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´╗┐Title: Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories
Author: Stewart, Cal, 1856-1919
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories" ***

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UNCLE JOSH'S PUNKIN CENTRE STORIES

By Cal Stewart



Preface

To the Reader.

The one particular object in writing this book is to furnish you with an
occasional laugh, and the writer with an occasional dollar. If you get
the laugh you have your equivalent, and the writer has his.

In Uncle Josh Weathersby you have a purely imaginary character, yet one
true to life. A character chuck full of sunshine and rural simplicity.
Take him as you find him, and in his experiences you will observe there
is a bright side to everything.

Sincerely Yours

Cal Stewart


Contents PREFACE

LIFE SKETCH OF AUTHOR

MY OLD YALLER ALMANAC

ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK

UNCLE JOSH IN SOCIETY

UNCLE JOSH IN A CHINESE LAUNDRY

UNCLE JOSH IN A MUSEUM

UNCLE JOSH IN WALL STREET

UNCLE JOSH AND THE FIRE DEPARTMENT

UNCLE JOSH IN AN AUCTION ROOM

UNCLE JOSH ON A FIFTH AVENUE 'BUS

UNCLE JOSH IN A DEPARTMENT STORE

UNCLE JOSH'S COMMENTS ON THE SIGNS SEEN IN NEW YORK

UNCLE JOSH ON A STREET CAR

MY FUST PAIR OF COPPER TOED BOOTS

UNCLE JOSH IN POLICE COURT

UNCLE JOSH AT CONEY ISLAND

UNCLE JOSH AT THE OPERA

UNCLE JOSH AT DELMONICO'S

IT IS FALL

SI PETTINGILL'S BROOMS

UNCLE JOSH PLAYS GOLF

JIM LAWSON'S HOGS

UNCLE JOSH AND THE LIGHTNING ROD AGENT

A MEETING OF THE ANNANIAS CLUB

JIM LAWSON'S HOSS TRADE

A MEETING OF THE SCHOOL DIRECTORS

THE WEEKLY PAPER AT PUNKIN CENTRE

UNCLE JOSH AT A CAMP MEETING

THE UNVEILING OF THE ORGAN

UNCLE JOSH PLAYS A GAME OF BASE BALL

THE PUNKIN CENTRE AND PAW PAW VALLEY RAILROAD

UNCLE JOSH ON A BICYCLE

A BAPTISIN' AT THE HICKORY CORNERS CHURCH

A REMINISCENCE OF MY RAILROAD DAYS

UNCLE JOSH AT A CIRCUS

UNCLE JOSH INVITES THE CITY FOLKS TO VISIT HIM

YOSEMITE JIM, OR A TALE OF THE GREAT WHITE DEATH

UNCLE JOSH WEATHERSBY'S TRIP TO BOSTON

WHO MARCHED IN SIXTY-ONE



Life Sketch of Author

THE author was born in Virginia, on a little patch of land, so poor we
had to fertilize it to make brick. Our family, while having cast their
fortunes with the South, was not a family ruined by the war; we did not
have anything when the war commenced, and so we held our own. I secured
a common school education, and at the age of twelve I left home, or
rather home left me--things just petered out. I was slush cook on an
Ohio River Packet; check clerk in a stave and heading camp in the knobs
of Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia; I helped lay the track of the M.
K. & T. R. R., and was chambermaid in a livery stable. Made my first
appearance on the stage at the National Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio,
and have since then chopped cord wood, worked in a coal mine, made cross
ties (and walked them), worked on a farm, taught a district school (made
love to the big girls), run a threshing machine, cut bands, fed the
machine and ran the engine. Have been a freight and passenger brakeman,
fired and ran a locomotive; also a freight train conductor and check
clerk in a freight house; worked on the section; have been a shot
gun messenger for the Wells, Fargo Company. Have been with a circus,
minstrels, farce comedy, burlesque and dramatic productions; have been
with good shows, bad shows, medicine shows, and worse, and some shows
where we had landlords singing in the chorus. Have played variety houses
and vaudeville houses; have slept in a box car one night, and a swell
hotel the next; have been a traveling salesman (could spin as many
yarns as any of them). For the past four years have made the Uncle Josh
stories for the talking machine. The Lord only knows what next!



My Old Yaller Almanac

     Hangin' on the
     Kitchen Wall

     I'M sort of fond of readin' one
     thing and another,

     So I've read promiscus like
     whatever cum my way,

     And many a friendly argument's cum up 'tween
     me and mother,

     'Bout things that I'd be readin' settin' round
     a rainy day.

      Sometimes it jist seemed to me thar wa'nt
     no end of books,

      Some made fer useful readin' and some jist
     made fer looks;

      But of all the different books I've read,
     thar's none comes up at all

      To My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin' on
     the Kitchen Wall.

      I've always liked amusement, of the good
     and wholesome kind,

      It's better than a doctor, and it elevates the
     mind;

      So, often of an evening, when the farm
     chores all were done,

      I'd join the games the boys would play, gosh
     how I liked the fun;

      And once thar wuz a minstrel troop, they
     showed at our Town Hall,

      A jolly lot of fellers, 'bout twenty of 'em all.

      Wall I went down to see 'em, but their
     jokes, I knowed 'em all,

      Read 'em in My Old Yaller Almanac,
     Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall.


      Thar wuz Ezra Hoskins, Deacon Brown and
     a lot of us old codgers,

      Used to meet down at the grocery store,
     what wuz kept by Jason Rogers.

      There we'd set and argufy most every market
     day,

      Chawin' tobacker and whittlin' sticks to pass
     the time away;

      And many a knotty problem has put us on
     our mettle,

      Which we felt it wuz our duty to duly solve
     and settle;

      Then after they had said their say, who
     thought they knowed it all,

      I'd floor 'em with some facts I'd got

      From My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin' on
     the Kitchen Wall.


      It beats a regular cyclopedium, that old
     fashioned yeller book,

      And many a pleasant hour in readin' it I've
     took;

      Somehow I've never tired of lookin' through
     its pages,

      Seein' of the different things that's happened
     in all ages.

      One time I wuz elected a Justice of the
     Peace,

      To make out legal documents, a mortgage
     or a lease,

      Them tricks that lawyers have, you bet I
     knowed them all,

      Learned them in My Old Yaller Almanac,
     Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall.


     So now I've bin to New York, and all your
     sights I've seen,

      I s'pose that to you city folks I must look
     most awful green,

      Gee whiz, what lots of fun I've had as I
     walked round the town,

      Havin' Bunco Steerers ask me if I wasn't
     Mr. Hiram Brown.


      I've rode on all your trolloly cars, and hung
     onto the straps,

      When we flew around the corners, sat on
     other peoples' laps,

      Hav'nt had no trouble, not a bit at all,

      Read about your city in My Old Yaller
     Almanac, Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall.



Uncle Josh Weathersby's Arrival in New York

WALL, fer a long time I had my mind made up that I'd cum down to New
York, and so a short time ago, as I had my crops all gathered in and
produce sold I calculated as how it would be a good time to come down
here. Folks at home said I'd be buncoed or have my pockets picked fore
I'd bin here mor'n half an hour; wall, I fooled 'em a little bit, I wuz
here three days afore they buncoed me. I spose as how there are a good
many of them thar bunco fellers around New York, but I tell you them
thar street keer conductors take mighty good care on you. I wuz ridin'
along in one of them keers, had my pockit book right in my hand, I
alowed no feller would pick my pockits and git it long as I had it in
my hand, and it shet up tight as a barrel when the cider's workin'. Wall
that conductor feller he jest kept his eye on me, and every little bit
he'd put his head in the door and say "hold fast." But I'm transgressin'
from what I started to tell ye. I wuz ridin' along in one of them
sleepin' keers comin' here, and along in the night some time I felt a
feller rummagin' around under my bed, and I looked out jest in time to
see him goin' away with my boots, wall I knowed the way that train wuz a
runnin' he couldn't git off with them without breakin' his durned neck,
but in about half an hour he brot them back, guess they didn't fit him.
Wall I wuz sort of glad he took em cause he hed em all shined up slicker
'n a new tin whistle. Wall when I got up in the mornin' my trubbles
commenced. I wuz so crouded up like, durned if I could git my clothes
on, and when I did git em on durned if my pants wa'nt on hind side
afore, and my socks got all tangled up in that little fish net along
side of the bed and I couldn't git em out, and I lost a bran new collar
button that I traded Si Pettingill a huskin' peg fer, and I got my right
boot on my left foot and the left one on the right foot, and I wuz so
durned badly mixed up I didn't know which way the train wuz a runnin',
and I bumped my head on the roof of the bed over me, and then sot
down right suddin like to think it over when some feller cum along and
stepped right squar on my bunion and I let out a war whoop you could a
heerd over in the next county. Wall, along cum that durned porter and
told me I wuz a wakin' up everybody in the keer. Then I started in
to hunt fer my collar button, cause I sot a right smart store by that
button, thar warns another one like it in Punkin Centre, and I thought
it would be kind of doubtful if they'd have any like it in New York,
wall I see one stuck right in the wall so I tried to git it out with my
jack knife, when along came that durned black jumpin' jack dressed in
soldier clothes and ast me what I wanted, and I told him I didn't want
anything perticler, then he told me to quit ringin' the bell, guess he
wuz a little crazy, I didn't see no bell. Wall, finally I got my clothes
on and went into a room whar they had a row of little troughs to wash
in, and fast as I could pump water in the durned thing it run out of a
little hole in the bottom of the trough so I jest had to grab a handful
and then pump some more. Wall after that things went along purty well
fer a right smart while, then I et a snack out of my carpet bag and felt
purty good. Wall that train got to runnin' slower and slower 'till it
stopped at every house and when it cum to a double house it stopped
twice. I hed my ticket in my hat and I put my head out of the window to
look at suthin' when the wind blew my hat off and I lost the durned old
ticket, wall the conductor made me buy another one. I hed to buy two
tickets to ride once, but I fooled him, he don't know a durned thing
about it and when he finds it out he's goin to be the maddest conductor
on that railroad, I got a round trip ticket and I ain't a goin' back on
his durned old road. When I got off the ferry boat down here I commenced
to think I wuz about the best lookin' old feller what ever cum to New
York, thar wuz a lot of fellers down thar with buggies and kerridges
and one thing and another, and jest the minnit they seen me they all
commenced to holler--handsome--handsome. I didn't know I wuz so durned
good lookin'. One feller tried to git my carpet bag and another tried
to git my umbreller, and I jest told 'em to stand back or durned if I
wouldn't take a wrestle out of one or two of them, then I asked one of
'em if he could haul me up to the Sturtevessant hotel, and by gosh I
never heered a feller stutter like that feller did in all my life,
he said ye-ye-ye-yes sir, and I said wall how much air you a goin' to
charge me, and he said f-f-f-fif-fif-fifty c-c-cents, and I sed wall I
guess I'll ride with you, but don't stop to talk about it any more cause
I'd kinder like to git thar. Wall we started out and when we stopped we
wuz away up at the other end of the town whar thar warn't many houses,
and I sed to him, this here ain't the Sturtevessant hotel, and he sed
n-n-n-no n-s-s-n-no sir, I sed why didn't you let me out at the
hotel like I told ye, and he sed, b-b-b-be c-c-c b-b-be cause I
c-c-c-c-couldn't s-s-s-say w-w-w-whoa q-q-q-q-quick enough. Wall I hed a
great time with that feller, but I got here at last.



Uncle Josh in Society

WALL, I did'nt suppose when I cum down here to New York that I wuz a
goin to flop right into the middle of high toned society, but I guess
that's jist about what I done. You see I had an old friend a livin' down
here named Henry Higgins, and I wanted to see Henry mighty bad. Henry
and me, we wuz boys together down home at Punkin Centre, and I hadn't
seen him in a long time. Wall, I got a feller to look up his name in
the city almanac, and he showed me whar Henry lived, away up on a street
called avenue five. Wall when I seen Henry's house it jist about took
my breath away, I wuz that clar sot back. Henry's house is a good deal
bigger'n the court house at Punkin Centre. Wall at first I didn't know
whether to go in or not, but finally I mustered up my courage, and I
went up and rang some new fangled door bell, when a feller with knee
britches on cum out and wanted to know who it wuz I wanted to see. Gosh
I couldn't say anything fer about a minnit, that feller jist looked to
me like a picter I'd seen in a story book. Wall finally I told him I
wanted to see Henry Higgins, if it wuz the same Henry I used to know
down home at Punkin Centre. Wall I guess Henry he must a heered me
talkin', cause he jist cum out and grabbed me by both hands and sed,
"why Josh Weathersby, how do you do, cum right in." Wall he took me into
the house and introduced me to more wimmin folks than I ever seen
before in all my life at one time. I guess they were havin' some kind
of society doins at Henry's house, one old lady sed to me, "my dear Mr.
Weathersby, I am so pleased to meet you, I've heered Mr. Higgins speak
about you so often." Wall by chowder, I got to blushin' so it cum pretty
near settin' my hair on fire, but I sed, wall now I'm right glad to know
you, you kind-er put me in mind of old Nancy Smith down hum, and Nancy,
she's bin tryin' to git married past forty seasons that I kin remember
on. Wall Henry took me off into a room by myself, and when I got on my
store clothes and my new calf skin boots, I tell you I looked about as
scrimptious as any of them. Wall they had a dance, I think they called
it a cowtillion, and that wuz whar I wuz right to hum, I jist hopped
out on the floor, balanced to partners, swung on the corners, and cut
up more capers than any young feller thar, it jist looked as if all the
ladies wanted to dance with me. One lady wanted to know if I danced the
german, but I told her I only danced in English.

Wall after that we had something to eat in the dinin' room, and I hadn't
any more'n got sot down and got to eatin right good, when that durn fool
with the knee britches on insulted me, he handed me a little wash bowl
with a towel round it, and I told him he needn't cast any insinuations
at me, cause I washed my hands afore I cum in. If it hadn't a bin in
Henry's house I'd took a wrestle out of him. Wall they had a lot of
furrin dishes, sumthin what they called beef all over mud, and another
what they called a-charlotte russia-a little shavin' mug made out of
cake and full of sweetened lather, wall that was mighty good eatin',
though it took a lot of them, they wasn't very fillin'. Then they handed
me somethin' what they called ice cream, looked to me like a hunk of
casteel soap, wall I stuck my fork in it and tried to bite it, and it
slipped off and got inside my vest, and in less than a minnit I wuz
froze from my chin to my toes. I guess I cut a caper at Henry's house.



Uncle Josh in a Chinese Laundry

I S'POSE I got tangled up the other day with the dogondest lookin'
critter I calculate I ever seen in all my born days, and I've bin around
purty considerable. I'd seen all sorts of cooriosoties and monstrosities
in cirkuses and meenagerys, but that wuz the fust time I'd ever seen
a critter with his head and tail on the same end. You see I sed to a
feller, now whar abouts in New York do you folks git your washin' done;
when I left hum to come down here I lowed I had enuff with me to do
me, but I've stayed here a little longer than I calculated to, and if I
don't git some washin' done purty soon, I'll have to go and jump in the
river.

Wall he wuz a bligin sort of a feller, and he told me thar wuz a place
round the corner whar a feller done all the washin', so I went round,
and there was a sine on the winder what sed Hop Quick, or Hop Soon, or
jump up and hop, or some other kind of a durned hop; and then thar wuz
a lot of figers on the winder that I couldn't make head nor tail on; it
jist looked to me like a chicken with mud on its feet had walked over
that winder.

Wall I went in to see bout gittin' my washin' done, and gosh all spruce
gum, thar was one of them pig tailed heathen Chineeze, he jist looked
fer all the world like a picter on Aunt Nancy Smith's tea cups. I wuz
sort of sot back fer a minnit, coz 'I sed to myself--I don't spose this
durned critter can talk English; but seein' as how I'm in here, I might
as well find out. So I told him I'd like to git him to do some washin'
fer me, and he commenced a talkin' some outlandish lingo, sounded to me
like cider runnin' out of a jug, somethin' like--ung tong oowong fang
kai moi oo ung we, velly good washee. Wall I understood the last of it
and jist took his word fer the rest, so I giv him my clothes and he giv
me a little yeller ticket that he painted with a brush what he had, and
I'll jist bet a yoke of steers agin the holler in a log, that no livin'
mortal man could read that ticket; it looked like a fly had fell into
the ink bottle and then crawled over the paper. Wall I showed it to
a gentleman what was a standin' thar when I cum out, and I sed to
him--mister, what in thunder is this here thing, and he sed "Wall sir
that's a sort of a lotery ticket; every time you leave your clothes thar
to have them washed you git one of them tickets, and then you have a
chance to draw a prize of some kind." So I sed--wall now I want to know,
how much is the blamed thing wuth, and he sed "I spose bout ten cents,"
and I told him if he wanted my chants for ten cents he could hav it, I
didn't want to get tangled up in any lotery gamblin' bizness with that
saucer faced scamp. So he giv me ten cents and he took the ticket, and
in a couple of days I went round to git my washin', and that pig tailed
heathen he wouldn't let me hev em, coz I'd lost that lotery ticket. So
I sed--now look here Mr. Hop Soon, if you don't hop round and git me my
collars and ciffs and other clothes what I left here, I'll be durned if
I don't flop you in about a minnit, I will by chowder. Wall that critter
he commenced hoppin around and a talkin faster 'n a buzz saw could turn,
and all I could make out wuz--mee song lay tang moo me oo lay ung yong
wo say mee tickee. Wall I seen jist as plain as could be that he wuz a
tryin' to swindle me outen my clothes, so I made a grab fer him, and in
less 'n a minnit we wuz a rollin' round on the floor; fust I wuz on top,
and then Mr. Hop Soon wuz on top, and you couldn't hav told which one
of us the pig tail belonged to. We upset the stove and kicked out the
winder, and I sot Mr. Hop Soon in the wash tub, and when I got out of
thar I had somebody's washin' in one hand and about five yards of that
pig tail in tother, and Mr. Hop Soon, he wuz standin' thar yellin'--ung
wa moo ye song ki le yung noy song oowe pelecee, pelecee, pelecee. I had
quite a time with that heathen critter.



Uncle Josh in a Museum

WHEN I wuz in New York one day I wuz a walkin' along down the street
when I cum to a theater or play doins' of some kind or other, so I got
to lookin' at the picters, and I noticed whar it sed it only cost ten
cents to go in, and I alowed I might as well go in and see it. Wall I
don't spose I'd bin in thar over five minutes afore I made myself the
laffin' stock of every one in thar. I noticed a feller a sottin' thar
gittin' his boots blacked, and thar was a durned little pick pockit a
pickin' his pockits. Wall I didn't want to see him git robbed, so I went
right up to him and I sed--look out mister, you air gittin' your pockits
picked, wall sir, that durned cuss never sed a word and every body
commenced to laff, and I looked round to see what they wuz a laffin'
at, and it wan't no man at all, nothin' only a durned old wax figger.
I never felt so durned foolish since the day I popped the question to
Samantha. Wall then I looked round a spell longer, and thar wuz a feller
what they called the human pin cushion, and he wuz stuck chock full of
needles and pins and looked like a hedge hog; he'd be a mighty handy
feller at a quiltin'. Wall, then a feller cum along and sed, "everybody
over to this end of the hall." Wall, I went along with the rest of them,
and durn my buttins if thar wa'nt a feller what had more picters painted
on him than thar is in a story book. Wall, I'd jist got to lookin' at
him when that feller what had charge sed, "right this way everybody,"
and we all went into whar they wuz havin' the theater doins', and I got
sot down and a feller cum out and sung a song I hadn't heered since I
wuz a youngster. Neer as I kin remember it wuz this way--

     Kind friends I hadn't had but one sleigh ride this year,
         And I cum within one of not bein' here,
     The facts I'll relate near as I kin remember,
         It happened some time 'bout last December.
              Li too ra loo ri too ra loo
                   ri too ra loo la ri do.

     The load was composed of both girls and boys,
         All tryin' to outdo the other in noise.
     And the way that we guarded agin the cold weather
         Wuz settin' all up spoon fashion together.
              Li too ra loo ri too ra loo
                   ri too ra loo ri li do.


Wall, they had a parrit in that place and the way he sputtered and
jabbered and talked! He wuz a whole show all to himself. Wall, I bought
one of them birds from a feller one time--he said it wuz a good talker.
Wall, I took it hum and hed it about three months, and it never sed
a durned word. I put in most of my spare time tryin' to git it to say
"Uncle Josh," but the durned critter wouldn't do it, so I got mad at him
one day and throwed him out in the barn yard amongst the chickens, and
left him thar. Wall, when I went out the next mornin', I tell you thar
wuz a sight. Half of them chickens wuz dead, and the rest of 'em wuz
skeered to death, and that durned parrit had a rooster by the neck up
agin the barn, and jist a givin' him an awful whippin', and every time
he'd hit him he'd say, "Now you say Uncle Josh, gol durn you, you say
Uncle Josh."



Uncle Josh in Wall Street

I USED to read in our town paper down home at Punkin Centre a whole lot
about Wall street and them bulls and bears, and one thing and another,
so I jist sed to myself--now Joshua, when you git down to New York City,
that's jist what you want to see. Wall, when I got to New York, I got
a feller to show me whar it wuz, and I'll be durned if I know why they
call it Wall street; it didn't hav any wall round it. I walked up and
down it bout an hour and a half, and I couldn't find any stock exchange
or see any place fer watterin' any stock. I couldn't see a pig nor a
cow, nor a sheep nor a calf, or anything else that looked like stock
to me. So finally I sed to a gentleman--Mister, whar do they keep the
menagery down here. He sed "what menagery?" I sed the place whar they've
got all them bulls and bears a fitin'. Wall he looked at me as though he
thought I wuz crazy, and I guess he did, but he sed "you cum along with
me, guess I can show you what you want to see." Wall I went along with
him, and he took me up to some public institushun, near as I could make
out it wuz a loonytick asylem. Wall he took me into a room about two
akers and a half squar, and thar wuz about two thousand of the crazyest
men in thar I ever seen in all my life. The minnit I sot eyes on them I
knowed they wuz all crazy, and I'd hav to umer them if I got out of thar
alive. One feller wuz a standin' on the top of a table with a lot of
papers in his hand, and a yellin' like a Comanche injin, and all the
rest of them wuz tryin' to git at him. Finally I sed to one of
'em--Mister, what are you a tryin' to do with that feller up thar on the
table? And he sed, "Wall he's got five thousand bushels of wheat and we
are tryin' to git it away from him." Wall, jist the minnit he sed that I
knowed fer certain they wuz all crazy, cos nobody but a crazy man would
ever think he had five thousand bushels of wheat in his coat and pants
pockits. Wall when they wan't a looking I got out of thar, and I felt
mighty thankful to git out. There wuz a feller standin' on the front
steps; he had a sort of a unyform on; I guess he wuz Superintendent of
the institushun; he talked purty sassy to me. I sed, Mister, what
time does the fust car go up town. He sed "the fust one went about
twenty-five years ago." I sed to him--is that my car over thar? He sed
"no sir, that car belongs to the street car company." I sez, wall guess
I'll take it anyhow. He says "you'd better not, thar's bin a good many
cars missed around here lately." I sed, wall now, I want to know, is
thar anything round here any fresher than you be? He sed, "yes, sir,
that bench you're a sotten on is a little fresher; they painted it about
ten minnits ago." Wall, I got up and looked, and durned if he wasn't
right.



Uncle Josh and the Fire Department

ONE day in New York, I thot I'd rite a letter home. Wall after I'd got
it all writ, I sed to the landlord of the tavern--now, whar abouts in
New York do you keep the post offis? And he sed, "what do you want with
the post offis?" So I told him I'd jist writ a letter home to mother and
Samantha Ann, and I'd like to go to the post offis and mail it. And he
told me "you don't have to go to the post offis, do you see that little
box on the post thar on the corner?" I alowed as how I did. Wall he
says, "You jist go out thar and put your letter in that box, and it
will go right to the post offis." I sed--wall now, gee whiz, ain't that
handy. Wall I went out thar, and I had a good deal of trouble in gittin'
the box open, and when I did git it open, thar wan't any place to put
my letter, thar wuz a lot of notes and hooks and hinges, and a lot
of readin,' it sed--"pull on the hook twice and turn the knob," or
somethin, like that, I couldn't jist rightly make it out. Wall I yanked
on that hook 'till I tho't I'd pull it out by the roots, but I couldn't
git the durned thing open, then I turned on the knob two or three times,
and that didn't do any good, so I pulled on the hook and turned on the
knob at the same time, and jist then I think all the fire bells in New
York commenced to ringin' all to onct. Wall I looked round to see whar
the fire wuz, and a lot of fire ingines and hook and ladder wagons cum
a gallopin' up to whar I stood, and they had a big sody water bottle on
wheels, and it busted and squirted sody water all over me. Wall one of
them fire fellers, lookin' jist like I'd seen them in picters in Ezra
Hoskin's insurance papers, he cum up to me madder'n a hornet, and he sed
"what are you tryin' to do with that box?" So I told him I'd jist writ
a letter home, and I wuz a tryin' to mail it. He sed "why you durned
old green horn, you've called out the hull fire department of New York
City." Wall I guess you could have knocked me down with a feather. I
sed--wall you'r a purty healthy lookin' lot of fellers, it won't hurt
ye any to go back, will it? Wall he sed, "thars your letter box over on
thother corner, now you let this box alone." Wall they all drove away,
and I went over to the other box, but I didn't know whether to touch it
or not, I didn't know but maybe I'd call out the state legislater if
I opened it. Wall while I wuz a standin' thar a feller cum along and
looked all round, and when he thot thar wan't any body watchin' him, he
opened that box and commenced takin' the letters out. Wall I'd heered
a whole lot 'bout them post offis robbers, when I wuz post master down
home at Punkin Center, so jist arrested him right thar, I took him by
the nap of the neck and flopped him right down on the side walk, and sot
on him, I hollered--MURDER! PERLEES! and every other thing I could think
of, and a lot of constables and town marshalls cum a runnin' up, and
one of them sed "what are you holdin' this man fer?" and I told him I'd
caught him right in the act of robbin' the United States Post Offis, and
by gosh I arrested him. Wall they all commenced a laffin', and I found
out I'd arrested one of the post masters of New York City.

I lost mother's letter and she never did git it.



Uncle Josh in an Auction Room

I'D seen a good many funny things in New York at one time and another,
so the last day I wuz thar, I wuz a packin' up my traps, a gittin'
ready to go home, when I jist conclooded I'd go out and buy somethin' to
remember New York by.

Wall I wuz a walkin' along down the street when I cum to a place whar
they wuz auckshuneerin' off a lot of things. I stopped to see what
they had to sell. Wall that place wuz jist chuck full of old-fashioned
cooriositys. I saw an old book thar, they sed it wuz five hundred years
old, and it belonged at one time to Loois the Seventeenth or Eighteenth,
or some of them old rascals; durned if I believe anybody could read it.

Wall I commenced a biddin' on different things, but it jist looked as
though everybody had more money than I did, and they sort of out-bid
me; but finally they put up an old-fashioned shugar bowl fer sale, and I
wanted to git that mighty bad, cos I thought as how mother would like it
fust rate. Wall I commenced a biddin' on it, and it wuz knocked down to
me fer three dollars and fifty cents I put my hand in my pockit to git
my pockit book to pay fer it, and by gosh it was gone. So I went up
to the feller what wuz a sellin' the things, and I sed--now look here
mister, will you jist wait a minnit with your "goin' at thirty make it
thirty-five, once, twice, three times a goin'", and he sed "wall now
what's the matter with you?" And I sed, there's matter enuff, by gosh;
when I cum in here I had a pockit book in my pockit, had fifty dollars
in it, and I lost it somewhars round here; I wish you'd say to the
feller what found it that I'll give five dollars fer it; another feller
sed "make it ten," another sed "give you twenty," and another sed "go
you twenty-five."

Durned if I know which one of 'em got it; when I left they wuz still a
biddin' on it.

     Advice--Advice is somethin' the other feller can't use, so
     he gives it to you.--Punkin Centre Philosophy.



Uncle Josh on a Fifth Ave. 'Bus

I WUZ always sort of fond of ridin', so I guess while I wuz down in New
York I rode on about everything they've got to ride on thar. I wuz on
hoss cars and hot air cars, and them sky light elevated roads. Wall, I
had jist about cum to the conclushun that every street in New York had
a different kind of a street car on it, but I found one that didn't
have care of any kind, I think they call it Avenoo Five. Wall, I wuz a
standin' thar one day a watchin' the people and things go by, when all
to onct along cum the durndest lookin' contraption I calculate I ever
seen in my life. It wuz a sort of a wagon, kind of a cross between a
band wagon and a hay rack, and it had a pair of stairs what commenced at
the hind end and rambled around all over the wagon. I sed to a gentleman
standin' thar: "Mr. in the name of all that's good and bad, what do you
call that thing?" He sed: "Wall, sir, that's a Fifth Avenoo 'bus." I
sed: "Wall, now, I want to know, kin I ride on it?" And he sed: "You kin
if you've got a nickel." Wall, I got in and sot down, and I jist about
busted my buttins a laffin' at things what happened in that 'bus. Thar
wuz a young lady cum in and sot down, and she had a little valise in
her hand, 'bout a foot squar. Wall, she opened the valise and took out
a purse and shet the valise, then she opened the purse and took out a
dime, and shet the purse, opened the valise and put in the purse, and
shet the valise, then she handed the dime to a feller sottin' out on the
front of the 'bus, and he give her a nickel back. Then she opened the
valise and took out the purse, shet the valise and opened the purse and
put in the nickel and shet the purse, opened the valise and put in the
purse and shet the valise, then sed, "Stop the bus, please." Wall, I had
to snicker right out, though I done my best not to, but I jist couldn't
help it. I didn't have any small change so I handed the feller a
five-dollar bill. Wall, that feller jist sot and looked at it fer a
spell, then he sed "whoa!" stopped the hosses, cum round to the hind end
of the 'bus and he sed: "Who give me that five-dollar bill?" I sed: "I
did, and it was a good one, too." He sed: "Wall, you cum out here, I
want to see you." Wall, I didn't know what he wanted, but I jist made up
my mind if he indulged in any foolishness with me I'd flop him in about
a minnit. Wall, I got out thar, and he sed: "Now look here, honest
injun, did you give me that five-dollar bill?" I sed: "Yes, sir, that's
jist what I done," and he sed, "Wall, now, which one of the hosses do
you want?" Gosh, I don't believe I'd gin him five dollars fer the whole
durned outfit.


     Ambition--Somethin' that has made one man a senator, and
     another man a convict.--Punkin Centre Philosophy



Uncle Josh in a Department Store

ONE day while I wuz in New York I sed to a feller, now whar kin I find
one of them stores whar they hav purty near everything to sell what
thar is on earth, and he sed "I guess you mean a department store, don't
you?" I sed, wall I don't know bout that; they may sell departments
at one of them stores, but what I want to git is some muzlin and some
caliker. Wall he showed me which way to go, and I started out, and
wuz walkin' along down the street lookin' at things, when some feller
throwed a bananer peelin' on the sidewalk. Wall now I don't think much
of a man what throws a bananer peelin' on the sidewalk, and I don't
think much of a bananer what throws a man on the sidewalk, neether.
Wall, by chowder, my foot hit that bananer peelin' and I went up in the
air, and cum down ker-plunk, and fer about a minnit I seen all the stars
what stronomy tells about, and some that haint been discovered yit.
Wall jist as I wuz pickin' myself up a little boy cum runnin' cross the
street and he sed "Oh mister, won't you please do that agin, my mother
didn't see you do it." Wall I wish I could a got my hands on that little
rascal fer about a minnit, and his mother would a seen me do it.

I found one of them stores finally, and I got on the inside and told a
feller what I wanted, and he sent me over to a red-headed girl, and she
sent me over to a bald-headed feller; she sed he didn't have anythin' to
do only walk the floor and answer questions. Wall I went up to him and I
sed, mister I'm sort of a stranger round here, wish you'd show me round
'til I do a little bargainin'. And he sed "Oh you git out, you've got
hay seed in your hair." Wall I jist looked at that bald head of hisn,
and I sed, wall now, you haint got any hay seed in YOUR hair, hav you?
Everybody commenced a laffin', and he got purty riled, so he sed, smart
like, "jist step this way, please." Wall he showed me round and I bought
what I wanted, and when I cum to pay the feller what I had to pay,
it didn't look as though I wuz a goin' to git any of my money back. I
handed him a ten dollar bill, and he jist took it and put it in a
little baskit and hitched it onto a wire, and the durned thing commenced
runnin' all over the store. Wall now you can jist bet your boots I
lit out right after it; I chased it up one side and down the other, I
knocked down five or six wimmin clerks, and I upset five or six bargain
counters; I took a wrastle out of that bald-headed feller, and jist
then some one commenced to holler "CASH" and I sed yep, that's what I'm
after. Wall I chased that durned little baskit round 'til I got up to
it, and when I did I was right thar whar I started from. Gee whiz, I
never felt more foolish in all my life.


     Prosperity--Consists principally of contentment; for the man
     who is contented is prosperous, in his own way of thinking,
     though his neighbors may have a different opinion.
     --Punkin Centre Philosophy.



Uncle Josh's Comments on the Signs Seen in New York

I SEEN a good many funny things when I wuz in New York, but I think some
of the sines what they've got on some of the bildins' are 'bout as funny
as anything I ever seen in my life.

I wuz walkin' down the street one day and I seen a sine, it sed "Quick
Lunch." Wall, I felt a little hungry, so I went into the resturant or
bordin' house, or whatever they call it, and they had some sines hangin'
on the walls in thar that jist about made me laff all over. I noticed
one sine sed "Put your trust in the Lord," and right under it wuz
another sine what sed "Try our mince pies." Wall, I tried one of them,
and I want to tell you right now, if you eat many of them mince pies you
want to put your trust in the Lord.

Wall, I got out of thar, and I walked along fer quite a spell, and
finally I cum to a store what had a lot of red, white and blue, and
yeller and purple lights in the winder. Wall, I stopped to look at it,
cos it wuz a purty thing, and they had a sine in that winder that jist
tickled me, it sed, "Frog in your throat 10C." I wouldn't put one of
them critters in my throat fer ten dollars.

Wall, jist a little further up the street I seen another sine what
sed "Boots blacked on the inside." Now, any feller what gits his boots
blacked on the inside ain't got much respect fer his socks. I git mine
blacked on the outside. Then I cum to a sine what had a lot of 'lectric
lights shinin' on it, and I could read it jist as plain as day; so I
happened to turn round and when I looked at that sine agin, it wa'nt
the same sine at all, and jist then it changed right in front of my very
eyes, and I cum to the conclooshun that some feller on the inside wuz
a turnin' on it jist to have fun with folks, so I cum away; but I had
a mighty good laff or two watchin' other folks git fooled, cos it would
turn fust one way and then the t'other, and 'fore you could make up your
mind what it wuz, the durned thing wouldn't be that at all.

A little further up the street I seen a sine what sed, "This is the
door." Now, any durned fool could see it wuz a door. And then I seen
another sine what sed "Walk in." Wall, now, I wunder how in thunder they
thought a feller wuz a goin' to cum in, on hoss back, or on a bisickle,
or how. And then I seen another sine, it wuz in a winder and had a lot
of tools around it, and the sine sed, "Cast iron sinks." Wall, now, any
durned fool what don't know that cast iron sinks, ought to have some one
feel his head and find out what ails him.



Uncle Josh on a Street Car

NOW I'll jist bet I had more fun to the squar inch while I wuz in New
York, than any old feller what ever broke out of a New England smoke
house. I had a little the durnd'st time a ridin' on them street cars
what they got thar. Wall I wa'nt a ridin' on 'emnear as much as I wuz
a runnin' after 'em tryin' to ketch 'em. Gosh, I wuz a runnin' after
street cars and fire ingines, and every durned thing with red wheels on
it, I calculate I run about a mile and a half after a feller one day
to tell him the water what he had in his wagon wuz all leakin' out, and
when I caught up to him I found out it wuz a durned old sprinklin' cart.

Wall I got on one of them street cars one day, and it wuz purty crowded,
and thar wa'nt any place fer me to sot down, so I had to hang onto one
of them little harness straps along side of the car. So I got holt of a
strap and I wuz hangin' on, when the conductor sed "old man, you'r goin'
to be in the road thar, you'd better move up a little further, wall I
moved up a little ways and I stepped on a feller's toe, and gee whiz, he
got madder'n a wet hen, he sed, 'can't you see whar you'r a steppin'?"
I sed, "guess I kin, but you brought them feet in here, and I've got to
step some whar." Wall every one begin to laff, and the conductor sed,
"old man you'r makin' too much trouble, you'll have to move for'ard
again," and I got off 'n the gosh durned old car; I paid him a nickel
to ride, but I guess I might as well have walked, I wuz a walkin' purty
much all the time I wuz in thar.

Wall I got onto another car, and I got sot down, and I never laffed so
much in all my life. Up in one end of the car thar wuz a little slim
lady, and right along side of her wuz a big fleshy lady, and it didn't
look as though the little slim lady wuz a gittin' more'n about two cents
and a half worth of room, so finally she turned round to the fleshy lady
and sed, "they ought to charge by weight on this line," and the big lady
sed "Wall if they did they wouldn't stop fer you." Gosh I had to snicker
right out loud.

Thar wuz a little boy a sottin' alongside of the big lady, and three
ladys got onto the car all to onct, and thar wa'nt any place fer 'em to
sot down, and so the big lady sed--"little boy, you'd oughter git up
and let one of them ladys sot down," and the little boy sed, "you git up
and they can all sot down." Wall by that time your uncle wuz a laffin'
right out.

Sottin' right alongside of me wuz a lady and she had the purtiest little
baby I calculate I'd ever seen in all my born days, I wanted to be
sociable with the little feller so I jist sort of waved my hand at him,
and sed how-d'e-do baby, and that lady just looked et me scornful like
and sed "rubber," wall I wuz never more sot back, I guess you could
have knocked me down with a feather, I thought it was a genuine baby, I
didn't know the little thing was rubber.

Wall I noticed up in one end of the car thar wuz a little round masheen,
and the conductor had a clothes line tied to it, and every time he got
a nickel he'd yank on that clothes line, and fust it sed in and then it
sed out, I couldn't tell what all them little ins and outs meant, but I
jist cum to the conclusion it showed how much the conductor wuz in and
the company wuz out.

Wall I got to talkin' to that feller on the front end of the car, and he
wuz a purty nice sort of a feller, he showed me how every thing worked
and told me all about it, wall when I got off I sed--good bye, mister,
hope I'll see you agin some time, and he sed, "oh, I'll run across you
one of these days," I told him by gosh he wouldn't run across me if I
seen him a comin'.



My Fust Pair of Copper Toed Boots


     THAR'S a feelin' of pleasure, mixed in with some pain,

     That over my memory scoots,

     When I think of my boyhood days once again

     And my fust pair of copper toed boots.

     How our folks stood around when I fust tried them on,

     And bravely marched out on the floor,

     And father remarked "thar a mighty good fit

     And the best to be had at the store."

     That night, I remember, I took them to bed,

     With the rest of us little galoots,

     And among other things in my prars which I sed

     Wuz a reference to copper toed boots.

     And then in the mornin' the fust one on hand

     Wuz me and my new acquisition,

     And thar wuzn't a spot in the house that I missed,

     From the garret clar down to the kitchen.

     Then with feelin's expandin', and huntin' fer room,

     I concluded I'd help do the chores;

     Fer I felt as though somethin' wuz goin' to bust

     If I didn't git right out of doors.

     But those boots they were new, and the ice it wuz slick,

     And I couldn't get one way or tother,

     And I jist had to stand right there in one spot

     And holler like thunder fer mother.

     But trouble's a blessing sometimes in disguise

     Fer I larned right thar on the spot,

     That the best sort of knowledge to hav in this world

     Is that by experience taught.

     So though many years have since passed away,

     And I've ventured on various routes,

     I'm still tryin' things jist as risky today

     As my fust pair of copper toed boots.



Uncle Josh in Police Court

I NEVER wuz in a town in my life what had as many cort houses in it as
New York has got. It jist seemed to me like every judge in New York had
a cort house of his own, and most of them cort houses seemed to be along
side of some markit house. Thar wuz the Jefferson Markit Cort, and the
Essicks Markit Cort, and several other corts and markits, and markits
and corts, I can't remember now. Wall, I used to be Jestice of the Peece
down home at Punkin Center, and I wuz a little anxious to see how they
handled law and jestice in New York City, so one mornin' I went down to
one of them cort houses, and thar wuz more different kinds of
people in thar than I ever seen afore. Thar wuz all kinds of
nationalitys--Norweegans, Germans, Sweeds, Hebrews, and Skandynavians,
Irish and colored folks, old and young, dirty and clean, good, bad and
worse. The Judge, he wuz a sottin' up on the bench, and a sayin,: "Ten
days; ten dollars; Geery society; foundlin' asylum; case dismissed;
bring in the next prisoner," and the Lord only knows what else. Wall,
some of the cases they tried in that cort house made me snicker right
out loud. They brought in a little Irish feller, and the Judge sed:
"Prisoner, what is your name?" And the little Irish feller sed: "Judge,
your honor, my name is McGiness, Patrick McGiness." And the Judge sed:
"Mr. McGiness, what is your occupation?" And the little Irish feller
sed: "Judge, your honor, I am a sailor." The Judge sed: "Mr. McGiness,
you don't look to me as though you ever saw a ship in all your life."
And the little Irish feller sed: "Wall Judge, your honor, if I never saw
a ship in me life, do you think I cum over from Ireland in a wagon?" The
Judge sed: "Case dismissed. Bring in the next prisoner."

Wall, the next prisoner what they brought in had sort of an impediment
in his talk, and the way he stuttered jist beat all. The Judge sed:
"Prisoner, what is your name?" And the prisoner sed: "Jd-Jd-J-J-Judge,
yr-yr-yo-yo-your h-h-h-hon-hon-honor, m-mm-my-my n-n-na-na-name
is-is-is----." The Judge sed: "Never mind, that will do. Officer, what
is this prisoner charged with?" And the officer sed: "Judge, your honor,
the way he talks sounds to me like he might be charged with sody water."
Gosh, I got to laffin' so I had to git right out of the cort house.

It sort of made me think of a law soot we had down hum when Jim Lawson
wuz Jestice of the Peece. You see it wuz like this: One spring Si
Pettingill wuz goin' out to Mizoori to be gone 'bout a year, and he'd
sold off 'bout all his things 'cept one cow, and he didn't want to part
with the cow, 'cause she wuz a mighty good milker, so he struck a bargin
with Lige Willet. Lige wuz to keep the cow, paster and feed her, and
generally take keer on her fer the milk she giv. Wall, finally Si cum
hum, and he went to Lige's place one day and sed: "Wall, Lige, I've cum
over to git my cow." And Lige sed: "Cum after your cow? Wall, if you've
got any cow round here I'll be durned if I know it." Si sed: "Wall,
Lige, I left my cow with you." And Lige sed: "Wall, that's a year ago,
and she's et her head off two or three times since then." So Si sed:
"Wall, Lige, you've had her milk fer her keep." And Lige sed: "Milk be
durned, she went dry three weeks after you left, and she ain't give any
milk since, and near as I can figger it out, seems to me as how I've
pestered her and fed her all this time, she's my cow." Si sed: "No,
Lige, that wa'nt the bargin." But Lige sed: "Bargin or no bargin, I've
got her, and seein' as how posession is 'bout nine points in the law,
I'm goin' to keep her."

So they went to law about it, and all Punkin Centre turned out to heer
the trial. Wall, after Jim Lawson had heered both sides of the case, he
sed: "The Cort is compelled, from the evidence sot forth in this case,
to find for the plaintiff, the aforesaid Silas Pettingill, as agin' the
defendant, the aforesaid Elijah Willet. We find from the evidence sot
forth that the cow critter in question is a valuable critter, and wuth
more 'n a year's paster and keep, and, tharfore, it is the verdict of
this cort that the aforesaid defendant, Elijah Willet, shall keep the
cow two weeks longer, and then she is hisn."



Uncle Josh at Coney Island

I'D heerd tell a whole lot at various times 'bout that place what they
call Coney Iland, and while I wuz down In New York, I jist made up my
mind I wuz a goin' to see it, so one day I got on one of them keers
what goes across the Brooklyn bridge, and I started out for Coney Iland.
Settin' right along side of me in the keer wuz an old lady, and she
seemed sort of figity 'bout somethin' or other, and finaly she sed to
me "mister, do these cars stop when we git on the other side of the
bridge?" I sed, wall now if they don't you'll git the durndest bump you
ever got in your life.

Wall we got on the other side, and I got on one of them tra-la-lu cars
what goes down to Coney Iland. I give the car feller a dollar, and he
put it in his pockit jist the same as if it belonged to him. Wall, when
I wuz gittin' purty near thar I sed, Mister, don't I git any change? He
sed, "didn't you see that sign on the car?" I sed, no sir. Wall he sez
"you better go out and look at it."

Wall I went out and looked at it, and that settled it. It sed "This car
goes to Coney Iland without change." Guess it did; I'll be durned if I
got any.

Wall we got down thar, and I must say of all the pandemonium and hubbub
I ever heered in my life, Coney Iland beats it all. Bout the fust thing
I seen thar wuz a place what they called "Shoot the Shoots." It looked
like a big hoss troff stood on end, one end in a duck pond and tother
end up in the air, and they would haul a boat up to the top and all
git in and then cum scootin' down the hoss troff into the pond. Wall I
alowed that ud be right smart fun, so I got into one of the boats along
with a lot of other folks I never seed afore and don't keer if I never
see agin. They yanked us up to the top of that troff and then turned us
loose, and I jist felt as though the whole earth had run off and left
us. We went down that troff lickety split, and a woman what wuz settin'
alongside of me, got skeered and grabbed me round the neck; and I sed,
you let go of me you brazen female critter. But she jist hung on and
hollered to beat thunder, and everybody wuz a yellin' all to onct, and
that durned boat wuz a goin' faster'n greased lightnin' and I had one
hand on my pockit book and tother on my hat, and we went kerslap dab
into that duck pond, and the durned boat upsot and we went into the
water, and that durned female critter hung onto me and hollered "save
me, I'm jist a drownin'." Wall the water wasn't very deep and I jist
started to wade out when along cum another boat and run over us, and
under we went ker-souse. Wall I managed to get out to the bank, and that
female woman sed I was a base vilian to not rescue a lady from a watery
grave. And I jist told her if she had kept her mouth shet she wouldn't
hav swallered so much of the pond.

Wall they had one place what they called the Middle Way Plesumps, and
another place what they called The Streets of Caro, and they had a lot
of shows a goin' on along thar. Wall I went into one of 'em and sot
down, and I guess if they hadn't of shet up the show I'd a bin sottin'
thar yet. I purty near busted my buttins a laffin'. They had a lot of
gals a dancin' some kind of a dance; I don't know what they called it,
but it sooted me fust rate. When I got home, the more I thought about it
the more I made up my mind I'd learn that dance. Wall I went out in the
corn field whar none of the neighbors could see me, and I'll be durned
if I didn't knock down about four akers of corn, but I never got that
dance right. I wuz the talk of the whole community; mother didn't speak
to me fer about a week, and Aunt Nancy Smith sed I wuz a burnin' shame
and a disgrace to the village, but I notice Nancy has asked me a good
many questions about jist how it was, and I wouldn't wonder if we didn't
find Nancy out in the cornfield one of these days.



Uncle Josh at the Opera

WALL, I sed to mother when I left hum, now mother, when I git down to
New York City I'm goin' to see a regular first-class theater. We never
had many theater doin's down our way. Wall, thar wuz a theater troop
cum to Punkin Centre along last summer, but we couldn't let 'em hav the
Opery House to show in 'cause it wuz summer time and the Opery House wuz
full of hay, and we couldn't let 'em hav it 'cause we hadn't any place
to put the hay. An then about a year and a half ago thar wuz a troop cum
along that wuz somethin' about Uncle Tom's home; they left a good many
of their things behind 'em when they went away. Ezra Hoskins he got one
of the mules, and he tried to hitch it up one day; Doctor says he thinks
Ezra will be around in about six weeks. I traded one of the dogs to
Ruben Hendricks fer a shot gun; Rube cum over t'other day, borrowed the
gun and shot the dog.

Wall, I got into one of your theaters here, got sot down and wuz lookin'
at it; and it wuz a mighty fine lookin' pictur with a lot of lights
shinin' on it, and I wuz enjoyin' it fust rate, when a lot of fellers
cum out with horns and fiddles, and they all started in to fiddlin' and
tootin', end all to once they pulled the theatre up, and thar wuz a lot
of folks having a regular family quarrel. I knowed that wasn't any of
my business, and I sort of felt uneasy like; but none of the rest of
the folks seemed to mind it any, so I calculated I'd see how it cum out,
though my hands sort of itched to get hold of one feller, 'cause I could
see if he would jest go 'way and tend to his own business thar wouldn't
be any quarrel. Wall, jest then a young feller handed me a piece of
paper what told all about the theater doin's, and I got to lookin' at
that and I noticed on it whar it sed thar wuz five years took place
'tween the fust part and the second part. I knowed durned well I
wouldn't have time to wait and see the second part, so I got up and went
out. Wall, them theater doin's jest put me in mind of somethin' what
happened down hum on the last day of school. You see the school teacher
got all the big boys and the big girls, and the boys they read essays
and the girls recited poetry. One of the Skinner girls recited a piece
that sooted me fust rate. Neer as I kin remember it went somethin' like
this:

     How nice to hear the bumble-bee
         When you go out a fishin',
     But if you happen to sot down on him,
         He'll spoil your disposition.


I liked that; thar wuz somethin' so touchin' about it. Then the school
teacher he got all the girls in the 'stronomy class and he dressed
them up to represent the different kinds of planits. He had one girl to
represent the sun--she wuz red-headed; and another one to represent the
moon, and another one fer Mars, and another one fer Jerupetir, and it
looked mighty fine, and everythin' wuz a gettin' along fust rate 'til
old Jim Lawson 'lowed he could make an improvement on it; so he went out
and got a colord girl, and he wanted to sot her between the sun and the
moon and make an eklips. And as usual he busted up the whole doin's.



Uncle Josh at Delmonico's

I USED to hear the summer boarders tell a whole lot about a place here
in New York kept by Mr. Delmonico. Thar's bin about ten thousand summer
boarders down to Punkin Centre one time and another, and I guess I've
carried the bundles and stood the grumblin' from about all of them; and
when anyone of 'em would find fault with anythin' I used to ast him whar
he boarded at in New York, and they all told me at Mr. Delmonico's;
so I'd cum to the conclusion that Mr. Delmonico must hav a right smart
purty good sized tavern; and I sed to mother--now mother, when I git
down to New York that's whar I'm goin' to board, at Mr. Delmonico's.

Wall, I got a feller to show me whar it wuz, and when I got on the
inside I don't s'pose I wuz ever more sot back in all my life; guess you
could have knocked my eyes off with a club; they stuck out like bumps
on a log. Wall sir, they had flowers and birds everywhere, and trees a
settin' in wash tubs, didn't look to me as though they would stand much
of a gale; and about a hundred and fifty patent wind mills runnin' all
to onct, and out in the woods somewhar they had a band a-playin'. I
couldn't see 'em but I could hear 'em; guess some of 'em wuz a havin'
a dance to settle down their dinner; I couldn't tell whether it was a
society festival or a camp meetin' at feedin' time. Wall, one feller cum
up to me and commenced talkin' some furrin language I didn't understand,
somethin' about bon-sour, mon-sour. I jist made up my mind he wuz one of
them bunco fellers, and I wouldn't talk to him. Then another feller cum
up right smart like and wanted to know if I'd hav my dinner table de
hotel or all over a card, and I told him if it wuz all the same to him
he could bring me my dinner on a plate. Wall, he handed me a programme
of the dinner and I et about half way down it and drank a bottle of
cider pop what he give me, and it got into my head, and I never felt so
durn good in all my life. I got to singin' and I danced Old Dan Tucker
right thar in the dinin' room, and I took a wrestle out of Mr. bon-sour
mon-sour; and jist when I got to enjoyin' myself right good, they called
in a lot of constables, and it cost me sixteen dollars and forty-five
cents, and then they took me out ridin' in a little blue wagon with a
bell on it, and they kept ringin' the bell every foot of the way to let
folks know I wuz one of Mr. Delmonico's boarders.



It is Fall

     THE days are gettin' shorter, and
     the summer birds are leaving,

     The wind sighs in the tree tops,
     as though all nature was grieving;

     The leaves they drop in showers, there's a
     blue haze over all,

     And a feller is reminded that once again it's
     Fall.


     It is a glorious season, the crops most gathered
     in,

     The wheat is in the granary and the oats are
     in the bin;

     A feller jest feels splendid, right in harmony
     with all,

     The old cider mill a-humin', 'gosh, I know
     it's Fall.


     I hear the Bob White whistlin' down by the
     water mill,

     While dressed in gorgeous colors is each
     valley, knoll and hill;

     The cows they are a-lowing, as they slowly
     wander home,

     And the hives are just a-bustin' with the
     honey in the comb.


     Soon be time for huskin' parties, or an apple
     paring bee,

     And the signs of peace and plenty are just
     splendid for to see;

     The flowers they are drooping, soon there
     won't be none at all,

     Old Jack Frost has nipped them, and by that
     I know it's Fall.


     The muskrat has built himself a house down
     by the old mill pond,

     The squirrels are laying up their store from
     the chestnut trees beyond;

     While walking through the orchard I can
     hear the ripe fruit fall;

     There's an air of quiet comfort that only
     comes with Fall.


     The wind is cool and bracing, and it makes
     you feel first-rate,

     And there's work to keep you going from
     early until late;

     So you feel like giving praises unto Him
     who doeth all,

     Nature heaps her blessings on you at this
     season, and it's Fall.


     The nights are getting frosty and the fire
     feels pretty good,

     I like to see the flames creep up among the
     burning wood;

     Away across the hilltops I can hear the hoot
     owl call,

     He is looking for his supper, I guess he
     knows its Fall.


     And though the year is getting old and the
     trees will soon be bare,

     There's a satisfactory feeling of enough and
     some to spare;

     For there's still some poor and needy who
     for our help do call,

     So we'll share with them our blessings and
     be thankful that it's Fall.



Si Pettingill's Brooms

WALL, one day jist shortly after sap season wuz over, we wuz all sottin'
round Ezra Hoskins's store, talkin' on things in general, when up drove
Si Pettingill with a load of brooms. Wall, we all took a long breath,
and got ready to see some as tall bargainin' as wuz ever done in Punkin
Centre. 'Cause Si, he could see a bargain through a six-inch plank on
a dark night, and Ezra could hear a dollar bill rattle in a bag of
feathers a mile off, and we all felt mighty sartin suthin' wuz a goin'
to happen. Wall, Si, he sort er stood 'round, didn't say much, and Ezra
got most uncommonly busy--he had more business than a town marshal on
circus day.

Wall, after he had sold Aunt Nancy Smith three yards of caliker, and
Ruben Hendricks a jack-knife, and swapped Jim Lawson a plug of tobacker
fer a muskrat hide, he sed: "How's things over your way, Si?" Si
remarked: "things wuz 'bout as usual, only the water had bin most
uncommon high, White Fork had busted loose and overflowed everything,
Sprosby's mill wuz washed out, and Lige Willits's paster wuz all under
water, which made it purty hard on the cows, and Lige had to strain the
milk two or three times to git the minnews out of it. Whitaker's young
'uns wuz all havin' measles to onct, and thar wuz a revival goin' on
at the Red Top Baptist church, and most every one had got religion, and
things wuz a runnin' 'long 'bout as usual."

Deacon Witherspoon sed: "Did you git religion, Si?" Si sed: "No, Deacon;
I got baptized, but it didn't take--calculated I might as well have it
done while thar wuz plenty of water."

"Thought I'd cum over today, Ezra; I've got some brooms I'd like to sell
ye." Ezra sed: "Bring 'em in, Si, spring house cleanin' is comin' on and
I'll most likely need right smart of brooms, so jist bring 'em in." Si
sed: "Wall, Ezra, don't see as thar's any need to crowd the mourners,
can't we dicker on it a little bit; I want cash fer these brooms, Ezra,
I don't want any store trade fer 'em." Ezra sed: "Wall, I don't know
'bout that, Si; seems to me that's a gray hoss of another color, I
always gin ye store trade fer your eggs, don't I?" Si sed: "Y-a-s--, and
that's a gray hoss of another color; ye never seen a hen lay brooms,
did ye? Brooms is sort of article of commerce, Ezra, and I want cash fer
'em." Wall, Ezra, he looked 'round the store and thot fer a spell, and
then he sed: "Tell ye what I'll do, Si; I'll gin ye half cash and the
other half trade, how'll that be?" Si sed: "Guess that'll be all right,
Ezra. Whar will I put the brooms?" Ezra sed: "Put them in the back end
of the store, Si, and stack 'em up good; I hadn't got much room, and
I've got a lot of things comin' in from Boston and New York." Wall,
after Si had the brooms all in, he sed: "Wall, thar they be, five dozen
on 'em." Ezra sed: "Sure thar's five dozen?" Si sed: "Yas; counted 'em
on the wagon, counted 'em off agin, and counted 'em when I made 'em." So
Ezra sed: "Wall, here's your money; now what do you want in trade?"
Si looked 'round fer a spell and sed: "I don't know, Ezra; don't see
anything any of our folks pertickerly stand in need on. If it's all the
same to you, Ezra, I'll take BROOMS?"

Wall, Jim Lawson fell off'n a wash-tub and Ruben Hendricks cut his
thumb with his new jack-knife, and Deacon Witherspoon sed: "No, Si, that
baptizin' didn't take." And Ezra--wall, it wan't his say.


     Suspicion--Consists mainly of thinking what we would do if
     we wuz in the other feller's place.
     --Punkin Centre Philosophy.



Uncle Josh Plays Golf

WALL, about two weeks ago the boys sed to me, Uncle we'd like to hav
you cum out and play a game of golf. Wall, they took me out behind the
woodshed whar mother couldn't see us and them durned boys dressed your
uncle up in the dogondest suit of clothes I ever had on in my life. I
had on a pair of socks that had more different colors in 'em than in
Joseph's coat. I looked like a cross atween a monkey and a cirkus rider,
and a-goin' across the medder our turkey gobbler took after me and I had
an awful time with that fool bird. I calculate as how I'll git even with
him 'bout Thanksgiving time.

Wall, the boys took me into the paster, and they had it all dug up into
what they called a "T," and they had a wheelbarrer full of little Injun
war clubs. They called one a nibbler, and another a brassie, and a lot
of other fool names I never heerd afore, and can't remember now. Then
they brought out a little wooden ball 'bout as big as a hen's egg, and
they stuck it up on a little hunk of mud. Then they told me to take one
of them thar war clubs and stand alongside of the ball and hit it. Wall,
I jist peeled off my coat and got a good holt on that war club and I
jist whaled away at that durned little ball, and by gum I missed it, and
the boys all commenced to holler "foozle."

Wall, I got a little bit riled and I whaled away at it again, and I hit
it right whar I missed it the fust time, and I whirled round and sot
down so durned hard I sot four back teeth to akin, and I pawed round in
the air and knocked a lot of it out of place. I hit myself on the shin
and on the pet corn at the same time, and them durned boys wuz jist
a-rollin' round on the ground and a-hollerin' like Injuns. Wall, I begun
to git madder 'n a wet hen, and I 'lowed I'd knock that durned little
ball way over into the next county. So I rolled up my sleeves and spit
on my hands and got a good holt on that war club and I whaled away at
that little ball agin, and by chowder I hit it. I knocked it clar over
into Deacon Witherspoon's paster, and hit his old muley cow, and she got
skeered and run away, jumped the fence and went down the road, and the
durned fool never stopped a-runnin' 'til she went slap dab into Ezra
Hoskins' grocery store, upsot four gallons of apple butter into a keg of
soft soap, and sot one foot into a tub of mackral, and t'other foot into
a box of winder glass, and knocked over Jim Lawson who wuz sottin' on a
cracker barrel, and broke his durned old wooden leg, and then she went
right out through the winder and skeered Si Pettingill's hosses that wuz
a standin' thar, and they run away and smashed his wagon into kindlin'
wood' and Silas has sued me fer damages, and mother won't speak to me,
and Jim he wants me to buy him a new wooden leg, and the neighbors all
say as how I ought to be put away some place fer safe keepin', and Aunt
Nancy Smith got so excited she lost her glass eye and didn't find it
for three or four days, and when she did git it the boys wuz a-playin'
marbles with it and it wuz all full of gaps, and Jim Lawson he trimmed
it up on the grindstane and it don't fit Nancy any more, and she has to
sort of put it in with cotton round it to bold it, and the cotton works
out at the corners and skeers the children and every time I see Nancy
that durned eye seems to look at me sort of reproachful like, and all
I know about playin' golf is, the feller what knocks the ball so durned
far you can't find it or whar it does the most damage, wins the game.



Jim Lawson's Hogs

WHEN it cum to raisin' hogs, I don't s'pose thar wuz ever enybody in
Punkin Centre that had quite so much trouble as Jim Lawson. One fall Jim
had a right likely bunch of shoats, but somehow or other he couldn't git
'em fat, it jist seemed like the more he fed 'em the poorer they got,
and Jim he wuz jist about worried clar down to a shadder. He kept givin'
them hogs medecin' and feedin' of 'em everything he could think on, but
it wan't no use; every day or so one of 'em would lay down and die. All
the neighbors would cum and lean over the fence, and talk to Jim, and
give him advice, but somehow them hogs jist kept on a-dyin', and nobody
could see what wuz alin' of 'em, 'til one day Jim cum over to Ezra
Hoskins's store, and he looked as tickled as though he'd found a dollar,
and he sed: "I want you all to cum over to my place; I've found out
what's alin' them hogs." Deacon Witherspoon sed: "Wall, what is it,
Jim?" and Jim sed: "Wall, you see the ground over in my hog lot is purty
soft, and when it rains it gits right smart muddy, and the mud gits on
them hogs' tails, and that mud it gits more mud, and finally they git
so much mud on their tails that it draws their skin so tight that they
can't shet their eyes, and them hogs air jist a-dyin' fer the want of
sleep."

Wall, the followin' winter Jim had his hogs all fat and ready fer
markit, and he jist conclooded he'd drive 'em to Concord. Wall, he
started out, and when he'd drov 'em two whole days he met old Jabez
Whitaker. Jabe sed: "Whar you goin' with your hogs, Jim?" Jim sed:
"Goin' to Concord, Jabez." Jabez sed "Wall, now, I want to know. That's
what cums from not readin' the papers. Why, Jim, they've got more hogs
up Concord way than they know what to do with. Lige Willit took his hogs
up thar, and Eben Sprosby took his'n, and Concord's jist chuck full of
hogs, and so consequintly the markit's away down in Concord. But the
paper sez it's good in Manchester, and you'd make money, Jim, by goin'
thar." So Jim shifted his chew of terbacker over to the northeast, and
sed: "Wall, boys, I calculate we'll hav to go to Manchester, so jist
head the hogs off and turn them round." Wall, they druv them hogs 'bout
three days towards Manchester, and jist 'bout when they wuz gittin'
thar, along cum Caleb Skinner, and he sed: "Wall, thunder and
fish-hooks, whar be you a-goin', Jim." And Jim sed: "As near as he could
figure it out from his present bearin's, he wuz most likely goin' to
Manchester." And Caleb sed: "What fer?" Jim sed: "Didn't know exactly
what all he wuz goin' fer, but if he ever got thar, he'd most likely
sell his hogs." And Caleb sed: "Wall, your goin' to the wrong town.
Manchester has got a quarantine agin' any more hogs comin' in, 'cos what
hogs they is thar has all got colery, and you'd better go to Concord.
Besides the paper says markit is purty well up in Concord." Wall, Jim
sed a good many things that wouldn't sound good at a prayer meetin',
and then he sed: "Wall, boys, gess we'll start back fer Concord, so
turn round." Wall, they went along 'bout two days, and them poor hogs
couldn't stand it no longer 'cos they wuz jist clean tuckered out, so
Jim had to sell 'em to Josiah Martin fer what he could git, 'cos it wuz
jist right at Josiah's place whar the hogs gin out, and thar wan't no
way of moovin' them from thar fer some time to cum.

Wall, along 'bout two weeks after that we wuz all over to Ezra Hoskins's
store, and some one sed: "Jim, you didn't do very well with your hogs
this year, did you?" And Jim sed: "Oh, I don't know; that's jist owin'
to how you look at it. I never caught up to that blamed markit, but I
had the society of the hogs fer two weeks."



Uncle Josh and the Lightning Rod Agent

WALL I s'pose I git buncode offener than any feller what ever lived in
Punkin Centre. A short time ago we wanted to build a new town hall, and
calculated we'd have a brick building; and some one sed, "Wall now, if
you'll jist wait 'til Josh Weathersby makes another trip or two down to
New York thar'll be gold bricks enuff a-layin' 'round Punkin Centre to
build a new town hall."

Wall, one day last summer I wuz a sottin' out on my back porch, when
along cum one of them thar lightning rod agents. Wall, he jist cum right
up and commenced a-talkin' at me jist as if he'd bin the town marshal
or a tax assessor, or like he'd known me all his life. He sed, "My dear
sir, I am astonished at you. I've looked over your entire premises and
I find you haven't got a lightning rod on any buildin' that you possess.
Why, my dear sir, don't you know you are flyin' right in the face of
Providence? Don't you know that lightning may strike at any time and
demolish everything within the sound of my voice? Don't you know you are
criminally negligent? Why, my dear sir, I am astonished to think that a
man of your jedgment and good common sense should allow yourself to----"
Wall, about that time I'd got my breath and wits at the same time, and I
sed, "Now hold on, gosh durn ye, what hav ye got to sell anyhow?" Wall,
he told me he had some lightnin' rods, and he brought out a little
masheen and told me to take hold of the handles and he'd show me what a
powerful thing 'lectricity wuz. Wall, I took hold of them handles and he
turned on a crank, and that durned masheen jist made me dance all over
the porch, and it wouldn't let go. Gee whiz, I felt as though I'd fell
in a yeller jacket's nest, and about four thousand of 'em wuz a stingin'
me all to onct. Wall, I told him I guessed he could put up a lightning
rod or two, seein' as how I didn't hav any. Wall, he went to work and
I went over to Ezra Hoskins', and when I got back home my place wuz a
sight to behold; it looked like a harrer turned upside down. Thar wuz
seven lightning rods on the barn, one on the hen house, one on the corn
crib, one on the smoke house, two on the granery, three on the kitchen,
six on my house, and one on the crab apple tree, and when I got thar
that durned fool had the old muley cow cornered up a-tryin' to put a
lightnin' rod on her. Wall, I paid him fer what he had done, and thanked
the Lord he hadn't done any more. Wall, he got me to sine a paper
what sed he had done a good job, and he sed he had to show that to the
company.

Wall, about a week after that we had a thunder storm, and I think the
lightnin' struck everything on the place except the spring wagon and old
muley cow, and they didn't have any lightnin' rod on 'em. Wall I thought
I wuz a-gittin' off mighty lucky til next day, when along cum a feller
with that paper what I had sined, and durned if it wan't a note fer six
hundred dollars, and by gosh if I didn't hav to pay it!

Buncode agin, by chowder!


     Energy--There is a lot of energy in this life that wasted. I
     notis that the man who has a good strong pipe most usually
     rides in front.--Punkin Centre Philosophy.



A Meeting of the Annanias Club

WALL, sometimes a lot of us old codgers used to git down to Ezra
Hoskins' grossery store and we'd sot 'round and chaw terbacker and
whittle sticks and eat crackers and cheese and proons and anything Ezra
happened to have layin' 'round loos, and then we'd git to spinnin' yarns
that would jist about put Annanias and Safiry right out of business
if they wuz here now. Wall, one afternoon we wuz all settin' 'round
spinnin' yarns when Deacon Witherspoon sed that eckos wuz mighty
peculiar things, cos down whar he wuz born and raised thar wuz a passell
of hills cum together and you couldn't git out thar and talk louder 'n
a whisper on account of the ecko. But one day a summer boarder what wuz
thar remarked as how he wasn't afraid to talk right out in meetin' in
front of any old lot of hills what wuz ever created; so he went out and
hollered jist as loud as he could holler, and he started a ecko a-goin'
and it flew up agin one hill and bounced off onto another one and
gittin' bigger and louder all the time 'til it got back whar it started
from and hit a stone quarry and knocked off a piece of stone and hit
that feller in the head, and he didn't cum too fer over three hours.
Wall, we thought that wuz purty good fer a Deacon. Wall, none of us sed
anything fer a right smart spell and then Si Pettingill remarked "he
didn't know anything about eckos, but he calculated he'd seen some
mighty peculiar things; sed he guessed he'd seen it rain 'bout as hard
as anybody ever seen it rain." Someone sed, "Wall, Si, how hard did you
ever see it rain?" and he sed, "Wall one day last summer down our way it
got to rainin' and it rained so hard that the drops jist rubbed together
comin' down, which made them so allfired hot that they turned into
steam; why, it rained so gosh dinged hard, thar wuz a cider bar'l layin'
out in the yard that had both heads out'n it and the bung hole up; wall,
it rained so hard into that bung hole that the water couldn't run out of
both ends of the bar'l fast enough, and it swelled up and busted." Wall,
we all took a fresh chew of terbacker and nudged each other; and Ezra
Hoskins sed he didn't remember as how he'd ever seen it rain quite so
hard as that, but he'd seen some mighty dry weather; he sed one time
when he wuz out in Kansas it got so tarnation dry that fish a-swimmin'
up the river left a cloud of dust behind them. And hot, too; why, it got
so allfired hot that one day he tied his mule to a pen of popcorn out
behind the barn, and it got so hot that the corn got to poppin' and
flyin' 'round that old mule's ears and he thought it wuz snow and laid
down and froze to death. Wall, about that time old Jim Lawson commenced
to show signs of uneasiness, and someone sed, "What is it, Jim?" and
Jim remarked, as he shifted his terbacker and cut a sliver off from his
wooden leg, "I wuz a-thinkin' about a cold spell we had one winter
when we wuz a-livin' down Nantucket way. It wuz hog killin' time, if I
remember right; anyhow, we had a kittle of bilin' water sottin' on the
fire, and we sot it out doors to cool off a little, and that water froze
so durned quick that the ice wuz hot."

Ezra sed, "Guess its 'bout shettin' up time."



Jim Lawson's Hoss Trade

SPEAKIN' of hoss tradin', now Jim Lawson was calculated to be about the
best hoss trader in Punkin Centre. Yes, Jim he could sot up on a fence,
chew terbacker, whittle a stick, and jist about swap ye outen your
eye-teeth, if you'd listen to him.

Yas, Jim wuz some punkins on a swap; Jim 'd swap anything he had fer
anything he didn't want, jist to be swappin'.

Wall, a gypsy cum along one day and tackled Jim fer a swap; and about
that time Jim he'd got hold of a critter that had more cussedness in him
to the squar inch than any critter we'd ever sot eyes on, 'cept a cirkus
mule that Ezra Hoskins owned.

Wall, the gypsy traded Jim a mighty fine lookin' critter, and we all
calculated that Jim had right smart of a bargain, 'til one day Jim went
to ride him, 'n he found out if he fetched the peskey critter on the
sides he'd squat right down. Wall, Jim knowed if he didn't git rid of
that hoss, his reputation as a hoss trader wuz forever gone; so he went
over in t'other township to see old Deacon Witherspoon. You see the
Deacon he wuz mighty fond of goin' a-huntin', and as he had rheumatiz
purty bad it wuz sort of hard fer him to git 'round, so he had to do
his huntin' on hoss back. Wall, Jim didn't say much to fuss, just kinder
hinted around that huntin' was a-goin' to be mighty good this fall, cos
he'd seen one or two flocks of partridges over back of Sprosby's medder,
and some right smart of quail over by Buttermilk ford, and finally he
sed: "Deacon, I've got a hoss you ought to hev; he's a setter." Wall,
you could hav knocked the Deacon's eyes off with a club, they stuck out
like bumps on a log, and he sed, "Why, Jim, I never heered tell of sech
a thing in all my life; the idea of a horse being a setter!" Jim
sed, "Yes, Deacon, he's bin trained to set for all kinds of game. I
calculated as how I'd git a shotgun this fall and do right smart of
hunting." So the Deacon sed, "Wall, now, I want to know; bring him over,
Jim, I'd like to see him."

Wall, Jim took the hoss over, and all Punkin Centre jest sort of held
its breath to see how it would cum out.

Jim and the Deacon went a-hunting, and as they wuz a-ridin' along
through the timber down by Ruben Hendrick's paster, Jim keepin' his eyes
peeled and not sayin' much, when all to onct he seen a rabbit settin'
in a brush heap, and he jist tetched the old hoss on the sides and he
squatted right down. The Deacon sed, "Why, what's the matter of your
hoss, Jim, look what he be a doin'." Jim sed, "'Sh, Deacon, don't you
see that rabbit over thar in the brush heap? the old hoss is a-settin'
of him." Deacon sed, "Wall, now that's the most remarkable thing I ever
seen in my life; how'd you like to trade, Jim?" Jim sed, "Wall, Deacon,
I hadn't calculated on disposin' of the hoss, but I ain't much of a hand
at huntin', and seein' as how it's you, if you want him I'll trade you,
Deacon, fifty dollars to boot."

Wall, the Deacon had a mighty fine animal, but he sed, "I'll trade you,
Jim." They traded hosses, and when they wuz a-comin' home they had to
ford the crick what runs back of Punkin Centre, and when the old hoss
wuz a-wadin' through the water, Deacon went to pull his feet up to keep
them from gettin' wet, and he tetched the old boss on the sides and he
squatted right down in the crick. Deacon sed, "Now look a-here, Jim,
what's the matter with this ungodly brute, he ain't a-settin' now be
he?" Jim sed, "Yes he is, Deacon, he sees fish in the water; tell you
he's trained to set fer suckers same as fer rabbits, Deacon; oh, he's
had a thorough eddication."


     Paradox--I can't exactly describe it, but it looks to me
     like a tramp who once told me how to be successful in life.
     --Punkin Centre Philosophy.



A Meeting of the School Directors

WE had bin havin' a good deal of argufyin' about the school house. You
see it had got to be a sort of a tumble-down ram-shackle sort of an
affair, and when it wuz bad weather we couldn't have school in it,
'cause you might jist as well be a sittin' under a siv when it rained as
to be a settin' in that school house. Wall, it wuz a-cummin' along the
fall term, and we wanted our boys and girls to git all the schoolin'
an' eddication what they could; so we called a meetin' of the school
directors to devise ways and means of buildin' a new school-house
without stoppin' school. Wall, we all met down at the school-house; thar
wuz Deacon Witherspoon, Ezra Hoskins, Ruben Hendricks, Si Pettingill,
old Jim Lawson and me. Before we commenced debatin' and argufyin' on the
matter, Si Pettingill alowed he'd sing a song. Wall, he got up and sang
the durndest old-fashioned song I calculate I ever heered in my life;
went somethin' like this:

     Oh a frog went a courtin' and he did ride,
                                       oohoo--oohoo.
     Oh a frog went a courtin' and he did ride,
     With a sword and a pistol by his side,
                                       oohoo--oohoo.
     He rode till he came to the mouse's door,
                                       oohoo--oohoo,
     He rode till he came to the mouse's door,
     And there he knelt upon the floor,
                                       oohoo--oohoo.
     He took Miss Mousey on his knee,
                                       oohoo--oohoo.
     He took Miss Mousey on his knee,
     Said he, Missy Mouse will you marry me?
                                       oohoo--oohoo.


Wall, we headed Si off right thar; I guess if we hadn't he'd bin singin'
about that frog and the mouse yet. Wall, jist then old Jim Lawson he
sed, "I make a moshen;" and Deacon Witherspoon, he wuz chairman, and he
sed, "Now look here, young feller, don't you make any moshens at me or
durned if I don't git down thar and flop you in about a minnit. You take
your feet off'n that desk and that corncob pipe out'n your mouth, and
conduct yourself with dignity and decorum, and address the chairman of
this yere meetin' in a manner benttin' to his station." Wall, Jim he got
right smart riled over the matter, and he sed, "Wall, you gosh durned
old gospel pirate, I want you to understand that I'm a member of this
body, a citizen, a taxpayer and a honorably discharged servant of the
government, and I make a moshen that we build a new school-house out of
the bricks of the old school-house, and I do further offer an amendment
to the original moshen, that we don't tear down the old schoolhouse
until the new one is built."

Wall, Deacon Witherspoon sed, "The gentleman is out of order;" and Jim
sed, "I ain't so durned much out of order but that I kin trim you in
about two shakes of a dead sheep's tail." Wall, before we knowed it,
them two old cusses wuz at it. The Deacon he grabbed Jim and Jim he
grabbed the Deacon, and when we got 'em separated the Deacon he wuz
stuck fast 'tween a desk and the woodbox, and Jim had his wooden leg
through a knot hole in the floor and couldn't get it out, and they've
both gone to law about it. Jim says he's goin' to git out a writ
of corpus cristy fer the Deacon, and the Deacon says he's goin' to
prosecute Jim for bigamy and arson and have him read out of the church.

Wall, we've got the same old schoolhouse.


     Justice--Those who hanker fer it would be generally better
     off if they didn't git it.--Punkin Centre Philosophy.



The Weekly Paper at Punkin Centre

WALL, t'other day, down in New York, I wuz a-walkin' along on that
street what they call the broad way, when I cum to the Herald squar
noospaper buildin', and it wuz all winders and masheenery. Wall, I wuz
jist flobgasted; I jist stood thar lookin' at it. On the front thar
wuz a bell and a couple of fellers standin' along side of it with slege
hammers in their hands, and every onct in a while they would go to
poundin' on that bell, and folks 'd stand 'round and watch 'em do it;
they reminded me of a couple of fellers splittin' rales. And all 'round
the edge of the buildin' they had hoot owls sottin', with electric lites
in their ize, and thar wuz no end to the masheenery in that buildin'. If
anyone hed ever told me thar wuz that much masheenery in the whole world
durned if I'd a-beleeved them; biggest masheen I'd ever seen before
wuz Si Pettingill's new thrashin' masheen. Wall, I jist stood thar
a-watchin' them printin' presses a-runnin'; paper goin' in to one end
and cumin' out at t'other all printed and full of picters and folded up
ready to sell; it jist beat all the way they done it. Wall, we never
had but one paper down home at Punkin Centre; we called it "The Punkin
Centre Weakly Bugle;" old Jim Lawson he wuz editor of it. You see Jim
he wuz sort of a triflin' no 'count old cuss, so to keep him out of
mischief we made him editor. Wall, Jim he had his place up over
Ezra Hoskins' grossery store. He never got any money for the
noospaper--always got paid in produce, and Ezra's store wuz a mighty
good place fer him to take in his subskriptions. Wall, things went along
pretty smooth fer quite a spell 'til one day a feller he cum in and give
Jim a keg of hard cider fer a year's subskription to the noospaper, and
we all calculated right then that somethin' wuz a-goin' to happen;
and sure enough it did. You see 'bout that time Jim had got two
advertisements; one wuz fer Ruben Jackson's resterant and the other wuz
the time table of the Punkin Centre and Paw Paw Valley Railroad. Wall,
Jim he got to drinkin' the hard cider and settin' type at the same time,
and when the paper cum out on Thursday it wuz wuth goin' miles to see.
Neer as I kin remember it sed that: "Ruben Jackson's resterant would
leave the depo every mornin' at eight o'clock fer beefstake and mutton
stews, and would change cars at White River Junkshen for mins and punkin
pise, and cottage puddin' would be a flag stashen fer coffy and do nuts
like mother used to make, and the train wouldn't run on Sundays cos the
stashun agint what done the cookin' would have to run en extra on that
day over the chicken and ham sandwitch divishion."

I believe that wuz the last issu of the Punkin Centre Weakly Bugle.


     Enthusiasm--Sometimes inspired, sometimes acquired,
     sometimes the result of immediate surroundings, and
     sometimes the result of hard cider.--Punkin Centre
     Philosophy.



Uncle Josh at a Camp Meeting

WALL, we've jist bin havin' a camp meeting at Punkin Centre. Yes, fer
several days we wuz purty busy bakin' and cookin and makin' preparations
fer the camp meetin', and some of the committee alowed we ought to have
lemonade fer the Sunday school children. Wall, as we wanted to git it
jist as cheap as possible, we damed up the crick what runs back of the
camp meeting grounds, and put in ten pounds of brown sugar and half a
dozen lemons, and let the Sunday school children drink right out of the
crick, free of charge. Wall, we had right smart difficulty in gittin' a
pulpit fixed up fer the ministers, but finally we sawed down a hemlock
tree and used the stump fer a pulpit. Wall, some of the sarmons preached
at that camp meetin' beat anything I ever heered in my life afore. You
see we'd bin havin' a good many argyments 'bout corporations, monopolies
and trusts, and one minister got up and sed, "Ah, my dear beloved
brethren and sisters, we should not be too severe on the monopolists.
If we read the scripters closely we observe our forefathers wuz all
monopolists. Adam and Eve had a monopoly upon the garden of Eden,
and would have had it 'til this day, no doubt, had not Mother Eve got
squeezed in the apple market. Yea, verily, Lot's wife had a corner
on the salt market. And while Pharoe's daughter was not in the milk
business, yet we observe she took a great proffit out of the water; yea,
verrily." Most on us cum to the conclusion he wuz ridin' on a free pass.

Samantha Hoskins concluded she would have to sing her favorit hymn; it
went something like this:

     "Oh you need not cum in the mornin',
         And neither in the heat of the day;
     But cum along in the evenin', Lord,
         And wash my sins away.

    Chorus--
     Standin' on the walls of Zion,
         Lookin' at my ship cum a sailln' ov{er};
     Standin' on the walls of Zion,
         To see my ship cum in."


Jist about that time Ruben Hendricks skeered a skunk out of a holler
log. Si Pettingill stirred up a hornet's nest, Deacon Witherspoon sot
down in a huckleberry pie and Aunt Nancy Smith got a spider on her, and
she started in to yellin' and jumpin' like she had a fit, and two dogs
got to fitin', and old Jim Lawson he tried to git 'em apart and he
stumped 'round and got his old wooden leg into a post hole and fell
down, and the dogs got on top of him, and you couldn't tell which wuz
Jim nor which wuz dog; and durned if it didn't bust up the camp meetin'.



The Unveiling of the Organ

      IT wuz down in Punkin Centre,
          I believe in eighty-nine,
      We had some doin's at the meetin' house,
          That we thought wuz purty fine;

      It wuz a great occasion,
          The choir, led by Sister Morgan,
      Had called us thar to witness
          The unveilin' of the organ.

      In order fer to git it
          We'd bin savin' here and there,
      Lookin' forward to the time
          When we'd have music fer to spare,
      And as the time it had arrived,
          And the organ had cum, too,
      We had all of us assembled thar
          To hear what the thing could do.

      Wall, it wuz a gorgeous instrument,
          In a handsome walnut case,
      And thar wuz expectation
          Pictured out on every face;
      Then when Deacon Witherspoon
          Had led us all in prayer,
      The congregation all stood up
          And Old Hundred rent the air.

      Jist then the doin's took a turn,
          Though I'm ashamed to say it,
      We found that old Jim Lawson
          Wuz the only one could play it;
      But Jim, the poor old feller,
          Had one besettin' sin,
      A fondness fer hard cider
          Which he'd bin indulgin' in.

      But he sot down at that organ,
          Planked his feet upon the pedals,
      And he showed us he could play it
          Though he hadn't any medals;
      He dwelt upon the treble
          And he flirted with the base,
      He almost made that organ
          Jump right out of its case.

      Wall, the cider got in old Jim's head
          And in his fingers, too,
      So he played some dancin' music
          And old Yankee Doodle Doo;
      He shocked old Deacon Witherspoon
          And scared poor Sister Morgan,
      And jist busted up the meetin'
          At the unveilin' of the organ.



Uncle Josh Plays a Game of Base Ball

I HAD heered a whole lot 'bout them games of foot ball they have in New
York, so while I was thar I jist cum to the conclusion I'd see a game of
it, so went out to one of their city pasters to see a game of foot ball.
Wall now I must say I didn't see much ball playin' of any kind. All I
got to see wuz about fifty or sixty ambulances, and I think about that
many surgons and phisicians. Wall, from what I could see of the game
I calculate they needed all of them. I saw one feller and 'bout fifty
others had him down, and it jist looked as though they wuz all trying
to get a kick at him. They had a half back and a quarter back; I suppose
when they got through with that feller he wuz a hump back. Anyhow, if
that's what they call foot ball playin', your Uncle Josh don't want any
foot ball in his'n.

I never played but one game of ball in my life that I kin remember on,
and don't believe that I ever will forgit that. You see it wuz along
in the spring time of the yeer, and the weather wuz purty warm and
sunshiny, and the boys sed to me, "Uncle, we'd like to have you help us
play a game of base ball." I sed, "Boys, I'm gittin' a little too old
fer those kinds of passtimes, but I'll help you play one game, I'll be
durned if I don't." Wall, we got out in the paster and wuz gittin' ready
to play; we got the bases and bats put around in thar places, and a
buckit of drinkin' water up in the fence corner, whar we could get a
drink when we wanted it. We didn't have any bleachers, but we had thirty
or forty hogs, and they wuz the best rooters you ever seen; jist then I
happened to look around and thar wuz the biggest billy goat I ever saw
in all my life. You ought to seen the boys a-gittin' out of the paster;
I would hav got out too, but I got stuck in the fence. Wall, you ought
to hav seen that billy goat a-gittin' me through the fence. He didn't
git me all the way through, cos I wuz half way through when he got thar;
but he got the last half through. I didn't make any home run, but I wuz
the only feller what had a score of the game; I couldn't see the score,
but I had it. Every time I'd go to sot down I knowed jist exactly how
the game stood.

They hav a good many new fangled games now, but when they git anything
that can beet a game of base ball with a billy goat fer a battery,
durned if I don't want to see it.



The Punkin Centre and Paw Paw Valley Railroad

WONDERS will never cease--we've got a railroad in Punkin Centre now;
oh, we're gittin' to be right smart cityfied. I guess that's about
the crookedest railroad that ever wuz bilt. I think that railroad runs
across itself in one or two places; it runs past one station three
times. It's so durned crooked they hav to burn crooked wood in the
ingine. Wall, the fust ingine they had on the Punkin Centre wuz
a wonderful piece of masheenery. It had a five-foot boiler and a
seven-foot whissel, and every time they blowed the whissel the durned
old ingine would stop.

Wall, we've got the railroad, and we're mighty proud of it; but we had
an awful time a-gittin' it through. You see, most everybody give the
right of way 'cept Ezra Hoskins, and he didn't like to see it go through
his medder field, and it seemed as though they'd hav to go 'round fer
quite a ways, and maybe they wouldn't cum to Punkin Centre at all. Wall,
one mornin' Ezra saw a lot of fellers down in the medder most uncommonly
busy like; so he went down to them and he sed, "Wat be you a-doin'
down here?" And they sed, "Wall, Mr. Hoskins, we're surveyin' fer the
railroad." And Ezra sed, "So we're goin' to hav a railroad, be we? Is it
goin' right through here?" And they sed, "Yes, Mr. Hoskins, that's whar
it's a-goin', right through here." Ezra sed, "Wall, I s'pose you'll have
a right smart of ploughin' and diggin', and you'll jist about plow up
my medder field, won't ye?" They sed, "Yes, Mr. Hoskins, we'll hav to do
some gradin'." Ezra sed, "Wall, now, let me see, is it a-goin' jist
the way you've got that instrument p'inted?" They sed, "Yes, sir, jist
thar." And Ezra sed, "Wall, near as I kin calculate from that, I
should jedge it wuz a-goin' right through my barn." They sed, "Yes, Mr.
Hoskins, we're sorry, but the railroad is a-goin' right through your
barn."

Wall, Ezra didn't say much fer quite a spell, and we all expected thar
would be trouble; but finally he sed, "Wall, I s'pose the community of
Punkin Centre needs a railroad and I hadn't oughter offer any objections
to its goin' through, but I'm goin' to tell ye one thing right now,
afore you go any further. When you git it bilt and a-runnin', you've
got to git a man to cum down here and take keer on it, cos it's a-cumin'
along hayin' and harvestin' time, and I'll be too durned busy to run
down here and open and shet them barn doors every time one of your pesky
old trains wants to go through."


     Love--An indescribable longing, something that existed since
     Mother Eve was in the apple trust, and will exist until the
     end of time. Somethin' that no man has ever yet defined or
     ever will define. A somethin' that is past all description.
     Which will make a hired man fergit to do the chores, and
     will make an old man act boyish, and will make a woman show
     herself to be stronger than the strongest man. Gosh durn it,
     an indescribable somethin' that has never yet bin described.
     --Punkin Centre Philosophy.



Uncle Josh on a Bicycle

A LONG last summer Ruben Hoskins, that is Ezra Hoskins' boy, he cum home
from college and bro't one of them new fangled bisickle masheens hum
with him, and I think ever since that time the whole town of Punkin
Centre has got the bisickle fever. Old Deacon Witherspoon he's bin
a-ridin' a bisickle to Sunday school, and Jim Lawson he couldn't ride
one of them 'cause he's got a wooden leg; but he jist calculated if he
could git it hitched up to the mowin' masheen, he could cut more hay
with it than any man in Punkin Centre. Somebody sed Si Pettingill wuz
tryin' to pick apples with a bisickle.

Wall, all our boys and girls are ridin' bisickles now, and nothin' would
do but I must learn how to ride one of them. Wall, I didn't think very
favorably on it, but in order to keep peace in the family I told them I
would learn. Wall, gee whilikee, by gum. I wish you had bin thar when
I commenced. I took that masheen by the horns and I led it out into the
middle of the road, and I got on it sort of unconcerned like, and then I
got off sort of unconcerned like. Wall, I sot down a minnit to think it
over, and then the trouble commenced. I got on that durned masheen and
it jumped up in the front and kicked up behind, and bucked up in the
middle, and shied and balked and jumped sideways, and carried on worse
'n a couple of steers the fust time they're yoked. Wall, I managed to
hang on fer a spell, and then I went up in the air and cum down all over
that bisickle. I fell on top of it and under it and on both sides of it;
I fell in front of the front wheel and behind the hind wheel at the same
time. Durned if I know how I done it but I did. I run my foot through
the spokes, and put about a hundred and fifty punctures in a hedge
fence, and skeered a hoss and buggy clar off the highway. I done more
different kinds of tumblin' than any cirkus performer I ever seen in
my life, and I made more revolutions in a fifteen-foot circle than
any buzz-saw that ever wuz invented. Wall, I lost the lamp, I lost the
clamp, I lost my patience, I lost my temper, I lost my self-respect,
my last suspender button and my standin' in the community. I broke the
handle bars, I broke the sprockets, I broke the ten commandments, I
broke my New Year's pledge and the law agin loud and abusive language,
and Jim Lawson got so excited he run his wooden leg through a knot-hole
in the porch and couldn't git it out agin. Wall, I'm through with it;
once is enough fer me. You kin all ride your durned old bisickles that
want to, but fer my part I'd jist as soon stand up and walk as to sit
down and walk. No more bisickles fer your Uncle Josh, not if he knows
it, and your Uncle Josh sort of calculates as how he do.


     Notoriety--A next door neighbor to glory, but another way of
     gittin' it.--Punkin Centre Philosophy.



A Baptizin' at the Hickory Corners Church

A LONG about two summers ago we had a baptizin' at the Hickory Corners
Church, and before the baptizin' we had preachin', and before the
preachin' we had Sunday school. Wall now, some of them questions and
answers in that Sunday school jist made me snicker right out loud. You
see, old Deacon Witherspoon wuz a-teachin' the Sunday school class,
and he sed, "Now let me see what little boy can tell me who slew the
Philistines and whar at?" Wall, no one sed anything fer about a minnit,
then a little red-headed feller down at the foot of the class sed,
"Commodore Dewey, at Manila." The Deacon sed, "No, Henry, it wasn't
Commodore Dewey what slew the Philistines, it wuz Sampson." Another
little feller sed, "No, Deacon, I think you've sort of got it mixed up;
he wasn't there; Schley is the feller what done the job, at Santiague."
The Deacon sed, "Now, boys, you've bin readin' too much about them war
doin's in the papers. Now what little boy can tell me what is the first
commandment?" And Ezra Hoskins' boy sed, "Remember the main." Gosh,
I had to go right out of the meetin' house, whar I could have a good
laugh. Wall, I wouldn't have bin down thar in the fust place, or the
second place, fer that matter, if it hadn't bin fer old Jim Lawson.
You see, Jim he's a peculiar old critter. He's got one eye out; lost it
lookin' fer a pension, I believe. Wall, Jim he cum over to my house and
he sed, "Josh, let's you and me go down to the baptizin'." I sed, "What
do you want to go down thar fer, Jim; you can't git any pension thar,
kin ye?" Jim sed, "Wall, you see, Josh, thar wuz a pedler left some hymn
books at my house, and I want to go down thar and see if I can't sell
'em." Wall, we hadn't bin thar more 'n a minnit when Jim he told the
minister he had the hymn books to sell, and the minister sed he'd tell
the congregation all about it. Then Jim he sot right down in the meetin'
house and went to sleep; and then he went to snorin'; you could hear him
clar across a forty acre lot. I wouldn't a-keered a gosh durn, but he
woke me up Wall, about the time the minister wuz a-gittin' through with
his sermon, he sed, "Now all members of the congregation having babies
here to-day and wantin' of them baptized after the sermon is over, bring
them up to the pulpit and I will baptize them." Wall, Jim he woke up
about that time, and he thought the minister wuz a-talkin' about his
hymn books; so he stood up and sed, "Now all you folks what ain't got
any I'll let ye have 'em, twenty-five cents apiece."


     Religion--Any one man's opinion, but consists mainly of
     doing right.--Punkin Centre Philosophy.



Reminiscence of My Railroad Days

Dedicated to Engineer John Hoolihan, Pittsburg and Lake Erie Railroad,
Pittsburg, Pa.

      WALL, John, I read your poetry,
          And laughed till I nearly cried,
      Seein' how you became an engineer,
          And got on the right hand side.
      It made me think of the days gone by,
          When I wuz one of you fellers, too,
      What used to run an old machine,
          And go tootin' the country through.
      But the engine that I had then, John,
          Wuz far from a "Nancy Hanks;"
      She wuz old and worn and loggy,
          And jist chuck full of pranks;
      And she wuz wonderfully got up, John,
          Full of bolts and valves and knobs,
      And the boiler wouldn't hold water;
          Gosh, it wouldn't hold cobs.

      But I wuz younger then, John,
          And I didn't care a cuss;
      So I'd pull the throttle open
          And jist let her wheeze and fuss.
      The road that I wuz a-runnin' on
          Wuz out in the woolly west;
      Two streaks of rust and the right of way
          Wuz puttin' it at its best.
      So we sort of plugged along, John.
          And didn't put on any frills,
      Never thought of doin' anything
          But doublin' all the hills.
      I tell you those were rocky times,
          And we hadn't no air brake;
      And fifteen miles an hour, John,
          Wuz durn good time to make.

      And thar wuz as good a lot of boys
          As you could meet with anywhere;
      Rough and ready open up,
          And always on the square.
      And I'd like to see them all again,
          And grasp each honest hand;
      But some of them, like me, have quit,
          Some have gone to another land.
      I have changed somewhat since then, John,
          Jist a little more steady grown;
      But I often think of my railroad days
          As the happiest ones I've known.
      And, John, I often watch the train.
          As they go whizzing by;
      As I think of Bill, or Jim, or Jack,
          Thar's a tear comes in my eye.

      Perhaps you'd like to know, John,
          Just why I quit the rail,
      And as some feller one time sed,
          "Thereby hangs a tale."
      I wuz goin' along one night, John,
          At a purty lively rate,
      The old machine a-doin' her best,
          And me forty minutes late,
      When all at once there came a crash,
          I felt the old track yield,
      And fireman, machine and I
          Went into a farmer's field.
      There's little more to say, John,
          They laid me up for repairs,
      But my fireman, poor fellow,
          Hadn't time to say his prayers.

      So now you have my story, John;
          Still, you don't know how it feels
      To know you've got to plug around
          On a couple of flat wheels.
      But it doesn't bother me, John,
          Gosh, not fer a minnit;
      I'm as happy as the day is long,
          And feel jist strictly in it.
      But sometimes I like to meet the boys,
          And talk them days all over,
      And I feel as gay and chipper
          As a calf in a field of clover
      But the happiest days I've known, John,
          The ones that to me see best,
      Wuz when I run an old machine
          Way out in the woolly west.


     Glory--Gittin' killed and not gittin' paid fer it.
     --Punkin Centre Philosophy.



Uncle Josh at a Circus

WALL, 'long last year, 'bout harvest time, thar wuz a cirkus cum to
Punkin Centre, and I think the whole population turned out to see it.
They cum paradin' into town, the bands a-playin' and banners flying,
and animals pokin' their heads out of the cages, and all sorts of jim
cracks. Deacon Witherspoon sed they wuz a sinful lot of men and wimmin,
and no one aughter go and see them, but seein' as how they wuz thar, he
alowed he'd take the children and let them see the lions and tigers and
things. Si Pettingill remarked, "Guess the Deacon won't put blinders on
himself when he gits thar." We noticed afterwards that the Deacon had a
front seat whar he could see and hear purty well.

Wall, I sed to Ezra Hoskins, "Let's you and me go down to the cirkus,"
and Ezra sed, "All right, Joshua." So we got on our store clothes,
our new boots, and put some money in our pockits, and went down to the
cirkus. Wall, I never seen any one in my life cut up more fool capers
than Ezra did. We got in whar the animals wuz, and Ezra he walked around
the elefant three or four times, and then he sed, "By gum, Josh, that's
a durned handy critter--he's got two tails, and he's eatin' with one and
keepin' the flies off with t'other." Durned old fool! Wall, we went on a
little ways further, and all to onct Ezra he sed, "Geewhiz, Josh, thar's
Steve Jenkins over thar in one of them cages." I sed, "Cum along you
silly fool, that ain't Steve Jenkins." Ezra sed, "Wall, now, guess
I'd oughter know Steve Jenkins when I see him; I jist about purty near
raised Steve." Wall, we went over to the cage, and it wan't no man at
all, nuthin' only a durned old baboon; and Ezra wanted to shake hands
with him jist 'cause he looked like Steve. Ezra sed he'd bet a peck of
pippins that baboon belonged to Steve's family a long ways back.

Wall then we went into whar they wuz havin' the cirkus doin's, and I
guess us two old codgers jist about busted our buttins a-laffin at that
silly old clown. Wall, he cut up a lot of didos, then he went out and
sot down right alongside of Aunt Nancy Smith; and Nancy she'd like to
had histeericks. She sed, "You go 'way from me you painted critter," and
that clown he jist up and yelled to beat thunder--sed Nancy stuck a pin
in him. Wall, everybody laffed, and Nancy she jist sot and giggled right
out. Wall, they brought a trick mule into the ring, and the ring master
sed he'd give any one five dollars what could ride the mule; and Ruben
Hoskins alowed he could ride anything with four legs what had hair on.
So he got into the ring, and that mule he took after Ruben and chased
him 'round that ring so fast Ruben could see himself goin' 'round
t'other side of the ring. He wuz mighty glad to git out of thar. Then
a gal cum out on hoss back and commenced ridin' around. Nancy Smith sed
she wuz a brazen critter to cum out thar without clothes enough on
her to dust a fiddle. But Deacon Witherspoon sed that wuz the art of
'questrinism; we all alowed it, whatever he meant. And then that silly
old clown he told the ring master that his uncle committed sooiside
different than any man what ever committed sooiside; and the ring master
sed, "Wall, sir, how did your uncle commit sooiside?" and that silly old
clown sed, "Why, he put his nose in his ear and blowed his head off."
Then he sang an old-fashioned song I hadn't heered in a long time; went
something like this:

     From Widdletown to Waddletown is fifteen miles,
         From Waddletown to Widdletown is fifteen miles,
     From Widdletown to Waddletown, from Waddletown
              to Widdletown,
     Take it all together and its fifteen miles.


He wuz about the silliest cuss I ever seen. Wall, I noticed a feller a
rummagin' 'round among the benches as though he might a-lost somethin'.
So I sed to him, "Mister, did you lose anythin' 'round here any place?"
He sed, "Yes, sir, I lost a ten dollar bill; if you find it I'll give
you two dollars." Wall, I jist made up my mind he wuz one of them cirkus
sharpers, and when he wan't a-lookin' I pulled a ten dollar bill out of
my pockit and give it to him; and the durned fool didn't know but what
it wuz the same one that he lost. Gosh, I jist fooled him out of his two
dollars slicker 'n a whistle. I tell you cirkus day is a great time in
Punkin Centre.



Uncle Josh Invites the City Folks to Visit Him

I DIDN'T s'pose when I wuz gittin' ready to go home, that all you folks
would be down here to the depo' to see me off. Wall, now, that's purty
good of ye, I'll be durned it it ain't. Yes, I guess I'll have to be
goin' home now; I've stayed here this time 'bout as long as I kin afford
to. I must say, some of you folks have made it purty warm fer me since
I've bin here in New York; but I guess I've enjoyed it 'bout as much as
you have.

I'd like to have you all cum down to Punkin Centre and see MEE some time
this summer, if you hadn't got nuthin' else to do. Lots of fun down thar
on that farm of mine, huntin', fishin', and shootin', and other things.
Wall, I never shot but one bird in my life, and that wuz a squirrel;
yes, sir, a flyin' squirrel.

I had a feller workin' fer me on the farm last summer, and he was
cross-eyed, and I sent him out in the paster to dig a well fer me, and
what do you s'pose? Wall he dug it so tarnal all-fired crooked that he
fell out of it and sprained his ankel. Then one day I sent him out in
the garden to plant some pertaters and some unyuns fer me, and it jist
seemed like that feller didn't have good hoss sense. He planted them
unyuns and pertaters right alongside of each other, and the unyuns got
into the pertaters' eyes and they couldn't see to grow. Oh, yes, lots of
fun down home onct in a while. I calculate I've got the funnyest lot of
chickens you ever heerd tell on. I've got sixty old hens and they lay an
egg every day; but they don't lay any at nite, cos when nite comes every
one of them is roosters. I had one old hen, she went into the woodshed
and sot down on the ax and tried to hatch-it. I had another one sottin'
on a door knob, tryin' to hatch out a house and lot, but she didn't.
While she wuz a-sottin' there along cum a rooster, and he sed, "We're
having a little party down behind the barn; will you dance with me this
set?" and she sed, "No, sir, I'm engaged to his nobs for this set."
Gosh, I wuz afraid to go out in the barnyard one while, cos one day
when I wuz out thar I heerd a hen say to a rooster, "Thar's that old
gray-headed cuss we've bin a-layin' fer."

Guess that's my train; s'pose I'll have to be a-goin'; good-bye; cum
down and see me some time if you kin, ev'ry one of ye; cum down about
apple-butter time and jist butt in--good bye.



Yosemite Jim, or a Tale of the Great White Death

      YOSEMITE JIM wuz the name he had,
          And he came from no one knowed whar;
      Quiet, easy goin' sort of a cuss,
          And wuz reckoned on the squar'.
      Ridin' a route for the Wells Fargo folks
          May have made him stern and grim;
      But thar wasn't a man that crossed the divide
          But 'ud swar by Yosemite Jim.

      He wa'n't one of the regular sort
          What you'd meet thar any day,
      But as near as the camp could figure it out,
          In a show down he'd likely stay.
      A shambling, awkward figure,
          Rawboned, tall and slim,
      And his schaps and togs in general
          Jist looked like they'd fell on him.

      I wuz somewhat of a tenderfoot then,
          Hadn't jist got the lay of the land;
      Thar wuz a good many things in them thar parts
          As I couldn't quite understand.
      But I took a likin' to Yosemite Jim,
          Wuz with him on my very first trick;
      And from that time on I stuck to him
          Like a kitten to a good warm brick.

      Our headquarters then wuz the valley camp,
          It wuz down by the redwood way,
       With Chaparel across the spur,
          'Bout fifty miles away.
      Wall, what I'm goin' to tell you, pard,
          Happened thar whar the trail runs into the sky;
      And if it hadn't a-bin fer Yosemite Jim,
          Wall, I'd be countin' my chips on high.

      The galoot that wuz punchin' the broncos fer me
          Wuz a greaser from down Monterey;
      And Jim used to say, "Keep your eye on him, pard,
          I don't think he's cum fer to stay;
      His eyes are too shifty and yeller,
          And his face is sullen and hard;
      And 'taint that so much as a feelin' I have;
          Anyhow, keep your eye on him, pard."

      One day when the mercury wuz way out of sight,
          And the frost it wuz on every nail,
      With jist the mail sack and specie box,
          The greaser and I hit the trail.
      We picked two passengers up at Big Pine,
          And while the broncos were changed that day
      I noticed them havin' a sneakin' chat
          With the greaser from down Monterey.

      Did you ever hear tell of the Great White Death,
          That creeps down the mountain side,
      Leavin' behind it a ghastly track
          Whar those who have met it died?
      Wall, pard, as true as I'm a-livin',
          No man wants to see it twice;
      White and grim as a funeral shroud,
          A mass of mist and ice.

      Wall, we hadn't got far from the Big Pine relay
          When my hair it commenced to rise,
      For I saw across by the Lone Bear spur
          A cloud of most monstrous size.
      And the greaser acted sort of peculiar,
          And the broncos commenced to neigh;
      Wall, some thoughts went through my mind jist then
          I won't forgit till my dyin' day.

      In less time than it takes to tell it,
          We were into the Great White Death,
      With its millions of frozen snowflakes
          A-takin' away our breath.
      And jist then somethin' happened, pard,
          The greaser from down Monterey
      Tried to sneak off with the specie box,
          Along with the passengers from Big Pine relay.

      All at once a figure on hossback
          Cum a-whoopin' it down the trail,
      And bullets from out of a Winchester
          Commenced to fly like hail.
      The greaser and them two passengers
          Cashed in their chips to him,
      Fer the feller what wuz doin' the shootin'
          Wuz my friend, Yosemite Jim.

      Wall, we planted them thar together,
          When the cloud had passed away;
      And all they've got fer a tombstone
          Is the mountains, dull and gray.
      So, pard, let's take one together,
          And I'll drink a toast to him,
      Fer though he wuz rough and ready,
          He'd a heart, YOSEMITE JIM.


The Great White Death, so named by the Indians, occurs in the higher
altitudes of the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is almost
indescribable. It might properly be termed a frozen fog. It has the
effect of bringing on acute congestion of the lungs, from which few
rarely recover. Viewed at a distance it is a magnificent sight, each
and every particle of the frozen moisture being a miniature prism, which
reflects the sun's rays in a manner once seen never to be forgotten.--By
CAL. STEWART, formerly Overland Messenger for the Wells-Fargo Express
Company.



Uncle Josh Weathersby's Trip to Boston

FER a long time I had my mind made up to go down to Boston, so a short
time ago, as I had all my crops and produce mostly sold, I alowed it
would be a good time to go down thar, and I sed to mother, "I'll start
early in the mornin' and take a load of produce with me, and that will
sort of pay expenses of the trip."

Wall, I got into Boston next mornin' bright and early, 'bout time they
had their breakfast, and I looked 'round fer a spell; then finally I
picked out a right likely lookin' store, and jist conclooded I'd sell
my load of produce thar. Wall, I went in and I met a feller 'nd I sed,
"Good mornin', be you the storekeeper?" And he sed, "No, sir, I'm only
one of the clerks." So I sed, "Wall, be the storekeeper to hum?" And
he sed, "Yes, sir, would you like to see him?" And I told him as how I
would, and he turned 'round and commenced to hollerin' "FRONT," and a
boy cum up what had more brass buttins on him than a whole regiment of
soljers. I thought that wuz a durned funny name fer a boy--front--and
that clerk feller he wuz about the most importent thing I'd seen in
Boston so far, less maybe it wuz the Bunker Hill monument that I druv
past cummin' to town. He had on a biled collar that sort of put me in
mind of the whitewashed fence 'round the fair grounds down hum. I'll bet
if he'd ever sneeze it would cut his ears off.

Wall, anyhow, he sed to that front boy, "Show the gentleman to the
proprietor's offis." Wall, I went along with that boy, and presently we
cum to a place in one corner of that store; it wuz made out of iron and
had bars in front of the winders, and looked like the county jale. The
front boy p'inted to a man and sed, "Go in," and I sed, "I gessed I
wouldn't go in thar, cos I hadn't done anything to be locked up fer."
And that front boy commenced to laffin' tho' durned if I could see what
he wuz a-laffin' about, and the storekeeper he opened the door and cum
out, and he sed, "Good mornin', what can I do fer you?" I sed, "Be you
the storekeeper?" and he sed he wuz. So I sed, "Do you want to buy any
pertaters?" And he sed, "No, sir, we don't buy pertaters here; this a
dry goods store." So I sed, "Wall, don't want any cabbage, do ye?" And
he sed, "No, sir, this is a dry goods store." So I sed, "Wall, now, I
want to know; do you need any onions?" And by chowder, he got madder 'n
a wet hen. He sed, "Now look a-heer, I want you to understand onct fer
all, this is a dry goods store, and we don't buy anything but dry goods
and don't sell anything but dry goods; do you understand me now? DRY
GOODS." And I sed, "Yes, gess I understand you; you don't need to git so
tarnaly riled about the matter; neer as I can figure it out you jist buy
dry goods and sell 'em." And he sed, "Yes, sir, only dry goods." So I
sed, "Do you want to buy some mighty good dried apples?"

Wall, that front boy got to laffin, and a lot of wimmin clerks giggled
right out, and the storekeeper he commenced a-laffin', too, and fer
about a minnit I thought they'd all went crazy to onct. Wall, he told a
feller to show me whar I could sell my produce, and I disposed of it at
a good bargain.

I like them Boston folks, they try to make you feel to hum, and enjoy
yourself and be soshable, and I wuz chuck full of soshability, too; I
wuz goin' up one street and down t'other, jist a-gettin' soshability at
ten cents a soshable.

Wall, I gess I seen about everything wuth seein' in Boston, and I wuz
a-standin' along-side of one of their old churches, a-lookin' at the
semetry, and I gess thar wuz folks in thar burried nigh unto three
hundred years. And I wuz jist a-thinkin' what they'd say if they could
wake up and see Boston now, when I noticed a row of little toomstones,
and one of them it sed, "Hester Brown, beloved wife of James Brown," and
on another it sed, "Prudence Brown, beloved wife of James Brown," and on
another it sed, "Thankful Brown, beloved wife of James Brown." Wall,
I couldn't jist make out what she had to be thankful about, but I sed,
"Jimmy, you had a right lively time while you wuz in Boston, didn't
you?" Then I seen another toomstone and on it it sed, "Matilda Brown,
beloved wife of James Brown," and another one what sed,

"Sara Ann Brown, beloved wife of James Brown," and over in a little
corner, all to itself, I seen a toomstone, and on it it sed, "James
Brown, At Rest."



Who Marched in Sixty-One

CAL STEWART, New York, Memorial Day, 1903.

      I'VE jist bin down at the corner, mother,
          To see the boys in line,
      Dressed up in their bran' new uniforms,
          I tell you they looked fine.
      And as they marched past whar I stood,
          To the rattle of the drum,
      It made me think of those other boys
          Who marched in sixty-one.

      The old flag wuz proudly wavin', mother,
          Jist as it did one day
      When you stood thar to say good-bye,
          And watch me march away.
      So I stood thar and watched them
          Till the parade wuz nearly done,
      But thar wasn't many thar to-day
          Who marched in sixty-one.

      And thar wuz my old Captain
          And the Colonel side by side,
      And as they both saluted me
          I jist sot down and cried.
      And I thought about some other boys
          Whose work has long bin done;
      Soon thar won't be any left at all
          Who marched in sixty one.

      I heered the band play Dixie,
          And my old heart swelled with pride,
      A-thinkin' of the boys in gray
          Who marched on the other side.
      And when my time it comes, mother,
          The Lord's will it be done,
      I hope he'll take me to the boys
          Who marched in sixty-one.





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