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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSamantha At The St. Louis Exposition - Chapter 12
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Samantha At The St. Louis Exposition - Chapter 12 Post by :oukhanova Category :Long Stories Author :Marietta Holley Date :May 2012 Read :2207

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Samantha At The St. Louis Exposition - Chapter 12

CHAPTER XII

Well, for the next week we had a busy time, goin' to the Fair most every day, sometimes all together, but not stayin' together long, for most always we'd meet Professor Todd somewhere and he and Blandina would pair off together (I jest as willin' as anybody ever wuz).

Molly had a young schoolmate who lived in St. Louis, and sometimes they would spend the day together at some reception or other. But most of the time Josiah and I paid our two attentions to the Fair stiddy, a travelin' about and seein' all we could.

And one mornin' Josiah asked me before breakfast, jest as cool as if he wuz proposin' a glass of lemonade with ice in it, if I didn't want to go to Jerusalem that mornin'.

Jerusalem! City of our Lord! Oh, my soul, think on't! As he said the words I looked at him and then some distance through him and beyond, and entirely onbeknown to myself I begun to hum over that old him:


"Jerusalem the golden, with milk and honey blest,
Beneath thy contemplation sink heart and soul oppressed.
We know not, oh, we know not what joys await us there."


And Josiah broke in and sung the last line with me (or what he called singin').

"What radiancy of glory, what bliss beyond compare."

But I knowed that singin' that time of day would be apt to draw attention, specially as Josiah's singin' wuz very base and my sulferino hain't what it wuz, and I hastened to say:

"Yes, Josiah, I want to go."

Breakfast wuz kinder late that mornin', and little Dorothy come into my room, she slep' jest acrost from us, and she begun to tell me to once about a meetin' she'd been to the night before with Aunt Pheeny. And to make talk with her I asked her what the text wuz, and she sez:

"Jesus the quilt."

Josiah wuz horrified, and it did sound bad, and he begun to reprimand her sharp, but I sez:

"Tell me all about it, Dotie."

And come to find out, it wuz "Jesus the Comforter," and her little bedspread wuz sometimes called a quilt and sometimes a comforter. And I told Josiah how necessary it wuz not to condemn children before searching into their motives. But Dotie wuz evidently thinkin' about the sermon she had hearn so lately, and she went on to ask, "Was Jesus a Jew?"

And I sez, "Yes, dear."

"Why," sez she, "I always thought Dod wuz a Presbyterium."

That wuz her Aunty Huff's persuasion, which she nachully thought couldn't be improved on.

Dotie had a little straw hat on that time o' day and I asked her what it wuz for, and she sez, "Oh, I carry my papers in it, I'm writin' a book."

Grandpa Huff always carried papers in his hat, and she copied him. I asked her what her book wuz about, and how she wuz gittin' on with it and she said:

"It wuz about a lady, a buggler and a ghost, and I've killed 'em all and that's as fur as I've got."

Killin' a ghost! a burglar and a heroine, I thought what a noble start for a sensational novel.

But the breakfast bell rung jest then, and I took the little warm hand in mine and led her down to breakfast.

Well, after breakfast Josiah and I sot out in good season for Jerusalem.

Molly wanted to go to the British Building to see a school friend of hern that she thought might be there, and Blandina offered to accompany her. They wuz goin' to stop at a number of places on the way, and we agreed to meet at noon sharp at the English Building.

We went into the walled city of Jerusalem by the Jaffa Gate, through a tall arched entrance in the stun wall. Within wuz lots of carriages and horses and camels and donkeys and men, wimmen and children, some in strange and startlin' costooms, but the first thing Josiah spoke on wuz the name of a restaurant, "A Fast," it wuz over a door clost by.

"A fast," sez he, "that don't look very encouragin' in a eatin' house. If it wuz Brek Fast it would look more hopeful."

"You've had your breakfast, Josiah, and a good one. Don't be thinkin' of vittles so much in such a place as this."

"I shall think of what I'm a minter, and you can't break it up, mom!"

Truly he spoke the truth; I could cling to his arm, drink out of the same cup, set in the same chair, lay my head on the same piller, and yet, he might be millions of milds from me in sperit, 'round with other wimmen for all I knew. Queer, hain't it?

Yes, he wuz thinkin' of food right here in this Holy City. As for me, a perfect troop of lofty emotions wuz sweepin' through my mind, as I looked 'round me on the very same seen our Lord had looked at. Low old-fashioned stun housen such as He might have entered in, men and wimmen clad in long robes such as He wore.

And to think of seein' the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrows, that He walked, carryin' the agony of humanity, and the pityin' compassion of divinity.

And the Nine Stations of the Cross where our Lord stopped to rest on that bitter journey, toiling up the steep hill carrying up the heavy cross and the woes and sins of the world, awful! beautiful Calvary! sacred, heart-breaking, holy place. How my soul burnt within me thinkin' of all this as I stood in the Holy City.

And there wuz the Tower of David, the Shepherd king. I always liked David, though I could advised him for his good in lots of things. He didn't do right by Ury, and he ortn't to had so many wives, if he'd scrimped himself a little in 'em, mebby his son, Solomon, wouldn't had so many, and one is enough, as I told Josiah.

"Yes," sez he with intense conviction in his tone. "One wife is enough for any man, heaven knows, and anybody that hankers after more than one is a fool!"

I didn't really like his axent; he'd been layin' it up, I guess what I said about vittles, but I didn't mind it.

And we went through the different quarters of the city. The little stores and bazars by the side of the street wuz full of real nice things to sell, rich Eastern woven goods, embroideries, cushions, curtains, rugs, lamps, jewels, ornaments, trinkets of all kinds, etc., etc. There is more than a hundred of these little booths and stores in Jerusalem, and all full of handsome things. I loved to look at 'em, though Josiah tried to draw me away.

Sez he, "You don't want to buy here; you can do as well agin in Jonesville tradin' off your butter and eggs, and probable git a chromo throwed in."

I didn't argy, but I bought a string of beads for Tirzah Ann and a pipe for Thomas J., the wood of which growed on the Mount of Olives, so the man said.

I told Josiah they would prize 'em high havin' come from Jerusalem.

And he said, "They never see Jerusalem," he said they wuz growed over in New Jersey, and when I asked him how he knew, he said he re_cog_nized the berries and the grain of the wood.

But he couldn't no such thing, and I presoom the man told considerable truth. And we see Rabbis, Turkish cavalry, common people livin' in the queer little housen jest as they did in Jerusalem, and the priests goin' through their religious ceremonies jest the same. And we went through the Citadel and the different public buildin's.

There wuz lots of wimmen and girls on the streets, some on 'em sellin' posies for charity, I bought two little bunches, one on 'em I put in Josiah's buttonhole, though he objected and said it would probable make talk for a man of his age and dignity to be trimmed with flowers.

They wuz real pretty girls, with white veils on over their dark hair, their lustrous eyes lookin' out at us as they might have looked at the Postles.

And there wuz cunnin' little donkeys that anybody could ride if they wanted to, and camels with gorgeous trappings kneelin' down ready for folks to mount and be carried 'round the streets. Josiah stood ready to pay the ten cents apiece to give us the pleasure of a ride.

But I declined the treat. I sez, "We don't ride the old mair hoss back to home, and I don't hanker after bein' histed up onto a camel's hump, or to see you in that perilous poster."

He said he'd love to tell the bretheren we'd rid 'em, but seein' I wuz sot agin it he gin up.

The streets smell bad and are so narrer I don't see how they would manage if two buggies met; one would have to back out, they couldn't git by each other.

The old Roman barracks are bare and dreary lookin', but dretful interestin' to me for there our Lord stood to be judged by Caesar like a lamb before the shearer, and he said, "I wash my hands of this matter, I find no fault in this man."

I wish Caesar had had more gumption. His wife could see furder ahead than he could. But that is often the case, as I tell Josiah.

And we went through St. John's Hospice, and the Mosque of Omar. That is a monstrous big building with a great round dome on top, two broad flights of steps lead up into it, we clumb the nighest one and went inside. The high dome is lined with colored mosaic, and looks first-rate, but I didn't pay much attention to that for right underneath the centre is an exact reproduction of the rock where Abraham offered up Isaac, or got ready to. How Love and Duty tugged at Abraham's heart and most tore it into as he stood there, and what faith he had. It is heart-breakin' to think on't, though it all come out right in the end, as the hardest things will if we cling to Duty.

But Josiah wuz gittin' worrisome and wanted to go, but I sez, "Josiah, I must see Solomon's Temple."

It wuz quite a few steps away, but I didn't begrech the time or journey, and jest as we wuz goin' up the steps, who should we meet comin' out but Jane Olive Perkins (_nay Gowdey) once a Jonesvillian, but now livin' in Chicago, but visitin' her old home and relation quite often.

She wuz dressed beautiful, her neck and bosom sparklin' with diamonds. I don't approve of such dressin' in the street, but Jane Olive wuz always showy.

She held out both hands in joyful greetin' (the meanin' of which I mistrusted afterwards). We talked about the splendor of the Fair and our own two healths, and the Jonesvillians, and then she sez:

"I am so delighted to meet you, Josiah Allen's wife, for I know you will want to give to a noble cause I am workin' for, you and dear Mr. Allen. It is a cause that ort to be first in every feelin' heart, and I knew you'd give liberal."

I'd forgot my portmoney that mornin' and didn't want right there in Solomon's Temple to dicker with Josiah for money, I knowed it would make him fraxious. And I wuz havin' such a lot of lofty emotions there at Jerusalem, I didn't want to bring 'em down by havin' words with my pardner. And I knowed too that "dear Mr. Allen" would be apt to say hash things that would bring him down in Jane Olive's estimation, he's so clost and he never liked her to begin with.

So I said I couldn't very well stop and tend to it right there in Solomon's Temple, and she asked me for my address and told me she should come and see me. She wuz stayin' at a big tarven not so very fur from Miss Huff's, and said she'd brought her orto and shuffler with her from Chicago.

Well, she bid us a tender adoo, sayin' the last thing "_owe Revwah_," or sunthin' like that and Josiah sez to me:

"Who's she twittin' us on? I don't owe nobody by that name, nor never did, not a cent, I'm a man that pays my debts."

And I sez, "Dear Josiah, nobody that knows you can dispute it."

Jane Olive kinder smiled and passed on, and I'dno but in Fancy I and the public may as well set down on the steps of Solomon's Temple, and I'll tell about who Jane Olive Perkins wuz. She wuz Jane Olive Gowdey, and married Samuel Perkins, old Eliphilet Perkinses second boy, and folks thought she done mizable when she married him. Sam hadn't been put to work much bein' sort o' weakly so his folks thought, he looked kinder peaked.

But I spoze Sam enjoyed pretty good health all the time onbeknown to his folks and wuz kinder savin' up his strength, layin' it up as you may say for the time o' need, so he had it all when he wuz married. A master hand he wuz to save things and make 'em count. For all he never did any work to speak on, he had more proppity laid up than any of the Perkins boys when he wuz married, he had saved so and sort o' speculated and laid up.

He wuz kinder mean too, runnin' after wimmen at that time, though onbeknown to Jane Olive or his folks, but it come out afterwards, he wuz awful sly. When he married Jane Olive Gowdey that wuz a surprise too, for Bill, the oldest boy, wanted her the worst way and everybody spozed they wuz engaged. A good creeter Bill wuz, virtuous as Joseph, or any of the old Bible Patriarchs, and virtuouser than lots of 'em.

But Sam, in jest that way of hisen, laid low and sort o' did the best he could with what he had to do with, sort o' speculated and increased her likin' for him on the sly (mean fellers will git ahead of good ones five times out of ten, wimmen are so queer). And lo and behold! the first Jonesville knew they up and got married.

They moved to a big city where Sam got a chance to travel for a grocery store, and Jane Olive opened a inteligence office, where for an ample consideration she furnished incompetent help to distracted housekeepers, receivin' pay from both victims, and they laid up money fast. Then he went into pork and first we knew Sam wuz a very rich man, lived in great style, kep' his carriage, but wuz awful mean, so we heard, hadn't no morals at all to speak on so fur as wimmen wuz concerned, and we had hearn that Jane Olive not bein' over and above happy in marriage, and forgittin' to all appearance she had ever dickered with mistress and maid, wuz tryin' her best to work her way in among the aristockracy, she wuz dretful ambitious and so wuz Sam, they wanted to go with the first.

She did everything she could to foller their example, she dressed up in satin and diamonds and trailed 'round to theatres and operas and hung over dry goods counters, and kep' her maid and coachman and butler, or that's what folks say, I don't even know what a butler is expected to do, or Josiah don't. "Butler," sez I when I hearn on't, "I can't imagine what a butler duz."

And Josiah sez, "A coachman is to coach, and a waiter is to wait, and a butler must be to buttle."

Sez I, "Buttle what? Or who? Or when?" But he couldn't tell. Well, Sam he did everything to git into the first and be fashionable, he embezzled a lot, broke down two or three times with enormous profit to himself, spent his money like water, wuz jest as mean as he could be, went over to Europe now and then, did everything he could do to be fashionable and act like a man of the world, and finally he led astray a little girl that lived with 'em, a motherless little girl they had took, pretty as a pink too, and affectionate dispositioned. Jane Olive turned her outdoors, of course, when she found it out. It wuz in the fall of the year, and the night before Christmas the girl with her baby in her arms jumped into the river and wuz drownded.

Her father had some spunk and took Sam up, but he wuz always sly and looked ahead, and he proved that she wuz a day or two older than the age of consent, and he got let off triumphant and her father had to pay the cost, besides the funeral expenses, and grave stun.

Such smartness riz Sam up considerable amongst his mates and he wuz sent to Congress most immegiately afterwards, and it wuz owin' to his powerful arguments that the age of consent wuz lowered a year or two; I believe he brought it down to about ten years. He wuz thought a sight on by his genteel male friends, so they say, he worked so powerful for their interest. He brought down the licenses on saloons and bad housen a sight, and made almost Herculanean efforts to have saloons scattered broadcast through the country without _any license to pay. I spoze there never wuz a more popular statesman. He worked too hard though, and had to retire to more private life to reap the fruits of his efforts. And he kep' right on, so they say reapin' 'em ever since, cuttin' up and actin', but always actin' jest inside the law and always cuttin' up the same.

He had the gift of gab and he made eloquent public speeches, tellin' what boons saloons and kindred places wuz to the community. I spoze there never wuz a more popular legislator.

But, of course, such high honors cast dark shadders, and one night after he'd made a powerful speech at the openin' of a saloon he owned, a old one made over into gorgeous beauty, he got a good hoss whippin', and by some wimmen too.

Perkins had made a great speech himself and wantin' to show off to the world that it wuz real respectable (they had this saloon kinder graded off, weaker drinks in one place leadin' up gradual to brandy and whiskey), he got a minister, a well-meanin' man, so I hearn, who made a prayer and then they all sung the Doxology:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow--

Askin' God to bless what He'd cursed. What must God thought on't! For He and they well knew all the sin and pain, poverty and crime that flowed out of saloons, the ontold losses and danger to community, the brutality, fights, murders, crimes of all kinds.

Praise Him all creatures here below--

When that minister knowed the stuff he wuz dedicatin' rendered all creeters here below, no matter how smart they wuz nachully, incapable of tellin' whether they wuz on their head or their heels, blessin' or cussin'. When a man is drunk as a fool how can he praise anything? It is all he can do to navigate his own legs within' and weavin' along under him, ready to crumple down any minute into the gutter. He'd look well tryin' to sing gospel hims when he can't tell what his own name is, or speak it if he could.

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts

Why, I don't see how they dasted to sing that when they knowed that the Heavenly Host couldn't have flowed through such places without bein' liable to git their feathers pulled out in some of the drinkin' carouses held there. As liable agin for their pure eyes must be dimmed with tears, tears for the eighty thousand victims turned out yearly from these resorts. Innocent youth changed to reckless wickedness, noble manhood turned to brutes falling from honorable places in society down into drunkards' loathsome lives, drunkards' dishonored graves.

How could these pityin' sperits help weepin' over it? And the long, agonized procession follerin' on--pale, wretched mothers, once happy wives, now hungry, broken-hearted wrecks, with pinched, starved children clingin' to their ragged skirts. The idee of askin' this pure heavenly Host to praise God for what brought all this to pass!

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Why, I believe that Satan himself, though he loved to see the work go on, would be ashamed to sing the Doxology there. I don't believe you'd ketch him at it, for he is so smart he would see in a minute how it would look to praise God for such a place as that when he had said plain:

"Cursed is he that putteth the cup to his neighbor's lips."

And Satan knowed jest as well as Josiah and I and the world did, that saloons wuz made a purpose for this.

"And no drunkard hath eternal life." And that minister wuz ordained to help people attain that life, not to help 'em lose it.

I don't see what he wuz thinkin' on. Of course, the top of the long slippery descent to ruin is quite cheerful lookin', lit up with false lights, hollow mirth, false hopes and dreams lurin' the victims on and down. But he knowed how slippery it wuz, how impossible it wuz for ordinary men to stand up when they got to slidin' down. He knew that nothin' but God's grace wuz strong enough to reach down and haul 'em up agin to level ground.

A few men are so strong-footed they can grip on and stay 'round the top for some time, and I presoom this minister, bein' a good-natered man would been glad to had 'em all hung on there, but he must have knowed they wouldn't and couldn't. He'd seen 'em leggo thousands and thousands every year, he knowed what made 'em fall. And he might jest as well made a prayer and sung a hymn over a murderer's knife, because he wanted it to cut bread but knowed it would and did murder, as to done this.

For no matter what he wanted he knowed intemperance is evil and only evil. And pattin' a pizen viper and callin' it "angel" and singin' the Doxology over it hain't goin' to change its nater, its nater is to sting, and its bite is death.

And the God they dasted to invoke said of the drink the place wuz made to sell, "It biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder," and the end thereof is death.

I don't know what that good man could be thinkin' on to dast. But then as long as our Government opholds it, I spoze he thought he might.

But I wish I'd been there to told him how it wuz goin' to look to me and Josiah and the world, and what slurs wuz goin' to be cast onto the sacred cause of religion by it.

I couldn't tell him what harm it wuz goin' to do; no, eternity is none too soon to count that up. Awful waves of influence sweepin' along--sweepin' along clear from to-day to the Day of Judgment; I can't bear to think on't; I'm kinder sorry for him, and am glad enough it hain't my Josiah that has got that ahead on him. I wish he'd ondo now what he's done as fur as he can, he'd feel better, I believe, I know that I and the meetin' house would and Josiah.

But, 'tennyrate, no matter how Satan wuz laughin' and sneerin' and angels bendin' down from the gold bars of Heaven lookin' through their pityin' tears hopin' it must be a mistake, not believin' it possible that them prayers and hims could come from a man-killin' saloon. And coverin' their eyes with their droopin' wings when they found it wuz so--they sung it through and the minister, for he wuz a stiddy man, went home in good season. And Perkins also started home walkin' afoot, it wuz so little ways.

And as I said, some wimmen sot on him and hoss-whipped him. Some of these wimmen's husbands had been ruined and killed by the Poor Man's Club. And there wuz some mothers whose little boys of seven and eight had been coaxed with brandy-soaked candy into another saloon Perkins owned. For this saloonkeeper had boasted, Perkins backin' him, that money spent enticin' the young and innocent to drink, whilst they wuz easily influenced, wuz money well spent.

For of course, as good calculators, they had to in the interest of their profession provide new recruits to take the place in the staggerin' ranks of the hundred thousand they annually killed off. And this saloonkeeper, helped on by Perkins, had the name of the most active boy and girl ruiner among the thousands in the city, though they all did a flourishin' bizness.

Two or three of Perkins' saloons made a specialty of sellin' drink to girls, and their mothers who lay their heads on their pillows at night and found 'em like thorns and fire under their heads, thinkin' of the pretty warm-hearted girls who had to be away from mother's care to earn their livin', out to service and in manufactories and elsewhere. And some rich mothers, whose girls wuz away to school----

These mothers thinkin' what a weak thing a girl's will wuz when drink had drownded out the small self-control they had, and youthful passion and temptation urgin' 'em on, and the company Perkins nachully drawed 'round him.

These mothers whose boys and girls wuz like pieces of their own hearts, and these wives in the grief made recklessness of despair, made a hash vow that they would break up Perkinses saloons or die in the attempt, so they sot on him that night and gin him good drubbin'.

But they couldn't do much, for the police, of course, horrified by their onparalelled and onprovoked crime, hustled the wimmen off to jail, and escorted Perkins home with honor. But to resoom backwards.

I will git up (in fancy) from the steps of Solomon's Temple and go on in.

This is a complete copy of the magnificent temple built by Solomon, the wisest man in the world. Though like all wise men he had his foolish streaks, seven hundred wives is too many for one man to git along with, I should told him so if I had lived neighbor to him. I'd say:

"Mr. Solomon, if you have the name of knowin' so much show your smartness by gittin' rid of six hundred and niney-nine on 'em; keep jest one, pick her out, take your choice, but discharge the rest. Set 'em up in dressmakin' or millionary or sunthin' to git a livin' by, and settle down peaceable with one." Mebby he'd hearn to me and mebby not, men are so sot in their way.

But to resoom. Here we stood in that splendid temple which was the wonder of the world, and see the tabernacle the old Hebrews carried with 'em through the parted waves of the Red Sea and their journeyin's through the wilderness for forty years, led by the pillow of fire.

What feelin's I had as I looked on it and meditated, what riz up feelin's them old four fathers that carried it must have had, and them that follered on, led as they wuz by heavenly light, fed by heavenly food. How could they acted as they did, rambelous often and often, wanderin' from the right road, but still not gittin' away from the Divine care.

And there wuz a picture forty feet long, as long as our barn, showing the old Hebrews encamped before Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Law that rules the world to-day (more or less). Heaven drawin' so nigh to earth that hour that its light fallin' on Moseses face made it too glorious for mortal eyes to look on.

And I'dno but one of them mountains we see wuz where Moses stood after his forty years journey, castin' wishful eyes onto the Promised Land, not bein' able to enter in because of some past error and ignorance. And I thought, as I stood there, how many happy restin' places we plan and toil for and then can't enter in and possess through some past error and mistake caused by ignorance as dense as Moseses ignorance. What a lot of emotions I had thinkin' this, and how on top of another mount the great prophet and law-giver wuz not, for God took him.

I wuz lost and by the side of myself, but Josiah's voice reached me up in the realm of Reverie and brought me back.

"What ails you, Samantha? Do you lay out to stand here all day?" And I tore myself away.

Well, there wuz movin' pictures describin' the Holy Land and we see 'em move, and dissolvin' views of the same and we see 'em dissolve, and at last Josiah got so worrisome I had to go on with him. We laid out to stop to Japan and France, they bein' right on our way, and I sez, "We might as well stop at Morrocco." For as I told Josiah, while we wuz travelin' through foreign countries we might as well see what we could of the people, their looks and habits.

But he sez to once, "You don't want to buy any Morrocco shues, Samantha, they don't wear nigh so well as calf-skin and cost as much agin." And sez he, "We won't have more than time to go through Japan and France and do justice to 'em." So we went on.

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