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they seemed to me who had always
lived with my mother and sister
rough and coarse. They lacked the
gentle manners the female associa-
tion would have given. Their own
exclusive society antagonized re-
finement. They suffered in this
respect as much as I, but were not
as conscious of it. How I longed at
the end of the day's work, to spend
an hour with my mother, or my
sister, or some agreeable female
friend. Girls sometimes wish they
were boys, but I never heard a boy
wishing to be a girl, yet when I
saw those girls at the church, in the
dining room, in the door yard. I
wished I could be a girl just a little
while for a change, that I might en-
joy something finer than these rough
boys. Can any one not saturated
with Shaker prejudices adduce any
sensible reason why sister and I
should not enjoy each other and
alone for at least a little time?

Notwithstanding the freedom
permitted me to visit my mother,
I knew the sentiment of the people
was vehemently opposed to what
they termed natural relation, and
they continually declaimed against
it in our meetings. It was a per-
petual testimony of hate for father,
mother, brother and sister.

Is it then any wonder that em-
barrassment invariably attended
frequent visits to my mother? Once
only did I in any way divulge to
mother my feelings, but this time I



28



THE GRANITE MONTHLY



met with her when suffering un-
usual dejection and sobbingly I
poured ovit my grief. Her sym-
pathy was sweet and she made it
very easy for me to say I wanted
to return to Providence, and I knew
that I had only to say the word and
she would take me there. Her at-
titude impressed me with a respon-
sibility hitherto unfelt. Although
in later years I had reason to believe
she would have been quite willing
to have gone of her own volition,
and that she remained there more
for her children's sake than for her
own, I then thought- she was
happy. I did not doubt that my
sister was not equally so, and
brother was too young to consider
any how. Could I only have known
the facts in regard to both mother
and sister as I knew them after the
lapse of many years, what a change
would have been wrought in the
lives of us all ! In my ignorance of
the true situation, believing that I
alone suffered discontent, and, as I
have said, feeling a responsibility
as the eldest and next to mother the
head of the family. I felt it to be
selfish and wrong to allow my per-
sonal feelings to disrupt the com-
fort of the others, and I hastened
to assure mother that I would try
to bear up under it, nor did I ever
again burden her with any person-
al trouble, and so far as I know she
never knew I had any.

The sore was not healed however.
Many, many times as I listened to
the rumbling of the trains which
we could hear distinctly, although
so many miles away, did I wish I
was on one and going back to our
old home.. I can now realize that
undoubtedly most of the boys felt
as I did about it. They did not dare
to express feelings of unrest to each
other, as it would most certainly
reach the ears of the caretaker, and
they knew what to expect in that
case. Not infrequently, however,
two of the bovs would venture to



unfold their sentiments to each other
and this was likely to result
in a runaway as it was termed;
or a boy resentful over a real
or supposed injustice, or it
may be wearied with a hum drum
life, would boldly strike out alone.
The personality of the company was
constantly changing, some going,
others coming, a few remaining, and
those mostly having parents there ;
but of the twenty four boys of the
company there with me, the last
one had left more than thirty years
ago, while probably a hundred
more, old and young, had come and
gone within that time in the Church
Family alone.

As a part of this first year's ex-
perience I will mention a certain
phase of their religious functions
now long since discarded. All of
the eighteen Societies were direct-
ed by Divine Command to provide
a piece of ground selected by spirit
guidance in some secluded spot as
equally distant as possible from all
the Families, and sufficiently large
to convene the entire Society for
worship. The spot at Canterbury
was nearly a mile from the Church
Family in a piece of woods. The
approach to it was through a stony
pasture, and to make a road to it
suitable for a body of people to
march over required much work.

The "Fountain" or "Feast
Ground" was made smooth and as
level as possible and sowed to grass.
Around it was set a row of fir trees.
In the center of the ground was a
small oval plat at one end of which
was a tall marble slab upon which
was engraved a message to the
people given by inspiration, and
which was read to the assembly
whenever a meeting was held there.
On one side of the ground was a
very plain building sufficiently
large to convene the entire Society.
A plain fence painted white sur-
rounded the whole tract.

In summer time and on Sunday



FORTY YEARS A SHAKER



29



when the Ministry were at Canter-
bury and the weather pleasant, the
society would meet here for wor-
ship, the Families so timing their
arrival as to enter the Fountain at
the same moment, the other Families
entering upon the opposite side.
The people marched all the way
four abreast, two brethren and
two sisters, the Elders and Minis-
try leading, followed by the sing-
ers, the children bringing up the
rear. Arriving at the Fountain
they formed in circles as in the
meeting room at home, the exer-
cise being the march only. Next,
they entered the house, sitting up-
on the plainest of wood benches
kept there permanently. Here they
sang and listened to more or less
speaking by the leaders for a half
hour or so, when the meeting was
dismissed and all returned home
singing and marching as they came.
The children greatly enjoyed these
little breaks in the monotonous
routine of Sunday life.

From some cause never publicly
revealed, these visits to the Foun-
tain grew less and less frequent and
finally ceased altogether. A few
years later the house, fence and
sacred stone were removed, and our
Fountain became but a memory.
The tablet was used as a table for
making candy. To some of us who
revered the place and who loved the
devotional spirit that belonged to
it, its destruction seemed a sacri-
lege. Many were the times that I
visited the spot in after years and
there knelt alone in prayer and in
communion with the spirit of those
bygone days. We were not told
why this holy ground prepared at
so much expense and divine behest,
ceased to be of use for sacred pur-
poses. If its contermanding was by
spirit direction it was not told us.
As its introduction was attended
with much solemnity, should we not
expect its revocation to be equally
impressive, and in the entire ab-



sence of this, might we not with
reason feel doubtful as to the gen-
uineness of the first assertion? The
seeds of doubt were here sown in
some fruitful soil which in due
time failed not to produce fruit.

1 will mention one peculiar rite
that has not been observed for
seventy years. It was called the
"Sweeping Gift." At certain ir-
regular intervals the Elders and a
select few singers would march
through the village and into every
room of every building, singing and
crying "sweep, sweep" and using
their spiritual brooms. It was to
drive out all moral and spiritual un-
cleanness that might exist. It was
a powerful stimulus for every one
to maintain the most immaculate
order and neatness in all their
possessions.

How well do I remember my first
Fourth of July spent at the Village,
that we celebrated ingloriously by
a good hard day's work shovelling
manure at the sheep barn. We boys
tried to make fun over it, but we
felt more cross than funny. The
only glint we had of the holiday was
now and then a rocket from the fire
works at Concord, 12 miles away,
which as an unusual privilege we
were allowed to sit up and see.

In September, 1855, I blossomed
into a "Youth Boy." This was a
most welcome change. It made me
eligible to all services and gather-
ings of the brethen and taking my
meals with them at the first sitting.
I was surely beginning to be a man.
I was assigned to a man whom I
liked very much, and what was fully
as nice, who liked me, and who ap-
parently did all he could to make
me happy.

My first job with him was pick-
ing apples at the East Farm or-
chard. This was by far our largest
orchard. It was the product of the
indefatigable labor of Peter Ayers
who at 96 years of age still work-
ed on it when I went there to live.



30



THE GRANITE MONTHLY



He redeemed it from a rocky pas-
ture, and the immense heaps of
stones made by him in clearing the
land betokened marvelous energy.
This orchard yielded this year one
thousand bushels of fruit for the
cellar, quite as much more of sauce
apples, and a large amount for
cider. A large company of both
sexes was occupied a full week in
this orchard. The young men pick-
ed the apples and the sisters sorted
them into number one and number
two for storage, and sauce apples to
be cut and dried.

The apples were laid very care-
fully in baskets and conveyed home
in spring wagons, and as carefully
transferred to bins in the cellars.
No apple was number one that had
dropped from the tree or had receiv-
ed the least bruise. Dinner was
served in the old barn, across the
floor of which was a long rude table.
We knelt before and after eating
as at home, but there was no re-
straint in conversation. Few young
sisters and no girls were there. In
those present the Elders gave care-
ful attention to their selection to
remove all possible danger of un-
due familiarity between the voung
people.

The brethren had an apple cellar
for their own exclusive use, in which
was stored the fruit from the
pasture trees. These were trees
that had from time to time been
grafted to line fruit. These apples
were dealt out to the brethren in
their shops all thru the winter.
The little boys also had a cellar of
their own for the apples upon the
Island, and some of the ungrafted
fruit that otherwise would go for
cider, and with their young and
vigorous appetites they were not so
fastidious as to their quality.

From now until late in the fall,
the entire Family convened in the
large room at the laundry two or
three evenings each week to cut and
prepare the sauce apples for dry-



ing, cutting about sixty bushels
each night. The sexes occupied op-
posite sides of the room. The
brethren with machines pared and
quartered, and the sisters, boys and
girls finished them for the kiln.
This dried fruit supplied our table
with pies and sauce in spring and
summer, and furnished the markets
with the well known Shaker apple
sauce.

The boys sat at a long table each
with his wooden tray, and a dear
old sister waited upon us and in-
spected our work to see if it was
rightly done. Tallow candles,
home-made, gave us light, and when
it grew dim there was a cry, per-
haps a chorus, of "snuff the candle,
John." It was an animated and
pleasant scene, and even if we had
worked hard all day as most of us
had, the consciousness that we were
doing it for each other and for the
whole, made us forget our weari-
ness, and the hours to pass swiftly.

I was now living in the "Broom
Shop" with Jackson Moore and
three other boys of about my own
age making brooms, of which we
made from twelve to twenty dozen
per day depending upon their size
and quality. At another shop were
being made as many more, in all
about two hundred dozen of the
cheaper sort per week. In our "Re-
tiring Room" at the "Great House",
where we slept and lived on Sun-
day, were Jackson and six other
boys. Jackson and I occupied one
of the beds, two of the boys the
other bed, and the others slept in
the dormitory, on the floor above.
On our arrival at the house every
Saturday evening all winter, we
would rind a half peck of the very
best apples the cellars afforded, two
or three apiece for Sunday. These
were placed there by the sisters.

Late this fall, much to my regret,
Jackson was appointed caretaker of
the boys of the "Order" and the as-
sistant Elder assumed the jurisdic-



FORTY YEARS A SHAHER



31



tion of our little crew, himself work-
ing- with us part of the time. This
arrangement was not conducive to
my comfort in a certain way. These
boys with whom I was thus associat-
ed were not gentle in their manners
and less so in their talk. They did
not incline to study nor intellectual
conversation, and except in work,
I had little in common with them.
They were not bad boys by any
means. They were rather the
natural consequence of the condi-
tions surrounding them which I
have before described. Their faults
were rather of a negative than a
positive character, a deficiency of
qualities necessary to develop the
best that was in them ; and they
fairly illustrated the deprivation of
good female influence and society.
We enjoyed an abundance of re-
ligious teaching, but were not urg-
ed, rather discouraged, in the pur-
suit of a higher education. We
were not, and were not designed to
be, fitted for a life outside the so-
ciety, the outside life to which most
of the young people inevitably drift-
ed. We sadly lacked leaders who
were broad enough to understand
the vital necessities of these things,
but our leaders were themselves the
product of an imperfect training for
their positions. If some of the
young people who evinced a capa-
city for leadership and of moral and
spiritual worth, and there were
most certainly some of their kind ;
if these could have been sent out to
grapple with the world and to cleave
their own way to success, to learn
the failures and the causes of them,
to mingle in society and obtain
points from another angle, to study
the conditions of the family life,
its virtues and its failures, they
would return with minds broadened
by experience and rich in human
sympathy, and one such man would
be worth more than all that Shaker
education was ever able to produce.
Some of these young people would



fail of course, and few of them
would again return to the fold, but
more of them would return propor-
tionately than in the case of those
remaining who were sheltered in
the hope of their retention.

The convent nuns are wiser than
the Shakers. Many of the children
in their schools, becoming attach-
ed to their teachers would impetu-
ously take the veil and immure
themselves for life, but this was not
permitted. These girls must return
to their homes and remain for a
fixed number of years, to attain a
knowledge of life, its duties and its
pleasures and to become old enough
to decide intelligently. Conse-
quently those who eventually re-
turn to the secluded life of the con-
vent} do so understandingly, with
none but themselves to blame "if
they have made a mistake. Had the
Shakers possessed something of
this wisdom they would undoubt-
edly have permanently retained
more of their young people, but
while the nuns increase in numbers
the Shakers dwindle. The leaders
of the Society, educated to be chil-
dren, usually remain children, and
the product of their teaching is
again children. Our deprivation
of female association served to dis-
tort us into unevenly developed
beings and worked an almost ir-
reparable injury, and I am compel-
led to emphasize the seriousness
of! this institutional defect. It
might have been all so different but
for the fatuous course adopted and
pursued so many, many years. I
had one boon companion, a boy of
my own age, who came to the So-
ciety about the same time as my-
self. We did not work together,
but we did live in the same room
at the House. Our tastes were
similar. We loved study. We lov-
ed to fish and to ramble. While in
the Boy's Order we spent much of
our spare time together, and the
wonder is that our fondness for



32



THE GRANITE MONTHLY






each other was never opposed. We
were fond of athletic sports that
were permitted, and of wrestling
which was prohibited, but we would
meet down in an orchard, out of
sight and wrestle time after time.
Of course we must go and confess
it, but the next day at it we would
go again. I do not know whether
or not John confessed it. I never
asked him. He never told me. I
will not pretend that I confessed



every deviation from rectitude. I
fear I resembled the very small boy
who at confession was asked by his
caretaker if he had been a good boy
all the week replied contritely "kick,
scratch, bite." "What," said the
amused man. "Kick, scratch, bite,"
said the little penitent. "Well you
may go," said the caretaker, smoth-
ering a laugh with difficulty.

To be continued



SNOWVTRAIL

By Bcrnice Lesbia Kcnyon

Grey is the world before us,

Etched with a slender line,

Shadowless, soft, entrancing, —

Dreamily fair and fine;

Steel is the wind that drives us.

Steely the sifted snow.

Down through an aisle of the forest

Softly, swiftly we go.

( >ver the frozen river.
Thickets white on the side,
Bowered and bent with silver,
Close where the partridge hide, —
Down through the misty highway
Hid by a snowy veil,
( )n we press to the forest,
Slowly breaking the trail.

Ho! Friend, over the snowdrifts!
Look where the white wind flies !
Oh, how the forest brillance
Fires the light in your eyes !
See how the wind is raging —
The drifts are scattered and swirled !
This is the God's own weather!
This is the great white world !



A FEW PAGES OF POETRY



The announcement in the Decem-
ber number of the Granite Month-
ly that a prize of $50 had been offer-
ed by Mr. Brookes More for the best
poem printed in this magazine dur-
ing the year 1921, already has in-
terested, we learn from our mail,
a large number of verse-makers,
and we hear of many more entries
to come. In order to make the field
of competitors as large as possible
within the limits of the magazine's
size we have decided to devote a few
pages a month during the year ex-
clusively to poetry, in addition to
the verses printed here and there
through the various numbers.
Every poem receiving its first pub-
lication in the Granite Monthly will
be eligible for Mr. More's generous
prize and the exigencies of maga-
zine make-up rather than the com-
parative quality of the poems, as
the editor sees them, will decide
which verses appear in the special
department of poetry and which
find places elsewhere in the maga-
zine.



New and old contributors to the
magazine appear in our first instal-
ment of this department. Bernice
Lesbia Kenyon is on the staff of
Scribner's Magazine. In 1920 she
won the John Masefield prize by
her poetry and she has had verse
printed in the Sonnet and the Liter-
ary Digest. Mary H. Wheeler (of
Pittsfield, N. H.) made her first
contributions to the Granite Month-
ly just 40 years ago and her muse
is still graceful and true. Clair
Leonard, a member of the Harvard
Poetry Society and the organist of
the Harvard Glee Club, is a
musician of rare ability. Amy J.
Dolloff (of Ashland, N. H.) has
been a contributor of verse to many
publications, including the Granite
Monthly, during residence in
Maine and New Hampshire. Ruth
Metzger, a senior at Wellesley, has
contributed to the Modernist, poems
which have proved of interest to the
critics.



FINIS

By Clair T. Leonard

Since thou and I on this green earth are born.
And having lived and loved and worked and died,
And entered in a sepulchre forlorn,
Are soon forgot by those who once had sighed ;

And since great nations, tender verdant blades,
And all things horrible and all things fair,
— Sweet music played and songs by heav'nly maids,
The days, the nights, the water and the air,

Are all at first conceived and then begun,
And thrive and serve their purpose to the end,
And when their duty requisite is done
Are nought but memories of ancient trend ;

Our world, so small compared with God's whole scheme,
Will some day disappear and be a dream.



FRAGMENT

By G. Fauncc Whitcomb.

If only I, from out this world of dreams,
Might have the choice of one apart

To weave forever in my soul, it seems

Thou would'st he of that dream, the heart.



A SONG IN SEPTEMBER

By Bemice Lesbia Kenyon.

The distant hills are gleaming gold,
Ashine with slopes of goldenrod,
And far and high above them sounds
The golden laughter of a god.

But laugh'ter of the gods is faint.
And goldenrod grows grey in rain.
And they were nought to me, could 1
But hear your golden songs again-



LIFE

By Ida B. Rossiter.

Our life is such a fleeting thing,

'Tis like a feather from the wing

( )f a bird that takes its flight.

The twilight that preceeds the night,

Like dew upon the grass it seems

To vanish with the sun's first beams.

Like mist upon the mountain peak,

The fleeing deer that hunters seek.

Only a snowflake on the river,

A moment seen, then gone forever.



MY LITTLE LOVE

By Emily IV. Matthews.

1 cherished in my heart
A little love. His wings
Were gossamer, and lined
With rainbow hues, each part.

The little timid thing

I gave into your hands

So trustingly, but you

Have bruised and clipped each wing.



JANUARY

By Albert Annett.

Blow, Warder, Ho ! Let go your banner string !
The' dirge for the dead is ended and paeans

loud we sing.
From the past, with its buried sadness, let

hopes exultant spring!
"The king is dead !" the echo ring, "Hail to

the new-born king!"



THE MESSENGER

By Amy J. Dolloff

Life has deeper meaning
Since your face I see.
Earth and heaven are brighter
Toil more dear to me.

Spirit speaks to spirit
With a holy joy.
All my being answers
To love without alloy.

Why should such a glory
Gild my every hour?
W'hy the blessing wondrous
Bring new strength and power?

Is it that the Giver
Of true life and love
Sends thru you His Message
From the courts above?



ALIEN

By Harold Vina I.

The gorse grass waves in Ireland,
Far on the windless hills ;
Tn France dark poppies glimmer —
Suncups and daffodils.

The heather seas are crying
And deep on English lanes —
Blown roses spill their color
In the soft, grey rains.

My heart alone is broken
For things I may not see —
New England's shaken gardens,
Beside a dreaming sea.



EDITORIAL



A valued contributor to the
Granite Monthly, Mr. Frank B.
Kingsbury of Keene, a member of
the New Hampshire and Vermont
state historical societies and a well-
known historical writer, sends us a
communication upon the subject of
Vital Statistics which seems suit-
able for publication in this depart-
ment of the magazine. He says:

As nature left our state moun-
tains, rivers, lakes and forests
abounded, but it was man who made
and developed what nature had
left ; it was man who built our high-
ways, villages and cities, in fact
made all improvements- Examina-
tion of the archives of our state re-
veals the names of the leading men
in their day and generation ; states-
men, soldiers, husbandmen, the
founders of our commonwealth.
Write, if you will, a history of our
state without making mention of
men like Capt. John Mason, the Hil-
tons, Rev. John Wheelwright, Gen-
erals Stark and Sullivan, Hon.
Daniel Webster, President Franklin
Pierce and a host of others, and you
have but a skeleton, void of indus-
try, civilization and culture. Some-
times I feel we are inclined to lose
sight of the fact that we are still as
truly making history today as were
they of 1776 or 1800. With this
fact in mind it is all important that
we make correct and accurate state-
ments in our public records.

The vital statistics of this state
are kept in the office of the State
Board of Health in Concord. These
records which cover births, mar-
riages, deaths, places, etc., I have
reason to believe are being accurate-
ly kept. But how about the annual
town and city reports as they are
now printed throughout this state?
Do they give the true facts in all
cases ; are they to be depended on.
or are they erroneous, and, in some



instances, incomplete and mislead-
ing? With this all important
question 1 wish to deal. And I
may state here, it is not my de-
sire to in any way criticise the ex-
cellent work now being done by the
usual town and city clerks ; they
are doubtless working "according to
law ;" but, that being the case, the
law should be amended during the
present session of the legislature.

Inasmuch as the printed Vital
Statistics in New Hampshire are
becoming more and more a "work
of reference" they should be accur-



Online Library1884 numbers of the Bay state monthlyBe the first and subjects of first 10 volumes and List of porThe Granite monthly, a New Hampshire magazine, devoted to literature, history, and state progress (Volume 53) → online text (page 5 of 57)