Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Half a Century.

“James, I would not have that willow in that corner.  The roots will get into the race.  It is the real basket willow, and if you cut it into stubs and stick them in the swamp, you can sell enough willow to buy all your baskets.”

I replied: 

“Grandmother, you forget that is my tree; I want it to drape that bare knoll.  The roots will run below the bed of the race.  The boys can get plenty of stubs at Flemming’s.”

She only replied by a “humph!” and next day I discovered my tree had been sawed into pieces and planted in the swamp.  Words would not restore it, and I wasted none; but next morning rose early, and, hatchet in hand, went to the parent tree, climbed on a fence and cut off a limb, which I dragged home, feeling glad that anything had brought me a walk on such a glorious morning.  I planted the main stock in that corner, then put about a hundred twigs in the swamp for basket willow.  In a few days my second tree disappeared, and I brought another, for a tree there was indispensable, and I hoped to make my husband see as I did, and thought I had won his consent to willows.  So I went up and down the race and runs, putting in twigs, and thinking of the “willows by the watercourses,” and Israel’s lament: 

     “By Babel’s streams we sat and wept
       When Zion we thought on,
     In midst thereof we hanged our harps
       The willow trees upon.”

I was banished from my Zion, never permitted to hear the teachings of my old pastor, for which my soul panted as the thirsty hart for the water brooks, and in my Babylon I wanted willows.  Some of my plantings were permitted to remain, and Swissvale is now noted for its magnificent willows; but that main tree was chopped up and burned.  In its stead I planted a young chestnut, where it still stands, a thing of beauty and joy to the boys.



The plans for my conversion seemed to be aided by our coming to the farm, as I fitted up the “prophet’s chamber” to entertain my husband’s friends in his house.  There were two preachers in the circuit.  The eldest, a plain, blunt man, began on his first visit to pelt me with problems about “man-made ministers” and Calvinism.  I replied by citing the election of Abraham, Jacob, and the entire Jewish nation, and by quoting the 8th chapter of Romans, until he seemed to despair and came no more, for they could not accept my hospitality while I refused their religion.  The other circuit rider was young, handsome and zealous, and was doing a great work in converting young girls.  On his first visit I thought him rude.  On his second, he inquired at table: 

“Is this the place where they put onions into everything?”

I replied that we used none in tea or coffee.  When I joined him and my husband in the parlor, he waved his hand around the room to point out its decorations and said: 

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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