|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Article Title||Did You Ever?|
j I I Did You Ever? I H I Copyrighted by Goodwin's Weekly. B I ! Sallio Singman was ten years ago a fresh and i m I rosy country lass that lived in a quiet Indiana ' M j village on the banks of the Wabash. Old man B jHJ ! Singman was the richest man in the country, and S m 'I as Sallie was a Pretty girl, the young men cast H I longing eyes at her. B Mm I But sne dI(1 not care for any of tuem fr sue B i jB I took on a morbid idea that they wanted her for B W I the money that would eventually be hers, and with B IS j a Passionate sentimentalism she declared that if B 1 j m she could not be loved for herself alone, she would Sm I dIe an ol(1 maid. This thought is common with JjB young ladies under twenty-two or three. So Hll i Sallie flirted with the boys, sang and played for Hj : W them, danced with them at public functions, but B i M I not one of them ever felt near enough to her to B j 'B I whisper the old story in her ear. BaS p But one day her father called her aside and 111 conflded to her that away back in New Jersey he H I had a friend who was his boyhood's playmate, JH I His name was Adam Johnson. Ho further told H 1 her that before either of them were married, H j they had agreed that if after a while they should m I De married and children should be given them, H jl boys and girls, they would try to unite the family fami-ly lies by marriage; that as Sallie was his only M t child, so Johnson had but one child, John John- li 1 son; that Johnson had not accumulated much B! SK wealth, but that would not matter as he. Sing-m' Sing-m' m I nian, had plenty for all; and wound up by telling !m mm Sallie that he was going to invite young Johnson to come West and visit them, and told her further fur-ther that when he came she must do her utmost to make his visit pleasant in the hope that she might win him for a husband. About the same time old man Johnson had been m mm I telling his son John about the covenant he in boy- fl'tiH I nood lmd ma(Jo witn Singman, and begged his son Bj &m I to take a trip to Indiana and try to win the heir- Hll I CSS. B M i A few days later Singman's invitation reached Hj MM i Johnson and the old man danced for joy. A little Hra latcr he wired Singman that John would start B 11 West to make the visit in a very few days,- a week B II hence at the latest. B II When the dispatch reached the Singman home, B mm Sallie was wild. It seemed to her she was being Hll offered as a prize to a stranger who was probably B SB a blockhead, and could not shake off the idea that B m H under the arrangement she was taking on all the B properties of a chattel. That day she packed her B jjili trunk, gathered together her jewels and her I money, told her father that she wanted to visit for a day or two an aunt in Ohio, a little out of Cincinnati, bought her ticket and had her trunk .jljSI j checked to Cincinnati, and the train rolled away. H ; Reaching the depot in that city she found the B'Jjfl ' westbound express over the B. & 0. about to pull ImmM S out. She bought a ticket under the name of Sara Mansing for Colorado Springs, had her trunk re-checker, re-checker, engaged the drawing-room of a sleeper and at midnight, when the train stopped in her '18 j native town, cried a little as she strained her HffjX 1 eyes against the window to see in the moonlight B 'IM J the outlines of her father's house, and marked on H'il j the platform the faces of many people whom she B'll i knew. When the train finally pulled out of the HP depot, she lay down on her bed and had the big- H gest kind of a farewell cry. HjKg Slie reached Colorado Springs all right, re- Ml I mained there three weeks, until one day she dis- IJHif B covered that her little stock of money was almost flHllff gone. What to do began to be a question. She jBjf'li ; went into tne reading-room, took pen and paper IBllgf j and wrote, she knew not what, a letter to some Bjf If j friend, a letter she never intended to send. She tkwM 11 ! wrote only to occupy her hands while she could Hila j do some thinking. B1b At a table near sat two respectably dressed Hf gentlemen, and after a while Sara found herelf BBjlw listening to what they were saying.. HjljK "Dobson, when will you go home?" asked one H mm j one of the other. IBJlli , ,MI would go this evening," was the reply, "but H WSj. I want to look 'round and see if I cannot find some BHl young woman who will go home with me to BHwf teach our school. It is not a very catching kind Wmm II of a place, but we will pay $65 per month to a 5 good teacher and make her as comfortable as pos- KSmmim sible." BHj Wk ' Sara looked the man over covertly. He seemed BBB j to be honest and substantial looking and had a IBffw I kindly voice. MBi " A moment later he spoke again, saying "Me HBifiX 1 nn(1 the old woman is ali nlone; we have plenty hHIk j of room. I am at the mine all day and often half HB ; the night. If I could get a nice, agreeable, tidy WHm MM teacher, she might live with us and be company BHiW S for my wife 'sPeclaHy nights when I is away. HHSi I But S0Bhl Colorado Springs girls don't want ter jjffiBra so to CrJPPl0 Creek." traHJH After more qonversatIo (he first speaker arose Ml and went out. The one called Dobson sat drumming drum-ming with heavy fingers on the table and was evidently evi-dently perplexed. Sara watched him a little while, then 'rose, walked over to him, and said abruptly, "I beg your pardon, but I unwittingly hear what you said about wanting a teacher. I am well educated, of a good family, an honest woman; there is nothing wrong about me or mine. If you will take me at my word and ask no questions as to why I am here and why I want a school, I will go with you." She gazed with clear eyes into the man's face, he gave her a few searching looks, and then said, "Derned if I don't believe you is all O. K. When kin you start?" "In ten minutes," she replied. "Ten minues goes," he said; "get your traps together and we will be off." It was in September. The home of the man was in Cripple Creek when the camp was younger than it now is, but she found a comfortable house; a kindly old lady received her and showed her to a good room; a smoking dinner, which she shared, was waiting for the man. A pleasant evening followed, and when finally she returned to her room, she said to herself "I have struck a bonanza." Her school was opened next day. She got through with the first day all right, and as the last of the urchins disappeared at 3 p. m., she shook herself together and said to herself: "Why I am no chattel; I am Miss Singman, the respected teacher of thirty of the coming aristocracy aristoc-racy of Cripple Creek." The second day followed the first, and then day succeeded day, and at last it all became a matter of course to Sara Singman. She did not know it, but she was closely watched by the ladies of Cripple Creek. They marked her comings and goings, questioned the children closely about her, and were forced to agree that she seemed to be all right. Among Sara's accomplishments she could sing divinely. She had a deep throated, strong but very sweet contralto voice which had been carefully trained. After she had been three or four weeks in Cripple Creek, she one Sabbath morning repaired to the first little church of the place and was shown to a seat nearly in the center of the structure. struc-ture. After the services opened the clergyman stated that the leader of the choir was absent and congregational singing would be in order. He then read a famous old hymn, the air of which was a favorite with Sara, then said, "We will sing:" leading off in a halting falsetto voice, members of the congregation here and there joining in, making a musical chaos, the little house organ trying in vain to work an accompaniment. The interlude finished, Sara took up the second verse in stately, measured rhythm, clear and full. The few other voices that had begun to sing stopped short as the deep tones of and thenceforth to the end of the hymn Sara was the only singer. Later another hymn was announced, an-nounced, but there was but one voice heard. Cripple Crip-ple Creek was captured, at least the religious portion. por-tion. The services over, the ladies gathered around the teacher and besought her to find time to call upon them. Old man Dobson was the proudest man in Colorado as he accompanied the singer home. "It was fine," he said. "Gee, but didn't you make the old cracked voiced hussies hush up?" There was a young miner in the church known as Jack Adam, who heard the music, and as he left the church he said to himself, "If I ever strike pay ore in my tunnel, I will offer that woman half the mine. Her voice is like Jacob's ladder: the rounds of it lead one's soul straight up to heaven." The winter crept along until February was reached, when it was determined to celebrate Washington's birthday. It was an independent affair, the people declaring that they would rely upon home talent. Miss Mansing was persuaded to sing the "Star Spangled Banner." Everything was all right except they had no orator. At last Jack Adam consented to undertake a short oration. ora-tion. The truth was he had won the prize for oratory in college, "The Character of Washington" being his theme. All that was known of him in Cripple Creek was that he had come there the autumn au-tumn before, taken up a not very promising claim and was, single handed, running a tunnel for ore which he hoped to find, while other miners declared de-clared he was but chasing a rainbow. The celebration was held in a rude little theater. the-ater. There was a player, some music, the recitation reci-tation of a little poem, then Miss Singman sang gloriously the national anthem, and then the miner in miner's garb began his oration. It was a surprise as vast as that caused by Miss Singman's first singing of the old hymn. The speaker carried car-ried the audience away by storm. The one most impressed was Miss Sara, A banquet followed and the good-nature crowd insisted that the orator and singer should side by side, grace the head of the table. The) were introduced and during the banquet ex. changed a few words and both went away with their souls in a tumult. Miss Sara believed she had valvular trouble of the heart. Adam was certain that he felt all the preliminary symptoms of appendicitis. But after that they met occasionally and looked into each other's eyes, on which occasions Sara felt like running away and Jack felt like falling down a shaft. Toward the end of April Jack struck the ca$. ings of a ledge. He said nothing, but drove oa and on until he had crosscut a seven-foot ledge. He expressed some of the ore to Denver for assay The return showed eighty-three ounces of gold, He knew that he was rich. That might he took his courage in his hand and walked straight to old man Dobson's. He and Mrs. Dobson were providentially absent, but Miss Sara was providentially provi-dentially at home. Jack was desperate. He felt like one who seeks a dentist and knows that if he does not find him within four minutes, his courage will fail and his tooth will not be drawn. He wiped his brow and then burst out with, "Mis3 Sara, I can bear the tension no longer. I have worshiped you since I first heard your voice in church. Will you be my wife and my life's blessing?" bless-ing?" Then Sara grew white and red and trembled and finally gasped, "0. Jack, since Washington's birthday I have worshiped you; why have you kept me in doubt and fear so long,?" No matter what followed, but when they grew clamer Jack asked when the school term would be finished. Sara replied that it would end in three days. "Then we will be married on Sunday next will we not?" he asked. "Just as you wish," we the reply. "If you will take me as I am and if you are sure you love me well enough to justify me in taking the risk." Then more followed which need not be minutely min-utely described here. "But, Jack," Sara finally asked, "what will you do with me? You have no house and no money and I have only some seven months' wages saved. up." "Never you mind," said Jack. "I have seven feet of $1650 ore. I can get out and sell ten tons by Saturday, and that will do for a starter." Then taking out a memorandum book and pencil pen-cil he said, "Sweet, I shall have to get a license to marry you: I want your full name and age." The girl sprang up, walked to a window and stood for some minutes staring at the stars. At last, turning slowly around, she said with a husky voice, "O, Jack, would you marry me if you knew in advance that I had innocently deceived you?" "Why, not," said Jack. "I only know that In this hour I adore you and would jeopardize my own soul, if necessary, to marry you." Then she returned to him, told her story truly, why she left home when she knew that Adam Johnson was coming, why she was in Cripple Creek, and that her name was not Sara but Sallie, and not Mansing but Singman. Jack listened at first with wide open ears, but when the story was finished he went almost into convulsions of explosive laughter, while the poor girl looked on sorely perplexed fearing that he had gone insane. But in a moment Jack caught the fair girl round the waist and waltzed around the room like a mad man. Then he subsided, sank into a chair, took the bewildered girl in his arms and said, "0. my darling, you are not the only culprit here. My name is not Jack Adam but John Adam Johnson Then he explained that when invited by Sallie's father to visit his home, the chief incentive being a wealthy young lady, he consented, but bought a through ticket to Colorado because he thought no man Jhad a right to ask any woman to marry him until he had established his ability to take care of her. Then they both laughed and cried and kissed each other. The next Sabbath they were married and started for Indiana. They reached Sallie's old home on a soft May evening, and stole on tiptoe up to the uncurtained window and looked in-Sallie in-Sallie saw her mother and noticed with a pang that she was robed in mourning. Jack saw hls mother and noticed that she too was in mourning The men, Johnson and Singman, were sitting near in silence. The Johnsons had arrived but that afternoon af-ternoon to visit the Singmans and to mingle their grief, the one family having lost a son, the other a daughter. Then the young people burst into the roonv the young bride perching on her father's knee cried, "It's all right, daddie dear;" the young m picking up and kissing his mother. Then there was a deuce of a time. The neff$ spread. All the young and old people came, all helped to paint the town red. At 4 a. m. old man Singman, a little "how come vou so' dropped into an easy chair and said: "1 know'd all the time how it orter he, hut I didn't have much sense bringing it about." And Mrs. Johnson, the elder, wiping her spectacles, said, "Did you ever?"