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some years and had kinder forgot how soft and squshy she wuz in her
nater, and I declare for't when I got her and Josiah both together, had
marshaled my forces, as you may say before my mind's review, I didn't
know how I wuz goin' to git 'em to St. Louis and back agin hull. It did
seem to me that if I got through all right with Josiah, she wuz that
soft and meller she would spile on my hands anyway.

But she wuz the only one on his side available in the position of second
chaperone to Josiah and so I took my chances.

She had been a widder some years; Teeter had used her shameful, spent
her property and throwed her round considerable, but still she kep' up
her perennial love and passionate adoration of man. And thinkses I it
will work well anyway with her Uncle Josiah, for lovin' all mankind as
she did from infancy to age, I knowed that bein' the only male in the
party she would keep her eye on him.

Blandina wuz more than willin' when I explained matters to her. She said
she felt that men wuz such precious creeters that too much care could
not be took of 'em, and that it would give her the greatest pleasure to
surround her Uncle Josiah with all the care that a most devoted
affection could dictate.

She's an awful clever critter, it hain't good nater that she lacks. But
there is sunthin' wantin' in her, I believe it is common sense.

But we sot out, I with considerable misgivin' at heart, but calm and
cool on the outside, clad as I wuz in dignity and a gray braize delaine
dress and a bunnet of the same color, I also wore my costly cameo pin
fastened in my linen collar. Some gray lisle thread gloves and a rich
Paisley shawl completed my _toot a sembly_.

Blandina had on a soft yellerish dress, I guess it wuz lawn it looked
most as soft as she did, and a hat that kinder drooped 'round her face
trimmed with crushed strawberry roses. She also wore some open-work
mitts, and a lace long shawl that had been her ma's.

Josiah had on his pepper and salt costoom, and in my partial eyes he wuz
beautiful, but, oh, so sad, so deprested. Would the gloom ever be lifted
from his beloved liniment? So my heart questioned itself as we helped
ourselves out of the Democrat, Ury tendin' to the trunks.

It wuz a Monday mornin', for I felt that I wanted to tackle this job
jest as I would a three weeks' washin', the first day of the week. Ury
shook our hands firmly but sadly, promisin' to the last to see to things
and not let the cows into the garden, and keep the buttery door shet up
nights, for though the cat is not a habitual snooper, yet she will
sometimes snoop.

The car wuz crowded, mebby folks had hearn of our goin' and wanted to
ride a spell with us. 'Tennyrate Josiah and I had to be separated at the
outset of our journey, he settin' with a man acrost the aisle; Blandina
got a seat with an aged gentleman while I sot down with a pale
complected woman in deep mournin'. Or at least what mournin' she had wuz
deep. She wore a thick crape veil and black cotton gloves. But her dress
wuz chocklate delaine. The mournin' wuz borryed, she told me most as
soon as I sot down.

She wuz on the way to the funeral of her father. He had lived with her,
but died while he wuz on a visit to her sister. She wuz feelin' dretful
and said she didn't know what she would do without him; she took on real
bad, and I sez, "Yes, losin' a pa is an awful loss."

"Yes," sez she, "pa wuz a dretful good man. I don't see what we're goin'
to do without him; we shall miss him so makin' line fences. He knew all
about where they ort to stand."

I wuz kinder took back. But then come to think it over I see it wuz
better to be missed in line fences than not at all. She got out at the
next station, and my own pardner took the vacant seat by my side, and on
and on we wuz whirled from the peaceful shores of Jonesville to the
pleasures and dangers of the great city.

As I said, I wanted to get to St. Louis the first of the week, but
Josiah took it into his head that he wanted to visit his nephew, Orange
Allen, who lives in the Ohio, and under the circumstances it wuz not for
me to cross him in anything that wuz more or less reasonable. So we
stopped there and had a good visit. He keeps a dairy farm and owns forty
cows besides a wife and three young children; he is doing well. His pa
havin' a horticultural and floral turn of mind, named his two boys Lemon
and Orange. His girls are Lily, Rose and Violet. Lily is dark complected
and so fat that she looks like a pillar with a string tied in the
middle, and Rose and Violet are as humbly as they make but respectable.
Folks ort to be more cautious in namin' children, but they're all
married quite well, and we had a good visit with 'em, stayin' most of
the time at Orange's.

And I see with joy that the shadder on my pardner's face lifted quite a
little durin' our stay there, but of course this belated us and we
didn't git to St. Louis till Saturday late in the afternoon. St. Louis
is a big sizeable place. Mr. Laclede cut the tree for the first
log-house in the forest where St. Louis now stands in 1764. America had
several cities all started at that time, but St. Louis jest put in and
growed, and now it is the fourth city in the United States. It's an
awful worker, why it produces more in its factories than is produced by
the hull of thirty-seven States, jest think on't! And it has thirty-two
million folks to buy the things it produces. Twenty-seven railways run
into it; the city rules itself and leads the world in many manufactures.
They say it is the richest community in the world, and I couldn't
dispute it, for they seemed jest rollin' in riches all the while I wuz
there; wuzn't put to it for a thing so fur as I could see.

It is noted for its charities; it has the biggest Sunday-school in the
world, two thousand three hundred and forty-four children in one
school - jest think on't! Its Union railroad station is the finest in the
Universe, so they say, and jest the buildin' covers twenty acres. And it
has the greatest bridge over the greatest river in the world.

But everything has its drawbacks, the water there hain't like Jonesville
water; I don't say it to twit 'em, but it is a solemn truth, the water
is riley, they can't dispute it. I'd love to hand 'em out a pailful now
and then from our well, and would if I had the chance - how they would
enjoy it.

Blandina and I wanted to go to once to Miss Huff's, a woman we used to
know in Jonesville who keeps a small boardin' house.

But Josiah, who had seen pictures on't, wanted to go to the Inside Inn.
He said they'd advertised cheap rooms, it would have a stylish sound to
tell on't in Jonesville and it would be so handy and equinomical for we
wouldn't have to pay entrance fees. So to please him, which wuz the main
effort of us two chaperones, we went there. We wuz tired to death that
night anyway, and wanted a quiet haven and wanted it to once, for truly
when Josiah pinted out the elegant buildin's that we passed I looked
coldly on 'em, and said that there wuzn't one that looked so good to me
as a goose feather piller would. And I had made up my mind that I
wouldn't take a note or act as a Observer at all till Monday mornin'. So
I faced the crowd and the Fair ground as not seein' 'em as it were,
carryin' out my firm idee to begin' the job as Observer and Delineator
the first day of the week.

The Inside Inn we found wuz a buildin' as big as the hull of our
neighborhood and I d'no but part of Loontown and Zoar, it wuz immense.
And everywhere you'd look you would see this sign pasted up:

"Pay In Advance! Pay In Advance!"

Josiah acted real puggicky about it, he said he believed they had hearn
we wuz comin' and got them signs printed for fear we would cheat 'em out
of their pay or wuzn't able to pay. And he sez, "I'll let 'em know I am
a solid man and have got money!" And he took out his little leather bag
where he keeps the most of his money and showed 'em in a careless way,
as much as fifteen dollars in cash.

I told him it wuz venturesome to show off so much money, but he said he
wuzn't goin' to have 'em insinuatin' in this mean underhanded way that
we couldn't pay our bills.

Blandina would pay her own bills, but then she's got plenty and Josiah
said, "Let her pay for herself if she wants to." And I said:

"Well, I spoze it will make her feel better to pay her way."

"Yes," he sez, "and it makes me feel better too."

A young chap took our satchel bags and went to show us our room, and we
went through one long hall after another, and walked and walked and
walked, till I thought we should drop down. And finally Josiah stopped
in his tracks and faced the feller, and sez he:

"Look here, young man, what do you take us for? We hain't runnin' for
mail carriers, and we hain't niggers trainin' for a cake walk. We'd love
to git a room and set down some time to-day!"

"Yes, sir," sez the man, "we are most to your rooms." And he turned and
begun to go down stairs, and we follered him down two flights and
started for a third one, and then Josiah faced him agin:

"What in Tunket ails you, anyway? Because we come from the country we
don't propose to be put down suller amongst your cabbages and turnips! I
want you to take us to some good rooms; I've paid in advance, dum you!
and I'm goin' to stand for my rights."

"Yes, sir," sez the man, "they're good rooms."

And I knowin' we wuz three to one and if he wuz leadin' us off into a
trap to git Josiah's money we could overpower him, I wunked for Josiah
to keep still, but he wouldn't, but kep' on mutterin' whilst the man led
us down two more flights, and into some quite good rooms, only if you'll
believe it there wuz a tree growin' right up through our room as big as
Josiah's waist.

And that made Josiah as mad as a hen agin, and he told the man, "We've
been imposed upon ever since we entered this house. You knew we lived on
the outskirts of Jonesville, and you've took liberties with us that you
wouldn't if we had come from the heart of the village. But I'll let you
know we're knowed and respected, and Jonesville will resent it to think
you've put us in with trees, tryin' to make out we're green, I spoze."

But the man wuz up two flights of stairs by this time. And I quelled
Josiah down by sayin' we would try to make the best on't. The hotel is
built on a side hill, that's why we had to come down stairs; there are
four stories more in the back than in front, and they wouldn't let 'em
cut down all the trees so they had to build right round 'em.

But I ruther enjoyed it, and hung my mantilly up on it, there wuz some
nails that somebody had left in it, and the tabs hung down noble. And as
I told Josiah, "Trees are kinder sociable things anyway."

"Sociable!" he groaned. "We don't need trees in order to be sociable."
And sure enough, on both sides on us wuz goin' on private conversations
that we could hear every word on. It wuz a very friendly place.

Well, I het up my little alcohol lamp and made a cup of tea and we had
lots left in our lunch basket. So I called Blandina, her room wuz only
jest a little ways from ourn, and we had a good lunch and felt

We slep' as well as we could considerin' the size and hardness of the
mattress and pillows, and the confidences that wuz bein' poured into us
onbeknown from both sides.

The house is built dretful shammy. Why I hearn that a man weighin' most
three hundred took a room there, and comin' in one evenin' dretful tired
from the day's tramp on the Fair ground leaned up heavy aginst the wall
to pull off his boots, and broke right through into the next room.

And that room wuz occupied by a young married couple. You know it wuz
dretful fashionable to marry and go to St. Louis on your tower. So
they'd follered Fashion and the star of Love and wuz havin' a first rate

They had been there several days, and this evenin', he thinkin' his eyes
of her, and feelin' very sentimental as wuz nateral, wuz readin' poetry
to her, she settin' the picture of happiness and contentment with her
feet on a foot-stool, her pretty hands clasped in her lap, and her eyes
lookin' up adorin'ly into hisen as he read:

"Oh, beautious love, sweet realm of joy,
No wild alarm shall ere thy sweet calm break."

When crash! bang! down come the partition with a half dressed man on
top, brandishin' aloft a boot and screamin' like a painter, as wuz only
natural. He broke right into Love's Sweet Realm and skairt 'em into

She fell to once into highstericks, and he, when he recovered
conscientiousness threatened to lick the man, and everybody in St.
Louis, and made the air blue with conversation that the Realm of Love
never ort to hearn on, and wouldn't probable for years and years if it
hadn't been for this _contrary temps_.

I hearn this, but don't say it is so; you can hear most anything and it
held us in all right.

The next day, bein' Sunday, Josiah thought it would be our duty to stay
on the Fair ground and see the Pike, etc. But I sez: "Josiah, we will
begin this hefty job right, we will go to meetin'."

So we went out into the city and hunted up a M.E. meetin' house and
hearn a good sermon and went into class meetin' and gin testimonies both
on us. And Blandina bein' asked to by a man went forward for prayers and
sot for a spell on the sinners' bench. She's been a member for years,
but she's such a clever creeter she wants to obleege everybody.

Well, havin' done our three duties we went back peaceful and pious in
frame and went to walk in of course to our own temporary home. But what
do you think! that misuble, cheatin' man at the gate asked us to pay to
git in. We hearn afterward that this wuz a dishonest man and wuz sent

"Pay!" sez Josiah. "Pay to come home from meetin'? Did you want us to
hang round the meetin' house all day and sleep on the steps? Or what did
you want?"

The man kep' that stuny look onto him and sez, "Fifty cents each."

Josiah fairly trembled with rage as he handed out the money, and sez he
in a threatenin' way, "You hain't hearn the last of this, young man.
Square Baker of Jonesville will git onto your tracks, and you'd better
have a tiger after you than have him when he's rousted up. Pay for
comin' home from meetin', it is a disgrace to the nation! Call this a
land of liberty when you have to pay for comin' home from meetin'!"

And sez he, as he took his change back, "Do you know what you're doin'?
You're drivin' Samantha and me away from this place, and Blandina." And
sez he, with an air of shootin' his sharpest arrer, "We shall go to Miss
Huff's to-morry."

And so we did. Blandina and I wanted to go there in the first place, so
we felt well about it. We had fulfilled our duties as chaperones to the
fullest extent, and had also got our own two ways in the end, which is
always comfortin' to a woman.

We found Miss Huff settled in a pleasant street in a good comfortable
home, not so very fur away from the Fair ground. She's a widder with one
son, young and good lookin', jest home from school; and a aged parent,
toothless and no more hair on his head than on the cover of my glass
butter dish. And I'll be hanged if I knowed which one on 'em Blandina
paid the most devoted attention to whilst we wuz there, but nothin'
light and triflin'.

She is likely, her morals mebby bein' able to stand more bein' so sort
o' withy and soft than if they wuz more hard and brittle, they could
bend round considerable without breakin'.

And Miss Huff had also a little grand-niece, Dorothy Evans, whose mother
had passed away, and Miss Huff bein' next of kin had took into her
family to take care of. Dretful clever I thought it wuz of Miss Huff.
Dorothy's mother, I guess, didn't have much faculty and spent everything
as she went along; she had an annuity that died with her, but she had
been well enough off so she could hire a nurse for the child, an elderly
colored woman, Aunt Tryphena by name, who out of love for the little one
had offered to come to Miss Huff's just to be near the little girl.

And Dotie, as they well called her, for everyone doted on her, wuz as
sweet a little fairy as I ever see, her pretty golden head carried
sunshine wherever it went. And her big blue eyes, full of mischief
sometimes, wuz also full of the solemn sweetness of them "Who do always
behold the face of the Father."

I took to her from the very first, and so did Josiah and Blandina. The
hull family loved and petted her from Miss Huff and her old father down
to Billy, who alternately petted and teased her.

To Aunt Tryphena she wuz an object of perfect adoration. And Aunt
Tryphena wuz a character uneek and standin' alone. When she wuz made the
mould wuz throwed away and never used afterwards. She follered Dorothy
round like her shadow and helped make the beds and keep the rooms tidy,
a sort of chamber-maid, or ruther chamber-woman, for she wuz sixty if
she wuz a day.

Besides Aunt Tryphena Miss Huff had two more girls to cook and clean.
She had good help and sot a good table, and Aunt Feeny as they called
her wuz a source of constant amusement and interest; but of her more

We got to Miss Huff's in the afternoon and rested the rest of that day
and had a good night's sleep.

In the mornin' Josiah, who went out at my request before breakfast to
buy a little peppermint essence, come in burnin' with indignation, his
morals are like iron (most of the time).

He said a man had been advisin' him to take the Immoral Railway as the
best way of seein' the Fair grounds as a hull before we branched out to
see things more minutely one by one.

"Immoral Railway!" he snorted out agin.

"I hope you didn't fall in with any such idee, Josiah Allen." And I
sithed as I thought how many took that kind of railway and wuz whirled
into ruin on't.

"Fall in with it! I guess the man that spoke to me about it thought I
didn't fall in with it. I gin that feller a piece of my mind."

"I hope you didn't give him too big a piece," sez I anxiously; "you know
you hain't got a bit to spare, specially at this time."

Oh, how I watched over that man day by day! I wanted the peppermint more
for him than for me. I laid out if he seemed likely to break down to
give him a peppermint sling.

Not that I am one of them who when fur away from home dash out into
forbidden paths and dissipation, but I didn't consider peppermint sling
wrong anyway, there hain't much stimulant to it.

Well, we started out for the Fair in pretty good season in the mornin',
Billy Huff offered to go and put us on the right car, so he walked ahead
with Blandina, Josiah and I follerin' clost in their rears. Blandina
looked up at him and follered his remarks as clost and stiddy as a
sunflower follers the sun. She had told me that mornin' whilst I wuz
gittin' ready to start that he wuz the loveliest young man she had ever
met, and a woman would be happy indeed who won him for her consort. And
I said, as I pinned my collar on more firmly with my cameo pin, that I
presoomed that he would make a good man and pardner when he growed up.

And she said, "Difference in age don't count anything when there is true
love." Sez she, "Look at Aaron Burr and Lord Baconsfield," and she brung
up a number more for me to look at mentally, whilst I wuz drapin' my
mantilly round my frame in graceful folds.

But I told her I didn't seem to want to spend my time on them old ghosts
that mornin', havin' such a big job on my hands to tackle that day as
first chaperone to Josiah, and I got her mind off for the time bein', by
the time I had fastened on my mantilly so the tabs hung as I wanted 'em
to hang.


Josiah wuz for goin' into the show by the entrance nighest to Miss
Huff's, but I said, "No, that may do for other times, but when I first
enter this Fair ground as a Observer" (for in our visit to the Inside Inn
we wuz only weary wayfarers, too tired to observe, and the Sabbath we
felt wuz no time to jot down impressions). No, this day I felt wuz in
reality our _dayboo_, and I sez impressively, "I will not go sneakin' in
by any side door or winder, I'm goin' to enter by the main gateway."

Josiah kinder hummed:

"Broad is the road that leads to death
And thousands walk together there."

But when he found we could go in there at the same price he didn't
parley further, and Billy took us to the car that would leave us where I
wanted to be.

The main entrance is in itself a noble sight worth goin' milds and milds
to see, a long handsome buildin' curvin' round gracefully some in shape
like a mammoth U only bendin' round more at the ends, and endin' with
handsome buildin's, and tall pillars decorate the hull length and flags
wave out nobly all along on top.

Mebby it wuz meant for a U and meant Union, a name good enough for
entrance into anything or anywhere. And if it wuz I approved on't, and
would encouraged 'em by tellin' 'em so if they'd asked me beforehand.
Union! a name commandin' world-wide respect, writ in blue and gray on
millions of hearts, sealed with precious blood.

The centre of the long buildin' peaks up and arches over you in such a
lofty and magnificent way that you feel there some as Miss Sheba must
have felt when she went to visit Mr. and Miss Solomon or the Misses
Solomon, I spoze I ort to say, he had a variety of wives, though it is
nothin' I ever approved on, and would told him so if I'd had the chance.

But good land! Mr. Solomon never had any sights to show Miss Sheba
approachin' this Fair, I wouldn't been afraid to take my oath on't.

We riz the flight of steps which hundreds and hundreds could rise
similtaneously and abreast, paid our three fares and went in. And when
you first stand inside of that gate the beauty jest strikes you in your
face some like a great flash of lightnin', only meller and happifyin'
instead of blindin'.

And the vastness of it as you look on every side on you impresses you so
you feel sunthin' as you would if you wuz sot down on the Desert of
Sara, and Sara wuz turned into vistas of bewilderin' beauty towards
every pint of her compass.

There wuz broad, smooth paths leadin' out on every side all on 'em full
of folks from every country in the world, and clad in every costoom you
ever see or ever didn't see before. Folks in plain American dress side
by side with dark complected folks wropped up seemin'ly in white sheets,
jest their black-bearded faces and flashin' eyes gleamin' at you from
the drapery. Then there would be mebby a pretty young girl with a
rose-bud face under a lace parasol. Two sweet-faced nuns in sombry black
with their pure white night caps on under their clost black bunnets and
veils, and follerin' them some fierce lookin' creeters in red baggy
trousers embroidered jackets and skull caps with long tossels on 'em;
Persians mebby, or Arabs.

As Josiah looked at these last I hearn him murmur as if to himself, "Why
under the sun didn't Samantha put in my dressin' gown with tossels, and
the smokin' cap Thomas J. gin me, I could showed off some then."

But I pretended not to hear him for my eyes wuz fastened on the passin'
pageant. Smart lookin' bizness men with handsome well-dressed wives and
children, then a Injun with striped blanket, beaded moccasins and
head-dress of high feathers. Then a American widder, mebby a plain one,
and mebby grass; then some more wimmen. Then some Chinamen with long
dresses and pig-tails follered by some gawky, awkwud country folks; some
more smart-lookin' Americans. Some English tourists with field-glasses
strapped over one shoulder. Some Fillipinos in yellerish costoom. Then a
kodak fiend ready to aim at anything or nothin' and hit it; then some
Scotchmen in Tarten dress and follerin' clost some Japans, lots and lots
of them scattered along. Then some brown children and their mothers, the
children dressed mostly in a sash and some beads, and some more pretty
white children dressed elaborate, and some niggers, and some soldiers,
and some more wimmen, and more folks, and some more, and some more, in a
stiddy and endless stream.

Good land! I couldn't sort out and describe them that passed by in an
hour even, no more than I could sort out and describe the slate stuns in
Jonesville creek, and you well know that wagon loads could be took out
of one little spot.

Josiah said to me, "Why jest to look at this crowd, Samantha, pays
anybody for comin' here clear from the Antipathies."

Sez I, "Josiah, you mean the Antipodes."

"I mean what I say!" he snapped out, "and les's be movin' on, no use
standin' here all day."

He don't love to be corrected. But truly that immense and strangely

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Online LibraryMarietta HolleySamantha at the St. Louis Exposition → online text (page 4 of 16)