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Wit and Humor of America, The Vol 04

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<SPAN name="Page_647" id="Page_647">[Pg 647]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="A_CABLE-CAR_PREACHER" id="A_CABLE-CAR_PREACHER"></SPAN>A CABLE-CAR PREACHER</h2> <h3>BY SAM WALTER FOSS</h3> <h3>I</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"'Tis strange how thoughtless people are,"<br /></span> <span class="i2">A man said in a cable-car,<br /></span> <span class="i0">"How careless and how thoughtless," said<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Loud Man in the cable-car;<br /></span> <span class="i2">And then the Man with One Lame Leg<br /></span> <span class="i2">Said softly, "Pardon me, I beg,<br /></span> <span class="i0">For your valise is on my knee;<br /></span> <span class="i2">It's sore," said he of One Lame Leg.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>II</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">A woman then came in with twins<br /></span> <span class="i2">And stumbled o'er the Loud Man's shins;<br /></span> <span class="i0">And she was tired half to death,<br /></span> <span class="i2">This Woman Who Came in with Twins;<br /></span> <span class="i2">And then the Man with One Lame Leg<br /></span> <span class="i2">Said, "Madam, take my seat, I beg."<br /></span> <span class="i0">She sat, with her vociferant Twins,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And thanked the man of One Lame Leg.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_648" id="Page_648">[Pg 648]</SPAN></span></div></div> <h3>III</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">"'Tis strange how selfish people are,<br /></span> <span class="i2">They carry boorishness so far;<br /></span> <span class="i0">How selfish, careless, thoughtless," said<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Loud Man of the cable-car.<br /></span> <span class="i2">A Man then with the Lung Complaint<br /></span> <span class="i2">Grew dizzy and began to faint;<br /></span> <span class="i0">He reeled and swayed from side to side,<br /></span> <span class="i2">This poor Man with the Lung Complaint.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>IV</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">The Woman Who Came in with Twins<br /></span> <span class="i2">Said, "You can hardly keep your pins;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Pray, take my seat." He sat, and thanked<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Woman Who Came in with Twins.<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Loud Man once again began<br /></span> <span class="i2">To curse the selfishness of man;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Our lack of manners he bewailed<br /></span> <span class="i2">With vigor, did this Loud, Loud Man.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>V</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">But still the Loud Man kept his seat;<br /></span> <span class="i2">A Blind Man stumbled o'er his feet;<br /></span> <span class="i0">The Loud Man preached on selfishness,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And preached, and preached, and kept his seat.<br /></span> <span class="i2">The poor Man with the Lung Complaint<br /></span> <span class="i2">Stood up&mdash;a brave, heroic saint&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">And to the Blind Man, "Take my seat,"<br /></span> <span class="i2">Said he who had the Lung Complaint.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_649" id="Page_649">[Pg 649]</SPAN></span></div></div> <h3>VI</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">The Loud Man preached on selfish sins;<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Woman Who Came in with Twins;<br /></span> <span class="i0">The poor Man with the Lung Complaint,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Stood, while he preached on selfish sins.<br /></span> <span class="i2">And still the Man with One Lame Leg<br /></span> <span class="i2">Stood there on his imperfect peg<br /></span> <span class="i0">And heard the screed on selfish sins&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">This patient Man with One Lame Leg.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>VII</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">The Loud Man of the cable-car<br /></span> <span class="i2">Sat still and preached and traveled far;<br /></span> <span class="i0">The Blind Man spake no word unto<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Loud Man of the cable-car.<br /></span> <span class="i0">The Lame-Legged Man looked reconciled,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And she with Twins her grief beguiled,<br /></span> <span class="i0">The poor Man with the Lung Complaint&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">All stood, and sweetly, sadly smiled.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_650" id="Page_650">[Pg 650]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="HOW_TO_KNOW_THE_WILD_ANIMALS" id="HOW_TO_KNOW_THE_WILD_ANIMALS"></SPAN>HOW TO KNOW THE WILD ANIMALS</h2> <h3>BY CAROLYN WELLS</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">If ever you should go by chance<br /></span> <span class="i2">To jungles in the East,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And if there should to you advance<br /></span> <span class="i2">A large and tawny beast&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">If he roar at you as you're dyin',<br /></span> <span class="i2">You'll know it is the Asian Lion.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">If, when in India loafing round,<br /></span> <span class="i2">A noble wild beast meets you,<br /></span> <span class="i0">With dark stripes on a yellow ground,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Just notice if he eats you.<br /></span> <span class="i0">This simple rule may help you learn<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Bengal Tiger to discern.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">When strolling forth, a beast you view<br /></span> <span class="i2">Whose hide with spots is peppered;<br /></span> <span class="i0">As soon as it has leapt on you,<br /></span> <span class="i2">You'll know it is the Leopard.<br /></span> <span class="i0">'T will do no good to roar with pain,<br /></span> <span class="i2">He'll only lep and lep again.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">If you are sauntering round your yard,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And meet a creature there<br /></span> <span class="i0">Who hugs you very, very hard,<br /></span> <span class="i2">You'll know it is the Bear.<br /></span> <span class="i0">If you have any doubt, I guess<br /></span> <span class="i2">He'll give you just one more caress.<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_651" id="Page_651">[Pg 651]</SPAN></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Whene'er a quadruped you view<br /></span> <span class="i2">Attached to any tree,<br /></span> <span class="i0">It may be 'tis the Wanderoo,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Or yet the Chimpanzee.<br /></span> <span class="i0">If right side up it may be both,<br /></span> <span class="i2">If upside down it is the Sloth.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Though to distinguish beasts of prey<br /></span> <span class="i2">A novice might nonplus;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Yet from the Crocodile you may<br /></span> <span class="i2">Tell the Hyena, thus:<br /></span> <span class="i0">'Tis the Hyena if it smile;<br /></span> <span class="i2">If weeping, 'tis the Crocodile.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The true Chameleon is small&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">A lizard sort of thing;<br /></span> <span class="i0">He hasn't any ears at all<br /></span> <span class="i2">And not a single wing.<br /></span> <span class="i0">If there is nothing on the tree<br /></span> <span class="i2">'Tis the Chameleon you see.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_652" id="Page_652">[Pg 652]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="I_REMEMBER_I_REMEMBER" id="I_REMEMBER_I_REMEMBER"></SPAN>I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER</h2> <h3>BY PH&OElig;BE CARY</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I remember, I remember,<br /></span> <span class="i2">The house where I was wed,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And the little room from which that night,<br /></span> <span class="i2">My smiling bride was led.<br /></span> <span class="i0">She didn't come a wink too soon,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Nor make too long a stay;<br /></span> <span class="i0">But now I often wish her folks<br /></span> <span class="i2">Had kept the girl away!<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I remember, I remember,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Her dresses, red and white,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Her bonnets and her caps and cloaks,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">They cost an awful sight!<br /></span> <span class="i0">The "corner lot" on which I built,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And where my brother met<br /></span> <span class="i0">At first my wife, one washing-day,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">That man is single yet!<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I remember, I remember,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Where I was used to court,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And thought that all of married life<br /></span> <span class="i2">Was just such pleasant sport:&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">My spirit flew in feathers then,<br /></span> <span class="i2">No care was on my brow;<br /></span> <span class="i0">I scarce could wait to shut the gate,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">I'm not so anxious now!<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_653" id="Page_653">[Pg 653]</SPAN></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I remember, I remember,<br /></span> <span class="i2">My dear one's smile and sigh;<br /></span> <span class="i0">I used to think her tender heart<br /></span> <span class="i2">Was close against the sky.<br /></span> <span class="i0">It was a childish ignorance,<br /></span> <span class="i2">But now it soothes me not<br /></span> <span class="i0">To know I'm farther off from Heaven<br /></span> <span class="i2">Then when she wasn't got.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_654" id="Page_654">[Pg 654]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="THE_COUPON_BONDS" id="THE_COUPON_BONDS"></SPAN>THE COUPON BONDS</h2> <h3>BY J.T. TROWBRIDGE</h3> <p>(Mr. and Mrs. Ducklow have secretly purchased bonds with money that should have been given to their adopted son Reuben, who has sacrificed his health in serving his country as a soldier, and, going to visit Reuben on the morning of his return home, they hide the bonds under the carpet of the sitting-room, and leave the house in charge of Taddy, another adopted son.)</p> <hr style='width: 45%;' /> <p>Mr. Ducklow had scarcely turned the corner of the street, when, looking anxiously in the direction of his homestead, he saw a column of smoke. It was directly over the spot where he knew his house to be situated. He guessed at a glance what had happened. The frightful catastrophe he foreboded had befallen. Taddy had set the house afire.</p> <p>"Them bonds! them bonds!" he exclaimed, distractedly. He did not think so much of the house: house and furniture were insured; if they were burned the inconvenience would be great indeed, and at any other time the thought of such an event would have been a sufficient cause for trepidation; but now his chief, his only anxiety was the bonds. They were not insured. They would be a dead loss. And, what added sharpness to his pangs, they would be a loss which he must keep a secret, as he had kept their existence a secret,&mdash;a loss which he could not confess, and of which he could not complain. Had<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_655" id="Page_655">[Pg 655]</SPAN></span> he not just given his neighbors to understand that he had no such property? And his wife,&mdash;was she not at that very moment, if not serving up a lie upon the subject, at least paring the truth very thin indeed?</p> <p>"A man would think," observed Ferring, "that Ducklow had some o' them bonds on his hands, and got scaret, he took such a sudden start. He has, hasn't he, Mrs. Ducklow?"</p> <p>"Has what?" said Mrs. Ducklow, pretending ignorance.</p> <p>"Some o' them cowpon bonds. I rather guess he's got some."</p> <p>"You mean Gov'ment bonds? Ducklow got some? 'Tain't at all likely he'd spec'late in them without saying something to <i>me</i> about it. No, he couldn't have any without my knowing it, I'm sure."</p> <p>How demure, how innocent she looked, plying her knitting-needle, and stopping to take up a stitch! How little at that moment she knew of Ducklow's trouble and its terrible cause!</p> <p>Ducklow's first impulse was to drive on and endeavor at all hazards to snatch the bonds from the flames. His next was to return and alarm his neighbors and obtain their assistance. But a minute's delay might be fatal: so he drove on, screaming, "Fire! fire!" at the top of his voice.</p> <p>But the old mare was a slow-footed animal; and Ducklow had no whip. He reached forward and struck her with the reins.</p> <p>"Git up! git up!&mdash;Fire! fire!" screamed Ducklow. "Oh, them bonds! them bonds! Why didn't I give the money to Reuben? Fire! fire! fire!"</p> <p>By dint of screaming and slapping, he urged her from a trot into a gallop, which was scarcely an improvement<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_656" id="Page_656">[Pg 656]</SPAN></span> as to speed, and certainly not as to grace. It was like the gallop of an old cow. "Why don't ye go 'long?" he cried, despairingly.</p> <p>Slap! slap! He knocked his own hat off with the loose end of the reins. It fell under the wheels. He cast one look behind, to satisfy himself that it had been very thoroughly run over and crushed into the dirt, and left it to its fate.</p> <p>Slap! slap! "Fire! fire!" Canter, canter, canter! Neighbors looked out of their windows, and, recognizing Ducklow's wagon and old mare in such an astonishing plight, and Ducklow himself, without his hat, rising from his seat and reaching forward in wild attitudes, brandishing the reins, and at the same time rending the azure with yells, thought he must be insane.</p> <p>He drove to the top of the hill, and, looking beyond, in expectation of seeing his house wrapped in flames, discovered that the smoke proceeded from a brush-heap which his neighbor Atkins was burning in a field near by.</p> <p>The revulsion of feeling that ensued was almost too much for the excitable Ducklow. His strength went out of him. For a little while there seemed to be nothing left of him but tremor and cold sweat. Difficult as it had been to get the old mare in motion, it was now even more difficult to stop her.</p> <p>"Why, what has got into Ducklow's old mare? She's running away with him! Who ever heard of such a thing!" And Atkins, watching the ludicrous spectacle from his field, became almost as weak from laughter as Ducklow was from the effects of fear.</p> <p>At length Ducklow succeeded in checking the old mare's speed and in turning her about. It was necessary to drive back for his hat. By this time he could hear a chorus of shouts, "Fire! fire! fire!" over the hill. He had<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_657" id="Page_657">[Pg 657]</SPAN></span> aroused the neighbors as he passed, and now they were flocking to extinguish the flames.</p> <p>"A false alarm! a false alarm!" said Ducklow, looking marvelously sheepish, as he met them. "Nothing but Atkins's brush-heap!"</p> <p>"Seems to me you ought to have found that out 'fore you raised all creation with your yells!" said one hyperbolical fellow. "You looked like the Flying Dutchman! This your hat? I thought 'twas a dead cat in the road. No fire! no fire!"&mdash;turning back to his comrades,&mdash;"only one of Ducklow's jokes."</p> <p>Nevertheless, two or three boys there were who would not be convinced, but continued to leap up, swing their caps, and scream "Fire!" against all remonstrance. Ducklow did not wait to enter his explanations, but, turning the old mare about again, drove home amid the laughter of the by-standers and the screams of the misguided youngsters. As he approached the house, he met Taddy rushing wildly up the street.</p> <p>"Thaddeus! Thaddeus! Where ye goin', Thaddeus?"</p> <p>"Goin' to the fire!" cried Taddy.</p> <p>"There isn't any fire, boy."</p> <p>"Yes, there is! Didn't ye hear 'em? They've been yellin' like fury."</p> <p>"It's nothin' but Atkins's brush."</p> <p>"That all?" And Taddy appeared very much disappointed. "I thought there was goin' to be some fun. I wonder who was such a fool as to yell fire just for a darned old brush-heap!"</p> <p>Ducklow did not inform him.</p> <p>"I've got to drive over to town and get Reuben's trunk. You stand by the mare while I step in and brush my hat."</p> <p>Instead of applying himself at once to the restoration of his beaver, he hastened to the sitting-room, to see that the bonds were safe.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_658" id="Page_658">[Pg 658]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Heavens and 'arth!" said Ducklow.</p> <p>The chair, which had been carefully planted in the spot where they were concealed, had been removed. Three or four tacks had been taken out, and the carpet pushed from the wall. There was straw scattered about. Evidently Taddy had been interrupted, in the midst of his ransacking, by the alarm of fire. Indeed, he was even now creeping into the house to see what notice Ducklow would take of these evidences of his mischief.</p> <p>In great trepidation the farmer thrust in his hand here and there, and groped, until he found the envelope precisely where it had been placed the night before, with the tape tied around it, which his wife had put on to prevent its contents from slipping out and losing themselves. Great was the joy of Ducklow. Great also was the wrath of him when he turned and discovered Taddy.</p> <p>"Didn't I tell you to stand by the old mare?"</p> <p>"She won't stir," said Taddy, shrinking away again.</p> <p>"Come here!" And Ducklow grasped him by the collar.</p> <p>"What have you been doin'? Look at that!"</p> <p>"'Twan't me!" beginning to whimper and ram his fists into his eyes.</p> <p>"Don't tell me 'twan't you!" Ducklow shook him till his teeth chattered. "What was you pullin' up the carpet for?"</p> <p>"Lost a marble!" sniveled Taddy.</p> <p>"Lost a marble! Ye didn't lose it under the carpet, did ye? Look at all that straw pulled out!" shaking him again.</p> <p>"Didn't know but it might 'a' got under the carpet, marbles roll so," explained Taddy, as soon as he could get his breath.</p> <p>"Wal, sir,"&mdash;Ducklow administered a resounding box<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_659" id="Page_659">[Pg 659]</SPAN></span> on his ear,&mdash;"don't you do such a thing again, if you lose a million marbles!"</p> <p>"Hain't got a million!" Taddy wept, rubbing his cheek. "Hain't got but four! Won't ye buy me some to-day?"</p> <p>"Go to that mare, and don't you leave her again till I come, or I'll <i>marble</i> ye in a way you won't like."</p> <p>Understanding, by this somewhat equivocal form of expression, that flagellation was threatened, Taddy obeyed, still feeling his smarting and burning ear.</p> <p>Ducklow was in trouble. What should he do with the bonds? The floor was no place for them after what had happened; and he remembered too well the experience of yesterday to think for a moment of carrying them about his person. With unreasonable impatience, his mind reverted to Mrs. Ducklow.</p> <p>"Why ain't she to home? These women are forever a-gaddin'! I wish Reuben's trunk was in Jericho!"</p> <p>Thinking of the trunk reminded him of one in the garret, filled with old papers of all sorts,&mdash;newspapers, letters, bills of sale, children's writing-books,&mdash;accumulations of the past quarter of a century. Neither fire nor burglar nor ransacking youngster had ever molested those ancient records during all those five-and-twenty years. A bright thought struck him.</p> <p>"I'll slip the bonds down into that worthless heap o' rubbish, where no one 'ull ever think o' lookin' for 'em, and resk 'em."</p> <p>Having assured himself that Taddy was standing by the wagon, he paid a hasty visit to the trunk in the garret, and concealed the envelope, still bound in its band of tape, among the papers. He then drove away, giving Taddy a final charge to beware of setting anything afire.</p> <p>He had driven about half a mile, when he met a ped<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_660" id="Page_660">[Pg 660]</SPAN></span>dler. There was nothing unusual or alarming in such a circumstance, surely; but, as Ducklow kept on, it troubled him.</p> <p>"He'll stop to the house, now, most likely, and want to trade. Findin' nobody but Taddy, there's no knowin' what he'll be tempted to do. But I ain't a-goin' to worry. I'll defy anybody to find them bonds. Besides, she may be home by this time. I guess she'll hear of the fire-alarm and hurry home: it'll be jest like her. She'll be there, and trade with the peddler!" thought Ducklow, uneasily. Then a frightful fancy possessed him. "She has threatened two or three times to sell that old trunkful of papers. He'll offer a big price for 'em, and ten to one she'll let him have 'em. Why <i>didn't</i> I think on't? What a stupid blunderbuss I be!"</p> <p>As Ducklow thought of it, he felt almost certain that Mrs. Ducklow had returned home, and that she was bargaining with the peddler at that moment. He fancied her smilingly receiving bright tin-ware for the old papers; and he could see the tape-tied envelope going into the bag with the rest. The result was that he turned about and whipped his old mare home again in terrific haste, to catch the departing peddler.</p> <p>Arriving, he found the house as he had left it, and Taddy occupied in making a kite-frame.</p> <p>"Did that peddler stop here?"</p> <p>"I hain't seen no peddler."</p> <p>"And hain't yer Ma Ducklow been home, nuther?"</p> <p>"No."</p> <p>And, with a guilty look, Taddy put the kite-frame behind him.</p> <p>Ducklow considered. The peddler had turned up a cross-street: he would probably turn down again and stop at the house, after all: Mrs. Ducklow might by that time<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_661" id="Page_661">[Pg 661]</SPAN></span> be at home: then the sale of old papers would be very likely to take place. Ducklow thought of leaving word that he did not wish any old papers in the house to be sold, but feared lest the request might excite Taddy's suspicions.</p> <p>"I don't see no way but for me to take the bonds with me," thought he, with an inward groan.</p> <p>He accordingly went to the garret, took the envelope out of the trunk, and placed it in the breast-pocket of his overcoat, to which he pinned it, to prevent it by any chance from getting out. He used six large, strong pins for the purpose, and was afterwards sorry he did not use seven.</p> <p>"There's suthin' losin' out o' yer pocket!" bawled Taddy, as he was once more mounting the wagon.</p> <p>Quick as lightning, Ducklow clapped his hand to his breast. In doing so he loosed his hold of the wagon-box and fell, raking his shin badly on the wheel.</p> <p>"Yer side-pocket! It's one o' yer mittens!" said Taddy.</p> <p>"You rascal! How you scared me!"</p> <p>Seating himself in the wagon, Ducklow gently pulled up his trousers-leg to look at the bruised part.</p> <p>"Got anything in your boot-leg to-day, Pa Ducklow?" asked Taddy, innocently.</p> <p>"Yes,&mdash;a barked shin!&mdash;all on your account, too! Go and put that straw back, and fix the carpet; and don't ye let me hear ye speak of my boot-leg again, or I'll boot-leg ye!"</p> <p>So saying, Ducklow departed.</p> <p>Instead of repairing the mischief he had done in the sitting-room, Taddy devoted his time and talents to the more interesting occupation of constructing his kite-frame. He worked at that until Mr. Grantly, the minister, driving by, stopped to inquire how the folks were.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_662" id="Page_662">[Pg 662]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Ain't to home: may I ride?" cried Taddy, all in a breath.</p> <p>Mr. Grantly was an indulgent old gentleman, fond of children: so he said, "Jump in;" and in a minute Taddy had scrambled to a seat by his side.</p> <p>And now occurred a circumstance which Ducklow had foreseen. The alarm of fire had reached Reuben's; and, although the report of its falseness followed immediately, Mrs. Ducklow's inflammable fancy was so kindled by it that she could find no comfort in prolonging her visit.</p> <p>"Mr. Ducklow'll be going for the trunk, and I <i>must</i> go home and see to things, Taddy's <i>such</i> a fellow for mischief. I can foot it; I shan't mind it."</p> <p>And off she started, walking herself out of breath in anxiety.</p> <p>She reached the brow of the hill just in time to see a chaise drive away from her own door.</p> <p>"Who <i>can</i> that be? I wonder if Taddy's ther' to guard the house! If anything should happen to them bonds!"</p> <p>Out of breath as she was, she quickened her pace, and trudged on, flushed, perspiring, panting, until she reached the house.</p> <p>"Thaddeus!" she called.</p> <p>No Taddy answered. She went in. The house was deserted. And, lo! the carpet torn up, and the bonds abstracted!</p> <p>Mr. Ducklow never would have made such work, removing the bonds. Then somebody else must have taken them, she reasoned.</p> <p>"The man in the chaise!" she exclaimed, or rather made an effort to exclaim, succeeding only in bringing forth a hoarse, gasping sound. Fear dried up articulation. <i>Vox faucibus h&aelig;sit.</i><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_663" id="Page_663">[Pg 663]</SPAN></span></p> <p>And Taddy? He had disappeared, been murdered, perhaps,&mdash;or gagged and carried away by the man in the chaise.</p> <p>Mrs. Ducklow flew hither and thither (to use a favorite phrase of her own), "like a hen with her head cut off;" then rushed out of the house and up the street, screaming after the chaise,&mdash;</p> <p>"Murder! murder! Stop thief! stop thief!"</p> <p>She waved her hands aloft in the air frantically. If she had trudged before, now she trotted, now she cantered; but, if the cantering of the old mare was fitly likened to that of a cow, to what thing, to what manner of motion under the sun, shall we liken the cantering of Mrs. Ducklow? It was original; it was unique; it was prodigious. Now, with her frantically waving hands, and all her undulating and flapping skirts, she seemed a species of huge, unwieldy bird, attempting to fly. Then she sank down into a heavy, dragging walk,&mdash;breath and strength all gone,&mdash;no voice left even to scream "murder!" Then, the awful realization of the loss of the bonds once more rushing over her, she started up again. "Half running, half flying, what progress she made!" Then Atkins's dog saw her, and, naturally mistaking her for a prodigy, came out at her, bristling up and bounding and barking terrifically.</p> <p>"Come here!" cried Atkins, following the dog. "What's the matter? What's to pay, Mrs. Ducklow?"</p> <p>Attempting to speak, the good woman could only pant and wheeze.</p> <p>"Robbed!" she at last managed to whisper, amid the yelpings of the cur that refused to be silenced.</p> <p>"Robbed? How? Who?"</p> <p>"The chaise. Ketch it."</p> <p>Her gestures expressed more than her words; and, At<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_664" id="Page_664">[Pg 664]</SPAN></span>kins's horse and wagon, with which he had been drawing out brush, being in the yard near-by, he ran to them, leaped to the seat, drove into the road, took Mrs. Ducklow aboard, and set out in vigorous pursuit of the slow two-wheeled vehicle.</p> <p>"Stop, you, sir! Stop, you, sir!" shrieked Mrs. Ducklow, having recovered her breath by the time they came up with the chaise.</p> <p>It stopped, and Mr. Grantly, the minister, put out his good-natured, surprised face.</p> <p>"You've robbed my house! You've took&mdash;"</p> <p>Mrs. Ducklow was going on in wild, accusatory accents, when she recognized the benign countenance.</p> <p>"What do you say? I have robbed you?" he exclaimed, very much astonished.</p> <p>"No, no! not you! You wouldn't do such a thing!" she stammered forth, while Atkins, who had laughed himself weak at Mr. Ducklow's plight earlier in the morning, now laughed himself into a side-ache at Mrs. Ducklow's ludicrous mistake. "But did you&mdash;did you stop at my house? Have you seen our Thaddeus?"</p> <p>"Here I be, Ma Ducklow!" piped a small voice; and Taddy, who had till then remained hidden, fearing punishment, peeped out of the chaise from behind the broad back of the minister.</p> <p>"Taddy! Taddy! how came the carpet&mdash;"</p> <p>"I pulled it up, huntin' for a marble," said Taddy, as she paused, overmastered by her emotions.</p> <p>"And the&mdash;the thing tied up in a brown wrapper?"</p> <p>"Pa Ducklow took it."</p> <p>"Ye sure?"</p> <p>"Yes; I seen him."</p> <p>"Oh, dear!" said Mrs. Ducklow, "I never was so beat! Mr. Grantly, I hope&mdash;excuse me&mdash;I didn't know what I<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_665" id="Page_665">[Pg 665]</SPAN></span> was about! Taddy, you notty boy, what did you leave the house for? Be ye quite sure yer Pa Ducklow&mdash;"</p> <p>Taddy replied that he was quite sure, as he climbed from the chaise into Atkins's wagon. The minister smilingly remarked that he hoped she would find no robbery had been committed, and went his way. Atkins, driving back, and setting her and Taddy down at the Ducklow gate, answered her embarrassed "Much obleeged to ye," with a sincere "Not at all," considering the fun he had had a sufficient compensation for his trouble. And thus ended the morning adventures, with the exception of an unimportant episode, in which Taddy, Mrs. Ducklow, and Mrs. Ducklow's rattan were the principal actors.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_666" id="Page_666">[Pg 666]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="THE_SHOOTING-MATCH" id="THE_SHOOTING-MATCH"></SPAN>THE SHOOTING-MATCH</h2> <h3>BY A.B. LONGSTREET</h3> <p>Shooting-matches are probably nearly coeval with the colonization of Georgia. They are still common throughout the Southern States, though they are not as common as they were twenty-five or thirty years ago. Chance led me to one about a year ago. I was traveling in one of the northeastern counties, when I overtook a swarthy, bright-eyed, smirky little fellow, riding a small pony, and bearing on his shoulder a long, heavy rifle, which, judging from its looks, I should say had done service in Morgan's corps.</p> <p>"Good morning, sir!" said I, reining up my horse as I came beside him.</p> <p>"How goes it, stranger?" said he, with a tone of independence and self-confidence that awakened my curiosity to know a little of his character.</p> <p>"Going driving?" inquired I.</p> <p>"Not exactly," replied he, surveying my horse with a quizzical smile; "I haven't been a driving <i>by myself</i> for a year or two; and my nose has got so bad lately, I can't carry a cold trail <i>without hounds to help me</i>."</p> <p>Alone, and without hounds as he was, the question was rather a silly one; but it answered the purpose for which it was put, which was only to draw him into conversation, and I proceeded to make as decent a retreat as I could.</p> <p>"I didn't know," said I, "but that you were going to meet the huntsmen, or going to your stand."<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_667" id="Page_667">[Pg 667]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Ah, sure enough," rejoined he, "that <i>mout</i> be a bee, as the old woman said when she killed a wasp. It seems to me I ought to know you."</p> <p>"Well, if you <i>ought</i>, why <i>don't</i> you?"</p> <p>"What <i>mout</i> your name be?"</p> <p>"It <i>might</i> be anything," said I, with a borrowed wit, for I knew my man and knew what kind of conversation would please him most.</p> <p>"Well, what <i>is</i> it, then?"</p> <p>"It <i>is</i> Hall," said I; "but you know it might as well have been anything else."</p> <p>"Pretty digging!" said he. "I find you're not the fool I took you to be; so here's to a better acquaintance with you."</p> <p>"With all my heart," returned I; "but you must be as clever as I've been, and give me your name."</p> <p>"To be sure I will, my old coon; take it, take it, and welcome. Anything else about me you'd like to have?"</p> <p>"No," said I, "there's nothing else about you worth having."</p> <p>"Oh, yes there is, stranger! Do you see this?" holding up his ponderous rifle with an ease that astonished me. "If you will go with me to the shooting-match, and see me knock out the <i>bull's-eye</i> with her a few times, you'll agree the old <i>Soap-stick's</i> worth something when Billy Curlew puts his shoulder to her."</p> <p>This short sentence was replete with information to me. It taught me that my companion was <i>Billy Curlew</i>; that he was going to a <i>shooting-match</i>; that he called his rifle the <i>Soap-stick</i>, and that he was very confident of winning beef with her; or, which is nearly, but not quite the same thing, <i>driving the cross with her</i>.</p> <p>"Well," said I, "if the shooting-match is not too far out of my way, I'll go to it with pleasure."<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_668" id="Page_668">[Pg 668]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Unless your way lies through the woods from here," said Billy, "it'll not be much out of your way; for it's only a mile ahead of us, and there is no other road for you to take till you get there; and as that thing you're riding in ain't well suited to fast traveling among brushy knobs, I reckon you won't lose much by going by. I reckon you hardly ever was at a shooting-match, stranger, from the cut of your coat?"</p> <p>"Oh, yes," returned I, "many a time. I won beef at one when I was hardly old enough to hold a shot-gun off-hand."</p> <p>"<i>Children</i> don't go to shooting-matches about here," said he, with a smile of incredulity. "I never heard of but one that did, and he was a little <i>swinge</i> cat. He was born a shooting, and killed squirrels before he was weaned."</p> <p>"Nor did <i>I</i> ever hear of but one," replied I, "and that one was myself."</p> <p>"And where did you win beef so young, stranger?"</p> <p>"At Berry Adams's."</p> <p>"Why, stop, stranger, let me look at you good! Is your name <i>Lyman</i> Hall?"</p> <p>"The very same," said I.</p> <p>"Well, dang my buttons, if you ain't the very boy my daddy used to tell me about. I was too young to recollect you myself; but I've heard daddy talk about you many a time. I believe mammy's got a neck-handkerchief now that daddy won on your shooting at Collen Reid's store, when you were hardly knee high. Come along, Lyman, and I'll go my death upon you at the shooting-match, with the old Soap-stick at your shoulder."</p> <p>"Ah, Billy," said I, "the old Soap-stick will do much better at your own shoulder. It was my mother's notion that sent me to the shooting-match at Berry Adams's;<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_669" id="Page_669">[Pg 669]</SPAN></span> and, to tell the honest truth, it was altogether a chance shot that made me win beef; but that wasn't generally known; and most everybody believed that I was carried there on account of my skill in shooting; and my fame was spread far and wide, I well remember. I remember, too, perfectly well, your father's bet on me at the store. <i>He</i> was at the shooting-match, and nothing could make him believe but that I was a great shot with a rifle as well as a shot-gun. Bet he would on me, in spite of all I could say, though I assured him that I had never shot a rifle in my life. It so happened, too, that there were but two bullets, or, rather, a bullet and a half; and so confident was your father in my skill, that he made me shoot the half bullet; and, strange to tell, by another chance shot, I like to have drove the cross and won his bet."</p> <p>"Now I know you're the very chap, for I heard daddy tell that very thing about the half bullet. Don't say anything about it, Lyman, and darn my old shoes, if I don't tare the lint off the boys with you at the shooting-match. They'll never 'spect such a looking man as you are of knowing anything about a rifle. I'll risk your <i>chance</i> shots."</p> <p>I soon discovered that the father had eaten sour grapes, and the son's teeth were on edge; for Billy was just as incorrigibly obstinate in his belief of my dexterity with a rifle as his father had been before him.</p> <p>We soon reached the place appointed for the shooting-match. It went by the name of Sims's Cross Roads, because here two roads intersected each other; and because, from the time that the first had been laid out, Archibald Sims had resided there. Archibald had been a justice of the peace in his day (and where is the man of his age in Georgia who has not?); consequently, he was called 'Squire Sims. It is the custom in this state, when a man<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_670" id="Page_670">[Pg 670]</SPAN></span> has once acquired a title, civil or military, to force it upon him as long as he lives; hence the countless number of titled personages who are introduced in these sketches.</p> <p>We stopped at the 'squire's door. Billy hastily dismounted, gave me the shake of the hand which he had been reluctantly reserving for a mile back, and, leading me up to the 'squire, thus introduced me: "Uncle Archy, this is Lyman Hall; and for all you see him in these fine clothes, he's a <i>swinge</i> cat; a darn sight cleverer fellow than he looks to be. Wait till you see him lift the old Soap-stick, and draw a bead upon the bull's-eye. You <i>gwine</i> to see fun here to-day. Don't say nothing about it."</p> <p>"Well, Mr. Swinge-cat," said the 'squire, "here's to a better acquaintance with you," offering me his hand.</p> <p>"How goes it, Uncle Archy?" said I, taking his hand warmly (for I am always free and easy with those who are so with me; and in this course I rarely fail to please). "How's the old woman?"</p> <p>"Egad," said the 'squire, chuckling, "there you're too hard for me; for she died two-and-twenty years ago, and I haven't heard a word from her since."</p> <p>"What! and you never married again?"</p> <p>"Never, as God's my judge!" (a solemn asseveration, truly, upon so light a subject.)</p> <p>"Well, that's not my fault."</p> <p>"No, nor it's not mine, <i>ni</i>ther," said the 'squire.</p> <p>Here we were interrupted by the cry of another Rancey Sniffle. "Hello, here! All you as wish to put in for the shoot'n'-match, come on here! for the putt'n' in's <i>riddy</i> to begin."</p> <p>About sixty persons, including mere spectators, had collected; the most of whom were more or less obedient to the call of Mealy Whitecotton, for that was the name of the self-constituted commander-in-chief. Some hastened<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_671" id="Page_671">[Pg 671]</SPAN></span> and some loitered, as they desired to be first or last on the list; for they shoot in the order in which their names are entered.</p> <p>The beef was not present, nor is it ever upon such occasions; but several of the company had seen it, who all concurred in the opinion that it was a good beef, and well worth the price that was set upon it&mdash;eleven dollars. A general inquiry ran around, in order to form some opinion as to the number of shots that would be taken; for, of course, the price of a shot is cheapened in proportion to the increase of that number. It was soon ascertained that not more than twenty persons would take chances; but these twenty agreed to take the number of shots, at twenty-five cents each.</p> <p>The competitors now began to give in their names; some for one, some for two, three, and a few for as many as four shots.</p> <p>Billy Curlew hung back to the last; and when the list was offered him, five shots remained undisposed of.</p> <p>"How many shots left?" inquired Billy.</p> <p>"Five," was the reply.</p> <p>"Well, I take 'em all. Put down four shots to me, and one to Lyman Hall, paid for by William Curlew."</p> <p>I was thunder-struck, not at his proposition to pay for my shot, because I knew that Billy meant it as a token of friendship, and he would have been hurt if I had refused to let him do me this favor; but at the unexpected announcement of my name as a competitor for beef, at least one hundred miles from the place of my residence. I was prepared for a challenge from Billy to some of his neighbors for a <i>private</i> match upon me; but not for this.</p> <p>I therefore protested against his putting in for me, and urged every reason to dissuade him from it that I could, without wounding his feelings.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_672" id="Page_672">[Pg 672]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Put it down!" said Billy, with the authority of an emperor, and with a look that spoke volumes intelligible to every by-stander. "Reckon I don't know what I'm about?" Then wheeling off, and muttering in an under, self-confident tone, "Dang old Roper," continued he, "if he don't knock that cross to the north corner of creation and back again before a cat can lick her foot."</p> <p>Had I been king of the cat tribe, they could not have regarded me with more curious attention than did the whole company from this moment. Every inch of me was examined with the nicest scrutiny; and some plainly expressed by their looks that they never would have taken me for such a bite. I saw no alternative but to throw myself upon a third chance shot; for though, by the rules of the sport, I would have been allowed to shoot by proxy, by all the rules of good breeding I was bound to shoot in person. It would have been unpardonable to disappoint the expectations which had been raised on me. Unfortunately, too, for me, the match differed in one respect from those which I had been in the habit of attending in my younger days. In olden times the contest was carried on chiefly with <i>shot-guns</i>, a generic term which, in those days, embraced three descriptions of firearms: <i>Indian-traders</i> (a long, cheap, but sometimes excellent kind of gun, that mother Britain used to send hither for traffic with the Indians), <i>the large musket</i>, and the <i>shot-gun</i>, properly so-called. Rifles were, however, always permitted to compete with them, under equitable restrictions. These were, that they should be fired off-hand, while the shot-guns were allowed a rest, the distance being equal; or that the distance should be one hundred yards for a rifle, to sixty for the shot-gun, the mode of firing being equal.</p> <p>But this was a match of rifles exclusively; and these are by far the most common at this time.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_673" id="Page_673">[Pg 673]</SPAN></span></p> <p>Most of the competitors fire at the same target; which is usually a board from nine inches to a foot wide, charred on one side as black as it can be made by fire, without impairing materially the uniformity of its surface; on the darkened side of which is <i>pegged</i> a square piece of white paper, which is larger or smaller, according to the distance at which it is to be placed from the marksmen. This is almost invariably sixty yards, and for it the paper is reduced to about two and a half inches square. Out of the center of it is cut a rhombus of about the width of an inch, measured diagonally; this is the <i>bull's-eye</i>, or <i>diamond</i>, as the marksmen choose to call it; in the center of this is the cross. But every man is permitted to fix his target to his own taste; and accordingly, some remove one-fourth of the paper, cutting from the center of the square to the two lower corners, so as to leave a large angle opening from the center downward; while others reduce the angle more or less: but it is rarely the case that all are not satisfied with one of these figures.</p> <p>The beef is divided into five prizes, or, as they are commonly termed, five <i>quarters</i>&mdash;the hide and tallow counting as one. For several years after the revolutionary war, a sixth was added: the <i>lead</i> which was shot in the match. This was the prize of the sixth best shot; and it used to be carefully extracted from the board or tree in which it was lodged, and afterward remoulded. But this grew out of the exigency of the times, and has, I believe, been long since abandoned everywhere.</p> <p>The three master shots and rivals were Moses Firmby, Larkin Spivey and Billy Curlew; to whom was added, upon this occasion, by common consent and with awful forebodings, your humble servant.</p> <p>The target was fixed at an elevation of about three feet from the ground; and the judges (Captain Turner and<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_674" id="Page_674">[Pg 674]</SPAN></span> 'Squire Porter) took their stands by it, joined by about half the spectators.</p> <p>The first name on the catalogue was Mealy Whitecotton. Mealy stepped out, rifle in hand, and toed the mark. His rifle was about three inches longer than himself, and near enough his own thickness to make the remark of Darby Chislom, as he stepped out, tolerably appropriate: "Here comes the corn-stalk and the sucker!" said Darby.</p> <p>"Kiss my foot!" said Mealy. "The way I'll creep into that bull's-eye's a fact."</p> <p>"You'd better creep into your hind sight," said Darby. Mealy raised and fired.</p> <p>"A pretty good shot, Mealy!" said one.</p> <p>"Yes, a blamed good shot!" said a second.</p> <p>"Well done, Meal!" said a third.</p> <p>I was rejoiced when one of the company inquired, "Where is it?" for I could hardly believe they were founding these remarks upon the evidence of their senses.</p> <p>"Just on the right-hand side of the bull's-eye," was the reply.</p> <p>I looked with all the power of my eyes, but was unable to discover the least change in the surface of the paper. Their report, however, was true; so much keener is the vision of a practiced than an unpracticed eye.</p> <p>The next in order was Hiram Baugh. Hiram was like some race-horses which I have seen; he was too good not to contend for every prize, and too good for nothing ever to win one.</p> <p>"Gentlemen," said he, as he came to the mark, "I don't say that I'll win beef; but if my piece don't blow, I'll eat the paper, or be mighty apt to do it, if you'll b'lieve my racket. My powder are not good powder, gentlemen; I bought it <i>thum</i> (from) Zeb Daggett, and gin him three-quarters of a dollar a pound for it; but it are not what I<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_675" id="Page_675">[Pg 675]</SPAN></span> call good powder, gentlemen; but if old Buck-killer burns it clear, the boy you call Hiram Baugh eat's paper, or comes mighty near it."</p> <p>"Well, blaze away," said Mealy, "and be d&mdash;&mdash;d to you, and Zeb Daggett, and your powder, and Buck-killer, and your powder-horn and shot-pouch to boot! How long you gwine stand thar talking 'fore you shoot?"</p> <p>"Never mind," said Hiram, "I can talk a little and shoot a little, too, but that's nothin'. Here goes!"</p> <p>Hiram assumed the figure of a note of interrogation, took a long sight, and fired.</p> <p>"I've eat paper," said he, at the crack of the gun, without looking, or seeming to look, toward the target. "Buck-killer made a clear racket. Where am I, gentlemen?"</p> <p>"You're just between Mealy and the diamond," was the reply.</p> <p>"I said I'd eat paper, and I've done it; haven't I, gentlemen?"</p> <p>"And 'spose you have!" said Mealy, "what do that 'mount to? You'll not win beef, and never did."</p> <p>"Be that as it mout be, I've beat Meal 'Cotton mighty easy; and the boy you call Hiram Baugh are able to do it."</p> <p>"And what do that 'mount to? Who the devil an't able to beat Meal 'Cotton! I don't make no pretense of bein' nothin' great, no how; but you always makes out as if you were gwine to keep 'em makin' crosses for you constant, and then do nothin' but '<i>eat paper</i>' at last; and that's a long way from <i>eatin' beef</i>, 'cordin' to Meal 'Cotton's notions, as you call him."</p> <p>Simon Stow was now called on.</p> <p>"Oh, Lord!" exclaimed two or three: "now we have it. It'll take him as long to shoot as it would take 'Squire Dobbins to run round a <i>track</i> o' land."<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_676" id="Page_676">[Pg 676]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Good-by, boys," said Bob Martin.</p> <p>"Where are you going, Bob?"</p> <p>"Going to gather in my crop; I'll be back again though by the time Sime Stow shoots."</p> <p>Simon was used to all this, and therefore it did not disconcert him in the least. He went off and brought his own target, and set it up with his own hand.</p> <p>He then wiped out his rifle, rubbed the pan with his hat, drew a piece of tow through the touch-hole with his wiper, filled his charger with great care, poured the powder into the rifle with equal caution, shoved in with his finger the two or three vagrant grains that lodged round the mouth of his piece, took out a handful of bullets, looked them all over carefully, selected one without flaw or wrinkle, drew out his patching, found the most even part of it, sprung open the grease-box in the breech of his rifle; took up just so much grease, distributed it with great equality over the chosen part of his patching, laid it over the muzzle of his rifle, grease side down, placed his ball upon it, pressed it a little, then took it up and turned the neck a little more perpendicularly downward, placed his knife handle on it, just buried it in the mouth of the rifle, cut off the redundant patching just above the bullet, looked at it, and shook his head in token that he had cut off too much or too little, no one knew which, sent down the ball, measured the contents of his gun with his first and second fingers on the protruding part of the ramrod, shook his head again, to signify there was too much or too little powder, primed carefully, placed an arched piece of tin over the hind sight to shade it, took his place, got a friend to hold his hat over the foresight to shade it, took a very long sight, fired, and didn't even eat the paper.</p> <p>"My piece was badly <i>loadned</i>," said Simon, when he learned the place of his ball.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_677" id="Page_677">[Pg 677]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Oh, you didn't take time," said Mealy. "No man can shoot that's in such a hurry as you is. I'd hardly got to sleep 'fore I heard the crack o' the gun."</p> <p>The next was Moses Firmby. He was a tall, slim man, of rather sallow complexion; and it is a singular fact, that though probably no part of the world is more healthy than the mountainous parts of Georgia, the mountaineers have not generally robust frames or fine complexions: they are, however, almost inexhaustible by toil.</p> <p>Moses kept us not long in suspense. His rifle was already charged, and he fixed it upon the target with a steadiness of nerve and aim that was astonishing to me and alarming to all the rest. A few seconds, and the report of his rifle broke the deathlike silence which prevailed.</p> <p>"No great harm done yet," said Spivey, manifestly relieved from anxiety by an event which seemed to me better calculated to produce despair. Firmby's ball had cut out the lower angle of the diamond, directly on a right line with the cross.</p> <p>Three or four followed him without bettering his shot; all of whom, however, with one exception, "eat the paper."</p> <p>It now came to Spivey's turn. There was nothing remarkable in his person or manner. He took his place, lowered his rifle slowly from a perpendicular until it came on a line with the mark, held it there like a vice for a moment and fired.</p> <p>"Pretty <i>sevigrous</i>, but nothing killing yet," said Billy Curlew, as he learned the place of Spivey's ball.</p> <p>Spivey's ball had just broken the upper angle of the diamond; beating Firmby about half its width.</p> <p>A few more shots, in which there was nothing remarkable, brought us to Billy Curlew. Billy stepped out with much confidence, and brought the Soap-stick to an order,<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_678" id="Page_678">[Pg 678]</SPAN></span> while he deliberately rolled up his shirt sleeves. Had I judged Billy's chance of success from the looks of his gun, I should have said it was hopeless. The stock of Soap-stick seemed to have been made with a case-knife; and had it been, the tool would have been but a poor apology for its clumsy appearance. An auger-hole in the breech served for a grease-box; a cotton string assisted a single screw in holding on the lock; and the thimbles were made, one of brass, one of iron, and one of tin.</p> <p>"Where's Lark Spivey's bullet?" called out Billy to the judges, as he finished rolling up his sleeves.</p> <p>"About three-quarters of an inch from the cross," was the reply.</p> <p>"Well, clear the way! the Soap-stick's coming, and she'll be along in there among 'em presently."</p> <p>Billy now planted himself astraddle, like an inverted V; shot forward his left hip, drew his body back to an angle of about forty-five degrees with the plane of the horizon, brought his cheek down close to the breech of old Soap-stick, and fixed her upon the mark with untrembling hand. His sight was long, and the swelling muscles of his left arm led me to believe that he was lessening his chance of success with every half second that he kept it burdened with his ponderous rifle; but it neither flagged nor wavered until Soap-stick made her report.</p> <p>"Where am I?" said Billy, as the smoke rose from before his eye.</p> <p>"You've jist touched the cross on the lower side," was the reply of one of the judges.</p> <p>"I was afraid I was drawing my bead a <i>leetle</i> too fine," said Billy. "Now, Lyman, you see what the Soap-stick can do. Take her, and show the boys how you used to do when you was a baby."</p> <p>I begged to reserve my shot to the last; pleading, rather<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_679" id="Page_679">[Pg 679]</SPAN></span> sophistically, that it was, in point of fact, one of the Billy's shots. My plea was rather indulged than sustained, and the marksmen who had taken more than one shot commenced the second round. This round was a manifest improvement upon the first. The cross was driven three times: once by Spivey, once by Firmby, and once by no less a personage than Mealy Whitecotton, whom chance seemed to favor for this time, merely that he might retaliate upon Hiram Baugh; and the bull's-eye was disfigured out of all shape.</p> <p>The third and fourth rounds were shot. Billy discharged his last shot, which left the rights of parties thus: Billy Curlew first and fourth choice, Spivey second, Firmby third and Whitecotton fifth. Some of my readers may perhaps be curious to learn how a distinction comes to be made between several, all of whom drive the cross. The distinction is perfectly natural and equitable. Threads are stretched from the uneffaced parts of the once intersecting lines, by means of which the original position of the cross is precisely ascertained. Each bullet-hole being nicely pegged up as it is made, it is easy to ascertain its circumference. To this I believe they usually, if not invariably, measure, where none of the balls touch the cross; but if the cross be driven, they measure from it to the center of the bullet-hole. To make a draw shot, therefore, between two who drive the cross, it is necessary that the center of both balls should pass directly through the cross; a thing that very rarely happens.</p> <p><i>The Bite</i> alone remained to shoot. Billy wiped out his rifle carefully, loaded her to the top of his skill, and handed her to me. "Now," said he, "Lyman, draw a fine bead, but not too fine; for Soap-stick bears up her ball well. Take care and don't touch the trigger until you've got your bead; for she's spring-trigger'd and goes mighty<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_680" id="Page_680">[Pg 680]</SPAN></span> easy: but you hold her to the place you want her, and if she don't go there, dang old Roper."</p> <p>I took hold of Soap-stick, and lapsed immediately into the most hopeless despair. I am sure I never handled as heavy a gun in all my life. "Why, Billy," said I, "you little mortal, you! what do you use such a gun as this for?"</p> <p>"Look at the bull's-eye yonder!" said he.</p> <p>"True," said I, "but <i>I</i> can't shoot her; it is impossible."</p> <p>"Go 'long, you old coon!" said Billy; "I see what you're at;" intimating that all this was merely to make the coming shot the more remarkable. "Daddy's little boy don't shoot anything but the old Soap-stick here to-day, I know."</p> <p>The judges, I knew, were becoming impatient, and, withal, my situation was growing more embarrassing every second; so I e'en resolved to try the Soap-stick without further parley.</p> <p>I stepped out, and the most intense interest was excited all around me, and it flashed like electricity around the target, as I judged from the anxious gaze of all in that direction.</p> <p>Policy dictated that I should fire with a falling rifle, and I adopted this mode; determining to fire as soon as the sights came on a line with the diamond, <i>bead</i> or no <i>bead</i>. Accordingly, I commenced lowering old Soap-stick; but, in spite of all my muscular powers, she was strictly obedient to the laws of gravitation, and came down with a uniformly accelerated velocity. Before I could arrest her downward flight, she had not only passed the target, but was making rapid encroachments on my own toes.</p> <p>"Why, he's the weakest man in the arms I ever seed," said one, in a half whisper.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_681" id="Page_681">[Pg 681]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"It's only his fun," said Billy; "I know him."</p> <p>"It may be fun," said the other, "but it looks mightily like yearnest to a man up a tree."</p> <p>I now, of course, determined to reverse the mode of firing, and put forth all my physical energies to raise Soap-stick to the mark. The effort silenced Billy, and gave tongue to all his companions. I had just strength enough to master Soap-stick's obstinate proclivity, and, consequently, my nerves began to exhibit palpable signs of distress with her first imperceptible movement upward. A trembling commenced in my arms; increased, and extended rapidly to my body and lower extremities; so that, by the time that I had brought Soap-stick up to the mark, I was shaking from head to foot, exactly like a man under the continued action of a strong galvanic battery. In the meantime my friends gave vent to their feelings freely.</p> <p>"I swear poin' blank," said one, "that man can't shoot."</p> <p>"He used to shoot well," said another; "but can't now, nor never could."</p> <p>"You better git away from 'bout that mark!" bawled a third, "for I'll be dod darned if Broadcloth don't give some of you the dry gripes if you stand too close thare."</p> <p>"The stranger's got the peedoddles," said a fourth, with humorous gravity.</p> <p>"If he had bullets enough in his gun, he'd shoot a ring round the bull's-eye big as a spinning wheel," said a fifth.</p> <p>As soon as I found that Soap-stick was high enough (for I made no farther use of the sights than to ascertain this fact), I pulled trigger, and off she went. I have always found that the most creditable way of relieving myself of derision was to heighten it myself as much as possible. It is a good plan in all circles, but by far the best which can be adopted among the plain, rough farmers of the country. Accordingly, I brought old Soap-stick to an<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_682" id="Page_682">[Pg 682]</SPAN></span> order with an air of triumph; tipped Billy a wink, and observed, "Now, Billy, 's your time to make your fortune. Bet 'em two to one that I've knocked out the cross."</p> <p>"No, I'll be dod blamed if I do," said Billy; "but I'll bet you two to one that you hain't hit the plank."</p> <p>"Ah, Billy," said I, "I was joking about <i>betting</i>, for I never bet; nor would I have you to bet: indeed, I do not feel exactly right in shooting for beef; for it is a species of gaming at last: but I'll say this much: if that cross isn't knocked out, I'll never shoot for beef again as long as I live."</p> <p>"By dod," said Mealy Whitecotton, "you'll lose no great things at that."</p> <p>"Well," said I, "I reckon I know a little about wabbling. Is it possible, Billy, a man who shoots as well as you do, never practiced shooting with the double wabble? It's the greatest take in the world when you learn to drive the cross with it. Another sort for getting bets upon, to the drop-sight, with a single wabble! And the Soap-stick's the very yarn for it."</p> <p>"Tell you what, stranger," said one, "you're too hard for us all here. We never <i>hearn</i> o' that sort o' shoot'n' in these parts."</p> <p>"Well," returned I, "you've seen it now, and I'm the boy that can do it."</p> <p>The judges were now approaching with the target, and a singular combination of circumstances had kept all my party in utter ignorance of the result of my shot. Those about the target had been prepared by Billy Curlew for a great shot from me; their expectations had received assurance from the courtesy which had been extended to me; and nothing had happened to disappoint them but the single caution to them against the "dry gripes," which was as likely to have been given in irony as in earnest;<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_683" id="Page_683">[Pg 683]</SPAN></span> for my agonies under the weight of the Soap-stick were either imperceptible to them at the distance of sixty yards, or, being visible, were taken as the flourishes of an expert who wished to "astonish the natives." The other party did not think the direction of my ball worth the trouble of a question; or if they did, my airs and harangue had put the thought to flight before it was delivered. Consequently, they were all transfixed with astonishment when the judges presented the target to them, and gravely observed, "It's only second best, after all the fuss."</p> <p>"Second best!" exclaimed I, with uncontrollable transports.</p> <p>The whole of my party rushed to the target to have the evidence of their senses before they would believe the report; but most marvelous fortune decreed that it should be true. Their incredulity and astonishment were most fortunate for me; for they blinded my hearers to the real feelings with which the exclamation was uttered, and allowed me sufficient time to prepare myself for making the best use of what I had said before with a very different object.</p> <p>"Second best!" reiterated I, with an air of despondency, as the company turned from the target to me. "Second best, only? Here, Billy, my son, take the old Soap-stick; she's a good piece, but I'm getting too old and dim-sighted to shoot a rifle, especially with the drop-sight and double wabbles."</p> <p>"Why, good Lord a'mighty!" said Billy, with a look that baffles all description, "an't you <i>driv</i> the cross?"</p> <p>"Oh, driv the cross!" rejoined I, carelessly. "What's that! Just look where my ball is! I do believe in my soul its center is a full quarter of an inch from the cross. I wanted to lay the center of the bullet upon the cross, just as if you'd put it there with your fingers."<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_684" id="Page_684">[Pg 684]</SPAN></span></p> <p>Several received this palaver with a contemptuous but very appropriate curl of the nose; and Mealy Whitecotton offered to bet a half pint "that I couldn't do the like again with no sort o' wabbles, he didn't care what." But I had already fortified myself on this quarter of my morality. A decided majority, however, were clearly of opinion that I was serious; and they regarded me as one of the wonders of the world. Billy increased the majority by now coming out fully with my history, as he had received it from his father; to which I listened with quite as much astonishment as any other one of his hearers. He begged me to go home with him for the night, or, as he expressed it, "to go home with him and swap lies that night, and it shouldn't cost me a cent;" the true reading of which is, that if I would go home with him, and give him the pleasure of an evening's chat about old times, his house should be as free to me as my own. But I could not accept his hospitality without retracing five or six miles of the road which I had already passed, and therefore I declined it.</p> <p>"Well, if you won't go, what must I tell the old woman for you, for she'll be mighty glad to hear from the boy that won the silk handkerchief for her, and I expect she'll lick me for not bringing you home with me."</p> <p>"Tell her," said I, "that I send her a quarter of beef which I won, as I did the handkerchief, by nothing in the world but mere good luck."</p> <p>"Hold your jaw, Lyman!" said Billy; "I an't a gwine to tell the old woman any such lies; for she's a reg'lar built Meth'dist."</p> <p>As I turned to depart, "Stop a minute, stranger!" said one: then lowering his voice to a confidential but distinctly audible tone, "What you offering for?" continued he. I assured him I was not a candidate for anything; that I had accidentally fallen in with Billy Curlew, who<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_685" id="Page_685">[Pg 685]</SPAN></span> begged me to come with him to the shooting-match, and, as it lay right on my road, I had stopped. "Oh," said he, with a conciliatory nod, "if you're up for anything, you needn't be mealy-mouthed about it 'fore us boys; for we'll all go in for you here up to the handle."</p> <p>"Yes," said Billy, "dang old Roper if we don't go our death for you, no matter who offers. If ever you come out for anything, Lyman, jist let the boys of Upper Hogthief know it, and they'll go for you to the hilt, against creation, tit or no tit, that's the <i>tatur</i>."</p> <p>I thanked them, kindly, but repeated my assurances. The reader will not suppose that the district took its name from the character of the inhabitants. In almost every county in the state there is some spot or district which bears a contemptuous appellation, usually derived from local rivalships, or from a single accidental circumstance.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_686" id="Page_686">[Pg 686]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="DESOLATION1" id="DESOLATION1"></SPAN>DESOLATION<SPAN name="FNanchor_1_1" id="FNanchor_1_1"></SPAN><SPAN href="#Footnote_1_1" class="fnanchor">[1]</SPAN></h2> <h3>BY TOM MASSON</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Somewhat back from the village street<br /></span> <span class="i0">Stands the old-fashioned country seat.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Across its antique portico<br /></span> <span class="i0">Tall poplar trees their shadows throw.<br /></span> <span class="i0">And there throughout the livelong day,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Jemima plays the pi-a-na.<br /></span> <span class="i12">Do, re, mi,<br /></span> <span class="i12">Mi, re, do.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">In the front parlor, there it stands,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And there Jemima plies her hands,<br /></span> <span class="i0">While her papa beneath his cloak,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Mutters and groans: "This is no joke!"<br /></span> <span class="i0">And swears to himself and sighs, alas!<br /></span> <span class="i0">With sorrowful voice to all who pass.<br /></span> <span class="i12">Do, re, mi,<br /></span> <span class="i12">Mi, re, do.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Through days of death and days of birth<br /></span> <span class="i0">She plays as if she owned the earth.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Through every swift vicissitude<br /></span> <span class="i0">She drums as if it did her good,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And still she sits from morn till night<br /></span> <span class="i0">And plunks away with main and might,<br /></span> <span class="i12">Do, re, mi,<br /></span> <span class="i12">Mi, re, do.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_687" id="Page_687">[Pg 687]</SPAN></span><span class="i0">In that mansion used to be<br /></span> <span class="i0">Free-hearted hospitality;<br /></span> <span class="i0">But that was many years before<br /></span> <span class="i0">Jemima monkeyed with the score.<br /></span> <span class="i0">When she began her daily plunk,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Into their graves the neighbors sunk.<br /></span> <span class="i12">Do, re, mi,<br /></span> <span class="i12">Mi, re, do.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">To other worlds they've long since fled,<br /></span> <span class="i0">All thankful that they're safely dead.<br /></span> <span class="i0">They stood the racket while alive<br /></span> <span class="i0">Until Jemima rose at five.<br /></span> <span class="i0">And then they laid their burdens down,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And one and all they skipped the town.<br /></span> <span class="i12">Do, re, mi,<br /></span> <span class="i12">Mi, re, do.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_688" id="Page_688">[Pg 688]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="CRANKIDOXOLOGY2" id="CRANKIDOXOLOGY2"></SPAN>CRANKIDOXOLOGY<SPAN name="FNanchor_2_2" id="FNanchor_2_2"></SPAN><SPAN href="#Footnote_2_2" class="fnanchor">[2]</SPAN></h2> <h3>BY WALLACE IRWIN</h3> <h3>(<i>Being a Mental Attitude from Bernard Pshaw</i>)</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">It's wrong to be thoroughly human,<br /></span> <span class="i2">It's stupid alone to be good,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And why should the "virtuous" woman<br /></span> <span class="i2">Continue to do as she should?<br /></span> <span class="i2">(It's stupid to do as you should!)<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">For I'd rather be famous than pleasant,<br /></span> <span class="i2">I'd rather be rude than polite;<br /></span> <span class="i4">It's easy to sneer<br /></span> <span class="i4">When you're witty and queer,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And I'd rather be Clever than Right.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I'm bored by mere Shakespeare and Milton,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Though Hubbard compels me to rave;<br /></span> <span class="i0">If <i>I</i> should lay laurels to wilt on<br /></span> <span class="i2">That foggy Shakespearean grave,<br /></span> <span class="i2">How William would squirm in his grave!<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">For I'd rather be Pshaw than be Shakespeare,<br /></span> <span class="i2">I'd rather be Candid than Wise;<br /></span> <span class="i4">And the way I amuse<br /></span> <span class="i4">Is to roundly abuse<br /></span> <span class="i0">The Public I feign to despise.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_689" id="Page_689">[Pg 689]</SPAN></span></div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I'm a Socialist, loving my brother<br /></span> <span class="i2">In quite an original way,<br /></span> <span class="i0">With my maxim, "Detest One Another"&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">Though, faith, I don't mean what I say.<br /></span> <span class="i2">(It's beastly to mean what you say!)<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">For I'm fonder of talk than of Husbands,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And I'm fonder of fads than of Wives,<br /></span> <span class="i4">So I say unto you,<br /></span> <span class="i4">If you don't as you do<br /></span> <span class="i0">You will do as you don't all your lives.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">My "Candida's" ruddy as coral,<br /></span> <span class="i2">With thoughts quite too awfully plain&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">If folks would just call me Immoral<br /></span> <span class="i2">I'd feel that I'd not lived in vain.<br /></span> <span class="i2">(It's nasty, this living in vain!)<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">For I'd rather be Martyred than Married,<br /></span> <span class="i2">I'd rather be tempted than tamed,<br /></span> <span class="i4">And if <i>I</i> had my way<br /></span> <span class="i4">(At least, so I say)<br /></span> <span class="i0">All Babes would be labeled, "Unclaimed."<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I'm an epigrammatical Moses,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Whose humorous tablets of stone<br /></span> <span class="i0">Condemn affectations and poses&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">Excepting a few of my own.<br /></span> <span class="i2">(I dote on a few of my own.)<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">For my method of booming the market<br /></span> <span class="i2">When Managers ask for a play<br /></span> <span class="i4">Is to say on a bluff,<br /></span> <span class="i4">"I'm so fond of my stuff<br /></span> <span class="i0">That I don't want it acted&mdash;go 'way!"<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_690" id="Page_690">[Pg 690]</SPAN></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I'm the club-ladies' Topic of Topics,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Where solemn discussions are spent<br /></span> <span class="i0">In struggles as hot as the tropics,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Attempting to find what I meant.<br /></span> <span class="i1">(<i>I</i> never can tell what I meant!)<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">For it's fun to make bosh of the Gospel,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And it's sport to make gospel of Bosh,<br /></span> <span class="i4">While divorc&eacute;es hurrah<br /></span> <span class="i4">For the Sayings of Pshaw<br /></span> <span class="i0">And his sub-psychological Josh.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_691" id="Page_691">[Pg 691]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="MY_HONEY_MY_LOVE" id="MY_HONEY_MY_LOVE"></SPAN>MY HONEY, MY LOVE</h2> <h3>BY JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Hit's a mighty fur ways up de Far'well Lane,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">You may ax Mister Crow, you may ax Mr. Crane,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Dey'll make you a bow, en dey'll tell you de same,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Hit's a mighty fur ways fer ter go in de night,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0"><i>My honey, my love, my heart's delight</i>&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i14"><i>My honey, my love!</i><br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Mister Mink, he creeps twel he wake up de snipe,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Mister Bull-Frog holler, Come alight my pipe!<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">En de Pa'tridge ax, Ain't yo' peas ripe?<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Better not walk erlong dar much atter night,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0"><i>My honey, my love, my heart's delight</i>&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i14"><i>My honey, my love!</i><br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">De Bully-Bat fly mighty close ter de groun',<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Mister Fox, he coax 'er, Do come down!<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_692" id="Page_692">[Pg 692]</SPAN></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Mister Coon, he rack all 'roun' en 'roun',<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">In de darkes' night, oh, de nigger, he's a sight!<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0"><i>My honey, my love, my heart's delight</i>&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i14"><i>My honey, my love!</i><br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Oh, flee, Miss Nancy, flee ter my knee,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">'Lev'n big, fat coons liv' in one tree,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Oh, ladies all, won't you marry me?<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Tu'n lef, tu'n right, we'll dance all night,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0"><i>My honey, my love, my heart's delight</i>&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i14"><i>My honey, my love!</i><br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">De big Owl holler en cry fer his mate,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Oh, don't stay long! Oh, don't stay late!<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Hit ain't so mighty fur ter de Good-by Gate,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0">Whar we all got ter go w'en we sing out de night,<br /></span> <span class="i14">My honey, my love!<br /></span> <span class="i0"><i>My honey, my love, my heart's delight</i>&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i14"><i>My honey, my love!</i><br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_693" id="Page_693">[Pg 693]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="THE_GRAND_OPERA" id="THE_GRAND_OPERA"></SPAN>THE GRAND OPERA</h2> <h3>BY BILLY BAXTER</h3> <p>Well, I decided to get into my class, so I started for the smoking-room. I hadn't gone three feet till some woman held me up and began telling me how she adored Grand Opera. I didn't even reply. I fled madly, and remained hidden in the tall grasses of the smoking-room until it was time to go home. Jim, should any one ever tell you that Grand Opera is all right, he is either trying to even up or he is not a true friend. I was over in New York with the family last winter, and they made me go with them to <i>Die Walkure</i> at the Metropolitan Opera House. When I got the tickets I asked the man's advice as to the best location. He said that all true lovers of music occupied the dress-circle and balconies, and that he had some good center dress-circle seats at three bones per. Here's a tip, Jim. If the box man ever hands you that true-lover game, just reach in through the little hole and soak him in the solar for me. It's coming to him. I'll give you my word of honor we were a quarter of a mile from the stage. We went up in an elevator, were shown to our seats, and who was right behind us but my old pal, Bud Hathaway, from Chicago. Bud had his two sisters with him, and he gave me one sad look, which said plainer than words, "So you're up against it, too, eh!" We introduced all hands around, and about nine o'clock the curtain went up. After we had waited fully ten minutes, out came a big, fat, greasy looking Dago<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_694" id="Page_694">[Pg 694]</SPAN></span> with nothing on but a bear robe. He went over to the side of the stage and sat down on a bum rock. It was plainly to be seen, even from my true lovers' seat, that his bearlets was sorer than a dog about something. Presently in came a woman, and none of the true lovers seemed to know who she was. Some said it was Melba, others Nordica. Bud and I decided that it was May Irwin. We were mistaken, though, as Irwin has this woman lashed to the mast at any time or place. As soon as Mike the Dago espied the dame it was all off. He rushed and drove a straight-arm jab, which had it reached would have given him the purse. But shifty Sadie wasn't there. She ducked, side-stepped, and landed a clever half-arm hook, which seemed to stun the big fellow. They clinched, and swayed back and forth, growling continually, while the orchestra played this trembly Eliza-crossing-the-ice music. Jim, I'm not swelling this a bit. On the level, it happened just as I write it. All of a sudden some one seemed to win. They broke away, and ran wildly to the front of the stage with their arms outstretched, yelling to beat three of a kind. The band cut loose something fierce. The leader tore out about $9.00 worth of hair, and acted generally as though he had bats in his belfry. I thought sure the place would be pinched. It reminded me of Thirsty Thornton's dance-hall out in Merrill, Wisconsin, when the Silent Swede used to start a general survival of the fittest every time Mamie the Mink danced twice in succession with the young fellow from Albany, whose father owned the big mill up Rough River. Of course, this audience was perfectly orderly, and showed no intention whatever of cutting in, and there were no chairs or glasses in the air, but I am forced to admit that the opera had Thornton's faded for noise. I asked Bud what the trouble was, and he answered that I could search<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_695" id="Page_695">[Pg 695]</SPAN></span> him. The audience apparently went wild. Everybody said "Simply sublime!" "Isn't it grand?" "Perfectly superb!" "Bravo!" etc.; not because they really enjoyed it, but merely because they thought it was the proper thing to do. After that for three solid hours Rough House Mike and Shifty Sadie seemed to be apologizing to the audience for their disgraceful street brawl, which was honestly the only good thing in the show. Along about twelve o'clock I thought I would talk over old times with Bud, but when I turned his way I found my tired and trusty comrade "Asleep at the Switch."</p> <p>At the finish, the woman next to me, who seemed to be on, said that the main lady was dying. After it was too late, Mike seemed kind of sorry. He must have give her the knife or the drops, because there wasn't a minute that he could look in on her according to the rules. He laid her out on the bum rock, they set off a lot of red fire for some unknown reason, and the curtain dropped at 12:25. Never again for my money. Far be it from me knocking, but any time I want noise I'll take to a boiler-shop or a Union Station, where I can understand what's coming off. I'm for a good-mother show. Do you remember <i>The White Slave</i>, Jim? Well, that's me. Wasn't it immense where the main lady spurned the leering villain's gold and exclaimed with flashing eye, "Rags are royal raiment when worn for virtue's sake." Great! <i>The White Slave</i> had <i>Die Walkure</i> beaten to a pulp, and they don't get to you for three cases gate-money, either.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_696" id="Page_696">[Pg 696]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="IN_A_STATE_OF_SIN3" id="IN_A_STATE_OF_SIN3"></SPAN>IN A STATE OF SIN<SPAN name="FNanchor_3_3" id="FNanchor_3_3"></SPAN><SPAN href="#Footnote_3_3" class="fnanchor">[3]</SPAN></h2> <h3>BY OWEN WISTER</h3> <p>Judge and Mrs. Henry, Molly Wood, and two strangers, a lady and a gentleman, were the party which had been driving in the large three-seated wagon. They had seemed a merry party. But as I came within hearing of their talk, it was a fragment of the minister's sonority which reached me first:</p> <p>"... more opportunity for them to have the benefit of hearing frequent sermons," was the sentence I heard him bring to completion.</p> <p>"Yes, to be sure, sir." Judge Henry gave me (it almost seemed) additional warmth of welcome for arriving to break up the present discourse. "Let me introduce you to the Rev. Dr. Alexander MacBride. Doctor, another guest we have been hoping for about this time," was my host's cordial explanation to him of me. There remained the gentleman with his wife from New York, and to these I made my final bows. But I had not broken up the discourse.</p> <p>"We may be said to have met already." Dr. MacBride had fixed upon me his full, mastering eye; and it occurred to me that if they had policemen in heaven, he would be at least a centurion in the force. But he did not mean to be unpleasant; it was only that in a mind full of matters less worldly, pleasure was left out. "I observed your friend was a skilful horseman," he continued. "I was saying to Judge Henry that I could wish such skilful<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_697" id="Page_697">[Pg 697]</SPAN></span> horsemen might ride to a church upon the Sabbath. A church, that is, of right doctrine, where they would have opportunity to hear frequent sermons."</p> <p>"Yes," said Judge Henry, "yes. It would be a good thing."</p> <p>Mrs. Henry, with some murmur about the kitchen, here went into the house.</p> <p>"I was informed," Dr. MacBride held the rest of us, "before undertaking my journey that I should find a desolate and mainly godless country. But nobody gave me to understand that from Medicine Bow I was to drive three hundred miles and pass no church of any faith."</p> <p>The Judge explained that there had been a few a long way to the right and left of him. "Still," he conceded, "you are quite right. But don't forget that this is the newest part of a new world."</p> <p>"Judge," said his wife, coming to the door, "how can you keep them standing in the dust with your talking?"</p> <p>This most efficiently did break up the discourse. As our little party, with the smiles and the polite holdings back of new acquaintanceship, moved into the house, the Judge detained me behind all of them long enough to whisper dolorously, "He's going to stay a whole week."</p> <p>I had hopes that he would not stay a whole week when I presently learned of the crowded arrangements which our hosts, with many hospitable apologies, disclosed to us. They were delighted to have us, but they hadn't foreseen that we should all be simultaneous. The foreman's house had been prepared for two of us, and did we mind? The two of us were Dr. MacBride and myself; and I expected him to mind. But I wronged him grossly. It would be much better, he assured Mrs. Henry, than straw in a stable, which he had tried several times, and was quite ready for. So I saw that though he kept his vigorous<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_698" id="Page_698">[Pg 698]</SPAN></span> body clean when he could, he cared nothing for it in the face of his mission. How the foreman and his wife relished being turned out during a week for a missionary and myself was not my concern, although while he and I made ready for supper over there, it struck me as hard on them. The room with its two cots and furniture was as nice as possible; and we closed the door upon the adjoining room, which, however, seemed also untenanted.</p> <p>Mrs. Henry gave us a meal so good that I have remembered it, and her husband, the Judge, strove his best that we should eat it in merriment. He poured out his anecdotes like wine, and we should have quickly warmed to them; but Dr. MacBride sat among us, giving occasional heavy ha-ha's, which produced, as Miss Molly Wood whispered to me, a "dreadfully cavernous effect." Was it his sermon, we wondered, that he was thinking over? I told her of the copious sheaf of them I had seen him pull from his wallet over at the foreman's. "Goodness!" said she. "Then are we to hear one every evening?" This I doubted; he had probably been picking one out suitable for the occasion. "Putting his best foot foremost," was her comment; "I suppose they have best feet, like the rest of us." Then she grew delightfully sharp. "Do you know, when I first heard him I thought his voice was hearty. But if you listen, you'll find it's merely militant. He never really meets you with it. He's off on his hill watching the battle-field the whole time."</p> <p>"He will find a hardened pagan here."</p> <p>"Judge Henry?"</p> <p>"Oh, no! The wild man you're taming. He's brought you <i>Kenilworth</i> safe back."</p> <p>She was smooth. "Oh, as for taming him! But don't you find him intelligent?"</p> <p>Suddenly I somehow knew that she didn't want to tame<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_699" id="Page_699">[Pg 699]</SPAN></span> him. But what did she want to do? The thought of her had made him blush this afternoon. No thought of him made her blush this evening.</p> <p>A great laugh from the rest of the company made me aware that the Judge had consummated his tale of the "Sole Survivor."</p> <p>"And so," he finished, "they all went off as mad as hops because it hadn't been a massacre." Mr. and Mrs. Ogden&mdash;they were the New Yorkers&mdash;gave this story much applause, and Dr. MacBride half a minute later laid his "ha-ha," like a heavy stone, upon the gaiety.</p> <p>"I'll never be able to stand seven sermons," said Miss Wood to me.</p> <hr style='width: 45%;' /> <p>"Do you often have these visitations?" Ogden inquired of Judge Henry. Our host was giving us whisky in his office, and Dr. MacBride, while we smoked apart from the ladies, had repaired to his quarters in the foreman's house previous to the service which he was shortly to hold.</p> <p>The Judge laughed. "They come now and then through the year. I like the bishop to come. And the men always like it. But I fear our friend will scarcely please them so well."</p> <p>"You don't mean they'll&mdash;"</p> <p>"Oh, no. They'll keep quiet. The fact is, they have a good deal better manners than he has, if he only knew it. They'll be able to bear him. But as for any good he'll do&mdash;"</p> <p>"I doubt if he knows a word of science," said I, musing about the Doctor.</p> <p>"Science! He doesn't know what Christianity is yet. I've entertained many guests, but none&mdash;The whole secret," broke off Judge Henry, "lies in the way you treat<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_700" id="Page_700">[Pg 700]</SPAN></span> people. As soon as you treat men as your brothers, they are ready to acknowledge you&mdash;if you deserve it&mdash;as their superior. That's the whole bottom of Christianity, and that's what our missionary will never know."</p> <hr style='width: 45%;' /> <p>Thunder sat imminent upon the missionary's brow. Many were to be at his mercy soon. But for us he had sunshine still. "I am truly sorry to be turning you upside down," he said importantly. "But it seems the best place for my service." He spoke of the table pushed back and the chairs gathered in the hall, where the storm would presently break upon the congregation. "Eight-thirty?" he inquired.</p> <p>This was the hour appointed, and it was only twenty minutes off. We threw the unsmoked fractions of our cigars away, and returned to offer our services to the ladies. This amused the ladies. They had done without us. All was ready in the hall.</p> <p>"We got the cook to help us," Mrs. Ogden told me, "so as not to disturb your cigars. In spite of the cow-boys, I still recognize my own country."</p> <p>"In the cook?" I rather densely asked.</p> <p>"Oh, no! I don't have a Chinaman. It's in the length of after-dinner cigars."</p> <p>"Had you been smoking," I returned, "you would have found them short this evening."</p> <p>"You make it worse," said the lady; "we have had nothing but Dr. MacBride."</p> <p>"We'll share him with you now," I exclaimed.</p> <p>"Has he announced his text? I've got one for him," said Molly Wood, joining us. She stood on tiptoe and spoke it comically in our ears. "'I said in my haste, All men are liars.'" This made us merry as we stood among the chairs in the congested hall.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_701" id="Page_701">[Pg 701]</SPAN></span></p> <p>I left the ladies, and sought the bunk house. I had heard the cheers, but I was curious also to see the men, and how they were taking it. There was but little for the eye. There was much noise in the room. They were getting ready to come to church,&mdash;brushing their hair, shaving, and making themselves clean, amid talk occasionally profane and continuously diverting.</p> <p>"Well, I'm a Christian, anyway," one declared.</p> <p>"I'm a Mormon, I guess," said another.</p> <p>"I belong to the Knights of Pythias," said a third.</p> <p>"I'm a Mohammedist," said a fourth; "I hope I ain't goin' to hear nothin' to shock me."</p> <p>What with my feelings at Scipio's discretion, and my human curiosity, I was not in that mood which best profits from a sermon. Yet even though my expectations had been cruelly left quivering in mid air, I was not sure how much I really wanted to "keep around." You will therefore understand how Dr. MacBride was able to make a prayer and to read Scripture without my being conscious of a word that he had uttered. It was when I saw him opening the manuscript of his sermon that I suddenly remembered I was sitting, so to speak, in church, and began once more to think of the preacher and his congregation. Our chairs were in the front line, of course; but, being next the wall, I could easily see the cow-boys behind me. They were perfectly decorous. If Mrs. Ogden had looked for pistols, dare-devil attitudes, and so forth, she must have been greatly disappointed. Except for their weather-beaten cheeks and eyes, they were simply American young men with mustaches and without, and might have been sitting, say, in Danbury, Connecticut. Even Trampas merged quietly with the general placidity. The Virginian did not, to be sure, look like Danbury, and his frame and his features showed out<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_702" id="Page_702">[Pg 702]</SPAN></span> of the mass; but his eyes were upon Dr. MacBride with a creamlike propriety.</p> <p>Our missionary did not choose Miss Wood's text. He made his selection from another of the Psalms; and when it came, I did not dare to look at anybody; I was much nearer unseemly conduct than the cow-boys. Dr. MacBride gave us his text sonorously, "'They are altogether become filthy; There is none of them that doeth good, no, not one.'" His eye showed us plainly that present company was not excepted from this. He repeated the text once more, then, launching upon his discourse, gave none of us a ray of hope.</p> <p>I had heard it all often before; but preached to cow-boys it took on a new glare of untimeliness, of grotesque obsoleteness&mdash;as if some one should say, "Let me persuade you to admire woman," and forthwith hold out her bleached bones to you. The cow-boys were told that not only they could do no good, but that if they did contrive to, it would not help them. Nay, more: not only honest deeds availed them nothing, but even if they accepted this especial creed which was being explained to them as necessary for salvation, still it might not save them. Their sin was indeed the cause of their damnation, yet, keeping from sin, they might nevertheless be lost. It had all been settled for them not only before they were born, but before Adam was shaped. Having told them this, he invited them to glorify the Creator of the scheme. Even if damned, they must praise the person who had made them expressly for damnation. That is what I heard him prove by logic to these cow-boys. Stone upon stone he built the black cellar of his theology, leaving out its beautiful park and the sunshine of its garden. He did not tell them the splendor of its past, the noble fortress for good that it had been, how its tonic had strengthened genera<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_703" id="Page_703">[Pg 703]</SPAN></span>tions of their fathers. No; wrath he spoke of, and never once of love. It was the bishop's way, I knew well, to hold cow-boys by homely talk of their special hardships and temptations. And when they fell he spoke to them of forgiveness and brought them encouragement. But Dr. MacBride never thought once of the lives of these waifs. Like himself, like all mankind, they were invisible dots in creation; like him, they were to feel as nothing, to be swept up in the potent heat of his faith. So he thrust out to them none of the sweet but all the bitter of his creed, naked and stern as iron. Dogma was his all in all, and poor humanity was nothing but flesh for its canons.</p> <p>Thus to kill what chance he had for being of use seemed to me more deplorable than it did evidently to them. Their attention merely wandered. Three hundred years ago they would have been frightened; but not in this electric day. I saw Scipio stifling a smile when it came to the doctrine of original sin. "We know of its truth," said Dr. MacBride, "from the severe troubles and distresses to which infants are liable, and from death passing upon them before they are capable of sinning." Yet I knew he was a good man; and I also knew that if a missionary is to be tactless, he might almost as well be bad.</p> <p>I said their attention wandered, but I forgot the Virginian. At first his attitude might have been mere propriety. One can look respectfully at a preacher and be internally breaking all the commandments. But even with the text I saw real attention light in the Virginian's eye. And keeping track of the concentration that grew on him with each minute made the sermon short for me. He missed nothing. Before the end his gaze at the preacher had become swerveless. Was he convert or critic? Convert was incredible. Thus was an hour passed before I had thought of time.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_704" id="Page_704">[Pg 704]</SPAN></span></p> <p>When it was over we took it variously. The preacher was genial and spoke of having now broken ground for the lessons that he hoped to instil. He discoursed for a while about trout-fishing and about the rumored uneasiness of the Indians northward where he was going. It was plain that his personal safety never gave him a thought. He soon bade us good night. The Ogdens shrugged their shoulders and were amused. That was their way of taking it. Dr. MacBride sat too heavily on the Judge's shoulders for him to shrug them. As a leading citizen in the Territory he kept open house for all comers. Policy and good nature made him bid welcome a wide variety of travelers. The cow-boy out of employment found bed and a meal for himself and his horse, and missionaries had before now been well received at Sunk Creek Ranch.</p> <p>"I suppose I'll have to take him fishing," said the Judge ruefully.</p> <p>"Yes, my dear," said his wife, "you will. And I shall have to make his tea for six days."</p> <p>"Otherwise," Ogden suggested, "it might be reported that you were enemies of religion."</p> <p>"That's about it," said the Judge. "I can get on with most people. But elephants depress me."</p> <p>So we named the Doctor "Jumbo," and I departed to my quarters.</p> <p>At the bunk house, the comments were similar but more highly salted. The men were going to bed. In spite of their outward decorum at the service, they had not liked to be told that they were "altogether become filthy." It was easy to call names; they could do that themselves. And they appealed to me, several speaking at once, like a concerted piece at the opera: "Say, do you believe babies go to hell?"&mdash;"Ah, of course he don't."&mdash;"There<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_705" id="Page_705">[Pg 705]</SPAN></span> ain't no hereafter, anyway."&mdash;"Ain't there?"&mdash;"Who told y'u?"&mdash;"Same man as told the preacher we were all a sifted set of sons-of-guns."&mdash;"Well, I'm going to stay a Mormon."&mdash;"Well, I'm going to quit fleeing from temptation."&mdash;"That's so! Better get it in the neck after a good time than a poor one." And so forth. Their wit was not extreme, yet I should like Dr. MacBride to have heard it. One fellow put his natural soul pretty well into words, "If I happened to learn what they had predestinated me to do, I'd do the other thing, just to show 'em!"</p> <p>And Trampas? And the Virginian? They were out of it. The Virginian had gone straight to his new abode. Trampas lay in his bed, not asleep, and sullen as ever.</p> <p>"He ain't got religion this trip," said Scipio to me.</p> <p>"Did his new foreman get it?" I asked.</p> <p>"Huh! It would spoil him. You keep around, that's all. Keep around."</p> <p>Scipio was not to be probed; and I went, still baffled, to my repose.</p> <p>No light burned in the cabin as I approached its door.</p> <p>The Virginian's room was quiet and dark; and that Dr. MacBride slumbered was plainly audible to me, even before I entered. Go fishing with him! I thought, as I undressed. And I selfishly decided that the Judge might have this privilege entirely to himself. Sleep came to me fairly soon, in spite of the Doctor. I was wakened from it by my bed's being jolted&mdash;not a pleasant thing that night. I must have started. And it was the quiet voice of the Virginian that told me he was sorry to have accidentally disturbed me. This disturbed me a good deal more. But his steps did not go to the bunk house, as my sensational mind had suggested. He was not wearing much, and in the dimness he seemed taller than common.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_706" id="Page_706">[Pg 706]</SPAN></span> I next made out that he was bending over Dr. MacBride. The divine at last sprang upright.</p> <p>"I am armed," he said. "Take care. Who are you?"</p> <p>"You can lay down your gun, seh. I feel like my spirit was going to bear witness. I feel like I might get an enlightening."</p> <p>He was using some of the missionary's own language. The baffling I had been treated to by Scipio melted to nothing in this. Did living men petrify, I should have changed to mineral between the sheets. The Doctor got out of bed, lighted his lamp, and found a book; and the two retired into the Virginian's room, where I could hear the exhortations as I lay amazed. In time the Doctor returned, blew out his lamp, and settled himself. I had been very much awake, but was nearly gone to sleep again, when the door creaked and the Virginian stood by the Doctor's side.</p> <p>"Are you awake, seh?"</p> <p>"What? What's that? What is it?"</p> <p>"Excuse me, seh. The enemy is winning on me. I'm feeling less inward opposition to sin."</p> <p>The lamp was lighted, and I listened to some further exhortations. They must have taken half an hour. When the Doctor was in bed again, I thought that I heard him sigh. This upset my composure in the dark; but I lay face downward in the pillow, and the Doctor was soon again snoring. I envied him for a while his faculty of easy sleep. But I must have dropped off myself; for it was the lamp in my eyes that now waked me as he came back for the third time from the Virginian's room. Before blowing the light out he looked at his watch, and thereupon I inquired the hour of him.</p> <p>"Three," said he.</p> <p>I could not sleep any more now, and I lay watching the darkness.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_707" id="Page_707">[Pg 707]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"I'm afeard to be alone!" said the Virginian's voice presently in the next room. "I'm afeard." There was a short pause, and then he shouted very loud, "I'm losin' my desire afteh the sincere milk of the Word!"</p> <p>"What? What's that? What?" The Doctor's cot gave a great crack as he started up listening, and I put my face deep in the pillow.</p> <p>"I'm afeard! I'm afeard! Sin has quit being bitter in my belly."</p> <p>"Courage, my good man." The Doctor was out of bed with his lamp again, and the door shut behind him. Between them they made it long this time. I saw the window become gray; then the corners of the furniture grow visible; and outside, the dry chorus of the blackbirds began to fill the dawn. To these the sounds of chickens and impatient hoofs in the stable were added, and some cow wandered by loudly calling for her calf. Next, some one whistling passed near and grew distant. But although the cold hue that I lay staring at through the window warmed and changed, the Doctor continued working hard over his patient in the next room. Only a word here and there was distinct; but it was plain from the Virginian's fewer remarks that the sin in his belly was alarming him less. Yes, they made this time long. But it proved, indeed, the last one. And though some sort of catastrophe was bound to fall upon us, it was myself who precipitated the thing that did happen.</p> <p>Day was wholly come. I looked at my own watch, and it was six. I had been about seven hours in my bed, and the Doctor had been about seven hours out of his. The door opened, and he came in with his book and lamp. He seemed to be shivering a little, and I saw him cast a longing eye at his couch. But the Virginian followed him even as he blew out the now quite superfluous light. They<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_708" id="Page_708">[Pg 708]</SPAN></span> made a noticeable couple in their underclothes; the Virginian with his lean racehorse shanks running to a point at his ankle, and the Doctor with his stomach and his fat sedentary calves.</p> <p>"You'll be going to breakfast and the ladies, seh, pretty soon," said the Virginian, with a chastened voice. "But I'll worry through the day somehow without y'u. And to-night you can turn your wolf loose on me again."</p> <p>Once more it was no use. My face was deep in the pillow, but I made sounds as of a hen who has laid an egg. It broke on the Doctor with a total instantaneous smash, quite like an egg.</p> <p>He tried to speak calmly. "This is a disgrace. An infamous disgrace. Never in my life have I&mdash;" Words forsook him, and his face grew redder. "Never in my life&mdash;" He stopped again, because, at the sight of him being dignified in his red drawers, I was making the noise of a dozen hens. It was suddenly too much for the Virginian. He hastened into his room, and there sank on the floor with his head in his hands. The Doctor immediately slammed the door upon him, and this rendered me easily fit for a lunatic asylum. I cried into my pillow, and wondered if the Doctor would come and kill me. But he took no notice of me whatever. I could hear the Virginian's convulsions through the door, and also the Doctor furiously making his toilet within three feet of my head; and I lay quite still with my face the other way, for I was really afraid to look at him. When I heard him walk to the door in his boots, I ventured to peep; and there he was, going out with his bag in his hand. As I still continued to lie, weak and sore, and with a mind that had ceased all operation, the Virginian's door opened. He was clean and dressed and decent, but the devil still sported in his eye. I have never seen a creature more irresistibly handsome.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_709" id="Page_709">[Pg 709]</SPAN></span></p> <p>Then my mind worked again. "You've gone and done it," said I. "He's packed his valise. He'll not sleep here."</p> <p>The Virginian looked quickly out of the door. "Why, he's leavin' us!" he exclaimed. "Drivin' away right now in his little old buggy!" He turned to me, and our eyes met solemnly over this large fact. I thought that I perceived the faintest tincture of dismay in the features of Judge Henry's new, responsible, trusty foreman. This was the first act of his administration. Once again he looked out at the departing missionary. "Well," he vindictively stated, "I cert'nly ain't goin' to run afteh him." And he looked at me again.</p> <p>"Do you suppose the Judge knows?" I inquired.</p> <p>He shook his head. "The windo' shades is all down still oveh yondeh." He paused. "I don't care," he stated, quite as if he had been ten years old. Then he grinned guiltily. "I was mighty respectful to him all night."</p> <p>"Oh, yes, respectful! Especially when you invited him to turn his wolf loose."</p> <p>The Virginian gave a joyous gulp. He now came and sat down on the edge of my bed. "I spoke awful good English to him most of the time," said he. "I can, y'u know, when I cinch my attention tight on to it. Yes, I cert'nly spoke a lot o' good English. I didn't understand some of it myself!"</p> <p>He was now growing frankly pleased with his exploit. He had builded so much better than he knew. He got up and looked out across the crystal world of light. "The Doctor is at one-mile crossing," he said. "He'll get breakfast at the N-lazy-Y." Then he returned and sat again on my bed, and began to give me his real heart. "I never set up for being better than others. Not even to myself. My thoughts ain't apt to travel around making comparisons. And I shouldn't wonder if my memory took as much no<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_710" id="Page_710">[Pg 710]</SPAN></span>tice of the meannesses I have done as of&mdash;as of the other actions. But to have to sit like a dumb lamb and let a stranger tell y'u for an hour that yu're a hawg and a swine, just after you have acted in a way which them that know the facts would call pretty near white&mdash;"<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_711" id="Page_711">[Pg 711]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="AN_APRIL_ARIA" id="AN_APRIL_ARIA"></SPAN>AN APRIL ARIA</h2> <h3>BY R.K. MUNKITTRICK</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Now, in the shimmer and sheen that dance on the leaf of the lily,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Causing the bud to explode, and gilding the poodle's chinchilla,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Gladys cavorts with the rake, and hitches the string to the lattice,<br /></span> <span class="i0">While with the trowel she digs, and gladdens the heart of the shanghai.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Now, while the vine twists about the ribs of the cast-iron Pallas,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And, on the zephyr afloat, the halcyon soul of the borax<br /></span> <span class="i0">Blends with the scent of the soap, the brush of the white-washer's flying<br /></span> <span class="i0">E'en as the chicken-hawk flies when ready to light on its quarry.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Out in the leaf-dappled wood the dainty hepatica's blowing,<br /></span> <span class="i0">While the fiend hammers the rug from Ispahan, Lynn, or Woonsocket,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And the grim furnace is out, and over the ash heap and bottles<br /></span> <span class="i0">Capers the "Billy" in glee, becanning his innermost Billy.<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_712" id="Page_712">[Pg 712]</SPAN></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Now the blue pill is on tap, and likewise the sarsaparilla,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And on the fence and the barn, quite worthy of S. Botticelli,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Frisk the lithe leopard and gnu, in malachite, purple, and crimson,<br /></span> <span class="i0">That we may know at a glance the circus is out on the rampage.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Put then the flannels away and trot out the old linen duster,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Pack the bob-sled in the barn, and bring forth the baseball and racket,<br /></span> <span class="i0">For the spry Spring is on deck, performing her roseate breakdown<br /></span> <span class="i0">Unto the tune of the van that rattles and bangs on the cobbles.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_713" id="Page_713">[Pg 713]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="MEDITATIONS_OF_A_MARINER4" id="MEDITATIONS_OF_A_MARINER4"></SPAN>MEDITATIONS OF A MARINER<SPAN name="FNanchor_4_4" id="FNanchor_4_4"></SPAN><SPAN href="#Footnote_4_4" class="fnanchor">[4]</SPAN></h2> <h3>BY WALLACE IRWIN</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">A-watchin' how the sea behaves<br /></span> <span class="i2">For hours and hours I sit;<br /></span> <span class="i0">And I know the sea is full o' waves&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">I've often noticed it.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">For on the deck each starry night<br /></span> <span class="i2">The wild waves and the tame<br /></span> <span class="i0">I counts and knows 'em all by sight<br /></span> <span class="i2">And some of 'em by name.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">And then I thinks a cove like me<br /></span> <span class="i2">Ain't got no right to roam;<br /></span> <span class="i0">For I'm homesick when I puts to sea<br /></span> <span class="i2">And seasick when I'm home.<br /></span> </div></div> <p><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_714" id="Page_714">[Pg 714]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="VICTORY5" id="VICTORY5"></SPAN>VICTORY<SPAN name="FNanchor_5_5" id="FNanchor_5_5"></SPAN><SPAN href="#Footnote_5_5" class="fnanchor">[5]</SPAN></h2> <h3>BY TOM MASSON</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I turned to the dictionary<br /></span> <span class="i2">For a word I couldn't spell,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And closed the book when I found it<br /></span> <span class="i2">And dipped my pen in the well.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Then I thought to myself, "How was it?"<br /></span> <span class="i2">With a sense of inward pain,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And still 'twas a little doubtful,<br /></span> <span class="i2">So I turned to the book again.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">This time I remarked, "How easy!"<br /></span> <span class="i2">As I muttered each letter o'er,<br /></span> <span class="i0">But when I got to the inkwell<br /></span> <span class="i2">'Twas gone, as it went before.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Then I grabbed that dictionary<br /></span> <span class="i2">And I sped its pages through,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And under my nose I put it<br /></span> <span class="i2">With that doubtful word in view.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I held it down with my body<br /></span> <span class="i2">While I gripped that pen quite fast,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And I howled, as I traced each letter:<br /></span> <span class="i2">"I've got you now, <i>at last</i>!"<br /></span> </div></div> <p><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_715" id="Page_715">[Pg 715]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="THE_FAMILY_HORSE" id="THE_FAMILY_HORSE"></SPAN>THE FAMILY HORSE</h2> <h3>BY FREDERICK S. COZZENS</h3> <p>I have bought me a horse. As I had obtained some skill in the <i>man&egrave;ge</i> during my younger days, it was a matter of consideration to have a saddle-horse. It surprised me to find good saddle-horses very abundant soon after my consultation with the stage proprietor upon this topic. There were strange saddle-horses to sell almost every day. One man was very candid about his horse: he told me, if his horse had a blemish, he wouldn't wait to be asked about it; he would tell it right out; and, if a man didn't want him then, he needn't take him. He also proposed to put him on trial for sixty days, giving his note for the amount paid him for the horse, to be taken up in case the animal were returned. I asked him what were the principal defects of the horse. He said he'd been fired once, because they thought he was spavined; but there was no more spavin to him than there was to a fresh-laid egg&mdash;he was as sound as a dollar. I asked him if he would just state what were the defects of the horse. He answered, that he once had the pink-eye, and added, "now that's honest." I thought so, but proceeded to question him closely. I asked him if he had the bots. He said, not a bot. I asked him if he would go. He said he would go till he dropped down dead; just touch him with a whip, and he'll jump out of his hide. I inquired how old he was. He answered, just eight years, exactly&mdash;some<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_716" id="Page_716">[Pg 716]</SPAN></span> men, he said, wanted to make their horses younger than they be; he was willing to speak right out, and own up he was eight years. I asked him if there were any other objections. He said no, except that he was inclined to be a little gay; "but," he added, "he is so kind, a child can drive him with a thread." I asked him if he was a good family horse. He replied that no lady that ever drew rein over him would be willing to part with him. Then I asked him his price. He answered that no man could have bought him for one hundred dollars a month ago, but now he was willing to sell him for seventy-five, on account of having a note to pay. This seemed such a very low price, I was about saying I would take him, when Mrs. Sparrowgrass whispered that I had better <i>see the horse first</i>. I confess I was a little afraid of losing my bargain by it, but, out of deference to Mrs. S., I did ask to see the horse before I bought him. He said he would fetch him down. "No man," he added, "ought to buy a horse unless he's saw him." When the horse came down, it struck me that, whatever his qualities might be, his personal appearance was against him. One of his fore legs was shaped like the handle of our punch-ladle, and the remaining three legs, about the fetlock, were slightly bunchy. Besides, he had no tail to brag of; and his back had a very hollow sweep from his high haunches to his low shoulder-blades. I was much pleased, however, with the fondness and pride manifested by his owner, as he held up, by both sides of the bridle, the rather longish head of his horse, surmounting a neck shaped like a pea-pod, and said, in a sort of triumphant voice, "three-quarters blood!" Mrs. Sparrowgrass flushed up a little when she asked me if I intended to purchase <i>that</i> horse, and added, that, if I did, she would never want to ride. So I told the man he would not suit<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_717" id="Page_717">[Pg 717]</SPAN></span> me. He answered by suddenly throwing himself upon his stomach across the backbone of his horse, and then, by turning round as on a pivot, got up a-straddle of him; then he gave his horse a kick in the ribs that caused him to jump out with all his legs, like a frog, and then off went the spoon-legged animal with a gait that was not a trot, nor yet precisely pacing. He rode around our grass plot twice, and then pulled his horse's head up like the cock of a musket. "That," said he, "is <i>time</i>." I replied that he did seem to go pretty fast. "Pretty fast!" said his owner. "Well, do you know Mr. &mdash;&mdash;?" mentioning one of the richest men in our village. I replied that I was acquainted with him. "Well," said he, "you know his horse?" I replied that I had no personal acquaintance with him. "Well," said he, "he's the fastest horse in the county&mdash;jist so&mdash;I'm willin' to admit it. But do you know I offered to put my horse agin' his to trot? I had no money to put up, or rayther, to spare; but I offered to trot him, horse agin' horse, and the winner to take both horses, and I tell you&mdash;<i>he wouldn't do it!</i>"</p> <p>Mrs. Sparrowgrass got a little nervous, and twitched me by the skirt of the coat "Dear," said she, "let him go." I assured her that I would not buy the horse, and told the man firmly I would not buy him. He said, very well&mdash;if he didn't suit 'twas no use to keep a-talkin': but he added, he'd be down agin' with another horse, next morning, that belonged to his brother; and if he didn't suit me, then I didn't want a horse. With this remark he rode off....</p> <p>"It rains very hard," said Mrs. Sparrowgrass, looking out of the window next morning. Sure enough, the rain was sweeping broadcast over the country, and the four Sparrowgrassii were flattening a quartet of noses against the window-panes, believing most faithfully the man<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_718" id="Page_718">[Pg 718]</SPAN></span> would bring the horse that belonged to his brother, in spite of the elements. It was hoping against hope; no man having a horse to sell will trot him out in a rainstorm, unless he intend to sell him at a bargain&mdash;but childhood is so credulous! The succeeding morning was bright, however, and down came the horse. He had been very cleverly groomed, and looked pleasant under the saddle. The man led him back and forth before the door. "There, 'squire, 's as good a hos as ever stood on iron." Mrs. Sparrowgrass asked me what he meant by that. I replied, it was a figurative way of expressing, in horse-talk, that he was as good a horse as ever stood in shoe-leather. "He's a handsome hos, 'squire," said the man. I replied that he did seem to be a good-looking animal; but, said I, "he does not quite come up to the description of a horse I have read." "Whose hos was it?" said he. I replied it was the horse of Adonis. He said he didn't know him; but, he added, "there is so many hosses stolen, that the descriptions are stuck up now pretty common." To put him at his ease (for he seemed to think I suspected him of having stolen the horse), I told him the description I meant had been written some hundreds of years ago by Shakespeare, and repeated it:</p> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"Round-hooft, short-joynted, fetlocks shag and long,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Broad breast, full eyes, small head, and nostrils wide,<br /></span> <span class="i0">High crest, short ears, straight legs, and passing strong,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide."<br /></span> </div></div> <p>"'Squire," said he, "that will do for a song, but it ain't no p'ints of a good hos. Trotters nowadays go in all shapes, big heads and little heads, big eyes and little eyes, short ears or long ears, thick tail and no tail; so as they have sound legs, good l'in, good barrel, and good stifle, and wind, 'squire, and speed well, they'll fetch a price.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_719" id="Page_719">[Pg 719]</SPAN></span> Now, this animal is what I call a hos, 'squire; he's got the p'ints, he's stylish, he's close-ribbed, a free goer, kind in harness&mdash;single or double&mdash;a good feeder." I asked him if being a good feeder was a desirable quality. He replied it was; "of course," said he, "if your hos is off his feed, he ain't good for nothin'. But what's the use," he added, "of me tellin' you the p'ints of a good hos? You're a hos man, 'squire: you know&mdash;" "It seems to me," said I, "there is something the matter with that left eye." "No, <i>sir</i>" said he, and with that he pulled down the horse's head, and, rapidly crooking his forefinger at the suspected organ, said, "see thar&mdash;don't wink a bit." "But he should wink," I replied. "Not onless his eye are weak," he said. To satisfy myself, I asked the man to let me take the bridle. He did so, and as soon as I took hold of it, the horse started off in a remarkable retrograde movement, dragging me with him into my best bed of hybrid roses. Finding we were trampling down all the best plants, that had cost at auction from three-and-sixpence to seven shillings apiece, and that the more I pulled, the more he backed, I finally let him have his own way, and jammed him stern-foremost into our largest climbing rose that had been all summer prickling itself, in order to look as much like a vegetable porcupine as possible. This unexpected bit of satire in his rear changed his retrograde movement to a sidelong bound, by which he flirted off half the pots on the balusters, upsetting my gladioluses and tuberoses in the pod, and leaving great splashes of mould, geraniums, and red pottery in the gravel walk. By this time his owner had managed to give him two pretty severe cuts with the whip, which made him unmanageable, so I let him go. We had a pleasant time catching him again, when he got among the Lima-bean poles; but his owner led him back with<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_720" id="Page_720">[Pg 720]</SPAN></span> a very self-satisfied expression. "Playful, ain't he, 'squire?" I replied that I thought he was, and asked him if it was usual for his horse to play such pranks. He said it was not "You see, 'squire, he feels his oats, and hain't been out of the stable for a month. Use him, and he's as kind as a kitten." With that he put his foot in the stirrup, and mounted. The animal really looked very well as he moved around the grass-plot, and, as Mrs. Sparrowgrass seemed to fancy him, I took a written guarantee that he was sound, and bought him. What I gave for him is a secret; I have not even told Mrs. Sparrowgrass....</p> <p>We had passed Chicken Island, and the famous house with the stone gable and the one stone chimney, in which General Washington slept, as he made it a point to sleep in every old stone house in Westchester County, and had gone pretty far on the road, past the cemetery, when Mrs. Sparrowgrass said suddenly, "Dear, what is the matter with your horse?" As I had been telling the children all the stories about the river on the way, I managed to get my head pretty well inside of the carriage, and, at the time she spoke, was keeping a lookout in front with my back. The remark of Mrs. Sparrowgrass induced me to turn about, and I found the new horse behaving in a most unaccountable manner. He was going down hill with his nose almost to the ground, running the wagon first on this side and then on the other. I thought of the remark made by the man, and turning again to Mrs. Sparrowgrass, said, "Playful, isn't he?" The next moment I heard something breaking away in front, and then the rockaway gave a lurch and stood still. Upon examination I found the new horse had tumbled down, broken one shaft, gotten the other through the check-rein so as to bring his head up with a round turn, and besides<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_721" id="Page_721">[Pg 721]</SPAN></span> had managed to put one of the traces in a single hitch around his off hind leg. So soon as I had taken all the young ones and Mrs. Sparrowgrass out of the rockaway, I set to work to liberate the horse, who was choking very fast with the check-rein. It is unpleasant to get your fishing-line in a tangle when you are in a hurry for bites, but I never saw fishing-line in such a tangle as that harness. However, I set to work with a pen-knife, and cut him out in such a way as to make getting home by our conveyance impossible. When he got up, he was the sleepiest-looking horse I ever saw. "Mrs. Sparrowgrass," said I, "won't you stay here with the children until I go to the nearest farm-house?" Mrs. Sparrowgrass replied that she would. Then I took the horse with me to get him out of the way of the children, and went in search of assistance. The first thing the new horse did when he got about a quarter of a mile from the scene of the accident was to tumble down a bank. Fortunately the bank was not over four feet high, but as I went with him, my trousers were rent in a grievous place. While I was getting the new horse on his feet again, I saw a colored person approaching, who came to my assistance. The first thing he did was to pull out a large jack-knife, and the next thing he did was to open the new horse's mouth and run the blade two or three times inside the new horse's gums. Then the new horse commenced bleeding. "Dah, sah," said the man, shutting up his jack-knife, "ef 't hadn't been for dat yer, your hos would a' bin a goner." "What was the matter with him?" said I. "Oh, he's only jis got de blind-staggers, das all. Say," said he, before I was half indignant enough at the man who had sold me such an animal, "say, ain't your name Sparrowgrass?" I replied that my name was Sparrowgrass. "Oh," said he, "I knows<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_722" id="Page_722">[Pg 722]</SPAN></span> you, I brung some fowls once down to you place. I heerd about you and your hos. Dats de hos dats got de heaves so bad, heh! heh! You better sell dat hoss." I determined to take his advice, and employed him to lead my purchase to the nearest place where he would be cared for. Then I went back to the rockaway, but met Mrs. Sparrowgrass and the children on the road coming to meet me. She had left a man in charge of the rockaway. When we got to the rockaway we found the man missing, also the whip and one cushion. We got another person to take charge of the rockaway, and had a pleasant walk home by moonlight. I think a moonlight night delicious, upon the Hudson.</p> <p>Does any person want a horse at a low price? A good stylish-looking animal, close-ribbed, good loin, and good stifle, sound legs, with only the heaves and blind-staggers, and a slight defect in one of his eyes? If at any time he slips his bridle and gets away, you can always approach him by getting on his left side. I will also engage to give a written guarantee that he is sound and kind, signed by the brother of his former owner.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_723" id="Page_723">[Pg 723]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="SONNET_OF_THE_LOVABLE_LASS_AND_THE_PLETHORIC_DAD6" id="SONNET_OF_THE_LOVABLE_LASS_AND_THE_PLETHORIC_DAD6"></SPAN>SONNET OF THE LOVABLE LASS AND THE PLETHORIC DAD<SPAN name="FNanchor_6_6" id="FNanchor_6_6"></SPAN><SPAN href="#Footnote_6_6" class="fnanchor">[6]</SPAN></h2> <h3>BY J.W. FOLEY</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Shee sez shee neavur neavur luvd befoar<br /></span> <span class="i0">shee saw me passen bi hur paws frunt dore<br /></span> <span class="i0">wenn shee wuz hangen on the gait ann i<br /></span> <span class="i0">Lookt foolish att hur wenn ime goen bi.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Uv korse sheed hadd sum boze butt nun thatt sturd<br /></span> <span class="i0">hur hart down too itts deppths until shee hurd<br /></span> <span class="i0">me wissel ann shee saw mi fais. Ann wenn<br /></span> <span class="i0">shee furst saw mee sheed neavur luv agen<br /></span> <span class="i0">shee sedd shee noo. ann iff i shunnd hur eye<br /></span> <span class="i0">sheed be a nunn ann bidd thee wurld good bi.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">How swete itt is wenn munnys on thee throan<br /></span> <span class="i0">uv life to bee luvd fore ureself aloan<br /></span> <span class="i0">Ann no thatt u have gott thee powr to stur<br /></span> <span class="i0">a woomans hart wenn u jusst look att hur.<br /></span> <span class="i0">ann o itts sweeter still iff u kan no<br /></span> <span class="i0">hur paw has gott jusst oshuns uv thee doe<br /></span> <span class="i0">Ann u jusst hav to furnish luv ann hee<br /></span> <span class="i0">wil furnish munny fore boath u ann shee.<br /></span> <span class="i0">i wood nott kair iff shee wuz poor butt o<br /></span> <span class="i0">itts dubley swete too no sheez gott thee doe:<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_724" id="Page_724">[Pg 724]</SPAN></span></div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">i wood nott hezzetait iff shee wuz poor<br /></span> <span class="i0">Too marrie hur. togeathur weed endoor<br /></span> <span class="i0">wottever forchun sennt with rite good will<br /></span> <span class="i0">butt sins sheeze rich itts awl thee bettur stil.<br /></span> <span class="i0">ide luv hur in a cottidge jusst thee saim<br /></span> <span class="i0">fore luv is such a holey sakerud flaim<br /></span> <span class="i0">thatt burns like tindur wenn u strike a lite<br /></span> <span class="i0">butt still itt burns moar gloarious ann brite<br /></span> <span class="i0">wenn shee has lotts uv munny ann hur paw<br /></span> <span class="i0">with menny thowsunds is ure fawthernlaw.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_725" id="Page_725">[Pg 725]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="THE_LOVE_SONNETS_OF_A_HUSBAND" id="THE_LOVE_SONNETS_OF_A_HUSBAND"></SPAN>THE LOVE SONNETS OF A HUSBAND</h2> <h3>BY MAURICE SMILEY</h3> <h3><br />I LOVE YOU STILL</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">You ask me if I love you still, tho' you<br /></span> <span class="i2">And I were wed scarce one short happy year<br /></span> <span class="i2">Agone. How well do I remember, dear,<br /></span> <span class="i0">The day you put your hand in mine, and through<br /></span> <span class="i0">Life's good and ill, tho' skies were gray or blue,<br /></span> <span class="i2">We plighted faith that should not know a fear.<br /></span> <span class="i2">That was the day I kissed away the tear<br /></span> <span class="i0">That trembled on your cheek like morning dew.<br /></span> <span class="i2">Of course I love you&mdash;still. You're at your best,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Your perihelion, when you're silentest.<br /></span> <span class="i0">I'd love you as I did, dear heart, of yore,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And still a little more, nor ever tire:<br /></span> <span class="i2">Why, I would love you like a house afire<br /></span> <span class="i0">If you were only still a little more.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>SOUL TO SOUL</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I think I loved you first when in your eyes<br /></span> <span class="i2">I saw the glad, rapt answer to the spell<br /></span> <span class="i2">Of Paderewski, when we heard him tell<br /></span> <span class="i0">Life's gentler meaning, Love's sweet sacrifice.<br /></span> <span class="i0">The master caught the rhythm of your sighs<br /></span> <span class="i2">And then, inspired, the story rose and fell<br /></span> <span class="i2">And sang of moonlight in a leafy dell,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Of souls' Arcadias and dreaming skies,<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_726" id="Page_726">[Pg 726]</SPAN></span> <span class="i2">Of hearts and hopes and purposes that blend.<br /></span> <span class="i0">Your bosom heaved beneath the witcheries<br /></span> <span class="i2">That seemed to set a halo on his brow,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And then the message sobbed on to its end.<br /></span> <span class="i2">"That's fine," you murmured, chewing faster; "please<br /></span> <span class="i2">Ask him if he won't play 'Bedelia' now."<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>YOU SAID THAT YOU WOULD DIE FOR ME</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">You said that you would die for me, if e'er<br /></span> <span class="i2">That price would buy me happiness. I dreamed<br /></span> <span class="i2">Not of devotion like to that, that seemed<br /></span> <span class="i0">To joy in sacrifice; that, tenderer<br /></span> <span class="i0">Than selfish Life's small immolations were,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Made Love an altar whereupon it deemed<br /></span> <span class="i2">It naught to offer all; a shrine that gleamed<br /></span> <span class="i0">With utter loyalty's red drops. I ne'er<br /></span> <span class="i2">Believed that you were just quite in your head<br /></span> <span class="i0">In saying death would prove Fidelity.<br /></span> <span class="i2">But when I saw the packages of white and red<br /></span> <span class="i0">Your druggist showed me&mdash;he's my chum, you see&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">I knew you meant, dear heart, just what you said,<br /></span> <span class="i0">When you declared that you would dye for me.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>I CAN NOT BEAR YOUR SIGHS</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Your smiles, dear one, have all the glad surprise<br /></span> <span class="i2">The sunshine hath for roses; what the day<br /></span> <span class="i2">Brings to the waiting lark. When you are gay<br /></span> <span class="i0">My spirit sings in tune, and sorrow flies<br /></span> <span class="i0">Away. But, dear, I can not bear your sighs<br /></span> <span class="i2">When on my knees you nestle and you lay<br /></span> <span class="i2">Your tear-wet face upon my shoulder. Nay,<br /></span> <span class="i0">I can not help the pain that fills mine eyes.<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_727" id="Page_727">[Pg 727]</SPAN></span> <span class="i0">So, love, whatever cup of Life you drain<br /></span> <span class="i2">I'll stand for. Send the cashier's check to me.<br /></span> <span class="i0">"Smile" all you want to; smile and smile again.<br /></span> <span class="i2">But as you weigh two hundred pounds, you see<br /></span> <span class="i2">Why, when you cuddle down upon my knee,<br /></span> <span class="i0">It is your size, dear heart, that gives me pain.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>A HAND I HELD</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The heartless years have many hopes dispelled.<br /></span> <span class="i2">But they have left me one dear night in June.<br /></span> <span class="i2">They've left the still white splendor of the moon.<br /></span> <span class="i0">They've left the mem'ry of a hand I held,<br /></span> <span class="i0">While up thro' all my soul the rapture welled<br /></span> <span class="i2">Of victory. I hear again the croon<br /></span> <span class="i2">Of twilight time, the lullaby that soon<br /></span> <span class="i0">To all the day's glad music shall have swelled.<br /></span> <span class="i2">I hold a hand I never held before,<br /></span> <span class="i2">A hand like which I'll never hold some more.<br /></span> <span class="i0">It was the first time I had ever "called."<br /></span> <span class="i2">'Twas at the club, as we began to leave.<br /></span> <span class="i0">I held five aces, but the dealer balled<br /></span> <span class="i2">The ones that he had planted up his sleeve.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>YOUR CHEEK</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">To feel your hands stray shyly to my head<br /></span> <span class="i2">And flutter down like birds that find their nest,<br /></span> <span class="i2">To see the gentle rise and fall of your dear breast,<br /></span> <span class="i0">To hear again some tender word you said,<br /></span> <span class="i0">To watch the little feet whose dainty tread<br /></span> <span class="i2">Fell light as flowers upon the way they pressed,<br /></span> <span class="i2">To touch again the lips I have caressed&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">All these are precious. But your cheek of red<br /></span> <span class="i2">Outlives the mem'ry of all other things.<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_728" id="Page_728">[Pg 728]</SPAN></span> <span class="i0">I'd known you scarce a month, or maybe two;<br /></span> <span class="i2">I had not yet made up my mind to speak,<br /></span> <span class="i2">You trots out Tifny's catalogue of rings;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Says No. 6 (200 yen) will do.<br /></span> <span class="i2">So I remember best of all your cheek.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>WITH ALL YOUR FAULTS</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">You would not stop this side the farthest line<br /></span> <span class="i2">Of Truth, you said, nor hide one little falsity<br /></span> <span class="i2">From my sweet faith that was too kind to see.<br /></span> <span class="i0">You said a keener vision would divine<br /></span> <span class="i0">All failings later, bare each hid design,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Each poor disguise of loving's treachery<br /></span> <span class="i2">That screened its weaknesses from even me.<br /></span> <span class="i0">How oft you said those cherry lips were mine<br /></span> <span class="i2">Alone. The cherries came in little jars,<br /></span> <span class="i0">I learned. Those auburn locks, I found with pain,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Cost forty plunks, according to the bill<br /></span> <span class="i0">I saw. Those pearly teeth were porcelain.<br /></span> <span class="i2">But I forgive you for each fault that mars.<br /></span> <span class="i2">With all your faults, dear heart, I love you still.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_729" id="Page_729">[Pg 729]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="HOW_WE_BOUGHT_A_SEWIN_MACHINE_AND_ORGAN" id="HOW_WE_BOUGHT_A_SEWIN_MACHINE_AND_ORGAN"></SPAN>HOW WE BOUGHT A SEWIN' MACHINE AND ORGAN</h2> <h3>BY JOSIAH ALLEN'S WIFE</h3> <p>We done dretful well last year. The crops come in first-rate, and Josiah had five or six heads of cattle to turn off at a big price. He felt well, and he proposed to me that I should have a sewin' machine. That man,&mdash;though he don't coo at me so frequent as he probable would if he had more encouragement in it, is attached to me with a devotedness that is firm and almost cast-iron, and says he, almost tenderly: "Samantha, I will get you a sewin' machine."</p> <p>Says I, "Josiah, I have got a couple of sewin' machines by me that have run pretty well for upwards of&mdash;well it haint necessary to go into particulars, but they have run for considerable of a spell anyway"&mdash;says I, "I can git along without another one, though no doubt it would be handy to have round."</p> <p>But Josiah hung onto that machine. And then he up and said he was goin' to buy a organ. Thomas Jefferson wanted one too. They both seemed sot onto that organ. Tirzah Ann took hern with her of course when she was married, and Josiah said it seemed so awful lonesome without any Tirzah Ann or any music, that it seemed almost as if two girls had married out of the family instead of one. He said money couldn't buy us another Tirzah Ann, but it would buy us a new organ, and he was determined to have one. He said it would be so handy for<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_730" id="Page_730">[Pg 730]</SPAN></span> her to play on when she came home, and for other company. And then Thomas J. can play quite well; he can play any tune, almost, with one hand, and he sings first-rate, too. He and Tirzah Ann used to sing together a sight; he sings bearatone, and she sulfireno&mdash;that is what they call it. They git up so many new-fangled names nowadays, that I think it is most a wonder that I don't make a slip once in a while and git things wrong. I should, if I hadn't got a mind like a ox for strength.</p> <p>But as I said, Josiah was fairly sot on that machine and organ, and I thought I'd let him have his way. So it got out that we was goin' to buy a sewin' machine, and a organ. Well, we made up our minds on Friday, pretty late in the afternoon, and on Monday forenoon I was a washin', when I heard a knock at the front door, and I wrung my hands out of the water and went and opened it. A slick lookin' feller stood there, and I invited him in and sot him a chair.</p> <p>"I hear you are talkin' about buyin' a musical instrument," says he.</p> <p>"No," says I, "we are goin' to buy a organ."</p> <p>"Well," says he, "I want to advise you, not that I have any interest in it at all, only I don't want to see you so imposed upon. It fairly makes me mad to see a Methodist imposed upon; I lean towards that perswasion myself. Organs are liable to fall to pieces any minute. There haint no dependence on 'em at all, the insides of 'em are liable to break out at any time. If you have any regard for your own welfare and safety, you will buy a piano. Not that I have any interest in advising you, only my devotion to the cause of Right; pianos never wear out."</p> <p>"Where should we git one?" says I, for I didn't want Josiah to throw away his property.</p> <p>"Well," says he, "as it happens, I guess I have got one<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_731" id="Page_731">[Pg 731]</SPAN></span> out here in the wagon. I believe I threw one into the bottom of the wagon this mornin', as I was a comin' down by here on business. I am glad now I did, for it always makes me feel ugly to see a Methodist imposed upon."</p> <p>Josiah came into the house in a few minutes, and I told him about it, and says I:</p> <p>"How lucky it is Josiah, that we found out about organs before it was too late."</p> <p>But Josiah asked the price, and said he wasn't goin' to pay out no three hundred dollars, for he wasn't able. But the man asked if we was willin' to have it brought into the house for a spell&mdash;we could do as we was a mind to about buyin' it; and of course we couldn't refuse, so Josiah most broke his back a liftin' it in, and they set it up in the parlor, and after dinner the man went away.</p> <p>Josiah bathed his back with linement, for he had strained it bad a liftin' that piano, and I had jest got back to my washin' again (I had had to put it away to git dinner) when I heerd a knockin' again to the front door, and I pulled down my dress sleeves and went and opened it, and there stood a tall, slim feller; and the kitchen bein' all cluttered up I opened the parlor door and asked him in there, and the minute he catched sight of that piano, he jest lifted up both hands, and says he:</p> <p>"You haint got one of them here!"</p> <p>He looked so horrified that it skairt me, and says I in almost tremblin' tones:</p> <p>"What is the matter with 'em?" And I added in a cheerful tone, "we haint bought it."</p> <p>He looked more cheerful too as I said it, and says he "You may be thankful enough that you haint. There haint no music in 'em at all; hear that," says he, goin' up and strikin' the very top note. It did sound flat enough.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_732" id="Page_732">[Pg 732]</SPAN></span></p> <p>Says I, "There must be more music in it than that, though I haint no judge at all."</p> <p>"Well, hear that, then," and he went and struck the very bottom note. "You see just what it is, from top to bottom. But it haint its total lack of music that makes me despise pianos so, it is because they are so dangerous."</p> <p>"Dangerous?" says I.</p> <p>"Yes, in thunder storms, you see;" says he, liftin' up the cover, "here it is all wire, enough for fifty lightnin' rods&mdash;draw the lightnin' right into the room. Awful dangerous! No money would tempt me to have one in my house with my wife and daughter. I shouldn't sleep a wink thinkin' I had exposed 'em to such danger."</p> <p>"Good land!" says I, "I never thought on it before."</p> <p>"Well, now you <i>have</i> thought of it, you see plainly that a organ is jest what you need. They are full of music, safe, healthy and don't cost half so much."</p> <p>Says I, "A organ was what we had sot our minds on at first."</p> <p>"Well, I have got one out here, and I will bring it in."</p> <p>"What is the price?" says I.</p> <p>"One hundred and ninety dollars," says he.</p> <p>"There won't be no need of bringin' it in at that price," says I, "for I have heerd Josiah say, that he wouldn't give a cent over a hundred dollars."</p> <p>"Well," says the feller, "I'll tell you what I'll do. Your countenance looks so kinder natural to me, and I like the looks of the country round here so well, that if your mind is made up on the price you want to pay, I won't let a trifle of ninety dollars part us. You can have it for one hundred."</p> <p>Well, the end on't was, he brung it in and sot it up the other end of the parlor, and drove off. And when Josiah come in from his work, and Thomas J. come home from Jonesville, they liked it first rate.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_733" id="Page_733">[Pg 733]</SPAN></span></p> <p>But the very next day, a new agent come, and he looked awful skairt when he katched sight of that organ, and real mad and indignant too.</p> <p>"That villain haint been a tryin' to get one of them organs off onto you, has he?" says he.</p> <p>"What is the trouble with 'em?" says I, in a awestruck tone, for he looked bad.</p> <p>"Why," says he, "there is a heavy mortgage on every one of his organs. If you bought one of him, and paid for it, it would be liable to be took away from you any minute when you was right in the middle of a tune, leavin' you a settin' on the stool; and you would lose every cent of your money."</p> <p>"Good gracious!" says I, for it skairt me to think what a narrow chance we had run. Well, finally, he brung in one of hisen, and sot it up in the kitchen, the parlor bein' full on 'em.</p> <p>And the fellers kep' a comin' and a goin' at all hours. For a spell, at first, Josiah would come in and talk with 'em, but after a while he got tired out, and when he would see one a comin' he would start on a run for the barn, and hide, and I would have to stand the brunt of it alone. One feller see Josiah a runnin' for the barn, and he follered him in, and Josiah dove under the barn, as I found out afterwards. I happened to see him a crawlin' out after the feller drove off. Josiah come in a shakin' himself&mdash;for he was all covered with straw and feathers&mdash;and says he:</p> <p>"Samantha there has got to be a change."</p> <p>"How is there goin' to be a change?" says I.</p> <p>"I'll tell you," says he, in a whisper&mdash;for fear some on 'em was prowlin' round the house yet&mdash;"we will git up before light to-morrow mornin', and go to Jonesville and buy a organ right out."<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_734" id="Page_734">[Pg 734]</SPAN></span></p> <p>I fell in with the idee, and we started for Jonesville the next mornin'. We got there jest after the break of day, and bought it of the man to the breakfast table. Says Josiah to me afterwards, as we was goin' down into the village:</p> <p>"Let's keep dark about buyin' one, and see how many of the creeters will be a besettin' on us to-day."</p> <p>So we kep' still, and there was half a dozen fellers follerin' us round all the time a most, into stores and groceries and the manty makers, and they would stop us on the sidewalk and argue with us about their organs and pianos. One feller, a tall slim chap, never let Josiah out of his sight a minute; and he follered him when he went after his horse, and walked by the side of the wagon clear down to the store where I was, a arguin' all the way about his piano. Josiah had bought a number of things and left 'em to the store, and when we got there, there stood the organ man by the side of the things, jest like a watch dog. He knew Josiah would come and git 'em, and he could git the last word with him.</p> <p>Amongst other things, Josiah had bought a barrel of salt, and the piano feller that had stuck to Josiah so tight that day, offered to help him on with it. And the organ man&mdash;not goin' to be outdone by the other&mdash;he offered too. Josiah kinder winked to me, and then he held the old mare, and let 'em lift. They wasn't used to such kind of work, and it fell back on 'em once or twice, and most squashed 'em; but they nipped to, and lifted again, and finally got it on; but they was completely tuckered out.</p> <p>And then Josiah got in, and thanked 'em for the liftin'; and the organ man, a wipin' the sweat offen his face&mdash;that had started out in his hard labor&mdash;said he should be down to-morrow mornin'; and the piano man, a pantin' for breath, told Josiah not to make up his mind till <i>he</i><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_735" id="Page_735">[Pg 735]</SPAN></span> came; he should be down that night if he got rested enough.</p> <p>And then Josiah told 'em that he should be glad to see 'em down a visitin' any time, but he had jest bought a organ.</p> <p>I don't know but what they would have laid holt of Josiah, if they hadn't been so tuckered out; but as it was, they was too beat out to look anything but sneakin'; and so we drove off.</p> <p>The manty maker had told me that day, that there was two or three new agents with new kinds of sewin' machines jest come to Jonesville, and I was tellin' Josiah on it, when we met a middle-aged man, and he looked at us pretty close, and finally he asked us as he passed by, if we could tell him where Josiah Allen lived.</p> <p>Says Josiah, "I'm livin' at present in a Democrat."</p> <p>Says I, "In this one-horse wagon, you know."</p> <p>Says he, "You are thinkin' of buyin' a sewin' machine, haint you?"</p> <p>Says Josiah, "I am a turnin' my mind that way."</p> <p>At that, the man turned his horse round, and follered us, and I see he had a sewin' machine in front of his wagon. We had the old mare and the colt, and seein' a strange horse come up so close behind us, the colt started off full run towards Jonesville, and then run down a cross-road and into a lot.</p> <p>Says the man behind us, "I am a little younger than you be, Mr. Allen; if you will hold my horse I will go after the colt with pleasure."</p> <p>Josiah was glad enough, and so he got into the feller's wagon; but before he started off, the man, says he:</p> <p>"You can look at that machine in front of you while I am gone. I tell you frankly, that there haint another machine equal to it in America; it requires no strength at<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_736" id="Page_736">[Pg 736]</SPAN></span> all; infants can run it for days at a time; or idiots; if anybody knows enough to set and whistle, they can run this machine; and it's especially adapted to the blind&mdash;blind people can run it jest as well as them that can see. A blind woman last year, in one day, made 43 dollars a makin' leather aprons; stitched them all round the age two rows. She made two dozen of 'em, and then she made four dozen gauze veils the same day, without changin' the needle. That is one of the beauties of the machine, its goin' from leather to lace, and back again, without changin' the needle. It is so tryin' for wimmen, every time they want to go from leather to gauze and book muslin, to have to change the needle; but you can see for yourself that it haint got its equal in North America."</p> <p>He heerd the colt whinner, and Josiah stood up in the wagon, and looked after it. So he started off down the cross road.</p> <p>And we sot there, feelin' considerable like a procession; Josiah holdin' the stranger's horse, and I the old mare; and as we sot there, up driv another slick lookin' chap, and I bein' ahead, he spoke to me, and says he:</p> <p>"Can you direct me, mom, to Josiah Allen's house?"</p> <p>"It is about a mile from here," and I added in a friendly tone, "Josiah is my husband."</p> <p>"Is he?" says he, in a genteel tone.</p> <p>"Yes," says I, "we have been to Jonesville, and our colt run down that cross road, and&mdash;"</p> <p>"I see," says he interruptin' of me, "I see how it is." And then he went on in a lower tone, "If you think of buyin' a sewin' machine, don't git one of that feller in the wagon behind you&mdash;I know him well; he is one of the most worthless shacks in the country, as you can plainly see by the looks of his countenance. If I ever see a face in which knave and villain is wrote down, it is on hisen.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_737" id="Page_737">[Pg 737]</SPAN></span> Any one with half an eye can see that he would cheat his grandmother out of her snuff handkerchief, if he got a chance."</p> <p>He talked so fast that I couldn't git a chance to put in a word age ways for Josiah.</p> <p>"His sewin' machines are utterly worthless; he haint never sold one yet; he cant. His character has got out&mdash;folks know him. There was a lady tellin' me the other day that her machine she bought of him, all fell to pieces in less than twenty-four hours after she bought it; fell onto her infant, a sweet little babe, and crippled it for life. I see your husband is havin' a hard time of it with that colt. I will jest hitch my horse here to the fence, and go down and help him; I want to have a little talk with him before he comes back here." So he started off on the run.</p> <p>I told Josiah what he said about him, for it madded me, but Josiah took it cool. He seemed to love to set there and see them two men run. I never <i>did</i> see a colt act as that one did; they didn't have time to pass a word with each other, to find out their mistake, it kep' 'em so on a keen run. They would git it headed towards us, and then it would kick up its heels, and run into some lot, and canter round in a circle with its head up in the air, and then bring up short ag'inst the fence; and then they would leap over the fence. The first one had white pantaloons on, but he didn't mind 'em; over he would go, right into sikuta or elderbushes, and they would wave their hats at it, and holler, and whistle, and bark like dogs, and the colt would whinner and start off again right the wrong way, and them two men would go a pantin' after it. They had been a runnin' nigh onto half an hour, when a good lookin' young feller come along, and seein' me a settin' still and holdin' the old mare, he up and says:<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_738" id="Page_738">[Pg 738]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Are you in any trouble that I can assist you?"</p> <p>Says I, "We are goin' home from Jonesville, Josiah and me, and our colt got away and&mdash;"</p> <p>But Josiah interrupted me, and says he, "And them two fools a caperin' after it, are sewin' machine agents."</p> <p>The good lookin' chap see all through it in a minute, and he broke out into a laugh it would have done your soul good to hear, it was so clear and hearty, and honest. But he didn't say a word; he drove out to go by us, and we see then that he had a sewin' machine in the buggy.</p> <p>"Are you a agent?" says Josiah.</p> <p>"Yes," says he.</p> <p>"What sort of a machine is this here?" says Josiah, liftin' up the cloth from the machine in front of him.</p> <p>"A pretty good one," says the feller, lookin' at the name on it.</p> <p>"Is yours as good?" says Josiah.</p> <p>"I think it is better," says he. And then he started up his horse.</p> <p>"Hello! stop!" says Josiah.</p> <p>The feller stopped.</p> <p>"Why don't you run down other fellers' machines, and beset us to buy yourn?"</p> <p>"Because I don't make a practice of stoppin' people on the street."</p> <p>"Do you haunt folks day and night; foller 'em up ladders, through trap-doors, down sullers, and under barns?"</p> <p>"No," says the young chap, "I show people how my machine works; if they want it, I sell it; and if they don't, I leave."</p> <p>"How much is your machine?" says Josiah.</p> <p>"75 dollars."</p> <p>"Can't you," says Josiah, "because I look so much like your old father, or because I am a Methodist, or because<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_739" id="Page_739">[Pg 739]</SPAN></span> my wife's mother used to live neighbor to your grandmother&mdash;let me have it for 25 dollars?"</p> <p>The feller got up on his wagon, and turned his machine round so we could see it plain&mdash;it was a beauty&mdash;and says he:</p> <p>"You see this machine, sir; I think it is the best one made, although there is no great difference between this and the one over there; but I think what difference there is, is in this one's favor. You can have it for 75 dollars if you want it; if not, I will drive on."</p> <p>"How do you like the looks on it, Samantha?"</p> <p>Says I, "It is the kind I wanted to git."</p> <p>Josiah took out his wallet, and counted out 75 dollars, and says he:</p> <p>"Put that machine into that wagon where Samantha is."</p> <p>The good lookin' feller was jest liftin' of it in, and countin' over his money, when the two fellers come up with the colt. It seemed that they had had a explanation as they was comin' back; I see they had as quick as I catched sight on 'em, for they was a walkin' one on one side of the road, and the other on the other, most tight up to the fence. They was most dead the colt had run 'em so, and it did seem as if their faces couldn't look no redder nor more madder than they did as we catched sight on 'em and Josiah thanked 'em for drivin' back the colt; but when they see that the other feller had sold us a machine, their faces <i>did</i> look redder and madder.</p> <p>But I didn't care a mite; we drove off tickled enough that we had got through with our sufferin's with agents. And the colt had got so beat out a runnin' and racin', that he drove home first-rate, walkin' along by the old mare as stiddy as a deacon.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_740" id="Page_740">[Pg 740]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="CHEER_FOR_THE_CONSUMER" id="CHEER_FOR_THE_CONSUMER"></SPAN>CHEER FOR THE CONSUMER</h2> <h3>BY NIXON WATERMAN</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I'm only a consumer, and it really doesn't matter<br /></span> <span class="i0">If you crowd me in the street cars till I couldn't well be flatter;<br /></span> <span class="i0">I'm only a consumer, and the strikers may go striking,<br /></span> <span class="i0">For it's mine to end my living if it isn't to my liking.<br /></span> <span class="i0">I am a sort of parasite without a special mission<br /></span> <span class="i0">Except to pay the damages&mdash;mine is a queer position:<br /></span> <span class="i0">The Fates unite to squeeze me till I couldn't well be flatter,<br /></span> <span class="i0">For I'm only a consumer, and it really doesn't matter.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The baker tilts the price of bread upon the vaguest rumor<br /></span> <span class="i0">Of damage to the wheat crop, but I'm only a consumer,<br /></span> <span class="i0">So it really doesn't matter, for there's no law that compells me<br /></span> <span class="i0">To pay the added charges on the loaf of bread he sells me.<br /></span> <span class="i0">The iceman leaves a smaller piece when days are growing hotter,<br /></span> <span class="i0">But I'm only a consumer, and I do not need iced water:<br /></span> <span class="i0">My business is to pay the bills and keep in a good humor,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And it really doesn't matter, for I'm only a consumer.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The milkman waters milk for me; there's garlic in my butter,<br /></span> <span class="i0">But I'm only a consumer, and it does no good to mutter;<br /></span> <span class="i0">I know that coal is going up and beef is getting higher,<br /></span> <span class="i0">But I'm only a consumer, and I have no need of fire;<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_741" id="Page_741">[Pg 741]</SPAN></span> <span class="i0">While beefsteak is a luxury that wealth alone is needing,<br /></span> <span class="i0">I'm only a consumer, and what need have I for feeding?<br /></span> <span class="i0">My business is to pay the bills and keep in a good humor,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And it really doesn't matter, since I'm only a consumer.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The grocer sells me addled eggs; the tailor sells me shoddy,<br /></span> <span class="i0">I'm only a consumer, and I am not anybody.<br /></span> <span class="i0">The cobbler pegs me paper soles, the dairyman short-weights me,<br /></span> <span class="i0">I'm only a consumer, and most everybody hates me.<br /></span> <span class="i0">There's turnip in my pumpkin pie and ashes in my pepper,<br /></span> <span class="i0">The world's my lazaretto, and I'm nothing but a leper;<br /></span> <span class="i0">So lay me in my lonely grave and tread the turf down flatter,<br /></span> <span class="i0">I'm only a consumer, and it really doesn't matter.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_742" id="Page_742">[Pg 742]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="A_DESPERATE_RACE" id="A_DESPERATE_RACE"></SPAN>A DESPERATE RACE</h2> <h3>BY J.F. KELLEY</h3> <p>Some years ago, I was one of a convivial party that met in the principal hotel in the town of Columbus, Ohio, the seat of government of the Buckeye state.</p> <p>It was a winter's evening, when all without was bleak and stormy and all within were blithe and gay,&mdash;when song and story made the circuit of the festive board, filling up the chasms of life with mirth and laughter.</p> <p>We had met for the express purpose of making a night of it, and the pious intention was duly and most religiously carried out. The Legislature was in session in that town, and not a few of the worthy legislators were present upon this occasion.</p> <p>One of these worthies I will name, as he not only took a big swath in the evening's entertainment, but he was a man <i>more</i> generally known than our worthy President, James K. Polk. That man was the famous Captain Riley, whose "Narrative" of suffering and adventures is pretty generally known all over the civilized world. Captain Riley was a fine, fat, good-humored joker, who at the period of my story was the representative of the Dayton district, and lived near that little city when at home. Well, Captain Riley had amused the company with many of his far-famed and singular adventures, which, being mostly told before and read by millions of people that have seen his book, I will not attempt to repeat.</p> <p>Many were the stories and adventures told by the com<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_743" id="Page_743">[Pg 743]</SPAN></span>pany, when it came to the turn of a well-known gentleman who represented the Cincinnati district. As Mr. &mdash;&mdash; is yet among the living, and perhaps not disposed to be the subject of joke or story, I do not feel at liberty to give his name. Mr. &mdash;&mdash; was a slow believer of other men's adventures, and, at the same time, much disposed to magnify himself into a marvellous hero whenever the opportunity offered. As Captain Riley wound up one of his truthful though really marvellous adventures, Mr. &mdash;&mdash; coolly remarked that the captain's story was all very <i>well</i>, but it did not begin to compare with an adventure that he had, "once upon a time," on the Ohio, below the present city of Cincinnati.</p> <p>"Let's have it!"&mdash;"Let's have it!" resounded from all hands.</p> <p>"Well, gentlemen," said the Senator, clearing his voice for action and knocking the ashes from his cigar against the arm of his chair,&mdash;"gentlemen, I am not in the habit of spinning yarns of marvellous or fictitious matters; and therefore it is scarcely necessary to affirm upon the responsibility of my reputation, gentlemen, that what I am about to tell you I most solemnly proclaim to be truth, and&mdash;"</p> <p>"Oh, never mind that: go on, Mr. &mdash;&mdash;," chimed the party.</p> <p>"Well gentlemen, in 18&mdash; I came down the Ohio River, and settled at Losanti, now called Cincinnati. It was at that time but a little settlement of some twenty or thirty log and frame cabins, and where now stand the Broadway Hotel and blocks of stores and dwelling-houses, was the cottage and corn-patch of old Mr. &mdash;&mdash;, the tailor, who, by the bye, bought that land for the making of a coat for one of the settlers. Well, I put up my cabin, with the aid of my neighbors, and put in a patch of corn and potatoes,<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_744" id="Page_744">[Pg 744]</SPAN></span> about where the Fly Market now stands, and set about improving my lot, house, etc.</p> <p>"Occasionally I took up my rifle and started off with my dog down the river, to look up a little deer or bar meat, then very plenty along the river. The blasted red-skins were lurking about and hovering around the settlement, and every once in a while picked off some of our neighbors or stole our cattle or horses. I hated the red demons, and made no bones of peppering the blasted sarpents whenever I got a sight of them. In fact, the red rascals had a dread of me, and had laid a good many traps to get my scalp, but I wasn't to be catched napping. No, no, gentlemen, I was too well up to 'em for that.</p> <p>"Well, I started off one morning, pretty early, to take a hunt, and traveled a long way down the river, over the bottoms and hills, but couldn't find no <i>bar</i> nor deer. About four o'clock in the afternoon I made tracks for the settlement again. By and by I sees a buck just ahead of me, walking leisurely down the river. I slipped up, with my faithful old dog close in my rear, to within clever shooting-distance, and just as the buck stuck his nose in the drink I drew a bead upon his top-knot, and over he tumbled, and splurged and bounded a while, when I came up and relieved him by cutting his wizen&mdash;"</p> <p>"Well, but what has that to do with an <i>adventure</i>?" said Riley.</p> <p>"Hold on a bit, if you please, gentlemen; by Jove, it had a great deal to do with it. For, while I was busy skinning the hind-quarters of the buck, and stowing away the kidney-fat in my hunting-shirt, I heard a noise like the breaking of brush under a moccasin up 'the bottom.' My dog heard it, and started up to reconnoiter, and I lost no time in reloading my rifle. I had hardly got my priming out before my dog raised a howl and broke through<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_745" id="Page_745">[Pg 745]</SPAN></span> the brush toward me with his tail down, as he was not used to doing unless there were wolves, painters (panthers), or Injins about.</p> <p>"I picked up my knife, and took up my line of march in a skulking trot up the river. The frequent gullies on the lower bank made it tedious traveling there, so I scrabbled up to the upper bank, which was pretty well covered with buckeye and sycamore, and very little underbrush. One peep below discovered to me three as big and strapping red rascals, gentlemen, as you ever clapped your eyes on! Yes, there they came, not above six hundred yards in my rear, shouting and yelling like hounds, and coming after me like all possessed."</p> <p>"Well," said an old woodsman, sitting at the table, "you took a tree, of course."</p> <p>"Did I? No, gentlemen, I took no tree just then, but I took to my heels like sixty, and it was just as much as my old dog could do to keep up with me. I run until the whoops of my red-skins grew fainter and fainter behind me, and, clean out of wind, I ventured to look behind me, and there came one single red whelp, puffing and blowing, not three hundred yards in my rear. He had got on to a piece of bottom where the trees were small and scarce. 'Now,' thinks I, 'old fellow, I'll have you.' So I trotted off at a pace sufficient to let my follower gain on me, and when he had got just about near enough I wheeled and fired, and down I brought him, dead as a door-nail, at a hundred and twenty yards!"</p> <p>"Then you skelp'd (scalped) him immediately?" said the backwoodsman.</p> <p>"Very clear of it, gentlemen; for by the time I got my rifle loaded, here came the other two red-skins, shouting and whooping close on me, and away I broke again like a quarter-horse. I was now about five miles from the<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_746" id="Page_746">[Pg 746]</SPAN></span> settlement, and it was getting toward sunset. I ran till my wind began to be pretty short, when I took a look back, and there they came, snorting like mad buffaloes, one about two or three hundred yards ahead of the other: so I acted possum again until the foremost Injin got pretty well up, and I wheeled and fired at the very moment he was 'drawing a bead' on me: he fell head over stomach into the dirt, and up came the last one!"</p> <p>"So you laid for him, and&mdash;" gasped several.</p> <p>"No," continued the "member," "I didn't lay for him, I hadn't time to load, so I laid my <i>legs</i> to ground and started again. I heard every bound he made after me. I ran and ran until the fire flew out of my eyes, and the old dog's tongue hung out of his mouth a quarter of a yard long!"</p> <p>"Phe-e-e-e-w!" whistled somebody.</p> <p>"Fact, gentlemen. Well, what I was to do I didn't know: rifle empty, no big trees about, and a murdering red Indian not three hundred yards in my rear; and what was worse, just then it occurred to me that I was not a great ways from a big creek (now called Mill Creek), and there I should be pinned at last.</p> <p>"Just at this juncture, I struck my toe against a root, and down I tumbled, and my old dog over me. Before I could scrabble up&mdash;"</p> <p>"The Indian fired!" gasped the old woodsman.</p> <p>"He did, gentlemen, and I felt the ball strike me under the shoulder; but that didn't seem to put any embargo upon my locomotion, for as soon as I got up I took off again, quite freshened by my fall! I heard the red-skin close behind me coming booming on, and every minute I expected to have his tomahawk dashed into my head or shoulders.</p> <p>"Something kind of cool began to trickle down my legs into my boots&mdash;"<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_747" id="Page_747">[Pg 747]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Blood, eh? for the shot the varmint gin you," said the old woodsman, in a great state of excitement.</p> <p>"I thought so," said the Senator; "but what do you think it was?"</p> <p>Not being blood, we were all puzzled to know what the blazes it could be; when Riley observed,&mdash;</p> <p>"I suppose you had&mdash;"</p> <p>"Melted the deer-fat which I had stuck in the breast of my hunting-shirt, and the grease was running down my leg until my feet got so greasy that my heavy boots flew off, and one, hitting the dog, nearly knocked his brains out."</p> <p>We all grinned, which the "member" noticing, observed,&mdash;</p> <p>"I hope, gentlemen, no man here will presume to think I'm exaggerating?"</p> <p>"Oh, certainly not! Go on, Mr. &mdash;&mdash;," we all chimed in.</p> <p>"Well, the ground under my feet was soft, and, being relieved of my heavy boots, I put off with double-quick time, and, seeing the creek about half a mile off, I ventured to look over my shoulder to see what kind of chance there was to hold up and load. The red-skin was coming jogging along, pretty well blowed out, about five hundred yards in the rear. Thinks I, 'Here goes to load, anyhow.' So at it I went: in went the powder, and, putting on my patch, down went the ball about half-way, and off snapped my ramrod!"</p> <p>"Thunder and lightning!" shouted the old woodsman, who was worked up to the top-notch in the "member's" story.</p> <p>"Good gracious! wasn't I in a pickle! There was the red whelp within two hundred yards of me, pacing along and <i>loading up his rifle as he came</i>! I jerked out the broken ramrod, dashed it away, and started on, priming<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_748" id="Page_748">[Pg 748]</SPAN></span> up as I cantered off, determined to turn and give the red-skin a blast, anyhow, as soon as I reached the creek.</p> <p>"I was now within a hundred yards of the creek, could see the smoke from the settlement chimneys. A few more jumps, and I was by the creek. The Indian was close upon me: he gave a whoop, and I raised my rifle: on he came, knowing that I had broken my ramrod and my load not down: another whoop! whoop! and he was within fifty yards of me. I pulled trigger, and&mdash;"</p> <p>"And killed <i>him</i>?" chuckled Riley.</p> <p>"No, <i>sir</i>! I missed fire!"</p> <p>"And the red-skin&mdash;" shouted the old woodsman, in a frenzy of excitement.</p> <p>"<i>Fired and killed me!</i>"</p> <p>The screams and shouts that followed this finale brought landlord Noble, servants and hostlers running up stairs to see if the house was on fire!<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_749" id="Page_749">[Pg 749]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="AS_GOOD_AS_A_PLAY" id="AS_GOOD_AS_A_PLAY"></SPAN>"AS GOOD AS A PLAY"</h2> <h3>BY HORACE E. SCUDDER</h3> <p>There was quite a row of them on the mantel-piece. They were all facing front, and it looked as if they had come out of the wall behind, and were on their little stage facing the audience. There was the bronze monk reading a book by the light of a candle, who had a private opening under his girdle, so that sometimes his head was thrown violently back, and one looked down into him and found him full of brimstone matches. Then the little boy leaning against a greyhound; he was made of Parian, very fine Parian, too, so that one would expect to find a glass cover over him: but no, the glass cover stood over a cat and a cat made of worsted, too: still it was a very old cat, fifty years old in fact. There was another young person there, young like the boy leaning on a greyhound, and she, too, was of Parian: she was very fair in front, but behind&mdash;ah, that is a secret which is not quite time yet to tell. One other stood there, at least she seemed to stand, but nobody could see her feet, for her dress was so very wide and so finely flounced. She was the china girl that rose out of a pen-wiper.</p> <p>The fire in the grate below was of soft coal, and flashed up and down, throwing little jets of flame up that made very pretty foot-lights. So here was a stage, and here were the actors, but where was the audience? Oh, the Audience was in the arm-chair in front. He had a<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_750" id="Page_750">[Pg 750]</SPAN></span> special seat; he was a critic, and could get up when he wanted to, when the play became tiresome, and go out.</p> <p>"It is painful to say such things out loud," said the Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound, with a trembling voice, "but we have been together so long, and these people round us never will go away. Dear girl, will you?&mdash;you know." It was the Parian girl that he spoke to, but he did not look at her; he could not, he was leaning against the greyhound; he only looked at the Audience.</p> <p>"I am not quite sure," she coughed. "If, now, you were under a glass case."</p> <p>"I am under a glass case," spoke up the Cat-made-of-worsted. "Marry me. I am fifty years old. Marry me, and live under a glass case."</p> <p>"Shocking!" said she. "How can you? Fifty years old, too! That would indeed be a match!"</p> <p>"Marry!" muttered the bronze Monk-reading-a-book. "A match! I am full of matches, but I don't marry. Folly!"</p> <p>"You stand up very straight, neighbor," said the Cat-made-of-worsted.</p> <p>"I never bend," said the bronze Monk-reading-a-book. "Life is earnest. I read a book by candle. I am never idle."</p> <p>The Cat-made-of-worsted grinned to himself.</p> <p>"You've got a hinge in your back," said he, "they open you in the middle; your head flies back. How the blood must run down. And then you're full of brimstone matches. He! he!" and the Cat-made-of-worsted grinned out loud. The Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound spoke again, and sighed:</p> <p>"I am of Parian, you know, and there is no one else here of Parian except yourself."</p> <p>"And the greyhound," said the Parian girl.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_751" id="Page_751">[Pg 751]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Yes, and the greyhound," said he eagerly. "He belongs to me. Come, a glass case is nothing to it. We could roam; oh, we could roam!"</p> <p>"I don't like roaming."</p> <p>"Then we could stay at home, and lean against the greyhound."</p> <p>"No," said the Parian girl, "I don't like that."</p> <p>"Why?"</p> <p>"I have private reasons."</p> <p>"What?"</p> <p>"No matter."</p> <p>"I know," said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "I saw her behind. She's hollow. She's stuffed with lamp-lighters. He! he!" and the Cat-made-of-worsted grinned again.</p> <p>"I love you just as much," said the steadfast Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound, "and I don't believe the Cat."</p> <p>"Go away," said the Parian girl, angrily. "You're all hateful. I won't have you."</p> <p>"Ah!" sighed the Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound.</p> <p>"Ah!" came another sigh&mdash;it was from the China-girl-rising-out-of-a-pen-wiper&mdash;"how I pity you!"</p> <p>"Do you?" said he eagerly. "Do you? Then I love you. Will you marry me?"</p> <p>"Ah!" said she; "but&mdash;"</p> <p>"She can't!" said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "She can't come to you. She hasn't got any legs. I know it. I'm fifty years old. I never saw them."</p> <p>"Never mind the Cat," said the Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound.</p> <p>"But I do mind the Cat," said she, weeping. "I haven't. It's all pen-wiper."</p> <p>"Do I care?" said he.</p> <p>"She has thoughts," said the bronze Monk-reading-a-book. "That lasts longer than beauty. And she is solid behind."<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_752" id="Page_752">[Pg 752]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"And she has no hinge in her back," grinned the Cat-made-of-worsted. "Come, neighbors, let us congratulate them. You begin."</p> <p>"Keep out of disagreeable company," said the bronze Monk-reading-a-book.</p> <p>"That is not congratulation; that is advice," said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "Never mind, go on, my dear,"&mdash;to the Parian girl. "What! nothing to say? Then I'll say it for you. 'Friends, may your love last as long as your courtship.' Now I'll congratulate you."</p> <p>But before he could speak, the Audience got up.</p> <p>"You shall not say a word. It must end happily."</p> <p>He went to the mantel-piece and took up the China-girl-rising-out-of-a-pen-wiper.</p> <p>"Why, she has legs after all," said he.</p> <p>"They're false," said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "They're false. I know it. I'm fifty years old. I never saw true ones on her."</p> <p>The Audience paid no attention, but took up the Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound.</p> <p>"Ha!" said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "Come. I like this. He's hollow. They're all hollow. He! he! Neighbor Monk, you're hollow. He! he!" and the Cat-made-of-worsted never stopped grinning. The Audience lifted the glass case from him and set it over the Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound and the China-girl-rising-out-of-a-pen-wiper.</p> <p>"Be happy!" said he.</p> <p>"Happy!" said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "Happy!"</p> <p>Still they were happy.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_753" id="Page_753">[Pg 753]</SPAN></span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="THE_AUTOCRAT_OF_THE_BREAKFAST_TABLE" id="THE_AUTOCRAT_OF_THE_BREAKFAST_TABLE"></SPAN>THE AUTOCRAT OF THE BREAKFAST TABLE</h2> <h3>BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES</h3> <p>It is not easy, at the best, for two persons talking together to make the most of each other's thoughts, there are so many of them.</p> <p>[The company looked as if they wanted an explanation.]</p> <p>When John and Thomas, for instance, are talking together, it is natural enough that among the six there should be more or less confusion and misapprehension.</p> <p>[Our landlady turned pale;&mdash;no doubt she thought there was a screw loose in my intellects,&mdash;and that involved the probable loss of a boarder. A severe-looking person, who wears a Spanish cloak and a sad cheek, fluted by the passions of the melodrama, whom I understand to be the professional ruffian of the neighboring theater, alluded, with a certain lifting of the brow, drawing down of the corners of the mouth and somewhat rasping <i>voce di petti</i>, to Falstaff's nine men in buckram. Everybody looked up. I believe the old gentleman opposite was afraid I should seize the carving-knife; at any rate, he slid it to one side, as it were carelessly.]</p> <p>I think, I said, I can make it plain to Benjamin Franklin here, that there are at least six personalities distinctly to be recognized as taking part in that dialogue between John and Thomas.</p> <div class='center'> <table border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" summary="Johns and Thomases"> <tr><td align='left' rowspan='3'>Three Johns</td><td align='left'>{ 1. The real John; known only to his Maker.</td></tr> <tr><td align='left'>{ 2. John's ideal John; never the real one, and often very unlike him.</td></tr> <tr><td align='left'>{ 3. Thomas's ideal John; never the real John, nor John's John, but often very unlike either.</td></tr> <tr><td>&nbsp;</td></tr> <tr><td align='left' rowspan='3'>Three Thomases</td><td align='left'>{ 1. The real Thomas.</td></tr> <tr><td align='left'>{ 2. Thomas's ideal Thomas.</td></tr> <tr><td align='left'>{ 3. John's ideal Thomas.</td></tr> </table></div> <p><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_754" id="Page_754">[Pg 754]</SPAN></span></p> <p>Only one of the three Johns is taxed; only one can be weighed on a platform-balance; but the other two are just as important in the conversation. Let us suppose the real John to be old, dull and ill-looking. But as the Higher Powers have not conferred on men the gift of seeing themselves in the true light, John very possibly conceives himself to be youthful, witty, and fascinating, and talks from the point of view of this ideal. Thomas, again believes him to be an artful rogue, we will say; therefore he <i>is</i> so far as Thomas's attitude in the conversation is concerned, an artful rogue, though really simple and stupid. The same conditions apply to the three Thomases. It follows, that, until a man can be found who knows himself as his Maker knows him, or who sees himself as others see him, there must be at least six persons engaged in every dialogue between two. Of these, the least important, philosophically speaking, is the one that we have called the real person. No wonder two disputants often get angry, when there are six of them talking and listening all at the same time.</p> <p>[A very unphilosophical application of the above remarks was made by a young fellow, answering to the name of John, who sits near me at table. A certain basket of peaches, a rare vegetable, little known to boarding houses, was on its way to me <i>vi&acirc;</i> this unlettered Johannes. He appropriated the three that remained in the basket, remarking that there was just one apiece for him. I convinced him that his practical inference was hasty and illogical, but in the mean time he had eaten the peaches.]<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_755" id="Page_755">[Pg 755]</SPAN></span></p> <h3>"<span class="smcap">Our Sumatra Correspondence</span></h3> <p>"This island is now the property of the Stamford family,&mdash;having been won, it is said, in a raffle, by Sir &mdash;&mdash; Stamford, during the stock-gambling mania of the South-Sea Scheme. The history of this gentleman may be found in an interesting series of questions (unfortunately not yet answered) contained in the "Notes and Queries." This island is entirely surrounded by the ocean, which here contains a large amount of saline substance, crystallizing in cubes remarkable for their symmetry, and frequently displays on its surface, during calm weather, the rainbow tints of the celebrated South-Sea bubbles. The summers are oppressively hot, and the winters very probably cold; but this fact can not be ascertained precisely, as, for some peculiar reason, the mercury in these latitudes never shrinks, as in more northern regions, and thus the thermometer is rendered useless in winter.</p> <p>"The principal vegetable productions of the island are the pepper-tree and the bread-fruit tree. Pepper being very abundantly produced, a benevolent society was organized in London during the last century for supplying the natives with vinegar and oysters, as an addition to that delightful condiment. [Note received from Dr. D.P.] It is said, however, that, as the oysters were of the kind called <i>natives</i> in England, the natives of Sumatra, in obedience to a natural instinct, refused to touch them, and confined themselves entirely to the crew of the vessel in which they were brought over. This information was received from one of the oldest inhabitants, a native himself, and exceedingly fond of missionaries. He is said also to be very skilful in the <i>cuisine</i> peculiar to the island.</p> <p>"During the season of gathering the pepper, the per<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_756" id="Page_756">[Pg 756]</SPAN></span>sons employed are subject to various incommodities, the chief of which is violent and long-continued sternutation, or sneezing. Such is the vehemence of these attacks, that the unfortunate subjects of them are often driven backward for great distances at immense speed, on the well-known principle of the &aelig;olipile. Not being able to see where they are going, these poor creatures dash themselves to pieces against the rocks or are precipitated over the cliffs, and thus many valuable lives are lost annually. As, during the whole pepper-harvest, they feed exclusively on this stimulant, they become exceedingly irritable. The smallest injury is resented with ungovernable rage. A young man suffering from the <i>pepper-fever</i>, as it is called, cudgeled another most severely for appropriating a superannuated relative of trifling value, and was only pacified by having a present made him of a pig of that peculiar species of swine called the <i>Peccavi</i> by the Catholic Jews, who, it is well known, abstain from swine's flesh in imitation of the Mahometan Buddhists.</p> <p>"The bread-tree grows abundantly. Its branches are well known to Europe and America under the familiar name of <i>macaroni</i>. The smaller twigs are called <i>vermicelli</i>. They have a decided animal flavor, as may be observed in the soups containing them. Macaroni, being tubular, is the favorite habitat of a very dangerous insect, which is rendered peculiarly ferocious by being boiled. The government of the island, therefore, never allows a stick of it to be exported without being accompanied by a piston with which its cavity may at any time be thoroughly swept out. These are commonly lost or stolen before the macaroni arrives among us. It therefore always contains many of these insects, which, however, generally die of old age in the shops, so that accidents from this source are comparatively rare.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_757" id="Page_757">[Pg 757]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"The fruit of the bread-tree consists principally of hot rolls. The buttered-muffin variety is supposed to be a hybrid with a cocoanut palm, the cream found on the milk of the cocoanut exuding from the hybrid in the shape of butter, just as the ripe fruit is splitting, so as to fit it for the tea-table, where it is commonly served up with cold&mdash;"</p> <p>&mdash;There,&mdash;I don't want to read any more of it. You see that many of these statements are highly improbable.&mdash;No, I shall not mention the paper.&mdash;No, neither of them wrote it, though it reminds me of the style of these popular writers. I think the fellow that wrote it must have been reading some of their stories, and got them mixed up with his history and geography. I don't suppose <i>he</i> lies; he sells it to the editor, who knows how many squares off "Sumatra" is. The editor, who sells it to the public&mdash;by the way, the papers have been very civil&mdash;haven't they?&mdash;to the&mdash;the&mdash;what d'ye call it?&mdash;"Northern Magazine,"&mdash;isn't it?&mdash;got up by some of these Come-outers, down East, as an organ for their local peculiarities.</p> <hr style='width: 45%;' /> <p>It is a very dangerous thing for a literary man to indulge his love for the ridiculous. People laugh <i>with</i> him just so long as he amuses them; but if he attempts to be serious, they must still have their laugh, and so they laugh <i>at</i> him. There is in addition, however, a deeper reason for this than would at first appear. Do you know that you feel a little superior to every man who makes you laugh, whether by making faces or verses? Are you aware that you have a pleasant sense of patronizing him, when you condescend so far as to let him turn somersets, literal or literary, for your royal delight? Now if a man can only be allowed to stand on a dais, or raised platform, and look down on his neighbor who is exerting his talent<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_758" id="Page_758">[Pg 758]</SPAN></span> for him, oh, it is all right!&mdash;first-rate performance!&mdash;and all the rest of the fine phrases. But if all at once the performer asks the gentleman to come upon the floor, and, stepping upon the platform, begins to talk down at him,&mdash;ah, that wasn't in the program!</p> <p>I have never forgotten what happened when Sydney Smith&mdash;who, as everybody knows, was an exceedingly sensible man, and a gentleman, every inch of him&mdash;ventured to preach a sermon on the Duties of Royalty. The "Quarterly," "so savage and tartly," came down upon him in the most contemptuous style, as "a joker of jokes," a "diner-out of the first water" in one of his own phrases; sneering at him, insulting him, as nothing but a toady of a court, sneaking behind the anonymous, would ever have been mean enough to do to a man of his position and genius, or to any decent person even.&mdash;If I were giving advice to a young fellow of talent, with two or three facets to his mind, I would tell him by all means to keep his wit in the background until after he had made a reputation by his more solid qualities. And so to an actor: <i>Hamlet</i> first and <i>Bob Logic</i> afterward, if you like; but don't think, as they say poor Liston used to, that people will be ready to allow that you can do anything great with <i>Macbeth's</i> dagger after flourishing about with <i>Paul Pry's</i> umbrella. Do you know, too, that the majority of men look upon all who challenge their attention,&mdash;for a while, at least,&mdash;as beggars, and nuisances? They always try to get off as cheaply as they can; and the cheapest of all things they can give a literary man&mdash;pardon the forlorn pleasantry!&mdash;is the <i>funny</i>-bone. That is all very well so far as it goes, but satisfies no man, and makes a good many angry, as I told you on a former occasion.</p> <p>Oh, indeed, no!&mdash;I am not ashamed to make you laugh, occasionally. I think I could read you something<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_759" id="Page_759">[Pg 759]</SPAN></span> I have in my desk that would probably make you smile. Perhaps I will read it one of these days, if you are patient with me when I am sentimental and reflective; not just now. The ludicrous has its place in the universe; it is not a human invention, but one of the Divine ideas, illustrated in the practical jokes as kittens and monkeys long before Aristophanes or Shakespeare. How curious it is that we always consider solemnity and the absence of all gay surprises and encounter of wits as essential to the idea of the future life of those whom we thus deprive of half their faculties and then called <i>blessed</i>! There are not a few who, even in this life, seem to be preparing themselves for that smileless eternity to which they look forward, by banishing all gaiety from their hearts and all joyousness from their countenances. I meet one such in the street not unfrequently, a person of intelligence and education, but who gives me (and all that he passes) such a rayless and chilling look of recognition,&mdash;something as if he were one of Heaven's assessors, come down to "doom" every acquaintance he met,&mdash;that I have sometimes begun to sneeze on the spot, and gone home with a violent cold, dating from that instant. I don't doubt he would cut his kitten's tail off, if he caught her playing with it. Please tell me, who taught her to play with it?<span class='pagenum'>
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