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Wit and Humor of America, The Vol 02

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<SPAN name="Page_335" id="Page_335">[Pg 335]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>AUNT DINAH'S KITCHEN</h2> <h3>BY HARRIET BEECHER STOWE</h3> <p>Like a certain class of modern philosophers, Dinah perfectly scorned logic and reason in every shape, and always took refuge in intuitive certainty; and here she was perfectly impregnable. No possible amount of talent, or authority, or explanation could ever make her believe that any other way was better than her own, or that the course she had pursued in the smallest matter could be in the least modified. This had been a conceded point with her old mistress, Marie's mother; and "Miss Marie," as Dinah always called her young mistress, even after her marriage, found it easier to submit than contend; and so Dinah had ruled supreme. This was the easier, in that she was perfect mistress of that diplomatic art which unites the utmost subservience of manner with the utmost inflexibility as to measure.</p> <p>Dinah was the mistress of the whole art and mystery of excuse-making, in all its branches. Indeed, it was an axiom with her that the cook can do no wrong, and a cook in a Southern kitchen finds abundance of heads and shoulders on which to lay off every sin and frailty, so as to maintain her own immaculateness entire. If any part of the dinner was a failure, there were fifty indisputably good reasons for it, and it was the fault, undeniably, of fifty other people, whom Dinah berated with unsparing zeal.</p> <p>But it was very seldom that there was any failure in Dinah's last results. Though her mode of doing every<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_336" id="Page_336">[Pg 336]</SPAN></span>thing was peculiarly meandering and circuitous, and without any sort of calculation as to time and place,&mdash;though her kitchen generally looked as if it had been arranged by a hurricane blowing through it, and she had about as many places for each cooking utensil as there were days in the year,&mdash;yet, if one could have patience to wait her own good time, up would come her dinner in perfect order, and in a style of preparation with which an epicure could find no fault.</p> <p>It was now the season of incipient preparation for dinner. Dinah, who required large intervals of reflection and repose, and was studious of ease in all her arrangements, was seated on the kitchen floor, smoking a short, stumpy pipe, to which she was much addicted, and which she always kindled up, as a sort of censer, whenever she felt the need of an inspiration in her arrangements. It was Dinah's mode of invoking the domestic Muses.</p> <p>Seated around her were various members of that rising race with which a Southern household abounds, engaged in shelling peas, peeling potatoes, picking pin-feathers out of fowls, and other preparatory arrangements, Dinah every once in a while interrupting her meditations to give a poke, or a rap on the head, to some of the young operators, with the pudding-stick that lay by her side. In fact, Dinah ruled over the woolly heads of the younger members with a rod of iron, and seemed to consider them born for no earthly purpose but to "save her steps," as she phrased it. It was the spirit of the system under which she had grown up, and she carried it out to its full extent.</p> <p>Miss Ophelia, after passing on her reformatory tour through all the other parts of the establishment, now entered the kitchen. Dinah had heard, from various sources, what was going on, and resolved to stand on defensive and conservative ground,&mdash;mentally determined to op<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_337" id="Page_337">[Pg 337]</SPAN></span>pose and ignore every new measure, without any actual and observable contest.</p> <p>The kitchen was a large, brick-floored apartment, with a great old-fashioned fireplace stretching along one side of it,&mdash;an arrangement which St. Clair had vainly tried to persuade Dinah to exchange for the convenience of a modern cook-stove. Not she. No Pusseyite, or conservative of any school, was ever more inflexibly attached to time-honored inconveniences than Dinah.</p> <p>When St. Clair had first returned from the North, impressed with the system and order of his uncle's kitchen arrangements, he had largely provided his own with an array of cupboards, drawers, and various apparatus, to induce systematic regulation, under the sanguine illusion that it would be of any possible assistance to Dinah in her arrangements. He might as well have provided them for a squirrel or a magpie. The more drawers and closets there were, the more hiding-holes could Dinah make for the accommodation of old rags, hair-combs, old shoes, ribbons, cast-off artificial flowers, and other articles of <i>vertu</i>, wherein her soul delighted.</p> <p>When Miss Ophelia entered the kitchen, Dinah did not rise, but smoked on in sublime tranquillity, regarding her movements obliquely out of the corner of her eye, but apparently intent only on the operations around her.</p> <p>Miss Ophelia commenced opening a set of drawers.</p> <p>"What is this drawer for, Dinah?" she said.</p> <p>"It's handy for 'most anything, missis," said Dinah. So it appeared to be. From the variety it contained Miss Ophelia pulled out first a fine damask table-cloth stained with blood, having evidently been used to envelop some raw meat.</p> <p>"What's this, Dinah? You don't wrap up meat in your mistress's best table-cloth?"<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_338" id="Page_338">[Pg 338]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Oh, Lor', missis, no; the towels was all a-missin', so I just did it. I laid it out to wash that ar; that's why I put it thar."</p> <p>"Shir'less!" said Miss Ophelia to herself, proceeding to tumble over the drawer, where she found a nutmeg-grater and two or three nutmegs, a Methodist hymn-book, a couple of soiled Madras handkerchiefs, some yarn and knitting-work, a paper of tobacco and a pipe, a few crackers, one or two gilded china saucers with some pomade in them, one or two thin old shoes, a piece of flannel carefully pinned up enclosing some small white onions, several damask table-napkins, some coarse crash towels, some twine and darning-needles, and several broken papers, from which sundry sweet herbs were sifting into the drawer.</p> <p>"Where do you keep your nutmegs, Dinah?" said Miss Ophelia, with the air of one who "prayed for patience."</p> <p>"Most anywhar, missis; there's some in that cracked tea-cup up there, and there's some over in that ar cupboard."</p> <p>"Here are some in the grater," said Miss Ophelia, holding them up.</p> <p>"Laws, yes; I put 'em there this morning; I likes to keep my things handy," said Dinah. "You Jake! what are you stopping for? You'll cotch it! Be still, thar!" she added, with a dive of her stick at the criminal.</p> <p>"What's this?" said Miss Ophelia, holding up the saucer of pomade.</p> <p>"Laws, it's my <i>har-grease</i>: I put it thar to have it handy."</p> <p>"Do you use your mistress's best saucers for that?"</p> <p>"Law! it was 'cause I was driv' and in sich a hurry. I was gwine to change it this very day."</p> <p>"Here are two damask table-napkins."<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_339" id="Page_339">[Pg 339]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Them table-napkins I put thar to get 'em washed out some day."</p> <p>"Don't you have some place here on purpose for things to be washed?"</p> <p>"Well, Mas'r St. Clair got dat ar chest, he said, for dat; but I likes to mix up biscuit and hev my things on it some days, and then it ain't handy a-liftin' up the lid."</p> <p>"Why don't you mix your biscuits on the pastry-table, there?"</p> <p>"Law, missis, it gets sot so full of dishes, and one thing and another, der ain't no room, noways."</p> <p>"But you should wash your dishes, and clear them away."</p> <p>"Wash my dishes!" said Dinah, in a high key, as her wrath began to rise over her habitual respect of manner. "What does ladies know 'bout work, I want to know? When'd mas'r ever get his dinner, if I was to spend all my time a-washin' and a-puttin' up dishes? Miss Marie never telled me so, nohow."</p> <p>"Well, here are these onions."</p> <p>"Laws, yes!" said Dinah; "that <i>is</i> whar I put 'em, now. I couldn't 'member. Them's particular onions I was a savin' for dis yer very stew. I'd forgot they was in dat ar old flannel."</p> <p>Miss Ophelia lifted out the sifting papers of sweet herbs. "I wish missis wouldn't touch dem ar. I likes to keep my things where I knows whar to go to 'em," said Dinah, rather decidedly.</p> <p>"But you don't want these holes in the papers."</p> <p>"Them's handy for siftin' on't out," said Dinah.</p> <p>"But you see it spills all over the drawer."</p> <p>"Laws, yes! if missis will go a-tumblin' things all up so, it will. Missis has spilt lots dat ar way," said Dinah, coming uneasily to the drawers. "If missis only will go<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_340" id="Page_340">[Pg 340]</SPAN></span> up-sta'rs till my clarin'-up time comes, I'll have everything right; but I can't do nothin' when ladies is 'round a-henderin'. You Sam, don't you gib de baby dat ar sugar-bowl! I'll crack ye over, if ye don't mind!"</p> <p>"I'm going through the kitchen, and going to put everything in order, <i>once</i>, Dinah; and then I'll expect you to <i>keep</i> it so."</p> <p>"Lor', now, Miss 'Phelia, dat ar ain't no way for ladies to do. I never did see ladies doin' no sich; my old missis nor Miss Marie never did, and I don't see no kinder need on't." And Dinah stalked indignantly about, while Miss Ophelia piled and sorted dishes, emptied dozens of scattering bowls of sugar into one receptacle, sorted napkins, table-cloths, and towels, for washing; washing, wiping and arranging with her own hands, and with a speed and alacrity which perfectly amazed Dinah.</p> <p>"Lor', now! if dat ar de way dem Northern ladies do, dey ain't ladies nohow," she said to some of her satellites, when at a safe hearing-distance. "I has things as straight as anybody, when my clarin'-up times comes; but I don't want ladies 'round a-henderin' and gettin' my things all where I can't find 'em."</p> <p>To do Dinah justice, she had, at irregular periods, paroxysms of reformation and arrangement, which she called "clarin'-up times," when she would begin with great zeal and turn every drawer and closet wrong side outward on to the floor or tables, and make the ordinary confusion sevenfold more confounded. Then she would light her pipe and leisurely go over her arrangements, looking things over and discoursing upon them; making all the young fry scour most vigorously on the tin things, and keeping up for several hours a most energetic state of confusion, which she would explain to the satisfaction of all inquirers by the remark that she was a "clarin'-up."<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_341" id="Page_341">[Pg 341]</SPAN></span> "She couldn't hev things a-gwine on so as they had been, and she was gwine to make these yer young ones keep better order;" for Dinah herself, somehow, indulged the illusion that she herself was the soul of order, and it was only the <i>young uns</i>, and the everybody else in the house, that were the cause of anything that fell short of perfection in this respect. When all the tins were scoured, and the tables scrubbed snowy white, and everything that could offend tucked out of sight in holes and corners, Dinah would dress herself up in a smart dress, clean apron, and high, brilliant Madras turban, and tell all marauding "young uns" to keep out of the kitchen, for she was gwine to have things kept nice. Indeed, these periodic seasons were often an inconvenience to the whole household, for Dinah would contract such an immoderate attachment to her scoured tin as to insist upon it that it shouldn't be used again for any possible purpose,&mdash;at least till the ardor of the "clarin'-up" period abated.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_342" id="Page_342">[Pg 342]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>THE STRIKE AT HINMAN'S</h2> <h3>BY ROBERT J. BURDETTE</h3> <p>Away back in the fifties, "Hinman's" was not only the best school in Peoria, but it was the greatest school in the world. I sincerely thought so then, and as I was a very lively part of it, I should know. Mr. Hinman was the Faculty, and he was sufficiently numerous to demonstrate cube root with one hand and maintain discipline with the other. Dear old man; boys and girls with grandchildren love him to-day, and think of him among their blessings. He was superintendent of public instruction, board of education, school trustee, county superintendent, principal of the high school and janitor. He had a pleasant smile, a genius for mathematics, and a West Point idea of obedience and discipline. He carried upon his person a grip that would make the imported malady which mocks that name in these degenerate days, call itself Slack, in very terror at having assumed the wrong title.</p> <p>We used to have "General Exercises" on Friday afternoon. The most exciting feature of this weekly frivolity consisted of a free-for-all exercise in mental arithmetic. Mr. Hinman gave out lists of numbers, beginning with easy ones and speaking slowly; each succeeding list he dictated more rapidly and with ever-increasing complications of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, until at last he was giving them out faster than he could talk. One by one the pupils dropped out of the<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_343" id="Page_343">[Pg 343]</SPAN></span> race with despairing faces, but always at the closing peremptory:</p> <p>"Answer?"</p> <p>At least a dozen hands shot into the air and as many voices shouted the correct result. We didn't have many books, and the curriculum of an Illinois school in those days was not academic; but two things the children could do, they could spell as well as the dictionary and they could handle figures. Some of the fellows fairly wallowed in them. I didn't. I simply drowned in the shallowest pond of numbers that ever spread itself on the page. As even unto this day I do the same.</p> <p>Well, one year the Teacher introduced an innovation; "compositions" by the girls and "speakin' pieces" by the boys. It was easy enough for the girls, who had only to read the beautiful thought that "spring is the pleasantest season of the year." Now and then a new girl, from the east, awfully precise, would begin her essay&mdash;"spring is the most pleasant season of the year," and her would we call down with derisive laughter, whereat she walked to her seat, very stiffly, with a proud dry-eyed look in her face, only to lay her head upon her desk when she reached it, and weep silently until school closed. But "speakin' pieces" did not meet with favor from the boys, save one or two good boys who were in training by their parents for congressmen or presidents.</p> <p>The rest of us, who were just boys, with no desire ever to be anything else, endured the tyranny of compulsory oratory about a month, and then resolved to abolish the whole business by a general revolt. Big and little, we agreed to stand by each other, break up the new exercise, and get back to the old order of things&mdash;the hurdle races in mental arithmetic and the geographical chants which we could run and intone together.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_344" id="Page_344">[Pg 344]</SPAN></span></p> <p>Was I a mutineer? Well, say, son, your Pa was a constituent conspirator. He was in the color guard. You see, the first boy called on for a declamation was to announce the strike, and as my name stood very high&mdash;in the alphabetical roll of pupils&mdash;I had an excellent chance of leading the assaulting column, a distinction for which I was not at all ambitious, being a stripling of tender years, ruddy countenance, and sensitive feelings. However, I stiffened the sinews of my soul, girded on my armor by slipping an atlas back under my jacket and was ready for the fray, feeling a little terrified shiver of delight as I thought that the first lick Mr. Hinman gave me would make him think he had broken my back.</p> <p>The hour for "speakin' pieces," an hour big with fate, arrived on time. A boy named Aby Abbott was called up ahead of me, but he happened to be one of the presidential aspirants (he was mate on an Illinois river steamboat, stern-wheeler at that, the last I knew of him), and of course he flunked and "said" his piece&mdash;a sadly prophetic selection&mdash;"Mr. President, it is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope." We made such suggestive and threatening gestures at him, however, when Mr. Hinman wasn't looking, that he forgot half his "piece," broke down and cried. He also cried after school, a little more bitterly, and with far better reason.</p> <p>Then, after an awful pause, in which the conspirators could hear the beating of each other's hearts, my name was called.</p> <p>I sat still at my desk and said:</p> <p>"I ain't goin' to speak no piece."</p> <p>Mr. Hinman looked gently surprised and asked:</p> <p>"Why not, Robert?"</p> <p>I replied:<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_345" id="Page_345">[Pg 345]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Because there ain't goin' to be any more speakin' pieces."</p> <p>The teacher's eyes grew round and big as he inquired:</p> <p>"Who says there will not?"</p> <p>I said, in slightly firmer tones, as I realized that the moment had come for dragging the rest of the rebels into court:</p> <p>"All of us boys!"</p> <p>But Mr. Hinman smiled, and said quietly that he guessed there would be "a little more speaking before the close of the session." Then laying his hand on my shoulder, with most punctilious but chilling courtesy, he invited me to the rostrum. The "rostrum" was twenty-five feet distant, but I arrived there on schedule time and only touched my feet to the floor twice on my way.</p> <p>And then and there, under Mr. Hinman's judicious coaching, before the assembled school, with feelings, nay, emotions which I now shudder to recall, I did my first "song and dance." Many times before had I stepped off a solo-cachuca to the staccato pleasing of a fragment of slate frame, upon which my tutor was a gifted performer, but never until that day did I accompany myself with words. Boy like, I had chosen for my "piece" a poem sweetly expressive of those peaceful virtues which I most heartily despised. So that my performance, at the inauguration of the strike, as Mr. Hinman conducted the overture, ran something like this&mdash;</p> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"Oh, not for me (whack) is the rolling (whack) drum,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Or the (whack, whack) trumpet's wild (whack) appeal! (Boo-hoo!)<br /></span> <span class="i0">Or the cry (swish&mdash;whack) of (boo-hoo-hoo!) war when the (whack) foe is come (ouch!)<br /></span> <span class="i0">Or the (ow&mdash;wow!) brightly (whack) flashing (whack-whack) steel! (wah-hoo, wah-hoo!)"<br /></span> </div></div> <p>Words and symbols can not convey to the most gifted<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_346" id="Page_346">[Pg 346]</SPAN></span> imagination the gestures with which I illustrated the seven stanzas of this beautiful poem. I had really selected it to please my mother, whom I had invited to be present, when I supposed I would deliver it. But the fact that she attended a missionary meeting in the Baptist church that afternoon made me a friend of missions forever. Suffice it to say, then, that my pantomime kept pace and time with Mr. Hinman's system of punctuation until the last line was sobbed and whacked out. I groped my bewildered way to my seat through a mist of tears and sat down gingerly and sideways, inly wondering why an inscrutable providence had given to the rugged rhinoceros the hide which the eternal fitness of things had plainly prepared for the school-boy.</p> <p>But I quickly forgot my own sorrow and dried my tears with laughter in the enjoyment of the subsequent acts of the opera, as the chorus developed the plot and action. Mr. Hinman, who had been somewhat gentle with me, dealt firmly with the larger boy who followed, and there was a scene of revelry for the next twenty minutes. The old man shook Bill Morrison until his teeth rattled so you couldn't hear him cry. He hit Mickey McCann, the tough boy from, the Lower Prairie, and Mickey ran out and lay down in the snow to cool off. He hit Jake Bailey across the legs with a slate frame, and it hurt so that Jake couldn't howl&mdash;he just opened his mouth wide, held up his hands, gasped, and forgot his own name. He pushed Bill Haskell into a seat and the bench broke.</p> <p>He ran across the room and reached out for Lem Harkins, and Lem had a fit before the old man touched him. He shook Dan Stevenson for two minutes, and when he let him go, Dan walked around his own desk five times before he could find it, and then he couldn't sit<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_347" id="Page_347">[Pg 347]</SPAN></span> down without holding on. He whipped the two Knowltons with a skate-strap in each hand at the same time; the Greenwood family, five boys and a big girl, he whipped all at once with a girl's skipping rope, and they raised such a united wail that the clock stopped.</p> <p>He took a twist in Bill Rodecker's front hair, and Bill slept with his eyes open for a week. He kept the atmosphere of that school-room full of dust, and splinters, and lint, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, until he reached the end of the alphabet and all hearts ached and wearied of the inhuman strife and wicked contention. Then he stood up before us, a sickening tangle of slate frame, strap, ebony ferule and skipping rope, a smile on his kind old face, and asked, in clear, triumphant tones:</p> <p>"WHO says there isn't going to be any more speaking pieces?"</p> <p>And every last boy in that school sprang to his feet; standing there as one human being with one great mouth, we shrieked in concerted anguish:</p> <p>"NOBODY DON'T!"</p> <p>And your Pa, my son, who led that strike, has been "speakin' pieces" ever since.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_348" id="Page_348">[Pg 348]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>A NAUTICAL BALLAD</h2> <h3>BY CHARLES E. CARRYL</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">A capital ship for an ocean trip<br /></span> <span class="i2">Was the "Walloping Window-blind";<br /></span> <span class="i0">No gale that blew dismayed her crew<br /></span> <span class="i2">Or troubled the captain's mind.<br /></span> <span class="i0">The man at the wheel was taught to feel<br /></span> <span class="i2">Contempt for the wildest blow,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And it often appeared, when the weather had cleared,<br /></span> <span class="i2">That he'd been in his bunk below.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"The boatswain's mate was very sedate,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Yet fond of amusement, too;<br /></span> <span class="i0">And he played hop-scotch with the starboard watch,<br /></span> <span class="i2">While the captain tickled the crew.<br /></span> <span class="i0">And the gunner we had was apparently mad,<br /></span> <span class="i2">For he sat on the after rail,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And fired salutes with the captain's boots,<br /></span> <span class="i2">In the teeth of the booming gale.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"The captain sat in a commodore's hat<br /></span> <span class="i2">And dined in a royal way<br /></span> <span class="i0">On toasted pigs and pickles and figs<br /></span> <span class="i2">And gummery bread each day.<br /></span> <span class="i0">But the cook was Dutch and behaved as such;<br /></span> <span class="i2">For the diet he gave the crew<br /></span> <span class="i0">Was a number of tons of hot-cross buns<br /></span> <span class="i2">Prepared with sugar and glue.</span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_349" id="Page_349">[Pg 349]</SPAN></span><br /> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"All nautical pride we laid aside,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And we cast the vessel ashore<br /></span> <span class="i0">On the Gulliby Isles, where the Poohpooh smiles,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And the Rumbletumbunders roar.<br /></span> <span class="i0">And we sat on the edge of a sandy ledge<br /></span> <span class="i2">And shot at the whistling bee;<br /></span> <span class="i0">And the cinnamon-bats wore water-proof hats<br /></span> <span class="i2">As they danced in the sounding sea.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"On rubgub bark, from dawn to dark,<br /></span> <span class="i2">We fed, till we all had grown<br /></span> <span class="i0">Uncommonly shrunk,&mdash;when a Chinese junk<br /></span> <span class="i2">Came by from the torriby zone.<br /></span> <span class="i0">She was stubby and square, but we didn't much care,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And we cheerily put to sea;<br /></span> <span class="i0">And we left the crew of the junk to chew<br /></span> <span class="i2">The bark of the rubgub tree."<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_350" id="Page_350">[Pg 350]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>NATURAL PERVERSITIES</h2> <h3>BY JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I am not prone to moralize<br /></span> <span class="i2">In scientific doubt<br /></span> <span class="i0">On certain facts that Nature tries<br /></span> <span class="i2">To puzzle us about,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">For I am no philosopher<br /></span> <span class="i2">Of wise elucidation,<br /></span> <span class="i0">But speak of things as they occur,<br /></span> <span class="i2">From simple observation.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I notice <i>little</i> things&mdash;to wit:&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">I never missed a train<br /></span> <span class="i0">Because I didn't <i>run</i> for it;<br /></span> <span class="i2">I never knew it rain<br /></span> <span class="i0">That my umbrella wasn't lent,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">Or, when in my possession,<br /></span> <span class="i0">The sun but wore, to all intent,<br /></span> <span class="i2">A jocular expression.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I never knew a creditor<br /></span> <span class="i2">To dun me for a debt<br /></span> <span class="i0">But I was "cramped" or "busted"; or<br /></span> <span class="i2">I never knew one yet,<br /></span> <span class="i0">When I had plenty in my purse,<br /></span> <span class="i2">To make the least invasion,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">As I, accordingly perverse,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Have courted no occasion.</span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_351" id="Page_351">[Pg 351]</SPAN></span><br /> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Nor do I claim to comprehend<br /></span> <span class="i2">What Nature has in view<br /></span> <span class="i0">In giving us the very friend<br /></span> <span class="i2">To trust we oughtn't to.&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">But so it is: The trusty gun<br /></span> <span class="i2">Disastrously exploded<br /></span> <span class="i0">Is always sure to be the one<br /></span> <span class="i2">We didn't think was loaded.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Our moaning is another's mirth,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">And what is worse by half,<br /></span> <span class="i0">We say the funniest thing on earth<br /></span> <span class="i2">And never raise a laugh:<br /></span> <span class="i0">Mid friends that love us overwell,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And sparkling jests and liquor,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Our hearts somehow are liable<br /></span> <span class="i2">To melt in tears the quicker.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">We reach the wrong when most we seek<br /></span> <span class="i2">The right; in like effect,<br /></span> <span class="i0">We stay the strong and not the weak&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">Do most when we neglect.&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Neglected genius&mdash;truth be said&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">As wild and quick as tinder,<br /></span> <span class="i0">The more you seek to help ahead<br /></span> <span class="i2">The more you seem to hinder.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I've known the least the greatest, too&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">And, on the selfsame plan,<br /></span> <span class="i0">The biggest fool I ever knew<br /></span> <span class="i2">Was quite a little man:<br /></span> <span class="i0">We find we ought, and then we won't&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">We prove a thing, then doubt it,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Know <i>everything</i> but when we don't<br /></span> <span class="i2">Know <i>anything</i> about it.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_352" id="Page_352">[Pg 352]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>BUDD WILKINS AT THE SHOW</h2> <h3>BY S.E. KISER</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Since I've got used to city ways and don't scare at the cars,<br /></span> <span class="i0">It makes me smile to set and think of years ago.&mdash;My stars!<br /></span> <span class="i0">How green I was, and how green all them country people be&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Sometimes it seems almost as if this hardly could be me.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Well, I was goin' to tell you 'bout Budd Wilkins: I declare<br /></span> <span class="i0">He was the durndest, greenest chap that ever breathed the air&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">The biggest town on earth, he thought, was our old county seat,<br /></span> <span class="i0">With its one two-story brick hotel and dusty bizness street.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">We'd fairs in fall and now and then a dance or huskin' bee,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Which was the most excitin' things Budd Wilkins ever see,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Until, one winter, Skigginsville was all turned upside down<br /></span> <span class="i0">By a troupe of real play actors a-comin' into town.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The court-house it was turned into a theater, that night,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And I don't s'pose I'll live to see another sich a sight:<br /></span> <span class="i0">I guess that every person who was able fer to go<br /></span> <span class="i0">Jest natchelly cut loose fer oncet, and went to see the show.</span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_353" id="Page_353">[Pg 353]</SPAN></span><br /> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Me and Budd we stood around there all day in the snow,<br /></span> <span class="i0">But gosh! it paid us, fer we got seats right in the second row!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Well, the brass band played a tune or two, and then the play begun,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And 'twa'n't long 'fore the villain had the hero on the run.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Say, talk about your purty girls with sweet, confidin' ways&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">I never see the equal yit, in all o' my born days.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Of that there brave young heroine, so clingin' and so mild,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And jest as innocent as if she'd been a little child.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I most forgot to say that Budd stood six feet in his socks,<br /></span> <span class="i0">As brave as any lion, too, and stronger than an ox!<br /></span> <span class="i0">But there never was a man, I'll bet, that had a softer heart,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And he was always sure to take the weaker person's part.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Budd, he fell dead in love right off with that there purty girl,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And I suppose the feller's brain was in a fearful whirl,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Fer there he set and gazed at her, and when she sighed he sighed,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And when she hid her face and sobbed, he actually cried.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">He clinched his fists and ground his teeth when the villain laid his plot<br /></span> <span class="i0">And said out loud he'd like to kill the rogue right on the spot,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And when the hero helped the girl, Budd up and yelled "Hooray!"<br /></span> <span class="i0">He'd clean fergot the whole blame thing was nothing but a play.</span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_354" id="Page_354">[Pg 354]</SPAN></span><br /> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">At last the villain trapped the girl, that sweet confidin' child,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And when she cried for help, why I'll admit that I was riled;<br /></span> <span class="i0">The hero couldn't do a thing, but roll and writhe around<br /></span> <span class="i0">And tug and groan because they'd got the poor chap gagged and bound.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The maiden cried: "Unhand me now, or, weak girl that I am&mdash;"<br /></span> <span class="i0">And then Budd Wilkins he jumped up and give his hat a slam,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And, quicker'n I can tell it he was up there raisin' Ned,<br /></span> <span class="i0">A-rescuin' the maiden and a-punchin' the rogue's head.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I can't, somehow, perticklerize concernin' that there row:<br /></span> <span class="i0">The whole thing seems a sort of blur as I recall it now&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">But I can still remember that there was a fearful thud,<br /></span> <span class="i0">With the air chock full of arms and legs and the villain under Budd.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I never see a chap so bruised and battered up before<br /></span> <span class="i0">As that there villain was when he was picked up from the floor!&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">The show? Oh, it was busted, and they put poor Budd in jail,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And kept him there all night, because I couldn't go his bail.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Next mornin' what d' you think we heard? Most s'prised in all my life!<br /></span> <span class="i0">That sweet, confidin' maiden was the cruel villain's wife!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Budd wilted when he heard it, and he groaned, and then, says he:<br /></span> <span class="i0">"Well, I'll be dummed! Bill, that's the last play actin' show fer me!"<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'>
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