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NOW COME ALL YOU GOOD PEOPLE
by
Hugh Leamy
Earthquakes, shipwrecks and railroad collisions are useful in other ways than as material for newspaper headlines. Almost before the echoes die away tearful ballads are dashed off, and in short phonograph records of the catastrophe are on sale. Millions of people find diversion and edification in these rhymed and bemoraled chronicles of doom.
Her name was Naomi Wise. She has little enough to do with this story, but so soon and, alas, so sadly will she be out of it that you will doubtless not begrudge her a moment or two. She had a lover and he was called Young Lewis, though whether Young was a description or a given name I have not been able to determine. At all events, she had learned to love and trust him and she believed his every word. He told her that she was soon to be his bride.
One evening this Young Lewis called upon Naomi and, after a few conventional words of chit-chat with her beam­ing parents, suggested a ride. Some way or another she got the impression that he was there and then going to take her before a minister. If she was surprised when the buggy wound up at Old Deep River, she was not alarmed. It had happened before. But this time was different. Young Lewis turned to her.
"You've met your doom," he said, though it can hardly have been quite as casual as that.
Besides, he was a little premature. Not very, however, for next day they found her body a-floating down the stream and young folks all around for miles did cry. Young Lewis left the country. They brought him back again, but could not prove that he had caused Naomi's death.
It was all very upsetting and confusing. They say that years later, on his deathbed, Lewis confessed that he had
"Reprinted by permission of Mrs. Henry Parkman from Collier's, Vol. 84, No. 18, November 2, 1929, pp. 20; 58-9."
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