Documenting the American South Logo
Loading

Bill Arp
from the Uncivil War to Date,
1861-1903:

Electronic Edition.

Arp, Bill, 1826-1903


Funding from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition
supported the electronic publication of this title.


Text scanned (OCR) by Victoria Strickland-Cordial
Images scanned by Jill Kuhn
Text encoded by Jill Kuhn and Natalia Smith
First edition, 1998
ca. 800K
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
1998.

        © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
Call number PS2859.S5 B52 1903, c1902 (Davis Library, UNC-CH)


        The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South, Beginnings to 1920.
        Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
        All quotation marks and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
        All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as " and " respectively.
        All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as ' and ' respectively.
        Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
        Running titles have not been preserved.
        Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998

LC Subject Headings:



Frontispiece



Title Page


BILL ARP
FROM THE UNCIVIL WAR TO DATE
1861-1903

MEMORIAL EDITION

ATLANTA, GA.:
THE HUDGINS PUBLISHING COMPANY
1903


Verso

COPYRIGHT 1902
BY
C. P. BYRD AND C. H. SMITH
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Page 3

CONTENTS.


Page 5

THE HOME LIFE OF BILL ARP

BY HIS DAUGHTER.

        The events of my father's life may be chronicled in a few lines, but it would take many pages to tell of the mental and spiritual gifts that made that life notable, and of its influence over a wide circle of known and unknown friends. Still more potent was the impress of his character upon those nearest to him, whose privilege it was to see him day by day and partake of the wit, wisdom, kindliness and humor that made him the most fascinating of companions to his children. He has himself told in this book the main incidents of his career; how his father, Asahel Reid Smith, a sturdy young son of Massachusetts, came South to teach school and married his fourteen-year-old pupil, pretty little Caroline Maguire, whose story as her son has written it, is most interesting and romantic. They were married near Savannah but later moved to Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, where my father was born on June 15th, 1826, the eldest of ten children. My grandfather became a thriving merchant of Lawrenceville, postmaster as well, and my father has told us many entertaining stories of the days when he used to "ride the mail" and sell ribbons and things to the girls.

        After some time spent in a manual labor school, he went to college at Athens, where he was the classmate and friend of many of the notable men of later days. He held his friends in the greatest esteem and affection, and it was one of the sorrows of his long life to see them pass away one by one.


Page 6

        After his graduation at Franklin College, now the University of Georgia, my father studied law in the office of Judge Nathan Lewis Hutchins of Lawrenceville, and was admitted to the bar. Here also he had the privilege of association with the noted politicians, lawyers and judges that made of Georgia history of that day a series of brilliant chapters.

        In 1849 he married Mary Octavia Hutchins, the daughter of his preceptor, then only seventeen years old. The following poem was written in her album while they were sweethearts:

TO OCTAVIA.


                        I've not the Bard's rich gift or Poet's soul
                        To pen my feelings in a tuneful rhyme;
                        I have no power that can at will control
                        The thoughts and breathings of my humble mind.

                        A heart to feel, and knowledge to discern
                        The ties of friendship, and of love, are mine;
                         May these, Octavia gain the kind return
                        Of real friendship from that heart of thine.

                        An album's pages tell of many a friend
                        Pleasant to sight and to the memory dear;
                        Each loves to wish thee well, and to blend
                        Thy destiny with joys and hope sincere.

                        Thine be the lot that gives to others joy,
                        For thus you'll reap a harvest of your own;
                        May no misfortune, pain, or cares annoy
                        And garlands in thy path of life be strewn.

                        When incense on the sacred altar burned
                        Its odours seemed in prayerful clouds to rise;
                         so may our wishes all to Heaven turned
                        Procure rich blessings for thee from the skies.

Charles.


Page 7

        Fifty-four years they lived together, and all the days of those years were a continuation of that youthful devotion.

        Shortly after their marriage my father and mother moved to Rome, where he began the practice of law, associated with Judge J. W. H. Underwood. When the war began he became a staff officer with General Francis Bartow, later was assigned by President Davis to special judiciary duty in Macon. It was on his return to Rome in 1865 that he began to write regularly over the nom de plume of Bill Arp, but his first letter appeared in 1861, and is as follows:

        "Rome, Ga., April, 1861.--Mr. Linkhorn: Sur: These are to inform you that we are all well, and hope these lines may find you in statue ko. We received your proklamation, and as you have put us on very short notis, a few of us have conkluded to write you, and ax for a little more time. The fact is, we are most obleeged to have a few more days, for the way things are happening, it is utterly onpossible for us to disperse in twenty days. Old Virginny, Tennessee, and North Callina, are continually aggravatin us into tumults and carousements, and a body can't disperse until you put a stop to sich onruly condukt on their part. I tried my darndest yisterday to disperse and retire, but it was no go; and besides, your marshal here ain't doing a darned thing - he don't read the riot act, nor remonstrate, nor nothing, and ought to be turned out. If you conklude to do so, I am orthorized to rekummend to you Colonel Gibbons or Mr. McLung, who would attend to the bizness as well as most anybody.

        "The fact is, the boys round here want watchin, or they'll take sumthin. A few days ago I heard they surrounded two of our best citizens, because


Page 8

they was named Fort and Sumter. Most of em are so hot that they fairly siz when you pour water on em, and that's the way they amke up their military companies here now-- when a man applies to jine the volunteers, they sprinkle him, and if he sizzes they take him, and if he don't they don't.

        "Mr. Linkhorn, sur, privately speakin, I'm afeerd I'll git in a tite place here among these bloods, and .have to slope out of it, and I would like to have your Skotch cap and kloak that you traveled in to Washington. I suppose you wouldn't be likely to use the same disgize agin, when you left, and therefore I would propose to swap. I am five feet five, and could git my plow breeches and coat to you in eight or ten days if you can wait that long. I want you to write me immegitly about things generally, and let us know wherebouts you intend to do your fitin. Your proklamation says something about takin possession of all the private property at 'All Harzards.' We can't find no such place on the map. I thot it must be about Charleston, or Savannah, or Harper's Ferry, but they say it aint anywhere down south. One man said it was a little Faktory on an iland in Lake Champlain, where they make sandbags. My opinion is that sandbag bisness won't pay, and it is a great waste of money. Our boys here carry there sand in there gizzards, where it keeps better, and is always handy. I'm afeered your government is givin you and your kangaroo a great deal of onnecessary trubbul, and my humble advice is, if things don't work better soon, you'd better grease it, or trade the darned old thing off. If you don't trade or do sumthin else with it soon, it will spile or die on your hands, sertain.

        "Give my respekts to Bill Seward and the other


Page 9

members of the kangaroo. What's Hannibal doin? I don't hear anything from him nowadays. Yours, with care,

BILL ARP."

        My father has already told how he came to use the name which he has made famous throughout the South. The original Bill Arp, an illiterate countryman, moved to Texas, and for some years after newspaper paragraphs confusing his identity and my father's were both annoying and amusing. We have long since lost trace of him.

        In October, 1877, we moved to Bartow County, my father having purchased a farm which he subsequently sold to Sam Jones, the evangelist. The new home was called Fontainebleau, from Mr. Francis Fontaine, the previous owner. As the boys grew up and left the farm for more congenial occupations and my father's duties as writer and lecturer took him much from home, it was decided to leave the country and settle in Cartersville, where we have since lived at "The Shadows," and where my father died on August the 24th, aged seventy-seven years.

        The family tree is one which has now many branches. There were ten children in the original family; there were thirteen of us, ten are now living. The children and grandchildren may be thus de- scribed:


Page 10

        Besides these there were two nieces of my mother, brought up as members of the family.

        My father's weekly letters to the Atlanta "Constitution" and the Louisville "Home and Farm" were widely read and copied and brought him in close touch with people North, South, East and West. In addition to this work he published the following books:

        Always an early riser, it was his habit to walk up and down the halls of the home playing the flute to waken us in the morning, or playing the piano in his own unique fashion, all on the black keys, but peculiarly sweet and effective as he did it. One of my earliest recollections is of being aroused by the strains of the flute, when climbing out of bed, nightgowned,


Page 11

barefooted, I toddled to his side and with the other children marched up and down the hall clinging to his dressing gown while he played "Way Down in Shinbone Alley," "Run, Nigger, Run," and other old-time tunes, until nurse came to get us ready for breakfast.

        His loving care of us as little ones continued in after years, when he unselfishly shared our larger griefs, or rejoiced with us in our pleasures and pastimes. How often as I have told him of some sorrow or disappointment would he gently stroke my hand and say earnestly: "Even this shall pass away." His example led us to love the church; by his side we managed to live through many a long and tiresome discourse, comforted by smuggled candies or peppermint drops.

        The following story illustrates his interest even in children not his own:

        During one of his lecture trips he was travelling in the car with a tired mother and several restless little children. One little one begged, "Mama, may I suck my thumb?" The mother refused, evidently feeling that discipline must be maintained. My father's child-loving heart could stand it no longer, so he said in his courteous way, "Madam, I think, under the circumstances, I would let her suck her thumb."

        We never realized what a rare privilege was ours in having such a companion until we moved to the country. Here a certain degree of privation followed closely on our footsteps. We had to practice hitherto unknown economies and to shoulder household cares that were new to us, but he was the lever that made things easy. His very cheerfulness was a


Page 12

godsend, and his philosophy lightened many difficult and uncongenial tasks.

        After work hours or on Sundays he would call us all for a walk, "go to Nature's Church," as he said. Such lessons in natural history and botany! We were taught to respect the very worm that crawls; to know when and where to find the first wild flowers and fruits--taught in his broad-minded, reverent way the wonders of mother earth. He never ceased to study these great mysteries himself, and it was this nearness to nature that made him the noble, clean-hearted man he was to the day he died.

        On long winter evenings he would gather us around a huge wood fire and tell us wonderful tales of his boyhood, of his mother's life, of the war, and stories of the great and good people he had known in both real life and books.

        He did not care for the ephemeral literature of the time, but was rarely versed in standard works of both poetry and prose. The Bible and Josephus were his daily companions, and his library contained reference books of every kind, through which he constantly added to his store of knowledge, giving it out in conversation and letters with generous heart to those less wise or learned.

        I have heard him chuckle over a good joke in his own whole-hearted fashion, or have seen the tears in his eyes as he read some touching story of human interest. He encouraged every member of the family to love music and good books; he would allow nothing but good-natured gossip of our friends and neighbors. His last years at the "Shadows" were devoted to his garden; flowers and fruits grew for him to perfection. Roses and old-fashioned pinks were his favorites. Every morning the rarest blossom


Page 13

was culled and laid, a morning greeting, at my mother's breakfast plate. Later in the day we were all expected to gather in the garden and enjoy its delights with him. He shared his flowers with all the friends who came to see us, presenting a short-stemmed, old-fashioned bouquet to each one, with a courtly, old-time grace peculiar to himself.

        The Confederacy was a passion with my father. He loved to honor the old South and her veterans. It was something worth living for to hear him tell an appreciative audience of the old days, and defend the rights of his people. He was peculiarly gifted as a story-teller, he never forgot an incident or a name. During his last illness the question arose concerning the name of a New York physician who figured in an incident some twenty years ago. No one could recall it. The question was put to my father, who was tossing and muttering, semi-delirious. A moment of quiet, a look of intelligence, and the name was uttered clearly--then an immediate lapse into unconsciousness. As a college girl I always declared I "never needed a dictionary or an encyclopedia - papa knew everything."

        The day came when he grew too feeble to walk in his garden, or to read or write as he had always done. Then he would totter out to his chair on the porch and with his "far-glasses" on wait patiently for the coming of his little grandchildren. His mind, grown childlike, craved their companionship. The love of children for him was only equalled by his love for them. Half the little ones in the town called him "grandpa." Hardly a day passed that he did not get letters from boys and girls of all ages, and never did he fail to answer them.

        His daily mail was one of his greatest pleasures.


Page 14

Letters came from all over the United States, with questions and requests of all kinds. Hundreds wrote just to tell of the sunshine he had brought into their lives. Since he has gone from us the letters continue to come from known and unknown friends, written as if with one pen: "The loss is not yours alone; our loss is great; the whole South mourns with you." All this sympathy and appreciation is a priceless treasure to us who mourn our truest friend and dearest companion.

        We laid him away under a pall of beautiful flowers sent by those who loved him, in the little cemetery at Cartersville, for he said he wanted to be near us still in both body and spirit. In the same grave with him is the body of his youngest grandchild, little Sara, eight months old, the daughter of my brother Ralph, who died within a week after he passed away.

        If one might write my father's epitaph in the language of a great poet, it would be this:


                        "He was a man take him for all in all,
                        I shall not look upon his like again."

Marian Smith.


Page 15

CHAPTER I.

A PRETTY STORY.

        My dear young friends: Let me tell you a pretty story. Just a hundred years ago there was a young man hanged in Dublin, Ireland, for committing treason against the English government. His name was Robert Emmet, and his crime was that of organizing a rebellion which was intended to set Ireland free from the dominion of England and to place his native land among the nations as free and independent. The rebellion failed, and its leaders had to escape for their lives. Emmet was one of the most eloquent and gifted men in all the land. He graduated with high honors at Trinity College, and at this time was engaged to be married to Miss Curran, the beautiful daughter of the great Irish lawyer, John Philpot Curran. After the rebellion was crushed he fled to France, where he remained for two years, and then, in disguise, went back to Ireland to marry the lady he loved and bring her to the United States. But English detectives were on his track and arrested him. He was tried, convicted and hanged, and his affianced died of a broken heart. His speech made in his own defense was the most eloquent, pathetic and patriotic ever delivered in any court room. I used to speak part of it when I was a schoolboy, and still recall the last sentence, "When I am dead let no man write my epitaph--until Ireland is free let not my epitaph be written."

        This is enough of Robert Emmet, but it is only a


Page 16

pointer to my story. Among Emmet's college companions and his comrades in the rebellion were two brothers whose names were James and Patrick Maguire. They were the younger sons of Sir Francis Maguire, a member of Parliament and a very wealthy gentleman. He did not favor the rebellion, but could not control his younger boys. They, too, had to flee the country, and did so in a vessel that their father bought and equipped for that purpose. They came to Charleston, S. C., in 1803 and began business as linen merchants. In the course of a year or two Patrick sold his interest and changed his abode, but James continued the business and married Emily Barret. Two children were born to them, James and Caroline. When these children were nine and seven years of age the yellow fever visited Charleston, and in a brief time swept half of the population into their graves. Maguire and his wife died almost simultaneously, and were buried by night in the same grave--for all night long the hearses and dead carts were rumbling over the cobble stones, their tires bound in bagging to smother the noise.

        Now, my children, this brings me to the saddest and sweetest part of my story. The pestilence was awful. All who could fly from it did so, but there were thousands who had nowhere to go or who could not leave the dead and dying in their own households. A good man came and took James, the boy, to his home, and a good woman took Caroline. Next morning an order was issued that all children who had no homes should be put on board the vessels that were anchored near the city and sent to some other port. In the confusion there was no effort made to keep brothers and sisters together, and James was placed on board a brig bound for Boston, and Caroline on a


Page 17

schooner under sail for Savannah, but neither knew what had become of the other. Just imagine their grief and desolation. Alone in the wide world - no father or mother, no kindred, no loving friends! After a stormy voyage the brig reached Boston, where the boy was placed in an orphan asylum. Caroline was landed in Savannah and found a home in an asylum there. The matrons in charge of each were good and kind, but the children's eyes were red and their pillows wet with weeping. They were just old enough to realize what they had lost.

        Now, let us skip over two or three years. When James was ten years old, a wealthy gentleman, a manufacturer of boots and shoes who lived at Randolph, fifteen miles east of Boston, came to the asylum to choose a boy, to wait on him in his counting room. James was a bright and handsome lad, and the gentleman, whose name was Burwell, chose him and took him home with him. He proved to be the very boy he wanted, and grew into favor. Part of the time he was sent to school and learned rapidly, and in a few years was taken into partnership, and the old gentleman gave him his only daughter for a wife. Young Maguire was a good man, loved and respected by all who knew him, but at times he was sad, very sad, because of his lost sister. Twice he had visited Charleston and made diligent search, but found no clue. He found the very house he was born in and where his parents died, but new people lived in it and the neighbors were all new. An old negro woman remembered the Maguires, and said she washed for them, but that was all. She thought that the fever "got 'em all," she said.

        I said that young Maguire was popular with the


Page 18

people. So much so that when he was only twenty-six years old he was elected State Senator, and became well acquainted with Daniel Webster and Rufus Choate and Judge Story.

        Now you know, my young friends, in a small village like Randolph everybody knew all about everybody, and could tell where they came from. And so it was very generally known that Maguire had lost his sister and had not a relative in the wide world that he knew of, and how he had sought for her, but in vain, and why it was that at times he seemed so sad and distressed. Well, he lived in a beautiful home in Randolph, and right across the street lived his most intimate friend and neighbor, whose name was Wales. Wales knew all his sorrows and could weep over them too.

        But what of little Caroline, "The Flower of Dumblane," as they used to call her in her childhood--for she was as lovely in disposition as she was beautiful. She had to tell her sad story in tears to the good matron--and the good woman cried too, and the orphans cried, for it was a sadder case, if possible, than any of theirs.

        But Time is a good doctor, and after a few days Caroline became interested in her new home, and her broken heart began to heal and went out in love to the matrons and the many children who were her companions. She had been there about two years when one day a fine lady came there in a fine carriage, and after introducing herself to the matron, she said she came to see if she could get a nice, pretty orphan girl to go and live with her and keep her company. That she lived on a rice plantation in Liberty county--that her children had grown up and married and moved too far away, and that her


Page 19

name was Goulding, the mother of Dr. Goulding, the Presbyterian preacher, and the grandmother of Frank, who wrote "The Young Marooners." It was not an unusual thing for good people to come and choose a child and take her away and adopt her, but it was always a sad time and made solemn and serious impression upon them. They knew that one of their number had to go, and that they would see her no more, perhaps forever--which one--which one, they wondered, and each one said, "maybe it will be me," and the thought alarmed them. They were happy where they were, and a change to some one they did not know, filled their hearts with fear. Well, the fine lady was shown to the large reception room where the children had to gather on such occasions. The children had of course to put on their best garments, which were all uniform, and wash their faces and brush their hair, and they marched in and were seated on the benches that were next to the walls of the large room. Then the grand lady walked around slowly and talked to every one she fancied, and said kind, pleasant words and asked them many questions. It was soon noticed that every time she went around she stopped longer with little Caroline than any other, and after the third round she turned to the matron and said, "I will take this one." The little girl trembled like an aspen leaf. Her heart beat rapidly, and tears filled her eyes. With the other girls the agony was over, but they grieved that Caroline was chosen, for they loved her very dearly. The matron, too, was sad as she kissed her a last goodbye--her heart was too full to speak it. It was a tearful scene as the orphans, every one of whom had her own sad experience, marched to Caroline and kissed her farewell.


Page 20

        But she was soon in the fine carriage with the fine lady, and a fine team of horses were gaily trotting down the avenue. They reached the lady's home that evening, and Caroline found everything so strange and singular that for a time she forgot the change in her condition. There was a grand old mansion in a grove of evergreens. All along the way she had seen the beautiful magnolias and caught the fragrance of the yellow jessamine, and now she inhaled the sweet odor of the cape jessamine that came from a long row that bordered the carriage way and adorned the walks near the house. Not far away were the barns and rice mills, and another for the sugar cane, and still further off were long lines of negro houses - all just alike and whitewashed, and each with a garden attached.

        But alas! not a white child was to be seen nor a white person, save Mrs. Goulding and herself. Scores of little negroes were playing around the cabin yards, and they came near and looked curiously at the little white girl that "Ole Mistis" had brought home with her. After supper Caroline soon grew tired from her journey and was put to bed, where she again wet the pillows with her tears, but soon dropped to sleep. The morning was bright and the country air was balmy, and she brightened with the day. About a mile away there lived a family of Allstons, who had recently moved from South Carolina. They were good people, and closely related to the family of William Allston, the great painter, who married Theodosia, the daughter of Aaron Burr, and who was drowned at sea or murdered by pirates. Her sad fate is still unknown. With the children of this Allston family Caroline soon got intimate, and Mr. Allston, when on a visit to Charleston,


Page 21

made diligent effort to find some clew to her lost brother, but found none.

        Mrs. Goulding was very desirous of sending Caroline to school, but there was none near enough. And so Mr. Allston went to Savannah to look around and if possible to secure a teacher.

        Now, children, listen, for we have come to another branch of this story. About the year 1817 a young man whose name was Reid, a native of Vermont, was teaching school in a little town in Massachusetts. He was smart and energetic and saved his money. One of his young friends told him one day that they could charter a sloop and make a big lot of money shipping brick to Savannah. Brick were cheap in Newberryport and brought a high price in Savannah. They put their money together, bought the cargo, hired four sailors, and set sail. The voyage was prosperous until they neared the port. Then a terrific storm came up, and for fear of losing their vessels and their lives, they had to throw a good part of the cargo into the sea. They had barely enough brick left to sell for sufficient money to pay off the sailors and send the sloop back to its owners. Young Reid's companion got discouraged and homesick and went back with it; but Reid was too game a young man to go back without a dollar in his pocket. So he hired to a grocery merchant as a porter, and did his work so well and faithfully that he soon grew into favor and was promoted to the counting room. It was about this time that Mr. Allston visited the city in search of a teacher, and it so happened that this merchant was his friend and factor. He gave Reid a very high character, and told him he was a good scholar and had taught school up North. He hated to give him up, but Reid desired


Page 22

to go, and he was soon on his way to Liberty county. A good school was made up for him at once, and Caroline became one of his scholars. In that day the teachers boarded around among their patrons, staying a week or more with each family; and so Reid soon learned all about Caroline's sad history, and his tender heart went out in sympathy for her. She was then thirteen years old, well grown for her age, and was lovely in form and feature. She was modest in behavior and at times seemed sad almost to tears. Reid took great interest in her, and she soon became one of his brightest scholars.

        But change is written on everything in this world, and so it happened that when Caroline became fourteen years old and had a right under the law to choose her own guardian, she went into court and choose Mr. Allston and became an inmate of his family. She was so lonely with the old lady, and besides the old lady had married again--a Mr. Williamson,--and they did not live harmoniously together, and each contended for the guardianship of Caroline. It was young Reid, however, who took Caroline into his confidence and advised her to choose Mr. Allston. About this time the State of Georgia bought from the Creek Indians all their land in the up country and had them surveyed and opened up to settlers. Then there began a great exodus of low country people up to the new purchase, where mountains and valleys and fast flowing streams abounded. Mr. Allston took the up-country fever and prepared his household to move. He did move, and of course Caroline had to go with the family. She bade her teacher goodbye and wept upon his bosom. He never knew till then how much he loved her. At the end of his school term he too took the up-country


Page 23

fever, but finding a good opening at Mt. Vernon, in Montgomery county, he stopped there and taught for a year and laid up a little more money. Mr. Allston had settled on a creek, a few miles east from Decatur, and was engaged in building log houses and clearing land. He had built a large double log cabin, with shed rooms attached, and had moved into it. He concluded to christen the new home with a frolic, so one bright moonshiny night he had all of the neighbors invited to come over and have music and perhaps a country dance. But Caroline did not seem to enjoy it. Most of the time she sat in the piazza and seemed anxious and melancholy. A spirit whispered to her that Reid was coming, she always declared, and she could not get rid of the expectation. And sure enough, about nine o'clock, she saw a man riding slowly up the road-way, and when quite near he dismounted and hitched his horse. She did not wait for him, but with a cry of joy, rushed out to meet him and threw herself gladly into his arms. Once again she had found her best friend.

        Now, children, we must skip some, for this story is getting too long. A young man by the name of Featherstone had married Mr. Allston's eldest daughter. He was a merchant, and was living in Lawrenceville, about twenty miles away. Reid was expecting to make up a school in that little town, but Featherstone persuaded him to join him in his mercantile business, for it had outgrown his capital and Reid's money was just what was wanted. Sometimes Mr. Allston or some of his family came to Lawrenceville, and Caroline came with them. Sometimes Reid rode out there Saturday evening and spent the Sabbath. And so the love affair progressed smoothly, and when Caroline was sweet sixteen


Page 24

they were married at Mr. Featherstone's house in the good old town of Lawrenceville. When Caroline was asked why she married so young, she always said, "Why, I didn't dare to refuse. He was my teacher, and I was taught to obey him."

        Well, now, we will skip over some more. In course of time two children were born to them, two fine, handsome boys, and Caroline was happy, always happy, except at times when the image of her lost brother came before her. Reid had already advertised for him in all of the Southern papers and in New York and Philadelphia. One day when he came home he found that she had been weeping, and he resolved to make one more effort. So he sent an advertisement to a Boston paper and one to St. Louis and New Orleans.

        Now, let us go back to the little town of Randolph and see what Mr. Wales is doing. It was Sunday morning, and he was not feeling well and did not go to church. He had on his gown and slippers and cap and had laid down on the sofa to read his Boston paper. That advertisement was almost the first thing that caught his eye.

        "James F. Maguire, whose parents died of yellow fever in Charleston in the summer of 1815, and who was separated from his only sister, Caroline, during the panic, can hear from her by addressing the undersigned at Lawrenceville, Georgia. She is well and happy."

        Wales read it and re-read it, and suddenly realizing what it meant rose up, and, with the paper in his hand, rushed wildly across the street to Maguire's house. Nobody was there. They had all gone to church, which was only two blocks away. Wales did not stop, but hurried up the street and into the side


Page 25

door of the church, which was near the Maguire pew. The minister had begun to read the hymn but Wales never stopped nor considered his apparel, but cried out in a delirium of joy, "Maguire, I've found your sister. Thank God I have. Here she is sure, and is alive and well. Thank the good Lord for his mercies," and being overcome with his own emotions he sat down and wept. The minister stopped, of course, and came down to hear the paper read. Half the congregation gathered near while Maguire read the advertisement, and had others read it aloud. He trembled like an aspen leaf and said, "That is Caroline and no mistake. Bless the Lord for his goodness unto me," and he knelt down in silent prayer and sobbed in tears of joy, for tears are signs of joy as well as grief.

        Enough of that. You young people, whose hearts are tender and full of emotions, must imagine the rest, and you will be more ready to believe that when the Lord said over and over again in the scriptures, "I am the God of the fatherless and the widow," He meant it.

        Now, this is about all of my story except that I have failed to mention that Reid's name was Asahel Reid Smith. He was my father, and Caroline was my own dear mother. I was seven years old then, and cannot forget the delirious joy of that meeting after a separation of eighteen years. My brother James was nine years old, and our uncle had two boys of a like age with us. For years the brother and sister and their children visited and re-visited each other. Their eldest son, in course of time, established a branch of his father's shoe business at Melbourne, Australia. The last letter from him said that he had married a sweet English lady and


Page 26

thirty thousand sheep. He was our American consul over there under Pierce and Buchanan. He is dead. Almost everybody is dead but me.


Page 27

CHAPTER II.

MY BIRTH, YOUTH AND MANHOOD.

        And now a brief mention of my wife and myself--my birth and youth and manhood. On the 15th day of June, 1826, half a million children were born into the world and I was one of them. In the pleasant village of Lawrenceville, Gwinnett county, Georgia, I first saw the light. My infancy was not unlike that of other children, except that sometimes I had little fits of passion and threw myself upon the floor or bumped my head against the wall, at which my mother smiled and sometimes said I couldn't help it, for it was South Carolina fighting Massachusetts. My childhood was happy, and so were my school days. I still have fond recollections of my teachers. Miss Cooley, an aunt of Mrs. George Hillyer's, was the first one. She was good and kind to us all. Then came Dr. Wilson and Mr. Sayre, John Norton and Dr. Patterson and Mr. McAlpin in succession. I was a mischievous lad, and Mr. Norton whipped me occasionally--not hard but lightly--once he whipped me on my boil and bursted it, and nearly broke my mother's heart, but it was good for the boil. My teachers are all dead. A few years ago old Father Sayre called to see me in Chester, S. C., and as he grasped my hand said, "Yes, you went to school to me, and I never whipped you but once. Perhaps if I had whipped you more you would have made a better man--but I am proud of you, my boy. Yes, I am proud of you."


Page 28

        In course of time I was sent to the manual labor institute, two miles away, where I mingled with the boys of the best families of the State. The Gouldings, Holts, Hoyles, Allans, Alexanders, Lintons and Crawfords and others. They are all dead but two that I know of. My father was a merchant, and when I was nearly grown he gave me a clerk's place in his store, and I sold goods for two or three years. About this time of course I fell in love, and dressed better and brushed my hair with a cowlick touch and wore boots and smiled sweetly on my sweethearts as they passed. When I was nineteen I was sent to college at Athens, and found a new sweetheart there. She played and toyed with me while she was secretly engaged to another fellow. When I was senior my father was taken seriously ill, and called me home to take charge of his business. So I went to selling goods again. In the meantime a pretty, hazel-eyed lassie I had only known as a child had grown out of her pantalets and into long dresses, and was casting sly glances at the boys about town. I imagined she cast some at me, for she liked to trade at my store and was in no hurry to go, and was pleased to buy what I advised her and never asked the price. She was a bashful brunette, with hair as black as that of Pocahontas, and it is yet, and her name was Mary Octavia, the eldest daughter of Judge Hutchins. Of course it didn't take me long to fall desperately in love, - nor did it take a long siege for me to take that fort, for I was a right handsome youth myself, and was smart and doing well. What better does a pretty girl want? Yes, I found that pearl, and did not throw it away like Othello. I've got it yet. From the beginning I knew that she loved me, and I never had to plead or get on my knees--


Page 29

nor did I ever ask her to have me, but one moonlight night as we were walking I said, "Octavia, when shall we get married?" and, as she pressed my hand, she whispered, "Whenever you think best." It was like the murmur of a dream, but I heard it. Now she will deny all this, but nevertheless it is the truth, and so within three months we were wedded. I knew very well that with her parents I was an acceptable lover, for my mother had found it out from her mother, and everything was calm and serene. She was sweet sixteen and I was twenty-one. I took her young, thinking I could train her to suit my notion, but she soon trained me to suit her's.

        Now, my young friends, that was nearly fifty-four years ago. I was one of ten children; my wife was one of ten. We have ten all living, and they have just twenty, and just keep on multiplying and replenishing according to scripture. My brothers are dead. I have three sisters living, who are very dear to me. Well, I built a little cottage in a pretty grove and we moved there. Judge Hutchins had a large plantation on the river, and over a hundred slaves. He did not offer us any money, for he knew we did not need it, but sent up two of the favorite family servants, and Tip, the same faithful Tip of whom I have written, was one of them. They begged old master to give them to "Miss Tavy," and he did so. A few months after our marriage Judge Hutchins insisted that I should study law, for he needed a young man's help in his office. So I placed my mercantile interests in other hands and began to peruse Blackstone. In two or three months I was admitted to the bar on promise of continuing my studies, which promise I kept, and in due time began to ride the circuit at the tail of the procession. And what


Page 30

a procession it was! Judge Junius Hillyer, Judge Jackson, the Doughertys, Hope Hull, Howell Cobb and his brother, Tom Cobb, Cincinnatus Peeples, Basil Overby, and meeting occasionally Robert Tombs and Alex Stephens. All great lawyers and eloquent, both in the forum and on the platform. They are all dead, and I, only I, am left. Then there were the Judges of the Supreme Court, Lumpkin, Warner and Nisbet, whom I well knew, for somehow all of these noble men made a pet of me, and from them I drew inspiration and knowledge.

        In 1851 I took the Western fever, and moved to Rome to grow up with the town and the country. I was soon associated with Judge Underwood in the practice of law, and for thirteen years we were as intimate as brothers. The war came and we parted. After the, war I became associated with Judge Joel Branham, another most delightful partnership, which was only severed by his elevation to the bench.

        And now in my old age I cannot say as Jacob said to Pharaoh, "Few and evil have been the days of the years of my pilgrimage." We have had more than our share of blessings. We have been blessed with health and the comforts of life. Of course the war made an inroad upon our peace and happiness for a time, but the good Lord preserved us and we suffered no dire calamity or affliction. My motto is that of the Latin poet, "Carpe diem," enjoy the day, enjoy every day as far as possible.

        We have been blessed in our children, for they have been good to us. Our boys are all in good form and feature - not a single deformity to mar their manhood. Our girls are modest and well favored. Not a Leah among them - all are Rachels--all are


Page 31

frugal and industrious, and love their paternal home. It is their Mecca, and will be until we die.

        For twenty-seven years we lived in Rome and prospered. Then we retired to a beautiful little farm near Cartersville, where there were springs and branches, a meadow and a creek near by, with a cane-brake border. Not far away was a mill and a pond, and there was a mountain in the background where small game abounded. There we raised Jersey cows and colts and sheep and chickens and peafowls, and lived well by day and feasted on music by night, for every member of the family is a musician, which art they inherited from their mother. It was a lovely home, and all the younger children grew up there to manhood and womanhood, and were happy. Their schooling was not neglected, though I could not send but one boy and one girl to college. It was on the farm that the boys learned what a dollar was worth when they earned it.

        But by and by and one by one the boys left us for other avocations, and five of the six now live in five different States from New York to Mexico. As I had to be away a good portion of my time, my wife and daughters were left without a protector, so I moved to this town of Cartersville and bought this pleasant home, which we call "The Shadows," because it is embowered by the shade of many beautiful trees. This is all. We are still in the land of the living, where mercy may be sought and pardon found.

        Enough of this. It savors of self-conceit and vanity to write so much about myself, and I feel that what I am or what I have done should be told by another. But what is writ is writ.


Page 32

        NOTE.--Some of "Bill Arp's" friends wish that he had been less modest, diffident and unassuming, it being a favorite contention that with the assurance, self-laudation and pretentious aggressiveness of the times, supported by his profound knowledge and philosophic temperament, he could have attained high political honors or achieved the loftiest eminence in our judiciary. Others who love him better prefer him as he was and is. He could not be as he is if he had not been as he was. The "Cherokee Philosopher" is dearer to us than would be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or "governor," or "senator," or "Mr. President." We love him for the offices he has avoided, the political entanglements he has escaped. While there are millions struggling for political office, from a doorkeepership in a police court to the Presidency "Bill Arp" stands alone in the dignity of a personal office to which he has been elected by a universal suffrage of hearts touched and mellowed by a physical sympathy wholly unknown in the field of political stress and strain. He is the elect of a people who could see no other possible candidate for the place he fills. He is neither soiled nor spoiled, except by the little tenderness of legions who seek opportunity to show a sort of filial reverence for the patriarch. Mrs. Arp knows his faults, chief of which is that he likes to be petted. The introduction he received at Tupelo, Miss., most tenderly expresses his relation to the Southern people. The speaker said in conclusion, "I cannot say that Bill Arp is the greatest man nor the best man, nor the most eloquent man, but I can truthfully say that he is the best loved man in all the Southland."

V. S.


Illustration


Page 33

CHAPTER III.

BEHIND THE SCENES.


                        "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."

        The civil war was a play, a thrilling tragedy, in which great armies were the players and the world the witnesses. But in every play there are performances behind the scenes that the footlights do not shine upon nor the audience have any knowledge of. There are prompters and properties, dressing and undressing, false hair and false faces, weapons and banners, and machinery for thunder and lightning. There is hurrying to and fro, and sometimes subdued altercations, jealousies and envyings. Sometimes there is real rivalry and real love transpiring behind the scenes while it is mimicked and played in front. The acts and deeds of mankind are behind the scenes. The greater part of life--the better part and the worse - is invisible to the world. Our domestic relations, fireside pleasures, family dissensions, our joys and sorrows, desires and ambitions, yes, our secret thoughts that harbor hate or cherish love are all behind the scenes, known only to a few or to ourselves alone.

        I propose now to touch briefly upon some things that were behind the scenes before and during the civil war-- some things that have not been published and which present a vivid contrast to the glory of a


Page 34

soldier's life. These are war times and it is well enough to exhibit the picture to the young men of the South and let them ponder upon it and draw the line between a war of patriotic duty and one of conquest and glory. This part of my address will be brief and is intended chiefly for the entertainment of the veterans who still live, for you know that while the capital stock of youth is hope, that of age is memory.

        Early in the year 1861, when secession was the great and vital question that agitated our people, a convention was called to decide whether Georgia would follow South Carolina's lead, or not. All of the young men, nearly all of the women, and many of the old men, were outspoken for secession, even though it provoked war. There was a party, however, with Alexander Stephens as a leader, who preferred co-operation and did not wish Georgia to secede alone, but favored a convention of delegates from all the Southern States and let them all go out together or remain in the Union. This party, however, was too feeble to stem the tide of resistance to Northern aggression, and so the delegates from every county gathered at the capital.

        There was a Union element among the delegates. It was composed of old men who had property and did not wish it imperiled by war, and there were some non-slaveholders, who were not in sympathy with the slaveholders' policy or alarmed by their fears.

        There were a few strong men who were for the old flag and the Union above all other considerations. Of this class Herschel Johnson was the leader. He was one of the great men of Georgia. He was on the ticket for Vice-President when Stephen A. Douglass ran for President. He was a man of sluggish, ponderous


Page 35

mind, not easily excited by ordinary events, but when aroused from his lethargy by some vital issue he had no equal in Georgia. He was called the sleeping Sampson, and his political foes used all their arts to keep him asleep. He was opposed to secession, and went as a delegate to the convention. Toombs and his party dreaded him and feared the power of his eloquence. "Old Sampson is aroused," said Toombs, "and the boys must look out." Johnson began to speak just before twelve and was fairly getting under way, and knocking out the props upon which secession leaned, when he was interrupted by Albert Lamar, the secretary and a suggestion made to adjourn for dinner. At the dining wine was served, and Johnson, being pressed by Lamar and his friends, drank too freely. He lost his mental balance and the remainder of his speech fell flat and tame and unfinished. After his death, Lamar, who was editor of the Macon Telegraph, wrote up the unwritten fraud and published it, boasting how he drugged the wine at the dinner table, and that if it had not been done the old lion would have carried the majority of the delegates with him as easily as a tornado carries the trees in its track. "But for those two drinks," said Lamar, "Georgia would not have seceded and there would have been no war."

        Whether this be true or not true is of no great concern, for if no war then it would have come later. There was no averting it as long as the negro was here in slavery.

        And so Georgia seceded and prepared for war, and her sister States followed in quick succession. While the new regiments were forming the State was one vast recruiting camp. The call of the drum resounded from mountain to seaboard. Men, women


Page 36

and children participated in the general enthusiasm. Beautiful banners were being made by womanly fingers and presented to the companions with womanly benedictions. Why is it, my friend, why is it, that loving, pitying, tender-hearted women, who will not willingly tread upon a worm, are always first and foremost in urging their husbands, brothers, sons, to battle for their country or their section? It is a fact that but for the smiles of mothers, wives, sisters and sweethearts, Georgia would never have sent 100,000 soldiers to the front. I did not visit Virginia, in June, 1861, with any intention of joining the army, but I did join while there and knew full well that my wife would weep but still be proud of it. Her five brothers were already there, and the wonder of it is that she was not there herself, playing the role of Joan of Arc. But she had a lively time of it at home three years later and saw enough of war, for she had to flee from the foul invader with five little children tagging after her. She paused in Atlanta, but only for a day--just long enough to catch breath and start again. Then she made a good, long run down to Tuskegee, in the secluded shades of Alabama, the State whose beautiful name means "here we rest." But it was no resting place for her, for Wilson's raiders were on the wild hunt for rebels and refugees, and so she departed those coasts with alacrity and sought retreat and safety at her father's plantation on the upper Chattahoochee. She left almost everything behind her when she fled from Rome that dark and dismal night. The house was full of furniture, the pantry full of good things, the smoke-house full of meat and lard and a barrel of home-made soap. I believe she made more ado about losing that soap than anything, for she had made it


Page 37

in the dark of the moon and stirred it from left to right with a sassafras paddle while it was boiling, But in her wild haste she forgot some things that were very precious. She forgot the package of love letters that I wrote her during my courtship, in which I promised many things that she declares I have ceased to perform since she lost them. She forgot the letters that I wrote home from the army, many of them containing graphic descriptions of the battles and who of our boys were killed and who were wounded, and they were read aloud to the people from her front door as soon as she received them. I would give money for those letters now. She forgot her album - her maiden's treasure, in which her friends and lovers, including myself, had written tender verses. These were all given up as lost, but in December, 1884, she received the album, with these lines inscribed on the last page:

"FRANKLIN, PA., Dec. 22d, 1884.

        "With pleasure I return this book to its rightful owner. I came in possession of it while marching through Georgia with Sherman's army. I became attached to it for the sentiment contained in the verses, and I sent it to a lady friend, Miss Downs, in Sparta, Ohio. She married and moved away and has just returned the book to me after twenty years' possession. My wish is that the rightful owner may preserve its pages and hand it down to posterity.

        Respectfully,

"E. A. Wilson."

        That man is a gentleman, if he did belong to Sherman's army, but it took him a long time to reform.

        Shortly after I joined the army, I was appointed brigade commissary on the staff of General Bartow. I had no military forms or papers, no money where


Page 38

with to purchase supplies, and I had not yet drawn or issued a single ration, for I had just been appointed. I was green, and was waiting for money and advices to come from Richmond. After we had crossed the Shenandoah river, General Bartow told me to ride on ahead until I reached Marshall, a small village, and there procure some fresh meat and some bacon for the boys to cook and eat when they arrived. "General," said I, timidly, "how will I get these things? I have no money to buy them with." "My dear sir," said he, "you must remember that this is war and everything in this country owes tribute to the army. Look around Marshall for three or four fat cattle--everything is fat up here--buy them at a fair price, and give the owner a receipt and a certificate and tell him to bring it to me when I get there and I will approve it so that he can draw his money at Richmond. Buy some good bacon, also, say a thousand pounds. The boys will want it to cook with their beef. This is war, I tell you."

        About that time I began to realize what war was, and that the civil law was silent, dead or sleeping, and that nobody had any rights save the generals and their officers.

        When I arrived at Marshall I found a farmer unloading corn, and he had the finest, fattest yoke of oxen attached to his wagon that I ever saw. I stopped and saluted him. "Those are fine steers," said I, "what would buy them?" "Well, about one hundred dollars, I reckon," he replied. Then I made known my business, and soon found that he would not sell, nor would he take any scrap of paper on this here Southern Confederacy, as he called it. The argument was soon exhausted and time was precious. By this time some butchers from the First


Page 39

Kentucky Regiment had arrived and were ready for work. I pointed out the steers to them, and before the farmer could say Jack Robinson they had them unyoked and were leading them to the branch. Amazement, indignation, anger, took it by turns over his features; then he began to use language--cuss words and expletives in abundance. Suddenly he swore he'd ruther die than be run over in any such way, army or no army. Then he cried and wiped the tears away with his coat sleeve. His last exclamation was, "How in the hell am I to get my wagon home?" I was awfully sorry for that man. My hope is that he got his pay from the Federal government after the war. Well, I got the bacon without any trouble, for the merchant was a red-hot rebel and made me eat dinner with him. Those great oxen were killed and butchered and cut up into small mess pieces in less time than I can tell about it. Wood was hauled up and camp fires built, and by dark our brigade of four thousand men were full and had tumbled down to sleep.

        Well, I soon learned that war was war, and in course of time I could impress provisions with but little scruples of conscience. One time I impressed four hundred barrels of flour from a Union sympathizer in Orange county who had a merchant mill and was waiting to sell it to the Yankees for greenbacks. His wife was a genuine rebel woman and treated me so kindly on the sly that I gave back two hundred barrels of it. It was a case of Nabel and Abigail.

        Impressment of provisions was nothing compared with the conscription of men and forcing them to fight and face the enemy, willing or unwilling, whether they were brave men or cowards. There


Page 40

was the case of Jacob Wise, a rich Jew who lived in Rome and had neither wife nor children. When the conscription officers came to Rome he secreted himself, and one night came to my house about midnight in tears. Trembling, he said, "Major, I vas porn a coward; I could not fight a lettle poy nor a von arm seek man. My legs vill turn around and run avay mid me efery time. I vas porn shust dot vay, and I will pay big money if you vill keep me out of his old war. Oh, mine Gott; oh, Abraham; oh, Isaac and Yacup." He excited my sympathies so much that I undertook to befriend him. There was an examining board then sitting in the town, of whom Dr. Starr of Rome was the chairman. He was my friend and knew Wise well, and so I brought Wise over to be examined. Wise was ready to swear that he had consumption and rheumatism and epilepsy and apoplexy and Bright's disease and heart disease and any other disease; but I juggled with Starr and we agreed that Wise should pay $5,000 to the county fund for the support of poor soldier's wives and children, and be discharged. Wise never hesitated a moment. Dr. Starr filled up a printed blank and named the disease for which he was discharged in these Latin words: "Non controlus shankus in combatibus"--can't control his legs in battle. When we returned home, Wise paid the money over to the county treasurer and I gave him the certificate of discharge, but never explained the meaning of his remarkable disease.

        But neither victories nor defeats are to be compared to the horrors of battle, the things that are behind the scenes and are never published. During the seven days' fight across the Chickahominy, hundreds of the dead were hastily buried in trenches,


Page 41

buried head to foot a foot or so under the surface, and the earth heaped over them; for you must know, my friends, that on a battlefield there are neither shrouds nor graves, nor coffins nor mourners.

        Heavy rains came on and softened that earth to mud and when a few, days later, our wagons had to cross that field, the wheels sank to the hubs when crossing the trenches and sometimes a leg, sometimes an arm, and sometimes a ghastly skull was thrown up, as if beseeching for mercy. Another graphic scene I witnessed the night after the battle of Manassas. The hospital chosen was a large brick building near the battle-ground. It was property that had been vacated under military orders. But the surgeons' operating room was not there. It was in a willow glade, not far away, where there was a clear spring branch flowing peacefully along. Dr. Miller ordered all the wounded brought there, for the night was beautiful and the water convenient. All night long he and his assistants amputated arms and legs, and probed for balls, and used bandages and splints and other appliances, and as fast as one man was fixed up he was taken away and the doctor said "Next!" like in a barber shop. But there was no groaning. The boys were heroes under the surgeon's knife as well as on the battle-field. I remember when Jett Howard, of Kingston, limped up without assistance and the doctor said, "What's the matter with you, Jett?" Jett pointed to where a minie ball had penetrated his hip and said he could feel it on the other side. Quickly the doctor thrust a probe into the wound, and as quickly drew it out, and turning Jett around, and sound for the ball under the skin, he found it. With his knife he cut an opening and thrusting in his finger pulled out the ball and


Page 42

gave it to him. "Here's your diploma, Jett," he said. "Next!" Jet limped away with a smile and had his wound dressed. When my brother-in-law, Captain Cooper, was brought up with a shattered leg, his knee pan crushed and his bones mangled, the doctor said, "Fred, this leg must come off immediately," and he reached for his knife and saw."Stop, doctor," exclaimed Fred, "can't you save my leg?" "No; it is impossible," said he, "it must come off, I tell you." "Doctor, is there a possible chance for me to save this leg?" "Perhaps," said the doctor, "one chance in a hundred, but I warn you now that if it is not speedily cut off you will be a dead man in two weeks." Captain Cooper was full of nerve and faith. "Doctor, I will take that chance," he said; and the doctor said "Next!" Fred was taken to the hospital that night and died in two weeks.

        Poor Tom King's leg was broken, and while it was being splinted he was laughing and joking like a school boy. He lost only sixty days from the service and lived only to die at Chickamauga.

        On the sixth day of the Chickahominy fight, when McClellan was in full retreat, our brigade commander, Tige Anderson, sent me down the river to General Lee's headquarters for some instructions about moving the brigade. I found him in a large wall tent with many officers around him. This tent opened into another where the camp tables were set for dinner and the servant bringing it in. There were four or five large camp tables joined together, and as I sat upon my horse awaiting a reply, I saw a man, an officer, whose head and body were underneath the right hand table and his feet out upon the straw. His slouched hat was over his head and eyes, his sword was unbuckled, and his boots were on and


Page 43

spurred. His Confederate gray clothes seemed faded and worn. My curiosity was greatly excited, and when the adjutant handed me the instructions, I ventured to point to the sleeping man and to ask, "Who is he?" "That is Stonewall," he said; "he has had no sleep for forty-eight hours and fell down there exhausted. General Lee would not suffer him to be disturbed, and so our dinner will be eaten over him and in silence." Reverently I gazed upon him for a minute, for I felt almost like I was in the presence of some divinity. What a scene for a painter was that--the two greatest generals of the army, yes, of the age, together; one asleep upon the straw, worn out with fatigue and excitement, the camp tables set above him; while the other, with his staff, dined in silence over him and watched his needed rest. Both of them were patriots and Christians, and both of them were men of prayer.

        With them there were no selfish motives behind the scenes, but every act and deed and thought was for God and their country. I have long been grateful that I witnessed that scene, the bivouac of a sleeping hero, and I love to recall Palmer's beautiful lines:


                        "We see him now--he old slouched hat
                        Cocked over his eye askew,
                        The shrewd, dry smile, the speech so pat,
                        So calm, so blunt, so true.
                        The blue light elder knows 'em well;
                        Says he, "That's Banks. He's fond of shell
                        Lord save his soul. Now give him--," well,
                        That's Stonewall Jackson's way.

                        Silence, ground arms, kneel all, caps off;
                        Old Blue Light's going to pray.
                        Strangle the fool who dares to scoff
                        At Stonewall Jackson's way.


Page 44


                        He's in the saddle; now fall in,
                        Steady, the whole brigade;
                        Hill's at the ford, cut off. Let's win
                        Him out with ball and blade.


                        Ah, maiden, wait, and watch and yearn
                        For news of Stonewall's band;
                        Ah, widow, read with eyes that burn
                        That ring upon thy hand.
                        Ah, wife, sew on, pray on, hope on,
                        Thy life shall not be all forlorn;
                        The foe had better ne'er been born,
                        That gets in Stonewall's way.

        With many people on the border line, their loyalty rested on very delicate pivots. Which shall I work for, pray for, or fight for, was a serious and perplexing question. Fathers were separated from sons, and brothers from brothers. Mrs. Lincoln was a Miss Todd, of Kentucky, and all her brothers were in the Confederate service. I knew one of them well, for he was for months on the staff of our corps commander. He was of no force, just an ornament, and made himself disagreeable by his abuse of Old Abe, his brother-in-law. Mrs. Grant was interviewed last year in Saint Augustine and said her sympathies were with the South, but her interest was with her husband's choice. With many West Pointers there was no patriotic emotion. Fighting was their profession, and position, pay and promotion their coveted reward. General Geo. C. Thomas, one of the ablest Federal generals, was a class-mate of General Joe Johnston, and like him was a Virginian of the Virginians. When Johnston was made a major-general by Mr. Davis, Thomas sought a similar position, but was told the places were all filled and he would have to wait. He did not wait, but was soon after offered that position by Mr. Lincoln and accepted it. General


Page 45

Johnston told me of this at my house in '67 and was greatly mortified. General Grant had no sympathy with the anti-slavery feature of the war, for he was a slave-holder himself and hired them out in St. Louis until sometime after Mr. Lincoln's proclamation of freedom to the slaves. You will find more about this in Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, wherein is published a letter from General Grant's father, in which he says, "My son, Ulysses, was very improvident before the war and frequently applied to me for money. In the fall of 1860 he begged me to lend him $500, as he was in pecuniary distress. I wrote to him that I could not do it, and I thought the income from the rent of his house and the hire of his negroes ought to support him, but if he was suffering he had better go to Galena and work for his brother in the tan-yard. This he did, and got along fairly well till the war began and he got a good position in the army."

        What a blessed thing is peace and law and order, for, as Ben Franklin said, "There never was a good war, nor a bad peace." The contest was too unequal to last longer. Seven hundred thousand could not cope longer with two million, seven hundred thousand. There were many blunders on both sides, and much good blood was wasted, and there were some pivotal points on which turned tremendous results on the side of the South. Prominent among them was the death of Albert Sidney Johnston at Shiloh, the failure of Huger to come in time and cut off McClellan's retreat at Malvern Hill, the death of Stonewall Jackson, the invasion of Pennsylvania, and the removal of General Johnston at Atlanta. But, no doubt, the will of God was done. Time is a good doctor. We are learning to know each other better, both


Page 46

North and South, and to tolerate each other's opinions and prejudices. All that is now necessary to make the reconciliation complete is for the North to put our heroes and Confederate widows on the pension rolls, just as they have theirs. Most all of ours are dead; only seventy thousand are left of all our army; but there are a million pensioners on the rolls up North, and as time rolls on they grow more thicker, more denser-as Cobe would say.


                        "Time cuts down all,
                        Both great and small,
                        Except a pensioned soldier;
                        They do not die,
                        But multiply
                        As fast as they grow older." Now, if the North will do that, and apologize, we will be calm and serene.


Page 47

CHAPTER IV.

THE ARISTOCRACY AND THE COMMON PEOPLE.

        Before the civil war our Southern civilization was divided into two classes--the aristocracy and the common people. The aristocrats were generally slave-holders, and though they were only one-seventh of the voting population, they dominated the other six-sevenths politically, socially, and financially. And yet there was no friction. The common people were loyal to their wealthy and educated leaders. They voted for them and fought for them. They elected them to our highest offices. These aristocrats were our governors, judges, and members of Congress, our civil and military office-holders. And they were shining lights in the councils of the nation. The common people were allowed to be magistrates, constables and non-commissioned officers in the militia. They served on the petit juries and worked the public roads. Their loyalty to the aristocracy was beautiful. They shouted for Toombs and Stephens, and Colquitt and Cobb, with a wild hurrah, and when the war came they fought for their principles just like our forefathers fought who resisted a tax on tea when not one in a thousand drank it. Out of a company of eighty-four men who went from Murray county, not one was a slave-holder. The aristocracy was mainly an aristocracy of dominion. This kind of aristocracy brings with it culture and pride and dignity of bearing. The scriptures always mention the number of servants when speaking of the old patriarchs'


Page 48

consequence in the land. "I am a man having authority," said the Centurion. "I say unto this man, go, and he goeth, and to another, come, and he cometh." Dominion is the pride of man--dominion over something. A negro is proud if he owns a "possum" dog. A poor man is proud if he owns a horse and a cow and some razor-back hogs. His neighbor is proud if he owns a good horse and a top buggy and some bottom land and can take the lead in his country church or his county politics. The big boy loves dominion over his little brother, and the father takes it over all--well, not always, for there are some wives who have a sweet and silent control over their husbands; I speak from experience. Bob Toombs once remarked, "That the dominion of a good wife over her husband was his surest safeguard" against the temptations of life. Toombs was a very great and noble man, and the most beautiful trait of his character was his loyalty and devotion to his wife.

        But the Anglo-Saxon race glories in owning men, and it makes but little difference whether the men are their dependents or their slaves; the glory is all the same if they have got them in their power. Wealthy corporations, railroad kings, princely planters, have dominion over their employees and they control them at their pleasure. It is not a dominion in law, but it is almost absolute in fact, and there is nothing wrong about it when it is humanely exercised; indeed, it is a very agreeable relation between the poor laborer and the rich employer. An humble, poor man loves to lean upon a generous landlord, and the landlord is proud of the poor man's homage. I asked Bill A. once how he was going to vote, and he said he couldn't tell me until he saw Colonel Johnson.


Page 49

But the dominion of the old aristocracy of the South was not over their own race. It was over another, and it gradually grew into an oligarchy of slave-owners, and the poorer whites were kept under the ban. There was a line of social caste between them, and it was widening into a gulf, for the poor white man could not compete with slave labor any more than the farmer or the mechanic can now compete with convict labor. But, at the same time, this kind of slave aristocracy gave dignity and leisure to the rich, and Solomon says: "In leisure there is wisdom;" and so these men became our law-makers and jurists, and they were shining lights in the councils of the nation. But, my friends, it was an aristocracy that was exclusive, and it overshadowed the masses of the people like a broad spreading oak overshadows and withers the undergrowth beneath it. The results of the war wiped out this distinction between the aristocrat and the common people. But there are still left two classes--those who have seen better days, and those who haven't. The first class used to ride or drive, but most of them now take it afoot or stay at home. Seventy-five per cent. of them are descendants of old Henry Clay Whigs. Forty and fifty years ago they were the patrons of high schools and colleges, and stocked the professions with an annual crop of high-strung graduates who swore by Henry Clay and Fillmore and Stephens and Toombs and John Bell and the Code of Honor. They were proud of their birth and lineage, their wealth and culture; and when party spirit ran high and fierce they banded together against the pretensions of the struggling democracy. When I was a young man, a Whig girl deemed it an act of condescension to go to a party with a Democrat boy. But


Page 50

the wear and tear of the war, the loss of their slaves, and a mortgage or two to lift, broke most of these old families up, though it didn't break down their family pride. They couldn't stand it like the Democrats who lived in log cabins and wore wool hats and copperas breeches. I speak with freedom of the old Georgia democracy, for I was one of them. The wealth and refinement of the State was, in the main, centered in the party known as the Old Line Whigs. Out of one hundred and sixty student in our State University at Athens, fifty-five years ago, one hundred and thirty of them were the sons of Whigs. I felt politically lonesome in their society, and was just going to change my base when I fell in love with a little Whig angel who was flying around. This hurried me up, and I was just about to go over to the Whig party, when suddenly that party came over to me. I don't know yet whether that political somersault lifted me up or pulled the little angel down--but I do know she wouldn't have me, and at last I mated with a Democratic darling who had either more pity or less discrimination. She took me, and she's got me yet; she surrendered, but I am the prisoner.

        So I did not marry my first love, but Mrs. Arp married her's--bless her heart--and she now declares I took advantage of her innocent youth and gave her no chance to make a choice among lovers. That is so, I reckon, for I was in a powerful hurry to secure the prize, and pressed my suit with all diligence for fear of accidents. Once before I had loved and lost, and I thought it would have killed me; but it didn't, for I never sprung from suicide stock. I had loved that little maid of Athens amazingly. I would have climbed the Chimborazo mountains and


Page 51

fought a tizer for her--a small tiger. And she loved me, I know, for the evening before I left for my distant home I told her of my love and devotion, my adoration and aspiration and admiration and all other "ations," and the palpitating lace on her bosom told me how fast her heart was beating, and I gently took her soft hand in mine and drew her head upon my manly shoulder and kissed her. Delicious feast--delightful memory. It lasted me a year, I know, and hasn't entirely faded yet. I never mention it at home - no never; but I think of it sometimes on the sly--yes, on the sly. Before I left her for my distant home she promised to consider my love and write to me--but she never wrote. She is considering it yet, I reckon. In a year or so she married another college boy and was happy, and not long after I married Mrs. Arp, and was happy, too. So it is all right and no loss on our side.

        I still love to ruminate about those delightful days--the memories of love's young dream. And why not? Four thousand years ago Jacob kissed Rachel, and Moses made a record of it in the sacred volume, and it has come down to us through the corridors of time, and is still the sweetest part of the story. To be mated as well as married is the happiest condition of human life. What a beautiful sight it is to see a venerable couple with loving children and grandchildren around them, and going down the vale like John Anderson my Jo John and his loving spouse. It seems to me that marriage in those days, half a century ago, were more serious than now. I will not say there was more love, but I know there were less clothes and fewer divorces and grass widows. The boys married the girls and the girls married the boys. But now it is not uncommon to see our old widowers


Page 52

following General Longstreet's example, and taking the girls for wives. It is not according to nature and is dangerous to both, especially if the old man refuses to die in a reasonable time and fails to leave the blooming widow a goodly sum. I recall now a beautiful Gwinnett girl, the daughter of a friend of ours. The civil war wrecked her father's fortune and he died soon after, leaving her almost penniless. When she was twenty years old she wedded a rich old man of fifty - an invald, whose lease on life seemed short - and he settled on her an ample fortune to be hers at his death. Now she is fifty years old and he is eighty, and keeps living on and on and on. They are childless, and live on a farm in the country, and she looks almost as old and haggard as he does. Hers is the wreck of a once happy and hopeful life.

        Now, before the civil war, our young men almost invariably mated with our young girls, and our widowers married widows as a general rule, unless there was a Yankee school mistress in sight. They always married Southern widowers, and were glad to get them. Four New England girls went off that way in my town, and they made good wives and good mothers. They were raised to habits of industry and economy, and that is what a widower wants in a second wife. They take good care of his first crop of children and get them educated and out of the way by the time the second crop is coming on. There was no economy in ante-bellum days among the aristocracy of the South. It wasn't necessary. The little negroes were always standing around waiting for the scraps, either of food or clothing. Whereas, in New England, where I went to school one winter, they didn't even keep a dog or a cat at my uncle's house, and the rule was to take no more on your plate


Page 53

than you were going to eat, and the dishes and the plates were left so clean after meals that it was hardly necessary to wash them--and maybe they didn't.

        Most of these families are poor, but they are proud. They are highly respected for their manners and their culture. They are looked upon as good stock and thoroughbred, but withdrawn from the turf. Their daughters carry a high head and a flashing eye, stand up square on their pastern joints, and chafe under the bits. They come just as nigh living as they used to as possible. They dress neatly in plain clothes, wear starched collars and corsets, and a perfumed handkerchief. They do up their hair in the fashion, take Godey's Lady's Book or somebody's Bazaar. If they are able to hire a domestic, the darkey finds out in two minutes that free niggers don't rank any higher in that family than slaves used to. The negroes who know their antecedents have the highest respect for them, and will say Mas' William or Miss Julia with the same deference as in former years. One would hardly learn from their general deportment that they cleaned up the house, made up the beds, washed the dishes, did their own sewing and gave music lessons--in fact, did most everything but wash the family clothes. They won't do that. I have known them to milk and churn, and sweep the back yard, and scour the brass; but I've never seen one of them bent over the washtub yet. In the good old times their rich and patriarchal father lived like Abraham, and Jacob, and Job. They felt like they were running an unlimited monarchy on a limited scale. When a white child was born in the family it was ten dollars out of pocket; but a little nigger was a hundred dollars in and got fifty dollars a year better for twenty years to come.


Page 54

        The economy of the old plantation was the economy of waste. Two servants to one white person was considered moderate and reasonable. In a family of eight or ten--with numerous visitors and some poor kin--there was generally a head cook and her assistant, a chamberhaid, a seamstress, a maid or nurse for every daughter, and a little nig for every son, whose business it was to trot around after him and hunt up mischief. Then there was the stableman and carriage driver, and the gardener and the dairy woman, and two little darkies to drive up the cows and keep the calves off while the milking was going on. Besides these, there were generally half a dozen little chaps crawling around or picking up chips, and you could hear them bawling and squalling all the day long, as their mothers mauled them and spanked them for something or nothing with equal ferocity.

        But the good old plantation times are gone--the times when these old family servants felt an affectionate abiding interest in the family; when our good mothers nursed their sick and old, helpless ones, and their good mothers waited so kindly upon their "mistis," as they called her, and took care of the little children by day and by night. Our old black mammy was mighty dear to us children, and we loved her, for she was always doing something to please us as she screened us from many a whipping. It would seem an unusual wonder, but nevertheless it is true, that these faithful old domestics loved their master's children better than their own, and they showed it in numberless ways without any hypocrisy. We frolicked with their children, and all played together by day and hunted together by night, and it beat the Arabian Nights to go to the old darkey's cabin of a winter night and hear him tell of ghosts and witches


Page 55

and jack-o' lanterns, and wildcats and grave yards, and raw head and bloody bones, and we would listen with faith and admiration until we didn't dare to look around, and wouldn't have gone back to the big house alone for a world of gold. Bonaparte said that all men were cowards at night, but I reckon it was these old darkies that made us so, and we have hardly recovered from it yet. When I used to go a-courting I had to pass a grave-yard in the suburbs of the little village, and it was a test of my devotion that I braved its terrors on the darkest night and set at defiance the wandering spirits that haunted my path. Mrs. Arp appreciated it, I know, for she would follow me to the door when I left and anxiously listen to my retiring footsteps; and she declares to this day she could hear me running up that hill by the graveyard like a fast trotting horse on a shell road. The slaves of that day were loyal to their masters, and in the main were happy and contented. Of course there were some bad negroes, and there were some bad masters. Alas for the negro! Before the war there was not an outrage committed by them from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. There was not a chaingang nor a convict camp in all the South. Now, there are five thousand in the chain-gangs of Georgia and fifteen thousand more in the Southern States. here would be fifty thousand if the laws were enforced for minor offences, but we overlook them out of pity.

        What a blessed privilege it was for the boys of our day to go with the cotton wagons to market, and camp out at night, and hear the trusty old wagoners tell their wonderful adventures. What a glorious time when we got home again, and brought sugar, and coffee and molasses, and had shoes all around


Page 56

for white and black, with the little wooden measures in them and the names written on every one. And we had Christmas, too, for white folks and black folks; little red shawls, and head handkerchiefs, jack knives and jews-harps, tobacco and pipes, were always laid up for the family servants.

        The times have wonderfully changed since then-- some things for better, some for worse. The old aristocracy is passing away. Some of them escaped the general wreck that followed the war and have illustrated by their energy and liberality the doctrine of the survival of the fittest-but their name is not legion. A new and hardier stock has come to the front--that class which prior to the war was under a cloud, and are now seeing their better days. The pendulum has swung to the other side. The results of the war made an opening for them and developed their energies. With no high degree of culture they have nevertheless proved equal to the struggle up the rough hill of life, and now play an important part in running the financial machine. Their practical energy has been followed by thrift. They have proved to be our best farmers and most prosperous merchants and mechanics. They now constitute the solid men of the State, and have contributed largely to the building up of our schools and churches, our factories and railroads, and the development of our mineral resources. They are shrewd and practical and not afraid of work. The two little ragged brothers who sold peanuts in Rome in 1860 are now her leading merchants. Two young men who then clerked for a meagre salary are now among the merchant prices of Atlanta. These are but types of the modern, self-made Southerner--a class who form a most


Page 57

striking contrast to the stately dignity and aristocratic repose of the grand old patriarchs and statesmen whose beautiful homes adorned the hills and groves of the South some forty years ago.

        But the children of the old patricians have come down some, and the children of the common people have come up some, and they have met upon a common plane and are now working happily together, both in social and business life. Spirit and blood have united with energy and muscle, and it makes a splendid team--the best all-round team the South has ever had.


Page 58

CHAPTER V.

THE ORIGINAL "BILL ARP."

        Some time in the spring of 1861, when our Southern boys were hunting for a fight, and felt like they could whip all creation, Mr. Lincoln issued a proclamation ordering us all to disperse and retire within thirty days, and to quit cavorting around in a hostile and belligerent manner.

        I remember writing an answer to it as though I was a good Union man and law-abiding citizen, and was willing to disperse, if I could; but it was almost impossible, for the boys were mighty hot, and the way we made up our military companies was to send a man down the lines with a bucket of water and sprinkle the boys, as he came to 'em, and if a feller sizzed like hot iron in a slack trough, we took him, and if he didn't sizz, we didn't take him; but still, nevertheless, notwithstanding, and so forth, if we could possibly disperse in thirty days we would do so, but I thought he had better give us a little more time, for I had been out in an old field by myself and tried to disperse myself and couldn't do it.

        I thought the letter was right smart, and decently sarcastic, and so I read it to Dr. Miller and Judge Underwood, and they seemed to think it was right smart, too. About that time I looked around and saw Bill Arp standing at the door with his mouth open and a merry glisten in his eye. As he came forward, says he to me: "Squire, are you gwine to print that?"


Page 59

        "I reckon I will Bill," said I. "What name are ye gwine to put to it?" said he. "I don't know yet," said I; "haven't thought about a name." Then he brightened up and said: "Well, 'Squire, I wish you would put mine, for them's my sentiments;" and I promised him that I would.

        So I did not rob Bill Arp of his good name, but took it on request, and now, at this late day, when the moss has covered his grave, I will record some pleasant memories of a man whose notoriety was not extensive, but who filled up a gap that was open, and who brightened up the flight of many an hour in the good old times, say from forty to fifty years ago.

        He was a small, sinewy man, weighing about one hundred and thirty pounds, as active as a cat, and always presenting a bright and cheerful face. He had an amiable disposition, a generous heart, and was as brave a man as nature ever makes.

        He was an humble man and unlettered in books; never went to school but a month or two in his life, and could neither read nor write; but still he had more than his share of common sense; more than his share of good mother wit, and was always welcome when he came about.

        Lawyers and doctors and editors, and such gentlemen of leisure who used to, in the olden time, sit around and chat and have a good time, always said, "Come in, Bill, and take a seat;" and Bill seemed grateful for the compliment, and with a conscious humility squatted on about half the chair and waited for questions. The bearing of the man was one of reverence for his superiors and thankfulness for their notice.

        Bill Arp was a contented man--contented with his humble lot. He never grumbled or complained at


Page 60

anything; he had desires and ambition, but it did not trouble him. He kept a ferry for a wealthy gentleman who lived a few miles above town on the Etowah river, and he cultivated a small portion of his land; but the ferry was not of much consequence, and when Bill could slip off to town and hear the lawyers talk he would turn over the boat and the poles to his wife or his children and go. I have known him to take a back seat in the courthouse for a day at a time, and with face all greedy for entertainment listen to the learned speeches of the lawyers and charge of the court, and go home happy and be able to tell to his admiring family what had transpired. He had the greatest reverence for Colonel Johnson, his landlord, and always said that he would about as leave belong to him as to be free; "for," said he, "Mrs. Johnson throws away enough old clothes and second-hand vittels to support my children, and they are always nigh enough to pick 'em up."

        Bill Arp lived in Chulio district; we had eleven districts in the county, and they had all such names as Pop-skull, and Blue-gizzard, and Wolf-skin, and Shake-rag, and Wild-cat, and Possum-trot, but Bill lived and reigned in Chulio. Every district had its best man in those days, and Bill was the best man in Chulio. He could out-run, out-jump, out-swim, out-rastle, out-ride, out-shoot anybody, and was so far ahead that everybody else had given it up, and Bill reigned supreme. He put on no airs about this, and his nabors were all his friends.

        But there was another district adjoining, and it had its best man, too. One Ben McGinnis ruled the boys of that beat, and after awhile it began to be whispered around that Ben wasn't satisfied with his limited territory, but would like to have a small


Page 61

tackle with Bill Arp. Ben was a pretentious man. He weighed about 165 pounds, and was considered a regular bruiser. When Ben hit a man he meant business, and his adversary was hurt--badly hurt, and Ben was glad of it. But when Bill Arp hit a man he was sorry for him, and if he knocked him down he would rather help him up and brush the dirt off his clothes than swell around in triumph. The quicker a man whips a fight the less of it he has to do, and both Ben and Bill had settled their standing most effectually. Bill was satisfied with his honors, but Ben was not, for there was many a Ransy Sniffle who lived along the line between the districts, and carried news from the one to the other, and made up the coloring, and soon it was narrated around that Ben and Bill had to meet and settle it.

        The court-grounds of that day consisted of a little log shanty and a shelf. The shanty had a dirt floor and a puncheon seat, and a slab for the 'Squire's docket, and the shelf was outside for the whiskey.

        The whiskey was kept in a gallon jug, and that held just about enough for the day's business. Most every body took a dram in those days, but very few took too much, unless, indeed, a dram was too much. Pistols were unknown, and bowie-knives and brass-knuckles and sling-shots and all other devices that gave one man an artful advantage over another.

        When Colonel Johnson, who was Bill Arp's landlord, and Major Ayer and myself got to Chulio, Bill Arp was there, and was pleasantly howdying with his nabors, when suddenly we discovered Ben McGinnis arriving upon the ground. He hitched his horse to a swinging limb and dismounted and began trampoosing around, and every little crowd he got to, he would lean forward in an insolent manner and say, "Any


Page 62

body here got anything agin Ben McGinnis? If they have, I goll, I'll give 'em five dollars to hit that; I golly, I dare anybody to hit that," and he would point to his forehead with an air of insolent defiance.

        Bill Arp was standing by us and I thought he looked a little more serious than I ever had seen him. Frank Ayer says to him, "Bill, I see that Ben is coming around here to pick a fight with you, and I want to say that you have got no cause of quarrel with him, and if he comes, do you just let him come and go, that' all." Colonel Johnson says, "Bill, he is too big for you, and your own beat knows you, and you haven't done anything against Ben, and so I advise you to let him pass; do you hear me?"

        By this time Bill's nervous system was all in a quiver. His face had an air of rigid determination, and he replied humbly, but firmly, "Colonel Johnson I love you, and I respect you, too; but if Ben McGinnis comes up here outen his beat, and into my beat, and me not having done nothing agin him, and he dares me to hit him, I'm going to hit him, if it is the last lick I ever strike. I'm no phist puppy dog, sir, that he should come out of his deestrict to bully me."

        I've seen Bill Arp in battle, and he was a hero. I've seen him when shot and shell rained around him, and he was cool and calm, and the same old smile was upon his features, but I never saw him as intensely excited as he was that moment when Ben McGinnis approached us, and, addressing himself to Bill Arp, said, "I golly, I dare anybody to hit that."

        As Ben straightened up, Bill let fly with his hard, bony fist right in his left eye, and followed it up with another so quick that the two blows seemed as one. I don't know how it was, and never will know; but in


Page 63

less than a second, Bill had him down and was on him, and his fists and his elbows and his knees seemed all at work. He afterwards said that his knees worked on Ben's bread basket, which he knew was his weakest part. Ben hollered "enough" in due time, which was considered honorable to do when a feller had enough, and Bill helped him up and brushed the dirt off his clothes, and said, "Now, Ben, is it all over betwixt us, is you and me all right?" And Ben, said, "It's all right 'twixt you and me, Bill; and you are much of a gentleman." Bill invited all hands up to the shelf, and they took a drink, and he and Ben were friends.

        This is enough of Bill Arp--the original, the simon-pure. He was a good soldier in war. He was the wit and the wag of the camp-fires, and made a homesick youth laugh away his melancholy. He was a good citizen in peace. When told that his son was killed he looked no surprise, but simply said: "Major, did he die all right?" When assured that he did, Bill wiped away a falling tear and said, "I only wanted to tell his mother."

        You may talk about heroes and heroines; I have seen all sorts, and so has most everybody who was in the war, but I never saw a more devoted heroine than Bill Arp's wfe. She was a very humble woman, very, and she loved her husband with a love that was passing strange. I have seen that woman in town, three miles from her home, hunting around by night for her husband, going from one saloon to another, and in her kind, loving voice inquiring, "is William here?" Blessings on that poor woman; I have almost cried for her many a time. Poor William, how she loved hm. How tenderly would she take him, when she found him, and lead him home, and bathe


Page 64

his head and put him to bed. She always looked pleased and thankful when asked about him, and would say, "he is a good little man, but you know he has his failings." She loved Bill and he loved her; he was weak and she was strong. There are some such women now, I reckon. I know there are some such men.


Illustration


Page 65

CHAPTER VI.

"BIG JOHN."

        "Big John" was one of the earliest settlers of Rome, and one of her most notable men. For several years he was known by his proper name of John Underwood; but when another John Underwood moved there, the old settler had to be identified by his superior size, and gradually lost his surname, and was known far and near as "Big John." The new comer was a man of large frame, weighing about 225 pounds, but Big John pulled down the scales at a hundred pounds more. He had shorter arms and shorter legs, but his circumference was correspondingly immense. He was notable for his humor and his good humor. The best town jokes came from his jolly, fertile fancy, and his comments on men and things were always original, and as terse and vigorous as ever came from the brain of Dr. Johnson. He was a diamond in the rough. He had lived a pioneer among the Indians of Cherokee, and it was said fell in love with an Indian maid, the daughter of old Tustenuggee, a limited chief, and never married because he could not marry her. But if his disappointment preyed upon his heart, it did not prey long upon the region that enclosed it, for he continued to expand his proportions. He was a good talker and an earnest laugher--whether he laughed and grew fat, or grew fat and laughed, the doctors could not tell which was the cause and which was effect, and it is still in


Page 66

doubt, but I have heard wise men affirm that laughing was the fat man's safety-valve, that if he did not laugh and shake and vibrate frequently, he would grow fatter and fatter, until his epidermic cuticle could not contain his oleaginous corporosity.

        Big John had no patience with the war, and when he looked upon the boys strutting around in uniforms, and fixing up their canteens and haversacks, he seemed as much astonished as disgusted. He sat in his big chair on the sidewalk, and would remark, "I don't see any fun in the like of that. Somebody is going to be hurt, and fighting don't prove anything. Some of our best people in this town are kin to them fellers up North, and I don't see any sense in tearing up families by a fight." He rarely looked serious or solemn, but the impending strife seemed to settle him. "Boys," said he, "I hope to God this thing will be fixed up without a fight, for fighting is a mighty bad business, and I never knowed it to do any good."

        Big John had had a little war experience--that is, he had volunteered in a company to assist in the forcible removal of the Cherokees to the far west in 1835. It was said that he was no belligerent then, but wanted to see that the maiden he loved had a safe transit, and so he escorted the old chief and his clan as far as Tuscumbia, and then broke down and returned to Ross Landing on the Tennessee river. He was too heavy to march, and when he arrived at the Landing, a prisoner was put in his charge for safe keeping. Ross Landing is Chattanooga now, and John Ross lived there, and was one of the chiefs of the Cherokees. The prisoner was his guest, and his name was John Howard Payne. He was suspected of trying to instigate the Cherokees to revolt and fight, and not


Page 67

leave their beautiful forest homes on the Tennessee and Coosa and Oostanaula and the Etowah, or New Town, as it was called, an Indian settlement on the Coosawattee, a few miles east of Calhoun, as now known. There he kept the author of "Home, Sweet Home" under guard, or on his parol of honor, for three weeks, and listened to his music upon the violin, and heard him sing his own songs until orders came for his discharge, and Payne was sent under escort to Washington.

        Many a time have I heard Big John recite his sad adventures. "It was a most distressive business," said he. "Them Injuns was heart-broken; I always knowed an Injun loved his hunting-ground and his rivers, but I never knowed how much they loved 'em before. You know they killed Ridge for consentin' to the treaty. They killed him on the march and they wouldn't bury him. The soldiers had to stop and dig a grave and put him away. John Ross and John Ridge were the sons of two Scotchmen, who came over here when they were young men and mixed up with these tribes and got their good will. These two boys were splendid looking men, tall and handsome, with long auburn hair, and they were active and strong, and could shoot a bow equal to the best bowman of the tribe, and they beat 'em all to pieces on the cross-bow. They married the daughters of the old chiefs, and when the old chiefs died they just fell into line and succeeded to the old chiefs' places, and the tribes liked 'em mighty well for they were good men and made good chiefs. Well, you see Ross dident like the treaty. He said it wasent fair, and that the price of the territory was too low, and the fact is he dident want to go at all. There are the ruins of his old home now over there in DeSoto,


Page 68

close to Rome, and I tell you he was a king. His word was the law of the Injun nations, and he had their love and their respect. His half-breed children were the purtiest things I ever saw in my life. Well, Ridge lived up the Oostanaula river about a mile and he was a good man, too. Ross and Ridge always consulted about everything for the good of the tribes, but Ridge was a more milder man than Ross, and was more easily persuaded to sign the treaty that gave the lands to the State and take other lands away across the Mississippi.

        "Well, it took us a month to get 'em all together and begin the march to the Mississippi, and they wouldn't march then. The women would go out of line and set down in the Woods and go to grieving, and you may believe it or not, but I'll tell you what is a fact, we started with 14,000, and 4,000 of 'em died before we got to Tuscumbia. They died on the side of the road; they died of broken hearts; they died of starvation, for they wouldn't eat a thing; they just died all along the way. We didn't make more than five miles a day on the march, and my company didn't do much but dig graves and bury Injuns all the way to Tuscumbia. They died of grief and broken hearts, and no mistake. An Indian's heart is tender and his love is strong; it's his nature. I'd rather risk an Injun for a true friend than a white man. He is the best friend in the world, and the worst enemy. He has got more gratitude and more revenge in him than anybody."

        Big John's special comfort was a circus. He never missed one, and it was a good part of the show to see him laugh and shake and spread his magnificent face.


Page 69

        He took no pleasure in the quarrels of mankind, and never backed a man in a fight; but when two dogs locked teeth, or two bulls locked horns, or two game chickens locked spurs, he always liked to be about. "It is their nature to fight," said he, "and let 'em fight." He took delight in watching dogs and commenting on their sense and dispositions. He compared them to the men about town, and drew some humorous analogies. "There is Jimmy Jones," said he, "who ripped and splurged around because Georgia wouldn't secede in a minute and a half, and he swore he was going over to South Carolina to fight; and when Georgia did secede shore enough, he didn't join the army at all, and always had some cussed excuse, and when conscription came along, he got on a detail to make potash, con-ding him, and when that played out he got him a couple of track dogs and got detailed to catch runaway prisoners. Just so I've seen dogs run up and down the palings like they was dying to get to one another, and so one day I picked up my dog by the nape of the neck and dropped him over on the outside. I never knowed he could jump that fence before, but he bounced back like an Indian rubber ball, and the other dog streaked it down the sidewalk like the dickens was after him. Dogs are like folks, and folks are like dogs, and a heap of 'em want the palings between. Jack Bogin used to strut round and whip the boys in his beat, and kick 'em around, because he knew he could do it, for he had the most muscle; but he couldn't look a brave man in the eye, muscle or no muscle, and I've seen him shut up quick when he met one. A man has got to be right to be brave, and I had rather see a bully get a licking than to eat sugar."


Page 70

CHAPTER VII.

THE ROMAN RUNAGEE.

ATLANTA, GA., May 22, 1864.

        MR. EDITOR: "Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow," as somebody said, I am seeking a log in some vast wilderness, a lonely roost in some Okeefinokee swamp, where the foul invaders cannot travel nor their pontoon bridges float. If Mr. Shakespeare were correct when he wrote that "sweet are the juices of adversity," then it is reasonable to suppose that me and my folks, and many others, must have some sweetening to spare. When a man is aroused in the dead of night, and smells the approach of the foul invader; when he feels constrained to change his base and become a runagee from his home, leaving behind him all those ususary things, which hold body and soul together; when he looks, perhaps the last time upon his lovely home where he has been for many delightful years raising children and chickens, strawberries and peas, lye soap and onions, and all such luxuries of this sublunary life; when he imagines every unusual sound to be the crack of his earthly doom; when from such influences he begins a dignified retreat, but soon is constrained to leave the dignity behind, and get away, without regard to the order of his going--if there is any sweet juice in the like of that, I haven't been able to see it. No, Mr. Editor, such scenes never happened in Bill Shakespeare's day, or he wouldn't have written that line.

        I don't know that the lovely inhabitants of your


Page 71

beautiful city need any forewarnings, to make 'em avoid the breakers upon which our vessel was wrecked, but for fear they should some day shake their gory locks at me, I will make public a brief allusion to some of the painful circumstances which lately occurred in the eternal city.

        Not many days ago the everlasting Yankees (may they live always when the devil gets 'em) made a valiant assault upon the city of the hills--the eternal city, where for a hundred years the Indian rivers have been blending their waters peacefully together--where the Cherokee children built their flutter mills, and toyed with frogs and tadpoles whilst these majestic streams were but little spring branches babbling along their sandy beds. For three days and nights our valiant troops had beat back the foul invader, and saved our pullets from their devouring jaws. For three days and nights we bade farewell to every fear, luxuriating upon the triumph of our arms, and the sweet juices of our strawberries and cream. For three days and nights fresh troops from the South poured into our streets with shouts that made the welkin ring, and the turkey bumps rise all over the flesh of our people. We felt that Rome was safe-- secure against the assault of the world, the flesh and the devil, which last individual is supposed to be that horde of foul invaders who are seeking to flank us out of both bread and existence.

        But alas for human hopes! Man that is born of woman (and there is no other sort that I know of) has but a few days that is not full of trouble. Although the troops did shout; although their brass band music swelled upon the gale; although the turkey bumps rose as the welkin rung) although the commanding general assured us that Rome was to


Page 72

be held at every hazard, and that on to-morrow the big battle was to be fought, and the foul invaders hurled all howling and bleeding to the shores of the Ohio, yet it transpired somehow that on Tuesday night the military evacuation of our city was peremptorily ordered. No note of warning - no whisper of alarm - no hint of the morrow came from the muzzled lips of him who had lifted our hopes so high. Calmly and coolly we smoked our killikinick, and surveyed the embarkation of troops, construing it to be some grand manoeuvre of military strategy. About ten o'clock we retired to rest, to dream of tomorrow's victory. Sleep soon overpowered us like the fog that covered the earth, but nary bright dream had come, nary vision of freedom and glory. On the contrary, our rest was uneasy - strawberries and cream seemed to be holding secession meetings within our corporate limits, when suddeny, in the twinkling of an eye, a friend aroused us from our slumber and put a new phase upon the "situation." General Johnston was retreating, and the foul invaders were to pollute our sacred soil the next morning. Then came the tug of war. With hot and feverish haste we started out in search of transportation, but nary transport could be had. Time-honored friendship, past favors shown, everlasting gratitude, numerous small and lovely children, Confederate currency, new issues, bank bills, black bottles, and all influences were urged and used to secure a corner in a car; but nary corner--too late--too late--the pressure for time was fearful and tremendous--the steady clock moved on--no Joshua about to lengthen out the night, no rolling stock, no steer, no mule. With reluctant and hasty steps, we prepared to make good our exit by that overland line


Page 73

which railroads do not control, nor A. Q. M.s impress.

        With our families and a little clothing, we crossed the Etowah bridge about the break of day on Wednesday, the 17th of May, 1864, exactly a year and two weeks before the time when General Forrest marched in triumph through our streets. By and by the bright rays of the morning sun dispersed the heavy fog, which like a pall of death had overspread all nature. Then were exhibited to our afflicted gaze a highway crowded with wagons and teams, cattle and hogs, niggers and dogs, women and children, all moving in disheveled haste to parts unknown. Mules were braying, cattle were lowing, hogs were squealing, sheep were bleating, children were crying, wagoners were cursing, whips were popping, and horses stalling, but still the grand caravan moved on. Everybody was continually looking behind, and driving before--everybody wanted to know everything, and nobody knew anything. Ten thousand wild rumors filled the circumambient air. The everlasting cavalry was there, and as they dashed to and fro gave false alarms of the enemy being in hot pursuit.

        About this most critical juncture of affairs, some philanthropic friends passed by with the welcome news that the bridge was burnt, and the danger all over. Then ceased the panic; then came the peaceful calm of heroes after the strife of war is over--then exclaimed Frank Ralls, my demoralized friend, "Thank the good Lord for that. Bill, let's return thanks and stop and rest--boys, let me get out and lie down. I'm as humble as a dead nigger--I tell you the truth--I sung the long metre doxology as I crossed the Etowah bridge, and I expected to be a


Page 74

dead man in fifteen minutes. Be thankful, fellows, let's all be thankful--the bridge is burnt, and the river is three miles deep. God sakes, do you reckon those Yankees can swim? Get up, boys--let's drive ahead and keep moving--I tell you there's no accounting for anything with blue clothes on these days--ding'd if I ain't afraid of a blue-tailed fly."

        With a most distressing flow of language, he continued his rhapsody of random remarks.

        Then there was that trump of good fellows, Big John - as clever as he is fat, and as fat as old Falstaff--with indefatigable diligence he had secured, as a last resort, a one-horse steer spring wagon, with a low, flat body setting on two rickety springs. Being mounted thereon, he was urging a more speedy locomotion by laying on to the carcass of the poor old steer with a thrash-pole ten feet long. Having stopped at a house, he procured a two-inch auger, and boring a hole through the dashboard, pulled the steer's tail through and tied up the end in a knot. "My running gear is weak," said he, "but I don't intend to be stuck in the mud. If the body holds good, and the steer don't pull out his tail, why, Bill, I am safe." "My friend," said I, "will you please inform me what port you are bound for, and when you expect to reach it?" "No port at all, Bill," said he, "I am going dead straight to the big Stone Mountain. I am going to get on the top and roll rocks down upon all mankind. I now forewarn every living thing not to come there until this everlasting foolishness is over." He was then but three miles from town, and had been traveling the live-long night. Ah, my big friend, thought I, when wilt thou arrive at thy journey's end? In the language of Patrick Henry, will it be the next week or the


Page 75

next year? Oh, that I could write a poem, I would embalm thy honest face in epic verse. But I was in a right smart hurry myself, and only had time to drop his memory a passing rhyme.


                        Farewell, Big John, farewell!
                        'Twas painful to my heart
                        To see thy chances of escape,
                        Was that old steer and cart.


                        Methinks I see thee now,
                        With axletrees all broke,
                        And wheels with nary hub at all,
                        and hubs with nary spoke.


                        But though the mud is deep,
                        Thy wits will never fail;
                        That faithful steer will pull thee out,
                        If he don't pull out his tail.

        Mr. Editor, under such variegated scenes we reported progress, and in course of time arrived under the shadow of thy city's wings, abounding in gratitude and joy.

        With sweet and patient sadness, the tender hearts of our wives and daughters beat mournfully as we moved along. Often, alas, how often was the tear seen swimming in the eye, and the lips quivering with emotion, as memory lingered around deserted homes, and thoughts dwelt upon past enjoyments and future desolation. We plucked the wildflowers as we passed, sang songs of merriment, exchanged our wit with children--smothering by every means, the sorrow of our fate. These things, together with the comic events that occurred by the way, were the safety-valves that saved the poor heart from bursting. But for these our heads would have been fountains and our hearts a river of tears. Oh, if some


Page 76

kind friend would set our retreat to music, it would be greatly appreciated indeed. It should be a plaintive tune, interspersed with occasional comic notes, and frequent fugues scattered promiscuously along.

        Our retreat was conducted in excellent order, after the bridge was burnt. If there was any straggling at all, they straggled ahead. It would have delighted General Johnston to have seen the alacrity of our movements.

        But I must close this melancholy narrative, and hasten to subscribe myself, Your runagee,

        

BILL ARP.

P. S.--Tip is still faithful unto the end. He says the old turkey we left behind has been setting for fourteen weeks, and the fowl invaders are welcome to her. Furthermore, that he threw a dead cat into the well, and they are welcome to that. B. A.


Page 77

CHAPTER VIII.

HIS LATE TRIALS AND ADVENTURES

        Some frog-eating Frenchman has written a book and called it "Lee's Miserables," or some other such name, which I suppose contains the misfortunes of poor refugees in the wake of the Virginny army. General Hood has also got a few miserables in the suburbs of his fighting-ground, and if any man given to romance would like a fit subject for a weeping narrative, we are now ready to furnish the mournful material.

        As the Yankees remarked at Bull Run, "those are the times that try men's soles," and I suppose my interesting family is now prepared to show stone bruises and blisters with anybody. It is a long story, Mr. Editor, and cannot possibly be embraced in a single column of your wandering newspaper; but I will condense it as briefly as possible, smoothing over the most affecting parts, so as not to occasion too great a diffusion of sympathetic tears.

        After our hasty flight from the eternal city, we became converted over to the doctrine of squatter sovereignty, and pitched our tents in the piney woods. Afar off in those fields of illimitable space, we roamed through the abstruse regions of the philosophic world. There no unfriendly soldier was perusing around and asking for papers. There the melancholy mind was soothed. There the lonely runagee could contemplate the sandy roads, the wire-grass woods, and the millions of majestic pines that stood


Page 78

like ten-pins in an alley, awaiting some huge cannonball to come along and knock 'em down. The mountain scenery in this romantic country was grand, gloomy and peculiar, consisting in numberless gopher-hills, spewed up in promiscuous beauty as far as the eye could reach. All around us the swamp frogs were warbling their musical notes. All above us the pines were sighing and singing their mournful tunes. Dame Nature has spread herself there in showing her lavish hand, and wasting timber along those endless glades. Truly, we were treading on classic ground, for we pitched our tents in a blackberry patch, and morning, noon and night, luxuriated in peace upon the delicious fruit which everywhere adorned the sandy earth.

        But those piney woods to which we fled did not by any means agree with our ideas of future comfort. After it had rained some forty days and forty nights without a recess, the corn crop had pretty well died out, and General Starvation seemed about to assume command of the region around about.

        We felt constrained to depart from those coasts, and seek an Egypt somewhere in a rounder and more rolling country. So we took the train for Atlanta and designed to take roundance from there and find a retreat away up the Chattahoochee river where Mrs. Arp's father lived.

        All along the line, at every station, pretty women got on and got off. When they leave us, an affectionate man like myself unconsciously whispers, "Depart in peace, ye treasures of delight." Casting a longing, lingering look behind, I exclaimed in the beautiful language of Mr. Shakespeare, 'I have thee not, but yet I see thee still.' Farewell, sweet darlings, until I come again. But woman is sometimes very variegated


Page 79

and peculiar in the way she does. I am just reminded how, on a late occasion, I found but one vacant seat in the car after I located my numerous and interesting family. A luxurious lady, with some aggravating curls, had occupied nearly all of a seat, spreading herself like a setting-hen, all over the velvet cushion. "Madam, can I share this seat with you?" said I. "Certainly sir," and she closed in her skirts some several inches. In a short space of time she became affected with drowsiness. Her neck became as limber as a greasy rag. Leaning on my shoulder, she seemed wonderfully affectionate, as her head kept bobbing around, and I felt very peculiar at such times as she would subside into my palpitating bosom. About this critical juncture, I ventured to turn my astonished gaze towards Mrs. Arp, and seeing that she was waiting for some remark, I observed, "Hadn't I better remove my seat? Do you think I can endure the like of this?"

        "I do not, William," said she. "You had better stand up awhile, and when you get tired some of the children will relieve you." The glance of her eye and the manner in which she spoke brought me up standing, and gave me a correct view of the situation. Immediately I assumed a perpendicular attitude, and the curly head was left without a prop. I assure you, Mr. Editor, a man's wife is the best judge of such peculiar things; and as for me, I am always governed by it.

        We arrived in Atlanta about the time the first big shells commenced scattering their unfeeling contents among the suburbs of that devoted city. Then came the big panics; then shrieked the man-eater; then howled the wild hyena among the hills of Babylon.


Page 80

        All sorts of people seemed moving in all sorts of ways, with an accelerated motion. They gained ground on their shadows as they leaned forward on the run, and their legs grew longer at every step. With me it was the second ringing of the first bell. I had sorter got used to the thing, and set myself down to take observations. "How many miles of Milybright?" said I. But no response came, for their legs were as long as light, and every bursting shell was an old witch on the road. Cars was the all in all. Depots were the center of space, converging lines from every point of the compass made tracks to the offices of railroad superintendents. These functionaries very prudently vamoosed the ranch to avoid their too numerous friends, leaving positive orders to their subordinates. The passenger depot was thronged with anxious seekers of transportation. I "Won't you let these boxes go as baggage?" "No, madam, it is impossible." Just then somebody's family trunk as big as a nitre bureau was shoved in, and the poor woman got desperate. "All I've got ain't as heavy as that," said she; "I am a poor widow, and my husband was killed in the army. I've got five children, and three of them cutting teeth, and my things have got to go." We took up, her boxes and shoved them in. Another good woman asked very anxiously for the Macon train. "There it is, madam," said I. She shook her head mournfully and remarked, "You are mistaken, sir, don't you see the engine is headed right up the State road, towards the Yankees? I shan't take any train with the engine at that end of it. No, sir, that ain't the Macon train." Everybody was hurrying to and fro at a lively tune. "What's today, nigger?" said a female darkey with a hoopskirt on her arm. "Taint


Page 81

no day, honey, dat ever I seed. Yesterday was Sunday, and I reckon today is Runday from de way de white folks are movin' about. Yah, yah; ain't afeered of Yankees myself, but dem sizzin' bumshells kills a nigger quicker dan you can lick your tongue out. Gwine to getaway from here - I is."

        I went into a doctor's shop, and found my friend packing up his vials and poisons and copiva and such like. Various excited individuals dame in, looked at a big map on the wall, and pointed out the roads to McDonough and Eatonton and Jasper, and soon their proposed lines of travel were easily and greasily visible from the impression of their perspiring fingers. An old skeleton, with but one leg, was swinging from the ceiling looking like a mournful emblem of the fate of the troubled city. "You are going to leave him to stand guard, doctor?" said I. "I suppose I will," said he; "got no transportation for him." "Take the screw out of his skull," said I "and give him a crutch, maybe he will travel; all flesh is moving and I think the bones will catch the contagion soon."

        A few doors further, and a venerable auctioneer was surveying the rushing, running crowd, and every now and then he would raise his arm with a seesaw motion and exclaim, "Going--going--gone! Who's the bidder?" "Old Daddy Time," said I, "he'll get them all before long." The door of an old friend's residence swung open to my gaze, and I walked in. Various gentlemen of my acquaintance were discussing their evidences of propriety over a jug of departing spirits. "I believe I'll unpack," said one. "Dinged if I'm afraid of a blue-tailed fly; I'm going to sit down and be easy." "In a horn,"


Page 82

said I. Just then a sizzing, singing, crazy shell sung a short- metre hymn right over the house. "Jake, has the dray come?" he said, bouncing to his feet: "confound that dray-- blame my skin if I'll ever get a dray to move these things-- boys, lets all stay; durned if it don't look cowardly to run! Boys, here's to-who shall we drink to?" "Here's to Cassabianca," said I. "Good, good," they all shouted. "Here's to Cabysianka. Let me speak it for you, boys," said out host; "I've spoken it a thousand times." He mounted the seat of a broken sofa, and spreading himself, declaimed:


                        "The boy stood on the burning deck,
                        When all had fled but him."

        "That's me," said one. "It's me exactly," said another. "I'm Babysianka myself--dog my cat if I don't be the last one to leave this ship." Another shell sizzed, and bursted a few yards off. "Boys, let's take another drink and leave the town-- dod rot the Yankees." "Here's to--the--the 'Last of the Mohicans,' " said I. "Exactly--that's so. I'm him myself. I'm the mast of the Lohikens; durned if I'll leave these diggins as long as--as long as--" "As the State road," said I, "which is now about four inches and a half." "That's it; that's so," said my friends. "Here's to the State road and Dr. Brown and Joe Phillips, as long as four inches and a half."

        By and by the shells fell as thick as Governor Brown's proclamations, causing a more speedy locomotion in the excited throng who hurried by the door, but my friends inside had passed the Rubicon, and one by one retired to dream of Bozarris and, his Suliote band. Vacant rooms and long corridors


Page 83

echoed with their snores, and they appeared like sleeping heroes in the halls of the Montezumas.

        Contagious diseases are said to be catching, and the Atlanta big panics brought the Atlanta folk to an active perpendicular quicker than all the physics ever seen in a city drug store. It certainly has a tendency to arouse the dormant energies of feeble invalids. Weak backs and lame legs, old chronics and rheumatics, in fact, all the internal diseases which honest fear of powder and ball had developed since the war begun, were now forgotten in the general flight; and the examination boards could have seen many a discharge invalidated, and a living, moving lie given to their certificates.

        All day and all night the iron horses were snorting to the echoing breeze. Train after train of goods and chattels moved down the road, leaving hundreds of anxious faces waiting their return. There was no method in this madness. All kinds of plunder was tumbled in promiscuously. A huge parlor mirror, some six feet by eight, all bound in elegant gold, with a brass buzzard spreading his wings on top, was set up at the end of the car and reflected a beautiful assortment of parlor furniture to match, such as pots, kettles, baskets, bags, barrels, kegs, bacon and bedsteads piled up together. Government officials had the preference and government officials all have friends. Any clever man with a charming wife or a pretty sister could secure a corner in more cars than one, and I will privately mention to you, Mr. Editor, that I have found a heap of civility on this account myself. Indeed, I have always thought that no man is excusable who has not either one or the other.


Page 84

CHAPTER IX.

BILL ARP ADDRESSES ARTEMUS WARD.

ROME, GA., September 1, 1865. MR. ARTEMUS WARD, Showman -

        SIR: The reason I write to you in particler, is because you are about the only man I know in all "God's country," so-called. For some several weeks I have been wantin' to say sumthin'. For some several years we rebs, so-called, but now late of said country deceased, have been tryin' mighty hard to do somethin'. We didn't quite do it, and now it's very painful, I assure you, to dry up all of a sudden, and make out like we wasn't there.

        My friends, I want to say somethin'. I suppose there is no law agin thinkin', but thinkin' don't help me. It don't let down my themometer. I must explode myself generally so as to feel better. You see I'm tryin' to harmonize. I'm tryin' to soften down my feelin's. I'm endeavoring to subjugate myself to the level of surroundin' circumstances, so-called. But I can't do it until I am allowed to say somethin'. I want to quarrel with somebody and then make friends. I ain't no giant-killer. I ain't no Norwegian bar. I ain't no boa-constrickter, but I'll be horn-swaggled if the talkin' and writin' and slanderin' has got to be all done on one side any longer. Sum of your folks have got to dry up or turn our folks loose. It's a blamed outrage, so-called. Ain't you editors got nothin' else to do but peck at us, and squib at us, and crow over us? Is every man


Page 85

what can write a paragraph to consider us bars in a cage, and be always a-jobbin' at us to hear us growl? Now, you see, my friend, that's what's disharmonious, and do you jest tell 'em one and all, e pluribus unum, so-called, that if they don't stop it at once or turn us loose to say what we please, why, why, we rebs, so-called, have unanimously and jointly and severally resolved to--to--to--think very hard of it--if not harder.

        That's the way to talk it. I ain't agoin' to commit myself. I know when to put on the brakes. I ain't goin' to say all I think. Nary time. No, sir. But I'll jest tell you, Artemus, and you may tell it to your show. If we ain't allowed to express our sentiments, we can take it out in hatin'; and hatin' runs heavy in my family, sure. I hated a man once so bad that all the hair cum off my head, and the man drowned himself in a hog-waller that night. I could do it agin, but you see I'm tryin' to harmonize, to acquiess, to becum calm and sereen.

        Now, I suppose that, poetically speakin',


                        "In Dixie's fall,
                        We sinned all."

        But talkin' the way I see it, a big feller and a little feller so-called, got into a fite, and they fout and fout a long time, and everybody all 'round kept hollerin', "hands off," but helpin' the big feller, until finally the little feller caved in and hollered enuf. He made a bully fite, I tell you. Well, what did the big feller do? Take him by the hand and help him up, and brush the dirt off his clothes? Nary time! No, sur! But he kicked him arter he was down, and throwed mud on him, and drugged him about and rubbed sand in his eyes, and now he's gwine about huntin' up his


Page 86

poor little property. Wants to confiscate it, so-called. Blame my jacket if it ain't enuf to make your head swim.

        But I'm a good Union man, so-called. I ain't agwine to fight no more. I shan't vote for the next war. I ain't no gurilla. I've done tuk the oath, and I'm gwine to keep it, but as for my being subjugated, and humilyated and amalgamated, and enervated, as Mr. Chase says, it ain't so-- nary time. I ain't ashamed of nuthin' neither--ain't repentin' - ain't axin' for no one-horse, short-winded pardon. Nobody needn's be playin' priest around me. I ain't got no twenty thousand dollars. Wish I had; I'd give it to these poor widders and orfins. I'd fatten my own numerous and interestin' offspring in about two minutes and a half. They shouldn't eat roots and drink branch-water no longer. Poor unfortunate things! to cum into this subloonary world at such a time. There's Bull Run Arp, and Harper's Ferry Arp, and Chicahominy Arp, that never saw the pikters in a spellin' book. I tell you, my friends, we are the poorest people on the face of the earth--but we are poor and proud. We made a bully fite, and the whole American nation ought to feel proud of it. It shows what Americans can do when they think they are imposed upon. Didn't our four fathers fight, bleed and die about a little tax on tea, when not one in a thousand drunk it? Bekaus they succeeded, wasn't it glory? But if they hadn't, I suppose it would have been treason, and they would have been bowin' and scrapin' round King George for pardon. So it goes, Artemus, and to my mind, if the whole thing was stewed down it would make about half a pint of humbug. We had good men, great men, Christian men, who thought we was


Page 87

right, and many of them have gone to the undiscovered country, and have got a pardon as is a pardon. When I die I am mighty willing to risk myself under the shadow of their wings, whether the climate be hot or cold. So mote it be.

        Well, maybe I've said enough. But I don't feel easy yet. I'm a good Union man, certain and sure. I've had my breeches died blue, and I've bot a blue bucket, and I very often feel blue, and about twice in a while I go to the doggery and git blue, and then I look up at the blue cerulean heavens and sing the melanchonly chorus of the Blue-tailed Fly. I'm doin' my durndest to harmonize, and think I could succeed if it wasn't for sum things.

        I don't want much. I ain't ambitious, as I used to was. You all have got your shows and monkeys and sircusses and brass bands and organs, and can play on the patrolyum and the harp of a thousand strings, and so on, but I've only got one favor to ax you. I want enough powder to kill a big yaller stump-tail dog that prowls around my premises at night. Pon my honor, I won't shoot at anything blue or black or mulatter. Will you send it? Are you and your folks so skeered of me and my folks that you won't let us have any ammunition? Are the squirrels and crows and black raccons, to eat up our little corn-patches? Are the wild turkeys to gobble all around with impunity? If a mad dog takes the hiderphoby, is the whole community to run itself to death to get out of the way? I golly! it looks like your people had all took the rebelfoby for good, and was never gwine to get over it. See here, my friend, you must send me a little powder and a ticket to your show, and me and you will harmonize sertin.


Page 88

        With these few remarks I think I feel better, and I hope I hain't made nobody fightin' mad, for I'm not on that line at this time.

        I am truly your friend, all present or accounted for.


Page 89

CHAPTER X.

SMOKING THE PIPE OF PEACE.

        I love to meet a nabor and hear him say; "how's craps?" I continue to like farmin'. I like it better and better, except that the wheat is sumwhat doubtful about making a crop. A little long bug with a tail at both ends has got in the joints and sucked the sap out, and it's fallin' down in patches. Looks like there is always somethin' preyin on somethin', and nothin' is safe from disaster in this subloonary world. Flies and bugs and rust prey on the green wheat. Weevils eat it up when it's cut and put away. Rats eat the corn-- moles eat the gubbers--hawks eat the chickens--the minks killed three of our ducks in one night--cholera kills the hogs and the other night one of my nabor's mules cum along with the blind staggers and fell up a pair of seven steps right into my front gate and died without kickin'. Then there is briars and nettles and tread safts, and smartweed and poison that's always in the way on a farm, and must be looked after keerfully, especially snakes, which are my eternal horror, and I shall always believe are sum kin to the devil himself. I can't tolerate such long insects. But we farmers have to take the bad with the good, and there is more good than bad with me up to the present time.

        I wonder if Harris ever saw a pack saddle. Well, it's as pretty as a rainbow, just like the most all of the devil's contrivances, and when you crowd one of 'em on a fodderblade you'd think that forty yaller


Page 90

jackets had stung you all in a bunch and with malice aforethought. And there's the devil's race horse which plies around about this time and, Uncle Isam says, chaws tobakker like a gentleman, and if he spit in your eyes you'd go blind in a half a second. And one day he showed me the devil's darning needle which mends up the old fellow's stockins, and the devil's snuff box which explodes when you mash it, and one ounce of the stuff inside will kill a sound mule before he can lay down. Then there's some flowers that he wears in his button-hole called the devil Is shoestring and the devil in the bush.

        I like farmin'. Its an honest, quiet life, and it does me so much good to work and get all over in a sweat of prespiration. I enjoy my umble food and my repose, and get up every mornin' renewed and rejuvenated like an eagle in his flight, or words to that effect. I know I shall like it more and more, for we have already passed over the Rubycon, and are beginnin' to reap the rewards of industry. Spring chickens have got ripe, and the hens keep bloomin' on. Over 200 now respond to my wife's call every morning, as she totes around the bread tray a-singin' tcheeky, tcheeky, tcheeky. I tell you, she watches those birds close for she knows the value of 'em. She was raised a Methodist, she was, and many a time has watched through the crack of the door sadly, and seen the preachers helped to the last gizzard in the dish. There was 54 chickens, 7 ducks, 5 goslins, 12 turkeys and seven pigs, hatched out last week, and Daisy had a calf and Mollie a colt, besides. This looks like bisness, don't it? This is what I call successful farmin'-- multiplying and replenishing according to Scripter. Then we have a plenty of peas and potatoes and other garden yerbs, which helps a


Page 91

poor man out, and by the 4th of July will have wheat bread and buiskit and blackberry pies, and pass a regular declaration of independence.

        I like farmin'. I like latitude and longitude. When we were penned up in town my children couldn't have a slingshot, or a bow and arrow, nor a chicken fight in the back yard, nor sick a dog on another dog, nor let off a big Injun whoop, without some neighbor making a fuss about it. And then, again, there was a show, or a dance, or a bazar, or a missionary meeting most every night, and it did look like the children were just obleeged to go, or the world would come to an end. It was money, money, money all the time, but now there isn't a store or a milliner shop within five miles of us, and we do our own work, and have learned what it costs to make a bushel of corn and a barrel of flour, and by the time Mrs. Arp has nursed and raised a lot of chickens and turkeys, she thinks so much of 'em she don't want us to kill 'em, and they are a heap better and fatter than any we used to buy. We've got a great big fireplace in the family room, and can boil the coffee, or heat a kettle of water on the hearth if we want to, for we are not on the lookout for company all the time like we used to be. We don't cook half as much as we used to, nor waste a whole parsel every day on the darkey, and we eat what is set before us, and are thankful.

        It's a wonder to me that everybody don't go to farmin'. Lawyers and doctors have to set about town and play checkers, and talk politics and wait for somebody to quarrel or fight, or get sick; clerks and book-keepers figure and multiply and count until they get to counting the stars and the flies on the ceiling, and the peas in the dish, and the flowers


Page 92

on the papering; the jeweler sits by his window all the year round, working on little wheels, and the mechanic strikes the same kind of a lick every day. These people do not belong to themselves; they are all penned up like convicts in a chain-gang; they can't take a day nor an hour for recreation, for they are the servants of their employers. There is no profession that gives a man such freedom, such latitude, and such a variety of employment as farmin'.

        While I was ruminating this morning, a boy come along and said the dogs had treed something down in the bottom. So me and my boys shouldered the guns and an ax, and took Mrs. Arp and the children along to see the sport. We cut down a hollow gum tree, and caught a 'possum and two squirrels, and killed a rabbit on the run, and had a good time generally, with no loss on our side. We can stop work most any time to give welcome to a passing friend and have a little chat, and our nabors do the same by us; but if you go into one of these factories or workshops, or even a printing office, the first signboard that greets you says, "Don't talk to the workmen." Sociable crowd, ain't it?

        There's no monotony upon the farm. There's something new every day, and the changing work brings into action every muscle in the human frame. We plow and hoe, and harrow and sow, and gather it in at harvest time. We look after the horses and cows, the pigs and sows, and the rams and the lambs, and the chickens, and the turkeys, and geese. We cut our own wood, and raise our own bread and meat, and don't have to be stingy of it like city folks. A friend, who visited us not long ago, wrote back from the town, that his grate don't seem bigger


Page 93

than the crown of his hat since he sat by our great big friendly fireplace.

        But they do git the joak 'on me sometimes, for you see, I'm farmin' according to schedule, and it don't always make things exactly luminous. Fur instance, it is said that cotton seed is an excellent fertilizer. Well, I had 'em, and as they was a clean, nice thing to handle, I put 'em under most everything in my garding. I was a-runnin' ingun sets heavy, and one mornin' went out to peruse 'em. and I saw the straight track of a big mole under every row. He jest histed 'em all up about three inches. He hadn't eat nary one, and thinks to myself, he's goin' around a-smellin' of 'em. Next mornin' all my sets was a settin' about six inches up in the air and on top of the thickest stand of cotton you ever did see. Now, if I had known about spilin' of 'em, as my nabors call it, before used 'em it would have been more luminous. Howsoever, I knifed 'em down and set the inguns back again, and nobody ain't got a finer crop.

        It's a great comfort to me to set in my piazzer these pleasant evenings and look over the farm, and smoke the pipe of peace, and ruminate. Ruminate upon the rise and fall of empires and parties and presidents and preachers. I think when a man has passed the Rubicon of life, and seen his share of trouble smokin' is allowable, for it kinder reconciles him to live on a while longer and promotes philosophic reflections. I never knowed a high-tempered man to be fond of it.

        I may be mistaken, but it seems to me a little higher grade of happiness to look out upon the green fields of wheat and the leafing trees and the blue mountains in the distance and hear the dove


Page 94

cooing to her mate, and the whipporwill sing a welcome to the night, and hunt flowers and bubbly blossoms with the children, and make whistles for 'em and hear 'em blow, and see 'em get after a jumpin' frog or a garter snake, and hunt hen's nests, and paddle in the branch and get dirty and wet all over, and watch their penitent and subduded expression when they go home, as Mrs. Arp looks at 'em with amazement and exclaims, "Mercy on me; did ever a poor mother have such a set? Will I ever get done making clothes? Put these on right clean this morning, and not another clean rag in the house! Get me a switch, right straight; go! I will not stand it!" But she will stand it, and they know it - especially if I remark, "Yes, they ought to be whipped." That saves 'em and by the time the switch comes the tempest is over and some dry clothes are found, and if there is any cake in the house they get it. Blessed mother! Fortunate children! What would they do without her? Why her very scolding is music in their tender ears. I'm thankful that there are some things in that corner in the domestic circle that Wall street cannot buy nor money kings depress.


Page 95

CHAPTER XI.

TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS.

         "All the world's a stage," as Mr. Shakespeare says, and all the men and women merely travelers. It is a mighty big stage, of course--in fact, an omnibus, for it carries us all, and we are traveling along and getting in and getting out all along the line, and ever and anon stopping by the wayside to nurse our sick and bury our dead. There is nothing else that puts on the brakes as we move down the big road on the journey of life. Sickness and death are a veto upon all progress, and upon plans, and schemes, and hopes, and ambition, and fame, and fashion and folly. We suffer awile and stop awile, but if we don't die we get in the stage again and move on with the crowd. Sickness knocks up a man and humbles him quicker than anything. Just let the pitiless angel of pain come along suddenly and seize him by some vital part and twist him around a time or two and shake him up, and he will know better what the word torture means when he reads it in a book. I thought I was a strong man and tough, and so the angel has had no terrors for me. I've had the toothache and mashed my big toe with a crow-bar and got around lively with a green-corn dance, but after it was over I forgot the sting of it and only remembered the joke. But there are some things without any joke, and that won't let you forget 'em, and when they come and go they leave you humbled and hacked and as meek as a lamb with his legs tied. They take away your


Page 96

pride, and your brag and your starch and stiffening. They strip you of flowers and frills and thread lace and jewelry, and leave a poor mortal like a dependent beggar for the charity of health, good health. "If I was only well again," the poor victim sighs: "Oh, if I was only well again."

        When a man gets along to my age he forgets that he is on the down grade; that he is like a second-hand wagon patched up and painted and sold at auction to the highest bidder. It will run mighty well on a smooth road and a light load and a careful driver, but it won't do to lock wheels with another, or run into a gully, or over stumps, or up to the hubs in the low grounds. A man is very much like a wagon, anyhow, for his shoulders and hips are the axle-trees and his arms and legs are the wheels and the wagon-body is his body and the coupling-pole is his spine and the hounds are his kidneys--his reins, as the Scriptures call 'em--and they brace up everything and hold up the tongue and the coupling-pole, and if the hounds are weak and rickety the hind wheels don't track with the fore wheels, and the whole concern moves along with a hitch and a jerk and a double wabble. "He tryeth the reins of the children of men," for that was the test of a man. If the kidneys were sound and well ordered the man was right before the Lord, for in them was supposed to be centered the affections and passions and emotions of a man. Those old-time philosophers attached a good deal of importance to the kidneys, but I thought it was a superstition of their ignorance, and I never cared much about my kidneys. In fact, I didn't care whether I had any kidneys or not, for I was thinking what Judge Underwood told me a long time ago about the spleen, which he said was only put there to make


Illustration


Page 97

men splenetic and cross, and keep 'em from getting overjoyful in this subloonary world. I thought that maybe the kidneys were like the liver of a man over in California, which was crushed out of him in a mine some fifty years ago, when he was about fifty years old, but he was sewed up and got well, and he is a hundred years old and not a hair turned grey, nor a wrinkle come, nor his eyes grown dim, nor his teeth come out, and he keeps well and sound and plump and active, and goes to balls, and never has an ache or a pain, and its all because his liver is gone. Jesso.

        Well, you see I had promised to build a dam across the branch down in the willow thicket and make a bathing pool for the children; and so a few days ago I went at it with a will, and got my timbers across and my boards nailed on slanting up the stream to a rock bottom, and then I put on some old boots and went to chinkin' up the leaks with turf and gravel and willow brush and sand bags, and as fast as I stopped one leak another broke out; but I worked fast and worked hard, and the children waited on me and brought me material, and after a while the water began to rise on me, and got higher till it went over the dam. It was then about noon, and the hot sun was blistering down and the cold spring water was chilling me up, and I begun to feel age and infirmity; so I took a bath myself, and put on dry clothes and retired to rest from my labors. That evening I listened to the shouts of happy children as they frolicked in the pool, and I rejoiced, for it always makes me happy to see them happy. The next day I dident get up well, and I was a knockin' around in my garden, a holdin' up my back, shore enough,


Page 98

without any warnin', the unfeelin' angel of pain come along suddenly and snapped me up by the left kidney like he wanted to wrestle, and took an underholt, and he spun me around with such a jerk I almost lost my breath with agony, and he pummeled me and humped me all the way to the house, and threw me on the bed while I hollered. "What in the world is the matter with you, William?" says my wife, Mrs. Arp, says she to me; and the children all gathered around and thought I was snake bit. "I've got a turrible pain round here." says I; "turrible, turrible. Oh. Lordy!" They filled up the stove in a hurry, and brought water; and they gave me camphor, and paregoric, and one thing and another; but I got worse, and groaned and grunted amazingly, for I tell you I was sufferin'.

        "I expected it! I expected it!" says Mrs. Arp, as she moved round lively. "I just knew some trouble would come from all that dam business of yesterday." My stomach had suddenly gone out of order--I don't know how--for everything they give me come up before it was down; and so they tried salts and quinine and hot water and painkiller, and morphine and magnum bonum, and everything in the house, but nothing would stick. and at last the pain left just as suddenly as it came on, and I went to sleep. But my system was all out of order; the machinery wouldn't work nowhere. The cold sweat poured from me all night, and I dreamed I was away off in a wet prairie, lying down in the cold grass, hiding from a herd of buffaloes, and I woke up with a shaking ague and had to have my night clothes changed and dried like a race horse.

        The morning brought another attack worse than the first, but the good Dr. Kirkpatrick came in time


Page 99

and put me on morphine and spirits of nitre, a hot bath and shortened up the time, and told me my trouble was in the kidneys, and what was going on. ble, and could look around on my wife and children and when he left me I was easy and meek and humble.. and could look around on my wife and chldren like nobody was a sinner but me. When I was awake I could look up at the old whitewash that was peeling off from the ceiling, and see all sorts of pictures I never saw before. They took shapes innumerable, for there were monkeys and camels, and bears and buzzards, and turtles, and big Injuns, and little Frenchmen, and old witches, and anacondas and other menagerie animals all out of shape, and funny and fantastic; and while I was asleep I dreamed ridiculous dreams, and the quinine that was in me made me to hear waterfalls and milldams, and once I imagined the dam I had built had grown and swelled until Niagara was but a circumstance compared to it. But alas, there is no rest for the wicked, for although I had escaped for a day and night. and was banking upon bright hopes and returning health, the unfeeling angel came along again, and seeing me recovering from the fight, began on me with a second assault, and beat up my left kidney again till it was in a jelly and as sore and sensitive as a carbuncle. While he was beating me I seemed to hear him say, "You didn't know you had kidneys, did you?" "About a dozen," said I; "eight or ten anyhow, and they are as big and heavy as shot bags." The fact is that my left side was so sore and I was so nervous that it almost gave me a spasm to think of anybody touching me there with a stick. But the torture all of a sudden left me, as suddenly as it came, and the breath, good and free,


Page 100

could get way once more. But now I think I am all safe, and Richard is himself again. Good nursing and the doctor's skill and patience has got the wagon in traveling condition, and now I think I will make friends with my kidneys and a treaty of peace with the angel, and the treaty is that I am to build no more dams during life, if I have to wade in the water to do it.


Page 101

CHAPTER XII.

LOVE AFFAIRS.

        Married and gone. It is the same old story. Love and courtship. Then comes the engagement ring and a blessed interval of fond hopes and happy dreams, and then the happy day is fixed--the auspicious day that is never to be forgotten--a day that brings happiness or misery and begins a new life. Then comes the license, the permit of the law which says you may marry, you may enter into bonds. The State approves it and the law allows it, and it will cost you only a dollar and a quarter. Cheap, isn't it? And yet it may be very dear. Then comes the minister, and the happy pair stand up before him and make some solemn vows and listen to a prayer and a benediction, and they are one. In a moment the trusting maid has lost her name and her free will, and is tied fast to a man. Well, he is tied fast, too, so it is all right all around, I reckon; but somehow I always feel more concern about the woman than the man. She is a helpless sort of a creature and takes the most risk, for she risks her all.

        We gave him a cordial welcome into the family, and we kissed her lovingly and bade them good-bye, and the children threw a shower of rice over them and an old shoe after them, and they were soon on their way to the land of flowers. She was not our child, but was almost, for Mrs. Arp was the only mother she ever knew, and we loved her.

        I sat in my piazza ruminating over the scene, and


Page 102

I wondered that there was as many happy matings as there seem to be. Partners for life ought to be congenial and harmonious in so many things. When men make a partnership in business they can't get along well if they are unlike in disposition or in moral principles, or in business ways and business habits. But they can dissolve and separate at pleasure and try another man.

        A man and his wife ought to be alike in almost everything. It is said that folks like their opposite, their counterparts, and so they do in some respects. A man with blue eyes goes mighty nigh distracted over a woman with hazel eyes. I did, and I'm distracted yet whenever I look into them. But in mental qualities and emotional qualities and tastes and habits and principles and convictions and the like, they ought to class together. Indeed, it is better for them to have the same politics and the same religion. And so I have observed that the happiest unions, as a general thing, are those where the high contracting parties have known each other for a long time, and have assimilated from their youth in thought and feeling. When a man goes off to some watering place and waltzes a few times with a charming girl and falls desperately in love and marries her off hand, it is a long shoot and a narrow chance for happiness. Why, we may live in the same town with people and not know as much about them as we ought to. I never made any mistake about my choice of a partner for the dance of life, but I've thought of it a thousand times that if Mrs. Arp had known I loved codfish and got up by daybreak every morning, she never would have had me. It was nip and tuck to get her anyhow, and that would have been the feather to break the camel's back. Well, I'm mortal glad


Page 103

she didn't know it, though I am free to say that if I had known she slept until the second ringing of the first bell for breakfast and was fond of raw oysters, it would have had a dampening effect upon my ardor for a few minutes, only a few. But I have seen some mighty clever people eat oysters raw and sleep late in the morning. But still a man and his wife can harmonize and compromise a good many of these things, and it is a beautiful illustration of this to see Mrs Arp cooking codfish for me and fixing it all up so nice with eggs and cream; and it is a touching evidence of my undying devotion to her, to see me wandering around the house lonely and forlorn every morning for an hour or two, and forbidding even the cat to walk heavy while she sleeps. That codfish business comes to me honestly from my father's side, and my mother put up with it like a good, considerate wife, and we children grew up with an idea that it was good. I've heard of a young couple who got married and went off to Augusta on a tour, and the feller stuck his fork into a codfish ball and took a bite. He choked it down like a hero, and when his beloved asked him what was the matter, replied: "Don't say anything about it, Mandy, but as sure as you are born there is something dead in the bread."

        Well, we can make compromises about all such things as habits and tastes, but there are some things that won't compromise worth a cent. If a girl has been brought up to have a good deal of freedom, and thinks it no harm to go waltzing around with every gay Lothario who loves to dance, and after she gets a feller of her own, wants to keep at it and have polluted arms around her waist, she had just as well sing farewell to conjugal love and domestic peace,


Page 104

for it is against the order of nature for a loving husband to stand it, and he oughn't. There is another thing that ought to be considered, and that is age. A few years makes no difference, but an old man had better be careful about marrying a young wife. He won't be happy but about two weeks, and then his misery will begin and it will never end. It may be better for a woman to be an old man's darling than a young man's slave, but she had better be neither. When a young girl marries an old man for his money she has gone back on herself, for money don't bring happiness. Money helps, but money with a dead weight is a curse--an aggravation. I was talking one day to an old man, a Frenchman, who had made a hermit of himself, and was living all alone in the woods, and he said: "Mine frien', I have made one grand meestake. My first wife whom I marry ven I vos young vas an angel from heaven, God bless her, but mine last wife she did not come from dere she come dis vay"--and he pointed downwards. "I vas old and she vas young. I had money and she had none. I marry her in haste and repent at my leisure. I try to live wid her tree years, but we were not compatible. It was against the order of nature and I found myself a fool and a prisoner, and so I geeve her half my monies and run away from her and hide in dis vilderness, and here vill I live and here vill I die, and ven I go oop to St. Peter and tell heem how dat voman trouble me on earth, de good man will open de garden gate and say, come in, my brother, for you have had trouble enough."

        Country marriages are generally happier than those made in cities among the families of the rich. Children raised to work and to wait on themselves


Page 105

make better husband and better wives than those raised in luxury. It is mighty hard for a man to please his wife and keep her in good humor if she has been petted by her parents and never knew a want and had no useful work to do. She soon takes the ennui or the conniptions or the "don't know what I want," and must go back to ma. A young lady who never did anything after she quit school but dress for company and make visits and go to the theatre or the dance, will never make a good wife. This wife business is a very serious business. It is right hard work to play wife. The mother of six, eight or ten children has seen sights. She knows what care is and work is, and one of these do-nothing women can't stand it. If she is a used up institution with one child, two will finish her, and if it wasn't for condensed milk the children would perish to death in a month after they were born, and be sorter like the cows in Florida. I heard a Florida man say the other day that a Florida cow dident give enough milk to color the coffee for breakfast, and they had to raise the calves on the bottle. Getting married ought to be a considerate business. Folks oughtn't to get married in a hurry; neither ought they to wait four or five years. Six months is long enough for an engagement. I don't mean children; I mean grown folks who have settled down in life and know what they are about. There is no goodlier sight in all nature than to see a good-looking, healthy young man, who is making an honest living, standing up at, the altar with a pure, sweet, good-tempered, affectionate, industrious girl, and the parents on both sides approving the match. Then the big pot ought to be put in the little pot, and everybody rejoice.


Page 106

CHAPTER XIII.

TELLS OF HIS WIFE'S BIRTHDAY.

        It is impossible for a man or a woman either to be calm and serene when surprised by awful and terrible things, unless they are always prepared for 'em, which they ain't. I have been wanting to see some big things all my life, but I wanted to be in a safe place while it happened, and at a very respectable distance. I would have liked to have been there when Vesuvius run over and swallowed up Herculaneum and Pompeii, and I want to feel the shake of a big earthquake a mile or two away from the crack. I would enjoy a storm at sea and a genuine shipwreck if I knew we were to strike some rock not far from shore and eventually be saved. I've been reading every now and then about those awful storms and winds that of late years have been perusing the country below us and blowing wagons up in the tree tops and shingles through solid oak trees and carrying houses away and twisting off timber like it was wheat straw, and I thought I would like to see a young cyclone meandering around, just to get the hang of the thing, and shore enough a little one come along here last Sunday and made a call without any premonition, and now I'm satisfied, and don't hanker after any more such visitations. We were sitting on the piazza watching the black clouds as they loomed up in the west, and listening to the rumbling thunder, when suddenly the roar of coming winds was heard, and the storm came in sight over the brow of Munford's


Page 107

mountain, and came down the valley before, us with the big drops of rain in front, and then the hail following after, and the wind like a tornado. We hurried down the window sash and took in the chairs, and before we knew it it took two of us to shut the front door, and so we retreated to the back piazza, and by the time we got there the roof was rattling like a million buck-shot was being poured on it from a big dump-cart away up yonder, and it covered the ground and banked up in the back yard about three inches deep, and while we were all a wondering what the thing would do next, the wind shifted around and around and come from the east as hard as it did from the west, and pretty soon it was coming from all points of the compass and everywhere else all at once, and slammed all the doors and twisted the tree tops around and around, and I was a-fixing to move the family down in the basement, when suddenly my wife, Mrs. Arp, says she to me, "Where is Carl and where is Ralph?" "They are down in the barn," said I calmly; "they are all safe, for the barn is under the hill." "Merciful heavens," she said, "I know something will happen to 'em. You must go after 'em." So I put on the oilcloth and fooled round for an umbrel and couldn't find one, and it wouldn't have been any more than a fly in a hurricane, no how, and I heard the limbs a-popping and saw the trees a-bending, and the hail was getting bigger and more thicker and more denser, and I knowed the little boys were safe, and so I kept foolin' round and round until shore enough I dident go, and Mrs. Arp she calmed down a little, for about this time the storm abated a little and we could see the boys looking out from the barn windows. I ain't tellin' no lie when I say that fall of rain and hail dident


Page 108

last more than fifteen minutes, but it raised the branch that crosses the big road by my house five feet in half an hour and spread out all over the meadow and up and down the road for a hundred yards, and a nabor come along from town in a buggy and had to swim it, horse and all, and he said the road was as dry as a powder horn at Felton's chapel, and another man came from the other way and said it was all dust at Bishop's, and this showed me that the storm-path was only about a mile wide, and it was obliged to have been a cyclone, for we have heard of it going on about the same way and tearing things up fearfully. One nabor had a big tree blown on his barn, and a lad of a boy was in there and it skeered him so he tried to run head foremost home, and the wind picked him up and spun him round like a hummin' top and then laid him down flat and told him to stay there, and he stayed. The oats that had not been harvested looked just like a big iron roller had been rolled over 'em and then the whole concern ironed out smooth with a flat iron. We've been mighty busy mowing 'em with the machine, and have managed to save 'em pretty well, though it's right hard to tell which is the best end of the bundles. But they will thrash all the same, and no loss on our side. The rail fences on nabor Cotton's hill went to playin' Jack-straws, and the corn looks like the blades had all been drawn through a shuck riddle. Nearly all my tomatoes have got a bruise on 'em, and the grapes are pretty much in the same fix. Squash leaves and cabbage leaves are riddled with holes, but after all I can't see any very serious damage, and we are trying to be calm and serene. Well, I believe the cyclone did sorter surprise two nice young gentlemen who


Page 109

were perusing the girls at our house, and when they went out in the hail to keep their horse and buggy from running away the storm got so bad, and they got so damp and moist all over, they had to go home prematurely, which we didn't approve, for we could have made a fire and dried 'em in a few minutes, or they could have put on some of my garments, which would have been more than a foot or a foot and a half too short at both ends. But they are young and hopeful, and went off down the road singing Hail Columbia, happy land, Hail Boreas and be hanged.

        We've had a birthday at our house. There are big birthdays and little ones, common ones and uncommon ones; when the female patriarch of a family, the queen of the household, meets her sixtieth birthday and has got too much sense to go back on her age or be ashamed of it, it is an event, it is, sorter like a golden wedding or the declaration of independence or some other big thing But there is no collapse, no surrender, no let down not a silver thread among the raven hair, no crow's feet or wrinkled brows, no loss of speech or language, no weakness of memory. Sometimes I wish she would forget something, but she can't, and my short-comings, like Banquo's ghost, come up before me ever and anon. So the queen had a birthday dinner, and she got a nice new dress and a hall lamp and a beautiful chair and a pair of peafowls wherewith to raise her own fly brushes, and that night we had music and dancing and song, for Solomon says old age is honorable, and I never could see any good sense in a woman or a widower trying to conceal it. I never expect to be either the one or the other, and can't appreciate their peculiar feelings, but I never hear of a married


Page 110

woman concealing her advancing years but I think she is fixing the triggers for a second husband before the first one dies. But one thing is certain--there's no triggers about our house, and there will be no step-father to my children, for, as Mrs. Arp says, sometimes a burnt child dreads the fire. Jesso.


Page 111

CHAPTER XIV.

MRS. ARP GOES OFF ON A VISIT.

        Man was not made to live alone. I don't mean like Robinson Cruso, but alone in a house without a woman--a help-mate, a pard. It's an awful thing to come in and find the maternal chair vacant, even for a season. I know she has gone, but still imagine she is somewhere on the premises a circulatin' around and around. I am listenin' for the rustle of her dress or the creak of her nimble shoe - she wears number 2's, with a high instep, and walks like a deer. Ever and anon methinks I hear her accustomed voice saying, "William, William--major, come here a moment."

        What wonderful resolution some women have got! Mrs. Arp has at last departed. She has undertook a journey. For several weeks it has been the family talk. Some said she would get off and some said she wouldent. As for herself, she was serious and noncommittal, but we daily observed that the big old trunk that contained the accumulated fragments of better days was being diligently ransacked. Scraps of lace, and lawn, and ribbon, and silk, and velvet, and muslin, and bumbazeen, and cassimere, were brought forth and aired, and the flat iron kept busy pressing and smoothing the wrinkles that age had furrowed in them. All sorts of patterns from Demorest, and Ehrich and Butterick, were overhauled and consulted with a kind of sad reality. A woman may be too poor to buy calico at five cents a yard, but she will have patterns. Little jackets, and pants,


Page 112

and shirts, little dresses, and drawers, and petticoats, and aprons had to be made up, and nobody but her knew what they would be made of. I tell you, one of these old-fashioned mothers is a miracle of grace. It ain't uncommon for folks nowadays to be their own tailors and dressmakers, but it takes sense and genius to get up a respectable outfit from scraps and old clothes outgrown or abandoned for ratage and leakage. It was wonderful to see her rip 'em, and turn 'em, and cut 'em, and twist 'em--getting a piece here and a scrap there, cutting them down to the pattern--running them through the machine, and before anybody knew it she had the little chaps arrayed as fine as a band-box, and never called on anybody for a nickel. That's what I call the quintessence of domestic economy. Nobody can beat her in that line. She knows how to put the best foot foremost. Her children have got to look as decent as other people's, or she will keep 'em at home, certain. She don't go about much, and seems to grow closer and closer to the chimney corner; but when she does move it's a family sensation. Every one helps--every one advises and encourages her in a subdued and respectful way. All want her to go off and rest and have a good time for her own sake, but tell her over and over how much they will miss her, and wear a little shadow of sorrow in the nigh side of the face. I think though she suspected all the time they would turn up Jack while she was away.

        Well, she did get off at last--on a three hours' journey and to stay a whole week. It was a tremendous undertaking, for she said the harness might break, or the buggy collapse, or the old mare run away on the road to town, and the cars might run off the track or break through a bridge, or not stop long


Page 113

enough for her to get off with the children, or let her off and take the children on, or some of us would get sick, or the house catch afire, or some tramp come along in the night and rob us and cut all our throats while we were asleep, and we wouldent know a thing about it till next morning.

        "Now, William," said she, "be mighty careful of everything, for you know how poor we are anyhow." "Poor as Lazarus," said I, "but he's a restin' in Abraham's bosom." "Well, never mind Lazarus," said she, "the paragoric and quinine and turpentine are on the shelf in the cabinet. I have hid the laudanum, for it's dangerous, and you havent got more than half sense in the night time and might make a mistake. Don't let Ralph have the gun nor go to the mill pond. There are four geese a setting, and you must look after the goslins, and if you don't shoot that hawk spring chickens will be mighty scarce on this lot. And see here, William, I want you to take the beds off the bedsteads in my room and shut the doors and windows and make a fire of sulphur in some old pan. They say it will just kill everything." "Must I stay inside or outside," said I, in a Cassibianca tone. "Maybe you had better try it awhile inside," said she, "just to see if you ever could get used to it. Now, William, take good care of everything, for you may never see me again. Somehow I feel like somethin's going to happen to me. Don't whip Ralph while I'm gone - the poor boy ain't well - he looks right pekid--and when you whipped Carl the other day the marks were all over his little legs." She always looks for marks--he little willows are soft as broom straws, but she is bound to find a faint streak or two, and there's a tear for every mark.


Page 114

        "William, the buttons are all right on your shirts. Feed the little chickens until I come back. I think the buntin' hen is setting somewhere, and there's six eggs in my drawer that old Browny laid on my bed. If the children get sick you must telegraph me." "And if I get sick myself," said I, inquiringly - "Why there's the medicine in the cabinet," said she, "and you musent forget to water my pot-plants. I told Mr. Freeman to look after you and the boys, and Mrs. Freeman will keep an eye on the girls. Goodbye. Don't you cut the hams. I want them for company, and don't go in the locked pantry." I reckon she must have taken the key off with her, for we can't find it. "Goodbye--take care of Bows." She kissed us all around and choked up a little and dropped a few tears and said she was ready. I looked at the clock and told her we could barely make it - five miles in an hour and five minutes, and the road muddy and the mule slow. She said she had never been left by the train in her life, and she didn't think she would be too late. I pressed the old mule through mud and slop, up hill and down hill. She was afraid of that mule, and when I larruped him she told me not to. Then he would put on the brakes, and she declared she would be left if I dident drive faster. We dident say much, but leaned forward and pressed forward in solemn energy as if the world hung upon the crisis. When we got within half a mile of town the whistle blowed away down the road and we had a slick hill to clime. I larruped heavily and clucked every step of the way, and we made the trip just in time to be left. The train moved off right before us. It didn't seem to care a darn. We gazed at it with feelings of sublime despair. Mrs. Arp was looking


Page 115

dreamily away off into space when I ventured to remark, "Shall we go back?" She quielty pointed to the St. James and replied, "Hotel."

        I saw her and little Jessie comfortably quartered in a nice room with a cheerful fire. Mr. Moss, the landlord, was kind and sympathetic and promised she should not be left by the morning train, and so bidding them as sad goodbye I returned to my bairns. Take it all in all it was a big thing--a mighty big thing at my house. I'm poking around now hunting for consolation. She knows I'm desolate and is sorter glad of it. I know she is homesick already, but she won't own it. She would stay away a whole year before she would own it. She wants me to beg her to come back soon, and I won't, for she left her other little darling with me, and he will bring her. I've half a mind to drop her a postal card and say: "Carl is not well, but don't be alarmed about him," and then go to meet her on the first train that could bring her, for I know she would be there. It does look like a woman with ten children wouldent be so foolish about one of them, but there's no discount on a mother's anxiety. Her last command was, "Keep Carl with you all the time, and tuck the cover under him good at night, bless his little heart." I wonder what would become of children if they didn't have a parent to spur 'em up. In fact, it takes a couple of parents to keep things straight at my house. Yesterday the gray mule broke open the gate and let the cow and calf together. Carl left open another gate and the old sow got in the garden. Another boy has got a felon on his finger, and whines around and says his ma could cure it if she was here. He can't milk now, and so I thought I would try it, but old Bess wouldn't let nary drop down for me. I squeezed and


Page 116

pulled and tugged at her until she got mad and suddenly lifted her foot in my lap and set it down in the bucket whereupon I forgot my equilibrium, and when I got up I gave old Bess a satisfactory kick in the side and departed those coasts in great humility. It's not my forte to milk a cow. The wind blew over more trees across my fences. The clock run down. Two lamp chimneys bursted. The fire popped out and burned a hole in the carpet while we were at supper, and everything is going wrong just because Mrs. Arp's gone.

        It's mighty still, and solemn, and lonely around here now. Lonely ain't the word, nor howlin' wilderness. There ain't any word to express the goneness and desolation that we feel. There is her vacant chair in the corner--


                        Yes, the rocker still is sitting
                        Just where she was ever knitting--
                        Knitting for the bairns she bore.
                        And now the room seems sad and dreary
                        And my soul is getting weary,
                        And my heart is sick and sore - and so forth.

        The dog goes whining round--the maltese cats are mewing, and the children look lost and droopy. But we'll get over it in a day or two, maybe, and then for a high old time.


Page 117

CHAPTER XV.

THE VOICE OF SPRING.


                        Hark, I hear a bluebird sing,
                        And that's a sign of coming spring
                        The bull-frog bellers in the ditches,
                        He's throwed away his winter breeches.
                        The robbin is bobbin' around so merry,
                        I reckon he's drunk on a China berry.
                        The hawk for infant chickens watcheth,
                        And 'fore you know it one he cotcheth.
                        The lizzard is sunning himself on a rail;
                        The lamb is shaking his newborn tail.
                        The darkey is plowing his stubborn mule,
                        And gaily hollers, "Gee, you fool."
                        King Cotton has unfurled his banner,
                        And scents the air with sweet guanner.
                        The day grows long--the night's declining,
                        The Indian summer's sun is shining;
                        The smoking hills are now on fire,
                        And every night it's climbing higher.
                        The water warm, the weather fine,
                        The time has come for hook and line;
                        Adown the creek, around the ponds,
                        Are gentlemen and vagabonds.
                        And all our little dirty sinners
                        Are digging bait and catching minners.
                        The dogwood buds are now a-swelling,
                        And yaller jonquills sweet are smelling;
                        The little busy bees are humming,
                        And every thing says spring is coming.

        It has been a hard old winter on man and beast; hard in weather and harder in fire and flood and pestilence and all sorts of unnatural troubles. The horrors of hotels burning up, and theatres and circuses shrouded in flames, and thousands of poor people


Page 118

made homeless and destitute by the raging waters, and smallpox marking its victims all over the land, is pitiful, most pitiful; but I can't get over the shock of those poor little children who were trampled to death in that school-room in New York City. I can't help seeing them all laid out in the room together, and their parents hovering over their little disfigured and mangled corpses. The distressing scene haunts me. There is a power of trouble in the world that we know nothing--trouble that we who live in the country do not have. Here there are no storms, no floods, no fires, no pestilence, no scarcity of wood, or of food or comfortable clothing. A poor man in the country is safer from all calamity than a rich one in the city. A poor man may lament his poverty and envy the rich, but he has no reason to. A man who makes a comfortable living on a farm has a greater security for life and liberty and happiness and long life than any other class that I know of. Cobe says he is getting along "tolerable well, I thank you." Cobe is always calm and serene. He owns a mouse-colored mule, and has owned him ever since the war. That mule is one of the family and he knows it. The children play under him and over him, and between his legs, and the mule is happy too. Cobe has a chunk of a cow, and a sow and pigs, and about enough old rickety furniture to move in one wagon load, and that's all Cobe has got except his wife and half a dozen little children, who live on corn bread and taters. And they are smart children, and healthy and good looking, though Cobe is called the ugliest man in the county, and I think enjoys his reputation. His face is of three colors and splotched about, and his mouth is in a twist one way and his


Page 119

nose in another, and his eyes are of a different color, and he is hump-shouldered and walks pigeon-toed, but he don't care. His wife says he is just the best little man in the world. He works hard, he and the mule, and always says he is getting along "tolable," and finds no more trouble in supporting six children than he did one. He says there never was a 'possum born that dident find a 'simmon tree somewhere. Says he is raising his boys more for endurance than for show--for another war will come along about their time of day and he wants 'em to be able to stand it. Cobe is an honest man, and came from an honest family, and his wife did too, and their children are well-mannered, and they are getting a little schooling, and my opinion is that there is more hope and better hope for the country in that kind of stock than in the average children of the rich. They will make good, humble, law-abiding citizens, and they will work and produce something. When war or trouble comes, it is the yeomanry of the land we have to depend on. The children of the poor are running this Southern country now. They are the foremost men in most everything. They are the best merchants in Atlanta and other cities--the best farmers, the best mechanics, and the best railroad men. Some of 'em make splendid bankers, if they do spell hog with a double g. Grammar may deceive, but figures don't lie.

        We are all mighty busy now in these parts. I can sit in my piazza and see over a good deal of farming territory, and the mules are moving up lively. They seem to know the spring is late and the farmers are behind time. But I don't sit long at a time, for the garden is to plant, and the rose bushes have to be


Page 120

trimmed, and the flower beds dressed off, and the compost scattered around, and the vines want new trellaces and everything got ready for a new suit of clothes. The old year is just now dead, and the new one is born with the spring. March used to be the first month and it ought to be now. I don't see what they ever changed it for. One hundred and twenty years ago our English forefathers took a notion to set old Father Time back a couple of months, without any good reason for it, and I think we ought to move up the clock and put him forward where he was. The spring is the new birth of nature, and is the type of our own resurrection. I don't believe that everything that dies will live again, but I do believe that everything that is good and beautiful will, even to animals, trees and flowers. This is a mighty pretty world we live in--mighty pretty, especially in the spring, and for fear of accidents I am willing to be a tenant a good while longer.

                        "I would not live always,
                        I ask not to stay,"

is a very beautiful sentiment, provided a man is sure of a better home when he quits this one. But another poet sung with more caution and content when he said:


                        "This world is very lovely--oh, my God,
                        I thank thee that I live."

        I reckon the majority of mankind are like the fellow who said he dident want to go to heaven if he had to die to get there. Many would like for the ages of Adam and Methuselah to come back again. It wouldent do, though--it wouldent do at all, for if


Page 121

Jay Gould and Vanderbilt and company should live a thousand years they would gobble up the whole terrestial concern and crown us all off onto a plank in the ocean. On the whole, I'm obliged to think that everything is fixed up about right--I reckon it is.


Page 122

CHAPTER XVI.

THE SOUNDS ON THE FRONT PIAZZA.

        It was after midnight. About the time when deep sleep falleth upon man, but not upon woman, for Mrs. Arp's ears were always awake, it seems to me. I felt a gentle dig in my side from an elbow and a whispered voice said: "William, William, don't you hear that?" "What is it?" said I. "Somebody is in the front piazza," she said. "Don't you hear him rocking in the rocking chair?" And sure enough I did. The chair would rock awhile, and then stop, and then rock again. "Is the gun loaded?" she said; "they are robbers, but don't shoot, don't make a noise; can't you peep out of the window? Mercy on us, what do they want to rob us for? Maybe they come to steal one of the children. Slip in the little room and see if Carl is in his bed. Don't stumble over a chair, maybe somebody is under the bed." The rocker took a new start and I had another dig in my side. "It is the wind," said I. "No it is not," said she. "There is no wind, the window is up, and the curtain don't move. They are robbers, I tell you. Hadn't you better give them some money and tell them to go?" "I havn't got any money," said I. "It's all gone." "Lord have mercy upon us," said she. "William get your gun and be ready."

        I gently slipped out of bed and tiptoed to the window and cautiously peeped out, and there was the pointer puppy sitting straight up in my wife's rocking chair, and ever and anon he would lean forward


Page 123

and backwards and put it in motion. I whispered to Mrs. Arp to come and see the four-legged robber, which she did, and in due time all was calm and serene.

        Last night there was another sensation in the back piazza, and it was sure enough feet this time, for they made a racket on the floor and moved around lively, and the elbow digs in my side came thick and fast; took me a minute to get fairly awake, and after listening awhile I exclaimed in audible language, "goats, Carl's goats," and I gathered a broom and mauled them down the back steps. "I told you, my dear," said I "that those goats would give us trouble, but I can stand it if you can."

        Carl and Jessie have been begging for goats a good while and I was hostile, very hostile to goats, for I knew how much devilment they would do; but the little chaps slipped up on the weak side of their mother, and she finally hinted that children were children; that old folks had their dotage and children had their goatage and her little brothers used to have goats, and so the pair of goats were bought and Ralph worked two days making a wagon, and contrived some harness out of old bridle-reins and plow lines, and it took all hands to gear 'em up, and at the first crack of the whip they bounced three feet in the air, and kept on bouncing, and jerked Carl a rod, and got loose and run away and turned the wagon up side down, and they kept on leaping and jumping until they got all the harness broken up and got away. It beat a monkey show. We all laughed until we cried, but the little chaps have reorganized on a more substantial basis, and there is another exhibition to come off soon.

        Mr. Shakespeare says that a man has seven ages,


Page 124

but to my opinion a boy has about ten of his own. He begins with his first pair of breeches and a stick horse, and climbs up by degrees to toy guns and fire crackers and sling shot and breaking calves and billy goats, and to sure enough guns and a pointer dog; and the looking glass age when he admires himself and greases his hair and feels of his downy beard; and then he joins a brass band and toots a horn; and then he reads novels and falls in love and rides a prancing horse and writes perfumed notes to his girl. When his first love kicks him and begins to run with another fellow he drops into the age of despair, and wants to go to Texas or some other remote region and sadly sings:
                        "This world is all a fleeting show."

        Boys are mighty smart now-a-days. They know as much at ten years as we used to know at twenty, and it is right hard for us to keep ahead of 'em. Parents use to rule their children but children rule their parents now. There is no whipping at home, and if a boy gets a little at school it raises a row and a presentation to the grand jury. When my teacher whipped me I never mentioned it at home for fear of getting another. I got three whippings in one day when I was a lad; I had a fight with another boy and he whipped me, and the school teacher whipped me for fighting, and my father whipped me because the teacher did. That was awful, wasent it? But it was right, and it did me good. One of these modern philanthropies was telling my kinsman the other day how to raise a boy. "Never whip him," said he. "Raise him on love and kindness and reason," and then he appealed to me for endorsement. "And when that boy is about twelve years old," said I,


Page 125

"do you go and talk to him and if possible persuade him not to whip his daddy. Tell him that it is wrong and unfilial, and will injure his reputation in the community."

        The modern boy is entirely too bigity. I was at church in Rome last Sunday and saw two boys there, aged about ten and twelve years, and after service they lit their cigarrettes and went off smoking. An old-fashioned man looked at 'em and remarked: "I would give a quarter to paddle them two boys two minutes. I'll bet their fathers is afraid of 'em right now." The old-fashioned man never was afraid of his. He worked 'em hard, but he gave 'em all reasonable indulgence. He kept 'em at home at nights, and he made good men of them. They have prospered in business and acquired wealth, and are raising their children the same way, and they love and honor the old gentleman for giving them habits of industry and economy. He was a merchant and didn't allow his boys to sweep out a string or a scrap of paper as big as your hat. Habits are the thing, good habits, habits of industry and economy; when acquired in youth they stick all through life.

        And the girls need some watching too. They are most too fast now-a-days. Too fond of fashion, and they read too much trash. The old fashion retiring modesty of character is at a discount. They don't wait for the boys to come now, they go after 'em; they marry in haste and repent at leisure; they run round in their new-fashioned night gowns and call it a Mother Hubbard party. The newspapers have got up a sensation about the arm clutch. The waist clutch in these round dances is just as bad or worse. They are all immodest and there is not a good


Page 126

mother in the land that approves of them. A girl who goes to a promiscuous ball and waltzes around with promiscuous fellows puts herself in a promiscuous fix to be talked about by the dudes and rakes and fast young men who have encircled her waist. A girl should never waltz with a young man whom she would not be willing to marry. Slander is very common now, slander of young ladies, and there are not many who escape it; the trouble is it is not all slander, some of it is truth. In the olden times when folks got married they stayed married, but now the courts are full of divorces and the land is spotted with grass widows, and in many a household there is a hidden grief over a daughter's shame. It is a good thing for the girls to work at something that is useful. There is plenty of home work to do in most every household. If there is not then they can try drawing and sketching or painting or music, something that will entertain them. There are as many female dudes as males, and they ought to marry, I reckon, and go to raising fools for market.

        We have got a cook now and my folks are taking a rest. She is an old-fashioned darkey and flies around with a quick step and lightly. Anybody could tell that "Sicily" had had good training from a white mistress. When she gets through her work she brings up a tub of water and goes to washing up the floors without being told; she washes the dishes clean and is nice about the milk and the churning, and is good to the children. She lets them cook a little and make boys and horses out of the biscuit dough. The like of that suits Mrs. Arp exactly. If I was a darkey I would know exactly how to get Mrs. Arp's money and her old dresses and a heap of little


Page 127

things thrown in. Yesterday morning Sicily's husband knocked at the door very early and said his wife was sick, sick all night, and I heard 'em groan and say "goodness gracious;" but they got up and gave us a first-class breakfast, and I praised 'em up lots. I promised to let 'em go to town and tumble up the new goods and bring back a big lot of samples. Girls should be encouraged when they do well.


Page 128

CHAPTER XVII.

MR. ARP FEELS HIS INADEQUACY.

        Sometimes a man feels entirely unadequate to the occasion. A kind of lonesome and helpless feeling comes over him that no philosophy can shake off. I dident have but five sheep. They were fine and fat and followed us about when we walked down to the meadow, and our little shepherd dog thought they were the prettiest things in the world, and they would eat salt out of the children's hands, and we were thinking about the little lambs that would come in the spring. There was a house for them in the meadow and it was full of clean wheat straw where they could take shelter from the rain and the wind.

        Alas for human hopes. It looks like everything is born to trouble, especially sheep. Yesterday morning I walked down to the branch with my tender offspring, and before I was prepared for it the torn and bloody form of the old he ram was seen lying in the water before me. While I stood and pondered over his sad calamity, the children soon found the others scattered round in the mire and bullrushes stiff and cold and dead. I thought of Mrs. Arp, my wife. What would she say? I thought of that passage of Scripture which says "beware of dogs." I thought of Joe Harris and the Constitution and that confounded legislature. I thought of guns and striknine and the avenger of blood. Slowly and sadly we returned to the house, and when the children had unfolded the mournful tale Mrs. Arp, my wife, stopped


Illustration


Page 129

washing the dishes and sat down by the fire. For awhile she never spoke. She seemed unadequate. There was a solemn stillness pervading the assembled family. The children looked at me and then at their mother, when suddenly says she, choking up, "The poor things; torn to pieces by the dogs right here in a few steps of the house. I heard Juno barking furiously in the piazza and I heard the cows lowing like something was after their calves, and I thought I would wake you, but I didn't. Poor things, if they had only blated or made a noise." After a solemn pause, she rose forward and exclaimed: "William Arp, if I was a man I would take my gun and never stop till I had killed every dog in the naborhood. A little while back they killed all our geese in that same meadow. These trifling people round here hunt rabbits all over your plantation with the sheep killing dogs, and you won't stop 'em for fear of hurtin their feelings, and now you see what we get by it. I'd go and shoot their dogs in their own yards, and if they made a fuss about it I would - well I don't know what I wouldn't do."

        "If I knew the dogs that did it--" said I, meekly.

        "Knew the dogs!" said she. "Why you know that big brindle that got hung by his block down there in the willows, and you ought to have killed him then, and you know that white dog, and the spotted one that prowls around. and those dogs that them boys are always hunting with--you can kill them anyhow. We will never have anything if you don't protect yourself, and the Lord knows we've got little enough now."

         "They will come back to-night," said I, and shore enough they did, and the boys laid in wait for 'em and


Page 130

got some revenge, and we've given the naborhood fair warning that henceforth we will kill every dog that puts his foot on our premises, law or no law, gospel or no gospel. We've declared war. A dog that won't stay at home at night ain't fit to be a dog. The next man who runs for the legislature in this county has got to commit himself against dogs or I'll run against him whether the people vote for me or not, and if he beats me I reckon I can move out of the county, can't I, or quit trying to raise sheep. My nabor, Mr. Dobbins, says they have killed over a hundred for him in the last two years and he has quit. He won't try to raise any more.

        But we are reviving a little. The ragged edge of our indignation has worn off. We skinned the poor things and the buzzards have preyed upon their carcasses, and once more our family affairs are moving along in subdued serenity. Last night Mrs. Arp, my wife, told the girls she didn't think their lightbread was quite as light and nice as she used to make it, and she would show them her way, so they could take pattern. She fixed up the yeast and made up the dough and put it down by the fire to rise, and this morning it had riz about a quarter of an inch, which she remarked was very curious, but reckoned it was too cold, and so she put it in the oven to bake and then it got sullen and riz downwards, and by the time it was done it was about as thick as a ginger cake, and weighed nigh unto a pound to the square inch. She never said anything, but hid it away on the top shelf of the cupboard. I saw the girls blinking around, and when lunch time came I got it down and carried it along like it was a keg of nails and


Page 131

put it before her. "I thought you would like some lightbread," said I.

        She laid down her knife and fork, and for a moment was altogether unadequate to the occasion. Suddenly she seized the stubborn loaf, and as I ran out of the door it took me right in the small of my back, and I actually thought somebody bad struck me on the spine with a maul. "Now, Mr. Impudence, take that," said she. "If a man asks for bread will you give him a stone?" said I. Seeing that hostilities were about to be renewed, I retired prematurely to the piazza to ruminate on the rise of cotton and wheat, and iron, and everything else but bread. She's got two little grandsons staying with her, and unbeknowing to me she hacked that bread into chunks and armed five little chaps with 'em, and she came forth as captain of the gang and suddenly they took me unawares in a riotous and tumultuous manner. They banged me up awfully before I could get out of the way. My head is sore all over, and take it all in all, I consider myself the injured person. I mention this circumstance as a warnin' to let all things alone when your wife hides 'em, especially bread that wouldent rise. Mrs. Arp, my wife, has most wonderful control of these little chaps--children and grand-children. She can sick 'em onto me with a nod or a wink, but I can't sick 'em onto her; no sir. I never tried, and I don't reckon I ever will, but I just know I couldn't. I don't have much of a showing with these children. This morning I found one of 'em climbin I up on the sash of the flower pit, and while I was hunting for a switch the little rascal ran to his grandma, and that was the end of it. She never said nothing, but sorter paused and looked


Page 132

at me. My only chance is to get 'em away off in the field or the woods and thrash 'em generally for a month's rascality, and then honey them up just before we get home to keep 'em from telling on me. For thirty years Mrs. Arp, my wife, has labored under the delusion that the children are hers, and that I had mightly little to do with 'em from the beginning. I would like to see somebody try to take 'em away with a habeas corpus or any other corpus. Goodness gracious. Talk about a lioness robbed of her whelps or a she bear of her cubs. Well, it couldn't be done, that's all.


Page 133

CHAPTER XVIII.

UNCLE BART.

        Old Uncle Bart, as we call him, wasn't a common drunkard nor an uncommon one either, but every time he came to town he would get drunk. He came mighty seldom, for when he did the memory of it lasted him about three months. He told me after such a spree he felt as mean and lonely as a stray dog. He said he couldn't eat nor sleep, and away in the night wanted water so bad he "felt like he could bite a branch in two and swallow the upper end."

        One morning he came in early to see Dolph Ross, who was going to Texas. He came across him before he came across the grocery, and says he: "Hallo, Dolph--gwine to Texas?"

        "Yes, Uncle Bart, I am."

        "Well, my brother Ben lives over there, and he's got big rich, and no family, and I thought if you'd see him and tell him how sorry we was gettin' along he mout do something for us. You see my wheat crop is likely to fail, for the back-water from the spring freshet got over it, and it's all turned yaller, and my corn looks sickly, and my best cow got snake-bit last week and died, and the old lady is powerful puny, and Sal she got to hankerin' arter a likely chap in the naborhood and married him, and he ain't got nothin', and I'm gettin' old and can't stand nigh as much as I used to, and I want you to see Brother Ben, and maybe he'll do somethin'--you see?"

        "Yes, I see, Uncle Bart, but where does your brother


Page 134

Ben live?"

        "Live? Why, he lives in Texas, I told ye! If you don't meet him in the road you can send him some word by somebody and he'll find you. He's over there shore."

        In about an hour he met Dolph again, and slapping his foot down limberly, he seized Dolph's hand with a loving grip, and says he, "Hello, Dolph--gwine to Texas?"

        "Yes, Uncle Bart."

        "Will you tell Brother Ben that we are all doin' tol'able; the crop looks 'bout as good as common, and the old 'oman's sweet and sassy as ever, and Sal's she's married and done splendid. Good by, Dolph, God bless you, I love you."

        In about two more drinks, from that time, Uncle Bart come weavin' along, and, says he, "Hello, Dolph, gwine to Texas?--tell Brother Ben I've got--the brest crop in the - State--to let me know how he's golonging along--if he wants anything--he shall--s'havit--he shan't--he shan't-- she shan't suffer--as long as--as I've got nothin'--I can send him--twen or twelve-teen dollars - any time--farewell, Dolph."

        About the close of the day Dolph found him on the lowermost step of the grocery, his head on his knees and his hat on the ground. Thinking it a poor place to spend the night, he aroused him to a glimmering view of the situation.

        "Hello--Roff Doss," says he, "gwine to--Texas?--tell Brother Ben--hell's afloat and the river's a-risin'." (Hic.)


Page 135

CHAPTER XIX.

COBE TALKS A LITTLE.

        "Everything is adopted." Says I, "Cobe, you musent say adopted, for you mean adapted." "Well, I reckon so," says he. "Everything is adapted. Everything fits to everything. There is that houn' dog a-runnin' that rabbit and the dog is adopted to the rabbit and the rabbit is adopted to the dog. One was made for the tother to run. If there wasent any rabbits there wouldent be any houn' dogs. Boys is adopted to squirrels. If there wasent any boys there wouldent be any squirrels. If there wasent any chickens there wouldent be any hawks, for hawks is adopted to chickens, and if there wasent any chickens and birds there wouldent be any bugs and worms; and the bugs and worms is adopted to the leaves and vegetables, and there is always enough left of everything for seed and for white folks to live on. Hogs is adopted to acorns, and if there wasent any hogs there wouldent be more than eight or ten acorns on a tree--just enough for seed; and hogs is adopted to folks, and if there wasent any folks there wouldent be any hogs. There wouldent be any use for 'em. I'll tell you, major, everything was fixed up about right, as shore as you're born, and most everything was fixed up for us. Hogs has got sausage meat and tripe and cracklins, and souse and backbone and sparerib and lard and ham and shoulder and jowl to eat with turnip greens, and it's all mighty good and its all adopted."


Page 136

        "That is all so, Cobe," said I; "everything is adapted, whether it is adopted or not."

        "Yes, said he, "and I've noticed it for a long time, when the wheat is cut off the land the grass comes up for hay, and if we cut it off another crop comes up and keeps the hot sun off the land, and one crop follows another, and if we make a poor crop one year we make a better one the next year, and if we don't we can live on hope and cut down expenses and work the harder to fix up, and some how or other or somehow else we all get along, and when there is a gap we fill it up with something, and we all get along and nobody perishes to death in the name of the Lord, for everything fits and everything is adopted."

        "Well, says I, "Cobe, that is all so--not only so, but also, but there are a heap of things come along that don't seem to be adopted, as you call it. Here comes the army worm, and the grasshoppers, and the caterpillars, and all sorts of vermin, and they are not adapted, and what are we going to do with them? What are you going to do with snakes, mad dogs, and storms, and pestilence, and diphtheria, and smallpox, and all such afflictions? Are they adopted, or are they adapted, or what are they?"

        "Well, sir," says Cobe, "I'll tell you. I haven't been troubled with them things yet, but if I was I know there would be some offset, something to balance the account. I never knowed a man to have a big trouble but what there was something to balance off the trouble. I never knowed a man to go to Texas but what he writ back that there wasn't anything to brag off after he got there. The good things of this life are pretty equally distributed if we only did know it. A rich man haint got much advantage of a


Page 137

poor man if the poor man is any account. Some poor folks is bad stock and don't want to work and goes about grumbling. They is just like a bad stock of horses or cattle or dogs and ought to die out and quit the country. We don't send round the settlement to git a poor dog or a poor cat, or a poor hog or a poor cow. We want a good stock of anything; and there is about the same difference in folks that there is in anything else. There are some rich folks that are clever and some that are mean--some grind you down and some help you up, but them who grind you down don't have much enjoyment. They are never happy unless they are miserable. I'd rather be poor than to be some rich men that I know. My children have a better time eating simmons and black haws and digging gubbers and hunting possums than their children do in getting to parties and wearing fine clothes and fussing with one another and doing nothing for a living. There is nothing like work--working for a living and being contented with your situation. I love to see rich folks doing well, for they help out the country and build railroads, and factories, and car shops, and open up the iron mines, and I know that if everybody was as poor as I am the country wouldent prosper, and it looks like everything was adopted, and we need rich folks to plan and poor folks to work, and they couldent get along without us any more than we could get along without them. I don't want their fine clothes, nor their fine house, nor their carriage and horses, and they don't want my little old mule, nor my bobtail coat, and so it's all right all round, and everything is adopted. It don't take me but a minute and a half to get ready to go to


Page 138

meetin', for all I've got to do is to put on my coat and comb the cuckleburs outen my hair and wash my face and git a couple of chaws of tobacco and take my foot in my hand and go. I can squat down at the door whin I git there, and hear all the preachers has got to say, and thank the Lord for his goodness, and that is worship enough for a poor man, I reckon, and it's all adopted. When I see fine things and fine people I'm always thankful for some favors that are pow'ful cheap considering that money runs the world, for we have got good health and good appetites at my house and can sleep well on a hard bed, and a drink of spring water is the best thing in the world to a hungry man. We haint got no dishpepsy nor heart burn, and nobody haint suing me for my land, for I haint got any, and my wife can make as good corn bread as anybody, and our tables is a good kind, and the old cow lets down her milk about right and can live and do well without being curried and fed up like a Jersey, and she understands my children and they understand her, and so it looks like everything is aodpted. I was thinking the other day how much service this old coat Mrs. Arp gave me has done, for if it had been a new one I would have been afeered of it, but I've wore it now for six months, and its good yet, and the children have wore the old clothes she give them, and they are all adopted, and now, major, if you have got a chaw or two of that good tobacco you always have I want a bite or two, for that is one thing I like better than poor folks' tobaccer. Its one thing that I think is a little better adopted than anything else. At least I like it better."

        Cobe got his tobacco and flanked his little mule with his heelless shoes and galloped away in peace


Page 139

If he is not adapted, I know he feels adopted. Cobe has peculiar ideas and a peculiar language. He always said that thunder killed a man, and when I told him it was lightning he said, "Well, I know they say it is lightning,, but I've always noticed that when it strikes a tree or a man or a mule the thunder and the lightning comes all in a bunch, and you can't tell tother from which." "But, Cobe" says I, "when a gun shoots, the noise don't hurt anything; it is the shot." "Just so. Just so," says he, "but there is no shot about this thunder business."


Page 140

CHAPTER XX.

THE UPS AND DOWNS OF FARMING.

        I never could write like a school-master, and now my fingers are all in a twist and I am as nervous as a woman with the neuralgia. Me and my hopeful set out yesterday morning to cut an acre of second-crop clover, for these lazy niggers round here wanted a dollar a day and board, and I wouldn't give it, and so me and him undertook the job for our vittles alone, and he had a good mowing-blade and I rigged up an old scythe that belonged to a wheat-cradle, and it was about six feet long and took a sweep accordin', and the clover was rank and mixed up with morning glories, and for the first ten minutes it looked like we would just walk through it like one of McCormick's reapers; but you see, that kind of work brought into play a new set of nerves and muscles, that hadent been used in a long time, for mowin' clover with a long blade is an irregular, side-wipin' business that swings a man in all sorts of horizontal attitudes, for sometimes he don't put on enough power for the reach of his blade, and then again he puts on a little too much, and it comes round with a jerk that twists him up like a corkscrew, and so the first thing I knew I was blowin' worse than a tired steer and my shirt stuck to me and my heart was beating like a muffled drum, and I rather look back at what I had cut than ahead of me at what I hadn't. But I was too proud to surrender, for, though I say it myself, there's grit in me, and ever and anon it


Page 141

shows itself, under peculiar circumstances. I heaved ahead of my boy with my long-sweepin' simiter, that give me time to stop and git my wind and wait for my palpitatin' bosom to quit thumpin', and then I would rally my wastin' forces and go it again until I couldent go it any longer. My boy was as willing to quit as I was, for the sun was hot and the air was close, and I say now after due reflection, it was the hardest morning's work I ever did, and I'm not for hire to repeat it at a dollar a day or any other insignificant reward, for it has twisted me out of all decent shape and I go about hump-shouldered and sway-backed and as sore all over as if I had been beat with a thrash-pole. I don't think I would have made such a fool of myself, but you see some of my wife's relations had come a long ways to see us and all the family paraded over to the clover field like a general and his staff, and as they stood around I put on as much style as possible in swingin' my blade and could hear 'em admiring us how gracefully and easily we handled the instruments, when the truth was we had mighty nigh mowed ourselves to death and saved the king of terrors the job.

        What a power of influence these female smiles do have upon us. What undertaking is there that we will not undertake if they will stand by and look on and encourage. Why Sir, I have thought in moments of enthusiasm that if my wife, Mrs. Arp, was to unfold her angelic wings and soar away to Chimborazo's top, and call me with a heavenly smile, I'd go too if I could. I wish they were all rich, for these two traits about women have always struck me. They can live on less than they are obliged to, and make a little go a heap further than the men, but when


Page 142

money is handy they can spend more and take more satisfaction in gettin' rid of it than anybody.

        I read the other day in a farming paper that moles dident do an harm, but on the contrary they did good in eating up bugs and worms; well, I caught one on the first day of this month, a nice, slick, fat fellow; and as my folks had been making an April fool of me all day, I just emptied the sugar bowl and shut the sweet little innocent up in there. Mrs. Arp is a dignified woman, especially at the table. She takes her seat the last of all and after grace she arranges the cups in the saucers, and the next thing is to put in the sugar and cream and give it a little stir with a spoon. Mrs. Arp is afraid of rats, and so when she stertched forth her sweet little hand and removed the sugar dish top the varmint rose suddenly to a perpendicular position, and stuck his red snout just above the top edge. She saw him--I know she did from the way she done. Anticipating a catastrophy, I had slipped around to the rear and reached her just in time to receive her into my affectionate arms as she was reaching backward in a riotous and tumultuous manner. Shutting up the animal again, I departed those coasts, and it took me two days to mole-ify her lacerated feelings and make things calm and serene. The next morning I turned him loose in the garden, and before night he had run his underground railroad right under a row of peas that was about ten inches high, and cut the peas from the seed, and the tops was lying flat and wilted, like a cabbage plant when the cut worms find it.

        Farmin' is a good deal like fishin'. Every time you start out you can just see yourself catchin' 'em but after tryin' every hole in the creek you go home sorrowfully, with a fisherman's luck. But we are not


Page 143

complainin' by no means, for we've got wheat enuf for biskit every day and light-bread on Sunday, and a few bushels to spare for them angels that's to come along unawares sum of these days. We finished cuttin' the oat crop this mornin', and what with them and the clover already housed, the cattle are safe for another year. I imagine they look sassy and thankful; but as for me, I am a used up individual. Durin' harvest I have had to be a binder, and if you don't know what that is, ask Harris. The ends of these fingers which are now inscribin' this epistle are in a bad fix. Skarified and done up with bull nettles and briars, they are as sore as a school-boy's bile. There was sum variation to my business, such as catchin' young rabbits, and findin' partridge nests, and pickin' dewberries; but the romance wore off the first day, and by the end of the next my wife says I was as humble a man as any woman could desire. It's a mighty purty thing to write about and make up oads and pomesou. The golden grain, the manly reapers, the strutten' sheaves, the song of the harvesters, and purty Miss Ruth coquettin' around the fields of old man Boaz, and "how jokin' did they drive their team afield," is all so sweet and nice to a man up a tree with an umbrel, but if them poets had to tie wheat half a day in a June sun, their sentimentality would henceforth seek another subjek. I tried swingin' the cradle awhile, but somehow or somehow else, I couldn't exactly get the lick. It wasent the kind of a cradle I've been used to, and I am too old a dog to learn new tricks now.

        The branches are getting low. The corn is curling in the blades. The mills grind a little in the morning and then wait for the pond to fill. The locust is


Page 144

singin' a parchin' tune. Summer flies keeps the cows' tails busy, and all nature gives sign of a comin' drouth. I don't like this, but am tryin' to be resigned. Before I turned farmer such weather dident concern me much if I could find a cool retreat, but now I realize how dependent is mankind upon the farm, and the farmer upon Providence. The truth is, its a precarious business all around, and I sometimes catch myself a wishin' I was rich or had a sorter side-show to my circus.

        A sorry farmer on a sorry farm is a sorry spectacle. A good farmer on poor land and a poor farmer on good land are purty well balanced, and can scratch along if the seasons hit; but I reckon a smart and diligent man with good hands to back him is about as secure against the shiftin' perils of this life as anybody can be; and then if a man could have besides a few thousand dollars invested in stocks and draw the intrust twice a year he ought to be as happy as subloonary things can make him. Then, you see, he could send off his children to school, and visit his kin, and keep a cook and a top buggy and lay in some chaney ware and a carpet for the old 'oman, and new bonnets and red ear-rings for the girls, and have a little missionary money left. If the drouth or the army worm or the caterpillar comes along he would have something to fall back on and make him always feel calm and sereen. I think I would like that - wouldent you?--and I reckon there ain't no harm in prayin' for it as Agur did when he said, "Give me neither poverty nor riches." Most every aspirin' man I know of in the towns and cities is lookin' forward to this blessed state. They work and toil and twist, and dodge in and


Page 145

dodge out, and do a thousand little things they are sorter ashamed of, with a view at the last of settling down on some good farm with creeks and springs and meadows and mills and fine cattle, and windin' up a perplexin' life in peace with mankind and communion with honest nature. No ambitious man becomes lost to such pleasant hopes as these, and the more trouble he has the more he longs for it, for it's about the fittenest way I know of to get time to repent and make preparation for shuffling off this mortal coil. But to all such the outside investment is highly necessary. Even Beecher could not get along without it--for there are a thousand little leeks in farmin' that a man without experience can't stop, and without capital can't remedy. Why, only this mornin' one of my boys was driving across a bridge and the mule Joe got skeered at his shadder and shoved Tom over on the hand rail and it broke, and he fell in the creek and dragged Joe with him, and the wagon, too, and broke the tongue all to pieces, and the houns and the haims and the harness and the driver, and both the mules set in to kickin' with the front end of the wagon on top of 'em, and the hind end up on the bridge, and you could have heard the racket for two miles without a telefone; and the girls ran and screamed, and Mrs. Arp liked to have fainted every step of the way, for she said she knew Paul was killed as he fell, and kicked to death by the mules and drowned afterwards, and it took two hours to clear the wreck and restore the wounded and passify the women and get everything once more calm and sereen. Now, you see, there's some unforseen damages to pay and nobody to pay 'em and all we can do is to charge it up to the mule. I do think that


Page 146

we farmers ought to have some protection agin the like of this, and I want to introduce a bill the next session, for they've been protecting manufacturers for seventy-five years and neglectin' agriculture, which is the very subsill of a nation's prosperity. I wonder if our law-makers who can save a State couldn't fix up an arrangement that would give everybody a good price for what they had to sell, and put everything down low what we had to buy, and then abolish taxes and work the roads with the chain-gang, and let the bell-punch run the government. Such a law would give universal satisfaction and immortalize its author.


Page 147

CHAPTER XXI.

THE FAMILY PREPARING TO RECEIVE CITY COUSINS.

        It's a thrillin' time when a country family have invited their city cousins to visit 'em, and are fixin' up to receive 'em in a hospitable manner.

        The scouring mop and the floor-cloth and an old jar of lye soap and a pan full of sand are not very elegant things to handle, but they are useful and can't be abolished with decency.

        Everything around and about our premises is mighty clean and nice now. I wish it would stay so. I don't care so much about it myself, but it harmonizes with Mrs. Arp, and the girls and the Scriptures. I'm afraid I'm a little heathenish about such things, for I don't like to live under such constraint--to have to scrape my shoes so much and shut the doors and hang up my hat and empty the wash-bowl. I don't like to see the ashes taken up quite so clean and so often and so much sweeping and scrubbing. I don't think the broom ought to be set in the corner upside down nor the clean towel hid in the washstand where me and the little boys can't find it. I think I would like a room somewhere close about where me and the children could do as we please and enjoy a little dirt on the floor and throw the saw and the hammer and a few nails around and kick off our muddy shoes and mould bullets and pop corn and play horse and marbles and tumble up the bed and do as we please and clean up things about once a month. But there's no room to spare, and so I have to endeavor to live like


Page 148

a gentleman whether I want to or not. I've got an idea that a little clean dirt is healthy. I'm afraid that little tender children are washed and bathed too much. Poor little things. It's very disagreeable to 'em I never saw one that liked it, and that's pretty good evidence it's not accordin' to nature. Once a week is very reasonable, but this every night's business is a sin. They say it keeps the pores open, but maybe they oughtent to be kept open all the time. The surgeons say that a handful of fresh earth bound on a flesh wound or a bruise will cure it up, and I've found out that the best cure for scratches in horses' feet is walking in fresh plowed ground. I never saw a healthy child that didn't love to play in the dirt, and the sand and make frog houses and mud pies. But still I don't go to extremes. I don't want 'em to get so dirty their skin hasn't got any pores at all and their little ears would sprout turnip seed. Everything must be done in reason and in season. There's some things I am mighty particular about-- such as clean dishes and butter and milk and sausage-meat. I saw a woman milking the other day, and she pulled the calf away by the calf's tail and then wiped off the cows tits with the cow's tail and went to milking. I thought there was too little water and too much tail in that.

        But to return to the preparations for the reception. The girls took matters in charge and for several days the exciting episode went on. It was like clearing the deck of a man-of-war for a fight. The house has been scoured and scrubbed and sand-papered. Everything in it has been taken down and put up again, and moved to a new place, and I can't find anything now when I want it. The old faded carpets have been taken up and patched all over, and curtailed and put


Page 149

down again. They get smaller and smaller, which they say is a good way to wear 'em out without taking cold. The furniture has been freshly varnished with kerosene oil; the window glass washed on both sides, and the knives and forks, water buckets, wash pans, and shovel and tongs brightened up. The hearths have been painted a Spanish brown, the soiled plastering whitewashed, the family portraits dusted, and the pewter teapot and plated castors and spoons and napkin rings polished as fine as a jewelry store.

        I surveyed the operations from day to day with affectionate interest, for it does me good to see young people work diligently in a meritorious cause; nevertheless my routine of daily life appears to be somewhat demoralized. On the first day our humble dinner was dispensed with and me and the boys invited to lunch on bread and sorghum at a side table. The next day we were allowed to lunch in the back piazzer, for fear we would mess up the dining room, and the next we were confined to the water-shed to keep us from messing up the piazzer, and after that I meekly prepared myself to be shoved out doors on a plank, but we wasn't. Mrs. Arp lectures me every day on manners and she don't confine her lectures to my private car. The last time we had turkey we had company, and when I asked a lady if she would have some of this fowl, my wife, Mrs. Arp, she looked at me indignantly, and said: "William, this is not fowl - it is turkey." When I asked the lady if she would have some of the stuffin, Mrs. Arp, my wife, observed sarcastically, "Of course she will have some of the 'dressing.' " You see, I thought that dressing was generally worn outside, but it seems


Page 150

that a turkey is not dressed until it is undressed. Well, she overlooked me when the pie was sent around; she overlooks me a great deal, and when I ventured to remind her that I would take some of the dessert, she said she didn't have any Sahara, but maybe a desert of mince pie would do just as well. We took tea at a nabor's once, and when a servant handed me a little glass dish of peaches in a waiter, I thought the whole concern was for me and set it down by my plate. But my wife, Mrs. Arp, she watches me pretty close and whispered to me to take some of the preserves if I wanted any as the servant was waiting for the dish. So after awhile I was handed a saucer of canned peaches, and when I took one out and put it on my plate, my wife, Mrs. Arp, kindly requested me to eat out of the saucer. She has never got reconciled to the way I imbibe my coffee, for you see I was raised to pour it out in the saucer, and when I try to take it from the cup it burns me so I have to give it up. Some folks will endure a heap for style, but I am too old to begin it now. I think I do pretty well considering all things and deserve credit.

        Delicate hints have been given that it ain't polite to set down to dinner with one's coat off, or eat hominy with a knife, or smoke in the parlor. The wash bowl has been turned upside down to keep us from using it. With this side up it holds about a pint and a half, and as I was washing my face with the tips of my fingers they surveyed me with a look of unutterable despair. When I raise my workin' boots on the banister rail for an evening rest they wipe it off with a wet rag as soon as I leave. I musn't step on the purty red hearth to make a fire or put a back log


Page 151

on that weighs fifty pounds. They've put pillows on my bed about half as big as a bale of cotton and fringed all round like a petticoat. They are to stay on in day time and be taken off at night. When I'm tired and feel the need of a midday nap that bed was a comfort, but the best I can do now is to sit up in my chair and nod. The dogs don't understand the new system at all. Old Bows has been coming in the house to the fire or lying in the piazza for fourteen years, and it does seem impossible to break him of it in a sudden though dogmatic manner. Broomhandles and fishing-poles move 'em out at one door, but they slip in at another.

        I think the best thing I can do is to vamoose the ranch and take the dogs and cats and children with me. We can sleep on the hay in the loft and eat peas and drink water and swell to keep from starvin'. Maybe Mrs. Arp and the girls will take pity on us then and let us come back to the old regulations. When the cousins come all will be well. I wish they were here now.


Page 152

CHAPTER XXII.

BAD LUCK IN THE FAMILY.

        It's bad luck now at our house. One of those peculiar spells when everything goes wrong and nobody to blame for it. Saw the new moon through a brush, I reckon. On Monday, two of my pigs, just littered, got drowned in the branch; Tuesday my shoats got into my potato patch; Wednesday a nigger was found struttin' around town with my equestrian walking cane, which was a present, and which I dident know was lost, and yesterday mornin', while Mrs. Arp was away, I thought it was a good time to cut little Jessie's hair off, for it was continually gittin' down over her eyes like any other country gal's, and so I shingled it all over after a fashion of my own, and when her mother came home I dident know at first but what she had took the highsterics, but I soon found out better without much assistance, if any, and all that day I had right smart business away from the house. I gently suggested that it was all owin' to the way she looked at the moon, but that dident screen anything, for you see she was countin' on showin' off the child at the fair, and now she can't. I am hopeful, however, that when the ambrosial locks grow out again our conjugal life will once more be calm and sereen. Husbands! fathers! martyrs to wedded bliss, don't cut your little girl's hair off without permission--don't.

        It looks like my bad luck comes all in a bunch. You see, I had dug a flower pit and rigged it up with


Page 153

shelves and put glass windows in the top of it, and Mrs. Arp and the girls had managed one way and another to fill it with geraniums and all sorts of pretty things, and some of them were in bloom and everything growing so nice and smelt so sweet and the women folks were proud of 'em and nursed them and watered them and showed them to everybody; but yesterday they discovered some little varmints, about as big as a gnat, were gathering on the leaves and doing damage, and when they told me about it, I didn't say nothing, but I thought I knew what would kill 'em, for I had tried it in the hen house, and it worked like a charm. So I got some sulphur and put in an old pan and set it afire and shut down the sash. Well, I've killed all the bugs, that's a fact, and the misery of it is I have killed most everything else. I'm not going to enlarge upon the melancholy consequences, but will just say I wish my folks would put on mourning and be done with it. I can't stand this sort of resigned sadness that's hovering over us much longer. If they would tear around and cut up awhile and quit, I wouldent mind it, but this drooping way they've got of going to the flower-pit like it was a graveyard is just a-killin me. They don't say nothing, so I have been reading history for consolation.

        Old Bows is dead, my loving and trusty friend, the defender of my children, the protector of my household in the dark and silent watches of the night. For thirteen years he has been both fond and faithful, and now we feel like one of the family is dead. Bows was the best judge of human nature I ever saw. He knew an honest man and a gentleman by instinct. He never frightened a woman or a child--he never went tearing down the front walk after anybody, but the


Page 154

very looks of him would mighty nigh scare a nigger to death. When they had to come to our house they begun to holler "hello" a quarter of a mile off. Bows loved to skeer 'em, he did. He had character and emotions. Having no tail to wag (for he was not cur-tailed) he did the best that he could and wagged where it ought to be. Bows was a dark brindle. He was a dog of ancestors. His father was named Shylock, and his grand-father's name was Sheriff. They were all honorable dogs. He was not quarrelsome or fussy. I never knew him to run up and down a nabor's pairings after the dog on the other side. He was above it - but he never dodged a responsibility. He has come in violent personal contact with other dogs a thousand times, more or less, and was never the bottom dog in the fight. And then what an honest voice he had. His bark was not on the C, but it was a deep, short basso profundo. We have buried him on the brow of the hill where he used to sit and watch for tramps and stragglers. Slowly and sadly we laid him down. Talk about your sheep--I wouldn't have given him for a whole flock. Sheep are to eat and wear, but Bows was a friend. It's like comparing appetite with emotion--the animal with the spiritual. But I am done now. Let Harris press on his dog law. I've got nothin' agin sheep--in fact, I like 'em. Ever since Mary had a little lamb I've thought kindly of sheep, and I am perfectly willin' to a law that will exterminate all hounds and suck-egg pups and yeller dogs and bench-leg fices. They are a reflection on Bows' memory.

        Yesterday morning about the broke of day a big clap of thunder come along and shook a month's rain out of the clouds in half an hour. My old friend


Page 155

Peckerwood says he's lived here thirty-five years and never seed the like before. It dident rain nor pour, but just come down in horizontal sheets, and the little branches turned into creeks, and the creeks into rivers and they swelled out of their channels and all over the bottom land, and tore down fences and bridges and water-gates and carried off rails and planks and watermelons and punkins, and the low ground corn ain't nigh as high as it was, and there's a dozen places in the farm where my nabor's hogs can walk into my fields and help themselves if they want to, you know, for I never saw a gate open or the bars down that there wasent an educated hog in sight somewhere. I reckon a hundred people have told me I had the well-wateredest farm in the county, and now I believe it; but if you know of a man who has got one that ain't quite so well-watered, and is a mile or two high, and not subject to the avalanch, and I keep in my present humor, please send him along and I'll swap.

        Everywhere that a fence crossed a slew or a branch it's washed away for a dozen panels, and the big long logs that swung the water gates are gone, and the plank fences on both sides of the big road are gone, and now it takes all the hands and the dogs to keep the nabor's hogs back while we are repairin' damages, and reminds me of the time we used to guard the road to keep the small-pox from comin' to town.

        The meandering swine whose fourfathers ran down into the sea have been perusin' the pasture, and now it's open to the later patch, and so we've had to pen up everything in the barn-yard together, and the old sow has been samplin' the young chickens, and the Governor (that's our man cow) tried to horn General


Page 156

Gordon, the finest colt perhaps you ever laid your eyes on; and this morning as I was a movin' about with alacrity, Mrs. Arp told me the flour was out and I told her to run us on shorts, and she said the shorts was out, and I hollered back to run us on meal, and she said the meal was out, and then I surrendered and had some wheat and corn sent to the mill, and in about an hour Ralph come back and said one mill dam had washed away and the other mill had up the rocks a peckin' of 'em, and the creek was still a risin' and he couldn't cross any more, and I sent him to one nabor to borrow and they had locked up and gone a visitin', and another nabor didn't have but a handful in the house, and so here we are jest a perishin' to death in the name of the State, and if you and your folks have got any bowels now is the time to extend to me and my folks your far reachin' sympathies--ain't it?

        And Mrs. Arp thought it a good day to clean up the kitchen and scour up the pans and cook-vessels, and the girls said shorely nobody would come foolin' around in such wether, and they went to moppin' and sloppin' over the house, and shore enuf about four o'clock this evenin' p. m., in the afternoon a couple of nice young gentlemen swum their horses all the way from town to get to see 'em, and there was no darkey to open the door and my black-eyed Pocahontas had it to do, and she got behind it and hid and ax'd 'em in, and about sundown I come home and I told 'em I was agoin' to put up their nags and they must stay all night, which was the boldest venture on the least capital I ever made in my life, but they respectfully declined, which was fortunate for them, for although bright eyes and rosy cheeks and


Page 157

bang'd up hair may have some effect on a young man's heart, they are mighty little comfort to his stomach--ain't they?

        And it ain't done freshin' yet, for the frogs are croakin' and the air is full of swet and the salt sticks together and the camphor bottle is cloudy, and I don't think Mrs. Arp is as smilin' as usual, and all of these signs hardly ever fail at once, you know.

        Such is life and I can't help it. The bad and the good, the wet and the dry, is all mixed up together. I have spread forth my trouble and feel better. There's lots of folks in my fix, and I want 'em to know I sympathize. I'm sorry for 'em, and if they are sorry for me it's all right. As Cobe says, it's all right. We have got a power of good things to be thankful for. A little boy was drowned in my nabor's mill-pond yesterday, but he wasn't mine. The doctor passes my house most every day, but he don't stop. There was a barn full of corn and mules burnt up in the settlement last week, but it wasent mine. The poor-house is just up the road a piece, but we don't board there. I'm not a candidate for any office. I've got plenty to eat right now, and when we get tired of our homely fare we can just step over to nabor Freeman's and fare better. There's nothing like having a good nabor in eating distance--for we don't have to dress up nor put on any particular style about it, but just send up word we are coming up to supper and it's all right. Folks can't do that way in town.


Page 158

CHAPTER XXIII.

THE STRUGGLE FOR MONEY.

        I don't hear of many folks getting rich. I don't know of but a few who are making more than a good fair living, and there's ten to one who are powerfully scrouged to do that. The majority of mankind are always on a strain. Most of them work hard enough, but somehow or somehow other, they can't get ahead, and a good many are in old Plunket's fix who said he was even with the world, for he owed about as much as he dident owe. Some folks are just like hogs. They won't stay in one place or keep at one business long enough to make anything, but are always a rooting and ranging around for new places. I've noticed children picking blackberries - some will stay at a bush until they have gathered 'em all and others will spend nearly all the time in hunting for a better place. You can tell 'em by their buckets when they get home. My good old father used to say he never knew a man to stick closely to a business for ten years but what he made money--that is, excepting preaching and politics. The one don't want to make it and the other can't keep it, as a general rule, for money made easy goes easy. When a lawyer gets five dollars for writing a deed he spends it before night, but if he had to make ten bushels of corn to get it he would carry it in his pocket just as long as he could. It's altogether another sort of a V. But it's all right, provided we are happy, and I don't think there is much difference in this respect between the poor


Page 159

and the rich. I used to be sorter envious of rich people and wondered at Providence for letting them have so much more than they needed, but I ain't now; I've got more sense, for I perceive they are no happier than I am, and then, besides, when they begin to get old their grip weakens, and they build up colleges and churches, and orphans' homes, and establish libraries and other institutions. If they don't do that, their children get it, and as a general rule they scatter it all before they die, for it comes easy and will go the same way. So it's all right in the long run and if it ain't I can't help it, and I'm not going to grieve over what I can't remedy. Honest industry and a contented disposition is the best insurance company for happiness in this world and will make a man independent of fine houses and fine clothes and the luxuries of life on the one side, and court houses and jails and pinching poverty on the other. It seems to me that somebody has said something like this before, but I'll say it again anyhow. There's one thing I consider settled--my children will have no chance to waste and squander my money, for there won't be any left to speak of and it will be such a long division the fractions will be too small to fuss about. Turn about is fair play, and if we take care of them in infancy and youth and spend the last dollar we get on 'em, they must look after us when we get old and helpless--and they will, I know. We've tried to make their young lives happy. I've mighty nigh wore myself out playing horse and marbles and carrying 'em on my back, and rolling 'em in a wheelbarrow, and doing a thousand things to please 'em, and that's more than a rich man will do, who is all absorbed in stocks and bonds and speculation, and goes home at night with money on


Page 160

the brain. He's no father--he ain't; he's a machine. The average family man is hard run. There's nobody perishing or freezing in this sunny land, and very few folks boarding at the poor-house, but still there is a general struggle going on in the town and the country. Most everybody is in debt more or less, and what one crop don't pay has to lap over on the next. The merchants say that money is awful tight right now, and I reckon it is. I'm sorry for the merchants, for as a general thing money is their sole dependence. If he hasent got any money he is a busted institution, and that is where the advantage of being a farmer comes in. He can be out of money and still squeeze along, for he has corn and wheat and sheep and hogs and chickens, and don't have to wear store clothes to any great extent, and his children can wear their old ones a long time and go bare headed and bare footed when there's no company around. Town folks have to dress better and dress oftener, whether they can pay for 'em or not. But it is a hard time all round to make a living, and I don't know exactly what is the matter. The average family is not extravagant. They understand the situation at home and try to conform, but it looks like they are just obleeged to fudge a little and go in debt, and then the misery begins. When the good man gets his mail from the post-office he is most afraid to open it for fear of a dun. These darned little just debts, as Saul McCarney used to call 'em, hang around like a shadow. The four D's are mighty close kin--debt, duns, death and the devil--and one is nearly as welcome as the other. A man who was born rich and managed to keep so, or a man who was born poor and has gotten rich, don't know much about the horror of


Page 161

debt and hasent got much sympathy for the debtor class and is very apt to lay it all to their imprudence or bad management, but the fact is most of our rich men got a start before the war or built up on the ruins of it before society with its extravagance got hold of 'em. They couldent do it now. I know lots of rich men who, if they were to lose their fortunes, couldent start now and make another. They think they could, but they couldent; mankind are too smart and too sharp now for an old-fashioned man to stand any chance. He would get licked up in his first experiment. Money makes money and money can keep money after it is made, but there is a small chance now for a young man to make money and save it and keep in gunshot of society. He can bottle himself up and remain a bachelor and turn his back on society and accumulate a fortune, but the trouble is that most of 'em want to marry and ought to marry, and if he bottles himself up and spends nothing and dresses common he is not the sort of man the girls are waiting for. And so if he spends freely and rides around, he is apt to get married, and then comes house rent and servant's hire and clothes according, and he squeezes along and is always on the strain. There are mighty few getting rich now-a-days, but when a man does get a start, he can get richer than they used to. A half a million now is about what fifty thousand used to be. But the average man is not going to get rich, and I reckon it is the common lot, and therefore it is all right. Nobody ought to distress himself about it, or hanker after money, but somehow I can't help wishing that our common people were a little better off.

        Let us encourage the boys--the rising young men


Page 162

and middle aged men. Let us pat 'em on the back and point to the flag and say, "Excelsior." It will help 'em climb the mountain. Jesso--but I said awhile back that this generation will not produce men as grand as our fathers, and it won't. There are no young men who give promise of equaling Clay or Webster or Calhoun or Crawford or Forsyth or Troup or Howell Cobb or Toombs, in the days of his splendor, or Stephens or Joseph Henry Lumpkin or Warner or Walter T. Colquitt, and a score of others I could name. I am talking about grand men--men who stood away above their fellows and adorned society like mountains adorn and dignify a landscape. Nobody is to blame about it that I know of, for it comes according to nature's laws and the decrees of Providence, and I reckon it's all right. Those grand men of the olden time have served their day and accomplished their work. They moulded manners and statesmanship and great principles and patriotism, and the masses looked up to them and learned wisdom. All this was in the days of Southern aristocracy, and these grand men had abundant leisure and dident have to be on the wild hunt for money. It was the aristocracy of dominion, for dominion dignified a man then, and it does now just as it did in the days of the centurion, who said: "I say unto this man go, and he goeth, and to another come, and he cometh." Dominion over men makes a man feel a responsibility that nothing else does, and this responsibility enlarges his moral nature and ennobles him as a gentleman and a philosopher. It is this feeling that dignifies judges and railroad presidents, and captains of ships, and generals in armies. They can all command men and be obeyed.


Page 163

But the time came in the Providence of God for a change. The masses of the people were under a cloud. They were overshadowed, and the wreck of the slave aristocracy, together with the results of the war, made an opening for them and their children. Humbler men have come to the front and now run the machine. The masses are looming up. Overseers have got rich. Poor boys, who had a hard time, are now our merchant princes. The old lines of social standing are broken down, and one man is as good as another, if he succeeds. Success is everything now, especially success in making money. Statesmanship has gone down. Great learning is at a discount, money makes presidents, and governors and members of Congress. We talk about a candidate's "bar'l" now just as we used to talk about his eloquence or his service to his country. Everywhere there is a wild rush for money, and it don't matter how a man gets it so he gets it.

        Now, how can this sort of an age produce great men? How can the young men escape the infection! Where is any purity or honor in politics or in the court house? When a man has to resort to deceit or hypocrisy or questionable means to support his family he loses his self-respect, and when his self-respect is gone his ability to be a great man is gone. He can't do it. No man is truly great who is not honest and sincere and a lover of his fellow-men. A lawyer who lies or resorts to tricks--a merchant who conceals the truth may get rich, but they will never be great I tell you the grand old men are gone, or going, and their places will not be filled by this generation nor the next. The next generation will be worse than this, for these people who have sprung up and


Page 164

got rich are going to get richer, and they will spoil their children with money and a fashionable education. They are doing it now, and by and by these children will get to be proud and vain and no account, and won't work, and finally go down the hill their father climbed. Stuck up vagabonds will marry the girls, and the boys will loaf around town and play billiards and drive a fast horse. A man who was raised poor and by a hard struggle gets rich, is the biggest fool in the world about his children. He came from one extreme and puts his children on the other.

        Nevertheless I am hopeful, and if I do sometimes take the shady side, I mean no harm by it. I am always reconciled to what I cannot help. The wild rush for a big pile of surplus money alarms me, for the older I grow the surer I am that the surplus will not bring happiness or be a blessing to the children. There is no security except in honest industry, and boys won't work whose fathers are rich. Old Agur was right. "Lord give me neither poverty nor riches, lest if I be rich I take thy name in vain or lest I be poor and steal." But there is some comfort in this great change from the old to the new. The common people have a better chance than they used to have. All classes are assimilating and becoming more alike--more on an equality. One man is about as good as another now, if not better. The Joe Brown type is in the ascendant, and the humblest man has an equal chance for the highest honors. So let it rip along, for a wise Providence is above us.

        Cobe says he "aint makin' a blessed thing--no corn, no 'taters, no cotton, no nuthin'--and Willy is down with the new-money, and the chickens all died


Page 165

with the cholera;" and then he gave a three-cornered grin and squeezed his tobacco between his teeth as he remarked, "but, major, it ain't nigh as bad as it mout be; it ain't nigh as bad as war." Then he stuck his heels in the little mule's flanks and away he went galloping up the road. There used to be a bureau called the bureau of refugees and abandoned lands. Cobe says if them yankees will revive it now he is about ready to jine the concern. Says he will do most anything except beg or steal, or go to the poor house. So when I feel melancholy I think about Cobe and cheer up. The truth is, we all borrow too much trouble. It is better to look back once in awhile and recall the vast amount of fears and forebodings that were wasted and maybe that will give us brighter hopes of the future.

        There's a new lot of boys a circulatin' around us now. Grand-children have come to visit us and see the spring show open in our country home. Penned up for months in a little city, they have lived in a sort of prison home and feel now like school boys when recess comes--want to go out and rock somebody. They hardly took time to kiss and say howdy and shuck off their store clothes before they were off--dabblin' in the branch, rockin' the ducks in the little pond, frightenin' the ganders as they stand guard over their sitting mates, digging bait, fishing for minners, rollin' an old hogshead down the hill, breakin' the bull calf and every half hour sendin' to grandma for some more gingerbread. Here they go and there they go, while their poor mother jumps up every five minutes to see if they havent got killed or drowned or turned over the hen-house. She like to have took a


Page 166

fit this mornin' as she looked out of the window and seen 'em coming down the big road with a calf a pullin' a little wagon with gum-log wheels. One a pullin' haw, another pullin' gee, and four of 'em a ridin' and all a hollerin' tell they made such a racket the calf took a panic and run away with the whole concern and never stopped tell he got in the branch and landed their gable ends in the water.

        Blessings on the children and the children's children. How I do love to have 'em around and see 'em frolic, and ever and anon hear one squall with a cut finger or a stumped toe, or the bark knocked off his hide somewhere. What a pity they have got to grow up and see trouble and be sent to the legislature or congress, and there get a little behind in morals and money. But sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

        My little boy geared up an imitation bug last night, made of black cloth with horse-hair legs--an awful looking varmint--and slyly swung it before me on a stick, and I had like to have a fit, trying to knock the ugly thing out of my face. The little rascal just laid down and hollered, and the family ain't done laughing about it till yet. Mrs. Arp sometimes tells me I let them take too many liberties with the dignity of their paternal ancestor, but it's all right, I reckon. And I noticed the other night when the girls jerked her up from the sofa and whirled her round the room to the music of the dance, she submitted to it with a humility and a grace that was impressive. I like that. I like an affectionate familiarity between parents and children, though I want it understood that I'm the boss of the family, that is, when Mrs. Arp is away from home. I give 'em butter on their biscuit as a regular thing, but when I put sugar on the butter I expect 'em to be more than ordinarily grateful.


Page 167

CHAPTER XXIV.

NEW YEAR'S TIME.

        I was discoursing Mrs. Arp, my wife, about that last night. You see, it was New Year, and I called on her. I dident have any swallow-tail coat and white kids, but I called. I had procured a bunch of misseltoe full of pearly berries, and I got the girls to make it into a wreath with some heliotrope blossoms, and sweet violets, and geraniums, and strawberry blooms which they had in the pit, and as she sat by the parlor fire I came in and addressed her: "Fair lady, I come with the New Year's greeting. May it bring you joy and peace, and love and rest, and happy days. Thirty long years of devotion and arduous duty in the infantry service of your country entitles you to be crowned the queen of love and beauty. Allow me to encircle your brow with this wreath." She enjoyed that first-rate, and when the girls took off the chaplet to show it to her, she remarked with a touch of sadness, "It is very beautiful, but your promising parent has been promising me a tiara of diamonds for thirty years, and now he pays me off in mistletoe and flowers." "Solomon," said I, "in all his glory, had no such gems as these. You know, my dear, I have always desired to be able to purchase a diamond ring and breast-pin and a diamond tiara for you, not that you need any ornaments to make you beautiful and attractive, for all the gems of Golconda could add nothing to your natural loveliness."


Page 168

"Ralph," said she, "your father has got a fit; you had better throw some water on him."

        "But then," continued I, "the love of ornament is natural to women; Isaac knew her weakness when he sent Rebecca the ear-rings and bracelets. The ear-rings weighing half a shekel apiece, which, according to the tables, made the pair worth exactly sixty-two and a half cents. It rejoices me, my dear, that I shall soon be able to present you with a full set of genuine diamonds of the first water."

        "When did you get so suddenly rich?" says she. "Have you drawn a prize in a lottery?" "Not at all, by no means," said I. "But a London chemist has just discovered how to make diamonds of charcoal. They have known for 20 years how to make charcoal out of diamonds, but now they reverse the process and pure diamonds will soon be manufactured on a large scale, and it is predicted will be sold at about 8 dollars a bushel. When they get down to that price, my dear? I am going to buy you a whole quart and you can string 'em all over you and cook in 'em and wash in 'em and make up the beds in 'em. I'm going to stick a kohinoor in the end of the broom handle. What do you think of that, my dear, won't it be elegant?"

        "No it won't" said she. "I don't want any of your charcoal diamonds. Eight dollars a bushel is 25 cents for the quart you propose to spend on me. I wouldn't be so extravagant if I were you. No, I thank you. Isaac spent more than that on Rebecca, and didn't hurt himself. Buy me a carriage and horses and I'll do without the diamonds. They were intended for homely folks, and I am so beautiful and lovely I don't need them. Suppose you try me with


Page 169

a pearl necklace. I reckon your London man is not making pearls out of charcoal, is he?"

        "Why, that's an old trick," said I. "Parisian jewelers have them at fifty cents a string and you can't tell them from the genuine. What does it matter if they are cheap so they are beautiful? What are all the gems of the ocean to be compared to these fragrant and lovely flowers that cost us nothing? Beautiful flowers that 'weep without woe and blush without a crime.' I never liked golden ornaments, nohow; as Tom Hood says, it's 'bright and yellow, hard and cold;' you can't tell it from brass without close inspection, and it wouldent be worn as jewelry if it was cheap. I wish everything was cheap--cheap as the air and the water. Then we wouldent be tied down to one little spot all the time, but we would travel--we would go to Florida and California and London and Paris and all over the Alps, and see the pyramids and the city of Jerusalem, and when we got tired we would come back home again and rest. Wouldent that be splendid?"

        "Oh, yes," said Mrs. Arp. "All that is very romantic, but it sounds very much like 'college talk,' as old Mr. Dobbins would say. Whenever he hears anybody gassing around or talking extraordinary he says, 'Oh, that don't amount to anything. Its college talk.' He says he never knew a college-bred man that didn't build air-castles, and imagine a heap more than ever come in sight. We are right here on this farm and we will never see California nor the pyramids, and I'll never see the diamonds nor the pearls, and I don't care to, but I never like cheap things for they are not much account--so we'll fall back on the flowers, and when you have a little money


Page 170

to spare I want to send on for a few choice ones and a collection of seed. Do you understand?"

        "I do, madam," said I, "you are a sensible woman. You shall have the money if I have to sell my Sunday boots. 'Bring flowers, bring flowers to the fair young bride.' "

        I believe it's a good rule for everybody to attend to their own business. The other night I was reading aloud to the family about a feller who was standing at the forks of the road with an umbrella over him, when a flock of sheep came along and got tangled up, and so he thought he would help the driver by shooing 'em a little and waving his umbrel. An old ram dident like that and suddenly made for him and went through his umbrel like it was a paper hoop, and having knocked him down in the mud, he had to lay there until about a hundred sheep jumped over him one at a time When he arose and took in his dilapidated condition, he remarked: "The next time I see a drove of sheep a-coming I reckon I'll attend to my own business."

        Next day Mrs. Arp, my wife, was fixing to grind up sausage meat and I ventured to remark that if she would salt the pieces before she put them through the machine, it would save her a heap of trouble. Her sleeved were rolled up and as she looked at me she assumed a chivalric attitude and remarked: "There will be an old ram after you the first thing you know." Of course I retired in good order, and now I can't make a remark about domestic affairs without having that old ram thrown up to me. You see a woman has more liberty of speech than a man, for its mighty nigh the only liberty she has and I don't begrudge her the use of it. But then their five senses


Page 171

are more sensitive and acute than ours. In fact I think my wife, Mrs. Arp, has seven or eight, for she can come to a conclusion about things so quick it makes my head swim, and I know she must have some perceptions unknown to the books. She can hear more unaccountable noises in the night, and see more dirt on the floor and smell more disagreeable odors than anybody in the world. I won't say she can point partridges, but a few years ago our nabor come over one day and said he had lost his dog, and my wife, Mrs. Arp, laid down her knitting, and says she: "That dog is in our well. The water has tasted and smelt dog all day." We all laughed at her and continued to use the water for two or three days, but she dident. Finally, we give it up that something was wrong, and I sent a darkey down a hundred feet to the bottom, and shore enough there was the dog.

        Well, the rats took possession of our house not long ago and we could hear 'em at all times of night ripping around overhead and playing tag and leap-frog, till it was past endurance. So I got some rat poison that was warranted to drive 'em away to water, and shore enough they disappeared and we were happy. The next morning my wife, Mrs. Arp, was snuffing around about the mantel-piece, and says she, "William, these rats are dead, but they never went after water--they are in these walls." Well, we dident pay much attention until next day, when some of the family thought there was a very faint taint in the atmosphere. We waited another day, and then had to take down the mantel-piece and found six dead ones behind it as big as young squirrels, and we have mighty nigh tore the house all to pieces hunting for the rest of 'em. Fact is, we had to quit the room,


Page 172

and it's just gittin' so now we can live in it. There's no fooling such a nose with fraudulent combinations. If a man ventures to take a little something for his stomach's sake and his often infirmities, she can tell what kind of medicine it was by the time he gets to the front gate, which to say the least of it is very inconvenient.


Page 173

CHAPTER XXV.

OLD THINGS ARE PASSING AWAY AND ALL THINGS
HAVE BECOME NEW.

        That is the way it used to be in Scripture times, and it is the same way now. I wonder what were their old things? In those primitive days there were not very many things of any kind--not much invention or contrivance--no steamboats, no steam cars, or telegraphs, or telephones, or sewing machines, or telescopes, or spectacles, or cooking stoves, or reaping machines, or threshing machines, or patent plows, or cotton factories, or wool carders, or printed books, or the like. But still I suppose they did improve some, and shook off the old ways of living, and cooking, and dressing. I was looking at a venerable patch-work quilt the other day that a good old lady made some forty years ago, and it was very nice and pretty; and right beside it, on another bed, was a printed one that was pretty, too. One cost days and weeks of labor, and the fingers got tired, and so did the eyes, and I reckon the back; and if the labor and time could be fairly computed, it was worth twenty five dollars, and now one can be made for a dollar that is just as good and just as pretty. What a world of trouble our forefathers and foremothers had! And yet they were just as happy and got along about as easy as we do. They dident want much and they dident have much. They had simple ways and simple habits. They prized what they had made a good deal more than we do what we buy. When the


Page 174

good housewife put the last stitch in a woolen coverlet, or even a pair of woolen socks, she felt happy. Her work was a success and it was a pride.

        The other day I received a present of a pair of socks, knit with golden silk, and the good old lady wrote me a note with her trembling fingers that this was the 865th pair that she had knit upon the same needles; that she began more than half a century ago and had knit for young and old, for silver weddings and golden weddings, and for weddings that were new-born--when the lily and the rose put their first blush upon the maiden's cheek; that she had knit scores of pairs for the soldiers in the last terrible war, both in the field and in the hospital, and that she had never lost any time from her other household duties, but knit only after her other labors were done.

        Well, it is a wonderful amount of work to think about. I know some venerable women, who are close akin and very dear to me, who have been working in the same way, too. They havent knit as much, but they have sewed and patched and darned for large households and never complained. It is a world of work for a mother to keep her children clothed, especially in these days when it takes more clothes than it used to. How many little jackets and waists, and breeches, and shirts, and drawers, and petticoats, and dresses, and aprons, and socks, and stockings! When the great pile of clothes comes in from the washer-woman and Mrs. Arp sits down beside it to assort out and put away in the different drawers, I look on with amazement, and wonder when she made them all. Why, it takes about sixty different garments for our youngest child, who is only ten years old, and she hasent got anything fine--not very fine. There are about ten little dresses, mostly calico, and a like number


Page 175

of undergarments and stockings and aprons, but it takes work, work--lots of work--and the sewing machine rattles away most all the time. What a blessing that wonderful invention is to woman, for society is exacting and progressive, and the families of moderate means could hardly keep in sight of the rich if all the stitches had to be made by hand. As it is, we keep up pretty well--that is, we keep in a respectable distance - and our folks can fix up well enough to go to church and send the children to school.

        The old ways were pretty hard ways, and the next generation is not going to work like the last. I am glad that it won't have to, for it is a waste of time and toil to make a patch-work quilt now, or to knit the stockings, or to beat the biscuit dough, or to bake them in a spider with coals underneath and coals on top of the heavy old-fashioned lid. Our mothers used to do all that "when niggers was," but the cooking stove came along just in the right time, and now it is much easier to cook "when niggers wasent."

        Everything was hard to do in the old times. It was hard to thresh out the wheat with a couple of hickory flails. I have swung them many a day until my arms were tired, and I could find only a few bushels under the straw after a half day's work. But it made me strong and made the wheat bread taste mighty good. I remember the first cotton gin that was put up in our country, and the long round bags we used to pack with a crow-bar, and how we used to wagon it to Augusta and camp out at night and hear the old trusty wagoners recite their wonderful adventures. It was a glorious time to us boys, and when we got back home again and brought sugar, and salt, and coffee, and molasses, and shoes all


Page 176

round for white and black with the wooden measures in them, and the names written upon them all, the family was as happy and merry as if Christmas had come before its time. I remember when a pocketknife was a wonderful treasure, and a pair of boots the height of all ambition. But now a pocket-knife is nothing to a boy. He can lose it in a month and get another, and if he isent born in boots, he gets them soon after.


                        "I remember, I remember
                        The house where I was born,
                        The little window where the sun
                        Came peeping in at morn."

        Well, there was no glass in that window--only a shutter--and there was no ceiling overhead. But we boys kept warm under the cover of a winter night, and when the rain pattered on the shingle roof above us it was the sweetest and most soothing lullaby in the world. Folks would complain now if their children had to put up with such a shelter, and I reckon they ought to, for this generation haven't been raised that way and they couldent stand it. But we found out during the war what we could stand, and it dident take us very long to get used to it. A shingle roof and a plank window would have been a luxury then. But even war is not as hard as it used to be. Here is a road in front of my house that Gen. Jackson's soldiers cut out, and it is called Jackson's road yet. He cut it out for a hundred miles during the war of 1812. In those days, when the soldiers wanted to march across a country, they had to carry the roads with them. They had to make them as they went along; but now the railroads pick up an army and hurry it along - everything is lightning now.


Illustration


Page 177

        Truly, the old things are done away. Farewell to home-made chairs, and home-made jeans, and the old back log, and the crane that swung in the kitchen fire-place, and to home-made baskets, and shuck collars, and shuck foot-mats, and dominicker chickens and oldfashioned cows, and castor oil, and paregoric, and opodeldoc, and salts, and sassafras tea. Farewell to marigolds and pinks and holly-hocks, for there are finer flowers now. Farewell to simplicity of manners, and water without ice, and temperate habits, and contented dispositions. Farewell to abundance of time to come and to go and to stay, for everybody is in a hurry now--a dreadful hurry--for there is a pressure upon us all, a pressure to keep up with the crowd, and the times, and with society. Push ahead, keep moving, is the watchword now, and we must push or we will get run over, and be crushed and forgotten.

        So let us all work and keep up if we can. We must fall into line and keep step to the new music that is in the air. "Old Hundred" is gone, and "Sweet Home," and "Kathleen Mavourneen," and "Billy in the Low-grounds," and now it is something else that passeth comprehension. But there is no use in complaining about what we cannot help, for some things are better, even if others are worse. We can still do our duty and put on the brakes for our children. We can tell them to go slow and go sure. Be honest. Money is a good thing, but money gained by fraud or by luck will do no good. Money earned by honest, diligent labor is the only kind that will stick to a man and do good. Money is a social apology for lack of brains or lack of education or graceful manners, but it is no apology for lack of honesty or good


Page 178

principles. Make money, save money, but not at the sacrifice of self-respect or the respect of others. Some things pay in the short run and for a little while, but honesty and truth and diligence pay in the long run, and that is the run we have to die by. Folks differ about religion and politics, but all mankind agree on this. It is old-fashioned talk, I know, but some old-fashioned things are good yet. I have even got respect for my rheumatism, for it has stuck by me like a friend for a long time, and is nearly the only disease that has not changed its name and its pain since I was a boy.


Page 179

CHAPTER XXVI.

BUT ONCE A YEAR.

        Another busy year has gone--gone like the water that has passed over the dam--gone never to return. It has carried many friends along with it and left sad memories in our household, but on the whole it has been a good year to us all, and Providence has been kind. Now is the time to look back and review the past--to take an account of stock like the merchants do--a time to be thankful for what we have received, and to compare our condition, not with those who are better off, but with those who are worse off.

        It is a good time to feel happy, for there is something about Christmas that seems like a recess from a long year of work, and toil, and tribulation. Man needs just such a rest for body, and mind, and spirit. These periods of relaxation prolong life, both of man and beast. If it were not for the Sabbath we would wear out before we get old, and I remember reading a long time ago about some emigrants going overland to California. Some of them rested their teams every Sunday, and some did not, and the first got there several days ahead, and were in the best condition at the end of the long journey. But one day in seven is not enough--we want a whole week at the end of the year, and according to Scripture it is a good thing to have a whole year in seven--a year of jubilee when even the land we till shall have a rest and a time to recover itself and renew its wasted


Page 180

energies. Blessings on the holy fathers who established the Christmas holidays, and on the good men who for eighteen centuries have preserved it for us and our children. It is a blessed heritage and belongs to all alike - the rich and the poor, the bond and the free, the king and his subject. But these good old ways are changing and becoming circumscribed. Christmas used to last from the 25th of December to the 6th of January, and for twelve days there was neither work nor toil, nor official business, nor suits for debt, dunning, nor preparations for war, but all was peace and pleasure and kindly feelings. The peasant was on a level with the prince, and the girls and boys wore chaplets of ivy and laurel and holly and evergreen, and it was no sin for them to take a sly kiss while the rosemary wreaths encircled their brows, for a kiss under the rose was an emblem of innocence and had the sanction of heaven, and love whispered while wearing the mistletoe crown was too pure to be lost or betrayed.

        I love the old superstition that clusters around this season of joy and gladness. Long did I lament the day when my childish eyes were opened and I learned there was no Saint Nicholas nor Santa Claus, no reindeer on the roof, no coming down the chimney to fill the stockings that hung by the mantel. Even now I would fain believe, with Shakespeare, that for these twelve days witches, and hobgoblins, and devilish spirits had to fly away from the haunts of men and hide themselves in the dark pits and caves of the earth, while the good spirits who love and watch over us nestled their invisible forms among the evergreens that hung upon the walls. It was pleasant to think that on the last day of the twelve the cattle knelt down at midnight and humbly prayed that souls


Page 181

might be given them when they died, so that they too, might live in heaven and worship God. I hope the poor things will have a good time in the next world, for they see a rough one in this, and I reckon they will, considering what a splendid pair of horses came down after the prophet Elijah. Heaven wouldn't be any the less heaven to me to find my good dog Bows up there, all renewed in his youth, and to receive the glad welcome that wags in his diminished tail.

        How naturally we become reconciled to the approach of death. How tired we get fighting through the hard battle of life. I remember when it was the grief and horror of my young life that sometime or other I would have to surrender and give it up, but I don't care now. Let it come. I would not live it over again if I could. I do not lament like Job that I was ever born, but still I have no desire to hold on and worry and struggle for several hundred years longer, as did the old patriarchs before the flood. If I was a good man, and everything moved along serenely I wouldn't care, but there's a power of trouble and we make the most of it ourselves. Like David and Solomon, we keep sinning and repenting, and the memory of it haunts a man and cuts into him like a knife, and all sorts of friends come along and clutch the handle and give it a gentle twist. Not one in a thousand will pull it out and put a little salve on the wound.

        I always thought it a pretty idea to weigh a man--to put his life in a pair of balances, the good on one side and the bad on the other, and let him rise to heaven or fall below it, as the scales might turn. I know it's not an orthodox doctrine exactly, for they


Page 182

say that one bad deed will outweigh a thousand good ones. Nevertheless, Belshazzer was weighed, and the Scriptures abound in such figures of speech. It will take miracles of grace to save us all anyhow, and it becomes everybody to help one another, for the devil is doing his best. David committed murder, and Solomon worshipped idols, Cain killed his brother, and Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright, and Noah got drunk and Peter denied his Master; but they all repented and got forgiveness, and if there's any difference between folks now and then I don't know it, unless it is that they had the strongest support and the least temptation to fall.

        But then, a man ought not to take too much comfort from such comparisons, for they savor of vanity, and vanity don't save anbody nor keep him from doing wrong. A man who moves along the pathway of life happily and serenely in the midst of cares and temptations, is a long ways better off than one who don't. A man who brings no sorrow to his friends and nabors lives to a better purpose than one who does, and it must be a blessed bed to die on when a man gets old and has no stinging memories in his pillow-case. There is no goodlier sight in nature than a good man going down to the grave in graceful composure. I recall one who, not long ago, reached his four-score years and died. He was a model of that sweet decay that has no odor of dissolution. He was never a burden or a cross, and to the last received his children and his children's children with a rejoicing smile. Would that I, too, like him, might go do down behind the everlasting hills - not in a cloud nor yet in a blaze of glory, but rather like the sun when his rays are softened and subdued by the Indian summer sky.


Page 183

        Our family frolic is over. The show of it and the pleasant hilarity of the occasion, with all the delightful surprises and rejoicings, passed away most happily, but the sweet perfume of love and kindness that Christmas brought remains with us still. It is more blessed to give than to receive, and the purest pleasure we can feel is in making others happy. In the good old times Prince Rupert used to go round in disguise and find out who was needy and grateful and kind, and when Christmas came he distributed his gifts according to their deservings. It seems to me that if I was Mr. Vanderbilt I would do like that, but maybe not.


                        Then a rich and merry Christmas to the rich,
                        And a bright and happy Christmas to the poor,
                        So their hearts are joyful it doesn't matter which
                        Has the fine velvet carpet on the floor.


                        For riches bring a trouble when they come,
                        And money leaves a pain when it goes,
                        But everybody now must have a little sum
                        To brighten up the year at its close.

        Pleasing the children is about all that the majority of mankind is living for, though they don't realize it, and if they did they would hardly acknowledge it. It is emphatically the great business of this sublunary life. We look on with amazement at the busy crowd in the towns and cities that are ever going to and fro, and the most of them are working and struggling to please and maintain children. It is the excuse for all the mad rush of business that hurries mankind through the world. It is the apology for all the stealing and cheating and lying in the land. One time a man sold me a Poland China sow for $15 and she eat up $5 worth of chickens the day I


Page 184

got her, and when I asked him why he didn't tell me she was a chicken eater, he smiled and said he thought I would find it out soon enough. He spent that money on his children and so I had to forgive him. Sometimes when I ruminate on the meanness of we grown-up folks, I wish that the children would never get grown, for they don't get very mean or foolish until they do.

        Now the biggest part of all this Christmas business is to please the children. Of course there is service in the churches, and the good pious people cerebrate the day in prayer and devotion, but most of it is for the children. The stores are thronged with parents hunting something for them. The Christmas trees are for them, and all the dolls and wagons and tea-sets and pocket-knives and harps and fire crackers and a thousand other things too numerous to mention. Why, there will be five thousand dollars spent in this county this week for Christmas gifts. There will be half a million in the State. There will be twenty millions in the United States, and it is nearly all for children. So, my young friends, you must understand how very important you are in this world's affairs, but you needent get uppity nor bigoty about it, for that spoils all the old folks' pleasure.

        Now, let us imagine we are around the cheerful Christmas fire, and talk about Christmas and tell what it means. Of course you know that it is the anniversary of the birth of Christ, and all Christian people celebrate it. It is very common everywhere to celebrate birthdays. Americans make a big fuss over Washington's birthday because he was called the father of his country. My folks make a little


Page 185

fuss over my birthday and my good wife's birthday. They don't toot horns nor pop fire crackers, but they have an extra good dinner and fix up a pleasant surprise of some sort. We use to surprise the children with a little present like a pocket-knife, or a pair of scissors, or sleeve buttons or something, but so many children came along that there was a birthday in sight almost all the time, and as we got rich in children we got poor in money and had to skip over sometimes. The 4th of July was the birthday of a nation and so the nation always celebrates that day.

        Christians began to observe Christmas about 1,500 years ago at Jerusalem and Rome. They had service in the churches and made it a day of rejoicing. In course of time the young people rather lost sight of the sacredness of the day and the devotion that was due to the occasion,, and made it a day of frolicking and feasting. They sang hilarious songs, because they said the shepherds sang songs at Bethlehem. They made presents to each other because they said the wise men from the east brought presents to the young child and its mother. They kept up their festivities all night because the Savior was born at midnight. The Roman Catholic Church has observed these annual celebrations for centuries, and the Church of England took them up, and so did the Protestants in Germany and other countries. Christians everywhere adopted them, and Christmas day became a universal holiday except among the Puritans of New England, who forbade it under penalties. They never frolicked or made merry over anything. In a great painting of the nativity by Raphael, there is seen a shepherd at the door playing on a bagpipe. The Tyrolese who live on the


Page 186

mountains slopes of Switzerland always come down the valleys on Christmas eve, and they come caroling sweet songs and playing on musical instruments, and spend the night in innocent festivities. A century or so ago there were many curious superstitutions about Christmas. It was believed that an ox and an ass that were near by when the Saviour was born bent to their knees in supplication, and so they said the animals all went to prayer every Christmas night. Of course they might have known better if they had watched all night to see, but when folks love a superstition they humor it. If a child believes in ghosts they are sure to see them, whether they are there are not. These old-time people believed that when the rooster crowed on Christmas night all the wizards and witches and hobgoblins and evil spirits fled away from the habitations of men and hid in caves and hollow trees and deserted houses, and stayed there for twelve days.

        Nations have superstitions just like individuals have them. The Persians had their genii and fairies; the Hindoos their rakshar; the Greeks and Romans had all sorts of wonderful gods and goddesses, such as Jupiter and Juno and Hercules and Vulcan and Neptune, and they built temples for them to dwell in. The more learned and enlightened a people are the more sublime are their superstitions. The uncivilized Indians are mystified and "see God in the clouds, and hear Him in the wind." The native Africans come down to crocodiles and serpents and owls for their gods. Some of the negro tribes take a higher grade of animals and set their faith in brer fox and brer rabbit, as Uncle Remus has told you. When I was a boy we could tell the


Page 187

difference in the negro character by the stories they told us in their cabins at night; and good negroes always told us funny, cheerful stories about the tar baby, and the bear and the bee-tree, and about foxes and wolves; but the bad negroes told us about witches and ghosts and Jack-o'-lanterns, and raw-head-and-bloody-bones I used to listen to them until I didn't dare look around, and I got up closer and closer to the fire, and when my mother called me I had to be carried to the house in a negro's arms. But what about the evergreens, the holly and laurel and ivy and mistletoe and the Christmas tree? That is a curious history, too, and it all came from the poetry and romance that belongs to our nature. Evergreens have for ages been used as symbols of immortality. The victors returning from the wars were crowned with them; chaplets of green leaves and vines were made for the successful ones at the Olympic games. The poets of Scripture tell us of green bay trees and the cedars of Lebanon. Churches and temples have been decorated with them for centuries. Evergreens have always had a poetic prominence in the vegetable kingdom. We all love them, for they cheer us in midwinter when there are no other signs of vegetation to gladden our longing eyes.

        Now, children, these superstitions are all fancy, as you know, and are not even founded on fact, and yet it is human nature to love them. We are all fond of anything that is marvellous, especially if it turns out well for the good. We love to read the Arabian Nights, and we rejoice with Ali Baba who outwitted the forty thieves, and with Aladdin who found the wonderful lamp. Just so we rejoice with


Page 188

Cinderella for marrying the prince, and we take comfort in it, although we know it never happened. It is human nature to want good to triumph over bad, and on this heavenly trait in our humanity is our government and our social system founded.

        You know all about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus, and where that pleasant superstition came from, but the traditions of the Germans about the good Knight Rupert are just as good, and, I think, are more stimulating to the children. In every little village Knight Rupert comes out just after twelve o'clock and nobody knows where he comes from. He has a beautiful sleigh and four fine horses, all dressed up in silver spangles and silver bells, and he dashes around from house to house and calls out the mother and whispers something to her, and she whispers something to him, and he nods his head and wags his long gray beard and dashes away to the next house. You see he is going around to find out from the mother which ones of her children have been good and which ones have been bad, so as to know what presents to bring and how many. If the good mother says sorrowfully, "Well, Knight Rupert, my Tom has not been a good boy; he is not kind to his sisters, and he is selfish and has fights with other boys, and he wont study at school, but I hope he will get to be better, so please bring Tom some little thing, won't you?" She is obliged to tell the truth on all her children, and it goes very hard with her sometimes. So after knight Rupert has been all around he drives away about dark and nobody knows where he went to. That night he brings the presents while the children are all asleep, and sure enough Tom don't get anything. Now, that


Page 189

is what they pretend to believe, but of course Knight Rupert is some good, jolly fellow about town, and he is all bundled up and disguised and cuts up just such a figure as old Santa Claus does in the pictures.

        The year is almost gone, and all of us ought to stop a minute and think about how much good we have done since the last Christmas--how many times we have tried to make our kindred happy--not only our kindred, but our nabors and companions. As I came out of the Markham House, in Atlanta, one cold morning, two little dirty newsboys came running up to me from opposite directions to sell me a paper. They are not allowed to go inside the hotels to sell papers, and so they stand outside in the cold and watch for the men to come out. One of these boys was a stout lad of ten years, and the other was a little puny, palefaced, barefooted chap, and although he was the farthest off, he got to me first. I said to the biggest boy, "Why didn't you run? You could have got here first." He smiled and said, "I dident want to." "Why not?" said I; "Is that boy your brother?" "No, sir," said he, "but he's little, and he's been sick." Now, that was kindness that will do for Christmas or any other day. I gave them a dime a piece, and they were happy for a little while. Children, if you can't do a big thing you can do a little thing like that. I wouldent let the little ragged newsboys get ahead of me.

        We keep Grier's almanac at our house. We get a good many almanacs from the merchants as advertisements, but Grier's is the old standard and is the one that is always hung by the mantle. If you have that kind at your house and will look at the bottom of the last page to see what kind of weather we are


Page 190

to have this Christmas week you will find it put down this way: "Be thankful for all the blessings you have enjoyed this year and try to do better the next." That is a curious kind of weather, but it is mighty good weather.


Page 191

CHAPTER XXVII.

GRANDFATHER'S DAY--THE LITTLE URCHIN OF THE THIRD GENERATION.

        This is a most blessed land--where everything grows that man is obleeged to have, and a power of good things throw'd in just to minister to his pleasure. The summer sun is now ripening the fruits of the earth, and when I see children and grandchildren and nefews and neeses rejoicin' in their wanderin's over the fields and orchards, it carries me back to the blessed days of childhood. The old-field plums and the wild strawberries and cherries, mulberries and blackberries were worth more then than gold, and it made no difference who was priest or president, or how rich was Astor or Girard or any of the nabors, or whether Sal Jackson's bonnet was purtier than Melyann Thompson's or not. What a glorious luxury it was to go barefooted and wade in the branch and go seining and climb trees and hunt bird's nests and carry the corn to the mill and leave it, just to get to run a horse-race home again. I know now that those days were the happiest, and so I won't rob my posterity of the same sort, if I can help it. I want 'em to love the old homestead, and I want children's children to gather about and cherish its memory. What a burlesque on childhood's joy it must be to visit grandma and grandpa in a crowded city, penned up in brick walls with a few sickly flowers in front and a garden in the rear about as big as a wagon sheet. But that's the way the thing is drifting. Them calculatin'


Page 192

yankees have long ago done away with the "old back log" and the blazing hearth-stone and substituted a furnace in the basement and a few iron pipes running around the walls and a hole in the floor to let the heat in. All that may be economy, but in my opinion a man can't raise good stock in no such way. They'll be picayunish and nice and sharp featured and gimlety, but they won't do to bet on like them children that's been bro't up 'round a fire-place on a hundred acre farm and had plenty of fresh air and latitude.

        Pleasin' the children is about all the majority of mankind are livin' for, though they don't know it, and if they did they wouldn't acknowledge it. It is emphatically the great business of life. We look on with wonder and amazement at the busy crowds in a great city that are ever goin' to and fro like a fiddler's elbow, and eight out of ten of 'em are workin' and strugglin' to please and maintain the children. It's the excuse for all the mad rush of business that hurries mankind through the world. It's the apology for nearly all the cheatin' and stealin' and lyin' in the land, and in a heap of such cases I have thought the good angels would drop tears enuf on the big book to blot 'em out forever. The trouble is, that most people are always livin' on a strain, tryin' to do a little too much for their children, and scufflin' against wind and tide to git just a little ahead of their nabors. Some of 'em won't let a ten year old boy go to meetin' or to Sunday-school if he can't fix up as fine as other boys. They won't let him go barefooted, nor wear a patch behind nor before, nor ride bareback, nor go dirty, and so the domestic pressure for finery becomes tremendous. Jesso with bonnets, and parasols, and kid gloves, and silk dresses,


Page 193

and chanyware,, and carpets, and winder curtains--and a thousand things that cost money and runs up the outgo a heap bigger than the incum. Generally speakin' this home pressure ain't a noisy one, but, on the contrary, is very silent and sad--so sad that a body would think there was somebody dead in the house, and so after awhile sumhow or sumhow else the finery comes, and thus for awhile all is sereen. But the collapse is shore to cum sooner or later, and the children ain't to blame for it. Sumtimes when I ruminate upon the meanness of mankind, I wish the children would never get grown for they don't get mean or foolish until they do. Just think what a sweet time of it old mother Eve and Mrs. Commodore Noah, and aunt Methusaler had with thirty or forty of 'em wearin' bibs and aperns until they were fifty years old, toggin' along after their daddies until they were a hundred. I don't think that old father Woodruff could have stood that. When a man who ain't no yearling' gits married, and ten or a dozen of 'em cum right straight along in a row, and by the time he gets on the piazza, tired and grunty, they begin to climb all over him and under him and betwixt him, and on the back of his chair and the top of his head, it's a little more than his venerable nature can stand. On such occasions, it ain't to be wondered at that he gently shakes himself aloose and exclaims, "Lord, have mercy upon me," But, then, the like of this must be endured. 'Tis a part of the bargain, implied if not expressed, and no man ought to dodge it. Humor 'em, play horse and frolic with 'em, wash 'em, undress 'em, tell 'em stories about Jack and the bean stalk, and what you done when you was a little boy; scratch their backs


Page 194

and put 'em to bed, and if they can't sleep, get up with 'em away in the night, and nod around in your night-gown until they can. Let them trot after you a heap in week days and all day of a Sunday, and don't try to shirk off the trouble and the responsibility on the good woman who bore 'em. Solomon says: "Children are the chief end of man, and the glory of his declining years," and raisin' of 'em is the biggest business I know of in this life, and the most responsible in the life to come.

        When a man begins to get along in years he gradually changes from being a king in his family to a patriarch. He is more tender and kind to his offspring, and instead of ruling them, the first thing he knows they are ruling him. My youngest children and my grandchildren just run over me now, and it takes more than half my time to keep up with 'em, and find out where they are and what they are doing. It rains most every day, and the weeds and grass are always wet, and the children and the dogs track mud all over the house. We can't keep 'em in and we can't keep 'em out. The boys have got traps set in the swamp, and are obliged to go to 'em every fifteen minutes, and if they catch a bird it's as big a thing as killin' an elephant. They built a brick furnace in the back yard, and have been cookin' on it for two days, bakin' hoe-cakes, and fryin' eggs, and boilin' coffee, and their afflicted mother has mighty near surrendered; for she can't keep a skillet, nor a spoon, nor a knife, nor a plate in the kitchen, and so she tried to kick the furnace over, and now goes about limpin' with a sore toe. Some of the older ones have found a chalk quarry in a ditch, and taken a notion to drawin' and sculpture,


Page 195

and made pictures of dogs and chickens and snakes all around the house on the outside; and while the good mother was cookin' the two youngest ones chalked over the inside as good as they could. The mantel-piece, and jams, and doors, and bedsteads and sewin' machine, and window glass were all ring-streaked and striked, and as I couldent do justice to the subject myself, I waited for reinforcements. When the maternal ancestor appeared, I was a peepin' through the crack of the door. She paused upon the threshold like an actor playing high tragedy in a theater. "Merciful fathers!" then a long and and solemn pause. "Was there ever such a set upon the face of the earth? What shall I do? Ain't it enough to run anybody distracted? Here I have worked and worked to make this old house look decent and now look at it! I've a good mind to ring your little necks for you. Did ever a mother have such a time as I have--can't leave 'em one minit that they ain't into mischief, and it's been the same thing over and over and over with all of 'em for the last twenty nine-years. I'd rather been an old maid a thousand times over. I wish there wasn't a child in the world--yes, I do!" (Looks at 'em mournfully for a minute.) "Come here, Jessie, you little pale-faced darling. Mamma ain't mad with you; no, you're just the sweetest thing in the world; and poor little Carl's broken finger makes my heart ache every time I look at it. He did have the sweetest little hand before that boy mashed it to pieces with his maul; and there's that great scar on his head, where the brick fell on him, and another over his eye, where he fell on the hatchet. I wonder if I ever will raise you poor little things; you look like little


Page 196

orphans; take your chalk and mark some more if you want to." When I came in she was helpin' 'em make a bob-tail dog on the closet door. I've found your old tom cat," said I; "Carl had him fastened up in that nail keg that's got a hen's nest in it." "Why, Carl, what upon earth did you put the cat in there for?" "Why mamma, he's a settin', and I wanted him to lay some little kittens. Me and Jessie wants some kittens."

        These little chaps ride the horses and colts over the meadow and pasture, and make the sheep jump the big branch, and they go in a washing two or three times a day, and they climb the grape arbor and the apple trees and stuff their craws full of fruit and trash, and they can tell whether a watermelon is ripe or green, for they plug it to see. And every one of 'em has got a sling shot and my pigeons are always on the wing, and the other day I found one of the finest young pullets laying dead with a hole in her side, and all the satisfaction I get is, "I dident mean to do it, or I won't do it any more, or I dident do it at all." Jesso. It's most astonishing how the litle rascals can shoot with their slings, and now I don't believe it was a miracle at all that made David plump old Goliah in the forehead, for these boys can plump a jaybird now at forty yards, and we have had to take all their weapons away to protect the birds and poultry. Sometimes I get mad and rip up and around like I was going to do something desperate, but Mrs. Arp comes a-slipping along and begins to tell how they didnt mean any harm, and they are just like all other boys, and wants to know if I dident do them sorts of things when I was a boy. Well, that's a fact--I did--and I got a lickin' for it,


Page 197

too. You see, I was one of the oldest boys, and they always catch it, but the youngest one never gets a lickin', for by the time he comes along the old man has mellowed down and wants a pet. The older children have married and gone, and the old folks feel sorter like they have been throwed off for somebody no kin to 'em, and so they twine around those that are left all the closer; but by-and by they grow up, too, and leave them, and it's pitiful to see the good old couple bereft of their children and living alone in their glory. Then is the time that grandchildren find a welcome in the old family homestead, for as Solomon saith, the glory of an old man is his children's children. Then is the time that the little chaps of the second and third generation love to escape from their well-ruled home and for awhile find refuge and freedom and frolic at granpa's. A child without a grandma and grandpa can never have its share of happiness. I'm sorry for 'em. Blessings on the good old people, the venerable grand-parents of the land, the people with good old honest ways and simple habits and limited desires, who indulge in no folly, who hanker after no big thing, but live along serene and covet nothing but the happiness of their children and their children's children. I said to a good old mother not long ago: "Well, I hear that Anna is to be married." "Yes, sir," said she, smiling sorrowfully, "I don't know what I will do. The last daughter I've got is going to leave me. I've nursed her and petted her all her life, and I kinder thought she was mine and would always be mine, but she's run off after a feller she's no kin to in the world, and who never did do a thing for her but give her a ring and a book or two and a little


Page 198

French candy now and then, and it does look so strange and unreasonable. I couldent stand it at all if--if I hadent done the same thing myself long ago," and she kept knitting away with a smile and a tear upon her motherly face.

        But I am not going to slander these little chaps that keep us so busy looking after them, for there is no meanness in their mischief, and if they take liberties it is because we let 'em. Mrs. Arp says they are just too sweet to live, and is always narrating some of their smart sayings. Well, they are mighty smart, for they know exactly how to get every thing and do everything they want, for they know how to manage her, and they know that she manages me, and that settles it. A man is the head of the house about some things, and about some other things he is only next to head, if he ain't foot. A man can punish his children, but it's always advisable to make an explanation in due time and let his wife know what he did it for, because you see they are her children shore enough, and she knows it and feels it. The pain and trouble, the nursing and night watching have all been hers. The washing and dressing, and mending, and patching--tying up fingers and toes, and sympathizing with 'em in all their great big little troubles, all falls to her while the father is tending to his farm, or his store, or his office, or friends, or maybe to his billiard table. When a woman says "this is my child," it carries more weight and more meaning than when a man says it, and I've not got much respect for a law that will give the man the preference of ownership just because he is a man. I remember when I was a boy, a sad, pretty woman taught school in our town, and she had a sweet little


Page 199

girl about eight years old, and one day a man came there for the child and brought a lawyer with him, and the mother was almost distracted, and all of us boys--big and little - got rocks and sticks and thrash poles and hid the little girl up in the cupalo, and when the sheriff came we attacked him like killing snakes or fighting yeller jackets, and we run him off, and when he came back with more help, we run 'em all off, and the man never got his child, and I can say now that the soldiers who whipped the Yankess at Bull Run were not half so proud of their victory as we were, though I found out afterwards that the sheriff was willing to be whipped, for he was on the side of the mother and didn't want to find the child nohow. But the world is getting kinder than it used to be--kinder to women and to the poor and dependent, and kinder to brutes. Away up in New England they use to drown women for being witches, but they don't now. Well, they do bewitch a man powerfully sometimes, that's a fact, but if any drowning is done he drowns himself because he can't get the woman he wants and live under her witching all the time. But a man is still the head of the house and always will be, I reckon, for it's according to Scripture. He has got a natural right to run the machine and keep up the supplies, and if he always has money when the good wife wants it and doesn't wait for her to ask for it but makes her take it as a favor to him, then he is a successful husband and peace reigns supreme. Jesso. When there is money in the till a man can sit in his piazza with his feet on the banisters and smoke the pipe of peace. A woman never loves money for its uses. She never hoards it or hides it away like a man--and when I used to be a


Page 200

merchant I thought there was no goodlier combination in all nature than a new stock of dry goods and a pretty woman in the store with a well filled purse in her pocket. Jesso.


Page 201

CHAPTER XXVIII.

MAKING SAUSAGE.

        Hog killing is over at last. We had about made up our minds to kill one at a time as we needed them and not cure any for bacon, but the weather got right and the moon was on the increase, and so we slayed them. I don't care anything about the moon myself, but there are some old family superstitions that the meat will shrink in the pot if the moon is on the wane when you kill it. The new moon is quite level this time, which is a sure sign that it will rain a good deal this month, or that it won't. We have pretty well disposed of this greasy business. The little boys had a good time frying liver on the hot rocks and roasting tails in the ashes and blowing up balloons, and now if we had a few darkies to cook up the heads and clean the feet and fix up the skins for sausages and make a nice lot of souse, we could live like princes, but it's troublesome work and costs more than it comes to if we have to do it ourselves.

        I am very fond of sausage--home-made sausage such as Mrs. Arp knows how to make, and so she delicately informed me that the meat was all chopped and ready for the machine, and said something about my everyday clothes and one of her old aprons. She further remarked that when it was all ground up she would come down and show me how much salt and pepper and sage to put in and how to mix it all up together. Well, I didn't mind the machine business at all, but I remembered seeing her work


Page 202

mighty hard over that mixing of the salt and pepper and sage, and frying a little mess on the stove and tasting it, and then putting in more salt and working it over again, and cooking another mess and tasting it again, and then putting in more pepper and more sage, and after the job was all over, heard her declare there wasn't enough of anything in it, and so I conjured up a bran new idea, and sprinkled about a hatful of salt and a quart of black pepper and a pint of cayenne and all the sage that was on the premises all over the meat before I ground it. Then I put it through the machine and cooked and tasted it myself. Well, it was a little hot--that's a fact--and a little salty, and a right smart sagey, but it was good, and a little of it satisfied a body quicker than a good deal of the ordinary kind, and the new plan saved a power of mixing. I took a nice little cake of it to Mrs. Arp to try, which she did with some surprise and misgiving. By the time she had sneezed four times and coughed the plate out of her lap, she quietly asked me if it was all like that. "All," said I, solemnly. "Do you like it?" she said. "Pretty well, I think," said I; "I wanted to save you trouble. and maybe I've got it a leetle too strong." She never replied, but the next day she made up the little cloth bags and stuffed 'em and hung 'em all overhead in the kitchen, and remarked as she left, "Now, children, that's your pa's sausage. It's a pity he hadn't stayed away another day."

        Mrs. Arp has been mighty busy, as usual--always a working, for the house will get dirty, and the children's clothes will wear out, and it's clean up and sew, and patch, and darn, and sew on buttons; and it's the same old thing day after day and week after week; and the little chaps have to be watched all day and


Page 203

washed every night; and their shoe strings get in a hard knot, and it's a worry to get it undone. They wander over the hill and play in the branch, or frolic in the barn loft, or slip off to Cobe's; and I can hear a sweet motherly voice about forty times a day, as she steps to the door and calls: "Carl--you Carl! Jessie, Jessie-e-e! Where upon earth have those children gone to? I will just have to tie the little wretches, or put a block and chain to them." One day she caught me laughing at her anxiety, and I knew she didn't like it, for she said: "Never mind, William, some of these days those children will come home drowned in the creek, and carried off by the gypsies, and you won't laugh then." When she succeeds in getting them home she places her arms akimbo, and with a look of unutterable despair, gazes at them and exclaims: "Merciful fathers! Did a poor mother ever have such children?--feet right wet, shoes all muddy; and there--another hole in the knee of his pants--and Jessie has torn her apron nearly off of her. Bring me a switch. I will not stand it, for it's sew and patch and worry forever. I could hardly put those shoes on you this morning, for they have been wet and dried, and wet and dried until they are as hard as boards, and your pa won't get you any new ones; and your stockings are worn out and wet besides; and the diphtheria is all over the country, and it's a wonder you don't take it and die. Come in to the fire, you poor little orphans, and warm your feet. You may pop some corn, and here's some apples for you. Don't you want some dinner, my darlings?"

        The poet hath said that "a babe in the house is a well spring of pleasure." There is a brand new one


Page 204

here now, the first in eight years, and it has raised a powerful commotion. It's not our baby, exactly, but it's in the line of descent, and Mrs. Arp takes on over it all the same as she used to when she was regularly in the business. I thought maybe she had forgotten how to nurse 'em and talk to em, but she is singing the same old familiar songs that have sweetened the dreams of half a score, and she blesses the little eyes and the sweet little mouth and uses the same infantile language that nobody but babies understand. For she says, "tum here to its dandmudder," and "bess its 'ittle heart," and talks about its sweet little footsy tootsies, and holds it up to the window to see the wagons go by and the wheels going rouny-pouny, and now my liberty is curtailed, for as I go stamping around with my heavy farm shoes she shakes her ominous finger at me just like she used to, and says, "Don't you see the baby is asleep?" And so I have to tip-toe around, and ever and anon she wants a little fire, or some hot water, or some catnip, for the baby is a-crying and shorely has got the colic. The doors have to be shut now for fear of a draft of air on the baby, and a little hole in the window pane about as big as a dime had to be patched, and I have to hunt up a passel of kinlings every night and put 'em where they will be handy, and they have sent me off to another room where the baby can't hear me snore; and all things considered the baby is running the machine, and the well spring of pleasure is the center of space. A grandmother is a wonderful help and a great comfort at such a time as this, for what does a young mother, with her first child, know about colic and thrash, and hives and hiccups, and it takes a good deal of faith to dose 'em with


Page 205

sut tea and catnip, and lime water, and paregoric, and soothing syrup, and sometimes with all these the child gets worse, and if it gets better I've always had a curiosity to know which remedy it was that did the work. Children born of healthy parents can stand a power of medicine and get over it, for after the cry comes the sleep, and sleep is a wonderful restorer. Rock 'em awhile in the cradle, then take 'em up and jolt 'em a little on the knee and then turn 'em over and jolt 'em on the other side, and then give 'em some sugar in a rag, and after awhile they will go to sleep and let the poor mother rest. There is no patent on this business, no way of raising 'em all the same way, but it is trouble, from the start, and nobody but a mother knows how much trouble it is. A man ought to be mighty good just for his mother's sake, if nothing else, for there is no toil or trial like nursing and caring for a little child, and there is no grief so great as a mother's if all her care and anxiety is wasted on an ungrateful child.

        It looks like we will be obleeged to import a doctor in the settlement. Fact is we are obleeged to have a doctor - not that one is needed at all, but just to quiet the female hystericks when any little thing happens. Since we've lived here I've had to send five miles on the run for a doctor two times just to keep down the family hystericks. Both times the patient recovered before the doctor arrived, but then it was such a comfort to have him around, and hear him say it is all right, and see him measure out a little yeller powder. It was only day before yesterday that Ralph put our little Carl on the old mare and was leading her along at the rate of half a mile


Page 206

an hour, when the little chap took a notion to fall off, and as soon as the wind of it got to headquarters then was a wild female rush to the scene of great disaster. "Oh mercy, oh the dear child. He's killed. I know he's killed, poor little darling. Oh my child, my child. Ralph, I'll whip you for this if I live. Oh my precious. Just look at that place on his little head. Children, where is your pa? Send for the doctor. Oh mercy--what did we ever move out here for, five miles from a doctor?" I was mighty busy planting peas and so forth in my garden, but I snuffed the commotion in the air, and in a few moment found 'em all bringing the boy to the house, and Mrs. Arp and the girls talked so fast and took on so I couldent find out what had happened to him. Finally I got the bottom facts from Ralph, the reckless--the butt end of all complaints--the promise of a thousand whippings with nary one performed. I looked in vain for wounds and bruises and dislocations. "The boy is not seriously hurt," said I--"he is badly scared and you are making him worse by all this commotion--what he wants is rest and sleep."

        "Oh, never," said my wife, "it won't do to let him sleep - when the brain is hurt sleep is the very worst thing--it brings on coma and coma is next thing to death--we must not let him sleep." I was pretty well aroused by this time and said, "He shall sleep," and turned everybody out but Mrs. Arp, and she acquiesced in my determination and the boy slept. He slept all night and Mrs. Arp sat beside the bed and watched. He was all right in the morning and ready for another ride.


Page 207

CHAPTER XXIX.

THE OLD TRUNK.

        The old trunk was open. Away down in its mysterious recesses Mrs. Arp was searching for something, and as I sat in the other corner with my little table and pen I watched her as she laid the ancient relics on a chair and unfolded first one and then another and looked at them so earnestly, and then folded them up again. "What are you hunting for, my dear?" said I. "Oh, nothing much," said she; "I was just looking over these little dresses to see if there was anything that would do for the little grandchildren. Here is a pretty dress. That dress cost me many a careful stitch. All these plaits were made by my hand, my own hand. There is very little such work done now, for we had no sewing machines then, and it took a long, long time. This embroidery was beautiful then, and it is pretty yet. Do you remember when the first daguerrean came to our town to take pictures? Well, Hattie wore this dress when her picture was taken, and I thought she was the sweetest little thing in the world, and so did you, and she was. Since then we have had ambrotypes, and photographs and porcelain pictures, and I don't know what all; but that little daguerreotype gave me more pleasure than anything since, and it is pretty now. Let me see--that was twenty-five years ago, and now I think this same dress will look right pretty on Hattie's child. And here is one that our first boy was christened in, and there is no machine work


Page 208

about it, either. That was more than thirty years ago, and now there are four grandchildren at his house, and three more at another one's house, and I don't know what will become of the poor little things, but I reckon the Lord will provide for them. And here is a little garment that Jennie made. Poor Jennie, she had a troubled life; but she is in heaven now, and I'll save this for Pet. She will prize it because her mother made it. And here is a piece of my wedding dress--do you remember it! I know you said then that I looked an angel in it, but my wings have dropped off long ago, and now I'm only a poor old woman, a faded flower, an overworked mother, ten living children and three more up yonder, and I will be there, too, I hope, before long, for I'm getting tired, very tired, and it seems to me I would like to be nursed, nursed by my mother, and petted like she used to pet me in the long, long ago. And here is a pair of little baby shoes, and the little darling who wore them is in the grave, but he is better off now, and I wouldent call him back if I could. Sometimes I want to feel sad, and I rummage over these old things. There is not much here now, for every little while I have to get out something to mend with or patch or make over again. I wish you would go and see what Carl and Jessie are doing; down at the branch, I reckon, and feet all wet, and they have both got dreadful colds. I can't keep them away from that branch."

        "Dident you play in the branch, my dear, when you were a child?" said I. "Yes," she said, mournfully, "but nothing couldent hurt me then; we were not raised so delicate in those days. You know I used to ride to the plantation, twelve miles, and back again in a day and bring a bag of fruit on the horn of


Page 209

the saddle, but the girls couldent do it now. They can go to a party in a buggy and dance half the night, but that is all excitement, and they are not fit for anything the next day. We dident have any dances--hardly ever--we went to the country weddings sometimes. You remember we went to James Dunlap's wedding, when he married Rebecca Sammons. That was a big frolic--an old-fashioned frolic. Everybody was there from all the naborhood, and there were more turkeys and roast pig and cake than I ever saw, and we played everything we could think of. Rebecca was pretty then, but, poor woman - she has had a thousand children, too, just like myself, and I reckon she is faded, too, and tired." "But Jim Dunlap hasn't faded," said I. "I see him when I go to Atlanta, and he is big and fat and merry--looks a little like old David Davis."

        "Oh, yes, of course he does," said Mrs. Arp. "The men don't know anything about care and anxiety and sleepless nights. It's a wonder to me they die at all. "But I have helped you all I could, my dear," said I, "and you see it's telling on me. Look at these silver hairs, and these wrinkles and crows-feet, and my back hurts ever and anon, and this rainy, bad weather gives me rheumatism, but you haven't a gray hair and hardly a seam on your alabaster forehead. Why, you will outlive me, too, and maybe there will be a rich widower stepping around here in my shoes, and you will have a fine carriage and a pair of beautiful bay horses, and--"

         "William, I told you to go after Carl and Jessie."

        "If Vanderbilt's wife should die and he could accidentally see you," said I, "after I'm gone, there's no telling--"


Page 210

        "Well, go along now and find the children, and when you come back I'll listen to your foolishness. I'm not going to let you die if I can help it, for I don't know what would become of us all. Yes, you have helped me, I know, and been a great comfort and did the best you could--most of the time; yes, most of the time--and I might have done worse, and you must nurse me now and pet me, for I am getting childish." "And you must pet me, too," said I. "Oh, of course I will," said she; "am I not always petting you? Now go along after the children before we both get to crying and have a scene; and I wish you would see if the buff cochin hen has hatched in the hen house." "She has been setting about fourteen weeks," said I, "but she is getting old, and these old mothers are slow, mighty slow."

        I went after the children, and sure enough they were fishing in the spring branch, and their shoes were wet and muddy, and they were bare-headed, and I marched them up tenderly, and Mrs. Arp set them down by the fire and dried their shoes, and got them some more stockings, and then opened their little morning school. How patiently these old-fashioned mothers work and worry over the little things of domestic life. Day after day, and night after night, they labor and watch and watch and wait, while the fathers are contriving some big thing to keep up the family supplies. Parents are very much like chickens. The old hen will set and set and starve, and when the brood comes will go scratching for worms and bugs as hard as she can and be always clucking and looking out for hawks, but the old rooster will strut around and notice the little chickens with a paternal pride, and when he


Page 211

scratches up a bug makes a big fuss over it and calls them with a flourish, and eats it himself just before they get there.

        That was a mighty good talk in your last Sunday's paper about sleep, and letting folks sleep until nature waked 'em. He was a smart doctor who said all that, and he said it well, but I couldent help thinking what would become of the babies if the mothers dident wake until they had got sleep enough. There are no regular hours for them. Job speaks of the dark watches of the night when deep sleep falleth upon a man, but it don't fall upon a weary mother with a fretful child when it is cutting its front teeth and wants to nurse the livelong night. When she is sleeping she is awake, and when she is waking she is half asleep, and the morning brings no rest or refreshment; and I was thinking, too, of what would become of the farm if the boys were not waked up early in the morning. Not many boys will wake up themselves, and they must be called, and in course of time have habits of waking forced upon 'em. A family that sleeps late will always be behind with farm work. I do not believe in getting up before day and eating breakfast by candle light, but I do believe in early rising. I don't know how long my children would sleep if I did not call 'em, for I never tried it; but I don't call Mrs. Arp, of course, I don't, though she says I had just as well, for I stamp around and slam the doors and whistle and sing until there is no more sleep for her. She wants me to build her a little house away off in the garden, where she can sleep enough to make up for lost time, and be always calm and serene, and I think I will.


Page 212

CHAPTER XXX.

ON THE OLD TIMES, ALEXANDER STEPHENS, ETC.

        Two cents--only two cents. When I look at a postage stamp it carries me away back--back to the time when my father was postmaster and I was clerk and had to make up the mails in a country town. The difference between now and then shows that the world's progress in this department is hardly excelled in any other branch of improvement. We couldn't bear to be set back again in the old ways that our fathers thought were pretty good. There were no stamps and no envelopes and no mucilage. The paper was folded up like a thumb-paper, and one side slipped in the other end and sealed with a wafer. The little school-boys, you know, had to use thumb-papers in their spelling books to keep them clean where their dirty hands kept the pages open. Girls didn't have to use them, for they were nicer and kept their hands clean, and didn't wear out the leaves by the friction of their fingers. Boys are rough things anyhow, and I don't see what a nice, sweet. pretty girl wants with one of 'em. Girls, they say, are made of sugar and spice and all that's nice, but boys are made of snaps and snails and puppy dogs' tails. Josephus says that when the Queen of Sheba was testing Solomon's wisdom, she had fifty boys and fifty girls all dressed alike in girls' clothes and seated around a big room, and asked the king to pick out the boys from the girls; and he called for a basin of water and had it carried around to each one and


Page 213

told them to wash their hands. The girls all rolled up their sleeves a little bit, the boys just sloshed their hands in any way, and got water all over their aprons, and so the king spotted every mother's son of them.

        The postage used to be regulated by the distance that Uncle Sam carried the letters. It was 12 1/2 cents anywhere in the state, and 18 3/4 cents to Charleston, and 25 cents to New York. It was never prepaid. A man could afflict another with a pistareen letter that wasent worth five cents. A pistareen, you know, was 18 3/4 cents--that is a sevenpence and a thrip. We had no dimes or half dimes. The dollars were cut up into eighths instead of tenths. When a countryman called for letters and got one, he would look at it some time and turn it over and meditate before he paid for it, and very often they would say, "where did this letter come from?" Well, I would say, for instance, "it came from Dahlonega--don't you see Dahlonega written up on the corner?" Then he would say, "well, I reckon it's from Dick, my brother Dick. He is up there diggin' gold. Don't you reckon it's from Dick?" "I reckon it is," said I. "Why don't you open it and see." When he got home that letter would be an event in the family, and perhaps it would take them half an hour to wade through it and make out its contents. Nine out of ten of those country letters began, "I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well, and hope these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessing." My father kept store, and his country customers used to ask him to write their letters for them, and he always sent them to me, and most of them told me to begin their letters that way. There was not more than one


Page 214

in five that could write, but they were good, clever, honest people and paid their debts, but they hardly ever paid up in full at the end of the year, and so they gave their notes for the balance and made their mark. My father used to say that he had known cases where a man swore off his written signature, but he never knew a man to deny his mark. Our big northern mail used to come in a stage from Madison twice a week, and I used to think the sound of the stage-horn, as the stage came over the hill, was one of the sublimest things in the world, and I thought that if ever I got to be a man I would be a stage-driver if I could. Well, I came pretty near it, for my father had hired a man to ride the mail to Roswell and back twice a week, and the man got sick and so my father put me on a dromedary of a horse and the mail in some saddle-bags behind me, and I had to make the forty-eight miles in a day and kept it up all the winter. I like to have frozen several times, and had to be lifted off the horse when I got home, and it nearly broke my mother's heart, but I was getting a dollar a trip and it was my money, and so I wouldn't back out. The old women on the route used to crowd me with their little commissions and get me to bring them pepper, or copperas, or blueing, or pins and needles, or get me to take along some socks and sell them, and so I made friends and acquaintances all the way. The first trip I made, an old woman hailed me and said, "Are you a mail boy?" "Why, yes, mam," said I. "You dident think I was a female boy, did you?" I thought that was smart, but it wasent very civil, and as she turned her back on me I heard her say, "I'll bet he's a little stuck up town boy."


Page 215

        My father was postmaster for nearly thirty years. It didn't pay more than about$200 a year, but it made his store more of a public place. He didn't know that anybody else hankered after it or was trying to get it, but all of a sudden he got his orders to turn over the office to another man, an old line Whig and a competitor in business. It mortified him very much and made us all mad, for there was no fault found with his management, and he never took much interest in politics but voted for the man he liked the best whether he was a Whig or a Democrat. When he found that Alex. Stephens had it done he wasent a Stephens man any more, and I grew up with an idea Mr. Stephens was a political fraud. I dident understand the science of politics as well as I do now. I told Mr. Stephens about it one night at Milledgeville when we were all in a good humor and were talking about old times of Whigs and Democrats; he smiled and said, "yes, we had to do those things, and sometimes they were very disagreeable." I will never forget that night's talk. It was during the session of the first legislature after the war. Jim Waddell took me to Mr. Stephens' room to hear him talk, and there was Mr. Jenkins and Tom Hardeman and Benning Moore and Beverly Thornton and Peter Strozier and Dr. Ridley and some others, and everybody was in a good humor, and Mr. Stephens was reclining on his bed and told anecdote after anecdote about the old Whigs and how he met the Democrats on the stump and what they said and what he said, and he most always got the advantage and carried the crowd with him. I was very much fascinated with his conversation, but couldent help being reminded of a circumstance


Page 216

that transpired some years before in the town of Calhoun. The Whigs of Gordon county had sent for Mr. Stephens to come up and make a speech and rally the boys for the next election, for Gordon was pretty equally balanced between Whigs and Democrats; the Whigs wanted a big revival. So Aleck accepted, and when the day came the crowd was tremendous. The Democrats had tried to get Howell Cobb and Herschel Johnson to come up and reply to Aleck, but they couldent come, and so little Aleck had it all his own way. In the meantime the Democratic boys had hunted up A. M. Russell and got his promise to reply to Mr. Stephens. Russell was an original genius. He was gifted in language, gifted in imagination, gifted in cheek, gifted in lying, and was utterly regardless of consequences.

        Mr. Stephens made a splendid speech. He arraigned the Democracy and held them up to ridicule, and when he got through the Whigs were more than satisfied; and Mr. Stephens was satisfied too, -- He came down from the stand and was receiving the congratulations of his friends, when suddenly Russell mounted the rostrum and, rapping on the plank in front of him, screamed out in one unearthly yell: "Fellow citizens!" Everybody knew him, and everybody wanted to hear him, and hushel into silence. After a sentence or two Mr. Stephens was attracted to him, and with curious and astonished interest inquired, "Who is that man?" After Russell had paid an eloquent tribute to the glorious old Democratic party, and given it credit for every good thing that had been done since the fall of Adam, he then turned to Mr. Stephens, and, with a sneering scorn, said: "And what have you and


Page 217

your party been doing and trying to do? What made you vote away the public lands so that Yankees and furriners could get 'em and our people couldent. What made you vote for high tariff on sugar and coffee and raise the price so that our poor people couldent buy it," Mr. Stephens arose, excited and irritated, and stretching his long arm to the audience, screamed out: "I never did it, my fellow citizens--I deny the fact and call upon the gentlemen for his proof." With the utmost self-possession, Russell said, "You do--you call for the proof. Sir, if I was to go 200 miles from home to make a speech I would carry my proof with me. I wouldent be vain enough to go without it; but, sir, I am at home--these people know me--they raised me, and when I assert a thing they believe me. You are the men to bring the proof." The crowd shouted and laughed as tumultously as they had done for Mr. Stephens, and he sat down disgusted. Russell continued: "And what was your motive when you were a member of the legislature in voting for a law that prohibited a man from voting unless he was worth $500? Answer me that while you are here face to face with these humble citizens of Gordon county." At this Mr. Stephens rose again, furious with indignation, and screamed: "It is false, sir, it is false; I deny that fact."

        "You do," said Russell, scornfully, "I supposed you would--you deny the fact. That is just what you have been doing for twenty years--going about, over the country denying facts." And the crowd went wild with merriment, for even the Whigs couldn't help joining in the fun. Mr. Stephens


Page 218

turned to his companions and said with a tone of despair, "Let us go to the hotel;" and they went.

        I thought of all this while Mr. Stephens was telling me of his triumphs over veteran foes, and so when he came to a pause I timidly said: "Mr. Stephens, did you ever encounter a man by the name of Russell up at Calhoun?"

        With a merry glistening of his wonderful eyes he straightened up and said: "I did, I did, yes, I did. I will never forget that man. He got me completely. If I had known him I would not have said a word in reply, but I dident know him. He cured me of one expression. I frequently used to emphasize my denial of lies and slander, and that was to say, 'I deny the fact.' I had never thought of its grammatical absurdity, but that man Russell taught me and I quit it. I think he had the most wonderful flow of language and lies of any man I ever met." Mr. Stephens then made a pretty fair recital of his encounter and his "utter defeat," as he expressed it, all of which we enjoyed. Where are they now? Old Father Time has cut them all down but three, Hardeman and Thornton and myself are here, but all the rest of that bright, intelligent crowd are gone. It looks like most everybody is dead. If they are not they will be before long, and another set will be in their places and have their jokes and flash their wit and merriment all the same.


Page 219

CHAPTER XXXI.

STICKING TO THE OLD.

        As the world grows older mankind becomes more liberal in opinion and less wedded to prejudice and superstition. We rub against one another so closely nowadays, and talk so much and read so much that our conceit is weakening, and we think more and think deeper than we used to, and we are more ready to absorb knowledge. A man don't dare nowadays to say anything is impossible, for many impossibilities have already been performed, and we now live in a state of anxious expectation as to what big thing will come next. Still, there are some folks who stubbornly refuse to fall into line, and they stand by the old landmarks. Not long ago I passed by a blacksmith shop away off in the country, and there was a horse doctor cutting the hooks out of a horse's eyes to keep him from going blind, and he got very indignant when I told him that the horse books were all against it, and said it ought to be prohibited by law. I heard an old hardshell arguing against this idea that the world turned over every day, and he declared it was against common sense and Scripture, and he wouldent let his children go to school to learn any such nonsense, for he knowed that the water would all spill out if you turned it upside down, and the Scripters said that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and it stood still; and he asked me how I was going to get over the like of that. I saw that the crowd was against me, and so I replied: "Jesso,


Page 220

Jesso, my friend. And right then the wonderful change took place. The sun used to go around the earth, of course, but Joshua stopped it and he never set it to going again, and it is there yet."

        This weakened the old man a little and unsettled the crowd, and I got away from there prematurely for fear the old man would send for his Bible. Answer a fool according to his folly is a good way sometimes. Dr. Harden told me about his father raising a rumpus a long time ago in Watkinsville by asserting that all horses had botts in 'em, and it was accordin' to nature and the botts were not a disease, and a horse never died on account of 'em. Old man Moore kept the tavern there, and he swore that Harden was a luniack and so one day when they were playing checkers in the tavern a storm came up and a terrible crash was heard, and pretty soon a darkey came running in the house and told his master the lightning had struck his iron grey horse and killed him. Old man Moore thought as much of that horse as he did of his wife, and the crowd all hurried out to the lot to see him. Moore was greatly distressed and used bad language about the catastrophe; and after he had subsided a little Harden says, says he, "Now, Moore, if you say so, I'll cut open that horse and show you the botts, and I reckon that will settle it." So Moore agreed to it, and when he was opened, and the botts began to cut their way out and worm around, Harden looked at Moore with triumphant satisfaction and paused for a reply. Moore had his hands crossed behind his back, and was gazing intently at the ugly varmints, when suddenly he exclaimed, "Harden, I was powerful mad with that lightning for killing old Selim, but I ain't now, for if the lightning hadent struck


Page 221

him I'll be damned if them infernal botts wouldent have killed him in thirty minutes."

        Moore had a big fighting stump-tail dog by the name of Ratler, and one day a little Italian came along with an organ and a monkey, and as the crowd gathered around he asked the man if his monkey could fight. "Oh, yes, he fight," said the Italian. "Will he fight a dog?" said Moore. "Oh, yes; he fight a dog--he whip dog quick," said the Italian. Moore pulled out a five dollar bill, and said: "I'll bet you this that I've got a dog he can't whip." The little fellow covered it with another five and the money was handed over to a stakeholder and they went through to the back yard, followed by half the folks in the little town. There lay the dog on the grass asleep, and at the word the little Italian tossed the monkey on him. In less than a jiffey the little brute had his teeth and his claws fastened like a vise in the stump of that dog's tail and was screeching like a hyena. The dog gave but one astonished look behind as he bounced to his feet and made tracks for another country. The monkey held on until Ratler sprung over a ten-rail fence at the back of the garden, when he suddenly quit his hold and sat on the top rail, and watched the dog's flight with a chatter of perfect satisfaction and danced along the rail with delight. The crowd was convulsed. They laughed and roared and hollered tumultuously, all but old man Moore, whose voice could be heard above all others as he stood upon the fence and shouted, "Here, Ratler, here, here; here, Ratler, here; here, Ratler, here." But Ratler wouldent hear. Ratler rattled on and on, across field after field, until he got to the woods and was gone from


Page 222

human sight. The Italian shouldered his. monkey affectionately, and walking up to Moore, said: "Your dog not well to-day; maybe your dog gone off to hunt rabbeet. Your dog no like my monkey --he not acquaint. Maybe ven I come again next year he come and fight some more. Ven you look for him to come back?" Moore gave up the wager, but he asserted solemnly that Ratler would have whipped the fight if he hadent have run. "The surprise, gentlemen, the surprise was what done it," said he, "for that dog has whipped wild cats and a bear and a she wolf and every dog in ten miles of Watkinsville." And all that evening and away in the night and early the next morning an inviting, mournful voice could be heard at the back of the garden calling, "Ratler, here; Ratler, here;" and three days after a man brought Ratler home, but he had lost his integrity and never could be induced to fight anything more.

        Some men never give up a thing, and some give up too much. Judge Bleckley says that he is in the cautious, credulous state about everything, and just lives along serenely and waits for events. He says that if a man can hear the voice of a friend from New York to Boston by the aid of a telephone, why shouldn't all the other senses be aided in like manner by some invention; and he hints that he wouldent be surprised at an invention that would enable a man to kiss his wife across the Atlantic ocean. I don't think that follows to reason, for hearing and seeing are both for distance, and so is smelling, but feeling is a very different thing. Feeling means contact, and the closer the contact the more intense the feeling. It never was intended to


Page 223

feel afar off, and so I don't believe that any good would come of a man kissing his wife through a machine a thousand miles long. It would be very dangerous, for it might encourage folks to be kissing other people's wives, and the machine would be kept busy all the time, for there are some men who couldent be choked off, and by and by the whole world would be kissing one another, and business would be neglected and mankind would come to want.

        But I do believe that everything will come that ought to come. Nature has a mighty big storehouse, and she always unlocks it at the right time. She is very economical of her treasures, and keeps 'em from us until she sees that we are obliged to have 'em. Cotton dident come, nor cotton machinery, until the world was bad off for clothing. The sewing machine come along just as the poor women were about worn out, and Tom Hood had written his sad, sweet "Song of the Shirt." Coal was found when wood got scarce in the old world. Railroads and steamships were invented as population increased, and now we couldent possibly do without 'em. Old Peter Cooper said that a million people would perish in New York city in one month if the cars were to stop running that long. Then came the telegraph, and now the telephone, and I don't think any other very big thing will happen soon, for mankind is very comfortable, and don't need it, so let us all rest awhile and let Dame Nature rest. She has been very kind to her creatures, and we all ought to be thankful.


Page 224

CHAPTER XXXII.

A PROSE POEM ON SPRING.

        On this pellucid day when the sky is so beautifully blue and the sun so warm and cheerful, when the jaybirds are chanting their safe return from purgatory, and the crows are cawing over the sprouting corn, when the sheep bells tinkle merrily in the meadow and the children and chickens are cackling around, it seems like everything in nature was happy and everybody ought to be. The darkies are singing to the mules in the cotton field and are happier with a little than the white folks are with a good deal. The darkey never borrows trouble. I wish our race would take a few lessons in contentment from 'em--not enough to make us shiftless and with no ambition to better our condition, but enough to stop this restlessness, this wild rush for money, this wear and tear upon brain and heart that is getting to be the curse of the land. I wish everybody was happy and had nothing against nobody. I wish every farmer had fine horses and fat cattle and plenty of pocket change, and dident have to work only when he felt like it. I wish I had a winter home in Florida with orange groves and pineapples and bananas, and a summer home up among the mountains, and a railroad and palace cars between the two, and a free pass over the line and plenty of money at both ends of it. I wish I was a king with a mint of gold and silver at my


Illustration


Page 225

command, so I could go about in disguise and mingle with the poor and friendless and lift them up out of distress and make 'em happy. I wish I was a genii like we read of in the Arabian Nights, and could, at a breath, build palaces and make diamonds and pearls and marry all the poor girls to rich husbands, and all the struggling boys to princesses and kick up a cloud of golden dust wherever I went. No I don't, either, for I know now that the like of that wouldent bring happiness in this sublunary world. The best condition for a man is to have neither poverty nor riches. Old Agur prayed a good prayer and he knew how it was--


                        For riches bring us trouble when they come,
                        And there's want in the homes of the poor,
                        But it's good for a man to have a little sum
                        To keep away the wolf from the door.

        Some folks are never happy unless they are miserable. Their livers are green and yellow like melancholy, and they want everything they can get and would rather see mankind going to hell than to heaven if they could stay behind and play wreckers on eternity's shore. I have seen men whose very presence would dry up all hilarity as quick as a slack tub cools hot iron; men who never smile willingly, and when they force one the cadaverous visage is lit up for a moment with a brimstone light, and then relapses into its natural scowl. Such people are a nuisance upon society, and ought to be abolished or put into a lower asylum like luniacks. I've no more toleration for 'em than for a mad dog, and if there's any apology it's in favor of the dog.

        How inspiriting is the earliest breath of spring,


Page 226

when nature like a blushing maid is putting on her pantalets and preparing to bang her silken hair. How quickly it brings to life the slumbering emotions which, though chilled by the frosts and the winds of winter, were not dead, but only lay dormant like a bear in his den. What harmonious feelings spring up in one's bosom and gush forth to all mankind. This balmy weather fills all the chambers of the soul with music that is not heard and with poetry that is not expressed. The very air is redolent with love and peace. Turnip greens are running up to seed, the plum trees are in bloom, the busy bee is sucking their fragrant blossoms, and by and by will be stinging the children as usual. The sweet south wind is breathing upon the violet banks. Alder tags hang in graceful clusters upon their drooping stems. Jonquils are in a yellow strut, and the odorous shallots are about right for the frying pan. The little silversides and minnows have opened their spring regattas. The classical robin has ceased to get drunk on the China berry, and the ferocious chicken hawk catches about one a day from our earliest broods. Everything is lively now--


                        Over the meadows the new-born lambs are skipping,
                        Over the fields the little boys are ripping.

        The country is the best place for children. What a glorious luxury it is for them to go barefooted and wade in the branch and go seining, and climb trees and hunt birds' nests, and carry the corn to mill, and run pony races. It is well enough for a man to live in a town or a city when he is young and active, but when he gets married and the little chaps come along according to nature, he ought to get on a farm


Page 227

to raise 'em. An old man with numerous grandchildren has got no business in a city. What a burlesque on childhood's joy it must be to visit grandpa and grandma in a city penned up in brick walls, with a few sickly flowers in the window, and a garden in the rear about as big as a wagon sheet. Might as well try to raise good, healthy, vigorous colts in a stableyard. There is too much machinery about raising children now-a-days anyhow. The race is running out, and nothing but country life can save it. The old back-log is gone, and the big, open, friendly fire-place, and the cheerful, blazing family hearth; and now it is a hole in the floor, or iron pipes running around the walls. I reckon that is economy, but in my opinion a man can't improve the stock that way nor keep it as good as it was. The children will be picayunish and over-nice and sharp-featured and potty before and gimlety behind. They won't do to bet on like those chaps brought up around a fire-place on a hundred-acre farm.

        Raisin' children is the principal business of human life, and is about all that the majority of mankind are working for, though they don't know it. It is the excuse for all the mad rush of business that hurries us along. It is the apology for nearly all the cheating and stealing and lying in the land. Working for the children is behind it all, and the trouble is that most everybody is trying to do too much for 'em and scuffling against wind and tide to keep up with their nabors or get a little ahead. Too many fine clothes, too many kid gloves and parasols and new bonnets--too many carpets and pictures and curtains, and a thousand other things that run


Page 228

up the outgo bigger than the income, and keep the poor fellows always on a strain. I love to humor 'em and to play horse with 'em, and tell 'em stories about Jack and the bean stalk, and what I did when I was a little boy; and I put 'em to bed and rub their backs and let 'em trot around with me a good deal on week days and all day Sunday, but I'm not going to waste my slender substance on 'em, for it's nature's law that they must work for a living and they shall. I'm going to raise 'em in the country, for, as Thomas Jefferson said: "The influence of great cities is pestilential to health and morals and the liberties of the people."


Page 229

CHAPTER XXXIII.

CHRISTMAS ON THE FARM.

        A happy New Year to you and your readers. I don't mean just the first day, but all the year round. I wish from my heart everybody was comfortable and contented and everybody lived in peace. I was ruminating over that kind of a mellenium which would come if there were no bad folks--no lazy folks, no envy nor spite nor revenge--no bad passions, but everybody took things easy and tried to make all around them happy. I wasent thinking about a religious millennium for I have known people to make mighty good, honorable citizens who dident have any religion to spare, and some who had a power of it on Sunday but was a juggling with the devil all the rest of the week. I was thinking about that class of folks who gave us no trouble and was always willing to tote fair. The law wasent made for them. I was thinking about the half a million of dollars it costs to run the State government a year and the half a million more it costs to run the counties and courts. If everybody was clever and kind we could save most all of it and in a few years everybody would have enough to be comfortable and to educate their children. The laws are made for bad people only, and bad people costs us about all the surplus that's made. I know folks all around me who never violate a law or impose on their nabors or have a law suit, and it seems to me they ought not to be taxed like people who are always a fussing


Page 230

around the courthouse and taking up the time of juries and witnesses. There ought to be some way to reward good citizens who give us no trouble or expense, and to make folks who love strife and contention pay the expense of it.

        But I started out wishing for a happy New Year to everybody, and my opinion is that we can all make it happy if we try. Let's try. Let's turn over a new leaf. Let's have a Christmas all the year long. Let's keep the family hearth always bright and pleasant. Fussing and fretting don't pay. Solomon says it's like water dropping on a rock--it will wear away a stone. The home of an unhappy discordant family is no home at all. It aint even a decent purgatory. The children won't stay there any longer than possible. They will emigrate and I don't blame em.

        We've had a power of fun at my house the last few days. Mrs. Arp said she was going to town. She had a little passel of money hid away--nobody knew how much or where she got it, but sometimes when my loose change is laying around or left in my pockets, I've noticed that it disappears very mysteriously. It took about two hours to arrange herself for the expedition and she left us on a mission of peace on earth and good will to her children.

        "Now, William, you know the Christmas tree is to be put up in the hall. You have very good taste about such things and I know I can trust you without any directions. Put in that large square box in the smoke house and fasten it well to the bottom, and put the top on the box for a table, and the girls will cover it nicely with some curtain calico. But I will not direct you, for I know you can fix it all right. There are most too many limbs on the tree. There


Page 231

is a lot of pop corn already threaded and you can arrange them in festoons all over the tree, and the oranges that Dick sent us from Florida are locked up in the pantry. Thread them with a large kneedle and tie them all about on the limbs. The little wax candles and the tins to fasten them are in the drawer of my bureau. I've had them for several years and we will light up the tree to-night. The milk is ready to churn you know. Set the jar in the large tin bucket before you churn. It will save messing the floor. There are two turkeys in the coop--take the fattest one-- you can tell by holding them up in your hands. Ralph will help about the turkey. If you think one turkey will not be enough you had better kill a couple of chickens to go with it. I do hope all the children will be here, but I am afraid they won't. It does look like we might get together once a year anyhow. Now do attend to the turkey just as nice as you can, and leave the butter for me to work over when I come back. The front yard ought to be swept and the back yard is an awful mess. But I will just leave everything to you. Keep the hall doors locked, for the children mustent see the tree until Santa Claus comes. That mistletoe must be put over the parlor pictures. Hunt up a few more eggs if you can find them. Don't disturb the mince pies in the closet--never mind about that either, for I've got the key in my pocket."

        It always did seem to me that ours was the noisiest, liveliest and most restless set that ever stumped a toe or fell into the branch. They went through the measles, and whoopin' cough, and chicken pox, and I don't know how many more things, without stoppin' to see what was the matter. A long time


Page 232

ago it was my opinion that I could regulate 'em and raise 'em up accordin' to science, but I dident find that amount of co-operation which was necessary to make a fair experiment. On the contrary, I found myself regulated, besides being from time to time reminded by their maternal ancestor that the children were hern, and to this day she always speaks of 'em as "my children." Well that's a fact; her title is mighty good to 'em I know, and on reflection I don't remember to have heard any dispute about who was the mother of a child.

        Well, we can sing the same old song--how the little folks had lived on tip-toe for many days waiting for Santa Claus, and how that umble parlor was dressed in cedar and mistletoe, and the big back log put on, and the blazing fire built up, and the little stockings hung by the mantel, and everything got ready for the kind old gentleman. How that blue-eyed daughter played deputy to him, and was the keeper of everybody's secret; and shutting herself up in the parlor, arranged everything to her notion. How that when supper was over one of the boys slipped up the ladder to the top of the house with his cornet and tooted a few merry notes as the signal that Santa Claus had arrived. Then came the infantile squal, and the youthful yell, and the Arpian shriek, and all rushed in wild commotion to the festive hall. Then came the joyful surprises, all mixed up with smiles and sunbeams, and exclamations and interjections. Tumultuous gladness gleamed and glistened all around, and the big bucket of family joy ran over. But everybody knows how it is hisself, and don't hanker after a history of other people's frolics.


Page 233

        Well, the old year has burried its dead, and brought forth its living to take their places. And the time is at hand when everybody is going to open a new set of books, and turn over a new leaf and pass a few resolutions to be kept about three weeks. That's all right. Keep 'em as long as you can, but don't repent of this year's sins too much at once. Don't get too much religion at a revival, for by and by the snow will be gone, and the spring will open and the birds begin to sing and the flowers to bloom and man's conceit and independence come back to him and make him forget the winter and his promises, and strut around like he was running the whole macheen. But it's all right, judge, all right, as Cobe says. If a man is good accordin' to his capacity he can't be any gooder.


Page 234

CHAPTER XXXIV.

DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES.

        How sweet are the sounds from home. How soothing the consolations of a discerning wife. I was feeling bad and she knew it. My cogitations over the election news were by no means jubilant. Silent and sad, with the newspaper open on my knee, I had been looking dreamily at the flickering flames for about ten minutes while Mrs. Arp sat near me sewing a patch on a pair of little breeches, when suddenly she inquired:

        "What did you expect Mr. Cleveland to do for you?"

        "Nothing," said I, "nothing at all; but then you see, my dear, its highly important that a Democrat should be at the head of the nation."

        She never looked up nor for a moment stopped the graceful jerk of her needle and thread as she again inquired:

        "And what would a Democratic President do for you?"

        "Well, nothing--nothing at all," said I; "but then you see I feel interested in the success of our party and the promulgation of the great general principles of the Democracy. They are the hope of the country - the--the - "

        "Please tell me something about those great principles," said she; "what are they?"

        "Why, my dear. the great principles of our party are-- they--are--the--why they are as old as the


Page 235

government. They underlie the foundation of Democratic institutions--they"--

        "But what are they?" said she.

        "Well, in the first place," said I, "when Thomas Jefferson was President he disseminated and set forth those principles in a series of state papers that have established in the mind of American patriots a reverence for democratic government that"--

        "But what are the principles?" said she.

        "Well, as I was going to say, the democratic institutions of our country have contributed more to the preservation of life, liberty and happiness than all other causes combined; indeed the benefits that its adherents partake of are--they are"--

        "Justification, adoption, and sanctification," said she.

        "No, not exactly; not to that pious extent," said I. "An enumeration of all those great principles would require more time than--than--"

        "Well, never mind, William, never mind," said she affectionately; "I don't want to take up your valuable time, but I've been suspecting, for a long time, that those principles were to get in office and draw big salaries, and live high without work, and I reckon one party can do that about as well as another; don't you?"

         "Well, yes, my dear; there is, I confess, some foundation for your suspicions; but then, you see, we are trying to nationalize the American people through a national party, and become once more in fraternal union, and--"

        "Well, you can't do that, William," said she. "They never did like us and we never did like them. We needn't have any more war, but we can be stately


Page 236

and distant like we have to be with nabors that are not congenial. If I was you I'd let national politics, as you call it, alone, for it's a jack o'lantern business and will never profit you. Look after your farm and your home affairs. You had better go out now and water the flowers in the pit, and see where Carl and Jessie are. The meal is nearly out, and you had better shell a turn of corn this evening, and while you are down there see if the old blue hen has hatched. Her time is about up. Stir around awhile and don't be looking so far away."

        Blessed woman! I did stir 'round, and it made me feel better. I shall take no more interest in national politics until - well, until the next election. Consolation is a good thing. I'm going to be reconciled anyway and not give up the ship. Reckon I can stay at home and make corn and cotton, and frolic with the children, and ruminate on the uncertainties of life and bask in the sunshine of the family queen.

        "I am afraid you are hankering after an office," said she, "and that would take you away from home and leave me and the children alone. Office is a poor thing; when a man gets one, everybody is envious of him, and he has to give about half his salary to keep his popularity. We've got a good home, and we are getting along in years, and I think we had better stay here, and be as happy as we can. Don't you, John Anderson, my Joe?" and she placed her little soft hand so gently and lovingly on my frosty brow, my reverend head, that I havent thought about office since. I'm going to camp right here. Dr. Talmage has been preaching a sermon lately on married folks, and he says it's the way the women do that drives their husband off at night to the club


Page 237

house, and the stores, and the loafing places about town; says they don't sweeten up on 'em like they did before they was married--don't come to the door to meet 'em--don't play the piano, but sorter give up, and are always complaining about something, or scolding the children or the servants. Well, maybe that's so to some extent, but my observation is that most of them fellers went to the clubhouses and loafed around before they were married. I've knowed men to quit home and go up town every night because they said they was in the way while the children were being washed and put to bed. My wife, Mrs. Arp, taught me a long time ago that a man could perform those little offices about as well as a woman, and if they are his children he ought to be willing to do it. There the poor woman sits and sews and nurses the little chaps all the day long, tying up the cut fingers and stumped toes, and doctoring the little tooth-ache, and leg-ache, and stomach-ache and fixin' 'em something to eat, and helping 'em in a thousand little ways--while the lord of the house is chatting with his customers or sitting in his office with his feet upon a table or against the mantel-piece, and another feller just like him is doing the same thing, and they talk, and swap lies, and laugh, and carry on, and it's "ha, ha, ha," and "he, he, he," and "ho, ho, ho;" and about dark he stretches and yawns and says, "Well, I must go home; it's about my supper time;" and brother Talmage wants his poor wife to be a watching at the window and when she sees him coming she must run out and meet him 'twixt the house and the gate, and kiss him on his old smoky lips and say, "Oh, my dear, my darling, I'm so glad you have come." Well, that's all right, I reckon, if a woman ain't got


Page 238

nothing else to think about but fitting herself for heaven, but to my opinion a man ought to go home a little sooner than he does, and take a little more interest in things when he gets there.

        Women are a heap better than men if they have half a chance. They were created better. They begin the world better in their infancy. Little girls don't go round throwing rocks at birds and shooting slingshots at the chickens and running the calves all over the lot and setting the dogs on the barn cats and breaking up pigeons' nests and all that. Never saw a boy that didn't want to shoot a gun and kill something. It's a wonder to me that these kind, tenderhearted girls will have anything to do with 'em, but it seems like they will, and I reckon it's all right, but if I was a young marryin' woman I would be mighty particular about mating with a feller round town who belonged to half a dozen societies of one sort or another and was out every night. If I wanted a man all to myself I would look out for some farmer boy who would take me to the country where there ain't no clubs or Masonic lodge or Odd Fellows or Knights of Honor or Pythias or Scylla or Charybdis, or fire companies, or brass bands, or mardi grass, or pate defoi gras. I'd force him to love me whether he wanted to or not, for there wouldn't be anything to distract his attention. But then, if a girl wants to fly round and be everybody's gal, and have all sorts of a time, why then she'd better marry in town. It's all a question of having one good man to love you, or a dozen silly ones to admire. But as I ain't a woman, I suppose it's none of my business.


Page 239

CHAPTER XXXV.

THE OLD SCHOOL DAYS.

        It was about the close of a bright and happy day. We were all sitting in the broad piazza and Mrs. Arp had laid aside her spectacles and was talking about the old Hog mountain that she had been reading about in Joel Harris's pretty story, "At Teague Poteets." "Why," said she, "that Hog mountain is in old Gwinnett, away up north towards Gainesville, and I went to school there when I was a child. Old Aunty Bird taught us, and she was a sweet old-soul. I know she is in heaven if anybody is. I wonder if it is the same Hog mountain--but I don't remember any of the Poteets."

        Good, honest, clever Tom Gordon, who lives a few miles above us, passed along as we were talking, and Mrs. Arp's memories took a fresh start as she remarked: "He was a good boy, Tom was. I went to school with him to Mr. Spencer, and I know his speech right now," and she arose forward, and assuming an anxious, excited countenance, she said as she stretched forth her hand, "Is the gentleman done? Is he completely done?" Mrs. Arp is mighty good on a speech, and her memory is wonderful, and so to toll her along I said, "and Charley Alden, what was his speech?" and without a moment's hesitation she took a new position and


Page 240

made one of those short neck bows and cleared her throat, and repeated with slow and solemn voice,


                        " 'On Linden, when the sun was low,
                        All bloodless lay the untrodden snow,
                        And dark as winter was the flow
                         Of Iser rolling rapidly.' "

        Then she put her other little foot forward, and brightened up as she continued:


                        " 'But Linden saw another sight,' "

        And when she got down to the thick of the fight it was thrilling to hear her and to see her heroic attitude as she screamed:


                        " 'Wave, Munich--all thy banners wave,
                        And charge with all thy chivalry.' "

        And she waved an imaginary flag all around her classic head.

        We all cheered and clapped our hands, for the girls had never seen their mother in that role before.

        "And poor Thad Lowe," said I, "what was his speech?"

        "So from the region of the north," said she.

        "And Rennely Butler," said I.

        "At midnight in his guarded tent," and she gave us a whole verse of Marco Bozzaris. She likes that, and we begged her to go on, and she went through that fighting verse where the Greeks came down like an avalanche, and her martial patriotism was all aglow as she said:


                        "Strike for the green graves of your sires,
                        Strike for your altars and your fires,
                        God and your native land."


Page 241

        Goodness gracious, what a soldier she would have made.

        It was my turn now, and so I put in on Jim Alexander's speech at my school.


                        "Make way for liberty, he cried
                        Make way for liberty and died."

        Jim was always a cruising around for liberty, and the speech suited him mighty well. But Tom, his brother, had a liking for the law and spoke from Daniel Webster, "Gentlemen, this is a most extraordinary case." And there was Gib Wright, the biggest boy in school, who carried his head on one side like he was fixing to be hung, and he came out on the floor with a flourish and made big demonstrations, fixing his No. 13 feet, and you would have thought he was going to speak something from Demosthenes or Ajax or Hercules or the rock of Gibraltar, when suddenly he stretched forth his big long arm and said:


                        "How doth the little busy bee
                        Improve each shining hour."

        We never thought he would get to be a big lawyer and a judge, but he did.

        And General Wofford was there too, and his speech was the speech of an Indian chief to the pale faces, and most every sentence began with "brothers," and he whipped a big sassy Spaniard by the name of Del Gardo for imposing on us little boys, and then went off to fight the Mexicans for imposing on Uncle Sam, and ever since he has been fighting somebody for imposing on somebody, and I think he had rather do it than not.


Page 242

        And there was Jim Dunlap who used to spread himself and swell as he recited from Patrick Henry's great speech: "They tell us, sir, that we are weak, but when shall we be stronger! Will it be the next week or the next year?" and he just pawed around and shook the floor as he exclaimed, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Jim dident carry as much weight before him as he carries now, but he was a whale, and had a voice like a bass drum with a bull frog in it. Jim was called on during the late war to choose betwixt liberty or death, and he sorter split the difference and took neither, but he pulled through all right.

        After this effort, which sorter exhausted me, Mrs. Arp recalled Melville Young's speech about "King Henry of Navarre," and Charley Norton's speech to the eagle, "Great bird of the wilderness, lonely and proud," and Charley Rowland's solemn dirge to Sir John Moore, "Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note," and then I was called on for my own speech, and I had to stand up and advance forward and make a bow and say: "My name is Norval - on the Grampian hills my father fed his flocks."

        I remember it took my teacher two weeks to keep me from saying "my name is Norval on the Grampian hills," and he asked me what was my name off the Grampian hills; and finally I got the idea that I must put on the brakes after I said Norval and then make a new start for the hills.

        Mrs. Arp then branched off on the composition and recitations of the girls, and recited sweet little Mary Maltbie's piece on the maniac: "Stay, jailer, stay and hear my woe," and Sallie Johnson's composition on "Hope."


Page 243

        "Hope! If it was not for hope man would die. Hope is a good invention. If it was not for hope, woman would mighty nigh give up a ship."

        And that reminded me of Hack Montgomery's prize essay on money.

        "Money! Money is a good invention. The world couldn't get along much without money. But folks oughten to love money too good. They oughten to hanker after other folks money, for if they do it's mighty apt to make 'em steal and rob. One day there was a lonesome traveler going along a lonesome road in the woods all solitary and alone by himself, without nobody at all with him, when suddenly in the twinkling of an eyeball out sprang a robber and shotten him down, and it was all for money."

        Mrs. Arp's thoughts seemed away off somewhere as she tenderly repeated:


                        "When I am dead no pageant train
                        Shall waste their sorrows at my bier."

        "That was my dear brother's speech," said she "and it all came true. He was killed at Chickamauga. The cruel bullet went in his brain and he fell with his face to the foe and there was no pageant train; no kindred; no sorrows wasted; no time for sorrow; no loving hand; no burial for a long time. Oh, it is so sad even now, to think about the poor, dear boy. He was good to us and we loved him."

        Our school-mates are few and far between now. Death has carried most of them away and those who are left are widely scattered. How the roads of life do fork--and some take one and some another. We are all like pickets skirmishing around, and one by one get picked off ourselves by the common foe.


Page 244

I had liked to have got picked off myself a day or two ago. The wagon had come from town with a few comforts, and one was a barrel of flour. Mrs. Arp and the children always come to the south porch when the wagon comes, for they want to see it unloaded and feel good for a little while, and so when the hind gate was taken off and Mrs. Arp had wondered how we would get out the flour, I thought I would show her what a man could do. I rolled the barrel to me as I stood on the ground and gently eased it down on my knees. My opinion now is that there is a keg of lead in that barrel, for my knees gave way and I was falling backwards, and to keep the barrel from mashing me into a pancake or something else, I gave it a heave forward and let her go, and it gave me a heave backward and let me go, and I fell on a pile of rocks that were laid around a cherry tree, and they were rough and ragged and sharp, and tore my left arm all to pieces and raked it to the bone. The blood streamed through my shirt sleeve and I was about to faint, for blood always make me faint, when Mrs. Arp screamed for camphor, and the girls ran for it, and before I could stop 'em they had campfire and turpentine fire poured all over my arm, and I went a dancing around like I was in a yeller jacket's nest. It liked to have killed me, shore enuf, but after while I rallied and went to bed. I havens used that arm nor a finger on that hand till now, and go about sad and droopy. But I have had a power of sympathy, and Mrs. Arp is good--mighty good. I'm most willing to tear up a leg or two by and by, for they are all so good. And now I'm in a fix--for I can't shave but one side of my face and company is coming tomorrow.


Page 245

        Well, I used to could let down a barrel of flour--I used to could--but rolling years will change a man - anno domini will tell. I reckon by the time I get my neck broke I will begin to realize that I'm not the man I used to be, but as Cobe says, "if I could call back 20 years I'd show 'em." The next time a barrel of flour comes to my house I will get two skids twenty-five feet long and let it roll out, see if I don't. But it's all right, and I've had a power of sympathy, and sympathy is a good thing. I would almost die for sympathy. I shall get well slowly-- very slowly. But Mrs. Arp asked me this morning if I could pick the raspberries for dinner with one hand-- said she could swing a little basket round my neck. What a thoughtful, ingenious women.

        The older we grow the oftener do we reverse the telescope and look back. How distant seem the scenes of our youth. If I did not know better I would say it has been a hundred years since I was a little boy trudging along to the first school I ever attended. The old school days are a notable part of everyone's life. My wife and I frequently indulge in these memories, for we went to school together, though I was six years her senior. We tell over to the children all the funny things that happened, and discuss the frailties and the virtues of our school mates and magnify the teachers, and she tells them as how I was a smart boy and stood head in the spelling class for a month at a time, and she remembers the speeches I spoke, and with a pretended regret she says: "Children, your father was a very handsome boy, with black, glossy hair, and he had plenty of it then. The girls used to cast sheep's eyes at him then, but I didn't, for I was too young to be a


Page 246

sweetheart then, but he had them. Yes, he was smart and good-looking too, and he knew it. Yes, he knew it. He had a fight once at school about his sweetheart. Her name was Penelope McAlpin, and another boy called her Penny- lope, just to tease your pa, and he hit him right straight and they fought like wild cats for awhile. When he was a young man and I was in my teens, he was the dressiest youth in the town and wore the tightest boots. Oh, my! I had no idea he would ever notice me, and I don't know yet what made him do it."

        Well, you see, the like of that called for a response, and so I had to put in and tell what a beautiful, hazel-eyed creole she was--what long raven hair that fell over her shoulders in waving tresses, and what beautiful hands and feet, and how fawnlike she locomoted about and about, and how shy and startled she was when I began to address her, and what juicy lips that seemed pouting for a lover, and then her teeth--her pearly teeth--that were almost as pretty as those she has now. I told them how hard it was to win her until she found out I was in earnest, and then how suddenly she surrendered with tumultuous affection, and I recited with tender pathos those beautiful lines of Coleridge:


                        "She wept with pity and delight,
                        She blushed with love and virgin shame,
                        And like the murmur of a dream
                        I heard her breathe my name.


                        She half enclosed me in her arms,
                        She pressed me with a meek embrace,
                        And bending back her head looked up
                        And gazed upon my face."

        Just then Mrs. Arp stopped sewing and gazed at me sure enough, as she said: "Was there ever such


Page 247

a story-teller? Why, you know I didn't do any such thing. You ought to be ashamed of yourself."

        "I was just telling how Genevieve did," said I, "and how Coleridge won his 'bright and beauteous bride.' She had hazel eyes, too."

        Young man, you had better not try to flirt with a pair of hazel eyes. It is a waste of time and dangerous. They are less susceptible than the blue, and when once deceived do not pine away in grief, but rally for revenge and take it out in scorn. If you tackle them you had better go in to win or leave the country. And while I think of it, I'll make another remark: When you woo and win and wed, you had better keep on wooing and winning afterwards or leave the country. It takes a power of love to do them.

        We little chaps used to go to school to female teachers-- to Yankee school marms, who were well educated and smart. But they never taught school very long, for our widowers married them about as fast as they came. You see, our high-strung blooded girls wouldn't marry widowers, for they could always get young men to their liking, but a well-to-do widower had a fancy for a settled woman, who was raised to economy, and would be so grateful for having bettered her condition in life. Of course they did not all marry widowers, but they married, and they made good wives and good mothers, and their descendants are all over the sunny land, and have proved a splendid cross from Southern blood and Northern energy.

        The first teacher I ever went to was a Yankee woman, and she had a dunce block set up in the middle of the room for the lazy scholars to sit on.


Page 248

The mischievous ones were made to stand on the table or in the corner with face to the wall. She never whipped us, and was a kind motherly woman. Jim Wardlaw "fit" her once and she laid him on her lap and tried to spank him, but he bit her on the knee and she screamed "mercy" and let him go.

        The other day I chanced to be one of a party of I assorted gentlemen and they took it by turns telling of their schoolboy frolics and adventures. One said, "while I was going to school to old Greer I picked a lot of wet mud off my shoe heels and made it into a ball and thought I would toss it over and hit Ed. Omberg, who sat on the other side of the school room. Old Greer was on that side, too, and right between me and Ed., but I thought I could flip it over his head while he was leaning over his desk setting copies, but somehow dident flip it hard enough and it came down on old Greer's head ker-flop and flattened out like a pancake. I never saw a man more astonished in my life, and I was scared mighty nigh to death. I ducked down to my book and dident dare to look up. My ducking down was what caught me, for the other boys were looking up in wonder, and they would look at old Greer and then look at me, and a pointer dog couldn't have spotted a bird any better. 'Come here,' said he. 'Come here; come here; come right along here;" and he met me half way and gave me about twenty five that lasted and lingered for a whole week.

        "Jim Jones was a stuttering boy, and chock full of mischief. Early one morning he fastened the historic pin in old Greer's split-bottom chair, and when he came in and called the roll and then took a seat in his accustomed seat, he didn't stay there long, but rose up with great alacrity. His eyes flashed fire as


Page 249

he gazed around the room, and he caught Jim in the same way he caught me, and seizing a long, keen, supple hickory said: 'Come up here, sir, you villainous scamp. I'll show you--come along, sir.' Jim approached trembling and slow. 'Come along, I tell you, sir.' Jim stopped and stuttered with pitiful accents: 'Ger-ger-ger-gwine to wh-wh- wh-whip me?' 'Come along, I tell you, or I'll - ' 'Ger-ger-fer- gwine to wh-wh-whip me hard.' Old Greer started towards him, but Jim had lost confidence, and wheeling suddenly made tracks for the door with old Greer after him. Jim bounced over two benches to get there first, but Greer had to turn a corner around the benches, and in doing so tripped and fell broadcast and rolled over besides, and we boys just cackled. He bounced up as mad as Julius Cæsar, and said in a towering passion: 'I'll whip every boy that laughs. Now laugh again, if you dare.' And we dident dare."

        Well, it is curious that most every devilish boy in every school is named Jim. The very name seems to make a boy devilish. They generally make notable men, and some of them climb very high. There is James Madison and James Monroe and Polk and Buchanan and Garfield. And Jimmy Blaine is cavorting around and thinks he ought to be president just because his name is Jim. If there is any other good reason I don't know it. And I went to school with Jim Wilson and Jim Alexander and Jim Wardlaw and Jim Linton and Jim Walker and they were a sight. There is another thing to be noted about school boys. They always call their teachers "old." They called Dr. Patterson "old Pat," and Professor McCoy "old Mack," and Professor Waddell "old Pewt," and there was old


Page 250

Nahum and old Beeman, and old Fouche and old Isham.

        We were talking about old Isham, and one of our party said: "I went to school to him, and sometimes he would slip up on a boy as slyly as a cat upon a rat, and catch him making pictures on his slate. He would hover over him for a moment, and then pounce down upon him like a hawk upon a chicken, and catch him by the ears and shove his face down on the slate and wipe out the pictures with his nose. One day Jim Harris was up at the blackboard blundering along and making all sorts of mistakes, and old Isham got mad and, seizing him under the arms, lifted him up bodily and mopped the blackboard with him and rubbed out all his figures, and set him down again and sent him to his seat."

        "I went to school to old George," said another, "and there was a fire-place at one end of the long room, and when it was cold weather the small fry were allowed to sit up near the fire and the big boys had to do the best they could at the other end. Tom Jackson was a big, strapping, freckle-faced boy, who was everlastingly hungry. One morning he brought a big, long sweet potato to school and so he pretended to be very cold and said "Mr. George, mayn't I go up to the fire to warm?" "Go along, sir," said George. Tom took the shovel and pretended to be punching the fire, but he was slying opening a hole in the ashes and suddenly dropped the potato in and covered it up. Some of the little boys saw him and whispered: "Gimme some, Tom; when its done gimme some." "Hush," said Tom, "and I will." In about half an hour Tom got very


Page 251

cold again and asked to go up and warm. "Go along, sir," said George, "you must be very cold this morning." Tom warmed awhile and took the shovel and pulled out the potato and put it in his pocket. "Gimme some, Tom; gimme some," was whispered all around as he marched back to his seat. "Gimme some or I'll tell."

        The little boys began to snicker and point at Tom as he was peeling and blowin' his "tater" behind his desk. "What are you boys making all that racket about?" said old George, as he approached them with his hickory. "We was laughing at Tom Jackson over yonder eatin' his 'tater.' He roasted it here in the fire and promised to give us some if we wouldn't tell, but he didn't." "Aha," said old George, "come up here, Tom Jackson, you sly, deceitful rascal. That is what you were so cold about. What is that sticking out of your pocket?" "A tater, sir." "Give it here, sir. I'll have you know this school house is no cook kitchen. You are so cold I think a little warming up will do you good, sir." And he gave him about a dozen over his shoulders and lower down, and then divided the tater among the little boys.

        These school boy tales would fill a book, and I wish that "Philemon Perch" would write another.


Page 252

CHAPTER XXXVI.

ROASTING EARS AND THE MIDNIGHT DANCE.

        I once heard of a grumblin' old farmer who made a big crop of very fine corn, and on being congratulated about it, said:

        "Well, yes; my corn is all mighty fine, but I don't know how I'll get along without some nubbins to feed the steers on."

        It's a raining now every day, but it came a little too late, and we'll all have plenty of steer food this year. I reckon we will make some tolerable corn on the bottoms, and the late planting is coming out smartly. If misery loves company we can take comfort like the darkey did that Mr. Stephens told about in his speech, for poor crops are a pretty "general thing" in this naborhood.

        But maybe it's all right--for we did make an abundance of wheat, and it aint too late to make a right smart cotton and git 15 cents a pound for it. A man ought to be reconciled to what he cannot help, that is unless he owes a little passer of money he can't pay and is reminded of it once a month on a postal card. That's bad, aint it? Or unless he has got a lot of sickly no account children. I tell Mrs. Arp we ought to be mighty thankful, for there's nary one of the ten that's cross-eyed or knock-need or pigeon-toed or box-ankled or sway-backed or hump-shouldered or lame or blind or idiotic, and the grandchildren are an improvement upon the stock, and I don't believe


Page 253

any of 'em will ever git to the poor-house or carry a pistol or go to the legislature and have some feller offer 'em a hundred dollars for his vote.

        A sound, healthy body is a great blessing, and a fair set-off to most every kind of bad luck that can happen to a man. Mr. Beecher was right when he said the first rule to insure good health was to select good, healthy parents to be born from. My ruminations on this subject have been quite luminous of late, for I've been powerful sick. The fact is, I like to have died the other night, and all of a sudden. You see I had overworked myself a fixing up a turnip patch, and got wet besides, and didn't stop for dinner, and was sorter hungry and bilious to start on and we had roaster ears for supper and buttermilk and honey, and takin' it all together I took the green corn dance about midnight and the small of my back caved in, and from then until daybreak I never sot up, nor lay down, nor stood still a minute. Doubled up and twisted and jerked around with excruciatin' pains, I cavorted all over one side of the house, for we had some Atlanta company on the other, and my groanings were worse than a foundered mule. It was just awful to behold and awfuller to experience. Spirits of turpentine, camphire, hot water, mustard plaster, mush poultice, paregoric, Jamaica ginger were all used externally and internally, but no relief. I trotted around and paced and fox-trotted and hugged the bed-post and laid down and rolled over on the floor like a hundred dollar horse, and my wife, Mrs. Arp, she trotted around too, and dosed me with this thing and that thing and had the stove fired up and hollered for hot water forty times before she got it.


Page 254

        "I told you not to work so hard in the hot sun," said she. "Oh, Lordy," said I.

        "I asked you to change your clothes as soon as you came to the house and you didn't do it." "Oh, my country," said I.

        "Don't wake up the company," she continued. "And you would eat them roaster ears for supper--did ever anybody hear of a man eating roaster ears for supper and then wash 'em down with buttermilk and honey." "Oh, my poor back," said I.

        "Do you reckon it's your back--aint it further round in front?" "Oh, no," said I, "it's everywhere, it's lumbago, it's siatiker, it's Bright's disease, its Etna and Vesuvious all mixed up. Oh, I'm so sick--can't nobody do nothin'."

        "Poor fellow, poor William, I'm so sorry for you, but you will wake up the company if you don't mind--I'm doing everything I can. You've taken enough things now to kill you. I declare I don't know what to do next, and all this comes from moving to the country five miles from a drug store or a doctor. I told you how it would be-- plumbago and skyatiker and a bright disease, and the Lord knows what, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if you had the yellow fever to boot--caught it a trampin' around Memphis, and it's just broke out on you. Poor man, if he does die what will become of us? But if he gets well he'll go and do the same thing over again. Don't grunt so loud. I declare you make enough noise to wake up a graveyard. I never saw such a man. Here, try this mush poultice. I thought that water never would get hot. Does it burn you?"

        "Oh, yes; it burns, but fire is nothing now, let it burn. Oh! I'm so sick. Bring me the paregoric,


Page 255

or the laudanum, or something, I can't stand it ten minutes longer," said I.

        "There aint a drop left. You've taken it all. There's nothing left but chloroform, and I'm so afraid of that, but maybe it will relieve you, William. My poor William, how I do hate to see you suffer so, but you will never do as I tell you. Do please don't wake up the company!"

        Well, I took the chloroform and went to sleep--to the happy land--all-blessed relief, and when I waked I was easier, and in due time was restored to my normal condition. In my gyrations my mind was exceedingly active. I ruimnated over my past life, and could find a little comfort in what Leigh Hunt wrote about some Arab who was admitted to heaven because he loved his fellow-men, that is, except some. Just so I have loved mine; that is, except some. I thought about money in comparison with health and freedom from pain, and I felt such an utter disgust for riches, it made me sick at the stomach. I would have given a house full of gold for two minutes' cessation of those internal hostilities.

        Well, I kept this numerous and interesting family in a very lively state for a few long hours, and it taught me a useful lesson. I'm going to take care of myself; I am going to do everything Mrs. Arp tells me, for she has got sense-- she has. She takes care of herself--not a gray hair in her head, and is as bright as the full moon; and when she gives an opinion it is an opinion. From that horrible night's experience I am more than ever satisfied she loves me as well as ever, and wouldn't swap me off for nobody. When I stand up before her and say "Juror look upon the prisoner--prisoner look upon


Page 256

the juror," she always says "content." And then she has such a considerate regard for her "company."


Page 257

CHAPTER XXXVII.

OPEN HOUSE.

        In the good old patriarchal times most every family of wealth kept what was called "open house" and all who came were welcome. There was no need to send word you were coming, for food and shelter were always ready. The generous host met his guests at the gate and called for Dick or Jack or Cæsar to come and take the horses in the barn--plenty of big fat hams and leaf lard in the smoke house house--plenty plenty of chickens and ducks and turkeys in the back yard--plenty of preserves in the pantry--plenty of trained servants to do the work while the lady of the house entertained her guests. How proud were these family servants to show off before their visitors and make display of their accomplishments in the kitchen and the dining room and the chamber. They shared the family standing in the community and had but little sympathy for the "poor white trash" of the neighborhood.

        Some of us try to keep open house yet, but can't do it like we used to. The servants are not trained, and they come and go at their pleasure. Sometimes the larder gets very low and the purse looks like an elephant had trod on it. But still we do the best we can. We "welcome the coming and we speed the parting guest."

        During the last summer we had a great deal of company at our house and some of them stayed a


Page 258

good long time, for most of them were from a lower latitude and imagined that the yellow fever or some dread pestilence was about to invade their low country homes. And so they were easily persuaded to protract their visit. When they had all departed I was glad, for I knew that Mrs. Arp was tired--very tired. I was glad too because the supplies were well nigh exhausted and the cook had given notice of a change of base. Our recess had just begun when I received the following appalling epistle:

SAVANNAH, GA.,

My Dear Cousin William:

        It is about time that we were paying you that long promised visit (The way he came to be our cousin was his step-father's aunt married my wife's great uncle about 40 years ago.) It is awful hot weather down here. The thermometer is away up to an 100. It makes us long for the rest and shade of some quiet, cool retreat in the mountains of North Georgia, where we can get on the broad piazza of a country home and enjoy the fresh mountain air and the cool spring water. Our children are all at home now. Our eldest son has just returned from college, and our eldest daughter is now spending her vacation, and they need a good frolic in the country--and there are, as you know, just six others of all ages and sizes, and they continually talk of your springs and your branches and the fish pond that you write about so charmingly in your Sunday letters. So if you have room for us we will all be up in a few days. Our second boy has a favorite dog to whom he is much attached. If you have no objections we will bring the dog. He is well behaved and will give you no trouble. The third boy has a pair of fancy goats that are trained to work in harness, and I know your


Page 259

children will like to frolic with them. We will bring the goats. Our nurse will come with us. Now, don't give yourselves any anxiety on our account, for we are just coming to have a free and easy time and enjoy the air and the water. We will bring our fishing tackle along.

YOUR LOVING COUSIN.

        It was with great hestitation that I read this letter to Mrs. Arp, but she was equal to the occasion, for her hospitality never surrenders. "Well, write to them to come along," she said with a sigh. "I expect their children are tired of that hot city, and would be happy to get up here and play in the branch. Their poor mother has had a time of it just like I have--a thousand children and no negroes. Born rich and had to live hard, and will die poor I reckon. But write to them to come along and enjoy the air and the water, for there is not much else here now."

        "But my dear," said I, "there isent anything else, and I don't see how we can take them. The truth is I am plum out of money and I am ashamed to go to town and ask for any more credit. Two months ago when our company began to come we had three or four hundred chickens running around the lot, and before the company left I was buying twenty a day. It is just awful, and we can't get another cook anywhere."

        "Well, it don't matter," said she, "we can't refuse them - it would be bad manners. Write to them to come along, , and we will do the best we can. You can pick up something, I konw; I never knew you to fail."


Page 260

        So under conjugal pressure I indited the following reply:

        My dear Cousin: Your letter delighted us beyond expression. Our end of the line is all fixed up, and when you telegraph us that you are coming we will meet you at the depot. We have a double buggy and a farm wagon, and if they will not hold all and the baggage and livestock, the boys and the dog and the goats can walk out and peruse the country. It is only five miles, so come along and be happy and enjoy the air and the water. There is plenty of room now, for we shipped the last of eighteen visitors yesterday. They have run us down to air and water, but there is still an abundance of that and you are welcome to it. We don't care anything about your dog, but we have one here that I am afraid will eat his ears off in two minutes. Country dogs never did have much consideration for a town dog. The only trouble is about feeding your dog with palatable food, for we have no scraps left from our table now, and our dog has got to eating crawfish. This kind of food makes a dog hold on when he bites.

        I think you had better bring the goats, for we would like to have a barbecue while you are here and we are just out of goats. You needent bring your fishing tackle as we have plenty, but fish are awful scarce in our creek since the mill pond was drawn off. Couldent you bring some salt water fish as a rarity to our children? Huckleberries are ripe now and your children will enjoy picking them. Ticks and red bugs are ripe, too, and your children will enjoy picking them about bed time. Scratching is a healthy business in the country and is the poor man's medicine. Town folks can take


Page 261

Cuticura and Sarsaparilla and S. S. S. and B. B. B. but a poor man just has to scratch--that's all.

        I wouldent mention it to my wife, but it has occured to me that as you are about to break up for a season you might just as well bring your cow along, for ours are about played out. It would do your cow good to enjoy the air and water. And this reminds me that my wife scraped the bottom of the sugar barrel yesterday. It does take a power of sweetening for these country berries. A hundred pounds or so from your store wouldent come amiss. I suppose your nurse wouldent mind sleeping in the potatoe shed. It is a good cool place to roost at night. We have no musketoes but snakes are alarmingly frequent in these parts. Carl killed a rattlesnake in the garden yesterday but he had only six rattles and we think that we can soon learn your children to dodge them; so come along and enjoy the air and water. It is well worth a visit up here to see the blue mountains and watch the young cyclones meander around. A cyclone came in sight of us last spring and unroofed nabor Munford's house and killed seven mules and three negro children and went on. It is a grand and inspiring sight to see a cyclone on an excursion. Our crab apples are ripe now. I read the other day a very sad account about three children dying of crab apple colic in one family. Our cook has given us notice that she will leave next Sunday and my wife says she has tried all over the naborhood to secure another but failed. Maybe you had better bring up a cook with you, but if you can't why then we will all try and get along on the air and the water. I can cook pretty well myself on an


Page 262

emergency, but don't fancy it as a regular job. But the greatest trouble now is that we have nothing to cook. But come along and enjoy the air and the water. Your cousin,

        WILLIAM

        Well, he dident come. The next time I saw him he said he was just joking, and I told him I was too.


Page 263

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE OLD TAVERN.

        Some time ago my business called me to an old venerable town that is still a score of miles from a railroad, and consequently has not made much progress in its business or its architecture. Forty years had passed since I had visited the place, and there was but little change. The same old hotel was there, one of those big, old-fashioned barns that used to prevail in almost every town, and had a swinging signboard that creaked and swayed with the wind and said, "Entertainment for Man and Beast." They use to have a plantation bell swung up on a frame close by, and a rope attached to ring the guests to fried chicken and ham and eggs and beat biscuit and bacon and greens and sausage and lye hominy and cracklin' bread. The judge and the bar rode the circuit then--not in railroads nor one at a time, but all together in buggies and gigs and sulkies. It was quite a cavalade, and attracted wonder and awe and attention like a traveling circus. The judge's room was always the biggest and best, and every night the lawyers would gather there and talk and tell anecdotes and exchange their genial wit and humor, and it was a rare treat to a young man to be admitted to a corner and listen to them. It was a feast to me, I know, and I still treasure the memory of those delightful evenings at Gainesville and Jefferson and Monroe and


Page 264

Watkinsville and Clarkesville, when Howell Cobb and Hillyer and Dougherty and Overby and Hutchins and Peeples and Jackson and Hull and Underwood were the luminaries of the western circuit. What a galaxy was there - all notable men in their day, and all honorable. There was no trickery in their practice, for they scorned it, and they loved to meet each other on these semi-annual ridings, and each one was expected to come laden with a new batch of anecdotes wherewith to cheer the night. Book agents were unknown; newspapers were neither numerous or newsy, and hence it was a great comfort to catch the sparks of genius as they scentillated from the lawyers and the politicians on the stump and in the forum. Stump politics were a big thing with the people. The two great parties of Whigs and Democrats were pretty equally divided. Sometimes one was in power and sometimes the other, and the contest went on from year to year and never ceased to create excitement. It is not so now in the South, for there is practically but one party and it takes two to get up a fight.

        But this venerable town had memories, and its moss covered hotel with its steep stairs and narrow passages carried me back to those good old primitive times, and I felt like painting a head board and nailing it up somewhere with the inscription, "Sacred to the memory of- - - - -."

        A friend said that it was a pity the old house would not catch fire and burn up. But no. I wouldent have it so. Let it stand if it will stand. It will never rot, for the timbers are all heart and


Page 265

hewed and honest. I felt like taking off my hat to it and saying:


                        Good friend, let's spare that barn,
                        Touch not its mossy roof -
                        Its walls heard many a yarn
                        In its historic youth.


                        Under the weight of years
                        Its back has crooked grown;
                        Look at the creaking doors,
                        See how the stairs are worn.


                        Oft in each hall and room,
                        Lye-soap and sand were thrown,
                        And many a home-made broom
                        And many a shuck have gone.


                        Full many a chick was killed,
                        And died without a tear,
                        And many a guest was filled
                        With comfort and good cheer.


                        No, no; let's keep the inn,
                        Though it has lost the sign--
                        keep it for what it's been--
                        Keep it for auld lang syne.

        A good old matron is keeping it now, and her table abounds in generous old-fashioned fare.

        The other day Judge Milner and Col. McCamy and I were lamenting that Judge Underwood, the last of that splendid galaxy of lawyers, had passed over the river, and we exchanged many delightful recollections of him, for he was a genial gentleman, and his presence always brought sunshine. He was a notable man--notable as a jugde, as a lawyer, as congressman, and as a wit. We recalled the famous Calhoun convention, when Judge Wright and General Young and General Wofford and Lewis Tumlin and some others were candidates for the nomination


Page 266

to congress, and no man had enough votes to elect, and all were stubborn, and the balloting went on all day, and part of the night, and the delegates were getting mad and furious and were about to break up in a row, and Judge Underwood, who was not a candidate, volunteered to make a concililiatory speech, and he did it in such a delightful, affectionate manner, and praised up all the candidates in such eloquent tributes that when he closed one man got up and waved his hat and moved three cheers for Judge Underwood, and they were given with wild enthusiasm, and right on top ot it another delegate moved that he be nominated for congress by acclamation, and he was. Never was there such a surprise to anybody except to the judge,, though he always denied that it was a preconcerted scheme.

        Oh, rare Judge Underwood! Colonel McCamy remarked that the judge did not have a very high regard for that picture of justice which makes her blindfolded and holding the scales equally balanced in her hand. So far as crime was concerned he claimed the right to see, and he did see the criminal with open, unfriendly eyes, and he sought to convict him and gave the solicitor-general so much aid and co-operation that the lawyers used to say the judge and the solicitor were in partnership. His charge to the jury in a criminal case was always fair and strictly legal, for he was a great lawyer, but woe be unto the lawyer who asked for more than he was entitled to. On one occasion a big, rough, malicious young man was indicted for striking a smaller youth with a brickbat and inflicting a terrible wound. The small boy had been imposed


Page 267

upon by him, and seizing a stick he struck him and ran. Bill Glenn was defending the young man who used the brick, and after the judge had given a very fair charge to the jury, he said: "Now, gentlemen,, if I have omitted anything that you think should be given in the charge, I will be glad to be reminded of it." Bill Glenn rose forward and, said, "I believe your honor omitted to charge the jury a man may strike another in self-defense."

        "Yes, gentlemen of the jury," said the judge, with great sarcasm. "Yes, there is such a provision in the law, and if you believe from the evidence that this great big, double-jointed, long-armed, big fisted young gentleman was running after that puny pale-faced boy with that brickbat, and because he couldent catch him threw it at him with all his force, and struck him on the back of the head and knocked him senseless, and that he did all this in self-defense, then you can find the defendant not guilty. Is there anything else, Brother Glenn?"

        "Nothing, I believe sir. Your honor has covered the ground," said Glenn, biting his lips.

        "I was always afraid," said McCamy, "to ask the judge to charge anything more than he chose to-- especially in a criminal case."


Page 268

CHAPTER XXXIX.

THE OLD-TIME DARKIES.

        A merchant or a lawyer or any outsider who never farmed any has got an idea that farming is a mighty simple, and easy, and innocent sort of business. They think there is nothing to do but plow and hoe and gather the crop, and there is no worry or complication about it, except you can't get a rain every time you want it, and the crop is short in consequence. I had pretty much that sort of a notion myself, but I know better now. I've been farming for five years, and I like it better and better; I like the freedom of it, its latitude and longitude and its variety; but there is a power of little worries, and not a few big ones, that a man has to encounter and provide for that these outsiders never dreamed of. When a man is running hired labor it takes about half his time to watch 'em and keep 'em from wasting things and losing things and doing things wrong. I went down in the field yesterday and stumbled on the monkey-wrench in the grass by the turn row, and it had been there for a month, and I had hunted for it all over the premises, and nobody could tell anything about it; but now the darkey "members takin' it down dar to screw up de taps on de cultivator." Not long ago I found the hatchet in the edge of the bushes where one of the boys had cut poles to lay off by. I can pick up scooters and dull plows all about the farm, in the corners of the panels and on the stumps where they put 'em when they changed 'em. My log chain is missing now, and the little crow-bar and one of the


Page 269

hammers, for sometimes I have to leave home for a few days, and although these niggers and my yearlin' boys do their level best to surprise me with doin' a power of work while I was gone, they don't notice little things; they lose at the bung-hole while stopping up the spigot, or vice varcy, as the saying is. They bore the augur bit against a nail, or dull the saw in the same way, and let the old cow get in the orchard, or the hogs into the tater patch. I've got good workin' boys and right industrious darkeys, but it takes a man with a head on and his eyes well open to keep up with 'em and watch out for little things--little damages that aggravate a man and keep him in a fret, that is if he is but human and can't help fretting when things go wrong. A nabor borrowed my brace and bit, and the bit came back with one corner off; another one borrowed my cross-cut saw, and it came back awful dull, and will cost me a new file. They don't like it if I don't lend them my mower to cut their clover, though they never have cleaned up the rocks in their field.

        A darkey will work a mule sometimes for two hours with the hames out of the collar and never see it, and he thinks it mighty hard if you won't lend him a mule to ride to meetin' of a Sunday. But I won't do that. They beg me out of a heap of things, but they shant ride my stock of Sundays, for I hate to do it myself, and when a darkey gets on a mule and out of sight he is like a beggar on horseback--he'll ride him and run him as long as he can stand up. I like the darkeys, I do, but I haven't got much hope of 'em ever being anything but the same old careless, contented, thoughtless creatures they always were. I've got one who took a notion he would lay up half of his wages in spite of himself, and he


Page 270

told me to put it in the contract that I wasn't to pay him but five dollars a month and keep the other half till the end of the year. And now he tries to beg me out of the other five at the end of every month, but I won't pay it, and he goes off satisfied. Nabor Freeman came home the other day and found his nigger tenants right smart behind with their crops, and they had all been off to a three day's meeting and an excursion besides, and so he got mad and hauled up Bob, and says he: "Bob, what in the dickens are you all goin' to such a meetin' for? What is the matter, is the devil after you with a sharp stick and a bug at the end of it?"

        "Well now, boss, says Bob, "I'll tell you how it is. We niggers have been seein' for a long time dat you white folks done got this world, and so we is gwine to meetin' and fixin' up to get de next one as soon as we git dar; dat's all;" and Bob stretched his mouth and showed his pearly teeth, and laughed loud at his own wit.

        I love to hear these old time good natured darkeys talk. John Thomas was in the ragged edge of a cyclone the other day, and said I, "John, what did you darkeys do when the cyclone struck you?" "God gracious, boss, I tell you--dem niggers just frowed themselves down on the ground, sir, and holler 'Oh Lordy--good Lord hab mercy on a poor nigger. Nebber be a bad nigger any more, oh Lordy, good Lordy--and de old slycoon pay no tention at all, but jes' lif 'em up and twis' 'em all round and toss 'em ober de fence into de red mud hole, and Gim, as he was gwine ober de fence he struck a postis that was stickin' up, and he gethered it wid both arms and held on and hollered wus than eber, 'Oh, Lordy--oh my good Lord. Bless de


Page 271

Lord, hab mercy on a poor nigger;' and about that time the old slycoon twis he tail aroun and lif Gim's feet way up over he's head and his bolt broke and he bounced off on the groun' and den took anoder bounce into the mud hold, and dar de consarn lef him.

        "Atter de slycon gone clean away, I run up to Gim, and says I, 'Gim, is you dead or no?' Gim lyin dar in de mud hole wid nuffin but his head out. Gim neber spoke nary word, and his eyes was swelled like a dead steer, and says I agin, 'I say, Gim, is you done gone clean dead?' for you see I thought if Gim dead no use in my wading in de mud after him, and Gim he grunt and wall one eye at me and whisper, 'Wha is he?' Wha's who,' said I. 'De debbil,' said he. 'Done gone,' said I--'gone clean away. Git up from dar--git up, I say.' Gim gib a groan and say, "I can't, I'm done dead.' 'Git up, I tell yo,' said I, but Gim neber move.

        "Bymeby I frow up my hands and look down de big road and say, 'My good Lord Almighty, ef dat old slycoon aint a comin right back here.' Neber see a nigger come to life like Gim. He bounced outen dat mud hole and start off up de road a runnin' and hollerin' for a quarter of a mile. White folks come along and stop him and neber find a scratch. When he got back we was all cuttin' away de timbers from offen de mules, and it was half an hour before we could git Gim to strike ary lick. Tell you what, boss, we was all mighty bad skeered, but I neber see a nigger as onready for jedgment as dat same nigger Gim. When de old debil do get him he raise a rumpus down in dem settlements, shore."

        "Dident the cyclone take off the roof of your cabin, Bob?"


Page 272

        "Of course he did, boss. He take de roof off along eberywhere he go. Look like ebery house he come to he dip down and say, take your hat off, don't you see me comin', and aint you got no manners', and zip, he strike 'em and take it off hisself. He take de roof offen de colored school and offen de white school all de same. He no respekter of pussons, bless God. Tell you, boss, what I think about dis old slycoon, I tink he nuffin but de old debil on a scursion, yah, yah, yah," and Bob cackled at his own ideas.

        Bob came over last Sunday to see us. He used to be a tenant of mine and we liked him because he had a big mouth and was always happy. He was a good worker and not afraid of the weather, but he was careless and left his tools most anywhere and barked my young apple trees when plowing the orchard. I loaned him a new shovel to work the road and he lost it, but I couldn't stay mad with Bob long at a time. We never supposed he could get mad enough to have a fight with anybody, but he was not on good terms with a neighboring darkey, and so one Saturday when they both came from town and had taken a drink or two of red eye they undertook to settle the old feud and Bob killed him. It was a willing fight and a bad case all around, and Bob got two years and would have got ten but for his good character all his previous life. He has served out his term and honestly feels that he has paid the debt, if he ever owed it.

        "How did they treat you, Bob?"

        "Well,, sir, dey treat me purty well, purty well; I can't complain. No, sir, I can't complain. For de fust six mont I didn't like it very well, for, you


Illustration



Page 273

see, me and de gyards hadn't got 'quainted. Bimeby, when we all got 'quainted, dey took a likin' to me and tell de capen to take off my shackles, and he take 'em off. De best way is to make friens with de gyard fuss, jes like a man wants to make frien of another man he muches up de chillun fuss, and dat gits de old man and de old 'oman, too. Den de next best way is ter pervide by the laws as nigh as you kin. De capen tell us dat de fust day--sez he, 'boys, you must pervide by de laws.' Dere wasent but three or four of 'em, and I lissen wid both years wide open, and I say to myself, Bob Smith, you mus pervide by the laws, and shore enuf I did, and atter we git 'quainted like, we gits sorter intimat and I nevre had any trouble. Dey like me so well dey shorten my term three months and three days, and when I cum away de capen say, "Bob, I am sorry to see you go--can't you finish out your visit?" And I say, 'Capen, I likes you mighty well, but dis is de longest visit I eber made anybody in my life, and if we ever meet again, you will have to come to my house.' "

        "Did they work you hard, Bob?"

        "No, sir, not overly hard--got to do a full day's work, though, and dey knows perzactly what it is. Can't fool 'em, and can't play sick unless you is sick, and hardly den. I neber lose but four days in all my time. Heap times I thought I was sick, and if I had been home I would have laid up shore but dey said I wasent, and dey looked like dey knowed and I didn't know, and so I went to work, and shore enuf I was all right agin by dinner. Colonel Towers he come along every week or so and look roun, and he ax me if I have any complaint, and I say,


Page 274

'No, sir, sepen I would like some poun cake,' and he says he forgot to bring it. I tell you what, boss, de very best thing for a man to do when he gits dar is not to go dar - not to do nuffin to go dar for, and den when he gits dar de nex bes thing is to pervide by de laws. Dere is some folks in dar jes as mean and no count as folks outen dar. Dere is mean riggers and mean white folks everywhere you go. Some folks cum in de worl mean and dey stays mean all de time; but I say dis, dat if a man, when he goes dar, will haive hisself and pervide by de laws he kin git along and have a tolable easy time.

        "De last six mont I stay dar I dident have to work any. Dey made me a trusty and I have charge of de dogs--de track dogs--and when de riggers get away de boss he holler for Bob mighty quick. We had two track dogs; one of 'em was a big, long-eared houn dog--could track mighty fast--de oder was a small dog, sorter like a fice, but he mighty shore on de scent of a runaway. One mornin' about daybreak de boss holler, 'Git up, Bob, git up quick, bring de dogs, two niggers got away.' So I brings de dogs and we put em on de track, and away dey went cross an old field and into de woods and was barkin' every step. I throws de saddles on de mules in a hurry, and I got on one and de boss on toder and away we went after de dogs. De runaways dident have mor'n half an hour start and de track was powerful warm. And so de dogs run and de niggers run and we run, and bimeby after we gone about four miles we hear de old houn change his tune like he treed sumfin, and de boss say, 'Bob, old Sheriff have got 'em.' And shore enuf when we got dar de runaways was up in a white oak tree a


Page 275

settin' on a limb, and de old houn dog was a settin' on de groun wid his head up a lookin' at 'em and a barkin', and every time he open his mouf he say, 'Too-ooo of 'em, too-ooo of em, too-ooo of 'em.' And de little dog was a settin' back on his tail, and he say, 'dats a fak, dats a fak, dats a fak.' Yah, yah, yah. Boss make dem niggers come down from dar quick and march 'em back to de stockade and give 'em forty lashes apiece, cos you see dey dident pervide by de laws."

        Bob asked me one day if a man's soul could be split in two. "What do you mean," said I, "what kind of a fool question is that?" Bob spread his big mouth and said: "My boss was tryin' to devil me one day 'bout gwine to meetin' so much, and he say: 'Bob, don't you know dat a nigger ain't got no soul?' And den I ax him if a white man got a soul, and he say, 'Of course he had.' And den I say, 'Sposin' a colored man is a melatter and is jes half and half, how's dat?' He study awhile and say he 'low a melatter have jes half a soul. And den I say, 'Look a here, boss, what kind of a thing is dat, dat half a soul? Can you split a soul in two?' He turn off and laugh and say, 'Damfino,' and I tell him I's gwine to ax you about it." And Bob showed his pearly teeth and laughed tumultuously.

        When the prohibition election came off in our county the negroes were generally on the side of whiskey, more whiskey, and better whiskey, but Bob came up as a temperance darkey and made a speech to the darkeys of his church. A whiskey man in the crowd interrupted him and said, "Sho as you are bornd, Bob Smith, effen you vote whiskey outen Cartersville de grass will grow waist


Page 276

high in dem streets." " 'Sposin' it do?" said Bob, " 'sposin' it do? Den we'll raise more hay and less hell, and dat's what's de matter wid Hannah. Yah! Yah!"


Page 277

CHAPTER XL.

OWLS, SNAKES AND WHANG-DOODLES.

                        Most every night about half-past eight,
                        A screech owl mourneth at the outside gate.

        The sweet little katydids sing all the day long. Earlier in the season they were happy only at night, but now the woods are full of their music by day. It is not a song from the mouth, but they rub the bars of their wings together and puff out their bodies for sounding boards, and if a man could sing as loud in proportion to size I suppose he could be heard across the Atlantic ocean, and his voice would make an earthquake and shake down the stars, and so that wouldn't do at all, and he wasn't made that way. But these little screech owls are a nuisance and are enough to make a nervous woman have fits or hysterics or something. I shot one on the gate post one night while he was complaining about something we had done to him, but another one came back and set up his mournful wails. I wonder what makes 'em stay away off in the woods all day and come screeching around the house at night like they wanted to haunt us. There is some excuse for superstition about owls, for they love darkness rather than light, and the ancient philosophers said they were the sentinels and forerunners of evil spirits, and the Scriptures classed 'em with demons and all sorts of trouble and misery. The prophet Isaiah cursed Babylon and said the owl should dwell there,


Page 278

and satyrs should dance there. And then they look so wise out of their big eyes and twist their heads 'round and 'round watching you, and you can't scare 'em nor tame 'em. Well, they were made for something, but I don't know what it is, and I have frequently thought that when the flood covered the earth it was a mighty good time for Father Noah to have left out of the ark all such disagreeable varmints as owls, and snakes, and whang-doodles that mourn for their first-born.

        General Black told me that if I wanted to get rid of screech owls to put the shovel in the fire when one of 'em was a screechin' and he would leave forthwith. The general said the fire contracted with the oxide in the iron and deluminated an odoriferous that was disagreeable to the oil factories of the bird. Jesso. Well, I tried it, and he dident leave worth a cent.

        That screech owl is sitting on the gate-post singing a funeral dirge. It's a bird of bad omen, and I would shoot him, but my wife says an old African witch told her grandmother that there would be a death in the family if you killed one of 'em, shore. It always seemed to me that in the fitness of things they belonged to a graveyard or a haunted house or a dismal swamp or a country meetin' house that the hogs slept under and nobody preached in. I don't like 'em, especially at this juncture of home concerns, for my wife saw the last new moon through a bushy tree top right over her left shoulder, which she didn't mean to do by no means. Things don't move on serenely, and the old horseshoe over the kitchen door has lost its influence. I havent seen a pin on the floor that dident pint away from me, and


Page 279

the other day a rabbit run across the road right before me, and soon after I come to a snake track, which they say is mighty bad if you don't rub it out with your face towards the snake, but I couldn't tell whether the snake that made the track was going north or coming back, and so had to rub out by guess, and now while I'm a-writin' Mrs. Arp has got a hummin' in her right ear, and she says it sounds like an Eolian harp, or a musketer away off, and that's another funeral sign--and last night a black pet chicken came in the family room while we was at supper and went to roost on top of a picture that hung over the clock on the mantel-piece, and nobody knowed it until we had put the light out and went to bed, when it chuckled a little and Mrs. Arp chuckled a good deal until I struck a light, and now she says that Mr. Poe had a raven that done the same thing and he died soon after.

        The weather is sad. It mists and weeps and stays cloudy all the time, and that makes everybody gloomy. There hasent been a dry day in three weeks that we can plow. The grass grows as fast as the cotton and the seed will scatter all over the open bolls and the cotton buyers will dock us a cent for trash. Things are not working right for us farmers, but we can't help it. The flies take shelter in the house, and so do the bugs and the grand-daddies and the bats.

        "Here, William, quick, I say--here's a granddaddy on me; don't you see; why don't you take him off? Lord a mercy, did I ever see a man as slow as you are? Do please take the thing off."

        Well, you see it takes a long time to find the thing, and when you do he's a crawlin' on the floor


Page 280

a gettin' away as fast as he can, and she declares that's another one and I have to hunt all over her for five minutes.

        "There's one of those contemptible bats in here again. Get the broom, William, I wouldn't have it to get on me for a thousand dollars. Mercy on me! I do believe the house will be run over with vermin. Don't break the bureau glass. Why don't you stand on the table? Why, you don't come in a yard of him! It does seem to me if I was a man I could knock a bat down."

        "He has gone out," said I meekly.

        "How do you know--did you see him? Bet anything it's on my bed somewhere. Move the pillows and bolster. I'll dream about the thing all night."

        It looks like I'll perish to death for want of some good warm vittels. I'm juicin' away. You see when Mrs. Arp was a cookin' the other day in the basement an innocent chicken snake crawled out from behind the meal-chest. Such a scream was never heard since the Injuns scalped my great uncle. I run for my life and was pickin' her up in my arms when she rallied and said, "Kill the snake first;" and I killed it. He was a lovely snake--all speckled with dark green and white, and had just swallowed a mouse. But, alas! the kitchen is purty much deserted and all regular cooking abandoned. When they cook now I have to take a gun and stand guard. I march forred and backwards like a sentinel. I've had to move the meal tub and the stove wood and everything else fourteen times, for she declares it's got a mate and the mate is there somewhere. "Maybe it's a bachelor snake," said I.

        "Oh, of course, you don't believe there's another snake in the wide world--and I've found out you


Page 281

killed one last week under the hearth, and you told the children not to let me know anything about it; didn't you?"

        "It was a very little one," said I, "and I dident want you troubled about it."

        "Yes, I suppose it was a little one, but snakes are snakes, and where there's little ones there's big ones. I do believe the whole plantation is haunted with 'em, and everywhere else, for I can't take up a newspaper without seeing where somebody was bitten."

        "Men and boys," says I; "I havent seen any mention of a woman being bitten nowhere--fact is, I don't believe they bite females. You know that old mother Eve was mighty friendly with 'em."

        "Yes, that's always the way--you turn everything into ridicule. Well, you may hire a cook; I'm not going to risk my life nor the children's in this old haunted kitchen."

        But I think she is getting over it, and with a little encouragement things will resume their natural condition in a few days. The greatest trouble I have in this connection is Freeman--my nabor Freeman. I reckon he don't mean any harm by it; but just as soon as my wife, Mrs. Arp, told him about the snake, he up and told her about killin' one over in his field as long as a fence rail, and how it had its den in a rock pile, and would run out after him and the niggers, and then retreat; and they were fightin' and runnin' and runnin' and fightin' for two hours, until they wore him out; and he brung down the rattles of a rattlesnake and rattled 'em around, and told us about finding a spring lizard in the water pail, and had liked to have swallered


Page 282

him alive in the gourd. And now my wife Mrs. Arp, won't drink out of anything but a glass goblet; and when she walks out in the front yard she has one eye for flowers and the other for snakes and lizards, and shakes her clothes tremendous when she comes back. I wish that one would bite Freeman.


Page 283

CHAPTER XLI.

MUSIC.

        Music is the only employment that is innocent and refining, and that cannot be indulged in to excess. It stands by itself as the peculiar gift of God. It is the only art that is alike common to angels and to men. It has a wonderful compass and variety, and yet from the grandest to the simplest, it is all pleasing and all innocent. Every other pleasure can be carried to dissipation, but not music.

        The highest order of music is that which we never hear, but only read about and wonder. It is called the music of the spheres--the grand symphony that is made by the planets and other heavenly bodies coursing around the sun, and which Milton says is heard only by God and the angels. I don't suppose that such creatures as we are, afflicted and limited with original sin, could bear that kind of music. The child that is charmed with a lullaby or soothed to sleep with "Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber," would be frightened at an oratorio from Handel But musical taste is progressive, like every other good thing.

        The time was when I thought "Billy in the Low Grounds," and "Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine," perfectly splendid, but I don't now. I have advanced to a higher grade. By degrees the children have educated me, and as they climb up, I climb a little too. Time was when I thought "Kathleen Mavourneen"


Page 284

the sweetest song, and my wife, whom I was courting, the sweetest singer in the world. But I don't now - that is, I mean the song. There are sweeter songs. I don't wish to be misunderstood about the singer. No doubt her voice has the same alluring, ensnaring, angelic, elysian sweetness it had forty years ago, more or less, but the fault is in me, for when a man has once been allured, and ensnared, and is getting old and deaf, he loses some of his gushing appreciation. Nevertheless, when her eldest daughter touches the ivory keys and sings Longfellow's beautiful hymn of

                        "The day is done, and the darkness
                        Falls from the wings of night,"

my appreciation seems to come back, and it makes me calm and serene.

        There is nothing in all nature that so proves the goodness of God to his creatures as in giving to them the love of music and the faculty to make it. It is the cheapest and the most universal pleasure. Much of it costs nothing, for we hear it in the winds and waves, the trees, the waterfalls, and from birds and insects. It is of many kinds, from the pealing anthem that swells the note of praise in Westminster Abbey down to the plantation harmonies of the old-time darkies around the corn-pile. Between these extremes we have the music of the drama, the concert, the nursery, and the drawing-room.

        I was having these thoughts because Mrs. Arp and the children were practicing some church music in the parlor, preparing for Sunday. Some of the family belong to the choir, and it is a good thing to belong to. Choirs have their little musical fusses sometimes, and get in the pouts; but, nevertheless,


Page 285

it is a good place to raise children. It makes them go to church and to Sunday-school, and go early, and if they are facing the congregation they have to keep awake and behave decently, and they do their best to look pretty and sing sweetly. I used to belong to the choir, and it was there Mrs. Arp saw me, and ever and anon heard the sweet strains of my melodious tenor voice. But, alas, that voice has changed to a bass at one end and a falsetto at the other, and "there's a melancholy crack in my laugh."

        Young man, young woman, if you have any gifts for music, you had better join the church choir, but if you haven't, don't.

        Sacred music is very much varied according to denominations. The Roman Catholic church is the oldest and richest and has the most passionate music and the finest organs, and embraces a rendering of such intense words as are found in the "Angus Dei," and "Gloria in Excelsis," and the litany and chants of the old masters. The Protestant church has rejected the dramatic style and confined its music to hymns and psalms of sober temper, and in the main, has done away with the fugue and galloping style of one part chasing another through the vocal harmonies.

        I remember when it was the fashion, in fashionable choirs, to give one part several feet the start in the race, and the others would start later and overtake it before they all got to the end of the line. There is a hymn beginning, "I love to steal awhile away," and the tenor would start out with "I love to steal"--and then the alto would prance up with "I love to steal," and then the bass confessed the


Page 286

unfortunate frailty, "I love to steal," and hurried on for fear the first man would steal it all before he got there.

        Sacred music is of very ancient origin. Indeed, it is older than the church or the temple, for we find that Moses sang a song when he had crossed the Red Sea, and he said, "I will sing a song unto the Lord, for he is my strength and my salavtion," and when he finished his song, Miriam took it up, and she and her maidens sang and made music on timbrels. King David sang all through his psalms, and Isaiah not only sang, but wanted everything to sing, for he says: "Sing, oh ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it. Break forth into singing, oh ye mountains, for the Lord hath redeemed Israel."

        I was looking over this book that we are now using in our church, a new and beautiful book containing 1,200 hymns, and a tune with written music to every hymn. Here are 360 authors of all Christian denominations. Of these, sixty-one are women, seventy are English Episcopalians, twenty are Scotch Presbyterians, and only eight are American Presbyterians. Eight are Methodists, ten are Baptist, fourteen are Congregationalists, and five are Roman Catholics rest are Dissenters, Lutherans, Unitarians Moravians, Quakers and Independents. Only fifty-four are Americans. Leaving out Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley, most of these hymns were composed by English Episcopalians. Isaac Watts was the founder of hymnology. One hundred and twenty-six of his hymns are in this book. He has been dead 142 years, but we are still singing: "Welcome, Sweet Day of Rest," "How Beauteous Are Their Feet," "When I Can Read My Title Clear," "Before Jehovah's Awful


Page 287

Throne," "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?" and many more of his composing.

        He was a very small man with a large soul. He was only five feet high, weighed less than a hundred pounds, and never married. His hymns are sung all over the Christian world. Our grand-parents and parents, ourselves and our children, have all treasured them and become familiar with them.

        Charles Wesley, a Methodist, has thirty-six hymns in this book--most of them inspired from his intense, absorbing love of the Savior--such as "Blow Ye the Trumpet, Blow," and "Jesus, Lover of My Soul." He was a brother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, and came to Georgia with him in 1735.

        Rev. John Newton has twenty-six hymns in this collection. What a strange, eventful life was his. Seized and impressed for a seaman on board a man-of-war when he was only nineteen years of age--deserted--was caught, and dogged, and degraded--deserted again and hired himself to a slave-trading vessel. Four years afterwards he went back to England and married Mary Catlett, the girl he had been loving for years. He then equipped a slaver of his own, and shipped negroes from Africa to the West Indies, and made a fortune.

        In a few years he became disgusted with the business and studied mathematics, Latin, Greek and Hebrew without a teacher. About that time Wesley and Whitfield began their great religious uprising, and he was converted and joined them and went to preaching. When eighty years old he preached three times a week, and when urged to stop on account of his feeble health, he replied:


Page 288

"What! Shall the old African negro trader and blasphemer stop while he can speak? No!" No wonder that the great change inspired him to write those beautiful hymns: "Amazing Grace! How Sweet the Sound;" "One There is Above All Others;" "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken;" "Savior, Visit Thy Plantation."

        And next comes Cowper--the amiable, lovable, miserable Cowper--whose life was spent in alternating between hope and despair, and who was sent several times to the insane asylum. In his lucid intervals of hope he composed such hymns as "Sometimes a Light Surprises," "There is a Fountain Filled With Blood;" "Oh, For a Closer Walk With God," and many others.

        James Montgomery, a Moravian, has twenty-three hymns in this book. His early life was full of trouble. He was indicted, tried and imprisoned for writing a ballad on the fall of the Bastile. Soon after his release he wrote an account of the riot at Sheffield, and was again imprisoned. The press had but little freedom in his day, but his gentle, earnest Christian character finally won for him the regard of his enemies, and he was granted a pension by the crown. There are no hymns in this book sweeter than his. Such, for instance, as "Oh, Where Shall Rest Be Found?" "Prayer is The Soul's Sincere Desire;" "People of The Living God," etc.

        Addison, too, that stately, polished writer of essays, found time and inclination to pay poetic tribute to his Maker. There is no poetry more majestic than the hymns beginning, "When All Thy Mercies, Oh, My God," and "The Spacious Firmament on High." And next we have Heber, the gifted bishop of Calcutta, the Christian gentleman,


Page 289

who never knew a want, but, nevertheless, spent his life in charity and missionary work. His world-renowned hymn would have immortalized him, if he had written nothing else.

        "From Greenland's Icy Mountains," still stands as the chief of all missionary hymns. He wrote others of exquisite beauty, such as "Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning" and "By Cool Siloam's Shady Rill."

        Then there were many other composers who did not write much, but wrote exceeding well. There is:

        "How Firm a Foundation," by George Keith; "Come, ye Disconsolate," by Thomas Moore, the poet laureate of England; "Awake, My Soul," by Medley; "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," by Robert Robinson.

        Rev. Augustus Toplady has several beautiful hymns, but none compare with his "Rock of Ages Cleft For Me." Sir William Gladstone, the great premier of England, was so much impressed with this hymn that he has translated it into Latin and other languages. Of a later date we find, "Nearer, My God, to Thee," by Mrs. Adams, an English lady.

        The oldest hymn in the book was written by Thomas Sternhold, in 1549. He was groom to Henry VIII. The next oldest is well worth remembrance, for it was written in 1560 by Thomas Ken, and has but one verse, and that verse is sung oftener than any other verse in the world. Its first line is, "Praise God from Whom all Blessing Flow." If Thomas Ken is in the heavenly choir (and we believe he is), what serene comfort does his translated soul enjoy as it listens every Sabbath to his


Page 290

own doxology as it goes up from a million voices and swells heavenward from thousands of organs all over Christendom!

        Then we have hymns from Richard Baxter, who was chaplain to Charles II, and resisted the usurpaiton of Cromwell.

        And here we have hymns from Mrs. Charles, the gifted authortess of the Schoenberg Cotta stories, and from William Cohen Bryant, our own poet laureate, and Francis S. Key, the author of the "Star Spangled Banner," and from Mrs. Sigourney and John Dryden, another poet laureate of England, and Henry Kirk White, who died in his twenty- first year, but left as his monument "The Star of Bethlehem." Here, too, is the litany by Sir Robert Grant. And here are many hymns from Dr. Muhlenberg, who wrote "I Would Not Live Always."

        And now, let me pause to remember that all these men and women are dead. Some have been dead three hundred years, some two hundred and very many one hundred, and some far less, but all are dead. But poetry outlives prose, and a song outlives a sermon. It is a comforting fact that most all of the famous poets have been Christian men and women, and have given to the church some of their sweetest and holiest thoughts in song.

        Dr. Oliver W. Holmes and John G. Whittier are both represented in this collection.

        But hymns without music lose half their beauty. They are like birds without wings--they cannot fly heavenward.

        And now if the choir and congregation will enter into the spirit of these beautiful hymns and sing them


Page 291

with pure religious feeling, it will be acceptable praise. A song without inspiration is music, but it is not praise. Professional choirs who sing for pay seem to be singing for men and not for God. Such singing is like the funerals that have hired mourners. When the tune fits the sentiment of the hymn, like it was all one creation of genius, it greatly enhances the beauty of both. The Coronation Hymn would not be half so popular if the coronation music were not set to it. And this is one reason why the oratorios of the great masters, such as Handel and Mozart, have never been excelled. They composed both the sentiment and the song.


Page 292

CHAPTER XLII.

THE AUTUMN LEAVES.

                        The earliest fires of the fall
                        Have brightened up the room,
                        The cat and dog and children all
                        Have bid old winter come.

                        The wind is running at the nose,
                        The clouds are in a shiver;
                        By day we want more warmer clothes,
                        At night we want more kiver

        When a farmer has laid by his crop and the seasons have been kind and the corn and cotton are maturing, and the sweet potato vines have covered the ground, what an innocent luxury it is to set in the piazza in the shade of evening with one's feet on the banisters, and contemplate the beauty and bounty of nature and the hopeful prospect of another year's support. It looks like that even an Ishmaelite might then feel calm and serene, and if he is still ungrateful for his abundant blessings he is worse than a heathen, and ought to be run out of a Christian's country. Every year brings toil and trouble and apprehension, but there always comes a long rest and peace and the ripe fruits of one's labors.

        Persimmons and 'possums are getting ripe. The May-pops have dropped from the vines. Chestnuts and chinkapins are opening, and walnuts are covering the ground. Crawfish and frogs have gone


Page 293

into winter quarters--snakes and lizards have bid us adieu. All nature is preparing for a winter's sleep--sleep for the trees, and grass and flowers. I like winter; not six long months of snow and ice and howling winds, but three months interspersed with sunny days and Indian summers. The Sunny South is the place for me, the region of mild and temperate climate, of lofty mountains and beautiful vallesy, and fast-flowing streams. The region where the simoon nor the hurricane ever comes, and the streams do not become stagnant, nor the mosquito sing his little song. I don't want to be snowbound in winter, nor to fly from a fiery hurricane in summer; and it's curious to me that our Northern brethren don't bid farewell, a long farewell, to such a country and settle down in this pleasant land.


                        "The cricket chirrups on the hearths
                        The crackling fagot flies."

        The air is cool and lovely. The family have peartined up, and everything is lovely around the farmer's comfortable fire. How invigorating is the first chilling breeze of coming winter. The hungry horses nicker for their corn; the cattle follow you around; the pesky pigs squall at your feet, and this dependence of the brutes upon us for their daily food makes a man feel his consequence as he struts among them like a little king. The love of dominion is very natural. It provokes a kindliness of heart, and if a man hasn't got anything else to lord it over it's some comfort to love and holler at his dog. I've seen the day when I strutted around among my darkies like a patriarch. I felt like I was running an unlimited monarchy on a limited scale. And Mrs. Arp felt that way too. Sometimes in my


Page 294

dreams I still hear the music of her familiar call, "Becky, why don't you come along with that coal-hod?" "I'se comin', mam." "Rosanna, what in the world are you doing; havent you found that needle yet?" "I'se most found it, mam." Poor thing; patient and proud, she hunts her own needles now, and the coal-hod falls to me.

        But we still live, thank the good Lord, and are worrying through the checkered life as gracefully as possible. What's the use of brooding over trouble when you can't help it? Sometimes, when a rainy day comes and all out-doors is wet and sloppy, and the dogs track mud in the piazza, and the children have to be penned up in the house, and everything is gloomy, we get sad and look on the dark side, and long for things we havent got. When the little chaps play hide and seek till they get tired, and shove the chairs around for cars and engines, and look at all the pictures, and cut up all the newspapers, and turn summersets on their little bed, and then get restless and whine around for freedom, Mrs. Arp opens her school and stands 'em up by the buro to say their lessons.

        "Now Carl, let me see if you can say your psalm. Put your hands down and hold up your head."

        "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He--he - he--"

        "Let that fly alone, and put your hands down. He maketh me to lie down--"

        "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He, he--"

        "Quit pulling at that curtain. He leadeth me--"

        "He leadeth me. La, mamma, yonder comes a covered wagon. I speck it's got apples."


Page 295

        "Carl, stand away from that window. If I take a switch to you I'll make you look after apple wagons. He leadeth me."

        "He leadeth me--in the house of the Lord forever."

        "Bless my soul, if he hasn't skipped over to the very end. Where are you going now?"

        "Mamma, I want a drink of water--mamma, please give me and Jessie an apple."

        "No, sir, you shan't smell of an apple. Every time I try to teach you something you want water, or an apple, or go to catching flies. I wish I had that switch that's up on the clock."

        "I'll get it for you," said I.

        "No you needent, either. Just go on with your writing. I wish you would let me manage the children. All the learning they ever get I have to ding dong it into 'em. When I want the switch I can get it. Here, Jessie, come and say your verses."

        And Jessie goes through with "Let dogs delight" like a daisy.

        Oh, she's as smart as a steel trap--just like her mother. I wish you could see Mrs. Arp's smile when some other woman comes along and norates the smart sayings of her juvenile.

        "Ain't it strange," says she to me, "how blinded most mothers are about their children. Mrs. Trotter thinks her Julia a world's wonder, but Jessie says things every day a heap smarter, and I never thought anything about it."

        "Jesso," says I; "children are shore to be smart when they have a smart mother. Their meanness all comes from the old man."

        But the rainy days don't last forever. Sunshine follows cloud and storm and darkness. In the journey


Page 296

of life the mountains loom up before us, and they look high and steep and rugged, but somehow they always disappear just before we get to them, and then we can look back and feel ashamed that we borrowed so much trouble and had so much anxiety for nothing. What a great pile of miserable fears we build up every day. It's good for a man to ruminate over it and resolve to have more faith in Providence, and I am ruminating now, for I went to town to-day to attend a little court that had my tenant's cotton money all tangled up by the lawyers, and I never expected to get my share, but I did and I feel happy. Mrs. Arp had told the children she would like to go and do some shopping for them, but she knew that I was so poor and they would have to do without.

        So when I came home and found her stitching away with a sad expression on her countenance, I pulled out the twenty-two dollars of cotton money, and assuming a pathetic attitude exclaimed:


                        "Turn, Angelina, ever dear,
                        My charmer, turn to see
                        Thine own, thy long-lost William here,
                        Restored to Heaven and thee."

        And I laid the shining silver in her lap. In about two minutes everything was calm and serene, and we had music that night and Mrs. Arp played on the piano and sang some of the songs of her girlhood. It's most astounding what a little money can do.


Page 297

CHAPTER XLIII.

UNCLE TOM BARKER.

        Uncle Tom Barker was much of a man. He had been wild and reckless, and feared not God nor regarded man, but one day at a campmeeting, while Bishop Gaston was shaking up the sinners and scorching them over the infernal pit, Tom got alarmed, and before the meeting was over he professed religion and became a zealous, outspoken convert, and declared his intention of going forth into the world and preaching the gospel. He was terribly in earnest, for he said he had lost a power of time and must make it up. Tom was a rough talker, but he was a good one, and knew right smart of "scripter," and a good many of the old-fashioned hymns by heart. The conference thought he was a pretty good fellow to send out into the border country among the settlers, and so Tom straddled his old flea-bitten gray, and in due time was circuit riding in North Mississippi.

        In course of time Tom acquired notoriety, and from his strong language and stronger gestures, and his muscular eloquence, they called him old "Sledge Hammer," and after awhile, "Old Sledge," for short. Away down in one corner of his territory there was a blacksmith shop and a wagon shop and a whisky shop and a post-office at Bill Jones's crossroads; and Bill kept all of them, and was known far and wide as "Devil Bill Jones," so as to distinguish him from 'Squire Bill the magistrate. Devil Bill had


Page 298

sworn that no preacher should ever toot a horn or sing a hymn in the settlement, and if one of the cussed hypocrites ever dared to stop at the crossroads, he'd make him dance a hornpipe and sing a hymn, and whip him besides. And Bill Jones meant just what he said, for he had a mortal hate for the men of God. It was reasonably supposed that Bill could and would do what he said, for his trade at the anvil had made him strong, and everybody knew that he had as much brute courage as was necessary. And so Uncle Tom was advised to take roundance and never tackle the crossroads. He accepted this for a time, and left the people to the bad influence of Devil Bill; but it seemed to him he was not doing the Lord's will, and whenever he thought of the women and children living in darkness and growing up in infidelity, he would groan.

        One night he prayed over it with great earnestness, and vowed to do the Lord's will if the Lord would give him light, and it seemed to him as he rose from his knees that there was no longer any doubt-- he must go. Uncle Tom never dallied about anything when his mind was made up. He went right at it like killing snakes; and so next morning as a "nabor" passed on his way to Bill's shop, Uncle Tom said:

        "My friend, will you please carry a message to Bill Jones for me? Do you tell him that if the Lord is willin', I will be at the cross-roads to preach next Saturday at eleven o'clock, and I am shore the Lord is willin'. Tell him to please 'norate' it in the settlement about, and ax the women and children to come. Tell Bill Jones I will stay at his house, God willin', and I'm shore he's willin', and I'll preach Sunday, too, if things git along harmonious."


Page 299

        When Bill Jones got the message he was amazed, astounded, and his indignation knew no bounds. He raved and cursed at the "onsult," as he called it--the "onsulting message of 'Old Sledge' "--and he swore that he would hunt him up, and whip him, for he knowed that he wouldn't dare to come to the cross-roads.

        But the "nabors" whispered it around that "Old Sledge" would come, for he was never known to make an appointment and break it; and there was an old horse thief who used to run with Murrel's gang, who said he used to know Tom Barker when he was a sinner and had seen him fight, and he was much of a man.

        So it spread like wild-fire that "Old Sledge" was coming, and Devil Bill was "gwine" to whip him and make him dance and sing a "hime," and treat to a gallon of peach and brandy besides.

        Devil Bill had his enemies, of course, for he was a hard man, and one way or another had gobbled up all the surplus of the "naborhood," and had given nothing in exchange but whiskey, and these enemies had long hoped for somebody to come and turn him down. They, too, circulated the astounding news, and, without committing themselves to either party, said that h-ll would break loose on Saturday at the cross-roads, and that "Old Sledge" or the devil would have to go under.

        On Friday the settlers began to drop into the crossroads under pretense of business, but really to get the bottom facts of the rumors that were afloat.

        Devil Bill knew full well what they came for, and he talked and cursed more furiously than usual, and swore that anybody who would come expecting to


Page 300

see "Old Sledge" tomorrow was an infernal fool, for he wasn't a-coming. He laid bare his strong arms and shook his long hair and said he wished the lying, deceiving hypocrite would come, for it had been nigh onto fourteen years since he had made a preacher dance.

        Saturday morning by nine o'clock the settlers began to gather. They came on foot, and on horseback, and in carts - men, women and children, and before eleven o'clock there were more people at the crossroads than had ever been there before. Bill Jones was mad at their credulity, but he had an eye to business and kept behind his counter and sold more whiskey in an hour than he had sold in a month. As the appointed hour drew near the settlers began to look down the long, straight road that "Old Sledge" would come, if he came at all, and every man whose head came in sight just over the rise of the distant hill was closely scrutinized.

        More than once they said, "Yonder he comes--that's him, shore." But no, it wasn't him.

        Some half a dozen had old bull's-eye silver watches, and they compared time, and just at 10:55 o'clock the old horse thief exclaimed:

        "I see Tom Barker a risin' of the hill. I hadn't seed him for eleven years, but, gintlemen, that ar's him, or I'm a liar."

        And it was him.

        As he got nearer and nearer, a voice seemed to be coming with him, and some said, "He's talkin' to himself," another said, "He's talkin' to God Almighty," and another said, "I'll be durned if he ain't a praying;" but very soon it was decided that he was "singin' of a hime."


Page 301

        Bill Jones was advised of all this, and coming up the front, said: "Darned if he ain't singing before I axed him, but I'll make him sing another tune until he is tired. I'll pay him for his onsulting message. I'm not a-gwine to kill him, boys. I'll leave life in his rotton old carcass, but that's all. If any of you'ens want to hear 'Old Sledge' preach, you'll have to go ten miles from the road to do it."

        Slowly and solemnly the preacher came. As he drew near he narrowed down his tune and looked kindly upon the crowd. He was a massive man in frame, and had a heavy suit of dark brown hair, but his face was clean shaved, and showed a nose and lips and chin of great firmness and great determination.

        "Look at him, boys, and mind your eye," said the horse thief.

        "Where will I find my friend, Bill Jones?" inquired "Old Sledge."

        All round they pointed him to the man.

        Riding up close, he said: "My friend and brother, the good Lord has sent me to you, and I ask your hospitality for myself and beast," and he slowly dismounted and faced his foe as though expecting a kind reply.

        The crisis had come, and Bill Jones met it.

        "You infernal old hypocrite; you cussed old shaved- faced scoundrel; didn't you know that I had swored an oath that I would make you sing and dance, and whip you besides if you ever dared to pizen these cross-roads with your shoe-tracks?" Now, sing, d--n you, sing, and dance as you sing," and he emphasized his command with a ringing slap with his open hand upon the parson's face.


Page 302

        "Old Sledge" recoiled with pain and surprise. Recovering in a moments he said: "Well, Brother Jones I did not expect so warm a welcome, but if this be your crossroads manners, I suppose I must sing;" and as Devil Bill gave him another slap on his other jaw, he began with:


                        "My soul, be on thy guard."

        And with his long arm he suddenly and swiftly gave Devil Bill an open hander that nearly knocked him off his feet, while the parson continued to sing in a splendid tenor voice:


                        "Ten thousand foes arise."

        Never was a lion more aroused to frenzy than was Bill Jones. With his powerful arm he made at "Old Sledge" as if to annihilate him with one blow, and many horrid oaths, but the parson fended off the stroke as easily as a practised boxer, and with his left hand dealt Bill a settler on his peepers, as he continued to sing:


                        "Oh, watch and fight, and pray,
                         The battle ne'er give o'er"

        But Jones was plucky to desperation, and the settlers were watching with bated breath. The crisis was at hand, and he squared himself and his clenched fists flew thick and fast upon the parson's frame, and for awhile disturbed his equilibrium and his song. But he rallied quickly and began the defensive, as he sang:


                        "Ne'er think the victory won,
                        Nor lay thine armor down--"


Page 303

        He backed his adversary squarely to the wall of his shop, and seized him by the throat, and mauled him as he sang:

        "Fight on, my soul, till death--"

        Well, the long and short of it was, that "Old Sledge" whipped him and humbled him to the ground, and then lifted him up and helped to restore him, and begged a thousand pardons.

        When Devil Bill had retired to his house and was being cared for by his wife, "Old Sledge" mounted a box in front of the grocery and preached righteousness and temperance, and judgment to come, to that people.

        He closed his solemn discourse with a brief history of his own sinful life before his conversion and his humble work for the Lord ever since, and he besought his hearers to stop and think--"Stop, poor sinner, stop and think," he cried in alarming tones.

        There were a few men and many women in that crowd whose eyes, long unused to the melting mood, dropped tears of repentance at the preacher's kind and tender exhortation. Bill Jones's wife, poor woman, had crept humbly into the outskirts of the crowd, for she had long treasured the memories of her childhood, when she, too, had gone with her good mother to hear preaching. In secret she had pined and lamented her husband's hatred for religion and preachers. After she had washed the blood from his swollen face and dressed his wounds she asked him if she might go down and hear the preacher. For a minute he was silent and seemed to be dumb with amazement. He had never been whipped before and had suddenly lost confidence in himself and his infidelity.


Page 304

        "Go 'long, Sally," he answered, "if he can talk like he can fight and sing, maybe the Lord did send him. It's all mighty strange to me," and he groaned in anguish. His animosity seemed to have changed into an anxious, wondering curiosity, and after Sally had gone, he left his bed and drew near to the window where he could hear.

        "Old Sledge" made an earnest, soul-reaching prayer, and his pleading with the Lord for Bill Jones's salvation and that of his wife and children reached the window where Bill was sitting, and he heard it. His wife returned in tears and took a seat beside him, and sobbed out her heart's distress, but said nothing. Bill bore it for awhile in thoughtful said nothing. Bill bore it for awhile in thoughtful silence, and then putting his bruised and trembling hand in hers, said: "Sally, if the Lord sent 'Old Sledge' here, and maybe he did, I reckon you had better look after his horse." And sure enough 'Old Sledge" stayed there that night and held family prayer, and the next day he preached from the piazza to a great multitude, and sang his favorite hymn: "Am I a soldier of the Cross?"

        And when he got to the third verse his untutored but musical voice seemed to be lifted a little higher as he sang:


                        "Sure I must fight if I would reign,
                        Increase my courage, Lord."

        Devil Bill was converted and became a changed man. He joined the church, and closed his grocery and helped to build a meeting house, and it was always said and believed that "Old Sledge" mauled the grace into his unbelieving soul, and it never would have got in any other way.


Page 305

CHAPTER XLIV.

BILL ARP ON JOSH BILLINGS.

        Josh Billings is dead, and the world will miss him. He was a success in his way, and it was not a bad way. He did no harm. He did much good, for he gave a passing pleasure and gave it frequently, and left the odor of good precepts that lingered with us. He was Aesop and Ben Franklin, condensed and abridged. His quaint phonetic spelling spiced his maxims and proverbs, and made them attractive. It is curious how we are attracted by the wise, pithy sayings of an unlettered man. It is the contrast between his mind and his culture. We like contrasts and we like metaphors and striking comparisons. The more they are according to nature and everyday life, the better they please the masses. The cultured scholar will try to impress by saying "facilis decensus averni." but Billings brings the same idea nearer home when he says, "When a man starts down hill, it looks like everything is greased for the occasion." We can almost see the fellow sliding down. It is an old thought that has been dressed up fine for centuries, and suddenly appears in everyday clothes. Wise men tell us that the people do not think for themselves, but follow their leaders in politics and religion. That is true, and it is tame and old. But when I asked the original Bill Arp how he was going to vote he said he couldn't tell me until how he he saw Colonel Johnson, and Colonel Johnson wouldn't know until


Page 306

he talked to Judge Underwood, and Judge Underwood wouldn't know until he heard from Aleck Stephens. "But who tells Aleck Stephens how to vote?" "I'll be dogged if I know." Well, that was the same old truth, but it was undressed, and therefore more forcible. The philosophic theory has come down to a homely fact.

        Some years ago I met Mr. Shaw in New York, at Carleton's book store. I did not know that he was Josh Billings. In fact I had forgotten Billings' real name, and I thought this man was a Methodist preacher. He looked like one, a very solemn one. His long hair was parted in the middle and silvered with gray. His face was heavily bearded, his eyes well set and his mouth drooped at the corners. We sat facing each other for a few moments, when suddenly he leaned forward and said: "Friend Arp, say something." I knew then that Mr. Carleton had surprised me and that this was Billings, for he had told me that his friend Billings was going to call. We soon got friendly and familiar, and suddenly he inquired, "How is my friend, Big John?" "Dead," said I. "And how is that faithful steer?" said he. "Dead," I replied. With a mock sorrow he wiped his eyes and remarked, "Hence these tears." ( Steers. )

        While we were talking, a lad of the house came back and said there was a man in a balloon and we could see him from the front. We all went forward and we watched the daring aeronaut soar away until he was out of sight, and we took seats near the door. Billings heaved a sigh and said, "I feel very bad, my friends. That sight distresses me." We asked him why, and he said, "It carries me back to the scenes of my early youth, and reminds me of a sad


Page 307

event." We waited a moment for him to recover from his depression, and he said: "I was an indolent, trifling boy. I wouldn't work and I wouldn't study at school. I had a longing to get away from home and go West. Most everybody was going West, and so one morning my father said to me: 'Henry, I reckon you had better go. You are not doing any good here.' And so he gave me ten dollars and a whole lot of advice, and my mother fixed me up a little bundle of clothes and I started. That money lasted me until I got away out to Illinois, for I worked a little along the way to pay for lodging and vittels, but at last it was all gone, and my shoes were worn out, and when I got to a little village one afternoon I was homesick and friendless, and I didn't know what to do next. I noticed that the people were all going one way, and they told me they were going out to the suburbs to see a man go up in a balloon. So I followed the crowd, and when I got there I saw a dirty little Italian sitting down on an old, dingy balloon, and there was a fellow going around with a hat in his hand trying to make up ten dollars. The little Italian said he would go up for that money. But the fellow couldn't make it. He counted the money and had only six dollars and a half, and so he gave it up, and was about to give the money back when I thought I saw my opportunity. I was sorry for the Italian and sorry for myself, and so I whispered to to him and asked him if he would give me all over ten dollars that I could make up and he said "Yes, all over eight dollars.' Well, I had the gift of speech pretty lively, and I went round and round among the folks and told them how this poor, little, sunburnt son of Italy


Page 308

came three thousand miles from his home to minister to their pleasure and put his life in peril, and it was a shame that we couldn't make him up the pitiful sum of ten dollars. I soon got the crowd in a good humor, and in about five minutes I had made up eighteen dollars. I felt proud and happy, and said: "Now, my friend, fire up,' and I helped him to fire up. The old balloon was patched and leaky, and I thought it would burst before we got ready, for we piled the gas in heavy. Before long the little chap was in the basket, and we cut the ropes and away she went. It was a calm, still day in June--not a breath of air to drift the balloon from a perpendicular. Up, up, she went, growing smaller and smaller, until finally she was but a tiny speck in the zenith. We nearly broke our necks looking at it, and sure enough in a few minutes more she was gone. Not a spy-glass could find it. We watched all the evening for the little fellow to come back in sight, but he never came. The shades of night came over us, but no Italian. The crowd dispersed one by one until all were gone but me, for I was his friend and treasurer, you know. Next morning he was still missing, and all that day we made inquiries from the surrounding country, but no Italian and no balloon, and from that day to this good hour he has never been heard from. I have felt a heavy weight of responsibility about him, for fear I put in too much gas. My hope is that he went dead straight to heaven. I have his money in my bank, and it is drawing interest."

        And Josh wiped away another pretended tear of grief.

        He was a companionable man and talked without a strain. When he visited our little city of Rome


Page 309

our people gave him a glad welcome, for he had been long ministering to their pleasure, and in all his great and curious utterances he had never written a line that showed prejudice or malignity to our people or our section.

        Peace be to his ashes and honor to his memory.


Page 310

CHAPTER XLV.

THE CODE DUELLO.

        They are the funniest things--these duels. They are both funny and fantastic. They beat a circus-- that is to say the newspaper pictures of them beat the circus pictures, and it is reasonable to suppose that the antics of the performers are more ludicrous than the clown and the monkeys and the trick horse combined. I would like to be up in a tree and see a duel--no I wouldent either. It would be safer to be in front of one of the performers. Sometimes I think that these little affairs of honor are just gotten up to amuse the public, and they are a success in that way. They beat Sullivan and Kilrain in the wind up, and the only objection is we don't know about it until the show is all over. We don't have a chance to take sides and bet on anybody, and if we did we wouldent win or lose, for it is always a draw--nobody hurt, wonderful pluck, amazing heroism, magnanimous conduct, noble bearing, amicable adjustment, but nobody hurt; that's what's the matter. When it leaks out that a great show is coming, the people want it to come. If a hanging is advertised, it is an outrage if somebody don't hang. If a duel has to be fought to preserve honor, the public want some blood. Honor or death, honor or crippled, honor or hit somewhere. But this widespreading around and fixing up the thing on a wood-pile, or, "I'll retreat if you'll retreat," or, "I dident


Page 311

mean what you thought I meant," don't satisfy the public.

        Some years ago one of our notable men called another of our notable men a thief and he got challenged for it, and we thought there was blood on the moon, but mutual friends interposed and he retracted by saying he dident mean that he was a personal thief, but an official thief, and that was satisfactory and the affair was honorably adjusted.

        When an affair of honor is settled nowadays we can't find out who whipped the fight--who was right and who was wrong. The whole matter is left so mystified that the stakeholders won't pay the money. In fact it is sometimes hard to tell from the newspapers who were doing the fighting, the principles or the seconds, or an amateur performer who recklessly rushed in where angels fear to tread.


                        "The combat thickens--on ye brave,
                        Who rush to glory or the grave."

        Awful scene--terrific beyond expression. It reminds me of a little Frenchman who was prancing around the hotel in St. Louis and had a little impudent terrier dog following him about. The dog gave just cause of offense to a big whiskered Kentuckian who was talking to a friend, and with a sudden swing of his boot he sent the animal a rod or two out in the street. Quick as lightning the Frenchman danced up to Kentuck, and with violent gesticulations exclaimed: "Vat for you keek mon leetle tog! Vot for, me say? Here is mine card. I demand de sateesfacsheon of de shenteel mon." The Kentuckian seized him gently by the nap of the neck and lifted him bodily to the door and gave him a kick


Page 312

outward, and then walked back and resumed his conversation.

        The Frenchman spied an acquaintance who was passing, and rushing up to him poured out this history: "dot you call des American honeur. He keek mon leetle tog and I geeve heem mine card and demond de sateesfacshun of de genteelhomme, de sateesfacshun of de sword or de peestole--dear to de Frenchman's heart. You tinks he geeve him to me. No saree--no time, but mon Dieu, he leef me up by de collare--he speen me round and roun like I vas von tom top and keek me more harder than de leetle tog. Vot you calls dot, American honeur? Bah! I go pack to La Belle France and hoonts up some American and fights him. I will have de satis-facshun--begor."

        If retractions are to be made they should be very explicit. It is related of John Randolph that he expressed his contempt of a man by saying of him that he wasn't fit to carry--offal to a bear. A retraxit was demanded or a fight, and he promptly responded that he would now say that the gentleman was fit to carry--offal to a bear. This proved satisfactory and goes to show how small a retraxit will satisfy wounded honor. But it seems to be a matter of great nicety as to the time when the retraxit shall be made. Among all gentlemen it is admitted that an apology should be made just as soon as the gentleman has discovered that he has done another gentleman an injury or has, without just cause, wounded his feelings; but these mysterious affairs of honor are very slow about such things, and the retraxits are not allowed to be made until a challenge has passed and the seconds chosen and the pistols loaded and everything got in readiness for a


Page 313

fight. Then the retraxit is in order and the honorable adjustment. The whole thing is methodical, to say the least of it. It is like a bill in equity that has nine parts, and there is the accusation and the rejoinder and the surrejoinder and other mysteries. The fact is, considering the funny and fantastic and harmless character of most of the modern duels, I think that justice's court would be the best tribunal wherein to settle such matters. The first case I ever had was a case in justice court, where I was employed to defend a man who was sued for thirty dollars worth of slander because he had accused his nabor of stealing his hog and changing the mark from an underbit in the right ear to a swallow fork in the left. After the joinder and the rejoinder and the surrejoinder the jury retired to a log and eventually brought in this verdict: "We, the jury, find for the plaintiff two dollars and fifty cents unless the defendant will take back what he said." I have always thought that was a just verdict, and if ever any fool sends me a challenge I shall propose to leave the matter to a jury in a justice court. They always give a man a chance without his having to practice with pistols on a tree. It is a strange thing how a man can hit the bull's eye on a tree every pop but can't hit a man one time in five, and yet be perfectly cool and calm and serene all the time.

        The books say that duelling originated in the superstitious ages when it was believed that the fates or the gods were on the side of truth and justice, and always avenged the man who had been wronged. The philosophers declared that there was a mysterious connection between honor and courage and between courage and the nervous system, and


Page 314

that when a man was in the wrong his courage wavered, and his nerves became unsteady, and so he couldn't fight to advantage and was easily overcome by his adversary. There may be something in this, but not a great deal, for we do know that the professional duelist is generally in the wrong and generally whips the fight. In fact, the wrong man has most generally been killed in all the fatal duels of modern times. During the past century duelling has had its chief support from the army and the navy, where chivalry seems to have centered. They talk about chivalry as though they belonged to some knightly order like unto the olden times when Don Quixote mounted his flea-bitten gray and sallied forth and charged a windmill with a lance about twenty feet long. The word chivalry comes from "cheval," a horse, and so if a man was not mounted there was no chance to be chivalrous. A seat in a buggy won't do at all. It won't churn up heroism like the canter of a horse. That was called the "fantastic age of famished honor," for honor was said to be always hungry for a fight with somebody, and the knights started out periodically to provoke difficulties. Happy for us that this age has passed away and the knights are unhorsed, but unhappily for us, like the comet, a portion of its tail still lingers in the land, and ever and anon some valiant knight shows up and strikes his breast and exclaims: "Mine honor, sir, mine honor!" Right then I want to rush to his relief and give him a sharpened pole and mount him on some "Rosinante" and escort him to one of these modern windmills that are built to pump water and tell him to charge it until his honor is satisfied. Most of these


Page 315

chivalric gentlemen have a very vague, indefinite idea of what honor is and where it is located. Hudibras throws some light upon the seat of honor when he tells of a man who was "kicked in the place where honor is lodged," and he says:


                        "A kick right there hurts honor more
                        Than deeper wounds when kicked before."

        This locates honor in the background, where we will leave it.

        Honor is like the chameleon. It takes any color that suits its surroundings. Aaron Burr challenged Hamilton in order to preserve his honor, and yet he was a traitor, an enemy of Washington, a libertine, and boasted of his amours and his intrigues. If a man is going to fight for his honor he should be sure that he has not tarnished it by his own dishonorable conduct. If a man is a thief or a swindler or an extortioner or a libertine or a blackmailer, he has no right to challenge a man for calling him a liar. Honor is a very broad quality and does not split up in parts. It makes up the complete gentleman in all his conduct; though a man may not have told a lie, yet he may have no honor to defend, for he had lost it all in other vices. When a man can look his fellow men in the face and say, "Whom have I defrauded or whom have I wronged or from whom have I taken a bribe?" then let him fight for his honor if he wants to.

        But the average man who has made his money by ways that are dark and tricks that are vain, or who has used deceit, dishonesty, hypocrisy or oppression in gaining his ends, has no right to send or accept a challenge to mortal combat. He must stand fair and square before the people if he expects their


Page 316

sympathy. If he fights of course it is out of respect to public opinion, for no two men would fight if they were on an island by themselves. And this proves the duelist a coward, the worst kind of a coward, for he has more regard for public opinion that he has for himself or his family or his friends or his Maker. He knows that a duel proves nothing and settles nothing, and yet he deliberately lets public opinion outweigh his wife and his children and worse than all he puts his soul in reach of the devil. From every moral standpoint he is a fool and a coward and could be convicted of lunacy in any court, and ought to be. Lord, help us all--when will this foolishness stop? The law is against it. Public opinion is against it. Common sense is against it, and so is humanity and morality. Public opinion says that every such case lowers our moral standard at home and belittles us abroad. Public opinion doesn't care a snap for the duel or the duelist. Duels prove nothing. They establish no man's character for truth or integrity. They give him no better credit in bank, no more friends in business. Among decent people he is looked upon as a partial outlaw, and they shrink from his society for fear of offending him. His code of morals and his peculiar sense of honor is a silent insult to them, as though he had said: "I move in a higher plane than you common folks. I am a man of honor--a gentleman." He has been engaged in a dishonorable business and he knows it, for he has had to skulk around in the night and hide and dodge like a thief. He does not dare to fight on the genial, loving soil of his own State, for that would disfranchise him, and so he seeks some other. In fact, the whole thing would be as funny as a farce if nobody


Page 317

was concerned but the principals and their seconds. But there are parents and wives and children and friends, and hence the deep concern. Then let us have more peace and less foolishness. Let a man take part in no show that he has to keep secret from his wife or his children. Let him undertake no peril that his preacher couldn't approve with a parting prayer and benediction. In fact, I have always wondered why the preacher was not taken along as well as the surgeon, for where the devil is the man of God ought to have an equal chance to capture an immortal soul.


Page 318

CHAPTER XLVI.

"BILLY IN THE LOW GROUNDS."

        Write, my child--write something to The Constitution. I don't care what. I am too nervous. I can't think my own thoughts. It is perfectly horrible --awful, but I reckon it's all right. I reckon so. I wish there was not a tooth in my head. When they come, they come with pain and peril, and keep the poor child miserable, and when they go they go with a torture that no philosophy can endure. Oh, my poor jaw--just look how it is swollen. I am a sight. A pitiful prospect. I look like a bloated bond-holder on one side of my face and no bonds to comfort me. I wonder what would comfort a man in my fix. I have suffered more mortal agony from my teeth than from everything else put together. Samson couldn't pull them, hardly, for they are all riveted to the jawbone. I have been living in dread for a month, for I knew that eyetooth was fixing up trouble; and so yesterday morning it sprung a leak at the breakfast table and I jumped out of my chair. The shell caved in, the nerve was touched, and in my agony I gave one groan and retired like I was a funeral. Five miles from town and no doctor. Don't put down what I suffered all that day, and the night following, for you can't. Mush poultices and camphor and paregoric and bromide and chloroform, and still the porcession moved on, and the jumping, throbbing agony sent no flag of truce--no cessation of hostilities. What do I care for anything? Don't tell me about Hendricks being in Atlanta. I don't care where he


Page 319

is. Yes, I do. He is a good man, but I've got no time to think about him now. Please give me some more of that camphor. I've burned all the skin off my mouth now, but it is a counter-irritant and sorter scatters the pain around. If I had some morphine I would take it, for I want rest. I am tired. Oh, for one short hour of rest.

        Write something, my daughter--write to The Constitution and explain. Tell them I am "Billy in the low grounds." I am suffering and want sympathy. Write a note to the doctor, and tell him to come, come quick. I can't go through another night. Oh, my country. Let me try that hot iron again. I'll cook this old fat jaw outside and inside. I wish I had no tongue, for I can't keep it from touching the plagued tooth. Just look at my gums, they have swelled up so you can hardly see the old tooth. Give me a knife and the hand glass. I'll see if I can't let some blood out of these strutting gums. I am so nervous I can't hardly hold the knife, but here she goes. Oh, my country. Now give me the camphor and I'll let it burn in a new place.

        Just write a line to The Constitution; I don't care what - say I am sick. I wonder if the doctor will come. He will kill me, I know. It is awful to think of cold steel clamping this tooth and being jammed away up on these gums. I'll take chloroform, I reckon, for I can't stand it. I am afraid he will come. I want him and I don't want him. The last tooth I had pulled I went to the dentist's office like a hero, and I was glad he wasn't in--glad his door was locked - and for two more days I endured my agony, and then had to have it pulled at last. And he pulled me all to pieces, and the chloroform left me before he got done, and I had an awful time.


Page 320

The memory of it is excruciating, and yet I have got to go through with the same thing again. "Oh, the pity of it, Iago, pity of it." What has a man got teeth for, I would like to know. It is the brute that is in him, the dog, or the old Adam that evoluted from the monkeys. There is nothing Godlike about teeth. They bite, that is all. They are called "canines." I saw a man bite another man's nose off, once - the teeth did it. The eye is Godlike, angelic, beautiful, harmless. The ear is a good thing, too, for it takes in the harmonies of nature and makes music sweet--music, that is the only thing common to angels and men. The nose is gentle and ornamental, but it is not of much consequence except to blow off a bad cold and tell the difference between cologne and codfish. But the teeth--well, I think that false ones are better than the genuine, for they never ache. I don't care for any, now. I am tired. These women can have eight or ten pulled at one time--just to get a new set. How in the world do they stand it? Pride, I reckon; womanly pride, womanly nature; her love of the beautiful. But we men can wear a moustache and hide a whole set of rotten snags. If women had beards, the dentists would perish.

        There she goes again, and then boom! Let me try some more paregoric and camphor. Maybe I can go to sleep after awhile if I will keep dosing. I wish I had just a small grain of dynamite behind that tooth, just at the end of the roots; I would explode it if it killed me.

        The doctor coming, you say! Merciful heavens! Well, let him come. In the language of Patrick Henry, "I repeat it, sir, let him come." "Lay on, McDuff"--cold steel forceps, wrenching, twisting,


Page 321

crushing, gouging. I don't believe I have got a friend in the world. I almost wish I was dead. Teeth are a humbug--a grand mistake--a blunder --an eye-tooth especially, that sends roots away up under the eye and makes an abscess there. They say a child is smart when it cuts the eye-tooth. I believe I had rather do without and be a fool. I have had rheumatism and all sorts of pains, but I will compromise on anything but the toothache. I've a great respect for dentists, for they do the best they can to relieve mankind from his most miserable agony.

        "Good morning, doctor, I suppose I am the unfortunate individual you have come to doctor. I am ready for the rack. Get out your chloroform and your steel-jawed grabs; I am ready for the sacrifice. Is that a dagger that I see before me?"

        Father is in his little bed. He is asleep now. The long agony is over. For nearly one hour we all wrestled with him, for the chloroform gave out. He had taken so many things before the doctor came that chloroform failed to subdue him. It only made him delirious, and when we could not hold him we called in our blacksmith, and even then he pulled us all over the room, and the doctor had to take him on the wing. The old shell crushed and the roots had to be dug out in fragments. It was pitiful to hear him beg to go home. He has morphine now, and will be all right in the morning. He told me to write you something, and I have written.

BILL ARP, Per M.

Just now he waked up and wanted to know who whipped that fight--the parrot or the monkey. M.


Page 322

CHAPTER XLVII.

WILLIAM GETS LEFT.

        It is home where the heart is, and we are all happy now. Here is the big old family room, and the spacious fireplace is crowded with the big back logs and the front logs and the top logs, and the cheerful, genial blaze leaps out at every opening and makes us all sit back in the family circle. I sit near the good old window and look out upon the same pleasing prospect of fields and distant hills and am comforted. The dogs are in the family ring and the canaries are singing in their cage, and the maltese cat is purring in Jessie's lap. There is a lively chattering of happy voices all around me, for the long spell is broken and the broken family almost united. I say almost, for the sick boy and his mother are in town at his sister's, and these children have not yet seen them. It was too cold to bring him five miles over a frozen road, and so I came out alone to give them pleasure in broken doses. I hoped to surprise them and peep in at the window, but they were on the lookout down the road, and have nearly looked a hole through the window in anxious expectation. With a scream and a shout they all came flying down the hill to meet me; and such a time as we all had, hugging and kissing and dancing around with joy. They loaded me down and I could hardly wag along for their embraces. I don't believe that folks are any happier in heaven, and I don't know that I wish to be.

        We left Sanford last Tuesday, took the boy on


Page 323

cot over the long wharf that stretches away out into the lake, and put him aboard the beautiful steamer, the "City of Jacksonville." We set him down in an easy chair, and when the warning bell was rung we bade a sweet good-bye to kindred and friends, and soon the engines were unloosed and the big wheels turned and the boat moved down the lake with quivering throbs. The anxious mother watched her boy with watery eyes as he looked out greedily upon the bright waters and feasted his eyes once more upon scenes outside of a sick-chamber. The boy has no use of his lower limbs and has to be carried in arms from place to place, and it was no small trouble to get him through narrow doors and up and down the stairs and into the cars, but next morning we got him safely on a sleeper to Jacksonville and then breathed easier, for it was the last transfer until we got to Macon.

        Waycross. I see Waycross now. I expect to see Waycross in visions by day and in dreams by night for years to come. I have memories of Waycross. I like Waycross, for it is a bright and pleasant town, and has good hotels and pleasant homes, and is kept lively with moving trains; but I had an awful time at Waycross. Our train stopped there and had to wait for a train on another road, they said, and I got out with other passengers and walked the board platform, but keeping an eye upon our sleeper and within easy reach of it. There were two sleepers behind ours that belonged to the train, and so I meandered along down to where a newsboy was selling Savannah morning papers. I gave him a quarter and was quietly waiting for the change, when suddenly I heard a darkey say: "Macon is a slippin' and a slidin' off." I looked around instantly to see what he meant, and


Page 324

sure enough she was already a hundred yards away, moving like a black snake over the ground and getting faster every moment. The two rear sleepers had been cut off and I did not know it. I will never forget the concentrated misery of that moment when I realized that my wife and helpless boy were gone and I was left. My heart sank down, my voice left me, and all my philosophy was gone. I grew weak and faintish, and sat down on a bench to collect myself and consider the awful situation. what will they do? When will they find out that I am not somewhere on the train? The boy will soon want me, I know, and his mother will send the porter to hunt me up. The conductor will soon call for our fare, and I have the passes and my wife no money. Bye and bye she will learn that I am not on the train, and then, ah! then. I could see the tears in her eyes and the quivering lips, and the nervous restlessness of the boy, and there was no help. Arousing myself, I hurried to the telegraph that was clicking near by and asked hurriedly for a dispatch to be sent to Jessup so that the operator there might tell the conductor or my wife that I was safe and would overtake them at Macon. My anxiety was intense, but I got no sympathy. The youth said all right, and I waited for an assurance from the operation at Jessup that he would attend to it. I called three times for an answer from him, but got none. When, for the third time, I asked and almost begged for him to ask for a reply, he said with uncivil indifference: "I have no time, sir; I am busy." Well, he was very busy--smoking a cigar and chatting with a friend. He was not at the instrument. A gentleman near by noted the incivility


Page 325

and told me I had better go up to the Western Union if I wanted attention. This was news to me, for I had thought all the time that this was the Western Union, but suddenly found that it was only a railroad office. I had paid him for a dispatch to Mr. Brown, of Macon, that called for an answer, and two hours had passed and none had come. So I went to the Western Union and repeated to Mr. Brown and soon had a reply that he would meet my wife and boy and take care of them. Her desolation and distress was complete when she learned that I was missing - nobody called on her or the conductor at Jessup. The train rolled on and passed Eastman before her fears began, and from there to Macon she imagined I had fallen from the platform or in some way had met my death, and when at last she reached Macon, and Mr. Brown came in the sleeper and told her I was all right, she and the boy both cried with joy. The Brown House gave them kind welcome and every attention. They had a good night's rest and were only aroused by a vigorous knock at the door at four o'clock the next morning. That was me. The poet says:


                        "One glorious hour of crowded life
                        Is worth an age without a name."

        And just so we can sometimes live longer and live more in a minute than at any other time in a month. I dident blame her for slipping off and leaving me, and she dident blame me for stopping at Waycross, but now that the long agony is over we can smile at our mutual woes and fears. My kind and considerate wife has not told it on me but fourteen times up to this date, and I don't expect to hear of it any longer than I live. She gently hinted yesterday that


Page 326

she didn't suppose that I would ever mention Waycross in my Sunday letter, for it was most too personal and was not of a character to interest the public. So you perceive I have taken the hint and told it all just as it was. As General Lee said at the battle of Gettysburg: "It was all my fault. It was all my fault."

        I shall step off no more trains to buy a paper, and I now warn all travelers to stand by the car the wife is in and not go fooling down the line. Dick Hargis hollers "All aboard!" like a fog horn when his train is ready to move, and you can hear him a quarter of a mile, but Dick can't run all the trains, and so ever and anon some poor fellow like me is bound to get left.

        Farewell, Waycross. I found some pleasant friends there before I left, and they comforted me, especially the host of the Grand Central, who was an old Gwinnett boy, and we revived many recollections of our youthful days. But still when I thinks of Waycross it is with feelings somewhat like those we have when we visit an old-time battlefield where we fought, bled and died for liberty.


Page 327

CHAPTER XLVIII.

PLEASURES OF HOPE AND MEMORY.

        We see that Dr. Curry, that great and good man, is writing the reminiscences of his youth. How lovingly he proceeds with his work! How gushingly he tells of his old school days, and the halos and rainbows that gilded his childhood! How reverently he writes of the grand old men of the olden time, for there were giants in those days! How feelingly he records his companionship with the family negroes--the servants of the household who were contented and happy and trusting, and who loved and honored every member of their master's family, and were loved by them! Oh, the tender and teary recollections of 'possum hunts and coon hunts and rabbit hunts and corn shuckings, and eating watermelons in the cotton patch and sometimes finding them while pulling fodder in the hot and sultry cornfield! What frolics in going to mill and going in washing and jumping from the springboard into ten-foot water! What glorious sport in playing town-ball and bull-pen and cat and rolly-hole and knucks and sweepstakes. Baseball has grown out of town-ball; it is no improvement. The pitcher used to belong to the ins and threw the best ball he could, for he wanted it hit and knocked as far away as possible, but now he belongs to the outs and wants it missed. We used to throw at a boy to stop him running to another base, and we hit him if we could; but these modern balls are hard and heavy and dangerous,


Page 328

and many a boy goes home with a bruised face or a broken finger. We used to take an old rubber shoe and cut it into strings and wind it tight into a ball until it was half grown, and then finish it with yarn that was unraveled from an old woolen sock. Our good mothers furnished everything, and then made a buckskin cover and stitched it over so nice. Oh, my, how those balls would bounce, and yet they didn't hurt very bad when hit by them. They were sweet to throw and sweet to catch. I heard lying Tom Turner say he had one that bounced so high it never came down till next day, and then his little dog grabbed it, and it took the dog up, and he had never seen the dog nor the ball since. I used to believe that, but I don't now. When we played town-ball some of the outs would circle away off, two hundred yards, and it was glorious to see them catch a ball that had nearly reached the sky as it gratefully curved from the stroke of the bat. We had an hour and a half for recess, and most of it was spent in town-ball or bull-pen. Bull-pen was no bad game, especially when the ins got down to two and the juggling began. I used to be so proud because I could stand in the middle of the pen and defy the jugglers to hit me, for I was slender and active and could bend in or bend out or squat down or jump up and dodge every ball that came, but I couldn't do it now, not much I couldn't, for, alas! I can neither squat nor jump, and a boy could hit my corporosity as easy as a barn door. Oh, these memories, how sweet they haunt us.


                        "I remember, I remember
                        The house where I was born;
                        The little window where the sun
                        Came peeping in at morn."


Page 329

        Of course I do--everybody does. The other night there were ten of our school board in session, and the special business was whether to give a longer recess at noon or not, and it was curious to hear the various opinions on the subject. Our president listened patiently to all, and then made a speech for himself, and said that the children should have more time to go home and get a good, warm dinner. "Cold dinners," he said, "are unhealthy. The laws of hygiene teach us that the processes of digestion are much more easily carried on when the food is warm and fresh from the oven. More than half of the pupils take their dinners to school shut up in tin buckets or wrapped up in baskets, and they get cold and clammy, and are crammed into the stomach in a hurry, and the children go to playing before digestion begins, and of course the stomach rebels and won't do its work; and after school is out they go home and cram in a lot of cake and jelly and pickle on top of the cold, undigested dinner, and the first thing you know the boy or the girl is sick and has to stay at home a day or two to recuperate. I am decidedly in favor of a longer recess and warm dinners."

        That was a good speech and a sensible argument, but it hurt my feeling so bad that I rose forward and in trembling accents told how I went to school three miles from home for three long and happy years, and carried my dinner in a bucket, and how I enjoyed those cold dinners that my good mother so carefully prepared, and how I had often tried to write a poem to that little tin bucket--such a poem as Wordsworth wrote about "The old oaken bucket


Page 330

that hung in the well." My poem began just like his, but always ended with


                        That dear little bucket,
                        That bright, shining bucket,
                        That little tin bucket I carried to school

        Oh, those delightful cold dinners that were so nicely arranged! The tender and luscious fried chicken with the liver and gizzard and all; the hard-boiled eggs, with the little paper of pepper and salt close by; the home-made sausages, linked sausages, that, in the language of Milton, were "linked sweetness--long drawn out;" the little bottle of syrup, and the round, hand-made biscuit that were beaten from the dough and had no soda in them--and last of all, the good, old-fashioned ginger cakes and the turn-over pies. Ah, those rights and lefts, those delicious juicy pies that were made of peaches that my mother dried.

        Just then here was a racket behind me, and Will Howard was seen falling over in his chair, with his hands clasped below the belt and his eyes rolled up to heaven. He gasped piteously as he whispered "Hugh, Major, hush, for heaven's sake," Martin Collins shouted, "Glory!" and Judge Milder heaved a troubled sigh and murmured, "Oh, would I were a boy again. "

        For fear of a scene I suspended my broken remarks and our worthy president gracefully subsided. Major Foute wiped his eyes with his empty sleeve and moved for an adjournment, and so the recess hour remains unchanged.

        I believe it is best for children to walk a mile or two to school, especially if there are other children to walk with them a part of the way. Every step


Page 331

of that three-mile way is dear to me now, and I love to recall the boyish frolics as morning and evening we meandered along, playing tag or mad dog, or running foot races, or jumping half-hammond, or stopping at the half-way branch to wade in the water or dam it up, or catch the tadpoles, or drive the little minnows into their holes. It was there that I saw for the first time a tadpole turning into a frog, and it was there we killed a water moccasin with a frog in his throat and saw his frogship kick out backwards and hop away. I can go now to the very gully that had a vein of red chalk, and another one that had white. I know every persimmon tree and chestnut and hickory, and where the red haws were, and the black haws and the fruitful walnut that we climbed in its season and rattled the nuts to the ground and stained our hands and clothes in hulling them. All such things are around me now, but there is no charm, no fond memory about them, for they are not mine. All these are for another generation--another set of boys and girls. Bye and bye they will be looking back at theirs as I am looking back at mine. In a few more years they will reverse the telescope. Until I was past thirty I looked through the little end and saw life expanded and magnified before me, while the distant things were brought almost within reach, and I was nearing the goal with my hope and my ambition. But alas! I haven't reached it, and by degrees hope weakened and ambition became chilled, and with a sad humility I began to look backwards--I reversed the telescope and saw my life away back in the distant past. The picture was far--very far away, but it was beautiful, and now as the years grow short I find myself looking


Page 332

through the large end almost altogether. The memories of the past grow sweeter as the years roll on The capital stock of the young is hope--but the treasure of age is memory.


Page 333

CHAPTER XLIX.

ARP'S REMINISCENCES OF FIFTY YEARS.

        A sweet little girl from Marietta writes me a nice letter and begs me to write something for the children--just for the children.

        I never look upon a flock of happy, well-raised children without wondering if they know how well off they are - how much better off than their grandparents were some fifty or sixty years ago. I would like to see old Father time set his clock back a half a century just for a week and put eyervthing like it was then, and I would walk around and have lots of fun out of those little folks. I don't believe they could stand it for a whole week, but it would do them good to try. In the first place, they would have to get out of their comfortable houses with plastered walls and large glass windows and coal grates, and get into smaller houses with about two rooms in front and a back shed room that had no fireplace and no ceiling and a window with a wooden shutter, and in that shed room they would have to sleep, and the wind would come slipping in all night and kiss their faces ever so nice. They would have to take off all their pretty clothes, and wear country jeans and linsey, and they would have to go to the shoemaker's and have some coarse, rough shoes made of leather and no high heels nor box toes nor buttons. But they would be good and strong, and two pairs would last any boy or girl a whole year--one pair would do them if they greased them now and then and went


Page 334

barefooted during summer as we used to do. All the store stockings would have to be dispensed with, and the elastic, too, and they would put on some good warm ones that were knit by hand, and be tied up with a rag. No nice hats from the milliner's with pretty flowers and ribbons gay flying, but the girls would have to put on home-made bonnets, nicely quilted, and the boys would have to wear home-made wool hats or sealskin caps that would last two or three years and stretch bigger as the heads grew bigger. There would not be found a store in the whole State where ready-made clothing could be found--not a coat nor a pair of pants, nor a shirt, nor a skirt, nor a doll, nor hardly a toy of any kind. I suppose that some few things for children might be found in Augusta, or Savannah, or Macon; but the country stores wouldent have anything, not even candy nor oranges or a box of raisins. A boy could find a dog knife or a barrow, and be allowed about one a year, but the little girls couldent even find a thimble small enough nor a pair of scissors. Children were not of much consequence then, especially girls.

        I would like to see the clock set back for one week and see the boys cutting wood and making fires, cutting wood half the day Saturday for Sunday, and Sunday morning sitting down to learn some more of the shorter catechism about justification, and sanctification, and adoption, and some more verses in the Bible, and that poetry in the primer about--


                        "In Adam's fall
                        We sinned all.
                        The cat doth play
                        And after slay.


Page 335


                        Xerxes must die
                        And so must I.
                        Zacheus, he
                        Did climb a tree
                        His Lord to see."

        I would like to see one of these boys wake up some cold morning and when he tried to make a fire and stirred around among the ashes to find a coal, he couldent find one, and what then? Not a match in the wide, wide world, for there was none invented. Wouldent he be in a fix! Well, he would have to run over to the nabor's, if he was a town boy, and borrow a chunk. If he was a country boy he would have to walk a mile or so, maybe, and nearly freeze to death before he got back, and if it was raining his chunk was apt to go out on the way. I would like to see these boys and girls studying their lessons by the light of one tallow candle. No gas, no kerosene, no oil of any sort - only one flickering light of a candle, or maybe only a lightwood blaze in the fireplace. I reckon they would study hard and study fast, and go to bed soon and get up early in the morning and try it again. I would like to see them sit down to write a letter and find nothing but an old goose quill for a pen--not a steel pen in the world. I would watch the poor fellow as he tried to make a pen out of a quill, and after he had cut it to a point see him try to split it in the middle with his knife, and split it too far or not far enough, or on one side and then throw it away in despair.

        It would all be fun to us old folks, but it wouldent be fun for the boys or the girls to be set back. But there are old people living now who do the same old things and live in the same old way. Colonel Campbell Wallace still uses the quill pens and makes them


Page 336

himself, and I wish you could see how nicely and how quickly he can do it. Our school teachers had to make the pens for all their scholars, and it took about half their time, for they had to mend them oftener than make them. When the first split wore out he had to split it again and trim it down to a new point. His knife was always open and ready. Poor man! He died before the steel pens were invented and never got the good of them.

        But we were used to these ways and never thought hard of them. Judge Lester used to run over to our house of a cold morning and say to my mother: "Please, mam, lend me a chunk of fire," and I used to go over to his house and do the same thing. But we didn't let it go out often. We knew how to cover up fire in the ashes so as to keep it till morning. I remember going over to Forsyth county once when an old Indian lived there by the name of Sawnee. He didn't go off with the rest of the Indians, but lived on a mountain called Sawnee's mountain, and he had some grandsons about our age. George Lester and Cicero Strong were with me, and we gave an Indian boy some money to show us how they got fire when their fire went out. He took two dry hickory sticks about a foot long and as large as my thumb and a little bunch of dry grass and started off on a run and rubbed the sticks together so rapidly that you could hardly see them and the friction made fire and caught the grass and he came back in half a minute with a blaze in his hand. I used to go down to the store at night with my father, and he had a tinder box nailed up by the door and would strike the steel with the flint and make a spark and let it fall on a piece of punk and light it, and then he would light his candle from the punk. But matches


Page 337

came along after awhile and stopped all that. I remember the first matches that came to our town. They were called Lucifer matches, for some folks thought that the "old boy" had something to do with them, and wouldent use them. They smelled strong of brimstone and were sold at twenty-five cents a box. Now ten times as many sell for a pickle. But about lights. Dipping the candles was one of the notable events of the year. It was almost as big a thing as hog killing. The boys prepared the canes or reeds, about sixty in number, as large as the little finger and nearly a yard long. They were smoothed at the joints and put away in a bundle to dry. When the time came, the first cold weather in the fall, our mother would get out the candle wick and wind it around a pair of cotton cards, end ways, and after a good deal was wound would cut one end with the scissors, and that made the wicks when doubled just long enough for a candle. Three or four canes were then interlaced through the back of an old-fashioned chair to keep them steady while she looped the wicks around them and twisted their ends together. Seven wicks were put on each cane, and when the cane was taken out and held horizontal the wicks hung down and were about two inches apart. When all the canes were full they were laid upon a table ready for dipping. The tallow was melted in a big wash pot. Some beeswax was added and a little alum. Old plank were placed on the floor where the dipping and dripping was to be. Two long poles or quilting frames were placed parallel on the backs of chairs and were wide enough apart to let the candles between and hold up the canes. The big pot had to be kept nearly full all the time. A cane of wicks was


Page 338

let down slowly in the pot until the cane rested on its edges. Then it was lifted up and allowed to drip awhile and then placed as number one between the long poles where, if it dripped any more, it was on the old plank. The first course was long and tedious, for it took the loose cotton wick some time to absorb the tallow. After that the process was rapid. Tallow would harden on tallow quickly, and at every dipping the little candles got larger until after awhile they were large enough at the bottom ends to fill a candlestick, and that ended the job. They were left on the poles over night and then slipped off the rods and placed in the candlebox or an old trunk.

        Seven times sixty made four hundred and twenty candles, and that was the year's supply. Only one candle was used for the table in the family room. The reading and sewing was all done by that. The boys were allowed a piece of one to go to bed by. Nobody sat up until midnight then. The night was believed to be created for sleep and rest, and the day for work. There were no theaters nor skating rinks--no reading novels half the night and lying in bed until breakfast the next morning. The rule was to go to bed at nine o'clock and get up with the chickens. But now we couldn't read by candle light. It takes at least two lamps, and one lamp is equal to ten candles. But we got along pretty well. All the substantial things were as good as they are now. Good water, good air, good sunshine and shower, good health, good warm clothes, good bread and meat and milk and butter, good peaches and apples, good horses to ride, good fishing and swimming and hunting. We dident have railroads and telegraphs and telephones and sewing machines and so forth, but we didn't need them. We need them now, for


Page 339

the world is so full of people that the old ways wouldent feed and clothe them. The right thing always comes along at the right time. If the clock was set back I wonder how this generation would manage about the cooking business. Fifty years ago there were no cooking stoves. The ovens and skillets and spiders were big, heavy things that had to be lifted on and off the fire with a pair of pot hooks. They had heavy lids, and the cooking was done by putting coals underneath and coals on top. It took bark and chips to make coals quickly, and our old cook used to say, "Now git me some bark, little master, and I gib you a bikket when he done." There was no soda, no tartaric acid or baking powder. The biscuit were made by main strength. The dough was kneaded by strong arms, and sometimes it was beaten with the rolling pin until it blistered. When the dough blistered it was good and made good biscuit. I can't say that we have any better cooking now than we had then; but the stove makes it a great deal easier to cook.

        The boys had no baseball, but they had bullpen and cat and townball and roley hole and tag and sweepstakes and pull over the mark and foot races and so forth, and they thought there was nothing better. They had the best rubber balls in the world, and made them themselves. Some of them could bounce thirty feet high. They were made by cutting an old rubber shoe into strings and winding the strings into a ball and covering it with buckskin. But after awhile the rubber shoes were not made out of all rubber; they were mixed with something that took some of the bounce out and our balls degenerated. There was an old man living near us who was called "Lying Tom Turner," and he told us


Page 340

boys one day that when he was a boy he had a rubber ball that he was afraid to bounce hard for fear it would go up out of sight and he would lose it. We asked him what became of his ball, and he said he bounced it one day most too hard and it went up in the clouds and was gone half an hour, and when it came down his little dog grabbed it in his mouth, and it rebounced and carried the dog up with it out of sight, and he had never seen the ball nor the little dog since.

        Well, I don't know which times are the best--the old times or the new. It is very nice to have a nice house and nice furniture and nice clothes and lots of nice story books and to ride on the cars, but in the old times people didn't hanker after such things, and they were easy to please, and were in no hurry to get through life, and there were no suicides, and very few crazy folks, and no pistols to carry in the hip pocekts. Nowadays there is a skeleton in most every house. I don't mean a real skeleton, but some great big trouble that throws a dark shadow over the family. There were not any exciting books to read--no sensation novels that poison the mind just like bad food poisons the body. There was but half a dozen newspapers in the whole State, and they didn't have whole columns full of murders and suicides and robberies and awful fires that burned up poor lunatics and all other horrid things to make a tender heart feel bad. There was nobody very rich and nobody very poor, and we had as great men then as we have now.

        If the clock was set back and the little girl who wrote to me wanted to go to Augusta with her grandpa to visit her kinfolks, she would have to get in the mail coach and jog along all day and all night


Page 341

at four miles an hour and pay ten cents a mile, and it would take two days and nights, and she would be tired almost to death, and so would her grandpa Well, they just couldn't go. But now they can go as cheap as to stay at home, and do it in less time, as the Irishman said.

        But the clock will not be set back, and so we must all be content with things as they are and make them better if we can.


Page 342

CHAPTER L.

"A MOTHER IS A MOTHER STILL, THE HOLIEST THING ALIVE."

        Goldsmith, in a short and pretty preface to the "Vicar of Wakefield," says: "There are a hundred faults in this thing and a hundred things might be said to prove them beauties. A book may be amusing with many errors, or it may be dull without a single absurdity. The hero in this story unites in himself the three greatest characters on earth--the priest, the husbandman and the father of a family."

        Strange that the author could write such a charming story about the very three characters he knew least about, for he had no fitness for nor experience in either. It was not recorded that he was ever in love or sought the company of virtuous young ladies, yet his ballad of the Hermit in the "Vicar of Wakefield" is admitted to be the tenderest and most perfect love poem ever written. My father made me commit it to memory when I was young, and there are at least a dozen verses in it that I can cry over now and it does me good. It is a comfort to weep over these sad, sweet things. Langhorn wrote a verse about a poor woman with a babe at her breast hunting over the battlefield of Minden for the body of her husband, and when she found him she knelt by his side and wept, and the big tears fell upon the face of her child and mingled with the milk he drew; "A child of misery baptized in tears." A painting was made of it, and Walter Scott says that the only time


Page 343

he ever saw Burns he was looking at that painting and crying like a child. To read the lines and imagine the painting is enough for me. But if I had been Goldsmith I would have set down the mother of a family as greater than the father.

        Evan Howell said he would not vote for a curfew, for his observation was that if a father would stay at home at night the boys would, and that song of "Where is my wandering boy tonight?" would not have been written. But the fathers can't stay at home at night. They are wanted at the store, the office, the counting room, for on them depends the support of the family. But many a tired mother can sing "Where is my wandering husband tonight?" Alas, too many can be found at the club, at the pool-room or the hotel, while the mother is straining her mind to untangle that hard sum, "If A and B can build a house in thirty days, and B can build it in forty-five days, how long will it take A to build it?"

        Take it all in all, it is the mothers who are the hope of the world--the saviours of the children. They certainly save the girls, for nobody has yet sung, "Where is my wandering girl tonight?" If the fathers would do their half and save the boys it would be all right. Oh, but for the mothers and wives and sisters; what would become of us without them! Since I have been sick sometimes away in the silent watches of the night, when, as Job says, "Deep sleep falleth upon a man," it does not fall upon a woman, for I feel her gentle touch arranging the cover and feeling whether I am breathing or not. Since I have been sick I have never caught her fast asleep, and the other night she got hurt with me because I slipped out in the hall and called the girls down to make a fire and heat some water, for I was sick and suffering


Page 344

and there was no hot water in the boiler. It is just as Scott wrote:


                        "When pain and anguish wring the brow,
                        A ministering angel thou."

        And as Coleridge wrote:


                        "A mother is a mother still;
                        The holiest thing alive."

        I may have written it before, but I will write it again, that one night I agreed to stay with two dear little girls while their father and mother went out to tea at a neighbor's. This pleased me, for I am always happy in their company, and they in mine. When bed-time came I undressed them and they knelt by my knees and said their prayers; one of them was soon asleep, but the other lingered and said, "Gran'pa, when papa comes home please tell him I love him." "Yes, I will," said I; "what must I tell your mamma?" She closed her eyes and said, "Nothing--she knows I love her." That expresses it. That child's father loves those little girls dearly, but he keeps a drug store and is the prescription partner. He goes to the store before his children get up; he has but an hour with them at noon, and has to return to the store soon after supper. No wonder these little girls want him to know that they love him. Boys are very different, and when they get up in their teens mothers lose their influence. Some say it is bad associates. Of course that has something to do with it, but Cain didn't have any that we know of and yet he killed his brother. Environment is a big word, but it covers everything that a boy inherits or that he gets from association. One day a friend of mine, a Hebrew, said to me, "Major, I perlieve you does love your shildurn better


Page 345

den anybody in de town." "Oh, no, I reckon not," said I; "don't you love your children?" "Vy, yes, of course; but I pelieve you would die for your shildurn." "Wouldn't you die for yours?" said I. He pondered a while. "Yes, I pelieve I vould; dat is, for all--except Frank." Frank was his bad boy and gave him trouble; but Frank turned out to be a good boy and is one of the best citizens of Atlanta.

        One of my best old-time friends was a Norwegian, and was killed during the war. He had some good, amiable daughters, and had two sons who were bad, very bad, and as I was mayor of the town they gave me trouble. Their father was a member of the council, an elder in my church, and I had favored his boys as much as possible; but one night just before Christmas they broke into a hardware store and stole a keg of powder and hid it in their stable loft. They had planned to blow up the calaboose. The city marshal (old Sam Stewart) found it and arrested the boys and brought them before me for trial. I put it off until the next morning. That night I went to see the father and mother. She cried, of course, and he choked up as he talked. "Mine good friend--I has been prayin' over dis ting about mine poys, and it seems to me de good Lord say mine poys is goin' to queet. Dey take it all from me. I has been in de calaboose in Stockholm a hundred times, but von day I queet. I shust queet right off all a sudden, and I pelieve if you will try my boys one more time dey will queet." And sure enough, they did quit, and grew up to a good manhood. One of them is the cashier of the largest bank in Memphis and the other the head of a hardware store in Louisville, Ky. Sometimes I think that it is the halo of a mother's prayers that reclaims many a wayward boy. If the


Page 346

young man would only stop and think--think of the watches of the night, when he was a teething infant, tugging at an empty breast for milk, while the poor tired mother changed him from side to side and longed for the morning. I have wondered how they survived it and why they would go through the ordeal again. A man wouldn't, and not all of them will help and comfort the mother when she feels for the first time her first-born's breath. But we must not give up the boys. Maybe they will, like the prodigal son, come to themselves and "queet."


Page 347

CHAPTER LI.

GOOD PEOPLE, BUT THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND.

        "Keokuk, Iowa, September 15, 1902.--Major Charles H. Smith, Cartersville, Ga.--Dear Sir: For several years past I have been reading your letters. I like very much your writings about the home life, the everyday events and the many little incidents of your experience, looking backward over a long and busy career.

        "Although a stranger, of opposite politics, and with many different views of life, still your words have interested me and have so many times touched my heart that I want to write to you my appreciation. I wish you could visit Iowa--go over it from the Mississippi to the Missouri river and meet the people of a Republican State. You would, no doubt, soften your writings about the 'Northerners.' You would find as warm-hearted and generous a people as you have in Georgia.

        "You would find a people that average in intelligence with any people on earth. If you could interview the fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters or wives of those who had fallen in the war of the rebellion, you would not find bitter resentment; you would not find that these men, who had given their lives, had done so with any hatred toward their Southern brethren, but you would find that the great reason for their sacrifice was in the cause of the union of all parts of this great country and liberty for all humanity. This is Northern sentiment, and God, who


Page 348

rules wisely, ordered that the result should be as it is.

        "It is certainly a great curse to have so many illiterate, low-lived negroes in your State; but how true is the Bible, that you revere, when it says, 'The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generations.' To my mind, the 'forefathers' of Georgia sinned in purchasing and owning slaves, and now their children's children suffer the consequences.

        "I trust you will receive these words as they are meant, with the greatest kindness and good will, and I wish you many more years of happiness with your good wife, children and grandchildren, and further hope that 'Bill Arp's Letter' will continue to visit us for very many years to come."

        This is a good letter. A good man wrote it. I could neighbor with him and his folks and never say a word to give him offense. But I would teach them something do not not know--teach them gently, line upon line, precept upon precept--here a little and there a little. Now, here is a gentleman of more than ordinary intelligence and education who does not know that the sin of slavery began in New England among his forefathers--not ours - and from there was gradually crowded southward until it got to Georgia. and that Georgia was the first State to prohibit their importation. See Appleton's Cyclopedia (Slavery and the Slave Trade). He does not know that long after New England and New York had abolished slavery their merchantmen continued to trade with Africa and sold their cargoes secretly along the coast, and never did but one reach Georgia, and that one, "The Wanderer," was seized and confiscated and its officers arrested. "The Wanderer" was built at Eastport, in Maine, was equipped as a


Page 349

slaver in New York and officered there and a crew employed. He does not know that Judge Story, chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, when presiding in Boston in 1834, charged the grand jury that although Massachusetts had freed their slaves, yet the slave trade with Africa was still going on and Boston merchants and Boston Christians were steeped to their eyebrows in its infamy. He does not know that when our national existence began the feeling against slavery was stronger in the Southern States than in the Northern. Georgia was the first to prohibit it, but later on the prohibition was repealed. New England carried on the traffic until 1845--and is doing it yet if they can find a market and can get the rum to pay for them. The last record of a slaver caught in the act was in 1861, off the coast of Madagascar, and it was an Eastport vessel. The slave trade with Africa was for more than a century a favorite and popular venture with our English ancestors. King James II. and King Charles II. and Queen Elizabeth all had stock in it, and though Wilberforce and others had laws passed to suppress it they could not do it. New England and old England secretly carried it on (see Appleton) long after slavery was abolished in the colonies. They could afford to lose half their vessels and still make money.

        No, no, my friend. If slavery was a sin at all, which I deny, it was not our sin, nor that of our fathers, nor were we cursed with so many illiterate, low-lived negroes as you suppose. Our slaves were not educated in books as they were in manners and morals and industry, and, mark you, there was not a heinous crime committed by them from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. We did not have a chain


Page 350

gang nor a convict in all of the land, and now there are 4,400 in the State of Georgia. Who is responsible for that? General Henry R. Jackson said in the great address he delivered in Atlanta in 1881: "During the four years of war, when our men were far away from home, and their wives and daughters had no protectors but their slaves, there was not an outrage committed in all the Southland. Where does history present a like development of loyalty? Does it not speak volumes for the humanity of the master and the devotion of the slave? If I had power to indulge my emotional nature I would erect somewhere in the center of this Southland a shaft, which should rise above all monuments and strike the stars with its sublime head, and on it I would inscribe, 'To the loyalty of the slaves of the Confederate States during the years '62, '63, and '64. ' "

        But this will do for the first lesson to my friend. It may take some time--weeks or months--for us to harmonize, and we will not until we get the facts straight, but I know that he is a gentleman and I think more of Iowa and her people since I received his letter.

        But my friend is lamentably ignorant about the condition of our negroes before the war and their condition now. I must resent any slanders upon our slaves. They were not low-lived. They were affectionate and loyal. I believe that our family servants would have died for my wife, or for me or our children. They were born hers and expect to die hers. Tip was my trusted servant during the war and was twice captured and twice escaped, the last time swimming the Coos river in the night. But I have done for this time, for I am not well and the doctor says I must not strain my mind.


Page 351

CHAPTER LII.

AFRICAN SLAVERY--ITS ORIGIN.

        Wanted.--In 1881 General Henry R. Jackson, of Savannah, delivered in Atlanta the most notable, instructive and eloquent address that has ever been heard in Georgia since the civil war. The subject was "The Wanderer," a slave ship that landed on the Georgia coast in 1858. But the whole address was an historical recital of many political events that led to the civil war and of which the generation that has grown up since were profoundly ignorant and still are. It was delivered by request of the Young Men's Library Association, when Henry Grady was its chairman, and I supposed was published in pamphlet form and could be had on application. But I have sought in vain to find a copy. I have a newspaper copy but it has been worn to the quick and is almost illegible. I wrote to Judge Pope Barrow, who is General Jackson's executor, and he can find none among the General's papers. Can any veteran furnish me a copy?

        I would also be pleased to obtain a copy of Daniel Webster's speech at Capon Springs, which was suppressed by his publishers and to which General Jackson makes allusion. General Jackson was a great man. He won his military laurels in the war with Mexico. He was assistant attorney-general under Buchanan, when Jeremiah Black was the chief. He was the vigilant, determined, conscientious prosecutor of those who owned and equipped and officered


Page 352

the only slave ship that ever landed on the Georgia coast. He was a man of splendid culture and a poet of ability and reputation. Strange it is that this magnificent address has not been compiled in the appendix of some Southern history as a land mark for the present generation. It is sad and mortifying that our young and middle-aged men and our graduates from Southern colleges know so little of our ante-bellum history. The Northern people are equally ignorant of the origin of slavery and the real causes that precipitated the civil war. Most of them have a vague idea that slavery was born and just grew up in the South - came up out of the ground like the seventeen-year-old locusts--and was our sin and our curse.

        Not one in ten thousand will believe that the South never imported a slave from Africa, but got all we had by purchase from our Northern brethren. I would wager a thousand dollars against ten that not a man under fifty nor a schoolboy who lives north of the line knows or believes that General Grant, their great military hero and idol, was a slave holder and lived off of their hire and their services while he was fighting us about ours. Lincoln's proclamation of freedom came in 1863, but General Grant paid no attention to it. He continued to use them as slaves until January, 1865. (See his biography by General James Grant Wilson in Appleton's Encyclopedia.) Genera Grant owned these slaves in St. Louis, Mo., where he lived. He was a bad manager, and just before the war began he moved to Galena and went to work for his brother in the tanyard. While there he caught the war fever and got a good position under Lincoln, but had he remained in St. Louis would have greatly preferred one on our side. So said Mrs.


Page 353

Grant a few years ago to a newspaper editor in St. Augustine.

        How many of this generation, North or South, know, or will believe that as late as November, 1861, Nathaniel Gordon, master of a New England slave ship called the Erie, was convicted in New York City of carrying on the slave trade? (See Appleton.) Just think of it and wonder! In 1861 our Northern brethren made war upon us because we enslaved the negroes we had bought from them; but at the same time they kept on bringing more from Africa and begging us to buy them. How many know that England, our mother country, never emancipated her slaves until 1843, when twelve millions were set free in the East Indies and one hundred millions of dollars paid to their owners by act of Parliament? It is only within the last half century that the importation of slaves from Africa has generally ceased. Up to that time every civilized country bought them and enslaved them. English statesmen and clergymen said it was better to bring them away than to have them continue in their barbarism and cannibalism. And it was better. I believe it was God's providence that they should be brought away and placed in slavery, but the way it was done was inhuman and brutal.

        The horrors of the middle passage, as the ocean voyage was called, is the most awful narrative I ever read and reminds me of Dante's "Inferno." About half the cargo survived, and the dead and dying were tumbled into the sea. The owners said: "We can afford to lose half and still have a thousand per cent. profit." Rev. John Newton, one of the sweetest poets who ever wrote a hymn, the author of


Page 354

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me," "Savior, visit thy plantation," "Safely through another week," and many otters, was for many years a deck hand on a slave ship and saw all its horrors. He became converted, but soon after became captain of a slaver and for four years pursued it diligently and mitigated its cruelty. Then he quit and went to preaching, and says in his autobiography that it never occurred to him that there was anything wrong or immoral in the slave trade when it was humanely conducted. The Savior said: "Offenses must needs come, but woe unto them by whom they come."

        In Appleton's long and exhaustive article on slavery it is said that slavery in some form has existed ever since human history began. And it appears to have been under the sanction of Providence as far back as the days of Noah and Abraham. The latter had a very great household and many servants whom he had bought with his money. The word "slave" appears but twice in the Bible. It is synonymous with servant and bondsman. There has been no time since the Christian era that the dominant nations have not owned slaves--sometimes the bondage was hard, but as a general rule the master found it to his interest to be kind to his slaves. As Bob Toombs said in his Boston speech: "It is not to our interest to starve our slaves any more than it is to starve our horses and horned cattle." Shortly after the little cargo that the Wanderer brought were secretly scattered around I saw some of them at work in a large garden in Columbus, Ga., and was told that they were docile and quickly learned to dig and to hoe but that it was hard to teach them to eat cooked meat. They wanted it raw and bloody. They


Page 355

were miserable little runts, "Guinea negroes," with thick lips and flat noses; but they grew up into better shape and made good servants and I know were far better off than in their native jungles, the prey for stronger tribes and made food for cannibals.

        No, there was no sin in slavery as instituted in the South by our fathers and forefathers, and that is why I write this letter--perhaps the last I shall ever write on this subject. I wish to impress it upon our boys and girls so that they may be ready and willing to defend their Southern ancestors from the baseless charge of suffering now for the sins of their fathers.


Page 356

CHAPTER LIII.

CHILDREN A HERITAGE FROM THE LORD.

        Lord Bacon said that children are hostages to fortune and impediments to great enterprises. He had none to trouble him and no doubt found more time to study and become a great man, but his philosophical attainments did not save him from disgrace. Perhaps some children would have saved him, even though the world would have lost his philosophy. Shakespeare had but one son, and he died in early youth and the family name became extinct in the second generation. Neither Dr. Johnson nor Charles Lamb nor Hood nor Tom Moore left children, and Burns only two. Sir Isaac Newton was never married, nor was Pope or Goldsmith or Whitfield. Byron had one child, a daughter. Calvin married a widow with four children, but died without any of his own. John Wesley married a widow, but she ran away from him three times. The last time he wouldn't let her come back, but wrote: "I did not forsake her; I did not expel her; I will not recall her." Martin Luther married a nun, as he said: "To please his father and tease the pope and vex the devil." I have noticed in my reading that almost all the great thinkers, philosophers and statesmen died childless or left but one or two children. Washington had none, nor General Jackson nor Polk nor Madison. Pierce had only two, but they died before he did. Neither Jefferson nor Monroe left any son. Webster left one; he was killed at Bull Run and the


Page 357

family name dropped out. John Randolph was never married, and Poe left no children. Neither Toombs nor Governor Troup left any son, and Alexander Stephens was never married. Dr. Miller died childless and the family name dropped out.

        There is something sad and melancholy in noting the dropping out of a noble family name for lack of children. Now it is more than probable that these great men would not have acquired fame or left to mankind the benefit of their great achievements if numerous children had been born to them and they had had to scuffle to maintain and educate them. If a father does his duty by his children he will hardly have time to acquire either fame or fortune. We know from experience at our house that it is an anxious, earnest struggle to raise ten children in a way that will make them love us and love home and cherish the memories of their youthful days. It is said for a man or a woman to have to look back to a hard, unhappy childhood. But which is best for a man--children or great enterprises? The one is a compliance with nature and the divine law--the other a gratification of man's selfish ambition. The proper raising of a family of children is the biggest thing in this life. In many cases marriages are unhappy and the children a curse, but there is no good excuse for the average man not seeking a mate. Of course there are exceptions, but the universal law is that woman was created for man and that her highest duty is to be a mother to his children. No wife is happy without children.

        Children are a heritage from the Lord, and nobody but the Lord knows where they came from or why they came at all. David says: "Blessed is he who hath his quiver full." A child should be taught


Page 358

early that he or she was created in the image of God. The Bible says so. It will beget a self-respect and perhaps prevent intemperance and bad conduct.

        When King Henry II. was making a tour of his kingdom his subjects met him on the way and gave him great ovations and made presents to him and his courtiers, but one humble peasant came and brought nothing. Count Abensberry said to him: "What have you got to present to his majesty, the king?" "Nothing," said he; "nothing but my children," and he then marched them out and caused them to salute him. There were twenty-two of them, and he said: "May it please your majesty, these are my treasures - the children of two mothers. They are all farmers and raise produce for your subjects in peace and will defend you in war." The king gave him a goodly present and his blessing and said to his courtiers: "This poor man's gift is the richest that I have yet found."

        But I don't believe in twenty-two children in one family. Ten are enough. If the number could be regulated I would say that six or eight would be a good average; but we have none to spare at our house. One child is better than none, but if that one be lost there is none to cling to or caress and the home is desoluate. One child is apt to be spoiled and selfish. The best thing for a lone boy who is overindulged at home is to send him to school early and let him get a licking now and then from other boys until he learns to give and take. Two boys are far better than one, for they can be companions and help one another. Two daughters are better than one, for they can counsel each other and go around and visit together and keep each other's little secrets. A numerous flock of children strengthens the family and


Page 359

makes it more respectable in the community. It makes it strong and influential in the church and Sabbath-school. By and by the children get married and that bring in more strength to the family.

        Then again there is economy in it, for the good mother can hand down many of the garments of the older ones to the younger. If the outside ones are too much worn, there are lots of little petticoats and drawers and out-grown pants that come in handy. My wife says that these "hand-me-downs," as she calls them, have saved her many a weary stitch. I know a little handsome grandson who is now wearing a nice suit made of a discarded cloak of mine. Another advantage is that the older ones can help the younger in their lessons, and this has saved my wife and me lots of time and perplexing care. And so, although the oldest boy or girl gets no hand-downs but has every garment span new, they have to help the younger ones in various ways--even to nursing the baby when mother is sick or busy. There is no law of primogeniture in this country; no English law that gives the paternal estate to the first born; but all have to share and share alike and contribute to the family welfare. From my window I see my neighbor's boys working the garden, and they have a good one and take a pride in it. They find ample time to go to school and to play ball, but will not neglect the garden.

        But alas! there is a shadow over every large family. The time will surely come when it will be broken up--either by marriage of the children or emigration of the boys to some distant region. When they leave us for good the father is sad and the mother's eyes are often dimmed with tears. For two years we have not seen our youngest boy, who cast his


Page 360

fortunes with a companion in the City of Mexico. But he is coming soon and the mother is waiting, hopefully and prayerfully waiting. We have one in New York, one in Texas, and one in Florida, but they are good to write to us and cheer us up, and there is no blight or cloud over them. What a comfort there is in good loving letters from far-off children. A good mother writes me that her married daughter lives in Australia and her monthly letters are her greatest blessing. I know of nothing that pays such good dividends upon its cost as a loving letter from an absent child or from a far-off friend. Only a little spare time and two cents will bring pleasure that money cannot buy - more than ever have I noticed this since I have been sick. Even the sympathetic letters from unknown friends have brought me comfort. I wish I could answer them all and say, as Paul said to Timothy, "See how long a letter I have written to you with mine own hand."

        P. S.--I have lost a letter from a Mr. Lilly and wish he would send me his address again. I have found his book.


Page 361

CHAPTER LIV.

WILLIAM AND HIS WIFE VISIT THE CITY.

        The old carpet in the family room has been down and up and up and down for seventeen years. It has been the best carpet we ever had. It used to be the parlor carpet but was reduced to a lower rank a long time ago. Time and children and dogs and cats and brooms have worked on it until it is faded and slick and threadbare. The colors are gone and so are the figures and the fuz and the nap, but it is a carpet still. It has been taken up and hung on the fence and beaten with thrash poles about seventeen times, and yet there is not a hole in it. In its aristocratic days it bore the burden of aristocratic shoes and fancy slippers, and music and song and love making and the parlor dance, and the family weddings. Its downy flowers treasured many a secret and many a joy. But in course of time it ceased to be the pride of the family and became its servant. We have raised children on that carpet--rough boys and romping girls. We have raised dogs and cats. It has been the mudsills of a nursery and a menagerie and a schoolroom and a circus. As its colors disappeared in the middle and around the hearthstone, Mrs. Arp would take it up and change corners and bring to the front a brighter portion that lay hidden under the bed and the bureau and the sofa. She has done this so often that there is little difference now. Every part has traveled the grand rounds over and over again.


Page 362

        Mrs. Arp has been hinting about a new carpet for some time. We could do without it if I couldn't afford it, she said, and I must have a talma cloak anyhow, and the children needed so many things, but she didn't want anything for herself. Of course she didn't. I didn't give her a chance. I keep her supplied. I never said anything--I just looked into the fire and ruminated. She knows my weakness. It's all honey and sugar and a little flattery thrown in. When it comes to driving and bulldozing I am an austere man, I am, and she knows it.

        She said last week that she had promised Ralph to go down to Atlanta and see him, and while there she could get a cloak and some little things for the children for Christmas. "I'll go with you," said I. "I wish to see Ralph, too, and keep him encouraged. I think he will make a pretty good doctor in ten or fifteen years, if he keeps on studying and cutting up stiffs and holding the candle for Dr. Westmoreland. He uses powerful big words now for a boy his size. He talks about anesthetics and antiskeptics, and the like." It wasn't much trouble to get her off, and she never said nary time that she had nothing to wear. She has just got past that at last. We took one of the girls along as a chaperone, for my wife and I haven't kept up with city style and street behavior and how to shop and look at fine things like we were used to them. We had hardly got off the cars when she met an old friend and hugged and kissed her, and they got to talking about old times and somebody that was dead, and my wife she got full in the throat and watery in the eyes, and they blocked up the sidewalk and everybody had to walk around them, and so to prevent a scene our chaperone dissolved the interview and we hurried on to Whitehal.


Page 363

It has been built up wonderfully since Mrs. Arp was there, and the show windows are just beautiful beyond description. She stopped squarely before the first jewelry store and feasted her hazel eyes in rapturous amazement. "Did you ever in your life? Isn't that perfectly lovely? Do look at that little cherub swinging to that clock for a pendulum. I wonder if those are real diamonds in those brooches. Oh, my! see that beautiful breastpin. Wouldent Jessie love to wear that. Poor thing, she has never had a nice pin." The chaperone began to take on a little, too, and the passing crowd had to go round us again, and some of them looked back and smiled, and that made her mad, and so I took my women folks away from there and remarked: "I wouldn't stop to look at everything. People will think you never saw anything pretty or fine in your life " Mrs. Arp prouded up her head and said: "What do I care for people. The merchants put their finest things in the windows to be looked at, and I am going to look just as much as I please," and she stopped squarely against another window and began the inspection of those lovely ladies' shoes. Mrs. Arp goes perfectly daft on fine shoes - . No. 2s. Daft is the word she uses on me sometimes, but I don't know what it means. She says I promised her thirteen pair a year before she married me. One pair a month and one pair over. Maybe I did, but I've forgotten all those things. They were not said in a lucid interval. "Now buy your shoes," said I, "and let us move on to the carpet store; it will be dinner time directly." She looked at me in sweet surprise and followed me like a lamb, for I hadent mentioned the carpet before. We went to the carpet store, and there were so many beautiful patterns that she


Page 364

couldent decide on any. The carpet men unrolled piece after piece, and sent the rolls whirling away down the room and then back again, and they kept getting lovelier and lovelier, and the price higher and higher, until my wife sighed, and said: "Well, let us go now; we will come back again after awhile." I followed them around meekly, and, as we passed a French clock, I pointed to the hour, and it was 2 o'clock p. m. "Only an hour and a half longer to stay," said I, "and we have had no dinner." They didn't seem to be worried about the dinner, and made a final assault upon another carpet store, and I had to settle it at last and make a choice for them. I always do. I used to be a merchant, and kept the finest and prettiest goods in town. I used to sell Mrs. Arp fine dressing when she was a miss, and she wouldent trade anywhere else, and it took her a long time to make up her mind, and I had to make it up for her just as I do now. She never traded much at any other store, and, to my opinion, there is about as much courting done over the counter by day as in the parlor by night. After we were married she traded with me altogether. Thirty-six yards of carpeting was all that I had bargained for when I left home, but there was a rug and a hassock and two pairs of shoes and some syllabub stuff for ruffles and flounces and a few Christmas things, and by the time we got to Durand's we had only twenty minutes for dinner. We were all happy and hungry, too, and the dinner was splendid, and my wife brought home a basket of fruit for the children, and she told them all about the big day's work, and the beautiful things, and whom she saw, and I reckon it was worth the money that was spent and more too. The carpet came along in due time all ready made, and three of the children


Page 365

were at school, and didn't know it, and we hurried up and took everything out of the room and bid farewell to the old one, and cleaned up the straw and dust, and washed up the floor and the windows, and put down the paper, and the carpet on top of it, and pulled, and stretched, and tugged and tacked until it was all right. Then we put the furniture all back just like it was, and sat down before the fire just like nothing had happened, and in about ten minutes the school chaps came singing up to the back door and walked in upon us before they had time to look down, and it was worth$5 more to hear the raptures and adjectives and adverbs and exclamation points and other parts of speech that they indulged in when their wondering eyes feasted upon the rich brown colors under their feet. If I was rich I would buy another right away just to have another good time with Mrs. Arp and the children.

        But we didn't have the pleasure of Ralph' company at last. I found him at Dr. Westmoreland's with his sleeves rolled up, helping the doctor to mend a man's broken arm. They had a little tub half full of plaster paris in solution, and a lot of bandage rolls in it, getting saturated. They set the bones and kept the arm pulled straight, while the bandages were wrapped from wrist to elbow, and elbow to wrist, and wrapped again and again, and the plaster hardened as fast as it was rolled on, and in a few minutes it was hard as chalk and nearly half an inch thick, and the man's arm was in a vise. He was soon dismissed, and the doctor said "next." Then there was a man whose hand was crushed between the cars, and another had an awful splinter thrust into his stomach, and a child with a grain of coffee in her lungs and her throat had to be cut open. It is cutting


Page 366

and mending and sewing up human flesh and bones all the day long, and blood is as common as water. There is no time for sympathy or tender words. It is business - hard, stern business, and the signal word is "next." May the Lord keep us all and preserve us from such calamities.


Page 367

CHAPTER LV.

THE BUZZARD LOPE.

        I'm going to quit thinking about the race problem, and the tariff, and Speaker Reed and John Wanamaker, and everything else of a turbulent and transitory nature. I'm going to boycott everything now except domestic affairs. I'm going to attend to my own business. I'm going to stay at home and work, and if I read a paper at all it will be with one eye on the head lines and nothing else.

        They say that exercise is a remedy for trouble-- trouble of mind or trouble of body. Get up and move around lively. My old father was afflicted with rheumatism, and when the sharp pains began to worry him he would take his long stick and start out over the farm and limp, and grunt, and drag himself along until he got warmed up, and in an hour or so would come back feeling better. A man can mope and brood over his troubles until, as Cobe says, "they get more thicker and more aggrevatiner." He told me that he had tried liver medicine and corn juice and various "anecdotes" for disease, but that a right good sweat of perspiration was the best thing for a man or a beast. He used to cure mules of the colic by trotting them around until the sweat come.

        I haven't got the colic nor the rheumatism, but I feel such a constant uxorial goneness that I have to step around lively to forget myself. I feel just like I had lost my tobacco. The sparrows are regaling on


Page 368

my strawberries. The happy mocking birds are singing their tee diddle and too doodle, and the lordly peacock screams and struts and spreads his magnificent tail, and all nature seems gay and joyous, but how can the lord of creation sing a glad song when his lady is far away in a strange land? A letter from there says: "Mamma is having a good time and behaving so nice to everybody." Of course, of course. And I'm nice to everybody here-- especially the ladies. Some of them come every day-- come to comfort me, they say. I'm having a pretty good time considering. We had some fine music last night - some of the boys came home with Carl to practice for a serenade to the spring chickens. They had a guitar and some harps and a triangle, and were right good singers besides, and I enjoyed it immensely. Jessie is a musician, too, and when she struck the ivory key with some salutatory notes like, "Oh, Jinny is your Ash-cake Dance," and "The Highland Fling" and "Run Nigger Run," accompanied by the sweet harmonicas and the guitar, I just couldent keep my old extremities subdued, and they got me up and toted me around on light fantastic toes amazing. I was all by myself in the next room, but I had lots of fun. It does a man good sometimes to unbend himself and forget his antiquity. I like a little hornpipe or a pigeon wing on the sly sometimes. It may be original sin, or it may be that there is a time to dance, as Solomon says, but I like it. My beard is growing gray, and there's not many hairs between my head and the cerulean heavens, but I'm obliged to have some recreation, especially when Mrs. Arp is away. You ought to see me caper around to the music with a little grand-child, a three-year-old who chooses me for a partner whenever the


Page 369

music begins. She knows the dancing tunes as well as I do, bless her little heart. My boys have got a new step now that they call the "buzzard lope" that is grand, lively and peculiar. The story goes that an old darkey lost his aged mule, and found him one Sunday evening lying dead in the woods and forty-nine buzzards feasting upon his carcass. Forty-eight of them flew away, but the forty-ninth, whose feathers were gray with age, declined to retire. Looking straight at the darkey, he spread his wings about half-and-half, like the American eagle on a silver dollar, and tucked his tail under his body and drew in his chin and pulled down his vest and began to lope around the dead mule in a salutatory manner. He was a greedy bird and likes his meat served rare, and rejoiced that he now had the carcass all to himself, and so he loped around with alacrity. The old darkey was a fiddler and dancer by instinct and inspiration. He had played prompter for the white folks at a thousand frolics, and knew every step and turn and fling of the heel-tap and the toe, but he had never seen such a peculiar double demi-semi-quiver shuffle as that old buzzard loped around that mule. He stood aghast. He spread his arms just half-and half, and bent his back in the middle, unlimbered his ankle joints, stiffened his elbows, and forgetting both the day and the place he followed that bird around that mule for four solid hours and caught the exquisite lope exactly. At dusk the tired buzzard souzed his beak into one of the dead mule's eyes and bore it away to his roost, while the old darkey loped all the way home to his cabin door, feeling ten years younger for his masterpiece. The buzzard lope suits an old man splendid, for it is best performed with rheumatism


Page 370

in one leg and St. Vitus dance in the other, and it is said to be a sovereign remedy for both.

        Some folks don't care much about music--some don't care anything about dancing, but some folks like both because it is their nature and they can't help it. It is just as natural for children to love to dance to the harmony of sweet sounds as it is for them to love to play marbles or jump the rope, or any other innocent sport. The church allows its members to pat the foot to music, but condemns dancing because it leads to dissipation and bad company; but we shouldn't let it lead the young folks that way. The church condemns minstrel shows and minstrel songs, but has lately stolen from them some of their sweetest tunes, and set them to sacred verse, and is all the better for it. Who does not appreciate the "Lilly of the Valley" that is now sung to the "Cabin in the Lane?" Puritanism, and penance, and long faces, and assumed distress are passing away. The Methodist discipline that forbade jewelry, and ornaments, and fine dressing has become obsolete, for it was against nature. What our Creator has given us to enjoy, let us enjoy in reason and in season and be all the more thankful for His goodness.

        I believe in music. Joseph Henry Lumpkin, our great chief justice, said there was music in all things except the braying of an ass or the tongue of a scold. I believe in the refining influence of music over the young, and if an occasional dance at home or in the parlor of a friend will make the young folks happy, let them be happy. I read Dr. Calhoun's beautiful lecture that he delivered before the Atlanta Medical College--a lecture on the human throat as a musical instrument--and I was charmed with its science, its instruction, and its literary beauty. I read part of it


Page 371

to those boys who were practicing for the serenade-- about the wonders of the human larynx, that in ordinary singers could produce a hundred and twenty different sounds, and fine singers like Jenny Lind could produce a thousand, and Madam Mora, whose voice compassed three octaves, could produce two thousand one hundred different notes; and about Farinelli, who cured Philip V., king of Spain, of a dreadful malady by singing to him, and after he was fully restored he was afraid of a relapse and hired Farinelli to sing to him every night at a salary of fifty thousand francs, and he sang to him as David harped for Saul. Music fills up so many gaps in the family. The young people can't work and read and study all the time. They must have recreation, and it is better to have it at home than hunt for it elsewhere. If the old folks mope and grunt and complain around the house, it is no wonder that the children try to get away. And they will get away if they have to marry to do it. I have known girls to marry very trifling lovers because they were tired of home. This reminds me of a poor fellow who was hard pressed by a creditor to whom he owed forty dollars. He came to employ us to get a homestead for him so as to save his little farm. "Are you a married man?" said I. "No, I ain't," said he. "Well, you will have to get married before you can take a homestead. Is there no clever girl in your naborhood whom you have a liking for?" He looked straight in the fire for a minute or more, and then rose up and shook his long, sandy hair, and said: "Gentlemen, the jig are up. I'll have to shindig around and get that money, for I'll be dogond if I'll get married for forty dollars. Good mornin'."


Page 372

        We are working hard, now, renovating and repairing the home inside and outside. We have whitewashed the fence all around, and the barn and coalhouse, and chicken house, and all. We have painted the gates a lovely red, and striped the greenhouse, and Carl wanted to stripe the calf with the same color, as a meandering ornament to the lawn, but he couldn't catch him. I have planted out Maderia vines and Virginia creepers and tomato plants, and we have declared war against the English sparrows that destroy more strawberries than we get. We will have things fixed up when the maternal comes home. I reckon she will come sometimes--come home spoiled like I do as when I take a trip off and am petted up by genial friends. It will take us a week to get her back in the harness, but it won't take her half that long to get us back. We've got two picnics on hand, and a fishing frolic, and there are five pretty girls from Cement coming here tonight, and on the whole I don't think I am as lonesome as I think I am.

        "So here's a health to her who's away."


Page 373

CHAPTER LVI.

UP AMONG THE STARS.

        I was talking to the children the other night about astronomy, and I said: "I am a traveler--a great traveler. I have traveled forty thousand millions of miles in my life. I was born traveling. I can beat railroads and telegraphs. When I travel I make 68,000 miles an hour, and don't exert myself a bit. I can make over 1,500,000 miles in a day and turn a summerset 8,000 miles high in the bargain-- I turn one every day when I am on the road. I traveled nearly 600,000,000 miles last year."

        And so I made the children figure it all up so as to impress upon them the immensity of space and the mighty power of God. I know an old man--a lawyer--who didn't believe in any of these things. He said it was not according to scripture. He didn't believe the earth was round or that it turned over. He said the scriptures spoke of the ends of the earth, and the four corners of the earth, and that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still just like he did the moon, and they both stood still. We used to argue with him, and tell him that navigators had sailed all around the earth, but it was no use, and we gave him up.

        I know lots of sensible people who don't believe that astronomers know anything about these immense distances and orbits and weights of the planets. They say it is all guess work, pretty much, and that it is impossible to tell how far it is from one place to


Page 374

another, or one planet to another without measuring it with a chain or a rod-pole or a string or something. And here is where a higher education comes in and broadens the mind and elevates it to a higher plane. There is no science so exact and so fully established as astronomy. The distance from here to Atlanta is not so accurately known as the earth's orbit around the sun. A great astronomer like Herschel or Newton or La Place can look through the telescope at Jupiter's moons when they are in an eclipse, and then mix up a few logarithms and fluxions and parallaxes and tell how fast light travels and how far it is to the remotest planet in the universe.

        The children wanted to know why the new year began with January, and I couldent tell them. Christmas would have been a better day. The new era should have begun with the birth of Christ instead of a week later; or the year should begin with the birth of spring--the 21st of March - when nature is putting on new garments. Those old philosophers got things awfully mixed up anyhow. Their years used to be measured by the moon, and they had thirteen months, but that dident fit, and so they fell back to ten months of thirty-six days each, and that dident fit, and next and at last Pope Gregory fixed the measure all right - just as we have it now.

        It was only in the last century that the civilized nations adopted the new time. Russia hasent adopted it yet; but I don't know whether she is civilized or not.

        January was a right good name for the first month. He was a watchful old fellow and had two faces, and could look before him and behind him at the same time. It is a good idea for a man to look back over


Page 375

the year that has gone and review his conduct, and then look forward and promise to do better. But most of the months were named for heathen gods who never evisted, and so were the days of the week. I wish the school children would read about them and be able to answer what March means, and April and Wednesday and Thursday, and the other names. Gather knowledge as you go along--useful knowledge and store it away. If you havent got the books borrow them from somebody and read. I asked two young men yesterday how far it was to the sun, and they had no idea.

        1891. There is meaning in those figures. Every time they are written on a letter head or a ledger or a bank check or a note or a hotel register, or printed on a newspaper, they mean something. The pens of Christians and infidels and skeptics and agnostics and Jews and Gentiles are all writing it visible and indelible upon the paper. Every day, every hour, every minute, it is being written all over the world, and every mark establishes a fact--a great fact-- that 1891 years ago there was a birth--a notable birth and old Father Time began a new count and called it Anno Domini. What a wonderful event it must have been that closed the record of the ages and started time on a new cycle. How in the world did it happen? The Greeks had their calendar and the Romans had theirs, and the Jews had one that was handed down by Moses, but all of them were overshadowed by the one that a handful of Christians set up, and for 1400 years the Anno Domini has given a date to every birth and death and event in the civilized world. It seems to me that if I was an infidel I would not place these figures at the top of my letters. I would not dignify the birth of a child that


Page 376

way; I would rather write 5894 as the date of the creation. But, no, if I did not credit Moses and the prophets, I couldent choose that date, and so I would have no date - no era to begin with. The Greeks had their Olympiads to date from, and the Romans the birth of their ancient city, and the Mohammedans the flight of Mahomet, but a modern agnostic has nothing. If he was an American I suppose he might begin with the Declaration of Independence, and say January 114. The Jew is better off, for he has a faith --a faith as strong as the ages--and his era goes back to Moses and the prophets, but even he has to conform to the Anno Domini of the Christian in all his business relations with mankind. If he was to date a business letter or make out a bill of goods according to his faith it would be returned to him for explanations. What a wonderful thing is this date --these four simple figures. We write them and write them, but we seldom ponder on what they prove.

        On New Year's night I was talking to the children about these things, and about the long journey we had taken since the last New Year. We have gotten back to the same place in the universe and have traveled nearly three hundred millions of miles. Talk about your cannon ball trains and your lightning express! Why, we have been running a schedule of thirty thousand miles an hour and never stopped for coal or water and never had a jostle or put on a brake nor greased a wheel. Other trains have crossed our track, and we have crossed theirs, but there was no danger signal, no sign board, no red flag, no watchman. Was there ever an engineer so reckless of human life! Fifteen hundred millions of passengers aboard, and they sleep half the time. Did ever


Page 377

passengers ride so trustingly? And what is more wonderful still, our train has a little fun on the way, and every day turns a somersault twenty-five thousand miles round just for the enjoyment and health of the passengers. Turns over as it goes, turns at a speed of a thousand miles an hour and never loses an inch of space or a moment of time. Wouldn't it be big fun if we could stand off away from the train and see it roll on and turn as it rolled and see the passengers all calm and serene? It seems to me that if I was an infidel or an agnostic I would want to get off this train--a train without an engineer--a train that has got loose from somewhere and is running wild at the rate of five hundred miles a minute. Talk about your Pullman sleepers and vestibule and dining-room cars! Why, this train carries houses and gardens and fruit trees and everything good to eat. It is a family train, and the family goes along with their nabors and the preacher and the doctor; and the graveyard is carried along, too, so that if anybody dies on the way the train don't have to stop for a funeral. It is well that it don't, for the passengers are dying at the rate of a hundred a minute and the train would never get anywhere if it had to stop to bury the dead.

        Then the children got to talking about the centuries away back, when the months and the years were unsettled and nobody seemed to know how long a year was or how to divide it; when the changes of the moon were a bigger thing that going round the sun; when there were only ten months in a year, and the year was only three hundred and sixty days, and so January kept falling back until it got to be summer instead of winter; when there were no weeks, except among the Jews, and the month was divided by the


Page 378

Greeks and Romans into three decades of ten days each; when Julius Caesar tried to regulate the calendar and made the year three hundred and sixty-five days and gave a leap year of three hundred and sixty-six. But that didn't work exactly right, for it made leap year eleven minutes too long and so, as the centuries rolled on, it was found in 1582 that old Father Time had gained twelve days on himself, or on the sun or something else, and Pope Gregory concluded to set the old fellow back a peg or two, and he did. If a pope could make us all twelve days younger when he pleased to do it he would be a very popular man, I reckon. But the calendar is all right now, and the civilized world has adopted it. It is eleven minutes fast every four years, but as the year 1900 is not to be a leap year the gain will be canceled when that year comes. Leap year used to double the sixth day of March instead of adding a day to February, and so it was called the bi-sextile year. It is well for the children to know these things for they are worth knowing.