BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)


The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian


The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle


Kaleidscopic lives

by Joseph Henry Taylor

Excerpt:

PREFACE.

IN the introduction of this little book the writer hopes to contribute his mite in affirmation of the oft quoted saying that "truth is stranger than tictrtitf.; •.The*. sce»es.•:described are but realities in•'ttmhrfoli diVe"hsifcy>'(5f human character that is to be "s'epniiii: ^Vleryday life, though not always ... regi^fjy'/jiiade1 ,note of by students of the uiver^inyttifailrving, breathing mass of beings that come and go. Our exhibit is from a few turns only, as seen through the lens of a kaleidoscope and in the swirls, we witness the transformation from light to shade—from moss agate to diamonds—from pearl to oyster shell.

In some of the earlier editions of "Frontier and Indian Life," two or three of the sketches herein appearing were a part of that work, but after a more perfect conception of the facts related and some added information, were naturally placed under proper title. The author also deems it necessary to state that while the truthfulness of these strangly dramatic doings herein chronicled will stand without question, but for reasons that the reader may readily understand, in a few of the characters a non de plume is used, and that while their lineal tracing may be vague, the renditions are none the less perfect even though in masked appellation.

THE AUTHOR.

THE HICKORY GROVE AT ZION.

FOR intense enthusiasm among the American people few political contests excelled the presidential campaign of 1856. While lacking the boisterous good nature that enlivened the Clay and senior Harrison campaigns which were more of the adulation or hero worship order—rather than of discussion on the divergent principles of government evolved in the administration ol its affairs. The campaign of 1856, was, aside from local or minor issues engendered,discussed on lines marked out by eminent statesmen and on its educational merits. The slavery issue had become paramount in the politics of the nation, and the question—should Afro-American slavery be excluded from or extended to the western territories was the subject ever under discussion during that eventful year. But in the Lincoln-BreckinridgeDouglas and Bell campaign that followed four years later, argument on the slavery subject became superfluous and the measured tread of the newly formed wide-a-wake organizations bearing torches and drilled in the military step, plainly gave sign that a coming event were casting forth its ominous shadow.

During the 1856 campaign the writer, then a

boy of twelve years .of age, and residing under the paternal roof near the Mason and Pixon line, became acutely interested in the public meeting.- and parades of the various partisans,—the whole performance being a peep into the unusual for one whose years had been few,—the Pierce and Scott campaign of four years before seeming as an imperfect dream.

About the middle of September large, printed posters adorned the panels of village stores or on finger boards at country cross roads, and with spread-eagle cuts announced a political meeting of the American or Fillmore party to be held at the hickory grove at Zion. Zion was the name of a little church some miles south of the Pennsylvania line. Prominent speakers were to be in attendance— so the posters read—and in the exhuberence of youth I joined a party of campaigners with flags unfurled and bunting flying, until the crowd of people about the grand stand in the grove attracted our attention and we become a part of the assemblage.

There were fully one thousand people of both sexes and of all ages from the infant in its mother's arms, to the tottering old man who had marked the passing of every presidential succession since Washington's day. After music by the band came the speakers who discussed themes from various points of view but all bearing on the support of Millard Fillmore for president. Maryland's future senator—White—was there; J. Dixon Roman, a Baltimore attorney of prominence was on hand.and other rostrom speakers of lesser reputation made short addresses interspersed with applause and thus the afternoon hours were whiled away. By and by the crimson sun hung over the distant hills of the Octoraro, and many rose from their seats in the intervals of the addresses to prepare for their home journeying. Scenes about the benches became uproar and families were seeking their carriages, all seemingly satisfied with the program of the day. While confusion was reigning among the intending homegoers, a hack drove rapidly up to the grand stand, a single occupant alighted and the driver skurried out and away. The chairman announced a new speaker, but the noise was so deafening but few could catch the name. His appearance would indicate a professor of some school of learning. He seemed somewhat undersized, complexion of a florid hue; had grey or blue eyes and a large shock of hair of auburn red. He cultivated a heavy drooping mustache; otherwise a smoothe shaven fact with a serious expression. He wore a jaunty cap and a man's shawl hung in apparent negligence over his right shoulder. In his opening remarks his voice was very low—so indistinct, indeed, that their meaning could only be guessed at. But as his tones modulated in consonance with the gentle winds,— now high now low—a soft cadence keeping in seeming unsion with leaf-laden boughs of the hickories overhead, had wonderful effect. With a boys observation I noted the change in my environs. I found myself hedged in by a living mass of silent beings pressing toward the speaker's stand. Every mortal of them seemed entranced. Every eye fixed on the speaker's stand and all apparently oblivious to the living world about them save the waving shock of reel hair and strange weird voice. People had left their carriages,—the home goers had turned, faltered and then joined the surging mass —likened unto a hiving swarm of bees. It was a large audience under an unknown spell—a hypnotized congregation. Fully an hour or more the speakers strangely music,il tones went on. and as if imitating the very trees overhead, his voice gradually hilled, and then came silence. A hack suddenly drove up, the orator replaced his shawl and cap and entering the vehicle was as hurriedly sped away as he had been brought. '1 he spell was broken. The chairman, as one waking from a dream shouted:


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