Samantha Among The Bretheren

Marietta Holley

Chapter 13


Curius, hain't it? How folks will get to tellin' things, and finally tell 'em so much, that finally they will get to believin' of 'em themselves - boastin' of bein' rich, etc., or bad. Now I have seen folks boast over that, act real haughty because they had been bad and got over it. I've seen temperance lecturers and religious exhorters boast sights and sights over how bad they had been. But they wuzn't tellin' the truth, though they had told the same thing so much that probable they had got to thinkin' so.

But in the case of one man in petickuler, I found out for myself, for I didn't believe what he wuz a sayin' any of the time.

Why, he made out in evenin' meetin's, protracted and otherwise, that he had been a awful villain. Why no pirate wuz ever wickeder than he made himself out to be, in the old times before he turned round and become pious.

[Illustration: "HIS FACE WUZ A GOOD MORAL FACE."]

But I didn't believe it, for he had a good look to his face, all but the high headed look he had, and sort o' vain.

But except this one look, his face wuz a good moral face, and I knew that no man could cut up and act as he claimed that he had, without carryin' some marks on the face of the cuttin' up, and also of the actin'.

And so, as it happened, I went a visitin' (to Josiah's relations) to the very place where he had claimed to do his deeds of wild badness, and I found that he had always been a pattern man - never had done a single mean act, so fur as wuz known.

Where wuz his boastin' then? As the Bible sez, why, it wuz all vain talk. He had done it to get up a reputation. He had done it because he wuz big feelin' and vain. And he had got so haughty over it, and had told of it so much, that I spoze he believed in it himself.

Curius! hain't it? But I am a eppisodin', and to resoom. Trueman's wife would talk jest so, jest so haughty and high headed, about the world comin' to a end.

She'd dispute with everybody right up and down if they disagreed with her - and specially about that religion of hern. How sot she wuz, how extremely sot.

But then, it hain't in me, nor never wuz, to fight anybody for any petickuler religion of theirn. There is sights and sights of different religions round amongst different friends of mine, and most all on 'em quite good ones.

That is, they are agreeable to the ones who believe in 'em, and not over and above disagreeable to me.

Now it seems to me that in most all of these different doctrines and beliefs, there is a grain of truth, and if folks would only kinder hold onto that grain, and hold themselves stiddy while they held onto it, they would be better off.

But most folks when they go to follerin' off a doctrine, they foller too fur, they hain't megum enough.

Now, for instance, when you go to work and whip anybody, or hang 'em, or burn 'em up for not believin' as you do, that is goin' too fur.

It has been done though, time and agin, in the world's history, and mebby will be agin.

But it hain't reasonable. Now what good will doctrines o' any kind do to anybody after they are burnt up or choked to death?

You see such things hain't bein' megum. Because I can't believe jest as somebody else duz, it hain't for me to pitch at 'em and burn 'em up, or even whip 'em.

No, indeed! And most probable if I should study faithfully out their beliefs, I would find one grain, or mebby a grain and a half of real truth in it.

[Illustration: "EF I FELL ON A STUN."]

Now, for instance, take the doctrines of Christian Healin', or Mind Cure. Now I can't exactly believe that if I fell down and hurt my head on a stun - I cannot believe as I am a layin' there, that I hain't fell, and there hain't no stun - and while I am a groanin' and a bathin' the achin' bruise in anarky and wormwood, I can't believe that there hain't no such thing as pain, nor never wuz.

No, I can't believe this with the present light I have got on the subject.

But yet, I have seen them that this mind cure religion had fairly riz right up, and made 'em nigher to heaven every way - so nigh to it that seemin'ly a light out of some of its winders had lit up their faces with its glowin' repose, its sweet rapture.

I've seen 'em, seen 'em as the Patent Medicine Maker observes so frequently, "before and after takin'."

Folks that wuz despondent and hopeless, and wretched actin', why, this belief made 'em jest blossom right out into a state of hopefulness, and calmness, and joy - refreshin' indeed to contemplate.

Wall now, the idee of whippin' anybody for believin' anything that brings such a good change to 'em, and fills them and them round 'em with so much peace and happiness.

Why, I wouldn't do it for a dollar bill. And as for hangin' 'em, and brilin' 'em on gridirons, etc., why, that is entirely out of the question, or ort to be.

And now, it don't seem to me that I ever could make a tree walk off, by lookin' at it, and commandin' it to - or call some posys to fall down into my lap, right through, the plasterin' -

Or send myself, or one of myselfs, off to Injy, while the other one of me stayed to Jonesville.

Now, honestly speakin', it don't seem to me that I ever could learn to do this, not at my age, any way, and most dead with rheumatiz a good deal of the time.

I most know I couldn't.

But then agin I have seen believers in Theosiphy that could do wonders, and seemed indeed to have got marvelous control over the forces of Natur.

And now the idee of my whippin' 'em for it. Why you wouldn't ketch me at it.

And Spiritualism now! I spoze, and I about know that there are lots of folks that won't ever see into any other world than this, till the breath leaves their body.

Yet i've seen them, pure sweet souls too, as I ever see, whose eyes beheld blessed visions withheld from more material gaze.

Yes, i've neighbored with about all sorts of religius believers, and never disputed that they had a right to their own religion.

And I've seen them too that didn't make a practice of goin' to any meetin' houses much, who lived so near to God and his angels that they felt the touch of angel hands on their forwards every day of their lives, and you could see the glow of the Fairer Land in their rapt eyes.

They had outgrown the outward forms of religion that had helped them at first, jest as children outgrow the primers and ABC books of their childhood and advance into the higher learnin'.

I've seen them folks i've neighbored with 'em. Human faults they had, or God would have taken them to His own land before now. Their imperfections, I spoze sort o' anchored 'em here for a spell to a imperfect world.

But you could see, if you got nigh enough to their souls to see anything about 'em - you could see that the anchor chains wuz slight after all, and when they wuz broke, oh how lightly and easily they would sail away, away to the land that their rapt souls inhabited even now.

Yes, I've seen all sorts of religius believers and I wuzn't goin' to be too hard on Tamer for her belief, though I couldn't believe as she did.