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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSamantha At The St. Louis Exposition - Chapter 10
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Samantha At The St. Louis Exposition - Chapter 10 Post by :oukhanova Category :Long Stories Author :Marietta Holley Date :May 2012 Read :3357

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Samantha At The St. Louis Exposition - Chapter 10

CHAPTER X

West of the forestry buildin' growin' right out of the ground is a immense map of the United States covering five acres of ground, gravel walks mark the State and coast lines, and each State is sot out in its own native flowers.

There it wuz, you could look right down onto it jest like a map, from the rocky shores of Maine down to Florida.

Josiah wuz simply infatuated with the sight and I myself thought it wuz a great idee and I sez:

"Josiah, this is a plan worthy of Uncle Sam to immortalize what is dearest to him in living colors."

"Yes, indeed!" sez he, and after a minute's thought he added, "Others can foller suit and set them that are dearest to 'em out-doors. If I live till another spring, Samantha," sez he firmly, "I will set you out in the paster. The dooryard would be too small to do justice to you. Ury and I will plant you in the middle of the ten acre lot."

I wuz touched by the tenderness underlyin' the idee, but sez I, "Have you counted the cost, Josiah?"

"I know it will cost, you're hefty and big boneded and I'd want you heroic size, but we needn't have your hull frame made in posies, I could plant you in different seeds and raise you like a crop, and sell you in the fall. Beans would look well in different colors."

He see my look of cold irony as he spoke of sellin' me, and added, "Or I could set you out mostly in pusley if you'd ruther, the garden is full of it."

"I shall never be sot out in pusley, Josiah Allen, I always hated it. The hull thing is as crazy as anything you ever undertook."

"Crazy or not it will be did; summer squash would look well and be equinomical, I could probable train 'em so you'd seem to be holdin' the squashes in your arms."

"Give up the hull skeem, Josiah Allen; don't try to combine love and economy so clost."

But he vowed he wouldn't give it up, and I spoze I may see trouble weanin' him from the idee.

That night whilst I wuz restin' a little in my room after supper, Josiah havin' stayed down in the parlor a spell talkin' to granpa Huff and Billy, Blandina come into my room. She wuz all fagged out, but under the fag you could see that expression of perennial good nature and love to man.

She said she'd been readin' all day to grandpa Huff and as near as I could make out he'd kep' her right down to them blood-curdlin' chapters where they fried the martyrs in ile and briled 'em on grid-irons. She looked dretful tired and I told her I wouldn't gin in and read such stuff all day.

But she said Mr. Huff wuz anxious to hear it and she wuz perfectly willin' and more than willin' to please him, for sez she smilin' in a queer sort of a way and sort o' bridlin' a little, "I'm anxious to do anything for him I can because I love him devotedly."

I wuz fairly stunted. "Love him?" sez I, "why how long ago wuz it that you loved his grandchild passionately? Why," sez I, "Blandina, you seem to rob the cradle and the grave for objects of affection."

"Yes, I did love Billy with perfect devotion till I found that my affection wuz driven back like a dove from the rest it fain would made in his youthful heart, and now it has settled down upon his grandpa's bosom. Mr. Huff needs a companion, Aunt Samantha. He needs a tender female companion to journey by his side over the rough pathway of life. And, oh, I do feel that this world is a cold rough place and my heart, like that wanderin' dove I spoke on, sithes to find rest."

"Well," sez I reasonably, "mebby a dove would be safe to rest on grandpa Huff, but I don't believe he could stand the weight of a hen. Why, he's ninety if he's a day, Blandina."

She didn't reply but sot lookin' mournful but clever, and agin she sez, "This is a cold world."

"Not here it hain't, not in St. Louis," sez I, wipin' my heated forward, but she went on:

"My heart has gone out to him without any will of my own. I feel that he has the makin' of a noble man in him."

And I sez, "I guess he's made about all he can be on this spear." But seein' her mournful looks I added, "You're a clever critter, Blandina, that's what's the matter with you, you're so good hearted you mistake good nater and pity for love more'n half the time. I don't believe," sez I feelin'ly, "I ever see a cleverer creeter than you are." And I meant it, every word I said.

But she repeated agin, "I love him, Aunt Samantha, with a pure, deep devotion."

"Well," sez I, "if I wuz in your place I would take a little catnip tea and go to bed. I'll steep some for you over my alcohol lamp." I knowed it wuz her good nater and her nerves that wuz wrought up instead of her heart, though catnip is good for the heart for all I know. She'd got all nerved up readin' them dretful things and felt queer, I wuz sorry for Blandina to think she wuz so very sensitive to masculine influence. She refused the catnip tea but took the other half of my advice and went to bed, and I sez to myself, I declare I don't know what the good nater of that creeter will lead her into and I most wished she wuz back in Jonesville where that trait of hern wouldn't have so much room for showin' off and so many objects to practice on, but I felt safe about grandpa Huff, for I knowed that even if he'd been strong enough to stand up to be married, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren wouldn't let him.

Well, the next morning Molly come, havin' arrived on a sleeper. I welcomed her warmly. She's a sweet girl, with big eyes soft and brown as the shallers in our trout brook and a shadder in 'em now some like the dark places where the deep water is. Hair about the same color, done up in a shinin' coil on the top of her head, but where it would git loose a little kinder curlin' and crinklin' about her white forward and round white neck. A sweet sad expression on her lips, cheeks white as snow now but meant to be pink and a pretty plump figger. She wuz very beautiful and called so by good judges.

And I wuzn't surprised that Billy Huff fell immegiately and voylently in love with her to his own discomfiture and the great enrichment of them that sold perfumery and hair-oil. But I knowed it wouldn't hurt him any, it wuz only a new face to hang up for the present in the gallery of a boy's Fancy. Aunt Tryphena fairly worshipped her. She immegiately rose to the top place in her gallery of perfect beings. Nothing wuz too good for her, no service she could render her wuz too hard, she almost soared up to that pinnacle on which her Prince Arthur dwelt. Dotie became her willin' adorer and Miss Huff couldn't do enough for her.

But to resoom backward a little. Molly didn't want to go to the Fair ground that morning, wantin' to rest and recooperate, so Josiah, Blandina and I sot forth a little later than common. There wuz a stoppage of the cars some ways from the gate and we got out and walked thinkin' we'd git there quicker, Josiah started to step off first when Blandina rushed past him, waved him back, and descended herself right into the midst of horses heads and huffs and yells and profanity from two drivers who wuz stoppin' the way and wuz revilin' each other, and after we got safe onto the sidewalk and wuz walkin' along I sez to her:

"You ort to be more careful, Blandina, or you'll find yourself killed some day and trompled on, I wuz skairt for you."

"Oh, I didn't think about myself, I wuz only thinkin' of savin' dear uncle Josiah, it wuzn't so much matter about me. A woman's life you know is not worth anything compared to a man's."

"Oh, shaw!" I sez, I wuz driv to it, and I sez it agin, "Oh, shaw!"

"Why, Aunt Samantha, you know it has been decided that that is so. It has been settled by law that a female's life is worth only half as much as a man's. Don't you remember last spring in Brooklyn it wuz settled once for all that a female child's life wuzn't worth only half as much as a male child?"

Sez I, "I remember a man's saying so, I don't remember it wuz proved; I myself thought it wuz about as hefty a thing as a judge ever undertook to try to set a value on two human lives with all their glorious and terrible possibilities, and," sez I, eppisodin' a little but walkin' along all the time, "how did that man know but the soul of a Florence Nightingale would wake up in that girl and bless the world for all time? And how did he know but the boy would prove a Benedict Arnold or a Guiteau? An evil influence to curse the world forever. It wuz a hefty job, and if Josiah had been judge I wouldn't let him undertook it, or if he had I'd had him set an equal value on what God and nater and human affection had made equal."

"Well, well," sez Josiah, "le'ss git along unless you want to stay here and preach all day on the sidewalk."

"But," sez I, "I'm not preachin', Josiah, I'm eppisodin'."

"Well, there is a time for eppisodin' and a time for common sense, and le'ss git along."

He acted real grumpy, I guess he'd thought more on me, if I had pretended I thought his life wuz worth double mine. But I wouldn't say I thought so not even for love's sake. And mebby he squirmed because I said I would have him do thus and so. Men are so queer! you can't always tell jest where the shue pinches, but you know by their actin' and behavin' that it pinches somewhere.

But Blandina sez, evidently reconnoitering the past seen in her memory, "No livin' bein' will ever make me think a man's life is not worth more than a woman's." Well, she felt so and I couldn't make her over at this late day, she'd been made too long, so Common Sense, with whom I always try to be on the most intimate terms, told me I hadn't better multiply any more words with her. Josiah's liniment wuz some clouded till his mind wuz took up by seein' some horses with hats on which truly wuz needed in that torrid heat, and he forgot his temporary shagrin in visions of the future.

Sez he, "The first work I do when I git home will be to git a hat for the old mair; I won't have to buy one, Tirzah Ann's last summer hat will be jest the thing. You know that one trimmed with red roses and shiffon and long lace streamers. Your hats ain't dressy enough; why the old mair hain't quite twenty-one, hain't old enough to vote even if her sect had the privelige. She's young and ort to dress young. That hat will be jest the thing. And what a sensation we will make enterin' Jonesville on a Sunday mornin', the mair, myself and you, we shall attract world-wide attention." But that minute we got to the gate and entered in. I never shall ride after the mair with a hat on, and pink roses and long lace streamers, never. But didn't argey about it.

Well, Josiah couldn't be held off any longer, he would go to the Pike that mornin'; I told him it wuzn't writ in my pad.

And he sez, "Dum that pad! Am I goin' to be held in by that pad, and led round by it all summer? I'm goin' to the Pike to-day and you can do as you're a minter." And Blandina jined in of course and said that if dear Uncle Josiah's mind wuz sot on it it wuz best to go, and she sez kinder low to me, "it wuzn't right to cross a man unless it wuz absolutely necessary."

I wuz goin' to twit her and tell her that as first chaperone I wuz the one to settle these matters, but I see Josiah wuz gittin' too agitated, one look at his gloomy face made me think of the past, and I gin in as gracefully as I could, and we wended our way thither with no more parley, and Josiah, as soon as our heads wuz turned that way, begun to brighten up and look better, and so about one-half of my mind and sperit wuz satisfied. And sometimes I think you can't be satisfied any more than that on this spear wherever you go, and whatever you see, specially if you have a man to deal with that is more or less fraxious and worrisome. To ease his mind and temper you'll git led into strange and devious paths time and agin.

But to resoom forward. The Four Cowboys on a Tear guardin' the entrance to the Pike confronted us and in their wild and boysterous hilarity seemed to my agitated and forebodin' sperit to shadow forth what we would find inside their domain. They wuz a strange and skairful set, their clothes wuz rough and disheveled and so wuz their linements. They all on 'em brandished aloft a pistol, seemin' to be on the lookout for someone to shoot. Their horses wuz on the dead gallop and you knowed by the expression on their faces jest what blood curdlin' yells wuz issuin' from their throats.

Why, if you'll believe it they wuz goin' at such a gallopin' prancin' gait that the feet of one of their horses never touched the ground, all four of his feet wuz gallopin' through the air. Josiah sez as he looked at it:

"I would give a dollar bill to Ury in a minute if he could learn the colt to do that trick, gallop along without his feet touchin' the ground. Jest think what a sensation it would make to the Jonesville fair. The old mair is too old of course to git the trick."

"Yes," sez I, "I guess her feet will never be lifted altogether from the ground till they are turned up in their last rest. But I wouldn't try, Josiah Allen, to imitate that roarin' and rakish set if I wuz in your place, you a member of the meetin' house."

"Oh, keep throwin' that meetin' house in my face, I should think you'd git tired ont but don't spoze you will."

And Blandina sez, "Oh, Aunt Samantha, don't be too harsh on them happy young men, it is only their high sperits. They would probable settle down and make the best of husbands if they had a tender and loving companion. I wonder," sez she, "if they wuz took from life and if they're here to the Fair I do so like the looks of one on 'em, I believe we would be congenial."

I hurried 'em along, the one she pinted out had his pistol raised the highest of the lot and he looked the most rakish.

But you forgot the looks of the cow-boys as you stood at the entrance and got a full view of the Pike. A perfect flood of all the colors of the rainbow, and towers and steeples and domes and crescents, and ornaments of all kinds busts on your vision, and at the same time your ear-pans are assailed by a noise like the sound of many waters, it is the big crowd that is surgin' through the Pike to and fro, fro and to, and keep at it night and day.

The great crowd seen here all the time shows how much the average human craves amusement and recreation. For the Pike is the amusement street of the Exposition. And a bystander standin' by told us that it extended a mild and a half from the Lindel entrance where we entered clear up to the Skinker road.

"What Skinker is that?" sez Josiah to the man. "Is he any relation to the Skinkerses up in Zoar? Old Ethan Skinker had a boy who come West. Most probable you've seen him here; I know most every stranger that comes to Jonesville."

"Where is Zoar?" sez the man, an uppish lookin' creeter, but sunk in ignorance, for when Josiah sez, "Zoar is four milds from Jonesville," sez the man:

"Where is Jonesville?"

And Josiah sez to me, "I'll be jiggered, Samantha, if this man at this age of the world don't know where Jonesville is."

"Well," sez I coolly, "we hain't expected to civilize all creation, Josiah." And as we had jest come to the entrance of the Tyoleran Alps I wouldn't let Josiah stop and parley with him any furder. He wuz kinder snickerin' to himself, a ignorant onmannerly creeter.

I had told Josiah and he fell in with the idee to once (he is clost) that we wouldn't try to see all the sights of the Pike. But this bein' the first one we come to we thought we would enter and we found it wuz a highly interestin' spectacle.

There wuz lofty snow-crowned mountains, some on 'em that seemed fur away, and some nigher by, a lake lyin' smooth and placid at their feet. Its shore wuz dotted with trees, and little picturesque cottages nestled on its banks.

Anon a large fair city spread out at the foot of the serene mountains. Then you would come to an immense castle, so nigh the mountain that it seemed to grow out of it with its ivied walls and lofty towers pierced with quaintly paned windows. Crowds of sightseers passin' in and out its lofty arched entrance and walking through the grounds outside.

Another castle, handsomer yet, wuz the castle of Linderhof, which stands in stately magnificence at the foot of the mountain, but furder away from it. Rows of clipped evergreens stand along its white terraces and masses of foliage on each side. A white monument towered up to the sky in the centre of its beautiful lawn in front, and nigher by there wuz a big leapin' fountain guarded on each side by statutes of female wimmen reclining at ease but seemin' to have their eye on the hull beautiful seen and tendin' to things, as wimmen have to.

Then anon you would come to a little village with pretty houses, mostly gables. There wuz a mountain torrent with several bridges over it that foamed and dashed along through the quaint little place. Pretty girls in their gay national costume accosted us from the verandas anon or oftener wantin' to sell sooveneers.

Josiah noticed the price they asked and hurried me onwards. They wuz real pretty girls so I didn't mind so much goin' on (married wimmen will understand my feelin's. We have to keep one eye out more or less).

There is a little chapel and below it cut from solid rock is a statute of Andreas Hofer, victorious soldier, lover of country, but like many another hero he had to suffer martyrdom for it. But his grateful countrymen keeps his memory green. I wuz glad to see it.

It wuz a pretty place: the lofty mountain side with cow bells tinkling along the winding roads, the cool pretty villages below, chimes sounding from high towers, the peasants singing their national songs, the bands ringing out their stirring melodies. And you could take a tram car and go through some of the loveliest seens in the Alps. We stayed there some time.

I have hearn since that them mountains wuz holler and they keep beer and stimulants there, Id'no how true it is. But I sez, "If it is so it is symbolical of where such stuff and its dealers will find themselves if they don't repent, down in the dirt and the dark, keepin' company with the Prince of Darkness. But I didn't see hide nor hair of any of 'em and don't know as there wuz anything to see."

I kinder wanted to go into the Irish Village, and said so; I remarked that you could buy Irish linen and lace there right on the spot. But Josiah sez, thrustin' his portmoney deeper in his pocket, "Id'no why we should go in there, we hain't Irish."

But I sez, "Miss Huff said it wuz dretful interestin', Josiah, I'd kinder like to see it."

But Josiah gin another deeper thrust to his portmoney and must have strained his pocket and sez in terser, hasher axents:

"We hain't Irish!"

And I sez kinder short, "Id'no as we're Alps." But I didn't argy there wuz so many folks round, wimmen have to choke off time and agin and conceal their shagrin' and their pardner's actin'.

Miss Huff had told me a lot about it. She said they had a real House of Parliament and you could drive in jaunting cars through Lake Kilarney region and the rocky road to Dublin that we've all hearn about.

Blarney Castle is used here as a theatre with stirring national plays going on and there is an Irish arch over nine hundred years old, and in a village here is an Irish national exhibit together with a Scotch display, laces, linens, carpets, etc., and there is a gallery of famous Irish beauties. She said it wuz as good as a visit to Ireland to study the country and the looks and ways of the people.

But as I say, Josiah hurried me past the long, many windowed front of the Irish Industrial Exhibit with its gay flags wavin' out on top bagonin' us to come in, past the famous St. Lawrence gate, Droggeda, one of the most famous relics in all Ireland, with its tall towers and its noble archway filled with crowds of sightseers, for he had seen right by the side of that gate a big roundin' entrance arch with the round world poised above it and above the arch in letters as high as he wuz:

Under and Over the Sea.

And of course he wuz bound to indulge in that luxury. And it wuz thrillin' in the extreme though I stood it better than he did.

The first thing you see is a submarine boat, you can see this plain from the Pike and the passengers embarkin' on it, two hundred and fifty can be carried by this boat at one time, and Josiah led us onto it with a excited linement, but he tried to look brave and fearless.

But the sights we see down there wuz enough to dismay a man weighin' far more than Josiah. You could look right out of the boat on the dashin' waves, water above you and on every side and see the strange monsters of the deep, and the queer marine growths and blossoms. Imagine seein' whales up over your head comin' right towards you, and Id'no but there wuz leviathians, I guess there wuz, they wuz big enough.

Anon you come to the river Seine in Paris and swoop up to the top of Eiffel Tower. Blandina sez holdin' onto my tabs, "From the bowels of the earth up to the vaulted heavings!"

I said tabs, but I meant tab, for Josiah had holt of the other with an almost frenzied grasp, and sez he, "Where will we go next, Samantha?"

And I sez, "Id'no, mebby to the moon or Mars."

And Blandina in trembling axents sez, "I wish I wuz safe at Mars."

Her ma is old but got her faculties. And Josiah sez with chatterin' teeth and quaverin' voice as he looked down from the dizzy hite onto Paris, "If I git through this alive I shall be glad to tell the brethren about it."

Far below us lay the illuminated city, for it wuz night, and a beautiful seen but sort o' melancholy. And sure enough, as if to prove my words true, here at the very top of the tower wuz an air-ship on which we took flight through the boundless fields of air. Paris died on our vision, then we floated over many cities and harbors, up the English Channel, anon the lights of London are passed and we are high up above the ocean. Weird and wild is the seen, the moon comes up, black clouds rise, and the voice of the winds is heard, then the rumbling of thunder and the forked lightning darts its baleful glare at us.

Josiah whispers, "Samantha, have you got on your gold beads?"

I wear 'em under my collar but most always take 'em off in a thunder storm not wantin' to be struck in my neck. And I seen him furtively gittin' ready to throw away his jack-knife. But at that minute the storm calms down and Josiah replaces his knife jest as we enter New York harbor. A flight over sea and land, forest and city, and we land agin at the Exposition.

As we disembarked Josiah grasped holt of my hand ostensibly to help me but really in tender greeting, and sez in fervid axents, "I wouldn't have you take that trip alone, Samantha, without me with you to protect you, not for worlds."

"No," sez Blandina, "what would we have done without dear Uncle Josiah by our side?"

I didn't argy but felt that he wouldn't with his size and weight made much headway agin them whales and water monsters to say nothin' of danger by drowndin' and fallin' from the sky. But he felt neat and we wended our way on.

Josiah said he didn't care about goin' to Asia, and I said it wuz a pity not to when we wuz so nigh, but he kinder hurried me on.

I told him that the Streets of Seville interested me, for it wuz planned by a woman, the only woman who ever received a concession in a amusement street of a Exposition.

And Josiah sez, "I shall spend my money on sunthin' of more importance; it probable all runs to crazy quilts and tattin."

But it wuz no such thing, it wuz perfectly beautiful, as I've hearn folks say that have been there. But I see he wuz beginnin' to look kinder mauger, and as first chaperone I sez anxiously, "Where do you want to go, dear Josiah? Do you want to go to Hagenbecks Animal Show?"

"No, I don't; I shall see animals enough when I git home in my own barnyard."

"Well, do you want to go to the Hereafter, Josiah?"

"No, we shall git there all right if we keep on without my payin' out money. I told you I wuzn't goin' to pay to go in to all these places."

"Well, do you want to go to France or Ceylon or Persia? Or Cairo? Or where do you want to go?"

Sez he, cross as a bear, "I want to go where I can git sunthin' to eat."

And I sez, "Dear Josiah, I've been so took up I forgot your appetite; we will go to once." And havin' heard that good food could be got in Japan we hastened thither.

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CHAPTER XIWe entered Fair Japan through a big gateway a hundred feet high. It wuz called the Temple of Kiko, it wuz all covered with carvin' and gold ornaments. And they say it couldn't be made now of the same materials for a million dollars. It would been magnificent lookin' if it hadn't been for what looked like serpents wreathin' up the pillars in front. I hate snakes! and they're the last ornaments I would ever sculp over my front door. Blandina said they wuz dragons, and mebby they wuz. 'Tennyrate they wuz fastened to the pillars and didn't offer to
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CHAPTER IXWell, Josiah went that day with Billy Huff, he santered off without any system or plan, and wouldn't take my pad though I offered it to him. But I guess they jest poked round miscelaneous, as you may say, seein' jest what they happened to run into. And in some of their travels they met Barzelia Trimble, a woman lecturer, she's young and good lookin' and smart as a whip, and I guess she made much of Josiah, 'tennyrate she gin him tickets to her lecture. She said she'd met a man whose brother-in-law's cousin had bought a dog once
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