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The Shakers axed me to go to their meetin, as they was to hav sarvices that mornin, so I put on a clean biled rag and went. The meetin house was as neat as a pin. The floor was white as chalk and smooth as glass. The Shakers was all on hand, in clean weskits and meal bags, ranged on the floor like milingtery companies, the mails on one side of the room, and the females on tother. They commenst clappin their hands and singin and dancin. They danced kinder slow at fust, but as they got warmed up they shaved it down very brisk, I tell you. Elder Uriah, in particler, exhiberted a right smart chance of spryness in his legs, considerin his time of life, and as he cum a double shuffle near where I sot, I rewarded him with a approvin smile and said. “Hunky boy! Go it, my gay and festiv cuss.”
"You're a man of sin !” he said, continnering his shuffle.
The Sperret, as they called it, then moved a short fat Shaker to say a few remarks. He sed they was Shakers, and all was ekal. They was the purest and seleckest peple on the yearth. Other peple was sinful as they could be, but Shakers was all right. Shakers was all goin kerslap to the Promist Land, and nobody want goin to stand at the gate to bar 'em out, if they did they'd git run over.
The Shakers then danced and sung agin, and arter they was threw, one of 'em axed me what I thawt of it.
Sez I, “What does it siggerfy?" “What?”
“Why this jumpin up and singin? This long weskit bizniss, and this anty-matrimony idee? My frends, you air neat and tidy. Your lands is flowin with milk and honey. Your brooms is fine, and your apple sass is honest. Wehn a man buys a kag of apple sass of you he don't find a grate many shavins under a few layers of sass— -a little Game I'm sorry to say sum of my New Englan ancesters used to practiss. Your garding seeds is fine, and if I should sow
'em on the rock of Gibralter probly I should raise a good mess of garding sass. You air honest in your dealins. You air quiet and don't distarb nobody. For all this I givs you credit. But your religion is small pertaters, I must say. You mope away your lives here in single retchidness, and as you air all by yourselves nothing ever conflicts with your pecooler idees, except when Human Nater busts out among you, as I understan she sumtimes do. [I give Uriah a sly wink here, which made the old feller squirm like a speared Eel.] You wear long weskits and long faces, and lead a gloomy life indeed. No children's prattle is ever hearn around your harthstuns—you air in a dreary fog all the time, and you treat the jolly sunshine of life as tho' it was a thief, drivin it from your doors by them weskits, and meal bags, and pecooler noshuns of yourn. The gals among you, sum of which air as slick pieces of caliker as I ever sot eyes on, air syin to place their heds agin weskits which kiver honest, manly harts, while you old heds fool yerselves with the idee that they air fulfillin their mishun here, and air contented. Here you air, all pend up by yerselves, talkin about the sins of a world you don't know nothin of. Meanwhile said world continners to resolve round on her own axeltree onct in every 24 hours, subjeck to the Constitution of the United States, and is a very plesant place of residence. It's a unnatral, onreasonable, and dismal life you're leadin here. So it strikes me. My Shaker friends, I now bid you a welcome adoo. You hav treated me exceedin well. Thank you kindly, one and all.”
“A base exhibiter of depraved monkeys and onprincipled wax works !” sed Uriah.
Hello, Uriah,” sez I, “ I'd most forgot you. Wall, look out for them fits of yourn, and don't catch cold and die in the flour of your youth and beauty.” And I resoomed my jerney.
OD bless the man who first invented sleep!”
So Sancho Panza said, and so say I:
His great discovery to himself; nor try
Yes—bless the man who first invented sleep
(I really can't avoid the iteration); But blast the man with curses loud and deep,
Whate'er the rascal's name, or age, or station, Who first invented, and went round advising, That artificial cut-off-Early Rising !
“Rise with the lark, and with the lark to bed,”
Observes some solemn sentimental owl. Maxims like these are very cheaply said ;
But, ere you make yourself a fool or fowl, Pray, just inquire about his rise and fall, And whether larks have any beds at all !
“The time for honest folks to be abed"
Is in the morning, if I reason right;
Upon his pillow till it's fairly light,
Thomson, who sung about the “Seasons,” said
It was a glorious thing to rise in season;
At ten o'clock A.M.—the very reason
'Tis, doubtless, well to be sometimes awake,
Awake to duty, and awake to truth, But when, alas ! a nice review we take
Of our best deeds and days, we find in sooth, The hours that leave the slightest cause to weep Are those we passed in childhood or asleep!
'Tis beautiful to leave the world awhile
For the soft visions of the gentle night;
To live as only in the angels' sight,
So, let us sleep, and give the Maker praise,
I like the lad who, when his father thought To clip his morning nap by hackneyed phrase
Of vagrant worm by early songster caught, Cried, “Served him right ! it's not at all surprising; The worm was punished, sir, for early rising."
John G. Saxe. HOW SANTA CLAUS CAME TO SIMPSON’S
T had been raining in the valley of Sacramento. The
North Fork had overflowed its banks and Rattlesnake Creek was impassable.
The few boulders that had marked the summer ford at Simpson's Crossing were obliterated by a vast sheet of water stretching to the foothills. The up stage was stopped at Granger's; the last mail had been abandoned in the tules, the rider swimming for his life.
“ An area,” remarked the Sierra Avalanche with pensive local pride, “as large as the State of Massachusetts is now under water."
Nor was the weather any better in the foothills.
The mud lay deep on the mountain road; waggons that neither physical force nor moral objurgation could move from the evil ways into which they had fallen, encumbered the track, and the way to Simpson's Bar was indicated by broken-down teams and hard swearing.
And farther on, cut-off and inaccessible, rained upon and bedraggled, smitten by high winds and threatened by high water, Simpson's Bar, on the eve of Christmas Day, 1862, clung like a swallow's nest to the rocky entablature and splintered capitals of Table Mountain, and shook in the blast.
As night shut down on the settlement, a few lights gleamed through the mist from the windows of cabins on either side of the highway now crossed and gullied by lawless streams and swept by marauding winds.
Happily most of the population were gathered at Thompson's store, clustered around a red-hot stove, at which they silently spat in some accepted sense of social communion that perhaps rendered conversation unnecessary.