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a glaring red sunset that betokens a coming storm. The blue riding-skirt had become unfastened, and was flying in the wind like the sails of a yacht. The yellow horse, stretched to his full length, and his long tail sweeping behind, looked like a very demon as he came puffing like a bellows, round and round the third time, leaving everything, escort and all, far behind. The multitude of people had rushed to the edge of the ring, and were shouting, clapping their hands, and screaming like Indians. Go it, Sallie! Go it, Liza! Go it, Yaller! Beat 'em, gals, beat 'em! until everybody was wild with excitement. Betting was lively, and in the brief moments these reckless riders were flying around the track many dollars changed hands. Finally, hatless, skirtless, and with dishevelled hair, Liza reined her dripping, yellow horse in front of the judges' stand to receive the blue ribbon, while the spirited bay was given the red one. Then off the two went round again to display their t
John Gilpin (search for this): chapter 2
e left at our home. We felt that these dear people appreciated the interest we took in these fairs. Speeding their horses was especially exciting and brought the largest crowd of fair week. There was especial interest in the equestrian contests, because couples of men and women from the country and town competed for the prizes. Fast riding, not unlike that of the wild west, was considered evidence of the finest attainment in the art. Once, at a county fair, I witnessed a veritable John Gilpin ride in an equestrian contest participated in by six couples. Three of the couples were from the towns and three from the country. The young ladies and gentlemen from the town wore genteel riding-suits, one couple being arrayed in dark-green cloth, one in black, and one in dark-blue. The ladies wore stovepipe hats with long blue or gray tissue veils wound around them and tied in front — the fashion of that day. The country girls wore their summer dresses, ordinary hats, and riding-skir
June, 1855 AD (search for this): chapter 2
inscribe this wonderful production. When completed, the essay was tied with pink ribbons, and every one was kind enough to say that it was one of the best. In the more than fifty years which have passed since I struggled over that composition I have discovered: What so foolish as the chase of fame? How vain the prize! how impotent our aim! For, what are men who grasp at praise sublime, But bubbles floating on the stream of time? Memory carries me back to that bright morning in June, 1855, when our class graduated from dear old Saint Vincent's, when beneath the boughs of the majestic trees of the lawn a large platform had been erected and covered with a bright-green carpet. A fine piano was on one side, while a suitable place was arranged for the bishop and priests who were to distribute the diplomas, medals, and prizes. Seats were also arranged for the parents and visitors who attended. After a long programme of music, addresses, giving of diplomas, awards, and a bened
an an intimacy formed at once crossing the great American desert too late for the war father's three years in California I am sent to boarding-school in Kentucky the sisters and the slaves girlish escapades vacation employments graduation marriage at seventeen to prosecuting Attorney Logan, twelve years my senior the wedding removal to Benton early housekeeping--fair week expert equestriennes birth of my two eldest children and death of my first born. The Mexican War of 1847-8 afforded many an opportunity to prove their patriotism and give vent to their adventurous inclinations. Communication with Washington was very limited, but when it was found that volunteers were called for, as war had been declared with Mexico, astonishing numbers rushed into the towns to try to get on the rolls. I can just remember seeing my father borne aloft above the heads of the men who elected him captain of the company. He had enlisted to serve three years, or until peace was declare
Logan an intimacy formed at once crossing the great American desert too late for the war father's three years in California I am sent to boarding-school in Kentucky the sisters and the slaves girlish escapades vacation employments graduation marriage at seventeen to prosecuting Attorney Logan, twelve years my senior the wedding removal to Benton early housekeeping--fair week expert equestriennes birth of my two eldest children and death of my first born. The Mexican War of 1847-8 afforded many an opportunity to prove their patriotism and give vent to their adventurous inclinations. Communication with Washington was very limited, but when it was found that volunteers were called for, as war had been declared with Mexico, astonishing numbers rushed into the towns to try to get on the rolls. I can just remember seeing my father borne aloft above the heads of the men who elected him captain of the company. He had enlisted to serve three years, or until peace was decl
e waters of which they dared not drink. They were both deeply grieved that they did not reach their destination until too late to participate in any of the engagements of the Mexican War. They had returned but a short time before the marvellous stories of the discovering of gold in California were started. Desirous of further adventure, many of those who had been to Mexico were wild to repeat their long march across the plains to California, my father among them. In the early spring of 1849 these daring spirits again assembled at Alton, Illinois, to join an overland train for Sacramento, California. The season was dry, and the grass was very scarce and unusually short; hence but one-third of the party and but very few of the animals survived the three months they spent in making the long journey. The graves of their comrades marked the route they had taken over the Rocky Mountains and across the trackless desert. Then followed another three months of waiting before my fath
September (search for this): chapter 2
ths and soothing lotions to bind up the wounds made by the whip. Sister Isabella persuaded him to go to bed and stay in his cabin all day. The overseer was glad enough to take flight, and quiet was restored. We engaged in frolics like most boys and girls who go away from home to school. Three or four of us used to take chances; sometimes they were rather hazardous. One of the graduates of my first year at school married during vacation and was a widow before we returned to school in September, her husband having been killed by an accident. She was a devout Catholic; he a Protestant, and could not, therefore, be buried in the consecrated ground of the cemetery which was near the church. The cemetery was enclosed by a zigzag fence, and she had him buried in one of the outside corners of the fence. They made a rail pen over his grave. We Protestant girls thought it a shame that he should be outside, so, one night when we thought Father Durbin was away visiting the churches und
idering, knitting, repairing our clothes, and sometimes in feasting and dancing. We were allowed to go into the parlor to be introduced to the parents of the girls who came to visit them, and on these occasions we were coached as to the manner of entering the room, saluting the guests, and how to withdraw without betraying awkwardness. Sister Isabella gave us periodical lectures, especially if any of the girls had been guilty of violation of the rules of the academy. We used to enjoy the Sundays. After service we would go out on the lawn or to the window to watch the people who came to church at Saint Vincent's. Some of them were on horseback, some on foot, and others in every conceivable kind of vehicle of those early days. I remember, as if it had occurred yesterday, the visit of Bishop Spaulding and the great to-do that we made of his coming to Saint Vincent's. We all kissed his ring, and thought it was the greatest event of our lives. He of course made an address, which is s
November 27th, 1855 AD (search for this): chapter 2
d mature years-he being then twenty-nine--should hazard his career by marrying a girl of seventeen. My father had many friends in different parts of southern Illinois; the Logan family and a majority of young Logan's friends lived at a great distance from Shawneetown, considering the facilities for travelling. We therefore decided we would not have a big wedding, which in those days must be followed by a round of festivities, lasting sometimes a fortnight. At high noon, on the 27th of November, 1855, in the presence of a party of intimate friends and a number of Logan's associates at the bar, we were married by Hon. W. K. Parish, judge of the circuit court of the third judicial district of Illinois. After a bridal breakfast, accompanied by Judge Parish, Hon. W. J. Alien, Mr. Logan's law partner, Hon. N. C. Crawford, and my father, we departed for Benton, Franklin County, Illinois. The journey was made in buggies, two persons in each. The roads were almost impassable. At a li
all our faults, he granted us absolution. The sisters were shocked; but, as we had all turned out very well, they pardoned us, but prayed us never to tell that we could do such a thing with one of them watching over us all the time. I remember that on one May-day all the girls got themselves up in their best clothes and escorted Sister Isabella to quite a high place up in the forest opposite the academy. Here we had built a throne, and, putting her on it, we crowned her the Queen of the May with so much enjoyment that we were all extremely happy. I can picture now how she looked sitting on her green throne in her uniform. A crown of flowers decked her cap, and a long rope of flowers hung around her neck and about her unsylphlike waist, with long ends hanging down the sides. We had made her a sceptre by twining flowers around a stick. This she wielded with much dexterity, directing the rendering of the programme of songs, recitations, and original poems, which we had prepare
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