The Potter journal and news item. (Coudersport, Pa.) 1872-1874, August 20, 1873, Image 1

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Jno. S. IViarm,
I m!b Cor. Main nut Third.)
I <. Maun, S. F. Hamilton,
■' _ _
OFL u.4 /.V St., (01 vr the ' 11-AC,
I IT, PA.,
H. ,!! business prvtiininc to his profession. |
Special attention FIIVEII to collection*.
■tornt'vsat ban and Conveyancers,
C( >I'T)PRSP"it r, I .v.,
A, pr-MPTLY alt' R .T'-U T<>-
.„ml ITTUMMV >tary Public.
■ . P. C. I.AKKABKE .
B. N si. 'DART
LEY at L -.RI and Insnranco Agent,
I BKER H ouse,
I H'-.II'VV S KET.I.T. Pvopv'S.
fro! Sit OM) and EAST Streets,
v.: lion pn'NL to the convenience anil
, lo.nfort "f guests.
■ -!;U>ling attachert.
llswlEviliQ Hotel,
■ r of MAIN and NORTH St reels,
■ STABLING attached.
H MAZING, Orainiiip, Calritninitig,
B ' P.IJ er-hansrinsr, ''tc., done
H' ITM-s-. promptness and
:I C, all cases, and
5,1- isfactlon cuar-
■ PAINTS I. r sale. 2428-1
K Medicines, ltonks, Stationery,
[' • V';N Third St*.,
1 frn'n mid Third.)
■pical and Mechnnieal Dentist,
B i to dvc satisfaction.
B- P. Ball Jointer St Bolting Machine,
■ M.MIOMNU, Cameron en.. Pa.
I'" 1 ' ' 'TsIIIXGLF. MACIir.XK to
■ * MACHINES AMI Goncrai Custom Work
9- ' 2422-tf
L.'chn Grom,
F 1 USE. SI >• II
I X( ' tiid PAPER H ANGING done
B "neatness and dispatch.
B N guaranteed.
h ♦♦♦
VKi : ,j HOUSE
m n attended to.
I I ! - R NEEFE,
m t
I, . IU-'EN-MAKLNSR, RlacVumlthlT.g,
FE I riiumini; and Repairing D'U >
ATUCSS and durability. CHARGES
(S ■>;
1{ IU. WORK,
! ";T'l-ton.-s, etc., finished to order,
RECEIVE prompt atteutlon- •
[From the independent.]
To tell the real truth, Hester was
one ot those women whose intelli
; gence, whose beauty, whose manners,
; whose wit are exquisitely fascinating
to lovers, but whose temperament,
' whose whims, whose prejudices, an
j tipathies, fancies, are exquisitely try
ing to husbands. Still, beinc her
7 1 ~
husband, 1 have hardly the right to
speak so, even to you; and, iu fact,
there were but two of Hester's pecu
liarities that ever occasioned me any
trouble. One ot these was her love
of locality, her insane attachment to
the spot called home, and the other
washer horror of a thunder storm.
If there was one mortal thing of
which Hester had a fear, it was light
ning—if that may be called a mortal
thing. It was not like fear, either,
that emotion of hers. Into fear the
mind enters, and this was a purely,
physical thing. In the good old
days you would have said she was |
under a spell, for she turned marble,
white and cold,the moment a thunder j
cloud attained any height; her lips!
became parched, her heart lessened j
its beats, and she could neither speak |
nor move. She always lay helplessly !
on the bed and was fed with whiskey '
to be kept alive. And while we
were in the city the gas was lighted,
the shutters closed, the curtains
dropped and somebody played on
the piano a running accompaniment
as long as the thunder intoned its
bass. Of course, all this was not
looked on with much favor bv mv
superior masculine nerves; and, hav
ing no sympathy with it, I had a
great deal of scorn for it, and doubt
less caused Hester additional trouble
by the little pains I took to conceal
my vexation.
But Hester bad no longer gas to
light, or shutters or long curtains to
hide the sights feared; for times
had changed with us. We had given
up our pleasant city home, full of
light, and cheer, and sociability, and
had come down to try our luck in
this great farm on the edge of the
| marshes, where a tide-streak turned
tiie wheels of a couple of grist-mills,
and we had something more than a
fair chance of improving our condi
Hester, of course, had been against
the removal, against the plan and
the place, from the first. She wanted
ine to wait in the city till things
bettered themselves or something
turned up. She had rather do with
less, she said, and stay where we
were, among bur friends and our as
sociations. She did not want to sell
the sun Liny house where we had
spent all our married life, around
which all her enjoyments clustered,
and put the price into this great,
lonely, untried farm. But 1 told her
that ton j'ears of this farm, if all
prospered, would enable us to 1 <ll3*
back tiie eity- place and make it a
; winter paradise. "Ten years!" ex
! claimed Hester. "In ten years people
; will be dead and scattered; and we
| shall not care, after such a separation,
1 for any of those that are left, and
they will not care for us, and the
best part of our lives will be gone!"
Hut I was too sure of my ground
to listen to her; my own logic con
vinced me and I over-talked all Hes
ter had to say. And the long and
short of it was that down to the farm
we came, bag and baggage; and my
wife and my mother and sisters, and
all my household goods and gods
were around me there.
"It is nothing but a swamp;"
cried Hester, as she looked at it in
"It is on the border of some salt
' marshes, but with plenty of line up
land," I replied.
"Andsee! See, Roger! The light
ning struck the fences here last
"Well, suppose it did?" I asked,
as coolly as possible, a little fearing
what was to come. "The bullet never
<roes twice through the same hole you
"The lightning does," said Hester,
her great black eyes widening and
darkening. "It always docs. here
tlie lightning has fallen once, it in
variably in the course of time falls
again. You can see it all as plain as
day. It gathers on these marshes,
always wet, always hot; it rolls in
; land, and here it breaks upon this
knoll. There is a spring of running
water somewhere under the place;
of course there is. There it comes,
trickling out of the rock, you see.
And lightning always makes for a
hidden spring of running water like
a child for its mother."
"Nonsense, my dear," I answered
her. •'Your father was an inventor,
and the imagination is large in you.
All this is pure construction."
"Oh don't talk to me that way,"
she cried. '*l see what is before me.
I never shall have an hour's peace
on the place till 1 leave it for the
mad-house; and 1 never expected to
have." And she turned toco in and
help straighten out the confusion of
our unpacked possessions.
"Don't be so thoroughly unreason
able, Hester," I urged, following her.
"Any one would suppose, to hear you,
that a thunder storm was the end of
the world."
"I dare say it will be of mine," she
responded. "Nobody ever had such
a horror of anything for nothing;
and you have brought me into a very
nest of them."
"Pshaw!" I exclaimed. "Don't
be a child, entirely. An occasional
shower during a period of three
months need harm nobody. And
I've no doubt we can make the
house a delightful place l'or our
friends to visit."
"The house!" cried Hester, sweep
ing her arms, in a tragic gesture of
exhibition. "A is a hovel! It is
tumbling down. Look at. its immense,
its interminable rooin-q black with
grime, blistered with damp! Listen
to its rats! Breathe its moldy at
mosphere. It has held a century and
a half of squalor. Nothing but fire
can purify it. Oh! it needs the
lightning, sure enough." And then
she threw her arms around my neck,
and hid her face and cried, and pres
ently ran away to hinder the passing
of more words; for she felt that even
I was as angry as she was dissatis
But Hester was one of those wom
en who, after having said their say,
try to make the best of things and
do their duty with painful fidelity.
She had brought down, despite all
our gibes, some huge bundles of
kitchen wall-paper, that she had pur
chased for less than a dime a roll;
and she found the means to mix
enough paint for her purposes, and
soon, with her own hands and the
help of the other women, she had
cleaned and painted the inside of the
house from top to bottom, and had
hung it with the kitchen paper, put
on wrong side out, so that tiie plain,
gray surfaces of that wrong side
made uniform tinting to all the walls
as pleasant to the eye as something
twenty times costlier might have
been. Having done this she proceed
ed to paint and varnish some of the
floors in imitation of tiles and inlaid
woods, to put down the few carpets
saved from the wreck, and establish |
the books and pictures. Meanwhile,
the farm and the mills needed me
outside; and I thought the more
Hester had to occupy her and the j
more demands the place made upon ;
her the more she would see its capa
bilities and become interested in it.
And so, in course of time, Hester
gave the house a homelike, happy
look; and any stranger coming there
would have thought that we had
made for ourselves a little Eden in
the wilderness.
But it was no Eden to Hester.
She said hardly anything more, but
she used to sit at her window, with
a far-away look in her eyes; and 1
knew she hated it and felt all but
buried alive. At least, I might have
known so, if I had taken the pains to
observe or spared the time to see.
But 1 was a young man then, deter
mined to retrieve ray fortunes and
recover my place in the world; and
my whole soul was getting to be
bound up in the place and its possi
bilities. I had 110 eyes or thoughts
for anything else; for I saw an im
mense fortune in it if I had but the
skill anil the patience to unearth it.
I bad invented, indeed, an air com
pressing machine, to bo run by the
tide, that twice a day set up and
twice a day set down my creek, and
the little thing amassed and stored
power to such extent that through
its means I could have turned more
wheels and driven more shafts than
if 1 had owned all the rights in a
first-class waterfall—that is to say,
if the machine were only perfected.
But the last details were j*ct want
ing. Much of my thought necessari
]}" bent to its finishing; and what
the farm left unabsorbed afterward
went to tbe procuring of ways and
means for setting up belts and spin
dles in place of my millstones, and
turning this great power of my dis
covery, when it should be in readi-
ness to account in manufacturing.
I had not yet thought of enriching
myself by a royalty on my invention;
that was remote, bat this was close
at hand and sure. Nor had 1 fore
seen half its future, for I had not
dreamed of the time when it should
be carried in pipes tc do its immense
work fifty miles away, or stored in
reservoirs to run cars from station to
station. I was only concerned in
the small way of my personal and
present interests; and when the
trifles necessary to the machine's
perfect completion should be accom
plished all I lacked would he the
capital to erect the necessary build
ings. Little by little I was in hopes
of accumulating this—of pulling up
one stone at a time, as you might
say, setting up one wheel after an
other. I was writing to this man
and to that man to interest him in
the thing; and all the notice 1 took
of Hester was to go down to the
creek with her occasionally and dis
play to her the progress of the model
which was to compress air enough to
drive such a world of machinery
with a might beyond the might of
steam or cataract.
"1 tremble when one gets this bee
in his bonnet," she said. ".So long
as my father was an inventor—so
long as he explained cogs, and bal
ances, and levers to me—we starved."
For the rest, as I talked, she list
ened. She wondered a little, she
smiled; but she did not care. Once
or twice I saw her look at the model
scrutiuizingly. At one time she bent
and examined it over and under.
."Don't touch it!" I cried.
"Don't fear," she answed. "You
have not finished your machine yet.
You are not sure you can finish it."
She bent and looked again. "No!
no!" she cried, with a start, and
springing to her feet, "it will only
i detain us here." And she looked
gloomily about her. "Oh! when
• 3'ou have made this vast fortune,"
| she said, "what good is it to do us?
I V\ e shall be too old to enjoy a stiver
;of it. Our ears will be dulled to
' music, our eyes to L.-aut}*, our senses
|to gaycty. 1 loved better my little
: house in the square, the street bands,
and once in a while the theatre."
1 laughed at her, and went in and
read Browning's "Up at a Villa."
I "Hail I but plenty of money, money enough and
to spare.
The house for me, no doubt, were a house in the
city square.
I Ah! such a life, sueli a life us one leads al the
window there."
But she onl}- smiled languidly.
"That is not my cit}-, you know,"
she said. "My city is 1113; friends."
80 it seemed to me that Hester
was infatuated; and I went 111 v way
with 1113- machine, and thought 110
more of her homesick, lonesome face.
"All women are children," I said.
"When the}- find the}' cannot have
their own way, they will take } ours;
and all this feeling of Hester's is
nothing but a morbid whim."
Yet the more I puzzled with that
model, the more it puzzled me.
Either there was something radically
wrong with the machine or radically'
wrong with my brain. I chiseled,
and whittled, and screwed, and un
screwed, and experimented and still
the invisible, ineffable something es
caped me.
In the meantime m} r farm pros
pered as well as 1 could wish, and
grist came to m}- mills; and the
world looked bright to me in every
thing but Hester's lace. Hester had
little to do; for 1113- farmer's wile,
was at the head of the daily and
poultr}'-}'ard, and when my mother
and sisters were away 011 their fre-1
quent visits to my married sister and i
brother, the days were long and lone
some days—drear}- days, to which
none of the wonderful wild marsh
landscapes that la}- around the up
land of the farm could give any more
solace than they might have given to
the days of Mariana in the Moated
Grange. And when the thunder
came—well, I" don't like to think of
Hester now, alone, in those days
.when the thunder came; though it
is true, iudeed, that we did not have
so much of it as she had anticipated.
One afternoon in the second sum
. mer, hot and steaming after rain, I
j was down at the creek with my
! models, contriving and projecting,
as usual, when happening to glance
round I saw a singular appearance
upon the marshes between me and
| the sun. It was something resem
bling the convolutions of a bright,
gigantic snake, full of rainbow tints,
twisting itself along over the tops of
the green thatch at a prodigious rate
of swiftness. Almost before I had
begun to wonder what it was, it
opened and spread itself into a vast
rolling vapor, covering the whole
width, of the great marsh, its dark
blue masses streaked with curdling
white, waist high, with lightnings in
its breast, and mounting and advanc
ing with a terrible rapidity.
On it came, directly upon us, send
ing betore it such an awful sense of
impotence to arrest it, that I, who
had never known fear, quailed in ward
ly now—changing, and writhing, and
swelling, and mounting, but all the
time approaching and as if with the
wings of a hurricane. I had hardly
time to deposit my models i:i their
usual corner of one of the mills
and hasten to the house before the
cloud had risen and cast itself abroad
through the air, and the whole sky
above us and around us was a mist
of darkness.
Hester stood in the middle of the
room all alone, death white herself,
as I entered.
"Did you ever see anything so
horrible?" she gasped,and she sank
upon a chair. "It is not a thunder
stonn. It is the day of judgment.
We arc wrapped in fire!" And she
sat there trembling visibly, as if the
earth and the atmosphere vibrated,
and not she.
I went to the dining-room to get
her some stimulating draught or oth
er. As I did so, I could not but say
to myself that the heavens were roll
ing together like a scroll—rolling
together and crackling, and flaming,
and roaring; for the bolts were fall
ing everywhere instantaneously with
the rattling reports and lighting up
a horror of thick darkness every mo
ment with the dreadful illumination
of their coppery splendor.
I had never seen anything like it;
and it was so much more shocking
than anything Hester had ever seen,
that she braced herself to endure it
with an unaccustomed strength.
"Dh! Roger, Roger! Come here!"
she cried. "Come here, beside me!
Say. you forgive all I have said and
done. I have been so wicked, so un
grateful. But 1 loved Y OU; and now
we are going to be parted."
I sat down in another chair beside
her and put my arm about her and 1
tried to re-assure her. But there was I
not much encouragement to give,
lolded as we were in that winding
sheet of flame. The thunders broke
about us so closely that we shivered
to their roll as the timbers of the
house did. And a blue and rosy
lightning, an incessant purple glare
filled the place, ran along the grass,
played upon the fences, flashing per
petually between the sharp, swift
sheets that seemed to divide the air
with their blazing blades; and at
last there came the rain, in "such a
blinding and suffocating rush and
downpour that it seemed able to put
out the everlasting lires themselves.
"Nobody ever came unhurt before
through such a storm as this," I said,
involuntarily, as tbe lightnings seem
ed to be diminishing and for a mo
ment the rain abated and the thun
der growled like a beast in a distant
lair. But even as I spoke there came
one burst of lire and thunder that
paralyzed us, sent a numbness creep
ing from brain to finger-tip, stopped
our hearts and made us thiuk the
solid earth had given way and won
der to find ourselves alive.
"It has come at last!" cried Hes
ter. But my tongue clove to the
roof of my mouth and 1 could not
say one word. It was only during
tbe instant, though, that the numb
ness and the immobility lasted for
Hester. With the next she was at
the dour, as if the electricity had
stung her awake and alive. "The
mill! the mill!"she shrieked. "The
mill is struck! And all your models
are there and all the grist! Oh!
Roger, Roger! Hurry! Run! Or it
will l>e ashes before you get there
and everything we have in the
Hester and I had changed places.
She, who never could so much as
whisper during a thunder storm,
was on her feet and urging me to
© ©
action. And I, who had not cared
a doight for all the lightning that
ever burned before, sat dazed, and
dumb, and powerless to move an eye
lash. .She turned and shook my
shoulder. "The mill!" she ex
claimed. "It was struck then. Do
you hear ? It will be in llaincs direct
ly. Are you struck, too? Are you
daft? Are you going to do nothing?
Then I must!" And, just as she
was, she plunged out into the storm
and the fresh deluge of the rain, ran
and called the bauds who were hud
dled iu the sheds, and was at the mill
with them, exhorting, commanding,
directing, just as the flame broke
forth into the open air, and while 1
sat there unable to stir and in a black
whirl of fear and torment. A'ow 1
knew liow Hester felt in every
thunder storm that ever darkened
round her—l, who saw all 1 had of
value in the world, except the old
structure where 1 sat, going to de
struction, palsied for my part, and
without lifting a finger.
But llcster was doing for me.
Perhaps I knew that. 1 can't say.
1 could sec her, at any rate. The
tide was in, so that tiie creek was
full and easy to be used; and llcster
was urging and ordering, and here
the men were battering and tearing,
ami there they were pouring on wa
ter, and now the flame was smoth
ered, and now it was streaming up
again, and the thunder was rolling,
and the lightning was splitting hea
ven, and she never bleached or fal
It was a long, an appalling hour.
I had not one thought iu it all. 1
beheld from the spot where I was
sitting the whole scene at the mill,
but only as 1 might have looked at
a dreadful picture, for I was con
scious in mind and body of no sen
sation but torture—a blank torture,
such as an idiot might suffer. At
the close of the hour, Hester came
up the knoll with the men, laughing
and wringing the wet from her long
hair and her gown. The men had
the heavy model among them and
they brought it in and set it on the
big table. The storm had gone over.
The larger mill and the models were
safe. The other mill was not alto
gether gone. There was blue sky,
there was a great sunset, and there
was a rainbow arching half the hea
vens; and Hester was full of high
spirits and forget fulness.
She ran in and stopped in the door
way. "Oh! I ought to have known,
1 ought to have understood, I ought
to have remembered," she cried.
And she called back the men, who
lifted me in their arms and carried
me to the cistern room and tiiere
showered and rubbed, and showered
and rubbed again. J came to my
senses and was at last put away in
bed, restored and on the way to be
The next night but one, feeble, but
quite myself again, I was sitting at
the window, down-stairs, with my
model 011 the table before me, where
they had laid it when, for Hester's
inscrutable purposes, the}' brought
it iu.
"1 had my just dues, Hester," said
I, "for ail my selfishness. We will
go away from here now, at once.
There is not money enough in Amer
ica to tempt me to undergo the tor
ture of day-before-yesterday after
noon a second time. And now I un
derstand, now I feel what you have
endured under every thundercloud
of 3'our life—"
"I shall never endure it again,"
said Hester. "So put your mind at
"I never mean }'ou shall," said I.
"So far, at least, as I can help it."
"I mean that I am cured," she ex
claimed, "though I had to be struck
by lightning for 1113- cure. Severe
remedy," she laughed, "but vcrj* ef
fectual. And 1 can't reall}- say,
now it's all safe over, that I'm very
8. F. Hamilton,
51.75 fi YEAR
sorry you had the experience of it
too, hard as it was. But, oh! Rog
er!" and her arms were around my
neck in the old impulsive way that
I had missed so long and she was
crying, and whispering, and laughing
in such a wild, confused and inaudi
ble manner that I knew perfectly
well all she wanted to say.
"Oh! no, indeed you don't," she
sobbed, as I uttered some words to
that effect. "Look here!" and she
turned excitedly to the model, the
tears still sparkling on her cheeks
like dew at sunrise. " Look here!"
she cried. "And 1 knew it all the
time, only 1 wouldn't say it, because
1 didn't want to stay here; and I
thought il it succeeded we should
have to. But now—oh! why didn't
you ask 1113- father, you proud thing?
lie could have told 3-011 in a minute.
Sec! it only wants that screw short
ened ; that belt carried forward;
I'y the Great Seal! There it was!
The invisible, the ineffable something
I had not been able to catch—and
my machine complete! "1 don't de
servo it! I don't deserve it!" I
"Oh! Roger, if you can only for
[ give me for not helping you! 1 think
1 was a little out of my head to sit
and look at you puzzling so day by
day and to say nothing when I had
seen it all and had been educated to
see it all and knew exactly what you
wanted; for l'a's models were my
"Forgive you, my darling?" I said,
weakly. "It is you who have all
the forgiving to do?"
"Well, we won't talk of forgiving
at all, then," said Hester, twisting
her hair over her linger and looking
curiously at the locks the while.
"We will talk of the place. And I've
been thinking, Roger, that the first
thing we had best do with the ma
chine is to apply its power to the
draining of these marshes. When
they arc dry there will be no thun
der storms to speak of and the drain
ing will swell the creek and give } ou
more power still. And there's no
thing now to hinder your capitalists
from coining in," she went on breath
lessly. "And as for going away,
Roger," cried Hester, then, "I snap
my fingers at all the cities that were
ever built! That stroke of lightning
welded mc to this place; and perhaps
1 needed its illumination to show me
the beauties to which i had been so
blind. Oh, what a wretch 1 have
been! All these long distances, these
bine hazes, these emerald marshes,
these silver creeks, this immense
champaign, these immense skies—
and I blind to them all for the sake
of a brick city wall! If 1 had my
just dues, in real poetical justice they
would be the four stone walls of a
It was some two or three weeks
. from that time that, waking in the
' morning, after the absence from home
in which I had succeeded in interest
ing all the capital required in my in
itial undertaking, 1 said to Hester:
"Where in the world have you been
with your head? Were you at a ball
last night and did you forget to brush
out your powder? Or have you been
thrusting j our head in among all the
old cobwebbed rafters of the place?"
"Powdered?" said Hester, with a
nervous little laugh. "It is being
bleached. This is no temporary
adornment like powder—it is a per
manency. You always liked fair
hair best. Don't you remember me
in that red wig, at the charades?
And with my dark eyes, you see—"
"Oli! you dear boy. Don't you
really see?" she cried. "It began
to turn with that lightning stroke.
It is turning terribly and I shall be
as gray as old Chronos himself be
fore the fall comes!"
"You, Hester? And not yet thir
"I, Hester. And not yet thirty.
And I think I have my gray hair at
a bargain. I have traded away for
it a heavy heart, a sour spirit, a de
grading terror and an empty purse.
I was black-haired, and evil, and
wretched, and poor, and fast losing
my husband's love! And rather
than that, what woman wouldn't be
wealthy, and happy, and gray, and
have her husband adore her ail the