Copyright
James A Wickersham.

Enoch Willoughby : a novel online

. (page 1 of 19)
Online LibraryJames A WickershamEnoch Willoughby : a novel → online text (page 1 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


^r flfK flk ^^ ^R ^PNWl^^ ^ ^^ ^R. . iJMfr W








Enoch Willoughby



Enoch Willoughby



A Novel



By

James A. Wickersham



New York

Charles Scribner s Sons
1900



COPYRIGHT, 1900, BY
CHARLES SCRIBNER S SONS



.URL



Co

MY FATHER
IN LOVING REMEMBRANCE



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE WILLOUGHBYS .... 1

II. THE O MARAS 12

III. PROSPERITY 19

IV. THE CLOSED BOOK . . . .25
V. THE VISION 37

VI. A FOLLOWER OF A FOLLOWER . . 49

VII. IN THE MEETING-HOUSE . . .58

VIII. "WILLIAM OLNEY" . . .66

IX. THE VISIT HOME 73

X. THE WOMAN PREACHER . . .78

XI. THE PRICE VISIT . 96



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

XII. FACING IT OUT . . 113

XIII. PEACE TO OLD LADY MARGARET S

ASHES ! 136

XIV. ENOCH TALKS WITH WILLIAM PRICE . 152
XV. LYDDIE DECEIVES HERSELF . . 170

XVI. THE NEW SECT 177

XVII. RELIGION HELPING LOYE . . .190
XVIII. WILLIAM PRICE S HAND . . 205

XIX. TIME AND AFFECTION AGAINST REA
SON 218

XX. THE BETROTHAL . . 231

XXI. DEVELOPMENTS 251

XXII. THE VISIT FROM LITTLE JAMES . . 263

XXIII. A QUESTION OF CONSCIENCE . . 273

XXIV. SOME SEPARATIONS . 286



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

XXV. THE "RESERVE" . . . .306

XXVI. A DAY ON BIG STRANGER . . 318

XXVII. THE INCIDENT OP THE CHILD . . 330

XXVIII. THE MIRACLE 338

XXIX. CONCLUSION . 353



ENOCH WILLOUGHBY



THE WELLOUGHBYS

You probably would not find one of the Wil-
loughbys who did not have something peculiar
about him. This peculiarity used to be spoken
of as "queer;" and the "Willoughby queer, "
in all branches of the family, was a term in
common use. And yet there was no well-
defined quality meant by it. Sometimes it
referred merely to outward peculiarities, a
manner of expression ; a tone of voice ; a style
of living or dress or action ; but however in
definite it might be, whether tangible or intangi
ble, palpable or impalpable, the quality was
sure to be found in every Willoughby ; and if
you knew how, you could search it out and
describe it.

It is not quite true that it was found in every
Willoughby either, for there was one branch of
the family that had, for some reason or other,
assumed the name when they had no right to it ;
and, being rather prolific, this branch finally

1



ENOCH WILLOUGHBY

came to have an influence in determining the
family character, but of course not its true
character. These were false Willoughbys, and
not at all to be reckoned in with the rest. If
any one should ever run across a Willoughby,
then, who has not the characteristic of queer-
ness, he may set him down at once as one of
those spurious Willoughbys.

I wish it were possible to write down all the
instances of this queerness that could bo found.
They would certainly be interesting ; but such
a record would be altogether too far-reaching.
There was David Willoughby, the surveyor and
mathematician, who had that peculiar drawl in
his voice, and who always managed to conceal
under it a very dry wit ; but he was an unbe
liever and an atheist, and no one would be like
ly to care much about him.

Then there was Thomas Willoughby, the
artist, who lived apart from his wife in his old
age, and was a kind of atheistical spiritualist, if
such a combination is possible ; a man a little
cynical in expression, w T ith a fine feeling for
color, who painted very beautiful portraits in
oil; one in particular of an old Quaker lady,
probably his mother I am not sure ; at any rate
it was much admired. Thomas used to believe
in the presence of spirits, and generally kept
two revolvers in his bed, most likely to keep the
spirits away, for he had no money to lose and
2



THE WILLOUGHBYS

could not have been afraid of earthly robbers.
He was a very singular Willoughby; learned,
atheistical, solitary. One could write a whole
story about him alone, but we shall have nothing
more to say of him. He came of a very different
branch from the Enoch Willoughbys whom we
have to consider. The State school superin
tendent, James "Willoughby, was a cousin of his.

Thomas had a wealthy sister, who remained
all her life unmarried, and devoted her wealth
and services to spiritualism. I believe she
founded something like an asylum for impecun
ious and superannuated spiritualists. She had a
notion that they ought not to have any church,
and so would not found or endow one. She
thought if they had formed themselves into
churches immediately a creed would be formu
lated, the spirit would then begin to die out,
and pretty soon you would have nothing.

I do not believe you could find one of this
family who had not some opinion or other about
religion. There were a good many atheists,
and unbelievers of various kinds, but an equally
great number of religious enthusiasts, reformers,
and so on. A genuine man of the world, simple,
plain, with no opinion on anything but business,
or perhaps business and politics, you would
hardly find among them. The nearest ap
proach to it was, most likely, old Enoch Wil
loughby of Ohio.

3



ENOCH WILLOUGHBY

Before going on to speak of him, it ought to
be stated here that we never knew a Willoughby
who was a tramp or a beggar, nor did we ever
know of one who became really rich. There
was one who was rich, it is true : I can not say
just how many millions he owned, but he was a
millionnaire, and, moreover, had no great pecu
liarities. In a word, it is easy to see he was one
of those spurious Willoughbys and so does not
count. The whole family always kept along that
line of respectable mediocrity in wealth which is
said to be conducive to the greatest happiness.
As a rule they knew how to furnish labor for
themselves, to economize, and live within their
means ; and whether you found them in Penn
sylvania, Ohio, Indiana, or even Iowa or Kan
sas, you would be pretty sure to find them of
the respectable, well-to-do sort.

Old Enoch Willoughby was a Quaker, as all
the Willoughbys had been originally, and of
the orthodox variety ; though he insisted on
remaining on good terms with the Hixites all
his life, consistently with his doctrine of peace
making, which he professed and believed in
more perhaps than in any religion or other
doctrine under the sun. He was a tall, slender
man, over six feet in height, and away back of
our story, for he is only the father, or maybe
the grandfather, of the particular Willoughbys of
this history.



THE WILLOUGHBYS

His wife, Margaret, was large, and ruddy-
faced, vigorous, and sturdy ; and if, at this time,
there had been any tendency in the original
stock of queerness to degenerate and die out,
she would have reinoculated it, surely ; for she
was the woman who had that water- witching
power which is, and was with her, a real power.
She was the woman they used to blindfold, and
lead across a covered ditch, with the forked
willow twig in her hands; and she would tell
where the water was every time ; but that was
only a small part of her peculiarities. She was
strong in more ways than one. She was known
all over the country for her services in sickness ;
and when in her prime could go out to the
barn in the middle of the night, saddle a colt at
the call of some one in distress, and ride ten or
a dozen miles to wait on a sick person. She
was not afraid of anything along the way, not
even of the Gurneyville graveyard ; for she had
enough belief in the existence of an invisible
world, and confidence in her acquaintance with
its character, to think she could have gotten
along with its inhabitants in the dark as well
as was necessary.

Margaret Willoughby was a rare woman, but
she had her faults along with the rest of us.
She could scold dreadfully at times, and if old
Enoch Willoughby had been of a mind to pay
any attention to her then she might have made

5



bis life miserable ; but lie had a happy faculty
of living in an independent way to himself, or
wrapped up in his own thoughts and ideas, so
that her fretfuluess did not greatly disturb the
even tenor of his way.

When Enoch P. Willoughby the P. was
simply put in to distinguish the young man
from his father, as if it took the place of a Jr.
attached to the name brought his young wife
to live at his father s, the grandfather that is,
Enoch Willoughby, Sr. attempted to forestall
some anticipated trouble, and took the young
woman, who was greatly pleased with her father-
in-law, aside, and said to her :

" Now, Hannah, if thee will not pay too much
attention to what mother says, we shall get
along peacefully, and have a little heaven upon
earth ; but if thee does pay attention to what
she says, why, we shall have a little of the
other place here, I m afraid."

Now, there were some eight or ten children
of this family. Enoch P., whom we shall call
simply Enoch, was the youngest ; and as he had
not very much to do with, it seemed in every
way best that he and Hannah O Mara should
live at his father s.

This arrangement, like so many other similar

ones before it, did not turn out well ; and after

a few years, young Enoch and his wife migrated,

as so many hundreds of others did, from Ohio

6



THE WILLOUGHBYS

to Indiana, then to Iowa and Minnesota, and
from there, finding the winters too cold, south,
through Iowa and Nebraska, to Kansas, where
they finally settled on the Reserve, as we shall
learn. This must have taken in all about six
teen or seventeen years, for their oldest boy,
James, had that age when they came to the
Reserve, and had been born in the old home in
Ohio.

The brothers and sisters of Enoch Willoughby
had settled in various places. One had become
a physician in eastern Indiana. Two others
had gone farther West. One of these settled in
Iowa, where he came nearest of all the younger
generations to becoming a rich man; he also
became one of the most peculiar, but peculiar
in those little, outward things actions, style of
dress, style of house, and so on that make
only eccentricities, and do not bear very com
plete description. Two sisters remained in
Ohio ; but one of them died early in life by
some accident, and left two children, who, of
course, did not bear the family name, but did
bring forth the fruit of the family, for they were
of the same quality of queerness.

The oldest sister had fewest of the family
characteristics, for there were no special pecu
liarities related of her. She was more like old
Enoch Willoughby, her father, who had had
that peace-making, quiet disposition. She was

7



ENOCH WILLOUGHBY

a beautiful Quaker lady in her old age ; a good
model for that portrait which Thomas Wil-
loughby, of the other family, had painted. In
fact, she was the only one who had a good
enough temper to put up with the irascibility
of old Margaret Willoughby in her last years,
and to her fell the task of taking care of the old
lady.

All the other children were so glad of the op
portunity of getting rid of this task that they
renounced willingly their right to any inheri
tance in the estate of Enoch Willoughby, Sr.,
gave quit-claims, and turned it all over to Annie
for taking care of their mother.

Strong characters are almost always the worst
in old age, and grandmother Willoughby was
really pretty bad. There was nothing to suit
her. If she had had ten willing slaves at her
constant command, she could have kept them all
busy attending to her wants, and yet Aunt Annie
managed, sweetly and gently, but forcibly, to
take care of her to the satisfaction of her
brothers and sisters. It may be she was thus
kept too busy to develop the proper amount of
peculiarity in herself. She never seemed to me
to be a genuine Willoughby ; but then, I did
not know her very well.

The other sister for there were three of the
sisters went West too, and pursued more nearly
the course of her younger brother, Enoch, than
8



THE WILLOUGHBYS

any of the rest did. She was the most spiritu
ally minded of them all. She used to speak in
the Quaker meeting, and it was thought for a
time she would become a Quaker preacher. But
finally she found in herself the same magic pow
er, if one can call it so, that her mother, Marga
ret, possessed, only to a still greater degree. She
had a wonderful personal magnetism, and could
find water by water- witching with willow twigs ;
and she had the gift of magnetic healing also.

She finally became a full-blooded spiritualist,
but of the Biblical, Quaker variety. She left
the church in her old age after a long trial and
conviction for heresy, but left it entirely without
resentment. She was a good woman always ;
with a sweet voice, and a spirituality that
touched the soul only, and never ran away into
trances or mediumship or materialization or
anything of that kind ; the development of her
subconsciousness was very great, and she lived
in a Biblical world of dreams and visions and
their interpretation that was rather beautiful
than anything else. She brought up a large
family too, and was loved by her husband and
all her children, and was independent enough to
live a happy, religious life, in spite of the fact
that she had been disowned by the church.
She always remained the dearest recollection of
young Enoch Willoughby. He always spoke
of his sister Sarah a little as one would speak

9



ENOCH WILLOUGHBY

of the New Jerusalem. There was for him
something heavenly about her ; and perhaps no
incident in his life had made a stronger impres
sion upon him than one visit with her. It was
then that he was cured by her of that pain in
his breast without his even speaking to her at
all of the pain. She came up to him, laid her
hand on his breast, and described the pain ho
felt there ; and it ceased before he had even
spoken to her.

These two always felt they would have liked
to live near one another, and yet they never
saw each other after those early days in Ohio
but that time when Sarah cured Enoch of the
pain in the breast.

Now, I want to be sure, before coming on
down to describe Enoch "Willoughby himself,
that I have told all that is necessary about the
rest of the family.

There was still another brother, James, who
remained in Ohio, and also another brother,
John, who went West with Enoch. John Wil-
loughby, too, will probably appear again in this
history ; but outside of these, I think we have
them all. They were all inclined to be high-
minded. As a rule they were not politicians or
seekers after offices. Occasionally school teach
ers would crop out among them, but generally
they remained always private citizens, such as I
have described them.

10



THE WILLOUGHBYS

Certainly the fact of their sturdy economy and
general well-to-do-ness could not be too much
dwelt upon. Some of them were even rather
close in money matters, and wherever you found
them, and whatever you found them, as a rule,
they were pretty sure to be rather carefully look
ing after their material interests.

There was another thing about them : they
were of English origin and rather proud of it.
Old Enoch s father, John, had lived in western
Pennsylvania ; and his father, whose name I
have forgotten, had lived in Philadelphia, and
had had in his possession some documents, title
deeds, and abstracts, executed to his father,
William Willoughby, by William Penn. Of
course, many people, in this latitude, traced
their origin to Penn or his times, and old Wil
loughby was no exception to this custom. The
habit passed down in the family to Enoch and
Enoch P. It seemed a perfectly harmless
habit, and if it was able to lend additional dig
nity to any one of them, it certainly was as
cheap a method of attaining dignity as could be
found.



11



II

THE O MARAS

JUST as the prevailing characteristic of the
"Willoughbys had been queerness so that of the
O Maras was clear and distinct, and hard to
name. Theirs was a large iamily, too, with
some Welsh blood, and perhaps that accounts
for it. This family had begun to decline, or be
gan about the time our story commences. The
reason for this decline seemed to lie in the
easy temper and yielding disposition with which
they were endowed. The whole family never
produced a political or religious reformer or
bigot in its entire history in America. On the
other hand, the number of minor poets and
actors, singers, and small orators in the family
was abnormally great.

At this time in its history, w r hen the period
of religious conversion came upon the various
members of the O Mara family, they were quite
apt to go to the dogs in some way or other.
Instead of becoming eccentric and finding their
wills and purposes strengthened, they gave up ;
waited on the Lord to do everything for them ;
and frequently found themselves unattended by
12



THE O MARAS

him to any great length. They were inclined to
be hopeless, and so, as a rule, were not relig
ious. Out of this fundamental disposition
impressionable characters were developed, who
were easily influenced by their surroundings.
They became popular ; and you might expect a
great number of a family such as this to occupy
public positions, but never to leave a great im
pression on the public mind. The religious
character is the only one that is really strong
and enduring, whether for good or bad, and the
family could not be called religious.

Of Hannah s four sisters, the youngest, Lyd-
die, was, in her early years, impressionable
enough almost to have become a second Joan
of Arc ; the sweetest girl ; of most tender nat
ure ; eyes like a fawn, and a spirituality that
shone in her every look.

She came near marrying the first man that
presented himself, as we shall see, and, had she
done so, would have lived a life of hardship as
a drunkard s wife ever afterward, though always
happy, loving, and sweet, I am sure.

The oldest sister was that one who eventually
became a kind of crone, and spent her days in
the chimney corner, reading Pinneo s grammar
with the intonations of a priest. She had, among
the Quakers, friends who took care of her, for
she was harmless and withal gentle.

She was the one who, in her old age, lived
13



ENOCH WILLOUGHBY

with Hannah after the spiritualism was well de
veloped, and who thought it was all the work of
the devil. She used to go off up-stairs to bed,
cover her head in the blanket and lie and moan
when there were spiritual meetings and she
heard Enoch speaking under the influence be
low. Peace to her ashes, she is dead. She
was. not religious in my opinion, but she was
ecclesiastical and had all those trite similes and
metaphors of church language on her tongue
constantly.

Then there was that sister who died at Han
nah s, that one of whom only one thing is neces
sary as a characteristic. She died with the
words, " Pooh, pooh," on her lips. It was the
question of the spirit life, in which she had no
belief and with which she had no patience.
She was an Ingersollian, with not enough in
terest in the whole subject of religion to be
properly called an agnostic even. Or rather she
was an indifferentist, and considered it more
sensible to talk about the cooking of onions or
the training of puppy dogs than of entering the
Kingdom of Heaven.

It was on her very death -bed that Enoch
said to her, " Beck, we shall meet again over
the river." And she turned over with those
words, " Pooh, pooh," so weak on her lips as
hardly to be heard, but plainly to be recog
nized as like her, and died.
14



THE O MARAS

Peace to her ashes, too. She showed more
individuality and force of character in her in
difference than most of her family did, and was
not by any means a bad woman.

There was one other sister, who never came
into close connection at all with our Enoch, and
perhaps we might not mention her. She was an
elocutionist, and in the execution of " Clarence s
Dream," or some such tragedy, may have found
sufficient vent for her surplus imagination and
exercise for the muscles of her diaphragm. She
was not a bad woman by any means ; but, though
she claimed religion, I am inclined to think it
was mostly abdominal ; and that she formed,
therefore, no exception to the general rule of
the O Mara family.

Of the five boys, three were musicians ; one
wrote poetry ; and one went off early and
joined the Shakers, and was lost sight of.
There were few descendants of any of them to
bear their name. When people become hope
less and irreligious, they become unprolific ;
for why should man, whose life is of few days
and full of trouble any way, propagate himself ?

These men were all pleasant natured, but they
are all gone. They were like some exotic plant
that you attempt to cultivate ; it flourishes for
a time, but pretty soon, you hardly know why,
you can scarcely find a specimen of it left.
Their genealogical tree culminated in this fam-
15



ENOCH WILLOUGHBY

il} r of ten children, and then died out. Back of
it there may have been, must have been, some
thing strong and durable ; but it took the worm
in the bud and died.

Peace to all the family ! They may have been
as well off, the O Maras, as the Willoughbys, but
look at the difference ! Old Margaret Willough-
by, when she died, was the mother, grand
mother, and great-grandmother of one hundred
and twenty-nine children, grandchildren, and
great-grandchildren. I am not sure but there
were even great-greats among them. And at
that time there were hardly a baker s dozen
O Maras left in the world.

It may have been the feeling of this funda
mental difference in the make-up of the families
that caused a little opposition to the marriage
of young Enoch Willoughby and Hannah
O Mara. One family was going up and the
other was going down. One was multiplying
and replenishing the earth at a great rate ; the
other was degenerating, weakening, dying out.

If old Margaret Willoughby had had a daugh
ter-in-law with a hooked nose, a suspicion of a
mustache, a square-set jaw, a voice harsh and
commanding, and a disposition to be obeyed
corresponding with all these qualities, I warrant
you she would have meekened herself into the
most amiable of mothers-in-law, for she could
be good if she tried. The deep magnetism of
16



THE O MABAS

her water -witching power would thrill one ; her
voice was magnetic, too, and her face as express
ive and captivating as if every separate muscle
had been under her special command. But
when visitors were absent ; when the neces
sity for self-control was no longer apparent ;
when the old, human nature was allowed to
assert itself; she could become as disagree
able as a rattlesnake, and not even be conscious
that she was not as good as ever.

So she could never understand why young
Hannah was all the time crying after she came
there to live.

"What was the matter with her? " she won
dered. " She did not seem to have any force
of character." And so at the most trivial mat
ters she would scold : if just the right directions
had not been given to the servant ; if one of
her Irish linen table-cloths had inadvertently
been used for every day ; or any other thing,
no matter how little, had gone wrong.

And then she would, most likely, come across
Hannah, slender, delicate, poetic Hannah, off
somewhere with eyes bathed in tears, and she
would scold her again. What was the mat
ter? She ought to know better than to give
way to her feelings so, especially at this time ;
the child would be a milksop and degenerate.
She ought to be cheerful. And then, when
Enoch would come home from work, Hannah
17



ENOCH WILLOUGHBY

would seek him and throw her arms about his
neck and weep again, with no cause apparent.

She could not and would not talk about his
mother. It was no wonder that the first blue-
eyed boy was weak and fretful, a whining in
fant, hard to take care of.

And the grandmother scolded the oftener and
the mother cried the more ; and the poor old
grandfather smoothed over and calmed down
everything as often and as well as he could ;
walked the woods with the little grandchild in
his arms to ease grandmother s temper, and yet
was rather glad for the sake of peace, when
young Enoch took his wife, and pulling up
stakes, broke camp, and removed for good and
all, no matter where.

It is the law of the world that families shall
be broken up in order that families shall bo
formed and live.

"Good-by, father; good-by, mother," Enoch
and Hannah had said bravely when the parting
came ; "let us have no harshness, only love and
friendliness; we are following the ways of the
world. Come and see us when we get settled.
We will come back again some time to old
Ohio. Good-by, good-by ! "



18



Ill

PROSPERITY

PROSPERITY did not mean wealth for young
Enoch and Hannah in their new Western life.


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryJames A WickershamEnoch Willoughby : a novel → online text (page 1 of 19)