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IN LIGHTER VEIN
ROM out the wood to where I lie
Fotothes a clear and loud good-by:
Had loud refrain,
And voicing filled the green retreat
A flash of flame betrays the bird
The trees between,
A scarlet boat
On seas of green;
And know it as the springtime friend
While leaves were dry:
Ah, yes! 't was he in budding spring
He sings the same,
In coat of flame.
His spring and summer days are past,
I, therefore, wonder not to hear
Henry T. Stanton.
An Autumn Night.
SOME things are good on autumn nights,
Upon the roof the rolling rain,
And, while the wind lulls, still to sit
Your very heartstrings in it;
The Healing of Meechum. (OLD INHABITANT LOQUITUR.)
JIM MEECHUM, ornery Jim, they used to call him, was the no-'countest man I ever knowed, I think, that is, before he took the trip to Pike's Peak overland, with a lot of us fellows, in an early day. He's been improved a heap since then. Major Harris learnt him a lesson on that trip that I reckon did Jim more good than all the preachin' he ever heard, although Jim's a powerful hand to go to meetin', and I 've seen him git converted several times. Fact is, Jim was a better hand at gittin' converted than he was at stayin'. Trouble with him was, he was just an overgrown baby.
Well, as I was sayin', a party of us we concluded we 'd go out to Pike's Peak; and so we bundled up our traps, and got some wagons, and went it overland. We had n't been out very long before Jim began to get weak in the gills. He sort of lost his nerve, and thought he was goin' to die, and kept complainin' about everything. The water did n't agree with him, and he felt his rheumatism comin' back, and everything, -he was gruntin' all the time. When we got out from St. Joe a ways, he begun to weaken. He was afraid of the Indians, and afraid of bushwhackers, and spent his time between layin' in the wagon and prayin' and walkin' around like a ghost.
Well, the boys they got mighty tired of his carryin's on. They'd run him about it, and joke him, and try to rally him up, but it did n't do no good. He just moped and sulked, and it looked like he 'd peter out sure. You know, it don't do for a man to lose his grip when he 's crossin' the plains. And we was all sorry for him, too; we knowed if he did n't brace up he 'd really die, but it seemed like we could n't git no hold on him.
So one day Major Harris says, "I'm going to cure Jim Meechum,>» says he. «I'm going to cure Jim Meechum. You fellers just watch me," says he.
Major Harris was n't no hand to talk; he was a quiet
spoken man; but he was clean grit, and I never see him flustered in my life. He was sociable, too, though he 'd never talk much, but just sit with us around the campfire and chaw; and every once in a while he 'd put in a word, and when he said somethin' it was worth while. <<Well,» says the major, «I'm going to cure Jim Meechum »; and then we all knowed some fun or another was up. So we laid low and waited.
One day, when Jim was feelin' specially downcey, and a-droopin' around the camp like a chicken with the gapes, Major says to him, says he, «Jim,» says he, «come on; let's walk over yonder behind them willers to the spring. They 's a spring there that 's got mineral in it, and a drink of it will do you good,» says he. Jim allowed it was n't no use, that nothin' would ever do him any good, but by and by he went along; and when we saw them two go behind them willers we wunk at each other, and kind of smiled, because we knowed somethin' was up, and it was n't spring water that Jim was goin' to git.
When Jim Meechum come back from that little season with Major Harris, he was a changed man. He picked right up, never complained no more, eat his side meat like the rest of us, and made a full hand all around. No, sir; we never heard a chipper from Jim after that. We told Maje that he 'd ought to take out a license to preach, because Jim had got somethin' on that occasion, whether religion or not, that stuck to his ribs better than any convertin' he 'd ever had before. And Maje he'd kind of smile, and say nothin'. He never give Jim away till long afterward, and then, one day, he told us all about it, after we 'd all come back to the States.
« Well,» said Major Harris, when we finally asked him to let us into the thing, now that it could n't hurt Jim's feelin's. «Well,» says he, «I saw Jim was just a-goin' down like a sick runt, and I knowed there was n't nothin' the matter with him, but he 'd lost his grit, and that will kill a man same as disease, unless he can git cured. So I made up my mind I'd cure him. I always liked Jim. He was a good feller, and they was n't no harm in him. So I toled him off down behind the willers, and then I says to him, when we got out of range of you fellers, I says, says I:
«Jim, ain't you feelin' no better?>
«No, he says; I got them same pains in my back. I believe I got a floatin' kidney. My wife's father had one, and my symptoms are just like hisn.)
«But don't you think you'll get over it? says I. «No, says he; it 's only a question of time. I'm sorry I come along, for I hate to be a bother; but I can't hold out much longer.>
«You 're sure of that, Jim, are you?> says I.
«Yes, he says; and he hove a sigh, and walled his eyes like a sick calf, and then he went on talkin' about his family, and a-workin' himself up meller, like you know he used to keep doin'.
«I let him run on awhile, and finally I says, Well, Jim, me and the boys have talked it over, and we 've come to the conclusion that you 're right. You are a-dyin' by inches; it 's only a question of a week or so. You're gittin' weaker and weaker, and, Jim, it's an awful thing to die of disease out in this here God-forsaken prairie. They ain't no way to take care of a sick man in an outfit like ourn. They ain't no women folks, nor nothin',-only us men. And so we 've talked it over,
and we 've decided that if you 've got to die, Jim, you had ought to die all to once, and not peter out in a long sufferin'. So we drawed straws to see who 'd undertake the job, and I'm sorry to say that I was the one elected to this office, and a blamed disagreeable one it is. But I'll do my duty, Jim; I ain't a-goin' to let no squeamish
DRAWN BY E. W. KEMBLE.
«JIM, THINK OF YOUR TROUBLES.>> ness keep me from doin' a kindness to a pardner in distress; and with that I pulled out my old horse-pistol. « Well, sir, you'd ought to see Jim wilt when he saw that gun. He turned white around the mouth, and says: «You ain't a-goin' to shoot me, Major?› he says. «Jim, says I, that ain't fair to put it that way. You know yourself you can't last long. It's a mercy and a kindness to do it.)
«‹But, says he, you ain't goin' to shoot me right down like a' old horse that 's broke its leg, are you? he says.
«Jim, says I, (you was always a fair-minded man; and I put it to you, I says- I put it to you, if you are not kind of hard on me? Here I am, with the best of intentions; I simply want to help my feller-man, and save him from a heap of sufferin'.>
« Well, we argued back and forth quite a spell, Jim a-gittin' scareder and scareder as he saw I meant business. Finally, down he goes on his knees, and begs and prays me not to shoot him.
«But, I says, (Jim, think of your troubles. There's that floatin' kidney, and that 's certain death.>
«<<I think it's some better, he says.
«<<And then, says I, your wife and folks ain't here.) «<<I don't mind that, says Jim; I don't mind that at all. Nance will be all the gladder to see me when I git back. «But, says I, still strokin' my gun, there's them bowel troubles: they can't stand this alkali water.) «Oh, he says, I'm gittin' used to it. I rather like the water now.)
«And then, I goes on and then, the rheumatism This thing of layin' out of nights in a wagon is bound to make that worse. It's goin' to your heart, you said.) «Now, Major, says Jim, don't you remember how old Doc Meserve said they was n't nothin' so good for sore joints as plenty of open air? My arm 's a heap better. I can wallop it around every which way now. It 's got better recent, he says; and it was all I could do to hold in when he sawed his arm around through the air, showin' me how supple he was.
«Jim, says I, you 're all prepared now. You 've been sayin' your prayers constant for a week, and you never will be readier to pass over. If you wait till the summons comes in a more regular way, you may not be ready.)
«Oh, but, he says, and he got up and laid his hand on my arm, caressin' like (oh, but I ain't ready, Major; I don't feel the witness as I once did. Sure I don't, he says.
« We jawed on to and fro for some time, Jim a-feelin' more and more improved as our remarks proceeded, and gittin' more worldly and unprepared to brush the dews on Jordan's banks, as he had been allowin' he was about to do for some time back; and finally I says, says I, kind of slow like: "Well, Jim, says I, if your kidney ain't a-floatin'
«Oh, she ain't, says Jim; (she's stuck now; I feel it, and he thumped his back a good, healthy welt. «And if your rheumatism is improvin' in the open air
«Rheumatism? Pshaw! says Jim; and he fetched a caper with his game leg equal to one of them varietytheater actresses.
«And if you can stand it to be away from your wife
«Oh, I don't care, he says. Fact is, Maje, Nance is kind of worrisome sometimes, and I really enjoy a little vacation.)
«And if you ain't quite wholly sanctified and ready to go-)
«Be dog-goned if I am, says Jim, just to show me he could cuss a little.
«And if, I says, slippin' my gun into my belt, and extendin' the right hand of fellowship to him- and if you've made up your mind, Jim, to quit bein' an all-fired baby, and be a man, why put her there, and we 'll say nothin' to the boys about it.
«The tears come into Jim's eyes, and he grabbed my hand, and he says, Don't the boys know?▸ «No, says I; and if you behave yourself I won't
So that's how Jim Meechum was cured.
THE DE VINNE PRESS, NEW YORK.