Samantha Among The Bretheren

Marietta Holley

Chapter 11


[Illustration:]

A few days follerin' on and ensuin' after this eppisode, Submit Tewksburv wuz a takin' supper with me. She had come home with me from the meetin' house where we had been to work all day.

I had urged her to stay, for she lived a mile further on the road, and had got to walk home afoot.

And she hain't any too well off, Submit hain't - she has to work hard for every mite of food she eats, and clothes she wears, and fuel and lights, etc., etc.

So I keep her to dinners and suppers all I can, specially when we are engaged in meetin' house work, for as poor as Submit is, she will insist on doin' for the meetin' house jest as much as any other female woman in Jonesville.

She is quite small boneded, and middlin' good lookin' for a women of her years. She has got big dark eyes, very soft and mellow lookin' in expression - and a look deep down into 'em, as if she had been waitin' for something, for some time. Her hair is gettin' quite gray now, but its original color was auburn, and she has got quite a lot of it - kinder crinkly round her forward. Her complexion is pale. She is a very good lookin' woman yet, might marry any day of the week now, I hain't no doubt of it. She is a single woman, but is well thought on in Jonesville, and the southern part of Zoar, where she has relatives on her mother's side.

[Illustration: SUBMIT TEWKSBURY.]

She has had chances to my certain knowledge (widowers and such).

But if all the men in the world should come and stand in rows in front of her gate with gilded crowns in their hands all ready to crown her, and septers all ready for her to grasp holt of, and wield over the world, she would refuse every one of 'em.

She has had a disappointment, Submit has. And she looked at the world so long through tears, that the world got to lookin' sort o' dim like and shadowy to her, and the whole men race looked to her fur off and misty, as folks will when you look at 'em through a rain.

She couldn't marry one of them shadows of men, if she tried, and she hain't never tried. No, her heart always has been, and is now, fur away, a-travellin' through unknown regions, unknown, and yet more real to her than Jonesville or Zoar, a-follerin' the one man in the world who is a reality to her. Submit wuz engaged to a young Methodist minister by the name of Samuel Danker. I remember him well. A good lookin' young fellow at the time, with blue eyes and light hair, ruther long and curly, and kinder wavin' back from his forward, and a deep spiritual look in his eyes. In fact, his eyes looked right through the fashions and follys of the civilized world, into the depths of ignorance, rivers of ruin and despair, that wuz a-washin' over a human race, black jungles where naked sin and natural depravities crouched hungry for victims.

Samuel Danker felt that he had got to go into heathen lands as a missionary. He wuz engaged to Submit, and loved her dearly, and he urged her to go too.

But Submit had a invalid father on her hands, a bed rid grandfather, and three young brothers, too young to earn a thing, and they all on 'em together hadn't a cent of money to their names. They had twenty-five acres of middlin' poor land, and a old house.

Wall, Submit felt that she couldn't leave these helpless ones and go to more foreign heathen lands. So, with a achin' heart, she let Samuel Danker go from her, for he felt a call, loud, and she couldn't counsel him to shet up his ears, or put cotton into 'em. Submit Tewksbury had always loved and worked for the Methodist meetin' house (she jined it on probation when she wuz thirteen). But although she always had been extremely liberal in givin', and had made a practice of contributin' every cent she could spare to the meetin' house, it wuz spozed that Samuel Danker wuz the biggest offerin' she had ever give to it.

Fur it wuz known that he went to her the night before he sot sail, took supper with her, and told her she should decide the matter for him, whether he went or whether he staid.

It wuz spozed his love for Submit wuz so great that it made him waver when the time come that he must leave her to her lot of toil and sacrifice and loneliness.

But Submit loved the Methodist meetin' house to that extent, she leaned so hard on the arm of Duty, that she nerved up her courage anew, refused to accept the sacrifice of his renunciation, bid him go to his great work, and quit himself like a man - told him she would always love him, pray for him, be constant to him. And she felt that the Master they both wanted to serve would some day bring him back to her.

So he sailed away to his heathens - and Submit stayed to home with her five helpless males and her achin' heart. And if I had to tell which made her the most trouble, I couldn't to save my life.

She knew the secret of her achin' heart, and the long dark nights she kep awake with it. The neighbors couldn't understand that exactly, for there hain't no language been discovered yet that will give voice to the silent crys of a breakin' heart, a tender heart, a constant heart, cryin' out acrost the grayness of dreary days acrost the blackness of lonely nights.

But we could see her troubles with the peevish paralasys of age, with the tremendus follys of undisciplined youth.

But Submit took care of the hull caboodle of 'em; worked out some by days' works, to get more necessaries for 'em than the poor little farm would bring in; nursed the sick on their sick-beds and on their death-beds, till she see 'em into Heaven - or that is where we spoze they went to, bein' deservin' old males both on 'em, her father and her grandfather, and in full connectin with the Methodist Episcopel meetin' house.

She took care of her young brothers, patient with 'em always, ready to mend bad rents in their clothin' and their behavior - tryin' to prop up their habits and their morals, givin' 'em all the schoolin' she could, givin' 'em all a good trade, all but the youngest, him she kep with her always till the Lord took him (scarlet fever), took him to learn the mysterius trade of the immortals.

Submit had a hard fit of sickness after that. And when she got up agin, there wuz round her pale forward a good many white hairs that wuz orburn before the little boy went away from her.

Sense that, the other boys have married, and Submit has lived alone in the old farm-house, lettin' the farm out on shares. It is all run down; she don't get much from it; it don't yield much but trouble and burdocks, but as little as she gets, she always will, as I say, do her full share, and more than her share, for the meetin' house.

[Illustration: "HE TOOK SUPPER WITH HER FOR THE LAST TIME."]

Some think it is on account of her inherient goodness, and some think it is on account of Samuel Danker.

We all spose she hain't forgot Samuel. And they do say that every year when the day comes round, that he took supper with her for the last time, she puts a plate on for him - the very one he eat on last - -a pink edged chiny plate, with gilt sprigs, the last one left of her mother's first set of chiny.

That is what they say, I hain't never seen the plate.

It is now about twenty years sense Samuel Danker went to heathen lands. And as it wuz a man-eatin' tribe he went to preach to, and as he hain't been heern of from that day to this, it is spozed that they eat him up some years ago.

But it is thought that Submit hain't gin up hope yet. We spoze so, but don't know, on account of her never sayin' anything on the subject. But we judge from the plate.

Wall, as I say (and I have episoded fearfully, fearfully), Submit took supper with me that night. And after Josiah had put out his horse (he had been to Jonesville for the evenin' mail, and stopped for us at the meetin' house on his way back), he took the World out of his pocket, and perused it for some time, and from that learned the great news that wimmen wuz jest about to be held up agin, to see if her strength wuz sufficient to set on the Conference.

And oh! how Josiah Allen went on about it to Submit and me, all the while we wuz a eatin' supper - and for more'n a hour afterwuds.