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Title: Little Masterpieces of American Wit and Humor - Volume I
Author: Various
Language: English
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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 "Little Masterpieces of American Wit and Humor - Volume I" ***

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  Little Masterpieces of
  American Wit and Humor


  Edited by Thomas L. Masson


  [Illustration: Oliver Wendell Holmes]


  VOLUME I

  _By_

  Washington Irving   Oliver Wendell Holmes
  Benjamin Franklin   "Josh Billings"
  "Mark Twain"        Charles Dudley Warner
  James T. Fields     Henry Ward Beecher
               and others


  NEW YORK
  DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
  1903

  Copyright, 1903, by
  DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
  Published, October, 1903


[Illustration: Handwritten introduction:

Those selections in this book which are from my own works, were made by
my two assistant compilers, not by me. This is why There are not more.

Mark Twain]



INTRODUCTION


This anthology of American Humor represents a process of selection that
has been going on for more than fifteen years, and in giving it to the
public it is perhaps well that the Editor should precede it with a few
words of explanation as to its meaning and scope.

Not only all that is fairly representative of the work of our American
humorists, from Washington Irving to "Mr. Dooley," has been gathered
together, but also much that is merely fugitive and anecdotal. Thus, in
many instances literary finish has been ignored in order that certain
characteristic and purely American bits should have their place. The
Editor is not unmindful of the danger of this plan. For where there is
such a countless number of witticisms (so-called) as are constantly
coming to the surface, and where so many of them are worthless, it must
always take a rare discrimination to detect the genuine from the false.
This difficulty is greatly increased by the difference of opinion that
exists, even among the elect, with regard to the merit of particular
jokes. To paraphrase an old adage, what is one man's laughter may be
another man's dirge. The Editor desires to make it plain, however, that
the responsibility in this particular instance is entirely his own. He
has made his selections without consulting any one, knowing that if a
consultation of experts should attempt to decide about the contents of a
volume of American humor, no volume would ever be published.

The reader will doubtless recognize, in this anthology, many old
friends. He may also be conscious of omissions. These omissions are due
either to the restrictions of publishers, or the impossibility of
obtaining original copies, or the limited space.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


Acknowledgments are made herewith to the following publishers, who have
kindly consented to allow the reproduction of the material designated.

     F. A. STOKES & COMPANY, New York: "A Rhyme for Priscilla,"
     F. D. Sherman; "The Bohemians of Boston," Gelett Burgess; "A Kiss
     in the Rain," "Bessie Brown, M. D.," S. M. Peck.

     DODD, MEAD & COMPANY, New York: Four Extracts, E. W.
     Townsend ("Chimmie Fadden").

     BOWEN-MERRILL COMPANY, Indianapolis: "The Elf Child," "A
     Liz-Town Humorist," James Whitcomb Riley.

     LEE & SHEPARD, Boston: "The Meeting of the Clabberhuses,"
     "A Philosopher," "The Ideal Husband to His Wife," "The Prayer of
     Cyrus Brown," "A Modern Martyrdom," S. W. Foss; "After the
     Funeral," "What He Wanted It For," J. M. Bailey.

     BACHELLER, JOHNSON & BACHELLER, New York: "The Composite
     Ghost," Marion Couthouy Smith.

     D. APPLETON & COMPANY, New York: "Illustrated Newspapers,"
     "Tushmaker's Tooth-puller," G. H. Derby ("John Phoenix").

     T. B. PETERSON & COMPANY, Philadelphia: "Hans Breitmann's
     Party," "Ballad," C. G. Leland.

     CENTURY COMPANY, New York: "Miss Malony on the Chinese
     Question," Mary Mapes Dodge; "The Origin of the Banjo," Irwin
     Russell; "The Walloping Window-Blind," Charles E. Carryl; "The
     Patriotic Tourist," "What's in a Name?" "'Tis Ever Thus," R. K.
     Munkittrick.

     FORBES & COMPANY, Chicago: "If I Should Die To-Night,"
     "The Pessimist," Ben King.

     J. S. OGILVIE & COMPANY, New York: Three Short Extracts,
     C. B. Lewis ("Mr. Bowser").

     THE CHELSEA COMPANY, New York: "The Society Reporter's
     Christmas," "The Dying Gag," James L. Ford.

     KEPPLER & SCHWARZMANN, New York: "Love Letters of Smith,"
     H. C. Bunner.

     SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY, Boston: "On Gold-Seeking," "On
     Expert Testimony," F. P. Dunne ("Mr. Dooley"); "Tale of the
     Kennebec Mariner," "Grampy Sings a Song," "Cure for Homesickness,"
     Holman F. Day.

     BELFORD, CLARKE & COMPANY, Chicago: "A Fatal Thirst," "On
     Cyclones," Bill Nye.

     DUQUESNE DISTRIBUTING COMPANY, Harmanville, Pennsylvania:
     "In Society," William J. Kountz, Jr. (from the bound edition of
     "Billy Baxter's Letters").

     R. H. RUSSELL, New York: Nonsense Verses--"Impetuous
     Samuel," "Misfortunes Never Come Singly," "Aunt Eliza," "Susan";
     "The City as a Summer Resort," "Avarice and Generosity," "Work and
     Sport," "Home Life of Geniuses," F. P. Dunne ("Mr. Dooley"); "My
     Angeline," Harry B. Smith.

     H. S. STONE & COMPANY, Chicago: "The Preacher Who Flew His
     Kite." "The Fable of the Caddy," "The Two Mandolin Players," George
     Ade.

     AMERICAN PUBLISHING COMPANY, Hartford: "A Pleasure
     Excursion," "An Unmarried Female," Marietta Holley; "Colonel
     Sellers," "Mark Twain."

     G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS, New York: "Living in the Country," "A
     Glass of Water," "A Family Horse," F. S. Cozzens.

     GEORGE DILLINGHAM, New York: "Natral and Unnatral
     Aristocrats," "To Correspondents," "The Bumblebee," "Josh
     Billings"; "Among the Spirits," "The Shakers," "A. W. to His Wife,"
     "Artemus Ward and the Prince of Wales," "A Visit to Brigham Young,"
     "The Tower of London," "One of Mr. Ward's Business Letters," "On
     'Forts,'" Artemus Ward; "At the Musicale," "At the Races," Geo. V.
     Hobart ("John Henry").

     THOMPSON & THOMAS, Chicago: "How to Hunt the Fox," Bill
     Nye.

     LITTLE, BROWN & COMPANY, Boston: "Street Scenes in
     Washington," Louisa May Alcott.

     E. H. BACON & COMPANY, Boston: "A Boston Lullaby," James
     Jeffrey Roche.

     HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & COMPANY, Boston: "My Aunt," "The
     Wonderful One-hoss Shay," "Foreign Correspondence,"
     "Music-Pounding" (extract), "The Ballad of the Oysterman,"
     "Dislikes" (short extract), "The Height of the Ridiculous," "An
     Aphorism and a Lecture," O. W. Holmes; "The Yankee Recruit," "What
     Mr. Robinson Thinks," "The Courtin'," "A Letter from Mr. Ezekiel
     Bigelow," "Without and Within," J. R. Lowell; "Five Lives," "Eve's
     Daughter," E. R. Sill; "The Owl-Critic," "The Alarmed Skipper,"
     James T. Fields; "My Summer in a Garden," "Plumbers," "How I Killed
     a Bear," C. D. Warner; "Little Breeches," John Hay; "The Stammering
     Wife," "Coquette," "My Familiar," "Early Rising," J. G. Saxe; "The
     Diamond Wedding," E. C. Stedman; "Melons," "Society Upon the
     Stanislaus," "The Heathen Chinee," "To the Pliocene Skull," Bret
     Harte; "The Total Depravity of Inanimate Things," K. K. C. Walker;
     "Palabras Grandiosas," Bayard Taylor; "Mrs. Johnson," William Dean
     Howells; "A Plea for Humor," Agnes Repplier; "The Minister's
     Wooing," Harriet Beecher Stowe.

In addition, the Editor desires to make his personal acknowledgments to
the following authors: F. P. Dunne, Mary Mapes Dodge, Gelett Burgess, R.
K. Munkittrick, E. W. Townsend, F. D. Sherman.

For such small paragraphs, anecdotes and witticisms as have been used in
these volumes, acknowledgment is hereby made to the following newspapers
and periodicals:

_Chicago Record_, _Boston Globe_, _Texas Siftings_, _New Orleans Times
Democrat_, _Providence Journal_, _New York Evening Sun_, _Atlanta
Constitution_, _Macon Telegraph_, _New Haven Register_, _Chicago Times_,
_Analostan Magazine_, _Harper's Bazaar_, _Florida Citizen_, _Saturday
Evening Post_, _Chicago Times Herald_, _Washington Post_, _Cleveland
Plain Dealer_,_ _New York Tribune_, _Chicago Tribune_, _Pittsburg
Bulletin_, _Philadelphia Ledger_, _Youth's Companion_, _Harper's
Magazine_, _Duluth Evening Herald_, _Boston Medical and Surgical
Journal_, _Washington Times_, _Rochester Budget_, _Bangor News_, _Boston
Herald_, _Pittsburg Dispatch_, _Christian Advocate_, _Troy Times_,
_Boston Beacon_, _New Haven News_, _New York Herald_, _Philadelphia
Call_, _Philadelphia News_, _Erie Dispatch_, _Town Topics_, _Buffalo
Courier_, _Life_, _San Francisco Wave_, _Boston Home Journal_, _Puck_,
_Washington Hatchet_, _Detroit Free Press_, _Babyhood_, _Philadelphia
Press_, _Judge_, _New York Sun_, _Minneapolis Journal_, _San Francisco
Argonaut_, _St. Louis Sunday Globe_, _Atlanta Constitution_, _Buffalo
Courier_, _New York Weekly_, _Starlight Messenger_ (St Peter, Minn.).



  CONTENTS

  _VOLUME I_

                                                                    PAGE

  WASHINGTON IRVING

  Wouter Van Twiller                                                   1
  Wilhelmus Kieft                                                      8
  Peter Stuyvesant                                                    13
  Antony Van Corlear                                                  15
  General Van Poffenburgh                                             18

  BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

  Maxims                                                              21
  Model of a Letter of Recommendation of a
  Person You Are Unacquainted with                                    21
  Epitaph for Himself                                                 22

  WILLIAM ALLEN BUTLER

  Nothing to Wear                                                     24

  HENRY WARD BEECHER

  Deacon Marble                                                       39
  The Deacon's Trout                                                  41
  The Dog Noble and the Empty Hole                                    43

  ALBERT GORTON GREENE

  Old Grimes                                                          45

  OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

  My Aunt                                                             49
  The Deacon's Masterpiece; or, the Wonderful
  "One-hoss Shay"                                                     63
  Foreign Correspondence                                             106
  Music-Pounding                                                     109
  The Ballad of the Oysterman                                        142

  NATHANIEL PARKER WILLIS

  Miss Albina McLush                                                  51
  Love in a Cottage                                                  125

  WILLIAM PITT PALMER

  A Smack in School                                                   56

  B. P. SHILLABER ("Mrs. Partington")

  Fancy Diseases                                                      58
  Bailed Out                                                          59
  Seeking a Comet                                                     59
  Going to California                                                 60
  Mrs. Partington in Court                                            61

  EDWARD ROWLAND SILL

  Five Lives                                                          68

  JAMES T. FIELDS

  The Owl-Critic                                                      70
  The Alarmed Skipper                                                104

  JOHN HAY

  Little Breeches                                                     74

  HENRY W. SHAW ("Josh Billings")

  Natral and Unnatral Aristokrats                                     77

  JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL

  The Yankee Recruit                                                  81
  What Mr. Robinson Thinks                                           170

  CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER

  My Summer in a Garden                                               90

  FREDERICK S. COZZENS

  Living in the Country                                              111

  CHARLES GODFREY LELAND

  Hans Breitmann's Party                                             127

  FRANCES M. WHICHER

  Tim Crane and the Widow                                            129

  JOHN GODFREY SAXE

  The Stammering Wife                                                135

  ANDREW V. KELLEY ("Parmenas Mix")

  He Came to Pay                                                     139

  MARIETTA HOLLEY

  A Pleasure Exertion                                                144

  EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN

  The Diamond Wedding                                                162

  MISCELLANEOUS

  Why He Left                                                         23
  A Boy's Essay on Girls                                              38
  Identified                                                          47
  One Better                                                          48
  A Rendition                                                         57
  A Cause for Thanks                                                  73
  Crowded                                                            103
  The Wedding Journey                                                105
  A Case of Conscience                                               126
  He Rose to the Occasion                                            136
  Polite                                                             137
  Lost, Strayed or Stolen                                            138
  A Gentle Complaint                                                 141
  Music by the Choir                                                 173



WASHINGTON IRVING


WOUTER VAN TWILLER

It was in the year of our Lord 1629 that Mynheer Wouter Van Twiller was
appointed Governor of the province of Nieuw Nederlandts, under the
commission and control of their High Mightinesses the Lords States
General of the United Netherlands, and the privileged West India
Company.

This renowned old gentleman arrived at New Amsterdam in the merry month
of June, the sweetest month in all the year; when dan Apollo seems to
dance up the transparent firmament--when the robin, the thrush, and a
thousand other wanton songsters make the woods to resound with amorous
ditties, and the luxurious little bob-lincon revels among the clover
blossoms of the meadows--all which happy coincidences persuaded the old
dames of New Amsterdam, who were skilled in the art of foretelling
events, that this was to be a happy and prosperous administration.

The renowned Wouter (or Walter) Van Twiller was descended from a long
line of Dutch burgomasters, who had successively dozed away their lives
and grown fat upon the bench of magistracy in Rotterdam, and who had
comported themselves with such singular wisdom and propriety that they
were never either heard or talked of--which, next to being universally
applauded, should be the object of ambition of all magistrates and
rulers. There are two opposite ways by which some men make a figure in
the world; one, by talking faster than they think, and the other, by
holding their tongues and not thinking at all. By the first, many a
smatterer acquires the reputation of a man of quick parts; by the other,
many a dunderpate, like the owl, the stupidest of birds, comes to be
considered the very type of wisdom. This, by the way, is a casual
remark, which I would not, for the universe, have it thought I apply to
Governor Van Twiller. It is true he was a man shut up within himself,
like an oyster, and rarely spoke, except in monosyllables; but then it
was allowed he seldom said a foolish thing. So invincible was his
gravity that he was never known to laugh or even to smile through the
whole course of a long and prosperous life. Nay, if a joke were uttered
in his presence that set light-minded hearers in a roar, it was observed
to throw him into a state of perplexity. Sometimes he would deign to
inquire into the matter, and when, after much explanation, the joke was
made as plain as a pike-staff, he would continue to smoke his pipe in
silence, and at length, knocking out the ashes, would exclaim, "Well, I
see nothing in all that to laugh about."

With all his reflective habits, he never made up his mind on a subject.
His adherents accounted for this by the astonishing magnitude of his
ideas. He conceived every subject on so grand a scale that he had not
room in his head to turn it over and examine both sides of it. Certain
it is that, if any matter were propounded to him on which ordinary
mortals would rashly determine at first glance, he would put on a vague,
mysterious look, shake his capacious head, smoke some time in profound
silence, and at length observe that "he had his doubts about the
matter"; which gained him the reputation of a man slow of belief and not
easily imposed upon. What is more, it gained him a lasting name; for to
this habit of the mind has been attributed his surname of Twiller; which
is said to be a corruption of the original Twijfler, or, in plain
English, _Doubter_.

The person of this illustrious old gentleman was formed and proportioned
as though it had been molded by the hands of some cunning Dutch
statuary, as a model of majesty and lordly grandeur. He was exactly five
feet six inches in height, and six feet five inches in circumference.
His head was a perfect sphere, and of such stupendous dimensions that
Dame Nature, with all her sex's ingenuity, would have been puzzled to
construct a neck capable of supporting it; wherefore she wisely declined
the attempt, and settled it firmly on the top of his backbone, just
between the shoulders. His body was oblong, and particularly capacious
at bottom; which was wisely ordered by Providence seeing that he was a
man of sedentary habits, and very averse to the idle labor of walking.
His legs were short, but sturdy in proportion to the weight they had to
sustain; so that when erect he had not a little the appearance of a beer
barrel on skids. His face, that infallible index of the mind, presented
a vast expanse, unfurrowed by those lines and angles which disfigure the
human countenance with what is termed expression. Two small gray eyes
twinkled feebly in the midst, like two stars of lesser magnitude in a
hazy firmament; and his full-fed cheeks, which seemed to have taken toll
of everything that went into his mouth, were curiously mottled and
streaked with dusky red, like a Spitzenberg apple.

His habits were as regular as his person. He daily took his four stated
meals, appropriating exactly an hour to each; he smoked and doubted
eight hours, and he slept the remaining twelve of the four-and-twenty.
Such was the renowned Wouter Van Twillerï--a true philosopher, for his
mind was either elevated above, or tranquilly settled below, the cares
and perplexities of this world. He had lived in it for years, without
feeling the least curiosity to know whether the sun revolved round it,
or it round the sun; and he had watched for at least half a century the
smoke curling from his pipe to the ceiling, without once troubling his
head with any of those numerous theories by which a philosopher would
have perplexed his brain, in accounting for its rising above the
surrounding atmosphere.

In his council he presided with great state and solemnity. He sat in a
huge chair of solid oak, hewn in the celebrated forest of the Hague,
fabricated by an experienced timmerman of Amsterdam, and curiously
carved about the arms and feet into exact imitations of gigantic eagle's
claws. Instead of a scepter, he swayed a long Turkish pipe, wrought with
jasmine and amber, which had been presented to a stadtholder of
Holland at the conclusion of a treaty with one of the petty Barbary
powers. In this stately chair would he sit, and this magnificent pipe
would he smoke, shaking his right knee with a constant motion, and
fixing his eye for hours together upon a little print of Amsterdam which
hung in a black frame against the opposite wall of the council chamber.
Nay, it has even been said that when any deliberation of extraordinary
length and intricacy was on the carpet, the renowned Wouter would shut
his eyes for full two hours at a time, that he might not be disturbed by
external objects; and at such times the internal commotion of his mind
was evinced by certain regular guttural sounds, which his admirers
declared were merely the noise of conflict made by his contending doubts
and opinions.

It is with infinite difficulty I have been enabled to collect these
biographical anecdotes of the great man under consideration. The facts
respecting him were so scattered and vague, and divers of them so
questionable in point of authenticity, that I have had to give up the
search after many, and decline the admission of still more, which would
have tended to heighten the coloring of his portrait.

I have been the more anxious to delineate fully the person and habits of
Wouter Van Twiller, from the consideration that he was not only the
first but also the best Governor that ever presided over this ancient
and respectable province; and so tranquil and benevolent was his reign,
that I do not find throughout the whole of it a single instance of any
offender being brought to punishment--a most indubitable sign of a
merciful Governor, and a case unparalleled, excepting in the reign of
the illustrious King Log, from whom, it is hinted, the renowned Van
Twiller was a lineal descendant.

The very outset of the career of this excellent magistrate was
distinguished by an example of legal acumen that gave flattering presage
of a wise and equitable administration. The morning after he had been
installed in office, and at the moment that he was making his breakfast
from a prodigious earthen dish, filled with milk and Indian pudding, he
was interrupted by the appearance of Wandle Schoonhoven, a very
important old burgher of New Amsterdam, who complained bitterly of one
Barent Bleecker, inasmuch as he refused to come to a settlement of
accounts, seeing that there was a heavy balance in favor of the said
Wandle. Governor Van Twiller, as I have already observed, was a man of
few words; he was likewise a mortal enemy to multiplying writings--or
being disturbed at his breakfast. Having listened attentively to the
statement of Wandle Schoonhoven, giving an occasional grunt, as he
shoveled a spoonful of Indian pudding into his mouth--either as a sign
that he relished the dish, or comprehended the story--he called unto him
his constable, and pulling out of his breeches pocket a huge jack-knife,
despatched it after the defendant as a summons, accompanied by his
tobacco-box as a warrant.

This summary process was as effectual in those simple days as was the
seal-ring of the great Haroun Alraschid among the true believers. The
two parties being confronted before him, each produced a book of
accounts, written in a language and character that would have puzzled
any but a High-Dutch commentator or a learned decipherer of Egyptian
obelisks. The sage Wouter took them one after the other, and having
poised them in his hands and attentively counted over the number of
leaves, fell straightway into a very great doubt, and smoked for half an
hour without saying a word; at length, laying his finger beside his nose
and shutting his eyes for a moment, with the air of a man who has just
caught a subtle idea by the tail, he slowly took his pipe from his
mouth, puffed forth a column of tobacco smoke, and with marvelous
gravity and solemnity pronounced, that, having carefully counted over
the leaves and weighed the books, it was found that one was just as
thick and as heavy as the other; therefore, it was the final opinion of
the court that the accounts were equally balanced: therefore, Wandle
should give Barent a receipt, and Barent should give Wandle a receipt,
and the constable should pay the costs.

This decision, being straightway made known, diffused general joy
throughout New Amsterdam, for the people immediately perceived that they
had a very wise and equitable magistrate to rule over them. But its
happiest effect was that not another lawsuit took place throughout the
whole of his administration; and the office of constable fell into such
decay that there was not one of those losel scouts known in the province
for many years. I am the more particular in dwelling on this
transaction, not only because I deem it one of the most sage and
righteous judgments on record, and well worthy the attention of modern
magistrates, but because it was a miraculous event in the history of the
renowned Wouter--being the only time he was ever known to come to a
decision in the whole course of his life.


WILHELMUS KIEFT

As some sleek ox, sunk in the rich repose of a clover field, dozing and
chewing the cud, will bear repeated blows before it raises itself, so
the province of Nieuw Nederlandts, having waxed fat under the drowsy
reign of the Doubter, needed cuffs and kicks to rouse it into action.
The reader will now witness the manner in which a peaceful community
advances toward a state of war; which is apt to be like the approach of
a horse to a drum, with much prancing and little progress, and too often
with the wrong end foremost.

Wilhelmus Kieft, who in 1634 ascended the gubernatorial chair (to borrow
a favorite though clumsy appellation of modern phraseologists), was of a
lofty descent, his father being inspector of windmills in the ancient
town of Saardam; and our hero, we are told, when a boy, made very
curious investigations into the nature and operations of these machines,
which was one reason why he afterward came to be so ingenious a
Governor. His name, according to the most authentic etymologists, was a
corruption of Kyver--that is to say, a _wrangler_ or _scolder_, and
expressed the characteristic of his family, which, for nearly two
centuries, have kept the windy town of Saardam in hot water and produced
more tartars and brimstones than any ten families in the place; and so
truly did he inherit this family peculiarity, that he had not been a
year in the government of the province before he was universally
denominated William the Testy. His appearance answered to his name. He
was a brisk, wiry, waspish little old gentleman, such a one as may now
and then be seen stumping about our city in a broad-skirted coat with
huge buttons, a cocked hat stuck on the back of his head, and a cane as
high as his chin. His face was broad, but his features were sharp; his
cheeks were scorched into a dusky red by two fiery little gray eyes, his
nose turned up, and the corners of his mouth turned down, pretty much
like the muzzle of an irritable pug-dog.

I have heard it observed by a profound adept in human physiology, that
if a woman waxes fat with the progress of years, her tenure of life is
somewhat precarious, but if haply she withers as she grows old, she
lives forever. Such promised to be the case with William the Testy, who
grew tough in proportion as he dried. He had withered, in fact, not
through the process of years, but through the tropical fervor of his
soul, which burnt like a vehement rush-light in his bosom, inciting him
to incessant broils and bickerings. Ancient tradition speaks much of his
learning, and of the gallant inroads he had made into the dead
languages, in which he had made captive a host of Greek nouns and Latin
verbs, and brought off rich booty in ancient saws and apothegms, which
he was wont to parade in his public harangues, as a triumphant general
of yore his _spolia opima_. Of metaphysics he knew enough to confound
all hearers and himself into the bargain. In logic he knew the whole
family of syllogisms and dilemmas, and was so proud of his skill that he
never suffered even a self-evident fact to pass unargued. It was
observed, however, that he seldom got into an argument without getting
into a perplexity, and then into a passion with his adversary for not
being convinced gratis.

He had, moreover, skirmished smartly on the frontiers of several of the
sciences, was fond of experimental philosophy, and prided himself upon
inventions of all kinds. His abode, which he had fixed at a Bowerie or
country-seat at a short distance from the city, just at what is now
called Dutch Street, soon abounded with proofs of his ingenuity: patent
smoke-jacks that required a horse to work them; Dutch ovens that roasted
meat without fire; carts that went before the horses; weathercocks that
turned against the wind; and other wrong-headed contrivances that
astonished and confounded all beholders. The house, too, was beset with
paralytic cats and dogs, the subjects of his experimental philosophy;
and the yelling and yelping of the latter unhappy victims of science,
while aiding in the pursuit of knowledge, soon gained for the place the
name of "Dog's Misery," by which it continues to be known even at the
present day.

It is in knowledge as in swimming: he who flounders and splashes on the
surface makes more noise, and attracts more attention, than the
pearl-diver who quietly dives in quest of treasures to the bottom. The
vast acquirements of the new Governor were the theme of marvel among the
simple burghers of New Amsterdam; he figured about the place as learned
a man as a Bonze at Pekin, who had mastered one-half of the Chinese
alphabet, and was unanimously pronounced a "universal genius!" ...

Thus end the authenticated chronicles of the reign of William the Testy;
for henceforth, in the troubles, perplexities and confusion of the
times, he seems to have been totally overlooked, and to have slipped
forever through the fingers of scrupulous history....

It is true that certain of the early provincial poets, of whom there
were great numbers in the Nieuw Nederlandts, taking advantage of his
mysterious exit, have fabled that, like Romulus, he was translated to
the skies, and forms a very fiery little star somewhere on the left claw
of the Crab; while others, equally fanciful, declare that he had
experienced a fate similar to that of the good King Arthur, who, we are
assured by ancient bards, was carried away to the delicious abodes of
fairy-land, where he still exists in pristine worth and vigor, and will
one day or another return to restore the gallantry, the honor and the
immaculate probity which prevailed in the glorious days of the Round
Table.

All these, however, are but pleasing fantasies, the cobweb visions of
those dreaming varlets, the poets, to which I would not have my
judicious readers attach any credibility. Neither am I disposed to
credit an ancient and rather apocryphal historian who asserts that the
ingenious Wilhelmus was annihilated by the blowing down of one of his
windmills; nor a writer of latter times, who affirms that he fell a
victim to an experiment in natural history, having the misfortune to
break his neck from a garret window of the stadthouse in attempting to
catch swallows by sprinkling salt upon their tails. Still less do I put
my faith in the tradition that he perished at sea in conveying home to
Holland a treasure of golden ore, discovered somewhere among the haunted
regions of the Catskill Mountains.

The most probable account declares that, what with the constant troubles
on his frontiers, the incessant schemings and projects going on in his
own pericranium, the memorials, petitions, remonstrances and sage pieces
of advice of respectable meetings of the sovereign people, and the
refractory disposition of his councilors, who were sure to differ from
him on every point and uniformly to be in the wrong, his mind was kept
in a furnace-heat until he became as completely burnt out as a Dutch
family pipe which has passed through three generations of hard smokers.
In this manner did he undergo a kind of animal combustion, consuming
away like a farthing rush-light; so that when grim death finally snuffed
him out there was scarce left enough of him to bury.


PETER STUYVESANT

Peter Stuyvesant was the last, and, like the renowned Wouter Van
Twiller, the best of our ancient Dutch Governors, Wouter having
surpassed all who preceded him, and Peter, or Piet, as he was sociably
called by the old Dutch burghers, who were ever prone to familiarize
names, having never been equaled by any successor. He was in fact the
very man fitted by nature to retrieve the desperate fortunes of her
beloved province, had not the Fates, those most potent and unrelenting
of all ancient spinsters, destined them to inextricable confusion.

To say merely that he was a hero would be doing him great injustice; he
was in truth a combination of heroes; for he was of a sturdy, raw-boned
make, like Ajax Telamon, with a pair of round shoulders that Hercules
would have given his hide for (meaning his lion's hide) when he
undertook to ease old Atlas of his load. He was, moreover, as Plutarch
describes Coriolanus, not only terrible for the force of his arm, but
likewise of his voice, which sounded as though it came out of a barrel;
and, like the self-same warrior, he possessed a sovereign contempt for
the sovereign people, and an iron aspect which was enough of itself to
make the very bowels of his adversaries quake with terror and dismay.
All this martial excellency of appearance was inexpressibly heightened
by an accidental advantage, with which I am surprised that neither Homer
nor Virgil have graced any of their heroes. This was nothing less than a
wooden leg, which was the only prize he had gained in bravely fighting
the battles of his country, but of which he was so proud that he was
often heard to declare he valued it more than all his other limbs put
together: indeed, so highly did he esteem it that he had it gallantly
enchased and relieved with silver devices, which caused it to be related
in divers histories and legends that he wore a silver leg.


ANTONY VAN CORLEAR

The very first movements of the great Peter, on taking the reins of
government, displayed his magnanimity, though they occasioned not a
little marvel and uneasiness among the people of the Manhattoes. Finding
himself constantly interrupted by the opposition, and annoyed by the
advice of his privy council, the members of which had acquired the
unreasonable habit of thinking and speaking for themselves during the
preceding reign, he determined at once to put a stop to such grievous
abominations. Scarcely, therefore, had he entered upon his authority,
than he turned out of office all the meddlesome spirits of the factious
cabinet of William the Testy; in place of whom he chose unto himself
counselors from those fat, somniferous, respectable burghers who had
flourished and slumbered under the easy reign of Walter the Doubter. All
these he caused to be furnished with abundance of fair long pipes, and
to be regaled with frequent corporation dinners, admonishing them to
smoke, and eat, and sleep for the good of the nation, while he took the
burden of government upon his own shoulders--an arrangement to which
they all gave hearty acquiescence.

Nor did he stop here, but made a hideous rout among the inventions and
expedients of his learned predecessor, rooting up his patent gallows,
where caitiff vagabonds were suspended by the waistband; demolishing his
flag-staffs and windmills, which, like mighty giants, guarded the
ramparts of New Amsterdam; pitching to the duyvel whole batteries of
Quaker guns; and, in a word, turning topsy-turvy the whole philosophic,
economic and windmill system of the immortal sage of Saardam.

The honest folks of New Amsterdam began to quake now for the fate of
their matchless champion, Antony the Trumpeter, who had acquired
prodigious favor in the eyes of the women by means of his whiskers and
his trumpet. Him did Peter the Headstrong cause to be brought into his
presence, and eying him for a moment from head to foot, with a
countenance that would have appalled anything else than a sounder of
brass--"Pr'ythee, who and what art thou?" said he.

"Sire," replied the other, in no wise dismayed, "for my name, it is
Antony Van Corlear; for my parentage, I am the son of my mother; for my
profession, I am champion and garrison of this great city of New
Amsterdam." "I doubt me much," said Peter Stuyvesant, "that thou art
some scurvy costard-monger knave. How didst thou acquire this paramount
honor and dignity?" "Marry, sir," replied the other, "like many a great
man before me, simply _by sounding my own trumpet_." "Ay, is it so?"
quoth the Governor; "why, then, let us have a relish of thy art."
Whereupon the good Antony put his instrument to his lips, and sounded a
charge with such a tremendous outset, such a delectable quaver, and such
a triumphant cadence, that it was enough to make one's heart leap out of
one's mouth only to be within a mile of it. Like as a war-worn charger,
grazing in peaceful plains, starts at a strain of martial music, pricks
up his ears, and snorts, and paws, and kindles at the noise, so did the
heroic Peter joy to hear the clangor of the trumpet; for of him might
truly be said, what was recorded of the renowned St. George of England,
"there was nothing in all the world that more rejoiced his heart than to
hear the pleasant sound of war, and see the soldiers brandish forth
their steeled weapons." Casting his eye more kindly, therefore, upon the
sturdy Van Corlear, and finding him to be a jovial varlet, shrewd in his
discourse, yet of great discretion and immeasurable wind, he straightway
conceived a vast kindness for him, and discharging him from the
troublesome duty of garrisoning, defending and alarming the city, ever
after retained him about his person as his chief favorite, confidential
envoy and trusty squire. Instead of disturbing the city with disastrous
notes, he was instructed to play so as to delight the Governor while at
his repasts, as did the minstrels of yore in the days of the glorious
chivalry--and on all public occasions to rejoice the ears of the people
with warlike melody thereby keeping alive a noble and martial spirit.


GENERAL VAN POFFENBURGH

It is tropically observed by honest old Socrates, that heaven infuses
into some men at their birth a portion of intellectual gold, into others
of intellectual silver, while others are intellectually furnished with
iron and brass. Of the last class was General Van Poffenburgh; and it
would seem as if dame Nature, who will sometimes be partial, had given
him brass enough for a dozen ordinary braziers. All this he had
contrived to pass off upon William the Testy for genuine gold; and the
little Governor would sit for hours and listen to his gunpowder stories
of exploits, which left those of Tirante the White, Don Belianis of
Greece, or St. George and the Dragon quite in the background. Having
been promoted by William Kieft to the command of his whole disposable
forces, he gave importance to his station by the grandiloquence of his
bulletins, always styling himself Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of
the New Netherlands, though in sober truth these armies were nothing
more than a handful of hen-stealing, bottle-bruising ragamuffins.

In person he was not very tall, but exceedingly round; neither did his
bulk proceed from his being fat, but windy, being blown up by a
prodigious conviction of his own importance, until he resembled one of
those bags of wind given by Æolus, in an incredible fit of generosity,
to that vagabond warrior Ulysses. His windy endowments had long excited
the admiration of Antony Van Corlear, who is said to have hinted more
than once to William the Testy that in making Van Poffenburgh a general
he had spoiled an admirable trumpeter.

As it is the practice in ancient story to give the reader a description
of the arms and equipments of every noted warrior, I will bestow a word
upon the dress of this redoubtable commander. It comported with his
character, being so crossed and slashed, and embroidered with lace and
tinsel, that he seemed to have as much brass without as nature had
stored away within. He was swathed, too, in a crimson sash, of the size
and texture of a fishing-net--doubtless to keep his swelling heart from
bursting through his ribs. His face glowed with furnace-heat from
between a huge pair of well-powdered whiskers, and his valorous soul
seemed ready to bounce out of a pair of large, glassy, blinking eyes,
projecting like those of a lobster.

I swear to thee, worthy reader, if history and tradition belie not this
warrior, I would give all the money in my pocket to have seen him
accoutred _cap-á-pie_--booted to the middle, sashed to the chin,
collared to the ears, whiskered to the teeth, crowned with an
overshadowing cocked hat, and girded with a leathern belt ten inches
broad, from which trailed a falchion, of a length that I dare not
mention. Thus equipped, he strutted about, as bitter-looking a man of
war as the far-famed More, of Morehall, when he sallied forth to slay
the dragon of Wantley. For what says the ballad?

  "Had you but seen him in this dress,
    How fierce he looked and how big,
  You would have thought him for to be
    Some Egyptian porcupig.
  He frighted all--cats, dogs, and all,
    Each cow, each horse, and each hog;
  For fear they did flee, for they took him to be
    Some strange outlandish hedgehog."

  --_Knickerbocker's History of New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

"A friend of mine," said a citizen, "asked me the other evening to go
and call on some friends of his who had lost the head of the family the
day previous. He had been an honest old man, a laborer with a pick and
shovel. While we were with the family an old man entered who had worked
by his side for years. Expressing his sorrow at the loss of his friend,
and glancing about the room, he observed a large floral anchor.
Scrutinizing it closely, he turned to the widow and in a low tone asked,
'Who sent the pick?'"

While Butler was delivering a speech for the Democrats in Boston during
an exciting campaign, one of his hearers cried out, "How about the
spoons, Ben?" Benjamin's good eye twinkled merrily as he replied: "Now,
don't mention that, please. I was a Republican when I stole those
spoons."



BENJAMIN FRANKLIN


MAXIMS

Never spare the parson's wine, nor the baker's pudding.

A house without woman or firelight is like a body without soul or
sprite.

Kings and bears often worry their keepers.

Light purse, heavy heart.

He's a fool that makes his doctor his heir.

Ne'er take a wife till thou hast a house (and a fire) to put her in.

To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.

He that drinks fast pays slow.

He is ill-clothed who is bare of virtue.

Beware of meat twice boil'd, and an old foe reconcil'd.

The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of a wise man is in
his heart.

He that is rich need not live sparingly, and he that can live sparingly
need not be rich.

He that waits upon fortune is never sure of a dinner.


    MODEL OF A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION OF A PERSON YOU ARE UNACQUAINTED
    WITH

    PARIS, April 2, 1777.

    _Sir_: The bearer of this, who is going to America, presses me to
    give him a letter of recommendation, though I know nothing of him,
    not even his name. This may seem extraordinary, but I assure you it
    is not uncommon here. Sometimes, indeed, one unknown person brings
    another equally unknown, to recommend him; and sometimes they
    recommend one another! As to this gentleman, I must refer you to
    himself for his character and merits, with which he is certainly
    better acquainted than I can possibly be. I recommend him, however,
    to those civilities which every stranger, of whom one knows no harm,
    has a right to; and I request you will do him all the favor that, on
    further acquaintance, you shall find him to deserve. I have the
    honor to be, etc.


EPITAPH FOR HIMSELF

                   THE BODY
                      OF
              BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
      (LIKE THE COVER OF AN OLD BOOK,
          ITS CONTENTS TORN OUT,
  AND STRIPT OF ITS LETTERING AND GILDING),
          LIES HERE FOOD FOR WORMS;
   YET THE WORK ITSELF SHALL NOT BE LOST,
 FOR IT WILL (AS HE BELIEVED) APPEAR ONCE MORE
                     IN A NEW
          AND MORE BEAUTIFUL EDITION
             CORRECTED AND AMENDED
                     BY
                  THE AUTHOR.


WHY HE LEFT

Mr. Dickson, a colored barber in a large New England town, was shaving
one of his customers, a respectable citizen, one morning, when a
conversation occurred between them respecting Mr. Dickson's former
connection with a colored church in that place:

"I believe you are connected with the church in Elm Street, are you not,
Mr. Dickson?" said the customer.

"No, sah, not at all."

"What! are you not a member of the African church?"

"Not dis year, sah."

"Why did you leave their communion, Mr. Dickson, if I may be permitted
to ask?"

"Well, I'll tell you, sah," said Mr. Dickson, stropping a concave razor
on the palm of his hand, "it was just like dis. I jined de church in
good fait'; I gave ten dollars toward the stated gospil de first year,
and de church people call me '_Brudder_ Dickson'; de second year my
business not so good, and I gib only _five_ dollars. That year the
people call me '_Mr._ Dickson.' Dis razor hurt you, sah?"

"No, the razor goes tolerably well."

"Well, sah, de third year I feel berry poor; had sickness in my family;
I didn't gib _noffin_' for preachin'. Well, sah, arter dat dey call me
'_dat old nigger Dickson_'--and I left 'em."



WILLIAM ALLEN BUTLER


NOTHING TO WEAR

  Miss Flora M'Flimsey, of Madison Square,
  Has made three separate journeys to Paris,
  And her father assures me, each time she was there,
  That she and her friend, Mrs. Harris
  (Not the lady whose name is so famous in history,
  But plain Mrs. H., without romance or mystery),
  Spent six consecutive weeks, without stopping,
  In one continuous round of shopping--
  Shopping alone, and shopping together,
  At all hours of the day, and in all sorts of weather,
  For all manner of things that a woman can put
  On the crown of her head, or the sole of her foot,
  Or wrap round her shoulders, or fit round her waist,
  Or that can be sewed on, or pinned on, or laced,
  Or tied on with a string, or stitched on with a bow
  In front or behind, above or below;
  For bonnets, mantillas, capes, collars and shawls;
  Dresses for breakfasts, and dinners, and balls;
  Dresses to sit in, and stand in, and walk in;
  Dresses to dance in, and flirt in, and talk in;
  Dresses in which to do nothing at all;
  Dresses for winter, spring, summer and fall;
  All of them different in color and shape,
  Silk, muslin and lace, velvet, satin and crape,
  Brocade and broadcloth, and other material,
  Quite as expensive and much more ethereal;
  In short, for all things that could ever be thought of,
  Or milliner, _modiste_ or tradesman be bought of,
    From ten-thousand-franc robes to twenty-sous frills;
  In all quarters of Paris, and to every store,
  While M'Flimsey in vain stormed, scolded and swore,
    They footed the streets, and he footed the bills!

  The last trip, their goods shipped by the steamer _Arago_,
  Formed, M'Flimsey declares, the bulk of her cargo,
  Not to mention a quantity kept from the rest,
  Sufficient to fill the largest-sized chest,
  Which did not appear on the ship's manifest,
  But for which the ladies themselves manifested
  Such particular interest, that they invested
  Their own proper persons in layers and rows
  Of muslins, embroideries, worked underclothes,
  Gloves, handkerchiefs, scarfs, and such trifles as those;
  Then, wrapped in great shawls, like Circassian beauties,
  Gave _good-by_ to the ship, and _go by_ to the duties.
  Her relations at home all marveled, no doubt,
  Miss Flora had grown so enormously stout
    For an actual belle and a possible bride;
  But the miracle ceased when she turned inside out,
    And the truth came to light, and the dry-goods besides,
  Which, in spite of Collector and Custom-House sentry,
  Had entered the port without any entry.

  And yet, though scarce three months have passed since the day
  This merchandise went, on twelve carts, up Broadway,
  This same Miss M'Flimsey of Madison Square,
  The last time we met was in utter despair,
  Because she had nothing whatever to wear!

  Nothing to wear! Now, as this is a true ditty,
    I do not assert--this, you know, is between us--
  That she's in a state of absolute nudity,
    Like Powers's Greek Slave or the Medici Venus;
  But I do mean to say, I have heard her declare,
    When at the same moment she had on a dress
    Which cost five hundred dollars, and not a cent less,
    And jewelry worth ten times more, I should guess,
  That she had not a thing in the wide world to wear!

  I should mention just here, that out of Miss Flora's
  Two hundred and fifty or sixty adorers,
  I had just been selected as he who should throw all
  The rest in the shade, by the gracious bestowal
  On myself, after twenty or thirty rejections,
  Of those fossil remains which she called her "affections,"
  And that rather decayed but well-known work of art
  Which Miss Flora persisted in styling her "heart."
  So we were engaged. Our troth had been plighted,
  Not by moonbeam or starbeam, by fountain or grove,
  But in a front parlor, most brilliantly lighted,
  Beneath the gas-fixtures, we whispered our love.
  Without any romance, or raptures, or sighs,
  Without any tears in Miss Flora's blue eyes,
  Or blushes, or transports, or such silly actions,
  It was one of the quietest business transactions,
  With a very small sprinkling of sentiment, if any,
  And a very large diamond imported by Tiffany.
  On her virginal lips, while I printed a kiss,
  She exclaimed, as a sort of parenthesis,
  And by way of putting me quite at my ease,
  "You know I'm to polka as much as I please,
  And flirt when I like--now, stop, don't you speak--
  And you must not come here more than twice in the week,
  Or talk to me either at party or ball,
  But always be ready to come when I call;
  So don't prose to me about duty and stuff,
  If we don't break this off, there will be time enough
  For that sort of thing; but the bargain must be
  That, as long as I choose, I am perfectly free--
  For this is a kind of engagement, you see,
  Which is binding on you, but not binding on me."

  Well, having thus wooed Miss M'Flimsey and gained her,
  With the silks, crinolines, and hoops that contained her,
  I had, as I thought, a contingent remainder
  At least in the property, and the best right
  To appear as its escort by day and by night;
  And it being the week of the Stuckups' grand ball--
    Their cards had been out a fortnight or so,
    And set all the Avenue on the tiptoe--
  I considered it only my duty to call,
    And see if Miss Flora intended to go.
  I found her--as ladies are apt to be found,
  When the time intervening between the first sound
  Of the bell and the visitor's entry is shorter
  Than usual--I found; I won't say--I caught her,
  Intent on the pier-glass, undoubtedly meaning
  To see if perhaps it didn't need cleaning.
  She turned as I entered--"Why, Harry, you sinner,
  I thought that you went to the Flashers' to dinner!"
  "So I did," I replied; "the dinner is swallowed,
    And digested, I trust, for 'tis now nine and more,
  So, being relieved from that duty, I followed
    Inclination, which led me, you see, to your door;
  And now will your ladyship so condescend
  As just to inform me if you intend
  Your beauty, and graces, and presence to lend
  (All of which, when I own, I hope no one will borrow)
  To the Stuckups', whose party, you know, is to-morrow?"
  The fair Flora looked up, with a pitiful air,
  And answered quite promptly, "Why, Harry, _mon cher_,
  I should like above all things to go with you there,
  But really and truly--I've nothing to wear."
  "Nothing to wear! Go just as you are;
  Wear the dress you have on, and you'll be by far,
  I engage, the most bright and particular star
    On the Stuckup horizon----" I stopped, for her eye,
  Notwithstanding this delicate onset of flattery,
  Opened on me at once a most terrible battery
    Of scorn and amazement. She made no reply,
  But gave a slight turn to the end of her nose
    (That pure Grecian feature), as much as to say,
  "How absurd that any sane man should suppose
  That a lady would go to a ball in the clothes,
    No matter how fine, that she wears every day!"
  So I ventured again: "Wear your crimson brocade;"
  (Second turn up of nose)--"That's too dark by a shade."
  "Your blue silk"--"That's too heavy." "Your pink"--"That's too light."
  "Wear tulle over satin"--"I can't endure white."
  "Your rose-colored, then, the best of the batch"--
  "I haven't a thread of point-lace to match."
  "Your brown _moire antique_"--"Yes, and look like a Quaker."
  "The pearl-colored"--"I would, but that plaguy dressmaker
  Has had it a week." "Then that exquisite lilac,
  In which you would melt the heart of a Shylock;"
  (Here the nose took again the same elevation)--
  "I wouldn't wear that for the whole of creation."
    "Why not? It's my fancy, there's nothing could strike it
  As more _comme it faut_"--"Yes, but, dear me, that lean
    Sophronia Stuckup has got one just like it,
  And I won't appear dressed like a chit of sixteen."
  "Then that splendid purple, the sweet Mazarine;
  That superb _point d'aiguille_, that imperial green,
  That zephyr-like tarletan, that rich _grenadine_"--
  "Not one of all which is fit to be seen,"
  Said the lady, becoming excited and flushed.
  "Then wear," I exclaimed, in a tone which quite crushed
  Opposition, "that gorgeous _toilette_ which you sported
  In Paris last spring, at the grand presentation,
  When you quite turned the head of the head of the nation,
    And by all the grand court were so very much courted."
    The end of the nose was portentously tipped up
  And both the bright eyes shot forth indignation,
  As she burst upon me with the fierce exclamation,
  "I have worn it three times, at the least calculation,
    And that and most of my dresses are ripped up!"
  Here I _ripped out_ something, perhaps rather rash,
    Quite innocent, though; but to use an expression
  More striking than classic, it "settled my hash,"
    And proved very soon the last act of our session.
  "Fiddlesticks, is it, sir? I wonder the ceiling
  Doesn't fall down and crush you--you men have no feeling;
  You selfish, unnatural, illiberal creatures,
  Who set yourselves up as patterns and preachers,
  Your silly pretense--why, what a mere guess it is!
  Pray, what do you know of a woman's necessities?
  I have told you and shown you I've nothing to wear,
  And it's perfectly plain you not only don't care,
  But you do not believe me" (here the nose went still higher).
  "I suppose, if you dared, you would call me a liar.
  Our engagement is ended, sir--yes, on the spot;
  You're a brute, and a monster, and--I don't know what."
  I mildly suggested the words Hottentot,
  Pickpocket, and cannibal, Tartar, and thief,
  As gentle expletives which might give relief;
  But this only proved as a spark to the powder,
  And the storm I had raised came faster and louder;
  It blew and it rained, thundered, lightened and hailed
  Interjections, verbs, pronouns, till language quite failed
  To express the abusive, and then its arrears
  Were brought up all at once by a torrent of tears,
  And my last faint, despairing attempt at an obs-
  Ervation was lost in a tempest of sobs.

  Well, I felt for the lady, and felt for my hat, too,
  Improvised on the crown of the latter a tattoo,
  In lieu of expressing the feelings which lay
  Quite too deep for words, as Wordsworth would say;
  Then, without going through the form of a bow,
  Found myself in the entry--I hardly know how,
  On doorstep and sidewalk, past lamp-post and square,
  At home and upstairs, in my own easy-chair;
    Poked my feet into slippers, my fire into blaze,
  And said to myself, as I lit my cigar,
  "Supposing a man had the wealth of the Czar
    Of the Russias to boot, for the rest of his days,
  On the whole, do you think he would have much to spare,
  If he married a woman with nothing to wear?"

  Since that night, taking pains that it should not be bruited
  Abroad in society, I've instituted
  A course of inquiry, extensive and thorough,
  On this vital subject, and find, to my horror,
  That the fair Flora's case is by no means surprising,
    But that there exists the greatest distress
  In our female community, solely arising
    From this unsupplied destitution of dress,
  Whose unfortunate victims are filling the air
  With the pitiful wail of "Nothing to wear."

  Researches in some of the "Upper Ten" districts
  Reveal the most painful and startling statistics,
  Of which let me mention only a few:
  In one single house on the Fifth Avenue,
  Three young ladies were found, all below twenty-two,
  Who have been three whole weeks without anything new
  In the way of flounced silks, and thus left in the lurch,
  Are unable to go to ball, concert or church.
  In another large mansion near the same place
  Was found a deplorable, heartrending case
  Of entire destitution of Brussels point-lace.
  In a neighboring block there was found, in three calls,
  Total want, long continued, of camel's-hair shawls;
  And a suffering family, whose case exhibits
  The most pressing need of real ermine tippets;
  One deserving young lady almost unable
  To survive for the want of a new Russian sable;
  Still another, whose tortures have been most terrific
  Ever since the sad loss of the steamer _Pacific_,
  In which were engulfed, not friend or relation
  (For whose fate she, perhaps, might have found consolation,
  Or borne it, at least, with serene resignation),
  But the choicest assortment of French sleeves and collars
  Ever sent out from Paris, worth thousands of dollars,
  And all as to style most _recherché_ and rare,
  The want of which leaves her with nothing to wear,
  And renders her life so drear and dyspeptic
  That she's quite a recluse, and almost a skeptic,
  For she touchingly says that this sort of grief
  Cannot find in Religion the slightest relief,
  And Philosophy has not a maxim to spare
  For the victims of such overwhelming despair.
  But the saddest, by far, of all these sad features,
  Is the cruelty practised upon the poor creatures
  By husbands and fathers, real Bluebeards and Timons,
  Who resist the most touching appeals made for diamonds
  By their wives and their daughters, and leave them for days
  Unsupplied with new jewelry, fans or bouquets,
  Even laugh at their miseries whenever they have a chance,
  And deride their demands as useless extravagance.
  One case of a bride was brought to my view,
  Too sad for belief, but alas! 'twas too true,
  Whose husband refused, as savage as Charon,
  To permit her to take more than ten trunks to Sharon.
  The consequence was, that when she got there,
  At the end of three weeks she had nothing to wear;
  And when she proposed to finish the season
  At Newport, the monster refused, out and out,
  For his infamous conduct alleging no reason,
  Except that the waters were good for his gout;
  Such treatment as this was too shocking, of course,
  And proceedings are now going on for divorce.

  But why harrow the feelings by lifting the curtain
  From these scenes of woe? Enough, it is certain,
  Has here been disclosed to stir up the pity
  Of every benevolent heart in the city,
  And spur up humanity into a canter
  To rush and relieve these sad cases instanter.
  Won't somebody, moved by this touching description,
  Come forward to-morrow and head a subscription?
  Won't some kind philanthropist, seeing that aid is
  So needed at once by these indigent ladies,
  Take charge of the matter? Or won't Peter Cooper
  The corner-stone lay of some new splendid super-
  Structure, like that which to-day links his name
  In the Union unending of Honor and Fame,
  And found a new charity just for the care
  Of these unhappy women with nothing to wear,
  Which, in view of the cash which would daily be claimed,
  The _Laying-out_ Hospital well might be named?
  Won't Stewart, or some of our dry-goods importers,
  Take a contract for clothing our wives and our daughters?
  Or, to furnish the cash to supply these distresses,
  And life's pathway strew with shawls, collars and dresses,
  Ere the want of them makes it much rougher and thornier,
  Won't some one discover a new California?
  O! ladies, dear ladies, the next sunny day,
  Please trundle your hoops just out of Broadway,
  From its swirl and its bustle, its fashion and pride
  And the temples of Trade which tower on each side,
  To the alleys and lanes, where Misfortune and Guilt
  Their children have gathered, their city have built;
  Where Hunger and Vice, like twin beasts of prey,
    Have hunted their victims to gloom and despair;
  Raise the rich, dainty dress, and the fine broidered skirt,
  Pick your delicate way through the dampness and dirt.
    Grope through the dark dens, climb the rickety stair
  To the garret, where wretches, the young and the old,
  Half starved and half naked, lie crouched from the cold;
  See those skeleton limbs, those frost-bitten feet,
  All bleeding and bruised by the stones of the street;
  Hear the sharp cry of childhood, the deep groans that swell
    From the poor dying creature who writhes on the floor;
  Hear the curses that sound like the echoes of Hell,
    As you sicken and shudder and fly from the door;
  Then home to your wardrobes, and say, if you dare--
  Spoiled children of fashion--you've nothing to wear!

  And O! if perchance there should be a sphere
  Where all is made right which so puzzles us here,
  Where the glare and the glitter and tinsel of Time
  Fade and die in the light of that region sublime,
  Where the soul, disenchanted of flesh and of sense,
  Unscreened by its trappings and shows and pretense,
  Must be clothed for the life and the service above,
  With purity, truth, faith, meekness and love,
  O daughters of Earth! foolish virgins, beware!
  Lest in that upper realm you have nothing to wear!


A BOY'S ESSAY ON GIRLS

"Girls are very stuckup and dignefied in their manner and behaveyour.
They think more of dress than anything and like to play with dowls and
rags. They cry if they see a cow in afar distance and are afraid of
guns. They stay at home all the time and go to Church every Sunday. They
are al-ways sick. They are al-ways funy and making fun of boys hands and
they say how dirty. They cant play marbles. I pity them poor things.
They make fun of boys and then turn round and love them. I dont beleave
they ever kiled a cat or any thing. They look out every nite and say oh
ant the moon lovely. Thir is one thing I have not told and that is they
al-ways now their lessons bettern boys."



HENRY WARD BEECHER


DEACON MARBLE

How they ever made a deacon out of Jerry Marble I never could imagine!
His was the kindest heart that ever bubbled and ran over. He was
elastic, tough, incessantly active, and a prodigious worker. He seemed
never to tire, but after the longest day's toil, he sprang up the moment
he had done with work, as if he were a fine steel spring. A few hours'
sleep sufficed him, and he saw the morning stars the year round. His
weazened face was leather color, but forever dimpling and changing to
keep some sort of congruity between itself and his eyes, that winked and
blinked and spilled over with merry good nature. He always seemed
afflicted when obliged to be sober. He had been known to laugh in
meeting on several occasions, although he ran his face behind his
handkerchief, and coughed, as if _that_ was the matter, yet nobody
believed it. Once, in a hot summer day, he saw Deacon Trowbridge, a
sober and fat man, of great sobriety, gradually ascending from the
bodily state into that spiritual condition called sleep. He was
blameless of the act. He had struggled against the temptation with the
whole virtue of a deacon. He had eaten two or three heads of fennel in
vain, and a piece of orange peel. He had stirred himself up, and fixed
his eyes on the minister with intense firmness, only to have them grow
gradually narrower and milder. If he held his head up firmly, it would
with a sudden lapse fall away over backward. If he leaned it a little
forward, it would drop suddenly into his bosom. At each nod, recovering
himself, he would nod again, with his eyes wide open, to impress upon
the boys that he did it on purpose both times.

In what other painful event of life has a good man so little sympathy as
when overcome with sleep in meeting time? Against the insidious
seduction he arrays every conceivable resistance. He stands up awhile;
he pinches himself, or pricks himself with pins. He looks up helplessly
to the pulpit as if some succor might come thence. He crosses his legs
uncomfortably, and attempts to recite the catechism or the
multiplication table. He seizes a languid fan, which treacherously
leaves him in a calm. He tries to reason, to notice the phenomena. Oh,
that one could carry his pew to bed with him! What tossing wakefulness
there! what fiery chase after somnolency! In his lawful bed a man cannot
sleep, and in his pew he cannot keep awake! Happy man who does not sleep
in church! Deacon Trowbridge was not that man. Deacon Marble was!

Deacon Marble witnessed the conflict we have sketched above, and when
good Mr. Trowbridge gave his next lurch, recovering himself with a
snort, and then drew out a red handkerchief and blew his nose with a
loud imitation, as if to let the boys know that he had not been asleep,
poor Deacon Marble was brought to a sore strait. But I have reason to
think that he would have weathered the stress if it had not been for a
sweet-faced little boy in the front of the gallery. The lad had been
innocently watching the same scene, and at its climax laughed out loud,
with a frank and musical explosion, and then suddenly disappeared
backward into his mother's lap. That laugh was just too much, and Deacon
Marble could no more help laughing than could Deacon Trowbridge help
sleeping. Nor could he conceal it. Though he coughed and put up his
handkerchief and hemmed--it _was_ a laugh--Deacon!--and every boy in the
house knew it, and liked you better for it--so inexperienced were
they.--_Norwood._


THE DEACON'S TROUT

He was a curious trout. I believe he knew Sunday just as well as Deacon
Marble did. At any rate, the Deacon thought the trout meant to aggravate
him. The Deacon, you know, is a little waggish. He often tells about
that trout. Says he: "One Sunday morning, just as I got along by the
willows, I heard an awful splash, and not ten feet from shore I saw the
trout, as long as my arm, just curving over like a bow and going down
with something for breakfast. Gracious says I, and I almost jumped out
of the wagon. But my wife Polly, says she, 'What on airth are you
thinkin' of, Deacon? It's Sabbath day, and you're goin' to meetin'! It's
a pretty business for a deacon!' That sort o' cooled me off. But I do
say that, for about a minute, I wished I wasn't a deacon. But 'twouldn't
make any difference, for I came down next day to mill on purpose, and I
came down once or twice more, and nothin' was to be seen, tho' I tried
him with the most temptin' things. Wal, next Sunday I came along agin,
and, to save my life I couldn't keep off worldly and wanderin' thoughts.
I tried to be sayin' my catechism, but I couldn't keep my eyes off the
pond as we came up to the willows. I'd got along in the catechism, as
smooth as the road, to the Fourth Commandment, and was sayin' it out
loud for Polly, and jist as I was sayin': '_What is required in the
Fourth Commandment?_' I heard a splash, and there was the trout, and,
afore I could think, I said: 'Gracious, Polly, I must have that trout.'
She almost riz right up, 'I knew you wa'n't sayin' your catechism
hearty. Is this the way you answer the question about keepin' the Lord's
day? I'm ashamed, Deacon Marble,' says she. 'You'd better change your
road, and go to meetin' on the road over the hill. If I was a deacon, I
wouldn't let a fish's tail whisk the whole catechism out of my head;'
and I had to go to meetin' on the hill road all the rest of the
summer."--_Norwood._


THE DOG NOBLE AND THE EMPTY HOLE

The first summer which we spent in Lenox we had along a very intelligent
dog, named Noble. He was learned in many things, and by his dog-lore
excited the undying admiration of all the children. But there were some
things which Noble could never learn. Having on one occasion seen a red
squirrel run into a hole in a stone wall, he could not be persuaded that
he was not there forevermore.

Several red squirrels lived close to the house, and had become familiar,
but not tame. They kept up a regular romp with Noble. They would come
down from the maple trees with provoking coolness; they would run along
the fence almost within reach; they would cock their tails and sail
across the road to the barn; and yet there was such a well-timed
calculation under all this apparent rashness, that Noble invariably
arrived at the critical spot just as the squirrel left it.

On one occasion Noble was so close upon his red-backed friend that,
unable to get up the maple tree, the squirrel dodged into a hole in the
wall, ran through the chinks, emerged at a little distance, and sprang
into the tree. The intense enthusiasm of the dog at that hole can hardly
be described. He filled it full of barking. He pawed and scratched as if
undermining a bastion. Standing off at a little distance, he would
pierce the hole with a gaze as intense and fixed as if he were trying
magnetism on it. Then, with tail extended, and every hair thereon
electrified, he would rush at the empty hole with a prodigious
onslaught.

This imaginary squirrel haunted Noble night and day. The very squirrel
himself would run up before his face into the tree, and, crouched in a
crotch, would sit silently watching the whole process of bombarding the
empty hole, with great sobriety and relish. But Noble would allow of no
doubts. His conviction that that hole had a squirrel in it continued
unshaken for six weeks. When all other occupations failed, this hole
remained to him. When there were no more chickens to harry, no pigs to
bite, no cattle to chase, no children to romp with, no expeditions to
make with the grown folks, and when he had slept all that his dogskin
would hold, he would walk out of the yard, yawn and stretch himself, and
then look wistfully at the hole, as if thinking to himself, "Well, as
there is nothing else to do, I may as well try that hole again!"--_Eyes
and Ears._

       *       *       *       *       *

N. P. Willis was usually the life of the company he happened to be in.
His repartee at Mrs. Gales's dinner in Washington is famous. Mrs. Gales
wrote on a card to her niece, at the other end of the table: "Don't
flirt so with Nat Willis." She was herself talking vivaciously to a Mr.
Campbell. Willis wrote the niece's reply:

  "Dear aunt, don't attempt my young feelings to trammel.
  Nor strain at a Nat while you swallow a Campbell."


OLD GRIMES

  Old Grimes is dead; that good old man
    We never shall see more:
  He used to wear a long, black coat,
    All button'd down before.

  His heart was open as the day,
    His feelings all were true:
  His hair was some inclined to gray--
    He wore it in a queue.

  Whene'er he heard the voice of pain,
    His breast with pity burn'd:
  The large, round head upon his cane
    From ivory was turn'd.

  Kind words he ever had for all;
    He knew no base design:
  His eyes were dark and rather small,
    His nose was aquiline.

  He lived at peace with all mankind,
    In friendship he was true:
  His coat had pocket-holes behind,
    His pantaloons were blue.

  Unharm'd, the sin which earth pollutes
    He pass'd securely o'er,
  And never wore a pair of boots
    For thirty years or more.

  But good old Grimes is now at rest,
    Nor fears misfortune's frown:
  He wore a double-breasted vest--
    The stripes ran up and down.

  He modest merit sought to find,
    And pay it its desert:
  He had no malice in his mind,
    No ruffles on his shirt.

  His neighbors he did not abuse--
    Was sociable and gay:
  He wore large buckles on his shoes.
    And changed them every day.

  His knowledge, hid from public gaze,
    He did not bring to view,
  Nor made a noise, town-meeting days,
    As many people do.

  His worldly goods he never threw
    In trust to fortune's chances,
  But lived (as all his brothers do)
    In easy circumstances.

  Thus undisturb'd by anxious cares.
    His peaceful moments ran;
  And everybody said he was
    A fine old gentleman.



ALBERT GORTON GREENE.


IDENTIFIED

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a kind-hearted man as well as a great novelist.
While he was consul at Liverpool a young Yankee walked into his office.
The boy had left home to seek his fortune, but evidently hadn't found it
yet, although he had crossed the sea in his search. Homesick,
friendless, nearly penniless, he wanted a passage home. The clerk said
Mr. Hawthorne could not be seen, and intimated that the boy was not
American, but was trying to steal a passage. The boy stuck to his point,
and the clerk at last went to the little room and said to Mr. Hawthorne:
"Here's a boy who insists upon seeing you. He says he is an American,
but I know he isn't." Hawthorne came out of the room and looked keenly
at the eager, ruddy face of the boy. "You want a passage to America?"

"Yes, sir."

"And you say you're an American?"

"Yes, sir."

"From what part of America?"

"United States, sir."

"What State?"

"New Hampshire, sir."

"Town?"

"Exeter, sir."

Hawthorne looked at him for a minute before asking him the next
question. "Who sold the best apples in your town?"

"Skim-milk Folsom, sir," said the boy, with glistening eye, as the old
familiar by-word brought up the dear old scenes of home.

"It's all right," said Hawthorne to the clerk; "give him a passage."


ONE BETTER

Long after the victories of Washington over the French and English had
made his name familiar to all Europe, Doctor Franklin chanced to dine
with the English and French Ambassadors, when, as nearly as the precise
words can be recollected, the following toasts were drunk:

"England'--The _Sun_, whose bright beams enlighten and fructify the
remotest corners of the earth."

The French Ambassador, filled with national pride, but too polite to
dispute the previous toast, drank the following:

"France'--The _Moon_, whose mild, steady and cheering rays are the
delight of all nations, consoling them in darkness and making their
dreariness beautiful."

Doctor Franklin then arose, and, with his usual dignified simplicity,
said:

"George Washington'--The Joshua who commanded the Sun and Moon to stand
still, and they obeyed him."


MY AUNT

  My aunt! my dear unmarried aunt!
    Long years have o'er her flown;
  Yet still she strains the aching clasp
    That binds her virgin zone;
  I know it hurts her--though she looks
    As cheerful as she can;
  Her waist is ampler than her life,
    For life is but a span.

  My aunt, my poor deluded aunt!
    Her hair is almost gray;
  Why will she train that winter curl
    In such a spring-like way?
  How can she lay her glasses down,
    And say she reads as well,
  When, through a double convex lens,
    She just makes out to spell?

  Her father--grandpapa! forgive
    This erring lip its smiles--
  Vowed she would make the finest girl
    Within a hundred miles.
  He sent her to a stylish school;
    'Twas in her thirteenth June;
  And with her, as the rules required,
    "Two towels and a spoon."

  They braced my aunt against a board,
    To make her straight and tall;
  They laced her up, they starved her down,
    To make her light and small;
  They pinched her feet, they singed her hair,
    They screwed it up with pins--
  O never mortal suffered more
    In penance for her sins.

  So, when my precious aunt was done,
    My grandsire brought her back
  (By daylight, lest some rabid youth
    Might follow on the track);
  "Ah!" said my grandsire, as he shook
    Some powder in his pan,
  "What could this lovely creature do
    Against a desperate man!"

  Alas! nor chariot, nor barouche,
    Nor bandit cavalcade
  Tore from the trembling father's arms
    His all-accomplished maid.
  For her how happy had it been!
    And Heaven had spared to me
  To see one sad, ungathered rose
    On my ancestral tree.

  OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.



N. P. WILLIS


MISS ALBINA McLUSH

I have a passion for fat women. If there is anything I hate in life, it
is what dainty people call a _spirituelle_. Motion--rapid motion--a
smart, quick, squirrel-like step, a pert, voluble tone--in short, a
lively girl--is my exquisite horror! I would as lief have a _diable
petit_ dancing his infernal hornpipe on my cerebellum as to be in the
room with one. I have tried before now to school myself into liking
these parched peas of humanity. I have followed them with my eyes, and
attended to their rattle till I was as crazy as a fly in a drum. I have
danced with them, and romped with them in the country, and periled the
salvation of my "white tights" by sitting near them at supper. I swear
off from this moment. I do. I won't--no--hang me if ever I show another
small, lively, _spry_ woman a civility.

Albina McLush is divine. She is like the description of the Persian
beauty by Hafiz: "Her heart is full of passion and her eyes are full of
sleep." She is the sister of Lurly McLush, my old college chum, who, as
early as his sophomore year, was chosen president of the _Dolce far
niente_ Society--no member of which was ever known to be surprised at
anything--(the college law of rising before breakfast excepted). Lurly
introduced me to his sister one day, as he was lying upon a heap of
turnips, leaning on his elbow with his head in his hand, in a green lane
in the suburbs. He had driven over a stump, and been tossed out of his
gig, and I came up just as he was wondering how in the D----l's name he
got there! Albina sat quietly in the gig, and when I was presented,
requested me, with a delicious drawl, to say nothing about the
adventure--it would be so troublesome to relate it to everybody! I loved
her from that moment. Miss McLush was tall, and her shape, of its kind,
was perfect. It was not a _fleshy_ one exactly, but she was large and
full. Her skin was clear, fine-grained and transparent; her temples and
forehead perfectly rounded and polished, and her lips and chin swelling
into a ripe and tempting pout, like the cleft of a bursted apricot. And
then her eyes--large, liquid and sleepy--they languished beneath their
long black fringes as if they had no business with daylight--like two
magnificent dreams, surprised in their jet embryos by some bird-nesting
cherub. Oh! it was lovely to look into them!

She sat, usually, upon a _fauteuil_, with her large, full arm embedded
in the cushion, sometimes for hours without stirring. I have seen the
wind lift the masses of dark hair from her shoulders when it seemed like
the coming to life of a marble Hebe--she had been motionless so long.
She was a model for a goddess of sleep as she sat with her eyes half
closed, lifting up their superb lids slowly as you spoke to her, and
dropping them again with the deliberate motion of a cloud, when she had
murmured out her syllable of assent. Her figure, in a sitting posture,
presented a gentle declivity from the curve of her neck to the instep of
the small round foot lying on its side upon the ottoman. I remember a
fellow's bringing her a plate of fruit one evening. He was one of your
lively men--a horrid monster, all right angles and activity. Having
never been accustomed to hold her own plate, she had not well extricated
her whole fingers from her handkerchief before he set it down in her
lap. As it began to slide slowly toward her feet, her hand relapsed into
the muslin folds, and she fixed her eye upon it with a kind of indolent
surprise, drooping her lids gradually till, as the fruit scattered over
the ottoman, they closed entirely, and a liquid jet line was alone
visible through the heavy lashes. There was an imperial indifference in
it worthy of Juno.

Miss McLush rarely walks. When she does, it is with the deliberate
majesty of a Dido. Her small, plump feet melt to the ground like
snowflakes; and her figure sways to the indolent motion of her limbs
with a glorious grace and yieldingness quite indescribable. She was
idling slowly up the Mall one evening just at twilight, with a servant
at a short distance behind her, who, to while away the time between his
steps, was employing himself in throwing stones at the cows feeding
upon the Common. A gentleman, with a natural admiration for her splendid
person, addressed her. He might have done a more eccentric thing.
Without troubling herself to look at him, she turned to her servant and
requested him, with a yawn of desperate ennui, to knock that fellow
down! John obeyed his orders; and, as his mistress resumed her lounge,
picked up a new handful of pebbles, and tossing one at the nearest cow,
loitered lazily after.

Such supreme indolence was irresistible. I gave in--I--who never
before could summon energy to sigh--I--to whom a declaration was
but a synonym for perspiration--I--who had only thought of love
as a nervous complaint, and of women but to pray for a good
deliverance--I--yes--I--knocked under. Albina McLush! Thou wert too
exquisitely lazy. Human sensibilities cannot hold out forever.

I found her one morning sipping her coffee at twelve, with her eyes wide
open. She was just from the bath, and her complexion had a soft, dewy
transparency, like the cheek of Venus rising from the sea. It was the
hour, Lurly had told me, when she would be at the trouble of thinking.
She put away with her dimpled forefinger, as I entered, a cluster of
rich curls that had fallen over her face, and nodded to me like a
water-lily swaying to the wind when its cup is full of rain.

"Lady Albina," said I, in my softest tone, "how are you?"

"Bettina," said she, addressing her maid in a voice as clouded and rich
as the south wind on an Æolian, "how am I to-day?"

The conversation fell into short sentences. The dialogue became a
monologue. I entered upon my declaration. With the assistance of
Bettina, who supplied her mistress with cologne, I kept her attention
alive through the incipient circumstances. Symptoms were soon told. I
came to the avowal. Her hand lay reposing on the arm of the sofa, half
buried in a muslin _foulard_. I took it up and pressed the cool soft
fingers to my lips--unforbidden. I rose and looked into her eyes for
confirmation. Delicious creature! she was asleep!

I never have had courage to renew the subject. Miss McLush seems to have
forgotten it altogether. Upon reflection, too, I'm convinced she would
not survive the excitement of the ceremony--unless, indeed, she should
sleep between the responses and the prayer. I am still devoted, however,
and if there should come a war or an earthquake, or if the millennium
should commence, as is expected in 18----, or if anything happens that
can keep her waking so long, I shall deliver a declaration, abbreviated
for me by a scholar-friend of mine, which, he warrants, may be
articulated in fifteen minutes--without fatigue.


A SMACK IN SCHOOL

  A district school, not far away,
  'Mid Berkshire's hills, one winter's day,
  Was humming with its wonted noise
  Of threescore mingled girls and boys;
  Some few upon their tasks intent,
  But more on furtive mischief bent.
  The while the master's downward look
  Was fastened on a copy-book;
  When suddenly, behind his back,
  Rose sharp and clear a rousing smack!
  As 'twere a battery of bliss
  Let off in one tremendous kiss!
  "What's that?" the startled master cries;
  "That, thir," a little imp replies,
  "Wath William Willith, if you pleathe----
  I thaw him kith Thuthanna Peathe!"
  With frown to make a statue thrill,
  The master thundered, "Hither, Will!"
  Like wretch o'ertaken in his track,
  With stolen chattels on his back,
  Will hung his head in fear and shame,
  And to the awful presence came----
  A great, green, bashful simpleton,
  The butt of all good-natured fun.
  With smile suppressed, and birch upraised,
  The thunderer faltered--"I'm amazed
  That you, my biggest pupil, should
  Be guilty of an act so rude!
  Before the whole set school to boot----
  What evil genius put you to't?"
  "'Twas she herself, sir," sobbed the lad;
  "I did not mean to be so bad;
  But when Susannah shook her curls,
  And whispered, I was 'fraid of girls
  And dursn't kiss a baby's doll,
  I couldn't stand it, sir, at all,
  But up and kissed her on the spot!
  I know--boo--hoo--I ought to not,
  But, somehow, from her looks--boo--hoo----
  I thought she kind o' wished me to!"

  WILLIAM PITT PALMER.


A RENDITION

Two old British sailors were talking over their shore experience. One
had been to a cathedral and had heard some very fine music, and was
descanting particularly upon an anthem which gave him much pleasure. His
shipmate listened for awhile, and then said:

"I say, Bill, what's a hanthem?"

"What," replied Bill, "do you mean to say you don't know what a hanthem
is?"

"Not me."

"Well, then, I'll tell yer. If I was to tell yer, 'Ere, Bill, give me
that 'andspike,' that wouldn't be a hanthem;' but was I to say, 'Bill,
Bill, giv, giv, give me, give me that, Bill, give me, give me that hand,
handspike, hand, handspike, spike, spike, spike, ah-men, ahmen. Bill,
givemethat-handspike, spike, ahmen!' why, that would be a hanthem."



B. P. SHILLABER ("Mrs. Partington")


FANCY DISEASES

"Diseases is very various," said Mrs. Partington, as she returned from a
street-door conversation with Doctor Bolus. "The Doctor tells me that
poor old Mrs. Haze has got two buckles on her lungs! It is dreadful to
think of, I declare. The diseases is so various! One way we hear of
people's dying of hermitage of the lungs; another way, of the brown
creatures; here they tell us of the elementary canal being out of order,
and there about tonsors of the throat; here we hear of neurology in the
head, there, of an embargo; one side of us we hear of men being killed
by getting a pound of tough beef in the sarcofagus, and there another
kills himself by discovering his jocular vein. Things change so that I
declare I don't know how to subscribe for any diseases nowadays. New
names and new nostrils takes the place of the old, and I might as well
throw my old herb-bag away."

Fifteen minutes afterward Isaac had that herb-bag for a target, and
broke three squares of glass in the cellar window in trying to hit it,
before the old lady knew what he was about. She didn't mean exactly what
she said.


BAILED OUT

"So, our neighbour, Mr. Guzzle, has been arranged at the bar for
drunkardice," said Mrs. Partington; and she sighed as she thought of his
wife and children at home, with the cold weather close at hand, and the
searching winds intruding through the chinks in the windows, and waving
the tattered curtain like a banner, where the little ones stood
shivering by the faint embers. "God forgive him, and pity them!" said
she, in a tone of voice tremulous with emotion.

"But he was bailed out," said Ike, who had devoured the residue of the
paragraph, and laid the paper in a pan of liquid custard that the dame
was preparing for Thanksgiving, and sat swinging the oven door to and
fro as if to fan the fire that crackled and blazed within.

"Bailed out, was he?" said she; "well, I should think it would have been
cheaper to have pumped him out, for, when our cellar was filled, arter
the city fathers had degraded the street, we had to have it pumped out,
though there wasn't half so much in it as he has swilled down."

She paused and reached up on the high shelves of the closet for her pie
plates, while Ike busied himself in tasting the various preparations.
The dame thought that was the smallest quart of sweet cider she had ever
seen.


SEEKING A COMET

It was with an anxious feeling that Mrs. Partington, having smoked her
specs, directed her gaze toward the western sky, in quest of the
tailless comet of 1850.

"I can't see it," said she; and a shade of vexation was perceptible in
the tone of her voice. "I don't think much of this explanatory system,"
continued she, "that they praise so, where the stars are mixed up so
that _I_ can't tell Jew Peter from Satan, nor the consternation of the
Great Bear from the man in the moon. 'Tis all dark to me. I don't
believe there is any comet at all. Who ever heard of a comet without a
tail, I should like to know? It isn't natural; but the printers will
make a tale for it fast enough, for they are always getting up comical
stories."

With a complaint about the falling dew, and a slight murmur of
disappointment, the dame disappeared behind a deal door like the moon
behind a cloud.


GOING TO CALIFORNIA

"Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Partington sorrowfully, "how much a man will
bear, and how far he will go, to get the soddered dross, as Parson
Martin called it when he refused the beggar a sixpence for fear it might
lead him into extravagance! Everybody is going to California and Chagrin
arter gold. Cousin Jones and the three Smiths have gone; and Mr. Chip,
the carpenter, has left his wife and seven children and a blessed old
mother-in-law, to seek his fortin, too. This is the strangest yet, and I
don't see how he could have done it; it looks so ongrateful to treat
Heaven's blessings so lightly. But there, we are told that the love of
money is the root of all evil, and how true it is! for they are now
rooting arter it, like pigs arter ground-nuts. Why, it is a perfect
money mania among everybody!"

And she shook her head doubtingly, as she pensively watched a small mug
of cider, with an apple in it, simmering by the winter fire. She was
somewhat fond of a drink made in this way.


MRS. PARTINGTON IN COURT

"I took my knitting-work and went up into the gallery," said Mrs.
Partington, the day after visiting one of the city courts; "I went up
into the gallery, and after I had adjusted my specs, I looked down into
the room, but I couldn't see any courting going on. An old gentleman
seemed to be asking a good many impertinent questions--just like some
old folks--and people were sitting around making minutes of the
conversation. I don't see how they made out what was said, for they all
told different stories. How much easier it would be to get along if they
were all made to tell the same story! What a sight of trouble it would
save the lawyers! The case, as they call it, was given to the jury, but
I couldn't see it, and a gentleman with a long pole was made to swear
that he'd keep an eye on 'em, and see that they didn't run away with it.
Bimeby in they came again, and they said somebody was guilty of
something, who had just said he was innocent, and didn't know nothing
about it no more than the little baby that had never subsistence. I come
away soon afterward; but I couldn't help thinking how trying it must be
to sit there all day, shut out from the blessed air!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Apropos of Superintendent Andrews's reported objection to the singing of
the "Recessional" in the Chicago public schools on the ground that the
atheists might be offended, the _Chicago Post_ says:

For the benefit of our skittish friends, the atheists, and in order not
to deprive the public-school children of the literary beauties of
certain poems that may be classed by Doctor Andrews as "hymns," we
venture to suggest this compromise, taking a few lines in illustration
from our National anthem:

    "Our fathers' God--assuming purely for the
    sake of argument that there is a God--to Thee,
    Author of liberty--with apologies to our friends,
    the atheists--

    To Thee I sing--but we needn't mean it, you
    know.

    Long may our land be bright,

    With freedom's holy light;

    Protect us by Thy might--remember, this is
    purely hypothetical----

    Great God--again assuming that there is a God--our
    king--simply an allegorical phrase and
    not intended offensively to any taxpayer."



OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES


THE DEACON'S MASTERPIECE; Or, the Wonderful "One-hoss Shay"

  A LOGICAL STORY

  Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss shay
  That was built in such a logical way,
  It ran a hundred years to a day,
  And then, of a sudden, it--ah, but stay,
  I'll tell you what happened without delay,
  Scaring the parson into fits,
  Frightening people out of their wits----
  Have you ever heard of that, I say?

  Seventeen hundred and fifty-five.
  _Georgius Secundus_ was then alive----
  Snuffy old drone from the German hive.
  That was the year when Lisbon-town
  Saw the earth open and gulp her down,
  And Braddock's army was done so brown,
  Left without a scalp to its crown.
  It was on the terrible Earthquake day
  That the Deacon finished the one-hoss shay.

  Now in building of chaises, I tell you what,
  There is always _somewhere_ a weakest spot----
  In hub, tire, felloe, in spring or thill,
  In panel, or crossbar, or floor, or sill,
  In screw, bolt, thoroughbrace--lurking still,
  Find it somewhere you must and will----
  Above or below, or within or without----
  And that's the reason, beyond a doubt,
  That a chaise _breaks down_, but doesn't _wear out_.

  But the Deacon swore (as deacons do,
  With an "I dew vum," or an "I tell _yeou_")
  He would build one shay to beat the taown
  'N' the keounty, 'n' all the kentry raoun';
  It should be so built that it _couldn'_ break daown:
  --"Fur," said the Deacon, "'t's mighty plain
  Thut the weakes' place mus' stan' the strain;
  'N' the way t' fix it, uz I maintain,
             Is only jest
  T' make that place uz strong uz the rest."

  So the Deacon inquired of the village folk
  Where he could find the strongest oak,
  That couldn't be split nor bent nor broke----
  That was for spokes and floor and sills;
  He sent for lancewood to make the thills;
  The crossbars were ash, from the straightest trees,
  The panels of white-wood, that cuts like cheese,
  But lasts like iron for things like these;
  The hubs of logs from the "Settler's ellum"----
  Last of its timber--they couldn't sell 'em,
  Never an ax had seen their chips,
  And the wedges flew from between their lips,
  Their blunt ends frizzled like celery-tips;
  Step and prop-iron, bolt and screw,
  Spring, tire, axle, and linchpin, too,
  Steel of the finest, bright and blue;
  Thoroughbrace bison-skin, thick and wide;
  Boot, top, dasher, from tough old hide
  Found in the pit when the tanner died.
  That was the way he "put her through"----
  "There!" said the Deacon, "naow she'll dew!"

  Do! I tell you, I rather guess
  She was a wonder and nothing less!
  Colts grew horses, beards turned gray,
  Deacon and Deaconess dropped away,
  Children and grandchildren--where were they?
  But there stood the stout old one-hoss shay
  As fresh as on Lisbon-earthquake day!

  Eighteen hundred--it came and found
  The Deacon's masterpiece strong and sound.
  Eighteen hundred increased by ten----
  "Hahnsum kerridge" they called it then.
  Eighteen hundred and twenty came----
  Running as usual; much the same.
  Thirty and forty at last arrived,
  And then come fifty, and FIFTY-FIVE.

  Little of all we value here
  Wakes on the morn of its hundredth year
  Without both feeling and looking queer.
  In fact, there's nothing that keeps its youth,
  So far as I know, but a tree and truth.
  (This is a moral that runs at large;
  Take it--You're welcome--No extra charge.)

  First of November--the Earthquake-day----
  There are traces of age in the one-hoss shay,
  A general flavor of mild decay,
  But nothing local, as one may say.
  There couldn't be--for the Deacon's art
  Had made it so like in every part
  That there wasn't a chance for one to start.
  For the wheels were just as strong as the thills,
  And the floor was just as strong as the sills,
  And the panels just as strong as the floor,
  And the whipple-tree neither less nor more,
  And the back crossbar as strong as the fore,
  And spring and axle and hub _encore_.
  And yet, _as a whole_, it is past a doubt
  In another hour it will be _worn out_!

  First of November, 'Fifty-five!
  This morning the parson takes a drive.
  Now, small boys, get out of the way!
  Here comes the wonderful one-hoss shay,
  Drawn by a rat-tailed, ewe-necked bay.
  "Huddup!" said the parson--Off went they.
  The parson was working his Sunday's text----
  Had got to _fifthly_, and stopped perplexed
  At what the--Moses--was coming next.

  All at once the horse stood still,
  Close by the meet'n' house on the hill.
  --First a shiver, and then a thrill,
  Then something decidedly like a spill----
  And the parson was sitting upon a rock,
  At half-past nine by the meet'n'-house clock----
  Just the hour of the Earthquake shock!
  --What do you think the parson found,
  When he got up and stared around?
  The poor old chaise in a heap or mound,
  As if it had been to the mill and ground!
  You see, of course, if you're not a dunce,
  How it went to pieces all at once----
  All at once, and nothing first----
  Just as bubbles do when they burst.

  End of the wonderful one-hoss shay.
  Logic is logic. That's all I say.

       *       *       *       *       *

A certain learned professor in New York has a wife and family, but,
professor-like, his thoughts are always with his books.

One evening his wife, who had been out for some hours, returned to find
the house remarkably quiet. She had left the children playing about, but
now they were nowhere to be seen.

She demanded to be told what had become of them, and the professor
explained that, as they had made a good deal of noise, he had put them
to bed without waiting for her or calling a maid.

"I hope they gave you no trouble," she said.

"No," replied the professor, "with the exception of the one in the cot
here. He objected a good deal to my undressing him and putting him to
bed."

The wife went to inspect the cot.

"Why," she exclaimed, "that's little Johnny Green, from next door."


FIVE LIVES

  Five mites of monads dwelt in a round drop
  That twinkled on a leaf by a pool in the sun.
  To the naked eye they lived invisible;
  Specks, for a world of whom the empty shell
  Of a mustard-seed had been a hollow sky.

  One was a meditative monad, called a sage;
  And, shrinking all his mind within, he thought:
  "Tradition, handed down for hours and hours,
  Tells that our globe, this quivering crystal world,
  Is slowly dying. What if, seconds hence
  When I am very old, yon shimmering doom
  Comes drawing down and down, till all things end?"
  Then with a wizen smirk he proudly felt
  No other mote of God had ever gained
  Such giant grasp of universal truth.

  One was a transcendental monad; thin
  And long and slim of mind; and thus he mused:
  "Oh, vast, unfathomable monad-souls!
  Made in the image"--a hoarse frog croaks from the pool,
  "Hark! 'twas some god, voicing his glorious thought
  In thunder music. Yea, we hear their voice,
  And we may guess their minds from ours, their work.
  Some taste they have like ours, some tendency
  To wriggle about, and munch a trace of scum."
  He floated up on a pin-point bubble of gas
  That burst, pricked by the air, and he was gone.

  One was a barren-minded monad, called
  A positivist; and he knew positively;
  "There was no world beyond this certain drop.
  Prove me another! Let the dreamers dream
  Of their faint gleams, and noises from without,
  And higher and lower; life is life enough."
  Then swaggering half a hair's breadth hungrily,
  He seized upon an atom of bug, and fed.

  One was a tattered monad, called a poet;
  And with a shrill voice ecstatic thus he sang:
  "Oh, little female monad's lips!
  Oh, little female monad's eyes!
  Ah, the little, little, female, female monad!"
  The last was a strong-minded monadess,
  Who dashed amid the infusoria,
  Danced high and low, and wildly spun and dove,
  Till the dizzy others held their breath to see.

  But while they led their wondrous little lives
  Æonian moments had gone wheeling by,
  The burning drop had shrunk with fearful speed:
  A glistening film--'twas gone; the leaf was dry.
  The little ghost of an inaudible squeak
  Was lost to the frog that goggled from his stone;
  Who, at the huge, slow tread of a thoughtful ox
  Coming to drink, stirred sideways fatly, plunged,
  Launched backward twice, and all the pool was still.

  EDWARD ROWLAND SILL.



JAMES T. FIELDS


THE OWL-CRITIC

A Lesson to Fault-finders

  "Who stuffed that white owl?" No one spoke in the shop:
  The barber was busy, and he couldn't stop;
  The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading
  The _Daily_, the _Herald_, the _Post_, little heeding
  The young man who blurted out such a blunt question;
  Not one raised a head or even made a suggestion;
                          And the barber kept on shaving.

  "Don't you see, Mister Brown,"
  Cried the youth, with a frown,
  "How wrong the whole thing is,
  How preposterous each wing is,
  How flattened the head is, how jammed down the neck is--
  In short, the whole owl, what an ignorant wreck 'tis!
  I make no apology;
  I've learned owl-eology.
  I've passed days and nights in a hundred collections,
  And cannot be blinded to any deflections
  Arising from unskilful fingers that fail
  To stuff a bird right, from his beak to his tail.
  Mister Brown! Mister Brown!
  Do take that bird down,
  Or you'll soon be the laughing-stock all over town!"
                        And the barber kept on shaving.

  "I've _studied_ owls,
  And other night fowls,
  And I tell you
  What I know to be true:
  An owl cannot roost
  With his limbs so unloosed;
  No owl in this world
  Ever had his claws curled,
  Ever had his legs slanted,
  Ever had his bill canted,
  Ever had his neck screwed
  Into that attitude.
  He can't _do_ it, because
  'Tis against all bird-laws
  Anatomy teaches,
  Ornithology preaches
  An owl has a toe
  That _can't_ turn out so!
  I've made the white owl my study for years,
  And to see such a job almost moves me to tears!
  Mister Brown, I'm amazed
  You should be so gone crazed
  As to put up a bird
  In that posture absurd!
  To _look_ at that owl really brings on a dizziness;
  The man who stuffed _him_ don't half know his business!"
                      And the barber kept on shaving.

  "Examine those eyes.
  I'm filled with surprise
  Taxidermists should pass
  Off on you such poor glass;
  So unnatural they seem
  They'd make Audubon scream,
  And John Burroughs laugh
  To encounter such chaff.
  Do take that bird down;
  Have him stuffed again, Brown!"
                      And the barber kept on shaving.

  "With some sawdust and bark
  I would stuff in the dark
  An owl better than that;
  I could make an old hat
  Look more like an owl
  Than that horrid fowl,
  Stuck up there so stiff like a side of coarse leather.
  In fact, about _him_ there's not one natural feather."

  Just then, with a wink and a sly normal lurch,
  The owl, very gravely, got down from his perch,
  Walked round, and regarded his fault-finding critic
  (Who thought he was stuffed) with a glance analytic,
  And then fairly hooted, as if he should say:
  "Your learning's at fault _this_ time, anyway;
  Don't waste it again on a live bird, I pray.
  I'm an owl; you're another. Sir Critic, good-day!"
                     And the barber kept on shaving.


A CAUSE FOR THANKS

A country parson, in encountering a storm the past season in the voyage
across the Atlantic, was reminded of the following: A clergyman was so
unfortunate as to be caught in a severe gale in the voyage out. The
water was exceedingly rough, and the ship persistently buried her nose
in the sea. The rolling was constant, and at last the good man got
thoroughly frightened. He believed they were destined for a watery
grave. He asked the captain if he could not have prayers. The captain
took him by the arm and led him down to the forecastle, where the tars
were singing and swearing. "There," said he, "when you hear them
swearing, you may know there is no danger." He went back feeling better,
but the storm increased his alarm. Disconsolate and unassisted, he
managed to stagger to the forecastle again. The ancient mariners were
swearing as ever. "Mary," he said to his sympathetic wife, as he crawled
into his berth after tacking across a wet deck, "Mary, thank God they're
swearing yet."



JOHN HAY


LITTLE BREECHES

  I don't go much on religion,
    I never ain't had no show;
  But I've got a middlin' tight grip, sir,
    On the handful o' things I know.
  I don't pan out on the prophets
    And free-will and that sort of thing----
  But I b'lieve in God and the angels,
     Ever sence one night last spring.

  I come into town with some turnips,
    And my little Gabe come along----
  No four-year-old in the county
    Could beat him for pretty and strong,
  Peart and chipper and sassy,
    Always ready to swear and fight----
  And I'd larnt him to chaw terbacker
    Jest to keep his milk-teeth white.

  The snow come down like a blanket
    As I passed by Taggart's store;
  I went in for a jug of molasses
    And left the team at the door.
  They scared at something and started----
    I heard one little squall,
  And hell-to-split over the prairie
    Went team, Little Breeches and all.

  Hell-to-split over the prairie!
    I was almost froze with skeer;
  But we rousted up some torches,
    And sarched for 'em far and near.
  At last we struck horses and wagon,
    Snowed under a soft white mound,
  Upsot, dead beat--but of little Gabe
    Nor hide nor hair was found.

  And here all hope soured on me,
    Of my fellow-critter's aid----
  I jest flopped down on my marrow-bones,
    Crotch-deep in the snow, and prayed.

  By this, the torches was played out,
    And me and Isrul Parr
  Went off for some wood to a sheepfold
    That he said was somewhar thar.

  We found it at last, and a little shed
  Where they shut up the lambs at night.
  We looked in and seen them huddled thar,
    So warm and sleepy and white;
  And THAR sot Little Breeches, and chirped,
    As peart as ever you see:
  "I want a chaw of terbacker,
    And that's what's the matter of me."

  How did he git thar? Angels.
    He could never have walked in that storm;
  They jest scooped down and toted him
    To whar it was safe and warm.

  And I think that saving a little child,
    And bringing him to his own,
  Is a derned sight better business
    Than loafing around The Throne.

       *       *       *       *       *

Artemus Ward, when in London, gave a children's party. One of John
Bright's sons was invited, and returned home radiant. "Oh, papa," he
explained, on being asked whether he had enjoyed himself, "indeed I did.
And Mr. Browne gave me such a nice name for you, papa."

"What was that?"

"Why, he asked me how that gay and festive cuss, the governor, was!"
replied the boy.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was on a train going through Indiana. Among the passengers were a
newly married couple, who made themselves known to such an extent that
the occupants of the car commenced passing sarcastic remarks about them.
The bride and groom stood the remarks for some time, but finally the
latter, who was a man of tremendous size, broke out in the following
language at his tormenters: "Yes, we're married--just married. We are
going 160 miles farther, and I am going to 'spoon' all the way. If you
don't like it, you can get out and walk. She's my violet and I'm her
sheltering oak."

During the remainder of the journey they were left in peace.



HENRY W. SHAW ("Josh Billings")


NATRAL AND UNNATRAL ARISTOKRATS

Natur furnishes all the nobleman we hav.

She holds the pattent.

Pedigree haz no more to do in making a man aktually grater than he iz,
than a pekok's feather in his hat haz in making him aktually taller.

This iz a hard phakt for some tew learn.

This mundane earth iz thik with male and femail ones who think they are
grate bekause their ansesstor waz luckey in the sope or tobacco trade;
and altho the sope haz run out sumtime since, they try tew phool
themselves and other folks with the suds.

Sope-suds iz a prekarious bubble.

Thare ain't nothing so thin on the ribs az a sope-suds aristokrat.

When the world stands in need ov an aristokrat, natur pitches one into
it, and furnishes him papers without enny flaw in them.

Aristokrasy kant be transmitted--natur sez so--in the papers.

Titles are a plan got up bi humans tew assist natur in promulgating
aristokrasy.

Titles ain't ov enny more real use or necessity than dog collars are.

I hav seen dog collars that kost 3 dollars on dogs that wan't worth, in
enny market, over 87-1/2 cents.

This iz a grate waste of collar; and a grate damage tew the dog.

Natur don't put but one ingredient into her kind ov aristokrasy, and
that iz virtew.

She wets up the virtew, sumtimes, with a little pepper sass, just tew
make it lively.

She sez that all other kinds are false; and i beleave natur.

I wish every man and woman on earth waz a bloated aristokrat--bloated
with virtew.

Earthly manufaktured aristokrats are made principally out ov munny.

Forty years ago it took about 85 thousand dollars tew make a good-sized
aristokrat, and innokulate his family with the same disseaze, but it
takes now about 600 thousand tew throw the partys into fits.

Aristokrasy, like of the other bred stuffs, haz riz.

It don't take enny more virtew tew make an aristokrat now, nor clothes,
than it did in the daze ov Abraham.

Virtew don't vary.

Virtew is the standard ov values.

Clothes ain't.

Titles ain't.

A man kan go barefoot and be virtewous, and be an aristokrat.

Diogoneze waz an aristokrat.

His brown-stun front waz a tub, and it want on end, at that.

Moneyed aristokrasy iz very good to liv on in the present hi kondishun
ov kodphis and wearing apparel, provided yu see the munny, but if the
munny kind of tires out and don't reach yu, and you don't git ennything
but the aristokrasy, you hay got to diet, that's all.

I kno ov thousands who are now dieting on aristokrasy.

They say it tastes good.

I presume they lie without knowing it.

Not enny ov this sort ov aristokrasy for Joshua Billings.

I never should think ov mixing munny and aristokrasy together; i will
take mine seperate, if yu pleze.

I don't never expekt tew be an aristokrat, nor an angel; i don't kno az
i want tew be one.

I certainly should make a miserable angel.

I certainly never shall hav munny enuff tew make an aristokrat.

Raizing aristokrats iz a dredful poor bizzness; yu don't never git your
seed back.

One democrat iz worth more tew the world than 60 thousand manufaktured
aristokrats.

An Amerikan aristokrat iz the most ridikilus thing in market. They are
generally ashamed ov their ansesstors; and, if they hav enny, and live
long enuff, they generally hav cauze tew be ashamed ov their posterity.

I kno ov sevral familys in Amerika who are trieing tew liv on their
aristokrasy. The money and branes giv out sumtime ago.

It iz hard skratching for them.

Yu kan warm up kold potatoze and liv on them, but yu kant warm up
aristokratik pride and git even a smell.

Yu might az well undertake tew raze a krop ov korn in a deserted
brikyard by manuring the ground heavy with tanbark.

Yung man, set down, and keep still--yu will hay plenty ov chances yet to
make a phool ov yureself before yu die.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is told of an old Baptist parson, famous in Virginia, that he once
visited a plantation where the colored servant who met him at the gate
asked which barn he would have his horse put in.

"Have you two barns?" asked the minister.

"Yes, sah," replied the servant; "dar's de old barn, and Mas'r Wales has
jest built a new one."

"Where do you usually put the horses of clergymen who come to see your
master?"

"Well, sah, if dey's Methodist or Baptist we gen'ally puts 'em in de ole
barn, but if dey's 'Piscopals we puts 'em in the new one."

"Well, Bob, you can put my horse in the new barn; I'm a Baptist, but my
horse is an Episcopalian."



JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL


THE YANKEE RECRUIT

Mister Buckinum, the follerin Billet was writ hum by a Yung feller of
our town that wuz cussed fool enuff to goe a-trottin inter Miss Chiff
arter a Drum and fife. It ain't Nater for a feller to let on that he's
sick o' any bizness that he went intu off his own free will and a Cord,
but I rather cal'late he's middlin tired o' voluntearin By this time. I
bleeve yu may put dependunts on his statemence. For I never heered
nothin bad on him let Alone his havin what Parson Wilbur cals a
_pongshong_ for cocktales, and ses it wuz a soshiashun of idees sot him
agoin arter the Crootin Sargient cos he wore a cocktale onto his hat.

His Folks gin the letter to me and I shew it to parson Wilbur and he ses
it oughter Bee printed, send It to mister Buckinum, ses he, i don't
ollers agree with him, ses he, but by Time, ses he, I _du_ like a feller
that ain't a Feared.

I have intusspussed a Few refleckshuns hear and thair. We're kind o'
prest with Hayin.
                            Ewers respecfly,

                                    HOSEA BIGLOW.

  This kind o' sogerin' aint a mite like our October trainin',
  A chap could clear right out from there ef't only looked like rainin'.
  An' th' Cunnles, tu, could kiver up their shappoes with bandanners,
  An' sen the insines skootin' to the barroom with their banners
  (Fear o' gittin' on 'em spotted), an' a feller could cry quarter,
  Ef he fired away his ramrod artur tu much rum an' water.
  Recollect wut fun we hed, you'n I on' Ezry Hollis,
  Up there to Waltham plain last fall, ahavin' the Cornwallis?
  This sort o' thing aint _jest_ like thet--I wished thet I wuz furder--
  Nimepunce a day fer killin' folks comes kind o' low for murder
  (Wy I've worked out to slarterin' some fer Deacon Cephas Billins,
  An' in the hardest times there wuz I ollers teched ten shillins),
  There's sutthin' gits into my throat thet makes it hard to swaller,
  It comes so nateral to think about a hempen collar;
  It's glory--but, in spite o' all my tryin' to git callous,
  I feel a kind o' in a cart, aridin' to the gallus.
  But wen it comes to _bein'_ killed--I tell ye I felt streaked
  The fust time ever I found out wy baggonets wuz peaked;
  Here's how it wuz: I started out to go to a fan-dango,
  The sentinul he ups an' sez "Thet's furder 'an you can go."
  "None o' your sarse," sez I; sez he, "Stan' back!" "Aint you a buster?"
  Sez I, "I'm up to all thet air, I guess I've ben to muster;
  I know wy sentinuls air sot; you aint agoin' to eat us;
  Caleb haint no monopoly to court the scenoreetas;
  My folks to hum hir full ez good ez hisn be, by golly!"
  An' so ez I wuz goin' by, not thinkin' wut would folly,
  The everlastin' cus he stuck his one-pronged pitchfork in me
  An' made a hole right thru my close ez ef I was an in'my.
  Wal, it beats all how big I felt hoorawin' in old Funnel
  Wen Mister Bolles he gin the sword to our Leftenant Cunnle
  (It's Mister Secondary Bolles, thet writ the prize peace essay;
  Thet's wy he didn't list himself along o' us, I dessay).
  An' Rantoul, tu, talked pooty loud, but don't put _his_ foot in it,
  Coz human life's so sacred thet he's principled agin' it----
  Though I myself can't rightly see it's any wus achokin' on 'em
  Than puttin' bullets thru their lights, or with a bagnet pokin' on 'em;
  How dreffle slick he reeled it off (like Blitz at our lyceam
  Ahaulin' ribbins from his chops so quick you skeercely see 'em),
  About the Anglo-Saxon race (an' saxons would be handy
  To du the buryin' down here upon the Rio Grandy),
  About our patriotic pas an' our star-spangled banner,
  Our country's bird alookin' on an' singin' out hosanner,
  An' how he (Mister B---- himself) wuz happy fer Ameriky----
  I felt, ez sister Patience sez, a leetle mite histericky.
  I felt, I swon, ez though it wuz a dreffle kind o' privilege
  Atrampin' round thru Boston streets among the gutter's drivelage;
  I act'lly thought it wuz a treat to hear a little drummin',
  An' it did bonyfidy seem millanyum wuz a-comin';
  Wen all on us gots suits (darned like them wore in the state prison),
  An' every feller felt ez though all Mexico was hisn.
  This 'ere's about the meanest place a skunk could wal diskiver
  (Saltillo's Mexican, I b'lieve, fer wut we call Salt river).
  The sort o' trash a feller gits to eat doos beat all nater,
  I'd give a year's pay fer a smell o' one good blue-nose tater;
  The country here thet Mister Bolles declared to be so charmin'
  Throughout is swarmin' with the most alarmin' kind o' varmin'.
  He talked about delishes froots, but then it was a wopper all,
  The holl on't 's mud an' prickly pears, with here an' there a chapparal;
  You see a feller peekin' out, an', fust you know, a lariat
  Is round your throat an' you a copse, 'fore you can say, "Wut air ye at?"
  You never see sech darned gret bugs (it may not be irrelevant
  To say I've seen a _scarabæus pilularius_[A] big ez a year old elephant),
  The rigiment come up one day in time to stop a red bug
  From runnin' off with Cunnle Wright--'twuz jest a common
    _cimex lectularius_.
  One night I started up on eend an thought I wuz to hum agin,
  I heern a horn, thinks I it's Sol the fisherman hez come agin,
  _His_ bellowses is sound enough--ez I'm a livin' creeter,
  I felt a thing go thru my leg--'twuz nothin' more 'n a skeeter!
  Then there's the yeller fever, tu, they call it here _el vomito_--
  (Come, thet wun't du, you landcrab there, I tell ye to le' go my toe!
  My gracious! it's a scorpion thet's took a shine to play with 't,
  I darsn't skeer the tarnel thing fer fear he'd run away with 't).
  Afore I came away from hum I hed a strong persuasion
  Thet Mexicans worn't human beans--an ourang outang nation,
  A sort o' folks a chap could kill an' never dream on't arter,
  No more'n a feller'd dream o' pigs thet he had hed to slarter;
  I'd an idee thet they were built arter the darkie fashion all,
  And kickin' colored folks about, you know, 's a kind o' national;
  But wen I jined I won't so wise ez thet air queen o' Sheby,
  Fer, come to look at 'em, they aint much diff'rent from wut we be,
  An' here we air ascrougin' 'em out o' thir own dominions,
  Ashelterin' 'em, ez Caleb sez, under our eagle's pinions,
  Wich means to take a feller up jest by the slack o' 's trowsis
  An' walk him Spanish clean right out o' all his homes and houses;
  Wal, it does seem a curus way, but then hooraw fer Jackson!
  It must be right, fer Caleb sez it's reg'lar Anglo-Saxon.
  The Mex'cans don't fight fair, they say, they piz'n all the water,
  An' du amazin' lots o' things thet isn't wut they ough' to;
  Bein' they haint no lead, they make their bullets out o' copper
  An' shoot the darned things at us, tu, wich Caleb sez ain't proper;
  He sez they'd ough' to stan' right up an' let us pop 'em fairly
  (Guess wen he ketches 'em at thet he'll hev to git up airly),
  Thet our nation's bigger'n theirn an' so its rights air bigger,
  An' thet it's all to make 'em free thet we air pullin' trigger,
  Thet Anglo-Saxondom's idee's abreakin' 'em to pieces,
  An' thet idee's thet every man doos jest wut he damn pleases;
  Ef I don't make his meanin' clear, perhaps in some respex I can,
  I know thet "every man" don't mean a nigger or a Mexican;
  An' there's another thing I know, an' thet is, ef these creeturs,
  Thet stick an Anglo-Saxon mask onto State prison feeturs,
  Should come to Jalam Center fer to argify an' spout on 't,
  The gals 'ould count the silver spoons the minnit they cleared out on 't.

  This goin' ware glory waits ye haint one agreeable feetur,
  And ef it worn't fer wakin' snakes, I'd home agin short meter;
  O, wouldn't I be off, quick time, ef't worn't thet I wuz sartin
  They'd let the daylight into me to pay me fer desartin!
  I don't approve o' tellin' tales, but jest to you I may state
  Our ossifers aint wut they wuz afore they left the Bay State;
  Then it wuz "Mister Sawin, sir, you're midd'lin well now, be ye?
  Step up an' take a nipper, sir; I'm dreffle glad to see ye;"
  But now it's, "Ware's my eppylet? Here, Sawin, step an' fetch it!
  An' mind your eye, be thund'rin spry, or damn ye, you shall ketch it!"
  Wal, ez the Doctor sez, some pork will bile so, but by mighty,
  Ef I hed some on 'em to hum, I'd give 'em linkumvity,
  I'd play the rogue's march on their hides an' other music follerin'----
  But I must close my letter here for one on 'em 's a hollerin',
  These Anglosaxon ossifers--wal, taint no use a jawin',
  I'm safe enlisted fer the war,

                    Yourn,
                        BIRDOFREDOM SAWIN.

[Footnote A: it wuz "tumblebug" as he Writ it, but the parson put the
Latten instid. i said tother maid better meeter, but he said tha was
eddykated peepl to Boston and tha wouldn't stan' it no how, idnow as tha
_wood_ and idnow _as_ tha wood.--H. B.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Two dusky small boys were quarreling; one was pouring forth a volume of
vituperous epithets, while the other leaned against a fence and calmly
contemplated him. When the flow of language was exhausted he said:

"Are you troo?"

"Yes."

"You ain't got nuffin' more to say?"

"Well, all dem tings what you called me, you is."



CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER


MY SUMMER IN A GARDEN

SECOND WEEK

Next to deciding when to start your garden, the most important matter is
what to put in it. It is difficult to decide what to order for dinner on
a given day: how much more oppressive is it to order in a lump an
endless vista of dinners, so to speak! For, unless your garden is a
boundless prairie (and mine seems to me to be that when I hoe it on hot
days), you must make a selection, from the great variety of vegetables,
of those you will raise in it; and you feel rather bound to supply your
own table from your own garden, and to eat only as you have sown.

I hold that no man has a right (whatever his sex, of course) to have a
garden to his own selfish uses. He ought not to please himself, but
every man to please his neighbor. I tried to have a garden that would
give general moral satisfaction. It seemed to me that nobody could
object to potatoes (a most useful vegetable); and I began to plant them
freely. But there was a chorus of protest against them. "You don't want
to take up your ground with potatoes," the neighbors said; "you can buy
potatoes" (the very thing I wanted to avoid doing is buying things).
"What you want is the perishable things that you cannot get fresh in the
market." "But what kind of perishable things?" A horticulturist of
eminence wanted me to sow lines of strawberries and raspberries right
over where I had put my potatoes in drills. I had about five hundred
strawberry plants in another part of my garden; but this fruit-fanatic
wanted me to turn my whole patch into vines and runners. I suppose I
could raise strawberries enough for all my neighbors; and perhaps I
ought to do it. I had a little space prepared for melons--muskmelons,
which I showed to an experienced friend. "You are not going to waste
your ground on muskmelons?" he asked. "They rarely ripen in this climate
thoroughly before frost." He had tried for years without luck. I
resolved not to go into such a foolish experiment. But the next day
another neighbor happened in. "Ah! I see you are going to have melons.
My family would rather give up anything else in the garden than
muskmelons--of the nutmeg variety. They are the most graceful things we
have on the table." So there it was. There was no compromise; it was
melons or no melons, and somebody offended in any case. I half resolved
to plant them a little late, so that they would, and they wouldn't. But
I had the same difficulty about string-beans (which I detest), and
squash (which I tolerate), and parsnips, and the whole round of green
things.

I have pretty much come to the conclusion that you have got to put your
foot down in gardening. If I had actually taken counsel of my friends, I
should not have had a thing growing in the garden to-day but weeds. And
besides, while you are waiting, Nature does not wait. Her mind is made
up. She knows just what she will raise; and she has an infinite variety
of early and late. The most humiliating thing to me about a garden is
the lesson it teaches of the inferiority of man. Nature is prompt,
decided, inexhaustible. She thrusts up her plants with a vigor and
freedom that I admire; and the more worthless the plant, the more rapid
and splendid its growth. She is at it early and late, and all night;
never tiring, nor showing the least sign of exhaustion.

"Eternal gardening is the price of liberty" is a motto that I should put
over the gateway of my garden, if I had a gate. And yet it is not wholly
true; for there is no liberty in gardening. The man who undertakes a
garden is relentlessly pursued. He felicitates himself that, when he
gets it once planted, he will have a season of rest and of enjoyment in
the sprouting and growing of his seeds. It is a keen anticipation. He
has planted a seed that will keep him awake nights, drive rest from his
bones, and sleep from his pillow. Hardly is the garden planted, when he
must begin to hoe it. The weeds have sprung up all over it in a night.
They shine and wave in redundant life. The docks have almost gone to
seed; and their roots go deeper than conscience. Talk about the London
docks!--the roots of these are like the sources of the Aryan race. And
the weeds are not all. I awake in the morning (and a thriving garden
will wake a person up two hours before he ought to be out of bed) and
think of the tomato-plants--the leaves like fine lace-work, owing to
black bugs that skip around and can't be caught. Somebody ought to get
up before the dew is off (why don't the dew stay on till after a
reasonable breakfast?) and sprinkle soot on the leaves. I wonder if it
is I. Soot is so much blacker than the bugs that they are disgusted and
go away. You can't get up too early if you have a garden. You must be
early due yourself, if you get ahead of the bugs. I think that, on the
whole, it would be best to sit up all night and sleep daytimes. Things
appear to go on in the night in the garden uncommonly. It would be less
trouble to stay up than it is to get up so early.

I have been setting out some new raspberries, two sorts--a silver and a
gold color. How fine they will look on the table next year in a
cut-glass dish, the cream being in a ditto pitcher! I set them four and
five feet apart. I set my strawberries pretty well apart also. The
reason is to give room for the cows to run through when they break into
the garden--as they do sometimes. A cow needs a broader track than a
locomotive; and she generally makes one. I am sometimes astonished to
see how big a space in a flower-bed her foot will cover. The raspberries
are called Doolittle and Golden Cap. I don't like the name of the first
variety, and, if they do much, shall change it to Silver Top. You can
never tell what a thing named Doolittle will do. The one in the Senate
changed color and got sour. They ripen badly--either mildew or rot on
the bush. They are apt to Johnsonize--rot on the stem. I shall watch the
Doolittles.


FOURTH WEEK

Orthodoxy is at a low ebb. Only two clergymen accepted my offer to come
and help hoe my potatoes for the privilege of using my vegetable
total-depravity figure about the snake-grass, or quack-grass, as some
call it; and those two did not bring hoes. There seems to be a lack of
disposition to hoe among our educated clergy. I am bound to say that
these two, however, sat and watched my vigorous combats with the weeds,
and talked most beautifully about the application of the snake-grass
figure. As, for instance, when a fault or sin showed on the surface of a
man, whether, if you dug down, you would find that it ran back and into
the original organic bunch of original sin within the man. The only
other clergyman who came was from out of town--a half-Universalist, who
said he wouldn't give twenty cents for my figure. He said that the
snake-grass was not in my garden originally, that it sneaked in under
the sod, and that it could be entirely rooted out with industry and
patience. I asked the Universalist-inclined man to take my hoe and try
it; but he said he hadn't time, and went away.

But, _jubilate_, I have got my garden all hoed the first time! I feel as
if I had put down the rebellion. Only there are guerrillas left here and
there, about the borders and in corners, unsubdued--Forest docks, and
Quantrell grass, and Beauregard pigweeds. This first hoeing is a
gigantic task: it is your first trial of strength with the
never-sleeping forces of Nature. Several times in its progress I was
tempted to do as Adam did, who abandoned his garden on account of the
weeds. (How much my mind seems to run upon Adam, as if there had been
only two really moral gardens--Adam's and mine!) The only drawback to my
rejoicing over the finishing of the first hoeing is, that the garden now
wants hoeing a second time. I suppose if my garden were planted in a
perfect circle, and I started round it with a hoe, I should never see an
opportunity to rest. The fact is, that gardening is the old fable of
perpetual labor; and I, for one, can never forgive Adam Sisyphus, or
whoever it was, who let in the roots of discord. I had pictured myself
sitting at eve with my family, in the shade of twilight, contemplating a
garden hoed. Alas! it is a dream not to be realized in this world.

My mind has been turned to the subject of fruit and shade trees in a
garden. There are those who say that trees shade the garden too much
and interfere with the growth of the vegetables. There may be something
in this; but when I go down the potato rows, the rays of the sun
glancing upon my shining blade, the sweat pouring from my face, I should
be grateful for shade. What is a garden for? The pleasure of man. I
should take much more pleasure in a shady garden. Am I to be sacrificed,
broiled, roasted, for the sake of the increased vigor of a few
vegetables? The thing is perfectly absurd. If I were rich, I think I
would have my garden covered with an awning, so that it would be
comfortable to work in it. It might roll up and be removable, as the
great awning of the Roman Colosseum was--not like the Boston one, which
went off in a high wind. Another very good way to do, and probably not
so expensive as the awning, would be to have four persons of foreign
birth carry a sort of canopy over you as you hoed. And there might be a
person at each end of the row with some cool and refreshing drink.
Agriculture is still in a very barbarous stage. I hope to live yet to
see the day when I can do my gardening, as tragedy is done, to slow and
soothing music, and attended by some of the comforts I have named. These
things come so forcibly into my mind sometimes as I work, that perhaps,
when a wandering breeze lifts my straw hat or a bird lights on a near
currant-bush and shakes out a full-throated summer song, I almost expect
to find the cooling drink and the hospitable entertainment at the end
of the row. But I never do. There is nothing to be done but to turn
round and hoe back to the other end.

Speaking of those yellow squash-bugs, I think I disheartened them by
covering the plants so deep with soot and wood-ashes that they could not
find them; and I am in doubt if I shall ever see the plants again. But I
have heard of another defense against the bugs. Put a fine wire screen
over each hill, which will keep out the bugs and admit the rain. I
should say that these screens would not cost much more than the melons
you would be likely to get from the vines if you bought them; but then,
think of the moral satisfaction of watching the bugs hovering over the
screen, seeing but unable to reach the tender plants within. That is
worth paying for.

I left my own garden yesterday and went over to where Polly was getting
the weeds out of one of her flower-beds. She was working away at the bed
with a little hoe. Whether women ought to have the ballot or not (and I
have a decided opinion on that point, which I should here plainly give
did I not fear that it would injure my agricultural influence), I am
compelled to say that this was rather helpless hoeing. It was patient,
conscientious, even pathetic hoeing; but it was neither effective nor
finished. When completed, the bed looked somewhat as if a hen had
scratched it; there was that touching unevenness about it. I think no
one could look at it and not be affected. To be sure, Polly smoothed it
off with a rake and asked me if it wasn't nice; and I said it was. It
was not a favorable time for me to explain the difference between
puttering hoeing and the broad, free sweep of the instrument which kills
the weeds, spares the plants, and loosens the soil without leaving it in
holes and hills. But, after all, as life is constituted, I think more of
Polly's honest and anxious care of her plants than of the most finished
gardening in the world.


SIXTH WEEK

Somebody has sent me a new sort of hoe, with the wish that I should
speak favorably of it, if I can consistently. I willingly do so, but
with the understanding that I am to be at liberty to speak just as
courteously of any other hoe which I may receive. If I understand
religious morals, this is the position of the religious press with
regard to bitters and wringing machines. In some cases, the
responsibility of such a recommendation is shifted upon the wife of the
editor or clergyman. Polly says she is entirely willing to make a
certificate, accompanied with an affidavit, with regard to this hoe; but
her habit of sitting about the garden walk on an inverted flower-pot
while I hoe somewhat destroys the practical value of her testimony.

As to this hoe, I do not mind saying that it has changed my view of the
desirableness and value of human life. It has, in fact, made life a
holiday to me. It is made on the principle that man is an upright,
sensible, reasonable being, and not a groveling wretch. It does away
with the necessity of the hinge in the back. The handle is seven and a
half feet long. There are two narrow blades, sharp on both edges, which
come together at an obtuse angle in front; and as you walk along with
this hoe before you, pushing and pulling with a gentle motion, the weeds
fall at every thrust and withdrawal, and the slaughter is immediate and
widespread. When I got this hoe, I was troubled with sleepless mornings,
pains in the back, kleptomania with regard to new weeders; when I went
into my garden I was always sure to see something. In this disordered
state of mind and body I got this hoe. The morning after a day of using
it I slept perfectly and late. I regained my respect for the Eighth
Commandment. After two doses of the hoe in the garden the weeds entirely
disappeared. Trying it a third morning, I was obliged to throw it over
the fence in order to save from destruction the green things that ought
to grow in the garden. Of course, this is figurative language. What I
mean is, that the fascination of using this hoe is such that you are
sorely tempted to employ it upon your vegetables after the weeds are
laid low, and must hastily withdraw it to avoid unpleasant results. I
make this explanation because I intend to put nothing into these
agricultural papers that will not bear the strictest scientific
investigation; nothing that the youngest child cannot understand and cry
for; nothing that the oldest and wisest men will not need to study with
care.

I need not add that the care of a garden with this hoe becomes the
merest pastime. I would not be without one for a single night. The only
danger is, that you may rather make an idol of the hoe, and somewhat
neglect your garden in explaining it and fooling about with it. I almost
think that, with one of these in the hands of an ordinary day-laborer,
you might see at night where he had been working.

Let us have peas. I have been a zealous advocate of the birds. I have
rejoiced in their multiplication. I have endured their concerts at four
o'clock in the morning without a murmur. Let them come, I said, and eat
the worms, in order that we, later, may enjoy the foliage and the fruits
of the earth. We have a cat, a magnificent animal, of the sex which
votes (but not a pole-cat)--so large and powerful that if he were in the
army he would be called Long Tom. He is a cat of fine disposition, the
most irreproachable morals I ever saw thrown away in a cat, and a
splendid hunter. He spends his nights, not in social dissipation, but in
gathering in rats, mice, flying-squirrels, and also birds. When he first
brought me a bird, I told him that it was wrong, and tried to convince
him, while he was eating it, that he was doing wrong; for he is a
reasonable cat, and understands pretty much everything except the
binomial theorem and the time down the cycloidal arc. But with no
effect. The killing of birds went on to my great regret and shame.

The other day I went to my garden to get a mess of peas. I had seen the
day before that they were just ready to pick. How I had lined the
ground, planted, hoed, bushed them! The bushes were very fine--seven
feet high, and of good wood. How I had delighted in the growing, the
blowing, the podding! What a touching thought it was that they had all
podded for me! When I went to pick them I found the pods all split open
and the peas gone. The dear little birds, who are so fond of the
strawberries, had eaten them all. Perhaps there were left as many as I
planted; I did not count them. I made a rapid estimate of the cost of
the seed, the interest of the ground, the price of labor, the value of
the bushes, the anxiety of weeks of watchfulness. I looked about me on
the face of nature. The wind blew from the south so soft and
treacherous! A thrush sang in the woods so deceitfully! All nature
seemed fair. But who was to give me back my peas? The fowls of the air
have peas; but what has man?

I went into the house. I called Calvin (that is the name of our cat,
given him on account of his gravity, morality, and uprightness. We never
familiarly call him John). I petted Calvin. I lavished upon him an
enthusiastic fondness. I told him that he had no fault; that the one
action that I had called a vice was an heroic exhibition of regard for
my interest. I bade him go and do likewise continually. I now saw how
much better instinct is than mere unguided reason. Calvin knew. If he
had put his opinion into English (instead of his native catalogue), it
would have been, "You need not teach your grandmother to suck eggs." It
was only the round of nature. The worms eat a noxious something in the
ground. The birds eat the worms. Calvin eats the birds. We eat--no, we
do not eat Calvin. There the chain stops. When you ascend the scale of
being, and come to an animal that is, like ourselves, inedible, you have
arrived at a result where you can rest. Let us respect the cat: he
completes an edible chain.

I have little heart to discuss methods of raising peas. It occurs to me
that I can have an iron pea-bush, a sort of trellis, through which I
could discharge electricity at frequent intervals and electrify the
birds to death when they alight; for they stand upon my beautiful bush
in order to pick out the peas. An apparatus of this kind, with an
operator, would cost, however, about as much as the peas. A neighbor
suggests that I might put up a scarecrow near the vines, which would
keep the birds away. I am doubtful about it; the birds are too much
accustomed to seeing a person in poor clothes in the garden to care much
for that. Another neighbor suggests that the birds do not open the pods;
that a sort of blast, apt to come after rain, splits the pods, and the
birds then eat the peas. It may be so. There seems to be complete unity
of action between the blast and the birds. But good neighbors, kind
friends, I desire that you will not increase, by talk, a disappointment
which you cannot assuage.


CROWDED

Chauncey Depew says: In the Berkshire Hills there was a funeral, and as
the friends and mourners gathered in the little parlor, there came the
typical New England female who mingles curiosity with her sympathy, and,
as she glanced around the darkened room, she said to the bereaved widow:

"Where did you get that new eight-day clock?"

"We ain't got no new eight-day clock," was the reply.

"You ain't? What's that in the corner there?"

"Why, no, that's not an eight-day clock; that's the deceased. We stood
him on end to make room for the mourners."

       *       *       *       *       *

A young wife who lost her husband by death telegraphed the sad tidings
to her father in these succinct words: "Dear John died this morning at
ten. Loss fully covered by insurance."


THE ALARMED SKIPPER

  "It was an Ancient Mariner"

  Many a long, long year ago,
  Nantucket skippers had a plan
  Of finding out, though "lying low,"
  How near New York their schooners ran.

  They greased the lead before it fell,
  And then, by sounding through the night,
  Knowing the soil that stuck, so well,
  They always guessed their reckoning right.

  A skipper gray, whose eyes were dim,
  Could tell, by _tasting_, just the spot,
  And so below he'd "dowse the glim"--
  After, of course, his "something hot."

  Snug in his berth, at eight o'clock,
  This ancient skipper might be found;
  No matter how his craft would rock,
  He slept--for skippers' naps are sound!

  The watch on deck would now and then
  Run down and wake him, with the lead;
  He'd up, and taste, and tell the men
  How many miles they went ahead.

  One night, 'twas Jotham Marden's watch,
  A curious wag--the peddler's son----
  And so he mused (the wanton wretch),
  "To-night I'll have a grain of fun.

  "We're all a set of stupid fools
  To think the skipper knows by _tasting_
  What ground he's on--Nantucket schools
  Don't teach such stuff, with all their basting!"

  And so he took the well-greased lead
  And rubbed it o'er a box of earth
  That stood on deck--a parsnip-bed----
  And then he sought the skipper's berth.

  "Where are we now, sir? Please to taste."
  The skipper yawned, put out his tongue,
  Then ope'd his eyes in wondrous haste,
  And then upon the floor he sprung!

  The skipper stormed and tore his hair,
  Thrust on his boots, and roared to Marden,
  _"Nantucket's sunk, and here we are_
  _Right over old Marm Hackett's garden!"_

  JAMES T. FIELDS.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WEDDING JOURNEY

_He_: Dearest, if I had known this tunnel was so long, I'd have given
you a jolly hug.

_She_: Didn't you? Why, somebody did!



OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES


FOREIGN CORRESPONDENCE

Do I think that the particular form of lying often seen in newspapers
under the title, "From Our Foreign Correspondent," does any harm? Why,
no, I don't know that it does. I suppose it doesn't really deceive
people any more than the "Arabian Nights" or "Gulliver's Travels" do.
Sometimes the writers compile _too_ carelessly, though, and mix up facts
out of geographies and stories out of the penny papers, so as to mislead
those who are desirous of information. I cut a piece out of one of the
papers the other day which contains a number of improbabilities and, I
suspect, misstatements. I will send up and get it for you, if you would
like to hear it. Ah, this is it; it is headed


"OUR SUMATRA CORRESPONDENCE

"This island is now the property of the Stamford family--having been
won, it is said, in a raffle by Sir ---- Stamford, during the
stock-gambling mania of the South Sea scheme. The history of this
gentleman may be found in an interesting series of questions
(unfortunately not yet answered) contained in the 'Notes and Queries.'
This island is entirely surrounded by the ocean, which here contains a
large amount of saline substance, crystallizing in cubes remarkable for
their symmetry, and frequently displays on its surface, during calm
weather, the rainbow tints of the celebrated South Sea bubbles. The
summers are oppressively hot, and the winters very probably cold; but
this fact cannot be ascertained precisely, as, for some peculiar reason,
the mercury in these latitudes never shrinks, as in more northern
regions, and thus the thermometer is rendered useless in winter.

"The principal vegetable productions of the island are the pepper tree
and the bread-fruit tree. Pepper being very abundantly produced, a
benevolent society was organized in London during the last century for
supplying the natives with vinegar and oysters, as an addition to that
delightful condiment. (Note received from Dr. D. P.) It is said,
however, that, as the oysters were of the kind called _natives_ in
England, the natives of Sumatra, in obedience to a natural instinct,
refused to touch them, and confined themselves entirely to the crew of
the vessel in which they were brought over. This information was
received from one of the oldest inhabitants, a native himself, and
exceedingly fond of missionaries. He is said also to be very skilful in
the _cuisine_ peculiar to the island.

"During the season of gathering pepper, the persons employed are subject
to various incommodities, the chief of which is violent and
long-continued sternutation, or sneezing. Such is the vehemence of
these attacks that the unfortunate subjects of them are often driven
backward for great distances at immense speed, on the well-known
principle of the æolipile. Not being able to see where they are going,
these poor creatures dash themselves to pieces against the rocks, or are
precipitated over the cliffs, and thus many valuable lives are lost
annually. As during the whole pepper harvest they feed exclusively on
this stimulant, they become exceedingly irritable. The smallest injury
is resented with ungovernable rage. A young man suffering from the
_pepper-fever_, as it is called, cudgeled another most severely for
appropriating a superannuated relative of trifling value, and was only
pacified by having a present made him of a pig of that peculiar species
of swine called the _Peccavi_ by the Catholic Jews, who, it is well
known, abstain from swine's flesh in imitation of the Mohammedan
Buddhists.

"The bread tree grows abundantly. Its branches are well known to Europe
and America under the familiar name of _maccaroni_. The smaller twigs
are called _vermicelli_. They have a decided animal flavor, as may be
observed in the soups containing them. Maccaroni, being tubular, is the
favorite habitat of a very dangerous insect, which is rendered
peculiarly ferocious by being boiled. The government of the island,
therefore, never allows a stick of it to be exported without being
accompanied by a piston with which its cavity may at any time be
thoroughly swept out. These are commonly lost or stolen before the
maccaroni arrives among us. It, therefore, always contains many of these
insects, which, however, generally die of old age in the shops, so that
accidents from this source are comparatively rare.

"The fruit of the bread tree consists principally of hot rolls. The
buttered-muffin variety is supposed to be a hybrid with the cocoanut
palm, the cream found on the milk of the cocoanut exuding from the
hybrid in the shape of butter, just as the ripe fruit is splitting, so
as to fit it for the tea-table, where it is commonly served up with
cold----"

There--I don't want to read any more of it. You see that many of these
statements are highly improbable. No, I shall not mention the
paper.--_The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table._


MUSIC-POUNDING

The old Master was talking about a concert he had been to hear.

--I don't like your chopped music anyway. That woman--she had more sense
in her little finger than forty medical societies--Florence
Nightingale--says that the music you _pour_ out is good for sick folks,
and the music you _pound_ out isn't. Not that exactly, but something
like it. I have been to hear some music-pounding. It was a young woman,
with as many white muslin flounces round her as the planet Saturn has
rings, that did it. She gave the music-stool a twirl or two and fluffed
down on to it like a whirl of soap-suds in a hand-basin. Then she pushed
up her cuffs as if she was going to fight for the champion's belt. Then
she worked her wrists and her hands, to limber 'em, I suppose, and
spread out her fingers till they looked as though they would pretty much
cover the keyboard, from the growling end to the little squeaky one.
Then those two hands of hers made a jump at the keys as if they were a
couple of tigers coming down on a flock of black-and-white sheep, and
the piano gave a great howl as if its tail had been trod on. Dead
stop--so still you could hear your hair growing. Then another jump, and
another howl, as if the piano had two tails and you had trod on both of
'em at once, and then a grand clatter and scramble and string of jumps,
up and down, back and forward, one hand over the other, like a stampede
of rats and mice more than like anything I call music. I like to hear a
woman sing, and I like to hear a fiddle sing, but these noises they
hammer out of their wood-and-ivory anvils--don't talk to me; I know the
difference between a bullfrog and a wood-thrush.--_The Poet at the
Breakfast Table._

       *       *       *       *       *

"That is rather a shabby pair of trousers you have on, for a man in your
position."

"Yes, sir; but clothes do not make the man. What if my trousers are
shabby and worn? They cover a warm heart, sir."



FREDERICK S. COZZENS


LIVING IN THE COUNTRY

It is a good thing to live in the country. To escape from the
prison-walls of the metropolis--the great brickery we call "the
city"--and to live amid blossoms and leaves, in shadow and sunshine, in
moonlight and starlight, in rain, mist, dew, hoarfrost, and drought, out
in the open campaign and under the blue dome that is bounded by the
horizon only. It is a good thing to have a well with dripping buckets, a
porch with honey-buds and sweet-bells, a hive embroidered with nimble
bees, a sun-dial mossed over, ivy up to the eaves, curtains of dimity, a
tumbler of fresh flowers in your bedroom, a rooster on the roof, and a
dog under the piazza.

When Mrs. Sparrowgrass and I moved into the country, with our heads full
of fresh butter, and cool, crisp radishes for tea; with ideas entirely
lucid respecting milk, and a looseness of calculation as to the number
in family it would take a good laying hen to supply with fresh eggs
every morning; when Mrs. Sparrowgrass and I moved into the country, we
found some preconceived notions had to be abandoned, and some departures
made from the plans we had laid down in the little back parlor of Avenue
G.

One of the first achievements in the country is early rising: with the
lark--with the sun--while the dew is on the grass, "under the opening
eye-lids of the morn," and so forth. Early rising! What can be done with
five or six o'clock in town? What may not be done at those hours in the
country? With the hoe, the rake, the dibble, the spade, the
watering-pot? To plant, prune, drill, transplant, graft, train, and
sprinkle! Mrs. S. and I agreed to rise _early_ in the country.

  Richard and Robin were two pretty men,
  They laid in bed till the clock struck ten;
  Up jumped Richard and looked at the sky;
  O, Brother Robin, the sun's _very_ high!

Early rising in the country is not an instinct; it is a sentiment, and
must be cultivated.

A friend recommended me to send to the south side of Long Island for
some very prolific potatoes--the real hippopotamus breed. Down went my
man, and what, with expenses of horse-hire, tavern bills, toll-gates,
and breaking a wagon, the hippopotami cost as much apiece as pineapples.
They were fine potatoes, though, with comely features, and large,
languishing eyes, that promised increase of family without delay. As I
worked my own garden (for which I hired a landscape gardener at two
dollars per day to give me instructions), I concluded that the object of
my first experiment in early rising should be the planting of the
hippopotamuses. I accordingly arose next morning at five, and it rained!
I rose next day at five, and it rained! The next, and it rained! It
rained for two weeks! We had splendid potatoes every day for dinner. "My
dear," said I to Mrs. Sparrowgrass, "where did you get these fine
potatoes?" "Why," said she, innocently, "out of that basket from Long
Island!" The last of the hippopotamuses were before me, peeled, and
boiled, and mashed, and baked, with a nice thin brown crust on the top.

I was more successful afterward. I did get some fine seed-potatoes in
the ground. But something was the matter; at the end of the season I did
not get as many out as I had put in.

Mrs. Sparrowgrass, who is a notable housewife, said to me one day, "Now,
my dear, we shall soon have plenty of eggs, for I have been buying a lot
of young chickens." There they were, each one with as many feathers as a
grasshopper, and a chirp not louder. Of course, we looked forward with
pleasant hopes to the period when the first cackle should announce the
milk-white egg, warmly deposited in the hay which we had provided
bountifully. They grew finely, and one day I ventured to remark that our
hens had remarkably large combs, to which Mrs. S. replied, "Yes, indeed,
she had observed that; but if I wanted to have a real treat I ought to
get up early in the morning and hear them crow." "Crow!" said I,
faintly, "our hens crowing! Then, by 'the cock that crowed in the morn,
to wake the priest all shaven and shorn,' we might as well give up all
hopes of having any eggs," said I; "for as sure as you live, Mrs. S.,
our hens are all roosters!" And so they were roosters! They grew up and
fought with the neighbors' chickens, until there was not a whole pair of
eyes on either side of the fence.

A _dog_ is a good thing to have in the country. I have one which I
raised from a pup. He is a good, stout fellow, and a hearty barker and
feeder. The man of whom I bought him said he was thoroughbred, but he
begins to have a mongrel look about him. He is a good watch-dog, though;
for the moment he sees any suspicious-looking person about the premises
he comes right into the kitchen and gets behind the stove. First, we
kept him in the house, and he scratched all night to get out. Then we
turned him out, and he scratched all night to get in. Then we tied him
up at the back of the garden, and he howled so that our neighbour shot
at him twice before daybreak. Finally we gave him away, and he came
back; and now he is just recovering from a fit, in which he has torn up
the patch that has been sown for our spring radishes.

A good, strong gate is a necessary article for your garden. A good,
strong, heavy gate, with a dislocated hinge, so that it will neither
open nor shut. Such a one have I. The grounds before my fence are in
common, and all the neighbors' cows pasture there. I remarked to Mrs.
S., as we stood at the window in a June sunset, how placid and
picturesque the cattle looked, as they strolled about, cropping the
green herbage. Next morning I found the innocent creatures in my
garden. They had not left a green thing in it. The corn in the milk, the
beans on the poles, the young cabbages, the tender lettuce, even the
thriving shoots on my young fruit trees had vanished. And there they
were, looking quietly on the ruin they had made. Our watch-dog, too, was
foregathering with them. It was too much; so I got a large stick and
drove them all out, except a young heifer, whom I chased all over the
flower-beds, breaking down my trellises, my woodbines and sweet-briers,
my roses and petunias, until I cornered her in the hotbed. I had to call
for assistance to extricate her from the sashes, and her owner has sued
me for damages. I believe I shall move in town.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Sparrowgrass and I have concluded to try it once more; we are going
to give the country another chance. After all, birds in the spring are
lovely. First come little snowbirds, _avant-couriers_ of the feathered
army; then bluebirds in national uniforms, just graduated, perhaps, from
the ornithological corps of cadets with high honors in the topographical
class; then follows a detachment of flying artillery--swallows;
sand-martens, sappers and miners, begin their mines and countermines
under the sandy parapets; then cedar birds, in trim jackets faced with
yellow--aha, dragoons! And then the great rank and file of infantry,
robins, wrens, sparrows, chipping-birds; and lastly--the band!

  From nature's old cathedral sweetly ring
  The wild bird choirs--burst of the woodland band,
                  --who mid the blossoms sing;
  Their leafy temple, gloomy, tall and grand,
  Pillared with oaks, and roofed with Heaven's own hand.

There, there, that is Mario. Hear that magnificent chest note from the
chestnuts! then a crescendo, falling in silence--_à plomb!_

Hush! he begins again with a low, liquid monotone, mounting by degrees
and swelling into an infinitude of melody--the whole grove dilating, as
it were, with exquisite epithalamium.

Silence now--and how still!

Hush! the musical monologue begins anew; up, up into the tree-tops it
mounts, fairly lifting the leaves with its passionate effluence, it
trills through the upper branches--and then dripping down the listening
foliage, in a cadenza of matchless beauty, subsides into silence again.

"That's a he catbird," says my carpenter.

A catbird? Then Shakespeare and Shelley have wasted powder upon the
skylark; for never such "profuse strains of unpremeditated art" issued
from living bird before. Skylark! pooh! who would rise at dawn to hear
the skylark if a catbird were about after breakfast?

I have bought me a boat. A boat is a good thing to have in the country,
especially if there be any water near. There is a fine beach in front of
my house. When visitors come I usually propose to give them a row. I go
down--and find the boat full of water; then I send to the house for a
dipper and prepare to bail; and, what with bailing and swabbing her
with a mop and plugging up the cracks in her sides, and struggling to
get the rudder in its place, and unlocking the rusty padlock, my
strength is so much exhausted that it is almost impossible for me to
handle the oars. Meanwhile the poor guests sit on stones around the
beach with woe-begone faces.

"My dear," said Mrs. Sparrowgrass, "why don't you sell that boat?"

"Sell it? Ha! ha!"

One day a Quaker lady from Philadelphia paid us a visit. She was
uncommonly dignified, and walked down to the water in the most stately
manner, as is customary with Friends. It was just twilight, deepening
into darkness, when I set about preparing the boat. Meanwhile our Friend
seated herself upon _something_ on the beach. While I was engaged in
bailing, the wind shifted, and I became sensible of an unpleasant odor;
afraid that our Friend would perceive it, too, I whispered Mrs.
Sparrowgrass to coax her off and get her farther up the beach.

"Thank thee, no, Susan; I feel a smell hereabout and I am better where I
am."

Mrs. S. came back and whispered mysteriously that our Friend was sitting
on a dead dog, at which I redoubled the bailing and got her out in deep
water as soon as possible.

Dogs have a remarkable scent. A dead setter one morning found his way to
our beach, and I towed him out in the middle of the river; but the
faithful creature came back in less than an hour--that dog's smell was
remarkable indeed.

I have bought me a fyke! A fyke is a good thing to have in the country.
A fyke is a fishnet, with long wings on each side; in shape like a
nightcap with ear lappets; in mechanism like a rat-trap. You put a stake
at the tip end of the nightcap, a stake at each end of the outspread
lappets; there are large hoops to keep the nightcap distended, sinkers
to keep the lower sides of the lappets under water, and floats as large
as muskmelons to keep the upper sides above the water. The stupid fish
come downstream, and, rubbing their noses against the wings, follow the
curve toward the fyke and swim into the trap. When they get in they
cannot get out. That is the philosophy of a fyke. I bought one of
Conroy. "Now," said I to Mrs. Sparrowgrass, "we shall have fresh fish
to-morrow for breakfast," and went out to set it. I drove the stakes in
the mud, spread the fyke in the boat, tied the end of one wing to the
stake, and cast the whole into the water. The tide carried it out in a
straight line. I got the loose end fastened to the boat, and found it
impossible to row back against the tide with the fyke. I then untied it,
and it went downstream, stake and all. I got it into the boat, rowed up,
and set the stake again. Then I tied one end to the stake and got out of
the boat myself in shoal water. Then the boat got away in deep water;
then I had to swim for the boat. Then I rowed back and untied the fyke.
Then the fyke got away. Then I jumped out of the boat to save the fyke,
and the boat got away. Then I had to swim again after the boat and row
after the fyke, and finally was glad to get my net on dry land, where I
left it for a week in the sun. Then I hired a man to set it, and he did,
but he said it was "rotted." Nevertheless, in it I caught two small
flounders and an eel. At last a brace of Irishmen came down to my beach
for a swim at high tide. One of them, a stout, athletic fellow, after
performing sundry aquatic gymnastics, dived under and disappeared for a
fearful length of time. The truth is, he had dived into my net. After
much turmoil in the water, he rose to the surface with the filaments
hanging over his head, and cried out, as if he had found a bird's nest:
"I say, Jimmy! begorra, here's a foike!" That unfeeling exclamation to
Jimmy, who was not the owner of the net, made me almost wish that it had
not been "rotted."

We are worried about our cucumbers. Mrs. S. is fond of cucumbers, so I
planted enough for ten families. The more they are picked, the faster
they grow; and if you do not pick them, they turn yellow and look ugly.
Our neighbor has plenty, too. He sent us some one morning, by way of a
present. What to do with them we did not know, with so many of our own.
To give them away was not polite; to throw them away was sinful; to eat
them was impossible. Mrs. S. said, "Save them for seed." So we did. Next
day, our neighbor sent us a dozen more. We thanked the messenger grimly
and took them in. Next morning another dozen came. It was getting to be
a serious matter; so I rose betimes the following morning, and when my
neighbor's cucumbers came I filled his man's basket with some of my own,
by way of exchange. This bit of pleasantry was resented by my neighbor,
who told his man to throw them to the hogs. His man told our girl, and
our girl told Mrs. S., and, in consequence, all intimacy between the two
families has ceased; the ladies do not speak, even at church.

We have another neighbor, whose name is Bates; he keeps cows. This year
our gate has been fixed; but my young peach trees near the fences are
accessible from the road; and Bates's cows walk along that road morning
and evening. The sound of a cow-bell is pleasant in the twilight.
Sometimes, after dark, we hear the mysterious curfew tolling along the
road, and then with a louder peal it stops before our fence and again
tolls itself off in the distance. The result is, my peach trees are as
bare as bean-poles. One day I saw Mr. Bates walking along, and I hailed
him: "Bates, those are your cows there, I believe?" "Yes, sir; nice
ones, ain't they?" "Yes," I replied, "they are _nice_ ones. Do you see
that tree there?"--and I pointed to a thrifty peach, with about as many
leaves as an exploded sky-rocket. "Yes, sir." "Well, Bates, that
red-and-white cow of yours yonder ate the top off that tree; I saw her
do it." Then I thought I had made Bates ashamed of himself, and had
wounded his feelings, perhaps, too much. I was afraid he would offer me
money for the tree, which I made up my mind to decline at once.
"Sparrowgrass," said he, "it don't hurt a tree a single mossel to chaw
it if it's a young tree. For my part, I'd rather have my young trees
chawed than not. I think it makes them grow a leetle better. I can't do
it with mine, but you can, because you can wait to have good trees, and
the only way to have good trees is to have, 'em chawed."

       *       *       *       *       *

We have put a dumb-waiter in our house. A dumb-waiter is a good thing to
have in the country, on account of its convenience. If you have company,
everything can be sent up from the kitchen without any trouble; and if
the baby gets to be unbearable, on account of his teeth, you can dismiss
the complainant by stuffing him in one of the shelves and letting him
down upon the help. To provide for contingencies, we had all our floors
deafened. In consequence, you cannot hear anything that is going on in
the story below; and when you are in the upper room of the house there
might be a democratic ratification meeting in the cellar and you would
not know it. Therefore, if any one should break into the basement it
would not disturb us; but to please Mrs. Sparrowgrass, I put stout iron
bars in all the lower windows. Besides, Mrs. Sparrowgrass had bought a
rattle when she was in Philadelphia; such a rattle as watchmen carry
there. This is to alarm our neighbor, who, upon the signal, is to come
to the rescue with his revolver. He is a rash man, prone to pull trigger
first and make inquiries afterward.

One evening Mrs. S. had retired and I was busy writing, when it struck
me a glass of ice-water would be palatable. So I took the candle and a
pitcher and went down to the pump. Our pump is in the kitchen. A country
pump in the kitchen is more convenient; but a well with buckets is
certainly more picturesque. Unfortunately, our well water has not been
sweet since it was cleaned out. First I had to open a bolted door that
lets you into the basement hall, and then I went to the kitchen door,
which proved to be locked. Then I remembered that our girl always
carried the key to bed with her and slept with it under her pillow. Then
I retraced my steps, bolted the basement door, and went up into the
dining-room. As is always the case, I found, when I could not get any
water, I was thirstier than I supposed I was. Then I thought I would
wake our girl up. Then I concluded not to do it. Then I thought of the
well, but I gave that up on account of its flavor. Then I opened the
closet doors: there was no water there; and then I thought of the
dumb-waiter! The novelty of the idea made me smile. I took out two of
the movable shelves, stood the pitcher on the bottom of the dumb-waiter,
got in myself with the lamp; let myself down, until I supposed I was
within a foot of the floor below, and then let go!

We came down so suddenly that I was shot out of the apparatus as if it
had been a catapult; it broke the pitcher, extinguished the lamp, and
landed me in the middle of the kitchen at midnight, with no fire and the
air not much above the zero point. The truth is, I had miscalculated the
distance of the descent--instead of falling one foot, I had fallen five.
My first impulse was to ascend by the way I came down, but I found that
impracticable. Then I tried the kitchen door; it was locked. I tried to
force it open; it was made of two-inch stuff, and held its own. Then I
hoisted a window, and there were the rigid iron bars. If ever I felt
angry at anybody it was at myself for putting up those bars to please
Mrs. Sparrowgrass. I put them up, not to keep people in, but to keep
people out.

I laid my cheek against the ice-cold barriers and looked out at the sky;
not a star was visible; it was as black as ink overhead. Then I thought
of Baron Trenck and the prisoner of Chillon. Then I made a noise. I
shouted until I was hoarse, and ruined our preserving kettle with the
poker. That brought our dogs out in full bark, and between us we made
night hideous. Then I thought I heard a voice and listened--it was Mrs.
Sparrowgrass calling to me from the top of the staircase. I tried to
make her hear me, but the infernal dogs united with howl, and growl, and
bark, so as to drown my voice, which is naturally plaintive and tender.
Besides, there were two bolted doors and double-deafened floors between
us; how could she recognize my voice, even if she did hear it? Mrs.
Sparrowgrass called once or twice and then got frightened; the next
thing I heard was a sound as if the roof had fallen in, by which I
understood that Mrs. Sparrowgrass was springing the rattle! That called
out our neighbor, already wide awake; he came to the rescue with a
bull-terrier, a Newfoundland pup, a lantern, and a revolver. The moment
he saw me at the window he shot at me, but fortunately just missed me. I
threw myself under the kitchen table and ventured to expostulate with
him, but he would not listen to reason. In the excitement I had
forgotten his name, and that made matters worse. It was not until he had
roused up everybody around, broken in the basement door with an ax,
gotten into the kitchen with his cursed savage dogs and shooting-iron,
and seized me by the collar, that he recognized me--and then he wanted
me to explain it! But what kind of an explanation could I make to him? I
told him he would have to wait until my mind was composed, and then I
would let him understand the whole matter fully. But he never would have
had the particulars from me, for I do not approve of neighbors that
shoot at you, break in your door, and treat you, in your own house, as
if you were a jailbird. He knows all about it, however--somebody has
told him--_somebody_ tells everybody everything in our village.--_The
Sparrowgrass Papers._


LOVE IN A COTTAGE

  They may talk of love in a cottage,
    And bowers of trellised vine----
  Of nature bewitchingly simple,
    And milkmaids half divine;
  They may talk of the pleasure of sleeping
    In the shade of a spreading tree,
  And a walk in the fields at morning,
    By the side of a footstep free!

  But give me a sly flirtation
    By the light of a chandelier----
  With music to play in the pauses,
    And nobody very near;
  Or a seat on a silken sofa,
    With a glass of pure old wine,
  And mamma too blind to discover
    The small white hand in mine.

  Your love in a cottage is hungry,
    Your vine is a nest for flies----
  Your milkmaid shocks the Graces,
    And simplicity talks of pies!
  You lie down to your shady slumber
    And wake with a bug in your ear,
  And your damsel that walks in the morning
    Is shod like a mountaineer.

  True love is at home on a carpet,
    And mightily likes his ease----
  And true love has an eye for a dinner,
    And starves beneath shady trees.
  His wing is the fan of a lady,
    His foot's an invisible thing,
  And his arrow is tipp'd with a jewel
    And shot from a silver string.

  NATHANIEL PARKER WILLIS

       *       *       *       *       *

A CASE OF CONSCIENCE

_Uncle Jack:_ It is very good lemonade, I am sure; but tell me, Bonnie,
why do you sell yours for three cents a glass when Charley gets five for
his?

_Miss Bonnie:_ Well, you mustn't tell anybody, Uncle Jack, but the puppy
fell in mine and I thought it ought to be cheaper.

A Hingham, Massachusetts, woman is said to have hit upon a happy idea
when she was puzzled what to do in order to tell her mince and apple
pies apart. She was advised to mark them, and did so, and complacently
announced: "This I've marked 'T. M.'--'Tis mince; an' that I've marked
'T. M.'--'Taint mince."

Doctor Oliver Wendell Holmes used to be an amateur photographer. When he
presented a picture to a friend, he wrote on the back of it, "Taken by
O. W. Holmes & Sun."


HANS BREITMANN'S PARTY

  Hans Breitmann gife a barty:
    Dey had biano-blayin':
  I felled in lofe mit a 'Merican frau,
    Her name was Madilda Yane,
  She hat haar as prown as a pretzel,
    Her eyes vas himmel-plue,
  Und ven dey looket indo mine,
    Dey shplit mine heart in two.

  Hans Breitmann gife a barty:
    I vent dere, you'll be pound.
  I valtzet mit Madilda Yane
    Und vent shpinnen round and round.
  De pootiest Fräulein in de house,
    She veyed 'pout dwo hoondred pound,
  Und efery dime she gife a shoomp
    She make de vindows sound.

  Hans Breitmann gife a barty:
    I dells you it cost him dear.
  Dey rolled in more ash sefen kecks
    Of foost rate Lager Beer,
  Und venefer dey knocks de shpicket in
    De Deutschers gifes a cheer.
  I dinks dat so vine a barty
    Nefer coom to a het dis year.

  Hans Breitmann gife a barty:
    Dere all vas Souse und Brouse;
  Ven de sooper comed in, de gompany
    Did make demselfs to house.
  Dey ate das Brot und Gensy broost,
    De Bratwurst und Braten fine,
  Und vash der Abendessen down
    Mit four parrels of Neckarwein.

  Hans Breitmann gife a barty:
    We all cot troonk ash pigs.
  I poot mine mout to a parrel of beer,
    Und emptied it oop mit a schwigs.
  Und denn I gissed Madilda Yane
    Und she shlog me on the kop,
  Und de gompany fited mit dable-lecks
    Dill de coonsthable made oos shtop.

  Hans Breitmann gife a barty----
    Where ish dat barty now!
  Where ish de lofely golden cloud
    Dat float on de mountain's prow?
  Where ish de himmelstrahlende Stern----
    De shtar of de shpirit's light?
  All goned afay mit de Lager Beer----
    Afay in de Ewigkeit!

  CHARLES GODFREY LELAND.



FRANCES M. WHICHER


TIM CRANE AND THE WIDOW

"O, no, Mr. Crane, by no manner o' means, 'tain't a minnit tow soon for
you to begin to talk about gittin' married agin. I am amazed you should
be afeerd I'd think so. See--how long's Miss Crane ben dead? Six
months!--land o' Goshen!--why, I've know'd a number of individdiwals get
married in less time than that. There's Phil Bennett's widder 't I was
a-talkin' about jest now--she 't was Louisy Perce--her husband hadent
been dead but _three_ months, you know. I don't think it looks well for
a _woman_ to be in such a hurry--but for a _man_ it's a different
thing--circumstances alters cases, you know. And then, sittiwated as you
be, Mr. Crane, it's a turrible thing for your family to be without a
head to superintend the domestic consarns and tend to the children--to
say nothin' o' yerself, Mr. Crane. You dew need a companion, and no
mistake. Six months! Good grievous! Why, Squire Titus dident wait but
six _weeks_ arter he buried his fust wife afore he married his second. I
thought ther wa'n't no partickler need o' his hurryin' so, seein' his
family was all grow'd up. Such a critter as he pickt out, tew! 'twas
very onsuitable--but every man to his taste--I hain't no dispersition
to meddle with nobody's consarns. There's old farmer Dawson, tew--his
pardner hain't ben dead but ten months. To be sure, he ain't married
yet--but he would a-ben long enough ago if somebody I know on'd gin him
any incurridgement. But 'tain't for me to speak o' that matter. He's a
clever old critter and as rich as a Jew--but--lawful sakes! he's old
enough to be my father. And there's Mr. Smith--Jubiter Smith; you know
him, Mr. Crane--his wife (she 'twas Aurory Pike) she died last summer,
and he's ben squintin' round among the wimmin ever since, and he _may_
squint for all the good it'll dew him so far as I'm consarned--tho' Mr.
Smith's a respectable man--quite young and hain't no family--very well
off, tew, and quite intellectible--but I'm purty partickler. O, Mr.
Crane! it's ten year come Jinniwary sence I witnessed the expiration o'
my belovid companion--an oncommon long time to wait, to be sure--but
'tain't easy to find anybody to fill the place o' Hezekier Bedott. I
think _you're_ the most like husband of ary individdiwal I ever see, Mr.
Crane. Six months Murderation! Curus you should be afeered I'd think't
was tew soon--why, I've know'd----"

MR. CRANE. "Well, widder--I've been thinking about taking
another companion--and I thought I'd ask you----"

WIDOW. "O, Mr. Crane, egscuse my commotion, it's so onexpected.
Jest hand me that are bottle of camfire off the mantletry shelf--I'm
ruther faint--dew put a little mite on my handkercher and hold it to my
nuz. There--that'll dew--I'm obleeged tew ye--now I'm ruther more
composed--you may perceed, Mr. Crane."

MR. CRANE. "Well, widder, I was a-going to ask you
whether--whether----"

WIDOW. "Continner, Mr. Crane--dew--I knew it's turrible
embarrissin'. I remember when my dezeased husband made his suppositions
to me he stammered and stuttered, and was so awfully flustered it did
seems as if he'd never git it out in the world, and I s'pose it's
ginnerally the case, at least it has been with all them that's made
suppositions to me--you see they're ginerally oncerting about what kind
of an answer they're a-gwine to git, and it kind o' makes 'em narvous.
But when an individdiwal has reason to suppose his attachment's
reperated, I don't see what need there is o' his bein' flustrated--tho'
I must say it's quite embarrassin' to me--pray continner."

MR. C. "Well, then, I want to know if yu're willing I should
have Melissy?"

WIDOW. "The dragon!"

MR. C. "I hain't said anything to her about it yet--thought the
proper way was to get your consent first. I remember when I courted
Trypheny, we were engaged some time before mother Kenipe knew anything
about it, and when she found it out she was quite put out because I
dident go to her first. So when I made up my mind about Melissy, thinks
me, I'll dew it right this time and speak to the old woman first----"

WIDOW. "_Old woman_, hey! That's a purty name to call
me!--amazin' perlite, tew! Want Melissy, hey! Tribbleation! Gracious
sakes alive! Well, I'll give it up now! I always know'd you was a
simpleton, Tim Crane, but I _must_ confess I dident think you was
_quite_ so big a fool! Want Melissy, dew ye? If that don't beat all!
What an everlastin' old calf you must be to s'pose she'd _look_ at
_you_. Why, you're old enough to be her father, and more tew--Melissy
ain't only in her twenty-oneth year. What a reedickilous idee for a man
o' your age! as gray as a rat, tew! I wonder what this world _is_
a-comin' tew: 'tis astonishin' what fools old widdiwers will make o'
themselves! Have Melissy! Melissy!"

MR. C. "Why, widder, you surprise me. I'd no idee of being
treated in this way after you'd been so polite to me, and made such a
fuss over me and the girls."

WIDOW. "Shet yer head, Tim Crane--nun o' yer sass to me.
_There's_ yer hat on that are table, and _here's_ the door--and the
sooner you put on _one_ and march out o' t'other, the better it'll be
for you. And I advise you afore you try to git married agin, to go out
West and see 'f yet wife's cold--and arter ye're satisfied on that pint,
jest put a little lampblack on yer hair--'twould add to yer appearance
undoubtedly, and be of sarvice tew you when you want to flourish round
among the gals--and when ye've got yer hair fixt, jest splinter the
spine o' yerback--'twould'n' hurt yer looks a mite--you'd be intirely
unresistible if you was a _leetle_ grain straiter."

MR. C. "Well, I never!"

WIDOW. "Hold yer tongue--you consarned old coot you. I tell ye
_there's_ your hat, and _there's_ the door--be off with yerself, quick
metre, or I'll give ye a hyst with the broomstick."

MR. C. "Gimmeni!"

WIDOW (_rising_). "Git out, I say--I ain't a-gwine to start'
here and be insulted under my own ruff--and so git along--and if ever
you darken my door again, or say a word to Melissy, it'll be the woss
for you--that's all."

MR. C. "Treemenjous! What a buster!"

WIDOW. "Go 'long--go 'long--go 'long, you everlastin' old gum.
I won't hear another word" [stops her ears]. "I won't, I won't, I
won't."

  [_Exit Mr. Crane._

  (_Enter Melissa, accompanied by Captain Canoot._)

"Good-evenin', Cappen Well, Melissy, hum at last, hey? Why didn't you
stay till mornin'? Party business keepin' me up here so late waitin' for
you--when I'm eny most tired to death ironin' and workin' like a slave
all day--ought to ben abed an hour ago. Thought ye left me with
agreeable company, hey? I should like to know what arthly reason you had
to s'pose old Crane was agreeable to me? I always despised the critter;
always thought he wuz a turrible fool--and now I'm convinced on't. I'm
completely disgusted wit him--and I let him know it to-night. I gin him
a piece o' my mind 't I guess he'll be apt to remember for a spell. I
ruther think he went off with a flea in his ear. Why, Cappen--did ye
ever hear of such a piece of audacity in all yer born days? for
_him_--_Tim Crane_--to durst to expire to my hand--the widder o' Deacon
Bedott, jest as if _I'd_ condescen' to look at _him_--the old numbskull!
He don't know B from a broomstick; but if he'd a-stayed much longer I'd
a-teached him the difference, I guess. He's got his _walkin' ticket_
now--I hope he'll lemme alone in futur. And where's Kier? Gun hum with
the Cranes, hey! Well, I guess it's the last time. And now, Melissy
Bedott, you ain't to have nothin' more to dew with them gals--d'ye hear?
You ain't to 'sociate with 'em at all arter this--twould only be
incurridgin' th' old man to come a-pesterin' me agin--and I won't have
him round--d'ye hear? Don't be in a hurry, Cappen--and don't be alarmed
at my gittin' in such passion about old Crane's presumption. Mabby you
think 'twas onfeelin' in me to use him so--an' I don't say but what
'twas _ruther_, but then he's so awful disagreeable tew me, you
know--'tain't _everybody_ I'd treat in such a way. Well, if you _must_
go, good-evenin'! Give my love to Hanner when you write agin--dew call
frequently, Cappen Canoot, dew."--_The Bedott Papers._


THE STAMMERING WIFE

  When deeply in love with Miss Emily Pryne,
  I vowed, if, the maiden would only be mine,
    I would always endeavor to please her.
  She blushed her consent, though the stuttering lass
  Said never a word except "You're an ass----
    An ass--an ass-iduous teaser!"

  But when we were married, I found to my ruth,
  The stammering lady had spoken the truth;
    For often, in obvious dudgeon,
  She'd say, if I ventured to give her a jog
  In the way of reproof--"You're a dog--you're a dog----
    A dog--a dog-matic curmudgeon!"

  And once when I said, "We can hardly afford
  This extravagant style, with our moderate hoard,
    And hinted we ought to be wiser.
  She looked, I assure you, exceedingly blue,
  And fretfully cried, 'You're a Jew--you're a Jew----
    A very ju-dicious adviser!'"

  Again, when it happened that, wishing to shirk
  Some rather unpleasant and arduous work,
    I begged her to go to a neighbor,
  She wanted to know why I made such a fuss,
  And saucily said, "You're a cuss--cuss--cuss----
    You were always ac-cus-tomed to labor!"

  Out of temper at last with the insolent dame,
  And feeling that madam was greatly to blame
    To scold me instead of caressing,
  I mimicked her speech--like a churl that I am--
  And angrily said, "You're a dam--dam--dam
    A dam-age instead of a blessing!"

  JOHN GODFREY SAXE.

       *       *       *       *       *

HE ROSE TO THE OCCASION

Several years ago there labored in one of the Western villages of
Minnesota a preacher who was always in the habit of selecting his texts
from the Old Testament, and particularly some portion of the history of
Noah. No matter what the occasion was, he would always find some
parallel incident from the history of this great character that would
readily serve as a text or illustration.

At one time he was called upon to unite the daughter of the village
mayor and a prominent attorney in the holy bonds of matrimony. Two
little boys, knowing his determination to give them a portion of the
sacred history touching Noah's marriage, hit upon the novel idea of
pasting together two leaves in the family Bible so as to connect,
without any apparent break, the marriage of Noah and the description of
the Ark of the Covenant.

When the noted guests were all assembled and the contracting parties
with attendants in their respective stations, the preacher began the
ceremonies by reading the following text: "And when Noah was one hundred
and forty years old, he took unto himself a wife" (then turning the page
he continued) "three hundred cubits in length, fifty cubits in width,
and thirty cubits in depth, and within and without besmeared with
pitch." The story seemed a little strong, but he could not doubt the
Bible, and after reading it once more and reflecting a moment, he turned
to the startled assemblage with these remarks: "My beloved brethren,
this is the first time in the history of my life that my attention has
been called to this important passage of the Scriptures, but it seems to
me that it is one of the most forcible illustrations of that grand
eternal truth, that the nature of woman is exceedingly difficult to
comprehend."


POLITE

In her "Abandoning an Adopted Farm," Miss Kate Sanborn tells of her
annoyance at being besieged by agents, reporters and curiosity seekers.
She says: "I was so perpetually harassed that I dreaded to see a
stranger approach with an air of business. The other day I was just
starting out for a drive when I noticed the usual stranger hurrying on.
Putting my head out of the carriage, I said in a petulant and weary
tone, 'Do you want to see me?' The young man stopped, smiled, and
replied courteously, 'It gives me pleasure to look at you, madam, but I
was going farther on.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

A small boy in Boston, who had unfortunately learned to swear, was
rebuked by his father. "Who told you that I swore?" asked the bad little
boy. "Oh, a little bird told me," said the father. The boy stood and
looked out of the window, scowling at some sparrows which were scolding
and chattering. Then he had a happy thought. "I know who told you," he
said. "It was one of those ---- sparrows."


LOST, STRAYED OR STOLEN

It is said that when President Polk visited Boston he was impressively
received at Faneuil Hall Market. The clerk walked in front of him down
the length of the market, announcing in loud tones:

"Make way, gentlemen, for the President of the United States! The
President of the United States! Fellow-citizens, make room!"

The Chief had stepped into one of the stalls to look at some game, when
Mr. Rhodes turned round suddenly, and, finding himself alone, suddenly
changed his tone and exclaimed:

"My gracious, where has that darned idiot got to?"


HE CAME TO PAY

  The editor sat with his head in his hands
    And his elbows at rest on his knees;
  He was tired of the ever-increasing demands
    On his time, and he panted for ease.
  The clamor for copy was scorned with a sneer,
    And he sighed in the lowest of tones:
  "Won't somebody come with a dollar to cheer
    The heart of Emanuel Jones?"

  Just then on the stairway a footstep was heard
    And a rap-a-tap loud at the door,
  And the flickering hope that had been long deferred
    Blazed up like a beacon once more;
  And there entered a man with a cynical smile
    That was fringed with a stubble of red,
  Who remarked, as he tilted a sorry old tile
    To the back of an average head:

  "I have come here to pay"--Here the editor cried
    "You're as welcome as flowers in spring!
  Sit down in this easy armchair by my side,
    And excuse me awhile till I bring
  A lemonade dashed with a little old wine
    And a dozen cigars of the best....
  Ah! Here we are! This, I assure you, is fine;
    Help yourself, most desirable guest."

  The visitor drank with a relish, and smoked
    Till his face wore a satisfied glow,
  And the editor, beaming with merriment, joked
    In a joyous, spontaneous flow;
  And then, when the stock of refreshments was gone,
    His guest took occasion to say,
  In accents distorted somewhat by a yawn,
    "My errand up here is to pay----"

  But the generous scribe, with a wave of his hand,
    Put a stop to the speech of his guest,
  And brought in a melon, the finest the land
    Ever bore on its generous breast;
  And the visitor, wearing a singular grin,
    Seized the heaviest half of the fruit,
  And the juice, as it ran in a stream from his chin,
    Washed the mud of the pike from his boot.

  Then, mopping his face on a favorite sheet
    Which the scribe had laid carefully by,
  The visitor lazily rose to his feet
    With the dreariest kind of a sigh,
  And he said, as the editor sought his address,
    In his books to discover his due:
  "I came here to pay--my respects to the press,
    And to borrow a dollar of you!"

  ANDREW V. KELLEY ("Parmenas Mix").



A GENTLE COMPLAINT


  FAIRFIELD, CONN.

  P. T. BARNUM, Esq.

_Dear Sir:_ We have a large soiled Asiatic elephant visiting us now,
which we suspect belongs to you. His skin is a misfit, and he keeps
moving his trunk from side to side nervously. If you have missed an
elephant answering to this description, please come up and take him
away, as we have no use for him. An elephant on a place so small as ours
is more of a trouble than a convenience. I have endeavored to frighten
him away, but he does not seem at all timid, and my wife and I, assisted
by our hired man, tried to push him out of the yard, but our efforts
were unavailing. He has made our home his own now for some days, and he
has become quite _de trop_. We do not mind him so much in the daytime,
for he then basks mostly on the lawn and plays with the children (to
whom he has greatly endeared himself), but at night he comes up and lays
his head on our piazza, and his deep and stertorous breathing keeps my
wife awake. I feel as though I were entitled to some compensation for
his keep. He is a large though not fastidious eater, and he has
destroyed some of my plants by treading on them; and he also leaned
against our woodhouse. My neighbor--who is something of a wag--says I
have a lien on his trunk for the amount of his board; but that, of
course, is only pleasantry. Your immediate attention will oblige.

                                                     SIMEON FORD.


THE BALLAD OF THE OYSTERMAN

  It was a tall young oysterman lived by the riverside,
  His shop was just upon the bank, his boat was on the tide;
  The daughter of a fisherman, that was so straight and slim,
  Lived over on the other bank, right opposite to him.

  It was the pensive oysterman that saw a lovely maid,
  Upon a moonlight evening, a-sitting in the shade:
  He saw her wave a handkerchief, as much as if to say,
  "I'm wide awake, young oysterman, and all the folks away."

  Then up arose the oysterman, and to himself said he,
  "I guess I'll leave the skiff at home, for fear that folks should see;
  I read it in the story-book, that, for to kiss his dear,
  Leander swam the Hellespont, and I will swim this here."

  And he has leaped into the waves, and crossed the shining stream,
  And he has clambered up the bank, all in the moonlight gleam;
  Oh, there are kisses sweet as dew, and words as soft as rain----
  But they have heard her father's step, and in he leaps again!

  Out spoke the ancient fisherman: "Oh, what was that, my daughter?"
  "'Twas nothing but a pebble, sir, I threw into the water."
  "And what is that, pray tell me, love, that paddles off so fast?"
  "It's nothing but a porpoise, sir, that's been a-swimming past."

  Out spoke the ancient fisherman: "Now, bring me my harpoon!
  I'll get into my fishing-boat, and fix the fellow soon."
  Down fell that pretty innocent, as falls a snow-white lamb;
  Her hair drooped round her pallid cheeks, like seaweed on a clam.

  Alas! for those two loving ones! she waked not from her swound,
  And he was taken with the cramp, and in the waves was drowned;
  But Fate has metamorphosed them, in pity of their woe,
  And now they keep an oyster shop for mermaids down below.

  OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.



MARIETTA HOLLEY


A PLEASURE EXERTION

Wal, the very next mornin' Josiah got up with a new idee in his head.
And he broached it to me to the breakfast table. They have been havin'
sights of pleasure exertions here to Jonesville lately. Every week
a'most they would go off on a exertion after pleasure, and Josiah was
all up on end to go, too.

That man is a well-principled man as I ever see, but if he had his head
he would be worse than any young man I ever see to foller up picnics and
4th of Julys and camp-meetin's and all pleasure exertions. But I don't
encourage him in it. I have said to him time and again: "There is a time
for everything, Josiah Allen, and after anybody has lost all their teeth
and every mite of hair on the top of their head, it is time for 'em to
stop goin' to pleasure exertions."

But good land! I might jest as well talk to the wind! If that man should
get to be as old as Mr. Methusler, and be goin' on a thousand years old,
he would prick up his ears if he should hear of a exertion. All summer
long that man has beset me to go to 'em, for he wouldn't go without me.
Old Bunker Hill himself hain't any sounder in principle than Josiah
Allen, and I have had to work head-work to make excuses and quell him
down. But last week they was goin' to have one out on the lake, on a
island, and that man sot his foot down that go he would.

We was to the breakfast table a-talkin' it over, and says I:

"I shan't go, for I am afraid of big water, anyway."

Says Josiah: "You are jest as liable to be killed in one place as
another."

Says I, with a almost frigid air as I passed him his coffee, "Mebee I
shall be drounded on dry land, Josiah Allen, but I don't believe it."

Says he, in a complainin' tone: "I can't get you started onto a exertion
for pleasure anyway."

Says I, in a almost eloquent way: "I don't believe in makin' such
exertions after pleasure. As I have told you time and agin, I don't
believe in chasin' of her up. Let her come of her own free will. You
can't ketch her by chasin' after her no more than you can fetch up a
shower in a drowth by goin' outdoors and runnin' after a cloud up in the
heavens above you. Sit down and be patient, and when it gets ready the
refreshin' raindrops will begin to fall without none of your help. And
it is jest so with pleasure, Josiah Allen; you may chase her up over all
the oceans and big mountains of the earth, and she will keep ahead of
you all the time; but set down and not fatigue yourself a-thinkin' about
her, and like as not she will come right into your house unbeknown to
you."

"Wal," says he, "I guess I'll have another griddle-cake, Samantha."

And as he took it and poured the maple syrup over it, he added gently
but firmly:

"I shall go, Samantha, to this exertion, and I should be glad to have
you present at it, because it seems jest to me as if I should fall
overboard durin' the day."

Men are deep. Now that man knew that no amount of religious preachin'
could stir me up like that one speech. For though I hain't no hand to
coo, and don't encourage him in bein' spoony at all, he knows that I am
wrapped almost completely up in him. I went.

Wal, the day before the exertion Kellup Cobb come into our house of a
errant, and I asked him if he was goin' to the exertion; and he said he
would like to go, but he dassent.

"Dassent!" says I. "Why dassent you?"

"Why," says he, "how would the rest of the wimmin round Jonesville feel
if I should pick out one woman and wait on her?" Says he bitterly: "I
hain't perfect, but I hain't such a cold-blooded rascal as not to have
any regard for wimmen's feelin's. I hain't no heart to spile all the
comfort of the day for ten or a dozen wimmen."

"Why," says I, in a dry tone, "one woman would be happy, accordin' to
your tell."

"Yes, one woman happy, and ten or fifteen gauled--bruised in the
tenderest place."

"On their heads?" says I, inquirin'ly.

"No," says he, "their hearts. All the girls have probable had more or
less hopes that I would invite 'em--make a choice of 'em. But when the
blow was struck, when I had passed 'em by and invited some other, some
happier woman, how would them slighted ones feel? How do you s'pose they
would enjoy the day, seein' me with another woman, and they droopin'
round without me? That is the reason, Josiah Allen's wife, that I
dassent go. It hain't the keepin' of my horse through the day that stops
me. For I could carry a quart of oats and a little jag of hay in the
bottom of the buggy. If I had concluded to pick out a girl and go, I had
got it all fixed out in my mind how I would manage. I had thought it
over, while I was ondecided and duty was a-strugglin' with me. But I was
made to see where the right way for me lay, and I am goin' to foller it.
Joe Purday is goin' to have my horse, and give me seven shillin's for
the use of it and its keepin'. He come to hire it just before I made up
my mind that I hadn't ort to go.

"Of course it is a cross to me. But I am willin' to bear crosses for the
fair sect. Why," says he, a-comin' out in a open, generous way, "I would
be willin', if necessary for the general good of the fair sect--I would
be willin' to sacrifice ten cents for 'em, or pretty nigh that, I wish
so well to 'em. I _hain't_ that enemy to 'em that they think I am. I
can't marry 'em all, Heaven knows I can't, but I wish 'em well."

"Wal," says I, "I guess my dishwater is hot; it must be pretty near
bilin' by this time."

And he took the hint and started off. I see it wouldn't do no good to
argue with him that wimmen didn't worship him. For when a feller once
gets it into his head that female wimmen are all after him, you might
jest as well dispute the wind as argue with him. You can't convince him
nor the wind--neither of 'em--so what's the use of wastin' breath on
'em. And I didn't want to spend a extra breath that day anyway, knowin'
I had such a hard day's work in front of me, a-finishin' cookin' up
provisions for the exertion, and gettin' things done up in the house so
I could leave 'em for all day.

We had got to start about the middle of the night; for the lake was
fifteen miles from Jonesville, and the old mare's bein' so slow, we had
got to start an hour or two ahead of the rest. I told Josiah in the
first on't, that I had just as lives set up all night as to be routed
out at two o'clock. But he was so animated and happy at the idee of
goin' that he looked on the bright side of everything, and he said that
we would go to bed before dark, and get as much sleep as we commonly
did. So we went to bed the sun an hour high. And I was truly tired
enough to lay down, for I had worked dretful hard that day--almost
beyond my strength. But we hadn't more'n got settled down into the bed,
when we heard a buggy and a single wagon stop at the gate, and I got up
and peeked through the window, and I see it was visitors come to spend
the evenin.' Elder Bamber and his family, and Deacon Dobbinses' folks.

Josiah vowed that he wouldn't stir one step out of that bed that night.
But I argued with him pretty sharp, while I was throwin' on my clothes,
and I finally got him started up. I hain't deceitful, but I thought if I
got my clothes all on before they came in I wouldn't tell 'em that I had
been to bed that time of day. And I did get all dressed up, even to my
handkerchief pin. And I guess they had been there as much as ten minutes
before I thought that I hadn't took my nightcap off. They looked
dreadful curious at me, and I felt awful meachin'. But I jest ketched it
off, and never said nothin'. But when Josiah come out of the bedroom
with what little hair he has got standin' out in every direction, no two
hairs a-layin' the same way, and one of his galluses a-hangin' most to
the floor under his best coat, I up and told 'em. I thought mebby they
wouldn't stay long. But Deacon Dobbinses' folks seemed to be all waked
up on the subject of religion, and they proposed we should turn it into
a kind of a conference meetin'; so they never went home till after ten
o'clock.

It was 'most eleven when Josiah and me got to bed agin. And then jest as
I was gettin' into a drowse, I heered the cat in the buttery, and I got
up to let her out. And that roused Josiah up, and he thought he heered
the cattle in the garden, and he got up and went out. And there we was
a-marchin' round 'most all night.

And if we would get into a nap, Josiah would think it was mornin' and he
would start up and go out to look at the clock. He seemed so afraid we
would be belated and not get to that exertion in time. And there we was
on our feet 'most all night. I lost myself once, for I dreampt that
Josiah was a-drowndin', and Deacon Dobbins was on the shore a-prayin'
for him. It started me so that I jist ketched hold of Josiah and
hollered. It skairt him awfully, and says he, "What does ail you,
Samantha? I hain't been asleep before to-night, and now you have rousted
me up for good. I wonder what time it is!"

And then he got out of bed again and went and looked at the clock. It
was half-past one, and he said he "didn't believe we had better go to
sleep again, for fear we would be too late for the exertion, and he
wouldn't miss that for nothin'."

"Exertion!" says I, in a awful cold tone. "I should think we had had
exertion enough for one spell."

But as bad and wore out as Josiah felt bodily, he was all animated in
his mind about what a good time he was a-goin' to have. He acted
foolish, and I told him so. I wanted to wear my brown-and-black gingham,
and a shaker, but Josiah insisted that I should wear a new lawn dress
that he had brought me home as a present, and I had jest got made up.
So jest to please him, I put it on, and my best bonnet.

And that man, all I could do and say, would put on a pair of pantaloons
I had been a-makin' for Thomas Jefferson. They was gettin' up a milatary
company to Jonesville, and these pantaloons was blue, with a red stripe
down the sides--a kind of uniform. Josiah took a awful fancy to 'em, and
says he:

"I will wear 'em, Samantha; they look so dressy."

Says I: "They hain't hardly done. I was goin' to stitch that red stripe
on the left leg on again. They ain't finished as they ort to be, and I
would not wear 'em. It looks vain in you."

Says he: "I will wear 'em, Samantha. I will be dressed up for once."

I didn't contend with him. Thinks I: we are makin' fools of ourselves by
goin' at all, and if he wants to make a little bigger fool of himself by
wearin' them blue pantaloons, I won't stand in his light. And then I had
got some machine oil onto 'em, so I felt that I had got to wash 'em,
anyway, before Thomas J. took 'em to wear. So he put 'em on.

I had good vittles, and a sight of 'em. The basket wouldn't hold 'em
all, so Josiah had to put a bottle of red rossberry jell into the pocket
of his dress-coat, and lots of other little things, such as spoons and
knives and forks, in his pantaloons and breast pockets. He looked like
Captain Kidd armed up to the teeth, and I told him so. But good land!
he would have carried a knife in his mouth if I had asked him to, he
felt so neat about goin', and boasted so on what a splendid exertion it
was goin' to be.

We got to the lake about eight o'clock, for the old mare went slow. We
was about the first ones there, but they kep' a-comin', and before ten
o'clock we all got there.

The young folks made up their minds they would stay and eat their dinner
in a grove on the mainland. But the majority of the old folks thought it
was best to go and set our tables where we laid out to in the first
place. Josiah seemed to be the most rampant of any of the company about
goin'. He said he shouldn't eat a mouthful if he didn't eat it on that
island. He said what was the use of going to a pleasure exertion at all
if you didn't try to take all the pleasure you could. So about twenty
old fools of us sot sail for the island.

I had made up my mind from the first on't to face trouble, so it didn't
put me out so much when Deacon Dobbins, in gettin' into the boat,
stepped onto my new lawn dress and tore a hole in it as big as my two
hands, and ripped it half offen the waist. But Josiah havin' felt so
animated and tickled about the exertion, it worked him up awfully when,
jest after we had got well out onto the lake, the wind took his hat off
and blew it away out onto the lake. He had made up his mind to look so
pretty that day that it worked him up awfully. And then the sun beat
down onto him; and if he had had any hair onto his head it would have
seemed more shady.

But I did the best I could by him. I stood by him and pinned on his red
bandanna handkerchief onto his head. But as I was a-fixin' it on, I see
there was suthin' more than mortification ailded him. The lake was rough
and the boat rocked, and I see he was beginning to be awful sick. He
looked deathly. Pretty soon I felt bad, too. Oh! the wretchedness of
that time. I have enjoyed poor health considerable in my life, but never
did I enjoy so much sickness in so short a time as I did on that
pleasure exertion to that island. I s'pose our bein' up all night a'most
made it worse. When we reached the island we was both weak as cats.

I sot right down on a stun and held my head for a spell, for it did seem
as if it would split open. After awhile I staggered up onto my feet, and
finally I got so I could walk straight and sense things a little; though
it was tejus work to walk anyway, for we had landed on a sand-bar, and
the sand was so deep it was all we could do to wade through it, and it
was as hot as hot ashes ever was.

Then I began to take the things out of my dinner-basket. The butter had
all melted, so we had to dip it out with a spoon. And a lot of water had
washed over the side of the boat, so my pies and tarts and delicate
cakes and cookies looked awful mixed up. But no worse than the rest of
the company's did.

But we did the best we could, and the chicken and cold meats bein' more
solid, had held together quite well, so there was some pieces of it
conside'able hull, though it was all very wet and soppy. But we
separated 'em out as well as we could, and begun to make preparations to
eat. We didn't feel so animated about eatin' as we should if we hadn't
been so sick to our stomachs. But we felt as if we must hurry, for the
man that owned the boat said he knew it would rain before night by the
way the sun scalded.

There wasn't a man or a woman there but what the presperation and sweat
jest poured down their faces. We was a haggard and melancholy lookin'
set. There was a piece of woods a little ways off, but it was up quite a
rise of ground, and there wasn't one of us but what had the rheumatiz
more or less. We made up a fire on the sand, though it seemed as if it
was hot enough to steep tea and coffee as it was.

After we got the fire started, I histed a umberell and sot down under it
and fanned myself hard, for I was afraid of a sunstroke.

Wal, I guess I had set there ten minutes or more, when all of a sudden I
thought, Where is Josiah? I hadn't seen him since we had got there. I
riz up and asked the company, almost wildly, if they had seen my
companion, Josiah.

They said, No, they hadn't.

But Celestine Wilkin's little girl, who had come with her grandpa and
grandma Gowdy, spoke up, and says she:

"I seen him goin' off toward the woods. He acted dretful strange, too;
he seemed to be a walkin' off sideways."

"Had the sufferin's he had undergone made him delerious?" says I to
myself; and then I started off on the run toward the woods, and old Miss
Bobbet, and Miss Gowdy, and Sister Bamber, and Deacon Dobbinses' wife
all rushed after me.

Oh, the agony of them two or three minutes! my mind so distracted with
fourbodin's, and the presperation and sweat a-pourin' down. But all of a
sudden, on the edge of the woods, we found him. Miss Gowdy, weighin' a
little less than me, mebby one hundred pounds or so, had got a little
ahead of me. He sot backed up against a tree in a awful cramped
position, with his left leg under him. He looked dretful uncomfortable.
But when Miss Gowdy hollered out: "Oh, here you be! We have been skairt
about you. What is the matter?" he smiled a dretful sick smile, and says
he: "Oh, I thought I would come out here and meditate a spell. It was
always a real treat to me to meditate."

Just then I come up a-pantin' for breath, and as the wimmen all turned
to face me, Josiah scowled at me and shook his fist at them four wimmen,
and made the most mysterious motions of his hands toward 'em. But the
minute they turned round he smiled in a sickish way, and pretended to go
to whistlin'.

Says I, "What is the matter, Josiah Allen? What are you off here for?"

"I am a-meditatin', Samantha."

Says I, "Do you come down and jine the company this minute, Josiah
Allen. You was in a awful takin' to come with 'em, and what will they
think to see you act so?"

The wimmen happened to be a-lookin' the other way for a minute, and he
looked at me as if he would take my head off, and made the strangest
motions toward 'em; but the minute they looked at him he would pretend
to smile--that deathly smile.

Says I, "Come, Josiah Allen, we're goin' to get dinner right away, for
we are afraid it will rain."

"Oh, wal," says he, "a little rain, more or less, hain't a-goin' to
hender a man from meditatin'."

I was wore out, and says I, "Do you stop meditatin' this minute, Josiah
Allen!"

Says he, "I won't stop, Samantha. I let you have your way a good deal of
the time; but when I take it into my head to meditate, you hain't
a-goin' to break it up."

Jest at that minute they called to me from the shore to come that minute
to find some of my dishes. And we had to start off. But oh! the gloom of
my mind that was added to the lameness of my body. Them strange motions
and looks of Josiah wore on me. Had the sufferin's of the night, added
to the trials of the day, made him crazy? I thought more'n as likely as
not I had got a luny on my hands for the rest of my days.

And then, oh, how the sun did scald down onto me, and the wind took the
smoke so into my face that there wasn't hardly a dry eye in my head. And
then a perfect swarm of yellow wasps lit down onto our vittles as quick
as we laid 'em down, so you couldn't touch a thing without runnin' a
chance to be stung. Oh, the agony of that time! the distress of that
pleasure exertion! But I kep' to work, and when we had got dinner most
ready I went back to call Josiah again. Old Miss Bobbet said she would
go with me, for she thought she see a wild turnip in the woods there,
and her Shakespeare had a awful cold, and she would try to dig one to
give him. So we started up the hill again. He sot in the same position,
all huddled up, with his leg under him, as uncomfortable a lookin'
creeter as I ever see. But when we both stood in front of him, he
pretended to look careless and happy, and smiled that sick smile.

Says I, "Come, Josiah Allen; dinner is ready."

"Oh, I hain't hungry," says he. "The table will probable be full. I had
jest as lieves wait."

"Table full!" says I. "You know jest as well as I do that we are eatin'
on the ground. Do you come and eat your dinner this minute."

"Yes, do come," says Miss Bobbet; "we can't get along without you!"

"Oh!" says he, with a ghastly smile, pretending to joke, "I have got
plenty to eat here--I can eat muskeeters."

The air was black with 'em, I couldn't deny it.

"The muskeeters will eat you, more likely," says I. "Look at your face
and hands; they are all covered with 'em."

"Yes, they have eat considerable of a dinner out of me, but I don't
begrech 'em. I hain't small enough, nor mean enough, I hope, to begrech
'em one good meal."

Miss Bobbet started off in search of her wild turnip, and after she had
got out of sight Josiah whispered to me with a savage look and a tone
sharp as a sharp ax:

"Can't you bring forty or fifty more wimmen up here? You couldn't come
here a minute, could you, without a lot of other wimmen tight to your
heels?"

I begun to see daylight, and after Miss Bobbet had got her wild turnip
and some spignut, I made some excuse to send her on ahead, and then
Josiah told me all about why he had gone off by himself alone, and why
he had been a-settin' in such a curious position all the time since we
had come in sight of him.

It seems he had set down on that bottle of rossberry jell. That red
stripe on the side wasn't hardly finished, as I said, and I hadn't
fastened my thread properly, so when he got to pullin' at 'em to try to
wipe off the jell, the thread started, and bein' sewed on a machine,
that seam jest ripped from top to bottom. That was what he had walked
off sideways toward the woods for. But Josiah Allen's wife hain't one to
desert a companion in distress. I pinned 'em up as well as I could, and
I didn't say a word to hurt his feelin's, only I jest said this to him,
as I was fixin' 'em--I fastened my gray eye firmly, and almost sternly
onto him, and says I:

"Josiah Allen, is this pleasure?" Says I, "You was determined to come."

"Throw that in my face agin, will you? What if I was? There goes a pin
into my leg! I should think I had suffered enough without your stabbin'
of me with pins."

"Wal, then, stand still, and not be a-caperin' round so. How do you
s'pose I can do anything with you a-tossin' round so?"

"Wal, don't be so aggravatin', then."

I fixed 'em as well as I could, but they looked pretty bad, and there
they was all covered with jell, too. What to do I didn't know. But
finally I told him I would put my shawl onto him. So I doubled it up
corner-ways as big as I could, so it almost touched the ground behind,
and he walked back to the table with me. I told him it was best to tell
the company all about it, but he just put his foot down that he
wouldn't, and I told him if he wouldn't that he must make his own
excuses to the company about wearin' the shawl. So he told 'em he always
loved to wear summer shawls; he thought it made a man look so dressy.

But he looked as if he would sink all the time he was a-sayin' it. They
all looked dretful curious at him, and he looked as meachin' as if he
had stole sheep--and meachin'er--and he never took a minute's comfort,
nor I nuther. He was sick all the way back to the shore, and so was I.
And jest as we got into our wagons and started for home, the rain began
to pour down. The wind turned our old umberell inside out in no time. My
lawn dress was most spilte before, and now I give up my bonnet. And I
says to Josiah:

"This bonnet and dress are spilte, Josiah Allen, and I shall have to buy
some new ones."

"Wal, wal! who said you wouldn't?" he snapped out.

But it were on him. Oh, how the rain poured down! Josiah, havin' nothin'
but a handkerchief on his head, felt it more than I did. I had took a
apron to put on a-gettin' dinner, and I tried to make him let me pin it
on his head. But says he, firmly:

"I hain't proud and haughty, Samantha, but I do feel above ridin' out
with a pink apron on for a hat."

"Wal, then," says I, "get as wet as sop, if you had ruther."

I didn't say no more, but there we jest sot and suffered. The rain
poured down; the wind howled at us; the old mare went slow; the
rheumatiz laid holt of both of us; and the thought of the new bonnet and
dress was a-wearin' on Josiah, I knew.

There wasn't a house for the first seven miles, and after we got there I
thought we wouldn't go in, for we had got to get home to milk anyway,
and we was both as wet as we could be. After I had beset him about the
apron, we didn't say hardly a word for as much as thirteen miles or so;
but I did speak once, as he leaned forward, with the rain drippin' offen
his bandanna handkerchief onto his blue pantaloons. I says to him in
stern tones:

"Is this pleasure, Josiah Allen?"

He give the old mare a awful cut and says he: "I'd like to know what you
want to be so aggravatin' for?"

I didn't multiply any more words with him, only as we drove up to our
doorstep, and he helped me out into a mud-puddle, I says to him:

"Mebbe you'll hear to me another time, Josiah Allen."

And I'll bet he will. I hain't afraid to bet a ten-cent bill that that
man won't never open his mouth to me again about a pleasure exertion.

       *       *       *       *       *

A simple-hearted and truly devout country preacher, who had tasted but
few of the drinks of the world, took dinner with a high-toned family,
where a glass of milk punch was quietly set down by each plate. In
silence and happiness this new Vicar of Wakefield quaffed his goblet,
and then added, "Madam, you should daily thank God for such a good
cow."



EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN


THE DIAMOND WEDDING

  O Love! Love! Love! What times were those,
    Long ere the age of belles and beaux,
  And Brussels lace and silken hose,
  When, in the green Arcadian close,
  You married Psyche under the rose,
    With only the grass for bedding!
  Heart to heart, and hand to hand,
  You followed Nature's sweet command,
  Roaming lovingly through the land,
    Nor sighed for a Diamond Wedding.

  So have we read in classic Ovid,
  How Hero watched for her belovèd,
    Impassioned youth, Leander.
  She was the fairest of the fair,
  And wrapt him round with her golden hair,
  Whenever he landed cold and bare,
  With nothing to eat and nothing to wear,
    And wetter than any gander;
  For Love was Love, and better than money;
  The slyer the theft, the sweeter the honey;
  And kissing was clover, all the world over,
    Wherever Cupid might wander.

  So thousands of years have come and gone,
  And still the moon is shining on,
    Still Hymen's torch is lighted;
  And hitherto, in this land of the West,
  Most couples in love have thought it best
  To follow the ancient way of the rest,
    And quietly get united.

  But now, True Love, you're growing old--
  Bought and sold, with silver and gold,
    Like a house, or a horse and carriage!
              Midnight talks,
              Moonlight walks,
  The glance of the eye and sweetheart sigh,
  The shadowy haunts, with no one by,
    I do not wish to disparage;
              But every kiss
              Has a price for its bliss,
    In the modern code of marriage;
              And the compact sweet
              Is not complete
  Till the high contracting parties meet
    Before the altar of Mammon;
  And the bride must be led to a silver bower,
  Where pearls and rubies fall in a shower
    That would frighten Jupiter Ammon!

              I need not tell
              How it befell,
    (Since Jenkins has told the story
  Over and over and over again,
  In a style I cannot hope to attain,
    And covered himself with glory!)
  How it befell, one summer's day,
  The king of the Cubans strolled this way--
  King January's his name, they say--
  And fell in love with the Princess May,
    The reigning belle of Manhattan;
  Nor how he began to smirk and sue,
  And dress as lovers who come to woo,
  Or as Max Maretzek and Jullien do,
  When they sit full-bloomed in the ladies' view,
    And flourish the wondrous baton.

  He wasn't one of your Polish nobles,
  Whose presence their country somehow troubles,
    And so our cities receive them;
  Nor one of your make-believe Spanish grandees,
  Who ply our daughters with lies and candies,
    Until the poor girls believe them.
  No, he was no such charlatan--
  Count de Hoboken Flash-in-the-pan,
  Full of gasconade and bravado--
  But a regular, rich Don Rataplan,
  Santa Claus de la Muscovado,
  Señor Grandissimo Bastinado.
  His was the rental of half Havana
  And all Matanzas; and Santa Anna,
  Rich as he was, could hardly hold
  A candle to light the mines of gold
  Our Cuban owned, choke-full of diggers;
  And broad plantations, that, in round figures,
  Were stocked with at least five thousand niggers!

  "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may!"
  The Señor swore to carry the day,
  To capture the beautiful Princess May,
    With his battery of treasure;
  Velvet and lace she should not lack;
  Tiffany, Haughwout, Ball & Black,
  Genin and Stewart his suit should back,
    And come and go at her pleasure;
  Jet and lava--silver and gold----
  Garnets--emeralds rare to behold----
  Diamonds--sapphires--wealth untold----
  All were hers, to have and to hold:
    Enough to fill a peck measure!

  He didn't bring all his forces on
  At once, but like a crafty old Don,
  Who many a heart had fought and won,
    Kept bidding a little higher;
  And every time he made his bid,
  And what she said, and all they did----
                      'Twas written down,
                      For the good of the town,
  By Jeems, of _The Daily Flyer_.

  A coach and horses, you'd think, would buy
  For the Don an easy victory;
    But slowly our Princess yielded.
  A diamond necklace caught her eye,
  But a wreath of pearls first made her sigh.
  She knew the worth of each maiden glance,
  And, like young colts, that curvet and prance,
  She led the Don a deuce of a dance,
    In spite of the wealth he wielded.

  She stood such a fire of silks and laces,
  Jewels and gold dressing-cases,
  And ruby brooches, and jets and pearls,
  That every one of her dainty curls
  Brought the price of a hundred common girls;
    Folks thought the lass demented!
  But at last a wonderful diamond ring,
  An infant Kohinoor, did the thing,
  And, sighing with love, or something the same,
                      (What's in a name?)
    The Princess May consented.

  Ring! ring the bells, and bring
  The people to see the marrying!
  Let the gaunt and hungry and ragged poor
  Throng round the great cathedral door,
  To wonder what all the hubbub's for,
    And sometimes stupidly wonder
  At so much sunshine and brightness which
  Fall from the church upon the rich,
    While the poor get all the thunder.

  Ring, ring! merry bells, ring!
              O fortunate few,
              With letters blue,
  Good for a seat and a nearer view!
  Fortunate few, whom I dare not name;
  _Dilettanti! Crême de la crême!_
  We commoners stood by the street façade,
  And caught a glimpse of the cavalcade.
              We saw the bride
              In diamond pride,
  With jeweled maidens to guard her side----
  Six lustrous maidens in tarletan.
  She led the van of the caravan;
    Close behind her, her mother
  (Dressed in gorgeous _moire antique_,
  That told as plainly as words could speak,
  She was more antique than the other)
    Leaned on the arm of Don Rataplan
  Santa Claus de la Muscovado
  Señor Grandissimo Bastinado.
    Happy mortal! fortunate man!
  And Marquis of El Dorado!

  In they swept, all riches and grace,
  Silks and satins, jewels and lace;
  In they swept from the dazzled sun,
  And soon in the church the deed was done.
  Three prelates stood on the chancel high:
  A knot that gold and silver can buy,
  Gold and silver may yet untie,
    Unless it is tightly fastened;
  What's worth doing at all's worth doing well,
  And the sale of a young Manhattan belle
    Is not to be pushed or hastened;
  So two Very-Reverends graced the scene,
  And the tall Archbishop stood between,
    By prayer and fasting chastened.
  The Pope himself would have come from Rome,
  But Garibaldi kept him at home.
  Haply these robed prelates thought
  Their words were the power that tied the knot;
  But another power that love-knot tied,
  And I saw the chain round the neck of the bride----
  A glistening, priceless, marvelous chain,
  Coiled with diamonds again and again,
    As befits a diamond wedding;
  Yet still 'twas a chain, and I thought she knew it,
  And halfway longed for the will to undo it,
    By the secret tears she was shedding.

  But isn't it odd to think, whenever
  We all go through that terrible River----
  Whose sluggish tide alone can sever
  (The Archbishop says) the Church decree,
  By floating one in to Eternity
  And leaving the other alive as ever----
  As each wades through that ghastly stream,
  The satins that rustle and gems that gleam,
  Will grow pale and heavy, and sink away
  To the noisome River's bottom-clay!
  Then the costly bride and her maidens six
  Will shiver upon the bank of the Styx,
  Quite as helpless as they were born----
  Naked souls, and very forlorn;
  The Princess, then, must shift for herself,
  And lay her royalty on the shelf;
  She, and the beautiful Empress, yonder,
  Whose robes are now the wide world's wonder,
  And even ourselves, and our dear little wives,
  Who calico wear each morn of their lives,
  And the sewing-girls, and _les chiffonniers_,
  In rags and hunger--a gaunt array----
  And all the grooms of the caravan----
  Ay, even the great Don Rataplan
  Santa Claus de la Muscovado
  Señor Grandissimo Bastinado----
  That gold-encrusted, fortunate man----
  All will land in naked equality:
  The lord of a ribboned principality
    Will mourn the loss of his _cordon_;
  Nothing to eat and nothing to wear
  Will certainly be the fashion there!
  Ten to one, and I'll go it alone;
  Those most used to a rag and bone,
  Though here on earth they labor and groan,
  Will stand it best, as they wade abreast
    To the other side of Jordan.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Grant's army crossed the Rappahannock Lee's veterans felt sure of
sending it back as "tattered and torn" as ever it had been under the new
general's numerous predecessors. After the crossing, the first prisoners
caught by Mosby were asked many questions by curious Confederates.

"What has become of your pontoon train?" said one such inquirer.

"We haven't got any," answered the prisoner.

"How do you expect to get over the river when you go back?"

"Oh," said the Yankee, "we are not going back. Grant says that all the
men he sends back can cross on a log."



JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL


WHAT MR. ROBINSON THINKS

  Guvener B. is a sensible man;
    He stays to his home an' looks arter his folks;
  He draws his furrer ez straight ez he can,
    An' into nobody's tater-patch pokes;
              But John P.
              Robinson he
    Sez he wun't vote fer Guvener B.

  My! ain't it terrible? Wut shall we du?
  We can't never choose him o' course--thet's flat;
  Guess we shall hev to come round (don't you?)
    An' go in fer thunder an' guns, an' all that;
              Fer John P.
              Robinson he
    Sez he wun't vote for Guvener B.

  Gineral C. is a dreffle smart man:
    He's ben on all sides thet give places or pelf;
  But consistency still wuz a part of his plan----
  He's ben true to _one_ party--an' thet is himself;
              So John P.
              Robinson he
  Sez he shall vote for Gineral C.

  Gineral C. he goes in fer the war;
    He don't vally principle more'n an old cud;
  Wut did God make us raytional creeturs fer,
    But glory an' gunpowder, plunder an' blood?
              So John P.
              Robinson he
    Sez he shall vote fer Gineral C.

  We were gittin' on nicely up here to our village,
    With good old idees o' wut's right an' wut ain't,
  We kind o' thought Christ went agin war an pillage,
    An' thet eppyletts worn't the best mark of a saint;
              But John P.
              Robinson he
    Sez this kind o' thing's an exploded idee.

  The side of our country must ollers be took,
    An' President Polk, you know, _he_ is our country.
  An' the angel thet writes all our sins in a book
    Puts the _debit_ to him, an' to us the _per contry_;
              An' John P.
              Robinson he
    Sez this is his view o' the things to a T.

  Parson Wilbur he calls all these argimunts lies;
    Sez they're nothin' on airth but jest _fee, faw, fum_:
  An' thet all this big talk of our destinies
    Is half on it ign'ance an' t'other half rum;
  But John P.
              Robinson he
    Sez it ain't no sech thing; an', of course, so must we.

  Parson Wilbur sez _he_ never heerd in his life
    Thet th' Apostles rigged out in their swaller-tail coats,
  An' marched round in front of a drum an' a fife,
    To git some on 'em office, and some on 'em votes;
              But John P.
              Robinson he
    Sez they didn't know everythin' down in Judee.

  Wal, it's a marcy we've gut folks to tell us
    The rights an' the wrongs o' these matters, I vow----
  God sends country lawyers, an' other wise fellers,
    To start the world's team w'en it gits in a slough;
              Fer John P.
              Robinson he
  Sez the world'll go right, ef he hollers out Gee!

       *       *       *       *       *

_Old Gentleman_ (to driver of street-car): "My friend, what do you do
with your wages every week--put part of it in the savings bank?"

_Driver:_ "No, sir. After payin' the butcher an' grocer an' rent, I pack
away what's left in barrels. I'm 'fraid of them savin's banks."


MUSIC BY THE CHOIR

After the church organist had played a voluntary, introducing airs from
"1492" and "The Black Crook"--which, of course, were not recognized by
the congregation--the choir arose for its first anthem of the morning.

The choir was made up of two parts, a quartette and a chorus. The former
occupied seats in the front row--because the members were paid. The
chorus was grouped about, and made a somewhat striking as well as
startling picture. There were some who could sing; some who thought they
could; and there were others.

The leader of this aggregation was the tenor of the quartette. He was
tall, but his neck was responsible for considerable of his extreme
height. Because he was paid to lead that choir he gave the impression to
those who saw him that he was cutting some ice. A greater part of his
contortions were lost because the audience did not face the choir.

The organist struck a few chords, and without any preliminary
wood-sawing the choir squared itself for action. Of course, there were a
few who did not find the place till after rising--this is so in all
choirs--but finally all appeared to be ready. The leader let out another
link in his neck, and while his head was taking a motion similar to a
hen's when walking, the choir broke loose. This is what it sang:

"Abide-e-e--bide--ab--abide--with abide
with--bide--a-a-a-a-bide--me--with me-e-e--abide with--with
me--fast--f-a-a-s-t falls--abide fast the even--fast fa-a-a-lls
the--abide with me--eventide--falls the e-e-eventide--fast--the--the
dark--the darkness abide--the darkness deepens--Lor-r-d with
me-e-e--Lord with me--deepens--Lord--Lord--darkness deepens--wi-i-th
me--Lord with me--me a-a-a-a-abide."

That was the first verse.

There were three others.

Every one is familiar with the hymn, hence it is not necessary to line
the verses.

During the performance, some who had not attended the choir rehearsal
the Thursday evening previous were a little slow in spots. During the
passage of these spots some would move their lips and not utter a sound,
while others--particularly the ladies--found it convenient to feel of
their back hair or straighten their hats. Each one who did this had a
look as if she could honestly say, "I could sing that if I saw fit"--and
the choir sang on.

But when there came a note, a measure or a bar with which all were
familiar, what a grand volume of music burst forth. It didn't happen
this way many times, because the paid singers were supposed to do the
greater part of the work. And the others were willing.

At one point, after a breathing spell--or a rest, as musicians say--the
tenor started alone. He didn't mean to. But by this break the deacons
discovered that he was in the game and earning his salary. The others
caught him at the first quarter, however, and away they went again, neck
and neck. Before they finished, several had changed places. Sometimes
"Abide" was ahead, and sometimes "Lord," but on the whole it was a
pretty even thing.

Then the minister--he drew a salary, also--read something out of the
Bible, after which--as they say in the newspapers--"there was another
well-rendered selection by the choir."

This spasm was a tenor solo with chorus accompaniment. This was when he
of the long neck got in his deadly work. The audience faced the choir
and the salaried soloist was happy.

When the huddling had ceased, the soloist stepped a trifle to the front
and, with the confidence born of a man who stands pat on four aces, gave
a majestic sweep of his head toward the organist. He said nothing, but
the movement implied, "Let 'er go, Gallagher."

Gallagher was on deck and after getting his patent leather shoes well
braced on the sub-bass pedals, he knotted together a few chords, and the
soloist was off. His selection was--that is, _verbatim_,

  "Ge-yide me, ge-yide me, ge-yide me, O-,
    Thor-or gra-ut Jaw-aw-hars-vah,
  Pi-il-grum thraw-aw this baw-aw-raw-en larnd."

And he sang other things.

He was away up in G. He diminuendoed, struck a cantable movement, slid
up over a crescendo, tackled a second ending by mistake--but it
went--caught his second wind on a moderato, signified his desire for a
raise in salary on a trill, did some brilliant work on a maestoso,
reached high C with ease, went down into the bass clef and climbed out
again, quavered and held, did sixteen notes by the handful--payable on
demand--waltzed along a minor passage, gracefully turned the dal segno,
skipped a chromatic run, did the con expressione act worthy of a De
Reszke, poured forth volumes on a measure bold, broke the centre of an
andante passage for three yards, retarded to beat the band, came near
getting applause on a cadenza, took a six-barred triplet without turning
a hair--then sat down.

Between whiles the chorus had been singing something else. The notes
bumped against the oiled natural-wood rafters--it was a modern
church--ricochetted over the memorial windows, clung lovingly to the new
$200 chandelier, floated along the ridgepole, patted the bald-headed
deacons fondly, and finally died away in a bunch of contribution boxes
in the corner.

Then the minister preached.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Chicago man who has recently returned from Europe was asked by a
friend what he thought of Rome.

"Well," he replied, "Rome is a fair-sized town, but I couldn't help but
think when I was there that she had seen her best days."



MARK TWAIN


THE NOTORIOUS JUMPING FROG OF CALAVERAS COUNTY[B]

In compliance with the request of a friend of mine, who wrote me from
the East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler, and
inquired after my friend's friend, Leonidas W. Smiley, as requested to
do, and I hereunto append the result. I have a lurking suspicion that
Leonidas W. Smiley is a myth; that my friend never knew such a
personage; and that he only conjectured that if I asked old Wheeler
about him, it would remind him of his infamous Jim Smiley, and he would
go to work and bore me to death with some exasperating reminiscence of
him as long and as tedious as it should be useless to me. If that was
the design, it succeeded.

[Footnote B: By permission of the American Publishing Company.]

I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the barroom stove of the
dilapidated tavern in the decayed mining camp of Angel's, and I noticed
that he was fat and bald-headed, and had an expression of winning
gentleness and simplicity upon his tranquil countenance. He roused up,
and gave me good day. I told him a friend of mine had commissioned me to
make some inquiries about a cherished companion of his boyhood named
_Leonidas W_. Smiley--_Reverend Leonidas W._ Smiley, a young minister of
the Gospel, who he had heard was at one time a resident of Angel's Camp.
I added that if Mr. Wheeler could tell me anything about this Reverend
Leonidas W. Smiley I would feel under many obligations to him.

Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me there with his
chair, and then sat down and reeled off the monotonous narrative which
follows this paragraph. He never smiled, he never frowned, he never
changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key to which he tuned his
initial sentence, he never betrayed the slightest suspicion of
enthusiasm; but all through the interminable narrative there ran a vein
of impressive earnestness and sincerity which showed me plainly that, so
far from his imagining that there was anything ridiculous or funny about
his story, he regarded it as a really important matter, and admired its
two heroes as men of transcendent genius in _finesse_. I let him go on
in his own way, and never interrupted him once.

Reverend Leonidas W. H'm, Reverend Le--well, there was a feller here
once by the name of _Jim_ Smiley, in the winter of '49--or maybe it was
the spring of '50--I don't recollect exactly, somehow, though what makes
me think it was one or the other is because I remember the big flume
warn't finished when he first come to the camp; but anyway, he was the
curiosest man about always betting on anything that turned up you ever
see, if he could get anybody to bet on the other side; and if he
couldn't he'd change sides. Any way that suited the other man would suit
_him_--any way just so's he got a bet, _he_ was satisfied. But still he
was lucky, uncommon lucky; he most always come out winner. He was always
ready and laying for a chance; there couldn't be no solit'ry thing
mentioned but that feller'd offer to bet on it, and take ary side you
please, as I was just telling you. If there was a horse-race, you'd find
him flush or you'd find him busted at the end of it; if there was a
dog-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a cat-fight, he'd bet on it; if
there was a chicken-fight, he'd bet on it; why, if there was two birds
setting on a fence, he would bet you which one would fly first; or if
there was a camp-meeting he would be there reg'lar to bet on Parson
Walker, which he judged to be the best exhorter about here, and so he
was too, and a good man. If he even see a straddle-bug start to go
anywhere, he would bet how long it would take him to get to--to wherever
he was going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that
straddle-bug to Mexico but what he would find out where he was bound for
and how long he was on the road. Lots of the boys here has seen that
Smiley and can tell you about him. Why, it never made no difference to
_him_--he'd bet on _any_thing--the dangdest feller. Parson Walker's wife
laid very sick once, for a good while, and it seemed as if they warn't
going to save her; but one morning he come in, and Smiley up and asked
him how she was, and he said she was considable better--thank the Lord
for His inf'nite mercy--and coming on so smart that with the blessing of
Prov'dence she'd get well yet; and Smiley, before he thought, says,
"Well, I'll resk two-and-a-half she don't anyway."

Thish-yer Smiley had a mare--the boys called her the fifteen-minute nag,
but that was only in fun, you know, because of course she was faster
than that--and he used to win money on that horse, for all she was slow
and always had the asthma, or the distemper, or the consumption, or
something of that kind. They used to give her two or three hundred yards
start, and then pass her under way; but always at the fag end of the
race she'd get excited and desperate like, and come cavorting and
straddling up, and scattering her legs around limber, sometimes in the
air and sometimes out to one side among the fences, and kicking up
m-o-r-e dust and raising m-o-r-e racket with her coughing and sneezing
and blowing her nose--and _always_ fetch up at the stand just about a
neck ahead, as near as you could cipher it down.

And he had a little small bull-pup, that to look at him you'd think he
warn't worth a cent but to set around and look ornery and lay for a
chance to steal something. But as soon as money was up on him he was a
different dog; his under-jaw'd begin to stick out like the fo'castle of
a steamboat, and his teeth would uncover and shine like the furnaces.
And a dog might tackle him and bully-rag him, and bite him, and throw
him over his shoulder two or three times, and Andrew Jackson--which was
the name of the pup--Andrew Jackson would never let on but what _he_ was
satisfied, and hadn't expected nothing else--and the bets being doubled
and doubled on the other side all the time, till the money was all up;
and then all of a sudden he would grab that other dog just by the j'int
of his hind leg and freeze to it--not chaw, you understand, but only
just grip and hang on till they throwed up the sponge, if it was a year.
Smiley always come out winner on that pup, till he harnessed a dog once
that didn't have no hind legs, because they'd been sawed off in a
circular saw, and when the thing had gone along far enough, and the
money was all up, and he come to make a snatch for his pet holt, he see
in a minute how he'd been imposed on, and how the other dog had him in
the door, so to speak, and he 'peared surprised, and then he looked
sorter discouraged-like, and didn't try no more to win the fight, and so
he got shucked out bad. He give Smiley a look, as much as to say his
heart was broke, and it was _his_ fault, for putting up a dog that
hadn't no hind legs for him to take holt of, which was his main
dependence in a fight, and then he limped off a piece and laid down and
died. It was a good pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and would have made a
name for hisself if he'd lived, for the stuff was in him and he had
genius--I know it, because he hadn't no opportunities to speak of, and
it don't stand to reason that a dog could make such a fight as he could
under them circumstances if he hadn't no talent. It always makes me feel
sorry when I think of that last fight of his'n, and the way it turned
out.

Well, thish-yer Smiley had rat-tarriers, and chicken cocks, and
tom-cats, and all them kind of things till you couldn't rest, and you
couldn't fetch nothing for him to bet on but he'd match you. He ketched
a frog one day, and took him home, and said he cal'lated to educate him;
and so he never done nothing for three months but set in his back yard
and learn that frog to jump. And you bet you he _did_ learn him, too.
He'd give him a little punch behind, and the next minute you'd see that
frog whirling in the air like a doughnut--see him turn one summerset, or
maybe a couple, if he got a good start, and come down flat-footed and
all right, like a cat. He got him up so in the matter of ketching flies,
and kep' him in practice so constant, that he'd nail a fly every time as
fur as he could see him. Smiley said all a frog wanted was education and
he could do 'most anything--and I believe him. Why, I've seen him set
Dan'l Webster down here on this floor--Dan'l Webster was the name of the
frog--and sing out, "Flies, Dan'l, flies!" and quicker'n you could wink
he'd spring straight up and snake a fly off'n the counter there, and
flop down on the floor ag'in as solid as a gob of mud, and fall to
scratching the side of his head with his hind foot as indifferent as if
he hadn't no idea he'd been doin' any more'n any frog might do. You
never see a frog so modest and straightfor'ard as he was, for all he was
so gifted. And when it come to fair and square jumping on a dead level,
he could get over more ground at one straddle than any animal of his
breed you ever see. Jumping on a dead level was his strong suit, you
understand; and when it come to that, Smiley would ante up money on him
as long as he had a red. Smiley was monstrous proud of his frog, and
well he might be, for fellers that had traveled and been everywheres all
said he laid over any frog that ever _they_ see.

Well, Smiley kep' the beast in a little lattice box, and he used to
fetch him downtown sometimes and lay for a bet. One day a feller--a
stranger in the camp, he was--come acrost him with his box, and says:

"What might it be that you've got in the box?"

And Smiley says, sorter indifferent-like, "It might be a parrot, or it
might be a canary, maybe, but it ain't--it's only just a frog."

And the feller took it, and looked at it careful, and turned it round
this way and that, and says, "H'm--so 'tis. Well, what's _he_ good for?"

"Well," Smiley says, easy and careless, "he's good enough for _one_
thing, I should judge--he can outjump any frog in Calaveras County."

The feller took the box again, and took another long, particular look,
and give it back to Smiley, and says, very deliberate, "Well," he says,
"I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other
frog."

"Maybe you don't," Smiley says. "Maybe you understand frogs and maybe
you don't understand 'em; maybe you've had experience, and maybe you
ain't only a amature, as it were. Anyways, I've got _my_ opinion, and
I'll resk forty dollars that he can outjump any frog in Calaveras
County."

And the feller studied a minute, and then says, kinder sad like, "Well,
I'm only a stranger here, and I ain't got no frog; but if I had a frog
I'd bet you."

And then Smiley says, "That's all right--that's all right--if you'll
hold my box a minute I'll go and get you a frog." And so the feller took
the box, and put up his forty dollars along with Smiley's, and set down
to wait.

So he set there a good while thinking and thinking to himself, and then
he got the frog out and prized his mouth open and took a teaspoon and
filled him full of quail shot--filled him pretty near up to his
chin--and set him on the floor. Smiley he went to the swamp and slopped
around in the mud for a long time, and finally he ketched a frog, and
fetched him in, and give him to this feller, and says:

"Now, if you're ready, set him alongside of Dan'l with his forepaws just
even with Dan'l's, and I'll give the word." Then he says,
"One--two--three--_git!_" and him and the feller touched up the frogs
from behind, and the new frog hopped off lively, but Dan'l give a heave,
and hysted up his shoulders--so--like a Frenchman, but it warn't no
use--he couldn't budge; he was planted as solid as a church, and he
couldn't no more stir than if he was anchored out. Smiley was a good
deal surprised, and he was disgusted too, but he didn't have no idea
what the matter was, of course.

The feller took the money and started away; and when he was going out at
the door, he sorter jerked his thumb over his shoulder--so--at Dan'l,
and says again, very deliberate, "Well," he says, "_I_ don't see no
p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other frog."

Smiley he stood scratching his head and looking down at Dan'l a long
time, and at last he says, "I do wonder what in the nation that frog
throw'd off for--I wonder if there ain't something the matter with
him--he 'pears to look mighty baggy, somehow." And he ketched Dan'l by
the nap of the neck, and hefted him, and says, "Why, blame my cats if he
don't weigh five pound!" and turned him upside down and he belched out a
double handful of shot. And then he see how it was, and he was the
maddest man--he set the frog down and took out after that feller, but he
never ketched him. And----

[Here Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front yard, and got
up to see what was wanted.] And turning to me as he moved away, he said:
"Just set where you are, stranger, and rest easy--I ain't going to be
gone a second."

But, by your leave, I did not think that a continuation of the history
of the enterprising vagabond _Jim_ Smiley would be likely to afford me
much information concerning the Reverend _Leonidas W._ Smiley, and so I
started away.

At the door I met the sociable Wheeler returning, and he buttonholed me
and recommenced:

"Well, thish-yer Smiley had a yaller, one-eyed cow that didn't have no
tail, only just a short stump like a bannanner, and----"

However, lacking both time and inclination, I did not wait to hear about
the afflicted cow, but took my leave.





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