LAWRENCE J. GUTTER
Collection of Chicogoono
THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
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MERRICK RICHARDSON AT THE AGE OP SEVENTY-FIVE.
Merrick Abner Richardson
^JIM HALL AND THE RICHARDSONS"j '''EIGHT DATS OUT", "MINA FAUST''
"ROSE LIND", "PERSONALITY OF THE SOUL", "CHICAGO'S
BLACK SHEEP", "TWILIGHT REFLECTIONS,"
Merrick Abner Richardson
My spare time, only, is occupied in literary efforts. I
never allow them to interfere with either my business or
In composing, in a mysterious way, I comprehend the
companionship of my imaginary friends as vividly as I
do the material associates of life. To me imagination is
the counterpart or result of inspiration, while inspiration
is light thrown upon the unrevealed. The image may be
the result of known or unknown cause, but the mystery
does not blot out the actual existence of the image. The
material image we call sight, the retained memory, and
the unknown revelation, but all are comprehensive im-
I see a bird, its form created a picture on my eye, the
image of which mysteriously remained after the object
had disappeared. Now what or who cognizes the primitive
object, the formed picture or the retained image?
The materialist assumes he has solved the mystery
when he says; The appearance of the object formed an
impression on your brain ; omitting the important part
of who comprehends the impression.
These material and spiritual views are not the two
extremes, there is no midway, one is right and the other
is wrong. Either man is a spiritual, responsible being or
he is just temporary mud.
Therefore imagination, to me is incomprehensible
realization, while materialism is the symbol of passing
events. This explains how my imaginary friends become
so dear to me.
The ideas presented in my story of Mary Magdalene
I gained through descriptions conveyed to me by Jona
while traveling across the Syrian desert. He always be-
gan in the middle of his story and worked out both ways,
which made it difficult to take notes, besides at the best it
was but a legend, dim and indistinct.
In this work I have carefully avoided Oriental style,
language or customs for two reasons : First, there is not
an Oriental scholar now, who could do them justice,
Second, one is perfectly safe in bringing any people of
any age right down to our times. For, the culture of
one tribe or race does not influence incoming souls for
the next generation. The human family enter life on
about the same plane. A child from the low tribes of the
jungles or from the desert wild, if brought up by a Chi-
cago mother, might becon.e as great as one of the royal
family. The feelings, aspirations, sorrows and love of
Mary Magdalene and Peter were similar to what ours
would have been under the same conditions. Therefore
I bring the story of Magdalene right down to yesterday,
I first constructed the story of Magdalene while in
Jerusalem, then I revised it in Egypt, and have been re-
vising it at intervals ever since. From Jona's continued
reiteration regarding her prepossessing gifts, spiritual
and unwavering qualities, especially her firmness before
Caiaphas, I formed her personality in my mind and asso-
ciated her with bright women of today, then I let Mag-
dalene talk for herself.
To me she was no exception from the women I asso-
ciated with in Chicago. There are not wanting women
in Oak Park who under the same circumstances would
have followed Jesus to Jerusalem, disdained to deny him
and would have pleaded before the sanhedrim at the
dead of night to have saved their associate from the
misguided servants of the devil.
The reminiscenses of the pioneer Richardsons, Jim
and Winnie, Sunshine days around Wabbaquassett, John
Brown, roving escapades of the Richardson Brothers,
my athletic exploits, my travels and other scenes of my
life are primitive truths copied from memory and set
forth in my original form of expresson.
My attack on materialists or infidelic instructors
stands on its own feet and opposes a tendency that will
create degeneracy if continued.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
My Ancestors 9
Old Homestead 17
Jim Hall 19
Love Spats 20
Jim's Story 31
The Arrest 35
The AIartyrs Zl
The Escape 38
Stubbs' Store 40
Susan Beaver 45
Alone in the Wilderness 51
Hunting for Baby 54
Our Wabbaquassett Mountain Home 61
WooDCHucK IN the Wall 64
Sunday Morning 69
Husking Bee 76
Prayer Meeting at Uncle Sam's 78
Golden Days 81
The Wild Sexton Steer 83
School Days 87
Country Boys in Town 89
As a Yankee Tin Peddler 94
The Thompson Family 97
John Brov^n 99
The Dead Appear 106
Vida's Daring Exploit 108
Owen Brown's Story 110
After the Mist Had Cleared Away 115
Yankee Horsemen Go West 117
My Relation 121
Horse Jockies 123
Landed in Chicago 126
Dr. Thomas 128
Early Chicago 131
HcRSE Racing in Chicago 134
VI TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hopeful and Rarus 137
Chicago Piety 141
Public Conveyance 143
My Athletic Exploits 146
My First Hundred Mile Run 148
Arthur's and Walton's Long Run 151
The First Century Race 157
Dead Glacier 160
Miraculous Escape From a Bear 168
My Education 173
Hawaiian Islands 176
South Sea Islands and Australia 180
New Guinea 183
Cochin China 190
Rud Hurner 193
Off for Babylon 198
On the Euphrates 200
On the Shat-el-chebar 201
KooFA, Arabia ' 203
The Sheik of Koofa 205
Wild, Yet Beautiful 209
The Man I Had Seen Before 212
Real Bedouins After Us 214
Suspicion Aroused 217
The Rechabites 221
Sleeping Beauty of the Desert 225
The Abandoned Castle 227
Mary Magdalene 229
DiNA of Endor 231
The Home of Magdalene 235
John and Magdalene 237
Darkness Over Galilee 242
Surprise for the Pharisees 248
Council of the Disciples 251
Turn of the Tide 253
Magdalene's Heroic Plea 255
Jesus Speaks 261
The Exodus 262
Waiting By the Jordan 265
In Council at Jericho 267
Arrival at Jerusalem 270
Magdalene Pleading With Jesus 278
At the Home of Mai y and Martha 280
TABLE OF CONTENTS VII
A Naughty Maid 282
Lazarus Restored 285
Conspiracy to Murder Jesus 287
The Mob Fall Upon Jesus 292
Magdalene Before Caiaphas 295
Jesus Before Pilate 300
The Crucifixion 302
Alone on Olivet 304
Magdalene Herself Again 307
Ruth Comes to Meet Magdalene 311
Joseph's Last Interview 312
Magdalene's Last Night With John 315
Last Good-B ye 321
The Prickett Home 324
William James, of Harvard 328
Evening of My Life Day 340
Fifty-four Miles' Hike 342
Back Home 348
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Merrick A. Richardson 1
Camp of the Stafford Pioneers 14
Ancient Cemetery of the Stafford Pioneers 16
Winnie Richardson 21
Good Morning, Miss Richardson 23
Jim in the Woods 52
Our Mountain Home 61
Chasing for a Kiss 76
Prayer Meeting at Uncle Sam's 80
When the Folks Were Away 86
Wabbaquassett Girls 88
Charming Old Wabbaquassett 90
The Aborn Home 92
Album of Sunny Days 94
Mary Jane Hoyt 96
John Brown, 1850 99
ViDA Thompson's Midnight Ride 109
Near John Brown's Adirondack Home 115
Yankee Horsemen 117
Horse Sales 123
Dr. Thomas 128
Early Chicago 144
G. M. Richardson and Family 1-16
Saddle Horse Days 148
The Fox River Bicycle Race 158
Cycling Run to South Park 160
North Shore, Loon Lake, Winona Grove 162
Arthur Richardson and Friends 164
Eastfr Island 181
New Guinea 187
Mesopotamia Servants 193
Desert Life Among the Arabs 209
Ruins of Tadmor 227
Mary Magdalene 231
Prickett Home 324
Fannie Peterson 336
Our Oak Park Home 338
My Children 340
Arthur Richardson and His Twins 342
Barbara Beaver 346
Our Fifty-four Mile Hike 349
Ezekiel Richardson, with his wife Susanna, joined
the Protestant Church in the Village of Charlestown,
Mass. — now Boston — in 1630. The following year
Thomas and Samuel Richardson joined the same church ;
the records of the will of Ezekiel prove them to have been
When they came to New England, or where from,
is unknown, but as about thirty ships of British emigrants
came into Boston Harbor about that time, it is safe to
assume that they came on one of these vessels, but
possibly they may have come on one of the boats which
followed the Mayflower nearly ten years previous.
It appears that there arose dissensions in the church
and those good Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers strove
among themselves until 1634, when the three Richard-
sons, with several other families, withdrew and decided
to start a colony and a church of their own, where they
could worship God in peace.
Through a swamp on the west, called Cat Bird Glen,
ran a trout brook to the meadows below. Beyond this
woodland glen lay an upland plain, held by the Indians
as a camping ground, which the Richardsons concluded
they might, through the persuasion of powder and
bullets, be able to occupy and leave the parent church
at Charlestown to mourn their departure.
Accordingly about twenty families, including the
Richardsons, took possession of the site, dug their cellars,
and built primitive homes together with a log church and
named the town Woburn.
Joy mingled with pride encouraged the men to subdue
the soil, hunt, snare and trap the game and fish, while
the buxom dames hummed their spinning wheels as they
cooed their frolicsome babies beneath the shadows of
the great forest monarchs who seemed loath to give way
to the encroaching steps of the white man.
Contrary to the general rule, that rats and ministers
advance hand in hand with civilization, in this case the
ministers failed to appear for the reason that the home
church of England refused to recognize the seceders as
children of God by turning down their supplication for
a regular ordained preacher.
Here the true spirit and determination which seems
to tinge the veins of the Richardsons made its first
appearance. Ezekiel, by the grace of God, took upon
himself the leadership in all the praying and singing of
LOOKING BACK 11
the independent church for about ten years. He offici-
ated at all weddings and funerals, besides established the
whipping post for those who did not appear in church,
with clean shirts on, three Sundays each month to hear
him preach two long sermons, when it is said he often
preached so loud that he could be distinctly heard in the
Charlestown church two miles away, to the annoyance
of his old-time associates.
After Ezekiel's thrifty swarm had become greater
than the parent hive at Charlestown and the hand of
time began pressing heavily upon his shoulders, a regu-
larly ordained preacher was sent in, which the parishion-
ers did not like as well as they did Ezekiel, for he could
not clothe and feed himself as Ezekiel had done, but he
stayed until he died, and here is a sample of primitive
piety in our grandfather's days :
"The Reverend Mr. Carter of the Woburn Episcopal
Church died, and being a good man, our forefathers
decided to turn out in mass, give him a Christian burial
and charge the expenses to the town. Of the itemized
bill — coffin, shroud, grave-digging, and stimulants, — the
latter, the liquor bill, exceeded all the other expenses."
See Woburn Town Records, Volume 3, page 68.
Thus while we find traces of weakness in our ancest-
ors, a principle seems to have been involved which made
New England a hot-bed for vags and tramps. No
wonder we sigh for the good old days when respectable
citizens did not have to lock their doors on Sunday, for
all the thieves were in church.
Through the first appearance of the Richardsons in
Charlestown we have an unbroken hne of nine genera-
tions through Ezekiel of Woburn 1630 to Marvin of
Ezekiel of Woburn.
Theopohs of Woburn.
John of Stafford Street.
Uriah of Stafford Street.
John of of Devil's Hop Yard.
W^arren of Wabbaquassett Lake.
Merrick of Chicago.
Arthur of Chicago.
Marvin of Chicago.
Of course, my brothers and cousins perpetuate this
lame, the same as I do. Collins and Gordon, my broth-
ers, with Orino, the son of my Uncle Orson, alone have
raised about twenty boys.
The living male descendants of Ezekiel, Samuel and
Thomas, who carry our name, must now be more than
one hundred thousand Richardsons, and I presume few
of them trace back their rehition more than three
generations, but they could if they would.
MY grandmother's STORY
My grandmother, Judith Burroughs Richardson, who
died in 1859, age 94, seemed in the evening of her life-
LOOKING BACK 13
day to think, dream and commune with her ancestors and
friends, who long since entered Paradise, and now
seemed to be throwing back kisses to loved ones ap-
proaching that land of delight.
From her experience and traditional reminiscences
I here give a condensed sketch of her apparent and vivid
James Burroughs, her grandfather, was the son of the
minister, George Burroughs, her great-grandfather, who
was hanged at Salem, Mass., August 19, 1692, for being
in league with the devil.
James was arrested soon after, but escaped from
Salem jail and, under the name of Jim Hall, lived in
Connecticut for several years. Later, under his right
name, he married Winnie Richardson, a Stafford Street
girl, and they settled near Brattleborough, Vermont,
where grandmother's father, Amos Burroughs, was born.
After James died, her grandmother Winnie came to
\\'est Stafford to live with them. She died before grand-
ma was born and was buried in the family lot near their
house. Her gravestone was still standing when mv
father was old enough to go with his grandfather Amos
Burroughs and see them.
The homestead where Winnie died and grandmother
was born and married can be found by following the
south road out of West Stafford and turning the first
road to the right, across the brook and up the hill to the
first farm scene.
Winnie's father, Theopolis, son of Ezekiel, and sev-
eral other men with their families, came West when she
was a little girl and took possession, or squat, on the
northern rise of a highland plain, where a grand view of
14 LOOKING BACK
the far-away Western mountains can be seen. They
called their camp Stafford.
John, Winnie's brother, who was conducting an
Indian trading post at Medford came on later, with
his two brothers, Gershom and Paul, and opened up the
famous Stafford Street, which was laid out twenty rods
wide and about two miles long, the southern terminus
being about one mile northeast of Stafford Springs.
John Richardson took up the first farm at the north
entrance on the west side and Silas Dean took the first
on the left, or east, side from the old campus on the hill
at the north end of the street.
All between the walls, which was later changed to
sixteen rods, was commons. The church in the center
was used for spiritual devotion, recorder office and court
The records of those New England pioneers are dim,
as the Puritans considered church members only, as
Boston records (Woburn), as we have seen, seem to
Theopolis according to his will, must have been a
The Stafford Street records, I was informed by Mrs.
Earned, who now lives on the old homestead, were kept
in their family from the beginning until lately, when
they became such a source of annoyance from ancestor
seekers, like myself, that they sent them to the recorder's
office at Stafford Springs.
At the recorder's office at Stafford Springs I found
that John Richardson from Medford came to Stafford
Street in 1726, this, though meager, acts as the official
connecting link between Woburn and Stafford.
Another scrap I found was that Paul Richardson had
taken land adjoining his brother, John Richardson, this
identifies both John and Paul.
Regarding Gershom, the other one of the three broth-
ers, I found this :
"Gershom Richardson, son of Gershom and Abigail,
born in 1761."
This would make the elder Gershom Richardson con-
temporary with John and Paul.
16 LOOKING BACK
E. Y. Fisk, an early settler, told me that a part of
the early church records have been burned.
In the old graveyard just south of the brook which
crosses Stafford Street still remains the headstone of Lot
Dean, who died in 1818.
Lot would be of the next generation from Silas Dean,
who took the farm opposite John Richardson.
Near the grave of Lot are the headstones of Uriah
Richardson and his wife Miriam, who died October 18,
1785, at the age of 75. Uriah must have been all right,
for Miriam, who died twenty years later, had had in-
scribed on his headstone :
"The memory of the just is blessed."
Grandmother remembered Uriah, the son of John and
the father of John, her husband.
Now while the traditions, records and gravestones
may prove each in themselves to be weak evidence, to-
gether they form an unbroken chain from Ezekiel down
to our times.
With my interesting nieces, Joe and Lina Newell, one
bright summer day, I visited the ancient homes of the
Stafford Street, Conn., Richardsons.
E. Y. Fisk and his son now possess the historical
property. The son from Springfield, who was haying
there at the time, invited us and all the other Richard-
son tribe to come and camp on the homestead grounds,
sit on the old w^alls, gaze over the western mountains and
even coquet with the star Venus evenings, all of which
look now the same as when our ancestors saw them 200
That day, July 19, 1916, with those girls, viewing the
scenes and taking pictures of the surroundings, im-
printed on my mind an oasis of beauty ever awaiting recall
as I journey over the trackless sands of time.
The present seemed to pass away as the past unfolded
its charms while we were reminded of the long ago.
Sacredly we listened to the voice of Mother Mary
calling Winnie from the kitchen door, saw the men in
homespun shirts and trousers coming up from the
meadow below. Heard the careless boy whistling while
unyoking the lazy oxen. Saw old dog Towser sleeping
in the shade. And in the pasture far away we seemed
to hear the faint tinkling of the cow bell on the brindle
Day dreams, says one.
Imagination, says another.
18 LOOKING BACK
May it not be that when death removes this earthly
garment, we will again realize that the past, present, and
future are one.
If the image of the face before me now is the reten-
tion of the face I saw yesterday, may not all fiction, in-
vention and imagination be retention of occurences we
can only recall in parts ?
The power of recall is mysterious. If we dream of
the dead as living when we know that they are dead, but
we cannot recall that which we know, may we not know
of pre-existence but lack the power to recall?
Thus Lina, Joe and myself spent a happy summer day
on the New England hills, which we will pleasantly re-
call when the cold winds of winter rattle the doors and
windows and we are hugging the radiators.
During the days of the New England pioneers our
early church had more trouble in evolutionizing Chris-
tianity from bigotry than in driving the red man from his
native lair. Therefore, as the records show my ancestors
to have been entangled in this muss, I have arranged,,
in this family record, and the story of my life, the story
of Winnie and Jim.
One warm May evening, in 1693, a stranger, who said
his name was James Hall, appeared at the door of Deacon
Felker's home in Stafford, Conn., and applied for a job.
His face betokened firmness, his speech was clear and
distinct, while a tinge of sadness seemed to prevade his
He claimed to be a good chopper and, as the deacon
was now clearing up his future home in the New England
wilderness, he soon bargained with Jim for all the season.
Hall soon became a favorite in the colony, broke all
the unruly steers, saddled the ugly colts, collared Bill
Jones, the terror of the town, and thrashed him soundly ;
but did not attend church until the influence of Winnie
Richardson changed hatred to forgiveness.
For some weeks the Felkers had had many callers,
who sympathized deeply with the poor broken-hearted
mother over her lost Juda among the Indians, but time,
the blessed obliterator of all earthly troubles, soon brought
forward other scenes and changes, and people laughed,
joked and enjoyed themselves at Stafford as usual.
W^innie Richardson and her father were over to see
the Felkers almost every day and Mr. Richardson would
hear nothing about the pay for the colt which the In-
dians had stolen from Jim while searching for Juda, say-
ing he had another one as nice, which, if Jim would come
over and break, so Winnie could ride it, he would call it
One evening Winnie came over and, as was her cus-
tom, fluttered around and fussed over Jim, bandaging
up his sore foot, which he had hurt during the hunt for
Juda. Then she made tea for Mrs. Felker and slicked
up the room, while Jim lay back in the chair and watched
all her movements.
Jim felt almost like crying, he was so worn out and
heart-broken over the loss of little Juda. Everyone knows
how sweet home and friends seem under such circum-
stances ; but here was Winnie, who had won his heart,
and he wanted to tell her so, but she would not let him.
"Winnie," he said, in as a careless a manner as he
WINNIE RICHARDSON. WAITING ON THE EASTERN BLUFFS OF
LOOKING BACK 21
was capable of, "you do not know how much that new
gown becomes you."
"Thanks, Jim, I'm glad you like it ; do you know I
have worked on it ever since you went away? I was so
worried about you I had to work or ride old Dan, to keep
from going wild. Several times I rode down to the
Springs, followed the trail around the west bend way up
to old Wabbaquassett, around to the eastern highlands
from where I gazed across the pretty waves, hoping to
see you coming, but saw only Nipmunk maidens sporting
in their canoes."
"Then, if I had never come back, Winnie, I suppose
you would have worked on that gown and ridden to
Wabbaquassett Lake all the remainder of your life."
"I do not know. I know I wanted you to come home."
Jim was encouraged. This was more than she had
ever said before, so he ventured to say, "Winnie, come
here and give me your hand."
She came forward, and placing her hand in his, said,
laughingly, "Well, Jim, what?"
"Now, Winnie, why were you worried for fear I
would not come home and what did you want me to come
"Why, Jim, are you so simple as all that? You know
that father expects you to break his colts in the spring,
besides he thinks he cannot get along without your opin-
ion on cabbages and turnips, then why would it not
worry me? Now, Jim, I'm going home, and I want you
to limp over tomorrow and see me, and stay all day, and
we will have a good visit. But, really, Jim, you must not
talk serious to me; you must give up that." Both were
silent a moment and then she continued : "There, James
Hall, has that little lecture almost killed you? I see you
22 LOOKING BACK
have the dumps. That will never do. Look up here,
Mr. Hall, have you forgotten that ]\Iiss Richardson is
Jim looked up and endeavored to catch her eye, but
no use. When she saw how pitiful he looked she burst
out lavighing and walked away with her chin way up
high, then came back with a smile, bade him good-night,
and she was gone.
Jim was in trouble. Mrs. Felker was delirious with
grief. Little Juda, the sunshine of the home, was gone,
and Winnie had told him plainly he must abandon all
serious thoughts. He lay awake way into the night and
formed his plans thus : I will not go over to Richard-
sons in the morning, nor the next day nor the next, and
perhaps never. I will take my axe and go up among
the old hickory trees and work from sun to sun and try
to banish little Juda from my mind, and also try to for-
get what a fool I am ; fool — fool — of course I am, toss-
ing around here all night over a girl that does not care
for me. The idea of my consulting with her father over
a cabbage patch. I think Jim Hall is not quite dead
gone yet — no, I will not show my face there again very
soon, of course not. Now I will turn over and go to
sleep." But poor Jim, like many others, would like to
forget his Winnie, but could not. ^^'innie had won his
heart. She had come to stay.
Morning came and as the sun banished the dew from
the grass, so daylight had upset all of Jim's plans con-
cerning the hickory logs. He did not want to see Win-
nie in particular — no, but then he must not treat Mr.
Richardson shabbily because Winnie had misused him.
"Oh, I'll go over, of course I will, and visit the old folks,
GOOD MOHiNINli, MISS HICHAHDSON !
LOOKING BACK 23
and if I see her I will pass the time of day to her — that
He found the old gent out feeding pigs and soon they
were engaged in a friendly conversation. When they
turned into the house, Aunt Mary came briskly forward
to greet him and asked many questions concerning his
long hunt for Juda among the Indians, which he could
have answered more sensibly had he not been expecting
Winnie. Of course, he was not anxious to see her, but
he wondered where she was.
"Jim," said Mr. Richardson, "you will find plenty of
those early apples down in the orchard if you care for
them." So Mr. Hall started through the orchard and
came spat upon Winnie by the wild rose bush, on the
"Good morning, Miss Richardson," he said, as he
extended his hand in a cold business-like manner.
Winnie paid no attention to his good morning, but
brushing aside his extended hand she began fixing a white
rose in the buttonhole of his coat as she said in a soft
tone : "Jim, how would you feel if you were a girl and
had gone and primed yourself all up nice so as to look
sweet as possible, waiting for your fellow to come and
say, 'Hello, Winnie, how sweet you look this morning!'
but instead to see him come stalking through the trees as
though he was monarch of all he surveyed, saying 'good
morning. Miss Richardson.' Now, own up, Jim, that
you deliberately planned that scheme to frighten me."
"\\' ell, but you see, my dear."
"Yes, Jim, I see. I know all about it. You have been
nerving yourself up to show that you did not care for me.
You did it nicely. I thought you could not hold out more
than a minute, but I think you did about two. And
24 LOOKING BACK
now you're smiling, calling me dear, and will not let go
of my hand. You did not sleep well last night, did
"No, I did not."
"Was Mrs. Felker nervous?"
"Yes, she did not sleep a wink before two o'clock."
"And how about Frank?"
"Oh, he always sleeps like a log."
"Say, Jim, why do you take such an interest in Frank;
where did the Felkers get him?"
"Boston, or somewhere East."
"What is his name?"
"Burroughs, they say."
"Burroughs — Burroughs — he did not come from Sa-
lem, did he ?"
\A'innie, noticing Jim's emotion, turned back to the
original theme and continued : "And I suppose Juda was
on your mind?"
"Yes, she was, and still I know it is wrong to worry
about her, but I shall never cease to love that little angel.
You know, I have lots of love letters she wrote me?
She used to bring them over into the lot herself and then
turn her back while I read them. She said she could not
bear to see a man read a love letter. She was like her
mother, artful as she could be. She used to enjoy our
love spats, as she called them ; she would pretend to get
mad and go pouting around all day and expect me to
come and make up with her, and sometimes it required
lots of coaxing, but, of course, she always gave in at last.
You see, now she is gone, I cannot help thinking about
those things, and that is not all the trouble with me,
"That is enough, Jim. You need not tell your other
LOOKING BACK 25
troubles. Come along to the grove, I want to talk with
Following the cart path they entered the woods, when
she turned quickly and said : "Jini, I have something on
my mind which I wish to unload, and you will not think
me silly even if I am wrong?"
"No, no," he replied with a searching look. "I like
to have you confide in me."
"Do you know, Jim, that I think there is a possible
chance yet to find Juda alive."
He sprang to his feet as he exclaimed, "Tell me, Win-
nie, tell me all you know !"
"Do not get excited; I have no proof. Tell, me. Jim,
all about the first day you were out hunting for Juda,
who you saw and what they said?"
After he had gone through with the particulars she
asked : "How many Indians camped at W^abbaquassett
Lake that first night?"
"Only four, besides those regular lake dwellers."
"Did you see them all at one time?"
"Yes, we saw the four and talked with them. They
came from the West."
"Were they Mohawks ?"
"No, they were Narragansetts."
"\\'ell, if Juda had been with the camp when you
and Frank came upon them, could thev have concealed
"Certainly, but I do not think she was there."
"I do not think, Jim, she was killed by the wolves,"
said \\'innie, as she frowned thoughtfully while looking
on the ground. "If she is dead the Indians killed her."
"Did not you and all the neighbors, after we had gone,
find the place where the wolves had killed her?"
26 LOOKING BACK
"Oh, yes, Jim, I was there, but those Indians are so
cunning. You see they broke camp about noon and that
must have been about the time she would have arrived
there. Now, if she arrived at the camp after they had
gone, she could have come back home, but if lost, why
did she not hear the calls for her, for the wolves dis-
turb no one until after dark."
"Suppose your theory is true, Winnie, what steps
would you take to find her?"
"Will you do what I want you to do about it?"
"Yes, Winnie, I feel like Queen Esther, when risking
her Hfe for her people."
"Queen Esther? Jim Hall, who taught you the Bible?"
He studied a moment and then said : "Go on about
Winnie scrutinized him keenly, then turned from the
painful subject and continued about Juda. "I want you
to wait several months until the Indians think we have
given her up, then go quietly among the tribes ; you know
you talk all their tongues, and if you find her, Jim, I will
love you for your bravery, and if you do not, the endeavor
ought to count some. Now I suppose you want to go in
and visit with papa and mamma."
"What makes you drag out that 'yes' so long?"
"I thought you might like to take a walk in the grove."
"If you had not been so cross to me this morning."
"Well— but, I really did think—"
"What has changed your mind, Mr. Hall?"
"Well, Jim, say, do you really want to make up ? Oh,
catch me, Jim, my heart — my heart!"
LOOKING BACK 27
Jim sprang and saved her from falling into the brook,
as she pushed him from her and began laughing.
"Oh, ^^'innie, you do not know how you did frighten
me, you are a roguish girl, but I like you and think you
a perfect pet."
"Perfect pet — get out. Did you know John Bragg
was over to see me?"
"Yes, John Bragg."
"I thought you had given him up?"
"Oh, no. I did think when you and I came home from
church on the black colt, it would give him a shock, but
he is all the more attentive. Think of it, all the fathers
and mothers have had their daughters cooing around
him for the last three years and he does not bite, but is
in great agony over me. Now, what can I do? I will
have to marry him to get rid of him, won't I ?"
"To get rid of him?"
"Oh, Jim, but his father is rich. You see, it is dig-
nified to have such a beau. He came over last night
after I left you and said his father had bought of Mr.
Converse a beautiful saddle horse and he wanted me to
take a ride on it, but when I told him I was engaged he
looked downcast. He proposed to bring over his sister
Lydia and, if it pleased you, we would all go up to the
west bend fishing together and have a fish fry. What
do you thing of that?"
"I would be delighted to go."
"Yes, but he will expect to escort me and leave you
to attend to Lydia."
"Th-it is all right ; I like Lydia."
"Of course, I do."
28 LOOKING BACK
"But, Jim, you are older than Lydia."
"I do not think she cares for that by what she said."
"What she said ? When was all this talk ?"
"Oh, not long ago."
"Not long ago? Look around here, James Hall!"
At this he smiled and she said, "There, now, you were
fooling me — own up that it was not true."
"It may not be exactly true, but bordering on the
"What do you mean by bordering on the truth ?"
"I actually saw her."
"Did you talk that way to her?"
"Oh, no; we did not speak."
"There, Jim, now I like you just a little bit ; sort of
sisterly love, you know. That is all. Jim — do you hear?"
"No," he said, drawing her to him. "I did not catch
that last sentence. Come a little nearer, Winnie."
"Never ! Never ! James Hall," she said, withdrawing
with a flushed face. "You are holding a secret from me
and unless you confide all, Winnie Richardson will die
an old maid."
"Thank God," he replied, with irony, "That cuts off
"John is already cut off. I love the tracks you make
in the dust more than I do him, but no girl should allow
herself to follow a love trail into a snare. You may be
all right. I think you are, but do not advance another
shade until I know all."
Jim dried her falling tears as caressingly as he dared,
but the mystery still remained.
Winnie turned and gazed to the far away hills, but
she did not see them, for her soul was silently summoning
courage for the trying ordeal. Jim could but see in her
LOOKING BACK 29
the model of pure virtue and loveliness, as she turned to
"Is your name James Hall ?"
"Were you ever married?"
"Is your wife alive?"
"What is your name?"
"Is your father alive?"
"What was his name?"
"Where did he die?"
"August 19. 1692."
"Was he that George Burroughs?" Here Winnie's
voice failed, and Jim answered, "He was."
Winnie stepped back while her thin lips parted and
seemed to look as white as the ivories between them.
"Was your wife that beautiful Fanny Shepherd, who
died with a broken heart at Casco Bay, after the report
of your death ?"
Winnie stood a moment as if to satisfy herself that
the world was real and she was not dreaming, then com-
ing softly forward she sat on his knee and putting her
arm around his neck began kissing him, while she said :
"Mother is to have hot biscuits, butter and honey for
supper, and we must go now, and after that I will give
her a hint of what has happened, and we will take to the
30 LOOKING BACK
parlor and you must tell me the story of your life, and
you may talk just as serious as you please. Now, Jim,
I want you to hug and kiss me for keeps."
Father and mother were puzzled to conjecture what
had caused the turn in the tide, for the distance between
Winnie and Jim had suddenly disappeared, and \\'innie
began bossing him around, just like regular married folks.
"Jim," said Winnie, as they entered the parlor. "Your
clothes do not fit, your boots are too big, and your hair
is too long. Oh, dear me, after we are married what a
time I will have fixing you up. What makes you smile?"
"Who has said anything about marrying, Winnie?"
"When is all this to take place?"
"Oh, it will be several months yet. You know, papa
and mamma will want me to look nice and I will have
to make all my new clothes. Now begin your story."
"Will you promise not to cry, Winnie?"
"Really, I will try. But think of it, it seems to me
something like one rising from the dead ; and still, be-
lieve me, dear, something of this kind impressed me from
the day you arrived in Stafford, nearly eight years ago.
If I should tell you my dreams you would call me vision-
ary, but I will tell that some other time. Now begin and
I will be good except when I want to pet you."
I was born in Boston, May 1, 1670. My father,
George Burroughs, then an ordained minister, was travel-
ing on a circuit, preaching in stores, schoolhouses or any
place where it was convenient, as most preachers did at
that time. When I was four years old we moved to
Salem, where father had charge of the Salem Mission,
and when I was twelve years of age my mother died.
Father's liberal views did not please Samuel Harris
and several other officials of the church, and they peti-
tioned the presiding elder that he be removed.
Soon father learned that a settlement at Casco Bay,
Maine, a landing on the coast nearly 100 miles north of
Salem, had no preacher, so accordingly, one morning
after a friend had given us our lodging, breakfast and
two dollars in money, we started on foot for Casco Bay.
The evening before leaving, we had spent several hours
fixing up mother's grave, and as we passed by the yard
the next morning we went in and knelt, and I remember
how father thanked God that our angel mother had passed
to the land of dreams, "Where the wicked cease from
troubling and the weary art at rest."
On our way along the north shore road, father
preached several times, for which the people lodged, fed
and gave us some money. On arriving at our destination,
father announced that he would preach next morning,
Sunay, in Gordon Richardson's barn. Well do I remem-
32 LOOKING BACK
ber the text, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and
heavy laden, and I will give ye rest." I noticed all paid
close attention and some shed tears, and when we sang,
all joined in and it seems to me I have never heard such
voices since. It was a bright, clear summer day, all the
little settlement was quiet, and when those standing out-
side joined in the chorus the peaceful strains seemed to
waft my soul far away and make me think that I was
with my mother.
After it was over Lucius Aborn, when shaking hands,
said, "Your talk suits me, Mr. Burroughs, and although
I'm not a church-going man, here is my dollar, and I want
you and the boy to come right up to my house and stay
six or eight weeks, and we will all pitch in and find you
a place to live and preach."
Oh, how well we prospered in that little one-horse
town, where there was little money, but the fields, orchards
and gardens brought forth their fruit abundantly, while
fish and game were plenty. The business center consisted
of one large grocery and notion store, a sawmill, grist-
mill, fish and game market, and several large storehouses.
I soon found employment in the store which was kept by
Obadiah Stubbs, where I worked while I was not in
school as long as I lived there.
At the end of one year, father had ninety members
in his flock, and was still preaching in the schoolhouse.
Eight years after our arrival, the congregation had built
a commodious log and plastered church and father was
receiving four hundred dollars salary, while I had saved
two hundred dollars. With this and father's savings, we
bought the Dimmick place, a comfortable village home.
LOOKING BACK 33
On my twenty-first birthday I married Fanny Shep-
herd, a beautiful blue-eyed girl of eighteen, when we,
with father, moved into our new quarters, and as Mr.
Stubbs had proposed taking me in as a partner, we looked
forward to a happy and prosperous life.
Father's affectionate acts and words to Fanny caused
her to love him and, when we were blessed with a little
baby boy, our happiness was complete, but, oh, how little
did I dream of the dark storm that was gathering on
yonder horizon, whose distant thunder I could not hear,
and angry lightning I could not see, but whose dark
mantle, when spread over, would cause me to bow down
in grief, such as few ever realize.
Deacon Hobbs, returning in IMarch, from Salem,
stated in open church that he had learned that George
Burroughs was not a regularly ordained minister, even
if he once had been, and if he received spiritual aid,
as he claimed, it was not the spirit of God, but that of the
devil. He advised all members to beware of wolves in
Father replied : " 'An evil tree cannot bring forth
good fruit.' Look to the right and left, Deacon Hobbs,
and view the two hundred members working in the Mast-
er's vineyard. Compare my life of the past few years
with yours. I, with my son's assistance, and the liberality
of my flock, have saved enough to buy a modest home,
while you have sponged up nearly half the wealth of this
town. Your barns, storehouses, and pockets are full. I
have not charged usury for money, cheated the red man
out of his honest dues or trampled upon the rights of
widows and orphans ; all these things you have done. I
34 LOOKING BACK
think I divine your purpose; but now listen, you steeple
of soulless piety, neither insinuations nor acts will intimi-
date me. Not for an extension of this momentary life
would I budge one hair to the right or left from the
path my Master has laid out for me. He knows it all,
and why should I fear?" At this point Hobbs left the
On May 4, 1692, father, Fanny and myself were at
the table with the baby boy in father's arms, he saying
that it did not seem to him that the whole family was
there unless he had the baby on his knee. As dear Fanny
was joking him about feeding a baby two weeks old, two
officers stepped into the room and read a warrant to
him. It was for the arrest of George Burroughs as being
suspected of being in complicity with the Devil. The
warrant was dated Boston, April 30th, 1692. (See Bos-
Without permission to bid us privately good-bye, his
hands were shackled, he was placed on a horse, and they
rode away at full gallop.
Fanny was in no condition to be left alone, but she
urged me to saddle her father's horse at once and follow
on. Soon the horse was waiting for me, but she could
not let me go, she wept so bitterly while she flung her
lovely arms around my neck, but at last with one sweet
kiss she bade me hasten and said she would go home
to Father Shepherd's until I returned.
Fanny, oh, Fanny ! How little did I think the heart
which loved me so fondly would soon be silent in the
grave and I a fugitive and a wanderer — no friends, no
home, and no one to love me.
Twenty miles away I caught up with them, when we
rode nearly three days, with father's hands unnecessarily
shackled, most of the time. The second day he said:
36 LOOKING BACK
"Jimmy, this is my last earthly ride. The church is in
error and will continue its injustice until some tragedy
awakens the people, then it will be restrained. I may as
well suffer as another. Jesus intends righteousness to
eventually govern His church, but his professed follow-
ers are often blind to truth and righteousness, and will be
until some great wrong is committed whereby they can
place right against wTong for compromise. Do not weep,
my boy, soon, in a moment as it were, you and I will
stand before the judge, and who will this judge be?
Our lives, just the plain record of our lives. There and
then we can easily forgive those who have wronged us,
but if we have wronged others, will their forgiveness to
us set us free? Not unless a higher power steps in. Oh,
this will be all right, my son, when the sunlight of Jesus
shall awaken us to the new born day. I was thinking last
night how glad I was that Jesus had already pleaded my
cause. Oh, yes, the cause of poor unworthy me. Pray,
pray, humbly my brave boy. Pray that you enter not into
temptation and seek revenge. Do not forget that your
Heavenly Father knows your inmost secret thoughts, and
when you pray ask Jesus to forgive my tormentors, for
as he said on Calvary, 'They know not what they do.' "
I will omit the bitter experience I passed through
during father's sham trial and cruel execution.
The public records of the execution of the Salem
martyrs were :
June 10. 1692.
July 19, 1692.
Sarah Good, Sarah Wildes, Lizzie Howe. Rebecca
Nurse, Susanna Martin.
August 19, 1692.
George Burroughs. John Proctor. George Jacobs, John
\\'illard. ]\Iartha Carrier.
September 19, 1692.
September 22, 1692.
Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pude-
ator, Margaret Scott, Wilmot Reed, Samuel Wardwell,
Abel Pike, John Richardson, Mary Parsons, Annie
Hibbins, Margaret Jones, and others were known to have
been executed, but there is no record of their arrest or
trial at Salem. On the gallows, Richardson said : "Go
on with your hanging, I do not want to live in a world
with such fools."
The evening after father's execution I started for
Casco Bay, and on arriving at a tavern about ten miles
out, I found two officers awaiting me. I was at once
taken back to the same prison and placed in a cell to await
my turn on gallows hill.
The jailer, whom I had know when a boy, said his
orders were to give me bread and water once a day. He
was a man about my size, but I knew that I was stronger
than he; besides in a struggle for life, I believed my
guardian angel would increase my power. I concluded
that if once outside the jail, with ten minutes the start, I
could reach the woods and make my way to some far-
away Indian tribe and in time come and take Fanny
and the baby to live with me among the natives, who,
now, to me, seemed angels.
Accordingly, when he came about noon the third day,
I pointed to the wall back of him, saying, "What is
that?" and when he turned, I slipped my hand under his
arm and seized him by the throat, and with the other in
his long hair I broke him backwards over my knee to
the ground, continuing my deadly grip until he ceased to
struggle and lay like one dead. Then, quickly, before
he revived, I slipped on his official garb and drawing his
hat over my face started for the door, which I passed
through and slammed behind me. Then lazily locking it
and dangling the bunch of keys I had taken from him
I walked towards Cotton Mather, who was standing, his
LOOKING BACK 39
back to me, and unlocked one of the cells. Then, as he
did not notice me, I passed him, and on turning towards
the outer door I saw the jailer's assistant, who was talk-
ing to a female prisoner, whom I also passed without
interruption. Stepping into the free world, I locked the
door behind me, leaving the keys in the door, and walked
down the road, to a woodshed, where I threw off the
official garb and ran to the woods for dear life.
I now worked my way to Casco Bay with great diffi-
culty. I could not travel nights, for fear of the wolves,
so I crept cautiously along in the daytime through the
woods and came down and slept in barns nights, where
I usually found milk or eggs ; and on the fifth day, as the
sun was setting, I arrived in an opening on what we called
Chestnut Hill, and looked down on the village of Casco
Oh, I wanted to see Fanny so badly, but I knew I was
on dangerous ground, as officers would surely be waiting
for me, and probably at Father Shepherd's was where
they would expect to find me. Accordingly I decided to
wait until midnight and then go down to Mr. Stubbs'
store, where I had worked so many years, and could
easily gain entrance, and hide among the boxes and lie
there through the day to learn from overhearing what
was going on about the village. So after breaking into
the store and eating my fill of Stubbs' crackers and cheese,
I fixed my nest under the dirty old front counter and fell
In the morning I heard the boy unlock the store,
which reminded me of the times I first came there. He
walked directly on the brown sugar hogshead and stood
and ate for about three minutes, and then began to hunt
for the broom while with his mouth full of cheese he
tried to whistle a lively tune.
Soon another boy came in and I heard him say, "Hello,
Ralph, did you hear about the 'tectives?"
" 'Tectives — what is a 'tective ?"
"Why, don't you know, Ralph ? I have always known
that. Besides father told us all about it this morning.
They are officers with their coats buttoned up, and you
would think they were real men until they catch you
and take you to jail and hang you; so father says."
"Gracious alive ! Have you seen a live one. Bill ?"
LOOKING BACK 41
"No, I never have, but father has. He said there were
two hanging around Uncle Wilham's last night. He
thinks they are the same ones which carried off our
minister, and he says he don't know who they are after
unless it is Jim Burroughs, and it can't be him, either,
for he is dead, they say the Indians or wolves have eat
"Golly, that's strange. Bill. Maybe they're after Jim's
wife. You know them pleggy ministers at Salem kill
lots of good folks."
"Oh, no, Ralph, no 'tectives haven't touched her. be-
cause she's got a baby, besides she is awful sick. \\'hen
she heard Jim was dead she went right into spazumbs or
something, and she is going to die. Why, she moans so
loud we can hear her clear over to our house. Mother
said she was crazy all day and thought that Jim was at
the foot of the bed and would not take her in his arms.
She kept saying, 'Oh, Jim, Jim, don't you love me any
more, won't you let me put my arms around your neck
and kiss you once more before I die ?' "
Here the conversation ended, and I could see Ralph
with his arm on Bill's shoulder both sobbing and wiping
the tears with their dirty sleeve and I bowed my face
down and moaned until Ralph said, "What was that
Stubbs came in and said, "Ralph, why have you not
swept the. floor?"
"Because I can't find the broom. Besides Bill has
been telling me all about how sick Jim Burroughs' wife
is, and how there is 'tectives around here to catch some
one — I think vou had better look out."
42 LOOKING BACK
"It isn't 'tectives, Ralph, say detectives. Do wipe the
sugar off your mouth and speak more proper."
"Didn't know there was sugar on my mouth — Oh, yes,
there was a lump fell out of the hogshead when I was
sweeping, and it was so dirty that I did not like to put it
back into the clean sugar, so I ate it."
"I thought you said you had not swept, for you could
not find the broom."
"Oh — I — ^yes — say, Mr. Stubbs, did you ever see a
"Now, that will do, Ralph ; never mind the sweeping ;
go and count Mrs. Armstrong's eggs, for she is waiting.
Now, Ralph, do not count double-yelk eggs for two any
more, do you understand?"
"I don't see why, as long as there might be a rooster
and a pullet."
"Yes — yes — Mrs. Armstrong, he is coming as soon as
he grasps the cause of twins."
Stubbs and the boy now trudged around the store
waiting on customers until about 10 o'clock, when Paul
Dimock came in and engaged Stubbs in an undertone,
but being directly over my head, I could hear all. "I
have learned," said Dimock, "that two detectives are
stopping at Deacon Hobbs', and have been several days,
and no one knows who they are looking for."
"You see, Paul," said Stubbs, "that Hobbs was in-
strumental in Brother Burroughs' arrest, and I have
been told his daughter, Abigail, swore at Salem that she
saw two black devils standing behind Brother Burroughs
while praying — "
LOOKING BACK 43
At this point a third party came in, and I recognized
the well-known voice of Susan Beaver.
"Isn't it awful about Deacon Hobbs?" she said. "I
suppose that is your secret? Why, I do think it is just
"What news, Mrs. Beaver? What have you heard?"
"Why, last night when Tom came home late, he said
he saw two strangers come out of the woods and sneak
into the deacon's house. So, out of curiosity, Sarah and
I slid around and peeped in at the window, and sure
enough there they were, eating supper and the deacon
was — hush, there comes old Hobbs now."
"Good afternoon. Deacon," said Stubbs, "what is the
"Bad news, awful bad. They say Fanny Burroughs
is very low. My heart aches for that family. James was
a good boy, and I wonder if anyone knows for certain
that he is dead . I think possibly he may be among the
Indians yet, although Shepherds' folks are sure he is
dead, or he would come to Fanny. I suppose you have no
particulars. Then there was George, his father, that
they hung down at Salem. I wonder where they got
evidence to convict him? To be sure, he and I did not
exactly agree as to our religious views, but I never took
that to heart, and would have done all I could to have
saved him, even if he was not a regular ordained min-
ister. I think from his record here that he was honest,
don't you, Mr. Dimock?"
"Yes, Deacon Hobbs, I do. And James, his son, was
an honest, upright and worthy citizen, and whoever was
instrumental in causing those officers at Salem to come
into our midst and take them away and murder them
outright will surely repent when it is too late. I believe
44 LOOKING BACK
they have imprisoned Jim, and either have or will hang
him, for the report of his being killed by the Indians, or
wolves, may have come direct from Salem. Oh, Mr.
Hobbs, it shatters my faith, that our Heavenly Father
allows such men to live. This is terrible," he uttered,
as he wiped the perspiration from his face and repeated,
"terrible, terrible." Then as if aroused by wrong, he
raised his voice as he faced the deacon, and continued :
"Deacon Hobbs, I am no more safe than they were. If
an officer should come in here now and arrest me for
complicity with the devil, I should consider it my death
knell, would you not ?"
"Well, really," began the deacon, "I do not know.
You see, I have been down to Salem and talked with
Cotton Mather and others prominent in the church, and
they seem to be worthy Christians. I have thought
George Burroughs may have been convicted of some other
crime. You see, the prison is closely guarded and all we
get is hearsay."
The reader will remember that Susan Beaver was
talking when the deacon came in, and now stood listening
to his subterfuge, and Dimock's stinging insinuations.
As I remember Susan, she was short, stout, with black
eyes, glistening teeth, and quick movements. She tried
to keep silent, but now her cup of wrath was full, and
reached the high-water mark, where danger could not
restrain the break, and she broke:
"Deacon Hobbs, you miserable old liar, I saw the
detectives in your house myself. Maybe they're waiting
to take my husband to Salem. If so, you can inform
them that they can never cross our threshold unless it
is over my dead body. You say you do not know much
about it. Was not Abigail at Salem, swearing against
the minister? Did not you both swear he was in league
with the Devil? Now you say he may have been con-
victed of some other crime. George Burroughs, that
worthy Christian minister, defile his name, now he is
dead, will you? Oh, you ought not to live another min-
ute," and suiting the action to the w^ord, she sprang
across the store to the old cheese box. Now, I knew the
cheese knife was long and heavy, and in the hands of a
desperate woman. Bang-slam-bang, they went around
and around the store, he holding a chair before him and
crying, "Help ! Murder !" while she struck out wildly
without speaking a word. Dimock and Stubbs sprang
46 LOOKING BACK
in to save the deacon's life, but when I peeped through
the crack and saw the broad grin on Dimock's face, I
concluded their interference was not genuine. The deacon
worked around the counter, when she sprang on top and
had him in a trap, at which he dropped his chair and ran
and plunged through the window headlong. After he
had escaped, and Susan had time to think, she sat down
and began to cry, but on being assured by Dimock that
no one would think the less of her, she left the store.
While Paul was helping board up the broken window,
I overheard Stubbs ask him : "Do you consider Cotton
Mather and his associates murderers?"
"Oh, no," was the reply, "not exactly that. It is a
phenomenal wave of insanity. Similar waves have spread
their gloomy pall over the innocent, long before Joshua
put the women and children to death at Jericho. These
Salemites are at war with the Devil on the same prin-
ciple that one nation wars with another ; they justify
themselves through a spasmodic lunacy, that duty calls
them to kill their fellow beings.
"God works in a mysterious way. Cotton Mather may
be blind. He may be a tool in the hand of a higher
power. Finite beings do not comprehend the infinite. If
God permits, does He not sanction? These cruelties
will have a tendency to humanize Christianit}^ When
years have passed and Brother Burroughs thinks over
earthly life he will not regret that his Maker called him
home at noon. Friendship and love will increase towards
the Burroughs family. They are just leaving their lights
along the shore. The love of Jesus will spread when the
church shall have hatched out of its shell of ignorance ;
then it will stand on a higher and more liberal plane;
LOOKING BACK 47
midnight to us may be morning to the angels. Do you
know, Stubbs, what is the main trouble with the human
"I do not, Paul. What is it?"
"It is that they know less than they are aware of."
After the store had been closed and Stubbs was work-
ing on his books, I heard the door open and some one
"Good evening, doctor. How is Fanny Burroughs?"
The doctor came near and replied in an almost inaudi-
ble voice, "She is dead." The little bullet-headed doctor
was affected, for I could hear his voice tremble. "Oh,
well," he replied to Stubbs' inquiry, "She had no disease,
the poor girl actually died of a broken heart. Such suf-
fering I never saw before, but when she did go if you
had seen her, Stubbs, you would never question the
theory of life beyond dissolution of the body. She raised
her eyes upwards, smiled so sweetly and said : 'Oh,
father, father, where is Jim?' I am sorry, Stubbs, I
have not led a better life, for I have known Fanny
Shepherd since she was born and if God will forgive the
past, I will turn over a new leaf and try to meet her
when I die. I know now that our minister, whom I
always ridiculed, was right there in the room with us
when she was dying. Besides, Mr. Stubbs, I believe Jim
is alive, for if he had been dead he would have been the
first one for her to recognize. You see, she was expect-
ing to see him and he was not there."
Here Jim's heart and voice seemed to fail and Win-
nie put her arm around his neck and they sobbed con-
vulsively for a moment and then continued :
When all was still I crept from my hiding place,
washed my face, but could not eat. As usual, the shutters
48 LOOKING BACK
were closed, so I lit a candle and began to rummage
around the store. I found Stubbs had a new musket with
a horn of powder and a bag of shot, and as I knew he
would gladly give them to me, I took them. Then I
waited until near dawn, when I went out to the hill in
the woods and stayed all day, on the very spot where I
had spent many happy hours with Fanny. 1 could look
down into the room where I had courted and wedded my
dear Fanny, and could see part on one of her arms, as
her body lay near the window, in Father Shepherd's
house. Also I saw the village carpenter making my
Fanny's coffin and a stranger digging her grave. That
night I slept in the store again and the next day, from
the same hill, I saw them lower her body into the grave,
but my heart was locked in despair; I could not weep.
At night I came down and went to the grave. The
distant stars seemed to be shedding their soft light on a
lonely world, while the moon about setting cast her
ghastly beams among the chestnut trees, making the
scene, oh, so lonely, in that silent little graveyard. Out
upon the cold waters of the bay I could see the silver
waves glisten in the moonlight among the familiar bayous,
which I should never see again, while far beyond the
bosom of the great Atlantic seemed to heave a sigh of
grief at my loneliness. I fell upon dear Fanny's grave,
kissed the clay and wondered if she was there. Then
breathing a long farewell, I folded my hands in prayer,
asking God to forgive me for the crime I was about to
Hastily I then walked towards Stubbs' store, resolved
to settle with Deacon Hobbs and then turn my back on
white man forever. I entered the store and wrote on a
slip of brown paper: "Obadiah Stubbs, a friend has
taken your gun and ammunition," and placed the slip
in the cash drawer.
When outside of the store I walked lively to the
deacon's nearest storehouse, then ran from one to the
other, and at last set fire to his home, then stepped back
into the lilac bushes and cocked my gun.
Soon I saw great curls of smoke ascending from the
storehouses on the wharf, then the barns and sheds, and
now the home had caught fire. Then seeing the family
50 LOOKING BACK
in danger, to awaken them I seized a rock and dashed it
through the window.
The family were now aroused and Hobbs ran to the
well for water, when I raised my gun, but a shadow came
before me, and I could not see him. Again he ran out
and again I raised the gun, determined to kill him, just
as I felt a soft pressure on my shoulder and turning
quickly I found myself alone. Then I knew I must not.
As I walked away from old Chestnut Hill, I gave
one last, lingering look. It was now daybreak, and as I
gazed down on the little village where I had spent so
many happy days I saw that all of Deacon Hobbs' wealth
had ascended into smoke. Stubbs' old store looked as
dingy and dirty as ever. Father's church, on which I had
often looked so fondly, now seemed silently waiting to
catch the first glimmer of the morning sun as it came
to give light and life to the hills and valleys of old New
England. Father Shepherd's house, the door through
which I had passed so many times with a light heart,
were all plain to my view. Once more I looked through
the trees to the grave of Fanny and walked away.
ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
About noon, the first day out, I met three Indians
and we took lunch together, they furnishing bear meat
and I cheese and crackers, which I had borrowed from
Stubbs. After this I trudged on, following an old trail
in a westerly direction, hoping to find Indians who could
give me shelter for the night, but finding none, I started
a fire at dark to scare the wolves away and prepared to
stay in the woods alone.
As darkness came on and my fire lit up the woods, I
was lonely and yearned for a friend, while a strangeness
came over me which caused me to shudder. The excite-
ment had past, and I was left to contemplate as to the
course I had taken and where my pathway of life might
be leading me. I saw myself, as only a short time before,
a promising young man of the wild wood harbor village ;
but now alone in the wilderness, soon to be a ragged,
friendless outcast. Was my condition better or worse
than Fanny's or father's? Silently I knelt and implored
the unseen to forgive all and keep me pure in heart as
I wended my way over mountains of trouble and through
vales of temptation.
While pondering I heard the flapping of wings, and
a large owl came and lit on a dry limb above me and began
its lonely hooting. The night was still, save the occasional
bark of a wolf and the echo of the bird's dreary chant,
which under ordinary circumstances would have startled
52 LOOKING BACK
me, but now rising to my feet I gazed at the intruder
with an eye of gladness and longed to caress him as a
friend, while I murmured, "Your lot on earth as com-
pared with mine is to be envied. Carelessly and thought-
lessly youi- days pass with no regret for the past or
anxiety for the morrow, while my sympathetic heart,
actuated by an ingenious brain, dashes cold waves of
sorrow against bleak rocks of cruel destiny."
I closed my eyes and again implored my Heavenly
Father to increase my strength to tread the thorny way.
Then I pondered over my condition again and cried, "Oh,
the heart — the human heart — that beats in sympathy i
Oh, the soul that longs to comfort some one and yearns
to be loved in return !"
Gazing high into the far away Eternity where all
seemed lovely and serene, I said, "Silence is the token
of love. Fanny is ; yes, she still lives, but she is silent
and in her silence she loves me still."
Then the stars, hills and trees, like friends, came near
and shared with me my troubles, and as I sank upon the
ground overcome I thought I was a child again and
mother whispered low and sweet, "Love your enemies
and Jesus will love you."
Resting upon a bed of leaves with my boots for a
pillow, the angel of dreams took me in her fair arms.
Fanny and I were walking beside a laughing crytsal
stream, gathering wild flowers, whose fragrance seemed
to fill the balmy air, where familiar birds came and
warbled sweet notes over our heads while the soft sun-
shine bore upon the scene, peeping into the shady grove
and forming our peaceful nook into a perfect bower of
love. Here upon a bank strewn with tiny violets I
kneeled at Fanny's feet and asked her to become my
POOR JIM. LONELY BUT XOT ALOXL. p-ANM E IS NEAR.
LOOKING BACK 53
wife. She did not speak, but looked on me with her own
sweet smile as she glided softly away. I arose to follow
her, when I awoke and found myself alone in the dark
Morrxing came at last, and not being able to taste
my food, I trudged on, and in a few days reached Spring-
field, where I first assumed the name of James Hall.
There I worked about ten days for a man named Anson
Newell, but when I learned there were two families
there from Salem I feared detection and decided to go.
HUNTING FOR BABY
I now abandoned the idea of living with the Indians
and worked my way over the Green Mountains, then
down the Hudson River to New York. During the
winter my mind was continually on my baby boy, and
when spring came I started East to try to locate him.
At Hartford I stayed a few days, hoping to find someone
from Casco Bay, but being unsuccessful I went on and
spent the night with about thirty Indians in the dark
grove south of Wabbaquassett Lake. Here I found a
buck and his squaw, who had lived near Casco Bay, but
they knew nothing of church affairs.
Next morning near Stafford, just as I was turning
north from the river bend, I met a party of hunters, one
of whom I recognized as Josiah Converse, from near
Casco Bay. After passing, I overheard him remark-
"That man looks and walks just exactly like Jim Bur-
roughs, and if I did not know he was dead, I would
swear it was he." This remark disturbed me, for I had
thought that my full beard and shabby clothes had dis-
guised me. Soon I passed near my baby boy but did not
When I arrived at Casco Bay I was puzzled as to
how I was to get my information. Stubbs' store could
not be approached now, as I had left traces of my last
visit and someone might be on the alert, so I hung around
Chestnut Hill three days, secreted near the road, hoping
LOOKING BACK 55
to see someone passing who was a stranger. Several
acquaintances passed each day, among whom was old
Deacon Hobbs, which made my blood boil, and I almost
forgot that I was to love my enemies. One day a strange
boy approached and I ran up to the brow of the hill and
then turned and met him.
"Does Deacon Hobbs live in this town?" I inquired.
"Yes, he lives over there in that cottage."
"Do you think he wants to hire a man?"
"Oh, no, he does not want help. He is poor now ; all
he had is burned up."
"Who did it?"
"We do not know, but think it was an angel from
heaven, and every one is glad."
"Why were they glad?"
"Oh, because he killed the minister. That was last
year, and I was not here."
"How did he do it?"
"\\^ell, he did not kill him, but he got some folks down
in Salem to come up and arrest him and they hanged
"Did he kill anyone else?"
"Yes, he killed James Burroughs and Fanny, too, so
Mr. Shepherd says."
"Who were they?"
"James was the minister's son and Fanny was his
wife. I live with the Shepherds and heard them say
"Did James and Fanny have any children?"
"Yes, they must have had one, for I heard Mrs. Shep-
herd tell how the minister's sister came on from Boston
and took it home with her."
56 LOOKING BACK
Then looking inquiringly in my face, he said, "Say,
mister, are you sick?"
"Oh, no," I replied, and we passed on.
On arriving at Boston I learned that uncle had died
and Aunt Hannah had gone with her sister, Abigail, who
lived in Salem. In Salem, with great difficulty, I learned
they had sold out all their property and gone West. All
further efforts were fruitless and I returned to New York
and began to work at my last winter's job, where I worked
quietly, ever on the alert to gain tidings of my boy.
One day while I was working with an Irishman
named Muldoon, the proprietor, Mr. Benjamin, came
along, leading his little daughter, who, pointing to Mul-
doon, said, "Papa, what makes you hire paddies? I do
not like them." Muldoon resented the innocent prattle,
and turning to Benjamin, said: "Will ye allow that wee
bit of a brat to spake that way of a gintleman?"
"You are no gentleman to call a child a brat, and if
you answer back I'll discharge you at once."
Pat tugged away in silence and when Benjamin had
gone he said : "I niver knew but one mon in me life as
mane as ould Benjamin and that was Cotton Mather
"\A'hat do you know about Cotton Mather?" I eagerly
"Nothing good, sir."
"Were you ever at Salem?"
"Do yees think that auld Ben aught to larn that wee
bit of a snipe to insolt the loikes of me?"
"But, Pat, that does not answer my question."
"Thin why should a gintlemin aloix yee be axen me-
self quistions which I niver knew a-tal-tal?"
"Yes, you do know, and if I explain why I am so
anxious you'll tell me all you can, won't you, Pat?"
"Yees moight be an officer."
58 LOOKING BACK
"Nonsense, Pat, haven't you worked beside me for
a long time?"
"Sure, but you moight be."
"No, I am not, and you should not be afraid, for you
have never committed any crime."
"Oh, Init it was the innocent that they murthered.
But, Jim, if yees will lit me come to your room at the did
o' night and yees will kiss the Holy Cross and hold the
sacred Mary to your heart while ye swear niver to till,
I might till yees the bit I know."
When Pat arrived at midnight he whispered in my
ear, "Ye see, that if Cotton Mather hears that I till the
truth he will git some one to swear I am posist with the
devil and they will hang me sure."
After I had explained to him how large a dowery had
been left for the Burroughs family, and that a child had
been lost, he said : "Then it is not Giles Corey yees are
after hearing, for I might tell yees more about him, for
I lived with him both before and after he was dead."
"No, I want you to tell me all about George Bur-
roughs. Did you ever hear about him ?"
"Faith and indade, I did, I heard him make his last
prayer when on the gallows, asking God to forgive his
inimies and we all wipped loike babbies, we did."
"Did he have a family?"
"Yis, a son. A fair young mon. He looked so much
loike yees that I think of him when yees walk along, but
he is dead, poor bye. When he started home he lost his
way and the wolves ate him. Some said he may not be
ded, but shot up in prison to be hung, but I know he
was dead, for I hilped to bury his bones."
"Did you see them?"
LOOKING BACK 59
"No, they were in a box, but I knew he was ded, fer
he did not smill hke a Hve man, and his wife died, but
they had a httle one, who is alive now."
"Where is he?"
"He was first taken to Boston to his Aunt Hannah's
and thin to his Aunt Abigail's in Salem, thin a man came
on from Stafford, Conn., and took him to keep. His
wife was Aunt Hannah's daughter and Aunt Agibail wint
to Stafford hersilf."
The day I arrived at Stafford Street I walked from
Hartford, and the nearer I came the faster I walked.
When I arrived at the village some men were working
on the road and in answer to my inquiry, said : "The
widow Abigail Drake lives in that red house," which
they pointed out. I called on her under the pretense
of buying her home, and staid quite a while. She men-
tioned some of the best families. Deans, Converses, Rich-
ardsons, etc., but I could not find out who had the boy
until I spoke of the church, when she mentioned that
Deacon Felker had adopted a boy who was her nephew.
Then I asked her who his parents were. She hesitated,
and then said, "His father and mother are both dead."
"Were you acquainted with his father?"
"Yes, I was ; he was a man about your build, only
when I saw him last he was in trouble, and pale and thin."
"Trouble," she replied wiping the tears away with her
apron. Then coming near me inquired quizzically, "What
is your name?"
I saw she was on the point of detecting me. and look-
ing straight in her eye I answered, "James Hall."
Again she hesitated and then said, "You do look so
much like James Burroughs, who is dead, that I thought
60 LOOKING BACK
the dead had been raised." She then told me all about
father's execution, Fanny's death and mine, after which
I walked over to Deacon Felker's.
When I arrived, there was no one in but the deacon,
so I struck him up for a job. Soon I saw a lady coming
up the walk who I at once recognized as Cousin Phoebe,
whom I had not seen for fifteen years. Beside her ran
a little^ boy. The deacon introduced me, and in shaking
hands I squeezed hers so hard that she looked up quickly,
then presuming me to be very rough, she spoke pleas-
antly. Then I picked up my own little boy and as in
some phantom mirror, Fanny seemed to look me right in
While waiting for tea, Winnie Richardson came in
and adroitly introduced herself by saying, 'T presume
our town looks tame to you, especially if you've been
living in the city, but to us who have never traveled
Stafford is the center of the world."
At the conclusion of Jim's story the sweet Winnie
softly caressed the troubled man with her arm around his
neck, and here we leave Winnie and Jim, to whirl and
swirl in their frail barques of life, on the restless waves
of time, until they mysteriously cross the bar out into the
unknown ocean of Eternity, from whence, if they return
to guide our thoughts, we do not comprehend it.
OUR MOUNTAIN HOME NEAR WABBAQUASSETT LAKE, BUILT BY WARREN
PORTRAITS OF CHILDREN, 1870, EXCEPT AIARIETTE. LEFT TO RIGHT. ELIZA.
ADELIA, COLLINS. CAROLINE, MERRICK, GORDON, JANETTE.
OUR WABBAQUASSETT MOUNTAIN HOME
John, my Grandfather Richardson, son of Uriah,
built his home on the east side of the Devil's Hopyard,
while Abner, one of John Dimock's ten sons, built his
home on the west side.
John Richardson raised a family of boys, John, War-
ren, Collins, Marvin, Orson, and one girl, Fanny, while
Abner Dimock raised a family of girls, Lovey, Manerva,
Luna, Hannah, Arminia, Abigail, and one boy, Abner.
Warren Richardson crossed the Hopyard, wooed and
won Luna Dimock, and they built their nest near \A'ab-
baquassett Lake, where the flowers bloom in early spring,
wild birds awake the summer morn and the babbling
brook sings through the winding vale below, all day long.
Here they raised a group of laughing, frolicing, romp-
ing backwoods mischief and their names were:
Mariette A. — Married Frank Slater.
Eliza L. — Married Lucius Kibbes.
Adelia A. — Married Epaphro Dimock.
Caroline C. — Married Lucius Aborn.
Collins W.— Married Martha Aborn.
Merrick A. — Married Mary Hoyt.
Gordon M. — Married Amanda Pitt.
Janette A. — Married George Newell.
\\'abbaquassett retained its virgin bloom of nature
long after the surrounding country had been occupied
by white invaders.
62 LOOKING BACK
Stafford, Ellington, Somers and Tolland Streets had
become self -centered, while the sleeping beauty, Wab-
baquassett, was held by the Nipmunks as a sort of ren-
dezvous for the Pequods, Mohegans, Mohawks, Narra-
gansetts and several other tribes who were roaming over
New England, stealing fowls, cattle and even children,
for the red man felt that the brooks, lakes and forests,
together with all they contained, virtually belonged to
Wabbaquassett of old, with its broad sandy shore,
dreaming in the protecting arms of a dense forest of oak,
pine, chestnut and maple giants was truly the gem of
When the Richardsons, Dimocks, Newells and Aborns
began their encroachment into these forests the Indians
were loath to leave their pow-wow home in the oak
grove, on the south shore of the lake, for the American
Indian dreaded the law more than the tomahawk, but
the following instance routed them.
A buck named Wappa, who lived on the shore, south
of the old West Rock, killed his squaw, Dianah, for which
he was tried at Tolland Street and hanged. On the gal-
lows he saw Captain Abner Dimock, my mother's father,
among the spectators and called for him to come on the
gallows and pray for him.
My father and mother were in the crowd and when
the sheriff asked the Indian if he was ready, mother
fainted. The execution took place August 22, 1816, after
which the Indians left Wabbaquassett and never returned.
In those days, Wabbaquassett, since called Square
Pond, and now Crystal Lake, was the nucleus of four
prominent families, Dimocks, Richardsons, Newells and
The group consisted of the following families
Abner Dimock Anson Newell
Orwell Dimock Armherst Newell
Ephraim Dimock Charles Newell
Lorain Dimock Ezekiel Newell
Sexton Dimock Ephraim Newell
Of these twenty families in 1850 I now find, at the
Lake, only one descendant, A. M. Richardson, son of my
brother, Collins, who with his interesting wife, Bessie,
actually holds the fort alone.
WOODCHUCK IN THE WALL
Recently when my son Arthur and myself with our
families were touring with automobile over the Alle-
ghanies, up the sea-shore, and over the Green Moun-
tains, we spent several days at the Lake, with many old-
timers who came to meet us, when they coaxed me to tell
the woodchuck story, which ran as follows : Bow-wow-
wow is heard on the hillside across the little meadow from
our old farm house. We boys, Gordon and I, drop our
hoes and run, for we knew by the sound that old Skip
had a woodchuck in the wall and wanted us to come and
get him out.
"Hold on, Gordon," said I, "now is the time for us
to give our Towser a chance."
Towser was a young bull terrier, we boys had bought
of Holmes, who had recommended him to be able to
catch the largest ox by the nose and hold him, or catch
a hog by the ear and hold the hog, or off would come the
ear, and as for woodchucks, he would pick them up as a
hen would pick up kernels of corn.
Our Towser, as we boys called him, was at once un-
chained and we were off to the pasture on the hillside,
whcx-e in days gone by, old Skip had captured so many
As we ran along, the conversation ran thus :
"Hey-hey, Towser," said I, "Mr. Woodchuck don't
know that you're coming ; he thinks it is old Skip, but
when he sees you, he will know that he's got to die."
LOOKING BACK 65
"Oh, dear," said Gordon, "when he gets those great
white teeth on to him, won't the blood fly? I hope he
won't swallow him whole, for we want his hide to make
"You bet," said I. Then patting the dog on the head,
I continued : "Won't old Skip be ashamed when he sees
Skip was a little brindle cur who had watched the
whole farm night and day for ten years. He would never
worry the cat or chase the chickens, but would speak, roll
over, sit up, or play he was dead, to please us boys. He
could hustle the cattle out of the corn, keep the pigs from
the door and had kept all the rabbits and woodchucks
away from the garden. In fact, he was a friend to every-
one except Towser. Of course, he was jealous of him.
\Mien we boys arrived on the scene, we found old
Skip bounding over the wall back and forth, barking,
squealing, pawing and biting off roots in his great excite-
ment, while the woodchuck was chattering, whistling and
snapping his teeth in great shape.
"Oh, look here, Gordon," said I, as I peeped into
the wall, "He is as big as two tomcats ; it must be the
one father said had been nibbling all our green pumpkins."
"Yes, yes," says Gordon, "Pa said Skip has been try-
ing to get between him and his hole all summer, and now
our Towser has got him at last. Say, Merrick, don't you
think we had better let Skip kill him. I'm afraid that
Towser will tear him all to flitters and we won't have
his hide left."
Now there was a terrible yelping and we discovered
that the big bulldog was shaking little Skip unmercifully.
We clubbed him off, and tried to drive Skip home, as, of
course, we would not need him any more, but he would
66 LOOKING BACK
not go, so we tied him to a white birch tree with Towser's
chain and continued tearing down the wall.
Gordon's countenance took on a sort of a funeral
aspect as he said, "Now, Mr. Woodchuck, you have got
"Yes," said I, as I jammed my dirty thumb into my
mouth to keep from weeping, "My heart aches for him,
but it has got to be done."
Towser was anxious to get at the woodchuck. Every-
time we boys rolled off a stone, he would jam his head
into the wall, so anxious was he to get at his prey, while
poor little Skip, who should have had the honor, was up
under the white birch tree trying to break the chain and
come down and help, not even minding his bleeding ear,
where Towser had bit him.
At last the right stone was removed and the unfor-
tunate old woodchuck could do no better than face grim
death, and he did it bravely. Standing on his little hind
legs, with his front paws extended, he chattered defiance,
while snapping his white teeth and awaiting the onslaught.
Towser plunged into the wall and out came the wood-
chuck, but to our surprise, Towser had not got the wood-
chuck, but the woodchuck had Towser right by the nose.
Over and over they rolled as the blood squirted from
the dog's nose, each sommersault working them farther
and farther down the swale in the direction of the wood-
chuck's hole. Towser roared, bellowed and squealed,
but the woodchuck would not let go his lucky hold.
We boys saw the danger of escape and I, seizing a
club, started on to help Towser, while Gordon ran to
unchain Skip, as it began to look now as if old Skip's
help might be necessary after all.
The clever old woodchuck, who was watching to take
LOOKING BACK 67
advantage of the first favorable opportunity, when he saw-
Skip coming, let go his grip and started for his hole.
Towser, who was also figuring for his own personal
safety, when released, curled his tail between his legs
and started for home, crying "ki-yi-yi-yi."
Skip bounded forward just in time to seize his wood-
chuckship by the tail, just as he was entering the hole.
Now a desperate struggle ensued, the woodchuck trying
to pull the dog into the hole and the dog trying to pull
the woodchuck out.
Skip was losing ground, when, seizing him by the
hind legs, I planted my bare feet in the gravel and pulled
with all my might. The woodchuck chattered and
squealed, the dog shook and growled, as I pulled them
out, when the tail broke, he darted into the hole, and the
game was lost.
Then we boys took Skip up to the spring and washed
his poor bleeding ear and promised him right then and
there that we would take Towser back to Mr. Holmes
and that he, Skip, might run the farm as long as he
Lemuel Warner followed up the woodchuck story by
acting out, in his genial manner, the stuttering man trying
to testify in prayer-meeting. Orino Richardson and
Perlin Richardson came in with their extremely ridicu-
lous tales, followed by hymns and old plantation songs.
In all this we seemed to forget ourselves, with the
fifty years of ups and down on Life's tempestuous waves,
and in friendly glee we were back again in that fair
morning, dreamily anticipating Life's strange journey, so
unlike the reality fond memory now reveals.
Together we all visited the cemeteries on the hill at
the north, where the rippling waves of old Wabbaquas-
68 LOOKING BACK
sett click along the shore so near the feet of those whose
voices we do not hear, but whose sweet smiles seem to
reflect back to us their beauty as our earthly vision grows
Soon the stranger will pause to read and say : "Who
were all these Richardsons, Newells, Aborns and Dim-
ocks ?" In the silence reason seems to whisper : They
came forth in the dawn; enjoyed a brief day; and re-
turned to the silence of an endless Eternity.
"Now dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood,
When fond recollections present them to view ;
The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wildwood,
And every loved spot which my infancy knew.
The wide-spreading Pond, and the Mill that stood by it,
The Bridge and the Rock where the cataract fell;
The Cot of my Father, the dairy-house nigh it,
And e'en the rude Bucket which hung in the Well."
Father and mother did not marry until their home
had been estabHshed, but they lost no time when they
got started, for, thirteen years gave them a brood of
Father was a shrewd dealer in land and cattle, through
which he gained enough to purchase about 350 acres of
wild land and built a house and barn, while mother, as
was customary for New England women, braided palm
leaf hats for the slaves of the Southern planters, until
she had saved enough to furnish the house. Then they
Our living room was the big kitchen, where we
warmed ourselves by the old-fashioned fireplace while the
pots and kettles hung on the crane before us. Beside it
was a brick oven, where mother baked the good things,
especially on Thanksgiving Day, when we did not fill up
with old common potatoes.
The parlor, which we were seldom allowed to enter,
was to a little boy dazzling. Looking-glass, with gilded
frame, paper of many colors, and high-shining brass
andirons in the fireplace.
Sunday morning we all gathered there for family
worship and one morning father gave us a lesson on
"Inspiration," which has nerved me up to fight infidelity
all my days.
He had quite a collection of books and one day he
70 LOOKING BACK
brought home a book on geology, from which, after study-
ing it evenings, he declared that the creation of the
world in science and the Bible exactly agreed.
That lesson and the surroundings on that sunny
Sabath morning is one of the old landmarks in my mem-
ory to which I often return in moments of reflection.
"Now children," he began, "no one knows who wrote
the first chapter of Genesis, which appears to have no
connection with the other chapters. It may have been
written by Moses, his sister, Miriam, or some ether per-
son along about that time, say four or five thousand years
ago. The strange thing about it is that, according to
their new geology, the writer revealed the secrets of
that which transpired millions of years ago.
"People had supposed, until about one hundred years
ago, that the first chapter of Genesis was a fable, or
fairy tale, but now geology proves it to have been a true
history of what the writer knew nothing about.
"It must have been that an angel who had lived all
through the time the world was being made, sat right
beside or in some way influenced the author to write the
wonderful story of the creation. This is what I call real
inspiration, don't you?
"Some folks think, and I would not wonder if it might
be true, that fiction is a faint glimmer of inspiration,
and that composers are often led along by the spirit of
some person who once lived in this world. Let this be
as it may, I wish one of you children might become a
novelist, but you never will, you will be farmers just like
all us New England mountaineers.
"Learned men have discovered, by digging in the
rocky surface of the earth, that under certain conditions,
oysters or other animals, will turn to stone. They call
LOOKING BACK 71
them fossils. Scientists have also learned that each l>ind,
wherever found, represents the age in which the animal
lived. So, the fossil, you see, is an animal which died
and turned to stone, perhaps millions of years ago.
"By investigation they find that one kind of rock,
called azoic, contains no fossils, so they know there was
a day or age when there was no life in this world, and
this is the first day in the Bible, which I have been reading
"They find by the conglomerate condition of the
azoic rock that after the gaseous confusion of the ele-
ments had subsided, it sort of settled into one boiling mass
of mixed elements. Then the heavier elements, gold,
mercury, lead and the like, condensed and formed a
center of attraction, while the more rare elements, such
as oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen, formed a floating band
around it, then, as the Bible states, darkness must have
been upon the face of the deep until the lighter elements
rarefied, when the sun would feebly penetrate in the
daytime and the rotation of the world would make it cor-
respond to the first day and night of the Bible.
"This day, in which the firmament was formed, is
wonderful in that it was preparation for the day when
the land should appear, as it would need rain to make
the vegetation grow. Man's highest imagination cannot
grasp or conceive the wonders of this strange scheme. It
really meant condensing part of the water to become
liquid, or seas, and raising part to become clouds, or rain,
72 LOOKING BACK
as we now find them. So again the two accounts agree
as to the second day.
"Seas and land appear. This Bible account exactly
agrees with the carboniferous and crustacean births which
followed on through the ages, when vegetation grew in
such abundance that its decay, when submerged by erup-
tions, laid the foundations for our coal and oil fields.
"While the former days occupied millions of years
each, this day was not a duration of time, not even one
moment. It was simply an illustration of the then pres-
ent conditions. Had we been on earth at that time we
would have seen all the heavenly bodies and their move-
ments just as this Bible account describes, and as we
see them now.
"As the fourth Bible day did not include time to
produce geological changes, the two ages divonian, or
fish, and amphibious, or reptilian, ages exactly fit in to
make up the fifth day.
"Could we have visited the earth when it first became
solid with the sea floating over it, we would have seen
at the bottom of the sea animals of the oyster family
beginning to live in their shells, which later they took
up and carried around on their backs, and now we call
them turtles. We know they were there, for they are
still sleeping in their little stone cofiins on mountain
LOOKING BACK 73
tops, which God raised up when He made dry land. God
called them all moving creatures, which have life, which,
of course, included fish and frogs.
"Now hark, I will read the twentieth verse over again.
There now, you see God did not make the birds up in
the mountains and tell them to fly. He made them in
the water, I guess He fixed legs where the fins were,
so they could hop and crawl, and then fixed wings where
the legs were, so they could fly, and this exactly corre-
sponds to the reptilian age in geology. That transforma-
tion must have made even God stop and think, for it
took millions of years. Many kinds came out of the
water, so you see we have many kinds of birds on the
land. Some of them were awfully large. One, geologists
call the Pterodactyl, had a mouth and teeth like a horse,
tail like a fish or snake, and wings which he could spread
more than twenty-five feet. I imagine it flew from shore
to shore catching turtles for breakfast, who were out
on the sand laying eggs as big as our old peck measure.
"God made cattle and all other big walking things,
and all the creeping things.
"The family of largest animals are called Dinosaur.
Their fossil bones are found in the Rocky Mountains.
They must have lived there on the plains before the
upheavel of the mountains. Some of them were about
one hundred feet long and twenty-five feet high. In
New Jersey, geologists have dug up the fossil bones of
an animal they call the Iguanodon, a sort of frog with a
snake tail ; when he sat up his head was about thirty feet
high. Had he lived on men he would have eaten three
74 LOOKING BACK
for dinner. It seems that when those animals raised
up on all four, like elephants, they lost their fish-like
tails, except to use as fly whiskers. Those animals lived
all through what is called the mammalian age in geology,
or the sixth day in the Bible.
"Now, children, this twenty-fifth verse ends up the
creation of the world and all its animals. Then God
called a halt and said, 'Let us make something special.'
What was it?" "Man, man," we said. "What was man
to be like?" "Just like God himself."
"Is God an animal?"
"What is He?"
"Think again, what did I read last Sunday about
Christ at Jacob's well ?"
"Oh, yes, God is a spirit."
"Then is man a spirit or an animal ?"
"Both," I said.
"How so, Merrick?"
"Why, God made she-male man and he-male man
of dirt, so they could have a lot of children. Then the
image man, we cannot see, who was to do the thinking,
was to have dominion, that means it was to boss them-
selves and everything else around. That is the man that
goes to Heaven when he dies."
"How is that, Luna, for a boy of eight years old?" he
said to mother.
"You are all right, Merrick," she said, drawing me
to her for a kiss. "Now, you must try to govern your-
self and not be so stubborn, even if you do think you
are in the right. Let wisdom instead of spunk be your
LOOKING BACK 75
guide, and then the angels will be with you in your dreams
and our pretty school-ma'am will not have to switch you
"Pretty school-ma'am, eh ! Why, she walks just
exactly like a cow."
One of my earliest recollections is of hearing mother
telling a neighbor housewife about the prayer meeting
up at Uncle Sam's. Mother was a great tease, and to
see her act out Aunt Lovey in this particular case was
enough to make the bushes laugh.
In order to picture the scene at the prayer meeting,
I will give one of mother's escapades by the way of con-
trast between Lovey, Uncle Sam's wife, and her wide-
awake sisters, of which mother was accused of being
the ring leader in many daring acts. Therefore, I will
begin with the story of the husking bee at Grandfather
Dimock's home, when mother was a girl.
At a husking in those days all in the neighborhood
would gather, not so much, I imagine, to husk corn as
for the frolic, and the good things they had to eat.
The custom was to set the shocks of corn around a
large circle and all husk from the outside. Then if a
lady found a red ear she was privileged, if she dare,
to throw it across a space at a man whom, if she hit,
was privileged to chase her around the outer ring, for
which if he caught her while on the circuit he could
Well, mother found a red ear and she threw it at
the minister, hitting him, whack ! side of the head. His
name was Frink, a real minister of the Gospel, yet
he could not allow such an opportunity to escape, so he
dropped his dignity and started,
LOOKING BACK 77
The arranged plan was that all should get out of
the way to give the lady a chance to run, while the real
plan was for all to stumble into the way and see the fun."
Mother, finding it impossible to break through, turned
quickly and lit out for the orchard. This bold but admir-
able act caused 200 buskers to raise on tip-toe, for it was
a pretty scene in the moonlight to see the daring maid,
clad in a pretty white frock, dodging among the dark
shadows of the apple trees, evading the terrific lunges
of her eager pursuer, whose physiognomy took on a
strange earnestness which betokened his consideration
that the prize was worth striving for.
When the girl, by artful dodging, escaped and struck
out for home, old Jasiah Bradley, forgetting his 80 years,
roared out, "Stand back ! Stand back ! Give the girl a
chance," at which two rows cjuickly formed, giving the
gfrl, whose knee action betokened great speed, a clear way
until as she crossed the line, Frink extended his hand to
grab, but did not catch her.
This illustration represents the innocent dare of the
family to which mother belonged, except the oldest.
Lovey, who was very sedate, and in this case said that
Luna ought to be spanked and put to bed. Lovey wore
her skirts very long and would walk way around to
pass through the gate, while her astonishing sisters would
jump or climb over the fence and whistle just like boys.
PRAYER MEETING AT UNCLE SAM'S
Lovey married Samuel Harwood. They built their
home on Chestnut Hill, where they raised a fine family.
Monroe was their youngest son, who figured very
seriously in the catastrophy I am about to relate.
Uncle Sam and Aunt Lovey were both strictly re-
ligious, but did not agree as to the mode of proceedure.
She threw her whole religious weight on the sixth verse
of the sixth chapter of Matthew, while he was a roaring
Methodist. Together they attended church on Sunday,
but Lovey never attended the weekly home prayer meet-
ings, neither would she allow the church to have one
at her home, and so they worshiped for years until Sam's
grey locks and the children's clamor induced her to try
it just once. Such an unusual event caused the whole
church to turn out in mass for a real good spiritual
Their house, which my wife and I rode by last time
we were in Connecticut, is of the old dominion style.
Kitchen, dining and living rooms all in one, and very
commodious. Under the stairs to the second story were
the stairs to the deep, dark cellar below, of which there
was no broad stair at the top, and the cellar door opened
into the cellar.
On that memorable evening the room was crammed
to suffocation when the meeting opened with the hymn,
"On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand." Then Abner
Dimock, who always prayed so loud as to be heard a
LOOKING BACK 79
mile, and several others, led in prayer, which was fol-
lowed by inspiring testimonials, to all of which Uncle
Sam chimed in Amen, amid the shouts of halleluiah,
while Aunt Lovey sat in dreamy silence, with her nose
turned just a trifle askance.
The pinnacle was reached when Anise Ladd arose
to testify, for every one knew Anise poured forth her
feelings without reserve.
"I," she began, "was born peevish and as my neigh-
bors can here testify, was, to say the least, irritable
through my maiden and middlehood earthly career, but
last winter at our revival meetings, I experienced a
genuine halleluiah wave of godliness, and now I coo
like a turtle dove and fret or scold no more."
To Uncle Sam, who was tipping back in his chair,
this wonderful halleluiah testimony so coincided with
his desires toward Lovey, that he shouted, "Glory to
God," as in the expansion of his joy he lost his balance,
his chair striking the cellar door, which flew open, caus-
ing him, still in the chair, to start, head downwards, on
his perilous journey into the dismal region below. He
did not swear, neither did he shout halleluiah, but fresh
grunts followed in rapid succession as he pounded from
stair to stair.
During the excitement all trying with lighted tallow
candles to ascertain if he was still alive, his son, Monroe,
continued roaring and laughing until some one said,
"Why, Monroe, it might have killed your father," to
which he replied between spasms, "I should have laughed
just the same, if I had known it had killed him."
During the excitement Aunt Lovey pressed her hand
to her heart, but did not speak until urged by the pastor,
when she said : "Well, really, you were all talking so
80 LOOKING BACK
much about going to heaven that when I witnessed Sam-
uel's sudden departure, I wondered, yes, I really won-
dered, whether my halleluiah husband had started for
heaven or for the other place."
Uncle Sam survived and lived on the old place until
he was 94 years old, but that was the first and last prayer
meeting up to Uncle Sam's.
Oh, those golden days when with indulgent parents
we gathered around the table of plenty. There we
romped in the orchards, woods and meadows, among
the wild flowers and through the shady dells, where
we chased the rabbits and squirrels, hunting the shy
nests of birds, watching the pretty fish in the crystal
stream, as they darted about showing their silver sides.
The side hills teemed with wild fruit, shadberries, check-
erberries, cherries, grapes, strawberries, etc. Wild birds
were in abundance and their songs were gay; I think
I hear them now. Father taught us that we must not
destroy the nests of crows, hawks or other bad birds,
not even the homes of the mischievous woodchucks, who
nibbled our pumpkins. He said, "Let them bring up
their little families. God provides room and food for
When we brought the little blue eggs in for mother
to see, she would kiss and hurry us back with them to the
nest, for she said the mother bird's heart would ache
if we broke one of her little eggs.
And yet, after all, my brother, Gordon, and myself
were not real neighborhood pets, for the two little sun-
burned blondes were net as innocent as they looked.
Aunt Becky Bragg, our second-door neighbor, was quoted
as saying that Warren Richardson's two little white-
headed urchins were the bane of her life, and all attempts
to chide them seemed only to add fuel to the flames.
82 LOOKING BACK
We must have been useful about the farm, in teaching
the chickens and cats to swim and the colts and steers to
let us ride them, who occasionally dumped us where we
least expected. One lively pastime was to tie a tin pan
to one of the sleepy old cattle's tail, and watch him bound
over the bushes to clear himself from what seemed to be
following him. I can now see these great gentle creatures
with half -closed eyes chewing their cuds, while father
was around them, but when we appeared, they would
stop chewing, bulge out their eyes and make ready to
jump over the wall at our first gesture.
Still we had our confiding pets, hens, lambs and even
pigs. We had a curly-haired pig which would follow
us around and lie down for us to scratch him, and as
for dogs — why, old Major, the neighborhood tramp of
suspicious character, stood in well with us and licked
our hands and faces as we fed and gave him a warm
shelter from the cold night.
Father and mother understood it all, I know they
did, but they realized how we would soon be out in the
hand-to-hand conflict of life, and they wanted us to look
back to our childhood mountain home with gladness and
I was exceedingly stubborn and moderately truthful,
so much so that one of the first remembrances of my
life was that in some mysterious way I had acquired the
nick-name of Old Honesty. Oh, it did make me so mad
to be called that, for I must have considered it a sort
of defamation of character.
THE WILD SEXTON STEER
One day in the spring of 1855, when all the folks
were away except Gordon and myself, we felt somewhat
elated that we were running the farm on our own hook,
so we conjured up a little fun.
Our long barnyard opened with bars towards the
house across the center to separate the cattle from the
sheep. Here, just for sport, when no one was around,
we would put up two or three bars and then chase the
cattle, one by one, and see them jump over.
We had a fercious wild steer, we called Sexton, which
would jump over almost anything to get away from us
boys, so he was usually our victim for sport.
Father was accustomed, each fall, to bring muck
into the barnyard, which through the winter was cov-
ered with cornstalks, straw and manure from the stables,
which the cattle would tread in during the rainy spring
and mix it ready for the land. On this occasion it had
been raining, and the mixture, soft as jelly, was about a
foot deep, with the exception of a dry spot by the house
Our custom was to teach all the newcomers into
our ranch, or farm, to carry us on their backs, and as
the bushes hung low in the pastures and the steers had
no manes to cling to, we often got dumped, but we did
not care for scratches and bruises, for I boasted to be
able to hang to a frightened steer's tail through a bush
pasture longer than any boy in the neighborhood.
84 LOOKING BACK
On this occasion the wild Sexton steer was in the
yard — a big black fellow, who was so mean that he would
kick the boards off the barn, just if we tickled him wnth
the tines of a pitchfork. Really, he was so unruly that
he had no respect for the other cattle, or even a ten-rail
fence, when Gordon and I, with the dog, got after him.
Forgetting we were going to prayer meeting that
evening, and that we had already put on our Sunday
clothes, I said to Gordon:
"I think now is a good time to teach old Sexton to
let us ride him."
"Oh, Merrick, don't try that again, he will kill you."
"Nonsense, I'm not afraid; if he throws me off, I
will land on my feet."
"You may and you may not; see how black his eyes
are ; let us take our bows and arrows and go and shoot
at Kendel's cats. Mr. and Mrs. Kendel went to Som-
mers today, so there is no one at home but Grandpa Bragg
and he cannot see well enough to tell whether it is us
or the \\ ires' boys."
"Never mind the cats, Gordon," I said as I stripped
off my coat in a real businesslike manner, "I am dying
for a ride on that steer. Come and help me catch him.
There, that's right, now we have him, so, bossy — so,
bossy — so-so-bossy, so. Look out, there, Gordon !"
"Merrick, I told you we could not catch him."
"It was because you was so slow. Now you come and
stand on this dry spot and when I chase him around,
stop him, and I will creep up — there, that is better — so-
"There he goes again. What did I tell you, Merrick ?
I said we could not catch him."
"Oh, that is because you are so slow. Now, when I
LOOKING BACK 85
get him here again and he lets me put my hand on him,
you must be ready to grab the foot I raise and throw me
over square on his back, then I will ride him around
and around until he gets tired out; that is just the way
they tame elephants. Here we have him again, grab,
now grab — there I am. Sa}', isn't it funny he does not
move or stir? Why, I am having a regular picnic up
"Oh, Merrick, but if you could see his eyes, and his
neck is curved like a ram's horn. He is going to do
something. You better seize his tail and slide off back-
wards before he starts."
"Oh, you little fraid goose, I am just here on his
back and he can't help himself. It's just fun, and when
I tell the girls about it, won't it make their eyes open
wide? He can't just help himself, now punch him a
little with the fork handle right under the flanks — gee
whiz, it is funny he doesn't start, isn't it? I wonder if
steers ever rear up in the front?"
"First you know, Merrick, he will rear up behind and
send you into the middle of next week. See, he won't
stir when I punch him with the fork handle. He is just
getting ready to do something terrible, and when he does
start, something will happen. Oh, how he kind of swells
"I'm not afraid. Just twist his tail a little, twist it
harder. Hey-hey, here I go — look out! Gordon, stop
him — whoa-whoa — Oh, Gordon, where have I been?
What did he do ? Where am I now ? and where are my
"Why, Merrick, just as you were talking to me, he
hollered 'Bah,' and started. First your legs flew up and
before you caught your balance he stopped suddenly,
86 LOOKING BACK
threw up his head and his horns caught your pants and
ripped them clean off, and you took the most awful
plunge. You actually flew through the air about ten
feet, like a quail, and then disappeared in this manure
pond. I thought he had killed you. Say, are you almost
"Dead, no, but where are my pants and did anybody
see us? Did Charlotte Lewis and Mariva Shepherd
come this way from school ?"
"No, they did not, but see your pants are on his horns
now. Oh, Merrick, your eyes, and ears, and hair are
just chuck full. Do you think you are hurt inwardly?"
"Hurt? No, I'm not hurt. Gee-whiz, I'm glad the
school girls weren't coming along about then. Say,
Gordon, lets run for the brook and I will dive, head-
foremost, right into the old deep hole, and when I come
up I will be span clean."
"Gracious, Merrick, but there is ice floating down
now and aren't your legs cold?"
"Cold? No. Pa says there are lots of people in the
world who wear no pants — say, Gordon, now listen —
if you won't ever tell of this to no living soul I will do
all the chores : milking, feeding the hogs, cleaning the
stables, building the fire mornings, and I'll be hanged if
I don't help you lie yourself out of every mean scrape
you get into in the next ten years."
ALWAYS WELCOME AT SISTER CAROLINE'S WABBAQtJASSETT HOME.
LEFT TO RIGHT. CAROLINE, MARTHA, WALTON, WARREN,
Nearby was a backwoods school which was called the
White Birch, where about eighty scholars met in winter
to fit themselves for future eminence. Here it was that
life's troubles began with me. The mode of punishment
in those days for a boy was to draw him over the master's
knee and spank him, and I am quite sure I got more
floggings than all the other seventy-nine scholars together.
Tom Wheelock often spanked me so furiously that the
rising dust often made the other scholars think he was
setting me on fire.
From the first at school I had been a mental genius.
When eight years old I could calculate in my head prob-
lems intended for large scholars to work out with slate
and pencil. The knottiest problems in Colburn's old
mental arithmetic were as simple for me as three times
ten, and this I could do without ever looking at the rules.
But, oh, my spelling, reading and writing were shock-
ingly deficient, and my grammar was laughable. Once
the master compelled me to write a composition, and
when he read it he laughed and said, "The ideas are
good, Merrick, but it needs a Philadelphia lawyer to
I would as soon fight as eat and was ready to ham-
mer any boy of my size who had broken up a bird's nest,
and was ready to protect the girls to the limit of my
strength and ability. Whether I was right or wrong, I
can now see that I was unconsciously following the dic-
88 LOOKING BACK
tates of conscience. When fourteen years old I took a
serious dislike to punishment of any kind, and the result
was that I left school for srood.
WABBAQUASSETT (ilFiLS. NEWELL HILL IN THE DISTANCE.
COUNTRY BOYS IN TOWN
My boyhood days were spent in what might be
termed, the upper strata of the last stages of the tallow
candle age. Mother dipped candles each fall to light
us through the year. Whale oil was also used, but a
little later coal oil from Pennsylvania came into vogue.
In order to obtain whale oil, vessels for that pur-
pose were sent out from New Bedford, New London,
New York and other harbors along the northern Atlantic
Coast. Accordingly, four of us youngsters, my brother
Collins, Lucius Aborn, Lyman Newell and myself, formed
a scheme to go catching whales and decided to visit New
York and look the matter up and, if possible, learn why
our parents so seriously objected to having us become
Accordingly, we went to Hartford and took the night
steamer, on the Connecticut River, for New York. \\'hile
waiting for the boat in Hartford we all went out to get
shaved and I remember it, for it was my first shave.
The barber must have been a funny fellow, of the
Abe Lincoln type, who looked serious when he said and
did funny things. He was not sparing of his lather, for
my ears held quite a lot, but I bore it bravely until he
grabbed me right by the nose to begin, which made me
burst out laughing and let the lather run into my mouth.
W^hen I sobered down he would seize me by the nose
and begin again, which would make my friends and the
other barbers all laugh. I laughed a little mvself, but
90 LOOKING BACK
he never smiled — just watched for his chance to seize me.
When he got through, without a smile, he said he never
charged boys anything for the first shave.
On the steamer, of which the cabins seemed to me
as dazzling, beautiful and wonderful as the constellation
of Orion does now, the cabin porter got our cow-hide
boots, while we were asleep, and shined them and then
demanded ten cents for each boot, but we compromised
on ten cents for the whole lot, and threatened to throw
him overboard at that.
When we landed at Peck Slip, New York, we at once
inquired for the office where sailors were enlisted for
three-year voyages catching whales.
The agent was a man probably seventy years old and
began inquiring our names and where we were from,
and then he said he knew about Square Pond,' as he once
drove stage right along its shore on the old roiite from
Hartford to Boston. Then he said: "Sit down, boys,"
and he talked to us to this effect:
"Now, boys, you do not want to enlist for a three
years' voyage. If you have got the fishing fever I can
get you all a chance on a smack for three months, off the
coast of Newfoundland, catching codfish. Then if you
are not sick of the job you can go whaling." We listened
to him kindly and finally gave up, not only the whaling,
but the fishing altogether.
We then began canvassing the book stores for a book
which Lyman had heard about, which boys ought not to
read, and that was why he wanted it. The title was
"Fanny Hill," and when we inquired at the book stores
we were turned down, until we struck a Yankee who sold
second-hand books, who inquired where we were from,
and when our boat would leave New York, and then
BEAUTIFUL WOMEN, WORTHY MEN, CHARMING OLD WABBAQUASSETT.
CENTRAL LOWER LADY FIGURE. JULIA NEWELL WARNER, MY^
LIFE-LONG ESTEEMED FRIEND.
LOOKING BACK 91
said he hardly dare sell it to us for fear he would be
The price he said was $1.00, and he would run the
risk, if we would come around just before the boat started
and then promise, all of us, not to open the package
until the boat had left the dock. To this we readily
agreed and then went on taking in the town, thinking more
about the book than we did about the giants, pigmies,
monkeys and elephants which we found at Barnum's
We were now hungry again, so we took another oyster
stew and then started up the Bowery, when we heard
music and were invited in where a wheel table was
turning. One could put down ten cents and might win
$100.00. We were going shares in everything, so decided
to risk ten cents, and the other boys allowed me to try.
"Forty dollars," cried the man, and then discovered his
mistake, that it was only forty cents, and then began
telling of folks from the country winning money, and
this was one of the stories which did not take :
"A large man," he said, "came to New York from
the mountains of Pennsylvania and offered to bet $50.00
that he could carry a feather-bed tick full of buck-shot
across Broadway on his head. Well, boys, we loaded the
tick, which took nearly all the shot in the city, and he
started. He won the bet, I saw him do it, but you see
that stone pavement on Broadway, do you? Well, boys,
when he crossed the street the load was so heavy that
he mired into that stone pavement clear up to his knees,
but he won the $50.00."
Then we told him that we were liars ourselves, and
trugged on, actually having beat the gamblers out of
92 LOOKING BACK
After another oyster stew dinner we strolled into the
Bowery Theatre, where minstrels were playing, which
amused us, as it was the first we had ever seen, and
supposed they were genuine darkies. They sat in a half
circle and after singing and playing, the two end men
would ask questions, and one dialogue ran this way :
"Rastus, I heard you was out last night."
"Yes, Sah, I was out prominading on Broadway."
"Did you have your best girl along?"
"Did you take her home?"
"Did she invite you in ?"
"Not zackly. We stood inside the gate."
"Did she exhibit great affection?"
"Great what ?"
"I suppose so."
"What did she and you do?"
"Dat am a pointed question, sah."
"Well, but you said she showed great affection."
"Great affection, Rastus. Did she love you?"
"Yes, sah, she squozed my hand and then I squoze
her with my arm."
"Squoze, Rastus? Why, there is no such word a?
"Yes, there is, for she said she had never been squoze
by a regular man before."
"Where do you get that word ?"
"Noah Webster, sah. Shall I instruct you ?"
"Is not rise, rose, risen, proper?"
LOOKING BACK 93
"Then why not squize, squoze, squizzen ?"
Then they all sang again.
One incident that I yet remember was that all had
on light-colored vests, and while crossing Broadway,
dodging here and there among the omnibusses, trucks,
and other vehicles, such as we had never seen before,
I slipped on the wet stone pavement and fell flat on my
stomach, but it soon dried off and I was at the front
again, and at the appointed time we appeared at the
book store and gave the man his dollar, who again cau-
tioned us not to let the police see it.
It was papered up nicely and I can now see how
nervously Newell jammed it into his inside pocket, which
was not quite large enough, and then we boarded the
steamer, all the while looking out of the corners of our
eyes that no one suspicioned us.
After the steamer had cleared the dock and Lute
Aborn said we were on the high seas, we slipped around
behind the wheel pit, for it was a side-wheeled steamer,
and as Newell was nervously untying the string, he said :
"Now we will all look at the pictures first and then you,
Lute, who is the best reader, will read it aloud" — when,
behold, it was nothing but a New Testament worth ten
This little Fanny Hill experience was really a bless-
ing in disguise to us boys, but we did not think so at the
time, and if we could have gotten hold of that dealer
we would have taught him that there was yet a God in
AS A YANKEE TIN PEDDLER
At the Methodist Church just south of Wabbaquassett
there were revivals each winter and with other I expe-
rienced rehgion, but mine, even though serious, sort of
struck in and did not break out again for several years.
At the age of nineteen I had become sort of terror
to my enemies, for I was quick, strong and fearless. One
night I had my usual warning dream, of trouble ahead,
and the next day I nearly killed a man as fearless as
myself. The following day when I caught my father
weeping I resolved ever after to avoid all personal en-
counters, which determination for self-control has car-
ried me over many a rickety bridge in safety, and my
warning dreams have never troubled me since.
Farming soon became too tame for me, and while
nature's adornments which made up and surrounded our
quiet home, often charmed my soul into serious dream-
like fancies, yet, somehow I enjoyed singing funny
songs and telling stories, together with their proper
amendments and legitimate construction — in fact, like
my mother, I could tell an old story which every one had
heard forty times in such a way as to cause laughter.
Therefore, as farm life seemed to be an insvifficient in-
cubator for hatching out fresh productions, I mysteriously
evolved into the seemingly exalted position of a Yankee
There were at that time at least ten firms in New
England and York State who manufactured tinware, for
•^^PP' ^il ^i^e
ALBUM OF SUNNY DAYS.
CENTRAL LOWER LIKENESS IS OF MY COUSIN O. M. RICHARDSON,
NOW RETIRED MANUFACTURER OF ROCKVILLE, CONN. THREE
GIRLS IN CENTRAL SCENE, LINA, ELVA AND JOSEPHINE
NEWELL, DAUGHTERS OF MY SISTER JANETTE
AT HER OLD WABBAQUASSETT HOME, 1890.
LOOKING BACK 95
which they loaned carts and gave credit to lively chaps
who had teams. The peddler would go on the road and
trade the tinware for barter, old iron, copper, brass, lead,
zinc and all kinds of paper stock, besides cow hides and
sheep pelts or anything of which he knew the value, and
ship it in to pay his account. It was a lucrative business
for a clever boy, often clearing $100.00 per week besides
his expenses. Also it gave him a chance to study human
nature, as a good peddler must be able to read his cus-
tomer before he says the wrong thing, for a frolicsome
Irish woman appreciates a tone and language with per-
haps a friendly slap on the shoulder, which would frighten
an elderly, sedate, bloodless maiden into spasms.
Soon my two brothers and myself with several neigh-
boring young men were into the business, and in the
Spring of 1861 Alonzo Shepherd and myself ventured a
tirp to Long Island by the way of New York City. On
this trip we acquired both wealth and fame. The ridicul-
ous instances of our travels often come up before me
now. We were continually playing tricks on each other
which always ended in laughter. On this trip we became
horse traders, which proved to be more lucrative than
In 1863 I shipped my team to Batavia, New York,
and in August sent for my brother Gordon to come to
Dunkirk, where I had another team, and we peddled
through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, returning to
Connecticut in the Fall, after which I returned to Elba,
N. Y., where, December 10th, I married Mary Jane
Hoyt, a beautiful, intelligent girl of twenty years.
The following year, 1864, with several other teams
each, we came West again and returned to Albany for
the winter. On mv return I followed the shore road of
96 LOOKING BACK
Lake Ontario around to Watertown, N. Y., while Gor-
don returned through Pennsylvania, our object being to
buy horses of the mountain farmers.
MARY JANE HOYT, ELBA. N. V.. 18G3. \V1LUEH WOOD^
THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN THE SUMMER BEFORE
WE WERE MARRIED.
THE THOMPSON FAMILY.
From Watertown, I worked East, where I fell in with
a family by the name of Thompson, who owned a large
stock-raising farm in the foot hills of Mount Seward,
not far from North Elba, the Adirondack home of John
My experience with the Thompsons left a vivid im-
pression on my memory which never grows dim.
As I remember them Mr. Thompson was short, heavy
set, blue eyed, fair complexion, with a physiognomy in-
dicating that he seldom suffered defeat. He v/as usually
thoughtful and serious, but when telling stories or re-
lating experience he was full of mirth.
Mary, his wife, was an interesting woman. Her stout
figure, dark eyes and hair with fair skin made her look
striking, especially in laughing, when her eyes twinkled
and gave expression of mirth. All the animals on the
farm were seemingly her special pets, but their little dog
Joe came in for the lion's share. Really the little white.
curly fellow with black eyes and nose, when standing
erect with head and tail up, did look as though he was
monarch of all he surveyed. Everybody loved him ex-
cept the cats. Much of Mrs. Thompson's time was given
over to church work, for which she must have been well
fitted, as her Christian character was discernable at every
move and turn.
Vida, their daughter of sixteen summers, was fair,
with large dark eyes, auburn hair and prominent chin.
98 LOOKING BACK
Her quick glance and mirthful smile betokened self-
esteem and decisive character, while glee and dare inno-
cently portrayed pent emotion and artful design.
During the evening I turned the conversation to the
story of John Brown, and was glad to learn that Mr.
Thompson had been a near friend of Brown and was
with him on the Kennedy farm only a few days before
the raid on Harper's Ferry.
At Mrs. Thompson's suggestion we planned that we
four take a horseback ride after church services on the
morrow, up to the Brown farm and see John's grave and
the big rock nearby from which, in former days, he had
done much preaching to the mountaineers.
Our horses were good lopers, taking us up and down-
hill through the woods to the farm, at which we arrived
very quickly, but found none of the family at home.
We finally gained entrance to the little farm house and
sat in John's chair by his cheap desk. Afterwards we
climbed on the big rock now near his grave which seems
to stand as a lone sentinel, in the rocky wilds, silently
calling the coming generations to the resting place of the
ashes of him who followed the dictates of conscience, re-
gardless of immediate results.
After enjoying hot cream biscuit with wild honey
and crabapple jelly, with a neighbor of the Browns, we
started down the mountain, and through the evening
we sat before the crackling hickory flames in the great
fireplace while Mr. Thompson gave his experience with
the Browns, which were substantially as follows :
JOHN BROWN, 1850.
GOD CALLS EVERY MAN AND WOMAN TO DUTY AND REQUIRES
A RESPONSE AGCORDINfi TO THEIR INDIVIDUAL ABILITY.
One evening in the summer of 1850, John Brown,
whom I had known in Springfield, Mass., as a successful
wool merchant, surprised us by calling, and relating his
"I," he said, "through misfortune or mismanagement,
have lost the fortune which I amassed in 25 years. In
trying to retrieve, I shipped my stock to Europe, but
after staying there about four months I sold it so low
that my loss, including the expense of the trip, left me
stranded. My ardor for the slave has not in the least
abated, and through the assistance of Gerritt Smith I
have taken up land and am building a home over in
North Elba, I am a sort of instructor to the colored folks
of Smith's Wild Wood Colony.
"I have several colored men working for me in clear-
ing up and planting, and they work well. I brought along
some blooded cattle, pigs and hens, and finding many
hard maples on the place, which produce sap for sirup,
we feel quite independent. Two of our heifers have
come in and we have plenty of milk, so I tell my wife
if we have not crossed the Jordan into the land of milk
and honey, we have crossed the Connecticut into the land
of milk and maple molasses. Now I must be going in
order to reach home before dark."
"Stay, Mr. Brown," I said, "why, we have not visited
at all yet."
"I know, Mr. Thompson, but I came just to let
100 LOOKING BACK
you know where we are, and if you will come to see us
we will treat you to fried chicken, boiled potatoes, hot
corn bread and fresh butter. Will you come?"
"Surely; how far is it, John?"
"About 25 miles up the mountain, and 10 miles down ;
but I am still good for four miles an hour. Say, Mrs.
Thompson, set on something for* me to eat, the very best
you have, for the Bible says, 'Be not slow to entertain
strangers for thereby you may be entertaining angels,
Soon after, early one morning, we saddled our horses
and rode over to call on our new neighbors, when Brown
would hear nothing but that we must stop with them
overnight, and although we all visited, cooked, ate and
slept in the same room, we did enjoy ourselves.
Before retiring, we all knelt in family worship, when
Brown prayed so clear and fervent that no one could
doubt his faith in the loving Father, who he believed was
Ruth, Brown's eldest daughter, and her husband,
Henry Thompson, were with them, and several of the
younger children. Oliver, one of those killed at Har-
per's Ferry, recently, was then about 10 years old.
After supper. Brown and I climbed onto the great
rock, beside where his body now lies, when he revealed
to me his disconnected plans of venturing into a slave
state and arming negroes who could fight for their own
"But," said I, "the law gives those Southerners the
right to hold slaves."
"What law?" he exclaimed as he extended his lower
jaw defiantly and repeated, "What law? Jesus defined
laws as the will or mandate of Jehovah. If you call the
LOOKING BACK 101
conclusions of an assembly of men today which another
assembly of men tomorrow can prove to be felonious,
law, then John Brown is an outlaw ; but if the Saviour's
definition, 'Love the Lord, thy God, w4th all thy mind
and soul, and thy neighbor as thyself,' is law, then John
Brown is a law-abiding citizen, and will, if needs be,
die for those who are in bondage, who have committed no
Then raising his tall form and moving slowly to and
fro in the moonlight on the great rock, he continued in
a soft tone.
"God calls every man and woman to duty and requires
a response according to their individual ability. I feel
that I have had a call to open the gate of freedom to
the slaves in this, Columbia. This call is not a direct
communication from God, but more in the line of duty.
I am somehow impressed that I am the man to answer
this call, for, when I pray for guidance, the echo seems
to come back, 'Your strength is sufficient.' When you
and I were boys, Dan, we read of famous persons whose
characters glittered before us, but we somehow over-
looked the fact that duty and praise do not travel hand
in hand, but rather, that duty treads the thorny way and
fame creeps softly after.
"Not only is this God's law, but it coincides with ex-
perience. Disappointment mingled with failure seems
to be the earthly lot of man, and yet it is not failure.
W'hen the morn of eternity dawns, and you and I shall
stand to be judged according to our past records, what
will be more glorious than that we meet failure in trying
to accomplish good? I know that slavery is a sin, and,
if needs be, I will die for the cause."
Of course, I saw Brown occasionally during the next
102 . LOOKING BACK
nine years, but I have no time this evening to relate his
wildcat crusades in Kansas and Missouri, so we will pass
over to the closing days of his life.
Oliver, Brown's youngest son, grew up on the North
Elba farm, and through him I was kept informed con-
cerning Brown's border free-booters until Brown came
and took him to the Kennedy Farm near Harper's Ferry.
NEAR harper's FERRY.
Anna, Brown's oldest daughter by his second wife,
returned from Maryland about the last of October,
1859, when at her father's request she sent for me and
gave me all the particulars concerning their rendezvous
at the Kennedy Farm and their contemplated raid on
Hall's Rifle Works at Harper's Ferry.
The next day, after promising my pets, my wife and
Vida, that 1 would not join the mutineers, as Vida liked
to call them, I left for Washington, and was soon in con-
sultation with John Brown in the attic of the little house
on the Kennedy Farm, where Anna had, as Brown said,
acted as his watchdog, entertaining and detaining all
strangers until he or his men could disperse or prepare.
I soon discovered that his attitude toward universal
fredom had not abated, and that all his men, including
three sons, had become much like him, as, at the prayer
meeting in the little church nearby and the family altar,
they often chimed in "Amen." As I think of them now
I can truthfully say I never saw a band of men more
Christianized in their expressions than those, for John
had instilled into their minds his theory that ihe world
was to be benefited by the struggle they were about to
LOOKING BACK 103
One day Oliver, his father and I walked down to Har-
per's Ferry, and while returning in the evening, Oliver
and I pressed him for an explanation of the course he
would pursue when he had taken possession of the arms
at the Rifle A\'orks, as the slaves would be useless at
first, but he had none — he seemed to rely implicitly upon
God and the Northern abolitionists to see him through.
Suddenly stopping us under the dark shadowy trees,
and laying one hand on Oliver's shoulder and the other on
mine, he said low and earnestly : "I do not know where
I shall be when that beautiful moon has made its journey
around this world once more, but one thing I do know
and that is this : through my ceaseless efiforts I have cor-
ralled the slave holders until now I have them in a trap.
If my efiforts are not impeded the slave will eventually
free himself. If they are, and I am destroyed, the North,
through sympathy for me and justice to the slave, will
continue my cause until the bondmen are free. So you
see I have them in a trap, but my aim is to avoid a bloody
war, for the families in the South are as dear to me as
those in the North, but slavery is a sin and must cease.
Soon this generation will be passed, other men our lands
will till and other men our streets will fill. When we are
all gone the South as well as the North will speak kindly
of him who dared to oppose his country's unjust laws."
All of Brown's men as well as myself considered the
Harper's Ferry raid an unwise move, but to Brown,
human life seemed a secondary matter, as compared to
the continuation of national sin.
The last evening I stayed at the Kennedy Farm. After
a supper of corn cake and molasses, Stephens and Tidd,
who had melodious voices, sang "All the Dear Folks at
Home Have Gone" and "Faded Flowers." Their voices
104 LOOKING BACK
echoing softly down the glens where the tree of freedom
was about to appear rooted and nourished in the blood of
those brave helpless invaders. Oliver Brown, noticing my
emotion, gave me a friendly slap on the shoulder, saying,
"Now we will all join in with father, 'Nearer my God
to Thee,' " which we did before kneeling together for
the last time at that strange family altar.
When I left for the North next day, the understand-
ing was that the raid would not take place until about
November 1st, but condition made it expedient for them
to move at once, which they did.
I arrived home the 17th of October, and after sup-
per I saddled the horses, when my wife, Vida and myself
ran up the mountains at a spirited canter, arriving at the
Brown Farm in the dark. In the small frame house we
found his wife, Mary, and three of his daughters, Anna,
Sarah and Ellen; Mary, the wife of Oliver; Henry and
Ruth Thompson and several neighbors.
All listened in silence, while I related the incidents
of my visit at the Kennedy Farm, but, of course, none
of us knew that Brown had already taken possession of
Harper's Ferry, that Oliver and Watson had been killed,
and that the old man was holding out so grimly in the
About ten days later the exaggerated telegrams con-
cerning Harper's Ferry were afloat which set us all agog,
but not until Friday the 21st did we get a copy of the
New York Times, of the 18th, which I took up to the
Elba home, and we all listened while Annie read it
through, then for several moments all remained silent, as
we thought father and all were dead.
Later we learned that the father was alive, but Wat-
LOOKING BACK 105
son and Oliver were dead, and that Owen was missing,
which was considered equivalent to being dead.
John Brown's trial ended October 21st. On Novem-
ber 2d he was sentenced to be hanged, which execution
was carried out December 2, 1859.
Of those missing. Cook and Haslet were captured,
and we took it for granted that Owen and the other three
for whom there was a reward offered had been killed at
the Ferry, but not reported.
THE DEAD APPEAR
Near the time set for the execution of Mr. Brown we
were all nervous, especially our Vida and Sarah Brown ;
they were about ready to fly, and what happened, Vida
must tell it herself.
"Oh, no, papa ; you're telling the story ; keep right on."
Well, as I have said, we knew that the three Brown
boys, Watson, Owen and Oliver, were dead and the
father was to be executed December 2d, and we were
running back and forth to the Elba Farm all the time,
trying to help the women to bear up under this trying
One dark evening, the last of November, two neigh-
boring girls came in and stayed until after 10 o'clock,
when Vida and my wife accompanied them to the gate.
When she returned, as we were sitting before the fire
in this big fireplace, a soft rap came on the door, which
we seldom use, and as I rose up Vida said : "That is
Flossy, let me go."
The door being in the entry, from where we sat Mary
and I could not see Vida when she opened it, but listened
if we might recognize the voice. The voice being inaudi-
ble, I started to go just as Vida uttered a low moan,
staggered backwards to where I could see her, and fell
in a dead faint.
I sprang to the open door and called out, but could
see nor hear no one. Then I closed and locked it, and
Mary brought the camphor, but we could not bring her
back, so as to tell whom she had seen for a long time.
LOOKING BACK 107
When she recovered she said it was one of the Browns,
but she thought he was dead. I instantly decided it was
John Brown, who had escaped from Charlestown jail,
which was a feasible conchision, as all the news we
were receiving in the Adirondacks was nearly a week
old and unreliable.
Rushing out I ran down into the road, calling John
by name, when I heard a voice near the house, and turning
back, discovered it was Owen Brown, who had been
reported missing, and we supposed he was dead.
When in out of the cold and before the big fireplace
with Mary washing his hands and face, Vida trying to
untangle his unkempt hair and I getting off his shoes,
which had not been removed in weeks, he covered his
face with his hands and wept, but did not speak.
After supper he listened to our reports from Harper's
Ferry and North Elba as we had gained them, and then
inquired if I thought it was imprudent for him to try
to visit those at home, to which I assured him that he
would be more safe in Washington than he was in the
"Then," said he, "it is better that they never know
you have seen me." Then turning to Vida said : "You
can keep a secret?" Vida put her hand on his head say-
ing, "Try me and see."
It was soon arranged that Mary should spend the
next day cleaning and fixing his clothes, Vida would
run Fleet Foot Jim up to the Elba Farm and without
revealing anything bring back all the news, while I was
to borrow what money he might require, and the follow-
ing night he and I were to run, on saddle, to Robert
Doan, a staunch abolitionist, from which place he would
make his way to his brother at Dorsett, Ohio.
VIDA'S DARING EXPLOIT
We were unable to get Owen ready for the night ride
until the second evening, when Vida declared her in-
tention to accompany us as far as Jobe's Hill, seventeen
miles down the mountain. "For," said she, "when Mr.
Brown is clear from the Adirondack region, he can make
his way in comparative safety to Utica, or if he is going
to Ohio, he can follow the lake shore to Rochester. Now
do not say no. Papa, for I am not afraid ; they will never
catch Old Jim while I am on his back. Besides, a lady
riding with two men might fool even a shrewd detective,
if such a thing might be that any of our mountain green-
horns have turned detectives for the sake of the reward
which is out for Owen."
"Why, Vida," said Owen.
"Please do not object, Mr. Brown. I am an Adiron-
dack lassie who used to go barefoot in summer, and I
know as much about these backwood aspirants as anyone."
"Now, my dear child," I said.
"Papa," she continued, "will you, for once, allow your
pet to have her own way? If you should be caught, think
of the consequences ; and you. Mamma and I would be
ashamed to hold up our heads in church. Now, Mamma,
will you take my side?"
"You know. Papa," said Mrs. Thompson, "that all
the girls are accustomed to — "
"All right— all right," I said, for I felt that Vida's
plan was sensible.
LOOKING BACK 109
At 10 o'clock, when we went out to saddle the horses,
we were startled by two strangers standing near the
gate, but soon learned they were wood choppers from
the timberlands farther up the mountain, who had become
confused, thinking they might be on the wrong road.
Fleet Foot Jim, who was always proud when my wife
or Vida was on his back, pranced, nibbled his bit, paced
and cantered until Vida patted his neck and talked baby
talk to him, when he steadied down and we went on at
a brisk trot, seldom speaking until we reached Jobe's Hill,
where Vida kissed me again, bidding me not to worry,
shook hands good-bye with Owen and she was off on
a spirited run through the midnight gloom.
Brown and I listened to the klick of the horse's feet
as they made the turn down through the dark timber
valley, then ascending the hill the klicking grew fainter
until they passed over the brow of the hill, when it ceased
"Listen," said I to Brown, "the long wooden bridge
we came over is not more than two miles away," and as
we waited the rumbling thunder from old Jim's heels on
the bridge assured us that Vida's lonely midnight ride
up the Adirondack Mountains would soon be over, and so
it was, for she left the hemlock grove on Jobe's Hill at
just 11 :30 and bounced into her waiting mother's arms at
home at 12:15, making the 17 miles in 45 minutes, which
she always refers to as her glorious midnight ride.
OWEN BROWN'S STORY
"Soon after you left us at the Kennedy Farm we were
startled by the rumor that the authorities were about to
come down upon us, so we decided to seize the arsenal
"Father routed us out earlier than usual for our
family worship on Sunday morning, and all of us knelt
together for the last time.
"Now Oliver and Watson are dead, father is to be
hanged to-morrow, I am a fugitive with a large reward
over me and most of the others are either dead or soon
"We left Kennedy Farm at dusk Sunday, October 16,
1859. In our party there were, besides father ; Watson,
Oliver and I, Marriam, the two Coppic boys. Cook, Tidd,
Kagi, Taylor, Bill Thompson, Hazlett, Copeland, Leary,
Greene, Anderson and several other men.
"Father rode in the wagon and the others walked two
by two, all but Marriam, Cook, Barclay, Coppic and my-
self, who were left to guard the arms and other effects
until we heard from the raid.
"Tidd came out to us in the morning stating that the
battle was going on fiercely and that our men were being
hemmed in on all sides. Then he reported that more than
fifty had been killed, the Mayor of Harper's Ferry had
been shot, and Watson and Oliver were dead ; so, upon
this report we decided to flee from the scene and leave
LOOKING BACK 111
"We hastily ate and fixed up as much lunch as we
could carry, when Marriam, Coppic, Cook, Tidd and
myself ran across the country to Maryland Heights,
where we could view the scene but could not help.
"At first we saw no troops, but hundreds of men
from behind trees, rocks and buildings firing at our men,
who, as yet, held the town. We could see father, with
s\vord in hand, walking about apparently encouraging
"Soon we saw a squad of more than a hundred sol-
diers leave the bridge and march down the street towards
father and his few men, and could see father begin pre-
paring for the onslaught.
"When they were about two hundred feet distant
father apparently gave the word to fire, and it was kept
up until two of our men and more than twenty of their
troop lay dead in the street, while their live ones retreated
in confusion to the covered bridge from whence they
"Truly it was a strange sight to see father, an old
man, with a handful of mountaineers holding the town of
Harper's Ferry against that company of Maryland regu-
lars, besides receiving an occasional shot from behind
buildings or other places of safety. He was facing odds
of more than fifty to one, who, not knowing what father's
re-enforcements might be, were really panic stricken.
"Through continuous firing, one after another of our
few men were shot down, until father abandoned the
arsenal and seemed to be barricading the engine house
with his few men, probably not more than three or four
"Colonel Robert E. Lee, with a company of United
States Marines, appeared just before dark but did not
112 LOOKING BACK
attempt to capture the enemy's stronghold in the engine
house, possibly because he had heard the rumor that
father had three or four thousand men in the mountains
waiting his command.
"Knowing that anything more on our part to help
father would virtually be suicide, we gathered up our
effects and started on our night tramp through the Blue
Ridge Mountains in a northwesterly direction.
"We traveled in the roads strung out about ten rods
apart, myself in advance, so when I met anyone I would
engage him in conversation until the other boys were con-
cealed from the view of the road. When passing villages
we climbed the fences and ran around.
"Soon our food was ear corn, which we pillaged from
the farmers. This we could not pop or roast, as we dare
not build a fire. We could travel in the rain nights, but
we could not sleep days when it was wet and cold, and we
suffered terribly. After several days suffering. Cook pro-
posed to venture into the town for food, to which Tidd
strongly objected and I often had my hands full trying to
quiet their quarrels.
"About the sixth day out we slept on a mountain which
overlooked Ole Forge, near Chambersburg, Pa., where
Cook was determined to go down for food, which he did,
and never returned, and as you know, was captured and
will soon share the fate of others at Charlestown.
"Marriam was now so weak that he could go no fur-
ther, and I at a great risk, got him down to Chambers-
burg, where he boarded a train without detection. Then
we were but three."
"Fearing that Cook might be forced to reveal our
whereabouts and intentions, we traveled all that night
back towards the hill from whence we came, making our
LOOKING BACK 113
course as zigzag as possible, so detectives would be un-
able to design our intentions or lay in wait for us.
"The third day after Cook's capture, an old lady hunt-
ing nuts in the woods came spank upon us, while we were
sleeping in the sun. We were still near Chambersburg
and from what she had heard she knew who we were,
and told us so. To kill her would be wrong, to let her
go back and report would be dangerous ; but she soon put
us at ease by telling about her abolition friends in Massa-
chusetts and how her son, with whom she lived, and all
her neighbors would help us on the way.
"We trusted her and at dark we found ourselves in
her son's home eating chicken-pie and drinking hot cof-
fee, which we had not partaken of in ten days. Soon
another sympathizer came in and the two men arranged
to take us on our journey as far as they could before
"When we were small, father used to tell us children
about the angels and I formed the idea that they were
sweet, lovely and looked beautiful, but oh, Mr. Thomp-
son, that dear old lady, I wish you could have seen her
just as she looked to me that night, stepping around so
softly to make us comfortable. Why, Thompson, she
seemed so handsome, while looking through my tears I
actually think she might have been an angel which God
sent to comfort us. When we were ready to start, she
put her arm around each of our necks and kissed us, say-
ing, 'We will play that I am your mother, just for tonight.'
"Acting on our host's guarantee, we rode boldly down
through Chambersburg, where Cook had just been taken,
but all was well. At break of day, when about forty-five
miles away, we jumped out with our luggage, eight loaves
114 LOOKING BACK
of bread and part of a boiled ham, and fled into the
"Now we found ourselves among the Quakers, who
fed and protected us, and in a few days we separated, I
working my way to you, and here I am tonight.
"Father taught his followers that the move on Har-
per's Ferry would precipitate conditions which would free
the slaves. If, as we believe, God was leading him, it
surely will, for dark as it appears to us today, it may
be all right when viewed by the coming generations."
Then in a voice, just like old John Brown himself,
Owen softly sang a verse of the hymn, "God Moves in a
Mysterious Way His Wonders to Perform." We rode
a little way in silence and again he struck up :
"Let us love one another as long as we stay
Where storm after storm rises dark o'er the way."
AFTER THE MIST HAD CLEARED AWAY
Forty-six years have passed since the sixteen year old
Vida played her part so well in the strange drama of
freedom's birth, and now, in an automobile tour to the
coast of Maine with my wife, Mary Prickett, and our
sixteen year old Vida, who to me, is a veritable imprint
of the afore-characterized Vida Thompson. I again travel
the winding roads of the old Adirondack Mountains.
We visit the John Brown farm, sit in his easy chair,
and climb the great rock which silently stands sentinel
where, in turn, the cold winter's blasts in their wild mid-
night ride howl weirdly, and the sweet spring mornings
awaken the forest song birds who shy their nests among
the wild flowers near the grace of the old Hero — John
The Browns are gone from North Elba. New York
State has secured possession of the farm and erected a
fitting monument to the memory of John Brown. When
the old home is gone, and the monument has been re-
placed, the great rock will stand there just as Brown
found it, seeming to say, "I alone will stay and guard his
Strangers now live in the Thompson home, the ever-
green on Jobe's Hill is seen no more, the long wooden
bridge over which Old Jim thundered out the distant
echo as he hastened the fair Vida through the mountains,
has been replaced and each fair day, as the evening sun
nears Ontario's restless waves, it kisses a fond adieu to
116 LOOKING BACK
the little cemetery where Mr. and Mrs. Thompson sleep,
while a little child smoothes Grandma Vida's silver locks
on yonder's distant shore where the grand old Pacific
ebbs and flows as time rolls on.
YANKEE HORSEMEN GO WEST
The following year, 1865, it appears Gordon and I
were not satisfied to let well enough alone, so we gave up
our lucrative business for something more leisurely, by
going into Batavia, New York, as fruit dealers. We had
a stack of money and pitched right in, buying up whole
orchards and paying approximately 40 per cent down, and
when apples declined from $8.00 to $5.00 per barrel we
had hardly enough money left to get out of town with,
but our brother, Collins, loaned us all we needed and we
struck out again at our old business, undaunted, as though
nothing had happened.
The next year, 1866, we three brothers, with our
wives, and all our teams hung out for the winter at
Collins and Martha.
Merrick and Mary.
Gordon and Amanda.
In the spring, 1867, with about fifty teams, we scat-
tered over the south and west planning a rendezvous on
the Mississippi River, where we all grouped for about
three months. Our evenings of sport are better remem-
bered than imagined. We had expanded our business
until there were nearly 100 of us, playing tricks on each
other, wrestling, lifting, swimming, running horses, tell-
ing stories, singing songs, etc.
One of our men, a hostler, named Kelly, made an
impromptu speech one evening, which was comical, but
118 LOOKING BACK
without the surroundings could not be appreciated. Ram-
son Young started an old-time school play of snapping
the whip. It consisted of a captain standing at his post
and as many as were take hold of hands and when he
gave the word, all start on a swing to run around him.
Of course, the outer one must run faster and the trick
was to all pull the outer or tail man off his feet and see
him try to save himself from falling. They got Kelly
on the end and when he came around the next man let
go of his hand, his body got ahead of his legs and he
ran among the tables and dishes and through the camp
fire in his big bare feet, before he could stop, but did not
catch on that it was intentional.
Next evening the boys gathered again and when Kelly
saw that he would be on the tail end, he let go, and
stepping onto a stump said : "Gentlemen, I am a Hoosier,
born in the .State of Indiana, and an uneducated man, but
you will never again get me on the tail end of that 'ere."
I did not like to see Young impose on Kelly, so I em-
braced the first opportunity to even up matters. One
evening while waiting in camp for supper, near Duluth,
Kelly was exhibiting his new shotgun, when Young said
to me : "I'm going to bet with Kelly he cannot hit my
new hat at twenty paces, and you must load the gun,
but put in no shot."
"I will do nothing of the kind," I said.
"Yes, you will, Mr. Richardson; this is just for a
"I tell you I will have nothing to do with your tricks."
"Kelly," he cried, "I will bet you a quarter that you
cannot hit my new hat at twenty paces, and Mr. Richard-
son says he will load the gun."
LOOKING BACK 119
"All right," says Kelly, "Richardson is honest ; I will
I again refused, but when they both insisted I took
the new gun and amunition and when out of sight I put
in, not only a good charge of powder, but a whole hand-
ful of buckshot, and when I delivered it, Young said to
Kelly: "Suppose we make it fifty cents instead of a
quarter?" "All right," said Kelly.
By this time all the boys were excited, for they knew
Kelly could hit the hat, and Young began betting five
and ten cents each, with them, until he had nearly two
dollars up and his new straw hat on stake.
Young caught me smiling, and looked at little scared
as he whispered, "There is no shot in the gun?" to which
I paid no attention. Now Kelly squared himself and
took aim long and steady and then fired. Of course,
blowing the new hat all to driblets.
Young gave me one wicked glance and then stood
around like a rooster in the rain, and when the joke
got out he simply remarked, "If a man cannot trust a
preacher, who can he trust?"
We had a ministerial looking fellow w^ith us, who
gave his name as Wilson from New Jersey. He had
worked for us but a few months when one morning three
men came up and stopped one of our teams. Wilson,
who was driving a front team, looked back, and, dropping
his rein, ran for the woods, nearly a half mile distant,
looking neither to the right or left until he disappeared
into the bushes. Next day, going through a piece of
woods,,! heard Wilson's voice, "Is everything all right?"
and when told that the men only wanted to buy a horse,
he still suspected that he had seen one of them before.
120 LOOKING BACK
Although he was with us until near the end of our trav-
els he never told us why he ran so fast.
Of course, our lives were full of peculiar incidents.
Mr. Young, who deputized me to load the gun, delighted
in telling the fortunes of those who came around the
camp fire in the evening, and it was rich to listen to him
when he had a fellow and girl on the string, who were
We camped over Sunday near the home of a distant
relative of mine, who had come out west many years
before and had been prosperous. He was a great big
generous farmer of about seventy-five years, who en-
joyed our stories and songs hugely, while he supplied
our camp with eggs, ham, chicken, cream and vegetables.
One of his neighbors told me a secret about the old man's
narrow escape from death, which I have not forgotten.
It appears that after his first wife's death, the old
chap married a young woman of the neighborhood, who
made him an excellent wife, although there was a slight
blemish of character on the family from which she came.
It seems that before the marriage he had agreed never
to twit her about her relation, but had broken over sev-
eral times, for which she had warned him to desist if he
valued his life.
One day, as the stor}^ went, she was making pies
and he was in the kitchen tormenting her. for which
she gave him tit for tat until he remarked. "Well, thank
the Lord I was reared in a family of God-fearing and
law-abiding citizens." She uttered an unprintable phrase,
and drew a butcher knife from the table drawer. It was
the one which the old gent had often used to slay pigs and
calves, but he had never dreamed it would one day be
used to wind up his own earthly career.
A glance at the keen, ugly blade caused him to un-
ceremoniously discontinue the argument and rush out
122 LOOKING BACK
the back door crying, "Help ! Help !" Knowing the
unscrupulous character of the family to which his sweet-
heart belonged, and the heat to which he had fired her
passion, he, without stopping to either pray or swear,
lit out for the orchard, hoping to distance his fair pur-
surer and climb a tree.
In this horrid dilemma of running while looking, both
before and behind, he forgot about the old unused wel!
without a curb, and just as she was about to plunge the
awful knife, he dropped into the well just deep enough
to save himself from decapitation.
"I was one," said the relator, "to help old John out
of the well and patch up an armistice, which I think he
has held sacred, and twitted his wife no more about her
We had now abandoned our tin peddling business ex-
cept as a means of settling expense bills, and had become
successful horse dealers.
Our fine horses gave us a sort of prestige and welcome
in traveling over the country. Our lookout for bargains
was always in unmanageable young horses, which usually
became docile through kind treatment. Of the three
brothers, Collins was the best judge of a horse, while
Gordon and I were close buyers. Our method was to
trade for or buy unmanageable young sound horses and
put them on the wheel of a four-horse team. After they
had fought and tired themselves out they would come
along and soon be working all right. In this way we
could tame the ugliest animals and never whip them.
Then they were for sale and would please the buyer.
Sometimes we had more than one hundred horses, which
gave a good selection for the buyer.
A few of our men were on good salary, but many
were hangers on.
Frank Button, from Vermont, was ahvays on hand
in the time of trouble. He was kind-hearted, but when
on a lark was always looking for the bully of the town.
The Aurora papers came out one morning with large
headlines, stating that Ben Grim, the "Terror or Ter-
rier" of Aurora, had tackled one of Richardson's horse
jockies, named Button, wdio although appearing like a
124 LOOKING BACK
common cloth-bound wooden-button, proved to have been
brass inside, but it was hoped that Grim would live.
At Davenport we camped over Sunday on the river
just north of the town, where the Methodist minister (a
jolly good fellow) thought to invite us to come and hear
him preach. In coming up through the teams he chanced
to climb the six-horse van to see how things looked
inside. Tiger, the one-eyed brindle pup, could not stand
for that, and when we all rushed to see what the stranger
was yelling about, we found the minister swinging from
the top bar of the Broad Gauge by both hands, while
Tiger was swinging from the seat of the minister's pants
by his teeth. Our liberal donation for his new pants vir-
tually healed the breach, but that evening, when in his
sermon he lauded us for our Christian benevolence and
sympathy, he said nothing about the seat of his pants,
nor even. mentioned the faithfulness of our beloved Tiger.
At Evansville I boarded an Ohio River steamer for
Louisville, on which there were four colored men, accus-
tomed to singing old plantation melodies at each landing.
I took them with us through the hills of old Kentucky
for several weeks and we all learned to sing their songs.
I am wishing now I could be in that old camp once more,
and hear those voices again :
"Oh, Dearest May, You're Lovelier Than the Day,'*
•'Down on the Old P. D.," "My Old Kentucky Home Far
Away," "Darling Nelly Gray," and the like.
Prosperity and joy were with us in every way, and
never in all our travels did we have a man get severely
hurt. We three brothers were strong, athletic and humor-
ous and always made companions of our men.
Our foot and horse racing was often exciting. Our
Inst foot race was in Cleveland, Ohio, where after we
LOOKING BACK 125
three brothers had outdone all the men we ran it off
between ourselves on the Lake Shore, where Collins won,
but I told him it was just by the length of his nose.
Some of us were good marksmen, but when we run
on to a backwoodsman in Missouri, who had about a
dozen squirrels he had killed that morning, all shot in.
the eye except one, which was hit in the ear, for which
he apologized, as he declared that in the tallest tree he
was able to hit ninety-nine out of one hundred in the
eye, we boasted no more about our marksmanship.
If Frank and Jesse James, the notorious outlaws of
the Wild West, ever visited our camp, we did not know it.
I visited their old home twice while in Missouri, and
listened to their mother's story about her boys she loved
so well. At that time the State of Missouri had out
rewards, in the aggregate of more than $50,000 for their
capture, dead or alive.
LANDED IN CHICAGO
In the fall, Collins and Gordon returned to Con-
necticut, while I, having spent much time in the South,
laid up in Cleveland for the winter. They returned to
Cleveland in the spring, when at the solicitation of our
dear wives we decided to dispose of as many of our teams
as possible during the summer and locate permanently in
some large city, which we did, and in the fall of 1868.
with about 100 horses and seventy-five men, we landed
We purchased the northwest corner of Canal and
Lake Streets, running to the alley each way. Besides
some little stores on Lake Street, there was an immense
ice house and a large wooden structure occupied by Gar-
land, Downs & Holmes, as sales station of a carriage
manufacturer in Boston. These gave us ample room for
all our teams, but before our titles were perfected the
city condemned most of the property in opening Dutch
Broadway (Milwaukee Avenue) into Lake Street, and
althovigh we never came into legal possession of the
property the city's appraisement was su'^h that ovu" pur-
chase left us a good bonus besides our occupation of
the building for over a year. We then lived over stores
on Canal Street, where the Chicago & Northwestern
Depot now stands.
In 1869 we bought property on both sides of Lake
Street, in the second block west of Western Avenue,
where we built homes on the south and a factory on
LOOKING BACK 127
the north side of the street. A\'e then sold our teams,
mostly to our men on the installment plan, holding the
l)roperty in our name until paid for. Then we started
manufacturing tinware, working about fifty tinners, sell-
ing the ware to those who bought the teams. It was a
success. Soon all the teams were off our hands, and the
once prolific and romantic business and escapades of
the three Richardson brothers had entirely disappeared.
In 1872 Collins sold out to Gordon and me, he return-
ing to Connecticut and settling down on a farm.
In 1874 we sold out the tin factory, and Gordon,
who had always been a lover of fast horses, began deal-
ing in them again.
I, who had all the time been exhorting and writing
books, entered the Evanston Theological Seminary, pre-
paring for the ministry, but when Dr. H. W. Thomas
experienced his troubles with Rock River Conference.
I abandoned that course, but kept up, through private
instructors, the languages and scientific studies for five
years, including one year of experimental astronomy on
the great telescope then at Cottage Grove.
Thomas' ideas moulded my thoughts into hnes of
truth. He was a good man, a profound scholar and deep
thinker, but lived before his time. The following I copy
from his thoughts :
THE ORIGIN AND DESTINY OF MAN
BY H. W. THOMAS, D.D.
We say that this is the 12th day of December. We
say that this is the year 1870. We say that it is the
Sabbath evening, and that we are gathered here in the
house of worship. We say that we look into each other's
faces, and that you hear my words. But is this a dream,
or is it reality? For in the night-time we have often
dreamed that we have seen large assemblages ; we have
heard music and singing; we have listened to sermon or
lecture ; we have loved, we have hoped, we have wept, we
have been glad — and in the morning we have found it
was only a dream. There have not been wanting, in our
world's history, those who have held that all our day-life
is only another kind of a day-dream. And, when we come
to think of it, it is not the easiest thing to disprove this.
I do not know how to prove that I am here better than
just to say so. I do not know how I can be much more
certain of the fact than I am of certain facts in my
dreams. Yet somehow we feel that there is something
more in this life than simply an illusion, and I guess that
H. W. THOMAS, D. D.
'l AM GLAD THAT IMMORTALITY IS NOT ONLY A FAITH BUT
A GREAT FACT. I AM GLAD THAT WHILE THE SNOWS
OP WINTER MAY LIE OVER THE GRAVES OP LOVED
ONES, THEIR SPIRITS ARE UP WITH GOD."
LOOKING BACK 129
our senses do not deceive us. The revolving earth is
beneath our feet ; the heavens are above our heads. But
if this be so, how came we here? How and whence did
we come ? Are we the results of some process of mate-
rial nature, the fortuitous concurrence of innumerable
atoms, or are we the creatures of a living God? Is there
an order and a plan about our being? Shall our days
end with the autumn and the snow, or will there be a
spring time? and shall we wake in the long tomorrow
and be forever? Now we may ask, "Is this that we call
death the end of our being?" It seems to me, if we
get a correct view of death, that it is only another form
of birth. Personally, I think that one coming down to
a point of dying may find it something like the setting
of the sun. Had we never seen the going down of our
sun, we would dread the thought of darkness coming on.
Men would gather in the deepest alarm as the great orb
began to descend in the west. They would gaze anxiously
at the last lingering rays on the tree-tops and hill-tops.
But as the sun gradually disappeared, and darkness began
to settle over them, they would see in the distance a
twinkling star ; and as they looked at this, another would
appear, and another, and another, till, as they stood gaz-
ing, the whole starry heavens would shine out before
them. Instead of the going down of the sun being an
eclipse, it only makes visible the splendor of the heavens.
So we should go down to dying, thinking of the change
as only revealing to us the vaster universe beyond.
Socrates, before he died, said he expected soon to be
with Homer, and Hesiod, and Orpheus, and Musaius.
Cicero apostrophized his departed daughter, and said he
would meet her in the realms of the blest. Dante thought
to find his Beatrice in the spirit-life.
130 LOOKING BACK
As I stand here, it seems like a dream that I am
talking to you in the light of this beautiful room ; that
the time will soon come when others shall be here and
we shall be gone. Yes, my friends, the strange mystery
lies before us.
Chicago, then about 300,000 inhabitants, was virtually
in the hands of the gang. The heelers from the assessors'
office boldly reduced the valuation on property to those
who stood their assessments for what they called elec-
tioneering purposes, while raising the assessment on
those who refused to bribe, until the burden on the honest
taxpayer became griveous to bear.
Cases are said to be on record where two vacant lots
lying side by side were assessed, one five times as much
as the other, and that not one of our aldermen paid per-
sonal property tax, while families whose income was
less than $400.00 per year, were heavily assessed on their
John AA'entworth ("Long John"), one of Chicago's
early mayors, who had fought the Indians at Fort Dear-
born, with several other large land holders, refused to
pay their taxes until the court of last resort decided
they must pay as assessed, but the effect of the attempt
was good, for the following year the valuation on real
estate was cut down nearly one-half.
This so diminished the income of the Cook County
wolves that a panic ensued, which incensed the ever-
irritable element and finally swelled into anarchy, con-
summating in the Haymarket Riot, in 1886, in which
several officers were maimed or killed, and for which a
few of the chief conspiring anarchists were executed, and
thus civilization was restored.
132 LOOKING BACK
Good men were then selected for responsible positions,
while the dirty constables and rotten, self-elected magis-
trates, who held courts in extreme corners of the county,
where victims were summoned to appear, only to find that
judgment had been rendered against them, were at last
stamped under the heels of decency.
Mr. Story, editor of the Chicago Times, who had
amassed a large fortune, as the story ran, became in-
fatuated with a feminine spiritual medium, who acted
both as advisor and architect in the construction of a
marble mansion on Grand Boulevard, whose apparent
cost would have been four times his capital. The warmth
of the medium did not ofifset the chill of old age, and
becoming weary, he laid down the burden of life and the
mansion was never completed.
Philip Hoyne was perhaps then the most noted crim-
inal lawyer in Chicago, and this was the story of how
he first became famous.
A man had been arrested for horse stealing who haa
no lawyer and the judge appointed Hoyne, then a young
man, to defend him.
"\Miat shall I do for him?" inquired Hoyne.
"Clear him if you can," said the judge.
Hovne took the prisoner into the ante-room, used
for counsel, and said to him :
"Mr. O'Flerity, did you steal the horse?"
"I did, your honor,"
"Do you expect to go to the penitentiary?"
"I do, sir."
"Do you want me to clear you?"
"If you can do it. I swear by the Holy Virgin Mary
that I will come to your wake and bring all me relations."
LOOKING BACK 133
Hoyne raised the window and said, "Do you see those
"Indade, I do, sir."
"Now, I will hold my watch and see how long it takes
you to run there."
When Hoyne returned to court the judge inquired
where his client was.
"I do not know."
"Did I not place him in your charge?"
"Yes, but you said, 'Clear him if you can,' and the
last I saw of him he was entering the woods about two
HORSE RACING IN CHICAGO
Mr. Billings, the original West Side gas monopolist,
had a pacer which could go on the street 2 :40 or better,
and my brother Grodon drove Tom, the silver-tailed
trotter, who could crowd 2 :30 very close. Billings lived
on Lake Street, near Union Park, while we lived farther
west, and we used to race horses nearly every day.
One noon, on going home to lunch, Billings tackled
us on Washington Street for a race. Tom drawing us
two was a little handicapped, so it made the race about
an even thing. Billings becaxne so excited that he did not
turn off at Sheldon Street, to his home, but kept on
through Union Park. When at Robey Street we en-
countered a fat colored woman and her dog crossing the
street. A policeman saw us coming and tried to get her
out of the way, but we ran over the whole bunch.
We turned right back to the policeman, who knew
Billings had been instrumental in getting him his job.
He said he was not much hurt, only his shins ached
terribly where we had run over them with both wheels.
The woman had been rolled over and over in the mud,
but she said she did not care, only for her dog.
We decided on the officer's advise that it was better
to settle the case out of court, so we gave the woman a
dollar for her dog. The next noon we had the race over
again, and really it was rich to hear Billings and my
brother both tell how easily they would have won had not
their horses gone into the air.
LOOKING BACK 135
We West Siders had what we called the gentlemen's
race track, on the south wing of Central Park (Garfield
Park). Every Saturday afternoon many of the promi-
nent men with their wives and fast horses assembled
there, one to show the other how easy his horse could
do the other fellow's nag up.
Mr. Eighmy, a man past 75 years, usually had a fine
stepper and he was a good driver. One day in a race
of five or six, we could see from the grandstand that
on turning into the back stretch they had purposely en-
closed the old gent in a pocket, allowing Wrigley with
Fly-Away and my brother Gordon with Tom to pass
on the outside. Soon we saw the sulky in front and the
one at the old gent's side, together with his own, all in
a mixup and turning flipflops. When we reached the
spot we found them all bruised and bleeding, with their
horses loose on the prairie, but the old man was game,
and this is what he said :
"I ran between them purposely. I knew it would
top us all over, but I said to myself, 'Old Eighmy, you
haven't long to live at the best, and if you must die you
might as well kill a couple of these damn mean cusses
for the good of the community, after you're gone.' "
Isaac Waxwell and Jim Rawley were forever wrang-
ling. Jim was usually on the judge's stand and Isaac
claimed that Jim did not give him a fair show. He cer-
tainly should have had a fair show, for it was rich to
see him drive in the dead heat ; he had a peculiar way of
leaning forward and sticking out his elbows so it looked
as though he was pushing on the reins.
John Brennock, a pioneer packer from the stockyards,
was a unique character. He was a big man with a large
head, and his mouth was very large in proportion to his
136 LOOKING BACK
head. Everyone liked Brennock and knew he was rich,
for he had told them so. His last resort, in a dead
heat, was to bawl so loud as to frighten the other drivers'
horses off their feet.
HOPEFUL AND RARUS
On the sportsman's track, adjoining ours on the west,
national events took place. The race between Hopeful
and Rarus was the most exciting of anything which
ever took place in those days. About 60,000 people gath-
ered to see the race.
The blooded Rarus was a tall six-year-old bay trotter
of national fame, from Beldom Brothers' stock farm
in California. Hopeful was a chubby little white pacer,
from a farm on the New England hills. He was twenty-
two years old, and had never been on a race track until
Neither horse had ever lost a race, and while the
l)ress, from the Atlantic to the Rockies, leaned hopefully
towards Hopeful, yet they seemed to think that he was
The match was really a strife between the people and
the sporting fraternity, for horse racing throughout the
country had become demoralized to the extent that the
gamblers seldom allowed the best horse to win. There-
fore, all the people wanted to see the old farmer, with
his handsome pet, win the race.
It was a delightful October day and not only did the
whole city turn out, but thousands came in from the coun-
try, to witness the great national race which had long
Rarus came out first, stepping lively around the mile
course and speeding down past the grandstand, which
138 LOOKING BACK
brought forth applause, for all admired the Pacific
Ranger, who had come to Chicago to win the laurels
of the day.
When Hopeful came out and paced slowly up past
the grandstand he looked one way and the other to those
who applauded him with a sort of confident grin, but
when he turned at the north end of the home stretch and
let loose, the people just yelled and roared, while the
women acted as though they would like to hug him in
When lots were chosen and Hopeful won the pole,
there was another shout, but it was soon followed by a
row in the judge's stand, as there seemed to be a misun-
derstanding as to who should call time, or give the word
to go, but it was finally settled, and the horses appeared
for probably the most exciting race ever pulled ofl^ on
the American continent.
At the word "go" they were off and we all craned our
necks as they shot around the south bend. Hopeful hug-
ging the pole and Rarus laying on the wheel of his
sulky. On the back stretch, Rarus pulled out endeavoring
to pass, and our hearts were in our mouths, while the
little mountaineer elevated his head a trifle and steadily
held the big ranger on the hub until they came under the
wire. Hopeful winner, first in three.
We were still uneasy, for the impression was prevalent
that the blooded animal was a stayer, while Hopeful
could not make the second mile as fast as the first, but
he still held the pole, and we argued that if Rarus had
done his best we were all right.
When they came out for the second heat we soon
discovered that we were being jockeyed, for several times
they came under the wire, neck and neck, and yet were
LOOKING BACK 139
called back by the starter, whose neck we wanted to
wring, for we knew he was doing it to fuss, worry and
tire our Hopeful.
The last time they were called back, Rarus turned
sooner than usual, and before Hopeful could turn he
was at full speed and came under the wire far ahead and
got the word "go," which gave him time to swing in
and take the pole.
A murmur seemed to stifle the friends of Hopeful
as the horses swung into the back stretch, where we
hoped to see the pacer try to pass, but he steadily hung
on the hub, as he had done around the south bend, and
continued this all the way around the north bend, when
suddenly his driver pulled him out into the center of
the home stretch, and the great race was on in dead
We had taken some ladies from the ground into our
carriage, so they could see, while I stepped onto the
tire of one wheel with my wife, Mary's hand on my neck
to keep me from falling. In the excitement she gripped
me so hard I can almost feel her hand now.
Our position near the judge's stand gave us a full
view of the horses as they were coming, with Hope-
ful's head high and his knees far apart. For a few sec-
onds the silence which seemed to reign was only broken
by the seemingly far away sound of the horses' feet on
the soft dirt, but soon those at the north started a cheer,
which wildly broke along the throng like a wave, as
Hopeful steadily poked his nose farther to the front
until Rarus flew up into the air, when the news began
flashing over the wires into the country that Hopeful
Amid the cheers and yells, a ridiculous scene occurred
no LOOKING BACK
which the reader should have witnessed to appreciate.
Suddenly in the crowd nearby a gruff voice seemed utter-
ing smothered oaths, while a woman shouted shrieks of
terror, as she suddenly appeared above the throng sitting
on the top of a man's head, he pawing with both hands
to try to get her off, while she was struggling for release.
The cause of this strange episode took place some-
thing like this : He was a burly, cross-eyed Wolverine,
from the tall pine tree country, who came down to bet
his hard-earned money on the famous Pacific Coast
trotter. During the excitement someone knocked his
glasses off, and in order for the cross-eyed man to see
to find them he had to put his face near to the ground.
She, Mrs. Durgan, a little woman, it seems, when awfully
tickled, was accustomed to spat her hands on her knees
and run backwards while laughing. When she heard
Hopeful had won, forgetting where she was, she indulged
in her old habit of running backwards until she sat on
When he felt her alight he sprang erect and, of
course, not being able to see out or know what was hap-
pening, uttered a few excusable oaths. After the good-
natured man had found his spectacles he looked pitifully
at the woman, who was deluged in a flood of tears, and
then turning to me smiled, as he said, "Didn't that beat
That was long, long ago. Should the recording angel
call the roll today of those who were there that day, not
one in ten would answer, and in a few years all will be
silent. Where have they gone, and will they come again ?
Jim Sackley, an Irishman of merited renown, was liv-
ing in the neighborhood of Lake Street and Western
Avenue, when we arrived in Chicago. He had been a
sort of self-appointed constable of the town of Cicero,
which he said included all the territory west of Western
Thompson Brothers at the time were running a gen-
eral store on Lake Street and, as they were politically
inclined, their store seemed to be a gathering place for
the worthy aspirants of the neighborhood.
One evening Gordon and I were in the store when
Tony McGuel, a gentleman from Cork, came in to an-
nounce the death of his wife. We all huddled around him
in sympathy, for we had not even heard that she was
sick. The surroundings of the scene were made all the
more pitiful, as it had taken place just before pay day at
the car barns, and he needed a little assistance financially,
so Hiram and Harvey Thompson headed the subscription
list, and soon we had raised quite a respectable sum.
Jim Sackley was there and in just the frame of mind
to shed sympathy copiously, for it was said that one of his
near relatives had recently passed away and he was in
communication, at intervals, with the priest, who was
still praying her out of purgatory. Not only this, but
Jim, although not an Irishman himself, for as he had said
his children were all born in this country, yet he had
seen the auld sod and, like Joseph and his kinsmen in
142 LOOKING BACK
Egypt, with a five dollar bill in his hand he fell on Tony's
neck and they kissed and hugged like mother and babe.
Of course, they had both been drinking slightly, which
made the tears flow more freely, which so afifected us all
that we pulled out our linen and wiped away the surplus
After Tony had gone with about $13.00, which Sackley
said would only buy the cheapest coffin, Sackley and
Harvey Thompson shaved, put on clean shirts, and called
at the home to view the corpse and, if necessary, offer
prayer, when to their surprise the corpse met them at the
door, and said she did not know where Tony was ; the
last she heard of him he was trying to borrow money
to attend a wake down on Canal Street.
During those days the Chicago Street Railway Com-
pany suffered much through what might be called grow-
ing pain. The Randolph Street cars turned at Union
Park over onto Lake Street, as far as Robey, and there
they stopped during the busy hours of morning and
evening, only running to their barns on \\"estern Avenue,
when they were not in a hurry.
Their excuse for not running all their cars to West-
ern Avenue was that they could not afford to carry pas-
sengers so far for five cents, as hay was $5.00 a ton
and oats twenty-seven cents per bushel, besides the pub-
lic demanded such extravagant service.
The patrons continually murmured about the cars be-
ing cold in winter, so the company filled into each car
about a foot of loose straw to keept feet warm. This
did not work, for the ladies' skirts dragged in the mud
and tobacco spittle, and as a result our common council
rashly passed an ordinance requiring the company to heat
The company's first impression was that it could be
done with hot water bags, which the wise city fathers
rejected, so the company turned to red hot iron. They
made receptacles at intervals under the seats, where they
carried hot iron, which they exchanged, the cold for the
hot, at the return of each trip. This could hardly be
considered a success, for if one set over where there
was no heat the chills would creep up his spinal column,
144 LOOKING BACK
while if he sat over a fresh hot slab he was in danger of
being blistered, but the ordinance had been obeyed, and
the company was proud of their West Side horse car
line until the cruel hand of competition disturbed their
A wide awake German by the name of Kolbe bought
up the old North Shore buss line and furnished it with
much better horses than the railroad company were using
and started in to carry passengers over the same route
for four-cent fare.
At first the railroad company ignored Mr. Kolbe, but
soon reduced their fare to four cents, and even at that
the busses got all the passengers, for they were driven
Now the fun began. The company ordered their
drivers to make the trip as fast as the omnibusses, or they
would be discharged, while Kolbe gave orders to his
drivers to outdo the company. This gave the passengers,
whose destination was State Street, regular joy rides, but
those who attempted to get on or off along the route,
took their lives in their hands. During the heat of excite-
ment, Kolbe dropped the fare to three cents, which the
company followed. Even at this, the more frisky pas-
sengers continued to patronize the buss line, leaving only
a few grandfathers and gentle dames to ride in the cars.
This dropped the fare to two cents, when the company
bought Kolbe out, paying him a fabulous price for his
old bus line, in railroad stock, which now advanced rap-
idly, and thus the wide awake German made a handsome
In 1877 Gordon and I opened up a factory just east
of the river, on Lake Street. In 1882 we sold our homes
on West Lake Street, and built on Washington Boule-
BOULEVARD HOME OF MY BROTHER G. M.
RIGHT TO LEFT. G. M.. ELMER. PERRIN, ELLA. LAWRANCE, GERTIE,
MERRICK, GEORGE. AMANDA.
LOOKING BACK 145
vard, he at the southwest corner of Albany Avenue, and
I at the southeast corner of Francisco Street.
We continued partners until 1885, when we dissolved,
he remaining at the old stand and I starting in the
same line on Lake Street, just west of State Street, where
through damage by water from an adjacent fire, I lost
heavily and made a bad failure. Soon I picked up again
and in 1890 bought the northwest corner of Washington
Boulevard and Curtis Street, and erected a six-story
factory and began manufacturing on a more extensive
MY ATHLETIC EXPLOITS
I mention with pride the physical strength and agiHty
with which I was born, and which sustains me still.
Equestrianship came into vogue in western cities in about
1885, and was kept up until bicycles came out. At one
period I kept four saddle horses for the use of my fam-
ily. Like other horse fanciers, I carried it to the extreme.
For over two years, summer and winter, wet or dry, I
mounted my pet horse, Deacon, at four o'clock in the
morning, and rode ten to thirty miles before breakfast.
I also had a vicious horse — Blackhawk — who objected to
the saddle, which I took out occasionally, just for the
fun. Often with me in the saddle he would rear up and
come over on his back, which, when I felt him going, I
would swing around and land on my feet, then mount him
again when he was springing up. \Mien I gave him the
spurs he would kick, only to get the spurs again when
his heels came down, and sometimes we both went over
the sidewalk into the ditch, which I enjoyed, for I never
In 1895 the bicycle craze came on, and we all left
our horses and mounted wheels. I objected to the wheel
at first, but when my son, Arthur, brought me a wheel
to the factory and insisted that I should try it. I did, and
made lots of sport for the hands who were watching me
trying to mount, for whenever I lost my balance I would
throw the wheel against the curbstone.
That evening Arthur and Walton Aborn gave me a
LOOKING BACK 147
lesson in the dark, and the next day I could ride — that
was if all the gates were closed — ^but when I saw one
open I somehow seemed to start right for it, often to the
disgust of some dignified old gentleman or frowning lady,
who were scrambling for their lives to get out of my
way and wondering what I was trying to do.
About the third day I started before daybreak for
my brother's summer cottage at Twin Lakes, Wis., about
sixty-five miles northwest of Chicago. I arrived about
noon, but, oh, the summersaults I did take. Honestly,
when I got there, there was scarcely an inch on the wheel
where the varnish was not scratched, or any very large
patches on my legs where the skin was presentable, for
when I took a heels over head into the wayside, the bark
usually got scraped off of either the saplings or me. The
next day I took a 100-mile circuitous route home, and
then for a day was under the care of Dr. Chamberlain,
my son-in-law, who was bound to have my picture taken,
which I stubbornly declined, but now I wish I had it.
MY FIRST HUNDRED MILE RUN
My soil, Arthur, then famous as one of the long dis-
tance riders of the west, got up a party of about twenty
aspirants to take over the 100-mile Elgin and Aurora
course at a breakneck speed. I was not fitted for such
a run, but I fell in and we were all off at about five o'clock
in the morning.
The wind blew almost a gale in our faces and before
we reached Elgin all had dropped out but Walton Aborn,
Jim Carroll, Billy Push, Arthur and myself.
Down the Fox River Arthur increased the pace to
that extent that Billy threw himself into the shade of a
barn and refused to budge, so we left him there.
On the home run from Aurora, Jim Carroll declared
his intention not to alight, as was customary at the S.
Hill, but ride his wheel down, a feat which Arthur told
him no fatigued rider should attempt.
We fell back and let him lead, and held our breath
as he shot out of sight around the first corner at a thirty-
When we turned the corner hoping to see Jim far
away across the Skunkamunk Valley, we discovered a
swath in the roadside down through the underbrush,
briers and brambles nearly to the foot of the hill. At the
end of the swath under an immense heap of rubbish we
found Jim and his wheel, he blinking like a toad under a
Jim groaned and grunted and finally told us he did
< a r^
LOOKING BACK 149
not think he was dead, but his back was probably broken.
We soon had him on his feet with his wheel righted and
was pleased to learn that, with the exception of the few
tufts of hair and chunks of hide left in the trail where
he had slidden down, he was the same man, only his eyes
were so full of gravel that he could not see.
He now proposed to take a bath in the creek in order
to find out just how much skin he had left on his body.
For this purpose he attempted to crawl under the barbed
wire fence, into which his clothes got caught in such a
way that he could neither raise up nor let down, back out
or push forward, work his pants ofif, or keep his shirt on.
When we began to laugh and roar, Jim began to
swear and cry, and said if we would go on about our own
business he would get out and come home when he got
good and ready.
Now there were only three of us, and Arthur lit out,
leaving Walton and myself to come as fast as we could.
We got into a mixup and both took headers over our
wheels, when we sung out to Arthur to come back and
When he returned I showed deep regret that my wheel
was broken, for, of course, I was not much tired, but
when he pronounced both wheels in good running order,
I felt awfully, for I would have given most anything for
an excuse to go no farther.
Arthur now encouraged us by saying he would run
on a while and then wait for us, so we took it steady, and
in some way got past him. Then we sat down in the
shade and waited, for we did not want to report at the
club house that we had left him in the country, for fear
they would blame us. We finally started on and came
slowly, stopping in every shade, waiting for Arthur, until
150 LOOKING BACK
we reached Garfield Park, where we met Minnie, my eld-
est daughter, with Dr. Chamberlain, her husband, and
Alberta, my next, with her husband, George Carlson,
together with several other neighbors, all riding their
wheels, who laughed at us and said Arthur arrived home
about three hours before.
m^ - : '^i^^iH
,k¥^^^^P^^^^B Tii^j^JF l^r '^^^^^^^M^M^^^^I^^B
'"'/Ip'Ti^flK. ^/, ..
• • ,
^- .H^ ..A\
ARTHUR'S AND WALTON'S LONG RUN
The next summer Arthur and Walton made their
famous ride through to Crystal Lake, Conn. Here is an
outline of their exploit, which was considered a great
achievement, considering the rainy weather and the rough
roads they encountered between Chicago and Toledo and
between Silver Creek and Memphis, N. Y.
Here I reproduce the letters which Arthur sent back
while on the road :
Perrysburg, Ohio, June 17, 1896.
Dear Father : —
\\"alton and I were very much surprised at the end of
our first day's ride at Mishawaka, Lid., to read in the Tri-
bune so much about your winning the 100-mile race over
all the crack Illinois bicycle riders. The paper was shown
us by our friends at Mishawaka, and at first we thought
there was a mistake that father had won the closely con-
tested race, but Walton said: "No use talking, Uncle
Merrick is fast — but it is not all in his legs ; it is his
indomitable will power that wins." Then we pictured
to ourselves the occasion and "he 55 years old," said L
"Well, God gave him a strong constitution, and he has
taken care of it."
Batavia, N. Y., June 19, 1896.
Dear Folks at Home : —
This letter is especially for mother, Minnie and Bertie,
while the ones about bicycle riding go to father.
152 LOOKING BACK
We are stopping here at Uncle John's at Batavia, and
the rest is very welcome. We were mighty tired and
this is the first day we have had a chance to rest since
we left home.
I tell you, mother, I have a couple of fine cousins
in Carrie and Ida. I don't think Walton will ever for-
get Ida's kindness. He was so sore from riding his
wheel that when he got here he couldn't sit down. He
had to sleep standing, but Ida made him the dandiest
pillow and sewed it on to his bicycle saddle, so poor
Walton is all right now.
We are going to see Grandmother Hoyt at Elba to-
morrow. You know it is only six miles north. Well,
mother, the Hoyts are all in good standing around here,
and I feel mighty proud of you all. Aunt Alida seems
young as ever, and the bloom of youth is on her cheek.
But, say, you would think I was writing a novel, wouldn't
Uncle John and I sat up nearly all night, and he cer-
tainly told me some very interesting things about the
Hoyts and Deweys, and many incidents of you in your
childhood days, when you lived in Rochester, before
you came to Pine Hill. He says the childhood home of
Grandfather Hoyt was at Hudson, on the Hudson River,
and that his family came from Danbury, Connecticut.
Grandmother Hoyt was a Dewey from Ohio, and her
father was from Watertown, N. Y., whose ancestors
sprang from the Herkimer County Mohawk Dutch.
Now, why can't we claim a connecting link, for we
all know that my great grandfather, John Richardson's
brother, Gershom, moved from Stafford, Connecticut,
to Watertown, N. Y., and I have heard father say that
he, Warren Richardson, my grandfather, with some other
ill >ll(M,i. tH)\ LVKE. WINONA (;HOVE.
LOOKING BACK 153
men, walked up to Watertown one winter, over 300 miles,
and staid a month or so with their cousins. They were
a large family.
I wish Uncle John lived where I could see him often.
He is so full of information on all subjects, that I just
love to talk with him. It made me laugh when he told
me about how you, Ellen Wilder, Mary Robe and Mary
Raymond, actually carried old Pine Hill by storm several
Then he got to talking about the war and I really
cried when he described the battle of Cold Harbor, June
3, 1864. Just think of it, four brothers — John, Sylvester,
and the twins, Edwin and Edward — standing there at
daylight waiting for the order to charge the enemy's
breast works. Uncle John said that they all thought it
meant death. Colonel Porter must have been a brave
man ; he stood in front and said, "Boys, this is our last
charge, but we are going to obey orders." He unwisely
wore his uniform in leading; Uncle John said that he
hadn't gone thirty feet before he was pierced with seven
or eight bullets.
Uncle John was captured and sent to Salisbury prison
for nearly two years. When he came out his mother said
he looked like a monkey. He only weighed seventy-nine
pounds. Sylvester was shot in the thigh, Edwin was
shot through the lungs, and poor Edward ; we have never
heard from him. Wasn't that an awful price for your
family to pay for the Union? Uncle said "that from
1,900 of us boys of that 22d New York Heavy Artillery,
over 600 were killed in half an hour, and at the next
roll call at Reams Station, only nineteen men of the regi-
ment answered the call."
Well, I can't write any more. Walton has already
154 LOOKING BACK
gone to bed and we have got to start at four o'clock to-
morrow morning. We expect to visit Uncle Sherman
at Rochester tomorrow. We are in the best of spirits,
and the way we have been going so far we ought to make
Connecticut in about twelve or thirteen days from
\\"alton and I are awfully proud of father for winning
the Century from all the fast boys of the Cycling Club,
but we don't pride ourselves on these short spurts. Our
specialty is thousand-mile affairs, and if he wants to race
us he has got to race the whole thousand. Good night.
Your loving son, Arthur.
Rochester, N. Y., June 21, 1896.
Dear Father : —
We called on our Uncle Sherman Richardson, and he
was very proud of us, introducing us to many of his
friends, saying that the blood in our veins was the same
as ran in his, and that showed the kind of stuff his family
was made of. I received your letter at Cleveland, telling
us about your century run, and advising us to reserve our
strength until we reached your time of life. It naturally
stiffened our backbone for the remaining part of our
Memphis, N. Y., June 24, 1896.
Dear Father : —
I must write just a word, for Walton has had a lucky
escape. We were pushing along sleepily today when a
big Newfoundland dog came near killing Walton. I
looked around just in time to see Walton plunge over
an embankment into a snarl of milkweeds, briars and
rocks, head down, with his wheel on top of him. He said
LOOKING BACK 155
the dog barked so fiercely that when he made the plunge
he actually thought he felt the ugly beast's breath on
the seat of his pants. We soon discovered that the dog
was tied to a tree, so we went about to repair his wheel.
The front wheel must have been caught between two
rocks, when Walton's weight on it (for a frightened man
weighs heavy) doubled up the forks like a jack knife.
W'g got a blacksmith to heat and hammer it out and now
both \\"alton and the wheel are in a good ridable condi-
tion, and we shall light out again early in the morning.
Are you getting my postals, which I am sending back
from every town? This is to prove to the club boys that
we rode to Connecticut on our wheels and not on the
Crystal Lake, Conn., June 28, 1896.
Dear Father : —
We arrived here this evening, having made the run,
1,017 miles, in thirteen days and this is our record :
Mishawaka, Ind 110 miles
Edgerton, Ohio 90 "
Perrysburg, Ohio 68 "
Wakeman, Ohio 70 "
Willoughby, Ohio 69 "
Erie, Pa 82 "
Silver Creek, N. Y 61 "
Batavia, N. Y 70 "
Palmyra, N. Y 63 "
Memphis. N. Y 50 "
Little Falls, N. Y 89 "
Nassau, N. Y 88 "
Crystal Lake, Conn 107 "
156 LOOKING BACK
Our last day was the most severe we experienced.
There was a drizzHng rain all day, in which we rode
from Nassau, and, of course, you know we had to zig-
zag over the Green Mountains.
We stopped a few moments to see Uncle Epaphro
and Aunt Adelia and she gave us the first free lunch
we had had since we left Batavia. When we arrived
here Uncle Lucius and Aunt Caroline were surprised to
see us looking so well. Then to prove to them that we
were well as we looked Walton and I turned hand-springs
on the grass in the front yard, and now we are going to
bed. Good-night, remember me to the boys, and kiss all
the girls for me that are worth kissing.
Affectionately, your son,
P. S. — Uncle Collins says the mountains, wildwoods
brooks, lakes and meadows around your old home are
still teeming with fruit, flowers, song birds, wild game,
and shy fish. He says to tell you to come down and
take a good rest.
THE FIRST CENTURY RACE
The Illinois Cycling Club was now in its glory, and I
joined them and entered for the 100-mile race, which
came off June 15, 1896, The aspirants began training
for the event early in the spring, but I attended to my
business days, and evenings I slipped out, unknown to
anyone, practicing on the worst hills I could find, pre-
paring for the race over the Elgin and Aurora course,
but none of the boys knew that I was having any train-
As Arthur and Walton were to start for Connecticut
the same morning on their thousand-mile run, we ate
breakfast together at Lawrence's Restaurant, on Madison
Street, about three o'clock in the morning. When we
were about to part, Arthur said to me : "Father, do you
expect to win that race today?" My reply was to the
effect that if I did not, Charley Knisely and his fast
bunch would have to make 100 miles quicker than they
had ever made it yet.
When I arrived at the club house about fifty were
awaiting the command to fall in and about two or three
hundred standing to see us off, and if ever a dark horse
entered a race it was M. A. Richardson that morning.
That evening there were reports in all the daily
papers, and among other things the Chicago Times-Her-
ald said in part: "The sixth annual run of the Illinois
Cycling Club, America's largest cycling organization, took
place yesterday. Many of the fast riders, anxious to
158 LOOKING BACK
make a record over the famous Elgin and Aurora 100-
mile course, tried to have the event postponed because
of the heavy rains of Friday and Saturday, but the
schedule could not be changed in their behalf.
"As it was a certainty that the rain had made the
regular Elgin mud roads west of Maywood unridable,
the course was taken over the Armitage road to Addison,
'seventeen miles out,' in the vain hope that this road
would be in better condition. The mud just sufficiently
dried to be caked and baked into a rough mass, beside
which corduroy is a boulevard, furnished ample test for
endurance, strength and skill, for no sooner had a mile
of it been traveled than the roadside was strewn with
physical and mechanical wrecks.
"The stunning surprise of the run was the fact that
M. A. Richardson, the untrained and oldest member, a
gray-haired wiry cycler, finished long first, making his
appearance at the club house at 12:15, one hour before
R. H. Inman, the second best man, who finished at 1:15.
Upon the home run from Aurora, Richardson did some
fast riding, leaving masculine brawn and youth to figure
out just what had taken place."
THE SECOND RACE
The next year the race was set for June 28, 1897,
when many outsiders from the country came in, all
intent on beating Richardson, but one can imagine their
surprise when I announced that I would drive a 126-gear
wheel, which was equal to a ten per cent handicap from
the 80-gear then in use.
The morning was fair and hot when 140 of us lined
up, of which I was the oldest by about twenty years.
MYSELF IN THE LEAD UP THE FOX RIVER ON THE FAMOUS
100 MILE RUN.
LOOKING BACK 159
At the word "go" we ran in a bunch about two miles,
when I pulled out, and then the race really began. At
Austin Avenue I increased my speed to Twelfth Street,
when I slowed down and allowed the fast bunch to pass,
and when they turned west on Twenty-second, as I
knew they would, I ran straight ahead through Clyde
to the old Hinsdale road. This confused them, and they
struck out, each man for himself, to beat Richardson
in at LaGrange.
When I struck the Aurora Road again there were
about twenty-five ahead of me all strung out. It was a
fine sight to see them between me and Hinsdale, raising
a cloud of dust in the morning sun that would have done
honor to the Chicago fire department, hook and ladder
included. One athletic fellow from the stockyards was
actually carrying his cap in his teeth, which seemed to
intensify his comical grin of confidence.
I entered the cloud of dust at a steady pace, and when
I arrived in Aurora for registration, eight of the fastest
in the bunch had registered and were out of sight on
the road to Elgin.
The distance as our course ran to Elgin was twenty-
two miles, for which I set my pace to reach there in
sixty minutes, which I made in fifty-eight minutes.
One by one I passed my struggling competitors on
the winding road up the Fox River Valley, registering
first man at Elgin and ofif for Chicago before the next
best man hove in sight, having the last forty miles of
the road to myself, which I covered at high speed, and
then ate a fine club breakfast before the second in the
While studying the North American Indians in Alaska
I experience a thrilling adventure in the Mendenthall
Valley which memory often recalls.
At Juneau, Judge Mellen, one of the eight United
States judges appointed to Alaska, from Kentucky, who
had accompanied me to Taku, giving me much infor-
mation, invited me to dinner, when he told me I ought
not to leave Alaska until I had seen a dead glacier.
Mendenthall, he said was the most wonderful but hard
to approach, and he and his wife declared I was just
the fellow to tackle the job.
That evening he sent a trusty guide to me, who had
another man on the string, and said he would take both
of us for $20.00, we bearing all expenses. We were
soon together, with his mother, a lady of great self-
respect, who advised me to caution her son, Archibald,
and not allow him to plunge into danger.
I sized Archibald up and decided he was a good fel-
low with heavy self-esteem and light experience, so I
mentioned, before his mother, that the outing would be
wild experience and very strenuous, at which Archibald
assured me he could stand it if I could, besides it was
just the job he was seeking for, as he wanted to take
something home out of the ordinary.
The next evening at 10:30, the time when the sun
sets in Alaska in June, we left Juneau in a rowboat. as
we must cross the bar at high water at about midnight,
LOOKING BACK 161
or go around about fifty miles each way, both going and
Our guide, who had never taken the trip before, mis-
calculated and we were late at the bar. This left us our
choice to jump out and draw the boat through the sea
weeds at once or wait until the next tide came in. Arch-
ibald reluctantly straddled over the side of the boat, men-
tioning that he came north for his health, and did not
think that a midnight bath would be beneficial, especially
such a very cold one.
"You will get warm enough," I said, "before noon,
when we are working our way through that swamp, where
mosquitoes are as big as grasshoppers and the bears as
big as oxen."
"Bears? What bears, Mr. Richardson?"
"I understand that those woods are full of bears.
How is it, guide?"
"That is why I took my rifle along," replied the grim
old mountaineer, as he tugged at the oars.
"Where is your rifle, Mr. Richardson?" inquired
Archibald, as the white of his eyes began to show.
"Oh, I prefer a large knife for a close contact. Judge
Mellon said we could borrow either of the Indians."
Soon we were in deep water again, where the wild
geese and ducks were scooting this way and that to keep
out of our way, when Archibald turned his attention to
the oarsman, saying, "Say, old man, I suppose we can
hire plenty of guides at the hotel to go with us?"
"Guides," grunted the boatsman, "I can find the place
myself. Besides, there ain't no hotel there."
"No hotel ! Where will we get our breakfast ?"
"Plenty of fresh bear meat, sir; they kill them every
162 LOOKING BACK
Soon Archibald turned to me and said : "Really, Mr.
Richardson, I am quite chilly now, and if it will be just
the same to you I will stay at the landing while our good
friend takes you to the glacier, which you are so anxious
"Chilly," ejaculated the old guide. "The sun will
soon be up. It rises here now at 2 :30 in the morning,
and as for staying at the landing is concerned, would
you dare stay alone with those Indians?"
"Alone with the Indians? Why, the Alaska Indians
are civilized, aren't they?"
"Spose so, but Mendenthall Valley is a great place
for men to come up missing."
At the landing, the Indians set about to prepare us
breakfast of hot no-cake and coffee. The coffee is from
burned wild rice, and the no-cake corresponds to our
corn bread. They pound the dry corn in a mortar with
a pestle and make and fry them. The guide and I filled
up on about ten cakes and a quart of coffee each, but
Archibald refused, whispering to me that the dishes
smelled of bear's oil ; besides, the excitement had taken
away his appetite.
Archibald then said: "That old Indian says they
live here mostly on fish and bear. Really, do you think
those bears are of the savage kind?"
"Oh, no," I replied, "only when they have cubs, but
they say this is just cubbing time."
Mendenthall Valley is about ten or twelve miles west
of Juneau, lies between two precipitous mountain ranges
over 2,000 feet heigh. The timber, brook and soil give
evidence of great age, and no indications appear to cause
LOOKING BACK 163
one to think it is a grown-up pathway of a glacier. After
entering the woods we could see nothing ahead, only
timber, except at intervals an opening, which gave us a
view of the mountains on either side, as we followed the
brook, which led us in a zigzag course.
A\"hen several miles in we discovered unmistakable
evidence of where some large animal had fled at our
approach, but we saw nothing but owls, eagles and other
small game. I was urging the guide to hurry up, while
Archibald was grumbling because we were going so fast,
saying he was faint and hungry, so we stopped for lunch,
and Archibald was glad to eat the no-cake, which he
refused when it was hot.
The foliage was remarkable for its large leaves. Wild
berries were in abundance, and the trees appeared to be
of great age, which caused me to remark that it seemed
incredible that, where we were sitting, the ice was more
than two hundred feet above our heads not so very long
"Not so very long? Do you believe that yourself,
"Certainly I do. Once this valley was a basin of ice.
Have you not studied geology, Archibald?"
"I have, sir, and I never learned that a glacier could
ever thrive in such a d — d hot hole as this. Say, Richard-
son, were you living in the Glacial Period?"
"Was there more than one?"
"Were you living in the last one ?"
"Hear that, guide, Richardson says he was living in
the Glacial Period, which was more than 40,000 years
164 LOOKING BACK
ago, and he does not look to be more than two or three
hundred years old. Will you explain, Mr. R. ?"
"Oh, yes, the Glacial Period is now on at the poles —
long ago it was on in this valley and still longer ago it
was down in the states. Do you not know that our world
is slowly revolving in the direction we call south? That
is God's wise plan to give each part of the earth rest.
Tropical animals once lived here and in Siberia.
"Who told you all that stuff?"
"Geology, sir; the same book which you have been
studying. By the way, did you ever learn about the
Neanderthal man whose skull was found in a cave in the
Neanderthal Valley, with the bones of a bear? The
man must have lived contemporary with Adam, and it
seems that the bear "
"Were the bones of that man and bear found in this
"No ! No ! Do not get excited."
"But you said they were found in Mendenthal Valley."
"I said Neanderthal, where a prehistoric race once
lived, but really where the bones were found closely re-
sembles this place as well afS the name, for I have been
there. It is in Prussia. Now let me illustrate by our
presence here, what mayi once have occured in the
Neanderthal Valley. Suppose one of those ferocious she-
bears should come spat upon us now and the guide and
I should escape, while she dragged your mangled
"Bah-aa-aa," roared the guide.
"What are you laughing at, you great fool?" said
"Laughing to see your eyes bulge out."
"Please do not speak that way to Mr. Archibald," I
LOOKING BACK 165
said, "he knows we're in no danger, so long as there's
plenty of trees to climb."
"Your business, sir," said Archibald to the guide, "is
to take us to the glacier and the quicker the better.
Neither Mr. Richardson or myself care to roost in these
trees over night."
"Twon't be sundown till nigh midnight," grunted the
guide, and we all started on.
I was following close on the heels of the guide as we
entered an opening, when we all stopped and gazed in
astonishment at a dead glacier. Two miles or so away
stretched across the valley stood a perpendicular wall of
glistening ice, about 250 feet high and four miles long,
reaching across the entire valley.
To view a glacier fifty or more miles wide, as I
found at the foot of Mt. St. Elias, winding its way high
up into the mountain, where the snow drifts whirl blindly
all the summer day, where no plant or animal abide,
seems to be in keeping with the surroundings, but to
emerge. from a dense thicket, a valley teeming with animal
and vegetable life, on a hot summer day and fall spat
upon a dead glacier is a sight which must be seen to be
realized — then to know that this vast field of ira once
extended to the sea, but so long ago that thousands of
acres of timber have grown up in its retreating pathway,
is enough to astound any but the simple.
I was lost in thought and pondered thus : In time this
this ice mountain will waste away to its fountain head and
a peaceful river will flow down this warm valley, where
the inhabitants on either side of the river will be as unable
to realize the truth concerning the cold bed- fellow that
once slept in this Alaskan cradle, as we are unable to
comprehend the fact that there is not a spire in Chicago
166 LOOKING BACK
high enough to have shown its tip above the ice that once
lay over that city during the Great Lakes' Glacial Period.
The earth between us and the glacier was carpeted
with the most beautiful moss imaginable, all shades and
colors, caused by reflection of the sun from the crystal ice.
A solemn silence prevailed, such as I never experienced
elsewhere, broken at intervals by reports like cannons, oc-
casioned by huge mountains of ice cleaving off to melt in
Li climbing the mountain side to get upon the glacier,
I found ripe strawberries within a few feet of the ice,
and upon the glacier small streams of water, which did
not seem to melt the ice. Like all glaciers, there were
great boulders upon it, which had plunged down from
some far away mountain and were taking a slow cold
ride. I jumped across crevices, where if one should fall in
he might go down 100 feet, there to wedge in and freeze.
Standing in front of this terrible monster a cool strange
halo seems to surround, which is far more awe-inspiring
than that of the Niagara Falls.
On descending from the glacier we found Archibald
in a state of agitation, as a thunder storm was approach-
ing and all the protection we possessed was straw hats.
My laughing aroused his ire and he used some very un-
dignified language, as the rain began coming down in tor-
rents, accompanied by a strange rattling sound, which
seemed to be from overhead. Looking up we could see
that several immense rocks from high up the mountain
had become dislodged and had started down a deep ravine
with such force as to break others from their moorings,
which also joined in the mad run, roll, slip, slide, plunge.
The impetus was so great and the resistance so strong that
when the great boulders met they flashed fire until the
LOOKING BACK 167
entire valley of racing rocks, trees and earth seemed to
be enveloped in a blue flame, which formed into a slide,
sweeping everything in its path, until it brought up on the
plain below with a slump.
On examination we found that the immense quantity
of debris covered nearly half an acre and was more than
fifty feet deep. That it had swept everything in its path,
including trees more than a foot in diameter, which were
broken up like matches. I told Archibald that whoever
got caught in the descent of such a mountain slide would
probably remain as deposit until Gabriel blew his horn,
to which he grunted assent.
As I lingered upon the scene declaring that few people
in the world had ever seen such a wonderful sight, he
solemnly vowed that he saw nothing peculiar about that
rock and mud different from what he could find in the
Wet to the skin, tired and hungry, we started on,
Archibald wholly unprepared for the skirmish awaiting
him. It soon cleared up, but every bush we stumbled
against showered down and gave us a fresh bath. My
shoes hurt my feet, and especially my game toe, which
sometimes cramps, took advantage of the situation and,
oh, how it did hurt, but I did not mention it, for fear
Archibald would say I did not enjoy roughing it any
more than he did, and so we plodded on, anxious to reach
the landing where I knew the Indians would give us the
best thev had.
MIRACULOUS ESCAPE FROM A BEAR
After travelling about three miles, which seemed like
twenty, we rested on a log, when I began rehearsing the
sights and scenes of the day. I said that if compelled
to stay in the woods all night, we ought to consider it a
day well spent, but failing to receive a hearty response,
I switched off into a more lively subject by exclaiming,
as I pointed into the woods, "See ! See ! There is a
bear behind that log." The ruse worked all right until
I proposed we rush in and capture him, when Archibald
declared this was the last time he should ever tour with
a man who knew nothing and feared nothing.
As the sleepiest dog will show signs of great activity
when a tea-kettle is tied to his tail, so tired men, finding
themselves in a strange forest, will pick up their heels
with amazing agility when uncertainty confronts them
and the landing is far away. Thus it was that our gait
was quite lively, which both pleased and vexed his
mother's son, Archibald, who had insisted on carrying the
guide's gun since I had mentioned that catamounts came
out for their serenade long before sunset. Our course
was leading us through heavy timber, when I proposed
that we circle around through an opening and started
that way, the guide following, Archibald pushed straight
through, saying that the barking of dogs proved that we
were near the landing.
After leaving the woods and climbing part way up
the hill, I could see Archibald hurrying through the tim-
LOOKING BACK 169
ber where, on account of the fallen trees, he made but
little headway, so I called out to him to come into the
opening where the walking was better, to which he re-
plied, "I am not afraid to walk in the woods."
At the top of the hill was a berry patch, from which
I had full view along the foot of the mountain, where
nearby I saw three Indians running towards me with
rifles in a position to shoot. Between me and them was
a dark ravine, in which dogs were fiercely barking, and
knowing they were trying to kill something, I rushed
forward to see, when a bouncing black bear whipped
around the ledge and over the knoll in the direction of
poor Archibald. He was closely pursued by the dogs,
to whom old Bruin was often compelled to stop and give
battle. When running the dogs were upon his heels, and
when he stopped and set up for a fight he would see the
gunners and light out again regardless of the dogs,
I knew the bear would not hurt Archibald unless in
the act of running over him, but I began shouting, "Look-
out ! Lookout, Archibald ! Lookout, there's a bear after
you. Run! Run! Run for your life," at which he
started running toward me, thinking the bear was com-
ing from the other direction. As the bear ran down the
hill with the Indians trying to get a shot at him, I could
see both the bear and Archibald approaching each other,
tvhile Archibald was looking over his shoulder, so he did
not see the bear until he was right upon him, when
turning quickly he dropped his gun and lit out uncere-
The panorama before me was what the girls call a
peach — the shortest, funniest, and most earnest sprinting
match ever recorded ; Indians chasing dogs, dogs chasing
bear, bear chasing Archibald, Archibald running for dear
170 LOOKING BACK
life. Archibald did not take a zigzag course as lightning
usually does, but shot straight ahead into the thicket,
leaving no evidence of his late departure, but an imagi-
nary wake. The bear, who could not stand the nipping
of the dogs, turned again, and as he raised up was shot
by one of the Indians.
We could see nor hear nothing of Archibald, whose
parting glimpse had aroused my concern, so I hurried
in the direction of his disappearance, crying out his name.
Leaning against a big tree I put my hands to my mouth
and helloed so loud that my voice echoed through the
swamp, when I was surprised at his voice so near me
saying, "What in the d-v-1 do you want?"
"\\'here are you, Archibald?"
"Here I am, up here."
"Oh, yes, come down."
"Did you kill him, Mr. Richardson?"
"Yes, he is dead."
"Did he catch anybody?"
"No, he was not after anyone. Come down cut of
"Not after anyone? What is the use of your lying.
If you had not shot him he would have had me in two
more jumps. Is there any more of them ?"
"No, there is not. He was not after you. He was<
running to get away from the dogs. You know I had
no gun. It was the Indians who shot him. Come down
here ! Come down ! Here is the gun which you threw
"I am in no particular hurry to come down. Say,
Richardson, tell me how long you expect to stay in this
LOOKING BACK 171
"Oh, about three weeks more. Why? Do you not
"Alaska is all right, but you are so bull-headed, taking
a fellow into such a hole as this. Besides, there is noth-
ing to see here."
"Haven't you seen an avalanche?"
"Avalanche? Nothing but stones rolling down hill."
"And you've seen a glacier."
"Glacier? Nothing but a chunk of ice."
"And a bear right in the woods. Your friends will
be glad to hear about "
"Now grin, Mr. Richardson ! Sit there and hold your
sides to keep from bursting with laughter. I swear if I
did not know anymore than you do I would never com-
pose a book. I did think a brief account of this trip
might be interesting, but no one would care for the min-
ute details as you would give them. At least, I hope they
will not get into print until after I am dead."
"Why, Archibald, when you get home you will enjoy
telling your friends all about your adventures and hair-
breath escapes, how bravely you faced "
"Oh, you get out! Let us go to the landing and get
some more dodgers fried in bear's tallow, that you enjoy
We stood in silence a moment, when he put his hand
kindly on my shoulder as he said : "Mr. Richardson,
you must not think I mean everything I say, but I'm so
terribly wrought up. The glacier was so much different
from what I expected, and I was afraid you might get
hurt up there alone. Then the landslide startled me
awfully, for I thought the whole mountain was coming
down, and that the world might be coming to an end.
172 LOOKING BACK
shall laugh about it when I get home, but I cannot get up
a smile now."
"Certainly you will lavigh about this trip, Mr. Arch-
ibald, in years to come, especially when you come to
consider that bears are not like wolves, panthers and
those kind of fierce beasts, which kill to eat. Besides,
you should not spleen at eating bear meat, for they live
mostly on nuts and berries and sleep all winter. Expe-
rience is a great teacher, this day will never be forgotten.
It adds to our lives and we shall look back to it with
pleasure. Now, you're not mad?"
"Mad? No, Mr. Richardson, I half way love you,
and when I think of this fright I shall think about you
as both the best and meanest man on my list. I am
going to eat hearty on the bear steak for supper; you'
see if I do not. Now you can consider yourself for-
given for all except one act."
"What is that, Archibald?"
"When you kept calling 'Run ! Run ! He is after
you !' He was not after me, he was before me, and
you knew that you were lying all the time."
The last evening I spent at Juneau with Judge Mellen
and his interesting wife. It was ten o'clock when we
parted. The sun was still shining and the birds singing
when we shook hands good-bye, and he said : "We will
meet again, where friends meet friends which they loved
on earth." As the steamer pulled off from the shore I
thought of the friends I had gained in Alaska to make
my life more interesting in that home where the flowers
fade not and the inhabitants never grow old.
In returning to my mental endeavors, I gladly con-
fess that before I had passed out of my teens, my lack
of a common school education caused me deep regret,
but I braced myself bravely against adversity and soon
found myself working evenings over the very rudiments
of language which I had spurned in the old Birch School
After my marriage to Mary Hoyt, she took me in
hand and together evenings we read "The Hoosier School
Master," "Belle of Ores Islands," "Uncle Tom's Cabin,"
and many other good books, after which I struck in for
myself with Webster's unabridged at my elbow. By
working days and studying nights I soon became con-
versant with Stowe, Eliot, Dickens, Shakespeare and that
class of literature which illustrates human nature. Later
I took up the sciences, geology, astronomy and what
else I cared for, together with the languages under
private instructors, which, with my experience at Evans-
ton, gave me a comparatively good understanding as to
how these great subjects are handled in our classical
institutions of learning. I never aspired to scholarship ;
my ambition is to discern truth.
For diversion I am usually working up some subject
which, when formed into a book, I present to my friends,
never thinking of recompense, as my business affords me
more than I need, and as to notoriety, I have no ambi-
tion that way.
174 LOOKING BACK
"Jim Hall and the Richardsons" was my first literary
endeavor. It evolved out of my long siege in ferreting
out the chronological trail of the Stafford branch of
"Rose Lind" is an assumed exposure of the far-reach-
ing evil influences of the grain gamblers on the Chicago
Board of Trade.
"Eight Days Out" is a burlesque on Phillip, on my
visit to the Soo.
"Mina Faust" is a long love story.
"Chicago's Black Sheep" is a figurative illustration
of the criminal dens of Chicago, and the work of the
"Personality of the Soul" is a review of the pre-
vailing religion, as I found them in my extensive
"Twilight Reflections" is an accumulation of indi-
cations that mineral, vegetable and animal existence
are the direct result of scheming and are being held or
driven by an incomprehensible will power. Also, that
the animal, especially man, possesses slight creative
Somehow, I cannot think of the soul as something
evolving from nothing, or as beginning its existence
with the formation of the body, but rather as descend-
ing to or ascending from former existence.
Pre-existence is in harmony with the teachings of
Jesus, reason and eternal life. The animated body
comes into existence through transformation from pre-
existence. If that quality, to present, to consider, to
decide, exists it must be a transformation of some
kind of pre-existence. To afi^irm that God gave or
LOOKING BACK 175
created does not im])ly that He gave or created from
that which He did not have.
I will not question the Divine Power or intelli-
gence, but I challenge man to produce an indication
of existence only as transformation or evolution from
existence. The only way to blot out memory is
through unconsciousness, and we know it does not do
it. Eternal life is for all, but souls, even in this life,
often drift far apart.
The unfathomable, incomprehensible, unthinkable
dark pocket of forgetfullness conceals memory but it
does not annihilate it. If time admits of no before,
space of no beyond and matter of no annihilation,
then the law of continuity is established ; and if we do
now live, we have lived and will live forever. Eternal
life must include the past as well as the future. Life
from God is a declaration of pre-existence. Existence
beginning at conception or birth assumes something
evolving from nothing.
In 1898, having nothing to detain me and knowing
that my son Arthur could conduct my business better
than I could, I decided to take an extensive tour
around the world, taking as much time as I pleased in
visiting the interior of countries to study the people
in their natural condition, both physically and men-
When our boat passed through the Golden Gate into
the open Pacific a wild storm was whistling down the
coast from Alaska, which caused our steamer to roll
and plunge worse than anything I have ever since
experienced. For five days neither sun or stars ap-
peared, and when we got our reckoning we were five
hundred miles out of our course.
When we neared the Hawaiian Islands we saw
whales, schools of pretty flying fish, sharks and por-
poises, while large sea birds came near. Then, when
we felt our cheeks fanned by the soft summer breeze,
we forgot Columbia's wild Boreas and got our silver
pieces, so that when the natives swam from shore to
meet us we could throw the money into the deep sea,
which they would dive for and usually bring up, even
though they sometimes swam more than fifty feet to
the spot where it went down.
We found the mid-Pacific Islands all in bloom. I
stayed there five weeks, in which time I visited Kilanea
Volcano on the Hawaiian Island and all the other
LOOKING BACK 177
islands, of which I will only mention my trip to Man
Eating Rock, which, to me, was the most wonderful.
THE ANCIENT CITADEL
Paukoonea, a deserted, skillfully fortified pre-his-
toric fortress on which the man-eating rock still can
be seen, is seldom visited by tourists, and still it is
undoubtedly the most ancient and beautifully located
kings' palace grounds on our globe. To the thoughtless
it is simply a rock on an island. To the thoughtful
it is wonderful.
Vogue tradition has it that long ago a great world,
a mid-Pacific continent, existed in this summer clime.
One evening, as the sun was going down, their world
sank into the ocean, leaving only the mountain top.
on which more people were huddled together than
could live. As a necessity the priestly clan, or kings,
barricaded themslves on this protected island, where
they shaped out a baking rock which would preserve
all the juices of the flesh, and then ordered each tribe
to furnish their portion of human beings, to be placed
on the hot rock alive and cooked until palatable. This
statement does not seem so inconsistent when we learn
that when Cook discovered these islands the natives
were allowed only a certain number of children to each
pair of parents, and all the over-plus were killed at
At Waialua I found a guide. Major Jankea, whose
father, grandfather and great-grandfather spent their
lives near the fort. We rode up the Helamano River
about eight miles where, in a bend among the trees,
he showed me a large deep footed stone covered with
178 LOOKING BACK
dots, diagonal lines and curves which he said no one
could read and no one knew what it represented.
At the fort we crossed the chasm on the stone debris
of an ancient dam, when we began hunting for the man-
eating rock. We searched in the grass, about four feet
tall, and found it in about the center of the field, half
buried in the earth.
It was chipped and defaced all over. Originally it
must have measured about three by nine feet, and would
weigh several tons. As far as I saw there were no other
rocks on the surface of the island. It is roughly carved
out to receive the head, arm, legs and body of a man.
My guide informed me that his grandfather said that
the ancient custom was for four men each, at an arm or
leg, to hold the victim on the heated rock until dead, and
then let him be cooked for dinner.
The citadel, or fort of the cannibal kings, is near the
source of the Helamano River, under the Koolauloa
Mountain. It is about three or four miles in circum-
ference, protected by a perpendicular rock chasm nearly
one hundred feet high. The gully surrounding it must
once have served as an aqueduct, the water having been
held back by the dam, which now, and probably for
ages, has served as a passageway into the ancient
Standing there in the latter half of February looking
west, the scene is lovely beyond description. The green
palms on the Koolauloa Mountains serve as a background,
while the Helamano River, with its fringe of trees all in
blossom, winds its way like a ribbon of white roses away
to the dreamy old Pacific Ocean, plain in view, but many
miles away. Then to feel the spell of silence, where
LOOKING BACK 179
tumult once arose, we can but ask. "Is life a reality or
a myth?" and a voice comes back from the voiceless
realms of the dead, they were like us, simply passing
through earth life.
SOUTH SEA ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA
In a few weeks I found myself taking in the South
Sea Islands, admiring the pretty lagoons, those tiny inner-
ocean retreats, where the glistening sandy beach is strewn
with miniature shells cozily protected by the surrounding
palm groves, upon whose outer shore the mighty waves
come pounding in only to recede without disturbing the
finny tribes who never venture outside of these inland
At Apia, in the Samoa group, where lies the body
of Robert L. Stevenson, I wondered not at his choice
of selection for spending the last days of his life. Here
among the South Sea Islands he could muse unmolested,
far from the struggle for gain, and notoriety. There is
a beautiful side to those so-called barbarian lives, and
one is tempted to envy them their freedom as they laugh
and sing in the bamboo shade, and bathe at ease in the
soft waves of the grand old Pacific Ocean. One can
but love them for their simplicity and confiding way as
their wistful smile pleads for your generosity and
The wonder-land in the Friendly or South Sea Isl-
and is Tongo-Taboo. Here one finds undoubted traces
of a lost continent, in the way of an archway, or portal,
through which a people must have passed before the
dawn of Babylonian tradition. Two immense rectangu-
lar stone columns are seen tied together at the top by
^HE DREAMLAND OF THE SOUTH' SEAS. COULD THEY
LOOKING BACK 181
an enormous slab, on which rests a huge stone bowl,
The entire structure must be nearly fifty feet high.
There is no quarry on this little island from which it
could have been taken, neither could it have been brought
from a distant land, for ancient boats were not adequate.
The quarry from which it came, the mysteries of the
people who such art designed, and the homes in which
they lived, must be nearby, beneath the waves.
To satisfy curiosity, I took a shell boat to Easter Is-
and, where those strange saint-like statues with sealed
lips now stand, pre-eminent sentinels, as they have stood
since the day when the Mid-Pacific continent was a
prominent feature on our globe. On this tiny mid-ocean
world the natives know about as much concerning the
origin of their clans as we do about pre-existence. They
shelter from storm in stone houses, of which the walls
are four or five feet thick.
Many of the inner walls still bear traces of an intel-
ligent people. Hieroglyphic characters and paintings of
birds and other animals adorn the inner walls of what
must have been the mansions of nabobs, while many
statues of these unknown people with thin lips and serious
countenances stand facing the sea. Like the fort on the
Helomano and the colossal on Tonga, they speak for
themselves, and while each have no tradition of other
tribes, still all their languages spring from the same
As I stood on deck gazing at these faces a spell came
over me and from above I looked down on our world
100,000 years ago.
Before me lay an elbow-shaped mid-Pacific continent
2,000 miles wide and 8,000 miles long, on which millions
of half -civilized people w^ere passing their days and years
182 LOOKING BACK
as we are now doing, while the land of the morning sun
teemed with shore and inland animal life roaming over
the vast plains sheltered by primeval forests. Suddenly,
as I gazed, the world trembled and reeled as the vast
plains at the rising sun begun belching forth lightning
and fire amid peals of thunder destroying all animal life
as an immense mountain range came forth like a budless
blossom far up and down the ocean shore.
In horror I turned to the mid-ocean continent and
beheld it with all its cities and inhabitants sinking down,
down beneath the ocean waves.
From this reverie I awoke and wondered who would
dare dispute, as soundings prove that such a continent,
with the exception of a few mountain peaks we call
islands, now sleep beneath those ocean waves, while the
bones and fossils of mammalia are found on the Rock)
After visiting the Maories of New Zealand, one of
the remaining fragments of the South Sea Island tribes,
who are probably the finest specimen of aboriginies in
the world, I took in Australia, where the white cockatoo
parrots move in great flocks and the many species of
kangaroo, from the size of a rabbit to a horse, sport in
the gardens to the annoyance of the pioneer farmers, and
where the sun shines in from the north windows, the
north star and great dipper have disappeared, and beauti-
ful new constellations appear in the sovtthern skies, and
the mountains of the moon are seen from the other side.
Copy of diary when in Torres Straits and New
Arrived at Cooktown on Japanese steamer Kusuga
Maru and leave on schooner Shilo for New Guinea next
York Island, only three white men besides Captain
Mosly, live here. The captain tells sympathetic stories
about the storm of March 3, when he saw the ship his
son was on go down. He thinks about 200 men from
pearl hunting crafts were lost in the storm.
At sea, bound for Fly River. Hot as tophet, but a
stiff breeze. Find small island inhabited by birds, but
no land quadrupeds, as in dry season the small fresh
water streams dry up.
At mouth of Fly River. Approach main land. High
mountains appear in the distance. Great marshes on
either side, which cause Guinea fever to the whites, but
not to the natives.
Go ashore, several miles up the river. Birds, birds,
birds on all sides. I shot a Guinea pigeon, looks like a
pheasant, big as a hen, soon have her cooked. Natives
never travel singly, always in groups. Several mission-
184 LOOKING BACK
aries have been eaten here. One from Boston, but the
natives do not look to me particularly hungry,
Head on for Port Moresby, where I am to catch
Burns-Phillips Co. steamer. Go ashore on a lagoon
island. Go through the palms to the miniature ocean,
find a beautiful helmet shell and concluded to keep it and
gather others to send home.
Strike fleet of pearl shell boats. Go down in diving
suit about 160 feet. Bad job, starts the blood out of my
ears. Get but one shell, which I will send to Arthur.
Most of the divers are natives or Japs. One shipmaster
owns and supplies about twenty diving boats. All shells
opened on the ship. Average about one pearl to 300
shells. I buy of native four pearls for $6.25.
Port Moresby only live houses. Bishop Stowigg.
English missionary, here. Find three missionaries at each
of these little ports. Became acquainted with Miss Tully
from Brisbane, Australia. She is lonesome and shed
tears when she bid me farewell.
Land at Samaria. Find a native here who came from
the interior, where the people go naked and build their
houses in the trees. He speaks a few words in English
and considers himself an interpreter. For two silver
dollars I hire him to go with me anywhere as long as I
feed him, and when through with him can leave him
anywhere on the shore. We board the steamer here
for the west, along the north shore. Everything and
everybody looks and smells as though they had sat on
the equator and fried ever since they had been born.
LOOKING BACK 185
At sea. My appreciative companions are a mother
and four kittens, a captive young cassowary, about four
feet tall, who the captain declares will eat his hammer
and nails if he does not hide them, and three dogs. All
small dogs around here will dive from the bow of a boat
into deep water and bring up a knife or anything you
show them before you throw it in. Dear little curs.
Reach Kaiser Wilhelm's land and leave steamer. Am
hearing terrible stories about the natives, men who eat
an antelope at a meal, women with pompadours three
feet high ; also hear about snakes ninety-five feet long,
but the stories come from natives who cannot count
higher than the number 5.
Catch excursion boat at Cape Croiselles and start
west in search of village where the inhabitants live in
nests in the trees. Captain and mate are from Adalaide,
Australia, out for the season on about the same kind
of a mission that I am. Captain continually teasing me
that I am about at the end of my rope. Says he will
write to Chicago and inform them that I escaped a
Jonah whale only to be swallowed by a Guinea nigger.
The mate says he will venture into the interior with me,
at which I assure him if he will not attempt to coc|uette
W'th the ladies he will not be hurt. Of course, I advise
the captain to stay by his anchor and avoid temptation,
for I tell him I see by the size and shape of his neck
that he would become completely betwaddled in the
presence of nature's fair adornments, or Papuan sim-
186 LOOKING BACK
The mate, guide, three stalwart blacks and myself
leave the boat in the night. Several miles in we cross
a clear running brook, through which we wade to our
hips. After climbing several mountain trails we con-
tinue for five or six miles along a zigzag course under
the brow of a mountain range, crossing ravines in which
the large birds, all of them beautiful in color, do not
seem to fear us or fly at our approach.
At openings I can view the evergreen, palm tree val-
ley below, which seems awaking from its dreams to greet
the rising sun. I call a halt and look and listen, for I
About ten o'clock, when motioned by our guide, we
somewhat nervously follow him to a crystal lake, sur-
rounded by tropical verdure, where we were confronted
with from sixty to one hundred houses or nests built in
the trees covered, water-proof tight, with a sort of long
sea grass, which grows abundantly in all tropical marshes.
Apparently some of the larger dwellings, like those of
the Alaska Indians, would accommodate several families.
Here and there naked people, looking out or climbing
up or down the swinging ladders.
The king, a young fellow, after learning our wants,
invites us to stay a moon, which I think would have been
perfectly safe if we did not wander away from the
I then presented the king with the presents I had
brought, six large jack knives and six cheap hatchets, after
which they began to show us things, how and what they
cooked, how they caught game, fight, dance, worship and
lastly how they clear a guilty conscience.
This is done by immersion in clear water by moon-
LOOKING BACK 187
light, when the god in the moon forgives all. They be-
lieve that the sovils of the dead linger around those whom
they loved on earth.
The king and several others gave me rudely orna-
mented shell rings. A lady to whom I gave a silver
dollar gives me a pretty shell which she had herself
ornamented with the sharp end of a stone, also she gave
me her petticoats which females wear when at the sea
shore. (I have these mementoes yet.) The petticoat
consists of a waist-band to which is attached loose ring-
lets down to the knees, all made of sea grass. Once I
caught two girls winking, laughing and making fun of
me. All females stand sideways to the males and look
and talk over their shoulder. ]\Iany have fine physiques.
There are few quadrupeds here, but this seems to be
the home of birds.
The cassowary is larger than an ostrich. Their flesh
is said to taste like turkey. The plumage of some birds
is wonderful. Especially the lyrebird, who struts like a
tom-turkey. Over twenty species of the bird of paradise
are said to live here.
All kind of tropical fruit grow wild and in great
abundance. Bread fruit trees grow quickly and furnish
500 to 1,000 pounds of food each, substance about equal
Many from Chicago may well envy these kind, timid,
primitive people their sunshine career as compared to
our daily struggle for ascendancy.
As I am about to leave these people, who are huddled
around me, out of curiosity I look one after another of
each sex squarely in the eyes for recognition, and I get
the response every time. Not that steady stare of the
snake, dog, or gorilla, but that conscious response of
188 LOOKING BACK
affection between souls. This satisfies me that men are
not improved beasts, but rather distinct creatures en-
dowed with certain soul-responsive looks, self -controlling
powers, gifts which cannot be mentally experienced.
After several days among the verdure islands with
broad, glistening, sandy shores, strewn with large and
small shells, I find myself among the Solomon Islands,
about 500 miles from New Guinea.
I am glad I came here, for it seems like a dream of
the long, long ago. With the exception of a few naked
natives, flying foxes, and shore fowls, these islands must
resemble the great lake region at home in the carbonifer-
ous age. The age after the great Mississippi Valley in-
land sea had fled away from the shores. The age before
the vegetation had lured the sea family through the long
reptilean age into the mammalian age, when the mastodon
roamed the palm groves of Michigan and the great dino-
therium lived on the marshy plains of Colorado, before
the Rocky Mountains had raised their now silent, dreary
If there was a day in Illinois when the Crustacean
invertebrate families lined the hot ocean shores and the
vegetation grew thirty feet high, it must have resembled
this equatorial region now, for although clear today, I
am told it rains almost daily, and up the mountain sides
as far as I can see thfe vegetation is wonderful.
A sort of inspiration seems to pervade the forests of
New Guinea and the Samoa group, but this carboniferous
clime has little charm. For although white sand beaches
miles wide strewn with shell against a background of
waving palms, is a sight long to be remembered, I some-
LOOKING BACK 189
how feel I am associating with clams, turtles and pelicans
of the "evening and morning of the fifth day," so I will
now leave for Cape York, to catch the Futami Meru,
which is to call there May 17th.
Briefly I must mention the interesting countries of
Anam and Siam.
Saigon, a city of Anam, that country which the
French gobbled up from the helpless natives, is to me,
the most beautiful city in the world.
The Mongolian natives here are modest-nice for hot
The females wear loose gauze habits, protecting from
the neck to the bare toes.
It is amusing to see a group of these ladies on an
afternoon outing, riding in a wooden cart drawn by one
lazy ox. I have often felt like patting both the ox and
Paddy fish come ashore here in great schools, flop-
ping into and damaging the gardens and rice fields.
In the park they have on exhibition a sacred ele-
phant, which they claim saved the life of one of their
kings more than one thousand years ago. He is really
covered with moss, apparently blind and quite feeble.
This is the home of the spotted fawn, of which their
babies seem so dear.
In Siam the women and the men wear only a breach
cloth. Both sexes wear their hair cut short, so it is diffi-
cult to distinguish one from the other.
Monkeys here are as tame as robins at home, and
lizards two feet long crawl over one's bed, but they do
LOOKING BACK 191
Of the nineteen million inhabitants over one million
are priests. It takes three hundred of them to do the
praying in the one temple here in Bangkok. This is
where the eagles, three feet tall, gather from the moun-
tains to devour the bodies of the dead who had not left
money enough to pay the priests for the cremation
The present king has five hundred wives, seventy-five
sons and seven white elephants on his hands, and yet he
is not happy. It was from here that General Grant went
into the forest to see wild elephants. The herds are not
feeding here now, so with two French tourists I have
stopped over at Tringano, on the west coast of the Gulf
The elephants of India are being rapidly thinned out,
as they with the tigers hold forest lands v/hich when de-
veloped are very productive.
The elephant herds move slowly on irregular circuit,
eating everything about them.
We found no great number together as in a herd of
cattle ; sometimes only one and never more than five in
It can be no trick for the exultant European sports-
men to shoot them, for they are not wild and will hurt
no one, unless it be an old defeated bull, who are said
to be ferocious at times.
Ivory now in use is not, as a rule, from the now living
elephants. The natives search it out from under the
forest debris, where the remains of elephants who lived
thousands of years ago are found.
After visiting the interior of Japan, China, Anam,
Siam, Ceylon, India, Persia, Arabia, I found myself, in
the evening of November 2, 1899, at Bagdad, Turkey, in
close communion with our American consul, Rudolph
Hurner, who had held that position from the United
States to Mesopotamia for about thirty years. Bagdad
is about 400 miles from the Persian gulf, and is now
the largest Mesopotamian city of the old Babylonain em-
pire, whose kings once caused the world to wince.
Mesopotamia, like the valley of the Yangtsekiang, is
by nature very productive. Either, if properly cultivated,
would supply rice sufficient to sustain the world, but here
the outrageous taxes, together with the wild men of the
desert scare away all enterprise, while in China the
Yaw-men actually absorb the products of the soil through
the imposition of exchange.
WITH CONSUL HERNER'S SERVANTS IN BAGDAD, MESOPOTAMIA.
"Now, Mr. Richardson," said Consul Hurner, as in
the twilight we stood in his tropical garden, which over-
looks the Tigris River, "you had better take my advice
and not go beyond Hille. It is better to take the course
of other travelers. Go to the border of civilization and
then get some well-informed native to give you particu-
lars, which you can polish up and call it experience, like
the assumed traveler in the Star and Crescent, who boxed
our dead in coffins, a custom unknown here.
"I have represented the United States here for years
and have probably entertained every American traveler
who has visited Baylon, Nipper and other biblical land-
marks here. None have been so hazardous as to go
among a people who are so bigoted that they consider it
their religious duty to kill those who would interfere with
their mode of worship. From reports of stragglers, or
desert herdsmen, there are, I presume, twenty thousand
people in Nazzip or Me-Schwad, mostly children of
Bedouins. They have no schools, no maps of the world,
do not know north from south and their wealth has been
gained through wild raids on the Mohammedan fanatics
bringing their dead to the ancient shrine of Nazzip, mostly
from Persia and India."
"I came out to see the elephant, Mr. Hurner," I said,
"and while I appreciate your advice, I am not afraid of
those people. I go open-handed with little money, which
they could use, and with a disposition to appreciate in-
194 LOOKING BACK
stead of criticize. My experience with the unciviHzed
has been that if one mind his own business, and do not
stray from the crowd, their confidence is soon gained,
and they soon show indications of sympathy and love.
Do you think my men will back out of the agreement?"
"Well, let me see. Old Shammo has been acting as
cook and guide around here for twenty-five years. He
boasts that he conducted a funeral party down the Shat-
El-Chebar and over to Me-Schwad twenty years ago. He
may be lying about that, but I think for the price you
offer he will stick to you. Then Moses is a daring fellow,
whom you can rely upon. You ought to know him; he
just came up on the boat with you. He has been to
Africa, has he not? He will help you, as he speaks a
little broken English. I think by what I can learn, he is
the best fitted man in Bagdad for you. Alker his half-
brother, will probably stick by you also. Tatus, the
wealthy man's son, is anxious to learn about the south,
and will probably go where Moses goes and stay where
Moses stays. I think they are all Shea-Mohammedans,
and while they are looked upon with suspicion they are
in much less danger than you are.
"You see, I have your passport signed and sealed by
the Turkish authorities, so you must exhibit that con-
tinually, and if the Sheiks are not able to read one word
of it they will recognize the quail tracks, and think it is
an order from Constantinople for you and your escort
to pass through. Then with our arrangements for Nim
Burr's old solid-wood-wheeled stage and the six mounted
police, you will get through to Babylon all right, that is
if they do not lay down on you and make you pay them
over again. I think if you furnish, as you seem to be
doing, a quarter of mutton to each man for lunch, they
LOOKING BACK 195
will go through all right, for it cannot be more than thirty
or forty miles to Babylon.
"From Hille, which is built from the ruins of old
Babylon, to Chuffel, with a good mounted squad, you
will make it easily, for they will think you are rabbinical
tourists to Burr's Nimrod and Ezekiel's tomb.
"If you could be satisfied to visit Karbilla, where there
is also a temple for the Mohammedan dead, you could
probably run across the desert from Burr's Nimrod in
safety, but if you approach the wealthy interior city
called Me-Schwad or Nazzip, where the temple is, in
which they claim Allah, the brother-in-law of Mohammet,
was buried, you may find a decidedly warm reception
and you may not — I do not know. I often thought I
would like to go there myself.
"You may think it strange, Mr. Richardson, that
there is no map of that district, or statistics, or census of
the inhabitants of so vast a country and city, which like
the sphinx of the Nile, sits with its face to the broad
valley before it and its back to the great desert, which
is inhabited by roving Bedouins, who respect no law, pay
no taxes, and love their horses more than they do their
wives and children, but it is practically true.
"You see, Mr. Richardson, it is this way: like a
Russian Jew who will spend a life's careful savings for
one journey to the tomb of Abraham, so these Shea-
Mohammedans, who are scattered over Arabia, Persia,
Messopotamis and even into India, who have amassed a
small fortune, arrange that when they die their relatives
start with their embalmed bodies — not in coffins, but
wound in tarred linen — to carry them on horses or camels
either to Mecca, Me-Schwad or Karbilla.
"When they arrive, the ceremony for the dead is in
196 LOOKING BACK
accordance with the amount of money they bring. After
the funeral, the friends of the dead stay in town on a
protracted spree until their money is spent, then beg or
steal their way home. Thus you see that the sacred tem-
ples are a source of income, and wealth has its influence
in the Orient just the same as in your own Yankeedom.
When those mourners are returning home, either from
ignorance or fear, they keep mum as to the city, condi-
tions, the final disposal of the bodies and everything else.
Simply it is an honor to lug along a putrid carcass and
lay it in the gilded temple of Allah.
"Now, my good friend Richardson, while it may be
that Moses will bring you back safe, still you better take
my advice and give up Me-Schwad. When you get to
Babylon get a heavy escort of cavalry and run down to
Nipper, a ruins more ancient than Babylon, where you
will find an old Yankee from Boston rooting around the
debris expecting every day to unearth the private library
of Adam with the spinning wheel of Mother Eve, and
place them on exhibition in the world's gallery of fame.
Now, will you give up that trip to Nazzip, or must you
go into the stamping grounds of the dare-devil Moham-
"Consul," I said, as I laid my hand on his arm and
smiled into his face, "your caution is appreciated, but it
does not budge me a hair." Then we both laughed loud,
and he ordered more cofi"ee or something else, after
which I continvied : "I have been among the cannibals
and they treated me royally. Of course, it is necessary
for one to take good care not to be ambushed and eat
food only from their own cook, with, of course, a proper
guard when on the desert. Now, that isn't all, Mr. Hur-
ner. I am going to join the big caravan on its way from
LOOKING BACK 197
Persia to Palestine, and you do not like that either, do
"Mr. Richardson, I wish you could see your finish
before you start. Of course, Oriental traders, half-breeds
and camel drivers, who sometimes speak a little English,
often take refuge in those caravans, but they are not like
tourists. During my consulship here, no tourist has
passed over the Dier and Tadmore route. You know
you will be as lousy as a badger in three days, and if
you die, they may not even bury you in the sand, but leave
you for the vultures to eat.''
"Nonsense, if I avoid accidents and do not stray from
the camp I shall be all right, for no well man can get
sick in six weeks if he sticks to his tea, rusk, eggs and
"All right, my American invincible, just one more
word and I am through. You remember the first night
that you came to Bagdad, how I took you out on the
desert to show you where we had a fair two years ago,
and pointed out the spot where the Bedouins came down
upon us and at the point of their daggers took our col-
lection and not one of them were arrested. I do this to
impress upon your mind the fact that the Sabeans who
fell upon the family of Job still linger on the desert wild
Now as we have argued so long you must be weary,
so please join me again in refreshments before my guard
takes you to your room."
OFF FOR BABYLON
At four o'clock in the morning, November 6, 1899,
we crossed the Tigris River in a tropical downpour, and
struck out for the ruins of Babylon. About nine o'clock
we halted for breakfast, where the hotel reminded me of
a blacksmith shop, with several fireplaces and no roof.
The plan in that country is for wayfarers to furnish their
own food, cook it themselves, and when they can find
the landlord, pay about one-third cent each for the accom-
modation, while the lodging is free anywhere on the
ground. Of course, everyone pays their bills there, for
the custom of the Turks and Bedouins is to kill thieves
and burn them with their families and their entire
No sooner had our squad been filled with eggs and
chickens than they began to grumble that they could not
take us to Babylon on the price paid, but must leave
us at Messaya on the Euphrates, where we could descend
the river in a boat.
Moses now showed his teeth. Shammo began to
bawl and everyone took a hand in the row but myself.
They all talked so fast and loud that all I could under-
stand was the profanity of Moses, who was a brave fel-
low and stood up for my rights as best as he could.
After the excitement had subsided, Moses explained
that he could force them to take us through, but was
afraid they might move slow and purposely leave us on
the desert for the night, so I ordered them to turn over
LOOKING BACK 199
to Messaya, where we arrived about four o'clock p. m.,
when I decided the safest way was to have boats take us
across the river at dark, and when out of sight of the
village, pay the oarsmen big money, or force them to
take us all the way down the river to Babylon, the dis-
tance of which, as near as I could learn, was somewhere
between three and thirty miles. Our offer was gladly
accepted, and we considered ourselves safe, as the Be-
douins around Messava would not know where we were.
ON THE EUPHRATES
While gliding down the fourth Bible river, the Eu-
phrates, the moon came up and seemed to turn its soft
face upon the silence and as I began singing "Old Black
Joe," the jackals along the shore joined in, possibly think-
ing by my voice that we were all descendants from one
father. All were soon asleep but the oarsmen and myself,
and I became lonesome as I thought of the days of the
Aecadian priesthood, the Babylonian kings, Ezekiel and
his people, Alexander the Great, who died here, all felled
by the sickle of the reaper, Time, and here in silence I
seemed to ask, "Where have they gone?"
We arrived at Babylon at three o'clock in the morn-
ing, when I was given the bed of Mr. Nelson, the hospit-
able German explorer, and the next morning we took in
the ruins, and slept in Hille the next night. The follow-
ing day we rode on donkeys to Burr's Nimrod, a wonder-
ful ruins built of pot-shaped bricks, each weighing sev-
eral tons. The tower or temple Ziggurat must have
been built at the top of an artificial mountain on the plain,
about seven or eight miles from the ruins of Babylon.
Many think that the ancient city like Nineveh extended
beyond Burr's Nimrod. From Burr's Nimrod on camels
we rode to Chuffel, a village on the Chebar River, where
we entered Ezekiel's tomb, of which the Mohammedons
allow no Jew to enter. Still around the open space
there were several tents occupied by orthodox Jews, who
had come from afar to worship at the shrine of their
ON THE SHAT-EL-CHEBAR
At Chuffel our trouble began. The Sheik would not
let us stay over night in the town, we had no tent, even
if we had dared to sleep in the open, and the next city,
Koofa, was open only to Mohammedans, on their way to
Nazzip with their dead. I began to laugh, which pro-
voked even Moses, but we soon found relief in a man
with one wall eye, minus a hat, shoes or pants, who
with his helpers was accustomed to conduct funeral
parties down the Chebar River to Koofa. He held us up
for the enormous sum of one silver dollar for the ride,
and for another dollar would venture to land us in the
corpse room at Koofa, that is if it was not already oc-
cupied by other corpses. Again I smiled as I thought
what would my son Arthur say if he could step into this
boat just now and learn of the encouraging prospects.
jNIoses and his helpers now became a trifle alarmed at
the situation, and while we were eating our chicken,
fried in camel's tallow, I kept laughing, which made
Alkar mad, and he remarked to Moses that he believed
I was a fool, traveling on borrowed money.
After the owner of the boat and his helpers had
paddled us down the river until about ten o'clock at
night, we hove in sight of a few dim lights, which made
me scratch my head a trifle, when I learned it was Koofa.
My men were all wearing a sort of sickly grin since we
had learned that the Sheik of Koofa had never before
been imposed upon in this way, and I was beginning to
202 LOOKING BACK
feel that there might have been a trifle of virtue in Con-
sul Hurner's advice, but I slapped Moses on the shoulder
and said, "The metal in a man shows up only in cases
of an emergency," to which he smiled complacently, as
though he had been assured that he had all night to live.
At the mud landing, more than fifty had assembled,
each hoping to earn a half -penny by carrying a corpse
up the hill where, according to tradition, the Prophet
Ezekiel had probably walked on his bare feet many times,
for Koofa was a city on the west bank of the Shat-El-
Chebar, long before Abraham left this region for the
land of Canaan.
AMien all was ready for the funeral march and
Shammo had been loaded with the luggage, which con-
sisted of pillows, blankets and cooking utensils, his face
actually did take on the mournful hue of an undertaker
carrying the dead across the dark river.
Our guide sang out something which I supposed
indicated that a burial troop was following as he dashed
through the crowd, up the clifif, dodging this way and
that through the dark, alley-like streets and rooms, where
tall men with dark visages sat on high benches and
scowled at our approach, until he landed us in a square
cement room, about 12x12, with no ventilation save a hole
over the door, when he mysteriously disappeared, taking
his dim oil light with him.
Soon officers appeared whom, I could see. were con-
fused. Moses tried to pacify them by saying I was a rich
man and would pay much money, but they did not seem
to pacify, because the rich man was neither a Moham-
medan nor a dead man. Their howling was to the effect
that the owner of the room was ruined, as no dead Mo-
204 LOOKING BACK
hammedan would consent to be laid in that room after
we had occupied it. At last, after Moses had killed all
the time he possibly could, I demanded to see the Sheik,
which request is never refused among the Arabs.
THE SHEIK OF KOOFA
Soon a guard of about twenty appeared and started
with Moses and myself to consult the Sheik ; while all the
town, men, women and children, ran on either side of us,
eager to get a glimpse of my pants, as, apparently,
neither sex had ever seen before, or much less, donned
such tight-fitting garments.
After walking probably a mile we entered a dark alley,
where, on one of the side walls, our escort began pound-
ing and crying out until a grufif voice, which came as
through a tube back of us, answered, and after a long
wait we saw a dimm light right back of where we were
standing, but no one appeared.
\\'hile we were waiting Moses jokingly inquired of
me, ''Do you wish you were in Chicago?" "No," I re-
plied, "it is eleven o'clock in the morning there now and
they are all working hard, while I am enjoying touring
just waiting here in the shadows for permission to go to
bed." "You're a queer sort of a cuss," was his smiling
At length, after the voice and the officer had talked
back and forth through the hole, of which I overheard
them speak the words English, Christian, Devil, Moham-
medan, Bagdad, Nazzip and a few other words which I
could understand, there seemed to be a stir, as some one
from the inside began taking down boards ; and with two
of the party, Moses and myself crept up the rickety stair-
way, feeling our way through a long, dark hall which
206 LOOKING BACK
opened into a room about 20x40. In this room, which
was the palace of the Sheik, there was no furniture save
a bed, table and a long bench. On the table was burning
an oiled rag, one end soaking in a dish shaped like a
In the center of the large bed, which was, as near
as I could see, composed of a mass of beautiful soft
rugs, sat a sharp featured man with piercing black eyes
and long white hair and whiskers. His face revealed no
form or air of authority, but on the contrary, his sun-
burned features wore a friendly smile while he gazed
fixedly at me, apparently paying no attention to the offi-
cers' gabble, who were apparently over-estimating the
enormity of the crime.
While he studied me I studied him, and concluded
that in his care I was all right. Finally he inquired of
Moses if I had friends in America, and why I came to a
sacred city without permission, at which Moses turned to
me for explanation. After explaining my position and
truthfully telling him how we came into what we knew
was a forbidden town because we were afraid to stay out-
side, I then, through Moses, word for word, explained
that Americans always heard that the chiefs of Arab
tribes were great and good men, and were hospitable to
strangers ; especially when they did not interfere with
their religion. This was the substance of my drift,
although we talked back and forth for more than an hour.
A skittish scene now took place ; he called the chief
officer to his side on the bed and by the dim light they
began whispering, so Moses and I could not hear, occa-
sionally turning their piercing gaze on me. At the
conclusion he dismissed his officer and told Moses to
tell me that at Me-Schwad they had a room for such
LOOKING BACK 207
people, and we must go there, for which he would send
a heavy guard to protect us. Then it took about ten min-
utes for him to express his gratitude for my confidence
in him and his protecting power, and he wanted me to
feel that Allah loved upright strangers in all the world.
I then asked him if the guards at Me-Schwad would
let us into the city, as it was now past midnight. To this
he replied, "No," but said his force should furnish blan-
kets and guard us all night.
I hesitated and looked down, which made him inquire
of Moses if I was sorry, at which I looked him kindly in
the face as Moses interpreted each word, and said that
I was sorry to go home and tell my people that the Sheik
of Koofa had sent me away in the desert in the dark.
Now he called the guard again, and after another
continued whispering decided we could stay in the room
over night, but must be prepared to leave at surise in the
morning. As I left the room I felt his powerful influence
on me, and turning quickly, I again met that kindly gaze
as the old chief raised his thin, bloodless hand adieu.
That night in my prayers I thanked God that the mag-
nanimity of Abraham still tinged the veins of his people,
even though they were deprived of the world's bounties
through non-progressive bigotry.
Soon I was peacefully resting in the unventilated
room, which my friends on the other side of the world
would have spurned, but to me it was experience, and I
was glad to know that pity, love and sympathy were not
confined to any one people, but were God-given attributes
My sweet dreams, if such they were, were cut short
by Shammo, who began frying camel steak, goat or some
208 LOOKING BACK
other kind of meat close by my head, and soon we learned
that the Sheik had ordered his special body guard to take
us to Me-Schwad, Arabia, which was about twenty-five
mile southwest from Koofa, over the trackless desert.
WILD, YET BEAUTIFUL
At sunrise, leaving Shammo to care for the luggage,
we mounted spirited horses selected for us, and with an
escort of about one hundred cavalry picked our way,
Indian file, up through the lane-like streets of Koofa until
we reached the summit, from which we had a view of the
surrounding country, especially ancient Nazzip, now-
called both Nazzip and Me-Schwab, which lay on a rise
of ground before us, just far enough away to conceal
The morning sun at our backs cast its golden rays
across the desert wild intrespersed with clumps of verd-
ure green. Over and beyond lay, face to us, the silver
side-hill city of Nazzip, like the Arab himself, whose
ambition is an array of dashing splendor. The Moham-
medan pride appeared decorated with polished steeples
and spires coated with sheets of silver and polished
bronze, while the great Allah temple sat as a center piece.
As we neared the scene it became grotesque, but in the far
away it looked like a dazzling gem, set in soft Oriental
drapery. A thoughtless vision seemed to confuse me
with the scene as I said to myself, "Oh, if my Chicago
friends were here to enjoy this enthusiasm."
Now all the horses, with heads high, who could run
like greyhounds, amid the whoops and howls of the
braves of the desert, struck out wildly for the Oriental
Silver Shrine. This was too much for me, and forgetting
that I was to avoid all risks I stood in my stirrups and
210 LOOKING BACK
urged my horse forward in the race, which had broken
its ranks, and soon found myself near the front of the
now go-as-you-please, bawling to my steed like a regular
Buffalo Bill, and this was kept up all the way to Me-
Schwab. When I liberally recompensed the chief he
kissed me, and I kissed him ; then he put his arm around
me and shook me and kissed me again, then they all
cheered and were off.
On entering through the gates we found ourselves
in an open space of probably twenty-five acres, with high
walls on the north, east and south, apparently set aside
for plays, prayers, public trade or exchange and, possibly,
a place of protection for Bedouin rovers. It was a pretty
place, and when at certain hours the priest calls out his
Allah song from the tower, to see hundreds of people
drop on their knees and faces in the attitude of worship
is a sight long to be remembered.
Our quarters, or jail, was a porch on the south, facing
the open space of which we were not allowed to step out-
side, except to the roof, unless accompanied by officers.
After coffee and rest, I begged permission to be taken
about town, which was refused. Again I demanded to
see the Sheik, which was always granted. But the Sheik
actually looked astonished, and smiled at my audacity
when Moses informed him that I wished to be shown
through the great temple of Allah, but he was courteous
and explained that their people, the Sheas, were very
strict. They were better than the Seanees, who would
eat with foreigners, while the Sheas would throw away
any piece of furniture or dish once used by them. He
finally consented for the guard to take us through the
streets we wished to visit, where I found that they would
sell their own manufacture, lace, rugs, bronze, etc., to
their own people only, but throvigh strategy I purrhased
some amber beads.
THE MAN I HAD SEEN BEFORE
While the officers were conducting us through the
town I noticed a dark fellow, whom I had somewhere
seen before, following us and laughing at my jokes, which
were spoken to Moses mostly in English. When I spoke
to him he feigned not to understand English, and began
drawing me out of the few Arabic words which I had
learned, at which he laughed and said he could speak ten
tongues, including English. He said he knew all about
me, but I had forgotten him. I then had Moses question
him, but could get so little satisfaction that we concluded
he was a fake, but he followed us and managed to advise
me that I had better leave Me-Schwab in the dark; also
that the Sheik might not consent for us to stay over again.
Then I tried hard to think where I had seen r.im, but I
After we had been hustled back to our jail a party
who owned the only wooden-wheeled wagon in that world
came to bargain with me to take us to Karbilla. Two
women, they said, were wanting to go with us, and we
had better go through in the night, to which I objected,
but after much wrangling we fixed on one o'clock in the
morning for the start.
Again I appeared before the Sheik, for permission to
visit the Mohammedan cemeteries. He was reluctant, but
finally consented, with whispered instructions to the
guard, who took us outside the gate to a little hill, where
we could see the graveyard about a mile distant, and then
hustled us right back to our pen.
At one o'clock, after we had swallowed our camel
LOOKING BACK 213
steak and coffee, we were taken to the carry-all, where we
found two masked women just arriving, whom I knew
were quite young by their movements. A soft rug was
stretched across to separate us from the women, who
seemed to be housekeeping in the rear flat of the wagon,
and we in the front. As our start was delayed, I snuggled
back against the rug which partitioned us from the
females, and soon realized that someone on the other side
was snuggling up against me. Wlien I aroused to inquire
about our departure she would speak to the other woman,
then we would resume our comfortable position, until
her head dropped on my shoulder and nature's sweet
repose drove all our cares away — of course both of us
were asleep. Thus we waited until after light, all
grumbling except us who were asleep.
About sunrise the driver, with six Arabian steeds,
in true Bedouin style, circled the open space on a wild
run, then dashing out through the gates struck out for
the north, which took us between the two cemeteries
to which we had been refused admittance the previous
evening. They ran the down grade at high speed, ap-
parently so we could not see the tombs ; but, when just
at the point of curiosity, one wheel ran off and we were
dumped in the sand, where the women lost their masks.
One of them looked slyly at me with her soul brim full
of laughter, as she placed her hands on my shoulders and
shook me playfully; I did not understand her affection,
although under those circumstances I appreciated it and
wished we could each tell our story to the other.
REAL BEDOUINS AFTER US
I concluded that this ruse was being given to intimi-
date me, but later we experienced something more serious.
The road between Nazzip and Karbillia is supposed to
be more safe than the Koofa route, as it is guarded by
squads of Turkish cavalry. At noon we changed horses
and ate barley cakes for dinner, cooked by slapping the
dough on the inside of a heated cement barrel. When we
were ready to start again we could not find out why we
did not go.
We had now recrossed the desert and descended
from the plateau into the valley of the Messopotamia,
where our trail ran between the Chebar River and the
clilTs on the west. All the while we had been waiting our
two drivers had remained on the cliffs, where we could
not see them, but I was not nervous, as I had become
accustomed to waiting. Our suspicion was not aroused
until we started, when the drivers yelled our six-horse
team into a wild run, shaking the old crate wagon from
side to side, for about five miles, when we heard reports
of firearms, and suddenly came to a stop. Then the
drivers, together with the passengers, sisters and all, ran
up the craggy steeps onto the open plain, where in the
distance we saw about ten Bedouins leaning on their
horses' necks running for dear life, followed by a squad
of Turkish cavalry who were firing at them with no effect,
for they were too far away.
I declared at once that it was a plot to frighten me
LOOKING BACK 215
out of the Mohammedan Stamping Grounds, but our
guard, who had been riding to the west of our route all
day, said that the teamsters who came down with our
cary-all from Karbilla a few days previous had killed
a camel man of the great herd which we were about to
pass through, and that the Bedouins were the dead man's
friends from the camel camp, who intended to kill all of
us for re.venge. Also, that the reason we staved so long
in the night and where we lunched was for the cavalry
to arrive from Nazzip to chase the Bedouins away. Then
I decided that, if our guard had told the truth, the Arabs
were not so bad after all.
We soon struck a herd of about 8,000 camels feeding
on the grass and briars along the Shat-El-Chebar. It was a
sight to see them, with their two or three hundred Arabian
family tents, surrounded by horses, dogs, goats, sheep,
chickens and children, leading the sleepy life of our way-
side gypsies, seeming to have no inspiration for a change
in their condition, as one generation follows another. On
each voyage, or tour, said to occupy about live years,
they go collecting camels at the round-up on the wilds
of the great desert and driving them to Persia, of course
selling and trading all the way along the creatures, both
human and dumb, reproducing on the way. The pastur-
age is free but the government taxes are heavy, being
nearly fifty per cent of the value of the animal, which is
paid in such stock as they own. Arabian herdsmen are
generous and hospitable, but, when aroused by what they
consider wrong, they are exceedingly ferocious. We
camped with them several days, and if I had a better grip
on their language I would like to travel a year or two in
one of those herdsmen's caravans and write them up as
the family from which Abraham was called, for from the
216 LOOKING BACK
time of the historical events of Abraham to now there
has probably been little or no change in their daily life.
Their helpfulness and hospitality, without expecting re-
compense, often reminded me of the story of Moses
helping the Midian girls to water their flocks.
Upon my return to Bagdad the Consul took me home
to dinner, where he related a long, amusing story, of
which I will make a short one. He said that the morning
after I left Bagdad the Turkish Emissary from Constan-
tinople sent his deputy to him to inquire who the stranger
from America was and what he wanted, to which the
Consul referred to my passport, which had been presented
to them, and then told them all he knew about me.
Again, in the evening, they sent to him to learn where I
had gone, whereupon Hurner, thinking I would be more
likely to go to Niffer than the interior, told them I had
gone to visit my United States friend who was exploring
the ruins at that place.
Again they sent, to inquire if any treasure had been
found at Niffer, to which the Consul jokingly replied,
"Why, haven't you heard that they have found a sub-
terranean pocket of valuables? And I suppose Richard-
son is here to take them out of the country by way of the
Persian Gulf. I hear he has several camels on the spot;
but this is all hearsay, through the Bedouins, and may not
In less than an hour, said Hurner, two hundred
cavalry, with shining sabres, were on the dash over the
sixty miles of straight across desert sand to intercept
the American thief. Their approach was a surprise to
the old Bostonian, who was simply examining each brick
218 LOOKING BACK
as they came out of the debris, and innocently declared
he had seen no treasure or anything of the American.
JONA AND HIS WIVES
The next morning I received a caller whom 1 recog-
nized at once as the stranger I had met in Nazzip. After
I incjuired how he got to Bagdad so soon, he told me he
had joined the horsemen from Nazzip who protected me.
I asked him what he meant by saying he knew me.
"Were you at Jask, Persia?" he began.
"Yes," I said, "Jask is v/here I saw, in the distance,
those rocky, book-like mountains, so beautiful."
"Did you go ashore ?"
"Did you see me?"
"On your retvirn to the steamer did you assist two
"I did. Americans always assist the ladies."
"Did you go ashore at Bahrein, Arabia?"
I said, "Yes, that is where S. M. Zwemer, a missionary
from the Dutch Reform Church of Holland, Michigan,
rode with us on donkeys to Riggeb-Gem, that ruin more
ancient than Babylon."
"On the return to the steamer did you assist those
women again ?"
"I did, I stood in the water to my hips and assisted
each from their wet donkey to the barge. When on board
one gave me a pomegranite, and when she saw I did not
know what it was, she took it from me with a laugh
and fixed it with sugar so I could eat it."
"Those women, stranger, were my wives. Did you
know that your frankness gained their affection ?"
LOOKING BACK 219
"Your wives ! Gee-whiz, were those women at Me-
Schwad the same women I met on the steamer? Say,
friend, where did you come from, and where are you
"Aly name is Jona. I am a nabob, my home is the
desert thirty days journey from Muscat, but we wih not
burden each other with our history. I have learned that
you are bound for Tadmor, and so am I. Now, can you
tell me anything more about the last days of Jesus of
Nazareth and the last days of Mary Magdalene than is
found in your testament, with which I am familiar?"
I hesitated, and then said : "I did not come into this
country as a missionary, I came to study the people. I
would not interfere with your Mohammedan faith."
"You Christians mistake our position in regard to
Jesus. Jesus, as Mohammed, was a wonderful spiritual
teacher from the living God, but until all worshipers of
the spiritual God drop their materialism, of which the
resurrection of the physical body of Jesus is the most
ungodlike, this world will continue to be the abode of
ignorance, which is the generator of sin ; but enough on
that score for now, for I intend to join you on your
journey to Tadmor, and I trust you will hereafter pass
my wives unnoticed."
"If I see one of your wiv^s falling, head downward
from a camel, shall I save her from breaking her neck?"
"Not if she falls intentionally; but let us return to the
object of my call, the story of Mary Magdalene and Jesus
in their last days."
"Mary Magdalene was all right, friend, but how about
your girl wife, who shook me so fondly when I saw
"Oh, she admired v-qu'' frankness ; she is mad, so
220 LOOKING BACK
please pass her unnoticed on our journey to Tadmor.
Now to change the subject.
"All organized nations, Syria not being the least,
after the fame of Jesus spread abroad, sent scribes to
listen at his feet and report, which report was included
in the collection for our Family Tree Tribe, with a record
of the life and death of Mary Magdalene in which she
shines forth as a feminine beauty of wonderful spiritual
comprehension. This report, with that of the destruction
of Jerusalem and the final attempt to crush out Christi-
anity, has been carried by us in tradition but lost in record
for many centuries. Lately we have been told that the
original manuscripts still exist in the ruins of our ancient
citadel in Tadmor (Palmyra.)
"We styled ourselves Rechabites because we lived in
open air, drank no wine and mingled with no other tribes.
We descended from Adam through the Kenites. Our
rendezvous at the time of David was at Jabes, but in the
days of Jeremiah we came to Tadmor, where we as-
sembled yearly to pay tithes for over a thousand years.
"Now we are dispersed throughout the Orient, and
pay no tithes, yet we hold sacred our peaceful attitude
toward strangers, our education as scribes, our nomad
life and our abhorrence to strong drink. The family
tree is disappearing, for we are intermarrying; even my
mother was an Indian from Karachi.
"My object in this journey is, if possible, to collect
the Aramaic manuscripts of the tribe, that they may be
handed down in an unbroken line, thus completing our
family tree. I can tell you more particulars about our
people, and many incidents about Mary Magdalene, even
if we do not find the manuscripts. For we will journey
"Please let me ask you one question, Mr. Jona, and
then you can proceed. Do you intend me to understand
that you expect to find the original report or document at
Tadmor, or is it a legend of a later author of your tribe
who was familiar with traditional accounts of Jesus and
Mary Magdalene ?"
"I do not want you to understand anything only that
I hope to find manuscripts which will satisfy all that
222 LOOKING BACK
Jesus of Nazareth was a spiritual representative of God,
and that after His death He appeared to ]\Iary Mag-
"I understand you now, go on about your rendezvous."
"As I said concerning our people, the Hebrews, who
thought God had chosen them to disseminate His love and
care over this world, became bigoted through priesthood
and set up a cry that they were retainers instead of dis-
seminators. This caused a breach between us and the
Gentiles, who mande war with us ; but our tribe, the
Rechabites, held aloof, enjoying our nomad life until
Babylonia, spurred on by Syria, began preparations for
that world-wide foraging tour toward Canaan. Then our
tribe, fearful of an onslaught, held council and decided
to take shelter within the walls of Jerusalem, and did so
until Jehoiakim, through Jeremiah, attempted to get us
drunk, when we again held council and decided to throw
ourselves upon the mercy of the Babylonian King, who
in turn permitted us to assemble at Tadmor, exempt from
"Tadmor now became our home, and upon the brow
of the mountain which overlooks the city we excavated
a broad and deep channel in the rock, around a center on
which we built a wonderful castle, the crown to the gem
of the desert, Tadmor. In its sacred archives were kept
all the manuscripts of our tribe. Since we abandoned it
I have heard they still call it by our family name, 'The
Castle of the Rechabs.'
"Recently we have heard that some kind of documents
or manuscripts are still in keeping by a descendant of
our clan, so my people have deputized me to go on this
"If it would be agreeable to you, Mr. Jona, I would
LOOKING BACK 223
like that we group our sub-caravans for the journey."
"Thanks for your hospitahty, but for reasons pre-
viously expressed we will tent separately. You and I will
ride side by side, that I may enjoy the influence of your
inspiring thoughts ; but, really, you would not enjoy the
company of the woman, who you could neither see or
"Why in the d 1, Jona, do you not let them throw
off those masks, just for this journey, and allow the
sweet sunshine, which the flowers on the desert are per-
mitted to enjoy, be experienced by your wives, whom,
by your barbarous custom, you place in dark coffins
before they die?"
"Oh, Mr. Richardson. I understand you all right, but
my people would not. Please do not mention that subject
again. Now please attend to the details of your wants for
our journey with the Persian caravan, which is now
arriving, for we must be ready for the forward move-
ment, which will take place in about four days."
Not willing to let up on the subject, I continued:
"Do your women ever find fault with the way you treat
"Yes, all women are dissatisfied."
"They are not. Our women at home are the sunshine
of our lives."
"Please do not talk any more on that subject," he said
as he wiped the sweat from his neck with his flowing
Many were the peculiar incidents in our caravan of
over fifteen hundred souls on our long journey of twenty-
nine days up the Euphrates and over the desert, all of
which I must pass over, noticing only Jona and his group
as they appeared on the desert.
224 LOOKING BACK
Jona, astride of his beautiful, fleet Arabian, was fol-
lowed by a mammoth black camel loaded down with
about eight hundred pounds of luggage. Following next
was a tall, gaunt, mouse-colored camel on which was a
platform fastened to the saddle ; of which, on either side
over the camel's sides, were attached covered seats which
looked like dog houses. In each of these dog houses was
a wife, his favorite and her assistant, Fatima. Each
wore a veil over her head, jewels on her fingers, ankles,
wrists, ears and neck, attired in a loose wrapper. Ori-
ental nabobs usually travel with two wives, their favorite
and her assistant. The elder, in this case, was his favor-
ite ; she bossed him around just like American wives
do their husbands, not by force but through influence ;
as Abraham obeyed Sarah, and sent the guileless Hagar
into the wilderness, regardless of his feelings.
A sort of Jacob's ladder, on which the women de-
scended to and from their roost, was among the luggage
on the pack camel, and notwithstanding the charge of my
Rechabite friend that I was not to disquiet his wives, I
continually placed the ladder and assisted Fatima and
his favorite to ascend as soon as we struck camp ; for if
I had not, Jona was liable to leave his wives and other
luggage on the camel until we had been on the sand for an
hour. Fatima and I were usually side by side evenings,
when her aptness in catching the English words and re-
turning them to me in Arabic surprised me.
SLEEPING BEAUTY OF THE DESERT
On the twenty-eighth day, about eleven o'clock P. M.,
weary from the long day journey, I dined again on tea
and toast, and with my boots on dropped on my cot, just
for a moment; and seemingly before the moment had
massed the morning sun peeped in and awoke me from my
sweet dream of home. I awoke Jona, and while the camp
still slumbered we ascended a rise of ground to gaze on
that silent form of grandeurs which lay before us, full
twenty miles away. As far as the eye could penetrate,
north and south, the Syrian highlands, long known as
the haunt of the most ferocious Bedouins, loomed up,
where about in the center, seemingly imbedded in the
glistening cliff, lay the ruins of the once proud city of
Tadmor, the queen of the desert. For, while Nineveh
and Babylon at their best were old gray monks, Tadmor,
in the days of David, with her stately granite columns
from the Nile, coquetted with the morning sun like a
maiden in her teens.
Breakfast again of tea and toast, when Jona and I,
with a guard of twelve horsemen, started for a run over
the hilly plain which lay between us and the ruins, leaving
the wives and other luggage to come along with the cara-
van, which would reach Tadmor some time before next
morning. Before starting I promised our escorts a piece
of silver each if we should reach the ruins in an hour.
The morning was bright and the ride was inspiring,
but very tame compared to the wild ride at Nazzip, for we
226 LOOKING BACK
ran steadily on over the sand-drifted desert, while the
sweat on the horses' necks soon worked into a foam ; and
although the distance was nearer twenty-five than twenty
miles, we reined up to the temple of the sun in about
ninety minutes, when I gave two pieces of silver to each,
for which they carried me in their arms through the
ancient archway where there were once swinging gates
nearly sixty feet in height, through which Solomon had
many times passed. Then they lugged me to the market
and coaxed me to buy them a camel bone for soup, which
I did, on the promise that I was to have some of the
soup, but I forgot to come around on time.
THE ABANDONED CASTLE
Jona, as I expected, found the castle, but no relative
in Tadmor; nor anyone who had ever heard who built
or occupied the Fort-Castle on the rocks overlooking the
city. I then questioned him again as to whether there had
ever been such a family tradition concerning Mary Mag-
dalene as he had related, to which he stoutly maintained
there had been, and that Mary Magdalene, the fair
Galilean Goddess whose life was interwoven into the
family of Jesus of Nazareth, had once been a bright
feature in the traditional tree of the Rechabites, but when
or by whom it was introduced he did not know.
With Jona's plat of the ancient ruins, we passed up
through the once beautiful city, where the immense
granite columns from Egypt still stand single, in groups
and in lines, retaining their caps, crowns and arches.
As described by Jona, we found upon the hill which
overlooks the city the once elegant rock castle, surrounded
by a deep Water channel quarried from the solid rock,
as before described, but, apparently, no one had lived
there for ages.
Then, by following his plat west of the city proper,
we found ancient family tombs as he had described, but
the receptacles for the dead, four tiers high, were empty,
save as a retreat for bats and owls. Still we found
no documents concerning Jesus, and Jona's journey to
Tadmor with his two wives was, as far as Jesus and the
Goddess of Galilee were concerned, a complete failure.
228 LOOKING BACK
Unless his many evenings spent with me, relating the
disjointed traditional reminiscences concerning Mary
Magdalene, satisfies others as it does me of the heroic,
unremitting zeal of woman when clouds of sorrow over-
shadow the day.
In parting from my Bedouin friends I shook hands
with the three, and got one more good squeeze from
Jona's disobedient Fatima. Then, according to Oriental
custom, Jona hugged and kissed me. Females of the
desert who are not Mohammedans are accustomed to
kiss at will, the same as the men do. Jona was a kind-
hearted, truthful old Arab. His wife's affection for me
was pure desire for soul liberty, like a bird confined in a
cage while other birds play in the trees.
While the orb of day is kissing a fond adieu to the
Syrina highland which overlooks the great city Tandmor
with its two million inhabitants, two sojourners from the
far East, with their usual escort, turn in beside the fast
flowing stream of hot water which still gushed forth from
under the once beautiful city of the desert.
The fleet and pack animals gently kneel to be relieved
of their burden, for even the patient ships of the desert
become weary on their long journeys over the trackless,
sand blown wilds.
Long after the hum of the city had ceased and the
silence above had thrown its dark mantle over the sleep-
ing face of nature, we sat by the babbling brook discussing
the strange report, which for nearly two years had been
heralded from the vine clad hills of Canaan, to the effect
that one Jesus of Nazareth, a carpenter, was imbued with
spiritual power to the extent that he was healing all
manner of diseases, and of late had raised a damsel
twelve years old from the dead.
Next day, while crossing the Desert of Hor, we could
see Tandmor when twenty miles away, and on the iifth
day we reached Palestine. The evening we arrived at
Capernaum we found the west shore of the Sea of Gali-
lee from the ford of the Jordan north to the hot springs
of Tiberias, south, as well as the western hillside, liter-
ally strewn with groups of wise men from different parts
230 LOOKING BACK
of the world, together with the high and low of the
As Magdala and Capernaum seemed to be the center
of attraction, we staked our tent near, and soon learned
that Jesus, the Wonderful, was a guest of one Simon, a
fisherman, while his kindred were being cared for by
relatives and friends of the family.
Scribes from the South and far East were comparing
notes and discussing His latest miracle of stilling the
tempest, of which there was an abundance of proof
that the storm, which was raging on Galilee, had sub-
sided almost immediately, but as to Jesus having been the
cause, there was a diversity of opinion. Many thought
Jesus was mad or beside himself, while others said, "Has
not God, in all ages past, at times, awakened the people
in mysterious v/ay s ?"
Others, among whom were the scribes and Pharisees
from Jerusalem, declared him to be possessed with the
devil, through which he healed the sick, fed the hungr\'
and stilled the waves ; and still others declared that his
teachings were exclusively spiritual, and not material-
DINA OF ENDOR
While a group of fishermen, who occupied a large
black tent, were enlisting followers to the cause and one,
called Peter, was exhorting the throng, a woman of the
Hebrew tongue was overheard talking to a group of
strangers, to whom she said : ""I am from Endor, my
name is Dina and I have been floating in this great
religious wave for more than a year ; and I am truly con-
vinced that God, through Jesus, is visiting His people,
but why does Jesus not avoid those strangers who are
noting down every word He says, to carry home. An-
other thing seems strange to me, that Jesus, who is from
a nice family, should tolerate rascals who never wore
a square inch of decency on their hides. Just look at
Simon, the old fisherman ; that broad shouldered man
talking now, whom Jesus named Peter, who was and I
suppose is a liar and a toper, whom no one has ever
accused of dealing honestly. Then there is Mary Mag-
dalene, who, with her wealthy Aunt Susanna, lives just
up there on the hillside. Some say she is a relative of
Jesus, perhaps that is because her hair is light, for some
of the breed to whom Jesus belongs have auburn hair.
But oh, isn't she a diamond in the rough? Why, that
maid is a bewitching beauty, graceful as a swan, some-
times as soft as the summer breeze and at other times
wilder than a tornado. She was brought up with or near
the family of Joseph of Nazareth, came here when about
a dozen years old and took the name of Magdalene. I
232 LOOKING BACK
believe, from what I hear, that if that girl faced the
Devil he would back down, and yet she has more true
admirers, staunch friends, than any maid in Gahlee,
In fact I, even though I never speak to her, like her my-
self ; but how Jesus, as the Son of God, can bunch her
faults and forgive them in one batch, is a puzzle to me."
"Why is she called a sinner?" inquired a tall man
in a red shirt which came down to his heels.
"Oh, Jesus says we are all sinners in a certain sense ;
I suppose he would say she will some day bridle her
tongue, but she never will. You see, she has no respect
for the customs and rites of the Pharisees, so I suppose
it was the orthodox who branded her a sinner, but I have
heard that the sisters of Jesus like her, and that of late
she has come down from her perch wonderfully."
"Do the people actually believe the child of Jarius
was dead, or was she possessed by demons?" broke in a
keen-eyed observer with a quill over his ear.
"Oh, I don't know. The people are clamoring for
miracles. Magdalene says the resurrection Jesus preaches
does not refer to the body. Everyone thought the child
was dead, but Jesus said she was not. He talks so much
in parable it is hard to understand him. I have listened
to Jesus almost every day for nearly two years, he all
the time talking about death, and still I and all his
friends are confounded as to whether he means death
of the body or a state of sin-death, from which condition
he can raise those who are naturally dead in sin. I think
the report of his having raised that child is what has
brought so many here of late, but if I understand Jesus —
hush, do you see that tent right here beside us? Those
people just came in at dark. James says they are from
Tadmor, a sect of scribes once called Rechabites. See,
LOOKING BACK 233
they are noting down every word I say, so I'm glad I
haven't said much. Just see old Peter swing his arms
and preach ; from here, where one cannot hear a word,
he would pass for quite a respectable man, yet I heard
that when he used to peddle fish all the attractive women
turned from him, but he never bothered me, and Jesse,
my husband, says it is no wonder, but I tell him if I
am not pretty I know enough to keep my mouth shut.
Magdalene sums up Peter the quaintest; she says she
always manages to get on the side of his cock eye so he
cannot wink at her.
"James and John, the two brothers who are with
Jesus, are fine fellows, in fact I have heard that John
wants to marry Magdalene. James, the brother of Jesus,
is a man to be admired, in fact all the brothers and sisters
of Jesus seem to take after their mother, who, all the
folks say, is a bright ^reature; but the father, Joseph —
well, he is dead, and while I never heard a word against
him, I should say that his lineage from David was his
chief attraction. Jesus, they say, was the real head of the
family from the time he was a boy, but I do not think
he worked at the carpenter trade very much. At an early
age he served at the feet of the noted scribes and priests,
through which he virtually became a support of the
family, for, as an instructor, he was unequaled. Even at
the Sanhedrim his opinion had weight until he took
this religious turn, when his former friends became his
"How could Jesus have tolerated the doings of those
he now so bitterly opposes?" inquired a bystander.
"Oh, I do not know, possibly he was studying their
real character and now he hits them on their sore spots,
but it — there — there — comes Jesus now, that tall man,
234 LOOKING BACK
come close so you can hear him and you will believe every
word he says. Oh there, they are sending us out so they
can be alone — dear me, let us meet again tomorrow so T
can tell you a little of the news ; but as I said, I am not
a woman who says much and seldom express my opinion."
THE HOME OF MAGDALENE
"Magdalene, why are you so restless, and why gazing
so intently at the stormy sea ; has anything crossed your
"Oh, Aunt Susanna, I was just watching the tumb-
ling waves of Old Galilee and I envy them the peace they
enjoy, for soon they will lie down to sleep, but there is
no rest for your poor, wayward Magdalene."
"You are not bad, Mary, your beauty has made you
gay and your vanity presses hard upon your virtue, but
you have never stooped. All your require is time and
"Time, why I am twenty-two gone and I doubt if
twenty-two million of years would mellow me down to
your soft nature. Often I try to be mild and keep my
promise so often made to Jesus, and first I know I am
facing all kinds of difficulties with a rebuff and then I
am too proud to own up that I am sorry."
"Did you hear Jesus talk in the synagogue today?"
"Yes, I was there this morning and that is why I am
so upset. You know I was ever with him and his sisters,
especially Ruth, until I came to you, but since he began
to preach I have avoided him. Well, he caught me this
morning and spoke so kindly that I felt the old child-love
coming back. Seeing so many of my Nazareth friends
and Jesus talking so strangely I began to cry and might
have joined them had not Simon, our old fish peddler,
approached me and began hinting at my waywardness
236 LOOKING BACK
and talking about miracles. Then I flared up and said.
'Really, Peter (that is what they call him now), you do
not say you have repented — if you have, and it goes deep
enough to make you give honest weight on fish, I should
say Jesus has performed a miracle, indeed.' Then he
broke in by saying, 'Maggie,' but I checked him on the
spot and said, 'Call me Magdalene. I am no little girl,
I am a lady.' Then he kind of twisted his jaw as he used
to when he cried, 'Fish — fish,' and asked if I was sure,
and I told him he had better keep on seeking shelter
against the day of wrath to come. Then as Jesus came
near the anger seemed to leave me and I could have
knelt and kissed his feet."
"Whose feet. Mary?"
"Whose do you suppose ?" Then the proud girl bit her
lip in scorn.
A moment silence, and Aunty continued, "\Miat dc
you think of Jesus?"
"Why, really, I do not know what to think ; probabb
I am not as good a judge as one who has not known him
for he was always ready to help Ruth and me out of oui
embarrassing predicaments, of which there were many,
for you know Ruth and I were hand in hand in mischief.
One day she and I — say Aunty, there comes John, what
do you suppose he wants?"
JOHN AND MAGDALENE
Aunt Susanna fluttered some at John's approach, for,
although a daily playmate with Magdalene, he seldom
appeared in their garden now. "I am glad to see you,
John. You used to run in, when a boy, and why do you
not come oftener now?"
John laughingly replied, while greeting Magdalene,
"Since I have become so big that Lena cannot box me
around handy, I thought the enjoyment of my presence,
especially for her — "
"Now, John," broke in Magdalene, as she solidly
planked herself on the couch beside him, "First, you've
been here more than forty times since that evening, and
next, did you not deserve a good box on your ear when
you tied the straw to our dog's tail?"
"I was just playing Sampson."
"How did you like my playing Sampson, when I
boxed your ears?"
"I just enjoyed it."
"You did not; if you had you would not remember
"Now, John," said the peaceful aunty, "you must
confine yourself to the truth ; you know I have always
held you up as a model young man."
"John," said Magdalene, as she touched him on the
John turned, and looking her quizzically in the face,
238 LOOKING BACK
said, "Do you remember. Lena, that the trouble that day
all ended with you and I eating bread and honey and then
your going part way home with me, hugging and kissing
me all the way. Now do you wonder at my enjoyment?"
She smilingly replied, "What a pity it is that hand-
some boys grow up to be such ugly men. Just play you
are a boy again and set fire to the dog's tail once more.
I dare you to do it."
"Oh, Lena," he said, as he turned the conversation,
"do you buy your fish of Simon yet?"
Springing to her feet, her eyes sparkling, she said,
"Honestly, John, I would rather go to hell with you than
to heaven with old Simon."
John looked admiringly at the stately figure before
him, as he calmly said, "Why, Lena."
After time for reflection, Magdalene again seated her-
self beside him, dropping her head on his shoulder weep-
ing, and while Aunt Susanna came and kissed away the
tears, she with difficulty continued, "If you only knew
how I hated some people, without cause, and loved others
who do not love me, you would pity me. Old Peter has
his virtues and I know it."
After the storm had passed, Magdalene laughingly
inquired, "Now, John, did you actually come over to see
Aunty, or did you come to see me?"
John declared it was both, but the business end of the
call was bread. Then it was soon arranged that Aunt
Susanna should furnish ten loaves each day as long as
the followers of Jesus remained at the Lake.
"His a parent communion with God," continued John,
"has so startled the world that many are coming out of
curiosity. Tomorrow, being Sabbath, he will preach in
LOOKING BACK 239
the synagogue and we hope the spies from Jerusalem
will not interfere."
"Truly, John," inquired Aunt Susanna, "do you be-
lieve in him? Magdalene, answer the door call."
Aunt Susanna and John listened that they might
recognize the voice when Magdalene exclaimed, "Oh,
Ruth — Ruth, you dear sweet girl, why did you keep me
waiting so long?" And Ruth after embracing Magdalene
ran and kissed Aunt Susanna and then with a low
:ourtsey begged John to pardon her rudeness, for which
John complied and said, "I saw you with your folks to-
day, but I did not dare approach for you all looked so
nervous that I feared a break-down."
Ruth turned a distant glance as the large tears trickled
down her cheeks, when Magdalene placed her fair arm
around the waist of her life-long friend, softly saying,
"Do not weep, Ruth, everybody loves you," to which the
sad girl replied, "We do all feel so strange ; no one
thought it would ever come to this."
"Ruth," began Aunt Susanna, "anxiety will make you
all sick ; now be calm and let me plan. You and Magda-
lene must enter the garden while it is twilight, and Mag-
dalene do not fail to show her the baby birds in the lilac
bushes. You, John, however much you wish, cannot go
with them, for I have a duty for you. \\'hile I light the
fire for hot cakes and honey you must run down to
Capernaum and bring Jesus, his mother and all the family
up here to dine, and stop with us until morning. Ruth
will sleep v/ith Magdalene, her mother with me and Jesus
on the couch. We have heaps of rugs so others can lie
down where they please. If you like, John, you can stay
also, for I know you like to be with Jesus."
LOOKING BACK 241
"Really, Aunt Susanna," broke in Ruth, "I have been
here so much."
"Now, Ruth, not a word from you. During the time
Magdalene has lived with me, I do not think you have
made her what might be called ten good visits, and
Magdalene has been to Nazareth about forty times. Be-
sides, everytime she comes home I hear nothing but Ruth,'
Ruth, so I conclude she is at your home most of the time."
"Aunt Susanna," said John, as he raised to go.
"John," ejaculated Magdalene as she seized him by
the arm, "You're not going until vou have seen our gar-
den ; it will not hinder you three minutes."
John did not seem anxious to release himself from
her grasp, but responded, "I must obey your Aunty's
command." Then turning to Aunty he continued, "Please
do not bake the cakes until I return, for I think they are
all fixed for the night. Jesus is stopping with Peter's
wife's mother and — "
"Peter," exclaimed Magdalene, as she turned her
saucy nose to one side and elevated her chin.
"Ruth," said John, as arm in arm with the two girls
they turned to the garden, "can you abide Magdalene
without obeying her commands?"
Ruth seeming to forget her troubles, laughingly re-
plied, "Oh, I see your predicament, John, but you know
the wise do control the weak."
Then as Magdalene let go his arm and squared herself
saucily before him in the attitude of wisdom, she said,
"Now, John, own up that you wish you had not asked
Ruth that question," to which John mumbled something
about all girls being alike, at which Magdalene again
flared up and accused him of not being capable of appre-
ciating select company, and then they all laughed.
DARKNESS OVER GALILEE
John has returned home ; Jesus is asleep in the home
of Simon's mother-in-law ; Mary, the mother of Jesus,
and her childen, save Jesus and Ruth, are sleeping under
their little open tent shelter on the pebbled beach. Every
lodging in Tiberias, Magdala, Bethsaida and Capernaum
is occupied by strangers, while more than ten thousand
souls overcome by fatigue have tonight lopped down in
groups here and there upon the shore of the renowned
inland lake, the Sea of Galilee.
The evening star has disappeared beyond the western
hills, while spangled Orion and the Pleiades sisters seem
lingering as though to look down in silent pity on slum-
bering old Nazareth, whose religious zealots have thrust
out in bitter scorn the man whose lamp of light will shine
upon the mysterious way called Death, when other lights
have all grown dim.
It is now after midnight. Ruth and Magdalene are
in fond embrace, while Aunt Susanna on a reclining divan
amid a profusion of pretty rugs and bolstering pillows is
plying questions to Ruth concerning her brother, Jesus.
"Ruth, how long has it been since your brother began
to talk this way?"
"Really, Aunt, I cannot say. He has practically been
the head of our family since before father died. He
always seemed to know if a sick person was going to get
well, but, of course, as Lena knows, he said and did many
things that we did not notice then, which look strange
LOOKING BACK 243
to us now. I remember one time when we were small
we all went over to Saffuriyeh to spend the day with
mother's folks, and while going over, he said to us that
we must all be kind to grandpa for we would never
see him again, and he did die in a few days."
"Did he ever call himself the son of God?"
"Oh, no, we never thought of such a thing, but he
often spoke of God as my father instead of our father.
The first time we noticed anything unusual was when he,
with a lot of other men, went to the Jordan, near Jerusa-
lem, to be baptized by a man named John. When they
returned home, he was preaching different from what
he used to preach. Of course, as mother says, he may
have had divine aid all along and not told us, nor even
understood it himself."
"Did your mother love him better than she did you
"Certainly she did. You do not think she would like
gusts of emotion like Lena and me as well as she did a
fatherly man like Jesus. Why, Aunt Susanna, everyone
loved Jesus until that old bigoted gang of priests got after
"I wish I was God," broke in Magdalene, "wouldn't
I jerk those priests out of their phylactery garm.ents
and put them to grinding in the mill ? I should say every-
one does love Jesus, he won my heart when I was 6 years
old, and I would love him yet if he would shake up old
"Oh, Aunty, you know I do not mean just what I
say, but let me go on with my story of love. One after-
noon when we were all up on the commons, they got
244 LOOKING BACK
up a race between me and Delila, from the spring. You
know, Ruth, I was swift, — awful swift."
"And you are fleetly still," chimed in Aunt Susanna.
"Oh, yes, Ruth, she refers to a race about two years
ago when someone brought in a Greek courier to run
with me and I showed him my heels before a crowd of
over two thousand people. Now I will begin back on
my love story : One afternoon when we were all up on
the commons, they got up a race between Delila and me.
She was an inch taller and a year older than I. So well
do I remember when we were waiting for the signal and
I was so confident of winning, but we had not gone far
before I discovered I had my match. If we had had
twenty steps more to run I would have won, but as it was
they all cried Delila — Delila, when Jesus caught me up in
his arms and said, 'Now, Mary (you know he always
calls me Mary), would you not rather be called the
sweetest girl than the faster runner?' Then, after he
had wiped the tears and gotten me to laughing, he said, 'I
want you to do something for me, will you?' and I said,
'Yes, you know I will, what is it ?' 'I want you to go over
to Delila and say, "When my legs get as long as yours I
will race you again." ' 'I will not,' said I. Then he turned
and looked the other way, but I shook his hand and said,
'Do you hear me? I say I will not go near the old thing.'
Then he turned and spoke as he often spake, 'Why,
Mary.' I stood a moment and then dropped my elevated
chin, let go of his hand and ran to Delila and told her
just what he told me to, and she laughingly said. 'You
would have won anyhow if you had not stumbled at the
start.' So we began talking and both went back to Jesus,
who bought us a piece of melon, and he laughed when we
LOOKING BACK 245
ate it by one taking a bite and then the other, unti .t was
"Do you know," inquired Ruth, "that Dehla has mar-
ried that rich man who had been a leper and they are
Hving in Bethany, near Jerusalem ? Jesus told me only a
few days ago about two sisters in Bethany, Mary and
Martha, who are relatives of Simon and live near him
with their brother Lazarus. Simon has a beautiful home,
where our folks, when at Jerusalem, go over and stay
nights. Joseph of Aramathaea and Nicodemus are often
there, they help Jesus in many ways, always giving him
money and a place to stay. Jesus said he is going back to
Jerusalem again, but mother and all of us are trying to
persuade him not to do so. If he does, and we all go,
will you both go with us? Mother wants to know."
"I think we will," replied Aunt Susanna, and so they
talked on until the golden dawn awoke the little songsters,
who sang the three to sleep on the hillside by the sea.
"Do you know, Lena," said Ruth, as they were walk-
ing in the twilight, "that mother thinks I had better not go
to Jerusalem. She says only she and James will follow
Jesus, for if we all go the rabbis may burn our home."
"I have feard that, Ruth, for some time. Some in-
fluence caused me to think that way, but I did not mention
it. Say, Ruth, why do people call me a sinner and say I
am possessed with devils ?"
"Why, Lena, they call Jesus the same. That is an
epithet applied to all who do not conform to the orthodox
faith. Jesus says everybody is tempted by devils and
that God, through Him, casts them out. You know you
have never allied yourself to any faith."
"Do you think that is necessary, Ruth ?"
"You can see," she replied, hesitatingly, "that Jesus
246 LOOKING BACK
approves of that course. Kneeling and kissing the feet is
considered an open confession. Have you ever spoken
to Jesus about it?"
"Yes, I have, and he seemed to avoid me by asking if
I loved those who did not love me, and you know I can
never love Peter." The sad girl looked upon the ground
in a brown study, and then continued : "Is that which
one cannot control sinful?"
Ruth did not reply and Magdalene bit her lip nerv-
ously as she murmured, "Oh, if I could only get rid of
this temper of mine. So long have I loved Jesus, r.iid I
know he loves poor me and wants to forgive my sins.
Am I one of those whom he talked about the other day?
Will he be ashamed of me when he comes into his king-
dom ?" Mary Magdalene turned her gaze. Her soul was
wandering far away into the future. She was thinking
of the day, not so far distant, when her earthly eyes would
be closed to those familiar Galilean hills. The storm was
fast gathering, her poor heart was aching, but still she
stood aloof, trying to suppress the love she should im-
part. Ruth took in the situation and placing her arm
around the troubled maid turned the conversation and
talked softly of what might take place tomorrow.
As the morning sun gleamed from over the Syrian
desert, touching the hilltops, the song birds in the olive
orchards and oak groves began chiming their sinless mel-
odies, regardless of the throng, now stirring themselves
and lighting fires here and there in the great camp around
the renowned Sea of Galilee.
Facing the camp stood the quaint old temple of Caper-
naum, in which Jesus had been teaching for several days.
Probably the sun never rose on a more curious throng
than those who lodged in open air, under blankets, and
LOOKING BACK 247
in tents along the western shore, while Jesus lingered in
and about Capernaum. Healing the sick and casting out
devils had been practiced by all nations and tribes since
the advent of tradition, but when sojourners from Mesop-
otamia, Syria, and Egypt returned home to announce
that a man in Galilee had for two years been preaching
that he as the Savior of the world had come from God
to heal the sick, cure the deaf and blind, cast out devils
and raise the dead, wise men began to gather in Galilee
until now an immense throng were gathered near the
childhood home of Jesus.
A group of large, broad, bullet-headed men from
Nineveh, who styled themselves the descendents of Jona,
had just arrived. Their roomy camel-hair knee breeches
and dawn-like smile betokened that their object was in-
formation and not criticism.
Pharaoh's land was represented by a small caravan of
Egyptians attired in professional habits, who had chosen
quarters near a group of Persian cameleers, whose very
equipment, both of man and beast, seemed to blend in soft
Oriental shades. The peculiarity of these two groups of
doctors was that while listening attentively they ex-
pressed no opinion.
Groups of scribes, Turks, Persians, Arabs and In-
dians were closely noting all events connected with Jesus
and his followers, but took no part in the discussions of
the Jews, who everywhere nervously discussed the effect
of his teachings.
The scribes, Pharisees and priests who disdainfully
ignored his claim, were worried that so many of their
people were following him, especially as the edict had
gone forth that any one who professed Jesus to be the
Christ should be expelled from the synagogue.
SURPRISE FOR THE PHARISEES
When evening came, a rich Pharisee, knowing that
Jesus was having no time to either eat or sleep, and he
himself desirous to hear and see him, invited him to his
spacious apartments to dine, where he had assembled his
friends. As Jesus approached the entrance, Ruth and
Magdalene ran spat upon him, when he, taking Magda-
lene by the hand, smiled and said, "Mary." Then kissed
Ruth and passed in as Simon's guest.
The recognition of Alagdalene had been noticed by
Simon and a dark scowl knit his brow, as he mentally
connected her with sinful episodes, and thinking Ruth
must be a sister of Jesus, he wondered how she tolerated
the fearless maid with whom she was associating.
Washing feet and fondling hair was a mark of great
respect, often paid to illustrious guests, but Simon, know-
ing Jesus to be weary and hungry, waived all ceremonies,
as he bade them sit for the sumptuous repast.
After the guests had entered and darkness had dis-
persed the throng outside, Ruth and Magdalene walked
back and forth in front of the entrance, which was a cur-
tained arch through a high wall into a canopy-covered,
miniature garden, decked with a profusion of soft rugs
on divans with lace-embroidered coverings.
As the interesting Jewess walked back and forth, Ruth
engaging her in low tones, she, Magdalene, turned quickly
and contrary to all customs of her race and times, uncere-
LOOKING BACK 249
moniously tossed back the drapery and stood before the
Dead silence reigned, as the Pharisees gazed upon the
bold intruder. A scarf of veil-like appearance hung care-
lessly over her head of abundant auburn hair rambling
over her shoulders, while from a neat dark habit which
enclosed her erect form protruded her shapely arms and
one extended foot protected by an adorned slipper.
Jesus glanced recognition, which encouraged her, and
then turned his eyes upon Simon, which seemed to rivit
him to the spot, as Magdalene approached with angelic
grace and kneeling before Jesus began weeping and kiss-
ing his feet.
Simon's disdainful look blended into sympathy as he
gazed upon the famous beauty, while he hesitated as
though he would lay his hand upon her head. Jesus
bowed to his impulsive friend, as he called her by the
name she bore when a child, and then turning to his
host, said, "Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee."
"Say on, Alaster."
"There was a certain creditor who had two debtors,
the one owed 500 pence and the other 50, and when they
had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both ; tell
me, therefore, which of them will love him most?"
"I suppose the one whom he forgave most," was
"Thou has rightly judged," and turning to Magdalene,
he said, "Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine
house, thou gavest me no water for my feet, but she
hath washed my feet with tears. Thou gavest me no
kiss, but she hath not ceased to kiss my feet, wherefore
I say unto thee, her sins are forgiven," and turning to
her he said, "Thy faith hath saved thee."
250 LOOKING BACK
Magdalene softly passed out through the curtain way
while Simon would gladly have had her remain, and now
to her the stars shone more bright than ever before.
Ruth's embrace was more dear, while her hatred for poor
penitent Peter was quietly passing away.
COUNCIL OF THE DISCIPLES
When they arrived at the apostle's tent, Magdalene,
in her impulsive manner, ran to Peter, and placing her
hand on his shoulder, for a long time engaged him in earn-
est conversation. No one was more pleased than Peter,
whom she had scorned for years, and he was glad to
forget all and forgive the dashing maid whom he had
often designated as Tornado Mag of Galilee.
After the evening meal, which the women had pre-
pared and practically provided, reports were received and
commented upon. Thomas overheard a priest declare
that if Jesus had blasphemed, he ought to be put to death
at once, while John had learned that the Ninevites and
Rechabites had declared that God had come to his own,
and many of the like for or against were received. All
of this James, the brother of Jesus, received coolly and
assured them that it would require time for the tumult
and confusion to subside, during which time all should
deport themselves in an exemplary manner and prepare
for the worst, "for," he continued, "in times of old, God
often called those He loves, to tread the thorny path, but
it must be that the afflicions of our momentary existence
cannot be compared with the joys of Eternity. Jesus,
you know, has often told us, 'My Kingdom is not of this
world,' and true it is that the real life lies beyond this
scene of continued death."
"James, James," cried Peter, "are we to reap no
earthly benefit from this course?"
252 LOOKING BACK
"Truly, truly, Peter, if we live the spotless life which
Jesus lives our rewards will be great, but God's plan "
"Can I speak ?" interrupted Ruth, as she raised to her
"Certainly, certainly," was the reply, as all turned to
listen, for the scene was unusual.
"I do not comprehnd the ideas of brother James as
I wish I did, but if this work is of God, and His myste-
rious plan is that wt shall suffer defeat in this, our day,
in order that the coming generations may rejoice"
"Hear! Hear," cried John, and the men all chimed
in "Hear ! Hear !" except Peter, who seemed to think
that a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush, as he
"The Kingdom of Galilee is good enough for me ;
Ruth may be willing to suffer for the unborn and I am
no more afraid of death than she is, but my motto has
always been, 'Let everyone die for themselves,' therefore
I think the maid from Nazareth is out of order."
Peter's self-preservation speech rather upset the
maiden's zeal and she came back at him thoughtlessly ;
"You better make peace with your mother-in-law before
you assume to thwart the plans .of the Almighty," to
which Peter winked his bad eye, but could think of no
reply appropriate for the occasion.
TURN OF THE TIDE
Months have passed and again we find Jesus at the
home of Peter's mother-in-law in Capernaum, Magda-
lene and Ruth are serving the women who are lodging at
the home of Aunt Susanna. The homes of John, Philip
and Matthew are all overcrowded, for the Lord's earthly
career is now at its zenith, but tomorrow the doubtful
will return home, the venomous will conspire to destroy,
while the faithful will try to induce Jesus not to go down
The next day Jesus, standing in the synagogue, cried,
"I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never
hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. I
came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but
the will of Him that sent me, and this is the will of Him
that sent me, that everyone which seeth the son, and be-
lieveth on him, may have everlasting life."
Then the multitude murmured and said : "Why does
this man disdain signs and wonders and yet says he
came down from Heaven? Is not this the carpenter's
son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren
James and Joses, and Simon and Judas, and his sisters,
are they not all with us?"
Continuing, Jesus said : "No man can come to me,
except the Father who sent me, draw him ; not that any
many hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he
hath seen the Father. Whosoever eateth my flesh and
drinketh my blood, hath eternal life. My flesh is meat,
254 LOOKING BACK
indeed, and my blood is drink, indeed. Doth this ofifend
you? It is the spirit that quickeneth ; the flesh profiteth
nothing. The words that I speak unto you are spirit and
Then many of his disciples, when they heard it, said :
"This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" and from that
time many went back and walked no more with him.
MAGDALENE'S HEROIC PLEA
Evening lowers its dark mantel over the faithful, as
they gather at the home of Aunt Susanna again to discuss
and consider the conditions.
"Where is Jesus?" his mother inquired.
"He is walking on the shore," replied John. "He re-
quested to be alone."
Trembling and pale, Mary, the mother of Jesus, stood
and looked down upon the Galilean shore as she mur-
mured, "Oh, how peaceful." Then closing her eyes she
continued, "Oh, that this generation was passed." Then
Magdalene assisted her to a divan and was whispering
softly to her, when James came and caressed her gray
locks as he said, "Mother, kiss Magdalene; she is lovely,
"I," responded Magdalene, "am nothing but a briar,"
to which James replied, "Roses grow on briars."
Around and in Aunt Susanna's home a great crowd
of men and women had assembled when Thomas stood
up and began, "A strange problem lies before us for
solution this day. For more than two years we have
followed Jesus and listened to his teachings. We had
understood that God, through Jesus, was doing this
work. Today the aspect is changed, for he tells us he
came forth from God to do God's will. This implies a
consciousness of existence in a place he calls Heaven,
before he came among men. Some of his most ardent
admirers now believe he is beside himself. If such is
256 LOOKING BACK
the case, we ought to persuade him not to go up to
Jerusalem to the feast of the Passover."
"Does his sermon on the mount portray derangement
of the mind?" broke in Matthew, as he produced a bvm-
dle of parchment and began reading: "A good tree
cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree
bring forth good fruit."
"That is exactly the point," said John. "Either we
must deny all, or admit his version of the source of his
power. If you observe closely you will find his intimacy
with God includes more than faith ; it corresponds closely
to acquaintance. Notice what he said today, 'Not that
any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God.'
Then knowing that we could not understand, he followed
by saying, 'He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.'
The knowledge he possesses we cannot comprehend, and
knowing this he simply requires faith."
Judas Iscariot, the burly disciple from Beersheba,
now arose and after admitting his faith in the Master's
claim, began to lay stress on the fact that as so many
were falling away, it might be better for all to abandon
the cause until such time as Jesus could passify the
Scribes and Pharisees by admiting their prescribed
While Judas continued, two men were overheard con-
versing in an undertone as they looked in at the audience.
"Do you see that young woman there facing Judas?
That is Mary Magdalene."
"Really, is that so ! I have heard so much about her.
I wish I could hear her speak or sing."
"Do not worry, you will hear her. See her bite her
lip ! There is a storm brewing in her soul, and I pitv
old Jude when she gets the floor."
LOOKING BACK 257
"Does she believe in Jesus?"
"Believe ! I should say she does ; she exhorts every
evening. That elderly woman beside her is Mary, the
mother of Jesus, and the one with her hand on Magda-
lene's shoulder is Ruth, one of his sisters. Honestly,
those two maids have done more thus far to convince the
public than all of his sleepy disciples."
"She does not look like the tornado of Galilee."
"Tornado, nothing ! Why, her folks lived near us
before she came over here, and I do not believe she ever
told a lie in her life, but she has an interesting way of
enforcing her opinion. There ! There ! she has the floor
now ! Listen !"
"You, Judas Iscariot," she began, "virtually admit
that you have faith in Jesus as to his sanity and that he
is the Christ which was to come into the world, and still,
for fear of apparent consequences, you advise abandon-
ment. All lives and careers undergo encouraging and
discouraging events, today the world enfolds you in her
loving arms, tomorrow the cruel cold shoulder is turned,
and experience teaches that the rebuff sometimes falls
on the worthy, for the world often goes agog. Truly,
the multitude is disappearing, thousands will return home
on account of this 'Bread-of-life' sermon today, for they
do not understand that evolution requires time ; that large
bodies move slowly. They may be blameless, but you —
you, Judas Iscariot — you who have been with him
more than two years, are you yet befogged, or are you a
coward? Dir you today think that Jesus intended to con-
vey the idea that God was a baker and had sent a loaf
of bread down to Capernaum, and that he, Jesus, was
the loaf? I know you did not. I hope I do not under-
stand you. I hope you are true. I cannot imagine a
258 LOOKING BACK
traitor among us. Oh, how my heart aches. See how
low the lights burn tonight ! All seems so far away."
At this juncture she scowled and looked downwards
as though collecting her thoughts, and then continued :
"You know that the priests at Jerusalem dread Jesus,
thinking that his teachings, if not impeded, will revolu-
tionize the religious world and for this reason they favor
a ransom to have him out of the way. Inasmuch as vou
are aware of this, you can imagine my surprise when
today I overheard you with the others say to Jesus, 'De-
part then and go into Judaea.' " As she quoted his words
she hesitated, biting her lip nervously, then as though a
thought struck her, she raised her head smilingly and
continued, as she turned from Judas to the 'audience :
"In the upper corner of our garden nearby, one can
see an old cactus. Some one sowed the seed from which
it sprang before any one of us was born. I used to try
to twist and break it when I first came here, for it seemed
to cast no blossoms and bear no fruit. Other plants and
shrubs blossomed, yielded their fruit, but the old cactus
seemed just to live and that was all. One day, as some
of you know, Ruth was here and we discovered a bud on
it, called the gardener, who decided it was a century plant
which might blossom soon, but it did not. Evening after
evening all the neighbors came to behold the wonderful
blossom which was expected to come forth from the seed
sown nearly one hundred years ago. It was so slow
that we became discouraged, but at last one evening, when
we all stood around, the gardener applied warm water to
the roots and in a few moments the largest and most
beautiful blossom known to the Orient came forth, and
think of it, dear friends, more than fifty years after the
one who sowed the seed had gone to his long home.
LOOKING BACK 259
"Today the seed of life is being sown in the hilly
land of Old Canaan, the buds are promise, blossoms peace
and fruit everlasting life. As through summer and win-
ter, sunshine and rain, the old cactus came forth, so
through joy and sadness, bitterness and despair, the tree
of life may put forth. When we think of the thorny
path over which good souls before us have traveled, we
ought to trust in providence, for God is with us and
knows it all.
"God's mysterious guide oft leads us where we would
not go, bvit never where we cannot stay. He plans our
course, he knows it all and some bright morn he will
reveal. Abraham did not know, when he was called from
home to spend his years among these hills, that when
the frost of time had turned him pale, the angels would
appear. Hagar, wandering in the wilds of Beersheba,
did not think that God knew all of her troubles, and would
not let her perish with her child. Moses did not know
when he fled across the desert wilds oft looking back in
fear, that his fair Zipporah would meet him at the well.
\Mien Ruth looked, for the last time, on the scenes of
her childhood, and turned from the hills of Moab, to
follow Naomi in the plain path of duty, she did not know
that God had called her to become the mother of the
most illustrious family in the world. All these, my
friends, were blessings in disguise.
"Neither does the seed sown mature so quickly. The
seed here sown in Galilee these days may bear little fruit
in our generation, even for hundreds or thousands of
years, but some sweet day, when the storms of life are
over, and the followers of our Lord join hands to spread
the gospel of the "Bread-of-life" as we have heard to-
260 LOOKING BACK
day, like the sleepy cactus, it will blossom forth in all
At this point Jesus and James stepped in, unobserved
by her, while she continued : "The storm is upon us now.
I hear the distant billows roar. This night to you who
hesitate may be the turn of the tide throughout an end-
less Eernity, so bare your bosoms to the storm and look
only to the beacon lights, if dimly you may discern them.
"Earth life is but a fleeting shadow, soon past.- I
know my name will never appear on the records of this
great struggle, no one will ever weep at the tomb of
Mary Magdalene, but what for aye the morrow. Can
you all meet me there?
"Did you who beheld Moses on the Mount of Trans-
figuration a few days ago think he had just come from his
grave on Mount Nebo, where he had been sleeping fifteen
hundred years? If you did, I hope God will wink at your
ignorance, but you did not, no — no. The real spiritual,
personal Moses did not die, he has lived, he does live,
he will live, and you and I will just begin to live when
these poor eyes will cease to weep, when this poor heart
will ache no more and these soft hands are cold in clay.
"Is this struggle a sacrifice or a privilege? Oh,
friends, the day will come when the world will envy us
who lived in these dark days, and walked and talked and
sang with the real Savior of the world, the son of the liv-
The last words seemed to thrill the throng with emo-
tion, but the climax was only reached when Magdalene
fainted into the arms of John and Ruth, who bore her
A tumult now acrose as poor impetuous Peter, for-
getting that his motto was each one to die for themselves,
swung his brawny arms amid his tears and cried, "Hear !
Hear ! Hear !" which was taken up by the crowd assem-
bled outside, who though they did not catch her words,
were anxious to cheer for the fascinating maid of Galilee.
When the tumult subsided, Jesus stepped forward,
leaning on the arm of his brother James. His tall figure
was perceptibly bowed with fatigue and meditation, while
his florid complexion assimilated his face to that of his
mother, whose refinement also appeared in her daugh-
ter Ruth. The Lord stood half a head above his twelve
disciples, save Thomas, who was very tall, contrasting
absurdly with Matthew, who was so small and quaint
looking that Magdalene, in her sunny days, designated
him as the embalmed puckerberry.
^Mlen all was quiet, Jesus, in a low voice, said : "Did
my words in the synagogue ofifend you? What, and if
you see the son of man ascend up where he was before?
It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing.
As I have said, the words which I speak unto you are
spirit, they are life. Go you up to the feast, I go not up
yet to the feast, for my time is not yet fully come."
The encouraging days of our Lord's career were now
at an end. His "Bread-of-life" sermon was generally
misunderstood and taken as literal, which agitated the
question of his sanity, besides his remarks on the assem-
bly concerning his ascending up to where he was before
did not help the matter. The invincible Magdalene had
convinced two of the twelve and a few of the others that,
as he had said his words were spirit and truth, they must
not be taken literally, but the thousands, which included
his friends and relatives, were in doubt. The Persian and
Egyptian scholars, with the Assyrian Knights, Nobles and
Princes, argued that his moral lessons did not voice of
insanity, neither of deceit, still they were returning home
somewhat depressed while the Galileans, including the
twelve, save Peter and John, were preparing to go up
to Jerusalem to the feast.
Magdalene, Aunt Susanna and Mary, the mother of
Jesus, with Peter and John, soon set out with Jesus from
the Galilean coast as though they would journey to Tyre.
While ascending the hills west of Capernaum, Jesus,
turning for the last time, looked down upon the familiar
scenes before him. It semed but a moment since he,
with other children, stopped and gazed on old Galilee for
the first time. Now along the shore lay boats like the
one from which, in days of his great achievement, he
had taught the eager throng, which had now disappeared.
The sun's dazzling rays bore down upon the dreamy
LOOKING BACK 263
waters of the little mountain inland sea upon whose shore
he would walk no more. From Bethsaida, a blue smoke
curled languidly over the retreat of his fisherman follow-
ers, while upon the hillside to the south lay the garden
home of Aunt Susanna, where the once beautiful, but
now pale Magdalene had upon every occasion so vehem-
ently defended him whom she was now to follow to his
The little party traveled to the northwest, leaving
Nazareth on the south, until noon of the second day,
when Jesus turned south as though he would go to Jeru-
salem, and, as it were, secretly camped in the woods on
Mount Carmel, in plain view of the hills of Nazareth,
where many of his old acquaintances were now boasting
of the failure of his mission.
Magdalene would gladly have run over and hugged
and kissed Ruth one more good-bye, but as their route
to the south, along the foot of Mount Carmel, had been
unnoticed, the Master's orders were to proceed again in
the night and crocs the Esdraelon Plain before day.
After the evening meal, Jesus read the 28th chapter
of First Samuel, and as was their custom, sang and
prayed. Then, while the sun still lingered on the hilltop,
Jesus pointed out the position of the two armies, and
the City of Endor, where Saul consulted the woman the
night before he and his sons were slain ; then he drew
their attention to the traditional homestead of Elijah,
who lived nearly fifteen hundred years before.
Peter called attention to the beautiful sunset on the
Mount of Transfiguration and inquired if Moses and
Elias would ever come again, at which, while all lis-
tened for his reply, Jesus turned and looked at the moun-
tain, but did not speak.
264 LOOKING BACK
Before sunrise next morning the little party had
passed Jezreel and by noon arrived at Dothan, where
they decided to camp until the following morning. Here
they viewed the traditional pit into which Joseph had
been cast the day his brothers had sold him into Egypt.
As twilight came on, a party was seen approaching
from the north, which proved to be a band of his follow-
ers who, having become alarmed, had followed them with
the hope of persuading Jesus to return to Nazareth.
Among them was Cleophas and his wife, Mary, she being
the sister of Joseph, the father of Jesus, but all argu-
ments to induce Jesus to return were of no avail.
The next morning at Jacob's well they found several
hundred who fell into line and thus the throng increased
until they crossed the Jordan, where they were met by
his ten disciples who, with a host of others, had come up
from Jerusalem to meet them, and now Jesus went be-
fore them towards Jericho.
WAITING BY THE JORDAN
When back on the west side of the Jordan, Jesus with
the women from GaHlee and the twelve disciples turned
south for the night, into the well known palm grove,
■while the crowd hastened to Jericho for bread. After
supper he with his mother and Magdalene strolled south
to the shore of the Dead Sea, where he, while reclining
his head on his mother's knee and Magdalene smoothing
his hair, fell asleep.
John, who was following, now stole in with pillows
and blankets, and soon Jesus and the two women were
lost in dreams in the very plain where the children of
Israel had slept the first night after crossing the Jordan
into the Promised Land.
Since Jesus had left Capernaum he had avoided the
curious, for well he knew he was misunderstood by all
save mother, John and Magdalene, to whom he often con-
fided, maintaining that if his death was required to
awaken the world he would drink the bitter cup and
leave the coming generation to judge of his works,
whether they were of man or God.
Accordingly, to avoid the throng, the four recrossed
the Jordan at dawn and sought a sequestered spot, where
trees sheltered them from the sun, when Jesus ordered
that all attention be directed to Magdalene, who had
eaten scarcely any food since she left home.
During the day they continued to bring cool water
from the spring, which allayed her fever so that she felt
266 LOOKING BACK
herself again, and said in her old-time laughing way,
"Better then worse, better then worse, really if we do not
return to Galilee soon I think it will be nip and tuck
as to who will get into the Kingdom of Heaven first,"
at which Jesus replied, "The Kingdom of Heaven is
within you, Magdalene."
"Jesus, can one enter the Kingdom of Heaven before
"One that liveth and believeth in me shall never die."
"Jesus," she inquired earnestly, "what is death?"
"Did you not hear my parable of the rich man and
"When is the resurrection?"
"I am the resurrection."
"Will my body ever be resurrected?"
"Have I not told you that flesh profiteth nothing?"
Mother and John listened motionlessly, while Mag-
dalene bit her lip nervously, trying to form an inquiry
which would open the sealed door of the tomb.
"Can the dead communicate with the living?"
"From whence came Moses and Elias?"
"From the abode of the living."
Mary Magdalene's voice changed to milder tones as
she sympathetically continued: "Oh, can you not ease
my aching heart ? This burden is greater than I can bear.
I do not understand you. I volunteered when in Galilee
to follow you, but as we near Jerusalem my heart fails
me. Is this the expression of God's love to me? You
say you go but do not die. How, then, will I know that
you remember me when you are gone?"
"I will come back again."
IN COUNCIL AT JERICHO
Evening found Jesus comfortably situated in Jericho,
while his near friends gathered in secret to plan for the
morrow. A dim oil lamp lit up the stable-like enclosure,
where the dejected and sorrowful had assembled. Peter's
speech, as usual, was lengthy and to the effect that as
Jesus was determined to face his enemies at Jerusalem, it
would be cowardly to abandon him, but if worse came to
worse and Jesus was seized, they might be able to scatter
so that the officers would not recognize them.
John's opinion acted as a glimmer of light on the
gloom when he assured them that if they, the disciples,
were detained as followers, they would simply be beaten
with stripes and driven from Jerusalem.
Diversity of opinions among the others revealed the
fact that most of them were on the point of breaking
away as they did in Galilee, until Magdalene arose and
tried to greet them with her old-time winning smile.
When she began speaking the flush came to her
cheeks, her voice became clear and soon she stood erect,
the same Alagdalene of old, with that true feminine grace
and spirit of her sex, who flee at a mouse but turn not
aside from a lion, the attention was eager.
"Friends from Galilee, you believe in God, I know
you do. You believe in eternal life as set forth by the
Master, I know you do. You believe that soon we all
will pass away from this earthly scene, and as from
Jericho this night we can look back to sad and glad days
268 LOOKING BACK
in Galilee, so some unknown day, from some unknown
place, under some unknown conditions, we shall look
back to scenes of this life and what will we linger on
and love to contemplate most? Will it be the beauty of
face and form we wore ? No ! Will it be earthly fame ?
No ! Will it be the days when the soft summer breeze
fanned our cheeks and flitted our souls away on an un-
troubled sea ? No ! Will it be that while others died, we
live to good old age? No! Then what will it be? Will
it not be the heroic stand we took for love, sympathy
and justice towards our earth-born companions, when the
cruel hand of injustice stayed not from shame and
"Dark and gloomy is this enclosure, but greater dark-
ness prevails outside. Two thousand souls or more line
the way to Zion. All Israel meet now at Jerusalem, but
few, if any, know that the foretold Redeemer, in human
form, is on his way to the city of David. Do you know
it? Do I know it?
"Could we know it? Have we the ability to compre-
hend his claim? Were his mission for the present in-
habitants, we might better understand it, but if it is for
all time, and for all the coming generations, how can we
know, for what is wisdom to us today may be folly to the
people in two thousand years, so let us fearlessly follow
and not falter.
"I dread tomorrow. I dread all these coming days.
Jerusalem to me is a throne of wickedness. Satan
reigns there and God permits, but Jesus loves them all.
Do you recall his word as he stood on Olive's brow,
'Oh, Jerusalem — Jerusalem, which killest the prophets
and stonest them which are sent unto thee ; how often
would I have gathered thy children together as a hen
LOOKING BACK 269
doth gather her brood under her wing, but ye would
not.' Does not this sound more Hke God than man,
lamenting over the unfortunate condition of those who
reject him? Will we reject him? Well I know your
answer, but listen — listen, men of Galilee, this night
may seal your doom, desertion falls little short of
"Behold your house is left desolate. What does that
mean? Does it mean that our beautiful Zion, the throne
of David, shall become the home of the Gentiles, while
the Jew stands outside the gate and knocks as the cen-
turies pass on ? We do not know, but one thing is sure ; his
kingdom is not for this generation. It either refers to
days gone by or days to come or possibly both. If this
is true why not follow the Master through darkness into
light? If this meek and lowly way, dark and stormy
as it may appear, is the magnet of love to win the world,
let us follow that our names may be recorded in the
book of life as the faithful few who, when the night was
dark and billows of fear and trouble ran mountain high,
stood firm. Stand up, you men of Galilee, all who are
ready for the fray." All responded quickly but Judas
Iscariot, who slowly raised to a stooping position.
ARRIVAL AT JERUSALEM
Nicodemus, who had been Hstening to Magdalene,
now ordered his servants to conduct her and the Mother
of Jesus to his tent, where Jesus had been resting since
dark. Here the fair Jewess, who had struggled so hard
to encourage the men, now seemed to lose nerve at the
impending gloom until Jesus took her by the hand, when
she fell asleep. The following morning she was con-
veyed by the servants of Nicodemus to the half-way inn,
and the next day to Bethany, where she was nursed by
Mary, the sister of Martha, until the third morning, when
it was being proclaimed the Jesus was to make his public
entry into Jerusalem, according to ancient prophecy.
Accordingly the women from Galilee, with Mary and
Martha, ascended the Mount of Olives from Bethany,
crossing over the ridge to the Zion side, where they oc-
cupied a prominent view of the road from Jericho around
Olive and up the steep incline to the walled city.
After the public demonstration John, Peter, Nico-
demus and Lazarus joined the w^omen, when they all
partook of refreshments save Magdalene, whose soul,
at times, seemed about to leave her body. She did not
speak until Peter inquired if she did not consider the
entry into Jerusalem w^onderful.
"Wonderful, — no, it is only adding fuel to the
flames. It is down right foolishness. Has not Jesus
said time and again, 'My kingdom is not of the world?'
What will Pilate, the Roman governor, say?"
LOOKING BACK 271
"But, Magdalene, this fulfills the prophecy."
"Oh, dear me, Peter. To future generations the
prophecies may be valuable, but we need no such thing
to convince us."
Nicodemus then joined in to assist Peter, and be-
tween the two they talked Magdalene to sleep. When
they ceased she opened her eyes and laughingly said,
"Nicodemus, I see that Jesus has talked eternal life
into you, all right, and I am glad for your sake, for I
shall 'soon be waiting and watching for those I have
loved in this life to anchor their barques in that haven
of rest where darkness forever hies away, waves of
trouble cease to roll ; where the sun never sets, the
flowers never fade and the child-like glee of Mary
Magdalene will depart no more."
After the excitement subsided Magdalene became
stronger, until, with her Galilean friends, she was able
each morning to attend the teachings of Jesus in the
temple, where sharp and vehement criticism by the
priests and Pharisees was continually deluged upon
him. They appeared determined to compel him,
through act or word, to violate either the Roman or
Mosaic law, that he might be accused of heresy, con-
spiracy or insurrection. Their chief aim being to
entangle him in a decision relating to the violation of
the law of Moses, in which case Pilate would turn him
over to them, for trial.
For several days there seemed to have been a lull
in the persecution, to which Martha ascribed the
smoldering of a diabolical plot, until one morning,
while Jesus was engaged in conversation with several
Rabbinical doctors, a group entered the temple con-
sisting of twelve Fathers, attired in priestly garb,
together with a squatty old publican from Joppa.
They were followed by a middle-aged woman, who
was in charge of four executioners ; she at inter-
vals falling on her knees imploring mercy and begging
that her life be spared, while a Roman officer with a
squad of six soldiers brought up the rear.
Magdalene, taking in the situation, rose up quickly
and forgetting her weakness while the flush of
maidenhood colored her cheeks, without hesitation
boldly approached the Roman officer and begged an
interview with the unfortunate prisoner, which was
granted by the Roman, who admired her grace and
The accusers squatted on the ground as the officer
directed Magdalene and the terrified woman to the
wall, where they could converse unmolested, which
was in strict accordance with Roman law. The pris-
oner took much time to explain the situation, for by
so doing she was postponing the awful moment when
she should be shoved headlong ofif of the rocks, there
to have her head broken by the heavy stones from the
LOOKING BACK 273
hands of the executioners. Her story was to the effect
that she had been married to the squatty old Simon of
Joppa when very young, and they lived happily until
he had married a younger wife and she became their
servant, for which she ran away and came to Jerusa-
lem, where she served a man for three years, after
which, as her remarrying would be unlawful, they
began living as man and wife and had lived peace-
fully for six years, until this night she had been taken
from bed to be killed for what many of her acquaint-
ances had been practicing for years, a condition which
was well known to the authorities.
Magdalene, undaunted, again approached the offi-
cer for the release of the woman whom, she said, was
accused under an old Mosaic statute which had been a
dead letter for many years ; besides, it was improbable
that Pilate would listen to the case if brought before
him. The officer informed her that he had not the
power to release the prisoner. Besides, he had been in-
formed that she was to be tried before one, Jesus from
Galilee, who had of late entered the city amid pomp
and glory as King of the Jews.
Magdalene staggered backwards, bewildered, and
glanced at Jesus. He stooped and wrote in the sand
while the Pharisees drew near, saying, "Master, this
woman was taken in adultery, in the very act ; Moses,
in the law, commanded that such should be stoned.
What sayest thou?"
When they continued asking he lifted himself up,
and casting a disdainful look at Simon of Joppa he
turned to the twelve accusers, giving each a scrutin-
izing gaze as though he were reading the page of their
274 LOOKING BACK
It was a moment of agonizing suspense ; the guard
and executioners stood as riveted to the spot ; Magda-
lene pressed her hand upon her heart, while the other
women held their breath. The disciples craned their
necks, especially Peter, who never could hear very well
with his mouth closed, dropped his jaw that he might
catch the first lisp. The accusers seemed to shrivel
under the search of his large eyes and move backward
from the woman, who, on her knees before the Lord,
was pleading for mercy.
"He that is without sin among you, let him first
cast a stone at her.'' And again he stooped and wrote
on the ground. When he arose he saw none save the
woman, to whom he said, "AVhere are those, thine
accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?"
"No man. Lord."
"Neither do I condemn thee ; go, and sin no more."
The effect of the scene so elated the disciples that
for a time they forgot their fear and anxiety ; but
Magdalene, ]\Iary and Nicodemus took a different
view. Mary, his mother, saying, "Rebuff does not always
So- the day passed until evening, when Mary came
over to invite the Galileans to an evening repast.
When supper was over they turned to the garden for
devotion, after which Peter and John escorted the
Galilean women to the house of Joseph, while Jesus
and his disciples slept in the house of Simeon.
The following day a strange group approached
Zion ; Jesus, with his tall stooping form, so emaci-
lated that one could almost read through his hand,
advancing with a far away look, as though beyond the
LOOKING BACK 275
doomed city he beheld the anxious father awaiting his
son's return. He was followed by Mary and Martha,
two large, dark sisters of the Hebrew type with swing-
ing gait and sincere expression, who contrasted
strangely with the pretty Magdalene, whose startled
gaze gave her the appearance of a bird or fawn await-
At the brook Cedron they found the others awaiting
them, when they all climbed the hill, turning to the
left to avoid the crowd, and passed around the corner,
entering Solomon's temple area by the south gate,
where they were almost submerged by the throng ;
for the news had spread that Jesus had yesterday con-
futed the learned, who had sent to entangle him, with-
out even laying himself open to criticism.
On entering the treasury, where all expounders
were accustomed to teach, they found the front space
again occupied by scribes and Pharisees, still keenly
anxious to gain notoriety by wringing from Jesus a
sentence which might be taken up by the throng as
blasphemy, for which they might stone him to death
without danger of punishment at the Roman Bar.
As Jesus approached the rostrum an aged scribe,
of the Arabian type, cried out, "Wlio art thou?"
Jesus adroitly evaded a direct reply by asking,
"What think ye of Christ; whose son is he?"
"David's son," was the reply.
"How, then, does David in spirit call him Lord?
If David call him Lord, how is he his son?" Silence
was the only response.
Jesus then turned to the multitude, and drawing
their attention to his tormentors, said, "The scribes
276 LOOKING BACK
and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. All therefore, they
bid you observe ; observe and do, but do not after their
works, for they say and do not." Then, to his accusers,
he continued, "Ye blind guides who strain at a gnat
and swallow a camel and say, 'If we had been in the
days of our fathers we would not have partaken with
them in the blood of the prophets' ; whereof ye be wit-
nesses unto yourselves that ye are the children of them
which killed the prophets. Ye serpents, vipers, how
can you escape the damnation of hell? I know from
whence I came, and whither I go; ye are from beneath,
I am from above ; ye are of this world, I am not of
this world. If you believe not that I am He, ye shall
die in your sins. If a man keep my saying he shall
never see death."
"Now we know that thou hast a devil, for Abraham
is dead and the prophets are dead and you say, 'If a
man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.'
Art thou greater than our father, Abraham and the
prophets, whom makest thou thyself?"
"I came forth from the Father and am come into the
world — again I leave the world and go to the Father.
Your father, Abraham, rejoiced to see my day, and saw,
and was glad."
"Thou art not fifty years old, and hast thou seen
Abraham ?" ,
"Verily, verily, I say unto you before Abraham was,
Jesus now discovered suspicious characters with rocks
in their hands and stepped back among the Galileans and
left the temple.
While the Pharisees were searching for him, he with
LOOKING BACK 277
the Galileans crossed the Cedron and climbed nearly to
the summit of the Mount of Olives, where they assembled
under a wide spreading olive tree, Jesus resting one arm
on a branch of the tree as he looked down on the re-
nowned city and wept as he cried, "Oh, Jerusalem!
MAGDALENE PLEADING WITH JESUS
While standing there, Magdalene came, and kneeling
before Jesus pleaded with him that he go home with her
to Galilee, never again to return to Jerusalem. The scene
of the frail creature pleading for the life of Jesus, to-
gether with the environment and condition, was so touch-
ing that all gave way to their feelings, even brawny old
Judas wiped away the bitter tears with the sleeve of his
soiled garment, for all had learned to love Magdalene,
the once haughty maid of the West Shore, who, as Peter
now expressed it, would far outshine all the angels when
she got to Heaven.
All now began imploring Jesus never to return to the
city again, to which he made no reply, but stooping
quickly caught Magdalene as she swooned into uncon-
sciousness. Then all stood in breathless suspense, while
he began stroking back the heavy locks of the death-like
creature as he said in his old familiar way, "Mary," to
which she opened her eyes and smiled as though coming
back from the fairy land of spirits. Then she looked
inquiringly at Jesus, saying, "Were you with me?" Re-
ceiving no answer, she murmured, "Surely, I was not
alone." Jesus then taking his weary mother in his arms
lovingly smoothed her silver hair as he kissed away the
falling tears, but he gave no encouragement that he would
return to Galilee.
As evening closed in, Martha came over to invite all
to dine, and while she was speaking, Nicodemus came
LOOKING BACK 279
hurriedly to report that a gang of ruffians, armed with
stones, spears and other weapons, were on their way
around to Bethany, expecting to find Jesus at the home
of the sisters. He advised that Jesus and his disciples
hasten, in the dark, north to Ephraim and the second
night turn east and cross the Jordan, where they would
be safe from Caiaphas and his persecutors.
This plan pleased the disciples, especially Peter, who
remarked that the walking would be fine, even if it did
rain. Philip lent encouragement by adding that he had
an acquaintance on the road, twelve miles out, who would
gladly sup them on fish, eggs, and honey, as long as they
wished to stay. Jesus was inclined to return to Jeru-
salem, but after Mother and Magdalene had conversed
with him in an undertone, he arose and followed his dis-
ciples into the darkness, none having tasted food since
AT THE HOME OF MARY AND MARTHA
As the women moved over the hill they were met by
one who came to again sound the alarm that the brigands
were nearing Bethany, but on learning what had taken
place and seeing the feeble condition of Magdalene, he
with Martha, made a saddle of their hands and with
Magdalene's arms, one around the neck of each, they
carried her down the stony path.
Later in the evening Nicodemus, Joseph of Arima-
thaea and other men and women of the faith came in to
try to cheer the anxious and divert their minds from
impending gloom. The mother, weary and sad, sank
down on a pallet of straw. Mary and Martha interested
themselves to make all as comfortable as possible, while
Magdalene, true to her unrelenting devotion, sat in the
midst telling them stories about her early life with Jesus,
and how she loved the family to which he belonged, be-
fore he entered his mysterious mission, "For," said she,
with a forced smile, "you know there are times when a
woman cannot sleep, but never a time when she cannot
"This," said she, "is a sort of watch night, for Jesus,
my good friend John, and the lesser lights. I somehow
believe if we keep awake and think about them it miti-
gates their weariness, even though they do not under-
stand the source from which relief comes. Do you
believe in such a theory as that, Joseph?"
"Really, Magdalene, I do not know whether I do or
LOOKING BACK 281
not, but one thing I do know, we are all glad to hear
you talk and receive your opinions, besides I have had
much undisputed evidence that there is some sort of
communication between minds, or souls of near affinity,
and my experience teaches me that this is sometimes
kept up after death. Now please go on and tell us some
more things which we have never heard about yourself,
when a child."
A NAUGHTY MAID
"Well," she began, ''as I have told you before, Jesus
always manifested an interest in me, by mentioning my
virtues and indulging me in so many ways. However,
naughty as I was, he was still my friend and called me
Mary. Many a time, when I was a little tot, I have
cried myself to sleep with both arms around his neck.
"How well I remember one evening when I had
become so big that he could not fondle me any more, how
he stood between me and prison, and how severely he
admonished me when it was all over. It was while I was
living in Nazareth that one dark night I headed a group
of dare-devil maids to steal grapes from the garden of
old Benjamin, the potter. Well, we got caught, and
when I found that, not only myself, but I had gotten all
the others into a scrape, I run over to Ruth with my
troubles, as I always did, and she got Jesus to go right
down and see old Ben and then she listened behind the
screen and heard Jesus say something like this : 'Ter-
ror to the neighborhood, Benjamin ; why, you talk like
a wooden man. Magdalene is not yet in her teens, and
you ought not to call it stealing for maids of that age
to help themselves to a little fruit when they are hungry.'
In that way he hammered at the crusty old miser until
he gave in. Then, after Ruth had told me all about it,
Jesus got us girls together and oh, the picture he did
paint about thieves, which set us all to crying but me,
LOOKING BACK 283
and when I laughed he said something about there being
oceans of room for improvement in me yet.
"Then, after the girls had gone home, wondering at
their lucky escape, he and Ruth took me home, and while
we stood in the moonlight by our old gate, Ruth told him.
all, how she had overheard him convincing old Ben that
it was nothing, and had told me all about it, which made
me laugh when he made it out so awful to us.
"Before leaving me, he, taking my hand in his, with
his other arm around Ruth, talked to us about being true,
and showed us that the course he had taken in my behalf
was just the course God was taking with all those he
loved and that God's power was so great that one was
alwavs safe in his keeping, not only in this life, but even
in death, one would come out victorious, if they trusted
"Of course, I cried half the night and resolved never
to steal another grape, but in a few days I left Nazareth
and soon became the ever irritable night-mare of the
over-solemn saints around Capernaum, and then it was
that Peter gave me the nickname of 'Tornado Mag of
Here Magdalene paused and listened with that vacant
gaze which betokened that while her body was in Bethany
her soul had joined the wanderers in the dark. "I love
Jesus," she murmured, "but, oh, my soul is tossing about
like an empty shell on an ocean wave. Oh, that I could
see more clearly through the misty veil of horror which
hangs like a pall over the once beautiful city of Zion. I
love Jesus, as the son of man, but I love him more as the
Son of God. j\Iy womanly weakness yearns for him to
return to our home in Galilee, while my inmost soul
284 LOOKING BACK
joins the song of the distant angels' choir. Oh, God, Thy
will be done." Then stern old Joseph lowered her head
to a pillow in the shadows of the mountain, while the
heavenly host beamed down in silence on the swooning
form of the heroic maid of Galilee.
The following morning the party returned to the home
of the Galileans, leaving Lazarus very sick.
A few days later news was received from Jericho
that Jesus and his disciples were on the way to Jerusalem.
Then when Martha went out to meet Jesus the myste-
rious dialogue took place concerning the death of Lazarus
which caused great commotion, for all thought Lazarus
dead, even though Jesus had said, "This sickness is not
unto death — Lazarus sleepeth."
Now many believed on Jesus, causing the high priest
and Pharisees to say: "If we let him alone all will
believe in him." Then they took counsel to put him to
death, and sent officers to Bethany to bring Jesus to
In the meantime the Galileans arrived in Bethany and
Jesus, after kissing his mother, took Magdalene by the
hand, but neither spoke.
As the tumult arose and the mob outside began to
howl, Magdalene became hysterical, but when Jesus, still
holding her almost transparent hand, gave it a shake, as
he said, "Mary," she looked confidingly in his face and
Martha, now standing with John and Peter, beckoned
Magdalene to come to them, when Jesus stepped forward
and raised his hand. As he did so a stifled hush invaded
the throng while the officers sent by Caiaphas to take
286 LOOKING BACK
him fell backwards, lowering their weapons, each stoop-
ing to listen and catch his words.
When his voice broke the dead silence, no relief
came, for even unbelievers feared they were in the pres-
ence of God.
"I am the resurrection and the life ; he that believeth
in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live again ; and
whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die
Believeth thou this?"
After these words Jesus came forward as to giv^
himself up, and no man laid hands on him, but the mob
returned to the chief priests, saying, "No man ever spake
like this man," which brought his adversaries to a stand-
still, not knowing what step to take next.
CONSPIRACY TO MURDER JESUS
The next day Jesus and his followers again entered
the temple, and after the noon hour retired across the
brook up in to the renowned Olive Orchard, which over-
looks Jerusalem. Among the throng which followed
them was Caiaphas, who the previous day had convened
the chief rulers into his palace, when he advocated decoy-
ing Jesus from his friends and murdering him, w^hich
was opposed by the more conservative, who said it would
cause an uproar among the people.
Again in the evening Caiaphas assembled his co-con-
spirators and, after setting forth what Jesus had said on
the mountain and how the people were all turning to him,
said, "Some means must be devised to destroy this man,
as I fear if the case comes before Pilate he will require
more evidence than is at hand, before he will consent
to his death."
Nicodemus, still a member of good standing among
them, arose and asked, "Does our law judge any man
before it hear him and know what he doeth?" which
created so strong an opposition that it broke up the coun-
cil and Caiaphas ordered each man to his own home.
Caiaphas, nervous and weary from the perplexity of
the day, reclines on an elaborate divan in an alcove off
from his spacious court, where the Sanhedrim of seventy
elders were wont to convene and discuss important mat-
ters. As he sips wine to drown his troubles, trouble
seems to arise, when he is startled from his phlegmatic
288 LOOKING BACK
vision by an intruder in the form of a huge Hzzard, creep-
ing over a cactus urn. Then the great high priest mur-
mured, "I wonder if there is a God, as that which I daily
proclaim ; if I knew there were not it might eliminate this
fear of the devil."
As he thus soliloquized at the dead of night, a trusted
servant intrudes upon, his forced quietude, by announcing
that the gatekeeper informs him that one of the disciples
of Jesus of Nazareth is at the gate, craving audience with
the high priest personally.
Caiaphas, frowning, orders the servant to bring his
message, "but first," says he, "send two officers of the
court to detain him."
Servant returns : "He must commune with the high
Caiaphas hesitates, then to the servant growls : "Sum-
mon my guard." To the guard he says, "Search him
that he bears no arms and bring him to my inner court
The arch conspirators now meet. Caiaphas thin and
pale, with his three score years and ten all past, while
the broad burly frame of Judas Iscariot indicated not
more than forty years.
"Art thou a Galilean?"
"I am not."
"Are not the disciples of Jesus Galileans?"
"All but me. I am an Edomite."
"What? Edom at the south ?"
"Did you join the Galilean band as a spy?"
"Then why comest thou hither?"
LOOKING BACK 289
"'It hath been rumored that you would have Jesus
delivered and that none volunteer."
"Can you deliver him?"
"Alive or dead?"
"Dead? Why dead?"
"Alive then. How can it be done?"
"One hundred pieces of silver, one hundred brigands
and ten officers from your court, but it must be done in
"You are shrewd. Retire and await my summons."
Caiaphas immediately summons his kin to the San-
nedrim; wealthy priests, scribes and Pharisees, among
them, tottering under the weight of years, came Annas,
his father-in-law, who inquired, "Sanhedrim at dead
"Exactly so, august father," and bowing low, the con-
spirator whispered, "this is an important, private affair
to which Joseph, Nicodemus and like traitors must not
be admitted. See?"
Stealthily, one by one, the rulers arrive and while the
watchmen on the tower and outside the gates of Jeru-
salem cry, "All is well," the most loathsome, dogmatic
group known in the annals of history draw near in the
dim light of a lantern to listen to Caiaphas, who, after
glancing nervously about, said :
"The Lord, God of Israel, who gave to the seed of
Abraham, Canaan for their inheritance, also, through one
Moses,- gave them laws with priests and Scribes to exe-
cute over the unsanctified. The mouth of our high priest
is the chosen oracle through which God speaks to his
chosen people. Through slavery in Egypt, insurrection
among the ten tribes and captivity in Babylon, we have
290 LOOKING BACK
suffered under the promise of God that through the
prophet he would send a redeemer that should bring the
world to our feet for mercy. As you know, some three
years since, one Jesus of Nazareth began preaching and
assuming himself to be that redeemer. At first we gave
him credence that he would restore Israel from the
Roman yoke, but soon discovered that he criticised the
priests as well as the heathens, claiming for himself direct
communication with our God. His fame went abroad
and the world assembled in Galilee to hear him. Now
he comes to Zion, in the city of David, and what will we
do? for this man doeth miracles! If we let him alone
the Romans will come and take away our place and
"The assassin's blade often executes the will of God,"
ejaculated the venerable Annas.
"True! True!" continued Caiaphas in an undertone,
as the conspirators drew themselves nearer. "But should
it be known, priesthood would suffer the condemnation
of the world, for all the common people, both Jews and
Gentiles, believe him to be the Christ, an error which
we must correct at once or our power will wane. I have
a scheme which if carefully executed will exclude us,
God's chosen, from all blame.
"You know Pilate refuses to interfere with our dog-
matic religious troubles, but if we clamor before him he
will favor the voice of the people. For several days I
have been unable to detain the intruder, either with officer
or mob violence, but at last I have, through patience and
perseverance, sought out an agent, even Judas Iscariot,
his most confidential disciple, who is now in waiting at
the gate, to lead a band of our most vicious brigands
to bring him before me, when through previously in-
LOOKING BACK 291
structed witnesses I will condemn him and turn him
over to Pilate. Now listen, — my scheme is that the
same assassins, led by Judas Iscariot, will crowd every
available space of standing room in Pilate's court, and
clamor for his conviction. These assassins Pilate will
suppose to be the common people and of course will
yield to their demand and permit his execution, while
we, his countrymen, will shed a tear that the Romans
have crucified a Jew."
"Our captains to-morrow will summon the squad of
ruffians, who will exact one piece of silver each, except
Judas, who is wrangling for 100 pieces, but will accept
"The plan I would suggest is that to-morrow evening
our gate-keepers be instructed to retain the squad inside
the city walls until our common people are asleep, then
when the Galileans are crossing the Cedron, fall upon
them and bring him in for examination, and I, after a
mock trial, will turn him over to Pilate."
THE MOB FALL UPON JESUS
The following evening Joseph and Nicodemus, to-
gether with the Galileans and Bethany friends, having
become anxious that Jesus and his disciples remained so
late in the city, began a search. Finding all the gates
closed for the night, they stopped before the gate beauti-
ful and clamoured for admittance, but received no
Nicodemus, realizing the move as unusual, becomes
alarmed and communed in low tones with the group
thus : *T fear Caiaphas has assembled his family at the
Sanhedrim and condemned Jesus and his disciples and
put them all to death, for, the second time he assembled
us, concerning Jesus, he advocated such a course. Let
us now go to the Damascus gate on the north and if
we are not admitted I know a watchman who has the
key to the quarry dungeon, from which I can gain
entrance through a secret chamber to the abandoned
court of Bell, near to the home of Annas."
"What quarry dungeon?" inquired Magdalene, as she
faced him, opening wide her large eyes in wonder.
"There is such a place," he replied. "Jerusalem is
honeycombed by high, dark, shapeless vaults, from which
Solomon quarried his foundation. It is beneath the city
and the public have not been permitted to enter there for
During these moments, Jesus and his disciples had
passed out of the South Gate and were now in the
LOOKING BACK 293
Garden of Gethsamane. The Galileans, at the Damascus
gate, did not know this until Lazarus came running to
say that Jesus was in the garden below. Just at this
instant they heard loud voices inside and while they
listened the gate swung open and a mob of nearly one
hundred men, armed with rusty swords, clubs and rocks,
led by Judas Iscariot, came rushing out.
Immediately Magdalene sprang into the way before
them and cried, "Oh, Judas, traitor— traitor, — stand —
turn back," at which they all stopped, Judas trembling
and casting his eyes on the ground, "Now," she cried,
"that Rome has disdained to interfere, you — you traitor,
with a band of hired bloodthirsty assassins"
At this moment one from the rear threw a heavy
bludgeon, striking her full in the face and as she fell
the band surged forward, stumbling over her form, but
she did not faint, and rising quickly tried to follow, but
was restrained by those around her, who began wiping
the blood from her face.
Thinking their object was to assassinate Jesus, the
Galileans ran into the garden, where they found Jesus
endeavoring to arouse his sleepy disciples, who became
frightened when they saw the assassins and fell back,
all except poor old Peter, who bristled for the affray.
As Peter rushed forward a servant of Caiaphas dealt
him a heavy blow with his dull sword, which Peter re-
turned, nearly severing his ear, but at the command of
Jesus, all the assassins fell back except Judas, who at-
tempted to kiss him. Jesus . staid him, saying, "Judas,
betrayest thou the son of man with a kiss?" Then to
the mob he continued, "When I was daily in the temple
you stretched forth no hand against me, but this is your
hour, in the cover of darkness."
294 LOOKING BACK
The assassins then bound the hands of Jesus in front
and pinioned his elbows at the back in such a way as
to cause great pain, after which two stalwart ruffians
seized him by either arm and hastened him forward, amid
the jeers and yells of the entire band, except Judas, who,
witnessing the cruelty and pitiful state of Magdalene,
turned away and wept convulsively, and then with Peter
followed the assassins to Annas. Judas entered the hall,
but Peter, when accused of being a disciple of Jesus,
denied it and disappeared into the darkness.
MAGDALENE BEFORE CAIAPHAS
While Jesus, still bound, was held in the dim hall of
the court of Annas, the priests, elders and captains of
the mob, blindfolded him, then spit upon and beat him,
which so grieved Magdalene that Judas persuaded Nico-
demus to take Magdalene before Caiaphas, where the
Sanhedrim was stealthily convening.
Kneeling before the astounded assembly, Magdalene
craved an audience, which was reluctantly granted by
Caiaphas, saying as he did so, that his act was through
courtesy for Nicodemus.
Nicodemus now retired to his accustomed seat in the
Sanhedrim, leaving Magdalene, deathly pale, standing
alone, when she cautiously meandered forward. Then,
as though inspired, quickly tossing her head erect, said
in a firm tone :
"Learned men of Judea, angry are the elements and
fierce the gale, now hovering over old Jerusalem, but
dark as the night and wild as the storm, it is sunshine
and peace compared with the gloom and terror now
raging in my poor soul. I stand before your august body
making my last plea for suffering innocence. Not only
for the guiltless Jesus, but for fair Canaan's sons and
daughters,, who are this night slumbering, all unconscious
of the fact that in the City of David, blind bigotry has
marshalled its unscrupulous forces against the welfare
of humanity, all unconscious, that in secret session, sur-
rounded by fanatical apirants, this Sanhedrim has con-
296 LOOKING BACK
vened to consider an act which, if accompHshed, will
defame for ages the name of our people, the Jews.
"Judas Iscariot now confesses to me that he bar-
gained with the priests and elders for silver to pilot their
hirelings to the arrest of Jesus, in the dark, and bring
him before Annas, which he did. Now he has repented,
returned the silver and is about to destroy himself.
"Why all this haste, what has Jesus said, what has
he done, that he should be apprehended in the night and
destroyed before the people can gather?"
"Has he not criticized the law of God, through
Moses?" inquired Caiaphas.
"Never! Never!" she said, as she faced the high
priest. "He has eulogized Abraham, Moses and the
prophets, but the law, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth
for a tooth,' what is it?
"Abraham, face to face with the angels, Moses at the
burning bush, the pillar of fire, the quails and the manna
were all involved in mystery, but the law, the law, *Ye
shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people, ye
shall be unto me a kingdom of priests,' that wa& con-
summated in the foothills of Mount Sinai, at the home
of Jethro, the priest of Midian, after Moses had virtually
been dethroned and doomed to a hermit's cave on Mount
Pisgah, there to die alone.
"From the dawn of human observation, deep medi-
tators have faintly observed that which appears to be.
the hand of providence. The islanders of the South
Seas see God in the soft silent moon. The Greek high-
land philosophers see God in the groups of the heavenly
hosts. The friends of Job observe God "in the awaken-
ing of the dawn, while our people, the Hebrews, picture
LOOKING BACK 297
God in human, form. Thus all mankind, each in their
own way, bow to the strange unknown, whom Jesus
terms a spirit.
"Oh, priests of Israel, oh, fathers of this strange
session, listen to my child-like plea. Beautiful, inspiring
to the human soul, is nature's sweet repose ; beautiful are
the noiseless flowers strewn in the dells; beautiful are
the silent, heavenly hosts, if wandering or at rest, in
starlight's strange unknown, but far more beautiful than
nature's wondrous realm is a community of human souls
traveling on life's unknown journey, encouraged and
advised by a fatherly priest, pastor or shepard, who goes
before and warns them not to stray or venture on the
wilds. Contrast such a scene of love and sympathy with
selfish codes and frivolous laws, of which violation is
punishable by death.
"Act, act, men, save him, oh, save him. Will you
not aid the birth of universal grace to all mankind? Oh,
brave men, come to my aid in this dark earthly night, and
when you, so soon, shall awake in eternity's glad morn-
ing, Mary Magdalene will be among those to welcome
"Oh, men of Abraham's clan, come to my aid. Come
now in this wild storm of fate, bear me in your arms
that when your strength, like mine, shall fail, when the
sun of life grows dim and the stars of love hie away, that
then, oh, then, the angels of light may draw near and
guide you safely home. Embrace this opportunity to
record your name where angels scan the page.
"Look, men of Judea, look before you leap. Midnight
hours like these you may endure, but, oh, the morning;
oh, the judgment morning, when this strange dream of
298 LOOKING BACK
life is. o'er. I plead not to you for mercy, justice is my
plea and justice is. the limit of your jurisdiction. ]My
plea for the accused is not alone for him, this awful
night will plead for him whom God has sent. But listen,
oh, listen, when present scenes have become records of
the past, when the names and works of mighty monarchs
have grown dim, yes, faded and forgotten, this strange
midnight drama will stand out as though written by Job's
pen of iron in the Rock of Ages, to plead for him who
knows no guile.
"Oh, men of destiny, opportunities still await, but the
past has no recall. God will forgive, Jesus will forgive,
but you can never forgive yourselves. Hell hath no flame
to consume the remorse of a guilty conscience. You may
deceive the Jews, you may deceive the Gentiles, but you
will not deceive God."
After Magdalene, between two burly soldiers, had
been tenderly escorted from the court, silence seemed to
reign while the lights burned low, until Nicodemus arose,
when Caiaphas cried, "Await your proper time."
Then rising to his full height, he exclaimed, "Is there
another Galilean sympathizer among us? If so, with
Nicodemus, let him rise." At which all arose except
three, Annas being one. Caiaphas, turning pale, cried,
"Let each man standing go immediately to his own
After the Galilean sympathizers had all passed out,
the priests, scribes and elders, who made up the inner
life of the high priest, came in, and Jesus was called
and questioned, but answered nothing. This angered
them and after more abuse they sent him out, w^ien the
high priest and his abetters grouped and conversed in
LOOKING BACK 299
low tones. It was then determined to increase the mob
and surround the judgment hall of Pilate, and allow no
one, not even a counsellor, to gain entrance, save those
who would clamor for the crucifixion of Jesus.
JESUS BEFORE PILATE
Early Pilate entered the judgment hall and with a
dark scowl said, "What accusation have you against this
man?" and the mob cried, "He is a malefactor, or we
would not have brought him here."
"What crime hath he committed?"
"He stirreth up the people, causing insurrection."
"He says he is the Christ which was to come."
"He is a carpenter from Galilee."
"Carpenter from Galilee, so I have heard. Loose the.
shackles at once ; why so cruel."
"He deceiveth the people. He is not the Christ."
"Was Christ to come to the Gentiles?"
"So he preaches, but he blasphemes, saying, T came
forth from God.' "
"Can a man so arouse the world unless God be with
As Pilate was speaking, he was interrupted by a serv-
ant, who announced that Pilate's wife awaited him in the
The old Roman scowled, murmured "unusual," then
said, "Admit the fair lady."
"Pilate, oh, Pilate, thou art on the edge of an eternal
"My fair one"
"Listen, oh, listen," she continued, kneeling at his
LOOKING BACK 301
feet. "When first the morning sun hied past the tower
and through the latticed vines, I turned to smile, as a
vision caught and held me in a spell. Before me lay a
winding vale through which a crystal stream did wend
to silver islands, whose golden shores faded away into
one glorious star-lit eternity.
"As I gazed, the scene seemed to be changing. First
the stars became worlds, then the worlds became king-
doms, then the kingdoms became priests, and lastly the
priests became nothing. . Then again the stars appeared
all singing, 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the
"Pilate, oh, Pilate, my loving husband, I implore you
to stand firm, having nothing to do with the murder of
this just person. The angels are now recording not only
every word but every thought to carry home, where you
and I must soon appear." Then, kissing Pilate's hand,
she looked pitifully at Jesus and turned away.
Pilate knit his brow in brown study for a moment
and then said to the accusers of Jesus, "I will chastise
this man and then let him go," to which the mob from
Caiaphas shouted, "Crucify him, he stirreth up the people
Turning back to Jesus, Pilate asked, "From whence
art thou?" To which Jesus gave no answer; but when
he repeated the question, Jesus said, "To this end was
I born and for this cause came I into the world."
When the rabble continued clamoring for the death
of Jesus, Pilate washed his hands before the accusers,
saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just person ;
his blood is on you." Then he turned him over to the
Roman guard to be crucified.
When the soldiers arrived at Calvary with Jesus, thou-
sands had gathered on the hill, hoping, still, to witness
some further miracle. Following Jesus, on the way,
were his friends, weeping bitterly, which wailing was
taken up by the throng on the hill. Near the brow, his
strength failed and he fell on his hands and knees, when
one of the executioners struck him a heavy blow^ but
he could not rise until the cross was removed. When
able to stand, he turned to the crowd and said, "Daughters
of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves,
and for your children." Then he sank to the ground and
was seized by the executioners, carried and thrown
heavily upon the cross, and held while his garments were
removed and his hands and feet nailed.
Martha groaned and cried, "Oh, the cruel Romans,"
to which Magdalene voiced in, "Why blame the Romans?
These are Pilate's executioners doing their duty; they
must be wicked or they would faint. Why blame the
brigands who haled him to Pilate ; their hearts are hard-
ened, their conscience is seared. These fiends are but the
tools in the hands of Caiaphas. The doom of the assas-
sin awaits them, the doom of a coward awaits Pilate,
but the doom of a murderer awaits the High Priest of
Jerusalem. I go, call me not," as with a startled look,
the insane creature smiled and ran away.
Kneeling beside the rippling stream s'he closed her eyes
in silent prayer, and then as though awakening from a
. LOOKING BACK 303
dream she continued, "But why this darkness in my
soul, it cannot be he dies, it cannot be that he comes no
more." Then shuddering cold she murmurs, "True, true,
he dies and death ends all, — yes,, all." Wildly springing
across the stream she turns quickly, again gazes on Cal-
vary and smiles a demon's smile, murmuring, "Yes, Jesus
is dead, I am dead. Death ends all."
As darkness spreads its mantle over the face of nature,
a deep gloom invaded the hearts of the people in and
around the once beautiful City of Zion. Those who had
been instrumental in sending Jesus to the cross, feared
that the end had not yet come, while those who had list-
ened to his teachings feared that the end had come. His
disciples and immediate friends had no leader, they were
entirely at sea and everything indicated that all was a
failure and that they must disband and return home.
The next day, the Sabbath, was quietly spent by the
Galileans, discussing how they might take the body of
Jesus to Nazareth. IMagdalene all the while contended
against every proposition introduced, she did not want
to have the body removed, she did not want to go home,
neither did she eat or drink, was on her feet all day, often
visiting the tomb and kneeling before it.
ALONE ON OLIVET
The storm is past — the scene ended. As stranded
wrecks along along the shore, evidence of the awful night
on the tempest tossed sea, so the Galileans, with broken
hearts, lie restless near old Zion's walls, while the cruci-
fixion of Jesus of Nazareth becomes simply a page of
record in the history of our strange world.
Magdalene lingers in the twilight at Joseph's tomb
until the mother of Jesus brings her away, and pleadingly
tries to convince her that it may be a part of God's wise
plan to awaken the world and lead wanderers home.
At last she seemingly becomes quiet, and as the
mother smooths her silken hair she feigns rest, in sleep,
but when all is still she silently steals away in the shadows
to the Mount of Olives. At the top she hesitates,
shudders, scowls and then laughs hysterically, as she
draws her sleeping frock closer around her unprotected
Standing alone, her scant attire fluttering in the cold
north breeze, she suddenly awakens ; with outstretched
arms breaths softly, "Yes, Fll come," then, bowing low,
whispers, "I thought I heard him call," then, strangely
wild, proclaims, "No — no — I am not mad, I know he is
dead, he'll call me Mary nevermore."
Turning back, she shrugged her shoulders, seeming
herself again, and while gazing over the Jordan to the tar
away Moabite hills she murmurs, "Somewhere in those
vine-clad hills the childhood home of pretty Ruth once
LOOKING BACK 305
lay, and here so near, on Bethlehem's plain, she gleaned
and gleaned until she won his heart ; but now she is dead,
they are all dead. They come again no more.
"Oh, my soul, hast thou no home? Oh, evening
star, beautiful heavenly light, wilt thou find rest in the
ocean waves, and Magdalene find none, oh spangled
heavens and God? Could I this night lay down to sleep
in the swelling bosom of the Mediterranean Sea never to
awake, never to remember more. Oh, that I could sleep
forever in a starless night that knows no morning."
One long, weird, wicked glance she casts at old Jeru-
salem and then murmurs, "Was it but yester' night that
I, before that monster, stood and pleaded and pleaded in
vain. Oh, see yon cross on Cavalry's brow. I go — I go,
my heart is cold ; I die for him. He loves me still — no —
no — he loves me not, he is dead, he will love me never
more. Oh, soulless maid from Galilee, did you once
think that men had souls? Where is my dream of spirit
homes, where tranquil souls are joined in love, far away
in Heaven's domain ? I am not mad ; I know he is dead ;
there is no God ; there is no home where spirits dwell."
Wandering down the steep, she waits a moment be-
neath the tree where she had knelt and prayed that Jesus
go with her to Galilee. Lingering a moment in this
sacred retreat, she sighs, with her hand on her heart, and
cries, "Oh, for just one tear to melt the frosty gloom
on this cold fount of life," but tears came not.
Leaping the stream, she ran hysterically up the rocky
incline, then pausing a moment at the gate beautiful she
turned towards Calvary.
At the Damascus gate she was startled by the watch-
man's cry from the tower, "All is well."
"All is well — all is well," she repeated sarcastically.
306 LOOKING BACK
Through this gate, at dead of night, dark demons came,
and through this gate, in noonday light, he bore the cross,
the cross of shame; and now is this, the great high priest
that sings, "All — all is well" — footsteps near frightened
her, and, shrieking wildly, she whirled and fell in dear
old Peter's arms, who, with John, took her back to those
who loved her.
Feigning rest, she listened until heavy breathing as-
sured her that all were sleeping, when softly she stole
away into the silent night, and while it was yet dark
glided through Gethsemane to Calvary. While kneeling
at the tomb a strange influence aroused her, and, turning,
she saw Jesus.
First she started back, then springing wildly forward,
cried, "Jesus, oh, Jesus," as she extended both hands,
strangely to awake and find that the vision had passed.
The mother of Jesus and the other Mary arrived in time
to hear Magdalene's voice and see her faint and fall, but
they saw no man.
When Magdalene realized what had taken place she
began weeping, and crying, "Glory to God." Then, as
though recalling sad scenes, she cried, "Oh, God, forgive
that miserable old high priest, Caiaphas — Oh, God, for-
give all their murderous acts, for it was a blessing in
She could not walk or stand upon her feet. Soon she
swooned, and was carried back as one dead to the brow
of Olive's mountain.
MAGDALENE HERSELF AGAIN
When restored to consciousness she looked wonder-
ingly about her, and then smihng in her bright, girHsh
way, said to John, "^^'hen, where and how did I die?"
When told she had not died she inquired : "Was I
alive when Jesus came to me ?" and being told she was,
she continued, "He says tell the disciples to meet him in
Galilee, and that I must see Ruth before I come to him ;
and tell her all about this — is she here ? Oh no ; what a
goose I am; she is at home, way up in Galilee — way up
in Galilee," she repeated, and then, kissing the hand of
the mother, she smilingly said, "Oh, Aunty, do you think
little birds will sing next summer, when I am gone, as
they did w^hen Ruth and I w^ere little girls, we never
thinking that we must some day part?" Then for a mo-
ment a bewildered look seemed to control her, when,
brightly smiling again through her tears, she said : "Oh,
how silly I am ; soon we will live together again ; what
is this brief span of life, compared to an endless eternity?
Tell me. Aunt Mary, did you see Jesus?"
"No, Magdalene, I did not."
"Why, he looked and spake just exactly as when he
chided me ten years ago."
Oh, dear me, just look at old Peter and the other
men back there, weeping enough to break their necks
because they think I am dying. Say, Peter, come here
and tell me what you are weeping for."
"Because you look so heavenly."
308 LOOKING BACK
"Did you think I looked heavenly when you used to
"Yes, Magdalene, you looked sweet then, but you was
so confounded mean."
She hesitated, and then said, "Why, Peter?"
"Well, Magdalene, you led me right into it, just
as you do everyone you talk with."
Magdalene looked on poor Peter, who seemed to wilt
and fade under the smiling searchlight of the now happy
"John," she said quite firmly, "please relieve Aunt
Mary by holding me in your arms while I talk."
When he had taken her she looked in his face and
laughingly said, "Queer, isn't it, John ? Once you wanted
to love me and I would not let you, now I want you to
love me and you will not."
John choked and sobbed and finally said, "I do love
you, Magdalene ; we all love you ; the angels love you, and
that is why they are waiting to take you home."
A sweet smile lingered on the swooning beauty's face
while John gently passed his hand over her auburn waves,
which seemed to awake her again, and she said, "Peter,
where do you think Jesus is now ?"
"I do not know, Magdalene, I am all at sea."
"Peter, he may be right here now and knowing all
that we are thinking."
Peter dropped his jaw. Joseph craned his long neck,
while Nicodemus, the disciples and bystanders all leaned
forward, to catch, if possible, from the angel face the
last gleam which might swing the gates of death ajar.
"I know," she continued, "for I have been talking with
At this they all drew near, when she said, "His death
LOOKING BACK 309
upon the cross was natural, simply the separation of him-
self from his body."
"Has he gone up to heaven, from whence he came ?"
"Why, Joseph, you are worse than Peter ; do you think
heaven is up above the moon?"
"Magdalene, you know what Jesus said when alive — "
"When alive, Joseph ; he is alive now and possibly
hears every word you say."
"Be that as it may, Magdalene ; he has said from the
beginning, 'I came down from heaven.' "
Magdalene scowled, and with a painful effort bit her
lip as she tried to form a convincing sentence, and then
began : "Down in a well and up on a hill are material
positions, while down in hell and up in heaven are
"Think of Jesus as living in a purely spiritual con-
dition and volunteering to take on humanity and live with
us as animals. In that he came down from on high
to that low, hellish animal, condition of last Friday.
And, Joseph, when you thought you were laying Jesus
in your tomb, he was not necessarily there. I know
that I was face to face with Jesus, and there are no
scars on his hands or thorns in his brow."
NIcodemus, kneeling beside her, said : "I know you're
weary, but can you answer this — If Jesus was not in his
body when he spoke your name, how did you hear his
Her ready reply was : "You are not an apt scholar.
Do you remember when you came to Jesus by night,
in Bethany, and he explained how one could be born
again? And now you're asking me if a body can talk.
I do not know how to answer you ; I know not the secret
310 LOOKING BACK
of animal existence, and much less that of spiritual life;
but this much I do know, that sound and sight both
create impressions. One is silent, the other is not, yet
they are equally distinct. Will power, thought, joy,
sorrow, truth are all noiseless, yet real, so why not sup-
pose all spiritual life be the same. At the tomb he im-
pressed me that I must see the disciples and see Ruth
before I came home to him. I cannot explain how it
was, but I am sure that Jesus was not in the body, and I
do not know as I was."
As she closed her eyes the grizzly counsellor bowed
and kissed the tips of her cold fingers, then one by one
the listeners drew nearer in silence, but she awoke again.
RUTH COMES TO IvIEET AIAGDALENE
\Mien Joseph learned that Magdalene wished to see
Ruth he started a courier on a fleet beast, with orders to
take four relays and make sure to reach Nazareth before
When they arrived at Nazareth they found all in
commotion, for the report had come that Jesus had raised
from the dead ; that Mary Alagdalene was dying and had
:alled for Ruth to come to Jerusalem.
Jerome, the tanner, made ready his fleet mule for
Ruth, while the men mounted brisk horses, and soon
Ruth, Jude and the guide hastened down the narrow
streets into the open plain and were off on their lone
As the moon came up from the Sea of Galilee three
lone riders silently sped over the Esdraelon plain, with
the fleet little mule on which Ruth was riding in the lead.
Near the renowned city of Nain the guide took the lead,
speeding past Endor, through Shunan and over the Jezreel
plain, while not one word was spoken to break the sad
silence of poor Ruth, whose ashy, tearless face betokened
consciousness of approaching gloom.
Changing horses at Dothan, they continued on
through Samaria, past Jacob's well, and near sunset
turned into the gorge called Eden's vale, where they saw
in the distance a group kneeling in the shadows beneath
a clump of olive trees.
JOSEPH'S LAST INTERVIEW
After Joseph had started the courier to Nazareth
he provided a litter with four stalwart men and four
relays to carry Magdalene, if possible, to meet Ruth.
He also sent several camels for Mary the mother of
Jesus, and the other women, with an animal each for
Nicodemus and John, and four beasts of burden with at-
tending servants, while the disciples, on foot, followed the
Magdalene, although unable to retain food or stimu-
lants, could talk with apparent ease, and when informed
that Joseph dispatched a courier for Ruth to come and
meet her she said to Joseph, with a rougish twinkle in her
eye, "If you were not so awfully old and I was not so
very near the Golden Gate your proposal would certainly
receive deep consideration," to which Josph continued the
joke by saying, "But I have one wife, you know."
"Oh, yes, Joseph, I know your faithful wife; and
does she scold you as much as yoa deserve? I hope she
does, for men are so stupid they need correcting very
often. And Joe, are you kind to Hulda, the mother of
you children, and the sweetest dame in Arimathaea, the
one who walked by your side all these years and allowed
no one to speak despairingly of you? You would not
allow yourself to love another, were she ever so young
and pretty, would you?"
"Oh, no — no, Magdalene ; but tell me, before we part,
how you can be so cheerful, even blithe, in the face of
LOOKING BACK 313
"Joseph, you, a counsellor, a man of experience, a
ruler among the Jews, ask me to explain that which the
children, the song birds of the morning and the wild
gazelle of the plains act out at every turn. They live
in the present, while we live in the past, present and ap-
parent future. If you knew the future you would not
be content to stay. God, in his wisdom, has drawn the
veil of uncertainty between his loved people and their
higher life, but now he has withdrawn that veil from me.
Yesterday, when I supposed Jesus was dead, I feared,
I wondered, I shrank ; today I am glad, my soul is filled
with glory and I am impatiently waiting the call ; now,
do you understand?"
"Because you know that Jesus lives?"
"Yes, Joseph. All through life I knew Jesus as he
appeared ; now I know him as he is ; yesterday the dark
unknown; today beautiful, beautiful life."
"One more question, Magdalene, before we part ;
Jesus has gone home and you are determined to follow ;
now will his disciples be able to take up the work where
the master has laid it down?"
"Oh, I do not know ; as yet, you see, they are such
a set of cowards. Here is my John, whose affection con-
trols his will power; then there is Peter, whose cranium
is like a cocoanut shell, so thick that nothing can get in
and what he knows cannot get out ; still, Peter is brave,
he will win at last, he will surely die at his post if neces-
sary. Poor Judas Iscariot, already in hell before he died.
Thomas has not so much faith as a grain of mustard seed ;
Philip, like many, is so weak in the upper story that he
actually thinks he understands the whole plan of sal-
vation. The others, with one exception, are not strik-
ing characters, and yet they would, every one, fight to the
314 LOOKING BACK
end for the cause of Jesus if they understdod him as I
do. Oh, that Jesus would manifest himself to them as he
has to me.
"I do not know what will come next; I simply know
that this tragedy is the beginning, and not the end. God
cannot be baffled ; Jesus has sown the seed of individual
purity, which will spring up somewhere at some time.
If the Jews discover their error and accept him as the
Christ, they will become the spiritual leaders of the world,
but if they reject him the world will reject them and the
terrific blow will scatter them far and wide. But they
will turn back ; it may be thousands of years, but they wil.'
turn back. Abraham will not forget his children ; Moses
yet lives and he will lead them home. The Gentiles
will cease to persecute and all will be lambs of one
fold. Good-bye, Joseph, you've done all you covild and
we will meet again tomorrow, just tomorrow, Joseph; we
will all arrive home."
MAGDALENE'S LAST NIGHT WITH JOHN
Gentle hands carried Magdalene's wasted form over
the Judean hills, camping for the night near Bethel. She,
being troubled for breath, chose to rest on a litter beneath
a wide, spreading olive tree rather than accept the hos-
pitality of the large tent Joseph had sent for them.
After the usual nursing, and she had been bolstered
up with huge cushions, she was able to talk, and again be-
Nicodemus, Mary and John each volunteered to
sit by her side, but she chose John, saying : "Aunt Mary,,
you must rest or we shall be compelled to procure an
ambulance for you; and you, Nicodemus, look as pale
as a ghost ; you go and get a little rest also, for tomorrow
will be an eventful day. As for you, John, I want you
to prop yourself up and hold my hands all night, then I
will think we are children again."
After an hour's rest she opened wide her large, hazel
eyes and laughingly said, "Tell me, John, exactly what
you were thinking about."
"Spit it out, John ; if it's funny all the better, for all
the sadness about this scene is that you must stay to
fight the world after I have gone home."
"Well, Lena, I was thinking about the first time we
"Yes, John, so was I, we were twelve years old;
I know exactly what you want to tell ; it's about my re-
fusal before your proposal ; now go ahead."
316 LOOKING BACK
"You remember," began John seriously, "that we
first met at the yearly fish-fry which was always on the
south shore of Galilee. Oh, Magdalene, you tell it ; I can-
"Go right on," she said, her eyes sparkling with
"Well, your aunt and my mother were great friends,
you know, and that was what brought us young ones to-
gether while eating our fish. I can see you just as you
was then ; you had on a new wine-colored gown, silk
stockings, tiny sandals and your hair was loose over your
shoulders. You remember, mother fixed me up smart ;
being tall, I really looked more than I was, so we made
it up to sly away from the common young hopefuls and
go strolling down the river, where, after while, we sat
down on the bank to watch the little fish who live in shore,
and you began — "
"No, you began — "
"No, you began, Lena."
"Well, have it your way, John; go on."
"You, Lena, began to talk about — yovi see, I did not
know you then as I do now."
"Go right on, John, or I shall have a kaniption."
"Yes, you began to talk about people getting married
young, very young, and sometimes, when there were ob-
jections, people ran away together. Then we told our
ages, and it turned out that you were one day older than
I, when you sprang to your feet and said : 'There, John,
the jig is up, for I positively will not marry a man
younger than myself.' "
"And you began to cry."
"No, Lena, I did not."
"What did you do?"
LOOKING BACK 317
"Oh, not much."
"Much; you dared me to — "
"No, you dared me."
"No, you dared me, John."
"Now, Lena, you dared me to kiss you and I did."
"Then I suppose you went right home and told your
"Told mother ; I should say not. You made me prom-
ise never to tell. Why, Lena, are you in pain?"
"Only my heart, John — Oh, if Ruth was here."
The frail creature half closed her eyes, her lips
parted, and John thought she was going, but when he
called Nicodemus she opened them again and smiled and
told Nicodemus to go to his rest.
After a few moments she seemed to come back again
and said, "Oh, John, is Heaven really so near?" Then
she seemed to become a child again, and said, "Tell me
something inspiring ; it rests me. Do not weep, John ;
you promised to be brave ; now go on and tell me about
Pipe and his dog. Tell it just as though you were tell-
ing it to someone else and I was not listening."
John hesitated, wiped away the tears, kissed her cold
cheek and when she insisted, began, "Mary Magdalene
came over from Nazareth when she was twelve years
old, and by the time she was fifteen she had become the
most notorious maid that graced the west shore of
Galilee. She had staunch friends, who would go through
fire and water to protect her — "
"And you were one?"
"Certainly I was, for she was pretty, neat, witty
and wonderful in a case of emergency. She made some
enemies ; for while nothing was too good for those she
loved, so there was no letup on her dislikes."
318 LOOKING BACK
"Why did so many hate her, John?"
"Oh, she was well dressed and attractive, which was
more than her female companions could stand ; and then, .
while she was upright and generous, she was reserved
and often imprudent, to that extent that when irritated
she bridled not her tongue."
"Not even for you?"
"Oh, I was an exception."
"So you were, John ; go on."
"Old Pipe the potter had, besides a large family
of children, a white pet dog, and for a joke this maid
from Nazareth formed a compact with one John, the
brother of James — "
"Where is that John now?"
"Keep quiet, Lena, or you will get me to weeping
again and spoil the story. She and John caught the dog
and hid him in the cellar of John's home, and a day or so
after Magdalene started a rumor that she had seen some-
thing white floating in the lake, south of Tiberias, which
looked like that dog. Old Pipe at once accused her of
stealing and drowning his dog, but after an all day, fruit-
less search, she and John loosed the dog and sent him
home. Somehow the. joke got out, and old Pipe rent
his garments and swore vengeance on the Sidehill Whirl-
wind. On the street, one day, he began to upbraid her,
when she turned upon him with something she had heard
her Aunt Susie tell about his family affairs which closed
him up like a clam — had you not better rest again, Lena ?"
"No, John, go on; I'm in no pain, only those spells
of suffocation. I want you to tell this so you will re-
member I love you when I am gone."
Nicodemus now appeared with his cup, which re-
vived her, and John continued, "When our Fall Gaily
LOOKING BACK 319
Day came on all the country around flocked to the Lake
to see the fun ; Jesus, James and Ruth came over from
"Yes, I remember; they stayed with Aunty and me,
and Ruth stayed a week or more."
"Well, there were all kinds of sports and games,
foot and horse racing, singing, dancing, etc., and then
such a dinner as we had.
"Everybody wanted to see Magdalene run, and the
best that could be done was to match the Sidehill Whirl-
wind with one of the Mur girls, a fleety family who lived
on the hills in Safed. The Whirlwind gave the Mur girl
twenty paces the start in a two hundred pace race, but
she told her aunt and John's mother she feared Miss
Mur had too great an advantage for her to ever over-
"When the race was called and the word given, John
remembers just how Lena looked, with her head thrown
back, coming down the line just like a shooting star, when
old Zerna, the fig peddler, attempted to cross the way and
Magdalene's knee collided with the side of her head.
The old woman spun around and around like a top as
Magdalene fell on her hands and knees, but recovered
in time to win."
"Did she win fair?"
"Oh, I guess it was about a draw, for the time-
keeper told John's father the next day that he rather
favored the Whirlwind because the old fig woman got
in her way,
"When the boat race was coming oflf the men gath-
ered south along the shore to get a better view of the
maneuvers, while the women and children stood on the
landings at Capernaum. John, Mary Magdalene and
320 LOOKING BACK
several other young folks had climbed to the roof of a
house when they heard the cry that old Pipe's child
had fallen into the water and was drowning. A cry went
up for a fisherman to save the child, but all the men were
down toward Tiberias.
"When our group from the housetop arrived we could
see the little boy's white garments at the bottom, under
two fathoms of water. Instantly, Mary Magdalene
plunged down head foremost and brought the little one
up ill her arms, and as no one could reach it she somehow
held it out of the water and swam to the little sand beach
just south of Capernaum. Old Pipe arrived on the
scene just as she was wading ashore with the child and,
falling on his knees, began imploring her to forgive him
for all he had injured her, but instead she handed him the
struggling child as she indignantly said : 'Take your little
brat, it is not to blame for having a contemptible father.'
"After a change to dry clothes the naughty maid
hunted up old Pipe and forgave him all, so that was how
they became fast friends, and she, of course, became the
heroine of the day."
Thus, the last night of her life, Magdalene listened
to reminiscences of naughty pranks and sweet affections
of childhood's sunny hours.
At sunrise, after assuring Magdalene that Ruth was
on the way from Nazareth, the Httle group took up their
weary journey, moving north until they descended into
a deep valley where a clear stream from the hills me-
anders through the woody dell which was called by the
Datriarchs, Eden's Vale.
Here Magdalene implored them to stay and bathe her
parched lips and fevered brow in the cool waters from the
hills of Shiloh. Soon she fell into a doze from whence
she, at intervals, would awake and call for John, and in-
quire if Ruth was near. So the day wore on, her breath-
ing growing more faint. Twice she ceased to breathe,
then came back again and smiled.
Lastly she opened wide her eyes, pressed John's hand
to her lips, then softly settled back in silence, just as two
dusty riders came around the bend, at once recognized as
Ruth and Jude.
Ruth swung from her horse and ran to where she
could see her ; then, thinking she was dead, moved softly
forward, and kneeling by her side kissed her lips, at
which she came back, opened her eyes and smiled.
"Lena, oh Lena, my dear, what can I do to save your
"Ruth, darling Ruth, I have lingered all the day to
love you once more and tell you I am not dying. Just
going home, where I will love you still, and when the
evening shadows fall and you go wandering into the grove
think of me as with you. Oh, Ruth, I will come so near
322 LOOKING BACK
that you will feel my presence in your soul. My darling
girl, banish every thought of death and bare your bosom
to the storms of life until the angel comes to call you
home. Oh, sister dear, if you could only know my feel-
ings now, in this strange scene that you call death. The
sting of all life's troubles are more than repaid in these
passing moments of tranquil bliss, and yet some scenes
have been so sad. I pleaded with all my soul before
Caiaphas, but his heart was hardened ; they went their
way. They nailed him to the cross and then the sun grew
dim and the world became cold. But while I waited at
the tomb a form appeared, and it was Jesus, who told me
that your faith was weak and I must comfort you now,
as you had me in days gone by."
"Did Jesus speak to you after he was dead?"
"Oh, Ruth, you thoughtless child, banish the idea of
death. He is not dead. They killed his body, but the
body is just the mask; that is why great souls are un-
known on earth. Jesus still lives. I cannot tell if he
spoke or not, or how he appeared or disappeared, but
the word, 'Mary,' sounded just as he always spoke, and I
saw him as distinctly as I see you now. His attitude and
movement were such that I supposed he had come to life
until he disappeared. The body is not the person, Ruth.
It is the form that we wear • it is ever dying, dying while
the unseen yet lives. Love me, sweet, dear Ruth, and let
me go. John, come ; kiss me and say you will never cease
to love. Dear ones, you must not weep when I am gone.
Think of me as living, as one who can still commune,
influence, comfort and help you when mystery darkens
all your ways."
Softly the fading flower swooned away, her lips
parting and eyes closing; then, strangely, a shadowy
LOOKING BACK 323
movement brightened her face and a httle flush came to
her cheeks ; while John and Ruth, in silence, awaited the
Three days' journey brought the mourners to the hill-
side city of Nazareth, where Magdalene had so often
shocked the sanctimonious with her naughty pranks.
The tide had turned, harsh criticism had changed to
love, as from Nazareth, Endor, Nain and Cana, together
with the throng from the west shore, they sadly ap-
proached the hillside home of Aunt Susanna, where, near
the close of day, in the old garden, they laid to sleep
the form of Mary Magdalene.
Here, when the tourist visits the ruins of Capernaum,
where Jesus met rebuff, they mention with pride Peter
in prison, Paul before Agrippa and John on the Isle of
Patmos, while they never mention the heroic maid tc
whom the Gate Beautiful first swung ajar.
THE PRICKETT HOME
Goshen, Ind., May 18, 1902.
My dear M. A. : I will now reply to yours, received
a few days ago. Yes, I hope our wedding day will be
bright and sunny, and that sunshine and affection may be
with us as we journey together.
I have never seen a mountain, and if I appear green
to your people when we reach Connecticut, you must
I am feeling somewhat depressed this evening, for
my sister Minerva and I have been over to Solomon's
Creek today, visiting our old home on the farm.
The enclosed is a picture of our old home, gotten up
of late, but it represents us children as we were years ago
when we were all at home.
Now mother and James are gone to their long home ;
father is married again ; the farm is sold, but still it
seems like home.
In imagination we were children again ; Mahala,
Minerva and I. We were romping in the pastures, woods
and fields ; climbing pear trees, gathering grapes, currants
and cherries ; and I told Minerva that I could almost hear
Jeff and the other boys laughing at us when the naughty
buck sheep chased us onto the haystack, our only safe
The old maple trees, from which w^e made svigar, are
there and many of the other trees, old fences and the like
look natural. We talked of how our brothers used to
fit us out with hooks and bait to go fishing in the
LOOKING BACK 325
creek, where our anticipation far exceeded our realiza-
tion; that is, as far as fish were concerned, but really,
we did sometimes get a bite.
We talked of how father always brought the minister
home to dinner Sunday, and how mother had to fly
around waiting on them.
All these old times seem to come back to us in a sort
of day dream, as this evening Minerva, Cash and I are
in their beautiful home here in Goshen. You and I will
soon be in ours in Oak Park. I know we shall enjoy
ourselves in the home which you are building for us,
which we went out to see.
I wish I might talk with you instead of writing. Shall
anxiously await your reply.
We are strange beings ; ovir journey through life
is a wonderful career. Through unfolding years of child-
hood, later literary pursuits and life experience, we hasten
forward, aspiring to reach our day-dream fancies.
When about forty we seem to rest, refllect and
soliloquize : "Who am I ; what am I ; where from ; where
bound; why do I enjoy, and why do I weep? How all
these unseen emotions if my feelings are not controlled
by an invisible person who knows, thinks and dictates?"
Reason and science teach that we are complex beings,
living on the outside of a world which holds us from fall-
ing off by a force called gravity.
Our abode, our home world, is so far from other
worlds that we have no communication with their in-
habitants. In fact, we do not know that other worlds
are inhabited by beings standing around on their hind
legs like ourselves. We simply know that our world is
voyaging among millions of other worlds, which, at
certain periods of their life-day, must resemble the con-
dition of our world today, for their elements and move-
ments are similar to ours.
Apparently the entire material universe, of which our
bodies form a part, is actuated by an invisible force of
push. Everything is moving on, giving place and taking
place, cohesion followed by dissolution.
The velocity of this continued material movement is
governed by conditions. On one hand the mountains,
or earth's age wrinkles, rise so slowly that the changes
LOOKING BACK 327
of thousands of years may be inperceptible, while, on the
other, the velocity of the molecular forces astound us,
for we are taught that the electrons in our own bodies,
and all other material substance, are continually darting
around the corners of the atoms at the rapidity of more
than one hundred thousand miles per second. This state-
ment seems incredible, except when we consider tele-
graphy. In that, even if vibration is assumed, some-
thing travels over the entire distance ; or, something
awakes something else, which, in turn, arouses the next
over the entire course. This astounding proof encourages
us in our faith in infinity and God.
Truly, death does not end the commotion, for, when
we bury our dead the molecules begin escaping up
through the gravel to gain their freedom, and it may
require thousands of years or but a few seconds ; in the
end all have flown away into the sweet, pure atmosphere,
and the form has disappeared.
This strange inquiry does not end with the study of
the physical system, for, as stated, we find we are
possessed by something invisible, and yet personal, to our-
selves. That which loves, approves, decides, reasons,
knows right from wrong and wills to do. This self-
evident, mysterious thing we may be allowed to desig-
nate as self, or soul.
WILLIAM JAMES, OF HARVARD
For information concerning these mysteries we turn
to public instructors of our country and Europe, and find
that the higher branches of education are controlled by
men who teach that man has no soul, or invisible guide.
What we call soul action is nothing more than reflex
action from brain compound, aroused by external stimuli.
A sample of these teachings can be found in the
works of William James, Professor of Psychology in
Harvard University of Cambridge, Mass., from where
agnostic youths return home from college to sympathize
with father and mother, who are so old-fashioned and
ignorant as to actually believe they have a soul to save.
In James' works, of about 1400 pages, issued in 1902,
which are considered standard in Europe and the United
Staes, we find, Volume 1, Page 348:
"The soul, however, when carefully scrutinized, guar-
antees no immortality; therefore I feel perfectly free to
discard the word soul from the rest of my books. The
reader who finds any comfort in the idea of the soul is,
however, perfectly free to continue to believe in it."
Volume 2, Page 572 : "My own belief is that the
question of free will is insoluble."
Page 576: "We can, therefore, leave the free will
question out of our account."
Page 108 : "The entire nervous system is nothing but
a system of paths between a sensory terminous and a
Pag-e 179: "Everv individual cell has its own con-
LOOKING BACK 329
sciousness, which no other cell knows anything about."
Page 291 : A man's self is the sum total of all that
be can call his, not only his body, but his clothes."
Page 296 : "Self, not personality, unity or pure ego."
Page 339 : Each pulse of cognitive consciousness,
each thought dies away or is replaced."
Page 401 : "Thought itself is a thinker."
Page 554: "Let us try as we will to express this
cerebral activity in exclusive mechanical terms. I, for
one, find it quite impossible — the soul presents nothing
herself ; and creates nothing."
Page 656: "The retention of the experience (mem-
ory) is nothing more or less than the brain paths which
associate the experience with the occasion and the recall."
Volume 2, Page 487 : "The only ends that follow im-
mediately upon our willing seem to be the movement
of our bodies."
Page 495 : "Why any state of consciousness should
precede a movement we do not know."
Volume 1, Page 64: "The highest centers do prob-
ably contain nothing but arrangements for representing
impressions and movements, and other arrangements
for coupling the activities of these arrangements, which
in turn excite others, until at last a motor discharge
Page 29 : "Can we tell precisely in what the feelings
of the central active self consists? When I forsake
general principles and grapple with particular it is diffi-
cult for me to detect any pure spiritual elements at all."
Page 107: "The currents, once in, must find their
way out. In getting out they leave their track. The only
thing they can do, in short, is to deepen old paths or make
new ones, and the whole plasticity of the brain sums itself
330 LOOKING BACK
up in tv/o words, when we call the brain an organ in
which currents passing in from the sense organs make
paths which do not easily disappear."
The reader will here observe that James refers to
motor discharges and brain paths as though he actually
believed, or that there was evidence, that such things
All through his works he quotes freely from agnostic
and atheistic authors who have been attacking religion
for about three hundred years, from which I will copy
Spino::;a : "Extension is invisible thought, thought is
invisible extension. Man is not free-willed — God neither
thinks nor creates."
John Locke : "Whatever any man may know, or rea-
sonably believe in, or even conceive, is dependent on
David Hume : "Ideas are but weakened copies of
Herbert Spencer: "No idea or feeling arises save
as the result of some physical force expended in pro-
The teachings of this school of instructors are pe-
culiar, inasmuch as no such ambiguity concerning reason
or will power has heretofore been taught at large or
sanctioned by any class of instructors in the history of
our world. The attempt to shelter under the wing of
the ancient Greeks is plainly a misconstruction, for the
wise Greek bowed in wonder before unknown cause.
Pythagoras, 582 B. C., used as the base of his argu-
ments transmigration of the soul. One of his expressions
was : "The soul is a harmony chained to the body."
Socrates : "Design proves that existence is God."
LOOKING BACK 331
Aristotle: "Thinking or thought is God Theology —
Soul always thinking is immortal."
Thus I might quote from deep thinkers from Zoro-
aster down to our times. If one feels disposed to study
the works of those self-styled liberal exponders from
Spinoza to James, they will find their arguments running
essentially in the same groove, virtually this : Animals,
including men, are not possessed by an invisible guide.
That something which discerns between right and wrong
and dictates to the body whether it should follow the
path of desire or virtue, they absolutely ignore. Because
they cannot comprehend the mysteries of the soul, they
dwell upon and cling to tangible material effects, actually
assuming effect without cause. They disallow that the
good Samaritan and the Levite had exactly the same ex-
terior stimuli. They are like the woman at Jacob's well,
who could comprehend the well and mountain, but could
not comprehend the invisible spring. She awoke when
told how her secrets were known, but they awake not,
as the result of intention.
James makes a feeble attempt to prove that matter
thinks when he says : "Every individual cell has its own
consciousness, which no other cell knows anything about
— associated by brain paths."
What profound reasoning; think of it. Betts tells
us that there are three thousand million cells, or neurons,
in an adult nervous system ; then think of the paths lead-
ing from one cell to the other. We learn that light, or
electricity, would travel around our world eight times in
one second ; I wonder, if at the same rate of speed, how
long it would take an exterior stimulus to cover the
distance over one of his brain paths, from cell to cell.
"Oh," but one says, "Richardson, you do not under-
332 LOOKING BACK
stand James." Allowed, but if a man of my experience
does not understand materialism, how is a youth of
twenty years expected to understand it?
Man cannot explain memory, but he knows it is the
principle in the ego, or soul. To illustrate : In a crowd
I overhear a voice. I say to the talker, "I recognize your
voice, but I cannot place you." "Think again," he says.
Now, I start back over life's trail, listening to voices,
one-two-twenty-forty years, then I say, "your name is
Edwin Pease." "Yes," he says, "we were boys together
fifty years ago."
Did this familiar voice, the true External Stimulus,
awaken something which existed, or did it create some-
thing in my brain?
James calls this a motor discharge, which we will
admit, but he wavers when he says, "Why any state of
consciousness should precede a movement we do not
know." Then he adds, "The soul presents nothing her-
self and creates nothing."
Exterior Stimuli, he assumes, awakens the sinews,
which in turn cause the body to act. Do not External
Stimuli cause the vegetable to act ! Go set your little
geranium in the south window and see how soon it turns
its pretty face to the sun. These acts may receive their
origin in the law of inclination, permitted but not emitted,
while every act of a sane animal is an exhibition of in-
tention. Exterior Stimuli are individual causes. Inten-
tional response is of invisible individual origin. Reflex
action would be nothing but continued Exterior Stimuli.
The invisible actor is the man ; see him out on the
wings of the soul in the far away Eternity, weighing the
stars, predicting their course, calculating their velocity
and testing their elements.
LOOKING BACK 333
See our Edison bottling up the lightning's wild vim
and causing it, in its attempt to regain liberty, to serve
man silently and safely. Would the Stimuli which cause
Edison to invent cause any other man of the same ex-
perience and education to evolve the same results?
Answer yes, and you expose your weakness. Answer no,
and you establish the mysterious, invisible thinking soul.
Materialism is an educational attempt to compel the
religious world to prove that which they do not profess
to comprehend. Knowledge is the accumulation of past
earthly experience. Send a weakling through college
and he has obtained knowledge, but he is the same simple
Wisdom is innate ; it consists of individual ability to
comprehend. It is peculiar to each self, and cannot be
obtained through experience or education.
According to James, self is the body, clothes and
surroundings. According to Genesis it is the image of
God. Is God an animal? Jesus said to the Samaritan
woman : "God is spirit." Is Jesus authority ? Man's
body, wealth and surroundings are not even his, they are
simply under his control for a season. Self is that
strange quality which designates one person from an-
other. Memory and self are closely connected. It may
be that the soul possesses memory of experience in other
worlds, which, like all absent memory, awaits recall.
Sleep represents a mysterious condition of the soul.
When the veil of consciousness begins to vanish one
enters a sphere which is not controlled by reason, but
rather by emotion ; which, in dreaming, is often very in-
tense and dictates wildly.
The lower animals are possessed of a soul, but if they
have a sense of right and wrong it is undeveloped, in fact,
334 LOOKING BACK
the connecting link between man and beast may be con-
sciousness of wrong.
Faith is an easy couch on which to repose ; as a
bridge it spans dark rivers of uncertainty, but it requires
no faith to beheve in the soul.
Even Spinoza must have observed that desire, reason
and conscience are under the control of a distant power
which can brush them all aside and go on its way, but
it does not control memory.
Unconsciousness, whether in sleep or in death, ought
not to frighten us. If in sleep it does not impair memory,
it does not in death, as they are both simply the veil
which shv:ts ofif our view.
In short, the soul appears through the body as it;
organ, giving us a view of its wonder through the flash-
light of sensibility, one view at a time and no more.
In some mysterious, incomprehensible way the past
travels with the present. Memory, anticipation and
dreams are often far more real than when face to face
with animal activity.
We cannot comprehend first cause ; result is our only
guide, but we dimly comprehend the apparent steps from
the mineral to the spiritual.
Mineral life is inspiring in that it represents the star-
lit Eternity into which we gaze in wonder and contem-
plate the incessant transformation.
Vegetable life creeps softly after, in obedience to the
law of inclination, the roots search in darkness for moist-
ure while the foliage turns to the morning sun in gladness.
Animal life cuts clear from vegetable moorings mys-
teriously equipped with an invisible guide.
Spiritual life is the soul unincumbered by material
To prove that extinction or enfeeblement of the body
does not impair the soul, we will consider the life of Glad-
stone, for if we find an isolated case whose mind did not
'.veaken along with the body, it is positive proof that all
30-called dotage or drowsiness of the aged is simply the
effect of the live soul impeded in its effort to recall fa-
miliar occurrences through impaired organs. This is ob-
vious from the fact that when the object has been recalled
the spiritual vision of the object appears in all its original
Everyone who reads knows that Gladstone when he
carried the Home Rule Bill in the House of Commons,
at the age of eighty-four, was as elegant, scrutinizing, and
powerful in his debates as when forty-four years old.
Still at that age his sight, hearing, power of recall of
names, and tottering form were incessantly passing away.
Is not this evidence that two distinct agencies were
at the time involved, life and death.
According to James' no-soul theory, his speech was
involuntary reflex action, governed by neither will nor
memory, while according to reason the spirit which con-
trolled this wonderful man's feeble, tottering form was as
clear and bright as it had been in days gone by.
Falling asleep in death is not a new venture. We are
unconscious through life of all we know except as mo-
mentary knowledge comes forth through the organs,
336 LOOKING BACK
which in sleep as in death are unconscious of surround-
Jesus said, "I go that I may wake him out of sleep."
"She is not dead but sleepeth."
If man is simply a creation of animated matter, he
dies like a vegetable, if he is a dual creature, soul and
body, when one part ceases to be, the other is not self,
but if man is a spiritual being temporarily inhabiting and
partially controlling a creation of animation the dissolu-
tion of the animated form must set him free and leave the
spiritual being intact.
In memory, of childhood days, we apparently go back
and view the scenes again, but if we really did go back
we would see them as they are and not as they were, so
we must give up that theory.
The most prevalent materialistic doctrine is that mem-
ory is an impression of the occurrences stamped on the
brain. This theory when turned upon" itself plainly estab-
lishes the invisible soul as the being who discerns the
The most modern atheistic theory is that memory is
not a retained impression, but rather a new creation
caused by immediate external stimuli. See Volume 1,
page 649, of James' Psychology.
As all sane expressions are based on foreknowledge,
this theory assumes that the cold exterior stimuli at the
motor discharge instantly re-create the experience of
our entire passed life.
This fallacy, together with the brain path theory,
proves that excess of possessions coupled with classical
education creates degeneracy.
Under the guise of philosophy and science these in-
structors are not only attacking the church but the vital
spark of life.
ARTHUR RICHARDSON AND HIS TWINS.
LOOKING BACK 337
I have spent years in the principal parts of the world
studying the people and their modes of worship and I
have found that all religions are one and beautiful in that
they teach that at death the soul will be free. The righ-
teous and wicked will be separated and our future des-
tination will depend upon our personal motives while
living in the body.
Whether our soul theory be a myth, mystery or truism,
one thing is obvious, those living under the conviction
that their apparent secret motives are in some way ac-
tually known, and will stand for or against them at death,
Avill lead more pure lives, and make better parents, citi-
zens and neighbors than those who imbibe materialism
through faithless instructors who apparently hope there
will be no reckoning day.
The immortal soul has been the staff of hope on which
frail humanity has leaned for ages. The American
Indian stood in the evening gloom, shading his brows
with his feeble hand as he tried to look over the cold
waves of death just to get a glimpse of the unexplored
happy hunting ground. John, while on the isle of Patmos
invented pearly gates and golden streets. He had caught
the symbolic mode of teaching from Jesus in that ideas
transformed into object lessons are more easily compre-
Jesus taught the soul theory from start to finish. "The
kingdom of God cometh not by observation — the king-
dom of God is within you." "Fear not them which kill
the body but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both
body and soul in Hell." "It is the spirit that quickeneth,
the flesh profiteth nothing." "The words I speak unto
you are spirit and are life." Still he illustrated his ideas
through object lessons.
338 LOOKING BACK
Many who do not profess actually believe in the im-
mortality of the soul. When unprofessing parents weep
at the death of their sweet babe; they somehow believe
that after life's dark storms are all passed, they will find
that their pet has been in the care of loved ones who have
Any thoughtful person when observing their hand
must discern two distinct forces in existence, spiritual and
material or visible and invisible. And that the invisible is
the force which knows and drives the material. Thus, as
the exterior stimuli through the ear or other senses
awaken the reason, so the invisible through the dififerent
functions of the brain emit their conclusion, based on
world experience and scrutinized by the spirit, or a God-
given power we call reason, which is often swayed by
sly will power.
The aged are continually calling up minor incidents of
forty years ago, while yesterday's events evade recall.
Why is this ?
It is not that the obscurity of vision, confusion of re-
sults and uncertainty of doubt which befogs life today
darkened the path in the same way fifty years ago, but
time has removed the obscurity and the original appears,
Could we live another fifty years, might not the cloud
which now befogs our path have vanished and we again
remember the glance of recognition of yesterday, which
now seems hard to recall.
No one contends but that our journey of life is tra-
veled in utter darkness. No recall of the past, no dis-
cernment of the future. If then one unimportant act or
thought of the long ago did record itself, may not all have
done the same, and may it not be that when the veil of
obscurity is drawn aside, all the minute details of life will
OUR OAK PARK HOME — MRS. RICHARDSON, OUR DOG JOE, AND
LOOKING BACK 339
blend the awakened past with the present, and we dis-
cover that our birth was not a beginning but rather a for-
getting, and death the welcome morning call.
I stood with the mother of the James boys, beside the
grave of Jesse, in her door yard, when she told how that
once when Jesse thought he was dying he took his watch
charm and handed it to a comrade, saying, "Take this to
sister Anna and tell her to pray that we meet in Heaven."
That mother's tears did not seem to me like crocodile
tears. In fact there is something about the deadly bandit
which we sometimes admire, but if there is anything fas-
cinating about Harvard James and his sympathizers who
sneak in under the cloak of morality to influence the
young to turn against the great thinking spiritual world,
I, for one, cannot see it.
I may be too blunt and plain in my remarks concern-
ing soulless advocates but I feel that these teachers are
not only swinging to the other extreme from religion, but
through selfishness or ignorance they are creating unrest
Most of our national leaders have been drilled in these
theories and while many are too wise to accept them there
are those who accept what they are taught just as a calf
takes milk from the cow.
These thoughtless learned often become political lead-
ers. Especially where finances are concerned, for with
this no sotil theory in view, their only object in life can
be aggrandizement and luxury tinctured with animal
EVENING OF MY LIFE DAY
Years have passed since my cycling days and ye'c I
am strong and athletic.
My daughter Minnie and her husband, Dr. B. H.
Chamberlain, with their only boy Hiland, have lately sold
their home on Washington boulevard and are not yet
Arthur and Jessie, with three children, Marvin and
die twins, Jean and Willard, have an elegant home on
Keystone avenue, Rivert Forest. He owns the Inland
vVhitelead Co., which is a large concern.
Alberta and her husband, George Carlson, with their
three bright girls, Mary, Mildred and Frances, live in
their comfortable home near me in Oak Park. George
is captain of our fire department.
Thus I have my children and grandchildren around
me, all in good health and standing in the community.
I am still conducting my manufacture of copper and
tinware on my property, corner Washington boulevard
and Curtis street. My 75 years does not seem to trouble
me, for I feel as well as I did fifty years ago.
Mary Hoyt, my first wife, long since entered the
shadows where faults and failings grow dim, while vir-
tues and charms blend the past, present and future into
one eternal morning of gladness.
In 1902, I married Mrs. Williamson, whose maiden
name was Mary Prickett, of Goshen, Ind. Our days
together have been continued sunshine and joy. Even-
ings when I return home each tells of the day's joys,
troubles and ludicrous incidents.
LOOKING BACK 341
My Mary not only runs the home, buying, paying,
attending to her church trotting and downtown shop-
ping, but she is interested in my ups and downs at the
factory. Inquires all about Dorfman, my factory super-
intendent; Bilthouse, my mechanical engineer, and car-
ries in mind my business associates, knows their names
and who they represent.
To me, a man who expects his wife to stay in her
place, never deserving of praise, misses much he might
enjoy if he knew enough to appreciate her worth. Many
a man's success in life is owing to the genius of his wife,
a fact which neither seems to understand.
Our home, northwest corner East and Chicago ave-
nue. Oak Park, we built in 1909 and 1910. The house
is spacious and elegant, but the gem of Fair Oaks sub-
division is our large yard.
Of the six stately burr oaks, known to be hundreds
of years old, one stands near our sleeping room window,
on which is the house or home of a mother squirrel, who
when she has babies allows no other squirrel to even
climb the tree. Each day she comes down to the kitchen
for dinner, often sitting on Mrs. Richardson's shoulder
while eating and does not even care if her tail does brush
the ladies' eyes.
There are about forty other large trees in the yard
besides, on either side of the bridge, a dense thicket of
thorn and crab apple trees. Here the wrens and robins
raise their broods in harmony with the saucy sparrows
who live with us all the year, eat that which would be
thrown away, and never disturb other birds' nests. They
all bathe in the same pool and actually seem to appre-
ciate our little dog Joe, who assumes great responsibility
in keeping the cats from catching the young birds and
the boys from climbing over our high iron fence.
FIFTY-FOUR MILES' HIKE
The latest excitement in our neighborhood has been
the exploit of myself and my son Arthur, with several
other aspirants, attempting without training, to walk to
Channel Lake, fifty-four miles, in one day.
Our plan was for the men to leave Oak Park at
sundown and walk in the dark thirty miles, and the
ladies leave home, in automobile, at 3 :30 in the morning,
then all take breakfast together at Libertyville, from
where the ladies would accompany the men on the last
The evening before the start we had a laughable
wrangle as to who, of the men, could or could not pull
through to Libertyville, as the heavy fall rains had so
impaired the roads that there would be much high step-
ping and low dipping as we stumbled along in the dark.
Also, we knew that the journey from Libertyville to
Antioch, being over clay hills, would be either slip-slop
or hard and sharp for the feet of the ladies, but every-
body seemed anxious to make a record.
Jessie, Arthur's wife, and Mrs. Buhler felt dubious
about the outcome of the ladies' walk, but my wife de-
clared she would like to see the man who had walked
thirty miles in the night that she could not accompany
through the following day.
Of the very many aspirants all found plausible ex-
cuses except the two Richardsons and their wives, Eu-
gene Buhler, and Paul Highland and their wives, Albert
Hauter, Edd Hauter and Bruce Tate.
LOOKING BACK 343
Accordingly, as the autumn sun was casting its last
gleam through the old oaks we seven men grouped for a
picture, by a neighbor lady, who declared it would be
nice for the survivors, if any, to look at after they had
become weaker and wiser.
After kissing all the kissable ladies and promising to
take it easy, we, in spite of ourselves, lit out at a pace
that would have done justice to trained pedestrians.
In River Forest we turned north on Keystone avenue
and then on to the country road, when we broke step
and strung out, each man attending to his own feet.
It was understood that we stop for supper at Des-
plaines, but when we arrived at Kolze, seven miles out,
the two Hauters, Highland and Tate ordered ham and
eggs, while Buhler, Arthur and myself pegged on fast,
because the others had declared they would catch us
before we reached Desplaines, but they did not.
At Desplaines, thirteen miles out, we found the sum-
mer restaurant closed, but in a sort of hotel annex we
found a damsel of about 12 years ready to prepare for
us ham, eggs and coffee.
She did step around like a regular woman, for which
we recompensed her liberally, for she was exceptionally
quaint and interesting for a child.
While we were eating, the rear guard arrived, when
Albert and Paul came in, saying Bruce and Edd were
When we were ready to start Edd and Bruce were no-
where to be found. We inquired, called and whistled,
but no response, so concluded they had either become
discouraged and taken the train for Chicago or gone on
ahead to fool us, so we five struck out for Wheeling.
At every house the dogs came out barking, which set
344 LOOKING BACK
the dogs at the next house agoing, who, together with
the dogs at the last house, which had not yet stopped
barking, gave us real dog encouragement.
To keep up our spirits we accompanied the dogs by
striking up "Old Black Joe." Really we lacked only a
bagpipe to have made the farmers think Gabriel was at
hand calling the elect from their graves.
At every bend in the old Desplaines River the water
babbled loudly, seeming to join in our merriment, as we
jested, told stories and laughed through the joyous hours
of our moonlight escapade along the winding stream.
At Wheeling, twenty-two miles out, Buhler began
to realize he ought not to have attempted so strenuous
an effort, but said he would stick it out forty miles, to
Gray's Lake, after which we could continue our foolish-
ness if we did not know enough to get in and ride.
Tate and Ed Hauter put in their appearance at Lib-
ertyville, just before the ladies arrived, and to prove they
had actually walked all the way, exhibited blisters on
The ladies teased us and seemed greatly amused while
arousing us for breakfast, but soon we were all out in
the glorious dawn while the sun was yet lingering beyond
old Lake Michigan.
Our way was over the hills which overlook. the head
waters of the sleepy Desplaines. Touched with a glim-
mer of pathos at the golden dawn, Arthur and I stopped
to listen to my wife's sentimental refrain:
"Not so long ago the red men with their squaws and
pappooses gathered here, when the leaves were falling,
to celebrate their autumn powwow, feasting on wild rice,
berries and venison, never dreaming that a pale-faced
foe lurked on an unknown shore who would soon appear
LOOKING BACK 345
to drive them far away from their own hunting ground,
never more to return to join in the chase or the young
braves to woo the sun-burned Indian maids."
This httle day dream of long ago seemed to awaken
serious thought, into which Arthur took part thus :
"Isn't this lovely away from the great city of catch
as catch can — to enjoy the inspiration of these quiet
hills and valleys? I wonder if this morning may not be
just a glimmer of worlds in the far away Eternity more
beautiful, than ours. Do you think, father, there are
other worlds like ours?"
"Not exactly like ours, my boy, there are no two
cherries on the tree just alike, still like folks they are
all similar. Eternity is the abode of millions of worlds —
see, there, our party are climbing the next hill ; no more
monologues here, we must overtake them."
From Gray's Lake, when our party of eleven had
dwindled to five, Arthur, Hauter and Highland pegged
steadily on, while Mary and I lagged to enjoy the beauti-
ful northern hilly country.
We really did enjoy our lark, as Mary called it. She
observed every interesting thing. Listened to the bark-
ing of the squirrels, songs of the birds and strayed into
the woods for pretty autumn leaves and berries until her
arms were full.
Our daughter Vida, at Carroll College, who knew of
our contemplated walk, telephoned to Chicago and on
learning we had actually started took the train to Anti-
och and came down the road to surprise us.
We were loafing along when our Weiders (Vida),
whom we had not seen in eight weeks, sprang from a
concealment and grabbed us.
Surely I would not have been much more surprised
346 LOOKING BACK
if one of the fair sex from the planet Mars had accosted
After the shower of kisses Mary and I forgot our
sore toes, and, with her, hurried on, visiting all the way
until we neared our destination, when in the woods, a
flood of red bitter-sweet berries attracted their attention
and, in spite of all I could do or say, they left the road
and began browsing again.
Vida's animation reached serene heights, when from
a perch on a fallen tree she cried, "Oh, Papa, see how
I can climb. Come up here and see the rippling wave
of old Fox Lake dance in the blushing rays of the even-
ing sun. Oh, isn't it a pity that girls cannot fly."
When we arrived at the home of my brother, G. M,
Richardson, we found Arthur, Hauter and Highland,
with many friends, awaiting us, all pleased to learn that
the Richardsons were far from being played out.
After dinner, and Amanda (my brother's wife) had
taken Mary and me to the kitchen and exhibited their
24-pound turkey for dinner next day, we gathered in the
big living room, when even those who were tired were
able to tease and tell stories which had the semblance of
It was not intended for a Richardson reunion, still
there were Richardsons enough to render the occasion
one of merriment and joy.
Besides mates and friends, the following Richardsons
My brother Gordon.
His son Perin.
His son Merrick.
His son Lawrence.
His son George.
LOOKING BACK 347
His daughter Gertie.
His daughter Ehiia. • ■
Myself — Merrick Abiier.
My son — Merrick Arthur.
And — Vida.
We had a high old time, for the Richardsons when
teasing are said to be somewhat given to exaggeration,
so one can easily understand that when they cut loose
no one felt sleepy.
The following evening a few of our immediate
friends gathered to congratulate us, among whom were
two of Vida's college chums, (Bob) Barbary Beaver and
(Peter) Fannie Peterson, who with our Welders made
an interesting trio of entertainers.
Really, when Bob was acting "When Angelina John-
son Came Swinging Down the Line," one could see the
pretty colored girl, right from the cotton fields, shaking
her heels to the tune of the "Old Virginia Reel."
Peter singing "Maggie, Maggie, the Cows Are in the
Clover," was enough to make the most sedate forget
themselves, especially the last verse, where Maggie had
gone to the county fair and was up in a balloon spooning
with her lover, when away in the distance from the
kitchen door she faintly heard that old familiar scream,
The cows are in the clover.
They've trampled there since morn.
Go and drive them, Maggie,
To the old red barn.
Thus ended our glad, eccentric lark to Channel Lake,
but our hikes still continue. Since our Channel Lake epi-
sode, our neighbor, Mrs. Wm. F. Kraft, together with
Mrs, Richardson and myself, walked in one day to Elgin,
thirty miles, and really these two interesting dames did
give me a right lively chase.
LOOKING BACK 349
I close this book with regret that I am unable, throtfgh
language, to express my conviction of the immortality
of the soul of both man and beast. Consummated life
on earth consists of coming from and returning to ;
creation, action and dissolution of the body do not account
for the personal, invisible cause of action. You, dear
reader, and myself are now cloaked in garments of dust.
When this mantle is laid aside we shall know each other.
We shall remember more distinctly ; see more clearly
love more dearly ; enjoy more purely and wonder tha
our faith while on earth was so weak.
Merrick Abner Richardson.