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Title: Looking Back
       An Autobiography

Author: Merrick Abner Richardson

Release Date: July 14, 2014 [EBook #46286]

Language: English

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i1

MERRICK RICHARDSON AT THE AGE OF SEVENTY-FIVE.

LOOKING BACK

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

By

Merrick Abner Richardson

AUTHOR OF

"JIM HALL AND THE RICHARDSONS", "EIGHT DAYS OUT", "MINA FAUST",
"ROSE LIND", "PERSONALITY OF THE SOUL", "CHICAGO'S
BLACK SHEEP", "TWILIGHT REFLECTIONS."

Privately Printed

CHICAGO: MCMXVII

Copyright 1917
By

Merrick Abner Richardson


[i]

PREFACE

My spare time, only, is occupied in literary efforts. I never allow them to interfere with either my business or social life.

In composing, in a mysterious way, I comprehend the companionship of my imaginary friends as vividly as I do the material associates of life. To me imagination is the counterpart or result of inspiration, while inspiration is light thrown upon the unrevealed. The image may be the result of known or unknown cause, but the mystery does not blot out the actual existence of the image. The material image we call sight, the retained memory, and the unknown revelation, but all are comprehensive images.

I see a bird, its form created a picture on my eye, the image of which mysteriously remained after the object had disappeared. Now what or who cognizes the primitive object, the formed picture or the retained image?

The materialist assumes he has solved the mystery when he says; The appearance of the object formed an impression on your brain; omitting the important part of who comprehends the impression.

These material and spiritual views are not the two extremes, there is no midway, one is right and the other is wrong. Either man is a spiritual, responsible being or he is just temporary mud.

Therefore imagination, to me is incomprehensible realization, while materialism is the symbol of passing[ii] events. This explains how my imaginary friends become so dear to me.

The ideas presented in my story of Mary Magdalene I gained through descriptions conveyed to me by Jona while traveling across the Syrian desert. He always began in the middle of his story and worked out both ways, which made it difficult to take notes, besides at the best it was but a legend, dim and indistinct.

In this work I have carefully avoided Oriental style, language or customs for two reasons: First, there is not an Oriental scholar now, who could do them justice, Second, one is perfectly safe in bringing any people of any age right down to our times. For, the culture of one tribe or race does not influence incoming souls for the next generation. The human family enter life on about the same plane. A child from the low tribes of the jungles or from the desert wild, if brought up by a Chicago mother, might become as great as one of the royal family. The feelings, aspirations, sorrows and love of Mary Magdalene and Peter were similar to what ours would have been under the same conditions. Therefore I bring the story of Magdalene right down to yesterday.

I first constructed the story of Magdalene while in Jerusalem, then I revised it in Egypt, and have been revising it at intervals ever since. From Jona's continued reiteration regarding her prepossessing gifts, spiritual and unwavering qualities, especially her firmness before Caiaphas, I formed her personality in my mind and associated her with bright women of today, then I let Magdalene talk for herself.

To me she was no exception from the women I associated with in Chicago. There are not wanting women in Oak Park who under the same circumstances would[iii] have followed Jesus to Jerusalem, disdained to deny him and would have pleaded before the sanhedrim at the dead of night to have saved their associate from the misguided servants of the devil.

The reminiscenses of the pioneer Richardsons, Jim and Winnie, Sunshine days around Wabbaquassett, John Brown, roving escapades of the Richardson Brothers, my athletic exploits, my travels and other scenes of my life are primitive truths copied from memory and set forth in my original form of expression.

My attack on materialists or infidelic instructors stands on its own feet and opposes a tendency that will create degeneracy if continued.


[iv]
[v]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  PAGE
My Ancestors 9
Woburn 10
Traditions 12
Records 15
Old Homestead 17
Jim Hall 19
Love Spats 20
Jim's Story 31
The Arrest 35
The Martyrs 37
The Escape 38
Stubbs' Store 40
Susan Beaver 45
Revenge 49
Alone in the Wilderness 51
Hunting for Baby 54
Muldoon 57
Our Wabbaquassett Mountain Home 61
Woodchuck in the Wall 64
Sunday Morning 69
Husking Bee 76
Prayer Meeting at Uncle Sam's 78
Golden Days 81
The Wild Sexton Steer 83
School Days 87
Country Boys in Town 89
As a Yankee Tin Peddler 94
The Thompson Family 97
John Brown 99
The Dead Appear 106
Vida's Daring Exploit 108
Owen Brown's Story 110
After the Mist Had Cleared Away 115
Yankee Horsemen Go West 117
My Relation 121
Horse Jockies 123
Landed in Chicago 126
Dr. Thomas 128
Early Chicago 131
Horse Racing in Chicago 134
[vi]Hopeful and Rarus 137
Chicago Piety 141
Public Conveyance 143
My Athletic Exploits 146
My First Hundred Mile Run 148
Arthur's and Walton's Long Run 151
The First Century Race 157
Dead Glacier 160
Miraculous Escape From a Bear 168
My Education 173
Hawaiian Islands 176
South Sea Islands and Australia 180
New Guinea 183
Cochin China 190
Mesopotamia 192
Rud Hurner 193
Off for Babylon 198
On the Euphrates 200
On the Shat-el-chebar 201
Koofa, Arabia 203
The Sheik of Koofa 205
Wild, Yet Beautiful 209
Nazzip 211
The Man I Had Seen Before 212
Real Bedouins After Us 214
Suspicion Aroused 217
The Rechabites 221
Sleeping Beauty of the Desert 225
The Abandoned Castle 227
Mary Magdalene 229
Dina of Endor 231
The Home of Magdalene 235
John and Magdalene 237
Ruth 240
Darkness Over Galilee 242
Surprise for the Pharisees 248
Council of the Disciples 251
Turn of the Tide 253
Magdalene's Heroic Plea 255
Jesus Speaks 261
The Exodus 262
Waiting By the Jordan 265
In Council at Jericho 267
Arrival at Jerusalem 270
Adultery 272
Magdalene Pleading With Jesus 278
At the Home of Mary and Martha 280
[vii]A Naughty Maid 282
Lazarus Restored 285
Conspiracy to Murder Jesus 287
The Mob Fall Upon Jesus 292
Magdalene Before Caiaphas 295
Jesus Before Pilate 300
The Crucifixion 302
Alone on Olivet 304
Magdalene Herself Again 307
Ruth Comes to Meet Magdalene 311
Joseph's Last Interview 312
Magdalene's Last Night With John 315
Last Good-Bye 321
The Prickett Home 324
Ourselves 326
William James, of Harvard 328
Gladstone 335
Evening of My Life Day 340
Fifty-four Miles' Hike 342
Back Home 348

[viii]

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

  Facing
Page
Merrick A. Richardson i
Camp of the Stafford Pioneers 14
Ancient Cemetery of the Stafford Pioneers 16
Winnie Richardson 21
Good Morning, Miss Richardson 23
Jim in the Woods 52
Our Mountain Home 61
Chasing for a Kiss 76
Prayer Meeting at Uncle Sam's 80
When the Folks Were Away 84
The Aborn Home 86
Wabbaquassett Girls 88
Charming Old Wabbaquassett 90
Album of Sunny Days 94
Mary Jane Hoyt 96
John Brown, 1850 99
Vida Thompson's Midnight Ride 109
Near John Brown's Adirondack Home 115
Yankee Horsemen 117
Horse Sales 123
Dr. Thomas 128
Early Chicago 142
G. M. Richardson and Family 144
Saddle Horse Days 148
Cycling Run to South Park 150
North Shore, Loon Lake, Winona Grove 152
The Fox River Bicycle Race 158
Arthur Richardson and Friends 164
Easter Island 181
New Guinea 187
Mesopotamia Servants 193
Desert Life Among the Arabs 209
Ruins of Tadmor 227
Mary Magdalene 231
Prickett Home 324
Arthur Richardson and His Twins 336
Our Oak Park Home 338
Fannie Peterson 342
Vida 344
Barbara Beaver 346
My Children 349

[9]

LOOKING BACK

MY ANCESTORS

Ezekiel Richardson, with his wife Susanna, joined the Protestant Church in the Village of Charlestown, Mass.—now Boston—in 1630. The following year Thomas and Samuel Richardson joined the same church; the records of the will of Ezekiel prove them to have been his brothers.

When they came to New England, or where from, is unknown, but as about thirty ships of British emigrants came into Boston Harbor about that time, it is safe to assume that they came on one of these vessels, but possibly they may have come on one of the boats which followed the Mayflower nearly ten years previous.

It appears that there arose dissensions in the church and those good Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers strove among themselves until 1634, when the three Richardsons, with several other families, withdrew and decided to start a colony and a church of their own, where they could worship God in peace.


[10]

WOBURN

Through a swamp on the west, called Cat Bird Glen, ran a trout brook to the meadows below. Beyond this woodland glen lay an upland plain, held by the Indians as a camping ground, which the Richardsons concluded they might, through the persuasion of powder and bullets, be able to occupy and leave the parent church at Charlestown to mourn their departure.

Accordingly about twenty families, including the Richardsons, took possession of the site, dug their cellars, and built primitive homes together with a log church and named the town Woburn.

Joy mingled with pride encouraged the men to subdue the soil, hunt, snare and trap the game and fish, while the buxom dames hummed their spinning wheels as they cooed their frolicsome babies beneath the shadows of the great forest monarchs who seemed loath to give way to the encroaching steps of the white man.

Contrary to the general rule, that rats and ministers advance hand in hand with civilization, in this case the ministers failed to appear for the reason that the home church of England refused to recognize the seceders as children of God by turning down their supplication for a regular ordained preacher.

Here the true spirit and determination which seems to tinge the veins of the Richardsons made its first appearance. Ezekiel, by the grace of God, took upon himself the leadership in all the praying and singing of[11] the independent church for about ten years. He officiated at all weddings and funerals, besides established the whipping post for those who did not appear in church, with clean shirts on, three Sundays each month to hear him preach two long sermons, when it is said he often preached so loud that he could be distinctly heard in the Charlestown church two miles away, to the annoyance of his old-time associates.

After Ezekiel's thrifty swarm had become greater than the parent hive at Charlestown and the hand of time began pressing heavily upon his shoulders, a regularly ordained preacher was sent in, which the parishioners did not like as well as they did Ezekiel, for he could not clothe and feed himself as Ezekiel had done, but he stayed until he died, and here is a sample of primitive piety in our grandfather's days:

"The Reverend Mr. Carter of the Woburn Episcopal Church died, and being a good man, our forefathers decided to turn out in mass, give him a Christian burial and charge the expenses to the town. Of the itemized bill—coffin, shroud, grave-digging, and stimulants,—the latter, the liquor bill, exceeded all the other expenses."

See Woburn Town Records, Volume 3, page 68.

Thus while we find traces of weakness in our ancestors, a principle seems to have been involved which made New England a hot-bed for vags and tramps. No wonder we sigh for the good old days when respectable citizens did not have to lock their doors on Sunday, for all the thieves were in church.


[12]

TRADITIONS

Through the first appearance of the Richardsons in Charlestown we have an unbroken line of nine generations through Ezekiel of Woburn 1630 to Marvin of Chicago 1917.

Ezekiel of Woburn.
Theopolis of Woburn.
John of Stafford Street.
Uriah of Stafford Street.
John of Devil's Hop Yard.
Warren of Wabbaquassett Lake.
Merrick of Chicago.
Arthur of Chicago.
Marvin of Chicago.

Of course, my brothers and cousins perpetuate this name, the same as I do. Collins and Gordon, my brothers, with Orino, the son of my Uncle Orson, alone have raised about twenty boys.

The living male descendants of Ezekiel, Samuel and Thomas, who carry our name, must now be more than one hundred thousand Richardsons, and I presume few of them trace back their relation more than three generations, but they could if they would.

MY GRANDMOTHER'S STORY

My grandmother, Judith Burroughs Richardson, who died in 1859, age 94, seemed in the evening of her life-day[13] to think, dream and commune with her ancestors and friends, who long since entered Paradise, and now seemed to be throwing back kisses to loved ones approaching that land of delight.

From her experience and traditional reminiscences I here give a condensed sketch of her apparent and vivid memories:

James Burroughs, her grandfather, was the son of the minister, George Burroughs, her great-grandfather, who was hanged at Salem, Mass., August 19, 1692, for being in league with the devil.

James was arrested soon after, but escaped from Salem jail and, under the name of Jim Hall, lived in Connecticut for several years. Later, under his right name, he married Winnie Richardson, a Stafford Street girl, and they settled near Brattleborough, Vermont, where grandmother's father, Amos Burroughs, was born.

After James died, her grandmother Winnie came to West Stafford to live with them. She died before grandma was born and was buried in the family lot near their house. Her gravestone was still standing when my father was old enough to go with his grandfather Amos Burroughs and see them.

The homestead where Winnie died and grandmother was born and married can be found by following the south road out of West Stafford and turning the first road to the right, across the brook and up the hill to the first farm scene.

Winnie's father, Theopolis, son of Ezekiel, and several other men with their families, came West when she was a little girl and took possession, or squat, on the northern rise of a highland plain, where a grand view of[14] the far-away Western mountains can be seen. They called their camp Stafford.

John, Winnie's brother, who was conducting an Indian trading post at Medford came on later, with his two brothers, Gershom and Paul, and opened up the famous Stafford Street, which was laid out twenty rods wide and about two miles long, the southern terminus being about one mile northeast of Stafford Springs.

John Richardson took up the first farm at the north entrance on the west side and Silas Dean took the first on the left, or east, side from the old campus on the hill at the north end of the street.

All between the walls, which was later changed to sixteen rods, was commons. The church in the center was used for spiritual devotion, recorder office and court of justice.

i18

ARRIVAL OF THE WOBURN PIONEERS AT STAFFORD STREET WHEN WINNIE RICHARDSON WAS TEN YEARS OF AGE. RECENT VIEW OF THE WESTERN HILLS FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMP.


[15]

RECORDS

The records of those New England pioneers are dim, as the Puritans considered church members only, as persons.

Boston records (Woburn), as we have seen, seem to extol Ezekiel.

Theopolis according to his will, must have been a financial success.

The Stafford Street records, I was informed by Mrs. Larned, who now lives on the old homestead, were kept in their family from the beginning until lately, when they became such a source of annoyance from ancestor seekers, like myself, that they sent them to the recorder's office at Stafford Springs.

At the recorder's office at Stafford Springs I found that John Richardson from Medford came to Stafford Street in 1726, this, though meager, acts as the official connecting link between Woburn and Stafford.

Another scrap I found was that Paul Richardson had taken land adjoining his brother, John Richardson, this identifies both John and Paul.

Regarding Gershom, the other one of the three brothers, I found this:

"Gershom Richardson, son of Gershom and Abigail, born in 1761."

This would make the elder Gershom Richardson contemporary with John and Paul.

[16]

E. Y. Fisk, an early settler, told me that a part of the early church records have been burned.

In the old graveyard just south of the brook which crosses Stafford Street still remains the headstone of Lot Dean, who died in 1818.

Lot would be of the next generation from Silas Dean, who took the farm opposite John Richardson.

Near the grave of Lot are the headstones of Uriah Richardson and his wife Miriam, who died October 18, 1785, at the age of 75. Uriah must have been all right, for Miriam, who died twenty years later, had had inscribed on his headstone:

"The memory of the just is blessed."

Grandmother remembered Uriah, the son of John and the father of John, her husband.

Now while the traditions, records and gravestones may prove each in themselves to be weak evidence, together they form an unbroken chain from Ezekiel down to our times.

i22

ANCIENT CEMETERY OF THE STAFFORD STREET PIONEERS WHERE MOST OF THE GRAVE STONES ARE FOUND BROKEN AND IN THE WALL WHICH IS BUILT AROUND THE LOT.
LEFT TO RIGHT. M. A. RICHARDSON. WALTER SKINNER. LUCIUS ABORN.


[17]

OLD HOMESTEAD

With my interesting nieces, Joe and Lina Newell, one bright summer day, I visited the ancient homes of the Stafford Street, Conn., Richardsons.

E. Y. Fisk and his son now possess the historical property. The son from Springfield, who was haying there at the time, invited us and all the other Richardson tribe to come and camp on the homestead grounds, sit on the old walls, gaze over the western mountains and even coquet with the star Venus evenings, all of which look now the same as when our ancestors saw them 200 years ago.

That day, July 19, 1916, with those girls, viewing the scenes and taking pictures of the surroundings, imprinted on my mind an oasis of beauty ever awaiting recall as I journey over the trackless sands of time.

The present seemed to pass away as the past unfolded its charms while we were reminded of the long ago.

Sacredly we listened to the voice of Mother Mary calling Winnie from the kitchen door, saw the men in homespun shirts and trousers coming up from the meadow below. Heard the careless boy whistling while unyoking the lazy oxen. Saw old dog Towser sleeping in the shade. And in the pasture far away we seemed to hear the faint tinkling of the cow bell on the brindle steer.

Day dreams, says one.

Imagination, says another.

[18]

May it not be that when death removes this earthly garment, we will again realize that the past, present, and future are one.

If the image of the face before me now is the retention of the face I saw yesterday, may not all fiction, invention and imagination be retention of occurences we can only recall in parts?

The power of recall is mysterious. If we dream of the dead as living when we know that they are dead, but we cannot recall that which we know, may we not know of pre-existence but lack the power to recall?

Thus Lina, Joe and myself spent a happy summer day on the New England hills, which we will pleasantly recall when the cold winds of winter rattle the doors and windows and we are hugging the radiators.


[19]

JIM HALL

During the days of the New England pioneers our early church had more trouble in evolutionizing Christianity from bigotry than in driving the red man from his native lair. Therefore, as the records show my ancestors to have been entangled in this muss, I have arranged, in this family record, and the story of my life, the story of Winnie and Jim.

One warm May evening, in 1693, a stranger, who said his name was James Hall, appeared at the door of Deacon Felker's home in Stafford, Conn., and applied for a job. His face betokened firmness, his speech was clear and distinct, while a tinge of sadness seemed to pervade his distant smile.

He claimed to be a good chopper and, as the deacon was now clearing up his future home in the New England wilderness, he soon bargained with Jim for all the season.

Hall soon became a favorite in the colony, broke all the unruly steers, saddled the ugly colts, collared Bill Jones, the terror of the town, and thrashed him soundly; but did not attend church until the influence of Winnie Richardson changed hatred to forgiveness.


[20]

LOVE SPATS

For some weeks the Felkers had had many callers, who sympathized deeply with the poor broken-hearted mother over her lost Juda among the Indians, but time, the blessed obliterator of all earthly troubles, soon brought forward other scenes and changes, and people laughed, joked and enjoyed themselves at Stafford as usual.

Winnie Richardson and her father were over to see the Felkers almost every day and Mr. Richardson would hear nothing about the pay for the colt which the Indians had stolen from Jim while searching for Juda, saying he had another one as nice, which, if Jim would come over and break, so Winnie could ride it, he would call it square.

One evening Winnie came over and, as was her custom, fluttered around and fussed over Jim, bandaging up his sore foot, which he had hurt during the hunt for Juda. Then she made tea for Mrs. Felker and slicked up the room, while Jim lay back in the chair and watched all her movements.

Jim felt almost like crying, he was so worn out and heart-broken over the loss of little Juda. Everyone knows how sweet home and friends seem under such circumstances; but here was Winnie, who had won his heart, and he wanted to tell her so, but she would not let him.

"Winnie," he said, in as a careless a manner as he was capable of, "you do not know how much that new gown becomes you."

i29

WINNIE RICHARDSON, WAITING ON THE EASTERN BLUFFS OF OLD WABBAQUASSETT.

[21]

"Thanks, Jim, I'm glad you like it; do you know I have worked on it ever since you went away? I was so worried about you I had to work or ride old Dan, to keep from going wild. Several times I rode down to the Springs, followed the trail around the west bend way up to old Wabbaquassett, around to the eastern highlands from where I gazed across the pretty waves, hoping to see you coming, but saw only Nipmunk maidens sporting in their canoes."

"Then, if I had never come back, Winnie, I suppose you would have worked on that gown and ridden to Wabbaquassett Lake all the remainder of your life."

"I do not know. I know I wanted you to come home."

Jim was encouraged. This was more than she had ever said before, so he ventured to say, "Winnie, come here and give me your hand."

She came forward, and placing her hand in his, said, laughingly, "Well, Jim, what?"

"Now, Winnie, why were you worried for fear I would not come home and what did you want me to come back for?"

"Why, Jim, are you so simple as all that? You know that father expects you to break his colts in the spring, besides he thinks he cannot get along without your opinion on cabbages and turnips, then why would it not worry me? Now, Jim, I'm going home, and I want you to limp over tomorrow and see me, and stay all day, and we will have a good visit. But, really, Jim, you must not talk serious to me; you must give up that." Both were silent a moment and then she continued: "There, James Hall, has that little lecture almost killed you? I see you[22] have the dumps. That will never do. Look up here, Mr. Hall, have you forgotten that Miss Richardson is present?"

Jim looked up and endeavored to catch her eye, but no use. When she saw how pitiful he looked she burst out laughing and walked away with her chin way up high, then came back with a smile, bade him good-night, and she was gone.

Jim was in trouble. Mrs. Felker was delirious with grief. Little Juda, the sunshine of the home, was gone, and Winnie had told him plainly he must abandon all serious thoughts. He lay awake way into the night and formed his plans thus: "I will not go over to Richardsons in the morning, nor the next day nor the next, and perhaps never. I will take my axe and go up among the old hickory trees and work from sun to sun and try to banish little Juda from my mind, and also try to forget what a fool I am; fool—fool—of course I am, tossing around here all night over a girl that does not care for me. The idea of my consulting with her father over a cabbage patch. I think Jim Hall is not quite dead gone yet—no, I will not show my face there again very soon, of course not. Now I will turn over and go to sleep." But poor Jim, like many others, would like to forget his Winnie, but could not. Winnie had won his heart. She had come to stay.

Morning came and as the sun banished the dew from the grass, so daylight had upset all of Jim's plans concerning the hickory logs. He did not want to see Winnie in particular—no, but then he must not treat Mr. Richardson shabbily because Winnie had misused him. "Oh, I'll go over, of course I will, and visit the old folks, and if I see her I will pass the time of day to her—that is all."

i33

GOOD MORNING, MISS RICHARDSON!

[23]

He found the old gent out feeding pigs and soon they were engaged in a friendly conversation. When they turned into the house, Aunt Mary came briskly forward to greet him and asked many questions concerning his long hunt for Juda among the Indians, which he could have answered more sensibly had he not been expecting Winnie. Of course, he was not anxious to see her, but he wondered where she was.

"Jim," said Mr. Richardson, "you will find plenty of those early apples down in the orchard if you care for them." So Mr. Hall started through the orchard and came spat upon Winnie by the wild rose bush, on the orchard wall.

"Good morning, Miss Richardson," he said, as he extended his hand in a cold businesslike manner.

Winnie paid no attention to his good morning, but brushing aside his extended hand she began fixing a white rose in the buttonhole of his coat as she said in a soft tone: "Jim, how would you feel if you were a girl and had gone and primed yourself all up nice so as to look sweet as possible, waiting for your fellow to come and say, 'Hello, Winnie, how sweet you look this morning!' but instead to see him come stalking through the trees as though he was monarch of all he surveyed, saying 'good morning, Miss Richardson.' Now, own up, Jim, that you deliberately planned that scheme to frighten me."

"Well, but you see, my dear."

"Yes, Jim, I see. I know all about it. You have been nerving yourself up to show that you did not care for me. You did it nicely. I thought you could not hold out more than a minute, but I think you did about two. And[24] now you're smiling, calling me dear, and will not let go of my hand. You did not sleep well last night, did you?"

"No, I did not."

"Was Mrs. Felker nervous?"

"Yes, she did not sleep a wink before two o'clock."

"And how about Frank?"

"Oh, he always sleeps like a log."

"Say, Jim, why do you take such an interest in Frank; where did the Felkers get him?"

"Boston, or somewhere East."

"What is his name?"

"Burroughs, they say."

"Burroughs—Burroughs—he did not come from Salem, did he?"

Winnie, noticing Jim's emotion, turned back to the original theme and continued: "And I suppose Juda was on your mind?"

"Yes, she was, and still I know it is wrong to worry about her, but I shall never cease to love that little angel. You know, I have lots of love letters she wrote me? She used to bring them over into the lot herself and then turn her back while I read them. She said she could not bear to see a man read a love letter. She was like her mother, artful as she could be. She used to enjoy our love spats, as she called them; she would pretend to get mad and go pouting around all day and expect me to come and make up with her, and sometimes it required lots of coaxing, but, of course, she always gave in at last. You see, now she is gone, I cannot help thinking about those things, and that is not all the trouble with me, either."

"That is enough, Jim. You need not tell your other[25] troubles. Come along to the grove, I want to talk with you."

Following the cart path they entered the woods, when she turned quickly and said: "Jim, I have something on my mind which I wish to unload, and you will not think me silly even if I am wrong?"

"No, no," he replied with a searching look. "I like to have you confide in me."

"Do you know, Jim, that I think there is a possible chance yet to find Juda alive."

He sprang to his feet as he exclaimed, "Tell me, Winnie, tell me all you know!"

"Do not get excited; I have no proof. Tell, me, Jim, all about the first day you were out hunting for Juda, who you saw and what they said?"

After he had gone through with the particulars she asked: "How many Indians camped at Wabbaquassett Lake that first night?"

"Only four, besides those regular lake dwellers."

"Did you see them all at one time?"

"Yes, we saw the four and talked with them. They came from the West."

"Were they Mohawks?"

"No, they were Narragansetts."

"Well, if Juda had been with the camp when you and Frank came upon them, could they have concealed her?"

"Certainly, but I do not think she was there."

"I do not think, Jim, she was killed by the wolves," said Winnie, as she frowned thoughtfully while looking on the ground. "If she is dead the Indians killed her."

"Did not you and all the neighbors, after we had gone, find the place where the wolves had killed her?"

[26]

"Oh, yes, Jim, I was there, but those Indians are so cunning. You see they broke camp about noon and that must have been about the time she would have arrived there. Now, if she arrived at the camp after they had gone, she could have come back home, but if lost, why did she not hear the calls for her, for the wolves disturb no one until after dark."

"Suppose your theory is true, Winnie, what steps would you take to find her?"

"Will you do what I want you to do about it?"

"Yes, Winnie, I feel like Queen Esther, when risking her life for her people."

"Queen Esther? Jim Hall, who taught you the Bible?"

He studied a moment and then said: "Go on about Juda, please."

Winnie scrutinized him keenly, then turned from the painful subject and continued about Juda. "I want you to wait several months until the Indians think we have given her up, then go quietly among the tribes; you know you talk all their tongues, and if you find her, Jim, I will love you for your bravery, and if you do not, the endeavor ought to count some. Now I suppose you want to go in and visit with papa and mamma."

"Y-e-s."

"What makes you drag out that 'yes' so long?"

"I thought you might like to take a walk in the grove."

"If you had not been so cross to me this morning."

"Well—but, I really did think—"

"What has changed your mind, Mr. Hall?"

"Well, Winnie."

"Well, Jim, say, do you really want to make up? Oh, catch me, Jim, my heart—my heart!"

[27]

Jim sprang and saved her from falling into the brook, as she pushed him from her and began laughing.

"Oh, Winnie, you do not know how you did frighten me, you are a roguish girl, but I like you and think you a perfect pet."

"Perfect pet—get out. Did you know John Bragg was over to see me?"

"John Bragg?"

"Yes, John Bragg."

"I thought you had given him up?"

"Oh, no. I did think when you and I came home from church on the black colt, it would give him a shock, but he is all the more attentive. Think of it, all the fathers and mothers have had their daughters cooing around him for the last three years and he does not bite, but is in great agony over me. Now, what can I do? I will have to marry him to get rid of him, won't I?"

"To get rid of him?"

"Oh, Jim, but his father is rich. You see, it is dignified to have such a beau. He came over last night after I left you and said his father had bought of Mr. Converse a beautiful saddle horse and he wanted me to take a ride on it, but when I told him I was engaged he looked downcast. He proposed to bring over his sister Lydia and, if it pleased you, we would all go up to the west bend fishing together and have a fish fry. What do you thing of that?"

"I would be delighted to go."

"Yes, but he will expect to escort me and leave you to attend to Lydia."

"That is all right; I like Lydia."

"You do?"

"Of course, I do."

[28]

"But, Jim, you are older than Lydia."

"I do not think she cares for that by what she said."

"What she said? When was all this talk?"

"Oh, not long ago."

"Not long ago? Look around here, James Hall!" At this he smiled and she said, "There, now, you were fooling me—own up that it was not true."

"It may not be exactly true, but bordering on the truth."

"What do you mean by bordering on the truth?"

"I actually saw her."

"Did you talk that way to her?"

"Oh, no; we did not speak."

"There, Jim, now I like you just a little bit; sort of sisterly love, you know. That is all, Jim—do you hear?"

"No," he said, drawing her to him. "I did not catch that last sentence. Come a little nearer, Winnie."

"Never! Never! James Hall," she said, withdrawing with a flushed face. "You are holding a secret from me and unless you confide all, Winnie Richardson will die an old maid."

"Thank God," he replied, with irony, "That cuts off John Bragg."

"John is already cut off. I love the tracks you make in the dust more than I do him, but no girl should allow herself to follow a love trail into a snare. You may be all right. I think you are, but do not advance another shade until I know all."

Jim dried her falling tears as caressingly as he dared, but the mystery still remained.

Winnie turned and gazed to the far away hills, but she did not see them, for her soul was silently summoning courage for the trying ordeal. Jim could but see in her[29] the model of pure virtue and loveliness, as she turned to him, saying:

"Is your name James Hall?"

"No."

"Were you ever married?"

"Yes."

"Is your wife alive?"

"No."

"What is your name?"

"James Burroughs."

"Is your father alive?"

"No."

"What was his name?"

"George Burroughs."

"Where did he die?"

"Salem."

"When?"

"August 19, 1692."

"Was he that George Burroughs?" Here Winnie's voice failed, and Jim answered, "He was."

Winnie stepped back while her thin lips parted and seemed to look as white as the ivories between them.

"Was your wife that beautiful Fanny Shepherd, who died with a broken heart at Casco Bay, after the report of your death?"

"She was."

Winnie stood a moment as if to satisfy herself that the world was real and she was not dreaming, then coming softly forward she sat on his knee and putting her arm around his neck began kissing him, while she said: "Mother is to have hot biscuits, butter and honey for supper, and we must go now, and after that I will give her a hint of what has happened, and we will take to the[30] parlor and you must tell me the story of your life, and you may talk just as serious as you please. Now, Jim, I want you to hug and kiss me for keeps."

Father and mother were puzzled to conjecture what had caused the turn in the tide, for the distance between Winnie and Jim had suddenly disappeared, and Winnie began bossing him around, just like regular married folks.

"Jim," said Winnie, as they entered the parlor. "Your clothes do not fit, your boots are too big, and your hair is too long. Oh, dear me, after we are married what a time I will have fixing you up. What makes you smile?"

"Who has said anything about marrying, Winnie?"

"I did."

"When is all this to take place?"

"Oh, it will be several months yet. You know, papa and mamma will want me to look nice and I will have to make all my new clothes. Now begin your story."

"Will you promise not to cry, Winnie?"

"Really, I will try. But think of it, it seems to me something like one rising from the dead; and still, believe me, dear, something of this kind impressed me from the day you arrived in Stafford, nearly eight years ago. If I should tell you my dreams you would call me visionary, but I will tell that some other time. Now begin and I will be good except when I want to pet you."


[31]

JIM'S STORY

I was born in Boston, May 1, 1670. My father, George Burroughs, then an ordained minister, was traveling on a circuit, preaching in stores, schoolhouses or any place where it was convenient, as most preachers did at that time. When I was four years old we moved to Salem, where father had charge of the Salem Mission, and when I was twelve years of age my mother died.

Father's liberal views did not please Samuel Harris and several other officials of the church, and they petitioned the presiding elder that he be removed.

Soon father learned that a settlement at Casco Bay, Maine, a landing on the coast nearly 100 miles north of Salem, had no preacher, so accordingly, one morning after a friend had given us our lodging, breakfast and two dollars in money, we started on foot for Casco Bay. The evening before leaving, we had spent several hours fixing up mother's grave, and as we passed by the yard the next morning we went in and knelt, and I remember how father thanked God that our angel mother had passed to the land of dreams, "Where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest."

On our way along the north shore road, father preached several times, for which the people lodged, fed and gave us some money. On arriving at our destination, father announced that he would preach next morning, Sunday, in Gordon Richardson's barn. Well do I remember[32] the text, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give ye rest." I noticed all paid close attention and some shed tears, and when we sang, all joined in and it seems to me I have never heard such voices since. It was a bright, clear summer day, all the little settlement was quiet, and when those standing outside joined in the chorus the peaceful strains seemed to waft my soul far away and make me think that I was with my mother.

After it was over Lucius Aborn, when shaking hands, said, "Your talk suits me, Mr. Burroughs, and although I'm not a church-going man, here is my dollar, and I want you and the boy to come right up to my house and stay six or eight weeks, and we will all pitch in and find you a place to live and preach."

CASCO BAY

Oh, how well we prospered in that little one-horse town, where there was little money, but the fields, orchards and gardens brought forth their fruit abundantly, while fish and game were plenty. The business center consisted of one large grocery and notion store, a sawmill, gristmill, fish and game market, and several large storehouses. I soon found employment in the store which was kept by Obadiah Stubbs, where I worked while I was not in school as long as I lived there.

At the end of one year, father had ninety members in his flock, and was still preaching in the schoolhouse. Eight years after our arrival, the congregation had built a commodious log and plastered church and father was receiving four hundred dollars salary, while I had saved two hundred dollars. With this and father's savings, we bought the Dimmick place, a comfortable village home.

[33]

On my twenty-first birthday I married Fanny Shepherd, a beautiful blue-eyed girl of eighteen, when we, with father, moved into our new quarters, and as Mr. Stubbs had proposed taking me in as a partner, we looked forward to a happy and prosperous life.

Father's affectionate acts and words to Fanny caused her to love him and, when we were blessed with a little baby boy, our happiness was complete, but, oh, how little did I dream of the dark storm that was gathering on yonder horizon, whose distant thunder I could not hear, and angry lightning I could not see, but whose dark mantle, when spread over, would cause me to bow down in grief, such as few ever realize.

DEACON HOBBS

Deacon Hobbs, returning in March, from Salem, stated in open church that he had learned that George Burroughs was not a regularly ordained minister, even if he once had been, and if he received spiritual aid, as he claimed, it was not the spirit of God, but that of the devil. He advised all members to beware of wolves in sheep clothing.

Father replied: "'An evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit.' Look to the right and left, Deacon Hobbs, and view the two hundred members working in the Master's vineyard. Compare my life of the past few years with yours. I, with my son's assistance, and the liberality of my flock, have saved enough to buy a modest home, while you have sponged up nearly half the wealth of this town. Your barns, storehouses, and pockets are full. I have not charged usury for money, cheated the red man out of his honest dues or trampled upon the rights of widows and orphans; all these things you have done. I[34] think I divine your purpose; but now listen, you steeple of soulless piety, neither insinuations nor acts will intimidate me. Not for an extension of this momentary life would I budge one hair to the right or left from the path my Master has laid out for me. He knows it all, and why should I fear?" At this point Hobbs left the church.


[35]

THE ARREST

On May 4, 1692, father, Fanny and myself were at the table with the baby boy in father's arms, he saying that it did not seem to him that the whole family was there unless he had the baby on his knee. As dear Fanny was joking him about feeding a baby two weeks old, two officers stepped into the room and read a warrant to him. It was for the arrest of George Burroughs as being suspected of being in complicity with the Devil. The warrant was dated Boston, April 30th, 1692. (See Boston Records.)

Without permission to bid us privately good-bye, his hands were shackled, he was placed on a horse, and they rode away at full gallop.

Fanny was in no condition to be left alone, but she urged me to saddle her father's horse at once and follow on. Soon the horse was waiting for me, but she could not let me go, she wept so bitterly while she flung her lovely arms around my neck, but at last with one sweet kiss she bade me hasten and said she would go home to Father Shepherd's until I returned.

Fanny, oh, Fanny! How little did I think the heart which loved me so fondly would soon be silent in the grave and I a fugitive and a wanderer—no friends, no home, and no one to love me.

Twenty miles away I caught up with them, when we rode nearly three days, with father's hands unnecessarily shackled, most of the time. The second day he said:[36] "Jimmy, this is my last earthly ride. The church is in error and will continue its injustice until some tragedy awakens the people, then it will be restrained. I may as well suffer as another. Jesus intends righteousness to eventually govern His church, but his professed followers are often blind to truth and righteousness, and will be until some great wrong is committed whereby they can place right against wrong for compromise. Do not weep, my boy, soon, in a moment as it were, you and I will stand before the judge, and who will this judge be? Our lives, just the plain record of our lives. There and then we can easily forgive those who have wronged us, but if we have wronged others, will their forgiveness to us set us free? Not unless a higher power steps in. Oh, this will be all right, my son, when the sunlight of Jesus shall awaken us to the new born day. I was thinking last night how glad I was that Jesus had already pleaded my cause. Oh, yes, the cause of poor unworthy me. Pray, pray, humbly my brave boy. Pray that you enter not into temptation and seek revenge. Do not forget that your Heavenly Father knows your inmost secret thoughts, and when you pray ask Jesus to forgive my tormentors, for as he said on Calvary, 'They know not what they do.'"

I will omit the bitter experience I passed through during father's sham trial and cruel execution.


[37]

THE MARTYRS

The public records of the execution of the Salem martyrs were:

June 10, 1692.

Bridget Bishop.

July 19, 1692.

Sarah Good, Sarah Wildes, Lizzie Howe, Rebecca Nurse, Susanna Martin.

August 19, 1692.

George Burroughs, John Proctor, George Jacobs, John Willard, Martha Carrier.

September 19, 1692.

Giles Corey.

September 22, 1692.

Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Margaret Scott, Wilmot Reed, Samuel Wardwell, Mary Parker.

Abel Pike, John Richardson, Mary Parsons, Annie Hibbins, Margaret Jones, and others were known to have been executed, but there is no record of their arrest or trial at Salem. On the gallows, Richardson said: "Go on with your hanging, I do not want to live in a world with such fools."


[38]

THE ESCAPE

The evening after father's execution I started for Casco Bay, and on arriving at a tavern about ten miles out, I found two officers awaiting me. I was at once taken back to the same prison and placed in a cell to await my turn on gallows hill.

The jailer, whom I had know when a boy, said his orders were to give me bread and water once a day. He was a man about my size, but I knew that I was stronger than he; besides in a struggle for life, I believed my guardian angel would increase my power. I concluded that if once outside the jail, with ten minutes the start, I could reach the woods and make my way to some far-away Indian tribe and in time come and take Fanny and the baby to live with me among the natives, who, now, to me, seemed angels.

Accordingly, when he came about noon the third day, I pointed to the wall back of him, saying, "What is that?" and when he turned, I slipped my hand under his arm and seized him by the throat, and with the other in his long hair I broke him backwards over my knee to the ground, continuing my deadly grip until he ceased to struggle and lay like one dead. Then, quickly, before he revived, I slipped on his official garb and drawing his hat over my face started for the door, which I passed through and slammed behind me. Then lazily locking it and dangling the bunch of keys I had taken from him I walked towards Cotton Mather, who was standing, his[39] back to me, and unlocked one of the cells. Then, as he did not notice me, I passed him, and on turning towards the outer door I saw the jailer's assistant, who was talking to a female prisoner, whom I also passed without interruption. Stepping into the free world, I locked the door behind me, leaving the keys in the door, and walked down the road, to a woodshed, where I threw off the official garb and ran to the woods for dear life.

I now worked my way to Casco Bay with great difficulty. I could not travel nights, for fear of the wolves, so I crept cautiously along in the daytime through the woods and came down and slept in barns nights, where I usually found milk or eggs; and on the fifth day, as the sun was setting, I arrived in an opening on what we called Chestnut Hill, and looked down on the village of Casco Bay.


[40]

STUBBS' STORE

Oh, I wanted to see Fanny so badly, but I knew I was on dangerous ground, as officers would surely be waiting for me, and probably at Father Shepherd's was where they would expect to find me. Accordingly I decided to wait until midnight and then go down to Mr. Stubbs' store, where I had worked so many years, and could easily gain entrance, and hide among the boxes and lie there through the day to learn from overhearing what was going on about the village. So after breaking into the store and eating my fill of Stubbs' crackers and cheese, I fixed my nest under the dirty old front counter and fell asleep.

In the morning I heard the boy unlock the store, which reminded me of the times I first came there. He walked directly on the brown sugar hogshead and stood and ate for about three minutes, and then began to hunt for the broom while with his mouth full of cheese he tried to whistle a lively tune.

Soon another boy came in and I heard him say, "Hello, Ralph, did you hear about the 'tectives?"

"'Tectives—what is a 'tective?"

"Why, don't you know, Ralph? I have always known that. Besides father told us all about it this morning. They are officers with their coats buttoned up, and you would think they were real men until they catch you and take you to jail and hang you; so father says."

"Gracious alive! Have you seen a live one, Bill?"

[41]

"No, I never have, but father has. He said there were two hanging around Uncle William's last night. He thinks they are the same ones which carried off our minister, and he says he don't know who they are after unless it is Jim Burroughs, and it can't be him, either, for he is dead, they say the Indians or wolves have eat him up."

"Golly, that's strange, Bill. Maybe they're after Jim's wife. You know them pleggy ministers at Salem kill lots of good folks."

"Oh, no, Ralph, no 'tectives haven't touched her, because she's got a baby, besides she is awful sick. When she heard Jim was dead she went right into spazumbs or something, and she is going to die. Why, she moans so loud we can hear her clear over to our house. Mother said she was crazy all day and thought that Jim was at the foot of the bed and would not take her in his arms. She kept saying, 'Oh, Jim, Jim, don't you love me any more, won't you let me put my arms around your neck and kiss you once more before I die?'"

Here the conversation ended, and I could see Ralph with his arm on Bill's shoulder both sobbing and wiping the tears with their dirty sleeve and I bowed my face down and moaned until Ralph said, "What was that noise?"

Stubbs came in and said, "Ralph, why have you not swept the floor?"

"Because I can't find the broom. Besides Bill has been telling me all about how sick Jim Burroughs' wife is, and how there is 'tectives around here to catch some one—I think you had better look out."

[42]

"It isn't 'tectives, Ralph, say detectives. Do wipe the sugar off your mouth and speak more proper."

"Didn't know there was sugar on my mouth—Oh, yes, there was a lump fell out of the hogshead when I was sweeping, and it was so dirty that I did not like to put it back into the clean sugar, so I ate it."

"I thought you said you had not swept, for you could not find the broom."

"Oh—I—yes—say, Mr. Stubbs, did you ever see a live detective?"

"Now, that will do, Ralph; never mind the sweeping; go and count Mrs. Armstrong's eggs, for she is waiting. Now, Ralph, do not count double-yelk eggs for two any more, do you understand?"

"I don't see why, as long as there might be a rooster and a pullet."

"Yes—yes—Mrs. Armstrong, he is coming as soon as he grasps the cause of twins."

PAUL DIMOCK

Stubbs and the boy now trudged around the store waiting on customers until about 10 o'clock, when Paul Dimock came in and engaged Stubbs in an undertone, but being directly over my head, I could hear all. "I have learned," said Dimock, "that two detectives are stopping at Deacon Hobbs', and have been several days, and no one knows who they are looking for."

"You see, Paul," said Stubbs, "that Hobbs was instrumental in Brother Burroughs' arrest, and I have been told his daughter, Abigail, swore at Salem that she saw two black devils standing behind Brother Burroughs while praying—"

[43]

At this point a third party came in, and I recognized the well-known voice of Susan Beaver.

"Isn't it awful about Deacon Hobbs?" she said. "I suppose that is your secret? Why, I do think it is just terrible."

"What news, Mrs. Beaver? What have you heard?"

"Why, last night when Tom came home late, he said he saw two strangers come out of the woods and sneak into the deacon's house. So, out of curiosity, Sarah and I slid around and peeped in at the window, and sure enough there they were, eating supper and the deacon was—hush, there comes old Hobbs now."

"Good afternoon, Deacon," said Stubbs, "what is the news?"

"Bad news, awful bad. They say Fanny Burroughs is very low. My heart aches for that family. James was a good boy, and I wonder if anyone knows for certain that he is dead. I think possibly he may be among the Indians yet, although Shepherds' folks are sure he is dead, or he would come to Fanny. I suppose you have no particulars. Then there was George, his father, that they hung down at Salem. I wonder where they got evidence to convict him? To be sure, he and I did not exactly agree as to our religious views, but I never took that to heart, and would have done all I could to have saved him, even if he was not a regular ordained minister. I think from his record here that he was honest, don't you, Mr. Dimock?"

"Yes, Deacon Hobbs, I do. And James, his son, was an honest, upright and worthy citizen, and whoever was instrumental in causing those officers at Salem to come into our midst and take them away and murder them outright will surely repent when it is too late. I believe[44] they have imprisoned Jim, and either have or will hang him, for the report of his being killed by the Indians, or wolves, may have come direct from Salem. Oh, Mr. Hobbs, it shatters my faith, that our Heavenly Father allows such men to live. This is terrible," he uttered, as he wiped the perspiration from his face and repeated, "terrible, terrible." Then as if aroused by wrong, he raised his voice as he faced the deacon, and continued: "Deacon Hobbs, I am no more safe than they were. If an officer should come in here now and arrest me for complicity with the devil, I should consider it my death knell, would you not?"

"Well, really," began the deacon, "I do not know. You see, I have been down to Salem and talked with Cotton Mather and others prominent in the church, and they seem to be worthy Christians. I have thought George Burroughs may have been convicted of some other crime. You see, the prison is closely guarded and all we get is hearsay."


[45]

SUSAN BEAVER

The reader will remember that Susan Beaver was talking when the deacon came in, and now stood listening to his subterfuge, and Dimock's stinging insinuations. As I remember Susan, she was short, stout, with black eyes, glistening teeth, and quick movements. She tried to keep silent, but now her cup of wrath was full, and reached the high-water mark, where danger could not restrain the break, and she broke:

"Deacon Hobbs, you miserable old liar, I saw the detectives in your house myself. Maybe they're waiting to take my husband to Salem. If so, you can inform them that they can never cross our threshold unless it is over my dead body. You say you do not know much about it. Was not Abigail at Salem, swearing against the minister? Did not you both swear he was in league with the Devil? Now you say he may have been convicted of some other crime. George Burroughs, that worthy Christian minister, defile his name, now he is dead, will you? Oh, you ought not to live another minute," and suiting the action to the word, she sprang across the store to the old cheese box. Now, I knew the cheese knife was long and heavy, and in the hands of a desperate woman. Bang-slam-bang, they went around and around the store, he holding a chair before him and crying, "Help! Murder!" while she struck out wildly without speaking a word. Dimock and Stubbs sprang[46] in to save the deacon's life, but when I peeped through the crack and saw the broad grin on Dimock's face, I concluded their interference was not genuine. The deacon worked around the counter, when she sprang on top and had him in a trap, at which he dropped his chair and ran and plunged through the window headlong. After he had escaped, and Susan had time to think, she sat down and began to cry, but on being assured by Dimock that no one would think the less of her, she left the store.

While Paul was helping board up the broken window, I overheard Stubbs ask him: "Do you consider Cotton Mather and his associates murderers?"

"Oh, no," was the reply, "not exactly that. It is a phenomenal wave of insanity. Similar waves have spread their gloomy pall over the innocent, long before Joshua put the women and children to death at Jericho. These Salemites are at war with the Devil on the same principle that one nation wars with another; they justify themselves through a spasmodic lunacy, that duty calls them to kill their fellow beings.

"God works in a mysterious way. Cotton Mather may be blind. He may be a tool in the hand of a higher power. Finite beings do not comprehend the infinite. If God permits, does He not sanction? These cruelties will have a tendency to humanize Christianity. When years have passed and Brother Burroughs thinks over earthly life he will not regret that his Maker called him home at noon. Friendship and love will increase towards the Burroughs family. They are just leaving their lights along the shore. The love of Jesus will spread when the church shall have hatched out of its shell of ignorance; then it will stand on a higher and more liberal plane;[47] midnight to us may be morning to the angels. Do you know, Stubbs, what is the main trouble with the human family?"

"I do not, Paul. What is it?"

"It is that they know less than they are aware of."

After the store had been closed and Stubbs was working on his books, I heard the door open and some one come in.

"Good evening, doctor. How is Fanny Burroughs?"

The doctor came near and replied in an almost inaudible voice, "She is dead." The little bullet-headed doctor was affected, for I could hear his voice tremble. "Oh, well," he replied to Stubbs' inquiry, "She had no disease, the poor girl actually died of a broken heart. Such suffering I never saw before, but when she did go if you had seen her, Stubbs, you would never question the theory of life beyond dissolution of the body. She raised her eyes upwards, smiled so sweetly and said: 'Oh, father, father, where is Jim?' I am sorry, Stubbs, I have not led a better life, for I have known Fanny Shepherd since she was born and if God will forgive the past, I will turn over a new leaf and try to meet her when I die. I know now that our minister, whom I always ridiculed, was right there in the room with us when she was dying. Besides, Mr. Stubbs, I believe Jim is alive, for if he had been dead he would have been the first one for her to recognize. You see, she was expecting to see him and he was not there."

Here Jim's heart and voice seemed to fail and Winnie put her arm around his neck and they sobbed convulsively for a moment and then continued.

When all was still I crept from my hiding place, washed my face, but could not eat. As usual, the shutters[48] were closed, so I lit a candle and began to rummage around the store. I found Stubbs had a new musket with a horn of powder and a bag of shot, and as I knew he would gladly give them to me, I took them. Then I waited until near dawn, when I went out to the hill in the woods and stayed all day, on the very spot where I had spent many happy hours with Fanny. I could look down into the room where I had courted and wedded my dear Fanny, and could see part on one of her arms, as her body lay near the window, in Father Shepherd's house. Also I saw the village carpenter making my Fanny's coffin and a stranger digging her grave. That night I slept in the store again and the next day, from the same hill, I saw them lower her body into the grave, but my heart was locked in despair; I could not weep.


[49]

REVENGE

At night I came down and went to the grave. The distant stars seemed to be shedding their soft light on a lonely world, while the moon about setting cast her ghastly beams among the chestnut trees, making the scene, oh, so lonely, in that silent little graveyard. Out upon the cold waters of the bay I could see the silver waves glisten in the moonlight among the familiar bayous, which I should never see again, while far beyond the bosom of the great Atlantic seemed to heave a sigh of grief at my loneliness. I fell upon dear Fanny's grave, kissed the clay and wondered if she was there. Then breathing a long farewell, I folded my hands in prayer, asking God to forgive me for the crime I was about to commit.

Hastily I then walked towards Stubbs' store, resolved to settle with Deacon Hobbs and then turn my back on white man forever. I entered the store and wrote on a slip of brown paper: "Obadiah Stubbs, a friend has taken your gun and ammunition," and placed the slip in the cash drawer.

When outside of the store I walked lively to the deacon's nearest storehouse, then ran from one to the other, and at last set fire to his home, then stepped back into the lilac bushes and cocked my gun.

Soon I saw great curls of smoke ascending from the storehouses on the wharf, then the barns and sheds, and now the home had caught fire. Then seeing the family[50] in danger, to awaken them I seized a rock and dashed it through the window.

The family were now aroused and Hobbs ran to the well for water, when I raised my gun, but a shadow came before me, and I could not see him. Again he ran out and again I raised the gun, determined to kill him, just as I felt a soft pressure on my shoulder and turning quickly I found myself alone. Then I knew I must not.

As I walked away from old Chestnut Hill, I gave one last, lingering look. It was now daybreak, and as I gazed down on the little village where I had spent so many happy days I saw that all of Deacon Hobbs' wealth had ascended into smoke. Stubbs' old store looked as dingy and dirty as ever. Father's church, on which I had often looked so fondly, now seemed silently waiting to catch the first glimmer of the morning sun as it came to give light and life to the hills and valleys of old New England. Father Shepherd's house, the door through which I had passed so many times with a light heart, were all plain to my view. Once more I looked through the trees to the grave of Fanny and walked away.


[51]

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

About noon, the first day out, I met three Indians and we took lunch together, they furnishing bear meat and I cheese and crackers, which I had borrowed from Stubbs. After this I trudged on, following an old trail in a westerly direction, hoping to find Indians who could give me shelter for the night, but finding none, I started a fire at dark to scare the wolves away and prepared to stay in the woods alone.

As darkness came on and my fire lit up the woods, I was lonely and yearned for a friend, while a strangeness came over me which caused me to shudder. The excitement had past, and I was left to contemplate as to the course I had taken and where my pathway of life might be leading me. I saw myself, as only a short time before, a promising young man of the wild wood harbor village; but now alone in the wilderness, soon to be a ragged, friendless outcast. Was my condition better or worse than Fanny's or father's? Silently I knelt and implored the unseen to forgive all and keep me pure in heart as I wended my way over mountains of trouble and through vales of temptation.

While pondering I heard the flapping of wings, and a large owl came and lit on a dry limb above me and began its lonely hooting. The night was still, save the occasional bark of a wolf and the echo of the bird's dreary chant, which under ordinary circumstances would have startled[52] me, but now rising to my feet I gazed at the intruder with an eye of gladness and longed to caress him as a friend, while I murmured, "Your lot on earth as compared with mine is to be envied. Carelessly and thoughtlessly your days pass with no regret for the past or anxiety for the morrow, while my sympathetic heart, actuated by an ingenious brain, dashes cold waves of sorrow against bleak rocks of cruel destiny."

I closed my eyes and again implored my Heavenly Father to increase my strength to tread the thorny way. Then I pondered over my condition again and cried, "Oh, the heart—the human heart—that beats in sympathy! Oh, the soul that longs to comfort some one and yearns to be loved in return!"

Gazing high into the far away Eternity where all seemed lovely and serene, I said, "Silence is the token of love. Fanny is; yes, she still lives, but she is silent and in her silence she loves me still."

Then the stars, hills and trees, like friends, came near and shared with me my troubles, and as I sank upon the ground overcome I thought I was a child again and mother whispered low and sweet, "Love your enemies and Jesus will love you."

Resting upon a bed of leaves with my boots for a pillow, the angel of dreams took me in her fair arms. Fanny and I were walking beside a laughing crystal stream, gathering wild flowers, whose fragrance seemed to fill the balmy air, where familiar birds came and warbled sweet notes over our heads while the soft sunshine bore upon the scene, peeping into the shady grove and forming our peaceful nook into a perfect bower of love. Here upon a bank strewn with tiny violets I kneeled at Fanny's feet and asked her to become my wife. She did not speak, but looked on me with her own sweet smile as she glided softly away. I arose to follow her, when I awoke and found myself alone in the dark woods.

i64

POOR JIM, LONELY BUT NOT ALONE, FANNIE IS NEAR.

[53]

Morning came at last, and not being able to taste my food, I trudged on, and in a few days reached Springfield, where I first assumed the name of James Hall. There I worked about ten days for a man named Anson Newell, but when I learned there were two families there from Salem I feared detection and decided to go.


[54]

HUNTING FOR BABY

I now abandoned the idea of living with the Indians and worked my way over the Green Mountains, then down the Hudson River to New York. During the winter my mind was continually on my baby boy, and when spring came I started East to try to locate him. At Hartford I stayed a few days, hoping to find someone from Casco Bay, but being unsuccessful I went on and spent the night with about thirty Indians in the dark grove south of Wabbaquassett Lake. Here I found a buck and his squaw, who had lived near Casco Bay, but they knew nothing of church affairs.

Next morning near Stafford, just as I was turning north from the river bend, I met a party of hunters, one of whom I recognized as Josiah Converse, from near Casco Bay. After passing, I overheard him remark—"That man looks and walks just exactly like Jim Burroughs, and if I did not know he was dead, I would swear it was he." This remark disturbed me, for I had thought that my full beard and shabby clothes had disguised me. Soon I passed near my baby boy but did not know it.

When I arrived at Casco Bay I was puzzled as to how I was to get my information. Stubbs' store could not be approached now, as I had left traces of my last visit and someone might be on the alert, so I hung around Chestnut Hill three days, secreted near the road, hoping[55] to see someone passing who was a stranger. Several acquaintances passed each day, among whom was old Deacon Hobbs, which made my blood boil, and I almost forgot that I was to love my enemies. One day a strange boy approached and I ran up to the brow of the hill and then turned and met him.

"Does Deacon Hobbs live in this town?" I inquired.

"Yes, he lives over there in that cottage."

"Do you think he wants to hire a man?"

"Oh, no, he does not want help. He is poor now; all he had is burned up."

"Who did it?

"We do not know, but think it was an angel from heaven, and every one is glad."

"Why were they glad?"

"Oh, because he killed the minister. That was last year, and I was not here."

"How did he do it?"

"Well, he did not kill him, but he got some folks down in Salem to come up and arrest him and they hanged him."

"Did he kill anyone else?"

"Yes, he killed James Burroughs and Fanny, too, so Mr. Shepherd says."

"Who were they?"

"James was the minister's son and Fanny was his wife. I live with the Shepherds and heard them say these things."

"Did James and Fanny have any children?"

"Yes, they must have had one, for I heard Mrs. Shepherd tell how the minister's sister came on from Boston and took it home with her."

[56]

Then looking inquiringly in my face, he said, "Say, mister, are you sick?"

"Oh, no," I replied, and we passed on.

On arriving at Boston I learned that uncle had died and Aunt Hannah had gone with her sister, Abigail, who lived in Salem. In Salem, with great difficulty, I learned they had sold out all their property and gone West. All further efforts were fruitless and I returned to New York and began to work at my last winter's job, where I worked quietly, ever on the alert to gain tidings of my boy.


[57]

MULDOON

One day while I was working with an Irishman named Muldoon, the proprietor, Mr. Benjamin, came along, leading his little daughter, who, pointing to Muldoon, said, "Papa, what makes you hire paddies? I do not like them." Muldoon resented the innocent prattle, and turning to Benjamin, said: "Will ye allow that wee bit of a brat to spake that way of a gintleman?"

"You are no gentleman to call a child a brat, and if you answer back I'll discharge you at once."

Pat tugged away in silence and when Benjamin had gone he said: "I niver knew but one mon in me life as mane as ould Benjamin and that was Cotton Mather himself."

"What do you know about Cotton Mather?" I eagerly inquired.

"Nothing good, sir."

"Were you ever at Salem?"

"Do yees think that auld Ben aught to larn that wee bit of a snipe to insolt the loikes of me?"

"But, Pat, that does not answer my question."

"Thin why should a gintlemin aloix yee be axen meself quistions which I niver knew a-tal-tal?"

"Yes, you do know, and if I explain why I am so anxious you'll tell me all you can, won't you, Pat?"

"Yees moight be an officer."

[58]

"Nonsense, Pat, haven't you worked beside me for a long time?"

"Sure, but you moight be."

"No, I am not, and you should not be afraid, for you have never committed any crime."

"Oh, but it was the innocent that they murthered. But, Jim, if yees will lit me come to your room at the did o' night and yees will kiss the Holy Cross and hold the sacred Mary to your heart while ye swear niver to till, I might till yees the bit I know."

When Pat arrived at midnight he whispered in my ear, "Ye see, that if Cotton Mather hears that I till the truth he will git some one to swear I am posist with the devil and they will hang me sure."

After I had explained to him how large a dowery had been left for the Burroughs family, and that a child had been lost, he said: "Then it is not Giles Corey yees are after hearing, for I might tell yees more about him, for I lived with him both before and after he was dead."

"No, I want you to tell me all about George Burroughs. Did you ever hear about him?"

"Faith and indade, I did, I heard him make his last prayer when on the gallows, asking God to forgive his inimies and we all wipped loike babbies, we did."

"Did he have a family?"

"Yis, a son. A fair young mon. He looked so much loike yees that I think of him when yees walk along, but he is dead, poor bye. When he started home he lost his way and the wolves ate him. Some said he may not be ded, but shot up in prison to be hung, but I know he was dead, for I hilped to bury his bones."

"Did you see them?"

[59]

"No, they were in a box, but I knew he was ded, fer he did not smill like a live man, and his wife died, but they had a little one, who is alive now."

"Where is he?"

"He was first taken to Boston to his Aunt Hannah's and thin to his Aunt Abigail's in Salem, thin a man came on from Stafford, Conn., and took him to keep. His wife was Aunt Hannah's daughter and Aunt Agibail wint to Stafford hersilf."

The day I arrived at Stafford Street I walked from Hartford, and the nearer I came the faster I walked. When I arrived at the village some men were working on the road and in answer to my inquiry, said: "The widow Abigail Drake lives in that red house," which they pointed out. I called on her under the pretense of buying her home, and staid quite a while. She mentioned some of the best families, Deans, Converses, Richardsons, etc., but I could not find out who had the boy until I spoke of the church, when she mentioned that Deacon Felker had adopted a boy who was her nephew. Then I asked her who his parents were. She hesitated, and then said, "His father and mother are both dead."

"Were you acquainted with his father?"

"Yes, I was; he was a man about your build, only when I saw him last he was in trouble, and pale and thin."

"What trouble?"

"Trouble," she replied wiping the tears away with her apron. Then coming near me inquired quizzically, "What is your name?"

I saw she was on the point of detecting me, and looking straight in her eye I answered, "James Hall."

Again she hesitated and then said, "You do look so much like James Burroughs, who is dead, that I thought[60] the dead had been raised." She then told me all about father's execution, Fanny's death and mine, after which I walked over to Deacon Felker's.

When I arrived, there was no one in but the deacon, so I struck him up for a job. Soon I saw a lady coming up the walk who I at once recognized as Cousin Phoebe, whom I had not seen for fifteen years. Beside her ran a little boy. The deacon introduced me, and in shaking hands I squeezed hers so hard that she looked up quickly, then presuming me to be very rough, she spoke pleasantly. Then I picked up my own little boy and as in some phantom mirror, Fanny seemed to look me right in the face.

While waiting for tea, Winnie Richardson came in and adroitly introduced herself by saying, "I presume our town looks tame to you, especially if you've been living in the city, but to us who have never traveled Stafford is the center of the world."

At the conclusion of Jim's story the sweet Winnie softly caressed the troubled man with her arm around his neck, and here we leave Winnie and Jim, to whirl and swirl in their frail barques of life, on the restless waves of time, until they mysteriously cross the bar out into the unknown ocean of Eternity, from whence, if they return to guide our thoughts, we do not comprehend it.

i75

OUR MOUNTAIN HOME NEAR WABBAQUASSETT LAKE, BUILT BY WARREN RICHARDSON, 1832.
PORTRAITS OF CHILDREN, 1870, EXCEPT MARIETTE. LEFT TO RIGHT. ELIZA, ADELIA, COLLINS, CAROLINE, MERRICK, GORDON, JANETTE.


[61]

OUR WABBAQUASSETT MOUNTAIN HOME

John, my Grandfather Richardson, son of Uriah, built his home on the east side of the Devil's Hopyard, while Abner, one of John Dimock's ten sons, built his home on the west side.

John Richardson raised a family of boys, John, Warren, Collins, Marvin, Orson, and one girl, Fanny, while Abner Dimock raised a family of girls, Lovey, Manerva, Luna, Hannah, Arminia, Abigail, and one boy, Abner.

Warren Richardson crossed the Hopyard, wooed and won Luna Dimock, and they built their nest near Wabbaquassett Lake, where the flowers bloom in early spring, wild birds awake the summer morn and the babbling brook sings through the winding vale below, all day long.

Here they raised a group of laughing, frolicing, romping backwoods mischief and their names were:

Mariette A.—Married Frank Slater.
Eliza L.—Married Lucius Kibbes.
Adelia A.—Married Epaphro Dimock.
Caroline C.—Married Lucius Aborn.
Collins W.—Married Martha Aborn.
Merrick A.—Married Mary Hoyt.
Gordon M.—Married Amanda Pitt.
Janette A.—Married George Newell.

Wabbaquassett retained its virgin bloom of nature long after the surrounding country had been occupied by white invaders.

[62]

Stafford, Ellington, Somers and Tolland Streets had become self-centered, while the sleeping beauty, Wabbaquassett, was held by the Nipmunks as a sort of rendezvous for the Pequods, Mohegans. Mohawks, Narragansetts and several other tribes who were roaming over New England, stealing fowls, cattle and even children, for the red man felt that the brooks, lakes and forests, together with all they contained, virtually belonged to him.

Wabbaquassett of old, with its broad sandy shore, dreaming in the protecting arms of a dense forest of oak, pine, chestnut and maple giants was truly the gem of New England.

When the Richardsons, Dimocks, Newells and Aborns began their encroachment into these forests the Indians were loath to leave their pow-wow home in the oak grove, on the south shore of the lake, for the American Indian dreaded the law more than the tomahawk, but the following instance routed them.

A buck named Wappa, who lived on the shore, south of the old West Rock, killed his squaw, Dianah, for which he was tried at Tolland Street and hanged. On the gallows he saw Captain Abner Dimock, my mother's father, among the spectators and called for him to come on the gallows and pray for him.

My father and mother were in the crowd and when the sheriff asked the Indian if he was ready, mother fainted. The execution took place August 22, 1816, after which the Indians left Wabbaquassett and never returned.

In those days, Wabbaquassett, since called Square Pond, and now Crystal Lake, was the nucleus of four prominent families, Dimocks, Richardsons, Newells and Aborns.

[63]

The group consisted of the following families:

Abner Dimock Anson Newell
Orwell Dimock Armherst Newell
Ephraim Dimock Charles Newell
Lorain Dimock Ezekiel Newell
Sexton Dimock Ephraim Newell
 
Warren Richardson Lucius Aborn
Orson Richardson Parkel Aborn
Marvin Richardson Morton Aborn
John Richardson Gilbert Aborn
Royal Richardson Jedediah Aborn

Of these twenty families in 1850 I now find, at the Lake, only one descendant, A. M. Richardson, son of my brother, Collins, who with his interesting wife, Bessie, actually holds the fort alone.


[64]

WOODCHUCK IN THE WALL

Recently when my son Arthur and myself with our families were touring with automobile over the Alleghanies, up the sea-shore, and over the Green Mountains, we spent several days at the Lake, with many old-timers who came to meet us, when they coaxed me to tell the woodchuck story, which ran as follows: Bow-wow-wow is heard on the hillside across the little meadow from our old farm house. We boys, Gordon and I, drop our hoes and run, for we knew by the sound that old Skip had a woodchuck in the wall and wanted us to come and get him out.

"Hold on, Gordon," said I, "now is the time for us to give our Towser a chance."

Towser was a young bull terrier, we boys had bought of Holmes, who had recommended him to be able to catch the largest ox by the nose and hold him, or catch a hog by the ear and hold the hog, or off would come the ear, and as for woodchucks, he would pick them up as a hen would pick up kernels of corn.

Our Towser, as we boys called him, was at once unchained and we were off to the pasture on the hillside, where in days gone by, old Skip had captured so many woodchucks.

As we ran along, the conversation ran thus:

"Hey-hey, Towser," said I, "Mr. Woodchuck don't know that you're coming; he thinks it is old Skip, but when he sees you, he will know that he's got to die."

[65]

"Oh, dear," said Gordon, "when he gets those great white teeth on to him, won't the blood fly? I hope he won't swallow him whole, for we want his hide to make shoe strings."

"You bet," said I. Then patting the dog on the head, I continued: "Won't old Skip be ashamed when he sees you, Towser?"

Skip was a little brindle cur who had watched the whole farm night and day for ten years. He would never worry the cat or chase the chickens, but would speak, roll over, sit up, or play he was dead, to please us boys. He could hustle the cattle out of the corn, keep the pigs from the door and had kept all the rabbits and woodchucks away from the garden. In fact, he was a friend to everyone except Towser. Of course, he was jealous of him.

When we boys arrived on the scene, we found old Skip bounding over the wall back and forth, barking, squealing, pawing and biting off roots in his great excitement, while the woodchuck was chattering, whistling and snapping his teeth in great shape.

"Oh, look here, Gordon," said I, as I peeped into the wall, "He is as big as two tomcats; it must be the one father said had been nibbling all our green pumpkins."

"Yes, yes," says Gordon, "Pa said Skip has been trying to get between him and his hole all summer, and now our Towser has got him at last. Say, Merrick, don't you think we had better let Skip kill him. I'm afraid that Towser will tear him all to flitters and we won't have his hide left."

Now there was a terrible yelping and we discovered that the big bulldog was shaking little Skip unmercifully. We clubbed him off, and tried to drive Skip home, as, of course, we would not need him any more, but he would[66] not go, so we tied him to a white birch tree with Towser's chain and continued tearing down the wall.

Gordon's countenance took on a sort of a funeral aspect as he said, "Now, Mr. Woodchuck, you have got to die."

"Yes," said I, as I jammed my dirty thumb into my mouth to keep from weeping, "My heart aches for him, but it has got to be done."

Towser was anxious to get at the woodchuck. Everytime we boys rolled off a stone, he would jam his head into the wall, so anxious was he to get at his prey, while poor little Skip, who should have had the honor, was up under the white birch tree trying to break the chain and come down and help, not even minding his bleeding ear, where Towser had bit him.

At last the right stone was removed and the unfortunate old woodchuck could do no better than face grim death, and he did it bravely. Standing on his little hind legs, with his front paws extended, he chattered defiance, while snapping his white teeth and awaiting the onslaught.

Towser plunged into the wall and out came the woodchuck, but to our surprise, Towser had not got the woodchuck, but the woodchuck had Towser right by the nose.

Over and over they rolled as the blood squirted from the dog's nose, each sommersault working them farther and farther down the swale in the direction of the woodchuck's hole. Towser roared, bellowed and squealed, but the woodchuck would not let go his lucky hold.

We boys saw the danger of escape and I, seizing a club, started on to help Towser, while Gordon ran to unchain Skip, as it began to look now as if old Skip's help might be necessary after all.

The clever old woodchuck, who was watching to take[67] advantage of the first favorable opportunity, when he saw Skip coming, let go his grip and started for his hole. Towser, who was also figuring for his own personal safety, when released, curled his tail between his legs and started for home, crying "ki-yi-yi-yi."

Skip bounded forward just in time to seize his woodchuckship by the tail, just as he was entering the hole. Now a desperate struggle ensued, the woodchuck trying to pull the dog into the hole and the dog trying to pull the woodchuck out.

Skip was losing ground, when, seizing him by the hind legs, I planted my bare feet in the gravel and pulled with all my might. The woodchuck chattered and squealed, the dog shook and growled, as I pulled them out, when the tail broke, he darted into the hole, and the game was lost.

Then we boys took Skip up to the spring and washed his poor bleeding ear and promised him right then and there that we would take Towser back to Mr. Holmes and that he, Skip, might run the farm as long as he lived.

Lemuel Warner followed up the woodchuck story by acting out, in his genial manner, the stuttering man trying to testify in prayer-meeting. Orino Richardson and Perlin Richardson came in with their extremely ridiculous tales, followed by hymns and old plantation songs.

In all this we seemed to forget ourselves, with the fifty years of ups and down on Life's tempestuous waves, and in friendly glee we were back again in that fair morning, dreamily anticipating Life's strange journey, so unlike the reality fond memory now reveals.

Together we all visited the cemeteries on the hill at the north, where the rippling waves of old Wabbaquassett[68] click along the shore so near the feet of those whose voices we do not hear, but whose sweet smiles seem to reflect back to us their beauty as our earthly vision grows dim.

Soon the stranger will pause to read and say: "Who were all these Richardsons, Newells, Aborns and Dimocks?" In the silence reason seems to whisper: They came forth in the dawn; enjoyed a brief day; and returned to the silence of an endless Eternity.

"Now dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood,

When fond recollections present them to view;

The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wildwood,

And every loved spot which my infancy knew.

The wide-spreading Pond, and the Mill that stood by it,

The Bridge and the Rock where the cataract fell;

The Cot of my Father, the dairy-house nigh it,

And e'en the rude Bucket which hung in the Well."


[69]

SUNDAY MORNING

Father and mother did not marry until their home had been established, but they lost no time when they got started, for, thirteen years gave them a brood of eight children.

Father was a shrewd dealer in land and cattle, through which he gained enough to purchase about 350 acres of wild land and built a house and barn, while mother, as was customary for New England women, braided palm leaf hats for the slaves of the Southern planters, until she had saved enough to furnish the house. Then they got married.

Our living room was the big kitchen, where we warmed ourselves by the old-fashioned fireplace while the pots and kettles hung on the crane before us. Beside it was a brick oven, where mother baked the good things, especially on Thanksgiving Day, when we did not fill up with old common potatoes.

The parlor, which we were seldom allowed to enter, was to a little boy dazzling. Looking-glass, with gilded frame, paper of many colors, and high-shining brass andirons in the fireplace.

Sunday morning we all gathered there for family worship and one morning father gave us a lesson on "Inspiration," which has nerved me up to fight infidelity all my days.

He had quite a collection of books and one day he[70] brought home a book on geology, from which, after studying it evenings, he declared that the creation of the world in science and the Bible exactly agreed.

That lesson and the surroundings on that sunny Sabath morning is one of the old landmarks in my memory to which I often return in moments of reflection.

"Now children," he began, "no one knows who wrote the first chapter of Genesis, which appears to have no connection with the other chapters. It may have been written by Moses, his sister, Miriam, or some other person along about that time, say four or five thousand years ago. The strange thing about it is that, according to their new geology, the writer revealed the secrets of that which transpired millions of years ago.

"People had supposed, until about one hundred years ago, that the first chapter of Genesis was a fable, or fairy tale, but now geology proves it to have been a true history of what the writer knew nothing about.

"It must have been that an angel who had lived all through the time the world was being made, sat right beside or in some way influenced the author to write the wonderful story of the creation. This is what I call real inspiration, don't you?

"Some folks think, and I would not wonder if it might be true, that fiction is a faint glimmer of inspiration, and that composers are often led along by the spirit of some person who once lived in this world. Let this be as it may, I wish one of you children might become a novelist, but you never will, you will be farmers just like all us New England mountaineers.

"Learned men have discovered, by digging in the rocky surface of the earth, that under certain conditions, oysters or other animals, will turn to stone. They call[71] them fossils. Scientists have also learned that each kind, wherever found, represents the age in which the animal lived. So, the fossil, you see, is an animal which died and turned to stone, perhaps millions of years ago.

"By investigation they find that one kind of rock, called azoic, contains no fossils, so they know there was a day or age when there was no life in this world, and this is the first day in the Bible, which I have been reading to you.

FIRST DAY

"They find by the conglomerate condition of the azoic rock that after the gaseous confusion of the elements had subsided, it sort of settled into one boiling mass of mixed elements. Then the heavier elements, gold, mercury, lead and the like, condensed and formed a center of attraction, while the more rare elements, such as oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen, formed a floating band around it, then, as the Bible states, darkness must have been upon the face of the deep until the lighter elements rarefied, when the sun would feebly penetrate in the daytime and the rotation of the world would make it correspond to the first day and night of the Bible.

SECOND DAY

"This day, in which the firmament was formed, is wonderful in that it was preparation for the day when the land should appear, as it would need rain to make the vegetation grow. Man's highest imagination cannot grasp or conceive the wonders of this strange scheme. It really meant condensing part of the water to become liquid, or seas, and raising part to become clouds, or rain,[72] as we now find them. So again the two accounts agree as to the second day.

THIRD DAY

"Seas and land appear. This Bible account exactly agrees with the carboniferous and crustacean births which followed on through the ages, when vegetation grew in such abundance that its decay, when submerged by eruptions, laid the foundations for our coal and oil fields.

FOURTH DAY

"While the former days occupied millions of years each, this day was not a duration of time, not even one moment. It was simply an illustration of the then present conditions. Had we been on earth at that time we would have seen all the heavenly bodies and their movements just as this Bible account describes, and as we see them now.

FIFTH DAY

"As the fourth Bible day did not include time to produce geological changes, the two ages divonian, or fish, and amphibious, or reptilian, ages exactly fit in to make up the fifth day.

"Could we have visited the earth when it first became solid with the sea floating over it, we would have seen at the bottom of the sea animals of the oyster family beginning to live in their shells, which later they took up and carried around on their backs, and now we call them turtles. We know they were there, for they are still sleeping in their little stone coffins on mountain[73] tops, which God raised up when He made dry land. God called them all moving creatures, which have life, which, of course, included fish and frogs.

"Now hark, I will read the twentieth verse over again. There now, you see God did not make the birds up in the mountains and tell them to fly. He made them in the water, I guess He fixed legs where the fins were, so they could hop and crawl, and then fixed wings where the legs were, so they could fly, and this exactly corresponds to the reptilian age in geology. That transformation must have made even God stop and think, for it took millions of years. Many kinds came out of the water, so you see we have many kinds of birds on the land. Some of them were awfully large. One, geologists call the Pterodactyl, had a mouth and teeth like a horse, tail like a fish or snake, and wings which he could spread more than twenty-five feet. I imagine it flew from shore to shore catching turtles for breakfast, who were out on the sand laying eggs as big as our old peck measure.

SIXTH DAY

"God made cattle and all other big walking things, and all the creeping things.

"The family of largest animals are called Dinosaur. Their fossil bones are found in the Rocky Mountains. They must have lived there on the plains before the upheavel of the mountains. Some of them were about one hundred feet long and twenty-five feet high. In New Jersey, geologists have dug up the fossil bones of an animal they call the Iguanodon, a sort of frog with a snake tail; when he sat up his head was about thirty feet high. Had he lived on men he would have eaten three[74] for dinner. It seems that when those animals raised up on all four, like elephants, they lost their fish-like tails, except to use as fly whiskers. Those animals lived all through what is called the mammalian age in geology, or the sixth day in the Bible.

"Now, children, this twenty-fifth verse ends up the creation of the world and all its animals. Then God called a halt and said, 'Let us make something special.' What was it?" "Man, man," we said. "What was man to be like?" "Just like God himself."

"Is God an animal?"

"No."

"What is He?"

"Nobody knows."

"Think again, what did I read last Sunday about Christ at Jacob's well?"

"Oh, yes, God is a spirit."

"Then is man a spirit or an animal?"

"Both," I said.

"How so, Merrick?"

"Why, God made she-male man and he-male man of dirt, so they could have a lot of children. Then the image man, we cannot see, who was to do the thinking, was to have dominion, that means it was to boss themselves and everything else around. That is the man that goes to Heaven when he dies."

"How is that, Luna, for a boy of eight years old?" he said to mother.

"You are all right, Merrick," she said, drawing me to her for a kiss. "Now, you must try to govern yourself and not be so stubborn, even if you do think you are in the right. Let wisdom instead of spunk be your[75] guide, and then the angels will be with you in your dreams and our pretty school-ma'am will not have to switch you so often."

"Pretty school-ma'am, eh! Why, she walks just exactly like a cow."


[76]

HUSKING BEE

One of my earliest recollections is of hearing mother telling a neighbor housewife about the prayer meeting up at Uncle Sam's. Mother was a great tease, and to see her act out Aunt Lovey in this particular case was enough to make the bushes laugh.

In order to picture the scene at the prayer meeting, I will give one of mother's escapades by the way of contrast between Lovey, Uncle Sam's wife, and her wide-awake sisters, of which mother was accused of being the ring leader in many daring acts. Therefore, I will begin with the story of the husking bee at Grandfather Dimock's home, when mother was a girl.

At a husking in those days all in the neighborhood would gather, not so much, I imagine, to husk corn as for the frolic, and the good things they had to eat.

The custom was to set the shocks of corn around a large circle and all husk from the outside. Then if a lady found a red ear she was privileged, if she dare, to throw it across a space at a man whom, if she hit, was privileged to chase her around the outer ring, for which if he caught her while on the circuit he could kiss her.

Well, mother found a red ear and she threw it at the minister, hitting him, whack! side of the head. His name was Frink, a real minister of the Gospel, yet he could not allow such an opportunity to escape, so he dropped his dignity and started.

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GIRL RUNNING REPRESENTS MY MOTHER WHEN 16. FRINK, THE MINISTER, CHASING FOR A KISS WHICH HE DID NOT GET.

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The arranged plan was that all should get out of the way to give the lady a chance to run, while the real plan was for all to stumble into the way and see the fun.

Mother, finding it impossible to break through, turned quickly and lit out for the orchard. This bold but admirable act caused 200 huskers to raise on tip-toe, for it was a pretty scene in the moonlight to see the daring maid, clad in a pretty white frock, dodging among the dark shadows of the apple trees, evading the terrific lunges of her eager pursuer, whose physiognomy took on a strange earnestness which betokened his consideration that the prize was worth striving for.

When the girl, by artful dodging, escaped and struck out for home, old Jasiah Bradley, forgetting his 80 years, roared out, "Stand back! Stand back! Give the girl a chance," at which two rows quickly formed, giving the girl, whose knee action betokened great speed, a clear way until as she crossed the line, Frink extended his hand to grab, but did not catch her.

This illustration represents the innocent dare of the family to which mother belonged, except the oldest Lovey, who was very sedate, and in this case said that Luna ought to be spanked and put to bed. Lovey wore her skirts very long and would walk way around to pass through the gate, while her astonishing sisters would jump or climb over the fence and whistle just like boys.


[78]

PRAYER MEETING AT UNCLE SAM'S

Lovey married Samuel Harwood. They built their home on Chestnut Hill, where they raised a fine family. Monroe was their youngest son, who figured very seriously in the catastrophy I am about to relate.

Uncle Sam and Aunt Lovey were both strictly religious, but did not agree as to the mode of procedure. She threw her whole religious weight on the sixth verse of the sixth chapter of Matthew, while he was a roaring Methodist. Together they attended church on Sunday, but Lovey never attended the weekly home prayer meetings, neither would she allow the church to have one at her home, and so they worshiped for years until Sam's grey locks and the children's clamor induced her to try it just once. Such an unusual event caused the whole church to turn out in mass for a real good spiritual uplifting.

Their house, which my wife and I rode by last time we were in Connecticut, is of the old dominion style. Kitchen, dining and living rooms all in one, and very commodious. Under the stairs to the second story were the stairs to the deep, dark cellar below, of which there was no broad stair at the top, and the cellar door opened into the cellar.

On that memorable evening the room was crammed to suffocation when the meeting opened with the hymn, "On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand." Then Abner Dimock, who always prayed so loud as to be heard a[79] mile, and several others, led in prayer, which was followed by inspiring testimonials, to all of which Uncle Sam chimed in Amen, amid the shouts of halleluiah, while Aunt Lovey sat in dreamy silence, with her nose turned just a trifle askance.

The pinnacle was reached when Anise Ladd arose to testify, for every one knew Anise poured forth her feelings without reserve.

"I," she began, "was born peevish and as my neighbors can here testify, was, to say the least, irritable through my maiden and middlehood earthly career, but last winter at our revival meetings, I experienced a genuine halleluiah wave of godliness, and now I coo like a turtle dove and fret or scold no more."

To Uncle Sam, who was tipping back in his chair, this wonderful halleluiah testimony so coincided with his desires toward Lovey, that he shouted, "Glory to God," as in the expansion of his joy he lost his balance, his chair striking the cellar door, which flew open, causing him, still in the chair, to start, head downwards, on his perilous journey into the dismal region below. He did not swear, neither did he shout halleluiah, but fresh grunts followed in rapid succession as he pounded from stair to stair.

During the excitement all trying with lighted tallow candles to ascertain if he was still alive, his son, Monroe, continued roaring and laughing until some one said, "Why, Monroe, it might have killed your father," to which he replied between spasms, "I should have laughed just the same, if I had known it had killed him."

During the excitement Aunt Lovey pressed her hand to her heart, but did not speak until urged by the pastor, when she said: "Well, really, you were all talking so[80] much about going to heaven that when I witnessed Samuel's sudden departure, I wondered, yes, I really wondered, whether my halleluiah husband had started for heaven or for the other place."

Uncle Sam survived and lived on the old place until he was 94 years old, but that was the first and last prayer meeting up to Uncle Sam's.

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ANISE LADD'S HALLELUJAH TESTIMONY. UNCLE SAM LOSING HIS BALANCE. AUNT LOVEY, NONCHALANT, UNDER THE PICTURE ON THE WALL.


[81]

GOLDEN DAYS

Oh, those golden days when with indulgent parents we gathered around the table of plenty. There we romped in the orchards, woods and meadows, among the wild flowers and through the shady dells, where we chased the rabbits and squirrels, hunting the shy nests of birds, watching the pretty fish in the crystal stream, as they darted about showing their silver sides. The side hills teemed with wild fruit, shadberries, checkerberries, cherries, grapes, strawberries, etc. Wild birds were in abundance and their songs were gay; I think I hear them now. Father taught us that we must not destroy the nests of crows, hawks or other bad birds, not even the homes of the mischievous woodchucks, who nibbled our pumpkins. He said, "Let them bring up their little families. God provides room and food for all."

When we brought the little blue eggs in for mother to see, she would kiss and hurry us back with them to the nest, for she said the mother bird's heart would ache if we broke one of her little eggs.

And yet, after all, my brother, Gordon, and myself were not real neighborhood pets, for the two little sun-burned blondes were not as innocent as they looked. Aunt Becky Bragg, our second-door neighbor, was quoted as saying that Warren Richardson's two little whiteheaded urchins were the bane of her life, and all attempts to chide them seemed only to add fuel to the flames.

[82]

We must have been useful about the farm, in teaching the chickens and cats to swim and the colts and steers to let us ride them, who occasionally dumped us where we least expected. One lively pastime was to tie a tin pan to one of the sleepy old cattle's tail, and watch him bound over the bushes to clear himself from what seemed to be following him. I can now see these great gentle creatures with half-closed eyes chewing their cuds, while father was around them, but when we appeared, they would stop chewing, bulge out their eyes and make ready to jump over the wall at our first gesture.

Still we had our confiding pets, hens, lambs and even pigs. We had a curly-haired pig which would follow us around and lie down for us to scratch him, and as for dogs—why, old Major, the neighborhood tramp of suspicious character, stood in well with us and licked our hands and faces as we fed and gave him a warm shelter from the cold night.

Father and mother understood it all, I know they did, but they realized how we would soon be out in the hand-to-hand conflict of life, and they wanted us to look back to our childhood mountain home with gladness and not pain.

I was exceedingly stubborn and moderately truthful, so much so that one of the first remembrances of my life was that in some mysterious way I had acquired the nickname of Old Honesty. Oh, it did make me so mad to be called that, for I must have considered it a sort of defamation of character.


[83]

THE WILD SEXTON STEER

One day in the spring of 1855, when all the folks were away except Gordon and myself, we felt somewhat elated that we were running the farm on our own hook, so we conjured up a little fun.

Our long barnyard opened with bars towards the house across the center to separate the cattle from the sheep. Here, just for sport, when no one was around, we would put up two or three bars and then chase the cattle, one by one, and see them jump over.

We had a ferocious wild steer, we called Sexton, which would jump over almost anything to get away from us boys, so he was usually our victim for sport.

Father was accustomed, each fall, to bring muck into the barnyard, which through the winter was covered with cornstalks, straw and manure from the stables, which the cattle would tread in during the rainy spring and mix it ready for the land. On this occasion it had been raining, and the mixture, soft as jelly, was about a foot deep, with the exception of a dry spot by the house bars.

Our custom was to teach all the newcomers into our ranch, or farm, to carry us on their backs, and as the bushes hung low in the pastures and the steers had no manes to cling to, we often got dumped, but we did not care for scratches and bruises, for I boasted to be able to hang to a frightened steer's tail through a bush pasture longer than any boy in the neighborhood.

[84]

On this occasion the wild Sexton steer was in the yard—a big black fellow, who was so mean that he would kick the boards off the barn, just if we tickled him with the tines of a pitchfork. Really, he was so unruly that he had no respect for the other cattle, or even a ten-rail fence, when Gordon and I, with the dog, got after him.

Forgetting we were going to prayer meeting that evening, and that we had already put on our Sunday clothes, I said to Gordon:

"I think now is a good time to teach old Sexton to let us ride him."

"Oh, Merrick, don't try that again, he will kill you."

"Nonsense, I'm not afraid; if he throws me off, I will land on my feet."

"You may and you may not; see how black his eyes are; let us take our bows and arrows and go and shoot at Kendel's cats. Mr. and Mrs. Kendel went to Sommers today, so there is no one at home but Grandpa Bragg and he cannot see well enough to tell whether it is us or the Wires' boys."

"Never mind the cats, Gordon," I said as I stripped off my coat in a real businesslike manner, "I am dying for a ride on that steer. Come and help me catch him. There, that's right, now we have him, so, bossy—so, bossy—so-so-bossy, so. Look out, there, Gordon!"

"Merrick, I told you we could not catch him."

"It was because you was so slow. Now you come and stand on this dry spot and when I chase him around, stop him, and I will creep up—there, that is better—so-bossy-so."

"There he goes again. What did I tell you, Merrick? I said we could not catch him."

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ALL THE FOLKS AWAY FROM HOME EXCEPT US TWO BOYS.

[85]

"Oh, that is because you are so slow. Now, when I get him here again and he lets me put my hand on him, you must be ready to grab the foot I raise and throw me over square on his back, then I will ride him around and around until he gets tired out; that is just the way they tame elephants. Here we have him again, grab, now grab—there I am. Say, isn't it funny he does not move or stir? Why, I am having a regular picnic up here."

"Oh, Merrick, but if you could see his eyes, and his neck is curved like a ram's horn. He is going to do something. You better seize his tail and slide off backwards before he starts."

"Oh, you little fraid goose, I am just here on his back and he can't help himself. It's just fun, and when I tell the girls about it, won't it make their eyes open wide? He can't just help himself, now punch him a little with the fork handle right under the flanks—gee whiz, it is funny he doesn't start, isn't it? I wonder if steers ever rear up in the front?"

"First you know, Merrick, he will rear up behind and send you into the middle of next week. See, he won't stir when I punch him with the fork handle. He is just getting ready to do something terrible, and when he does start, something will happen. Oh, how he kind of swells up."

"I'm not afraid. Just twist his tail a little, twist it harder. Hey-hey, here I go—look out! Gordon, stop him—whoa-whoa—Oh, Gordon, where have I been? What did he do? Where am I now? and where are my pants?"

"Why, Merrick, just as you were talking to me, he hollered 'Bah,' and started. First your legs flew up and before you caught your balance he stopped suddenly,[86] threw up his head and his horns caught your pants and ripped them clean off, and you took the most awful plunge. You actually flew through the air about ten feet, like a quail, and then disappeared in this manure pond. I thought he had killed you. Say, are you almost dead?"

"Dead, no, but where are my pants and did anybody see us? Did Charlotte Lewis and Mariva Shepherd come this way from school?"

"No, they did not, but see your pants are on his horns now. Oh, Merrick, your eyes, and ears, and hair are just chuck full. Do you think you are hurt inwardly?"

"Hurt? No, I'm not hurt. Gee-whiz, I'm glad the school girls weren't coming along about then. Say, Gordon, lets run for the brook and I will dive, head-foremost, right into the old deep hole, and when I come up I will be span clean."

"Gracious, Merrick, but there is ice floating down now and aren't your legs cold?"

"Cold? No. Pa says there are lots of people in the world who wear no pants—say, Gordon, now listen—if you won't ever tell of this to no living soul I will do all the chores: milking, feeding the hogs, cleaning the stables, building the fire mornings, and I'll be hanged if I don't help you lie yourself out of every mean scrape you get into in the next ten years."

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ALWAYS WELCOME AT SISTER CAROLINE'S WABBAQUASSETT HOME.
LEFT TO RIGHT. CAROLINE, MARTHA, WALTON, WARREN, EVERETT, LUCIUS.


[87]

SCHOOL DAYS

Nearby was a backwoods school which was called the White Birch, where about eighty scholars met in winter to fit themselves for future eminence. Here it was that life's troubles began with me. The mode of punishment in those days for a boy was to draw him over the master's knee and spank him, and I am quite sure I got more floggings than all the other seventy-nine scholars together. Tom Wheelock often spanked me so furiously that the rising dust often made the other scholars think he was setting me on fire.

From the first at school I had been a mental genius. When eight years old I could calculate in my head problems intended for large scholars to work out with slate and pencil. The knottiest problems in Colburn's old mental arithmetic were as simple for me as three times ten, and this I could do without ever looking at the rules. But, oh, my spelling, reading and writing were shockingly deficient, and my grammar was laughable. Once the master compelled me to write a composition, and when he read it he laughed and said, "The ideas are good, Merrick, but it needs a Philadelphia lawyer to connect them."

I would as soon fight as eat and was ready to hammer any boy of my size who had broken up a bird's nest, and was ready to protect the girls to the limit of my strength and ability. Whether I was right or wrong, I can now see that I was unconsciously following the dictates[88] of conscience. When fourteen years old I took a serious dislike to punishment of any kind, and the result was that I left school for good.

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WABBAQUASSETT GIRLS. NEWELL HILL IN THE DISTANCE.


[89]

COUNTRY BOYS IN TOWN

My boyhood days were spent in what might be termed, the upper strata of the last stages of the tallow candle age. Mother dipped candles each fall to light us through the year. Whale oil was also used, but a little later coal oil from Pennsylvania came into vogue.

In order to obtain whale oil, vessels for that purpose were sent out from New Bedford, New London, New York and other harbors along the northern Atlantic Coast. Accordingly, four of us youngsters, my brother Collins, Lucius Aborn, Lyman Newell and myself, formed a scheme to go catching whales and decided to visit New York and look the matter up and, if possible, learn why our parents so seriously objected to having us become sailors.

Accordingly, we went to Hartford and took the night steamer, on the Connecticut River, for New York. While waiting for the boat in Hartford we all went out to get shaved and I remember it, for it was my first shave.

The barber must have been a funny fellow, of the Abe Lincoln type, who looked serious when he said and did funny things. He was not sparing of his lather, for my ears held quite a lot, but I bore it bravely until he grabbed me right by the nose to begin, which made me burst out laughing and let the lather run into my mouth. When I sobered down he would seize me by the nose and begin again, which would make my friends and the other barbers all laugh. I laughed a little myself, but[90] he never smiled—just watched for his chance to seize me. When he got through, without a smile, he said he never charged boys anything for the first shave.

On the steamer, of which the cabins seemed to me as dazzling, beautiful and wonderful as the constellation of Orion does now, the cabin porter got our cow-hide boots, while we were asleep, and shined them and then demanded ten cents for each boot, but we compromised on ten cents for the whole lot, and threatened to throw him overboard at that.

When we landed at Peck Slip, New York, we at once inquired for the office where sailors were enlisted for three-year voyages catching whales.

The agent was a man probably seventy years old and began inquiring our names and where we were from, and then he said he knew about Square Pond, as he once drove stage right along its shore on the old route from Hartford to Boston. Then he said: "Sit down, boys," and he talked to us to this effect:

"Now, boys, you do not want to enlist for a three years' voyage. If you have got the fishing fever I can get you all a chance on a smack for three months, off the coast of Newfoundland, catching codfish. Then if you are not sick of the job you can go whaling." We listened to him kindly and finally gave up, not only the whaling, but the fishing altogether.

We then began canvassing the book stores for a book which Lyman had heard about, which boys ought not to read, and that was why he wanted it. The title was "Fanny Hill," and when we inquired at the book stores we were turned down, until we struck a Yankee who sold second-hand books, who inquired where we were from, and when our boat would leave New York, and then said he hardly dare sell it to us for fear he would be arrested.

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BEAUTIFUL WOMEN, WORTHY MEN, CHARMING OLD WABBAQUASSETT.
CENTRAL LOWER LADY FIGURE, JULIA NEWELL WARNER, MY LIFE-LONG ESTEEMED FRIEND.

[91]

The price he said was $1.00, and he would run the risk, if we would come around just before the boat started and then promise, all of us, not to open the package until the boat had left the dock. To this we readily agreed and then went on taking in the town, thinking more about the book than we did about the giants, pygmies, monkeys and elephants which we found at Barnum's Museum.

We were now hungry again, so we took another oyster stew and then started up the Bowery, when we heard music and were invited in where a wheel table was turning. One could put down ten cents and might win $100.00. We were going shares in everything, so decided to risk ten cents, and the other boys allowed me to try. "Forty dollars," cried the man, and then discovered his mistake, that it was only forty cents, and then began telling of folks from the country winning money, and this was one of the stories which did not take:

"A large man," he said, "came to New York from the mountains of Pennsylvania and offered to bet $50.00 that he could carry a feather-bed tick full of buckshot across Broadway on his head. Well, boys, we loaded the tick, which took nearly all the shot in the city, and he started. He won the bet, I saw him do it, but you see that stone pavement on Broadway, do you? Well, boys, when he crossed the street the load was so heavy that he mired into that stone pavement clear up to his knees, but he won the $50.00."

Then we told him that we were liars ourselves, and trudged on, actually having beat the gamblers out of thirty cents.

[92]

After another oyster stew dinner we strolled into the Bowery Theatre, where minstrels were playing, which amused us, as it was the first we had ever seen, and supposed they were genuine darkies. They sat in a half circle and after singing and playing, the two end men would ask questions, and one dialogue ran this way:

"Rastus, I heard you was out last night."

"Yes, Sah, I was out prominading on Broadway."

"Did you have your best girl along?"

"Zartenly."

"Did you take her home?"

"Zartenly."

"Did she invite you in?"

"Not zackly. We stood inside the gate."

"Did she exhibit great affection?"

"Great what?"

"Great affection."

"I suppose so."

"What did she and you do?"

"Dat am a pointed question, sah."

"Well, but you said she showed great affection."

"Showed what?"

"Great affection, Rastus. Did she love you?"

"Yes, sah, she squozed my hand and then I squoze her with my arm."

"Squoze, Rastus? Why, there is no such word as squoze."

"Yes, there is, for she said she had never been squoze by a regular man before."

"Where do you get that word?"

"Noah Webster, sah. Shall I instruct you?"

"Certainly."

"Is not rise, rose, risen, proper?"

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"Certainly."

"Then why not squize, squoze, squizzen?"

Then they all sang again.

One incident that I yet remember was that all had on light-colored vests, and while crossing Broadway, dodging here and there among the omnibusses, trucks, and other vehicles, such as we had never seen before, I slipped on the wet stone pavement and fell flat on my stomach, but it soon dried off and I was at the front again, and at the appointed time we appeared at the book store and gave the man his dollar, who again cautioned us not to let the police see it.

It was papered up nicely and I can now see how nervously Newell jammed it into his inside pocket, which was not quite large enough, and then we boarded the steamer, all the while looking out of the corners of our eyes that no one suspicioned us.

After the steamer had cleared the dock and Lute Aborn said we were on the high seas, we slipped around behind the wheel pit, for it was a side-wheeled steamer, and as Newell was nervously untying the string, he said: "Now we will all look at the pictures first and then you, Lute, who is the best reader, will read it aloud"—when, behold, it was nothing but a New Testament worth ten cents.

This little Fanny Hill experience was really a blessing in disguise to us boys, but we did not think so at the time, and if we could have gotten hold of that dealer we would have taught him that there was yet a God in Israel.


[94]

AS A YANKEE TIN PEDDLER

At the Methodist Church just south of Wabbaquassett there were revivals each winter and with other I experienced religion, but mine, even though serious, sort of struck in and did not break out again for several years.

At the age of nineteen I had become sort of terror to my enemies, for I was quick, strong and fearless. One night I had my usual warning dream, of trouble ahead, and the next day I nearly killed a man as fearless as myself. The following day when I caught my father weeping I resolved ever after to avoid all personal encounters, which determination for self-control has carried me over many a rickety bridge in safety, and my warning dreams have never troubled me since.

Farming soon became too tame for me, and while nature's adornments which made up and surrounded our quiet home, often charmed my soul into serious dreamlike fancies, yet, somehow I enjoyed singing funny songs and telling stories, together with their proper amendments and legitimate construction—in fact, like my mother, I could tell an old story which every one had heard forty times in such a way as to cause laughter. Therefore, as farm life seemed to be an insufficient incubator for hatching out fresh productions, I mysteriously evolved into the seemingly exalted position of a Yankee Tin Peddler.

i122

ALBUM OF SUNNY DAYS.
CENTRAL LOWER LIKENESS IS OF MY COUSIN O. M. RICHARDSON, NOW RETIRED MANUFACTURER OF ROCKVILLE, CONN. THREE GIRLS IN CENTRAL SCENE, LINA, ELVA AND JOSEPHINE NEWELL, DAUGHTERS OF MY SISTER JANETTE AT HER OLD WABBAQUASSETT HOME. 1890.

[95]

There were at that time at least ten firms in New England and York State who manufactured tinware, for which they loaned carts and gave credit to lively chaps who had teams. The peddler would go on the road and trade the tinware for barter, old iron, copper, brass, lead, zinc and all kinds of paper stock, besides cow hides and sheep pelts or anything of which he knew the value, and ship it in to pay his account. It was a lucrative business for a clever boy, often clearing $100.00 per week besides his expenses. Also it gave him a chance to study human nature, as a good peddler must be able to read his customer before he says the wrong thing, for a frolicsome Irish woman appreciates a tone and language with perhaps a friendly slap on the shoulder, which would frighten an elderly, sedate, bloodless maiden into spasms.

Soon my two brothers and myself with several neighboring young men were into the business, and in the Spring of 1861 Alonzo Shepherd and myself ventured a trip to Long Island by the way of New York City. On this trip we acquired both wealth and fame. The ridiculous instances of our travels often come up before me now. We were continually playing tricks on each other which always ended in laughter. On this trip we became horse traders, which proved to be more lucrative than peddling.

In 1863 I shipped my team to Batavia, New York, and in August sent for my brother Gordon to come to Dunkirk, where I had another team, and we peddled through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, returning to Connecticut in the Fall, after which I returned to Elba, N. Y., where, December 10th, I married Mary Jane Hoyt, a beautiful, intelligent girl of twenty years.

The following year, 1864, with several other teams each, we came West again and returned to Albany for the winter. On my return I followed the shore road of[96] Lake Ontario around to Watertown, N. Y., while Gordon returned through Pennsylvania, our object being to buy horses of the mountain farmers.

i126

MARY JANE HOYT, ELBA. N. Y., 1863. WILDER WOODS.
THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN THE SUMMER BEFORE WE WERE MARRIED.


[97]

THE THOMPSON FAMILY.

From Watertown, I worked East, where I fell in with a family by the name of Thompson, who owned a large stock-raising farm in the foot hills of Mount Seward, not far from North Elba, the Adirondack home of John Brown.

My experience with the Thompsons left a vivid impression on my memory which never grows dim.

As I remember them Mr. Thompson was short, heavy set, blue eyed, fair complexion, with a physiognomy indicating that he seldom suffered defeat. He was usually thoughtful and serious, but when telling stories or relating experience he was full of mirth.

Mary, his wife, was an interesting woman. Her stout figure, dark eyes and hair with fair skin made her look striking, especially in laughing, when her eyes twinkled and gave expression of mirth. All the animals on the farm were seemingly her special pets, but their little dog Joe came in for the lion's share. Really the little white, curly fellow with black eyes and nose, when standing erect with head and tail up, did look as though he was monarch of all he surveyed. Everybody loved him except the cats. Much of Mrs. Thompson's time was given over to church work, for which she must have been well fitted, as her Christian character was discernible at every move and turn.

Vida, their daughter of sixteen summers, was fair, with large dark eyes, auburn hair and prominent chin.[98] Her quick glance and mirthful smile betokened self-esteem and decisive character, while glee and dare innocently portrayed pent emotion and artful design.

During the evening I turned the conversation to the story of John Brown, and was glad to learn that Mr. Thompson had been a near friend of Brown and was with him on the Kennedy farm only a few days before the raid on Harper's Ferry.

At Mrs. Thompson's suggestion we planned that we four take a horseback ride after church services on the morrow, up to the Brown farm and see John's grave and the big rock nearby from which, in former days, he had done much preaching to the mountaineers.

Our horses were good lopers, taking us up and downhill through the woods to the farm, at which we arrived very quickly, but found none of the family at home. We finally gained entrance to the little farm house and sat in John's chair by his cheap desk. Afterwards we climbed on the big rock now near his grave which seems to stand as a lone sentinel, in the rocky wilds, silently calling the coming generations to the resting place of the ashes of him who followed the dictates of conscience, regardless of immediate results.

After enjoying hot cream biscuit with wild honey and crabapple jelly, with a neighbor of the Browns, we started down the mountain, and through the evening we sat before the crackling hickory flames in the great fireplace while Mr. Thompson gave his experience with the Browns, which were substantially as follows:

i131

JOHN BROWN, 1850.
GOD CALLS EVERY MAN AND WOMAN TO DUTY AND REQUIRES A RESPONSE ACCORDING TO THEIR INDIVIDUAL ABILITY.


[99]

JOHN BROWN.

One evening in the summer of 1850, John Brown, whom I had known in Springfield, Mass., as a successful wool merchant, surprised us by calling, and relating his troubles.

"I," he said, "through misfortune or mismanagement, have lost the fortune which I amassed in 25 years. In trying to retrieve, I shipped my stock to Europe, but after staying there about four months I sold it so low that my loss, including the expense of the trip, left me stranded. My ardor for the slave has not in the least abated, and through the assistance of Gerritt Smith I have taken up land and am building a home over in North Elba, I am a sort of instructor to the colored folks of Smith's Wild Wood Colony.

"I have several colored men working for me in clearing up and planting, and they work well. I brought along some blooded cattle, pigs and hens, and finding many hard maples on the place, which produce sap for sirup, we feel quite independent. Two of our heifers have come in and we have plenty of milk, so I tell my wife if we have not crossed the Jordan into the land of milk and honey, we have crossed the Connecticut into the land of milk and maple molasses. Now I must be going in order to reach home before dark."

"Stay, Mr. Brown," I said, "why, we have not visited at all yet."

"I know, Mr. Thompson, but I came just to let[100] you know where we are, and if you will come to see us we will treat you to fried chicken, boiled potatoes, hot corn bread and fresh butter. Will you come?"

"Surely; how far is it, John?"

"About 25 miles up the mountain, and 10 miles down; but I am still good for four miles an hour. Say, Mrs. Thompson, set on something for me to eat, the very best you have, for the Bible says, 'Be not slow to entertain strangers for thereby you may be entertaining angels, unaware.'"

Soon after, early one morning, we saddled our horses and rode over to call on our new neighbors, when Brown would hear nothing but that we must stop with them overnight, and although we all visited, cooked, ate and slept in the same room, we did enjoy ourselves.

Before retiring, we all knelt in family worship, when Brown prayed so clear and fervent that no one could doubt his faith in the loving Father, who he believed was listening.

Ruth, Brown's eldest daughter, and her husband, Henry Thompson, were with them, and several of the younger children. Oliver, one of those killed at Harper's Ferry, recently, was then about 10 years old.

After supper, Brown and I climbed onto the great rock, beside where his body now lies, when he revealed to me his disconnected plans of venturing into a slave state and arming negroes who could fight for their own liberty.

"But," said I, "the law gives those Southerners the right to hold slaves."

"What law?" he exclaimed as he extended his lower jaw defiantly and repeated, "What law? Jesus defined laws as the will or mandate of Jehovah. If you call the[101] conclusions of an assembly of men today which another assembly of men tomorrow can prove to be felonious, law, then John Brown is an outlaw; but if the Saviour's definition, 'Love the Lord, thy God, with all thy mind and soul, and thy neighbor as thyself,' is law, then John Brown is a law-abiding citizen, and will, if needs be, die for those who are in bondage, who have committed no crime."

Then raising his tall form and moving slowly to and fro in the moonlight on the great rock, he continued in a soft tone.

"God calls every man and woman to duty and requires a response according to their individual ability. I feel that I have had a call to open the gate of freedom to the slaves in this, Columbia. This call is not a direct communication from God, but more in the line of duty. I am somehow impressed that I am the man to answer this call, for, when I pray for guidance, the echo seems to come back, 'Your strength is sufficient.' When you and I were boys, Dan, we read of famous persons whose characters glittered before us, but we somehow overlooked the fact that duty and praise do not travel hand in hand, but rather, that duty treads the thorny way and fame creeps softly after.

"Not only is this God's law, but it coincides with experience. Disappointment mingled with failure seems to be the earthly lot of man, and yet it is not failure. When the morn of eternity dawns, and you and I shall stand to be judged according to our past records, what will be more glorious than that we meet failure in trying to accomplish good? I know that slavery is a sin, and, if needs be, I will die for the cause."

Of course, I saw Brown occasionally during the next[102] nine years, but I have no time this evening to relate his wildcat crusades in Kansas and Missouri, so we will pass over to the closing days of his life.

Oliver, Brown's youngest son, grew up on the North Elba farm, and through him I was kept informed concerning Brown's border free-booters until Brown came and took him to the Kennedy Farm near Harper's Ferry.

NEAR HARPER'S FERRY.

Anna, Brown's oldest daughter by his second wife, returned from Maryland about the last of October, 1859, when at her father's request she sent for me and gave me all the particulars concerning their rendezvous at the Kennedy Farm and their contemplated raid on Hall's Rifle Works at Harper's Ferry.

The next day, after promising my pets, my wife and Vida, that I would not join the mutineers, as Vida liked to call them, I left for Washington, and was soon in consultation with John Brown in the attic of the little house on the Kennedy Farm, where Anna had, as Brown said, acted as his watchdog, entertaining and detaining all strangers until he or his men could disperse or prepare.

I soon discovered that his attitude toward universal freedom had not abated, and that all his men, including three sons, had become much like him, as, at the prayer meeting in the little church nearby and the family altar, they often chimed in "Amen." As I think of them now I can truthfully say I never saw a band of men more Christianized in their expressions than those, for John had instilled into their minds his theory that the world was to be benefited by the struggle they were about to begin.

[103]

One day Oliver, his father and I walked down to Harper's Ferry, and while returning in the evening, Oliver and I pressed him for an explanation of the course he would pursue when he had taken possession of the arms at the Rifle Works, as the slaves would be useless at first, but he had none—he seemed to rely implicitly upon God and the Northern abolitionists to see him through.

Suddenly stopping us under the dark shadowy trees, and laying one hand on Oliver's shoulder and the other on mine, he said low and earnestly: "I do not know where I shall be when that beautiful moon has made its journey around this world once more, but one thing I do know and that is this: through my ceaseless efforts I have corralled the slave holders until now I have them in a trap. If my efforts are not impeded the slave will eventually free himself. If they are, and I am destroyed, the North, through sympathy for me and justice to the slave, will continue my cause until the bondmen are free. So you see I have them in a trap, but my aim is to avoid a bloody war, for the families in the South are as dear to me as those in the North, but slavery is a sin and must cease. Soon this generation will be passed, other men our lands will till and other men our streets will fill. When we are all gone the South as well as the North will speak kindly of him who dared to oppose his country's unjust laws."

All of Brown's men as well as myself considered the Harper's Ferry raid an unwise move, but to Brown, human life seemed a secondary matter, as compared to the continuation of national sin.

The last evening I stayed at the Kennedy Farm. After a supper of corn cake and molasses, Stephens and Tidd, who had melodious voices, sang "All the Dear Folks at Home Have Gone" and "Faded Flowers." Their voices[104] echoing softly down the glens where the tree of freedom was about to appear rooted and nourished in the blood of those brave helpless invaders. Oliver Brown, noticing my emotion, gave me a friendly slap on the shoulder, saying, "Now we will all join in with father, 'Nearer my God to Thee,'" which we did before kneeling together for the last time at that strange family altar.

When I left for the North next day, the understanding was that the raid would not take place until about November 1st, but condition made it expedient for them to move at once, which they did.

I arrived home the 17th of October, and after supper I saddled the horses, when my wife, Vida and myself ran up the mountains at a spirited canter, arriving at the Brown Farm in the dark. In the small frame house we found his wife, Mary, and three of his daughters, Anna, Sarah and Ellen; Mary, the wife of Oliver; Henry and Ruth Thompson and several neighbors.

All listened in silence, while I related the incidents of my visit at the Kennedy Farm, but, of course, none of us knew that Brown had already taken possession of Harper's Ferry, that Oliver and Watson had been killed, and that the old man was holding out so grimly in the engine house.

About ten days later the exaggerated telegrams concerning Harper's Ferry were afloat which set us all agog, but not until Friday the 21st did we get a copy of the New York Times, of the 18th, which I took up to the Elba home, and we all listened while Annie read it through, then for several moments all remained silent, as we thought father and all were dead.

Later we learned that the father was alive, but Watson[105] and Oliver were dead, and that Owen was missing, which was considered equivalent to being dead.

John Brown's trial ended October 21st. On November 2d he was sentenced to be hanged, which execution was carried out December 2, 1859.

Of those missing, Cook and Haslet were captured, and we took it for granted that Owen and the other three for whom there was a reward offered had been killed at the Ferry, but not reported.


[106]

THE DEAD APPEAR

Near the time set for the execution of Mr. Brown we were all nervous, especially our Vida and Sarah Brown; they were about ready to fly, and what happened, Vida must tell it herself.

"Oh, no, papa; you're telling the story; keep right on."

Well, as I have said, we knew that the three Brown boys, Watson, Owen and Oliver, were dead and the father was to be executed December 2d, and we were running back and forth to the Elba Farm all the time, trying to help the women to bear up under this trying ordeal.

One dark evening, the last of November, two neighboring girls came in and stayed until after 10 o'clock, when Vida and my wife accompanied them to the gate. When she returned, as we were sitting before the fire in this big fireplace, a soft rap came on the door, which we seldom use, and as I rose up Vida said: "That is Flossy, let me go."

The door being in the entry, from where we sat Mary and I could not see Vida when she opened it, but listened if we might recognize the voice. The voice being inaudible, I started to go just as Vida uttered a low moan, staggered backwards to where I could see her, and fell in a dead faint.

I sprang to the open door and called out, but could see nor hear no one. Then I closed and locked it, and Mary brought the camphor, but we could not bring her back, so as to tell whom she had seen for a long time.[107] When she recovered she said it was one of the Browns, but she thought he was dead. I instantly decided it was John Brown, who had escaped from Charlestown jail, which was a feasible conclusion, as all the news we were receiving in the Adirondacks was nearly a week old and unreliable.

Rushing out I ran down into the road, calling John by name, when I heard a voice near the house, and turning back, discovered it was Owen Brown, who had been reported missing, and we supposed he was dead.

When in out of the cold and before the big fireplace with Mary washing his hands and face, Vida trying to untangle his unkempt hair and I getting off his shoes, which had not been removed in weeks, he covered his face with his hands and wept, but did not speak.

After supper he listened to our reports from Harper's Ferry and North Elba as we had gained them, and then inquired if I thought it was imprudent for him to try to visit those at home, to which I assured him that he would be more safe in Washington than he was in the Adirondacks.

"Then," said he, "it is better that they never know you have seen me." Then turning to Vida said: "You can keep a secret?" Vida put her hand on his head saying, "Try me and see."

It was soon arranged that Mary should spend the next day cleaning and fixing his clothes, Vida would run Fleet Foot Jim up to the Elba Farm and without revealing anything bring back all the news, while I was to borrow what money he might require, and the following night he and I were to run, on saddle, to Robert Doan, a staunch abolitionist, from which place he would make his way to his brother at Dorsett, Ohio.


[108]

VIDA'S DARING EXPLOIT

We were unable to get Owen ready for the night ride until the second evening, when Vida declared her intention to accompany us as far as Jobe's Hill, seventeen miles down the mountain. "For," said she, "when Mr. Brown is clear from the Adirondack region, he can make his way in comparative safety to Utica, or if he is going to Ohio, he can follow the lake shore to Rochester. Now do not say no, Papa, for I am not afraid; they will never catch Old Jim while I am on his back. Besides, a lady riding with two men might fool even a shrewd detective, if such a thing might be that any of our mountain greenhorns have turned detectives for the sake of the reward which is out for Owen."

"Why, Vida," said Owen.

"Please do not object, Mr. Brown. I am an Adirondack lassie who used to go barefoot in summer, and I know as much about these backwood aspirants as anyone."

"Now, my dear child," I said.

"Papa," she continued, "will you, for once, allow your pet to have her own way? If you should be caught, think of the consequences; and you, Mamma and I would be ashamed to hold up our heads in church. Now, Mamma, will you take my side?"

"You know, Papa," said Mrs. Thompson, "that all the girls are accustomed to—"

"All right—all right," I said, for I felt that Vida's plan was sensible.

i143

ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS.
VIDA THOMPSON ON HER WILD MIDNIGHT RIDE.

[109]

At 10 o'clock, when we went out to saddle the horses, we were startled by two strangers standing near the gate, but soon learned they were wood choppers from the timberlands farther up the mountain, who had become confused, thinking they might be on the wrong road.

Fleet Foot Jim, who was always proud when my wife or Vida was on his back, pranced, nibbled his bit, paced and cantered until Vida patted his neck and talked baby talk to him, when he steadied down and we went on at a brisk trot, seldom speaking until we reached Jobe's Hill, where Vida kissed me again, bidding me not to worry, shook hands good-bye with Owen and she was off on a spirited run through the midnight gloom.

Brown and I listened to the klick of the horse's feet as they made the turn down through the dark timber valley, then ascending the hill the klicking grew fainter until they passed over the brow of the hill, when it ceased altogether.

"Listen," said I to Brown, "the long wooden bridge we came over is not more than two miles away," and as we waited the rumbling thunder from old Jim's heels on the bridge assured us that Vida's lonely midnight ride up the Adirondack Mountains would soon be over, and so it was, for she left the hemlock grove on Jobe's Hill at just 11:30 and bounced into her waiting mother's arms at home at 12:15, making the 17 miles in 45 minutes, which she always refers to as her glorious midnight ride.


[110]

OWEN BROWN'S STORY

"Soon after you left us at the Kennedy Farm we were startled by the rumor that the authorities were about to come down upon us, so we decided to seize the arsenal Sunday night.

"Father routed us out earlier than usual for our family worship on Sunday morning, and all of us knelt together for the last time.

"Now Oliver and Watson are dead, father is to be hanged tomorrow, I am a fugitive with a large reward over me and most of the others are either dead or soon will be.

"We left Kennedy Farm at dusk Sunday, October 16, 1859. In our party there were, besides father; Watson, Oliver and I, Marriam, the two Coppic boys, Cook, Tidd, Kagi, Taylor, Bill Thompson, Hazlett, Copeland, Leary, Greene, Anderson and several other men.

"Father rode in the wagon and the others walked two by two, all but Marriam, Cook, Barclay, Coppic and myself, who were left to guard the arms and other effects until we heard from the raid.

"Tidd came out to us in the morning stating that the battle was going on fiercely and that our men were being hemmed in on all sides. Then he reported that more than fifty had been killed, the Mayor of Harper's Ferry had been shot, and Watson and Oliver were dead; so, upon this report we decided to flee from the scene and leave all behind.

[111]

"We hastily ate and fixed up as much lunch as we could carry, when Marriam, Coppic, Cook, Tidd and myself ran across the country to Maryland Heights, where we could view the scene but could not help.

"At first we saw no troops, but hundreds of men from behind trees, rocks and buildings firing at our men, who, as yet, held the town. We could see father, with sword in hand, walking about apparently encouraging the men.

"Soon we saw a squad of more than a hundred soldiers leave the bridge and march down the street towards father and his few men, and could see father begin preparing for the onslaught.

"When they were about two hundred feet distant father apparently gave the word to fire, and it was kept up until two of our men and more than twenty of their troop lay dead in the street, while their live ones retreated in confusion to the covered bridge from whence they came.

"Truly it was a strange sight to see father, an old man, with a handful of mountaineers holding the town of Harper's Ferry against that company of Maryland regulars, besides receiving an occasional shot from behind buildings or other places of safety. He was facing odds of more than fifty to one, who, not knowing what father's re-enforcements might be, were really panic stricken.

"Through continuous firing, one after another of our few men were shot down, until father abandoned the arsenal and seemed to be barricading the engine house with his few men, probably not more than three or four besides himself.

"Colonel Robert E. Lee, with a company of United States Marines, appeared just before dark but did not[112] attempt to capture the enemy's stronghold in the engine house, possibly because he had heard the rumor that father had three or four thousand men in the mountains waiting his command.

"Knowing that anything more on our part to help father would virtually be suicide, we gathered up our effects and started on our night tramp through the Blue Ridge Mountains in a northwesterly direction.

"We traveled in the roads strung out about ten rods apart, myself in advance, so when I met anyone I would engage him in conversation until the other boys were concealed from the view of the road. When passing villages we climbed the fences and ran around.

"Soon our food was ear corn, which we pillaged from the farmers. This we could not pop or roast, as we dare not build a fire. We could travel in the rain nights, but we could not sleep days when it was wet and cold, and we suffered terribly. After several days suffering, Cook proposed to venture into the town for food, to which Tidd strongly objected and I often had my hands full trying to quiet their quarrels.

"About the sixth day out we slept on a mountain which overlooked Ole Forge, near Chambersburg, Pa., where Cook was determined to go down for food, which he did, and never returned, and as you know, was captured and will soon share the fate of others at Charlestown.

"Marriam was now so weak that he could go no further, and I at a great risk, got him down to Chambersburg, where he boarded a train without detection. Then we were but three."

"Fearing that Cook might be forced to reveal our whereabouts and intentions, we traveled all that night back towards the hill from whence we came, making our[113] course as zigzag as possible, so detectives would be unable to design our intentions or lay in wait for us.

"The third day after Cook's capture, an old lady hunting nuts in the woods came spank upon us, while we were sleeping in the sun. We were still near Chambersburg and from what she had heard she knew who we were, and told us so. To kill her would be wrong, to let her go back and report would be dangerous; but she soon put us at ease by telling about her abolition friends in Massachusetts and how her son, with whom she lived, and all her neighbors would help us on the way.

"We trusted her and at dark we found ourselves in her son's home eating chicken-pie and drinking hot coffee, which we had not partaken of in ten days. Soon another sympathizer came in and the two men arranged to take us on our journey as far as they could before morning.

"When we were small, father used to tell us children about the angels and I formed the idea that they were sweet, lovely and looked beautiful, but oh, Mr. Thompson, that dear old lady, I wish you could have seen her just as she looked to me that night, stepping around so softly to make us comfortable. Why, Thompson, she seemed so handsome, while looking through my tears I actually think she might have been an angel which God sent to comfort us. When we were ready to start, she put her arm around each of our necks and kissed us, saying, 'We will play that I am your mother, just for tonight.'

"Acting on our host's guarantee, we rode boldly down through Chambersburg, where Cook had just been taken, but all was well. At break of day, when about forty-five miles away, we jumped out with our luggage, eight loaves[114] of bread and part of a boiled ham, and fled into the woods.

"Now we found ourselves among the Quakers, who fed and protected us, and in a few days we separated, I working my way to you, and here I am tonight.

"Father taught his followers that the move on Harper's Ferry would precipitate conditions which would free the slaves. If, as we believe, God was leading him, it surely will, for dark as it appears to us today, it may be all right when viewed by the coming generations."

Then in a voice, just like old John Brown himself, Owen softly sang a verse of the hymn, "God Moves in a Mysterious Way His Wonders to Perform." We rode a little way in silence and again he struck up:

"Let us love one another as long as we stay
Where storm after storm rises dark o'er the way."

i151

NEAR JOHN BROWN'S ADIRONDACK HOME, 1911.


[115]

AFTER THE MIST HAD CLEARED AWAY

Forty-six years have passed since the sixteen year old Vida played her part so well in the strange drama of freedom's birth, and now, in an automobile tour to the coast of Maine with my wife, Mary Prickett, and our sixteen year old Vida, who to me, is a veritable imprint of the afore-characterized Vida Thompson. I again travel the winding roads of the old Adirondack Mountains.

We visit the John Brown farm, sit in his easy chair, and climb the great rock which silently stands sentinel where, in turn, the cold winter's blasts in their wild midnight ride howl weirdly, and the sweet spring mornings awaken the forest song birds who shy their nests among the wild flowers near the grace of the old Hero—John Brown.

The Browns are gone from North Elba. New York State has secured possession of the farm and erected a fitting monument to the memory of John Brown. When the old home is gone, and the monument has been replaced, the great rock will stand there just as Brown found it, seeming to say, "I alone will stay and guard his long repose."

Strangers now live in the Thompson home, the evergreen on Jobe's Hill is seen no more, the long wooden bridge over which Old Jim thundered out the distant echo as he hastened the fair Vida through the mountains, has been replaced and each fair day, as the evening sun nears Ontario's restless waves, it kisses a fond adieu to[116] the little cemetery where Mr. and Mrs. Thompson sleep, while a little child smoothes Grandma Vida's silver locks on yonder's distant shore where the grand old Pacific ebbs and flows as time rolls on.

i155

YANKEE HORSEMEN.
LEFT TO RIGHT, UPPER. PERRIN, PARKHOUSE, WILSON, MERRICK, SLATER.
LEFT TO RIGHT, LOWER. JONES, WESTCOTT, COLLINS, GORDON, SHERMAN.


[117]

YANKEE HORSEMEN GO WEST

The following year, 1865, it appears Gordon and I were not satisfied to let well enough alone, so we gave up our lucrative business for something more leisurely, by going into Batavia, New York, as fruit dealers. We had a stack of money and pitched right in, buying up whole orchards and paying approximately 40 per cent down, and when apples declined from $8.00 to $5.00 per barrel we had hardly enough money left to get out of town with, but our brother, Collins, loaned us all we needed and we struck out again at our old business, undaunted, as though nothing had happened.

The next year, 1866, we three brothers, with our wives, and all our teams hung out for the winter at Cleveland, Ohio.

Collins and Martha.
Merrick and Mary.
Gordon and Amanda.

In the spring, 1867, with about fifty teams, we scattered over the south and west planning a rendezvous on the Mississippi River, where we all grouped for about three months. Our evenings of sport are better remembered than imagined. We had expanded our business until there were nearly 100 of us, playing tricks on each other, wrestling, lifting, swimming, running horses, telling stories, singing songs, etc.

One of our men, a hostler, named Kelly, made an impromptu speech one evening, which was comical, but[118] without the surroundings could not be appreciated. Ramson Young started an old-time school play of snapping the whip. It consisted of a captain standing at his post and as many as were take hold of hands and when he gave the word, all start on a swing to run around him. Of course, the outer one must run faster and the trick was to all pull the outer or tail man off his feet and see him try to save himself from falling. They got Kelly on the end and when he came around the next man let go of his hand, his body got ahead of his legs and he ran among the tables and dishes and through the camp fire in his big bare feet, before he could stop, but did not catch on that it was intentional.

Next evening the boys gathered again and when Kelly saw that he would be on the tail end, he let go, and stepping onto a stump said: "Gentlemen, I am a Hoosier, born in the State of Indiana, and an uneducated man, but you will never again get me on the tail end of that 'ere." I did not like to see Young impose on Kelly, so I embraced the first opportunity to even up matters. One evening while waiting in camp for supper, near Duluth, Kelly was exhibiting his new shotgun, when Young said to me: "I'm going to bet with Kelly he cannot hit my new hat at twenty paces, and you must load the gun, but put in no shot."

"I will do nothing of the kind," I said.

"Yes, you will, Mr. Richardson; this is just for a joke."

"I tell you I will have nothing to do with your tricks."

"Kelly," he cried, "I will bet you a quarter that you cannot hit my new hat at twenty paces, and Mr. Richardson says he will load the gun."

[119]

"All right," says Kelly, "Richardson is honest; I will trust him."

I again refused, but when they both insisted I took the new gun and ammunition and when out of sight I put in, not only a good charge of powder, but a whole handful of buckshot, and when I delivered it, Young said to Kelly: "Suppose we make it fifty cents instead of a quarter?" "All right," said Kelly.

By this time all the boys were excited, for they knew Kelly could hit the hat, and Young began betting five and ten cents each, with them, until he had nearly two dollars up and his new straw hat on stake.

Young caught me smiling, and looked at a little scared as he whispered, "There is no shot in the gun?" to which I paid no attention. Now Kelly squared himself and took aim long and steady and then fired. Of course, blowing the new hat all to driblets.

Young gave me one wicked glance and then stood around like a rooster in the rain, and when the joke got out he simply remarked, "If a man cannot trust a preacher, who can he trust?"

We had a ministerial looking fellow with us, who gave his name as Wilson from New Jersey. He had worked for us but a few months when one morning three men came up and stopped one of our teams. Wilson, who was driving a front team, looked back, and, dropping his rein, ran for the woods, nearly a half mile distant, looking neither to the right or left until he disappeared into the bushes. Next day, going through a piece of woods, I heard Wilson's voice, "Is everything all right?" and when told that the men only wanted to buy a horse, he still suspected that he had seen one of them before.[120] Although he was with us until near the end of our travels he never told us why he ran so fast.

Of course, our lives were full of peculiar incidents. Mr. Young, who deputized me to load the gun, delighted in telling the fortunes of those who came around the camp fire in the evening, and it was rich to listen to him when he had a fellow and girl on the string, who were really serious.


[121]

MY RELATION

We camped over Sunday near the home of a distant relative of mine, who had come out west many years before and had been prosperous. He was a great big generous farmer of about seventy-five years, who enjoyed our stories and songs hugely, while he supplied our camp with eggs, ham, chicken, cream and vegetables. One of his neighbors told me a secret about the old man's narrow escape from death, which I have not forgotten.

It appears that after his first wife's death, the old chap married a young woman of the neighborhood, who made him an excellent wife, although there was a slight blemish of character on the family from which she came. It seems that before the marriage he had agreed never to twit her about her relation, but had broken over several times, for which she had warned him to desist if he valued his life.

One day, as the story went, she was making pies and he was in the kitchen tormenting her, for which she gave him tit for tat until he remarked, "Well, thank the Lord I was reared in a family of God-fearing and law-abiding citizens." She uttered an unprintable phrase, and drew a butcher knife from the table drawer. It was the one which the old gent had often used to slay pigs and calves, but he had never dreamed it would one day be used to wind up his own earthly career.

A glance at the keen, ugly blade caused him to unceremoniously discontinue the argument and rush out[122] the back door crying, "Help! Help!" Knowing the unscrupulous character of the family to which his sweetheart belonged, and the heat to which he had fired her passion, he, without stopping to either pray or swear, lit out for the orchard, hoping to distance his fair pursuer and climb a tree.

In this horrid dilemma of running while looking, both before and behind, he forgot about the old unused well without a curb, and just as she was about to plunge the awful knife, he dropped into the well just deep enough to save himself from decapitation.

"I was one," said the relator, "to help old John out of the well and patch up an armistice, which I think he has held sacred, and twitted his wife no more about her relation."

i163

OUR EVERYDAY TRANSACTIONS, EXCEPT SUNDAY.


[123]

HORSE JOCKIES

We had now abandoned our tin peddling business except as a means of settling expense bills, and had become successful horse dealers.

Our fine horses gave us a sort of prestige and welcome in traveling over the country. Our lookout for bargains was always in unmanageable young horses, which usually became docile through kind treatment. Of the three brothers, Collins was the best judge of a horse, while Gordon and I were close buyers. Our method was to trade for or buy unmanageable young sound horses and put them on the wheel of a four-horse team. After they had fought and tired themselves out they would come along and soon be working all right. In this way we could tame the ugliest animals and never whip them. Then they were for sale and would please the buyer. Sometimes we had more than one hundred horses, which gave a good selection for the buyer.

A few of our men were on good salary, but many were hangers on.

Frank Button, from Vermont, was always on hand in the time of trouble. He was kind-hearted, but when on a lark was always looking for the bully of the town. The Aurora papers came out one morning with large headlines, stating that Ben Grim, the "Terror or Terrier" of Aurora, had tackled one of Richardson's horse jockies, named Button, who although appearing like a[124] common cloth-bound wooden-button, proved to have been brass inside, but it was hoped that Grim would live.

At Davenport we camped over Sunday on the river just north of the town, where the Methodist minister (a jolly good fellow) thought to invite us to come and hear him preach. In coming up through the teams he chanced to climb the six-horse van to see how things looked inside. Tiger, the one-eyed brindle pup, could not stand for that, and when we all rushed to see what the stranger was yelling about, we found the minister swinging from the top bar of the Broad Gauge by both hands, while Tiger was swinging from the seat of the minister's pants by his teeth. Our liberal donation for his new pants virtually healed the breach, but that evening, when in his sermon he lauded us for our Christian benevolence and sympathy, he said nothing about the seat of his pants, nor even mentioned the faithfulness of our beloved Tiger.

At Evansville I boarded an Ohio River steamer for Louisville, on which there were four colored men, accustomed to singing old plantation melodies at each landing. I took them with us through the hills of old Kentucky for several weeks and we all learned to sing their songs. I am wishing now I could be in that old camp once more, and hear those voices again:

"Oh, Dearest May, You're Lovelier Than the Day," "Down on the Old P. D.," "My Old Kentucky Home Far Away," "Darling Nelly Gray," and the like.

Prosperity and joy were with us in every way, and never in all our travels did we have a man get severely hurt. We three brothers were strong, athletic and humorous and always made companions of our men.

Our foot and horse racing was often exciting. Our last foot race was in Cleveland, Ohio, where after we[125] three brothers had outdone all the men we ran it off between ourselves on the Lake Shore, where Collins won, but I told him it was just by the length of his nose.

Some of us were good marksmen, but when we run on to a backwoodsman in Missouri, who had about a dozen squirrels he had killed that morning, all shot in the eye except one, which was hit in the ear, for which he apologized, as he declared that in the tallest tree he was able to hit ninety-nine out of one hundred in the eye, we boasted no more about our marksmanship.

If Frank and Jesse James, the notorious outlaws of the Wild West, ever visited our camp, we did not know it. I visited their old home twice while in Missouri, and listened to their mother's story about her boys she loved so well. At that time the State of Missouri had out rewards, in the aggregate of more than $50,000 for their capture, dead or alive.


[126]

LANDED IN CHICAGO

In the fall, Collins and Gordon returned to Connecticut, while I, having spent much time in the South, laid up in Cleveland for the winter. They returned to Cleveland in the spring, when at the solicitation of our dear wives we decided to dispose of as many of our teams as possible during the summer and locate permanently in some large city, which we did, and in the fall of 1868, with about 100 horses and seventy-five men, we landed in Chicago.

We purchased the northwest corner of Canal and Lake Streets, running to the alley each way. Besides some little stores on Lake Street, there was an immense ice house and a large wooden structure occupied by Garland, Downs & Holmes, as sales station of a carriage manufacturer in Boston. These gave us ample room for all our teams, but before our titles were perfected the city condemned most of the property in opening Dutch Broadway (Milwaukee Avenue) into Lake Street, and although we never came into legal possession of the property the city's appraisement was such that our purchase left us a good bonus besides our occupation of the building for over a year. We then lived over stores on Canal Street, where the Chicago & Northwestern Depot now stands.

In 1869 we bought property on both sides of Lake Street, in the second block west of Western Avenue, where we built homes on the south and a factory on[127] the north side of the street. We then sold our teams, mostly to our men on the installment plan, holding the property in our name until paid for. Then we started manufacturing tinware, working about fifty tinners, selling the ware to those who bought the teams. It was a success. Soon all the teams were off our hands, and the once prolific and romantic business and escapades of the three Richardson brothers had entirely disappeared.

In 1872 Collins sold out to Gordon and me, he returning to Connecticut and settling down on a farm.

In 1874 we sold out the tin factory, and Gordon, who had always been a lover of fast horses, began dealing in them again.

I, who had all the time been exhorting and writing books, entered the Evanston Theological Seminary, preparing for the ministry, but when Dr. H. W. Thomas experienced his troubles with Rock River Conference, I abandoned that course, but kept up, through private instructors, the languages and scientific studies for five years, including one year of experimental astronomy on the great telescope then at Cottage Grove.


[128]

DR. THOMAS

Thomas' ideas moulded my thoughts into lines of truth. He was a good man, a profound scholar and deep thinker, but lived before his time. The following I copy from his thoughts:

THE ORIGIN AND DESTINY OF MAN

BY H. W. THOMAS, D.D.

We say that this is the 12th day of December. We say that this is the year 1870. We say that it is the Sabbath evening, and that we are gathered here in the house of worship. We say that we look into each other's faces, and that you hear my words. But is this a dream, or is it reality? For in the night-time we have often dreamed that we have seen large assemblages; we have heard music and singing; we have listened to sermon or lecture; we have loved, we have hoped, we have wept, we have been glad—and in the morning we have found it was only a dream. There have not been wanting, in our world's history, those who have held that all our day-life is only another kind of a day-dream. And, when we come to think of it, it is not the easiest thing to disprove this. I do not know how to prove that I am here better than just to say so. I do not know how I can be much more certain of the fact than I am of certain facts in my dreams. Yet somehow we feel that there is something more in this life than simply an illusion, and I guess that our senses do not deceive us. The revolving earth is beneath our feet; the heavens are above our heads. But if this be so, how came we here? How and whence did we come? Are we the results of some process of material nature, the fortuitous concurrence of innumerable atoms, or are we the creatures of a living God? Is there an order and a plan about our being? Shall our days end with the autumn and the snow, or will there be a spring time? and shall we wake in the long tomorrow and be forever? Now we may ask, "Is this that we call death the end of our being?" It seems to me, if we get a correct view of death, that it is only another form of birth. Personally, I think that one coming down to a point of dying may find it something like the setting of the sun. Had we never seen the going down of our sun, we would dread the thought of darkness coming on. Men would gather in the deepest alarm as the great orb began to descend in the west. They would gaze anxiously at the last lingering rays on the tree-tops and hilltops. But as the sun gradually disappeared, and darkness began to settle over them, they would see in the distance a twinkling star; and as they looked at this, another would appear, and another, and another, till, as they stood gazing, the whole starry heavens would shine out before them. Instead of the going down of the sun being an eclipse, it only makes visible the splendor of the heavens. So we should go down to dying, thinking of the change as only revealing to us the vaster universe beyond.

i170

H. W. THOMAS, D. D.
"I AM GLAD THAT IMMORTALITY IS NOT ONLY A FAITH BUT A GREAT FACT. I AM GLAD THAT WHILE THE SNOWS OF WINTER MAY LIE OVER THE GRAVES OF LOVED ONES, THEIR SPIRITS ARE UP WITH GOD."

[129]

Socrates, before he died, said he expected soon to be with Homer, and Hesiod, and Orpheus, and Musaius. Cicero apostrophized his departed daughter, and said he would meet her in the realms of the blest. Dante thought to find his Beatrice in the spirit-life.

[130]

As I stand here, it seems like a dream that I am talking to you in the light of this beautiful room; that the time will soon come when others shall be here and we shall be gone. Yes, my friends, the strange mystery lies before us.


[131]

EARLY CHICAGO

Chicago, then about 300,000 inhabitants, was virtually in the hands of the gang. The heelers from the assessors' office boldly reduced the valuation on property to those who stood their assessments for what they called electioneering purposes, while raising the assessment on those who refused to bribe, until the burden on the honest taxpayer became griveous to bear.

Cases are said to be on record where two vacant lots lying side by side were assessed, one five times as much as the other, and that not one of our aldermen paid personal property tax, while families whose income was less than $400.00 per year, were heavily assessed on their household effects.

John Wentworth ("Long John"), one of Chicago's early mayors, who had fought the Indians at Fort Dearborn, with several other large land holders, refused to pay their taxes until the court of last resort decided they must pay as assessed, but the effect of the attempt was good, for the following year the valuation on real estate was cut down nearly one-half.

This so diminished the income of the Cook County wolves that a panic ensued, which incensed the ever-irritable element and finally swelled into anarchy, consummating in the Haymarket Riot, in 1886, in which several officers were maimed or killed, and for which a few of the chief conspiring anarchists were executed, and thus civilization was restored.

[132]

Good men were then selected for responsible positions, while the dirty constables and rotten, self-elected magistrates, who held courts in extreme corners of the county, where victims were summoned to appear, only to find that judgment had been rendered against them, were at last stamped under the heels of decency.

Mr. Story, editor of the Chicago Times, who had amassed a large fortune, as the story ran, became infatuated with a feminine spiritual medium, who acted both as advisor and architect in the construction of a marble mansion on Grand Boulevard, whose apparent cost would have been four times his capital. The warmth of the medium did not offset the chill of old age, and becoming weary, he laid down the burden of life and the mansion was never completed.

Philip Hoyne was perhaps then the most noted criminal lawyer in Chicago, and this was the story of how he first became famous.

A man had been arrested for horse stealing who had no lawyer and the judge appointed Hoyne, then a young man, to defend him.

"What shall I do for him?" inquired Hoyne.

"Clear him if you can," said the judge.

Hoyne took the prisoner into the ante-room, used for counsel, and said to him:

"Mr. O'Flerity, did you steal the horse?"

"I did, your honor."

"Do you expect to go to the penitentiary?"

"I do, sir."

"Do you want me to clear you?"

"If you can do it. I swear by the Holy Virgin Mary that I will come to your wake and bring all me relations."

[133]

Hoyne raised the window and said, "Do you see those woods yonder?"

"Indade, I do, sir."

"Now, I will hold my watch and see how long it takes you to run there."

When Hoyne returned to court the judge inquired where his client was.

"I do not know."

"Did I not place him in your charge?"

"Yes, but you said, 'Clear him if you can,' and the last I saw of him he was entering the woods about two miles away."


[134]

HORSE RACING IN CHICAGO

Mr. Billings, the original West Side gas monopolist, had a pacer which could go on the street 2:40 or better, and my brother Gordon drove Tom, the silver-tailed trotter, who could crowd 2:30 very close. Billings lived on Lake Street, near Union Park, while we lived farther west, and we used to race horses nearly every day.

One noon, on going home to lunch, Billings tackled us on Washington Street for a race. Tom drawing us two was a little handicapped, so it made the race about an even thing. Billings became so excited that he did not turn off at Sheldon Street, to his home, but kept on through Union Park. When at Robey Street we encountered a fat colored woman and her dog crossing the street. A policeman saw us coming and tried to get her out of the way, but we ran over the whole bunch.

We turned right back to the policeman, who knew Billings had been instrumental in getting him his job. He said he was not much hurt, only his shins ached terribly where we had run over them with both wheels. The woman had been rolled over and over in the mud, but she said she did not care, only for her dog.

We decided on the officer's advise that it was better to settle the case out of court, so we gave the woman a dollar for her dog. The next noon we had the race over again, and really it was rich to hear Billings and my brother both tell how easily they would have won had not their horses gone into the air.

[135]

We West Siders had what we called the gentlemen's race track, on the south wing of Central Park (Garfield Park). Every Saturday afternoon many of the prominent men with their wives and fast horses assembled there, one to show the other how easy his horse could do the other fellow's nag up.

Mr. Eighmy, a man past 75 years, usually had a fine stepper and he was a good driver. One day in a race of five or six, we could see from the grandstand that on turning into the back stretch they had purposely enclosed the old gent in a pocket, allowing Wrigley with Fly-Away and my brother Gordon with Tom to pass on the outside. Soon we saw the sulky in front and the one at the old gent's side, together with his own, all in a mixup and turning flipflops. When we reached the spot we found them all bruised and bleeding, with their horses loose on the prairie, but the old man was game, and this is what he said:

"I ran between them purposely. I knew it would top us all over, but I said to myself, 'Old Eighmy, you haven't long to live at the best, and if you must die you might as well kill a couple of these damn mean cusses for the good of the community, after you're gone.'"

Isaac Waxwell and Jim Rawley were forever wrangling. Jim was usually on the judge's stand and Isaac claimed that Jim did not give him a fair show. He certainly should have had a fair show, for it was rich to see him drive in the dead heat; he had a peculiar way of leaning forward and sticking out his elbows so it looked as though he was pushing on the reins.

John Brennock, a pioneer packer from the stockyards, was a unique character. He was a big man with a large head, and his mouth was very large in proportion to his[136] head. Everyone liked Brennock and knew he was rich, for he had told them so. His last resort, in a dead heat, was to bawl so loud as to frighten the other drivers' horses off their feet.


[137]

HOPEFUL AND RARUS

On the sportsman's track, adjoining ours on the west, national events took place. The race between Hopeful and Rarus was the most exciting of anything which ever took place in those days. About 60,000 people gathered to see the race.

The blooded Rarus was a tall six-year-old bay trotter of national fame, from Beldom Brothers' stock farm in California. Hopeful was a chubby little white pacer, from a farm on the New England hills. He was twenty-two years old, and had never been on a race track until that season.

Neither horse had ever lost a race, and while the press, from the Atlantic to the Rockies, leaned hopefully towards Hopeful, yet they seemed to think that he was overmatched.

The match was really a strife between the people and the sporting fraternity, for horse racing throughout the country had become demoralized to the extent that the gamblers seldom allowed the best horse to win. Therefore, all the people wanted to see the old farmer, with his handsome pet, win the race.

It was a delightful October day and not only did the whole city turn out, but thousands came in from the country, to witness the great national race which had long been advertised.

Rarus came out first, stepping lively around the mile course and speeding down past the grandstand, which[138] brought forth applause, for all admired the Pacific Ranger, who had come to Chicago to win the laurels of the day.

When Hopeful came out and paced slowly up past the grandstand he looked one way and the other to those who applauded him with a sort of confident grin, but when he turned at the north end of the home stretch and let loose, the people just yelled and roared, while the women acted as though they would like to hug him in their arms.

When lots were chosen and Hopeful won the pole, there was another shout, but it was soon followed by a row in the judge's stand, as there seemed to be a misunderstanding as to who should call time, or give the word to go, but it was finally settled, and the horses appeared for probably the most exciting race ever pulled off on the American continent.

At the word "go" they were off and we all craned our necks as they shot around the south bend, Hopeful hugging the pole and Rarus laying on the wheel of his sulky. On the back stretch, Rarus pulled out endeavoring to pass, and our hearts were in our mouths, while the little mountaineer elevated his head a trifle and steadily held the big ranger on the hub until they came under the wire, Hopeful winner, first in three.

We were still uneasy, for the impression was prevalent that the blooded animal was a stayer, while Hopeful could not make the second mile as fast as the first, but he still held the pole, and we argued that if Rarus had done his best we were all right.

When they came out for the second heat we soon discovered that we were being jockeyed, for several times they came under the wire, neck and neck, and yet were[139] called back by the starter, whose neck we wanted to wring, for we knew he was doing it to fuss, worry and tire our Hopeful.

The last time they were called back, Rarus turned sooner than usual, and before Hopeful could turn he was at full speed and came under the wire far ahead and got the word "go," which gave him time to swing in and take the pole.

A murmur seemed to stifle the friends of Hopeful as the horses swung into the back stretch, where we hoped to see the pacer try to pass, but he steadily hung on the hub, as he had done around the south bend, and continued this all the way around the north bend, when suddenly his driver pulled him out into the center of the home stretch, and the great race was on in dead earnest.

We had taken some ladies from the ground into our carriage, so they could see, while I stepped onto the tire of one wheel with my wife, Mary's hand on my neck to keep me from falling. In the excitement she gripped me so hard I can almost feel her hand now.

Our position near the judge's stand gave us a full view of the horses as they were coming, with Hopeful's head high and his knees far apart. For a few seconds the silence which seemed to reign was only broken by the seemingly far away sound of the horses' feet on the soft dirt, but soon those at the north started a cheer, which wildly broke along the throng like a wave, as Hopeful steadily poked his nose farther to the front until Rarus flew up into the air, when the news began flashing over the wires into the country that Hopeful had won.

Amid the cheers and yells, a ridiculous scene occurred[140] which the reader should have witnessed to appreciate. Suddenly in the crowd nearby a gruff voice seemed uttering smothered oaths, while a woman shouted shrieks of terror, as she suddenly appeared above the throng sitting on the top of a man's head, he pawing with both hands to try to get her off, while she was struggling for release.

The cause of this strange episode took place something like this: He was a burly, cross-eyed Wolverine, from the tall pine tree country, who came down to bet his hard-earned money on the famous Pacific Coast trotter. During the excitement someone knocked his glasses off, and in order for the cross-eyed man to see to find them he had to put his face near to the ground. She, Mrs. Durgan, a little woman, it seems, when awfully tickled, was accustomed to spat her hands on her knees and run backwards while laughing. When she heard Hopeful had won, forgetting where she was, she indulged in her old habit of running backwards until she sat on his head.

When he felt her alight he sprang erect and, of course, not being able to see out or know what was happening, uttered a few excusable oaths. After the good-natured man had found his spectacles he looked pitifully at the woman, who was deluged in a flood of tears, and then turning to me smiled, as he said, "Didn't that beat hell?"

That was long, long ago. Should the recording angel call the roll today of those who were there that day, not one in ten would answer, and in a few years all will be silent. Where have they gone, and will they come again?


[141]

CHICAGO PIETY

Jim Sackley, an Irishman of merited renown, was living in the neighborhood of Lake Street and Western Avenue, when we arrived in Chicago. He had been a sort of self-appointed constable of the town of Cicero, which he said included all the territory west of Western Avenue.

Thompson Brothers at the time were running a general store on Lake Street and, as they were politically inclined, their store seemed to be a gathering place for the worthy aspirants of the neighborhood.

One evening Gordon and I were in the store when Tony McGuel, a gentleman from Cork, came in to announce the death of his wife. We all huddled around him in sympathy, for we had not even heard that she was sick. The surroundings of the scene were made all the more pitiful, as it had taken place just before pay day at the car barns, and he needed a little assistance financially, so Hiram and Harvey Thompson headed the subscription list, and soon we had raised quite a respectable sum.

Jim Sackley was there and in just the frame of mind to shed sympathy copiously, for it was said that one of his near relatives had recently passed away and he was in communication, at intervals, with the priest, who was still praying her out of purgatory. Not only this, but Jim, although not an Irishman himself, for as he had said his children were all born in this country, yet he had seen the auld sod and, like Joseph and his kinsmen in[142] Egypt, with a five dollar bill in his hand he fell on Tony's neck and they kissed and hugged like mother and babe.

Of course, they had both been drinking slightly, which made the tears flow more freely, which so affected us all that we pulled out our linen and wiped away the surplus moisture.

After Tony had gone with about $13.00, which Sackley said would only buy the cheapest coffin, Sackley and Harvey Thompson shaved, put on clean shirts, and called at the home to view the corpse and, if necessary, offer prayer, when to their surprise the corpse met them at the door, and said she did not know where Tony was; the last she heard of him he was trying to borrow money to attend a wake down on Canal Street.

i186

EARLY CHICAGO.


[143]

PUBLIC CONVEYANCE

During those days the Chicago Street Railway Company suffered much through what might be called growing pain. The Randolph Street cars turned at Union Park over onto Lake Street, as far as Robey, and there they stopped during the busy hours of morning and evening, only running to their barns on Western Avenue, when they were not in a hurry.

Their excuse for not running all their cars to Western Avenue was that they could not afford to carry passengers so far for five cents, as hay was $5.00 a ton and oats twenty-seven cents per bushel, besides the public demanded such extravagant service.

The patrons continually murmured about the cars being cold in winter, so the company filled into each car about a foot of loose straw to keep feet warm. This did not work, for the ladies' skirts dragged in the mud and tobacco spittle, and as a result our common council rashly passed an ordinance requiring the company to heat their cars.

The company's first impression was that it could be done with hot water bags, which the wise city fathers rejected, so the company turned to red hot iron. They made receptacles at intervals under the seats, where they carried hot iron, which they exchanged, the cold for the hot, at the return of each trip. This could hardly be considered a success, for if one set over where there was no heat the chills would creep up his spinal column,[144] while if he sat over a fresh hot slab he was in danger of being blistered, but the ordinance had been obeyed, and the company was proud of their West Side horse car line until the cruel hand of competition disturbed their sweet repose.

A wide awake German by the name of Kolbe bought up the old North Shore buss line and furnished it with much better horses than the railroad company were using and started in to carry passengers over the same route for four-cent fare.

At first the railroad company ignored Mr. Kolbe, but soon reduced their fare to four cents, and even at that the busses got all the passengers, for they were driven faster.

Now the fun began. The company ordered their drivers to make the trip as fast as the omnibusses, or they would be discharged, while Kolbe gave orders to his drivers to outdo the company. This gave the passengers, whose destination was State Street, regular joy rides, but those who attempted to get on or off along the route, took their lives in their hands. During the heat of excitement, Kolbe dropped the fare to three cents, which the company followed. Even at this, the more frisky passengers continued to patronize the buss line, leaving only a few grandfathers and gentle dames to ride in the cars. This dropped the fare to two cents, when the company bought Kolbe out, paying him a fabulous price for his old bus line, in railroad stock, which now advanced rapidly, and thus the wide awake German made a handsome fortune.

In 1877 Gordon and I opened up a factory just east of the river, on Lake Street. In 1882 we sold our homes on West Lake Street, and built on Washington Boulevard, he at the southwest corner of Albany Avenue, and I at the southeast corner of Francisco Street.

i190

BOULEVARD HOME OF MY BROTHER G. M.
RIGHT TO LEFT. G. M., ELMER, PERRIN, ELLA, LAWRANCE, GERTIE, MERRICK, GEORGE, AMANDA.

[145]

We continued partners until 1885, when we dissolved, he remaining at the old stand and I starting in the same line on Lake Street, just west of State Street, where through damage by water from an adjacent fire, I lost heavily and made a bad failure. Soon I picked up again and in 1890 bought the northwest corner of Washington Boulevard and Curtis Street, and erected a six-story factory and began manufacturing on a more extensive scale.


[146]

MY ATHLETIC EXPLOITS

I mention with pride the physical strength and agility with which I was born, and which sustains me still. Equestrianship came into vogue in western cities in about 1885, and was kept up until bicycles came out. At one period I kept four saddle horses for the use of my family. Like other horse fanciers, I carried it to the extreme. For over two years, summer and winter, wet or dry, I mounted my pet horse, Deacon, at four o'clock in the morning, and rode ten to thirty miles before breakfast. I also had a vicious horse—Blackhawk—who objected to the saddle, which I took out occasionally, just for the fun. Often with me in the saddle he would rear up and come over on his back, which, when I felt him going, I would swing around and land on my feet, then mount him again when he was springing up. When I gave him the spurs he would kick, only to get the spurs again when his heels came down, and sometimes we both went over the sidewalk into the ditch, which I enjoyed, for I never got hurt.

In 1895 the bicycle craze came on, and we all left our horses and mounted wheels. I objected to the wheel at first, but when my son, Arthur, brought me a wheel to the factory and insisted that I should try it. I did, and made lots of sport for the hands who were watching me trying to mount, for whenever I lost my balance I would throw the wheel against the curbstone.

That evening Arthur and Walton Aborn gave me a[147] lesson in the dark, and the next day I could ride—that was if all the gates were closed—but when I saw one open I somehow seemed to start right for it, often to the disgust of some dignified old gentleman or frowning lady, who were scrambling for their lives to get out of my way and wondering what I was trying to do.

About the third day I started before daybreak for my brother's summer cottage at Twin Lakes, Wis., about sixty-five miles northwest of Chicago. I arrived about noon, but, oh, the summersaults I did take. Honestly, when I got there, there was scarcely an inch on the wheel where the varnish was not scratched, or any very large patches on my legs where the skin was presentable, for when I took a heels over head into the wayside, the bark usually got scraped off of either the saplings or me. The next day I took a 100-mile circuitous route home, and then for a day was under the care of Dr. Chamberlain, my son-in-law, who was bound to have my picture taken, which I stubbornly declined, but now I wish I had it.


[148]

MY FIRST HUNDRED MILE RUN

My son, Arthur, then famous as one of the long distance riders of the west, got up a party of about twenty aspirants to take over the 100-mile Elgin and Aurora course at a breakneck speed. I was not fitted for such a run, but I fell in and we were all off at about five o'clock in the morning.

The wind blew almost a gale in our faces and before we reached Elgin all had dropped out but Walton Aborn, Jim Carroll, Billy Push, Arthur and myself.

Down the Fox River Arthur increased the pace to that extent that Billy threw himself into the shade of a barn and refused to budge, so we left him there.

On the home run from Aurora, Jim Carroll declared his intention not to alight, as was customary at the S. Hill, but ride his wheel down, a feat which Arthur told him no fatigued rider should attempt.

We fell back and let him lead, and held our breath as he shot out of sight around the first corner at a thirty-mile pace.

When we turned the corner hoping to see Jim far away across the Skunkamunk Valley, we discovered a swath in the roadside down through the underbrush, briers and brambles nearly to the foot of the hill. At the end of the swath under an immense heap of rubbish we found Jim and his wheel, he blinking like a toad under a harrow.

i196

OUR WASHINGTON BOULEVARD HOME IN THE DAYS WHEN THE SADDLE HORSE CRAZE WAS ON.
LEFT TO RIGHT. ALBERTA, MERRICK, BARNEY, MARY, MINNIE, ARTHUR, ARTHUR ASTRIDE THE DEACON, MY FAVORITE.

[149]

Jim groaned and grunted and finally told us he did not think he was dead, but his back was probably broken. We soon had him on his feet with his wheel righted and was pleased to learn that, with the exception of the few tufts of hair and chunks of hide left in the trail where he had slidden down, he was the same man, only his eyes were so full of gravel that he could not see.

He now proposed to take a bath in the creek in order to find out just how much skin he had left on his body. For this purpose he attempted to crawl under the barbed wire fence, into which his clothes got caught in such a way that he could neither raise up nor let down, back out or push forward, work his pants off, or keep his shirt on.

When we began to laugh and roar, Jim began to swear and cry, and said if we would go on about our own business he would get out and come home when he got good and ready.

Now there were only three of us, and Arthur lit out, leaving Walton and myself to come as fast as we could. We got into a mixup and both took headers over our wheels, when we sung out to Arthur to come back and help us.

When he returned I showed deep regret that my wheel was broken, for, of course, I was not much tired, but when he pronounced both wheels in good running order, I felt awfully, for I would have given most anything for an excuse to go no farther.

Arthur now encouraged us by saying he would run on a while and then wait for us, so we took it steady, and in some way got past him. Then we sat down in the shade and waited, for we did not want to report at the club house that we had left him in the country, for fear they would blame us. We finally started on and came slowly, stopping in every shade, waiting for Arthur, until[150] we reached Garfield Park, where we met Minnie, my eldest daughter, with Dr. Chamberlain, her husband, and Alberta, my next, with her husband, George Carlson, together with several other neighbors, all riding their wheels, who laughed at us and said Arthur arrived home about three hours before.

i200

CYCLING RUN TO SOUTH PARK. THE LOWER LEFT-HAND LADIES AN INTERESTING TRIO. LEFT TO RIGHT, LOTTIE SOPER, ALLIE OLIVER AND LUCY NEWELL. TWO TALLEST MEN IN BACK, CHARLIE SOPER AND CHARLIE NEWELL.


[151]

ARTHUR'S AND WALTON'S LONG RUN

The next summer Arthur and Walton made their famous ride through to Crystal Lake, Conn. Here is an outline of their exploit, which was considered a great achievement, considering the rainy weather and the rough roads they encountered between Chicago and Toledo and between Silver Creek and Memphis, N. Y.

Here I reproduce the letters which Arthur sent back while on the road:

Perrysburg, Ohio, June 17, 1896.

Dear Father:—

Walton and I were very much surprised at the end of our first day's ride at Mishawaka, Ind., to read in the Tribune so much about your winning the 100-mile race over all the crack Illinois bicycle riders. The paper was shown us by our friends at Mishawaka, and at first we thought there was a mistake that father had won the closely contested race, but Walton said: "No use talking, Uncle Merrick is fast—but it is not all in his legs; it is his indomitable will power that wins." Then we pictured to ourselves the occasion and "he 55 years old," said I. "Well, God gave him a strong constitution, and he has taken care of it."

Batavia, N. Y., June 19, 1896.

Dear Folks at Home:—

This letter is especially for mother, Minnie and Bertie, while the ones about bicycle riding go to father.

[152]

We are stopping here at Uncle John's at Batavia, and the rest is very welcome. We were mighty tired and this is the first day we have had a chance to rest since we left home.

I tell you, mother, I have a couple of fine cousins in Carrie and Ida. I don't think Walton will ever forget Ida's kindness. He was so sore from riding his wheel that when he got here he couldn't sit down. He had to sleep standing, but Ida made him the dandiest pillow and sewed it on to his bicycle saddle, so poor Walton is all right now.

We are going to see Grandmother Hoyt at Elba tomorrow. You know it is only six miles north. Well, mother, the Hoyts are all in good standing around here, and I feel mighty proud of you all. Aunt Alida seems young as ever, and the bloom of youth is on her cheek. But, say, you would think I was writing a novel, wouldn't you?

Uncle John and I sat up nearly all night, and he certainly told me some very interesting things about the Hoyts and Deweys, and many incidents of you in your childhood days, when you lived in Rochester, before you came to Pine Hill. He says the childhood home of Grandfather Hoyt was at Hudson, on the Hudson River, and that his family came from Danbury, Connecticut. Grandmother Hoyt was a Dewey from Ohio, and her father was from Watertown, N. Y., whose ancestors sprang from the Herkimer County Mohawk Dutch.

Now, why can't we claim a connecting link, for we all know that my great grandfather, John Richardson's brother, Gershom, moved from Stafford, Connecticut, to Watertown, N. Y., and I have heard father say that he, Warren Richardson, my grandfather, with some other men, walked up to Watertown one winter, over 300 miles, and staid a month or so with their cousins. They were a large family.

i204

NORTH SHORE, LOON LAKE, WINONA GROVE.

[153]

I wish Uncle John lived where I could see him often. He is so full of information on all subjects, that I just love to talk with him. It made me laugh when he told me about how you, Ellen Wilder, Mary Robe and Mary Raymond, actually carried old Pine Hill by storm several winters.

Then he got to talking about the war and I really cried when he described the battle of Cold Harbor, June 3, 1864. Just think of it, four brothers—John, Sylvester, and the twins, Edwin and Edward—standing there at daylight waiting for the order to charge the enemy's breast works. Uncle John said that they all thought it meant death. Colonel Porter must have been a brave man; he stood in front and said, "Boys, this is our last charge, but we are going to obey orders." He unwisely wore his uniform in leading; Uncle John said that he hadn't gone thirty feet before he was pierced with seven or eight bullets.

Uncle John was captured and sent to Salisbury prison for nearly two years. When he came out his mother said he looked like a monkey. He only weighed seventy-nine pounds. Sylvester was shot in the thigh, Edwin was shot through the lungs, and poor Edward; we have never heard from him. Wasn't that an awful price for your family to pay for the Union? Uncle said "that from 1,900 of us boys of that 22d New York Heavy Artillery, over 600 were killed in half an hour, and at the next roll call at Reams Station, only nineteen men of the regiment answered the call."

Well, I can't write any more. Walton has already[154] gone to bed and we have got to start at four o'clock tomorrow morning. We expect to visit Uncle Sherman at Rochester tomorrow. We are in the best of spirits, and the way we have been going so far we ought to make Connecticut in about twelve or thirteen days from Chicago.

Walton and I are awfully proud of father for winning the Century from all the fast boys of the Cycling Club, but we don't pride ourselves on these short spurts. Our specialty is thousand-mile affairs, and if he wants to race us he has got to race the whole thousand. Good night.

Your loving son,————Arthur.

Rochester, N. Y., June 21, 1896.

Dear Father:—

We called on our Uncle Sherman Richardson, and he was very proud of us, introducing us to many of his friends, saying that the blood in our veins was the same as ran in his, and that showed the kind of stuff his family was made of. I received your letter at Cleveland, telling us about your century run, and advising us to reserve our strength until we reached your time of life. It naturally stiffened our backbone for the remaining part of our ride.

Memphis, N. Y., June 24, 1896.

Dear Father:—

I must write just a word, for Walton has had a lucky escape. We were pushing along sleepily today when a big Newfoundland dog came near killing Walton. I looked around just in time to see Walton plunge over an embankment into a snarl of milkweeds, briars and rocks, head down, with his wheel on top of him. He said[155] the dog barked so fiercely that when he made the plunge he actually thought he felt the ugly beast's breath on the seat of his pants. We soon discovered that the dog was tied to a tree, so we went about to repair his wheel. The front wheel must have been caught between two rocks, when Walton's weight on it (for a frightened man weighs heavy) doubled up the forks like a jack knife. We got a blacksmith to heat and hammer it out and now both Walton and the wheel are in a good ridable condition, and we shall light out again early in the morning. Are you getting my postals, which I am sending back from every town? This is to prove to the club boys that we rode to Connecticut on our wheels and not on the train.

Crystal Lake, Conn., June 28, 1896.

Dear Father:—

We arrived here this evening, having made the run, 1,017 miles, in thirteen days and this is our record:

Mishawaka, Ind., 110 miles
Edgerton, Ohio, 90 "
Perrysburg, Ohio, 68 "
Wakeman, Ohio, 70 "
Willoughby, Ohio, 69 "
Erie, Pa., 82 "
Silver Creek, N. Y., 61 "
Batavia, N. Y., 70 "
Palmyra, N. Y., 63 "
Memphis, N. Y., 50 "
Little Falls, N. Y., 89 "
Nassau, N. Y., 88 "
Crystal Lake, Conn., 107 "
  ——
  1,017 miles

[156]

Our last day was the most severe we experienced. There was a drizzling rain all day, in which we rode from Nassau, and, of course, you know we had to zigzag over the Green Mountains.

We stopped a few moments to see Uncle Epaphro and Aunt Adelia and she gave us the first free lunch we had had since we left Batavia. When we arrived here Uncle Lucius and Aunt Caroline were surprised to see us looking so well. Then to prove to them that we were well as we looked Walton and I turned hand-springs on the grass in the front yard, and now we are going to bed. Good-night, remember me to the boys, and kiss all the girls for me that are worth kissing.

Affectionately, your son,

Arthur.

P. S.—Uncle Collins says the mountains, wildwoods, brooks, lakes and meadows around your old home are still teeming with fruit, flowers, song birds, wild game, and shy fish. He says to tell you to come down and take a good rest.


[157]

THE FIRST CENTURY RACE

The Illinois Cycling Club was now in its glory, and I joined them and entered for the 100-mile race, which came off June 15, 1896. The aspirants began training for the event early in the spring, but I attended to my business days, and evenings I slipped out, unknown to anyone, practicing on the worst hills I could find, preparing for the race over the Elgin and Aurora course, but none of the boys knew that I was having any training whatever.

As Arthur and Walton were to start for Connecticut the same morning on their thousand-mile run, we ate breakfast together at Lawrence's Restaurant, on Madison Street, about three o'clock in the morning. When we were about to part, Arthur said to me: "Father, do you expect to win that race today?" My reply was to the effect that if I did not, Charley Knisely and his fast bunch would have to make 100 miles quicker than they had ever made it yet.

When I arrived at the club house about fifty were awaiting the command to fall in and about two or three hundred standing to see us off, and if ever a dark horse entered a race it was M. A. Richardson that morning.

That evening there were reports in all the daily papers, and among other things the Chicago Times-Herald said in part: "The sixth annual run of the Illinois Cycling Club, America's largest cycling organization, took place yesterday. Many of the fast riders, anxious to[158] make a record over the famous Elgin and Aurora 100-mile course, tried to have the event postponed because of the heavy rains of Friday and Saturday, but the schedule could not be changed in their behalf.

"As it was a certainty that the rain had made the regular Elgin mud roads west of Maywood unridable, the course was taken over the Armitage road to Addison, 'seventeen miles out,' in the vain hope that this road would be in better condition. The mud just sufficiently dried to be caked and baked into a rough mass, beside which corduroy is a boulevard, furnished ample test for endurance, strength and skill, for no sooner had a mile of it been traveled than the roadside was strewn with physical and mechanical wrecks.

"The stunning surprise of the run was the fact that M. A. Richardson, the untrained and oldest member, a gray-haired wiry cycler, finished long first, making his appearance at the club house at 12:15, one hour before R. H. Inman, the second best man, who finished at 1:15. Upon the home run from Aurora, Richardson did some fast riding, leaving masculine brawn and youth to figure out just what had taken place."

THE SECOND RACE

The next year the race was set for June 28, 1897, when many outsiders from the country came in, all intent on beating Richardson, but one can imagine their surprise when I announced that I would drive a 126-gear wheel, which was equal to a ten per cent handicap from the 80-gear then in use.

i212

MYSELF IN THE LEAD UP THE FOX RIVER ON THE FAMOUS 100 MILE RUN.

[159]

The morning was fair and hot when 140 of us lined up, of which I was the oldest by about twenty years. At the word "go" we ran in a bunch about two miles, when I pulled out, and then the race really began. At Austin Avenue I increased my speed to Twelfth Street, when I slowed down and allowed the fast bunch to pass, and when they turned west on Twenty-second, as I knew they would, I ran straight ahead through Clyde to the old Hinsdale road. This confused them, and they struck out, each man for himself, to beat Richardson in at LaGrange.

When I struck the Aurora Road again there were about twenty-five ahead of me all strung out. It was a fine sight to see them between me and Hinsdale, raising a cloud of dust in the morning sun that would have done honor to the Chicago fire department, hook and ladder included. One athletic fellow from the stockyards was actually carrying his cap in his teeth, which seemed to intensify his comical grin of confidence.

I entered the cloud of dust at a steady pace, and when I arrived in Aurora for registration, eight of the fastest in the bunch had registered and were out of sight on the road to Elgin.

The distance as our course ran to Elgin was twenty-two miles, for which I set my pace to reach there in sixty minutes, which I made in fifty-eight minutes.

One by one I passed my struggling competitors on the winding road up the Fox River Valley, registering first man at Elgin and off for Chicago before the next best man hove in sight, having the last forty miles of the road to myself, which I covered at high speed, and then ate a fine club breakfast before the second in the race arrived.


[160]

DEAD GLACIER

While studying the North American Indians in Alaska I experience a thrilling adventure in the Mendenthall Valley which memory often recalls.

At Juneau, Judge Mellen, one of the eight United States judges appointed to Alaska, from Kentucky, who had accompanied me to Taku, giving me much information, invited me to dinner, when he told me I ought not to leave Alaska until I had seen a dead glacier. Mendenthall, he said was the most wonderful but hard to approach, and he and his wife declared I was just the fellow to tackle the job.

That evening he sent a trusty guide to me, who had another man on the string, and said he would take both of us for $20.00, we bearing all expenses. We were soon together, with his mother, a lady of great self-respect, who advised me to caution her son, Archibald, and not allow him to plunge into danger.

I sized Archibald up and decided he was a good fellow with heavy self-esteem and light experience, so I mentioned, before his mother, that the outing would be wild experience and very strenuous, at which Archibald assured me he could stand it if I could, besides it was just the job he was seeking for, as he wanted to take something home out of the ordinary.

The next evening at 10:30, the time when the sun sets in Alaska in June, we left Juneau in a rowboat, as we must cross the bar at high water at about midnight,[161] or go around about fifty miles each way, both going and returning.

Our guide, who had never taken the trip before, miscalculated and we were late at the bar. This left us our choice to jump out and draw the boat through the sea weeds at once or wait until the next tide came in. Archibald reluctantly straddled over the side of the boat, mentioning that he came north for his health, and did not think that a midnight bath would be beneficial, especially such a very cold one.

"You will get warm enough," I said, "before noon, when we are working our way through that swamp, where mosquitoes are as big as grasshoppers and the bears as big as oxen."

"Bears? What bears, Mr. Richardson?"

"I understand that those woods are full of bears. How is it, guide?"

"That is why I took my rifle along," replied the grim old mountaineer, as he tugged at the oars.

"Where is your rifle, Mr. Richardson?" inquired Archibald, as the white of his eyes began to show.

"Oh, I prefer a large knife for a close contact. Judge Mellon said we could borrow either of the Indians."

Soon we were in deep water again, where the wild geese and ducks were scooting this way and that to keep out of our way, when Archibald turned his attention to the oarsman, saying, "Say, old man, I suppose we can hire plenty of guides at the hotel to go with us?"

"Guides," grunted the boatsman, "I can find the place myself. Besides, there ain't no hotel there."

"No hotel! Where will we get our breakfast?"

"Plenty of fresh bear meat, sir; they kill them every day."

[162]

Soon Archibald turned to me and said: "Really, Mr. Richardson, I am quite chilly now, and if it will be just the same to you I will stay at the landing while our good friend takes you to the glacier, which you are so anxious to see."

"Chilly," ejaculated the old guide. "The sun will soon be up. It rises here now at 2:30 in the morning, and as for staying at the landing is concerned, would you dare stay alone with those Indians?"

"Alone with the Indians? Why, the Alaska Indians are civilized, aren't they?"

"Spose so, but Mendenthall Valley is a great place for men to come up missing."

THE FOREST.

At the landing, the Indians set about to prepare us breakfast of hot no-cake and coffee. The coffee is from burned wild rice, and the no-cake corresponds to our corn bread. They pound the dry corn in a mortar with a pestle and make and fry them. The guide and I filled up on about ten cakes and a quart of coffee each, but Archibald refused, whispering to me that the dishes smelled of bear's oil; besides, the excitement had taken away his appetite.

Archibald then said: "That old Indian says they live here mostly on fish and bear. Really, do you think those bears are of the savage kind?"

"Oh, no," I replied, "only when they have cubs, but they say this is just cubbing time."

Mendenthall Valley is about ten or twelve miles west of Juneau, lies between two precipitous mountain ranges over 2,000 feet high. The timber, brook and soil give evidence of great age, and no indications appear to cause[163] one to think it is a grown-up pathway of a glacier. After entering the woods we could see nothing ahead, only timber, except at intervals an opening, which gave us a view of the mountains on either side, as we followed the brook, which led us in a zigzag course.

When several miles in we discovered unmistakable evidence of where some large animal had fled at our approach, but we saw nothing but owls, eagles and other small game. I was urging the guide to hurry up, while Archibald was grumbling because we were going so fast, saying he was faint and hungry, so we stopped for lunch, and Archibald was glad to eat the no-cake, which he refused when it was hot.

The foliage was remarkable for its large leaves. Wild berries were in abundance, and the trees appeared to be of great age, which caused me to remark that it seemed incredible that, where we were sitting, the ice was more than two hundred feet above our heads not so very long ago.

"Not so very long? Do you believe that yourself, Mr. Richardson?"

"Certainly I do. Once this valley was a basin of ice. Have you not studied geology, Archibald?"

"I have, sir, and I never learned that a glacier could ever thrive in such a d—d hot hole as this. Say, Richardson, were you living in the Glacial Period?"

"Which one?"

"Was there more than one?"

"Yes, sir."

"Were you living in the last one?"

"Yes, sir."

"Hear that, guide, Richardson says he was living in the Glacial Period, which was more than 40,000 years[164] ago, and he does not look to be more than two or three hundred years old. Will you explain, Mr. R.?"

"Oh, yes, the Glacial Period is now on at the poles—long ago it was on in this valley and still longer ago it was down in the states. Do you not know that our world is slowly revolving in the direction we call south? That is God's wise plan to give each part of the earth rest. Tropical animals once lived here and in Siberia.

"Who told you all that stuff?"

"Geology, sir; the same book which you have been studying. By the way, did you ever learn about the Neanderthal man whose skull was found in a cave in the Neanderthal Valley, with the bones of a bear? The man must have lived contemporary with Adam, and it seems that the bear——"

"Were the bones of that man and bear found in this place?"

"No! No! Do not get excited."

"But you said they were found in Mendenthal Valley."

"I said Neanderthal, where a prehistoric race once lived, but really where the bones were found closely resembles this place as well as the name, for I have been there. It is in Prussia. Now let me illustrate by our presence here, what may once have occured in the Neanderthal Valley. Suppose one of those ferocious she-bears should come spat upon us now and the guide and I should escape, while she dragged your mangled corpse——"

"Bah-aa-aa," roared the guide.

"What are you laughing at, you great fool?" said Archibald.

"Laughing to see your eyes bulge out."

"Please do not speak that way to Mr. Archibald," I said, "he knows we're in no danger, so long as there's plenty of trees to climb."

i220

ARTHUR, CHARLIE NEWELL, MRS. OLIVER AND FRIENDS.

[165]

"Your business, sir," said Archibald to the guide, "is to take us to the glacier and the quicker the better. Neither Mr. Richardson or myself care to roost in these trees over night."

"Twon't be sundown till nigh midnight," grunted the guide, and we all started on.

I was following close on the heels of the guide as we entered an opening, when we all stopped and gazed in astonishment at a dead glacier. Two miles or so away stretched across the valley stood a perpendicular wall of glistening ice, about 250 feet high and four miles long, reaching across the entire valley.

To view a glacier fifty or more miles wide, as I found at the foot of Mt. St. Elias, winding its way high up into the mountain, where the snow drifts whirl blindly all the summer day, where no plant or animal abide, seems to be in keeping with the surroundings, but to emerge from a dense thicket, a valley teeming with animal and vegetable life, on a hot summer day and fall spat upon a dead glacier is a sight which must be seen to be realized—then to know that this vast field of ice once extended to the sea, but so long ago that thousands of acres of timber have grown up in its retreating pathway, is enough to astound any but the simple.

I was lost in thought and pondered thus: In time this ice mountain will waste away to its fountain head and a peaceful river will flow down this warm valley, where the inhabitants on either side of the river will be as unable to realize the truth concerning the cold bed-fellow that once slept in this Alaskan cradle, as we are unable to comprehend the fact that there is not a spire in Chicago[166] high enough to have shown its tip above the ice that once lay over that city during the Great Lakes' Glacial Period.

The earth between us and the glacier was carpeted with the most beautiful moss imaginable, all shades and colors, caused by reflection of the sun from the crystal ice. A solemn silence prevailed, such as I never experienced elsewhere, broken at intervals by reports like cannons, occasioned by huge mountains of ice cleaving off to melt in the sun.

In climbing the mountain side to get upon the glacier, I found ripe strawberries within a few feet of the ice, and upon the glacier small streams of water, which did not seem to melt the ice. Like all glaciers, there were great boulders upon it, which had plunged down from some far away mountain and were taking a slow cold ride. I jumped across crevices, where if one should fall in he might go down 100 feet, there to wedge in and freeze. Standing in front of this terrible monster a cool strange halo seems to surround, which is far more awe-inspiring than that of the Niagara Falls.

On descending from the glacier we found Archibald in a state of agitation, as a thunder storm was approaching and all the protection we possessed was straw hats. My laughing aroused his ire and he used some very undignified language, as the rain began coming down in torrents, accompanied by a strange rattling sound, which seemed to be from overhead. Looking up we could see that several immense rocks from high up the mountain had become dislodged and had started down a deep ravine with such force as to break others from their moorings, which also joined in the mad run, roll, slip, slide, plunge. The impetus was so great and the resistance so strong that when the great boulders met they flashed fire until the[167] entire valley of racing rocks, trees and earth seemed to be enveloped in a blue flame, which formed into a slide, sweeping everything in its path, until it brought up on the plain below with a slump.

On examination we found that the immense quantity of debris covered nearly half an acre and was more than fifty feet deep. That it had swept everything in its path, including trees more than a foot in diameter, which were broken up like matches. I told Archibald that whoever got caught in the descent of such a mountain slide would probably remain as deposit until Gabriel blew his horn, to which he grunted assent.

As I lingered upon the scene declaring that few people in the world had ever seen such a wonderful sight, he solemnly vowed that he saw nothing peculiar about that rock and mud different from what he could find in the road anywhere.

Wet to the skin, tired and hungry, we started on, Archibald wholly unprepared for the skirmish awaiting him. It soon cleared up, but every bush we stumbled against showered down and gave us a fresh bath. My shoes hurt my feet, and especially my game toe, which sometimes cramps, took advantage of the situation and, oh, how it did hurt, but I did not mention it, for fear Archibald would say I did not enjoy roughing it any more than he did, and so we plodded on, anxious to reach the landing where I knew the Indians would give us the best they had.


[168]

MIRACULOUS ESCAPE FROM A BEAR

After travelling about three miles, which seemed like twenty, we rested on a log, when I began rehearsing the sights and scenes of the day. I said that if compelled to stay in the woods all night, we ought to consider it a day well spent, but failing to receive a hearty response, I switched off into a more lively subject by exclaiming, as I pointed into the woods, "See! See! There is a bear behind that log." The ruse worked all right until I proposed we rush in and capture him, when Archibald declared this was the last time he should ever tour with a man who knew nothing and feared nothing.

As the sleepiest dog will show signs of great activity when a tea-kettle is tied to his tail, so tired men, finding themselves in a strange forest, will pick up their heels with amazing agility when uncertainty confronts them and the landing is far away. Thus it was that our gait was quite lively, which both pleased and vexed his mother's son, Archibald, who had insisted on carrying the guide's gun since I had mentioned that catamounts came out for their serenade long before sunset. Our course was leading us through heavy timber, when I proposed that we circle around through an opening and started that way, the guide following, Archibald pushed straight through, saying that the barking of dogs proved that we were near the landing.

After leaving the woods and climbing part way up the hill, I could see Archibald hurrying through the timber[169] where, on account of the fallen trees, he made but little headway, so I called out to him to come into the opening where the walking was better, to which he replied, "I am not afraid to walk in the woods."

At the top of the hill was a berry patch, from which I had full view along the foot of the mountain, where nearby I saw three Indians running towards me with rifles in a position to shoot. Between me and them was a dark ravine, in which dogs were fiercely barking, and knowing they were trying to kill something, I rushed forward to see, when a bouncing black bear whipped around the ledge and over the knoll in the direction of poor Archibald. He was closely pursued by the dogs, to whom old Bruin was often compelled to stop and give battle. When running the dogs were upon his heels, and when he stopped and set up for a fight he would see the gunners and light out again regardless of the dogs.

I knew the bear would not hurt Archibald unless in the act of running over him, but I began shouting, "Lookout! Lookout, Archibald! Lookout, there's a bear after you. Run! Run! Run for your life," at which he started running toward me, thinking the bear was coming from the other direction. As the bear ran down the hill with the Indians trying to get a shot at him, I could see both the bear and Archibald approaching each other, while Archibald was looking over his shoulder, so he did not see the bear until he was right upon him, when turning quickly he dropped his gun and lit out unceremoniously.

The panorama before me was what the girls call a peach—the shortest, funniest, and most earnest sprinting match ever recorded; Indians chasing dogs, dogs chasing bear, bear chasing Archibald, Archibald running for dear[170] life. Archibald did not take a zigzag course as lightning usually does, but shot straight ahead into the thicket, leaving no evidence of his late departure, but an imaginary wake. The bear, who could not stand the nipping of the dogs, turned again, and as he raised up was shot by one of the Indians.

We could see nor hear nothing of Archibald, whose parting glimpse had aroused my concern, so I hurried in the direction of his disappearance, crying out his name. Leaning against a big tree I put my hands to my mouth and helloed so loud that my voice echoed through the swamp, when I was surprised at his voice so near me saying, "What in the d-v-l do you want?"

"Where are you, Archibald?"

"Here I am, up here."

"Oh, yes, come down."

"Did you kill him, Mr. Richardson?"

"Yes, he is dead."

"Did he catch anybody?"

"No, he was not after anyone. Come down out of that tree."

"Not after anyone? What is the use of your lying. If you had not shot him he would have had me in two more jumps. Is there any more of them?"

"No, there is not. He was not after you. He was running to get away from the dogs. You know I had no gun. It was the Indians who shot him. Come down here! Come down! Here is the gun which you threw away."

"I am in no particular hurry to come down. Say, Richardson, tell me how long you expect to stay in this God-forsaken country?"

[171]

"Oh, about three weeks more. Why? Do you not like Alaska?"

"Alaska is all right, but you are so bull-headed, taking a fellow into such a hole as this. Besides, there is nothing to see here."

"Haven't you seen an avalanche?"

"Avalanche? Nothing but stones rolling down hill."

"And you've seen a glacier."

"Glacier? Nothing but a chunk of ice."

"And a bear right in the woods. Your friends will be glad to hear about——"

"Now grin, Mr. Richardson! Sit there and hold your sides to keep from bursting with laughter. I swear if I did not know anymore than you do I would never compose a book. I did think a brief account of this trip might be interesting, but no one would care for the minute details as you would give them. At least, I hope they will not get into print until after I am dead."

"Why, Archibald, when you get home you will enjoy telling your friends all about your adventures and hair-breath escapes, how bravely you faced——"

"Oh, you get out! Let us go to the landing and get some more dodgers fried in bear's tallow, that you enjoy so much."

We stood in silence a moment, when he put his hand kindly on my shoulder as he said: "Mr. Richardson, you must not think I mean everything I say, but I'm so terribly wrought up. The glacier was so much different from what I expected, and I was afraid you might get hurt up there alone. Then the landslide startled me awfully, for I thought the whole mountain was coming down, and that the world might be coming to an end, and, oh, how this bear did frighten me. I presume I[172] shall laugh about it when I get home, but I cannot get up a smile now."

"Certainly you will laugh about this trip, Mr. Archibald, in years to come, especially when you come to consider that bears are not like wolves, panthers and those kind of fierce beasts, which kill to eat. Besides, you should not spleen at eating bear meat, for they live mostly on nuts and berries and sleep all winter. Experience is a great teacher, this day will never be forgotten. It adds to our lives and we shall look back to it with pleasure. Now, you're not mad?"

"Mad? No, Mr. Richardson, I half way love you, and when I think of this fright I shall think about you as both the best and meanest man on my list. I am going to eat hearty on the bear steak for supper; you see if I do not. Now you can consider yourself forgiven for all except one act."

"What is that, Archibald?"

"When you kept calling 'Run! Run! He is after you!' He was not after me, he was before me, and you knew that you were lying all the time."

The last evening I spent at Juneau with Judge Mellen and his interesting wife. It was ten o'clock when we parted. The sun was still shining and the birds singing when we shook hands good-bye, and he said: "We will meet again, where friends meet friends which they loved on earth." As the steamer pulled off from the shore I thought of the friends I had gained in Alaska to make my life more interesting in that home where the flowers fade not and the inhabitants never grow old.


[173]

MY EDUCATION

In returning to my mental endeavors, I gladly confess that before I had passed out of my teens, my lack of a common school education caused me deep regret, but I braced myself bravely against adversity and soon found myself working evenings over the very rudiments of language which I had spurned in the old Birch School House.

After my marriage to Mary Hoyt, she took me in hand and together evenings we read "The Hoosier School Master," "Belle of Ores Islands," "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and many other good books, after which I struck in for myself with Webster's unabridged at my elbow. By working days and studying nights I soon became conversant with Stowe, Eliot, Dickens, Shakespeare and that class of literature which illustrates human nature. Later I took up the sciences, geology, astronomy and what else I cared for, together with the languages under private instructors, which, with my experience at Evanston, gave me a comparatively good understanding as to how these great subjects are handled in our classical institutions of learning. I never aspired to scholarship; my ambition is to discern truth.

For diversion I am usually working up some subject which, when formed into a book, I present to my friends, never thinking of recompense, as my business affords me more than I need, and as to notoriety, I have no ambition that way.

[174]

"Jim Hall and the Richardsons" was my first literary endeavor. It evolved out of my long siege in ferreting out the chronological trail of the Stafford branch of Richardsons.

"Rose Lind" is an assumed exposure of the far-reaching evil influences of the grain gamblers on the Chicago Board of Trade.

"Eight Days Out" is a burlesque on Phillip, on my visit to the Soo.

"Mina Faust" is a long love story.

"Chicago's Black Sheep" is a figurative illustration of the criminal dens of Chicago, and the work of the Salvation Army.

"Personality of the Soul" is a review of the prevailing religion, as I found them in my extensive travels.

"Twilight Reflections" is an accumulation of indications that mineral, vegetable and animal existence are the direct result of scheming and are being held or driven by an incomprehensible will power. Also, that the animal, especially man, possesses slight creative power.

Somehow, I cannot think of the soul as something evolving from nothing, or as beginning its existence with the formation of the body, but rather as descending to or ascending from former existence.

Pre-existence is in harmony with the teachings of Jesus, reason and eternal life. The animated body comes into existence through transformation from pre-existence. If that quality, to present, to consider, to decide, exists it must be a transformation of some kind of pre-existence. To affirm that God gave or[175] created does not imply that He gave or created from that which He did not have.

I will not question the Divine Power or intelligence, but I challenge man to produce an indication of existence only as transformation or evolution from existence. The only way to blot out memory is through unconsciousness, and we know it does not do it. Eternal life is for all, but souls, even in this life, often drift far apart.

The unfathomable, incomprehensible, unthinkable dark pocket of forgetfullness conceals memory but it does not annihilate it. If time admits of no before, space of no beyond and matter of no annihilation, then the law of continuity is established; and if we do now live, we have lived and will live forever. Eternal life must include the past as well as the future. Life from God is a declaration of pre-existence. Existence beginning at conception or birth assumes something evolving from nothing.


[176]

HAWAIIAN ISLANDS

In 1898, having nothing to detain me and knowing that my son Arthur could conduct my business better than I could, I decided to take an extensive tour around the world, taking as much time as I pleased in visiting the interior of countries to study the people in their natural condition, both physically and mentally.

When our boat passed through the Golden Gate into the open Pacific a wild storm was whistling down the coast from Alaska, which caused our steamer to roll and plunge worse than anything I have ever since experienced. For five days neither sun or stars appeared, and when we got our reckoning we were five hundred miles out of our course.

When we neared the Hawaiian Islands we saw whales, schools of pretty flying fish, sharks and porpoises, while large sea birds came near. Then, when we felt our cheeks fanned by the soft summer breeze, we forgot Columbia's wild Boreas and got our silver pieces, so that when the natives swam from shore to meet us we could throw the money into the deep sea, which they would dive for and usually bring up, even though they sometimes swam more than fifty feet to the spot where it went down.

We found the mid-Pacific Islands all in bloom. I stayed there five weeks, in which time I visited Kilanea Volcano on the Hawaiian Island and all the other[177] islands, of which I will only mention my trip to Man Eating Rock, which, to me, was the most wonderful.

THE ANCIENT CITADEL

Paukoonea, a deserted, skillfully fortified prehistoric fortress on which the man-eating rock still can be seen, is seldom visited by tourists, and still it is undoubtedly the most ancient and beautifully located kings' palace grounds on our globe. To the thoughtless it is simply a rock on an island. To the thoughtful it is wonderful.

Vogue tradition has it that long ago a great world, a mid-Pacific continent, existed in this summer clime. One evening, as the sun was going down, their world sank into the ocean, leaving only the mountain top, on which more people were huddled together than could live. As a necessity the priestly clan, or kings, barricaded themselves on this protected island, where they shaped out a baking rock which would preserve all the juices of the flesh, and then ordered each tribe to furnish their portion of human beings, to be placed on the hot rock alive and cooked until palatable. This statement does not seem so inconsistent when we learn that when Cook discovered these islands the natives were allowed only a certain number of children to each pair of parents, and all the over-plus were killed at birth.

At Waialua I found a guide, Major Jankea, whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather spent their lives near the fort. We rode up the Helamano River about eight miles where, in a bend among the trees, he showed me a large deep footed stone covered with[178] dots, diagonal lines and curves which he said no one could read and no one knew what it represented.

At the fort we crossed the chasm on the stone debris of an ancient dam, when we began hunting for the man-eating rock. We searched in the grass, about four feet tall, and found it in about the center of the field, half buried in the earth.

It was chipped and defaced all over. Originally it must have measured about three by nine feet, and would weigh several tons. As far as I saw there were no other rocks on the surface of the island. It is roughly carved out to receive the head, arm, legs and body of a man. My guide informed me that his grandfather said that the ancient custom was for four men each, at an arm or leg, to hold the victim on the heated rock until dead, and then let him be cooked for dinner.

The citadel, or fort of the cannibal kings, is near the source of the Helamano River, under the Koolauloa Mountain. It is about three or four miles in circumference, protected by a perpendicular rock chasm nearly one hundred feet high. The gully surrounding it must once have served as an aqueduct, the water having been held back by the dam, which now, and probably for ages, has served as a passageway into the ancient rendezvous.

Standing there in the latter half of February looking west, the scene is lovely beyond description. The green palms on the Koolauloa Mountains serve as a background, while the Helamano River, with its fringe of trees all in blossom, winds its way like a ribbon of white roses away to the dreamy old Pacific Ocean, plain in view, but many miles away. Then to feel the spell of silence, where[179] tumult once arose, we can but ask, "Is life a reality or a myth?" and a voice comes back from the voiceless realms of the dead, they were like us, simply passing through earth life.


[180]

SOUTH SEA ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA

In a few weeks I found myself taking in the South Sea Islands, admiring the pretty lagoons, those tiny inner-ocean retreats, where the glistening sandy beach is strewn with miniature shells cozily protected by the surrounding palm groves, upon whose outer shore the mighty waves come pounding in only to recede without disturbing the finny tribes who never venture outside of these inland tiny lagoons.

At Apia, in the Samoa group, where lies the body of Robert L. Stevenson, I wondered not at his choice of selection for spending the last days of his life. Here among the South Sea Islands he could muse unmolested, far from the struggle for gain, and notoriety. There is a beautiful side to those so-called barbarian lives, and one is tempted to envy them their freedom as they laugh and sing in the bamboo shade, and bathe at ease in the soft waves of the grand old Pacific Ocean. One can but love them for their simplicity and confiding way as their wistful smile pleads for your generosity and sympathy.

The wonder-land in the Friendly or South Sea Island is Tongo-Taboo. Here one finds undoubted traces of a lost continent, in the way of an archway, or portal, through which a people must have passed before the dawn of Babylonian tradition. Two immense rectangular stone columns are seen tied together at the top by an enormous slab, on which rests a huge stone bowl, The entire structure must be nearly fifty feet high.

i239

EASTER ISLAND.
THE DREAMLAND OF THE SOUTH SEAS. COULD THEY BUT SPEAK!

[181]

There is no quarry on this little island from which it could have been taken, neither could it have been brought from a distant land, for ancient boats were not adequate.

The quarry from which it came, the mysteries of the people who such art designed, and the homes in which they lived, must be nearby, beneath the waves.

To satisfy curiosity, I took a shell boat to Easter Island, where those strange saint-like statues with sealed lips now stand, pre-eminent sentinels, as they have stood since the day when the Mid-Pacific continent was a prominent feature on our globe. On this tiny mid-ocean world the natives know about as much concerning the origin of their clans as we do about pre-existence. They shelter from storm in stone houses, of which the walls are four or five feet thick.

Many of the inner walls still bear traces of an intelligent people. Hieroglyphic characters and paintings of birds and other animals adorn the inner walls of what must have been the mansions of nabobs, while many statues of these unknown people with thin lips and serious countenances stand facing the sea. Like the fort on the Helomano and the colossal on Tonga, they speak for themselves, and while each have no tradition of other tribes, still all their languages spring from the same roots.

As I stood on deck gazing at these faces a spell came over me and from above I looked down on our world 100,000 years ago.

Before me lay an elbow-shaped mid-Pacific continent 2,000 miles wide and 8,000 miles long, on which millions of half-civilized people were passing their days and years[182] as we are now doing, while the land of the morning sun teemed with shore and inland animal life roaming over the vast plains sheltered by primeval forests. Suddenly, as I gazed, the world trembled and reeled as the vast plains at the rising sun begun belching forth lightning and fire amid peals of thunder destroying all animal life as an immense mountain range came forth like a budless blossom far up and down the ocean shore.

In horror I turned to the mid-ocean continent and beheld it with all its cities and inhabitants sinking down, down beneath the ocean waves.

From this reverie I awoke and wondered who would dare dispute, as soundings prove that such a continent, with the exception of a few mountain peaks we call islands, now sleep beneath those ocean waves, while the bones and fossils of mammalia are found on the Rocky Mountain Range.

After visiting the Maories of New Zealand, one of the remaining fragments of the South Sea Island tribes, who are probably the finest specimen of aboriginies in the world, I took in Australia, where the white cockatoo parrots move in great flocks and the many species of kangaroo, from the size of a rabbit to a horse, sport in the gardens to the annoyance of the pioneer farmers, and where the sun shines in from the north windows, the north star and great dipper have disappeared, and beautiful new constellations appear in the southern skies, and the mountains of the moon are seen from the other side.


[183]

NEW GUINEA

Copy of diary when in Torres Straits and New Guinea, 1899:

April 6.

Arrived at Cooktown on Japanese steamer Kusuga Maru and leave on schooner Shilo for New Guinea next day.

April 8.

York Island, only three white men besides Captain Mosly, live here. The captain tells sympathetic stories about the storm of March 3, when he saw the ship his son was on go down. He thinks about 200 men from pearl hunting crafts were lost in the storm.

April 9.

At sea, bound for Fly River. Hot as tophet, but a stiff breeze. Find small island inhabited by birds, but no land quadrupeds, as in dry season the small fresh water streams dry up.

April 10.

At mouth of Fly River. Approach main land. High mountains appear in the distance. Great marshes on either side, which cause Guinea fever to the whites, but not to the natives.

April 11.

Go ashore, several miles up the river. Birds, birds, birds on all sides. I shot a Guinea pigeon, looks like a pheasant, big as a hen, soon have her cooked. Natives never travel singly, always in groups. Several missionaries[184] have been eaten here. One from Boston, but the natives do not look to me particularly hungry.

April 12.

Head on for Port Moresby, where I am to catch Burns-Phillips Co. steamer. Go ashore on a lagoon island. Go through the palms to the miniature ocean, find a beautiful helmet shell and concluded to keep it and gather others to send home.

April 13.

Strike fleet of pearl shell boats. Go down in diving suit about 160 feet. Bad job, starts the blood out of my ears. Get but one shell, which I will send to Arthur. Most of the divers are natives or Japs. One shipmaster owns and supplies about twenty diving boats. All shells opened on the ship. Average about one pearl to 300 shells. I buy of native four pearls for $6.25.

April 14.

Port Moresby only five houses. Bishop Stowigg, English missionary, here. Find three missionaries at each of these little ports. Became acquainted with Miss Tully from Brisbane, Australia. She is lonesome and shed tears when she bid me farewell.

April 15.

Land at Samaria. Find a native here who came from the interior, where the people go naked and build their houses in the trees. He speaks a few words in English and considers himself an interpreter. For two silver dollars I hire him to go with me anywhere as long as I feed him, and when through with him can leave him anywhere on the shore. We board the steamer here for the west, along the north shore. Everything and everybody looks and smells as though they had sat on the equator and fried ever since they had been born.

[185]

April 16.

At sea. My appreciative companions are a mother and four kittens, a captive young cassowary, about four feet tall, who the captain declares will eat his hammer and nails if he does not hide them, and three dogs. All small dogs around here will dive from the bow of a boat into deep water and bring up a knife or anything you show them before you throw it in. Dear little curs.

April 17.

Reach Kaiser Wilhelm's land and leave steamer. Am hearing terrible stories about the natives, men who eat an antelope at a meal, women with pompadours three feet high; also hear about snakes ninety-five feet long, but the stories come from natives who cannot count higher than the number 5.

April 18.

Catch excursion boat at Cape Croiselles and start west in search of village where the inhabitants live in nests in the trees. Captain and mate are from Adalaide, Australia, out for the season on about the same kind of a mission that I am. Captain continually teasing me that I am about at the end of my rope. Says he will write to Chicago and inform them that I escaped a Jonah whale only to be swallowed by a Guinea nigger. The mate says he will venture into the interior with me, at which I assure him if he will not attempt to coquette with the ladies he will not be hurt. Of course, I advise the captain to stay by his anchor and avoid temptation, for I tell him I see by the size and shape of his neck that he would become completely betwaddled in the presence of nature's fair adornments, or Papuan simplicity.

[186]

April 19.

The mate, guide, three stalwart blacks and myself leave the boat in the night. Several miles in we cross a clear running brook, through which we wade to our hips. After climbing several mountain trails we continue for five or six miles along a zigzag course under the brow of a mountain range, crossing ravines in which the large birds, all of them beautiful in color, do not seem to fear us or fly at our approach.

At openings I can view the evergreen, palm tree valley below, which seems awaking from its dreams to greet the rising sun. I call a halt and look and listen, for I am charmed.

About ten o'clock, when motioned by our guide, we somewhat nervously follow him to a crystal lake, surrounded by tropical verdure, where we were confronted with from sixty to one hundred houses or nests built in the trees covered, water-proof tight, with a sort of long sea grass, which grows abundantly in all tropical marshes. Apparently some of the larger dwellings, like those of the Alaska Indians, would accommodate several families. Here and there naked people, looking out or climbing up or down the swinging ladders.

The king, a young fellow, after learning our wants, invites us to stay a moon, which I think would have been perfectly safe if we did not wander away from the village.

I then presented the king with the presents I had brought, six large jack knives and six cheap hatchets, after which they began to show us things, how and what they cooked, how they caught game, fight, dance, worship and lastly how they clear a guilty conscience.

i247

NEW GUINEA.
HOME OF THE NAKED PEOPLE WHO BUILD THEIR HOUSES IN THE TREES.

[187]

This is done by immersion in clear water by moonlight, when the god in the moon forgives all. They believe that the souls of the dead linger around those whom they loved on earth.

The king and several others gave me rudely ornamented shell rings. A lady to whom I gave a silver dollar gives me a pretty shell which she had herself ornamented with the sharp end of a stone, also she gave me her petticoats which females wear when at the sea shore. (I have these momentoes yet.) The petticoat consists of a waist-band to which is attached loose ringlets down to the knees, all made of sea grass. Once I caught two girls winking, laughing and making fun of me. All females stand sideways to the males and look and talk over their shoulder. Many have fine physiques.

There are few quadrupeds here, but this seems to be the home of birds.

The cassowary is larger than an ostrich. Their flesh is said to taste like turkey. The plumage of some birds is wonderful. Especially the lyrebird, who struts like a tom-turkey. Over twenty species of the bird of paradise are said to live here.

All kind of tropical fruit grow wild and in great abundance. Bread fruit trees grow quickly and furnish 500 to 1,000 pounds of food each, substance about equal to oatmeal.

Many from Chicago may well envy these kind, timid, primitive people their sunshine career as compared to our daily struggle for ascendancy.

As I am about to leave these people, who are huddled around me, out of curiosity I look one after another of each sex squarely in the eyes for recognition, and I get the response everytime. Not that steady stare of the snake, dog, or gorilla, but that conscious response of[188] affection between souls. This satisfies me that men are not improved beasts, but rather distinct creatures endowed with certain soul-responsive looks, self-controlling powers, gifts which cannot be mentally experienced.

April 24.

After several days among the verdure islands with broad, glistening, sandy shores, strewn with large and small shells, I find myself among the Solomon Islands, about 500 miles from New Guinea.

I am glad I came here, for it seems like a dream of the long, long ago. With the exception of a few naked natives, flying foxes, and shore fowls, these islands must resemble the great lake region at home in the carboniferous age. The age after the great Mississippi Valley inland sea had fled away from the shores. The age before the vegetation had lured the sea family through the long reptilean age into the mammalian age, when the mastodon roamed the palm groves of Michigan and the great dinotherium lived on the marshy plains of Colorado, before the Rocky Mountains had raised their now silent, dreary forms.

If there was a day in Illinois when the Crustacean invertebrate families lined the hot ocean shores and the vegetation grew thirty feet high, it must have resembled this equatorial region now, for although clear today, I am told it rains almost daily, and up the mountain sides as far as I can see the vegetation is wonderful.

A sort of inspiration seems to pervade the forests of New Guinea and the Samoa group, but this carboniferous clime has little charm. For although white sand beaches miles wide strewn with shell against a background of waving palms, is a sight long to be remembered, I somehow[189] feel I am associating with clams, turtles and pelicans of the "evening and morning of the fifth day," so I will now leave for Cape York, to catch the Futami Maru, which is to call there May 17th.


[190]

COCHIN CHINA

Briefly I must mention the interesting countries of Anam and Siam.

Saigon, a city of Anam, that country which the French gobbled up from the helpless natives, is to me, the most beautiful city in the world.

The Mongolian natives here are modest-nice for hot climate people.

The females wear loose gauze habits, protecting from the neck to the bare toes.

It is amusing to see a group of these ladies on an afternoon outing, riding in a wooden cart drawn by one lazy ox. I have often felt like patting both the ox and the ladies.

Paddy fish come ashore here in great schools, flopping into and damaging the gardens and rice fields.

In the park they have on exhibition a sacred elephant, which they claim saved the life of one of their kings more than one thousand years ago. He is really covered with moss, apparently blind and quite feeble. This is the home of the spotted fawn, of which their babies seem so dear.

In Siam the women and the men wear only a breach cloth. Both sexes wear their hair cut short, so it is difficult to distinguish one from the other.

Monkeys here are as tame as robins at home, and lizards two feet long crawl over one's bed, but they do not bite.

[191]

Of the nineteen million inhabitants over one million are priests. It takes three hundred of them to do the praying in the one temple here in Bangkok. This is where the eagles, three feet tall, gather from the mountains to devour the bodies of the dead who had not left money enough to pay the priests for the cremation ceremony.

The present king has five hundred wives, seventy-five sons and seven white elephants on his hands, and yet he is not happy. It was from here that General Grant went into the forest to see wild elephants. The herds are not feeding here now, so with two French tourists I have stopped over at Tringano, on the west coast of the Gulf of Siam.

The elephants of India are being rapidly thinned out, as they with the tigers hold forest lands which when developed are very productive.

The elephant herds move slowly on irregular circuit, eating everything about them.

We found no great number together as in a herd of cattle; sometimes only one and never more than five in a group.

It can be no trick for the exultant European sportsmen to shoot them, for they are not wild and will hurt no one, unless it be an old defeated bull, who are said to be ferocious at times.

Ivory now in use is not, as a rule, from the now living elephants. The natives search it out from under the forest debris, where the remains of elephants who lived thousands of years ago are found.


[192]

MESOPOTAMIA

After visiting the interior of Japan, China, Anam, Siam, Ceylon, India, Persia, Arabia, I found myself, in the evening of November 2, 1899, at Bagdad, Turkey, in close communion with our American consul, Rudolph Hurner, who had held that position from the United States to Mesopotamia for about thirty years. Bagdad is about 400 miles from the Persian gulf, and is now the largest Mesopotamian city of the old Babylonian empire, whose kings once caused the world to wince.

Mesopotamia, like the valley of the Yangtsekiang, is by nature very productive. Either, if properly cultivated, would supply rice sufficient to sustain the world, but here the outrageous taxes, together with the wild men of the desert scare away all enterprise, while in China the Yaw-men actually absorb the products of the soil through the imposition of exchange.

i255

WITH CONSUL HURNER'S SERVANTS IN BAGDAD, MESOPOTAMIA.


[193]

RUD HURNER

"Now, Mr. Richardson," said Consul Hurner, as in the twilight we stood in his tropical garden, which overlooks the Tigris River, "you had better take my advice and not go beyond Hille. It is better to take the course of other travelers. Go to the border of civilization and then get some well-informed native to give you particulars, which you can polish up and call it experience, like the assumed traveler in the Star and Crescent, who boxed our dead in coffins, a custom unknown here.

"I have represented the United States here for years and have probably entertained every American traveler who has visited Baylon, Nipper and other biblical landmarks here. None have been so hazardous as to go among a people who are so bigoted that they consider it their religious duty to kill those who would interfere with their mode of worship. From reports of stragglers, or desert herdsmen, there are, I presume, twenty thousand people in Nazzip or Me-Schwad, mostly children of Bedouins. They have no schools, no maps of the world, do not know north from south and their wealth has been gained through wild raids on the Mohammedan fanatics bringing their dead to the ancient shrine of Nazzip, mostly from Persia and India."

"I came out to see the elephant, Mr. Hurner," I said, "and while I appreciate your advice, I am not afraid of those people. I go open-handed with little money, which they could use, and with a disposition to appreciate instead[194] of criticize. My experience with the uncivilized has been that if one mind his own business, and do not stray from the crowd, their confidence is soon gained, and they soon show indications of sympathy and love. Do you think my men will back out of the agreement?"

"Well, let me see. Old Shammo has been acting as cook and guide around here for twenty-five years. He boasts that he conducted a funeral party down the Shat-El-Chebar and over to Me-Schwad twenty years ago. He may be lying about that, but I think for the price you offer he will stick to you. Then Moses is a daring fellow, whom you can rely upon. You ought to know him; he just came up on the boat with you. He has been to Africa, has he not? He will help you, as he speaks a little broken English. I think by what I can learn, he is the best fitted man in Bagdad for you. Alker his half-brother, will probably stick by you also. Tatus, the wealthy man's son, is anxious to learn about the south, and will probably go where Moses goes and stay where Moses stays. I think they are all Shea-Mohammedans, and while they are looked upon with suspicion they are in much less danger than you are.

"You see, I have your passport signed and sealed by the Turkish authorities, so you must exhibit that continually, and if the Sheiks are not able to read one word of it they will recognize the quail tracks, and think it is an order from Constantinople for you and your escort to pass through. Then with our arrangements for Nim Burr's old solid-wood-wheeled stage and the six mounted police, you will get through to Babylon all right, that is if they do not lay down on you and make you pay them over again. I think if you furnish, as you seem to be doing, a quarter of mutton to each man for lunch, they[195] will go through all right, for it cannot be more than thirty or forty miles to Babylon.

"From Hille, which is built from the ruins of old Babylon, to Chuffel, with a good mounted squad, you will make it easily, for they will think you are rabbinical tourists to Burr's Nimrod and Ezekiel's tomb.

"If you could be satisfied to visit Karbilla, where there is also a temple for the Mohammedan dead, you could probably run across the desert from Burr's Nimrod in safety, but if you approach the wealthy interior city called Me-Schwad or Nazzip, where the temple is, in which they claim Allah, the brother-in-law of Mohammet, was buried, you may find a decidedly warm reception and you may not—I do not know. I often thought I would like to go there myself.

"You may think it strange, Mr. Richardson, that there is no map of that district, or statistics, or census of the inhabitants of so vast a country and city, which like the sphinx of the Nile, sits with its face to the broad valley before it and its back to the great desert, which is inhabited by roving Bedouins, who respect no law, pay no taxes, and love their horses more than they do their wives and children, but it is practically true.

"You see, Mr. Richardson, it is this way: like a Russian Jew who will spend a life's careful savings for one journey to the tomb of Abraham, so these Shea-Mohammedans, who are scattered over Arabia, Persia, Messopotamis and even into India, who have amassed a small fortune, arrange that when they die their relatives start with their embalmed bodies—not in coffins, but wound in tarred linen—to carry them on horses or camels either to Mecca, Me-Schwad or Karbilla.

"When they arrive, the ceremony for the dead is in[196] accordance with the amount of money they bring. After the funeral, the friends of the dead stay in town on a protracted spree until their money is spent, then beg or steal their way home. Thus you see that the sacred temples are a source of income, and wealth has its influence in the Orient just the same as in your own Yankeedom. When those mourners are returning home, either from ignorance or fear, they keep mum as to the city, conditions, the final disposal of the bodies and everything else. Simply it is an honor to lug along a putrid carcass and lay it in the gilded temple of Allah.

"Now, my good friend Richardson, while it may be that Moses will bring you back safe, still you better take my advice and give up Me-Schwad. When you get to Babylon get a heavy escort of cavalry and run down to Nipper, a ruins more ancient than Babylon, where you will find an old Yankee from Boston rooting around the debris expecting every day to unearth the private library of Adam with the spinning wheel of Mother Eve, and place them on exhibition in the world's gallery of fame. Now, will you give up that trip to Nazzip, or must you go into the stamping grounds of the dare-devil Mohammedans?"

"Consul," I said, as I laid my hand on his arm and smiled into his face, "your caution is appreciated, but it does not budge me a hair." Then we both laughed loud, and he ordered more coffee or something else, after which I continued: "I have been among the cannibals and they treated me royally. Of course, it is necessary for one to take good care not to be ambushed and eat food only from their own cook, with, of course, a proper guard when on the desert. Now, that isn't all, Mr. Hurner. I am going to join the big caravan on its way from[197] Persia to Palestine, and you do not like that either, do you?"

"Mr. Richardson, I wish you could see your finish before you start. Of course, Oriental traders, half-breeds and camel drivers, who sometimes speak a little English, often take refuge in those caravans, but they are not like tourists. During my consulship here, no tourist has passed over the Dier and Tadmore route. You know you will be as lousy as a badger in three days, and if you die, they may not even bury you in the sand, but leave you for the vultures to eat."

"Nonsense, if I avoid accidents and do not stray from the camp I shall be all right, for no well man can get sick in six weeks if he sticks to his tea, rusk, eggs and mutton."

"All right, my American invincible, just one more word and I am through. You remember the first night that you came to Bagdad, how I took you out on the desert to show you where we had a fair two years ago, and pointed out the spot where the Bedouins came down upon us and at the point of their daggers took our collection and not one of them were arrested. I do this to impress upon your mind the fact that the Sabeans who fell upon the family of Job still linger on the desert wild. Now as we have argued so long you must be weary, so please join me again in refreshments before my guard takes you to your room."


[198]

OFF FOR BABYLON

At four o'clock in the morning, November 6, 1899, we crossed the Tigris River in a tropical downpour, and struck out for the ruins of Babylon. About nine o'clock we halted for breakfast, where the hotel reminded me of a blacksmith shop, with several fireplaces and no roof. The plan in that country is for wayfarers to furnish their own food, cook it themselves, and when they can find the landlord, pay about one-third cent each for the accommodation, while the lodging is free anywhere on the ground. Of course, everyone pays their bills there, for the custom of the Turks and Bedouins is to kill thieves and burn them with their families and their entire belongings.

No sooner had our squad been filled with eggs and chickens than they began to grumble that they could not take us to Babylon on the price paid, but must leave us at Messaya on the Euphrates, where we could descend the river in a boat.

Moses now showed his teeth. Shammo began to bawl and everyone took a hand in the row but myself. They all talked so fast and loud that all I could understand was the profanity of Moses, who was a brave fellow and stood up for my rights as best as he could.

After the excitement had subsided, Moses explained that he could force them to take us through, but was afraid they might move slow and purposely leave us on the desert for the night, so I ordered them to turn over[199] to Messaya, where we arrived about four o'clock p. m., when I decided the safest way was to have boats take us across the river at dark, and when out of sight of the village, pay the oarsmen big money, or force them to take us all the way down the river to Babylon, the distance of which, as near as I could learn, was somewhere between three and thirty miles. Our offer was gladly accepted, and we considered ourselves safe, as the Bedouins around Messaya would not know where we were.


[200]

ON THE EUPHRATES

While gliding down the fourth Bible river, the Euphrates, the moon came up and seemed to turn its soft face upon the silence and as I began singing "Old Black Joe," the jackals along the shore joined in, possibly thinking by my voice that we were all descendants from one father. All were soon asleep but the oarsmen and myself, and I became lonesome as I thought of the days of the Aecadian priesthood, the Babylonian kings, Ezekiel and his people, Alexander the Great, who died here, all felled by the sickle of the reaper, Time, and here in silence I seemed to ask, "Where have they gone?"

We arrived at Babylon at three o'clock in the morning, when I was given the bed of Mr. Nelson, the hospitable German explorer, and the next morning we took in the ruins, and slept in Hille the next night. The following day we rode on donkeys to Burr's Nimrod, a wonderful ruins built of pot-shaped bricks, each weighing several tons. The tower or temple Ziggurat must have been built at the top of an artificial mountain on the plain, about seven or eight miles from the ruins of Babylon. Many think that the ancient city like Nineveh extended beyond Burr's Nimrod. From Burr's Nimrod on camels we rode to Chuffel, a village on the Chebar River, where we entered Ezekiel's tomb, of which the Mohammedons allow no Jew to enter. Still around the open space there were several tents occupied by orthodox Jews, who had come from afar to worship at the shrine of their beloved ancestors.


[201]

ON THE SHAT-EL-CHEBAR

At Chuffel our trouble began. The Sheik would not let us stay over night in the town, we had no tent, even if we had dared to sleep in the open, and the next city, Koofa, was open only to Mohammedans, on their way to Nazzip with their dead. I began to laugh, which provoked even Moses, but we soon found relief in a man with one wall eye, minus a hat, shoes or pants, who with his helpers was accustomed to conduct funeral parties down the Chebar River to Koofa. He held us up for the enormous sum of one silver dollar for the ride, and for another dollar would venture to land us in the corpse room at Koofa, that is if it was not already occupied by other corpses. Again I smiled as I thought what would my son Arthur say if he could step into this boat just now and learn of the encouraging prospects. Moses and his helpers now became a trifle alarmed at the situation, and while we were eating our chicken, fried in camel's tallow, I kept laughing, which made Alkar mad, and he remarked to Moses that he believed I was a fool, traveling on borrowed money.

After the owner of the boat and his helpers had paddled us down the river until about ten o'clock at night, we hove in sight of a few dim lights, which made me scratch my head a trifle, when I learned it was Koofa. My men were all wearing a sort of sickly grin since we had learned that the Sheik of Koofa had never before been imposed upon in this way, and I was beginning to[202] feel that there might have been a trifle of virtue in Consul Hurner's advice, but I slapped Moses on the shoulder and said, "The metal in a man shows up only in cases of an emergency," to which he smiled complacently, as though he had been assured that he had all night to live.


[203]

KOOFA, ARABIA

At the mud landing, more than fifty had assembled, each hoping to earn a half-penny by carrying a corpse up the hill where, according to tradition, the Prophet Ezekiel had probably walked on his bare feet many times, for Koofa was a city on the west bank of the Shat-El-Chebar, long before Abraham left this region for the land of Canaan.

When all was ready for the funeral march and Shammo had been loaded with the luggage, which consisted of pillows, blankets and cooking utensils, his face actually did take on the mournful hue of an undertaker carrying the dead across the dark river.

Our guide sang out something which I supposed indicated that a burial troop was following as he dashed through the crowd, up the cliff, dodging this way and that through the dark, alley-like streets and rooms, where tall men with dark visages sat on high benches and scowled at our approach, until he landed us in a square cement room, about 1212, with no ventilation save a hole over the door, when he mysteriously disappeared, taking his dim oil light with him.

Soon officers appeared whom, I could see, were confused. Moses tried to pacify them by saying I was a rich man and would pay much money, but they did not seem to pacify, because the rich man was neither a Mohammedan nor a dead man. Their howling was to the effect that the owner of the room was ruined, as no dead Mohammedan[204] would consent to be laid in that room after we had occupied it. At last, after Moses had killed all the time he possibly could, I demanded to see the Sheik, which request is never refused among the Arabs.


[205]

THE SHEIK OF KOOFA

Soon a guard of about twenty appeared and started with Moses and myself to consult the Sheik; while all the town, men, women and children, ran on either side of us, eager to get a glimpse of my pants, as, apparently, neither sex had ever seen before, or much less, donned such tight-fitting garments.

After walking probably a mile we entered a dark alley, where, on one of the side walls, our escort began pounding and crying out until a gruff voice, which came as through a tube back of us, answered, and after a long wait we saw a dim light right back of where we were standing, but no one appeared.

While we were waiting Moses jokingly inquired of me, "Do you wish you were in Chicago?" "No," I replied, "it is eleven o'clock in the morning there now and they are all working hard, while I am enjoying touring just waiting here in the shadows for permission to go to bed." "You're a queer sort of a cuss," was his smiling retort.

At length, after the voice and the officer had talked back and forth through the hole, of which I overheard them speak the words English, Christian, Devil, Mohammedan, Bagdad, Nazzip and a few other words which I could understand, there seemed to be a stir, as some one from the inside began taking down boards; and with two of the party, Moses and myself crept up the rickety stairway, feeling our way through a long, dark hall which[206] opened into a room about 2040. In this room, which was the palace of the Sheik, there was no furniture save a bed, table and a long bench. On the table was burning an oiled rag, one end soaking in a dish shaped like a wooden shoe.

In the center of the large bed, which was, as near as I could see, composed of a mass of beautiful soft rugs, sat a sharp featured man with piercing black eyes and long white hair and whiskers. His face revealed no form or air of authority, but on the contrary, his sun-burned features wore a friendly smile while he gazed fixedly at me, apparently paying no attention to the officers' gabble, who were apparently over-estimating the enormity of the crime.

While he studied me I studied him, and concluded that in his care I was all right. Finally he inquired of Moses if I had friends in America, and why I came to a sacred city without permission, at which Moses turned to me for explanation. After explaining my position and truthfully telling him how we came into what we knew was a forbidden town because we were afraid to stay outside, I then, through Moses, word for word, explained that Americans always heard that the chiefs of Arab tribes were great and good men, and were hospitable to strangers; especially when they did not interfere with their religion. This was the substance of my drift, although we talked back and forth for more than an hour.

A skittish scene now took place; he called the chief officer to his side on the bed and by the dim light they began whispering, so Moses and I could not hear, occasionally turning their piercing gaze on me. At the conclusion he dismissed his officer and told Moses to tell me that at Me-Schwad they had a room for such[207] people, and we must go there, for which he would send a heavy guard to protect us. Then it took about ten minutes for him to express his gratitude for my confidence in him and his protecting power, and he wanted me to feel that Allah loved upright strangers in all the world.

I then asked him if the guards at Me-Schwad would let us into the city, as it was now past midnight. To this he replied, "No," but said his force should furnish blankets and guard us all night.

I hesitated and looked down, which made him inquire of Moses if I was sorry, at which I looked him kindly in the face as Moses interpreted each word, and said that I was sorry to go home and tell my people that the Sheik of Koofa had sent me away in the desert in the dark.

Now he called the guard again, and after another continued whispering decided we could stay in the room over night, but must be prepared to leave at sunrise in the morning. As I left the room I felt his powerful influence on me, and turning quickly, I again met that kindly gaze as the old chief raised his thin, bloodless hand adieu. That night in my prayers I thanked God that the magnanimity of Abraham still tinged the veins of his people, even though they were deprived of the world's bounties through non-progressive bigotry.

Soon I was peacefully resting in the unventilated room, which my friends on the other side of the world would have spurned, but to me it was experience, and I was glad to know that pity, love and sympathy were not confined to any one people, but were God-given attributes to humanity.

My sweet dreams, if such they were, were cut short by Shammo, who began frying camel steak, goat or some[208] other kind of meat close by my head, and soon we learned that the Sheik had ordered his special body guard to take us to Me-Schwad, Arabia, which was about twenty-five mile southwest from Koofa, over the trackless desert.

i273

DESERT LIFE AMONG THE ARABS.


[209]

WILD, YET BEAUTIFUL

At sunrise, leaving Shammo to care for the luggage, we mounted spirited horses selected for us, and with an escort of about one hundred cavalry picked our way, Indian file, up through the lane-like streets of Koofa until we reached the summit, from which we had a view of the surrounding country, especially ancient Nazzip, now called both Nazzip and Me-Schwab, which lay on a rise of ground before us, just far enough away to conceal its grossness.

The morning sun at our backs cast its golden rays across the desert wild interspersed with clumps of verdure green. Over and beyond lay, face to us, the silver side-hill city of Nazzip, like the Arab himself, whose ambition is an array of dashing splendor. The Mohammedan pride appeared decorated with polished steeples and spires coated with sheets of silver and polished bronze, while the great Allah temple sat as a center piece. As we neared the scene it became grotesque, but in the far away it looked like a dazzling gem, set in soft Oriental drapery. A thoughtless vision seemed to confuse me with the scene as I said to myself, "Oh, if my Chicago friends were here to enjoy this enthusiasm."

Now all the horses, with heads high, who could run like greyhounds, amid the whoops and howls of the braves of the desert, struck out wildly for the Oriental Silver Shrine. This was too much for me, and forgetting that I was to avoid all risks I stood in my stirrups and[210] urged my horse forward in the race, which had broken its ranks, and soon found myself near the front of the now go-as-you-please, bawling to my steed like a regular Buffalo Bill, and this was kept up all the way to Me-Schwab. When I liberally recompensed the chief he kissed me, and I kissed him; then he put his arm around me and shook me and kissed me again, then they all cheered and were off.


[211]

NAZZIP

On entering through the gates we found ourselves in an open space of probably twenty-five acres, with high walls on the north, east and south, apparently set aside for plays, prayers, public trade or exchange and, possibly, a place of protection for Bedouin rovers. It was a pretty place, and when at certain hours the priest calls out his Allah song from the tower, to see hundreds of people drop on their knees and faces in the attitude of worship is a sight long to be remembered.

Our quarters, or jail, was a porch on the south, facing the open space of which we were not allowed to step outside, except to the roof, unless accompanied by officers.

After coffee and rest, I begged permission to be taken about town, which was refused. Again I demanded to see the Sheik, which was always granted. But the Sheik actually looked astonished, and smiled at my audacity when Moses informed him that I wished to be shown through the great temple of Allah, but he was courteous and explained that their people, the Sheas, were very strict. They were better than the Seanees, who would eat with foreigners, while the Sheas would throw away any piece of furniture or dish once used by them. He finally consented for the guard to take us through the streets we wished to visit, where I found that they would sell their own manufacture, lace, rugs, bronze, etc., to their own people only, but through strategy I purchased some amber beads.


[212]

THE MAN I HAD SEEN BEFORE

While the officers were conducting us through the town I noticed a dark fellow, whom I had somewhere seen before, following us and laughing at my jokes, which were spoken to Moses mostly in English. When I spoke to him he feigned not to understand English, and began drawing me out of the few Arabic words which I had learned, at which he laughed and said he could speak ten tongues, including English. He said he knew all about me, but I had forgotten him. I then had Moses question him, but could get so little satisfaction that we concluded he was a fake, but he followed us and managed to advise me that I had better leave Me-Schwab in the dark; also that the Sheik might not consent for us to stay over again. Then I tried hard to think where I had seen him, but I could not.

After we had been hustled back to our jail a party who owned the only wooden-wheeled wagon in that world came to bargain with me to take us to Karbilla. Two women, they said, were wanting to go with us, and we had better go through in the night, to which I objected, but after much wrangling we fixed on one o'clock in the morning for the start.

Again I appeared before the Sheik, for permission to visit the Mohammedan cemeteries. He was reluctant, but finally consented, with whispered instructions to the guard, who took us outside the gate to a little hill, where we could see the graveyard about a mile distant, and then hustled us right back to our pen.

At one o'clock, after we had swallowed our camel[213] steak and coffee, we were taken to the carry-all, where we found two masked women just arriving, whom I knew were quite young by their movements. A soft rug was stretched across to separate us from the women, who seemed to be housekeeping in the rear flat of the wagon, and we in the front. As our start was delayed, I snuggled back against the rug which partitioned us from the females, and soon realized that someone on the other side was snuggling up against me. When I aroused to inquire about our departure she would speak to the other woman, then we would resume our comfortable position, until her head dropped on my shoulder and nature's sweet repose drove all our cares away—of course both of us were asleep. Thus we waited until after light, all grumbling except us who were asleep.

About sunrise the driver, with six Arabian steeds, in true Bedouin style, circled the open space on a wild run, then dashing out through the gates struck out for the north, which took us between the two cemeteries to which we had been refused admittance the previous evening. They ran the down grade at high speed, apparently so we could not see the tombs; but, when just at the point of curiosity, one wheel ran off and we were dumped in the sand, where the women lost their masks. One of them looked slyly at me with her soul brim full of laughter, as she placed her hands on my shoulders and shook me playfully; I did not understand her affection, although under those circumstances I appreciated it and wished we could each tell our story to the other.


[214]

REAL BEDOUINS AFTER US

I concluded that this ruse was being given to intimidate me, but later we experienced something more serious.

The road between Nazzip and Karbilla is supposed to be more safe than the Koofa route, as it is guarded by squads of Turkish cavalry. At noon we changed horses and ate barley cakes for dinner, cooked by slapping the dough on the inside of a heated cement barrel. When we were ready to start again we could not find out why we did not go.

We had now recrossed the desert and descended from the plateau into the valley of the Messopotamia, where our trail ran between the Chebar River and the cliffs on the west. All the while we had been waiting our two drivers had remained on the cliffs, where we could not see them, but I was not nervous, as I had become accustomed to waiting. Our suspicion was not aroused until we started, when the drivers yelled our six-horse team into a wild run, shaking the old crate wagon from side to side, for about five miles, when we heard reports of firearms, and suddenly came to a stop. Then the drivers, together with the passengers, sisters and all, ran up the craggy steeps onto the open plain, where in the distance we saw about ten Bedouins leaning on their horses' necks running for dear life, followed by a squad of Turkish cavalry who were firing at them with no effect, for they were too far away.

I declared at once that it was a plot to frighten me[215] out of the Mohammedan Stamping Grounds, but our guard, who had been riding to the west of our route all day, said that the teamsters who came down with our carry-all from Karbilla a few days previous had killed a camel man of the great herd which we were about to pass through, and that the Bedouins were the dead man's friends from the camel camp, who intended to kill all of us for revenge. Also, that the reason we stayed so long in the night and where we lunched was for the cavalry to arrive from Nazzip to chase the Bedouins away. Then I decided that, if our guard had told the truth, the Arabs were not so bad after all.

We soon struck a herd of about 8,000 camels feeding on the grass and briars along the Shat-El-Chebar. It was a sight to see them, with their two or three hundred Arabian family tents, surrounded by horses, dogs, goats, sheep, chickens and children, leading the sleepy life of our wayside gypsies, seeming to have no inspiration for a change in their condition, as one generation follows another. On each voyage, or tour, said to occupy about five years, they go collecting camels at the round-up on the wilds of the great desert and driving them to Persia, of course selling and trading all the way along the creatures, both human and dumb, reproducing on the way. The pasturage is free but the government taxes are heavy, being nearly fifty per cent of the value of the animal, which is paid in such stock as they own. Arabian herdsmen are generous and hospitable, but, when aroused by what they consider wrong, they are exceedingly ferocious. We camped with them several days, and if I had a better grip on their language I would like to travel a year or two in one of those herdsmen's caravans and write them up as the family from which Abraham was called, for from the[216] time of the historical events of Abraham to now there has probably been little or no change in their daily life. Their helpfulness and hospitality, without expecting recompense, often reminded me of the story of Moses helping the Midian girls to water their flocks.


[217]

SUSPICION AROUSED

Upon my return to Bagdad the Consul took me home to dinner, where he related a long, amusing story, of which I will make a short one. He said that the morning after I left Bagdad the Turkish Emissary from Constantinople sent his deputy to him to inquire who the stranger from America was and what he wanted, to which the Consul referred to my passport, which had been presented to them, and then told them all he knew about me. Again, in the evening, they sent to him to learn where I had gone, whereupon Hurner, thinking I would be more likely to go to Niffer than the interior, told them I had gone to visit my United States friend who was exploring the ruins at that place.

Again they sent, to inquire if any treasure had been found at Niffer, to which the Consul jokingly replied, "Why, haven't you heard that they have found a subterranean pocket of valuables? And I suppose Richardson is here to take them out of the country by way of the Persian Gulf. I hear he has several camels on the spot; but this is all hearsay, through the Bedouins, and may not be true."

In less than an hour, said Hurner, two hundred cavalry, with shining sabres, were on the dash over the sixty miles of straight across desert sand to intercept the American thief. Their approach was a surprise to the old Bostonian, who was simply examining each brick[218] as they came out of the debris, and innocently declared he had seen no treasure or anything of the American.

JONA AND HIS WIVES

The next morning I received a caller whom I recognized at once as the stranger I had met in Nazzip. After I inquired how he got to Bagdad so soon, he told me he had joined the horsemen from Nazzip who protected me. I asked him what he meant by saying he knew me.

"Were you at Jask, Persia?" he began.

"Yes," I said, "Jask is where I saw, in the distance, those rocky, book-like mountains, so beautiful."

"Did you go ashore?"

"I did."

"Did you see me?"

"No."

"On your return to the steamer did you assist two Mohammedan women?"

"I did. Americans always assist the ladies."

"Did you go ashore at Bahrein, Arabia?"

I said, "Yes, that is where S. M. Zwemer, a missionary from the Dutch Reform Church of Holland, Michigan, rode with us on donkeys to Riggeb-Gem, that ruin more ancient than Babylon."

"On the return to the steamer did you assist those women again?"

"I did, I stood in the water to my hips and assisted each from their wet donkey to the barge. When on board one gave me a pomegranite, and when she saw I did not know what it was, she took it from me with a laugh and fixed it with sugar so I could eat it."

"Those women, stranger, were my wives. Did you know that your frankness gained their affection?"

[219]

"Your wives! Gee-whiz, were those women at Me-Schwad the same women I met on the steamer? Say, friend, where did you come from, and where are you going?"

"My name is Jona. I am a nabob, my home is the desert thirty days journey from Muscat, but we will not burden each other with our history. I have learned that you are bound for Tadmor, and so am I. Now, can you tell me anything more about the last days of Jesus of Nazareth and the last days of Mary Magdalene than is found in your testament, with which I am familiar?"

I hesitated, and then said: "I did not come into this country as a missionary, I came to study the people. I would not interfere with your Mohammedan faith."

"You Christians mistake our position in regard to Jesus. Jesus, as Mohammed, was a wonderful spiritual teacher from the living God, but until all worshipers of the spiritual God drop their materialism, of which the resurrection of the physical body of Jesus is the most ungodlike, this world will continue to be the abode of ignorance, which is the generator of sin; but enough on that score for now, for I intend to join you on your journey to Tadmor, and I trust you will hereafter pass my wives unnoticed."

"If I see one of your wives falling, head downward from a camel, shall I save her from breaking her neck?"

"Not if she falls intentionally; but let us return to the object of my call, the story of Mary Magdalene and Jesus in their last days."

"Mary Magdalene was all right, friend, but how about your girl wife, who shook me so fondly when I saw her face?"

"Oh, she admired your frankness; she is mad, so[220] please pass her unnoticed on our journey to Tadmor. Now to change the subject.

"All organized nations, Syria not being the least, after the fame of Jesus spread abroad, sent scribes to listen at his feet and report, which report was included in the collection for our Family Tree Tribe, with a record of the life and death of Mary Magdalene in which she shines forth as a feminine beauty of wonderful spiritual comprehension. This report, with that of the destruction of Jerusalem and the final attempt to crush out Christianity, has been carried by us in tradition but lost in record for many centuries. Lately we have been told that the original manuscripts still exist in the ruins of our ancient citadel in Tadmor (Palmyra.)


[221]

THE RECHABITES

"We styled ourselves Rechabites because we lived in open air, drank no wine and mingled with no other tribes. We descended from Adam through the Kenites. Our rendezvous at the time of David was at Jabes, but in the days of Jeremiah we came to Tadmor, where we assembled yearly to pay tithes for over a thousand years.

"Now we are dispersed throughout the Orient, and pay no tithes, yet we hold sacred our peaceful attitude toward strangers, our education as scribes, our nomad life and our abhorrence to strong drink. The family tree is disappearing, for we are intermarrying; even my mother was an Indian from Karachi.

"My object in this journey is, if possible, to collect the Aramaic manuscripts of the tribe, that they may be handed down in an unbroken line, thus completing our family tree. I can tell you more particulars about our people, and many incidents about Mary Magdalene, even if we do not find the manuscripts. For we will journey together."

"Please let me ask you one question, Mr. Jona, and then you can proceed. Do you intend me to understand that you expect to find the original report or document at Tadmor, or is it a legend of a later author of your tribe who was familiar with traditional accounts of Jesus and Mary Magdalene?"

"I do not want you to understand anything only that I hope to find manuscripts which will satisfy all that[222] Jesus of Nazareth was a spiritual representative of God, and that after His death He appeared to Mary Magdalene."

"I understand you now, go on about your rendezvous."

"As I said concerning our people, the Hebrews, who thought God had chosen them to disseminate His love and care over this world, became bigoted through priesthood and set up a cry that they were retainers instead of disseminators. This caused a breach between us and the Gentiles, who made war with us; but our tribe, the Rechabites, held aloof, enjoying our nomad life until Babylonia, spurred on by Syria, began preparations for that world-wide foraging tour toward Canaan. Then our tribe, fearful of an onslaught, held council and decided to take shelter within the walls of Jerusalem, and did so until Jehoiakim, through Jeremiah, attempted to get us drunk, when we again held council and decided to throw ourselves upon the mercy of the Babylonian King, who in turn permitted us to assemble at Tadmor, exempt from army service.

"Tadmor now became our home, and upon the brow of the mountain which overlooks the city we excavated a broad and deep channel in the rock, around a center on which we built a wonderful castle, the crown to the gem of the desert, Tadmor. In its sacred archives were kept all the manuscripts of our tribe. Since we abandoned it I have heard they still call it by our family name, 'The Castle of the Rechabs.'

"Recently we have heard that some kind of documents or manuscripts are still in keeping by a descendant of our clan, so my people have deputized me to go on this journey."

"If it would be agreeable to you, Mr. Jona, I would[223] like that we group our sub-caravans for the journey."

"Thanks for your hospitality, but for reasons previously expressed we will tent separately. You and I will ride side by side, that I may enjoy the influence of your inspiring thoughts; but, really, you would not enjoy the company of the woman, who you could neither see or understand."

"Why in the d——l, Jona, do you not let them throw off those masks, just for this journey, and allow the sweet sunshine, which the flowers on the desert are permitted to enjoy, be experienced by your wives, whom, by your barbarous custom, you place in dark coffins before they die?"

"Oh, Mr. Richardson, I understand you all right, but my people would not. Please do not mention that subject again. Now please attend to the details of your wants for our journey with the Persian caravan, which is now arriving, for we must be ready for the forward movement, which will take place in about four days."

Not willing to let up on the subject, I continued: "Do your women ever find fault with the way you treat them?"

"Yes, all women are dissatisfied."

"They are not. Our women at home are the sunshine of our lives."

"Please do not talk any more on that subject," he said as he wiped the sweat from his neck with his flowing sleeve.

Many were the peculiar incidents in our caravan of over fifteen hundred souls on our long journey of twenty-nine days up the Euphrates and over the desert, all of which I must pass over, noticing only Jona and his group as they appeared on the desert.

[224]

Jona, astride of his beautiful, fleet Arabian, was followed by a mammoth black camel loaded down with about eight hundred pounds of luggage. Following next was a tall, gaunt, mouse-colored camel on which was a platform fastened to the saddle; of which, on either side over the camel's sides, were attached covered seats which looked like dog houses. In each of these dog houses was a wife, his favorite and her assistant, Fatima. Each wore a veil over her head, jewels on her fingers, ankles, wrists, ears and neck, attired in a loose wrapper. Oriental nabobs usually travel with two wives, their favorite and her assistant. The elder, in this case, was his favorite; she bossed him around just like American wives do their husbands, not by force but through influence; as Abraham obeyed Sarah, and sent the guileless Hagar into the wilderness, regardless of his feelings.

A sort of Jacob's ladder, on which the women descended to and from their roost, was among the luggage on the pack camel, and notwithstanding the charge of my Rechabite friend that I was not to disquiet his wives, I continually placed the ladder and assisted Fatima and his favorite to ascend as soon as we struck camp; for if I had not, Jona was liable to leave his wives and other luggage on the camel until we had been on the sand for an hour. Fatima and I were usually side by side evenings, when her aptness in catching the English words and returning them to me in Arabic surprised me.


[225]

SLEEPING BEAUTY OF THE DESERT

On the twenty-eighth day, about eleven o'clock P. M., weary from the long day journey, I dined again on tea and toast, and with my boots on dropped on my cot, just for a moment; and seemingly before the moment had passed the morning sun peeped in and awoke me from my sweet dream of home. I awoke Jona, and while the camp still slumbered we ascended a rise of ground to gaze on that silent form of grandeurs which lay before us, full twenty miles away. As far as the eye could penetrate, north and south, the Syrian highlands, long known as the haunt of the most ferocious Bedouins, loomed up, where about in the center, seemingly imbedded in the glistening cliff, lay the ruins of the once proud city of Tadmor, the queen of the desert. For, while Nineveh and Babylon at their best were old gray monks, Tadmor, in the days of David, with her stately granite columns from the Nile, coquetted with the morning sun like a maiden in her teens.

Breakfast again of tea and toast, when Jona and I, with a guard of twelve horsemen, started for a run over the hilly plain which lay between us and the ruins, leaving the wives and other luggage to come along with the caravan, which would reach Tadmor some time before next morning. Before starting I promised our escorts a piece of silver each if we should reach the ruins in an hour.

The morning was bright and the ride was inspiring, but very tame compared to the wild ride at Nazzip, for we[226] ran steadily on over the sand-drifted desert, while the sweat on the horses' necks soon worked into a foam; and although the distance was nearer twenty-five than twenty miles, we reined up to the temple of the sun in about ninety minutes, when I gave two pieces of silver to each, for which they carried me in their arms through the ancient archway where there were once swinging gates nearly sixty feet in height, through which Solomon had many times passed. Then they lugged me to the market and coaxed me to buy them a camel bone for soup, which I did, on the promise that I was to have some of the soup, but I forgot to come around on time.

i293

RUINS OF TADMOR, WHERE I BADE FAREWELL TO JONA, HIS FAVORITE, AND THE GRATEFUL FATIMA.


[227]

THE ABANDONED CASTLE

Jona, as I expected, found the castle, but no relative in Tadmor; nor anyone who had ever heard who built or occupied the Fort-Castle on the rocks overlooking the city. I then questioned him again as to whether there had ever been such a family tradition concerning Mary Magdalene as he had related, to which he stoutly maintained there had been, and that Mary Magdalene, the fair Galilean Goddess whose life was interwoven into the family of Jesus of Nazareth, had once been a bright feature in the traditional tree of the Rechabites, but when or by whom it was introduced he did not know.

With Jona's plat of the ancient ruins, we passed up through the once beautiful city, where the immense granite columns from Egypt still stand single, in groups and in lines, retaining their caps, crowns and arches.

As described by Jona, we found upon the hill which overlooks the city the once elegant rock castle, surrounded by a deep water channel quarried from the solid rock, as before described, but, apparently, no one had lived there for ages.

Then, by following his plat west of the city proper, we found ancient family tombs as he had described, but the receptacles for the dead, four tiers high, were empty, save as a retreat for bats and owls. Still we found no documents concerning Jesus, and Jona's journey to Tadmor with his two wives was, as far as Jesus and the Goddess of Galilee were concerned, a complete failure.[228] Unless his many evenings spent with me, relating the disjointed traditional reminiscences concerning Mary Magdalene, satisfies others as it does me of the heroic, unremitting zeal of woman when clouds of sorrow overshadow the day.

In parting from my Bedouin friends I shook hands with the three, and got one more good squeeze from Jona's disobedient Fatima. Then, according to Oriental custom, Jona hugged and kissed me. Females of the desert who are not Mohammedans are accustomed to kiss at will, the same as the men do. Jona was a kind-hearted, truthful old Arab. His wife's affection for me was pure desire for soul liberty, like a bird confined in a cage while other birds play in the trees.


[229]

MARY MAGDALENE

While the orb of day is kissing a fond adieu to the Syrina highland which overlooks the great city Tandmor with its two million inhabitants, two sojourners from the far East, with their usual escort, turn in beside the fast flowing stream of hot water which still gushed forth from under the once beautiful city of the desert.

The fleet and pack animals gently kneel to be relieved of their burden, for even the patient ships of the desert become weary on their long journeys over the trackless, sand blown wilds.

Long after the hum of the city had ceased and the silence above had thrown its dark mantle over the sleeping face of nature, we sat by the babbling brook discussing the strange report, which for nearly two years had been heralded from the vine clad hills of Canaan, to the effect that one Jesus of Nazareth, a carpenter, was imbued with spiritual power to the extent that he was healing all manner of diseases, and of late had raised a damsel twelve years old from the dead.

Next day, while crossing the Desert of Hor, we could see Tandmor when twenty miles away, and on the fifth day we reached Palestine. The evening we arrived at Capernaum we found the west shore of the Sea of Galilee from the ford of the Jordan north to the hot springs of Tiberias, south, as well as the western hillside, literally strewn with groups of wise men from different parts[230] of the world, together with the high and low of the Hebrew clan.

As Magdala and Capernaum seemed to be the center of attraction, we staked our tent near, and soon learned that Jesus, the Wonderful, was a guest of one Simon, a fisherman, while his kindred were being cared for by relatives and friends of the family.

Scribes from the South and far East were comparing notes and discussing His latest miracle of stilling the tempest, of which there was an abundance of proof that the storm, which was raging on Galilee, had subsided almost immediately, but as to Jesus having been the cause, there was a diversity of opinion. Many thought Jesus was mad or beside himself, while others said, "Has not God, in all ages past, at times, awakened the people in mysterious ways?"

Others, among whom were the scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem, declared him to be possessed with the devil, through which he healed the sick, fed the hungry and stilled the waves; and still others declared that his teachings were exclusively spiritual, and not materialistic.

i299

MARY MAGDALENE. THE HEROIC MAID OF GALILEE.


[231]

DINA OF ENDOR

While a group of fishermen, who occupied a large black tent, were enlisting followers to the cause and one, called Peter, was exhorting the throng, a woman of the Hebrew tongue was overheard talking to a group of strangers, to whom she said: "I am from Endor, my name is Dina and I have been floating in this great religious wave for more than a year; and I am truly convinced that God, through Jesus, is visiting His people, but why does Jesus not avoid those strangers who are noting down every word He says, to carry home. Another thing seems strange to me, that Jesus, who is from a nice family, should tolerate rascals who never wore a square inch of decency on their hides. Just look at Simon, the old fisherman; that broad shouldered man talking now, whom Jesus named Peter, who was and I suppose is a liar and a toper, whom no one has ever accused of dealing honestly. Then there is Mary Magdalene, who, with her wealthy Aunt Susanna, lives just up there on the hillside. Some say she is a relative of Jesus, perhaps that is because her hair is light, for some of the breed to whom Jesus belongs have auburn hair. But oh, isn't she a diamond in the rough? Why, that maid is a bewitching beauty, graceful as a swan, sometimes as soft as the summer breeze and at other times wilder than a tornado. She was brought up with or near the family of Joseph of Nazareth, came here when about a dozen years old and took the name of Magdalene. I[232] believe, from what I hear, that if that girl faced the Devil he would back down, and yet she has more true admirers, staunch friends, than any maid in Galilee. In fact I, even though I never speak to her, like her myself; but how Jesus, as the Son of God, can bunch her faults and forgive them in one batch, is a puzzle to me."

"Why is she called a sinner?" inquired a tall man in a red shirt which came down to his heels.

"Oh, Jesus says we are all sinners in a certain sense; I suppose he would say she will some day bridle her tongue, but she never will. You see, she has no respect for the customs and rites of the Pharisees, so I suppose it was the orthodox who branded her a sinner, but I have heard that the sisters of Jesus like her, and that of late she has come down from her perch wonderfully."

"Do the people actually believe the child of Jarius was dead, or was she possessed by demons?" broke in a keen-eyed observer with a quill over his ear.

"Oh, I don't know. The people are clamoring for miracles. Magdalene says the resurrection Jesus preaches does not refer to the body. Everyone thought the child was dead, but Jesus said she was not. He talks so much in parable it is hard to understand him. I have listened to Jesus almost every day for nearly two years, he all the time talking about death, and still I and all his friends are confounded as to whether he means death of the body or a state of sin-death, from which condition he can raise those who are naturally dead in sin. I think the report of his having raised that child is what has brought so many here of late, but if I understand Jesus—hush, do you see that tent right here beside us? Those people just came in at dark. James says they are from Tadmor, a sect of scribes once called Rechabites. See,[233] they are noting down every word I say, so I'm glad I haven't said much. Just see old Peter swing his arms and preach; from here, where one cannot hear a word, he would pass for quite a respectable man, yet I heard that when he used to peddle fish all the attractive women turned from him, but he never bothered me, and Jesse, my husband, says it is no wonder, but I tell him if I am not pretty I know enough to keep my mouth shut. Magdalene sums up Peter the quaintest; she says she always manages to get on the side of his cock eye so he cannot wink at her.

"James and John, the two brothers who are with Jesus, are fine fellows, in fact I have heard that John wants to marry Magdalene. James, the brother of Jesus, is a man to be admired, in fact all the brothers and sisters of Jesus seem to take after their mother, who, all the folks say, is a bright creature; but the father, Joseph—well, he is dead, and while I never heard a word against him, I should say that his lineage from David was his chief attraction. Jesus, they say, was the real head of the family from the time he was a boy, but I do not think he worked at the carpenter trade very much. At an early age he served at the feet of the noted scribes and priests, through which he virtually became a support of the family, for, as an instructor, he was unequaled. Even at the Sanhedrim his opinion had weight until he took this religious turn, when his former friends became his enemies."

"How could Jesus have tolerated the doings of those he now so bitterly opposes?" inquired a bystander.

"Oh, I do not know, possibly he was studying their real character and now he hits them on their sore spots, but it—there—there—comes Jesus now, that tall man,[234] come close so you can hear him and you will believe every word he says. Oh there, they are sending us out so they can be alone—dear me, let us meet again tomorrow so I can tell you a little of the news; but as I said, I am not a woman who says much and seldom express my opinion."


[235]

THE HOME OF MAGDALENE

"Magdalene, why are you so restless, and why gazing so intently at the stormy sea; has anything crossed your path, dear?"

"Oh, Aunt Susanna, I was just watching the tumbling waves of Old Galilee and I envy them the peace they enjoy, for soon they will lie down to sleep, but there is no rest for your poor, wayward Magdalene."

"You are not bad, Mary, your beauty has made you gay and your vanity presses hard upon your virtue, but you have never stooped. All you require is time and patience."

"Time, why I am twenty-two gone and I doubt if twenty-two million of years would mellow me down to your soft nature. Often I try to be mild and keep my promise so often made to Jesus, and first I know I am facing all kinds of difficulties with a rebuff and then I am too proud to own up that I am sorry."

"Did you hear Jesus talk in the synagogue today?"

"Yes, I was there this morning and that is why I am so upset. You know I was ever with him and his sisters, especially Ruth, until I came to you, but since he began to preach I have avoided him. Well, he caught me this morning and spoke so kindly that I felt the old child-love coming back. Seeing so many of my Nazareth friends and Jesus talking so strangely I began to cry and might have joined them had not Simon, our old fish peddler, approached me and began hinting at my waywardness[236] and talking about miracles. Then I flared up and said, 'Really, Peter (that is what they call him now), you do not say you have repented—if you have, and it goes deep enough to make you give honest weight on fish, I should say Jesus has performed a miracle, indeed.' Then he broke in by saying, 'Maggie,' but I checked him on the spot and said, 'Call me Magdalene. I am no little girl, I am a lady.' Then he kind of twisted his jaw as he used to when he cried, 'Fish—fish,' and asked if I was sure, and I told him he had better keep on seeking shelter against the day of wrath to come. Then as Jesus came near the anger seemed to leave me and I could have knelt and kissed his feet."

"Whose feet, Mary?"

"Whose do you suppose?" Then the proud girl bit her lip in scorn.

A moment silence, and Aunty continued, "What do you think of Jesus?"

"Why, really, I do not know what to think; probably I am not as good a judge as one who has not known him for he was always ready to help Ruth and me out of our embarrassing predicaments, of which there were many, for you know Ruth and I were hand in hand in mischief. One day she and I—say Aunty, there comes John, what do you suppose he wants?"


[237]

JOHN AND MAGDALENE

Aunt Susanna fluttered some at John's approach, for, although a daily playmate with Magdalene, he seldom appeared in their garden now. "I am glad to see you, John. You used to run in, when a boy, and why do you not come oftener now?"

John laughingly replied, while greeting Magdalene, "Since I have become so big that Lena cannot box me around handy, I thought the enjoyment of my presence, especially for her—"

"Now, John," broke in Magdalene, as she solidly planked herself on the couch beside him, "First, you've been here more than forty times since that evening, and next, did you not deserve a good box on your ear when you tied the straw to our dog's tail?"

"I was just playing Sampson."

"How did you like my playing Sampson, when I boxed your ears?"

"I just enjoyed it."

"You did not; if you had you would not remember it."

"I did."

"Now, John," said the peaceful aunty, "you must confine yourself to the truth; you know I have always held you up as a model young man."

"John," said Magdalene, as she touched him on the shoulder.

John turned, and looking her quizzically in the face,[238] said, "Do you remember, Lena, that the trouble that day all ended with you and I eating bread and honey and then your going part way home with me, hugging and kissing me all the way. Now do you wonder at my enjoyment?"

She smilingly replied, "What a pity it is that handsome boys grow up to be such ugly men. Just play you are a boy again and set fire to the dog's tail once more. I dare you to do it."

"Oh, Lena," he said, as he turned the conversation, "do you buy your fish of Simon yet?"

Springing to her feet, her eyes sparkling, she said, "Honestly, John, I would rather go to hell with you than to heaven with old Simon."

John looked admiringly at the stately figure before him, as he calmly said, "Why, Lena."

After time for reflection, Magdalene again seated herself beside him, dropping her head on his shoulder weeping, and while Aunt Susanna came and kissed away the tears, she with difficulty continued, "If you only knew how I hated some people, without cause, and loved others who do not love me, you would pity me. Old Peter has his virtues and I know it."

After the storm had passed, Magdalene laughingly inquired, "Now, John, did you actually come over to see Aunty, or did you come to see me?"

John declared it was both, but the business end of the call was bread. Then it was soon arranged that Aunt Susanna should furnish ten loaves each day as long as the followers of Jesus remained at the Lake.

"His apparent communion with God," continued John, "has so startled the world that many are coming out of curiosity. Tomorrow, being Sabbath, he will preach in[239] the synagogue and we hope the spies from Jerusalem will not interfere."

"Truly, John," inquired Aunt Susanna, "do you believe in him? Magdalene, answer the door call."


[240]

RUTH

Aunt Susanna and John listened that they might recognize the voice when Magdalene exclaimed, "Oh, Ruth—Ruth, you dear sweet girl, why did you keep me waiting so long?" And Ruth after embracing Magdalene ran and kissed Aunt Susanna and then with a low courtsey begged John to pardon her rudeness, for which John complied and said, "I saw you with your folks today, but I did not dare approach for you all looked so nervous that I feared a break-down."

Ruth turned a distant glance as the large tears trickled down her cheeks, when Magdalene placed her fair arm around the waist of her life-long friend, softly saying, "Do not weep, Ruth, everybody loves you," to which the sad girl replied, "We do all feel so strange; no one thought it would ever come to this."

"Ruth," began Aunt Susanna, "anxiety will make you all sick; now be calm and let me plan. You and Magdalene must enter the garden while it is twilight, and Magdalene do not fail to show her the baby birds in the lilac bushes. You, John, however much you wish, cannot go with them, for I have a duty for you. While I light the fire for hot cakes and honey you must run down to Capernaum and bring Jesus, his mother and all the family up here to dine, and stop with us until morning. Ruth will sleep with Magdalene, her mother with me and Jesus on the couch. We have heaps of rugs so others can lie down where they please. If you like, John, you can stay also, for I know you like to be with Jesus."

[241]

"Really, Aunt Susanna," broke in Ruth, "I have been here so much."

"Now, Ruth, not a word from you. During the time Magdalene has lived with me, I do not think you have made her what might be called ten good visits, and Magdalene has been to Nazareth about forty times. Besides, everytime she comes home I hear nothing but Ruth, Ruth, so I conclude she is at your home most of the time."

"Aunt Susanna," said John, as he raised to go.

"John," ejaculated Magdalene as she seized him by the arm, "You're not going until you have seen our garden; it will not hinder you three minutes."

John did not seem anxious to release himself from her grasp, but responded, "I must obey your Aunty's command." Then turning to Aunty he continued, "Please do not bake the cakes until I return, for I think they are all fixed for the night. Jesus is stopping with Peter's wife's mother and—"

"Peter," exclaimed Magdalene, as she turned her saucy nose to one side and elevated her chin.

"Ruth," said John, as arm in arm with the two girls they turned to the garden, "can you abide Magdalene without obeying her commands?"

Ruth seeming to forget her troubles, laughingly replied, "Oh, I see your predicament, John, but you know the wise do control the weak."

Then as Magdalene let go his arm and squared herself saucily before him in the attitude of wisdom, she said, "Now, John, own up that you wish you had not asked Ruth that question," to which John mumbled something about all girls being alike, at which Magdalene again flared up and accused him of not being capable of appreciating select company, and then they all laughed.


[242]

DARKNESS OVER GALILEE

John has returned home; Jesus is asleep in the home of Simon's mother-in-law; Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her children, save Jesus and Ruth, are sleeping under their little open tent shelter on the pebbled beach. Every lodging in Tiberias, Magdala, Bethsaida and Capernaum is occupied by strangers, while more than ten thousand souls overcome by fatigue have tonight lopped down in groups here and there upon the shore of the renowned inland lake, the Sea of Galilee.

The evening star has disappeared beyond the western hills, while spangled Orion and the Pleiades sisters seem lingering as though to look down in silent pity on slumbering old Nazareth, whose religious zealots have thrust out in bitter scorn the man whose lamp of light will shine upon the mysterious way called Death, when other lights have all grown dim.

It is now after midnight. Ruth and Magdalene are in fond embrace, while Aunt Susanna on a reclining divan amid a profusion of pretty rugs and bolstering pillows is plying questions to Ruth concerning her brother, Jesus.

"Ruth, how long has it been since your brother began to talk this way?"

"Really, Aunt, I cannot say. He has practically been the head of our family since before father died. He always seemed to know if a sick person was going to get well, but, of course, as Lena knows, he said and did many things that we did not notice then, which look strange[243] to us now. I remember one time when we were small we all went over to Saffuriyeh to spend the day with mother's folks, and while going over, he said to us that we must all be kind to grandpa for we would never see him again, and he did die in a few days."

"Did he ever call himself the son of God?"

"Oh, no, we never thought of such a thing, but he often spoke of God as my father instead of our father. The first time we noticed anything unusual was when he, with a lot of other men, went to the Jordan, near Jerusalem, to be baptized by a man named John. When they returned home, he was preaching different from what he used to preach. Of course, as mother says, he may have had divine aid all along and not told us, nor even understood it himself."

"Did your mother love him better than she did you younger children?"

"Certainly she did. You do not think she would like gusts of emotion like Lena and me as well as she did a fatherly man like Jesus. Why, Aunt Susanna, everyone loved Jesus until that old bigoted gang of priests got after him."

"I wish I was God," broke in Magdalene, "wouldn't I jerk those priests out of their phylactery garments and put them to grinding in the mill? I should say everyone does love Jesus, he won my heart when I was 6 years old, and I would love him yet if he would shake up old Peter."

"Why, Magdalene."

"Oh, Aunty, you know I do not mean just what I say, but let me go on with my story of love. One afternoon when we were all up on the commons, they got[244] up a race between me and Delila, from the spring. You know, Ruth, I was swift,—awful swift."

"And you are fleetly still," chimed in Aunt Susanna.

"Oh, yes, Ruth, she refers to a race about two years ago when someone brought in a Greek courier to run with me and I showed him my heels before a crowd of over two thousand people. Now I will begin back on my love story: One afternoon when we were all up on the commons, they got up a race between Delila and me. She was an inch taller and a year older than I. So well do I remember when we were waiting for the signal and I was so confident of winning, but we had not gone far before I discovered I had my match. If we had had twenty steps more to run I would have won, but as it was they all cried Delila—Delila, when Jesus caught me up in his arms and said, 'Now, Mary (you know he always calls me Mary), would you not rather be called the sweetest girl than the faster runner?' Then, after he had wiped the tears and gotten me to laughing, he said, 'I want you to do something for me, will you?' and I said, 'Yes, you know I will, what is it?' 'I want you to go over to Delila and say, "When my legs get as long as yours I will race you again."' 'I will not,' said I. Then he turned and looked the other way, but I shook his hand and said, 'Do you hear me? I say I will not go near the old thing.' Then he turned and spoke as he often spake, 'Why, Mary.' I stood a moment and then dropped my elevated chin, let go of his hand and ran to Delila and told her just what he told me to, and she laughingly said, 'You would have won anyhow if you had not stumbled at the start.' So we began talking and both went back to Jesus, who bought us a piece of melon, and he laughed when we[245] ate it by one taking a bite and then the other, until it was gone."

"Do you know," inquired Ruth, "that Delila has married that rich man who had been a leper and they are living in Bethany, near Jerusalem? Jesus told me only a few days ago about two sisters in Bethany, Mary and Martha, who are relatives of Simon and live near him with their brother Lazarus. Simon has a beautiful home, where our folks, when at Jerusalem, go over and stay nights. Joseph of Aramathaea and Nicodemus are often there, they help Jesus in many ways, always giving him money and a place to stay. Jesus said he is going back to Jerusalem again, but mother and all of us are trying to persuade him not to do so. If he does, and we all go, will you both go with us? Mother wants to know."

"I think we will," replied Aunt Susanna, and so they talked on until the golden dawn awoke the little songsters, who sang the three to sleep on the hillside by the sea.

"Do you know, Lena," said Ruth, as they were walking in the twilight, "that mother thinks I had better not go to Jerusalem. She says only she and James will follow Jesus, for if we all go the rabbis may burn our home."

"I have heard that, Ruth, for some time. Some influence caused me to think that way, but I did not mention it. Say, Ruth, why do people call me a sinner and say I am possessed with devils?"

"Why, Lena, they call Jesus the same. That is an epithet applied to all who do not conform to the orthodox faith. Jesus says everybody is tempted by devils and that God, through Him, casts them out. You know you have never allied yourself to any faith."

"Do you think that is necessary, Ruth?"

"You can see," she replied, hesitatingly, "that Jesus[246] approves of that course. Kneeling and kissing the feet is considered an open confession. Have you ever spoken to Jesus about it?"

"Yes, I have, and he seemed to avoid me by asking if I loved those who did not love me, and you know I can never love Peter." The sad girl looked upon the ground in a brown study, and then continued: "Is that which one cannot control sinful?"

Ruth did not reply and Magdalene bit her lip nervously as she murmured, "Oh, if I could only get rid of this temper of mine. So long have I loved Jesus, and I know he loves poor me and wants to forgive my sins. Am I one of those whom he talked about the other day? Will he be ashamed of me when he comes into his kingdom?" Mary Magdalene turned her gaze. Her soul was wandering far away into the future. She was thinking of the day, not so far distant, when her earthly eyes would be closed to those familiar Galilean hills. The storm was fast gathering, her poor heart was aching, but still she stood aloof, trying to suppress the love she should impart. Ruth took in the situation and placing her arm around the troubled maid turned the conversation and talked softly of what might take place tomorrow.

As the morning sun gleamed from over the Syrian desert, touching the hilltops, the song birds in the olive orchards and oak groves began chiming their sinless melodies, regardless of the throng, now stirring themselves and lighting fires here and there in the great camp around the renowned Sea of Galilee.

Facing the camp stood the quaint old temple of Capernaum, in which Jesus had been teaching for several days. Probably the sun never rose on a more curious throng than those who lodged in open air, under blankets, and[247] in tents along the western shore, while Jesus lingered in and about Capernaum. Healing the sick and casting out devils had been practiced by all nations and tribes since the advent of tradition, but when sojourners from Mesopotamia, Syria, and Egypt returned home to announce that a man in Galilee had for two years been preaching that he as the Savior of the world had come from God to heal the sick, cure the deaf and blind, cast out devils and raise the dead, wise men began to gather in Galilee until now an immense throng were gathered near the childhood home of Jesus.

A group of large, broad, bullet-headed men from Nineveh, who styled themselves the descendants of Jona, had just arrived. Their roomy camel-hair knee breeches and dawn-like smile betokened that their object was information and not criticism.

Pharaoh's land was represented by a small caravan of Egyptians attired in professional habits, who had chosen quarters near a group of Persian cameleers, whose very equipment, both of man and beast, seemed to blend in soft Oriental shades. The peculiarity of these two groups of doctors was that while listening attentively they expressed no opinion.

Groups of scribes, Turks, Persians, Arabs and Indians were closely noting all events connected with Jesus and his followers, but took no part in the discussions of the Jews, who everywhere nervously discussed the effect of his teachings.

The scribes, Pharisees and priests who disdainfully ignored his claim, were worried that so many of their people were following him, especially as the edict had gone forth that any one who professed Jesus to be the Christ should be expelled from the synagogue.


[248]

SURPRISE FOR THE PHARISEES

When evening came, a rich Pharisee, knowing that Jesus was having no time to either eat or sleep, and he himself desirous to hear and see him, invited him to his spacious apartments to dine, where he had assembled his friends. As Jesus approached the entrance, Ruth and Magdalene ran spat upon him, when he, taking Magdalene by the hand, smiled and said, "Mary." Then kissed Ruth and passed in as Simon's guest.

The recognition of Magdalene had been noticed by Simon and a dark scowl knit his brow, as he mentally connected her with sinful episodes, and thinking Ruth must be a sister of Jesus, he wondered how she tolerated the fearless maid with whom she was associating.

Washing feet and fondling hair was a mark of great respect, often paid to illustrious guests, but Simon, knowing Jesus to be weary and hungry, waived all ceremonies, as he bade them sit for the sumptuous repast.

After the guests had entered and darkness had dispersed the throng outside, Ruth and Magdalene walked back and forth in front of the entrance, which was a curtained arch through a high wall into a canopy-covered, miniature garden, decked with a profusion of soft rugs on divans with lace-embroidered coverings.

As the interesting Jewess walked back and forth, Ruth engaging her in low tones, she, Magdalene, turned quickly and contrary to all customs of her race and times, unceremoniously[249] tossed back the drapery and stood before the assembly.

Dead silence reigned, as the Pharisees gazed upon the bold intruder. A scarf of veil-like appearance hung carelessly over her head of abundant auburn hair rambling over her shoulders, while from a neat dark habit which enclosed her erect form protruded her shapely arms and one extended foot protected by an adorned slipper.

Jesus glanced recognition, which encouraged her, and then turned his eyes upon Simon, which seemed to rivit him to the spot, as Magdalene approached with angelic grace and kneeling before Jesus began weeping and kissing his feet.

Simon's disdainful look blended into sympathy as he gazed upon the famous beauty, while he hesitated as though he would lay his hand upon her head. Jesus bowed to his impulsive friend, as he called her by the name she bore when a child, and then turning to his host, said, "Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee."

"Say on, Master."

"There was a certain creditor who had two debtors, the one owed 500 pence and the other 50, and when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both; tell me, therefore, which of them will love him most?"

"I suppose the one whom he forgave most," was Simon's answer.

"Thou has rightly judged," and turning to Magdalene, he said, "Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet, but she hath washed my feet with tears. Thou gavest me no kiss, but she hath not ceased to kiss my feet, wherefore I say unto thee, her sins are forgiven," and turning to her he said, "Thy faith hath saved thee."

[250]

Magdalene softly passed out through the curtain way while Simon would gladly have had her remain, and now to her the stars shone more bright than ever before, Ruth's embrace was more dear, while her hatred for poor penitent Peter was quietly passing away.


[251]

COUNCIL OF THE DISCIPLES

When they arrived at the apostle's tent, Magdalene, in her impulsive manner, ran to Peter, and placing her hand on his shoulder, for a long time engaged him in earnest conversation. No one was more pleased than Peter, whom she had scorned for years, and he was glad to forget all and forgive the dashing maid whom he had often designated as Tornado Mag of Galilee.

After the evening meal, which the women had prepared and practically provided, reports were received and commented upon. Thomas overheard a priest declare that if Jesus had blasphemed, he ought to be put to death at once, while John had learned that the Ninevites and Rechabites had declared that God had come to his own, and many of the like for or against were received. All of this James, the brother of Jesus, received coolly and assured them that it would require time for the tumult and confusion to subside, during which time all should deport themselves in an exemplary manner and prepare for the worst, "for," he continued, "in times of old, God often called those He loves, to tread the thorny path, but it must be that the afflicions of our momentary existence cannot be compared with the joys of Eternity. Jesus, you know, has often told us, 'My Kingdom is not of this world,' and true it is that the real life lies beyond this scene of continued death."

"James, James," cried Peter, "are we to reap no earthly benefit from this course?"

[252]

"Truly, truly, Peter, if we live the spotless life which Jesus lives our rewards will be great, but God's plan——"

"Can I speak?" interrupted Ruth, as she raised to her feet.

"Certainly, certainly," was the reply, as all turned to listen, for the scene was unusual.

"I do not comprehend the ideas of brother James as I wish I did, but if this work is of God, and His mysterious plan is that we shall suffer defeat in this, our day, in order that the coming generations may rejoice"——

"Hear! Hear," cried John, and the men all chimed in "Hear! Hear!" except Peter, who seemed to think that a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush, as he cried:

"The Kingdom of Galilee is good enough for me; Ruth may be willing to suffer for the unborn and I am no more afraid of death than she is, but my motto has always been, 'Let everyone die for themselves,' therefore I think the maid from Nazareth is out of order."

Peter's self-preservation speech rather upset the maiden's zeal and she came back at him thoughtlessly. "You better make peace with your mother-in-law before you assume to thwart the plans of the Almighty," to which Peter winked his bad eye, but could think of no reply appropriate for the occasion.


[253]

TURN OF THE TIDE

Months have passed and again we find Jesus at the home of Peter's mother-in-law in Capernaum. Magdalene and Ruth are serving the women who are lodging at the home of Aunt Susanna. The homes of John, Philip and Matthew are all overcrowded, for the Lord's earthly career is now at its zenith, but tomorrow the doubtful will return home, the venomous will conspire to destroy, while the faithful will try to induce Jesus not to go down to Jerusalem.

The next day Jesus, standing in the synagogue, cried, "I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me, and this is the will of Him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life."

Then the multitude murmured and said: "Why does this man disdain signs and wonders and yet says he came down from Heaven? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James and Joses, and Simon and Judas, and his sisters, are they not all with us?"

Continuing, Jesus said: "No man can come to me, except the Father who sent me, draw him; not that any many hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Whosoever eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life. My flesh is meat,[254] indeed, and my blood is drink, indeed. Doth this offend you? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life."

Then many of his disciples, when they heard it, said: "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" and from that time many went back and walked no more with him.


[255]

MAGDALENE'S HEROIC PLEA

Evening lowers its dark mantel over the faithful, as they gather at the home of Aunt Susanna again to discuss and consider the conditions.

"Where is Jesus?" his mother inquired.

"He is walking on the shore," replied John. "He requested to be alone."

Trembling and pale, Mary, the mother of Jesus, stood and looked down upon the Galilean shore as she murmured, "Oh, how peaceful." Then closing her eyes she continued, "Oh, that this generation was passed." Then Magdalene assisted her to a divan and was whispering softly to her, when James came and caressed her gray locks as he said, "Mother, kiss Magdalene; she is lovely, isn't she?"

"I," responded Magdalene, "am nothing but a briar," to which James replied, "Roses grow on briars."

Around and in Aunt Susanna's home a great crowd of men and women had assembled when Thomas stood up and began, "A strange problem lies before us for solution this day. For more than two years we have followed Jesus and listened to his teachings. We had understood that God, through Jesus, was doing this work. Today the aspect is changed, for he tells us he came forth from God to do God's will. This implies a consciousness of existence in a place he calls Heaven, before he came among men. Some of his most ardent admirers now believe he is beside himself. If such is[256] the case, we ought to persuade him not to go up to Jerusalem to the feast of the Passover."

"Does his sermon on the mount portray derangement of the mind?" broke in Matthew, as he produced a bundle of parchment and began reading: "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."

"That is exactly the point," said John. "Either we must deny all, or admit his version of the source of his power. If you observe closely you will find his intimacy with God includes more than faith; it corresponds closely to acquaintance. Notice what he said today, 'Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God.' Then knowing that we could not understand, he followed by saying, 'He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.' The knowledge he possesses we cannot comprehend, and knowing this he simply requires faith."

Judas Iscariot, the burly disciple from Beersheba, now arose and after admitting his faith in the Master's claim, began to lay stress on the fact that as so many were falling away, it might be better for all to abandon the cause until such time as Jesus could pacify the Scribes and Pharisees by admitting their prescribed authority.

While Judas continued, two men were overheard conversing in an undertone as they looked in at the audience.

"Do you see that young woman there facing Judas? That is Mary Magdalene."

"Really, is that so! I have heard so much about her. I wish I could hear her speak or sing."

"Do not worry, you will hear her. See her bite her lip! There is a storm brewing in her soul, and I pity old Jude when she gets the floor."

[257]

"Does she believe in Jesus?"

"Believe! I should say she does; she exhorts every evening. That elderly woman beside her is Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the one with her hand on Magdalene's shoulder is Ruth, one of his sisters. Honestly, those two maids have done more thus far to convince the public than all of his sleepy disciples."

"She does not look like the tornado of Galilee."

"Tornado, nothing! Why, her folks lived near us before she came over here, and I do not believe she ever told a lie in her life, but she has an interesting way of enforcing her opinion. There! There! she has the floor now! Listen!"

"You, Judas Iscariot," she began, "virtually admit that you have faith in Jesus as to his sanity and that he is the Christ which was to come into the world, and still, for fear of apparent consequences, you advise abandonment. All lives and careers undergo encouraging and discouraging events, today the world enfolds you in her loving arms, tomorrow the cruel cold shoulder is turned, and experience teaches that the rebuff sometimes falls on the worthy, for the world often goes agog. Truly, the multitude is disappearing, thousands will return home on account of this 'Bread-of-life' sermon today, for they do not understand that evolution requires time; that large bodies move slowly. They may be blameless, but you—you, Judas Iscariot—you who have been with him more than two years, are you yet befogged, or are you a coward? Did you today think that Jesus intended to convey the idea that God was a baker and had sent a loaf of bread down to Capernaum, and that he, Jesus, was the loaf? I know you did not. I hope I do not understand you. I hope you are true. I cannot imagine a[258] traitor among us. Oh, how my heart aches. See how low the lights burn tonight! All seems so far away."

At this juncture she scowled and looked downwards as though collecting her thoughts, and then continued: "You know that the priests at Jerusalem dread Jesus, thinking that his teachings, if not impeded, will revolutionize the religious world and for this reason they favor a ransom to have him out of the way. Inasmuch as you are aware of this, you can imagine my surprise when today I overheard you with the others say to Jesus, 'Depart then and go into Judaea.'" As she quoted his words she hesitated, biting her lip nervously, then as though a thought struck her, she raised her head smilingly and continued, as she turned from Judas to the audience:

"In the upper corner of our garden nearby, one can see an old cactus. Some one sowed the seed from which it sprang before any one of us was born. I used to try to twist and break it when I first came here, for it seemed to cast no blossoms and bear no fruit. Other plants and shrubs blossomed, yielded their fruit, but the old cactus seemed just to live and that was all. One day, as some of you know, Ruth was here and we discovered a bud on it, called the gardener, who decided it was a century plant which might blossom soon, but it did not. Evening after evening all the neighbors came to behold the wonderful blossom which was expected to come forth from the seed sown nearly one hundred years ago. It was so slow that we became discouraged, but at last one evening, when we all stood around, the gardener applied warm water to the roots and in a few moments the largest and most beautiful blossom known to the Orient came forth, and think of it, dear friends, more than fifty years after the one who sowed the seed had gone to his long home.

[259]

"Today the seed of life is being sown in the hilly land of Old Canaan, the buds are promise, blossoms peace and fruit everlasting life. As through summer and winter, sunshine and rain, the old cactus came forth, so through joy and sadness, bitterness and despair, the tree of life may put forth. When we think of the thorny path over which good souls before us have traveled, we ought to trust in providence, for God is with us and knows it all.

"God's mysterious guide oft leads us where we would not go, but never where we cannot stay. He plans our course, he knows it all and some bright morn he will reveal. Abraham did not know, when he was called from home to spend his years among these hills, that when the frost of time had turned him pale, the angels would appear. Hagar, wandering in the wilds of Beersheba, did not think that God knew all of her troubles, and would not let her perish with her child. Moses did not know when he fled across the desert wilds oft looking back in fear, that his fair Zipporah would meet him at the well. When Ruth looked, for the last time, on the scenes of her childhood, and turned from the hills of Moab, to follow Naomi in the plain path of duty, she did not know that God had called her to become the mother of the most illustrious family in the world. All these, my friends, were blessings in disguise.

"Neither does the seed sown mature so quickly. The seed here sown in Galilee these days may bear little fruit in our generation, even for hundreds or thousands of years, but some sweet day, when the storms of life are over, and the followers of our Lord join hands to spread the gospel of the "Bread-of-life" as we have heard today,[260] like the sleepy cactus, it will blossom forth in all lands."

At this point Jesus and James stepped in, unobserved by her, while she continued: "The storm is upon us now. I hear the distant billows roar. This night to you who hesitate may be the turn of the tide throughout an endless Eternity, so bare your bosoms to the storm and look only to the beacon lights, if dimly you may discern them.

"Earth life is but a fleeting shadow, soon past. I know my name will never appear on the records of this great struggle, no one will ever weep at the tomb of Mary Magdalene, but what for aye the morrow. Can you all meet me there?

"Did you who beheld Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration a few days ago think he had just come from his grave on Mount Nebo, where he had been sleeping fifteen hundred years? If you did, I hope God will wink at your ignorance, but you did not, no—no. The real spiritual, personal Moses did not die, he has lived, he does live, he will live, and you and I will just begin to live when these poor eyes will cease to weep, when this poor heart will ache no more and these soft hands are cold in clay.

"Is this struggle a sacrifice or a privilege? Oh, friends, the day will come when the world will envy us who lived in these dark days, and walked and talked and sang with the real Savior of the world, the son of the living God."

The last words seemed to thrill the throng with emotion, but the climax was only reached when Magdalene fainted into the arms of John and Ruth, who bore her gently away.


[261]

JESUS SPEAKS

A tumult now arose as poor impetuous Peter, forgetting that his motto was each one to die for themselves, swung his brawny arms amid his tears and cried, "Hear! Hear! Hear!" which was taken up by the crowd assembled outside, who though they did not catch her words, were anxious to cheer for the fascinating maid of Galilee.

When the tumult subsided, Jesus stepped forward, leaning on the arm of his brother James. His tall figure was perceptibly bowed with fatigue and meditation, while his florid complexion assimilated his face to that of his mother, whose refinement also appeared in her daughter Ruth. The Lord stood half a head above his twelve disciples, save Thomas, who was very tall, contrasting absurdly with Matthew, who was so small and quaint looking that Magdalene, in her sunny days, designated him as the embalmed puckerberry.

When all was quiet, Jesus, in a low voice, said: "Did my words in the synagogue offend you? What, and if you see the son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. As I have said, the words which I speak unto you are spirit, they are life. Go you up to the feast, I go not up yet to the feast, for my time is not yet fully come."


[262]

THE EXODUS

The encouraging days of our Lord's career were now at an end. His "Bread-of-life" sermon was generally misunderstood and taken as literal, which agitated the question of his sanity, besides his remarks on the assembly concerning his ascending up to where he was before did not help the matter. The invincible Magdalene had convinced two of the twelve and a few of the others that, as he had said his words were spirit and truth, they must not be taken literally, but the thousands, which included his friends and relatives, were in doubt. The Persian and Egyptian scholars, with the Assyrian Knights, Nobles and Princes, argued that his moral lessons did not voice of insanity, neither of deceit, still they were returning home somewhat depressed while the Galileans, including the twelve, save Peter and John, were preparing to go up to Jerusalem to the feast.

Magdalene, Aunt Susanna and Mary, the mother of Jesus, with Peter and John, soon set out with Jesus from the Galilean coast as though they would journey to Tyre. While ascending the hills west of Capernaum, Jesus, turning for the last time, looked down upon the familiar scenes before him. It seemed but a moment since he, with other children, stopped and gazed on old Galilee for the first time. Now along the shore lay boats like the one from which, in days of his great achievement, he had taught the eager throng, which had now disappeared. The sun's dazzling rays bore down upon the dreamy[263] waters of the little mountain inland sea upon whose shore he would walk no more. From Bethsaida, a blue smoke curled languidly over the retreat of his fisherman followers, while upon the hillside to the south lay the garden home of Aunt Susanna, where the once beautiful, but now pale Magdalene had upon every occasion so vehemently defended him whom she was now to follow to his earthly doom.

The little party traveled to the northwest, leaving Nazareth on the south, until noon of the second day, when Jesus turned south as though he would go to Jerusalem, and, as it were, secretly camped in the woods on Mount Carmel, in plain view of the hills of Nazareth, where many of his old acquaintances were now boasting of the failure of his mission.

Magdalene would gladly have run over and hugged and kissed Ruth one more good-bye, but as their route to the south, along the foot of Mount Carmel, had been unnoticed, the Master's orders were to proceed again in the night and cross the Esdraelon Plain before day.

After the evening meal, Jesus read the 28th chapter of First Samuel, and as was their custom, sang and prayed. Then, while the sun still lingered on the hilltop, Jesus pointed out the position of the two armies, and the City of Endor, where Saul consulted the woman the night before he and his sons were slain; then he drew their attention to the traditional homestead of Elijah, who lived nearly fifteen hundred years before.

Peter called attention to the beautiful sunset on the Mount of Transfiguration and inquired if Moses and Elias would ever come again, at which, while all listened for his reply, Jesus turned and looked at the mountain, but did not speak.

[264]

Before sunrise next morning the little party had passed Jezreel and by noon arrived at Dothan, where they decided to camp until the following morning. Here they viewed the traditional pit into which Joseph had been cast the day his brothers had sold him into Egypt.

As twilight came on, a party was seen approaching from the north, which proved to be a band of his followers who, having become alarmed, had followed them with the hope of persuading Jesus to return to Nazareth. Among them was Cleophas and his wife, Mary, she being the sister of Joseph, the father of Jesus, but all arguments to induce Jesus to return were of no avail.

The next morning at Jacob's well they found several hundred who fell into line and thus the throng increased until they crossed the Jordan, where they were met by his ten disciples who, with a host of others, had come up from Jerusalem to meet them, and now Jesus went before them towards Jericho.


[265]

WAITING BY THE JORDAN

When back on the west side of the Jordan, Jesus with the women from Galilee and the twelve disciples turned south for the night, into the well known palm grove, while the crowd hastened to Jericho for bread. After supper he with his mother and Magdalene strolled south to the shore of the Dead Sea, where he, while reclining his head on his mother's knee and Magdalene smoothing his hair, fell asleep.

John, who was following, now stole in with pillows and blankets, and soon Jesus and the two women were lost in dreams in the very plain where the children of Israel had slept the first night after crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land.

Since Jesus had left Capernaum he had avoided the curious, for well he knew he was misunderstood by all save mother, John and Magdalene, to whom he often confided, maintaining that if his death was required to awaken the world he would drink the bitter cup and leave the coming generation to judge of his works, whether they were of man or God.

Accordingly, to avoid the throng, the four recrossed the Jordan at dawn and sought a sequestered spot, where trees sheltered them from the sun, when Jesus ordered that all attention be directed to Magdalene, who had eaten scarcely any food since she left home.

During the day they continued to bring cool water from the spring, which allayed her fever so that she felt[266] herself again, and said in her old-time laughing way, "Better then worse, better then worse, really if we do not return to Galilee soon I think it will be nip and tuck as to who will get into the Kingdom of Heaven first," at which Jesus replied, "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you, Magdalene."

"Jesus, can one enter the Kingdom of Heaven before they die?"

"One that liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

"Jesus," she inquired earnestly, "what is death?"

"Did you not hear my parable of the rich man and Lazarus?"

"When is the resurrection?"

"I am the resurrection."

"Will my body ever be resurrected?"

"Have I not told you that flesh profiteth nothing?"

Mother and John listened motionlessly, while Magdalene bit her lip nervously, trying to form an inquiry which would open the sealed door of the tomb.

"Can the dead communicate with the living?"

"No, Mary."

"From whence came Moses and Elias?"

"From the abode of the living."

Mary Magdalene's voice changed to milder tones as she sympathetically continued: "Oh, can you not ease my aching heart? This burden is greater than I can bear. I do not understand you. I volunteered when in Galilee to follow you, but as we near Jerusalem my heart fails me. Is this the expression of God's love to me? You say you go but do not die. How, then, will I know that you remember me when you are gone?"

"I will come back again."


[267]

IN COUNCIL AT JERICHO

Evening found Jesus comfortably situated in Jericho, while his near friends gathered in secret to plan for the morrow. A dim oil lamp lit up the stable-like enclosure, where the dejected and sorrowful had assembled. Peter's speech, as usual, was lengthy and to the effect that as Jesus was determined to face his enemies at Jerusalem, it would be cowardly to abandon him, but if worse came to worse and Jesus was seized, they might be able to scatter so that the officers would not recognize them.

John's opinion acted as a glimmer of light 011 the gloom when he assured them that if they, the disciples, were detained as followers, they would simply be beaten with stripes and driven from Jerusalem.

Diversity of opinions among the others revealed the fact that most of them were on the point of breaking away as they did in Galilee, until Magdalene arose and tried to greet them with her old-time winning smile.

When she began speaking the flush came to her cheeks, her voice became clear and soon she stood erect, the same Magdalene of old, with that true feminine grace and spirit of her sex, who flee at a mouse but turn not aside from a lion, the attention was eager.

"Friends from Galilee, you believe in God, I know you do. You believe in eternal life as set forth by the Master, I know you do. You believe that soon we all will pass away from this earthly scene, and as from Jericho this night we can look back to sad and glad days[268] in Galilee, so some unknown day, from some unknown place, under some unknown conditions, we shall look back to scenes of this life and what will we linger on and love to contemplate most? Will it be the beauty of face and form we wore? No! Will it be earthly fame? No! Will it be the days when the soft summer breeze fanned our cheeks and flitted our souls away on an untroubled sea? No! Will it be that while others died, we live to good old age? No! Then what will it be? Will it not be the heroic stand we took for love, sympathy and justice towards our earth-born companions, when the cruel hand of injustice stayed not from shame and persecution?

"Dark and gloomy is this enclosure, but greater darkness prevails outside. Two thousand souls or more line the way to Zion. All Israel meet now at Jerusalem, but few, if any, know that the foretold Redeemer, in human form, is on his way to the city of David. Do you know it? Do I know it?

"Could we know it? Have we the ability to comprehend his claim? Were his mission for the present inhabitants, we might better understand it, but if it is for all time, and for all the coming generations, how can we know, for what is wisdom to us today may be folly to the people in two thousand years, so let us fearlessly follow and not falter.

"I dread tomorrow. I dread all these coming days. Jerusalem to me is a throne of wickedness. Satan reigns there and God permits, but Jesus loves them all. Do you recall his word as he stood on Olive's brow, 'Oh, Jerusalem—Jerusalem, which killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen[269] doth gather her brood under her wing, but ye would not.' Does not this sound more like God than man, lamenting over the unfortunate condition of those who reject him? Will we reject him? Well I know your answer, but listen—listen, men of Galilee, this night may seal your doom, desertion falls little short of rejection.

"Behold your house is left desolate. What does that mean? Does it mean that our beautiful Zion, the throne of David, shall become the home of the Gentiles, while the Jew stands outside the gate and knocks as the centuries pass on? We do not know, but one thing is sure; his kingdom is not for this generation. It either refers to days gone by or days to come or possibly both. If this is true why not follow the Master through darkness into light? If this meek and lowly way, dark and stormy as it may appear, is the magnet of love to win the world, let us follow that our names may be recorded in the book of life as the faithful few who, when the night was dark and billows of fear and trouble ran mountain high, stood firm. Stand up, you men of Galilee, all who are ready for the fray." All responded quickly but Judas Iscariot, who slowly raised to a stooping position.


[270]

ARRIVAL AT JERUSALEM

Nicodemus, who had been listening to Magdalene, now ordered his servants to conduct her and the Mother of Jesus to his tent, where Jesus had been resting since dark. Here the fair Jewess, who had struggled so hard to encourage the men, now seemed to lose nerve at the impending gloom until Jesus took her by the hand, when she fell asleep. The following morning she was conveyed by the servants of Nicodemus to the half-way inn, and the next day to Bethany, where she was nursed by Mary, the sister of Martha, until the third morning, when it was being proclaimed the Jesus was to make his public entry into Jerusalem, according to ancient prophecy.

Accordingly the women from Galilee, with Mary and Martha, ascended the Mount of Olives from Bethany, crossing over the ridge to the Zion side, where they occupied a prominent view of the road from Jericho around Olive and up the steep incline to the walled city.

After the public demonstration John, Peter, Nicodemus and Lazarus joined the women, when they all partook of refreshments save Magdalene, whose soul, at times, seemed about to leave her body. She did not speak until Peter inquired if she did not consider the entry into Jerusalem wonderful.

"Wonderful,—no, it is only adding fuel to the flames. It is down right foolishness. Has not Jesus said time and again, 'My kingdom is not of the world?' What will Pilate, the Roman governor, say?"

[271]

"But, Magdalene, this fulfills the prophecy."

"Oh, dear me, Peter. To future generations the prophecies may be valuable, but we need no such thing to convince us."

Nicodemus then joined in to assist Peter, and between the two they talked Magdalene to sleep. When they ceased she opened her eyes and laughingly said, "Nicodemus, I see that Jesus has talked eternal life into you, all right, and I am glad for your sake, for I shall soon be waiting and watching for those I have loved in this life to anchor their barques in that haven of rest where darkness forever hies away, waves of trouble cease to roll; where the sun never sets, the flowers never fade and the child-like glee of Mary Magdalene will depart no more."

After the excitement subsided Magdalene became stronger, until, with her Galilean friends, she was able each morning to attend the teachings of Jesus in the temple, where sharp and vehement criticism by the priests and Pharisees was continually deluged upon him. They appeared determined to compel him, through act or word, to violate either the Roman or Mosaic law, that he might be accused of heresy, conspiracy or insurrection. Their chief aim being to entangle him in a decision relating to the violation of the law of Moses, in which case Pilate would turn him over to them for trial.


[272]

ADULTERY

For several days there seemed to have been a lull in the persecution, to which Martha ascribed the smoldering of a diabolical plot, until one morning, while Jesus was engaged in conversation with several Rabbinical doctors, a group entered the temple consisting of twelve Fathers, attired in priestly garb, together with a squatty old publican from Joppa. They were followed by a middle-aged woman, who was in charge of four executioners; she at intervals falling on her knees imploring mercy and begging that her life be spared, while a Roman officer with a squad of six soldiers brought up the rear.

Magdalene, taking in the situation, rose up quickly and forgetting her weakness while the flush of maidenhood colored her cheeks, without hesitation boldly approached the Roman officer and begged an interview with the unfortunate prisoner, which was granted by the Roman, who admired her grace and courage.

The accusers squatted on the ground as the officer directed Magdalene and the terrified woman to the wall, where they could converse unmolested, which was in strict accordance with Roman law. The prisoner took much time to explain the situation, for by so doing she was postponing the awful moment when she should be shoved headlong off of the rocks, there to have her head broken by the heavy stones from the[273] hands of the executioners. Her story was to the effect that she had been married to the squatty old Simon of Joppa when very young, and they lived happily until he had married a younger wife and she became their servant, for which she ran away and came to Jerusalem, where she served a man for three years, after which, as her remarrying would be unlawful, they began living as man and wife and had lived peacefully for six years, until this night she had been taken from bed to be killed for what many of her acquaintances had been practicing for years, a condition which was well known to the authorities.

Magdalene, undaunted, again approached the officer for the release of the woman whom, she said, was accused under an old Mosaic statute which had been a dead letter for many years; besides, it was improbable that Pilate would listen to the case if brought before him. The officer informed her that he had not the power to release the prisoner. Besides, he had been informed that she was to be tried before one, Jesus from Galilee, who had of late entered the city amid pomp and glory as King of the Jews.

Magdalene staggered backwards, bewildered, and glanced at Jesus. He stooped and wrote in the sand while the Pharisees drew near, saying, "Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act; Moses, in the law, commanded that such should be stoned. What sayest thou?"

When they continued asking he lifted himself up, and casting a disdainful look at Simon of Joppa he turned to the twelve accusers, giving each a scrutinizing gaze as though he were reading the page of their life history.

[274]

It was a moment of agonizing suspense; the guard and executioners stood as riveted to the spot; Magdalene pressed her hand upon her heart, while the other women held their breath. The disciples craned their necks, especially Peter, who never could hear very well with his mouth closed, dropped his jaw that he might catch the first lisp. The accusers seemed to shrivel under the search of his large eyes and move backward from the woman, who, on her knees before the Lord, was pleading for mercy.

"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." And again he stooped and wrote on the ground. When he arose he saw none save the woman, to whom he said, "Where are those, thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?"

"No man, Lord."

"Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more."

The effect of the scene so elated the disciples that for a time they forgot their fear and anxiety; but Magdalene, Mary and Nicodemus took a different view. Mary, his mother, saying, "Rebuff does not always mean defeat."

So the day passed until evening, when Mary came over to invite the Galileans to an evening repast. When supper was over they turned to the garden for devotion, after which Peter and John escorted the Galilean women to the house of Joseph, while Jesus and his disciples slept in the house of Simon.

The following day a strange group approached Zion; Jesus, with his tall stooping form, so emaciated that one could almost read through his hand, advancing with a far away look, as though beyond the[275] doomed city he beheld the anxious father awaiting his son's return. He was followed by Mary and Martha, two large, dark sisters of the Hebrew type with swinging gait and sincere expression, who contrasted strangely with the pretty Magdalene, whose startled gaze gave her the appearance of a bird or fawn awaiting alarm.

At the brook Cedron they found the others awaiting them, when they all climbed the hill, turning to the left to avoid the crowd, and passed around the corner, entering Solomon's temple area by the south gate, where they were almost submerged by the throng; for the news had spread that Jesus had yesterday confuted the learned, who had sent to entangle him, without even laying himself open to criticism.

On entering the treasury, where all expounders were accustomed to teach, they found the front space again occupied by scribes and Pharisees, still keenly anxious to gain notoriety by wringing from Jesus a sentence which might be taken up by the throng as blasphemy, for which they might stone him to death without danger of punishment at the Roman Bar.

As Jesus approached the rostrum an aged scribe, of the Arabian type, cried out, "Who art thou?"

Jesus adroitly evaded a direct reply by asking, "What think ye of Christ; whose son is he?"

"David's son," was the reply.

"How, then, does David in spirit call him Lord? If David call him Lord, how is he his son?" Silence was the only response.

Jesus then turned to the multitude, and drawing their attention to his tormentors, said, "The scribes[276] and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. All therefore, they bid you observe; observe and do, but do not after their works, for they say and do not." Then, to his accusers, he continued, "Ye blind guides who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel and say, 'If we had been in the days of our fathers we would not have partaken with them in the blood of the prophets'; whereof ye be witnesses unto yourselves that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Ye serpents, vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell? I know from whence I came, and whither I go; ye are from beneath, I am from above; ye are of this world, I am not of this world. If you believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins. If a man keep my saying he shall never see death."

"Now we know that thou hast a devil, for Abraham is dead and the prophets are dead and you say, 'If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.' Art thou greater than our father, Abraham and the prophets, whom makest thou thyself?"

"I came forth from the Father and am come into the world—again I leave the world and go to the Father. Your father, Abraham, rejoiced to see my day, and saw, and was glad."

"Thou art not fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?"

"Verily, verily, I say unto you before Abraham was, I am."

Jesus now discovered suspicious characters with rocks in their hands and stepped back among the Galileans and left the temple.

While the Pharisees were searching for him, he with[277] the Galileans crossed the Cedron and climbed nearly to the summit of the Mount of Olives, where they assembled under a wide spreading olive tree, Jesus resting one arm on a branch of the tree as he looked down on the renowned city and wept as he cried, "Oh, Jerusalem! Jerusalem!"


[278]

MAGDALENE PLEADING WITH JESUS

While standing there, Magdalene came, and kneeling before Jesus pleaded with him that he go home with her to Galilee, never again to return to Jerusalem. The scene of the frail creature pleading for the life of Jesus, together with the environment and condition, was so touching that all gave way to their feelings, even brawny old Judas wiped away the bitter tears with the sleeve of his soiled garment, for all had learned to love Magdalene, the once haughty maid of the West Shore, who, as Peter now expressed it, would far outshine all the angels when she got to Heaven.

All now began imploring Jesus never to return to the city again, to which he made no reply, but stooping quickly caught Magdalene as she swooned into unconsciousness. Then all stood in breathless suspense, while he began stroking back the heavy locks of the death-like creature as he said in his old familiar way, "Mary," to which she opened her eyes and smiled as though coming back from the fairy land of spirits. Then she looked inquiringly at Jesus, saying, "Were you with me?" Receiving no answer, she murmured, "Surely, I was not alone." Jesus then taking his weary mother in his arms lovingly smoothed her silver hair as he kissed away the falling tears, but he gave no encouragement that he would return to Galilee.

As evening closed in, Martha came over to invite all to dine, and while she was speaking, Nicodemus came[279] hurriedly to report that a gang of ruffians, armed with stones, spears and other weapons, were on their way around to Bethany, expecting to find Jesus at the home of the sisters. He advised that Jesus and his disciples hasten, in the dark, north to Ephraim and the second night turn east and cross the Jordan, where they would be safe from Caiaphas and his persecutors.

This plan pleased the disciples, especially Peter, who remarked that the walking would be fine, even if it did rain. Philip lent encouragement by adding that he had an acquaintance on the road, twelve miles out, who would gladly sup them on fish, eggs, and honey, as long as they wished to stay. Jesus was inclined to return to Jerusalem, but after Mother and Magdalene had conversed with him in an undertone, he arose and followed his disciples into the darkness, none having tasted food since morning.


[280]

AT THE HOME OF MARY AND MARTHA

As the women moved over the hill they were met by one who came to again sound the alarm that the brigands were nearing Bethany, but on learning what had taken place and seeing the feeble condition of Magdalene, he with Martha, made a saddle of their hands and with Magdalene's arms, one around the neck of each, they carried her down the stony path.

Later in the evening Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathaea and other men and women of the faith came in to try to cheer the anxious and divert their minds from impending gloom. The mother, weary and sad, sank down on a pallet of straw. Mary and Martha interested themselves to make all as comfortable as possible, while Magdalene, true to her unrelenting devotion, sat in the midst telling them stories about her early life with Jesus, and how she loved the family to which he belonged, before he entered his mysterious mission, "For," said she, with a forced smile, "you know there are times when a woman cannot sleep, but never a time when she cannot talk."

"This," said she, "is a sort of watch night, for Jesus, my good friend John, and the lesser lights. I somehow believe if we keep awake and think about them it mitigates their weariness, even though they do not understand the source from which relief comes. Do you believe in such a theory as that, Joseph?"

"Really, Magdalene, I do not know whether I do or[281] not, but one thing I do know, we are all glad to hear you talk and receive your opinions, besides I have had much undisputed evidence that there is some sort of communication between minds, or souls of near affinity, and my experience teaches me that this is sometimes kept up after death. Now please go on and tell us some more things which we have never heard about yourself, when a child."


[282]

A NAUGHTY MAID

"Well," she began, "as I have told you before, Jesus always manifested an interest in me, by mentioning my virtues and indulging me in so many ways. However, naughty as I was, he was still my friend and called me Mary. Many a time, when I was a little tot, I have cried myself to sleep with both arms around his neck.

"How well I remember one evening when I had become so big that he could not fondle me any more, how he stood between me and prison, and how severely he admonished me when it was all over. It was while I was living in Nazareth that one dark night I headed a group of dare-devil maids to steal grapes from the garden of old Benjamin, the potter. Well, we got caught, and when I found that, not only myself, but I had gotten all the others into a scrape, I run over to Ruth with my troubles, as I always did, and she got Jesus to go right down and see old Ben and then she listened behind the screen and heard Jesus say something like this: 'Terror to the neighborhood, Benjamin; why, you talk like a wooden man. Magdalene is not yet in her teens, and you ought not to call it stealing for maids of that age to help themselves to a little fruit when they are hungry.' In that way he hammered at the crusty old miser until he gave in. Then, after Ruth had told me all about it, Jesus got us girls together and oh, the picture he did paint about thieves, which set us all to crying but me,[283] and when I laughed he said something about there being oceans of room for improvement in me yet.

"Then, after the girls had gone home, wondering at their lucky escape, he and Ruth took me home, and while we stood in the moonlight by our old gate, Ruth told him all, how she had overheard him convincing old Ben that it was nothing, and had told me all about it, which made me laugh when he made it out so awful to us.

"Before leaving me, he, taking my hand in his, with his other arm around Ruth, talked to us about being true, and showed us that the course he had taken in my behalf was just the course God was taking with all those he loved and that God's power was so great that one was always safe in his keeping, not only in this life, but even in death, one would come out victorious, if they trusted in him.

"Of course, I cried half the night and resolved never to steal another grape, but in a few days I left Nazareth and soon became the ever irritable night-mare of the over-solemn saints around Capernaum, and then it was that Peter gave me the nickname of 'Tornado Mag of Galilee.'"

Here Magdalene paused and listened with that vacant gaze which betokened that while her body was in Bethany her soul had joined the wanderers in the dark. "I love Jesus," she murmured, "but, oh, my soul is tossing about like an empty shell on an ocean wave. Oh, that I could see more clearly through the misty veil of horror which hangs like a pall over the once beautiful city of Zion. I love Jesus, as the son of man, but I love him more as the Son of God. My womanly weakness yearns for him to return to our home in Galilee, while my inmost soul[284] joins the song of the distant angels' choir. Oh, God, Thy will be done." Then stern old Joseph lowered her head to a pillow in the shadows of the mountain, while the heavenly host beamed down in silence on the swooning form of the heroic maid of Galilee.


[285]

LAZARUS RESTORED

The following morning the party returned to the home of the Galileans, leaving Lazarus very sick.

A few days later news was received from Jericho that Jesus and his disciples were on the way to Jerusalem. Then when Martha went out to meet Jesus the mysterious dialogue took place concerning the death of Lazarus which caused great commotion, for all thought Lazarus dead, even though Jesus had said, "This sickness is not unto death—Lazarus sleepeth."

Now many believed on Jesus, causing the high priest and Pharisees to say: "If we let him alone all will believe in him." Then they took counsel to put him to death, and sent officers to Bethany to bring Jesus to Jerusalem.

In the meantime the Galileans arrived in Bethany and Jesus, after kissing his mother, took Magdalene by the hand, but neither spoke.

As the tumult arose and the mob outside began to howl, Magdalene became hysterical, but when Jesus, still holding her almost transparent hand, gave it a shake, as he said, "Mary," she looked confidingly in his face and smiled.

Martha, now standing with John and Peter, beckoned Magdalene to come to them, when Jesus stepped forward and raised his hand. As he did so a stifled hush invaded the throng while the officers sent by Caiaphas to take[286] him fell backwards, lowering their weapons, each stooping to listen and catch his words.

When his voice broke the dead silence, no relief came, for even unbelievers feared they were in the presence of God.

"I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live again; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die. Believeth thou this?"

After these words Jesus came forward as to give himself up, and no man laid hands on him, but the mob returned to the chief priests, saying, "No man ever spake like this man," which brought his adversaries to a standstill, not knowing what step to take next.


[287]

CONSPIRACY TO MURDER JESUS

The next day Jesus and his followers again entered the temple, and after the noon hour retired across the brook up in to the renowned Olive Orchard, which overlooks Jerusalem. Among the throng which followed them was Caiaphas, who the previous day had convened the chief rulers into his palace, when he advocated decoying Jesus from his friends and murdering him, which was opposed by the more conservative, who said it would cause an uproar among the people.

Again in the evening Caiaphas assembled his co-conspirators and, after setting forth what Jesus had said on the mountain and how the people were all turning to him, said, "Some means must be devised to destroy this man, as I fear if the case comes before Pilate he will require more evidence than is at hand, before he will consent to his death."

Nicodemus, still a member of good standing among them, arose and asked, "Does our law judge any man before it hear him and know what he doeth?" which created so strong an opposition that it broke up the council and Caiaphas ordered each man to his own home.

Caiaphas, nervous and weary from the perplexity of the day, reclines on an elaborate divan in an alcove off from his spacious court, where the Sanhedrim of seventy elders were wont to convene and discuss important matters. As he sips wine to drown his troubles, trouble seems to arise, when he is startled from his phlegmatic[288] vision by an intruder in the form of a huge lizzard, creeping over a cactus urn. Then the great high priest murmured, "I wonder if there is a God, as that which I daily proclaim; if I knew there were not it might eliminate this fear of the devil."

As he thus soliloquized at the dead of night, a trusted servant intrudes upon his forced quietude, by announcing that the gatekeeper informs him that one of the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth is at the gate, craving audience with the high priest personally.

Caiaphas, frowning, orders the servant to bring his message, "but first," says he, "send two officers of the court to detain him."

Servant returns: "He must commune with the high priest personally."

Caiaphas hesitates, then to the servant growls: "Summon my guard." To the guard he says, "Search him that he bears no arms and bring him to my inner court chamber."

The arch conspirators now meet. Caiaphas thin and pale, with his three score years and ten all past, while the broad burly frame of Judas Iscariot indicated not more than forty years.

"Art thou a Galilean?"

"I am not."

"Are not the disciples of Jesus Galileans?"

"All but me. I am an Edomite."

"What? Edom at the south?"

"Yes."

"Did you join the Galilean band as a spy?"

"No."

"Then why comest thou hither?"

[289]

"It hath been rumored that you would have Jesus delivered and that none volunteer."

"Can you deliver him?"

"I can."

"Alive or dead?"

"Dead? Why dead?"

"Alive then. How can it be done?"

"One hundred pieces of silver, one hundred brigands and ten officers from your court, but it must be done in the dark."

"You are shrewd. Retire and await my summons."

Caiaphas immediately summons his kin to the Sanhedrim; wealthy priests, scribes and Pharisees, among them, tottering under the weight of years, came Annas, his father-in-law, who inquired, "Sanhedrim at dead of night?"

"Exactly so, august father," and bowing low, the conspirator whispered, "this is an important, private affair to which Joseph, Nicodemus and like traitors must not be admitted. See?"

Stealthily, one by one, the rulers arrive and while the watchmen on the tower and outside the gates of Jerusalem cry, "All is well," the most loathsome, dogmatic group known in the annals of history draw near in the dim light of a lantern to listen to Caiaphas, who, after glancing nervously about, said:

"The Lord, God of Israel, who gave to the seed of Abraham, Canaan for their inheritance, also, through one Moses, gave them laws with priests and Scribes to execute over the unsanctified. The mouth of our high priest is the chosen oracle through which God speaks to his chosen people. Through slavery in Egypt, insurrection among the ten tribes and captivity in Babylon, we have[290] suffered under the promise of God that through the prophet he would send a redeemer that should bring the world to our feet for mercy. As you know, some three years since, one Jesus of Nazareth began preaching and assuming himself to be that redeemer. At first we gave him credence that he would restore Israel from the Roman yoke, but soon discovered that he criticised the priests as well as the heathens, claiming for himself direct communication with our God. His fame went abroad and the world assembled in Galilee to hear him. Now he comes to Zion, in the city of David, and what will we do? for this man doeth miracles! If we let him alone the Romans will come and take away our place and nation."

"The assassin's blade often executes the will of God," ejaculated the venerable Annas.

"True! True!" continued Caiaphas in an undertone, as the conspirators drew themselves nearer. "But should it be known, priesthood would suffer the condemnation of the world, for all the common people, both Jews and Gentiles, believe him to be the Christ, an error which we must correct at once or our power will wane. I have a scheme which if carefully executed will exclude us, God's chosen, from all blame.

"You know Pilate refuses to interfere with our dogmatic religious troubles, but if we clamor before him he will favor the voice of the people. For several days I have been unable to detain the intruder, either with officer or mob violence, but at last I have, through patience and perseverance, sought out an agent, even Judas Iscariot, his most confidential disciple, who is now in waiting at the gate, to lead a band of our most vicious brigands to bring him before me, when through previously instructed[291] witnesses I will condemn him and turn him over to Pilate. Now listen,—my scheme is that the same assassins, led by Judas Iscariot, will crowd every available space of standing room in Pilate's court, and clamor for his conviction. These assassins Pilate will suppose to be the common people and of course will yield to their demand and permit his execution, while we, his countrymen, will shed a tear that the Romans have crucified a Jew."

"Our captains tomorrow will summon the squad of ruffians, who will exact one piece of silver each, except Judas, who is wrangling for 100 pieces, but will accept much less."

"The plan I would suggest is that tomorrow evening our gate-keepers be instructed to retain the squad inside the city walls until our common people are asleep, then when the Galileans are crossing the Cedron, fall upon them and bring him in for examination, and I, after a mock trial, will turn him over to Pilate."


[292]

THE MOB FALL UPON JESUS

The following evening Joseph and Nicodemus, together with the Galileans and Bethany friends, having become anxious that Jesus and his disciples remained so late in the city, began a search. Finding all the gates closed for the night, they stopped before the gate beautiful and clamoured for admittance, but received no response.

Nicodemus, realizing the move as unusual, becomes alarmed and communed in low tones with the group thus: "I fear Caiaphas has assembled his family at the Sanhedrim and condemned Jesus and his disciples and put them all to death, for, the second time he assembled us, concerning Jesus, he advocated such a course. Let us now go to the Damascus gate on the north and if we are not admitted I know a watchman who has the key to the quarry dungeon, from which I can gain entrance through a secret chamber to the abandoned court of Bell, near to the home of Annas."

"What quarry dungeon?" inquired Magdalene, as she faced him, opening wide her large eyes in wonder.

"There is such a place," he replied. "Jerusalem is honeycombed by high, dark, shapeless vaults, from which Solomon quarried his foundation. It is beneath the city and the public have not been permitted to enter there for many years."

During these moments, Jesus and his disciples had passed out of the South Gate and were now in the[293] Garden of Gethsemane. The Galileans, at the Damascus gate, did not know this until Lazarus came running to say that Jesus was in the garden below. Just at this instant they heard loud voices inside and while they listened the gate swung open and a mob of nearly one hundred men, armed with rusty swords, clubs and rocks, led by Judas Iscariot, came rushing out.

Immediately Magdalene sprang into the way before them and cried, "Oh, Judas, traitor—traitor,—stand—turn back," at which they all stopped, Judas trembling and casting his eyes on the ground. "Now," she cried, "that Rome has disdained to interfere, you—you traitor, with a band of hired bloodthirsty assassins"——

At this moment one from the rear threw a heavy bludgeon, striking her full in the face and as she fell the band surged forward, stumbling over her form, but she did not faint, and rising quickly tried to follow, but was restrained by those around her, who began wiping the blood from her face.

Thinking their object was to assassinate Jesus, the Galileans ran into the garden, where they found Jesus endeavoring to arouse his sleepy disciples, who became frightened when they saw the assassins and fell back, all except poor old Peter, who bristled for the affray.

As Peter rushed forward a servant of Caiaphas dealt him a heavy blow with his dull sword, which Peter returned, nearly severing his ear, but at the command of Jesus, all the assassins fell back except Judas, who attempted to kiss him. Jesus staid him, saying, "Judas, betrayest thou the son of man with a kiss?" Then to the mob he continued, "When I was daily in the temple you stretched forth no hand against me, but this is your hour, in the cover of darkness."

[294]

The assassins then bound the hands of Jesus in front and pinioned his elbows at the back in such a way as to cause great pain, after which two stalwart ruffians seized him by either arm and hastened him forward, amid the jeers and yells of the entire band, except Judas, who, witnessing the cruelty and pitiful state of Magdalene, turned away and wept convulsively, and then with Peter followed the assassins to Annas. Judas entered the hall, but Peter, when accused of being a disciple of Jesus, denied it and disappeared into the darkness.


[295]

MAGDALENE BEFORE CAIAPHAS

While Jesus, still bound, was held in the dim hall of the court of Annas, the priests, elders and captains of the mob, blindfolded him, then spit upon and beat him, which so grieved Magdalene that Judas persuaded Nicodemus to take Magdalene before Caiaphas, where the Sanhedrim was stealthily convening.

Kneeling before the astounded assembly, Magdalene craved an audience, which was reluctantly granted by Caiaphas, saying as he did so, that his act was through courtesy for Nicodemus.

Nicodemus now retired to his accustomed seat in the Sanhedrim, leaving Magdalene, deathly pale, standing alone, when she cautiously meandered forward. Then, as though inspired, quickly tossing her head erect, said in a firm tone:

"Learned men of Judea, angry are the elements and fierce the gale, now hovering over old Jerusalem, but dark as the night and wild as the storm, it is sunshine and peace compared with the gloom and terror now raging in my poor soul. I stand before your august body making my last plea for suffering innocence. Not only for the guiltless Jesus, but for fair Canaan's sons and daughters, who are this night slumbering, all unconscious of the fact that in the City of David, blind bigotry has marshalled its unscrupulous forces against the welfare of humanity, all unconscious, that in secret session, surrounded by fanatical apirants, this Sanhedrim has convened[296] to consider an act which, if accomplished, will defame for ages the name of our people, the Jews.

"Judas Iscariot now confesses to me that he bargained with the priests and elders for silver to pilot their hirelings to the arrest of Jesus, in the dark, and bring him before Annas, which he did. Now he has repented, returned the silver and is about to destroy himself.

"Why all this haste, what has Jesus said, what has he done, that he should be apprehended in the night and destroyed before the people can gather?"

"Has he not criticized the law of God, through Moses?" inquired Caiaphas.

"Never! Never!" she said, as she faced the high priest. "He has eulogized Abraham, Moses and the prophets, but the law, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,' what is it?

"Abraham, face to face with the angels, Moses at the burning bush, the pillar of fire, the quails and the manna were all involved in mystery, but the law, the law, 'Ye shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people, ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests,' that was consummated in the foothills of Mount Sinai, at the home of Jethro, the priest of Midian, after Moses had virtually been dethroned and doomed to a hermit's cave on Mount Pisgah, there to die alone.

"From the dawn of human observation, deep meditators have faintly observed that which appears to be the hand of providence. The islanders of the South Seas see God in the soft silent moon. The Greek highland philosophers see God in the groups of the heavenly hosts. The friends of Job observe God in the awakening of the dawn, while our people, the Hebrews, picture[297] God in human form. Thus all mankind, each in their own way, bow to the strange unknown, whom Jesus terms a spirit.

"Oh, priests of Israel, oh, fathers of this strange session, listen to my child-like plea. Beautiful, inspiring to the human soul, is nature's sweet repose; beautiful are the noiseless flowers strewn in the dells; beautiful are the silent, heavenly hosts, if wandering or at rest, in starlight's strange unknown, but far more beautiful than nature's wondrous realm is a community of human souls traveling on life's unknown journey, encouraged and advised by a fatherly priest, pastor or shepard, who goes before and warns them not to stray or venture on the wilds. Contrast such a scene of love and sympathy with selfish codes and frivolous laws, of which violation is punishable by death.

"Act, act, men, save him, oh, save him. Will you not aid the birth of universal grace to all mankind? Oh, brave men, come to my aid in this dark earthly night, and when you, so soon, shall awake in eternity's glad morning, Mary Magdalene will be among those to welcome you home.

"Oh, men of Abraham's clan, come to my aid. Come now in this wild storm of fate, bear me in your arms that when your strength, like mine, shall fail, when the sun of life grows dim and the stars of love hie away, that then, oh, then, the angels of light may draw near and guide you safely home. Embrace this opportunity to record your name where angels scan the page.

"Look, men of Judea, look before you leap. Midnight hours like these you may endure, but, oh, the morning; oh, the judgment morning, when this strange dream of[298] life is o'er. I plead not to you for mercy, justice is my plea and justice is the limit of your jurisdiction. My plea for the accused is not alone for him, this awful night will plead for him whom God has sent. But listen, oh, listen, when present scenes have become records of the past, when the names and works of mighty monarchs have grown dim, yes, faded and forgotten, this strange midnight drama will stand out as though written by Job's pen of iron in the Rock of Ages, to plead for him who knows no guile.

"Oh, men of destiny, opportunities still await, but the past has no recall. God will forgive, Jesus will forgive, but you can never forgive yourselves. Hell hath no flame to consume the remorse of a guilty conscience. You may deceive the Jews, you may deceive the Gentiles, but you will not deceive God."

After Magdalene, between two burly soldiers, had been tenderly escorted from the court, silence seemed to reign while the lights burned low, until Nicodemus arose, when Caiaphas cried, "Await your proper time."

Then rising to his full height, he exclaimed, "Is there another Galilean sympathizer among us? If so, with Nicodemus, let him rise." At which all arose except three, Annas being one. Caiaphas, turning pale, cried, "Let each man standing go immediately to his own home."

After the Galilean sympathizers had all passed out, the priests, scribes and elders, who made up the inner life of the high priest, came in, and Jesus was called and questioned, but answered nothing. This angered them and after more abuse they sent him out, when the high priest and his abetters grouped and conversed in[299] low tones. It was then determined to increase the mob and surround the judgment hall of Pilate, and allow no one, not even a counsellor, to gain entrance, save those who would clamor for the crucifixion of Jesus.


[300]

JESUS BEFORE PILATE

Early Pilate entered the judgment hall and with a dark scowl said, "What accusation have you against this man?" and the mob cried, "He is a malefactor, or we would not have brought him here."

"What crime hath he committed?"

"He stirreth up the people, causing insurrection."

"How?"

"He says he is the Christ which was to come."

"Is he?"

"He is a carpenter from Galilee."

"Carpenter from Galilee, so I have heard. Loose the shackles at once; why so cruel."

"He deceiveth the people. He is not the Christ."

"Was Christ to come to the Gentiles?"

"So he preaches, but he blasphemes, saying, 'I came forth from God.'"

"Can a man so arouse the world unless God be with him?"

As Pilate was speaking, he was interrupted by a servant, who announced that Pilate's wife awaited him in the hall.

The old Roman scowled, murmured "unusual," then said, "Admit the fair lady."

"Pilate, oh, Pilate, thou art on the edge of an eternal brink."

"My fair one"——

"Listen, oh, listen," she continued, kneeling at his[301] feet. "When first the morning sun hied past the tower and through the latticed vines, I turned to smile, as a vision caught and held me in a spell. Before me lay a winding vale through which a crystal stream did wend to silver islands, whose golden shores faded away into one glorious star-lit eternity.

"As I gazed, the scene seemed to be changing. First the stars became worlds, then the worlds became kingdoms, then the kingdoms became priests, and lastly the priests became nothing. Then again the stars appeared all singing, 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.'

"Pilate, oh, Pilate, my loving husband, I implore you to stand firm, having nothing to do with the murder of this just person. The angels are now recording not only every word but every thought to carry home, where you and I must soon appear." Then, kissing Pilate's hand, she looked pitifully at Jesus and turned away.

Pilate knit his brow in brown study for a moment and then said to the accusers of Jesus, "I will chastise this man and then let him go," to which the mob from Caiaphas shouted, "Crucify him, he stirreth up the people against Caesar."

Turning back to Jesus, Pilate asked, "From whence art thou?" To which Jesus gave no answer; but when he repeated the question, Jesus said, "To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world."

When the rabble continued clamoring for the death of Jesus, Pilate washed his hands before the accusers, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just person; his blood is on you." Then he turned him over to the Roman guard to be crucified.


[302]

THE CRUCIFIXION

When the soldiers arrived at Calvary with Jesus, thousands had gathered on the hill, hoping, still, to witness some further miracle. Following Jesus, on the way, were his friends, weeping bitterly, which wailing was taken up by the throng on the hill. Near the brow, his strength failed and he fell on his hands and knees, when one of the executioners struck him a heavy blow, but he could not rise until the cross was removed. When able to stand, he turned to the crowd and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children." Then he sank to the ground and was seized by the executioners, carried and thrown heavily upon the cross, and held while his garments were removed and his hands and feet nailed.

Martha groaned and cried, "Oh, the cruel Romans," to which Magdalene voiced in, "Why blame the Romans? These are Pilate's executioners doing their duty; they must be wicked or they would faint. Why blame the brigands who haled him to Pilate; their hearts are hardened, their conscience is seared. These fiends are but the tools in the hands of Caiaphas. The doom of the assassin awaits them, the doom of a coward awaits Pilate, but the doom of a murderer awaits the High Priest of Jerusalem. I go, call me not," as with a startled look, the insane creature smiled and ran away.

Kneeling beside the rippling stream she closed her eyes in silent prayer, and then as though awakening from a[303] dream she continued, "But why this darkness in my soul, it cannot be he dies, it cannot be that he comes no more." Then shuddering cold she murmurs, "True, true, he dies and death ends all,—yes, all." Wildly springing across the stream she turns quickly, again gazes on Calvary and smiles a demon's smile, murmuring, "Yes, Jesus is dead, I am dead. Death ends all."

As darkness spreads its mantle over the face of nature, a deep gloom invaded the hearts of the people in and around the once beautiful City of Zion. Those who had been instrumental in sending Jesus to the cross, feared that the end had not yet come, while those who had listened to his teachings feared that the end had come. His disciples and immediate friends had no leader, they were entirely at sea and everything indicated that all was a failure and that they must disband and return home.

The next day, the Sabbath, was quietly spent by the Galileans, discussing how they might take the body of Jesus to Nazareth. Magdalene all the while contended against every proposition introduced, she did not want to have the body removed, she did not want to go home, neither did she eat or drink, was on her feet all day, often visiting the tomb and kneeling before it.


[304]

ALONE ON OLIVET

The storm is past—the scene ended. As stranded wrecks along the shore, evidence of the awful night on the tempest tossed sea, so the Galileans, with broken hearts, lie restless near old Zion's walls, while the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth becomes simply a page of record in the history of our strange world.

Magdalene lingers in the twilight at Joseph's tomb until the mother of Jesus brings her away, and pleadingly tries to convince her that it may be a part of God's wise plan to awaken the world and lead wanderers home.

At last she seemingly becomes quiet, and as the mother smooths her silken hair she feigns rest, in sleep, but when all is still she silently steals away in the shadows to the Mount of Olives. At the top she hesitates, shudders, scowls and then laughs hysterically, as she draws her sleeping frock closer around her unprotected form.

Standing alone, her scant attire fluttering in the cold north breeze, she suddenly awakens; with outstretched arms breaths softly, "Yes, I'll come," then, bowing low, whispers, "I thought I heard him call," then, strangely wild, proclaims, "No—no—I am not mad, I know he is dead, he'll call me Mary nevermore."

Turning back, she shrugged her shoulders, seeming herself again, and while gazing over the Jordan to the far away Moabite hills she murmurs, "Somewhere in those vine-clad hills the childhood home of pretty Ruth once[305] lay, and here so near, on Bethlehem's plain, she gleaned and gleaned until she won his heart; but now she is dead, they are all dead. They come again no more.

"Oh, my soul, hast thou no home? Oh, evening star, beautiful heavenly light, wilt thou find rest in the ocean waves, and Magdalene find none, oh spangled heavens and God? Could I this night lay down to sleep in the swelling bosom of the Mediterranean Sea never to awake, never to remember more. Oh, that I could sleep forever in a starless night that knows no morning."

One long, weird, wicked glance she casts at old Jerusalem and then murmurs, "Was it but yester' night that I, before that monster, stood and pleaded and pleaded in vain. Oh, see yon cross on Cavalry's brow. I go—I go, my heart is cold; I die for him. He loves me still—no—no—he loves me not, he is dead, he will love me never more. Oh, soulless maid from Galilee, did you once think that men had souls? Where is my dream of spirit homes, where tranquil souls are joined in love, far away in Heaven's domain? I am not mad; I know he is dead; there is no God; there is no home where spirits dwell."

Wandering down the steep, she waits a moment beneath the tree where she had knelt and prayed that Jesus go with her to Galilee. Lingering a moment in this sacred retreat, she sighs, with her hand on her heart, and cries, "Oh, for just one tear to melt the frosty gloom on this cold fount of life," but tears came not.

Leaping the stream, she ran hysterically up the rocky incline, then pausing a moment at the gate beautiful she turned towards Calvary.

At the Damascus gate she was startled by the watchman's cry from the tower, "All is well."

"All is well—all is well," she repeated sarcastically.[306] Through this gate, at dead of night, dark demons came, and through this gate, in noonday light, he bore the cross, the cross of shame; and now is this, the great high priest that sings, "All—all is well"—footsteps near frightened her, and, shrieking wildly, she whirled and fell in dear old Peter's arms, who, with John, took her back to those who loved her.

THE RESURRECTION

Feigning rest, she listened until heavy breathing assured her that all were sleeping, when softly she stole away into the silent night, and while it was yet dark glided through Gethsemane to Calvary. While kneeling at the tomb a strange influence aroused her, and, turning, she saw Jesus.

First she started back, then springing wildly forward, cried, "Jesus, oh, Jesus," as she extended both hands, strangely to awake and find that the vision had passed. The mother of Jesus and the other Mary arrived in time to hear Magdalene's voice and see her faint and fall, but they saw no man.

When Magdalene realized what had taken place she began weeping, and crying, "Glory to God." Then, as though recalling sad scenes, she cried, "Oh, God, forgive that miserable old high priest, Caiaphas—Oh, God, forgive all their murderous acts, for it was a blessing in disguise."

She could not walk or stand upon her feet. Soon she swooned, and was carried back as one dead to the brow of Olive's mountain.


[307]

MAGDALENE HERSELF AGAIN

When restored to consciousness she looked wonderingly about her, and then smiling in her bright, girlish way, said to John, "When, where and how did I die?"

When told she had not died she inquired: "Was I alive when Jesus came to me?" and being told she was, she continued, "He says tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee, and that I must see Ruth before I come to him; and tell her all about this—is she here? Oh no; what a goose I am; she is at home, way up in Galilee—way up in Galilee," she repeated, and then, kissing the hand of the mother, she smilingly said, "Oh, Aunty, do you think little birds will sing next summer, when I am gone, as they did when Ruth and I were little girls, we never thinking that we must some day part?" Then for a moment a bewildered look seemed to control her, when, brightly smiling again through her tears, she said: "Oh, how silly I am; soon we will live together again; what is this brief span of life, compared to an endless eternity? Tell me, Aunt Mary, did you see Jesus?"

"No, Magdalene, I did not."

"Why, he looked and spake just exactly as when he chided me ten years ago."

"Oh, dear me, just look at old Peter and the other men back there, weeping enough to break their necks because they think I am dying. Say, Peter, come here and tell me what you are weeping for."

"Because you look so heavenly."

[308]

"Did you think I looked heavenly when you used to peddle fish?"

"Yes, Magdalene, you looked sweet then, but you was so confounded mean."

She hesitated, and then said, "Why, Peter?"

"Well, Magdalene, you led me right into it, just as you do everyone you talk with."

Magdalene looked on poor Peter, who seemed to wilt and fade under the smiling searchlight of the now happy Jewess.

"John," she said quite firmly, "please relieve Aunt Mary by holding me in your arms while I talk."

When he had taken her she looked in his face and laughingly said, "Queer, isn't it, John? Once you wanted to love me and I would not let you, now I want you to love me and you will not."

John choked and sobbed and finally said, "I do love you, Magdalene; we all love you; the angels love you, and that is why they are waiting to take you home."

A sweet smile lingered on the swooning beauty's face while John gently passed his hand over her auburn waves, which seemed to awake her again, and she said, "Peter, where do you think Jesus is now?"

"I do not know, Magdalene, I am all at sea."

"Peter, he may be right here now and knowing all that we are thinking."

Peter dropped his jaw. Joseph craned his long neck, while Nicodemus, the disciples and bystanders all leaned forward, to catch, if possible, from the angel face the last gleam which might swing the gates of death ajar.

"I know," she continued, "for I have been talking with him."

At this they all drew near, when she said, "His death[309] upon the cross was natural, simply the separation of himself from his body."

"Has he gone up to heaven, from whence he came?" inquired Joseph.

"Why, Joseph, you are worse than Peter; do you think heaven is up above the moon?"

"Magdalene, you know what Jesus said when alive—"

"When alive, Joseph; he is alive now and possibly hears every word you say."

"Be that as it may, Magdalene; he has said from the beginning, 'I came down from heaven.'"

Magdalene scowled, and with a painful effort bit her lip as she tried to form a convincing sentence, and then began: "Down in a well and up on a hill are material positions, while down in hell and up in heaven are spiritual conditions."

"Think of Jesus as living in a purely spiritual condition and volunteering to take on humanity and live with us as animals. In that he came down from on high to that low, hellish animal, condition of last Friday. And, Joseph, when you thought you were laying Jesus in your tomb, he was not necessarily there. I know that I was face to face with Jesus, and there are no scars on his hands or thorns in his brow."

Nicodemus, kneeling beside her, said: "I know you're weary, but can you answer this—If Jesus was not in his body when he spoke your name, how did you hear his voice?"

Her ready reply was: "You are not an apt scholar. Do you remember when you came to Jesus by night, in Bethany, and he explained how one could be born again? And now you're asking me if a body can talk. I do not know how to answer you; I know not the secret[310] of animal existence, and much less that of spiritual life; but this much I do know, that sound and sight both create impressions. One is silent, the other is not, yet they are equally distinct. Will power, thought, joy, sorrow, truth are all noiseless, yet real, so why not suppose all spiritual life be the same. At the tomb he impressed me that I must see the disciples and see Ruth before I came home to him. I cannot explain how it was, but I am sure that Jesus was not in the body, and I do not know as I was."

As she closed her eyes the grizzly counsellor bowed and kissed the tips of her cold fingers, then one by one the listeners drew nearer in silence, but she awoke again.


[311]

RUTH COMES TO MEET MAGDALENE

When Joseph learned that Magdalene wished to see Ruth he started a courier on a fleet beast, with orders to take four relays and make sure to reach Nazareth before sunset.

When they arrived at Nazareth they found all in commotion, for the report had come that Jesus had raised from the dead; that Mary Magdalene was dying and had called for Ruth to come to Jerusalem.

Jerome, the tanner, made ready his fleet mule for Ruth, while the men mounted brisk horses, and soon Ruth, Jude and the guide hastened down the narrow streets into the open plain and were off on their lone journey.

As the moon came up from the Sea of Galilee three lone riders silently sped over the Esdraelon plain, with the fleet little mule on which Ruth was riding in the lead. Near the renowned city of Nain the guide took the lead, speeding past Endor, through Shunan and over the Jezreel plain, while not one word was spoken to break the sad silence of poor Ruth, whose ashy, tearless face betokened consciousness of approaching gloom.

Changing horses at Dothan, they continued on through Samaria, past Jacob's well, and near sunset turned into the gorge called Eden's vale, where they saw in the distance a group kneeling in the shadows beneath a clump of olive trees.


[312]

JOSEPH'S LAST INTERVIEW

After Joseph had started the courier to Nazareth he provided a litter with four stalwart men and four relays to carry Magdalene, if possible, to meet Ruth. He also sent several camels for Mary the mother of Jesus, and the other women, with an animal each for Nicodemus and John, and four beasts of burden with attending servants, while the disciples, on foot, followed the train.

Magdalene, although unable to retain food or stimulants, could talk with apparent ease, and when informed that Joseph dispatched a courier for Ruth to come and meet her she said to Joseph, with a roguish twinkle in her eye, "If you were not so awfully old and I was not so very near the Golden Gate your proposal would certainly receive deep consideration," to which Joseph continued the joke by saying, "But I have one wife, you know."

"Oh, yes, Joseph, I know your faithful wife; and does she scold you as much as you deserve? I hope she does, for men are so stupid they need correcting very often. And Joe, are you kind to Hulda, the mother of your children, and the sweetest dame in Arimathaea, the one who walked by your side all these years and allowed no one to speak despairingly of you? You would not allow yourself to love another, were she ever so young and pretty, would you?"

"Oh, no—no, Magdalene; but tell me, before we part, how you can be so cheerful, even blithe, in the face of death?"

[313]

"Joseph, you, a counsellor, a man of experience, a ruler among the Jews, ask me to explain that which the children, the song birds of the morning and the wild gazelle of the plains act out at every turn. They live in the present, while we live in the past, present and apparent future. If you knew the future you would not be content to stay. God, in his wisdom, has drawn the veil of uncertainty between his loved people and their higher life, but now he has withdrawn that veil from me. Yesterday, when I supposed Jesus was dead, I feared, I wondered, I shrank; today I am glad, my soul is filled with glory and I am impatiently waiting the call; now, do you understand?"

"Because you know that Jesus lives?"

"Yes, Joseph. All through life I knew Jesus as he appeared; now I know him as he is; yesterday the dark unknown; today beautiful, beautiful life."

"One more question, Magdalene, before we part; Jesus has gone home and you are determined to follow; now will his disciples be able to take up the work where the master has laid it down?"

"Oh, I do not know; as yet, you see, they are such a set of cowards. Here is my John, whose affection controls his will power; then there is Peter, whose cranium is like a cocoanut shell, so thick that nothing can get in and what he knows cannot get out; still, Peter is brave, he will win at last, he will surely die at his post if necessary. Poor Judas Iscariot, already in hell before he died. Thomas has not so much faith as a grain of mustard seed; Philip, like many, is so weak in the upper story that he actually thinks he understands the whole plan of salvation. The others, with one exception, are not striking characters, and yet they would, every one, fight to the[314] end for the cause of Jesus if they understood him as I do. Oh, that Jesus would manifest himself to them as he has to me.

"I do not know what will come next; I simply know that this tragedy is the beginning, and not the end. God cannot be baffled; Jesus has sown the seed of individual purity, which will spring up somewhere at some time. If the Jews discover their error and accept him as the Christ, they will become the spiritual leaders of the world, but if they reject him the world will reject them and the terrific blow will scatter them far and wide. But they will turn back; it may be thousands of years, but they will turn back. Abraham will not forget his children; Moses yet lives and he will lead them home. The Gentiles will cease to persecute and all will be lambs of one fold. Good-bye, Joseph, you've done all you could and we will meet again tomorrow, just tomorrow, Joseph; we will all arrive home."


[315]

MAGDALENE'S LAST NIGHT WITH JOHN

Gentle hands carried Magdalene's wasted form over the Judean hills, camping for the night near Bethel. She, being troubled for breath, chose to rest on a litter beneath a wide, spreading olive tree rather than accept the hospitality of the large tent Joseph had sent for them.

After the usual nursing, and she had been bolstered up with huge cushions, she was able to talk, and again became buoyant.

Nicodemus, Mary and John each volunteered to sit by her side, but she chose John, saying: "Aunt Mary, you must rest or we shall be compelled to procure an ambulance for you; and you, Nicodemus, look as pale as a ghost; you go and get a little rest also, for tomorrow will be an eventful day. As for you, John, I want you to prop yourself up and hold my hands all night, then I will think we are children again."

After an hour's rest she opened wide her large, hazel eyes and laughingly said, "Tell me, John, exactly what you were thinking about."

John hesitated.

"Spit it out, John; if it's funny all the better, for all the sadness about this scene is that you must stay to fight the world after I have gone home."

"Well, Lena, I was thinking about the first time we met."

"Yes, John, so was I, we were twelve years old; I know exactly what you want to tell; it's about my refusal before your proposal; now go ahead."

[316]

"You remember," began John seriously, "that we first met at the yearly fish-fry which was always on the south shore of Galilee. Oh, Magdalene, you tell it; I cannot."

"Go right on," she said, her eyes sparkling with delight.

"Well, your aunt and my mother were great friends, you know, and that was what brought us young ones together while eating our fish. I can see you just as you was then; you had on a new wine-colored gown, silk stockings, tiny sandals and your hair was loose over your shoulders. You remember, mother fixed me up smart; being tall, I really looked more than I was, so we made it up to sly away from the common young hopefuls and go strolling down the river, where, after while, we sat down on the bank to watch the little fish who live in shore, and you began—"

"No, you began—"

"No, you began, Lena."

"Well, have it your way, John; go on."

"You, Lena, began to talk about—you see, I did not know you then as I do now."

"Go right on, John, or I shall have a kaniption."

"Yes, you began to talk about people getting married young, very young, and sometimes, when there were objections, people ran away together. Then we told our ages, and it turned out that you were one day older than I, when you sprang to your feet and said: 'There, John, the jig is up, for I positively will not marry a man younger than myself!'"

"And you began to cry."

"No, Lena, I did not."

"What did you do?"

[317]

"Oh, not much."

"Much; you dared me to—"

"No, you dared me."

"No, you dared me, John."

"Now, Lena, you dared me to kiss you and I did."

"Then I suppose you went right home and told your mother."

"Told mother; I should say not. You made me promise never to tell. Why, Lena, are you in pain?"

"Only my heart, John—Oh, if Ruth was here."

The frail creature half closed her eyes, her lips parted, and John thought she was going, but when he called Nicodemus she opened them again and smiled and told Nicodemus to go to his rest.

After a few moments she seemed to come back again and said, "Oh, John, is Heaven really so near?" Then she seemed to become a child again, and said, "Tell me something inspiring; it rests me. Do not weep, John; you promised to be brave; now go on and tell me about Pipe and his dog. Tell it just as though you were telling it to someone else and I was not listening."

John hesitated, wiped away the tears, kissed her cold cheek and when she insisted, began, "Mary Magdalene came over from Nazareth when she was twelve years old, and by the time she was fifteen she had become the most notorious maid that graced the west shore of Galilee. She had staunch friends, who would go through fire and water to protect her—"

"And you were one?"

"Certainly I was, for she was pretty, neat, witty and wonderful in a case of emergency. She made some enemies; for while nothing was too good for those she loved, so there was no letup on her dislikes."

[318]

"Why did so many hate her, John?"

"Oh, she was well dressed and attractive, which was more than her female companions could stand; and then, while she was upright and generous, she was reserved and often imprudent, to that extent that when irritated she bridled not her tongue."

"Not even for you?"

"Oh, I was an exception."

"So you were, John; go on."

"Old Pipe the potter had, besides a large family of children, a white pet dog, and for a joke this maid from Nazareth formed a compact with one John, the brother of James—"

"Where is that John now?"

"Keep quiet, Lena, or you will get me to weeping again and spoil the story. She and John caught the dog and hid him in the cellar of John's home, and a day or so after Magdalene started a rumor that she had seen something white floating in the lake, south of Tiberias, which looked like that dog. Old Pipe at once accused her of stealing and drowning his dog, but after an all day, fruitless search, she and John loosed the dog and sent him home. Somehow the joke got out, and old Pipe rent his garments and swore vengeance on the Sidehill Whirlwind. On the street, one day, he began to upbraid her, when she turned upon him with something she had heard her Aunt Susie tell about his family affairs which closed him up like a clam—had you not better rest again, Lena?"

"No, John, go on; I'm in no pain, only those spells of suffocation. I want you to tell this so you will remember I love you when I am gone."

Nicodemus now appeared with his cup, which revived her, and John continued, "When our Fall Gaily[319] Day came on all the country around flocked to the Lake to see the fun; Jesus, James and Ruth came over from Nazareth."

"Yes, I remember; they stayed with Aunty and me, and Ruth stayed a week or more."

"Well, there were all kinds of sports and games, foot and horse racing, singing, dancing, etc., and then such a dinner as we had.

"Everybody wanted to see Magdalene run, and the best that could be done was to match the Sidehill Whirlwind with one of the Mur girls, a fleety family who lived on the hills in Safed. The Whirlwind gave the Mur girl twenty paces the start in a two hundred pace race, but she told her aunt and John's mother she feared Miss Mur had too great an advantage for her to ever overtake her.

"When the race was called and the word given, John remembers just how Lena looked, with her head thrown back, coming down the line just like a shooting star, when old Zerna, the fig peddler, attempted to cross the way and Magdalene's knee collided with the side of her head. The old woman spun around and around like a top as Magdalene fell on her hands and knees, but recovered in time to win."

"Did she win fair?"

"Oh, I guess it was about a draw, for the timekeeper told John's father the next day that he rather favored the Whirlwind because the old fig woman got in her way.

"When the boat race was coming off the men gathered south along the shore to get a better view of the maneuvers, while the women and children stood on the landings at Capernaum. John, Mary Magdalene and[320] several other young folks had climbed to the roof of a house when they heard the cry that old Pipe's child had fallen into the water and was drowning. A cry went up for a fisherman to save the child, but all the men were down toward Tiberias.

"When our group from the housetop arrived we could see the little boy's white garments at the bottom, under two fathoms of water. Instantly, Mary Magdalene plunged down head foremost and brought the little one up in her arms, and as no one could reach it she somehow held it out of the water and swam to the little sand beach just south of Capernaum. Old Pipe arrived on the scene just as she was wading ashore with the child and, falling on his knees, began imploring her to forgive him for all he had injured her, but instead she handed him the struggling child as she indignantly said: 'Take your little brat, it is not to blame for having a contemptible father.'

"After a change to dry clothes the naughty maid hunted up old Pipe and forgave him all, so that was how they became fast friends, and she, of course, became the heroine of the day."

Thus, the last night of her life, Magdalene listened to reminiscences of naughty pranks and sweet affections of childhood's sunny hours.


[321]

LAST GOOD-BYE

At sunrise, after assuring Magdalene that Ruth was on the way from Nazareth, the little group took up their weary journey, moving north until they descended into a deep valley where a clear stream from the hills meanders through the woody dell which was called by the patriarchs, Eden's Vale.

Here Magdalene implored them to stay and bathe her parched lips and fevered brow in the cool waters from the hills of Shiloh. Soon she fell into a doze from whence she, at intervals, would awake and call for John, and inquire if Ruth was near. So the day wore on, her breathing growing more faint. Twice she ceased to breathe, then came back again and smiled.

Lastly she opened wide her eyes, pressed John's hand to her lips, then softly settled back in silence, just as two dusty riders came around the bend, at once recognized as Ruth and Jude.

Ruth swung from her horse and ran to where she could see her; then, thinking she was dead, moved softly forward, and kneeling by her side kissed her lips, at which she came back, opened her eyes and smiled.

"Lena, oh Lena, my dear, what can I do to save your life."

"Ruth, darling Ruth, I have lingered all the day to love you once more and tell you I am not dying. Just going home, where I will love you still, and when the evening shadows fall and you go wandering into the grove think of me as with you. Oh, Ruth, I will come so near[322] that you will feel my presence in your soul. My darling girl, banish every thought of death and bare your bosom to the storms of life until the angel comes to call you home. Oh, sister dear, if you could only know my feelings now, in this strange scene that you call death. The sting of all life's troubles are more than repaid in these passing moments of tranquil bliss, and yet some scenes have been so sad. I pleaded with all my soul before Caiaphas, but his heart was hardened; they went their way. They nailed him to the cross and then the sun grew dim and the world became cold. But while I waited at the tomb a form appeared, and it was Jesus, who told me that your faith was weak and I must comfort you now, as you had me in days gone by."

"Did Jesus speak to you after he was dead?"

"Oh, Ruth, you thoughtless child, banish the idea of death. He is not dead. They killed his body, but the body is just the mask; that is why great souls are unknown on earth. Jesus still lives. I cannot tell if he spoke or not, or how he appeared or disappeared, but the word, 'Mary,' sounded just as he always spoke, and I saw him as distinctly as I see you now. His attitude and movement were such that I supposed he had come to life until he disappeared. The body is not the person, Ruth. It is the form that we wear; it is ever dying, dying while the unseen yet lives. Love me, sweet, dear Ruth, and let me go. John, come; kiss me and say you will never cease to love. Dear ones, you must not weep when I am gone. Think of me as living, as one who can still commune, influence, comfort and help you when mystery darkens all your ways."

Softly the fading flower swooned away, her lips parting and eyes closing; then, strangely, a shadowy[323] movement brightened her face and a little flush came to her cheeks; while John and Ruth, in silence, awaited the death angel.

Three days' journey brought the mourners to the hillside city of Nazareth, where Magdalene had so often shocked the sanctimonious with her naughty pranks.

The tide had turned, harsh criticism had changed to love, as from Nazareth, Endor, Nain and Cana, together with the throng from the west shore, they sadly approached the hillside home of Aunt Susanna, where, near the close of day, in the old garden, they laid to sleep the form of Mary Magdalene.

Here, when the tourist visits the ruins of Capernaum, where Jesus met rebuff, they mention with pride Peter in prison, Paul before Agrippa and John on the Isle of Patmos, while they never mention the heroic maid to whom the Gate Beautiful first swung ajar.


[324]

THE PRICKETT HOME

Goshen, Ind., May 18, 1902.

My dear M. A.: I will now reply to yours, received a few days ago. Yes, I hope our wedding day will be bright and sunny, and that sunshine and affection may be with us as we journey together.

I have never seen a mountain, and if I appear green to your people when we reach Connecticut, you must excuse me.

I am feeling somewhat depressed this evening, for my sister Minerva and I have been over to Solomon's Creek today, visiting our old home on the farm.

The enclosed is a picture of our old home, gotten up of late, but it represents us children as we were years ago when we were all at home.

Now mother and James are gone to their long home; father is married again; the farm is sold, but still it seems like home.

In imagination we were children again; Mahala, Minerva and I. We were romping in the pastures, woods and fields; climbing pear trees, gathering grapes, currants and cherries; and I told Minerva that I could almost hear Jeff and the other boys laughing at us when the naughty buck sheep chased us onto the haystack, our only safe retreat.

The old maple trees, from which we made sugar, are there and many of the other trees, old fences and the like look natural. We talked of how our brothers used to fit us out with hooks and bait to go fishing in the creek, where our anticipation far exceeded our realization; that is, as far as fish were concerned, but really, we did sometimes get a bite.

i394

PRICKETT HOME.
FATHER AND MOTHER, JEFFERSON, JAMES, WILLIAM AND GEORGE, MINERVA, MARY AND MAHALA.

[325]

We talked of how father always brought the minister home to dinner Sunday, and how mother had to fly around waiting on them.

All these old times seem to come back to us in a sort of day dream, as this evening Minerva, Cash and I are in their beautiful home here in Goshen. You and I will soon be in ours in Oak Park. I know we shall enjoy ourselves in the home which you are building for us, which we went out to see.

I wish I might talk with you instead of writing. Shall anxiously await your reply.

Good-night,

Your Mary.


[326]

OURSELVES

We are strange beings; our journey through life is a wonderful career. Through unfolding years of childhood, later literary pursuits and life experience, we hasten forward, aspiring to reach our day-dream fancies.

When about forty we seem to rest, reflect and soliloquize: "Who am I; what am I; where from; where bound; why do I enjoy, and why do I weep? How all these unseen emotions if my feelings are not controlled by an invisible person who knows, thinks and dictates?"

Reason and science teach that we are complex beings, living on the outside of a world which holds us from falling off by a force called gravity.

Our abode, our home world, is so far from other worlds that we have no communication with their inhabitants. In fact, we do not know that other worlds are inhabited by beings standing around on their hind legs like ourselves. We simply know that our world is voyaging among millions of other worlds, which, at certain periods of their life-day, must resemble the condition of our world today, for their elements and movements are similar to ours.

Apparently the entire material universe, of which our bodies form a part, is actuated by an invisible force of push. Everything is moving on, giving place and taking place, cohesion followed by dissolution.

The velocity of this continued material movement is governed by conditions. On one hand the mountains, or earth's age wrinkles, rise so slowly that the changes[327] of thousands of years may be imperceptible, while, on the other, the velocity of the molecular forces astound us, for we are taught that the electrons in our own bodies, and all other material substance, are continually darting around the corners of the atoms at the rapidity of more than one hundred thousand miles per second. This statement seems incredible, except when we consider telegraphy. In that, even if vibration is assumed, something travels over the entire distance; or, something awakes something else, which, in turn, arouses the next over the entire course. This astounding proof encourages us in our faith in infinity and God.

Truly, death does not end the commotion, for, when we bury our dead the molecules begin escaping up through the gravel to gain their freedom, and it may require thousands of years or but a few seconds; in the end all have flown away into the sweet, pure atmosphere, and the form has disappeared.

This strange inquiry does not end with the study of the physical system, for, as stated, we find we are possessed by something invisible, and yet personal, to ourselves. That which loves, approves, decides, reasons, knows right from wrong and wills to do. This self-evident, mysterious thing we may be allowed to designate as self, or soul.


[328]

WILLIAM JAMES, OF HARVARD

For information concerning these mysteries we turn to public instructors of our country and Europe, and find that the higher branches of education are controlled by men who teach that man has no soul, or invisible guide. What we call soul action is nothing more than reflex action from brain compound, aroused by external stimuli.

A sample of these teachings can be found in the works of William James, Professor of Psychology in Harvard University of Cambridge, Mass., from where agnostic youths return home from college to sympathize with father and mother, who are so old-fashioned and ignorant as to actually believe they have a soul to save.

In James' works, of about 1400 pages, issued in 1902, which are considered standard in Europe and the United States, we find, Volume 1, Page 348:

"The soul, however, when carefully scrutinized, guarantees no immortality; therefore I feel perfectly free to discard the word soul from the rest of my books. The reader who finds any comfort in the idea of the soul is, however, perfectly free to continue to believe in it."

Volume 2, Page 572: "My own belief is that the question of free will is insoluble."

Page 576: "We can, therefore, leave the free will question out of our account."

Page 108: "The entire nervous system is nothing but a system of paths between a sensory terminous and a muscular glandular."

Page 179: "Every individual cell has its own consciousness,[329] which no other cell knows anything about."

Page 291: "A man's self is the sum total of all that he can call his, not only his body, but his clothes."

Page 296: "Self, not personality, unity or pure ego."

Page 339: "Each pulse of cognitive consciousness, each thought dies away or is replaced."

Page 401: "Thought itself is a thinker."

Page 554: "Let us try as we will to express this cerebral activity in exclusive mechanical terms. I, for one, find it quite impossible—the soul presents nothing herself; and creates nothing."

Page 656: "The retention of the experience (memory) is nothing more or less than the brain paths which associate the experience with the occasion and the recall."

Volume 2, Page 487: "The only ends that follow immediately upon our willing seem to be the movement of our bodies."

Page 495: "Why any state of consciousness should precede a movement we do not know."

Volume 1, Page 64: "The highest centers do probably contain nothing but arrangements for representing impressions and movements, and other arrangements for coupling the activities of these arrangements, which in turn excite others, until at last a motor discharge occurs."

Page 29: "Can we tell precisely in what the feelings of the central active self consists? When I forsake general principles and grapple with particular it is difficult for me to detect any pure spiritual elements at all."

Page 107: "The currents, once in, must find their way out. In getting out they leave their track. The only thing they can do, in short, is to deepen old paths or make new ones, and the whole plasticity of the brain sums itself[330] up in two words, when we call the brain an organ in which currents passing in from the sense organs make paths which do not easily disappear."

The reader will here observe that James refers to motor discharges and brain paths as though he actually believed, or that there was evidence, that such things existed.

All through his works he quotes freely from agnostic and atheistic authors who have been attacking religion for about three hundred years, from which I will copy samples:

Spinoza: "Extension is invisible thought, thought is invisible extension. Man is not free-willed—God neither thinks nor creates."

John Locke: "Whatever any man may know, or reasonably believe in, or even conceive, is dependent on human experience."

David Hume: "Ideas are but weakened copies of impressions."

Herbert Spencer: "No idea or feeling arises save as the result of some physical force expended in producing it."

The teachings of this school of instructors are peculiar, inasmuch as no such ambiguity concerning reason or will power has heretofore been taught at large or sanctioned by any class of instructors in the history of our world. The attempt to shelter under the wing of the ancient Greeks is plainly a misconstruction, for the wise Greek bowed in wonder before unknown cause.

Pythagoras, 582 B. C., used as the base of his arguments transmigration of the soul. One of his expressions was: "The soul is a harmony chained to the body."

Socrates: "Design proves that existence is God."

[331]

Aristotle: "Thinking or thought is God Theology—Soul always thinking is immortal."

Thus I might quote from deep thinkers from Zoroaster down to our times. If one feels disposed to study the works of those self-styled liberal exponders from Spinoza to James, they will find their arguments running essentially in the same groove, virtually this: Animals, including men, are not possessed by an invisible guide. That something which discerns between right and wrong and dictates to the body whether it should follow the path of desire or virtue, they absolutely ignore. Because they cannot comprehend the mysteries of the soul, they dwell upon and cling to tangible material effects, actually assuming effect without cause. They disallow that the good Samaritan and the Levite had exactly the same exterior stimuli. They are like the woman at Jacob's well, who could comprehend the well and mountain, but could not comprehend the invisible spring. She awoke when told how her secrets were known, but they awake not, as the result of intention.

James makes a feeble attempt to prove that matter thinks when he says: "Every individual cell has its own consciousness, which no other cell knows anything about—associated by brain paths."

What profound reasoning; think of it. Betts tells us that there are three thousand million cells, or neurons, in an adult nervous system; then think of the paths leading from one cell to the other. We learn that light, or electricity, would travel around our world eight times in one second; I wonder, if at the same rate of speed, how long it would take an exterior stimulus to cover the distance over one of his brain paths, from cell to cell.

"Oh," but one says, "Richardson, you do not understand[332] James." Allowed, but if a man of my experience does not understand materialism, how is a youth of twenty years expected to understand it?

Man cannot explain memory, but he knows it is the principle in the ego, or soul. To illustrate: In a crowd I overhear a voice. I say to the talker, "I recognize your voice, but I cannot place you." "Think again," he says. Now, I start back over life's trail, listening to voices, one-two-twenty-forty years, then I say, "your name is Edwin Pease." "Yes," he says, "we were boys together fifty years ago."

Did this familiar voice, the true External Stimulus, awaken something which existed, or did it create something in my brain?

James calls this a motor discharge, which we will admit, but he wavers when he says, "Why any state of consciousness should precede a movement we do not know." Then he adds, "The soul presents nothing herself and creates nothing."

Exterior Stimuli, he assumes, awakens the sinews, which in turn cause the body to act. Do not External Stimuli cause the vegetable to act! Go set your little geranium in the south window and see how soon it turns its pretty face to the sun. These acts may receive their origin in the law of inclination, permitted but not emitted, while every act of a sane animal is an exhibition of intention. Exterior Stimuli are individual causes. Intentional response is of invisible individual origin. Reflex action would be nothing but continued Exterior Stimuli.

The invisible actor is the man; see him out on the wings of the soul in the far away Eternity, weighing the stars, predicting their course, calculating their velocity and testing their elements.

[333]

See our Edison bottling up the lightning's wild vim and causing it, in its attempt to regain liberty, to serve man silently and safely. Would the Stimuli which cause Edison to invent cause any other man of the same experience and education to evolve the same results? Answer yes, and you expose your weakness. Answer no, and you establish the mysterious, invisible thinking soul.

Materialism is an educational attempt to compel the religious world to prove that which they do not profess to comprehend. Knowledge is the accumulation of past earthly experience. Send a weakling through college and he has obtained knowledge, but he is the same simple Simon.

Wisdom is innate; it consists of individual ability to comprehend. It is peculiar to each self, and cannot be obtained through experience or education.

According to James, self is the body, clothes and surroundings. According to Genesis it is the image of God. Is God an animal? Jesus said to the Samaritan woman: "God is spirit." Is Jesus authority? Man's body, wealth and surroundings are not even his, they are simply under his control for a season. Self is that strange quality which designates one person from another. Memory and self are closely connected. It may be that the soul possesses memory of experience in other worlds, which, like all absent memory, awaits recall.

Sleep represents a mysterious condition of the soul. When the veil of consciousness begins to vanish one enters a sphere which is not controlled by reason, but rather by emotion; which, in dreaming, is often very intense and dictates wildly.

The lower animals are possessed of a soul, but if they have a sense of right and wrong it is undeveloped, in fact,[334] the connecting link between man and beast may be consciousness of wrong.

Faith is an easy couch on which to repose; as a bridge it spans dark rivers of uncertainty, but it requires no faith to believe in the soul.

Even Spinoza must have observed that desire, reason and conscience are under the control of a distant power which can brush them all aside and go on its way, but it does not control memory.

Unconsciousness, whether in sleep or in death, ought not to frighten us. If in sleep it does not impair memory, it does not in death, as they are both simply the veil which shuts off our view.

In short, the soul appears through the body as its organ, giving us a view of its wonder through the flashlight of sensibility, one view at a time and no more.

In some mysterious, incomprehensible way the past travels with the present. Memory, anticipation and dreams are often far more real than when face to face with animal activity.

We cannot comprehend first cause; result is our only guide, but we dimly comprehend the apparent steps from the mineral to the spiritual.

Mineral life is inspiring in that it represents the star-lit Eternity into which we gaze in wonder and contemplate the incessant transformation.

Vegetable life creeps softly after, in obedience to the law of inclination, the roots search in darkness for moisture while the foliage turns to the morning sun in gladness.

Animal life cuts clear from vegetable moorings mysteriously equipped with an invisible guide.


[335]

GLADSTONE

Spiritual life is the soul unincumbered by material bondage.

To prove that extinction or enfeeblement of the body does not impair the soul, we will consider the life of Gladstone, for if we find an isolated case whose mind did not weaken along with the body, it is positive proof that all so-called dotage or drowsiness of the aged is simply the effect of the live soul impeded in its effort to recall familiar occurrences through impaired organs. This is obvious from the fact that when the object has been recalled the spiritual vision of the object appears in all its original minuteness.

Everyone who reads knows that Gladstone when he carried the Home Rule Bill in the House of Commons, at the age of eighty-four, was as elegant, scrutinizing, and powerful in his debates as when forty-four years old. Still at that age his sight, hearing, power of recall of names, and tottering form were incessantly passing away.

Is not this evidence that two distinct agencies were at the time involved, life and death.

According to James' no-soul theory, his speech was involuntary reflex action, governed by neither will nor memory, while according to reason the spirit which controlled this wonderful man's feeble, tottering form was as clear and bright as it had been in days gone by.

Falling asleep in death is not a new venture. We are unconscious through life of all we know except as momentary knowledge comes forth through the organs,[336] which in sleep as in death are unconscious of surrounding existence.

Jesus said, "I go that I may wake him out of sleep." "She is not dead but sleepeth."

If man is simply a creation of animated matter, he dies like a vegetable, if he is a dual creature, soul and body, when one part ceases to be, the other is not self, but if man is a spiritual being temporarily inhabiting and partially controlling a creation of animation the dissolution of the animated form must set him free and leave the spiritual being intact.

In memory, of childhood days, we apparently go back and view the scenes again, but if we really did go back we would see them as they are and not as they were, so we must give up that theory.

The most prevalent materialistic doctrine is that memory is an impression of the occurrences stamped on the brain. This theory when turned upon itself plainly establishes the invisible soul as the being who discerns the impressions.

The most modern atheistic theory is that memory is not a retained impression, but rather a new creation caused by immediate external stimuli. See Volume 1, page 649, of James' Psychology.

As all sane expressions are based on foreknowledge, this theory assumes that the cold exterior stimuli at the motor discharge instantly re-create the experience of our entire passed life.

This fallacy, together with the brain path theory, proves that excess of possessions coupled with classical education creates degeneracy.

Under the guise of philosophy and science these instructors are not only attacking the church but the vital spark of life.

ARTHUR RICHARDSON AND HIS TWINS.

[337]

I have spent years in the principal parts of the world studying the people and their modes of worship and I have found that all religions are one and beautiful in that they teach that at death the soul will be free. The righteous and wicked will be separated and our future destination will depend upon our personal motives while living in the body.

Whether our soul theory be a myth, mystery or truism, one thing is obvious, those living under the conviction that their apparent secret motives are in some way actually known, and will stand for or against them at death, will lead more pure lives, and make better parents, citizens and neighbors than those who imbibe materialism through faithless instructors who apparently hope there will be no reckoning day.

The immortal soul has been the staff of hope on which frail humanity has leaned for ages. The American Indian stood in the evening gloom, shading his brows with his feeble hand as he tried to look over the cold waves of death just to get a glimpse of the unexplored happy hunting ground. John, while on the isle of Patmos invented pearly gates and golden streets. He had caught the symbolic mode of teaching from Jesus in that ideas transformed into object lessons are more easily comprehended.

Jesus taught the soul theory from start to finish. "The kingdom of God cometh not by observation—the kingdom of God is within you." "Fear not them which kill the body but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in Hell." "It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing." "The words I speak unto you are spirit and are life." Still he illustrated his ideas through object lessons.

[338]

Many who do not profess actually believe in the immortality of the soul. When unprofessing parents weep at the death of their sweet babe; they somehow believe that after life's dark storms are all passed, they will find that their pet has been in the care of loved ones who have gone before.

Any thoughtful person when observing their hand must discern two distinct forces in existence, spiritual and material or visible and invisible. And that the invisible is the force which knows and drives the material. Thus, as the exterior stimuli through the ear or other senses awaken the reason, so the invisible through the different functions of the brain emit their conclusion, based on world experience and scrutinized by the spirit, or a God-given power we call reason, which is often swayed by sly will power.

The aged are continually calling up minor incidents of forty years ago, while yesterday's events evade recall. Why is this?

It is not that the obscurity of vision, confusion of results and uncertainty of doubt which befogs life today darkened the path in the same way fifty years ago, but time has removed the obscurity and the original appears. Could we live another fifty years, might not the cloud which now befogs our path have vanished and we again remember the glance of recognition of yesterday, which now seems hard to recall.

No one contends but that our journey of life is traveled in utter darkness. No recall of the past, no discernment of the future. If then one unimportant act or thought of the long ago did record itself, may not all have done the same, and may it not be that when the veil of obscurity is drawn aside, all the minute details of life will blend the awakened past with the present, and we discover that our birth was not a beginning but rather a forgetting, and death the welcome morning call.

i412

OUR OAK PARK HOME—MRS. RICHARDSON, OUR DOG JOE, AND FAMILY GROUP.

[339]

I stood with the mother of the James boys, beside the grave of Jesse, in her door yard, when she told how that once when Jesse thought he was dying he took his watch charm and handed it to a comrade, saying, "Take this to sister Anna and tell her to pray that we meet in Heaven."

That mother's tears did not seem to me like crocodile tears. In fact there is something about the deadly bandit which we sometimes admire, but if there is anything fascinating about Harvard James and his sympathizers who sneak in under the cloak of morality to influence the young to turn against the great thinking spiritual world, I, for one, cannot see it.

I may be too blunt and plain in my remarks concerning soulless advocates but I feel that these teachers are not only swinging to the other extreme from religion, but through selfishness or ignorance they are creating unrest and war.

Most of our national leaders have been drilled in these theories and while many are too wise to accept them there are those who accept what they are taught just as a calf takes milk from the cow.

These thoughtless learned often become political leaders. Especially where finances are concerned, for with this no soul theory in view, their only object in life can be aggrandizement and luxury tinctured with animal passion.


[340]

EVENING OF MY LIFE DAY

Years have passed since my cycling days and yet I am strong and athletic.

My daughter Minnie and her husband, Dr. B. H. Chamberlain, with their only boy Hiland, have lately sold their home on Washington boulevard and are not yet settled again.

Arthur and Jessie, with three children, Marvin and the twins, Jean and Willard, have an elegant home on Keystone avenue, Rivert Forest. He owns the Inland Whitelead Co., which is a large concern.

Alberta and her husband, George Carlson, with their three bright girls, Mary, Mildred and Frances, live in their comfortable home near me in Oak Park. George is captain of our fire department.

Thus I have my children and grandchildren around me, all in good health and standing in the community.

I am still conducting my manufacture of copper and tinware on my property, corner Washington boulevard and Curtis street. My 75 years does not seem to trouble me, for I feel as well as I did fifty years ago.

Mary Hoyt, my first wife, long since entered the shadows where faults and failings grow dim, while virtues and charms blend the past, present and future into one eternal morning of gladness.

In 1902, I married Mrs. Williamson, whose maiden name was Mary Prickett, of Goshen, Ind. Our days together have been continued sunshine and joy. Evenings when I return home each tells of the day's joys, troubles and ludicrous incidents.

[341]

My Mary not only runs the home, buying, paying, attending to her church trotting and downtown shopping, but she is interested in my ups and downs at the factory. Inquires all about Dorfman, my factory superintendent; Bilthouse, my mechanical engineer, and carries in mind my business associates, knows their names and who they represent.

To me, a man who expects his wife to stay in her place, never deserving of praise, misses much he might enjoy if he knew enough to appreciate her worth. Many a man's success in life is owing to the genius of his wife, a fact which neither seems to understand.

Our home, northwest corner East and Chicago avenue, Oak Park, we built in 1909 and 1910. The house is spacious and elegant, but the gem of Fair Oaks subdivision is our large yard.

Of the six stately burr oaks, known to be hundreds of years old, one stands near our sleeping room window, on which is the house or home of a mother squirrel, who when she has babies allows no other squirrel to even climb the tree. Each day she comes down to the kitchen for dinner, often sitting on Mrs. Richardson's shoulder while eating and does not even care if her tail does brush the ladies' eyes.

There are about forty other large trees in the yard besides, on either side of the bridge, a dense thicket of thorn and crab apple trees. Here the wrens and robins raise their broods in harmony with the saucy sparrows who live with us all the year, eat that which would be thrown away, and never disturb other birds' nests. They all bathe in the same pool and actually seem to appreciate our little dog Joe, who assumes great responsibility in keeping the cats from catching the young birds and the boys from climbing over our high iron fence.


[342]

FIFTY-FOUR MILES' HIKE

The latest excitement in our neighborhood has been the exploit of myself and my son Arthur, with several other aspirants, attempting without training, to walk to Channel Lake, fifty-four miles, in one day.

Our plan was for the men to leave Oak Park at sundown and walk in the dark thirty miles, and the ladies leave home, in automobile, at 3:30 in the morning, then all take breakfast together at Libertyville, from where the ladies would accompany the men on the last twenty-four miles.

The evening before the start we had a laughable wrangle as to who, of the men, could or could not pull through to Libertyville, as the heavy fall rains had so impaired the roads that there would be much high stepping and low dipping as we stumbled along in the dark. Also, we knew that the journey from Libertyville to Antioch, being over clay hills, would be either slip-slop or hard and sharp for the feet of the ladies, but everybody seemed anxious to make a record.

Jessie, Arthur's wife, and Mrs. Buhler felt dubious about the outcome of the ladies' walk, but my wife declared she would like to see the man who had walked thirty miles in the night that she could not accompany through the following day.

Of the very many aspirants all found plausible excuses except the two Richardsons and their wives, Eugene Buhler, and Paul Highland and their wives, Albert Hauter, Edd Hauter and Bruce Tate.

i418

FANNIE PETERSON.

[343]

Accordingly, as the autumn sun was casting its last gleam through the old oaks we seven men grouped for a picture, by a neighbor lady, who declared it would be nice for the survivors, if any, to look at after they had become weaker and wiser.

After kissing all the kissable ladies and promising to take it easy, we, in spite of ourselves, lit out at a pace that would have done justice to trained pedestrians.

In River Forest we turned north on Keystone avenue and then on to the country road, when we broke step and strung out, each man attending to his own feet.

It was understood that we stop for supper at Desplaines, but when we arrived at Kolze, seven miles out, the two Hauters, Highland and Tate ordered ham and eggs, while Buhler, Arthur and myself pegged on fast, because the others had declared they would catch us before we reached Desplaines, but they did not.

At Desplaines, thirteen miles out, we found the summer restaurant closed, but in a sort of hotel annex we found a damsel of about 12 years ready to prepare for us ham, eggs and coffee.

She did step around like a regular woman, for which we recompensed her liberally, for she was exceptionally quaint and interesting for a child.

While we were eating, the rear guard arrived, when Albert and Paul came in, saying Bruce and Edd were waiting outside.

When we were ready to start Edd and Bruce were nowhere to be found. We inquired, called and whistled, but no response, so concluded they had either become discouraged and taken the train for Chicago or gone on ahead to fool us, so we five struck out for Wheeling.

At every house the dogs came out barking, which set[344] the dogs at the next house agoing, who, together with the dogs at the last house, which had not yet stopped barking, gave us real dog encouragement.

To keep up our spirits we accompanied the dogs by striking up "Old Black Joe." Really we lacked only a bagpipe to have made the farmers think Gabriel was at hand calling the elect from their graves.

At every bend in the old Desplaines River the water babbled loudly, seeming to join in our merriment, as we jested, told stories and laughed through the joyous hours of our moonlight escapade along the winding stream.

At Wheeling, twenty-two miles out, Buhler began to realize he ought not to have attempted so strenuous an effort, but said he would stick it out forty miles, to Gray's Lake, after which we could continue our foolishness if we did not know enough to get in and ride.

Tate and Ed Hauter put in their appearance at Libertyville, just before the ladies arrived, and to prove they had actually walked all the way, exhibited blisters on their heels.

The ladies teased us and seemed greatly amused while arousing us for breakfast, but soon we were all out in the glorious dawn while the sun was yet lingering beyond old Lake Michigan.

Our way was over the hills which overlook the head waters of the sleepy Desplaines. Touched with a glimmer of pathos at the golden dawn, Arthur and I stopped to listen to my wife's sentimental refrain:

"Not so long ago the red men with their squaws and papooses gathered here, when the leaves were falling, to celebrate their autumn pow-wow, feasting on wild rice, berries and venison, never dreaming that a pale-faced foe lurked on an unknown shore who would soon appear to drive them far away from their own hunting ground, never more to return to join in the chase or the young braves to woo the sun-burned Indian maids."

i422

VIDA.

[345]

This little day dream of long ago seemed to awaken serious thought, into which Arthur took part thus:

"Isn't this lovely away from the great city of catch as catch can—to enjoy the inspiration of these quiet hills and valleys? I wonder if this morning may not be just a glimmer of worlds in the far away Eternity more beautiful than ours. Do you think, father, there are other worlds like ours?"

"Not exactly like ours, my boy, there are no two cherries on the tree just alike, still like folks they are all similar. Eternity is the abode of millions of worlds—see, there, our party are climbing the next hill; no more monologues here, we must overtake them."

From Gray's Lake, when our party of eleven had dwindled to five, Arthur, Hauter and Highland pegged steadily on, while Mary and I lagged to enjoy the beautiful northern hilly country.

We really did enjoy our lark, as Mary called it. She observed every interesting thing. Listened to the barking of the squirrels, songs of the birds and strayed into the woods for pretty autumn leaves and berries until her arms were full.

Our daughter Vida, at Carroll College, who knew of our contemplated walk, telephoned to Chicago and on learning we had actually started took the train to Antioch and came down the road to surprise us.

We were loafing along when our Weiders (Vida), whom we had not seen in eight weeks, sprang from a concealment and grabbed us.

Surely I would not have been much more surprised[346] if one of the fair sex from the planet Mars had accosted us.

After the shower of kisses Mary and I forgot our sore toes, and, with her, hurried on, visiting all the way until we neared our destination, when in the woods, a flood of red bitter-sweet berries attracted their attention and, in spite of all I could do or say, they left the road and began browsing again.

Vida's animation reached serene heights, when from a perch on a fallen tree she cried, "Oh, Papa, see how I can climb. Come up here and see the rippling wave of old Fox Lake dance in the blushing rays of the evening sun. Oh, isn't it a pity that girls cannot fly."

When we arrived at the home of my brother, G. M. Richardson, we found Arthur, Hauter and Highland, with many friends, awaiting us, all pleased to learn that the Richardsons were far from being played out.

After dinner, and Amanda (my brother's wife) had taken Mary and me to the kitchen and exhibited their 24-pound turkey for dinner next day, we gathered in the big living room, when even those who were tired were able to tease and tell stories which had the semblance of truth.

It was not intended for a Richardson reunion, still there were Richardsons enough to render the occasion one of merriment and joy.

Besides mates and friends, the following Richardsons were present.

My brother Gordon.
His son Perin.
His son Merrick.
His son Lawrence.
His son George.
His daughter Gertie.
His daughter Elma.
Myself—Merrick Abner.
My son—Merrick Arthur.
And—Vida.

BARBARA BEAVER.

[347]

We had a high old time, for the Richardsons when teasing are said to be somewhat given to exaggeration, so one can easily understand that when they cut loose no one felt sleepy.


[348]

BACK HOME

The following evening a few of our immediate friends gathered to congratulate us, among whom were two of Vida's college chums, (Bob) Barbary Beaver and (Peter) Fannie Peterson, who with our Weiders made an interesting trio of entertainers.

Really, when Bob was acting "When Angelina Johnson Came Swinging Down the Line," one could see the pretty colored girl, right from the cotton fields, shaking her heels to the tune of the "Old Virginia Reel."

Peter singing "Maggie, Maggie, the Cows Are in the Clover," was enough to make the most sedate forget themselves, especially the last verse, where Maggie had gone to the county fair and was up in a balloon spooning with her lover, when away in the distance from the kitchen door she faintly heard that old familiar scream, "Maggie, Maggie"—

The cows are in the clover,

They've trampled there since morn.

Go and drive them, Maggie,

To the old red barn.

Thus ended our glad, eccentric lark to Channel Lake, but our hikes still continue. Since our Channel Lake episode, our neighbor, Mrs. Wm. F. Kraft, together with Mrs. Richardson and myself, walked in one day to Elgin, thirty miles, and really these two interesting dames did give me a right lively chase.

i430

NOT SO LONG AGO, THE RED MEN WITH THEIR SQUAWS AND PAPOOSES GATHERED HERE, WHEN THE LEAVES WERE FALLING, TO CELEBRATE THEIR AUTUMN POWWOWS. SEE PAGE 344.

[349]

I close this book with regret that I am unable, through language, to express my conviction of the immortality of the soul of both man and beast. Consummated life on earth consists of coming from and returning to; creation, action and dissolution of the body do not account for the personal, invisible cause of action. You, dear reader, and myself are now cloaked in garments of dust. When this mantle is laid aside we shall know each other. We shall remember more distinctly; see more clearly; love more dearly; enjoy more purely and wonder that our faith while on earth was so weak.

Merrick Abner Richardson.

i434

CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN AT HOME WITH US IN OUR YARD APRIL 1, 1917.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES


—Obvious print and punctuation errors fixed.

—Several errors found in the List of Illustrations in original book; corrected by transcriber.






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