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The Sullivan Looking-Glass
by [?]

“‘In books and work and useful play
Let my fust years be past:
So shall I give for every day
Some good account at last.'”

“But, Sam, if we work for you, you must tell us that story about Ruth Sullivan.”

“Lordy massy! yis,–course I will. I’ve had the best kind o’ chances of knowin’ all about that ‘are. Wal, you see there was old Gineral Sullivan, he lived in state and grande’r in the old Sullivan house out to Roxberry. I been to Roxberry, and seen that ‘are house o’ Gineral Sullivan’s. There was one time that I was a consid’able spell lookin’ round in Roxberry, a kind o’ seein’ how things wuz there, and whether or no there mightn’t be some sort o’ providential openin’ or suthin’. I used to stay with Aunt Polly Ginger. She was sister to Mehitable Ginger, Gineral Sullivan’s housekeeper, and hed the in and out o’ the Sullivan house, and kind o’ kept the run o’ how things went and came in it. Polly she was a kind o’ cousin o’ my mother’s, and allers glad to see me. Fact was, I was putty handy round house; and she used to save up her broken things and sich till I come round in the fall; and then I’d mend ’em up, and put the clock right, and split her up a lot o’ kindlings, and board up the cellar-windows, and kind o’ make her sort o’ comfortable,–she bein’ a lone body, and no man round. As I said, it was sort o’ convenient to hev me; and so I jest got the run o’ things in the Sullivan house pretty much as ef I was one on ’em, Gineral Sullivan he kept a grand house, I tell you. You see, he cum from the old country, and felt sort o’ lordly and grand; and they used to hev the gretest kind o’ doin’s there to the Sullivan house. Ye ought ter a seen that ‘are house,–gret big front hall and gret wide stairs; none o’ your steep kind that breaks a feller’s neck to get up and down, but gret broad stairs with easy risers, so they used to say you could a cantered a pony up that ‘are stairway easy as not. Then there was gret wide rooms, and sofys, and curtains, and gret curtained bedsteads that looked sort o’ like fortifications, and pictur’s that was got in Italy and Rome and all them ‘are heathen places. Ye see, the Gineral was a drefful worldly old critter, and was all for the pomps and the vanities. Lordy massy! I wonder what the poor old critter thinks about it all now, when his body’s all gone to dust and ashes in the graveyard, and his soul’s gone to ‘tarnity! Wal, that are ain’t none o’ my business; only it shows the vanity o’ riches in a kind o’ strikin’ light, and makes me content that I never hed none.”

“But, Sam, I hope General Sullivan wasn’t a wicked man, was he?”

“Wal, I wouldn’t say he was railly wickeder than the run; but he was one o’ these ‘ere high-stepping, big-feeling fellers, that seem to be a hevin’ their portion in this life. Drefful proud he was; and he was pretty much sot on this world, and kep’ a sort o’ court goin’ on round him. Wal, I don’t jedge him nor nobody: folks that hes the world is apt to get sot on it. Don’t none on us do more than middlin’ well.”

“But, Sam, what about Ruth Sullivan?”

“Ruth?–Oh, yis!–Ruth–

“Wal, ye see, the only crook in the old Gineral’s lot was he didn’t hev no children. Mis’ Sullivan, she was a beautiful woman, as handsome as a pictur’; but she never had but one child; and he was a son who died when he was a baby, and about broke her heart. And then this ‘ere Ruth was her sister’s child, that was born about the same time; and, when the boy died, they took Ruth home to sort o’ fill his place, and kind o’ comfort up Mis’ Sullivan. And then Ruth’s father and mother died; and they adopted her for their own, and brought her up.