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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSamantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 17
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Samantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 17 Post by :oukhanova Category :Long Stories Author :Marietta Holley Date :May 2012 Read :2980

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Samantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 17

CHAPTER XVII

It rained some in the mornin', and Josiah said, "That it wuz presumptious for any one to go out onto the Fair ground in such a time."

So he settled down with the last Sunday's _World_, which he hadn't had time to read before, and looked and acted as if he wuzn't goin' to stir out of his tracks in some time.

(Illustration: He wuzn't goin' to stir.)

But I went out onto the stoop and kinder put my hand out and looked up into the clouds clost, and I see that it didn't do no more than to mist some, and I felt as if it wuz a-goin' to clear off before long.

So I said that I wuz a-goin' to venter out.

Josiah opposed me warmly, and brung up the dangers that might befall me with no pardner to protect me.

He brung up a hull heap on 'em and laid 'em down in front of me, but I calmly walked past 'em, and took down my second-best dress and bunnet, and a good deep water-proof cape, and sot off.

Wall, I got to the Fair ground with no casualities worth mentionin', and I sauntered round there with my faithful umbrell as my only gardeen, and see a sight, and took considerable comfort.

I had a good honorable lunch at noon, and I wuz a-standin' on the steps of one of the noble palaces, when I see a sedan chair approachin' shaped jest like them in my old Gography, borne by two of the men who carry such chairs. Curius-lookin' creeters they be, with their gay turbans and sashes, and long colored robes lookin' some like my long night-gowns, only much gayer-lookin'.

As it approached nearer I see a pretty girlish face a-lookin' out of the side from the curtains that wuz drawed away, a sweet face with a smile on it.

And I sez to myself, "There is a good, wholesome-lookin' girl, who don't care for the rain no more than I do," when I heard a man behind me say in a awe-strucken voice, "That is the Princess! that is the Infanty!"

(Illustration: "There is a good, wholesome-lookin' girl.")

And I sez to myself, here is a chance to put yourself right in her eyes. For I wuz afraid that she would think that I hadn't done right by her sence she come over from Spain to see us.

And I didn't want her to go back with any false impressions. I wanted Spain to know jest where I stood in matters of etiquette and politeness.

So it happened jest right--she descended from her chair and stood waitin' on the steps for the rest of her folks, I guess.

And I approached with good nater in my mean, and my umbrell in my hand.

And sez I, a-holdin' out my hand horsepitably, sez I, "Ulaley, I am dretful glad of a chance to see you." Sez I, "You have had so much company ever sence you come to America, that I hain't had no chance to pay attention to you before.

"And I wanted to see you the worst kind, and tell you jest the reason I hain't invited you to my house to visit." Sez I, a-bowin' deep, "I am Josiah Allen's Wife, of Jonesville."

"Of Jonesville?" sez she, in a silver voice.

"Yes," sez I; "Jonesville, in the town of Lyme."

Sez I, "You have probable read my books, Ulaley." Sez I, "I spoze they are devoured all over the World as eager as Ruger's Arithmetic, or the English Reader."

She made a real polite bow here, and I most knew from her looks that she wuz familiar with 'em.

And I kep right on, and sez I--

"From everything that I have hearn on you ever sence you come here I have took to you, jest as the hull of the rest of America has. We think a sight on you--you have shown a pattern of sweetness, and grace, and true politeness, that is long to be remembered.

"And I want you to know that the only reason that I hain't invited you to Jonesville to visit me is that you have had such sights and sights of company and invitations here and there, that I told Josiah that I wouldn't put another effort onto you.

"I sez to him, sez I, 'There are times when it is greater kindness to kinder slight anybody than it is to make on 'em.' And I told Josiah that though I would be tickled enough to have you come and stay a week right along, and though, as I sez to him,

"'The Infanty may feel real hurt to not have me pay no attention to her,' still I felt that I had Right on my side.

"Sez I, 'It is enough to kill a young woman to have to be on the go all the time, as she has had to.' Sez I, 'The American Eagle has jest driv her about from pillar to post. And Uncle Sam has most wore his old legs out a-escortin' her about "from pleasure to palaces," as the Him reads.'

"And then, sez I, 'She has had considerable to do with Ward McAllister, and he's dretful wearin'.'

"He's well-meanin', no doubt, and I have a good deal of sympathy for him. For, as I told Josiah, he's gittin' along in years, and I don't know what pervision eternity would give to him in the way of entertainment and use. He can't expect to go on there to all eternity a-samplin' wine, and tyin' neckties, and makin' button-hole bokays.

"And I don't suppose that he will be allowed to sort out the angels, and learn 'em to bow and walk backwards, and brand some on 'em four hundred, and pick out a few and brand 'em one hundred, and keep some on 'em back, and let some on 'em in, and act.

"I d'no what is a-goin' to be done in the next world, the home of eternal Truth and Realities, with a man who has spent his hull life a-smoothin' out and varnishin' the husks of life, and hain't paid no attention to the kernel.

"He tires America dretful, Ward duz, and I spoze like as not he'd be still more tuckerin' to Spain, not bein' used to him, and then, too, she's smaller, Spain is, and mebby can't stand so much countin' and actin'. So, as I said to Josiah, 'The Infanty is a-havin' a hard time on't with the Ward McAllisters of society;' for, sez I, 'Though she has set 'em a pattern of simple courtesy and good manners every time she's had a chance, I knew them four hundred well enough to know that it wouldn't be took.' I knew that the American Republic, as showed out by Ward McAllister and his 'postles, wouldn't be contented to use the simple, quiet courtesy of a Royal Princess.

"No; I knew America and Jonesville would have to see 'em a-goin' on, and actin', and a-plannin' which foot ort to be advanced first, and how many long breaths and how many short ones could be genteelly drawed by 'em durin' a introduction, and how many buttons their gloves must have, and how many inches the tops of their heads ort to come from the floor when they bowed, and whether their little fingers ort to be held still, or allowed to move a little.

"And while Ward and his 'postles was drawed up in a line on one side of the ball-room, and not dastin' to move hand or foot for fear they wouldn't be moved genteel, you got dead tired a-waitin' for 'em to make a move of some kind.

"It wuz a weary, tuckerin' sight to America and me, and must have been dretful for you to gone through.

"And I sez to Josiah, 'It is no wonder that the Infanty got so tired of them performances that she had to set down and rest.

"It tired America so a-seein' 'em a-pilotin' the party that she would have been glad to have sot down and rested.

"Now if I'd invited you, Ulaley, as I wanted to, I wuzn't a-calculatin' to draw up Josiah and the boys and Ury on one side of the room, and the girls and myself in a line on the other side, and not dastin' to advance and welcome you for fear I wouldn't put the right foot out first, or wouldn't put in the right number of breaths a second I ort to.

"No; I should have forgot myself in the pleasure of welcomin' you. I should have advanced to once with pride and welcome in every line of my liniment, and held out my hand in a respectful and joyful greetin', and let you know in every move I made how proud and glad I wuz to see you, and how proud and glad I wuz you could see me, and then I should have introduced Josiah and the children, who would have showed in their happy faces how truly welcome you wuz to Jonesville. You'd've enjoyed it first rate, Ulaley, and if there had been any difference in our manners from what you'd been used to, and we might have made a bow or two less than you wuz accustomed to, why, your good sense would have told you that manners in Jonesville wuz different from Madrid, and you'd expect it and enjoy the difference, mebby.

"Of course, I knew that we couldn't do by you exactly as they do in Spain in the way of amusement--we couldn't git up no bull fight, not havin' the two materials.

"But Josiah has got a old pair of steers down in our back medder that was always touchy and kinder quarrelsome. They are gittin' along in years, but mebby there is some fight left in 'em yet.

"I think like as not that Josiah and Ury could have got 'em to kinder backin' up and kickin' at each other, and actin'.

"I wouldn't gin a cent to seen it go on, but it would have been interesting I hain't a doubt on't, to them that wuz gin to that sort o' things.

"But, as I sez, I wouldn't put it on you, Ulaley."

The Infanty looked real pleasant here--she almost laughed, she looked so amiable at me; she realized well that she wuz a-meetin' one of the first wimmen of the nation, and that woman wuz a-doin' well by her.

"But, as I say, Ulaley, I knew that it wuz too hard for you. I knew that between them Ward McAllisters of society, and the hosts of your honest admirers, from Uncle Sam down to Commander Davis and Miss Mayor Gilroy, you wuz fairly beat out. And I wouldn't put you to the extra effort of comin' to Jonesville. I hated to give it up, but Duty made me, and I want you to understand it and to explain it all out to Spain jest how it wuz."

She smiled real sweet, and said she would, and she said "that she appreciated my thoughtful kindness."

She wuz too much of a lady to talk about them that had entertained her.

And I spoze she _had been entertained through them New York parties. She's quite a case for fun, and we got to feelin' real well acquainted with each other, and congenial.

She looked dretful pretty as she looked out sideways at me and smiled. She's as pretty as a pink.

And sez she, "You are very kind, madam; I highly appreciate your goodness."

"Yes," sez I, "it wuz nothin' but goodness that kep me back, for Josiah and I both think our eyes on you, both as a smart, pretty woman, and a representative of that country that wuz the means of discoverin' us."

And sez I with a shudder, and a skairful look onto me, "I can't bear to think of the contingency to not had Jonesville and Chicago discovered, to say nothin' of the rest of the World.

"But," sez I, "my anxiety to put myself right in your eyes has runaway with my politeness." Sez I, "How is all your folks?" Sez I, "How is little Alphonso? We think a sight of that boy here, and his Ma. She's a-bringin' him up first rate, and you tell her that I think so. It will encourage her.

"And how is your Ma?" sez I; and then I kinder backed out polite from that subject, and sez I, "I dare presoom to say that she has her good qualities; and mebby, like all the rest of the world, she has her drawbacks."

And then a thought come onto me that made me blush with shame and mortification, and sez I, "I hain't said a word about your husband." Sez I, "I have said that I would pay particular attention to that man if I come in sight on him, and here I be, jest like the rest of America, not payin' him the attention that I ort, and leavin' him a-standin' up behind you, as usual.

"How is Antoine?" sez I.

She said that "He was very well."

"Wall," sez I, "I am glad on't; from everything that America and I can learn of him he is a good feller--a manly, good-appearin', good-actin' young man.

"And America and I wish you both dretful well--you and Spain. We think dretful well of all of you; and now," sez I, with some stateliness, "I am a-goin' to withdraw myself, and not tire you out any more."

And so we shook hands cordial, and said good-bye, and I proceeded to withdraw myself, and I wuz jest a-backin' off, as I make a practice of doin' in my interviews with Royalty, when Duty gin me a sharp hunch in my left side, and I had to lock arms with her, and approach the Infanty agin on a delicate subject.

I hated to, but I had to.

Sez I, "Ulaley, I want you to forgive me for it if you feel hurt, but there is one subject that I feel as if I want to tackle you on."

Sez I, "You've acted like a perfect lady, and a sampler of all womanly and royal graces, ever sence you come over here a-visitin', good enough to frame," sez I, "and hang up in our heart of hearts.

"And there hain't but one fault that I have got to find with you, and I want to tell you plain and serious, jest as I'd love to have your folks tell Tirzah Ann if she should go over to Spain to represent Jonesville--

"I want to say, jest as kind as I can say, that if I wuz in your place I wouldn't smoke so much.

"I want to tell you that if my girl, Tirzah Ann, should ever go to Spain under the circumstances I speak on, and should light up her pipe in the Escurial, I should want you to put it out for her.

"I hate to have you smoke, Ulaley--I hate to like a dog. Of course," sez I, in reasonable axents, "if you wanted to smoke a little mullen or catnip for the tizik, I wouldn't mind it; but cigaretts are dretful onhealthy, and I'm afraid that they will undermind your constitution. And I think too much on you, Ulaley, to want you underminded."

(Illustration: "I hate to have you smoke, Ulaley--I hate to like a dog.")

She smiled, and said sunthin' about its bein' the custom of her country.

And I looked real pleasant at her, but firm, and sez I, "Customs has to be gone aginst by true Reformers, and Prophets, Ulaley." Sez I, "Four hundred years ago it wuzn't the custom of the countries to discover new worlds.

"But your illustrious countryman branched out and stemmed the tide of popular disfavor, and found a grand New Land.

"New Worlds lay before all on us, Ulaley--we can sail by 'em on the winds of popular favor and old custom, or we can stem the tide and row aginst the stream, and, 'Go in and take the country.'

"You don't know what good lays in your power to do, Ulaley, you sweet young creeter you, and now God bless you, and good-bye."

There wuz a tear standin' in every one of my eyes as I said it, for a hull tide of emotions from four hundred years past to the present swashed up aginst me as I grasped holt of her pretty hand, and we parted.

She looked real tender-hearted and good at me, as if she liked me, and as if her heart leaned up aginst my heart real clost.

(What duz Ward McAllister and his 'postles know of such rapt moments?)

Her escort driv up in two carriages jest then, and I left her, and as I went down the steps on the other side I heard her talkin' volubly to 'em--a-describin' the great seen that had took place between us, I dare say.

They wuz pleased with it, I could see they wuz fairly a-laughin', they wuz so edified and highly tickled. Yes, Spain realizes it, my makin' so much on't.

Wall, I didn't stay much longer, for weariness, and also the cords of affection, wuz a-drawin' me back to Miss Planks.

Wall, the days and weeks wuz a-wearin' away, and Josiah and I wuz a-enjoyin' ourselves first rate.

The children, and Isabelle, and Krit wuz a-havin' jest as good a time, too, as four smart young folks can have.

Their minds wuz naterally, all four on 'em, as bright as a new dollar, and they had been enriched and disciplined by culture and education, so there wuz good soil indeed for the marvellous seed sowed here to spring up in a bountiful harvest.

They, all four on 'em, enjoyed more than anything else the Congresses, and meetin's of the different societies of the world, for noble, and humane, and philanthropic interests.

And as for me, if I wuz to be made to tell at the pint of the sword what I thought wuz the very best and most glorious product of the World's Columbian Fair, I would say I thought it wuz these orations, and debates, by the brightest men and wimmen on earth, congregated at Columbuses doin's.

They wuz the wreaths of the very finest, sweetest blossoms that crowned Uncle Sam's old brow this glorious summer of 1893.

The most advanced thought on religion, art, science, philanthropy, and every branch of these noble and riz-up subjects wuz listened to there by my own rapt and orstruck ears. And not only the good and eloquent of my own Christian race, but Moslem, Buddhist, and Hindoo. Teachers of every religious and philosophical system wuz heard, givin' friendly idees, and dretful riz-up ones, on every subject designed to increase progress, prosperity, and the peace of mankind.

What subjects could be bigger than these, and more important to the World and Jonesville? Not any; not one.

And what solid comfort I took through the hull caboodle of 'em--Peace Societies, Temperance, Wimmen's Rights, Sabbath Schools, Kindergarten, Christian Science, Woman's protective union, Improvement in dress, etc., etc., and etcetry.

I sot happy as a queen through 'em all, and so did the girls, a-listenin' to every topic hearn on the great subject of makin' the old world happier and better behaved.

Josiah didn't seem to care so much about it.

He would often excuse himself--sometimes he would have a headache, but most always his headaches would improve so that he could git out into the city somewhere or onto the Fair ground. He would most always recooperate pretty soon after we started to the Congress, or Lecture Hall, or wherever our intellectual treat wuz.

(Illustration: Sometimes he would have a headache.)

And when I'd come home I'd find him pretty chipper.

And then often the children would come after us in a carriage and take us all over the city and out into the suburbs, and display all the strange sights to us, or they would take us to the beautiful parks, through the long, smooth, beautiful boulevards.

And no city in the world can go ahead of Chicago in this, or so it seems to me--the number and beauty of their parks, and the approaches to them. There wuz a considerable number of railroads to cross, and I wuz afraid of bein' killed time and agin a-crossin' of 'em, and would mention the fact anon, if not oftener; but I didn't git killed, not once.

Wall, so Time run along; roses and ripe fruit wreathed his old hour-glass, and we didn't hardly realize how fast he wuz a-swingin' his old scythe, and how rapid he was a-walkin'.

Isabelle had promised to come and stay a week with me jest as soon as a room was vacant.

And so the day that Gertrude Plank left I writ a affectionate note to her, and reminded her of her promise, and that I should expect her that evenin' without fail.

I sent the note in the mornin', and at my pardner's request, and also agreeable to my own wishes, we meandered out into the Fair grounds agin.

There wuz a number of things that we hadn't seen yet, and so there would have been if we had stayed there a hull year.

But that day we thought we would tackle the Battle Ship, so we went straight to it the nearest way.

Wall, as I looked off and got a plain view of the Illinois, it was headed towards me jest right, and I thought it wuz shaped some like my biggest flat-iron, or sad-iron, as some call 'em.

And I don't know why, I am sure, unless it is because wimmen are middlin' sad when they git a big ironin' in the clothes-basket, and only one pair of hands to do it, and mebby green wood, or like as not have to pick up their wood, only jest them arms to do it all, them and their sad-irons.

Wall, as I say, it wuz headed jest right, so it did look shaped for all the world like that old flat-iron that fell on to me from Mother Allen.

Of course it wuz bigger, fur bigger, and had a hull string of flags hitched from each end on't to the middle. Wall, it wuz a high, good-lookin' banner a-risin' out and perched on top of a curius-lookin' smoke-stack.

And for all the world, if that line of flags didn't look some like a line of calico clothes a-hangin' out to dry, hitched up in the middle to the top of the cherry-tree, and then dwindlin' down each end to the corner of the house, and the horse barn.

But I wouldn't have that Battle-Ship git wind on't that I compared it to clothes-lines, and flat-irons, not for a dollar bill; for battle-ships are naterally ferocious, and git mad easy.

There wuz sights of good-lookin' flags histed up at one end on't, besides the clothes-line full, and lots of men a-standin' round on't.

They didn't seem to act a mite afraid, and I don't spoze I ort to be.

But lo and behold! come to pry into things, and look about and find out, as the poet sez, that wuzn't a real ship a-sailin' round, as it looked like, but it wuz built up on what they call pilin'--jest as if Josiah should stick sticks up on the edge of the creek, and build a hen-house on 'em, or anything.

(Illustration: Come to pry into things, and look about and find out, that wuzn't a real ship a-sailin' round.)

It is a exact full-sized model, three hundred and forty-eight feet long, of one of the new coast-line battle-ships now a-bein' built for the safety and protection of our country, at a cost of about three million dollars each.

The imitation ship is built on the lake front at the northeastern point of Jackson Park. It is all surrounded with water, and has all the appearance of bein' moored to the wharf.

It has all the fittin's that belong to the actual ship, and all the appliances for workin' it.

Officers, seamen, marines, mechanics, are sent there by the navy department, and the discipline and way of life on a naval vessel is fully shown.

I wuz glad to see that it had a woman for a figger-head.

I guess that the nation thought, after seein' how Miss Palmer went ahead and overcome the difficulties in her path, and kep her beautiful face serene, and above the swashin' waves of opposition all the time--they thought that they wuzn't afraid to let a woman be riz up on their ship, a-lookin' fur out over the waters, and a-takin' the lead.

It looked quite well. There wuz lots of lace-work and ornaments about her, but she carried herself first rate.

Wall, the ship as a hull is dretful interestin' to warriors and such, and mariners.

As for me, I thought more of statutes, and pictures, and posies, and Josiah didn't take to it so much as he did to steers, and horse-rakes, and so forth.

But good land! in such a time as this, when there is everything on the face of the earth, and under it, and above the earth to see, everybody has a perfect right to suit themselves in sights, and side shows.

Wall, we stayed there for some time a-lookin' round, and a-meditatin' on how useful this ship and others like it would be in case another war should break out, and how them ships and what is contained in 'em would be the means of savin' America and Jonesville.

And I had quite a number of emotions, and I guess Josiah did too.

And then we kinder sauntered along on that broad, smooth path by the side of Lake Michigan, and kinder looked off onto her with a affectionate look, and neighbored some with her.

Her waters looked dretful peaceful and calm, after seein' everybody in the hull world, and hearin' every voice that ever wuz hearn, a-talkin' in every language, and seein' every strange costume that wuz ever worn, and etc., etc., etc.

And so we sauntered along till we got to the Casino, and Music Hall a-risin' up at the eastern end of the grand basin.

We had laid out to come here before, and should, most probable, if the hull of music had been shet up inside of that tall, impressive-lookin' buildin'; but truly music had cheered our souls frequent on our daily pilgrimages, so we had neglected to pay attention to the Music Hall and Casino till now.

Josiah wuz anxious to attend to it.

And I myself felt that Duty drawed me, bein' quite a case for music.

And havin' led the choir for years before my marriage to Josiah Allen, and havin' married a man that _sez he can sing.

But if the noise he makes is singin', then I would be willin' to say that I never had riz the eight notes, or fell 'em neither.

But he sez that he loves music; and he had talked quite a good deal to me about the Music Hall and Casino.

That Casino didn't sound quite right; it sounded sunthin' like "Seven-Up" and "Pedro," and I told him so.

But he said that "it wuz all right;" he said "that it wuz took from the Hebrew."

But I believe he said that to blind my eyes. Wall, when we hove in sight of it we see the high towers that riz up above it some distance off, with flags a-comin' kinder out of it on both sides, some like a stupendious pump, with handles on both sides and red table-cloths a-hangin' over 'em, but immense--immense in height.

Wall, I spozed it would look as well agin there as the Jonesville Singin' School, and be fur bigger.

But good land! and good land!

Why, jest the entrance to them buildin's is enough to strike the most careless beholder with or. Such pillows, and such arches, and such ornaments, I never expected to see till I got through with _this planet anyway.

But there wuz one piece of sculpture there that when I see it I instinctively stopped stun still and gazed up at it with mingled feelin's of pride and sorrow.

It wuz a chariot in which stood the Discoverer, a-lookin' off, fur-sighted, and determined, and prophetic, and everything else that could be expected of that noble Prophet and Martyr, Columbus.

The chariot wuz drawn by four high-headed and likely horses as I ever see. But alas! for my own sect.

Two noble and beautiful wimmen stood a-walkin' afoot, barefoot too--stood right there between the horses, each one a-holdin' the bits of two of them high-headed beasts, and their huffs ready to kick at 'em. They didn't look afraid a mite, so I don't know as I need to worry about 'em.

But I couldn't help thinkin'--that is the way that it has always been, men a-ridin' the chariots of Power, drawed by satisfied ambition, and enterprise, and social and legal powers, and the wimmen a-walkin' along afoot by the side of the chariot, and a-leadin' the horses.

Bringin' men into the world, nurturin' 'em, comfortin' 'em through life, and weepin' over their tomb.

Yes, she has led the horse, but walked afoot, and the stuns have been sharp and cold under her bare feet, and the dust from the chariot has riz up and blinded her sad eyes time and agin, so's that she couldn't look off any distance. The horses have been hard bitted; their high huffs and heads drawed dretful hard at the bit held in her weak grasp, and she has been kicked a good deal by their sharp huffs.

On the two off horses there wuz two figgers a-holdin' up high gorgeous banners; of course they wuz men, and of course they wuz ridin'.

Three men a-ridin' and two wimmen a-walkin' afoot; it didn't seem right.

Not that I begretched Columbus--that noble creeter--the ease he had; if I'd had my way I'd had a good spring seat fixed onto that chariot, so that he could rid a-settin' down; or, at any rate, I'd laid a board acrost it, with a buffalo robe on't. I wouldn't had him a-standin' up.

It hain't because I've got anything aginst Columbus--no indeed; but I am such a well-wisher of my own sect that I hate to see 'em in such a tryin' place.

But I wuz glad of one thing, and mebby that wuz one thing that made them poor wimmen look so fearless and sort of riz up.

They wuz in the East--they wuz in the past; the sun wuz a-movin' along, they could foller its rays along into the golden day. Why, right before 'em, on the other side of the basin, with only a little water between 'em that would soon be crossed, they could see a woman a-towerin' up a hundred feet, in plain view of all the countries of the assembled world, a-holdin' in her outstretched hand the emblems of Power and Liberty.

But to resoom: Josiah and I had a first-rate time there at that Music Hall, and enjoyed ourselves first rate a-hearin' that most melodious music, though pretty loud, and a-seein' the Musicianers all dressed up in the gayest colors, as if they wuz officers.

And truly they wuz. They marshalled the rank and file of that most powerful army on earth, the grand onseen forces of melody, that vanquishes the civilized and savage alike, and charms the very beast and reptile.

The sweet power that moves the world, and the only earth delight that we know will greet us in the land of the Immortals.

Truly the hour we spent there wuz long, long to be remembered.

And after we reluctantly left the Hall of Melody, the music still swelled out and come to our ears in hauntin' echoes.

Josiah had wandered away to a little distance to see sunthin' or ruther that had attracted his attention, and I stood still, lost in thought, and almost by the side of myself, a-listenin' to the low, sobbin' music of the band.

(Illustration: A-listenin' to the low, sobbin' music.)

I wuz almost by the side of myself with my rapt emotions when I hearn a voice that recalled me to myself--

"Drusilla, I'm clean beat out."

"Are you, Deacon Sypher? Wall, it is because you are so smart, and see so much."

Truly, thinkses I, it don't take much smartness to see much in this place.

But instinctively with that idee come the thought--nobody but Drusilla Sypher could or would make that admirin' remark.

And I turned and advanced onto 'em with a calm mean.

But I see in that first look that they looked haggard and wan, as wan agin as I ever see 'em look, and fur, fur haggarder. They looked all broke up, and their clothes looked all rumpled up and seedy, some as if they had slept in 'em for some weeks. But I hain't one to desert old friends under any circumstances, so I advanced onto 'em, and sez, with a mean that looked welcomin' and glad--

"Why, Drusilla and Deacon Sypher," sez I, "how glad I am to see you! When did you come? Have you been here long?"

And they said "they had been in Chicago some five weeks."

"Is that so?" sez I. "And how have you enjoyed the Fair? I spoze you have seen a good deal, if you have been here so long."

Sez Drusilly, "This is the first time we have been on to the Fair ground."

"Why'ee!" sez I, "what wuz the matter?"

She turned round, and see that Deacon Sypher had stopped some distance away to speak to my pardner and to look at sunthin' or ruther, and she told me all about it.

She said that the Deacon had thought that it would be cheaper to live in a tent, and cook over a alcohol lamp; so they had hired a cheap tent, and went to livin' in it.

But a hard wind and rain-storm come up the very first night, and blew the hull tent away; so they had to live under a umbrell the first night in a hard rain.

Wall, she took a awful cold, and by the time they got the tent fastened down agin she wuz down with a sore throat and wuz feverish, and couldn't be left alone a minit, so the doctor said.

(Illustration: She took a awful cold.)

So the Deacon had to stay with her night and day, and change poultices, and give medicine, etc., and he had to hire porridges made for her, and things.

There wouldn't any of the campers round 'em do anything for 'em; for he had, accordin' to his own wishes, got right into a perfect nest of Prohibitionists. The Deacon wuz perfectly devoted to the temperance cause himself--wouldn't drink a drop to save his life--and dretful bitter and onforgivin' to them that drinked.

But it happened that bottle of alcohol for their lamp got broke right onto the Deacon's clothes. His vest, and pantaloons, and coat wuz jest soaked with it; so's when he went after help they called him an old soaker, and said if he'd been sober the tent wouldn't have broke loose. They scorfed at him fearful, and wouldn't do a thing to help him.

He told 'em he wuz a strict tetoteler, and hadn't drinked a drop for over forty years.

And they said, "Git out, you wretched old sot! You smell like a saloon!"

And another said, "Don't tell any of your lies to me, when jest one whiff of your breath is enough to make a man reel."

It cut the Deacon up dretful to be accused of drinkin' and lyin'. But they wouldn't one of 'em help a mite, and it kep him boned right down a-waitin' on her.

And they, jest as she got a little better, there come on a drizzlin' rain, and it soaked right down through the tent, and run in under it, so they wuz a-drippin', both on 'em.

But the Deacon took it worse than she did, for he elevated her onto their trunks, made a bed up on top of 'em for her as well as he could.

But he got soaked through and through, and it brung on rumatiz, and he couldn't move for over nine days. And the doctors said that his case wuz critical.

Of course she couldn't leave him, and havin' to cook over a alcohol lamp, it kep her to home every minit, even if he could be left.

So she said they got discouraged, and their bills run up so high for doctors, and medicines, and plasters, etc., that they calculated to break up tent and go and board for a few days, git a look at the Fair, and then go home.

And sez she, "I spoze you have been here every day."

"Yes," sez I; "we would have a nice warm breakfast and supper at our boardin' place, and a good comfortable bed to sleep in, and we would buy our dinner here on the Fair ground, and we have kep real well."

She looked enviously at me out of her pale and haggard face.

Sez she, "We have both ruined our stomachs a-livin' on crackers and cheese. I shall never see a well day agin! And we both have got rumatiz for life, a-layin' round out-doors. It is dangerous at our time of life," sez she.

"What made you do it, Drusilla?" sez I.

"Wall," she said, "the Deacon wanted to; he thought he couldn't afford to board in a house; and you know," sez Drusilla, "that the Deacon is a man of most splendid judgment."

"Not in this case," sez I.

And then, at my request, she told me what they had paid out for doctors and medicines, and it come to five dollars and 63 cents more than Josiah and I had paid for our board, and gate fees, and everything. And that didn't count in the cost of their two dyspeptic boards, or their agony in sickness and sufferin', or their total loss of happiness and instruction at the Fair.

When we reckoned this up Drusilla come the nighest to disapprovin' of the Deacon's management that I ever knew her to. She sez, and it wuz strong language for Drusilla Sypher to use--

Sez she, "If it had been any other man but Deacon Sypher that had done this, I should been mad as a hen. But the Deacon is, as you well know, Josiah Allen's Wife, a wonderful man."

"Yes," sez I, "Drusilla, I know it, and have known it for some time."

She looked real contented, and then I sez--

"Josiah Allen had got his mind all made up to tent out durin' the Fair. But I broke it up," sez I--"I broke it up in time!"

At this very minit Josiah and Deacon Sypher come back to us, the Deacon a-limpin', and a-lookin' ten years older than when we last seen him in Jonesville. And my pardner pert, and upright, and fat, under my management.

Wall, we four stayed together the rest of the day, a-lookin' at one thing and another.

And when we got home that night, lo and behold! Isabelle had come jest before we did.

And supper wuz all ready--or dinner, as they all called it; but I don't know as it makes much difference when you are hungry. The vittles taste jest about the same--awful good, anyway.

We wuz pretty late, so there wuzn't anybody to the table but jest Isabelle and Josiah and me.

And we three had a dretful good visit with each other. She is jest as sweet as a rosey in June.

I make no matches, nor break none. But I couldn't help tellin' Josiah Allen in confidence from time to time that it did seem to me that Isabelle and Mr. Freeman wuz cut out for each other.

Every time I see Isabelle--and Krit and Thomas J. had often made some app'intment where our family party could all meet--and every time I see her, I liked her better and better.

And Maggie, who of course had seen more of her than I had, bein' in the same house with her, she told me in confidence, and in the Mexican Exhibit, that "Isabelle was an angel."

No, I make no matches, nor break none.

But I happened to speak sort of axidently as it were to Mr. Freeman one day, and told him my niece wuz a-comin' to spend a week with me, jest as quick as Miss Planks step-sister's daughter's cousin got away. (Miss Plank, like the rest of Chicago freeholders, had relations back to the 3d and 4th generation come onto 'em like flocks of ravenin' grasshoppers or locusses, durin' the Fair.)

And I sez--though I am the one that hadn't ort to say it, mebby--"She is one of the sweetest girls on earth."

Sez I, "I call her a girl, though I spoze I ort to call her a woman, for she is one in years. But because she hain't never been married," sez I presently, "hain't, no reason that she couldn't be, for she has had offers, and offers, and might be married any day now.

"But," sez I, "she kep single from duty once, and now it seems to be from choice."

He sort of smiled with his eyes. He wuz used to such talk, I spoze. Good land! the wimmen all made perfect fools of themselves about him.

But he sez in his pleasant way, "I shall be very glad to meet your niece. I shall be sure to like her, if she is any like her aunt."

Pretty admirin' talk, that wuz. But good land! Josiah sot right there, and he wuzn't jealous a mite. Mr. Freeman wuz young enough to be my boy, anyway. And then Josiah knew what I had in my mind.

But I told my pardner that night, sez I--

"I hain't mentioned Mr. Freeman's name to Isabelle, and hain't a-goin' to; for one reason, she wouldn't come nigh the house if she knew what I wuz a-thinkin' on, and for another reason, I am a-goin' to try to stop a-thinkin' on't. He took it so beautiful, and he has match-makers a-besettin' him so much, I dare presoom to say he mistrusted what I wuz up to in my own mind. And, like as not, Isabelle wouldn't look at him, or any other man, anyway.

"But I wouldn't have thought on't in the first place," sez I, "if Isabelle hadn't been such a born angel, and seemed cut out a purpose for him by Providence. But I shall try to stop a-thinkin' on't."

And sez Josiah, "You had better have done that in the first place."

Wall, I wuz as good as my word. I didn't say another word _pro nor _con_. But I kep up a-thinkin' inside of me, bein' but mortal, and havin' two eyes in my head.

Wall, as I say, finally Gertrude Plank had left her room vacant, and our niece had come to us with a cheerful face and one small trunk full of neccessaries for her week's visit.

I call her our niece, though she wuzn't quite that relationship to us. But it is quite hard sometimes to git the relationship headed right, and marshal 'em out into company before you--specially when they are fifth or sixth cousins.

And I thought, bein' our ages wuz such, and our affections wuz so strong, back and forth, that it would be jest as well to jest use that plain term aunt and uncle and niece--it looked better, anyway, as our ages stood. And I didn't think it wuz anything wrong, for good land! we are called uncle and aunt, my Josiah and me are, by lots of folks that hain't no sort of kin to us, and Isabelle wuz related to us anyway by kin and by soul ties.

Wall, to resoom: the evenin' after Isabelle got there it wuz burnin' warm in my room. And her room wuz still worse, way up on top of the house; but it wuz the best room that we could git for her, and she wuz contented with it for the sake of bein' with her Uncle Josiah and me.

After we got up from the supper-table--Mr. Freeman wuz away that day, but I felt free to take her into that big, cool room, and so we went into that beautiful place.

And then, all of a sudden, as Isabelle stood there in front of that pretty girl down by the medder brook amongst the deep grasses--

All of a sudden it come to me who the girl looked like: it wuz Isabelle.

As she stood in front of it, in her long white dress, with her white hands clasped loose in front of her, and her auburn hair pushed back careless from her beautiful face, I see the girl in the picture, or as she would be if she had grown refined and beautiful by sorrow and a sweet patience and reasonableness, which is the twin of Patience, both on 'em the children of Pain.

As I stood there a-lookin' at her in admiration and surprise, I heard a sound behind me. It wuzn't a cry nor a sithe, but it wuz sunthin' different from both, more eager like, and deadly earnest, and dumbfoundered.

And then it wuz Mr, Freeman's voice I knew that said--

"My God! am I a-dreamin'?"

And then Isabelle turned, and her face filled with a rapturous surprise and joy, and everything.

And sez she--

"Tom!"

And he jest rushed forward, and in a secent had her in his arms. And I bust out a-cryin', and turned my back to 'em, and went out.

But it wuzn't more than a few minutes before they rapped at my door, and their faces looked like the faces of two angels who have left the sorrows of earth and got into Heaven at last.

And I cried agin, and Isabelle cried as I held her in my arms silently, and kissed her a dozen times, and I presoom more.

And Mr. Freeman kissed me on my left cheek, and wrung my hand that hard that that right hand ached hard more'n a hour and a half. And I bathed it in arneky and water long enough after Isabelle had gone to her room, and Mr. Freeman to hisen.

For till this mortal has put on immortality folks have to eat and sleep, and if their hands are wrung half off, either through happiness or anger, flesh, while it is corruptible, will ache, and bones will cry out if most crushed down.

But arneky relieved the pain, and the light of the mornin' showed the faces of these reunited lovers, full of such a radiant bliss that it did one's soul good even to look at 'em.

It seems that Isabelle had told him in that long-ago time when they parted that she wouldn't keep up a correspondence with him. She felt that she had ort to leave him free. And he wuz poor, and he would not fetter her with a memory she might perhaps better forgit. Poor things! lovin' and half broken-hearted, and both hampered with duties, and both good as gold.

So they parted, she to take care of her feeble parents, and he to take care of his invalid mother and the two little ones.

But lo and behold! after they had lived in that Western city for a few years, Tom a-workin' hard as he could to keep the wolf from the door, and from devourin' the three helpless ones, his brother returned from California as rich as a Jew, and he took his two little girls back with him and put 'em in school, and give Tom the money to start in business, and he wuz fortunate beyend any tellin'--got independent rich; then his ma wuz took sick and died, he a-waitin' on her devoted to the very last.

Then, heart-hungry and lonesome, he broke through the vow he had made, and writ to Isabelle; but Isabelle had gone from the old place--she didn't git the letters.

Then he writ agin, for his love wuz strong and his pride weak--weak as a cat. True Love will always have that effect on pride and resolve, etc.

But no answer came back to his longin' and waitin' heart.

And then, I spoze, Pride kinder riz up agin, and he said to himself that he wouldn't worry her and weary her with letters that she didn't think enough of to answer.

And he had about made up his mind that all he should ever see of Isabelle would be the shadder of her beauty in the girl by the old medder bars, standin' in the fresh grasses, by the laughin' brook, all lookin' so like the dear old farm when he won her love so long ago.

That dead, mute, irresponsive picture wuz more to him than any livin', breathin' woman could ever be.

So he camped down before it, as you may say, for life--that is, he thought so; but Providence wuz a-watchin' over him, and his thoughtful, unselfish kindness to a stranger, or strangers, wuz to be rewarded with the prize of love and bliss.

Wall, the World's Fair wuz, I spoze, looked on by many a pair of glad eyes. Hearts that throbbed high with happiness beat on through them majestic rooms. But happier hearts and gladder eyes never glowed and rejoiced in 'em than Isabelle's and her handsome lover's.

And wuzn't Krit glad? Wuzn't he glad of soul to see Isabelle's happiness? Yes, indeed! And Maggie and Thomas Jefferson.

Why, of course we wouldn't sing out loud in public, not for anything. We knew it wouldn't do to go along the streets or in the halls and corridors of the World's Fair, a-singin' as loud as we could--

"Joy to the World!"

Or, "What amazin' bliss is this!" or anything else of that kind--no, we wuz too well-bread to attempt it; but inside of us we jest sung for joy, the hull set and caboodle of us.

All but Miss Plank, and a few old maids and widders, and such, who mebby had had hopes. Miss Plank looked and acted as flat and crushed down as one of her favorite cakes, or as if she wuz a-layin' under her own sirname.

She said she hated to lose the profit of such a boarder, and mebby that wuz it--I don't say it wuzn't. But this I know, wimmen will keep up hopes, moles or no moles, and age has no power to keep out expectations.

But I make no insinuations, nor will take none. She said that it wuz money she hated to lose, and mebby it wuz.

But on that question I riz up her hopes agin, for Mr. Freeman wuz bound on bein' married imegatly and to once, and he said that they would remain right there for the remainder of the year at least.

Isabelle hung off, and wanted to go back to Jonesville and be married to our house, as I warmly urged 'em to.

But Mr. Freeman, lookin' decided and firm as anything you ever see, he sez to Isabelle--

"Do you suppose I am ever goin' to lose sight of you agin? No indeed!"

And I sez, "Wall, come right home with us to Jonesville, and keep your eyes on her."

I wuz as happy as a king, and he knew it. And he thinks a sight of me, for it wuz through me, he sez, that their meetin' wuz brought about.

He didn't say he wouldn't do that, so I wuz greatly in hopes that that would be the way it would turn out.

I thought to myself, "Oh, how I would love to have 'em married in my parlor, right back of the hangin' lamp!"

The semi-detatched widder said she got a letter about that time bringin' her bad news, trials, and tribulations, so it wuzn't to be wondered that she looked sad and worried. Mebby she did git such a letter.

But anyway she and Miss Plank made up with each other. They become clost friends. Miss Plank told me, "She loved her like a sister."

And the semi-detatched widder told me, "If she ever see a woman that she thought more on than she did her own mother, it wuz Miss Plank."

Wall, I wuz glad enough to see 'em reconciled, for they had been at such sword's pints, as you may say, that it made it dretful disagreeable to the other boarders.

Miss Piddock acted, and I believe wuz tickled, to see Mr. Freeman's happiness; for he didn't make any secret of it, and couldn't, if he wanted to. For radiant eyes and blissful smiles would have told the story of his joy, if his lips hadn't.

Miss Piddock said that "if Mr. Piddock had been alive that he could say truly that he could sympathize with him in every respect, for that dear departed man had known, if anybody had, true connubial bliss."

And then she brung up such piles of reminiscences of that man, that I felt as if I must sink under 'em.

But I didn't; I managed to keep my head above 'em, and keep on a-breathin' as calm and stiddy as I could.

Even Nony acted a trifle less bitter and austeer when he heard the news, and made the remark, "That he hoped that he would be happy." But there wuz a dark and shudderin' oncertainty and onbelief in his cold eyes as he said that "Hope" that wuz dretful deprestin' to me--not to Mr. Freeman; no, that blessed creeter wuz too happy to be affected by such glacial congratulations as Nony Piddock's.

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Samantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 21 Samantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 21

Samantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 21
CHAPTER XXIWall, it wuz all settled as I wanted it to be. Them two angels, as I couldn't hardly keep callin' 'em, if one of 'em wuz a he angel--them two lovely good creeters wuz married right in the place where I wanted 'em to be married--right in our parlor, in front of the picter of Grant, and not fur back of the hangin' lamp, but fur enough back so's to allow of a lovely bell of white roses and lilies to swing over their heads. The bell wuz made of the white roses, and a fair white lily hung down,
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Samantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 16 Samantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 16

Samantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 16
CHAPTER XVIWall, this mornin'--it bein' kind of a muggy and cloudy one, I proposed that we should go and visit the Fishery Department. And I d'no why I should a thought on it this mornin' more'n another one--only it wuz jest such a day as Josiah and Thomas Jefferson always took for goin' a-fishin' in the creek back of Jonesville. And then we had fish for breakfast too--siscoes--mebby that put me in mind on it some. But anyway, I wuz always interested in the subject of fishin', and the hull world is. For what wuz the Postles? Fishers. For what did
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