The Complete Works of Artemus Ward, Part 1
Charles Farrar Browne
Part 3 out of 4
run with a big show, and that he'd better let his weskut out a
few inches or perhaps he'd bust hisself some fine day, I went
in and squatted down. It was a sad thawt to think that in all
that vast aujience Scacely a Sole had the honor of my
acquaintance. "& this ere," sed I Bitturly, "is Fame! What
sigerfy my wax figgers and livin wild beasts (which have no
ekels) to these peple? What do thay care becawz a site of my
Kangeroo is worth dubble the price of admission, and that my
Snaiks is as harmlis as the new born babe--all of which is
strictly troo?" I should have gone on ralein at Fortin and
things sum more, but jest then Signer Maccarony cum out and
sung a hairey from some opry or other. He had on his store
close & looked putty slick, I must say. Nobody didn't
understand nothin abowt what he sed, and so they applawdid him
versiferusly. Then Signer Brignoly cum out and sung another
hairey. He appeared to be in a Pensiv Mood & sung a Luv song I
suppose, tho he may have been cussin the aujince all into a
heep for aut I knewd. Then cum Mr. Maccarony agin and Miss
Picklehomony herself. Thay sang a Doit together.
Now you know, gents, that I don't admire opry music. But I
like Miss Picklehomony's stile. I like her gate. She suits
me. There has bin grater singers and there has bin more
bootiful wimin, but no more fassinatin young female ever longed
for a new gown, or side to place her hed agin a vest pattern
than Maria Picklehomony. Fassinatin peple is her best holt.
She was born to make hash of men's buzzums & other wimin mad
becawz thay ain't Picklehomonies. Her face sparkles with
amuzin cussedness & about 200 (two hundred) little bit of funny
devils air continually dancing champion jigs in her eyes, sed
eyes bein brite enuff to lite a pipe by. How I shood like to
have little Maria out on my farm in Baldinsville, Injianny, whare
she cood run in the tall grass, wrastle with the boys, cut up
strong at parin bees, make up faces behind the minister's back,
tie auction bills to the skoolmaster's coat-tales, set all the
fellers crazy after her, & holler & kick up, & go it just as
much as she wanted to! But I diegress. Every time she cum
canterin out I grew more and more delighted with her. When she
bowed her hed I bowed mine. When she powtid her lips I powtid
mine. When she larfed I larfed. When she jerked her hed back
and took a larfin survey of the aujience, sendin a broadside of
sassy smiles in among em, I tried to unjint myself & kollapse.
When, in tellin how she drempt she lived in Marble Halls, she
sed it tickled her more than all the rest to dream she loved
her feller still the same, I made a effort to swaller myself;
but when, in the next song, she look strate at me & called me
her Dear, I wildly told the man next to me he mite hav my close,
as I shood never want 'em again no more in this world. [The
"Plain Dealer" (The Cleveland "Plain Dealer," a well-known
Ohio newspaper, to which Mr. Artemus Ward wishes us to
understand he contributed.) containin this communicashun is
not to be sent to my famerly in Baldinsville under no
In conclushun, Maria, I want you to do well. I know you air a
nice gal at hart & you must get a good husband. He must be a man
of branes and gumpshun & a good provider--a man who will luv you
strong and long--a man who will luv you jest as much in your old
age, when your voice is cracked like an old tea kittle & you can't
get 1 of your notes discounted at 50 per sent a month, as he will
now, when you are young & charmin & full of music, sunshine & fun.
Don't marry a snob, Maria. You ain't a Angel, Maria, & I am glad
of it. When I see angels in pettycoats I'm always sorry they
hain't got wings so they kin quietly fly off whare thay will be
appreshiated. You air a woman, & a mity good one too. As for
Maccarony, Brignoly, Mullenholler, and them other fellers, they can
take care of theirselves. Old Mac. kin make a comfortable livin
choppin cord wood if his voice ever givs out, and Amodio looks as
tho he mite succeed in conductin sum quiet toll gate, whare the
vittles would be plenty & the labor lite.
I am preparin for the Summer Campane. I shall stay in Cleveland a
few days and probly you will hear from me again ear I leave to once
more becum a tosser on life's tempestuous billers, meanin the Show
Bizniss.--Very Respectively Yours,
1.26. LITTLE PATTI.
The moosic which Ime most use to is the inspirin stranes of the
hand orgin. I hire a artistic Italyun to grind fur me, payin him
his vittles & close, & I spose it was them stranes which fust put a
moosical taste into me. Like all furriners, he had seen better
dase, havin formerly been a Kount. But he aint of much akount now,
except to turn the orgin and drink Beer, of which bevrige he can
hold a churnful, EASY.
Miss Patty is small for her size, but as the man sed abowt his
wife, O Lord! She is well bilt & her complexion is what might be
called a Broonetty. Her ize is a dark bay, the lashes bein long &
silky. When she smiles the awjince feels like axing her to doo it
sum moor, & to continner doin it 2 a indefnit extent. Her waste is
one of the most bootiful wastisis ever seen. When Mister
Strackhorse led her out I thawt sum pretty skool gal, who had jest
graduatid frum pantalets & wire hoops, was a cumin out to read her
fust composishun in public. She cum so bashful like, with her hed
bowd down, & made sich a effort to arrange her lips so thayd look
pretty, that I wanted to swaller her. She reminded me of Susan
Skinner, who'd never kiss the boys at parin bees till the candles
was blow'd out. Miss Patty sung suthin or ruther in a furrin tung.
I don't know what the sentimunts was. Fur awt I know she may hav
bin denouncin my wax figgers & sagashus wild beests of Pray, & I
don't much keer ef she did. When she opened her mowth a army of
martingales, bobolinks, kanarys, swallers, mockin birds, etsettery,
bust 4th& flew all over the Haul.
Go it, little 1, sez I to myself, in a hily exsited frame of mind,
& ef that kount or royal duke which you'll be pretty apt to marry 1
of these dase don't do the fair thing by ye, yu kin always hav a
home on A. Ward's farm, near Baldinsville, Injianny. When she sung
Cumin threw the Rye, and spoke of that Swayne she deerly luvd
herself individooully, I didn't wish I was that air Swayne. No I
gess not. Oh certainly not. [This is Ironical. I don't meen
this. It's a way I hav of goakin.] Now that Maria Picklehominy
has got married & left the perfeshun, Adeliny Patty is the
championess of the opery ring. She karries the Belt. Thar's no
draw fite about it. Other primy donnys may as well throw up the
spunge first as last. My eyes don't deceive my earsite in this
But Miss Patty orter sing in the Inglish tung. As she kin do so as
well as she kin in Italyun, why under the Son don't she do it?
What cents is thare in singin wurds nobody don't understan when
wurds we do understan is jest as handy? Why peple will
versifferusly applawd furrin langwidge is a mistery. It reminds me
of a man I onct knew. He sed he knockt the bottum out of his pork
Barril, & the pork fell out, but the Brine dident moove a inch. It
stade in the Barril. He sed this was a Mistery, but it wasn't
misterior than is this thing I'm speekin of.
As fur Brignoly, Ferri and Junky, they air dowtless grate, but I
think sich able boddied men wood look better tillin the sile than
dressin theirselves up in black close & white kid gluvs & shoutin
in a furrin tung. Mister Junky is a noble lookin old man, & orter
lead armies on to Battel instid of shoutin in a furrin tung.
Adoo. In the langwidge of Lewis Napoleon when receivin kumpany at
his pallis on the Bullyvards, "I saloot yu."
1.27. OSSAWATOMIE BROWN.
I don't pertend to be a cricket & consekently the reader will not
regard this 'ere peace as a Cricketcism. I cimply desine givin the
pints & Plot of a play I saw actid out at the theatre t'other nite,
called Ossywattermy Brown or the Hero of Harper's Ferry.
Ossywattermy had varis failins, one of which was a idee that he
cood conker Virginny with a few duzzen loonatics which he had pickt
up sumwhares, mercy only nose wher. He didn't cum it, as the sekel
showed. This play was jerkt by a admirer of Old Ossywattermy.
First akt opens at North Elby, Old Brown's humsted. Thare's a
weddin at the house. Amely, Old Brown's darter, marrys sumbody,
and thay all whirl in the Messy darnce. Then Ossywattermy and his
3 sons leave fur Kansis. Old Mrs. Ossywattermy tells 'em thay air
goin on a long jurny & Blesses 'em to slow fiddlin. Thay go to
Kansis. What upon arth thay go to Kansis fur when thay was so nice
& comfortable down there to North Elby, is more'n I know. The suns
air next seen in Kansis at a tarvern. Mister Blane, a sinister
lookin man with his Belt full of knives & hoss pistils, axes one of
the Browns to take a drink. Brown refuzis, which is the fust
instance on record whar a Brown deklined sich a invite. Mister
Blane, who is a dark bearded feroshus lookin person, then axis him
whether he's fur or fernenst Slavery. Yung Brown sez he's agin it,
whareupon, Mister Blane, who is the most sinisterest lookin man I
ever saw, sez Har, har, har! (that bein his stile of larfin wildly)
& ups and sticks a knife into yung Brown. Anuther Brown rushes up
& sez, "you has killed me Ber-ruther!" Moosic by the Band & Seen
changes. The stuck yung Brown enters supported by his two
brothers. Bimeby he falls down, sez he sees his Mother, & dies.
Moosic by the Band. I lookt but couldn't see any mother. Next Seen
reveels Old Brown's cabin. He's readin a book. He sez freedum must
extend its Area & rubs his hands like he was pleesed abowt it. His
suns come in. One of 'em goes out & cums in ded, havin bin shot
while out by a Border Ruffin. The ded yung Brown sez he sees his
mother and tumbles down. The Border Ruffins then surround the
cabin & set it a fire. The Browns giv theirselves up for gone
coons, when the hired gal diskivers a trap door to the cabin & thay
go down threw it & cum up threw the bulkhed. Their merraklis
'scape reminds me of the 'scape of De Jones, the Coarsehair of the
Gulf--a tail with a yaller kiver, that I onct red. For sixteen
years he was confined in a loathsum dunjin, not tastin food durin
all that time. When a lucky thawt struck him! He opend the winder
and got out. To resoom--Old Brown rushes down to the footlites,
gits down on his nees & swares he'll hav revenge. The battle of
Ossawatermy takes place. Old Brown kills Mister Blane, the
sinister individooal aforesed. Mister Blane makes a able &
elerquent speech, sez he don't see his mother MUCH, and dies like
the son of a gentleman, rapt up in the Star Spangled banner.
Moosic by the Band. Four or five other Border ruffins air killed,
but thay don't say nothin abowt seein their mothers. From Kansis
to Harper's Ferry. Picter of a Arsenal is represented. Sojers cum
& fire at it. Old Brown cums out & permits hisself to be shot. He
is tride by two soops in milingtery close and sentenced to be hung
on the gallus. Tabloo--Old Brown on a platform, pintin upards, the
staige lited up with red fire. Goddis of Liberty also on platform,
pintin upards. A dutchman in the orkestry warbles on a base drum.
Curtin falls. Moosic by the Band.
1.28. JOY IN THE HOUSE OF WARD.
I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am in a state of great
bliss, and trust these lines will find you injoyin the same
blessins. I'm reguvinated. I've found the immortal waters of
yooth, so to speak, and am as limber and frisky as a two-year-old
steer, and in the futur them boys which sez to me "go up, old Bawld
hed," will do so at the peril of their hazard, individooally. I'm
very happy. My house is full of joy, and I have to git up nights
and larf! Sumtimes I ax myself "is it not a dream?" & suthin
withinto me sez "it air;" but when I look at them sweet little
critters and hear 'em squawk, I know it is a reality--2 realitys, I
may say--and I feel gay.
I returnd from the Summer Campane with my unparaleld show of wax
works and livin wild Beests of Pray in the early part of this
munth. The peple of Baldinsville met me cordully and I immejitly
commenst restin myself with my famerly. The other nite while I was
down to the tavurn tostin my shins agin the bar room fire & amuzin
the krowd with sum of my adventurs, who shood cum in bare heded &
terrible excited but Bill Stokes, who sez, sez he, "Old Ward,
there's grate doins up to your house."
Sez I "William, how so?"
Sez he, "Bust my gizzud but it's grate doins," & then he larfed as
if he'd kill hisself.
Sez I, risin and puttin on a austeer look, "William, I woodunt be a
fool if I had common cents."
But he kept on larfin till he was black in the face, when he fell
over on to the bunk where the hostler sleeps, and in a still small
voice sed, "Twins!" I ashure you gents that the grass didn't grow
under my feet on my way home, & I was follered by a enthoosiastic
throng of my feller sitterzens, who hurrard for Old Ward at the top
of their voises. I found the house chock full of peple. Thare was
Mis Square Baxter and her three grown-up darters, lawyer Perkinses
wife, Taberthy Ripley, young Eben Parsuns, Deakun Simmuns folks,
the Skoolmaster, Doctor Jordin, etsetterry, etsetterry. Mis Ward
was in the west room, which jines the kitchen. Mis Square Baxter
was mixin suthin in a dipper before the kitchin fire, & a small
army of female wimin were rushin wildly round the house with
bottles of camfire, peaces of flannil, &c. I never seed such a
hubbub in my natral born dase. I cood not stay in the west room
only a minit, so strung up was my feelins, so I rusht out and
ceased my dubbel barrild gun.
"What upon airth ales the man?" sez Taberthy Ripley. "Sakes alive,
what air you doin?" & she grabd me by the coat tales. "What's the
matter with you?" she continnerd.
"Twins, marm," sez I, "twins!"
"I know it," sez she, coverin her pretty face with her apun.
"Wall," sez I, "that's what's the matter with me!"
"Wall, put down that air gun, you pesky old fool," sed she.
"No, marm," sez I, "this is a Nashunal day. The glory of this here
day isn't confined to Baldinsville by a darn site. On yonder
woodshed," sed I, drawin myself up to my full hite and speakin in a
show-actin voice, "will I fire a Nashunal saloot!" sayin whitch I
tared myself from her grasp and rusht to the top of the shed whare
I blazed away until Square Baxter's hired man and my son Artemus
Juneyer cum and took me down by mane force.
On returnin to the Kitchin I found quite a lot of peple seated be4
the fire, a talkin the event over. They made room for me & I sot
down. "Quite a eppisode," sed Docter Jordin, litin his pipe with a
"Yes," sed I, "2 eppisodes, waying abowt 18 pounds jintly."
"A perfeck coop de tat," sed the skoolmaster.
"E pluribus unum, in proprietor persony," sed I, thinking I'd let
him know I understood furrin langwidges as well as he did, if I
wasn't a skoolmaster.
"It is indeed a momentious event," sed young Eben Parsuns, who has
been 2 quarters to the Akademy.
"I never heard twins called by that name afore," sed I, "But I
spose it's all rite."
"We shall soon have Wards enuff," sed the editer of the
Baldinsville "Bugle of Liberty," who was lookin over a bundle of
exchange papers in the corner, "to apply to the legislater for a
"Good for you, old man!" sed I; "giv that air a conspickius place
in the next "Bugle."
"How redicklus," sed pretty Susan Fletcher, coverin her face with
her knittin work & larfin like all possest.
"Wall, for my part," sed Jane Maria Peasly, who is the crossest old
made in the world, "I think you all act like a pack of fools."
Sez I, "Miss Peasly, air you a parent?"
Sez she, "No, I ain't."
Sez I, "Miss Peasly, you never will be."
We sot there talkin & larfin until "the switchin hour of nite, when
grave yards yawn & Josts troop 4th," as old Bill Shakespire aptlee
obsarves in his dramy of John Sheppard, esq, or the Moral House
Breaker, when we broke up & disbursed.
Muther & children is a doin well & as Resolushuns is the order of
the day I will feel obleeged if you'll insurt the follerin--
Whereas, two Eppisodes has happined up to the undersined's house,
which is Twins; & Whereas I like this stile, sade twins bein of the
male perswashun & both boys; there4 Be it--
RESOLVED, That to them nabers who did the fare thing by sade
Eppisodes my hart felt thanks is doo.
RESOLVED, That I do most hartily thank Engine Ko. No. 17, who,
under the impreshun from the fuss at my house on that auspishus
nite that thare was a konflagration goin on, kum galyiantly to the
spot, but kindly refraned from squirtin.
RESOLVED, That frum the Bottum of my Sole do I thank the
Baldinsville brass band fur givin up the idea of Sarahnadin me,
both on that great nite & sinse.
RESOLVED, That my thanks is doo several members of the Baldinsville
meetin house who for 3 whole dase hain't kalled me a sinful skoffer
or intreeted me to mend my wicked wase and jine sade meetin house
RESOLVED, That my Boozum teams with meny kind emoshuns towards the
follerin individoouls, to whit namelee--Mis. Square Baxter, who
Jenerusly refoozed to take a sent for a bottle of camfire; lawyer
Perkinses wife who rit sum versis on the Eppisodes; the Editer of
the Baldinsville "Bugle of Liberty," who nobly assisted me in
wollupin my Kangeroo, which sagashus little cuss seriusly disturbed
the Eppisodes by his outrajus screetchins & kickins up; Mis. Hirum
Doolittle, who kindly furnisht sum cold vittles at a tryin time,
when it wasunt konvenient to cook vittles at my hous; & the
Peasleys, Parsunses & Watsunses fur there meny ax of kindness.
1.29. BOSTON. (A. WARD TO HIS WIFE.)
Dear Betsy: I write you this from Boston, "the Modern Atkins," as
it is denomyunated, altho' I skurcely know what those air. I'll
giv you a kursoory view of this city. I'll klassify the paragrafs
under seprit headins, arter the stile of those Emblems of Trooth
and Poority, the Washinton correspongdents!
The winder of my room commands a exileratin view of Copps' Hill,
where Cotton Mather, the father of the Reformers and sich, lies
berrid. There is men even now who worship Cotton, and there is
wimin who wear him next their harts. But I do not weep for him.
He's bin ded too lengthy. I ain't going to be absurd, like old Mr.
Skillins, in our naberhood, who is ninety-six years of age, and
gets drunk every 'lection day, and weeps Bitturly because he haint
got no Parents. He's a nice Orphan, HE is.
Bunker Hill is over yonder in Charleston. In 1776 a thrillin dramy
was acted out over there, in which the "Warren Combination" played
Old Mr. Fanuel is ded, but his Hall is still into full blarst.
This is the Cradle in which the Goddess of Liberty was rocked, my
Dear. The Goddess hasn't bin very well durin' the past few years,
and the num'ris quack doctors she called in didn't help her any;
but the old gal's physicians now are men who understand their
bizness, Major-generally speakin', and I think the day is near when
she'll be able to take her three meals a day, and sleep nights as
comf'bly as in the old time.
It is here, as ushil; and the low cuss who called it a Wacant Lot,
and wanted to know why they didn't ornament it with sum Bildins',
is a onhappy Outcast in Naponsit.
The State House is filled with Statesmen, but sum of 'em wear queer
hats. They buy 'em, I take it, of hatters who carry on hat stores
down-stairs in Dock Square, and whose hats is either ten years
ahead of the prevailin' stile, or ten years behind it--jest as a
intellectooal person sees fit to think about it. I had the
pleasure of talkin' with sevril members of the legislatur. I told
'em the Eye of 1000 ages was onto we American peple of to-day.
They seemed deeply impressed by the remark, and wantid to know if I
had seen the Grate Orgin?
This celebrated institootion of learnin is pleasantly situated in
the Bar-room of Parker's in School street, and has poopils from all
over the country.
I had a letter yes'd'y, by the way, from our mootual son, Artemus,
Jr., who is at Bowdoin College in Maine. He writes that he's a
Bowdoin Arab. & is it cum to this? Is this Boy as I nurtered with
a Parent's care into his childhood's hour--is he goin' to be a
Grate American humorist? Alars! I fear it is too troo. Why
didn't I bind him out to the Patent Travellin Vegetable Pill Man,
as was struck with his appearance at our last County Fair, & wanted
him to go with him and be a Pillist? Ar, these Boys--they little
know how the old folks worrit about 'em. But my father he never
had no occasion to worrit about me. You know, Betsy, that when I
fust commenced my career as a moral exhibitor with a six-legged cat
and a Bass drum, I was only a simple peasant child--skurce 15
Summers had flow'd over my yoothful hed. But I had sum mind of my
own. My father understood this. "Go," he sed--"go, my son, and hog
the public!" (he ment, "knock em," but the old man was allus a
little given to slang). He put his withered han' tremblinly onto
my hed, and went sadly into the house. I thought I saw tears
tricklin down his venerable chin, but it might hav been tobacker
jooce. He chaw'd.
The "Atlantic Monthly," Betsy, is a reg'lar visitor to our westun
home. I like it because it has got sense. It don't print stories
with piruts and honist young men into 'em, makin' the piruts
splendid fellers and the honist young men dis'gree'ble idiots--so
that our darters very nat'rally prefer the piruts to the honist
young idiots; but it gives us good square American literatoor. The
chaps that write for the "Atlantic," Betsy, understand their
bizness. They can sling ink, they can. I went in and saw 'em. I
told 'em that theirs was a high and holy mission. They seemed
quite gratified, and asked me if I had seen the Grate Orgin.
WHERE THE FUST BLUD WAS SPILT.
I went over to Lexington yes'd'y. My Boozum hove with sollum
emotions. "& this," I sed to a man who was drivin' a yoke of oxen,
"this is where our revolutionary forefathers asserted their
independence and spilt their Blud. Classic ground!"
"Wall," the man sed, "it's good for white beans and potatoes, but
was regards raisin' wheat, t'ain't worth a damn. But hav' you seen
the Grate Orgin?"
THE POOTY GIRL IN SPECTACLES.
I returned in the Hoss Cars, part way. A pooty girl in spectacles
sot near me, and was tellin' a young man how much he reminded her
of a man she used to know in Walthan. Pooty soon the young man got
out, and, smilin' in a seductive manner, I said to the girl in
spectacles, "Don't _I_ remind you of somebody you used to know?"
"Yes," she sed, "you do remind me of one man, but he was sent to
the penitentiary for stealin' a Bar'l of mackril--he died there, so
I conclood you ain't HIM." I didn't pursoo the conversation. I
only heard her silvery voice once more durin' the remainder of the
jerney. Turnin' to a respectable lookin' female of advanced
summers, she asked her if she had seen the Grate Orgin.
We old chaps, my dear, air apt to forget that it is sum time since
we was infants, and et lite food. Nothin' of further int'rist took
place on the cars excep' a colored gentleman, a total stranger to
me, asked if I'd lend him my diamond Brestpin to wear to a funeral
in South Boston. I told him I wouldn't--not a PURPUSS.
Altho' fur from the prahayries, there is abundans of wild game in
Boston, such as quails, snipes, plover, ans Props. (The game of
"props," played with cowrie shells is, I believe, peculiar to the
city of Boston.)
A excellent skool sistim is in vogy here. John Slurk, my old
pardner, has a little son who has only bin to skool two months, and
yet he exhibertid his father's performin' Bear in the show all last
summer. I hope they pay partic'lar 'tention to Spelin in these
Skools, because if a man can't Spel wel he's of no 'kount.
I ment to have allooded to the Grate Orgin in this letter, but I
haven't seen it. Mr. Reveer, whose tavern I stop at, informed me
that it can be distinctly heard through a smoked glass in his nativ
town in New Hampshire, any clear day. But settin' the Grate Orgin
aside (and indeed, I don't think I heard it mentioned all the time
I was there), Boston is one of the grandest, sure-footedest, clear
headedest, comfortablest cities on the globe. Onlike ev'ry other
large city I was ever in, the most of the hackmen don't seem to
hav' bin speshully intended by natur for the Burglery perfession,
and it's about the only large city I know of where you don't enjoy
a brilliant opportunity of bein swindled in sum way, from the Risin
of the sun to the goin down thereof. There4 I say, loud and
continnered applaus' for Boston!
Kiss the children for me. What you tell me 'bout the Twins greeves
me sorely. When I sent 'em that Toy Enjine I had not
contempyulated that they would so fur forgit what wos doo the
dignity of our house as to squirt dishwater on the Incum Tax
Collector. It is a disloyal act, and shows a prematoor leanin'
tords cussedness that alarms me. I send to Amelia Ann, our oldest
dawter, sum new music, viz. "I am Lonely sints My Mother-in-law
Died"; "Dear Mother, What tho' the Hand that Spanked me in my
Childhood's Hour is withered now?" &c. These song writers, by the
way, air doin' the Mother Bizness rather too muchly.
Your Own Troo husban',
1.30. HOW OLD ABE RECEIVED THE NEWS OF HIS NOMINATION.
There are several reports afloat as to how "Honest Old Abe"
received the news of his nomination, none of which are correct. We
give the correct report.
The Official Committee arrived in Springfield at dewy eve, and went
to Honest Old Abe's house. Honest Old Abe was not in. Mrs. Honest
Old Abe said Honest Old Abe was out in the woods splitting rails.
So the Official Committee went out into the woods, where sure
enough they found Honest Old Abe splitting rails with his two boys.
It was a grand, a magnificent spectacle. There stood Honest Old
Abe in his shirt-sleeves, a pair of leather home-made suspenders
holding up a pair of home-made pantaloons, the seat of which was
neatly patched with substantial cloth of a different color. "Mr
Lincoln, Sir, you've been nominated, Sir, for the highest office,
Sir--." "Oh, don't bother me," said Honest Old Abe; "I took a
STENT this mornin' to split three million rails afore night, and I
don't want to be pestered with no stuff about no Conventions till I
get my stent done. I've only got two hundred thousand rails to
split before sundown. I kin do it if you'll let me alone." And
the great man went right on splitting rails, paying no attention to
the Committee whatever. The Committee were lost in admiration for
a few moments, when they recovered, and asked one of Honest Old
Abe's boys whose boy he was? "I'm my parent's boy," shouted the
urchin, which burst of wit so convulsed the Committee that they
came very near "gin'in eout" completely. In a few moments Honest
Ole Abe finished his task, and received the news with perfect
self-possession. He then asked them up to the house, where he
received them cordially. He said he split three million rails every
day, although he was in very poor health. Mr. Lincoln is a jovial
man, and has a keen sense of the ludicrous. During the evening he
asked Mr. Evarts, of New York, "why Chicago was like a hen crossing
the street?" Mr. Evarts gave it up. "Because," said Mr. Lincoln,
"Old Grimes is dead, that good old man!" This exceedingly humorous
thing created the most uproarious laughter.
1.31. INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
I hav no politics. Not a one. I'm not in the bisiness. If I was
I spose I should holler versiffrusly in the streets at nite and go
home to Betsy Jane smellen of coal ile and gin, in the mornin. I
should go to the Poles arly. I should stay there all day. I should
see to it that my nabers was thar. I should git carriges to take
the kripples, the infirm and the indignant thar. I should be on
guard agin frauds and sich. I should be on the look out for the
infamus lise of the enemy, got up jest be4 elecshun for perlitical
effeck. When all was over and my candydate was elected, I should
move heving & erth--so to speak--until I got orfice, which if I
didn't git a orfice I should turn round and abooze the
Administration with all my mite and maine. But I'm not in the
bizniss. I'm in a far more respectful bizniss nor what pollertics
is. I wouldn't giv two cents to be a Congresser. The wuss insult
I ever received was when sertin citizens of Baldinsville axed me to
run fur the Legislater. Sez I, "My frends, dostest think I'd stoop
to that there?" They turned as white as a sheet. I spoke in my
most orfullest tones & they knowed I wasn't to be trifled with.
They slunked out of site to onct.
There4, havin no politics, I made bold to visit Old Abe at his
humstid in Springfield. I found the old feller in his parler,
surrounded by a perfeck swarm of orfice seekers. Knowin he had
been capting of a flat boat on the roarin Mississippy I thought I'd
address him in sailor lingo, so sez I, "Old Abe, ahoy! Let out yer
main-suls, reef hum the forecastle & throw yer jib-poop over-board!
Shiver my timbers, my harty!" [N.B. This is ginuine mariner
langwidge. I know, becawz I've seen sailor plays acted out by them
New York theatre fellers.] Old Abe lookt up quite cross & sez,
"Send in yer petition by & by. I can't possibly look at it now.
Indeed, I can't. It's onpossible, sir!"
"Mr. Linkin, who do you spect I air?" sed I.
"A orfice-seeker, to be sure," sed he.
"Wall, sir," sed I, "you's never more mistaken in your life. You
hain't gut a orfiss I'd take under no circumstances. I'm A. Ward.
Wax figgers is my perfeshun. I'm the father of Twins, and they
look like me--BOTH OF THEM. I cum to pay a friendly visit to the
President eleck of the United States. If so be you wants to see
me, say so,--if not, say so & I'm orf like a jug handle."
"Mr. Ward, sit down. I am glad to see you, Sir."
"Repose in Abraham's Buzzum!" sed one of the orfice seekers, his
idee bein to git orf a goak at my expense.
"Wall," sez I, "ef all you fellers repose in that there Buzzum
thar'll be mity poor nussin for sum of you!" whereupon Old Abe
buttoned his weskit clear up and blusht like a maidin of sweet
16. Jest at this pint of the conversation another swarm of
orfice-seekers arrove & cum pilin into the parler. Sum wanted
post orfices, sum wanted collectorships, sum wantid furrin
missions, and all wanted sumthin. I thought Old Abe would go
crazy. He hadn't more than had time to shake hands with 'em,
before another tremenjis crowd cum porein onto his premises. His
house and dooryard was now perfeckly overflowed with orfice seekers,
all clameruss for a immejit interview with with Old Abe. One man
from Ohio, who had about seven inches of corn whisky into him,
mistook me for Old Abe and addrest me as "The Pra-hayrie Flower of
the West!" Thinks I YOU want a offiss putty bad. Another man with
a gold-heded cane and a red nose told Old Abe he was "a seckind
Washington & the Pride of the Boundliss West."
Sez I, "Square, you wouldn't take a small post-offiss if you could
git it, would you?"
Sez he, "A patrit is abuv them things, sir!"
"There's a putty big crop of patrits this season, ain't there,
Squire?" sez I, when ANOTHER crowd of offiss seekers pored in. The
house, dooryard, barng & woodshed was now all full, and when
ANOTHER crowd cum I told 'em not to go away for want of room as the
hog-pen was still empty. One patrit from a small town in Michygan
went up on top the house, got into the chimney and slid into the
parler where Old Abe was endeverin to keep the hungry pack of
orfice-seekers from chawin him up alive without benefit of clergy.
The minit he reached the fireplace he jumpt up, brusht the soot out
of his eyes, and yelled: "Don't make eny pintment at the
Spunkville postoffiss till you've read my papers. All the
respectful men in our town is signers to that there dockyment!"
"Good God!" cried Old Abe, "they cum upon me from the skize--down
the chimneys, and from the bowels of the yerth!" He hadn't more'n
got them words out of his delikit mouth before two fat
offiss-seekers from Winconsin, in endeverin to crawl atween his
legs for the purpuss of applyin for the tollgateship at Milwawky,
upsot the President eleck, & he would hev gone sprawlin into the
fireplace if I hadn't caught him in these arms. But I hadn't more'n
stood him up strate before another man cum crashing down the chimney,
his head strikin me viliently again the inards and prostratin my
voluptoous form onto the floor. "Mr. Linkin," shoutid the
infatooated being, "my papers is signed by every clergyman in our
town, and likewise the skoolmaster!"
Sez I, "You egrejis ass," gittin up & brushin the dust from my
eyes, "I'll sign your papers with this bunch of bones, if you don't
be a little more keerful how you make my bread basket a depot in
the futur. How do you like that air perfumery?" sez I, shuving my
fist under his nose. "Them's the kind of papers I'll give you!
Them's the papers YOU want!"
"But I workt hard for the ticket; I toiled night and day! The
patrit should be rewarded!"
"Virtoo," sed I, holdin' the infatooated man by the coat-collar,
"virtoo, sir, is its own reward. Look at me!" He did look at me,
and qualed be4 my gase. "The fact is," I continued, lookin' round
on the hungry crowd, "there is scacely a offiss for every ile lamp
carrid round durin' this campane. I wish thare was. I wish thare
was furrin missions to be filled on varis lonely Islands where
eppydemics rage incessantly, and if I was in Old Abe's place I'd
send every mother's son of you to them. What air you here for?" I
continnered, warmin up considerable, "can't you giv Abe a minit's
peace? Don't you see he's worrid most to death? Go home, you
miserable men, go home & till the sile! Go to peddlin tinware--go
to choppin wood--go to bilin' sope--stuff sassengers--black boots--
git a clerkship on sum respectable manure cart--go round as
original Swiss Bell Ringers--becum 'origenal and only' Campbell
Minstrels--go to lecturin at 50 dollars a nite--imbark in the
peanut bizniss--WRITE FOR THE 'LEDGER'--saw off your legs and go
round givin concerts, with tuchin appeals to a charitable public,
printed on your handbills--anything for a honest living, but don't
come round here drivin Old Abe crazy by your outrajis cuttings up!
Go home. Stand not upon the order of your goin,' but go to onct!
Ef in five minits from this time," sez I, pullin' out my new
sixteen dollar huntin cased watch and brandishin' it before their
eyes, "Ef in five minits from this time a single sole of you
remains on these here premises, I'll go out to my cage near by, and
let my Boy Constructor loose! & ef he gits amung you, you'll think
old Solferino has cum again and no mistake!" You ought to hev seen
them scamper, Mr. Fair. They run ort as tho Satun hisself was
arter them with a red hot ten pronged pitchfork. In five minits
the premises was clear.
"How kin I ever repay you, Mr. Ward, for your kindness?" sed Old
Abe, advancin and shakin me warmly by the hand. "How kin I ever
repay you, sir?"
"By givin the whole country a good, sound administration. By
poerin' ile upon the troubled waturs, North and South. By
pursooin' a patriotic, firm, and just course, and then if any State
wants to secede, let 'em Sesesh!"
"How 'bout my Cabinit, Mister Ward?" sed Abe.
"Fill it up with Showmen, sir! Showmen, is devoid of politics.
They hain't got any principles. They know how to cater for the
public. They know what the public wants, North & South. Showmen,
sir, is honest men. Ef you doubt their literary ability, look at
their posters, and see small bills! Ef you want a Cabinit as is a
Cabinit fill it up with showmen, but don't call on me. The moral
wax figger perfeshun musn't be permitted to go down while there's a
drop of blood in these vains! A. Linkin, I wish you well! Ef
Powers or Walcutt wus to pick out a model for a beautiful man, I
scarcely think they'd sculp you; but ef you do the fair thing by
your country you'll make as putty a angel as any of us! A. Linkin,
use the talents which Nature has put into you judishusly and
firmly, and all will be well! A. Linkin, adoo!"
He shook me cordyully by the hand--we exchanged picters, so we
could gaze upon each other's liniments, when far away from one
another--he at the hellum of the ship of State, and I at the hellum
of the show bizniss--admittance only 15 cents.
1.32. INTERVIEW WITH THE PRINCE NAPOLEON.
Notwithstandin I hain't writ much for the papers of late, nobody
needn't flatter theirselves that the undersined is ded. On the
contry, "I still live," which words was spoken by Danyil Webster,
who was a able man. Even the old-line whigs of Boston will admit
THAT. Webster is ded now, howsever, and his mantle has probly
fallen into the hands of sum dealer in 2nd hand close, who can't
sell it. Leastways nobody pears to be goin round wearin it to any
perticler extent, now days. The rigiment of whom I was kurnel,
finerly concluded they was better adapted as Home Gards, which
accounts for your not hearin of me, ear this, where the bauls is
the thickest and where the cannon doth roar. But as a American
citizen I shall never cease to admire the masterly advance our
troops made on Washinton from Bull Run, a short time ago. It was
well dun. I spoke to my wife 'bout it at the time. My wife sed it
was well dun.
It havin there4 bin detarmined to pertect Baldinsville at all
hazzuds, and as there was no apprehensions of any immejit danger, I
thought I would go orf onto a pleasure tower. Accordinly I put on
a clean Biled Shirt and started for Washinton. I went there to see
the Prints Napoleon, and not to see the place, which I will here
take occasion to obsarve is about as uninterestin a locality as
there is this side of J. Davis's future home, if he ever does die,
and where I reckon they'll make it so warm for him that he will si
for his summer close. It is easy enough to see why a man goes to
the poor house or the penitentiary. It's becawz he can't help it.
But why he should woluntarily go and live in Washinton, is intirely
beyond my comprehension, and I can't say no fairer nor that.
I put up to a leadin hotel. I saw the landlord and sed, "How d'ye
"Fifty cents, sir," was his reply.
"Half-a-dollar. We charge twenty-five cents for LOOKIN at the
landlord and fifty cents for speakin to him. If you want supper, a
boy will show you to the dinin-room for twenty-five cents. Your
room bein in the tenth story, it will cost you a dollar to be shown
"How much do you ax for a man breathin in this equinomikal tarvun?"
"Ten cents a Breth," was his reply.
Washinton hotels is very reasonable in their charges. [N.B.--This
I sent up my keerd to the Prints, and was immejitly ushered before
him. He received me kindly, and axed me to sit down.
"I hav cum to pay my respecks to you, Mister Napoleon, hopin I see
you hale and harty."
"I am quite well," he sed. "Air you well, sir?"
"Sound as a cuss!" I answerd.
He seemed to be pleased with my ways, and we entered into
conversation to onct.
"How's Lewis?" I axed, and he sed the Emperor was well. Eugeny was
likewise well, he sed. Then I axed him was Lewis a good provider?
did he cum home arly nites? did he perfoom her bedroom at a
onseasonable hour with gin and tanzy? Did he go to "the Lodge" on
nites when there wasn't any Lodge? did he often hav to go down town
to meet a friend? did he hav a extensiv acquaintance among poor
young widders whose husbands was in Californy? to all of which
questions the Prints perlitely replide, givin me to understand that
the Emperor was behavin well.
"I ax these question, my royal duke and most noble hiness and
imperials, becaws I'm anxious to know how he stands as a man. I
know he's smart. He is cunnin, he is long-heded, he is deep--he is
grate. But onless he is GOOD he'll come down with a crash one of
these days and the Bonyparts will be Bustid up agin. Bet yer
"Air you a preacher, sir?" he inquired slitely sarkasticul.
"No, sir. But I bleeve in morality. I likewise bleeve in Meetin
Houses. Show me a place where there isn't any Meetin Houses and
where preachers is never seen, and I'll show you a place where old
hats air stuffed into broken winders, where the children air dirty
and ragged, where gates have no hinges, where the wimin are
slipshod, and where maps of the devil's "wild land" air painted
upon men's shirt bosums with tobacco-jooce! That's what I'll show
you. Let us consider what the preachers do for us before we aboose
He sed he didn't mean to aboose the clergy. Not at all, and he was
happy to see that I was interested in the Bonypart family.
"It's a grate family," sed I. "But they scooped the old man in."
"Napoleon the Grand. The Britishers scooped him at Waterloo. He
wanted to do too much, and he did it! They scooped him in at
Waterloo, and he subsekently died at St. Heleny! There's where the
gratest military man this world ever projuced pegged out. It was
rather hard to consine such a man as him to St. Heleny, to spend
his larst days in catchin mackeril, and walkin up and down the
dreary beach in a military cloak drawn titely round him, (see
picter-books), but so it was. 'Hed of the Army!' Them was his
larst words. So he had bin. He was grate! Don't I wish we had a
pair of his old boots to command sum of our Brigades!"
This pleased Jerome, and he took me warmly by the hand.
"Alexander the Grate was punkins," I continnered, "but Napoleon was
punkinser! Alic wept becaws there was no more worlds to scoop, and
then took to drinkin. He drowndid his sorrers in the flowin bole,
and the flowin bole was too much for him. It ginerally is. He
undertook to give a snake exhibition in his boots, but it killed
him. That was a bad joke on Alic!"
"Since you air so solicitous about France and the Emperor, may I
ask you how your own country is getting along?" sed Jerome, in a
"It's mixed," I sed. But I think we shall cum out all right."
"Columbus, when he diskivered this magnificent continent, could hav
had no idee of the grandeur it would one day assoom," sed the
"It cost Columbus twenty thousand dollars to fit out his explorin
expedition," sed I. "If he had bin a sensible man he'd hav put the
money in a hoss railroad or a gas company, and left this
magnificent continent to intelligent savages, who when they got
hold of a good thing knew enuff to keep it, and who wouldn't hav
seceded, nor rebelled, nor knockt Liberty in the hed with a
slungshot. Columbus wasn't much of a feller, after all. It would
hav bin money in my pocket if he'd staid at home. Chris. ment
well, but he put his foot in it when he saled for America."
We talked sum more about matters and things, and at larst I riz to
go. "I will now say good-bye to you, noble sir, and good luck to
you. Likewise the same to Clotildy. Also to the gorgeous persons
which compose your soot. If the Emperor's boy don't like livin at
the Tooleries, when he gits older, and would like to imbark in the
show bizness, let him come with me and I'll make a man of him. You
find us sumwhat mixed, as I before obsarved, but come again next
year and you'll find us clearer nor ever. The American Eagle has
lived too sumptuously of late--his stummic becum foul, and he's
takin a slite emetic. That's all. We're getting ready to strike a
big blow and a sure one. When we do strike, the fur will fly and
secession will be in the hands of the undertaker, sheeted for so
deep a grave that nothin short of Gabriel's trombone will ever
awaken it! Mind what I say. You've heard the showman!"
Then advisin him to keep away from the Peter Funk sections of the
East, and the proprietors of corner-lots in the West, I bid him
farewell, and went away.
There was a levee at Senator What's-his-name's, and I thought I'd
jine in the festivities for a spell. Who should I see but she that
was Sarah Watkins, now the wife of our Congresser, trippin in the
dance, dressed up to kill in her store close. Sarah's father use
to keep a little grosery store in our town and she used to clerk it
for him in busy times. I was rushin up to shake hands with her
when she turned on her heel, and tossin her hed in a contemptooious
manner, walked away from me very rapid. "Hallo, Sal," I hollered,
"can't you measure me a quart of them best melasses? I may want a
codfish, also!" I guess this reminded her of the little red store,
and "the days of her happy childhood."
But I fell in love with a nice little gal after that, who was much
sweeter then Sally's father's melasses, and I axed her if we
shouldn't glide in the messy dance. She sed we should, and we
I intended to make this letter very seris, but a few goaks may have
accidentally crept in. Never mind. Besides, I think it improves a
komick paper to publish a goak once in a while.
The Barclay County Agricultural Society having seriously invited
the author of this volume to address them on the occasion of their
next annual Fair, he wrote the President of that Society as
New York. June 12, 1865,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the
5th inst., in which you invite me to deliver an address before your
excellent agricultural society.
I feel flattered, and think I will come.
Perhaps, meanwhile, a brief history of my experience as an
agriculturist will be acceptable; and as that history no doubt
contains suggestions of value to the entire agricultural community,
I have concluded to write to you through the Press.
I have been an honest old farmer for some four years.
My farm is in the interior of Maine. Unfortunately my lands are
eleven miles from the railroad. Eleven miles is quite a distance
to haul immense quantities of wheat, corn, rye, and oats; but as I
hav'n't any to haul, I do not, after all, suffer much on that
My farm is more especially a grass farm.
My neighbors told me so at first, and as an evidence that they were
sincere in that opinion, they turned their cows on to it the moment
I went off "lecturing."
These cows are now quite fat. I take pride in these cows, in fact,
and am glad I own a grass farm.
Two years ago I tried sheep-raising.
I bought fifty lambs, and turned them loose on my broad and
It was pleasant on bright mornings to stroll leisurely out on to
the farm in my dressing-gown, with a cigar in my mouth, and watch
those innocent little lambs as they danced gayly o'er the hillside.
Watching their saucy capers reminded me of caper sauce, and it
occurred to me I should have some very fine eating when they grew
up to be "muttons."
My gentle shepherd, Mr. Eli Perkins, said, "We must have some
I had no very precise idea as to what shepherd dogs were, but I
assumed a rather profound look, and said:
"We must, Eli. I spoke to you about this some time ago!"
I wrote to my old friend, Mr. Dexter H. Follett, of Boston, for two
shepherd dogs. Mr. F. is not an honest old farmer himself, but I
thought he knew about shepherd dogs. He kindly forsook far more
important business to accommodate, and the dogs came forthwith.
They were splendid creatures--snuff-colored, hazel-eyed,
long-tailed, and shapely-jawed.
We led them proudly to the fields.
"Turn them in, Eli," I said.
Eli turned them in.
They went in at once, and killed twenty of my best lambs in about
four minutes and a half.
My friend had made a trifling mistake in the breed of these dogs.
These dogs were not partial to sheep.
Eli Perkins was astonished, and observed:
"Waal! DID you ever?"
I certainly never had.
There were pools of blood on the greensward, and fragments of wool
and raw lamb chops lay round in confused heaps.
The dogs would have been sent to Boston that night, had they not
suddenly died that afternoon of a throat-distemper. It wasn't a
swelling of the throat. It wasn't diptheria. It was a violent
opening of the throat, extending from ear to ear.
Thus closed their life-stories. Thus ended their interesting
I failed as a raiser of lambs. As a sheepist, I was not a success.
Last summer Mr. Perkins, said, "I think we'd better cut some grass
this season, sir."
We cut some grass.
To me the new-mown hay is very sweet and nice. The brilliant
George Arnold sings about it, in beautiful verse, down in Jersey
every summer; so does the brilliant Aldrich, at Portsmouth, N.H.
And yet I doubt if either of these men knows the price of a ton of
hay to-day. But new-mown hay is a really fine thing. It is good
for man and beast.
We hired four honest farmers to assist us, and I led them gayly to
I was going to mow, myself.
I saw the sturdy peasants go round once ere I dipped my flashing
scythe into the tall green grass.
"Are you ready?" said E. Perkins.
"I am here!"
"Then follow us."
I followed them.
Followed them rather too closely, evidently, for a white-haired old
man, who immediately followed Mr. Perkins, called upon us to halt.
Then in a low firm voice he said to his son, who was just ahead of
me, "John, change places with me. I hain't got long to live,
anyhow. Yonder berryin' ground will soon have these old bones, and
it's no matter whether I'm carried there with one leg off and
ter'ble gashes in the other or not! But you, John--YOU are young."
The old man changed places with his son. A smile of calm
resignation lit up his wrinkled face, as he sed, "Now, sir, I am
"What mean you, old man!" I sed.
"I mean that if you continner to bran'ish that blade as you have
been bran'ishin' it, you'll slash h-- out of some of us before
we're a hour older!"
There was some reason mingled with this white-haired old peasant's
profanity. It was true that I had twice escaped mowing off his
son's legs, and his father was perhaps naturally alarmed.
I went and sat down under a tree. "I never know'd a literary man
in my life," I overheard the old man say, "that know'd anything."
Mr. Perkins was not as valuable to me this season as I had fancied
he might be. Every afternoon he disappeared from the field
regularly, and remained about some two hours. He sed it was
headache. He inherited it from his mother. His mother was often
taken in that way, and suffered a great deal.
At the end of the two hours Mr. Perkins would reappear with his
head neatly done up in a large wet rag, and say he "felt better."
One afternoon it so happened that I soon followed the invalid to
the house, and as I neared the porch I heard a female voice
energetically observe, "You stop!" It was the voice of the hired
girl, and she added, "I'll holler for Mr. Brown!"
"Oh no, Nancy," I heard the invalid E. Perkins soothingly say, "Mr.
Brown knows I love you. Mr. Brown approves of it!"
This was pleasant for Mr. Brown!
I peered cautiously through the kitchen-blinds, and, however
unnatural it may appear, the lips of Eli Perkins and my hired girl
were very near together. She sed, "You shan't do so," and he
DO-SOED. She also said she would get right up and go away, and as
an evidence that she was thoroughly in earnest about it, she
remained where she was.
They are married now, and Mr. Perkins is troubled no more with the
This year we are planting corn. Mr. Perkins writes me that "on
accounts of no skare krows bein put up krows cum and digged fust
crop up but soon got nother in. Old Bisbee who was frade youd cut
his sons leggs off Ses you bet go an stan up in feeld yrself with
dressin gownd on & gesses krows will keep way. This made Boys in
store larf. no More terday from
My friend Mr. D.T.T. Moore, of the "Rural New Yorker," thinks if I
"keep on" I will get in the Poor House in about two years.
If you think the honest old farmers of Barclay County want me, I
Charles F. Browne.
There are in this city several Italian gentlemen engaged in the bust
business. They have their peculiarities and eccentricities. They
are swarthy-faced, wear slouched caps and drab pea-jackets, and
smoke bad cigars. They make busts of Webster, Clay, Bonaparte,
Douglas, and other great men, living and dead. The Italian buster
comes upon you solemnly and cautiously. "Buy Napoleon?" he will
say, and you may probably answer "not a buy." "How much giv-ee?" he
asks, and perhaps you will ask him how much he wants. "Nine
dollar," he will answer always. We are sure of it. We have
observed this peculiarity in the busters frequently. No matter how
large or small the bust may be, the first price is invariably "nine
dollar." If you decline paying this price, as you undoubtedly will
if you are right in your head, he again asks, "how much giv-ee?" By
way of a joke you say "a dollar," when the buster retreats
indignantly to the door, saying in a low, wild voice, "O dam!" With
his hand upon the door-latch, he turns and once more asks, "how much
giv-ee?" You repeat the previous offer, when he mutters, "O ha!"
then coming pleasantly towards you, he speaks thus: "Say! how much
giv-ee?" Again you say a dollar, and he cries, "take 'um--take
'um!"--thus falling eight dollars on his original price.
Very eccentric is the Italian buster, and sometimes he calls his
busts by wrong names. We bought Webster (he called him Web-STAR) of
him the other day, and were astonished when he called upon us the
next day with another bust of Webster, exactly like the one we had
purchased of him, and asked us if we didn't want to buy "Cole, the
wife-pizener!" We endeavored to rebuke the depraved buster, but our
utterance was choked, and we could only gaze upon him in speechless
astonishment and indignation.
1.35. A HARD CASE.
We have heard of some very hard cases since we have enlivened this
world with our brilliant presence. We once saw an able-bodied man
chase a party of little school-children and rob them of their
dinners. The man who stole the coppers from his deceased
grandmother's eyes lived in our neighborhood, and we have read about
the man who went to church for the sole purpose of stealing the
testaments and hymn-books. But the hardest case we ever heard of
lived in Arkansas. He was only fourteen years old. One night he
deliberately murdered his father and mother in cold blood, with a
meat-axe. He was tried and found guilty. The Judge drew on his
black cap, and in a voice choked with emotion asked the young
prisoner if he had anything to say before the sentence of the Court
was passed on him. The court-room was densely crowded and there was
not a dry eye in the vast assembly. The youth of the prisoner, his
beauty and innocent looks, the mild, lamblike manner in which he had
conducted himself during the trial--all, all had thoroughly enlisted
the sympathy of the spectators, the ladies in particular. And even
the Jury, who had found it to be their stern duty to declare him
guilty of the appalling crime--even the Jury now wept aloud at this
"Have you anything to say?" repeated the deeply moved Judge.
"Why, no," replied the prisoner, "I think I haven't, though I hope
yer Honor will show some consideration FOR THE FEELINGS OF A POOR
The Judge sentenced the perfect young wretch without delay.
1.36. AFFAIRS AROUND THE VILLAGE GREEN.
It isn't every one who has a village green to write about. I have
one, although I have not seen much of it for some years past. I am
back again, now. In the language of the duke who went around with a
motto about him, "I am here!" and I fancy I am about as happy a
peasant of the vale as ever garnished a melodrama, although I have
not as yet danced on my village green, as the melodramatic peasant
usually does on his. It was the case when Rosina Meadows left home.
The time rolls by serenely now--so serenely that I don't care what
time it is, which is fortunate, because my watch is at present in
the hands of those "men of New York who are called rioters." We met
by chance, the usual way--certainly not by appointment--and I
brought the interview to a close with all possible despatch.
Assuring them that I wasn't Mr. Greeley, particularly, and that he
had never boarded in the private family where I enjoy the comforts
of a home, I tendered them my watch, and begged they would
distribute it judiciously among the laboring classes, as I had seen
the rioters styled in certain public prints.
Why should I loiter feverishly in Broadway, stabbing the hissing hot
air with the splendid gold-headed cane that was presented to me by
the citizens of Waukegan, Illinois, as a slight testimonial of their
esteem? Why broil in my rooms? You said to me, Mrs. Gloverson,
when I took possession of these rooms, that no matter how warm it
might be, a breeze had a way of blowing into them, and that they
were, withal, quite countryfied; but I am bound to say, Mrs.
Gloverson, that there was nothing about them that ever reminded me,
in the remotest degree, of daisies or new-mown hay. Thus, with
sarcasm, do I smash the deceptive Gloverson.
Why stay in New York when I had a village green? I gave it up, the
same as I would an intricate conundrum--and, in short, I am here.
Do I miss the glare and crash of the imperial thoroughfare? The
milkman, the fiery, untamed omnibus horses, the soda fountains,
Central Park, and those things? Yes I do; and I can go on missing
'em for quite a spell, and enjoy it.
The village from which I write to you is small. It does not contain
over forty houses, all told; but they are milk-white, with the
greenest of blinds, and for the most part are shaded with beautiful
elms and willows. To the right of us is a mountain--to the left a
lake. The village nestles between. Of course it does, I never read
a novel in my life in which the villages didn't nestle. Villages
invariably nestle. It is a kind of way they have.
We are away from the cars. The iron-horse, as my little sister
aptly remarks in her composition On Nature, is never heard to shriek
in our midst; and on the whole I am glad of it.
The villagers are kindly people. They are rather incoherent on the
subject of the war, but not more so, perhaps, then are people
elsewhere. One citizen, who used to sustain a good character,
subscribed for the Weekly New York Herald a few months since, and
went to studying the military maps in that well-known journal for
the fireside. I need not inform you that his intellect now totters,
and he has mortgaged his farm. In a literary point of view we are
rather bloodthirsty. A pamphlet edition of the life of a cheerful
being, who slaughtered his wife and child, and then finished
himself, is having an extensive sale just now.
We know little of Honore de Balzac, and perhaps care less for Victor
Hugo. M. Claes's grand search for the Absolute doesn't thrill us in
the least; and Jean Valjean, gloomily picking his way through the
sewers of Paris, with the spooney young man of the name of Marius
upon his back, awakens no interest in our breasts. I say Jean
Valjean picked his way gloomily, and I repeat it. No man, under
these circumstances, could have skipped gayly. But this literary
business, as the gentleman who married his colored chambermaid aptly
observed, "is simply a matter of taste."
The store--I must not forget the store. It is an object of great
interest to me. I usually encounter there, on sunny afternoons, an
old Revolutionary soldier. You may possibly have read about
"Another Revolutionary Soldier gone," but this is one who hasn't
gone, and, moreover, one who doesn't manifest the slightest
intention of going. He distinctly remembers Washington, of course;
they all do; but what I wish to call special attention to, is the
fact that this Revolutionary soldier is one hundred years old, that
his eyes are so good that he can read fine print without spectacles-
-he never used them, by the way--and his mind is perfectly clear.
He is a little shaky in one of his legs, but otherwise he is as
active as most men of forty-five, and his general health is
excellent. He uses no tobacco, but for the last twenty years he has
drunk one glass of liquor every day--no more, no less. He says he
must have his tod. I had begun to have lurking suspicions about
this Revolutionary soldier business, but here is an original Jacobs.
But because a man can drink a glass of liquor a day, and live to be
a hundred years old, my young readers must not infer that by
drinking two glasses of liquor a day a man can live to be two
hundred. "Which, I meanter say, it doesn't foller," as Joseph
Gargery might observe.
This store, in which may constantly be found calico and nails, and
fish, and tobacco in kegs, and snuff in bladders, is a venerable
establishment. As long ago as 1814 it was an institution. The
county troops, on their way to the defence of Portland, then menaced
by British ships-of-war, were drawn up in front of this very store,
and treated at the town's expense. Citizens will tell you how the
clergyman refused to pray for the troops, because he considered the
war an unholy one; and how a somewhat eccentric person, of dissolute
habits, volunteered his services, stating that he once had an uncle
who was a deacon, and he thought he could make a tolerable prayer,
although it was rather out of his line; and how he prayed so long
and absurdly that the Colonel ordered him under arrest, but that
even while soldiers stood over him with gleaming bayonets, the
reckless being sang a preposterous song about his grandmother's
spotted calf, with its Ri-fol-lol-tiddery-i-do; after which he
And speaking of the store, reminds me of a little story. The author
of "several successful comedies" has been among us, and the store
was anxious to know who the stranger was. And therefore the store
"What do you follow, sir?" respectfully inquired the tradesman.
"I occasionally write for the stage, sir."
"Oh!" returned the tradesman, in a confused manner.
"He means," said an honest villager, with a desire to help the
puzzled tradesman out, "he means that he writes the handbills for
the stage drivers!"
I believe that story is new, although perhaps it is not of an
uproariously mirthful character; but one hears stories at the store
that are old enough, goodness knows--stories which, no doubt,
diverted Methuselah in the sunny days of his giddy and thoughtless
There is an exciting scene at the store occasionally. Yesterday an
athletic peasant, in a state of beer, smashed in a counter and
emptied two tubs of butter on the floor. His father--a white-haired
old man, who was a little boy when the Revolutionary war closed, but
who doesn't remember Washington MUCH, came round in the evening and
settled for the damages. "My son," he said, "has considerable
originality." I will mention that this same son once told me that
he could lick me with one arm tied behind him, and I was so
thoroughly satisfied he could, that I told him he needn't mind going
for a rope.
Sometimes I go a-visiting to a farmhouse, on which occasions the
parlor is opened. The windows have been close-shut ever since the
last visitor was there, and there is a dingy smell that I struggle
as calmly as possible with, until I am led to the banquet of
steaming hot biscuit and custard pie. If they would only let me sit
in the dear old-fashioned kitchen, or on the door-stone--if they
knew how dismally the new black furniture looked--but, never mind, I
am not a reformer. No, I should rather think not.
Gloomy enough, this living on a farm, you perhaps say, in which case
you are wrong. I can't exactly say that I pant to be an
agriculturist, but I do know that in the main it is an independent,
calmly happy sort of life. I can see how the prosperous farmer can
go joyously a-field with the rise of the sun, and how his heart may
swell with pride over bounteous harvests and sleek oxen. And it
must be rather jolly for him on winter evenings to sit before the
bright kitchen fire and watch his rosy boys and girls as they study
out the charades in the weekly paper, and gradually find out why my
first is something that grows in a garden, and my second is a fish.
On the green hillside over yonder there is a quivering of snowy
drapery, and bright hair is flashing in the morning sunlight. It
is recess, and the Seminary girls are running in the tall grass.
A goodly seminary to look at outside, certainly, although I am
pained to learn, as I do on unprejudiced authority, that Mrs.
Higgins, the Principal, is a tyrant, who seeks to crush the girls
and trample upon them; but my sorrow is somewhat assuaged by
learning that Skimmerhorn, the pianist, is perfectly splendid.
Looking at these girls reminds me that I, too, was once young--and
where are the friends of my youth? I have found one of 'em,
certainly. I saw him ride in the circus the other day on a bareback
horse, and even now his name stares at me from yonder board-fence,
in green, and blue, and red, and yellow letters. Dashington, the
youth with whom I used to read the able orations of Cicero, and who,
as a declaimer on exhibition days, used to wipe the rest of us boys
pretty handsomely out--well, Dashington is identified with the
halibut and cod interest--drives a fish cart, in fact, from a
certain town on the coast, back into the interior. Hurbertson, the
utterly stupid boy--the lunkhead, who never had his lesson--he's
about the ablest lawyer a sister State can boast. Mills is a
newspaper man, and is just now editing a Major-General down South.
Singlinson, the sweet-voiced boy, whose face was always washed and
who was real good, and who was never rude--HE is in the penitentiary
for putting his uncle's autograph to a financial document. Hawkins,
the clergyman's son, is an actor, and Williamson, the good little
boy who divided his bread and butter with the beggarman, is a
failing merchant, and makes money by it. Tom Slink, who used to
smoke short-sixes and get acquainted with the little circus boys, is
popularly supposed to be the proprietor of a cheap gaming
establishment in Boston, where the beautiful but uncertain prop is
nightly tossed. Be sure, the Army is represented by many of the
friends of my youth, the most of whom have given a good account of
themselves. But Chalmerson hasn't done much. No, Chalmerson is
rather of a failure. He plays on the guitar and sings love songs.
Not that he is a bad man. A kinder-hearted creature never lived,
and they say he hasn't yet got over crying for his little curly
haired sister who died ever so long ago. But he knows nothing about
business, politics, the world, and those things. He is dull at
trade--indeed, it is a common remark that "everybody cheats
Chalmerson." He came to the party the other evening, and brought
his guitar. They wouldn't have him for a tenor in the opera,
certainly, for he is shaky in his upper notes; but if his simple
melodies didn't gush straight from the heart, why were my trained
eyes wet? And although some of the girls giggled, and some of the
men seemed to pity him I could not help fancying that poor
Chalmerson was nearer heaven than any of us all!
1.37. ABOUT EDITORS.
We hear a great deal, and something too much, about the poverty of
editors. It is common for editors to parade their poverty and joke
about it in their papers. We see these witticisms almost every day
of our lives. Sometimes the editor does the "vater vorks business,"
as Mr. Samuel Weller called weeping, and makes pathetic appeals to
his subscribers. Sometimes he is in earnest when he makes these
appeals, but why "on airth" does he stick to a business that will
not support him decently? We read of patriotic and lofty-minded
individuals who sacrifice health, time, money, and perhaps life, for
the good of humanity, the Union, and that sort of thing, but we
don't SEE them very often. We must say that we could count up all
the lofty patriots in this line that we have ever seen, during our
brief but chequered and romantic career, in less than half a day. A
man who clings to a wretchedly paying business, when he can make
himself and others near and dear to him fatter and happier by doing
something else, is about as near an ass as possible, and not hanker
after green grass and corn in the ear. The truth is, editors as a
class are very well fed, groomed and harnessed. They have some
pains that other folk do not have, and they also have some
privileges which the community in general can't possess. While we
would not advise the young reader to "go for an editor," we assure
him he can do much worse. He mustn't spoil a flourishing blacksmith
or popular victualler in making an indifferent editor of himself,
however. He must be endowed with some fancy and imagination to
enchain the public eye. It was Smith, we believe, or some other man
with an odd name, who thought Shakespeare lacked the requisite fancy
and imagination for a successful editor.
To those persons who can't live by printing papers we would say, in
the language of the profligate boarder when dunned for his bill,
being told at the same time by the keeper of the house that he
couldn't board people for nothing, "Then sell out to somebody who
can!" In other words, fly from a business which don't remunerate.
But as we intimated before, there is much gammon in the popular
editorial cry of poverty.
Just now we see a touching paragraph floating through the papers to
the effect that editors don't live out half their years; that, poor
souls! they wear themselves out for the benefit of a cold and
unappreciating world. We don't believe it. Gentle reader, don't
swallow it. It is a footlight trick to work on your feelings. For
ourselves, let us say, that unless we slip up considerably on our
calculations, it will be a long time before our fellow-citizens will
have the melancholy pleasure of erecting to our memory a towering
monument of Parian marble on the Public Square.
Before you go for an Editor, young man, pause and take a big think!
Do not rush into the editorial harness rashly. Look around and see
if there is not an omnibus to drive--some soil somewhere to be
tilled--a clerkship on some meat cart to be filled--anything that is
reputable and healthy, rather than going for an Editor, which is
hard business at best.
We are not a horse, and consequently have never been called upon to
furnish the motive power for a threshing-machine; but we fancy that
the life of the Editor who is forced to write, write, write, whether
he feels right or not, is much like that of the steed in question.
If the yeas and neighs could be obtained, we believe the intelligent
horse would decide that the threshing-machine is preferable to the
The Editor's work is never done. He is drained incessantly, and no
wonder that he dries up prematurely. Other people can attend
banquets, weddings, &c.; visit halls of dazzling light, get
inebriated, break windows, lick a man occasionally, and enjoy
themselves in a variety of ways; but the Editor cannot. He must
stick tenaciously to his quill. The press, like a sick baby,
mustn't be left alone for a minute. If the press is left to run
itself even for a day, some absurd person indignantly orders the
carrier-boy to stop bringing "that infernal paper. There's nothing
in it. I won't have it in the house!"
The elegant Mantalini, reduced to mangle-turning, described his life
as "a dem'd horrid grind." The life of the Editor is all of that.
But there is a good time coming, we feel confident, for the Editor.
A time when he will be appreciated. When he will have a front seat.
When he will have pie every day, and wear store clothes continually.
When the harsh cry of "stop my paper" will no more grate upon his
ears. Courage, Messieurs the Editors! Still, sanguine as we are of
the coming of this jolly time, we advise the aspirant for editorial
honors to pause ere he takes up the quill as a means of obtaining
his bread and butter. Do not, at least, do so until you have been
jilted several dozen times by a like number of girls; until you have
been knocked down-stairs several times and soused in a horse-pond;
until all the "gushing" feelings within you have been thoroughly
subdued; until, in short, your hide is of rhinoceros thickness.
Then, O aspirants for the bubble reputation at the press's mouth,
throw yourselves among the inkpots, dust, and cobwebs of the
printing office, if you will.
* * * Good my lord, will you see the Editors well bestowed? Do
you hear, let them be well used, for they are the abstract and brief
chroniclers of the time. After your death you had better have a bad
epitaph than their ill report while you live.
Hamlet, slightly altered.
What a queer thing is popularity; Bill Pug Nose of the "Plug-Uglies"
(The name given to an infamous gang of ruffians which once had its
head-quarters in Baltimore.) acquires a world-wide reputation by
smashing up the "champion of light weights," sets up a Saloon upon
it, and realizes the first month; while our Missionary, who
collected two hundred blankets last August, and at that time saved a
like number of little negroes in the West Indies from freezing, has
received nothing but the yellow fever. The Hon. Oracular M.
Matterson becomes able to withstand any quantity of late nights and
bad brandy, is elected to Congress, and lobbies through contracts by
which he realizes some 50,000 dollars; while private individuals
lose 100,000 dollars by the Atlantic Cable. Contracts are popular--
the cable isn't. Fiddlers, Prima Donnas, Horse Operas, learned
pigs, and five-legged calves travel through the country, reaping
"golden opinions," while editors, inventors, professors, and
humanitarians generally, are starving in garrets. Revivals of
religion, fashions, summer resorts, and pleasure trips, are
exceedingly popular, while trade, commerce, chloride of lime, and
all the concomitants necessary to render the inner life of denizens
of cities tolerable, are decidedly non est. Even water, which was
so popular and populous a few weeks agone, comes to us in such
stinted sprinklings that it has become popular to supply it only
from hydrants in sufficient quantities to raise one hundred
disgusting smells in a distance of two blocks. Monsieur Revierre,
with nothing but a small name and a large quantity of hair, makes
himself exceedingly popular with hotel-keepers and a numerous
progeny of female Flaunts and Blounts, while Felix Smooth and Mr.
Chink, who persistently set forth their personal and more
substantial marital charms through the columns of "New York Herald,"
have only received one interview each--one from a man in female
attire, and the other from the keeper of an unmentionable house.
Popularity is a queer thing, very. If you don't believe us, try it!
1.40. A LITTLE DIFFICULTY IN THE WAY.
An enterprising traveling agent for a well-known Cleveland Tombstone
Manufactory lately made a business visit to a small town in an
adjoining county. Hearing, in the village, that a man in a remote
part of the township had lost his wife, he thought he would go and
see him, and offer him consolation and a gravestone, on his usual
reasonable terms. He started. The road was a frightful one, but
the agent persevered, and finally arrived at the bereaved man's
house. Bereaved man's hired girl told the agent that the bereaved
man was splitting fence rails "over in pastur, about two milds."
The indefatigable agent hitched his horse and started for the
"pastur." After falling into all manner of mudholes, scratching
himself with briers, and tumbling over decayed logs, the agent at
length found the bereaved man. In a subdued voice he asked the man
if he had lost his wife. The man said he had. The agent was very
sorry to hear of it, and sympathized with the man deeply in his
great affliction; but death, he said, was an insatiate archer, and
shot down all, both of high and low degree. Informed the man that
"what was his loss was her gain," and would be glad to sell him a
gravestone to mark the spot where the beloved one slept--marble or
common stone, as he chose, at prices defying competition. The
bereaved man said there was "a little difficulty in the way."
"Haven't you lost your wife?" inquired the agent.
"Why, yes, I have," said the man, "but no gravestun ain't necessary:
you see the cussed critter ain't dead. SHE'S SCOOTED WITH ANOTHER
The agent retired.
1.41. COLORED PEOPLE'S CHURCH.
There is a plain little meeting-house on Barnwell Street (One of the
streets of the city of Cleveland.) in which the colored people--or a
goodly portion of them--worship on Sundays. The seats are
cushionless, and have perpendicular backs. The pulpit is plain
white--trimmed with red, it is true, but still a very unostentatious
affair for colored people, who are supposed to have a decided
weakness for gay hues. Should you escort a lady to this church, and
seat yourself beside her, you will infallibly be touched on the
shoulder, and politely requested to move to the "gentlemen's side."
Gentlemen and ladies are not allowed to sit together in this church.
They are parted remorselessly. It is hard--we may say it is
terrible--to be torn asunder in this way, but you have to submit,
and of course you had better do so gracefully and pleasantly.
Meeting opens with an old-fashioned hymn, which is very well sung
indeed by the congregation. Then the minister reads a hymn, which
is sung by the choir on the front seats near the pulpit. Then the
minister prays. He hopes no one has been attracted there by idle
curiosity--to see or be seen--and you naturally conclude that he is
gently hitting you. Another hymn follows the prayer, and then we
have the discourse, which certainly has the merit of peculiarity and
boldness. The minister's name is Jones. He don't mince matters at
all. He talks about the "flames of hell" with a confident
fierceness that must be quite refreshing to sinners.
"There's no half-way about this," says he, "no by-paths.
"There are in Cleveland lots of men who go to church regularly, who
behave well in meeting, and who pay their bills.
"They ain't Christians though.
"They're gentlemen sinners.
"And whar d'ye spose they'll fetch up?
"I'll tell ye--they'll fetch him up in h--ll, and they'll come up
standing too--there's where they'll fetch up.
"Who's my backer?
"Have I got a backer?
"Whar's my backer?
"This is my backer (striking the Bible before him)--the Bible will
back me to any amount!"
To still further convince his hearers that he was in earnest, he
exclaimed, "That's me--that's Jones!"
He alluded to Eve in terms of bitter censure. It was natural that
Adam should have been mad at her. "I shouldn't want a woman that
wouldn't mind me, myself," said the speaker.
He directed his attention to dancing, declaring it to be a great
sin. Whar there's dancing there's fiddling--whar there's fiddling
there's unrighteousness, and unrighteousness is wickedness, and
wickedness is sin! That's me--that's Jones."
Bosom the speaker invariably called "buzzim," and devil "debil,"
with a fearfully strong accent on the "il."
Mr. Davenport (One of the afterwards notorious Davenport Brothers.),
who has been for some time closely identified with the modern
spiritual movement, is in the city with his daughter, who is quite
celebrated as a medium. They are accompanied by Mr. Eighme and his
daughter, and are holding circles in Hoffman's Block every afternoon
and evening. We were present at the circle last evening. Miss
Davenport seated herself at a table on which was a tin trumpet, a
tambourine, and a guitar. The audience were seated around the room.
The lights were blown out, and the spirit of an eccentric
individual, well known to the Davenports, and whom they call George,
addressed the audience through the trumpet. He called several of
those present by name in a boisterous voice, and dealt several
stunning knocks on the table. George has been in the spirit-world
some two hundred years. He is a rather rough spirit, and probably
run with the machine and "killed for Kyser" when in the flesh.
(Kyser is an extensive New York butcher, and "to kill" [or
slaughter] for him has passed into a saying with the roughs, or
"bhoys," of New York. To "run with a [fire] machine.") He ordered
the seats in the room to be wheeled round so the audience would face
the table. He said the people on the front seat must be tied with a
rope. The order was misunderstood, the rope being merely drawn
before those on the front seat. He reprimanded Mr. Davenport for
not understanding the instructions. What he meant was that the rope
should be passed around each person on the front seat and then
tightly drawn, a man at each end of the seat to hold on to it. This
was done, and George expressed himself satisfied. There was no one
near the table save the medium. All the rest were behind the rope,
and those on the front seat were particularly charged not to let any
one pass by them. George said he felt first-rate, and commenced
kissing the ladies present. The smack could be distinctly heard,
and some of the ladies said the sensation was very natural. For the
first time in our eventful life we sighed to be a spirit. We envied
George. We did not understand whether the kissing was done through
a trumpet. After kissing considerably, and indulging in some
playful remarks with a man whose Christian name was Napoleon
Bonaparte, and whom George called "Boney," he tied the hands and
feet of the medium. He played the guitar and jingled the
tambourine, and then dashed them violently on the floor. The
candles were lit, and Miss Davenport was securely tied. She could
not move her hands. Her feet were bound, and the rope (which was a
long one) was fastened to the chair. No person in the room had been
near her or had anything to do with tying her. Every person who was
in the room will take his or her oath of that. She could hardly
have tied herself. We never saw such intricate and thorough tying
in our life. The believers present were convinced that George did
it. The unbelievers didn't exactly know what to think about it.
The candles were extinguished again, and pretty soon Miss Davenport
told George to "don't." She spoke in an affrighted tone. The
candles were lit, and she was discovered sitting on the table--hands
and feet tied as before, and herself tied to the chair withal. The
lights were again blown out, there were sounds as if some one was
lifting her from the table; the candles were relit, and she was seen
sitting in the chair on the floor again. No one had been near her
from the audience. Again the lights were extinguished, and
presently the medium said her feet were wet. It appeared that the
mischievous spirit of one Biddie, an Irish Miss who died when twelve
years old, had kicked over the water-pail. Miss Eighme took a seat
at the table, and the same mischievous Biddie scissored off a liberal
lock of her hair. There was the hair, and it had indisputably just
been taken from Miss Eighme's head, and her hands and feet, like
those of Miss D., were securely tied. Other things of a staggering
character to the sceptic were done during the evening.
1.43. MR. BLOWHARD.
The reader has probably met Mr. Blowhard. He is usually round. You
find him in all public places. He is particularly "numerous" at
shows. Knows all the actors intimately. Went to school with some
of 'em. Knows how much they get a month to a cent, and how much
liquor they can hold to a teaspoonful. He knows Ned Forrest like a
book. Has taken sundry drinks with Ned. Ned likes him much. Is
well acquainted with a certain actress. Could have married her just
as easy as not if he had wanted to. Didn't like her "style," and so
concluded not to marry her. Knows Dan Rice well. Knows all of his
men and horses. Is on terms of affectionate intimacy with Dan's
rhinoceros, and is tolerably well acquainted with the performing
elephant. We encountered Mr. Blowhard at the circus yesterday. He
was entertaining those near him with a full account of the whole
institution, men, boys, horses, "muils" and all. He said the
rhinoceros was perfectly harmless, as his teeth had all been taken
out in infancy. Besides, the rhinoceros was under the influence of
opium while he was in the ring, which entirely prevented his
injuring anybody. No danger whatever. In due course of time the
amiable beast was led into the ring. When the cord was taken from
his nose, he turned suddenly and manifested a slight desire to run
violently in among some boys who were seated near the musicians.
The keeper, with the assistance of one of the Bedouin Arabs, soon
induced him to change his mind, and got him in the middle of the
ring. The pleasant quadruped had no sooner arrived here than he
hastily started, with a melodious bellow, towards the seats on one
of which sat Mr. Blowhard. Each particular hair on Mr. Blowhard's
head stood up "like squills upon the speckled porkupine" (Shakspeare
or Artemus Ward, we forget which), and he fell, with a small shriek,
down through the seats to the ground. He remained there until the
agitated rhinoceros became calm, when he crawled slowly back to his
"Keep mum," he said, with a very wise shake of the head "I only
wanted to have some fun with them folks above us. I swar, I'll bet
the whisky they thought I was scared!" Great character that
1.44. MARKET MORNING.
"Hurrah! this is market day,
Up, lads, and gaily away!"--Old Comedy.
On market mornings there is a roar and a crash all about the corner
of Kinsman and Pittsburg Streets. The market building--so called,
we presume, because it don't in the least resemble a market
building--is crowded with beef and butchers, and almost countless
meat and vegetable wagons, of all sorts, are confusedly huddled
together all around outside. These wagons mostly come from a few
miles out of town, and are always on the spot at daybreak. A little
after sunrise the crash and jam commences, and continues with little
cessation until ten o'clock in the forenoon. There is a babel of
tongues, an excessively cosmopolitan gathering of people, a roar of
wheels, and a lively smell of beef and vegetables. The soap man,
the headache curative man, the razor man, and a variety of other
tolerable humbugs, are in full blast. We meet married men with
baskets in their hands. Those who have been fortunate in their
selections look happy, while some who have been unlucky wear a
dejected air, for they are probably destined to get pieces of their
wives' minds on their arrival home. It is true, that all married
men have their own way, but the trouble is they don't all have their
own way of having it! We meet a newly-married man. He has recently
set up housekeeping. He is out to buy steak for breakfast. There
are only himself and wife and female domestic in the family. He
shows us his basket, which contains steak enough for at least ten
able-bodied men. We tell him so, but he says we don't know anything
about war, and passes on. Here comes a lady of high degree, who has
no end of servants to send to the market, but she likes to come
herself, and it won't prevent her shining and sparkling in her
elegant drawing-room this afternoon. And she is accumulating muscle
and freshness of face by these walks to market.
And here IS a charming picture. Standing beside a vegetable cart is
a maiden beautiful and sweeter far than any daisy in the fields.
Eyes of purest blue, lips of cherry red, teeth like pearls, silken,
golden hair, and form of exquisite mould. We wonder if she is a
fairy, but instantly conclude that she is not, for in measuring out
a peck of onions she spills some of them; a small boy laughs at the
mishap, and she indignantly shies the measure at his head. Fairies,
you know, don't throw peck measures at small boys' heads. The spell
was broken. The golden chain which for a moment bound us fell to
pieces. We meet an eccentric individual in corduroy pantaloons and
pepper-and-salt coat, who wants to know if we didn't sail out of
Nantucket in 1852 in the whaling brig "Jasper Green." We are
compelled to confess that the only nautical experience we ever had
was to once temporarily command a canal boat on the dark-rolling
Wabash, while the captain went ashore to cave in the head of a
miscreant who had winked lasciviously at the sylph who superintended
the culinary department on board that gallant craft. The eccentric
individual smiles in a ghastly manner, says perhaps we won't lend
him a dollar till tomorrow; to which we courteously reply that we
CERTAINLY won't, and he glides away.
We return to our hotel, reinvigorated with the early, healthful
jaunt, and bestow an imaginary purse of gold upon our African
Brother, who brings us a hot and excellent breakfast.
1.45. WE SEE TWO WITCHES.
Two female fortune-tellers recently came hither, and spread "small
bills" throughout the city. Being slightly anxious, in common with
a wide circle of relatives and friends, to know where we were going
to, and what was to become of us, we visited both of these eminently
respectable witches yesterday and had our fortune told "twict."
Physicians sometimes disagree, lawyers invariably do, editors
occasionally fall out, and we are pained to say that even witches
unfold different tales to one individual. In describing our
interviews with these singularly gifted female women, who are
actually and positively here in this city, we must speak
considerably of "we"--not because we flatter ourselves that we are
more interesting than people in general, but because in the present
case it is really necessary. In the language of Hamlet's Pa, "List,
We went to see "Madame B." first. She has rooms at the Burnett
House. The following is a copy of her bill:--
THE CELEBRATED SPANISH ASTROLOGIST, CLAIRVOYANT
AND FEMALE DOCTRESS,
Would respectfully announce to the citizens that she has just
arrived in this city, and designs remaining for a few days only.
The Madame can be consulted on all matters pertaining to life--
either past, present, or future--tracing the line of life from
Infancy to Old Age, particularizing each event, in regard to
Business, Love, Marriage, Courtship, Losses, Law Matters, and
Sickness of Relatives and Friends at a distance.
The Madame will also show her visitors a life-like representation
of their Future Husbands and Wives.
LUCKY NUMBERS IN LOTTERIES
Can also be selected by her, and hundreds who have consulted her
have drawn capital prizes. The Madame will furnish medicine for
all diseases, for grown persons (male or female) and children.
Persons wishing to consult her concerning this mysterious art and
human destiny, particularly with reference to their own individual
bearing in relation to a supposed Providence, can be accommodated by
ROOM NO. 23, BURNETT HOUSE,
Corner of Prospect and Ontario streets, Cleveland.
The Madame has traveled extensively for the last few years, both in
the United States and the West Indies, and the success which has
attended her in all places has won for her the reputation of being
the most wonderful Astrologist of the present age.
The Madame has a superior faculty for this business, having been
born with a Caul on her Face, by virtue of which she can more
accurately read the past, present, and future; also enabling her to
cure many diseases without using drugs or medicines. The madame
advertises nothing but what she can do. Call on her if you would
consult the greatest Foreteller of events now living.
Hours of Consultation, from 8 A.M. to 9 o'clock P.M.
We urbanely informed the lady with the "Caul on her Face" that we
had called to have our fortune told, and she said, "Hand out your
money." This preliminary being settled, Madame B. (who is a tall,
sharp-eyed, dark-featured and angular woman, dressed in painfully
positive colors, and heavily loaded with gold chain and mammoth
jewelry of various kinds) and Jupiter indicated powerful that we
were a slim constitution, which came down on to us from our father's
side. Wherein our constitution was not slim, so it came down on to
us from our mother's side.
"Is this so?"
And we said it was.
"Yes," continued the witch, "I know'd 'twas. You can't deceive
Jupiter, me, nor any other planick. You may swim same as Leander
did, but you can't deceive the planicks. Give me your hand! Times
ain't so easy as they has been. So--so--but 'tis temp'ry. 'Twon't
last long. Times will be easy soon. You may be tramped on to onct
or twict, but you'll rekiver. You have talenk, me child. You kin
make a Congresser if sich you likes to be. [We said we would be
excused, if it was all the same to her.] You kin be a lawyer. [We
thanked her, but said we would rather retain our present good moral
character.] You kin be a soldier. You have courage enough to go to
the Hostrian wars and kill the French. [We informed her that we had
already murdered some "English."] You won't have much money till
you're thirty-three years of old. Then you will have large sums--
forty thousand dollars, perhaps. Look out for it! [We promised we
would.] You have traveled some, and you will travel more, which
will make your travels more extensiver than they has been. You will
go to Californy by way of Pike's Pick. [Same route taken by Horace
Greeley.] If nothin happens onto you, you won't meet with no
accidents and will get through pleasant, which you otherwise will
not do under all circumstances however, which doth happen to all,
both great and small, likewise to the rich as also the poor.
Hearken to me! There has been deaths in your family, and there will
be more! But Reserve your constitution and you will live to be
seventy years of old. Me child, HER hair will be black--black as
the Raving's wing. Likewise black will also be her eyes, and she'll
be as different from which you air as night and day. Look out for
the darkish man! He's yer rival! Beware of the darkish man! [We
promised that we'd introduce a funeral into the "darkish man's"
family the moment we encountered him.] Me child, there's more
sunshine than clouds for ye, and send all your friends up here.
"A word before you goes. Expose not yourself. Your eyes is saller,
which is on accounts of bile on your systim. Some don't have bile
on to their systims which their eyes is not saller. This bile
ascends down on to you from many generations which is in their
graves, and peace to their ashes."
We then proceeded directly to Madame Crompton, the other fortune-
Below is her bill:--
MADAME R. CROMPTON,
The World-Renowned Fortune-Teller and
Madame Crompton begs leave to inform the citizens of Cleveland
and vicinity that she has taken rooms at the
FARMERS' ST CLAIR HOUSE,
Corner of St Clair and Water Streets,
Where she may be consulted on all matters pertaining to
Past and Future Events.
Also giving Information of Absent friends, whether
Living or Dead.
P.S.--Persons having lost or having property stolen of any kind,
will do well to give her a call, as she will describe the person or
persons with such accuracy as will astonish the most devout critic.
She has rooms at the Farmers' Hotel, as stated in the bill above.
She was driving an extensive business, and we were forced to wait
half an hour or so for a chance to see her. Madame Crompton is of
the English persuasion, and has evidently searched many long years
in vain for her H. She is small in stature, but considerably
inclined to corpulency, and her red round face is continually
wreathed in smiles, reminding one of a new tin pan basking in the
noonday sun. She took a greasy pack of common playing cards, and
requested us to "cut them in three," which we did. She spread them
out before her on the table, and said:--
"Sir to you which I speaks. You 'av been terrible crossed in love,
and your 'art 'as been much panged. But you'll get over it and
marry a light complected gale with rayther reddish 'air. Before
some time you'll have a legercy fall down on to you, mostly in
solick Jold. There may be a lawsuit about it, and you may be
sup-prisoned as a witnesses, but you'll git it--mostly in solick
Jold, which you will keep in chists, and you must look out for them.
[We said we would keep a skinned optic on "them chists."] You 'as a
enemy, and he's a lightish man. He wants to defraud you out of your
'onesty. He is tellink lies about you now in the 'opes of crushin
yourself. [A weak invention of "the opposition."] You never did
nothin bad. Your 'art is right. You 'ave a great taste for hosses
and like to stay with 'em. Mister to you I sez: Gard aginst the
lightish man and all will be well."
The supernatural being then took an oval-shaped chunk of glass
(which she called a stone) and requested us to "hang on to it." She
looked into it and said:
"If you're not keerful when you git your money, you'll lose it, but
which otherwise you will not, and fifty cents is as cheap as I kin
afford to tell anybody's fortune, and no great shakes made then."
1.46. FROM A HOMELY MAN.
Dear Plain Dealer,--I am a plain man, and there is a melancholy
fitness in my unbosoming my sufferings to the "Plain" Dealer. Plain
as you may be in your dealings, however, I am convinced you never
before had to DEAL with a correspondent so hopelessly plain as I.
Yet plain don't half express my looks. Indeed I doubt very much
whether any word in the English language could be found to convey an
adequate idea on my absolute and utter homeliness. The dates in the
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