Samantha Among The Bretheren

Marietta Holley

Chapter 12

Submit wuz very skairt to heern him go on (she felt more nervous on account of an extra hard day's work), and I myself wuz beat out, but I wuzn't afraid at all of him, though he did go on elegant, and dretful empressive and even skairful.

He stood up on the same old ground that men have always stood up on, the ground of man's great strength and capability, and wimmen's utter weakness, helplessness, and incapacity. Josiah enlarged almost wildly on the subject of how high, how inaccessibley lofty the Conference wuz, and the utter impossibility of a weak, helpless, fragaile bein' like a women ever gettin' up on it, much less settin' on it. And then, oh how vividly he depictered it, how he and every other male Methodist in the land loved wimmen too well, worshipped 'em too deeply to put such a wearin' job onto 'em. Oh how Josiah Allen soared up in eloquence. Submit shed tears, or, that is, I thought she did - I see her wipe her eyes any way. Some think that about the time the Samuel Danker anniversary comes round, she is more nervous and deprested. It wuz very near now, and take that with her hard work that day, it accounts some for her extra depression - though, without any doubt, it wuz Josiah's talk that started the tears.

I couldn't bear to see Submit look so mournful and deprested, and so, though I wuz that tired myself that I could hardly hold my head up, yet I did take my bits in my teeth, as you may say, and asked him -

What the awful hard job wuz that he and other men wuz so anxus to ward offen wimmen.

And he sez, "Why, a settin' on the Conference."

And I sez, "I don't believe that is such a awful hard job to tackle."

"Yes, indeed, it is," sez Josiah in his most skairful axent, "yes, it is."

And he shook his head meenin'ly and impressively, and looked at me and Submit in as mysterius and strange a way, es I have ever been looked at in my life, and I have had dretful curius looks cast onto me, from first to last. And he sez in them deep impressive axents of hisen,

"You jest try it once, and see - I have sot on it, and I know."

Josiah wuz sent once as a delegate to the Methodist Conference, so I spozed he did know.

But I sez, "Why you come home the second day when you sot as happy as a king, and you told me how you had rested off durin' the two days, and how you had visited round at Uncle Jenkins'es, and Cousin Henn's, and you said that you never had had such a good time in your hull life, as you did when you wuz a settin'. You looked as happy as a king, and acted so."

Josiah looked dumbfounded for most a quarter of a minute. For he knew my words wuz as true es anything ever sot down in Matthew, Mark, or Luke, or any of the other old patriarks. He knew it wuz Gospel truth, that he had boasted of his good times a settin', and as I say for nearly a quarter of a minute he showed plain signs of mortification.

But almost imegietly he recovered himself, and went on with the doggy obstinacy of his sect: "Oh, wall! Men can tackle hard jobs, and get some enjoyment out of it too, when it is in the line of duty. One thing that boys em' up, and makes em' happy, is the thought that they are a keepin' trouble and care offen wimmen. That is a sweet thought to men, and always wuz. And there wuz great strains put onto our minds, us men that sot, that wimmen couldn't be expected to grapple with, and hadn't ort to try to. It wuz a great strain onto us."

"What was the nater of the strain?" sez I. "I didn't know as you did a thing only sot still there and go to sleep. You wuz fast asleep there most the hull of the time, for it come straight to me from them that know. And all that Deacon Bobbet did who went with you wuz to hold up his hand two or three times a votin'. I shouldn't think that wuz so awful wearin'."

And agin I sez, "What wuz the strain?"

But Josiah didn't answer, for that very minute he remembered a pressin' engagement he had about borrowin' a plow. He said he had got to go up to Joe Charnick's to get his plow. (I don't believe he wanted a plow that time of night.) But he hurried away from the spot. And soon after Submit went home lookin' more deprested and down-casted than ever.

And Josiah Allen didn't get home till late at night. I dare persume to say it wuz as late as a quarter to nine when that man got back to the bosom of his family.

And I sot there all alone, and a-meditatin' on things, and a-wonderin' what under the sun he wuz a-traipsin up to Joe Charnick's for at that time of night, and a-worryin' some for fear he wuz a-keepin' Miss Charnick up, and a-spozin' in my mind what Miss Charnick would do, to get along with the meetin' house, and the Conference question, if she wuz a member. (She is a very sensible woman, Jenette Charnick is, very, and a great favorite with me, and others.)

And I got to thinkin' how prosperus and happy she is now, and how much she had went through. And I declare the hull thing come back to me, all the strange and curius circumstances connected with her courtship and marriage, and I thought it all out agin, the hull story, from beginnin' to end.

The way it begun wuz - and the way Josiah Allen and me come to have any connectin with the story wuz as follers:

Some time ago, and previus, we had a widder come to stay with us a spell, she that wuz Tamer Shelmadine, Miss Trueman Pool that now is.

Her husband died several years ago, and left her not over and above well off. And so she goes round a-visitin', and has went ever sense his death. And finds sights of faults with things wherever she is, sights of it.

Trueman wuz Josiah's cousin, on his own side, and I always made a practice of usin' her quite well. She used to live neighbor to me before I wuz married, and she come and stayed nine weeks.

She is a tall spindlin' woman, a Second Adventist by perswasion, and weighs about ninety-nine pounds.

Wall, as I say, she means middlin' well, and would be quite agreeable if it wuzn't for a habit she has of thinkin' what she duz is a leetle better than anybody else can do, and wantin' to tell a leetle better story than anybody else can.

Now she thinks she looks better than I do. But Josiah sez she can't begin with me for looks, and I don't spoze she can, though of course it hain't to be expected that I would want it told of that I said so. No, I wouldn't want it told of pro or con, especially con. But I know Josiah Allen has always been called a pretty good judge of wimmen's looks.

[Illustration: "SHE IS A TALL SPINDLIN' WOMAN."]

And now she thinks she can set hens better than I can - and make better riz biscuit. She jest the same as told me so. Any way, the first time I baked bread after she got here, she looked down on my loaves real haughty, yet with a pityin' look, and sez:

"It is very good for yeast, but I always use milk emptin's."

And she kinder tested her head, and sort o' swept out of the room, not with a broom, no, she would scorn to sweep out a room with a broom or help me in any way, but she sort o' swept it out with her mean. But I didn't care, I knew my bread wuz good.

Now if anybody is sick, she will always tell of times when she has been sicker. She boasts of layin' three nights and two days in a fit. But we don't believe it, Josiah and me don't. That is, we don't believe she lay there so long, a-runnin'.

We believe she come out of 'em occasionally.

But you couldn't get her to give off a hour or a minute of the time. Three nights and two days she lay there a-runnin', so she sez, and she has said it so long, that we spoze, Josiah and me do, that she believes it herself now.