The Complete Works of Artemus Ward, Part 1
Charles Farrar Browne
Part 4 out of 4
old family Bible show that I am in the decline of life, but I cannot
recall a period in my existence when I felt really young. My very
infancy, those brief months when babes prattle joyously and know
nothing of care, was darkened by a shadowy presentiment of what I
was to endure through life, and my youth was rendered dismal by
continued repetitions of a fact painfully evident "on the face of
it," that the boy was growing homelier and homelier every day.
Memory, that with other people recalls so much that is sweet and
pleasant to think of in connection with their youth, with me brings
up nothing but mortification, bitter tears, I had almost said
curses, on my solitary and homely lot. I have wished--a thousand
times wished--that Memory had never consented to take a seat "in
this distracted globe."
You have heard of a man so homely that he couldn't sleep nights, his
face ached so. Mr. Editor, I am that melancholy individual.
Whoever perpetrated the joke--for joke it was no doubt intended to
be--knew not how much truth he was uttering, or how bitterly the
idle squib would rankle in the heart of one suffering man. Many and
many a night have I in my childhood laid awake thinking of my
homeliness, and as the moonlight has streamed in at the window and
fell upon the handsome and placid features of my little brother
slumbering at my side, Heaven forgive me for the wicked thought, but
I have felt an almost unconquerable impulse to forever disfigure and
mar that sweet upturned innocent face that smiled and looked so
beautiful in sleep, for it was ever reminding me of the curse I was
doomed to carry about me. Many and many a night have I got up in my
nightdress, and lighting my little lamp, sat for hours gazing at my
terrible ugliness of face reflected in the mirror, drawn to it by a
cruel fascination which it was impossible for me to resist.
I need not tell you that I am a single man, and yet I have had what
men call affairs of the heart. I have known what it is to worship
the heart's embodiment of female loveliness, and purity, and truth,
but it was generally at a distance entirely safe to the object of my
adoration. Being of a susceptible nature, I was continually falling
in love, but never, save with one single exception, did I venture to
declare my flame. I saw my heart's palpitator walking in a grove.
Moved by my consuming love, I rushed towards her, and throwing
myself at her feet began to pour forth the long-pent-up emotions of
my heart. She gave one look and then
"Shrieked till all the rocks replied;"
at least you'd thought they replied if you had seen me leave that
grove with a speed greatly accelerated by a shower of rocks from the
hands of an enraged brother, who was at hand. That prepossessing
young lady is now slowly recovering her reason in an institution for
Of my further troubles I may perhaps inform you at some future time.
1.47. THE ELEPHANT.
Some two years since, on the strength of what we regarded as
reliable information, we announced the death of the elephant
Hannibal, at Canton, and accompanied the announcement with a short
sketch of that remarkable animal. We happened to be familiar with
several interesting incidents in the private life of Hannibal, and
our sketch was copied by almost every paper in America and by
several European journals. A few months ago a "traveled" friend
showed us the sketch in a Parisian journal, and possibly it is
"going the rounds" of the Chinese papers by this time. A few days
after we had printed his obituary Hannibal came to town with Van
Amburgh's Menagerie, and the same type which killed the monster
restored him to life again.
About once a year Hannibal
"Gets on a spree,
And goes bobbin around."
to make a short quotation from a once popular ballad. These sprees,
in fact, "is what's the matter with him."
The other day, in Williamsburg, Long Island, he broke loose in the
canvas, emptied most of the cages, and tore through the town like a
mammoth pestilence. An extensive crowd of athletic men, by jabbing
him with spears and pitchforks, and coiling big ropes around his
legs, succeeded in capturing him. The animals he had set free were
caught and restored to their cages without much difficulty.
We doubt if we shall ever forget our first view of Hannibal--which
was also our first view of any elephant--of THE elephant, in short.
It was at the close of a sultry day in June, 18--. The sun had
spent its fury and was going to rest among the clouds of gold and
crimson. A solitary horseman might have been seen slowly ascending
a long hill in a New England town. That solitary horseman was us,
and we were mounted on the old white mare. Two bags were strapped
to the foaming steed. That was before we became wealthy, and of
course we are not ashamed to say that we had been to mill, and
consequently THEM bags contained flour and middlins. Presently a
large object appeared at the top of the hill. We had heard of the
devil, and had been pretty often told that he would have a clear
deed and title to us before long, but had never heard him painted
like the object which met our gaze at the top of that hill on the
close of sultry day in June. Concluding (for we were a mere youth)
that it was an eccentric whale, who had come ashore near North
Yarmouth, and was making a tour through the interior on wheels, we
hastily turned our steed and made for the mill at a rapid rate.
Once we threw over ballast, after the manner of balloonists, and as
the object gained on us we cried aloud for our parents. Fortunately
we reached the mill in safety, and the object passed at a furious
rate, with a portion of a woodshed on its back. It was Hannibal,
who had run away from a neighboring town, taking a shed with him.
. . . . .
DRANK STANDIN.--Col. -- is a big "railroad man." He attended a
railroad supper once. Champagne flowed freely, and the Colonel got
more than his share. Speeches were made after the removal of the
cloth. Somebody arose and eulogized the Colonel in the steepest
possible manner--called him great, good, patriotic, enterprising,
&c., &c. The speaker was here interrupted by the illustrious
Colonel himself, who arising with considerable difficulty, and
beaming benevolently around the table, gravely said, "Let's (hic)
drink that sedimunt standin!" It was done.
1.48. HOW THE NAPOLEON OF SELLERS WAS SOLD.
We have read a great many stories of which Winchell, the great wit
and mimic, was the hero, showing always how neatly and entirely he
sold somebody. Any one who is familiar with Winchell's wonderful
powers of mimicry cannot doubt that these stories are all
substantially true. But there is one instance which we will relate,
or perish in the attempt, where the jolly Winchell was himself sold.
The other evening, while he was conversing with several gentlemen at
one of the hotels, a dilapidated individual reeled into the room and
halted in front of the stove, where he made wild and unsuccessful
efforts to maintain a firm position. He evidently had spent the
evening in marching torchlight processions of forty-rod whisky down
his throat, and at this particular time was decidedly and
disreputably drunk. With a sly wink to the crowd, as much as to
say, "We'll have some fun with this individual," Winchell assumed a
solemn face, and in a ghostly voice said to one of the company:
"The poor fellow we were speaking of is dead!"
"No?" said the individual addressed.
"Yes," said Winchell; "you know both of his eyes were gouged out,
his nose was chawed off, and both of his arms were torn out at the
roots. Of course, he could'nt recover."
This was all said for the benefit of the drunken man, who was
standing, or trying to stand, within a few feet of Winchell; but he
took no sort of notice of it, and was apparently ignorant of the
celebrated delineator's presence. Again Winchell endeavored to
attract his attention, but utterly failed as before. In a few
moments the drunken man staggered out of the room.
"I can generally have a little fun with a drunken man," said
Winchell, "but it is no go in this case."
"I suppose you know what ails the man who just went out?" said the
"I perceive he is alarmingly inebriated," said Winchell; "does
anything else ail him?"
"Yes," said the host, "HE'S DEAF AND DUMB!"
This was true. There was a "larf," and Winchell, with the remark
that he was sorry to see a disposition in that assemblage "to
deceive an orphan," called for a light and went gravely to bed.
1.49. ON AUTUMN.
Poets are wont to apostrophize the leafy month of June, and there is
no denying that if Spring is "some," June is Summer. But there is a
gorgeous magnificence about the habiliments of Nature, and a teeming
fruitfulness upon her lap during the autumnal months, and we must
confess we have always felt genially inclined towards this season.
It is true, when we concentrate our field of vision to the minute
garniture of earth, we no longer observe the beautiful petals, nor
inhale the fragrance of a gay parterre of the "floral epistles" and
"angel-like collections" which Longfellow (we believe) so
graphically describes, and which Shortfellows so fantastically carry
about in their buttonholes; but we have all their tints reproduced
upon a higher and broader canvas in the kaleidoscopic colors with
which the sky and the forest daily enchant us, and the beautiful and
luscious fruits which Autumn spreads out before us, and
"Crowns the rich promise of the opening Spring."
In another point of view Autumn is suggestive of pleasant
reflections. The wearying, wasting heat of Summer, and the deadly
blasts with which her breath has for some years been freighted, are
past, and the bracing north winds begin to bring balm and healing on
their wings. The hurly-burly of travel, and most sorts of publicity
(except newspapers), are fast playing out, and we can once more hope
to see our friends and relations in the happy sociality of home and
fireside enjoyments. Yielding, as we do, the full force to which
Autumn is seriously entitled, or rather to the serious reflections
and admonitions which the decay of Nature and the dying year always
inspire, and admitting the poet's decade--
"Leaves have their time to fall,
And stars to set,--but all,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!"
There is a brighter Autumn beyond, and brighter opening years to
those who choose them rather than dead leaves and bitter fruits.
Thus we can conclude tranquilly with Bryant, as we began gaily with
"So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon; but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."
1.50. PAYING FOR HIS PROVENDER BY PRAYING.
We have no intention of making fun of serious matters in telling the
following story; we merely relate a fact.
There is a rule at Oberlin College that no student shall board at
any house where prayers are not regularly made each day. A certain
man fitted up a boarding-house and filled it with boarders, but
forgot, until the eleventh hour, the prayer proviso. Not being a
praying man himself, he looked around for one who was. At length he
found one--a meek young man from Trumbull County--who agreed to pay
for his board in praying. For a while all went smoothly, but the
boarding-master furnished his table so poorly that the boarders
began to grumble and to leave, and the other morning the praying
boarder actually "struck!" Something like the following dialogue
occurred at the table:--
LANDLORD.--Will you pray, Mr. Mild?
MILD.--No, sir, I will not.
LANDLORD.--Why not, Mr. Mild?
MILD.--It don't pay, sir. I can't pray on such victuals as these.
And unless you bind yourself in writing to set a better table than
you have for the last three weeks, NARY ANOTHER PRAYER YOU GET OUT
And that's the way the matter stood at latest advices.
1.51. HUNTING TROUBLE.
Hunting trouble is too fashionable in this world. Contentment and
jollity are not cultivated as they should be. There are too many
prematurely-wrinkled long and melancholy faces among us. There is
too much swearing, sweating and slashing, fuming, foaming and
fretting around and about us all.
"A mad world, my masters."
People rush outdoors bareheaded and barefooted, as it were, and dash
blindly into all sorts of dark alleys in quest of all sorts of
Trouble, when, "Goodness knows," if they will only sit calmly and
pleasantly by their firesides, Trouble will knock soon enough at
Hunting Trouble is bad business. If we ever are induced to descend
from our present proud position to become a member of the
Legislature, or ever accumulate sufficient muscle, impudence, and
taste for bad liquor to go to Congress, we shall introduce "a
william" for the suppression of Trouble-hunting. We know Miss
Slinkins, who incessantly frets because Miss Slurkins is better
harnessed than she is, won't like it; and we presume the Simpkinses,
who worry so much because the Perkinses live in a freestone-fronted
house whilst theirs is only plain brick, won't like it also. It is
doubtful, too, whether our long-haired friends the Reformers (who
think the machinery of the world is all out of joint, while we think
it only needs a little greasing to run in first-rate style), will
approve the measure. It is probable, indeed, that very many
societies, of a reformatory (and inflammatory) character, would
frown upon the measure. But the measure would be a good one
Never hunt Trouble. However dead a shot one may be, the gun he
carries on such expeditions is sure to kick or go off half-cocked.
Trouble will come soon enough, and when he does come, receive him as
pleasantly as possible. Like the tax-collector, he is a disagreeable
chap to have in one's house, but the more amiably you greet him the
sooner he will go away.
1.52. DARK DOINGS.
Four promising young men of this city attended a ball in the rural
districts not long since. At a late hour they retired, leaving word
with the clerk of the hotel to call them early in the morning, as
they wanted to take the first train home. The clerk was an old
friend of the "fellers," and he thought he would have a slight joke
at their expense. So he burnt some cork, and, with a sponge,
blacked the faces of his city friends after they had got soundly
asleep. In the morning he called them about ten minutes before the
train came along. Feller No. 1 awoke and laughed boisterously at
the sight which met his gaze. But he saw through it--the clerk had
played his good joke on his three comrades, and of course he would
keep mum. But it was a devilish good joke. Feller No. 2 awoke, saw
the three black men in the room, comprehended the joke, and laughed
vociferously. But he would keep mum. Fellers No. 3 and 4 awoke,
and experienced the same pleasant feeling; and there was the
beautiful spectacle of four nice young men laughing heartily one at
another, each one supposing the "urban clerk" had spared him in his
cork-daubing operations. They had only time to dress before the
train arrived. They all got aboard, each thinking what a glorious
joke it was to have his three companions go back to town with black
faces. The idea was so rich that they all commenced laughing
violently as soon as they got aboard the cars. The other passengers
took to laughing also, and fun raged fast and furious, until the
benevolent baggage-man, seeing how matters stood, brought a small
pocket-glass and handed it around to the young men. They suddenly
stopped laughing, rushed wildly for the baggage-car, washed their
faces, and amused and instructed each other during the remainder of
the trip with some eloquent flashes of silence.
The following paragraph is going the rounds:--"How many a great man
is now basking in the sunshine of fame generously bestowed upon him
by the prolific genius of some reporter! How many stupid orations
have been made brilliant, how many wandering, pointless, objectless,
speeches put in form and rendered at least readable, by the unknown
reporter! How many a disheartened speaker, who was conscious the
night before of a failure, before a thin, cold, spiritless audience,
awakes delighted to learn that he has addressed an overwhelming
assemblage of his enthusiastic, appreciating fellow-citizens, to
find his speech sparkling with 'cheers,' breaking out into 'immense
applause,' and concluding amidst 'the wildest excitement!'"
There is considerable truth in the above, we are sorry to state.
Reporters are too apt to smooth over and give a fair face to the
stupidity and bombast of political and other public humbugs. For
this they are not only seldom thanked, but frequently are kicked.
Of course this sort of thing is wrong. A Reporter should be
independent enough to meet the approaches of gentlemen of the
Nincompoop persuasion with a flat rebuff. He should never gloss
over a political humbug, whether he belongs to "our side" or not.
He is not thanked for doing it, and, furthermore, he loses the
respect and confidence of his readers. There are many amiable
gentlemen ornamenting the various walks of life, who are under the
impression that for a dozen bad cigars or a few drinks of worse
whisky they can purchase the "opinion" of almost any Reporter. It
has been our pleasure on several occasions to disabuse those
gentlemen of this impression.
Should another occasion of this kind ever offer, we feel that we
should be "adequate" to treat it in a similar manner. A Reporter,
we modestly submit, is as good as anybody, and ought to feel that he
is, everywhere and at all times. For one, let us quietly and
without any show of vanity remark, that we are not only just as good
as anybody else, but a great deal better than many we know of. We
love God and hate Indians: pay our debts; support the Constitution
of the United States; go in for Progress, Sunshine, Calico, and
other luxuries; are perfectly satisfied and happy, and wouldn't swop
"sits" with the President, Louis Napoleon, the Emperor of China,
Sultan of Turkey, Brigham Young, or Nicholas Longworth. Success to
1.54. HE HAD THE LITTLE VOUCHER IN HIS POCKET.
L-- lived in this city several years ago. He dealt in horses,
carriages, &c. Hearing of a good chance to sell buggies up West, he
embarked with a lot for that "great" country. At Toledo he took a
Michigan Southern train. Somebody had by way of a joke, warned him
against the conductor of that particular train, telling him that
said conductor had an eccentric way of taking up tickets at the
beginning of the journey, and of denying that he had done so and
demanding fare at the end thereof. This the confiding L--
swallowed. He determined not to be swindled in this way, and so
when the conductor came around and asked him for his ticket he
declined giving up. The conductor insisted. L-- still refused.
"I've got the little voucher in my pocket," he said, with a knowing
look, slily slapping the pocket which contained the ticket.
The conductor glanced at L--'s stalwart frame. He had heard L--
spoken of as a fighting man. He preferred not to grapple with him.
The train was a light one, and it so happened that L-- was the only
man in this, the hind car. So the conductor had the train stopped,
and quietly unhitched this car.
"Good day, Mr. L," he yelled; "just keep that little voucher in your
pocket, and be d--d to you!"
L-- jumped up and saw the other cars moving rapidly away. He was
left solitary and alone, in a dismal piece of woods known as the
Black Swamp. He remained there in the car until night, when the
down-train came along and took him to Toledo. He had to pay fare,
his up through-ticket not being good on that train. His buggies had
gone unattended to Chicago. He was very angry. He finally got
through, but he will never hear the last of that "little voucher."
1.55. THE GENTLEMANLY CONDUCTOR.
Few have any idea of the trials and tribulations of the railway
conductor--"the gentlemanly conductor," as one-horse newspapers
delight in styling him. Unless you are gifted with the patience of
the lamented Job, who, tradition informs us, had "biles" all over
his body, and didn't swear once, never go for a Conductor, me boy!
The other evening we enlivened a railroad car with our brilliant
presence. Starting time was not quite up, and the passengers were
amusing themselves by laughing, swearing, singing, and talking,
according to their particular fancy. The Conductor came in, and the
following were a few of the questions put to him:--One old fellow,
who was wrapped up in a horse-blanket, and who apparently had about
two pounds of pigtail in his mouth, wanted to know, "What pint of
compass the keers was travelin in?" An old lady, surrounded by
band-boxes and enveloped in flannels, wanted to know what time
the eight o'clock train left Rock Island for "Dubu-kue?" A
carroty-haired young man wanted to know if "free omyibuses" ran
from the cars to the taverns in Toledo? A tall, razor-faced
individual, evidently from the interior of Connecticut, desired to
know if "conductin" paid as well eout West as it did deoun in his
country; and a portly, close-shaven man with round keen eyes, and
in whose face you could read the interest-table, asked the price of
corner lots in Omaha. These and many other equally absurd questions
the conductor answered calmly and in a resigned manner. And we
shuddered as we thought how he would have to answer a similar string
of questions in each of the three cars ahead.
1.56. MORALITY AND GENIUS.
We see it gravely stated in a popular Metropolitan journal that
"true genius goes hand in hand, necessarily, with morality." The
statement is not a startlingly novel one. It has been made,
probably, about sixty thousand times before. But it is untrue and
foolish. We wish genius and morality were affectionate companions,
but it is a fact that they are often bitter enemies. They don't
necessarily coalesce any more than oil and water do! Innumerable
instances may be readily produced in support of this proposition.
Nobody doubts that Sheridan had genius, yet he was a sad dog. Mr.
Byron, the author of Childe Harold "and other poems," was a man of
genius, we think, yet Mr. Byron was a fearfully fast man. Edgar A.
Poe wrote magnificent poetry and majestic prose, but he was, in
private life, hardly the man for small and select tea parties.
We fancy Sir Richard Steele was a man of genius, but he got
disreputably drunk, and didn't pay his debts. Swift had genius--an
immense lot of it--yet Swift was a cold-blooded, pitiless, bad man.
The catalogue might be spun out to any length, but it were useless
to do it. We don't mean to intimate that men of genius must
necessarily be sots and spendthrifts--we merely speak of the fact
that very many of them have been both, and in some instances much
worse than both. Still we can't well see (though some think they
can) how the pleasure and instruction people derive from reading the
productions of these great lights is diminished because their morals
were "lavishly loose." They might have written better had their
private lives been purer, but of this nobody can determine for the
pretty good reason that nobody knows.
So with actors. We have seen people stay away from the theater
because Mrs. Grundy said the star of the evening invariably retired
to his couch in a state of extreme inebriety. If the star is
afflicted with a weakness of this kind, we may regret it. We may
pity or censure the star. But we must still acknowledge the star's
genius, and applaud it. Hence we conclude that the chronic weakness
of actors no more affects the question of the propriety of
patronizing theatrical representations, than the profligacy of
journeymen shoemakers affects the question of the propriety of
wearing boots. All of which is respectfully submitted.
1.57. ROUGH BEGINNING OF THE HONEYMOON.
On last Friday morning an athletic young farmer in the town of
Waynesburg took a fair girl, "all bathed in blushes," from her
parents, and started for the first town across the Pennsylvania line
to be married, where the ceremony could be performed without a
license. The happy pair were accompanied by a sister of the girl, a
tall, gaunt, and sharp-featured female of some thirty-seven summers.
The pair crossed the line, were married, and returned to Wellsville
to pass the night. People at the hotel where the wedding party
stopped observed that they conducted themselves in a rather singular
manner. The husband would take his sister-in-law, the tall female
aforesaid, into one corner of the parlor and talk earnestly to her
gesticulating wildly the while. Then the tall female would "put her
foot down" and talk to him in an angry and excited manner. Then the
husband would take his fair young bride into a corner, but he could
no sooner commence talking to her than the gaunt sister would rush
in between them and angrily join in the conversation. The people at
the hotel ascertained what all this meant about 9 o'clock that
evening. There was an uproar in the room which had been assigned to
the newly married couple. Female shrieks and masculine "swears"
startled the people at the hotel, and they rushed to the spot. The
gaunt female was pressing and kicking against the door of the room,
and the newly-married man, mostly undressed, was barring her out
with all his might. Occasionally she would kick the door far enough
open to disclose the stalwart husband, in his Gentleman Greek Slave
apparel. It appeared that the tall female insisted upon occupying
the same room with the newly-wedded pair; that her sister was
favorably disposed to the arrangement, and that the husband had
agreed to it before the wedding took place, and was now indignantly
repudiating the contract. "Won't you go away now, Susan, peaceful?"
said the newly-married man, softening his voice.
"No," said she, "I won't--so there!"
"Don't you budge an inch!" cried the married sister within the room.
"Now--now, Maria," said the young man to his wife, in a piteous
tone, "don't go for to cuttin' up in this way; now don't!"
"I'll cut up's much I wanter!" she sharply replied.
"Well," roared the desperate man, throwing the door wide open and
stalking out among the crowd, "well, jest you two wimin put on your
duds and go right straight home and bring back the old man and
woman, and your grandfather, who is nigh on to a hundred; bring 'em
all here, AND I'LL MARRY THE WHOLE D--D CABOODLE OF 'EM AND WE'LL
ALL SLEEP TOGETHER!"
The difficulty was finally adjusted by the tall female taking a room
alone. Wellsville is enjoying itself over the "sensation."
1.58. A COLORED MAN OF THE NAME OF JEFFRIES.
One beautiful day last August, Mr. Elmer of East Cleveland, sent his
hired colored man, of the name of Jeffries, to town with a two-horse
wagon to get a load of lime. Mr. Elmer gave Jeffries 5 dollars with
which to pay for the lime. The horses were excellent ones, by the
way, nicely matched, and more than commonly fast. The colored man
of the name of Jeffries came to town and drove to the Johnson Street
Station where he encountered a frail young woman of the name of
Jenkins, who had just been released from jail, where she had been
confined for naughtical conduct (drugging and robbing a sailor).
"Will you fly with me, adorable Jenkins?" he unto her did say, "or
words to that effect," and unto him in reply she did up and say:
"My African brother, I will. Spirit," she continued, alluding to a
stone jug under the seat in the wagon, "I follow!" Then into the
two-horse wagon this fair maiden got and knavely telling the
"perlice," to embark by the first packet for an unromantic land
where the climate is intensely tropical, and where even Laplanders,
who like fire, get more of a good thing than they want--doing and
saying thus the woman of the name of Jenkins mounted the seat with
the colored man of the sweet name of Jeffries; and so these two
sweet, gushing children of nature rode gaily away. Away towards the
setting sun. Away towards Indiana--bright land of cheap whisky and
Any name which is suggestive of a joke, however poor the joke may
be, is often a nuisance. We were once "confined" in a printing-
office with a man named Snow. Everybody who came in was bound to
have a joke about Snow. If it was Summer the mad wags would say we
ought to be cold, for we had Snow there all the time--which was a
fact, though we sometimes wished Snow was where he would speedily
melt. Not that we didn't like Snow. Far from it. His name was
what disgusted us. It was also once our misfortune to daily mingle
with a man named Berry, we can't tell how many million times we
heard him called Elderberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, Huckleberry,
Gooseberry, &c. The thing nearly made him deranged. He joined the
filibusters and has made energetic efforts to get shot but had not
succeeded at last accounts, although we hear he has been "slewd"
numerously. There is a good deal in a name, our usually correct
friend W. Shakespeare to the contrary notwithstanding.
Our own name is, unfortunately, one on which jokes, such as they
are, can be made, we cannot present a tabular statement of the times
we have done things brown (in the opinion of partial friends) or
have been asked if we were related to the eccentric old slave and
horse "liberator," whose recent Virginia Reel has attracted so much
of the public attention. Could we do so the array of figures would
be appalling. And sometimes we think we will accept the first good
offer of marriage that is made to us, for the purpose of changing
our unhappy name, setting other interesting considerations entirely
1.60. HE FOUND HE WOULD.
Several years ago Bill McCracken lived in Peru, Indiana. (We were
in Peru several years ago, and it was a nice place we DON'T think.)
Mr. McCracken was a screamer, and had whipped all the recognized
fighting men on the Wabash. One day somebody told him that Jack
Long, blacksmith of Logansport, said he would give him (McCracken) a
protracted fit of sickness if he would just come down there and
smell of his bones. The McCracken at once laid in a stock of
provisions, consisting of whisky in glass and chickens in the shell,
and started for Logansport. In a few days, he was brought home in a
bunged-up condition, on a cot-bed. One eye was gouged out, a
portion of his nose was chawed off, his left arm was in a sling, his
head was done up in an old rag, and he was pretty badly off himself.
He was set down in the village bar-room, and turning to the crowd
he, in a feeble voice, said, hot tears bedewing his face the while,
"Boys, you know Jack Long said if I'd come down to Loginsput he'd
whale h--ll out of me; and boys, you know I didn't believe it, but
I've been down thar and I FOUND HE WOULD."
He recovered after a lapse of years and led a better life. As he
said himself, he returned from Logansport a changed man.
1.61. "BURIAL IN RICHMOND AND RESURRECTION IN BOSTON."
A drama with this title, written by a colored citizen (an artist by
profession), the characters being performed by colored citizens, was
played at the Melodeon last evening. There were several white
persons present, though most of the audience were colored. The
great variety of colors made a gay, and indeed we may say gorgeous
A hasty sketch of this great moral production may not be
uninteresting. Act 1st, scene 1st, discloses a log-cabin, with
fifteen minutes' intermission between each log. "William, a
spirited slave," and "John, the obedient slave," are in the cabin.
William, the spirited slave, says he will be free, "Why," says
William, "am I here thus? Was this frame made to be in bondage?
Shall THESE voices be hushed? Never, never, never!" "Oh, don't say
it thus," says John, the obedient slave, "for thus it should not be.
An' I tole ye what it was, now, jes take keer of them pistiles or
they'll work yer ruins. Mind what I say, Wilyim. As for me I shall
stay here with my dear Julia!" (Immense applause). "And so it has
come to this, ha?" said William, the spirited slave, standing
himself up and brandishing his arms in a terrific manner. "And so
it has come to this, ha? And this is a free land, so it has come to
this--to this--TO THIS." William appeared to be somewhat confused
at this point, but a wealthy newsboy in the audience helped him out
by crying, "or any other man." John and William then embraced,
bitter tears moistening their manly breasts. "Farwel, Wilyim," said
John, the obedient slave, "and bless you, bless you, me child." The
spirited slave walks off and the obedient slave falls into a swoon.
Tableau: The Goddess of Liberty appears in a mackinaw blanket and
pours incense on the obedient slave. A member of the orchestra gets
up and softly warbles on a bass drum. Angels are heard singing in
the distance. Curtain falls, the audience being soaking wet with
Act 2, scene first, discloses the house of Mr. Lyons, a slaveholder
in Virginia. Mr. Lyons, as we learn by the play, is "a member of
the Whig Congress." He learns that William, his spirited slave, has
escaped. This makes him very angry, and he says he will break every
bone in William's body. He goes out and searches for William, but
cannot find him, and comes back. He takes a heavy drink, is
stricken with remorse, and declares his intention to become a nun.
John, the obedient slave, comes in and asks permission to marry
Julia. Mr. Lyons says, certainly, by all means, and preparations
are made for the wedding.
The wedding takes place. The scene that follows is rather
incomprehensible. A young mariner has a clandestine interview with
the obedient slave, and receives 10 dollars to make a large box. An
elderly mariner, not that mariner, but another mariner--rushes madly
in and fires a horse-pistol into the air. He wheels and is about
going off, when a black Octoroon rushes madly in and fires another
horse-pistol at the retreating mariner, who falls. He says he is
going to make a die of it. Says he should have acted differently if
he had only done otherwise, which was right, or else it wouldn't be
so. He forgets his part and don't say anything more, but he wraps
himself up in the American flag and expires like a son of a
gentleman. More warblings on the bass drum. The rest of the
orchestra endeavor to accompany the drum, but are so deeply affected
that they can't. There is a death-like stillness in the house. All
was so still that had a cannon been fired off it could have been
The next scene discloses a large square box. Several colored
persons are seen standing round the square box. The mariner who was
killed in the last scene commences knocking off the cover of the
box. He pulls the cover off, and up jumps the obedient slave and
his wife! The obedient slave and his dear Julia fall out of the
box. Great applause. They rush to the footlights and kneel. Quick
music by the orchestra, in which the bass drum don't warble so much
as she did. "I'm free! I'M FREE! I'M FREE!!" shrieks the obedient
slave, "O I'm free!" The stage is suddenly lighted up in a gorgeous
manner. The obedient slave and his dear Julia continue kneeling.
The dead mariner blesses them. The Goddess of Liberty appears
again--this time in a beaver overcoat--and pours some more incense
on the obedient slave. An allegorical picture of Virtue appears in
a red vest and military boots, on the left proscenium, John Brown
the barber appears as Lady Macbeth, and says there is a blue tinge
into his nails, and consequently he is an Octoroon. Another actor
wants to define his position on the Euclid Street improvement, but
is hissed down. Curtain descends amidst the admiring shouts of the
audience, red fire, music, and the violent assertion of the obedient
slave that he is free.
The play will not be repeated this evening, as was announced. The
notice will be given of its next performance. It is the greatest
effort of the kind that we ever witnessed.
1.62. A MAYORALTY ELECTION.
Messrs. Senter and Coffinberry, two esteemed citizens, are the
candidates. Here's a faint attempt at a specimen scene. An
innocent German is discovered about half a mile from the polls of
this or that ward. A dozen ticket-peddlers scent him ("even as the
war-horse snuffs the battle," etc.), see him, and make a grand rush
for him. They surround him, each shoves a bunch of tickets under
his nose, and all commence bellowing in his ears. Here's the ticket
yer want--Coffinberry. Here's Senterberry and Coffinter. What the
h--l yer tryin' to fool the man for? Don't yer spose he knows who
he wants ter vote for, say! 'Ere's the ticket--Sen--Coff--don't
crowd--get off my toes, you d--d fool! Workin' men's tickets is the
ticket you want! To h--l wid yez workin' men's ticket, 'ere's the
ticket yez want! No, by Cot, vote for Shorge B. Senter--he says
he'll py all the peer for dems as votes for him as much more dan dey
can trinks, by tam! Senter be d--d! Go for Coffinberry!
Coffinberry was killed eight times in the Mexican war, and is in
favor of justice and Pop'lar Sovrinty! Oh gos! Senter was at the
battle of Tippe-ca-noo, scalped twelve Injuns and wrote a treatise
in Horse-shoeing! Don't go for Coffinberry. He's down on all the
Dutch, and swears he'll have all their heads chopped off and run
into sausages if he's lected. Do you know what George B. Senter
says about the Germans? He says by -- they're in the habit of
stealing LIVE American infants and hashing 'em up into head cheese.
By --! That's a lie! T'aint--I heard that say so with my own
mouth. Let the man alone--stop yer pullin--I'll bust yer ear for
yer yet. My Cot, my Cot, what tam dimes dese 'lections is. Well
yez crowd a poor Jarman till death, yer d--d spalpanes, yez? Sen--
Coff--Senterberry and Coffinter--Working Men's--Repub--Dem-whoop-h-
The strongest side got the unfortunate German's vote and he went
sore and bleeding home and satisfied, no doubt, that this is a great
country, and that the American Eagle will continue to be a deeply
interesting bird while his wings are in the hands of patriots like
the above. Scenes like the above (only our description is very
imperfect) were played over and over again, at every ward in the
city, yesterday. Let us be thankful that the country is safe--but
we should like to see some of the ward politicians gauged to-day,
for we are confident the operation would exhibit an astonishing
depth of whiskey.
Hurrah for the Bar--Stangled Spanner!
1.63. FISHING EXCURSION.
The Leviathan, Capt. Wm. Sholl, left the foot of Superior Street at
6 o'clock yesterday morning for a fishing excursion down the lake.
There were about twenty persons in the party, and we think we never
saw a more lovely lot of men. The noble craft swept majestically
out of the Cuyahoga into the lake, and as she sped past a retired
coal-dealer's office the Usher borrowed our pocket-handkerchief
(which in the excess of his emotion he forgot to return to us) to
wipe away four large tears which trickled from his light bay eyes.
On dashed the Leviathan at the rate of about forty-five knots an
hour. The fishing-ground reached, the clarion voice of Sholl was
heard to ejaculate, "Reef home the jib-boom, shorten the main-brace,
splice the forecastle, and throw the hurricane-deck overboard!
Lively, my lads!" "Aye, aye, Sir!" said Marsh the chaplain of the
expedition, in tones of thunder, and the gallant party sprang to
execute the Captain's orders, the agile form of first-officer
Hilliard being especially conspicuous in reefing the jib-boom.
Lines were cast and the sport commenced. It seemed as if all the
fish in the lake knew of our coming, and had collected in that
particular spot for the express purpose of being caught! What teeth
they had--sufficiently good, certainly, to bite a cartridge or
anything else. The Usher caught the first fish--a small but
beautiful bass, whose weight was about three inches and a half. The
Usher was elated at this streak of luck, but his hand did not
tremble and he continued to hand in fish until at noon he had caught
thirteen firkins full and he announced that he should fish no more.
Cruelty was no part of his nature and he did not think it right to
slaughter fish in this way. Cross, Barney, and the rest, were
immensely successful, and hauled in tremendous quantities of bass,
perch, Mackinaw trout, and Connecticut shad. Bone didn't catch a
fish, and we shall never forget the sorrowful manner in which the
poor fellow gazed upon our huge pile of beautiful bass which
occupied all of the quarter deck and a large portion of the
forcastle. Having fished enough the party went ashore, where they
found Ab. McIlrath (who was fanning himself with a barn door), the
grand Commandant (who in a sonorous voice requested the parties, as
they alighted from the small boats, to "Keep their heads out of
water"), the General (who was discussing with the Doctor the
propriety of annexing East Cleveland to the United States), and
several distinguished gentlemen from town, who had come down with
life-preservers and ginger pop. After disposing of a sumptuous
lunch, the party amused and instructed each other by conversation,
and about 3 o'clock the shrill whistle of the Leviathan was sounded
by Mike the urbane and accomplished engineer, and the party were
soon homeward bound. It was a good time.
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