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was opened unto me by a tall, slick-faced, solum lookin individooal, who turn'd out to be a Elder.
“Mr. Shaker," sed I, you see before you a Babe in the Woods, so to speak, and he axes shelter of you."
Yay,” sed the Shaker, and he led the way into the house, another Shaker bein sent to put my hosses and waggin under kiver.
A solum female, lookin sumwhat like a last year's beanpole stuck into a long meal bag, cum in and axed me was I athurst and did I hunger ? to which I urbanely anserd "a few." She went orf and I endeverd to open a conversashun with the old man.
Elder, I spect?” sed I. “Yay," he sed. “Helth's good, I reckon ?” “Yay."
“What's the wages of a Elder, when he understans his bizness-or do you devote your sarvices gratooitus ? “Yay.”
Stormy night, sir.” “Yay.” “If the storm continners there'll be a mess underfoot, hay?” “Yay." "It's onpleasant when there's a mess underfoot ?” “Yay."
“If I may be so bold, kind sir, what's the price of that pecooler kind of weskit you wear, incloodin trimmins ?”
I pawsd a minit, and then, thinkin I'd be faseshus with him and see how that would go, I slapt him on the shoulder, bust into a harty larf, and told him that as a yayer he had no livin ekal.
He jumpt up as if Bilin water had bin squirted into his ears, groaned, rolled his eyes up tords the sealin and sed : You're a man of sin !” He then walkt out of the room.
Jest then the female in the meal bag stuck her hed into the room and statid that refreshments awaited the weary travler, and I sed if it was vittles she ment the weary travler was agreeable, and I follered her into the next room.
I sot down to the table and the female in the meal bag pored out sum tea. She sed nothin, and for five minutes the only live thing in that room was a old wooden clock, which tickt in a subdood and bashful manner in the corner. This dethly stillness made me oneasy, and I determined to talk to the female or bust. So sez I, “ Marrige is agin your rules, I bleeve, marm ?”
“It's kinder singler,” sez I, puttin on my moșt sweetest look and speakin in a winnin voice, “that so fair a made as thou never got hitched to some likely feller.” [N.B.-She was upards of 40 and homely as a stump fence, but I thawt I'd tickil her.]
“ I don't like men ! ” she sed, very short.
“Wall, I dunno," sez I, "they're a rayther important part of the populashun. I don't scarcely see how we could git along without 'em." Us
poor wimin folks would git along a grate deal better if there was no men !”
“You'll excoos me, marm, but I don't think that air would work. It wouldn't be regler.”
“I'm afraid of men !” she sed. “ That's onnecessary, marm.
You ain't in no danger. Don't fret yourself on that pint."
“Here, we're shot out from the sinful world. Here, all is peas. Here, we air brothers and sisters. We don't marry and consekently we hav no domestic difficulties. Husbans don't abooze their wives—wives don't worrit their husbans. There's no children here to worrit us. Nothin to worrit us here. No wicked matrimony here. Would thow like to be a Shaker ? "
“No," sez I, “it ain't my stile."
I had now histed in as big a load of pervishuns as I could carry comfortable, and, leanin back in my cheer, commenst pickin my teeth with a fork. The female went out, leavin me all alone with the clock. I hadn't sot thar long before the Elder poked his hed in at the door. “ You're a man of sin!” he sed, and groaned and went away.
Direckly thar cum in two young Shakeresses, as putty and slick lookin gals as I ever met. It is troo they was dressed in meal bags like the old one I'd met previsly, and their shiny, silky har was hid from sight by long white caps, sich as I spose female Josts wear; but their eyes sparkled like diminds, their cheeks was like roses, and they was charmin enuff to make man throw stuns at his granmother, if they axed him to. They commenst clearin away the dishes, castin shy glances at me all the time. I got excited. I forgot Betsy Jane in my rapter, and sez I, “My pretty dears, how air you ?”
“We air well,” they solumly sed.
“I mean the gay and festiv cuss who calls me a man of sin. Shouldn't wonder if his name was Uriah.”
“He has retired.”
“Wall, my pretty dears," sez I, “let's have sum fun. Let's play puss in the corner.
What say ?” “Air you a Shaker, sir ?” they axed.
“Wall, my pretty dears, I havn't arrayed my proud form in a long weskit yit, but if they was all like you perhaps I'd jine 'em. As it is, I'm a Shaker pro-temporary."
They was full of fun. I seed that at fust, only they was a leetle skeery. I tawt 'em Puss in the corner and sich like plase, and we had a nice time, keepin quiet of course
I sot up
so the old man shouldn't hear. When we broke up, sez I,
My pretty dears, ear I go you hav no objections, hav you, to a innersent kiss at partin ?”
“Yay,” they sed, and I yay'd.
I went up stairs to bed. I spose I'd been snoozin half a hour when I was woke up by a noise at the door. in bed, leanin on my elbers and rubbin my eyes, and I saw the follerin picter : The Elder stood in the doorway, with a taller candle in his hand. He hadn't no wearin appeerel on except his night close, which fluttered in the breeze like a Seseshun flag. He sed, “You're a man of sin!”. then groaned and went away.
I went to sleep agin, and drempt of runnin orf with the pretty little Shakeresses, mounted on my Californy Bar. I thawt the Bar insisted on steerin strate for my dooryard in Baldinsville, and that Betsy Jane cum out and giv us a warm recepshun with a panfull of bilin water. I was woke up arly by the Elder. He sed refreshments was reddy for me down stairs. Then sayin I was a man of sin, he went groanin away.
As I was goin threw the entry to the room where the vittles was, I cum across the Elder and the old female I'd met the night before, and what d'ye spose they was up to? Huggin and kissin like young lovers in their gushingist state. Sez I, “My Shaker frends, I reckon you'd better suspend the rules, and git marrid!”
“You must excoos Brother Uriah,” sed the female; "he's subjeck to fits, and hain't got no command over hisself when he's into 'em.”
“Sartinly," sez I, “I've bin took that way myself frequent." “ You're a man of sin !” sed the Elder.
Arter breakfust my little Shaker frends cum in agin to clear away the dishes.
My pretty dears," sez I, “shall we yay agin ?” “Nay," they sed, and I nay'd.