The Wit and Humor of America, Volume II. (of X.)
Author: Various
Previous Part     1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse



Once on a Time there were Two Brothers who Set Out to make their Way In The World.

One was of a Roving Disposition, and no sooner had he settled Down to Live in One Place than he would Gather Up all his Goods and Chattels and Move to another Place. From here again he would Depart and make him a Fresh Home, and so on until he Became an Old Man and had gained neither Fortune nor Friends.

The Other, being Disinclined to Change or Diversity of Scene, remained all his Life in One Place. He therefore Became Narrow-Minded and Provincial, and gained None of the Culture and Liberality of Nature which comes from Contact with various Scenes of Life.


This Fable teaches that a Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss, and a Setting Hen Never Grows Fat.




POST OFFIS, CONFEDRIT X ROADS, (wich is in the Stait uv Kentucky), September 20, 1866.

I wuz sent for to come to Washington, from my comfortable quarters at the Post Offis, to attend the convenshun uv sich soldiers and sailors uv the United States ez bleeve in a Union uv 36 States, and who hev sworn allejinse to a flag with 36 stars onto it, at Cleveland. My esteemed and life-long friend and co-laborer, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, wuz to hev bin the chaplin uv the convenshun, but he failed us, and it wuz decided in a Cabinet meetin that I shood take his place. I didn't see the necessity uv hevin a chaplin at every little convenshun uv our party, and so stated; but Seward remarked, with a groan, that ef ever there wuz a party, since parties wuz invented, wich needed prayin for, ours wuz that party. "And, Parson," sed he, glancin' at a list uv delegates, "ef yoo hev any agonizin petitions, any prayers uv extra fervency, offer em up for these fellers. Ef there is any efficacy in prayer, it's my honest, unbiased opinion that there never wuz in the history uv the world, nor never will be agin, sich a magnificent chance to make it manifest. Try yoor-self particularly on Custer; tho', after all," continyood he, in a musin, abstracted sort uv a way, wich he's fallen into lately, "the fellow is sich a triflin bein, that he reely kin hardly be held 'sponsible for what he's doin; and the balance uv em, good Hevens! they'r mostly druv to it by hunger." And the Secretary maundered on suthin about "sixty days" and "ninety days," payin no more attention to the rest uv us than ez ef we wuzn't there at all.

So, receevin transportashen and suffishent money from the secret service fund for expenses, I departed for Cleveland, and after a tejus trip thro' an Ablishn country, I arrived there. My thots were gloomy beyond expression. I hed recently gone through this same country ez chaplin to the Presidential tour, and every stashen hed its pecooliar onpleasant remembrances. Here wuz where the cheers for Grant were vociferous, with nary a snort for His Eggslency; there wuz where the peasantry laft in his face when he went thro' with the regler ritooal uv presentin the constitooshn and the flag with 36 stars onto it to a deestrick assessor; there wuz—but why recount my sufferins? Why harrow up the public bosom, or lasserate the public mind? Suffice to say, I endoored it; suffice to say that I hed strength left to ride up Bank street, in Cleveland, the seen uv the most awful insult the Eggsecutive ever receeved.

The evenin I arrived, the delegates, sich ez wuz on hand, held a informal meetin to arrange matters so ez they wood work smooth when the crowd finally got together. Genral Wool wuz ez gay and frisky ez though he reely belonged to the last ginerashn. There wuz Custar, uv Michigan, with his hair freshly oiled and curled, and busslin about ez though he hed cheated hisself into the beleef that he reely amounted to suthin; and there wuz seventy-eight other men, who hed distinguished theirselves in the late war, but who hed never got their deserts, ceptin by brevet, owin to the fact that the Administrashn wuz Ablishn, which they wuzn't. They were, in a pekuniary pint uv view, suthin the worse for wear, tho' why that shood hev bin the case I coodent see (they hevin bin, to an alarmin extent, quarter-masters and commissaries, and in the recrootin service), til I notist the prevailin color uv their noses, and heerd one uv em ask his neighbor ef Cleveland wuz blest with a faro bank! Then I knowd all about it.

There wuz another pekooliarity about it which for a time amoozed me. Them ez wuz present wuz divided into 2 classes—those ez hed bin recently appinted to posishens, and them ez expected to be shortly. I notist on the countenances uv the first class a look uv releef, sich ez I hev seen in factories Saturday nite, after the hands wuz paid off for a hard week's work; and on the other class the most wolfish, hungry, fierce expression I hev ever witnessed. Likewise, I notist that the latter set uv patriots talked more hefty uv the necessity uv sustainin the policy uv our firm and noble President, and damned the Ablishunists with more emphasis and fervency than the others.

One enthoosiastic individual, who hed bin quartermaster two years, and hed bin allowed to resign "jest after the battle, mother," wich, hevin his papers all destroyed, made settlin with the government a easy matter, wuz so feroshus that I felt called upon to check him. "Gently, my frend," sed I, "gently! I hev bin thro' this thing; I hev my commission. It broke out on me jest ez it hez on yoo; but yoo won't git yoor Assessorship a minit sooner for it."

"It ain't a Assessorship I want," sez he. "I hev devoted myself to the task uv bindin up the wounds uv my beloved country—"

"Did you stop anybody very much from inflictin them sed wounds?" murmured I.

"An ef I accept the Post Orfis in my native village,—which I hev bin solissited so strongly to take that I hev finally yielded,—I do it only that I may devote my few remainin energies wholly to the great cause uv restorin the 36 States to their normal posishens under the flag with 36 stars onto it, in spite uv the Joodis Iskariots wich, ef I am whom, wat is the Savior, and—and where is—"

Perseevin that the unfortunate man hed got into the middle uv a quotashen from the speech uv our noble and patriotic President, and knowin his intellek wuzn't hefty enough to git it off jist as it wuz originally delivered, I took him by the throat, and shet off the flood uv his elokence.

"Be quiet, yoo idiot!" remarked I, soothingly, to him. "Yoo'll git your apintment, becoz, for the fust time in the history uv this or any other Republic, there's a market for jist sich men ez yoo; but all this blather won't fetch it a minit sooner."

"Good Lord!" tho't I, ez I turned away, "wat a President A.J. is, to hev to buy up sich cattle! Wat a postmaster he must be, whose gineral cussedness turns my stummick!"

It wuz deemed necessary to see uv wat we wuz compozed; whatever Kernel K——, who is now Collector uv Revenue in Illinoy, asked ef there wuz ary man in the room who hed bin a prizner doorin the late fratricidle struggle. A gentleman uv, perhaps, thirty aroze, and sed he wuz. He hed bin taken three times, and wuz, altogether, 18 months in doorance vile in three diffrent prizns.

Custar fell on his neck, and asked him, aggitatidly, ef he wuz shoor—quite shoor, after sufferin all that, that he supported the policy of the President? Are you quite shoor—quite shoor?

"I am," returned the phenomenon. "I stand by Andrew Johnson and his policy, and I don't want no office!"

"Hev yoo got wun?" shouted they all in korus.

"Nary!" sed he. "With me it is a matter uv principle!"

"Wat prizns wuz yoo incarcerated in?" asked I, lookin at him with wonder.

"Fust at Camp Morton, then at Camp Douglas, and finally at Johnson's Island!"

Custar dropt him, and the rest remarked that, while they hed a very helthy opinion uv him, they guessed he'd better not menshen his presence, or consider hisself a delegate. Ez ginerous foes they loved him ruther better than a brother; yet, as the call didn't quite inclood him, tho' there wuz a delightful oneness between em, yet, ef 'twuz all the same, he hed better not announce hisself. He wuz from Kentucky, I afterwards ascertained.

The next mornin, suthin over two hundred more arriv; and the delegashens bein all in, it wuz decided to go on with the show. A big tent hed bin brought on from Boston to accommodate the expected crowd, and quite an animated discussion arose ez to wich corner uv it the Convenshun wuz to ockepy. This settled, the biznis wuz begun. Genral Wool wuz made temporary Chairman, to wich honor he responded in a elokent extemporaneous speech, which he read from manuscript. General Ewing made another extemporaneous address, which he read from manuscript, and we adjourned for dinner.

The dinner hour was spent in caucussin privately in one uv the parlors uv the hotel. The Chairman asked who shood make speeches after dinner, wen every man uv em pulled from his right side coat pocket a roll uv manuscript, and sed he hed jotted down a few ijees wich he hed conclooded to present extemporaneously to the Convenshun. That Babel over, the Chairman sed he presoomed some one shood be selected to prepare a address; whereupon every delegate rose, and pulled a roll uv manuscript from his left side coat pocket, and sed he had jotted down a few ijees on the situashn, wich he proposed to present, et settry. This occasioned another shindy; wen the Chairman remarked "Resolushens," wen every delegate rose, pulled a roll uv manuscript from his right breast coat pocket, and sed he hed jotted down a few ijees, wich, etc.

I stood it until some one mentioned me ez Chaplin to the expedition West, when the pressure becum unendurable. They sposed I was keeper uv the President's conscience, and I hed not a minit's peece after that. In vain I ashoored em that, there bein no consciences about the White House, no one could hold sich a offis; in vain I ashoored em that I hed no influence with His Majesty. Two-thirds uv em pulled applicashens for places they wanted from the left breast coat pocket, and insistid on my takin em, and seem that they was appinted. I told em that I cood do nuthin for em; but they laft me to skorn. "You are jist the style uv man," said they, "who hez inflooence with His Eggslency, and yoo must do it." Hemmed in, there wuz but one way uv escape, and that way I took. Seezin a carpet sack, wich, by the way, belonged to a delegate (I took it to give myself the look of a traveler), I rushed to the depot, and startid home, entirely satisfied that ef Cleveland may be taken as a sample, the less His Majesty depends on soljers, the better.

PETROLEUM V. NASBY, P.M. (wich is Postmaster), and likewise late Chaplain to the expedishn.

P.S.—I opened the carpet sack on the train, spectin to find a clean shirt in it, at least. It contained, to my disgust, an address to be read before the Cleveland Convention, a set uv resolutions, a speech, and a petition uv the proprietor thereof for a collectorship, signed by eight hundred names, and a copy uv the Indiana State Directory for 1864. The names wuz in one hand-writin, and wuz arranged alphabetically.





Miss Tripp for years has lived alone, Without display or fuss or pother. The house she dwells in is her own— She got it from her dying father.

Miss T. delights in all good works, She goes to church three times on Sunday, Her daily duty never shirks, Nor keeps her goodness for this one day.

She loves to bake and knit and sew, For wider fields she doesn't hanker; Yet for the things they have I know A-many poor folk have to thank her.

The simple life she truly leads, She loves her small domestic labors; In spring she plants her garden seeds And shares the product with her neighbors.

By Books and Authors now I see In literature she's made a foray: "The Yellow Shadow"—said to be "A crackerjack detective-story."


Bluff Captain Brown is somewhat queer, But of the sea he's very knowing. I scarcely meet him once a year— He's off in search of whales a-blowing.

For fifty years—perhaps for more— He's sailed about upon the ocean. He thinks that if he lived ashore He'd die. But this is just a notion.

Still when the Captain comes to port With barrels of oil from whales caught napping, He'll pace the deck, and loudly snort, "This land air is my strength a-sapping.

"I call this living on hard terms; I wish that I had never seen land; I wish I were a-chasing sperms Abaft the nor'east coast of Greenland."

Yet on his latest cruise, 'tween whales The Captain wrote a book most charming. It's called—and it is having sales— "Some Practical Advice on Farming."


Tom Henry Smith I long have known Although he really is a hermit— At least, Tom Henry lives alone, And that's what people always term it.

Tom Henry never is annoyed By fashion's change. He wears a collar Constructed out of celluloid. His hats ne'er cost above a dollar.

Tom loves about his room to mess, And cook a sausage at the fireplace. It doesn't serve to help his dress— Grease spatters over the entire place.

Tom Henry likes to read a book, And writes a little for the papers, But scarcely ever leaves his nook, And takes no part in social capers.

Now Tom has penned a book himself. I hope he'll never feel compunctions! Its title is—it's on my shelf— "Pink Teas and Other Social Functions."


I've found the Joneses pleasant folk— I've watched them all their children fetch up. Jones loves to have a quiet smoke— She's famous for tomato catchup.

Ruth is their eldest—now fifteen, A tallish girl with pleasing features. Each school-day morn she can be seen As she trips by to meet her teachers.

A serious-minded miss, you'd say, Not given much to school-girl follies. She still sometimes will slip away To spend a half-hour with her dollies.

She's learned to sweep, to sew, to bake— She's quite a helpmate to her mother. On Saturday she loves to take The go-cart out with little brother.

At writing now she bids for fame— Her book a great success is reckoned. "By Right of Flashing Sword," its name, A strong romance of James the Second.



Seated one day at the typewriter, I was weary of a's and e's, And my fingers wandered wildly, Over the consonant keys.

I know not what I was writing, With that thing so like a pen; But I struck one word astounding— Unknown to the speech of men.

It flooded the sense of my verses, Like the break of a tinker's dam, And I felt as one feels when the printer Of your "infinite calm" makes clam.

It mixed up s's and x's Like an alphabet coming to strife. It seemed the discordant echo Of a row between husband and wife.

It brought a perplexed meaning Into my perfect piece, And set the machinery creaking As though it were scant of grease.

I have tried, but I try it vainly, The one last word to divine Which came from the keys of my typewriter And so would pass as mine.

It may be some other typewriter Will produce that word again, It may be, but only for others— I shall write henceforth with a pen.



Very dry, indeed, is the drive from Blackberry to Squash Point,—dry even for New Jersey; and when you remember that it's fifty miles between the two towns, its division into five drinks seems very natural. When you are packed, three on one narrow seat, in a Jersey stage, it is necessary.

A Jersey stage! It is not on record, but when Dante winds up his Tenth "Canter" into the Inferno with—

Each, as his back was laden, came indeed Or more or less contracted; and it seemed As he who showed most patience in his look, Wailing, exclaimed, "I can endure no more!"

the conclusion that he alluded to a crowded Jersey stage-load is irresistible. A man with long legs, on a back seat, in one of these vehicles, suffers like a snipe shut up in a snuff-box. For this reason, the long-legged man should sit on the front seat with the driver; there, like the hen-turkey who tried to sit on a hundred eggs, he can "spread himself." The writer sat alongside the driver one morning, just at break of day, as the stage drove out of Blackberry: he was a through passenger to Squash Point. It was a very cold morning. In order to break the ice for a conversation, he praised the fine points of an off horse. The driver thawed:

"Ya-as; she's a goot hoss, und I knows how to trive him!" It was evidently a case of mixed breed.

"Where is Wood, who used to drive this stage?"

"He be's lait up mit ter rummatiz sence yesterweek, und I trives for him. So—" I went on reading a newspaper: a fellow-passenger, on a back seat, not having the fear of murdered English on his hands, coaxed the Dutch driver into a long conversation, much to the delight of a very pretty Jersey-blue belle, who laughed so merrily that it was contagious; and in a few minutes, from being like unto a conventicle, we were all as wide awake as one of Christy's audiences. By sunrise we were in excellent spirits, up to all sorts of fun; and when, a little later on, our stage stopped at the first watering-place, the driver found himself the center of a group of treaters to the distilled "juice of apples." It is just as easy to say "apple-jack," and be done with it; but the writer, being very anxious to form a style, cribs from all quarters. The so oft-repeated expression "juice of the grape" has been for a long time on his hands, and, wishing to work it up, he would have done it in this case, only he fears the skepticism of his readers. By courtesy, they may wink at the poetical license of a reporter of a public dinner who calls turnip-juice and painted whisky "juice of the grape," but they would not allow the existence, for one minute, of such application to the liquors of a Jersey tavern. It's out of place.

"Here's a package to leave at Mr. Scudder's, the third house on the left-hand side after you get into Jericho. What do you charge?" asked a man who seemed to know the driver.

"Pout a leffy," answered he. Receiving the silver, he gathered up the reins, and put the square package in the stage-box. Just as he started the horses, he leaned his head out of the stage, and, looking back to the man who gave him the package, shouted out the question:

"Ter fird haus on ter lef hant out of Yeriko?" The man didn't hear him, but the driver was satisfied. On we went at a pretty good rate, considering how heavy the roads were. Another tavern, more watering, more apple-jack. Another long stretch of sand, and we were coming into Jericho.

"Anypotty know ter Miss Scutter haus?" asked the driver, bracing his feet on the mail-bag which lay in front of him, and screwing his head round so as to face in. There seemed to be a consultation going on inside the stage.

"I don't know nobody o' that name in Jericho. Do you, Lishe?" asked a weather-beaten-looking man, who evidently "went by water," of another one who apparently went the same way.

"There wos ole Square Gow's da'ter, she marri'd a Scudder; moved up here some two years back. Come to think on't, guess she lives nigher to Glass-house," answered Lishe.

The driver, finding he could get no light out of the passengers, seeing a tall, raw-boned woman washing some clothes in front of a house, and who flew out of sight as the stage flew in, handed me the reins as he jumped from his seat and chased the fugitive, hallooing,—

"I'fe got der small pox, I'fe got der—" Here his voice was lost as he dashed into the open door of the house. But in a minute he reappeared, followed by a broom with an enraged woman annexed, and a loud voice shouting out,—

"You git out of this! Clear yourself, quicker! I ain't goin' to have you diseasin' honest folks, ef you have got the smallpox."

"I dells you I'fe got der small pox. Ton't you versteh? der SMALL POX!" This time he shouted it out in capital letters!

"Clear out! I'll call the men-folks ef you don't clear;" and at once she shouted, in a tip-top voice, "Ike, you Ike, where air you?"

Ike made his appearance on the full run.

"W-w-what's the matter, mother?"—Miss Scudder his mother! I should have been shocked, as I was on my first visit to New Jersey, if I had not had a key to this. "That is a very pretty girl," I said on that occasion to a Jersey-man; "who is she?"—"She's old Miss Perrine's da'ter," was the reply. I looked at the innocent victim of man's criminal conduct with commiseration. "What a pity!" I remarked.

"Not such a very great pity," said Jersey, eying me very severely. "I reckon old man Perrine's got as big a cedar-swamp as you, or I either, would like to own."

"Her grandfather you speak of?"

"No, I don't: I'm talking 'bout her father,—he that married Abe Simm's da'ter and got a power of land by it; and that gal, their da'ter, one of these days will step right into them swamps."

"Oh," I replied, "Mrs. Perrine's daughter," accenting the "Missis!"

"Mussus or Miss, it's all the same in Jersey," he answered.

Knowing this, Ike's appeal was intelligible. To proceed with our story, the driver, very angry by this time, shouted,—

"I dells you oonst more for der last dime. I'fe got der small pox! unt Mishter Ellis he gifs me a leffy to gif der small pox to Miss Scutter; unt if dat vrow is Miss Scutter, I bromised to gif her ter small pox."

It was Miss Scudder, and I explained to her that it was a small box he had for her. The affair was soon settled as regarded its delivery, but not as regards the laughter and shouts of the occupants of the old stage-coach as we rolled away from Jericho. The driver joined in, although he had no earthly idea as to its cause, and added not a little to it by saying, in a triumphant tone of voice,—

"I vos pound to gif ter olt voomans ter small pox!"



Up the dusty road from Denver town To where the mines their treasures hide, The road is long, and many miles, The golden styre and town divide. Along this road one summer's day, There toiled a tired man, Begrimed with dust, the weary way He cussed, as some folks can. The stranger hailed a passing team That slowly dragged its load along; His hail roused up the teamster old, And checked his merry song. "Say-y, stranger!" "Wal, whoap."

"Ken I walk behind your load A spell in this road?" "Wal, no, yer can't walk, but git Up on this seat an' ride; git up hyer." "Nop, that ain't what I want, Fur it's in yer dust, that's like a smudge, I want to trudge, for I desarve it." "Wal, pards, I ain't no hog, an' I don't Own this road, afore nor 'hind. So jest git right in the dust An' walk, if that's the way yer 'clined. Gee up, ger lang!" the driver said. The creaking wagon moved amain, While close behind the stranger trudged, And clouds of dust rose up again.

The teamster heard the stranger talk As if two trudged behind his van, Yet, looking 'round, could only spy A single lonely man. Yet heard the teamster words like these Come from the dust as from a cloud, For the weary traveler spoke his mind. His thoughts he uttered loud, And this the burden of his talk: "Walk, now, you ——, walk! Not the way you went to Denver? Walk, —— ——! Jest walk!

"Went up in the mines an' made yer stake, 'Nuff to take yer back to ther state Whar yer wur born. Whar'n hell's yer corn? Wal, walk, you ——, walk!

"Dust in yer eyes, dust in yer nose, Dust down yer throat, and thick On yer clothes. Can't hardly talk? I know it, but walk, you ——, walk!

"What did yer do with all yer tin? Ya-s, blew every cent of it in; Got drunk, got sober, got drunk agin. Wal, walk, ——! Jest walk.

"What did yer do? What didn't yer do? Why, when ye war thar, yer gold-dust flew, Yer thought it fine to keep op'nin' wine. Now walk, you ——, walk.

"Stop to drink? What—water? Why, thar Water with you warn't anywhere. 'Twas wine, Extra Dry. Oh, You flew high— Now walk, you ——, walk.

"Chokes yer, this dust? Wal, that Ain't the wust, When yer get back whar the Diggins are No pick, no shovel, no pan; Wal, yer a healthy man, Walk—jest walk."

The fools don't all go to Denver town, Nor do they all from the mines come down. 'Most all of us have in our day— In some sort of shape, some kind of way— Painted the town with the old stuff, Dipped in stocks or made some bluff, Mixed wines, old and new, Got caught in wedlock by a shrew, Stayed out all night, tight, Rolled home in the morning light, With crumpled tie and torn clawhammer, 'N' woke up next day with a katzenjammer, And walked, oh ——, how we walked.

Now, don't try to yank every bun, Don't try to have all the fun, Don't think that you know it all, Don't think real estate won't fall, Don't try to bluff on an ace, Don't get stuck on a pretty face, Don't believe every jay's talk— For if you do you can bet you'll walk!



"Well, sir," said Mr. Hennessy, "that Alaska's th' gr-reat place. I thought 'twas nawthin' but an iceberg with a few seals roostin' on it, an' wan or two hundherd Ohio politicians that can't be killed on account iv th' threaty iv Pawrs. But here they tell me 'tis fairly smothered in goold. A man stubs his toe on th' ground, an' lifts th' top off iv a goold mine. Ye go to bed at night, an' wake up with goold fillin' in ye'er teeth."

"Yes," said Mr. Dooley, "Clancy's son was in here this mornin', an' he says a frind iv his wint to sleep out in th' open wan night, an' whin he got up his pants assayed four ounces iv goold to th' pound, an' his whiskers panned out as much as thirty dollars net."

"If I was a young man an' not tied down here," said Mr. Hennessy, "I'd go there: I wud so."

"I wud not," said Mr. Dooley. "Whin I was a young man in th' ol' counthry, we heerd th' same story about all America. We used to set be th' tur-rf fire o' nights, kickin' our bare legs on th' flure an' wishin' we was in New York, where all ye had to do was to hold ye'er hat an' th' goold guineas'd dhrop into it. An' whin I got to be a man, I come over here with a ham and a bag iv oatmeal, as sure that I'd return in a year with money enough to dhrive me own ca-ar as I was that me name was Martin Dooley. An' that was a cinch.

"But, faith, whin I'd been here a week, I seen that there was nawthin' but mud undher th' pavement,—I larned that be means iv a pick-axe at tin shillin's th' day,—an' that, though there was plenty iv goold, thim that had it were froze to it; an' I come west, still lookin' f'r mines. Th' on'y mine I sthruck at Pittsburgh was a hole f'r sewer pipe. I made it. Siven shillin's th' day. Smaller thin New York, but th' livin' was cheaper, with Mon'gahela rye at five a throw, put ye'er hand around th' glass.

"I was still dreamin' goold, an' I wint down to Saint Looey. Th' nearest I come to a fortune there was findin' a quarther on th' sthreet as I leaned over th' dashboord iv a car to whack th' off mule. Whin I got to Chicago, I looked around f'r the goold mine. They was Injuns here thin. But they wasn't anny mines I cud see. They was mud to be shovelled an' dhrays to be dhruv an' beats to be walked. I choose th' dhray; f'r I was niver cut out f'r a copper, an' I'd had me fill iv excavatin'. An' I dhruv th' dhray till I wint into business.

"Me experyence with goold minin' is it's always in th' nex' county. If I was to go to Alaska, they'd tell me iv th' finds in Seeberya. So I think I'll stay here. I'm a silver man, annyhow; an' I'm contint if I can see goold wanst a year, whin some prominent citizen smiles over his newspaper. I'm thinkin' that ivry man has a goold mine undher his own dure-step or in his neighbor's pocket at th' farthest."

"Well, annyhow," said Mr. Hennessy, "I'd like to kick up th' sod, an' find a ton iv gold undher me fut."

"What wud ye do if ye found it?" demanded Mr. Dooley.

"I—I dinnaw," said Mr. Hennessy, whose dreaming had not gone this far. Then, recovering himself, he exclaimed with great enthusiasm, "I'd throw up me job an'—an' live like a prince."

"I tell ye what ye'd do," said Mr. Dooley. "Ye'd come back here an' sthrut up an' down th' sthreet with ye'er thumbs in ye'er armpits; an' ye'd dhrink too much, an' ride in sthreet ca-ars. Thin ye'd buy foldin' beds an' piannies, an' start a reel estate office. Ye'd be fooled a good deal an' lose a lot iv ye'er money, an' thin ye'd tighten up. Ye'd be in a cold fear night an' day that ye'd lose ye'er fortune. Ye'd wake up in th' middle iv th' night, dhreamin' that ye was back at th' gas-house with ye'er money gone. Ye'd be prisidint iv a charitable society. Ye'd have to wear ye'er shoes in th' house, an' ye'er wife'd have ye around to rayciptions an' dances. Ye'd move to Mitchigan Avnoo, an' ye'd hire a coachman that'd laugh at ye. Ye'er boys'd be joods an' ashamed iv ye, an' ye'd support ye'er daughters' husbands. Ye'd rackrint ye'er tinants an' lie about ye'er taxes. Ye'd go back to Ireland on a visit, an' put on airs with ye'er cousin Mike. Ye'd be a mane, close-fisted, onscrupulous ol' curmudgeon; an', whin ye'd die, it'd take haf ye'er fortune f'r rayqueems to put ye r-right. I don't want ye iver to speak to me whin ye get rich, Hinnissy."

"I won't," said Mr. Hennessy.




Say, will she treat me white, or throw me down, Give me the glassy glare, or welcome hand, Shovel me dirt, or treat me on the grand, Knife me, or make me think I own the town? Will she be on the level, do me brown, Or will she jolt me lightly on the sand, Leaving poor Willie froze to beat the band, Limp as your grandma's Mother Hubbard gown?

I do not know, nor do I give a whoop, But this I know: if she is so inclined She can come play with me on our back stoop, Even in office hours, I do not mind— In fact I know I'm nice and good and ready To get an option on her as my steady.


I sometimes think that I am not so good, That there are foxier, warmer babes than I, That Fate has given me the calm go-by And my long suit is sawing mother's wood. Then would I duck from under if I could, Catch the hog special on the jump and fly To some Goat Island planned by destiny For dubs and has-beens and that solemn brood. But spite of bug-wheels in my cocoa tree, The trade in lager beer is still a-humming, A schooner can be purchased for a V Or even grafted if you're fierce at bumming. My finish then less clearly do I see, For lo! I have another think a-coming.


Last night I tumbled off the water cart— It was a peacherino of a drunk; I put the cocktail market on the punk And tore up all the sidewalks from the start. The package that I carried was a tart That beat Vesuvius out for sizz and spunk, And when they put me in my little bunk You couldn't tell my jag and me apart.

Oh! would I were the ice man for a space, Then might I cool this red-hot cocoanut, Corral the jim-jam bugs that madly race Around the eaves that from my forehead jut— Or will a carpenter please come instead And build a picket fence around my head?


Life is a combination hard to buck, A proposition difficult to beat, E'en though you get there Zaza with both feet, In forty flickers, it's the same hard luck, And you are up against it nip and tuck, Shanghaied without a steady place to eat, Guyed by the very copper on your beat Who lays to jug you when you run amuck. O Life! you give Yours Truly quite a pain. On the T square I do not like your style; For you are playing favorites again And you have got me handicapped a mile. Avaunt, false Life, with all your pride and pelf: Go take a running jump and chase yourself!


O mommer! wasn't Mame a looty toot Last night when at the Rainbow Social Club She did the bunny hug with every scrub From Hogan's Alley to the Dutchman's Boot, While little Willie, like a plug-eared mute, Papered the wall and helped absorb the grub, Played nest-egg with the benches like a dub When hot society was easy fruit!

Am I a turnip? On the strict Q.T., Why do my Trilbys get so ossified? Why am I minus when it's up to me To brace my Paris Pansy for a glide? Once more my hoodoo's thrown the game and scored A flock of zeros on my tally-board.


At noon to-day Murphy and Mame were tied. A gospel huckster did the referee, And all the Drug Clerks' Union loped to see The queen of Minnie Street become a bride, And that bad actor, Murphy, by her side, Standing where Yours Despondent ought to be. I went to hang a smile in front of me, But weeps were in my glimmers when I tried. The pastor murmured, "Two and two make one," And slipped a sixteen K on Mamie's grab; And when the game was tied and all was done The guests shied footwear at the bridal cab, And Murphy's little gilt-roofed brother Jim Snickered, "She's left her happy home for him."



(Jud Brownin, when visiting New York, goes to hear Rubinstein, and gives the following description of his playing.)

Well, sir, he had the blamedest, biggest, catty-cornerdest pianner you ever laid eyes on; somethin' like a distracted billiard-table on three legs. The lid was hoisted, and mighty well it was. If it hadn't been, he'd 'a' tore the entire inside clean out and shattered 'em to the four winds of heaven.

Played well? You bet he did; but don't interrupt me. When he first sit down he 'peared to keer mighty little 'bout playin' and wisht he hadn't come. He tweedle-leedled a little on a treble, and twoodle-oodled some on the base,—just foolin' and boxin' the thing's jaws for bein' in his way. And I says to a man sittin' next to me, says I, "What sort of fool playin' is that?" And he says, "Heish!" But presently his hands commenced chasin' one another up and down the keys, like a passel of rats scamperin' through a garret very swift. Parts of it was sweet, though, and reminded me of a sugar squirrel turnin' the wheel of a candy cage.

"Now," I says to my neighbor, "he's showin' off. He thinks he's a-doin' of it, but he ain't got no idee, no plan of nothin'. If he'd play me a tune of some kind or other, I'd—"

But my neighbor says, "Heish!" very impatient.

I was just about to git up and go home, bein' tired of that foolishness, when I heard a little bird waking up away off in the woods and call sleepy-like to his mate, and I looked up and see that Rubin was beginning to take some interest in his business, and I sit down again. It was the peep of day. The light came faint from the east, the breezes blowed gentle and fresh, some more birds waked up in the orchard, then some more in the trees near the house, and all begun singin' together. People began to stir, and the gal opened the shutters. Just then the first beam of the sun fell upon the blossoms a leetle more, and it techt the roses on the bushes, and the next thing it was broad day; the sun fairly blazed, the birds sung like they'd split their little throats; all the leaves was movin', and flashin' diamonds of dew, and the whole wide world was bright and happy as a king. Seemed to me like there was a good breakfast in every house in the land, and not a sick child or woman anywhere. It was a fine mornin'.

And I says to my neighbor, "That's music, that is."

But he glared at me like he'd like to cut my throat.

Presently the wind turned; it begun to thicken up, and a kind of gray mist came over things; I got low-spirited directly. Then a silver rain began to fall. I could see the drops touch the ground; some flashed up like long pearl ear-rings, and the rest rolled away like round rubies. It was pretty, but melancholy. Then the pearls gathered themselves into long strands and necklaces, and then they melted into thin silver streams, running between golden gravels, and then the streams joined each other at the bottom of the hill, and made a brook that flowed silent, except that you could kinder see the music, especially when the bushes on the banks moved as the music went along down the valley. I could smell the flowers in the meadow. But the sun didn't shine, nor the birds sing: it was a foggy day, but not cold.

The most curious thing was the little white angel-boy, like you see in pictures, that run ahead of the music brook and led it on, and on, away out of the world, where no man ever was, certain, I could see the boy just as plain as I see you. Then the moonlight came, without any sunset, and shone on the graveyards, where some few ghosts lifted their hands and went over the wall, and between the black, sharp-top trees splendid marble houses rose up, with fine ladies in the lit-up windows, and men that loved 'em, but could never get anigh 'em, who played on guitars under the trees, and made me that miserable I could have cried, because I wanted to love somebody, I don't know who, better than the men with the guitars did.

Then the sun went down, it got dark, the wind moaned and wept like a lost child for its dead mother, and I could 'a' got up then and there and preached a better sermon than any I ever listened to. There wasn't a thing in the world left to live for, not a blame thing, and yet I didn't want the music to stop one bit. It was happier to be miserable than to be happy without being miserable. I couldn't understand it. I hung my head and pulled out my handkerchief, and blowed my nose loud to keep me from cryin'. My eyes is weak anyway; I didn't want anybody to be a-gazin' at me a-sniv'lin', and it's nobody's business what I do with my nose. It's mine. But some several glared at me mad as blazes. Then, all of a sudden, old Rubin changed his tune. He ripped out and he rared, he tipped and he tared, he pranced and he charged like the grand entry at a circus. 'Peared to me that all the gas in the house was turned on at once, things got so bright, and I hilt up my head, ready to look any man in the face, and not afraid of nothin'. It was a circus and a brass band and a big ball all goin' on at the same time. He lit into them keys like a thousand of brick; he give 'em no rest day or night; he set every livin' joint in me a-goin', and, not bein' able to stand it no longer, I jumped spang onto my seat, and jest hollered,—

"Go it, my Rube!"

Every blame man, woman and child in the house riz on me, and shouted, "Put him out! put him out!"

"Put your great-grandmother's grizzly gray greenish cat into the middle of next month!" I says. "Tech me if you dare! I paid my money, and you jest come anigh me!"

With that some several policemen run up, and I had to simmer down. But I would 'a' fit any fool that laid hands on me, for I was bound to hear Ruby out or die.

He had changed his tune again. He hop-light ladies and tip-toed fine from end to end of the key-board. He played soft and low and solemn. I heard the church bells over the hills. The candles of heaven was lit, one by one; I saw the stars rise. The great organ of eternity began to play from the world's end to the world's end, and all the angels went to prayers.... Then the music changed to water, full of feeling that couldn't be thought, and began to drop—drip, drop—drip, drop, clear and sweet, like tears of joy falling into a lake of glory. It was sweeter than that. It was as sweet as a sweet-heart sweetened with white sugar mixed with powdered silver and seed-diamonds. It was too sweet. I tell you the audience cheered. Rubin he kinder bowed, like he wanted to say, "Much obleeged, but I'd rather you wouldn't interrup' me."

He stopped a moment or two to catch breath. Then he got mad. He run his fingers through his hair, he shoved up his sleeve, he opened his coat-tails a leetle further, he drug up his stool, he leaned over, and, sir, he just went for that old pianner. He slapped her face, he boxed her jaws, he pulled her nose, he pinched her ears, and he scratched her cheeks, until she fairly yelled. He knocked her down and he stamped on her shameful. She bellowed like a bull, she bleated like a calf, she howled like a hound, she squealed like a pig, she shrieked like a rat, and then he wouldn't let her up. He run a quarter stretch down the low grounds of the base, till he got clean in the bowels of the earth, and you heard thunder galloping after thunder through the hollows and caves of perdition; and then he fox-chased his right hand with his left till he got 'way out of the treble into the clouds, whar the notes was finer than the p'ints of cambric needles, and you couldn't hear nothin' but the shadders of 'em. And then he wouldn't let the old pianner go. He for'ard two'd, he crost over first gentleman, he chassade right and left, back to your places, he all hands'd aroun', ladies to the right, promenade all, in and out, here and there, back and forth, up and down, perpetual motion, double twisted and turned and tacked and tangled into forty-eleven thousand double bow-knots.

By jinks! it was a mixtery. And then he wouldn't let the old pianner go. He fetcht up his right wing, he fetcht up his left wing, he fetcht up his center, he fetcht up his reserves. He fired by file, he fired by platoons, by company, by regiments, and by brigades. He opened his cannon,—siege-guns down thar, Napoleons here, twelve-pounders yonder,—big guns, little guns, middle-sized guns, round shot, shells, shrapnels, grape, canister, mortar, mines and magazines, every livin' battery and bomb a-goin' at the same time. The house trembled, the lights danced, the walls shuk, the floor come up, the ceilin' come down, the sky split, the ground rocked—heavens and earth, creation, sweet potatoes, Moses, ninepences, glory, tenpenny nails, Samson in a 'simmon-tree, Tump Tompson in a tumbler-cart, roodle-oodle-oodle-oodle- ruddle-uddle-uddle-uddle—raddle-addle-eedle—riddle-iddle-iddle- iddle—reedle-eedle-eedle-eedle—p-r-r-r-rlank! Bang!!! lang! perlang! p-r-r-r-r-r!! Bang!!!!

With that bang! he lifted himself bodily into the a'r, and he come down with his knees, his ten fingers, his ten toes, his elbows, and his nose, striking every single solitary key on the pianner at the same time. The thing busted and went off into seventeen hundred and fifty-seven thousand five hundred and forty-two hemi-demi-semi-quivers, and I know'd no mo'.

When I come to, I were under ground about twenty foot, in a place they call Oyster Bay, treatin' a Yankee that I never laid eyes on before and never expect to ag'in. Day was breakin' by the time I got to the St. Nicholas Hotel, and I pledge you my word I did not know my name. The man asked me the number of my room, and I told him, "Hot music on the half-shell for two!"



If Poe from Pike The Raven stole, As his accusers say, Then to embody Adam's soul, God plagiarised the clay.




Sweetes' li'l honey in all dis lan', Come erlong yer an' gimme yo' han', Go lightly, gal, go lightly! Cawn all shucked an' de barn flo' clear, Come erlong, come erlong, come erlong, my dear, Go lightly, gal, go lightly!

Fiddles dey callin' us high an' fine, "Time fer de darnsin', come an' jine," Go lightly, gal, go lightly! My pooty li'l honey, but you is sweet! An' hit's clap yo' han's an' shake yo' feet, Go lightly, gal, go lightly!

Hit's cut yo' capers all down de line, Den mek yo' manners an' tiptoe fine, Go lightly, gal, go lightly! Oh, hit's whu'll yo' pardners roun' an' roun', Twel you hyst dey feet clean off de groun', Go lightly, gal, go lightly!

Oh, hit's tu'n an' twis' all roun' de flo', Fling out yo' feet behime, befo', Go lightly, gal, go lightly! Gre't Lan' o' Goshen! but you is spry! Kain't none er de urr gals spring so high, Go lightly, gal, go lightly!

Oh, roll yo' eyes an' wag yo' haid An' shake yo' bones twel you nigh most daid, Go lightly, gal, go lightly! Doan' talk ter me 'bout gittin' yo' bref, Gwine darnse dis out ef hit cause my def! Go lightly, gal, go lightly!

Um-humph! done darnse all de urr folks down! Skip erlong, honey, jes' one mo' roun'! Go lightly, gal, go lightly! Fiddles done played twel de strings all break! Come erlong, honey, jes' one mo' shake, Go lightly, gal, go lightly!

Now teck my arm an' perawd all roun', So dey see whar de sho'-nuff darnsers foun', Go lightly, gal, go lightly! Den gimme yo' han' an' we quit dish yer, Come erlong, come erlong, come erlong, my dear, Go lightly, gal, go lightly!



Wake! for the sun has driven in equal flight The stars before him from the Tee of Night, And holed them every one without a miss, Swinging at ease his gold-shod Shaft of Light.

Now the fresh Year, reviving old Desires, The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires, Pores on this Club and That with anxious eye, And dreams of Rounds beyond the Rounds of Liars.

Come, choose your ball, and in the Fire of Spring Your Red Coat, and your wooden Putter fling; The Club of Time has but a little while To waggle, and the Club is on the swing.

Whether at Musselburgh or Shinnecock, In motley Hose or humbler motley Sock, The Cup of Life is ebbing Drop by Drop, Whether the Cup be filled with Scotch or Bock.

A Bag of Clubs, a Silver-Town or two, A Flask of Scotch, a Pipe of Shag—and Thou Beside me caddying in the Wilderness— Ah, Wilderness were Paradise enow.

They say the Female and the Duffer strut On sacred Greens where Morris used to put; Himself a natural Hazard now, alas! That nice hand quiet now, that great Eye shut.

I sometimes think that never springs so green The Turf as where some Good Fellow has been, And every emerald Stretch the Fair Green shows His kindly Tread has known, his sure Play seen.

Myself when young did eagerly frequent Jamie and His, and heard great argument Of Grip and Stance and Swing; but evermore Found at the Exit but a Dollar spent.

With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow, And with mine own hand sought to make it grow; And this was all the Harvest that I reaped: "You hold it This Way, and you swing it So."

The swinging Brassie strikes; and, having struck, Moves on: nor all your Wit or future Luck Shall lure it back to cancel half a Stroke, Nor from the Card a single Seven pluck.

And that inverted Ball they call the High— By which the Duffer thinks to live or die, Lift not your hands to IT for help, for it As impotently froths as you or I.

Yon rising Moon that leads us Home again, How oft hereafter will she wax and wane; How oft hereafter rising wait for us At this same Turning—and for One in vain.

And when, like her, my Golfer, I have been And am no more above the pleasant Green, And you in your mild Journey pass the Hole I made in One—ah! pay my Forfeit then!

[Footnote 1: By permission of Fox, Duffield and Company. From The Golfer's Rubaiyat. Copyright, 1901, by Herbert S. Stone and Company.]



"That frind iv ye'ers, Dugan, is an intilligent man," said Mr. Dooley. "All he needs is an index an' a few illusthrations to make him a bicyclopedja iv useless information."

"Well," said Mr. Hennessy, judiciously, "he ain't no Soc-rates an' he ain't no answers-to-questions colum; but he's a good man that goes to his jooty, an' as handy with a pick as some people are with a cocktail spoon. What's he been doin' again ye?"

"Nawthin'," said Mr. Dooley, "but he was in here Choosday. 'Did ye vote?' says I. 'I did,' says he. 'Which wan iv th' distinguished bunko steerers got ye'er invalu'ble suffrage?' says I. 'I didn't have none with me,' says he, 'but I voted f'r Charter Haitch,' says he. 'I've been with him in six ilictions,' says he, 'an' he's a good man,' he says. 'D'ye think ye're votin' f'r th' best?' says I. 'Why, man alive,' I says, 'Charter Haitch was assassinated three years ago,' I says. 'Was he?' says Dugan. 'Ah, well, he's lived that down be this time. He was a good man,' he says.

"Ye see, that's what thim rayform lads wint up again. If I liked rayformers, Hinnissy, an' wanted f'r to see thim win out wanst in their lifetime, I'd buy thim each a suit iv chilled steel, ar-rm thim with raypeatin' rifles, an' take thim east iv State Sthreet an' south iv Jackson Bullyvard. At prisint th' opinion that pre-vails in th' ranks iv th' gloryous ar-rmy iv ray-form is that there ain't anny-thing worth seein' in this lar-rge an' commodyous desert but th' pest-house an' the bridewell. Me frind Willum J. O'Brien is no rayformer. But Willum J. undherstands that there's a few hundherds iv thousands iv people livin' in a part iv th' town that looks like nawthin' but smoke fr'm th' roof iv th' Onion League Club that have on'y two pleasures in life, to wur-ruk an' to vote, both iv which they do at th' uniform rate iv wan dollar an' a half a day. That's why Willum J. O'Brien is now a sinitor an' will be an aldherman afther next Thursdah, an' it's why other people are sinding him flowers.

"This is th' way a rayform candydate is ilicted. Th' boys down town has heerd that things ain't goin' r-right somehow. Franchises is bein' handed out to none iv thim; an' wanst in a while a mimber iv th' club, comin' home a little late an' thryin' to riconcile a pair iv r-round feet with an embroidered sidewalk, meets a sthrong ar-rm boy that pushes in his face an' takes away all his marbles. It begins to be talked that th' time has come f'r good citizens f'r to brace up an' do somethin', an' they agree to nomynate a candydate f'r aldherman. 'Who'll we put up?' says they. 'How's Clarence Doolittle?' says wan. 'He's laid up with a coupon thumb, an' can't r-run.' 'An' how about Arthur Doheny?' 'I swore an oath whin I came out iv colledge I'd niver vote f'r a man that wore a made tie.' 'Well, thin, let's thry Willie Boye.' 'Good,' says th' comity. 'He's jus' th' man f'r our money.' An' Willie Boye, after thinkin' it over, goes to his tailor an' ordhers three dozen pairs iv pants, an' decides f'r to be th' sthandard-bearer iv th' people. Musin' over his fried eyesthers an' asparagus an' his champagne, he bets a polo pony again a box of golf-balls he'll be ilicted unanimous; an' all th' good citizens make a vow f'r to set th' alar-rm clock f'r half-past three on th' afthernoon iv iliction day, so's to be up in time to vote f'r th' riprisintitive iv pure gover'mint.

"'Tis some time befure they comprehind that there ar-re other candydates in th' field. But th' other candydates know it. Th' sthrongest iv thim—his name is Flannigan, an' he's a re-tail dealer in wines an' liquors, an' he lives over his establishment. Flannigan was nomynated enthusyastically at a prim'ry held in his bar-rn; an' befure Willie Boye had picked out pants that wud match th' color iv th' Austhreelyan ballot this here Flannigan had put a man on th' day watch, tol' him to speak gently to anny raygistered voter that wint to sleep behind th' sthove, an' was out that night visitin' his frinds. Who was it judged th' cake walk? Flannigan. Who was it carrid th' pall? Flannigan. Who was it sthud up at th' christening? Flannigan. Whose ca-ards did th' grievin' widow, th' blushin' bridegroom, or th' happy father find in th' hack? Flannigan's. Ye bet ye'er life. Ye see Flannigan wasn't out f'r th' good iv th' community. Flannigan was out f'r Flannigan an' th' stuff.

"Well, iliction day come around; an' all th' imminent frinds iv good gover'mint had special wires sthrung into th' club, an' waited f'r th' returns. Th' first precin't showed 28 votes f'r Willie Boye to 14 f'r Flannigan. 'That's my precin't,' says Willie. 'I wondher who voted thim fourteen?' 'Coachmen,' says Clarence Doolittle. 'There are thirty-five precin'ts in this ward,' says th' leader iv th' rayform ilimint. 'At this rate, I'm sure iv 440 meejority. Gossoon,' he says, 'put a keg iv sherry wine on th' ice,' he says. 'Well,' he says, 'at last th' community is relieved fr'm misrule,' he says. 'To-morrah I will start in arrangin' amindmints to th' tariff schedool an' th' ar-bitration threety,' he says. 'We must be up an' doin',' he says. 'Hol' on there,' says wan iv th' comity. 'There must be some mistake in this fr'm th' sixth precin't,' he says. 'Where's the sixth precin't?' says Clarence. 'Over be th' dumps,' says Willie. 'I told me futman to see to that. He lives at th' cor-ner iv Desplaines an' Bloo Island Av'noo on Goose's Island,' he says. 'What does it show?' 'Flannigan, three hundherd an' eighty-five; Hansen, forty-eight; Schwartz, twinty; O'Malley, sivinteen; Casey, ten; O'Day, eight; Larsen, five; O'Rourke, three; Mulcahy, two; Schmitt, two; Moloney, two; Riordon, two; O'Malley, two; Willie Boye, wan.' 'Gintlemin,' says Willie Boye, arisin' with a stern look in his eyes, 'th' rascal has bethrayed me. Waither, take th' sherry wine off th' ice. They'se no hope f'r sound financial legislation this year. I'm goin' home.'

"An', as he goes down th' sthreet, he hears a band play an' sees a procission headed be a calceem light; an', in a carredge, with his plug hat in his hand an' his di'mond makin' th' calceem look like a piece iv punk in a smokehouse, is Flannigan, payin' his first visit this side iv th' thracks."



Scene—A conventional, but rather over-decorated, drawing-room. Grand piano drawn conspicuously to center of floor. Rows of camp-chairs. It is ten minutes before the hour of invitation. The Hostess, a large woman, is costumed in yellow satin, embroidered in spangles. Her diamonds are many and of large size. She is seated on the extreme edge of a chair, struggling with a pair of very long gloves. She looks flurried and anxious. Poor Relative, invited as a "great treat," sits opposite. Her expression is timid and apprehensive. They are the only occupants of the room.

HOSTESS—No such thing, Maria. You look all right. Plain black is always very genteel. Nothing I like so well for evening, myself. Just keep your face to the wall as much as you can, and the worn places will never show. You can take my ecru lace scarf, if you wish, and that will cover most of the spots. I don't mean my new scarf—the one I got two years ago. It's a little torn, but it won't matter—for you. I think you will find it on the top shelf of the store-room closet on the third floor. If you put a chair on one of the trunks, you can easily reach it. Just wait a minute, till I get these gloves on; I want you to button them. I do hope I haven't forgotten anything. Baron von Gosheimer has promised to come. I have told everybody. It would be terrible if he should disappoint me.

MASCULINE VOICE FROM ABOVE—Sarah, where the devil have you put my shirts? Everything is upside down in my room, and I can't find them. I pulled every blessed thing out of the chiffonier and wardrobe, and they're not there!

HOSTESS—Oh, Henry! You must hurry—I'm going to use your room for the gentlemen's dressing-room, and it's time now for people to come. You must hurry.

HOST (from above, just as front door opens, admitting Baron von Gosheimer and two women guests)—Where the devil are my shirts?

HOSTESS (unconscious of arrivals)—Under the bed in my room. Hurry!

(HOST, in bath gown and slippers, dashes madly into wife's room, and dives under bed as women guests enter. Unable to escape, he crawls farther beneath bed. His feet remain visible. Women guests discover them.)

GUESTS (in chorus)—Burglars! burglars! Help! help!

(Baron von Gosheimer, ascending to the next floor, hears them and hastens to the rescue.)

BARON—Don't be alarmed, ladies. Has either of you a poker? No? That is to be deplored. (Catches Host by heels and drags him out. Tableau.)

HOSTESS (to Poor Relative, giving an extra tug at her gloves)—There, it's all burst out on the side! That stupid saleslady said she knew they would be too small. Oh, dear, I'm that upset! And these Louis Quinze slippers are just murdering me. I wish it were all over.

(Enter Baron von Gosheimer and women guests.)

HOSTESS—Dear baron, how good of you! I was just saying, if you didn't come I should wish my musicale in Jericho. And, now that you are here, I don't care if any one else comes or not. (To women guests.) How d'ye do? I must apologize for Mr. Smythe—he's been detained down-town. He just telephoned me. He'll be in later. Do sit down; it's just as cheap as standing, I always say, and it does save your feet. You ladies can find seats over in the corner. (Detaining Baron.) Dear baron—(Enter guests.)

GUEST—So glad you have a clear evening. Now, when we gave our affair, it poured. Of course, we had a crowd, just the same. People always come to us, whether it rains or not. (Takes a seat. Guests begin to arrive in numbers.)

HOSTESS—So sweet of you to come!

GUEST—So glad you have a pleasant evening. I am sure to have a bad night whenever I entertain—

HOSTESS—(to another guest)—So delightful of you to come!

GUEST—Such a perfect evening! I'm so glad. I said as we started out, "Now, this time, Mrs. Smythe can't help but have plenty of people. Whenever I entertain, it's sure to—" (More guests.)

(Telegram arrives, announcing that the prima donna has a sore throat, and will be unable to come. Time passes.)

MALE GUEST (to another)—Well, I wish to heaven, something would be doing soon. This is the deadest affair I was ever up against.

OMNIPRESENT JOKER (greeting acquaintance)—Hello, old man!—going to sing to-night?

ACQUAINTANCE—Oh, yes, going to sing a solo.

JOKER—So low you can't hear it? Ha, ha! (Guests near by groan.)

VOICE (overheard)—Madame Cully? My dear, she always tells you that you haven't half enough material, and makes you get yards more. Besides, she never sends your pieces back, though I have—

FAT OLD LADY (to neighbor)—I never was so warm in my life! I can't imagine why people invite you, just to make you uncomfortable. Now, when I entertain, I have the windows open for hours before any one comes.

JOKER (aside)—That's why she always has a frost! Ha, ha!

(HOST enters, showing traces of hasty toilette—face red, and a razor-cut on chin.)

HOST (rubbing his hands, and endeavoring to appear at ease and facetious)—Well, how d'ye do, everybody! Sorry to be late on such an auspicious—

JOKER (interrupting)—Suspicious! Ha, ha!

HOST—occasion. I hope you are all enjoying yourselves.


HOSTESS—'Sh, 'sh, 'sh! I have a great disappointment for you all. Here is a telegram from my best singer, saying she is sick, and can't come. Now, we will have the pleasure of listening to Miss Jackson. Miss Jackson is a pupil of Madame Parcheesi, of Paris. (Singer whispers to her.) Oh, I beg your pardon! It's Madame Marcheesi.

DEAF OLD GENTLEMAN (seated by piano, talking to pretty girl)—I'd rather listen to you than hear this caterwauling. (Old Gentleman is dragged into corner and silenced.)

YOUNG WOMAN (singing)—"Why do I sing? I know not, I know not! I can not help but sing. Oh, why do I sing?"

(Guests moan softly and demand of one another, Why does she sing?)

WOMAN GUEST (to another)—Isn't that just the way?—their relatives are always dying, and it's sure to be wash-day or just when you expect company to dinner, and off they go to the funeral—

(Butler appears with trayful of punch-glasses.)

MALE GUEST (to another)—Thank the Lord! here's relief in sight. Let's drown our troubles.

THE OTHER—It's evident you haven't sampled the Smythes' punch before. I tell you it's a crime to spoil a thirst with this stuff. Well, here's how.

WOMAN GUEST (to neighbor)—I never saw Mrs. Smythe looking quite so hideous and atrociously vulgar before, did you?

NEIGHBOR—Never! Why did we come?

VOICE (overheard)—The one in the white-lace gown and all those diamonds?

ANOTHER VOICE—Yes. Well, you know it was common talk that before he married her—

HOSTESS—'Sh, 'sh, 'sh! Signor Padrella has offered to play some of his own compositions, but I thought you would all rather hear something familiar by one of the real composers—Rubens or Chopin—Chopinhauer, I think—

(Pianist plunges wildly into something.)

VOICE (during a lull in the music)—First, you brown an onion in the pan, then you chop the cabbage—

GUEST (in the dressing-room, just arriving, to another)—Yes, we are awfully late, too, but I always say you never can be too late at one of the Smythes' horrors.

THIN YOUNG WOMAN (in limp pink gown and string of huge pearls, who has come to recite)—I'm awfully nervous, and I do believe I'm getting hoarse. Mama, you didn't forget the lemon juice and sugar? (Drinks from bottle.) Now, where are my bronchial troches? Don't you think I could stand just a little more rouge? I think it's a shame I'm not going to have footlights. Remember, you are not to prompt me, unless I look at you. You will get me all mixed up, if you do. (They descend.)

HOSTESS (to elocutionist)—Why, I thought you were never coming! I wanted you to fill in while people were taking their seats. The guests always make so much noise, and the singers hate it. Now, what did you say you would require—an egg-beater and a turnip, wasn't it? Oh, no! That's for the young man who is going to do the tricks. I remember. Are you all ready?

ELOCUTIONIST (in a trembling voice)—Ye-es.

HOSTESS—'Sh, 'sh, 'sh!


"At Paris it was, at the opera there, And she looked like—"

GUEST (to another)—Thirty cents, old chap! I tell you, there's nothing will knock you out quicker than—

HOSTESS—'Sh, 'sh, 'sh!

(Young woman finishes, and retires amidst subdued applause. Reappears immediately and gives "The Maniac.")

HOSTESS—As I have been disappointed in my best talent for this evening, Mr. Briggs has kindly consented to do some of his parlor-magic tricks.

(Mr. Briggs steps forward, a large, florid young man, wearing a "made" dress-tie, the buckle of which crawls up the back of his collar.)

BRIGGS—Now, ladies and gentlemen, I shall have to ask you all to move to the other side of the room. (This is accomplished with muttered uncomplimentary remarks concerning the magician.)

BRIGGS (to Hostess)—I must have the piano pushed to the further end. I must have plenty of space. (All the men guests are pressed into service, and, with much difficulty the piano is moved.)

BRIGGS—Now, I want four large screens.

HOSTESS (faintly)—But I have only two!

BRIGGS—Well, then, get me a clothes-horse and a couple of sheets.

POOR RELATIVE—You know, Sarah, I used the last two when I made up my bed in the children's nursery yesterday. I can easily get—

HOSTESS (hastily)—No, Maria, don't trouble. (To guests)—Perhaps, some of you gentlemen wouldn't mind lending us your overcoats to cover the clothes-horse?

CHORUS (with great lack of enthusiasm)—Of course! Delighted! (They go for coats.)

HOSTESS (to Poor Relative)—Maria, you get the clothes-horse. I think it's in the laundry, or—Oh, I think it's in the cellar. Well, you look till you find it. (To Briggs)—I got as many of the things you asked for as I could remember. Will you read the list over?

BRIGGS—Turnip and egg-beater—


BRIGGS—Egg, large clock, jar of gold-fish, rabbit and empty barrel.

HOSTESS—I have the egg.

BRIGGS (much annoyed)—I particularly wanted the gold-fish, the clock and the barrel.

(Guests grow restless.)

Hostess—Couldn't you do a trick while we are waiting—one with the egg-beater and turnip?

BRIGGS—No; I don't know one.

HOSTESS—Couldn't you make up one?

BRIGGS (icily)—Certainly not.

(Gloom descends over the company, until the Poor Relative arrives, staggering under the clothes-horse.)

CHORUS OF MEN GUESTS—Let me help you!

(Improvised screen is finally arranged. Briggs performs "parlor magic" for an hour. Guests, fidget, yawn and commence to drop away, one by one.)

GUEST (to Hostess)—Really, we must tear ourselves away. Such a delightful evening!—not a dull moment. And your punch—heavenly! Do ask us again. Good night.

HOSTESS—Thank you so much! So good of you to come.

ANOTHER GUEST—Yes, we must go. I've had a perfectly dear time.

HOSTESS—So sorry you must go. So good of you to come. Good night.


CHORUS OF GUESTS—Wasn't it awful?—Such low people!—Why did we ever come—Parvenue!

ELOCUTIONIST—I was all right, wasn't I, mama? You noticed they never clapped a bit until I'd walked the whole length of the room to my chair. It just showed how wrought up they were. You nearly mixed me up, though, prompting me in the wrong place; I—

HOSTESS (throwing herself on sofa as door closes on last guest)—Well, I'm completely done up! (To Poor Relative)—Maria, run up to my room, and get my red worsted bed-slippers. I can't stand these satin tortures a minute longer. Entertaining is an awful strain. It's so hard trying not to say the wrong thing at the right place. But, then, it certainly went off beautifully. I could tell every one had such a good time!



Yer's a sinner comin' thu, Crowd roun', bre'ren, sisters, too, Sing wid all yo' might an' main, He'p de sinner out er pain, He's comin', comin' thu.

He bin "seekin'" dis long time, He'p him cas' de foe behime, Clap yo' han's an' sing an' shout, He'p him cas' de debil out, Le's wrassel him right thu.

Tu'rr side de Gate er Sin, Year him kickin' ter git in, Putt up prayers wid might an' main, Dat he doesn' kick in vain, Y'all kin pray him thu.

Heart a-bus'in' fer de right, Debil hol'in' to him tight, Year him swish dat forked tail, See de sinner-man turn pale, Come on an' he'p him thu.

Sinner hangin' 'bove de pit, By a hya'r strotch over hit, Debil hol' one eend an' shake, Y'all kin see de sinner quake, Quick, he'p dis man come thu.

Seize de ropes, now, ev'y man, He'p de gospel ship ter lan', One long pull an' one gre't shout, Hallelu! We got him out, De sinner done come thu!



Like a certain class of modern philosophers, Dinah perfectly scorned logic and reason in every shape, and always took refuge in intuitive certainty; and here she was perfectly impregnable. No possible amount of talent, or authority, or explanation could ever make her believe that any other way was better than her own, or that the course she had pursued in the smallest matter could be in the least modified. This had been a conceded point with her old mistress, Marie's mother; and "Miss Marie," as Dinah always called her young mistress, even after her marriage, found it easier to submit than contend; and so Dinah had ruled supreme. This was the easier, in that she was perfect mistress of that diplomatic art which unites the utmost subservience of manner with the utmost inflexibility as to measure.

Dinah was the mistress of the whole art and mystery of excuse-making, in all its branches. Indeed, it was an axiom with her that the cook can do no wrong, and a cook in a Southern kitchen finds abundance of heads and shoulders on which to lay off every sin and frailty, so as to maintain her own immaculateness entire. If any part of the dinner was a failure, there were fifty indisputably good reasons for it, and it was the fault, undeniably, of fifty other people, whom Dinah berated with unsparing zeal.

But it was very seldom that there was any failure in Dinah's last results. Though her mode of doing everything was peculiarly meandering and circuitous, and without any sort of calculation as to time and place,—though her kitchen generally looked as if it had been arranged by a hurricane blowing through it, and she had about as many places for each cooking utensil as there were days in the year,—yet, if one could have patience to wait her own good time, up would come her dinner in perfect order, and in a style of preparation with which an epicure could find no fault.

It was now the season of incipient preparation for dinner. Dinah, who required large intervals of reflection and repose, and was studious of ease in all her arrangements, was seated on the kitchen floor, smoking a short, stumpy pipe, to which she was much addicted, and which she always kindled up, as a sort of censer, whenever she felt the need of an inspiration in her arrangements. It was Dinah's mode of invoking the domestic Muses.

Seated around her were various members of that rising race with which a Southern household abounds, engaged in shelling peas, peeling potatoes, picking pin-feathers out of fowls, and other preparatory arrangements, Dinah every once in a while interrupting her meditations to give a poke, or a rap on the head, to some of the young operators, with the pudding-stick that lay by her side. In fact, Dinah ruled over the woolly heads of the younger members with a rod of iron, and seemed to consider them born for no earthly purpose but to "save her steps," as she phrased it. It was the spirit of the system under which she had grown up, and she carried it out to its full extent.

Miss Ophelia, after passing on her reformatory tour through all the other parts of the establishment, now entered the kitchen. Dinah had heard, from various sources, what was going on, and resolved to stand on defensive and conservative ground,—mentally determined to oppose and ignore every new measure, without any actual and observable contest.

The kitchen was a large, brick-floored apartment, with a great old-fashioned fireplace stretching along one side of it,—an arrangement which St. Clair had vainly tried to persuade Dinah to exchange for the convenience of a modern cook-stove. Not she. No Pusseyite, or conservative of any school, was ever more inflexibly attached to time-honored inconveniences than Dinah.

When St. Clair had first returned from the North, impressed with the system and order of his uncle's kitchen arrangements, he had largely provided his own with an array of cupboards, drawers, and various apparatus, to induce systematic regulation, under the sanguine illusion that it would be of any possible assistance to Dinah in her arrangements. He might as well have provided them for a squirrel or a magpie. The more drawers and closets there were, the more hiding-holes could Dinah make for the accommodation of old rags, hair-combs, old shoes, ribbons, cast-off artificial flowers, and other articles of vertu, wherein her soul delighted.

When Miss Ophelia entered the kitchen, Dinah did not rise, but smoked on in sublime tranquillity, regarding her movements obliquely out of the corner of her eye, but apparently intent only on the operations around her.

Miss Ophelia commenced opening a set of drawers.

"What is this drawer for, Dinah?" she said.

"It's handy for 'most anything, missis," said Dinah. So it appeared to be. From the variety it contained Miss Ophelia pulled out first a fine damask table-cloth stained with blood, having evidently been used to envelop some raw meat.

"What's this, Dinah? You don't wrap up meat in your mistress's best table-cloth?"

"Oh, Lor', missis, no; the towels was all a-missin', so I just did it. I laid it out to wash that ar; that's why I put it thar."

"Shir'less!" said Miss Ophelia to herself, proceeding to tumble over the drawer, where she found a nutmeg-grater and two or three nutmegs, a Methodist hymn-book, a couple of soiled Madras handkerchiefs, some yarn and knitting-work, a paper of tobacco and a pipe, a few crackers, one or two gilded china saucers with some pomade in them, one or two thin old shoes, a piece of flannel carefully pinned up enclosing some small white onions, several damask table-napkins, some coarse crash towels, some twine and darning-needles, and several broken papers, from which sundry sweet herbs were sifting into the drawer.

"Where do you keep your nutmegs, Dinah?" said Miss Ophelia, with the air of one who "prayed for patience."

"Most anywhar, missis; there's some in that cracked tea-cup up there, and there's some over in that ar cupboard."

"Here are some in the grater," said Miss Ophelia, holding them up.

"Laws, yes; I put 'em there this morning; I likes to keep my things handy," said Dinah. "You Jake! what are you stopping for? You'll cotch it! Be still, thar!" she added, with a dive of her stick at the criminal.

"What's this?" said Miss Ophelia, holding up the saucer of pomade.

"Laws, it's my har-grease: I put it thar to have it handy."

"Do you use your mistress's best saucers for that?"

"Law! it was 'cause I was driv' and in sich a hurry. I was gwine to change it this very day."

"Here are two damask table-napkins."

"Them table-napkins I put thar to get 'em washed out some day."

"Don't you have some place here on purpose for things to be washed?"

"Well, Mas'r St. Clair got dat ar chest, he said, for dat; but I likes to mix up biscuit and hev my things on it some days, and then it ain't handy a-liftin' up the lid."

"Why don't you mix your biscuits on the pastry-table, there?"

"Law, missis, it gets sot so full of dishes, and one thing and another, der ain't no room, noways."

"But you should wash your dishes, and clear them away."

"Wash my dishes!" said Dinah, in a high key, as her wrath began to rise over her habitual respect of manner. "What does ladies know 'bout work, I want to know? When'd mas'r ever get his dinner, if I was to spend all my time a-washin' and a-puttin' up dishes? Miss Marie never telled me so, nohow."

"Well, here are these onions."

"Laws, yes!" said Dinah; "that is whar I put 'em, now. I couldn't 'member. Them's particular onions I was a savin' for dis yer very stew. I'd forgot they was in dat ar old flannel."

Miss Ophelia lifted out the sifting papers of sweet herbs. "I wish missis wouldn't touch dem ar. I likes to keep my things where I knows whar to go to 'em," said Dinah, rather decidedly.

"But you don't want these holes in the papers."

"Them's handy for siftin' on't out," said Dinah.

"But you see it spills all over the drawer."

"Laws, yes! if missis will go a-tumblin' things all up so, it will. Missis has spilt lots dat ar way," said Dinah, coming uneasily to the drawers. "If missis only will go up-sta'rs till my clarin'-up time comes, I'll have everything right; but I can't do nothin' when ladies is 'round a-henderin'. You Sam, don't you gib de baby dat ar sugar-bowl! I'll crack ye over, if ye don't mind!"

"I'm going through the kitchen, and going to put everything in order, once, Dinah; and then I'll expect you to keep it so."

"Lor', now, Miss 'Phelia, dat ar ain't no way for ladies to do. I never did see ladies doin' no sich; my old missis nor Miss Marie never did, and I don't see no kinder need on't." And Dinah stalked indignantly about, while Miss Ophelia piled and sorted dishes, emptied dozens of scattering bowls of sugar into one receptacle, sorted napkins, table-cloths, and towels, for washing; washing, wiping and arranging with her own hands, and with a speed and alacrity which perfectly amazed Dinah.

"Lor', now! if dat ar de way dem Northern ladies do, dey ain't ladies nohow," she said to some of her satellites, when at a safe hearing-distance. "I has things as straight as anybody, when my clarin'-up times comes; but I don't want ladies 'round a-henderin' and gettin' my things all where I can't find 'em."

To do Dinah justice, she had, at irregular periods, paroxysms of reformation and arrangement, which she called "clarin'-up times," when she would begin with great zeal and turn every drawer and closet wrong side outward on to the floor or tables, and make the ordinary confusion sevenfold more confounded. Then she would light her pipe and leisurely go over her arrangements, looking things over and discoursing upon them; making all the young fry scour most vigorously on the tin things, and keeping up for several hours a most energetic state of confusion, which she would explain to the satisfaction of all inquirers by the remark that she was a "clarin'-up." "She couldn't hev things a-gwine on so as they had been, and she was gwine to make these yer young ones keep better order;" for Dinah herself, somehow, indulged the illusion that she herself was the soul of order, and it was only the young uns, and the everybody else in the house, that were the cause of anything that fell short of perfection in this respect. When all the tins were scoured, and the tables scrubbed snowy white, and everything that could offend tucked out of sight in holes and corners, Dinah would dress herself up in a smart dress, clean apron, and high, brilliant Madras turban, and tell all marauding "young uns" to keep out of the kitchen, for she was gwine to have things kept nice. Indeed, these periodic seasons were often an inconvenience to the whole household, for Dinah would contract such an immoderate attachment to her scoured tin as to insist upon it that it shouldn't be used again for any possible purpose,—at least till the ardor of the "clarin'-up" period abated.



Away back in the fifties, "Hinman's" was not only the best school in Peoria, but it was the greatest school in the world. I sincerely thought so then, and as I was a very lively part of it, I should know. Mr. Hinman was the Faculty, and he was sufficiently numerous to demonstrate cube root with one hand and maintain discipline with the other. Dear old man; boys and girls with grandchildren love him to-day, and think of him among their blessings. He was superintendent of public instruction, board of education, school trustee, county superintendent, principal of the high school and janitor. He had a pleasant smile, a genius for mathematics, and a West Point idea of obedience and discipline. He carried upon his person a grip that would make the imported malady which mocks that name in these degenerate days, call itself Slack, in very terror at having assumed the wrong title.

We used to have "General Exercises" on Friday afternoon. The most exciting feature of this weekly frivolity consisted of a free-for-all exercise in mental arithmetic. Mr. Hinman gave out lists of numbers, beginning with easy ones and speaking slowly; each succeeding list he dictated more rapidly and with ever-increasing complications of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, until at last he was giving them out faster than he could talk. One by one the pupils dropped out of the race with despairing faces, but always at the closing peremptory:


At least a dozen hands shot into the air and as many voices shouted the correct result. We didn't have many books, and the curriculum of an Illinois school in those days was not academic; but two things the children could do, they could spell as well as the dictionary and they could handle figures. Some of the fellows fairly wallowed in them. I didn't. I simply drowned in the shallowest pond of numbers that ever spread itself on the page. As even unto this day I do the same.

Well, one year the Teacher introduced an innovation; "compositions" by the girls and "speakin' pieces" by the boys. It was easy enough for the girls, who had only to read the beautiful thought that "spring is the pleasantest season of the year." Now and then a new girl, from the east, awfully precise, would begin her essay—"spring is the most pleasant season of the year," and her would we call down with derisive laughter, whereat she walked to her seat, very stiffly, with a proud dry-eyed look in her face, only to lay her head upon her desk when she reached it, and weep silently until school closed. But "speakin' pieces" did not meet with favor from the boys, save one or two good boys who were in training by their parents for congressmen or presidents.

The rest of us, who were just boys, with no desire ever to be anything else, endured the tyranny of compulsory oratory about a month, and then resolved to abolish the whole business by a general revolt. Big and little, we agreed to stand by each other, break up the new exercise, and get back to the old order of things—the hurdle races in mental arithmetic and the geographical chants which we could run and intone together.

Was I a mutineer? Well, say, son, your Pa was a constituent conspirator. He was in the color guard. You see, the first boy called on for a declamation was to announce the strike, and as my name stood very high—in the alphabetical roll of pupils—I had an excellent chance of leading the assaulting column, a distinction for which I was not at all ambitious, being a stripling of tender years, ruddy countenance, and sensitive feelings. However, I stiffened the sinews of my soul, girded on my armor by slipping an atlas back under my jacket and was ready for the fray, feeling a little terrified shiver of delight as I thought that the first lick Mr. Hinman gave me would make him think he had broken my back.

The hour for "speakin' pieces," an hour big with fate, arrived on time. A boy named Aby Abbott was called up ahead of me, but he happened to be one of the presidential aspirants (he was mate on an Illinois river steamboat, stern-wheeler at that, the last I knew of him), and of course he flunked and "said" his piece—a sadly prophetic selection—"Mr. President, it is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope." We made such suggestive and threatening gestures at him, however, when Mr. Hinman wasn't looking, that he forgot half his "piece," broke down and cried. He also cried after school, a little more bitterly, and with far better reason.

Then, after an awful pause, in which the conspirators could hear the beating of each other's hearts, my name was called.

I sat still at my desk and said:

"I ain't goin' to speak no piece."

Mr. Hinman looked gently surprised and asked:

"Why not, Robert?"

I replied:

"Because there ain't goin' to be any more speakin' pieces."

The teacher's eyes grew round and big as he inquired:

"Who says there will not?"

I said, in slightly firmer tones, as I realized that the moment had come for dragging the rest of the rebels into court:

"All of us boys!"

But Mr. Hinman smiled, and said quietly that he guessed there would be "a little more speaking before the close of the session." Then laying his hand on my shoulder, with most punctilious but chilling courtesy, he invited me to the rostrum. The "rostrum" was twenty-five feet distant, but I arrived there on schedule time and only touched my feet to the floor twice on my way.

And then and there, under Mr. Hinman's judicious coaching, before the assembled school, with feelings, nay, emotions which I now shudder to recall, I did my first "song and dance." Many times before had I stepped off a solo-cachuca to the staccato pleasing of a fragment of slate frame, upon which my tutor was a gifted performer, but never until that day did I accompany myself with words. Boy like, I had chosen for my "piece" a poem sweetly expressive of those peaceful virtues which I most heartily despised. So that my performance, at the inauguration of the strike, as Mr. Hinman conducted the overture, ran something like this—

"Oh, not for me (whack) is the rolling (whack) drum, Or the (whack, whack) trumpet's wild (whack) appeal! (Boo-hoo!) Or the cry (swish—whack) of (boo-hoo-hoo!) war when the (whack) foe is come (ouch!) Or the (ow—wow!) brightly (whack) flashing (whack-whack) steel! (wah-hoo, wah-hoo!)"

Words and symbols can not convey to the most gifted imagination the gestures with which I illustrated the seven stanzas of this beautiful poem. I had really selected it to please my mother, whom I had invited to be present, when I supposed I would deliver it. But the fact that she attended a missionary meeting in the Baptist church that afternoon made me a friend of missions forever. Suffice it to say, then, that my pantomime kept pace and time with Mr. Hinman's system of punctuation until the last line was sobbed and whacked out. I groped my bewildered way to my seat through a mist of tears and sat down gingerly and sideways, inly wondering why an inscrutable providence had given to the rugged rhinoceros the hide which the eternal fitness of things had plainly prepared for the school-boy.

But I quickly forgot my own sorrow and dried my tears with laughter in the enjoyment of the subsequent acts of the opera, as the chorus developed the plot and action. Mr. Hinman, who had been somewhat gentle with me, dealt firmly with the larger boy who followed, and there was a scene of revelry for the next twenty minutes. The old man shook Bill Morrison until his teeth rattled so you couldn't hear him cry. He hit Mickey McCann, the tough boy from, the Lower Prairie, and Mickey ran out and lay down in the snow to cool off. He hit Jake Bailey across the legs with a slate frame, and it hurt so that Jake couldn't howl—he just opened his mouth wide, held up his hands, gasped, and forgot his own name. He pushed Bill Haskell into a seat and the bench broke.

He ran across the room and reached out for Lem Harkins, and Lem had a fit before the old man touched him. He shook Dan Stevenson for two minutes, and when he let him go, Dan walked around his own desk five times before he could find it, and then he couldn't sit down without holding on. He whipped the two Knowltons with a skate-strap in each hand at the same time; the Greenwood family, five boys and a big girl, he whipped all at once with a girl's skipping rope, and they raised such a united wail that the clock stopped.

He took a twist in Bill Rodecker's front hair, and Bill slept with his eyes open for a week. He kept the atmosphere of that school-room full of dust, and splinters, and lint, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, until he reached the end of the alphabet and all hearts ached and wearied of the inhuman strife and wicked contention. Then he stood up before us, a sickening tangle of slate frame, strap, ebony ferule and skipping rope, a smile on his kind old face, and asked, in clear, triumphant tones:

"WHO says there isn't going to be any more speaking pieces?"

And every last boy in that school sprang to his feet; standing there as one human being with one great mouth, we shrieked in concerted anguish:


And your Pa, my son, who led that strike, has been "speakin' pieces" ever since.



A capital ship for an ocean trip Was the "Walloping Window-blind"; No gale that blew dismayed her crew Or troubled the captain's mind. The man at the wheel was taught to feel Contempt for the wildest blow, And it often appeared, when the weather had cleared, That he'd been in his bunk below.

"The boatswain's mate was very sedate, Yet fond of amusement, too; And he played hop-scotch with the starboard watch, While the captain tickled the crew. And the gunner we had was apparently mad, For he sat on the after rail, And fired salutes with the captain's boots, In the teeth of the booming gale.

"The captain sat in a commodore's hat And dined in a royal way On toasted pigs and pickles and figs And gummery bread each day. But the cook was Dutch and behaved as such; For the diet he gave the crew Was a number of tons of hot-cross buns Prepared with sugar and glue.

"All nautical pride we laid aside, And we cast the vessel ashore On the Gulliby Isles, where the Poohpooh smiles, And the Rumbletumbunders roar. And we sat on the edge of a sandy ledge And shot at the whistling bee; And the cinnamon-bats wore water-proof hats As they danced in the sounding sea.

"On rubgub bark, from dawn to dark, We fed, till we all had grown Uncommonly shrunk,—when a Chinese junk Came by from the torriby zone. She was stubby and square, but we didn't much care, And we cheerily put to sea; And we left the crew of the junk to chew The bark of the rubgub tree."



I am not prone to moralize In scientific doubt On certain facts that Nature tries To puzzle us about,— For I am no philosopher Of wise elucidation, But speak of things as they occur, From simple observation.

I notice little things—to wit:— I never missed a train Because I didn't run for it; I never knew it rain That my umbrella wasn't lent,— Or, when in my possession, The sun but wore, to all intent, A jocular expression.

I never knew a creditor To dun me for a debt But I was "cramped" or "busted"; or I never knew one yet, When I had plenty in my purse, To make the least invasion,— As I, accordingly perverse, Have courted no occasion.

Nor do I claim to comprehend What Nature has in view In giving us the very friend To trust we oughtn't to.— But so it is: The trusty gun Disastrously exploded Is always sure to be the one We didn't think was loaded.

Our moaning is another's mirth,— And what is worse by half, We say the funniest thing on earth And never raise a laugh: Mid friends that love us overwell, And sparkling jests and liquor, Our hearts somehow are liable To melt in tears the quicker.

We reach the wrong when most we seek The right; in like effect, We stay the strong and not the weak— Do most when we neglect.— Neglected genius—truth be said— As wild and quick as tinder, The more you seek to help ahead The more you seem to hinder.

I've known the least the greatest, too— And, on the selfsame plan, The biggest fool I ever knew Was quite a little man: We find we ought, and then we won't— We prove a thing, then doubt it,— Know everything but when we don't Know anything about it.



Since I've got used to city ways and don't scare at the cars, It makes me smile to set and think of years ago.—My stars! How green I was, and how green all them country people be— Sometimes it seems almost as if this hardly could be me.

Well, I was goin' to tell you 'bout Budd Wilkins: I declare He was the durndest, greenest chap that ever breathed the air— The biggest town on earth, he thought, was our old county seat, With its one two-story brick hotel and dusty bizness street.

We'd fairs in fall and now and then a dance or huskin' bee, Which was the most excitin' things Budd Wilkins ever see, Until, one winter, Skigginsville was all turned upside down By a troupe of real play actors a-comin' into town.

The court-house it was turned into a theater, that night, And I don't s'pose I'll live to see another sich a sight: I guess that every person who was able fer to go Jest natchelly cut loose fer oncet, and went to see the show.

Me and Budd we stood around there all day in the snow, But gosh! it paid us, fer we got seats right in the second row! Well, the brass band played a tune or two, and then the play begun, And 'twa'n't long 'fore the villain had the hero on the run.

Say, talk about your purty girls with sweet, confidin' ways— I never see the equal yit, in all o' my born days. Of that there brave young heroine, so clingin' and so mild, And jest as innocent as if she'd been a little child.

I most forgot to say that Budd stood six feet in his socks, As brave as any lion, too, and stronger than an ox! But there never was a man, I'll bet, that had a softer heart, And he was always sure to take the weaker person's part.

Budd, he fell dead in love right off with that there purty girl, And I suppose the feller's brain was in a fearful whirl, Fer there he set and gazed at her, and when she sighed he sighed, And when she hid her face and sobbed, he actually cried.

He clinched his fists and ground his teeth when the villain laid his plot And said out loud he'd like to kill the rogue right on the spot, And when the hero helped the girl, Budd up and yelled "Hooray!" He'd clean fergot the whole blame thing was nothing but a play.

At last the villain trapped the girl, that sweet confidin' child, And when she cried for help, why I'll admit that I was riled; The hero couldn't do a thing, but roll and writhe around And tug and groan because they'd got the poor chap gagged and bound.

The maiden cried: "Unhand me now, or, weak girl that I am—" And then Budd Wilkins he jumped up and give his hat a slam, And, quicker'n I can tell it he was up there raisin' Ned, A-rescuin' the maiden and a-punchin' the rogue's head.

I can't, somehow, perticklerize concernin' that there row: The whole thing seems a sort of blur as I recall it now— But I can still remember that there was a fearful thud, With the air chock full of arms and legs and the villain under Budd.

I never see a chap so bruised and battered up before As that there villain was when he was picked up from the floor!— The show? Oh, it was busted, and they put poor Budd in jail, And kept him there all night, because I couldn't go his bail.

Next mornin' what d' you think we heard? Most s'prised in all my life! That sweet, confidin' maiden was the cruel villain's wife! Budd wilted when he heard it, and he groaned, and then, says he: "Well, I'll be dummed! Bill, that's the last play actin' show fer me!"



Der noble Ritter Hugo Von Schwillensaufenstein, Rode out mit shpeer and helmet, Und he coom to de panks of de Rhine.

Previous Part     1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse