We had to go by a lot of officers all dressed up in uniforms. But we wuzn’t afraid—we knew we hadn’t done anything to make us afraid.
Josiah wuz considerable interested in the enormous display of rifles, and all the machinery for makin’ ’em, and showin’ how and where the destructive instruments used in war are made.
And then there wuz dummy cavalry horses, and men, and ponies, and cattle, showin’ the early means for transportation of the mails, compared with the modern way of carryin’ it on lightnin’ coaches.
But it wuz a treat indeed to me to see the original papers writ by our noble forefathers.
To be sure, they wuz considerable faded out, so that I couldn’t read ’em much of any; but it wuz a treat indeed to jest see the paper on which the hands of them good old creeters had rested while they shaped the Destinies of the New World.
They held the pen, but the Almighty held the hands, and guided them over the paper.
When I see with my own two eyes, and my Josiah’s eyes, which makes four eyes of my own (for are we two not one? Yes, indeed, we are a good deal of the time)—
Wall, when I see with these four eyes the very paper that Washington, the Immortal Founder of His Country, had rested his own hand on—when I see the very handwritin’ of his right hand and the written thoughts of hisen, which made it seem some like lookin’ into the inside of that revered and noble head, my feelin’s riz up so that they wuz almost beyend my control, and I had to lean back hard on the pillow of megumness that I always carry with me to stiddy myself with.
I had to lean hard, or I should have been perfectly wobblin’ and broke up.
And then to see Jefferson’s writin’, and Hamilton’s, and Benjamin Franklin’s—he who also discovered a New World, the mystic World that we draw on with such a stiddy and increasin’ demand for supplies of light, and heat, and motion, and everything—
When I see the very writin’ of that hand that had drawed down the lightnin’, and had hitched it to the car of commerce and progress—
Oh, what feelin’s I felt, and how many of ’em—it wuz a sight.
And then I see the Proclamation of the President; and though I always made a practice of skippin’ ’em when I see ’em in the newspaper, somehow they looked different to me here.
[Illustration: I see the Proclamation of the President.]
And then there wuz agreements with Foreign Powers, and some of them Powers’ own handwritin’ photographed; and lots of treaties made by Uncle Sam—some of ’em, especially them with the Injuns, I guess the least said about the soonest mended, but the biggest heft on ’em I guess he has kept—
Treaties of peace and alliance, pardon of Louisiana and Florida, Alaska, etc., all in Uncle Sam’s own handwritin’.
And then there wuz the arms of the United States—and hain’t it a sight how fur them arms reach out north and south, east and west—protectin’ and fosterin’ arms a good deal of the time they are, and then how strong they can hit when they feel like it!