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Wit and Humor of America, The Vol 02

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<SPAN name="Page_293" id="Page_293">[Pg 293]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>THE LOST WORD</h2> <h3>BY JOHN PAUL</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Seated one day at the typewriter,<br /></span> <span class="i2">I was weary of a's and e's,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And my fingers wandered wildly,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Over the consonant keys.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I know not what I was writing,<br /></span> <span class="i2">With that thing so like a pen;<br /></span> <span class="i0">But I struck one word astounding&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">Unknown to the speech of men.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">It flooded the sense of my verses,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Like the break of a tinker's dam,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And I felt as one feels when the printer<br /></span> <span class="i2">Of your "infinite calm" makes clam.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">It mixed up s's and x's<br /></span> <span class="i2">Like an alphabet coming to strife.<br /></span> <span class="i0">It seemed the discordant echo<br /></span> <span class="i2">Of a row between husband and wife.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">It brought a perplexed meaning<br /></span> <span class="i2">Into my perfect piece,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And set the machinery creaking<br /></span> <span class="i2">As though it were scant of grease.</span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_294" id="Page_294">[Pg 294]</SPAN></span><br /> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I have tried, but I try it vainly,<br /></span> <span class="i2">The one last word to divine<br /></span> <span class="i0">Which came from the keys of my typewriter<br /></span> <span class="i2">And so would pass as mine.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">It may be some other typewriter<br /></span> <span class="i2">Will produce that word again,<br /></span> <span class="i0">It may be, but only for others&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2"><i>I</i> shall write henceforth with a pen.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_295" id="Page_295">[Pg 295]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>THE DUTCHMAN WHO HAD THE "SMALL POX"</h2> <h3>BY HENRY P. LELAND</h3> <p>Very dry, indeed, is the drive from Blackberry to Squash Point,&mdash;dry even for New Jersey; and when you remember that it's fifty miles between the two towns, its division into five drinks seems very natural. When you are packed, three on one narrow seat, in a Jersey stage, it is necessary.</p> <p>A Jersey stage! It is not on record, but when Dante winds up his Tenth "Canter" into the Inferno with&mdash;</p> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Each, as his back was laden, came indeed<br /></span> <span class="i0">Or more or less contracted; and it seemed<br /></span> <span class="i0">As he who showed most patience in his look,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Wailing, exclaimed, "I can endure no more!"<br /></span> </div></div> <p>the conclusion that he alluded to a crowded Jersey stage-load is irresistible. A man with long legs, on a back seat, in one of these vehicles, suffers like a snipe shut up in a snuff-box. For this reason, the long-legged man should sit on the front seat with the driver; there, like the hen-turkey who tried to sit on a hundred eggs, he can "spread himself." The writer sat alongside the driver one morning, just at break of day, as the stage drove out of Blackberry: he was a through passenger to Squash Point. It was a very cold morning. In order to break the ice for a conversation, he praised the fine points of an off horse. The driver thawed:<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_296" id="Page_296">[Pg 296]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Ya-as; she's a goot hoss, und I knows how to trive him!" It was evidently a case of mixed breed.</p> <p>"Where is Wood, who used to drive this stage?"</p> <p>"He be's lait up mit ter rummatiz sence yesterweek, und I trives for him. So&mdash;" I went on reading a newspaper: a fellow-passenger, on a back seat, not having the fear of murdered English on his hands, coaxed the Dutch driver into a long conversation, much to the delight of a very pretty Jersey-blue belle, who laughed so merrily that it was contagious; and in a few minutes, from being like unto a conventicle, we were all as wide awake as one of Christy's audiences. By sunrise we were in excellent spirits, up to all sorts of fun; and when, a little later on, our stage stopped at the first watering-place, the driver found himself the center of a group of treaters to the distilled "juice of apples." It is just as easy to say "apple-jack," and be done with it; but the writer, being very anxious to form a style, cribs from all quarters. The so oft-repeated expression "juice of the grape" has been for a long time on his hands, and, wishing to work it up, he would have done it in this case, only he fears the skepticism of his readers. By courtesy, they may wink at the poetical license of a reporter of a public dinner who calls turnip-juice and painted whisky "juice of the grape," but they would not allow the existence, for one minute, of such application to the liquors of a Jersey tavern. It's out of place.</p> <p>"Here's a package to leave at Mr. Scudder's, the third house on the left-hand side after you get into Jericho. What do you charge?" asked a man who seemed to know the driver.</p> <p>"Pout a leffy," answered he. Receiving the silver, he gathered up the reins, and put the square package in the stage-box. Just as he started the horses, he leaned his<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_297" id="Page_297">[Pg 297]</SPAN></span> head out of the stage, and, looking back to the man who gave him the package, shouted out the question:</p> <p>"Ter fird haus on ter lef hant out of Yeriko?" The man didn't hear him, but the driver was satisfied. On we went at a pretty good rate, considering how heavy the roads were. Another tavern, more watering, more apple-jack. Another long stretch of sand, and we were coming into Jericho.</p> <p>"Anypotty know ter Miss Scutter haus?" asked the driver, bracing his feet on the mail-bag which lay in front of him, and screwing his head round so as to face in. There seemed to be a consultation going on inside the stage.</p> <p>"I don't know nobody o' that name in Jericho. Do you, Lishe?" asked a weather-beaten-looking man, who evidently "went by water," of another one who apparently went the same way.</p> <p>"There wos ole Square Gow's da'ter, she marri'd a Scudder; moved up here some two years back. Come to think on't, guess she lives nigher to Glass-house," answered Lishe.</p> <p>The driver, finding he could get no light out of the passengers, seeing a tall, raw-boned woman washing some clothes in front of a house, and who flew out of sight as the stage flew in, handed me the reins as he jumped from his seat and chased the fugitive, hallooing,&mdash;</p> <p>"I'fe got der small pox, I'fe got der&mdash;" Here his voice was lost as he dashed into the open door of the house. But in a minute he reappeared, followed by a broom with an enraged woman annexed, and a loud voice shouting out,&mdash;</p> <p>"You git out of this! Clear yourself, quicker! I ain't goin' to have you diseasin' honest folks, ef you have got the smallpox."<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_298" id="Page_298">[Pg 298]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"I dells you I'fe got der small pox. Ton't you versteh? der SMALL POX!" This time he shouted it out in capital letters!</p> <p>"Clear out! I'll call the men-folks ef you don't clear;" and at once she shouted, in a tip-top voice, "Ike, you Ike, where air you?"</p> <p>Ike made his appearance on the full run.</p> <p>"W-w-what's the matter, mother?"&mdash;<i>Miss</i> Scudder his mother! I should have been shocked, as I was on my first visit to New Jersey, if I had not had a key to this. "That is a very pretty girl," I said on that occasion to a Jersey-man; "who is she?"&mdash;"She's old <i>Miss</i> Perrine's da'ter," was the reply. I looked at the innocent victim of man's criminal conduct with commiseration. "What a pity!" I remarked.</p> <p>"Not such a very great pity," said Jersey, eying me very severely. "I reckon old man Perrine's got as big a cedar-swamp as you, or I either, would like to own."</p> <p>"Her grandfather you speak of?"</p> <p>"No, I don't: I'm talking 'bout her father,&mdash;he that married Abe Simm's da'ter and got a power of land by it; and that gal, their da'ter, one of these days will step right into them swamps."</p> <p>"Oh," I replied, "<i>Mrs.</i> Perrine's daughter," accenting the "Missis!"</p> <p>"Mussus or Miss, it's all the same in Jersey," he answered.</p> <p>Knowing this, Ike's appeal was intelligible. To proceed with our story, the driver, very angry by this time, shouted,&mdash;</p> <p>"I dells you oonst more for der last dime. I'fe got der small pox! unt Mishter Ellis he gifs me a leffy to gif der small pox to Miss Scutter; unt if dat vrow is Miss Scutter, I bromised to gif her ter small pox."<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_299" id="Page_299">[Pg 299]</SPAN></span></p> <p>It was <i>Miss</i> Scudder, and I explained to her that it was a <i>small box</i> he had for her. The affair was soon settled as regarded its delivery, but not as regards the laughter and shouts of the occupants of the old stage-coach as we rolled away from Jericho. The driver joined in, although he had no earthly idea as to its cause, and added not a little to it by saying, in a triumphant tone of voice,&mdash;</p> <p>"I vos pound to gif ter olt voomans ter small pox!"<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_300" id="Page_300">[Pg 300]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>WALK</h2> <h3>BY WILLIAM DEVERE</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Up the dusty road from Denver town<br /></span> <span class="i0">To where the mines their treasures hide,<br /></span> <span class="i0">The road is long, and many miles,<br /></span> <span class="i0">The golden styre and town divide.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Along this road one summer's day,<br /></span> <span class="i0">There toiled a tired man,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Begrimed with dust, the weary way<br /></span> <span class="i0">He cussed, as some folks can.<br /></span> <span class="i0">The stranger hailed a passing team<br /></span> <span class="i0">That slowly dragged its load along;<br /></span> <span class="i0">His hail roused up the teamster old,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And checked his merry song.<br /></span> <span class="i0">"Say-y, stranger!" "Wal, whoap."<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"Ken I walk behind your load<br /></span> <span class="i0">A spell in this road?"<br /></span> <span class="i0">"Wal, no, yer can't walk, but git<br /></span> <span class="i0">Up on this seat an' ride; git up hyer."<br /></span> <span class="i0">"Nop, that ain't what I want,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Fur it's in yer dust, that's like a smudge,<br /></span> <span class="i0">I want to trudge, for I desarve it."<br /></span> <span class="i0">"Wal, pards, I ain't no hog, an' I don't<br /></span> <span class="i0">Own this road, afore nor 'hind.<br /></span> <span class="i0">So jest git right in the dust<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' walk, if that's the way yer 'clined.</span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_301" id="Page_301">[Pg 301]</SPAN></span><br /> <span class="i0">Gee up, ger lang!" the driver said.<br /></span> <span class="i0">The creaking wagon moved amain,<br /></span> <span class="i0">While close behind the stranger trudged,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And clouds of dust rose up again.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The teamster heard the stranger talk<br /></span> <span class="i0">As if two trudged behind his van,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Yet, looking 'round, could only spy<br /></span> <span class="i0">A single lonely man.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Yet heard the teamster words like these<br /></span> <span class="i0">Come from the dust as from a cloud,<br /></span> <span class="i0">For the weary traveler spoke his mind.<br /></span> <span class="i0">His thoughts he uttered loud,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And this the burden of his talk:<br /></span> <span class="i0">"Walk, now, you &mdash;&mdash;, walk!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Not the way you went to Denver?<br /></span> <span class="i0">Walk, &mdash;&mdash; &mdash;&mdash;! Jest walk!<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"Went up in the mines an' made yer stake,<br /></span> <span class="i0">'Nuff to take yer back to ther state<br /></span> <span class="i0">Whar yer wur born.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Whar'n hell's yer corn?<br /></span> <span class="i0">Wal, walk, you &mdash;&mdash;, walk!<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"Dust in yer eyes, dust in yer nose,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Dust down yer throat, and thick<br /></span> <span class="i0">On yer clothes. Can't hardly talk?<br /></span> <span class="i0">I know it, but walk, you &mdash;&mdash;, walk!<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"What did yer do with all yer tin?<br /></span> <span class="i0">Ya-s, blew every cent of it in;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Got drunk, got sober, got drunk agin.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Wal, walk, &mdash;&mdash;! Jest walk.</span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_302" id="Page_302">[Pg 302]</SPAN></span><br /> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"What did yer do? What didn't yer do?<br /></span> <span class="i0">Why, when ye war thar, yer gold-dust flew,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Yer thought it fine to keep op'nin' wine.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Now walk, you &mdash;&mdash;, walk.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"Stop to drink? What&mdash;water?<br /></span> <span class="i0">Why, thar<br /></span> <span class="i0">Water with you warn't anywhere.<br /></span> <span class="i0">'Twas wine, Extra Dry. Oh,<br /></span> <span class="i0">You flew high&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Now walk, you &mdash;&mdash;, walk.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"Chokes yer, this dust? Wal, that<br /></span> <span class="i0">Ain't the wust,<br /></span> <span class="i0">When yer get back whar the<br /></span> <span class="i0">Diggins are<br /></span> <span class="i0">No pick, no shovel, no pan;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Wal, yer a healthy man,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Walk&mdash;jest walk."<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The fools don't all go to Denver town,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Nor do they all from the mines come down.<br /></span> <span class="i0">'Most all of us have in our day&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">In some sort of shape, some kind of way&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Painted the town with the old stuff,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Dipped in stocks or made some bluff,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Mixed wines, old and new,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Got caught in wedlock by a shrew,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Stayed out all night, tight,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Rolled home in the morning light,<br /></span> <span class="i0">With crumpled tie and torn clawhammer,<br /></span> <span class="i0">'N' woke up next day with a katzenjammer,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And walked, oh &mdash;&mdash;, how we walked.</span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_303" id="Page_303">[Pg 303]</SPAN></span><br /> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Now, don't try to yank every bun,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Don't try to have all the fun,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Don't think that you know it all,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Don't think real estate won't fall,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Don't try to bluff on an ace,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Don't get stuck on a pretty face,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Don't believe every jay's talk&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">For if you do you can bet you'll walk!<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_304" id="Page_304">[Pg 304]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>MR. DOOLEY ON GOLD-SEEKING</h2> <h3>BY FINLEY PETER DUNNE</h3> <p>"Well, sir," said Mr. Hennessy, "that Alaska's th' gr-reat place. I thought 'twas nawthin' but an iceberg with a few seals roostin' on it, an' wan or two hundherd Ohio politicians that can't be killed on account iv th' threaty iv Pawrs. But here they tell me 'tis fairly smothered in goold. A man stubs his toe on th' ground, an' lifts th' top off iv a goold mine. Ye go to bed at night, an' wake up with goold fillin' in ye'er teeth."</p> <p>"Yes," said Mr. Dooley, "Clancy's son was in here this mornin', an' he says a frind iv his wint to sleep out in th' open wan night, an' whin he got up his pants assayed four ounces iv goold to th' pound, an' his whiskers panned out as much as thirty dollars net."</p> <p>"If I was a young man an' not tied down here," said Mr. Hennessy, "I'd go there: I wud so."</p> <p>"I wud not," said Mr. Dooley. "Whin I was a young man in th' ol' counthry, we heerd th' same story about all America. We used to set be th' tur-rf fire o' nights, kickin' our bare legs on th' flure an' wishin' we was in New York, where all ye had to do was to hold ye'er hat an' th' goold guineas'd dhrop into it. An' whin I got to be a man, I come over here with a ham and a bag iv oatmeal, as sure that I'd return in a year with money enough to dhrive me own ca-ar as I was that me name was Martin Dooley. An' that was a cinch.</p> <p>"But, faith, whin I'd been here a week, I seen that<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_305" id="Page_305">[Pg 305]</SPAN></span> there was nawthin' but mud undher th' pavement,&mdash;I larned that be means iv a pick-axe at tin shillin's th' day,&mdash;an' that, though there was plenty iv goold, thim that had it were froze to it; an' I come west, still lookin' f'r mines. Th' on'y mine I sthruck at Pittsburgh was a hole f'r sewer pipe. I made it. Siven shillin's th' day. Smaller thin New York, but th' livin' was cheaper, with Mon'gahela rye at five a throw, put ye'er hand around th' glass.</p> <p>"I was still dreamin' goold, an' I wint down to Saint Looey. Th' nearest I come to a fortune there was findin' a quarther on th' sthreet as I leaned over th' dashboord iv a car to whack th' off mule. Whin I got to Chicago, I looked around f'r the goold mine. They was Injuns here thin. But they wasn't anny mines I cud see. They was mud to be shovelled an' dhrays to be dhruv an' beats to be walked. I choose th' dhray; f'r I was niver cut out f'r a copper, an' I'd had me fill iv excavatin'. An' I dhruv th' dhray till I wint into business.</p> <p>"Me experyence with goold minin' is it's always in th' nex' county. If I was to go to Alaska, they'd tell me iv th' finds in Seeberya. So I think I'll stay here. I'm a silver man, annyhow; an' I'm contint if I can see goold wanst a year, whin some prominent citizen smiles over his newspaper. I'm thinkin' that ivry man has a goold mine undher his own dure-step or in his neighbor's pocket at th' farthest."</p> <p>"Well, annyhow," said Mr. Hennessy, "I'd like to kick up th' sod, an' find a ton iv gold undher me fut."</p> <p>"What wud ye do if ye found it?" demanded Mr. Dooley.</p> <p>"I&mdash;I dinnaw," said Mr. Hennessy, whose dreaming had not gone this far. Then, recovering himself, he exclaimed with great enthusiasm, "I'd throw up me job an'&mdash;an' live like a prince."<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_306" id="Page_306">[Pg 306]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"I tell ye what ye'd do," said Mr. Dooley. "Ye'd come back here an' sthrut up an' down th' sthreet with ye'er thumbs in ye'er armpits; an' ye'd dhrink too much, an' ride in sthreet ca-ars. Thin ye'd buy foldin' beds an' piannies, an' start a reel estate office. Ye'd be fooled a good deal an' lose a lot iv ye'er money, an' thin ye'd tighten up. Ye'd be in a cold fear night an' day that ye'd lose ye'er fortune. Ye'd wake up in th' middle iv th' night, dhreamin' that ye was back at th' gas-house with ye'er money gone. Ye'd be prisidint iv a charitable society. Ye'd have to wear ye'er shoes in th' house, an' ye'er wife'd have ye around to rayciptions an' dances. Ye'd move to Mitchigan Avnoo, an' ye'd hire a coachman that'd laugh at ye. Ye'er boys'd be joods an' ashamed iv ye, an' ye'd support ye'er daughters' husbands. Ye'd rackrint ye'er tinants an' lie about ye'er taxes. Ye'd go back to Ireland on a visit, an' put on airs with ye'er cousin Mike. Ye'd be a mane, close-fisted, onscrupulous ol' curmudgeon; an', whin ye'd die, it'd take haf ye'er fortune f'r rayqueems to put ye r-right. I don't want ye iver to speak to me whin ye get rich, Hinnissy."</p> <p>"I won't," said Mr. Hennessy.<span class='pagenum'>
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