Samantha at the World's Fair
SAMANTHA AT THE WORLD'S FAIR
JOSIAH ALLEN'S WIFE
BARON C. DE GRIMM
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY
London and Toronto
Copyright, 1893, by the
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY.
[Registered at Stationer's Hall, London, England.]
WHO HAS JEST SAILED OUT AND DISCOVEREDWOMAN. AND TO THE SECT DISCOVERED—
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED.
It wuz a beautiful evenin' in Jonesville, and the World. The Earth wuza-settin' peaceful and serene under the glowin' light of a full moon andsome stars, and I sot jest as peaceful and calm under the meller lightof our hangin' lamp and the blue radiance of my companion's two orbs.
Two arm-chairs covered with handsome buff copper-plate wuz drawed up oneach side of the round table, that had a cheerful spread on't, and abasket of meller apples and pears.
Dick Swiveller, our big striped pussy-cat (Thomas J. named him), laystretched out in luxurious ease on his cushion, a-watchin' withdignified indulgence the gambollin' of our little pup dog. He is youngyet, and Dick looked lenient on the innocent caperin's of youth.
Dick is very wise.
The firelight sparkled on the clean hearth, the lamplight gleamed downonto my needles as I sot peaceful a-seamin' two and two, and the sameradiance rested lovin'ly on the shinin' bald head of my[Pg viii] pardner as hesot a-readin' his favorite production, the World.
All wuz relapsted into silence, all wuz peace, till all to once mypardner dropped his paper, and sez he—
"Samantha, why not write a book on't?"
It started me, comin' so onexpected onto me, and specially sence he wuzalways so sot aginst my swingin' out in Literatoor.
I dropped two or three stitches in my inward agitation, butinstinctively I catched holt of my dignity, and kep calm on the outside.
And sez I, "Write a book on what, Josiah Allen?"
"Oh, about the World's Fair!" sez he.
"Wall," sez I, with a deep sithe, "I had thought on't, but I'd kinderdreaded the job."
And he went on: "You know," sez he, "that We wrote one about the otherbig Fair, and if We don't do as well by this one it'll make trouble,"sez he.
"We!" sez I in my own mind, and in witherin' axents, but I kep calm onthe outside, and he went on—
"Our book," sez he, "that We wrote on the other big Fair in Filadelfy, Ispoze wuz thought as much on and wuz as popular for family readin' asever a President's message wuz; and after payin' at[Pg ix]tention to that asWe did, We hadn't ort to slight this one. We can't afford to," sez he.
"Can't afford to?" sez I dreamily.
"No; We can't afford to," sez he, "and keep Our present popularity. Now,there's every chance, so fur as I can see, for me to be electedPath-Master, and the high position of Salesman of the Jonesville CheeseFactory has been as good as offered to me agin this year. It is becauseWe are popular," sez he, "that I have these positions of trust and honorheld out to me. We have wrote books that have took, Samantha. Now,what would be the result if We should slight Columbus and turn Our backsonto America in this crisis of her history? It would be simply ruinousto Our reputation and my official aspirations. Everybody would be mad,and kick, from the President down. More'n as likely as not I shouldnever hold another office in Jonesville. Cheese would be sold right overmy head by I know not who. I should be ordered out to work on the roadlike a dog by Ury jest as like as not. I've been a-settin' here andturnin' it over in my mind; and though, as you say, I hain't alwaysfavored the idee of writin', still at the present time I believe We'dbetter write the book. There's ink in the house, hain't there?" sez heanxiously.
"Yes," sez I.[Pg x]
"And paper?" sez he.
Agin I sez, "Yes."
"Wall, then, when there's ink and paper, what's to hender Our writin'it?"
"Our!" "We!" Agin them words entered my soul like lead arrows andgaulded me, but agin I looked up, and the clear light of affection thatshone from my pardner's eyes melted them arrows, and I suffered and wuzcalm. But anon I sez—
"Don't great emotions rise up in your soul, Josiah Allen, when you thinkof Columbus and the World's work? Don't the mighty waves of the past andthe future dash up aginst your heart when you think of Christopher, andwhat he found, and what is behind this nation, and what is in front ofit, a-bagonin' it onwards?"
"No," sez he calmly; "I look at it with the eye of a business man, andwith that eye," sez he, "I say less write the book."
He ceased his remarks, and agin silence rained in the room.
But to me the silence wuz filled with voices that he couldn'thear—deep, prophetic voices that shook my soul. Eyes whose light thedust fell on four hundred years ago shone agin on me in that quiet roomin Jonesville, and hanted me. Heroic hands that wuz clay centuries agobagoned to me to foller[Pg xi] 'em where they led me. And so on down throughthe centuries the viewless hosts passed before me and gin me the silentcountersign to let me pass into their ranks and jine the army. And then,away out into the future, the Shadow Host defiled—fur off, furoff—into the age of Freedom, and Justice, and Perfect rights for manand woman, Love, Joy, Peace.
Josiah didn't see none of these performances.
No; two pardners may set side by side, and yet worlds lay between 'em.He wuz agin immersed in his ambitious reveries.
I didn't tell him the heft or the size of my emotions as I mentallytackled the job he proposed to me—there wuzn't no use on't. I only sez,as I looked up at him over my specs—
"Josiah, We will write the book."
SAMANTHA AT THE WORLD'S FAIR.
hristopher Columbus has always been a object of extreme interest andadmiration to me ever sence I first read about him in my old Olney'sGography, up to the time when I hearn he wuz a-goin' to be celebrated inChicago.
I always looked up to Christopher, I always admired him, and in a modestand meetin'-house sense, I will say boldly and with no fear of Josiahbefore my eyes that I loved him.
Havin' such feelin's for Christopher Columbus, as I had, and havin' suchfeelin's for New Discoverers, do you spoze I wuz a-goin' to have acelebration gin for him, and also for us as bein' discovered by him,without attendin' to it?
No, indeed! I made calculations ahead from[Pg 2] the very first minute it wuzspoke on, to attend to it.
And feelin' as I did—all wrought up on the subject of ChristopherColumbus—it wuz a coincerdence singular enough to skair anybody almostto death—to think that right on the very day Christopher discoveredAmerica, and us (only 400 years later), and on the very day that Icommenced the fine shirt that Josiah wuz a-goin' to wear to Chicago tocelebrate him in—
That very Friday, if you'll believe me, Christopher Columbus walkedright into our kitchen at Jonesville—and discovered me.
Yes, Christopher Columbus Allen, a relative I never had seen, come toJonesville and our house on his way to the World's Fair.
Jest to think on't—Christopher Columbus Allen, who had passed his hulllife up in Maine, and then descended down onto us at such a time asthis, when all the relations in Jonesville wuz jest riz up about thedoin's of that great namesake of hisen—And the gussets wuz even thena-bein' cut out and sewed on to the shirt that wuz a-goin' to encompassJosiah Allen about as he went to Chicago to celebrate him—
That then, on that Friday, P.M., about the time of day that[Pg 3]the Injuns wuz a-kneelin' to the first Christopher, to think that JosiahAllen should walk in the new Columbus into our kitchen—why, I don'tspoze a more singular and coincidin' circumstance ever happened beforedurin' the hull course of time.
The only incident that mellered it down any and made it a little lessmiracalous wuz the fact that he never had been called by his full name.
He always has been, is now, and I spoze always will be called Krit—KritAllen.
But still it wuz—in spite of this mellerin' and amelioratin'circumstance—strikin' and skairful enough to fill me with or.
He wuz a double and twisted relation, as you may say, bein' related tous on both our own sides, Josiah's and mine.
But I had never sot eyes on him till that day, though I well remembervisitin' his parents, who lived then in the outskirts of Loontown—goodrespectable Methodist Epospical people—and runners of a cheese factoryat that time.
Tryphenia Smith, relation on my side, married to Ezra Allen, relation onJosiah's side.
I remember that I went there on a visit with my mother at a very earlyperiod of my existence. I hadn't existed at that time more'n nine years,if I[Pg 5] had that. We staid there on a stiddy stretch for a week; that wuzjest before they moved up to Maine.
Uncle Ezra had a splendid chance offered him there, and he fell in withit.
She wuz a dretful good creeter, Aunt Tryphenia wuz, and greatly belovedby the relations on his side, as well as hern.
Though, as is nateral with relations, she had to be run by 'em more orless, and found fault with. Some thought her nose wuz too long. Some on'em thought she wuz too religious, and some on 'em thought she wuzn'treligious enough. Some on 'em thought she wuzn't sot enough on thecreeds, and some thought she wuz too rigid.
But, howsumever, pretty nigh all the Allens and Smiths jest doted onher.
There wuz one incident that jest impressed itself on my memory inconnection with that visit, and I don't spoze I shall ever forgit it; itstands to reason that I should before now, if I ever wuz a-goin' to.
It took place at family prayers, which they held regular at UncleEzra's.
It wuz right in the hite of sugarin'. They had more'n two hundred mapletrees, and they had tapped 'em all, and they had run free, and they hadto sugar off every day, and sometimes twice a day.[Pg 6]
That mornin' they had a big kettle of maple syrup over the stove, andUncle Ezra and Aunt Tryphenia and mother wuz all a-kneelin' down prettynigh to the stove. It wuz a cold mornin', and I wuz a-settin' with mylittle legs a-hangin' off the chair a-watchin' things, not at that agebein' particular interested in religion.
Uncle Ezra made a long prayer, a tegus one, it seemed to me; it wuz solong that the kettle of sugar had het up fearful, and I see with deepanxiety that it wuz a-mountin' up most to the top of the kettle.
Of course I dassent move to open the stove door, or stir it down, oranything—no, I dassent make a move of any kind or a mite of noise inprayer time. So I sot demute, but in deep anxiety, a-watchin' it sizzleup higher and higher and then down agin, as is the way of syrup, buteach time a sizzlin' up a little higher.
Wall, finally Uncle Ezra got through with his prayer, and dear good AuntTryphenia begun hern. She spoke dretful kinder moderate, but religiousand good as anything could be.
I well remember what it wuz she wuz sayin'—
"O Lord, let us