holds a glass of liquor to his
mouth he can’t help swallowin’ it, it haint nater. If a young man goes
out slay-ridin’ with a pretty girl, and the buffalo robe slips off, he
can’t help holdin’ it round her, it haint nater. And quiltin’ jest sets
women to slanderin’ as easy and beautiful as any thing you ever see. I
was the first one there, for reasons I have named; I always go early.

I hadn’t been there long before Mrs. Deacon Dobbins came, and then the
Widder Tubbs, and then Squire Edwards’es wife and Maggie Snow, and then
the Dagget girls. (We call ’em _girls_, though it would be jest as proper
to call mutton, lamb.)

Miss Wilkins’ baby had the mumps, and the Peedicks and Gowdey’s had
unexpected company. But with Miss Jones where the quiltin’ was held, and
her girls Mary Ann and Alzina, we made as many as could get round the
quilt handy.

The quilt was made of different kinds of calico; all the women round had
pieced up a block or two, and we took up a collection to get the battin’
and linin’ and the cloth to set it together with, which was turkey red,
and come to quilt it, it looked well. We quilted it herrin’ bone, with a
runnin’ vine round the border.

After the pathmaster was demorilized, the school-teacher tore to pieces,
the party to Peedicks scandalized, Sophronia Gowdey’s charicter broke
doun--and her mother’s new bunnet pronounced a perfect fright, and twenty
years too young for her--and Miss Wilkins’ baby voted a unquestionable
idiot, and the rest of the unrepresented neighborhood dealt with, Lucinda
Dagget spoke up and says she--

“I hope the minister will like the bedquilt.” (Lucinda is the one that
studies mathematics to harden her mind, and has the Roman nose.)

“It haint no ways likely he will,” says her sister Ophelia; (she is the
one that frizzles her hair on top and wears spectacles.) “It haint no
ways likely he will--for he is a cold man, a stun statute.”

Now you see I set my eyes by that minister, if he is of another
persuasion. He is always doin’ good to somebody, besides preachin’ more
like a angel than a human bein’. I can’t never forget--and I don’t want
to--how he took holt of my hand, and how his voice trembled and the tears
stood in his eyes, when we thought our Tirzah Ann was a dyin’--she was in
his Sunday School class. There is some lines in your life you can’t rub
out, if you try to ever so hard. And I wasn’t goin’ to set still and hear
him run down. It riled up the old Smith blood, and when that is riled,
Josiah says he always feels that it is best to take his hat and leave,
till it settles. I spoke right up and says I--

“Lucky for him he was made of stun before he was married, for common
flesh and blood would have gin’ out a hundred times, chaste round by the
girls as he was.” You see it was the town talk, how Ophelia Dagget acted
before he was married, and she almost went into a decline, and took heaps
of motherwort and fetty.

“I don’t know what you mean, Miss Allen,” says she, turnin’ red as a red
brick, “I never heard of his bein’ chaste, I knew I never could bear the
sight of him.”

“The distant sight,” says Alzina Jones.

Ophelia looked so mad at that, that I don’t know but she would have
pricked her with her quiltin’ needle, if old Miss Dobbins hadn’t spoke
up. She is a fat old lady, with a double chin, mild and lovely as Mount
Vernon’s sister. She always agrees with everybody. Thomas Jefferson
calls her “Woolen Apron” for he says he heard her one day say to Miss
Gowdy--“I don’t like woolen aprons, do you Miss Gowdy?”

“Why yes, Miss Dobbin, I do.”

“Well so do I,” says she. But good old soul, if we was all such peace
makers as she is, we should be pretty sure of Heaven. Though Thomas
Jefferson says, “if Satan should ask her to go to his house, she would
go, rather than hurt his feelin’s.” That boy worrys me, I don’t know what
he is a comin’ to.

As I said, she looked up mildly over her spectacles, and nodded her
purple cap ribbons two or three times, and said “yes,” “jest so,” to both
of us. And then to change the subject says she;

“Has the minister’s wife got home yet?”

“I think not,” says Maggie Snow. “I was to the village yesterday, and she
hadn’t come then.”

“I suppose her mother is well off,” says the Widder Tubbs, “and as long
as she stays there, she saves the minister five dollars a week, I should
think she would stay all summer.” The widder is about as equinomical a
woman as belongs to his meetin’ house.

“It don’t look well for her to be gone so long,” says Lucinda Dagget, “I
am very much afraid it will make talk.”

“Mebby it will save the minister five dollars a week,” says Ophelia, “as
extravagant as she is in dress, as many as four silk dresses she has got,
and there’s Baptist folks as good as she is that hain’t got but one--and
one certain Baptist person _full_ as good as she is that hain’t got any.”
(Ophelia’s best dress is poplin.) “It won’t take her long to run out the
minister’s salary.”

“She had her silk dresses before she was married, and her folks were
wealthy,” says Mrs. Squire Edwards.

“As much as we have done for them, and are still doing,” says Lucinda,
“it seems ungrateful in her to wear such a bunnet as she wore last
summer, a plain white straw, with a little bit of ribbon onto it, not a
flower nor a feather, it looked so scrimped and stingy, I have thought
she wore it on purpose to mortify us before the Methodists. Jest as if we
couldn’t afford to dress our minister’s wife as well as they did theirs.”

Maggie Snow’s cheeks was a getting as red as fire, and her eyes began to
shine, jest as they did that day she found some boys stonein’ her kitten.
She and the minister’s wife are the greatest friends that ever was. And I
see she couldn’t hold in much longer. She was jest openin’ her mouth to
speak, when the door opened and in walked Betsey Bobbet.

“My! it seems to me you are late, Betsey, but walk right into the spare
bedroom, and take off your things.”

“Things!” says Betsey, in a reckless tone, “who cares for things!” And
she dropped into the nearest rocking chair and commenced to rock herself
violently and says she “would that I had died when I was a infant babe.”

“Amen!” whispered Alzina Jones, to Maggie Snow.

Betsey didn’t hear her, and again she groaned out, “Would that I had been
laid in yondeh church yard, before my eyes had got open to depravity and

“Do tell us what is the matter Betsey,” says Miss Jones.

“Yes do,” says Miss Deacon Dobbins.

“Matter enuff,” says she, “No wondeh there is earthquakes and jars. I
heard the news jest as I came out of our gate, and it made me weak as
a cat, I had to stop to every house on the way doun heah, to rest, and
not a soul had heard of it, till I told ’em. Such a shock as it gave me,
I shant get over it for a week, but it is just as I always told you, I
always said the minister’s wife wasn’t any _too_ good. It didn’t surprise
me not a bit.”

“You can’t tell me one word against Mary Morton that I’ll believe,” says
Maggie Snow.

“You will admit that the minister went North last Tuesday, won’t you.”

Seven wimmin spoke up at once and said: “Yes, his mother was took sick,
and telegraphed for him.”

“So he said,” said Betsey Bobbet, “so he said, but I believe it is for

“Oh dear,” shrieked Ophelia Dagget, “I shall faint away, ketch hold of
me, somebody.”

“Ketch hold of yourself,” says I coolly, and then says I to Betsey, “I
don’t believe he has run away no more than I believe that I am the next
President of the United States.”

“Well, if he is not, he will wish he had, his wife come home this morning
on the cars.”

Four wimmens said “Did she,” two said, “Do tell,” and three opened their
mouths and looked at her speechless. Amongst these last was Miss Deacon
Dobbins. But I spoke out in a collected manner, “What of it?”

Says she, “I believe the poor, deah man mistrusted it all out and run
away from trouble and disgrace brought upon him by that female, his wife.”

“How dare you speak the word disgrace in connection with Mary Morton?”
says Maggie Snow.

“How dare I?” says Betsey. “Ask Thomas Jefferson Allen, as it happened, I
got it from his own mouth, it did not come through two or three.”

“Got what?” says I, and I continued in pretty cold tones, “If you can
speak the English language, Betsey Bobbet, and have got sense enough to
tell a straight story, tell it and be done with it,” says I. “Thomas
Jefferson has been to Jonesville ever sense mornin’.”

[Illustration: THE QUILTIN’ PARTY]

“Yes,” says she, “and he was coming home, jest as I started for heah, and
he stopped by our gate, and says he, ‘Betsey, I have got something to
tell you. I want to tell it to somebody that can keep it, it ought to be
kept,’ says he; and then he went on and told; says he,--‘The minister’s
wife has got home, and she didn’t come alone neither.’

“Says I, what do you mean? He looked as mysterious as a white ghost, and
says he, ‘I mean what I say.’ Says he, ‘I was in the men’s room at the
depot this morning, and I heard the minister’s wife in the next room
talking to some body she called Hugh, you know her husband’s name is
Charles. I heard her tell this Hugh that she loved him, loved him better
than the whole world;’ and then he made me promise not to tell, but he
said he heerd not only one kiss, but fourteen or fifteen.

“Now,” says Betsey, “what do you think of that female?”

“Good Heavens!” cried Ophelia Dagget, “am I deceived? is this a
phantagory of the brain? have I got ears? have I got ears?” says she
wildly, glaring at me.

“You can feel and see,” says I pretty short.

“Will he live with the wretched creature?” continued Ophelia, “no he will
get a divorcement from her, such a tender hearted man too, as he is,
if ever a man wanted a comforter in a tryin’ time, he is the man, and
to-morrow I will go and comfort him.”

“Methinks you will find him first,” says Betsey Bobbet. “And after he is
found, methinks there is a certain person he would be as glad to see as
he would another certain person.”

“There is some mistake,” says Maggie Snow. “Thomas Jefferson is always
joking,” and her face blushed up kinder red as she spoke about Thomas J.

I don’t make no matches, nor break none, but I watch things pretty keen,
if I don’t say much.

“It was a male man,” says Lucinda Dagget, “else why did she call him
Hugh? You have all heerd Elder Morton say that his wife hadn’t a relative
on earth, except a mother and a maiden aunt. It couldn’t have been her
mother, and it couldn’t have been the maiden aunt, for her name was
Martha instead of Hugh; besides,” she continued, (she had so hardened her
mind with mathematics that she could grapple the hardest fact, and floor
it, so to speak,) “besides, the maiden aunt died six months ago, that
settles the matter conclusively, it was not the maiden aunt.”

“I have thought something was on the Elders’ mind, for quite a spell, I
have spoke to sister Gowdy about it a number of times,” then she kinder
rolled up her eyes just as she does in conference meetin’s, and says she,
“it is an awful dispensation, but I hope he’ll turn it into a means of
grace, I hope his spiritual strength will be renewed, but I have borryed
a good deal of trouble about his bein’ so handsome, I have noticed
handsome ministers don’t turn out well, they most always have somethin’
happen to ’em, sooner or later, but I hope he’ll be led.”

“I never thought that Miss Morton was any too good.”

“Neither did I,” said Lucinda Dagget.

“She has turned out jest as I always thought she would,” says Ophelia,
“and I think jest as much of her, as I do of them that stand up for her.”
Maggie Snow spoke up then, jest as clear as a bell her voice sounded. She
hain’t afraid of anybody, for she is Lawyer Snow’s only child, and has
been to Boston to school. Says she “Aunt Allen,” she is a little related
to me on her mother’s side. “Aunt Allen, why is it as a general rule, the
worst folks are the ones to suspect other people of bein’ bad.”

Says I, “Maggy, they draw their pictures from memery, they think, ‘now if
_I_ had that opportunity to do wrong, I should certainly improve it--and
so of course _they_ did.’ And they want to pull down other folks’es
reputations, for they feel as if their own goodness is in a totterin’
condition, and if it falls, they want somethin’ for it to fall on, so as
to come down easier like.”

Maggy Snow laughed, and so did Squire Edwards’ wife, and the
Jones’es--but Betsey Bobbet, and the Dagget girls looked black as
Erobius. And says Betsey Bobbet to me, “I shouldn’t think, Josiah
Allen’s wife, that _you_ would countenance such conduct.”

“I will first know that there is wrong conduct,” says I--“Miss Morton’s
face is just as innocent as a baby’s, and I hain’t a goin’ to mistrust
any evil out of them pretty brown eyes, till I am obleeged to.”

“Well, you will have to believe it,” says Ophelia Dagget--“and there
shall be somethin’ done about it as sure as my name is Ophelia Dagget.”

“Let him that is without sin amongst you cast the first stone,” says Miss
Squire Edwards--a better Baptist women never lived than she is.

“Yes,” says I in almost piercen’ tones, “which of us is good enough to go
into the stun business? Even supposin’ it was true, which I never will
believe on earth, which of us could stun her on gospel grounds?--who will
you find that is free from all kind of sin?” and as I spoke, remorseful
thoughts almost knocked against my heart, how I had scolded Josiah the
night before for goin’ in his stockin feet.

“I never see a female women yet that I thought was perfect, and yet how
willin’ they are to go to handlin’ these stuns--why wimmen fling enough
stuns at each other every day, to make a stun wall that would reach from
pole to pole.”

Just at this minute the hired girl come in, and said supper was on the
table, and we all went out to eat it. Miss Jones said there wasn’t
anything on the table fit to eat, and she was afraid we couldn’t make
out--but it was a splendid supper, fit for the Zaar of Rushy.

We hadn’t more’n got up from the supper table, and got back into the
parlor, when we heard a knock onto the front door, and Miss Jones went
and opened it, and who of all the live world should walk in but the
minister! The faces of the wimmen as he entered would have been a study
for Michael Angelico, or any of them old painters. Miss Jones was that
flustrated that she asked him the first thing to take his bunnet off, and
then she bethought herself, and says she, ‘How’s your Ma?’ before she had
sat him a chair or anything. But he looked as pleasant and composed as
ever, though his eyes kinder laughed. And he thanked her and told her he
left his mother the day before a good deal better, and then he turned to
Maggy Snow, and says he,

“I have come after you Miss Maggy, my wife come home this mornin’ and was
so anxious to see you that I told her as I had business past your house
this afternoon, I would call for you as I went home, and your mother told
me you were here. I think I know why she wants to see you so very much
now. She is so proud of our boy, she can’t wait till----”

“Your boy,” gasped nine wimmen to once.

“Yes,” says he smilin’ more pleasant than I ever seen him. “I know you
will wish me joy, we have a nice little boy, little Hugh, for my wife
has named him already for her father, he is a fine healthy little fellow
almost two months old.”

It wouldn’t have done no good for Michael Angelico or Mr. Ruben, to have
been there then, nor none of the rest of them we read about, for if they
had their palates’es and easels’es all ready, they never could have done
justice to the faces of the Dagget girls, and Betsey Bobbet. And as for
Miss Deacon Dobbins, her spectacles fell off unnoticed and she opened
her mouth so wide, it was very doubtful to me if she could ever shut it
again. Maggy Snow’s face shone like a Cherubim, and as for me, I can
truly say I was happy enough to sing the Te Deus.



About a couple of weeks after the quiltin’, Thomas Jefferson said to
Josiah, one Saturday mornin’,

“Father, can I have the old mare to go to Jonesville to-night?”

“What do you want to go to Jonesville for?” said his father, “you come
from there last night.”

“There is goin’ to be a lecture on wimmin’s rights; can I have her,

“I s’pose so,” says Josiah, kinder short, and after Thomas J. went out,
Josiah went on--

“Wimmin’s rights, wimmin’s rights, I wonder how many more fools are goin’
a caperin’ round the country preachin’ ’em up--I am sick of wimmin’s
rights, I don’t believe in ’em.”

This riled up the old Smith blood, and says I to him with a glance that
went clear through to the back side of his head--

“I know you don’t, Josiah Allen--I can tell a man that is for wimmin’s
rights as fur as I can see ’em. There is a free, easy swing to thier
walk--a noble look to thier faces--thier big hearts and soles love
liberty and justice, and bein’ free themselves they want everybody else
to be free. These men haint jealous of a woman’s influence--haint afraid
that she won’t pay him proper respect if she haint obleeged to--and they
needn’t be afraid, for these are the very men that wimmin look up to, and
worship,--and always will. A good, noble, true man is the best job old
natur ever turned off her hands, or ever will--a man, that would wipe off
a baby’s tears as soft as a woman could, or ‘die with his face to the

“They are most always big, noble-sized men, too,” says I, with another
look at Josiah that pierced him like a arrow; (Josiah don’t weigh quite
one hundred by the steelyards.)

“I don’t know as I am to blame, Samantha, for not bein’ a very hefty man.”

“You can let your sole grow, Josiah Allen, by thinkin’ big, noble-sized
thoughts, and I believe if you did, you would weigh more by the

“Wall, I don’t care, Samantha, I stick to it, that I am sick of wimmin’s
rights; if wimmin would take care of the rights they have got now, they
would do better than they do do.”

Now I love to see folks use reason if they have got any--and I won’t
stand no importations cast on to my sect--and so I says to him in a tone
of cold and almost freezin’ dignity--

“What do you mean, Josiah?”

“I mean that women hain’t no business a votin’; they had better let
the laws alone, and tend to thier house-work. The law loves wimmin and
protects ’em.”

“If the law loves wimmin so well, why don’t he give her as much wages
as men get for doin’ the same work? Why don’t he give her half as much,
Josiah Allen?”

Josiah waved off my question, seemin’ly not noticin’ of it--and continued
with the doggy obstinacy of his sect--

“Wimmin haint no business with the laws of the country.”

“If they haint no business with the law, the law haint no business with
them,” says I warmly. “Of the three classes that haint no business with
the law--lunatics, idiots, and wimmin--the lunatics and idiots have the
best time of it,” says I, with a great rush of ideas into my brain that
almost lifted up the border of my head-dress. “Let a idiot kill a man;
‘What of it?’ says the law; let a luny steal a sheep; again the law
murmurs in a calm and gentle tone, ‘What of it? they haint no business
with the law and the law haint no business with them.’ But let one of
the third class, let a woman steal a sheep, does the law soothe her in
these comfortin’ tones? No, it thunders to her, in awful accents, ‘You
haint no business with the law, but the law has a good deal of business
with you, vile female, start for State’s prisen; you haint nothin’ at all
to do with the law, only to pay all the taxes it tells you to--embrace a
license bill that is ruinin’ your husband--give up your innocent little
children to a wicked father if it tells you to--and a few other little
things, such as bein’ dragged off to prison by it--chained up for life,
and hung, and et cetery.’”

Josiah sot motionless--and in a rapped eloquence I went on in the
allegory way.

“‘Methought I once heard the words,’ sighs the female, ‘True government
consists in the consent of the governed;’ did I dream them, or did the
voice of a luny pour them into my ear?’

“‘Haint I told you,’ frouns the law on her, ‘that that don’t mean
wimmin--have I got to explain to your weakened female comprehension
again, the great fundymental truth, that wimmin haint included and
mingled in the law books and statutes of the country only in a condemnin’
and punishin’ sense, as it were. Though I feel it to be bendin’ down my
powerful manly dignity to elucidate the subject further, I will consent
to remind you of the consolin’ fact, that though you wimmin are, from
the tender softness of your natures, and the illogical weakness of
your minds, unfit from ever havin’ any voice in makin’ the laws that
govern you; you have the right, and nobody can ever deprive you of it,
to be punished in a future world jest as hard as a man of the strongest
intellect, and to be hung in this world jest as dead as a dead man; and
what more can you ask for, you unreasonable female woman you?’

“Then groans the woman as the great fundymental truth rushes upon her--

“‘I can be hung by the political rope, but I can’t help twist it.’

“‘Jest so,’ says the law, ‘that rope takes noble and manly fingers, and
fingers of principle to twist it, and not the weak unprincipled grasp of
lunatics, idiots, and wimmin.’

“‘Alas!’ sithes the woman to herself, ‘would that I had the sweet rights
of my wild and foolish companions, the idiots and lunys. But,’ says she,
venturing with a beating heart, the timid and bashful inquiry, ‘are the
laws always just, that I should obey them thus implicitly? There is old
Creshus, he stole two millions, and the law cleared him triumphantly.
Several men have killed various other men, and the law insistin’ they
was out of their heads, (had got out of ’em for the occasion, and got
into ’em agin the minute they was cleared,) let ’em off with sound necks.
And I, a poor woman, have only stole a sheep, a small-sized sheep too,
that my offspring might not perish with hunger--is it right to liberate
in a triumphin’ way the two million stealer and the man murderer, and
inkarcerate the poor sheep stealer? and my children was _so_ hungry, and
it was such a small sheep,’ says the woman in pleadin’ accents.

“‘Idiots! lunatics! and wimmin! are they goin’ to speak?’ thunders the
law. ‘Can I believe my noble right ear? can I bein’ blindfolded trust
my seventeen senses? I’ll have you understand that it haint no woman’s
business whether the laws are just or unjust, all you have got to do is
jest to obey ’em, so start off for prison, my young woman.’

“‘But my house-work,’ pleads the woman; ‘woman’s place is home: it is her
duty to remain at all hazards within its holy and protectin’ precincts;
how can I leave its sacred retirement to moulder in State’s prison?’

“‘House-work!’ and the law fairly yells the words, he is so filled with
contempt at the idee. ‘House-work! jest as if house-work is goin’ to
stand in the way of the noble administration of the law. I admit the
recklessness and immorality of her leavin’ that holy haven, long enough
to vote--but I guess she can leave her house-work long enough to be
condemned, and hung, and so forth.’

“‘But I have got a infant,’ says the woman, ‘of tender days, how can I

“‘That is nothing to the case,’ says the law in stern tones. ‘The
peculiar conditions of motherhood only unfits a female woman from ridin’
to town with her husband, in a covered carriage, once a year, and layin’
her vote on a pole. I’ll have you understand it is no hindrance to her at
all in a cold and naked cell, or in a public court room crowded with men.’

“‘But the indelikacy, the outrage to my womanly nature?’ says the woman.

“‘Not another word out of your head, young woman,’ says the law, ‘or I’ll
fine you for contempt. I guess the law knows what is indelikacy, and what
haint; where modesty comes in, and where it don’t; now start for prison
bareheaded, for I levy on your bunnet for contempt of me.’

“As the young woman totters along to prison, is it any wonder that she
sithes to herself, but in a low tone, that the law might not hear her,
and deprive her also of her shoes for her contemptas thoughts--

“‘Would that I were a idiot; alas! is it not possible that I may become
even now a luny?--then I should be respected.’”

As I finished my allegory and looked down from the side of the house,
where my eyes had been fastened in the rapped eloquence of thought, I see
Josiah with a contented countenance, readin’ the almanac, and I said to
him in a voice before which he quailed--

“Josiah Allen, you haint heard a word I’ve said, you know you haint.”

“Yes I have,” says he, shettin’ up the almanac; “I heard you say wimmin
ought to vote, and I say she hadn’t. I shall always say that she is too
fraguile, too delikate, it would be too hard for her to go to the pole.”

“There is one pole you are willin’ enough I should go to, Josiah Allen,”
and I stopped allegorin’, and spoke with witherin’ dignity and self
respect--“and that is the hop pole.” (Josiah has sot out a new hop yard,
and he proudly brags to the neighbors that I am the fastest picker in the
yard.) “You are willin’ enough I should handle them poles!” He looked
smit and conscience struck, but still true to the inherient principles of
his sect, and thier doggy obstinacy, he murmured--

“If wimmin know when they are well off, they will let poles and ’lection
boxes alone, it is too wearin for the fair sect.”

“Josiah Allen,” says I, “you think that for a woman to stand up straight
on her feet, under a blazin’ sun, and lift both her arms above her head,
and pick seven bushels of hops, mingled with worms and spiders, into a
gigantic box, day in, and day out, is awful healthy, so strengthenin’ and
stimulatin’ to wimmin, but when it comes to droppin’ a little slip of
clean paper into a small seven by nine box, once a year in a shady room,
you are afraid it is goin’ to break down a woman’s constitution to once.”

He was speechless, and clung to Ayer’s almanac mechanically (as it were)
and I continued--

“There is another pole you are willin’ enough for me to handle, and that
is our cistern pole. If you should spend some of the breath you waste--in
pityin’ the poor wimmin that have got to vote--in byin’ a pump, you would
raise 25 cents in my estimation, Josiah Allen. You have let me pull on
that old cistern pole thirteen years, and get a ten quart pail of water
on to the end of it, and I guess the political pole wouldn’t draw much
harder than that does.”

“I guess I will get one, Samantha, when I sell the old critter. I have
been a calculatin’ to every year, but things will kinder run along.”

“I am aware of that,” says I in a tone of dignity cold as a lump of cold
ice. “I am aware of that. You may go into any neighborhood you please,
and if there is a family in it, where the wife has to set up leeches,
make soap, cut her own kindlin’ wood, build fires in winter, set up
stove-pipes, dround kittens, hang out clothes lines, cord beds, cut up
pork, skin calves, and hatchel flax with a baby lashed to her side--I
haint afraid to bet you a ten cent bill, that that woman’s husband thinks
that wimmin are too feeble and delicate to go the pole.”

Josiah was speechless for pretty near half a minute, and when he did
speak it was words calculated to draw my attention from contemplatin’
that side of the subject. It was for reasons, I have too much respect for
my husband to even hint at--odious to him, as odious could be--he wanted
me to forget it, and in the gentle and sheepish manner men can so readily
assume when they are talkin’ to females he said, as he gently fingered
Ayer’s almanac, and looked pensively at the dyin’ female revivin’ at a
view of the bottle--

“We men think too much of you wimmin to want you to lose your sweet,
dignified, retirin’ modesty that is your chieftest charm. How long would
dignity and modesty stand firm before the wild Urena of public life? You
are made to be happy wives, to be guarded by the stronger sect, from the
cold blast and the torrid zone. To have a fence built around you by manly
strength, to keep out the cares and troubles of life. Why, if I was one
of the fair sect, I would have a husband to fence me in, if I had to hire

He meant this last, about hirin’ a husband, as a joke, for he smiled
feebly as he said it, and in other and happier times stern duty would
have compelled me to laugh at it--but not now, oh no, my breast was
heavin’ with too many different sized emotions.

“You would hire one, would you? a woman don’t lose her dignity and
modesty a racin’ round tryin’ to get married, does she? Oh no,” says I,
as sarcastic as sarcastic could be, and then I added sternly, “If it
ever does come in fashion to hire husbands by the year, I know of one
that could be rented cheap, if his wife had the proceeds and avails in a
pecuniary sense.”

He looked almost mortified, but still he murmur’d as if mechanically.
“It is wimmen’s place to marry and not to vote.”

“Josiah Allen,” says I, “Anybody would think to hear you talk that a
woman couldn’t do but just one of the two things any way--marry or vote,
and had got to take her choice of the two at the pint of the bayonet.
And anybody would think to hear you go on, that if a women could live in
any other way, she wouldn’t be married, and you couldn’t get her to.”
Says I, looking at him shrewdly, “if marryin’ is such a dreadful nice
thing for wimmen I don’t see what you are afraid of. You men act kinder
guilty about it, and I don’t wonder at it, for take a bad husband, and
thier haint no kind of slavery to be compared to wife slavery. It is jest
as natural for a mean, cowardly man to want to abuse and tyranize over
them that they can, them that are dependent on ’em, as for a noble and
generous man to want to protect them that are weak and in their power.
Figurin’ accordin’ to the closest rule of arithmetic, there are at least
one-third mean, dissopated, drunken men in the world, and they most all
have wives, and let them tread on these wives ever so hard, if they
only tread accordin’ to law, she can’t escape. And suppose she tries to
escape, blood-hounds haint half so bitter as public opinion on a women
that parts with her husband, chains and handcuffs haint to be compared
to her pride, and her love for her children, and so she keeps still, and
suffers agony enough to make four first class martyrs. Field slaves
have a few hours for rest at night, and a hope, to kinder boy them up,
of gettin’ a better master. But the wife slave has no hope of a change
of masters, and let him be ever so degraded and brutal is at his mercy
day and night. Men seem to be awful afraid that wimmen won’t be so fierce
for marryin’ anybody, for a home and a support, if they can support
themselves independent, and be jest as respectable in the eyes of the
world. But,” says I,

“In them days when men and wimmen are both independent--free and equal,
they will marry in the only true way--from love and not from necessity.
They will marry because God will join their two hearts and hands so you
can’t get ’em apart no how. But to hear you talk Josiah Allen, anybody
would think that there wouldn’t another woman marry on earth, if they
could get rid of it, and support themselves without it.” And then I
added, fixin’ my keen grey eyes upon his’en. “You act guilty about it
Josiah Allen. But,” says I, “just so long as the sun shines down upon
the earth and the earth answers back to it, blowin’ all out full of
beauty--Jest so long as the moon looks down lovin’ly upon old ocien
makin’ her heart beat the faster, jest so long will the hearts and souls
God made for each other, answer to each other’s call. God’s laws can’t be
repealed, Josiah Allen, they wasn’t made in Washington, D. C.”

I hardly ever see a man quail more than he did, and to tell the truth, I
guess I never had been quite so eloquent in all the 14 years we had lived
together--I felt so eloquent that I couldn’t stop myself and I went on.

“When did you ever see a couple that hated each other, or didn’t care
for each other, but what their children, was either jest as mean as
pusley--or else wilted and unhappy lookin’ like a potato sprout in a dark
suller? What that potato sprout wants is sunshine, Josiah Allen. What
them children wants is love. The fact is love is what makes a home--I
don’t care whether its walls are white, stone, marble or bass wood. If
there haint a face to the winder a waitin’ for you, when you have been
off to the store, what good does all your things do you, though you have
traded off ten pounds of butter? A lot of folks may get together in a big
splendid house, and be called by the same name, and eat and sleep under
the same roof till they die, and call it home, but if love don’t board
with ’em, give me an umbrella and a stump. But the children of these
marriages that I speak of, when they see such perfect harmony of mind and
heart in their father and mother, when they have been brought up in such
a warm, bright, happy home--they can’t no more help growin’ up sweet, and
noble, and happy, than your wheat can help growin’ up straight and green
when the warm rain and the sunshine falls on it. These children, Josiah
Allen, are the future men and wimmens who are goin’ to put their shoulder
blades to the wheel and roll this world straight into millenium.” Says

“Wimmen are too good to vote with us men, wimmen haint much more nor less
than angels any way.”

When you have been soarin’ in eloquence, it is always hard to be brought
down sudden--it hurts you to light--and this speech sickened me, and says
I, in a tone so cold that he shivered imperceptibly.

“Josiah Allen, there is one angel that would be glad to have a little
wood got for her to get dinner with, there is one angel that cut every
stick of wood she burnt yesterday, that same angel doin’ a big washin’ at
the same time,” and says I, repeatin’ the words, as I glanced at the beef
over the cold and chilly stove, “I should like a handful of wood Josiah

“I would get you some this minute Samantha,” says he gettin’ up and
takin’ down his plantin’ bag, “but you know jest how hurried I be with my
spring’s work, can’t you pick up a little for this forenoon? you haint
got much to do have you?”

“Oh no!” says I in a lofty tone of irony, “Nothin’ at all, only a big
ironin’, ten pies and six loves of bread to bake, a cheese curd to run
up, 3 hens to scald, churnin’ and moppin’ and dinner to get. Jest a easy
mornin’s work for a angel.”

“Wall then, I guess you’ll get along, and to-morrow I’ll try to get you

I said no more, but with lofty emotions surgin’ in my breast, I took my
axe and started for the wood-pile.


I have been sick enough with a axident. Josiah had got his plantin’ all
done, and the garden seeds was comin’ up nice as a pin, I will have
a good garden. But the hens bothered me most to death, and kep’ me a
chasin’ out after ’em all the time. No sooner would I get ’em off the
peas, then they would be on the mush mellons, and then the cowcumbers
would take it and then the string beans, and there I was rushin’ out
doors bareheaded all times of day. It was worse for me than all my house
work, and so I told Josiah.

One day I went out full sail after ’em, and I fell kerslap over a rail
that lay in the grass, and turned my ancle jint, and I was laid up bed
sick for two weeks. It makes me out of patience to think of it, for we
might have a dog that is worth somethin’ if it wasn’t for Josiah, but as
it is, if he haint to the house I have to do all the chasin’ there is
done, for I might as well get the door step started on to the cattle, or
hens, as to get our dog off of it, to go on to any thing.

And he is big as a young eliphant too, eats as much as a cow, and of all
the lazy critters I ever did see, he is the cap sheaf. Why, when Josiah
sets him on to the hens, he has to take him by the collar and kinder
draws him along, all the way. And as for cows and calves, he seems to be
afraid of ’em, somethin’ kinder constitutionel Josiah says. I tell him he
might better bark ’em off himself, especially as he is a first rate hand
at it, you can’t tell him from a dog when he sets out.

One mornin’ I says to him, “Josiah Allen, what’s the use of your keepin’
that pup?”

Says he “Samantha, he is a good feller, if I will kinder run ahead of
him, and keep between him and the cows, he will go on to them first rate,
he seems to want encouragement.”

“Encouragement!” says I, “I should think as much.”

I didn’t say no more, and that very day the axident happened. Josiah
heard me holler, and he come runnin’ from the barn--and a scairter man I
never see. He took me right up, and was carryin’ of me in. I was in awful
agony--and the first words I remember sayin’ was these, in a faint voice.

“I wonder if you’ll keep that pup now?”

Says he firmly, yet with pity, and with pale and anxious face.

“Mebby you didn’t encourage him enough.”

Says I deliriously, “Did you expect I was goin’ to carry him in my arms
and throw him at the hens? I tried every other way.”

[Illustration: THE AXIDENT.]

“Wall, wall!” says he, kinder soothin’ly, “Do keep still, how do you
expect I’m goin’ to carry you if you touse round so.”

He laid me down on the lounge in the settin’ room, and I never got off
of it, for two weeks. Fever set in--I had been kinder unwell for quite
a spell, but I wouldn’t give up. I would keep ’round to work. But this
axident seemed to be the last hump on the camel’s back, I had to give in,
and Tirzah Ann had to come home from school to do the work.

When the news got out that I was sick, lots of folks came to see me. And
every one wanted me to take some different kinds of patented medicine,
or herb drink--why my stomach would have been drounded out, a perfect
wreck--if I had took half. And then every one would name my desease some
new name. Why I told Josiah at the end of the week, that accordin’ to
their tell, I had got every desease under the sun, unless it was the
horse distemper.

One mornin’ Miss Gowdey came in, and asked me in a melancholy way, if I
had ever had the kind pox. I told her I had.

“Well,” says she, “I mistrust you have got the very oh Lord.”

It was a Saturday mornin’ and Thomas Jefferson was to home, and he spoke
up and said “that was a good desease, and he hoped it would prevail; he
knew quite a number that he thought it would do ’em good to have it.”

She looked real shocked, but knew it was some of Thomas J.’s fun. There
was one woman that would come in, in a calm, quiet way about 2 times a
week, and say in a mild, collected tone,

“You have got the tizick.”

Says I, “the pain is in my foot mostly.”

“I can’t help that,” says she gently, but firmly, “There is tizick with
it. And I think that is what ailed Josiah when he was sick.”

“Why,” says I, “that was the newraligy, the doctors said.”

“Doctors are liable to mistakes,” says she in the same firm but modest
accents, “I have always thought it was the tizick. There are more folks
that are tiziky than you think for, in this world. I am a master hand
for knowin’ it when I see it.” She would then in an affectionate manner
advise me to doctor for the tizick, and then she would gently depart.

There are 2 kinds of wimmen that go to see the sick. There’s them low
voiced, still footed wimmen, that walks right in, and lays their hands on
your hot foreheads so soothin’ like, that the pain gets ashamed of itself
and sneaks off. I call ’em God’s angels. Spozen they haint got wings, I
don’t care, I contend for it they are servin’ the Lord jest as much as if
they was a standin’ up in a row, all feathered out, with a palm tree in
one hand and a harp in the other.

So I told old Gowdey one cold winter day--(he is awful stingy, he has got
a big wood lot--yet lets lots of poor families most freeze round him, in
the winter time. He will pray for ’em by the hour, but it don’t seem to
warm ’em up much)--he says to me,

“Oh! if I was only a angel! if I only had holt of the palm tree up yonder
that is waitin’ for me.”

Says I, coolly, “if it is used right, I think good body maple goes a good
ways toward makin’ a angel.”

As I say, I have had these angels in my room--some kinder slimmish ones,
some, that would go nigh on to 2 hundred by the stellyards, I don’t care
if they went 3 hundred quick, I should call ’em angels jest the same.

Then there is them wimmen that go to have a good time of it, they get
kinder sick of stayin’ to home, and nothin’ happenin’. And so they take
thier work, and flock in to visit the afflicted. I should think I had
pretty near 25 a day of ’em, and each one started 25 different subjects.
Wild, crazy subjects, most of ’em, such as fires, runaway matches, and
whirlwinds; earthquakes, neighberhood fightin’, and butter that wouldn’t
come; great tidal waves, railroad axidents, balky horses, and overskirts;
man slaughter, politix, schism, and frizzled hair.

I believe it would have drawed more sweat from a able bodied man to have
laid still and heard it, than to mow a five acre lot in dog days. And
there my head was takin’ on, and achin’ as if it would come off all the

If I could have had one thing at a time, I could have stood it better.
I shouldn’t have minded a earthquake so much, if I could have give my
full attention to it, but I must have conflegrations at the same time on
my mind, and hens that wouldn’t set, and drunken men, and crazy wimmin,
and jumpin’ sheep, and female suffragin’ and calico cut biasin’, and the
Rushen war, and politix. It did seem some of the time, that my head must
split open, and I guess the doctor got scairt about me, for one mornin’
after he went away, Josiah came into the room, and I see that he looked
awful sober and gloomy, but the minute he ketched my eye, he began to
snicker and laugh. I didn’t say nothin’ at first, and shet my eyes, but
when I opened ’em agin, there he was a standin’ lookin’ down on me with
the same mournful, agonized expression onto his features; not a word did
he speak, but when he see me a lookin’ at him, he bust out laughin’ agin,
and then says I--

“What is the matter, Josiah Allen?”

Says he, “I’m a bein’ cheerful, Samantha!”

[Illustration: BEIN’ CHEERFUL.]

Says I in the faint accents of weakness, “You are bein’ a natural born
idiot, and do you stop it.”

Says he, “I won’t stop it, Samantha, I _will_ be cheerful;” and he

Says I, “Won’t you go out, and let me rest a little, Josiah Allen?”

“No!” says he firmly, “I will stand by you, and I will be cheerful,” and
he snickered the loudest he had yet, but at the same time his countenance
was so awfully gloomy and anxious lookin’ that it filled me with a
strange awe as he continued--

“The doctor told me that you must be kep’ perfectly quiet, and I must be
cheerful before you, and while I have the spirit of a man I _will_ be
cheerful,” and with a despairin’ countenance, he giggled and snickered.

I knew what a case he was to do his duty, and I groaned out, “There haint
no use a tryin’ to stop him.”

“No,” says he, “there haint no use a arguin’ with me--I shall do my
duty.” And he bust out into a awful laugh that almost choked him.

I knew there wouldn’t be no rest for me, while he stood there performin’
like a circus, and so says I in a strategim way--

“It seems to me as if I should like a little lemonade, Josiah, but the
lemons are all gone.”

Says he, “I will harness up the old mare and start for Jonesville this
minute, and get you some.”

But after he got out in the kitchen, and his hat on, he stuck his head
into the door, and with a mournful countenance, snickered.

After he fairly sot sail for Jonesville, now, thinks I to myself, I will
have a good nap, and rest my head while he is gone, and I had jest got
settled down, and was thinkin’ sweetly how slow the old mare was, when I
heerd a noise in the kitchen. And Tirzah Ann come in, and says she--

“Betsey Bobbet has come; I told her I guessed you was a goin’ to sleep,
and she hadn’t better come in, but she acted so mad about it, that I
don’t know what to do.”

Before I could find time to tell her to lock the door, and put a chair
against it, Betsey come right in, and says she--

“Josiah Allen’s wife, how do you feel this mornin’?” and she added
sweetly, “You see I have come.”

“I feel dreadful bad and feverish, this mornin’,” says I, groanin’ in
spite of myself. For my head felt the worst it had, everything looked
big, and sick to the stomach to me, kinder waverin’ and floatin’ round

“Yes, I know jest how you feel, Josiah Allen’s wife, for I have felt jest
so, only a great deal worse--why, talkin’ about fevahs, Josiah Allen’s
wife, I have had such a fevah that the sweat stood in great drops all
ovah me.”

She took her things off, and laid ’em on the table, and she had a bag
hangin’ on her arm pretty near as big as a flour sack, and she laid that
down in one chair and took another one herself, and then she continued,

“I have come down to spend the entiah day with you, Josiah Allen’s wife.
We heerd that you was sick, and we thought we would all come doun and
spend the day with you. We have got relations from a distance visitin’
us,--relations on fathah’s side--and they are all a comin’. Mothah is
comin’ and Aunt Betsey, and cousin Annah Mariah and her two children.
But we don’t want you to make any fuss for us at all--only cousin Annah
Mariah was sayin’ yesterday that she did want an old-fashioned boiled
dinnah, before she went back to New York. Mothah was goin’ to boil one
yesterday, but you know jest how it scents up a house, and in _my_
situation, not knowin’ _when_ I shall receive interestin’ calls, I _do_
want to keep up a agreeable atmospheah. I told Annah Mariah _you_ had
all kinds of garden sauce. We don’t want you to make any difference for
us--not in the least--but boiled dinnahs, with a boiled puddin’ and sugar
sauce, are perfectly beautiful.”

I groaned in a low tone, but Betsey was so engaged a talkin’, that she
didn’t heed it, but went on in a high, excited tone--

“I come on a little ahead, for I wanted to get a pattern for a bedquilt,
if you have got one to suit me. I am goin’ to piece up a bedquilt out
of small pieces of calico I have been savin’ for yeahs. And I brought
the whole bag of calicoes along, for Mothah and cousin Annah Mariah said
they would assist me in piecin’ up to-day, aftah I get them cut out. You
know I may want bedquilts suddenly. A great many young girls are bein’
snatched away this spring. I think it becomes us all to be prepared.
Aunt Betsey would help me too, but she is in a dreadful hurry with a rag
carpet. She is goin’ to bring down a basket full of red and yellow rags
that mothah gave her, to tear up to-day. She said that it was not very
pretty work to carry visatin’, but I told her you was sick and would not
mind it. I guess,” she continued, takin’ up her bag, “I will pour these
calicoes all out upon the table, and then I will look at your bedquilts
and patterns.” And she poured out about half a bushel of crazy lookin’
pieces of calico on the table, no two pieces of a size or color.

[Illustration: KEEPIN’ THE SICK QUIET.]

I groaned loudly, in spite of myself, and shut my eyes. She heard the
groan, and see the agony on to my eye brow, and says she,

“The doctor said to our house this morning, that you must be kept
perfectly quiet--and I tell you Josiah Allen’s wife, that you _must not_
get excited. We talked it over this morning, we said we were all going
to put in together, that you should keep perfectly quiet, and not get
excited in your mind. And now what would you advise me to do? Would you
have a sunflower bedquilt, or a blazing stah? Take it right to yourself
Josiah Allen’s wife, what would you do about it? But do not excite
yourself any. Blazing stahs look more showy, but then sun-flowehs
are easier to quilt. Quilt once around every piece, and it is enough,
and looks well on the other side, I am going to line it with otteh
coloh--white looks betteh, but if two little children jest of an age,
should happen to be a playing on it, it would keep clean longeh.”

Agin I groaned, and says Betsey, “I do wish you would take my advice
Josiah Allen’s wife, and keep perfectly quiet in your mind. I should
think you would,” says she reproachfully. “When I have told you, how much
betteh it would be for you. I guess,” says she, “that you need chirking
up a little. I must enliven you, and make you look happier before I go
on with my bedquilt, and before we begin to look at your patterns and
bedquilts, I will read a little to you, I calculated too, if you was low
spirited; I came prepared.” And takin’ a paper out of her pocket she says,

“I will now proceed to read to you one of the longest, most noble and
eloquent editorials that has eveh come out in the pages of the Augah,
written by its noble and eloquent Editah. It is six columns in length,
and is concerning our relations with Spain.”

This was too much--too much--and I sprung up on my couch, and cried

“Let the Editor of the Augur and his relations go to Spain! And do you go
to Spain with your relations!” says I, “and do you start this minute!”

Betsey was appalled, and turned to flee, and I cried out agin,

“Do you take your bedquilt with you.”

She gathered up her calicoes, and fled. And I sunk back, shed one or two
briny tears of relief, and then sunk into a sweet and refreshin’ sleep.
And from that hour I gained on it. But in the next week’s Augur, these
and 10 more verses like ’em come out.


  I do not mind my cold rebuffs
  To be turned out with bedquilt stuffs;
  Philosophy would ease my smart,
  Would say, “Oh peace, sad female heart.”
  But Oh, this is the woe to me,
  She would not listen unto he.

  If it had been _my_ soaring muse,
  That she in wild scorn did refuse,
  I could like marble statute rise,
  And face her wrath with tearless eyes;
  ’Twould not have been such a blow to me,
  But, she would not listen unto _he_.


Thomas Jefferson is a good boy. His teacher to the Jonesville Academy
told me the other day, says he,

“Thomas J. is full of fun, but I don’t believe he has a single bad habit;
and I don’t believe he knows any more about bad things, than Tirzah Ann,
and she is a girl of a thousand.”

This made my heart beat with pure and fervent emotions of joy, for I knew
it was true, but I tell you I have had to work for it. I was determined
from the first, that Thomas Jefferson needn’t think because he was a boy
he could do anything that would be considered disgraceful if he was a
girl. Now some mothers will worry themselves to death about thier girls,
so afraid they will get into bad company and bring disgrace onto ’em. I
have said to ’em sometimes,

“Why don’t you worry about your boys?”

“Oh things are winked at in a man that haint in a woman.”

Says I, “There is one woman that no man can get to wink at ’em, and that
is Samantha Allen, whose maiden name was Smith.” Says I, “It is enough
to make anybody’s blood bile in thier vains to think how different sin
is looked upon in a man and woman. I say sin is sin, and you can’t make
goodness out of it by parsin’ it in the masculine gender, no more’n you
can by parsin’ it in the feminine or neutral.

“And wimmin are the most to blame in this respect. I believe in givin’
the D----I won’t speak the gentleman’s name right out, because I belong
to the Methodist Meetin’ house, but you know who I mean, and I believe in
givin’ him his due, if you owe him anything, and I say men haint half so
bad as wimmen about holdin’ up male sinners and stompin’ down female ones.

“Wimmen are meaner than pusley about some things, and this is one of ’em.
Now wimmen will go out and kill the fatted calf with thier own hands to
feast the male prodigal that has been livin’ on husks. But let the woman
that he has been boardin’ with on the same bundle of husks, ask meekly
for a little mite of this veal critter, will she get it? No! She won’t
get so much as one of the huffs. She will be told to keep on eatin’ her
husks, and after she has got through with ’em to die, for after a _woman_
has once eat husks, she can’t never eat any other vittles. And if she
asks meekly, why is her stomach so different from the male husk eater,
_he_ went right off from husks to fatted calves, they’ll say to her
‘what is sin in a woman haint sin in a man. Men are such noble creatures
that they _will_ be a little wild, it is expected of ’em, but after they
have sowed all thier wild oats, they always settle down and make the very
best of men.’

“‘Can’t I settle down too?’ cries the poor woman. ‘_I_ am sick of wild
oats too, _I_ am sick of husks--I want to live a good life, in the sight
of God and man--can’t I settle down too?’

“‘Yes you can settle down in the grave,’ they say to her--‘When a woman
has sinned once, that is all the place there is for her--a woman _cannot_
be forgiven.’ There is an old sayin’ ‘Go and sin no more.’ But that is
eighteen hundred years old--awful old fashioned.”

And then after they have feasted the male husk eater, on this gospel
veal, and fell on his neck and embraced him a few times, they will
take him into thier houses and marry him to their purest and prettiest
daughter, while at the same time they won’t have the female husker in
thier kitchen to wash for ’em at 4 cents an article.

I say it is a shame and a disgrace, for the woman to bear all the burden
of sufferin’ and all the burden of shame too; it is a mean, cowardly
piece of business, and I should think the very stuns would go to yellin’
at each other to see such injustice.

But Josiah Allen’s children haint been brought up in any such kind of a
way. They have been brought up to think that sin of any kind is jest as
bad in a man as it is in a woman. And any place of amusement that was bad
for a woman to go to, was bad for a man.

Now when Thomas Jefferson was a little feller, he was bewitched to go to
circuses, and Josiah said,

“Better let him go, Samantha, it haint no place for wimmin or girls, but
it won’t hurt a boy.”

Says I, “Josiah Allen, the Lord made Thomas Jefferson with jest as pure a
heart as Tirzah Ann, and no bigger eyes and ears, and if Thomas J. goes
to the circus, Tirzah Ann goes too.”

That stopped that. And then he was bewitched to get with other boys that
smoked and chewed tobacco, and Josiah was jest that easy turn, that he
would have let him go with ’em. But says I--

“Josiah Allen, if Thomas Jefferson goes with those boys, and gets to
chewin’ and smokin’ tobacco, I shall buy Tirzah Ann a pipe.”

And that stopped that.

“And about drinkin’,” says I. “Thomas Jefferson, if it should ever be
the will of Providence to change you into a wild bear, I will chain you
up, and do the best I can by you. But if you ever do it yourself, turn
yourself into a wild beast by drinkin’, I will run away, for I never
could stand it, never. And,” I continued, “if I ever see you hangin’
round bar-rooms and tavern doors, Tirzah Ann shall hang too.”

Josiah argued with me, says he, “It don’t look so bad for a boy as it
does for a girl.”

Says I, “Custom makes the difference; we are more used to seein’ men.
But,” says I, “when liquor goes to work to make a fool and a brute of
anybody it don’t stop to ask about sect, it makes a wild beast and a
idiot of a man or a woman, and to look down from Heaven, I guess a man
looks as bad layin’ dead drunk in a gutter as a woman does,” says I;
“things look different from up there, than what they do to us--it is a
more sightly place. And you talk about _looks_, Josiah Allen. I don’t go
on clear looks, I go onto principle. Will the Lord say to me in the last
day, ‘Josiah Allen’s wife, how is it with the sole of Tirzah Ann--as for
Thomas Jefferson’s sole, he bein’ a boy it haint of no account?’ No! I
shall have to give an account to Him for my dealin’s with both of these
soles, male and female. And I should feel guilty if I brought him up to
think that what was impure for a woman, was pure for a man. If man has
a greater desire to do wrong--which I won’t dispute,” says I lookin’
keenly on to Josiah, “he has greater strength to resist temptation. And
so,” says I in mild accents, but firm as old Plymouth Rock, “if Thomas
Jefferson hangs, Tirzah Ann shall hang too.”

I have brought Thomas Jefferson up to think that it was jest as bad for
him to listen to a bad story or song, as for a girl, or worse, for he had
more strength to run away, and that it was a disgrace for him to talk
or listen to any stuff that he would be ashamed to have Tirzah Ann or me
hear. I have brought him up to think that manliness didn’t consist in
havin’ a cigar in his mouth, and his hat on one side, and swearin’ and
slang phrases, and a knowledge of questionable amusements, but in layin’
holt of every duty that come to him, with a brave heart and a cheerful
face; in helpin’ to right the wrong, and protect the weak, and makin’ the
most and the best of the mind and the soul God had given him. In short,
I have brought him up to think that purity and virtue are both masculine
and femanine gender, and that God’s angels are not necessarily all she

Tirzah Ann too has come up well, though I say it, that shouldn’t, her
head haint all full, runnin’ over, and frizzlin’ out on top of it, with
thoughts of beaux and flirtin’. I have brought her up to think that
marriage wasn’t the chief end of life, but savin’ her soul. Tirzah
Ann’s own grandmother on her mother’s side, used to come visatin’ us
and stay weeks at a time, kinder spyin’ out I spose how I done by the
children,--thank fortune, I wasn’t afraid to have her spy, all she was a
mind too, I wouldn’t have been afraid to had Benedict Arnold, and Major
Andre come as spys. I did well by ’em, and she owned it, though she did
think I made Tirzah Ann’s night gowns a little too full round the neck,
and Thomas Jefferson’s roundabouts a little too long behind. But as I
was a sayin’, the old lady begun to kinder train Tirzah Ann up to the
prevailin’ idee of its bein’ her only aim in life to catch a husband, and
if she would only grow up and be a real good girl she should marry.

I didn’t say nothin’ to the old lady, for I respect old age, but I took
Josiah out one side, and says I,

“Josiah Allen, if Tirzah Ann is to be brought up to think that marriage
is the chief aim of her life, Thomas J. shall be brought up to think that
marriage is his chief aim.” Says I, “it looks just as flat in a woman, as
it does in a man.”

Josiah didn’t make much of any answer to me, he is an easy man. But as
that was the old lady’s last visit (she was took bed rid the next week,
and haint walked a step sense), I haint had no more trouble on them

When Tirzah Ann gets old enough, if a good true man, a man for instance,
such as I think Whitfield Minkley, our minister’s oldest boy is a goin’
to make, if such a man offers Tirzah Ann his love which is the greatest
honor a man can do a woman, why Tirzah will, I presume, if she loves him
well enough, marry him. I should give my consent, and so would Josiah.
But to have all her mind sot onto that hope and expectatin’ till she
begins to look wild, I have discouraged it in her.

I have told her that goodness, truth, honor, vertue and nobility come
first as aims in life. Says I,

“Tirzah Ann, seek these things first, and then if a husband is added unto
you, you may know it is the Lord’s will, and accept him like any other
dispensation of Providence, and--” I continued as dreamy thoughts of
Josiah floated through my mind, “make the best of him.”

I feel thankful to think they have both come up as well as they have.
Tirzah Ann is more of a quiet turn, but Thomas J., though his morals are
sound, is dreadful full of fun, I worry some about him for he haint made
no professions, I never could get him forred onto the anxious seat. He
told Elder Minkley last winter that “the seats were all made of the same
kind of basswood, and he could be jest as anxious out by the door, as he
could on one of the front seats.”

Says Elder Minkley, “My dear boy, I want you to find the Lord.”

“I haint never lost him,” says Thomas Jefferson.

It shocked Elder Minkley dreadfully--but it sot me to thinkin’. He was
always an odd child, always askin’ the curiousest questions, and I
brought him up to think that the Lord was with him all the time, and see
what he was doin’, and mebby he was in the right of it, mebby he felt as
if he hadn’t never lost Him. He was always the greatest case to be out
in the woods and lots, findin’ everything--and sometimes I have almost
thought the trash he thinks so much of, such as shells and pieces of
rock and stun, and flowers and moss, are a kind of means of grace to him,
and then agin I don’t know. If I really thought they was I don’t suppose
I should have pitched ’em out of the winder so many times as I have,
clutterin’ up the house so.

I worry about him awfully sometimes, and then agin I lay holt of the
promises. Now last Saturday night to have heard him go on, about the
Jonesville quire, you’d a thought he never had a sober, solemn thought in
his head. They meet to practice Saturday nights, and he had been to hear
’em. I stood his light talk as long as I could, and finally I told him to
stop it, for I would not hear him go on so.

“Wall,” says he, “you go yourself mother sometime, and see thier
carryin’s on. Why,” says he, “if fightin’ entitles anybody to a pension,
they ought to draw 96 dollars a year, every one of ’em--you go yourself,
and hear ’em rehearse if you don’t believe me--” and then he begun to

  ‘Just before the battle, mother,
     I am thinkin’ now of you.’

“I’ll be hanged if I would rehearse,” says Josiah, “what makes ’em?”

“Let ’em rehearse,” says I sternly, “I should think there was need enough
of it.”

It happened that very next night, Elder Merton preached to the red school
house, and Josiah hitched up the old mare, and we went over. It was the
first time I had been out sense the axident. Thomas J. and Tirzah Ann

Josiah and I sot right behind the quire, and we could hear every word
they said, and while Elder Merton was readin’ the hymn, “How sweet for
brethren to agree,” old Gowdey whispered to Mr. Peedick in wrathful

“I wonder if you will put us all to open shame to-night by screechin’ two
or three notes above us all?”

He caught my keen grey eye fixed sternly upon him, and his tone changed
in a minute to a mild, sheepish one, and he added smilin’ “as it were,
deah brother Peedick.”

Mr. Peedick designed not to reply to him, for he was shakin’ his fist at
one of the younger brethrin’ in the quire, and says he,

“Let me catch you pressin’ the key agin to-night, you young villain, if
you think it is best.”

“I shall press as many keys as I am a minter for all you. You’re always
findin’ fault with sunthin’ or other,” muttered he.

Betsey Bobbet and Sophronia Gowdey was lookin’ at each other all this
time with looks that made one’s blood run cold in thier vains.

Mr. Peedick commenced the tune, but unfortunately struck into short
metre. They all commenced loud and strong, but couldn’t get any further
than “How sweet for bretherin.” As they all come to a sudden halt there
in front of that word--Mr. Gowdey--lookin’ daggers at Mr. Peedick--took
out his pitch fork, as if it was a pistol, and he was goin’ to shoot him
with it, but applyin’ it to his own ear, he started off on the longest
metre that had ever been in our neighborhood. After addin’ the tune to
the words, there was so much tune to carry, that the best calculator in
tunes couldn’t do it.

At that very minute when it looked dark, and gloomy indeed for the quire,
an old lady, the best behaved in the quire, who had minded her own
business, and chawed caraway peacefully, come out and started it to the
tune of “Oh that will be joyful.”

They all joined in at the top of their voice, and though they each
one put in flats and sharps to suit thier own taste, they kinder hung
together till they got to the chorus, and then Mr. Gowdey looked round
and frowned fiercely at Shakespeare Bobbet who seemed to be flattin’ most
of any of ’em, and Betsey Bobbet punched Sophronia Gowdey in the side
with her parasol, and told her she was “disgracin’ the quire--and to sing
slower,” and then they all yelled

  How sweet is unitee--e
  How sweet is unitee,
  How sweet for bretheren to agree,
  How sweet is unitee.

[Illustration: THE SINGING QUIRE.]

It seemed as if the very feather on my bunnet stood up straight, to hear
’em, it was so awful. Then they collected their strength, and drawin’
long breaths, they yelled out the next verses like wild Indians round
sufferin’ whites they was murderin’. If any one had iron ears, it would
have went off well, all but for one thing--there was an old man who
insisted on bein’ in the quire, who was too blind to see the words, and
always sung by ear, and bein’ a little deaf he got the words wrong, but
he sung out loud and clear like a trembone,

  How sweet is onion tee--e,
  How sweet is onion tea.

Elder Merton made a awful good prayer, about trials purifyin’ folks and
makin’ ’em better, and the same heroic patient look was on his face, when
he give out the next him.

This piece begun with a long duett between the tenor and the alto, and
Betsey Bobbet by open war and strategim had carried the day, and was to
sing this part alone with the tenor. She knew the Editer of the Augur was
the only tenor singer in the quire. She was so proud and happy thinkin’
she was goin’ to sing alone with him, that not rightly sensin’ where she
was, and what she was about, she pitched her part too low, and here was
where I had my trial with Josiah.

There is no more sing to Josiah Allen than there is to a one horse wagon,
and I have tried to convince him of it, but I can’t, and he will probably
go down to the grave thinkin’ he can sing base. But thier is no sing to
it, that, I will contend for with my last breath, it is nothin’ more nor
less than a roar. But one thing I will give him the praise of, he is a
dreadful willin’ man in the time of trouble, and if he takes it into his
head that it is his duty to sing, you can’t stop him no more than you can
stop a clap of thunder, and when he does let his voice out, he lets it
out strong, I can tell you. As Betsey finished the first line, I heard
him say to himself.

“It is a shame for one woman to sing base alone, in a room full of men.”
And before I could stop him, he struck in with his awful energy, you
couldn’t hear Betsey’s voice, nor the Editer’s, no more than you could
hear two flies buzzin’ in a car whistle. It was dreadful. And as he
finished the first verse, I ketched hold of his vest, I didn’t stand up,
by reason of bein’ lame yet from the axident--and says I,

“If you sing another verse in that way, I’ll part with you,” says I,
“what do you mean Josiah Allen?”

Says he, lookin’ doun on me with the persperation a pourin’ down his face,

“I am a singin’ base.”

Says I, “Do you set down and behave yourself, she has pitched it too low,
it hain’t base, Josiah.”

Says he, “I know better Samantha, it _is_ base, I guess I know base when
I hear it.”

But I still held him by the vest, determined that he shouldn’t start off
again, if I could hender it, and jest at that minute the duett begun
agin, and Sophronia Gowdey took advantage of Betsey’s indignation and
suprise, and took the part right out of her mouth, and struck in with the
Editer of the Augur--she is kinder after him too, and she broke out with
the curiousest variations you ever heard. The warblin’s and quaverin’s
and shakin’s, she put in was the curiousest of any thing I ever heard.
And thankful was I that it took up Josiah’s attention so, that he sunk
down on his seat, and listened to ’em with breathless awe, and never
offered to put in his note at all.

I waited till they got through singin’ and then I whispered to him, and
says I,

“Now do you keep still for the rest of this meetin’ Josiah Allen.”

Says he, “As long as I call myself a man, I will have the privilege of
singin’ base.”

“_Sing_,” says I in a tone almost cold enough to make his whiskers
frosty, “I’d call it _singin’_ if I was you.” It worried me all through
meetin’ time, and thankful was I when he dropped off into a sweet sleep
jest before meetin’ was out. He never heard ’em sing the last time, and I
had to hunch him for the benediction.

In the next week’s Augur came out a lot of verses, among which were the
following: they were headed


  Written on bein’ broken into, while singin’ a duett with a deah friend.


  And sweetness neveh seems so sweet,
  As when his voice and mine doth meet,
  I rise, I soah, earth’s sorrows leaving,
  I almost seem to be in heaveng.

  But when we are sweetly going on,
  ’Tis hard to be broke in upon;
  To drounded be, oh foul disgrace,
  In awful roars of dreadful base.

  And when another female in her vain endeavors,
  To fascinate a certain noble man, puts in such quavers,
  And trills and warbles with such sickish variation,
  It don’t raise her at all in that man’s estimation.

There was 13 verses and Josiah read them all, but I wouldn’t read but 7
of ’em. I don’t like poetry.


Them verses of Betsey’s kinder worked Josiah up, I know, though he didn’t
say much. That line “dreadful roars of awful base” mortified him, I know,
because he actually did think that he sung pretty enough for a orkusstry.
I didn’t say much to him about it. I don’t believe in twittin’ all the
time, about anything, for it makes anybody feel as unpleasant as it does
to set down on a paper of carpet tacks. I only said to him--

“I tried to convince you, Josiah, that you _couldn’t_ sing, for 14 years,
and now that it has come out in poetry mebby you’ll believe it. I guess
you’ll listen to me another time, Josiah Allen.”

He says, “I wish you wouldn’t be so aggravatin’, Samantha.”

That was all that was said on either side. But I noticed that he didn’t
sing any more. We went to several conference meetin’s that week, and not
one roar did he give. It was an awful relief to me, for I never felt
safe for a minute, not knowin’ when he would break out.

The next week Saturday after the poetry come out, Tirzah took it into her
head that she wanted to go to Elder Morton’s a visitin’; Maggie Snow was
a goin’ to meet her there, and I told her to go--I’d get along with the
work somehow.

I had to work pretty hard, but then I got it all out of the way early,
and my head combed and my dress changed, and I was jest pinnin’ my linen
coller over my clean gingham dress (broun and black plaid) to the lookin’
glass, when lookin’ up, who should I see but Betsey Bobbet comin’ through
the gate. She stopped a minute to Tirzah Ann’s posy bed, and then she
come along kinder gradually, and stopped and looked at my new tufted
bedspread that I have got out a whitenin’ on the grass, and then she come
up the steps and come in.

Somehow I was kinder glad to see her that day. I had had first rate luck
with all my bakin’, every thing had turned out well, and I felt real
reconciled to havin’ a visit from her.

But I see she looket ruther gloomy, and after she sot down and took out
her tattin’ and begun to tat, she spoke up and says she--

“Josiah Allen’s wife, I feel awful deprested to-day.”

“What is the matter?” says I in a cheerful tone.

“I feel lonely,” says she, “more lonely than I have felt for yeahs.”

Again says I kindly but firmly--

“What is the matter, Betsey?”

“I had a dream last night, Josiah Allen’s wife.”

“What was it?” says I in a sympathizin’ accent, for she did look
meloncholly and sad indeed.

“I dreamed I was married, Josiah Allen’s wife,” says she in a
heart-broken tone, and she laid her hand on my arm in her deep emotion.
“I tell you it was hard after dreamin’ that, to wake up again to the
cold realities and cares of this life; it was _hard_,” she repeated,
and a tear gently flowed down her Roman nose and dropped off onto her
overskirt. She knew salt water would spot otter color awfully, and so she
drew her handkerchief out of her pocket, and spread it in her lap, (it
was white trimmed with narrow edgein’) and continued--

“Life seemed so hard and lonesome to me, that I sot up in the end of the
bed and wept. I tried to get to sleep again, hopin’ I would dream it
ovah, but I could not.”

And again two salt tears fell in about the middle of the handkerchief. I
see she needed consolation, and my gratitude made me feel soft to her,
and so says I in a reasurin’ tone--

“To be sure husbands are handy on 4th of July’s, and funeral prosessions,
it looks kinder lonesome to see a woman streamin’ along alone, but they
are contrary creeters, Betsey, when they are a mind to be.”

And then to turn the conversation and get her mind off’en her trouble,
says I,

“How did you like my bed spread, Betsey?”

“It is beautiful,” says she sorrowfully.

“Yes,” says I, “it looks well enough now its done, but it most wore my
fingers out a tuftin’ it--it’s a sight of work.”

But I saw how hard it was to draw her mind off from broodin’ over her
troubles, for she spoke in a mournful tone,

“How sweet it must be to weah the fingers out for a deah companion. I
would be willing to weah mine clear down to the bone. I made a vow some
yeahs ago,” says she, kinder chirkin’ up a little, and beginnin’ to tat
agin. “I made a vow yeahs ago that I would make my deah future companion
happy, for I would neveh, neveh fail to meet him with a sweet smile as he
came home to me at twilight. I felt that that was all he would requireh
to make him happy. Do you think it was a rash vow, Josiah Allen’s wife?”

“Oh,” says I in a sort of blind way, “I guess it won’t do any hurt. But,
if a man couldn’t have but one of the two, a smile or a supper, as he
come home at night, I believe he would take the supper.”

“Oh deah,” says Betsey, “such cold, practical ideahs are painful to me.”

“Wall,” says I cheerfully but firmly, “if you ever have the opportunity,
you try both ways. You jest let your fire go out, and your house and you
look like fury, and nothin’ to eat, and you stand on the door smilin’
like a first class idiot--and then agin you have a first rate supper
on the table, stewed oysters, and warm biscuit and honey, or somethin’
else first rate, and a bright fire shinin’ on a clean hearth, and the
tea-kettle a singin’, and the tea-table all set out neat as a pink, and
you goin’ round in a cheerful, sensible way gettin’ the supper onto the
table, and you jest watch, and see which of the two ways is the most
agreable to him.”

Betsey still looked unconvinced, and I proceeded onwards.

“Now I never was any hand to stand and smile at Josiah for two or three
hours on a stretch, it would make me feel like a natural born idiot; but
I always have a bright fire, and a warm supper a waitin’ for him when he
comes home at night.”

“Oh food! food! what is food to the deathless emotions of the soul. What
does the aching young heart care for what food it eats--let my deah
future companion smile on me, and that is enough.”

Says I in reasonable tones, “A man _can’t_ smile on an empty stomach
Betsey, not for any length of time. And no man can’t eat soggy bread,
with little chunks of salaratus in it, and clammy potatoes, and beefsteak
burnt and raw in spots, and drink dishwatery tea, and muddy coffee,
and smile--or they might give one or 2 sickly, deathly smiles, but they
wouldn’t keep it up, you depend upon it they wouldn’t, and it haint in
the natur’ of a man to, and I say they hadn’t ought to. I have seen bread
Betsey Bobbet, that was enough to break down any man’s affection for a
woman, unless he had firm principle to back it up--and love’s young dream
has been drounded in thick, muddy coffee more’n once. If there haint
anything pleasant in a man’s home how can he keep attached to it? Nobody,
man nor woman can’t respect what haint respectable, or love what haint
lovable. I believe in bein’ cheerful Betsey; a complainin’, fretful woman
in the house, is worse than a cold, drizzlin’ rain comin’ right down
all the time onto the cook stove. Of course men have to be corrected, I
correct Josiah frequently, but I believe in doin’ it all up at one time
and then have it over with, jest like a smart dash of a thunder shower
that clears up the air.”

“Oh, how a female woman that is blest with a deah companion, can even
speak of correcting him, is a mystery to me.”

But again I spoke, and my tone was as firm and lofty as Bunker Hill

“Men _have_ to be corrected, Betsey, there wouldn’t be no livin’ with ’em
unless you did.”

“Well,” says she, “you can entertain such views as you will, but for me,
I _will_ be clingin’ in my nature, I _will_ be respected by men, they do
so love to have wimmin clingin’, that I will, until I die, carry out this
belief that is so sweet to them--until I die I will nevah let go of this

I didn’t say nothin’, for gratitude tied up my tongue, but as I rose
and went up stairs to wind me a little more yarn--I thought I wouldn’t
bring down the swifts for so little as I wanted to wind--I thought sadly
to myself, what a hard, hard time she had had, sense I had known her,
a handlin’ that spear. We got to talkin’ about it the other day, how
long she had been a handlin’ of it. Says Thomas Jefferson, “She has been
brandishin’ it for fifty years.”

Says I, “Shet up, Thomas J., she haint been born longer ago than that.”

Says he--“She was born with that spear in her hand.”

But as I said she has had a hard and mournful time a tryin’ to make a
runnin’ vine of herself sense I knew her. And Josiah says she was at it,
for years before I ever see her. She has tried to make a vine of herself
to all kinds of trees, straight and crooked, sound and rotten, young and
old. Her mind is sot the most now, on the Editer of the Augur, but she
pays attention to any and every single man that comes in her way. And it
seems strange to me that them that preach up this doctrine of woman’s
only spear, don’t admire one who carrys it out to its full extent. It
seems kinder ungrateful in ’em, to think that when Betsey is so willin’
to be a vine, they will not be a tree; but they won’t, they seem sot
against it.

I say if men insist on makin’ runnin’ vines of wimmin, they ought to
provide trees for ’em to run up on, it haint nothin’ more’n justice that
they should, but they won’t and don’t. Now ten years ago the Methodist
minister before Elder Wesley Minkley came, was a widower of some twenty
odd years, and he was sorely stricken with years and rheumatiz. But
Betsey showed plainly her willin’ness and desire to be a vine, if he
would be a tree. But he would not be a tree--he acted real obstinate
about it, considerin’ his belief. For he was awful opposed to wimmin’s
havin’ any rights only the right to marry. He preached a beautiful sermon
about woman’s holy mission, and how awful it was in her, to have any
ambition outside of her own home. And how sweet it was to see her in her
confidin’ weakness and gentleness clingin’ to man’s manly strength. There
wasn’t a dry eye in the house only mine. Betsey wept aloud, she was so
affected by it. And it was beautiful, I don’t deny it; I always respected
clingers. But I love to see folks use reason. And I say again, how can
a woman cling when she haint got nothin’ to cling to? That day I put it
fair and square to our old minister, he went home with us to supper, and
he begun on me about wimmin’s rights, for he knew I believe in wimmin’s
havin a right. Says he, “It is flyin’ in the face of the Bible for a
woman not to marry.”

Says I, “Elder how can any lady make brick without straw or sand--_how_
can a woman marry without a man is forthcomin’?” says I, “wimmen’s will
may be good, but there is some things she can not do, and this is one of
’em.” Says I, “as our laws are at present no women can marry unless she
has a man to marry to. And if the man is obstinate and hangs back what is
she to do?”

He begun to look a little sheepish and tried to kinder turn off the
subject on to religion.

But no steamboat ever sailed onward under the power of biled water steam,
more grandly than did Samantha Allen’s words under the steam of bilein’
principle. I fixed my eyes upon him with seemin’ly an arrow in each one
of ’em, and says I--

“Which had you rather do Elder, let Betsey Bobbet vote, or cling to you?
She is fairly achin’ to make a runnin’ vine of herself,” and says I, in
slow, deep, awful tones, “are you willin’ to be a tree?”

Again he weakly murmured somethin’ on the subject of religion, but I
asked him again in slower, awfuler tones.

“_Are you willin’ to be a tree?_”

He turned to Josiah, and says he, “I guess I will go out to the barn and
bring in my saddle bags.” He had come to stay all night. And that man
went to the barn smit and conscience struck, and haint opened his head
to me sense about wimmin’s not havin’ a right.

I had jest arrived at this crysis in my thoughts, and had also got my
yarn wound up--my yarn and my revery endin’ up at jest the same time,
when Betsey came to the foot of the stairs and called out--

“Josiah Allen’s wife, a gentleman is below, and craves an audience with

I sot back my swifts, and went down, expectin’ from the reverential
tone of her voice to see a United States Governor, or a Deacon at the
very least. But it wasn’t either of ’em, it was a peddler. He wanted to
know if I could get some dinner for him, and I thinkin’ one more trial
wouldn’t kill me said I would. He was a loose jinted sort of a chap, with
his hat sot onto one side of his head, but his eyes had a twinkle to ’em,
that give the idee that he knew what he was about.

After dinner he kep’ a bringin’ on his goods from his cart, and praisin’
’em up, the lies that man told was enough to apaul the ablest bodied man,
but Betsey swallowed every word. After I had coldly rejected all his
other overtures for tradin’, he brought on a strip of stair carpetin’, a
thin striped yarn carpet, and says he--

“Can’t I sell you this beautiful carpet? it is the pure Ingrain.”

“Ingrain,” says I, “so be you Ingrain as much.”

“I guess I know,” says he, “for I bought it of old Ingrain himself, I
give the old man 12 shillin’s a yard for it, but seein’ it is you, and
I like your looks so much, and it seems so much like home to me here,
I will let you have it for 75 cents, cheaper than dirt to walk on, or

“I don’t want it,” says I, “I have got carpets enough.”

“Do you want it for 50 cents?” says he follerin’ me to the wood-box.

“No!” says I pretty sharp, for I don’t want to say no two times, to

“Would 25 cents be any indoosement to you?” says he, follerin’ me to the
buttery door.

“No!” says I in my most energetic voice, and started for the suller with
a plate of nut-cakes.

“Would 18 pence tempt you?” says he, hollerin’ down the suller way.

Then says I, comin’ up out of the suller with the old Smith blood bilin’
up in my veins, “Say another word to me about your old stair carpet if
you dare; jest let me ketch you at it,” says I; “be I goin’ to have you
traipse all over the house after me? be I goin’ to be made crazy as a
loon by you?”

“Oh, Josiah Allen’s wife,” says Betsey, “do not be so hasty; of course
the gentleman wishes to dispose of his goods, else why should he be in
the mercanteel business?”

I didn’t say nothin’--gratitude still had holt of me--but I inwardly
determined that not one word would I say if he cheated her out of her eye

Addressin’ his attention to Betsey, he took a pair of old fashioned ear
rings out of his jacket pocket, and says he--

“I carry these in my pocket for fear I will be robbed of ’em. I hadn’t
ought to carry ’em at all, a single man goin’ alone round the country as
I do, but I have got a pistol, and let anybody tackle me for these ear
rings if they dare to,” says he, lookin’ savage.

“Is thier intrinsick worth so large?” says Betsey,

“It haint so much thier neat value,” says he, “although that is enormous,
as who owned ’em informally. Whose ears do you suppose these have had
hold of?”

“How can I judge,” says Betsey with a winnin’ smile, “nevah havin’ seen
them before.”

“Jest so,” says he, “you never was acquainted with ’em, but these very
identical creeters used to belong to Miss Shakespeare. Yes, these
belonged to Hamlet’s mother,” says he, lookin’ pensively upon them. “Bill
bought ’em at old Stratford.”

“Bill?” says Betsey inquirin’ly.

“Yes,” says he, “old Shakespeare. I have been reared with his folks so
much, that I have got into the habit of callin’ him Bill, jest as they

“Then you have been there?” says Betsey with a admirin’ look.

“Oh yes, wintered there and partly summered. But as I was sayin’ William
bought ’em and give ’em to his wife, when he first begun to pay attention
to her. Bill bought ’em at a auction of a one-eyed man with a wooden leg,
by the name of Brown. Miss Shakespeare wore ’em as long as she lived, and
they was kept in the family till I bought ’em. A sister of one of his
brother-in-laws was obleeged to part with ’em to get morpheen.”

“I suppose you ask a large price for them?” says Betsey, examanin’ ’em
with a reverential look onto her countenance.

“How much! how much you remind me of a favorite sister of mine, who
died when she was fifteen. She was considered by good judges to be the
handsomest girl in North America. But business before pleasure. I ought
to have upwards of 30 dollars a head for ’em, but seein’ it is you, and
it haint no ways likely I shall ever meet with another wo--young girl
that I feel under bonds to sell ’em to, you may have ’em for 13 dollars
and a ½.”

“That is more money than I thought of expendin’ to-day,” says Betsey in a
thoughtful tone.

“Let me tell you what I will do; I don’t care seein’ it is you, if I do
get cheated, I am willin’ to be cheated by one that looks so much like
that angel sister. Give me 13 dollars and a ½, and I will throw in the
pin that goes with ’em. I did want to keep that to remind me of them
happy days at old Stratford,” and he took the breastpin out of his
pocket, and put it in her hand in a quick kind of a way. “Take ’em,” says
he, turnin’ his eyes away, “take ’em and put ’em out of my sight, quick!
or I shall repent.”

“I do not want to rob you of them,” says Betsey tenderly.

“Take ’em,” says he in a wild kind of a way, “take ’em, and give me the
money quick, before I am completely unmanned.”

She handed him the money, and says he in agitated tones, “Take care of
the ear rings, and heaven bless you.” And he ketched up his things,
and started off in a awful hurry. Betsey gazed pensively out of the
winder, till he disapeared in the distance, and then she begun to brag
about her ear rings, as Miss Shakespeare’s relicks. Thomas Jefferson
praised ’em awfully to Betsey’s face, when he came home, but when I was
in the buttery cuttin’ cake for supper, he come and leaned over me and

  “Who bought for gold the purest brass?
   Mother, who brought this grief to pass?
   What is this maiden’s name? Alas!

   Betsey Bobbet.”

And when I went down suller for the butter, he come and stood in the
outside suller door, and says he,

  “How was she fooled, this lovely dame?
   How was her reason overcame?
   What was this lovely creature’s name?

   Betsey Bobbet.”

[Illustration: THE EAR RING PEDLER.]

That is jest the way he kep’ at it, he would kinder happen round where I
was, and every chance he would get he would have over a string of them
verses, till it did seem as if I should go crazy. Finally I said to him
in tones before which he quailed,

“If I hear one word more of poetry from you to-night I will complain to
your father,” says I wildly, “I don’t believe there is another woman in
the United States that suffers so much from poetry as I do! What have I
done,” says I still more wildly, “that I should be so tormented by it?”
says I, “I won’t hear another word of poetry to-night,” says I, “I will
stand for my rights--I will not be drove into insanity with poetry.”

Betsey started for home in good season, and I told her I would go as fur
as Squire Edwards’es with her. Miss Edwards was out by the gate, and of
course Betsey had to stop and show the ear rings. She was jest lookin’
at ’em when the minister and Maggie Snow and Tirzah Ann drove up to the
gate, and wanted to know what we was lookin’ at so close, and Betsey,
castin’ a proud and haughty look onto the girls, told him that--

“It was a paih of ear rings that had belonged to the immortal Mr.
Shakespeah’s wife informally.”

The minute Elder Merton set his eyes on ’em, “Why,” says he, “my wife
sold these to a peddler to-day.”

“Yes,” says Tirzah Ann, “these are the very ones; she sold them for a
dozen shirt buttons and a paper of pins.”

“I do not believe it,” says Betsey wildly.

“It is so,” said the minister. “My wife’s father got them for her, they
proved to be brass, and so she never wore them; to-day the peddler wanted
to buy old jewelry, and she brought out some broken rings, and these were
in the box, and she told him he might have them in welcome, but he threw
out the buttons and a paper of pins.”

“I do not believe it--I cannot believe it,” says Betsey gaspin’ for

“Well, it is the truth,” says Maggie Snow (she can’t bear Betsey), “and I
heard him say he would get ’em off onto some fool, and make her think--”

“I am in such a hurry I must go,” said Betsey, and she left without
sayin’ another word.



Truly last night was a night of troubles to us. We was kept awake all
the forepart of the night with cats fightin’. It does beat all how they
went on, how many there was of ’em I don’t know; Josiah thought there was
upwards of 50. I myself made a calm estimate of between 3 and 4. But I
tell you they went in strong what there was of ’em. What under heavens
they found to talk about so long, and in such unearthly voices, is a
mystery to me. You couldn’t sleep no more than if you was in Pandemonium.
And about 11, I guess it was, I heard Thomas Jefferson holler out of his
chamber winder, (it was Friday night and the children was both to home,)
says he--

“You have preached long enough brothers on that text, I’ll put in a
seventhly for you.” And then I heard a brick fall. “You’ve protracted
your meetin’ here plenty long enough. You may adjourn now to somebody
else’s window and exhort them a spell.” And then I heard another brick
fall. “Now I wonder if you’ll come round on this circuit right away.”

Thomas Jefferson’s room is right over ourn, and I raised up in the end of
the bed and hollered to him to “stop his noise.” But Josiah said, “do let
him be, do let him kill the old creeters, I am wore out.”

Says I “Josiah I don’t mind his killin’ the cats, but I won’t have him
talkin about thier holdin’ a protracted meetin’ and preachin’, I won’t
have it,” says I.

“Wall,” says he “do lay down, the most I care for is to get rid of the

Says I, “you do have wicked streaks Josiah, and the way you let that boy
go on is awful,” says I, “where do you think you will go to Josiah Allen?”

Says he, “I shall go into another bed if you can’t stop talkin’. I have
been kept awake till midnight by them creeters, and now you want to
finish the night.”

Josiah is a real even tempered man, but nothin’ makes him so kinder
fretful as to be kept awake by cats. And it is awful, awfully mysterious
too. For sometimes as you listen, you say mildly to yourself, how can a
animal so small give utterance to a noise so large, large enough for a
eliphant? Then sometimes agin as you listen, you will get encouraged,
thinkin’ that last yawl has really finished ’em and you think they are at
rest, and better off than they can be here in this world, utterin’ such
deathly and terrific shrieks, and you know _you_ are happier. So you
will be real encouraged, and begin to be sleepy, when they break out agin
all of a sudden, seemin’ to say up in a small fine voice, “We won’t go
home till mornin’” drawin’ out the “mornin’” in the most threatenin’ and
insultin’ manner. And then a great hoarse grum voice will take it up “_We
won’t Go Home till Mornin’_” and then they will spit fiercely, and shriek
out the appaulin’ words both together. It is discouragin’, and I couldn’t
deny it, so I lay down, and we both went to sleep.

I hadn’t more’n got into a nap, when Josiah waked me up groanin’, and
says he, “them darned cats are at it agin.”

“Well,” says I coolly, “you needn’t swear so, if they be.” I listened a
minute, and says I, “it haint cats.”

Says he, “it is.”

Says I, “Josiah Allen, I know better, it haint cats.”

“Wall what is it,” says he “if it haint?”

I sot up in the end of bed, and pushed back my night cap from my left ear
and listened, and says I,

“It is a akordeun.”

“How come a akordeun under our winder?” says he.

Says I, “It is Shakespeare Bobbet seranadin’ Tirzah Ann, and he has got
under the wrong winder.”

He leaped out of bed, and started for the door.

Says I, “Josiah Allen come back here this minute,” says I, “do you
realize your condition? you haint dressed.”

He siezed his hat from the bureau, and put it on his head, and went on.
Says I, “Josiah Allen if you go to the door in that condition, I’ll
prosicute you; what do you mean actin’ so to-night?” says I, “you was
young once yourself.”

“I wuzzn’t a confounded fool if I was young,” says he.

Says I, “come back to bed Josiah Allen, do you want to get the Bobbets’es
and the Dobbs’es mad at you?”

“Yes I _do_,” he snapped out.

“I should think you would be ashamed Josiah swearin’ and actin’ as you
have to-night,” and says I, “you will get your death cold standin’ there
without any clothes on, come back to bed this minute Josiah Allen.”



It haint often I set up, but when I do, I will be minded; so finally he
took off his hat and come to bed, and there we had to lay and listen.
Not one word could Tirzah Ann hear, for her room was clear to the other
end of the house, and such a time as I had to keep Josiah in the bed.
The first he played was what they call an involuntary, and I confess it
did sound like a cat, before they get to spittin’, and tearin’ out fur,
you know they will go on kinder meloncholy. He went on in that way for a
length of time which I can’t set down with any kind of accuracy, Josiah
thinks it was about 2 hours and a half, I myself don’t believe it was
more than a quarter of an hour. Finally he broke out singin’ a tune the
chorus of which was,

  “Oh think of me--oh think of me.”

“No danger of our not thinkin’ on you,” says Josiah, “no danger on it.”

It was a long piece and he played and sung it in a slow, and affectin’
manner. He then played and sung the follerin’:

  “Come! oh come with me Miss Allen,
   The moon is beaming;
   Oh Tirzah; come with me,
   The stars are gleaming;
   All around is bright, with beauty teeming,
   Moonlight hours--in my opinion--
   Is the time for love.

   My skiff is by the shore,
   She’s light, she’s free,
   To ply the feathered oar Miss Allen,
   Would be joy to me.
   And as we glide along,
   My song shall be,
   (If you’ll excuse the liberty Tirzah)
   I love but thee, I love but thee.

   Chorus--Tra la la Miss Tirzah,
           Tra la la Miss Allen,
           Tra la la, tra la la,
           My dear young maid.”

He then broke out into another piece, the chorus of which was,

  “Curb oh curb thy bosom’s pain
   I’ll come again, I’ll come again.”

“No you won’t,” says Josiah, “you won’t never get away, I _will_ get up

Says I, in low but awful accents, “Josiah Allen, if you make another
move, I’ll part with you,” says I, “it does beat all, how you keep actin’
to-night; haint it as hard for me as it is for you? do you think it is
any comfort for me to lay here and hear it?” says I, “that is jest the
way with you men, you haint no more patience than nothin’ in the world,
you was young once yourself.”

“Throw that in my face agin will you? what if I _wuz_! Oh do hear him go
on,” says he shakin’ his fist. “‘Curb oh curb thy bosom’s pain,’ if I was
out there my young feller, I would give you a pain you couldn’t curb so
easy, though it might not be in your bosom.”

Says I “Josiah Allen, you have showed more wickedness to-night, than I
thought you had in you;” says I “would you like to have your pastur, and
Deacon Dobbs, and sister Graves hear your revengeful threats? if you was
layin’ helpless on a sick bed would you be throwin’ your arms about, and
shakin’ your fist in that way? it scares me to think a pardner of mine
should keep actin’ as you have,” says I “you have fell 25 cents in my
estimation to-night.”

“Wall,” says he, “what comfort is there in his prowlin’ round here,
makin’ two old folks lay all night in perfect agony?”

“It haint much after midnight, and if it was,” says I, in a deep and
majestic tone. “Do you calculate, Josiah Allen to go through life without
any trouble? if you do you will find yourself mistaken,” says I. “Do be

“I _won’t_ be still Samantha.”

Just then he begun a new piece, durin’ which the akordeun sounded the
most meloncholly and cast down it had yet, and his voice was solemn, and
affectin’. I never thought much of Shakespeare Bobbet. He is about Thomas
Jefferson’s age, his moustache is if possible thinner than his’en, should
say whiter, only that is a impossibility. He is jest the age when he
wants to be older, and when folks are willin’ he should, for you don’t
want to call him Mr. Bobbet and to call him “bub” as you always have, he
takes as a deadly insult. He thinks he is in love with Tirzah Ann, which
is jest as bad as long as it lasts as if he was; jest as painful to him
and to her. As I said he sung these words in a slow and affectin’ manner.

  When I think of thee, thou lovely dame,
  I feel so weak and overcame,
  That tears would burst from my eye-lid,
  Did not my stern manhood forbid;
        For Tirzah Ann,
        I am a meloncholly man.

  I scorn my looks, what are fur hats
  To such a wretch; or silk cravats;
  My feelin’s prey to such extents,
  Victuals are of no consequence.
        Oh Tirzah Ann,
        I am a meloncholly man.

  As _he_ waited on you from spellin’ school,
  My anguish spurned all curb and rule,
  My manhood cried, “be calm! forbear!”
  Else I should have tore out my hair;
        For Tirzah Ann,
        I was a meloncholly man.

  As I walked behind, he little knew
  What danger did his steps pursue;
  I had no dagger to unsheath,
  But fiercely did I grate my teeth;
        For Tirzah Ann,
        I was a meloncholly man.

  I’m wastin’ slow, my last year’s vests
  Hang loose on me; my nightly rests
  Are thin as gauze, and thoughts of you,
  Gashes ’em wildly through and through,
        Oh Tirzah Ann,
        I am a meloncholly man.

  My heart is in such a burning state,
  I feel it soon must conflagrate;
  But ere I go to be a ghost,
  What bliss--could’st thou tell me thou dost--
        Sweet Tirzah Ann--
        Think on this meloncholly man.

He didn’t sing but one more piece after this. I don’t remember the words
for it was a long piece. Josiah insists that it was as long as Milton’s
Paradise Lost.

Says I, “don’t be a fool Josiah, you never read it.”

“I have hefted the book,” says he, “and know the size of it, and I know
it was as long if not longer.”

Says I agin, in a cool collected manner, “don’t be a fool Josiah, there
wasn’t more than 25 or 30 verses at the outside.” That was when we was
talkin’ it over to the breakfast table this mornin’, but I confess it
did seem awful long there in the dead of the night; though I wouldn’t
encourage Josiah by sayin’ so, he loves the last word now, and I don’t
know what he would be if I encouraged him in it. I can’t remember the
words, as I said, but the chorus of each verse was

  Oh! I languish for thee, Oh! I languish for thee, wherever that I be,
  Oh! Oh! Oh! I am languishin’ for thee, I am languishin’ for thee.

As I said I never set much store by Shakespeare Bobbet, but truly
everybody has their strong pints; there was quavers put in there into
them “Oh’s” that never can be put in agin by anybody. Even Josiah lay
motionless listenin’ to ’em in a kind of awe. Jest then we heard Thomas
Jefferson speakin’ out of the winder overhead.

“My musical young friend, haven’t you languished enough for one night?
Because if you have, father and mother and I, bein’ kept awake by other
serenaders the forepart of the night, will love to excuse you, will thank
you for your labers in our behalf, and love to bid you good evenin’,
Tirzah Ann bein’ fast asleep in the other end of the house. But don’t let
me hurry you Shakespeare, my dear young friend, if you haint languished
enough, you keep right on languishin’. I hope I haint hard hearted enough
to deny a young man and neighbor the privilege of languishin’.”

I heard a sound of footsteps under the winder, followed seemin’ly
instantaneously by the rattlin’ of the board fence at the extremity of
the garden. Judgin’ from the sound, he must have got over the ground at a
rate seldom equaled and never outdone.

A button was found under the winder in the mornin’, lost off we suppose
by the impassioned beats of a too ardent heart, and a too vehement pair
of lungs, exercised too much by the boldness and variety of the quavers
durin’ the last tune. That button and a few locks of Malta fur, is all we
have left to remind us of our sufferin’s.



A few days before the 4th Betsey Bobbet come into oure house in the
mornin’ and says she,

“Have you heard the news?”

“No,” says I pretty brief, for I was jest puttin’ in the ingrediences to
a six quart pan loaf of fruit cake, and on them occasions I want my mind
cool and unruffled.

“Aspire Todd is goin’ to deliver the oration,” says she.

“Aspire Todd! Who’s he?” says I cooly.

“Josiah Allen’s wife,” says she, “have you forgotten the sweet poem that
thrilled us so in the Jonesville Gimlet a few weeks since?”

“I haint been thrilled by no poem,” says I with an almost icy face
pourin’ in my melted butter.

“Then it must be that you have never seen it, I have it in my port-money
and I will read it to you,” says she, not heedin’ the dark froun
gatherin’ on my eye-brow, and she begun to read,

  A questioning sail sent over the Mystic Sea.


  So the majestic thunder-bolt of feeling,
  Out of our inner lives, our unseen beings flow,
  Vague dreams revealing.
  Oh, is it so? Alas! or no,
  How be it, Ah! how so?

  Is matter going to rule the deathless mind?
  What is matter? Is it indeed so?
  Oh, truths combined;
  Do the Magaloi theoi still tower to and fro?
  How do they move? How flow?

  Monstrous, aeriform, phantoms sublime,
  Come leer at me, and Cadmian teeth my soul gnaw,
  Through chiliasms of time;
  Transcendentaly and remorslessly gnaw;
  By what agency? Is it a law?

  Perish the vacueus in huge immensities;
  Hurl the broad thunder-bolt of feeling free,
  The vision dies;
  So lulls the bellowing surf, upon the mystic sea,
  Is it indeed so? Alas! Oh me.

“How this sweet poem appeals to tender hearts,” says Betsey as she
concluded it.

“How it appeals to tender heads,” says I almost coldly, measurin’ out my
cinnamon in a big spoon.

“Josiah Allen’s wife, has not your soul never sailed on that mystical sea
he so sweetly depictures?”

“Not an inch,” says I firmly, “not an inch.”

“Have you not never been haunted by sorrowful phantoms you would fain
bury in oblivion’s sea?”

“Not once,” says I “not a phantom,” and says I as I measured out my
raisons and English currants, “if folks would work as I do, from mornin’
till night and earn thier honest bread by the sweat of thier eyebrows,
they wouldn’t be tore so much by phantoms as they be; it is your
shiftless creeters that are always bein’ gored by phantoms, and havin’
’em leer at ’em,” says I with my spectacles bent keenly on her, “Why
don’t they leer at me Betsey Bobbet?”

“Because you are intellectually blind, you cannot see.”

“I see enough,” says I, “I see more’n I want to a good deal of the time.”
In a dignified silence, I then chopped my raisons impressively and Betsey
started for home.

The celebration was held in Josiah’s sugar bush, and I meant to be on the
ground in good season, for when I have jobs I dread, I am for takin’ ’em
by the forelock and grapplin’ with ’em at once. But as I was bakin’ my
last plum puddin’ and chicken pie, the folks begun to stream by, I hadn’t
no idee thier could be so many folks scairt up in Jonesville. I thought
to myself, I wonder if they’d flock out so to a prayer-meetin’. But they
kep’ a comin’, all kind of folks, in all kinds of vehicles, from a 6
horse team, down to peacible lookin’ men and wimmen drawin’ baby wagons,
with two babies in most of ’em.

There was a stagin’ built in most the middle of the grove for the
leadin’ men of Jonesville, and some board seats all round it for the
folks to set on. As Josiah owned the ground, he was invited to set upon
the stagin’.

And as I glanced up at that man every little while through the day, I
thought proudly to myself, there may be nobler lookin’ men there, and men
that would weigh more by the steelyards, but there haint a whiter shirt
bosom there than Josiah Allen’s.

When I got there the seats was full. Betsey Bobbet was jest ahead of me,
and says she,

“Come on, Josiah Allen’s wife, let us have a seat, we can obtain one,
if we push and scramble enough.” As I looked upon her carryin’ out her
doctrine, pushin’ and scramblin’, I thought to myself, if I didn’t know
to the contrary, I never should take you for a modest dignifier and
retirer. And as I beheld her breathin’ hard, and her elboes wildly wavin’
in the air, pushin’ in between native men of Jonesville and foreigners,
I again methought, I don’t believe you would be so sweaty and out of
breath a votin’ as you be now. And as I watched her labors and efforts
I continued to methink sadly, how strange! how strange! that retirin’
modesty and delicacy can stand so firm in some situations, and then be so
quickly overthrowed in others seemin’ly not near so hard.


Betsey finally got a seat, wedged in between a large healthy Irishman and
a native constable, and she motioned for me to come on, at the same time
pokin’ a respectable old gentleman in front of her, with her parasol, to
make him move along. Says I,

“I may as well die one way as another, as well expier a standin’ up, as
in tryin’ to get a seat,” and I quietly leaned up against a hemlock tree
and composed myself for events. A man heard my words which I spoke about
½ to myself, and says he,

“Take my seat, mum.”

Says I “No! keep it.”

Says he “I am jest comin’ down with a fit, I have got to leave the ground

Says I “In them cases I will.” So I sot. His tongue seemed thick, and his
breath smelt of brandy, but I make no insinuations.

About noon Prof. Aspire Todd walked slowly on to the ground, arm in arm
with the editor of the Gimlet, old Mr. Bobbet follerin’ him closely
behind. Countin’ 2 eyes to a person, and the exceptions are triflin’,
there was 700 and fifty or sixty eyes aimed at him as he walked through
the crowd. He was dressed in a new shinin’ suit of black, his complexion
was deathly, his hair was jest turned from white, and was combed straight
back from his forward and hung down long, over his coat coller. He had a
big moustache, about the color of his hair, only bearin’ a little more on
the sandy, and a couple of pale blue eyes with a pair of spectacles over

As he walked upon the stagin’ behind the Editer of the Gimlet, the band
struck up, “Hail to the chief, that in trihump advances.” As soon as it
stopped playin’ the Editer of the Gimlet come forward and said--

“Fellow citizens of Jonesville and the adjacent and surroundin’ world, I
have the honor and privilege of presenting to you the orator of the day,
the noble and eloquent Prof. Aspire Todd Esq.”

Prof. Todd came forward and made a low bow.

“Bretheren and sisters of Jonesville,” says he; “Friends and patrons of
Liberty, in risin’ upon this aeroter, I have signified by that act, a
desire and a willingness to address you. I am not here fellow and sister
citizens, to outrage your feelings by triflin’ remarks, I am not here
male patrons of liberty to lead your noble, and you female patrons your
tender footsteps into the flowery fields of useless rhetorical eloquence;
I am here noble brothers and sisters of Jonesville not in a mephitical
manner, and I trust not in a mentorial, but to present a few plain
truths in a plain manner, for your consideration. My friends we are in
one sense but tennifolious blossoms of life; or, if you will pardon the
tergiversation, we are all but mineratin’ tennirosters, hovering upon an
illinition of mythoplasm.”

“Jess so,” cried old Bobbet, who was settin’ on a bench right under the
speaker’s stand, with his fat red face lookin’ up shinin’ with pride and
enthusiasm, (and the brandy he had took to honor the old Revolutionary
heroes) “Jess so! so we be!”

Prof. Todd looked down on him in a troubled kind of a way for a minute,
and then went on--

“Noble inhabitants of Jonesville and the rural districts, we are
actinolitic bein’s, each of our souls, like the acalphia, radiates a
circle of prismatic tentacles, showing the divine irridescent essence of
which composed are they.”

“Jes’ so,” shouted old Bobbet louder than before. “Jes’ so, so they did,
I’ve always said so.”

“And if we are content to moulder out our existence, like fibrous,
veticulated, polypus, clingin’ to the crustaceous courts of custom, if we
cling not like soarin’ prytanes to the phantoms that lower thier sceptres
down through the murky waves of retrogression, endeavorin’ to lure us
upward in the scale of progressive bein’--in what degree do we differ
from the accolphia?”

“Jes’ so,” says old Bobbet, lookin’ defiantly round on the audience.
“There he has got you, how can they?”

Prof. Todd stopped again, looked doun on Bobbet, and put his hand to his
brow in a wild kind of a way, for a minute, and then went on.

“Let us, noble brethren in the broad field of humanity, let us rise, let
us prove that mind is superior to matter, let us prove ourselves superior
to the acalphia--”

“Yes, less,” says old Bobbet, “less prove ourselves.”

“Let us shame the actinia,” said the Professor.

“Yes, jes’ so!” shouted old Bobbet, “less shame him!” and in his
enthusiasm he got up and hollered agin, “Less shame him.”

Prof. Todd stopped stone still, his face red as blood, he drinked several
swallows of water, and then he whispered a few words to the Editer of the
Gimlet who immegiately come forward and said--

“Although it is a scene of touchin’ beauty, to see an old gentleman, and
a bald-headed one, so in love with eloquence, and to give such remarkable
proofs of it at his age, still as it is the request of my young
friend--and I am proud to say ‘my young friend’ in regard to one gifted
in so remarkable a degree--at his request I beg to be permitted to hint,
that if the bald-headed old gentleman in the linen coat can conceal his
admiration, and supress his applause, he will confer a favor on my gifted
young friend, and through him indirectly to Jonesville, to America, and
the great cause of humanity, throughout the length and breadth of the

Here he made a low bow and sot down. Prof. Todd continued his piece
without any more interruption, till most the last, he wanted the public
of Jonesville to “dround black care in the deep waters of oblivion, mind
not her mad throes of dissolvin’ bein’, but let the deep waters cover her
black head, and march onward.”

Then the old gentleman forgot himself, and sprang up and hollered--

“Yes! dround the black cat, hold her head under! What if she is mad!
don’t mind her screamin’! there will be cats enough left in the world! do
as he tells you to! less dround her!”

Prof. Todd finished in a few words, and set doun lookin’ gloomy and

The next speaker was a large, healthy lookin’ man, who talked aginst
wimmin’s rights. He didn’t bring up no new arguments, but talked as
they all do who oppose ’em. About wimmin outragin’ and destroyin’ thier
modesty, by bein’ in the same street with a man once every ’lection day.
And he talked grand about how woman’s weakness arroused all the shivelry
and nobility of a man’s nature, and how it was his dearest and most
sacred privilege and happiness, to protect her from even a summer’s
breeze, if it dared to blow too hard on her beloved and delicate form.

Why, before he had got half through, a stranger from another world who
had never seen a woman, wouldn’t have had the least idee that they was
made of clay as man was, but would have thought they was made of some
thin gauze, liable at any minute to blow away, and that man’s only
employment was to stand and watch ’em, for fear some zephyr would get
the advantage of ’em. He called wimmin every pretty name he could think
of, and says he, wavin’ his hands in the air in a rapped eloquence, and
beatin’ his breast in the same he cried,

“Shall these weak, helpless angels, these seraphines, these sweet,
delicate, cooin’ doves--whose only mission it is to sweetly coo--these
rainbows, these posys vote? Never! my bretheren, never will we put such
hardships upon ’em.”

As he sot down, he professed himself and all the rest of his sect ready
to die at any time, and in any way wimmin should say, rather than they
should vote, or have any other hardship. Betsey Bobbet wept aloud, she
was so delighted with it.

Jest as they concluded thier frantic cheers over his speech, a thin,
feeble lookin’ woman come by where I stood, drawin’ a large baby wagon
with two children in it, seemin’ly a two-year-old, and a yearlin’. She
also carried one in her arms who was lame. She looked so beat out and so
ready to drop down, that I got up and give her my seat, and says I,

“You look ready to fall down.”

“Am I too late,” says she, “to hear my husband’s speech?”

“Is that your husband,” says I, “that is laughin’ and talkin’ with that
pretty girl?”

“Yes,” says she with a sort of troubled look.

“Well, he jest finished.”

She looked ready to cry, and as I took the lame child from her breakin’
arms, says I--

“This is too hard for you.”

“I wouldn’t mind gettin’ ’em on to the ground,” says she, “I haint had
only three miles to bring ’em, that wouldn’t be much if it wasn’t for the
work I had to do before I come.”

“What did you have to do?” says I in pityin’ accents.

“Oh, I had to fix him off, brush his clothes and black his boots, and
then I did up all my work, and then I had to go out and make six length
of fence--the cattle broke into the corn yesterday, and he was busy
writin’ his piece, and couldn’t fix it--and then I had to mend his coat,”
glancin’ at a thick coat in the wagon. “He didn’t know but he should want
it to wear home, he knew he was goin’ to make a great effort, and thought
he should sweat some, he is dreadful easy to take cold,” says she with a
worried look.

“Why didn’t he help you along with the children?” says I, in a indignant

“Oh, he said he had to make a great exertion to-day, and he wanted to
have his mind free and clear; he is one of the kind that can’t have their
minds trammeled.”

“It would do him good to be trammeled--hard!” says I, lookin’ darkly on

“Don’t speak so of him,” says she beseechingly.

“Are you satisfied with his doin’s?” says I, lookin’ keenly at her.

“Oh yes,” says she in a trustin’ tone, liftin’ her care-worn, weary
countenance to mine, “oh yes, you don’t know how beautiful he can _talk_.”

I said no more, for it is a invincible rule of my life, not to make no
disturbances in families. But I give the yearlin’ pretty near a pound of
candy on the spot, and the glances I cast on _him_ and the pretty girl he
was a flirtin’ with, was cold enough to freeze ’em both into a male and
female glazier.

Lawyer Nugent now got up and said, “That whereas the speaking was
foreclosed, or in other words finished, he motioned they should adjourn
to the dinner table, as the fair committee had signified by a snowy
signal that fluttered like a dove of promise above waves of emerald, or
in plainer terms by a _towel_, that dinner was forthcoming; whereas he
motioned that they should adjourn _sine die_ to the aforesaid table.”

Old Mr. Bobbet, and the Editer of the Gimlet seconded the motion at the
same time. And Shakespeare Bobbet wantin’ to do somethin’ in a public
way, got up and motioned “that they proceed to the table on the usial
road,” but there wasn’t any other way--only to wade the creek--that
didn’t seem to be necessary, but nobody took no notice of it, so it was
jest as well.


The dinner was good, but there was an awful crowd round the tables, and I
was glad I wore my old lawn dress, for the children was thick, and so was
bread and butter, and sass of all kinds, and jell tarts. And I hain’t no
shirk, I jest plunged right into the heat of the battle, as you may say,
waitin’ on the children, and the spots on my dress skirt would have been
too much for anybody that couldn’t count 40. To say nothin’ about old Mr.
Peedick steppin’ through the back breadth, and Betsey Bobbet ketchin’
holt of me, and rippin’ it off the waist as much as ½ a yard. And then a
horse started up behind the widder Tubbs, as I was bendin’ down in front
of her to get somethin’ out of a basket, and she weighin’ above 200, was
precipitated onto my straw bonnet, jammin’ it down almost as flat as it
was before it was braided. I came off pretty well in other respects, only
about two yards of the ruflin’ of my black silk cape was tore by two boys
who got to fightin’ behind me, and bein’ blind with rage tore it off,
thinkin’ they had got holt of each other’s hair. There was a considerable
number of toasts drank, I can’t remember all of ’em, but among ’em was

“The eagle of Liberty; May her quills lengthen till the proud shadow of
her wings shall sweetly rest on every land.”

“The 4th of July; the star which our old four fathers tore from the
ferocious mane of the howling lion of England, and set in the calm and
majestic brow of _E pluribus unum_. May it gleam with brighter and
brighter radience, till the lion shall hide his dazzled eyes, and cower
like a stricken lamb at the feet of _E pluribus_.”

“Dr. Bombus our respected citizen; how he tenderly ushers us into a world
of trial, and professionally and scientifically assists us out of it. May
his troubles be as small as his morphine powders, and the circle of his
joys as well rounded as his pills.”

“The press of Jonesville, the Gimlet, and the Augur; May they perforate
the crust of ignorance with a gigantic hole, through which blushing
civilization can sweetly peer into futurity.”

“The fair sect: first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of
their countrymen. May them that love the aforesaid, flourish like a green
bayberry tree, whereas may them that hate them, dwindle down as near to
nothin’ as the bonnets of the aforesaid.”

That piece of toast was Lawer Nugent’s.

Prof. Aspire Todd’s was the last.

“The Luminous Lamp of Progression, whose sciatherical shadows falling
upon earthly matter, not promoting sciolism, or Siccity, may it illumine
humanity as it tardigradely floats from matter’s aquius wastes, to minds
majestic and apyrous climes.”

Shakspeare Bobbet then rose up, and says he,

“Before we leave this joyous grove I have a poem which I was requested
to read to you, it is dedicated to the Goddess of Liberty, and was
transposed by another female, who modestly desires her name not to
be mentioned any further than the initials B. B.” He then read the
follerin’ spirited lines:

  Before all causes East or West,
  I love the Liberty cause the best,
  I love its cheerful greetings;
  No joys on earth can e’er be found,
  Like those pure pleasures that abound,
  At Jonesville Liberty meetings.

  To all the world I give my hand,
  My heart is with that noble band,
  The Jonesville Liberty brothers;
  May every land preserved be,
  Each clime that dotes on Liberty--
  Jonesville before all others.

The picknick never broke up till most night, I went home a little while
before it broke, and if there was a beat out creeter, I was; I jest
dropped my delapidated form into a rockin’ chair with a red cushien and
says I,

“There needn’t be another word said, I will never go to another 4th as
long as my name is Josiah Allen’s wife.”

“You haint patriotic enough Samantha,” says Josiah, “you don’t love your

“What good has it done the nation to have me all tore to pieces?” says I,
“Look at my dress, look at my bonnet and cape, any one ought to be a iron
clad to stand it, look at my dishes!” says I.

“I guess the old heroes of the Revolution went through more than that,”
says Josiah.

“Well I haint a old hero!” says I coolly.

“Well you can honor ’em can’t you?”

“Honor ’em! Josiah Allen what good has it done to old Mr. Layfayette to
have my new earthern pie plates smashed to bits, and a couple of tines
broke off of one of my best forks? What good has it done to old Thomas
Jefferson, to have my lawn dress tore off of me by Betsey Bobbet? what
benefit has it been to John Adams, or Isaac Putnam to have old Peedick
step through it? what honor has it been to George Washington to have my
straw bonnet flatted down tight to my head? I am sick of this talk about
honorin’, and liberty and duty, I am sick of it,” says I “folks will make
a pack horse of duty, and ride it to circuses, and bull fights, if we
had ’em. You may talk about honorin’ the old heroes and goin’ through all
these performances to please ’em. But if they are in Heaven they can get
along without heerin’ the Jonesville brass band, and if they haint, they
are probably where fireworks haint much of a rarity to ’em.”

Josiah quailed before my lofty tone and I relapsed into a weary and
delapidated silence.

[Illustration: COUNTIN’ THE COST]


Two or three weeks after this, Thomas Jefferson went to the school house
to meetin’ one Sunday night, and he broke out to the breakfast table the
next mornin’--

“Mother, I am sick of the Jews,” says he, “I should think the Jews had
a hard enough time a wanderin’ for 40 years, it seems to me if I was in
minister’s places I would let ’em rest a little while now, and go to
preachin’ to livin’ sinners, when the world is full of ’em. There was two
or three drunkards there last night, a thief, four hypocrites, and--”

“One little conceited creeter that thinks he knows more than his old
minister,” says I in a rebukin’ tone.

“Yes, I noticed Shakespeare Bobbet was there,” says he calmly. “But
wouldn’t it have been better, mother, to have preached to these livin’
sinners that are goin to destruction round him, and that ought to be
chased up, and punched in the side with the Gospel, than to chase round
them old Jews for an hour and a half? Them old men deserve rest, and
ought to have it.”

Says I, “Elder Wesley Minkley used ’em as a means of grace to carry his
hearers towards heaven.”

Says Thomas, “I can go out in the woods alone, and lay doun and look up
to the sky, and get nearer to heaven, than I can by follerin’ up them old
dead Jews.”

Says I in awful earnest tones, “Thomas Jefferson, you are gettin’ into a
dangerous path,” says I, “don’t let me hear another word of such talk; we
should all be willin’ to bear our crosses.”

“I am willin’ to bear any reasonable cross, mother, but I hate to tackle
them old Jews and shoulder ’em, for there don’t seem to be any need of

I put on about as cold a look onto my face as I could under the
circumstances, (I had been fryin’ buckwheat pancakes,) and Thomas J.
turned to his father--

“Betsey Bobbet talked in meetin’ last night after the sermon, father, she
said she knew that she was religious, because she felt that she loved the

Josiah laughed, the way he encourages that boy is awful, but I spoke in
almost frigid tones, as I passed him his 3d cup of coffee,

“She meant it in a scriptural sense, of course.”

“I guess you’d think she meant it in a earthly sense, if you had seen
her hang on to old Slimpsey last night, she’ll marry that old man yet, if
he don’t look out.”

“Oh shaw!” says I coolly, “she is payin’ attention to the Editer of the

“She’ll never get him,” says he; “she means to be on the safe side, and
get one or the other of ’em; how stiddy she has been to meetin’ sense old
Slimpsey moved into the place.”

“You shall not make light of her religion, Thomas Jefferson,” says I,
pretty severely.

“I won’t, mother, I shouldn’t feel right to, for it is light enough now,
it don’t all consist in talkin’ in meetin’, mother. I don’t believe
in folks’es usin’ up all their religion Sunday nights, and then goin’
without any all the rest of the week, it looks as shiftless in ’em as
a three-year-old hat on a female. The religion that gets up on Sunday
nights, and then sets down all the rest of the week, I don’t think much

Says I in a tone of deep rebuke, “Instead of tendin’ other folks’es
motes, Thomas Jefferson, you had better take care of your own beams,
you’ll have plenty work, enough to last you one spell.”

“And if you have got through with your breakfast,” says his father, “you
had better go and fodder the cows.”

Thomas J. arose with alacraty and went to the barn, and his father soon
drew on his boots and follered him, and with a pensive brow I turned out
my dishwater. I hadn’t got my dishes more than half done, when with no
warnin’ of no kind, the door bust open, and in tottered Simon Slimpsey,
pale as a piece of a white cotton shirt. I wildly wrung out my dishcloth,
and offered him a chair, sayin’ in a agitated tone, “What is the matter,
Simon Slimpsey?”

“Am I pursued?” says he in a voice of low frenzy, as he sunk into a
wooden bottomed chair. I cast one or two eagle glances out of the window,
both ways, and replied in a voice of choked doun emotion,

“There haint nobody in sight; has your life been attackted by burglers
and incindiarys? speak, Simon Slimpsey, speak!”

He struggled nobly for calmness, but in vain, and then he put his hand
wildly to his brow, and murmured in low and hollow accents--

“Betsey Bobbet.”

I see he was overcome by as many as six or seven different emotions
of various anguishes, and I give him pretty near a minute to recover
himself, and then says I as I sadly resumed my dishcloth,

“What of her, Simon Slimpsey?”

“She’ll be the death on me,” says he, “and that haint the worst on it,
my sole is jeopardized on account of her. Oh,” says he, groanin’ in
a anguish, “could you believe it, Miss Allen, that I--a member of a
Authodox church and the father of 13 small children--could be tempted to
swear? Behold that wretch. As I come through your gate jest now, I said
to myself ‘By Jupiter, I can’t stand it so, much longer.’ And last night
I wished I was a ghost, for I thought if I was a apperition I could have
escaped from her view. Oh,” says he, groanin’ agin, “I have got so low as
to wish I was a ghost.”

He paused, and in a deep and almost broodin’ silence, I finished my
dishes, and hung up my dishpan.

“She come rushin’ out of Deacon Gowdey’s, as I come by jest now, to talk
to me, she don’t give me no peace, last night she would walk tight to
my side all the way home, and she looked hungry at the gate, as I went
through and fastened it on the inside.”

Agin he paused overcome by his emotions, and I looked pityingly on him.
He was a small boned man of about seventy summers and winters. He was
always a weak, feeble, helpless critter, a kind of a underlin’ always.
He never had any morals, he got out of morals when he was a young man,
and haint been able to get any sense. He has always drinked a good deal
of liquor, and has chawed so much tobacco that his mouth looks more
like a old yellow spitoon than anything else. As I looked sadly on him
I see that age, who had ploughed the wrinkles into his face, had turned
the furrows deep. The cruel fingers of time, or some other female, had
plucked nearly every hair from his head, and the ruthless hand of fate
had also seen fit to deprive him of his eye winkers, not one solitary
winker bein’ left for a shade tree (as it were) to protect the pale
pupils below; and they bein’ a light watery blue, and the lids bein’
inflamed, they looked sad indeed. Owin’ to afflictive providences he was
dressed up more than men generally be, for his neck bein’ badly swelled
he wore a string of amber beads, and in behalf of his sore eyes he wore
ear rings. But truly outside splendor and glitter won’t satisfy the mind,
and bring happiness. I looked upon his mournful face, and my heart melted
inside of me, almost as soft as it could, almost as soft as butter in the
month of August. And I said to him in a soothin’ and encouragin’ tone,

“Mebby she will marry the Editer of the Augur, she is payin’ attention to

[Illustration: SIMON SLIMPSEY.]

“No she won’t,” says he in a solemn and affectin’ way, that brought
tears to my eyes as I sot peelin’ my onions for dinner. “No she won’t,
I shall be the one, I feel it. I was always the victim, I was always
down trodden. When I was a baby my mother had two twins, both of ’em
a little older than me, and they almost tore me to pieces before I got
into trowses. Mebby it would have been better for me if they had,” says
he in a mewsin’ and mournful tone--I knew he thought of Betsey then--and
heavin’ a deep sigh he resumed,

“When I went to school and we played leap frog, if there was a frog
to be squshed down under all the rest, I was that frog. It has always
been so--if there was ever a underlin’ and a victim wanted, I was that
underlin’ and that victim. And Betsey Bobbet will get round me yet, you
see if she don’t, wimmen are awful perseverin’ in such things.”

“Cheer up Simon Slimpsey, you haint obleeged to marry her, it is a free
country, folks haint obleeged to marry unless they are a mind to, it
don’t take a brass band to make that legal.” I quoted these words in a
light and joyous manner hopin’ to rouse him from his dispondancy, but in
vain, for he only repeated in a gloomy tone,

“She’ll get round me yet, Miss Allen, I feel it.” And as the dark shade
deepened on his eye brow he said,

“Have you seen her verses in the last week’s Augur?”

“No,” says I “I haint.”

In a silent and hopeless way, he took the paper out of his pocket and
handed it to me and I read as follers:--


  Composed not for the strong minded females, who madly and
  indecently insist on rights, but for the retiring and delicate
  minded of the sex, who modestly murmer, “we will not have any
  rights, we scorn them.” Will some modest and bashful sisteh set
  it to music, that we may timidly, but loudly warble it; and
  oblige, hers ’till deth, in the glorious cause of wimmen’s only
  true speah.

                                                    BETSEY BOBBET.

  Not for strong minded wimmen,
  Do I now tune up my liah;
  Oh, not for them would I kin-
  dle up the sacred fiah.
  Oh, modest, bashful female,
  For you I tune up my lay;
  Although strong minded wimmen sneah,
  We’ll conqueh in the fray.
    CHORUS.--Press onward, do not feah, sistehs,
             Press onward, do not feah;
             Remembeh wimmen’s speah, sistehs,
             Remembeh wimmen’s speah.

  It would cause some fun if poor Miss Wade
  Should say of her boy Harry,
  I shall not give him any trade,
  But bring him up to marry;
  And would cause some fun, of course deah maids,
  If Miss Wades’es Harry,
  Should lose his end and aim in life,
  And find no chance to marry.
    CHORUS.--Press onward, do not feah, sistehs, &c.

  Yes, wedlock is our only hope,
  All o’er this mighty nation;
  Men are brought up to other trades,
  But this is our vocation.
  Oh, not for sense or love, ask we;
  We ask not to be courted,
  Our watch-word is to married be,
  That we may be supported.
    CHORUS.--Press onward, do not feah, sistehs, &c.

  Say not, you’re strong and love to work;
  Are healthier than your brotheh,
  Who for a blacksmith is designed;
  Such feelin’s you must smotheh;
  Your restless hands fold up, or gripe
  Your waist into a span,
  And spend your strength in looking out
  To hail the coming man.
    CHORUS.--Press onward, do not feah, sistehs, &c.

  Oh, do not be discouraged, when
  You find your hopes brought down;
  And when you meet unwilling men,
  Heed not their gloomy frown,
  Yield not to wild dispaih;
  Press on and give no quartah,
  In battle all is faih;
  We’ll win for we had orteh.
    CHORUS.--Press onward, do not feah, sistehs,
             Press onward do not feah,
             Remembeh wimmen’s speah, sisters,
             Remembeh wimmen’s speah.

“Wall,” says I in a encouragin’ tone, “that haint much different from the
piece she printid a week or two ago, that was about woman’s spear.”

“It is that spear that is a goin’ to destroy me,” says he mournfully,

“Don’t give up so, Simon Slimpsey, I hate to see you lookin’ so gloomy
and depressted.”

“It is the awful detarmination these lines breathe forth that appauls me,”
says he. “I have seen it in another. Betsey Bobbet reminds me dreadfully
of another. And I don’t want to marry again Miss Allen, I don’t want to,”
says he lookin’ me pitifully in the face, “I didn’t want to marry the
first time, I wanted to be a bachelder, I think they have the easiest
time of it, by half. Now there is a friend of mine, that never was
married, he is jest my age, or that is, he is only half an hour younger,
and that haint enough difference to make any account of, is it Miss
Allen?” says he in a pensive, and enquirin’ tone.

“No,” says I in a reasonable accent. “No, Simon Slimpsey, it haint.”

“Wall that man has always been a bachelder, and you ought to see what
a head of hair he has got, sound at the roots now, not a lock missing.
I wanted to be one, she, my late wife, came and kept house for me and
married me. I lived with her for 18 years, and when she left me,” he
murmured with a contented look, “I was reconciled to it. I was reconciled
for sometime before it took place. I don’t want to say anything against
nobody that haint here, but I lost some hair by my late wife,” says
he puttin’ his hand to his bald head in a abstracted way, as gloomy
reflections crowded onto him, “I lost a good deal of hair by her, and I
haint much left as you can see,” says he in a meloncholy way “I did want
to save a lock or two for my children to keep, as a relict of me. I have
13 children as you know, countin’ each pair of twins as two, and it would
take a considerable number of hairs to go round.” Agin he paused overcome
by his feelin’s, I knew not what to say to comfort him, and I poured onto
him a few comfortin’ adjectives.

“Mebby you are borrowin’ trouble without a cause Simon Slimpsey! with
life there is hope! it is always the darkest before daylight.” But in
vain. He only sighed mournfully.

[Illustration: SIMON OVERCOME.]

“She’ll get round me yet Miss Allen, mark my words, and when the time
comes you will think of what I told you.” His face was most black with
gloomy aprehension, as he reflected agin. “You see if she don’t get round
me!” and a tear began to flow.

I turned away with instinctive delicacy and sot my pan of onions in the
sink, but when I glanced at him agin it was still flowin’. And I said to
him in a tone of about two thirds pity and one comfort,

“Chirk up, Simon Slimpsey, be a man.”

“That is the trouble,” says he “if I wasn’t a man, she would give me some
peace.” And he wept into his red silk handkerchief (with a yellow border)


It was a beautiful mornin’ in October. The trees in the woods nigh by,
had all got their new fall suits on, red and purple and orange, while
further back, the old hills seemed to be a settin’ up with a blue gauze
vail on. There was a little mite of a breeze blowin’ up through the
orchard, where the apples lay in red and yellow heaps in the green grass.
Everything looked so beautiful and fresh, that as I went out on the
doorstep to shake the table-cloth, my heart fairly sung for joy. And I
exclaimed to Josiah in clear, happy tones,

“What a day it is, Josiah, to gather the winter apples and pull the

He says, “Yes, Samantha, and after you get your work done up, don’t you
s’pose you could come out and pick up apples a spell?”

I told him in the same cheerful tones I had formally used, “that I would,
and that I would hurry up my dishes as fast as I could, and come out.”

But alas! how little do we know what trial a hour may bring forth; this
hour brought forth Betsey Bobbet. As I went to the door to throw out
my dishwater, I see her comin’ through the gate. I controlled myself
pretty well, and met her with considerable calmness. She was in awful
good spirits. There had been a lecture on Free Love to Jonesville; Prof.
Theron Gusher had been a lecturin’ there, and Betsey had attended to it,
and was all full of the idee. She begun almost before she sot down, and
says she,

“Josiah Allen’s wife you can’t imagine what new and glorious and soaring
ideahs that man has got into his head.”

“Let him soar,” says I coldly, “it don’t hurt me.”

Says she, “He is too soaring a soul to be into this cold unsympathizing
earth, he ought by good right to be in a warmeh speah.”

Says I coldly, and almost frigidly, “From what I have heard of his
lecture I think so too, a good deal warmer.”

Says she, “He was to our house yesterday, he said he felt dreadful
drawed to me, a kind of a holy drawing you know, I neveh saw such a
saintly, heavenly minded man in my life. Why he got into such a spirutal
state--when motheh went out of the room a minute--he kissed me moah than
a dozen times; that man is moah than half a angel, Josiah Allen’s wife.”

I gave her a look that pierced like sheet lightnin’ through her tow
frizzles and went as much as half through her brain.

“Haint Theron Gusher a married man?”

“Oh yes, some.”

“Some!” I repeated in a cold accent, “He is either married or he haint
married one or the other,” and again I repeated coldly “is he a married
man Betsey?”

“Oh yes, he has been married a few times, or what the cold world calls
marrying--he has got a wife now, but I do not believe he has found his
affinity yet, though he has got several bills of divorcement from various
different wimmen trying to find her. That _may_ be his business to
Jonesville, but it does not become me to speak of it.”

Says I “Betsey Bobbet!” and I spoke in a real solemn camp meetin’ tone,
for I was talkin’ on deep principle; says I, “you say he is a married
man--and now to say nothin’ of your own modesty if you have got any and
stand up onto clear principle, how would you like to have your husband if
you had one, round kissin’ other wimmen?”

“Oh,” says she, “His wife will neveh know it, neveh!”

“If it is such a pious, heavenly, thing, why not tell her of it?”

“Oh Prof. Gusheh says that some natures are too gross and earthly to
comprehend how souls can meet, scorning and forgetting utterly those
vile, low, clay bodies of ours. He does not think much of these clay
bodies anyway.”

“These clay bodies are the best we have got,” says I, “And we have got
to stay in ’em till we die, and the Lord tells us to keep ’em pure, so
he can come and visit us in ’em. I don’t believe the Lord thinks much of
these holy drawin’s. I know I don’t.”

Betsey sot silently twistin’ her otter colored bonnet strings, and I went
on, for I felt it was my duty.

“Married men are jest as good as them that haint married for lots of
purposes, such as talkin’ with on the subject of religeon, and polytix
and miscelanious subjects, and helpin’ you out of a double wagon, and
etcetery. But when it comes to kissin’, marryin’ spiles men in my opinion
for kissin’ any other woman only jest their own wives.”

“But suppose a man has a mere clay wife?” says Betsey.

Says I, “Betsey, Josiah Allen was goin’ to buy a horse the other day that
the man said was a 3 year old; he found by lookin’ at her teeth that she
was pretty near 40; Josiah didn’t buy it. If a man don’t want to marry a
clay woman, let him try to find one that haint clay. I think myself that
he will have a hard time to find one, but he has a perfect right to hunt
as long as he is a mind to--let him,” says I in a liberal tone. “Let him
hire a horse and sulkey, and search the country over and over. I don’t
care if he is 20 years a huntin’ and comparin’ wimmin a tryin’ to find
one to suit him. But when he once makes up his mind, I say let him stand
by his bargain, and make the best of it, and not try afterwards to look
at her teeth.”

Betsey still sot silently twistin’ her bunnet strings, but I see that she
was a mewsin’ on some thought of her own, and in a minute or so she broke
out: “Oh, what a soaring sole Prof. Gusheh is; he soared in his lecture
to that extent that it seemed as if he would lift me right up, and carry
me off.”

For a minute I thought of Theron Gusher with respect, and then agin my
eye fell sadly upon Betsey, and she went on,

“I came right home and wrote a poem on the subject, and I will read it to
you.” And before I could say a word to help myself, she begun to read.

  Him of the Free Love Republic.


    If females had the spunk of a mice,
  From man, their foeman they would arise,
  Their darning needles to infamy send--
  Their dish cloth fetters nobly rend,
  From tyrant man would rise and flee;
  Thus boldly whispered Betsey B.
    CHORUS.--Females, have you a mice’s will,
            You will rise up and get a bill.

  But sweeter, sweeter, ’tis to see,
  When man hain’t found affinitee,
  But wedded unto lumps of clay,
  To boldly rise and soar away.
  Ah! ’tis a glorious sight to see;
  Thus boldly murmured Betsey B.
    CHORUS.--Male men, have you a mice’s will,
           You will rise up and get a bill.

  Haste golden year, when all are free
  To hunt for their affinitee;
  When wedlock’s gate opens to all,
  The halt, the lame, the great, the small.
  Ah! blissful houh may these eyes see--
  These wishful eyes of Betsey B.
    CHORUS.--Males! females! with a mice’s will,
             Rise up! rise up! and get a bill.

  For that will hasten on that day--
  That blissful time when none can say,
  Scornful, “I am moah married than thee!”
  For _all_ will be married, and all _won’t be_;
  But promiscous like. Oh! shall I see
  That _blessed_ time, sighed Betsey B.--
    CHORUS.--Yes, if folks will have a mice’s will
             And will rise up and get a bill.

“You see it repeats some,” says Betsey as she finished readin’. “But
Prof. Gusheh wanted me to write a him to sing at thier Free Love
conventions, and he wanted a chorus to each verse, a sort of a war-cry,
that all could join in and help sing, and he says these soul stirrin’

  ‘Have you a mice’s will,
   You will rise up and get a bill;’

have got the true ring to them. I had to kind o’ speak against men in it.
I hated too, awfully, but Prof. Gusheh said it would be necessary, in
ordeh to rouse the masses. He says the almost withering sarcasm of this
noble song is just what they need. He says it will go down to posterity
side by side with Yankee Doodle, if not ahead of it. I know by his
countenance that he thought it was superior to Mr. Doodle’s him. But what
think you of it, Josiah Allen’s wife?”

“I think,” says I in a cautious tone, “that it is about off’n’ a piece
with the subject.”

“Don’t you think Josiah Allen’s wife that it would be real sweet to get
bills from men. It is a glorious doctrine for wimmen, so freein’ and
liberatin’ to them.”

“Sweet!” says I hautily “it would be a pretty world wouldn’t it Betsey
Bobbet, if every time a woman forgot to put a button onto a shirt, her
husband would start up and say she wasn’t his affinitee, and go to
huntin’ of her up, or every time his collar choked him.”

“Oh, but wimmen could hunt too!”

“Who would take care of the children, if they was both a huntin’?” says I
sternly, “it would be a hard time for the poor little innocents, if there
father and mother was both of ’em off a huntin’.”

Before I could free my mind any further about Prof. Gusher and his
doctrine, I had a whole houseful of company come, and Betsey departed.
But before she went she told me that Prof. Gusher had heard that I was
in faver of wimmen’s rights and he was comin’ to see me before he left

The next day he came. Josiah was to the barn a thrashin’ beans, but I
received him with a calm dignity. He was a harmless lookin’ little man,
with his hair combed and oiled as smooth as a lookin’ glass. He had on a
bell-crouned hat which he lifted from his head with a smile as I come to
the door. He wore a plad jacket, and round his neck and hangin’ doun his
bosom was a bright satten scarf into which he had stuck 2 big headed pins
with a chain hitched onto each of ’em, and he had a book under his arm.
He says to me most the first thing after he sot down,

“You believe in wimmin havin’ a right don’t you?”

[Illustration: PROFESSOR GUSHER.]

“Yes Sir,” says I keenly lookin’ up from my knitin’ work. “Jest as many
rights as she can get holt of, rights never hurt any body yet.”

“Worthy statements,” says he. “And you believe in Free Love, do you not?”

“How free?” says I cooly.

“Free to marry any body you want to, and as long as you want to, from
half a day, up to 5 years or so.”

“No Sir!” says I sternly, “I believe in rights, but I don’t believe in
wrongs, of all the miserable doctrines that was ever let loose on the
world, the doctrine of Free Love is the miserable’st. Free Love!” I
repeated in indignant tones, “it ought to be called free devlitry, that
is the right name for it.”

He sunk right back in his chair, put his hand wildly to his brow and

“My soul aches, I thought I had found a congenial spirit, but I am
decieved, my breast aches, and siths, and pants.” He looked so awful
distressed, that I didn’t know what did ail him, and I looked pityin’
on him from over my spectacles and I says to him jest as I would to our
Thomas Jefferson,

“Mebby your vest is too tight.”

“Vest!” he repeated in wild tones, “would I had no worse trammels than
store clothes, but it is the fate of reformers to be misunderstood. Woman
the pain is deeper and it is a gnawin’ me.”

His eyes was kinder rolled, and he looked so wilted and uncomfortable,
that I says to him in still more pityin’ accents,

“Haint you got wind on your stummuck, for if you have, peppermint essence
is the best stuff you can take, and I will get you some.”

“Wind!” he almost shouted, “wind! no, it is not wind,” he spoke so
deleriously that he almost skairt me, but I kep’ up my placid demeaner,
and kep’ on knittin’.

“Wimmen,” said he, “I would right the wrongs of your sect if I could. I
bear in my heart the woes and pains of all the aching female hearts of
the 19 centurys.”

My knittin’ dropped into my lap, and I looked up at him in surprise, and
I says to him respectfully,

“No wonder you groan and sithe, it must hurt awfully.”

“It does hurt,” says he, “but it hurts a sensitive spirit worse to have
it mistook for wind.”

He see my softened face, and he took advantage of it, and went on.

“Woman, you have been married, you say, goin’ on 15 years; hain’t you
never felt slavish in that time, and felt that you would gladly unbind

“Never!” says I firmly, “never! I don’t want to be unbound.”

“Hain’t you never had longings, and yearnings to be free?”

“Not a yearn,” says I calmly, “not a yearn. If I had wanted to remain
free I shouldn’t have give my heart and hand to Josiah Allen. I didn’t do
it deleriously, I had my senses.” Says I, “you can’t set down and stand
up at the same time, each situation has its advantages, but you can’t be
in both places at once, and this tryin’ to, is what makes so much trouble
amongst men and wimmen. They want the rights and advantages of both
stations to once--they want to set down and stand up at the same time,
and it can’t be did. Men and wimmen hain’t married at the pint of the
bayonet, they go into it with both their eyes open. If anybody thinks
they are happier, and freer from care without bein’ married, nobody
compels ’em to be married, but if they are, they hadn’t ought to want to
be married and single at the same time, it is onreasonable.”

He looked some convinced, and I went on in a softer tone,

“I hain’t a goin’ to say that Josiah hain’t been tryin’ a good many
times. He has raved round some, when dinner wasn’t ready, and gone in
his stockin’ feet considerable, and been slack about kindlin’ wood.
Likewise I have my failin’s. I presume I hain’t done always exactly as I
should about shirt buttons, mebby I have scolded more’n I ort to about
his keepin’ geese. But if men and wimmen think they are marryin’ angels,
they’ll find out they’ll have to settle down and keep house with human
critters. I never see a year yet, that didn’t have more or less winter
in it, but what does it say, ‘for better, for worse,’ and if it turns
out more worse than better, why that don’t part us, for what else does
it say? ‘Till death does us part,’ and what is your little slip of paper
that you call a bill to that? Is that death?” says I.

He quailed silently, and I proceeded on.

“I wouldn’t give a cent for your bills, I had jest as lives walk up
and marry any married man, as to marry a man with a bill. I had jest
as lives,” says I warmin’ with my subject, “I had jest as lives join a
Mormon at once. How should I feel, to know there was another woman loose
in the world, liable to walk in here any minute and look at Josiah, and
to know all that separated ’em was a little slip of paper about an inch

My voice was loud and excited, for I felt deeply what I said, and says he
in soothin’ tones,

“I presume that you and your husband are congenial spirits, but what do
you think of soarin’ soles, that find out when it is too late that they
are wedded to mere lumps of clay.”

I hadn’t fully recovered from my excited frame of mind, and I replied
warmly, “I never see a man yet that wasn’t more or less clay, and to tell
you the truth I think jest as much of these clay men as I do of these
soarers, I never had any opinion of soarers at all.”

He sank back in his chair and sithed, for I had touched him in a tender
place, but still clinging to his free love doctrine, he murmered faintly,

“Some wimmen are knocked down by some men, and dragged out.”

His meek tones touched my feelin’s, and I continued in more reasonable

“Mebby if I was married to a man that knocked me down and dragged me out
frequently, I would leave him a spell, but not one cent would I invest in
another man, not a cent. I would live alone till he came to his senses,
if he ever did, and if he didn’t, why when the great roll is called over
above, I would answer to the name I took when I loved him and married
him, hopin’ his old love would come back again there, and we would have
all eternity to keep house in.”

He looked so depressted, as he sot leanin’ back in his chair, that I
thought I had convinced him, and he was sick of his business, and I asked
him in a helpful way,

“Hain’t there no other business you can get into, besides preachin’ up
Free Love? Hain’t there no better business? Hain’t there no cornfields
where you could hire out for a scare-crow--can’t you get to be United
States Senator? Hain’t there no other mean job not quite so mean as this,
you could get into?”

He didn’t seem to take it friendly in me, you know friendly advice makes
some folks mad. He spoke out kinder surly and says he, “I hain’t done no
hurt, I only want everybody to find their affinitee.”

That riled up the blood in me, and says I with spirit,

“Say that word to me agin if you dare.” Says I “of all the mean words a
married woman ever listened to, that is the meanest,” says I “if you say
“affinitee” here in my house, agin, young man, I will holler to Josiah.”

He see I was in earnest and deeply indignent, and he ketched up his hat
and cane, and started off, and glad enough was I to see him go.


About four weeks afterwards, I had got my kitchen mopped out, clean as a
pin and everything in perfect order and the dinner started, (I was goin’
to have beef steak and rice puddin’,) and then I took a bowl of raisons
and sot doun to stun ’em, for I was goin’ to bake a plum cake for supper.
I will have good vittles as long as my name is Josiah Allen’s wife. And
it haint only on my own account that I do it, but I do it as I have
observed before, from deep and almost cast iron principle. For as the
greatest of philosiphers have discovered, if a woman would keep her table
spread out from year to year, and from hour to hour, filled with good
vittles, that woman would have a clever set of men folks round.

As I sot serenely stunnin’ my raisons, not dreamin’ of no trouble, I
heard a rap at the door, and in walked Betsey Bobbet. I see she looked
kinder curious, but I didn’t say nothin’, only I asked her to take off
her things. She complied, and as she took out her tattin’ and begun to
tat, says she--

“I have come to crave your advise, Josiah Allen’s wife. I am afraid I
have been remissin’ in my duty. Martin Farquar Tupper is one of the most
sweetest poets of the ages. My sentiments have always blended in with his
beautiful sentiments, I have always flew with his flights, and soahed
with his soahs. And last night afteh I had retiahed to bed, one of his
sublime ideahs come to me with a poweh I neveh befoah felt. It knocked
the bolted doah of my heart open, and said in low and hollow tones as it
entered in, ‘Betsey Bobbet, you have not nevah done it.’”

Betsey stopped a minute here for me to look surprised and wonderin’, but
I didn’t, I stunned my raisons with a calm countenance, and she resumed--

“Deah Tuppah remarks that if anybody is goin’ to be married, thier future
companion is upon the earth somewhere at the present time, though they
may not have met him or her. And he says it is our duty to pray for that
future consort. And Josiah Allen’s wife, I have not neveh done it.”

She looked agonized, as she repeated to me, “Josiah Allen’s wife, I have
neveh preyed for him a word. I feel condemned; would you begin now?”

Says I coolly, “Are you goin’ to prey _for_ a husband, or _about_ one?”

Says she mournfully, “A little of both.”

“Wall,” says I in a cautious way, “I don’t know as it would do any hurt,

Says she, “I will begin to prey to-night. But that is not all I wished to
crave your advise about. Folks must work as well as prey. Heaven helps
them that help themselves. I am goin’ to take a decided stand.” Then she
broke off kinder sudden, and says she, “Be you a goin’ to the Faih and
Donation to the Methodist church to-morrow night?”

“Yes,” says I, “I am a layin’ out to go.”

“Well, Josiah Allen’s wife, will you stand by me? There is not another
female woman in Jonesville that I have the firm unwaverin’ confidence in,
that I have in you. You always bring about whateveh you set youh hands to
do--and I want to know, will you stand by me to-morrow night?”

Says I in a still more cautious tone “what undertakin’ have you got into
your head now, Betsey Bobbet?”

“I am going to encourage the Editah of the Augah. That man needs a
companion. Men are bashful and offish, and do not always know what is the
best for them. I have seen horses hang back on the harness before now, I
have seen geese that would not walk up to be picked. I have seen children
hang back from pikery. The horses ought to be made to go! The geese ought
to be held and picked! The children ought to take the pikery if you have
to hold thieh noses to make them. The Editah of the Augah _needs_ a
companion, I am going to encourage that man to-morrer night and I want
to know Josiah Allen’s wife if you will stand by me.”

I answered her in reasonable tones. “You know Betsey that I can’t run, I
am too fat, and then I am gettin’ too old. Mebby I might walk up and help
you corner him, but you know I can’t run for anybody.”

Jest then Josiah came in and the conversation dropped down viz: on the
fare. Says Josiah, says he, “Brother Wesley Minkley is a honest, pure
minded man and I shall go, and shall give accordin’ to my ability, but I
don’t believe in ’em, I don’t believe in doin’ so much for ministers. The
bible says let them live on the gospel; why don’t they? The old ’postles
wasn’t always havin’ donations and fares to get up money for ’em, and big
sallerys. Why don’t they live like the ’postles?”

[Illustration: LIVIN’ ON GOSPEL.]

Says I, “Josiah Allen you try to live on clear gospel a spell, and see
if your stommack wouldn’t feel kinder empty.” Says I, “The bible says the
‘Laborer is worthy of his hire.’” Says I, “folks are willin’ to pay their
doctors and lawyers, and druggers, and their tin-peddlers, and every body
else only ministers, and if any body has a slave’s life, it is a good
conscientious minister.” Says I, “Brother Wesley Minkley works like a

“I don’t deny it,” says Josiah, “but why don’t he live like the ’postle

Says I, “the ’postle Paul didn’t have to buy 40 or 50 yards of merymac
callico and factory cloth every year. He didn’t have to buy cradles and
cribs, and soothin’ syrup, for he didn’t have any babys to be cribbed
and soothed. He didn’t have to buy bunnets, and gographys, and prunella
gaters, and back combs, and hair pins, and etcetery, etcetery. He didn’t
have a wife and seven daughters and one son, as Brother Wesley Minkley
has got.” Says I, almost warmly, “Every other man, only jest ministers,
has a hope of layin’ up a little somethin’ for their children, but _they_
don’t think of doin’ that, all _they_ expect is to keep ’em alive and
covered up,” and says I, “The congregation they almost slave themselves
to death for, begrech that, and will jaw too if they hain’t covered up,
and dressed up slick. Sister Minkley wants her girls to look as well as
the rest of the girls in the Church.” Says I, “The ’postle Paul wasn’t
a mother, Josiah, not that I have anything against him,” says I more

The conversation was interupted here by Shakespeare Bobbet comin’ after
Betsey, they had company. Betsey returned with him, but her last words to
me was, in a low awful voice,

“Will you stand by me Josiah Allen’s wife?” I sithed, and told her in a
kind of a bland way, “I would see about it.”

The donatin and fare occured Wednesday night, and Josiah and me went
early, Thomas J. and Tirzah Ann bein’ off to school. And I carried as much
and as good as anybody there, though I say it that shouldn’t. I carried
as good vittles too as there was and I didn’t scrimp in quantity neither.

We was a layin’ out to carry ’em half a barrel of pork, and I made a
big jar of butter and sold it, and got the money for it, five dollars,
and I atted Josiah to sell the pork and get the money for that. Says I,
“Brother Minkley and his wife have both come to years of understandin’,
and it stands to reason that they both know what they want better than we
do, and money will buy anything.”

Josiah kinder hung back, but I carried the day. And so we carried 15
dollars in a envelop, and told sister Minkley to open it after we got
home. I didn’t want ’em to thank us for it--it makes me feel just as
mean as pusley. But some folks carried the litlest things. There was a
family of 7 hearty men and women, and all they carried was a book mark
out of perforated paper, and a plate of cookeys. There was 7 book marks,
for I counted ’em, and 14 pair of slips for the minister’s only boy, who
is home from school. And this same young man, Whitfield Minkley, had 24
neck ties. Of course there was some other things, a few sassige or so, a
little flour, and some dried blackberrys.

But it does beat all what simple things some folks will carry.
Shakespeare Bobbet carried the minister a pair of spurs. Thinks I to
myself, “What is he goin’ to use ’em on, the saw horse or the front
gate?” For they have kep’ him doun so low, that he is too poor to own any
other steeds.

And Betsey Bobbet brought him a poem of hers all flowered off round the
edges, and trimmed with pink ribbon. I haint nothin’ aginst poetry, but
with a big family like Brother Minkley’s, it did seem to me that there
was other things that would be more nourishin’ and go further.

After we had left our vittles in the procession room where we was goin’
to eat, I marched into the meetin’ house room which was full of folks,
and Brother Minkley came up to talk with me. I felt low spirited, for
Betsey’s design wore on me. And when Brother Minkley took my hand in
his’en, and shook it in the purest and most innocent manner, and said,
“Sister Allen, what is the matter? are you havin’ a xercise in your

Says I to him, “Yes, Brother Minkley, I be.”

I turned the subject quickly then, for I abhor hippocrites, and I
felt that I was a deceivin’ him. For whereas he thought I was havin’
a religous xcercise performin’ in my mind, I was not; it was Betsey
Bobbet’s design that was a wearin’ on me. So I waved off the subject
quickly, though I knew that like as not he would think I was a
backslidin’ and was afraid he would ketch me at it. Thinks’es I, better
let him think I am a slidin’ back, I can endure false importations better
than I can let myself out for a hyppocrite. I waved off the subject and
says I,

“That was a beautiful sermon of yours last Sunday, Brother Minkley.”

“You mean that from the text ‘He overthrew the tables of the money
changers,’ and so forth; I am glad it pleased you, sister Allen. I
meant to hit a blow at gamblin’ that would stagger it, for gamblin’ is
a prevailin’ to a alarmin’ extent.” And then says he, plantin’ himself
firmly before me, “Did you notice, sister Allen, the lucid and logical
manner in which I carried up the argument from the firstly to the

I see then I was in for it. Brother Wesley Minkley haint got another
fault on earth as I know on--only jest a catchin’ his church members
and preachin’ his sermons over to ’em. But I have said 100 times that
I am glad he has got that, for it sets me more at rest about him on
windy days. Not that I really s’pose he will ascend, but if he hadn’t
got that fault I should be almost tempted to examine his shoulder blades
occasionally, (on the outside of his coat,) to see if his wings was a
spoutin’, he is so fine and honest and unsuspiceious.

When his sermons are so long that they get up into the twentiethlies, and
thirtiethlies, as they jinerally do, I can’t say but what it is a little
wearin’ on you, to stand stun still whenever he happens to catch you, in
the store, or street, or doorstep, and have him preach ’em all over to
you alone. You feel kinder curious, and then sometimes your feet will get
to sleep. But on the present occasion I rejoiced, for it freed me for the
time bein’ from Betsey’s design. He laid holt of that sermon, and carried
it all up before me through the firstlys and the tenthlys, just as neat
and regular as you could hist a barel up the chamber stairs, and had just
landed it before the ninteenthly which was, “That all church members had
ort to get together, and rastle with the awful vice of gamblin’ and throw
it, and tread onto it,” when Betsey Bobbet appeared before us suddenly
with a big bag before her and says she,

“Here is the grab bag, you must grab.”

I never heard of the thing before, and it come so kind of sudden on me
that I hung back at first. But there wus a whole lot of folks lookin’
on, and I didn’t want to act odd, so I laid holt of it, and grabbed it
with both hands as tight as I could towards the bottom. Betsey said that
wasn’t the way, and then her design so goaded her, that she bent forward
and whispered in my ear,

“The Editah of the Augah got home to-night, he is expected here in half
an hour, I expect you to stand by me Josiah Allen’s wife.”

I sithed heavy, and while I was a sithin’ Betsey asked Elder Minkley to
grab, and he, thinkin’ no hurt, bein’ so pure minded and unsuspicious,
and of such a friendly turn, he threw both arms around the bag grabbed
it, and held it tight. And then Betsey explained it to us--you had to pay
25 cents and then you run your hand into the bag, and had jest what you
happened to grab first.

[Illustration: THE ENEMY ATTACKTED.]

Then at that minute I see the power of pure and cast iron principle as I
never seen it before. Betsey Bobbet and all other sorrows and sufferin’
was for the minute forgot, and I was glad I had been born. With the
look of a war horse when his mane tosses and he snorts, a smellin’ of
the battle field, Elder Wesley Minkley ketched the bag out of Betsey’s
tremblin’ hand, threw it down onto the floor, and sot down on it. He
looked peaceful then, he knew he had throwed the tempter, and got on to
it, holdin’ of it down. In the most tryin’ and excitin’ scenes of life,
the good of the human race is my theme of mind, I am so wrapped up in it,
and then, even in this glorious scene, I said to myself, “Ah would that
Adam had served them apples in the same way.”

Brother Minkley took out his red silk handkerchief and wiped his heroic,
but sweaty face, for it was warm in the meetin’ house, and he bein’ a
large portly man, principle had heat him up. And then such a sermon as he
preached to Betsey Bobbet, it did my very soul good to hear, says he, “It
is gamblin’, and gamblin’ of the very worst kind to, for it is gamblin’
in the name of God.”

“Oh,” says Betsey, “deah and respected sir, the money is for you, and it
is not gamblin’, for there is not any wicked papeh cards connected with
it at all, it is only a sort of pious raffling in harmless pincushions
and innocent rag children.”

Then did I see pure principle mountin’ up higher and higher, his honest
fat face grew fire red with it, and says be, “No raffled pincushions
shall ever enrich me, I scorn lucre that is obtained in that way. Not one
cent of money Betsey Bobbet will I ever take, that is realized from the
sale of these ragged children. Not a ragged child shall be gambled for,
for me, not a child.”

We was right under the gallery, and at this minute a fish hook was let
down not but a little ways from us, and Shakespeare Bobbet who stood by
a basket full of things, hitched on a long huzzy all made of different
kinds of calico, and it went up a danglin’ over our heads. As he ketched
sight of it, Brother Wesley Minkley started up and says he, to Betsey in
tones that _would_ be replied to,

“What does that mean?”

Says Betsey in almost tremblin’ tones, “They pay ten cents for fishin’

Then says he in tones that sounded some like distant thunder,

“Do they know what they are goin’ to get for thier money?”

“No sir,” says she, and she quailed to that extent that I almost pitied

“More gamblin’!” he cried in fearful tones. And then he sprung for the
huzzy, and shouted up the gallery to Shakespeare Bobbet, “I forbid you
to draw up this huzzy another step. I forbid this huzzy to be drawed up
an inch further.” He hung on to the huzzy with both hands, and says
he--with the fire of his old foregrandfather in his eye (who was an
orderly sargant in the Revolution) “I’ll see if there is goin’ to be
huzzies gambled for in this way. I’ll see if there is goin’ to be such
shameless doin’s in my church!”

[Illustration: THE ELDER ON THE ALERT.]

For the next half hour confusion rained. But pure principle conquered.
In the language of scripture slightly altered to suit the occasion, “He
overthrew the grab bags, and drove out the huzzies and fish hooks.” When
peace rained agin, I grasped holt of his hand, and says I almost warmly,

“You have done a good job brother, some folks may call it pious gamblin’,
but I never believed in it.” Whitfield Minkley come up at that very
minute, and says he, “That is jest as I think,” says he, in the language
of Shakespeare, “‘It is stealin’ the livery horses of heaven, to carry
the devil out a ridin’” or mebby I hain’t got the very words, but it was
somethin’ to that effect.

Says I, “I never knew that Shakespeare Bobbet ever turned his mind that
way,” and then says I in a cordial way, “I am real glad you have got home
Whitfield, I guess I am about as glad to see you as any body, unless it
is your ma, and one or two others.”

He thanked me and said it seemed good to get home agin, and then says
he, “I suppose Tirzah Ann is well.” His face as he said this was as
red as his neck tie. But I didn’t seem to notice it. I talked with him
quite a spell about her, and told him both the children would be to home
Saturday, and he must come up then, for Thomas Jefferson would be awful
disappointed not to see him.

He looked awful tickled when I asked him to come, and he said he should
certainly come, for he never wanted to see Thomas Jefferson so bad, in
his life.

I don’t make no matches, nor break none. But I hain’t a goin’ to deny,
that sister Minkley and I have talked it over, and if things go on, as
they seem to be a goin’ between _her_ Whitfield and _our_ Tirzah Ann,
there won’t be no straws laid in their way, not a straw.

Whitfield was called off by one of his sisters, and Brother Wesley
Minkley standin’ in front of me begun,

“Sister Allen, I am very much like you, I believe in actin’ up to our
professions, and as I was about to remark in my twentiethly,” then that
good, pure minded man begun agin jest where he left off. He had jest
lifted up his left hand, and was pintin’ it off with his right fore
finger, and I was jest thinkin’ that most likely I had got my night’s job
in front of me, when unxpected the Editer of the Augur come to speak to
me, and Brother Wesley Minkley bein’ a true gentleman, stopped preachin’
to once, and went to talkin’ to Josiah.

I looked sadly into the face of the Editer of the Augur, and sithed, for
I knew that Betsey would soon begin to encourage him, and I pitied him.

He said “How de do?” to me, and I said in a absent minded way that “I
was; and I hoped it was so with him.” And then I sithed agin. And my
two gray eyes looked sadly into his’en (which was but’nut colored) for
a spell, and then roamed off across the room onto Betsey. I seen her
a fixin’ on her waterfall more securely, and a shakin’ out her greek
bender, and tightnin’ her horse hair bracelets, and her lips moved as if
she was beginnin’ to prey. And I knew he had got to be encouraged, and I
felt for him.

The Editer of the Auger followed my mournful gaze, and I was surprised to
see the change in his but’nut eye as it met hers, from what it had been
in more former times preceedin’. For whereas he had always looked at her
with fear and almost agonizin’ aprehension, as if he realized his danger,
now he looked full in her face, as she smiled across the room at him,
with a proud haughty and triumphant mene on him I could not understand.
He gazed at her silently for I should think pretty near a half a minute
and then he turned to me with a sweet, contented smile curvin’ his
moustache--which had been colored a new bright black,--and says he to me
with a peaceful and serene look on to Betsey,

“How sweet it is Josiah Allen’s wife for a noble but storm tosted bark to
anchor in a beautiful calm. How sweet it is, when you see the ravenin’
tempest a smilin’ at you, I mean a lowerin’ at you, in the distance, to
feel that it can’t harm you--that you are beyond its reach. To see it
in its former dread power a drawin’ near--” (Betsey had started to come
towards us,) “and feel that you are safe from it. Josiah Allen’s wife I
feel safe and happy to night.”

Betsey was stopped for the minute by Deacon Gowdey, but I knew it was
only a momentary respite, and knowin’ her design, how could I answer? I
could only look gloomy into his face, and think sadly, Ah! how little we
know when trials and dangers are ahead of us, how little we know when we
are goin’ to be encouraged.

But he continued on in the same sweet happy triumphin’ tones,

“Josiah Allen’s wife, I believe you are my friend.”

“Yes! and your well wisher,” and says I almost wildly, “whatever comes,
whatever may happen to you, remember that I wished you well, and I pitied

“Instead of pityin’ me, wish me joy,” and he held out his right hand
towards me.

I haint no hypocrite, and knowin’ what I knew, how could I be so
deceitful? I hung back and gripped holt of a breadth of my dress with my
right hand.

Says he, “I am married, Josiah Allen’s wife, I was married a week ago

I grasped holt of his right hand which he still held out, with my right
hand, and says I, “you take a load off’en my mind. Who too?”

Says he, “the prettiest girl in Log London where father lives.”

My emotions paralyzed me for nearly a quarter of a minute, and then says

“Where is she?”

“To her folks’es,” says he, “But she will be here next week.”

Betsey drew near. He looked calmly and fearlessly at her, but he murmured
gently, “The twins will be a wakin’ up; I must be a goin’,” and he gently

The first words Betsey said to me was, “Ketch hold of me Josiah Allen’s
wife, ketch hold of me, I am on the very point of swooning.”

Then I knew what Deacon Gowdey had been a tellin’ her. She looked like a
blue ghost, trimmed off with otter color, for she had on a blue parmetta
dress all trimmed with annato colored trimmin’s. She murmured in almost
incoherent words, somethin’ about “her dearest gazelle bein’ a dyin’, and
her wantin’ to be took off to her buryin’ ground.” But I knew it was no
time for me to show my pity; true friendship demanded firmness and even
sternness, and when she asked me wildly agin to “ketch hold of her,” I
says to her coldly,

“Ketch holt of yourself, Betsey Bobbet.”

“My lost, my dearest gazelle is a dyin’! my hopes are witherin’!” says
she, shettin’ up her eyes and kinder staggerin’ up against the wall.

Says I in tones as cold as old Zero, or pretty nigh as cold as that old

“Let ’em wither.”

But I see I must come out still more plainer, or she would make a public
circus of herself, and says I pushin’ her into a corner, and standin’ up
in front of her, so as to shet off the audience from her face, for she
was a cryin’, and she did indeed look ghostly,

“Betsey Bobbet the gazelle is married, and their hain’t no use in your
follerin’ on that trail no longer. Now,” says I, “take your bunnet and go
home, and collect yourself together. And,” says I, generously “I will go
with you as far as the door.”

So I got her started off, as quick, and as quiet as I could, and I guess
there wasn’t mor’n seven men and 14 wimmen that asked me as I came back

“If it was the Editer of the Augur, that Betsey was a cryin’ about, and
if I ever see such a idiot in my life?”

I answered ’em in a kind of blind way, and it broke up pretty soon.

[Illustration: BETSEY SEEKS RELIEF.]

When Josiah and me went home, as we passed Mr. Bobbet’ses, I looked up
into Betsey’s winder which fronted the road, and I see Betsey set by her
table a writin’. Her lips were firmly closed and she was a cryin’, her
cheeks looked holler and I knew that her teeth was out, so I felt that
she was writin’ poetry. I was right, for in the next weeks _Gimlet_ these
verses came out. These lines was wrote on to the top of ’em:

“We do not wish to encourage the feeling of revenge in our fair
contributor’s fair breast, but this we will say, that on some occasions,
revenge is a noble feeling and almost leans over against virtue’s side.
And though we do not wish to be personal--no one could scorn it more than
we do--but we say, and we say it with the kindest feelings towards him,
that the E---- of the A---- is a _villian_.”

                                                    Editor of the Gimlet.

  A Desiah.


  Methinks I soon shall pass away,
  I have seen my last gazelle expiah;
  Deah friends I do not wish to stay;
  To be a ghost is my desiah.
  Revenge is sweet as honey a most--
  Methinks ’twere sweet to be a ghost.

  I would not be a seraphim,
  For far a sweeter sight would be
  On bedpost sitting, twitting him,
  Of his deceit and perfide;
  I’d rathah be a dreadful ghost,
  A sitting on a certain post.

  I can give up my heavenly claim,
  My seat upon the heavenly quiah;
  I feel anotheh, wildeh aim--
  To be a ghost is my desiah.
  Ah, yes! I’d ratheh be a ghost,
  And sit upon a certain post.

  Methinks he’d coveh up his head
  And groan and rithe, and maybe swear,
  And sithe, “I wish she wasn’t dead;”
  But still I’ll keep a sittin’ theah.
  As long as I remain a ghost,
  I’ll hang around a certain post.

  Anotheh certain person may,
  With terror wish she hadn’t had
  The wretch who made me pass away;
  Maybe _she’ll_ wish I wasn’t dead.
  In vain! for still my dreadful ghost,
  Shall glare on her from a certain post.

  To think how I my brain have racked
  On lays for him. My stomach cramp;
  My bended form; my broken back;
  My blasted hopes; my wasted lamp.
  Oh, then I long to be a ghost,
  To hang around a certain post.

  My soul it pants, my crazed brain spins,
  To think how gushed my fond heart’s flow,
  My sympathy for certain twins,
  And then to think he used me so.
  But soon! ah soon I’ll be a ghost,
  A haunting round a certain post.



One bright, beautiful day, I had got my mornin’s work all done up, and
had sot doun to double some carpet yarn, and Josiah sot behind the stove,
blackin’ his boots, when Betsey come in for a mornin’s call. She hadn’t
sot but a few minutes when says she,

“I saw you was not doun to the lecture night before last, Josiah Allen’s
wife. I was sorry that I attended to it, but my uncle’s people where I
was visitin’ went, and so I went with them. But I did not like it, I
do not believe in wimmin’s havin’ any rights. I think it is real bold
and unwomanly in her to want any rights. I think it is not her speah,
as I remarked last night to our deah New Preacher. As we was a coming
out, afteh the lecture, the fringe of my shawl ketched on to one of the
buttons of his vest, and he could not get it off--and I did not try to, I
thought it was not my place--so we was obleeged to walk close togatheh,
cleah through the hall, and as I said to him, afteh I had enquired if he
did not find it very lonesome here, says I, ‘It is not wimmin’s speah to
vote,’ and says I, ‘do you not think it is woman’s nature naturally to be
clingin’?’ ‘I _do_,’ says he, ‘Heaven _knows_ I _do_.’ And he leaned back
with such a expression of stern despaih on to his classic features, that
I knew he felt it strongly. And I said the truth. I do not believe wimmin
ought to vote.”

“Nor I nuther,” says Josiah, “she haint got the rekrisite strength to
vote, she is too fraguile.”

Jest at this minute the boy that draws the milk came along, and Josiah,
says he to me, “I am in my stockin’ feet, Samantha, can’t you jest step
out and help Thomas Jefferson on with the can?”

Says I, “If I am too fraguile to handle a paper vote, Josiah Allen, I am
too fraguile to lift 100 and 50 pounds of milk.”

He didn’t say nothin’, but he slipped on his rubbers and started out, and
Betsey resumed, “It is so revoltin’ to female delicacy to go to the poles
and vote; most all of the female ladies that revolve around in the high
circles of Jonesville aristocracy agree with me in thinkin’ it is real
revoltin’ to female delicacy to vote.”

[Illustration: FEMALE DELICACY]

“Female delicacy!” says I, in a austeer tone. “Is female delicacy a
plant that withers in the shadder of the pole, but flourishes in every
other condition only in the shadder of the pole?” says I in a tone of
witherin’ scorn. “Female delicacy flourishes in a ball room, where these
sensitive creeters with dresses on indecently low in the neck, will waltz
all night with strange men’s arms round their waists,” says I. “You have
as good as throwed it in my face, Betsey Bobbet, that I haint a modest
woman, or I would be afraid to go and vote; but you ketch me with a low
neck dress on, Betsey Bobbet, and you will ketch me on my way to the
Asylum, and there haint a old deacon, or minister, or presidin’ Elder
in the Methodist church, that could get me to waltz with ’em, let alone
waltzin’ with promiscuus sinners. And,” says I in the deep, calm tone of
settled principle, “if you don’t believe it, bring on your old deacons
and ministers, and presidin’ Elders, and try me.”

“You are gettin’ excited, Samantha,” says Josiah.

“You jest keep blackin’ your boots, Josiah Allen, I haint a talkin’ to
you. Betsey, is it any worse for a female woman to dress herself in a
modest and Christian manner, with a braige viel over her face, and a
brass mounted parasol in her hand, and walk decently to the pole and lay
her vote on it, than to be introduced to a man, who for all you know may
be a retired pirate, and have him walk up and hug you by the hour, to the
music of a fiddle and a base violin?”

“But if you vote you have got to go before a board of men, and how tryin’
to delicacy that would be.”

“I went before a board of men when I joined the meetin’ house, and when
I got the premium for my rag carpet, and I still live and call myself a
respectable character, but,” says I in a vain of unconcealed sarcasm “if
these delicate ball characters are too modest to go in broad daylight
armed with a umbrell before a venerable man settin’ on a board, let ’em
have a good old female board to take thier votes.”

“Would it be lawful to have a female board?” says Betsey.

“Wimmen can be boards at charity schools--poor little paupers, pretty
hard boards they find ’em some times--and they can be boards at fairs,
and hospitals, and penitentarys, and picnics, and African missions, and
would it be any worse to be a board before these delicate wimmen,” says
I, almost carried away with enthusiasm, “I would be a board myself.”

[Illustration: NO TIME TO VOTE.]

“Yes you would make a pretty board,” says Josiah, “you would make quite a
pile of lumber.” I paid no attention to his sarkastic remark, and Betsey
went on.

“It would be such public business Josiah Allen’s wife for a woman to
recieve votes.”

“I don’t know as it would be any more public business, than to sell
Episcopal pin cushiens, Methodist I scream, or Baptist water melons, by
the hour to a permiscuus crowd.”

But says Betsey, “’twould devouh too much of a female’s time, she would
not have time to vote, and perform the other duties that are incumbient
upon her.”


Says I, “Wimmen find time for thier everlastin’ tattin’ and croshain’.
They find plenty of time for thier mats, and their tidys, their
flirtations, thier feather flowers, and bead flowers, and hair flowers,
and burr flowers, and oriental paintin’s, and Grecian paintin’s, and face
paintin’s. They spend more time a frizzin’ thier front hair than they
would, to learn the whole constitution by heart; and if they get a new
dress they find plenty of time to cut it all up into strips, jest to
pucker it up and set it on agin. They can dress up in thier best and
patrol the streets as regular as a watchman, and lean over the counter
in dry good stores till they know every nail in ’em by heart. They find
plenty of time for all this, and to go to all the parties they can hear
of, and theatres and conserts, and shows of all kinds, and to flirt with
every man they can lay holt of, and to cover their faces with their fans
and giggle; but when it comes to an act as simple and short as puttin’ a
letter into the post office, they are dreadful short on it for time.”

But says Betsey, “The study that would be inevitable on a female in ordeh
to make her vote intelligably, would it not be too wearing on her?”

[Illustration: NO TIME TO STUDY LAWS.]

“No! not a single bit; s’posin these soft, fashionable wimmen should
read a little about the nation she lives in, and the laws that protects
her if she keeps ’em, and hangs and imprisons her if she breaks ’em? I
don’t know but it would be as good for her, as to pore over novels all
day long,” says I; “these very wimmen that think the President’s bureau
is a chest of draws where he keeps his fine shirts, and the tariff is
a wild horse the senators keep to ride out on,--these very wimmen that
can’t find time to read the constitution, let ’em get on to the track
of a love-sick hero and a swoonin’ heroine, and they will wade through
half a dozen volumes, but what they will foller ’em clear to Finis to
see ’em married there,” says I, warmin’ with my subject, “Let there be a
young woman hid in a certain hole, guarded by 100 and 10 pirates, and a
young man tryin’ to get to her, though at present layin’ heavily chained
in a underground dungeon with his rival settin’ on his back, what does
a woman care for time or treasure, till she sees the pirates all killed
off with one double revolver, and the young woman lifted out swoonin’
but happy, by the brave hero?” Says I, in a deep camp meetin’ voice, “If
there had been a woman hid on the Island of Patmos, and Paul’s letters to
the churches had been love letters to her, there wouldn’t be such a thick
coat of dust on bibles as there is now.

“But if wimmen _don’t_ read about the laws they’ll know as much as some
other folks do. I have seen men voters,” says I, and I cast a stern
glance onto Josiah as I spoke, “whose study into national affairs didn’t
wear on ’em enough to kill ’em at all. I have seen voters,” says I with
another cuttin’ look at him, “that didn’t know as much as their wives
did.” Josiah quailed a very little as I said this, and I continued on--“I
have seen Irish voters, whose intellects wasn’t tiresome to carry round,
and whose knowledge concernin’ public affairs wasn’t so good as it was
about rum, and who would sell their votes for a drink of whiskey, and
keep it up all day, votin’ and drinkin’ and then drinkin’ and votin’, and
I guess wimmen won’t do any worse.”

Betsey almost quailed before my lofty glance and voice, but continued on
cleavin’ to the subject--“How awful and revolting it would sound to hear
the faih and softeh sex talking about tariffs and caurkusses.”

“I don’t know,” says I, “but I had as lives hear ’em talk about
caurkusses, as to hear ’em backbitin’ thier neighbors and tearin’ the
charicters of other wimmen into bits, or talkin’ about such little things
as wimmen will; why in a small place, a woman can’t buy a calico apron
without the neighborhood holdin’ a inquest over it. Some think she ort
to have it, some think it is extravagant in her, and some think the set
flower on it is too young for her, and then they will all quarrel agin
whether she ort to make it with a bib or not.” Says I “the very reason
why men’s talk as a general thing is nobler than wimmen’s, is because
they have nobler things to think about.” Says I “Betsey Bobbet, when did
you ever know a passel of men to set down and spend a whole afternoon
talkin’ about each other’s vest, and mistrustin’ such a feller painted;
fill a woman’s mind with big, noble sized thoughts, and she won’t talk
such little back bitin’ gossip as she does now.”

“Josiah Allen’s wife,” says Betsey, “I shall always say it is not woman’s
speah to vote.”

“No,” says Josiah, “it hain’t; wimmen would vote for the handsomest
men, and the men that praised thier babys, they wouldn’t stand up onto
principal as men do, and then, how they would clog up the road ’lection
day, tryin’ to get all the news they could, wimmen have got such itchin’

“Itchin’ ears!” says I, “principle!” says I, in low but awful deep tones
of voice, “Josiah Allen, it seems to me, that I wouldn’t try to stand
up onto principle agin, till the pantaloons are wore out you hired a
man with to vote your ticket.” He begun to look sheepish at once, and I
continued in still more awful accents, “talk about itchin’ ears, Josiah
Allen! here you have sot all the mornin’ blackin’ your boots, you have
rubbed them boots till you have most rubbed holes through ’em, jest for
an excuse to set here and hear me and Betsey Bobbet talk. And it hain’t
the first time nuther, for I have known you Josiah Allen, when I have had
female visitors, to leave your work and come in and lay on that lounge
behind the stove till you was most sweltered, pretendin’ you was readin’.”

“I _wuz_ a readin’,” says Josiah drawin’ on his boots.

“I have ketched you laughin’ over a funeral sermon, and a President’s
message, what is there highlarious in a funeral sermon Josiah Allen? What
is there exhileratin’ in a President’s message?”

“Wall,” says he, “I guess I’ll water the steers.”

“I should think you had better,” says I coolly, and after he went out,
Betsey resumed,

“Josiah Allen’s wife, I still say it is not woman’s speah to vote,” and
she continued, “I have got a few verses in my pocket, which I composed
that night aftah I returned from the lecture, which embody into them the
feelings of my soul concerning woman’s speah. I went to my chamber, and
let down my back haih, and took out my teeth, I always feel more free
somehow, and poetic, with my hair down and my teeth out, and there I
wrote these stanzeys, and seeing it is you, I will read them to you.”

My firm and cast iron principles forbid my wishin’ in a reckless way that
I wasn’t myself, and I was in my own house, and horspitality forbid my
orderin’ her in stern accents, not to read a word of ’em, so I submitted,
and she read as follows:


  Or whisperin’s of nature to


   Last night as I meandered out
   To meditate apart,
   Secluded in my parasol,
   Deep subjects shook my heart.
   The earth, the skies, the prattling brooks,
   All thundered in my ear,
  “It is matrimony! it is matrimony
   That is a woman’s speah.”

   Day with a red shirred bonnet on,
   Had down for China started,
   Its yellow ribbons fluttered o’er
   Her head, as she departed;
   She seemed to wink her eyes on me,
   As she did dissapeah;
   And say, “It is matrimony, Betsey,
   That is a woman’s speah.”

   A rustic had broke down his team;
   I mused almost in teahs,
  “How can a yoke be borne along
   By half a pair of steers?”
   Even thus in wrath did nature speak,
  “Heah! Betsey Bobbet, heah!
   It is matrimony! it is matrimony
   That is a woman’s speah.”

   I saw a paih of roses
   Like wedded pardners grow;
   Sharp thorns did pave thier mortal path,
   Yet sweetly did they blow;
   They seemed to blow these _glorious_ words,
   Into my _willing_ eah;
  “It is matrimony! it is matrimony
   That is a woman’s speah.”

   Two gentle sheep upon the hills;
   How sweet the twain did run,
   As I meandered gently on
   And sot down on a stun;
   They seemed to murmur sheepishly,
  “Oh Betsey Bobbet deah,
   It is matrimony! it is matrimony
   That is a woman’s speah.”

   Sweet was the honeysuckle’s breath
   Upon the ambient aih;
   Sweet was the tendah coo of doves,
   Yet sweeter husbands aih.
   All nature’s voices poured these words
   Into my _willing_ eah;
  “B. Bobbet, it is matrimony
   That is a woman’s speah.”

“The above are my sentiments,” says she, as she folded up the paper.

“I am a married woman,” says I, “and I hain’t got nothin’ to say aginst
marryin’, especally when Josiah’s back is turned, I don’t believe in
bein’ underhanded. But there are a great many widows and unmarried wimmen
in the world, what are they to do?”

“Let them take heed to these glorious and consoling words,

  “‘It is matrimony, it is matrimony
      That is a woman’s speah.’”

“Shet up about your speahs,” says I, gettin wore out, “You may sing it
Betsey Bobbet, and ministers may preach it, and writers may orate about
it, that it is women’s only speah to marry, but what are you goin’ to do?
Are you goin’ to compel men to marry all the wimmen off?” says I, with a
penetratin’ look onto Betsey.

[Illustration: A WOMAN’S RIGHTS.]

“I have seen wimmen that was willin’ to marry, but the men wasn’t
forthcomin’, what are they to do? What are the wimmen to do whose faces
are as humbly as a plate of cold greens?” Says I, in stern tones, “Are
men to be pursued like stricken dears by a mad mob of humbly wimmen?
Is a woman to go out into the street and collar a man and order him to
marry her? I am sick of this talk about its bein’ a woman’s only speah to
marry. If it is a woman’s only speah to marry, the Lord will provide her
with a _man_, it stands to reason he will. One that will suit her too,
one that will come jest as nateral for her to leave all of the rest of
the world and foller, as for a sunflower to foller on after the sun. One
that she seems to belong to, jest like North and South America, joined
by nature unbeknown to them ever sense creation. She’ll know him if she
ever sees him, for their two hearts will suit each other jest like the
two halves of a pair of shears. These are the marriages that Heaven signs
the certificates of, and this marryin’ for a home, or for fear of bein’
called a old maid, is no more marriage in the sight of God, no more true
marriage, than the blush of a fashionable woman that is bought for ten
cents an ounce and carried home in her pocket, is true modesty.”

Here was a pause, durin’ which Betsey quailed some, and I then resumed
again, in the same lofty tones and I don’t know but a little loftier,
“There is but one thing that makes marriage pure and holy in the sight of

“And what is that?” says Betsey in an enquirin’ tone.

“Love,” says I, in a full clear tone, “Love, such as angels feel for one
another, love, such as Samantha Smith felt for Josiah Allen, though _why_
I loved him, Heaven knows, I don’t. But I couldn’t help it, and I would
have lived single till them days we read of, if I hadn’t. Though for what
reason I loved him--” I continued mewsin’ly, and almost lost in deep
retrospectin’,--“I don’t know. I don’t believe in rehearsin’ privacies
and braggin’ about such things, but in the name of principle I speak. A
richer man wanted me at the same time, a man that knew half as much agin,
at least, as Josiah. I no need to have wet the ends of my fingers in
dishwater if I had married the other one, but I couldn’t do it, I loved
Josiah, _though why_”--and agin I plunged down into deep abstraction as I
murmured to myself,--“though _why_ I did, I don’t know.”

“In them days,” says I, risin’ up agin out of my revery, “In them days to
come, when men and wimmen are independent of each other, marriage will be
what it ought to be, for folks won’t marry unless God unites their hearts
so close they can’t get ’em apart nohow. They won’t be tackled together
by any old rotton ropes of interest and accomidation, that are liable to
break in to pieces any minute, and in them days, the hands of divorce
writers won’t be so lame as they be now.”

“I cannot comprehend,” says Betsey “how wimmen’s votin’, will change
the reprehensible ideah of marryin’ for a home, or for fear of being
ridiculed about, if it will, I cannot see.”

“Can’t you see daylight Betsey Bobbet, when the sun is mountin’ up into
the clear horizeon?” Says I in a eloquent voice, “it stands to reason
that a woman won’t marry a man she don’t love, for a home, if she is
capable of makin’ one for herself. Where’s the disgrace of bein’ a old
maid, only wimmen are kinder dependent on men, kinder waitin’ to have him
ask her to marry him, so as to be supported by him? Give a woman as many
fields to work in as men have, and as good wages, and let it be thought
jest as respectable for ’em to earn _thier_ livin’ as for a man to, and
that is enough. It riles me to hear ’em talk about wimmen’s wantin’ to
wear the breeches; they don’t want to; they like calico better than
broadcloth for stiddy wear, they like muslin better than kersey mear
for handsome, and they have a nateral hankerin’ after the good opinion
and admiration of the other sect, but they can do better without that
admiration than they can without vittles.”

“Yes,” says Betsey “men do admire to have wimmen clingin’ to ’em, like a
vine to a stately tree, and it is indeed a sweet view.”

“So ’tis, so ’tis,” says I, “I never was much of a clinger myself.
Still if females want to cling, I haint no objection. But,” says I, in
reasonable tones, “as I have said more’n a hundred times, if men think
that wimmen are obleeged to be vines, they ought to feel obleeged to
make trees of themselves, for ’em to run up on. But they won’t; some
of ’em, they will not be trees, they seem to be sot against it. And
as I have said what if a vine haint no tree convenient to cling to?
or if she has, what if the tree she clings to happens to fall through
inherient rotteness at the core, thunder and lightnin’ or etcetery? If
the string breaks what is to become of the creeper if it can’t do nothin’
but creep? Says I, “it is all well enough for a rich woman to set in a
velvet gown with her feet on the warm hearth and wonder what makes the
poor drunkard’s wife down in the street, shiver. Let her be out once with
her bare feet in the snow, and she’d find out. It haint the rich, happy,
comfortable clingers I am talkin’ in behalf of, but the poor shiverers
outside who haint nothin’ to cling to.”

“Women’s speah”--began Betsey.

“Women’s speah,” says I interuptin’ her in a magestic tone before which
Betsey quailed imperceptably. “Women’s speah is where she can do the most
good; if God had meant that wimmen should be nothin’ but men’s shadders,
He would have made gosts and fantoms of ’em at once. But havin’ made ’em
flesh and blood, with braens and souls, I believe He meant ’em to be used
to the best advantage. And the talk about wimmen havin’ to fight, and men
wash dishes, if wimmen vote, is all shear nonsense. In the Baptist church
where wimmen vote, I don’t see as they act different from other wimmen,
and I don’t see as the Baptist men act any more sheepish than common
men.” Says I “it is jest as ridiculous to say it would make a woman act
coarse and rampage round to vote, as to say that kissin’ a pretty baby,
or lovin’ books and music and pictures, makes a man a hen huzzy.”

Says I, carried away with powerful emotions, “you may shet a lion up
for years, in a room full of cambric needles and tattin shettles, and
you can’t get him to do anything but roar at ’em, it haint a lion’s
nature to do fine sewin’,” says I. “And you may tie up a old hen as
long as you please, and you can’t break her of wantin’ to make a nest,
and scratch for her chickens.” Says I--wavin’ my right hand, slow and
magestically--“you may want a green shade onto the front side of your
house, and to that end and effect you may plant a acorn, and set out a
rose bush, but all the legeslaters in creation can’t make that acorn tree
blow out with red posys, no more can they make that rose bush stand
up straight as a giant. And thier bein’ planted by the side of each
other--on the same ground and watered out of the same waterin’ jug--don’t
olter thier natural turn. _They will both help shade the winder_, but do
it in their own way which is different. And men and wimmen votin’ side by
side, would no more alter their natural dispositions than singin’ one of
Watts’es hymns together would. One will sing base, and the other air, so
long as the world stands.”

“Josiah Allen’s wife,” says Betsey, “I think your views are uronieus. We
cannot think alike about clinging, we also diffeh in our views about
caurkusses. When I consideh that ’lections and caurkusses come once every
yeah, then comes home the solemn feelin’, how wearin’ it would be for a
female to drop all her domestic labohs and avocations, and be present
at them. Josiah Allen’s wife, let us sposen’ the case, sposen’ a women
is a washin’, or churnin’ buttah, how could she leave this laboh to go
and vote?” I was so wore out, that says I, “we _will_ sposen’ the case,
sposen’ a women is a fool, how can she talk common sense?” Says I, with so
impatient a gesture that I broke off a thread, and had to tie it on agin
“you are goin’ over the same old ground agin of a woman’s time,” says I
“wimmen can drop all thier domestic labors and go to fares--town fares,
and county fares, and state fares if she can get to ’em. She will be on
the ground in time to see the first punkin and bedquilt carried on to it,
and she will stay to see the last horse, trot his last trot; she can find
time for picnics and pleasure exertions, and celebrations, and 4th of
July--that last, all day--and it would take about half a minute to vote.
But,” says I, in the most grand and noble tone I had used yet. “Men haint
took by the coat collar and dragged off to caurkusses and ’lections, they
don’t go unless they are a mind to, and I don’t suppose wimmen would be
drove there like a flock of sheep. They wouldn’t want to go; only, when
some great law was up concerning right and wrong, or her own intrinsick
interests, as givin a mother a equal right to her children, a right
she earnt naturally, a deed God himself stamped with the great seals
of fear and agony. Or bein’ taxed without representation; which breaks
the old constitution right into, in the middle, every time it is done.
Or concernin’ equal pay, for equal labor. I spose every female clerk
and teacher and operator, who have half starved on about one third what
men get for doin’ the same work would be on hand. Like wise concerning
Temperance, I spose every drunkards wife and mother and girl would go to
the pole, that could get there. Poor things, under the Legislator they
have enjoyed the right of sufferin’; sposen’ it lets ’em enjoy the right
of suffragin’ a spell, mebby they would find it as easy if not easier.”



Jest at this minute we see the new Local Preacher, comin’ down the road
in a open buggy, and Betsey said to once she must be goin’, for her folks
would be a worryin’ after her. Says I, as she hurried to the door,

“Mebby you will get a ride.”

“Oh no,” says she, “I had a great deal rather walk afoot, I think there
is nothing like walking afoot for strengthenin’ the mussles.”

I am glad she felt so, for I see he didn’t ask her to ride. But as she
said, health is a blessing, and it is a treat indeed to have strong


The summer after the Donation and Fare dawned peacefully and fair on
Jonesville and the earth. The weather was pleasant, and things seemed
to go on as Sister Wesley Minkley and I could wish them to, between
her Whitfield, and our Tirzah Ann. Thomas Jefferson every fortnight or
so dressed up in his best and went in the direction of Lawyer Snow’s.
He _said_ that “he went to a new protracted meetin’ that they had jest
started up that way.” I don’t say that he didn’t, but I will say that
they protracted ’em pretty late. I don’t make no matches nor break none,
but I must say that things look promisin’ and agreable in the direction
of the children. Whitfield Minkley, and Maggy Snow, is agreeable to me,
_very_; so they be to Josiah.

Josiah thinks considerable of Maggy’s bein’ so fore-handed. I say
_myself_ if she hadn’t but one hand in the line of riches, or no hand
at all, she would still be _my_ choice. She is a straight-forward
sensible girl--with no affectation, or sham about her. She reminds me
of what Samantha Allen was, before she had changed her maiden name of
Smith. Whether they are really engaged or not, I don’t know, for Thomas
J. is such a hand for fun that you can’t find out anything from him no
more than you could from the wind. But good land! there is time enough.
The children shan’t marry anybody in one good five years from now, if I
have my say about it. But as I told Josiah, I remember we was a talkin’
it over last fall, as we sot out a new orchard--I was a holdin’ the
trees for him and says I--“Josiah it is our duty to get apple trees and
children started in the right direction, and then let them take their
time to grow.”

He said, “Yes, so it was.”

He feels well about it, as I say, it is agreeable to us both, and then
Josiah’s crops looked well, the crows took a little of his corn, but it
had come on, and bid fair to be a first rate crop. And as for his oats
and barley and winter wheat, they couldn’t be bettered.

The Editer of the Augur had brought home his bride, a good lookin’ light
complected woman, who seemed devoted to him and the two twins. They went
to house keepin’ in a bran new house, and it was observed that he bought
a cottage bedstead that didn’t have any posts, and life for him seemed
blest and peaceful.

Betsey Bobbet did not pine away and expire as might be expected by
cursory readers of her last poem in the Jonesville Gimlet. But any deep
philosipher who had made the Human Race, his (or her) study for any
length of time, never worrys over such efushions, knowin’ that affliction
is like the measles, and if they break out freely in pimples and poetry,
the patients are doin’ well.

Betsey had been pretty quiet for her through the winter and spring, she
hadn’t made overtures only to two more--which was a little pill doctor,
and a locul preacher who had been sent round by the Conference. As she
remarked to me, “It is so natural to get attached to your minister and
your physician.”

As I said the summer sun basked peacefully down and Jonesville almost
asleep under her rays, seemed the abode of Repose. But where was there a
Eden fenced in, but what Ambition let down the bars, or climbed over the
fence. But this was a noble Ambition, a Ambition I was proud to see a
gettin’ over the fence. It was a Ambition that leaped over into my door
yard the very day I heard the blessed tidings, that Horace Greeley was
run up for President.

I had always respected Horace, he had always been dear to me. And when I
say dear, I want it to be plainly understood--I insist upon it that it
_shall_ be understood--that I mean dear, in a scriptural, and political
sense. Never sense I united myself to Josiah Allen, has my heart swerved
from that man so much as the breadth of a horse hair. But Horace’s
honest pure views of life, has endeared him to every true lover of the
Human Race, Josiah Allen’s wife included. Of course we don’t think alike
on every subject. No 2 human bein’s ever did. Horace and I differ on
some things such as biled vittles, Wimmen’s Rights, and cream biscuit.
He don’t believe in biled vittles, and it is my favorite beverage. He is
a unbeliever in salaratus, I myself don’t see how he makes cream biscuit
fit to eat without it. And he--not havin’ me to influence him--hadn’t
come out on to the side of wimmen’s havin’ a Right. But as a general
thing, Horace Greeley was to be found onto the side of Right. He was
onto the side of the weak, the down trodden. He was always a plottin’ to
do some good to somebody, and I felt that if the eyes of his spectacles
could be once opened onto this subject of wimmen’s havin’ a Right, that
he would be more help to us, than a army of banners. Months before he was
run up for President I had felt this, and in the fall of 1871, as Josiah
was a settin’ by the fire alone, he a readin’ the World and I a knittin’
says I to him,

“Josiah are you willin’ that I should go down to New York village on a
tower, and have a talk with Horace about the Human race and wimmen’s
havin’ a right?”

Josiah didn’t seem to be willin’, he looked up from the World, and
muttered somethin’ about “Tammany’s ring.”

I don’t know when the old Smith blood so riled up in me as it did then.
I remember I riz right up where I set in front of the stove, and waved my
right hand, I was so excited, and says I,

“Josiah Allen if you have lived with me goin on 15 years, and if you
haint no more confidence in me than to think I would accept a ring from
old Tammany, then I will stay to home.” Says I, “Josiah Allen, I never
mistrusted till this very minute that you had a jealous hair in your
head,” says I, “you have fell 35 cents in my estimation to night,” says
I, “you know Josiah Allen that I haint never wore no jewelrey sense I
jined the Methodist meetin’ house, and if I did, do you spose I would
accept a ring from old Tammany, that sneakin’ old Democrat? I hate old
Tammany, I perfectly despise the old man.”

I felt so imposed upon and worked up, that I started right off to bed and
forgot to wind up the clock, or shet the buttery door, for I remember the
clock run down and the cat eat the inside out of the custard pies. Wall
from that time I never had opened my head to Josiah about goin’ off on
a tower. But I wrote Horace a letter on the subject of Wimmen’s Rights,
as good a letter as I knew how, beggin’ him to follow the example of J.
Allen’s wife, and all other noble reformers and put his shoulder blades
to the wheel.

His answer wasn’t so satisfactory as I could have wished it was, and I
knew I could do better to stand face to face with him. But as I say I
don’t know as I should ever have started up agin, if that great and good
man hadn’t been run up for President.

Now some thought it looked shiftless in the Democrats, and kinder poverty
struck in ’em, to think they had got all out of President stuff, and
had to borry some of the Republicans. But good land! where is there a
housekeeper but what will once in a while get out of tea and have to
borry a drawin’ of her neighbors? If good honest, smart men was skurse
amongst ’em, if they had got kinder run out of President timber, and
wanted to borry a little, why it would have looked dreedful tight and
unneighberly in the Republicans to have refused ’em, when they was well
on it too for President stuff, they could have spared two or three jest
as well as not, even if they never got ’em paid back. But the Democrats
only wanted to borry one, and that was Horace. The Democrats thought
everything of Horace because he put a bail onto Jeff. Davis. Josiah said
at the time that it raised him 25 cents or more in his estimation. At the
same time it madded some of the Republicans. But it didn’t me. You see
I believe jest what I think is right, and pay no attention to what the
other folks who are standin’ on my doorstep may happen to believe.

Nobody that stands on my platform--let ’em stand as close to me as they
are a mind to--not one of ’em is answerable to God for what thoughts and
principles are performin’ in my mind and soul. Josiah Allen’s wife hangs
on to nobody’s apron strings only jest her own.

As far as the party on my doorstep believe what I think is right, I am
with ’em heart and hand, but I am not one to shet up my eyes and walk
up blindly and hang on to anybody’s apron strings, not even Horace
Greeley’s, as anybody can see in the matter of biled vittles, Wimmen’s
Rights, and cream biscuit. To think you have got to believe every thing
your party does, seems jest as unreasonable to me, as it would when you
go out to pick greens, to pick skunk cabbage because cow cabbage is good
and wholesome. Why skunk cabbage is pison, jest as pison as sikuta or
ratsbane. Now the doctrine of free love as some folks preach it up, folks
in both parties, why the smell of it is jest as obnoxious in my political
and moral nostrals as the smell of sikuta is, and if anything smells
worse than that, I don’t want to go near it. Pick out the good and leave
the bad, is my theme in greens and politix.

Now about puttin’ that bail onto Jeff. Davis, though as I say it madded
my party, I was glad he put it on. Jeff. was a mean critter no doubt, but
I don’t know as chokin’ him to death with a rope would have made him any
better. I say this idee of chokin’ folks to death to reform ’em, is where
we show the savage in us, which we have brought down from our barbarious
ancestors. We have left off the war paint and war whoops, and we shall
leave off the hangin’ when we get civilized.

Says some to me, “Look at our poor Northern boys that suffered and died
in Libby prison and Andersonville through Jefferson.”

I says to ’em, “Would chokin’ Jefferson bring ’em back? if so I would
choke him myself.--not to kill him of course, but so he would feel it, I
can tell you.”

No! it was all over, and past. All the sin, and all the sorrow of the
war. And God had out of it brought a great good to the black Africans,
and the nation, in the way all good is generally brought, through
sufferin’ and tribulation. And if a nation is made perfect through
sufferin’ what should be the first lesson she should show to the world?

I say, it should be the lesson that Christ and his disciples taught,
that of all Heavenly graces, charity is the greatest. The way I looked
at it was this. The South that had been so braggin’, and selfish, and
overbearin’, stood at the door of the proud and victorious North, like
a beggar, harmless, destitute and ragged. Where is the rich happy woman
that wouldn’t give a nut-cake to a sick beggar? I don’t see myself how
she could help givin’ one, if she had any generosity and nobility

Jeff. Davis was all broke to pieces, and he wanted a bail put onto him
so life could grip holt of him agin, and carry him I hope towards that
heaven he turned his back to, when he was a fightin’ to uphold slavery.
Horace helped put that bail on, and so did other noble men; and all the
ministers in creation, of every persuasion, might all stand up in a row
in our door yard, and preach to me 2 days, and then I wouldn’t believe
that H. G. would turn his hand to anything he thought was wrong.

If there was any fault in him about this, it was on the side of charity
and mercy, and as a general thing that end of the board don’t tip up any
too fur in this selfish world. As a general thing, folks don’t teter on
that end of the board so much as they do on the other.

So, as I said, when I heard that Horace was run up for President, I was
so happy that my heart would have sung for joy if it had been anything
of a singer, for now, thinks’es I, with that great and good and honest
man for President, all he wants is the influence of Josiah Allen’s wife
to make him all the sufferin’ nation needs. I felt that now the time had
come for J. Allen’s wife to come out boldly and put her shoulder blades
to the wheel. I felt that if Horace could be perswaded to draw and Josiah
Allen’s wife to push, nothin’ could hender that wheel from movin’ right
onward into Freedom. And so my principles, and the great doctrine so
goared me, that I couldn’t get no rest, I felt that I _must_ see Horace
before he got sot doun in the high chair, because you know when any body
gets sot doun they don’t love to nestle round and make no changes. So I
atted Josiah about it, but he didn’t seem to be willin’. I didn’t come
right out and tell him how I was xcercised on Wimmin’s Rights, knowin’ he
was a unbeliever, but I says to him,

“Josiah, Jonesville is a good village, but nobody wants to be tied doun
even to a barell of sale molasses. Josiah, I do want to see some other
village, I do want to go to New York on a tower.”

Says he, “Samantha, what under the sun do you want to go for at your age,
why do you want to start up and go a caperin’ round the country?”

I thought a minute, and then says I, “I want to see Miss Woodhull, and
give her a real talkin’ to, about free love. I want to convince her she
is in the wrong on it,” and then says I in a kind of a blind way, “I have
got other business that I feel that it is my duty to tend to.”

But he didn’t seem to be willin’, and I wouldn’t go without his consent.
And so it went on, Josiah hangin’ back, and my principles a goarin’ me.
It wore on me. My dresses begun to hook up looser on me, and finally one
mornin’, as I dallied over my second potato, and my third egg, not eatin’
’em with no appetite, Josiah says to me, “What does ail you, Samantha,
you don’t eat nothin’, and you seem to be a runnin’ doun.”

Then I broached the subject to him agin. I expected he would object. But
he looked at me in a silent, melankolly way for about one minute, and
half or three quarters of another, and then says he in a gentle but firm

“Samantha if I can sell the old critter you can go.”

So I was left in uncertainty (as it were) for I knew he wouldn’t sell it
for less than the price he had sot it, and no knowin’ whether it would
fetch it or not. But I felt in my heart a feelin’ that I should go off on
that tower. And so I gradually but silently began makin’ preperations, I
quietly and calmly took two breadths out of my brown alapaca dress and
goared ’em and put a overskirt on to it, for I was determined not to go
to New York village without a overskirt on to me. Not that I care about
such triflin’ things myself, but I felt that I was representin’ a great
cause, and I wasn’t goin’ to put our cause to open shame by not havin’ on
a overskirt. Men sometimes say that great and strong minded wimmen are
slack in the matter of dressin’ up, I was determined to show ’em that
that weakness wasn’t mine. I wasn’t goin’ to be all tattered out, with
ends and tag locks of bows and pleatin’s, and tow curls and frizzles, but
I felt there was a megium course to pursue, and I was determined to hit
against it.

Then agin I felt that the color of my dress suited the great cause. I
wasn’t goin’ rigged out in pink muslin, or sky-blue cambric, or anything
of that sort. A good solid sensible brown seemed to be jest the thing.
Black would have seemed too much in the mournin’ line, as if we was
despondent when we wasn’t. White book muslin would have looked as if my
principles was too thin, and I was too light and triflin’, and didn’t
realize the great issues dependent on to me. No; brown alapaca with a
overskirt I felt was jest what the anxious nation required of me, as I
stood face to face with the future President of the United States--with
my spectacles calmly gazin’ into his’en, a influencin’ him in the cause
of Right.

Another reason, I won’t deny, influenced me in tryin’ to get a good
pattern for my overskirt so as to have it set good, (I got it of
Miss Gowdey and made it a little bigger round the waist,) I thought
more’n likely as not Horace’s and my picture would be took, and in the
future would be hung up by the side of that good honest old Lincoln’s
Emancipation Proclamation.

“Josiah Allen’s wife influencin’ Horace in the Great Cause of Wimmen’s

And though I haint vain, I thought how poor it would be, and what a eye
sore to the nation if my dress didn’t hang good. And how pleasin’ it
would be both to America and Josiah, to see me dressed in a noble and
becomin’ way. So I finished my overskirt, and silently done up my best
petticoat, and in the same mysterious manner I put some tape trimmin’ on
to the bottom of it.

And so the long and tegus days passed away from me. I felt that suspense
was a wearin’ on me. Josiah see that it was. And on Saturday mornin’ I
see him pensively leanin’ over the barn yard fence, mewsin’ as it was,
and pretty soon he hitched up the old mare, and went to Jonesville, and
when he came back he says to me, in sorrowful tones but some composed,

“Samantha, you can start to-morrow if you want to, I have sold the old

And then he added pensively. “I wish you would have a few griddle cakes
for supper, with some maple molasses on to ’em.”



On the next Monday mornin’, I let loose to my feelin’s as it was, and
begun to make open preparations. I baked up the best vittles the house
afforded, for I determined Josiah should live like a king durin’ his
temporary widowerhood. Then after I got through bakin’ and got the house
clean as a pin, I commenced to fix a dress to wear on the journey, for
of course I wasn’t goin’ to wear my best dress with a overskirt on the
railway. I am a master hand for bein’ careful of my clothes, and I knew
it would almost spile one of my best dresses, but I had a calico dress as
good as new. It was a dark blue ground work with a handsome sprig on it,
and after I took up two tacks in it, I felt that it was jest the thing to
wear on the tower.

I had jest put it on, and had got the lookin’ glass onto the floor to see
if it cleared the floor enough, when Thomas Jefferson come in, and says

“Your dress is too short, mother, I hate to see short dresses, they look
so hihorsical.”

I answered him with dignity as I looked over my shoulder into the glass,

“Samantha Allen, whose maiden name was Smith, haint a goin’ to mop out
the cars for the railroad company, free gratis for nothin’,” and I added
with still more impressive dignity, as I hung up the lookin’ glass, “what
you mean by hihorsical I don’t know.”

He said it was a compound word derived from the Greek, “high,” to
intoxicate, and “horsical,” a race horse, which two words strained off
from the dead language and biled doun into English meant “hihorsical.”

I told him “I didn’t care for his Greek, I didn’t care if it was dead,
not a mite, I shouldn’t cry over it,” and I told him further, fixin’ my
gray eyes upon him serenely, “that there was two or three words that
wasn’t dead, that he would do well to strain off, and bile doun, and take
’em for a stiddy drink.”

He wanted to know what they was, and I told him plainly they was “Mind
your own business.”

He said he would bile ’em doun, and take ’em stiddy as a clock, and
pretty soon he started off for Jonesville--he had staid to home that
day to help his father. And I went on with a serene face a makin’ my
preparations. Josiah didn’t hardly take his eyes off of my face, as I
made ’em. He sot in a dejected way, a claspin’ the World in his two
hands, with a sad look onto his face. He hated to think of my leavin’
him, and goin’ off on a tower. I see he did, and I says to him in a real
affectionate tone,

“Josiah, haint there nothin’ I can do for you in New York, haint you got
any errands to the village?”

He rubbed his bald head in deep thought for a minute or two, and then
says he, (he thinks everything of the World,) “The nigger barber’s wife
to Jonesville came pretty near runnin’ away with another nigger last
night; if you have time I should love to have you go to the Editer of the
World and tell him of it. I am afraid,” says he, and a gloomy, anxious
look over-spread his eye-brow, “I am afraid he haint heard of it.”

I answered him in a soothin’ tone, “That I guessed he had heard of it
before now, I guessed it would be in the next week’s World,” and Josiah
kinder chirked up and went out to work.

The next day I took ten pounds of butter, and 4 dozen of eggs and Josiah
carried me to Jonesville to trade ’em out, to get necessarys for me to
wear on my tower. I didn’t begrech layin’ out so much expense, neither
did Josiah, for we both knew that as I was gettin’ pretty well along in
years, it wasn’t likely I should ever go off on a tower agin. And then I
had been prudent and equinomical all my days, and it wasn’t no more than
right that I should launch out now in a liberal way.

But all the time I was workin’ over that butter, and all the time I was
countin’ out them eggs, Horace was in my mind. Hangin’ such hopes on him
as I hung, I felt that I must do somethin’ openly, to give vent to my
patriotic feelin’s in regard to him.

I never had wore hats, for I felt that I was too old to wear ’em. But
now as I was startin’ off to Jonesville to get necessarys to wear on my
mission to that great and good Horace, I felt that principle called on me
to come out openly, and wear a white hat with a feather. And I felt that
Josiah as the husband of Josiah Allen’s wife, and the carrier of her to
get them necessarys, must also wear one.

The father of Josiah, had left to him with other clothin’, a large white
fur hat. As the old gentleman hadn’t wore it for some 40 or 50 years
prior to and before his desease, (he died when Thomas J. was a baby) it
wasn’t in the hight of fashion. But says I, “Josiah Allen in the name of
Horace and principle will you wear that hat?”

Says he, “I hate to like a dog, for they will think I have stole the
Baptist steeple, and am wearin’ it for a hat.” But seein’ my sad
dissapointed look, says he, “If you say so Samantha, I will wear it for

Says I with dignity, “It is not your wife, formally Samantha Smith, that
says so, it is principle.”

“Wall!” says he “fetch it on.” Josiah was awful clever to me, I guess it
is natural for all men to conduct themselves cleverer when they are about
to lose their pardners for a spell.

The hat _was big_. I couldn’t deny it. And Josiah bein’ small, with no
hair to fill it up, as I lifted it up with both hands and set it onto
him, his head went right up into it, the brim takin’ him right across the
bottom of his nose.

Says he, out from under the hat, “There hain’t no use a talkin’ Samantha,
I can’t never drive the old mare to Jonesville in this condition, blind
as a bat.”

But I explained it to him, that by windin’ a piller-case, or somethin’
round the top of his head, the hat would fit on, jest as you would fix a
small cork into a big bottle.

So that bein’ arrainged, my next thought was for my own hat, and I
thought mournfully as I examined it, mine would be as much too small as
his was too big; it was an old one of Tirzah Ann’s, it was pure white,
but it was small for _her_, and nobody could have got me even to have
tried it onto my head, for love or money. But in such a nature as J.
Allen’s wife’s, _principle_ is all in all.

And as I looked in the glass and see how awfully I looked in it, a
feelin’ of grandeur--self sacrificin’ nobility and patrotism swelled up
in me, and made my face look redder than ever, I am naturally very fresh
colored. And I felt that for the sake of Horace and principle, I could
endure the burnin’ sun, and mebby the scoffs and sneers of Jonesville,
they bein’ most all on the side of Grant. I took a old white silk bunnet
linin’ of mine, and put a new bindin’ round the edge, it bein’ formally
bound with pink. And then after readin’ a chapter in Fox’es Book of
Martyrs--a soul stirrin’ chapter, concernin’ them that was biled in oil
and baked on gridirens for principle--I sallied out to get a feather to
put onto it.

We hadn’t no white feathers by us, and I shouldn’t have felt like
runnin’ Josiah into any extra expense to buy one, if there had been a
feather store in the door yard. But our old rooster “Hail the Day,” as
Thomas Jefferson calls him, had the most curlin’est, and foamin’est tail
feathers you ever see, white as snow. And inspired by the most pure and
noble and lofty sentiments that can animate the human breast, I chased
up that old rooster for nigh onto half an hour. At last I cornered him
behind the barn, and as I held him tight to my breast, and pulled out
by main strength two long slim feathers, that quirled and waved in a
invitin’ manner, I says to him,

“This is hard for you, old Hail the Day. But you are not the rooster I
take you to be, you are not like your mistress, if you are not willin’ to
suffer in the cause of Right.”

He flopped his wings, when I let him go, and crowed nobly. I fixed the
feathers in and we set out. But I was more scairt than hurt in the line
of scoffs. As we went into Jonesville not a scoff did I see--not a single
scoff. No! they all smiled as they looked at us, they see the power of
principle, and they was proud of us. Some of ’em laughed, they admired us

[Illustration: VISIT TO JONESVILLE.]

We drove up to the store and I went in with my butter and eggs, Josiah
havin’ business to the blacksmiths. The clerk looked at me, and he
smiled, and says he,

“I see you are for Horace Greeley.” He almost snickered but he checked
himself, looked meachin’, as he see my keen gray eye fixed onto his hat
which he had on, it was a kind of a mice coler, no principle shone on it
of any kind.

“Yes,” says I, “I am for Horace,” and agin I looked keenly and searchin’ly
at that hat, and says I “Be you on either side or be you on the fence?”

“Wall,” says he “I am kinder on the fence at the present time. But I
didn’t get up there because I am a coward, I got up there through policy;
when you are on the fence, you haint a steppin’ on the feet of either
party, it is a safe place, and it is a sightly place, you can see better
than you can on the ground.”

“When do you calculate to get off?” says I.

“Oh right after ’lection,” says he. “I shall get off on the side that

I see here was a chance for me to do good and says I,

“Young man, ridin’ a fence never carried any man or woman into nobility
or honor,” says I, “you may saddle and bridle a fence with all the velvet
cushioned caution, and silver mounted excuses, and shinin’ policy you are
a mind to, but you never could get Josiah Allen’s wife on to it, she had
ruther walk afoot,” says I, “them brave warriors that go canterin’ doun
life’s battle field, leadin’ on the forlorn hope in the cause of Right,
don’t go ridin’ a fence.”

He looked stricken, and I asked him in a milder tone to look at his green
braige for viels. He took off that hat and threw it doun behind the
counter, and brought out the braige, and I bought right there on the spot
a yard and a quarter of it. I then bought a pair of new cotton gloves,
a good sized umbrella, a pair of morocco shoes, a pair of pink elastic
garters, and two as good stockin’s as Jonesville afforded, and butter
would pay for. I haint one to flounce the outside of the platter, and
let the inside go bony and ragged. I haint no opinion of wolves on the
outside, and sheep on the inside, I want to be sheep clear to the bone,
in dress as well as principle. Wall, who should come into the store, jest
as I was examinin’ the green braige through my spectacles, but Betsey
Bobbet. My purchases lay all round me on the counter, and says she,

“Josiah Allen’s wife, what means this extravagant outlay of expendature?”

Says I, as coolly as if I went there every mornin’ before breakfast,

“I am goin’ to New York village on a tower.”

She fairly screamed out, “What a coincidence!”

Says I calmly, “It haint no such thing, it is green braige for a viel. It
is 75 cents a yard.”

“You do not understand me, Josiah Allen’s wife,” says she. “I mean
that it is so singulah and coinciding that I am goin’ theah too. Cousin
Melindy, she that married Ebenezah Williams, is just goin’ with the
consumption. And I felt that duty was a drawin’ of me theah. As I told
motheh, in case of anything’s happenin’, in case that Melindy should
expiah, how sweet and soothin’ it would be to Ebenezah to have somebody
theah, that could feel for him. It would about kill Ebinezah to lose
Melindy, and I feel that it would be so sweet and comfortin’ for him to
have somebody on hand to lean on;” she smiled sweetly as she continued,
“there is almost a certainty that Melindy is about to be took from our
aching hearts. But I fall back on the scripture, and on my duty, and try
to feel as if I could give her up. When do you start?”

“Thursday mornin’,” says I in a tone as cold as a grindstone in January,
for I see what was before me.

She clasped her two hands and smiled on me two times, and cried out
agin, “Oh, what anotheh coincidence! jest the day I was intending to
embark. Oh,” says she, “how sweet it will be for you to have a congenial
companion on the way, as the poet Robinson Selkirk sweetly singeth,

  ‘Oh solitude, where are the charms
     Mr. Sage hath seen in thy face?’

Don’t you say so, Josiah Allen’s wife?”

“I respect Mr. Sage,” says I, “he is a man I admire, and Mr. Selkirk
don’t know beans,” and I added in frigid tones, “when the bag is
untied.” I see that my emotions was a gettin’ the better of me, I see
my principals was a totterin’. I recollected that I was a member of the
Methodist meetin’ house, and the words of a him come back to me, with a
slight change in ’em to suit the occasion.

  “Shall I be carried to New York,
   On floury bags of ease?”

I turned and shouldered my cross.

“Betsey we will set sail together Thursday mornin’.” I then turned
silently and left the store, for I felt than any further effort would
have been too much for me.

Thursday mornin’ found me to the depott in good season. Betsey also was
on time. I didn’t feel haughty nor at all proud, but still I felt that I
was a independent householder startin’ to New York village on a tower at
my own expense. I see that all the car folks felt friendly towards me for
thier was a pleasant smile on their faces every time they looked at me
and Betsey.

I wasn’t trimmed off so much as Betsey, but I looked well. I had on that
good calico dress, a large black silk mantilly, a good shirred silk
bunnet large enough to shade my face some, my bran new cotton gloves, my
veil and my umbrell.

Betsey, I always thought put on too much to look well, howsomever
everybody to their own mind. She had on a pale blue parmetta dress, with
flounces and puckers onto it, a overskirt and a greek bender of the same,
trimmed with checkered delain, out on a biasin’, a close fittin’ bask
of the delain, which was pink and yellow plaid and which was pinked out
on the edge with a machine. She had on a white bobbinet lace hat, jest
big enough to cover her bump of self-esteem, trimmed with red and yellow
roses and long ends of otter colored ribbon and white lace, then she had
long cornelian ear rings, a string of beads round her neck, and a locket
and a big blue breast pin and a cornelian cross. A pair of new white
cotton gloves, trimmed with two rows of broad white cotton edgin’ five
cents a yard--for I seen her buy it--and two horsehair bracelets. And
with her new teeth and her long bran new tow curls, and waterfalls and
frizzles all full of otter colored rosettes, I tell you she looked gay.

She says to me as she met my keen gaze.

“I don’t know but what you think I am foolish Josiah Allen’s wife,
in enrobing myself in my best a coming on the road. But these are my
sentiments. I knew we should get theah before night, and I should proceed
at once to Ebinezah’s, and if anything should be a happening, if it
should be the house of mourning, I thought it would be so comforting to
Ebinezah, to see me looking beautiful and cheerful. Yon know theah is
everything in first impressions. I mean of course,” she added hastily,
“that I am that sorry for poor lonely widdowers and especially Ebinezah,
that if I could be a comfort to them, I would be willing to sacrifice
a tablespoonful of my heart’s best blood, much moah this blue parmetta
dress. These are my sentiments Josiah Allen’s wife.”

Says I coldly, “I should know they was yours Betsey, I should know they
was yours, if I should meet ’em in my porridge dish.”

But the time drew near for the cars to bear me away from Josiah, and I
began to feel bad.

I don’t believe in husbands and wives partin’ away from each other,
one livin’ in Europe, and one in New York village, one in Wall street,
and the other on a Long Branch, one in Boston, and the other in North
America. As the poet truly observes,

“When the cat is away the mice’s will go to playin’.”

As for me, I want my husband Josiah where I can lay my hand on him any
time, day or night, I know then what he is about. Though so far as
jealousy is concerned, Bunker Hill monument, and Plymouth Rock would be
jest as likely to go to flirtin’ and cuttin’ up, as either of us. We have
almost cast iron confidence in each other. But still it is a sweet and
satisfyin’ thought to know jest where your consort is, and what he is
about, from hour to hour.

Josiah and me didn’t shed no tears as we each of us parted, though our
hearts ached with anguish we both of us felt it our duty to be calm. I
felt a tear risin’ to my eye, but with a almost fearful effort I choked
it back and said in low accents as we grasped holt of each others hands
at partin’,

“Good by, Josiah, remember to feed the hens, and keep the suller door
shet up.”

He too struggled nobly for composure and conquered, and in a voice of
marble calm he said,

“Good by Samantha, don’t spend no more money than is necessary.”

The Ingin hitched to the front car give a wild yell, as if he felt our
two woes--Josiah’s and mine--and we parted for the first time in goin’ on
15 years.

As I sunk back on the wooden bottomed car seat, perfectly onmanned by my
efforts at commandin’ myself, for the first time I felt regret at my wild
and perilous undertakin’.



We had to change cars about noon, as we went into the depot to get our
tickets, the ticket man looked so kinder lonesome stuck in there alone,
for all the world as if he had done somethin’ and his mother had shet him
up, that I thought I would make a little talk with him.

He favored Celestine Wilkins’es husband considerable, jest such a
meachin’ lookin’ feller, and I knew Celestine’s husband had a brother
down this way somewhere, and so to kinder open a conversation with him, I
asked him “If he ever had any relation that married a girl by the name of

You ought to have heard how that feller snapped me up--he couldn’t have
answered me any shorter, if I had asked him to run away with me.

But thinks’es I to myself, he has got morbid through lonesomness. I
pitied him shet up alone there, and so in a few minutes I begun agin.

“I didn’t know but he was your brother, he has a good deal such a
meachin’ look to him,” and says I, “The country round here hain’t so
pleasant as Jonesville, do you think it is sir?”

“He didn’t know or care nothin’ about Jonesville.”

His tone was sharper than that sword aged two, that the bible tells of.

Says I, “Young man you needn’t take my head quite off, if you never did
see Jonesville nor had any other advantages. I hain’t to blame for it.”
And thinks’es I to myself, you may be lonesome for all of me, you may die
of lonesomness for all I care, I shan’t try to make any more talk with
you to make your time pass off easier.

We got on to the cars agin and got a good seat. I wanted to set by an
open winder, and Betsey didn’t. I mistrust she thought the wind would
take the kink out of her frizzles, and so she went on a seat or 2 ahead
of me. There was a lot of fashionable lookin’ folks came in too, and one
of ’em came along and set right down in the seat with me, the cars bein’
pretty full. She was dressed up like a doll, but she didn’t act stuck
up a mite, my opinion is, she knew what belonged to good manners, and I
offered her some caraway, for I liked her looks. She took it and thanked
me for it, and says I to make talk with her,

“Are you goin’ far on the cars?”

She said, “She wasn’t goin’ far on this route, she was goin’ to a
waterin’ place.”

“How far?” says I.

“Oh 2 or 300 miles,” says she.

“Good land!” says I, “Can’t you find any water nearer hum? Why,” says I,
“I should think you would be choked before you got there.” Says I, “Our
cistern and well sometimes gives out in hot weather, but Josiah always
draws water from the creek,” why says I, full of pity for her, “If I
hadn’t any water to the house, and nobody to draw it for me I should
rather drive myself to the creek and water myself 3 times a day, than to
start off on the cars so far after it. Howsumever every body to their own

She kinder laughed with her eyes, and, said somethin’ about “seasides”
and “sea bathin’” or somethin’ and I felt it was my duty to say to her,

“You needn’t go 300 miles for that, you can get good seasides to
Jonesville for 75 cents. Tirzah Ann, Josiah’s girl by his first wife, got
one for that. I don’t wear hats myself, except,” says I with dignity,
“in the cause of Right and for the good of the Human Race. And as for
seein’ bathin’, I myself would go the other way, ruther than foller it
up; howsumever everybody to thier own taste.” But I kep’ thinkin’ of it,
and I couldn’t help breakin’ out agin, and speakin’ my mind; says I, in
a good deal colder accents, “I would as soon go to a horse race--and
sooner,” for the more I thought of it the more I thought that no virtuous
woman would start off 300 miles to see bathin’ goin’ on. I acted offish
after that, and was sorry I had give her the caraway.

Her face looked red, and she started up and went back and sot doun
by some of her mates, and I was glad she did. She pretended to be a
laughin’, and she was talkin’ to ’em awful busy; but I see one eye was on
me the most of the time--she felt guilty.

At the very next station house two fellers come in that everybody seemed
to be lookin’ at, and payin’ attention to. But they didn’t seem to mind
it. They come in and sot doun right in the seat between me and Betsey.

After they had sot doun, one of ’em took a cigar out of his pocket, and
put it in his mouth. It wasn’t lit, but he held it between his teeth as
if it was a great comfort to him. Thinks’es I, it is kinder queer works,
but I can stand it if the R. R. Company can. But Betsey leaned her head
back, and says to him,

“Was you aware, kind sir, that cigars was confiscated on the cars?”

He didn’t say a word, but held on to it with his teeth as if it was
dreadful comfortin’ to him. And she asked him over again. But not a word
did he say. I guess she asked him five times--but not a word did she get
out of him. And then she turned to the feller with him, the smilin’ chap,
and says she,

“Is your companion a deaf male?”

He smiled. Agin she asked him,

“Is your pardner deprived of his eahs?”

“Oh no,” says he, “he has got ears,” and agin he smiled.

Thinks’es I, it is pretty queer works, but it is none of my business.
I guess we had rode nigh on to an hour in jest that way, Betsey kinder
oneasy and nestlin’ round, I calm and placid in demeaniour and one of the
men between us a holdin’ that cigar in his mouth, as if it was indeed
consolin’, and the other one a smilin’ blandly, at nothin’ in particular.
Everybody in the cars seemed to be a lookin’ at ’em, and thinks’es I, it
is no wonder, for of all the good natured lookin’ men I ever see, he is
the cap sheaf. Thinks’es I, I wish every ticket agent in the world could
have his benine face to hang up before ’em, for a sampler, for if there
was ever a race that had the appearance of bein’ brought up on vinegar
and ten-penny nails, it is them.

After a while, I got kinder hungry. My basket hung right up over them
two men, and I rose up, and went to reach up for it, when the smilin’
chap got up a smilin’ and says he to me, “Can’t I assist you, madam?” and
he reached up smilin’ as sweet as a rose, to take it doun, when all of
a sudden the handle slipped out at one end, and doun come the contents
right on to his face. One nut-cake, a long, slim one, sot up straight on
his nose, as handsome as you ever see a circus man ride a white horse.
But most mournful of all, I had some biled eggs, and unbeknown to me,
Tirzah Ann had took ’em out too quick, before they was much more than
warmed through, and they broke onto his face and all run doun into his
whiskers. But if you will believe it, that blessed man smiled.

[Illustration: THE SMILIN’ STRANGER.]

Thinks I to myself, “Good land! was there ever such a clever critter on
earth?” I handed him a clean towel, and told him I was sorry. But he
smiled, and said, “it wasn’t any matter,” and wiped his sweetly smilin’
face, and handed the towel back smilin’.

The other feller never said a word, though one of the eggs broke onto
the legs of his white pantaloons. Jest at this crisis, a tall man with
whiskers came up, and said somethin’ to ’em, and they got up and went to
the other end of the car, where there was a lot of smart lookin’ men. As
they went by me the clever feller slipped on a piece of orange peel, and
a most fell. But if you will believe it, the critter smiled.

I see that all of them smart lookin’ men acted dreadful reverential
towards the two, and I says to a bystander behind me, “Can you tell me
sir who that clever critter is, and the other one?” Says he, “That is
Skyler Colfax, and General Grant.”

I rose right up in my seat, for at the mention of them two honored names,
such emotions rushed onto me--that it drownded out fear, and all the
shrinkin’ bashfulness of my sect, and I forgot in that wrapped moment
that I wasn’t Josiah, and I advanced right onwards towards them two
noble men. Every man round ’em see the lofty expression onto my face, and
kinder fell back, and I walked right up and gripped Skylers’es hand with
one of mine, while I held my umbrell in the other tremblin’ with emotion.

“Skyler, I am glad Tirzah Ann took ’em out too quick.”

He didn’t know what I meant, but that blessed man smiled, and agin I
spoke in the same tremblin’ tones.

“I am glad they was rare done.”

Agin he smiled, and agin I spoke, and I mastered my feelin’s, with a
effort, and spoke out loud and clear,

“The hen that laid them eggs, never shall do another day’s work as long
as my name is Josiah Allen’s wife. I know jest which one laid ’em, for
old speckle face’s eggs are so big that we always keep ’em for our own
use.” Says I, “it makes me proud and happy to think I am the owner of
that hen, for if it hadn’t been for them eggs, I never should have felt
so well acquainted with you. If it hadn’t been for them eggs that broke
onto your good and honored face, I never should have had the privilege of
graspin’ holt of your hand and sayin’ to you what I now say, that though
goodness and patience and faithfulness may be made light of by some,
they are jest what is goin’ to carry Uncle Sam triumphant onward, with
a smilin’ face, when the egg shells of uncivil war break on his honest
face, and thier yelks run down into his whiskers.”

Here my feelin’s almost overcame me agin, and as he smiled at me, and
spoke kinder pleasant to me--and smiled agin, I turned silently away and
grasped holt of General Grant’ses hand, and says I, in still more chokin’

“Ulysses this is a proud day for Josiah Allen’s wife,” says I, “Ulysses
how do you do?”

He didn’t say nothin’ but nodded kinder pleasant to me, and I says in
the same almost tremblin tones for I knew he thought every thing of
his relations. “How is Mr. Dents’es folks, are they all enjoying good
health?” He nodded agin kinder pleasant but didn’t say a word, and I
proceeded on--

“Ulysses you have freed the land from war and bloodshed. Wherever the
smoke of that peaceful cigar has smoked, it has drove before it the blood
red cloud of war and treason.” But says I, “that haint the main reason
why I thought you ought to be President, and so I have told Josiah. I
have said to Josiah more’n a hundred times that any man or woman ought
to be President that knew enough not to talk when they hadn’t nothin’ to
say. But--” says I, for even in that wrapped moment stern principle was
the guide of J. Allen’s wife--“That was when you was run up for President
the first time; I go now for Horace Greeley, and so does Josiah.”

There haint nothin’ little and envious about Ulysses Grant, he didn’t act
mad a mite, he nodded to me agin as friendly as ever, and after invitin’
them both in the name of Josiah, to make it thier home with us whenever
they come to Jonesville, and sendin’ my best respects to Julia and Mr.
Dents’es folks, and Skylers’es wife Elliner, I retired to my seat and sot

When Betsey discovered who I had been talkin’ with, she looked wild at
the thought, but it didn’t rouse in her, the spontanious emotions of
patrotism it did in me. If a barell has been filled up with rain water,
you can’t expect to tap it and have it run strong beer. When any sudden
circumstance taps folks’es minds, they will run out of ’em jest what they
have been filled with, no more, no less. My mind was that filled with
noble emotions of admiration and patrotism, that I entirely forgot for
the minute that I was J. Allen’s wife from Jonesville. But Betsey all
the while remembered B. Bobbet, she also remembered her poetry. I don’t
believe a few earthquakes could make her forget that, her first words was
after she recovered herself,

“I will make General Grant, that deah, sweet man, a present. Everybody
does, that wants to get onto the right side of him. I will give him a
piece of my poetry. If I remember rightly I have got one in my satchel
bag, all printed out, with a running vine around the edges. There is
45 verses of it, and it is on the war. How fortunate that I brought it
along.” And as she dove her hands into her satchel bag, she continued

“Mebby he is that liberal and generous turn with his own folks, that
after he has read it, he will give it to some of his wife’s relations.
Mebby there is a few widowehs among them,” and then in a still more
dreamy tone she murmured, “Betsey B. Dent, Washington, D. C.” But anon
or a little after, she roused out of this revery and takin’ the poetry
in her hand, she started down the car, and I bein’ tired, leaned my head
back against the side of the seat, and composed myself together.

[Illustration: “LET US HAVE PEACE.”]

I guess I had most got into a nap, when I heard a loud wrathful, eloquent
voice, seemin’ly makin’ a speech to some enimy. It started me up so that
I rose right up onto my feet, and looked round, and there was that noble
General, standin’ up with his hands extended, layin’ it down strong and
decided. I knew what it was in ½ a minute, Betsey Bobbet had done what a
five years uncivel war couldn’t do, nor a admirin’ nation of 20 million
souls. She had got him to makin’ a speech, while Skyler who had smiled
stidely for upwards of 40 years, stood lookin’ on with a dark and awfully
gloomy frown onto him.

I stood silent for some time lost in the sorrowful feelin’s the scene
called forth, and then almost overcome with my pity for them, I wended my
way towards them. As I drew nearer to them, I heard his words which he
was pourin’ out so eloquently and fluently, “Let us have peace, _Can’t_
we have peace?” he was yellin’ in such harrowin’ tones, that there wasn’t
hardly a dry eye in my head as I listened.

“Have I escaped from the horrible danger of war, have I survived the open
bullets of my enimies, and the well meanin’ but almost fatal arrows of my
friends, to expier in this way? To perish by poetry? Is there no sucker
for me? _Can’t_ we have peace?” he screamed in a loud preachin’ tone as
he ketched sight of me, “Can’t we have it, _say_?”

He was almost delerious. But I laid my hand on his agitated elbow, and
says I in soothin’ tones.

“Yes Ulysses, you _shall_ have a piece, you shall, Josiah Allen’s wife
will see to it, you _shall_ have a piece.”

And then I leaned down and whispered a few words into Betsey Bobbett’s
left ear, and she turned quicker’n a flash, and gathered up her poetry
and rushed into the forward car.

As she disapeared, Skyler’ses face changed from that gloomy sinister
frown, and agin he put on that smile that was upwards of 40 years old,
but was still so sweet and fresh that I knew it was good for another 40
years--and the General grasped me by the hand sayin’ in agitated tones,

“There was upwards of 50 of ’em, and she would read ’em.” Says I
soothingly, “I wouldn’t think of it Ulysses, it is all over now. I was
glad to show the gratitude the nation owes to you. I was glad of the
chance to befriend you.”

“Angel!” says he almost warmly. But I interupted him by sayin’ in a tone
of dignity. “I honor and respect you deeply Ulysses--but in the two names
of Julia and Josiah, I must forbid your callin’ me angel, or any other
pet name.”

I knew it was only his deep gratitude to me for rescuin’ him from his
peril that made him say it, for he and Julia think the world of each
other. And the good solid principles, colored and morally struck in with
tan bark in his early life, the muddy waters of political life haint been
able to wash out, nor the gilt tinsel of fashionable life to cover up and
destroy. I knew that even there in Washington Avenue, among all the big
men there, he loved his wife, jest as much as if it was the fashion to
love ’em. I knew all this, but still I felt that I must speak as I did,
for principle with J. Allen’s wife--as I have remarked more formally--is
all in all.

I then turned and followed Betsey, not knowin’ but what she would be a
comin’ back. What I whispered in her left ear was this, that her back
hair was comin’ down, and she bein’ so bald, I knew it would fetch her
down like a arrow in her breast.

They left at the next Station House, and Betsey and me proceeded onwards
to New York village with no farther coincidences.


The cars didn’t bust up nor break down, which surprised me some, but
which I felt was indeed a blessin’, and at ½ past six Betsey and me stood
on the platform of the depott at New York village. As we stood there
I would have swapped my last new cross barred muslin night cap in my
satchel bag on my arm for a pair of iron ears. I should have been glad of
the loan of a old pair for 16 seconds, if I couldn’t got ’em no longer,
the noise was so distractin’ and awful.

Says I to myself, “Am I Josiah Allen’s wife, or am I not?” some of the
time I thought I was Josiah, I was so destracted. But though inwardly
so tosted up and down, I kep’ a cool demeaniour outside of me. I stood
stun still, firmly graspin’ my satchel bag, my umberell and my green cap
box--with my best head dress in it, till I had collected myself together,
recolected what my name was, and where I was a goin’. When my senses
come back I thought to myself truly Josiah wasn’t so far out of the way
when he worried over old Tammany, for of all the shameless and brazen
set, on the face of the earth, that set a howlin’ round Betsey Bobbet and
me was the shamelessest and brazenest.

Now I am naturaily pretty offish and retirin’ in my ways, with strange
men folks. I think it is becomin’ in a woman to be so, instead of bold.
Now when we sot sail from Jonesville, after we got well to ridin’, a man
came through the cars, a perfect stranger to me, but he reached out his
hand to shake hands with me, jest as friendly and famelier as if I was
his step mother. But I didn’t ketch holt of his hand, as some wimmen
would, I jest folded up my arms, and says I, coolly,

“You have got the advantage of me.”

But he never took the hint, there he stood stun still in front of me
holdin’ out his hand. And seein’ there was a lot of folks lookin’ on,
and not wantin’ to act odd, I kinder took holt of his hand and shook it
slightly, but at the same time says,

“Who under the sun you are I don’t know--but you seem determined to
get acquainted with me. Mebby you are some of his folks I haint never
seen--are you related to Josiah on the Allen side or on the Daggett
side?” Josiah’s mother was a Daggett.

But before I could say any more he spoke up and said all he wanted was
my ticket. I was glad then I had acted offish. For as I say, I don’t
believe in wimmen puttin’ themselves forward and actin’ bold. Not that
that stands in the way of their modistly claimin’ their honest rights. I
have seen enough boldness used by a passel of girls at one huskin’ bee,
or apple cut, to supply 4 presedential elections, and the same number of
female caurkusses, and then have 5 or 6 baskets full left. Havein’ these
modest and reserved feelin’s in my soul--as firm as firm iron--what was
my feelin’s as I stood there on that platform, when a great tall villian
walked up to me and yelled right up close to my bunnet,

“Will you have a bus mom?”

If that man had the privilege of livin’ several hundred years, he would
say at the last 100, that he never forgot the look I gave him as he
uttered these infamous words to me. It was a look calculated to scorch
a man to his very soul. It was a look calculated and designed to make a
man sigh for some small knot hole to creep through and hide him from the
gaze of wimmen. I’ll bet 2 cents that he won’t insult another women in
that way very soon. I give him a piece of my mind that he won’t forget
in a hurry. I told him plainly, “That if I wasn’t a married women and a
Methodist, and, was free to kiss who I was a mind to, I had jest as lives
kiss a anacondy, or a boyconstructor, as him,” and I says in conclusion,
“mebby you think because Josiah haint here to protect me, you can talk
to me as you are a mind to. But,” says I, “if I haint got Josiah with
me I have got a good stout umberell.” He quailed silently, and while he
was a quailin’ I turned to Betsey, and asked her if she was ready to
start along, for as true as I live and breathe, I was afraid Betsey was
so of that clingin turn, that she would be a kissen’ some of them men in
spite of my teeth, for thier was a lot of ’em besettin’ her for a bus.
A yellin’ round her “have a bus? Have a bus?” Jest as if that was jest
what Betsey and me had come from Jonesville for. The miserable--lowlived

Betsey seemed to kinder hate to go, but I started her off. For no burdock
bur ever stuck to a horse’s mane, as Josiah Allen’s wife sticks to a
companion, a drawin’ ’em along with her in the cause of Right. As we
wended our way along, walkin’ afoot, she wanted to know what tavern I was
a goin’ to put up to, and I told her “Mr. and Miss Asters’es tavern.”
Says she, “If it was not jest as it was, I would ask you to go to cousin
Ebenezah’s with me. But in the future it may be I shall be freer to act,
than I be now. If I was a married female and had a home of my own heah,
how happy I should be to welcome Jonesville to its blessed presincts. As
deah Tuppah observes--”

But I interrupted her by sayin’ coolly, “Betsey, I have made up my mind
to put up to Mr. Aster’ses, for Johnothan Beans’es ex-wife, Josiah’s 2nd
cousin, is Miss Aster’ses hired girl.”

“Is she a widow?” says Betsey.

“She does a little in that line,” says I in a cautious tone. “She is a
vegetable widow.” I wasn’t goin’ to say “grass widow” right out, though
she _is_ clear grass. For her husband, Johnothan Bean, run away with
another woman 3 years ago this comin’ fall, it was all printed out in
the World at the time. At that very minute we turned on to Broadway, and
Betsey was a sailin’ on ahead of me in gay spirits, a laughin’, and a
talkin’, and a quotin’ Tupper, jest as happy as you please. But as we
turned the corner, I stopped her by ketchin’ holt of her Greek bender,
and says I,

“I’d have a little respect into me, Betsey Bobbet,” says I. “Less stand
still here, till the funeral procession goes by.”

So we put a funeral look onto our faces, and stood still a spell, and
they streamed by. I thought my soul there was no end to the mourners.
It seems as if we stood there decently and in order, with a solemn look
onto our faces, becomin’ the solemn occasion, for pretty nigh ½ an hour.
Finally I whispered to Betsey, and says I,

“Betsey, did you ever see such a gang of mourners in your life?”

I see her eyes looked kinder sot in her head, and she seemed to be not
really sensin’ what I said. She looked strange. Finally says she, “It is
a sorrowful time, I am composin’ a funeral owed, and I will repeat it to
you soon.”

I wanted to get her mind off’en that idee, and I continued on a talkin’,

“It must be some awful big man that is dead. Like as not it is the
Governor of the United States or some deacon or other. Do see ’em
stringin’ along. But how some of the mourners are a behavin’, and how gay
some of the wimmen are dressed. If I had known there was goin’ to be a
funeral in the village, while I was here, some of the mourners might have
had my black bombazeen dress, and my crape viel jest as well as not. I
always make a practice of lendin’ ’em on funeral occasions.”

Jest then a little boy came sailin’ by, with a segar in his mouth almost
as big as _he_ was. And I ketched holt of him, and whispered to him,

“Bub who is dead?” and says I, “be you one of the mourners?”

“Yes, old lady,” says he, in a impudent tone, “I am out on a short mourn.”

If it hadn’t been for the mournful occasion, and for gettin’ off’en my
dignity, I would have spanked him, then and there; he laughed so impudent
at me. But I let him go on, and then I took out my snowy 25 cent linen
handkerchief and wiped off my heated face, and says I to Betsey,

“I am wore out; there hain’t no end to this procession seemin’ly, we may
as well go on, for I am beat out, we shall act as well as some of the
mourners do any way, if we do walk on.” So we wended on. Betsey’s cousin
lived not a great ways from Miss Asters’es, only it was down a little
ways another street, up over a store. I told her “I guessed I wouldn’t
climb up them grocery stairs, I was so tuckered out, and then Miss Aster
would most probable have supper about ready, and I didn’t want to have
her fuss to set the table over for me, or steep her tea over, and I felt
that a cup of tea I must have.”

I was kinder dreadin’ goin’ in alone, not bein’ acquainted with Miss
Aster, and I don’t know when I have been tickleder, than I was to meet
Jonothan Beans’es ex-wife, right on the sidewalk. She was real glad to
see me too, for I befriended her when she first went to grass, (as it
was,) I took her right in for 3 weeks, and give her 2 pair of seamed
stockin’s, and a lot of other things for her comfort.

She went right back with me. Of all the big houses I ever see, Mr.
Asters’es house beat everything. I was determined not to act green and be
a askin’ questions, and so I didn’t say a word. But I spose from the size
of it, that Mr. Aster lets part of it for meetin’ houses, and mebby they
have a few select schools in it, and a few lunatick asylums, I should
think they would need ’em, such a noise. But I didn’t say a word.

Jonothan Beans’es ex-wife told me I must put my name down on the
Register before I went to my room, I didn’t object, nor I didn’t ask
no questions, but I kep’ a pretty good look out. “Register!” I knew I
had heard somethin’ that sounded like that, connected with deeds, and I
wasn’t goin’ to sign away my property. I didn’t know as it was so, but
I did have my thoughts, that mebby somebody had told ’em I was comein’
to the village, and they was tryin’ to get me to sign away my thirds,
there is so much iniquity in the world. But I kep’ my thoughts to myself,
and kep’ my eyes open. I jest looked over the book pretty sharp, before
I put my name down, and I see it was all right. My room was on the 5th
story, and I told J. Beans’es ex-wife that how I was goin’ to climb up
them stairs I didn’t know, I was so tuckered out, I was sorry the minute
I said it, for I was afraid she would go and tell Miss Aster, and Miss
Aster would give up her bedroom to me, or mebby she would make Mr. Aster
sleep with one of the boys, and have me sleep with her, and I wouldn’t
have her put herself out for the world. And I spoke up and says I,

“I guess I can weather it some way.”

And she spoke up and says she, “Here is the elevater, be carried up.”

There was a big nigger comin’ right towards us, and I thought she meant
him, for they have been called such funny names ever since the war, that
I thought likely “Elevater” was one of ’em. But I jest put my foot right
doun to once, says I firmly,

“I haint a goin’ to be lugged up stairs by that nigger.” And then I was
so afraid that he would hear it, and it would hurt his feelin’s, that I
spoke right up pretty loud, and says I,

“It haint on account of the gentleman’s dark complexion at all, that I
object. But I don’t think Josiah would like it, to have any other man
carryin’ me round in his arms.”

But Johnothan Beans’es ex-wife explained it to me. There was a little
room about as big as our smoke house, all fixed off neat as a pin, and
all we had to do was to git in, and then we was histed right up in front
of our room. I was awful glad to be carried up, but I have got some pity
left into me, and I says to her, says I,

“Haint it awful hard for the man that is drawin’ us up?” Says I, “Is it
Mr. Aster, or is it his hired man?” and says I, “does he do it with a
windlass, like a well bucket? or hand over hand, like drawin’ up water
out of a cistern with a pole?”

Johnothan Beans’es ex-wife said it was done by machinery, and she said,
for I asked her the first thing, “that there wasn’t no funeral, that
there was jest such a crowd every day.” I didn’t believe her, but I was
too beat out to contend. And glad enough was I, to stretch my weary limbs
in a rockin’ chair. J. Beans’es ex-wife said she would fetch me up a cup
of tea, and my supper to me. She haint forgot the past.

She told me when she left me that night, to be dreadful careful about the
gass, and not blow it out; she told me jest how it was done, and I’ll bet
Mrs. Aster herself couldn’t do it any neater, for I thought of Josiah,
and the thought of that man nerved me to do it right, so as not to die
and leave him a gass widower, and a lonely man.

When I waked up in the mornin’ such a noise as I heard. Why, I have
thought sometimes when I was sleepy, that our old rooster “Hail the Day”
makes an awful sight of noise. But good land! if all the roosters in
the United States and Boston, had roosted right under my window, they
couldn’t have begun with it. My first thought as I leaped out of bed
was, “Jonesville is afire.” Then recollectin’ myself, I grew calmer, and
thought mebby Miss Aster had got breakfast ready, and was a hollerin’
to me. And growin’ still more composed, I gin up that the tramplin’ and
hollerin’ was doun in the street. As I dressed me, I lay out my work for
the day; thinks’es I, “Betsey Bobbet will be so took up with her mission
to her cousin Ebenezer’s, that I shall be rid of her!” It was a sweet
thought to me, and I smiled as I thought it. But alas! as the poet well
observes, “How little we know what is ahead of us.” Thinks’es I, as I
turned the screw and let the water outen the side of the house to wash
me, (Johnothan Beans’es ex-wife had showed me how the night before,)
I must do all I can this day in the cause of Right. If I get that
destracted here that I am threatened with luny, and have to leave before
my time comes, I will go where duty calls me first and most. I should
have been glad to have looked round the village, and got acquainted with
some of Miss Aster’ses neighbors, but though I felt that the neighborin’
wimmen might think I was real uppish and proud sperited, still I felt
that I could better stand this importation than to desert the cause of
Right for ½ a minute. I felt that Horace, although nearly perfect in
every other respect, needed Josiah Allen’s wife’s influence on a subject
dear to that female’s heart. And I felt that that deluded Miss Woodhull
needed a true and pure principled female to show her plainly where she
stood. Then I laid out to go to Isabella Beecher Hooker’ses. And the time
was short, I knew with every fresh roar of destraction that come up from
the street below, that the time of my stay in that village was short.

I was so almost lost in these thoughts, that I didn’t see how late it was
a gettin’. I had overslept myself in the first place, bein’ so tuckered
out the night before, and thinks’es I all of a sudden,

“What will Miss Aster think, my keepin’ her from eatin’ her breakfast so

But inwardly, my mind was some composed by thinkin’ it was principle
that had belated me. So I sailed doun stairs. I had put on my best
clothes, my head-dress looked foamin’, my overskirt stood out noble round
my form. And it was with a peaceful mind though some destracted by the
noise, that I wended my way to the breakfast table.

But instead of all of us a settin’ to one table with Miss Aster to the
head, a pourin’ out tea, there was I’ll bet, more’n a hundred little
tables, with folks settin’ round ’em, a eatin’, and waiters a goin’ all
round amongst ’em, a waitin’ on ’em. And every man waiter had got on one
of his wives white bib aprons. Thinks’es I to myself, what a tussle I
should have with Josiah, to get him to wear one of my aprons round the
house when I had company; he is awful sot aginst wearin’ aprons, it is
all I can do to get one on to him when he is a churnin’.

Johnothan Beans’es ex-wife ketched my eye, as I went in, and she came and
sot me doun to a little table where there wasn’t nobody. And then she was
drawed off by somebody and left me alone. And I spoke out loud to myself,

“I’d like to know what I am goin’ to eat, unless I lay to and eat stun
china and glass ware.” And ketchin’ sight of the pepper box, I exclaimed
almost convulsively,

“I never was much of a hand to eat clear pepper, and nothin’ else.”

A nigger come up to me at that minute, and said somethin’ in a
frenchified accent about a cart bein’ on my plate, or somethin’ about a
cart, and I see in a minute that he wanted to make out--because I come
from the country--that I wanted a cart load of vittles. I don’t know when
I have been madder. Says I,

“You impudent creeter, you think because I am from the country, and
Josiah haint with me, that you can impose upon me. Talk to me, will
you, about my wantin’ a cart load of vittles? I should be glad,” says I
in a sarcastic tone, “I should be glad to get somethin’ a little more
nourishin’ than a three tined fork and a towel to eat, but I don’t seem
to run much chance of gettin’ on it here.”

Before he had time to say anything, J. Beans’es ex-wife came up, and
said somethin’ to me about lookin’ at “Bill the Fair.” I looked down on
the table, and noticed then for the first time that there was a piece of
poetry layin’ there, seemin’ly cut out of some newspaper, I see that she
wanted me to read it, but I told her, “That I wasn’t much of a hand for
poetry anyway, and Betsey Bobbet wrote so much that it made me fairly
sick of it,” and besides, says I, “I have left my specks up stairs, I
forgot ’em till I got most down here.”

But jest then I happened to think, mebby she had wrote it herself, I
don’t want to hurt nobody’s feelin’s, and says I, in a pleasant tone,

“I presume “Bill the Fair,” is a good piece of poetry, and if you haint
no objection, I will take it home with me, and put it into Tirzah Ann’s
scrap book.” She started off before I fairly got through speakin’ and
I folded up the poetry and put it into my pocket, and in a minute’s
time back she came with some first rate vittles. She knows what I like
jest as well as I do, havin’ lived with us a spell, as I said, when she
first went to grass. She knows jest what a case I am for store tea; but
she asked me what kind of tea I wanted, and I spoke right out before I

“Anything but sage tea, I can’t bear that.”

But then I happened to think I see they was all a drinkin’ coffee round
me, I knew they was by the smell. And I thought mebby from her speakin’
to me in that way that she meant to give me a little hint that Miss Aster
was out of store tea, and says I, kinder loud for she had started off.
“If Miss Aster is short on it for store tea, she needn’t fuss for me, she
needn’t borry any on my account, I can drink sage tea if I set out to.”

But I thought to myself, that I had rather have brought a drawin’ of tea
in my pocket clear from Jonesville, than to have gone without it; while I
was jest thinkin’ this, Jonothan Beans’es ex-wife came back with a first
rate cup of tea, strong enough to bear up a egg.

The more I looked round and see the droves of hungry folks, the sorrier
I felt for Miss Aster. And I spoke to J. Beans’es ex-wife as she brought
me my last vittles, says I, “If there is a woman on the face of the hull
earth I am sorry for, it is Miss Aster, how on earth can she ever cook
enough to fill this drove of folks?” says I, “How can she ever stand up
under it?” And carried almost away with my sympathy, I says to Jonothan
Beans’es ex-wife,

“You tell Miss Aster from me that she needn’t make no fuss about the
dinner at all, I will eat a picked up dinner, I had jest as lives as not,
I didn’t come down here to put her out and make her any trouble.”

I heard a little noise to one side of me, and I looked round and there
was a feller and two girls a snickerin’ and laughin’, right at me. They
was rigged out awful fashionable, but I guess their brains had run to
their hair mostly, the girls on their heads, and his’en on his face, such
sights of it. But I don’t believe they was very well off, for every one
of ’em had broke one eye off’en their spectacles, and they lifted up that
one eye, and looked at me through it, a laughin’ at the same time as if
they would split. But it didn’t put me out a bit, I glared back at ’em,
as sharp as they did at me, and says I,

“Laugh away if you want to, I know what it is to cook over a hot cook
stove in the summer time, it tuckers anybody out, even if they have got
good help, and I am sorry for Miss Aster.”

They snickered worse than ever, and I got mad, and says I,

“I don’t wonder you laugh! there haint no more pity and humanity in the
whole lot on you, than there is in a three tined pitchfork, and no wonder
when you see somebody that has got a little pity and generosity into ’em,
it is more of a amusement and novelty to you than a circus would be.”

As I said this, I rose up in almost fearful dignity, and sailed away from
the table up to my room.

As I opened the door I heard a dreadful curious noise, a kind of a
gurglin’ gushin’ sound, and when I opened the door, of all the freshets I
ever see, I had forgot to turn back the little screw, and the water was a
gushin’ out all over. Jonothen Beans’es ex wife, happened to come along
jest then, and she sent up a nigger with a mop, and a lot of cloths, and
I turned to, and helped him, she told me not to, but says I,

“Josiah Allen’s wife haint one to shirk when there is work to do,” and
says I, “you tell Miss Aster, after I get through here, I had jest as
lives come down and help her wash up the breakfast dishes as not,” says
I, lookin’ thoughtfully at my overskirt, “I don’t really want to put my
hands into the dish water on account of my dress, but I had jest as lives
wipe ’em as not.”

But J. Beans’es ex wife said there wasn’t no need of my helpin’, and so
after I got my room all slicked up and my bed made (she told me to leave
my bed, but I wusn’t goin’ to act so slack) I sot down a minute to rest,
before I set sail in the cause of Right.

I was jest a thinkin’ that Betsey Bobbet was safe in the house of
mournin’, and there was a sweet and satisfied smile on my face, as I
thought it, when all of a sudden the door opened, and in she walked. My
heart sunk pretty near ½ an inch. But I ketched holt of my principles,
and says I,

“What is the matter Betsey?” For she looked as if she had been cryin’ her
eyes out. “Is your cousin no more? has Ebineezah suicided himself?”

“No moah!” says she in a indignant tone. “She is gettin’ well, and
Ebineezah is as happy as a king about it, she has been takin’ cod liveh
oil, and “Cherry Pectorial,” and they have cured her, I hate Cherry
Pectorial, and cod liveh oil, they are nasty stuffs.”

Says I, in a insinuatin’ tone, “you are goin’ back there haint you?”

“No!” says she indignantly, “I won’t stir a step back, they are so
tickled about her gettin’ bettah, that they don’t use me with no respect
at all.” And there was a tear in her eye as she added in sorrowful tones,
“Ebineezah told me that if it hadn’t been for that cod liveh oil, he
should have been a widowah, and a lonely man to-day. No!” says she takin’
off her hat and throwin’ it in a angry fierce way onto the bed, “I won’t
stir a step back, I won’t stay anotheh minute in the same house with cod
liver oil, I perfectly despise it.”

I see there was no use a arguin’ with her, the arrow had struck too
deep, I see my fate, Betsey had got to accompany me on my high and lofty
mission. For a minute I thought wildly of escape, of gettin’ her out of
the room on some errent for a minute, and then tyin’ the sheets together
and lowerin’ myself down from the winder. But better feelin’s rose inside
of me, Betsey was a human bein’, I, belonged to the meetin’ house. All
these nobler emotions tied up my tongue, I said nothin’ but I turned and
concluded the wild tumult of my feelin’s, by takin’ the gingham case
off’en my umberell I was goin’ to carry with me, and puttin’ on my bunnet
we started out for our promenade.

[Illustration: ON THE STREET.]


No cambric needle ever had its eye sot any keener and firmer onto the
North pole, than Josiah Allen’s wife had her keen gray eye aimed at the
good of the Human Race, so I thought I would go and see Horace first. But
Jonothan Beans’es ex-wife told me he had gone away for the day, to some
great rally in a neighborin’ village. I didn’t have the least idee what
she meant by “rally,” but I answered her in a bland way that “I hoped he
would have good luck and get quite a mess of it,” and then says I, “It
won’t make a mite of difference with me, I can go to Miss Woodhulls’es

Betsey was rampent to go to the Theater, “Barnums Amusement,” and the
“Centre of the Park,” and some of the meetin’ houses with big steeples,
and other places of amusement. But I says to her as we wended our way
on, “Betsey, these old bones of mine will repose in Jonesville to-morrer
night, as the poet saith, ‘In my own delightful feather bed.’ And
Betsey, they couldn’t rest there, if they looked back and see that they
didn’t do all they could while here, for the advancement of the Race, and
for improvin’ of my own mind.” Says I, “I didn’t come to this village for
vain pleasure, I have got a high mission to perform about, and a mind to
improve upon.”

I thought we would jest run in a few minutes to Miss Hookers’es, but her
hired girl says to me at the door says she,

“Miss Hooker is engaged.”

I looked the hired girl full in the face, and says I,

“What of it, what if she is?”

Then says the hired girl, “She hain’t to home.”

Says I, “Why didn’t you say so, in the first out, and not go to beatin’
round the bush.” Says I, for I was determined to do all the good I could
to the Human Race, “Miss Hooker is a first rate woman, and it haint a
hired girl’s place to talk about her mistress’es family matters and love

When we got to Miss Woodhulls’es we went up the front doorsteps, and I
knocked to the door, Betsey says, “Ring the bell.”

Well says I, “I hain’t particuler, hand it along.” I thought mebby she
had got one in her pocket, and wanted me to ring it to pass away the
time, while we was standin’ on the doorstep a waitin’ for Miss Woodhull
to come and open the door.

But Betsey reached by me, and took holt of a little silver nub, by the
side of the door, put there for a orniment, and pulled it.

Says I, “Don’t be so impatient Betsey. She’ll be here in a minute, don’t
go to foolin’ and tearin’ the house down to pass away time.”

Jest at that minute a little Black African came to the door, he looked
impudent at us, and says he,

“Miss Woodhull hain’t to home,” and he shet the door right in our faces.
We was jest goin’ down the doorsteps, when the door opened agin, and a
little figger came out, that at the first view baffled me. Says I to
myself, “Is it a man, or is it a woman?” It had a woman’s face but a
man’s pantaloons. I was baffled. But Josiah Allen’s wife hain’t one to
give up the ship while there is ½ a plank left. I was determined to get
all the knowledge I could while on my tower. I was determined to get
information on every deep and mysterious subject I could. And so I walked
up to it, and says I in a low voice and polite as I could, for fear of
hurtin’ its feelin’s,

“Be you a man sir? or a women mom?”

It wasn’t mad a bit, (I say _it_, for I didn’t know then in what gender
to put it.) It looked me so pleasant in the face, and yet so searchin’ly,
that I was kinder flustrated, and says I, in a kind of awe struck tone,

“I hope you won’t be offended, I only ask for information. Be you a
masculine, femenine or neutral gender?”

It smiled agin, jest as pleasant as one of my glass jars of maple sugar,
and then it opened its mouth and said,

“I am Dr. Mary Walker.”

I don’t know when I have been so tickled; nothin’ is sweeter than
knowledge to the inquirin’ mind, when it has been baffled. Says I,

“Mary I am glad to see you,” and I give her hand such a shakin’ that it
looked red as a beet when I leggo. Says I,

“I am gladder to see you than I would be to see any nephew or neice I
have got in the world. I am as glad to see you as I would be to see any
brother or sister of mine.”

Says she, “I can’t recall your countenance.”

Says I, “Mary, I am Josiah Allen’s wife.”

“Oh!” says she, “I have read your eloquent orations on wimmin’ havin’ a
right. I am happy to make your acquaintance.” Then and there I introduced

Says she, “Did you call to see Miss Woodhull?”

“Yes,” says I, “I wanted to talk to her, for she is in the wrong, but she
haint to home.”

Says she, “she is to home, and you shall see her, a few friends of the
cause, have met here to-day, but they are about all gone.” She went right
up the doorsteps agin, and instead of knockin’, she ketched holt of that
silver nob, that Betsey had been a foolin’ with. Mary was so excited that
she didn’t really know what she was about, or else she would have made
some move towards gettin’ in to the house. But it was jest as well, for
that impudent faced little Black African happened to come to the door
agin jest at the right time. And she spoke up kinder sharp like,

“Show these ladies into the parlor, they are friends of mine, and Miss
Woodhull will be glad to see ’em.”

He looked as if he would sink, and I didn’t care if he did, clear through
to the suller. I should have been glad to have seen him sunk.

I looked severe at him after I had gripped Mary’s hand, and parted with
her. He held the door open awful polite, and in a kind of a apoligy way
he murtered somethin’ about,

“Sposin’ Miss Woodhull was engaged.”

Says I pretty sharp, “Sposin’ she is engaged, is that any reason you
should turn Betsey and me out doors?” Says I, “I didn’t keep our folks’es
doors locked up when I got engaged to Josiah.” Says I, “sposen’ Miss
Woodhull is engaged, she ought to have been engaged, and married, years

I was in the wrong, and I see it, and ketched holt of my principles
convulsively, for I see that my indignant emotions towards that little
lyin’ imp was a shakin’ ’em. I hadn’t no right to be a speakin’ aginst
the woman of the house to their hired help. I felt as mean as pusley to
think I had done it, and says I, mildly,

“I am glad Miss Woodhull is engaged to be married, it takes a load off’en
my mind,” says I, “I presume she will settle doun and make a real likely

At that minute, a door opened right across the hall, and a man come out
and shet it agin, and he ketched right holt of my arm, the first thing,
and says he,

“Come, Marier Jane, or Marier Ann,” says he, “I can’t really call to mind
your precise name this minute, but I think it is Marier any way, or mebby
it is Mary Ann. Come, Mary Ann, it is time to be a goin’ home.”

I looked at him with almost fearful dignity, and I says to him with a
air so cold that he must have thought it blowed off of Greenland’s icy

“Leggo of my arm!”

But he never budged a inch, and I jest raised my umberell, and says I,
“If you don’t leggo of my arm, I’ll make you leggo.”

Then he leggo. And he stood back a little, but he looked piercin’ly and
searchin’ly into my face, and says he,

“You are my wife, haint you?”

Then again I spoke with that fearful dignity, and that cold and icy air,
50 degrees under Mr. Zero it was, if it was a degree.

“No Sir! I am proud and happy to say I am not your wife, I am Josiah
Allen’s wife.”

He looked real meachin’, and says he, “I beg your pardon mom, but I’ve
only been married to my last wife a few hours, havin’ got a divorce from
a former companion after dinner yesterday, and I have been so busy since,
that I haven’t really got the run of her face yet, though I thought,” he
added dreamily, “that I should know that nose agin any where.”

I see that he was imposin’ on me. But I wasn’t goin’ to have my nose
throwed in my face by him, and says I, “I am aware that my nose is a
pretty sizeable one. But,” says I, in about as sarcastic a voice as I
ever used in my life “it is a nose that haint never been wore off, and
made smaller a pokin’ into other folks’es affairs. Pokin’ round a tryin’
to find wives where there haint none.”

“But mom, I was married between daylight and dark, and--”

But I wouldn’t stay to hear another word of his apoligys, I jest turned
my back onto him, when the door opened agin, and a woman came out, and
I’ll be hanged if her nose didn’t look like mine--a honorable Roman. The
man looked at her in a kind of a undecided way, but she walked right up
and took holt of his arm, and he brightened up, and says he. “Are you
goin’ home now Mary Ann?”

“Yes,” says she, “but my name haint Mary Ann, it is Mehitable.”

“Wall,” said he, “I knew there was a M in it.” And he walked off with
her, with a proud and triumphant mene.


The young black African opened the door and says he, “Josiah Allen’s
wife, and Betsey Bobbet, mom.” He had asked us our names jest before he
opened it.

Miss Woodhull was a standin’ pretty near the door, a talkin’ with 3
wimmin as we went in. But she come forward immediatly and put out her
hand. I took it in mine, and shook it a very little, mebby 3 or 4 times
back and forth. But she must have felt by that cool, cautious shake, that
I differed from her in her views, and had come to give her a real talkin’

One of the wimmen she was a talkin’ to, had jest about as noble a
lookin’ face as I ever see, with short white curls a fallin’ all round
it. The beholder could see by the first glance onto that face, that she
hadn’t spent all the immortal energies of her soul in makin’ clover leaf
tattin’, or in cuttin’ calico up into little pieces, jest to sew ’em
togather agin into blazin’ stars and sunflower bedquilts. It was the face
of an earnest noble woman, who had asked God what He wanted her to do,
and then hadn’t shirked out of doin’ it. Who had gripped holt of life’s
plough, and hadn’t looked back because the furrows turned over pretty
hard, and the stumps was thick.

She knew by experience that there was never any greensward so hard to
break up, as old prejudices and customs; and no stumps so hard to get
round as the ridicule and misconceptions of the world. What made her
face look so calm then, when she was doin’ all this hard work? Because
she knew she was makin’ a clearin’ right through the wilderness that in
the future was goin’ to blossom like a rose. She was givin’ her life
for others, and nobody ever did this since the days of Jesus, but what
somethin’ of his peace is wrote doun on thier forwards. That is the way
Elizabeth Cady Stanton looked to me, as Miss Woodhull introduced me and
Betsey to her, and to the two other ladies with her.

One of the other wimmen I fell in love with at first sight, and I suppose
I should have been jest so partial to her if she had been as humbly as
one of the Hotentots in my old Olney’s Geography, and I’ll tell you why,
because she was the sister of H. W. Beecher. As a general thing I don’t
believe in settin’ folks up, because they happen to have smart relations.
In the words of one of our sweetest and noblest writers, “Because a man
is born in a stable it don’t make him a horse.” Not as a general thing,
it don’t.

But not once in 100 years does Nature turn out such a man as H. W. B. It
takes her longer than that to get her ingregiences and materials togather
to make such a pure sweet nature, such a broad charity, and such a
intellect as his’en. Why, if the question had been put to me before I was
born, whether I would be born his sister, or the twin sister of the queen
of England, I’d never give a second thought to Miss Victoria Albert, not
but what I respect the Widder Albert deeply, I think she is a real nice
woman. But I had ruther be his sister than to be the sister of 21 or 22
other kings. For he is a king not make by the layin’ on of earthly hands,
he is God’s own annointed, and that is a royalty that can’t be upsot. So
as I remarked I s’pose Isabella Beecher Hooker would have looked pretty
good to me any way.

The other lady was smart and sensible lookin’, but she was some like me,
she won’t never be hung for her beauty. This was Susan B. Anthony. Betsey
Bobbet sot down on a chair pretty nigh the door, but I had considerable
talk with Susan. The other two was awful long discussin’ some question
with Miss Woodhull.

Susan said in the course of her remarks that “she had made the ‘Cause of
Wimmen’s Rights,’ her husband, and was going to cleave to it till she

I told her I was deeply interested in it, but I couldn’t marry myself to
it, because before gettin’ acquainted with it, I had united myself to

We had considerable reasonable and agreeable talk, such as would be
expected from two such minds as mine and hern, and then the three ladies
departed. And Miss Woodhull came up to me agin kinder friendly, and says

“I am glad to meet you Josiah Allen’s wife,” and then she invited me to
set down. As I turned round to get a chair I see through a door into
another room where sot several other wimmen--some up to a table, and
all dreadful busy readin’ papers and writin’ letters. They looked so
business-like and earnest at thier work, that I knew they could not have
time to back-bite thier neighbors, and I was glad to see it. As I took
my seat I see a awful handsome gentleman settin’ on a sofa--with long
hair put back behind his ears,--that I hadn’t ketched sight of before.
It was Theodore Tilton, and Miss Woodhull introduced him to Betsey and
me. He bowed to Betsey, but he came forward and took my hand in his’en.
I couldn’t refuse to take it, but I looked up in his handsome face with
a look about two thirds admiration, and one of sorrow. If the handsomest
and best feathered out angel, had fell right over the walls of heaven
into our dooryard at Jonesville, I couldn’t have give it a more piercin’,
and sort of pitiful look than I did him. I then turned and silently
put my umberell in the corner and sot down. As I did so, Miss Woodhull
remarked to Mr. Tilton,

“She is a Strong Wimmen’s Righter, she is one of us.”

[Illustration: HARD AT WORK]

“No, Victory; I haint one of you, I am Josiah Allen’s wife.” Then I
sithed. And says I, “Victory you are in the right on it, and you are in
the wrong on it,” and says I, “I come clear from Jonesville to try to set
you right where you are wrong.” Says I, almost overcome with emotion.
“You are younger than I Victory, and I want to talk with you jest as
friendly as if I was your mother in law.”

Says she, “Where do you think I am in the right, and where do you think I
am in the wrong?”

Says I, “You are right in thinkin’ what a solemn thing it is to bring
up children as they ought to be. What an awful thing it is to bring the
little creeters into the world without their votin’ on the subject at
all, and then neglect ’em, and abuse ’em, and make their poor little days
awful long in the world, and then expect them to honor you for it. You
are right in your views of health, and wimmin’s votin’ and etcetery--but
you are wrong Victory, and I don’t want you to get mad at me, for I say
it with as friendly feelin’s as if I was your mother in law,--you are
wrong in this free love business, you are wrong in keepin’ house with two
husbands at the same time.”

“Two husbands! it is false; I was divorced from him, and my husband and
I found him perishing in the streets, and we took him home and took care
of him ’till he died. Which would the Lord have done Josiah Allen’s
wife, passed by on the other side, or took pity on him?”

“I don’t know what the Lord would have done Victory, but I believe I
should have sent him to a good horsepittle or tarven, and hired him took
care of. I never could stand it to have another husband in the same house
with me and Josiah. It would seem so kind o’ curious, somethin’ in the
circus way. I never could stand it never.”

“There have been a good many things Josiah Allen’s wife that you have not
been required to stand, God and man united you to a good husband whom you
love. But in your happiness you shouldn’t forget that some other woman
has been less fortunate. In your perfect happiness, and harmony--”

“Oh!” says I candidly, “I don’t say but what Josiah and me have had our
little spats Victory. Josiah will go in his stockin’ feet considerable

But she interrupted of me with her eyes a flashin’,

“What would you say to livin’ with a man that forgot every day of his
life that he was a man, and sunk himself into a brute. Leaving his young
wife of a week for the society of the abandoned? What would you say to
abuse, that resulted in the birth of a idiot child? Would you endure
such a life? Would you live with the animal that he had made himself? I
married a man, I never promised God nor man that I would love, honor and
obey the wild beast he changed into. I was free from him in the sight of
a pure God, long enough before the law freed me.”

I let her have her say out, for Josiah Allen’s wife is one to let every
man or mouse tell thier principles if they have got any. And if I was
conversin’ with the overseer of the bottomless pit, (I don’t want to
speak his name right out, bein’ a Methodist), I would give him a chance
to get up and relate his experience. But as she stopped with her voice
kinder choked up, I laid my brown cotton glove gently onto her shoulder,
and says I,

“Hush up Victory,” says I “wimmen must submit to some things, they can
pray, and they can try to let thier sorrows lift ’em nearer to heaven,
makin’ angels of ’em.”

Here Mr. Tilton spoke up and says he, “I don’t believe in the angels
exclusively, I don’t see why there shouldn’t be he angels, as well as she

I was tickled, and I looked at him approvin’ly, and says I,

“Theodore you are the first man with one exception that I ever see that
felt that way, and I respect you for it.” Says I, “men as a general
thing think that wimmen have got to do up all the angel business there
is done. Men seem to get the idee that they can do as they are a mind to
and the Lord will wink at ’em. And there are lots of things that the
world thinks would be awful coarse in a woman, but is all right in a
man. But I don’t believe a man’s cigar smoke smells any sweeter to the
Lord than a woman’s would. And I don’t believe a coarse low song, sounds
any sweeter and purer in the ears of angels, because it is sung in a
base voice instead of a sulfereno. I never could see why men couldn’t do
somethin’ in the angel line themselves, as well as to put it all on to
the wimmen, when they have got everything else under the sun to do. Not
but what,” says I, “I am willen’ to do my part. I never was a shirk, and
Josiah Allen will tell you so, I am willin’ to do my share of the angel
business.” And says I, in a generous way, “I would do it all, if I only
had time. But I love to see justice and reason. Nature feathers out geese
and ganders equally, or if there is any difference the gander’s wings
are the most foamin’ lookin’. Men’s shoulders are made jest the same way
that wimmen’s are; feathers would look jest as well on ’em as on a woman,
they can cultivate wings with jest as little trouble. What is the purest
and whitest unseen feathers on a livin’ angel’s hidden wing, Theodore and
Victory? They are purity, goodness, and patience, and men can grow these
unbeknown feathers jest as easy as a woman can if they only set out.”

I had spoke real eloquent, and I knew it, but I felt that I had been
carried away slightly by my emotions, from the mission I had come on--to
try to convince Miss Woodhull where she was wrong. And so after a minutes
silence, I broke out agin mildly, for I felt that if I give way to anger
or impatience my mission was lost.

“Another thing you are wrong in Victory, is to think you can be lawfully
married without any minister or justice of the peace. I knew that all you
needed was to have it set before you plain by some female that wished you
well; you are wrong in it Victory, and I tell you so plain, and to show
you that I am your well wisher, I thought after I had convinced you that
you was in the wrong, I would make you this offer. That if you and Col.
Blood will go home with Betsey and me, Elder Wesley Minkley shall marry
you right in my parlor, and it shan’t cost you a cent, for I will pay him
myself in dried apples.”

Says she, “I don’t want any ceremony, I want the only tie to hold me to
my husband to be love, the one sacred tie.”

“Love is a first rate tie,” says I, mildly, holdin’ on to my temper first
rate, “upwards of 15 years ago, I give one of the most remarkable proofs
of it, that has ever been seen in this country;” (and for a minute my
mind wandered off onto that old revery, _why_ did I love Josiah Allen?)
But collectin’ my mind together I spoke onwards, with firm and cast iron
principle. “Still, although I felt that sacred tie unitin’ Josiah and
me in a double beau knot that couldn’t be untwisted, the first time we
met, still, if Elder Wesley Minkley hadn’t united us at the alter--or
mother’s parlor, I should have felt dreadful floatin’ round in my mind.
It would have seemed too curious and onstiddy kinder, as if Josiah and me
was liable to fall all to pieces at any time, and waver off in the air
like two kites that had broke loose from thier strings.” Says I, firmly,
“Thier would be a looseness to it, I couldn’t stand.”

She said I would get accustomed to it, and that custom made many things
seem holy that were unholy, and many things sinful that were pure in the
sight of God.

But still I murmured with a sad look, but firm as old Bunker Hill, “I
couldn’t stand it, Victory, it would seem too much like a circus.

“And then agin, Victory, you are in the wrong of it about divorces. ‘What
God has joined togather let no man put asunder.’”

Says she, “Josiah Allen’s wife, if divorces were free to-morrow, would
you get one from Josiah?”

“Never!” says I, and my best dress most bust open at the breast, (them
biases always was took up a little too snug) at the idee of partin’ from

“Well, what is it that would hold you so fast to each other that nothin’
but death could separate you? was it the few words you said before the

“It was love, Victory! love, that wouldn’t let me eat a mite, nor sleep
a wink, if I couldn’t put my hand onto Josiah Allen any time day or

“Then,” says she, “why not give other good men and women credit for bein’
actuated by the same sentiments? Those that God has joined togather, no
man _can_ put asunder. Those who are really married heart and sole, would
never separate, it would only correct abuses, and separate those that
man, and not God, had joined togather.”

Says I, “Victory, is there any particular need of folks lettin’ man join
’em togather, when God hasn’t?” says I; “if folks was obleeged to marry,
there would be some sense in such talk,” says I, “they haint no business
to marry if they don’t love each other. All sin brings its punishment,
and them that commit the crime aginst thier own sole, of marryin’ without
love, ought to be punished by unhappiness in thier domestic relations,
what else can they expect?” says I. “Marriage is like baptism, now some
folks say it is a savin’ audnence, I say nobody haint any right to be
baptised unless they are saved already. Nobody haint any business to put
on the outward form of marriage, if they haint got the inward marriage of
the spirit.”

“Some folks marry for a home,” says she.

“Wall, they haint no business to,” says I warmly. “I had ruther live out
doors under a umberell, all my days.”

“Those are my sentiments exactly, Josiah Allen’s wife. But you can’t
deny that people are liable to be decieved.”

“If they are such poor judges the first time, what would hender ’em
from bein’ decieved the next time, and so on, ad infinitum, to the
twentieth and thirtieth time?” says I firmly. “Instead of folks bein’
tied together looser, they ought to be tied as tight agin. If folks knew
they couldn’t marry agin, how many divorces do you suppose there would
be? No doubt there are individual cases, where there is great wrong, and
great sufferin’. But we ought to look out for the greatest good to the
greatest number. And do you realize, Victory, what a condition society
would be in, if divorces was absolutely free? The recklessness with
which new ties would be formed, the lovin’ wimmen’s hearts that would
be broken by desertion, the children that would be homeless and uncared
for. When a fickle man or woman gets thier eyes onto somebody they like
better than they do thier own lawful pardners, it is awful easy to think
that man, and not God, has jined ’em. But let folks once get the idee
into thier heads, that marriage is a solemn thing, and lasts as long as
thier lives do, and they can’t get away from each other, they will be
ten times as careful to live peacible and happy with thier companions.”
Says I, “When a man realizes that he can if he wants to, start up and
marry a woman before breakfast, and get divorced before dinner, and have
a new one before supper time, it has a tendency to make him onstiddy and

Says I, “Victory, men are dreadful tryin’ by spells, do you suppose I
have lived with one for upwards of 15 years, and hain’t found it out?
But suppose a mother deserts a child because he is wormy, and tears his
breeches. She brought him into the world, and it is her duty to take care
of him. Do you suppose a store keeper ought to take back a pink calico
dress, after you have made it up, and washed it because the color washes
out of it, you ought to have tried it before it was cut off. I married
Josiah Allen with both eyes open, I didn’t wear spectacles then, I wasn’t
starved to it nor thumbscrewed into it, and it is my duty to make the
best of him.”

Says she, “When a woman finds that her soul is clogged and hampered, it
is a duty she owes to her higher nature to find relief.”

Says I, “When a woman has such feelin’s, instead of leavin’ her lawful
husband and goin’ round huntin’ up a affinitee, let her take a good
thoroughwert puke. Says I, in 9 and ½ cases out of 10, it is folkes’es
stomachs that are clogged up insted of their souls. Says I, there
is nothin’ like keepin’ the stomach in good order to make the moral
sentiments run good. Now our Tirzah Ann, Josiah’s girl by his first wife,
I kinder mistrusted that she was fallin’ in love with--” I almost said
it right out Shakespeare Bobbet, but I thought of Betsey, and turned
it “with a little feller that hadn’t hardly got out of his roundabouts,
she bein’ at the same time in pantalettes. Well I give her a good
thoroughwert puke, and it cured her, and if his mother,” says I with a
keen look onto Betsey, as I thought of my night of troubles, “If his
mother had served him in the same way, it would have saved some folks a
good deal of sufferin’.”

I see that agin I was wanderin’ off’en the subject, and I says in a deep
solemn tone,

“I don’t believe in this divorcin’.”

Mr. Tilton spoke up for most the first time, and says he, “I think you
are wrong in your views of divorce, Josiah Allen’s wife.”

I looked into his handsome face and my feelin’s rose up strong I couldn’t
throw ’em, they broke loose and says I, in almost tremblin’ tones,

“It is you that are in the wrong on it, Theodore,” says I, “Theodore,
I have read your poetry when it seemed as if I could ride right up to
heaven on it, though I weigh 200 and 10 pounds by the steelyards. There
is one piece by the name of “Life’s Victory.” I haint much of a hand for
poetry, but I read it for the first time when I was sick, and it seemed
as if it carried me so near to heaven, that I almost begun to feather
out. And when I found out who the author was, he seemed as near to me
as Thomas Jefferson, Josiah’s boy by his first wife. Theodore, I have
kept sight of you ever sense, jest as proud of you, as if you was my
own son-in-law, and when you went off into this free love belief I felt
bad.” I took out my white 25 cent handkerchif, for a tear came within I
should say half or three quarters of a inch from my eye-winkers. I held
my handkerchif in my hand, the tear come nearer and nearer--he looked
agitated--when up spoke Miss Woodhull.

“It is perfectly right; I believe in free divorce, free love, freedom in

I jest jammed my handkerchif back into my pocket, for that tear jest
turned round and traveled back to where it come from. I thought I had
used mildness long enough, and I says to her in stern tones,

“Victory, can you look me straight in the spectacles, and say that you
think this abominable doctrine of free love is right?”

“Yes mom, I can, I believe in perfect freedom.”

Says I, “That is what burglers and incendiarys say,” says I, “that is
the word murderers and Mormans utter,” says I “that is the language of
pirates, Victory Woodhull.”

She pretty near quailed, and I proceeded on, “Victory, there haint
but one true liberty, and that is the liberty of the Gospel, and it
haint Gospel liberty to be surrounded by a dozen husbands’es and
ex-husbands’es,” says I, “this marryin’ and partin’ every day or to,
haint accordin’ to Skripter.”

Says she in a scornful tone, “What is skripter?” If I had been her mother
I would have spanked her then and there. But I wasn’t, and I jest turned
my back to her, and says I, “Mr. Tilton you believe the bible don’t you?”

“Yes mom, I do, but the bible justifies divorce.”

“Yes,” says I, “for one cause, and no other, and the Saviour says that
whosoever marries a woman put away for any but the bible cause, commits
adultery, and I don’t believe in adulteration, nor Josiah don’t either.
But,” says I, convulsivly, “You know a man will part with a woman nowadays
if the butter don’t come quick, and she will part with him if he don’t
hang up the bootjack. Is that bible Theodore?” Says I, “don’t the bible
say that except for that one reason, man and wife are married till death
parts ’em.” Says I, “is a lawyer in a frock coat, with a lot of papers
stickin’ out of his breast pocket, death?” Says I, “tell me Theodore is
he death?”

He looked convinced, and says he, “No mom, he haint.”

“Well then, what business has that little snip of a livin’ lawyer to go
round tryin’ to make out he is death? tell me?” says I almost wildly.

I see my emotions was almost carryin’ me off, and I ketched holt of my
dignity, and continued in deep solemn tones, “True marriage is a sacred
thing, and it is a solemn thing, it is as solemn as bein’ baptized. And
if you are baptized once in the way you ought to be, it is enough. But
the best way you can fix it, it is a solemn thing Victory. To give your
whole life and soul into the keepin’ of somebody else. To place all your
hopes, and all your happiness in another human bein’ as a woman will. A
true woman if she loves truly, never gives half of her heart or three
quarters, she gives it all. She never asks how much shall I get back in
money and housen and finery? or whether she could do better in another
direction. No; True Love is a river that runs onward askin’ no questions
of anybody, sweepin’ right on with a full heart. And where does that
river empty Theodore and Victory?”

They both looked as solemn as a protracted meetin’, almost, as I looked
at ’em, first one, then the other, through my specs; but they didn’t
reply. Says I, in a deep solemn tone, “the name of the place where
that river emptys is Eternity.” Says I, “That river of True Love as it
flows through the world gets riley sometimes, by the earthly mud on its
banks. Sometimes it gets mad and precipitates itself over precipices,
and sometimes it seemin’ly turns backward a spell. But in its heart it
knows where it is bound for, it keeps on growin’ broader, and deeper,
and quieter like, and as it jines the ocian it leaves all its mud on the
banks, for God cleanses it, and makes it pure as the pure waters it flows

I felt real eloquent as I said this, and it seemed to impress ’em as I
wanted it to. They both of ’em have got good faces. Though I didn’t like
their belief, I liked their looks. They looked sincere and honest.

Agin I repeated, “Marriage is a solemn thing.”

I heard a deep sithe behind me, and a sorrowful voice exclaimed,

“It is solemn then both ways, you say it is solemn to marry, and I
know”--here was another deep sithe “I _know_ it is solemn not to.” It was
Betsey, she was a thinkin’ of the Editer of the Augur, and of Ebineezer,
and of all the other dear gazelles, that lay cold and lifeless in her
buryin’ ground. I felt that I could not comfort her, and I was silent.
Miss Woodhull is a well bread woman, and so to kinder notice Betsey, and
make talk with her, says she,

“I believe you are the author of these lines

  ‘If wimmen had a mice’s will,
   They would arise and get a _bill_?’”

“Yes,” says Betsey, tryin’ to put on the true modesty of jenieus look.

Miss Woodhull said “she had heard it sung to several free love

“How true it is,” says Betsey glancin’ towards Mr. Tilton, “that deathless
fame sometimes comes by reason of what you feel in your heart haint the
best part of you. Now in this poem I speak hard of man, but I didn’t feel
it Miss Woodhull, I didn’t feel it at the time, I wrote it jest for
fame and to please Prof. Gusheh. I love men,” says she, glancin’ at Mr.
Tilton’s handsome face, and hitchin’ her chair up closer to his’en.

“I almost worship ’em.”

Theodore began to look uneasy, for Betsey had sot down close by the side
of him and says she,

“Did you ever read the soul stirrin’ lines that Miss Woodhull refers to,
I will rehearse them to you, and also three others of 25 verses apiece
which I have wrote since on the same subject.”

I see a cold sweat begin to break on his white and almost marble forward,
and with a agitated move he ketched out his watch and says he,

“I have a engagement.”

Says Betsey, beseechin’ly layin’ her hand on his coat sleeve, “I can
rehearse them in 26 or 27 minutes, and oh how sweet your sympathy would
be to me, let me repeat them to you deah man.”

A haggard look crept into his handsome eyes, and says he, wildly turnin’
’em away, “It is a case of life and death,” and he hurried to the door.

But Betsey started up and got ahead of him, she got between him and the
door, and says she, “I will let you off about hearin’ the poetry--but oh!
listen to my otheh prayer.”

“I _won’t_ listen to your prayer,” says he, firmly.

“In the name of the female wimmen of America who worship you so, pause,
and heah my prayer.”

He paused deeply agitated, and says he. “In their name I will hear you,
what is your request Betsey Bobbet?”

She clasped her hands in a devotional way, and with as beseechin’ and
almost heart meltin’ a look as a dog will give to a bone held above its
head, she murmured,

“A lock of youh haih deah man, that I may look at it when the world looks
hollow to me, a lock of youh haih to make my life path easier to me.”

I turned my spectacles on which principle sot enthroned, towards ’em, and
listened in awful deep interest to see how it would end. Would he yield
or not? He almost trembled. But finally he spoke.

“Never! Betsey Bobbet! never!” and he continued in low, agitated tones,
“I have got jest enough to look well now.”

My heart throbbed proudly, to see him comin’ so nobly through the hot
furnace of temptation, without bein’ scorched. To see him bein’ lifted up
in the moral steelyards, and found full weight to a notch. But alas! Jest
as small foxes will gnaw into a grape vine, jest so will dangerous and
almost loose principles gnaw into a noble and upright nature unbeknown to

Agin Betsey says in harrowin’ tones, at the same time ketchin’ holt of
his coat skirts wildly,

“If you can’t part with any more, give me one haih, to make my life path

[Illustration: BETSEY’S PRAYER.]

Alas! that my spectacles was ever bought to witness the sad sight. For
with a despairin’, agonized countenance such as Lucifer, son of Mr.
Mornin’ might have wore as he fell doun, Theodore plucked a hair out of
his foretop, threw it at Betsey’s feet, and rushed out doors. Betsey with
a proud, haughty look, picked it up, kissed it a few times, and put it
into her port-money.

But I sithed.

I hadn’t no heart to say anything more to Victory. I bid her farewell.
But after we got out in the street, I kept a sithin’.


As we wended our way back to Miss Asters’es to dinner, Betsey said she
guessed after all she would go and take dinner to her cousin Ebeneezer’s,
for her Pa hadn’t give her much money. Says she,

“I hate to awfully. It is revoltin’ to all the fineh feelings of my
nature to take dinneh theah, afteh I have been so--” she stopped
suddenly, and then went on agin. “But Pa didn’t make much this yeah,
and he didn’t give me much money, he nor Ma wouldn’t have thought they
could have paid my faih heah on the cars, if they hadn’t thought certain,
that Ebeneezah’s wife would be took from us, and I--should do my duty by
coming. So I guess I will go theah and get dinneh.”

Thinks’es I to myself, “If your folks had brought you up to emanual
labor, if they had brought you up to any other trade only to get married,
you might have money enough of your own to buy one dinner independent,
without dependin’ on some man to earn it for you.” But I didn’t say
nothin’, but proceeded onwards to the tavern where I put up. When I got
there I met Johnothan Beans’es ex wife, and says she,

“Oh, I forgot, there is a lady here that wanted to see you when you got

“Who is it,” says I.

“It is a female lecturer on wimmen’s rights,” says she.

Well, says I, “Principle before vittles, is my theme, fetch her on.”

Says she, “Go into your room and I’ll tell her you have come, and bring
her there. She is awful anxious to see you.”

Well, says I, “I’m visible to the naked eye, she won’t have to take a
telescope,” and in this calm state of mind I went into my room and waited
for her.

Pretty soon she came in.

Jonothan Beans’es ex wife introduced us, and then went out. I rose up and
took holt of her hand, but I give it a sort of a catious shake, for I
didn’t like her looks. Of all the painted, and frizzled, and ruffled, and
humped up, and laced down critters I ever see, she was the cap sheaf. She
had a hump on her back bigger than any camel’s I ever see to a managery,
and no three wimmen ever grew the hair that critter had piled on to her

I see she was dissapointed in my looks. She looked dreadful kinder
scornful down onto my plain alpaca, which was made of a sensible length.
Hers hung down on the carpet. I’ll bet there was more’n a bushel basket
of puckers and ruffles that trailed down on to the floor behind her,
besides all there was on the skirt and waist.

She never said a word about my dress, but I see she looked awful scornful
on to it. But she went on to talk about Wimmen’s Rights, and I see she
was one of the wild eyed ones, that don’t use no reason. I see here was
another chance for me to do good--to act up to principle. And as she give
another humiliatin’ look onto my dress, I become fully determined in my
own mind, that I wouldn’t shirk out from doin’ my duty by her, and tell
her jest what I thought of her looks. She said she had just returned from
a lecturin’ tower out in the Western States, and that she had addressed a
great many audiences, and had come pretty near gettin’ a Wimmen’s Rights
Governor chosen in one of the States. She got to kinder preachin’ after a
while, and stood lookin’ up towards the cealin’, and her hands stretched
out as if she was a lecturin’. Says she,

“Tyrant man shan’t never rule us.” Says I, “I haint no objection to your
makin’ tyrant man better, if you can--there is a chance for improvement
in ’em--but while we are handlin’ ‘motes,’ sister, let us remember that
we have got considerable to do in the line of ‘beams.’” Says I, “To see a
lot of immortal wimmen together, sometimes, you would think the Lord had
forgot to put any brains into their heads, but had filled it all up with
dress patterns, and gossip, and beaux, and tattan.”

[Illustration: ON A LECTURIN’ TOWER.]

“Tyrant man has encouraged this weakness of intellect. He has for ages
made woman a plaything; a doll; a menial slave. He has encouraged her
weakness of comprehension, because it flattered his self love and vanity,
to be looked up to as a superior bein’. He has enjoyed her foolishness.”

“No doubt there is some truth in what you say, sister, but them days are
past. A modest, intelligent woman is respected and admired now, more than
a fool. It is so in London and New York village, and,” says I with some
modesty, “it is so in Jonesville.”

“Tyrant man,” begun the woman agin. “Tyrant man thinks that wimmen are
weak, slavish idiots, that don’t know enough to vote. But them tyrants
will find themselves mistaken.”

The thought that Josiah was a man, came to me then as it never had
before. And as she looked down from the cealin’ a minute on to my dress
with that scornful mene, principle nerved me up to give her a piece of my

Says I, “No wonder men don’t think that we know enough to vote when they
see the way some wimmen rig themselves out. Why says I, a bachelder that
had always kept house in a cave, that had read about both and hadn’t
never seen neither, would as soon take you for a dromedary as a woman.”

She turned round quicker’n lightnin’, and as she did so, I see her hump
plainer’n ever.

Says she, “Do you want to insult me?”

“No,” says I, “my intentions are honorable, mom.

“But,” says I, puttin’ the question plain to her, “would you vote for
a man, that had his pantaloons made with trails to ’em danglin’ on the
ground, and his vest drawed in to the bottom tight enough to cut him
into, and his coat tails humped out with a bustle, and somebody else’s
hair pinned on the back of his head? Would you?” says I solemnly fixin’
my spectacles keenly onto her face. “Much as I respect and honor Horace
Greeley, if that pure-minded and noble man should rig himself out with
a bustle and trailin’ pantaloons, I wouldn’t vote for him, and Josiah
shouldn’t neither.”

[Illustration: HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT?]

But she went right on without mindin’ me--“Man has always tried to dwarf
our intellects; cramp our souls. The sore female heart pants for freedom.
It is sore! and it pants.”

Her eyes was rolled up in her head, and she had lifted both hands in
a eloquent way, as she said this, and I had a fair view of her waist,
it wasn’t much bigger than a pipe’s tail. And I says to her in a low,
friendly tone. “Seein’ we are only females present, let me ask you in
a almost motherly way, when your heart felt sore and pantin’ did you
ever loosen your cosset strings? Why,” says I, “no wonder your heart
feels sore, no wonder it pants, the only wonder is, that it don’t get
discouraged and stop beatin’ at all.”

She wanted to waive off the subject, I knew, for she rolled up her eyes
higher than ever, and agin she began “Tyrant man”--

Agin I thought of Josiah, and agin I interrupted her by sayin’ “Men haint
the worst critters in the world, they are as generous and charitable
agin, as wimmen are, as a general thing.”

“Then what do you want wimmen to vote for, if you think so?”

“Because I want justice done to every human bein’. Justice never hurt
nobody yet, and rights given through courtesy and kindness, haint so
good in the long run, as rights given by law. And besides, there are
exceptions to every rule. There are mean men in the world as well as
good ones. Justice to wimmen won’t prevent charitable men from bein’
charitable, generous men from bein’ generous, and good men from bein’
good, while it will restrain selfishness and tyrany. One class was never
at the mercy of another, in any respect, without that power bein’ abused
in some instances. Wimmen havin’ the right to vote haint a goin’ to turn
the world over to once, and make black, white, in a minute, not by no
means. But I sincerely believe it will bring a greater good to the female
race and to the world.”

Says I, in my most eloquent way, “There is a star of hope a risin’ in
the East for wimmen. Let us foller on after it through the desert of the
present time, not with our dresses trailin’ down onto the sandy ground,
and our waists lookin’ like pismires, and our hair frizzled out like
maniacs. Let us go with our own hair on our heads, soberly, decently, and
in order; let us behave ourselves in such a sober, christian way, that we
can respect ourselves, and then men will respect us.”

“I thought,” says she, “that you was a pure Wimmen’s Righter! I thought
you took part with us in our warfare with our foeman man! I thought you
was a firm friend to wimmen, but I find I am mistaken.”


“I _am_ a friend to wimmen,” says I, “and because I am, I don’t want her
to make a natural born fool of herself. And I say agin, I don’t wonder
sometimes, that men don’t think that wimmen know enough to vote, when
they see ’em go on. If a woman don’t know enough to make a dress so she
can draw a long breath in it, how is she goin’ to take deep and broad
views of public affairs? If she puts 30 yards of calico into a dress,
besides the trimmin’s, how is she goin’ to preach acceptably on political
economy? If her face is covered with paint, and her curls and frizzles
all danglin’ down onto her eyes, how can she look straight and keenly
into foreign nations and see our relations there? If a woman don’t
know enough to keep her dress out of the mud, how is she goin’ to steer
the nation through the mud puddle of politics? If a woman humps herself
out, and makes a camel of herself, how is she goin’ through the eye of a

I said these last words in a real solemn camp meetin’ tone, but they
seemed to mad her, for she started right up and went out, and I didn’t
care a cent if she did, I had seen enough of her. She ketched her trail
in the door and tore off pretty nigh a yard of it, and I didn’t cry
about that, not a mite. I don’t like these bold brazen faced wimmen that
go a rantin’ round the country, rigged out in that way, jest to make
themselves notorious. Thier names hadn’t ought to be mentioned in the
same day, with true earnest wimmen who take thier reputations in thier
hands, and give thier lives to the cause of Right, goin’ ahead walkin’
afoot through the wilderness, cuttin’ down trees, and diggin’ out stumps,
makin’ a path for the car of Freedom, that shall yet roll onward into

As soon as she was gone, I went down and eat my dinner, for I was hungry
as a bear. At the dinner table Jonothan Beans’es ex wife asked me “what I
would like for desert.”

I told her “I hadn’t turned my mind much that way, for I hadn’t no idee
of goin’ into the desert business, I wouldn’t buy one any way, and I
wouldn’t take one as a gift if I had got to settle down, and live on it.
But from what I had heard Thomas Jefferson read about it, I thought the
desert of Sarah was about as roomy and raised as much sand to the acre as
any of ’em.”

Says she, turnin’ the subject, “will you have pie or puddin’.”

I couldn’t see then, and I have thought about it lots sense, I don’t see
what started her off onto Gography all of a sudden.

After dinner I thought I would rest a spell. My talk with that female
lecturer had tired me out. Principle is dreadful tuckerin’ to any body,
when you make it a stiddy business. I had rather wash, any time, than to
go off on a tower of it as I was. So I went to my room and sot down real
comfortable. But I hadn’t sot more’n a minute and a half, when Betsey
Bobbet came, and nothin’ to do, but I must go to Stewarts’es store with
her. I hung back at first, but then I happened to think, if Alexander
should hear--as of course he would--that I had been to the village and
hadn’t been to his shop, he would have reason to feel hurt. Alexander is
a real likely man, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelin’s, and it haint
my way to want to slight anybody. And then I had a little tradin’ I
wanted to do. So take it all together, I finally told Betsey I would go
with her.


I had heard it was considerable of a store, but good land! it was bigger
than all the shops of Jonesville put together, and 2 or 3 10 acre lots,
and a few meetin’ housen. But I wouldn’t have acted skairt, if it had
been as big as all Africa. I walked in as cool as a cowcumber. We sot
down pretty nigh to the door and looked round a spell. Of all the sights
of folks there was a comin’ in all the time, and shinin’ counters all
down as fur as we could see, and slick lookin’ fellers behind every one,
and lots of boys runnin’ round, that they called “Cash.” I says to Betsey,

“What a large family of boys Mr. Cash’es folks have got, and they must
some of ’em be twins, they seem to be about of a size.”

I was jest thinkin’ in a pityin way of their mother: poor Mrs. Cash, and
how many pantaloons she would have to put new seats into, in slidin’ down
hill time, when Betsey says to me,

“Josiah Allen’s wife, hadn’t you better be purchasing your merchandise?”
Says she, “I will set here and rest ’till you get through, and as deah
Tuppah remarked, ‘study human nature.’” She didn’t have no book as I
could see to study out of, but I didn’t make no remarks, Betsey is a
curious critter, anyway. I went up to the first counter--there was a
real slick lookin’ feller there, and I asked him in a cool tone, “If Mr.
Stewart took eggs, and what they was a fetchin’ now?”

He said “Mr. Stewart don’t take eggs.”

“Well,” says I, “what does he give now for butter in the pail?”

He said “Mr. Stewart don’t take butter.”

“Well,” says I, in a dignified way, “It haint no matter, I only asked to
see what they was a fetchin’ here. I haint got any with me, for I come on
a tower.” I then took a little roll out of my pocket, and undone ’em. It
was a pair of socks and a pair of striped mittens. And I says to him in a
cool, calm way,

“How much is Mr. Stewart a payin’ for socks and mittens now. I know they
are kinder out of season now, but there haint no danger but what Winter
will come, if you only wait long enough.”

He said “we don’t take em.”

I felt dissapointed, for I did want Alexander to have ’em, they was knit
so good. I was jest thinkin’ this over, when he spoke up agin, and says
he, “we don’t take barter of no kind.” I didn’t know really what he
meant, but I answered him in a blind way, that it was jest as well as
if they did, as fur as I was concerned, for we hadn’t raised any barter
that year, it didn’t seem to be a good year for it, and then I continued
on--“Mebby Mr. Stewart would take these socks and mittens for his own
use.” Says I, “do you know whether Alexander is well off for socks and
mittens or not?”

[Illustration: DON’T TAKE BARTER.]

The clerk said “he guessed Mr. Stewart wasn’t sufferin’ for ’em.”

“Well,” says I in a dignified way, “you can do as you are a mind to about
takin’ ’em, but they are colored in a good indigo blue dye, they haint
pusley color, and they are knit on honor, jest as I knit Josiah’s.”

“Who is Josiah?” says the clerk.

Says I, a sort of blindly, “He is the husband of Josiah Allen’s wife.”

I would’t say right out, that I was Josiah Allen’s wife, because I wanted
them socks and mittens to stand on their own merits, or not at all. I
wasn’t goin’ to have ’em go, jest because one of the first wimmen of
the day knit ’em. Neither was I goin’ to hang on, and tease him to take
’em. I never said another word about his buyin’ ’em, only mentioned in a
careless way, that “the heels was run.” But he didn’t seem to want ’em,
and I jest folded ’em up, and in a cool way put ’em into my pocket. I
then asked to look at his calicos, for I was pretty near decided in my
own mind to get a apron, for I wasn’t goin’ to have him think that all my
property lay in that pair of socks and mittens.

He told me where to go to see the calicos, and there was another clerk
behind that counter. I didn’t like his looks a bit, he was real uppish
lookin’. But I wasn’t goin’ to let him mistrust that I was put to my
stumps a bit. I walked up as collected lookin’ as if I owned the whole
caboodle of ’em, and New York village, and Jonesville, and says I,

“I want to look at your calicos.”

“What prints will you look at?” says he, meanin’ to put on me.

Says I, “I don’t want to look at no Prince,” says I, “I had ruther see
a free born American citizen, than all the foreign Princes you can bring
out.” Says I, “Americans make perfect fools of themselves in my mind, a
runnin’ after a parcel of boys, whose only merit is, they happened to be
born before thier brothers and sisters was.” Says I, “If a baby is born
in a meetin’ house, it don’t make out that he is born a preacher. A good
smart American boy like Thomas Jefferson, looks as good to me as any of
your Princes.” I said this in a noble, lofty tone, but after a minute’s
thought I went on,

“Though, if you have got a quantity of Princes here, I had as lives
see one of Victory’s boys, as any of ’em. The widder Albert is a good
housekeeper, and a first-rate calculator, and a woman that has got a
Right. I set a good deal of store by the widder Albert, I always thought
I should like to get acquainted with her, and visit back and forth, and
neighbor with her.”

I waited a minute, but he didn’t make no move towards showin’ me any
Prince. But, says he,

“What kind of calico do you want to look at?”

I thought he come off awful sudden from Princes to calico, but I didn’t
say nothin’. But I told him “I would like to look at a chocklate colored
ground work, with a set flower on it.”

“Shan’t I show you a Dolly Varden,” says he.

I see plainly that he was a tryin’ to impose on me, talkin’ about
Princes and Dolly Varden, and says I with dignity,

“If I want to make Miss Varden’s acquaintance, I can, without askin’ you
to introduce me. But,” I continued coldly, “I don’t care about gettin’
acquainted with Miss Varden, I have heard her name talked over too much
in the street. I am afraid she haint a likely girl. I am afraid she haint
such a girl as I should want my Tirzah Ann to associate with. Ever sense
I started from Jonesville I have heard that girl talked about. ‘There is
Dolly Varden!’ and ‘Oh look at Dolly Varden!’ I have heard it I bet more’n
a hundred times sense I sot out. And it seems to me that no modest girl
would be traipsin’ all over the country alone, for I never have heard a
word about old Mr. and Miss Varden, or any of the Varden boys. Not that
it is anything out of charicter to go off on a tower. I am off on a tower
myself,” says I, with quite a good deal of dignity, “but it don’t look
well for a young girl like her, to be streamin’ round alone. I wish I
could see old Mr. and Miss Varden, I would advise the old man and woman
to keep Dolly at home, if they have any regard for her good name. Though
I’m afraid,” I repeated, lookin’ at him keenly over my specs, “I’m afraid
it is too late for me to interfere, I am afraid she haint a likely girl.”

His face was jest as red as blood. But he tried to turn it off with a
laugh. And he said somethin’ about her “bein’ the style,” and “bein’
gay,” or somethin’. But I jest stopped him pretty quick. Says I, givin’
him a awful searchin’ look,

“I think jest as much of Dolly as I do of her most intimate friends, male
or female.”

[Illustration: DOLLY VARDEN.]

He pretended to turn it off with a laugh. But I know a guilty conscience
when I see it as quick as anybody. I haint one to break a bruised reed
more than once into. And my spectacles beamed more mildly onto him, and I
says to him in a kind but firm manner.

“Young man, if I was in your place, I would drop Dolly Varden’s
acquaintance.” Says I, “I advise you for your own good, jest as I would
Thomas Jefferson.”

“Who is Thomas Jefferson?” says he.

Says I, in a cautious tone, “He is Josiah Allen’s child, by his first
wife, and the own brother of Tirzah Ann.”

I then laid my hand on a piece of choklate ground calico, and says I,
“This suits me pretty well, but I have my doubts,” says I, examinin’ it
closer through my specs, “I mistrust it will fade some. What is _your_
opinion?” says I, speakin’ to a elegantly dressed woman by my side, who
stood there with her rich silk dress a trailin’ down on the floor.

“Do you suppose this calico will wash mom?”

I was so busy a rubbin’ the calico to see if it was firm cloth, that I
never looked up in her face at all. But when I asked her for the third
time, and she didn’t speak, I looked up in her face, and I haint come so
near faintin’ sence I was united to Josiah Allen. _That woman’s head was

The clerk see that I was overcome by somethin’, and says he, “what is the

I couldn’t speak, but I pinted with my forefinger stiddy at that murdered
woman. I guess I had pinted at her pretty nigh half a minute, when I
found breath and says I, slowly turnin’ that extended finger at him, in
so burnin’ indignant a way, that if it had been a spear, he would have
hung dead on it.

“That is pretty doin’s in a Christian country!”

His face turned red as blood agin--and looked all swelled up, he was so
mortified. And he murmured somethin’ about her “bein’ dumb,” or a “dummy”
or somethin’--but I interrupted him--and says I,

“I guess you would be dumb yourself if your head was cut off.” Says I, in
awful sarcastic tones,

“It would be pretty apt to make any body dumb.”

Then he explaned it to me. That it was a wooden figger, to hang thier
dresses and mantillys on. And I cooled down and told him I would take a
yard and 3 quarters of the calico, enough for a honorable apron.

Says he, “We don’t sell by retail in this room.”

I give that clerk then a piece of my mind. I asked him how many aprons he
supposed Tirzah Ann and I stood in need of? I asked him if he supposed we
was entirely destitute of aprons? And I asked him in a awful sarcastic
tone if he had a idee that Josiah and Thomas Jefferson wore aprons? Says
I, “any body would think you did.” Says I, turnin’ away awful dignified,
“when I come agin I will come when Alexander is in the store himself.”

I joined Betsey by the door, and says I, “Less go on to once.”

“But,” says she, to me in a low mysterious voice; “Josiah Allen’s wife, do
you suppose they would want to let me have a straw colored silk dress,
and take thier pay in poetry?”

Says I, “for the land’s sake Betsey, don’t try to sell any poetry here. I
am wore out. If they won’t take any sacks and mittens, or good butter and
eggs, I know they won’t take poetry.”

She argued a spell with me, but I stood firm, for I wouldn’t let her
demean herself for nothin’. And finally I got her to go on.


All I could do and say, Betsey would keep a goin’ into one store after
another, and I jest trailed round with her ’till it was pitch dark.
Finally after arguin’ I got her headed towards her cousin’s.

It was as late as half past eight when I got back to Miss Asters’es. As
I went by the parlor door, I heard a screechin’ melankoly hollerin’.
Thinks’es I to myself, “somebody’s hurt in there, some female I should
think, by the voice.” I thought at first I wouldn’t interfere, as there
was enough to take her part, for the room seemed to be chuck full. So I
was goin’ on up to my room, when it come to my ears agin, louder and more
agonizin’ than ever. I couldn’t stand it. As a female who was devoted to
the cause of Right, I felt that in the behalf of my sect I would see what
could be done. I kinder squeezed my way in, up towards the sound, and
pretty soon I got where I could see her. Then I knew she was crazy.

She looked bad. Her dress seemed to be nice silk, but it jest hung on
to her shoulders, and she had strung a lot of beads and things round her
neck--you know how such poor critters will rig themselves out--and she
had tore at her hair so she had got it all streamin, down her neck. Her
face was deathly white, only in the middle of her cheeks there was a
feverish spot of fire red. Her eyes was rolled up in her head. She looked
real bad.

[Illustration: A HARROWIN’ SCENE.]

She had got to the piano in some way, and there she set a poundin’ it,
and yellin’. Oh how harrowin’ it was to the nerves, it made my heart
almost ache to see her. There was a good many nicely dressed wimmen
and men in the room and some of ’em was leanin’ over the poor girl’s
shoulders, a lookin’ at her hands go, and some of them wimmen’s dresses
was hangin’ down off their shoulders, so that I thought they must have
been kinder strugglin’ with the maniac and got ’em all pulled down and
torn open, and they looked most as crazy as she did.

The poor girl didn’t know a word she was sayin’ but she kep’ a mutterin’
over somethin’ to herself in a unknown tongue. There wasn’t no words to
it. But poor thing, she didn’t sense it. Some of the time she would be a
smilin’ to herself, and go on a mutterin’ kinder low, and then her worse
fits seemed to come on in spasms, and she would go to poundin’ the piano
and yellin’. And I see by the way her hands went that she had got another
infirmity too. I see she had got Mr. Vitus’es dance. It was a sad sight

As I see the poor thing set there with her dress most off of her, jest a
hangin’ on her shoulders, right there before so many men, I thought to
myself, what if was my Tirzah Ann there in that condition. But one thing
I know as long as Josiah Allen’s wife lived, she wouldn’t go a wanderin’
round half naked, to be a laughin’ stock to the community. I took it so
right to myself, I kep’ a thinkin’ so, what if it was our Tirzah Ann, that
there wasn’t hardly a dry eye in my head. And I turned to a bystanter,
standin’ by my side, and says I to him in a voice almost choked down
with emotion,

“Has the poor thing been so long? Can’t she get any help?”

Jest that minute she begun to screech and pound louder and more harrowin’
than ever, and I says in still more sorrowful accents, with my spectacles
bent pityin’ly on her,

“It seems to come on by spasms, don’t it?”

She kinder held up in her screechin’ then, and went at her mutterin’ agin
in that unknown tongue, and he heard me, and says he,

“Beautiful! hain’t it?”

That madded me. I give that man a piece of my mind. I told him plainly
that it “was bad enough to have such infirmities without bein’ made a
public circus of. And I didn’t have no opinion of anybody that enjoyed
such a scene and made fun of such poor critters.”

He looked real pert, and said somethin’ about my “not havin’ a ear for

That madded me agin. And says I, “Young man, tell me that I hain’t got
any ears agin if you dare!” and I ontied my bonnet strings, and lifted
up the corner of my head dress. Says I, “What do you call that? If that
hain’t a ear, what is it? And as for music, I guess I know what music is,
as well as anybody in this village.” Says I, “you ought to hear Tirzah
Ann sing jest between daylight and dark, if you want to hear music.” Says
I, “her organ is a good soundin’ one everybody says. It ought to be, for
we turned off a good two year old colt, and one of our best cows for it.
And when she pulls out the tremblin’ stopple in front of it, and plays
psalm tunes Sunday nights jest before sundown, with the shadders of the
mornin’ glory vines a tremblin’ all over her, as she sings old Corinth,
and Hebron, I have seen Josiah look at her and listen to her till he had
to pull out his red bandanna handkerchief and wipe his eyes.”

“Who is Josiah?” says he.

Says I, “It is Tirzah Ann’s father.” And I continued goin’ on with my
subject. “No medder lark ever had a sweeter voice than our Tirzah Ann.
And when she sings about the ‘Sweet fields that stand dressed in livin’
green,’ she sings it in such a way, that you almost feel as if you had
waded through the ‘swellin flood,’ and was standin’ in them heavenly
medders. Tell me I never heard music! Ask Whitfield Minkley whether
Tirzah Ann can sing Anna Lowery or not, on week day evenin’s, and old
Mr. Robin Grey. Ask Whitfield Minkley, if you don’t believe me. He is a
minister’s only son, and he hadn’t ought to lie.”

The little conceited feller’s face looked as red as a beet. He was a
poor lookin’ excuse any way, a uppish, dandyfied lookin’ chap, with
his moustache turned up at the corners, and twisted out like a waxed
end. He pretended to laugh, but he showed signs of mortification, as
plain as I ever see it. And he put up his specs, and I’ll be hanged if
he hadn’t broke one eye off’en ’em, and looked at me through it. But I
wasn’t dawnted by him, not a bit. I didn’t care how close he looked at
me. Josiah Allen’s wife hain’t afraid to be examined through a double
barreled telescope.

Just then a good lookin’ man with long sensible whiskers and moustache,
hangin’ the way the Lord meant ’em to, and who had come up while I was a
speakin’ this last--spoke to me and says he,

“I am like you madam, I like ballads better than I do opera music for the

I didn’t really know what he meant, but he looked good and sensible
lookin’ and so says I in a blind way,

“Yes like as not.”

Says he, “I am very partial to those old songs you have mentioned.”

Says I “They can’t be bettered.”

Before I could say another word, that poor crazy thing begun agin, to
yell, and pound and screech, and I says to him,

“Poor thing! couldn’t there be somethin’ done for her? If her mind can’t
be restored, can’t she get help for Mr. Vitus’es dance?”

And then he explained it to me, he said she wasn’t crazy, and didn’t have
Mr. Vitus’es dance. He said she was a very fashionable young lady and it
was a opera she was singin’.

“A operation,” says I sithin’ “I should think as much! I should think it
was a operation! It is a operation I don’t want to see or hear agin.”
And says I anxiously, “Is it as hard on everybody as it is on her? Does
everybody have the operation as hard as she has got it?”

He kinder smiled, and turned it off by sayin’ “It is the opera of _Fra

“Brother Devel,” says the conceited little chap with the waxed end

“‘The Operation of the----’” on account of my connection with the M. E.
church, says I, “I will call it David.” But they both knew what I meant.
“The operation of the--the David. I should think as much.”

And I don’t know as I was ever more thankful than I was when I reflected
how my pious M. E. parents had taught me how to shun that place of awful
torment where the----David makes it his home. For a minute these feelin’s
of thankfulness swallered these other emotions almost down. But then as I
took another thought, it madded me to think that likely folks should be
tormented by it on earth. And I says to the little feller with the waxed
end moustache,

“If that operation is one of the torments that the----the David keeps to
torment the wicked with, it is a burnin’ shame that it should be used
beforehand, here on earth, to torment other Christian folks with.”

I didn’t wait for him to answer, but I turned round with a real lot of
dignity, and sailed out of the room. It was with a contented and happy
feelin’ the next mornin’ that I collected together my cap box, and
spectacle case, packed my satchel bag with my barred muslin night cap and
night gown, and put my umberella into its gingham sheath (for it was a
pleasant mornin’) and set, as you may say, my face homewards. I thought I
would proceed right from Horace’s to the depott, and not come back agin
to Miss Aster’ses. I paid my bill with a calm demeaner, though it galled
me to see ’em ask such a price.

Jonothan Beans’es ex wife seemed to hate to have me go, she is one that
don’t forget the days when she first went to grass. I told her to tell
Miss Aster just how it was, that I felt as if I must go, for Josiah would
be expectin’ me. But I would love to stay and get acquainted with her.
But she had so much on her hands, such a gang to cook for, that I knew
she didn’t have no time to visit with nobody. And I told her to be sure
and tell Miss Aster, that she mustn’t feel particuler at all because we
hadn’t visited together--but she must pay me a visit jest the same. Then
I sent my best respects to Mr. Aster and the boys, and then I set out.
Jest by the front door I met Betsey, and we both set sail for Horace’s.


It was with a beatin’ heart that I stood at the door of the shop where
Horace’es papers are made. And though he haint printed ’em alone since he
was run up, as he did more formally, they told me I would be apt to find
him at his old office.

I was jest a goin’ to knock when a boy came out, and says I,

“Bub, I want to see Horace.”

“Horace who?” says he.

“Horace Greeley,” says I.

“Wall,” says he, “I will take up your card.”

I see then that he was a tryin’ to empose upon me. I haint naturally
warlike, but I can stand up on my dignity, straight as a cob when I set
out. Says I,

“I’ll have you know that I am a member of the Methodist meetin’ house.”
Says I, warmly, “I don’t know one card from another, and I’m glad I
don’t.” Says I, “I presume there are wimmin here in the village, as old
as I be, that set up to play cards till 9 or 10 o’clock at night. But
thank fortin’ I haint one of ’em.” Says I, “Young man, I detest card
playin’, it ends in gamblin’. Now,” says I firmly, “you jest tell me where
Horace is, or I’ll know the reason why!”

He see I wasn’t to be trifled with, any more. He muttered somethin’ about
_his_ not bearin’ the blame. But he went up stairs, and we followed tight
to his heels, and the minute he opened the door we went in. Horace hadn’t
dressed up much, for I spose he didn’t expect us. But if he had been
dressed up in pink silk throughout, it wouldn’t have made no difference
to my feelin’s as I ketched sight of that noble and benign face, that
peaceful innocent mouth, that high forward, with the hair a curlin’ round
the sides of it, like thin white clouds curlin’ round the side of a
mountain in Ingun summer.

I use that figger of speech, because his face looked on the mountain
plan, firm, and grand and decided. And I put in the Ingun summer, because
you know jest how a mountain will look standin’ a considerable ways above
you on the first of October--kind o’ mellow and peaceful and benign. But
you realize all the time, that under all the green and shady growth of
its mosses and evergreens, it has been growin’ gradual but stiddy through
the centuries. Under all that viel of shinin’ blue gawze, wove out of
mist one way, with a warp of sunshine, under all the mellow colerin’ the
time of the year has give it, there is a good strong back bone of solid
rock in the old mountain, that couldn’t be broke by all the hammers in

That was jest my idee of his face, a mountain in Indgun summer, facin’
the sunrise. Standin’ up so high that it ketches a light on its forward
before the world below gets lit up. Firm, solid principles with the edge
took off of ’em, and kinder topped off with the experiences, and gradual
convictions and discoveries of a noble life. And all softened down by the
calmness and quiet of the time of day, and the fall of the year. That was
the way Horace Greeley’s face looked to me as I got a full view of it as
he set to his desk a writin’.

In the dead of night on my own peaceful goose feather bed at home, I had
made a speech all up in my mind for that glorious occasion, when 2 firm
and true principled minds should meet--which was Horace’s mind and mine.
For though we conflict in some things, the good of the Human Race is as
dear as our apples is, in our eyes. But at the first sight of that noble
face, my emotions got up and overpowered me so, that I forgot every word
of my speech, and all I could say was, in thick tones of feelin’ and

“Horace, I have come.”

His face grew almost black with fear and anger. He sprang up, and waved
me back with his right hand and shouted to me,

“It is in vain madam! you are the 94th woman who has been here to-day
after office. Female lobsteress depart! Get thee behind me Sa--female!”

Says I with deep emotion, “Horace you don’t know me! I am not a female
lobsteress! I am Josiah Allen’s wife.”

He came forward and shook hands with me, and says he, “I know you will
excuse my vehemence, when I tell you, I am almost devoured by office
seekers!” He cleared a path through the papers on the floor to some
chairs, but as we set down, he continued in tremblin’ tones, for it
seemed as if he couldn’t forget his troubles,

“Foxes and woodchucks have holes, but a candidate for the Presidency
can’t find none small enough to hide in. I _did_,” says he sithin deeply,
“I _did_ have a few peaceful, happy hours in the suller of my dwellin’
house;” he paused, overcome by sad recolections, and says I, deeply
sympathizin’ and interested,

“What broke it up Horace?”

“They found the out door suller way; so,” says he sithin agin, “I lost
that peaceful haven.”

“Wall,” says I, tryin’ to soothe his agitation,

“You’re one in a high, noble place, Horace.”


“Yes!” says he, “but it places anybody under a very strong light--a very
strong light. I have never done anything out of the way sense I was first
born, but what I have seen it in the papers. I tore my pantaloons once,”
says he, gloomily, “in gettin’ over the fence at the early age of 2 and
a half, and I bit my mother once at the age of 7 months a nursin’, I
could wish these two errors of my past to be forgotten by the world and
overlooked, but in vain. I am taunted with ’em on every side. I never
threw a boot jack at a tom cat in the dead of the night, but what my
picture has been took in the act, I never swore a oath to myself in the
depths of my own stomach, but what I have seen that unspoken oath in the
papers. I never jawed Mrs. Greeley about my shirt buttons,” he continued,
sadly, “in the depths of our secluded chamber, but what it has been
illustrated with notes.”

As he spoke of jawin’ about shirt buttons, I says to myself, “How much!
how much human nature is alike in all men,” and I says aloud,

“How much you remind me of Josiah.”

“Of Josiah!” says he, and that name seemed to make him remember himself,
and to come nobly out of his gloomy reflections. “Josiah, he is your
husband! Oh yes, Josiah Allen’s wife! I am glad to meet you, for although
I couldn’t comply with the request your letter contained, yet it
convinced me that you are a sincere friend to the human race.”

“Yes,” says I, “Horace, I am, and I want you to consider my request over

But he interrupted me hurriedly, seemin’ to want to turn my mind from
that subject.

“What do you think of Fourier’s system, Josiah Allen’s wife?” says he,
lookin’ at me languidly over his specks.

Says I, “I never see Mr. Fourier. How can I tell you any thing about
the old man’s health, whether his system is all right, or whether he is
enjoyin’ poor health. Horace, I come to talk with you on more important

But he continued placidly, hopin’ to draw my mind off,

“What do you think of Darwin’s idees?”

“Darwin who?” says I. “Darwin Gowdey? I don’t know any other Darwin, and
I never mistrusted that he had any idees, he is most a natural fool.”

Says he, “about our descendin’ from a monkey?”

Says I, with dignity, “I don’t know how it is with you, but I know that
I couldn’t descend from a monkey, never bein’ on one’s back in my whole
life.” Says I, “I never looked well in the saddle any way bein’ so hefty.
But,” says I, in a liberal way, “if you, or anybody else wants to ride
monkeys, you have the privilege, but I never had no leanin’ that way.”
And agin, says I, in agitated tones, “you needn’t try to take my mind
oft’en the deep and momentous subject on which it is sot, by talkin’
about ridin’ monkeys. Horace I have come clear down here to the village
on purpose to ask you to examine your platform, and see if there hain’t
no loose boards in it where some of the citizens of the United States,
such as wimmen can fall through. Platforms, that are built over the deep
waters, ought to be sound, and every board ought to be nailed down tight,
so that nobody--not even the smallest and weakest--can fall through and
get drownded.” Says I, “Your door step is most all good solid timber, but
I feel there is one old, mouldy, worm eaten board that is loose in it.”
And with emotion renderin’ my voice weak as a cat, says I, “Horace, I
want you to examine your door step and lay down a new board, and I will
help you do it. I come a purpose to.”

He see it was vain to turn the current of my thoughts round, and says he
in a decided way,

“You must have become aware of my views from the contents of my letter.
You got my letter?” says he in a enquirin’ tone.

“Yes,” says I, “we have framed it and got a glass over it, jest because
it was your writin’, but there seemed to be a mistake in it; it seemed to
be wrote to Josiah.”

Says he, “What did you make it out to be?”

Says I, “it seemed to run as follers--‘I don’t want to purchase any more

“Josiah did have a uncommon kind of pigs, and we thought mebby you had
heard that Josiah wanted to sell you one, though it was a mistake, for
he swapped a couple with Deacon Gowdey for a yearlin’ heifer, and he
didn’t have no more left than he wanted to keep over.”

He said we didn’t read it right. It read, ‘I don’t approve of any
wimmen’s votes.’ And says he, leanin’ back in his chair, “That is the
ground I take, I don’t believe in Wimmen’s Rights. I don’t see what
rights they want--more’n they have now.”

Then I dove right into the subject that was the nearest to my heart (with
the exception of Josiah) and says I, “Horace, we want the right of equal
pay for equal laber. The right of not bein’ taxed without representation.
The right of not bein’ compelled, if she is a rich woman, of lettin’ her
property go to support public men, who are makin’ laws that are ruinin’
them she loves best, such as givin’ licences to ruin body and soul. The
right to stand by the side of all good and true soles in the nation, and
tryin’ to stop this evil spirit of intemperance and licentiousness that
is runnin’ rampant through the land. The right to--”

I don’t know how much longer I should have gone on, but in the noble
forgetfulness of yourself that always accompanies genius, I had riz
up, and by an unguarded wave of my right hand a wavin’ in eloquence I
tipped over my umberell. Horace picked it up (he is a perfect gentleman
at heart) and says he, “Set down Josiah Allen’s wife, don’t fatigue
yourself too much.”

Rememberin’ myself, I sot down, and Horace, pensively wipin’ his brow
with his lead pencil, went on to say,

“I admit there is some truth in what you say, Josiah Allen’s wife. I
admit, as a truthful man should, that whatever wimmen has laid thier
hands to, such as churches, hospital work, foreign missionary work,
ragged schools, Sunday schools, charity balls and fairs, and Good
Templars, they have done more than men in thier efforts and good
influence. They are more patient than men; they are not so strong, but
they are more persistent. When they once get a plan in thier heads, they
are awful to hold on--if they can’t accomplish it in one way, they will
take another.”

Says I, “that is jest what Josiah says. He says, ‘I always have my own

“I admit, that whenever wimmen have been admitted in any public affairs,
they have had a puryfyin’, and softnin’ and enoblin’ influence. But I
deny that votin’ and havin’ a voice in public affairs is goin’ to better
the condition of either wimmen or the nation.”

Says I, “Horace, the old White House needs puryfyin’ more than any
horsepittle or meetin’ house in creation.” And says I, “Let wimmen lay
to, and help clean house.” Says I, “let her try her hand for one year,
and see what she can do.”

Says Horace, goin’ on placidly with his own thoughts, “It is not the
change that would be wrought in public affairs I dread, so much as the
change in the wimmen themselves, if they should mingle in the wild vortex
of political life. I have two daughters, and rather than have them lose
all thier delicacy, and enter political life and mount the rostrum, I
would lay them in thier grave. I don’t believe,” says he, with great
decision, “I don’t believe in wimmen leadin’ off into politics, and
mountin’ the rostrum.”

I interupted him with a earnest tone; “you needn’t twit me of that, no
more Horace. I don’t want to mount no rostrum. I had ruther give Josiah
20 curtain lectures than to give half of one to the public, there would
be more solid satisfaction in it. But as far as indelicacy is concerned,
it is no more immodest for a woman to lead off in politics than to lead
off one of your indecent German waltzes with a man.” Says I, “you men
think it hain’t indelicate for wimmen to go with you to balls, and to
theatres, and into the wild vortex of the ocean a bathin’ with you--and
to post offices, and to fires, and fairs, and horse races, and to church,
and to heaven with you. But it is awful to go and drop a little slip of
white paper into a box, once a year with you.”

Says Horace wavin’ off that idee, “Woman holds in her arms a more
powerful ballot than she can in her hands. Let her mould her baby boy, so
that in the future his mother will vote through him.”

Horace looked noble as he said this. His silver mounted spectacles shone
with pure feelin’ and principle. “But,” says I, in a reasonable tone,

“How can wimmen mould children, if she haint got any to mould? I haint
got any of my own, and lots of wimmen haint.” Says I, “such talk is
unreasonable, how can she go to mouldin’, when she haint got the

“Let them influence thier husbands then,” says he, “the influence of
wimmen over men, is wonderful, and they can in this way wield a almost
sovereign power. And they do in many instances exert this indirect power
in an eminent degree.”

Says I, finally, “I don’t believe in no underhand proceedin’, I never
did. The idee of wimmen bein’ underhand, and go to mouldin’ men on the
sly, I don’t believe in it.” Says I, “accordin’ to your own story Horace,
wimmen have a influence in politics now.”

“Wall--yes--a sort of a indirect influence in thier families, as it were.”

Says I, “Horace can you look me straight in the spectacles and deny that
there is wimmen’s influence in politics at Washington to-day?” Says
I, “look at them female lobsteresses there.” Says I, “one handsome,
brilliant, unprincipled bad woman will influence 14 common men where a
modest humbly well wisher of her sect will one.” And says I, warmly, for
the thought of these female lobsteresses always madded me--“I should be
ashamed if I was in some of them Senators’ places, makin’ laws about the

I see my deep principle was a floatin’ me off into a subject where as a
female I didn’t want to go, and so I choked back the words I was about to
utter which was, “I had jest as lives jine a Morman, as to jine one of
them.” I choked it back, and struggled for calmness, for I was excited.
But I did say this,

“I think good wimmen ought to have a chance with bad ones in political
affairs. For there is more good wimmen in the land than there is bad
ones, but now the bad ones have it all thier own way.”

Horace wiped his brow gently with his lead pencil, and said in a
thoughtful accent,

“There may be some truth in what you say Josiah Allen’s wife. I confess I
never looked at it in exactly this light before.”

Says I, in a triumphant glad tone, “That is jest what I told Josiah.”
Says I, “Josiah, Horace is all right, there never was a better meanin’
man on the face of the earth than Horace is. All he wants is to have some
noble principled woman to set him right in this one thing.”

I see in a minute that I had made a mistake. Men hate to be dictated
to by a woman, they hate to, like a dog. I see by his lowery brow that
I had put the wrong foot forrerd. For the time bein’ the sage and the
philosifer sunk down in his nature, and the _man_ spoke in the usual
manlike way.

“I say wimmen’s brains are too weak to grasp public matters. They have
remarkable intuitions I grant. A woman’s insight or instinct or whatever
you may term it, will, I grant, fly over a mountain and discover what is
on the other side of it, while a man is gettin’ his gunpowder ready to
make a tunnel through it. But they are not logical, they have not the
firm grasp of mind, the clear comprehension requisite to a voter.”

Says I, “Horace, which has the firmest grasp--the clearest comprehension,
a earnest intellegent christian woman, or a drunken Irishman?” Says I,
“Understand me Horace, I don’t ask which would sell thier votes at the
best lay, or vote the most times in one day--I dare say the man would
get ahead of the woman in these respects, bein’ naturally more of a
speculator--and also bein’ in practice. You know practice makes perfect.
I don’t ask you this. But I ask you and I want you to answer me Horace,
which would be in the best condition for votin’, Elizabeth Cady Stanton
gettin’ up off of her religious knees in the mornin’ after family
prayers, and walkin’--with the Constitution in one hand and the Bible in
the other--coolly and sensibly to the pole, or Patrick oh Flanegan comin’
out of a drunken wake, and staggerin’ up against the pole with a whisky
bottle in one hand and a club in the other, when he didn’t know nothin’
in the first place, and then had lost half or 3 quarters of that, in the
liquer some clear minded, logical man give him, for votin’ a few dozen
times for him?”

At this question Horace quailed a very little. But it was not the quail
of a weak man, there was principle in that quail, and a determination to
argue to the end, which is one of the charicterestics of that great and
good man. She that was Samantha Smith also possesses some of this spirit.

“Set down, Josiah Allen’s wife and don’t fatigue yourself too much,” says
Horace, for almost carried away by my emotions, I had riz’ up and stood
on my feet agin.

And he went on, “You put the case in a very strong light Josiah Allen’s
wife. That is one of the peculiar weaknesses of your sect. You don’t
possess sufficient moderation. You exaggerate too much.”

Says I, “publishin’ a daily paper for 20 years, has a tendency to make
any man a good judge of exaggeration, and if you see by my symptoms that
I have got it, I haint a goin’ to deny it. But you haint answered my
question yet Horace.”

Says he “Josiah Allen’s wife, my mind is firmly made up on this subject.
And nothin’ upon earth will ever change it. I am fully convinced that
woman’s enterin’ into public duties would result in makin’ her coarse and
unfeminine, and make her lose her love for home and husband. And then,
suppose she were eligible for public offices; imagine a lady blacksmith!
a lady constable! a lady president! it is absurd, Josiah Allen’s wife.”

Says I, “Horace, you are too smart a man to bring up such poor
arguments. You don’t see a little sickly, literary, consumptive,
broken backed blacksmith or constable. Men choose the occupations most
congenial, and suitable for them, and wimmen would do the same, anyway.
Rosa Bonheur chooses to live out doors half the time among cattle and
horses, and I presume she haint half so afraid of ’em as Mr. A. Tennyson
would be. I have heerd Thomas Jefferson read about ’em both. I don’t
suppose any woman would be compelled to be made a constable of, though if
they was, I presume men would submit to be incarcerated by ’em as quick
as they would by a male man.

“As for the idee of a lady president, I don’t know as it would be any
more absurd than a lady queen. Victory sets up pretty easy in her high
chair, there don’t seem to be anything very absurd about the Widder
Albert. You say public duties makes a woman coarse, and forgetful of home
and husband. Horace, look for one minute at the Widder Albert. Where
will you find among your weak fashionable wimmen, so lovin’ a wife, so
devoted a mother? Where will you find a bigger housefull of children,
brought up better than hern? She has had more public duties to perform
than goin’ once a year by the side of her husband, and votin’ for Justice
and Temperance. But did these public duties, that she performed so well,
wean her from her husband?” Says I, “did they take up her mind so that
she didn’t almost break her heart when he died?” says I, “Do you think a
honest desire to live a full life--to use every power that God has given
you--to do your very best for God and humanity, do you think that this
desire modestly and consistently carried into action, will make a woman
coarse and unwomanly, any more than this present fashionable education,
to flirt and simper and catch a rich husband?”

Says I, “You seem to think that votin’ is goin’ to be such a weight onto
a woman that it will drag her right down from her home into public and
political affairs and leave her there. Such talk is simple, for love
and domestic happiness will be the other weight to the steelyards, as
long as the world stands, and keep a woman’s heart and mind jest as
straight as a string. Votin’ haint a goin’ to spile any woman at all,
be she married, or be she single, and there is a class at the mercy of
the world, fightin’ its hard battle alone--it will _help_ them. The idee
of its hurtin’ a woman to know a little somethin’, is in my mind awful
simple. That was what the slaveholders said about the black Africans--it
would hurt ’em to know too much. That is what Mr. Pope says to-day about
his church members. But I say that any belief, or custom that relies on
oppression and ignorance and weakness to help it on in any degree, ought
to be exploded up. Beautiful weakness and simplicity, haint my style at
all in the line of wimmen. I have seen beautiful simplicities before
now, and they are always affected, selfish critters, sly, underhanded,
their minds all took up with little petty gossip and plottin’s. Why they
can’t set a teacup on the table in a open-hearted noble way. They have
to plot on some byway to get it there, unbeknown to somebody. Their
mouths have been drawed so into simpers, that they couldn’t laugh a
open generous laugh to save their lives. Always havin’ some spear ready
under their soft mantilly, to sweetly spear some other woman in the
back. Horace, they haint my style. Beautiful weakness and simplicity
may do for one evenin’ in a ball room. But it don’t wear well for all
the cares and emergencies that come in a life of from 40 to 50 years.
Was George Washington’s mother any the less a industrious equinomical
and affectionate wife and mother, because she took a interest in public
affairs?” And says I, with a lower and more modest tone, “Is Josiah
Allen’s wife on that account any the less devoted to Josiah?”

He knew I was perfectly devoted to that man. He set mewsin’ silently for
a time seemin’ly on somethin’ I had said heretofore, and finally he spoke
up. “The case of Victory is very different. A crown that descends on a
hereditary head is a different thing.”

“So ’tis,” says I, “But the difference is on the wrong side, for sposin’
it descends onto the head of a hereditary fool--or a hereditary mean
woman. If a woman was voted for it would be for goodness, or some other
good quality.”

Says Horace, wavin’ off that idee and pursuin’ after his own thoughts,
“Man is sometimes mistaken in his honest beliefs, but Nature makes her
laws unerringly. Nature intended the male of every species to take the
preeminence. Nature designed man to be at the head of all public affairs.
Nature never makes any mistakes.”

“Nature made queen bees Horace. Old Nature herself clapped the crown on
to ’em. You never heard of king bees, did you? Industrious equinomical
critters the bees are too. The public duties of that female don’t spile
her, for where will you find house-work done up slicker than hern? Where
will you find more stiddy, industrious, equinomical orderly doin’s
through a whole nation than she has in hern? All her constituents
up to work early in the mornin’, home at night too, jest as stiddy
as the night comes. No foreign spys can come prowlin’ ’round her
premises--speculators on other folks’es honey haint encouraged,--tobacco
is obnoxious to ’em. Only one thing I don’t approve of, if food is
skurce, if the females don’t get honey enough to last the whole hive,
all winter, they slaughter the male bees in the fall to save honey. I
don’t approve of it; but where will you find a great nater that haint
got its peculiar excentricities? This is hern. She wants to dispose of
the drones as they call the lazy husbands of the workin’ wimmen, and
she thinks killin’ is the easiest way to dispose of ’em. I say plainly
I don’t approve of it, it don’t seem exactly right to kill a husband to
save winterin’ him, it would seem better to me to get divorces from ’em
and set ’em up in business in a small way. But as I said, where is there
a nater that haint got a weakness? _this_ is hern. But aside from this
where will you find a better calculator than she is? No dashin’ female
lobsteresses pullin’ the wool over the eyes of _her_ Senators. No old
men bees gaddin’ ’round evenin’s when their confidin’ wives think they
are a-bed dreamin’ about their lawful pardners--no wildcatishness, and
smokin’ and drunkenness, and quarellin’ in _her_ Congress. You can’t
impeach _her_ administration no how, for no clock work ever run smoother
and honester. In my opinion there has a great many men set up in their
high chairs that would have done well to pattern after this Executive

As I finished, flushed with several different emotions, Horace rose up
and grasped me by the hand, and says almost warmly,

“I am glad to have met you, Josiah Allen’s wife, you have presented the
subject in a new, and eloquent light. I admire eloquence wherever I meet

The praise of this great, and good man was like manny to an Isrealitess.
My breast almost swelled with proud and triumphant emotions. But even
then, in that blissful moment, I thought of Josiah, no rock was ever
firmer than my allegience to that man, I withdrawed my hand gently from
his’en, and I said to him, with a beamin’ face,

“You grasped holt of my hand, Horace, with the noblest and purest of
feelin’s, but I don’t think Josiah would like to have me shake hands so
often with any man.”

Says he, “I honor your sentiments, Josiah Allen’s wife, I think you are a
firm principled woman, and a earnest, well wisher of your sect. But I do
think you are in a error, I honestly think so. The Creator designed woman
for a quiet, home life, it is there she finds her greatest happiness and
content. God gave her jest those faculties that fit her for that life.
God never designed her to go rantin’ round in public, preachin’ and

Says I, “Horace, I agree with you in thinkin’ that home is the best place
for most wimmen. But you say that wimmen have great influence, and great
powers of perswasion, and why not use them powers to win men’s soles, and
to influence men in the cause of Temperance and Justice, as well as to
use ’em all up in teasin’ thier husbands to buy ’em a summer bunnet and a
pair of earrings? And take such wimmen as Anna Dickinson--what under the
sun did the Lord give her such powers of eloquence and perswasion for,
if He didn’t calculate to have her use ’em? Why you would say a human
bein’ was a fool, that would go to work and make a melodious piano, a
calculatin’ to have it stand dumb forever, holdin’ back all the music in
it not lettin’ any of it come out to chirk folks up, and make ’em better.
When a man makes a cheese press, he don’t expect to get music out of it,
it hain’t reasonable to expect a cheese press to play Yankee Doodle, and
old Hundred. I, myself, wasn’t calculated for a preacher.

“I believe the Lord knows jest what He wants of his creeters here below
from the biggest to the littlest. When He makes a grasshopper, He
makes it loose jinted, on purpose to jump. Would that grasshopper be a
fullfillin’ his mission and doin’ God’s will, if he should draw his long
legs up under him, and crawl into a snail’s house and make a lame hermit
of himself?”

Says Horace, in reasonable accents, “No, Josiah Allen’s wife, no, he

“Wall,” says I, “likewise with birds, if the Lord hadn’t wanted the sing
to come out of thier throats, He wouldn’t have put it into ’em. And
when the Lord has put eloquence, and inspiration, and enthusiasm into a
human sole, you can’t help it from breakin’ out. I say it is right for
a woman to talk, if she has got anything to say for God and humanity. I
have heard men and wimmen both, talk when they hadn’t nothin’ to say,
and it is jest as tiresome in a man, as it is in a woman in my opinion.
Now I never had a call to preach, or if I had, I didn’t hear it, only to
Josiah, I preach to him considerable, I have to. I should feel dreadful
curious a standin’ up in the desk, and takin’ my text, I don’t deny it,
but,” says I, in deep tones, “if the Lord calls a woman to preach--let
her preach, Horace.”

“Paul says it is a shame for a woman to speak in public,” says Horace.

Oh what a rush of idees flowed under my foretop as Horace said this, but
I spoke pretty calm, and says I,

“I hain’t nothin’ aginst Mr. Paul, I think he is a real likely old
bachelder. But I put the words, and example of Jesus before them of any
man, be he married, or be he single.”

“Men will quote Mr. Paul’s remarks concernin’ wimmen not preachin’, and
say he was inspired when he said that, and I say to ’em, “how is it about
folks not marryin’, he speaks full as pinted about that?” “Oh!” they say,
“he wazzn’t inspired when he said that,” and I say to ’em, “how can you
tell--when a man is 18 or 19 hundred years older than you be--how can
you tell when he was inspired and when he wazzn’t, not bein’ a neighbor
of his’en.” And after all, Mr. Paul didn’t seem to be so awful set on
this subject, for he went right on to tell how a woman’s head ought to
be fixed when she was a prayin’ and a prophecyin’. But in my opinion,
all that talk about wimmen was meant for that church he was a writin’
to, for some reason confined to that time, and don’t apply to this day,
or this village--and so with marryin’. When a man was liable to have his
head cut off any minute, or to be eat up by lions, it wazzn’t convenient
to marry and leave a widder and a few orphans. That is my opinion, other
folks have thiern. But let folks quarell all they have a mind to, as to
whether Mr. Paul was inspired when he wrote these things, or whether he
wazzn’t, this _we know_, that Jesus is a divine pattern for us to follow,
and He chose a woman to carry the glad tidin’s of His resurrection to
the bretheren. There was one woman who received her commission to preach
right from the Almighty.

“How dare any man to try to tie up a woman’s tongue, and keep her from
speakin’ of Him, when she was His most tender and faithful friend when
He was on earth. It was wimmen who brought little children that He might
bless ’em. Did He rebuke ’em for thus darin’ to speak to Him publicly?
No; but He rebuked the men who tried to stop ’em.

“It was a women who annointed His feet, wet ’em with her tears, and wiped
’em with the hairs of her head. It was very precious ointment--but none
too precious for Him she loved so. Some logical clear minded men present,
thought it was too costly to waste on Him. And again Jesus rebuked ’em
for troublin’ the woman. It was in comfortin’ a woman’s lovin’ achin’
heart that Jesus wept. It was wimmen that stood by the cross to the very
last and who stood by his grave weepin’, when even Joseph had rolled a
great stun aginst it and departed. And it was wimmen who came to the
grave agin in the mornin’ while it was yet dark. And it was a woman that
He first revealed Himself to after He rose. What if Mary had hung back,
and refused to tell of Him, and the glory she had seen. Would He have
been pleased? No; when God calls a woman to tell of the wonders of His
love and glory that He has revealed to her out of the darkness of this
life, in the Lord’s name let her answer. But let her be certain that it
is the Lord that is callin’ her, there is lots of preachers of both sects
in my opinion that pretend the Lord is a callin’ ’em, when it is nothin’
but their own vanity and selfishness that is hollerin’ to ’em.”

For pretty near ½ or ¾ of a minute, Horace set almost lost in deep
thought, and when he broke out agin it was on the old theme. He said
“wedlock was woman’s true spear. In the noble position of wife and
mother, there lay her greatest happiness, and her only true spear.” He
talked pretty near nine minutes, I should think on this theme. And he
talked eloquent and grand, I will admit, and never did I see spectacles
shine with such pure fervor and sincerity as his’en. It impressed me
deeply. Says he in conclusion, “Marriage is God’s own Institution. To
be the wife of a good man, and the mother of his children, ought to be
a woman’s highest aim, and purest happiness. Jest as it is man’s highest
happiness to have a woman entirely dependant on him. It rouses his
noblest and most generous impulses, it moves his heart to do and dare and
his arm to labor--to have a gentle bein’ clingin’ to his manly strength.”

His eloquence so impressed me, that I had no words to reply to him. And
for the first time sense I had begun to foller up the subject, my mind
wavered back and forth, as Bunker Hill monument might, in a eloquent
earthquake. I says to myself, “mebbe I am mistaken, mebbe marriage is
woman’s only true spear.” I didn’t know what to say to him, my spectacles
wandered about the room, and happened to light onto Betsey--(I had been
so took up with my mission to Horace that I had forgot to introduce
her) and as they lit, Horace, who saw I was deeply impressed, repeated
something about “clingin’” and I says to him in a foolish and almost
mechanical tone,

“Yes Horace, I have seen clingers, here is one.”

Betsey riz right up, and come forrerd, and made a low curchy to him, and
set down tight to him, and says she,

“Beloved and admired Mr. Horace Greeley, I am Betsey Bobbet the poetess
of Jonesville, and you speak my sentiments exactly. I think, and I know
that wedlock is woman’s only true speah. I do not think wimmen ought to
have any rights at all. I do not think she ought to want any. I think it
is real sweet and genteel in her not to have any rights. I think that
to be the clinging, devoted wife of a noble husband would be almost a
heaven below. I do not think she ought to have any other trade at all
only wedlock. I think she ought to be perfectly dependent on men, and
jest cling to them, and oh how sweet it would be to be in that state. How
happyfying to males and to females that would be. I do not believe in
wimmen having their way in anything, or to set up any beliefs of their
own. For oh! how beautiful and perfectly sweet a noble manly mind is.
How I do love your intellect, dearest Mr. Horace Greeley. How is your
wife’s health dear man? Haint I read in the papers that her health was a
failing? And if she should drop off, should you think of entering again
into wedlock? and if you did, should you not prefer a woman of genius, a
poetess, to a woman of clay?”

Her breath give out here, and she paused. But oh what a change had come
over Horace’s noble and benign face, as Betsey spoke. As she begun, his
head was thrown back, and a eloquent philosofical expression set onto it.
But gradually it had changed to a expression of dread and almost anger,
and as she finished, his head sunk down onto his breast, and he sithed. I
pitied him, and I spoke up to Betsey, says I, “I haint no more nor less
than a clay woman, but I know enough to know that no man can answer 25
or 26 questions to once. Give Horace time to find and recover himself.”

Betsey took a bottle of hartshorn and a pair of scissors, outen her
pocket, and advanced onto him, and says she in tender cooin’ tones. “Does
your intellectual head ache? Let me bathe that lofty forwerd. And oh!
dearest man, will you hear my one request that I have dreampt of day and
night, will you--will you give me a lock of your noble hair?”

Horace rose up from his chair precipitately and come close to me and sot
down, bringin’ me between him and Betsey, and then he says to her in a
fearless tone, “You can’t have a hair of my head, I haint got much as you
can see, but what little I have got belongs to my wife, and to America.
My wife’s health is better, and in case of her droppin’ off, I shouldn’t
never marry agin, and it wouldn’t be a poetess! though,” says he wipin’
his heated forwerd,

“I respect ’em as a Race.”

Betsey was mad. Says she to me, “I am a goin. I will wait for you to the
depott.” And before I could say a word, she started off. As the door
closed I says in clear tones, “Horace, I have watched you for years--a
laberin’ for truth and justice and liftin’ up the oppressed, I have
realized what you have done for the Black African. You have done more for
that Race than any other man in America, and I have respected you for
it, as much as if I was a Black African myself. But never! never did I
respect you as I do this minute.” Says I, “if every married man and woman
had your firm and almost cast iron principles, there wouldn’t be such a
call for powder and bullets among married folks as there is now. You have
riz in my estimation 25 cents within the last 7 or 8 minutes.”

Horace was still almost lost in thought, and he didn’t reply to me. He
was a settin’ about half or 3 quarters of a yard from me, and I says to
him mildly,

“Horace, it may be as well for you to go back now to your former place of
settin’, which was about 2 and a half yards from me.” He complied with my
request, mechanically as it was. But he seemed still to be almost lost in
thought. Finally he spoke--as he wiped the sweat off that had started out
onto his eye brow--these words,

“I am not afraid, nor ashamed to change my mind, Josiah Allen’s wife,
when I am honestly convinced I have been in an error.” Says he, “It is
cowards only that cling outwardly to thier old mouldy beliefs, for fear
they shall be accused of being inconsistent and fickle minded.”


Says I, “That is just my opinion Horace! I have been cheated by pickin’
out a calico dress in the evenin’. Things look different by daylight,
from what they do by candle light. Old beliefs that have looked first
rate to you, may look different under the brighter light of new
discoveries. As you rise higher above the earth you see stars you
couldn’t ketch sight of in a suller way. And the world’s cry of fickle
mindedness, may be the angels’ war whoop, settin’ us on to heavenly

Horace seemed agin to be almost lost in thought, and I waited
respectfully, for him to find and recover himself. Finally he spake,

“I have been sincere Josiah Allen’s wife, in thinkin’ that matrimony
was woman’s only spear, but the occurances of the past 25 or 30 minutes
has convinced me that wimmen may be too zealous a carryin’ out that
spear. I admit Josiah Allen’s wife, that any new state of public affairs
that would make woman more independent of matrimony, less zealous, less
reckless in handlein’ that spear, might be more or less beneficial both
to herself, and to man.”

Here he paused and sithed. He thought of Betsey. But I spoke right up in
glad and triumphant tones,

“Horace, I am ready to depart this minute for Jonesville. Now I can lay
my head in peace upon my goose feather pillow.”

I riz up in deep emotion, and Horace he riz up too. It was a thrillin’
moment. At last he spoke in agitated tones, for he thought still of what
he had jest passed through.

“My benefactor, I tremble to think what might have happened had you not
been present.” And he ran his forefinger through his almost snowy hair.

“My kind preserver, I want to give you some little token of my friendship
at parting. Will you accept as a slight token of my dethless gratitude,
‘What I know about Farming,’ and two papers of lettice seed?”

I hung back, I thought of Josiah. But Horace argued with me, says
he, “I respect your constancy to Josiah, but intellect--spoken or
written--scorns all the barriers of sex and circumstance, and is as free
to all, as the sunshine that beats down on the just and the unjust, the
Liberal Republicans and the Grant party, or the married and the single.”
Says he, “take the book without any scruples, and as for the lettice
seed, I can recommend it, I think Josiah would relish it.”

Says I, “On them grounds I will accept of it, and thank you.”

As we parted at the door, in the innocence of conscious rectitude, we
shook hands, and says I, “Henceforth, Horace you will set up in a high
chair in my mind, higher than ever before. Of course, Josiah sets first
in my heart, and then his children, and then a few relations on my side,
and on his’en. But next to them you will always set, for you have been
weighed in the steelyards, and have been found not wantin’.”

He was to agitated to speak, I was awful agitated too. Our silver mounted
spectacles met each other in a last glance of noble, firm principled
sadness, and so Horace and I parted away from each other.


After I left Horace, I hastened on, for I was afraid I was behind time.
Bein’ a large hefty woman, (my weight is 200 and 10 pounds by the
steelyards now) I could not hasten as in former days when I weighed 100
pounds less. I was also encumbered with my umberell, my satchel bag, my
cap box and “What I know about Farming.” But I hastened on with what
speed I might. But alas! my apprehensions was too true, the cars had
gone. What was to be done? Betsey sat on her portmanty at the depott,
lookin’ so gloomy and depressted, that I knew that I could not depend
on her for sukker, I must rely onto myself. There are minutes that try
the sole, and show what timber it is built of. Not one trace of the wild
storm of emotions that was ragin’ inside of me, could be traced on my
firm brow, as Betsey looked up in a gloomy way and says,

“What are we going to do now?”

No, I rose nobly to meet the occasion, and said in a voice of marbel
calm, “I don’t know Betsey.” Then I sot down, for I was beat out. Betsey
looked wild, says she, “Josiah Allen’s wife I am sick of earth, the cold
heartless ground looks hollow to me. I feel jest reckless enough to dare
the briny deep.” Says she, in a bold darin’ way,

“Less go home on the canal.”

The canal boat run right by our house, and though at first I hung back
in my mind, thinkin’ that Josiah would never consent to have me face the
danger of the deep in the dead of the night, still the thought of stayin’
in New York village another night made me waver. And I thought to myself,
if Josiah knew jest how it was--the circumstances environin’ us all
round, and if he considered that my board bill would cost 3 dollars more
if I staid another night, I felt that he would consent, though it seemed
perilous, and almost hazardous in us. So I wavered, and wavered, Betsey
see me waver, and took advantage of it, and urged me almost warmly.

But I didn’t give my consent in a minute. I am one that calmly weighs any
great subject or undertakin’ in the ballances.

Says I, “Betsey have you considered the danger?” Says I, “The shore we
was born on, may sometimes seem tame to us, but safety is there.” Says
I, “more freedom may be upon the deep waters, but it is a treacherous
element. Says I, “I never, tempted its perils in my life, only on a

“Nor I neither,” says she. But she added in still more despairin’ tones,
“What do I care for danger? What if it is a treacherous element? What
have I got to live for in this desert life? And then,” says she, “the
captain of a boat here, is mother’s cousin, he would let us go cheap.”

Says I in awful deep tones of principle. “_I_ have got Josiah to live
for--and the great cause of Right, and the children. And I feel for their
sakes that I ought not to rush into danger.” But agin I thought of my
board bill, and agin I felt that Josiah would give his consent for me to
take the voyage.

Betsey had been to the village with her father on the canal, and she knew
the way, and suffice it to say, as the sun descended into his gory bed
in the west, its last light shone onto Betsey and me, a settin’ in the
contracted cabin of the canal boat.

We were the only females on board, and if it hadn’t been for Betsey’s
bein’ his relation, we couldn’t have embarked, for the bark was heavily
laden. The evening after we embarked, the boat sailin’ at the time under
the pressure of 2 miles an hour, a storm began to come up, I didn’t say
nothin’, but I wished I was a shore. The rain come down--the thunder
roared in the distance--the wind howled at us, I felt sad. I thought of

As the storm increased Betsey looked out of the window, and says she,

“Josiah Allen’s wife we are surrounded by dangers, one of the horses has
got the heaves, can you not heah him above the wild roah of the tempest?
And one of them is balky, I know it.” And liftin’ her gloomy eyes to the
ceilin’ so I couldn’t see much of ’em but the whites, says she, “Look at
the stove-pipe! see it sway in the storm, a little heavieh blast will
unhinge it. And what a night it would be for pirates to be abroad, and
give chase to us. But,” she continued, “my soul is in unison with the
wild fury of the elements. I feel like warbling one of the wild sea odes
of old,” and she begun to sing,

    “My name is Robert Kidd,
     As I sailed, as I sailed.
  My name is Robert Kidd, as I sailed.”

She sung it right through; I should say by my feelin’s, it took her
nigh on to an hour, though my sufferin’s I know blinded me, and made my
calculations of time less to be depended on than a clock. She sang it
through once, and then she began it agin, she got as far the second time
as this,

  My name is Robert Kidd,
  And so wickedly I did
  As I sailed, as I sailed,
  Oh! so wickedly I did
  As I sailed.

The cabin was dark, only lit by one kerosene lamp, with a chimbly dark
with the smoke of years. Her voice was awful; the tune was awful; I stood
it as long as I could seemin’ly, and says I, in agitated tones,

“I wouldn’t sing any more Betsey, if I was in your place.”

Alas! better would it have been for my piece of mind, had I let her
sing. For although she stopped the piece with a wild quaver that made me
tremble, she spoke right up, and says she,

“My soul seems mountin’ up and in sympathy with the scene. My spirit is
soarin’, and must have vent. Josiah Allen’s wife have you any objections
to my writin’ a poem. I have got seven sheets of paper in my portmanty.”

The spirit of my 4 fathers rose up in me and says I, firmly,

“When I come onto the deep, I come expectin’ to face trouble--I am
prepared for it,” says I, “a few verses more or less haint a goin’ to
overthrow my principles.”

She sot down by the table and began to take off her tow curls and
frizzles, I should think by a careless estimate that there was a six
quart pan full. And then she went to untwistin’ her own hair, which was
done up at the back side of her head in a little nubbin about as big as ½
a sweet walnut. Says she,

“I always let down my haih, and take out my teeth when I write poetry, I
feel moah free and soahing in my mind.” Says she in a sort of a apoligy
way, “Genious is full of excentricities, that seem strange to the
world’s people.”

Says I, calmly “You can let down, and take out, all you want to, I can
stand it.”

But it was a fearful scene. It was a night never to be forgot while
memory sets up on her high chair in my mind. Outside, the rain poured
down, overhead on deck, the wind shrieked at the bags and boxes,
threatenin’ ’em with almost an instant destruction. The stove pipe that
run up through the floor shook as if every blast would unjinte it, and
then the thought would rise up, though I tried to put it out of my head,
who would put it up again. One of the horses was balky, I knew, for I
could hear the driver swear at him. And every time he swore, I thought
of Josiah, and it kep’ him in my mind most all the time. Yes, the storm
almost raved outside, and inside, a still more depressin’ and fearful
sight to me--Betsey Bobbet sot with her few locks streamin’ down over her
pale and holler cheeks, for her teeth was out, and she wrote rapidly,
and I knew, jest as well as I know my name is Josiah Allen’s wife, that
I had got to hear ’em read. Oh! the anguish of that night! I thought of
the happy people on shore, in thier safe and peaceful feather beds, and
then on the treacherous element I was a ridin’ on, and then I thought of
Josiah. Sometimes mockin’ fancy would so mock at me that I could almost
fancy that I heard him snore. But no! cold reality told me that it was
only the heavey horse, or the wind a blowin’ through the stove pipe, and
then I would rouse up to the agonizin’ thought that I was at sea, far,
far from home and Josiah. And then a solemn voice would sometimes make
itself heard in my sole, “Mebby you never will hear him snore agin.” And
then I would sithe heavily.

And the driver on the tow path would loudly curse that dangerous animal
and the wind would howl ’round the boxes, and the stove pipe would
rattle, and Betsey would write poetry rapidly, and I knew I had got to
hear it. And so the tegus night wore away. Finally at ½ past 2, wore out
as I was with fateegue and wakefullness, Betsey ceased writin’ and says

“It is done! I will read them to you.”

I sithed so deeply that even Betsey almost trembled, and says she,

“Are you in pain, Josiah Allen’s wife?”

Says I, “only in my mind.”

“Wall,” says she, “It is indeed a fearful time. But somehow my soul exults
strangely in the perils environing us. I feel like courtin’ and keepin’
company with danger to-night. I feel as if I could almost dare to mount
that steed wildly careering along the tow path, if I only had a side
saddle. I feel like rushin’ into dangeh, I feel reckless to-night.”

Here the driver swore fearfully, and still more apaulin’ sight to me,
Betsey opened her paper and commenced readin’:



  The ground seems hollow unto me;
  Men’s vests but mask deep perfidee;
  My life has towered so hard and steep,
  I seek the wild and raging deep.

  Such knawing pains my soul doth rack,
  That even the wild horse on the track
  Doth madly prance, and snort and leap;
  Welcome the horrors of the deep.

  Oh, Jonesville! on that peaceful shoah,
  Methinks I’ll see thy towehs no moeh.
  When morn wakes happy, thoughtless sheep
  Betsey may slumbeh in the deep.

  If far from thee my bones are doomed,
  In these dark waves to be entoomed,
  Mermaids I hope will o’er her weep,
  Who drownded was, within the deep.

  Dear Augur hopes in ruin lays;
  My Ebineezah I could not raise;
  Deah lost gazelles, I can but weep,
  With gloomy eyes bent o’eh the deep.

  One Slimpsey star, whose name is Simon,
  Still twinkles faint, like a small sized diamond;
  Oh, star of hope, I sithe, I weep,
  Thou shinest so faint across the deep.

There was between 20 and 30 verses of ’em, but truly it is always the
darkest jest before daylight, for as she was a readin’ of ’em, I--a
leanin’ back in my chair--dropped off to sleep, and forgot my trouble.
Betsey also went to sleep before she read the last of ’em. And when I
waked up, the boat had stopped in front of our house, the wind had gone
down, the sun was a shinin’, and Josiah was comin’ down to the bank. The
danger was all past--Home and Josiah was mine agin. I grasped holt of his
hand as he helped me get off, and in a voice tremulous with feelin’s I
could not control I said,

“I have got home Josiah! is breakfast ready?”

There was a tenderness in his tone, and a happy smile on his face that
reminded me of the sweet days of our courtship, as he answered me in a
tone almost husky with emotion,

“Yes Samantha, all but settin’ the table.”

[Illustration: AT HOME.]

Says I, “I’m glad of it, for I’m dreadful hungry.”


It was a lovely Monday forenoon some three or four weeks after my voyage.
I was a sittin’ near the open back door enjoyin’ the pleasant prospect,
and also washin’ some new potatoes for dinner. Truly it was a fair
scene. The feathered hens was a singin’ in their innocent joy as they
scratched the yieldin’ turf after bugs and worms. Old “Hail the Day”
was proudly struttin’ round, standin’ first on one foot and then on the
other, and crowin’ joyfully in his careless freedom and glee. The breezes
blew sweetly from the west, and I thought with joy that my clothes on
the clothes line would be ready to iron by the time I got dinner out
of the way. The sun shone down out of a blue and cloudless sky, and I
looked pensively at my green gages, and thought fondly how the sun was a
ripenin’ ’em. All nature was peaceful and serene, and my mind as I gently
scraped the large fair potatoes, and thought how good they was goin’ to
be with the baked lamb I had got in the oven, was as peaceful and serene
as the same. Suddenly I heard the gate click to and I saw old Mr. Bobbet
comin’ up to the house. He seemed dreadfully agitated, and I could hear
him talkin’ to himself. He came right into the door and took his hat off
in one hand, holdin’ his crooked cane in the other and swung ’em both
over his head to once, and says he,

“It’s done! It’s done!”

“What’s done,” says I droppin’ my knife onto the floor.

“Betsey’s gone!” shouted he, and he run out the door like a luny.

I was a most skairt to death, and remained motionless nigh onto a minute,
when I heard Josiah comin’ in. Little did I dream what a blow was comin’
onto me. He come and stood right in front of me, and I thought at the
time, he looked at me dreadful curious, but I kep’ on a scrapin’ my
potatoes, (I had got ’em most done.)

Finally all at once Josiah spoke up and says he,

“Betsey Bobbett is married.”

I dropped the pan of potatoes right down onto the floor for I was as weak
as a weak white cat. “Who! Josiah Allen! who! is the man?”

“Simon Slimpsey,” says he, “They was married last night--as I was comin’
by the old cider mill----”

“I see all through it,” says I mournfully. “He and seven or eight of his
children have been sick, and Betsey would go and take care of ’em.”

“Yes,” says Josiah, “As I was comin’ past the old cider mill----”

Says I with spirit, “It ought to be looked into. He was a helpless old
man, and she has took the advantage of him.” I went on warmly, for I
thought of his gloomy fourbodin’s, and I always felt for the oppressted
and imposed upon. I had went on I presume as much as 2 minutes and a ½
when Josiah says he,

“I wouldn’t take on so about it Samantha, anybody to hear you talk would
think you was a perfect farrago.”

Says I, “If I was a goin’ to abuse my wife and call her names I would do
it accordin’ to grammar, you mean “virtigo” Josiah.”

“Wall I said virtigo, didn’t I?” Josiah never will own that he is in the

“And I didn’t say you _was_ a virtigo Samantha, only anybody would take
you for a virtigo, that didn’t know you.”

I remained almost lost in sad thoughts for pretty nigh ½ a minute, and
then I says, in mournful tones,

“Have you heard any of the particulars Josiah? Have you seen any of the
relatives? was the old man any more reconciled to the last?”

“Yes,” says Josiah, “As I was comin’ by the old cider mill--”

“Wall do for conscience sake _come_ by the old cider mill, and be done
with it,” says I, feelin’ worried out in my mind and by the side of

“How be I goin’ to _get_ by Samantha? you are so agravatin’, you’ll never
let me finish a story peacible, and I should think it was about dinner

“So ’tis,” says I, soothin’ly, hangin’ on the tea-kettle, and puttin’ the
potatoes over the stove in the summer kitchen. For a long and arduous
study of the sect has convinced me that good vittles are more healin’
than oil to pour onto a man’s lacerated feelin’s. And the same deep study
has warned me _never_ to get mad at the same time Josiah does, on these
2 great philisofical laws, hangs all the harmony of married life. Then I
stepped out onto the stoop agin, and says to him in calm, affectionate

“What is it about the old cider mill, Josiah?”

“Nothin’” says he, “Only I met one of the first mourners--I mean one of
old Slimpsey’s sisters there, and she told me about it, she said that
sense the Editer of the Auger was married, and sense Betsey had got back
from New York she had acted like a wild critter. She seemed to think it
was now or never. The awful doom of not bein’ married at all, seemed to
fall upon her, and craze her with wild horror. And findin’ Slimpsey who
was a weak sort of a man any way, and doubly weakened now by age and
inflamatory rheumatism, she went and took care of him, and got the upper
hand of him, made him a victim and married him, at his own house, Sunday
night at half past seven.”

I was so lost in sorrowful thought as Josiah continued the mournful tale,
that Josiah says, in a soothin’ tone,

“You ought to try to be reconciled to it Samantha, it seems to be the
Lord’s will that she should marry him.”

“I don’t believe in layin’ every mean low lived thing to the Lord,
Josiah, I lay this to Betsey Bobbet;” and I agin plunged down into gloomy
thought, and was roused only by his concludin’ words,

“Seems to me Samantha, you might have a few griddle cakes, the bread--I
see this mornin’--was gettin’ kinder dry.”

Mechanically I complied with his request, for my thoughts wasn’t there,
they was with the afflicted, and down trodden.

One week after this I was goin’ up the post office steps, and I come face
to face with Simon Slimpsey. He had grown 23 years older durin’ the past
week. But he is a shiftless, harmless critter hurtin’ himself more’n
any body else. He was naturally a small boned man. In the prime of his
manhood he might have come up to Betsey’s shoulders, but now withered by
age and grief the highest hat was futile to bring him up much above her
belt ribbon. He looked sad indeed, my heart bled for him. But with the
instinctive delicacy inherient to my sect, I put on a jokeuler tone, and
says I, as I shook hands with him,

“How do you do, Simon? I hain’t seen you before, sense you was married,
Simon Slimpsey.”

He looked at me almost wildly in the face, and says he in a despairin’

“I knew it would come to this, Miss Allen! I knew it. I told you how it
would be, you know I did. She always said it was her spear to marry, I
knew I should be the one, I always was the one.”

“Don’t she use you well, Simon Slimpsey?”

“She is pretty hard on me,” says he. “I hain’t had my way in anything
sense the day she married me. She begun to ‘hold my nose to the
grindstone,’ as the saying is, before we had been married 2 hours. And
she hain’t no housekeeper, nor cook, I have had to live on pancakes most
of the time sense it took place, and they are tougher than leather; I
have been most tempted to cut some out of my boot legs to see if they
wouldn’t be tenderer, but I never should hear the end of it, if I did.
She jaws me awfully, and orders me round as if I was a dog, a yeller
dog--” he added despairin’ly, “if I was a yeller dog, she couldn’t seem
to look down on me any more, and treat me any worse.”

Says I, “I always did mistrust these wimmen that talk so much about not
wantin’ any rights, and clingin’ and so forth. But,” says I, not wantin’
to run anybody to thier backs, “she thought it was her spear to marry.”

“I told you,” says he, in agonizin’ tones, “I told you that spear of
hern would destroy me, and it has.”

He looked so sorrowful that I says to him in still more jokeuler tones
than I had yet used, “Chirk up Simon Slimpsey, I wish you joy.” I felt
that he needed it indeed. He give me an awful look that was jest about
half reproach, and half anguish, and I see a tear begin to flow. I turned
away respectin’ his feelin’s. As he went down the steps slowly, I see
him put his hands in his pockets, as if searchin’ for his handkerchief,
seemin’ly in vain. But he had on a long blue broadcloth swallow tailed
coat that he was married in the first time long years ago, and as he went
round the corner he took up the skirts of his coat and wiped his eyes. I
said to myself with a deep sithe, “And this is woman’s only spear.” And
the words awakened in my breast as many as 19 or 20 different emotions,
and I don’t know but more.

I murmured mewsin’ly to myself, “It seems to me, if I was a woman I
should about as lives be a constable.”

While I was still mewsin’, Betsey, his wife tore down the street, in a
distracted way, and paused before me.

“Have you seen my husband?” says she, “can you tell a distracted
wife--have you seen her husband Simon Slimpsey?”

She looked wild, as if she feared a catastrophe, and she cried out,
loosin’ holt of her self control, in a firm constable like tone,

“He shall not escape me! I will telegraph to the next station house! I
will have the creek dragged! the woods shall be scoured out!” says she.

“Be calm, and compose yourself,” says I frigidly, “Simon Slimpsey has
gone up towards his house.”

She heaved a deep sithe of content, and triumph agin brooded down upon
her eye-brow as she follered on after him.

I hadn’t no idee of callin’ on her, I wouldn’t, but the next day, Simon
Slimpsey went by on his old white horse. It is a very dejected lookin’
horse in the face, besides carryin’ a couple of wash-boards in its sides,
in the line of ribs. Thomas Jefferson says, “What gives it its mournful
expression, it is mournin’ for the companions of its youth.” Says he,
“you know Noah saved a pair of everything,” and says he, “his poor
companion passed away several thousand years ago.” That boy worrys me,
I don’t know what he is comin’ to. Slimpsey’s old horse haint more’n 35
or 40 years old, I don’t believe. They say Betsey is makin’ a pale blue
cambric ridin’ dress, and is goin’ to ride him a horse back this fall. It
don’t seem to me there would be much fun in it, he is so lame, besides
havin’ a habit of fallin’ frequently with the blind staggers; howsomever
it’s none of my business.

But as I was a sayin’ I stood silently in the door, to see old Slimpsey
go by a horseback, and I thought to myself as I pensively turned out my
tea grounds, (I was a gettin’ dinner) how much--how much it looks like
a night mare that has broke out of its lawful night pastures, and is
runnin’ away with a pale and harassed victim. So haggard and melancholy
did they both look. And I sithed. I hadn’t much more’n got through
sithin’, when he rode up, and says he,

“The seventh boy is worse, and the twin girls are took down with it, it
would be a melankoly pleasure Miss Allen if you could go up.” I went.

Betsey had got the most of ’em to sleep, and was settin’ between a few
cradles, and trundle beds, and high chairs all filled with measles, and a
few mumps. Betsey’s teeth was out, and her tow frizzles lay on the table
with a lot of paper--so I mistrusted she had been writin’ a poem. But
she was now engaged in mendin’ a pair of pantaloons, the 8th pair--she
told me--she had mended that day, for Simon Slimpsy was a poor man, and
couldn’t afford to buy new ones. They was a hard and mournful lookin’
pair, and says I to her--in a tone in which pity and contempt was blended
about half and half--

“Betsey are you happy?”

“I am at rest,” says she, “more at rest than I have been for years.”

“Are you happy?” says I, lookin’ keenly at her.

“I feel real dignified,” says she, “There isn’t no use in a woman trying
to be dignified till she is married, for she can’t. I have tried it
and I know. I can truly say Josiah Allen’s wife, that I neveh knew what
dignity was, until one week ago last Sunday night at half past seven in
the evenin’,” says she, turnin’ over the pantaloons, and attactin’ a
ghastly hole of about 7 by 9 dimensions in the left knee.

I sot silently in my chair like a statute, while she remarked thus, and
as she paused, I says to her agin, fixing my mild but stern grey eyes
upon her weary form, bendin’ over the dilapitated folds of the 8th.

“Are you happy Betsey?”

“I have got something to lean on,” says she.

I thought of the fragile form bendin’ over the lean and haggard horse,
and totterin’ away, withered by age and grief, in the swallow tailed
coat, and says I in a pityin’ accent,

“Don’t lean too hard Betsey.”

“Why?” says she.

Says I, in a kind of a blind way, “You may be sorry if you do,” and then
I says to her in clear and piercin’ accents these words,

“Do you love your husband Betsey?”

“I don’t think love is necessary,” says she, “I am married, which is
enough to satisfy any woman who is more or less reasonable, that is the
main and important thing, and as I have said, love and respect, and so
forth are miners as--”

“Miners!” says I in a tone of deep indignity, “Miners! Betsey Bobbet--”

“Mrs Betsey Bobbet Slimpsey,” says she correctin’ of me proudly, as she
attacted another mournful lookin’ hole as big as my two hands,

“Well! Betsey Slimpsey!” says I, beginnin’ agin, and wavin’ my right
hand in a eloquent wave, “There hain’t no more beautiful sight on earth
than to see two hunan soles, out of pure love to each other, gently
approachin’ each other, as if they must. And at last all thier hopes
and thoughts, and affections runnin’ in together, so you can’t seperate
’em nohow, jest like two drops of rain water, in a mornin’ glory blow.
And to see ’em nestlin’ there, not carin’ for nobody outside the blow,
contented and bound up in each other, till the sun evaporates ’em, (as it
were) and draws ’em up together into the heaven, not seperatin’ of ’em up
there--why such a marriage as that is a sight that does men and angels
good to look at. But when a woman sells herself, swaps her purity, her
self respect, her truth, and her sole, for barter of any kind, such as a
house and lot, a few thousand dollars, the name of bein’ married, a horse
and buggy, some jewellry, and etcetery, and not only sells herself, but
worse than the Turk wimmen goes round herself, huntin’ up a buyer, crazy,
wild eyed, afraid she won’t find none--when she does find one, suppose
she does have a minister for salesman, my contempt for that female is

Betsey still looked so wrapped up in dignity, as she bravely attacted the
seat of another pair of trousers, that it fairly made me mad. Insted of
that proud and triumphant mean I wanted her to look some stricken, and I
resumed in a tone of indignaty, almost burnin’ enough to set fire to her

“Nor I don’t want these wimmen that have sold themselves for a
certificate with a man’s name on it--I don’t want to hear ’em talk about
infamy; haint they infamous themselves? What have they done different
from these other bad wimmen, only they have got a stiddy place, and a
little better wages, such as respectability in the eyes of fools and
etcetery. Do you suppose that a woman standin’ up in front of a minister
and tellin’ a few pesky lies, such as, ‘I promise to love a man I hate,
and respect a man that hain’t respectable, and honor and obey a man I
calculate to make toe the mark’--do you suppose these few lies makes
her any purer in the eyes of God, than if she had sold herself without
tellin’ ’em, as the other infamous wimmen did? Not any. Marriage is like
baptism, as I have said more’n a hundred times, you have got to have the
inward grace and the outward form to make it lawful and right. What good
does the water do, if your sole haint baptised with the love of God? It
haint no better than fallin’ into the creek.”

I paused, spotted in the face from conflictin’ emotions, and Betsey begun
in a haughty triumphant tone,

“Woman’s speah--”

Which words and tone combined with recollections of the aged sufferer in
the blue swallow tailed coat, so worked on my indignation, that I walked
out of the house without listenin’ to another word, and put on my bunnet
out in the door yard.

But I hollered back to her from the bars--for Josiah Allen’s wife haint
one to desert duty in any crisis--“that the four youngest boys ought to
be sweat, and take some saffern tea, and I should give the five girls,
and the twins, some catnip, and I’d let the rest of ’em be, till the
docter come.”

I haint seen Betsey since, for she is havin’ a hard time of it. She has
to work like a dog. For Simon Slimpsey bein’ so poor, and not bein’ no
calculator, it makes it hard for ’em to get along. And the old man seems
to have lost what little energy he had, since he was married, Betsey is
so hard on him. He has the horrors awfully. Betsey takes in work, but
they have a hard time to get along. Miss Gowdey says that Betsey told her
that she didn’t mind workin’ so hard, but she did hate to give up writin’
poetry, but she didn’t get no time for it. So as is generally the case, a
great good to the world has come out of her sufferin’.

I guess she haint wrote but one piece sense she was married and they was
wrote I suppose the day I ketched her with her teeth out, for they come
out in the next week’s Gimlet, for just as quick as the Editor of the
Auger was married, Betsey changed her politix and wrote agin as formally
for the Gimlet.

The following are some of the verses she wrote:


  A Him of Victory.


  Fate, I defy thee! I have vanquished thee, old maid.
  Dost ask why thus, this proud triumphant brow?
  I answer thee, old Fate, with loud and joyful burst
  Of blissful laughteh, I am married now!

  Once grief did rave about my lonely head;
  Once I did droop, as droops a drooping willow bough;
  Once I did tune my liah to doleful strains;
  ’Tis past! ’tis past my soul! I am married now!

  Then, sneering, venomed darts pierced my lone, lone heart;
  Then, mocking married fingers dragged me low,
  But now I tune my liah to sweet extatic strains,
  My teahs have all been shed, _I_ am married now!

  No gossip lean can wound me by her speech,
  I, no humilitatin’ neveh more shall know;
  Sorrow, stand off! I am beyond thy ghastly reach,
  For Mrs. Betsey Slimpsey (formerly Bobbet) is married now!

  Oh, mournful past, when I in Ingun file
  Climbed single life’s, bleak, rocky, mounten’s brow,
  Blest lot! that unto wedlock’s glorious glade
  Hath led me. Betsey’s married now!

  Oh female hearts with anxious longings stirred,
  Cry Ho! for wimmen’s speah, and seal it with a vow,
  Take Mrs. Betsey Bobbet Slimpsey’s word
  That thou shalt triumph! _I_ am married now!

  Yes, Betsey’s married! sweet to meditate upon it,
  To tune my happy liah with haughty, laughing brow
  To these sweet, glorious words, the burden of my sonnet,
  That Mrs. Betsey Bobbet Slimpsey’s married now!


When the news come to me that Horace Greely was dead I almost cried. The
tears did just run down my face like rain-water, I don’t know when I have
come nearer cryin’ than I did then. And my first thought was, they have
tried awful hard to keep him out of the White House, but he has got into
one whiter than any they have got in Washington, D. C. And then my very
next thought was, Josiah Allen’s wife did you say anything to hurt that
man’s feelin’s, when you was a tryin’ to influence him on your tower?

I believe if folks would only realize how every harsh word, and cold look
they stab lovin’ hearts with, would just turn round like bayonets, and
pierce their own heart in a time like this--they would be more careful
how they handled ’em. But glad enough was I to think that I didn’t say a
hard word to him, but had freed my mind, and told him jest how good I
thought he was, and how much he had done for the Black African, and the
Human Race, before it was too late. Glad enough was I that I didn’t wait
till that noble heart was cold and lifeless, and couldn’t be pained by
unkindness, or made gladder by sympathy, before I gin him mine.

But in the time of trouble, the love that had been his best reward for
all the successes of his hard workin’ life, had gone from him. And I
know jest how that great heart ached for that love and sympathy. I know
jest how poor the praise of the world would have looked to him, if he
couldn’t have seen it a shinin’ through them lovin’ eyes--and how hard
it was for him to bear its blame alone. Tired out, defeated the world
called him, but he only had to fold his hands, and shet his eyes up and
he was crowned with success in that world where He, who was once rejected
by a majority, crowned with thorns of earthly defeat waits now to give
the crown of Eternal Repose to all true souls, all the weary warriors on
life’s battle field who give their lives for the right. And it seemed so
kinder beautiful too, to think that before she he loved so, hardly had
time to feel strange in them a “many mansions,” he was with her agin, and
they could keep house together all through Eternity.

Yet,--though as I say, I don’t know when I have come so near cryin’ as
I did then--I said to myself as I wiped my eyes on my apron, I wouldn’t
call him back from that happy rest he had earnt so well if I could.

But there are other things that are worrysome to me, and make me a sight
of trouble. It was a day or 2 after this, and I was settin’ alone, for
Josiah had gone to mill, and Thomas Jefferson and Maggy Snow and Tirzah
Ann and Whitfield Minkley had gone a slay ridin’, (them two affairs is
in a flourishin’ condition and it is _very_ aggreeable to Josiah and
me, though I make no matches, nor break none--or that is, I don’t make
none, only by talkin’ in a encouragin’ manner, nor break none only with
thoroughwert in a mild way).

I sot all alone, a cuttin’ carpet rags, and a musin’ sadly. Victory in
jail! And though I felt that she richly deserved it, and I should liked
to have shut her up myself in our suller way, for darin’ to slander
Beecher, still to me who knows her sect so well, it seemed kinder hard
that a woman should be where she couldn’t go a visatin’. And then to
think the good talkin’ to, I give her when I was on my tower hadn’t
ammounted to nothin’, seemin’ly. I wasn’t sorry I had labored with
her--not a mite, I had did my duty anyway. And I knew jest as well as I
know that my name was formally Smith, that when anybody is a workin’ in
the Cause of Right, they hadn’t ought to be discouraged if they didn’t
get their pay down, for you can’t sow your seeds and pick your posys
the same day anyway. And I know that great idees was enough sight harder
to get rooted and a growin’ than the Century plant, and that takes a
hundred years for it to blow out.

I know all this, but human nater gets kinder tired a waitin’, and there
seems no end to the snows that lay between us and that summer that all
earnest souls are a workin’ for. And then I want my sect to do right,--I
want ’em to be real respectable, and I felt that take Victory all
together she wasn’t a orniment to it. I thought of my sect, and then I
thought of Victory, and then I sithed. Beecher a bein’ lied about, Tilton
ditto and the same, for you see _I_ don’t nor won’t believe what Victory
says against ’em, although they don’t come out and deny the truth of it,
either of ’em, just to satisfy some folks who say that they ought to.
Miss Anthony havin’ a hard tussle of it at Rochester.

Whitfield Minkley had told me too that day that Miss Aster didn’t keep
tavern herself, and there I had had all my trouble about her for nothin’,
demeanin’ myself by offerin’ to wash dishes for--I know not who. And to
think that Jonothan Beans’es ex-wife should have deceived me so, when
I befriended her so much when she first went to grass. And then when I
thought how all the good advice I had given Victory hadn’t done her no
good, and how Mr. Greely had died, before the seeds I sowed in his bosom
on the great question of Wimmen’s Rights had sprouted and brought forth
fruit, when I see my tower had been in vain, say nothin’ of the money it
cost, oh! how holler the world looked to me, it almost seemed as if it
would break in and let me through, rockin’ chair and all.

As I sot there a mewsin’ over it, and a cuttin’ my rags, I almost made up
my mind that I would have the dark stripe in my carpet black as a coal,
the whole on it, a sort of mournin’ stripe. But better feelin’s got up
inside of my mind, and I felt that I would put in my but’nut color rather
than waste it.

Yet oh how holler and onstiddy everything looked to me; who could I
trust, whose apron string could I cling to, without expectin’ it would
break off short with me? For pretty nigh 2 minutes and a half I had
the horrors almost as bad as Simon Slimpsey, (he has ’em now every day
stiddy, Betsey is so hard on him), but oh how sweetly in that solemn time
there came to me the thought of Josiah. Yes, on that worrysome time I
can truly say that Josiah Allen was my theme, and I thought to myself,
there may be handsomer men than he is, and men that weigh more by the
steelyards, but there hain’t one to be found that has heftier morals,
or more well seasoned principles than he has. Yes, Josiah Allen was my
theme, I felt that I could trust my Josiah. I guess I had got mewsin’
agin on jails and wickedness, and so 4th, for all of a sudden the thought
knocked aginst my heart,

“What if Josiah Allen should go to cuttin’ up, and behavin’?”

I wouldn’t let the thought in, I ordered it out. But it kep’ a hangin’

“What if your Josiah should go to cuttin’ up?”

I argued with it; says I to myself, I guess I know Josiah Allen, a
likelier man never trod shoe leather. I know him like a book.

But then thinks’es I--what strange critters men and wimmin be. Now you
may live with one for years, and think you know every crook and turn in
that critter’s mind, jest like a book; when lo! and behold! all of a
sudden a leaf will be turned over, that had been glued together by some
circumstance or other, and there will be readin’ that you never set eyes
on before. Sometimes it is in an unknown tongue--sometimes it is good
readin’, and then again, it is bad. Oh how gloomy and depressted I was.
But Josiah Allen’s wife haint one to give up to the horrers without a
tussle, and though inwardly so tosted about, I rose up and with a brow of
calm, I sot my basket of carpet rags behind the door, and quietly put on
the tea-kettle, for it was about time for Josiah to come.

Then I looked round to see if there was anything I could do to make
it look more pleasant than it did for Josiah Allen when he came home
cold and tired from the Jonesville mill. It never was my way to stand
stun still in the middle of the floor and smile at him from half to
three-quarters of an hour. Yet it was always my idee that if a woman
can’t make home the pleasantest spot in the world for her husband, she
needn’t complain if he won’t stay there any more than he can help. I
believe there wouldn’t be so many men a meanderin’ off nights into
grog shops, and all sorts of wickedness, if they had a bright home and
a cheerful companion to draw ’em back, (not but what men have to be
corrected occasionally, I have to correct Josiah every little while.) But
good land! It is all I can do to get Josiah Allen and Thomas Jefferson
out of the house long enough to mop.

I looked round the room, as I said, but not a thing did I see that I
could alter for the better; it was slick as a pin. The painted floor
was a shinin’ like yaller glass, (I had mopped jest before dinner.) The
braided mats, mostly red and green, was a layin’ smooth and clean in
front of the looking-glass, and before the stove, and table. Two or three
pictures, that Thomas Jefferson had framed, hung up aginst the wall,
which was papered with a light colored buff ground work with a red rose
on it. The lounge and two or three rockin’ chairs was cushioned with
handsome copper plate. And Tirzah Ann had got a hangin’ basket of ivy
on the west winder that made that winder look like summer. I’ll bet her
canary hangin’ there in the thickest of the green leaves, thought it was
summer, he sang like it. The stove hearth shone like a silver dollar, and
there was a bright fire, and in a minute the tea-kettle began to sing
most as loud as Whitey, that is her canary’s name. (I mistrust she named
it in that kinder underhanded way, after Whitfield Minkley--though I
never let her know I mistrusted it, but I never could think of any other
earthly reason why she should call it Whitey, for it is as yaller as any
goslin’ I ever laid eyes on.)

I felt that I couldn’t alter a thing round the house for the better. But
as I happened to glance up into the lookin’-glass, I see that although
I looked well, my hair was slick and I had on a clean gingham dress, my
brown and black plaid, still I felt that if I should pin on one of Tirzah
Ann’s bows that lay on the little shelf under the lookin’-glass I might
look more cheerful and pleasant in the eyes of my companion Josiah. I
haint made a practice of wearin’ bows sense I jined the meetin’-house.
And then agin I felt that I was too old to wear ’em. Not that I felt
bad about growin’ old. If it was best for us to have summer all the
year round, I know we should have it. As I have said to Josiah Allen
more’n once when he got kinder doun hearted, says I, Josiah Allen look
up where the stars are shinin’ and tell me if you think that with all
them countless worlds, with all that wealth in His hands, and His lovin’
heart, the Lord begruches anything that is for His children’s good. No! I
am willin’ to take God’s year as it comes, summer and winter.

And then do you s’pose I would if I could by turning my hand over, go
back into my youth agin, and leave Josiah part way down hill alone? No!
the sunshine and the mornin’ are on the other side of the hill, and we
are goin’ down into the shadders, my pardner Josiah and me. But we will
go like Mr. and Mrs. Joseph John, that Tirzah Ann sings about--

  “Hand in hand we’ll go
   And we’ll sleep together at the foot.”

knowing that beyond them shadders is the sunshine of God’s Great Mornin’.

As I said, I don’t make a practice of wearin’ bows, and this bein’ fire
red, I should have felt a awful backslidin’ feelin’ about wearin’ it, if
I hadn’t felt that principle was upholdin’ me.

Then I drawed out the table, and put on a clean white table-cloth, and
begun to set it. I had some good bread and butter, I had baked that day,
and my bread was white as snow, and light as day, some canned peaches,
and some thin slices of ham as pink as a rose, and a strawberry pie,--one
of my cans had bust that day, and I made ’em up into pies. And then I
brought up some of my very best cake, such as I keep for company--fruit
cake, and delicate cake. And then after I had put on a great piece of
white honey in a glass dish, and some cheese that was like cream for
richness, the table looked well.

I had got the table all set, and had jest opened the door to see if he
was a comin’, when lo! and behold! there he stood on the doorstep--he had
come and put his horses out before I see him. He looked awful depressted,
and before he got the snow half off’en his boots, says he:

“That new whip I bought the other day is gone Samantha. Some feller stole
it while I was gettin’ my grist ground.”

Says I, “Josiah I have been a mewsin’ on the onstiddiness, and wickedness
of the world all day, and now that whip is gone. What is the world a
comin’ to, Josiah Allen?”

Josiah is a man that don’t say much, but things wear on him. His face
looked several inches longer than it usially did, and he answered in a
awful depressted tone:

“I don’t know, Samantha, but I do know, that I am as hungry as a bear.”

“Wall,” says I, soothingly, “I thought you would be, supper’s all on the

He stepped in, and the very minute that man ketched sight of that
cheerful room, and that supper table, that man smiled. And it wasn’t
a sickly, deathly smile either, it was a smile of deep inward joy and
contentment. And says he in a sweet tone, “it seems to me you have got a
awful good supper to-night, Samantha.”

As I see that smile, and looked into that honest beamin’ face, I jest
turned out them gloomy forebodin’s about him, out of my heart, the whole
caboodle of ’em, and shet the door in their faces. But I controlled my
voice, till it sounded like a perfect stranger to me, and says I:

“Don’t I always get good suppers, Josiah Allen?”

“Yes,” says he, “and good dinners and breakfess’es, too. I will say this
for you, Samantha, there haint a better cook in Jonesville, than you be,
nor a woman that makes a pleasanter home.” And he went on placidly, as he
stood there with his back to the fire a warmin’ him, a lookin’ serenely
round that bright warm room, and ont’ that supper table.

“There haint no place quite so good as home, is there, Samantha? haint
supper about ready?”


Says I, firmly, “The Cause of Right, and the Good of the Human Race will
ever be dear to the soul of her who was formally Samantha Smith. But at
the same time that don’t hender me from thinkin’ a sight of my home, and
from gettin’ good suppers. It will be ready, Josiah, jest as quick as the
tea is steeped, I didn’t want to make it till you come, for bilein’ jest
spiles that last tea you got,” and I went on in tones as firm as Plymouth
Rock, yet as tender as a spring chicken.

“As I have said more’n a hundred times, if it is spelt right there haint
another such a word as home in the English language. The French can’t
spell it at all, and in my opinion that is jest what makes ’em so light
minded and onstiddy. If it is spelt wrong, as in the case of Bobbet and
Slimpsey, it means the horrors, and the very worst kinds of discomfort
and misery. In fact love is the only school-master, that can put out that
word worth a cent. And if it is put out by him, and spelt, for instance,
by a couple who have loved each other for goin’ on fifteen years, with a
firm and almost cast iron affection, why it stands for peace and rest and
comfort, and is the plainest picture God has give us below, kinder as we
put painted pictures in children’s story books, of that great Home above,
where the colors won’t never rub off of the picture, and the peace and
the rest are everlasting.”

I had been real eloquent, I knew it, and Josiah knew it, for that man
looked awful kinder earnest and serene like. He was silent for mebby half
or three quarters of a minute, and then he said in calm, gentle tones:

“I guess I’ll carry the grist up stairs before supper, Samantha, and have
it done with.”

There haint a lazy hair in that man’s head, and for that matter there
haint many of any kind, either smart or shiftless, he grows bald every
day, not that I blame him for it.

He came down stairs, and we sot down to the table, happy as a king and
queen, for all the old world was a caperin’ and cuttin’ up as if it would
go crazy. The little blackslidin’ feelin’ about wearin’ that fire red bow
died away too, as ever and anon, and I don’t know but oftener, I would
look up and ketch the eye of my companion Josiah bent on me in a pleasant
and sort of a admirin’ way. That bow was becomin’ to me I knew. For as
Josiah passed me his cup for his second cup of tea, (no dishwatery stuff,
I can tell you) he says:[1]

“I don’t see what makes you look so young and handsome, to-night,
Samantha, I believe I shall have to go to courtin’ you over agin.”

And I answered him in the same aggreable accents, “I don’t know as the
law could touch you for it Josiah if you did.”

[1] See Frontispiece.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "My Opinions and Betsey Bobbet's - Designed as a Beacon of Light to Guide Women to Life Liberty - and the Pursuit of Happiness, But Which May Be Read by - Members of the Sterner Sect without Injury to Themselves - or the Book" ***

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