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Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 16

Note: This is an excerpt from the memoirs of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr (1827-1910).  He was my mother’s mother’s father’s father.  The full diary is available here, with chapters transcribed from the scanned PDF of the manuscript into more easily read text as I have time.

Chapter 16

When I returned to Ripton we had an uncommon winter for amusement. I did not wish to teach the singing school as father had given me my time and I had taken Bacon’s shingle mill to run on shares with Henry of his father, but I proposed to the singers we have Trueman Parkill of Cornwall, Vt. for teacher. We had pleasant times. Miss Smith and myself practiced several pieces some were to be acted. One that would bring the house down every time, was Fanny Gray. The verses were responsive, one verse in particular was broken in response.

(She sings:) Put up your hat, don’t take your stick. Oh prithee Charles do stay. You never come to see me now, but you long to run away.

(He says:) Good bye, (She sings:) Good bye, you’ll come again. (He sings:) Yes. One fine day of these.

(She sings:) He’s turned the street, I knew he would, he’s gone to Fanny Grays!

They would call us back, but we never repeated it the same evening I would answer the calls with the The Old Oaken Bucket, The Indian’s Lament, Woodman spare that tree, &c, &c.

That winter the singing teacher from Bristol, Vt. name of Crane had a school in Weybridge, they wanted to close out the school with an exhibition, and Crane joined a petition with several others, wrote for me to help them out. I sang my favorite songs, everything went nicely; But there was one thing happened, never heard the like! A four part song “Bell Brandon”, that I was familiar with, was played on the piano by Samantha Wright. Mrs Elizabeth Tyler took the soprano, Mason Harrington the base, do not remember the alto, myself the tenor, and the first verse Mrs. Tyler fell half a tone. I whispered and pointed on the notes, to Samantha, she took the cure, and struck the piece half a tone lower, and was capable to do it, and the four verses were rendered lowering the music half a tone each verse. After we were through, Crane came to me, says he, “Hurlburt you managed that well, but I was terribly frightened.” He was bald headed and the drops of perspiration were all over. I understood afterwards, Mrs. was not aware of her failure at the time, and there was hardly any one in the house noticed it.

The day I was twenty one was town meeting 5th of March 1848. So I left the shingle mill to take the freeman’s oath, and have the voting privileges of an American Citizen, soon after taking the oath, the authority composted of the selectman and Justices of the Peace, came to me to let them vote for me for constable and collector. At first I was astonished, then as they kept urging, with the venturesomeness of youth I gave consent, I was unanimously elected, but after the meeting the authority told, I must get bail, mentioning my father would be sufficient. I went to father, but he positively refused to do it, saying, a boy just twenty one going that risk. In a town where it was comparatively new, property constantly changing ownership. The inhabitants many of them disorderly. So I gave up, for I would not call on any one else.

Hon. Daniel Chipman a lawyer, a man of note he heard of the case, and sent for me to come and see him. Then he and I went to father. But father would not yield. I remember what father said to Chipman. “That it was a very bad beginning for a young man”. Chipmunks answer was: “A bad beginning makes a good ending.” On my return with Chipman to his house, Chipman proposed to me to become my bail for $1000, as the law required. Chapman said to me. “I will exact one promise. When you come to a question in law you do not understand come to me.” To which I willingly agreed. Now there was no law but what Chipman was good authority, and his advice has been a life long help. I gave Mr. Chipman no trouble in my two years service.

I hardly know how much of my experience in this office I should relate, but I will give a sample. I became a deputy sheriff, had quite a business, my friend Henry Bacon attended the shingle business until the first year closed. When we dissolved, and what time was spared from the office work was devoted to millwright-work, or to look up lines on wild land for non residents.

One day I drove down to Smith’s Tavern and there was quite a crowd, men and women. The town grand juror “James Peirce” was just coming after me to serve a warrant on Charles Adams, who had early that morning threatened his sister’s life. After Mr. Peirce obtained papers, then, he told me. “That I would risk my life to go for Adams, as he had gone into the woods a couple of miles to his sugar camp to boil sap for maple sugar, he had taken a heavy rifle he had made for himself, his bugle and a quantity of rum, and would shoot the first man that came near,” continuing advice. “That I had better go to Middlebury and get a Church the High Sheriff of the county”. Then some women came and told me I would certainly be shot just at this time Sorell’s mother “Mrs Smith” came and said to me, “Sorelle did not want I should go”. At this time this was more than I had ever hoped for. So I told Mrs. Smith I was well acquainted with Adams, and to say to Sorelle, I was no coward, for I at this moment made up my mind, to know how I stood in regard to winning her.

Now I will say I had exchanged work with Adams, he was a very skillful blacksmith, had worked some days to help at ironing sleighs and shoeing oxen when he had been harried with work. I went up with horse and sleigh, when I got near the fire of his kettle I hitched my horse to a tree, and went afoot, as I got in sight he took his bugle and blew it. I then hailed him, the first he saw me, as soon as I got in speaking distance, he hollered out and took his rifle and said. “He knew what I come for, and I am not going!” I told him, I knew I could not force him, but I had taken the papers to serve, and had been advised to get help, but concluded that he would be better suited for to see me come alone. Well let me hear the papers read. He became different at once, left out the curse words most, only when he clinched the promise. “By G** I’ll go!”

So he packed up his things, fixed his kettle to boil down the usual way – the pole it was hung on, was so balanced that it would rise up higher away from the fire as the sap evaporated. Then took him down and delivered him up to the court. Then he wanted me to go to Middlebury eight miles after Lawyer Julius Beckwith to care for his case.

Adams paid fees willingly, and he brought witnesses to prove his sister was mistaken, and the case was thrown up no cause of action.

Afterwards, about two years, Adams went on a bear hunt. The manner was of surrounding a tract of woods, drawing closer together, until the game is cornered and shot. He had just blown his bugle, when others in hearing heard the report of his rifle – supposed to have placed the rifle against a tree to blow his bugle, when the lock struck the tree, sending a heavy charge through his heart. I was appointed foreman in the coroners jury by the justice, and we brought in a verdict according to the above.

Editor’s note:

The full lyrics to Fanny Gray according to digital.nls.uk and traditionalmusic.co.uk follow. (I merged the two versions to make something that seemed to make more sense than either of them alone and to match HHHJr’s recollections of the alternating parts at the end.)

FANNY GRAY

She:

Well, well, sir, so you come at last,
   I thought you'd come no more,
I've waited with my bonnet on, 
   From one to half-past four.
You know I hate to sit alone,
   Unsettled where to go,
You'll break my heart -- I feel you will,
   If you continue so.
You'll break my heart -- I feel you will,
   If you continue so.

He:

Now pray, my love, put off that frown,
   And don't begin to scold,
You really will persuade me, soon,
   You're growing cross and old,
I only stopp'd at Grosvenor gate
   Young Fanny's eye to catch;
I won't -- I swear -- I won't be made
   To keep time like a watch,
I won't -- I swear -- I won't be made
   To keep time like a watch,

She:

It took you, then, two hours to bow,
   Two hours to take off your hat;
I wish you'd bow that way to me,
   And show your love like that;
I saw you making love to her,
   You see I know it all,
I saw you making love to her,
   At Lady Glossop's ball.
I saw you making love to her,
   At Lady Glossop's ball.

He:

Now really, Jane you're temper is.
   So very odd to-day,
You're jealous, and of such a girl,
   As little Fanny Gray, --
Make love to her, -- indeed my dear
   You could see no such thing,
I sat a minute by her side,
   To see a turquoise ring.
I sat a minute by her side,
   To see a turquoise ring.

She:

I tell you that I saw it all --
   The whispering and the grimace,
The flirting and the coquetting,
   In her little foolish face,
Oh, Charles, I wonder that the earth
   Don't open where you stand,
By the heaven that is above us both,
   I saw you kiss her hand.
By the heaven that is above us both,
   I saw you kiss her hand.

He:

I didn't, love -- but if I did?
   Allowing that is true,
When a pretty girl shows her rings,
   What can a poor man do?
My life, my soul, my darling Jane,
   I love but you alone; 
I never thought of Fanny Gray, --
   How tiresome she is grown.
I never thought of Fanny Gray, --
   How tiresome she is grown.

She:

Put down your hat, don't take your stick,
   Now pr'ythee, Charles stay?
You never come to see me now,
   But you long to run away,
There was a time, there was a time,
   You never wished to go, --
Now what have I done, what have I done,
   Dear Charles, to change you so.
Now what have I done, what have I done,
   Dear Charles, to change you so.

He:

Pooh! pooh! my love -- I am not changed,
   But dinner is at eight;
And my father's so particular,
   He never likes to wait.
Good bye! 

She:

Good bye! You'll come again.

He:
 
Yes, one of these fine days!

She:

He's turned the street, I knew he would,
   He's gone to Fanny Gray.
He's turned the street, I knew he would,
   He's gone to Fanny Gray.

The alternate arrangement of the last part of the song more in line with the non-HHHJr sources I found would be:

He:

Pooh! pooh! my love -- I am not changed,
   But dinner is at eight;
And my father's so particular,
   He never likes to wait.
Good bye! Good bye! I'll come again.
   Yes, one of these fine days! --

She:

He's turned the street, I knew he would,
   He's gone to Fanny Gray.
He's turned the street, I knew he would,
   He's gone to Fanny Gray.

@abulsme tweets from 2015-10-03 (UTC)