Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vols. IXXI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 18611889
Getting Ready for Meetin
By Sarah Pratt McLean Greene (18561935)
[Born in Simsbury, Conn., 1856. Died in Lexington, Mass., 1935. Cape Cod Folks. 1881.Revised Edition. 1888.]
WHEN the ancient couple made their appearance, I remarked silently, in regard to Grandma Keelers hair, what proved afterward to be its usual holiday morning arrangement. It was confined in six infinitesimal braids, which appeared to be sprouting out perpendicularly in all directions from her head. The effect of redundancy and expansiveness thus heightened and increased on Grandmas features was striking in the extreme.
While we were eating breakfast, that good soul observed to Grandpa Keeler: Wall, pa, I suppose youll be all ready when the time comes to take teacher and me over to West Wallen to Sunday-school, wont ye?
Thar, raly, husband! I must say I feel mortified for ye, said Grandma. Seein as youre a perfessor, too, and thar aint been a single Sunday mornin since Ive lived with ye, pa, summer or winter, but what youve seen showers, and it raly seems to me its dreadful inconsistent when thar aint no cloud in the sky, and dont look no more like rain than I do. And Grandmas face, in spite of her reproachful tones, was, above all, blandly sunlike and expressive of anything rather than deluge and watery disaster.
It does beat all, pa, continued Grandma Keeler, how t all the horses youve ever had since Ive known ye have always been took lame Sunday mornin. Thar was Happy Jack, he could go anywhers through the week, and never limp a step, as nobody could see, and Sunday mornin he was always took lame! And thar was Tantrum
Tantrum was the horse that had run away with Grandma when she was thrown from the wagon and generally smashed to pieces. And now Grandma branched off into the thrilling reminiscences connected with this incident of her life, which was the third time during the week that the horrible tale had been repeated for my delectation.
Thar now, said Grandma, with calm though awful reproof; I think weve gone fur enough for one day; weve broke the Sabbath, and took the name of the Lord in vain, and that ought to be enough for perfessors.
Grandpa replied at length in a greatly subdued tone: Wall, if you and the teacher want to go over to Sunday-school to-day, I suppose we can go if we get readya long submissive sighI suppose we can.
They have preachin service in the mornin, I suppose, said Grandma. But we dont generally git along to that. It makes such an early start. We generally try to get around, when we go, in time for Sunday-school. They have singin and all. Its just about as interestin, I think, as preachin. The old man raly likes it, she observed aside to me, when he once gets started; but he kind o dreads the gittin started.
When I beheld the ordeal through which Grandpa Keeler was called to pass at the hands of his faithful consort, before he was considered in a fit condition of mind and body to embark for the sanctuary, I marvelled not at the old mans reluctance, nor that he had indeed seen clouds and tempest fringing the horizon.
But Grandpa appeared not. Next, I saw Grandma slowly but surely gravitating in the direction of the barn, and soon she returned, bringing with her that ancient delinquent, who looked like a lost sheep indeed and a truly unreconciled one.
Since Ive known ye, pa, solemnly ejaculated Grandma Keeler, youve never had a pair o meetin boots that set easy on yer feet. Youd ought to get boots big enough for ye, pa, she continued, looking down disapprovingly on the old gentlemans pedal extremities, which resembled two small scows at anchor, in black cloth encasements, and not be so proud as to go to pinchin yer feet into gaiters a number o sizes too small for ye.
Wall, thar now, pa, said Grandma, soothingly; if I had sech feet as that, I wouldnt go to spreadin it all over town, if I was youbut its time we stopped bickerin now, husband, and got ready for meetin; so set down and let me wash yer head.
Ive washed once this mornin. Its clean enough, Grandpa protested; but in vain. He was planted in a chair, and Grandma Keeler, with rag and soap and a basin of water, attacked the old gentleman vigorously, much as I have seen cruel mothers wash the faces of their earth-begrimed infants. He only gave expression to such groans as
Then came the dyeing process, which Grandma Keeler assured me, aside, made Grandpa look like a man o thirty; but to me, after it he looked neither old nor young, human nor inhuman, nor like anything that I had ever seen before under the sun.
This admirable lotion,in soft ecstatic tones Madeline rehearsed the flowery language of the recipethough not so instantaneously startling in its effect as our inestimable dyer and setter, yet forms a most essential part of the whole process, opening, as it does, the dry and lifeless pores of the scalp, imparting to them new life and beauty, and rendering them more easily susceptible to the applications which follow. But we must go deeper than this; a tone must be given to the whole system by means of the cleansing and rejuvenating of the very centre of our beings, and, for this purpose, we have prepared our wonderful potion. Here Grandpa, with a wry face, was made to swallow a spoonful of the mixture. Our unparalleled dyer, Madeline continued, restores black hair to a more than original gloss and brilliancy, and gives to the faded golden tress the sunny flashes of youth. Grandpa was dyed. Our world-renowned setter completes and perfects the whole process by adding tone and permanency to the efficacious qualities of the lotion, potion, and dyer, etc.; while on Grandpas head the unutterable dye was set.
So Madeline continued: Mrs. Hiram Briggs, of North Dedham, writes: I was terribly afflicted with baldness, so that, for months, I was little more than an outcast from society, and an object of pity to my most familiar friends. I tried every remedy in vain. At length I heard of your wonderful restorative. After a weeks application, my hair had already begun to grow in what seemed the most miraculous manner. At the end of ten months, it had assumed such length and proportions as to be a most luxurious burden, and where I had before been regarded with pity and aversion, I became the envied and admired of all beholders.
Come, come, ma! said Grandpa, rising nervously, its time we was startin. When I make up my mind to go anywhere I always want to git there in time. If I was goin to the Old Harry, I should want to git there in time.