WK, .-I I
S"'xu,'' FREE LIBRARY
A THIS BOOK s
by JL/AA.. C.AL. /(iri-'~o
n or City a L4n iti t -_LI
H 7 REMARKS:
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:/ 4 J
THE COLORED FOLKS
"MY IDEAS ON THE RACE PROBLEM"
JOSIAH ALLEN'S WIFE
ILLUSTRA TED BY
E. W. KEMBLE
DODD, MEAD & COMPANY
DODD, MEAD & COMPANY.
[All rights reserved.]
To all who work for the advancement
of true liberty, irrespective of color or sex,
this book is inscribed.
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM was the title
adopted for the editions of this book that were is-
sued exclusively for the subscription market.
In preparing the new edition for popular sale it
has been deemed advisable to change its title to
SAMANTHA AMONG THE COLORED FOLKS as one
more in keeping with its character. Otherwise its
contents remain the same.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
THEY WUZ TRACTS AND BIBLES ................... ......... 7
UNCLE NATE GOWDEY ...................................... 12
"THE DUMB FOOLS!"........................ ............ 8
A BLACK ........... ......................................... 21
"THE OLD AND FEEBLE ONES"......... .................. ... 30
"I SOT DEMUTE" .................. ...... ..... ..... ...... 34
"THE DARK FACES OF THESE APOSTLES" ..................... 40
"WITH PHILURY'S HELP". ................................... 46
CHARACTER SKETCH. ....................................... 51
"WHEN URY HAD THAT FIGHT WITH SAM .................... 56
M ELINDA................ ..... ................. ..... ....... 61
MELINDA HAS A FIT ........................................ 63
"IT WUZ HOLD THE FORT' HE BELCHED OUT IN"............ 69
"I KETCHED HER BY HER LIMB"............................ 73
PETER AND MELINDA ANN .................................. 77
DEACON HENZY........................................... 83
"JOSIAH'S BALD HEAD AND MINE"............................ 86
THE COLORED CHILDREN .................................... 93
OLD DR. CORK ..................................... ....... 99
THE SLAVE WOMAN WHO POISONED THE CHILD ................ 104
MADELINE... ..... ............................... ... ... IIO
COLONEL SEYBERT......................................... 122
LOW, BRUTAL, ENVIOUS MIND"................................ 128
DEFENDING HIS HOME....................................... 133
THE LEADER ................. ...................... ........ 138
FELIX AND THE TEACHER. ................................... 143
4 LIST OF ILLUSTRA TIONS.
"THE OLD, THE FEEBLE" .................................. 149
"His OVERSEER" ........................................ 153
"A LITTLE TUMBLE-DOWN COTTAGE"'......................... 155
CLEOPATRA................. ................................ 156
RosY....................... ....... ....... ................. 161
"HE WUZ GLAD TO SET DOWN".............................. 167
THE OLD NEGRO ................... ...... .................. 172
" GAWGE PERKINS AM DAID. ............................ 176
ONE OF THE MOURNERS ......................... ......... 179
"YOU CAN REPAIR YOUR DWELLIN' HOUSE .................... 185
"AND I HAVE GOT THE PANS" .............................. 189
"I AM NEEDED THERE". ..................... .............. 192
" THE BUTTER-MAKER UP IN ZOAR"........................... 194
"JOSIAH GIVE UP ".................... ................ 196
DEACON HUFFER .......................................... 208
"UNDER THE WHITE CROSS ................................ 211
THE JONESVILLIANS .............................. .......... 215
"BOY LAUGHED"..................... ..................... 220
RAYMOND FAIRFAX COLEMAN ................................ 223
"WITH A JUMPIN' TOOTHACHE" ................................ 225
" THE RELATION ON MAGGIE'S SIDE". ....................... 230
BABE...................................... ..... .. ....... 237
"MY TONE RIZ UP"........................................ 239
"I HAD BEEN OUT A WALKIN"'........................... 242
A POOR W HITE ....................... ..................... 244
ROSY'S BABY ...... ............ ............................ 254
URY......... ...... .... .... ........ .. .. .. .. .... 256
SOME NEIGHBORS ........................................... 258
AUNT M ELA ............................................... 264
"DESPATCHED TO GET BUTTERMILK ........................ 271
"THE BIG PIAZZA"........................ ................. 277
"A PERFECT DAGON".................................... 279
A KU-KLUXER....... .............. .. ...... ............... 291
" PILOT A HELPLESS UNIONIST" ............................. 296
LIST OF 1LLUSTRA TIONS. 5
"SET DOWN IN OUR SWAMP" ................................ 301
"HE HASTENED OFF"....................................... 305
"To KISS SNOW AND BOY GOOD-NIGHT".................... ....308
"AND KILLED HER HENS"................................... 312
" ONEXPECTED COMPANY" ................................... 316
" M ISERY ....... ....................................... 320
" WHEREFOAH, BREDREN, LET US PRAY"........................ .322
ABE.................................... ...... .............. 326
" HE WUZ A WALKIN' UP AND DOWN".......................... 331
"THIS DARK EARTH VALLEY"................ ................ 334
HIRAM WIGGINS'S TWO DAUGHTERS ............................ 338
"A CLEAR RIVER RUNNING THROUGH"....................... 343
"EVERYTHING WUZ READY". .... .......................... 347
"IN THE CHAIR OF THE RULER ............................. 353
" FACED THE GANG OF MASkED MEN" .......................... 360
"WHEN THE MOON HAD RISEN "............................ 363
"EXILED BIRDS"........... .... ........... .................. 369
VICTOR ........ .............. ........................ ....... 373
" MAKIN' SPEECHES". ....................................... 375
FATHER GASPERIN ............................ ....... 378
"FELIX, HIS WIFE AND LITTLE NED ........................ .380
" I SOT OUT ON THE STOOP"..................... .......... 384
" THEY WUZ TRACTS AND BIBLES." *
IT was entirely unexpected and onlooked for.
But I took it as a Decree, and done as
well as I could, which is jest as well as any-
body ought to be expected to do under any
circumstances, either on my side or on hisen.
It was one of the relations on his side that come
on to us entirely unexpected and on the evening' stage
that runs from Jonesville to Loontown. He was a.
passing' through this part of the country on business,
so he stopped off at Jonesville to see us.
He come with his portmanty and a satchel, and
I mistrusted, after consulting' them signs in the pri-
vacy of my own mind, that he had come to stay for
quite a spell.
8 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
But I found in the fulness of time that my worst
apprehensions wuz not realized.
I found instead of pantaloons and vests and things
which I suspected wuz in the big satchel, I found
out they wuz tracts and Bibles.
Why, I wuz fairly took aback when I discovered
this fact, and felt guilty to think I had been cast
down, and spozed things that wuzn't so.
But whether they are on his side or on your own,
visitors that come when you are deep in house-
cleanin', and most all your carpets took up, and
your beds oncorded, and your buttery shelves dry
and arid, can't be welcomed with quite the cordiality
you would show one in more different and prosper-
But we found out after a little conversation that
Cousin John Richard Allen wuz a colporter, and
didn't lay out to stay only one night. So, as I say,
I done the best I could with him, and felt my con-
He had a dretful good look to his face, for all
mebby he wouldn't be called beautiful. His eyes
wuz deep and brilliant and clear, with a meaning' in
'em that comes from a pure life and a high endeavor
-a generous, lovin' soul.
Yes, though it wuz one on his side instid of mine,
justice makes me say he seemed to be a good feller,
and smart as a whip, too. And he seemed to feel real
friendly and cousinly towards us, though I.had never
laid eyes on him more than once or twice before.
Josiah had known him when they wuz boys.
He had lived in Vermont, and had been educated
high, been through college, and preachin' schools
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
of the best kind, and had sot out in life as a minis-
ter, but bein' broke up with quinsy, and havin' a
desire to be in some Christian work, he took to col-
porterin', and had been down in the Southern States
to work amongst the freedmen for years.
He went not long after the war closed.: I guess
he hated to give up preachin', for I believeiny soul
that he wanted to do good, and bein' so awful smart
it wuz a cross, I know-and once in a while he
would kind o' forget himself, and fall into a sort o'
preachin', eloquent style of talking even when he
wuz conversion' on such subjects as butter, and hens,
and farmin', and such. But I know he did it entirely
onbeknown to himself.
And to the table-the blessin' he asked wuz as
likely a one as I ever sec run at anybody's table,
but it wuz middlin' lengthy, as long about as a small-
Josiah squirmed-I see he did. he squirmed hard,
though he is a good Christian man. He wuz afraid the
cream biscuit would be spilte by the delay; they are
his favorites, and though I am fur from bein' the one
that ought to speak of it, my biscuit are called deli-
And though I hate to say it, hate to show any on-
willingness to be blessed to any length by so good a
man and so smart a one-yet I must say them bis-
cuit wuzn't the biscuit they would have been had
the blessin' been more briefer, and they had been eat'
Howsomever, they wuz pretty good ones after
all, and Cousin John Richard partook of five right
along one after the other, and "seemed to enjoy the
Io SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
fifth one jest as well as he did the earlier editions.
They wuzn't very large, but light, and tender.
Wall, after supper, he and my pardner sot down
in the settin'-room, while I wuz a washin' up the
dishes, and a setting' the sponge for my griddle-cakes
And I hearn 'em a talking' about Uncle Noah, and
Uncle Darius, and Cousin Melinda, and Sophronia
Ann, and Aunt Marrier and her children-and lots
more that I had never hearn of, or had forgot if I had.
They seemed to be a takin' solid comfort, though
I see that Cousin John Richard every time he got a
chance would kinder preach on 'em.
If there wuz a death amongst 'em that they talked
over, John Richard would, I see, instinctively and
onbeknown to himself preach a little funeral sermon
on 'em, a first-rate one, too, though flowery, and
draw quite a lot of morals. Wall, I thought to my-
self, they are a takin' sights of comfort together, and
I am glad on it. I dearly love to see my pardner
When all of a sudden, jest as I had got my sponge
all wet up, and everything slick, and I wuz a wash-
in' my hands to the sink, I see there wuz a more
excited, voyalent axent a ringin' out in my pardner's
voice, I see he wuz a getting' het up in some argu-
ment or other, and I hurried and. changed my ging-
ham bib apron for a white one, and took my knittin'
work and hastened into the room, bein' anxious to
avert horstilities, and work for peace.
And I see I wuz only jest in time; for my com-
panion wuz a getting' agitated and excited to a high
degree, and Cousin John Richard all rousted up.
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
And the very first words I hearn after I went in
wuz these offensive and quarrelsome words that do
so much to stir up strife and dessensions-
They have added me time and agin. They
proceeded out of my companion's mouth, and the
Oh shaw !"
I see in a minute that John Richard couldn't brook
'em. And I wunk to Josiah Allen to stop, and let
Cousin John Richard go on and say what he wuz a
minter, both as a visitor, who wuz goin' to remain
with us but a short period, and also a relation, and
My wink said all of this, and more. And my
companion wuz affected by it. But like a child a
cryin' hard after bein' spanked, he couldn't stop
short off all to once.
So he went on, but in fur mellerer axents, and
more long-sufferin'er ones :
Wall, I say there is more talk than there is any
need of. I don't believe things are to such a pass
in the South. I don't take'much stock in this Race
Problem anyway. The G6vernment whipped the
South and freed the niggers. And there it is, all
finished and done with. And everything seems
quiet so fur as I can hear on.
I hain't heard nuthin' about any difficulty to speak
on, nor I don't believe Uncle Nate Gowdey has,
or Sime Bently. And if there wuz much of any-
thing wrong goin' on, one of us three would have
been apt-to have hearn on it.
For we are, some of us, down to the corners about
every night, and get all the news there is a stirring .
12 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
Of course there is some fighting' everywhere.
Uncle Nate hearn of a new fight last night, over to
Loontown. We get holt of everything. And I
don't believe there is any trouble down South, and
if there is, they will get along well enough if they
are left alone, if there hain't too much said."
I ) K
UNCLE NATE GOWDEY.
Sez John Richard, I have lived in the South for
years, and I know what I am talking about. And
I say that you Northern people, and in fact all t'he
nation, are like folks sitting on the outside of a vol-
cano, laughing and talking in your gay indifference,
and thinking the whole nation is in safety, when
the flames a'fd the lava torrents of destruction are
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
liable to burst out at any time and overwhelm this
land in ruin."
And then agin, though I hate to set it down-
then agin did my pardner give vent to them dan-
gerous and quarrelsome sentiments before I could
reach him with a wink or any other precautionary
measures. That rash man said agin :
Oh shaw !"
And I see, devoted Christian as John Richard
wuz, the words gaulded him almost more than he
could endure, and he broke out in almost heated
axents, and his keen dark eye a flashin', and says
I tell you the storm is brewing I have watched
it coming up and spreading over the land, and unless
it is averted, destruction awaits this people."
His tone wuz a very preachin' one, very, and I
felt considerable impressed by it; but Josiah Allen
spoke up pert as a peacock, and sez he:
Why don't the Southern folks behave themselves,
And sez John Richard:
Do you blame the Southern white folks exclu-
"Yes," sez Josiah, in them same pert 'axents;
" yes, of course I do."
Then that shows how short-sighted you are,
how blind !"
I can see as well as you can !" sez Josiah, all
wrought up-" I don't have to wear goggles."
Oh, how mortified, how mortified I felt! John
Richard did wear blue goggles when wuz travel-
lin'. But what a breach of manners to twit a visitor
14 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
of such a thing! Twit 'em of goggles, blue ones
too I felt as if I should sink.
But I didn't know Cousin John Richard Allen.
He hadn't give up ease and comfort and the joys of
a fireside, for principle's sake, for nuthin'. No per-
sonal allusions could touch him. The goggles fell
onto him harmlessly, and fell off agin. He didn't
notice 'em no more'n if they hadn't been throwed.
And he went on growing' more and more sort o'
lifted up and inspired-lookin', and a not mindin'
what or who wuz round him. And sez he:
"I tell you again the storm is rising; I hear its
mutterings in the distance, and it is coming nearer
and nearer all the time."
Josiah kinder craned his neck -and looked out of
the winder in a sort of a brisk way. He misunder-
stood him a purpose, and acted as if John Richard
'meant a common thunder-storm.
But Cousin John Richard never minded him, bein'
took up and intent on what his own mind wuz a
looking' at onbeknown to us-
I have been amongst this people night and day
for years ; I have been in the mansions of the rich,
the ruins of the beautiful homes ruined by the war,
and in the cabins of the poor. I have been in their
schools and their churches, and the halls where the
law is misadministered-I have been through the
Southern land from one end to the other-and I
know what I am talking about.
"I went there to try to help the freedmen. I
knew these people so lately enslaved were poor and
ignorant, and I thought I could help them.
But I was almost as ignorant as you are of the
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
real state of affairs in the South. But I have been
there and seen for myself, and I tell you, and I tell
this nation, that we are on the eve of another war if
something is not done to avert it."
My pardner wuz jest a opening' his mouth in a de-
risive remark, but I hitched my chair along and trod
on his foot, and onbeknown to me it wuz the foot on
which he wuz raisin' a large corn, and his derisive
remark wuz changed to a low groan, and Cousin
John Richard went on onhendered.
I went South with good motives, God knows.
I knew this newly enfranchised race was sorely in
want of knowledge, Christian knowledge most of all.
I thought, as so many others do, that Christianity
and education would solve this problem. I never
stopped to think that the white race, of whose
cruelty the negroes complained, had enjoyed the
benefits of Christianity for hundreds of years, and
those whose minds were enriched by choicest cul-
ture had hearts encased in bitterest prejudices, and
it was from the efforts of their avarice and selfishness
that I was trying to rescue the freedmen. We ac-
complished much, but I expected, as so many others
have, choicer Christian fruits to spring from this
barren soil, that has grown in the rich garden culti-
vated for centuries.
Education has done and will do much--Chris-
tianity more ; but neither can sound a soundless deep,
nor turn black night into day.
But I never thought of this. I worked hard
and meant well, Heaven knows. I thought at first
I could do marvellous things; later, when many
failures had made me more humble, I thought if I
l6 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
could help only one soul my labor would not be in
vain. For who knows," sez John Richard dreamily,
" who knows the tremendous train of influences one
sets in motion when he is under God enabled to turn
one life about from the path of destruction towards
the good and the right ?
Who knows but he is helping to kindle a light
that shall yet lighten the pathway of a Toussaint
L'Ouverture or a Fred Douglass on to victory, and
a world be helped by the means ?
And if only one soul is helped, does not the
Lord of the harvest say, He that turns one man
from the error of his ways has saved a soul from
Cousin John Richard's eye looked now as if he
wuz a gazin' deep into the past-the past of eager
and earnest endeavor, and way beyond it into the
past that held a happy home, and the light from that
forsaken fireside seemed to be a shinin' up into his
face, divinely sad, bitter sweet, as he went on:
I loved my wife and children as well as another
man, but I left them and my happy, happy home to
go where duty called.
My wife could not endure that hot climate, and
she lay dying when I was so far South that I could
not get to her till she had got so far down in the
Valley that she could not hear my voice when I
spoke to her."
Ah the waves of memory wuz a dashin' hard
against Cousin John Richard then, as we could see.
It splashed some of the spray up into his bright
But he kept on : I was rich enough then to put
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
my children to school, which I did, and then re-
turned to my labors.
I loved my work-I felt for it that enthusiasm and
devotion that nerves the heart to endure any trials-
and I don't speak of the persecutions I under-
went in that work as being harder than what many
"You know what they passed through who
preached the higher truth in Jerusalem. The Book
says, 'They were persecuted, afflicted, tormented,
had cruel buffetings and scourgings, were burned,
were tortured, not accepting deliverance.'
In the early days after the war, in some parts ot
the South there were hardly any indignities that
could be inflicted upon us that we were not called
upon to endure. We had our poor houses burned
down over our heads, our Bible and spelling-books
thrown into the flames ; we have had rifles pointed
at our breasts, and were ordered to leave on peril
And many, many more than you Northerners
have any idea of met their death in the dark cypress
forests and in the dreary, sandy by-ways of the
They died, 'not accepting deliverance' by cow-
ardly flight. How many of them thus laid down
their lives for conscience' sake will never be known
till that hour when He comes to make up His jewels.
I bear the marks upon me to-day, and shall carry
them to my grave, of the tortures inflicted upon me
to make me give up my work of trying to help the
weak and seek and save them that were lost."
The dumb fools !" hollered out Josiah. What
18 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
did they act so like idiots for-and villains? The
Southerners always did act like the Old Harry any-
My dear companion is fervid and impassioned in
his feeling's and easily wrought on, and he felt what
c" THE DUMB FOOLS !I
he' said. John Richard wuz a relation on his own
side, and he could not calmly brook the idee of his
But Cousin John didn't look mad, nor excited,
nor anything. He had a sort of a patient look onto
his face, and as if he had tried to reason things out
for some time.
Such a state of affairs was inevitable," sez he.
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
Then you don't blame the cussed fools, do
you?" yelled out Josiah, fearfully wrought up and
Oh, what a word to use, and to a minister too-
" cussed" I felt as if I should sink right down into
the suller-I wuz about over the potato ben-and I
didn't much care if I did sink, I felt so worked
But Cousin John Richard didn't seem to mind it
at all. He had got up into a higher region than my
soul wuz a sailin' round in-he had got up so high
that little buzzin', stingin' insects that worried me
didn't touch him ; he had got up into a calm, pure
atmosphere where they couldn't fly round.
He went on calm asa full moon on a clear night,
and sez he:
It is difficult to put the blame for this state of
affairs on any one class, the evil is so far spread.
The evil root was planted centuries ago, and we are
partaking of its poison fruit to-day.
In looking on such a gigantic wrong we must
look on it on other sides than the one whose jagged
edges have struck and bruised us-we must look on
it on every side in order to be just.
"After years and years of haughty supremacy, am-
bition and pride growing rankly, as they must in
such a soil, fostered, it would seem, by Northern indo-
lence and indifference, the South was conquered by
armed force-brought down to the humiliation of
defeat by a successful, if generous foe.
"And then, what was far harder for them to endure,
a race of people that they had looked upon much as
you look upon your herd of cattle was suddenly
20 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
raised from a condition of servitude to one of legal
equality, and in many cases of supremacy.
It was hard for this hot-blooded, misguided,
warm-hearted Southern people to lose at once all
their brilliant dreams of an independent, aristocratic
Confederacy-it was hard for them to lose home,
and country, and wealth, and ambition at one blow.
It was hard for their proud, ambitious leader to
have his beautiful old country home, full of aristo-
cratic associations and sweet memories, turned into
the national graveyard.
And this one tragedy that changed this sweet
home into a mausoleum is not a bad illustration of
what the Southern people endured.
No matter what brought this thing about-no
matter where the blame rested-it was hard for them
to stand by the graves of their loved ones, who fell
fighting for the lost cause-to stand amongst the
ruins of their dismantled homes, and know that their
proud, ambitious dreams were all ended.
But this they could endure-it was the fortune of
war, and they had to submit. But to this other in-
dignity, as they called it, they would not submit.
Through centuries of hereditary influences and
teachings this belief was ingrained, born in them,
bone of their bone, flesh of their flesh, soul of their
soul, implanted first by nature, then hardened and
made invulnerable by centuries of habits, beliefs,
and influences-this instinctive, hereditary contempt
and aversion for the black race only as servants.
And they would not, endure to have them made
Now, no preaching, be it with the tongue of men
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
or angels, could vanquish this ingrained, inexorable
foe, this silent, overmastering force that rose up on
every side to set at naught our preaching.
After twenty-five years of Christian effort it re-
mains the same, and at the end of a century of Gos-
pel work it will still be there just the same.
And those who do not take into consideration
22 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
this overwhelming power of antagonism between
the races when they are considering the Southern
question are fools.
The whites will not look upon the negroes as
their equals, and you cannot make them-"
"Wall, they be!" hollered out Josiah. "The
Proclamation made 'em free and equal, jest as we
wuz made in the War of 1812."
But oh, what a difference !" sez Cousin John
The American colonies were the peers of the
mother country. It was only a quarrel between
children and mother. The same blood ran in their
veins, they had the same traits, the same minds, the
same looks, they were truly equal.
But in this case it was an entirely different race,
necessarily inferior by their long years of degrada-
tion, brought up at one bound from the depths of
ignorance and servitude to take at once the full
rights awarded to intellect and character.
It was a great blunder; it was a sad thing for
the white race and for the black race !'
Josiah wuz jest a opening' his mouth to speak in
reply to Cousin John Richard's last words, when all
of a sudden we heard a knock at the door, and I
went and opened it, and there stood Miss Eben Gar-
lock, and I asked her to come in, and sot her a chair.
I never over and above liked Miss Eben Garlock,
though she is a likely woman enough so fur as I
But she is one of the kind of wimmen who orni-
ment the outside of their heads more than the inside,
and so on with their hearts and souls, etc.
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
She is a great case for artificial flowers, and rib-
bin loops, and fringes. And the flowers that wuz
a blowin' out on her bunnet that day would have
gone a good ways towards filling' a half-bushel basket.
And the loops that wuz a hangin' all round her bod-
dist waist would have straightened out into half a
mile of ribbin, I do believe.
The ribbin wuz kinder rusty, and she had pinned
on a bunch of faded red poppies on to the left side
of her boddist waist, pretty nigh, I should judge,
over her heart.
Which goes to prove what I said about her trim-
min' off the outside of her heart and soul.
Her clothes are always of pretty cheap material,
but showy, and made after sort o' foamin' patterns,
with streamers, and her favorite loops and such.
And they always have a look as if they wuz in dan-
ger of falling' off of her. She uses pins a good deal,
and they drop out considerable and leave gaps.
Wall, I always use her well; so, as I say, I sot her
a chair and introduced her to Cousin John Richard,
and he bowed polite to her, and then leaned back in
his chair and seemed restin'. Good land I should
thought he'd wanted to.
Miss Garlock seemed real agitated and excited,
and I remembered hearing' that forenoon that they
had lost'a relation considerable distant to 'em. He
lived some fifteen or sixteen miles away.
He and Eben Garlock's folks had never agreed;
in fact, they had hated each other the worst kind.
But now Miss Garlock, bein' made as she wuz, wuz
all nerved up to make a good appearance to the
funeral and show off.
24 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
She had come to borry my mournin' suit that I
had used to mourn for Josiah's mother in; and I
am that careful of my clothes that they wuz as good
as new, though I had mourned in 'em for a year.
Mournin' for some folks hain't half so hard on
clothes as mournin' for others ; tears spots black
crape awful, and sithes are dretful hard on whale-
bones; my clothes wuz good, good as new.
But I am a eppisodin', and to resoom.
Miss Garlock wanted to borry my hull suit down
to shoes and stockin's for Eben's mother, who lived
with her. She herself wuz a goin' to borry Miss
Slimpsey's dress-she that wuz Betsey Bobbets-it
wuz trimmed more and more foamin' looking But
she wanted my black fan for herself, and my mourn-
in' handkerchief pin, it bein' a very showy one. Ury
had gin it to me, and I never had mourned in it
but once, and then not over two hours, at a church
social, for I felt it wuz too dressy for me. But
Miss Garlock had seen it on that occasion and ad-
And then, after I had told her she could have all
these things in welcome, she kinder took me out to
one side and asked me "if I had jest as lives lend
her a Bible for a few days. She thought like as not
the minister would call to talk'with Eben's mother,
and she felt that she should be mortified if he should
call for a Bible, for they had all run out of Bibles,"
The last one they had by 'em had jest been chawed
,up by a pup Eben wuz a raisin'; she had ketched
him a worryin' it out under the back stoop.. She
said he had chawed it all up but a part o' the Old
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
Testament, and he wuz a worryin' and gnawin'
Maleky when she got it away from him."
Wall, I told her she could have the Bible, and she
asked me to have the things done up by the time
they got back from Miss Slimpsey's, and I told her
I would, and I did.
Wall, if you'd believe it, I had hardly got them
things done up in a bundle and laid 'em on the table
ready for Miss Garlock, when that blessed man,
John Richard, commenced agin right where he left
off, and sez he, a repeatin' his last words as calmly
as if there had been no Garlock episode
It was a great blunder, a sad thing for the white
race and the black race."
Wall, what would you have done ?" sez Josiah.
I don't know," sez Cousin John sadly-" I don't
know ; perhaps mistakes were inevitable. The
question was so great and momentous, and the dan-
ger and the difficulties seemed so impenetrable on
Lincoln did the best he could," sez Josiah
sturdily; and I know it."
"And so do I know it," sez Cousin John.
That wise, great heart could not make any other
mistake only a mistake of judgment, and he was sorely
tried to know what was best to do. The burden
weighed down upon him so, I fancy he was glad to
lay it down in any way.
The times were so dark that any measure adopt-
ed for safety was only groping towards the light,
only catching at the first rope of safety that seemed
to lower itself through the heavy clouds of war.
The heavy eyes and true hearts watching
26 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
through those black hours will never be forgotten
by this republic.
"And now, in looking back and criticising the
errors of that time, it is like the talk of those who are
watching 4 stprm at sea, when, in order to save the
ship, wrong ropes may be seized, and life-boats cast
out into the stormy waves may be swept down and
lost. .Bt: if the ship is saved, let the survivors of
the crew forever bless and praise the brave hands
and hearts that dared; the storm and the peril.
"But when the sky is clearer you can see more
plainly than when 'the tempest is whirling about
you and death and ruin are riding on the gale.
You can see plainer and you can see farther.
Now, it wias a great and charitable idea, looking
at it from 6n'e side, to let those who had tried their
best to Tiuin the Union at once take an equal place
with those who had perilled life and property to save
it-to give them at once the same rights in making
the laws they had set at defiance.
"It was a generous and charitable idea, looking
on it from orie side, but from another side it looked
risky, very risky, and it looked dangerous to the
further peace and perpetuity of that Union.
A little delay might not have done any harm-a
little delay in giving them the full rights of citizen-
And it might, Heaven knows, have been as well
if the slaves had had a gradual bringing up of mind
and character to meet the needs of legal responsi-
bility, if they had not been at once invested with all
the rights and responsibilities which well-trained
Christian scholars find it so difficult to assume, if
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
they had not been required to solve by the ballot
deep questions of statesmanship, the names of which
they could not spell out'in the newspaper.
Could such ignorance make them otherwise than
a dangerous element in politics, dangerous to them-
selves and dangerous to the welfare of the Union ?
Tossed back and forth as they were between
two conflicting parties, in their helplessness and
ignorance becoming the prey of the strongest fac-
tion, compelled, at the point of the sword and the
muzzle of the revolver, to vote as the white man
made them-the law of Might victorious over the
Right-it was a terrible thing for the victim, and a
still worse one for the victor.
What could happen in such a state of affairs only
trouble and misery, evasions and perversions of the
law, uprisings of the oppressed, secret bands of
armed men intent on deeds of violence, whose only
motives were to set at naught the law, to fight
secretly against the power they had been openly
forced to yield to.
"What could happen save warfare, bloodshed,
burning discontent, and secret nursing of wrongs
amongst the blacks; hatred towards the Union
amongst the whites, towards the successful foe who
had humiliated them so beyond endurance by this last
blow of forcing them into a position of equality
towards their former slaves, and rousing up in them
a more bitter animosity towards the poor blacks who
had been the innocent cause of their humiliation."
Wall, what could have been done ?" sez Josiah.
It is hard to tell," sez John Richard. It is a
hard problem to solve; and perhaps," sez Cousin
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
John, looking' some distance off-" perhaps it was
God's own way of dealing with this people.
You know, after the children of Israel had
broken the chains of their bondage and passed
through the Red Sea, they were encamped in the
wilderness for forty years before they reached the
Land of Promise.
Maybe it is God's way of dealing with this
people, to make them willing to press forward
through the wilderness of their almost unendurable
trials and go forward into their own country, from
whence their fathers were stolen by these pale faces,
and there, in that free, fresh land to found a new re-
public of their own.
And with all the education and civilization they
have gathered during these long, miserable years of
slavery, helped by all they have learned, taught by
their losses as well as their gains, found a new re-
public that shall yet take its place as one of the great
nations of the world-yes, perhaps lead the nations,
and reveal God's glory in higher, grander forms
than colder-blooded races have ever dreamed of.
For it has seemed as if this people have been pecul-
iarly under His protection and care.
All through this long, bloody War of the Rebel-
lion, when it would seem as if the black race must
be crushed between either the upper or lower mill-
stone of raging sectional warfare, they simply, as if
bidden by a higher power than was seen marching
with the armies, 'stood still and saw the salvation
of the Lord.',"
Where would you have 'em set up for them-.
pelves ?" sez Josiah, a looking' some sleepy, but hold-
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
in', as it were, his eyes open with a effort. Would
you have 'em go to Mexico, or Brazil, or where ?"
To Africa," sez Cousin John Richard, or that
is what is in my own mind. I don't know that it
would be better than another place, but I think so."
But, good land !" sez Josiah, looking' more wake-
ful, "think of the cost. Why, it would run the
Government in debt to that extent that it never
would get over it." He looked skairt at the idee.
But Cousin John didn't; he wuz calm and serene as
he went on :
Thousands and thousands would be able and
willing to go on their own account. But if this na-
tion took them all back at its own expense, is it not
a lawful debt ? Who brought them here in the first
place ? They did not come of their own accord; no,
they were stolen, hunted like beasts of prey amongst
their own fields and forests, felled like wild animals,
and dragged, bleeding from their wounds, into slave
ships to be packed into a living cargo of sweltering
agony, and brought off from friends and home and
native land for our selfishness' sake, to add to our
It seems to me we owe them a debt that we
should pay for our own conscience' sake as a na-
But the Government couldn't afford it; it would
cost too much." Josiah is very close.
"As I said," sez Cousin John Richard, "thou-
sands of the more intelligent ones who have prop-
erty of their own would go at their own expense for
the sake of founding free, peaceful homes, where
their children could have the advantages of inde-'
"THE OLD AND FEEBLE ONES."
.'AMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
pendence, freed from the baleful effects of class an-
tagonism and race prejudices.
Many of the old and feeble ones, and those who
were prosperous and well off, would not go at all.
And of those who remained, if the Government
should transport them and support them there for a
year it would not cost a twentieth part so much as
to carry on a civil war.
And I tell you war will come, Josiah Allen, if
something is not done to avert the storm."
And agin John Richard's eyes took on that fur-off
look, as if he wuz looking' at things dretful some dis-
Amongst the lower classes you can hear muttered
curses and half-veiled threats, and you feel their
passion and their burning hatred towards the race
that gave them the Indian gift of freedom-gave it,
and then snatched it out of their hands, and instead
of liberty gave them injustice and worse oppression.
And the storm is coming up. Evil spirits are in
the atmosphere. Over the better feelings of the
white race, dominating them, are the black shapes
of contempt and repulsion towards the race once their
servants, made their equals by a wordy fiction of
their enemies, but still under their feet.
And in their haughty breasts, as of old, only
stronger, is the determination to have their own
way, to rule this 'ignorant rabble,' to circumvent
the cowardly will of their Northern foe, who had
brought this thing to pass, to still rule them in one
way if not in another-rule or ruin.
And the storm is coming up the heavens. The
lightning is being stored, and the tempest of hail,
32 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
the burning lightning, and deafening thunder peals
are awaiting this day of wrath when the storm shall
And you sit on in your ease and will not be-
His eyes wuz bent on my pardner's form, who
wuz leanin' back in a almost luxurious attitude in his
soft copper-plate-covered rockin' chair, but I see he
didn't mean him in particeler; no, his eyes had in
'em a wide, deep look that took in the hull country,
North and South, and he went on in almost eloquent
The Northern soldier who twenty-five years ago
hung up his old rifle and powder-horn with a sigh of
content that the war against oppression and slavery
had been won still sits under them in content and
self-admiration of his prowess, and heeds not at all
the signs in the heavens.
And the wise men in the National Capital sit
peacefully in their high places and read over com-
placently the words they wrote down a quarter of a
All slaves are free.'
And the bandage that Justice wears, having
slipped too far down over their wise eyes, they have
not seen the handcuffs and chains that have weighed
down the still enslaved.
And they read these words:
We proclaim peace in all your borders.'
And lost in triumphant thoughts of what they
had done, they did not heed this truth, that instead
of peace hovering down upon the borders of the fair
Southern land, they had blindly and ignorantly, no
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
doubt, let loose the bitter, corroding; wearing curse
of animosity and ignorant misrule.
Yes, those wise men had launched these turbu-
lent spirits instead of peace on the heads of the free
and enlightened, if bigoted white people of the
South, and upon the black race.
And never stopped to think, so it would seem,
whether three millions strong of an ignorant, su-
perstitious, long-degraded people, the majority of
whom could not read nor write, and were ignorant
of the first principles of truth and justice, could sud-
denly be lifted up to become the peers, and in many
cases the superiors, of a cultured and refined people
who had had long ages of culture and education be-
hind them, and, above all, class prejudices.
They never paused to ask themselves whether it
was in reality just to the white race, or whether
this superior class would quietly submit to the legal
equality and rule of the inferior.
The difficulty of this problem did not seem to
strike them, whether by any miracle the white race
would at once forget its pride and its prejudices.
Whether by a legal enactment a peacock could
be made to change its plumage for the sober habit
of a dove, or an eagle develop the humility of a snail.
The wise men expected to do more than this, and
And they never seemed to ponder this side of
the question : Whether it was not cruelty to the
weaker class to thus raise up to a greater strength
the prejudice and animosity of the dominant race.
And whether this premature responsibility they
had caused them to assume was not as cruel as to
34 SAMANTIHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
put knives and rifles into the hands of babies, and
send them out to fight a battle with giants-fight or
And so these wise men, having done their best,
" I SOT DEMUTE."
it would seem, to rouse the blind passions and in-
tensify the ignorant prejudice and class hatred of
the blacks, sit at their ease.
And so the farce has been played out before a
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
pitying heaven, and has been for a quarter of a cen-
tury, growing more pitiful to look at year by year.
The farce of slave and tyrant masquerading in
the robes of liberty and equality, and the poor
Northern zealot playing well his part with a fool's
cap and bells. The weak crushed and trodden under
foot, the strong shot down by secret violence-mur-
der, rapine, and misrule taking the part of law, and
both races swept along to their ruin like a vision of
Why, John Richard's talk wuz such, he looked on
things so different from what I ever had, he put such
new and strange idees into my head that I can truly
say that he skairt me most to death. I sot demute ;
I didn't even think to look to see how my pardner
wuz affected by the startlin' views he wuz promul-.
gatin'. I dropped stitches, I seamed where I hadn't
ought to seam ; I wuz extremely nerved up and agi-
tated, and he went on a talking' more stranger and
startlinger than ever, if possible.
And still these wise men sit and hardly lift their
wise eyes. But when the storm bursts," sez Cousin
John Richard, in a louder voice than he had used,
and more threatening' like and prophetic-" when the
storm bursts, methinks these wise men will look up,
will get up if there is enough left of them to stand
after the shock and the violence of the tempest has
torn and dashed over them. For the clouds will fill
with vengeance, the storm will burst if something is
not done soon to avert the fury of its course.
Now, this nation can solve this great question
peacefully if it will."
And I sez in agitated axents:
36 SAMANTHA ONA THE -RACE PROBLEM.
I wuz fearful wrought up. I never had mistrust-
ed there wuz such a state of things anywhere; it
come all onbeknown onto me, and sort o' paralyzed
my faculties. I had forgot by this time, if you'll
believe it, whether I wuz a knittin' or a tattin'.
Why, I shouldn't have been surprised if somebody
had spoke up and said I wuz a shearin' a sheep or
pickin' a goose. I shouldn't have sensed it, as I
know of, I wuz so dumbfoundered and lost and by
the side of myself.
Sez I, How?"
And sez he, Let the colored race go into a home
and a country of their own. Let them leave the
people and the influences that paralyze and hinder
their best efforts. Let them leave a race that they
burden and hamper and oppress, for injustice reacts
worse upon the victor than upon the victim. The
two races cannot live together harmoniously; they
have tried the experiment for hundreds of years, and
I murmured almost mechanically :
Won't religion and education make 'em har-
But before John Richard could answer my ques-
tion, Eben Garlock come in for the mournin' bundle,
and I gin it to him.
He said he couldn't set down, but still he didn't
seem ready to go
Everybody has such visitors that don't want to
go and don't want to stay, and you have to use
head work to get 'em started either way.
Eben is different from his wife ; he is more sincere
SAMANIT9,4 ON THE P'ACE PROBLL'M.
and open-hearted, and hain't so affected. He speaks
out more than she duz, and finally he told us what
wuz on his mind.
I see he had on a good new black overcoat, and
the case wuz he wanted to swop with Josiah for the
day of the funeral, and take his old London brown
And I sez, For the land's sake Why ?'
Wall," sez he, a looking' real candid and sincere
as he said it, the fact is, you know the corpse and
I never agreed with each other, and everybody
knows it; and I don't want to act as if I wuz a
mournin' too much. I hate deceit," sez he.
Wall," sez I, "if that is how you feel you can
take the coat in welcome."
And Josiah sez, Yes, of course you can have it."
And Eben took off his glossy new black overcoat
and put on Josiah's old shabby brown one and sot
off. And I don't know how he and his wife settled
it, and I don't much care.
Wall, if you'll believe it, Eben hadn't much more'n
got into his buggy at the gate when Cousin John
Richard began agin, took up his remarks jest where
he had laid 'em down. I don't spoze he sensed Eben's
coming' in hardly any.
I spoze it wuz some as if a fly should light on the
nose of a Fourth of July oritor, it would be brushed
off without noticin' it, and the oration would go
Sez John Richard, All the religion and educa-
tion in the world cannot make the two races unite
harmoniously and become one people, with kindred
tastes and united hearts and interests."
38 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
Sez I agin, speaking' mechanically, You think the
foot is too big for the shoe ?"
Yes, exactly," sez he. "The shoe is a good
sound one, but the foot is too big; it won't go
"But," sez I, "as Josiah remarked to you, wouldn't
it cost awfully ?"
Will it cost any less ten years from now ? The
colored population of the South increases at the rate
of five hundred every twenty-four hours.
By the most careful estimates it has been found
that in less than twenty years the black race will out-
number the whites to the number of a million.
What will be done then ? Will the white man leave
this country to make room for the negro ? It is plain
that there will not beroom for both."
And I murmured almost entirely onbeknown to
myself, No, I don't spoze he would."
"No, indeed," sez Cousin John Richard. "The
Anglo-Saxon will not leave this country, his in-
heritance, for the sake of peace or to make room
for another race; then what will be done? I hear
the voice of the Lord," sez John Richard solemnly,
"I hear His voice saying, 'Let my people go.'"
The silence seemed solemn ; it seemed some like the
pauses that come in a protracted meeting' between
two powerful speakers. I felt queer.
But I did speak up almost entirely onbeknown to
myself, and sez I, "Could they take care of
themselves in a colony of their own? Do they
know enough ?"
Sez John Richard, "A race that has accumulated
property to the extent of six millions of dollars in
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
one Southern State since the war, under all the
well-nigh unendurable drawbacks and persecutions
that have beset it, will be able, I believe, to at least
do as much, when these hampering and oppressive
influences are withdrawn and the colored man has a
clear field, in an atmosphere of strength and courage
and encouragement-where in this air of liberty he
can enjoy the rewards of his labor and behold the
upbuilding of his race.
And what a band of missionaries and teachers
will go out from this new republic, upon every side
of them, in darkest Africa, to preach the peaceful
doctrine of the cross !
In these same dark forests, where their ances-
'tors were hewn down and shot down like so many
wild beasts, and dragged, maimed and bleeding, to
become burden, bearers and chained slaves to an
Under the same dim shadows of these lofty
trees will these men stand and reveal to the igno-
rant tribes the knowledge they learned in the tortur-
ing school of slavery.
The dark baptism wherewith they were baptized
will set them apart and fit them for this great work.
They will speak with the fellowship of suffering
which touches hearts and enkindles holy flames.
Their teachings will have the supreme consecra-
tion of agony and martyrdom. They will speak
with the pathos of grief, the earnestness and knowl-
edge .born through suffering and 'the constant
anguish of patience.'
It is such agencies as these that God has always
blessed to the upbuilding of His kingdom, And
40 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
,will not the dwarfed natures about them gradually
be transformed by the teachings of these apostles
into a civilized, God-fearing people ?
Methinks the dark faces of these apostles will
shine with the glowing image of God's love and
providence-the providence that watched over
" THE DARK FACES OF THESE APOSTLES."
them and kept them in a strange land, and then
brought them back in safety, fitted to tell the story
of God's love and power, and His mercy that had
redeemed them and made them free.
And when the lowest and most unknowing one
shall ask, Who are these?' methinks the answer
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
will be as it was to St. John : These are they who
come out of great tribulations.' "
I wuz demute, and didn't say nuthin', and John
Richard sez, in a deep axent and a earnest one,
" But will this Government be warned by past
judgments and past experience and be wise in time ?
I don't know," sez he, a answerin' himself ; for
truly I didn't know what to say nor how to say it.
You spoke just now of the expense. It will cost
less now to avert an evil than it will cost for its over-
throw, when time, and national follies, and men's
bad passions, and inevitable causes have matured it,
and the red cloud has burst in its livid fury over a
doomed land. But time will tell.
But while delays go on, the mills of the gods
are grinding on; time nor tide cannot stop them.
And if this nation sits down at its ease for a decade
longer, woe to this republic !"
I wuz so thrilled, and skairt, and enthused by
Cousin John Richard's eloquence and strange and
fiery words and flowery language that when I sort
o' come to myself I looked up, a expecting' to see
Josiah bathed in tears, for he weeps easy.
But even as I looked, I heard a low, peaceful
snore. And I see that Josiah Allen had so fur for-
got good manners and what wuz due to high princi-
ples and hospitality as to set there fast asleep.
Yes, sleeping' as sweet as a babe in its mother's arms.
I looked mortified, I know.
But Cousin John Richard took it all historically-
nuthin' personal could touch him, so it seemed.
And sez he to me. There is a fair instance of
what I have told you, cousin-a plain illustration
42 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
of the indifference and unbelief of the North as to
the state of affairs in the Southern States."
Wall," sez I, Josiah has been broke of his rest
some during' the year with newraligy, and you must
overlook it in him."
And, wantin' to change the subject, I asked him
if he wouldn't like a glass of new milk before retiring'
and goin' to bed.
And he said he would; and I brung it in to him
with a little plate of crackers on a tray. And as I
come by Josiah Alien I made calculation ahead to
hit him axidentally on his bald head with my el-
And he started up, with his face nearly covered
with smiles and mortification, and sez he :
That last remark of yours, Cousin John Rich-
ard, wuz very convincin' and eloquent'"
The remark wuz, I like new milk very much."
But I wouldn't throw that milk into his face.
And Cousin John received the milk and the remark
And I kep' them two men down on to relations,
and sheep, and such like subjects till I got 'em off to
I give John Richard a good dose of spignut syrup,
for he complained of a sore throat, and he wuz
hoarse as a frog. Good land! I should have
thought he would be, talking' as much, as he had,
and eloquent too. '
Eloquence is dretful tuckerin'; I know well its
effects on the system, though mebby I hadn't ort
to be the one to say it.
Wall, in the morning' 'Cousin John Richard wuz
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
weak as a cat. All tired out. He couldn't hardly
get round. And I made him lay down on the lounge
in the setting' room, and I give him spignut syrup
once a hour most all day, and kep' him warm, and
lumps of maple sugar for his cough.
And by night he seemed like a new man-that
spignut syrup is wonderful ; few people know the
properties of it.
Wall, Josiah and I both took such a likin' to that
good onselfish eloquent creeter that we prevailed on
him to stay a week with us right along.
And we took him to see the children, and Josiah
took him up to Uncle Thomas'es, and Cousin So-
phronia's on his own side, and we done well by him.
And I fixed up his clothes with Philury's help-
they wuz good ones, but they needed a woman.
But we mended 'em and rubbed 'em up with am-
monia where it wuz needed, and they wuz in good
condition when he went back to his work.
Good land! wild oxen, nor camels, nor nuthin'
couldn't have kep' him from that field" of hisen.
But when it come the morning' for him to leave, he
hated to go-hated to like a dog.
And we hated to have him go, we liked him the
best that ever wuz. And we tried to make him
promise to come to see us agin. But he seemed to
feel dubersome about it; he said he would have to
go where his work called him.
His biznessio ow up North wuz to see about some
money that had been subscribed for a freedmen's
school and meeting' house. But he promised to write
to us now and then, and he spoke with deep feeling'
about the "sweet rest he had had there," and
44 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
how he never should forget it ; he talked real elo-
quent about it, and flowery, but he meant every
word, we could see he did.
It happened curius about the chapter Josiah read
that mornin'-he most always reads the first one he
opens to. And it wuz the one where Paul tells
about his hard work and trials, and how the Lord
had brought him out of 'em all.
How he wuz beaten with rods, and stunned, and
wuz in perils of waters, and perils by his own coun-
trymen, and perils by the heathen, and in the wilder-
ness, and amongst false brethren, in weariness, and
painfulness, and hunger and thirst, and cold and
And how he gloried in his weakness and infirmi-
ties, if so God's strength should be made perfect
and His will be accomplished.
I declare for it, I couldn't help thinki-n' of Cousin
John Richard, though mebby it hain't right to com-
pare one of our relations to Paul, and then agin I
didn't spoze Paul would care. I knew they both
on 'em wuz good, faithful, earnest creetrs any-
Then Cousin John Richard prayed a prayer that
almost caught us up to the gates of Paradise, it wuz
so full of heavenly love, and tenderness, and affec-
tion for us, and devotion to his work, and every-
thing good, and half saintly.
And then most imegiatly he went away on the
And at the very last, when most every other man
would be -a thinking' of umberells or shawl straps, he
took our hands in hisen and sez ;
SAMANTIHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM. 45
Stand fast.in the faith be strong !", And then
he bid us good-bye, and God bless us !" and wuz
Good, faithful, hard-workin' creeter. The views
he had promulgated to us wuz new and startlin', and
Josiah and he couldn't agree on 'em; but where is
there two folks who think alike on every subject?
But whether they wuz true or false, I knew that
John Richard believed every word he had said
about the state of affairs in the South.
"WITH PHILURY'S HELP."
OSIAH had to go to Shackville with a
hemlock saw log that day, so he went off
most imegiatly after Cousin John Rich-
And I resoomed the occupation I had
laid down for the last week, and did a
big day's work, with Philury's help, a cleaning'
But I had a good warm supper when my compan-
ion returned. I always will, work or no work,
have meals on time, and good ones too-though I
oughtn't to boast over such doin's.
We had cleaned the kitchen that day, papered it
all over new and bright, and put down three
breadths of a new rag carpet, acrost the west end.
And I had put up some pretty new curtains of
cream-colored and red cheese cloth, one breadth of
SAAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
each to a winder, and looped 'em back with some
red lute-string ribbon.
And I had hung my canary-cage in between the
two south winders, over the stand of house plants ;
and the plants had done dretful well, they wuz in
And then I brung in the two big easy-chairs cov-
ered with handsome new copper plate-one for
Josiah and one for me.
And when I had set the supper-table, covered
with a snowy cloth, in front of the south winders,
the place looked well. We had took the carpet up
in the dinin' room and had to set the table there.
But it looked well enough for anybody.
And havin' had Philury to do the heaviest of the
work, I didn't feel so very beat out, and I changed
my dress and sot quiet and peaceful and very calm
in my frame a waiting' for my companion, while the
grateful odor of broiled chicken, and cream biscuit,
and the rich coffee riz up and permeated the room.
Josiah duz love a cup of hot, fragrant coffee with
cream into it when he has been to work in the cold
all day. And it wuz quite cold for the time of year.
Wall, I had put on a good new gingham dress and
a white apron, and I had a lace ruffle round my
neck; and though- I hain't vain, nor never wuz
called so, only by the envious, still I knew I looked
And I could read this truth in my companion's
eyes as he come home cold and cross and hungry-
come into that warm, pleasant room and into the
presence of his devoted pardner.
At once and imegiatly his cares, his crossness,
48 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
and his troubled mean dropped from him like a gar-
ment he wuz tired of, and he felt well.
And his appetite was good-excellent.
And it wuzn't till after the dishes wuz all washed
up, and we wuz a setting' on each side of the stand,
which had a bright cloth and a clean lamp on it, I
with my knittin' work and he with his World, that he
resoomed and took up the conversation about Cousin
John Richard's beliefs.
And I see, jest what I had seen, that as well as he
liked John Richard, that worthy creeter had not
convinced him ; and he even felt inclined, now the
magnetism of his presence wuz withdrawn, to pow
at his earnest beliefs and sentiments.
I waved off Josiah's talk ; I tried to evade his elo-
quence (or what he called eloquence). For some-
how John Richard's talk had made more impression
onto me than it had onto Josiah, and I could not
bear to hear the cherished beliefs of that good man
set all to naut.
So I tried to turn off Josiah's attention by allusions
to the tariff, the calves, the national debt, to Ury's
new suit of clothes, to the washboard, to Tirzah
Ann's married life, and to the excellencies and beau-
ties of our two little granddaughters Babe and Snow
-Tirzah Ann's and Thomas Jefferson's little girls.
But though this last subject wuz like a shinin' bait,
and he ketched on it and hung there for some time,
a descantin' on the rare excellencies of them two
wonderful children, yet anon, or nearly so, he wrig-
gled away from that glitterin' bait and swung back
to the subject that he had heard descanted on so
powerfully the night John Richard come.
SAMANTHA ON TITE RACE PROBLEM.
And in spite of all my nearly frenzied but peaceful
efforts-for when he wuz so tired and beat out I
wouldn't use voyalence-he would resoom the sub-
And sez he for the third or fourth time :
John Richard is a crackin' good feller-they
most all of 'em are that are on my side-but for all
that I don't believe a word of what he said about the
I kep' demute, and wouldn't say what I did be-
lieve or what I didn't, for I felt tired some myself;
and I felt if he insisted and went on, I should be led
into arguin' with him.
For Cousin John Richard's talk had fell into mel-
ler ground in my brain, and I more than mistrusted
it wuz a springin' up there onbeknown to me.
Josiah Allen and I never did, and I spoze never
will, think alike about things, and I am fur more
mejum than he is.
And then he sort o' satisfies himself by looking' at
one side of a idee, while I always want to walk
round it and see what is on the other side on it, and
turn it over and see what is under it, etc., etc.
But anon he bust out agin, and his axent was one
that must be replied to; I felt it wouldn't do to
ignore it any longer.
Sez he, I am dead sick of all this talk about the
Then why," sez I, mildly but firmly, why do
you insist on talking' on it ?"
I want to tell you my feeling's sez he.
Sez I, I know 'em, Josiah Allen."
And then I sot demute, and hoped I had averte
50 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
the storm-or, ruther, I would call it the squall,
for I didn't expect a hard tempest, more of a drizzle.
So I knit fast, and sot in hope.
But anon he begun agin :
I am sick on't. I believe more'n half the talk is
for effect. I don't believe the South is a bleedin';
I hain't seen no blood. I don't believe the niggers
are a rizen, I hain't seen 'em a getting' up. I believe
it is all folderol."
And then I sez, a looking' up from my knittin'
Be mejum, Josiah Allen ; you don't live there.
You hain't so good a judge as if you lived in the
South ; you hain't so good a judge as John Richard
is, for he has lived right there."''
And he snapped out real snappish :
Wall, there is lots of places I never lived in,
hain't there ? But anybody can know sunthin',
whether they live anywhere or not."
But I kep' on real mejum and a talking' deep rea-
son, I know vell.
When anybody is a passing' through deep waters,
Josiah Allen, they can feel the cold waves and the
chill as nobody can who is on dry land."
And then Josiah said them inflammatory words
agin that he had hurled at the head of John Rich-
ard, and that had gaulded him so. He sez in a loud,
defiant axent, Oh shaw !"
And I sez, "You hain't there, Josiah Allen, and
you hain't so well qualified to shaw, and shaw ac-
cordin' to principle, as if you wuz there."
Wall, I say, and contend for it," sez he, almost
hptly, "that there is too much dumb talk. Why
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
don't the niggers behave
themselves, and why don't the
Southerners treat 'em as I
treat Ury ?
Ury has worked for me
upwards of seven years, and
he hain't riz, has he? And
I hain't been a howlin' at him,
and a whippin' him, and a <
shooting' at him, and a ridin' /
him out on a rail, and a burnin'
him to the stake if he wouldn't vote me in Presi-
dent; and he hain't been a massecreein' us, not that
I have ever hearn on, or a rapinin' round, and I
hain't rapined Philury, have I ?
If there is any truth in these stories, why don't
the South foller on and do as I do? That would
end their troubles to once.
Let the Southerners act as I do, and the niggers
act like Ury, and that would end up the Race Prob-
lem pretty sudden."
Sez I, in pretty lofty axents, for I begun to feel
eloquent and by the side of myself, How many
generations has it took to make you honest and con-
siderate, and Ury faithful and patient? How long
has it took, Josiah Allen ?"
Why, about seven years or thereabouts. He
come in the middle of winter, and now it is spring."
Sez I, It has took hundreds and hundreds of
years, Josiah Allen."
And I went on more noble and deep :
Ury's parents and grandparents, and back as
fur as he knows, wuz good, hard-workin', honest
52 SAMIANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
men-so wuz yours. You are both the children of
freedom and liberty. You haven't been saddled
with a burden of ignorance and moral and physical
helplessness and want. He has no lurid back-
ground of abuse and wrongs and arrogance to in-
flame his fevered fancies.
You might as well say that you could gather as
good grain d6wn in your old swamp that has never
been tilled sence the memory of man, as you can in
your best wheat field, that has been ploughed, and
harrowed, and enriched for year after year.
The old swamp can be made to yield good grain,
Josiah Alien, but it has got to be burned over, and
drained, and ploughed, and sown with good grain.
There is a Hand that is able to do this, Josiah
Allen. And," sez I, looking' off some distance be-
yend him and Jonesville, there is a Hand that I be-
lieve is a dealing' with that precious soil in which
saints and heroes are made, and where the beauteous
flower of freedom blows out.
"Has not the South been ploughed with the
deep plough of God's purpose-burned with the
lightning' of His own meaning enriched with the
blood of martyrs and heroes? Has not the cries of
His afflicted ones rose to the heavens while onbe-
known to 'em the chariot of Freedom wuz march-
in' down towards the Red Sea, to go ahead on 'em
through the dretful sea of bloodshed and tribula-
tions, while the black clouds of battle riz up and hid'
the armies of Slavery and Freedom, hid the oppress-
ors and the oppressed ?
But the sea opened before 'em, and they passed
through on dry land.
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
Now they are encamped in the wilderness, and
the tall, dark shapes of Ignorance and Hereditary
Weakness and Vice are a stalkin' along by their
sides, and covering' 'em with their black shadows.
The stumps are thick in their way.. The old trees
of Custom and Habit, though their haughty tops
may have been cut off a little by the lightning' of
war, yet the black, solid, onbroken stumps stand
thick in their way-so thick they can't force their
way through 'em-and the black mud of Open
Enmity, and Arrogance, and Prejudice is on one side
of 'em, and on the other the shiftin', treacherous
quicksands of Mistaken Counsel.
Their way is blocked up, and the light is dim
over their heads. Religion and Education is the
light that is goin' ahead on 'em ; but that piller of
fire is some ways ahead of 'em, and its rays are
hindered by the branchin' shadows over their heads.
And who will be the Moses to lead 'em out of this
wilderness into their own land ?"
I wuz almost entirely by the side of myself with
deep emotions of pity and sympathy and a desire to
help 'em, and I felt riz up, too, in my mind-awful
riz up-and I spoke out agin, entirely onbeknown to
Who will be the Moses to lead 'em into the
Promised Land ?"
"Wall, it won't be me," sez Josiah. "I am
goin' out to bed down the horses."
I wuz took aback, and brung down too sudden
from the Mount of Eloquence I had been standing'
And I put on my nightcap and went to bed.
54 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
Now, I don't spoze you would believe it-most
anybody wouldn't-but the very next morning' Josiah
Allen resoomed and took up that conversation agin,
that I fondly hoped he had thrown down for good
when he so suddenly departed to the horse barn.
But if you can believe it, before I got breakfast
ready, while he was a wipin' his hands to the sink
on the roller towel, he broke out agin as fresh seem-
ingly in debate as ever.
If I had mistrusted it ahead I should have made
extra preparation for breakfast, for the purpose of
quellin' him down, but I hadn't dreamed of his re-
soomin' it agin; and I only got my common run of
brekfasses, though it wuz very good and appe-
I had some potatoes warmed up in cream, and
some lamb-chops broiled brown and yet juicy, some
hot muffins light as a feather, and some delicious
coffee-it wuz good enough for a King or a Zar-
but then it wuzn't one of my choice efforts, for prin-
ciple's sake, which I often have to make in the
cooking' line, and-good land !-which every other
human woman has to make who has a man to deal
We can't vote, and we have to do sunthin' or
other to get our own way.
Wall, as I wuz a sayin'. he broke out anew, and
sez he :
I am sick, as a dog of all this talk about the Race
And then agin I uttered them wise words I had
spoken the night before ; they wuz jest heavy with
wisdom if he had only known it; and sez I :
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
What makes you keep a bringing' it up, then
and a talking' about it ?"
And agin he sez, He done it to let me know
how he felt about it."
And agin I sez, I knew it before."
And I silently but smoothly poured my sweet
cream over my sliced potatoes, and turned my lamb-
chops and drawed my coffee forwards so it would
come to a bile.
And he repeated, I believe in lettin' things
alone that don't consarn us; it hain't none of our
And seeing' he wuz bound on talking' on it, why, I
felt a feeling' that I must roust up and set him right
where I see he wuz wrong ; I see it was my duty as
a devoted pardner. And so, after we had got down
to the table, and he sez agin in more powerful and
even high-headed axents, that it wuz none of our
bizness," then I spunked up and sez, It seems to
me, Josiah Allen, that the cause of eternal truth is
always our bizness."
Oh, wall it hain't best to meddle; that is my
idee, and that is my practice. Don't you know that
when Ury had that fight with Sam Shelmadine, I
said I wouldn't either make nor break? I said I
won't meddle, and I didn't meddle. It wuzn't my
But you found it wuz your bizness before you
got through with it-you lost Ury's help six weeks
in your hurryenst time, when he wuz away to the
lawsuit, etc., etc. And it made Philury sick, and you
and I had to be up with her more or less, and you
took cold there one night, and had a sickness that
-J~a"~il 'I/I I~;
6-( cI '
'WHEN URY HAD THAT FIGHT WITH SAM."
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM
lasted you for weeks and almost killed you; and if
you had died," sez I in deep tones of affection and
pathos, if you had left your devoted pardner for-
ever, could you have looked me in the face and said
that this trouble of theirs wuzn't nuthin' that affect-
ed us ? No; when a black cloud comes up the sky
you can't tell where the lightning' is a goin' to hit-
whether it will strike saint or sinner." I see he
wuz affected by my tender and eloquent allusion to
his passing' away ; for a moment he looked softened
and almost as if he wuz a goin' to lay down the
argument somewhere and leave it there. But anon
his linement clouded up, and he assumed the ex-
pression of doggy obstinacy his sect knows so well
how to assume, and sez he:
But this is sunthin' entirely different. There
hain't no earthly possibility that this nigger question
can affect us one way or another; there hain't no
way for it to,"' sez he.
Sez I, Hain't you got a heart, Josiah Alien, to
help others who are in trouble and jeopardy, and
don't know which way to turn to get the right
I have got a heart to help Number One-to help
Josiah Allen-and I have got a heart to mind my
own bizness, and I am a goin' to."
And he passed over his cup agin for the third
cup of coffee. That man drinks too much coffee-it
hain't good for him; but I can't help it; and my
coffee is delicious anyway, and the cream is thick
and sweet, and he loves it too well, as I say ; but as
good as it wuz, it couldn't draw his mind from his
58 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
Sez he agin, in louder axents and more decideder
There hain't no possible way that we can be
affected by the Race Problem one way or another."
And I begun to feel myself a growing' real elo-
quent. I don't love to get so eloquent that time of
the day, but mebby it wuz the effect of that gauldin'
tone of hisen. Anyway, I sez :
"It is impossible to guard one's self against the
effects of a mighty wrong.
The links that weld humanity together are such
curius ones, wove out of so many strands, visible
and invisible, strong as steel and relentless as death,
and that reach out so fur, so fur on every side, how
can any one tell whether a great strain and voya-
lence inflicted on the lowest link of that chain may
not shatter and corrode and destroy the very high-
est and brightest one ?
The hull chain of humanity is held in one hand,
and we are bein' pulled along by that mighty, inex-
orable hand into we know not what.
The link that shines the brightest to-day may be
rusty to-morrow, the strongest one may be torn in
pieces by some sudden and voyalent wrench, or
some slow, wearing' strain coming' from beneath.
How can we tell, and how dast we say that a
evil that affects one class of humanity can never
reach us-how do we know it won't ?"
Because we do know it !" hollered Josiah. I
know it is jest as I tell you, that that dumb nigger
question can't never touch us anyway. I:ve said
it, and I'll stick to it."
But I still felt real eloquent, and I went right on
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
and drew some metafors, as I most always do when
I get to goin', I can't seem to help it.
Sez I, The temperate man may say the liquor
question will never affect him, but some day he
gathers his sober children about him, and finds one
is missin'-the pet of them all driven down in the
street to death by a drunken driver.
"A Christian woman sez, 'This question of So-
cial Purity cannot affect me, for I am pure and come
from a pure ancestry.' But there comes a day
when she finds the lamb of her flock overtaken and
slain by this evil she thought could never touch her.
The rich capitalist sets back in his luxurious
chair and reads of the grim want that is howlin'
about the hovels of the poor laborers, the deaths by
exposure and starvation. The graves of these
starved victims seem fur off to him. They can
never affect him, he thinks, so fur is he removed in
his luxurious surrounding's from all sights of woe
But even as he sets there thinking' this, in his
curtained ease, a bullet aimed by the gaunt, fren-
zied hand of some starvin' child of labor strikes his
heart, and he finds in death the same level that the
victims of want found by starvation.
The mighty chain of humanity has drawn 'em
on together, the high and the low, down to the
equality of the grave.
The hull chain of humanity is held in one hand
anyway, and is beyond our control in its conse-
And how dast we to say with blind confidence
that we know thus and so; that the evils that affect
60 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
our brothers will not some time come to us; that the
shadows that lay so heavy on their heads will not
some time fall on us ?"
They hain't our brothers," hollered out Josiah
in fearful axents. He wuzn't melted down at all by
my eloquent remarks ; no, fur from it.
"They hain't my brothers, and I know these
dumb doin's in the South won't affect us, nor can't,
and you can't make it," sez he.
The idee of my wantin' to But that is the nater
of men-wantin' to say sunthin' to kinder blame a
female. And truly he acted mad as a hen to think
I should venter to talk back, or even speak on the
Oh, short-sighted man that he wuz-when the
darkness wuz even then gathering' in the distance
onbeknown to us, to take the shape of the big
shadow that wuz to fall on his poor old heart and
mine-the shadow reaching' from the Southern sky
even unto the North, and that would blot out all the
sunshine for us for many and many a weary day,
and that we must set down under for all the rest of
our lives !
But I am a eppisodin'.
ALL, it never rains but it pours,
duz it? And it has been my
experience during' quite a mid-
dlin' long life (jest how long,
hain't no matter, as I know on, to anybody but
the man who takes our senses).
But as I wuz sayin', it has always been my ex-
perience that if company gets to coming' either on
my side or hisen, they keep a coming .
And it wuz only a short time after John Richard's
departure and exodus that I got a letter from a
aunt on my side kinder askin' and proposin' to have
her daughter Melinda Ann come to Jonesville to
make us a long visit.
And only a little while after this, one of hisen writ
to the same effect.
62 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
And we had 'em both here to one time.
It wuz hard, but it seemed providential, and
couldn't be helped, and it worked out a unexpected
good in the end that paid us some for it. But I
wouldn't go through it agin for a dollar bill.
You see the way on't is, I sot out in married life
determined to do as well or better by the relations
on his side than I did by them on my own side. I
wuz bound -to do well by the hull on 'em, jest
But I made up my mind like iron that I would
stand more, take more sass, be more obleegin', and
suffer and be calm more from hisen than from mine,
and I would do awful; awful well by both sides.
And it wuz these beliefs carried out and spread
out into practice that' caused my agonies and my
suffering's that I went through for weeks.
The way on't wuz, I had a letter from the city
from my great-aunt Melinda Lyons, a tellin' me that
her oldest girl, Melinda Ann (a old maiden), wuz
all run down with nervous prostration, nervous fits
and things, and she asked me if I would be willing' to
have her come down into the country and stay a
few weeks with me.
Wall, Aunt Melinda had done a good many good
turns by me when I wuz a girl, and then I' set quite
a good deal of store by Melinda Ann, she and I wuz
jest about of a age, and I talked it over with Josiah,
and we give our consents and writ the letter, and
the next week Melinda Ann come on, bag and bag-
gage. A leather trunk and a bag for baggage.
Wall, we found Melinda Ann wuz very good dispo-
sitioned and a Christian, but hard to get along with.
Ak o, a,/"
MELINDA HAS A FIT.
64 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
The least thing we could do or say that wuz not
jest so would throw her into a fit-a nervous fit you
know-she would have spazzums, and all sally
away, and faint like, and act.
And then I would have to soothe her with cat-
nip, and bring her up with mustard poultices, and
apply a soap-stone to her.
Why, one night Josiah happened to throw he
bootjack down kinder hard (he had a corn and hit
it, bein' the cause).
Wall, I stood over Melinda more'n two hours
after that, three poultices bein' applied in vain for
relief, till arneky softened the blow to her.
And one night the slats came out of the hired
man's bed, jest acrost the hall from hern, and it
took more'n a quart of catnip to make her hull
And the cat fell through the suller winder-we
have got a blind cat that acts like fury, always a fall-
in' round and a prowlin'-wall, I thought Melinda
Ann would'never come to.
She thought it wuz Injuns; and the cat did
scream awful, I'll admit; it fell onto some tin ware
piled up onto a table under the winder, and it skairt
even the cat almost to death, so you can imagine
the condition it throwed Melinda into. I thought it
wuz ghosts, and so did Josiah, and felt riz up in my
mind and full of or.
But I am a eppisodin', and to resoom.
Wall, I guess Melinda Ann had been there about
a week, and as well as I liked Aunt Melinda, and as
well as I loved duty, I wuz a beginning' to feel per-
fectly beat out and fearfully run down in my mind
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
and depressed, for fits is depresstin', no matter how
much duty and nobility of soul you may bring to
bear onto 'em, or catnip.
Wall, I wuz a beginning' to look bad, and so wuz
Josiah, although Josiah, though I am fur from ap-
provin' of his course, yet it is the truth that he
seemed to find some relief in givin' vent to his feel-
in's out on one side, and blowin' round and groanin'
out to the barn and in the woodhouse, more than I
did, who took it calm, and considered it a dispensa-
tion from the first, and took it as such.
Wall, if you'll believe it, right on the top of these
suffering's come a letter from a relation of Josiah's, a
widowed man by the name of Peter Tweedle.
He wuz a distant relation of Josiah Allen-lived
about two hundred miles away.
He writ that he wuz lonesome-he had lost his
companion for the third time, and it wore on him.
He felt that the country air would do him good.
(We found out afterwards that he had rented his
house sence his bereavement and had lived in a
boarding-house, and had been warned out by the
crazed landlady and the infuriated boarders, owing
to reasons which will appear hereafter, and had to
Wall, he wanted to come and visit round to our
house first, and then to the other relations.
And I sez to myself, it is one of 'em on his side,
and not one word will I say agin the idee, not if
I fall down in my tracks.
And Josiah was so kinder beat out with Melinda,
and depressed and wore out by havin' to go -round'
in his stockin' feet so much and whisperin', that he
66 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
said, That any change would be a agreeable one,
and he should write for Peter to come."
And I, buoyed up by my principle, never said a
word agin the idee, only jest this:
Think well on it, Josiah Allen, before you make
And sez Josiah, It will be a comfort to make a
move of any kind."
He had been kep' awful still, I'll admit. But I
couldn't see how it wuz goin' to make it any better
to have another relation let in, on whomsoever's side
Howsomever, I see that Josiah wuz determined,
and I felt a delicacy about interferin', known' well
that I had one of the relations on my own side in
the house. Who wuz I, I sez to myself-who be
I, to set up agin hisen? No, I never will. So the
letter of acceptance wuz writ, and in less than a
week's time Peter Tweedle come.
We spozed he would bring a satchel bag with
him; mebby a big -one, but-good land! Josiah
had to go after his baggage with the Democrat
wagon. We see he had come to stay; it wuzn't a
evenescent visit, but a long campane.
We didn't know at the time that they wuz most all
musical instruments; we thought they wuz clothes.
I see a black shadder come over my companion's
face as he shouldered the fifth trunk and took itup
two flights of stairs into the attick.
He had filled the bedroom and hall.
Wall, I guess Peter Tweedle hadn't been in the
house over half an hour before he walked up to the
organ and asked me if it wuz in good repair.
SAMANTIIA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
I sez, I guess so."
Sez he, How many banks of reeds is in it ?"
I sez, I don't know."
Sez he, Have you any objections to my trying'
I sez, No."
Sez he, Sence my last affliction I have turned
my mind agin towards music, I find it soothes." Sez
he, "After my first bereavement I took up the
pickelo-I still play on it at intervals; I learned
that and the snare drum during' them dark hours,"
sez he. And I still play on 'em in lonesome mo-
ments. I have 'em both with me," sez he.
Durin' my next affliction I learned the clari-
net, the fife, and the base violin. Now," sez he,
"I am turning' my mind onto the brass horn in
various keys. But I have brought all my instru-
ments with me," sez he, in a encouraging' axent.
" I frequently turn from one to another. When I
get lonesome in the night," sez he, I frequently
run from one to another till I have exhausted the
capabilities of each, so to speak."
I sithed and couldn't help it, but I held firm on
the outside, and he turned to the organ.
"I love the organ," sez he; and with that he sot
down on the music-stool, opened up all the loud
bases, the double octave coupler, blowed hard, and
bust out in song.
Wall, it all come jest as sudden onto Melinda as a
thunder-clap out of a parlor ceilin', or a tornado out
of a teacup, it wuz as perfectly unexpected and on-
looked for as they would be, and jest as skairful.
For this wuz one of her bad days, and bein' a old
68 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
maid, we thought mebby it would excite her too
much to know a widower wuz in the house, so we
had kep' it from her.
And the first intimation she had of Peter'ses pres-
ence wuz this awful loud blast of sound.
His voice wuz loud in the extreme, and it wuz
" Coronation" he bust out in.
He is pious, there hain't a doubt on't, but still
" Coronation" is the loudest him in the him-book.
Wall, the very first time he blasted forth I knew
jest as well as I knew afterwards what the result
I hastened upstairs, and there she wuz, there sot
Melinda Ann in a fit; she hadn't had time to get
onto the bed, and there she sot bolt upright in her
rockin' chair in a historical fit. We had better let
her known he wuz there.
Wall, I histed her onto the bed as quick as I
could, and hollered down the back stairs for catnip.
And as soon as I had brung her to a little, she
would clench right into me, and groan and choke,
and sort o' froth to the mouth.
And I',ll be hanged if I didn't feel like it myself,
for right down under our feet I heard that loud,
thunderin' organ, for his legs wuz strong, and he
But yet so curius is human nater, specially
wimmen's human nater-right there in my agony I
couldn't help bein' proud o' that instrument. I had
no idee, I said to myself, not a idee, that it had such
a volume of sound.
But loud as it wuz, Peter'ses clarion voice rung
out loud and high above it.
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
It wuz a fearful time, very. But even at that
moment I sez to myself agin :
He is a relation on his side-be calm !" and I
"IT WUZ HOLD THE FORT' HE BELCHED OUT IN."
Wall, I rubbed Melinda Ann and explained it to
her, and poulticed her, and got her kinder settled
And I see it took up her mind some. She didn't
seem to dislike it now, after the first shock wuz over.
And I left her propped up on her piller a listening ,
and went down and got supper.
7o SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
Wall, it wuz all I could do to get that man away
from the instrument long enough to eat.
He seemed to be kinder absent-minded and lost
like till he got back to it agin.
Wall, it had been still for some time ; you couldn't
hear a thing from the dinin' room up in Melinda's
room. And when he bust out agin imegiatly after
supper, it wuz too much, too much, for I spoze she
had been in a drowze.
It wuz Hold the Fort" he belched out in, with
all the steam on. He had a way, Peter had, of bust-
in' out loudest when he begun, and then kinder
dwindle down towards the last of the piece. (But it
wuz one of 'em on his side, and I didn't murmur,
not out loud, I didn't.)
Wall, I knew what wuz before me at the first vol-
ley of sound. I sez to myself:
Melinda Ann Melinda Ann !" and hurried up-
And there she wuz layin' back on her piller with
her eyes rolled up in her head and fixed, and her
Wall, I brung her to agin after a long and tejds
process, and then agin I see that she sort o' enjoyed
it; and I left her propped up and went down and
helped do up the work.
Wall, Peter never stopped playing' till a late bedtime.
And then I might have slept some at first, only
Josiah begun a noise where he left off, a scoldin' and
And oh my suffering's that I suffered with that
man. I reminded him that Peter wuz a relation on
his side-no avail.
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
I brung up his lonesome state.
Josiah said, He'd ought to be lonesome He'd
ought to be fur away in the middle of the desert or
on a island in the depths of the seas. Alone
He raved, he swore, he said, Dumb him !" re-
You see Josiah hated music anyway, only the
very softest, lowest kind ; and Peter'ses wuz powerful
-powerful and continuous.
But I reminded Josiah Alien in the cause of duty
that he had complained that the house wuz too still
sence MelindJa Ann had come, and he wanted a
I never wanted to be in a Lunatick Asylum," sez
he; I didn't hanker for Bedlam," he yelled.
Wall, suffice it to say that I never got a wink of
sleep till past midnight. And mebby it wuz about
one o'clock, when all of a sudden we wuz all waked
up by a low, rumblin' noise, strange and weird.
My first thought was a earthquake, and then a
But Josiah Allen had waked up first and got his
senses before I did, and sez he :
It is that dumb fool a playing' on a base viol."
And that wuz what it proved to be. He had got
lonesome in the night, and got up and onpacked the
base viol, and wuz playing' a low, mournful piece on
it, so's not to wake us up.
He said in the morning' that he held it in for that
He is a good-natured creeter, and a mourner,
there hain't no doubt on't, and so I told Josiah,
72 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
And he snapped out enough to take my head off :
"He'd ought to mourn! I mourn," sez he,
" Heaven knows I do. But I shan't mourn after the
first ray of daylight, for I'll take his trunks and throw
'em out doors, and him on top of 'em. And I'll cast
out Melinda Ann like a viper," sez he. I'll empty
the house of the hull crew of fools and lunaticks I'll
do it," sez he, if I have a breath left in my body."
When he sez this I thought of Melinda Ann. Had
she got a breath left? Wuz she alive? Or wuz
she not ?
I jest sprung over Josiah Alien, I trompled on
him, I won't deny it, in my haste to get up, and I
left him groanin' and a sayin' in a low, mournful
That foot could never be stepped on agin by
But I didn't stop to comfort him; no, my mind
wuz too much took up with the relation on my side.
I hastened upstairs, and there wuz my worst fears
Melinda Ann wuz wild as a hen hawk.
She had got the winder up and wuz jest a spring-
in' out. I ketched her by her limb and hollered for
Josiah. Before he got there she had got her hands
clenched into my hair and wuz a trying' to choke me.
But, good land she didn't know what she wuz a
Wall, Josiah Allen by main strength got her into
the house agin, and after a tussle we got her onto
the bed. And then I begun to doctor her up.
But I never tried to go to bed agin that night, for
it wuz daylight before I got her quieted down.
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
Wall, Josiah had to go off that morning' early on
bizness, to be gone all day. And I wuz glad on't,
for I wuz afraid, in spite of all I could do, he would
"I KETCHED HER BY HER LIMB.'
do sunthin' to disgrace himself in the eyes of both
sides. His last words to me wuz :
',' If I find either of them cussed fools in the house
74 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM:
when I get back, I'll burn the house down over their
But I knew he wouldn't, I knew he would quiet
down while he wuz gone, and he did.
But my suffering's through that day can't never be
told or sung. And the martyrs that I called on,
and the groans and sithes that I smothered in my
breast waist, couldn't be told.
But jest as I expected, when Peter first blasted
out on the clarinet loud and strong, riot bein' afraid
of wakin' anybody up, I had to drop everything and
go right up to Melinda Ann. But the attack wuz
light, and, as usual, after she got over the first shock
she enjoyed it.
And I happened to mention-havin' that pride I
have spoke of, of havin' the relations on his side
stand on their best foot before mine-I happened to
mention that Peter got up and played in the night
because he wuz lonesome, and that he said he would
give half his property (he wuz well off) if he had
somebody to play the organ while he played the
I see she grew more meller-lookin' and brightened
up, and she sez :
I used to be a good player."
And if you'll believe it-I don't spoze you will,
for Josiah wouldn't when I told him that night-
But when Josiah Allen came home that night they
wuz a playing' together like a pair of turkle doves,
she a playing' the organ, and he a setting' by her a
tootin', both as happy as kings.
And from that time out she never got skairt agin
when he bust out sudden in song or begun gradual.
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
And her fits grew lighter and lighter and fur sel-
And though our suffering's wuz heavy and severe
to hear that organ and clarinet, or base viol, or
pickelo, or brass horn a goin' day and night, yet I
seemed to see what wuz a coming' on't, and I held
Josiah by main force to stand still and let providen-
tial circumstances have a straight path to move
Wall, after two weeks of suffering' on our part
almost onexampled in history, ancient or modern,
the end come.
Peter Tweedle took Josiah out one side and told
him, as bein' the only male relation Melinda Ann
had handy to get at, that he had it in his mind to
marry her quietly and take her at once to his home
in the city," and he asked Josiah if he had any ob-
And Josiah told me that he spoke out fervently
and earnestly, and sez, "No Heaven knows I
And he urged Peter warm to have the weddin'
sudden and to once, that very day and hour, and
offered to get the minister there inside of twenty
But I wuz bound to have things carried on decent.
So I sot the day most a week off, and I sent for
Aunt Melinda and his children that wuz married,
and the single one, and we had a quiet little wed-
din', or it would have been, only the last thing that
they done in the house before they left wuz to get
the hull crew on 'em to bust out in a weddin' song
loud enough almost to raise the ruff.
76 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
Wall, Peter writ to Josiah that he hadn't been
lonesome sence it took place, not a minute.
And Melinda Ann writ to me that she hadn't had
a fit sence, nor a spazzum.
So, as I told Josiah Allen, our suffering's brung
about good to two lonesome and onhappy and fitty
creeters, and we ort to be thankful when we look
back on our troubles and afflictions with 'em.
And he looked at me enough to take my head off,
if a look could guletine, and sez he :
Thankful! Oh, my gracious Heaven! hear
her Thankful !"
And his tone wuz such that I hain't dasted to
bring up the subject sence. No, I don't dast to,
but I do inside of me feel paid for all I went
PETER AND MELINDA ANN.
S "ALL, it wuzn't more than a few days
after the marriage and departure of
Peter and Melinda Ann, when I got
a letter from Cousin John Richard
-he wuz then in South Carolina, hard at work agin,
literally follerin' the example of Him who went
about doin' good.
The letter wuz writ in pure friendship, and'then
he wanted to find out the ingredients of that spignut
syrup I had give him when he wuz at Jonesville,
his throat wuz a botherin' him agin, and he said that
had helped him.
That is a good syrup, very, though mebby I hadn't
ort to say it. It is one that I made up out of my
own head, and is a success.
Yeller dock, and dandelion roots, and spignut,
steeped up strong, and sweetened with honey.
I sent it to him to once, with some spignut roots by
mail; I wuz afraid he couldn't get 'em in the South.
78 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
And in my letter I asked him out of politeness,
as it were, how he wuz a getting' along colporterin',
and if things looked any brighter to him in the South.
And such a answer as I got-such a letter 5 why,
it wuz a sermon almost. Jest as skairful, jest as
earnest, and jest as flowery as the talk he had talked
to us when he wuz with us.
Why, it fairly sent the cold chills over me as I
'But it added Josiah. He wuz mad as a hen to
hear it, and he said agin that he believed Cousin
John Richard (Josiah knew he wuz jest as good as
gold, and he wouldn't brook a word from anybody
else agin him), but he said he believed he wuz a
losin' his faculties.
He didn't believe a word on't. He didn't believe
there wuz any danger nor any trouble; if folks would
only let the South alone and mind their own biz-
ness, it would get along well enough. But some
folks had always got to be a putterin' around, and
a meddlin', and he shouldn't wonder a mite if John
Richard wuz a doin' jest such a work as that.
And I sez mildly, Sometimes things have to be
meddled with in order to get ahead any."
Wall," sez he, don't you know how, if there
is any trouble in a family, the meddlers and inter-
ferers are the ones that do the most mischief ?"
But," sez I, teaching' religion and distribution'
tracts and spellin' books hadn't ort to do any hurt."
'Wall, I d'no," sez Josiah. I d'no what kind
of tracts he is a circulation mebby they are inflami-
tory. If they are offen a piece with some of his talk
here, I should think the South would ride him out."
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
.And so Josiah went on a running' John Richard's
work and belief down to the lowest notch; and I
wuz glad enough when Deacon Henzy come in on a
errant, for I wuz indeed in hopes that this would
change the subject.
But my hopes, as all earthly expectations are
liable to be, wuz blasted. For Josiah went right on
with his inflamed speeches and his unbelief about
any danger a threatening' the nation from the South.
And I truly found myself in the condition of the
one mentioned in Scripture (only different sex and
circumstances), where it sez the last state of that
man wuz worse than the first. For while my pard-
ner's talk had consisted mostly of the sin of unbelief,
Deacon Henzy's remarks wuz full of a bitter hatred
and horstility towards the ex-slaveholders of the
He truly had no bowels of compassion for 'em,
He come from radical abolitionist stock on both
sides, and wuz brung up under the constant throw-
in' of stuns, throwed by parents and grandparents
at them they considered greater sinners than them,
And Deacon Henzy had gathered up them stuns
and set 'em in a setting' of personal obstinacy and
bigotry, and wore 'em for a breastplate.
And hard it wuz to hit any soft place under them
rocky layers of prejudices inherited and acquired.
And he and his folks before him didn't know
what the word mejum wuz, not by personal experi-
It needed only a word to set him off. Josiab
80 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
spoke that word, and the wheel begun to turn and
grind out denunciations of the Southerners as a
class and as a people.
Oh, how he rolled out big-soundin' terms of
scathin' reproaches and burnin' rebukes, and the
horrible wickedness of one human bein' enslavin'
another one and enrichin' himself on the unpaid
labor of a brother man !
Why, it wuz fairly skairful to hear him go on, fur
skairfuller than Josiah's talk.
He had always talked rampant on the subject I
knew, but as rampant as he had always been he wuz
now fur rampanter than I had ever known him
But as I found out most imegiatly, he wuz agitat-
ed and excited on this occasion almost more than he
could bear, when he first come in.
For he soon went on and told us all about it.
A boy he had took-Zekiel Place by name-had
run away and left him ; or, that is, he had made all
his preparations to go when the Deacon found it out,
and the boy give him the chance of lettin' him go or
keeping' him and payin' him wages for his work.
Now, Deacon Henzy, like so many other human
creeters, wuz so intent on finding' out and stunin'
other folks'es faults, that he didn't have time to set
down and find out about his own sins and stun him-
self, so to speak.
He never had thought, so I spoze, what a hard
master he wuz, and how he had treated Zekiel Place.
But I knew it; and all the while he went on a
talking' about the ignorance and wastefulness and
shiftlessness of this class of boys, and how impossi-
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
ble it wuz to manage 'em and keep 'em down in their
places; how you had to set down on 'em and set
heavy if you didn't want to be bairded to your face
and run over by 'em ; how if you give 'em an inch
they would take a ell, and destroy and waste more
than their necks wuz worth," etc., etc., etc.-
All the while he wuz a goin' on and a sayin' all this
I kep' up a thinking for I knew that Zekiel was a
middlin' good boy, and had been misused by the
Deacon, so I had hearn-had been worked beyond
his strength, and whipped, and didn't get enough to
eat, so the boy said.
The Deacon had took him for his board and
clothes; but his board wuz hard indeed, and very
knotty, and his clothes wuz very light, very.
And so, bein', as I spoze, sort o' drove to it, he
riz. And as I say, the Deacon was madder than any
hen I ever see, wet or dry
"The idee," sez he, of that boy, that I have
took care on ever sence he wuz a child, took care on
him in health, and nussed him, and doctored him
when he wuz sick" (lobelia and a little catnip wuz
every mite of medicine he ever give him, and a lit-
tle paregoric, so I have been told)-" the idee of
that boy a leaving' me-a rizin' up and a sayin' as pert
as a piper, If you don't want to hire me, let me
Wall, which did you do, Deacon ?" sez I.
Why, I hired the dumb upstart! I couldn't get
along without his work, and he knew it."
'The laborer,' Deacon Henzy," sez I, solemn,
" 'is worthy of his hire.' "
Wall, didn't I lay out to pay him? I laid out
82 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
this very fall to get him a pair of pantaloons and a
vest and a cravat. I laid out to pay him richly.
And he had better a trusted to me, who have been
a perfect father and garden to him, than to have
riz up and demanded his pay. But," sez he, there
is no use of talking' about it now, it only excites me
and onmans me, and I come in merely to borry a
augur and have a little neighborly visit.
And then wantin', I spoze, to take his mind offen
his own troubles, he sort o' launched off agin onto
his favorite theme of running' down the Southerners.
The Southern people," sez he, are a mass of
overbearin', tyrannical slave-drivers, selfish, without
principles or consciences, crackin' their whips over
the blacks, driving' 'em to work, refusing' 'em any jus-
Why," sez I, the slaves are liberated, Deacon
Wall, whyr be they ?" sez he. It wuzn't from
any good will on the part of the bloated aristocracy
of the South. They liberated 'em because they had
to. Why didn't they free 'em because it wuz right
to free 'em ? because it wuz right and just to the
slaves ? because it wuz a wicked sin that cried up to
the heavens to make 'em labor, and not pay 'em
for it ?"
Why, he went on in fearful axents of wrath and
skorn about it, and finally bein' so wrought up, he
said, "that them that upholded 'em wuz as bad as
Why, we had never dreamed of upholdin' 'em,
nor thought on't; but he felt so.
He threw stuns fearful at the South, and at Josiah
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
and me because we didn't jine in with him and rip
and tear as he did.
And them stuns kinder hurt me after a while; and
so, when he asked me for the seventh time :
Why didn't they free their slaves before they
wuz obleeged to ?"
Then I sez, It wuz probable for the same reason
that you didn't, liberate Zekiel-mostly selfish-
84 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
What! what did you say ?" He could not be-
lieve his ear; he craned his neck, he turned the
other ear. He wuz browbeat and stunted; and
agin he sez : What did you say ?"
And I sez agin, calm as cream, but sharp and
keen as a simiter, I said it wuz selfishness, Dea-
con, and the power of old custom-jest the reasons
why you didn't free Zekiel."
His linement fell more'n a inch. Like the Queen
of Sheba before Solomon (only different sex) he had
no spirit left in him.
He never had mistrusted ; it made him feel so
awful good to run the South further down than any-
thing or anybody wuz ever run-he never mistrust-
ed that he had ever done anything onjust, or mean,
He loved to deplore Southern sins, but never
looked to see if Northerners wuzn't committin' jest
as ojeus ones.
I mean good, well-meanin' Christian men, not to
say anything about our white slaves in the cities
who make shirts for five cents apiece, and sign their
contracts with their blood.
Nor the old young children who are shut away
from God's sunshine and air in Northern manufac-
tories and mines, and who are never free to be out
under the beautiful sky till the sun has gone down
or the grass is growing' between it and their hollow,
Nor the droves of street ruffians and beggars
whose souls and bodies suffer and hunger jest as
much under the Northern Star as under the South-
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
No, I didn't mean any of these, but jest respect-
able church-goers like Deacon Henzy.
And he, like so many others, wuz jest as blind to
the idee as if he had been born with leather specta-
cles on and had wore 'em ever sence.
It is a good thing for folks North or South to
have their blinders tilted up a little now and then,
and get a glimpse of daylight into their orbs. I had
tilted up hisen, and wuzn't sorry a mite,, not a mite.
He had been a throwing' stuns powerful, and he had
got hit from one.
And pretty soon, after setting' demute for quite a
spell, he got up and left for home, feeling' and actin'
quite meek and humble-sperited for him.
And I have hearn sence, and it comes straight to
me-Zekiel's mother told Miss Biddlecom's Liza,
and Liza's sister-in-law told it to the Editor of the
Augur'ses wife's mother-in-law, and she told it to she
that wuz Celestine Gowdey, and she that wuz Celes-
tine told old Miss Minkley, and she told me-it
come straight-that Deacon Henzy give Zekiel that
very night a dollar bill, and from what I hear he has
mellered up and used him first rate ever sence.
Yes, that man wuz blind asabatand blinder. He had
been for years a hackin' at the beams that riz up on the
Southern brethren's eyes, and there he wuz a growing'
a hull crop of motes, and payin' no attention to 'em.
But selfishness and injustice grows up jest as rank
under Northern skies as Southern ones, and motes
and beams flourish equally rank in.both sections.
And Christians North and Christians South have
to tussle with that same old man the Bible speaks of,
and anon or oftener they get throwed by him.
"JOSIAH'S BALD HEAU AND MINE.'
wuz a strange thing to come most imegi.
atly after Cousin John Richard's visit, and
our almost excited interview with Deacon
Henzy-that Thomas J. should make the
dicker he did make, and havin' made it, to
think that before a very long time had passed over
Josiah Allen's bald head and mine (it wuz his head
that wuz bald, not mine) that we two, Josiah Allen
and me, should be started for where we wuz started
for, to come back we knew not when.
Yes, it happened curius, curius as anything I-
ever see-that is, as some folks count curiosity. As
for me, I feel that our ways are ordered and our
paths marked out ahead on us.
You know when the country is new, somebody
will go ahead through the forests and blaze" the
trees, so the settlers can foller on the path and not
Wall, I always feel that we poor mortals are sot
down here in a new country-and a strange one,
God knows-and the wilderness stretches out round
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
us on every side, and we are likely to get lost, dret-
But there is Somebody who goes ahead on us and
marks out our pathway. He makes marks that His
true children can see if they only look sharp enough,
if they put on the specks of Faith and the blinders
of Onworldliness, and look keen. And, above all,
reach out their hands through the shadows, and
keep close hold of the hand that guides 'em.
And all along the way, though dark shadows
may be hoverin' nigh, there is light, and glory, and
peace, and pretty soon, bimeby they will come out
into a large place, the fair open ground of Beauty
and Desire, into all that they had hoped and longed
But I am a eppisodin' fearful, and to resoom.
As I say, to the outside observer it seemed queer,
queer as a dog, that after all our talk on the subject
(and it seemed as if Providence had jest been a pre-
parin' us for what wuz to come), that I myself,
Josiah Allen's wife, should go with my faithful pard-
ner down South to stay for we knew not how long.
Wall, the way on't wuz, our son Thomas Jefferson,
who is doing' a powerful big bizness, made a dicker
with a man from the South for a big piece of land of
hisen, a old plantation that used to be splendid and
prosperous before the war, but wuz now run down.
The name of the place-for as near as I can make out
they have a practice of namin' them old plantations-
wuz Belle Fanchon, a sort of a French name, I wuz
Wall, Thomas J., in the way of bizness, had got
in his hands a summer hotel at a fashionable resort,
88 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
and this man wanted to trade with him. He hadn't
owned this plantation long-it had come into his
hands on a mortgage.
Wall, Thomas Jefferson was offered good terms,
and he made the trad
And early in the fall Maggie, our son's wife, got
kinder run down (she had a young child), and com-
in' from a sort of a consumptive family on her fa-
ther's side, the doctor ordered her to go South for
He said, in her state of health (she had been weak
as a cat for months) he wouldn't like to resk the cold
of our Northern winter.
Wall, of course when the doctor said this (Thomas
Jefferson jest worships Maggie anyway) he thought
at once of that old plantation of hisen, for he had
made the bargain and took the place, a calculation'
to sell it agin or rent it out.
And the upshot of the matter wuz that along the
last of October, when Nater seemed all rigged out
in her holiday colors of red and orange to bid 'em
good-bye, our son Thomas Jefferson and Maggie,
and little Snow, and the baby boy that had come to
'em a few months before, all set sail for Belle Fan-
chon, their plantation in Georgia.
Yes, the old girl (Nater) seemed to be a standing' up
on every hill-top a wavin' her gorgeous bandana
handkerchief to 'em in good-bye; and her blue
gauze veil that floated from her forward looked
some- as if it had tears on it, it looked sort o' dim
like and hazy.
Josiah and I went to the depot with 'em, and on
our way home Nater didn't look very gay and fes-
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
tive to us neither, though she wuz dressed up in
pretty bright colors-no, indeed !
Her gorgeous robes looked very misty and droop-
in' to me. I didn't weep, I wouldn't be so simple
as that. The tears sort o' run down my face some,
but I wouldn't weep-I wouldn't be so foolish when
I knew that they wuz coming' home in the spring,
God willing .
But the kisses they had all left on my face seemed
to kinder draw me after 'em. And I felt that quite
a number of things might happen between that time
and the time when Nater and I would dress up agin
to meet 'em-she in her pale green mantilly, and I
in my good old London brown, and we would both
sally out to welcome 'em home.
But I didn't say much, I jest kep' calm and de-
mute on the outside, and got my pardner jest as
good a dinner as if my heart wuzn't a achin'.
I felt that I had to be serene anyway, for Josiah
Allen was fearfully onstrung, and I knew that my
influence (and vittles) wuz about the only things
that could string him up agin.
So I biled my potatoes and briled my steak with
a almost marble brow, and got a good, a extra good
dinner for him as I say, and -the vittles seemed to
comfort him considerable.
Wall, time rolled along, as it has a way of
Good land! no skein of yarn, no matter how
smooth it is, and no matter how neat the swifts run,
nor how fast the winder is-nuthin' of that kind can
compare with the skein of life hung onto the swifts
of time-how fast they run, how the threads fly, how
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
impossible it is to stop 'em or make 'em go slower,
or faster, or anything !
They jest turn, and turn, and turn, and the day's
reel offen the swifts, and the months and the
Why, if you jest stopped still in your tracks and
meditated on it, it would be enough to make you
half crazy with the idee-of that noiseless skein of
life that Somebody somewhere is a windin'-Some-
body a setting' back in the shadows out of sight, a
payin' no attention to you if you try to find out who
it is, and why he.is a windin', and how long he cal-
culates to keep the skein a goin', and what the yarn
is a goin' to be used for anyway, and why, and how,
No answer can you get, no matter how hard you
may holler, or how out of breath you may get a try-
in' to run round and find out.
You have got to jest set down and let it go on.
And all the time you know the threads are a run-
nin' without stopping and a bein' wound up by
Somebody-Somebody who is able to hold all the
innumerable threads and not get 'em mixed up any,
and knows the meaning' of every one of 'em, till
bimeby the thread breaks, and the swifts stop.
But I am a eppisodin'. Wall, as I said, time rolled
along till they had been down South most two
months, and Thomas Jefferson wrote me that Mag-
gie seemed a good deal better, and he wuz encour-
aged by the change in her.
When all of a sudden on a cold December evening'
we got a letter from Maggie. Thomas Jefferson
wuz took down sick, and the little girl.
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
And there wuz Maggie, that little delicate thing,
there alone amongst strangers in a strange land.
And sez she, Mother, what shall I do ?"
That wuz about all she said in the way of com-
plaint or agony. She wuzn't one to pile up words,
our daughter Maggie wuzn't. But that wuz
Mother, what shall I do ? what can I do ?"
I illustrated the text, as artists say, while I wuz a
reading I see her pale and patient face a bendin'
over the cradle of the infant, and little Snow, and
over my boy, my Thomas Jefferson, who laid on my
heart in his childhood till his image wuz engraved
there for all time, and for eternity too, I think.
Wall, my mind wuz made up before I read the
last words: Your loving and sorrowful daughter,
Yes, my mind wuz all made up firm as a rock;
and to give Josiah Allen credit, where credit is due,
so wuz hisen-his mind wuz made up too.
He blowed his nose hard, and -used his bandana
on that, and his, two eyes, and he said, Them
specks of hisen wuz jest a spilin' his eyes."
And I took up my gingham apron and wiped my
My spectacles sort o' hurt my eyes, or sunthin',
and my first words wuz, Iow soon can we start ?"
And Josiah's first words wuz, "I'll go and talk
it over with Ury. I guess to-morrow or next day."
Wall, Ury and Philury moved right in and took
charge of things and helped us off, and in less than
a week's time we wuz on our way down through the
snow-drifts and icickles of the North to the green-
92 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
ness and bloom of the orange-trees and magnolias.
Down from the ice-bound rivers of the North to the
merry, leapin' rivulets of Belle Fanchon. Down
from the cold peace and calm of our Jonesville
farm, down to the beauty and bloom of our boy's
home in the South land, the sorrow and pathos of
his love-watched sick-bed, and our little Snow's
We got there jest as the sun set. The country
through which we. had been a passing' all day and for
some time past wuz a hard and forbidden-lookin'
country-sand, sand, sand, on every side on us, and
piled up in sand-heaps, and stretched out white
and smooth and dreary-lookin'.
SAnon, or mebby oftener, we would go by some
places sort o' sot out with orange-trees, so I spozed,
and some other green trees. And once in a while
we would see a house set back from the highway
with a piazza a running' round it, and mebby two on
And the children a playing' round 'em, and the
children a wanderin' along the railroad-track and
hangin' about the depots wuz more than half on 'em
black as a coal.
A contrast, I can tell you, to our own little Jones-
villians, with their freckled white faces and their
tow locks a hangin' over their forwerds.
The hair of these little boys and girls wuzn't hair,
it wuz wool, and it curled tight round their black
forwerds. And their clothes wuz airy and unpre-
tentious in the extreme; some on 'em had only jest
enough on to hide their nakedness, and some on 'em
' ~ V
THE COLORED CHILDREN,
94 SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM.
But our boy's place wuz beautiful. It looked like
a picture of fairy land, as we see it bathed in the red
western light. And though we felt that we might
on closer inspection see some faults in it, we
couldn't seem to see any then.
It wuz a big house, sort o' light grey in color,
with a piazza a running' clear round it, and up on the
next story another piazza jest as big, reared up and
running' all round-a verandy they called it.
And both stories of the piazza wuz almost covered
with beautiful blossomin' vines, great big sweet
roses, and lots of other fragrant posies that I didn't
know the name of, but liked their looks first rate.
There wuz a little rivulet a running' along at one
side of the front yard, and its pleasant gurglin' sound
seemed dretful sort o' friendly and pleasant to us.
The yard-the lawn they called it-wuz awful big.
It wuz as big as from our house over to Deacon
Gowdey's, and acrost over to Submit Danker'ses,
and I don't know but bigger, and all sorts of gay
tropical plants wuz sot out in bunches on the green
grass, and there wuz lots of big beautiful trees a
standing' alone and in clusters, and a wide path led up
from the gate to the front door, bordered with beau-
tiful trees with shinin' leaves, and there' in the front
door stood our daughter Maggie, white-faced, and
gladder-lookin' than I ever see her before.
How she did kiss me and her Pa too! She
couldn't seem to tell us enough, how glad she wuz
to see us and to have us there.
And my boy, Thomas Jefferson, cried, he wuz so
glad to see us.
He didn't boohoo right out, but the tears come into
SAMANTHA ON THE RACE PROBLEM. 95
his e-es, fast-he wuz very weak yet; and I kissed
them tears right offen his cheeks, and his Pa kissed
him too. Thomas Jefferson wuz very weak, he wuz
a sick boy. And I tell you, seeing' him lay there so
white and thin put us both in mind, his Pa and me,
what Jonesville and the world would be to us if our
boy had slipped out of it.
We knew it would be like a playhouse with the
lights all put out, and the best performer dumb and
It would be like the world with the sun darkened,
and the moon a refusing' to give its light. We think
enough of Thomas Jefferson-yes, indeed.
Oh, how glad little Snow wuz to see us! And
right here, while I am a talking' about her, I may as
well tell sunthin' about her, for it has got to be told.
Snow is a beautiful child; she becomes her name
well, though she wuzn't named for real snow, but
for her mother's sirname. I say it without a mite
of partiality. Some grandparents are so partial to
their own offspring that it is fairly sickenin'.
But if this child wuz the born granddaughter of
the Zar of Russia or a French surf, I should say
jest what I do say, that she is a wonderful child,
both in beauty and demeanor.
She has got big violet blue eyes-not jest the color
of her Pa's, but jest the expression, soft and bright,
and very deep-lookin'. Their gaze is so deep that
no line has ever been found to measure its deepness.
When you meet their calm, direct look you see fur
into 'em, and through 'em into another realm than
ourn, a more beautiful and peaceful one, and one
more riz up like, and inspired.