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Wit and Humor of America, The Vol 02

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<SPAN name="Page_282" id="Page_282">[Pg 282]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>A LETTER</h2> <h3>FROM PETROLEUM V. NASBY</h3> <p><span class="smcap">I am Requested to Act as Chaplain of the Cleveland Convention.&mdash;That Beautiful City Visited for that Purpose.</span></p> <p> <span class="smcap">Post Offis, Confedrit X Roads</span>,<br /> <span style="margin-left: 1.5em;">(wich is in the Stait uv Kentucky),</span><br /> <span style="margin-left: 3em;">September 20, 1866.</span><br /> </p> <p>I wuz sent for to come to Washington, from my comfortable quarters at the Post Offis, to attend the convenshun uv sich soldiers and sailors uv the United States ez bleeve in a Union uv 36 States, and who hev sworn allejinse to a flag with 36 stars onto it, at Cleveland. My esteemed and life-long friend and co-laborer, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, wuz to hev bin the chaplin uv the convenshun, but he failed us, and it wuz decided in a Cabinet meetin that I shood take his place. I didn't see the necessity uv hevin a chaplin at every little convenshun uv our party, and so stated; but Seward remarked, with a groan, that ef ever there wuz a party, since parties wuz invented, wich needed prayin for, ours wuz that party. "And, Parson," sed he, glancin' at a list uv delegates, "ef yoo hev any agonizin petitions, any prayers uv extra fervency, offer em up for these fellers. Ef there is any efficacy in prayer, it's my honest, unbiased opinion that there never wuz in the history uv the world, nor never will be agin, sich a magnificent chance to make it manifest. Try yoor-self particularly on Custer; tho', after all," continyood he,<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_283" id="Page_283">[Pg 283]</SPAN></span> in a musin, abstracted sort uv a way, wich he's fallen into lately, "the fellow is sich a triflin bein, that he reely kin hardly be held 'sponsible for what he's doin; and the balance uv em, good Hevens! they'r mostly druv to it by hunger." And the Secretary maundered on suthin about "sixty days" and "ninety days," payin no more attention to the rest uv us than ez ef we wuzn't there at all.</p> <p>So, receevin transportashen and suffishent money from the secret service fund for expenses, I departed for Cleveland, and after a tejus trip thro' an Ablishn country, I arrived there. My thots were gloomy beyond expression. I hed recently gone through this same country ez chaplin to the Presidential tour, and every stashen hed its pecooliar onpleasant remembrances. Here wuz where the cheers for Grant were vociferous, with nary a snort for His Eggslency; there wuz where the peasantry laft in his face when he went thro' with the regler ritooal uv presentin the constitooshn and the flag with 36 stars onto it to a deestrick assessor; there wuz&mdash;but why recount my sufferins? Why harrow up the public bosom, or lasserate the public mind? Suffice to say, I endoored it; suffice to say that I hed strength left to ride up Bank street, in Cleveland, the seen uv the most awful insult the Eggsecutive ever receeved.</p> <p>The evenin I arrived, the delegates, sich ez wuz on hand, held a informal meetin to arrange matters so ez they wood work smooth when the crowd finally got together. Genral Wool wuz ez gay and frisky ez though he reely belonged to the last ginerashn. There wuz Custar, uv Michigan, with his hair freshly oiled and curled, and busslin about ez though he hed cheated hisself into the beleef that he reely amounted to suthin; and there wuz seventy-eight other men, who hed distinguished theirselves in the late war, but who hed never got their deserts,<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_284" id="Page_284">[Pg 284]</SPAN></span> ceptin by brevet, owin to the fact that the Administrashn wuz Ablishn, which they wuzn't. They were, in a pekuniary pint uv view, suthin the worse for wear, tho' why that shood hev bin the case I coodent see (they hevin bin, to an alarmin extent, quarter-masters and commissaries, and in the recrootin service), til I notist the prevailin color uv their noses, and heerd one uv em ask his neighbor ef Cleveland wuz blest with a faro bank! Then I knowd all about it.</p> <p>There wuz another pekooliarity about it which for a time amoozed me. Them ez wuz present wuz divided into 2 classes&mdash;those ez hed bin recently appinted to posishens, and them ez expected to be shortly. I notist on the countenances uv the first class a look uv releef, sich ez I hev seen in factories Saturday nite, after the hands wuz paid off for a hard week's work; and on the other class the most wolfish, hungry, fierce expression I hev ever witnessed. Likewise, I notist that the latter set uv patriots talked more hefty uv the necessity uv sustainin the policy uv our firm and noble President, and damned the Ablishunists with more emphasis and fervency than the others.</p> <p>One enthoosiastic individual, who hed bin quartermaster two years, and hed bin allowed to resign "jest after the battle, mother," wich, hevin his papers all destroyed, made settlin with the government a easy matter, wuz so feroshus that I felt called upon to check him. "Gently, my frend," sed I, "gently! I hev bin thro' this thing; I hev my commission. It broke out on me jest ez it hez on yoo; but yoo won't git yoor Assessorship a minit sooner for it."</p> <p>"It ain't a Assessorship I want," sez he. "I hev devoted myself to the task uv bindin up the wounds uv my beloved country&mdash;"<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_285" id="Page_285">[Pg 285]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Did you stop anybody very much from inflictin them sed wounds?" murmured I.</p> <p>"An ef I accept the Post Orfis in my native village,&mdash;which I hev bin solissited so strongly to take that I hev finally yielded,&mdash;I do it only that I may devote my few remainin energies wholly to the great cause uv restorin the 36 States to their normal posishens under the flag with 36 stars onto it, in spite uv the Joodis Iskariots wich, ef I am whom, wat is the Savior, and&mdash;and where is&mdash;"</p> <p>Perseevin that the unfortunate man hed got into the middle uv a quotashen from the speech uv our noble and patriotic President, and knowin his intellek wuzn't hefty enough to git it off jist as it wuz originally delivered, I took him by the throat, and shet off the flood uv his elokence.</p> <p>"Be quiet, yoo idiot!" remarked I, soothingly, to him. "Yoo'll git your apintment, becoz, for the fust time in the history uv this or any other Republic, there's a market for jist sich men ez yoo; but all this blather won't fetch it a minit sooner."</p> <p>"Good Lord!" tho't I, ez I turned away, "wat a President A.J. is, to hev to buy up <i>sich</i> cattle! Wat a postmaster he must be, whose gineral cussedness turns <i>my</i> stummick!"</p> <p>It wuz deemed necessary to see uv wat we wuz compozed; whatever Kernel K&mdash;&mdash;, who is now Collector uv Revenue in Illinoy, asked ef there wuz ary man in the room who hed bin a prizner doorin the late fratricidle struggle. A gentleman uv, perhaps, thirty aroze, and sed he wuz. He hed bin taken three times, and wuz, altogether, 18 months in doorance vile in three diffrent prizns.</p> <p>Custar fell on his neck, and asked him, aggitatidly, ef he wuz shoor&mdash;quite shoor, after sufferin all that, that he<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_286" id="Page_286">[Pg 286]</SPAN></span> supported the policy of the President? Are you quite shoor&mdash;quite shoor?</p> <p>"I am," returned the phenomenon. "I stand by Andrew Johnson and his policy, and I don't want no office!"</p> <p>"Hev yoo got wun?" shouted they all in korus.</p> <p>"Nary!" sed he. "With me it is a matter uv principle!"</p> <p>"Wat prizns wuz yoo incarcerated in?" asked I, lookin at him with wonder.</p> <p>"Fust at Camp Morton, then at Camp Douglas, and finally at Johnson's Island!"</p> <p>Custar dropt him, and the rest remarked that, while they hed a very helthy opinion uv him, they guessed he'd better not menshen his presence, or consider hisself a delegate. Ez ginerous foes they loved him ruther better than a brother; yet, as the call didn't quite inclood him, tho' there wuz a delightful oneness between em, yet, ef 'twuz all the same, he hed better not announce hisself. He wuz from Kentucky, I afterwards ascertained.</p> <p>The next mornin, suthin over two hundred more arriv; and the delegashens bein all in, it wuz decided to go on with the show. A big tent hed bin brought on from Boston to accommodate the expected crowd, and quite an animated discussion arose ez to wich corner uv it the Convenshun wuz to ockepy. This settled, the biznis wuz begun. Genral Wool wuz made temporary Chairman, to wich honor he responded in a elokent extemporaneous speech, which he read from manuscript. General Ewing made another extemporaneous address, which he read from manuscript, and we adjourned for dinner.</p> <p>The dinner hour was spent in caucussin privately in one uv the parlors uv the hotel. The Chairman asked who shood make speeches after dinner, wen every man uv em pulled from his right side coat pocket a roll uv manuscript, and sed he hed jotted down a few ijees wich<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_287" id="Page_287">[Pg 287]</SPAN></span> he hed conclooded to present extemporaneously to the Convenshun. That Babel over, the Chairman sed he presoomed some one shood be selected to prepare a address; whereupon every delegate rose, and pulled a roll uv manuscript from his left side coat pocket, and sed he had jotted down a few ijees on the situashn, wich he proposed to present, et settry. This occasioned another shindy; wen the Chairman remarked "Resolushens," wen every delegate rose, pulled a roll uv manuscript from his right breast coat pocket, and sed he hed jotted down a few ijees, wich, etc.</p> <p>I stood it until some one mentioned me ez Chaplin to the expedition West, when the pressure becum unendurable. They sposed I was keeper uv the President's conscience, and I hed not a minit's peece after that. In vain I ashoored em that, there bein no consciences about the White House, no one could hold sich a offis; in vain I ashoored em that I hed no influence with His Majesty. Two-thirds uv em pulled applicashens for places they wanted from the left breast coat pocket, and insistid on my takin em, and seem that they was appinted. I told em that I cood do nuthin for em; but they laft me to skorn. "You are jist the style uv man," said they, "who hez inflooence with His Eggslency, and yoo must do it." Hemmed in, there wuz but one way uv escape, and that way I took. Seezin a carpet sack, wich, by the way, belonged to a delegate (I took it to give myself the look of a traveler), I rushed to the depot, and startid home, entirely satisfied that ef Cleveland may be taken as a sample, the less His Majesty depends on soljers, the better.</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><span class="smcap">Petroleum V. Nasby</span>, P.M.<br /> (wich is Postmaster),<br /> and likewise late Chaplain to the expedishn.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_288" id="Page_288">[Pg 288]</SPAN></span></p> <p>P.S.&mdash;I opened the carpet sack on the train, spectin to find a clean shirt in it, at least. It contained, to my disgust, an address to be read before the Cleveland Convention, a set uv resolutions, a speech, and a petition uv the proprietor thereof for a collectorship, signed by eight hundred names, and a copy uv the Indiana State Directory for 1864. The names wuz in one hand-writin, and wuz arranged alphabetically.</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><span class="smcap">Petroleum V. Nasby</span>.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_289" id="Page_289">[Pg 289]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>FAMILIAR AUTHORS AT WORK</h2> <h3>BY HAYDEN CARRUTH</h3> <h3><span class="smcap">Miss Tripp</span></h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Miss Tripp for years has lived alone,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Without display or fuss or pother.<br /></span> <span class="i0">The house she dwells in is her own&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">She got it from her dying father.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Miss T. delights in all good works,<br /></span> <span class="i2">She goes to church three times on Sunday,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Her daily duty never shirks,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Nor keeps her goodness for this one day.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">She loves to bake and knit and sew,<br /></span> <span class="i2">For wider fields she doesn't hanker;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Yet for the things they have I know<br /></span> <span class="i2">A-many poor folk have to thank her.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The simple life she truly leads,<br /></span> <span class="i2">She loves her small domestic labors;<br /></span> <span class="i0">In spring she plants her garden seeds<br /></span> <span class="i2">And shares the product with her neighbors.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">By <i>Books and Authors</i> now I see<br /></span> <span class="i2">In literature she's made a foray:<br /></span> <span class="i0">"The Yellow Shadow"&mdash;said to be<br /></span> <span class="i2">"A crackerjack detective-story."<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_290" id="Page_290">[Pg 290]</SPAN></span></div></div> <h3><span class="smcap">Captain Brown</span></h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Bluff Captain Brown is somewhat queer,<br /></span> <span class="i2">But of the sea he's very knowing.<br /></span> <span class="i0">I scarcely meet him once a year&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">He's off in search of whales a-blowing.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">For fifty years&mdash;perhaps for more&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">He's sailed about upon the ocean.<br /></span> <span class="i0">He thinks that if he lived ashore<br /></span> <span class="i2">He'd die. But this is just a notion.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Still when the Captain comes to port<br /></span> <span class="i2">With barrels of oil from whales caught napping,<br /></span> <span class="i0">He'll pace the deck, and loudly snort,<br /></span> <span class="i2">"This land air is my strength a-sapping.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"I call this living on hard terms;<br /></span> <span class="i2">I wish that I had never seen land;<br /></span> <span class="i0">I wish I were a-chasing sperms<br /></span> <span class="i2">Abaft the nor'east coast of Greenland."<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Yet on his latest cruise, 'tween whales<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Captain wrote a book most charming.<br /></span> <span class="i0">It's called&mdash;and it is having sales&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">"Some Practical Advice on Farming."<br /></span> </div></div> <h3><span class="smcap">T.H. Smith</span></h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Tom Henry Smith I long have known<br /></span> <span class="i2">Although he really is a hermit&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">At least, Tom Henry lives alone,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And that's what people always term it.</span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_291" id="Page_291">[Pg 291]</SPAN></span><br /> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Tom Henry never is annoyed<br /></span> <span class="i2">By fashion's change. He wears a collar<br /></span> <span class="i0">Constructed out of celluloid.<br /></span> <span class="i2">His hats ne'er cost above a dollar.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Tom loves about his room to mess,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And cook a sausage at the fireplace.<br /></span> <span class="i0">It doesn't serve to help his dress&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">Grease spatters over the entire place.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Tom Henry likes to read a book,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And writes a little for the papers,<br /></span> <span class="i0">But scarcely ever leaves his nook,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And takes no part in social capers.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Now Tom has penned a book himself.<br /></span> <span class="i2">I hope he'll never feel compunctions!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Its title is&mdash;it's on my shelf&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">"Pink Teas and Other Social Functions."<br /></span> </div></div> <h3><span class="smcap">Ruth Jones</span></h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I've found the Joneses pleasant folk&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">I've watched them all their children fetch up.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Jones loves to have a quiet smoke&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2"><i>She's</i> famous for tomato catchup.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Ruth is their eldest&mdash;now fifteen,<br /></span> <span class="i2">A tallish girl with pleasing features.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Each school-day morn she can be seen<br /></span> <span class="i2">As she trips by to meet her teachers.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">A serious-minded miss, you'd say,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Not given much to school-girl follies.<br /></span> <span class="i0">She still sometimes will slip away<br /></span> <span class="i2">To spend a half-hour with her dollies.</span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_292" id="Page_292">[Pg 292]</SPAN></span><br /> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">She's learned to sweep, to sew, to bake&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">She's quite a helpmate to her mother.<br /></span> <span class="i0">On Saturday she loves to take<br /></span> <span class="i2">The go-cart out with little brother.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">At writing now she bids for fame&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">Her book a great success is reckoned.<br /></span> <span class="i0">"By Right of Flashing Sword," its name,<br /></span> <span class="i2">A strong romance of James the Second.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'>
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