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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSamantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 6
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Samantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 6 Post by :oukhanova Category :Long Stories Author :Marietta Holley Date :May 2012 Read :1367

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Samantha At The World's Fair - Chapter 6

CHAPTER VI

There wuz sights and sights of talk in Jonesville and the adjacent and surroundin' world about the World's Fair bein' open on Sundays.

There wuz sights and sights of fightin' back and forth about the rights and the wrongs of it.

And there wuz some talk about the saloons bein' open too, bein' open week days and Sundays.

But, of course, there wuzn't so much talk about that; it seemed to be all settled from the very first on't that the saloons wuz a-goin' to be open the hull of the time--that they must be.

Why, it seemed to be understood that drunkards had to be made and kep up; murderers, and asassins, and thieves, and robbers, and law-breakers of every kind, and fighters, and wife-beaters, and arsons, and rapiners, and child-killers had to be made. That wuz neccessary, and considered so from the first. For if this trade wuz to stop for even one day out of the seven, why, where would be the crimes and casualities, the cuttin's up and actin's, the murders and the suicides, to fill up the Sunday papers with?

And to keep the police courts full and a-runnin' over with business, and the prisons, and jails, and reformatorys full of victims, and the morgues full of dead bodies.

No; the saloons had to be open Sundays; that wuz considered as almost a settled thing from the very first on't.

Why, the nation must have considered it one of the neccessarys, or it wouldn't have gone into partnership with 'em, and took part of the pay.

But there wuz a great and almost impassioned fight a-goin' on about havin' the World's Fair, the broad gallerys of art and beauty, bein' open to the public Sunday.

Lots of Christian men and wimmen come right out and said, swore right up and down that if Christopher Columbus let folks come to his doin's on Sunday they wouldn't go to it at all.

I spoze mebby they thought that this would skare Christopher and make him gin up his doin's, or ruther the ones that wuz a-representin' him to Chicago.

They did talk fearfully skareful, and calculated to skare any man that hadn't went through with what Christopher had. They said that ruther than have the young people who would be gathered there from the four ends of the earth--ruther than have these innocent young creeters contaminated by walkin' through them rooms and lookin' at them wonders of nature and art, why, they had ruther not have any Fair at all.

Why, I read sights and sights about it, and hearn powerful talk, and immense quantities of it.

And one night I hearn the most masterly and convincin' arguments brung up on both sides--arguments calculated to make a bystander wobble first one way and then the other, with the strength and power of 'em.

It wuz at a church social held to Miss Lums, and a number of us had got there early, and this subject wuz debated on before the minister got there.

Deacon Henzy wuz the one who give utterance to the views I have promulgated.

He said right out plain, "That no matter how keen the slight would be felt, he shouldn't attend to it if it wuz open Sunday." He said "that the country would be ruined if it took place."

"Yes," sez Miss Cornelius Cork, "you are right, Deacon Henzy. I wouldn't have Cornelius Jr. go to Chicago if the Fair is open Sundays, not for a world full of gold. For," sez she, "I feel as if it would be the ruin of him."

And then sister Arvilly Lanfear (she is always on the contrary side), sez she--"Why?"

"Why?" sez Miss Cork. "You ask why? You a woman and a perfessor?"

"Yes," sez Arvilly--"why?"

Sez Miss Cork, "It would take away all his reverence for the Sabbath, and the God who appointed that holy day of rest. His morals would be all broke up, and he would be a ruined boy. I expect that he will be there two months--that would make eight days of worldliness and wickedness; and I feel that long enough before the eighth day had come his principles would be underminded, and his morals all tottered and broke down."

"Why?" sez Arvilly. "There hain't any wickedness a-goin' on to the Fair as I know of; it is a goin' to be full and overflowin' of object lessons a teachin' of the greatness and the glory of the Lord of Heaven, and the might and power of the human intellect. Wonders of Heaven, and wonders of earth, and I don't see how they would be apt to ruin and break down anybody's morals a-contemplatin' 'em--not if they wuz sound when they begun.

"It seems to me it would make 'em have ten times the reverence they had before--reverence and awe and worshipful love for the One, the great and loving mind that had thought out all these marvels of beauty and grandeur and spread 'em out for His children's happiness and instruction."

"Oh, yes," sez Miss Cork. "On week days it is a exaltin' and upliftin' and dreadful religious sight; but on Sundays it is a crime to even think on it. Sundays should be kep pure and holy and riz up, and I wouldn't have Cornelius desecrate himself and the Sabbath by goin' to the Fair not for a world full of gold."

"Where would he go Sundays while he wuz in Chicago if he didn't go there?" sez Arville.

She is real cuttin' sometimes, Arville is, but then Miss Cork loves to put on Arville, and twit her of her single state, and kinder act high-headed and throw Cornelius in her face, and act.

Sez Arville--"Where would Cornelius Jr. go if he didn't go to the Fair?"

Cornelius Jr. drinks awful and is onstiddy, and Miss Cork hemmed and hawed, and finally said, in kind of a meachin' way--

"Why, to meetin', of course."

He hadn't been in a meetin'-house for two years, and we all knew it, and Miss Cork knew that we knew it--hence the meach.

"He don't go to meetin' here to Jonesville," sez Arville.

(Illustration: "He don't go to meetin' here.")

It wuz real mean in her, but I spoze it wuz to pay Miss Cork off for her aggravatin'.

And she went on, "I live right acrost the road from Fasset's saloon, and I see him and more'n a dozen other Jonesvillians there most every Sunday.

"Goin' to Chicago hain't a-goin' to born a man agin, and change all their habits and ways to once, and I believe if Cornelius Jr. didn't go to the Fair he would go to worse places."

"Well," sez Miss Cornelius Cork, "if he did, I wouldn't have to bear the sin. I feel that it is my duty to lift my voice and my strength aginst the Sunday openin' of the Fair, and even if the boys did go to worse places, my conscience would be clear; the sin wouldn't rest on my head."

Sez Arville, "That is the very way I have heard wimmen talk who burned up their boys' cards, and checker-boards, and story-books, and drove their children away from home to find amusement.

"They wanted the boys to set down and read the Bible and sam books year in and year out, but they wouldn't do it, for there wuz times when the young blood in 'em riz up and clamered for recreation and amusement, and seein' that they couldn't git it at home, under the fosterin' care of their father and mother, why, they looked for it elsewhere, and found it in low saloons and bar-rooms, amongst wicked and depraved companions. And then, when their boys turned out gamblers and drunkards, they would say that their consciences wuz clear.

"But," says Arville, "that hain't the way the Lord done. He used Sundays and week days to tell stories to the multitude, to amuse 'em, draw 'em by the silken cord of fancy towards the true and the right, draw 'em away from the bad towards the good. And if I had ten boys--"

"Which you hain't no ways likely to have," says Miss Cork; "no, indeed, you hain't."

"No, thank Heaven! there hain't no chance on't. But if I had ten boys I would ruther have 'em wanderin' through them beautiful halls, full of the wonders of the world which the Lord made and give to His children for their amusement and comfort--I would ruther have 'em there than to have 'em help swell a congregation of country loafers in a city saloon--learnin' in one day more lessons in the height and depth of depravity than years of country livin' would teach 'em.

"These places, and worse ones, legalized places of devils' pastime, will lure and beckon the raw youth of the country. They will flaunt their gaudy attractions on every side, and appeal to every sense but the sense of decency.

"And I would feel fur safer about the hull ten of 'em, if I knew they wuz safe in the art galleries, full of beauty and sublimity, drawin' their minds and hearts insensibly and in spite of themselves upward and onward, or lookin' at the glory and wonders of practical and mechanical beauty--the beauty of use and invention.

"After walkin' through a buildin' forty-five acres big, and some more of 'em about as roomy, I should be pretty sure that they wouldn't git out of it in time to go any great lengths in sin that day; and they would be apt to be too fagged out and dead tired to foller on after Satan any great distance."

"Well," says Miss Snyder, "I d'no but I should feel safer about my Jim and John to have 'em there in the Fair buildin's than runnin' loose in the streets of Chicago. They won't go to meetin' every Sunday, and I can't make 'em; and if they do go, they will go in the mornin' late, and git out as soon as the Amen is said.

"My boys are as good as the average--full as good; but I know when they hain't got anything to do, and git with other boys, they will cut up and act."

"Well," says Miss Cornelius Cork, "I know that my Cornelius will never disgrace himself or me by any low acts."

She wuz tellin' a big story, for Cornelius Jr. had been carried home more'n once too drunk to walk, besides other mean acts that wuz worse; so we didn't say anything, but we all looked queer; and Arville kinder sniffed, and turned up her nose, and nudged Miss Snyder. But Miss Cork kep right on--she is real high-headed and conceited, Miss Cork is.

And, sez she, "Much as I want to see the Fair, and much as I want Cornelius and Cornelius Jr. to go to it, and the rest of the country, I would ruther not have it take place at all than to have it open Sundays."

"And I feel jest so," sez Miss Henzy.

Then young Lihu Widrig spoke up. He is old Elihu Widrig's only son, and he has been off to college, and is home on a vacation.

He is dretful deep learnt, has studied Greek and lots of other languages that are dead, and some that are most dead.

He spoke up, and sez he:

"What is this Sabbath, anyway?"

We didn't any of us like that, and we showed we didn't by our means. We didn't want any of his new-fangled idees, and we looked high-headed at him and riz up.

But he kep right on, bein' determined to have his say.

"You can foller the Sabbath we keep right back, straight as a string, to planet worship. Before old Babylon ever riz up at all, to say nothin' of fallin', the dwellers in the Euphrates Valley kep a Sabbath. They spozed there wuz seven planets, and one day wuz give to each of them. And Saturday, the old Jewish Sabbath, wuz given to Saturn, cruel as ever he could be if the ur in his name wuz changed to e. In those days it wuz not forbidden to work in that day, but supposed to be unlucky.

"Some as Ma regards Friday."

It wuz known that Miss Widrig wouldn't begin a mite of work Fridays, not even hemin' a towel or settin' up a sock or mitten.

And, sez he, "When we come down through history to the Hebrews, we find it a part of the Mosaic law, the Ten Commandments.

"In the second book of the Bible we find the reason given for keeping the Sabbath is, the Lord rested on that day. In the fifth book we find the reason given is the keeping of a memorial for the deliverance out of Egypt.

"Now this commandment only forbids working on that day; no matter what else you do, you are obeying the fourth commandment. According to that command, you could go to the World's Fair, or wherever you had a mind to, if you did not work.

"The Puritan Sabbath wuz a very different one from that observed by Moses and the Prophets, which wuz mainly a day of rest."

"Wall, I know," sez Miss Yerden, "that the only right way to keep the Sabbath is jest as we do, go to meetin' and Sunday-school, and do jest as we do."

Sez Lihu, "Maybe the people to whom the law wuz delivered didn't understand its meaning so well as we do to-day, after the lapse of so many centuries, so well as you do, Miss Yerden."

We all looked coldly at Lihu; we didn't approve of his talk. But Miss Yerden looked tickled, she is so blind in her own conceit, and Lihu spoke so polite to her, she thought he considered her word as goin' beyend the Bible.

Then Lophemia Pegrum spoke up, and sez she--

"Don't you believe in keeping the Sabbath, Lihu?"

"Yes, indeed, I do," sez he, firm and decided. "I do believe in it with all my heart. It is a blessed break in the hard creakin' roll of the wheel of Labor, a needed rest--needed in every way for tired and worn-out brain and muscle, soul and body; but I believe in telling the truth," sez he.

He always wuz a very truthful boy--born so, we spoze. Almost too truthful at times, his ma used to think. She used to have to whip him time and agin for bringin' out secret things before company, such as borrowed dishes, and runnin's of other females, and such.

So we wuz obliged to listen to his remarks with a certain amount of respect, for we knew that he meant every word that he said, and we knew that he had studied deep into ancient history, no matter how much mistook we felt that he wuz.

But Miss Yerden spoke up, and sez she--

"I don't care whether it is true or not. I have always said, and always will say, that if any belief goes aginst the Bible, I had ruther believe in the Bible than in the truth any time."

And more than half of us wimmen agreed with her.

You see, so many reverent, and holy, and divine thoughts and memories clustered round that book, that we didn't love to have 'em disturbed. It wuz like havin' somebody take a spade and dig up the voyalets and lilies on the grave of the nearest and dearest, to try to prove sunthin' or ruther.

We feel in such circumstances that we had ruther be mistook than to have them sweet posies disturbed and desecrated.

Holy words of counsel, and reproof, and consolation delivered from the Most High to His saints and prophets--words that are whispered over our cradles, and whose truth enters our lives with our mother's milk; that sustains us and helps us to bear the hard toils and burdens of the day of life, and that go with us through the Valley and the Shadow--the only revelation we have of God's will to man, the written testimony of His love and compassion, and the only map in which we trace our titles clear to a heavenly inheritance.

If errors and mistakes have crept in through the weaknesses of men, or if the pages have become blotted by the dust of time, we hated to have 'em brung out and looked too clost into--we hated to, like a dog.

So we, most all of us, had a fellow feelin' for Miss Yerden, and looked approvin' at her.

And Lihu, seein' we looked cold at him, and bein' sensitive, and havin' a hard cold, he said "he guessed he would go over to the drug-store and git some hoarhoun candy for his cough."

So he went out. And then Miss Cork spoke up, and sez she--

"How it would look in the eyes of the other nations to have us a breakin' Sundays after keepin' 'em pure and holy for all these years."

"Pure and holy!" sez Arvilly. "Why, jest look right here in the country, and see the way the Sabbath is desecrated. Saturday nights and Sundays is the very time for the devil's high jinks. More whiskey and beer and hard cider is consumed Saturday nights and Sundays than durin' all the rest of the week.

"Why, right in my neighborhood a man who makes cider brandy carrys off hull barrels of it most every Saturday, so's to have it ready for Sunday consumption.

"The saloons are crowded that day, and black eyes, and bruised bodies, and sodden intellects, and achin' hearts are more frequent Sundays than any other day of the week, and you know it.

"And after standin' all this desecration calmly for year after year, and votin' to uphold it, it don't look consistent to flare up and be so dretful afraid of desecratin' the Sabbath by havin' a place of education, greater than the world has ever seen or ever will see agin, open on the Sabbath for the youth of the land."

"But the nation," sez Miss Henzy, in a skareful voice. "This nation must keep up its glorious reputation before the other countries of the world. How will it look to 'em to have our Goverment permit such Sunday desecration? This is a national affair, and we should not be willin' to have our glorious nation do anything to lower itself in the eyes of the assembled and envious world."

Sez Arville, "If our nation can countenance such doin's as I have spoke of, the man-killin' and brute-makin', all day Sundays, and not only permit it, but go into pardnership with it, and take part of the pay--if it can do this Sundays, year after year, without bein' ashamed before the other nations, I guess it will stand it to have the Fair open."

"But," says Miss Bobbet, "even if it is better for the youth of the country, and I d'no but it will be, it will have a bad look to the other nations, as Sister Henzy sez--it will look bad."

Says Arville, "That is what Miss Balcomb said about her Ned when she wouldn't let him play games to home; she said she didn't care so much about it herself, but thought the neighbors would blame her; and Ned got to goin' away from home for amusement, and is now a low gambler and loafer. I wonder whether she would ruther have kep her boy safe, or made the neighbors easy in their minds.

(Illustration: "She wouldn't let her Ned play games at home.")

"And now the neighbors talk as bad agin when they see him a-reelin' by. She might have known folks would talk anyway--if they can't run folks for doin' things they will run 'em for not doin' 'em--they'll talk every time."

"Yes, and don't you forgit it," sez Bub Lum.

But nobody minded Bub, and Miss Cork begun agin on another tact.

"See the Sabbath labor it will cause, the great expenditure of strength and labor, to have all them stupendious buildin's open on the Sabbath. The onseemly and deafnin' noise and clatter of the machinery, and the toil of the men that it will take to run and take care of all the departments, and the labor of the poor men who will have to carry guests back and forth all day."

"I d'no," sez Arville, "whether it will take so much more work or not; it is most of it run by water-power and electricity, and water keeps on a-runnin' all day Sunday as well as week days.

"Your mill-dam don't stop, Miss Cork, because it is Sunday."

Miss Cork's house stands right by the dam, and you can't hear yourself speak there hardly, so it wuz what you might expect, to have her object specially to noise.

Miss Cork kinder tosted her head and drawed down her upper lip in a real contemptious way, and Arvilly went on and resoomed:

"And electricity keeps on somewhere a-actin' and behavin'; it don't stop Sundays. I have seen worse thunder-storms Sundays, it does seem to me, than I ever see week days. And when old Mom Nater sets such a show a-goin' Sundays, you have got to tend it, whether you think it is wicked or not.

"And as for the work of carryin' folks back and forth to it, meetin'-housen have to run by work--hard work, too. Preachin', and singin', and ringin' bells, and openin' doors, and lightin' gas, and usherin' folks in, and etc., etc., etc.

"And horse-cars and steam-cars have to run to and frow; conductors, and brakemen, and firemen, and engineers, and etc., etc.

"And horses have to be harnessed and worked hard, and coachmen, and drivers, and men and wimmen have to work hard Sundays. Yes, indeed.

"Now, my sister-in-law, Jane Lanfear, works harder Sundays than any day out of the seven. They take a place with thirty cows on it, and she and Jim, bein' ambitious, do almost all the work themselves.

"Every Sunday mornin' Jane gets up, and she and Jim goes out and milks fifteen cows apiece, and then Jim drives them off to pasture and comes back and harnesses up and carries the milk three miles to a cheese factory, and comes back and does the other out-door chores.

"And Jane gets breakfast, and gets up the three little children, and washes 'em and dresses 'em, and feeds the little ones to the table. And after breakfast she does up all her work, washes her dishes and the immense milk-cans, sweeps, cleans lamps and stoves, makes beds, etcetry, and feeds the chickens, and ducks, and turkeys. And by that time it is nine o'clock. Then she hurries round and washes and combs the three children, curls the hair of the twin girls, and then gets herself into her best clothes, and by that time she is so beat out that she is ready to drop down.

"But she don't; she lifts the children into the democrat, climbs her own weary form in after 'em, and takes the youngest one in her lap. And Jim, havin' by this time got through with his work and toiled into his best suit, they drive off, a colt follerin' 'em, and Jim havin' to get out more'n a dozen times to head it right, and makin' Jane wild with anxiety, for it is a likely colt.

"Wall, they go four milds and a half to the meetin'-house--there hain't no Free-well Baptist nearer to 'em, and they are strong in the belief, and awful sot on that's bein' the only right way. So they go to class-meetin' first, and both talk for quite a length of time; they are quite gifted, and are called so. And then they set up straight through the sermon, and that Free-well Baptist preaches more'n a hour, hot or cold weather, and then they both teach a large class of children, and what with takin' care of the three restless children, and their own weariness on the start, they are both beat out before they start for home. And Jane has a blindin' headache.

"But she must keep up, for she has got to git the three babies home safe, and then there is dinner to get, and the dishes to wash, and the housework, and the out-door work to tend to, and what with her headache, and her tired-out nerves and body, and the work and care of the babies, Jane is cross as a bear--snaps everybody up, sets a bad pattern before her children and Jim--and, in fact, don't get over it and hain't good for anything before the middle of the week.

"The day of rest is the hardest day of the week for her.

"But she told me last night--she come in to get my bask pattern, she is anxious to get her parmetty dress done for the World's Fair--but she said that she shouldn't go if it wuz open Sunday, for her mind wuz so sot on havin' the Sabbath kep strict as a day of rest.

"Now I believe in goin' to meetin' as much as anybody, and always have been regular. But I say Jane hain't consistent." (They don't agree.)

Arvilly stopped here a minute for needed breath. Good land! I should have thought she would; and Lophemia Pegrum spoke up--she is a dretful pretty girl, but very sentimental and romantic, and talks out of poetry books. Sez she:

"Another thought: Nature works all the Sabbath day. Flowers bloom, their sweet perfume wafts abroad, bees gather the honey from their fragrant blossoms, the dews fall, the clouds sail on, the sun lights and warms the World, the grass grows, the grain ripens, the fruit gathers the sunshine in its golden and rosy globes, the birds sing, the trees rustle, the wind blows, the stars rise and set, the tide comes in and goes out, the waves wash the beach, and carries the great ships to their havens--in fact, Nature keeps her World's Fair open every day of the week just alike."

"Yes," sez Miss Eben Sanders--she is always on the side of the last speaker--she hain't to be depended on, in argument. But she speaks quite well, and is a middlin' good woman, and kind-hearted. Sez she--

"Look at the poor people who work hard all the week and who can't spend the time week days to go to this immense educational school.

"Them who have to work hard and steady every working day to keep bread in the hands of their families, to keep starvation away from themselves and children--clerks, seamstresses, mechanics, milliners, typewriters, workers in factories, and shops, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

"Children of toil, who bend their weary frames over their toilsome, oncongenial labor all the week, with the wolves of Cold and Hunger a-prowlin' round 'em, ready to devour them and their children if they stop their labor for one day out of the six--

"Think what it would be for these tired-out, beauty-starved white slaves to have one day out of the seven to feast their eyes and their hungry souls on the _best of the World.

"What an outlook it would give their work-blinded eyes! What a blessed change it would make in all their dull, narrow, cramped lives! While their hands wuz full of work, their quickened fancy would live over again the too brief hours they spent in communion with the World's best--the gathered beauty and greatness and glory of the earth. Whatever their toil and weariness, they _had lived for a few hours, their eyes _had beheld the glory of God in His works."

Miss Cork yawned very deep here, and Miss Sanders blushed and stopped. They hain't on speakin' terms. Caused by hens.

And then Miss Cork sez severely--a not noticin' Miss Sanders speech at all, but a-goin' back to Arvilly's--she loves to dispute with her, she loves to dearly--

"You forgot to mention when you wuz talkin' about Sabbath work connected with church-goin' that it wuz to worship God, and it wuz therefore right--no matter how wearisome it wuz, it wuz perfectly right."

"Wall, I d'no," sez Arvilly--"I d'no but what some of the beautiful pictures and wonderful works of Art and Nature that will be exhibited at the World's Fair would be as upliftin' and inspirin' to me as some of the sermons I hear Sundays. Specially when Brother Ridley gits to talkin' on the Jews, and the old Egyptians.

"It stands to reason that if I could see Pharo's mummy it would bring me nearer to him, and them plagues and that wickedness of hisen, than Brother Ridley's sermon could.

"And when I looked at a piece of the olive tree under which our Saviour sot while He wuz a-weepin' over Jeruesalem or see a wonderful picture of the crucifixion or the ascension, wrought by hands that the Lord Himself held while they wuz painted--I believe it would bring Him plainer before me than Brother Ridley could, specially when he is tizickey, and can't speak loud.

"Why, our Lord Himself wuz took to do more than once by the Pharisees, and told He wuz breakin' the Sabbath. And He said that the Sabbath wuz made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

"And He said, 'Consider the Lilies'--that is, consider the Lord, and behold Him in the works of His hands.

"Brother Ridley is good, no doubt, and it is right to go and hear him--I hain't disputed that--but when he tries to bring our thoughts to the Lord, he has to do it through his own work, his writin', which he did himself with a steel pen. And I d'no as it is takin' the idees of the Lord so much at first hand as it is to study the lesson of the Lilies He made, and which He loved and admired and told us to consider.

"The World's Fair is full of all the beauty He made, more wonderful and more beautiful than the lilies, and I d'no as it is wrong to consider 'em Sundays or week days."

"But," sez Miss Yerden, "don't you know what the Bible sez--'Forget not the assemblin' of yourselves together'?"

(Illustration: Bub Lum.)

"Well," piped up Bub Lum, aged fourteen, and a perfect imp--

"I guess that if the Fair is open Sundays, folks that are there won't complain about there not bein' folks enough assembled together. I guess they won't complain on't--no, indeed!"

But nobody paid any attention to Bub, and Arvilly continued--

"I believe in usin' some common sense right along, week days and Sundays too. It stands to reason that the Lord wouldn't gin us common sense if He didn't want us to use it.

"We don't need dyin' grace while we are a livin', and so with other things. There will be meetin'-housen left and ministers in 1894, most likely, and we can attend to 'em right along as long as we live.

"But this great new open Book of Revelations, full of God's power and grace, and the wonderful story of what He has done for us sence He wakened the soul of His servant, Columbus, and sent him over the troubled ocean to carry His name into the wilderness, and the strength and the might He has given to us sence as a nation--

"This great object lesson, full of the sperit of prophecy and accomplishment, won't be here but a few short months.

"And I believe if there could be another chapter added to the Bible this week, and we could have the Lord's will writ out concernin' it, I believe it would read--

"'Go to that Fair. Study its wonderful lessons with awe and reverence. Go week days if you can, and if you can't, go Sundays. And you rich people, who have art galleries of your own to wander through Sundays, and gardens and greenhouses full of beauty and sweetness, and the means to seek out loveliness through the world, and who don't need the soul refreshment these things give--don't you by any Pharisaical law deprive my poor of their part in the feast I have spread for both rich and poor.'"

Sez Miss Cork, "I wouldn't dast to talk in that way, Arville. To add or diminish one word of skripter is to bring an awful penalty."

"I hain't a-goin' to add or diminish," says Arville. "I hain't thought on't. I am merely statin' what, in my opinion, would be the Lord's will on the subject."

But right here the schoolmaster struck in. He is a very likely young man--smart as a whip, and does well by the school, and makes a stiddy practice of mindin' his own business and behavin'.

He is a great favorite and quite good-lookin', and some say that he and Lophemia Pegrum are engaged; but it hain't known for certain.

He spoke up, and sez he, "There is one great thing to think of when we talk on this matter. There is so much to be said on both sides of this subject that it is almost impossible to shut your eyes to the advantages and the disadvantages on both sides.

"But," sez he, "if this nation closes the Fair Sundays, it will be a great object lesson to the youth of this nation and the world at large of the sanctity and regard we have for our Puritan Sabbath--

"Of our determination to not have it turned into a day of amusement, as it is in some European countries.

"It would be something like painting up the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer in gold letters on the blue sky above, so that all who run may read, of the regard we have for the day of rest that God appointed. The regard we have for things spiritual, onseen--our conflicts and victories for conscience' sake--the priceless heritage for which our Pilgrim Fathers braved the onknown sea and wilderness, and our forefathers fought and bled for."

"They fit for Liberty!" sez Arville. She would have the last word. "And this country, in the name of Religion, has whipped Quakers, and Baptists, and hung witches--and no knowin' what it will do agin. And I think," sez she, "that it would look better now both from the under and upper side--both on earth and in Heaven--to close them murderous and damnable saloons, that are drawin' men to visible and open ruin all round us on every side, than to take such great pains to impress onseen things onto strangers."

She would have the last word--she wuz bound to.

And the schoolmaster, bein' real polite, though he had a look as if he wuzn't convinced, yet he bowed kinder genteel to Arvilly, as much as to say, "I will not dispute any further with you." And then he got up and went over and sot down by Lophemia Pegrum.

And I see there wuz no prospect of their different minds a-comin' any nearer together.

And I'll be hanged if I could wonder at it. Why, I myself see things so plain on both sides that I would convince myself time and agin both ways.

I would be jest as firm as a rock for hours at a time that it would be the only right thing to do, to shet up the Fair Sundays--shet it up jest as tight as it could be shet.

And then agin, I would argue in my own mind, back and forth, and convince myself (ontirely onbeknown to me) that it would be the means of doin' more good to the young folks and the poor to have it open.

Why, I had a fearful time, time and agin, a-arguin' and a-disputin' with myself, and a-carryin' metafors back and forth, and a-eppisodin', when nobody wuz round.

And as I couldn't seem to come to any clear decision myself, a-disputin' with jest my own self, I didn't spoze so many different minds would become simultanous and agreed.

So I jest branched right off and asked Miss Cork "If she had heard that the minister's wife had got the neuralligy."

I felt that neuralligy wuz a safe subject, and one that could be agreed on--everybody despised it.

(Illustration: Neuralligy wuz a safe subject.)

And gradual the talk sort o' quieted down, and I led it gradual into ways of pleasantness and paths of peace.

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