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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSamantha At The St. Louis Exposition - Chapter 3
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Samantha At The St. Louis Exposition - Chapter 3 Post by :oukhanova Category :Long Stories Author :Marietta Holley Date :May 2012 Read :1938

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Samantha At The St. Louis Exposition - Chapter 3

CHAPTER III

Well, Jabez said it wuz the sudden change from cold to hot water that had caused the overflow, so we put the biler on the kitchen stove and the caldron kettle in the woodhouse, and het water bilin' hot and filled the empty tank, Josiah groanin' loud as he lugged it up and sayin' when he thought I didn't hear him, "Oh, gracious Heavens! is this two pails a year?"

Then we all gathered in the front chamber agin watchin' events to come, Jabez boastin' louder than ever how like a charm it would work, and Karen opholdin' him. But Josiah looked anxious as I could see. When agin that loud angry roar begun in the suller, and agin Ury ketched Philury round the waist, for she wanted to stand her ground, but he yanked her down stairs and half way acrost the back yard. He loves her dearly and thinks it a man's place to protect his pardner. He didn't go so fur this time, but had almost onbeknown to himself sought safety for his dear Philury in flight.

Agin Jabez and Josiah and Royal rushed down suller. The dretful roar ended in a higher more steaminer volume of water than before, agin we laid to and bailed it out, our ranks bein' reinforced anon by the returnin' Ury and Philury, and anon furder by Josiah, Royal, and Jabez. Jabez didn't boast quite so loud now, and I wuz glad to see that Rosy kinder cuddled up closter to Royal as she wielded the dipper, as if she thought him a refuge in time of storm.

Well, from that time, about three in the afternoon, till ten P.M. the programmy wuz stidy over and over. Fillin' the tank, low snortin' and rushin' of the waters up and down, chasin' along the pipes in every room, hammerin', kickin', shootin', like enraged artillery, at last thundering like the most skairful clap of thunder and then with a fearful roar the volume of water would mount up and pour into the spare room and drizzle down into the settin' room below, takin' off the plasterin' in spite of our very best efforts to bail it out. Over and over agin wuz the wearisome and soul tuckerin' job carried out, varied every time by Ury ketchin' Philury and fleein' with her, but the distance shortened every time, till at last he fled with her no furder than the top of the kitchen stairs. Karen's horrow struck, mortified looks, Jabez'es entire absence of boastin', which in itself wuz dog queer, and Rosy's instinctive turning to Royal for protection, which wuz gladly granted.

Over and over the seen wuz enacted, Jabez every time turnin' some screw or valve or sunthin' and prophesyin' every time it would go right the next time, but said it with feathers droopin', so to speak, more humble like and doubtful. My poor pardner as he lugged up two heavy pails of water at half-past nine P.M., I hearn him say:

"Oh, gracious, Peter! is this two pails a year? This makes more'n a hundred pails I've carried up to-night myself besides Ury's and Jabezs'es." It wuzn't so, he hadn't carried up more'n thirty or forty twelve quart pails. But yet I pitied him. Well, that also thundered and deluged and guyzered out onto the floor accompanied by the drips and drizzles into the settin' room, Ury's flight with Philury, Karen's mourns, and Josiah's groans, for he had lost his pride and openly groaned and jawed at Jabez and sez to him:

"You dum fool you! you don't know beans from a broom stick! I wouldn't trust you to make splinters to do up a dog's leg!" And Jabez jawed back again, and Josiah sez, "I'll make you pay heavy damages for this job, and I've as good a mind as I ever had to eat, to give you a good floggin' with a rawhide." And as he grew madder and madder he went on:

"This is your perfectly noiseless apparatus is it?" sez he pintin' down towards the thunderin' roar, "this is your summer heat, hain't it?" pintin' to the shiverin' crowd. "This is your freedom from labor-two-pails-a-year job! one hundred pails of water have I lugged upstairs to-night if I have a pint! Now," sez he, makin' towards him, "do you start out of this house before I fall on you and rend you." Karen screamed and rushed between 'em and fell onto Jabez and dragged him off with her, he seemin' glad to go.

Well, we let the fire go down as low as we could without goin' out, and went to bed shiverin' and half froze, but with soap stuns and hot-water bags we made out to git through the night. In the mornin' a sorry seen greeted us, coldness, discomfort, broken plasterin' and dirt, and no prospect to all appearance of havin' any better times. The only gleam of light I could see in the hull prospect wuz that Josiah in his excitement and wretchedness had seemin'ly forgot that he'd ever mentioned the Exposition of St. Josiah.

Well, right after breakfast Karen come over lookin' as if she hadn't slep' a wink and sez she, "Jabez lay awake all night studyin' on it and he knows now where he made the mistake, he pinted one small lead pipe up where it ort to been pinted down, he can make it all right in an hour."

Well, Josiah, so sure it is that the hottest love soonest cools, vowed that Jabez should never step his foot into the house agin. And I wuz glad enough to see that Rosy agreed with him.

But I wuz naterally made more megum, and thought, any port in a storm, and a hour won't be much anyway. If we've stood all this dirt and confusion for five weeks we could stand it a hour longer.

"Well," sez Josiah, "I shall go into the woods for a jag of maple, I won't see him, I dassent, for I should fall on him and destroy him if I did."

So he went after a load of maple wood and Jabez come and tinkered and hammered and pounded and then sayin' with some of his pride returned into his port:

"It will go now like clock work."

He filled the tank and lit the fire agin with Ury's help. But I wuz glad enough that Josiah wuz absent, for this time the noise wuz so skairful that when Ury ketched Philury round the waist and absconded with her, he didn't stop till they had ploughed through the snow clear past the old hen house.

I, too, ketched Rosy by the arm and run and stumbled along most to the barn before I remembered myself and regained my faculties, so to speak, it wuz so turrible this time the loud, angry, roarin', hissin' noise.

Karen nobly stood by Jabez, who I must say stood by his job in that respect, but I guess they went out into the hall, I thought I ketched a glimpse of 'em, as I havin' regained my faculty, run in. We got in jest after the deluge poured out agin, higher, louder and more steaminer than ever, and when what few scraps of plaster remained on the settin' room had fell victims to the bilin' flood. Well, we let the fire go down agin and cowered over the kitchen stove that day, and agin went shiverin' to bed. That night the weather moderated, and with a low fire in the furnace, and the heat from the kitchen stove, we kep' middlin' warm. We cleaned up the plaster, mopped the floor and wuz comparitively comfortable for three days. The fourth night the fire in the furnace riz up onbeknown to us in the night, and the first we knew we wuz waked up by what we thought a loud clap of thunder overhead, accompanied by a loud roar, and shakin' of the walls, and Josiah started up in bed and sez, "Is the house struck, Samantha? Who ever heard of thunder at this time of year? Or is it a earthquake?"

But I gittin' holt of my conscientiousness quicker than he did, sez, "Josiah Allen, it is that heatin' apparatus." And to confirm my words we hearn the angry loud roar and the water splurgin' out over our heads and drizzlin' down through the laths in the next room. Even as I spoke Rosy come down stairs in her pretty pink wrapper, and sez she half asleep, but wholly afraid, "Oh, Aunt Samantha, I do wish Royal was here! what a fearful time!" sez she.

And if you'll believe it, so onselfish is a woman's heart, even in the midst of her deepest tribulations, and so kinder sentimental, her words sent a faint ray of joy over my heart, some like the pale light of a star shinin' out over a wild western tornado. But before I could reply Ury come runnin' down stairs holdin' Philury, faithful critter that he wuz, and Josiah yelled at him: "Do you go over to Kellup Wind's and bring that cussed fool over here, and if he don't take out that invention of his under ten minutes I will have the law on him, and whip him within an inch of his life!"

It wuz half-past three and we all got up, and I got breakfast by lamp light. Ury come back and said Jabez had been studyin' for the hull of the last three days and said he wuz absolutely sure now he knew what ailed it, it wuz the little piece of pipe that led to the tank, it wuz set in the wrong place, it would take about twenty minutes to fix it so it would be entirely right. Josiah hollered out, "Be we goin' to be used by that dum fool to try his experiments on? Let him take it out or I will take it out and throw it at him!"

But Karen had writ a note to me, pleadin' with me as a sister in the meetin' house, to let Jabez have this sole chance, and I showed this note to Josiah and sez, "For Karen's sake mebby we'd better let him try it."

"For Karen's sake!" he yelled out, "why should we pompey her? It is all _her fault. What did she let him live for when he wuz a babe? She is to the bottom of it, if it hadn't been for her lettin' him live we shouldn't be in this state, up at midnight, hungry as bears, cold as frogs, and our house a wreck!"

But how true it is the noisest grief is soonest squenched. At last he gin in and Jabez attacked it agin, and tinkered and puttered at it all day, I watchin' Josiah clost for fear he would surround Jabez and fall on him and demolish him in his anger. But all the difference his work made it seemed as if the noise wuz a little louder and the flood more tumultious and rushin' if it could be tumultiouser and rushiner. And by my advice Jabez fled out of the suller door and streaked it for home cross lots, for I feared that my beloved pardner might be led by his righteous wrath, even into salt and buttery.

Jest as Jabez streaked it home, I watchin' him from the buttery window and also keepin' my pardner at bey in the milk room, I see a buggy drive into the yard, and wuz I not glad to see the manly form and calm quiet face of Royal Nelson. After he drove his handsome span of grays into the horse barn he come in and I see his linement looked considerable brighter and happier, brightenin' still more as he met Rosy's sweet smiles and cordial words.

She wuz sick of Jabez, sick as lobely could make her. And her old love and leanin' on Royal Nelson had come back in full force. Her fancy for Jabez had been light and transitory as his sir-name. And as I see their happy means as they met, I felt that even the wreck and ruin about us wuz mebby not too dear a price to pay for their future happiness. The first thing Royal and Ury did, Josiah helpin' 'em, wuz to take out the furnace and pipes, the hull caboodle on 'em, and then went over to Jonesville and bought a new furnace and got a good responsible man to put it in that very day. They telephoned to that hardware man to Zoar to come and take away the remains of that invention, and how he settled with Jabez I never knew, for Karen hushed it up, but I know there is a coldness between 'em and they don't speak.

Well, the places all bein' made in the walls, and this man bein' a good workman, who had learnt his trade, that night about eight P.M. the hull job wuz done, and stillness and genial warmth made the place seem almost like Heaven compared to what it had been. The next day a man come and plastered overhead, Ury and Philury helped clean the floors and put down the carpets, and in three day's time everything wuz happy and calm and quiet, and Josiah wuz beginnin' to recover from the effects of too voylent wrath upon his nerve.

Our noses had regained their natural color, and on the third day Rosy with a last warm kiss and sweet smile on me and visey versey went home, Royal carryin' her in his new covered buggy, drawed by them two handsome gray horses. They wuz engaged, and their plans all made, they wuz to be married in the summer and go to the St. Louis Exposition on their weddin' tower.

And I thought, as I see 'em drive off, happy as a king and queen in the bright moonlight, how true it is our brightest joys often come through darkest tribulations. Rosy's and Royal's happiness wuz enough in itself to pay me abundantly for my tribulations. And then my settin' room new plastered and Josiah would never consented to tear it off, and it wuz lumpy and streaked and broken, and here it wuz new plastered over smooth as glass.

Oh! thinkses I how thankful I ort to be and how I ort to forgit the troubles of the night in the joys of the mornin'.

And crownin' blessin' of all Josiah had seemin'ly forgot all about the Exposition of Josiah Allen. He hadn't mentioned it for days and the children and I wuz full of hope, it wuz broke up. But, alas! in this world how little you can tell what is broke and what hain't.

And the news Josiah brung home, what comfort there wuz in the thought--I like Karen and felt to rejoice with her. It seemed that Luman Heath, not havin' heard of our afflictions, had let Jabez go on with his work the very next day after he finished here. And the Perpetually Gushing Hot Water Tank wuz the death blow to Jabez Wind's inventive ambition, and alas! proved almost the death blow to Luman Heath's beloved ones, the hull family circle on 'em.

He attached it to the kitchen stove, which wuz a perfect steamer to burn and heat up. And fixed it so that instead of the hot water goin' acrost the room to the kitchen sink as he meant to have it, it jest squirted right up into the air bilin' hot, so they had a perfect fiery geyser there in their kitchen. Jabez run for his life, it had hit him in the face.

They wuz Methodist folks with lots of children well brung up and they never thought of havin' such doin's in their house, but the bilin' crater pourin' down hot water come so sudden and onexpected onto 'em that three of the little children wuz scalded most to-death as they sot on the floor readin' Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress." And Luman, bald-headed, too, the fiery flood descended onto him while he wuz tryin' to bear his wife, who fell into hystericks, into the settin' room, he wuz hit on top by the bilin' torrent and blistered right on his bare head as big as your hand.

He laid his wife down half faintin', told the screamin' children to look out for her and keep out of the kitchen, hollered for the hired man to go after a doctor, and fell back into a kind of spazzum. He bein' a good man who wouldn't swear, or rare round kep in his feelin's more. The children got over it before he did, bad as they wuz scalded, they screamed and yelled and let off considerable steam that way. But he wuz bed sick for weeks holdin' onto his wrath and bein' too good to jaw and kick Jabez, the doctor said made it worse than if he had kicked some.

But to resoom backwards. The hired girl wuz the coolest of any of 'em, she went into the kitchen with a waterproof and umbrella, and tried to turn the nozzle of the Perpetual Gushing Hot Water Tank out-doors, and havin' to use both hands, and bein' smart and quick witted, she put the coal scuttle on bottom side up, and though blinded by it and some scalded, she made out to turn the fury of it out through the kitchen winder where it steamed and squirted and poured out bilin' water onto the flower beds and acrost 'em into the road, scaldin' passers by, and bein' a perfect horrow and mystery to 'em. It wuz big and powerful, there hain't no doubt of that.

Well, owin' to the hired girl's courage, by the time the doctor got there the tank wuz emptied, and the torrent had subsided into a drizzle. Luman Heath didn't prosecute Jabez, bein' such a good man, and how I honor him for it, how I honor him for not actin' and swearin'. The doctor may say what he wants to, he wuz noble to bear it as he did. I have seen kickin' and actin' in times of trial, and how I honor a man who can refrain, and he got well as quick, I believe, as though he had acted.

But as I wuz sayin' the greatest relief that come to the community from our trials wuz as follers. Take it with his doin's at our house and Luman Heath's, Jabez Wind had evidently had enough of inventions. He hired out for a year the very next day after the eppisode, to work for twenty dollars a month on a farm, house rent, wood, and cow furnished. Kellup Wind is goin' to live with a daughter, and Karen is blissful at thought of keepin' house for Jabez. Good creeter! I hope she will have a little rest now. I said I meant to go and see her jest as soon as she wuz settled.

Well, for two days my feelin's of joy and thankfulness wuz onclouded. But alas, poor mortals! that plant the flowers of their happiness on earthly sile, they must see 'em wither before their face and eyes anon or oftener like Jonah's gourd.

The third day, whilst I wuz settin' happy and calm in my frame in my warm peaceful settin' room often liftin' my eyes contentedly to the satin smooth ceilin'.

What wuz my emotions of grief and horrow to see Josiah rise up, haul out his tin trunk where he'd carefuly stored away the plans of the St. Josiah Exposition, and go to studyin' 'em agin with renewed vigor, sayin':

"I hope to gracious I can have my mind clear now to go on and plan my Exposition; this dum work has set me back turribly."

I let my work fall into my lap and gin vent to some sithes, so deep they wuz almost groans, whilst the bitter waters of disappintment trickled over my hopes and drownded 'em out. Had I got to go through another siege of argument and persuasion and extra vittles? Could my too hard worked oratory hold out, and also my provisions?

I see the children next day and told 'em how it wuz, that their Pa seemed more sot on his plan than ever, and talked more excited and earnest about it than I had ever seen him. For it did seem as if his deep ambitions dammed up for a time by furnaces and Jabezeses, had broke loose into a wider, deeper current than ever. He talked incessantly about it day and night, laid on his plans, and reached out onto new ones.

The children sez to me agin: "Mother, it must be stopped at all hazards!"

And agin I wep', and sez to 'em: "How can it be stopped?"

Tirzah Ann looked completely squelched and could do nothin' only weakly ask: "If I spozed I could git him to play on a accordeon, she kinder thought that some time she'd hearn of some man, somewhere havin' his mind soothed by one."

"Accordeon!" sez I. "You couldn't git his mind offen that plan if you gin him one of the golden harps we read about."

Tirzah Ann subsided, only sayin': "We would all be the town's talk, and it would probable kill her with mortification."

Thomas J. sot still with his brow knit in deep thought and sez "I will try one thing more."

I never knew exactly how Thomas J. worked it, or what he paid 'em, but I know that a day or two after, the prices them livin' statutes asked Josiah for bein' whitewashed, wuz sunthin' perfectly exorbitant, and so with the Powers and the Peaceful Inventors. He never could stood it with his closeness.

Thomas J. didn't appear outwardly, but wuz the power behind the thrones, so I spoze. When Josiah wuz taxed with these fearful expenses (they writ it in letters to him) his plan tottled ready to fall. And of course I stood ready and follered it up with eloquent arguments, tenderness and the very best of vittles. Neither on 'em could carried the day alone, but all together conquered. He gin in. The plan tottered over and fell onto him, and my pardner, to continue the metafor, lay under the ruins as squshed and mute as if he wuz never goin' to git up agin.

But when his wild emotions of ambition and vanity and display wuz all broke up a settled melancholy hovered down onto him and draped him like a black mantilly. He seemed all onstrung, and all my efforts to string him up agin seemed vain.

I strove to hide my apprehensions under a holler veil of calmness and even hilarity; I give him catnip with a smile on my lip but deep forebodin' in my mind, and the same with thoroughwert. But catnip didn't nip his ambition and thoroughwort wuzn't thorough enough to restore his cheerfulness.

I encouraged him to go to the lake fishin' with Deacon Henzy, though I'd suffered more than I had ever told from similar occasions. Deacon Henzy loves hard cider and keeps a kag on tap durin' the summer, he sez it is for his liver, but liver or no liver it hain't right.

I hain't goin' to make no insinuations about their doin's though sister Henzy has approached me on the subject time and agin, she hain't so clost mouthed as I am. But I will merely say that when they got back their two breaths didn't smell as two deacon's breaths ort to smell. But I didn't say nothin' about it outside and shan't, I use tack. I spoke on't to Josiah at the time, yes indeed I hearn the call of Duty and obeyed.

But as I wuz sayin', though it trompled on all my feelin's and forebodin's I urged 'em to go agin and they went. And I shan't tell how their breaths smelt when they got back--it hain't best, only simply sayin' that Josiah took an empty pint fruit can with him that mornin' when he went over to the Deacon's to start, and I never inquired what he took it for, so fur will a female let even her principles be outraged when the life of her beloved companion is at the stake--I tried to think he wuz goin' to take milk in it.

But the small string of tiny fish wuz all he ketched out of the deep waters, he didn't ketch any cheerfulness or happiness for himself or me, only disappintment and shagrin for I felt if I didn't use all my tack mebby the meetin' house would try to set down on him. Two deacons! the very idee on't!

But I kep' mum and dressed the fish myself and fried 'em in butter, only hopin' I wouldn't lose 'em in the fryin' pan, but Josiah didn't seem to relish 'em no better than he would side pork, and agin I felt baffled, and rememberin' the fruit can, a element of guilt also mingled with the baffle. Biled vittles with a bag puddin' which he loved almost to idolatry I put before him in vain; I petted him; I called him "dear Josiah" repeatedly; I fairly pompeyed him, but no change could I see, I felt turrible.

He still kep' a runnin' down and I didn't know when he would stop runnin' and I shuddered to think where he might run to. At last in spite of Josiah's onwillingness I sent for Doctor Bombus. He come and took his wrist in hisen and Josiah sez kinder mad actin': "What do you want to feel of my polt for? My polt beats all right!"

He looked at his tongue, Josiah stickin' it out as if he wuz makin' a face at him. He inquired about symptoms, all of which Josiah answered snappishly, the examination over, the doctor walked the floor back and forth with one hand under his coat tail and the other in his breast in deep thought and then said:

"My diagnosis denotes no diametrical and insurmountable difficulties but I would recommend a temporary transition or in other words a change of climate."

"Change of climate!" muttered Josiah, "I guess anybody that lives in this state gits changes enough, from torrid to zero in twenty-four hours lots of times--I'd like to know where you wintered!"

"Nevertheless and notwithstanding," sez Doctor Bombus, blandly ignoring Josiah's muttering impatience, "I can but recapitulate my former prescription, a temporary translation from surrounding environment."

And he gathered up his saddle bags and went out, bagoning me out into the hall as he did so. And then he advised me to take him to the St. Louis Exposition.

But I sez, "I dassent, I'm afraid it would open his woonds afresh, he knowed all the circumstances that had caused his sickness." But he wuz a Homeopath and believed in takin' the same kind of medicine backward and forward as it were, sunthin' as the poem runs:


Tobacco hic when you're well will make you sick,
Tobacco hic will make you well when you're sick.


I told him I thought it wuz a hazardous undertakin', and I hardly dast, but he informed me in words more'n two inches long that he could do nothing more for him, and if I didn't foller his advice it would be at my own peril.

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CHAPTER IVI felt turrible. What wuz I to do to do right? How wuz I to handle this enormous prescription, St. Louis Exposition, and give it in proper doses to the beloved patient? I knowed the size of the mind I had to deal with, I knowed the size of the medicine I wuz told to deal out to that mind. Could it stand the strain? Could that small citadel stand a assault of such magnitude without crumplin' and crumblin' right down? Dast I venter? And then agin dast I disobey the imperative advice of Doctor Bombus? So I wuz tossted
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CHAPTER III felt dretful and how I wuz goin' to break it up and git his mind off I couldn't tell; I talked it over with the children. They wuz goin' to be mortified to death by the idee if carried out and they told me in confidence and the woodhouse kitchen, "It must be stopped!" And I sez, "How is it goin' to be stopped? I've handled every weepon I know how to lay holt on. I've pompied him, cooked the very best of vittles, argued with him, eppisoded, but all to no use, he's as sot as a hen
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