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would like to go, but he dassent.

"Dassent!" says I. "Why dassent you?"

"Why," says he, "how would the rest of the wimmin round Jonesville feel
if I should pick out one woman and wait on her?" Says he bitterly: "I
hain't perfect, but I hain't such a cold-blooded rascal as not to have
any regard for wimmen's feelin's. I hain't no heart to spile all the
comfort of the day for ten or a dozen wimmen."

"Why," says I, in a dry tone, "one woman would be happy, accordin' to
your tell."

"Yes, one woman happy, and ten or fifteen gauled - bruised in the
tenderest place."

"On their heads?" says I, inquirin'ly.

"No," says he, "their hearts. All the girls have probable had more or
less hopes that I would invite 'em - make a choice of 'em. But when the
blow was struck, when I had passed 'em by and invited some other, some
happier woman, how would them slighted ones feel? How do you s'pose they
would enjoy the day, seein' me with another woman, and they droopin'
round without me? That is the reason, Josiah Allen's wife, that I
dassent go. It hain't the keepin' of my horse through the day that stops
me. For I could carry a quart of oats and a little jag of hay in the
bottom of the buggy. If I had concluded to pick out a girl and go, I had
got it all fixed out in my mind how I would manage. I had thought it
over, while I was ondecided and duty was a-strugglin' with me. But I was
made to see where the right way for me lay, and I am goin' to foller it.
Joe Purday is goin' to have my horse, and give me seven shillin's for
the use of it and its keepin'. He come to hire it just before I made up
my mind that I hadn't ort to go.

"Of course it is a cross to me. But I am willin' to bear crosses for the
fair sect. Why," says he, a-comin' out in a open, generous way, "I would
be willin', if necessary for the general good of the fair sect - I would
be willin' to sacrifice ten cents for 'em, or pretty nigh that, I wish
so well to 'em. I _hain't_ that enemy to 'em that they think I am. I
can't marry 'em all, Heaven knows I can't, but I wish 'em well."

"Wal," says I, "I guess my dishwater is hot; it must be pretty near
bilin' by this time."

And he took the hint and started off. I see it wouldn't do no good to
argue with him that wimmen didn't worship him. For when a feller once
gets it into his head that female wimmen are all after him, you might
jest as well dispute the wind as argue with him. You can't convince him
nor the wind - neither of 'em - so what's the use of wastin' breath on
'em. And I didn't want to spend a extra breath that day anyway, knowin'
I had such a hard day's work in front of me, a-finishin' cookin' up
provisions for the exertion, and gettin' things done up in the house so
I could leave 'em for all day.

We had got to start about the middle of the night; for the lake was
fifteen miles from Jonesville, and the old mare's bein' so slow, we had
got to start an hour or two ahead of the rest. I told Josiah in the
first on't, that I had just as lives set up all night as to be routed
out at two o'clock. But he was so animated and happy at the idee of
goin' that he looked on the bright side of everything, and he said that
we would go to bed before dark, and get as much sleep as we commonly
did. So we went to bed the sun an hour high. And I was truly tired
enough to lay down, for I had worked dretful hard that day - almost
beyond my strength. But we hadn't more'n got settled down into the bed,
when we heard a buggy and a single wagon stop at the gate, and I got up
and peeked through the window, and I see it was visitors come to spend
the evenin.' Elder Bamber and his family, and Deacon Dobbinses' folks.

Josiah vowed that he wouldn't stir one step out of that bed that night.
But I argued with him pretty sharp, while I was throwin' on my clothes,
and I finally got him started up. I hain't deceitful, but I thought if I
got my clothes all on before they came in I wouldn't tell 'em that I had
been to bed that time of day. And I did get all dressed up, even to my
handkerchief pin. And I guess they had been there as much as ten minutes
before I thought that I hadn't took my nightcap off. They looked
dreadful curious at me, and I felt awful meachin'. But I jest ketched it
off, and never said nothin'. But when Josiah come out of the bedroom
with what little hair he has got standin' out in every direction, no two
hairs a-layin' the same way, and one of his galluses a-hangin' most to
the floor under his best coat, I up and told 'em. I thought mebby they
wouldn't stay long. But Deacon Dobbinses' folks seemed to be all waked
up on the subject of religion, and they proposed we should turn it into
a kind of a conference meetin'; so they never went home till after ten
o'clock.

It was 'most eleven when Josiah and me got to bed agin. And then jest as
I was gettin' into a drowse, I heered the cat in the buttery, and I got
up to let her out. And that roused Josiah up, and he thought he heered
the cattle in the garden, and he got up and went out. And there we was
a-marchin' round 'most all night.

And if we would get into a nap, Josiah would think it was mornin' and he
would start up and go out to look at the clock. He seemed so afraid we
would be belated and not get to that exertion in time. And there we was
on our feet 'most all night. I lost myself once, for I dreampt that
Josiah was a-drowndin', and Deacon Dobbins was on the shore a-prayin'
for him. It started me so that I jist ketched hold of Josiah and
hollered. It skairt him awfully, and says he, "What does ail you,
Samantha? I hain't been asleep before to-night, and now you have rousted
me up for good. I wonder what time it is!"

And then he got out of bed again and went and looked at the clock. It
was half-past one, and he said he "didn't believe we had better go to
sleep again, for fear we would be too late for the exertion, and he
wouldn't miss that for nothin'."

"Exertion!" says I, in a awful cold tone. "I should think we had had
exertion enough for one spell."

But as bad and wore out as Josiah felt bodily, he was all animated in
his mind about what a good time he was a-goin' to have. He acted
foolish, and I told him so. I wanted to wear my brown-and-black gingham,
and a shaker, but Josiah insisted that I should wear a new lawn dress
that he had brought me home as a present, and I had jest got made up.
So jest to please him, I put it on, and my best bonnet.

And that man, all I could do and say, would put on a pair of pantaloons
I had been a-makin' for Thomas Jefferson. They was gettin' up a milatary
company to Jonesville, and these pantaloons was blue, with a red stripe
down the sides - a kind of uniform. Josiah took a awful fancy to 'em, and
says he:

"I will wear 'em, Samantha; they look so dressy."

Says I: "They hain't hardly done. I was goin' to stitch that red stripe
on the left leg on again. They ain't finished as they ort to be, and I
would not wear 'em. It looks vain in you."

Says he: "I will wear 'em, Samantha. I will be dressed up for once."

I didn't contend with him. Thinks I: we are makin' fools of ourselves by
goin' at all, and if he wants to make a little bigger fool of himself by
wearin' them blue pantaloons, I won't stand in his light. And then I had
got some machine oil onto 'em, so I felt that I had got to wash 'em,
anyway, before Thomas J. took 'em to wear. So he put 'em on.

I had good vittles, and a sight of 'em. The basket wouldn't hold 'em
all, so Josiah had to put a bottle of red rossberry jell into the pocket
of his dress-coat, and lots of other little things, such as spoons and
knives and forks, in his pantaloons and breast pockets. He looked like
Captain Kidd armed up to the teeth, and I told him so. But good land!
he would have carried a knife in his mouth if I had asked him to, he
felt so neat about goin', and boasted so on what a splendid exertion it
was goin' to be.

We got to the lake about eight o'clock, for the old mare went slow. We
was about the first ones there, but they kep' a-comin', and before ten
o'clock we all got there.

The young folks made up their minds they would stay and eat their dinner
in a grove on the mainland. But the majority of the old folks thought it
was best to go and set our tables where we laid out to in the first
place. Josiah seemed to be the most rampant of any of the company about
goin'. He said he shouldn't eat a mouthful if he didn't eat it on that
island. He said what was the use of going to a pleasure exertion at all
if you didn't try to take all the pleasure you could. So about twenty
old fools of us sot sail for the island.

I had made up my mind from the first on't to face trouble, so it didn't
put me out so much when Deacon Dobbins, in gettin' into the boat,
stepped onto my new lawn dress and tore a hole in it as big as my two
hands, and ripped it half offen the waist. But Josiah havin' felt so
animated and tickled about the exertion, it worked him up awfully when,
jest after we had got well out onto the lake, the wind took his hat off
and blew it away out onto the lake. He had made up his mind to look so
pretty that day that it worked him up awfully. And then the sun beat
down onto him; and if he had had any hair onto his head it would have
seemed more shady.

But I did the best I could by him. I stood by him and pinned on his red
bandanna handkerchief onto his head. But as I was a-fixin' it on, I see
there was suthin' more than mortification ailded him. The lake was rough
and the boat rocked, and I see he was beginning to be awful sick. He
looked deathly. Pretty soon I felt bad, too. Oh! the wretchedness of
that time. I have enjoyed poor health considerable in my life, but never
did I enjoy so much sickness in so short a time as I did on that
pleasure exertion to that island. I s'pose our bein' up all night a'most
made it worse. When we reached the island we was both weak as cats.

I sot right down on a stun and held my head for a spell, for it did seem
as if it would split open. After awhile I staggered up onto my feet, and
finally I got so I could walk straight and sense things a little; though
it was tejus work to walk anyway, for we had landed on a sand-bar, and
the sand was so deep it was all we could do to wade through it, and it
was as hot as hot ashes ever was.

Then I began to take the things out of my dinner-basket. The butter had
all melted, so we had to dip it out with a spoon. And a lot of water had
washed over the side of the boat, so my pies and tarts and delicate
cakes and cookies looked awful mixed up. But no worse than the rest of
the company's did.

But we did the best we could, and the chicken and cold meats bein' more
solid, had held together quite well, so there was some pieces of it
conside'able hull, though it was all very wet and soppy. But we
separated 'em out as well as we could, and begun to make preparations to
eat. We didn't feel so animated about eatin' as we should if we hadn't
been so sick to our stomachs. But we felt as if we must hurry, for the
man that owned the boat said he knew it would rain before night by the
way the sun scalded.

There wasn't a man or a woman there but what the presperation and sweat
jest poured down their faces. We was a haggard and melancholy lookin'
set. There was a piece of woods a little ways off, but it was up quite a
rise of ground, and there wasn't one of us but what had the rheumatiz
more or less. We made up a fire on the sand, though it seemed as if it
was hot enough to steep tea and coffee as it was.

After we got the fire started, I histed a umberell and sot down under it
and fanned myself hard, for I was afraid of a sunstroke.

Wal, I guess I had set there ten minutes or more, when all of a sudden I
thought, Where is Josiah? I hadn't seen him since we had got there. I
riz up and asked the company, almost wildly, if they had seen my
companion, Josiah.

They said, No, they hadn't.

But Celestine Wilkin's little girl, who had come with her grandpa and
grandma Gowdy, spoke up, and says she:

"I seen him goin' off toward the woods. He acted dretful strange, too;
he seemed to be a walkin' off sideways."

"Had the sufferin's he had undergone made him delerious?" says I to
myself; and then I started off on the run toward the woods, and old Miss
Bobbet, and Miss Gowdy, and Sister Bamber, and Deacon Dobbinses' wife
all rushed after me.

Oh, the agony of them two or three minutes! my mind so distracted with
fourbodin's, and the presperation and sweat a-pourin' down. But all of a
sudden, on the edge of the woods, we found him. Miss Gowdy, weighin' a
little less than me, mebby one hundred pounds or so, had got a little
ahead of me. He sot backed up against a tree in a awful cramped
position, with his left leg under him. He looked dretful uncomfortable.
But when Miss Gowdy hollered out: "Oh, here you be! We have been skairt
about you. What is the matter?" he smiled a dretful sick smile, and says
he: "Oh, I thought I would come out here and meditate a spell. It was
always a real treat to me to meditate."

Just then I come up a-pantin' for breath, and as the wimmen all turned
to face me, Josiah scowled at me and shook his fist at them four wimmen,
and made the most mysterious motions of his hands toward 'em. But the
minute they turned round he smiled in a sickish way, and pretended to go
to whistlin'.

Says I, "What is the matter, Josiah Allen? What are you off here for?"

"I am a-meditatin', Samantha."

Says I, "Do you come down and jine the company this minute, Josiah
Allen. You was in a awful takin' to come with 'em, and what will they
think to see you act so?"

The wimmen happened to be a-lookin' the other way for a minute, and he
looked at me as if he would take my head off, and made the strangest
motions toward 'em; but the minute they looked at him he would pretend
to smile - that deathly smile.

Says I, "Come, Josiah Allen, we're goin' to get dinner right away, for
we are afraid it will rain."

"Oh, wal," says he, "a little rain, more or less, hain't a-goin' to
hender a man from meditatin'."

I was wore out, and says I, "Do you stop meditatin' this minute, Josiah
Allen!"

Says he, "I won't stop, Samantha. I let you have your way a good deal of
the time; but when I take it into my head to meditate, you hain't
a-goin' to break it up."

Jest at that minute they called to me from the shore to come that minute
to find some of my dishes. And we had to start off. But oh! the gloom of
my mind that was added to the lameness of my body. Them strange motions
and looks of Josiah wore on me. Had the sufferin's of the night, added
to the trials of the day, made him crazy? I thought more'n as likely as
not I had got a luny on my hands for the rest of my days.

And then, oh, how the sun did scald down onto me, and the wind took the
smoke so into my face that there wasn't hardly a dry eye in my head. And
then a perfect swarm of yellow wasps lit down onto our vittles as quick
as we laid 'em down, so you couldn't touch a thing without runnin' a
chance to be stung. Oh, the agony of that time! the distress of that
pleasure exertion! But I kep' to work, and when we had got dinner most
ready I went back to call Josiah again. Old Miss Bobbet said she would
go with me, for she thought she see a wild turnip in the woods there,
and her Shakespeare had a awful cold, and she would try to dig one to
give him. So we started up the hill again. He sot in the same position,
all huddled up, with his leg under him, as uncomfortable a lookin'
creeter as I ever see. But when we both stood in front of him, he
pretended to look careless and happy, and smiled that sick smile.

Says I, "Come, Josiah Allen; dinner is ready."

"Oh, I hain't hungry," says he. "The table will probable be full. I had
jest as lieves wait."

"Table full!" says I. "You know jest as well as I do that we are eatin'
on the ground. Do you come and eat your dinner this minute."

"Yes, do come," says Miss Bobbet; "we can't get along without you!"

"Oh!" says he, with a ghastly smile, pretending to joke, "I have got
plenty to eat here - I can eat muskeeters."

The air was black with 'em, I couldn't deny it.

"The muskeeters will eat you, more likely," says I. "Look at your face
and hands; they are all covered with 'em."

"Yes, they have eat considerable of a dinner out of me, but I don't
begrech 'em. I hain't small enough, nor mean enough, I hope, to begrech
'em one good meal."

Miss Bobbet started off in search of her wild turnip, and after she had
got out of sight Josiah whispered to me with a savage look and a tone
sharp as a sharp ax:

"Can't you bring forty or fifty more wimmen up here? You couldn't come
here a minute, could you, without a lot of other wimmen tight to your
heels?"

I begun to see daylight, and after Miss Bobbet had got her wild turnip
and some spignut, I made some excuse to send her on ahead, and then
Josiah told me all about why he had gone off by himself alone, and why
he had been a-settin' in such a curious position all the time since we
had come in sight of him.

It seems he had set down on that bottle of rossberry jell. That red
stripe on the side wasn't hardly finished, as I said, and I hadn't
fastened my thread properly, so when he got to pullin' at 'em to try to
wipe off the jell, the thread started, and bein' sewed on a machine,
that seam jest ripped from top to bottom. That was what he had walked
off sideways toward the woods for. But Josiah Allen's wife hain't one to
desert a companion in distress. I pinned 'em up as well as I could, and
I didn't say a word to hurt his feelin's, only I jest said this to him,
as I was fixin' 'em - I fastened my gray eye firmly, and almost sternly
onto him, and says I:

"Josiah Allen, is this pleasure?" Says I, "You was determined to come."

"Throw that in my face agin, will you? What if I was? There goes a pin
into my leg! I should think I had suffered enough without your stabbin'
of me with pins."

"Wal, then, stand still, and not be a-caperin' round so. How do you
s'pose I can do anything with you a-tossin' round so?"

"Wal, don't be so aggravatin', then."

I fixed 'em as well as I could, but they looked pretty bad, and there
they was all covered with jell, too. What to do I didn't know. But
finally I told him I would put my shawl onto him. So I doubled it up
corner-ways as big as I could, so it almost touched the ground behind,
and he walked back to the table with me. I told him it was best to tell
the company all about it, but he just put his foot down that he
wouldn't, and I told him if he wouldn't that he must make his own
excuses to the company about wearin' the shawl. So he told 'em he always
loved to wear summer shawls; he thought it made a man look so dressy.

But he looked as if he would sink all the time he was a-sayin' it. They
all looked dretful curious at him, and he looked as meachin' as if he
had stole sheep - and meachin'er - and he never took a minute's comfort,
nor I nuther. He was sick all the way back to the shore, and so was I.
And jest as we got into our wagons and started for home, the rain began
to pour down. The wind turned our old umberell inside out in no time. My
lawn dress was most spilte before, and now I give up my bonnet. And I
says to Josiah:

"This bonnet and dress are spilte, Josiah Allen, and I shall have to buy
some new ones."

"Wal, wal! who said you wouldn't?" he snapped out.

But it were on him. Oh, how the rain poured down! Josiah, havin' nothin'
but a handkerchief on his head, felt it more than I did. I had took a
apron to put on a-gettin' dinner, and I tried to make him let me pin it
on his head. But says he, firmly:

"I hain't proud and haughty, Samantha, but I do feel above ridin' out
with a pink apron on for a hat."

"Wal, then," says I, "get as wet as sop, if you had ruther."

I didn't say no more, but there we jest sot and suffered. The rain
poured down; the wind howled at us; the old mare went slow; the
rheumatiz laid holt of both of us; and the thought of the new bonnet and
dress was a-wearin' on Josiah, I knew.

There wasn't a house for the first seven miles, and after we got there I
thought we wouldn't go in, for we had got to get home to milk anyway,
and we was both as wet as we could be. After I had beset him about the
apron, we didn't say hardly a word for as much as thirteen miles or so;
but I did speak once, as he leaned forward, with the rain drippin' offen
his bandanna handkerchief onto his blue pantaloons. I says to him in
stern tones:

"Is this pleasure, Josiah Allen?"

He give the old mare a awful cut and says he: "I'd like to know what you
want to be so aggravatin' for?"

I didn't multiply any more words with him, only as we drove up to our
doorstep, and he helped me out into a mud-puddle, I says to him:

"Mebbe you'll hear to me another time, Josiah Allen."

And I'll bet he will. I hain't afraid to bet a ten-cent bill that that
man won't never open his mouth to me again about a pleasure exertion.

* * * * *

A simple-hearted and truly devout country preacher, who had tasted but
few of the drinks of the world, took dinner with a high-toned family,
where a glass of milk punch was quietly set down by each plate. In
silence and happiness this new Vicar of Wakefield quaffed his goblet,
and then added, "Madam, you should daily thank God for such a good
cow."




EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN


THE DIAMOND WEDDING

O Love! Love! Love! What times were those,
Long ere the age of belles and beaux,
And Brussels lace and silken hose,
When, in the green Arcadian close,
You married Psyche under the rose,
With only the grass for bedding!
Heart to heart, and hand to hand,
You followed Nature's sweet command,
Roaming lovingly through the land,
Nor sighed for a Diamond Wedding.

So have we read in classic Ovid,
How Hero watched for her belovèd,
Impassioned youth, Leander.
She was the fairest of the fair,
And wrapt him round with her golden hair,
Whenever he landed cold and bare,
With nothing to eat and nothing to wear,
And wetter than any gander;
For Love was Love, and better than money;
The slyer the theft, the sweeter the honey;
And kissing was clover, all the world over,
Wherever Cupid might wander.

So thousands of years have come and gone,
And still the moon is shining on,
Still Hymen's torch is lighted;
And hitherto, in this land of the West,
Most couples in love have thought it best
To follow the ancient way of the rest,
And quietly get united.

But now, True Love, you're growing old -
Bought and sold, with silver and gold,
Like a house, or a horse and carriage!
Midnight talks,
Moonlight walks,
The glance of the eye and sweetheart sigh,
The shadowy haunts, with no one by,
I do not wish to disparage;
But every kiss
Has a price for its bliss,
In the modern code of marriage;
And the compact sweet
Is not complete
Till the high contracting parties meet
Before the altar of Mammon;
And the bride must be led to a silver bower,
Where pearls and rubies fall in a shower
That would frighten Jupiter Ammon!

I need not tell
How it befell,
(Since Jenkins has told the story
Over and over and over again,
In a style I cannot hope to attain,
And covered himself with glory!)
How it befell, one summer's day,
The king of the Cubans strolled this way -
King January's his name, they say -
And fell in love with the Princess May,
The reigning belle of Manhattan;
Nor how he began to smirk and sue,
And dress as lovers who come to woo,
Or as Max Maretzek and Jullien do,
When they sit full-bloomed in the ladies' view,
And flourish the wondrous baton.

He wasn't one of your Polish nobles,
Whose presence their country somehow troubles,
And so our cities receive them;
Nor one of your make-believe Spanish grandees,
Who ply our daughters with lies and candies,
Until the poor girls believe them.
No, he was no such charlatan -
Count de Hoboken Flash-in-the-pan,
Full of gasconade and bravado -
But a regular, rich Don Rataplan,
Santa Claus de la Muscovado,
Señor Grandissimo Bastinado.
His was the rental of half Havana
And all Matanzas; and Santa Anna,
Rich as he was, could hardly hold
A candle to light the mines of gold
Our Cuban owned, choke-full of diggers;
And broad plantations, that, in round figures,
Were stocked with at least five thousand niggers!


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