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The Donation Party

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Jim and I went to tho donation, aud of couree took the whole families. We sent over two barrels of flour; Jim, for himself, sent a nice, big ham; bis wife bought a lot of stuff for children's dresses; Maria (that's my wife) bought the parson'B wife a black dress pattern, and wheedled me iato giving our tailor an order to make the parson an overcoat. Before telling you about the donation party, I believe I must describe this parson and his i'amily, as they w m - _ - -- - w - - - g were the most singular people I ever Met. For myself, I don't take very much interest íd religious mattere, but I do like to see a man live up to his professions. Well, this little preacher, for he was a very little man, was one of the most conscientious men I ever saw. His charge supplied him with a house to live in, a salary of $400 per annum, and one donation party. If heaven is so desirable a place to get to, those who are on the ■vay evidently believe it is neceseary economize in the eost of a guide. Well, the little preacher, while thoroughlydevoted to the cause in which he was engaged, was also extremely attached to his family, and fairly idolized his wife. She was very illy fitted for a preacher's wife, being eriginally very proud, and quite given to dress, and to now be deprived of the means to gratify her desires was very trying, and sho had taken to quiet fits of repining and weeping, until her eyes and the tip of her nose bad acquire ■ degree ofredness not pleasant to look upon. Her hnsband uaed to say that ghe was a very pretty girl when he married her, and he was continually upbraiding himself for having persuaded her to leave her pleasant home and cast her lot witli his. A little occurrence that took place one day in my hearing will show his devotion to her. I had taken over to Cooperville a small load oi ftour, and driving by the preaoher's house he carne out and asked me to leave a barrel f'or him. , So I took it into the house, and while waiting for him to find a hatchet with which to loosen the head, sat down in the the kitchen by the fire. His wife he told me was not feeling well, and had lain down. Unable to find the hatehet he went into her room to make inquiry as to its whereabouts, leaving the door slightly ajar, when I overheard the following conversation : "O, George, I feel so bad!" "Do you still suffer pain, dear?" "O, terrible pain!" "I think, my dear, if you would do as I suggested, you would soon be relieved of your pain." "What, take castor oil, George?" "Yes, Carrie, I feel quite sure it would very quickly relieve you, and I do wish you would try it." "But it's so nasty." "Yon II only taste it a moment, dear." "But I can't take it, George, its too nasty." "Oh, yes you cau, dear. Shall I pour you out a spoouful?" "Will you take some if I do, George?' "What a question, dear. I have no ueed to take it, but 1 should iJo so ai once if I were you." "That's because you're a man. A man can do anything." "Tnen you won't take it, Carrie?" "Not unless you will, too." "Well, theu, although I can't understand why you waut me to take me too, 111 do so." "And firat, George. You must take it first." 'Anything to satisfy you, dear, and make you well again.1' A momentary silence, and then: "Now, Carrie, it's your turn; are you ready?" "Did you take some, George?" ' Yes, dear; and now you must.'' "Did it taste bad, George?" ' Well, it's not very pleaant, but the taste don't last long. And now, dear, you take yours, for I must go and find the hatchet." "Oh, George, I couldn't take it at all; it's too nasty;" and nhe didn't. I only mention this as showing the inau's devotion to his wife. Talk of braving death for a woman; that's easy compared to taking castor oil for her. But I must get on to the donation party. We sent Gus ou ahead witb the stuif, and then we all got into Jini's old carry-all and about five o'clock started over. The roads were very rough, and we didn't arrive at the parsonag-.1 until about eight o'clock, and after getting the flour and ham into the kitchen, the dress-stuffs were taken in hand, passed frotn one to another of the wortien, commented up on, feit of, and cost speculated upon. Our wives (that is, Jim's and mine) after saying good evening all around, betook themselvea to the kitchen to see what preparations were making for supper, the yoang folka were shoved off up-stairs, and we old married folka occupied the parlor and sitting room. Old Cooper was there, and was apparently well pleased with the turn-out. He carne at once up to us, and expressed himself as being glad that we carne over. "A good gatherin' to-night," said he. "So I should judge,'' Jim answered. "The preacher will make out very well, won't he?" "Mostly potatoes, I'ra afeared," oíd Coopsr replied. 'I oan't for the life of rae see why everybody should fetch potatoes and pies. The pies ia all right, for I kinder think tbey will be eat all up to-uight, but I'íl miss my gueas if there ain't nigh on to twenty bushels of putatoes fttched here." "What are you getting for potatoes no?" I aaked. "Well, their fetchin' forty cents. 'Tain't enough, but thai's all ye can get." "So the people have brought in possibly eight dollars' worth of potatoes. That'a pretty generous, aia'i it?" said Jim. "It'a a good many potatoes," said oíd Cooper, "and there's a great deal of other stuff." Leaving Jim and old Cooper together, I went over to the preacher, and getting him alone, gave him the order for the overcoat. "You and your partner," he eaid, '"have been very kind to me and mine, and Í don't know how to thank you as I should. It is not pleasant for me to acoept charity, for though a donation party is 'nominated in the bond,' as it were, still it has, and always will have, to me, a repugnant presence. I don't suppose the feeb'ng is right, but when the people leave to night they will take with them nearly all they have brought, and the knowledge of this fact renders the donation supportable. I do not say this with any reference to the gifts you and your partner have been so liberal witb, and do not wish you to so understand. These I accept in the spirit which has prompted their bestowal, and thank you and him most cordially for them." "But," said I, "isn't a donation looked on as one of your nerquisites?" "Yes," he replied, but that makes it no more pleasant. I can speak a little more plainly to you than I culd to one of the members, and you will, I believe, understand me as not coraplaining. We have here to-night one hundred and twenty-three people Now, how much do you suppose the total value of (heir donations will aggregate?" "Well, I don't know a3 I would ever have thought of it in that way." "That's just it," he replied, "no one thinka of it in that way. One member bring3, say a bushei of potatoes; another perhaps a cake or two, a pie, a roll of nice butter, or perhaps a dozen nice fresh eggs. If each one here to-night had done that, I don't know where I should have put all of their gifte, but in most cases the gifts are far less than this, and for each gift, there are here to-night a an average five persons. I only teil y )u this to show you that when supper is over there will probably be no more in the house than before, yet my people will go home feeling that they have been very liberal with me." "Well, this certainly is putting it in a way I should never have thought of. At the same time, I can very readily understand it to be as you say." Just at that moment a crash overhead was heard, and somebody upstairs cried "fire!" Jim and I, aud the parson rushed up the stairs (some one of the brethren toJd me afterwards that oíd Cooper began a frantic search for his hat) and found the young folks had been playing a game of forfeite, and that 'Kiah Simpkins, in a strug gle to secure from 'Liza Putney a kies had caught one of his small feet on the leg of a little stand upon which for convenience, the lamp had been placed, overturning it, brea'iiog the lamp and spilhng the 01), whicli, of course, ignited upon the floor. It took but a few moment9 to extiDguish the flames, and then oíd Cooper sug gested that "we all on our bended knees return thanks to the Almigbty Father for hia merciful kindness in oavin' us from the devourin' element." Jim intimated "it would be better for the young folks to chip in aiid buy the parson a new carpet." Cooper's saggestion was carried - Jim's wan't. Shortly after, supper was anuouiiced and the older folks were provided with seats at the tables in the kitchen and dining room, 'Vsrhile the jfoung folks took theirs in the parlor, sandwiches, cake, tea ard coffee being passed around to them. I don't know how much they ate in the parlor, but there was no injustice done the viands at the table where I sat. We had a very sociable tima, and everyboJy seemed pleásed with his share in the entertainment. Old Coopsr was particularly witty. "I say, Bill," he asked, "isyer conscience a troublin' oí yer?" "Not at all," I answered. "Why do you ask?" "Oh, I didu't kuow but ye wcre tryia' to git rid o' sorae of yer ill goU ten wealth, yer so liberal like." "Idon'tunderstand whatyournean." "Well, ye see ye've been gougiu' U poor farmers in the matter of toll for some time back, and I didn't know butyourconscience might have smit ye at times about it, and that in a fit of remoree ye had made up yer mind topay back by givin'ourdominie here a good send-off to-night. Kinder make up for what the rest on us hasn't given, yer know," and with that the old man went off into a regular fit of hoarse laus;hter, in which we all joined. An agonizing scream from the parlor caused a rush for that locality, and found the cause of the oommotion, an attempt by young Mr. 'Kiah Simpkins to acare the life out of young Miss 'Liza Putney, by dropping a oold curren t, picked trom nis piecs of cake, down her back. Miss Putney was favoring the company with a song, standing in front of the piano (a relie of past grandeur) and to be more at ease had placed her cupofcoffee upon the edge thereof. She, feeling as she supposed, a nasty bug making its way down her back, gave one yell, and raised her arms convulsively to the back of her neck. In her effbrta to capture the bug, shebecame oblivious of the cup of coffee standing btfore her, and as her hands went up they carne in contact with it, overturuing it and its contente into the piano. It took snme little time to restore quiet, (the damage was apparently not thought of), but the harmony of the party was broken, and pretty soon indications of going home were visible. Old Cooper, noticing this reque8ted üence while he made a few remarks, rmettiing after thisstyle: "Brethren aud sisters, for I feel I may cali ye so, althougb we don't all on na belong to one fold (and some on us I fear don't belong to no fold at all), we hev met here to-night to testify in some slight measure, the feelin's in which we all hold our beloved pastur. Although we are none on us blessed witli too much worldly goode, we have all on us giver as our rneans would seem to juatify, l,J know I hev). We have all on us given freely and willin'ly aa seemed to us right (I know ï hev), and although it may not please our beloved pastur beyond the necessity of future labor, he will, I am sure, accept it as showin' the seed he has dropped has not fallen by the wayside nor on stunnyground. I feel certain ye will all bear me out when I say his labora among ua has been appreciated at their true worth, and that if at times, he becomes cast down, or weary in the heat of the day, he may know that while hia reward here may seem small, we will all devoutly pray that we may meet him in that better land, whera the wicked cease from troublin' and the weary may fiud rest." I don't know whether oíd Cooper expected a round of applause; if he did he was disappointed. Soinething occurred, liowever, which was "not down in the bilí," and which ereated a greater sensation than the oíd tian's addreas. Our man Gus had been a 8Ílent and seeruingly satisfied spectator uf the proceediugs, but as oíd Cooper got through, he rose up andsaid: "My friends, I don't go to no church, und I don't know how it vould be if I dit, but I vus invited to come over to dia barty, und I haf had a very goot time. It vas very goot fun to burn up de breacher's garpet, und more fun to vill up his biano up mit goffee. Somepoty says it was petter if you bay de fiddler don't it, und if you blese, every one here had petter bay me so much as feefty zents to make de breacher feel goot on our fun. Dot's pisness." "What does this mean?" asked oid Cooper. "ÍSn't this your hired man Bill?" "I dissbarge mineself," said Gas, before I had time to reply, "I have got another shob, dot raaype pays me better os dot. Come, my young frient," tapping young Mr. 'Kiah Simpkins on the aroi, "it vos petter dot you pay right away zo I can go on mit de gollection." "I haven't any chauge," said 'Kiah "Dot makes me no difference oud. I gan shange somedings vor you.'' 'Kiah reluctantly haaded Gus a dollar, which he took, and then going up to 'Liza Putney, said: "Und Dow, my leedle vomaD, you vas all de droublea dis efening und you gifs me, of'gourse, a hafe a dollar? Vol! you don't gct no nione}? Dot vas pad, s ) I hafe to take de shange of noy young frient hore' pointing to 'Kiali, "he vos afery n;ce young man und vouldu't let der lad_, bay for noding. My young frienf, you gan go home." By this time a góod niany were lauhing, and no trouble was had in getting the half dollar from each one present, uiitil it came to old Cooper. He held back, and dclared, "Bill, ye oughtto be ashamed to allow sech goiu's OQ ly yer hired man. It's an uu trage.'' "D;t's zo,' said 6u5. "It vos au outrage to gome here, und eat up eieryding vot dis leedle breacher has got in de howus, und den go homezay jour brayers uud egspect to git to dot blace jou ga!l h ven. It's no use dalkiu' 'bout any louger, Mr. Cooper, you must bay dot feefty zents shuo like aa oder f'ellers. You gan make it up ven Nick Roperts diea." Old Cooper paid. He didn't care to carry ou the eonversation. Gii3 coIJected sixty-thrco dollars in all which he dumped into the parson's hat with the remark, "Dot's burty pully; und now, Mr. Bill, I hires myself out again to you ." We drove home. -


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat