Samantha Among The Bretheren

Marietta Holley

Chapter 5


Wall, the author of "Wedlock's Peaceful Repose" wuz a-waitin' for me to the table; the men had all got through and gone out. She sot right by me, and she had missed me, I could see. Her eyes looked bigger than ever, and more sad like.

She said, "she was dretful sorry for me," and I believed her.

She asked me in a awe-stricken tone, "if I had such trials every day?"

And I told her "No, I didn't." I told her that things would run along smooth and agreeable for days and days, but that when things got to happenin', they would happen right along for weeks at a time, sometimes, dretful curius. A hull batch of difficulties would rain down on anybody to once. Sez I, "You know Mr. Shakespeare says that' Sorrows never come a-spyin' along as single fighters, but they come in hull battles of 'em,' or words to that effect."

Sez I, in reasonable axents, "Mebby I shall have a hull lot of good things happen to me right along, one after another, some dretful agreeable days, and easy."

Sez she in the same sad axents, and wonderin', "Did you ever have another day in your hull life as hard as this you are a-passin' through?"

"Oh, yes," sez I, "lots of'em - some worse ones, and," sez I, "the day has only jest begun yet, I presume I shall have lots and lots of new things happen to me before night. Because it is jest as I tell you, when things get to happenin' there hain't no tellin' when they will ever stop."

Miss Fogg groaned, a low, deep groan, and that is every word she said, only after a little while she spoke up, and sez:

"You hain't eaten a bit of dinner; it all got cold while you wuz a changin' your dress."

"Oh, wall," sez I, "I can get along some way. And I must hurry up and get the table cleared off any way, and get to my work agin', for I have got to do a lot of cookin' this afternoon. It takes a sight of pies and cakes and such to satisfy twelve or a dozen men."

So I went to work vigorously agin. But well might I tell Miss Fogg "that the day had only jest begun, and there wuz time for lots of things to happen before night," for I had only jest got well to work on the ingregiences of my pies when Submit Tewksbury sent over "to see if I could let her have them sturchien seeds I had promised her - she wanted 'em to run up the inside of her bedroom winder, and shade her through the winter. She wuz jest a-settin' out her winter stock of flower roots and seeds, and wanted 'em immegiatly, and to once, that is, if it was perfectly convenient," so the boy said.

Submit is a good creeter, and she wouldn't have put that burden on me on such a time for nothin', not if she had known my tribulations; but she didn't, and I felt that one trial more wouldn't, as the poet hath well said, "either make or break me."

So I went to huntin' for the seeds. Wall, it wuz a good half-hour before I could find 'em, for of course it wuz natural nater, accordin' to the total deprivity of things, that I should find 'em in the bottom of the last bag of seeds that I overhauled.

But Submit had been disappointed, and I didn't want to make her burdens any heavier, so I sent her the sturchien seeds.

But it wuz a trial I do admit to look over more than forty bags of garden and flower seeds in such a time as that. But I sent 'em. I sent Submit the sturchien seeds, and then I laid to work again fast as I possibly could.

But I sez to the author of "Peaceful Repose," I sez to her, sez I:

"I feel bad to think I hain't gettin' no time to hear you rehearse your lecture, but you can see jest how it is; you see I hain't had a minute's time today. Mebby I will get a few minutes' time before night; I will try to," sez I.

"Oh," sez she, "it hain't no matter about that; I - I - I somehow - I don't feel like rehearsin' it as it was." Sez she, "I guess I shall make some changes in it before I rehearse it agin."

Sez I, "You lay out to make a more mean thing of it, more megum."

"Yes," sez she, in faint axents, "I am a-thinkin' of it."

[Illustration: "AS I STARTED FOR THE BUTTERY."]

"Wall," sez I cheerfully, as I started for the buttery with a pile of cups in one hand, the castor and pickle dish in the other, and a pile of napkins under my arm, "I believe I shall like it as well again if you do, any way," sez I, as I kicked away the cat that wuz a-clawin' my dress, and opened the door with my foot, both hands bein' full.

"Any way, there will be as much agin truth in it."

Wall, I went to work voyalently, and in two hours' time I had got my work quelled down some. But I had to strain nearly every nerve in the effort.

And I am afraid I didn't use the colporter just exactly right, who come when I wuz right in the midst of puttin' the ingregiences into my tea cakes. I didn't enter so deep into the argument about the Revised New Testament as I should in easier and calmer times. I conversed considerable, I argued some with him, but I didn't get so engaged as mebby I had ort to. He acted disappointed, and he didn't stay and talk more'n an hour and three quarters.

He generally spends half a day with us. He is a master hand to talk; he'll make your brain fairly spin round he talks so fast and handles such large, curius words. He talked every minute, only when I wuz a-answerin' his questions.

[Illustration: "THERE WUZ SOMETHIN' WRONG ABOUT 'EM."]

Wall, he had jest gone, the front gate had just clicked onto him, when Miss Philander Dagget came in at the back door. She had her press-board in her hand, and a coat over her arm, and I see in a minute that I had got another trial onto me. I see I had got to set her right.

I set her a chair, and she took off her sun-bonnet and hung it over the back of her chair, and set down, and then she asked me if I could spend time to put in the sleeves of her husband's coat. She said "there wuz somethin' wrong about em', but she didn't know what."

She said "she wouldn't have bothered me that day when I had so much round, but Philander had got to go to a funeral the next day, as one of the barriers, and he must have his coat."

Wall, I wrung my hands out of the dish-water they was in at the time, and took the coat and looked at it, and the minute I set my eyes on it I see what ailed it I see she had got the sleeves sot in so the elbows come right in front of his arms, and if he had wore it in that condition to the funeral or anywhere else he would have had to fold up his arms right acrost his back; there wuzn't no other possible way.

And then I turned tailoress and helped her out of her trouble. I sot the sleeves in proper, and fixed the collar. She had got it sot on as a ruffle. I drawed it down smooth where it ort to be and pinned it - and she went home feelin' first rate.

I am very neighborly, and helpful, and am called so. Jonesville would miss me if any thing should happen.

[Illustration: "SHE IS APT TO GET THINGS WRONG."]

I have often helped that woman a sight. She is a good, willin' creeter, but she is apt to get things wrong, dretful apt. She made her little boy's pantaloons once wrong side before, so it would seem that he would have to set down from the front side, or else stand up.

And twice she got her husband's pantaloons sewed up so there wuz no way to get into em' only to crawl up into 'em through the bottom of the legs. But I have always made a practice of rippin' and tearin' and bastin', and settin' her right, and I did now.

Wall, she hadn't hardly got out of the back door, when Josiah Allen came in in awful distress, he had got a thorn in his foot, he had put on an old pair of boots, and there wuz a hole in the side of one of 'em, and the thorn had got in through the hole. It pained him dretfully, and he wuz jest as crazy as a loon for the time bein'. And he hollered the first thing that "he wanted some of Hall's salve." And I told him "there wuzn't a mite in the house."

And he hollered up and says, "There would be some if there wuz any sense in the head of the house."

[Illustration: "HE WANTED SOME OF HALL'S SALVE."]

I glanced up mechanically at his bald head, but didn't say nothin', for I see it wouldn't do. And he hollered out agin, "Why hain't there any Hall's salve?" Sez I, "Because old Hall has been dead for years and years, and hain't made any salve."

"Wall, he wouldn't have been dead if he had had any care took of him," he yelled out.

"Why," sez I, "he wuz killed by lightnin'; struck down entirely onexpected five years ago last summer."

"Oh, argue and dispute with a dying man. Gracious Peter! what will become of me!" he groaned out, a-holdin' his foot in his hand.

Sez I, "Let me put some Pond's Extract on it, Josiah."

"Pond's Extract!" he yelled, and then he called that good remedy words I wuz ashamed to hear him utter.

And he jumped round and pranced and kicked just as it is the nater of man to act under bodily injury of that sort. And then he ordered me to take a pin and get the thorn out, and then acted mad as a hen at me all the time I wuz a-doin' it; acted jest as if I wuz a-prickin' him a-purpose.

He talked voyalent and mad. I tried to hush him down; I told him the author of "Wedlock's Peaceful Repose" would hear him, and he hollered back "he didn't care a cent who heard him. He wuz killed, and he shouldn't live to trouble anybody long if that pain kept up."

His acts and words wuz exceedingly skairful to anybody who didn't understand the nater of a man. But I wuzn't moved by 'em so much as the width of a horse hair. Good land! I knew that jest as soon as the pain subsided he would be good as gold, so I kep' on, cool and collected, and got the thorn out, and did up the suffering toe in Pond's Extract, and I hadn't only jest got it done, when, for all the world! if I didn't see a double team stop in front of the house, and I peeked through the winder and see as it wuz the livery stable man from Jonesville, and he had brung down the last straws to be lifted onto the camel's back - a hull lot of onexpected company. A hull load of 'em.

There wuz the Baptist minister and his wife and their three children, and the minister's wife's sister-in-law from the West, who wuz there a-visitin', and the editor of the Augur'ses wife (she wuz related to the visitor from the West by marriage) and three of the twins. And old Miss Minkley, she wuz acquainted with the visitor's mother, used to go to school with her. And Drusilly Sypher, she wuz the visitor from the West's bosom friend, or used to be.

Wall, they had all come down to spend the afternoon and visit with each other, and with me and Josiah, and stay to supper.