**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Pipes O’ Pan At Zekesbury
by [?]

The pipes of Pan! Not idler now are they
Than when their cunning fashioner first blew
The pith of music from them: Yet for you
And me their notes are blown in many a way
Lost in our murmurings for that old day
That fared so well, without us.–Waken to
The pipings here at hand:–The clear halloo
Of truant-voices, and the roundelay
The waters warble in the solitude
Of blooming thickets, where the robin’s breast
Sends up such ecstacy o’er dale and dell,
Each tree top answers, till in all the wood
There lingers not one squirrel in his nest
Whetting his hunger on an empty shell.


The little town, as I recall it, was of just enough dignity and dearth of the same to be an ordinary county seat in Indiana–“The Grand Old Hoosier State,” as it was used to being howlingly referred to by the forensic stump orator from the old stand in the courthouse yard–a political campaign being the wildest delight that Zekesbury might ever hope to call its own.

Through years the fitful happenings of the town and its vicinity went on the same–the same! Annually about one circus ventured in, and vanished, and was gone, even as a passing trumpet-blast; the usual rainy-season swelled the “Crick,” the driftage choking at “the covered bridge,” and backing water till the old road looked amphibious; and crowds of curious townsfolk straggled down to look upon the watery wonder, and lean awe-struck above it, and spit in it, and turn mutely home again.

The usual formula of incidents peculiar to an uneventful town and its vicinity: The countryman from “Jessup’s Crossing,” with the cornstalk coffin-measure, loped into town, his steaming little gray-and-red-flecked “roadster” gurgitating, as it were, with that mysterious utterance that ever has commanded and ever must evoke the wonder and bewilderment of every boy. The small-pox rumor became prevalent betimes, and the subtle aroma of the assafoetida-bag permeated the graded schools “from turret to foundation-stone;” the still recurring exposé of the poor-house management; the farm-hand, with the scythe across his shoulder, struck dead by lightning; the long-drawn quarrel between the rival editors culminating in one of them assaulting the other with a “sidestick,” and the other kicking the one down stairs and thenceward ad libitum; the tramp, suppositiously stealing a ride, found dead on the railroad; the grand jury returning a sensational indictment against a bar-tender non est; the Temperance outbreak; the “Revival;” the Church Festival; and the “Free Lectures on Phrenology, and Marvels of Mesmerism,” at the town hall. It was during the time of the last-mentioned sensation, and directly through this scientific investigation, that I came upon two of the town’s most remarkable characters. And however meager my outline of them may prove, my material for the sketch is most accurate in every detail, and no deviation from the cold facts of the case shall influence any line of my report.

For some years prior to this odd experience I had been connected with a daily paper at the state capitol; and latterly a prolonged session of the legislature, where I specially reported, having told threateningly upon my health, I took both the advantage of a brief vacation, and the invitation of a young bachelor Senator, to get out of the city for awhile, and bask my respiratory organs in the revivifying rural air of Zekesbury–the home of my new friend.

“It’ll pay you to get out here,” he said, cordially, meeting me at the little station, “and I’m glad you’ve come, for you’ll find no end of odd characters to amuse you.” And under the very pleasant sponsorship of my senatorial friend, I was placed at once on genial terms with half the citizens of the little town–from the shirt-sleeved nabob of the county office to the droll wag of the favorite loafing-place–the rules and by-laws of which resort, by the way, being rudely charcoaled on the wall above the cutter’s bench, and somewhat artistically culminating in an original dialectic legend which ran thus: