The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wit and Humor of America, Volume V. (of
X.), by Various

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Title: The Wit and Humor of America, Volume V. (of X.)

Author: Various

Editor: Marshall P. Wilder

Release Date: September 18, 2006 [EBook #19323]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Suzanne Lybarger
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

Transcriber's Note

Unlike the other volumes of The Wit and Humor of America in Project Gutenberg, Volume V was not prepared from the "Library Edition," and thus has discontinuous page numbers and will not match the index in Volume X. In addition, a few pieces in Volume V are duplicated in Volume VI, but all have been retained as printed in each edition.







Copyright 1907, by BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY
Copyright 1911, by THE THWING COMPANY

Printed in the United States of America


Abou Ben ButlerJohn Paul211
At Aunty's HouseJames Whitcomb Riley70
Bill's CourtshipFrank L. Stanton42
Bully Boat and a Brag Captain, ASol Smith222
Committee from Kelly's, AJ.V.Z. Belden151
Co-operative Housekeepers, TheElliott Flower149
Drayman, TheDaniel O'Connell40
Dutiful Mariner, TheWallace Irwin198
Especially MenGeorge Randolph Chester160
FarewellBert Leston Taylor194
Funny Little Fellow, TheJames Whitcomb Riley28
Going Up and Coming DownMary F. Tucker10
Have You Seen the Lady?John Philip Sousa27
Her "Angel" FatherElliott Flower159
Itinerant Tinker, TheCharles Raymond Macauley74
It Pays to be HappyTom Masson214
Latter-Day WarningsOliver Wendell Holmes212
Lectures on AstronomyJohn Phoenix54
Letter from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son, AGeorge Horace Lorimer186
Marriage of Sir John Smith, ThePhœbe Cary7
Melinda's Humorous StoryMay McHenry200
Miss LegionBert Leston Taylor26
Mosquito, TheWilliam Cullen Bryant215
Mr. Dooley on Expert TestimonyFinley Peter Dunne51
Mr. Hare Tries to Get a WifeAnne Virginia Culbertson142
Musical Review ExtraordinaryJohn Phoenix30
My First CigarRobert J. Burdette220
My RuthersJames Whitcomb Riley197
Night in a Rocking-Chair, AKate Field124
Old GrimesAlbert Gorton Greene24
Piano in Arkansas, AThomas Bangs Thorpe112
Quit Yo' Worryin'Anne Virginia Culbertson157
Rollo Learning to PlayRobert J. Burdette132
Runaway Boy, TheJames Whitcomb Riley38
Set of China, TheElisa Leslie12
Simon Starts in the WorldJ.J. Hooper96
Spring Beauties, TheHelen Avery Cone9
Strike of One, TheElliott Flower84
Suppressed ChaptersCarolyn Wells22
Tiddle-Iddle-Iddle-Iddle-Bum! Bum!Wilbur D. Nesbit218
Whar Dem Sinful Apples GrowAnne Virginia Culbertson121
Willy and the LadyGelett Burgess72
Woman Who Married an Owl, TheAnne Virginia Culbertson44


[Pg 7]



By Phœbe Cary

Not a sigh was heard, nor a funeral tone,
As the man to his bridal we hurried;
Not a woman discharged her farewell groan,
On the spot where the fellow was married.
We married him just about eight at night,
Our faces paler turning,
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light,
And the gas-lamp's steady burning.
No useless watch-chain covered his vest,
Nor over-dressed we found him;
But he looked like a gentleman wearing his best,
With a few of his friends around him.
Few and short were the things we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow,
But we silently gazed on the man that was wed,
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.
We thought, as we silently stood about,
With spite and anger dying,
How the merest stranger had cut us out,
With only half our trying.[Pg 8]
Lightly we'll talk of the fellow that's gone,
And oft for the past upbraid him;
But little he'll reck if we let him live on,
In the house where his wife conveyed him.
But our hearty task at length was done,
When the clock struck the hour for retiring;
And we heard the spiteful squib and pun
The girls were sullenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we turned to go,—
We had struggled, and we were human;
We shed not a tear, and we spoke not our woe,
But we left him alone with his woman.
[Pg 9]


By Helen Avery Cone

The Puritan Spring Beauties stood freshly clad for church;
A thrush, white-breasted, o'er them sat singing on his perch.
"Happy be! for fair are ye!" the gentle singer told them;
But presently a buff-coat Bee came booming up to scold them.
"Vanity, oh, vanity!
Young maids, beware of vanity!"
Grumbled out the buff-coat Bee,
Half parson-like, half soldierly.
The sweet-faced maidens trembled, with pretty, pinky blushes,
Convinced that it was wicked to listen to the thrushes;
And when that shady afternoon, I chanced that way to pass,
They hung their little bonnets down and looked into the grass.
All because the buff-coat Bee
Lectured them so solemnly—
"Vanity, oh, vanity!
Young maids, beware of vanity!"
[Pg 10]


By Mary F. Tucker

This is a simple song, 'tis true—
My songs are never over-nice,—
And yet I'll try and scatter through
A little pinch of good advice.
Then listen, pompous friend, and learn
To never boast of much renown,
For fortune's wheel is on the turn,
And some go up and some come down.
I know a vast amount of stocks,
A vast amount of pride insures;
But Fate has picked so many locks
I wouldn't like to warrant yours.
Remember, then, and never spurn
The one whose hand is hard and brown,
For he is likely to go up,
And you are likely to come down.
Another thing you will agree,
(The truth may be as well confessed)
That "Codfish Aristocracy"
Is but a scaly thing at best.
And Madame in her robe of lace,
And Bridget in her faded gown,
Both represent a goodly race,
From father Adam handed down.[Pg 11]
Life is uncertain—full of change;
Little we have that will endure;
And 't were a doctrine new and strange
That places high are most secure;
And if the fickle goddess smile,
Yielding the scepter and the crown,
'Tis only for a little while,
Then B. goes up and A. comes down.
This world, for all of us, my friend
Hath something more than pounds and pence;
Then let me humbly recommend,
A little use of common sense.
Thus lay all pride of place aside,
And have a care on whom you frown;
For fear you'll see him going up,
When you are only coming down.
[Pg 12]


By Eliza Leslie

"Mr. Gummage," said Mrs. Atmore, as she entered a certain drawing-school, at that time the most fashionable in Philadelphia, "I have brought you a new pupil, my daughter, Miss Marianne Atmore. Have you a vacancy?"

"Why, I can't say that I have," replied Mr. Gummage; "I never have vacancies."

"I am very sorry to hear it," said Mrs. Atmore; and Miss Marianne, a tall, handsome girl of fifteen, looked disappointed.

"But perhaps I could strain a point, and find a place for her," resumed Mr. Gummage, who knew very well that he never had the smallest idea of limiting the number of his pupils, and that if twenty more were to apply, he would take them every one, however full his school might be.

"Do pray, Mr. Gummage," said Mrs. Atmore; "do try and make an exertion to admit my daughter; I shall regard it as a particular favor."

"Well, I believe she may come," replied Gummage: "I suppose I can take her. Has she any turn for drawing?"

"I don't know," answered Mrs. Atmore, "she has never tried."

"Well, madam," said Mr. Gummage, "what do you wish your daughter to learn? figures, flowers, or landscape?"

"Oh! all three," replied Mrs. Atmore. "We[Pg 13] have been furnishing our new house, and I told Mr. Atmore that he need not get any pictures for the front parlor, as I would much prefer having them all painted by Marianne. She has been four quarters with Miss Julia, and has worked Friendship and Innocence, which cost, altogether, upwards of a hundred dollars. Do you know the piece, Mr. Gummage? There is a tomb with a weeping willow, and two ladies with long hair, one dressed in pink, the other in blue, holding a wreath between them over the top of the urn. The ladies are Friendship. Then on the right hand of the piece is a cottage, and an oak, and a little girl dressed in yellow, sitting on a green bank, and putting a wreath round the neck of a lamb. Nothing can be more natural than the lamb's wool. It is done entirely in French knots. The child and the lamb are Innocence."

"Ay, ay," said Gummage, "I know the piece well enough—I've drawn them by dozens."

"Well," continued Mrs. Atmore, "this satin piece hangs over the front parlor mantel. It is much prettier and better done than the one Miss Longstitch worked of Charlotte at the tomb of Werter, though she did sew silver spangles all over Charlotte's lilac gown, and used chenille, at a fi'-penny-bit a needleful, for all the banks and the large tree. Now, as the mantel-piece is provided for, I wish a landscape for each of the recesses, and a figure-piece to hang on each side of the large looking-glass, with flower-pieces under them, all by Marianne. Can she do all these in one quarter?"

"No, that she can't," replied Gummage; "it will take her two quarters hard work, and maybe three, to get through the whole of them."[Pg 14]

"Well, I won't stand about a quarter more or less," said Mrs. Atmore; "but what I wish Marianne to do most particularly, and, indeed, the chief reason why I send her to drawing-school just now, is a pattern for a set of china that we are going to have made in Canton. I was told the other day by a New York lady (who was quite tired of the queer unmeaning things which are generally put on India ware), that she had sent a pattern for a tea-set, drawn by her daughter, and that every article came out with the identical device beautifully done on the china, all in the proper colors. She said it was talked of all over New York, and that people who had never been at the house before, came to look at and admire it. No doubt it was a great feather in her daughter's cap."

"Possibly, madam," said Gummage.

"And now," resumed Mrs. Atmore, "since I heard this, I have thought of nothing else than having the same thing done in my family; only I shall send for a dinner set, and a very long one, too. Mr. Atmore tells me that the Voltaire, one of Stephen Girard's ships, sails for Canton early next month, and he is well acquainted with the captain, who will attend to the order for the china. I suppose in the course of a fortnight Marianne will have learned drawing enough to enable her to do the pattern?"

"Oh! yes, madam—quite enough," replied Gummage, suppressing a laugh.

"To cut the matter short," said Mr. Gummage, "the best thing for the china is a flower-piece—a basket, or a wreath—or something of that sort.[Pg 15] You can have a good cipher in the center, and the colors may be as bright as you please. India ware is generally painted with one color only; but the Chinese are submissive animals, and will do just as they are bid. It may cost something more to have a variety of colors, but I suppose you will not mind that."

"Oh! no—no," exclaimed Mrs. Atmore, "I shall not care for the price; I have set my mind on having this china the wonder of all Philadelphia."

Our readers will understand, that at this period nearly all the porcelain used in America was of Chinese manufacture; very little of that elegant article having been, as yet, imported from France.

A wreath was selected from the portfolio that contained the engravings and drawings of flowers. It was decided that Marianne should first execute it the full size of the model (which was as large as nature), that she might immediately have a piece to frame; and that she was afterwards to make a smaller copy of it, as a border for all the articles of the china set; the middle to be ornamented with the letter A, in gold, surrounded by the rays of a golden star. Sprigs and tendrils of the flowers were to branch down from the border, so as nearly to reach the gilding in the middle. The large wreath that was intended to frame was to bear in its center the initials of Marianne Atmore, being the letters M.A. painted in shell gold.

"And so," said Mr. Gummage, "having a piece to frame, and a pattern for your china, you'll kill two birds with one stone."

On the following Monday, the young lady came to take her first lesson, followed by a mulatto boy,[Pg 16] carrying a little black morocco trunk, that contained a four-row box of Reeves's colors, with an assortment of camel's-hair pencils, half a dozen white saucers, a water cup, a lead-pencil and a piece of India rubber. Mr. Gummage immediately supplied her with two bristle brushes, and sundry little shallow earthen cups, each containing a modicum of some sort of body color, massicot, flake-white, etc., prepared by himself and charged at a quarter of a dollar apiece, and which he told her she would want when she came to do landscapes and figures.

Mr. Gummage's style was to put in the sky, water and distances with opaque paints, and the most prominent objects with transparent colors. This was probably the reason that his foregrounds seemed always to be sunk in his backgrounds. The model was scarcely considered as a guide, for he continually told his pupils that they must try to excel it; and he helped them to do so by making all his skies deep red fire at the bottom, and dark blue smoke at the top; and exactly reversing the colors on the water, by putting red at the top and the blue at the bottom. The distant mountains were lilac and white, and the near rocks buff color, shaded with purple. The castles and abbeys were usually gamboge. The trees were dabbed and dotted in with a large bristle brush, so that the foliage looked like a green frog. The foam of the cascades resembled a concourse of wigs, scuffling together and knocking the powder out of each other, the spray being always fizzed on with one of the aforesaid bristle brushes. All the dark shadows in every part of the picture were done with a mixture of Persian blue and bistre, and of these two colors there was conse[Pg 17]quently a vast consumption in Mr. Gummage's school. At the period of our story, many of the best houses in Philadelphia were decorated with these landscapes. But for the honor of my townspeople I must say that the taste for such productions is now entirely obsolete. We may look forward to the time, which we trust is not far distant, when the elements of drawing will be taught in every school, and considered as indispensable to education as a knowledge of writing. It has long been our belief that any child may, with proper instruction, be made to draw, as easily as any child may be made to write. We are rejoiced to find that so distinguished an artist as Rembrandt Peale has avowed the same opinion, in giving to the world his invaluable little work on Graphics: in which he has clearly demonstrated the affinity between drawing and writing, and admirably exemplified the leading principles of both.

Marianne's first attempt at the great wreath was awkward enough. After she had spent five or six afternoons at the outline, and made it triangular rather than circular, and found it impossible to get in the sweet-pea, and the convolvulus, and lost and bewildered herself among the multitude of leaves that formed the cup of the rose, Mr. Gummage snatched the pencil from her hand, rubbed out the whole, and then drew it himself. It must be confessed that his forte lay in flowers, and he was extremely clever at them, "but," as he expressed it, "his scholars chiefly ran upon landscapes."

After he had sketched the wreath, he directed Marianne to rub the colors for her flowers, while he put in Miss Smithson's rocks.[Pg 18]

When Marianne had covered all her saucers with colors, and wasted ten times as much as was necessary, she was eager to commence painting, as she called it; and in trying to wash the rose with lake, she daubed it on of crimson thickness. When Mr. Gummage saw it, he gave her a severe reprimand for meddling with her own piece. It was with great difficulty that the superabundant color was removed; and he charged her to let the flowers alone till he was ready to wash them for her. He worked a little at the piece every day, forbidding Marianne to touch it; and she remained idle while he was putting in skies, mountains, etc., for the other young ladies.

At length the wreath was finished—Mr. Gummage having only sketched it, and washed it, and given it the last touches. It was put into a splendid frame, and shown as Miss Marianne Atmore's first attempt at painting: and everybody exclaimed, "What an excellent teacher Mr. Gummage must be! How fast he brings on his pupils!"

In the meantime, she undertook at home to make the small copy that was to go to China. But she was now "at a dead lock," and found it utterly impossible to advance a step without Mr. Gummage. It was then thought best that she should do it at school—meaning that Mr. Gummage should do it for her, while she looked out the window.

The whole was at last satisfactorily accomplished, even to the gilt star, with the A in the center. It was taken home and compared with the larger wreath, and found still prettier, and shone as Marianne's to the envy of all mothers whose daughters could not furnish models for[Pg 19] china. It was finally given in charge to the captain of the Voltaire, with injunctions to order a dinner-set exactly according to the pattern, and to prevent the possibility of a mistake, a written direction accompanied it.

The ship sailed—and Marianne continued three quarters at Mr. Gummage's school, where she nominally affected another flower-piece, and also perpetrated Kemble in Rolla, Edwin and Angelina, the Falls of Schuylkill, and the Falls of Niagara, all of which were duly framed, and hung in their appointed places.

During the year that followed the departure of the ship Voltaire great impatience for her return was manifested by the ladies of the Atmore family,—anxious to see how the china would look, and frequently hoping that the colors would be bright enough, and none of the flowers omitted—that the gilding would be rich, and everything inserted in its proper place, exactly according to the pattern. Mrs. Atmore's only regret was, that she had not sent for a tea-set also; not that she was in want of one, but then it would be so much better to have a dinner-set and a tea-set precisely alike, and Marianne's beautiful wreath on all.

"Why, my dear," said Mr. Atmore, "how often have I heard you say that you would never have another tea-set from Canton, because the Chinese persist in making the principal articles of such old-fashioned, awkward shapes. For my part, I always disliked the tall coffee-pots, with their straight spouts, looking like light-houses with bowsprits to them; and the short, clumsy teapots, with their twisted handles, and lids that always fall off."

"To be sure," said Mrs. Atmore, "I have been[Pg 20] looking forward to the time when we can get a French tea-set upon tolerable terms. But in the meanwhile I should be very glad to have cups and saucers with Marianne's beautiful wreath, and of course when we use them on the table we should always bring forward our silver pots."

Spring returned, and there was much watching of the vanes, and great joy when they pointed easterly, and the ship-news now became the most interesting column of the papers. A vessel that had sailed from New York to Canton on the same day the Voltaire departed from Philadelphia had already got in; therefore, the Voltaire might be hourly expected. At length she was reported below; and at this period the river Delaware suffered much, in comparison with the river Hudson, owing to the tediousness of its navigation from the capes to the city.

At last the Voltaire cast anchor at the foot of Market Street, and our ladies could scarcely refrain from walking down to the wharf to see the ship that held the box that held the china. But invitations were immediately sent out for a long projected dinner-party, which Mrs. Atmore had persuaded her husband to defer till they could exhibit the beautiful new porcelain.

The box was landed, and conveyed to the house. The whole family were present at the opening, which was performed in the dining-room by Mr. Atmore himself—all the servants peeping in at the door. As soon as a part of the lid was split off, and a handful of the straw removed, a pile of plates appeared, all separately wrapped in India paper. Each of the family snatched up a plate and hastily tore off the covering. There were the flowers glowing in beau[Pg 21]tiful colors, and the gold star and the gold A, admirably executed. But under the gold star, on every plate, dish and tureen were the words, "This in the Middle!"—being the direction which the literal and exact Chinese had minutely copied from a crooked line that Mr. Atmore had hastily scrawled on the pattern with a very bad pen, and of course without the slightest fear of its being inserted verbatim beneath the central ornament.

Mr. Atmore laughed—Mrs. Atmore cried—the servants giggled aloud—and Marianne cried first, and laughed afterwards.[Pg 22]


By Carolyn Wells

Zenobia, they tell us, was a leader born and bred;
Of any sort of enterprise she'd fitly take the head.
The biggest, burliest buccaneers bowed down to her in awe;
To Warriors, Emperors or Kings, Zenobia's word was law.
Above her troop of Amazons her helmet plume would toss,
And every one, with loud accord, proclaimed Zenobia's boss.
The reason of her power (though the part she didn't look),
Was simply that Zenobia had once lived out as cook.
Xantippe was a Grecian Dame—they say she was the wife
Of Socrates, and history shows she led him a life!
They say she was a virago, a vixen and a shrew,
Who scolded poor old Socrates until the air was blue.
[Pg 23]
She never stopped from morn till night the clacking of her tongue,
But this is thus accounted for: You see, when she was young—
(And 'tis an explanation that explains, as you must own),
Xantippe was the Central of the Grecian telephone.
[Pg 24]


By Albert Gorton Greene

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.[Pg 25]
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.
[Pg 26]


By Bert Leston Taylor

She is hotfoot after Cultyure;
She pursues it with a club.
She breathes a heavy atmosphere
Of literary flub.
No literary shrine so far
But she is there to kneel;
Her favorite bunch of reading
Is O. Meredith's "Lucile."
Of course she's up on pictures—
Passes for a connoisseur;
On free days at the Institute
You'll always notice her.
She qualifies approval
Of a Titian or Corot,
She throws a fit of rapture
When she comes to Bouguereau.
And when you talk of music,
Why, she's Music's devotee.
She will tell you that Beethoven
Always makes her wish to pray,
And "dear old Bach!" his very name,
She says, her ear enchants;
Her favorite piece is Weber's
"Invitation to the Dance."
[Pg 27]


By John Philip Sousa

"Have I told you the name of a lady?
Have I told you the name of a dear?
'Twas known long ago,
And ends with an O;
You don't hear it often round here.
Have I talked of the eyes of a lady?
Have I talked of the eyes that are bright?
Their color, you see,
Is B-L-U-E;
They're the gin in the cocktail of light.
Have I sung of the hair of a lady?
Have I sung of the hair of a dove?
What shade do you say?
It's the fizz in the champagne of love.
Can you guess it—the name of the lady?
She is sweet, she is fair, she is coy.
Your guessing forego,
It's J-U-N-O;
She's the mint in the julep of joy."
[Pg 28]


By James Whitcomb Riley

'Twas a Funny Little Fellow
Of the very purest type,
For he had a heart as mellow
As an apple over-ripe;
And the brightest little twinkle
When a funny thing occurred,
And the lightest little tinkle
Of a laugh you ever heard!
His smile was like the glitter
Of the sun in tropic lands,
And his talk a sweeter twitter
Than the swallow understands;
Hear him sing—and tell a story—
Snap a joke—ignite a pun,—
'Twas a capture—rapture—glory,
And explosion—all in one!
Though he hadn't any money—
That condiment which tends
To make a fellow "honey"
For the palate of his friends;
Sweet simples he compounded—
Sovereign antidotes for sin
Or taint,—a faith unbounded
That his friends were genuine.[Pg 29]
He wasn't honored, may be—
For his songs of praise were slim,—
Yet I never knew a baby
That wouldn't crow for him;
I never knew a mother
But urged a kindly claim
Upon him as a brother,
At the mention of his name.
The sick have ceased their sighing,
And have even found the grace
Of a smile when they were dying
As they looked upon his face;
And I've seen his eyes of laughter
Melt in tears that only ran
As though, swift dancing after,
Came the Funny Little Man.
He laughed away the sorrow,
And he laughed away the gloom
We are all so prone to borrow
From the darkness of the tomb;
And he laughed across the ocean
Of a happy life, and passed,
With a laugh of glad emotion,
Into Paradise at last.
And I think the Angels knew him,
And had gathered to await
His coming, and run to him
Through the widely-opened Gate—
With their faces gleaming sunny
For his laughter-loving sake,
And thinking, "What a funny
Little Angel he will make!"
[Pg 30]


By John Phoenix

San Diego, July 10th, 1854.

As your valuable work is not supposed to be so entirely identified with San Franciscan interests as to be careless what takes place in other portions of this great kentry, and as it is received and read in San Diego with great interest (I have loaned my copy to over four different literary gentlemen, most of whom have read some of it), I have thought it not improbable that a few critical notices of the musical performances and the drama of this place might be acceptable to you, and interest your readers. I have been, moreover, encouraged to this task by the perusal of your interesting musical and theatrical critiques on San Francisco performers and performances; as I feel convinced that if you devote so much space to them you will not allow any little feeling of rivalry between the two great cities to prevent your noticing ours, which, without the slightest feeling of prejudice, I must consider as infinitely superior. I propose this month to call your attention to the two great events in our theatrical and musical world—the appearance of the talented Miss Pelican, and the production of Tarbox's celebrated "Ode Symphonie" of "The Plains."

The critiques on the former are from the columns of the Vallecetos Sentinel, to which they were originally contributed by me, appearing on the respective dates of June 1st and June 31st.[Pg 31]

From the Vallecetos Sentinel, June 1st

Miss Pelican.—Never during our dramatic experience has a more exciting event occurred than the sudden bursting upon our theatrical firmament, full, blazing, unparalleled, of the bright, resplendent and particular star whose honored name shines refulgent at the head of this article. Coming among us unheralded, almost unknown, without claptrap, in a wagon drawn by oxen across the plains, with no agent to get up a counterfeit enthusiasm in her favor, she appeared before us for the first time at the San Diego Lyceum last evening, in the trying and difficult character of Ingomar, or the Tame Savage. We are at a loss to describe our sensations, our admiration, at her magnificent, her super-human efforts. We do not hesitate to say that she is by far the superior to any living actress; and, as we believe that to be the perfection of acting, we cannot be wrong in the belief that no one hereafter will ever be found to approach her. Her conception of the character of Ingomar was perfection itself; her playful and ingenuous manner, her light girlish laughter, in the scene with Sir Peter, showed an appreciation of the savage character which nothing but the most arduous study, the most elaborate training could produce; while her awful change to the stern, unyielding, uncompromising father in the tragic scene of Duncan's murder, was indeed nature itself. Miss Pelican is about seventeen years of age, of miraculous beauty, and most thrilling voice. It is needless to say she dresses admirably, as in fact we have said all we can say when we called her, most truthfully, perfection. Mr. John Boots took the part of Parthenia very creditably, etc., etc.

From the Vallecetos Sentinel, June 31st

Miss Pelican.—As this lady is about to leave us to commence an engagement on the San Francisco stage, we should regret exceedingly if anything we have said about her should send with her a prestige which might be found undeserved on trial. The fact is, Miss Pelican is a very ordinary actress; indeed, one of the most indifferent ones we have ever happened to see. She came here from the Museum at Fort Laramie, and we praised her so injudiciously that she became completely spoiled. She has performed a round of characters dur[Pg 32]ing the last week, very miserably, though we are bound to confess that her performance of King Lear last evening was superior to anything of the kind we ever saw. Miss Pelican is about forty-three years of age, singularly plain in her personal appearance, awkward and embarrassed, with a cracked and squeaking voice, and really dresses quite outrageously. She has much to learn—poor thing!

I take it the above notices are rather ingenious. The fact is, I'm no judge of acting, and don't know how Miss Pelican will turn out. If well, why there's my notice of June the 1st; if ill, then June 31st comes in play, and, as there is but one copy of the Sentinel printed, it's an easy matter to destroy the incorrect one; both can't be wrong; so I've made a sure thing of it in any event. Here follows my musical critique, which I flatter myself is of rather superior order:

The Plains. Ode Symphonie par Jabez Tarbox.—This glorious composition was produced at the San Diego Odeon on the 31st of June, ult., for the first time in this or any other country, by a very full orchestra (the performance taking place immediately after supper), and a chorus composed of the entire "Sauer Kraut-Verein," the "Wee Gates Association," and choice selections from the "Gyascutus" and "Pike-harmonic" societies. The solos were rendered by Herr Tuden Links, the recitations by Herr Von Hyden Schnapps, both performers being assisted by Messrs. John Smith and Joseph Brown, who held their coats, fanned them, and furnished water during the more overpowering passages.

"The Plains" we consider the greatest musical achievement that has been presented to an enraptured public. Like Waterloo among battles; Napoleon among warriors; Niagara among falls,[Pg 33] and Peck among senators, this magnificent composition stands among Oratorios, Operas, Musical Melodramas and performances of Ethiopian Serenaders, peerless and unrivaled. Il frappe toute chose parfaitement froid.

"It does not depend for its success" upon its plot, its theme, its school or its master, for it has very little if any of them, but upon its soul-subduing, all-absorbing, high-faluting effect upon the audience, every member of which it causes to experience the most singular and exquisite sensations. Its strains at times remind us of those of the old master of the steamer McKim, who never went to sea without being unpleasantly affected;—a straining after effect he used to term it. Blair in his lecture on beauty, and Mills in his treatise on logic, (p. 31,) have alluded to the feeling which might be produced in the human mind by something of this transcendentally sublime description, but it has remained for M. Tarbox, in the production of "The Plains," to call this feeling forth.

The symphonie opens upon the wide and boundless plains in longitude 115 degrees W., latitude 35 degrees 21 minutes 03 seconds N., and about sixty miles from the west bank of Pitt River. These data are beautifully and clearly expressed by a long (topographically) drawn note from an E flat clarionet. The sandy nature of the soil, sparsely dotted with bunches of cactus and artemisia, the extended view, flat and unbroken to the horizon, save by the rising smoke in the extreme verge, denoting the vicinity of a Pi Utah village, are represented by the bass drum. A few notes on the piccolo call attention to a solitary antelope picking up mescal beans in the fore[Pg 34]ground. The sun, having an altitude of 36 degrees 27 minutes, blazes down upon the scene in indescribable majesty. "Gradually the sounds roll forth in a song" of rejoicing to the God of Day:

"Of thy intensity
And great immensity
Now then we sing;
Beholding in gratitude
Thee in this latitude,
Curious thing."

Which swells out into "Hey Jim along, Jim along Josey," then decrescendo, mas o menos, poco pocita, dies away and dries up.

Suddenly we hear approaching a train from Pike County, consisting of seven families, with forty-six wagons, each drawn by thirteen oxen; each family consists of a man in butternut-colored clothing driving the oxen; a wife in butternut-colored clothing riding in the wagon, holding a butternut baby, and seventeen butternut children running promiscuously about the establishment; all are barefooted, dusty, and smell unpleasantly. (All these circumstances are expressed by pretty rapid fiddling for some minutes, winding up with a puff from the orpheclide played by an intoxicated Teuton with an atrocious breath—it is impossible to misunderstand the description.) Now rises o'er the plains, in mellifluous accents, the grand Pike County Chorus:

"Oh we'll soon be thar
In the land of gold,
Through the forest old,
O'er the mounting cold,
With spirits bold—
Oh, we come, we come,
And we'll soon be thar.
Gee up Bolly! whoo, up, whoo haw!"
[Pg 35]

The train now encamp. The unpacking of the kettles and mess-pans, the unyoking of the oxen, the gathering about the various camp-fires, the frizzling of the pork, are so clearly expressed by the music that the most untutored savage could readily comprehend it. Indeed, so vivid and lifelike was the representation, that a lady sitting near us involuntarily exclaimed aloud, at a certain passage, "Thar, that pork's burning!" and it was truly interesting to watch the gratified expression of her face when, by a few notes of the guitar, the pan was removed from the fire, and the blazing pork extinguished.

This is followed by the beautiful aria:

"O! marm, I want a pancake!"

Followed by that touching recitative:

"Shet up, or I will spank you!"

To which succeeds a grand crescendo movement, representing the flight of the child with the pancake, the pursuit of the mother, and the final arrest and summary punishment of the former, represented by the rapid and successive strokes of the castanet.

The turning in for the night follows; and the deep and stertorous breathing of the encampment is well given by the bassoon, while the sufferings and trials of an unhappy father with an unpleasant infant are touchingly set forth by the cornet à piston.

Part Second.—The night attack of the Pi Utahs; the fearful cries of the demoniac Indians; the shrieks of the females and children; the rapid and effective fire of the rifles; the stampede of[Pg 36] the oxen; their recovery and the final repulse, the Pi Utahs being routed after a loss of thirty-six killed and wounded, while the Pikes lose but one scalp (from an old fellow who wore a wig, and lost it in the scuffle), are faithfully given, and excite the most intense interest in the minds of the hearers; the emotions of fear, admiration and delight: succeeding each other, in their minds, with almost painful rapidity. Then follows the grand chorus:

"Oh! we gin them fits,
The Ingen Utahs.
With our six-shooters—
We gin 'em pertickuler fits."

After which we have the charming recitative of Herr Tuden Links, to the infant, which is really one of the most charming gems in the performance:

"Now, dern your skin, can't you be easy?"

Morning succeeds. The sun rises magnificently (octavo flute)—breakfast is eaten,—in a rapid movement on three sharps; the oxen are caught and yoked up—with a small drum and triangle; the watches, purses and other valuables of the conquered Pi Utahs are stored away in a camp-kettle, to a small movement on the piccolo, and the train moves on, with the grand chorus:

"We'll soon be thar,
Gee up Bolly! Whoo hup! whoo haw!"

The whole concludes with the grand hymn and chorus:[Pg 37]

"When we die we'll go to Benton,
Whup! Whoo, haw!
The greatest man that e'er land saw,
Who this little airth was sent on
Whup! Whoo, haw!
To tell a 'hawk from a handsaw!'

The immense expense attending the production of this magnificent work, the length of time required to prepare the chorus, and the incredible number of instruments destroyed at each rehearsal, have hitherto prevented M. Tarbox from placing it before the American public, and it has remained for San Diego to show herself superior to her sister cities of the Union, in musical taste and appreciation, and in high-souled liberality, by patronizing this immortal prodigy, and enabling its author to bring it forth in accordance with his wishes and its capabilities. We trust every citizen of San Diego and Vallecetos will listen to it ere it is withdrawn; and if there yet lingers in San Francisco one spark of musical fervor, or a remnant of taste for pure harmony, we can only say that the Southerner sails from that place once a fortnight, and that the passage money is but forty-five dollars.[Pg 38]


By James Whitcomb Riley

Wunst I sassed my Pa, an' he
Won't stand that, an' punished me,—
Nen when he was gone that day,
I slipped out an' runned away.
I tooked all my copper-cents,
An' clumbed over our back fence
In the jimpson-weeds 'at growed
Ever'where all down the road.
Nen I got out there, an' nen
I runned some—an' runned again
When I met a man 'at led
A big cow 'at shooked her head.
I went down a long, long lane
Where was little pigs a-play'n';
An' a grea'-big pig went "Booh!"
An' jumped up, an' skeered me too.
Nen I scampered past, an' they
Was somebody hollered "Hey!"
An' I ist looked ever'where,
An' they was nobody there.
I want to, but I'm 'fraid to try
To go back.... An' by-an'-by
Somepin' hurts my throat inside—
An' I want my Ma—an' cried.[Pg 39]
Nen a grea'-big girl come through
Where's a gate, an' telled me who
Am I? an' ef I tell where
My home's at she'll show me there.
But I couldn't ist but tell
What's my name; an' she says well,
An' she tooked me up an' says
She know where I live, she guess.
Nen she telled me hug wite close
Round her neck!—an' off she goes
Skippin' up the street! An' nen
Purty soon I'm home again.
An' my Ma, when she kissed me,
Kissed the big girl too, an' she
Kissed me—ef I p'omise shore
I won't run away no more!
[Pg 40]


By Daniel O'Connell

The captain that walks the quarter-deck
Is the monarch of the sea;
But every day, when I'm on my dray,
I'm as big a monarch as he.
For the car must slack when I'm on the track,
And the gripman's face gets blue,
As he holds her back till his muscles crack,
And he shouts, "Hey, hey! Say, you!
Get out of the way with that dray!" "I won't!"
"Get out of the way, I say!"
But I stiffen my back, and I stay on the track,
And I won't get out of the way.
When a gaudy carriage bowls along,
With a coachman perched on high,
Solemn and fat, a cockade in his hat,
Just like a big blue fly,
I swing my leaders across the road,
And put a stop to his jaunt,
And the ladies cry, "John, John, drive on!"
And I laugh when he says "I caun't."
Oh, life to me is a big picnic,
From the rise to the set of sun!
The swells that ride in their fancy drags
Don't begin to have my fun.
I'm king of the road, though I wear no crown,
As I leisurely move along,[Pg 41]
For I own the streets, and I hold them down,
And I love to hear this song:
"Get out of the way with your dray!" "I won't!"
"Get out of the way, I say!"
But I stiffen my back, and I stay on the track,
And I don't get out of the way.
[Pg 42]


By Frank L. Stanton


Bill looked happy as could be
One bright mornin'; an' says he:
"Folks has been a-tellin' me
Mollie's set her cap my way;
An' I'm goin' thar' to-day
With the license; so, ol' boy,
Might's well shake, an' wish me joy!
Never seen a woman yit
This here feller couldn't git!"


Now, it happened, that same day,
I'd been lookin' Mollie's way;—
Jest had saddled my ol' hoss
To go canterin' across
Parson Jones's pastur', an'
Ax her fer her heart an' han'!
So, when Bill had had his say
An' done set his weddin' day,
I lit out an' rid that way.


Mollie met me at the door:—
"Glad to see yer face once more!"
She—says she: "Come in—come in!"
("It's the best man now will win,"[Pg 43]
Thinks I to myself.) Then she
Brung a rocker out fer me
On the cool piazza wide,
With her own chair right 'longside!


In about two hours I knowed
In that race I had the road!
Talked in sich a winnin' way
Got her whar' she named the day,
With her shiny head at rest
On my speckled Sunday vest!
An', whilst in that happy state,
Bill—he rid up to the gate.


Well, sir-ee!... He sot him down—
Cheapest lookin' chap in town!
(Knowed at once I'd set my traps!)
Talked 'bout weather, an' the craps,
An' a thousan' things; an' then—
Jest the lonesomest o' men—
Said he had so fur to ride,
Reckoned it wuz time to slide!


But I hollered out: "Ol' boy,
Might's well shake, an' wish me joy!
I hain't seen the woman yit
That this feller couldn't git!"
[Pg 44]


By Anne Virginia Culbertson

When the children got home from the nutting expedition and had eaten supper, they sat around discontentedly, wishing every few minutes that their mother had returned.

"I wish mamma would come back," said Ned. "I never know what to do in the evening when she isn't home."

"I 'low 'bout de bes' you-all kin do is ter lemme putt you ter baid," said Aunt 'Phrony.

"Don't want to go to bed," "I'm not sleepy," "Want to stay up," came in chorus from three pairs of lips.

"You chillen is wusser dan night owls," said the old woman. "Ef you keeps on wid dis settin'-up-all-night bizness, I boun' some er you gwine turn inter one'r dese yer big, fussy owls wid yaller eyes styarin', jes' de way li'l Mars Kit doin' dis ve'y minnit, tryin' ter keep hisse'f awake. An' dat 'mines me uv a owl whar turnt hisse'f inter a man, an' ef a owl kin do dat, w'ats ter hinner one'r you-all turnin' inter a owl, I lak ter know? So you bes' come 'long up ter baid, an' ef you is right spry gettin' raidy, mebbe I'll whu'l in an' tell you 'bout dat owl."

The little procession moved upstairs, Coonie, the house-boy, bringing up the rear with an armful of sticks and some fat splinters of lightwood, which were soon blazing with an oily sputter.[Pg 45] Coonie scented a story, and his bullet pate was bent over the fire an unnecessarily long time, as he blew valiant puffs upon the flames which no longer needed his assistance, and arranged and rearranged his skilfully piled sticks.

"Quit dat foolishness, nigger," said 'Phrony at last, "an' set down on de ha'th an' 'have yo'se'f. Ef you wanter stay, whyn't you sesso, stidder blowin' yo'se'f black in de face? Now, den, ef y'all raidy, I gwine begin.

"Dish yer w'at I gwine tell happen at de time er de 'ear w'en de Injuns wuz havin' der green-cawn darnse, an' I reckon you-all 'bout ter ax me w'at dat is, so I s'pose I mought ez well tell you. 'Long in Augus' w'en de Injuns stopped wu'kkin' de cawn, w'at we call 'layin' by de crap,' den dey cu'd mos' times tell ef 'twuz gwineter be a good crap, so dey 'mence ter git raidy fer de darnse nigh a month befo'han'. Dey went ter de medincin' man an' axed him fer ter 'pint de day. Den medincin' man he sont out runners ter tell ev'b'dy, an' de runners dey kyar'd 'memb'ance-strings wid knots tied all 'long 'em, an' give 'em ter de people fer ter he'p 'em 'member. De folks dey'd cut off a knot f'um de string each day, an' w'en de las' one done cut off, den dey know de day fer de darnse wuz come. An' de medincin' man he sont out hunters, too, fer ter git game, an' mo' runners fer ter kyar' hit ter de people so's't dey mought cook hit an' bring hit in.

"W'en de time come, de people ga'rred toge'rr an' de medincin' man he tucken some er de new cawn an' some uv all de craps an' burnt hit, befo' de people wuz 'lowed ter eat any. Atter de burnin', den he tucken a year er cawn in one[Pg 46] han' an' ax fer blessin's an' good craps wid dat han', w'ile he raise up tu'rr han' ter de storm an' de win' an' de hail an' baig 'em not ter bring evil 'pun de people. Atter dat, dey all made der bre'kfus' offen roas'in'-years er de new cawn an' den de darnse begun an' lasted fo' days an' fo' nights; de men dress' up in der bes' an' de gals wearin' gre't rattles tied on der knees, dat shuk an' rattled wid ev'y step.

"De gal whar I gwine tell 'bout wuz on her way home on de fo'th night, an' she wuz pow'ful tired, 'kase dem rattles is monst'ous haivy, an' she bin keepin' hit up fo' nights han' runnin'. She wuz gwine thu a dark place in de woods w'en suddintly she seed a young man all wrop up in a sof' gray blankit an' leanin' 'gins' a tree. His eyes wuz big an' roun' an' bright, an' dey seemed ter bu'n lak fire. Dem eyes drord de gal an' drord de gal 'twel she warn't 'feared no mo', an' she come nearer, an' las' he putt out his arms wrop up in de gray blanket an' drord her clost 'twel she lean erg'in him, an' she look up in de big, bright eyes an' she say, 'Whar is you, whar is you?' An' he say, 'Oo-goo-coo, Oo-goo-coo.' Dat wuz de Churrykee name fer 'owl,' but de gal ain' pay no 'tention ter dat, for mos' er de Injun men wuz name' atter bu'ds an' beas'eses an' sech ez dat. Atter dat she useter go out ter de woods ev'y night ter see de young man, an' she alluz sing out ter him, 'Whar is you, whar is you?' an' he'd arnser, 'Oo-goo-coo, Oo-goo-coo.' Dat wuz de on'ies wu'd he uver say, but de gal thought 'twuz all right, fer she done mek up her min' dat he 'longed ter nu'rr tribe er Injuns whar spoke diff'nt f'um her own people. Sidesen dat, she love' him, an' w'en gals[Pg 47] is in love dey think ev'ything de man do is jes' 'bout right, an' dese yer co'tin'-couples is no gre't fer talkin,' nohow.

"De gal's daddy wuz daid an' her an' her mammy live all 'lone, so las' she mek up her min' dat it be heap mo' handy ter have a man roun' de house, so she up an' tell her mammy dat she done got ma'ied. Her mammy say, 'You is, is you? Well, who de man?' De gal say 'Oo-goo-coo.' 'Well, den,' sez her mammy, 'I reckon you bes' bring home dish yer Oo-goo-coo an' see ef we kain't mek him useful. A li'l good game, now an' den, 'ud suit my mouf right well. We ain' have nair' pusson ter do no huntin' fer us sence yo' daddy died.'

"'Mammy,' sez de gal, 'I'se 'bleeged ter tell you dat my husban' kain't speak ow' langwidge.'

"'All de better,' sez her mammy, sez she. 'Dar ain' gwine be no trouble 'bout dat, 'kase I kin do talkin' 'nuff fer two, an' I ain' want one dese yer back-talkin' son-in-laws, nohow.'

"So de nex' night de gal went off an' comed back late wid de young man. Her mammy ax him in an' gin him a seat by de fire, an' dar he sot all wrop up in his blinkit, wid his haid turnt 'way f'um de light, not sayin' nuttin' ter nob'dy. An' de fire died down an' de wind blewed mo'nful outside, an' dar he sot on an' on, an' w'en de wimmins went ter sleep, dar he wuz settin', still. But in de mawnin' w'en dey woked up he wuz gone, an' dey ain' see hya'r ner hide uv 'im all day.

"De nex' night he come erg'in and bringed a lot er game wid 'im, an' he putt dat down at de do' an' set hisse'f down by de fire an' stay dar, same ez befo', not sayin' nair' wu'd. Dat kind[Pg 48] er aggervex de gal's mammy at las', 'kase she wuz one'r dese yer wimmins whar no sooner gits w'at dey ax fer dan dey ain' kyare 'bout hit no mo.' She want son-in-law whar kain't talk, she git him, an' den she want one whar kin arnser back. She gittin' kind er jubous 'bout him, but she 'feared ter say anything fer fear he quit an' she git no mo' game.

"Thu'd night he come onct mo' wid a passel er game, an' she mighty cur'ous 'bout him by dat time. She say ter husse'f, 'Well! ef I ain' got de curisomest son-in-law in dese diggin's, den I miss de queschin. I wunner w'at mek him set wid his face turnt f'um de fire an' blinkin' his eyes all de time? I wunner w'y he ain' nuver onloose dat blankit, an' w'y he g'longs off 'fo' de daylight an' nuver comes back 'twel de dark.'

"'Oh, mammy,' sez de gal, sez she, 'ain' I tol' you he kain't speak ow' langwidge, an' I 'spec' he done come f'um dat wo'm kyountry whar we year tell 'bout, 'way off yonner, an' dat huccome he hatter keep his blankit roun' him. I reckon he git so tired huntin' all day, no wunner he hatter blink his eyes ter keep 'em open.'

"But her mammy wan't sassified, 'kase hit mighty hard ter haid off one'r dese yer pryin' wimmins, so she go outside an' ga'rr up some lightwood splinters an' th'ow 'em on de fire, dis-away, all uv a suddint." Here the old woman rose and threw on a handful of lightwood, which blazed up with a great sputtering, and in the strong light she stood before the fire enacting the part of the scared Owl for the delighted yet half-startled children.

"An' w'en she th'owed hit on," Aunt 'Phrony proceeded, "de fire blaze an' spit an' sputter jes'[Pg 49] lak dis do, an' de ooman she fotched a yell an' cried out, she did, 'Lan' er de mussiful! W'at cur'ous sort er wood is dish yer dat ac' lak dis?' De Owl he wuz startle' an' he look roun' suddint, dis-a-way, over his shoulder, an' de wimmins dey let out a turr'ble screech, 'kase dey seed 'twa'n't nuttin' but a big owl settin' dar blinkin'.

"Owl seed he wuz foun' out, an' he riz up an' give his gre't, wide wings a big flop, lak dis, an' swoop out de do' cryin' 'Oo-goo-coo! Oo-goo-coo!' ez he flewed off inter de darkness." Here Aunt 'Phrony spread her arms like wings and made a swoop half-way across the room to the bedside of the startled children. "An'," she continued, "de wind howl mo'nful all night long, an' seem ter de gal an' her mammy lak 'twuz de voice of po' Oo-goo-coo mo'nin' fer de gal he love."

"And didn't he ever come back?" said Ned.

"Naw, suh, dat he didn'. He wuz too 'shame' ter come back, an' he bin so 'shame' er de trick uver sence dat he hide hisse'f way in de daytime an' nuver come out 'twel de dusk, an' den he go sweepin' an' swoopin' 'long on dem gre't big sof' wings, so quiet dat he ain' mek de ghos' uv a soun', jes' looks lak a big shadder flittin' roun' in de dusk. He teck dat time, too, 'kase he know dat 'bout den de li'l fiel' mouses an' sech ez dat comes out an' 'mences ter run roun', an' woe be unter 'em ef dey meets up wid Mistah Owl; deys a-goner, sho'."

"But how could they think an owl was a man?" asked Janey.

"Well, honey, de tale ain' tell dat, but I done study hit out dis-a-way, dat mo'n likely de gal bin turnin' up her nose at some young Injun[Pg 50] man, an' outer spite he done gone an' got some witch ter putt a spell on her so's't de Owl 'ud look lak a man an' she 'ud go an' th'ow husse'f away on a ol' no-kyount bu'd. Yas, I reckon dat wuz 'bout de way. An' now y'all better shet up dem peepers er you'll be gittin' lak de owls, no good in de day time, an' wantin' ter be up an' prowlin' all night."[Pg 51]


By Finley Peter Dunne

"Annything new?" said Mr. Hennessy, who had been waiting patiently for Mr. Dooley to put down his newspaper.

"I've been r-readin' th' tistimony iv th' Lootgert case," said Mr. Dooley.

"What d'ye think iv it?"

"I think so," said Mr. Dooley.

"Think what?"

"How do I know?" said Mr. Dooley. "How do I know what I think? I'm no combi-nation iv chemist, doctor, osteologist, polisman, an' sausage-maker, that I can give ye an opinion right off th' bat. A man needs to be all iv thim things to detarmine annything about a murdher trile in these days. This shows how intilligent our methods is, as Hogan says. A large German man is charged with puttin' his wife away into a breakfas'-dish, an' he says he didn't do it. Th' on'y question, thin, is Did or did not Alphonse Lootgert stick Mrs. L. into a vat, an' rayjooce her to a quick lunch? Am I right?"

"Ye ar-re," said Mr. Hennessy.

"That's simple enough. What th' coort ought to've done was to call him up, an' say: 'Lootgert, where's ye'er good woman?' If Lootgert cudden't tell, he ought to be hanged on gin'ral principles; f'r a man must keep his wife around th' house, an' whin she isn't there, it shows he's a[Pg 52] poor provider. But, if Lootgert says, 'I don't know where me wife is,' the coort shud say: 'Go out, an' find her. If ye can't projooce her in a week, I'll fix ye.' An' let that be th' end iv it.

"But what do they do? They get Lootgert into coort an' stand him up befure a gang iv young rayporthers an' th' likes iv thim to make pitchers iv him. Thin they summon a jury composed iv poor, tired, sleepy expressmen an' tailors an' clerks. Thin they call in a profissor from a colledge. 'Profissor,' says th' lawyer f'r the State, 'I put it to ye if a wooden vat three hundherd an' sixty feet long, twenty-eight feet deep, an' sivinty-five feet wide, an' if three hundherd pounds iv caustic soda boiled, an' if the leg iv a ginea pig, an' ye said yesterdah about bicarbonate iv soda, an' if it washes up an' washes over, an' th' slimy, slippery stuff, an' if a false tooth or a lock iv hair or a jawbone or a goluf ball across th' cellar eleven feet nine inches—that is, two inches this way an' five gallons that?' 'I agree with ye intirely,' says th' profissor, 'I made lab'ratory experiments in an' ir'n basin, with bichloride iv gool, which I will call soup-stock, an' coal tar, which I will call ir'n filings. I mixed th' two over a hot fire, an' left in a cool place to harden. I thin packed it in ice, which I will call glue, an' rock-salt, which I will call fried eggs, an' obtained a dark, queer solution that is a cure f'r freckles, which I will call antimony or doughnuts or annything I blamed please.'

"'But,' says th' lawyer f'r th' State, 'measurin' th' vat with gas,—an' I lave it to ye whether this is not th' on'y fair test,—an' supposin' that[Pg 53] two feet acrost is akel to tin feet sideways, an' supposin' that a thick green an' hard substance, an' I daresay it wud; an' supposin' you may, takin' into account th' measuremints,—twelve be eight,—th' vat bein' wound with twine six inches fr'm th' handle an' a rub iv th' green, thin ar-re not human teeth often found in counthry sausage?' 'In th' winter,' says th' profissor. 'But th' sisymoid bone is sometimes seen in th' fut, sometimes worn as a watch-charm. I took two sisymoid bones, which I will call poker dice, an' shook thim together in a cylinder, which I will call Fido, poored in a can iv milk, which I will call gum arabic, took two pounds iv rough-on-rats, which I rayfuse to call; but th' raysult is th' same.' Question be th' coort: 'Different?' Answer: 'Yis.' Th' coort: 'Th' same.' Be Misther McEwen: 'Whose bones?' Answer: 'Yis.' Be Misther Vincent: 'Will ye go to th' divvle?' Answer: 'It dissolves th' hair.'

"Now what I want to know is where th' jury gets off. What has that collection iv pure-minded pathrites to larn fr'm this here polite discussion, where no wan is so crool as to ask what anny wan else means? Thank th' Lord, whin th' case is all over, the jury'll pitch th' tistimony out iv th' window, an' consider three questions: 'Did Lootgert look as though he'd kill his wife? Did his wife look as though she ought to be kilt? Isn't it time we wint to supper?' An', howiver they answer, they'll be right, an' it'll make little diff'rence wan way or th' other. Th' German vote is too large an' ignorant, annyhow."[Pg 54]


By John Phoenix


The following pages were originally prepared in the form of a course of Lectures to be delivered before the Lowell Institute, of Boston, Mass., but, owing to the unexpected circumstance of the author's receiving no invitation to lecture before that institution, they were laid aside shortly after their completion.

Receiving an invitation from the trustees of the Vallecetos Literary and Scientific Institute, during the present summer, to deliver a course of Lectures on any popular subject, the author withdrew his manuscript from the dusty shelf on which it had long lain neglected, and, having somewhat revised and enlarged it, to suit the capacity of the eminent scholars before whom it was to be displayed, repaired to Vallecetos. But, on arriving at that place, he learned with deep regret, that the only inhabitant had left a few days previous, having availed himself of the opportunity presented by a passing emigrant's horse,—and that, in consequence, the opening of the Institute was indefinitely postponed. Under these circumstances, and yielding with reluctance to the earnest solicitations of many eminent scientific friends, he has been induced to place the Lectures before the public in their present form. Should[Pg 55] they meet with that success which his sanguine friends prognosticate, the author may be induced subsequently to publish them in the form of a text-book, for the use of the higher schools and universities; it being his greatest ambition to render himself useful in his day and generation by widely disseminating the information he has acquired among those who, less fortunate, are yet willing to receive instruction.


San Diego Observatory, September 1, 1854.

Lectures on Astronomy—Part I


The term Astronomy is derived from two Latin words,—Astra, a star, and onomy, a science; and literally means the science of the stars. "It is a science," to quote our friend Dick (who was no relation at all of Big Dick, though the latter occasionally caused individuals to see stars), "which has, in all ages, engaged the attention of the poet, the philosopher, and the divine, and been the subject of their study and admiration."

By the wondrous discoveries of the improved telescopes of modern times, we ascertain that upward of several hundred millions of stars exist, that are invisible to the naked eye—the nearest of which is millions of millions of miles from the Earth; and as we have every reason to suppose that every one of this inconceivable number of worlds is peopled like our own, a consideration of[Pg 56] this fact—and that we are undoubtedly as superior to these beings as we are to the rest of mankind—is calculated to fill the mind of the American with a due sense of his own importance in the scale of animated creation.

It is supposed that each of the stars we see in the Heavens in a cloudless night is a sun shining upon its own curvilinear, with light of its own manufacture; and as it would be absurd to suppose its light and heat were made to be diffused for nothing, it is presumed farther, that each sun, like an old hen, is provided with a parcel of little chickens, in the way of planets, which, shining but feebly by its reflected light, are to us invisible. To this opinion we are led, also, by reasoning from analogy, on considering our own Solar System.

The Solar System is so called, not because we believe it to be the sole system of the kind in existence, but from its principal body, the Sun, the Latin name of which is Sol. (Thus we read of Sol Smith, literally meaning the son of Old Smith.) On a close examination of the Heavens we perceive numerous brilliant stars which shine with a steady light (differing from those which surround them, which are always twinkling like a dewdrop on a cucumber-vine), and which, moreover, do not preserve constantly the same relative distance from the stars near which they are first discovered. These are the planets of the Solar System, which have no light of their own—of which the Earth, on which we reside, is one—which shine by light reflected from the Sun—and which regularly move around that body at different intervals of time and through different ranges in space. Up to the time of a[Pg 57] gentleman named Copernicus, who flourished about the middle of the Fifteenth Century, it was supposed by our stupid ancestors that the Earth was the center of all creation, being a large, flat body resting on a rock which rested on another rock, and so on "all the way down"; and that the Sun, planets and immovable stars all revolved about it once in twenty-four hours.

This reminds us of the simplicity of a child we once saw in a railroad-car, who fancied itself perfectly stationary, and thought the fences, houses and fields were tearing past it at the rate of thirty miles an hour;—and poking out its head, to see where on earth they went to, had its hat—a very nice one with pink ribbons—knocked off and irrecoverably lost. But Copernicus (who was a son of Daniel Pernicus, of the firm of Pernicus & Co., wool-dealers, and who was named Co. Pernicus, out of respect to his father's partners) soon set this matter to rights, and started the idea of the present Solar System, which, greatly improved since his day, is occasionally called the Copernican system. By this system we learn that the Sun is stationed at one focus (not hocus, as it is rendered, without authority by the philosopher Partington) of an ellipse, where it slowly grinds on for ever about its own axis, while the planets, turning about their axes, revolve in elliptical orbits of various dimensions and different planes of inclination around it.

The demonstration of this system in all its perfection was left to Isaac Newton, an English Philosopher, who, seeing an apple tumble down from a tree, was led to think thereon with such gravity, that he finally discovered the attraction of gravitation, which proved to be the great law[Pg 58] of Nature that keeps everything in its place. Thus we see that as an apple originally brought sin and ignorance into the world, the same fruit proved thereafter the cause of vast knowledge and enlightenment;—and indeed we may doubt whether any other fruit but an apple, and a sour one at that, would have produced these great results;—for, had the fallen fruit been a pear, an orange, or a peach, there is little doubt that Newton would have eaten it up and thought no more on the subject.

As in this world you will hardly ever find a man so small but that he has someone else smaller than he, to look up to and revolve around him, so in the Solar System we find that the majority of the planets have one or more smaller planets revolving about them. These small bodies are termed secondaries, moons or satellites—the planets themselves being called primaries.

We know at present of eighteen primaries, viz.: Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Mars, Flora, Vesta, Iris, Metis, Hebe, Astrea, Juno, Ceres, Pallas, Hygeia, Jupiter, Saturn, Herschel, Neptune, and another, yet unnamed. There are distributed among these, nineteen secondaries, all of which, except our Moon, are invisible to the naked eye.

We shall now proceed to consider, separately, the different bodies composing the Solar System, and to make known what little information, comparatively speaking, science has collected regarding them. And, first in order, as in place, we come to


This glorious orb may be seen almost any clear day, by looking intently in its direction, through[Pg 59] a piece of smoked glass. Through this medium it appears about the size of a large orange, and of much the same color. It is, however, somewhat larger, being in fact 887,000 miles in diameter, and containing a volume of matter equal to fourteen hundred thousand globes of the size of the Earth, which is certainly a matter of no small importance. Through the telescope it appears like an enormous globe of fire, with many spots upon its surface, which, unlike those of the leopard, are continually changing. These spots were first discovered by a gentleman named Galileo, in the year 1611. Though the Sun is usually termed and considered the luminary of day, it may not be uninteresting to our readers to know that it certainly has been seen in the night. A scientific friend of ours from New England (Mr. R.W. Emerson) while traveling through the northern part of Norway, with a cargo of tinware, on the 21st of June, 1836, distinctly saw the Sun in all its majesty, shining at midnight!—in fact, shining all night! Emerson is not what you would call a superstitious man, by any means—but, he left! Since that time many persons have observed its nocturnal appearance in that part of the country, at the same time of the year. This phenomenon has never been witnessed in the latitude of San Diego, however, and it is very improbable that it ever will be. Sacred history informs us that a distinguished military man, named Joshua, once caused the Sun to "stand still"; how he did it, is not mentioned. There can, of course, be no doubt of the fact, that he arrested its progress, and possibly caused it to "stand still";—but translators are not always perfectly accurate, and we[Pg 60] are inclined to the opinion that it might have wiggled a very little, when Joshua was not looking directly at it. The statement, however, does not appear so very incredible, when we reflect that seafaring men are in the habit of actually bringing the Sun down to the horizon every day at 12 Meridian. This they effect by means of a tool made of brass, glass, and silver, called a sextant. The composition of the Sun has long been a matter of dispute.

By close and accurate observation with an excellent opera-glass we have arrived at the conclusion that its entire surface is covered with water to a very great depth; which water, being composed by a process known at present only to the Creator of the Universe and Mr. Paine, of Worcester, Massachusetts, generates carburetted hydrogen gas, which, being inflamed, surrounds the entire body with an ocean of fire, from which we, and the other planets, receive our light and heat. The spots upon its surface are glimpses of water, obtained through the fire; and we call the attention of our old friend and former schoolmate, Mr. Agassiz, to this fact; as by closely observing one of these spots with a strong refracting telescope he may discover a new species of fish, with little fishes inside of them. It is possible that the Sun may burn out after a while, which would leave this world in a state of darkness quite uncomfortable to contemplate; but even under these circumstances it is pleasant to reflect that courting and love-making would probably increase to an indefinite extent, and that many persons would make large fortunes by the sudden rise in value of coal, wood, candles, and gas, which would go to illustrate the truth of[Pg 61] the old proverb, "It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good."

Upon the whole, the Sun is a glorious creation; pleasing to gaze upon (through smoked glass), elevating to think upon, and exceedingly comfortable to every created being on a cold day; it is the largest, the brightest, and may be considered by far the most magnificent object in the celestial sphere; though with all these attributes it must be confessed that it is occasionally entirely eclipsed by the moon.


We shall now proceed to the consideration of the several planets.


This planet, with the exception of the asteroids, is the smallest of the system. It is the nearest to the Sun, and, in consequence, can not be seen (on account of the Sun's superior light), except at its greatest eastern and western elongations, which occur in March and April, August and September, when it may be seen for a short time immediately after sunset and shortly before sunrise. It then appears like a star of the first magnitude, having a white twinkling light, and resembling somewhat the star Regulus in the constellation Leo. The day in Mercury is about ten minutes longer than ours, its year is about equal to three of our months. It receives six and a half times as much heat from the Sun as we do; from which we conclude that the climate must be very similar to that of Fort Yuma,[Pg 62] on the Colorado River. The difficulty of communication with Mercury will probably prevent its ever being selected as a military post; though it possesses many advantages for that purpose, being extremely inaccessible, inconvenient, and, doubtless, singularly uncomfortable. It receives its name from the God, Mercury, in the Heathen Mythology, who is the patron and tutelary Divinity of San Diego County.


This beautiful planet may be seen either a little after sunset or shortly before sunrise, according as it becomes the morning or the evening star, but never departing quite forty-eight degrees from the Sun. Its day is about twenty-five minutes shorter than ours; its year seven and a half months or thirty-two weeks. The diameter of Venus is 7,700 miles, and she receives from the Sun thrice as much light and heat as the Earth.

An old Dutchman named Schroeter spent more than ten years in observations on this planet, and finally discovered a mountain on it twenty-two miles in height, but he never could discover anything on the mountain, not even a mouse, and finally died about as wise as when he commenced his studies.

Venus, in Mythology, was a Goddess of singular beauty, who became the wife of Vulcan, the blacksmith, and, we regret to add, behaved in the most immoral manner after her marriage. The celebrated case of Vulcan vs. Mars, and the consequent scandal, is probably still fresh in the minds of our readers. By a large portion of so[Pg 63]ciety, however, she was considered an ill-used and persecuted lady, against whose high tone of morals and strictly virtuous conduct not a shadow of suspicion could be cast; Vulcan, by the same parties, was considered a horrid brute, and they all agreed that it served him right when he lost his case and had to pay the costs of court. Venus still remains the Goddess of Beauty, and not a few of her protégés may be found in California.


The Earth, or as the Latins called it, Tellus (from which originated the expression, "Do tell us"), is the third planet in the Solar System, and the one on which we subsist, with all our important joys and sorrows. The San Diego Herald is published weekly on this planet, for five dollars per annum, payable invariably in advance. As the Earth is by no means the most important planet in the system, there is no reason to suppose that it is particularly distinguished from the others by being inhabited. It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that all the other planets of the system are filled with living, moving and sentient beings; and as some of them are superior to the Earth in size and position, it is not improbable that their inhabitants may be superior to us in physical and mental organization.

But if this were a demonstrable fact, instead of a mere hypothesis, it would be found a very difficult matter to persuade us of its truth. To the inhabitants of Venus the Earth appears like a brilliant star—very much, in fact, as Venus appears to us; and, reasoning from analogy, we[Pg 64] are led to believe that the election of Mr. Pierce, the European war, or the split in the great Democratic party produced but very little excitement among them.

To the inhabitants of Jupiter, our important globe appears like a small star of the fourth or fifth magnitude. We recollect, some years ago, gazing with astonishment upon the inhabitants of a drop of water, developed by the Solar Microscope, and secretly wondering whether they were or not reasoning beings, with souls to be saved. It is not altogether a pleasant reflection that a highly scientific inhabitant of Jupiter, armed with a telescope of (to us) inconceivable form, may be pursuing a similar course of inquiry, and indulging in similar speculations regarding our Earth and its inhabitants. Gazing with curious eye, his attention is suddenly attracted by the movements of a grand celebration of Fourth of July in New York, or a mighty convention in Baltimore. "God bless my soul," he exclaims, "I declare they're alive, these little creatures; do see them wriggle!" To an inhabitant of the Sun, however, he of Jupiter is probably quite as insignificant, and the Sun man is possibly a mere atom in the opinion of a dweller in Sirius. A little reflection on these subjects leads to the opinion that the death of an individual man on this Earth, though perhaps as important an event as can occur to himself, is calculated to cause no great convulsion of Nature or disturb particularly the great aggregate of created beings.

The Earth moves round the Sun from west to east in a year, and turns on its axis in a day; thus moving at the rate of 68,000 miles an hour in its orbit, and rolling around at the tolerably[Pg 65] rapid rate of 1,040 miles per hour. As our readers may have seen that when a man is galloping a horse violently over a smooth road, if the horse from viciousness or other cause suddenly stops, the man keeps on at the same rate over the animal's head; so we, supposing the Earth to be suddenly arrested on its axis, men, women, children, horses, cattle and sheep, donkeys, editors and members of Congress, with all our goods and chattels, would be thrown off into the air at a speed of 173 miles a minute, every mother's son of us describing the arc of a parabola, which is probably the only description we should ever be able to give of the affair.

This catastrophe, to one sufficiently collected to enjoy it, would, doubtless, be exceedingly amusing; but as there would probably be no time for laughing, we pray that it may not occur until after our demise; when, should it take place, our monument will probably accompany the movement. It is a singular fact that if a man travel round the Earth in an eastwardly direction he will find, on returning to the place of departure, he has gained one whole day; the reverse of this proposition being true also, it follows that the Yankees who are constantly traveling to the West do not live as long by a day or two as they would if they had stayed at home; and supposing each Yankee's time to be worth $1.50 per day, it may be easily shown that a considerable amount of money is annually lost by their roving dispositions.

Science is yet but in its infancy; with its growth, new discoveries of an astounding nature will doubtless be made, among which, probably, will be some method by which the course of the[Pg 66] Earth may be altered and it be steered with the same ease and regularity through space and among the stars as a steamboat is now directed through the water. It will be a very interesting spectacle to see the Earth "rounding to," with her head to the air, off Jupiter, while the Moon is sent off laden with mails and passengers for that planet, to bring back the return mails and a large party of rowdy Jupiterians going to attend a grand prize fight in the ring of Saturn.

Well, Christopher Columbus would have been just as much astonished at a revelation of the steamboat and the locomotive engine as we should be to witness the above performance, which our intelligent posterity during the ensuing year A.D. 2000 will possibly look upon as a very ordinary and common-place affair.

Only three days ago we asked a medium where Sir John Franklin was at that time; to which he replied, he was cruising about (officers and crew all well) on the interior of the Earth, to which he had obtained entrance through Symmes Hole!

With a few remarks upon the Earth's Satellite, we conclude the first Lecture on Astronomy; the remainder of the course being contained in a second Lecture, treating of the planets, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune, the Asteroids, and the fixed stars, which last, being "fixings," are, according to Mr. Charles Dickens, American property.


This resplendent luminary, like a youth on the Fourth of July, has its first quarter; like a ruined[Pg 67] spendthrift its last quarter, and like an omnibus, is occasionally full and new. The evenings on which it appears between these last stages are beautifully illumined by its clear, mellow light.

The Moon revolves in an elliptical orbit about the Earth in twenty-nine days twelve hours forty-four minutes and three seconds, the time which elapses between one new Moon and another. It was supposed by the ancient philosophers that the Moon was made of green cheese, an opinion still entertained by the credulous and ignorant. Kepler and Tyco Brahe, however, held to the opinion that it was composed of Charlotte Russe, the dark portions of its surface being sponge cake, the light blanc mange. Modern advances in science and the use of Lord Rosse's famous telescope have demonstrated the absurdity of all these speculations by proving conclusively that the Moon is mainly composed of the Ferrosesquicyanuret, of the cyanide of potassium! Up to the latest dates from the Atlantic States, no one has succeeded in reaching the Moon. Should anyone do so hereafter, it will probably be a woman, as the sex will never cease making an exertion for that purpose as long as there is a man in it.

Upon the whole, we may consider the Moon an excellent institution, among the many we enjoy under a free, republican form of government, and it is a blessed thing to reflect that the President of the United States can not veto it, no matter how strong an inclination he may feel, from principle or habit, to do so.

It has been ascertained beyond a doubt that the Moon has no air. Consequently, the common expressions, "the Moon was gazing down[Pg 68] with an air of benevolence," or with "an air of complacency," or with "an air of calm superiority," are incorrect and objectionable, the fact being that the Moon has no air at all.

The existence of the celebrated "Man in the Moon" has been frequently questioned by modern philosophers. The whole subject is involved in doubt and obscurity. The only authority we have for believing that such an individual exists, and has been seen and spoken with, is a fragment of an old poem composed by an ancient Astronomer of the name of Goose, which has been handed down to us as follows:

"The man in the Moon came down too soon
To inquire the way to Norwich;
The man in the South, he burned his mouth,
Eating cold, hot porridge."

The evidence conveyed in this distich is, however, rejected by the skeptical, among modern Astronomers, who consider the passage an allegory. "The man in the South," being supposed typical of the late John C. Calhoun, and the "cold, hot porridge," alluded to the project of nullification.


Note by the Author—Itinerant Lecturers are cautioned against making use of the above production, without obtaining the necessary authority from the proprietors of the Pioneer Magazine. To those who may obtain such authority, it may be well to state that at the close of the Lecture it was the intention of the author to exhibit and explain to the audience an orrery, accompanying and interspersing his remarks by a choice selection of popular airs on the hand-organ.

An economical orrery may be constructed by attaching eighteen wires of graduated lengths to the shaft of a[Pg 69] candlestick, apples of different sizes being placed at their extremities to represent the Planets, and a central orange resting on the candlestick, representing the Sun.

An orrery of this description is, however, liable to the objection that if handed around among the audience for examination, it is seldom returned uninjured. The author has known an instance in which a child four years of age, on an occasion of this kind, devoured in succession the planets Jupiter and Herschel, and bit a large spot out of the Sun before he could be arrested.


[Pg 70]


By James Whitcomb Riley

One time, when we'z at Aunty's house—
'Way in the country!—where
They's ist but woods—an' pigs, an' cows—
An' all's out-doors an' air!—
An' orchurd-swing; an' churry-trees—
An' churries in 'em!—Yes, an' these-
Here red-head birds steals all they please,
An' tetch 'em ef you dare!—
W'y, wunst, one time, when we wuz there,
We et out on the porch!
Wite where the cellar-door wuz shut
The table wuz; an' I
Let Aunty set by me an' cut
My vittuls up—an' pie.
'Tuz awful funny!—I could see
The red-heads in the churry-tree;
An' bee-hives, where you got to be
So keerful, goin' by;—
An' "Comp'ny" there an' all!—an' we—
We et out on the porch!
An' I ist et p'surves an' things
'At Ma don't 'low me to—
An' chickun-gizzurds—(don't like wings
Like Parunts does! do you?)
An' all the time, the wind blowed there,
An' I could feel it in my hair,[Pg 71]
An' ist smell clover ever'where!—
An' a' old red-head flew
Purt' nigh wite over my high-chair,
When we et on the porch!
[Pg 72]


By Gelett Burgess

Leave the lady, Willy, let the racket rip,
She is going to fool you, you have lost your grip,
Your brain is in a muddle and your heart is in a whirl,
Come along with me, Willy, never mind the girl!
Come and have a man-talk;
Come with those who can talk;
Light your pipe and listen, and the boys will see you through;
Love is only chatter,
Friends are all that matter;
Come and talk the man-talk; that's the cure for you!
Leave the lady, Willy, let her letter wait,
You'll forget your troubles when you get it straight,
The world is full of women, and the women full of wile;
Come along with me, Willy, we can make you smile!
Come and have a man-talk,
A rousing black-and-tan talk,
There are plenty there to teach you; there's a lot for you to do;[Pg 73]
Your head must stop its whirling
Before you go a-girling;
Come and talk the man-talk; that's the cure for you!
Leave the lady, Willy, the night is good and long,
Time for beer and 'baccy, time to have a song;
Where the smoke is swirling, sorrow if you can—
Come along with me, Willy, come and be a man!
Come and have a man-talk,
Come with those who can talk,
Light your pipe and listen, and the boys will see you through;
Love is only chatter,
Friends are all that matter;
Come and talk the man-talk; that's the cure for you!
Leave the lady, Willy, you are rather young;
When the tales are over, when the songs are sung,
When the men have made you, try the girl again;
Come along with me, Willy, you'll be better then!
Come and have a man-talk,
Forget your girl-divan talk;
You've got to get acquainted with another point of view!
Girls will only fool you;
We're the ones to school you;
Come and talk the man-talk; that's the cure for you!
[Pg 74]


By Charles Raymond Macauley

Away off in front, and coming toward them along the same path, appeared a singularly misshapen figure. As they came nearer, Dickey saw that it was an old man carrying on his back, at each side and in front of him, some part or piece of almost every imaginable thing. Umbrellas, chair bottoms, panes of glass, knives, forks, pans, dusters, tubs, spoons and stove-lids, graters and grind-stones, saws and samovars,—"Almost everything one could possibly think of," said Dickey to himself.

The moment that the Fantasm caught sight of the strange figure he stopped, and Dickey noticed that his face, which was tucked securely under his left arm, turned quite pale.

"Gracious me!" he exclaimed in a thoroughly frightened way. "There's the Itinerant Tinker again! Now," he added hastily and dolefully, "I shall have to leave you and run for it."

"Why, you're surely not afraid of him!" Dickey exclaimed incredulously. Dickey was really surprised, for the old man, so far as he could judge from that distance, wore an extremely mild and kindly look. "Why do you have to run?" he asked.

"Why? Why?" the Fantasm fairly shouted. "I told you a moment ago that he was the Itinerant Tinker! He tries to mend every[Pg 75] broken and unbroken thing in Fantasma Land! Every time he catches me," went on the Fantasm, as he edged cautiously away, "he tries to glue on my head. It's very annoying—and, besides, it hurts! Good-by, Dickey!" he called, and disappeared forthwith into the bushes.

"Isn't he a droll person?" thought Dickey. "He never stops with me more than ten minutes at a time but what he either loses his head or runs away."

By that time the Itinerant Tinker had come up to where Dickey stood. He sat wearily down on a boulder by the wayside, removed some of the heavier merchandise from off his back, and proceeded to mop his face vigorously with a great red handkerchief. Dickey waited several minutes for the old man to speak; but the Itinerant Tinker only regarded him solemnly. He did not even smile.

"It's very warm work, sir," ventured Dickey, at last, "carrying all that stuff—isn't it?"

"Stuff?" returned the Itinerant Tinker, in a very mild, but unmistakably hurt tone of voice.

"Well—" Dickey hesitated timidly.

"Don't call them stuff, please," sighed the Itinerant Tinker; "call them necessary commodities."

"But whatever one does call them," Dickey persisted, "they still make you warm to carry them all about, don't they?"

The Itinerant Tinker nodded his head and sighed again.

Again Dickey waited for a considerable space of time. But the old man would have been perfectly content to sit there for ever, Dickey thought, without speaking. "I do wish he would[Pg 76] talk," said he to himself. "It's awfully annoying to have him sit there and look at one without saying a word."

"What do you mend, sir?" Dickey inquired at last.

"I tried once," sighed the Itinerant Tinker, sadly, "to mend the break of day. It took me twenty-seven hours and eleven minutes to fix it, and it broke every twenty-four. At that rate how long would it take to patch them all together?"

Another distressing silence.

"Have you figured that out?" whispered the Itinerant Tinker at length.

"I haven't tried," Dickey admitted.

"I tried once," the Itinerant Tinker said, "but I ran out of paper and gave it up. Then, when the night fell," he resumed dolefully, after another long interval of silence, "I tried to prop it up. But I met with the same difficulty that confronted me in patching up the day, and was forced to abandon that too."

"In which direction were you going when I met you?" Dickey asked.

The Itinerant Tinker pointed ahead of him along the path and mopped his bald head.

"But where?" insisted Dickey.

"To the Crypt. I was going to the Crypt," murmured the Itinerant Tinker, "to see whether I couldn't get some umbrellas to mend."

"But they don't need umbrellas in the Crypt, do they?" Dickey asked, surprised.

"No, they don't," sighed the Itinerant Tinker; "and that's the reason I'm going there."

"If you don't mind," said Dickey, "I should like to go with you."[Pg 77]

Without a word of reply the Itinerant Tinker rose slowly and painfully to his feet, rearranged on his back the merchandise he had laid aside, and started off up the hill, with Dickey following closely at his heels.

"I tried to mend the Great Dipper once," resumed the Itinerant Tinker, at length. "I only succeeded, however, in crooking the handle; but it looks better that way, I think."

"How did you manage to reach it?" asked Dickey, a little doubtfully.

"I climbed up the Milky Way," replied the Itinerant Tinker, sadly. "In order to reach it after I got there, I was obliged to stand on the horn of the moon. It was a very perilous undertaking."

Dickey couldn't believe quite all that the Itinerant Tinker was telling him. But his mild and gentle eyes wore such a serious expression that he very much disliked to doubt the old man's word.

"Speaking of the moon," went on the Itinerant Tinker after a while, "I tried once to make her stand up—after she had set, you know. It proved a thankless task. She treated me very rudely, indeed. By the by, have you seen the Flighty-wight?"

"No, sir; I have not," replied Dickey.

"He's always jumping at conclusions, you know. I jumped at a conclusion once, fell into disgrace, and was very much cut up over it. I tried to patch him up and he called me an old meddler! You haven't heard of such ingratitude before, I fancy?"

"It was very mean of him, I think," said Dickey, sympathetically.[Pg 78]

"Oh, that's nothing," pursued the Itinerant Tinker, in a melancholy tone. "That's nothing! I once attempted to solder a new tip on the Wizard's wand. He turned me into a rabbit, he did."

"Whatever did you do then?" asked Dickey.

"I protested, of course. He merely said that he was only making game of me. But if there's any one thing that I can do better than another," went on the Itinerant Tinker, after another embarrassing pause, "it's piecing together a split infinitive. Would you like me to show you how it's done?"

"Indeed, I should," Dickey eagerly answered; "very much, indeed."

"Very well, then. Just give me time to set down these necessary commodities, and I'll show you exactly the manner in which it's done and undone."

After he had rid himself of his awkward burden, the Itinerant Tinker carefully selected a saw from his kit of tools.

"Is that a log over there?" he asked, pointing toward a mound of earth. "I'm a trifle nearsighted, you know."

"No," Dickey replied. "But there's one off there, just to the other side. A big one, too."

"The identical thing," said the Itinerant Tinker. Whereupon he walked over to it and immediately began sawing a thin slab from off its smooth end.

"Now," said he, after he had finished the rather difficult task, oiled his saw and returned it to his kit, "I proceed to write the word love in the infinitive mood."

"Is that a sad mood?" asked Dickey. "It sounds very much like it, I think."[Pg 79]

Without heeding the question in the least the Itinerant Tinker turned the slab for Dickey's inspection, and he read on it the two words, to love. Taking up a wedge the Itinerant Tinker printed the word dearly on the flat side of it, and then skilfully drove it between the words to and love. When he again held it up for Dickey to see, it read: to dearly love.

"There!" exclaimed the Itinerant Tinker, holding the slab proudly at arm's length and turning his head slowly from side to side, "that's what I call a fine bit of ingenuity!"

"So that's a split infinitive, is it?" Dickey asked.

"Why, you stupid boy!" the Itinerant Tinker exclaimed; "didn't you just this minute see me split it?"

"Yes, sir; I did," Dickey murmured rather shamefacedly.

"Then, if I split it, what else could it be but a split infinitive, I'd like to know?"

"Well," said Dickey, a bit timidly, "I never heard a block of wood called an infinitive before."

"Oh, my!" sighed the Itinerant Tinker, as he sank down on his pile of merchandise. "How you do weary me!"

He sat looking at the slab of wood for such a long time, turning it admiringly now that way, now this, that poor Dickey began to grow quite nervous.

"Please," he ventured at last, "won't you show me now how you mend it?" Dickey didn't care in the least to see it done, but he imagined that by asking the question he would regain the good will of the old man.

"There you go again! There you go!" ex[Pg 80]claimed the Itinerant Tinker. He actually shed a tear. "I knew you'd do it—I knew it!"

"Now what have I done?" asked Dickey, innocently.

"You've broken the silence," said the Itinerant Tinker, sadly. "It'll take me hours and hours to glue that together. But first," he went on, after another long pause, "I'll show you how neatly this split infinitive can be mended."

Thereupon he withdrew the wedge, dipped a brush into a pot of glue, and, after distributing the sticky fluid over the split sides, brought them carefully and neatly together.

"There!" he exclaimed, triumphantly, "that's the proper way to bring together a split infinitive. Beware, my boy, of splitting your infinitives; but if you do, call on the Itinerant Tinker and he'll straighten 'em out for you."

"Before we move along," he resumed, after he had loaded himself with his merchandise, "perhaps you'd like to listen to a story?"

"I should, if it wasn't about split infinitives," replied Dickey, doubtfully. "They really make me quite dizzy."

"Well, it's not," said the Itinerant Tinker, smiling vaguely. "It's the story of the


"I saw him sitting—sitting there,
Outside the school-house door,
It was a dismal afternoon;
The hour was half-past four.
"I asked him, 'Sir, what is your name?'
His voice came through the fog:
'I have forgotten it, kind sir,
But I'm a Pedagogue.[Pg 81]
"'And I'm so absent-minded, sir,
I put my clothes to bed
And hang myself upon a chair;
Is not that odd?' he said.
"'And every morning of my life
I climb into my tub;
Then wonder why I'm sitting there.
Ah, me, man! that's the rub!'
"He wiped his spectacles and said:
'Kind sir, observe this frog.
I took him in this net, when he
Was but a pollywog.
"'Now it's my wish, good sir, to seek
The seismocosmic state;
And why this strange amphibian
Should slowly gravitate
"'From a mere firmisternial thing
To—' 'Say!' I cried, 'please wait!
I can not understand a word
Of that which you relate.'
"'Now, please tell me,' he said again,
'The sum of the equation
Between the harp and hippogriff;
Define their true relation.'
"'I can not answer you,' I said,
'Because I'm but a tinker.
But I can mend your old umbrel';
'Twill be a dime, I think, sir.'
"Just then the frog dived off his hand
And swam out to the fence,
Which was an easy thing to do—
The vapor was so dense.
"And there he perched upon a post;
It was a sight to see
The way he made grimaces at
The Pedagogue and me.
"It vexed us very much to see
A frog so impolite[Pg 82]
I flung a gnarly stick at him—
Flung it with all my might.
"It floated softly on the fog.
As softly as a feather;
The frog jumped on and sailed away,
Leaving us there together
"A-shaking both our fists at him
Till they were sore and numb.
The bull-frog merely blinked at us,
And sang: 'You'll drown! Bottle-o'-Rum!'
"With that I left the Pedagogue
A-sitting in the wet.
He was so absent-minded, I
Dare say he's sitting yet—
"Upon the little school-house steps,
Revolving in his mind
The definite relation 'twixt
The cosmos and mankind."

When the Itinerant Tinker had finished his story he rose wearily to his feet.

"If we don't hurry along," he said, "I doubt whether we shall reach the Crypt in time to take our tea. I never—"

He was interrupted at this point by a shrill voice, coming, it seemed, from the direction of the forest.

"Jingle-junk! jingle-junk! jingle-junk!" shouted the penetrating voice.

The Itinerant Tinker stopped instantly. An angry frown gathered on his brow.

"I know who that is," he muttered. "It's Wamba, son of Witless, the Jester of Ivanhoe. I've been trying to catch him for seventy-two years, and if I do, I'll—"

Dickey never heard the end of the sentence for the Itinerant Tinker made for the wood at a sur[Pg 83]prisingly swift gait. The incident had its really amusing side, too; for he left behind him a trail of pots, pans, boilers, stove-lids, potato-mashers—in fact, Dickey thought, he must have dropped almost all of his "necessary commodities" by the time he had vanished into the wood.[Pg 84]


By Elliott Flower

Danny Burke was discharged.

A certain distinguished ex-President of the United States probably would have said that he was discharged for "pernicious activity"; but the head of the branch messenger-office merely said that he was "an infernal nuisance."

Danny was a good union man. As a matter of fact, he was a boy, and a small boy at that; but he would have scorned any description that did not put him down as "a good union man." Danny's environment had been one of uncompromising unionism, and that was what ailed him. He wanted to advance the union idea. To this end, he undertook to organize the other messengers in the branch office, advancing all the arguments that he had heard his mother and his father use in their discussions. The boys thought favorably of the scheme, but most of them were inclined to let some one else do the experimenting. It might result disastrously. Just to encourage them, Danny became insolent, as he had already become inattentive; he told the manager what he would do and what he would not do, and positively declined to deliver a message that would carry his work a few minutes beyond quitting-time.

Then Danny was discharged—and he laughed.[Pg 85] Discharge him! Well, he'd show them a thing or two.

"We'll arbitrate," he announced.

"Get out!" ordered the manager.

"You got to arbitrate," insisted Danny. "You got to confer with your men or you're goin' to have a strike!" Danny had heard so much about conferences that he felt he was on safe ground now. "We can't stand fer no autycrats!" he added. "You got to meet your men fair an' talk it over. A committee—"

"Get out!" repeated the manager, rising from his desk, near which the waiting boys were seated.

"Men," yelled Danny, "I calls a strike an' a boycott!"

Two of the boys rose as if to follow him, but the manager was too quick. He had Danny by the collar before Danny knew what had happened, and the struggling boy was marched to the door and pushed out. The boys who had risen promptly subsided.

Danny was too astonished for words. In all his extended hearsay knowledge of strikes he never had heard of anything like this. There was nothing heroic in it at all. He had expected a conference, and, instead, he was ignominiously handled and thrust into the street.

Danny sat down on a pile of paving-stones to think it over. Without reasoning the matter out, he now regarded himself as a union. The other members had deserted him, but he was on a strike; and somehow he had absorbed the idea that the men who were striking were always the union men. So, this being a strike of one, he was an entire union. It did not take him long[Pg 86] to decide that the first thing to do was to "picket the plant." That was a familiar phrase, and he knew the meaning of it. Everything was nicely arranged for him, too. The street was being paved, and he was sitting on some paving-stones, with a pile of gravel beside him. He selected fifteen or twenty of the largest stones from the gravel-pile.

A woman was the first victim. As she was about to enter the messenger-office she was startled by a yell of warning from Danny.

"Hey, you!" he shouted. "Keep out!"

She backed away hastily, and looked up to see if anything were about to fall on her.

"Why should I keep out?" she asked at last.

"'Cause you'll git hit with a rock if you don't," was the prompt reply.

"But, little boy—" she began.

"I ain't a little boy," asserted Danny. "I'm a union."

The woman looked puzzled, but she finally decided that this was some boyish joke.

"You'd better run home," she said, and turned to enter the messenger-office. She could not refrain from looking over her shoulder, however, and she saw that he was poised for a throw.

"Don't do that!" she cried hastily. "You might hurt me."

"Sure I'll hurt you," was the reply. "I'll smash your block in if you don't git a move on."

The woman decided to look for another messenger-office, and Danny, triumphant, resumed his seat on the paving-stones.

Then came another messenger, returning from a trip.

"What's the matter, Danny?" he asked.[Pg 87]

"Got the plant picketed," asserted Danny. "Nobody can't go in or come out."

"I'm goin' in," said the other boy.

"You!" exclaimed Danny scornfully, as he suddenly caught the boy and swung him over on to the stones.

"No, I ain't, Danny," the boy hastened to say, for Danny gave every evidence of an intent to batter in his face.

"Sure?" asked Danny.


"This here's a strike," explained Danny.

"Oh, I didn't know that," apologized the boy. "I ain't a strike-breaker."

Danny let him up, but made him sit on another pile of stones a short distance away. He would be all right as long as he kept still, Danny explained, but no longer.

While Danny was continuing strike operations with rapidly growing enthusiasm, the woman he had first stopped was taking an unexpected part in the little comedy. She had gone to another of the branch offices with the message she wished delivered, and had told of the trouble she had experienced. Thereupon the manager of this office called up the manager of the other on the telephone.

"What's the matter over there?" he asked.

"Nothing," was the surprised reply. "Who said there was?"

"Why, a woman has just reported that she was driven away by a boy with a pile of stones."

The manager hastened to the window, and realized at once that something was decidedly wrong. On a pile of paving-stones directly in front of the door sat the proud and happy Danny.[Pg 88] At his feet there was a pile of smaller stones, and he held a few in his hands. On his right was a boy who had started on a trip a short time before, and on his left was one who should have reported back. A man was gesticulating excitedly, a number of others and some boys were laughing, and Danny seemed to be intimating that any one who tried to enter would be hurt.

"Jim," said the manager to the largest messenger, "go out there and see what's the matter with Danny Burke. Tell him I'll have him arrested if he doesn't get out."

Danny was a wise general. He wanted no prisoners that he could not handle easily, and this big boy would be dangerous to have within his lines. The big boy was a sort of star messenger, who did not fraternize with Danny anyhow. Consequently Danny fired a volley the moment he saw who it was, and the big boy hastily retreated, bearing with him one bump on the forehead.

"That's Jim," Danny explained to the increasing crowd. "He's the biggest, next to the boss. Watch me nail the boss."

"You're the stuff!" exclaimed some of the delighted loiterers, thus proving that the loiterers are just as anxious to see trouble in a small strike as in a large one.

Danny picked out a stone considerably larger than the others, for he expected the manager to appear next, and the manager had incurred his personal enmity. In the case of his victims thus far, he had acted merely on principle—to win his point.

The manager appeared. For his own prestige (necessary to maintain discipline), the manager[Pg 89] had to do something, but he felt reasonably sure that the dignity of his official position would make Danny less hasty and strenuous than he had been with others. The manager planned to extend the olive branch and at the same time raise the siege by beckoning Danny in, so that he might reason with him and show him how surely he would land in a police station if he would not consent to be a good boy. This would be quicker and better than summoning an officer. But the manager got the big stone in the pit of his stomach just as he had raised his hand to beckon, and he and his dignity collapsed together, with a most plebeian grunt. As he had not closed the door, he quickly rolled inside, where he lay on the floor with his hands on his stomach and listened to the joyous yelps of the crowd outside. This was too much for the manager.

"Call up police headquarters," he said, still holding his stomach as if fearful that it might become detached, "and tell them there's a riot here."

The boy addressed obeyed literally.

Meanwhile Danny had decided that, as victory perched on his banners, it was time to state the terms on which he would permit the enemy to surrender, but he was too wise to put himself in the enemy's power before these terms were settled.

"Go in, Tim," was the order he gave to one of his prisoners, "an' tell the guy with the stomick-ache that when he recognizes the union an' gives me fifty cents more a week an' makes a work-day end when the clock strikes, I'm willin' to call it off."[Pg 90]

"Make him come down handsome," advised one of the loiterers.

"I guess I got 'em on the run," said Danny exultingly.

But Tim went in and failed to come out. This was not Tim's fault, however, for the manager released his hold on his stomach long enough to get a grip on Tim's collar. The striker's defiance seemed to displease him, and, because he could not shake Danny, he shook Tim, and he said things to Tim that he would have preferred to say to Danny. Then his excited harangue was interrupted by the sound of a gong, which convinced him that he might again venture to the door.

Danny was in the grasp of the strong arm of the law. A half dozen policemen had valiantly rushed through the crowd and captured the entire besieging party, which was Danny.

"What you doin'?" demanded Danny angrily.

"What are you doing?" retorted the police sergeant in charge.

"This here's a strike," asserted Danny. "I got the plant picketed."

"Run him in!" ordered the manager from the doorway.

"What's the row?" asked the sergeant.

"That's the row," said the manager, pointing to Danny.

"That!" exclaimed the sergeant scornfully. "You said it was a riot. You don't call that kid a riot, do you?"

"Well, it's assault and battery, anyhow," insisted the manager. "He hit me with a rock."

"Where?" asked the sergeant.[Pg 91]

"Where he carries his brains," said Danny, which made the crowd yelp with joy again.

"Lock him up!" cried the manager angrily. "I'll prefer the charge and appear against him."

The sergeant looked at Danny and then at the manager.

"Say!" he said at last, "you ain't got the nerve to charge this kid with assaulting you, have you?"

"I'm going to do it," said the manager.

"Oh, all right," returned the sergeant disgustedly.

The crowd was disposed to protest, but the police were in sufficient force to make resistance unsafe, and Danny was lifted into the patrol-wagon.

At the station the captain happened to be present when Danny was brought in, escorted by a wagon-load of policemen.

"What's the charge?" asked the captain.

"Assault and battery on a grown man!" was the scornful reply of the sergeant.

"What did he do?" persisted the surprised captain.

"Hurt his digestion with a rock," explained the sergeant.

"I was on strike," said Danny. "I'm a good union man. You got no business to touch me."

"I understand," said the sergeant, "that he was discharged, and he stationed himself outside with a pile of rocks."

"You've no right to do that," the captain told Danny.

"They all do it," asserted Danny.

This was so near the truth that the captain thought it wise to dodge the subject.[Pg 92]

"Of course, if no one else will take a man's place," he explained, "the employer will have to take him back or—"

"There wasn't nobody tryin' to take my place—not while I was there!" asserted Danny belligerently.

"That's no lie, either," laughed the sergeant. "He had the office tied up tight."

Danny swelled with pride at this testimonial to his prowess. Then it suddenly occurred to him that the sergeant did not act as he talked.

"What'd you butt in for, then?" he demanded.

"It was his duty," said the captain.

"Ho!" exclaimed Danny. "It's your business to protect the public, ain't it?"

"Of course," admitted the captain.

"Well, ain't we the public?"

The captain laughed uneasily. His experience as a policeman had left him very much in doubt as to who were the public. Both sides to a controversy always claimed that distinction, and the law-breaker was usually the louder in his claims. Danny's inability to see anything but his own side of the case was far from unusual.

The captain took Danny into his private office and talked to him. The captain did not wish to lock up the boy, so he sent for Danny's father and also for the manager of the branch messenger-office. Meanwhile he tried to explain the matter to Danny, but Danny was obtuse. Why should not he do as his father and his father's friends did? When they had a disagreement with the boss, they picketed the plant, and ensuing incidents sent many people to the hospitals. Why was it worse for one boy to do this than it was[Pg 93] for some hundreds or thousands of men? Danny was confident that he was within his rights.

"Dad knows," he said in conclusion. "Dad'll say I'm right. You got no business mixin' in."

"Dad's coming," the captain told him.

The manager came first. "The boy ought to be punished," said he. "He hit me with a rock."

"I wish you'd seen him," said the beaming Danny to the captain, for the recollection of that victory made all else seem trivial. "Say! he doubled up like a clown droppin' into a barrel."

"If he isn't punished," asserted the glowering manager, "he'll get worse and worse and end by going to the devil."

"Perhaps," replied the captain. "But just stand beside him a moment, please. Don't dodge, Danny. He'll go behind the bars if he touches you. Stand side by side."

They did so.

"Now," said the captain to the manager, "how do you think you'll look, standing beside him in the police court and accusing him of assault and battery?"

"Like a fool," replied the manager promptly, forced to laugh in spite of himself.

"And what kind of a story—illustrated story—will it be for the papers?" persisted the captain.

"Let him go," said the manager; "but he ought to be whaled."

It was at this point that Dan arrived, accompanied by his wife.

"F'r why sh'u'd he be whaled?" demanded the latter aggressively.

The matter was explained to her.

"Is that thrue, Danny?" she asked.

"Sure," replied the boy.[Pg 94]

"Well, I'd like to see anny wan outside the fam'ly whale ye," she said, with a defiant look at the manager, "but I'll do it mesilf."

Danny was astounded. In this quarter at least he had expected support. He glanced at his father.

"I'll take a lick or two at ye mesilf," said Dan. "The idee of breakin' the law an' makin' all this throuble."

"You've done it yourself," argued Danny.

"Shut up!" commanded Dan. "Ye don't know what ye're talkin' about. A sthrike's wan thing an' disordherly conduct's another."

"This was a strike," insisted Danny.

"Where's the union?" demanded Dan.

"I'm it," replied Danny. "I was organizin' it."

"If ye'll let him go, Captain," said Dan, ignoring his son's reply, "I'll larrup him good."

"For what?" wailed Danny. "I was only doin' what you said was right, an' what mom said was right, an' what you've all been talkin' for years. You've been a picket yourself, an' I've heard you laughin' over the way men who wouldn't strike was done up. We got to organize. Wasn't I organizin'? We got to enforce our rights. Wasn't I enforcin' them? We got to discourage traitors to the cause of labor. Wasn't I discouragin' them? Didn't the union tie up a plant once when you was discharged? What's eatin' you, dad?"

Danny's own presentation of the case was so strong that it gave him courage. But the last question made Dan jump, although he was not accustomed to any extraordinary show of respect from his son.

"The lad has no sinse," he announced, "but I'll[Pg 95] larrup him plenty. Ye get an exthry wan f'r that, Danny. I'll tache ye that ye're not runnin' things."

"Makin' throuble f'r father an' mother an' th' good man that's payin' ye wages we need at home," added Mrs. Burke.

"Now, what do you think of that?" whimpered Danny, as he was led away. "I'm to be licked fer doin' what he does. Why don't he teach himself the same, an' stop others from doin' what he talks?"

"Danny," said the commiserating captain, "you're to be licked for learning your lesson too well, and that's the truth."

But that did not make the situation any the less painful for Danny.[Pg 96]


By J.J. Hooper

Until Simon entered his seventeenth year he lived with his father, an old "hard-shell" Baptist preacher, who, though very pious and remarkably austere, was very avaricious. The old man reared his boy—or endeavored to do so—according to the strictest requisitions of the moral law. But he lived, at the time to which we refer, in Middle Georgia, which was then newly settled; and Simon, whose wits were always too sharp for his father's, contrived to contract all the coarse vices incident to such a region. He stole his mother's roosters to fight them at Bob Smith's grocery, and his father's plow-horses to enter them in "quarter" matches at the same place. He pitched dollars with Bob Smith himself, and could "beat him into doll rags" whenever it came to a measurement. To crown his accomplishments, Simon was tip-top at the game of "old sledge," which was the fashionable game of that era, and was early initiated in the mysteries of "stocking the papers." The vicious habits of Simon were, of course, a sore trouble to his father, Elder Jedediah. He reasoned, he counseled, he remonstrated, and he lashed; but Simon was an incorrigible, irreclaimable devil. One day the simple-minded old man returned rather unexpectedly to the field, where he had left Simon and Ben and a negro boy named Bill at work. Ben was still following his plow,[Pg 97] but Simon and Bill were in a fence corner, very earnestly engaged at "seven up." Of course the game was instantly suspended as soon as they spied the old man, sixty or seventy yards off, striding towards them.

It was evidently a "gone case" with Simon and Bill; but our hero determined to make the best of it. Putting the cards into one pocket, he coolly picked up the small coins which constituted the stake, and fobbed them in the other, remarking, "Well, Bill, this game's blocked; we'd as well quit."

"But, Mass Simon," remarked the boy, "half dat money's mine. Ain't you gwine to lemme hab 'em?"

"Oh, never mind the money, Bill; the old man's going to take the bark off both of us; and besides, with the hand I helt when we quit, I should 'a' beat you and won it all, any way."

"Well, but Mass Simon, we nebber finish de game, and de rule—"

"Go to the devil with your rule!" said the impatient Simon. "Don't you see daddy's right down upon us, with an armful of hickories? I tell you, I helt nothin' but trumps, and could 'a' beat the horns off a billy-goat. Don't that satisfy you? Somehow or another, you're d—d hard to please!" About this time a thought struck Simon, and in a low tone—for by this time the Reverend Jedediah was close at hand—he continued, "But may be daddy don't know, right down sure, what we've been doin'. Let's try him with a lie—'twon't hurt, noway: let's tell him we've been playin' mumble-peg."

Bill was perforce compelled to submit to this inequitable adjustment of his claim to a share[Pg 98] of the stakes; and of course agreed to swear to the game of mumble-peg. All this was settled, and a pig driven into the ground, slyly and hurriedly, between Simon's legs as he sat on the ground, just as the old man reached the spot. He carried under his left arm several neatly-trimmed sprouts of formidable length, while in his left hand he held one which he was intently engaged in divesting of its superfluous twigs.

"Soho, youngsters!—you in the fence corner, and the crap in the grass. What saith the Scriptur', Simon? 'Go to the ant, thou sluggard,' and so forth and so on. What in the round creation of the yearth have you and that nigger been a-doin'?"

Bill shook with fear, but Simon was cool as a cucumber, and answered his father to the effect that they had been wasting a little time in the game of mumble-peg.

"Mumble-peg! mumble-peg!" repeated old Mr. Suggs. "What's that?"

Simon explained the process of rooting for the peg: how the operator got upon his knees, keeping his arms stiff by his sides, leaned forward, and extracted the peg with his teeth.

"So you git upon your knees, do you, to pull up that nasty little stick! You'd better git upon 'em to ask mercy for your sinful souls and for a dyin' world. But let's see one o' you git the peg up now."

The first impulse of our hero was to volunteer to gratify the curiosity of his worthy sire, but a glance at the old man's countenance changed his "notion," and he remarked that "Bill was a long ways the best hand." Bill, who did not deem Simon's modesty an omen very favorable to him[Pg 99]self, was inclined to reciprocate, compliments with his young master; but a gesture of impatience from the old man set him instantly upon his knees, and, bending forward, he essayed to lay hold with his teeth of the peg, which Simon, just at that moment, very wickedly pushed a half inch further down. Just as the breeches and hide of the boy were stretched to the uttermost, old Mr. Suggs brought down his longest hickory, with both hands, upon the precise spot where the tension was greatest. With a loud yell, Bill plunged forward, upsetting Simon, and rolled in the grass, rubbing the castigated part with fearful energy. Simon, though overthrown, was unhurt; and he was mentally complimenting himself upon the sagacity which had prevented his illustrating the game of mumble-peg for the paternal amusement, when his attention was arrested by the old man's stooping to pick up something—what is it?—a card upon which Simon had been sitting, and which, therefore, had not gone with the rest of the pack into his pocket. The simple Mr. Suggs had only a vague idea of the pasteboard abomination called cards; and though he decidedly inclined to the opinion that this was one, he was by no means certain of the fact. Had Simon known this he would certainly have escaped; but he did not. His father, assuming the look of extreme sapiency, which is always worn by the interrogator who does not desire or expect to increase his knowledge by his questions, asked:

"What's this, Simon?"

"The Jack-a-dimunts," promptly responded Simon, who gave up all as lost after this faux pas.

"What was it doin' down thar, Simon, my[Pg 100] sonny?" continued Mr. Suggs, in an ironically affectionate tone of voice.

"I had it under my leg, thar to make it on Bill, the first time it come trumps," was the ready reply.

"What's trumps?" asked Mr. Suggs, with a view of arriving at the import of the word.

"Nothin' ain't trumps now," said Simon, who misapprehended his father's meaning, "but clubs was, when you come along and busted up the game."

A part of this answer was Greek to the Reverend Mr. Suggs, but a portion of it was full of meaning. They had, then, most unquestionably, been "throwing" cards, the scoundrels! the "oudacious" little hellions!

"To the 'mulberry' with both on ye, in a hurry," said the old man sternly. But the lads were not disposed to be in a "hurry," for the "mulberry" was the scene of all formal punishment administered during work hours in the field. Simon followed his father, however, but made, as he went along, all manner of "faces" at the old man's back; gesticulated as if he were going to strike him between the shoulders with his fists, and kicking at him so as almost to touch his coat tail with his shoe. In this style they walked on to the mulberry-tree, in whose shade Simon's brother Ben was resting.

It must not be supposed that, during the walk to the place of punishment, Simon's mind was either inactive, or engaged in suggesting the grimaces and contortions wherewith he was pantomimically expressing his irreverent sentiments toward his father. Far from it. The movements of his limbs and features were the mere workings[Pg 101] of habit—the self-grinding of the corporeal machine—for which his reasoning half was only remotely responsible. For while Simon's person was thus, on its own account "making game" of old Jed'diah, his wits, in view of the anticipated flogging, were dashing, springing, bounding, darting about, in hot chase of some expedient suitable to the necessities of the case; much after the manner in which puss—when Betty, armed with the broom, and hotly seeking vengeance for pantry robbed or bed defiled, has closed upon her the garret doors and windows—attempts all sorts of impossible exits, to come down at last in the corner, with panting side and glaring eye, exhausted and defenseless. Our unfortunate hero could devise nothing by which he could reasonably expect to escape the heavy blows of his father. Having arrived at this conclusion and the "mulberry" about the same time, he stood with a dogged look, awaiting the issue.

The old man Suggs made no remark to any one while he was sizing up Bill,—a process which, though by no means novel to Simon, seemed to excite in him a sort of painful interest. He watched it closely, as if endeavoring to learn the precise fashion of his father's knot; and when at last Bill was swung up a-tiptoe to a limb, and the whipping commenced, Simon's eye followed every movement of his father's arm; and as each blow descended upon the bare shoulders of his sable friend, his own body writhed and "wriggled" in involuntary sympathy.

"It's the devil, it is," said Simon to himself, "to take such a wallopin' as that. Why, the old man looks like he wants to git to the holler, if he could,—rot his old picter! It's wuth, at the least,[Pg 102] fifty cents—je-e-miny, how that hurt!—yes, it's wuth three-quarters of a dollar to take that 'ere lickin'! Wonder if I'm 'predestinated,' as old Jed'diah says, to git the feller to it? Lord, how daddy blows! I do wish to God he'd bust wide open, the durned old deer-face! If 'twa'n't for Ben helpin' him, I b'lieve I'd give the old dog a tussel when it comes to my turn. It couldn't make the thing no wuss, if it didn't make it no better. 'Drot it! what do boys have daddies for anyhow? 'Tain't for nuthin' but jist to beat 'em and work 'em. There's some use in mammies. I kin poke my finger right in the old 'oman's eye, and keep it thar; and if I say it ain't thar, she'll say so, too. I wish she was here to hold daddy off. If 'twa'n't so fur I'd holler for her, anyhow. How she would cling to the old fellow's coat-tail!"

Mr. Jedediah Suggs let down Bill and untied him. Approaching Simon, whose coat was off, "Come, Simon, son," said he, "cross them hands; I'm gwine to correct you."

"It ain't no use, daddy," said Simon.

"Why so, Simon?"

"Jist bekase it ain't. I'm gwine to play cards as long as I live. When I go off to myself, I'm gwine to make my livin' by it. So what's the use of beatin' me about it?"

Old Mr. Suggs groaned, as he was wont to do in the pulpit, at this display of Simon's viciousness.

"Simon," said he, "you're a poor ignunt creetur. You don't know nothin', and you've never been nowhars. If I was to turn you off, you'd starve in a week."

"I wish you'd try me," said Simon, "and jist see. I'd win more money in a week than you can make in a year. There ain't nobody round here kin[Pg 103] make seed corn off o' me at cards. I'm rale smart," he added with great emphasis.

"Simon! Simon! you poor unlettered fool. Don't you know that all card-players and chicken-fighters and horse-racers go to hell? You crack-brained creetur, you! And don't you know that them that plays cards always loses their money, and—"

"Who wins it all, then, daddy?" asked Simon.

"Shet your mouth, you imperdent, slack-jawed dog! Your daddy's a-tryin' to give you some good advice, and you a-pickin' up his words that way. I knowed a young man once, when I lived in Ogletharp, as went down to Augusty and sold a hundred dollars' worth of cotton for his daddy, and some o' them gambollers got him to drinkin', and the very first night he was with 'em they got every cent of his money."

"They couldn't get my money in a week," said Simon. "Anybody can git these here green feller's money; them's the sort I'm a-gwine to watch for myself. Here's what kin fix the papers jist about as nice as anybody."

"Well, it's no use to argify about the matter," said old Jed-diah. "What saith the Scriptur'? 'He that begetteth a fool, doeth it to his sorrow.' Hence, Simon, you're a poor, misubble fool,—so cross your hands!"

"You'd jist as well not, daddy; I tell you I'm gwine to follow playin' cards for a livin', and what's the use o' bangin' a feller about it? I'm as smart as any of 'em, and Bob Smith says them Augusty fellers can't make rent off o' me."

The Reverend Mr. Suggs had once in his life gone to Augusta; an extent of travel which in those days was a little unusual. His consideration[Pg 104] among his neighbors was considerably increased by the circumstance, as he had all the benefit of the popular inference that no man could visit the city of Augusta without acquiring a vast superiority over all his untraveled neighbors, in every department of human knowledge. Mr. Suggs, then, very naturally, felt ineffably indignant that an individual who had never seen any collection of human habitations larger than a log-house village—an individual, in short, no other or better than Bob Smith—should venture to express an opinion concerning the manners, customs, or anything else appertaining to, or in any wise connected with, the Ultima Thule of backwoods Georgians. There were two propositions which witnessed their own truth to the mind of Mr. Suggs: the one was that a man who had never been at Augusta could not know anything about that city, or any place, or anything else; the other, that one who had been there must, of necessity, be not only well informed as to all things connected with the city itself, but perfectly au fait upon all subjects whatsoever. It was therefore in a tone of mingled indignation and contempt that he replied to the last remark of Simon.

"Bob Smith says, does he? And who's Bob Smith? Much does Bob Smith know about Augusty! He's been thar, I reckon! Slipped off yerly some mornin', when nobody warn't noticin', and got back afore night! It's only a hundred and fifty mile. Oh, yes, Bob Smith knows all about it! I don't know nothin' about it! I ain't never been to Augusty—I couldn't find the road thar, I reckon—ha, ha! BobSm-ith! If he was only to see one of them fine gentlemen in Augusty, with his fine broadcloth, and bell-crown hat, and[Pg 105] shoe-boots a-shinin' like silver, he'd take to the woods and kill himself a-runnin'. Bob Smith! That's whar all your devilment comes from, Simon."

"Bob Smith's as good as anybody else, I judge; and a heap smarter than some. He showed me how to cut Jack," continued Simon, "and that's more nor some people can do, if they have been to Augusty."

"If Bob Smith kin do it," said the old man, "I kin, too. I don't know it by that name; but if it's book knowledge or plain sense, and Bob kin do it, it's reasonable to s'pose that old Jed'diah Suggs won't be bothered bad. Is it any ways similyar to the rule of three, Simon?"

"Pretty similyar, daddy, but not adzactly," said Simon, drawing a pack from his pocket to explain. "Now, daddy," he proceeded, "you see these here four cards is what we call the Jacks. Well, now, the idee is, if you'll take the pack and mix 'em all up together, I'll take off a passel from the top, and the bottom one of them I take off will be one of the Jacks."

"Me to mix 'em fust?" said old Jed'diah.


"And you not to see but the back of the top one, when you go to 'cut,' as you call it?"

"Jist so, daddy."

"And the backs all jist' as like as kin be?" said the senior Suggs, examining the cards.

"More alike nor cow-peas," said Simon.

"It can't be done, Simon," observed the old man, with great solemnity.

"Bob Smith kin do it, and so kin I."

"It's agin nater, Simon; thar ain't a man in Augusty, nor on top of the yearth, that kin do it!"[Pg 106]

"Daddy," said our hero, "ef you'll bet me—"

"What!" thundered old Mr. Suggs. "Bet, did you says?" and he came down with a scorer across Simon's shoulders. "Me, Jed-diah Suggs, that's been in the Lord's sarvice these twenty years,—me bet, you nasty, sassy, triflin', ugly—"

"I didn't go to say that, daddy; that warn't what I meant adzactly. I went to say that ef you'd let me off from this her maulin' you owe me, and give me 'Bunch,' if I cut Jack, I'd give you all this here silver, ef I didn't,—that's all. To be sure, I allers knowed you wouldn't bet."

Old Mr. Suggs ascertained the exact amount of the silver which his son handed him, in an old leathern pouch, for inspection. He also, mentally, compared that sum with an imaginary one, the supposed value of a certain Indian pony, called "Bunch," which he had bought for his "old woman's" Sunday riding, and which had sent the old lady into a fence corner the first and only time she ever mounted him. As he weighed the pouch of silver in his hand, Mr. Suggs also endeavored to analyze the character of the transaction proposed by Simon. "It sartinly can't be nothin' but givin', no way it kin be twisted," he murmured to himself. "I know he can't do it, so there's no resk. What makes bettin'? The resk. It's a one-sided business, and I'll jist let him give me all his money, and that'll put all his wild sportin' notions out of his head."

"Will you stand it, daddy?" asked Simon, by way of waking the old man up. "You mought as well, for the whippin' won't do you no good; and as for Bunch, nobody about the plantation won't ride him but me."

"Simon," replied the old man, "I agree to it.[Pg 107] Your old daddy is in a close place about payin' for his land; and this here money—it's jist eleven dollars, lacking of twenty-five cents—will help out mightily. But mind, Simon, ef anything's said about this hereafter, remember, you give me the money."

"Very well, daddy; and ef the thing works up instid o' down, I s'pose we'll say you give me Bunch, eh?"

"You won't never be troubled to tell how you come by Bunch; the thing's agin nater, and can't be done. What old Jed'diah Suggs knows, he knows as good as anybody. Give me them fix-ments, Simon."

Our hero handed the cards to his father, who, dropping the plow-line with which he had intended to tie Simon's hands, turned his back to that individual, in order to prevent his witnessing the operation of mixing. He then sat down, and very leisurely commenced shuffling the cards, making, however, an exceedingly awkward job of it. Restive kings and queens jumped from his hands, or obstinately refused to slide into the company of the rest of the pack. Occasionally a sprightly knave would insist on facing his neighbor; or, pressing his edge against another's, half double himself up, and then skip away. But Elder Jed'diah perseveringly continued his attempts to subdue the refractory, while heavy drops burst from his forehead, and ran down his cheeks. All of a sudden an idea, quick and penetrating as a rifle-ball, seemed to have entered the cranium of the old man. He chuckled audibly. The devil had suggested to Mr. Suggs an impromptu "stock," which would place the chances of Simon, already sufficiently slim in the old man's opinion, without[Pg 108] the range of possibility. Mr. Suggs forthwith proceeded to cut all the picter ones, so as to be certain to include the Jacks, and place them at the bottom, with the evident intention of keeping Simon's fingers above these when he should cut. Our hero, who was quietly looking over his father's shoulders all the time, did not seem alarmed by this disposition of the cards; on the contrary, he smiled, as if he felt perfectly confident of success, in spite of it.

"Now, daddy," said Simon, when his father had announced himself ready, "narry one of us ain't got to look at the cards, while I'm a-cuttin'; if we do, it'll spile the conjuration."

"Very well."

"And another thing: you've got to look me right dead in the eye, daddy; will you?"

"To be sure,—to be sure," said Mr. Suggs; "fire away."

Simon walked up close to his father, and placed his hand on the pack. Old Mr. Suggs looked in Simon's eye, and Simon returned the look for about three seconds, during which a close observer might have detected a suspicious working of the wrist of the hand on the cards, but the elder Suggs did not remark it.

"Wake snakes! day's a-breakin'! Rise, Jack!" said Simon, cutting half a dozen cards from the top of the pack, and presenting the face of the bottom one for the inspection of his father.

It was the Jack of hearts!

Old Mr. Suggs staggered back several steps, with uplifted eyes and hands!

"Marciful master!" he exclaimed, "ef the boy hain't! Well, how in the round creation of the—! Ben, did you ever? To be sure and sar[Pg 109]tain, Satan has power on this yearth!" and Mr. Suggs groaned in very bitterness.

"You never seed nothin' like that in Augusty, did ye, daddy?" asked Simon, with a malicious wink at Ben.

"Simon, how did you do it?" queried the old man, without noticing his son's question.

"Do it, daddy? Do it? 'Tain't nothin'. I done it jist as easy as—shootin'."

Whether this explanation was entirely, or in any degree, satisfactory to the perplexed mind of Elder Jed'diah Suggs can not, after the lapse of the time which has intervened, be sufficiently ascertained. It is certain, however, that he pressed the investigation no farther, but merely requested his son Benjamin to witness the fact that, in consideration of his love and affection for his son Simon, and in order to furnish the donee with the means of leaving that portion of the State of Georgia, he bestowed upon him the impracticable pony, Bunch.

"Jist so, daddy; jist so; I'll witness that. But it 'minds me mightily of the way mammy give old Trailler the side of bacon last week. She a-sweepin' up the h'a'th; the meat on the table; old Trailler jumps up, gethers the bacon, and darts! Mammy arter him with the broom-stick as fur as the door, but seein' the dog has got the start, she shakes the stick at him, and hollers, 'You sassy, aigsukkin', roguish, gnatty, flop-eared varmint! take it along! take it along! I only wish 'twas full of a'snic, and ox-vomit, and blue vitrul, so as 'twould cut your interls into chitlins!' That's about the way you give Bunch to Simon."

"Oh, shuh, Ben," remarked Simon, "I wouldn't run on that way. Daddy couldn't help it; it was[Pg 110] predestinated: 'Whom he hath, he will,' you know," and the rascal pulled down the under lid of his left eye at his brother. Then addressing his father, he asked, "War'n't it, daddy?"

"To be sure—to be sure—all fixed aforehand," was old Mr. Suggs' reply.

"Didn't I tell you so, Ben?" said Simon. "I knowed it was all fixed aforehand," and he laughed until he was purple in the face.

"What's in ye? What are ye laughin' about?" asked the old man wrothily.

"Oh, it's so funny that it could all 'a' been fixed aforehand!" said Simon, and laughed louder than before. The obtusity of the Reverend Mr. Suggs, however, prevented his making any discoveries. He fell into a brown study, and no further allusion was made to the matter.

It was evident to our hero that his father intended he should remain but one more night beneath the paternal roof. What mattered it to Simon?

He went home at night; curried and fed Bunch; whispered confidentially in his ear that he was the "fastest piece of hossflesh, accordin' to size, that ever shaded the yearth;" and then busied himself in preparing for an early start on the morrow.

Old Mr. Suggs' big red rooster had hardly ceased crowing in announcement of the coming dawn, when Simon mounted the intractable Bunch. Both were in high spirits: our hero at the idea of unrestrained license in future; and Bunch from a mesmerical transmission to himself of a portion of his master's deviltry. Simon raised himself in the stirrups, yelled a tolerably fair imitation of the Creek war-whoop, and shouted:[Pg 111]

"I'm off, old stud! Remember the Jack-a-hearts!"

Bunch shook his little head, tucked down his tail, ran sideways, as if going to fall, and then suddenly reared, squealed, and struck off at a brisk gallop.[Pg 112]


By Thomas Bangs Thorpe

We shall never forget the excitement which seized upon the inhabitants of the little village of Hardscrabble as the report spread through the community that a real piano had actually arrived within its precincts.

Speculation was afloat as to its appearance and its use. The name was familiar to everybody; but what it precisely meant, no one could tell. That it had legs was certain; for a stray volume of some literary traveler was one of the most conspicuous works in the floating library of Hardscrabble, and said traveler stated that he had seen a piano somewhere in New England with pantalets on; also, an old foreign paper was brought forward, in which there was an advertisement headed "Soirée," which informed the "citizens, generally," that Mr. Bobolink would preside at the piano.

This was presumed by several wiseacres, who had been to a menagerie, to mean that Mr. Bobolink stirred the piano with a long pole, in the same way that the showman did the lions and rhi-no-ce-rus.

So, public opinion was in favor of its being an animal, though a harmless one; for there had been a land-speculator through the village a few weeks previously, who distributed circulars of a "Female Academy" for the accomplishment of[Pg 113] young ladies. These circulars distinctly stated "the use of the piano to be one dollar per month."

One knowing old chap said, if they would tell him what so-i-ree meant, he would tell them what a piano was, and no mistake.

The owner of this strange instrument was no less than a very quiet and very respectable late merchant of a little town somewhere "north," who, having failed at home, had emigrated into the new and hospitable country of Arkansas, for the purpose of bettering his fortune and escaping the heartless sympathy of his more lucky neighbors, who seemed to consider him a very bad and degraded man because he had become honestly poor.

The new-comers were strangers, of course. The house in which they were setting up their furniture was too little arranged "to admit of calls;" and, as the family seemed very little disposed to court society, all prospects of immediately solving the mystery that hung about the piano seemed hopeless. In the meantime, public opinion was "rife."

The depository of this strange thing was looked upon by the passers-by with indefinable awe; and, as noises unfamiliar sometimes reached the street, it was presumed that the piano made them, and the excitement rose higher than ever. In the midst of it, one or two old ladies, presuming upon their age and respectability, called upon the strangers and inquired after their health, and offered their services and friendship; meantime, everything in the house was eyed with great intensity, but, seeing nothing strange, a hint was given about the piano. One of the new family observed, carelessly, "that it had been much injured by bringing out, that the damp had affected its tones, and that one of its legs was so injured[Pg 114] that it would not stand up, and for the present it would not ornament the parlor."

Here was an explanation indeed: injured in bringing out; damp affecting its tones; leg broken. "Poor thing!" ejaculated the old ladies, with real sympathy, as they proceeded homeward; "traveling has evidently fatigued it; the Mass-is-sip fogs has given it a cold, poor thing!" and they wished to see it with increased curiosity.

The "village" agreed that if Moses Mercer, familiarly called "Mo Mercer," was in town, they would have a description of the piano, and the uses to which it was put; and, fortunately, in the midst of the excitement "Mo" arrived, he having been temporarily absent on a hunting-expedition.

Moses Mercer was the only son of "old Mercer," who was, and had been, in the State Senate ever since Arkansas was admitted into the "Union." Mo from this fact received great glory, of course; his father's greatness alone would have stamped him with superiority; but his having been twice in the "Capitol" when the legislature was in session stamped his claims to pre-eminence over all competitors.

Mo Mercer was the oracle of the renowned village of Hardscrabble.

"Mo" knew everything; he had all the consequence and complacency of a man who had never seen his equal, and never expected to. "Mo" bragged extensively upon his having been to the "Capitol" twice,—of his there having been in the most "fashionable society,"—of having seen the world. His return to town was therefore received with a shout. The arrival of the piano was announced to him, and he alone of all the community was not astonished at the news.[Pg 115]

His insensibility was considered wonderful. He treated the piano as a thing that he was used to, and went on, among other things, to say that he had seen more pianos in the "Capitol," than he had ever seen woodchucks, and that it was not an animal, but a musical instrument played upon by the ladies; and he wound up his description by saying that the way "the dear creatures could pull music out of it was a caution to hoarse owls."

The new turn given to the piano-excitement in Hardscrabble by Mo Mercer was like pouring oil on fire to extinguish it, for it blazed out with more vigor than ever. That it was a musical instrument made it a rarer thing in that wild country than if it had been an animal, and people of all sizes, colors, and degrees were dying to see and hear it.

Jim Cash was Mo Mercer's right-hand man: in the language of refined society, he was "Mo's toady;" in the language of Hardscrabble, he was "Mo's wheel-horse." Cash believed in Mo Mercer with an abandonment that was perfectly ridiculous. Mr. Cash was dying to see the piano, and the first opportunity he had alone with his Quixote he expressed the desire that was consuming his vitals.

"We'll go at once and see it," said Mercer.

"Strangers!" echoed the frightened Cash.

"Humbug! Do you think I have visited the 'Capitol' twice, and don't know how to treat fashionable society? Come along at once, Cash," said Mercer.

Off the pair started, Mercer all confidence, and Cash all fears as to the propriety of the visit. These fears Cash frankly expressed; but Mercer repeated for the thousandth time his experience in[Pg 116] the fashionable society of the "Capitol, and pianos," which he said "was synonymous;" and he finally told Cash, to comfort him, that, however abashed and ashamed he might be in the presence of the ladies, "he needn't fear of sticking, for he would pull him through."

A few minutes' walk brought the parties on the broad galleries of the house that contained the object of so much curiosity. The doors and windows were closed, and a suspicious look was on everything.

"Do they always keep a house closed up this way that has a piano in it?" asked Cash mysteriously.

"Certainly," replied Mercer: "the damp would destroy its tones."

Repeated knocks at the doors, and finally at the windows, satisfied both Cash and Mercer that nobody was at home. In the midst of their disappointment, Cash discovered a singular machine at the end of the gallery, crossed by bars and rollers and surmounted with an enormous crank. Cash approached it on tiptoe; he had a presentiment that he beheld the object of his curiosity, and, as its intricate character unfolded itself, he gazed with distended eyes, and asked Mercer, with breathless anxiety, what that strange and incomprehensible box was.

Mercer turned to the thing as coolly as a north wind to an icicle, and said, that was it.

"That it!" exclaimed Cash, opening his eyes still wider; and then, recovering himself, he asked to see "the tone."

Mercer pointed to the cross-bars and rollers. With trembling hands, with a resolution that would enable a man to be scalped without wink[Pg 117]ing, Cash reached out his hand and seized the handle of the crank (Cash, at heart, was a brave and fearless man). He gave it a turn: the machinery grated harshly, and seemed to clamor for something to be put in its maw.

"What delicious sounds!" said Cash.

"Beautiful!" observed the complacent Mercer, at the same time seizing Cash's arm and asking him to desist, for fear of breaking the instrument or getting it out of tune.

The simple caution was sufficient; and Cash, in the joy of the moment at what he had done and seen, looked as conceited as Mo Mercer himself.

Busy indeed was Cash, from this time forward, in explaining to gaping crowds the exact appearance of the piano, how he had actually taken hold of it, and, as his friend Mo Mercer observed, "pulled music out of it."

The curiosity of the village was thus allayed, and consequently died comparatively away,—Cash, however, having risen to almost as much importance as Mo Mercer, for having seen and handled the thing.

Our "Northern family" knew little or nothing of all this excitement; they received meanwhile the visits and congratulations of the hospitable villagers, and resolved to give a grand party to return some of the kindness they had received, and the piano was, for the first time, moved into the parlor. No invitation on this occasion was neglected; early at the post was every visitor, for it was rumored that Miss Patience Doolittle would, in the course of the evening, "perform on the piano."

The excitement was immense. The supper was passed over with a contempt rivaling that which[Pg 118] is cast upon an excellent farce played preparatory to a dull tragedy in which the star is to appear. The furniture was all critically examined, but nothing could be discovered answering Cash's description. An enormously thick-leafed table with a "spread" upon it attracted little attention, timber being so very cheap in a new country, and so everybody expected soon to see the piano "brought in."

Mercer, of course, was the hero of the evening: he talked much and loudly. Cash, as well as several young ladies, went into hysterics at his wit. Mercer, as the evening wore away, grew exceedingly conceited, even for him; and he graciously asserted that the company present reminded him of his two visits to the "Capitol," and other associations equally exclusive and peculiar.

The evening wore on apace, and still no piano. That hope deferred which maketh the heart sick was felt by some elderly ladies and by a few younger ones; and Mercer was solicited to ask Miss Patience Doolittle to favor the company with the presence of the piano.

"Certainly," said Mercer and with the grace of a city dandy he called upon the lady to gratify all present with a little music, prefacing his request with the remark that if she was fatigued "his friend Cash would give the machine a turn."

Miss Patience smiled, and looked at Cash.

Cash's knees trembled.

All eyes in the room turned upon him.

Cash trembled all over.

Miss Patience said she was gratified to hear that Mr. Cash was a musician; she admired people who had a musical taste. Whereupon Cash fell[Pg 119] into a chair, as he afterward observed, "chawed up."

Oh that Beau Brummel or any of his admirers could have seen Mo Mercer all this while! Calm as a summer morning, complacent as a newly-painted sign, he smiled and patronized, and was the only unexcited person in the room.

Miss Patience rose. A sigh escaped from all present: the piano was evidently to be brought in. She approached the thick-leafed table and removed the covering, throwing it carelessly and gracefully aside, opened the instrument, and presented the beautiful arrangement of dark and white keys.

Mo Mercer at this, for the first time in his life, looked confused: he was Cash's authority in his descriptions of the appearance of the piano; while Cash himself began to recover the moment that he ceased to be an object of attention. Many a whisper now ran through the room as to the "tones," and more particularly the "crank"; none could see them.

Miss Patience took her seat, ran her fingers over a few octaves, and if "Moses in Egypt" was not perfectly executed, Moses in Hardscrabble was. The dulcet sound ceased. "Miss," said Cash, the moment that he could express himself, so entranced was he by the music,—"Miss Doolittle, what was the instrument Mo Mercer showed me in your gallery once, it went by a crank and had rollers in it?"

It was now the time for Miss Patience to blush: so away went the blood from confusion to her cheeks. She hesitated, stammered, and said, if Mr. Cash must know, it was a-a-a-Yankee washing-machine.

The name grated on Mo Mercer's ears as if[Pg 120] rusty nails had been thrust into them; the heretofore invulnerable Mercer's knees trembled, the sweat started to his brow, as he heard the taunting whispers of "visiting the Capitol twice" and seeing pianos as plenty as woodchucks.

The fashionable vices of envy and maliciousness were that moment sown in the village of Hardscrabble; and Mo Mercer, the great, the confident, the happy and self-possessed, surprising as it may seem, was the first victim sacrificed to their influence.

Time wore on, and pianos became common, and Mo Mercer less popular; and he finally disappeared altogether, on the evening of the day on which a Yankee peddler of notions sold to the highest bidder, "six patent, warranted, and improved Mo Mercer pianos."[Pg 121]


By Anne Virginia Culbertson

Ol' Adam he live in de Gyardin uv Eden,
('Way down yonner)
He didn' know writin' an' he didn' know readin',
('Way down yonner)
He stay dar erlone jes' eatin' an' a-sleepin',
He say, "Dis mighty po' comp'ny I'se a-keepin',"
'Way down yonner whar dem sinful apples grow.
So dey tuck ol' Adam an' dey putt him a-nappin',
('Way down yonner)
An' de fus' thing you know dish yer w'at happen,
('Way down yonner)
Dey tucken his rib an' dey made a 'ooman,
She mighty peart an' she spry an' she bloomin',
'Way down yonner whar dem sinful apples grow.
Dey 'spute sometimes an' he say, ol' Adam,
('Way down yonner)
"You nuttin' but spar'-rib, nohow, madam,"
('Way down yonner)
She say, "Dat de trufe an' hit ain' a-hu't'n',
Fer de spar'-rib's made f'um a hawg, dat's sut'n,"
'Way down yonner whar dem sinful apples grow.[Pg 122]
De Sarpint he slip in de Gyardin uv Eden,
('Way down yonner)
He seed Mis' Eve an' he 'gun his pleadin',
('Way down yonner)
'Twel she tucken de apple an' den he quit 'er,
Hissin', "Ho! ho! dat fruit mighty bitter."
'Way down yonner whar dem sinful apples grow.
Ol' Adam he say, "W'at dat you eatin'?"
('Way down yonner)
"Please gimme a bite er dat summer-sweetin',"
('Way down yonner)
She gin de big haff wid de core an' de seed in,
An' dar whar she show her manners an' her breedin',
'Way down yonner whar dem sinful apples grow.
Den Adam he ac' right sneakin' sho'ly,
('Way down yonner)
An' mek his 'scuse ter de Lawd right po'ly,
('Way down yonner)
Blamin' Eve 'kase she do w'at he tell 'er,
An' settin' dat 'zample fer many a feller,
'Way down yonner whar dem sinful apples grow.
Den de Lawd He say in de Gyardin uv Eden,
('Way down yonner)
"No sech a man shell do my weedin',"
('Way down yonner)
So fo'th f'um de Gyardin de Lawd He bid him,
An' o' co'se Mis' Eve she up an' went wid him,
'Way down yonner whar dem sinful apples grow.[Pg 123]
Oh, sinner, is you in de Gyardin uv Eden?
('Way down yonner)
Is you on dem sinful apples feedin'?
('Way down yonner)
Come out, oh, sinner, befo' youse driven,
De debil gwine git you ef you goes on livin'
'Way down yonner whar dem sinful apples grow!
[Pg 124]


By Kate Field

It may be true that America is going to perdition; that all Americans are rascals; that there are no American gentlemen; that culture, refinement, and social manners can only be found in the Old World: but if it be true, what an extraordinary anomaly it is that women, old and young, ugly and handsome, can travel alone from one end of this great country to the other, receiving only such attention as is acceptable. Having journeyed up and down the land to the extent of twenty thousand miles, I am persuaded that a woman can go anywhere and do anything, provided she conducts herself properly. Of course it would be absurd to deny that it is not infinitely more agreeable to be accompanied by the "tyrant" called "man"; but when there is no tyrant to come to lovely woman's rescue, it is astonishing how well lovely woman can rescue herself, if she exerts the brain and muscle, given her thousands of years ago, and not entirely annihilated by long disuse. I have been nowhere that I have not been treated with greater consideration than if I had belonged to the other sex. There is not a country in Europe of which this can be said; and if a nation's civilization is gauged—as the wise declare—by its treatment of women, then America, rough as it may be, badly dressed as it is, tobacco-chewing as it often[Pg 125] is, stands head, shoulders, and heart above all the rest of the world. The Frenchwoman was right in declaring America to be le paradis des dames, and those women who exalt European gallantry above American honesty are as blind to their own interests as an owl at high noon.

There is no royal railroad to lecturing. At best it is hard work, but lecture committees "do their possible," as the Italians say, to lessen the weight, and that "possible" is heartily appreciated by such of us as inwardly long for a natural bridge between stations and hotels. A woman is never so forlorn as when getting out of a car or entering a strange hotel.

However, there never was a rule without its exception, and though courtesy has marked the majority of lecture committees for its own, a lecturer may occasionally find himself stranded upon a desert of indifference, and languish for the comforts of a home not twenty miles distant. Thus it happened that once upon arriving at my destination when the shades of evening were falling fast, and glancing about for the customary smiling gentlemen who smooth out the rough places by carrying bags, superintending the transportation of luggage, and driving you to your abiding-place in the best carriage of the period, I found no gentlemen, smiling or otherwise, to deliver me from my own ignorance.

"Carriage, ma'am?" screamed a Jehu in top-boots ornamented with a grotesque tracery of mud.

Well, yes, I would take a carriage; so up I clambered and sat down upon what in the darkness I supposed was a seat, but what gave such palpable evidences of animation in howls and[Pg 126] attempts at assault and battery, as to prove its right to be called a boy. "An' sure the lady didn't mane to hurt ye, Jimmy," expostulated something that turned out to be the boy's mother, whereupon a baby and a small sister of the small boy sent forth their voices in unison with that of their extinguished brother.

"Driver, let me get out," I said pathetically.

"Certainly, ma'am, but where will you go to? There ain't no other carriage left."

True; and I remained, and when I was asked where I wanted to stop, I really did not know. Was there a hotel? Yes. Was there more than one hotel? No. I breathed more freely, and said I would go to the hotel.

The driver evidently entertained a poor opinion of my mental capacity, for he mumbled to himself that "people who didn't know where they was agoin' had nuff sight better stay at home," and deposited me at the hotel with a caution against pickpockets. This was sufficiently humiliating, yet were there lower depths. Entering the parlor, I found it monopolized by a young lady in green silk and red ribbons, and a pink young man with his hair parted in the middle and his shirt-bosom resplendent with brilliants of the last water. They were at the piano, singing "Days of Absence" in a manner calculated to depress the most buoyant spirits. I rang the bell, and the green young lady and pink young man began on the second verse. No answer. Again I rang the bell, and the songsters began on the third verse. No answer. Once more I rang the bell, and the green young lady and pink young man piped upon the touching lay of "No one to love." Little cared those "two souls with[Pg 127] but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one," for the third heart and soul, victim of misplaced confidence. Ring! I rang that bell until I ached to be a man for one brief moment. Does a man ever endure such torture? No. He puts on his hat, walks into the hotel office, gives somebody a piece of his mind, and demands the satisfaction of a gentleman. But a woman can go to no office. She must remain up stairs and cultivate patience on hunger and thirst and a general mortification of the senses. "Victory, or destruction to the bell!" I said at last, and pulled the rope with the desperation of a maniac.

"Did you ring?" asked a mild clerk, entering on the tips of his toes as if there were not enough of him to warrant so extravagant an expenditure as the use of his whole sole. Did I ring? I who had been doing nothing else for half an hour! I who had but forty-five minutes in which to eat my supper and dress for the lecture!

Presenting my card, I desired the mild clerk to show me to my room. The mild clerk was exceedingly sorry, but the committee had left no order, and there was not a vacant room in the house!

"What am I to do?" I asked in agony of spirit. "I must have a room."

Must is an overpowering word. Only say must with all the emphasis of which it is capable, and longings are likely to be realized.

Well, the mild clerk didn't know but as how he might turn out and let me have his room.

Blessed man! Had I been pope, he should have been canonized on the spot. Following him up several steep flights of stairs, lighted by a kerosene lamp that perfumed the air as only kero[Pg 128]sene can, I was at last ushered into a room where sat a young girl knitting. She seemed to be no more astonished at my appearance than were the chairs and table, merely remarking, when we were left alone, "That's my father. I suppose you won't have any objections to my staying here as long as I please." How could I, an interloper, say "no" to the rightful proprietor of that room? I smiled feebly, and the damsel pursued her knitting with her fingers and me with her eyes, until everything in the room seemed to turn into eyes. The frightful thought came o'er me that perhaps my companion was "our own correspondent" for the "Daily Slasher!"—a thought that sent my supper down the wrong way, deprived me of appetite, and made me thankful that my back hair did not come off! The damsel sat and sat, knitted and knitted, until she had superintended every preparation, and then, like an Arab, silently stole away.

What next? Why, the committee called for me at the appointed hour, seemed blandly ignorant of the fact that they had not done their whole duty to woman, and maintained that walking was much better than driving. The wind blew, dust sought shelter within the recesses of eyes and ears and nose, but patient Griselda could not have behaved better than I. In fact, a woman who lectures must endure quietly what a singer or actress would stoutly protest against, for the reason that lecturing brings down upon her the taunt of being "strong-minded," and any assertion of rights or exhibition of temper is sure to be misconstrued into violent hatred of men and an insane desire to be President of the United States. This can hardly be called logic, but it is[Pg 129] truth. Logic is an unknown quantity in the ordinary public estimation of women lecturers.

Inwardly cross and outwardly cold, I delivered my lecture, and went back to that much-populated room, thinking that at least I should obtain a few hours' sleep before starting off at "five o'clock in the morning,"—a nice hour to sing about, but a horrible one at which to get up. I approached the bed. Shade of that virtue which is next to godliness! the linen was—was—yes, it was—second-hand! and calmly reposing on a pillow of doubtful color, my startled vision beheld an

"... ugly, creepin', blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn'd, by saunt an' sinner."

That I should come to this! I sought for a bell. Alas, there was none! Should I scream? No, that might bring out the fire-engines. Should I go in search of the housekeeper? How to find her at that hour of the night? No; rather than wander about a strange house in a strange place, I would sit up. Of course there was a rocking-chair; in that I took refuge, and there I sat with a quaint old-fashioned clock for company, with such stout lungs as to render sleep an impossibility. No fairy godmother came in at the key-hole to transform my chair into a couch and that talkative clock into a handmaiden. No ghosts beguiled the weary hours. Eleven, twelve, one, two, three, four! As the clock struck this last hour, a porter pounded on the door, and, not long after, I was being driven through the cold, dark morning to a railroad station. My Jehu was he of the previous day, and a very nice fel[Pg 130]low he turned out to be. "I didn't know it was you yesterday, you see, miss, or I wouldn't have said nothing about pickpockets. You don't look like a lecturer, you see, and that's what's the matter."

"Indeed, and how ought a lecturer to look?"

"Well, I don't exactly know, but I always supposed they didn't look like you. Reckon you don't enjoy staying around here in the dark, so I'll just wait here till the train comes," and there that good creature remained until the belated train snatched me up and whisked off to the city. When the express agent passed through the car to take the baggage-checks, it was as good as a play to see the different ways in which people woke up. Some turned over and wouldn't wake up at all; others sat bolt upright and blinked; some were very cross, and wondered why they could not be let alone; others, again, rubbed their eyes, scratched their heads, said "All right," and would have gone to sleep again had not the agent shaken them into consciousness.

"Where do you go?" asked the agent of a quiet old gentleman sitting before me, who had previously given up his checks.

"Yes, exactly; that's my name," replied the old gentleman.

"Where do you go?" again asked the agent in a somewhat louder tone.

"Exactly, I told you so." And the old gentleman put a pocket handkerchief over his face as a preliminary to sleep.

"Well, I never," exclaimed the agent, who returned to the charge. "I asked you where you wanted to go?"

"Precisely; that's my name."[Pg 131]

"Confound your name!" muttered the agent. "You're either deaf or insane, and I guess you're deaf." So putting his mouth to the old gentleman's ear, he shouted, "Where—do—you—want—to—go?"

"O, really, the —— House," was the mild answer to a question that so startled everybody else as to cause one man to jump up and cry, "Fire!" very much to the gratification of his fellow-passengers. There is nothing more pleasing to human beings than to see somebody else make himself ridiculous, and the amusement extracted from the contemplation of that car-load of men and women almost compensated me for the previous experience.

I have since traveled in the far West, but have never looked upon the counterpart of that New England hotel.[Pg 132]


By Robert J. Burdette

Early in the afternoon of the same day, Mr. Holliday came home bearing a large package in his arms. Not only seldom, but rarely, did anything come into the Holliday homestead that did not afford the head of the family a text for sermonic instruction, if not, indeed, rational discourse. Depositing the package upon a hall table, he called to his son in a mandatory manner:

"Rollo, come to me."

Rollo approached, but started with reluctant steps. He became reminiscently aware as he hastily reviewed the events of the day, that in carrying out one or two measures for the good of the house, he had laid himself open to an investigation by a strictly partisan committee, and the possibility of such an inquiry, with its subsequent report, grieved him. However, he hoped for the worst, so that in any event he would not be disagreeably disappointed, and came running to his father, calling "Yes, sir!" in his cheeriest tones.

This is the correct form in which to meet any possible adversity which is not yet in sight. Because, if it should not meet you, you are happy anyhow, and if it should meet you, you have been happy before the collision. See?

"Now, Rollo," said his father, "you are too large and strong to be spending your leisure time playing baby games with your little brother[Pg 133] Thanny. It is time for you to begin to be athletic."

"What is athletic?" asked Rollo.

"Well," replied his father, who was an alumnus (pronounced ahloomnoose) himself, "in a general way it means to wear a pair of pantaloons either eighteen inches too short or six inches too long for you, and stand around and yell while other men do your playing for you. The reputation for being an athlete may also be acquired by wearing a golf suit to church, or carrying a tennis racket to your meals. However, as I was about to say, I do not wish you to work all the time, like a woman, or even a small part of the time, like a hired man. I wish you to adopt for your recreation games of sport and pastime."

Rollo interrupted his father to say that indeed he preferred games of that description to games of toil and labor, but as he concluded, little Thanny, who was sitting on the porch step with his book, suddenly read aloud, in a staccato measure.


"Read to yourself, Thanny," said his father kindly, "and do not speak your syllables in that jerky manner."

Thanny subsided into silence, after making two or three strange gurgling noises in his throat, which Rollo, after several efforts, succeeded in imitating quite well. Being older than Thanny, Rollo, of course, could not invent so many new noises every day as his little brother. But he could take Thanny's noises, they being unprotected by copyright, and not only reproduce them, but even improve upon them.[Pg 134]

This shows the advantage of the higher education. "A little learning is a dangerous thing." It is well for every boy to learn that dynamite is an explosive of great power, after which it is still better for him to learn of how great power. Then he will not hit a cartridge with a hammer in order to find out, and when he dines in good society he can still lift his pie gracefully in his hand, and will not be compelled to harpoon it with an iron hook at the end of his fore-arm.

Rollo's father looked at the two boys attentively as they swallowed their noises, and then said:

"Now, Rollo, there is no sense in learning to play a man's game with a toy outfit. Here are the implements of a game which is called base-ball, and which I am going to teach you to play."

So saying he opened the package and handed Rollo a bat, a wagon tongue terror that would knock the leather off a planet, and Rollo's eyes danced as he balanced it and pronounced it a "la-la."

"It is a bat," his father said sternly, "a base-ball bat."

"Is that a base-ball bat?" exclaimed Rollo, innocently.

"Yes, my son," replied his father, "and here is a protector for the hand."

Rollo took the large leather pillow and said:

"That's an infielder."

"It is a mitt," his father said, "and here is the ball."

As Rollo took the ball in his hands he danced with glee.

"That's a peach," he cried.[Pg 135]

"It is a base-ball," his father said, "that is what you play base-ball with."

"Is it?" exclaimed Rollo, inquiringly.

"Now," said Mr. Holliday, as they went into the back yard, followed by Thanny, "I will go to bat first, and I will let you pitch, so that I may teach you how. I will stand here at the end of the barn, then when you miss my bat with the ball, as you may sometimes do, for you do not yet know how to pitch accurately, the barn will prevent the ball from going too far."

"That's the back-stop," said Rollo.

"Do not try to be funny, my son," replied his father, "in this great republic only a President of the United States is permitted to coin phrases which nobody can understand. Now, observe me; when you are at bat you stand in this manner."

And Mr. Holliday assumed the attitude of a timid man who has just stepped on the tail of a strange and irascible dog, and is holding his legs so that the animal, if he can pull his tail out, can escape without biting either of them. He then held the bat up before his face as though he was carrying a banner.

"Now, Rollo, you must pitch the ball directly toward the end of my bat. Do not pitch too hard at first, or you will tire yourself out before we begin."

Rollo held the ball in his hands and gazed at it thoughtfully for a moment; he turned and looked at the kitchen windows as though he had half a mind to break one of them; then wheeling suddenly he sent the ball whizzing through the air like a bullet. It passed so close to Mr. Holliday's face that he dropped the bat and his grammar in his nervousness and shouted:[Pg 136]

"Whata you throw nat? That's no way to pitch a ball! Pitch it as though you were playing a gentleman's game; not as though you were trying to kill a cat! Now, pitch it right here; right at this place on my bat. And pitch more gently; the first thing you know you'll sprain your wrist and have to go to bed. Now, try again."

This time Rollo kneaded the ball gently, as though he suspected it had been pulled before it was ripe. He made an offer as though he would throw it to Thanny. Thanny made a rush back to an imaginary "first," and Rollo, turning quickly, fired the ball in the general direction of Mr. Holliday. It passed about ten feet to his right, but none the less he made what Thanny called "a swipe" at it that turned him around three times before he could steady himself. It then hit the end of the barn with a resounding crash that made Cotton Mather, the horse, snort with terror in his lonely stall. Thanny called out in nasal, sing-song tone:


"Thanny," said his father, severely, "do not let me hear a repetition of such language from you. If you wish to join our game, you may do so, if you will play in a gentlemanly manner. But I will not permit the use of slang about this house. Now, Rollo, that was better; much better. But you must aim more accurately and pitch less violently. You will never learn anything until you acquire it, unless you pay attention while giving your mind to it. Now, play ball, as we say."

This time Rollo stooped and rubbed the ball in the dirt until his father sharply reprimanded[Pg 137] him, saying, "You untidy boy; that ball will not be fit to play with!" Then Rollo looked about him over the surrounding country as though admiring the pleasant view, and with the same startling abruptness as before, faced his father and shot the ball in so swiftly that Thanny said he could see it smoke. It passed about six feet to the left of the batsman, but Mr. Holliday, judging that it was coming "dead for him," dodged, and the ball struck his high silk hat with a boom like a drum, carrying it on to the "back-stop" in its wild career.

"Take your base!" shouted Thanny, but suddenly checked himself, remembering the new rules on the subject of his umpiring.

"Rollo!" exclaimed his father, "why do you not follow my instructions more carefully? That was a little better, but still the ball was badly aimed. You must not stare around all over creation when you are playing ball. How can you throw straight when you look at everything in the world except at the bat you are trying to hit? You must aim right at the bat—try to hit it—that's what the pitcher does. And Thanny, let me say to you, and for the last time, that I will not permit the slang of the slums to be used about this house. Now, Rollo, try again, and be more careful and more deliberate."

"Father," said Rollo, "did you ever play base-ball when you were a young man?"

"Did I play base-ball?" repeated his father, "did I play ball? Well, say, I belonged to the Sacred Nine out in old Peoria, and I was a holy terror on third, now I tell you. One day—"

But just at this point in the history it occurred to Rollo to send the ball over the plate. Mr.[Pg 138] Holliday saw it coming; he shut both eyes and dodged for his life, but the ball hit his bat and went spinning straight up in the air. Thanny shouted "Foul!" ran under it, reached up, took it out of the atmosphere, and cried:


"Thanny," said his father sternly, "another word and you shall go straight to bed! If you do not improve in your habit of language I will send you to the reform school. Now, Rollo," he continued, kindly, "that was a great deal better; very much better. I hit that ball with almost no difficulty. You are learning. But you will learn more rapidly if you do not expend so much unnecessary strength in throwing the ball. Once more, now, and gently; I do not wish you to injure your arm."

Rollo leaned forward and tossed the ball toward his father very gently indeed, much as his sister Mary would have done, only, of course, in a more direct line. Mr. Holliday's eyes lit up with their old fire as he saw the on-coming sphere. He swept his bat around his head in a fierce semi-circle, caught the ball fair on the end of it, and sent it over Rollo's head, crashing into the kitchen window amid a jingle of glass and a crash of crockery, wild shrieks from the invisible maid servant and delighted howls from Rollo and Thanny of "Good boy!" "You own the town!" "All the way round!"

Mr. Holliday was a man whose nervous organism was so sensitive that he could not endure the lightest shock of excitement. The confusion and general uproar distracted him.

"Thanny!" he shouted, "go into the house! Go into the house and go right to bed!"[Pg 139]

"Thanny," said Rollo, in a low tone, "you're suspended; that's what you get for jollying the umpire."

"Rollo," said his father, "I will not have you quarreling with Thanny. I can correct him without your interference. And, besides, you have wrought enough mischief for one day. Just see what you have done with your careless throwing. You have broken the window, and I do not know how many things on the kitchen table. You careless, inattentive boy. I would do right if I should make you pay for all this damage out of your own pocket-money. And I would, if you had any. I may do so, nevertheless. And there is Jane, bathing her eye at the pump. You have probably put it out by your wild pitching. If she dies, I will make you wash the dishes until she returns. I thought all boys could throw straight naturally without any training. You discourage me. Now come here and take this bat, and I will show you how to pitch a ball without breaking all the glass in the township. And see if you can learn to bat any better than you can pitch."

Rollo took the bat, poised himself lightly, and kept up a gentle oscillation of the stick while he waited.

"Hold it still!" yelled his father, whose nerves were sorely shaken. "How can I pitch a ball to you when you keep flourishing that club like an anarchist in procession. Hold it still, I tell you!"

Rollo dropped the bat to an easy slant over his shoulder and looked attentively at his father. The ball came in. Rollo caught it right on the nose of the bat and sent it whizzing directly at[Pg 140] the pitcher. Mr. Holliday held his hands straight out before him and spread his fingers.

"I've got her!" he shouted.

And then the ball hit his hands, scattered them, and passed on against his chest with a jolt that shook his system to its foundations. A melancholy howl rent the air as he doubled up and tried to rub his chest and knead all his fingers on both hands at the same time.

"Rollo," he gasped, "you go to bed, too! Go to bed and stay there six weeks. And when you get up, put on one of your sister's dresses and play golf. You'll never learn to play ball if you practice a thousand years. I never saw such a boy. You have probably broken my lung. And I do not suppose I shall ever use my hands again. You can't play tiddle-de-winks. Oh, dear; oh, dear!"

Rollo sadly laid away the bat and the ball and went to bed, where he and Thanny sparred with pillows until tea time, when they were bailed out of prison by their mother. Mr. Holliday had recovered his good humor. His fingers were multifariously bandaged and he smelled of arnica like a drug store. But he was reminiscent and animated. He talked of the old times and the old days, and of Peoria and Hinman's, as was his wont oft as he felt boyish.

"And town ball," he said, "good old town ball! There was no limit to the number on a side. The ring was anywhere from three hundred feet to a mile in circumference, according to whether we played on a vacant Pingree lot or out on the open prairie. We tossed up a bat—wet or dry—for first choice, and then chose the whole school on the sides. The bat was a board, about the gen[Pg 141]eral shape of a Roman galley oar and not quite so wide as a barn door. The ball was of solid India rubber; a little fellow could hit it a hundred yards, and a big boy, with a hickory club, could send it clear over the bluffs or across the lake. We broke all the windows in the school-house the first day, and finished up every pane of glass in the neighborhood before the season closed. The side that got its innings first kept them until school was out or the last boy died. Fun? Good game? Oh, boy of these golden days, paying fifty cents an hour for the privilege of watching a lot of hired men do your playing for you—it beat two-old-cat."



Can a boy learn anything without a teacher?—Does the pupil ever know more than the instructor?—And why not?—How long does it require one to learn to speak and write the Spanish language correctly in six easy lessons, at home, without a master?—And in how many lessons can one be taught to walk Spanish?—What is meant by a "rooter"?—What is the difference between a "rooter" and a "fan"?—Parse "hoodoo."—What is the philology of "crank"?—Describe a closely contested game of "one-old-cat," with diagrams.—What is meant by "a rank decision"?—Translate into colloquial English the phrase, "Good eye Bill!"—Put into bleaching board Latin, "Rotten umpire."—Why is he so called?

[Pg 142]


By Anne Virginia Culbertson

One day the children's mother told them that she was going to spend a few days at a plantation some miles away, taking with her Aunt Nancy, who was anxious to pay a little visit to a daughter living in that neighborhood. Aunt 'Phrony, she told them, had promised to come and look after them during her absence.

"Oh, please, mamma," they begged, "let Aunt 'Phrony take us nutting? She told us one day that she knew where there were just lots and lots of walnuts." So it was arranged that they should take a luncheon with them and make a day of it, Aunt 'Phrony being perfectly willing, for her Indian blood showed itself not only in her appearance, but in her love for a free out-of-door life, and her fondness for tramping. She would readily give up a day's work at any time to discharge some wholly insignificant errand which involved a walk of many miles.

The day was a bright and beautiful one in October, warm, yet with a faint nip of last night's frost lingering in the air. They made a fine little procession through the woods, Aunt 'Phrony leading, followed by children, a darky with baskets, her grandson "Wi'yum," and lastly the dogs, frisking and frolicking and darting away every now and then in pursuit of small game. A very weary and hungry little party gathered[Pg 143] about the baskets at one o'clock, and three little pairs of white hands were stained almost as brown as those of Aunt 'Phrony and William. But everybody was happy, and there was a nice pile of walnuts to go back in the large bag which William had brought for the purpose. The dogs sat around and looked longingly on, a squirrel frisked hastily across a log near-by, the birds chattered in the trees high above and looked curiously down on the intruders, and presently a foolish hare went scurrying across the path, so near the dogs that they sat still, amazed at his presumption, and forbore to chase him.

"Hi! there goes 'ol' Hyar'!'" shouted Ned; "I'm going to see if I can't catch him." But he soon gave up the hopeless chase.

"Was that your 'ol' Hyar',' Aunt 'Phrony; your ol' Hyar' you tell us all about?" asked little Kit.

"Bless de chil'!" said she. "Naw, 'twuz de ol', ol' Hyar' I done tol' you 'bout, de gre't-gre't-gre't-sump'n-ru'rr grandaddy er dis one, I reckon."

"Aunt 'Phrony," said Janey, "couldn't you tell us some more about the old hare while we sit here and get rested?"

"Now de laws-a-mussy," said 'Phrony, "ef we gwine 'mence on de ol' tales I reckon I mought ez well mek up my min' ter spen' de res' er de day right yer on dis spot," and she leaned back against a pine tree and closed her eyes resignedly. Presently she opened them to ask, "Is I uver tol' you 'bout de time Mistah Hyar' try ter git him a wife? I isn'? Well, den, dat de one I gwine gin you dis trip. Hit happen dis-a-way: Hyar' he bin flyin' all 'roun' de kyountry fer[Pg 144] right long time, frolickin' an' cuttin' up, jes' a no-kyount bachelder, an' las' he git kind er tired uv hit, an' he see all tu'rr creeturs gittin' ma'ied an' he tucken hit inter his haid dat 'twuz time he sottle down an' git him a wife; so he primp hisse'f up an' slick his hya'r down wid b'argrease an' stick a raid hank'cher in his ves'-pockit an' pick him a button-hole f'um a lady's gyarden, an' den he go co'tin' dis gal an' dat gal an' tu'rr gal. He 'mence wid de good-lookin' ones an' wind up wid de ugly ones, but 'twan't nair' one dat 'ud lissen to 'im, 'kase he done done so many mean tricks an' wuz sech a hyarum-skyarum dat dey wuz all 'feared ter tek up wid 'im, an' so dey shet de do' in his face w'en he git ter talkin' sparky, dough dar wan't no pusson cu'd do dat sort er talkin' mo' slicker 'n w'at he cu'd. But he done gin de creeturs jes' li'l too much 'havishness, so 'twan't no use.

"He think de marter all over an' he say ter hisse'f: 'Dem fool gals dunno w'at dey missin', but ef dey s'pose I gwine gin up an' stay single, dey done fool derse'fs dis time. I ain' gwine squatulate wid 'em ner argyfy ner beg no mo', but I gwine whu'l right in an' do sump'n.'

"Atter he study a w'ile he slap one han' on his knee, an' he 'low, he do: 'Dat's de ticket! dat's de ticket! I reckon dey'll fin' ol' man Hyar' ain' sech a fool ez he looks ter be, atter all.'

"He go lopin' all roun', leavin' wu'd at ev'y house in de kyountry dat a big meetin' bin hilt an' a law passed dat ev'yb'dy gotter git ma'ied, young an' ol', rich an' po', high an' low. He say ter hisse'f, 'ev'yb'dy, dat mean me, too, so dish yer whar I boun' ter git me a wife.'

"De creeturs place der 'pennance on him, dough[Pg 145] he done tucken 'em in so often, an' on de 'pinted day dey met toge'rr; de gals all dress' up in der Sunday clo'es an' de mens fixed up mighty sprucy, an' sech a pickin' an' choosin' you nuver see in all yo' bawn days. De gals dey all stan' up in line an' de men go struttin' mighty biggitty up an' down befo' 'em, showin' off an' makin' manners an' sayin', 'Howdy, ladiz, howdy, howdy!' An' de gals dey'd giggle an' twis' an' putt a finger in de cornders er der moufs, an' w'en a man step up ter one uv 'em ter choose her out, she'd fetch 'im a li'l tap an' say, 'Hysh! g'way f'um yer, man! better lemme 'lone!' an' den she'd giggle an' snicker some mo', but I let you know she wuz sho' ter go wid him in de een'.

"All dis time Hyar' wuz gwine up an' down de line, bowin' an' scrapin' an' tryin' ter mek hisse'f 'greeable ter ev'yb'dy, even de daddies an' de mammies er de gals, whar wuz lookin' on f'um tu'rr side. Dar wuz whar he miss hit, 'kase w'ile he wuz talkin' ter de mammy uv a mighty likely li'l gal whar he think 'bout choosin', lo an' beholst, de choosin' wuz all over, an' w'en Mistah Hyar' turnt roun' dar wan't nair' a gal lef', an' ev'y man have a wife asseptin' him.

"Den dey hilt a big darnsin' an' feastin', an' ev'yb'dy wuz happy an' in a monst'ous good humor, de gals 'kase dey done wot ma'ied, an' de paws an' de maws 'kase dey done got redd er de gals,—ev'yb'dy 'scusin' Hyar'. Dey mek lots er game uv 'im, an' w'en dey darnse pas', dey sings out: 'Heyo! Mistah Hyar', huccome you ain' darnse?' 'Bring yo' wife, ol' man, an' jine in de fun!' 'Hi! yi! Mistar Hyar', you done ma'y off ev'yb'dy else an' stay single yo'se'f? Well, dat de meanes' trick you done played us yit! 'tain'[Pg 146] fair!' An' dey snicker an' run on 'twel Hyar' wish he ain' nuver year de wu'd ma'y.

"Atter w'ile dey got tired er darnsin' an' tucken der new wifes an' went off home leavin' Hyar' all by hisse'f, an' I tell you he feel right lonesome. He git a bad spell er de low-downs an' go squanderin' roun' thu de woods wid his years drapt an' his paws hangin' limp, studyin' how he kin git revengemint. Las' he pull hisse'f toge'rr an' he say: 'Come, Hyar', dis ain't gwine do. Is you done fool ev'yb'dy all dese 'ears an' den let yo'se'f git fooled by a passel er gals? Naw, suh! I knows w'at I gwine do dis ve'y minnit. Ef I kain't git me a gal, I kin git me a widdy, an' some folks laks dem de bes', anyhows. Ef you ma'y a widdy, she got some er de foolishness knock' outen her befo' you hatter tek her in han'.'

"Wid dat he step out ez gaily ez you please. He go an' knock at de do' uv ev'y house, an' w'en de folks come ter de do' dey say, 'W'y, howdy, Mistah Hyar', whar you bin keepin' yo'se'f all dis time?' He say, he do: 'Oh, I bin tendin' ter de 'fairs er de kyountry, an' I is sont unter you ez a messenger. I is saw'y ter tell you dey done hilt nu'rr big meetin' an' mek up der min's de worl' gittin' too many creeturs in hit, so dey pass de law dat dar mus' be a big battle, an' you is all ter meet toge'rr at de 'pinted time, an' each man mus' fall 'pun de man nex' him an' try fer ter kill 'im.'

"De creeturs assept dis wid submissity, dey ain' 'spicion Hyar' 't all. On de 'pinted day dey met toge'rr, an' each wuz raidy ter defen' hisse'f. Hyar' wuz dar lak all de res', an' ef you'd 'a seed all de spears an' bows an' arrers he kyarry,[Pg 147] an' all de knifes stickin' in his belt, you'd 'a thought he wuz de bigges' fighter dar. But sho! W'en de fightin' begin, hit wuz far'-you-well, gentermans! 'Twan't no Hyar' dar; he jes' putt out tight 'z he kin go. W'en dey see him goin' dey sing out: 'Hi, dar! Whar you gwine? Whyn't you stay wid we-all?'

"Hyar' ain' stop ter talk, he jes' look roun' over his shoulder w'iles he 'z runnin' an' he say, sezee: 'De man I wanster kill, he done runned 'way an' I'se atter him. Kain't stop to talk; git outen my way, ev'yb'dy,

'Cle'r de track, fer yer me comin',
I'se ol' Buster whar keep things hummin'.'

"W'en de battle wuz over, de creeturs miss Hyar', an' dey say he mus' be 'mongs' de kilt, so dey go roun' lookin' at de daid, but 'twan't no Hyar' dar. Dey hunt ev'ywhar fer him an' las' dey foun' him squattin' in de bresh, tremlin' ez ef he have de ager an' nigh mos' skeert ter de'f. Dey drug him outen dat an' dey ses: 'So dish yer's Buster whar keep things hummin'! Well, we gwine mek you hum dis time, sho' 'nuff. You putts we-all ter fightin' an' gits heap er good men kilt off, an' yer you settin' tuck 'way safe in de bresh.'

"Den ol' Hyar' he up an' 'fess he done de hull bizness so's't de kyountry mought be full er widdies an' he git him his pick fer a wife, fer he 'lowed widdies wan't gwine be so p'tickler ez de gals. De creeturs jes' natchully hilt up der han's at him, dey wuz plumb outdone. 'De owdacious vilyun!' dey ses, 'we boun' ter exescoot him on de spot an' git shed uv 'im onct fer all.' But he[Pg 148] baig mighty hard an' some uv 'em think he be wuss punish ef dey jes' gins 'im a good hidin' an' lets 'im live on alone, a mis'able ol' bachelder, widout no pusson ter tek notuss uv 'im, 'kase none er de widdies wuz gwine ma'y a cowerd."

"Why, Aunt 'Phrony," said Ned, "he must have found a wife at last, for how about Mis' Molly Hyar'?"

"Shucks!" said she, "is I uver tol' you 'bout Mis' Molly Hyar'? Naw, suh, she b'longs in dem ol' nigger tales whar Nancy tells you. De Injun tales ain' say nuttin' 'bout no wife er his'n. He wuz too gre't a fighter an' too full er 'havishness uver ter sottle down wid a wife; an' now lemme finish de tale.

"Dey gin him a turr'ble trouncin' an' den turnt him aloose, an' stidder gittin' him a wife he got him a hide dat smart f'um haid ter heels; but w'en my daddy tell dat tale he useter een' her up dis-a-way, 'An' mebby Hyar' git de bes' uv 'em, atter all, 'kase w'en you git a hidin', de smart's soon over, but w'en you git a wife, de mis'ry done come ter stay.'"[Pg 149]


By Elliott Flower

Ten thoughtful women, ever wise,
A wondrous scheme did once devise
For ease, and to economize.
"Coöperation!" was their cry,
And not a husband dared deny
'Twould life and labor simplify.
One gardener, the ten decreed,
Was all the neighborhood would need
To plant and trim and rake and weed.
The money saved they could invest
As vagrant fancy might suggest,
And each could then be better dressed.
So well this worked that, on the whole,
It seemed to them extremely droll
To pay so much for handling coal.
One man all work then undertook,
And former methods they forsook,
Deciding even on one cook.
One dining-room was next in line,
Where, free from care, they all could dine
At less expense, as you'll divine.
[Pg 150]
"Two maids," they said, "could quickly flit
From home to home, so why permit
Expense that brings no benefit?"
Economy of cash and care
Became a hobby of the fair,
Until their husbands sought a share.
"Although," the latter said, "all goes
For luxuries and costly clothes,
The method still advantage shows.
"While we've not gained, we apprehend
Good Fortune will on us attend,
If we continue to the end.
"If you've succeeded, why should we
From constant toil be never free?
One income should sufficient be;
"And, taking turns in earning that,
We'll have the leisure to wax fat
And spend much time in idle chat.
"So let us see the matter through,
And, in this line, it must be true
One house for all will surely do.
"And if one house means less of strife,
To gain the comforts of this life,
Why, further progress means one wife."
         *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Ten women now, their acts attest,
Prefer ten homes, and deem it best
To let coöperation rest.
[Pg 151]


By J.V.Z. Belden

"Katherine—give it up, dear—" The man looked down into the earnest eyes of the girl as she sat in the shadow of a palm in the conservatory at the Morrison's. Strains of music from the ball-room fell on unheeding ears and she sighed as she looked up at him.

"I can not turn back now, Everett," she said. "Ever since that day I spent down on the east side I have looked at life from a different standpoint. A message came to me then and I must listen. For a year I have been preparing myself to take my part in this work. To-morrow I take possession of what is called a model flat, and I hope to teach those poor little children something besides the three R's. To tell them how to take a little sunshine into their dismal homes." She looked like some fair saint with her face illumined with love of humanity.

"Might I venture to suggest that there is plenty of room for sunshine in an old house up the Avenue," said the man wistfully.

The girl looked up quickly—"Don't, Everett, give me six months to see what I can do—then I will answer the question you asked me last night."

"Oh, my dear, my dear," he said, "you do not know how I hate to have you go down there. My sympathy with the great unwashed is not[Pg 152] deep enough for me to be willing to have you mingle with them. Then, to be quite honest, I have found them rather a happy lot."

"Listen, Everett," said the girl. "Come down to me a month from to-night and I will show you that I am right and you are wrong."

"A whole month!" the man protested.

"Yes, a whole month—"

The sun was shining into the front windows of a room on the first floor of a high tenement down on the east side. A snow-white bed stood far enough from the wall to allow it to be made up with perfect ease. In front of it stood a screen covered with pretty chintz; white muslin curtains hung at the windows; everything was spotless from the kalsomined ceiling to the oiled floors, where a few bright-colored rugs made walking possible. As Katherine Anderson explained to some scoffing friends who came down to take luncheon with her.

"Everything is clean and in its proper place and the object-lesson is invaluable to these poor children. If you go into their homes you will find that the bed is a bundle of rags in some dark closet, while the front room is kept for company. Here I show them how easily this sunny room is made into a sitting-room by putting that screen in front of the bed and then there is a healthful place to sleep. You may think that I am over-enthusiastic, but I enjoy my classes and I assure you they are all day long, for besides the usual schoolroom work we have cooking classes, physical culture, nature classes and little talks about all sorts of things. I have one girl who I know is going to be a great novelist, she[Pg 153] has such an imagination," said Katherine. "Her big sister always has a duplicate of anything of mine the child happens to admire, and the other day she came rushing in with the tale that 'burglars' had broken into their house the night before and stolen twenty bottles of ketchup and 'some preserts.'"

"Had they?" asked the guest. "What peculiar taste in burglary!"

"No," laughed Katherine; "she has no big sister and their house is one back room four flights up."

Four weeks had passed since the Morrison dinner, and Katherine was tired. Then, too, she was not altogether sure that her mission was a success. Was she wishing for the fleshpots of upper Fifth Avenue, or was it just physical weariness that would pass with the night? She had sent off a note in the morning:

"My Dear Everett—The work of the model flat is still in existence, and it is almost a month—a whole month. On Saturday afternoon I am expecting some of the mothers to come and tell me what they think of the work we are doing for their children. They will probably be gone by five o'clock, and if you care to come down at that time I might be induced to go out to dinner with you. Don't bother about a chaperon. As I feel now, I could chaperon a chorus girl myself.


Whether the meeting at Mrs. Kelly's had been called together by engraved cards, by postals, or simply by shrieking from one window to another,[Pg 154] I do not know, but there was evidently some excitement, some deep feeling which needed expression among the little crowd of women in the fourth floor, back.

"I tell ye," shouted Mrs. Kelly, to make herself heard above the din of many voices, "I tell ye we must organize, an' Tim Kelly himself says it. Only last Satady night, an' him swearin' wid hunger, an' me faintin' wid the big wash I had up the Avenoo, what did we come home to but hull wheat bred an' ags olla Beckymell. There stood my Katy, wid her han's on her hips, a-sayin' as 'teacher said' them things was nourishiner than b'iled cabbage. Well, Tim was that mad he broke every plate on the table an' then went and drank hisself stiff in Casey's saloon."

"And what do ye think," cried Mrs. McGinniss, as Mrs. Kelly stopped for breath, "the other night, when me an' some frinds was comin' in for a quiet avenin', we found my Ellen Addy had hauled the bed into the front room, an' she an' the young ones was all asleep, an' up to the winders was my best petticut cut in two. When I waked her up she whined, 'Teacher says it ain't healthy to sleep in back.' Did ye ever hear the like of that? an' every blessed one of them kids born there!"

"Now, wha' d'ye think o' that?" murmured the crowd.

Mrs. Kelly caught her breath and began again. "I've axed ye to come here because teacher sent word that she'd like the mothers to come of a Satady and tell her how they liked what she was doin' for the young ones. Tim says as they sends a committee from men's meetings, and I think if Mrs. McGinniss, Mrs. McGraw and me was to[Pg 155] riprisint this gatherin' we could tell her how we all feels."

It was Saturday afternoon, and the model flat was in perfect order, while the little servant, called "friend" by Miss Anderson, waited in her spotless apron to answer the bell. Another object-lesson for the mothers who were expected. The bell rang and three women walked soberly into the little hall.

"I am so glad to see you, Mrs. Kelly, and you, Mrs. McGinniss." She hesitated at the third name.

"'Tis Mrs. McGraw," said Mrs. Kelly.

"Bring the tea, Louisa," said Miss Anderson, "and then I want to show you how pleasant my home is here."

Mrs. Kelly gave a sniff. "Hum, yessum, it's sunny, but I've seen your home up town, and it's beyond the likes of me to see why you're down here at all, at all."

"Yes," said Mrs. McGinniss, "an' I've come to say that you'd better stay up there an' stop teachin' my childer about their insides. I'm tired of hearin' 'I can't eat this an' I can't eat that, cause teacher says there ain't no food walue.' An' there's Mrs. Polinski, down the street, says she'll have no more foolishness."

Mrs. Kelly had caught her breath again. "Her Rebecca come home only yestidy an' cut all the stitches in Ikey's clo'es, an' him sewed up for the winter."

Just then a woman with a shawl over her head came in without knocking. With a nod to the three women, she faced the teacher. "Now, I'd like to know one thing," she said; "you sent my Josie home this morning to wash the patchouly[Pg 156] offen her hair; now, I want to know just one thing—does she come here to be smelt or to be learnt?"

"There's another thing, too," said Mrs. Kelly; "I want that physical torture business stopped. The young ones are tearin' all their clo'es off, an' it's got to be stopped!"

Katherine looked a little dazed and her voice trembled a bit as she said: "Wouldn't you like to look at the flat?"

"No, Miss, we wouldn't," said Mrs. Kelly. "You're a nice young woman, and you don't mean no harm, but it's the sinse av the committee that you're buttin' in. Good day to ye." And they filed slowly out.

Katherine, with cheeks aflame, turned toward the door. There was a twinkle in Landon's eyes as he said:

"Are you quite ready for dinner, dear?"

There was a little break in her voice, and she gave him both her hands.

"Quite ready for—for anything, Everett."[Pg 157]


By Anne Virginia Culbertson

Nigger nuver worry,—
Too much sense fer dat,
Let de white folks scurry
Roun' an' lose dey fat,
Nigger gwine be happy, nuver-min'-you whar he at.
Nigger jes' kain't worry,—
Set him down an' try,
No use, honey, fer he
Sho' ter close he eye,
Git so pow'ful sleepy dat he pass he troubles by.
Cur'ous, now, dis trouble
Older dat hit grown,
'Stid er gittin' double,
Dwinnle ter de bone;
Nigger know dat, so dat why he lef' he troubles 'lone.
Nigger nuver hurry,
Dem w'at wants ter may;
Hurry hit mek worry!
Now you year me say
Ain' gwine hurry down de road ter meet ol' Def half-way![Pg 158]
Den quit yo' hurryin',
Quit yo' worryin'!
W'at de use uv all dis scurryin'?
Mek ol' Time go sof' an' slow,
Tell him you doan' want no mo'
Dish yer uverlastin' flurryin',—
Jes' a trick er his fer hurryin'
Folks de faster to'des dey burryin'!
[Pg 159]


By Elliott Flower

"My Papa is an angel now,"
The little maiden said.
We noted her untroubled brow,
Her gayly nodding head,
And then, of course, we wondered how
She could have been misled.
We felt that she was wrong, and yet
We spoke in accents low,
For life with perils is beset,
And friends oft quickly go.
But she was right; he'd gone in debt
To "back" a burlesque show.

[Pg 160]


By George Randolph Chester

The tantalizing stream on the other side of the hedge seemed, to the hot and tired young man, to lead the way straight into the heart of Paradise itself. Six weary miles of white highway, wavering with heat and misty with hovering dust clouds, still lay between himself and the railroad that would whisk him away to the city. Behind him, conquered at fatiguing cost, were six more miles, stretching back to the village where not even a team could be hired on Sunday. Rather than spend the day in that dismal abode of Puritanism he had fled on foot, his business done, and this little creek, mocking, alluring, irresistible, was the only cheerful thing on which his eyes had rested in that whole stifling journey.

Even this had a drawback. He glanced up again, with a puzzled frown, at the queer sign glaring down at him from the hedge. It was the third one of the sort in the past quarter of a mile:


Are warned from these premises
under penalty of the law


He turned away impatiently. Dust, dust, dust! He could feel it pasty on his tongue, gritty on[Pg 161] his lips, grimy on his face. It had stiffened his hair, clogged his nostrils, sifted through his clothing, settled into his shoes. It was everywhere and all-pervading.

The forbidden creek, in the very refinement of derision, suddenly bubbled into a bar of clinking song—a perfect ecstasy of crystal notes—then as suddenly died down, babbling and gurgling, and flowed smoothly on, whispering and murmuring to itself of the delights to come in the heart of the cool woods. Just here, with a swift sweep between mossy, curved banks, the stream turned its back to him and hurried away among the trees with a coy invitation that was well-nigh maddening. He remembered just such a creek as that where, as a boy, he had used to go with his companions after school.

How delightful those boyish swims had been! In fancy he could still feel the chill shock as he had plunged in, the sharp catching of his breath, the resounding splash, the shower of icy drops, the soft yielding of the water—then the delicious buoyancy that had pervaded his limbs. He wondered, with a whimsical smile, how long he could "stay under," and if he could hold his eyes open while he dived, and if he could still swim "dog fashion" and back-handed on his back, and if he could float and tread water and "turtle."

How cool and shady and restful it looked in there! Just before the creek turned behind a clump of dogwood, a patch of sunlight lay on it, shooting down through the misty twilight of broad oak trees, and the surface of the water dimpled and glinted and laughed and flirted at him, before it slipped away into leaf-dimmed sylvan solitudes, in a way that was not to be longer[Pg 162] resisted. He gave one more glance of distaste at the white hot road and gave up the struggle.

"Here goes the 'especial man,'" he said, looking up at the sign in smiling defiance, and forced his way through the hedge.

What a coquettish little stream that was! It leaped merrily down tiny, boulder-strewn inclines to show him how light-hearted and care-free it could be; it flowed sedately between narrow banks of turf to display its perfect propriety; it coyly hid behind walls of graceful, slender willows; it danced impudently into the open and dashed across clear spaces in frantic haste to escape him; it spread out, clear and limpid, upon little bars of golden sand, pretending frankly to reveal its pure, inmost depths; then raced on again, ever beckoning, ever enticing, ever cajoling, until at last it plunged straight at a wall of dense, tangled underbrush, and, with a vixenish gurgle of delight at its own blandishing duplicity, vanished underneath the low sweeping mass of leaves without even so much as a good-by!

The pursuer was not to be daunted. Doggedly he fought his way around and through the swampy underbrush and presently stood blinking his delighted eyes in a little natural clearing that was a glorious climax to all the tantalizing coquetry of the creek. Encircled by drooping, long-leaved willows that were themselves enringed by stately trees, lay a broad, deep pool, clear as crystal, one side carpeted with velvety turf and screened with leafy draperies, and the whole canopied by the smiling blue sky. With a cry of pleasure the young man hastily threw off his clothing, and, as he undressed, a school-boy taunt whimsically recurred to him.[Pg 163]

"Last one in's a nigger!" he shouted to the squirrel that he caught peering at him from the far side of a limb, and plunged into the pool.

One by one he gleefully tried all the old boyish tricks until at last, tiring of them, he lay floating peacefully on his back, looking up at the sky and covering the entire visible surface of it with air castles, as young men will. There was no dusty road, no broiling hot sun, no six miles of weary distance yet to cover.

There was a rustle and a patter among the trees. Two dogs came bounding to the edge of the water and barked at the bather in friendly fashion. They were bouncing big St. Bernards, but scarcely more than puppies, and they capered and danced in awkward delight when he splashed water at them. As a further evidence of their friendly feeling they suddenly pounced upon his clothing.

"Hey there!" cried the bather, and scrambled out to rescue his apparel. It was kind of him, the dogs thought, to take so much interest in the game, and, not to be outdone in heartiness, they scampered off through the woods, taking the clothes with them. All they left behind was his hat, his shoes and one sock, his collar and cuffs and tie. He threw sticks and stones after them and had started to chase them when a new and dreadful sound smote on his ear. It was the voices of women!

There was but one safe hiding-place—the pool. With rare presence of mind he concealed the pathetic remnant of his belongings and plunged just in time, diving under a clump of low-hanging willows where a friendly root gave support to his arms and breast.

Two elderly ladies of severe and forbidding[Pg 164] aspect came slowly within his range of vision. One was tall and thin and the other was short and thin, while both wore plain, skimp, black gowns and had their hair parted in the center and smoothed down flatly over their ears. They were silent with some vexed and weighty problem as they drew near, but, as they came just opposite to him, the taller of the two suddenly burst out with:

"Men, men, men! Nothing but men, morning, noon and night. Please explain, Sister Ann! Where did Adnah, during my brief absence, get her sudden curiosity about the despicable sex?"

"It was the recent visit of Doctor Laura Phelps, Sister Sarah," meekly replied the smaller woman. "She lost a magazine while here and Adnah found it. The publication contained several love stories, so-called, an illustrated article on 'Young Captains of Industry' and another on 'Handsome Young Men of the Stage.' I burned the pernicious thing as soon as it came into my hands, but, alas, the damage had been done!"

"Damage, indeed, Sister Ann!" snapped the other. "Since the age of five, poor Sister Jane's orphan has never been permitted to see a man. Big country girls have even been hired to do our farm work. And this, this is the end of fourteen years of self-sacrificing care!"

The young man in the pool cautiously ducked his head under the water. A mosquito had settled back of his ear and was driving him mad.

"Dreadful!" moaned Sister Ann. "Adnah goes about sighing all the day, and looks over-long in the mirror, and takes unseemly pains with her dressing, and does up her hair with flowers, and has feverishly pink cheeks, and likes to sit in a[Pg 165] corner and brood, and takes long walks by herself, and especially, especially, seems fond of moonlight!"

A snake slid down off the bushes into the water near the young man and he "wanted out," but he stayed.

"Moonlight!" sniffed Sarah. "Moonlight!" There is no language to express the disdain with which she spoke this word of philandering and frivolity.

"Moonlight is very pretty," ventured the other. "I rather like it myself."

"At your time of life!" retorted Sister Sarah. "You are too sentimental, Sister Ann, as well as too careless."

Thank Heaven they were going! The young man waited until their voices died in the distance, then crept cautiously to the bank. He had to find those dogs, and in a hurry. He had just seated himself to put on his shoes for the search, when he again heard the voices of women and once more plunged into the pool, like a monster yellow frog, as he reflected he must seem to the squirrel in the tree.

"But, Aunt Matilda, how do you know?" he heard as he came up under the willows. This new voice, sweet and limpid, belonged to a girl of such striking appearance that the young man was on the point of forgetting his dilemma—until that infernal mosquito settled down back of his ear again!

"My dear Adnah," said a jerky little voice in answer, "your aunts, remember, were all young once, and considered great beauties in their day." There was a world of gentle pride in Aunt Matilda's voice as she said this, and it sounded so[Pg 166] well that she said it over again. "Great beauties in their day! In consequence they all had their experiences with men, and know that there is not one to be trusted. Not one, my child, not one! Believe your aunts."

"It seems impossible, aunty," declared the soft voice of Adnah. "Why, in that magazine were the pictures of some of the most noble-looking creatures—"

"Tut, tut, child, those are the very worst kind," hastily interrupted Aunt Matilda. "The more handsome they are, the more dangerous. Since you remain so incredulous, however, I suppose I shall have to tell you what we know about them."

The young man in the pool felt his circulation stopping. The two women were calmly sitting down on the bank to talk confidences, and from what he knew of the sex they were as likely as not to sit there until doomsday, compelling him to appear before the angel Gabriel without even a shroud. He was conscious of the beginning of a cramp in his left leg and his shoulders were becoming icy. He had to be motionless, too, and that was another hardship. The least movement might betray him, for the women sat quite near, and Adnah was facing him. Thanks to the thickness of his leafy hiding-place she could not see him, but he could see her quite plainly, and she was well worth looking at. She, too, wore a plain, skimp, black dress, and her brown hair was parted in the center and smoothed down over her ears, but there the resemblance to Aunt Matilda and the others ended, for her hair was wavy in spite of the severely straight brushing, and it glinted gold where little flecks of sunlight filtered through the branches of the tall trees to caress it. In the hair,[Pg 167] too, was a single red rose, caught into place with a natural grace that it seemed a pity to waste on three spinster aunts and two dogs, and the same note of color was repeated in another rebellious blossom at the throat. The young face was plump and oval, and the cheeks were pink, the brown eyes were wide and sparkling and—Oh, well, the young man in the pool stopped cataloguing her attractions and simply summed her up as a stunningly pretty girl. Then he tried once more to get rid of that maddening mosquito and wished to high Heaven that they would go!

"When our dear mother died we four girls were all quite young," began Aunt Matilda, pausing primly to smooth down her skirts, and the young man in the watery prison gave up in despair. She was starting out like the old-fashioned story books, which never arrived any place, and never knew how to get back if they did. "Your Aunt Sarah was eighteen years old, your Aunt Ann and myself sixteen, and your poor, deluded mother fourteen. Our father, child, married again within the year, and so you see our acquaintance with the duplicity of men began at a very early age. Of course, we refused to live with a stepmother or to allow her to occupy our own dear mother's house. Left, then, upon our own responsibilities at so tender a period of our lives, it behooved us to conduct ourselves with the strictest of propriety, and I am most happy to say that we came triumphantly through the ordeal. Naturally, we being great beauties in those days, my child, great beauties, many gay young men fluttered about us, and some of them really made quite favorable impressions upon us. There was one in particular—"[Pg 168]

Aunt Matilda paused for a sigh and fixed her eyes in sad reminiscence upon a little clump of ferns that, full of conceit, were waving incessant salutes at their dainty reflections in the water.

"Hang the story of her life!" muttered the miserable youth in the pool. His teeth were beginning to chatter.

"Do go on, aunty!" cried the eager Adnah.

"Well, child, they were all alike. Having insinuated their way into our confidences by agreeable manners and by their really indisputable attractiveness, having aroused the beginnings of tender emotions, what did these young men do, one and all? Why, instead of waiting until the acquaintance had ripened into mutual undying affection and then falling gracefully to their knees with honorable proposals of marriage, they one and all chose what seemed to be favorable moments and strove, by cajolery or stealth or even force, to kiss us. To kiss us!"

"Gracious!" exclaimed Adnah.

There was a moment's silence. The young man in the pool could feel the goose-flesh pimpling between his shoulder blades.

"After all, though, it might not have been so very dreadful," finally commented Adnah, after a thoughtful sigh.

"Adnah!" cried the horrified Aunt Matilda. "I am astounded!"

"I can't help it, aunty," said Adnah. "I can't make it seem so terrible, no matter how hard I try. In fact it—it seems to me that it would have been—well—rather nice."


"But, aunty, didn't it ever seem that way to you, sometimes?"[Pg 169]

Aunt Matilda was shocked and silent for a moment, then over her pale cheeks crept a pink flush.

"I'll not deny," she presently confessed in a hesitant voice, "that if we had not had each other to rely upon for firmness we might perhaps have been deluded by some of these young scapegraces. They were truly quite appealing at times. There was one in particular—"

Again Aunt Matilda became lost in meditation. The young man in the pool swore softly, even though he perceived the tear that trembled upon the lady's eyelash. It was impossible to be sympathetic while a leech was fastened to his ankle.

"My mother must have thought the way I do, I am sure," persisted Adnah. The remark brought Aunt Matilda out of the past with a jerk.

"Your poor mother had the most pitiful experience of all, child," she replied. "She married. Shortly after you were born, she died, fortunately spared all knowledge of your father's faithless fickleness. Adnah, he, too, married again! You, Adnah, was too young to protect yourself from a stepmother, but we came to your rescue. Your great uncle, Peter, had just died and left us this fine estate, and here we are, trying to shield you from the wiles of the destroyer, man!"

"Some men must be nice, or so many, many girls would not want them," commented Adnah, still unconvinced.

"I'll not deny, dear, that some of them seem quite nice," admitted the other with a sigh. "There was one in particular—"

The dogs interrupted at this moment with a racing struggle for some red and brown object.

"Now what has Castor got?" cried Adnah,[Pg 170] jumping up to give chase in a healthy and delightful burst of speed.

The youth in the pool dismally realized that Castor had his missing sock, a brown lisle affair with a quaint red pattern in it, at a dollar a pair. His teeth were pounding together like castanets, now, so loudly that he feared Aunt Matilda must surely hear them. Adnah presently returned, flushed rosy red by the exercise and more charming than ever.

"I couldn't catch them," she panted. "Gracious, but I am warm! There is plenty of time for a plunge before dinner. Just wait, Aunt Mattie, until I run for the bathing suits," and she flashed away again.

Great Cæsar's ghost! The hidden youth grew so warm with apprehension that the goose-flesh disappeared and the chattering of his teeth stopped. His dilemma was unspeakable and unsolvable, seemingly, but suddenly it was solved for him. The dogs came back!

The sock had been shredded and they sought fresh diversion. After a cordially barked invitation for the young man to come out and play, they went in after him. There was a tremendous splashing struggle. Suddenly the willows were pulled down by a muscular bare arm, and the face of a young man appeared above it to the astounded gaze of Aunt Matilda.

"Excuse me, madam," he began, lunging viciously at Castor and Pollux with his feet. "Please call off your dogs."

Aunt Matilda, pale but determined, whipped an antiquated monster of a pistol from her pocket, though she held it far off from her and to one side, with no intention, past, present or future, of ever[Pg 171] firing it. It got its effectiveness from size alone, and was built for pure moral suasion if ever a pistol was.

"Hold perfectly still or I shall shoot," she quaveringly warned him. "You are a male trespasser, sir!"

"I sincerely regret it, madam," replied the culprit, slapping viciously at the mosquito behind his ear. He got it that time.

"You probably will," freezingly retorted Aunt Matilda. "I shall telephone for the sheriff immediately, and if you are still here when he arrives you shall receive the full penalty of the law."

The young man did some quick thinking. It was necessary.

"Madam, your dogs have stolen my clothing and my money, and I can not leave until I get them back," he presently declared with lucky inspiration. "If you have me arrested for trespass I shall bring suit for the recovery of property."

Aunt Matilda was sufficiently perplexed to lower her pistol and allow him to explain, while she coaxed the dogs out of the water. He was a splendid talker, and had fine, honest-looking blue eyes.

There was a rush of swift footsteps among the trees.

"Hide!" she commanded in sudden panic.

He promptly hid, and when Adnah arrived with the bathing suits, that young lady found her aunt calmly seated on the ground, holding Castor and Pollux each by a dripping collar.

"Leave my suit and return to the house at once with these dogs," directed Aunt Matilda without turning her head.

"Why, Aunt Mattie, what's the matter?"[Pg 172]

"Nothing!" snapped Aunt Matilda in desperation. "Go back to the house and stay until I come. Ask no questions."

Adnah searched the scene in mystification for a moment.

"Yes, aunty," she suddenly said, and walked away in a flutter of excitement. She had caught the gleam of a bright eye peering at her from among the willows!

She burst into a spontaneous rhapsody of song as she went, trilling and warbling in sweet, untaught cadences, unconsciously like a bird singing to its mate in the springtime. She had a wonderful voice. The young man was sorry when she was out of hearing, but glad, too, for the water was beginning to pucker his cuticle in hard ridges like a wash-board.

"Now, young man," said Aunt Matilda, "I shall leave this bathing suit here for your use. I shall expect you to put it on and retire from the premises as quickly as possible."

"I must remain until nightfall," was the firm reply. "I must find my money and clothes. I should feel ridiculous to be seen in such clothing as that. You, yourself, would scarcely care to have me seen emerging from your premises, on Sunday especially, in such outlandish garments."

That last argument told. Aunt Matilda visibly weakened.

"Very well, then," she grudgingly agreed, "but at dusk—Mercy, young man, how your teeth do chatter! Are you getting a chill? I'll bring you a bowl of boneset tea and some dinner right away!" and she hurried off in much concern.

The young man lost no time in getting into that bathing suit, for the chill of the water was upon[Pg 173] him. The suit consisted merely of a pair of blue bloomers that came just below his knees, and a blue blouse that split down the back and at the armpits the moment he buttoned it in front; still he was very grateful for it—grateful for the warm glow that began to pervade him the moment he had donned it. He put on his one sock and his shoes, his hat, collar, tie and cuffs to keep the dogs from getting them, and was quite comfortable when Aunt Matilda came bustling back with a bowl of steaming tea and a tray loaded with good things to eat.

She sat by admiring his appetite until he had finished, then she made him drink the boneset tea to the last drop. He talked admirably all through the "dinner," and it was with a sigh of almost regret that she started away with the empty dishes. She came back presently.

"You will find our summer cottage up in that direction," she pointed out. "We shall expect you to—to keep out of range during the day, but to report at the kitchen door at dusk, when you will be escorted to the road."

"I shall follow your instructions to the letter," he assured her, and she again slowly walked away. To save her, the man-hater could not think of another reasonable excuse for prolonging the interview. He was a most gentlemanly young man, and he had splendid eyes!

The male trespasser spent the next hour in hunting clothes and anathematizing dogs. His finds were confined strictly to rags and pairless arms and sleeves, and finally he gave up, with everything accounted for but worthless. Discovering a high, grassy plot near the creek, screened from the woods by a thick copse of[Pg 174] hazel bushes, he lay down to think matters over and promptly fell asleep.

Perhaps half an hour later he slowly opened his eyes with the feeling that he was being compelled to awaken, and found Adnah seated quietly beside him, keeping the mosquitoes away from him with a gracefully waved hazel branch.

"Just sleep right on," she gently urged. "I often sleep for hours on hot afternoons in this very place."

"How did you come here?" he demanded, sitting up, startled.

"I hunted you," she confessed with a delighted little laugh. "I'm so glad you're awake at last and don't want to sleep any more. I felt just sure that your eyes were blue. And they are!"

Her delight at this fact was so obvious that he felt uneasy.

"You see, I listened outside the window while Aunt Mattie told Aunts Ann and Sarah all about you," she confidingly went on. "Aunt Sarah and Aunt Ann were for telephoning for the sheriff anyhow, but Aunt Mattie wouldn't let them. She likes you. So do I."

"Oh!" said the astonished young man. For the first time in his life conversation had failed him.

"Of course," said the girl simply. "Well, I waited until they all lay down for their after-dinner naps, and climbed out of my window so as not to disturb them. They do enjoy their naps so much, you know. I didn't find you at the pool but I just hunted until I did find you. I've been sitting here a long time watching you. You look so nice when you are asleep."

Now what should he say? With any ordinary[Pg 175] girl he could have found the answer, but this one had him floored.

"But you look ever so much nicer when you are awake," she further informed him, with a clear-eyed straightforwardness that was worse than disconcerting. In desperation he answered, with her own frankness, that she was nice looking herself. He meant it, too.

"I'm so glad you think so," she contentedly sighed. "I just knew we should like each other as soon as I saw you lying there asleep."

It was he who blushed, not the girl.

She partly raised up to recapture her hazel branch, and when she sat down again her shoulder remained lightly touching his arm. An electric thrill ran through him and tingled out at his fingertips, but he never moved a muscle. She looked up at him in peaceful happiness and he somehow felt very mean and unworthy. Her eyes made him uncomfortable. The whole trouble was that she was so honest—had never been taught to conceal her thoughts by the thousand and one spoken and unspoken lies of ordinary social intercourse. She was neither timid nor bold, but merely natural, with never a suspicion that conventionality demanded a man and a maid to leave a mutual liking unconfessed. It was rather rough on the young man. He was not used to having the truth fly around in such reckless fashion in his conversations with girls, and it bothered him.

"I'm not a bit afraid of you," she presently told him. "I knew all the time that Aunt Mattie was wrong. She told me that all men were dreadful, and that the first thing they did was to—to kiss a girl they liked."[Pg 176]

"She knows nothing about it," he replied rather crossly. For some unaccountable reason he was angry with himself and with her.

"Indeed, she doesn't," she agreed, eying him thoughtfully. Presently she added: "I do not believe, though, that I should have minded it so much if she had been right."

Shade of Plato! He looked down at the tempting curve of her red lips. They were round and full and soft as the petals of a half-blown rosebud, warm and tender and sweet, with just the least trace of puckering to indicate how they could meet the pressure of other lips. He felt his heart come pounding up into the region of his Adam's apple, and he trembled as he had not done since his first attack of puppy love at the age of fourteen. His breath came and went with a painful flutter but he made no movement. If it had been any sort of a girl under the sun, especially if so attractive as this one, she would have been kissed until she gasped for breath; but he just couldn't do it. However, if she went so far as to ask him to kiss her, by George! he didn't see how he was to get out of it!

"I should really like to kiss you," he admitted with a martyr-like sigh and a further echo of her own frankness, "but I shan't. Under the circumstances it would not be right."

He reflected, grinning, that mother would be proud if she could see him now, then he thought, grinning harder, of the boys at the club. If they only knew!

"There, didn't I say so!" she triumphantly exclaimed. "I told Aunt Matilda that there certainly must be some good men in the world!"

Good! He winced as certain memories of his[Pg 177] careless youth began to do cake-walks up and down his conscience. Then he changed the subject.

She snuggled up closely to him, by and by, confidingly and unsuspicious, and just talked and talked and talked. It was very pleasant to have her there at his side, babbling innocently away in that sweet, musical voice. How pretty she was, how artless and trusting, how honest and how heart-whole! It came to him that his family and friends had for a long time been telling him that he ought to get married, and he began to see that they were right.

How delightful it would be to stay on forever in this enchanted grove with her. He presently found himself fervently saying it, though he had not intended such words to pass his lips. She took the wish as a matter of course. She had confidently expected him to feel that way about it, and, if he felt that way, to say so.

"Adnah Eggleson!"

They jumped like juvenile jam-thieves caught red-handed.

Aunt Sarah and Aunt Ann and Aunt Matilda rigidly confronted them, having stolen upon them unseen, unheard, unthought of, and they stood now in grim horror, merciless and implacable. They advanced in a swooping body, after one moment of agonizing suspense, and snatched Adnah into their midst, glaring three kinds of loathing scorn upon the interloping serpent.

"Has this person kissed you, or attempted to do so?" hissed Aunt Sarah.

"Not yet," meekly answered poor Adnah.

"I assure you ladies—," began the serpent, but Aunt Sarah cut him short.[Pg 178]

"Silence, sir!" she commanded. "We wish no explanations from you, whatsoever."

Thus crushing him, the little company wheeled and marched away, bearing Adnah an unwilling and impenitent captive, two of them ingeniously keeping behind her so that she should have no opportunity of even exchanging a backward glance with the serpent.

Left to himself the serpent moodily kicked holes in the turf. He had an intense desire to do something violent—to smash something, no matter what. He was furious with the trio of aunts. It was a shame, he told himself, to bury alive a beautiful and noble young woman like that, through a warped and mistaken notion of the world. What right had they to condemn a sweet and affectionate creature such as she to a starved and morbid spinsterhood? It was his duty to rescue her from the colorless fate that hung over her, and he would do his duty. He was unconsciously flexing his biceps as he said it.

Would he? How? Should he get out a search warrant or a writ of replevin? This whimsical view of the case only exasperated him the more as it presented the utter hopelessness of approaching her—of ever seeing her again—and, when the dogs came chasing an utterly inconsequential and useless butterfly in his direction, he pelted them with stones until they yelped. Hang the dogs, anyhow. It was all their fault!

Next he blamed himself. If he had only resisted that creek like a man he wouldn't have been a hundred miles from home without clothes or money, and silly about a girl he had never seen until that day.

Then he blamed the girl. Why, why was she[Pg 179] such a confiding and altogether artless and bewitching little fool? She wasn't! He remembered her eyes and abjectly apologized to the memory of her. She was everything that was sweet and pure and womanly—everything that was desirable in every sense—well-bred, well-schooled, unspoiled of the world, without guile or subterfuge, beautiful, healthy, honest. That had been the only startling thing about her—just honesty. It spoke ill for himself and the world in which he lived that this should have seemed startling! What a wonderful creature she was! By the Eternal, she belonged to him and he meant to have her! She loved him, too!

He sat down on the bank to think over this phase of the question. He had known her several years in the minute and a half since noon, and it was time this foolishness came to an end.

Time flies when youth listens to the fancied strains of Mendelssohn's Spring Song. He was surprised, presently, to note a strange hush settling down over the woods. A chill vapor seemed to arise from the water. There was a melancholy note in the tweet of the low-flitting birds. The rustling trees softened their murmur to a continuous whisper, soothing and caressing. The tinkle of the creek became more metallic and pronounced. Near by, down the stream, a sudden chorus of frogs burst into croaking, their isolated notes blended by the chirping undertone of the crickets and tree toads. There were other sounds, mysterious, untraceable, but all musical in greater or lesser degree.

He understood at last. These sounds, the rustling leaves, the flitting birds, the tinkling creek, the frogs, tree toads and crickets and those other[Pg 180] intangible cadences, these were the instruments of nature's vast orchestra, playing their lullaby, languorous and sweet, for the drowsy day. It was dusk, and he was desperately in love with Adnah, and he had on a fool bloomer bath suit and no money, and he had to go back into civilization just as he was. Woe, woe, woe and anathema!

At the house he found a table set under a big oak tree back of the kitchen. Supper for one was illumined by the rays of a solitary lantern. Aunt Sarah and Aunt Ann, each with a pistol in her lap, sat grimly to one side. Adnah nor Aunt Matilda were anywhere to be seen, and he divined with a thrill that Aunt Matilda was acting as jailer to the young woman until he should be safely off the premises. Evidently she had been hard to manage. Bless the little girl!

He took off his hat as he approached and bowed respectfully.

"I should like you to know who I am," he began.

"You will please to eat your supper without conversation," Aunt Sarah sternly interrupted.

"I wish to pay my addresses to your niece," he protested, but the two ladies, finding rudeness necessary, clasped their hands to their ears.

"Kindly eat," said Aunt Sarah, without removing her hands.

He sat down and glared at the food in despair. He thought he heard Adnah's voice and the sounds of a scuffle in the house, and it gave him inspiration. He arose, and, leaning his hands on the edge of the table, shouted as loudly as he could:

"I am John Melton, of Philadelphia. I will give you as many references as you like. I wish your[Pg 181] permission to write to your niece and, later on, to call upon her. May I do so?"

"Are you going to eat your supper?" inquired Aunt Sarah.

He gave up. He could not, as a gentleman, take Aunt Sarah's hands from her ears and make her listen to what he had to say. He turned sadly away from the table. The armed escort also arose.

"Please lead the way," requested Aunt Sarah. "The path leads directly from the front of the cottage to the road."

He had stalked, in dismal silence, almost half way down the winding avenue of trees, moodily watching the gigantic shadows of his limbs leaping jerkily among the shrubbery, when it occurred to him that the women could scarcely carry the lantern and pistols and still hold their ears.

"I am John Melton, of Philadelphia," he shouted, and looked back to address them more directly. Alas, the pistols reposed in the pockets of the two prim aprons, the lantern smoked askew at Aunt Sarah's waist, and both women were holding their hands to their ears!

He could not know that they had been whispering about him, however, and really, for man-haters, their remarks had been very complimentary. Not even that ridiculous costume could hide his athletic figure, his good carriage and pleasant address.

They were nearing the road when they heard a woman's voice shrieking for them to wait, and presently Aunt Matilda came running after them, breathless and excited.

"You must come back to the house at once, all of you," she panted. "Adnah is wildly hysterical.[Pg 182] She insists that she must have this young man, monster or no monster—that she will die without him. I truly believe that she would!"

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Aunt Sarah. "Come on, then!"

It was Aunt Sarah who swiftly and anxiously led the way. At the door of the parlor she paused and confronted the young man.

"Remember," she warned, "that however impulsive our poor, misguided niece may appear, you must not kiss her!"

Without waiting for reply she opened the door for him. Adnah, smiling happily through the last of her tears, sprang to meet him, and, seizing his hand, drew him down on the couch beside her.

"I'm going to keep you here always, now," she declared with pretty authority, as she locked her arm in his and interlaced their fingers.

He looked around at the aunts and suddenly longed for his own clothes. They had drawn their chairs in a close semi-circle about the couch and were helplessly staring. He felt the hot blood burning in his cheeks, on his temples, down the back of his neck.

"You will stay, won't you?" Adnah anxiously asked him.

"I think I shall take you with me, instead," he replied, smiling down at her in an attempt to conquer his embarrassment.

Adnah rapturously sighed. The spectators suddenly arose, retiring to the far corner of the room, where they held an excited, whispered consultation. Presently they came back and sat down in the same solemn half-circle. Aunt Sarah ceremoniously cleared her throat.

"You will please to unclasp your hands and sit[Pg 183] farther apart," she directed. This obeyed, she proceeded: "Now, Mr. Nelson—"

"Melton, if you please," corrected the young man, producing a business card that he had rescued.

"Oh!" exclaimed the aunts, exchanging wondering glances.

"We understood that it was Nelson," murmured Aunt Matilda. It seemed that the hands had not been so tightly clasped over the ears as he had thought.

Aunt Sarah gravely adjusted her glasses.

"'John Melton, Jr.,'" she read. "'Representing Melton and Melton, Administrators and Real Estate Dealers. General John A. Melton. John Melton, Jr.'"

There was a suppressed flutter of excitement and again the three aunts exchanged surprised glances.

"I think I may safely say, may I not, Sisters Ann and Matilda, that this quite alters the case?" was Aunt Sarah's strange query.

"Quite so, indeed," agreed Aunt Matilda, complacently smoothing her apron.

"Very much so," added Aunt Ann.

"Decidedly," resumed Aunt Sarah. "Your father, young man, handled the estate of our deceased Uncle Peter in a most upright and satisfactory fashion—for a man. So far, much is in your favor, since our unfortunate niece will not be contented without some sort of a husband. Your personal qualifications have yet to be proved, however. We presume that you can offer documentary evidence as to your own worth, sir?"

"Not for a day or so, unfortunately," confessed the young man. "The dogs destroyed all my pa[Pg 184]pers. The only thing I could find was a portion of a brief note from my mother."

The three aunts, as by one electric impulse, bent forward with shining eyes.

"From your mother!" hungrily repeated Aunt Sarah. "Let us see it, if you will, please."

He produced it reluctantly. It was not exactly the sort of letter a young man cares to parade.

"'My beloved son,'" Aunt Sarah read aloud, pausing to bestow a softened glance upon him. "'I can not wait for your return to say how proud I am of you. Your noble and generous action in regard to the aged widow Crane's property has just come to my ears, through a laughing complaint of your father about your unbusinesslike methods in dealing with those who have been unfortunate. In spite of his whimsically expressed disapproval, he feels that you are an honor to him. Your sister Nellie cried in her pride and love of you when she heard—'"

The rest of the letter had been lost, but this was enough.

Adnah had gradually hitched closer to him, and now her hand, unreproved, stole affectionately to his shoulder. Aunt Matilda was wiping her eyes. Aunt Ann openly sniffled. Aunt Sarah cleared her throat most violently.

"Your references are all that we could wish, young man," she presently admitted in a businesslike tone. "We shall waive, in your favor, our objections to men in general. If we must have one in the family we are to be congratulated upon having one whose mother is proud of him."

Coming from Aunt Sarah this was a marvelous concession. The young man bowed his head in pleased acknowledgment and, by and by, crossed[Pg 185] his legs in comfort as a home-like feeling began to settle down upon him. Suddenly observing their bloomered exposure, however, he tried to poke his legs under the couch, and twiddled his thumbs instead.

"And when do our young people expect to be married?" meek Sister Ann presently ventured to inquire.

"As quickly as possible," promptly answered the young man, smiling triumphantly down at the girl by his side. He was astonished, and rather pleased, too, to find her suddenly embarrassed and blushing prettily.

"I believe, then," announced Aunt Sarah, after due deliberation, "that you may now kiss our niece; may he not, Sisters Ann and Matilda?"

"He may!" eagerly assented the others.

"Very well, then, proceed," commanded Aunt Sarah, folding her arms.

The young man hastily braced himself to meet this new shock, then gazed down at the girl again. She was still blushing in her newly-found self-conscious femininity, but she trustingly held up her pretty lips to him, looking full into his eyes with the steady flame of her love burning unveiled—and he kissed her.

"Ah-h-h-h!" sighed the three man-hating spinsters in ecstatic unison.[Pg 186]


By George Horace Lorimer

[From John Graham, at the London House of Graham & Co., to his son, Pierrepont, at the Union Stock Yards in Chicago. Mr. Pierrepont is worried over rumors that the old man is a bear on lard, and that the longs are about to make him climb a tree.]

London, October 27, 189-

Dear Pierrepont: Yours of the twenty-first inst. to hand and I note the inclosed clippings. You needn't pay any special attention to this newspaper talk about the Comstock crowd having caught me short a big line of November lard. I never sell goods without knowing where I can find them when I want them, and if these fellows try to put their forefeet in the trough, or start any shoving and crowding, they're going to find me forgetting my table manners, too. For when it comes to funny business I'm something of a humorist myself. And while I'm too old to run, I'm young enough to stand and fight.

First and last, a good many men have gone gunning for me, but they've always planned the obsequies before they caught the deceased. I reckon there hasn't been a time in twenty years when there wasn't a nice "Gates Ajar" piece all made up and ready for me in some office near[Pg 187] the Board of Trade. But the first essential of a quiet funeral is a willing corpse. And I'm still sitting up and taking nourishment.

There are two things you never want to pay any attention to—abuse and flattery. The first can't harm you and the second can't help you. Some men are like yellow dogs—when you're coming toward them they'll jump up and try to lick your hands; and when you're walking away from them they'll sneak up behind and snap at your heels. Last year, when I was bulling the market, the longs all said that I was a kindhearted old philanthropist, who was laying awake nights scheming to get the farmers a top price for their hogs; and the shorts allowed that I was an infamous old robber, who was stealing the pork out of the workingman's pot. As long as you can't please both sides in this world, there's nothing like pleasing your own side.

There are mighty few people who can see any side to a thing except their own side. I remember once I had a vacant lot out on the Avenue, and a lady came in to my office and in a soothing-sirupy way asked if I would lend it to her, as she wanted to build a crèche on it. I hesitated a little, because I had never heard of a crèche before, and someways it sounded sort of foreign and frisky, though the woman looked like a good, safe, reliable old heifer. But she explained that a crèche was a baby farm, where old maids went to wash and feed and stick pins in other people's children while their mothers were off at work. Of course, there was nothing in that to get our pastor or the police after me, so I told her to go ahead.

She went off happy, but about a week later[Pg 188] she dropped in again, looking sort of dissatisfied, to find out if I wouldn't build the crèche itself. It seemed like a worthy object, so I sent some carpenters over to knock together a long frame pavilion. She was mighty grateful, you bet, and I didn't see her again for a fortnight. Then she called by to say that so long as I was in the business and they didn't cost me anything special, would I mind giving her a few cows. She had a surprised and grieved expression on her face as she talked, and the way she put it made me feel that I ought to be ashamed of myself for not having thought of the live stock myself. So I threw in a half dozen cows to provide the refreshments.

I thought that was pretty good measure, but the carpenters hadn't more than finished with the pavilion before the woman telephoned a sharp message to ask why I hadn't had it painted.

I was too busy that morning to quarrel, so I sent word that I would fix it up; and when I was driving by there next day the painters were hard at work on it. There was a sixty-foot frontage of that shed on the Avenue, and I saw right off that it was just a natural signboard. So I called over the boss painter and between us we cooked up a nice little ad that ran something like this:

Graham's Extract:
It Makes the Weak Strong.

Well, sir, when she saw the ad next morning that old hen just scratched gravel. Went all around town saying that I had given a five-hundred-dollar shed to charity and painted a thousand-dollar ad on it. Allowed I ought to send my check for that amount to the crèche fund.[Pg 189] Kept at it till I began to think there might be something in it, after all, and sent her the money. Then I found a fellow who wanted to build in that neighborhood, sold him the lot cheap, and got out of the crèche industry.

I've put a good deal more than work into my business, and I've drawn a good deal more than money out of it; but the only thing I've ever put into it which didn't draw dividends in fun or dollars was worry. That is a branch of the trade which you want to leave to our competitors.

I've always found worrying a blamed sight more uncertain than horse-racing—it's harder to pick a winner at it. You go home worrying because you're afraid that your fool new clerk forgot to lock the safe after you, and during the night the lard refinery burns down; you spend a year fretting because you think Bill Jones is going to cut you out with your best girl, and then you spend ten worrying because he didn't; you worry over Charlie at college because he's a little wild, and he writes you that he's been elected president of the Y.M.C.A.; and you worry over William because he's so pious that you're afraid he's going to throw up everything and go to China as a missionary, and he draws on you for a hundred; you worry because you're afraid your business is going to smash, and your health busts up instead. Worrying is the one game in which, if you guess right, you don't get any satisfaction out of your smartness. A busy man has no time to bother with it. He can always find plenty of old women in skirts or trousers to spend their days worrying over their own troubles and to sit up nights waking his.[Pg 190]

Speaking of handing over your worries to others naturally calls to mind the Widow Williams and her son Bud, who was a playmate of mine when I was a boy. Bud was the youngest of the Widow's troubles, and she was a woman whose troubles seldom came singly. Had fourteen altogether, and four pair of 'em were twins. Used to turn 'em loose in the morning, when she let out her cows and pigs to browse along the street, and then she'd shed all worry over them for the rest of the day. Allowed that if they got hurt the neighbors would bring them home; and that if they got hungry they'd come home. And someways, the whole drove always showed up safe and dirty about meal time.

I've no doubt she thought a lot of Bud, but when a woman has fourteen it sort of unsettles her mind so that she can't focus her affections or play any favorites. And so when Bud's clothes were found at the swimming hole one day, and no Bud inside them, she didn't take on up to the expectations of the neighbors who had brought the news, and who were standing around waiting for her to go off into something special in the way of high-strikes.

She allowed that they were Bud's clothes, all right, but she wanted to know where the remains were. Hinted that there'd be no funeral, or such like expensive goings-on, until some one produced the deceased. Take her by and large, she was a pretty cool, calm cucumber.

But if she showed a little too much Christian resignation, the rest of the town was mightily stirred up over Bud's death, and every one just quit work to tell each other what a noble little fellow he was; and how his mother hadn't de[Pg 191]served to have such a bright little sunbeam in her home; and to drag the river between talks. But they couldn't get a rise.

Through all the worry and excitement the Widow was the only one who didn't show any special interest, except to ask for results. But finally, at the end of a week, when they'd strained the whole river through their drags and hadn't anything to show for it but a collection of tin cans and dead catfish, she threw a shawl over her head and went down the street to the cabin of Louisiana Clytemnestra, an old yellow woman, who would go into a trance for four bits and find a fortune for you for a dollar. I reckon she'd have called herself a clairvoyant nowadays, but then she was just a voodoo woman.

Well, the Widow said she reckoned that boys ought to be let out as well as in for half price, and so she laid down two bits, allowing that she wanted a few minutes' private conversation with her Bud. Clytie said she'd do her best, but that spirits were mighty snifty and high-toned, even when they'd only been poor white trash on earth, and it might make them mad to be called away from their high jinks if they were taking a little recreation, or from their high-priced New York customers if they were working, to tend to cut-rate business. Still, she'd have a try, and she did. But after having convulsions for half an hour, she gave it up. Reckoned that Bud was up to some cussedness off somewhere, and that he wouldn't answer for any two-bits.

The Widow was badly disappointed, but she allowed that that was just like Bud. He'd always been a boy that never could be found when any one wanted him. So she went off, saying that[Pg 192] she'd had her money's worth in seeing Clytie throw those fancy fits. But next day she came again and paid down four bits, and Clytie reckoned that that ought to fetch Bud sure. Someways though, she didn't have any luck, and finally the Widow suggested that she call up Bud's father—Buck Williams had been dead a matter of ten years—and the old man responded promptly.

"Where's Bud?" asked the Widow.

Hadn't laid eyes on him. Didn't know he'd come across. Had he joined the church before he started?


Then he'd have to look downstairs for him.

Clytie told the Widow to call again and they'd get him sure. So she came back next day and laid down a dollar. That fetched old Buck Williams' ghost On the jump, you bet, but he said he hadn't laid eyes on Bud yet. They hauled the Sweet By and By with a drag net, but they couldn't get a rap from him. Clytie trotted out George Washington, and Napoleon, and Billy Patterson, and Ben Franklin, and Captain Kidd, just to show that there was no deception, but they couldn't get a whisper even from Bud.

I reckon Clytie had been stringing the old lady along, intending to produce Bud's spook as a sort of red-fire, calcium-light, grand-march-of-the-Amazons climax, but she didn't get a chance. For right there the old lady got up with a mighty set expression around her lips and marched out, muttering that it was just as she had thought all along—Bud wasn't there. And when the neighbors dropped in that afternoon to plan out a memorial service for her "lost lamb,"[Pg 193] she chased them off the lot with a broom. Said that they had looked in the river for him and that she had looked beyond the river for him, and that they would just stand pat now and wait for him to make the next move. Allowed that if she could once get her hands in "that lost lamb's" wool there might be an opening for a funeral when she got through with him, but there wouldn't be till then. Altogether, it looked as if there was a heap of trouble coming to Bud if he had made any mistake and was still alive.

The Widow found her "lost lamb" hiding behind a rain-barrel when she opened up the house next morning, and there was a mighty touching and affecting scene. In fact, the Widow must have touched him at least a hundred times and every time he was affected to tears, for she was using a bed slat, which is a powerfully strong moral agent for making a boy see the error of his ways. And it was a month after that before Bud could go down Main Street without some man who had called him a noble little fellow, or a bright, manly little chap, while he was drowned, reaching out and fetching him a clip on the ear for having come back and put the laugh on him.

No one except the Widow ever really got at the straight of Bud's conduct, but it appeared that he left home to get a few Indians scalps, and that he came back for a little bacon and corn pone.

I simply mention the Widow in passing as an example of the fact that the time to do your worrying is when a thing is all over, and that the way to do it is to leave it to the neighbors. I sail for home to-morrow.

Your affectionate father,
John Graham.
[Pg 194]


Provoked by Calverley's "Forever"

By Bert Leston Taylor

"Farewell!" Another gloomy word
As ever into language crept.
'Tis often written, never heard,
In playhouse. Ere the hero flits—
In handcuffs—from our pitying view.
"Farewell!" he murmurs, then exits
"Farewell" is much too sighful for
An age that has not time to sigh.
We say, "I'll see you later," or
When, warned by chanticleer, you go
From her to whom you owe devoir,
"Say not 'good-by,'" she laughs, "but
'Au Revoir!'"
Thus from the garden are you sped;
And Juliet were the first to tell
You, you were silly if you said
"Farewell!"[Pg 195]
"Farewell," meant long ago, before
It crept, tear-spattered, into song,
"Safe voyage!" "Pleasant journey!" or
"So long!"
But gone its cheery, old-time ring;
The poets made it rhyme with knell—
Joined it became a dismal thing—
"Farewell!" into the lover's soul
You see Fate plunge the fatal iron.
All poets use it. It's the whole
Of Byron.
"I only feel—farewell!" said he;
And always fearful was the telling—
Lord Byron was eternally
"Farewell!" A dismal word, 'tis true
(And why not tell the truth about it!);
But what on earth would poets do
Without it?
[Pg 196]


By James Whitcomb Riley

[Writ durin' State Fair at Indanoplis, whilse visitin' a Soninlaw then residin' thare, who has sence got back to the country whare he says a man that's raised thare ot to a-stayed in the first place.]

I tell you what I'd ruther do—
Ef I only had my ruthers,—
I'd ruther work when I wanted to
Than be bossed round by others;—
I'd ruther kindo' git the swing
O' what was needed, first, I jing!
Afore I swet at anything!—
Ef I only had my ruthers;—
In fact I'd aim to be the same
With all men as my brothers;
And they'd all be the same with me
Ef I only had my ruthers.
I wouldn't likely know it all—
Ef I only had my ruthers;—
I'd know some sense, and some base-ball—
Some old jokes, and—some others:
I'd know some politics, and 'low
Some tarif-speeches same as now,
Then go hear Nye on "Branes and How
To Detect Theyr Presence." T'others,
That stayed away, I'd let 'em stay—
All my dissentin' brothers
Could chuse as shore a kill er cuore,
Ef I only had my ruthers.[Pg 197]
The pore 'ud git theyr dues sometimes—
Ef I only had my ruthers,—
And be paid dollars 'stid o' dimes,
Fer children, wives and mothers:
Theyr boy that slaves; theyr girl that sews—
Fer others—not herself, God knows!—
The grave's her only change of clothes!
... Ef I only had my ruthers,
They'd all have "stuff" and time enugh
To answer one-another's
Appealin' prayer fer "lovin' care"—
Ef I only had my ruthers.
They'd be few folks 'ud ast fer trust,
Ef I only had my ruthers,
And blame few business-men to bu'st
Theyrselves, er harts of others:
Big Guns that come here durin' Fair-
Week could put up jest anywhare,
And find a full-and-plenty thare,
Ef I only had my ruthers:
The rich and great 'ud 'sociate
With all theyr lowly brothers,
Feelin' we done the honorun—
Ef I only had my ruthers.
[Pg 198]


By Wallace Irwin

'Twas off the Eastern Filigrees—
Wizzle the pipes o'ertop!—
When the gallant Captain of the Cheese
Began to skip and hop.
"Oh stately man and old beside,
Why dost gymnastics do?
Is such example dignified
To set before your crew?"
"Oh hang me crew," the Captain cried,
"And scuttle of me ship.
If I'm the skipper, blarst me hide!
Ain't I supposed to skip?
"I'm growing old," the Captain said;
"Me dancing days are done;
But while I'm skipper of this ship
I'll skip with any one.
"I'm growing grey," I heard him say,
"And I can not rest or sleep
While under me the troubled sea
Lies forty spasms deep.
[Pg 199]
"Lies forty spasms deep," he said;
"But still me trusty sloop
Each hour, I wot, goes many a knot
And many a bow and loop.
"The hours are full of knots," he said,
"Untie them if ye can.
In vain I've tried, for Time and Tied
Wait not for any man.
"Me fate is hard," the old man sobbed,
"And I am sick and sore.
Me aged limbs of rest are robbed
And skipping is a bore.
"But Duty is the seaman's boast,
And on this gallant ship
You'll find the skipper at his post
As long as he can skip."
And so the Captain of the Cheese
Skipped on again as one
Who lofty satisfaction sees
In duty bravely done.
[Pg 200]


By May McHenry

Melinda was dejected. She told herself that she was groping in the vale of despair, that life was a vast, gray, echoing void. She decided that ambition was dead—a case of starvation; that friendship had slipped through too eagerly grasping fingers; that love—ah, love!—

"You'd better take a dose of blue-mass," her aunt suggested when she had sighed seven times dolefully at the tea table.

"Not blue-mass. Any other kind of mass you please, but not blue," Melinda shuddered absently.

No; she was not physically ill; the trouble was deeper—soul sickness, acute, threatening to become chronic, that defied allopathic doses of favorite and other philosophers, that would not yield even to hourly repetition of the formula handed down from her grandmother—"If you can not have what you want, try to want what you have." Yet she could lay her finger on no bleeding heart-wound, on no definite cause. It was true that the deeply analytical, painstakingly interesting historical novel on which she had worked all winter had been sent back from the publishers with a briefly polite note of thanks and regrets; but as she had never expected anything else, that could not depress her. Also, the slump in G.C. Copper stock had forced her to[Pg 201] give up her long-planned southern trip and even to forego the consolatory purchase of a spring gown; but she had a mind that could soar above flesh-pot disappointments. Then, the Reverend John Graham;—but what John Graham did or said was nothing—absolutely nothing, to her.

So Melinda clenched her hands and moaned in the same key with the east wind and told the four walls of her room that she could not endure it; she must do something. Then it was, that in a flash of inspiration, it came to her—she would write a humorous story.

The artistic fitness of the idea pleased her. She had always understood that humorists were marked by a deep-dyed melancholy, that the height of unhappiness was a vantage-ground from which to view the joke of existence. She would test the dictum; now, if ever, she would write humorously. The material was at hand, seething and crowding in her mind, in fact—the monumental dullness and complacent narrowness of the villagers, the egoism, the conceit, the bland shepherd-of-his-flock pomposity of John Graham. What more could a humorist desire? Yes; she would write.

Thoughts came quick and fast; words flowed in a fiery stream like lava that glows and rushes and curls and leaps down the mountain, sweeping all obstacles aside. (The figure did not wholly please Melinda, for everybody knows how dull and gray and uninteresting lava is when it cools, but she had no time to bother with another.) She felt the exultation, the joy and uplifting of spirit that is the reward—usually, alas, the sole reward—of the writer in the work of creation.[Pg 202]

Then before the lava had time to cool she sent the story to the first magazine on her list with a name beginning with "A." It was her custom to send them that way, though sometimes with a desire to be impartial she commenced at "Z" and went up the list.

At the end of two weeks the wind had ceased blowing from the east. Melinda decided that though life for her must be gray, echoing, void, yet would she make an effort for the joy of others. She would lift herself above the depression that enfolded her even as the buoyant hyacinths were cleaving their dark husks and lifting up the beauty and fragrance of their hearts to solace passers-by. Therefore she ceased parting her hair in the middle and ordered a simple little frock from D——'s—hyacinth blue voile with a lining that should whisper and rustle like the glad winds whisking away last year's leaves.

Then the day came when she strolled carelessly and unexpectantly down the village street to the post-office and there received a letter that bore on the upper left-hand corner of the envelope the name of the magazine first on her list beginning with "A." A chill passed along Melinda's spine. That humorous story—Could this mean?—It was too horrible to contemplate.

She took a short cut through the orchard and as she walked she tore off a corner and peeped into the envelope. Yes, there was a pale-blue slip of paper with serrated edges. She leaned against a Baldwin apple-tree to think.

How true it is that one should be prepared for the unexpected. Melinda had sent out many manuscripts freighted with tingling hopes and eager aspirations and with the postage stamps[Pg 203] that insured their prompt return; how was she to know, by what process of reasoning could she infer that this, that had been offered simply from force of habit, would be retained in exchange for an æsthetically tinted check? She anathematized the magazine editor. (That seems the proper thing to do with editors.) She wanted to know what business he had to keep that story after having led her to believe that it was his unbreakable custom to send them back. It was deception, she told the swelling Baldwin buds, base, deep-dyed, subtle deception. After baiting her on with his little, pink, printed rejection slips, he suddenly sprung a wicked trap.

It was some time before Melinda grew calm enough to read the editorial letter. It ran:

"Dear Madam—We are glad to have your tender and delicately sympathetic picture of village life. There is a note of true sentiment and a generous appreciation of homely virtue marking this story for which we desire to add an especial word of praise. Check enclosed.

"Very truly yours,
"The Editor of A——."

Melinda sank limply on the bleached, last year's grass at the foot of the tree. "Tender and delicately sympathetic picture"—"Generous appreciation!" She laughed feebly. The editor was pleased to be facetious. Having a fine sense of humor himself he showed his realization of the story by acknowledging it in the same vein of subtle satire.

She reread the letter and unfolded the slip of paper with serrated edges with changing emo[Pg 204]tions. After all it was not such a very bad story. She permitted herself to recall how humorous it was, how cleverly and keenly it laid bare the ridiculous, the unexpected, how it scintillated with wit and abounded in droll and subtle distinctions and descriptions—all—all at the expense of her nearest relatives and her dearest friends.

Melinda thought she would return the check and demand that her story be sent back to her or destroyed; but, reflecting that Punch's advice is applicable to other things than matrimony and suicide, she didn't. She resolutely put her literary Frankenstein behind her. She reasoned that in all probability the story would not be published during the lifetime of any of the originals of the characters; that even if the worst came to the worst, Mossdale was likely to remain in ignorance that would be blissful. The villagers were not wont to waste time on the printed word; in fact, such was the profundity of their unenlightenment, few of them had heard of the magazine with a name beginning with "A." Even John Graham paid little attention to the secular periodicals; besides, if absolutely necessary, John's attention might be diverted.

So Melinda went away on a visit. Her health demanded it. The doctor was unable to name her malady, but she herself diagnosed it as magazinitis.

Toward fall Melinda, entirely recovered, returned to Mossdale. Entirely recovered, yet she turned cold, unseeing eyes on the newsboy when he passed through the car with his towering load of varicolored periodicals, and rather than be forced to the final resort of the unaccompanied[Pg 205] traveler, she welcomed the advent of an acquaintance possessed of volubility of an ejaculatory, eruptive variety. After many gentle jets and spurts of gossip much remained to be told, as the lady hastily gathered up her impedimenta preparatory to alighting at her home station.

"How like me in the joy of seeing you, to forget! What a sweet, clever story! And to think of you having something published in 'A——'! I never was more surprised than when Mr. Ferguson brought home the magazine. Those delicious Mossdale people! I could not endure that the dear things should not see and know at once. The lovely hamlet is so—so remote, and I knew you were traveling. What a pleasure to send them half a dozen copies that very evening!—Yes, porter, that, too—Do run down to see me soon, dear—Now do. Good-by!"

Melinda summoned the newsboy and bought the latest number of the magazine with a name beginning with "A." She turned to the list of "Contents" with feverish anxiety, then the book slid from her nerveless fingers. Her humorous story had been given to an eager public. She leaned back and gazed out at the flying telegraph poles and fields. Even the worthiest, the gravest, the finest, she reflected, has a face, that if seen in a certain light, will flash out the ignus fatuus of the ridiculous; but it is not usually considered the office of friendship to turn on the betraying light. Oh, well, her relatives would forgive in time. Relatives have to forgive. It was unfortunate that John Graham was not a relative. "One thing, I know now how much Mrs. Ferguson cares because I got those six votes ahead of her for the Thursday Club presidency—Half[Pg 206] a dozen copies!" Melinda said aloud as she caught sight of the spire of the Mossdale Church.

Her Uncle Joe met her at the station and kissed her for the first time since she had put on long dresses. Notwithstanding a foolish prejudice against tobacco juice Melinda received the salute in a meek and contrite spirit.

"Notice how many citizens were hanging around underfoot on the depot platform—so as you kinder had to stop and shake hands to get 'em out o' the way?" Uncle Joe queried as he turned the colts' heads toward home.

Melinda had noticed. "I suppose they came out to see the train come in," she suggested.

"Nope; not exactly." Uncle Joe explained, "Looking out for automobiles and flying airships have made trains of cars seem mighty common up this way. Nope; the folks was out on account of you a-comin'."

"Me?" Having a guilty conscience Melinda glanced backward apprehensively and made a motion as though to dodge a missile.

"Yep; and you'll find a lot of the relations at the house a-waitin' for you."

"Why—what—? Now look here, Uncle Joe, there is no occasion to be foolish about a little—"

"Foolish? Now, mebby some would call it foolish, but us folks up the creek here we can't help feelin' set up some over findin' out we have a second Milton or a Mrs. Stowe in the fambly."

Melinda looked at her relative's concave profile in sick suspicion. Was the trail of the serpent over them all? But no, Uncle Joe was beaming mildly with the satisfaction of having shown that although the literary hemisphere was the un[Pg 207]known land, he had heard of a mountain and a minor elevation or two; he was, as she had always believed, incapable of satire.

For once Melinda was speechless. But Uncle Joe was likely to be fluent when he got started. He cleared his throat and turned mild, suffused, half-shamed blue eyes on his shrinking niece. "Yes, your piece has come out in the paper, Melinda, and your folks are all-fired pleased with you. I told Lucy this morning I wisht your poor Pap could come back to earth for just this one day."

"Ah-h!" Melinda took a firm grip on the side of the buggy. "But I guess you'll have to write another right off. There is some jealousy amongst them that aren't in it," Uncle Joe went on. "I told 'em you couldn't put the whole connection in or it would read like a list of 'them present' at a surprise party. Your Aunt Lucy, she's just as tickled as a hen with three chickens." The old man chuckled. "There it is all down in black and white just like it happened, only different, about her spasm of economy when she was cleanin' away Mary Emmeline's medicine bottles and couldn't bear to throw away what was left over, but up and took it all herself in one powerful mixed dose to save it, and had to have the doctor with a stomach-pump to cure her of spasms, what wasn't so economical after all. It's her picture tickles her most."

"Oh!" said Melinda.

"Yes, you know the picture is as slim as a girl in her first pair o' cossets a-standin' on a chair a-reachin' bottles off a top shelf, and your Aunt Lucy's that hefty she hain't stood on a chair for ten years for fear 'twould break down, and[Pg 208] she's had to trust the top shelf to the hired girl. I guess when she goes to Heaven she'll want to stop on the way up and fix that top shelf to suit her. So she just sits and looks at that picture and smiles and smiles. She likes my whiskers, too. Yes, she's always wanted me to wear whiskers ever since we was married, but we never was a whiskery fambly and they wouldn't seem to grow thicker than your Uncle Josh's corn when he planted it one grain to the hill. But there I am in the picture in the paper with real biblical whiskers reachin' to the bottom o' my vest."

Uncle Joe cleared his throat and glanced sideways at his niece again. "I want to tell you, Melindy, that I am real obleeged to you for makin' me one of the main ones in the piece with a lot to say. Your Aunt Lucy says 'twas only right and proper, me bein' your nighest kin and you livin' with us; but I told her there was so many others that was smarter and more the story-paper kind, that I thought it showed real good feelin' on your part; yes, I did.—G'up, there, Ginger!—Then I kind o' thought I'd warn you, too, Melindy, that they all are just a-dyin' to hear you say who 'The Preacher' is. He's the only one we couldn't quite place."

Melinda took the little bottle of smelling salts from her bag and held it to her nose.

"Yes," Uncle Joe went on, "the others was easy identified because you had named the names; but him you just called 'The Preacher' all the way through. Some says it's the Reverend Graham kind of toned down and trimmed up like things you see in the moonlight on a summer night. But I told them the Reverend Graham is a nice enough chap, but that that extra-fine, way-up[Pg 209] preacher fellow in the story must be some stranger you knew from off and didn't give his name, because you didn't rightly know what it was. I thought, even if you was so soft on Reverend Graham as to see him in that illusory, moony light, that about the stranger from off was the right and proper thing for me, being your uncle, to say any way. So if you want to keep it dark about 'The Preacher' you can just talk about a stranger from off."

"I will, Uncle Joe—dear Uncle Joe." Melinda exclaimed gratefully as they stopped in front of the gate.

Melinda greeted her relatives with a warmth and enthusiasm that embarrassed and made them suspicious. She was not usually so complacent, so solicitous for the health and progress of offspring; above all she was not usually so loth to talk about herself. She acted as though she had never written a story, yet three copies of it were spread open under her nose—one on the piano, one on the parlor table, one on the sideboard—all open at the passage about "The Preacher."

The relatives retired in disgust. With the departure of the last one Melinda seized a magazine and fled to the orchard. She would read that story herself. As she turned the leaves she caught sight of a manly form carefully climbing the fence. She dropped the periodical and stood on it, gazing up pensively into the well-laden boughs of the Baldwin.

The Reverend Graham took her hands in a strong ministerial squeeze.

"It is very good of you to come to see me so soon after my return," she faltered.[Pg 210]

"Good—Melinda! Do you think I could help coming?" he ejaculated. "I can not tell you—words are inadequate to express what I feel," he went on,—"the deep gratitude, the humility, the wonder, the triumph, the determination, with God's aid, to live up to the high ideal you have set forth in your wonderful story. You have seen the latent qualities, the nobler potentialities; you have shown me to myself. Melinda! Do not think that I do not appreciate the difficulties of this hour for you. I know how your heart is shrinking, how your delicate maidenly modesty is up in arms. But Melinda, you know! you know! Dear Melinda!"

"I am glad you understand me, John."

"Understand you!" The Reverend Graham could restrain himself no longer. He swept her into his arms, appropriating his own.

Melinda remained there quiescently leaning against his shoulder, because there seemed nothing else to do, also because it was a broad and comfortable shoulder against which to lean. "I am done for," she reflected. "Now I will never dare to confess that I was trying to be humorous."

Then she reached up a hand and touched the Preacher's face timidly. His cheek was wet. "Why, John—John!" she whispered.[Pg 211]


By John Paul

Abou, Ben Butler (may his tribe be less!)
Awoke one night from a deep bottledness,
And saw, by the rich radiance of the moon,
Which shone and shimmered like a silver spoon,
A stranger writing on a golden slate
(Exceeding store had Ben of spoons and plate),
And to the stranger in his tent he said:
"Your little game?" The stranger turned his head,
And, with a look made all of innocence,
Replied: "I write the name of Presidents."
"And is mine one?" "Not if this court doth know
Itself," replied the stranger. Ben said, "Oh!"
And "Ah!" but spoke again: "Just name your price
To write me up as one that may be Vice."
The stranger up and vanished. The next night
He came again, and showed a wondrous sight
Of names that haply yet might fill the chair—
But, lo! the name of Butler was not there!
[Pg 212]


By Oliver Wendell Holmes

When legislators keep the law,
When banks dispense with bolts and locks,—
When berries—whortle, rasp, and straw—
Grow bigger downwards through the box,—
When he that selleth house or land
Shows leak in roof or flaw in right,—
When haberdashers choose the stand
Whose window hath the broadest light,—
When preachers tell us all they think,
And party leaders all they mean,—
When what we pay for, that we drink,
From real grape and coffee-bean,—
When lawyers take what they would give,
And doctors give what they would take,—
When city fathers eat to live,
Save when they fast for conscience' sake,—
When one that hath a horse on sale
Shall bring his merit to the proof,
Without a lie for every nail
That holds the iron on the hoof,—
When in the usual place for rips
Our gloves are stitched with special care,
And guarded well the whalebone tips
Where first umbrellas need repair,[Pg 213]
When Cuba's weeds have quite forgot
The power of suction to resist,
And claret-bottles harbor not
Such dimples as would hold your fist,—
When publishers no longer steal,
And pay for what they stole before,—
When the first locomotive's wheel
Rolls through the Hoosac tunnel's bore;—
Till then let Cumming blaze away,
And Miller's saints blow up the globe;
But when you see that blessed day,
Then order your ascension robe!
[Pg 214]


By Tom Masson

She is so gay, so very gay,
And not by fits and starts,
But ever, through each livelong day
She's sunshine to all hearts.
A tonic is her merry laugh!
So wondrous is her power
That listening grief would stop and chaff
With her from hour to hour.
Disease before that cheery smile
Grows dim, begins to fade.
A Christian scientist, meanwhile,
Is this delightful maid.
And who would not throw off dull care
And be like unto her,
When happiness brings, as her share,
One hundred dollars per ——?

[Pg 215]


By William Cullen Bryant

Fair insect! that, with thread-like legs spread out,
And blood-extracting bill, and filmy wing,
Dost murmur, as thou slowly sail'st about,
In pitiless ears, fall many a plaintive thing,
And tell how little our large veins should bleed
Would we but yield them to thy bitter need.
Unwillingly, I own, and, what is worse,
Full angrily, men listen to thy plaint;
Thou gettest many a brush and many a curse,
For saying thou art gaunt, and starved, and faint.
Even the old beggar, while he asks for food,
Would kill thee, hapless stranger, if he could.
I call thee stranger, for the town, I ween,
Has not the honor of so proud a birth:
Thou com'st from Jersey meadows, fresh and green,
The offspring of the gods, though born on earth;
For Titan was thy sire, and fair was she,
The ocean-nymph that nursed thy infancy.
Beneath the rushes was they cradle swung,
And when at length thy gauzy wings grew strong,
Abroad to gentle airs their folds were flung,
Rose in the sky and bore thee soft along;[Pg 216]
The south wind breathed to waft thee on thy way,
And danced and shone beneath the billowy bay.
Calm rose afar the city spires, and thence
Came the deep murmur of its throng of men,
And as its grateful odors met thy sense,
They seemed the perfumes of thy native fen.
Fair lay its crowded streets, and at the sight
Thy tiny song grew shriller with delight.
At length thy pinion fluttered in Broadway,—
Ah, there were fairy steps, and white necks kissed
By wanton airs, and eyes whose killing ray
Shone through the snowy veils like stars through mist;
And fresh as morn, on many a cheek and chin,
Bloomed the bright blood through the transparent skin.
Sure these were sights to tempt an anchorite!
What! do I hear thy slender voice complain?
Thou wailest when I talk of beauty's light,
As if it brought the memory of pain.
Thou art a wayward being—well, come near,
And pour thy tale of sorrow in mine ear.
What say'st thou, slanderer! rouge makes thee sick?
And China Bloom at best is sorry food?
And Rowland's Kalydor, if laid on thick,
Poisons the thirsty wretch that bores for blood?
Go! 'twas a just reward that met thy crime;
But shun the sacrilege another time.[Pg 217]
That bloom was made to look at,—not to touch;
To worship, not approach, that radiant white;
And well might sudden vengeance light on such
As dared, like thee, most impiously to bite.
Thou shouldst have gazed at distance, and admired,—
Murmured thy admiration and retired.
Thou'rt welcome to the town; but why come here
To bleed a brother poet, gaunt like thee?
Alas! the little blood I have is dear,
And thin will be the banquet drawn from me.
Look round: the pale-eyed sisters in my cell,
Thy old acquaintance, Song and Famine, dwell.
Try some plump alderman, and suck the blood
Enriched by generous wine and costly meat;
On well-filled skins, sleek as thy native mud,
Fix thy light pump, and press thy freckled feet.
Go to the men for whom, in ocean's halls,
The oyster breeds and the green turtle sprawls.
There corks are drawn, and the red vintage flows,
To fill the swelling veins for thee, and now
The ruddy cheek and now the ruddier nose
Shall tempt thee, as thou flittest round the brow;
And when the hour of sleep its quiet brings,
No angry hand shall rise to brush thy wings.
[Pg 218]


By Wilbur D. Nesbit

When our town band gets on the square
On concert night you'll find me there.
I'm right beside Elijah Plumb,
Who plays th' cymbals an' bass drum;
An' next to him is Henry Dunn,
Who taps the little tenor one.
I like to hear our town band play,
But, best it does, I want to say,
Is when they tell a tune's to come
O' course, there's some that likes the tunes
Like Lily Dale an' Ragtime Coons;
Some likes a solo or duet
By Charley Green—B-flat cornet—
An' Ernest Brown—th' trombone man.
(An' they can play, er no one can);
But it's the best when Henry Dunn
Lets them there sticks just cut an' run,
An' 'Lijah says to let her hum
Bum-Bum!"[Pg 219]
I don't know why, ner what's the use
O' havin' that to interduce
A tune—but I know, as fer me
I'd ten times over ruther see
Elijah Plumb chaw with his chin,
A-gettin' ready to begin,
While Henry plays that roll o' his
An' makes them drumsticks fairly sizz,
Announcin' music, on th' drum,
[Pg 220]


By Robert J. Burdette

'Twas just behind the woodshed,
One glorious summer day,
Far o'er the hills the sinking sun
Pursued his westward way;
And in my safe seclusion
Removed from all the jar
And din of earth's confusion
I smoked my first cigar.
It was my first cigar!
It was the worst cigar!
Raw, green and dank, hide-bound and rank
It was my first cigar!
Ah, bright the boyish fancies
Wrapped in the smoke-wreaths blue;
My eyes grew dim, my head was light,
The woodshed round me flew!
Dark night closed in around me—
Black night, without a star—
Grim death methought had found me
And spoiled my first cigar.
It was my first cigar!
A six-for-five cigar!
No viler torch the air could scorch—
It was my first cigar![Pg 221]
All pallid was my beaded brow,
The reeling night was late,
My startled mother cried in fear,
"My child, what have you ate?"
I heard my father's smothered laugh,
It seemed so strange and far,
I knew he knew I knew he knew
I'd smoked my first cigar!
It was my first cigar!
A give-away cigar!
I could not die—I knew not why—
It was my first cigar!
Since then I've stood in reckless ways,
I've dared what men can dare,
I've mocked at danger, walked with death,
I've laughed at pain and care.
I do not dread what may befall
'Neath my malignant star,
No frowning fate again can make
Me smoke my first cigar.
I've smoked my first cigar!
My first and worst cigar!
Fate has no terrors for the man
Who's smoked his first cigar!
[Pg 222]


A Story of Steamboat Life on the Mississippi

By Sol Smith

Does any one remember the Caravan? She was what would now be considered a slow boat—then (1827) she was regularly advertised as the "fast running," etc. Her regular trips from New Orleans to Natchez were usually made in from six to eight days; a trip made by her in five days was considered remarkable. A voyage from New Orleans to Vicksburg and back, including stoppages, generally entitled the officers and crew to a month's wages. Whether the Caravan ever achieved the feat of a voyage to the Falls (Louisville) I have never learned; if she did, she must have "had a time of it!"

It was my fate to take passage in this boat. The Captain was a good-natured, easy-going man, careful of the comfort of his passengers, and exceedingly fond of the game of brag. We had been out a little more than five days, and we were in hopes of seeing the bluffs of Natchez on the next day. Our wood was getting low, and night coming on. The pilot on duty above (the other pilot held three aces at the time, and was just calling out the Captain, who "went it strong" on three kings) sent down word that the mate had reported the stock of wood reduced to half a cord. The worthy Captain excused him[Pg 223]self to the pilot whose watch was below and the two passengers who made up the party, and hurried to the deck, where he soon discovered by the landmarks that we were about half a mile from a woodyard, which he said was situated "right round yonder point." "But," muttered the Captain, "I don't much like to take wood of the yellow-faced old scoundrel who owns it—he always charges a quarter of a dollar more than any one else; however, there's no other chance." The boat was pushed to her utmost, and in a little less than an hour, when our fuel was about giving out, we made the point, and our cables were out and fastened to trees alongside of a good-sized wood pile.

"Hallo, Colonel! How d'ye sell your wood this time?"

A yellow-faced old gentleman, with a two-weeks' beard, strings over his shoulders holding up to his armpits a pair of copperas-colored linsey-woolsey pants, the legs of which reached a very little below the knee; shoes without stockings; a faded, broad-brimmed hat, which had once been black, and a pipe in his mouth—casting a glance at the empty guards of our boat and uttering a grunt as he rose from fastening our "spring line," answered:

"Why, Capting, we must charge you three and a quarter this time."

"The d—l!" replied the Captain—(captains did swear a little in those days); "what's the odd quarter for, I should like to know? You only charged me three as I went down."

"Why, Captaing," drawled out the wood merchant, with a sort of leer on his yellow countenance, which clearly indicated that his wood[Pg 224] was as good as sold, "wood's riz since you went down two weeks ago; besides, you are awar that you very seldom stop going down—when you're going up you're sometimes obleeged to give me a call, becaze the current's aginst you, and there's no other woodyard for nine miles ahead; and if you happen to be nearly out of fooel, why—"

"Well, well," interrupted the Captain, "we'll take a few cords, under the circumstances," and he returned to his game of brag.

In about half an hour we felt the Caravan commence paddling again. Supper was over, and I retired to my upper berth, situated alongside and overlooking the brag-table, where the Captain was deeply engaged, having now the other pilot as his principal opponent. We jogged on quietly—and seemed to be going at a good rate.

"How does that wood burn?" inquired the Captain of the mate, who was looking on at the game.

"'Tisn't of much account, I reckon," answered the mate; "it's cottonwood, and most of it green at that."

"Well Thompson—(Three aces again, stranger—I'll take that X and the small change, if you please. It's your deal)—Thompson, I say, we'd better take three or four cords at the next woodyard—it can't be more than six miles from here—(Two aces and a bragger, with the age! Hand over those V's)."

The game went on, and the paddles kept moving. At eleven o'clock it was reported to the Captain that we were nearing the woodyard, the light being distinctly seen by the pilot on duty.

"Head her in shore, then, and take in six cords[Pg 225] if it's good—see to it, Thompson; I can't very well leave the game now—it's getting right warm! This pilot's beating us all to smash."

The wooding completed, we paddled on again. The Captain seemed somewhat vexed when the mate informed him that the price was the same as at the last woodyard—three and a quarter; but soon again became interested in the game.

From my upper berth (there were no state-rooms then) I could observe the movements of the players. All the contention appeared to be between the Captain and the pilots (the latter personages took it turn and turn about, steering and playing brag), one of them almost invariably winning, while the two passengers merely went through the ceremony of dealing, cutting, and paying up their "anties." They were anxious to learn the game—and they did learn it! Once in a while, indeed, seeing they had two aces and a bragger, they would venture a bet of five or ten dollars, but they were always compelled to back out before the tremendous bragging of the Captain or pilot—or if they did venture to "call out" on "two bullits and a bragger," they had the mortification to find one of the officers had the same kind of a hand, and were more venerable! Still, with all these disadvantages, they continued playing—they wanted to learn the game.

At two o'clock the Captain asked the mate how we were getting on.

"Oh, pretty glibly, sir," replied the mate; "we can scarcely tell what headway we are making, for we are obliged to keep the middle of the river, and there is the shadow of a fog rising. This wood seems rather better than that we took in at Yellow-Face's, but we're nearly out again, and[Pg 226] must be looking out for more. I saw a light just ahead on the right—shall we hail?"

"Yes, yes," replied the Captain; "ring the bell and ask 'em what's the price of wood up here, (I've got you again; here's double kings.)"

I heard the bell and the pilot's hail, "What's' your price for wood?"

A youthful voice on the shore answered, "Three and a quarter!"

"D—nèt!" ejaculated the Captain, who had just lost the price of two cords to the pilot—the strangers suffering some at the same time—"three and a quarter again! Are we never to get to a cheaper country? (Deal, sir, if you please; better luck next time.)"

The other pilot's voice was again heard on deck:

"How much have you?"

"Only about ten cords, sir," was the reply of the youthful salesman.

The Captain here told Thompson to take six cords, which would last till daylight—and again turned his attention to the game.

The pilots here changed places. When did they sleep?

Wood taken in, the Caravan again took her place in the middle of the stream, paddling on as usual.

Day at length dawned. The brag-party broke up and settlements were being made, during which operation the Captain's bragging propensities were exercised in cracking up the speed of his boat, which, by his reckoning, must have made at least sixty miles, and would have made many more if he could have procured good wood. It appears the two passengers, in their first lesson, had inci[Pg 227]dentally lost one hundred and twenty dollars. The Captain, as he rose to see about taking in some good wood, which he felt sure of obtaining now that he had got above the level country, winked at his opponent, the pilot, with whom he had been on very bad terms during the progress of the game, and said, in an undertone, "Forty apiece for you and I and James (the other pilot) is not bad for one night."

I had risen and went out with the Captain, to enjoy a view of the bluffs. There was just fog enough to prevent the vision taking in more than sixty yards—so I was disappointed in my expectation. We were nearing the shore, for the purpose of looking for wood, the banks being invisible from the middle of the river.

"There it is!" exclaimed the Captain; "stop her!" Ding—ding—ding! went the big bell, and the Captain hailed:

"Hallo! the woodyard!"

"Hallo yourself!" answered a squeaking female voice, which came from a woman with a petticoat over her shoulders in place of a shawl.

"What's the price of wood?"

"I think you ought to know the price by this time," answered the old lady in the petticoat; "it's three and a qua-a-rter! and now you know it."

"Three and the d—l!" broke in the Captain. "What, have you raised on your wood, too? I'll give you three, and not a cent more."

"Well," replied the petticoat, "here comes the old man—he'll talk to you."

And, sure enough, out crept from the cottage the veritable faded hat, copperas-colored pants, yellow countenance and two weeks' beard we had seen the night before, and the same voice we had[Pg 228] heard regulating the price of cottonwood squeaked out the following sentence, accompanied by the same leer of the same yellow countenance:

"Why, darn it all, Capting, there is but three or four cords left, and since it's you, I don't care if I do let you have it for threeas you're a good customer!"

After a quick glance at the landmarks around, the Captain bolted, and turned in to take some rest.

The fact became apparent—the reader will probably have discovered it some time since—that we had been wooding all night at the same woodyard!


[1] By permission of Life Publishing Company.

[2] Lippincott's Magazine.

[3] Lippincott's Magazine.

[4] From "Nautical Lays of a Landsman," by Wallace Irwin. Copyright, 1904, by Dodd, Mead & Co.

[5] Lippincott's Magazine.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wit and Humor of America, Volume
V. (of X.), by Various


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