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care for them. When our stage-man John came swinging up later, on his coach from the East, he gave a ringing whoop at sight of us, and said I 'would do,' which gave me satisfaction.
And from that time on, for the whole four days, we were under the special care of the stage-men. They looked after the horses and our comfort, in every way possible to them. It was not one man, for of course we could not keep up with the coach, and the men were frequently changed; but going east and going west, all knew about us, and passed us on to each other, so that a bed was ready for us, and men waiting to lift Will out tenderly and carry him to it, at every night station.
The stations were sometimes very rough places, sometimes only one room for living and sleeping; but the one curtained bed was always ours; at least it was Will's; and if it was only a lounge, I spread our blankets on the floor for myself, as I had done farther west. It did not ruffle me in the least, if one or two men snored lustily in another corner of the room; I had learned to trust kind hearts under very rough exteriors. All our good Johns waved their hands to us, as they passed us on the road; and each day's travel was laid out for us by one of them each morning.
One day we were told not to go to the regular stage-station at night; it was too rough; but to leave the trail at a certain point and make for a house in sight, two miles across the prairie, where we would get a good room and bed. The owner knew we were coming, how, we could not tell, and welcomed us like friends; and when Will found he could sit at the table with us, and taste the fried bacon, our host looked at him with tears streaming down his face, and swore big oaths at him roundly, to show how glad he was. Later, the tall figure of our John stood in the doorway of our room, and he too cried like a
child because Will called out 'Hullo' in a good full voice. The man had walked across the prairie several miles, 'to see if they was square with the horses,' he said, but really to see if we were all right. I cannot begin to tell you the comfort these men were to us. They scorned any reward for their services, and had few words to say; if we expressed gratitude, they turned away shyly and disappeared; they still looked at us in that wondering sort of way, I suppose because we showed plain marks of being 'tender-feet,' as newcomers from the East are called.
I was never frightened at our loneliness on the prairie, even when one day they told us there would be a stretch of 16 miles without a house. One day, I was startled for a moment, at a sudden apparition, behind a slight rise of ground, of a dozen Indians, coming in single file, at right angles across our trail; and the horses, too, showed signs of fear; but their squaws were with them with loaded ponies, and I knew we were beyond dangerous Indian ground, and they were soon out of sight.
Once, at our noon halt, we found no men at home at the station, only a young German woman who could not speak English; and as the usual custom for travelers was to water and feed their own horses, I was at a loss what to do; for to lift a pail of water to those thirsty, eager horses, was beyond my strength and my courage as well; but the woman came to my help, and did it all with
Until the afternoon of the third day we had been following the unbroken trail on the level prairie; then we came to a large stream with deeply worn banks, and, to my dismay, some of the planks of the long bridge were upset, and it was impassable. I could not leave the horses nor could I lift the heavy planks to replace them. It was
nearing sundown; what could we do if darkness found us in that place? The coach had already passed us, and not a train or house was in sight. For the first time my teeth chattered with fear.
A half-hour's waiting, and two men in an open spring wagon came rapidly up beside us. Spring wagons are unusual on the plains. The slow-moving heavy white-covered wagons we call 'prairie schooners' are commonly used, and they can be seen at a long distance. I thought this one had dropped from the sky, and still more, when the men came quickly to speak to us, and in the tone and language of the far East, asked us how we were. They were entire strangers, but belonged to the surveyingparty, of whom we had seen and heard nothing since that morning at Lone Tree, when our friend left us after his night's vigil. They had been told by their chief to look out for us, and had been expecting to find us at some point farther west, days before that time. Just when all other help failed us, they appeared, and we were soon safely on our way, to the last night station of our journey.
The last day was a difficult one for me, though Will was already so nearly well he needed but little care, reclining cheerfully on his cushions, telling me stories and enjoying the sunshine.
But the country changed to high rolling prairie after leaving the valley of the Elkhorn River, and the frequent long descents were perfectly smooth, like ice, and the worn shoes of the horses obliged me to 'put on the brake.' It was hard to reach it, and harder to
press it down. Then the front bow of the wagon cover had broken, and left the canvas to flap about my face, and the sun beat in my eyes, altogether bringing on a violent headache. For the first time in all the four weeks of care and labor, I came near giving out; and the nearer we came to thickly settled country and town life, the less we could expect of personal interest in us. We were being lost in the edges of the rushing, busy life of that world, which seemed to commence at the Missouri River; and Heaven, which had been so near, and Angelic care, in the shape of good Johns and civil engineers, no longer seemed about us. When at last, we took our places in the line of white-topped wagons, waiting their turn to cross the river on the ferryboat at Omaha, I hoped I might never again see the valley of the Platte. We realized, too, when we were unrecognized by friends on the boat with us, that we were filling well the rôle of emigrant 'poor white,' whose fadedout, shabby look had often excited half pity, half contempt in us, in the streets of Council Bluffs.
When we drew up at last, at our own door, safe and nearly sound, amid the congratulations of the kindest of neighbors and friends, I still kept in mind the tender, almost worshipful respect and care of our stage-driver friends.
And now Punch and Judy, our faithful horses, are to be sold, and a few days must see us on our way down the Missouri, for November's chill air is here, and our faces are set towards New York and home.
THE FOURTEENTH OF SEPTEMBER
BY CHARLES H. GRANDGENT
As age, their shadow, follows life and birth,
Six slowly winding centuries ago,
Reborn was he in everlasting birth,
To taste the food for which he hungered, peace,
Which never saw its sun engulft in night.
A sinful world of self-created night
He left behind, so many years ago,
A world where hatred ruled from shore to shore
To light the day of universal peace,
Still rings his voice on ocean's either shore,
And when he speaks, our Muses hold their peace
And wonder if the world shall see the birth
Ere winter blossom into balmy spring,
Heaven gave him birth, one ever blessed spring,
WHAT IS A PURITAN?
BY STUART P. SHERMAN
BOTH the contemporary and the historical Puritan are still involved in clouds of libel, of which the origins lie in the copious fountains of indiscriminating abuse poured out upon the Puritans of the seventeenth century by great Royalist writers like Butler, Dryden, and Ben Jonson. The Puritan of that day was ordinarily represented by his adversaries as a dishonest casuist and a hypocrite. To illustrate this point, I will produce a brilliantly malevolent portrait from Jonson's comedy, Bartholomew Fair.
This play was performed in London six years before the Pilgrims landed at
Plymouth; and it helps one to understand why the migratory movement of the day was rather to than from America. Jonson presents a group of Puritans visiting the Fair. Their names are Zeal-of-the-land Busy, Dame Purecraft, and Win-the-fight Little-wit and his wife. Roast pig is a main feature of the Bartholomew festivities; and the wife of Win-the-fight Little-wit feels a strong inclination to partake of it. Her mother, Dame Purecraft, has some scruples about eating in the tents of wickedness, and carries the question to Zeal-of-the-land Busy, asking him to resolve their doubts. At first he replies
adversely, in the canting, sing-song nasal fashion then attributed to the Puritans by their enemies:
"Verily for the disease of longing, it is a disease, a carnal disease, or appetite . . . and as it is carnal and incident, it is natural, very natural; now pig, it is a meat, and a meat that is nourishing and may be longed for, and so consequently eaten; it may be eaten; very exceedingly well eaten: but in the Fair, and as a Bartholomew pig, it cannot be eaten; for the very calling it a Bartholomew pig, and to eat it so, is a spice of idolatry, and you make the Fair no better than one of the highplaces. This, I take it, is the state of the question: a high-place.'
Master Little-wit remonstrates, saying, 'But in state of necessity, place should give place, Master Busy.' And Dame Purecraft cries: 'Good brother Zeal-of-the-land Busy, think to make it as lawful as you can.'
Thereupon, Zeal-of-the-land Busy reconsiders, as follows:
'Surely, it may be otherwise, but it is subject to construction, subject, and hath a face of offence with the weak, a great face, a foul face; but that face may have a veil put over it, and be shadowed as it were; it may be eaten, and in the Fair, I take it, in a booth, the tents of the Wicked: the place is not much, not very much, we may be religious in the midst of the profane, so it be eaten with a reformed mouth, with sobriety and humbleness; not gorged in with gluttony or greediness, there's the fear: for, should she go there, as taking pride in the place, or delight in the unclean dressing, to feed the vanity of the eye, or lust of the palate, it were not well, it were not fit, it were abominable and not good.'
Finally, Zeal-of-the-land Busy not only consents, but joins the rest, saying, 'In the way of comfort to the weak, of comfort to the weak, I will go and eat. I will eat exceeding
ly and prophesy; there may be a good use made of it too, now I think on it: by the public eating of swine's flesh, to profess our hate and loathing of Judaism, whereof the brethren stand taxed. I will therefore eat, yea, I will eat exceedingly.'
The entire passage might be regarded as a satirical interpretation of Calvin's chapter on Christian Liberty. In this fashion the anti-Puritan writers of the seventeenth century habitually depicted the people who set up the Commonwealth in England and colonized Massachusetts. In the eyes of unfriendly English contemporaries, the men who came over in the Mayflower and their kind were unctuous hypocrites.
That charge, though it has been revived for modern uses, no longer stands against the seventeenth-century Puritans. Under persecution and in power, on the scaffold, in war, and in the wilderness, they proved that, whatever their faults, they were animated by a passionate sincerity. When the Puritan William Prynne spoke disrespectfully of magistrates and bishops, Archbishop Laud, or his agents, cut off his ears and threw him back into prison. As soon as he could get hold of ink and paper, Prynne sent out from prison fresh attacks on the bishops. They took him out and cut off his ears again, and branded him 'S.L.,' which they intended to signify 'Seditious Libeller'; but he, with the iron still hot in his face and with indignation inspiring, perhaps, the most dazzling pun ever recorded, interpreted the letters to mean, Stigmata Laudis. When the Puritans came into power, Prynne issued from his dungeon and helped cut off, not the ears, but the heads of Archbishop Laud and King Charles. After that, they said less about his insincerity. Prynne and his friends had their faults; but lack of conviction and the courage of their conviction were not among them.