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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSweet Cicely; Or, Josiah Allen As A Politician - Chapter 5
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Sweet Cicely; Or, Josiah Allen As A Politician - Chapter 5 Post by :terirhodes Category :Long Stories Author :Marietta Holley Date :May 2012 Read :3387

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Sweet Cicely; Or, Josiah Allen As A Politician - Chapter 5


Josiah is as kind-hearted a man as was ever made. And he loves me with a devotion, that though hidden sometimes, like volcanic fires, and other married men's affections for their wives, yet it bursts out occasionally in spurts and jets of unexpected tenderness.

Now, the very next mornin' after Cicely left for her aunt Mary's, he gave me a flaming proof of that hidden fire that burns but don't consume him.

A agent come to our dwelling, and with the bland and amiable air of their sect, asked me,--

"If I would buy a encyclopedia?"

I was favorable to the idee, and showed it by my looks and words; but Josiah wus awful set against it. And the more favorable I talked about it, the more horrow-struck and skairt Josiah Allen looked. And finally he got behind the agent, and winked at me, and made motions for me to foller him into the buttery. He wunk several times before I paid much attention to 'em; but finally, the winks grew so violent, and the motions so imperious, yet clever, that I got up, and follered him into the buttery. He shet the door, and stood with his back against it; and says to me, with his voice fairly tremblin' with his emotions,--

"It will throw you, Samantha! you don't want to buy it."

"What will throw me? and when?" says I.

"Why," says he, "you can't never ride it! How should I feel to see you on one of 'em! It skairs me most to death to see a boy ride 'em; and at your age, and with your rheumatiz, you'd get throwed, and get your neck broke, the first day." Says he, "If you have got to have something more stylish, and new-fangled than the old mair, I'd ruther buy you a philosopher. They are easier-going than a encyclopedia, anyway."

"A philosopher?" says I dreamily.

"Yes, such a one as Tom Gowdey has got."

Says I, "You mean a velocipede!"

"Yes, and I'll get you one ruther than have you a ridin' round the country on a encyclopedia."

His tender thoughtfulness touched my heart, and I explained to him all about 'em. He thought it was some kind of a bycicle. And he brightened up, and didn't make no objections to my gettin' one.

Wall, that very afternoon he went to Jonesville, and come home, as I said, all rousted up about bein' a senator. I s'pose Elburtus'es bein' there, and talkin' so much on politics, had kinder sot him to thinkin' on it. Anyway, he come home from Jonesville perfectly rampant with the idee of bein' United-States senator. "He said he had been approached on the subject."

He said it in that sort of a haughty, high-headed way, such as men will sometimes assume when they think they have had some high honors heaped onto 'em.

Says I, "Who has approached you, Josiah Allen?"


"Wall," he said, "it might be a foreign minister, and it might be uncle Nate Gowdey." He thought it wouldn't be best to tell who it was. "But," says he, "I am bound to be senator. Josiah Allen, M.C., will probable be wrote on my letters before another fall. I am bound to run."

Says I coldly, "You know you can't run. You are as lame as you can be. You have got the rheumatiz the worst kind."

Says he, "I mean runnin' with political legs--and I do want to be a senator, Samantha. I want to, like a dog, I want the money there is in it, and I want the honor. You know they have elected me path-master, but I hain't a goin' to accept it. I tell you, when anybody gets into political life, ambition rousts up in 'em: path-master don't satisfy me. I want to be senator: I want to, like a dog. And I don't lay out to tackle the job as Elburtus did, and act too good."

"No!" says I sternly. "There hain't no danger of your bein' too good."

"No: I have laid my plans, and laid 'em careful. The relation on your side was too willin', and too clever. And witnessin' his campaign has learnt me some deep lessons. I watched the rocks he hit aginst; and I have laid my plans, and laid 'em careful. I am going to act offish. I feel that offishness is my strong holt--and endearin' myself to the masses. Educatin' public sentiment up to lovin' me, and urgin' me not to be so offish, and to obleege 'em by takin' a office--them is my 2 strong holts. If I can only hang back, and act onwillin', and get the masses fierce to elect me--why, I'm made. And then, I've got a plan in my head."

I groaned, in spite of myself.

"I have got a plan in my head, that, if every other plan fails, will elect me in spite of the old Harry."

Oh! how that oath grated against my nerve! And how I hung back from this idee! I am one that looks ahead. And I says in firm tones,--

"You never would get the nomination, Josiah Allen! And if you did, you never would be elected."

"Oh, yes, I should!" says he. But he continued dreamily, "There would have to be considerable wire-pullin'."

"Where would the wires be?" says I sternly. "And who would pull 'em?"

"Oh, most anywhere!" says he, lookin' dreamily up onto the kitchen ceilin', as if wires wus liable to be let down anywhere through the plasterin'.

Says I, "Should you have to go to pullin' wires?"

"Of course I should," says he.

"Wall," says I, "you may as well make up your mind in the first ont, that I hain't goin' to give my consent to have you go into any thing dangerous. I hain't goin' to have you break your neck, at your age."

Says he, "I don't know but my age is as good a age to break my neck in as any other. I never sot any particular age to break my neck in."

"Make fun all you are a mind to of a anxious Samantha," says I, "but I will never give my consent to have you plunge into such dangerous enterprizes. And talkin' about pullin' wires sounds dangerous: it sounds like a circus, somehow; and how would _you_, with your back, look and feel performin' like a circus?"

"Oh, you don't understand, Samantha! the wires hain't pulled in that way. You don't pull 'em with your hands, you pull 'em with your minds."

"Oh, wall!" says I, brightenin' up. "You are all right in that case: you won't pull hard enough to hurt you any."

I knew the size and strength of his mind, jest as well as if I had took it out of his head, and weighed it on the steelyards. It was _not over and above large. I knew it; and he knew that I knew it, because I have had to sometimes, in the cause of Right, remind him of it. But he knows that my love for him towers up like a dromedary, and moves off through life as stately as she duz--the dromedary. Josiah was my choice out of a world full of men. I love Josiah Allen. But to resoom and continue on.

Josiah says, "Which side had I better go on, Samantha?" Says he, kinder puttin' his head on one side, and lookin' shrewdly up at the stove-pipe, "Would you run as a Stalwart, or a Half-breed?"

Says I, "I guess you would run more like a lame hen than a Stalwart or a Half-breed; or," says I, "it would depend on what breeds they wuz. If they wus half snails, and half Times in the primers, maybe you could get ahead of 'em."

"I should think, Samantha Allen, in such a time as this, you would act like a rational bein'. I'll be hanged if I know what side to go on to get elected!"

Says I, "Josiah Allen, hain't you got any principle? Don't you _know what side you are on?"

"Why, yes, I s'pose I know as near as men in gineral. I'm a Democrat in times of peace. But it is human nater, to want to be on the side that beats."

I sithed, and murmured instinctively, "George Washington!"

"George Granny!" says he.

I sithed agin, and kep' sithin'.

Says I, "It is bad enough, Josiah Allen, to have you talk about runnin' for senator, and pullin' wires, and etcetery. But, oh, oh! my agony to think my partner is destitute of principle."

"I have got as much as most political men, and you'll find it out so, Samantha."

My groans touched his heart--that man loves me.

"I am goin' to work as they all do. But wimmen hain't no heads for business, and I always said so. They don't look out for the profits of things, as men do."

I didn't say nothin' only my sithes, but they spoke volumes to any one who understood their language. But anon, or mebby before,--I hadn't kep' any particular account of time, but I think it wus about anon,--when another thought struck me so, right in my breast, that it most knocked me over. It hanted me all the rest of that day: and all that night I lay awake and worried, and I'd sithe, and sposen the case; and then I'd turn over, and sposen the case, and sithe.

Sposen he would be elected--I didn't really think he would, but I couldn't for my life help sposen. Sposen he would have to go to Washington. I knew strange things took place in politics. Strange men run, and run fur: some on 'em run clear to Washington. Mebby he would. Oh! how I groaned at the idee!

I thought of the awfulness of that place as I had heard it described upon to me; and then I thought of the weakness of men, and their liability to be led astray. I thought of the powerful blasts of temptation that blowed through them broad streets, and the small size of my pardner, and the light weight of his bones and principles.

And I felt, if things wuz as they had been depictered to me, he would (in a moral sense) be lifted right up, and blowed away--bones, principles, and all. And I trembled.

At last the idee knocked so firm aginst the door of my heart, that I had to let it in. That I _must_, I _must go to Washington, as a forerunner of Josiah. I must go ahead of him, and look round, and see if my Josiah could pass through with no smell of fire on his overcoat--if there wuz any possibility of it. If there wuz, why, I should stand still, and let things take their course. But if my worst apprehensions wuz realized, if I see that it was a place where my pardner would lose all the modest worth and winnin' qualities that first endeared him to me--why, I would come home, and throw all my powerful influence and weight into the scales, and turn 'em round.


Of course, I felt that I should have to make some pretext about goin': for though I wus as innocent as a babe of wantin' to do so, I felt that he would think he wus bein' domineered over by me. Men are so sort o' high- headed and haughty about some things! But I felt I could make a pretext of George Washington. That dear old martyr! I felt truly I would love to weep upon his tomb.

And so I told Josiah the next mornin', for I thought I would tackle the subject at once. And he says,--

"What do you want to weep on his tomb for, Samantha, at this late day?"

Says I, "The day of love and gratitude never fades into night, Josiah Allen: the sun of gratitude never goes down; it shines on that tomb to-day jest as bright as it did in 1800."

"Wall, wall! go and weep on it if you want to. But I'll bet half a cent that you'll cry onto the ice-house, as I've heard of other wimmen's doin'. Wimmen don't see into things as men do."

"You needn't worry, Josiah Allen. I shall cry at the right time, and in the right place. And I think I had better start soon on my tower."

I always was one to tackle hard jobs immejutly and to once, so's to get 'em offen' my mind.

"Wall, I'd like to know," says he, in an injured tone, what you calculate to do with me while you are gone?"

"Why," says I, "I'll have the girl Ury is engaged to, come here and do the chores, and work for herself; they are goin' to be married before long: and I'll give her some rolls, and let her spin some yarn for herself. She'll be glad to come."

"How long do you s'pose you'll be gone? She hain't no cook. I'd as lives eat rolls, as to eat her fried cakes."

"Your pardner will fry up 2 pans full before she goes, Josiah; and I don't s'pose I'll be gone over four days."

"Oh, well! then I guess I can stand it. But you had better make some mince-pies ahead, and other kinds of pies, and some fruit-cake, and cookies, and tarts, and things: it is always best to be on the safe side, in vittles."

So it wus agreed on,--that I should fill two cubbard shelves full of provisions, to help him endure my absence.

I wus some in hopes that he might give up the idee of bein' United-States senator, and I might have rest from my tower; for I dreaded, oh, how I dreaded, the job! But as day by day passed, he grew more and more rampant with the idee. He talked about it all the time daytimes; and in the night I could hear him murmur to himself,--

"Hon. Josiah Allen!"

And once I see it in his account-book, "Old Peedick debtor to two sap- buckets to Hon. Josiah Allen."

And he talked sights, and sights, about what he wus goin' to do when he got to Washington, D.C.--what great things he wus goin' to do. And I would get wore out, and say to him,--

"Wall! you will have to get there first."

"Oh! you needn't worry. I can get there easy enough. I s'pose I shall have to work hard jest as they all do. But as I told you before, if every thing else fails, I have got a grand plan to fall back on--sunthin' new and uneek. Josiah Allen is nobody's fool, and the nation will find it out so."

Then, oh, how I urged him to tell his plan to his lovin' pardner! but he _wouldn't tell_.

But hours and hours would he spend, a tellin' me what great things he wus goin' to do when he got to Washington.

Says he, "There is one thing about it. When I get to be United-States senator, uncle Nate Gowdey shall be promoted to some high and responsible place."

"Without thinkin' whether he is fit for it or not?" says I.

"Yes, mom, without thinkin' a thing about it. I am bound to help the ones that help me."

"You wouldn't have him examined," says I,--"wouldn't have him asked no questions?"

"Oh, yes! I'd have him pass a examination jest as the New-York aldermen do, or the civil-service men. I'd say to him, 'Be you uncle Nate Gowdey?'


"'How long have you been uncle Nate Gowdey?'

"And he'd answer; and I'd say,--

"'How long do you calculate to be uncle Nate?'

"And he'll tell; and then I'll say,--

"'Enough: I see you have all the qualifications for office. You are admitted.' That is what I would do."

I groaned. But he kep' on complacently, "I am goin' to help the ones that elect me, sink or swim; and I calculate to make money out of the project, --money and honor. And I shall do a big work there,--there hain't no doubt of it.

"Now, there is political economy. I shall go in strong for that. I shall say right to Congress, the first speech I make to it, I shall say, that there is too much money spent now to hire votes with; and I shall prove it right out, that we can get votes cheaper if we senators all join in together, and put our feet right down that we won't pay only jest so much for a vote. But as long as one man is willin' to pay high, why, everybody else has got to foller suit. And there hain't no economy in it, not a mite.

"Then, there is the canal question. I'll make a thorough end of that. There is one reform that will be pushed right through."

"How will you do it?" says I.

"I will have the hull canal cleaned out from one end to the other."

"I was readin' only yesterday," says I, "about the corruption of the canal question. But I didn't s'pose it meant that."

"That is because you hain't a man. You hain't got the mind to grasp these big questions. The corruption of the canal means that the bottom of the canal is all covered with dead cats and things; and it ort to be seen to, by men that is capable of seein' to such things. It ort to be cleaned out. And I am the man that has got the mind for it," says he proudly.

"Then, there is the Star Route. Nothin' but foolishness from beginnin' to end. They might have known they couldn't make any road through the stars. Why, the very Bible is agin it. The ground is good enough for me, and for any other solid man. It is some visionary chap that begun it in the first place. Nothin' but dumb foolishness; and so uncle Nate Gowdey said it was. We got to talkin' about it yesterday, and he said it was a pity wimmin couldn't vote on it. He said that would be jest about what they would be likely to vote for.

"He is a smart old feller, uncle Nate is, for a man of his age. He talked awful smart about wimmin's votin'. He said any man was a fool to think that a woman would ever have the requisit grasp of intellect, and the knowledge of public affairs, that would render her a competent voter.

(Illustration: JOSIAH's STAR ROUTE.)

"I tell you, you have got to _understand things in order to tackle politicks. Politicks takes deep study.

"Now, there is the tariff question, and the revenue. I shall most probable favor 'em, and push 'em right through."

"How?" says I.

"Oh, wall! a woman most probable couldn't understand it. But I shall push 'em forward all I can, and lift 'em up."

"Where to?" says I.

"Oh, keep a askin', and a naggin'! That is what wears out us public men,-- wimmin's questionin'. It hain't so much the public duties we have to perform that ages us, and wears us out before our time,--it is woman's weak curiosity on public topics, that her mind is too feeble to grasp holt of. It is wearin'," says he haughtily.

Says I, "Specially when they don't know what to answer." Says I, "Josiah Allen, you don't know this minute what tariff means, or revenue."

"Wall, I know what starvation means, and I know what vittles means, and I know I am as hungry as a bear."

Instinctively I hung on the teakettle. And as Josiah see me pare the potatoes, and grind the coffee, and pound the steak, he grew very pleasant again in his demeanor; and says he,--

"There will be some abuses reformed when I get to Washington, D.C.; and you and the nation will see that there will. Now, there is the civil- service law: Uncle Nate and I wus a talkin' about it yesterday. It is jest what we need. Why, as uncle Nate said, hired men hain't civil at all, nor hired girls either. You hire 'em to serve you, and to serve you civil; and they are jest as dumb uppish and impudent as they can be. And hotel- clerks--now, they don't know what civil-service means."

"Why, uncle Nate said when he went to the Ohio, last fall, he stayed over night to Cleveland, and the hotel-clerk sassed him, jest because he wanted to blow out his light: he wanted uncle Nate to turn it off.

"And uncle Nate jest spoke right up, smart as a whip, and said, 'Old- fashioned ways was good enough for him: blows wus made before turners, and he should blow it out.' And the hotel-clerk sassed him, and swore, and threatened to make him leave.

"And ruther than have a fuss, uncle Nate said he turned it out. But it rankled, uncle Nate says it did, it rankled deep. And he says he wants to vote for that special. He says he'd love to make that clerk eat humble- pie.

"Uncle Nate is a sound man: his head is level.

"And good, sound platforms, that is another reform, uncle Nate said we needed the worst kind, and he hoped I would insist on it when I got to be senator. He said there was too much talk about 'em in the papers, and too little done about 'em. Why, Elam Gowdey, uncle Nate's youngest boy, broke down the platform to his barn, and went right down through it, with a load of hay. And nothin' but that hay saved his neck from bein' broke. It spilte one of his horses.

"Uncle Nate had been urgin' him to fix the platform, or build a new one; but he was slack. But, as uncle Nate says, if such things are run by law, they will _have to be done.

"And then, there is another thing uncle Nate and I was talkin' about," says he, lookin' very amiable at me as I rolled out my cream biscuit-- almost spooney.

(Illustration: UNCIVIL SERVICE.)

"I shall jest run every poor Irishman and Chinaman out of the country that I can."

"What has the Irishmen done, Josiah Allen?" says I.

"Oh! they are poor. There hain't no use in our associatin' with the poor."

Says I dreamily, "Did I not read once, of One who renounced the throne of the universe to dwell amongst the poor?"

"Oh, wall! most probable they wuzn't Irish."

"And what has the Chinaman done?" says I.

"Why, they are heathens, Samantha. What does the United States want with heathens anyway? What the country _needs is Methodists."

"Somewhere did I not once hear these words," says I musin'ly, as I set the coffee-cups on the table,--"'You shall have the heathen for an inheritance'--and 'preach the gospel to the heathen'--and 'we who were sometime heathens, but have received light'? Did not the echo of some such words once reach my mind?"

"Oh, wall! if you are goin' to quote readin', why can't you quote from 'The World'? you can't combine Bible and politics worth a cent. And the Chinaman works too cheap--are too industrious, and reasonable in their charges, they hain't extravagant--and they are too dumb peacible, dumb 'em!"

"Josiah Allen!" says I firmly, "is that all the fault you find with 'em?"

"No, it hain't. They don't want to vote! They don't care a cent about bein' path-master or President. And I say, that after givin' a man a fair trial and a long one, if he won't try to buy or sell a vote, it is a sure sign that he can't asimulate with Americans, and be one with 'em; that he can't never be mingled in with 'em peacible. And I'll bet that I'll start the Catholics out--and the Jews. What under the sun is the use of havin' anybody here in America only jest Methodists? That is the only right way. And if I have my way, I'll get rid of 'em,--Chinamen, Irishmen, Catholics,--the hull caboodle of 'em. I'll jest light 'em out of the country. We can do it too. That big statute in New-York Harbor of Liberty Enlightenin' the World, will jest lift her torch up high, and light 'em out of the country:--that is what we had her for."

I sithed low, and says, "I never knew that wus what she wus there for. I s'posed it wus a gift from a land that helped us to liberty and prosperity when we needed 'em as bad as the Irishmen and Chinamen do to-day; and I s'posed that torch that wus lit for us by others' help, we should be willin' and glad to have it shine on the dark cross-roads of others."

"Wall, it hain't meant for no such purpose: it is to light up _our land and _our waters. That's what _she's there for."

I sithed agin, a sort of a cold sithe, and says,--

"I don't think it looks very well for us New-Englanders a sittin' round Plymouth Rock, to be a condemnin' anybody for their religeous beliefs."

"Wall, there hain't no need of whittlin' out a stick, and worshipin' it, as the Chinamen do."

"How are you goin' to help 'em to worship the true God if you send 'em out of the country? Is it for the sake of humanity you drive 'em out? or be you, like the Isrealites of old, a worshipin' the golden calf of selfishness, Josiah Allen?"

"I hain't never worshiped _no calf_, Samantha Allen. That would be the last thing _I would worship, and you know it."

(Josiah wus very lame on his left leg where he had been kicked by a yearlin'. The spot wus black and blue, but healin'.)

"You have blanketed that calf with thick patriotic excuses; but I fear, Josiah Allen, that the calf is there.

"Oh!" says I dreamily, "how the tread of them calves has moved down through the centuries! If every calf should amble right out, marked with its own name and the name of its owner, what a sight, what a sight it would be! On one calf, right after its owner's name, would be branded, 'Worldly Honor and Fame.'"

Josiah squirmed, for I see him, but tried to turn the squirm in' into a sickly smile; and he murmured in a meachin' voice, and with a sheepish smile,--

"'Hon. Josiah Allen. Fame.' That wouldn't look so bad on a likely yearlin' or two-year old."

But I kep' right on. "On another would be marked, 'Wealth.' Very yeller those calves would be, and a long, long drove of 'em.

"On another would be, 'Earthly Love.' Middlin' good-lookin' calves, these, and sights of 'em. But the mantillys that covered 'em would be all wet and wore with tears.

"'Culture,' 'Intellect,' 'Refinement.' These calves would march right along by the side of 'Pride,' 'Vanity,' 'Old Creeds,' 'Bigotry,' 'Selfishness.' The last-named would be too numerous to count with the naked eye, and go pushin' aginst each other, rushin' right through meetin'-housen, tearin' and actin'. Why," says I, "the ground trembles under the tread of them calves. I can hear 'em whinner," says I, fillin' up the coffee-pot.

"Calves don't whinner!" says Josiah.

Says I, "I speak parabolickly;" and says I, in a very blind way, "Parables are used to fit the truth to weak comprehensions."

"Wall!" says he, kinder cross, "your potatoes are a burnin' down."

I turned the water off, and mashed 'em up, with plenty of cream and butter; and them, applied to his stomach internally, seemed to sooth him, --them, and the nice tender steak, and light biscuit, and lemon puddin' and coffee, rich and yellow and fragrant.


He never said a word more about politics till after dinner. But on risin' up from the table he told me he had got to go to Jonesville to get the old mare shod. And I see sadly, as he stood to the lookin'-glass combin' out his few hairs, how every by-path his mind sot out on led up gradually to Washington, D.C. For as he stood there, and spoke of the mare's feet, he says,--

"The mare is good enough for Jonesville, Samantha. But when we get to Washington, we want sunthin' gayer, more stylish, to ride on. I calculate," says he, pullin' up his collar, and pullin' down his vest,--"I lay out to dress gay, and act gay. I calculate to make a show for once in my life, and put on style. One thing I am bound on,--I shall drive tantrum."

"How?" says I sternly.

"Why, I shall buy another mare, most probable some gay-colored one, and hitch it before the old white mare, and drive tantrum. You know, it is all the style. Mebby," says he dreamily, "I shall ride the drag. I s'pose that is fashionable. But I'll be hanged if I should think it would be easy ridin' unless you had the teeth down. Dog-carts are stylish, I hear; but our dog is so dumb lazy, you couldn't get him to go out of a walk. But tantrum I _will drive."


I groaned, and says, "Yes, I hain't no doubt that anybody that sees you at Washington, will see tantrums, strange tantrums. But you hain't there yet."

"No, but I most probable shall be ere long."

He had actually begun to talk in high-flown, blank verse sort of a way. "Ere long!" that wus somethin' new for Josiah Allen.

Alas! every thought of his heart wus tuned to that one political key. I mentioned to him that "the bobbin to my sewin'-machine was broke, and asked him to get a new one of the agent at Jonesville."

"Yes," says he benignantly, "I will tend to your machine; and speakin' of machines, that makes me think of another thing uncle Nate and I wus talkin' about."

"Machine politics, I sha'n't favor 'em. What under the sun do they want machines to make politics with, when there is plenty of men willin', and more than willin', to make 'em? And it is as expensive agin. Machines cost so much. I tell you, they cost tarnation high."

"I can understand you without swearin', Josiah Allen."

"I hain't a swearin': 'tarnation' hain't swearin', nor never wuz. I shall use that word most likely in Washington, D.C."

"Wall," says I coldly, "there will have to be some tea and sugar got."

He did not demur. But, oh! how I see that immovible setness of his mind!

"Yes, I will get some. But won't it be handy, Samantha, to have free trade? I shall go for that strong. Why, I can tell you, it will come handy along in the winter when the hens don't lay, and we don't make butter to turn off--it will come dretful handy to jest hitch up the mare, and go to the store, and come home with a lot of groceries of all kinds, and some fresh meat mebby. And mebby some neckties of different colors."

"Who would pay for 'em?" says I in a stern tone; for I didn't somehow like the idee.

"Why, the Government, of course."

I shook my head 2 or 3 times back and forth. I couldn't seem to get the right sense of it. "I can't understand it, Josiah. We heard a good deal about free trade, but I can't believe that is it."

"Wall, it is, jest that. Free trade is one of the prerequisits of a senator. Why, what would a man want to be a senator for, if they couldn't make by it?"

"Don't you love your country, Josiah Allen?"

"Yes, I do: but I don't love her so well as I do myself; it hain't nateral I should."

"Surely I read long ago,--was it in the English Reader?" says I dreamily, "or where was it? But surely I have heard of such things as patriotism and honor, love of country, and love of the right."

"Wall, I calculate I love my country jest as well as the next man; and," says he firmly, "I calculate I can make jest as much out of her, give me a chance. Why, I calculate to do jest as they all do. What is the use of startin' up, and bein' one by yourself?"

Says I, "That is what Pilate thought, Josiah Allen." Says I, "The majority hain't always right." Says I firmly, "They hardly ever are."

"Now, that is a regular woman's idee," says he, goin' into the bedroom for a clean shirt. And as he opened the bureau-draw, he says,--

"Another thing I shall go for, is abolishin' lots of the bureaus. Why, what is the use of any man havin' more than one bureau? It is nothin' but nonsense clutterin' up the house with so many bureaus.

"When wimmen get to votin'," says he sarcastickly, "I'll bet their first move will be to get 'em back agin. I'll bet there hain't a women in the land, but what would love to have 20 bureaus that they could run to."

"Then, you think wimmen _will vote, do you, Josiah Allen?"

"I think," says he firmly, "that it will be a wretched day for the nation if she does. Wimmen is good in their places," says he, as he come to me to button up his shirtsleeves, and tie his cravat.

"They are good in their places. But they can't have, it hain't in 'em to have, the calm grasp of mind, the deep outlook into the future, that men have. They can't weigh things in the firm, careful balences of right and wrong, and have that deep, masterly knowledge of national affairs that we men have. They hain't got the hard horse sense that anybody has got to have in order to make money out of the nation. They would have some sentimental subjects up of right or wrong to spend their energies and their hearts on. Look at Cicely, now. She means well. But what would she do? What would she make out of votin'? Not a cent. And she never would think of passin' laws for her own personal comfort, either. Now, there is the subsidy bill. I'll see that through if I sweat for it.

"Why, it would be worth more than a dollar-bill to me lots of times to make folks subside. Preachers, now, when they get to goin' beyond the 20ethly. No preacher has any right to go to wanderin' round up beyond them figures in dog-days. And if they could be made to subside when they had gone fur enough, why, it would be a perfect boon to Jonesville and the nation.

"And sewin'-machine agents--and--and wimmen, when they get all excited a scoldin', or talkin' about bonnets, and things. Why! if a man could jest lift up his hand, and say 'Subside!' and then see 'em subside--why, I had ruther see it than a circus any day."

(Illustration: A WOMAN'S PLACE.)

I looked at him keenly, and says I,--

"I wish such a bill had even now passed; that is, if wimmen could receive any benefit from it."

"Wall, you'll see it after I get to Washington, D.C., most probable. I calculate to jest straighten out things there, and get public affairs in a good runnin' order. The nation _needs me."

"Wall," says I, wore out, "it can _have you_, as fur as I am concerned."

And I wus so completely fagged out, that I turned the subject completely round (as I s'posed) by askin' him if he laid out to sell our apples this year where he did last. The man's wife had wrote to me ahead, and wanted to know, for they had bought a new dryin'-machine, and wanted to make sure of apples ahead.

"Wall," says Josiah, drawin' on his overshoes, "I shall probable have to use the apples this fall to buy votes with."

"To buy votes?" says I, in accents of horrow.

"Yes. I wouldn't tell it out of the family. But you are all in the family, you know, and so I'll tell you. I sha'n't have to buy near so many votes on account of my plan; but I shall have to buy some, of course. You know, they all do; and I sha'n't stand no chance at all if I don't."

My groans was fearful that I groaned at this; but truly, worse was to come. He looked kinder pitiful at me (he loves me). But yet his love did not soften the firm resolve that wus spread thick over his linement as he went on,--

"I lay out to get lots of votes with my green apples," says he dreamily. "It seems as if I ought to get a vote for a bushel of apples; but there is so much iniquity and cheatin' a goin' on now in politics, that I may have to give a bushel and a half, or two bushels: and then, I shall make up a lot of the smaller ones into hard cider, and use 'em to--to advance the interests of myself and the nation in that way.

"There is hull loads of folks uncle Nate says he can bring to vote for me, by the judicious use of--wall, it hain't likely you will approve of it; but I say, stimulants are necessary in medicine, and any doctor will tell you so--hard cider and beer and whiskey, and so 4th."

(Illustration: OUR LAW-MAKERS.)

I riz right up, and grasped holt of his arm, and says in stern, avengin' tones,--

"Josiah Allen, will you go right against God's commands, and put the cup to your neighbor's lips, for your own gain? Do you expect, if you do, that you can escape Heaven's avengin' wrath?"

"They hain't my neighbors: I never neighbored with 'em."

Says I sternly, "If you commit this sin, you will be held accountable; and it seems to me as if you can never be forgiven."

"Dumb it all, Samantha, if everybody else does so, where will I get my votes?"

"Go without 'em, Josiah Allen; go down to poverty, or the tomb, but never commit this sin. 'Cursed is he that putteth the cup to his neighbor's lips.'"

"They hain't my neighbors, and it probable hain't no cup that they will drink out of: they will drink out of gobblers" (sometimes when Josiah gets excited, he calls goblets, gobblers). But I wus too wrought up and by the side of myself to notice it.

Says I, "To think a human bein', to say nothin' of a perfessor, would go to work deliberate to get a man into a state that is jest as likely as not to end in a murder, or any crime, for gain to himself." Says I, "Think of the different crimes you commit by that one act, Josiah Allen. You make a man a fool, and in that way put yourself down on a level with disease, deformity, and hereditary sin. You steal his reason away. You are a thief of the deepest dye; for you steal then, from the man you have stole from-- steal the first rights of his manhood, his honor, his patriotism, his duty to God and man. You are a thief of the Government--thief of God, and right.

"Then, _you make this man liable to commit any crime: so, if he murders, _you are a murderer; if he commits suicide, _your guilty soul shall cower in the presence of Him who said, 'No self- murderer shall inherit eternal life.' It is your own doom you shall read in them dreadful words."

"Good landy, Samantha! do you want to scare me to death?" and Josiah quailed and shook, and shook and quailed.

"I am only tellin' you the truth, Josiah Allen; and I should think it _would scare anybody to death."

"If I don't do it, I shall appear like a fool: I shall be one by myself."

Oh, how Josiah duz want to be fashionable!

"No, you won't, Josiah Allen--no, you won't. If you try to do right, try to do God's will, you have His armies to surround you with a unseen wall of Strength." "Why, I hain't seen you look so sort o' skairful and riz up, for years, Samantha."

"I hain't felt so. To think of the brink you wuz a standin' on, and jest a fallin' off of."

Josiah looked quite bad. And he put his hand on his side, and says, "My heart beats as if it wuz a tryin' to get out and walk round the room. I do believe I have got population of the heart."

Says I, in a sarcasticker tone than I had used,--

"That is a disease that is very common amongst men, very common, though they hain't over and above willin' to own up to it. Too much population of the heart has ailed many a man before now, and woman too," says I in reasonable axents. "But you mean palpitation."

"Wall, I said so, didn't I? And it is jest your skairful talk that has done it."

"Wall, if I thought I could convince men as I have you, I would foller the business stiddy, of skairin' folks, and think I wuz doin' my duty." Says I, my emotions a roustin' up agin,--

"I should call it a good deal more honorable in you to get drunk yourself; and I should think more of you, if I see you a reelin' round yourself, than to see you make other folks reel. I should think it was your own reel, and you had more right to it than to anybody else's.

"Oh! to think I should have lived to see the hour, to have my companion in danger of goin' aginst the Scripter--ready to steal, or be stole, or knock down, or any thing, to buy votes, or sell 'em!"

"Wall, dumb it all, do you want me to appear as awkward as a fool? I have told you more than a dozen times I have _got to do as the rest do, if I want to make any show at all in politics."

I said no more: but I riz right up, and walked out of the room, with my head right up in the air, and the strings of my head-dress a floatin' out behind me; and I'll bet there wus indignation in the float of them strings, and heart-ache, and agony, and--and every thing.

I thought I had convinced him, and hadn't. I felt as if I must sink. You know, that is all a woman can do--to sink. She can't do any thing else in a helpful way when her beloved companion hangs over political abysses. She can't reach out her lovin' hand, and help stiddy him; she can't do nothin' only jest sink. And what made it more curious, these despairin' thoughts come to me as I stood by the sink, washin' my dinner-dishes. But anon (I know it wus jest anon, for the water wus bilein' hot when I turned it out of the kettle, and it scalded my hands, onbeknown to me, as I washed out my sass-plates) this thought gripped holt of me, right in front of the sink,--

"Josiah Allen's wife, you must _not sink. You _must keep up. If you have no power to help your pardner to patriotism and honor, you can, if your worst fears are realized, try to keep him to home. For if his acts and words are like these in Jonesville, what will they be in Washington, D.C., if that place is all it has been depictered to you? Hold up, Samantha! Be firm, Josiah Allen's wife! John Rogers! The nine! One at the breast!"

So at last, by these almost convulsive efforts at calmness, I grew more calmer and composeder. Josiah had hitched up and gone.

And he come home clever, and all excited with a new thing.

They are buildin' a new court-house at Jonesville. It is most done, and it seemed they got into a dispute that day about the cupelow. They wanted to have the figger of Liberty sculped out on it; and they had got the man there all ready, and he had begun to sculp her as a woman,--the goddess of Liberty, he called her. But at the last minute a dispute had rosen: some of the leadin' minds of Jonesville, uncle Nate Gowdey amongst 'em, insisted on it that Liberty wuzn't a woman, he wuz a man. And they wanted him depictered as a man, with whiskers and pantaloons and a standin' collar, and boots and spurs--Josiah Allen wus the one that wanted the spurs.

He said the dispute waxed furious; and he says to 'em,--

"Leave it to Samantha: she'll know all about it."

And so it was agreed on that they'd leave it to me. And he drove the old mare home, almost beyond her strength, he wus so anxious to have it settled.

I wus jest makin' some cream biscuit for supper as he come in, and asked me about it; and a minute is a minute in makin' warm biscuit. You want to make 'em quick, and bake 'em quick. My mind wus fairly held onto that dough--and needed on it; but instinctively I told him he wus in the right ont. Liberty here in the United States wuz a man, and, in order to be consistent, ort to be depictered with whiskers and overcoat and a standin' collar.

"And spurs!" says Josiah.

"Wall," I told him, "I wouldn't be particular about the spurs." I said, "Instead of the spurs on his boots, he might be depictered as settin' his boot-heel onto the respectful petition of fifty thousand wimmen, who had ventured to ask him for a little mite of what he wus s'posed to have quantities of--Freedom.

"Or," says I, "he might be depictered as settin' on a judgment-seat, and wavin' off into prison an intelligent Christian woman, who had spent her whole noble, useful life in studyin' the laws of our nation, for darin' to think she had as much right under our Constitution, as a low, totally ignorant coot who would most likely think the franchise wus some sort of a meat-stew."

Says I, "That will give Liberty jest as imperious and showy a look as spurs would, and be fur more historick and symbolical."

Wall, he said he would mention it to 'em; and says he, with a contented look,--

"I told uncle Nate I knew I wus right. I knew Liberty wus a man."

Wall, I didn't say no more: and I got him as good a supper as the house afforded, and kep' still as death on politics; fur I could not help havin' some hopes that he might get sick of the idee of public life. And I kep' him down close all that evenin' to religion and the weather.


But, alas! my hopes wus doomed to fade away. And, as days passed by, I see the thought of bein' a senator wus ever before him. The cares and burdens of political life seemed to be a loomin' up in front of him, and in a quiet way he seemed to be fittin' himself for the duties of his position.

He come in one day with Solomon Cypher'ses shovel, and I asked him "what it wuz?"

And he said "it wus the spoils of office."

And I says, "It is no such thing: it is Solomon Cypher'ses shovel."

"Wall," says he, "I found it out by the fence. Solomon has gone over to the other party. I am a Democrat, and this is party spoils. I am goin' to keep this as one of the spoils of office."

Says I firmly, "You won't keep it!"

"Why," says he, "if I am goin' to enter political life, I must begin to practise sometime. I must begin to do as they all do. And it is a crackin' good shovel too," says he pensively.

Says I, "You are goin' to carry that shovel right straight home, Josiah Allen!"

And I made him.

The _idee_.

But I see in this and in many kindred things, that he wuz a dwellin' on this thought of political life--its honors and emollients. And often, and in dark hints, he would speak of his _Plan_. If every other means failed, if he couldn't spare the money to buy enough votes, how his _plan wus goin' to be the makin' of him.

And I overheard him tellin' the babe once, as he wus rockin' her to sleep in the kitchen, "how her grandpa had got up somethin' that no other babe's grandpa had ever thought of, and how she would probable see him in the White House ere long."

I wus makin' nut-cakes in the buttery; and I shuddered so at these words, that I got in most as much agin lemon as I wanted in 'em. I wus a droppin' it into a spoon, and it run over, I wus that shook at the thought of his plan.

I had known his plans in the past, and had hefted 'em. And I truly felt that his plans wus liable any time to be the death of him, and the ruination.

But he wouldn't tell!

But kep' his mind immovibly sot, as I could see. And the very day of the shovel episode, along towards night he rousted out of a brown study,--a sort of a dark-brown study,--and says he,--

"Yes, I shall make out enough votes if we have a judicious committee."

"A lyin' one, do you mean?" says I coldly. But not surprized. For truly, my mind had been so strained and racked that I don't know as it would have surprized me if Josiah Allen had riz up, and knocked me down.

"Wall, in politics, you _have to add a few orts sometimes."

I sithed, not a wonderin' sithe, but a despairin' one; and he went on,--

"I know where I shall get a hull lot of votes, anyway."

"Where?" says I.

"Why, out to that nigger settlement jest the other side of Jonesville."

"How do you know they'll vote for you?" says I.

"I'd like to see 'em vote aginst me!" says he, in a skairful way.

"Would you use intimidation, Josiah Allen?"

"Why, uncle Nate Gowdey and I, and a few others who love quiet, and love to see folks do as they ort to, lay out to take some shot-guns and _make them niggers vote right; make 'em vote for me; shoot 'em right down if they don't. We have got the campaign all planned out."

"Josiah Allen," says I, "if you have no fear of Heaven, have you no fear of the Government? Do you want to be hung, and see your widow a breakin' her heart over your gallowses?"

"Oh! I shouldn't get hung. The Government wouldn't do nothin'. The Government feels jest as I do,--that it would be wrong to stir up old bitternesses, and race differences. The bloody shirt has been washed, and ironed out; and it wouldn't be right to dirty it up agin. The colored race is now at peace; and if they will only do right, do jest as the white men wants 'em to, Government won't never interfere with 'em."

I groaned, and couldn't help it; and he says,--

"Why, hang it all, Samantha, if I make any show at all in public life, I have got to begin to practise sometime."

"Wall," says I, "bring me in a pail of water." But as he went out after it, I murmured sternly to myself,--

"Oh! wus there ever a forerunner more needed run?" and my soul answered, "Never! never!"

(Illustration: MAKING THEM DO RIGHT.)

So with sithes that could hardly be sithed, so big and hefty wuz they, I commenced to make preparations for embarkin' on my tower. And no martyr that ever sot down on a hot gridiron wus animated by a more warm and martyrous feelin' of self-sacrifice. Yes, I truly felt, that if there wus dangers to be faced, and daggers run through pardners, I felt I would ruther they would pierce my own spare-ribs than Josiah's. (I say spare- ribs for oritory--my ribs are not spare, fur from it.)

I didn't really believe, if he run, he would run clear to Washington. And yet, when my mind roamed on some public men, and how fur they run, I would groan, and hurry up my preparations.

I knew my tower must be but a short one, for sugarin'-time wus approachin' with rapid strides, and Samantha must be at the hellum. But I also knew, that with a determined mind, and a willin' heart, great things could be accomplished speedily; so I commenced makin' preparations, and layin' on plans.

As become a woman of my cast-iron principles, I fixed up mostly on the inside of my head instead of the outside. I studied the map of the United States. I done several sums on the slate, to harden my mind, and help me grasp great facts, and meet difficulties bravely. I read Gass'es "Journal,"--how he rode up our great rivers on a perioger, and shot bears. Expectin', as I did, to see trouble, I read over agin that book that has been my stay in so many hard-fit battle-fields of principle,--Fox'es "Book of Martyrs."

I studied G. Washington's picture on the parlor-wall, to get kinder stirred up in my mind about him, so's to realize to the full my privileges as I wept onto his tomb, and stood in the capital he had foundered.

Thomas J. come one day while I wus musin' on George; and he says,--

"What are you lookin' so close at that dear old humbug for?"

Says I firmly, and keepin' the same posture, "I am studyin' the face of the revered and noble G. Washington. I am going shortly to weep on his tomb and the capital he foundered. I am studyin' his face, and Gass'es 'Journal,' and other works," says I.

"If you are going to the capital, you had better study Dante."

Says I, "Danty who?"

And he says, "Just plain Dante." Says he, "You had better study his inscription on the door of the infern"--

Says I, "Cease instantly. You are on the very pint of swearin';" and I don't know now what he meant, and don't much care. Thomas J. is full of queer remarks, anyway. But deep. He had a sick spell a few weeks ago; and I went to see him the first thing in the mornin', after I heard of it. He had overworked, the doctor said, and his heart wuz a little weak. He looked real white; and I took holt of his hand, and says I,--

"Thomas J., I am worried about you: your pulse don't beat hardly any."

"No," says he. And he laughed with his eyes and his lips too. "I am glad I am not a newspaper this morning, mother."

And I says, "Why?"

And he says, "If I were a morning paper, mother, I shouldn't be a success, my circulation is so weak."

A jokin' right there, when he couldn't lift his head. But he got over it: he always did have them sort of sick spells, from a little child.

But a manlier, good-hearteder, level-headeder boy never lived than Thomas Jefferson Allen. He is _just right_, and always wuz. And though I wouldn't have it get out for the world, I can't help seein' it, that he goes fur ahead of Tirzah Ann in intellect, and nobleness of nater; and though I love 'em both devotedly, I _do_, and I can't help it, like him jest a little mite the best. But _this I wouldn't have get out for a thousand dollars. I tell it in strict confidence, and s'pose it will be kep' as such. Mebby I hadn't ort to tell it at all. Mebby it hain't quite orthodox in me to feel so. But it is truthful, anyway. And sometimes I get to kinder wobblin' round inside of my mind, and a wonderin' which is the best,--to be orthodox, or truthful,--and I sort o' settle down to thinkin' I will tell the truth anyway.

Josiah, I think, likes Tirzah Ann the best.

But I studied deep, and mused. Mused on our 4 fathers, and our 4 mothers, and on Liberty, and Independence, and Truth, and the Eagle. And thinkin' I might jest as well be to work while I was a musin', I had a dress made for the occasion. It wus bran new, and the color wus Bismark Brown.

Josiah wanted me to have Ashes of Moses color.

But I said no. With my mind in the heroic state it was then, I couldn't curb it down onto Ashes of Moses, or roses, or any thing else peacible. I felt that this color, remindin' me of two grand heroes,--Bismark, John Brown,--suited me to a T. There wus two wimmen who stood ready to make it,--Jane Bently and Martha Snyder. I chose Martha because Martha wus the name of the wife of Washington.

It wus made with a bask.

When the news got out that I wus goin' to Washington on a tower, the neighbors all wanted to send errents by me.

Betsey Bobbet wanted me to go to the Patent Office, and get her two Patent-office books, for scrap-books for poetry.

Uncle Jarvis Bently wanted me to go to the Agricultural Bureau, and get him a paper of lettis seed. And Solomon Cypher wanted me to get him a new kind of string-beans, if I could, and some cowcumber seeds.

Uncle Nate Gowdey, who talked of paintin' his house over, wanted me to ask the President what kind of paint he used on the White House, and if he put in any sperits of turpentime. And Ardelia Rumsey, who wuz goin' to be married soon, wanted me, if I see any new kinds of bed-quilt patterns to the White House, or to the senators' housen, to get the patterns for her. She said she wus sick of sunflowers, and blazin' stars, and such. She thought mebby they'd have suthin' new, spread-eagle style, or suthin' of that kind. She said "her feller was goin' to be connected with the Government, and she thought it would be appropriate."

And I asked her "how?" And she said, "he was goin' to get a patent on a new kind of a jack-knife."

I told her "if she wanted a Government quilt, and wanted it appropriate, she ort to have it a crazy-quilt."

And she said she had jest finished a crazy-quilt, with seven thousand pieces of silk in it, and each piece trimmed with seven hundred stitches of feather stitchin': she counted 'em. And then I remembered seein' it. There wus some talk then about wimmen's rights, and a petition wus got up in Jonesville for wimmen to sign; and I remember well that Ardelia couldn't sign it for lack of time. She wanted to, but she hadn't got the quilt more'n half done then. It took the biggest heft of two years to do it. And so, of course, less important things had to be put aside till she got it finished.

And I remember, too, that Ardelia's mother wanted to sign it; but she couldn't, owin' to a bed-spread she wus a makin'. She wuz a quiltin' in Noah's ark, and all the animals, at that time, on a Turkey-red quilt. I remember she wuz a quiltin' the camel that day, and couldn't be disturbed. So we didn't get the names. It took the old lady three years to quilt that quilt. And when it wuz done, it wuz a sight to behold. Though, as I said then, and say now, I wouldn't give much to sleep under so many animals. But folks went from fur and near to see it, and I enjoyed lookin' at it that day. And I see jest how it wuz. I see that she couldn't sign. It wuzn't to be expected that a woman could stop to tend to Justice or Freedom, or any thing else of that kind, right in the midst of a camel.

Zebulin Coon wanted me to carry a new hen-coop of hisen to get it patented. And I thought to myself, I wonder if they'll ask me to carry a cow.

And sure enough, Josiah wanted me to dicker, if I could, for a calf from Mount Vernon,--swop one of our yearlin's for it if I couldn't do no better.

But I told him right out and out, that I couldn't go into a calf-trade with my mind wrought up as I knew it would be.

Wall, it wuzn't more'n 2 or 3 days after I begun my preparations, that Dorlesky Burpy, a vegetable widow, come to see me; and the errents she sent by me wuz fur more hefty and momentous than all the rest put together, calves, hen-coop, and all.

(Illustration: THE MOTHER'S BED-QUILT.)

And when she told 'em over to me, and I meditated on her reasons for sendin' 'em, and her need of havin' 'em done, I felt that I would do the errents for her if a breath was left in my body. I felt that I would bear them 2 errents of hern on my tower side by side with my own private, hefty mission for Josiah.

She come for a all day's visit; and though she is a vegetable widow, and very humbly, I wuz middlin' glad to see her. But thinks'es I to myself as I carried away her things into the bedroom, "She'll want to send some errent by me;" and I wondered what it wouldn't be.

And so it didn't surprise me any when she asked me the first thing when I got back "if I would lobby a little for her in Washington."

And I looked agreeable to the idee; for I s'posed it wuz some new kind of tattin', mebby, or fancy work. And I told her "I shouldn't have much time, but I would try to buy her some if I could."

And she said "she wanted me to lobby, myself."

And then I thought mebby it wus some new kind of waltz; and I told her "I was too old to lobby, I hadn't lobbied a step since I was married."

And then she said "she wanted me to canvass some of the senators."

And I hung back, and asked her in a cautius tone "how many she wanted canvassed, and how much canvass it would take?"

I knew I had a good many things to buy for my tower; and, though I wanted to obleege Dorlesky, I didn't feel like runnin' into any great expense for canvass.

And then she broke off from that subject, and said "she wanted her rights, and wanted the Whiskey Ring broke up."

And then she says, going back to the old subject agin, "I hear that Josiah Allen has political hopes: can I canvass him?"

And I says, "Yes, you can for all me." But I mentioned cautiously, for I believe in bein' straightforward, and not holdin' out no false hopes,--I said "she must furnish her own canvass, for I hadn't a mite in the house."

But Josiah didn't get home till after her folks come after her. So he wuzn't canvassed.

But she talked a sight about her children, and how bad she felt to be parted from 'em, and how much she used to think of her husband, and how her hull life wus ruined, and how the Whiskey Ring had done it,--that, and wimmen's helpless condition under the law. And she cried, and wept, and cried about her children, and her sufferin's she had suffered; and I did. I cried onto my apron, and couldn't help it. A new apron too. And right while I wus cryin' onto that gingham apron, she made me promise to carry them two errents of hern to the President, and to get 'em done for her if I possibly could.

"She wanted the Whiskey Ring destroyed, and she wanted her rights; and she wanted 'em both in less than 2 weeks."

I wiped my eyes off, and told her I didn't believe she could get 'em done in that length of time, but I would tell the President about it, and "I thought more'n as likely as not he would want to do right by her." And says I, "If he sets out to, he can haul them babys of yourn out of that Ring pretty sudden."

And then, to kinder get her mind off of her sufferin's, I asked her how her sister Susan wus a gettin' along. I hadn't heard from her for years-- she married Philemon Clapsaddle; and Dorlesky spoke out as bitter as a bitter walnut--a green one. And says she,--

"She is in the poorhouse."

"Why, Dorlesky Burpy!" says I. "What do you mean?"

"I mean what I say. My sister, Susan Clapsaddle, is in the poorhouse."

"Why, where is their property all gone?" says I. "They was well off--Susan had five thousand dollars of her own when she married him."

"I know it," says she. "And I can tell you, Josiah Allen's wife, where their property is gone. It has gone down Philemon Clapsaddle's throat. Look down that man's throat, and you will see 150 acres of land, a good house and barns, 20 sheep, and 40 head of cattle."

"Why-ee!" says I.

"Yes, you will see 'em all down that man's throat." And says she, in still more bitter axents, "You will see four mules, and a span of horses, two buggies, a double sleigh, and three buffalo-robes. He has drinked 'em all up--and 2 horse-rakes, a cultivator, and a thrashin'-machine.

"Why! Why-ee!" says I agin. "And where are the children?"

"The boys have inherited their father's evil habits, and drink as bad as he duz; and the oldest girl has gone to the bad."

"Oh, dear! oh, dear me!" says I. And we both sot silent for a spell. And then, thinkin' I must say sunthin', and wantin' to strike a safe subject, and a good-lookin' one, I says,--

"Where is your aunt Eunice'es girl? that pretty girl I see to your house once."

"That girl is in the lunatick asylum."

"Dorlesky Burpy!" says I. "Be you a tellin' the truth?" "Yes, I be, the livin' truth. She went to New York to buy millinary goods for her mother's store. It wus quite cool when she left home, and she hadn't took off her winter clothes: and it come on brilin' hot in the city; and in goin' about from store to store, the heat and the hard work overcome her, and she fell down in the street in a sort of a faintin'-fit, and was called drunk, and dragged off to a police court by a man who wus a animal in human shape. And he misused her in such a way, that she never got over the horror of what befell her--when she come to, to find herself at the mercy of a brute in a man's shape. She went into a melancholy madness, and wus sent to the asylum. Of course they couldn't have wimmen in such places to take care of wimmen," says she bitterly.

I sithed a long and mournful sithe, and sot silent agin for quite a spell. But thinkin' I _must be sociable, I says,--

"Your aunt Eunice is well, I s'pose?"

"She is a moulderin' in jail," says she.

"In jail? Eunice Keeler in jail?"

"Yes, in jail." And Dorlesky's tone wus now like wormwood, wormwood and gall.

"You know, she owns a big property in tenement-houses, and other buildings, where she lives. Of course her taxes wus awful high; and she didn't expect to have any voice in tellin' how that money, a part of her own property, that she earned herself in a store, should be used.

(Illustration: MAN LIFTING UP EUNICE.)

"But she had jest been taxed high for new sidewalks in front of some of her buildin's.

"And then another man come into power in that ward, and he natrully wanted to make some money out of her; and he had a spite aginst her, too, so he ordered her to build new sidewalks. And she wouldn't tear up a good sidewalk to please him or anybody else, so she was put to jail for refusin' to comply with the law."

Thinks'es I to myself, I don't believe the law would have been so hard on her if she hadn't been so humbly. The Burpys are a humbly lot. But I didn't think it out loud. And I didn't uphold the law for feelin' so, if it did. No: I says in pityin' tones,--for I wus truly sorry for Eunice Keeler,--

"How did it end?"

"It hain't ended," says she. "It only took place a month ago; and she has got her grit up, and won't pay: and no knowin' how it will end. She lays there a moulderin'."

I myself don't believe Eunice wus "mouldy;" but that is Dorlesky's way of talkin',--very flowery.

(Illustration: EUNICE IN JAIL.)

"Wall," says I, "do you think the weather is goin' to moderate?"

I truly felt that I dassent speak to her about any human bein' under the sun, not knowin' what turn she would give to the conversation, bein' so embittered. But I felt the weather wus safe, and cotton stockin's, and factory-cloth; and I kep' her down onto them subjects for more'n two hours.

But, good land! I can't blame her for bein' embittered aginst men and the laws they have made; for, if ever a woman has been tormented, she has.

It honestly seems to me as if I never see a human creeter so afflicted as Dorlesky Burpy has been, all her life.

Why, her sufferin's date back before she wus born; and that is goin' pretty fur back. You see, her father and mother had had some difficulty: and he wus took down with billious colic voyolent four weeks before Dorlesky wus born; and some think it wus the hardness between 'em, and some think it wus the gripin' of the colic at the time he made his will; anyway, he willed Dorlesky away, boy or girl, whichever it wuz, to his brother up on the Canada line.

So, when Dorlesky wus born (and born a girl, entirely onbeknown to her), she wus took right away from her mother, and gin to this brother. Her mother couldn't help herself: he had the law on his side. But it jest killed her. She drooped right away and died, before the baby wus a year old. She was a affectionate, tenderhearted woman; and her husband wus kinder overbearin', and stern always.

But it wus this last move of hisen that killed her; for I tell you, it is pretty tough on a mother to have her baby, a part of her own life, took right out of her arms, and gin to a stranger.

For this uncle of hern wus a entire stranger to Dorlesky when the will wus made. And almost like a stranger to her father, for he hadn't seen him sence he wus a boy; but he knew he hadn't any children, and s'posed he wus rich and respectable. But the truth wuz, he had been a runnin' down every way,--had lost his property and his character, wus dissipated and mean (onbeknown, it wus s'posed, to Dorlesky's father). But the will was made, and the law stood. Men are ashamed now, to think the law wus ever in voge; but it wuz, and is now in some of the States. The law wus in voge, and the poor young mother couldn't help herself. It has always been the boast of our American law, that it takes care of wimmen. It took care of her. It held her in its strong, protectin' grasp, and held her so tight, that the only way she could slip out of it wus to drop into the grave, which she did in a few months. Then it leggo.

But it kep' holt of Dorlesky: it bound her tight to her uncle, while he run through with what little property she had; while he sunk lower and lower, until at last he needed the very necessaries of life; and then he bound her out to work, to a woman who kep' a drinkin'-den, and the lowest, most degraded hant of vice.

Twice Dorlesky run away, bein' virtuous but humbly; but them strong, protectin' arms of the law that had held her mother so tight, jest reached out, and dragged her back agin. Upheld by them, her uncle could compel her to give her service wherever he wanted her to work; and he wus owin' this woman, and she wanted Dorlesky's work, so she had to submit.

But the 3d time, she made a effort so voyalent that she got away. A good woman, who, bein' nothin' but a woman, couldn't do any thing towards onclinchin' them powerful arms that wuz protectin' her, helped her to slip through 'em. And Dorlesky come to Jonesville to live with a sister of that good woman; changed her name, so's it wouldn't be so easy to find her; grew up to be a nice, industrious girl. And when the woman she was took by, died, she left Dorlesky quite a handsome property.

And finally she married Lank Rumsey, and did considerable well, it was s'posed. Her property, put with what little he had, made 'em a comfortable home; and they had two pretty little children,--a boy and a girl. But when the little girl was a baby, he took to drinkin', neglected his business, got mixed up with a whisky-ring, whipped Dorlesky--not so very hard. He went accordin' to law; and the law of the United States don't approve of a man whippin' his wife enough to endanger her life--it says it don't. He made every move of hisen lawful, and felt that Dorlesky hadn't ort to complain and feel hurt. But a good whippin' will make anybody feel hurt, law or no law. And then he parted with her, and got her property and her two little children. Why, it seemed as if every thing under the sun and moon, that _could happen to a woman, had happened to Dorlesky, painful things, and gaulin'.

Jest before Lank parted with her, she fell on a broken sidewalk: some think he tripped her up, but it never was proved. But, anyway, Dorlesky fell, and broke her hip bone; and her husband sued the corporation, and got ten thousand dollars for it. Of course, the law give the money to him, and she never got a cent of it. But she wouldn't never have made any fuss over that, knowin' that the law of the United States was such. But what made it gaulin' to her wuz, that, while she was layin' there achin' in splints, he took that very money and used it to court up another woman with. Gin her presents, jewellry, bunnets, head-dresses, artificial flowers, and etcetery, out of Dorlesky's own hip-money.

(Illustration: DORLESKY'S TRIALS.)

And I don't know as any thing could be much more gaulin' to a woman than that wuz,--while she lay there, groanin' in splints, to have her husband take the money for her own broken bones, and dress up another woman like a doll with it.

But the law gin it to him; and he was only availin' himself of the glorious liberty of our free republic, and doin' as he was a mind to.

And it was s'posed that that very hip-money was what made the match. For, before she wus fairly out of splints, he got a divorce from her. And by the help of that money, and the Whisky Ring, he got her two little children away from her.

And I wonder if there is a mother in the land, that can blame Dorlesky for gettin' mad, and wantin' her rights, and wantin' the Whisky Ring broke up, when they think it over,--how she has been fooled round with by men, willed away, and whipped and parted with and stole from. Why, they can't blame her for feelin' fairly savage about 'em--and she duz. For as she says to me once when we wus a talkin' it over, how every thing had happened to her that could happen to a woman, and how curious it wuz,--

"Yes," says she, with a axent like boneset and vinegar,--"and what few things there are that hain't happened to me, has happened to my folks."

And, sure enough, I couldn't dispute her. Trouble and wrongs and sufferin's seemed to be epidemic in the race of Burpy wimmen. Why, one of her aunts on her father's side, Patty Burpy, married for her first husband Eliphalet Perkins. He was a minister, rode on a circuit. And he took Patty on it too; and she rode round with him on it, a good deal of the time. But she never loved to: she wus a woman who loved to be still, and be kinder settled down at home.

But she loved Eliphalet so well, she would do any thing to please him: so she rode round with him on that circuit, till she was perfectly fagged out.

He was a dretful good man to her; but he wus kinder poor, and they had hard times to get along. But what property they had wuzn't taxed, so that helped some; and Patty would make one doller go a good ways.

No, their property wasn't taxed till Eliphalet died. Then the supervisor taxed it the very minute the breath left his body; run his horse, so it was said, so's to be sure to get it onto the tax-list, and comply with the law.

You see, Eliphalet's salary stopped when his breath did. And I s'pose mebby the law thought, seem' she was a havin' trouble, she might jest as well have a little more; so it taxed all the property it never had taxed a cent for before.

But she had this to console her anyway,--that the law didn't forget her in her widowhood. No: the law is quite thoughtful of wimmen, by spells. It says, the law duz, that it protects wimmen. And I s'pose in some mysterious way, too deep for wimmen to understand, it was protectin' her now.

Wall, she suffered along, and finally married agin. I wondered why she did. But she was such a quiet, home-lovin' woman, that it was s'posed she wanted to settle down, and be kinder still and sot. But of all the bad luck she had! She married on short acquaintance, and he proved to be a perfect wanderer. Why, he couldn't keep still. It was s'posed to be a mark.

He moved Patty thirteen times in two years; and at last he took her into a cart,--a sort of a covered wagon,--and travelled right through the Eastern States with her. He wanted to see the country, and loved to live in the wagon: it was his make. And, of course, the law give him the control of her body; and she had to go where he moved it, or else part with him. And I s'pose the law thought it was guardin' and nourishin' her when it was a joltin' her over them praries and mountains and abysses. But it jest kep' her shook up the hull of the time.

It wus the regular Burpy luck.


And then, another one of her aunts, Drusilla Burpy, she married a industrius, hard-workin' man,--one that never drinked a drop, and was sound on the doctrines, and give good measure to his customers: he was a grocer-man. And a master hand for wantin' to foller the laws of his country, as tight as laws could be follered. And so, knowin' that the law approved of "moderate correction" for wimmen, and that "a man might whip his wife, but not enough to endanger her life," he bein' such a master hand for wantin' to do every thing faithful, and do his very best for his customers, it was s'posed that he wanted to do his best for the law; and so, when he got to whippin' Drusilla, he would whip her _too severe --he would be _too faithful to it.

You see, the way ont was, what made him whip her at all wuz, she was cross to him. They had nine little children. She always thought that two or three children would be about all one woman could bring up well "by hand," when that one hand wuz so awful full of work, as will be told more ensuin'ly. But he felt that big families wuz a protection to the Government; and "he wanted fourteen boys," he said, so they could all foller their father's footsteps, and be noble, law-making, law-abiding citizens, jest as he was.

But she had to do every mite of the housework, and milk cows, and make butter and cheese, and cook and wash and scour, and take all the care of the children, day and night, in sickness and in health, and spin and weave the cloth for their clothes (as wimmen did in them days), and then make 'em, and keep 'em clean. And when there wuz so many of 'em, and only about a year's difference in their ages, some of 'em--why, I s'pose she sometimes thought more of her own achin' back than she did of the good of the Government; and she would get kinder discouraged sometimes, and be cross to him.

And knowin' his own motives was so high and loyal, he felt that he ought to whip her. So he did.

And what shows that Drusilla wuzn't so bad as he s'posed she wuz, what shows that she did have her good streaks, and a deep reverence for the law, is, that she stood his whippin's first-rate, and never whipped him.

Now, she wuz fur bigger than he wuz, weighed 80 pounds the most, and might have whipped him if the law had been such.

(Illustration: BEATING HIS WIFE.)

But they was both law-abidin', and wanted to keep every preamble; so she stood it to be whipped, and never once whipped him in all the seventeen years they lived together.

She died when her twelfth child was born: there wus jest 13 months difference in the age of that and the one next older. And they said she often spoke out in her last sickness, and said,--

"Thank fortune, I have always kept the law."

And they said the same thought wus a great comfort to him in his last moments.

He died about a year after she did, leaving his 2nd wife with twins and a good property.

Then, there was Abagail Burpy. She married a sort of a high-headed man, though one that paid his debts, and was truthful, and considerable good- lookin', and played well on the fiddle. Why, it seemed as if he had almost every qualification for makin' a woman happy, only he had jest this one little excentricity,--that man would lock up Abagail Burpy's clothes every time he got mad at her.

Of course the law give her clothes to him; and knowin' it was one of the laws of the United States, she wouldn't have complained only when she had company. But it was mortifyin', and nobody could dispute it, to have company come, and nothin' to put on.

Several times she had to withdraw into the wood-house, and stay most of the day, shiverin', and under the cellar-stairs, and round in clothes- presses.

But he boasted in prayer-meetin's, and on boxes before grocery-stores, that he wus a law-abidin' citizen; and he wuz. Eben Flanders wouldn't lie for anybody.

But I'll bet that Abagail Flanders beat our old Revolutionary 4 mothers in thinkin' out new laws, when she lay round under stairs, and behind barrells, in her nightdress.

You see, when a man hides his wive's corset and petticoat, it is governin' without the "consent of the governed." And if you don't believe it, you ort to have peeked round them barrells, and seen Abagail's eyes. Why, they had hull reams of by-laws in 'em, and preambles, and "declarations of independence." So I have been told.

Why, it beat every thing I ever heard on, the lawful sufferin's of them wimmen. For there wuzn't nothin' illegal about one single trouble of theirn. They suffered accordin' to law, every one of 'em. But it wus tuff for 'em--very tuff.

And their all bein' so dretful humbly wuz and is another drawback to 'em; though that, too, is perfectly lawful, as everybody knows.

And Dorlesky looks as bad agin as she would otherways, on account of her teeth.

It wus after Lank had begun to kinder get after this other woman, and wus indifferent to his wive's looks, that Dorlesky had a new set of teeth on her upper jaw. And they sort o' sot out, and made her look so bad that it fairly made her ache to look at herself in the glass. And they hurt her gooms too. And she carried 'em back to the dentist, and wanted him to make her another set.

But the dentist acted mean, and wouldn't take 'em back, and sued Lank for the pay. And they had a lawsuit. And the law bein' such that a woman can't testify in court in any matter that is of mutual interest to husband and wife--and Lank wantin' to act mean, too, testified that "they wus good sound teeth."

And there Dorlesky sot right in front of 'em with her gooms achin', and her face all pokin' out, and lookin' like furyation, and couldn't say a word. But she had to give in to the law.

And ruther than go toothless, she wears 'em to this day. And I do believe it is the raspin' of them teeth aginst her gooms, and her discouraged and mad feelin's every time she looks in a glass, that helps to embitter her towards men, and the laws men have made, so's a woman can't have the control over her own teeth and her own bones.

Wall, Dorlesky went home about 4 P.M., I a promisin' at the last minute as sacred as I could, without usin' a book, to do her errents for her.

I urged her to stay to supper, but she couldn't; for she said the man where she worked was usin' his horses, and couldn't come after her agin. And she said that--

"Mercy on her! how could anybody eat any more supper after such a dinner as I had got?"

And it wuzn't nothin' extra, I didn't think. No better than my common run of dinners.

Wall, she hadn't been gone over an hour (she a hollerin' from the wagon, a chargin' on me solemn, about the errents,--the man she works for is deef, deef as a post,--and I a noddin' to her firm, honorable nods, that I would do 'em), and I wus a slickin' up the settin'-room, and Martha, who had jest come in, wus measurin' off my skirt-breadths, when Josiah Allen drove up, and Cicely and the boy with him.

And there I had been a layin' out to write to her that very night to tell her I wus goin' away, and to be sure and come jest as quick as I got back!

Wall, I never see the time I wuzn't glad to see Cicely, and I felt that she could visit to Tirzah Ann's and Thomas J.'s while I wus gone. She looked dretful pale and sad, I thought; but she seemed glad to see me, and glad to get back. And the boy asked Josiah and Ury and me 47 questions between the wagon and the front doorstep, for I counted 'em. He wus well.

I broached the subject of my tower to Cicely when she and I wus all alone in her room. And, if you'll believe it, she all rousted up with the idee of wantin' to go too.

She says, "You know, aunt Samantha, just how I have prayed and labored for my boy's future; how I have made all the efforts that it is possible for a woman to make; how I have thrown my heart and life into the work,--but I have done no good. That letter," says she, takin' one out of her pocket, and throwin' it into my lap,--"that letter tells me just what I knew so well before,--just how weak a woman is; that they have no power, only the power to suffer."

It wus from that old executor, refusin' to comply with some request she had made about her own property,--a request of right and truth.

Oh, how glad I would have been to had him execkuted that very minute! Why, I'd done it myself if wimmen could execkit--but they can't.

Says she, "I'll go with you to Washington,--I and the boy. Perhaps I can do something for him there." But when she mentioned the boy, I demurred in my own mind, and kep' a demurrin'. Thinks'es I, how can I stand it, as tired as I expect to be, to have him a askin' questions all the hull time? She see I was a demurrin'; and her pretty face grew sadder than it had, and overcasteder.

And as I see that, I gin in at once, and says with a cheerful face, but a forebodin' mind,--

"Wall, Cicely, we three will embark together on our tower."

Wall, after supper Cicely and I sot down under the front stoop,--it was a warm evenin',--and we talked some about other wimmen. Not runnin' talk, or gossipin' talk, but jest plain talk, about her aunt Mary, and her aunt Melissa, and her aunt Mary's daughter, who wus a runnin' down, runnin' faster than ever, so I judged from what she said. And how Susan Ann Grimshaw that was, had a young babe. She said her aunt Mary was better now, so she had started for the Michigan; but she had had a dretful sick spell while she was there.

While she wuz a tellin' me this, Cicely sot on one of the steps of the stoop: I sot up under it in my rockin'-chair. And she looked dretful good to me. She had on a white dress. She most always wears white in the house, when we hain't got company; and always wears black when she is dressed up, and when she goes out.

This dress was made of white mull. The yoke wus made all of thin embroidery, and her white neck and shoulders shone through it like snow. Her sleeves was all trimmed with lace, and fell back from her pretty white arms. Her hands wus clasped over her knees; and her hair, which the boy had got loose a playin' with her, wus fallin' round her face and neck. And her great, earnest eyes wus lookin' into the West, and the light from the sunset fallin' through the mornin'-glorys wus a fallin' over her, till I declare, I never see any thing look so pretty in my hull life. And there was some thin' more, fur more than prettiness in her face, in her big eyes.

It wuzn't unhappiness, and it wuzn't happiness, and I don't know as I can tell what it wuz. It seemed as if she wuz a lookin' fur, fur away, further than Jonesville, further than the lake that lay beyend Jonesville, and which was pure gold now,--a sea of glass mingled with fire,--further than the cloudy masses in the western heavens, which looked like a city of shinin' mansions, fur off; but her eyes was lookin' away off, beyend them.

And I kep' still, and didn't feel like talkin' about other wimmen.

Finally she spoke out. "Aunt Samantha, what do you suppose I thought when dear aunt Mary was so ill when I was there?"

And I says, "I don't know, dear: what did you?"

"Well, I thought, that, though I loved her so dearly, I almost wished she would die while I was there."

"Why, Cicely!" says I. "Why-ee! what did you wish that for? and thinkin' so much of your aunt as you do."


"Well, you know how mother and aunt Mary loved each other, how near they were to each other. Why, mother could always tell when aunt Mary was ill or in trouble, and she was just the same in regard to mother. And I can't think that when death has freed the soul from the flesh, that they will have less spiritual knowledge of each other than when they were here; and I felt, that with such a love as theirs, death would only make their souls nearer: and you know what the Bible says,--that 'God shall make of his angels ministering spirits;' and I _know He would send no other angel but my mother, to dear aunt Mary's bedside, to take her spirit home. And I thought, that, if I were there, my mother would be there right in the room with me; and I didn't know but I might _feel her presence if I could not see her. And I _do want my mother so sometimes, aunt Samantha," says she with the tears comin' into them soft brown eyes. "It seems as if she would tell me what to do for the boy--she always knew what was right and best to do."

Says I to myself, "For the land's sake, what won't Cicely think on next?" But I didn't say a word, mind you, not a single word would I say to hurt that child's feelin's--not for a silver dollar, I wouldn't.

I only says, in calm accents,--

"Don't for mercy's sake, child, talk of seein' your mother now."

She looked far off into the shinin' western heavens with that deep, searchin', but soft gaze,--seemin' to look clear through them cloudy mansions of rose and pearl,--and says she,--

"If I were good enough, I think I could."

And I says, "Cicely, you are goin' to take cold, with nothin' round your shoulders." Says I, "The weather is very ketchin', and it looks to me as if we wus goin' to have quite a spell of it."

And the boy overheard me, and asked me 75 questions about ketchin' the weather.

"If the weather set a trap? If it ketched with bait, or with a hook, and what it ketched? and how? and who?"

Oh my stars! what a time I did have!

The next mornin' after this Cicely wuzn't well enough to get up. I carried up her breakfast with my own hands,--a good one, though I am fur from bein' the one that ort to say it.

And after breakfast, along in the forenoon, Martha, who was makin' my dress, felt troubled in mind as to whether she had better cut the polenay kitrin' ways of the cloth, or not: and Miss Gowdey had jest had one made in the height of the fashion, to Jonesville; and so to ease Martha's mind (she is one that gets deprested easy, when weighty subjects are pressin' her down), I said I would run over cross-lots, and carry home a drawin' of tea I had borrowed, and look at the polenay, and bring back tidin's from it. And I wus goin' there acrost the orchard, when I see the boy a layin' on his back under a apple-tree, lookin' up into the sky; and says I,--

"What be you doin' here, Paul?"

He never got up, nor moved a mite. That is one of the peculiarities of the boy, you can't surprise him: nothin' seems to startle him.

He lay still, and spoke out for all the world as if I had been there with him all day.

"I am lookin' to see if I can see it. I thought I got a glimpse of it a minute ago, but it wus only a white cloud."

"Lookin' for what?" says I.

"The gate of that City that comes down out of the heavens. You know, uncle Josiah read about it this morning, out of that big book he prays out of after breakfast. He said the gate was one pearl.

"And I asked mamma what a pearl was, and she said it was just like that ring she wears that papa gave her. And I asked her where the City was, and she said it was up in the heavens. And I asked her if I should ever see it; and she said, if I was good, it would swing down out of the sky, sometime, and that shining gate would open, and I should walk through it into the City.

(Illustration: LOOKING FOR THE CITY.)

"And I went right to being good, that minute; and I have been good for as many as three hours, I should think. And _say_, how long have you got to be good before you can go through? And _say_, can you see it before you go through? And SAY"--

But I had got most out of hearin' then.

"And _say_"--

I heard his last "say" just as I got out of hearin' of him.

He acted kinder disappointed at dinner-time, and said "he wus tired of watchin', and tired out of bein' good;" and he wus considerable cross all that afternoon. But he got clever agin before bedtime. And he come and leaned up aginst my lap at sundown, and asked me, I guess, about 200 questions about the City.

And his eyes looked big and dreamy and soft, and his cheeks looked rosy, and his mouth awful good and sweet. And his curls wus kinder moist, and hung down over his white forehead. I _did love him, and couldn't help it, chin or no chin.

He had been still for quite a spell, a thinkin'; and at last he broke out,--

"Say, auntie, shall I see my father there in the City?"

And I didn't know what to tell him; for you know what it says,--

"_Without are murderers."

(Illustration: ASKING ABOUT THE CITY.)

But then, agin, I thought, what will become of the respectable church members who sell the fire that flames up in a man's soul, and ruins his life? What will become of them who lend their votes and their influence to make it right? They vote on Saturdays, to make the sale of this poison legal, and on Sundays go to church with their respectable families. And they expect to go right to heaven, of course; for they have improved all the means of grace. Hired costly pews, and give big charities--in money obtained by sellin' robberies, murders, broken hearts, ruined lives.

But the boy wanted an answer; and his eyes looked questioning but soft.

"Say, auntie, do you think we'll find him there, mamma and I? You know, that is what mamma cries so for,--she wants him so bad. And do you think he will stand just inside the gate, waiting for us? _Say!_"

But agin I thought of what it said,--

"No drunkard shall inherit eternal life."

And agin I didn't know what to say, and I hurried him off to bed.

But, after he had gone, I spoke out entirely unbeknown to myself, and says,--

"I can't see through it."

"You can't see through what?" says Josiah, who wus jest a comin' in.

"I can't see through it, why drunkards and murderers are punished, and them that make 'em drink and murder go free. I can't see through it."

"Wall, I don't see how you can see through any thing here--dark as pitch." Here he fell over a stool, which made him madder.

"Folks make fools of themselves, a follerin' up that subject." Here he stubbed his foot aginst the rockin'-chair, and most fell, and snapped out enough to take my head off,--

"The dumb fools will get so before long, that a man can't drink milk porridge without their prayin' over him."

Says I, "Be calm! stand right still in the middle of the floor, Josiah Allen, and I'll light a lamp," which I did; and he sot down cleverer, though he says,--

"You want to take away all the rights of a man. Liquor is good for sickness, and you know it. You go onto extremes, you go too fur."

Says I calmly, "Do you s'pose, at this late hour, I am goin' to stop bein' mejum? No! mejum have I lived, and mejum will I die. I believe liquor is good for medicine: if I should say I didn't, I should be a lyin', which I am fur from wantin' to do at my age. I think it kep' mother Allen alive for years, jest as I believe arsenic broke up Bildad Smith's chills. And I s'pose folks have jest as good a right to use it for the benefit of their health, as to use any other pizen, or fire, or any thing.

"And it should be used jest like pizen and fire and etcetery. You don't want to eat pizen for a treat, or pass it round amongst your friends. You don't want to play with fire for fun, or burn yourself up with it. You don't want to use it to confligrate yourself or anybody else.

"So with liquor. You don't want to drink liquor to kill yourself with, or to kill other folks. You don't want to inebriate with it. If I had my way, Josiah Allen," says I firmly, "the hull liquor-trade should be in the hands of doctors, who wouldn't sell a drop without knowin' _positive that it wus _needed for sickness, or the aged and infirm. Good, honest doctors who couldn't be bought nor sold."

"Where would you find 'em?" says Josiah in a gruff tone (I mistrust his toe pained him).

Says I thoughtfully, "Surely there is one good, reliable man left in every town--that could be found."

"I don't know about it," says he, sort o' musin'ly. "I am gettin' pretty old to begin it, but I don't know but I might get to be a doctor now."

Says he, brightenin' up, "It can't take much study to deal out a dose of salts now and then, or count anybody's pult."

But says I firmly, "Give up that idee at once, Josiah Allen. I have come out alive, out of all your other plans and progects, and I hain't a goin' to be killed now at my age, by you as a doctor."

My tone wus so powerful, and even skairful, that he gin up the idee, and wound up the clock, and went to bed.

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Sweet Cicely; Or, Josiah Allen As A Politician - Chapter 6 Sweet Cicely; Or, Josiah Allen As A Politician - Chapter 6

Sweet Cicely; Or, Josiah Allen As A Politician - Chapter 6
CHAPTER VICicely wus some better the next day. And two days before we sot sail for Washington, Philury Mesick, the girl Ury was payin' attention to, and who was goin' to keep my house durin' my absence on my tower, come with a small, a very small trunk, ornimented with brass nails. Poor little thing! I wus always sorry for her, she is so little, and so freckled, and so awful willin' to do jest as anybody wants her to. She is a girl that Miss Solomon Gowdey kinder took. And I think, if there is any condition that is hard,

Sweet Cicely; Or, Josiah Allen As A Politician - Chapter 4 Sweet Cicely; Or, Josiah Allen As A Politician - Chapter 4

Sweet Cicely; Or, Josiah Allen As A Politician - Chapter 4
CHAPTER IVThis free pass of Josiah Allen's wus indeed a strange incident, and it made sights and sights of talk. But of course there wus considerable lyin' about it, as you know the way is. Why, it does beat all how stories will grow. Why, when I hear a story nowadays, I always allow a full half for shrinkage, and sometimes three-quarters; and a good many times that hain't enough. Such awful lyin' times! It duz beat all. But about this strange thing that took place and happened, I will proceed and relate the plain and unvarnished history of it. And