YOU'VE seen his place, I reckon, friend? 'Twus rather kind uv tryin' The way he make the dollars fly, Sech gimcrack things a-buyin'-- He spent a big share uv a fortun On pesky things thet went a-snortin' An' hollerin' over all the fields, An' ploughin' ev'ry furrow; We sort uv felt discouraged, fur Spense wusn't one tew borrow; An' wuss--the old chap wouldn't lend A cent's wuth tew his dearest friend. Good lands! the neighbours see'd tew wunst Them snortin', screamin' notions Wus jest enough tew drown the yearth In wrath, like roarin' oceans; An' "guessed the Lord would giv old Spense Blue fits fur fightin' Pruvidence." Spense wus thet hardened when the yearth Wus like a baked pertater, Insted uv prayin' hard fur rain, He fetched an irrigator. "The wicked flourish like green bays!" Sed folks fur comfort in them days. I Will allow his place wus grand, With not a stump upon it; The loam wus jest es rich an' black Es schoolma'am's velvet bonnit; But tho' he flourished folks all knowed What spiritooal ear-marks he showed. Spense hed a notion in his mind, Ef sum poor human grapples With pesky worms thet eat his vines An' spile his summer apples, It don't seem enny kind uv sense Tew call thet "cheekin" Pruvidence!" An' ef a chap on Sabbath sees A thunder cloud a-strayin' Above his fresh cut clover, an' Gits down tew steddy prayin', An' tries tew shew the Lord's mistake Insted uv tacklin' tew his rake, He ain't got enny kind uv show Tew talk uv chast'ning trials When thet thar thunder cloud lets down Its sixty billion vials. No! when it looks tew rain on hay, First take yer rake an' then yer pray. Old Spense wus one uv them thar chaps Thet in this life uv tussle An' rough-an-tumble sort uv set A mighty store on muscle; Believed in hustlin' in the crop, An' prayin' on the last load top. An' yet he hed his p'ints--his heart Wus builded sort uv spacious An' solid, ev'ry beam an' plank; An', Stranger, now, veracious, A wore-out hoss he never shot, But turned him in the clover lot. I've see'd up tew the meetin-house The winkin' an' the nudgin' When preacher sed, "No doubt thet Dives, Bein' drefful mean an' grudgin' Tew church work, sealed his awful fate Whar thar ain't no foolin' with the gate," I mind the preacher met old Spense, Beneath the maples laggin'; The day wus hot, an' he'd a pile Uv 'cetrees in his waggon-- A sack of flour, a hansum hog, Sum butter, an' his tarrier dog. Preacher, he halted up his hoss, Asked fur Miss Spense an' Deely, Tew limber up his tongue a mite, An' sez right slick an' mealy: "Brother, I reelly want tew know Hev you got religion? Samson, whoa!" Old Spense, he bit a noble chaw, An' sort uv meditated; Samson, he nibbled at the grass, An' preacher smiled an' waited; Ye'd see it writ upon his face: "I've got Spense in a tightsum place!" The old man curled his whip-lash round An alto-viced muskitter; Preacher, sort uv triumphant, stroked His or'nary old critter; Spense p'ints tew flour, an' hog, an' jar-- Sez he, "I've got religion thar. "Them's goin' down tew Spinks's place, Whar old man Spinks is stayin' The bank he dealt at bust last month, An' folks is mostly sayin', Him bein' aged, an' poor, an' sick, They'll put him in the poorhouse slick. "But no, they don't! Not while I won The name uv Jedediah. Yer movin'? How's yer gran'man Green, An' yer cousin, Ann Maria? Boss, air they? Yas, sirree, I dar Tew say, I've got religion thar." Preacher, he in his stirrups riz, His visage kind uv cheerin', An' keerful looked along the road, Over sugar bush an' clearin'; Thar wa'n't a deacon within sight; Sez, he, "My brother, guess you're right! "You keep yer waggon Zionward, With that religion on it; I calculate we'll meet"--jest here A caliker sunbonnet, On a sister's head, cum round the jog, An' preacher disparsed like morning' fog. One day a kind uv judgement cum. The lightnin'-rod conductor Got broke; the fluid struck his aunt, An' in the root-house chucked her. It laid her up fur quite a while, An' the judgment made the neighbours smile. Old Spense he swore a mighty swar; He didn't mince nor chew it, Fur when he spoke, 'most usual, It hed a backbone tew it; He sed he'd find a healthy plan Tew squar things with the Agent man Who'd sold him thet thar useless rod Tew put upon his roofin'; An' ef he found him round the place, He'd send the scamp a-hoofin'. "Ye sort uv understand my sense?" "Yes, pa," sed pooty Deely Spense. "Yes, pa" sez she, es mild es milk, Tew thet thar strong oration; An' when a woman acts like that, It's bin my obsarvation-- An' reckon thet ye'll find it sound-- She means tew turn creation round, An' fix the univarse the way She sort uv feels the notion. So Deely let the old man rave, Nor kicked up no commotion; Tho' thet cute Agent man an' she Were knowed es steddy company. He'd chance around when Spense wus out, A feller sort o' airy; An' poke around free es the wind With Deely in the dairy. (Old Spense he'd got a patent churn Thet gev the church a drefful turn.) I am a married man myself, More sot on steddy ploughin' An' cuttin' rails than praisin' gals, Yet honestly allowin' A man must be main hard tew please Thet didn't freeze tew Deely's cheese. I reckon tho' old Spense hed signed With Satan queer law papers, He'd filled thet dairy up chock-full Uv them thar patent capers. Preacher once took fur sermon text-- "Rebellious patent vats--what next?" I've kind uv strayed frum thet thar scare Thet cum on Spense--thro' reely, I'll allus hold it wus a sine Uv thet thar pooty Deely. Thar's them es holds, thru thin an' thick, 'Twus a friendly visit frum Old Nick. Es time went on old Spense, he seemed More sot on patent capers; So he went right off tew fetch a thing He'd read uv in the papers. 'Twus a moony night in airly June. The whippoorwills wus all in tune, The katydids wus callin' clar, The fire-bugs wus a-glowin', The smell uv clover filled the air. Thet day old Spense'd bin mowin' With a mower yellin' drefful screams, Like them skreeks we hear in nightmare dreams. Miss Spense wus in the keepin'-room O'erlookin'last yar's cherries; The help wus settin' on the bench A-hullin' airly berries; The hired man sot on the step An' chawed an' watched the crickets lep. Not one uv them thar folks thet thought Uv Deely in the dairy: The help thought on the hired man, An' he uv Martin's Mary; Miss Spense, she pondered thet she'd found Crushed sugar'd riz a cent a pound. I guess hed you an' I bin thar, A-peepin' thru the shutter Uv thet thar dairy, we'd 'a' swore Old Spense's cheese an' butter Wus gilded, frum the manner that Deely, she smiled on pan an' vat. The Agent, he hed chanced around In evenin's peaceful shadder; He'd glimpsed Spense an' his tarrier go Across the new-mown medder To'ard Crampville; so he shewed his sense By slidin' o'er the garden fence; An' kind of unassumin' glode, Beneath the bendin' branches, Tew the dairy door whar Deely watched, A-twitterin' an' anxious. It didn't suit Miss Deely's plan Her pa should ketch thet Agent man. I kind uv mind, them days I went With Betsy Ann a-sparkin' Time hed a drefful sneakin' way Uv passin' without markin' A single blaze upon a post, An' walkin' noiseless es a ghost. I guess thet Adam found it thus Afore he hed to grapple With thet conundrum Satan raised About the blamed old apple; He found time sort uv smart tew pass Afore Eve took tew apple-sass. Thar ain't no changes cum about Sence them old days in Eden, Except thet lovers take a spell Uv mighty hearty feedin'; Now Adam makes his Eve rejice By orderin' up a lemon-ice. He ain't got enny kind uv show Tew hear the merry pealin's Uv them thar weddin' bells, unless He kind uv stirs her feelin's By treatin' her tew ginger-pop, An' pillin' peanuts in a-top. Thet Agent man knowed how tew run The business real handy; An' him an' Deely sot an' laughed An' scrunched a pile o' candy; An' talk'd about the singin' skule-- An' stars--an' Spense's kickin' mule-- An' other elevatin' facts In skyence an' in natur. An' time, es I wus sayin', glode Past like a champion skater, When--thunder! round the orchard fence Cum thet thar tarrier dog an' Spence, An' made straight fur the dairy door. Thar's times in most experence We feel how trooly wise 'twould be Tew make a rapid clearance; Nor wait tew practise them thar rules We larn tew city dancin' skules. The Agent es a gen'ral plan Wus polished es the handles Uv my old plough, an' slick an' smooth Es Betsey's taller candles; But when he see'd old Spense--wal, now, He acted homely es a cow! His manners wusn't in the grain, His wool wus sorter shoddy; His courage wus a poorish sort, It hedn't got no body; An' when he see'd old Spense, he shook Es ef he'd see'd his gran'ma's spook. Deely, she wrung her pooty hands-- She felt her heart a-turnin' Es poor es milk when all the cream Is taken off fur churnin'; When all tew once her eyes fell pat Upon old Spense's patent vat. The Agent took no sort uv stock Thet time in etiquettin'; It would hev made a punkin laugh Tew see his style uv gettin'; In thet thar empty vat he slid, An' Deely shet the hefty lid. Old Spense wus smilin' jest es clar Es stars in the big "Dipper"; An' Deely made believe tew hum "Old Hundred" gay an' chipper,-- But thinkin' what a tightsum squeeze The vat was fur the Agent's knees. Old Spense, he sed, "I guess, my gal, Ye've bin a sort uv dreamin'; I see ye hevn't set the pans, Nor turned the mornin's cream in. Now, ain't ye spry? Now, durn my hat Ef the milk's run inter thet thar vat!" Thar's times one's feelin's swell like bread In summer-time a-risin', An' Deely's heart swole in a way Wus mightily surprisin', When Spense gripped one uv them thar pans Uv yaller cream in his big han's. The moon glode underneath a cloud, The breeze sighed loud an' airy; The pans, they faint-like glimmered on The white walls uv the dairy. Deely, she trembled like an ash, An' leaned agin the old churn dash. "Tarnation darksum," growled old Spense, An', liftin' up the cover, He turned the pan uv cream quite spry On Deely's Agent lover. Good sakes alive! a curdlin' shreek Frum thet thar Agent man did break! All drippin' white he rosed tew view, His curly locks a-flowin' With clotted cream, an' in the dusk His eyes with terror glowin'. He made one spring--'tis sartin, reely, He never sed "Good night" tew Deely. Old Spense, he riz up frum the ground, An' with a kind uv wonder He looked inter thet patent vat, An' simply sed, "By thunder!" Then looked at Deely hard, and sed, "The milk will sop clar thru his head." Folks looked right solemn when they heerd The hull uv thet thar story, An' sed, "It might be plainly seen 'Twus clar agin the glory Uv Pruvidence tew use a vat Thet Satan in hed boldly sat!" They shook thair heads when Spense declared 'Twus Deely's beau in hidin'; They guessed they knowed a thing or two, An' wusn't so confidin': "'Twus the Devourin' Lion cum Tew ask old Spense tew step down hum!" Old Spense, he kinder spiled the thing Fur thet thar congregation By holdin' on tew life in spite Uv Satan's invitation; An' hurts thair feelin's ev'ry Spring, Buyin' sum pesky patent thing. The Agent man slid out next day Tew peddle round Young Hyson; An' Deely fur a fortnight thought Uv drinkin' sum rat pison; Didn't put no papers in her har, An' dined out uv the pickle jar. Then at Aunt Hesby's sewin'-bee She met a slick young feller, With a city partin' tew his har An' a city umbereller. He see'd her hum thet night, an' he Is now her steddy company.