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Title: Betsey Bobbett - A Drama
Author: Holley, Mariettta
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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                            BETSEY BOBBETT.

                                A DRAMA.

                       SCENES DRAWN FROM THE BOOK
                    My Opinions and Betsey Bobbett’s


                                   BY
                          JOSIAH ALLEN’S WIFE.


                            MARIETTA HOLLEY.


   Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1880 by MARIETTA
     HOLLEY, in the office of Librarian of Congress at Washington.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                CONTENTS


                           DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.
                           ACT I.
                           ACT II.
                           ACT III.
                           ACT IV.
                           ACT V.
                           ACT VI.



                           DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.


 JOSIAH ALLEN, a farmer,
 SAMANTHA, his wife,
 TIRZAH ANN, farmer’s daughter,
 THOMAS JEFFERSON, farmer’s son,
 BETSEY BOBBETT, an old maid,
 SHAKESPEARE BOBBETT, Betsey’s brother,
 DOCTOR BOMBUS,
 WIDDER DOODLE,
 SOPHRONIA GOWDY,
 ELDER PEEDICK,
 EDITOR OF JONESVILLE “AUGUR,”
 SIMON SLIMPSEY, a widower,
 WIDOW TUBBS,
 THE PEDDLER.



                            BETSEY BOBBETT.



                                 ACT I.


  SCENE.—_Monday at the Allen’s.—Mrs. Allen kneading bread. Tirzah Ann
    washing at the washtub.—Widder Doodle picking over beans.—Elder
    Peedick sitting in the corner arranging a book of manuscript
    sermons._

WID. D. Oh how much these beans makes me think of Doodle. He died,
Doodle did, and was a corpse just as quick as he died; but I never can
forget that dear man, nor his linement never. And it hain’t no ways
likely that I shall ever marry agin’.

SAM. Cheer up, Widder Doodle, cheer up. You’ll disturb the Elder, and he
wants to get his sermons all pinned together before he starts; and
Josiah is out after the horse now. I am glad you stayed over Sunday with
us Elder.

ELDER. I thank you, Madam. (_He goes on with his work, speaking to
himself_): Let me see, where is the 20thly?

WID. D. Could you forget your Josiah, if you lived to be his relict?

SAM. No; I loved Josiah Allen, though why I loved him, I know not. But
in the immortal words of the poet, “Love will go where it is sent.” Yes,
Tirzah Ann, I married your pa in mother’s parlor, on the 14th day of
June, in a brown silk dress with a long boddist waist, from pure love.
And that love has been like a beacon in our pathway ever since. Its pure
light, though it has sputtered some, and in trying times, such as
washing days and cleaning house, has burnt down pretty low—has never
gone out. Tirzah Ann, look at your father’s wristbands and collar, and
see if you can see any streaks of white on ’em. Now Tirzah Ann, you are
inclined to be sentimental. You took it from your pa. Josiah Allen, if
he was encouraged, would act spoony. I remember when we were first
engaged he called me a little angel. I just looked at him and says I, I
weigh 204 pounds by the stillyards; and he didn’t call me so agin. I
guess he tho’t 204 pounds would make a pretty hefty angel. No, Tirzah
Ann, sentiment hain’t my style; reason and common sense are my themes.
Now there is Betsey Bobbett: she is one of the sentimentolest creeters
that ever I did see. She is awful opposed to women’s rights. She says it
looks so sweet and genteel, somehow, for wimmin to not have any rights.
She says it is wimmen’s only spear to marry. But as yet she hain’t found
any man willin’ to lay hold of that spear with her. But she is always a
talking about how sweet it is for wimmin to be like runnin’ vines, a
clingin’ to man like ivy to a tree.

ELDER. (_in a stately way_) Them are my sentiments, Mrs. Allen. As I
remarked yesterday in my tenthly, “Marriage is wimmen’s only spear.” And
as I remarked in my fourteenthly, “How sweet, how heavenly the sight, to
see a lovely woman clinging like a sweet, twining, creeping vine to a
man’s manly strength.”

WID. D. It is pretty to see it; I love to cling; I used to cling to
Doodle.

ELDER. I wish I had known Doodle; he must have been a happy man.

SAM. But, Elder, how is a woman to cling if she hain’t nothin’ to cling
to. What are the wimmen to do whose faces are as humbly as a plate of
cold greens? Is such a woman to go out into the street and collar a man
and order him to marry her? Now I say a woman hadn’t ort to marry unless
she has a man to marry to—a man whose love satisfies her head and her
heart; some men’s love hain’t worth nothin’. I wouldn’t give a cent a
bushel for it by the car load. But I mean a man that suits her; a man
she seems to belong to, just like North and South America jined by
nater, unbeknown to them ever since creation. She’ll know him if she
ever sees him, jest as I knew my Josiah, for their two hearts will suit
each other jest like the two halves of a pair of shears. These are the
marriages heaven signs the certificuts 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.

ELDER. I can only repeat what I said yesterday in my 21stly. That it is
flyin’ in the face of the Bible for a woman not to marry. It is heaven’s
design that women should be a vine, and man a tree.

WID. D. I always thought my Doodle was a tree. I knew he was.

SAM. Well Elder, your wife is jest dead with the tyfus, and I ask you
this queston. Are you willing to let Betsey Bobbett cling to you? She
believes jest as you do, and she is fairly dying to make a runnin’ vine
of herself; and are you willing to be a tree?

ELDER. Wall—as it were—Mrs. Allen—I—that is—the religious state of the
country at present is—as it were—

SAM. Are you willing to be a tree?

ELDER. I believe Mrs. Allen you are a strong Grant woman. Now I favor
Blaine.

SAM. Are you willing to be a tree?

ELDER. I guess I’ll go to the barn and get my saddle bags.

                             _Exit_ ELDER.

SAM. I knew jest how it would be; I knew he wouldn’t be a tree.

TIRZ. A. Wall; I don’t blame him mother. You ought to have seen Betsey
last night to meetin’. She got up to talk, and she would look right at
Elder Peedick, and then at the editor of the _Augur_, and at Simon
Slimpsey, and says she: I know I am religious because I feel that I love
the bretheren. I don’t blame him.

SAM. No, nor I nuther. I don’t want a man to be a tree, unless they want
to, and I want them to use reason and not insist on every woman makin’ a
vine of herself. But the Elder means middlin’ well, and he’d make a
tolerable good husband for some woman.

WID. D. It haint no ways likely I shall ever marry again. No other man’s
linement can ever look to me like my Doodle’s linement.

SAM. But the Elder has belated us dreadfully with our Monday’s work.
Here it is most night and we have only fairly got to work. But we can
finish it in the morning. Yes, as I was a saying Tirzah Ann, Betsey
hain’t handsome, her cheek bones are too high, and she, being not much
more than skin and bone, they show more than if she was in good order.
Time has seen fit to deprive her of her hair and teeth, but her large
nose he has kindly suffered her to keep. I have seen a good many that
was sentimental that had it bad; but Betsey has got it the worst of
anybody I ever did see, unless it is her brother Shakespeare, and he
acts as spoony round you, Tirzah Ann, as any spoon on my buttery
shelves. It worrys me.

WID D. My Doodle used to act spoony, as spoony as—as a teaspoon.

SAM. Wall if I thought there was any danger, Tirzah Ann, of you falling
in love with Shakespeare Bobbett, I’d give you a good thoroughwort puke.
That will cure most anybody if you take it in time.

TIRZ. A. Wall, I guess there hain’t no chance, mother.

SAM. Wall, mabby not. Now you wring the clothes out, Tirzah Ann, and
hang ’em right up here on the line.

TIRZ. A. They will look awfully, mother, hangin’ up here. We shall look
as if we was settin’ in a wet calico tent.

SAM. I don’t care, Tirzah Ann, we are so beat out we shall go to bed as
soon as it is dark.

TIRZ. A. We shall have to any way, for father forgot to take the
kerosine can, and there hain’t a lamp in the house that we can light.
But oh, dear, how it does look here, mother. I never in my hull life see
our house look as it does to-night. It would mortify me most to death if
any body should come in.

SAM. Wall, there hain’t no danger of anybody comin’ Monday; and we will
slick up the first thing in the morning. But bein’ up all night with
Thomas Jefferson, and then havin’ to wait on the Elder, and doin’ our
Monday’s work in the atternoon, has about used me up, and if you think
you can finish up Tirzah Ann, I will soak my feet and go to bed. I am
afraid I am goin’ to be awful sick. I feel sick to my stomach all of a
sudden, and every bit of noise goes through my head like a sword.

WID. D. Let me get you some warm water, Samantha. Here, put your feet
right into it; and here, put your night-cap on. Oh dear me, how much
that sickness to the stomach makes me think of Doodle. Do you feel
better, Samantha?

SAM. I shan’t feel any better till I get to bed.

                            _Enter_ JOSIAH.

TIRZ. A. Why, what is the matter father?

JOSIAH (_groaning_). Oh! I have been took with a dumb creek in my back.
Give me some of that linement quick, and rub it onto my shoulders,
Tirzah Ann. What is the matter with your mother? Is she sick?

WID. D. Oh yes; Samantha is awful sick—took sudden—and there is Thomas
J. up stairs sick abed. If there was ever a distressed house, this is
the house.

TIRZ. A. It looks distressed, anyway.

WID. D. Josiah, won’t you try some of the Green Mounting salve?

JOSIAH. Oh! I don’t know; I can’t set down, or stand up; I am awful bad
off. I want to get to bed as soon as I can.

WID. D. Try the Green Mounting salve, brother Josiah; and oh how much
that salve makes me think——(_looking out the window_)

TIRZ. A. Why, for mercy’s sake! Who is coming? There is a whole
house-full of folks on the door-step. (_Tirzah Ann and the Widder Doodle
runs out of the room, as the door opens, and ten or fifteen people come
in, headed by Betsey Bobbett. Josiah tries to fix his shirt and vest
round his shoulders before they get in but he can’t, so he dives under
the table. Samantha stands her ground. She stands up and confronts
them._)

BETSEY B. We have come to surprise you! And in order to more sweetly
surprise you, we have come Monday night, and come early. Will you not
let us surprise you?

SAM. No! no! We will not be surprised! You shan’t surprise us to-night!
We won’t be surprised! Speak, Josiah; tell her; will we be surprised
to-night?

JOSIAH. (_Looking out from under the table spread_) No; No; we will not
be surprised.

BET. B. You see dear friends she will not let us surprise her; we will
go. (_They all go out. Betsey goes last, and she turns around at the
door and says_) Maybe it is right and propah to serve a young girl, who
has always been your friend, in this way. I have known you a long time
Josiah Allen’s wife.

SAM. (_Stepping out of the foot bath and shutting up the door_) I have
known you plenty long enough.

JOSIAH. (_Coming out from under the table_) Darn surprise parties, and
darn——

SAM. Stop swearin’, Josiah Allen; I should think we was bad enough off
without swearing. But I hate surprise parties as bad as you do. Betsey
Bobbett has led ’em into one house where they had the small-pox, and one
where they was makin’ preparations for a funeral. They are perfect
nusances. It stands to reason so long as anybody has got a tongue, if
they want to see their friends to their house, they 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. I hain’t proud, and never was
called so, but I don’t want Tom, Dick, and Harry, that I never spoke to
in my life, feel free to break into my house any time they please. I
perfectly detest surprise parties; but you don’t ketch me swearin’ about
it.

JOS. Wall; I _will_ say darn Betsey Bobbett; there now, _darn her_; oh!
my back; (_slowly sitting down_) I can’t sit down, nor stand down.

SAM. You went under the table quick enough when they come in.

JOS. Throw that in my face, will you? What could I do? My clothes all
fallin’ of me.

SAM. Wall, Josiah, less be thankful that we are as well off as we be.
Betsey might have insisted on surprisin’ us. Do you s’pose they will be
mad?

JOS. I don’t know, nor care, but I hope they will.


                             CURTAIN FALLS.



                                ACT II.


  SCENE.—_Widder Doodle and Tirzah Ann sitting at work tufting a bed
    spread.—Samantha comes in out of the garden._

SAM. I declare them hens makes me more trouble than all the rest of my
work, keeps me a scarin’ ’em out of the garden all the time, and that
pup hain’t good for anything.

TIRZ. A. Father says all it wants is a little encouragement.

SAM. Encouragement! I should think as much. Yes I know your pa says that
if he will run a little ahead of it when he is a settin’ it on to
things, it will go on to one first rate. And I told him he had better
take the pup in his arms and throw it at the hens mebby that would
encourage it enough. But there they are; I must go and scare ’em off
again.

TIRZ. A. I’ll go mother. (_She goes out clapping her hands and crying
“Shoo; Shoo;” and the hens are heard cackling behind the scenes._)

WID. D. Oh how much that pup makes me think of Doodle. My Doodle needed
encouragement.

TIRZ. A. (_Coming back_) Here comes Betsey Bobbett, mother.

                            _Enter_ BETSEY.

ALL SAY. Good morning, Betsey.

BET. (_Sadly_) Good morning, Miss Allen; good morning, Tirzah Ann; good
morning, Widder Doodle. (_She sits down and takes out her tatting and
commences to work_)

SAM. Hain’t you well to-day, Betsey?

BET. I feel deprested to-day; awfully deprested.

SAM. What is the matter?

BET. I feel lonely; more lonely than I have felt for yeahs.

SAM. What is the matter, Betsey?

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

SAM. What was it?

BET. I dreamed I was married, Josiah Allen’s wife. I tell you it was
hard, after dreamin’ that, to wake up to the cold realities and cares of
this life; it was _hard_. I sot up in end of the bed and wept. (_she
weeps_) I tried to get to sleep again and dream it ovah, but I could
not.

SAM. Wall, to be sure, husbands are handy on 4th of Julys, and funeral
processions. It looks kinder lonesome to see a woman streaming along
alone; but they are contrary creeters, Betsey, when they are a mind to
be. How do you like my new bed-spread?

BET. It is beautiful.

SAM. Yes; it looks well enough now, but it most wore my fingers out a
tuftin’ it.

BET. How sweet it must be to wear the fingers out for a deah companion.
I would be willing to wear mine clear down to the bone. I made a vow,
some yeahs ago, that I would make my deah future companion happy, for I
would nevah, nevah fail to meet him with a sweet smile as he came home
to me at twilight. I felt that was all he would require to make him
happy. Do you think it was a rash vow, Josiah Allen’s wife?

SAM. Oh, 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 came home at night, I believe
he would take the supper.

WID. D. I know Doodle would. He had to have jest what he wanted to eat
at jest the time he wanted it, or it would give him the palsy; he never
had the palsy, but he always said that all that kept him from it was
havin’ meat vittles, or anything else he wanted, jest the minute he
wanted it. Oh, what a man that was; what a linement he had on him. It
hain’t no ways likely I shall ever marry agin. No, I shan’t never see
another man whose linement will look to me like Mr. Doodlese’s linement.

SAM. Yes, Betsey, I believe a man would take the supper instead of the
smile.

BET. Oh, deah! such cold practical ideahs are painful to me.

SAM. Wall, if you ever have the opportunity you try both ways; let your
fire go out and you and your house look like fury, and nothing to eat,
and you jest stand in the door and smile. And then again you have a nice
supper—stewed oysters and cream biscuit and peaches, or something else
first rate, and the table all set out as nice as a pink, and the kettle
singing, and you dressed up pretty, and goin’ round the house in a
sensible way, and you jest watch and see which of the two ways is the
most agreeable to him.

BET. Oh, food! food! what is food to the deathless emotions of the soul?
What does the aching young heart care what food it eats? Let my dear
futuah companion smile on me, and that is enough.

SAM. A man can’t smile on an empty stomach, Betsey. And a man can’t eat
soggy bread with little chunks of saleratus in it, and clammy potatoes,
and drink dish-water tea and muddy coffee and smile; or they might give
one or two sickly, deathly smiles; but depend upon it, Betsey, they
couldn’t keep it up. I have seen bread, Betsey Bobbett, that was enough
to break down any man’s affection, unless he had firm principle to back
it up, and love’s young dream has been drounded in thick muddy coffee
before now. If there hain’t anything pleasant in a man’s home how can he
be attached to it? Nobody can’t, man nor women, respect what hain’t
respectable, nor love what hain’t lovable. Of course men have to be
corrected sometimes. I correct Josiah frequently.

BET. How any one blessed with a deah companion can speak about
correcting them, is a mystery to me.

SAM. Men have to be corrected, Betsey; there wouldn’t be no living with
them unless you did.

                       _Enter_ THOMAS JEFFERSON.

BET. Well, you can entertain such views if you will, but as for me, I
will be clinging; I will be respected by men. They do so love to have
wimmen clinging, that I will, until I die, carry out this belief that is
so sweet to them. Until I die, I will neveh let go of this speah.

THOS. J. (_Aside_) She has been brandishing that speah for fifty years.

SAM. There is them hens agin, Thos. Jefferson. You go and scare ’em out.
(_Exit Thos. Jefferson_)

BET. There is a gentleman coming.

TIRZ. A. A peddler.

 _Enter_ PEDDLER. MRS. A. _coldly greets him_. BETSEY _gets up and bows.
                           He shows his goods._

PED. Young lady, can’t I sell you this beautiful lace neck-tie; real old
point lace, and only 18 pence.

TIRZ. A. Oh, mother, do buy it for me.

SAM. No, Tirzah Ann, no.

PED. Then let me sell you this beautiful valuable ring. Most diamond
dealers would want to make a profit of a hundred dollars or so on it,
but I will let you have it for five shillings. It weighs over a hundred
and 4 carets.

SAM. A hundred and 4 carrots; that is a likely story. Why, if the
carrots was any size at all that would be over a bushel. _No_, Tirzah
Ann, you can’t have the ring.

PED. Can’t I sell you something, madam.

WID. D. Oh, no, I am a widder; and it hain’t no ways likely I shall ever
marry agin. (_She weeps, wipes her eyes on her apron_)

PED. Here, I have got just what you want and need. See this beautiful
mourning handkerchief. It is almost worth the agony of bein’ a widder to
enjoy the privilege of mournin’ on such a handkerchief as that. It is
richly worth 75 cents, but you may have it for 25, and what will you
give?

WID. D. I will give a quarter of a dollar.

PED. Take it at your own price. Now Madam (_turning to Samantha_). Let
me sell you this beautiful carpet; it is the pure ingrain.

SAM. Ingrain; so be you ingrain.

PED. I guess I know, for I bought it of old Ingrain himself. I give the
old man 12 shillings a yard for it; but seeing 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 a yard; cheaper than dirt to walk on, or
boards.

SAM. I don’t want it; I have got carpets enough.

PED. Do you want it for 50 cents?

SAM. No!

PED. Would 25 cents be any inducement to you?

SAM. No!

PED. Would 18 cents tempt you?

SAM. Say another word to me about your old stair carpet if you dare;
jest let me ketch you at it. Be I going to have you a trapsin’ all over
the house after me? Am I going to be made crazy as a loon by you?

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

PED. (_Turning to Betsey, takes ear-rings out of his pocket_) I carry
these in my pocket for fear I will be robbed. I hadn’t ought to carry
them round at all; a single man going alone around the country as I do;
but I have got a pistol. (_he takes a large pistol, the larger the
better, from his pocket. Betsey shrieks and falls back terribly
frightened_) I have got a pistol, and let anybody tackle me for these
ear-rings if they dare to.

BET. Is their intrinsic worth so much?

PED. It hain’t so much their neat value, although that is enormous, as
who owned them informally. Whose ears do you suppose these have had hold
of?

BET. How can I tell, never having seen them before.

PED. Jest so. You never was acquainted with them, but these very
identical creeters used to belong to Miss Shakespeare. Yes, these
belonged to Hamlet’s mother. Bill bought ’em at old Stratford.

BET. Bill?

PED. Yes, old Shakespeare. I have been with his family so much, that I
have got into the habit of calling him Bill, jest as they do.

BET. Then you have been there?

PED. Oh, yes; I wintered there and partly summered. But as I was a
saying, Bill give ’em to his wife; he give ’em to Ann when he first
begun to pay attention to her. Bill bought ’em 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-law’s was obliged to part with ’em to get
morphine.

BET. I suppose you ask a large price for them?

PED. How much! how much you remind me of a favorite sister 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 seeing it is you, and it
hain’t no ways likely that 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 half.

BET. That is more money than I thought of spending to-day.

PED. Let me tell you what I will do. I don’t care seeing it’s you, if I
do get cheated. I am willing to be cheated by one that looks so much
like that angel sister. Give me 13 dollars and a half and I’ll throw in
the pin that goes with ’em. I did want to keep that to remind me of them
happy days at Stratford. But take ’em, take ’em and put ’em out of my
sight right quick, or I shall repent.

BET. (_tenderly_) I don’t want to rob you of them, deah man.

PED. Take ’em, and give me the money quick, before I am completely
unmanned. (_takes money_) Take care of the ear-rings, and Heaven bless
you.

                _Exit_ PEDDLER. _Enter_ THOS. JEFFERSON.

THOS. J. What have you got, Betsey?

BET. Some ear-rings that used to belong to the immortal Shakespeare’s
wife informally.

THOS. J. Good gracious! I saw Miss Morten this morning sell them to this
peddler. She sold them for a dozen shirt buttons, and a paper of pins.

BET. I don’t believe it.

THOS. J. It is the truth; he wanted to buy old jewelry. She brought out
some broken rings and these were in the box, and she told him he might
have them in welcome; but he give her the buttons and pins.

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

                                      BETSEY BOBBETT.

SAM. Thomas Jefferson, you ought to be ashamed. There’s them hens again.
I shall have to scare ’em off myself. (_Samantha goes out to frighten
the hens, Betsey goes out the other door; Thos. J. dances round and
sings._)

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

                                      BETSEY BOBBETT.

(_Samantha screams; Thos. J., Tirzah Ann and Widder Doodle rush out, and
Josiah comes in bringing Samantha in his arms._)

SAM. (_groaning_) I wonder if you will keep that pup now.

JOS. Maybe you didn’t encourage it enough. Do keep still Samantha, how
do you s’pose I am going to carry you if you touse round so?

(_He lays her on the lounge; Thos. J. and Tirzah Ann and Widder Doodle
comes in, the widder a crying_) Oh, Doodle; Doodle; if you was alive,
you would tell your relict what to do for Samantha; I know you would.

JOS. You go for Dr. Bombus, Thomas Jefferson.

              _Exit_ THOS. JEFFERSON. _Enter_ MISS GOWDY.

MISS G. I heard you had an axident. Miss Allen and I came to see if I
could do anything. You hain’t been well for some time Miss Allen, and I
have mistrusted all along that you had the tizick.

WID. D. I think it is the very oh lord.

SAM. The pain is in my foot mostly.

MISS G. I can’t help that; there is tizick with it, and I think that was
what ailed Josiah when he was sick.

SAM. Why that was the newraligy the doctor said.

MISS G. Doctors are liable to mistakes. I always thought it was the
tizick. There are more folks that are tizicky in this world than you
think for. I am a master hand for knowing tizick when I see it.

WID. D. It looks more to me like the very oh lord.

(_Enter Thos. J. and Doctor; Doctor very solemn and dignified, examines
her foot_)

DR. B. Miss Allen you have strong symptoms of zebra smilen marcellus.
You need perfect quiet, and you (_to Josiah_) must see that she has it;
and Mr. Allen you must be cheerful.

WID. D. Hain’t it more like the very oh lord. My Doodle had that. And
oh, Doodle, Doodle, shan’t I never see your linement again? Oh how much
sickness puts me in mind of him, and health, and everything. Oh Doodle,
would it have been a confort to you to have lived to see how your widder
mourned for you. Samantha can’t I help you? I know you have got the very
oh lord, and oh, how much that disease makes me think of Doodle.

MISS G. Dr. Bombus, hain’t it the tizick?

DR. B. No; you can’t fool me on diseases; I have never had my dognoses
disputed. The other Dr. in Jonesville was called in the other day to a
plain case of ganders; he called it gallopin’ consumption. The minute I
sot my eyes on the man I said ganders. And this is a clear case of zebra
smilen marcellus. Good landlord, you can’t fool me on the zebra.

SAM. That is a disease I never made no calculations on havin’. Where
does the zebra generally tackle folks?

DR. B. Wall, people generally have it in the posterity part of the
brain; but you seem to have it in the foot. Now if I can only keep it in
the foot, keep it from the brain, I can help you.

SAM. The disease is a perfect stranger to me; do folks ever get over the
zebra?

DR. B. They do when I doctor them; but you must follow my directions
close. Take this decoction of squills, _nox vomica, visa versa_—excuse
dead language—take 40 drops every half hour till relief is felt and
experienced. (_Doctor bows to Samantha and stalks out_)

MISS G. I know it is the tizick. Tirzah Ann, give me a piece of paper
and a pencil; this will make a item.

WID. D. Oh, how much that pencil makes me think of Doodle.

SAM. What is the matter, Josiah?

JOS. I’m bein’ cheerful, Samantha.

SAM. You are bein’ a natural born idiot, and do you stop it.

JOS. I wont stop it, Samantha; I will be cheerful.

SAM. Wont you go out and let me rest awhile, Josiah Allen?

JOS. No; I will stand by you and be cheerful. Doctor Bombus said you
must be kept perfectly quiet, and I must be cheerful before you; it is
my duty, and I will be.

SAM. It seems to me I should like some lemonade, if the lemons wasn’t
all used up.

JOS. I will harness up the old mare and start for Jonesville, and get
you some. (_He goes out, but comes back and puts his head inside the
door and laughs loud_)

                            _Enter_ BETSEY.

BET. I had just got home when I heard of the axident, so I thought I
would come back and spend the entiah day. (_She takes off her hat._) How
do you feel, Josiah Allen’s wife?

SAM. I feel very bad and feverish.

WID. D. Very oh lord; jest as Doodle felt.

MISS G. Tizick!

BET. Yes; I know just how you feel. I have had such a fever that the
sweat stood in great drops all over me. You need quiet. (_Glares at the
two women_) I meant to ask you when I was in here before you was hurt,
which do you like best, a sun-flower bedquilt, or a blazing star? So
many young girls are being snatched away lately that I want to be
prepared. I am going to line it with otter color: white is prettier, but
gets soiled so easily; and if two little children just of an age was a
playin’ on it, it would keep clean longer. I think I will have it a
blazin’ star.

WID. D. Oh, how much that blazing star makes me think of Doodle and his
liniment.

                     _Enter_ EDITOR _of the Augur_.

EDITOR. Good day, Mrs. Allen; I have heard of the axident that has
befallen you, and so as an editor in search of information, I have come.
I thought with your permission I would make you the leading article in
my next week’s paper.

BET. She’s a poem, I am composing her now in my own mind.

MISS G. She’s a tragedy; I am putting her down as one.

SAM. (_Putting her hand to her head mildly_) Am I a tragedy? Yes, I
believe I am, I feel like a tragedy, I feel awful.

ED. Where were you hurt? by whom? And what was the first and primary
cause of the hurt?

SAM. I was hurt by a hen; the first cause was the pup; but they will
tell you. (_Betsey and Miss Gowdy go up close to him, one on each
side._)

MISS G. I will gladly spend hours informing you.

BET. Let me tell you, deah man.

ED. I must go; there is a man waiting for me at the gate. Widder Doodle
can you command you feelings sufficiently to step into the next room
with me and give the particulars.

WID. D. Oh, yes; Doodle always said I could drive ahead of me as big a
drove of particulars as any woman of my size and heft. I was Doodleses
wife then, and now I am his widder; I was his widder jest as quick as he
was dead; and it hain’t no ways suposeable that I shall ever marry agin.

                   _Exit_ EDITOR _and_ WIDDER DOODLE.

MISS G. I must go too. Little Ben has got the croup, and I must be to
home. (_She goes out._)

BET. Croup is only a hollow excuse, it is the editor that is drawing of
her home.

TIRZ. A. Why she can’t ride, he has got a load.

BET. Oh, she thinks she can walk along side of his wagon, and talk. But
I won’t worry over it no more, nor begrech her her privilages. I see,
Josiah Allen’s wife, that you need care; and in order to quiet and
soothe you, I will read to you; I will do all I can to keep you quiet
to-day; and to-morrow mother, and Aunt Maria, and all her family; and
Aunt Jane, and her children, will come down and stay all day with
you—stay to dinner and supper. They are all to our house a visiting: and
mother had rather bring them with her than not. There is eleven of them
in all, and they’ll all put in to keep you quiet; and you needn’t make
no fuss for them at all, though they all love boiled dinners dearly. And
now I will proceed to read to you the longest and most eloquent
editorial that has ever appeared in the _Augur_, written by its noble
and eloquent editor. It is six columns in length, and is concerning our
relations with Spain.

SAM. Let the editor and his relations go to Spain; and do you go to
Spain with your relations; and do you start this minute! (_Betsey looks
frightened, gathers up her calico, and moves toward the door, and
says_):

BET.

            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.


                             CURTAIN FALLS.



                                ACT III.


  SCENE.—_Samantha’s kitchen, with a great deal of work about.—Enter
    Editor of the Augur leading a twin by each hand._

ED. My hired girl has left me, Mrs. Allen, and I want to go to
Shackeville this morning and see if I can find one. And I called to see
if I could leave a twin or two with you while I am gone. And Mr. Allen
invited me to come back to dinner; I told him I would, and I would read
to you a political argument I have written for the next week’s _Augur_.
It is as long as the President’s message, and is in blank verse.
(_Samantha groans_) Mr. Allen told me that the Widder Doodle and Tirzah
Ann had gone a visiting, and you had sights of work to do. I hated to
ask you to take care of the twins; but I really didn’t know what to do;
I was at my wit’s end.

SAM. Probable, there has been longer journeys took than that was; but I
will keep the twins. I will try to do just as my friend John Rogers
would have done.

ED. Who?

SAM. The first martyr in Queen Mary’s reign. Here children let me take
off your things. But I have got sights and sights of work to do to-day,
and I have got to go up into the wood-house chamber to do some work, and
you will have to stay here with the twins till I come back. Here is a
picture book they may take to recreate on while I am gone. It is Foxe’s
book of martyrs; and oh what a comfort that book is to me on days like
this. Anybody may say they are patient and unselfish, and are willing to
be martyrs; but I tell you you can’t tell what principles folks are made
of till they are sot fire to. Now the religion and self-denial and sound
principles of them old martyrs of Foxes, they couldn’t burn up, they
couldn’t make a fire hot enough. And when I am tied to different stakes
of martyrdom, I tell you it keeps my mind cool and calm, to think of the
patience of them old martyrs of Foxes, and compare my sufferin’s with
thiern, and meditate on this fact, that fire hain’t no hotter now than
it was then, and though the soul may boy the body up triumphant, there
couldn’t be any body burnt up without smartin’. Yes, I will keep the
twins, and I will hear your blank verses; I will be down shortly.

                _Exit_ SAMANTHA; _Enter_ BETSEY BOBBETT.

BET. Good morning, deah sir.

ED. Good morning.

BET. I saw you coming in here and I hurried over to bring some poetry
that I have been composing for your paper. It is called “Gushings of a
Tender Soul.” And would it be any more soothing and comforting to you if
I should sign my name Bettie Bobbett, or Betsey as I always have? I
asked Josiah Allen’s wife if she liked the “Bettie,” and she said she
expected every day to hear some minister preach about Johnnie the
Baptist and Minnie Magdelen, but she is cold and practical; but I will
read it. (_The twins cry and she says_): Oh poor little motherless
things, how much you need a step-mother; but I will read.

ED. (_Aside_) Gracious Heavens! What shall I do!

            Oh let who will, oh let who can,
            Be tied unto, a horrid male man.
            Thus said I ere my tendeh heart was touched;
            Thus said I ere my tendeh feelings gushed;
            But, oh! a change hath swept o’er 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 sweetly lies beneath the turf.
            He is wandering, now, in sorrow’s briny surf;
            Two twins—the deah little cherub creeters,
            Can wipe the tears from off his classic features;
            Oh! sweet lot, worthy angel risen,
            To wipe the tears from eyes like hisen. [Sidenote: (_Editor
               groans._)]

BET. May I ask you, deah man, if the twin has got oveh swallowing the
thimble? I heard it swallowed the hired girl’s thimble the very day she
hired out to another place, and left you alone.

ED. It did, and I wish it had swallowed the hired girl! I feel reckless,
and bad.

BET. Oh! deah man; you need to be soothed. Poetry is soothing, and
comforting, when rehearsed by a tendeh female voice. I have a few lines
here, composed “On a Twin Swallowing a Side Thimble.” It is more on a
mournful plan; but I will read it to you.

ED. (_Aside_) Did Heaven ever witness such tribulations? (_And while
Betsey is reading he takes a pistol out of his pocket, aims it at her,
and then replaces it. Betsey reads_):

BET.

            Oh, when side thimbles swallowed be,
            How can the world look sweet to he
            Who owns the twins, fair babe, heaven bless it,
            Who hath no own mother to caress it.

            Its own mother hath sweetly gone above,
            Oh, how he needs a mother’s love,
            My own heart runs o’er with tenderness,
            And its own noble father tries to do his best.

            But housework, men can’t perfectly understand,
            Oh, how it needs a helping hand.
            Ah! when twins are sick, and hired girls have flown,
            It is sad for a deah man to be alone.

                        _Enter_ THOS. JEFFERSON.

THOS. J. Good morning, editor, good morning, Betsey; I have got a poem
of yours here, Betsey, that I found in father’s tin trunk the other day.
I hav’nt seen you before since I found it.

BET. (_delighted_) Is it possible; your pa probably cut it out of some
paper and has been treasuring it up.

THOS. J. Shall I read it?

BET. Oh, yes; do read it, Thos. Jefferson.

THOS. J.

            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 expire!

(_Betsey, as he begins to read, is lost in thought, and does not seem to
hear, then springs up._)

BET. Thomas Jefferson this is cruel. Give it to me; don’t read it,
don’t!

ED. (_in low tone_) Go on.

THOS. J.

            I saw thee coming down the street,
              She by your side in bonnet blue,
            The stones that grated ’neath thy feet,
              Seemed crunching on my vitals too.
                Oh! Josiah, it seems as if I must expire.

BET. (_mildly_) Don’t read any more, don’t!

ED. Go on! go on!

THOS. J.

            I saw thee washing sheep last night,
              On the bridge I stood with marble brow;
            The water raged, thou clasped it tight
              I sighed, “Should both be drounded now,”
            I thought Josiah,
              Oh, happy sheep, to thus expire.

(_Enter Samantha, carrying a pair of swifts with some skeins of yarn on
it_)

BET. Josiah Allen’s wife, shall your cruel boy be allowed to injure a
cause, and bleed a tendeh heart?

SAM. Thomas Jefferson what have you been up to now?

ED. He has done nobly; but I must go at once. Hired girls must be seen
to immediately.

THOS. J. And I must go and fodder the steers.

                      _Exit_ EDITOR _and_ THOS. J.

(_One of the twins runs up to the swifts and begins to tangle the yarn
on it, and while Samantha attends to that, the other one tips over a
basket of apples. Samantha holds the child off with one hand while she
picks up the apples with the other._)

BET. If there is any object on earth, Josiah Allen’s wife, that I warm
to, it is the sweet little children of widowers. I have always felt that
I wanted to comfort them, and their deah pa’s. I have always felt that
it was women’s highest speah, her only mission, to soothe, to cling, to
smile, to coo. I always felt that it was women’s greatest privilege, her
crowning blessing to soothe lacerations, to be a sort of a poultice to
the manly breast when it is torn with the cares of life. Do you not
think so?

SAM. Am I a poultice, Betsey Bobbett? Do I look like one? Am I in a
condition to be one? I have done a big ironing to-day, churned ten
pounds of butter, scalded two hens and picked ’em, made seven pies and a
batch of nut-cakes, two pans of cookies, and mopped all over. And now I
have got these twins on my hands, all this carpet yarn to double, blank
verses, ahead on me, and dinner to get, and now I am called on to be a
poultice. What has my sect done that they have got to be
lacerator-soothers and poultices, when they have got everything else
under the sun to do. Everybody says that men are stronger than wimmen,
and why should they be treated like glass-china, liable to break to
pieces every minute? And if they have got to be soothed, why can’t they
git some man to soothe ’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’.

BET. Oh! it must be so sweet, so strangely sweet, to soothe the manly
breast: to soothe, to smile, to coo.

SAM. I am perfectly willing to coo if I had time; and I had jest as
lives soothe lacerations as not, if I hadn’t everything else under the
sun to do. I had jest as lives sit down and smile at Josiah Allen by the
hour, and smooth down his bald head affectionately, but who would fry
the nut-cakes, and make the ginger cookies. I could coo at him day in,
and day out, but who would skim milk, and wash pans, and darn, and fry,
and bake, and bile, while I was a cooin’?

BET. Oh! Josiah Allen’s wife; we shall always diffeh on the subject of
coos. But I wish to crave your advice on a deep and solemn subject.
Martin Farquieh Tuppeh is one of the sweetest poets of the ages. My
sentiments have always blended in with his sentiments. I have always
flew with his flights, and soared with his soars. And last night after I
had retired, one of his sublime ideahs come to me with a power I neveh
felt before. It knocked the bolted door of my heart open, and said:
“Betsey Bobbett, you have not neveh done it.” He remarks that if anybody
is going to be married, their deah future companion is on earth, though
we may neveh have seen him, or her, and it is our duty to pray for that
future companion. Josiah Allen’s wife, I have not neveh done it; I feel
condemned. Would you begin to pray now?

SAM. Are you going to pray for a husband, or about one?

BET. (_mournfully_) A little of both.

SAM. Wall, I don’t know as it would no any hurt, Betsey.

BET. I will begin to pray to-night, but that is not all. Folks must work
as well as pray; I am going to take a decided stand. Be you a going to
the quire meeting to-morrow night?

SAM. I am layin’ out to go if I hain’t too lame.

BET. 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 whatever you set your hands
to, and I want to know will you stand by me to-morrow night?

SAM. What undertakin’ have you got into your head now, Betsey Bobbett?

BET. I am going to encourage the editor of the _Augur_. That man needs a
companion. Men are offish and bashful and do not always know what is
best for them. I have seen horses hang back in 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 their noses to make them. The editor of the _Augur
needs_ a companion, and I am going to encourage that man to-morrow
night, and I want to know Josiah Allen’s wife, if you will stand by me?

SAM. You know, Betsey, that I can’t run; I’m too fat and lame; and then
I’m gettin’ too old. Mebby I might _walk_ up and help you corner him,
but you know I can’t run for anybody.

                            _Enter_ JOSIAH.

JOS. The Editor has come, and wants me to fetch out the twins.

SAM. Why I thought he was coming back to take dinner, and read his blank
verses.

JOS. Wall, he was unhitchin’ his horse, and I happened to mention that I
guessed Betsey would be here to dinner too; and he jumped into that
buggy agin’ like lightnin’, and hollered out: “Fetch out the twins!” He
acted sort o’ crazy like, and skairt.

BET. So sweetly sensitive, he fears to be forward and intrusive.

JOS. I told him to stay; I told him you would have an awful good dinner,
and I knew what it was to be a widower and live on pancakes. But all he
said was to yell out, “Fetch out the twins.”

(_Samantha goes to putting on the children’s wraps_)

BET. Oh, do not be in such haste, Josiah Allen’s wife. The editor may
come in to dinner if you don’t hurry so, and I will stay too. (_Betsey
fixes her hair, arranges her neck-tie and looks anxiously from the
window; then goes and walks from the window to the door peering out in
hopes he will come in._)

JOS. There hain’t no use on waiting, you won’t ketch him in here. Hear
him now. (_A voice from behind the scenes_):

ED. Fetch out the twins.


                             CURTAIN FALLS.



                                ACT IV.


  SCENE.—_Outside of cottage—Josiah and Samantha within.—Cats heard
    fighting dreadfully behind the scenes—Upper window opens, and Thomas
    J. throws out something to scare cats.—When Josiah realizes that it
    is a serenador, he gets out of bed and starts for the door—Samantha
    pulling him back again—You can see their head and shoulders as they
    pass by an open window below—Samantha with nightgown and night-cap
    on; Josiah in similar raiment, only with a tall hat and
    umbrella—They pass by the window several times, as he is determined
    he will go out and stop the music, and she will not let him.—During
    the serenade Tirzah Ann appears at an upper window opposite Thomas
    Jefferson with a night-cap on, and a bouquet of flowers—She vainly
    endeavors to attract Shakespeare’s attention._

THOS. J. You’ve preached long enough, brothers, on that text; I’ll put
in a 7thly for you. (_Throws boot._) You’ve protracted your meeting here
long enough; you may adjourn, now, to somebody else’s window, and exhort
them a spell. (_Throws something more._) Now I wonder if you’ll come
round on this circuit right away.

SAM. Thomas Jefferson, stop that noise.

JOS. Do let him be; do let him kill the old creeters, I am wore out.

SAM. Josiah, I don’t mind his killin’ the cats, but I won’t have him
talking about holding protracted meetin’s and preechin’; I won’t have
it.

JOS. Wall, do lay down; the most I care for is to get rid of the cats.

SAM. You do have wicked streaks Josiah, and the way you let that boy go
on is awful. Where do you think you will go to, Josiah Allen?

JOS. I shall go into another bed if you can’t stop talkin’. I have been
kept awake till midnight by them awful creeters, and now you want to
finish me. Oh, dummit! them dum cats are at it agin.

SAM. Well, you needn’t swear so if they be; but I say it hain’t cats.

JOS. It is.

SAM. I know better, it hain’t cats.

JOS. Wall, if it hain’t cats, what is it?

SAM. It is a acordeun.

JOS. How come a acordeun under our window?

SAM. It is Shakespeare Bobbett seranadin’ Tirzah Ann, and he has got
under the wrong window. Josiah Allen come back here this minute; do you
realize your condition; you hain’t dressed.

JOS. Wall, I can put my hat on I ’spose.

SAM. Yes, a stovepipe hat is a great protection. Josiah Allen if you go
to the door in that condition, I’ll prosicute you. What do you mean by
acting so. You was young once yourself.

JOS. I wasn’t a confounded fool, if I was young.

SAM. Come back to bed, Josiah Allen; do you want to get the Bobbetses
and the Doodleses mad at you?

JOS. Yes, I do.

SAM. I should think you would be ashamed of yourself, swearin’ and
actin’ as you have; and you’ll end by gettin’ your death cold.
(_Shakespeare Bobbett has appeared outside with a guitar, and played a
strain, as if uncertain of the key. Think, oh, think of me._)

JOS. No danger of our not thinkin’ on you, no danger on it.
(_Shakespeare plays and sings._)

                  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 beaming,
                  Moonlight hours in my opinion,
                    Is the time for love.

            CHORUS.—Tra la la, Miss Tirzah,
                    Tra la la, Miss Allen,
                    Tra la la, tra la la,
                    My dear young maid.

SAM. Josiah Allen, if you make another move I’ll part with you. It does
beat all how you act. Do you think it is any comfort for me to lay here
and hear it? You was young once yourself.

JOS. Throw that in my face ag’in will you? What if I wuz? Oh! do hear
him beginnin’ agin. I should like to know what comfort there is in his
prowlin’ round here, makin’ two old folks lay all night in perfect
agony.

SAM. It hain’t much after midnight, and if it was, do you calcolate to
go through life without any trouble? If you do you’ll find yourself
mistaken. (_Shakespeare sings to the same tune._)

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

            I’m wasting slow, my last year’s vest
            Hangs loose on me; my nightly rests
            Are thin as gause, and thoughts of you,
            Gashes ’em wildly through and through.
            Oh! Tirzah Ann; oh, Tirzah Ann;
            I am a melancholy man.

JOS. You’d be a melancholy man my young feller if I was out there half a
minute with a club. Samantha, lemme go out, dummit; I will go!

SAM. Do you stop swearin’ and be calm.

JOS. I won’t be calm, and I will say dummit; there now, dummit!

S. BOB. (_sings_) Oh! I languish for thee; I am languishing for thee.
(_Upper window opens again._)

THOS. J. My musical young friend, havn’t you languished enough for one
night? Because if you have, father and mother and I, being kept awake by
other serenaders the fore-part of the night, will love to excuse you,
will thank you for your labors in our behalf and love to bid you good
evening—Tirzah Ann being fast asleep in the other end of the house. But
don’t let me hurry you Shakespeare, my dear young friend, if you havn’t
languished enough, you keep right on languishing. I hope I hain’t so
hard hearted enough to deny a young man and neighbor the privilege of
languishing. (_Shakespeare departs._)


                             CURTAIN FALLS.



                                 ACT V.


  SCENE.—_Josiah Allen’s wife with bonnet on ready to start.—She says to
    herself: “I wonder why Josiah Allen don’t come. We shall be late to
    that quire meetin’.”—When Simon Slimpsey rushes in and sinks down in
    a chair._

SIMON. Am I pursued?

SAM. There hain’t nobody in sight. Has your life been attacked by
burglers and incindiarys? Speak, Simon Slimpsey, speak!

SIMON. Betsey Bobbett!

SAM. What of her, Simon Slimpsey?

SIMON. She’ll be the death on me, and my soul is jeopardized on account
of her. To think that I, a member of a authordox church, and the father
of thirteen small children, could be tempted to swear. But I did, not
more’n two minutes ago. I said, By Jupiter! I can’t stand it so much
longer. And last night to meetin’, when she was payin’ attention to me,
I wished I was a ghost; for I thought if I was a apperition I could
vanish from her view. Oh! I have got so low as to wish I was a ghost.
She come a rushin’ out of Deacon Gowdy’s just now as I came past jest a
purpose to talk to me. She don’t give me no peace. Last night she would
walk tight to my side all the way from meetin’ and she looked so hungry
at the gate, as I went through and fastened it on the inside.

SAM. Mebby she’ll marry the editor of the _Augur_. She is payin’
attention to him.

SIMON. No; she won’t get him; I shall be the one, I always was the one.
It has always been so, if there was ever a underlin’ and a victim
wanted, I was that underlin’ and that victim. And Betsey Bobbett will
get round me yet, you see if she don’t.

SAM. Cheer up, Simon Slimpsey; folks hain’t obleeged to marry if they
don’t want to.

SIMON. Yes they be; if folks get round ’em. Hain’t you seen her verses
in last week’s _Augur_?

SAM. No, I haint. (_Simon hands her the paper and she reads_):

                Oh, 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 te be courted,
                Our watchword is to married be,
                  That we may be supported.

                Say not you’re strong and love to work,
                  Are healthier than your brother,
                Who for a blacksmith is designed,
                  Such feelings you must smother;
                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 fear, sisters,
                       Press onward, do not fear,
                     Remember women’s spear, sister,
                       Remember women’s spear.

SAM. Wall, she believes that marryin’ is wimmen’s only spear.

SIMON. It is that spear that is going to destroy me.

SAM. Don’t give up so Simon Slimpsey; I hate to see you lookin’ so
gloomy and deprested.

SIMON. It is the awful determination of them lines that apauls me. I
have seen it in another. Betsey Bobbett reminds me dreadfully of
another; she makes me think of that first wife of mine. And I don’t want
to marry again Miss Allen, I don’t want to. 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 is only half an
hour younger than I be, and that hadn’t ought to make much difference in
our looks, had it?

SAM. No, Simon Slimpsey, it hadn’t.

SIMON. Well; you ought to see what a head of hair he’s got now; sound to
the roots, not a lock missing. I wanted to be one, but my late wife come
and kept house for me, and—and married me. I lived with her for eighteen
years, and when she left me I was—I was reconciled. I was reconciled
some time before it took place. I don’t want to say nothin’ against
nobody that hain’t round here in this world, but I lost a good deal of
hair by my late wife; and I wanted to keep a lock or two for my children
to keep as a relict of me. I have got thirteen, as you know, countin’
each pair of twins as two, and it would take a considerable number of
hairs to go round. I don’t want to marry agin.

SAM. Mebby you are borrowin’ trouble without cause, Simon Slimpsey, with
life there is hope. Don’t give up so Simon Slimpsey; mebby she’ll marry
the editor of the _Augur_; she’s payin’ lots of attention to him.

SIMON. No, he won’t have her, she’ll get round me yet—you mark my words,
and when the time comes you will think of what I told you. (_Simon
weeps_) You see if she don’t get round me yet.

SAM. Chirk up, Simon Slimpsey, be a man.

SIMON. That is the trouble, if I wasn’t a man she would give me some
peace. (_He weeps bitterly. The curtain falls, but rises immediately for
the quire scene._)


  SCENE II—_Quire Meeting—Two or three rows of seats,—Any number of
    Singers, the more the better—Editor takes chair in center of first
    row—Betsey and Miss Gowdy both try to take the vacant seat at his
    left: Miss Gowdy gets it—Betsey sits in front row at right of
    Editor, not next to him—Samantha and Josiah sit at left of Miss
    Gowdy—Elder Peedick, the leader, stands at the right—Josiah and
    Samantha come in arm in arm after most of them get seated—Josiah
    says as they walk in, Don’t be a lockin’ arms, Samantha, it will
    make talk.—Elder Peedick distributes books._

ELD. P. We will commence this evening by singing the hymn—“How blest was
Jacob.” We will sing it to the tune of Ortenville. Widder Tubbs, will
you play the instrument? (_some old melodeon._)

S. BOB. The metre is too long.

THOS. J. Yes, there is too much tune for the words.

ELD. P. I believe I am running this quire (_He takes out a tuning fork
and tries it, and commences._) How blest was Ja-a-a-a-cob. Lemme see. I
didn’t, get the right key. (_tries again_) How blest was
Ja-a-fol-de-rol-cob.

THOS. J. You had better try some other patriarch, and see if you can run
him through the tune.

S. BOB. I knew when the tune and words was added up there would be tune
to carry.

ELD. P. Shakespeare Bobbett, do you keep still, and don’t let me ketch
you a pressin’ the key to-night.

S. BOB. I shall press as many keys as I am a minter for all you; you are
always findin’ fault with sumthin’ or other.

ELD. P. Perhaps we had better try some more familiar hymn. We will sing
on page 200. The duet between the sulfireno and the beartone will be
sung by the editor of the _Augur_ and Betsey Bobbett.

MISS G. I believe I can sing that full as well as another certain
person.

BET. Sophrona. I shall sing it, it has been give out, and Elder Peedick,
you had better give Miss Gowdy a book. She seem to have to look over
with the editor. (_Elder Peedick gives the key and they all sing._)

            Though the old man rises fearful,
              In our hearts renewed by grace,
            Yet his work is sad and direful,
              That old man is our disgrace.

(_Duet—That same verse set to the song, “When thy bosom heaves a sigh.”
Betsey and the editor starts. Betsey gets her part too low, they sing it
as far as “Though the old man”—when Josiah rises._)

JOS. It is a shame for a woman to sing alone in a room full of men. (_He
begins and sings the whole verse through to the tune of Greenville._)

SAM. Josiah, if you say another word I’ll part with you. What do you
mean, Josiah Allen?

JOS. I’m singing base.

SAM. Do you sit down and behave yourself; she has pitched it to low. It
hain’t base.

JOS. I know better, Samantha; it _is_ base. I guess I know base when I
hear it, and as long as I call myself a man, I will have the privilege
of singing base.

SAM. Sing! I’d call it singing.

(_Sophronia and the Editor now take advantage of Betsey’s confusion and
go triumphantly through it. All then repeat the first part singing it
well to the tune of Arlington._)

PEEDICK. We will now have a intermission of five minutes.

(_Editor draws Samantha to front of stage and says_):

ED. 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, to feel
that it can’t harm you, that you are beyond its reach. Josiah Allen’s
wife, I feel safe and happy to-night; I believe you are my friend.

SAM. Yes, and you well-wisher; whatever happens, if you are ever
encouraged, or any other trial comes to you, remember that I wished you
well and pitied you.

ED. Instead of pitying me, wish me joy. I am married, I was married a
week ago.

SAM. Who to?

ED. The prettiest girl in Log London. She is at her father’s now, but
will be here in a few days. I must go, the twins will be waking up. Yes,
Miss Allen, I am married and safe.

                             _Exit_ EDITOR.

BET. Ketch hold of me, Josiah Allen’s wife, ketch hold of me. I am on
the very point of swooning.

SAM. Ketch hold of yourself.

BET. One of my dearest gazelles is a dying. One of my fondest hopes is a
withering.

SAM. Let ’em wither. Betsey Bobbett, this gazelle is married, and there
hain’t no use in your followin’ on that trail any longer. Do ’ry and
behave till meetin’ is out.

PEEDICK. We will now sing on page 99. Sing the words on page 99 to the
tune of old Northfield.

ALL.

            We’re sinners wandering every day,
            Pre-sum-shu-ous, and bold.
            We all are sheep—
            We all are sheep—
            We all are sheep that’s gone astray,
            And wandering from the fold.

(_Widder Doodle sitting in the corner weeps and says_:) Oh how much that
sheep makes me think of Doodle.

ALL SING.

            Oh yes, pre-sum-shu-ous we are,
            And blind, and halt, and lame.
            We all are mean—
            We all are mean—
            We all are meaning to be good,
            But nothing can we claim

PEEDICK. We will now sing the verse which Miss Bobbett composed for her
own private devotions, but which she kindly permits the quire to use.
She says it should be sung with great expression and feeling. (_Betsey,
who has been weeping gets up and sings this._)

ALL SING.


            Oh! sad I wander down life’s vale,
              And drink life’s bitter cup,
                Send down the man—
                Send down the man—
            Send down the manna of rich grace,
              And I will rake it up.

TIRZ. A. I don’t like the hymns we have sung to-night. We hain’t all
sheep, and we don’t all of us want men seat down.

MISS G. It don’t look well, Tirzah Ann, for you to be correcting your
betters.

BET. (_Severely._) Tirzah Ann Allen, you are too young to realize
things.

PEEDICK. We will now sing, “How Sweet for Bretheren to Agree.” Sing it
to the tune of Boylston.

ALL. How sweet for bretheren to—

PEEDICK. Try again; now: (_Gives key._)

ALL. How sweet for bretheren to—

S. BOB. You hain’t got tune enough for the words; the best calculater in
tunes couldn’t do it.

PEEDICK. I can’t do anything; you flat the notes so.

S. BOB. I don’t flat any more than the rest do.

PEEDICK. You young villian, you do. (_Widder Tubbs jumps up in front,
stands with her back to the audience, beats time and sings. All join in
after the first line, and when the rest sing “unity,” Shakespeare
Bobbett sings “onion tea.” They sing chorus to “Oh that will be
joyful”_)

            How sweet for bretheren to agree,
            How sweet for bretheren to agree,
            How sweet for bretheren to agree,
            And dwell in unitee;
            And dwell in unitee-e-e,
            And dwell in unitee.
            How sweet for bretheren to agree,
            And dwell in unitee. [Sidenote: (_Shakespeare singing out
               last full and clear, “Onion tea.”_)]

WID. D. My Doodle loved onions. (_As they go out Josiah looks back and
says_:)

JOS. You come right home, Tirzah Ann; don’t be loiterin’ along the way.
(_Widder Doodle goes out last, and as she gets almost to the door Elder
Peedick, who has been picking up the books, calls her back._)

ELD. P. Widder, I want to speak with you. (_She goes back and they sit
down on one of the benches._)

ELD. P. I hain’t seen you but once before since I was a widower. It was
a awful blow to me; a hard blow. (_Smiting his breast._)

WID. D. I feel to sympathize with you; I know how I felt when I lost
Doodle.

PEEDICK. Yes; I tell you Widder. I have seen trouble lately. A spell ago
I lost the best cow I had; then I lost a new umbrella, and a whale-bone
whip, and now my wife is dead. I tell you it cuts me right down; it
makes me feel poor. You wasn’t acquainted with the corpse, I believe.

WID. D. No, but I have heard her well spoke of.

PEEDICK. Yes, she was a lovely woman. My heartstrings was wrapped
completely around her. Not a pair of pantaloons have I hired made sense
we was both married to each other, nor a vest. I tell you it was hard to
lose her, dretful hard. I never realized how much I loved that woman
till I see I must give her up, and hire a girl at 2 dollars a week—and
they waste more than their necks are worth. I tell you my heart is full
of tender memories of that woman, when I think how she would get up and
build fires in the winter—

WID. D. That is what I always did for my Doodle. He would be a dreamin’
how pretty I was, and how much he loved me, and he’d want to go to sleep
agin and dream it over. So I would get up and split the kindlin’ wood
and build the fire, and get breakfast, so’s to let him lay and dream
about me. I love to build fires.

PEEDICK. Do you love to build fires, Widder? I wish you had been
acquainted with the corpse; I believe you would have loved each other
like sisters.

WID. D. You must chirk up Elder Peedick, you must look forward to
happier days.

PEEDICK. I know there is another spear and I try to hang my hopes up on
it, a spear where hired girls are unknown and partings are no more.

WID. D. I can’t bear hired girls.

PEEDICK. You look like the corpse; you _do_ look like her, I see it
plainer and plainer. And oh, what a woman that was, she knew her place
so well; she always said wimmen wasn’t equal to men. You couldn’t have
hired her to have had rights. She always said wimmin was too delicate
and feeble to have rights; she said that she had rather dig potatoes any
day than to have ’em. She could dig potatoes as fast as a man.

WID. D. I knew I wasn’t the equal of Doodle. He used to set in the
rock’n’ chair while I would be ho’ng out the garden, or bringin’ in
wood, or churnin’ and read such beautiful arguments to me, and so
convincin’, provin’ it all out how havin’ rights would be too much for
the weaker sect, and that men wouldn’t feel nigh so tender and
reverential towards ’em as they did now.

PEEDICK. Then you used to hoe out the garden and bring in wood?

WID. D. Yes, I loved to; I loved to dearly.

PEEDICK. Widder, I am a man of business. My wife has been dead three
weeks, and she won’t be no deader if I should wait three months as some
men do. I heard you a praisin’ up my wagon and span of mares to-night,
and if you’ll be my bride, the wagon is yours and the mares. Widder, I
throw myself onto your feet, and I throw the wagon and the mares onto
’em, and with them and me. I throw eighty-five acres of good land, 14
cows, 5 calves, 4 three-year-olds, and a yearlin’, a dwellin’ house, a
good horse barn and myself. I throw ’em all onto your feet, and there we
lay on ’em.

WID. D. Oh, Doodle! Doodle! if you was alive you would tell your widder
what to do to do right.

PEEDICK. Widder, I am a layin’ on your feet, and my property, my land,
my live stock, my housen and my housen stuff, are all a layn’ on ’em.
Make up your mind at once, for if you don’t consent, I have got other
views ahead of me which must be seen to at once. Time is hastenin’ and
the world is full of willin’ wimmen. Widder what do you say?

WID. D. Wall, I have got kinder out the habit of marryin’, it comes
kinder natural to me, and your linement looks a good deal like Doodle’s
linement.

PEEDICK. Then you consent, widder. Wall we will be married a week from
Sunday; we will be married Sunday so’s not to break into the week’s
work. And I will turn off my hired girl, and you can come right to my
house and do the housework, and help me what you can out doors, and tend
to the milk of 14 cows and be perfectly happy.


                             CURTAIN FALLS.



                                ACT VI.


  SCENE.—_Betsey and Simon Slimpsey at home.—Eight or nine children in
    various stages of distress, faces tied up, etc.—Two cradles with
    children in them.—Betsey sewing.—Simon trying to take care of the
    children._

                         _Enter_ JOSIAH ALLEN.

JOS. Good mornin’, Simon; good mornin’, Betsey.

BET. (_Haughtily._) Excuse my not getting up and setting you a chair,
Josiah Allen. Being married, I don’t have to be so particular in my
manners as I used to. Thank heavens! I can hold my head up now as high
as anybody.

JOS. We heard you was all sick up here, and I thought I would come in
and see how you was.

BET. Are you not all coming to the reception to-night?

JOS. Yes, I ’spose so; and Samantha told me if there was anything she
could do for the children, she would come earlier.

SIMON. I wish she would come and see if something can’t be done for ’em.
They have all got the mumps and measles, and colic, and everything. And
she’s to work all the time on her ridin’ dress, and fixin for this
doin’s of her’n. I tried to have her put it off till five or six of the
children got better; but she won’t.

BET. No; I told my husband, Mr. Slimpsey, that my dignity as a married
woman was at stake. In common times it is well to attend to sickness,
but now, dignity and style both demand that I receive to-night.

JOS. Wall; Samantha will come right over.

BET. Tell her Mrs. Simon Slimpsey will be glad to see her; formally
Bobbett. (_Exit Josiah, and soon Samantha comes in followed by Miss
Gowdy and Mrs. Elder Peedick._)

MISS G. How do you do, Betsey?

BET. (_Coldly, holding out her hand, but not rising._) I am glad you
come early, Sophronia. I want you to feel free with me, just as if I was
not married. I shall still associate with my old friends. I don’t mean
to show out no more haughtiness than I can help. I have told my husband,
Mr. Slimpsey, that I should not turn my back on all single women now, if
I was rose above ’em in station. Help yourself to some chairs. (_They
sit down and Samantha and Mrs. Peedick each of them take up a child on
their laps._)

SAM. How are the children now?

SIMON. The seventh boy is worse, and the twin girls are took down with
it. It would be a melancholy pleasure if you could do something for ’em.

SAM. Have they been sweat?

BET. No; I told my husband, Mr. Slimpsey, that I would not sweat them
until after our reception. Sweating children is more or less depressing
in its effects, and I felt that I needed all my youthful spirits and
energies to support the weight of dignity that will enwrap me on this
occasion like a mantilly.

MRS. PEEDICK. I sweat Doodle when he had the very oh lord, till the
sweat run right off his linement, and blistered both his feet till he
couldn’t stand up on em; and I shall probably try to make Elder Peedick
jest as comfortable when he is sick. But, oh Doodle, Doodle; your relict
never can forget you, never.

SAM. Chirk up Mrs. Peedick; don’t try to be a widder and a wife at the
same time. Don’t try to be a mourner for one man and a bride to another
man simultanius. It is jest as onresonable as it would be to try to set
down and stand up at once. Betsey, have you give ’em any smart weed?

BET. No; If my husband, Mr. Slimpsey, approves, I shall probably sleep
up some after the reception, and after I complete this riding-dress. I
have had to write a poem to read upon this occasion. ‘A Him of victory,’
and it has hindered me about my dress. I _need_ it, for I shall want, to
ride out and take the air as soon as the children get well, for even
married people cannot breathe without air, and I want to finish this for
my first appearance on horseback after marriage. I have nothing to wear
suitable for a bride, and this pale-plue cambric trimmed with otter
color, will be becomin’ to me, and very dressy. I knew a good deal would
be expected of me in my changed circumstances. I shall probably attract
a great deal of attention.

MISS G. I should think you would, ridin’ that old horse of your’n. His
ribs look like wash-boards.

SAM. I should jest as lives ride a case-knife.

MISS G. Most dead with blind staggers and lame as he can be, a stumblin’
and a fallin’ all the time.

BET. I got something now to sustain me and hold me up, if horses do fall
under me. They may lame me, but I have got a dignity, now, Sophronia,
that horses cannot give neither can they take away. I’m married now.
(_Simon groans._) I shall also appear at conference meeting next Sunday
evening for the first time after marriage. There is one thing I feel as
if I must say in public at once, and that is, that I believe in the
perseverence of saints.

MISS G. _Saints!_

BET. I will now go and make a few changes in my toilet for the occasion.
(_She goes out carrying her riding-dress_)

SAM. I havn’t seen you before, Simon, since your marriage.

SIMON. I knew it would come to this, Miss Allen; I told you how it would
be. She always said it was her spear to marry, and I knew I should be
the one; I always was the one.

SAM. Does she use you well, Simon?

SIMON. She’s pretty hard on me. I hain’t had my way in anything sense
the day she married me. She began to hold my nose to the grindstone, as
the sayin’ is, before we had been married two hours; and she hain’t no
house-heeper, or cook. I have had to live on pancakes ’most of the time
since it took place, and they’re tougher than leather. I have been ’most
tempted to cut some out of my boot-leg, to see if they wouldn’t be
tenderer; but I never should hear the last of it if I did. She jaws me
awfully, and orders me ’round as if I was a dog. If I was a yeller dog
she couldn’t seem to look down on me more, and treat me any worse.

SAM. Wall; I always did mistrust them wimmen that don’t want any rights,
only to cling and coo. But I don’t want to run anybody to their back.
She thought it was her spear to marry.

SIMON. I told you that spear of her’n would destroy me, and it has. (_He
weeps_)

(_Enter Betsey, with several pairs of ragged pantaloons to mend over her
arm, and several sheets of foolscap paper in her hand._)

BET. I thought perhaps I could get a few minutes to sew before the
arrival of our guests. I have 7 pairs of pantaloons to mend before I
retiah. Children wear out clothing so rapidly, and our children seem to
make a specialty of ripping and tearing. We have been obleeged to put
two of them to bed on that account, and they are swearing now violently
in bed, at their step motheh, because I have not been able to mend their
clothes in time for the reception.

SAM. Are you happy, Betsey?

BET. I am at rest; more at rest than I have been for years!

MISS G. (_Looking round at the sick children and taking up the ragged
pantaloons and looking at them_:) At _rest_!

SAM. Are you happy, Betsey?

BET. I feel awful dignified. There is not any use in a woman’s trying to
feel dignified until she is married. I have tried it and I know. I can
truly say, Josiah Allen’s wife, that I never knew what dignity was until
one week ago last Sunday night, at half-past 7 in the evening.

SAM. Are you happy, Betsey?

BET. I have got somthing to lean on.

SAM. Don’t lean too hard, Betsey.

BET. Why?

SAM. You may be sorry if you do. Do you love your husband, Betsey?

BET. I don’t think love is necessary. I am married, and that is enough
to satisfy any woman who is more or less reasonable—_that_ is the main
and important thing; as I have said, love and respect are miners.

MISS G. _Miners!_

WID. D. My Doodle never called it a miner; and he worshiped the ground I
walked on, and the neighbors all said he did; they said he loved the
ground better than he did me, but he didn’t, he worshiped us both.

SAM. _Miners_, Betsey Bobbett.

BET. Mrs. Betsey Bobbett Slimpsey.

SAM. Wall, Mrs. Betsey Slimpsey, there hain’t no more beautiful sight on
earth than to see two human souls out of pure love to each other gently
approaching each other as if they must; and, at last, all their hopes
and thoughts and affections running together like two drops of water in
a morning glory blow, and to see them nestling there, not caring for
nobody outside the blow, bound up in each other till the sun evaporates
’em as it were, and draws ’em together up into the heavens, not
separating ’em even 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, swops her purity, her self-respect, her truth and her soul, for
any kind of barter, such as a home, a few thousand dollars, the name of
being married, a horse and buggy, some jewelry, etc.; and not only sells
herself, but worse than the Turk wimmen, goes ’round herself hunting up
a buyer: crazy, wild-eyed, afraid she won’t find none. Suppose she does
have a minister for a salesman—my contempt for such a female is
inmitigable.

MISS G. And so is mine.

WID. D. And so would my Doodleses have been; you could see that by his
linement.

SAM. And I don’t want to hear such wimmen talk about infamy. For in what
respect are they better than these other infamous wimmen we all despise?
Do you ’spose their standin’ up in front of a minister and tellin’ a few
lies, such as I promise to love a man I hate, and honor a man I despise,
and obey a man I calculate to make toe the mark? Do you ’spose these few
lies make ’em any purer in the sight of God? Marriage is like baptism,
as I have said mor’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 soul hain’t baptized with the love of God? It
hain’t no better than fallin’ into the creek.

BET. Some of us married folks feel differently, Josiah Allen’s wife. Let
me read to you a short poem of 20 or 30 verses written recently by a
married woman, by she that was formerly Betsey Bobbett, now Mrs. Simon
Slimpsey. I am to read it to the reception to-night, but I think it will
be well for me to read it over so I can deliver it more eloquently. Hear
my Bridal Owed, hear my Him of Victory.

SAM. How can I be calm and hear it? Oh, John Rogers! and Foxes Martyrs!
how I sympathize with you.

MRS. P. Oh, Doodle! Doodle! what shall I do to do right?

SAM. (_In a low tone_) Nine children, and one at the breast! Thumb
screws and grid-irons! (_Speaking in her usual tone._) No, I will not
ontie myself from this stake of martyrdom. I will cling to duty’s apron
strings. Simon, if I was in your place, I should sweat the five biggest
boys to-night, and most of the girls. I should give the twins and the
smallest girls some strong smartweed tea, and I should let the rest of
’em be till the Dr. comes. Betsey I will hear the him. (_Simon groans,
and burys his face in his handkerchief. Betsey rises and reads_:)

            Once grief did rave about my lonely head,

(_Here two of the children pull at her dress and ask for water, and one
says_: Gimme a piece of bread’n butter. _She tells them to get it
themselves, and then resumes her reading._)

            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—

(_One of the children calls out_) Say, can’t you gimme somethin’ to eat,
I’m most starved. (_Another says_) Won’t you lemme have some? Say, won’t
you lemme? (_Another, in a loud defiant tone_) Gimme some; gimme some
quick.

BET. (_To one of the children_) Bring me my thimble. (_He brings it and
she puts it on and snaps their heads with it, and they cry and go into a
corner and make up faces at her and one of them pinches the child in the
cradle, and he kicks against it and yells._)

            Once I did tune my liah to doleful strains,
            ’Tis past, for Betsey Slimpsey, formally Bobbett, is married
               now.

(_Here Simon groans so loud that Betsey stops and says_): Husband keep
still and listen to your wife’s him of victory!

            No trouble now can touch my haughty head,
              I no humiliation never more shall know
            Sorrow stand off, my tears have all been shed,
              For Mrs. Betsey Bobbett Slimpsey’s married now.

MRS. PEEDICK. I think I shall have to go Betsey, it is getting late, and
being a bride myself, I want to make some changes in my clothing. I
shall wear my wedding dress. It is black and white lawn even checks. I
wanted to look sort of bridy, and still I wanted to mourn a little at
the same time. The white checks means Elder Peedick, the black checks
stands for Doodle. For oh, what a man that was.

SAM. Miss Peedick if you don’t take my advice, you’ll see trouble ahead
on you. When a widder man or a widder woman, embarks on a new voyage,
let ’em burn the ship behind ’em that they sailed round in, in their
former voyages. This trying to be a pardner and a mourner at one time is
gaulin’ to man or woman. Mournin’ for Doodle was jest as honorable as
anything could be; marryin’ Elder Peedick was another honorable job, and
you ort to made up your mind which business would be the most happyfyin’
and proftable to you, and then foller it up with a willin’ mind, but
don’t try to do both. Betsey, we will be here in good season. I have got
a nice presant for you, but bein’ pretty hefty, I shan’t probably bring
it to-night. It’s a piller case full of dried apples and a jar of
butter. Josiah will bring a sack of flour.

              _Exit_ SAMANTHA, MRS. PEEDICK _and_ MISS G.

BET. Come, Mr. Slimpsey, stand up here by me and receive our bridal
congratulations.

SIMON. You know I can’t stand up, Betsey, not for any length of time,
most dead with the rheumatiz.

BET. My husband, you must.

SIMON. Why can’t you stand up there alone and lemme be. I wish you
would. I wanted you to go off on a weddin’ tower; you was crazy for one
and I told you to go, and I’d stay to home and tend to things, and the
longer you stayed the better I’d like it. But no, you wouldn’t go unless
I went, and now you want to make me stand up there by you half the
night, when you know it is all I can do to get up onto my feet any way.
You don’t seem to have no mercy on me at all, orderin’ me round all the
time.

(_One of the children looking out_:) There is a hull lot of folks a
comin’.

BET. Husband, you _must_ get up; our bridal guests are arriving.

SIMON. Wall then, give me my cane, and I’ll try it.

BET. And your raiment is disordered; it looks bad.

SIMON. It looks as well as I feel, I know that. (_They stand up, Betsey
haughtily erect, Simon leaning on his cane, and occasionally shedding
tears. They all bring presents, the more ridiculous the better. Josiah
brings a sack of flour; Dr. Bombus brings a large bottle of medicine;
the Editor of the Augur a file of the Augurs etc. Thomas J. and Tirzah
Ann comes in first, congratulates them_)

BET. (_proudly_) I thank you, Mr. Allen. I thank you Miss Allen.

SIMON. (_mournfully_) I told your mother how it would be.

BET. (_hunching him, whispers_) How you act! Do put on some style; thank
him.

SIMON. Much ob’eeged. I knew——(_He stops and wipes his eyes. Betsey
reproves him for his actions, and just then Elder Peedick and wife
enter._)

ELD. P. My wife, Miss Peedick.

SIMON. (_Grasping her hand_) Widder, you can feel for me; you heve seen
trouble.

MRS. P. Oh yes, I see trouble when I lost Doodle.

ELD. P. (_frowning_) Miss Peedick, the subject of Doodle, hain’t at all
appropriate for the occasion. (_Several come up and wish them joy, at
last Shakespeare Bobbett._)

S. B. I wish you joy, Mr. Slimpsey.

SIMON. Oh yes; keep on! keep it up!

DR. B. Mr. and Mrs. Slimpsey, I wish you prosperity and health. I can
safely promise you the latter (_waving his hand towards the medicine_.)
Take it according to directions, 40 drops every half hour, and if you
don’t get better send for me. _Dies irae anno domini._ Excuse dead
language.

SIMON. Oh yes; I’ll excuse it. I believe it is better off than we be.
(_Editor of Augur and bride come last._)

ED. Accept my hearty congratulations. I can truly say that I never felt
more heartfelt happiness and relief than on this occasion.

SIMON. Well you may feel happy; well you may.

ED. I am not a natural singer, in fact, my efforts in that direction
have always been of such a nature as to cause sadness to my best
friends; but on this occasion I feel like bursting forth into song. And
we will now with the permission of Mr. and Mrs. Slimpsey, greet them
with a bridal song.

BET. Oh, yes; sing to us some rejoicing anthem, or some sweet, and
tendeh love song.

SIMON. Can’t you sing China?

ED. Why, that is a funeral hymn, Mr. Slimpsey.

SIMON. I know it has been used as such, but it seems as if it would be a
sort of a melancholy pleasure to me to hear it now. But I hain’t
peticular; sing anything—sing, if you feel like it.

MRS. P. They sung China to Doodleses funeral.

ELD. P. (_Looking very angry_) Doodleses name hain’t no name to be used
on this occasion, Miss Peedick. I wish to gracious that I could get five
minutes rest from Doodle.

MRS. P. Wall he had a beautiful linement on him.

ELD. P. (_very cross_) What if he had?

MRS. P. But you have got a beautiful linement, too. You are what would
be called very handsome.

ELD. P. (_sweetly_) You are a sensible woman, Miss Peedick. You are a
lovely woman. Every day of your life you make me think more and more of
the corpse. But I suppose they are waiting for me to pitch the tune.
Being leader of the quire they naturally lean on me for harmony. So we
will now sing the bridal song, kindly arranged for this happy occasion
by the Editor of the _Augur_. (_They all sing to the tune of the jubilee
song, “Mary and Martha’s just gone along.”)_

            Betsey Bobbett’s married now,
            Betsey Bobbett’s married now,
            Betsey Bobbett’s married now,
            So ring the marriage bells. (_Simon groans._)

            It is the way she long has sought,
            And mourned because she found it not,
            But now she’s reached that blissful lot;
            So ring her wedding bells. (_Simon groans and buries his
            face in his handkerchief._)

            ’Tis Betsey Bobbett Slimpsey, how,
            With joy she took that blessed vow,
            She’s Simon’s wife forever now;
            So ring their wedding bells.

(_Simon uncovers his face and says in a heart broken tone_): Couldn’t
you _toll_ the bells? But I don’t want to make no trouble. I don’t feel
like arguin’, ring ’em if you drather, ring ’em if you feel like it.
(_They pay no attention to him. and he covers his face with his
handkerchief again and weeps aloud; they turn to the audience and
sing_):

            Good night, and pleasant dreams,
            Hearts full of sunny gleams;
            Good night, and happy dreams,
            And ring ye merry bells.

[Illustration]

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


 1. Table of Contents added by transcriber.
 2. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 3. Retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as
      printed.
 4. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.





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