The Wit and Humor of America, Volume II. (of X.)
Author: Various
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Und oop dere rose a meer maid, Vot hadn't got nodings on, Und she say, "Oh, Ritter Hugo, Vhere you goes mit yourself alone?"

And he says, "I rides in de creenwood Mit helmet und mit shpeer, Till I cooms into em Gasthaus, Und dere I trinks some beer."

Und den outshpoke de maiden Vot hadn't got nodings on: "I tont dink mooch of beoplesh Dat goes mit demselfs alone.

"You'd petter coom down in de wasser, Vere deres heaps of dings to see, Und hafe a shplendid tinner Und drafel along mit me.

"Dere you sees de fisch a schwimmin, Und you catches dem efery one:"— So sang dis wasser maiden Vot hadn't got nodings on.

"Dere ish drunks all full mit money In ships dat vent down of old; Und you helpsh yourself, by dunder! To shimmerin crowns of gold.

"Shoost look at dese shpoons und vatches! Shoost see dese diamant rings! Coom down und full your bockets, Und I'll giss you like avery dings.

"Vot you vantsh mit your schnapps und lager? Coom down into der Rhine! Der ish pottles der Kaiser Charlemagne Vonce filled mit gold-red wine!"

Dat fetched him—he shtood all shpell pound; She pooled his coat-tails down, She drawed him oonder der wasser, De maidens mit nodings on.



"I'm sorry," said Dan, as he knocked the ashes from his regalia, as he sat in a small crowd over a glass of sherry, at Florence's, New York, one evening,—"I'm sorry that the stages are disappearing so rapidly. I never enjoyed traveling so well as in the slow coaches. I've made a good many passages over the Alleghanies, and across Ohio, from Cleveland to Columbus and Cincinnati, all over the South, down East, and up North, in stages, and I generally had a good time.

"When I passed over from Cleveland to Cincinnati, the last time, in a stage, I met a queer crowd. Such a corps, such a time, you never did see. I never was better amused in my life. We had a good team,—spanking horses, fine coaches, and one of them drivers you read of. Well, there was nine 'insiders,' and I don't believe there ever was a stage full of Christians ever started before, so chuck full of music.

"There was a beautiful young lady going to one of the Cincinnati academies; next to her sat a Jew peddler,—Cowes and a market; wedging him was a dandy black-leg, with jewelry and chains around about his breast and neck enough to hang him. There was myself, and an old gentleman with large spectacles, gold-headed cane, and a jolly, soldering-iron-looking nose; by him was a circus-rider, whose breath was enough to breed yaller fever and could be felt just as easy as cotton velvet! A cross old woman came next, whose look would have given any reasonable man the double-breasted blues before breakfast; alongside of her was a rale backwoods preacher, with the biggest and ugliest mouth ever got up since the flood. He was flanked by the low comedian of the party, an Indiana Hoosier, 'gwine down to Orleans to get an army contrac' to supply the forces, then in Mexico, with beef.

"We rolled along for some time. Nobody seemed inclined to 'open.' The old aunty sat bolt upright, looking crab-apples and persimmons at the hoosier and the preacher; the young lady dropped the green curtain of her bonnet over her pretty face, and leaned back in her seat to nod and dream over japonicas and jumbles, pantalets and poetry; the old gentleman, proprietor of the Bardolph nose, looked out at the corduroy and swashes; the gambler fell off into a doze, and the circus convoy followed suit, leaving the preacher and me vis-a-vis and saying nothing to nobody. 'Indiany,' he stuck his mug out of the window and criticized the cattle we now and then passed. I was wishing somebody would give the conversation a start, when 'Indiany' made a break.

"'This ain't no great stock country,' says he to the old gentleman with the cane.

"'No, sir,' says the old gentleman. 'There's very little grazing here, and the range is pretty much wore out.'

"Then there was nothing said again for some time. Bimeby the hoosier opened ag'in:

"'It's the d——dest place for 'simmon-trees and turkey-buzzards I ever did see!'

"The old gentleman with the cane didn't say nothing, and the preacher gave a long groan. The young lady smiled through her veil, and the old lady snapped her eyes and looked sideways at the speaker.

"'Don't make much beef here, I reckon,' says the hoosier.

"'No,' says the gentleman.

"'Well, I don't see how in h——ll they all manage to get along in a country whar thar ain't no ranges and they don't make no beef. A man ain't considered worth a cuss in Indiany what hasn't got his brand on a hundred head.'

"'Yours is a great beef country, I believe,' says the old gentleman.

"'Well, sir, it ain't anything else. A man that's got sense enuff to foller his own cow-bell with us ain't in no danger of starvin'. I'm gwine down to Orleans to see if I can't git a contract out of Uncle Sam to feed the boys what's been lickin' them infernal Mexicans so bad. I s'pose you've seed them cussed lies what's been in the papers about the Indiany boys at Bony Visty.'

"'I've read some accounts of the battle,' says the old gentleman, 'that didn't give a very flattering account of the conduct of some of our troops.'

"With that, the Indiany man went into a full explanation of the affair, and, gettin' warmed up as he went along, begun to cuss and swear like he'd been through a dozen campaigns himself. The old preacher listened to him with evident signs of displeasure, twistin' and groanin' till he couldn't stand it no longer.

"'My friend,' says he, 'you must excuse me, but your conversation would be a great deal more interesting to me—and I'm sure would please the company much better—if you wouldn't swear so terribly. It's very wrong to swear, and I hope you'll have respect for our feelin's, if you hain't no respect for your Maker.'

"If the hoosier had been struck with thunder and lightnin', he couldn't have been more completely tuck aback. He shut his mouth right in the middle of what he was sayin', and looked at the preacher, while his face got as red as fire.

"'Swearin',' says the old preacher, 'is a terrible bad practice, and there ain't no use in it, nohow. The Bible says, Swear not at all, and I s'pose you know the commandments about swearin'?'

"The old lady sort of brightened up,—the preacher was her 'duck of a man'; the old fellow with the nose and cane let off a few 'umph, ah! umphs'; but 'Indiany' kept shady; he appeared to be cowed down.

"'I know,' says the preacher, 'that a great many people swear without thinkin', and some people don't b'lieve the Bible.'

"And then he went on to preach a regular sermon ag'in swearing, and to quote Scripture like he had the whole Bible by heart. In the course of his argument he undertook to prove the Scriptures to be true, and told us all about the miracles and prophecies and their fulfilment. The old gentleman with the cane took a part in the conversation, and the hoosier listened, without ever opening his head.

"'I've just heard of a gentleman,' says the preacher, 'that's been to the Holy Land and went over the Bible country. It's astonishin' to hear what wonderful things he has seen. He was at Sodom and Gomorrow, and seen the place whar Lot's wife fell.'

"'Ah!' says the old gentleman with the cane.

"'Yes,' says the preacher; 'he went to the very spot; and, what's the remarkablest thing of all, he seen the pillar of salt what she was turned into.'

"'Is it possible!' says the old gentleman.

"'Yes, sir; he seen the salt, standin' thar to this day.'

"'What!' says the hoosier, 'real genewine, good salt?'

"'Yes, sir, a pillar of salt, jest as it was when that wicked woman was punished for her disobedience.'

"All but the gambler, who was snoozing in the corner of the coach, looked at the preacher,—the hoosier with an expression of countenance that plainly told us that his mind was powerfully convicted of an important fact.

"'Right out in the open air?' he asked.

"'Yes, standin' right in the open field, whar she fell.'

"'Well, sir,' says 'Indiany,' 'all I've got to say is, if she'd dropped in our parts, the cattle would have licked her up afore sundown!'

"The preacher raised both his hands at such an irreverent remark, and the old gentleman laughed himself into a fit of asthmatics, what he didn't get over till we came to the next change of horses. The hoosier had played the mischief with the gravity of the whole party; even the old maid had to put her handkerchief to her face, and the young lady's eyes were filled with tears for half an hour afterward. The old preacher hadn't another word to say on the subject; but whenever we came to any place, or met anybody on the road, the circus-man nursed the thing along by asking what was the price of salt."



I once heard a bright child declare that if circuses were prohibited in heaven, she did not wish to go there. She had been baptized, was under Christian influences, and, previous to this heterodoxy, had never given her good parents a moment's anxiety. Her naive utterance touched a responsive chord within my own breast, for well did I remember how gloriously the circus shone by the light of other days; how the ring-master, in a wrinkled dress-coat, seemed the most enviable of mortals, being on speaking terms with all the celestial creatures who jumped over flags and through balloons; how the clown was the dearest, funniest of men; how the young athletes in tights and spangles were my beau-ideals of masculinity; and how La Belle Rose, with one foot upon her native heath, otherwise a well-padded saddle, and the other pointed in the direction of the sweet little cherubs that sat up aloft, was the most fascinating of her sex. I am persuaded that circuses fill an aching void in the universe. What children did before their invention I shudder to think, for circuses are to childhood what butter is to bread; and what the world did before the birth of Barnum is an almost equally frightful problem. Some are born to shows, others attain shows, and yet again others have shows thrust upon them. Barnum is a born showman. If ever a man fulfills his destiny, it is the discoverer of Tom Thumb. With the majority of men and women life is a failure. Not until one leg dangles in the grave is their raison d'etre disclosed. The round people always find themselves sticking in the square holes, and vice versa; but with Barnum we need not deplore a vie manquee. We can smile at his reverses, for even the phoenix has cause to blush in his presence. Though pursued by tongues of fire, Barnum remains invincible when iron, stone, and mortar crumble around him; and while yet the smoke is telling volumes of destruction, the cheery voice of the showman exclaims, "Here you are, gentlemen; admission fifty cents, children half price."

Apropos of Barnum, once in my life I gave myself up to unmitigated joy. Weary of lecturing, singing the song "I would I were a boy again," I went to see the elephant. To speak truly, I saw not one elephant, but half a dozen. I had a feast of roaring and a flow of circus. In fact I indulged in the wildest dissipation. I visited Barnum's circus and sucked peppermint candy in a way most childlike and bland. The reason seems obscure, but circuses and peppermint candy are as inseparable as peanuts and the Bowery. Appreciating this solemn fact, Barnum provides bigger sticks adorned with bigger red stripes than ever Romans sucked in the palmy days of the Coliseum. In the dim distance I mistook them for barbers' poles, but upon direct application I recognized them for my long lost own.

However, let me, like the Germans, begin with the creation. "Here, ladies and gentlemen, is for sale Mr. Barnum's Autobiography, full of interest and anecdote, one of the most charming productions ever issued from the press, 900 pages, thirty-two full-page engravings, reduced from $3.50 to $1.50. Every purchaser enters free."

How ordinary mortals can resist buying Barnum's Autobiography for one dollar—such a bargain as never was—is incomprehensible. I believe they can not. I believe they do their duty like men. As one man I resisted, because I belong to the press, and therefore am not mortal. Who ever heard of a journalist getting a bargain? With Spartan firmness I turned a deaf ear to the persuasive music of the propagandist, and entered where hope is all before. I was not staggered by a welcome from all the Presidents of the United States, Fitz-Greene Halleck, General Hooker, and Gratz Brown. These personages are rather woodeny and red about the face, as though flushed with victories of the platform or the table, but I recognize their fitness in a menagerie. What athlete has turned more somersaults than some of these representative men? What lion has roared more gently than a few of these sucking doves? Barnum's tact in appropriately grouping curiosities, living and dead, is too well known to require comment. Passing what Sam Weller would call "a reg'lar knock-down of intellect," I took my seat high in the air amid a dense throng of my fellow-creatures, and realized how many people it takes to make up the world. What did I see? I saw double. I beheld not one ring but two, in each of which the uncommon variety of man was disporting in an entertaining manner. I felt for these uncommon men. Think what immortal hates must arise from these dual performances! We all like to receive the reward of merit, but when two performances are going on simultaneously, how are the artists to know for whom it is intended? Applause is the sweet compensation for which all strive privately or publicly, and to be cheated out of it, or left in doubt as to its destination, is a refined form of the Inquisition. Fancy the sensations of the man balancing plates on the little end of nothing,—a feat to which he has consecrated his life,—at thought of his neighbor's performance of impossible feats in the air! It would be more than human in both not to wish the other in Jericho, or in some equally remote quarter of the globe. I sympathized with them. I became bewildered in my endeavors to keep one eye on each. If human beings were constructed on the same principles as Janus, and had two faces, a fore-and-aft circus would be convenient; but as nowadays double-faced people only wear two eyes in their heads, the Barnumian conception muddles the intellect. I pray you, great and glorious showman, take pity on your artists and your audiences. Don't drive the former mad and the latter distracted. Remember that insanity is on the increase, and that accommodations in asylums are limited. Take warning before you undermine the reason of an entire continent. Beware! Beware!

I hear much and see more of the physical weakness of woman. Michelet tells the sentimental world that woman is an exquisite invalid, with a perennial headache and nerves perpetually on the rack. It is a mistake. When I gaze upon German and French peasant-women, I ask Michelet which is right, he or Nature? And since my introduction to Barnum's female gymnast,—a good-looking, well-formed mother of a family, who walks about unflinchingly with men and boys on her shoulders, and carries a 300-pound gun as easily as the ordinary woman carries a clothes-basket,—I have been persuaded that "the coming woman," like Brother Jonathan, will "lick all creation." In that good time, woman will have her rights because she will have her muscle. Then, if there are murders and playful beatings between husbands and wives, the wives will enjoy all the glory of crime. What an outlook! And what a sublime consolation to the present enfeebled race of wives that are having their throats cut and their eyes carved out merely because their biceps have not gone into training! Barnum's female gymnast is an example to her sex. What woman has done woman may do again. Mothers, train up your daughters in the way they should fight, and when they are married they will not depart this life. God is on the side of the stoutest muscle as well as of the heaviest battalions. It is perfectly useless to talk about the equality of the sexes as long as a man can strangle his own mother-in-law.

I was exceedingly thrilled by the appearance of the two young gentlemen from the Cannibal Islands, who are beautifully embossed in green and red, and compassionated them for the sacrifices they make in putting on blankets and civilization. Is it right to deprive them of their daily bread,—I mean their daily baby? Think what self-restraint they must exercise while gazing upon the toothsome infants that congregate at the circus! That they do gaze and smack their overhanging lips I know, because, after going through their cannibalistic dance, they sat behind me and howled in a subdued manner. The North American Indian who occupied an adjoining seat, favored me with a translation of their charming conversation, by which I learned many important facts concerning man as an article of diet. It appears that babies, after all, do not make the daintiest morsels. Tender they are, of course, but, being immature, they have not the rich flavor of a youthful adult. This seems reasonable. Veal is tender, but can it be favorably compared with beef? The cases are parallel. The embossed young men consider babies excellent for entrees, but for roasts there is nothing like plump maidens in their teens. Men of twenty are not bad eating. When older, they are invariably boiled. Commenting upon the audience, the critics did not consider it appetizing; and, strange as it may appear, I felt somewhat hurt by the remark, for who is not vain enough to wish to look good enough to eat? Fancy being shipwrecked off the Fiji Islands, and discarded by cannibals as a tough subject, while your companions are literally killed with attention! Can you not imagine, that, under such circumstances, a peculiar jealousy of the superior tenderness of your friends would be a thorn in the flesh, rendering existence a temporary burden? If we lived among people who adored squinting, should we not all take to it, and cherish it as the apple of our eye? And if we fell among anthropophagi, would not our love of approbation make us long to be as succulent as young pigs? What glory to escape from the jaws of death, if the jaws repudiate us? So long as memory holds a seat in this distracted brain, I shall entertain unpleasant feelings toward the embossed young gentlemen who did not sigh to fasten their affections—otherwise their teeth—on me. It was worse than a crime: it was bad taste.

Roaming among the wild animals, I made the acquaintance of the cassowary, in which I have been deeply interested since childhood's sunny hours, for then't was oft I sang a touching hymn running thus:

"If I were a cassowary Far away in Timbuctoo, I should eat a missionary, Hat, and boots, and hymn-book too."

From that hour the cassowary occupied a large niche in my heart. The desire to gaze upon a bird capable of digesting food to which even the ostrich never aspired, pursued me by day and tinctured my dreams by night. "What you seek for all your life you will come upon suddenly when the whole family is at dinner," says Thoreau. I met the cassowary at dinner. He was dining alone, having left his family in Africa, and I must say that I never met with a greater disappointment. Were it not for the touching intimation of the hymn, I should believe it impossible for him to eat a missionary. A quieter, more amiable bird never stood on two legs. A polite attendant stirred him up for me, yet his temper and his feathers remained unruffled. Perhaps if our geographical position had changed to Timbuctoo, and I had been a missionary with hymn-book in hand, the cassowary might have realized my expectations. As it was, one more illusion vanished.

In order to regain my spirits, I shook hands with the handsome giant in brass buttons; and speaking of giants leads me to the subject of all lusus naturae, particularly the Circassian young lady, the dwarf, the living skeleton, the Albinos, and What-is-it. I have dropped more than one tear at the fate of these unfortunate beings; for what is more horribly solitary than to live in a strange crowd, with

"No one to love, None to caress?"

Noah was human. When he retired to the ark, he selected two of a kind from all the animal kingdom for the sake of sociability as well as for more practical purposes. Showmen should be equally considerate. To think of those Albino sisters with never an Albino beau, of the Circassian beauty with never a Circassian sweetheart, of the living skeleton with never another skeleton in his closet (how he can look so good-natured would be most mysterious, were not his digestion pronounced perfect), to think of the wretched What-is-it with never a Mrs. What-is-it, produces unspeakable anguish. May they meet their affinities in another and a more sympathetic world, where monstrosities are impossible for the reason that we leave our bones on earth. Since gazing at the What-is-it, I have become a convert to Darwin. It is too true. Our ancestors stood on their hind legs, and the less we talk about pedigree the better. The noble democrat in search of a coat-of-arms and a grandfather should visit a grand moral circus. Let us assume a virtue, though we have it not; let our pride ape humility.

Were I asked which I thought the greater necessity of civilization, lectures or circuses, I should lay my right hand upon my left heart, and exclaim, "Circuses!"



I haf von funny leedle poy, Vot gomes schust to mine knee; Der queerest schap, der createst rogue, As efer you dit see.

He runs, und schumps, und schmashes dings In all barts off der house: But vot off dot? he vas mine son, Mine leedle Yawcob Strauss.

He gets der measles und der mumbs, Und eferyding dot's oudt; He sbills mine glass off lager bier, Poots schnuff indo mine kraut.

He fills mine pipe mit Limburg cheese,— Dot vas der roughest chouse: I'd dake dot vrom no oder poy But leedle Yawcob Strauss.

He dakes der milk-ban for a dhrum, Und cuts mine cane in dwo, To make der schticks to beat it mit,— Mine cracious, dot vas drue!

I dinks mine hed vas schplit abart, He kicks oup sooch a touse: But nefer mind; der poys vas few Like dot young Yawcob Strauss.

He asks me questions sooch as dese: Who baints mine nose so red? Who vas it cuts dot schmoodth blace oudt Vrom der hair ubon mine hed?

Und vhere der plaze goes vrom der lamp Vene'er der glim I douse. How gan I all dose dings eggsblain To dot schmall Yawcob Strauss?

I somedimes dink I schall go vild Mit sooch a grazy poy, Und vish vonce more I gould haf rest, Und beaceful dimes enshoy;

But ven he vas ashleep in ped, So guiet as a mouse, I prays der Lord, "Dake anyding, But leaf dot Yawcob Strauss."



The place was the porch of the store, the time was about ten o'clock in the morning of a summer day, the people were the amiable loafers—and Old Baumgartner. The person he was discoursing about was his son Sephenijah. I am not sure that the name was not the ripe fruit of his father's fancy—with, perhaps, the Scriptural suggestion which is likely to be present in the affairs of a Pennsylvania-German—whether a communicant or not—even if he live in Maryland.

"Yas—always last; expecial at funerals and weddings. Except his own—he's sure to be on time at his own funeral. Right out in front! Hah? But sometimes he misses his wedding. Why, I knowed a feller—yous all knowed him, begoshens!—that didn't git there tell another feller'd married her—'bout more'n a year afterward. Wasn't it more'n a year, boys? Yas—Bill Eisenkrout. Or, now, was it his brother—Baltzer Iron-Cabbage? Seems to me now like it was Baltz. Somesing wiss a B at the front end, anyhow."

Henry Wasserman diffidently intimated that there was a curious but satisfactory element of safety in being last—a "fastnacht" in their language, in fact. Those in front were the ones usually hurt in railroad accidents, Alexander Althoff remembered.

"Safe?" cried the speaker. "Of course! But for why—say, for why?" Old Baumgartner challenged defiantly.

No one answered and he let several impressive minutes intervene.

"You don't know! Hang you, none of yous knows! Well—because he ain't there when anysing occurs—always a little late!"

They agreed with him by a series of sage nods.

"But, fellers, the worst is about courting. It's no way to be always late. Everybody else gits there first, and it's nossing for the fastnacht but weeping and wailing and gnashing of the teeth. And mebby the other feller gits considerable happiness—and a good farm."

There was complaint in the old man's voice, and they knew that he meant his own son Seffy. To add to their embarrassment, this same son was now appearing over the Lustich Hill—an opportune moment for a pleasing digression. For you must be told early concerning Old Baumgartner's longing for certain lands, tenements and hereditaments—using his own phrase—which were not his own, but which adjoined his. It had passed into a proverb of the vicinage; indeed, though the property in question belonged to one Sarah Pressel, it was known colloquially as "Baumgartner's Yearn."

And the reason of it was this: Between his own farm and the public road (and the railroad station when it came) lay the fairest meadow-land farmer's eye had ever rested upon. (I am speaking again for the father of Seffy and with his hyperbole.) Save in one particular, it was like an enemy's beautiful territory lying between one's less beautiful own and the open sea—keeping one a poor inlander who is mad for the seas—whose crops must either pass across the land of his adversary and pay tithes to him, or go by long distances around him at the cost of greater tithes to the soulless owners of the turnpikes—who aggravatingly fix a gate each way to make their tithes more sure. So, I say, it was like having the territory of his enemy lying between him and the deep water—save, as I have also said, in one particular, to wit: that the owner—the Sarah Pressel I have mentioned—was not Old Baumgartner's enemy.

In fact, they were tremendous friends. And it was by this friendship—and one other thing which I mean to mention later—that Old Baumgartner hoped, before he died, to attain the wish of his life, and see, not only the Elysian pasture-field, but the whole of the adjoining farm, with the line fences down, a part of his. The other thing I promised to mention as an aid to this ambition—was Seffy. And, since the said Sarah was of nearly the same age as Seffy, perhaps I need not explain further, except to say that the only obstruction the old man could see now to acquiring the title by marriage was—Seffy himself. He was, and always had been, afraid of girls—especially such aggressive, flirtatious, pretty and tempestuous girls as this Sarah.

These things, however, were hereditary with the girl. It was historical, in fact, that, during the life of Sarah's good-looking father, so importunate had been Old Baumgartner for the purchase of at least the meadow—he could not have ventured more at that time—and so obstinate had been the father of the present owner—(he had red hair precisely as his daughter had)—that they had come to blows about it, to the discomfiture of Old Baumgartner; and, afterward, they did not speak. Yet, when the loafers at the store laughed, Baumgartner swore that he would, nevertheless, have that pasture before he died.

But then, as if fate, too, were against him, the railroad was built, and its station was placed so that the Pressel farm lay directly between it and him, and of course the "life" went more and more in the direction of the station—left him more and more "out of it"—and made him poorer and poorer, and Pressel richer and richer. And, when the store laughed at that, Baumgartner swore that he would possess half of the farm before he died; and as Pressel and his wife died, and Seffy grew up, and as he noticed the fondness of the little red-headed girl for his little tow-headed boy, he added to his adjuration that he would be harrowing that whole farm before he died,—without paying a cent for it!

But both Seffy and Sally had grown to a marriageable age without anything happening. Seffy had become inordinately shy, while the coquettish Sally had accepted the attentions of Sam Pritz, the clerk at the store, as an antagonist more worthy of her, and in a fashion which sometimes made the father of Seffy swear and lose his temper—with Seffy. Though, of course, in the final disposition of the matter, he was sure that no girl so nice as Sally would marry such a person as Sam Pritz, with no extremely visible means of support—a salary of four dollars a week, and an odious reputation for liquor. And it was for these things, all of which were known (for Baumgartner had not a single secret) that the company at the store detected the personal equation in Old Baumgartner's communications.

Seffy had almost arrived by this time, and Sally was in the store! With Sam! The situation was highly dramatic. But the old man consummately ignored this complication and directed attention to his son. For him, the molasses-tapper did not exist. The fact is he was overjoyed. Seffy, for once in his life, would be on time! He would do the rest.

"Now, boys, chust look at 'em! Dogged if they ain't bose like one another! How's the proferb? Birds of a feather flock wiss one another? I dunno. Anyhow, Sef flocks wiss Betz constant. And they understand one another good. Trotting like a sidewise dog of a hot summer's day!" And he showed the company, up and down the store-porch, just how a sidewise dog would be likely to trot on a hot summer day—and then laughed joyously.

If there had been an artist eye to see they would have been well worth its while—Seffy and the mare so affectionately disparaged. And, after all, I am not sure that the speaker himself had not an artist's eye. For a spring pasture, or a fallow upland, or a drove of goodly cows deep in his clover, I know he had. (Perhaps you, too, have?) And this was his best mare and his only son.

The big bay, clad in broad-banded harness, soft with oil and glittering with brasses, was shambling indolently down the hill, resisting her own momentum by the diagonal motion the old man had likened to a dog's sidewise trot. The looped trace-chains were jingling a merry dithyramb, her head was nodding, her tail swaying, and Seffy, propped by his elbow on her broad back, one leg swung between the hames, the other keeping time on her ribs, was singing:

"'I want to be an angel And with the angels stand, A crown upon my forehead A harp within my hand—'"

His adoring father chuckled. "I wonder what for kind of anchel he'd make, anyhow? And Betz—they'll have to go together. Say, I wonder if it is horse-anchels?"

No one knew; no one offered a suggestion.

"Well, it ought to be. Say—he ken perform circus wiss ol' Betz!"

They expressed their polite surprise at this for perhaps the hundredth time.

"Yas—they have a kind of circus-ring in the barnyard. He stands on one foot, then on another, and on his hands wiss his feet kicking, and then he says words—like hokey-pokey—and Betz she kicks up behind and throws him off in the dung and we all laugh—happy efer after—Betz most of all!"

After the applause he said:

"I guess I'd better wake 'em up! What you sink?"

They one and all thought he had. They knew he would do it, no matter what they thought. His method, as usual, was his own. He stepped to the adjoining field, and, selecting a clod with the steely polish of the plowshare upon it, threw it at the mare. It struck her on the flank. She gathered her feet under her in sudden alarm, then slowly relaxed, looked slyly for the old man, found him, and understanding, suddenly wheeled and ambled off home, leaving Seffy prone on the ground as her part of the joke.

The old man brought Seffy in triumph to the store-porch.

"Chust stopped you afore you got to be a anchel!" he was saying. "We couldn't bear to sink about you being a anchel—an' wiss the anchels stand—a harp upon your forehead, a crown within your hand, I expect—when it's corn-planting time."

Seffy grinned cheerfully, brushed off the dust and contemplated his father's watch—held accusingly against him. Old Baumgartner went on gaily.

"About an inch and a half apast ten! Seffy, I'm glad you ain't breaking your reputation for being fastnachtich. Chust about a quarter of an inch too late for the prize wiss flour on its hair and arms and its frock pinned up to show its new petticoat! Uhu! If I had such a nice petticoat—" he imitated the lady in question, to the tremendous delight of the gentle loafers.

Seffy stared a little and rubbed some dust out of his eyes. He was pleasant but dull.

"Yassir, Sef, if you'd a-got yere at a inch and a quarter apast! Now Sam's got her. Down in the cellar a-licking molasses together! Doggone if Sam don't git eferysing—except his due bills. He don't want to be no anchel tell he dies. He's got fun enough yere—but Seffy—you're like the flow of molasses in January—at courting."

This oblique suasion made no impression on Seffy. It is doubtful if he understood it at all. The loafers began to smile. One laughed. The old man checked him with a threat of personal harm.

"Hold on there, Jefferson Dafis Busby," he chid. "I don't allow no one to laugh at my Seffy—except chust me—account I'm his daddy. It's a fight-word the next time you do it."

Mr. Busby straightened his countenance.

"He don't seem to notice—nor keer—'bout gals—do he?"

No one spoke.

"No, durn him, he ain't no good. Say—what'll you give for him, hah? Yere he goes to the highest bidder—for richer, for poorer, for better, for worser, up and down, in and out, swing your partners—what's bid? He ken plow as crooked as a mule's hind leg, sleep hard as a 'possum in wintertime, eat like a snake, git left efery time—but he ken ketch fish. They wait on him. What's bid?"

No one would hazard a bid.

"Yit a minute," shouted the old fellow, pulling out his bull's-eye watch again, "what's bid? Going—going—all done—going—"

"A dollar!"

The bid came from behind him, and the voice was beautiful to hear. A gleam came into the old man's eyes as he heard it. He deliberately put the watch back in its pocket, put on his spectacles, and turned, as if she were a stranger.

"Gone!" he announced then. "Who's the purchaser? Come forwards and take away you' property. What's the name, please?" Then he pretended to recognize her. "Oach! Sally! Well, that's lucky! He goes in good hands. He's sound and kind, but needs the whip." He held out his hand for the dollar.

It was the girl of whom he had spoken accurately as a prize. Her sleeves were turned up as far as they would go, revealing some soft lace-trimmed whiteness, and there was flour on her arms. Some patches of it on her face gave a petal-like effect to her otherwise aggressive color. The pretty dress was pinned far enough back to reveal the prettier petticoat—plus a pair of trimly-clad ankles.

Perhaps these were neither the garments nor the airs in which every farmer-maiden did her baking. But then, Sally was no ordinary farmer-maiden. She was all this, it is true, but she was, besides, grace and color and charm itself. And if she chose to bake in such attire—or, even, if she chose to pretend to do so, where was the churl to say her nay, even though the flour was part of a deliberate "make up"? Certainly he was not at the store that summer morning.

And Seffy was there. Her hair escaped redness by only a little. But that little was just the difference between ugliness and beauty. For, whether Sally were beautiful or not—about which we might contend a bit—her hair was, and perhaps that is the reason why it was nearly always uncovered—or, possibly, again, because it was so much uncovered was the reason it was beautiful. It seemed to catch some of the glory of the sun. Her face had a few freckles and her mouth was a trifle too large. But, in it were splendid teeth.

In short, by the magic of brilliant color and natural grace she narrowly escaped being extremely handsome—in the way of a sunburned peach, or a maiden's-blush apple. And even if you should think she were not handsome, you would admit that there was an indescribable rustic charm about her. She was like the aroma of the hay-fields, or the woods, or a field of daisies, or dandelions.

The girl, laughing, surrendered the money, and the old man, taking an arm of each, marched them peremptorily away.

"Come to the house and git his clothes. Eferysing goes in—stofepipe hat, butterfly necktie, diamond pin, toothbrush, hair-oil, razor and soap."

They had got far enough around the corner to be out of sight of the store, during this gaiety, and the old man now shoved Seffy and the girl out in front of him, linked their arms, and retreated to the rear.

"What Sephenijah P. Baumgartner, Senior, hath j'ined together, let nobody put athunder, begoshens!" he announced.

The proceeding appeared to be painful to Seffy, but not to Sally. She frankly accepted the situation and promptly put into action its opportunities for coquetry. She begged him, first, with consummate aplomb, to aid her in adjusting her parcels more securely, insisting upon carrying them herself, and it would be impossible to describe adequately her allures. The electrical touches, half-caress, half-defiance; the confidential whisperings, so that the wily old man in the rear might not hear; the surges up against him; the recoveries—only to surge again—these would require a mechanical contrivance which reports not only speech but action—and even this might easily fail, so subtle was it all!

"Sef—Seffy, I thought it was his old watch he was auctioning off. I wanted it for—for—a nest-egg! aha-ha-ha! You must excuse me."

"You wouldn't 'a' bid at all if you'd knowed it was me, I reckon," said Seffy.

"Yes, I would," declared the coquette. "I'd rather have you than any nest-egg in the whole world—any two of 'em!"—and when he did not take his chance—"if they were made of gold!"

But then she spoiled it.

"It's worse fellows than you, Seffy." The touch of coquetry was but too apparent.

"And better," said Seffy, with a lump in his throat. "I know I ain't no good with girls—and I don't care!"

"Yes!" she assented wickedly. "There are better ones."

"Sam Pritz—"

Sally looked away, smiled, and was silent.

"Sulky Seffy!" she finally said.

"If he does stink of salt mackerel, and 'most always drunk!" Seffy went on bitterly. "He's nothing but a molasses-tapper!"

Sally began to drift farther away and to sing. Calling Pritz names was of no consequence—except that it kept Seffy from making love to her while he was doing it—which seemed foolish to Sally. The old man came up and brought them together again.

"Oach! go 'long and make lofe some more. I like to see it. I expect I am an old fool, but I like to see it—it's like ol' times—yas, and if you don't look out there, Seffy, I'll take a hand myself—yassir! go 'long!"

He drew them very close together, each looking the other way. Indeed he held them there for a moment, roughly.

Seffy stole a glance at Sally. He wanted to see how she was taking his father's odiously intimate suggestion. But it happened that Sally wanted to see how he was taking it. She laughed with the frankest of joy as their eyes met.

"Seffy—I do—like you," said the coquette. "And you ought to know it. You imp!"

Now this was immensely stimulating to the bashful Seffy.

"I like you," he said—"ever since we was babies."

"Sef—I don't believe you. Or you wouldn't waste your time so—about Sam Pritz!"

"Er—Sally—where you going to to-night?" Seffy meant to prove himself.

And Sally answered, with a little fright at the sudden aggressiveness she had procured.

"Nowheres that I know of."

"Well—may I set up with you?"

The pea-green sunbonnet could not conceal the utter amazement and then the radiance which shot into Sally's face.


"Yes!" said Seffy, almost savagely. "That's what I said."

"Oh, I—I guess so! Yes! of course!" she answered variously, and rushed off home.

"You know I own you," she laughed back, as if she had not been sufficiently explicit. "I paid for you! Your pappy's got the money! I'll expect my property to-night."

"Yas!" shouted the happy old man, "and begoshens! it's a reg'lar bargain! Ain't it, Seffy? You her property—real estate, hereditaments and tenements." And even Seffy was drawn into the joyous laughing conceit of it! Had he not just done the bravest thing of his small life?

"Yes!" he cried after the fascinating Sally. "For sure and certain, to-night!"

"It's a bargain!" cried she.

"For better or worser, richer or poorer, up an' down, in an' out, chassez right and left! Aha-ha-ha! Aha-ha-ha! But, Seffy,"—and the happy father turned to the happy son and hugged him, "don't you efer forgit that she's a feather-head and got a bright red temper like her daddy! And they both work mighty bad together sometimes. When you get her at the right place onct—well, nail her down—hand and feet—so's she can't git away. When she gits mad her little brain evaporates, and if she had a knife she'd go round stabbing her best friends—that's the only sing that safes her—yas, and us!—no knife. If she had a knife it would be funerals following her all the time."


They advanced together now, Seffy's father whistling some tune that was never heard before on earth, and, with his arm in that of his son, they watched Sally bounding away. Once more, as she leaped a fence, she looked laughingly back. The old man whistled wildly out of tune. Seffy waved a hand!

"Now you shouting, Seffy! Shout ag'in!"

"I didn't say a word!"

"Well—it ain't too late! Go on!"

Now Seffy understood and laughed with his father.

"Nice gal, Sef—Seffy!"

"Yes!" admitted Seffy with reserve.


Seffy agreed to this, also.

"No doctor-bills!" his father amplified.

Seffy said nothing.

"Entire orphen."

"She's got a granny!"

"Yas," chuckled the old man at the way his son was drifting into the situation—thinking about granny!—"but Sally owns the farm!"

"Uhu!" said Seffy, whatever that might mean.

"And Sally's the boss!"


"And granny won't object to any one Sally marries, anyhow—she dassent! She'd git licked!"

"Who said anything about marrying?"

Seffy was speciously savage now—as any successful wooer might be.

"Nobody but me, sank you!" said the old man with equally specious meekness. "Look how she ken jump a six-rail fence. Like a three-year filly! She's a nice gal, Seffy—and the farms j'ine together—her pasture-field and our corn-field. And she's kissing her hand backwards! At me or you, Seffy?"

Seffy said he didn't know. And he did not return the kiss—though he yearned to.

"Well, I bet a dollar that the first initial of his last name is Sephenijah P. Baumgartner, Junior."

"Well!" said Seffy with a great flourish, "I'm going to set up with her to-night."

"Oach—git out, Sef!"—though he knew it.

"You'll see."

"No, I won't," said his father. "I wouldn't be so durn mean. Nossir!"

Seffy grinned at this subtle foolery, and his courage continued to grow.

"I'm going to wear my high hat!" he announced, with his nose quite in the air.

"No, Sef!" said the old man with a wonderful inflection, facing him about that he might look into his determined face. For it must be explained that the stovepipe hat, in that day and that country, was dedicated only to the most momentous social occasions and that, consequently, gentlemen wore it to go courting.

"Yes!" declared Seffy again.

"Bring forth the stovepipe, The stovepipe, the stovepipe—"

chanted Seffy's frivolous father in the way of the Anvil Chorus.

"And my butterfly necktie with—"

"Wiss the di'mond on?" whispered his father.

They laughed in confidence of their secret. Seffy, the successful wooer, was thawing out again. The diamond was not a diamond at all—the Hebrew who sold it to Seffy had confessed as much. But he also swore that if it were kept in perfect polish no one but a diamond merchant could tell the difference. Therefore, there being no diamond merchant anywhere near, and the jewel being always immaculate, Seffy presented it as a diamond and had risen perceptibly in the opinion of the vicinage.

"And—and—and—Sef—Seffy, what you goin' to do?"


Seffy had been absorbed in what he was going to wear. "Yas—yas—that's the most important." He encircled Seffy's waist and gently squeezed it. "Oh, of course! Hah? But what yit?"

I regret to say that Seffy did not understand.

"Seffy," he said impressively, "you haf' tol' me what you goin' to wear. It ain't much. The weather's yit pooty col' nights. But I ken stand it if you ken—God knows about Sally! Now, what you goin' to do—that's the conuntrum I ast you!"

Still it was not clear to Seffy.

"Why—what I'm a-going to do, hah? Why—whatever occurs."

"Gosh-a'mighty! And nefer say a word or do a sing to help the occurrences along? Goshens! What a setting-up! Why—say—Seffy, what you set up for?"

Seffy did not exactly know. He had never hoped to practise the thing—in that sublimely militant phase.

"What do you think?"

"Well, Sef—plow straight to her heart. I wisht I had your chance. I'd show you a other-guess kind a setting-up—yassir! Make your mouth warter and your head swim, begoshens! Why, that Sally's just like a young stubble-field; got to be worked constant, and plowed deep, and manured heafy, and mebby drained wiss blind ditches, and crops changed constant, and kep' a-going thataway—constant—constant—so's the weeds can't git in her. Then you ken put her in wheat after a while and git your money back."

This drastic metaphor had its effect. Seffy began to understand. He said so.

"Now, look here, Seffy," his father went on more softly, "when you git to this—and this—and this,"—he went through his pantomime again, and it included a progressive caressing to the kissing point—"well, chust when you bose comfortable—hah?—mebby on one cheer, what I know—it's so long sence I done it myself—when you bose comfortable, ast her—chust ast her—aham!—what she'll take for the pasture-field! She owns you bose and she can't use bose you and the pasture. A bird in the hand is worth seferal in another feller's—not so?"

But Seffy only stopped and stared at his father. This, again, he did not understand.

"You know well enough I got no money to buy no pasture-field," said he.

"Gosh-a'mighty!" said the old man joyfully, making as if he would strike Seffy with his huge fist—a thing he often did. "And ain't got nossing to trade?"

"Nothing except the mare!" said the boy.

"Say—ain't you got no feelings, you idjiot?"

"Oh—" said Seffy. And then: "But what's feelings got to do with cow-pasture?"

"Oach! No wonder he wants to be an anchel, and wiss the anchels stand—holding sings in his hands and on his head! He's too good for this wile world. He'd linger shifering on the brink and fear to launch away all his durn life—if some one didn't push him in. So here goes!"

This was spoken to the skies, apparently, but now he turned to his son again.

"Look a-yere, you young dummer-ux,[2] feelings is the same to gals like Sally, as money is to you and me. You ken buy potatoes wiss 'em! Do you understand?"

Seffy said that he did, now.

"Well, then, I'fe tried to buy that pasture-field a sousand times—"

Seffy started.

"Yas, that's a little bit a lie—mebby a dozen times. And at last Sally's daddy said he'd lick me if I efer said pasture-field ag'in, and I said it ag'in and he licked me! He was a big man—and red-headed yit, like Sally. Now, look a-yere—you ken git that pasture-field wissout money and wissout price—except you' dam' feelings which ain't no other use. Sally won't lick you—if she is bigger—don't be a-skeered. You got tons of feelin's you ain't got no other use for—don't waste 'em—they're good green money, and we'll git efen wiss Sally's daddy for licking me yit—and somesing on the side! Huh?"

[Footnote 2: Dumb ox—a term of reproach.]

At last it was evident that Seffy fully understood, and his father broke into that discordant whistle once more.

"A gal that ken jump a six-rail fence—and wissout no running start—don't let her git apast you!"

"Well, I'm going to set up with her to-night," said Seffy again, with a huge ahem. And the tune his father whistled as he opened the door for him sounded something like "I want to be an angel."

"But not to buy no pasture-land!" warned Seffy.

"Oach, no, of course not!" agreed his wily old father. "That's just one of my durn jokes. But I expect I'll take the fence down to-morrow! Say, Sef, you chust marry the gal. I'll take keer the fence!"


It took Seffy a long time to array himself as he had threatened. And when it was all done you wouldn't have known him—you wouldn't have cared to know him. For his fine yellow hair was changed to an ugly brown by the patent hair-oil with which he had dressed it—and you would not have liked its fragrance, I trust. Bergamot, I think it was. His fine young throat was garroted within a starched standing collar, his feet were pinched in creaking boots, his hands close-gauntleted in buckskin gloves, and he altogether incomparable, uncomfortable, and triumphant.

Down stairs his father paced the floor, watch in hand. From time to time he would call out the hour, like a watchman on a minaret. At last:

"Look a-yere, Seffy, it's about two inches apast seven—and by the time you git there—say, nefer gif another feller a chance to git there afore you or to leave after you!"

Seffy descended at that moment with his hat poised in his left hand.

His father dropped his watch and picked it up.

Both stood at gaze for a moment.

"Sunder, Sef! You as beautiful as the sun, moon and stars—and as stinky as seferal apothecary shops. Yere, take the watch and git along—so's you haf some time wiss you—now git along! You late a'ready. Goshens! You wass behind time when you wass born! Yas, your mammy wass disapp'inted in you right at first. You wass seventy-six hours late! But now you reformed—sank God! I always knowed it wass a cure for it, but I didn't know it wass anysing as nice as Sally."

Seffy issued forth to his first conquest—lighted as far as the front gate by the fat lamp held in his father's hand.

"A—Sef—Seffy, shall I set up for you tell you git home?" he called into the dark.

"No!" shouted Seffy.

"Aha—aha—aha! That sounds right! Don't you forgit when you bose—well—comfortable—aha—aha! Mebby on one cheer aha—ha-ha. And we'll bose take the fence down to-morrow. Mebby all three!"



"'There's none can tell about my birth For I'm as old as the big round earth; Ye young Immortals clear the track, I'm the bearded Joke on the Carpet tack."

Thus spoke A Joke With boastful croak; And as he said, Upon his head He stood, and waited for the tread Of thoughtless wight, Who, in the night, Gets up, arrayed in garments white, And indiscreet, With unshod feet, Prowls round for something good to eat.

But other Jokes His speech provokes; And old, and bald, and lame, and gray, With loftiest scorn they say him Nay; And bid him hold his unweaned tongue, For they were blind ere he was young. So hot They grew, This complot Crew, They laid a plan To catch a Man; That all the clan Might then trepan His skull with Jokes; they thus began:

First Mule, his heel its skill to try, Amid his ribs like lightning laid— And back recoiled—he well knew why; "Insurance Man," he faintly sayed.

Next Stove Pipe rushed, as hot as fire, "Put up!" he cried, in accents bold; With Elbow joint he struck the lyre, And knocked the Weather Prophet cold.

But thou, Ice Cream, with hair so gray, Three thousand years before the Flood, Cold, bitter cold, will be the day Thou dost not warm the Jester's blood. "Spoons for the spooney," was her ancient song, That with slow measure dragged its deathless length along.

And longer had she sung, but with a frown, Old Pie, impatient, rose And roared, "Behold, I am the Funny Clown! And without me there is no Joke that goes.

"To every Jester in the land, I lend my omnipresent hand; I've filled in Jokes of every grade Since ever Jokes and Pies were made; Sewed, pegged and pasted, glued or cast, If not the first of Jokes, I'll be the last."

With heart unripe and mottled hide, Pale summer watermeloncholly sighed, And—but the Muse would find it vain To give a list of all the train; The hairless, purblind, toothless crew, That burst on Man's astonished view— The Bull dog and the Garden gate; The Girl's Papa in wrathful state; Ma'ma in law; the Leathern Clam; The Woodshed Cat; the Rampant Ram; The Fly, the Goat, the Skating Rink, The Paste-brush plunging in the Ink; The Baby wailing in the Dark; The Songs they sang upon the Ark; Things that were old when Earth was new, And as they lived still old and older grew, And as these Jokes about him cried, And all their Ancient Arts upon him tried, Their hapless victim, Man, lay down and died.



Mother—she's always a-sayin', she is, Boys must be looked after—got to be strict; When I tear my breeches like Billy tears his, It helps 'em considerable when I am licked! But it ain't leapin' over the fence or the post— It's jest that same lickin' 'at tears 'em the most!

Mother—she's always a-sayin' to me, Boys must have people to foller 'em roun'; Never kin tell where they're goin' to be; Sure to git lost, an' then have to be foun'. An' then—when they find 'em, they're so full of joy They can't keep from lovin' an' lickin' the boy!

There's Jimmy Johnson—got lost on the road; Daddy wuz drivin' to market one day, Fell out the wagon, an' nobody knowed Till they come to a halt, an' his daddy said: "Hey! Wonder where Jimmy is gone to?" But Jim— Warn't no two hosses could keep up with him!

Jest kept a-goin', an' got to a place Where wuz a circus; took up with the clown, Cut off his ringlets and painted his face, An' then come right back to his daddy's own town! An' what do you reckon? His folks didn't know, An' paid to see Jimmy that night in the show!

An' there's Billy Jenkins—he jest run away (Folks at his house wuzn't treatin' him right); Went to the place where the red Injuns stay; An' once, when his daddy wuz travelin' at night An' the Injuns took after him, hollerin' loud, Bill run to his rescue, an' scalped the whole crowd!

No use in talkin'—boys don't have no show! Wuzn't fer people a-follerin' 'em roun', Jest ain't no tellin' how fast they would grow; Bet you they'd fool everybody in town! But mother—she says they need lickin', an' so They're too busy hollerin' to git up an' grow!



Jest Frank Reed's his real name—though Boys all calls him "Ringworm Frank," 'Cause he allus runs round so.— No man can't tell where to bank Frank'll be, Next you see Er hear of him!—Drat his melts!— That man's allus somers else!

We're old pards.—But Frank he jest Can't stay still!—Wuz prosper'n here, But lit out on furder West Somers on a ranch, last year: Never heard Nary a word How he liked it, tel to-day, Got this card, reads thisaway:—

"Dad-burn climate out here makes Me homesick all Winter long, And when Springtime comes, it takes Two pee-wees to sing one song,— One sings 'pee' And the other one 'wee!' Stay right where you air, old pard.— Wisht I wuz this postal-card!"



Every man has some peculiar taste or preference, and, I think, though papa dressed with great elegance, his was a decided love of his old clothes; his garments, like his friends, became dearer to him from their wear and tear in his service, and they were deposited successively in his dressing-room, though mamma thought them quite unfit for him. He averred that he required his old hunting-suits for accidents; his summer jackets and vests, though faded, were the coolest in the world; his worm-eaten but warm roquelaure was admirable for riding about the fields, etc. In vain mamma represented the economy of cutting up some for the boys, and giving others to the servants; he would not consent, nor part with articles in which he said he felt at home. Often did mamma remonstrate against the dressing-room's looking like a haberdasher's shop; often did she take down a coat, hold it up to the light, and show him perforations that would have honored New Orleans or Waterloo; often, while Chloe was flogging the pantaloons, which ungallantly kicked in return, did she declare that it was a sin and a shame for her master to have such things in the house; still the anti-cherubic shapes accumulated on the nails and hooks, and were even considered as of sufficient importance to be preserved from the fire at the burning of Roseland.

Our little circle about this time was animated by a visit from a peddler. As soon as he was perceived crossing the lawn with a large basket on his arm, and a bundle slung across a stick on his shoulder, a stir commenced in the house. Mamma assumed an air of importance and responsibility; I felt a pleasurable excitement; Chloe's and Flora's eyes twinkled with expectation; while, from different quarters, the house servants entered, standing with eyes and mouth silently open, as the peddler, after depositing his basket and deliberately untying his bundle, offered his goods to our inspection. He was a stout man, with a dark complexion, pitted with the small-pox, and spoke in a foreign accent. I confess that I yielded myself to the pleasure of purchasing some gewgaws, which I afterward gave to Flora, while mamma looked at the glass and plated ware.

"Ver sheap," said the peddler, following her eye, and taking up a pair of glass pitchers; "only two dollar—sheap as dirt. If te lady hash any old closhes, it is petter as money."

Mamma took the pitchers in her hand with an inquisitorial air, balanced them, knocked them with her small knuckles—they rang as clear as a bell—examined the glass—there was not a flaw in it. Chloe went through the same process; they looked significantly at each other, nodded, set the pitchers on the slab, and gave a little approbatory cough.

"They are certainly very cheap," said mamma, tentatively.

"They is, for true, my mistress," said Chloe, with solemnity, "and more handsomer than Mrs. Whitney's that she gin six dollars for at Charleston."

"Chloe," said mamma, "were not those pantaloons you were shaking to-day quite shrunk and worn out?"

"Yes, ma'am," said she; "and they don't fit nohow. The last time the colonel wore them he seemed quite on-restless."

"Just step up," said her mistress, "and bring them down; but stay—what did you say was the price of these candlesticks, sir?"

"Tish only von dollars; but tish more cheaper for te old closhes. If te lady will get te old closhes, I will put in te pellows and te prush, and it ish more sheaper, too."

Chloe and mamma looked at each other, and raised their eyebrows.

"I will just step up and see those pantaloons," said mamma, in a consulting tone. "It will be a mercy to the colonel to clear out some of that rubbish. I am confident he can never wear the pantaloons again; they are rubbed in the knees, and require seating, and he never will wear seated pantaloons. These things are unusually cheap, and the colonel told me lately we were in want of a few little matters of this sort." Thus saying, with a significant whisper to me to watch the peddler, she disappeared with Chloe.

They soon returned, Chloe bearing a variety of garments, for mamma had taken the important premier pas. The pantaloons were first produced. The peddler took them in his hand, which flew up like an empty scale, to show how light they were; he held them up to the sun, and a half contemptuous smile crossed his lips; then shaking his head, he threw them down beside his basket. A drab overcoat was next inspected, and was also thrown aside with a doubtful expression.

"Mr. Peddler," said mamma, in a very soft tone, "you must allow me a fair price; these are very excellent articles."

"Oh, ver fair," said he, "but te closhes ish not ver goot; te closhesman is not going to give me noting for dish," and he laid a waistcoat on the other two articles.

Mamma and Chloe had by this time reached the depths of the basket, and, with sympathetic exclamations, arranged several articles on the slab.

"You will let me have these pitchers," said mamma, with a look of concentrated resolution, "for that very nice pair of pantaloons."

The peddler gave a short whistle expressive of contempt, shook his head, and said, "Tish not possibles. I will give two pishers and von prush for te pantaloon and waistcoat."

Mamma and Chloe glanced at each other and at me; I was absorbed in my own bargains, and said, carelessly, that the pitchers were perfect beauties. Chloe pushed one pitcher a little forward, mamma pushed the other on a parallel line, then poised a decanter, and again applied her delicate knuckles for the test. That, too, rang out the musical, unbroken sound, so dear to the housewife's ear, and, with a pair of plated candlesticks, was deposited on the table. The peddler took up the drab overcoat.

"Te closhesman's give noting for dish."

Mamma looked disconcerted. The expression of her face implied the fear that the peddler would not even accept it as a gift. Chloe and she held a whispering consultation. At this moment Binah came in with little Patsey, who, seeing the articles on the slab, pointed with her dimpled fingers, and said her only words,

"Pretty! pretty!"

At the same moment, Lafayette and Venus, the two little novices in furniture-rubbing, exclaimed,

"Ki! if dem ting an't shine too much!"

These opinions made the turning-point in mamma's mind, though coming from such insignificant sources.

"So they are pretty, my darling," said mamma to Patsey; and then, turning to the peddler, she asked him what he would give in exchange for the pantaloons, the waistcoat and the coat.

The peddler set aside two decanters, one pitcher, the plated candlesticks, and a hearth-brush.

"Tish ver goot pargains for te lady," said he.

Mamma gained courage.

"I can not think of letting you have all these things without something more. You must at least throw in that little tray," and she looked at a small scarlet one, worth perhaps a quarter of a dollar.

The peddler hesitated, and held it up so that the morning sun shone on its bright hues.

"I shall not make a bargain without that," said mamma, resolutely. The peddler sighed, and laying it with the selected articles said:

"Tish ver great pargains for te lady."

Mamma smiled triumphantly, and the peddler, tying up his bundle and slinging his stick, departed with an air of humility.

Papa's voice was soon heard, as usual, before he was seen.

"Rub down Beauty, Mark, and tell Diggory to call out the hounds."

There was a slight embarrassment in mamma's manner when he entered, mingled with the same quantity of bravado. He nodded to her, tapped me on the head with his riding-whip, gave Patsey a kiss as she stretched out her arms to him, tossed her in the air, and, returning her to her nurse, was passing on.

"Do stop, Colonel," said mamma, "and admire my bargains. See this cut glass and plate that we have been wishing for, to save our best set."

"What, this trash?" said he, pausing a moment at the table—"blown glass and washed brass! Who has been fooling you?"

"Colonel," said mamma, coloring highly, "how can you—"

"I can not stop a minute, now, wife," said he, "Jones and Ferguson are for a hunt to-day! They are waiting at Drake's corner. It looks like falling weather and my old drab will come in well to-day."

Mamma looked frightened, and he passed on up-stairs. He was one of those gentlemen who keep a house alive, as the phrase is, whether in merriment or the contrary, and we were always prepared to search for his hat, or whip, or slippers, which he was confident he put in their places, but which, by some miracle, were often in opposite directions. Our greatest trial, however, was with mamma's and his spectacles, for they had four pairs between them—far-sighted and near-sighted. There were, indeed, optical delusions practiced with them; for when papa wanted his, they were hidden behind some pickle-jar; and when mamma had carefully placed hers in her key-basket, they were generally found in one of papa's various pockets; when a distant object was to be seen, he was sure to mount the near-sighted, and cry "Pshaw!" and if a splinter was to be taken out, nothing could be found but the far-sighted ones, and he said something worse: sometimes all four pairs were missing, and such a scampering ensued!

We now heard a great outcry up-stairs. "Wife! Chloe! Cornelia! come and find my drab coat!" We looked at each other in dismay, but papa was not a man for delay, and we obeyed his summons.

"Wife," said he, beating aside the externals of man that hung about his dressing-room, "where is my old drab coat?"

Mamma swallowed as if a dry artichoke was in her throat, as she said, slowly, "Why, colonel, you know you had not worn that coat for months, and as you have another one, and a roquelaure, and the coat was full of moth-holes, I exchanged it with the peddler for cut glass and plate."

"Cut devils!" said papa, who liked to soften an oath by combinations; "it was worth twenty dollars—yes, more, because I felt at home in it. I hate new coats as I do—"

"But, colonel," interrupted mamma, "you did not see the scarlet tray, and the—"

"Scarlet nonsense," shouted papa; "I believe, if they could, women would sell their husbands to those rascally peddlers!"

Beauty and the hounds were now pronounced ready. I followed papa to the piazza, and heard his wrath rolling off as he cantered away.




Author of "Smiling 'Round the World".

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"It is replete with anecdotes and observations relating to the humorous side of life, intimate bits of interesting personalia, and bright and witty chat concerning things in general."—Pittsburg Leader.

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12mo, Cloth. Humorous Pen-and-Ink Sketches by Bart Haley. Frontispiece Portrait of Mr. Wilder. Price, $1.20.





Author of "The Sunny Side of the Street"

"Laugh and the world laughs with you" can be truly said of Marshall P. Wilder, the captivating entertainer of Presidents, Kings, Princes, and the great public. As the Hon. Chauncey M. Depew says, "His mirth is contagious," and as the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere remarked, "He makes melancholy fly apace." You'll find laughs bubbling all through this new book.


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[Transcriber's Note: The Table of Contents in the print edition lists John Boyle O'Reilly's work entitled "A Disappointment" as being on page 191. It is indeed on this page, but in Volume I, so has been removed Volume II's Table of Contents here.]


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