THE WIT AND HUMOR OF AMERICA
In Ten Volumes
THE WIT AND HUMOR OF AMERICA
EDITED BY MARSHALL P. WILDER
Funk & Wagnalls Company New York and London
Copyright MDCCCCVII, BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY Copyright MDCCCCXI, THE THWING COMPANY
PAGE Alphabet of Celebrities Oliver Herford 1243 Assault and Battery Joseph G. Baldwin 1391 Associated Widows, The Katharine M. Roof 1338 Bill Nations Bill Arp 1368 Brakeman at Church, The Robert J. Burdette 1323 Breitmann and the Turners Charles Godfrey Leland 1217 By Bay and Sea John Kendrick Bangs 1367 Camp-Meeting, The Baynard Rust Hall 1265 Critic, The William J. Lampton 1336 Cupid, A Crook Edward W. Townsend 1220 Dubious Future, The Bill Nye 1298 Educational Project, An Roy Farrell Greene 1264 Fable Ralph Waldo Emerson 1358 Goat, The R.K. Munkittrick 1247 Happy Land, The Frank Roe Batchelder 1389 He and She Ironquill 1250 Holly Song Clinton Scollard 1260 How Mr. Terrapin Lost His Beard Anne Virginia Culbertson 1328 How Mr. Terrapin Lost His Plumage and Whistle Anne Virginia Culbertson 1360 In Defense of an Offering Sewell Ford 1248 It is Time to Begin to Conclude A.H. Laidlaw 1294 Jack Balcomb's Pleasant Ways Meredith Nicholson 1309 Lost Inventor, The Wallace Irwin 1385 Margins Robert J. Burdette 1297 My Cigarette Charles F. Lummis 1292 Nonsense Verses Gelett Burgess 1244 Notary of Perigueux Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1251 Nothin' Done Sam S. Stinson 1296 Omar in the Klondyke Howard V. Sutherland 1387 Prayer of Cyrus Brown, The Sam Walter Foss 1398 Rhyme for Christmas, A John Challing 1290 Siege of Djklxprwbz, The Ironquill 1246 Skeleton in the Closet, The Edward Everett Hale 1371 Songs Without Words Robert J. Burdette 1261 Talk John Paul 1307 Triolets C.W.M. 1262 Two Cases of Grip M. Quad 1239 Utah Eugene Field 1305 Wicked Zebra, The Frank Roe Batchelder 1322 Winter Fancy, A R.K. Munkittrick 1308 What She Said About It John Paul 1263 Woman-Hater Reformed, The Roy Farrell Greene 1359 Women and Bargains Nina R. Allen 1352
COMPLETE INDEX AT THE END OF VOLUME X.
BREITMANN AND THE TURNERS
BY CHARLES GODFREY LELAND
Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners Novemper in de fall, Und dey gifed a boostin' bender All in de Toorner Hall. Dere coomed de whole Gesangverein Mit der Liederlich Aepfel Chor, Und dey blowed on de drooms und stroomed on de fifes Till dey couldn't refife no more.
Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners, Dey all set oop some shouts, Dey took'd him into deir Toorner Hall, Und poots him a course of shprouts, Dey poots him on de barrell-hell pars Und shtands him oop on his head, Und dey poomps de beer mit an enchine hose In his mout' dill he's 'pout half tead!
Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners;— Dey make shimnastig dricks; He stoot on de middle of de floor, Und put oop a fifdy-six. Und den he trows it to de roof, Und schwig off a treadful trink: De veight coom toomple pack on his headt, Und py shinks! he didn't vink!
Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners:— Mein Gott! how dey drinked und shwore Dere vas Schwabians und Tyrolers, Und Bavarians by de score. Some vellers coomed from de Rheinland, Und Frankfort-on-de-Main, Boot dere vas only von Sharman dere, Und he vas a Holstein Dane.
Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners, Mit a Limpurg' cheese he coom; Ven he open de box it schmell so loudt It knock de musik doomb. Ven de Deutschers kit de flavor, It coorl de haar on dere head; Boot dere vas dwo Amerigans dere; Und, py tam! it kilt dem dead!
Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners; De ladies coomed in to see; Dey poot dem in de blace for de gals, All in der gal-lerie. Dey ashk: "Vhere ish der Breitmann?" And dey dremple mit awe and fear Ven dey see him schwingen py de toes, A trinken lager bier.
Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners:— I dells you vot py tam! Dey sings de great Urbummellied: De holy Sharman psalm. Und ven dey kits to de gorus You ought to hear dem dramp! It scared der Teufel down below To hear de Dootchmen stamp.
Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners:— By Donner! it vas grand, Vhen de whole of dem goes a valkin' Und dancin' on dere hand, Mit de veet all wavin' in de air, Gottstausend! vot a dricks! Dill der Breitmann fall und dey all go down Shoost like a row of bricks.
Hans Breitmann choined de Toorners, Dey lay dere in a heap, And slept dill de early sonnen shine Come in at de window creep; And de preeze it vake dem from deir dream, And dey go to kit deir feed: Here hat' dis song an Ende— Das ist DES BREITMANNSLIED.
CUPID, A CROOK
BY EDWARD W. TOWNSEND
The first night assignment Francis Holt received from his city editor was in these words: "Mr. Holt, you will cover the Tenderloin to-night. Mr. Fetner, who usually covers it, will explain what there is to do."
Fetner, when his own work was done that night, sought Holt to help him with any late story which might be troublesome to a new man. They were walking up Broadway when Fetner, lowering his voice, said: "Here's Duane, a plain-clothes man, who is useful to us. I'll introduce you."
As the reporters, in the full flood of after-theater crowds, stood talking to the officer, a young man hurrying past abruptly stopped and stepped to Duane's side.
"Well, Tommy, what's up with you?" the officer asked. Holt noted that Tommy, besides being breathed, was excited. His coat and hat had the provisional look of the apparel of house servants out of livery, and his trousers belonged to a livery suit. Tommy hesitated, glancing at Duane's companions, but the officer said: "Tell your story: these are friends of mine."
"I was just on my way to the station house to see the captain, but I'm glad I met you, for we don't want the papers to say anything, and there's always reporters around the station."
Holt would have stepped back, but Fetner detained him, while Duane said cheerfully: "You're a cunning one, Tommy. Now, what's wrong?"
"Well," began the youth in the manner of a witness on the stand, "I was on duty in the hall this evening and noticed one of our tenants, Mr. Porter H. Carrington, leave the house about ten o'clock. I noticed that he had no overcoat, which I thought was queer, for I'd just closed the front door, because it was getting chilly."
At the mention of the name Holt started, and now paid close attention to the story.
"I was reading the sporting extra by the hall light," Tommy continued, "when, in about twenty minutes, Mr. Carrington returned—that is, I thought it was Mr. Carrington—and he says to me, 'Tommy, run up to my dressing-room and fetch my overcoat.' 'Yes, sir,' I says; 'which one?' for he has a dozen of 'em. 'The light one I wore to-day,' he says, and I starts up the stairs, his apartment being on the next floor, thinking I'd see the coat he wanted on a chair if he'd worn it to-day. I'd just got to his hall and was unlocking the door, when he comes up behind me and says, 'I'll get it, Tommy; there's something else I want.' So in he goes, handing me a dime, and I goes back to the hall. In about fifteen minutes he comes downstairs wearing an overcoat and carrying a bundle, tosses me the key and starts for the door. He's the kind that never carries a bundle, so I says to him, 'Shall I ring for a messenger to carry your package?' 'No,' says he, and leaves the house."
Tommy paused, and there was a shake of excitement in his voice when he resumed: "In five minutes Mr. Carrington comes back without any overcoat, and says, Tommy, run upstairs and get me an overcoat.' I looks, and he was as sober as I am at this minute, Mr. Duane, and I begins to feel queer. It sort of comes over me all of a sudden that the voice of the other man I'd unlocked the door for was different from this one. But I'd been reading the baseball news, and didn't notice much at the time. So I says, hoping it was some kind of a jolly, 'Did you lose the one you just wore out, sir?' 'I wore no coat,' he says, giving me a look. Well, he goes to his apartment, me after him, and there was things flung all over the place, and all the signs of a hurry job by a sneak-thief. Mr. Carrington was kind of petrified, but I runs downstairs and tells the superintendent, and he chases me off to the station. The superintendent was mad and rags me good, for there never was a job of that kind done in the house. But the other man was the same looking as the real, so how was I to know?"
Duane started off with Tommy, and winked to the reporters to follow. At the Quadrangle, a bachelor apartment house noted for its high rents and exclusiveness, Duane was met at the entrance by the superintendent, who told the officer that there was nothing in the story, after all. It was a lark of a friend of his, Mr. Carrington had said, and was annoyed that news of the affair had been sent to the police. The superintendent was glad that Tommy had not reached the station house. Duane looked inquiringly at the superintendent, who gravely winked.
"Good night," said Duane, holding out his hand. "Good night," replied the other, taking the hand. "You won't report this at the station?" "No," said Duane, who then put his hand in his pocket and returned to the reporters. He told them what the superintendent had said.
"What do you make out of it?" asked Fetner.
"Nothing," the officer replied. "If I tried to make out the cases we are asked not to investigate, I'd have mighty little time to work on the cases we are wanted in. If Mr. Carrington says he hasn't been robbed, it isn't our business to prove that he has been. You won't print anything about this?"
Fetner said he would not. To have done so after that promise would have closed a fruitful source of Tenderloin stories. The reporters left the officer at Broadway and resumed their interrupted walk to supper. "Lots of funny things happen in the Tenderloin," Fetner remarked, in the manner of one dismissing a subject.
"But," exclaimed Holt, quite as excited as Tommy had been, "I know Carrington."
"So does every one," answered Fetner, "by name and reputation. He's just a swell—swell enough to be noted. Isn't that all?"
"He was a couple of classes ahead of me at college," continued Holt. "I didn't know him there—one doesn't know half of one's own class—but his family and mine are old friends, and without troubling himself to know me, more than to nod, he sometimes sent me word to use his horses when he was away. Before I left college and went to work on a Boston paper, Carrington started on a trip around the world. My people heard of him through his people at times, and learned that he was doing a number of crazy things, among them getting lost in all sorts of No-man's-lands. His people were usually asking the State Department to locate him, through the diplomatic and consular services."
"Then this is one of his eccentricities," commented Fetner.
"How can you treat it like that?" exclaimed Holt. "I think it is a fascinating mystery, and I'm going to solve it."
"Not for publication," warned Fetner.
"For my own satisfaction," declared Holt, with great earnestness.
* * * * *
When the superintendent of the Quadrangle had shaken hands with the officer he turned to Tommy and said: "You go up to Mr. Carrington. He wants to see you."
"Tommy," said Mr. Carrington, "I think this is a joke on you."
This view of the event was such a relief to Tommy that he grinned broadly.
"It is certainly a joke on you. Now, Thomas, did my friend make himself up to look so much like me that you could not have told the difference, even if you were not distracted by the discomfiture of the New York nine this season?"
"I can't say how much he looked like you, and how much he didn't. I naturally thought he was you—that's all."
"Not all, Thomas: nothing is all. He asked in an easy, nice voice for a coat, so you thought he was somebody who had a coat here. How did you know whose coat he preferred?"
"Because I thought he was you."
"If I had not been the last tenant to leave the house before that, would you have thought so? If Mr. Hopkins had just left, and that man had come in and asked for 'My coat,' wouldn't you have got Mr. Hopkins' coat?"
"Mr. Hopkins did go out after you," Tommy admitted, reluctantly.
"Oh, he did, eh? Well, Hopkins is always going out. I never knew such a regular out-and-outer as Hopkins. He should reform. It's a joke on you, Thomas, and if I were you I wouldn't say anything about it."
"I ain't going to say anything," declared Tommy. "If I don't lose my job for it, I'll be lucky."
"I'll see that you do not lose your job. What police did you see?"
"Only a plain-clothes man I know, and a couple of his side-partners. They won't say anything, for the superintendent fixed them."
* * * * *
Mr. Carrington secured his college degree a year after his class. The delay resulted from an occurrence which he never admitted deserved a year's rustication. By mere chance he had learned the date of the birthday of one of the least known and least important instructors, and decided that it would be well to celebrate it. So he made the acquaintance of the instructor and invited him to a birthday dinner. A large and exultant company were the instructor's fellow guests at the St. Dunstan, and there was jollity that seemed out of drawing with the dominant lines of the guest of honor; yet the scope of the celebration was extended until it included the burning of much red fire and explosion of many noisy bombs at a late hour, as the instructor was making a speech of thanks in the yard, surrounded by the dinner guests, heartily encouraging him. It seemed that upon the manner in which the affair was to be presented to the Faculty depended the dismissal of the instructor or the rustication of Mr. Carrington; and the latter managed to present the case so as to save the instructor. If he had foreseen all the consequences of taking all the blame for an occurrence promptly distorted in report into the aspect of a riotous carousal, perhaps Mr. Carrington would not have sacrificed himself for a neutral personality which had so recently swum into his ken. One consequence was a letter from Mr. Draper Curtis, of New York, commanding Mr. Carrington to cease correspondence with Miss Caroline Curtis; and a note from Caroline, in which a calmer man than a distracted lover would have seen signs of parental censorship, wherein that young lady said that she had read her father's letter and added her commands to his. She had heard from many sources, as had numerous indignant relatives and friends, the particulars of the shocking affair which had compelled the Faculty to discipline Mr. Carrington; and she could but agree with her family that her happiness would rest upon insecure ground if trusted to the inciter and principal offender in such a terrible transaction. He was to forget her at once, as she would try to forget him.
Caroline and her mamma sailed for Europe the next day, and several letters Carrington wrote to her, giving a less censurable version of the little dinner to the little instructor, were returned to him unopened.
After receiving his delayed degree Carrington began a tour around the world. In the court of the Palace Hotel, the day of his departure from San Francisco, a commonplace-looking man stepped up to him briskly, and said, placing a hand on his shoulder: "Presidio, you've got a nerve to come back here. You, to the ferry; or with me to the captain!"
Carrington turned his full face toward the man for the first time as he brushed aside the hand with some force. The man reddened, blinked, and then stammered: "Excuse me, but you did look so—Say, you must excuse me, for I see that you are a gentleman."
"Isn't Presidio a gentleman?" Carrington asked, good-naturedly, when he saw that the man's confusion was genuine.
"Why, Presidio is—do you mind sitting down at one of these tables? I feel a little shaky—making such a break!"
He explained that he was the hotel's detective, and had been on the city's police force. In both places he had dealings with a confidence man, called Presidio—after the part of the city he came from. Presidio was an odd lot; had enough skill in several occupations to earn honest wages, but seemed unable to forego the pleasure of exercising his wit in confidence games and sneak-thievery. Among his honest accomplishments was the ability to perform sleight-of-hand tricks well enough to work profitably in the lesser theater circuits. He had married a woman who made part of the show Presidio operated for a time—a good-looking woman, but as ready to turn a confidence trick as to help her husband's stage work, or do a song and dance as an interlude. They had been warned to leave San Francisco for a year, and not to return then, unless bringing proof that they had walked in moral paths during their exile.
"And you mistook me for Presidio?" asked Carrington, with the manner of one flattered.
"For a second, and seeing only your side face. Of course, I saw my mistake when you turned and spoke to me. Presidio is considered the best-looking crook we've ever had."
"Now, that's nice! Where did you say he's gone?"
"I don't know."
Carrington found that out for himself. He first interrupted his voyage by a stop of some weeks in Japan. Later, at the Oriental Hotel in Manila, the day of his arrival there, he saw a man observing him with smiling interest, a kind of smile and interest which prompted Carrington to smile in return. He was bored because the only officer he knew in the Philippines was absent from Manila on an expedition to the interior; and the man who smiled looked as if he might scatter the blues if he were permitted to try. The stranger approached with a bright, frank look, and said, "Don't you remember me, Mr. Carrington?"
"I was head waiter at the St. Dunstan."
"Oh, were you? Well, your face has a familiar look, somehow."
"Excuse my speaking to you, but I guess your last trip was what induced me to come out here."
"It is sort of funny. I'd saved a good deal—I'm the saving sort—and the tenner you gave me that night—you remember, the night of the dinner—happened to fetch my pile up to exactly five hundred. So I says to myself that here was my chance to make a break for freedom—independence, you understand."
"We're the very deuce for independence down our way."
"Yes, indeed, sir. I was awfully sorry to hear about the trouble you got in at college; but, if you don't mind my saying so now, you boys were going it a little that night."
"Going it? What night? There were several."
"The red-fire night. You tipped me ten for that dinner."
"Did I? I hope you have it yet, Mr.—"
"James Wilkins, sir. Did you see Mr. Thorpe and Mr. Culver as you passed through San Francisco?"
"I did. How did you happen to know that I knew them?"
"I remember that they were chums of yours at college. We heard lots of college gossip at St. Dunstan's. I called on them in San Francisco, and Mr. Thorpe got me half-fare rates here. I've opened a restaurant here, and am doing a good business. Some of the officers who knew me at the St. Dunstan kind of made my place fashionable. Lieutenant Sommers, of the cavalry, won't dine anywhere else."
"Sommers? I expected to find him here."
"He's just gone out with an expedition. He told me that you'd be along, and that I was to see that you didn't starve. I've named my place the St. Dunstan, and I'd like you to call there—I remember your favorite dishes."
"That's very decent of you."
Mr. Wilkins looked frequently toward the entrance, with seeming anxiety. "I wish the proprietor of this place would come in," he said at last. "Lieutenant Sommers left me a check on this house for a hundred—Mr. Sommers roomed here, and left his money with the office. I need the cash to pay a carpenter who has built an addition for me. Kind of funny to be worth not a cent less than five thousand gold, in stock and good will, and be pushed for a hundred cash."
"If you've Mr. Sommers' check, I'll let you have the money—for St. Dunstan's sake."
"If you could? Of course, you know the lieutenant's signature?"
"As well as my own. Quite right. Here you are. Where is your restaurant?"
"You cross the Lunette, turn toward the bay—ask anybody. Hope to see you soon. Good day."
Some officers called on Carrington, as they had been told to do by the absent Sommers. When introductions were over, one of them handed a paper to Carrington, saying gravely: "Sommers told me to give this to you. It was published in San Francisco the day after you left, and reached here while you were in Japan."
What Carrington saw was a San Francisco newspaper story of his encounter with the Palace Hotel detective, an account of his famous dinner at the St. Dunstan, some selections of his other college pranks, allusion to the fact that he was a classmate of two San Franciscans, Messrs. Thorpe and Culver, the whole illustrated with pictures of Carrington and Presidio—the latter taken from the rogues' gallery. "Very pretty, very pretty, indeed," murmured Carrington, his eyes lingering with thoughtful pause on the picture of Presidio. "Could we not celebrate my fame in some place of refreshment—the St. Dunstan, for instance?"
They knew of no St. Dunstan's.
"I foreboded it," sighed Carrington. He narrated his recent experience with one James Wilkins, "who, I now opine, is Mr. Presidio. It's not worth troubling the police about, but I'd give a pretty penny to see Mr. Presidio again. Not to reprove him for the error of his ways, but to discover the resemblance which has led to this winsome newspaper story."
The next day one of the officers told Carrington that he had learned that Presidio and his wife, known to the police by a number of names, had taken ship the afternoon before.
"I see," remarked Carrington. "He needed exactly my tip to move to new fields. He worked me from the article in the paper, which he had seen and I had not. Clever Presidio!"
* * * * *
When Tommy, the hall-boy, on the night of Mr. Holt's first Tenderloin assignment, went to inform the police, Carrington, looking about the apartment to discover the extent of his loss, found on a table a letter superinscribed, "Before sending for the police, read this." He read:
"Dear Mr. Carrington: Since we met in Manila I have been to about every country on top of the earth where a white man's show could be worked. It's been up and down, and down and up, the last turn being down. In India I got some sleight-of-hand tricks which are new to this country; but here we land, wife and me, broke. Nothing but our apparatus, which we can't eat; and not able to use it, because we are shy on dress clothes demanded by the houses where I could get engagements. In that condition I happened to see you on the street, and thought to try a touch; and would, but you might be sore over the little fun we had in Manila. I heard in South Africa that you wouldn't let the army officers start the police after me; and wife says that was as square a deal as she ever heard of, and to try a touch. But I says we will make a forced loan, and repay out of our salaries. We hocked our apparatus to get me a suit of clothes which looked something like those you wear, and the rest was easy: finding out Tommy's name and then conning him. I've taken some clothes and jewelry, to make a front at the booking office, and some cash. You should empty your pockets of loose cash: I found some in all your clothes. Give me and wife a chance, and we will live straight after this, and remit on instalment. You can get me pinched easy, for we'll be playing the continuous circuit in a week; but wife says you won't squeal, and I'll take chances. Yours, sincerely as always, Presidio."
So Carrington told the superintendent to drop the matter.
The Great Courvatals, Monsieur and Madame, showed their new tricks to the booking agent and secured a forty weeks' engagement at a salary which only Presidio's confidence could have asked.
Presidio liked New York, and exploited it in as many directions as possible. With his new fashionable clothing and his handsome face, he was admitted to resorts of a character his boldest dreams had never before penetrated. He especially liked the fine restaurants. None so jocund, so frank and free as Presidio in ordering the best at the best places. Mrs. Presidio did not accompany him; she was enjoying the more poignant pleasure of shopping, with a responsible theater manager as her reference! At a restaurant one midday, as Presidio was leisurely breakfasting, he became aware that he was the object of furtive observation by a young lady, seated with an elderly companion at a table somewhat removed. Furtive doings were in his line, and he made a close study of the party, never turning more than a scant half-face to do so. The manner of the young lady was puzzling. None so keen as Presidio in reading expression, but hers he could not understand. That she was not trying to flirt with him he decided promptly and definitively; yet her looks were intended to attract his attention, and to do so secretly. The elderly companion, when the couple was leaving the restaurant, stopped in the vestibule to allow an attendant to adjust her wrap, and Presidio seized that chance to pass close to the young lady, moving as slowly as he dared without seeming to be concerned in her actions. Her head was averted, but Presidio distinctly heard her breathe, rather than whisper, "Pass by the house to-morrow afternoon."
* * * * *
Presidio pondered. He was supposed to know where her house was; he was unwelcome to some one there; he was mistaken for some one else—Carrington!
When he told his wife about it she was in a fever of romantic excitement. Bruising knocks in the world, close approaches to the shades of the prison house, hardships which would have banished romance from a nature less robustly romantic, had for Mrs. Presidio but more glowingly suffused with the tints of romance all life—but her own! "Mr. Carrington has done us right, Willie," she declared; "once in Manila, when we simply had to get to Hong Kong; and here, where we wouldn't have had no show on earth if he hadn't lent you the clothes and cash for the start. There's something doing here, Willie; and I'm all lit up with excitement."
Presidio, who, of course, had followed the young lady to learn where she lived, passed the house the next day, the sedatest looking man on the sedate block. Presently a maid came from the house, gave him a beckoning nod, and hurried on round the corner. There she slipped him a note, saying as she walked on, "I was to give you this, Mr. Carrington."
Presidio took the note to his wife, and she declared for opening it. It was sealed, and addressed to another person; but to let such an informality as opening another's letters stand in the way of knowing what was going on around them would have been foreign to the nature of Presidio activities. This was the note:
"Dear Porter: Your letters to papa will not be answered. I heard him say so to mamma, yesterday. He is angry that you wrote to him on the very day I returned from Europe. He will send me back there if you try to see me, as you say you will, but dear, even at that cost I must see you once more. I have never forgotten, never ceased to love; but there is no hope! A companion accompanies me always, the one you saw in the restaurant; but the maid who will hand you this is trustworthy, and will bring me any message you give to her. If you can arrange for a moment's meeting it will give me something to cherish in my memory through the remainder of my sad and hopeless life. Only for a moment, dear.
Mrs. Presidio wept. Here was romance sadder, and therefore better, than any she had ever read; better, even, than that in the one-act dramas which followed their turns on the stage. "Have you ever studied his writing?" she asked her husband; and, promptly divining her plan, he replied, "I made a few copies of his signature on the Manila hotel register. You never know what will turn up." After a pause, he added eagerly, "Better yet!—there was some of his writing in the overcoat I borrowed from his rooms."
"Write to her; make an appointment, and have him on hand to keep it."
Here was work right in Presidio's line; his professional pride was fired, and he wrote with grave application:
"Darling Caroline: Thank you, sweetheart, for words which have kept me from suicide. Love of my life, I can not live until we meet! But only for a moment? Nay, for ever and ever!"
"That's beautiful!" declared Mrs. Presidio, looking over Willie's shoulder. He continued:
"I shall hand this to your maid; but you must not meet me there; it would be too dangerous. Leave your house one-half hour after receiving this, and go around the corner where you will see a lady, a relative of mine, who will drive with you to a safe tryst. Trust her, and heaven speed the hour! With undying love. Porter."
This was all written in a good imitation of Carrington's rather unusual handwriting, and approved by Mrs. Presidio; who, however, thought there should be some reference to the young lady's home as a beetled tower, and to her father as several things which Presidio feared might not be esteemed polite in the social plane they were operating in. He passed the house the next day, and the maid soon appeared. He learned from her that her mistress's companion was not at home; and then, hopeful because of this opportune absence, hurried off, leaving Mrs. Presidio round the corner in a carriage. He went to a club where, he had ascertained, Carrington usually was at that hour, and sent in the card of "M. Courvatal," on which he wrote, "Presidio." Carrington came out to him at once. "My dear Mr. Presidio, this is so kind of you," he said, regarding his caller with interest. "We've not met since Manila. I hope Mrs. Presidio is well, and that your professional engagements prosper. I went to see you perform last night, and was delighted."
"Thank you," the caller said, much pleased with this reception. "I'll be sending the balance of my little debt to you as soon as the wife has her dressmaking bills settled."
"Pray do not incommode the wife. The amount you have already sent was a pleasant—surprise. Can I be of any service to you to-day?"
"Well, it's like this, Mr. Carrington: I have an appointment for you this afternoon."
"With Miss Caroline Curtis."
"What do you mean?"
"Don't be offended, sir. Come with me, and see what you'll see. If I try any game, pitch into me, that's all."
The man's manner was now so earnest that Carrington, without a word, started with him. In the club entrance Presidio whispered, "Follow; don't walk with me. There's not much chance that any one here will recognize me, but if I was pinched on any old score you'd better not be in my company." He went ahead, and Carrington followed. They had walked down Fifth Avenue several blocks when Mr. Francis Holt cut in between them, and shadowed Presidio with elaborate caution. Carrington saw this, and mused. "I think I know that young man who has so plainly got friend Presidio under observation. Surely, it's Holt, a year or two after me. What can he—Hello, I say!"
Holt saw the intention of Presidio to turn off the avenue toward a little church round the corner, and advancing suddenly, laid a strong hand on Presidio's shoulder, saying, "Come quietly with me, and I'll make no fuss; but if you don't, I'll call a policeman."
Carrington overtook them. Holt was excited, wild-eyed, disheveled, and seemed not to have slept for a week. Presidio coolly awaited events.
"Hello, Holt!" exclaimed Carrington. "How are you, old chap? Haven't seen you for years."
"Good heavens, this is lucky!" cried Holt. "Carrington, since the night your rooms were plundered I've been on the track of this villain. I was bound to explain the mystery of that night; determined to prove that I could unravel a plot, detect a crime! Do you understand? This is the fellow who rifled your room. Robbed you!"
"Yes, I know, old fellow," Carrington replied soothingly, for he saw that Holt was half hysterical from excitement. "He's always robbing me, this chap is. It's a habit with him. I've come rather to like it. Walk along with us, and I'll tell you all about it."
They turned the corner and walked down the side street, but only Holt talked: of his sleepless nights and tireless days solving his first crime case. A carriage drove up to the curb and Mrs. Presidio stepped out. At a wink from Presidio Carrington stepped in.
"Betty," said Presidio to his wife, "shake hands with an old friend of mine and of Mr. Carrington's. I want you to know him. Mr. Holt, shake hands with Madame Courvatal, my wife."
"Why, Mr. Holt, glad to meet you personally!" exclaimed Betty. "This is the gent, Willie, I've told you about: comes to the show every night just before our turn, and goes out as soon as we are off."
"Glad you like the turn so much," Presidio said, smiling oddly. Holt, with his hand to his brow was gasping. The carriage door opened and Carrington's head emerged: "Oh, Holt, come here."
Holt, with a painfully dazed expression, went to the carriage. "My dear," Carrington said to some one inside who was struggling to hide, "this is Mr. Francis Holt; one of my oldest and dearest friends. He's the discreetest fellow I know and will arrange the whole matter in a minute. You must, darling! Fate has offered us a chance for life's happiness, and as I say—Holt, like a good fellow, go into the parsonage and explain who I am, and who Miss Caroline Curtis is. Your people know all the Curtises, and we're going to get married, and—don't protest, darling!—like a good chap, Holt, go and—for God's sake, man, don't stare like that! You know us, and can vouch for us. Tell the parson that the Curtises and Carringtons are always marrying each other. Holt! will you move?"
An hour later a little banquet was served in the private dining-room of a hotel, and Mrs. Carrington was explaining, between tears and laughter, how good, kind Madame Courvatal had told her that everything was ready for a wedding, and that she would be a cruel woman, indeed, not to make such a loving lover happy; and she couldn't make up her mind to say yes, and it was hard to say no—just after receiving Porter's despairing note.
"My note, dear?" asked Carrington, but Presidio coughed so loudly she did not hear her husband's question. Holt drank to the bride and groom several times before he began soberly to believe he was not in a dream. Mr. and Mrs. Presidio beamed broadly, and declared that life without romance was no kind of a life for honest folk to live.
"Holt!" exclaimed Carrington, when the train carriage was announced, "you've been a brick about all this. I don't know how to show my appreciation."
"I'll tell you how," suggested Presidio. "Let Mr. Holt be the one to tell Mr. Curtis. He deserves the privilege of informing the governor."
"The very thing, Holt, old chap!" cried Carrington. "Will you do it?"
"You're awfully kind," answered Holt, "but I think this old friend could do it with more art and understanding."
"What, my Willie?" cried Willie's wife. "He'll do it to the Queen's taste. Won't you, Willie?"
"I will, in company with Mr. Holt—my friend and your admirer. He sits in front every night," he added, in explanation to Carrington.
As the carriage with the happy pair drove away to the station, Presidio, with compulsive ardor, took the arm of Mr. Francis Holt; and together they marched up the avenue to inform Mr. Curtis of the marriage of his daughter.
TWO CASES OF GRIP
BY M. QUAD
"What's this! What's this!" exclaimed Mr. Bowser, as he came home the other evening and found Mrs. Bowser lying on the sofa and looking very much distressed.
"The doctor says it's the grip—a second attack," she explained. "I was taken with a chill and headache about noon and—"
"Grip? Second attack? That's all nonsense, Mrs. Bowser! Nobody can have the grip a second time."
"But the doctor says so."
"Then the doctor is an idiot, and I'll tell him so to his face. I know what's the matter with you. You've been walking around the backyard barefoot or doing some other foolish thing. I expected it, however. No woman is happy unless she's flat down about half the time. How on earth any of your sex manage to live to be twenty years old is a mystery to me. The average woman has no more sense than a rag baby."
"I haven't been careless," she replied.
"I know better! Of course you have! If you hadn't been you wouldn't be where you are. Grip be hanged! Well, it's only right that you should suffer for it. Call it what you wish, but don't expect any sympathy from me. While I use every precaution to preserve my health, you go sloshing around in your bare feet, or sit on a cake of ice to read a dime novel, or do some other tomfool thing to flatten you out. I refuse to sympathize with you, Mrs. Bowser—absolutely and teetotally refuse to utter one word of pity."
Mrs. Bowser had nothing to say in reply. Mr. Bowser ate his dinner alone, took advantage of the occasion to drive a few nails and make a great noise, and by and by went off to his club and was gone until midnight. Next morning Mrs. Bowser felt a bit better and made a heroic attempt to be about until he started for the office.
The only reference he made to her illness was to say:
"If you live to be three hundred years old, you may possibly learn something about the laws of health and be able to keep out of bed three days in a week."
Mrs. Bowser was all right at the end of three or four days, and nothing more was said. Then one afternoon at three o'clock a carriage drove up and a stranger assisted Mr. Bowser into the house. He was looking pale and ghastly, and his chin quivered, and his knees wabbled.
"What is it, Mr. Bowser?" she exclaimed, as she met him at the door.
"Bed—doctor—death!" he gasped in reply.
Mrs. Bowser got him to bed and examined him for bullet holes or knife wounds. There were none. He had no broken limbs. He hadn't fallen off a horse or been half drowned. When she had satisfied herself on these points, she asked:
"How were you taken?"
"W-with a c-chill!" he gasped—"with a c-chill and a b-backache!"
"I thought so. Mr. Bowser, you have the grip—a second attack. As I have some medicine left, there's no need to send for the doctor. I'll have you all right in a day or two."
"Get the doctor at once," wailed Mr. Bowser, "or I'm a dead man! Such a backache! So cold! Mrs. Bowser, if I should d-die, I hope—"
Emotion overcame Mr. Bowser, and he could say no more. The doctor came and pronounced it a second attack of the grip, but a very mild one. When he had departed, Mrs. Bowser didn't accuse Mr. Bowser with putting on his summer flannels a month too soon; with forgetting his umbrella and getting soaked through; with leaving his rubbers at home and having damp feet all day. She didn't express her wonder that he hadn't died years ago, nor predict that when he reached the age of Methuselah he would know better than to roll in snow-banks or stand around in mud puddles. She didn't kick over chairs or slam doors or leave him alone. When Mr. Bowser shed tears, she wiped them away. When he moaned, she held his hand. When he said he felt that the grim specter was near, and wanted to kiss the baby good-by, she cheered him with the prediction that he would be a great deal better next day.
Mr. Bowser didn't get up next day, though the doctor said he could. He lay in bed and sighed and uttered sorrowful moans and groans. He wanted toast and preserves; he had to have help to turn over; he worried about a relapse; he had to have a damp cloth on his forehead; he wanted to have a council of doctors, and he read the copy of his last will and testament over three times.
Mr. Bowser was all right next morning, however. When Mrs. Bowser asked him how he felt he replied:
"How do I feel? Why, as right as a trivet, of course. When a man takes the care of himself that I do—when he has the nerve and will power I have—he can throw off 'most anything. You would have died, Mrs. Bowser; but I was scarcely affected. It was just a play spell. I'd like to be real sick once just to see how it would seem. Cholera, I suppose it was; but outside of feeling a little tired, I wasn't at all affected."
And the dutiful Mrs. Bowser looked at him and swallowed it all and never said a word to hurt his feelings.
ALPHABET OF CELEBRITIES
BY OLIVER HERFORD
E is for Edison, making believe He's invented a clever contrivance for Eve, Who complained that she never could laugh in her sleeve.
O is for Oliver, casting aspersion On Omar, that awfully dissolute Persian, Though secretly longing to join the diversion.
R's Rubenstein, playing that old thing in F To Rollo and Rembrandt, who wish they were deaf.
S is for Swinburne, who, seeking the true, The good, and the beautiful, visits the Zoo, Where he chances on Sappho and Mr. Sardou, And Socrates, all with the same end in view.
W's Wagner, who sang and played lots, For Washington, Wesley and good Dr. Watts; His prurient plots pained Wesley and Watts, But Washington said he "enjoyed them in spots."
BY GELETT BURGESS
The Window has Four little Panes: But One have I; The Window-Panes are in its sash,— I wonder why!
My Feet they haul me 'round the House; They hoist me up the Stairs; I only have to steer them and They ride me everywheres.
Remarkable truly, is Art! See—Elliptical wheels on a Cart! It looks very fair In the Picture up there; But imagine the Ride when you start!
I'd rather have fingers than Toes; I'd rather have Ears than a Nose And as for my hair, I'm glad it's all there, I'll be awfully sad when it goes!
I wish that my Room had a floor; I don't so much care for a Door, But this walking around Without touching the ground Is getting to be quite a bore!
THE SIEGE OF DJKLXPRWBZ
Before a Turkish town The Russians came, And with huge cannon Did bombard the same.
They got up close And rained fat bombshells down, And blew out every Vowel in the town.
And then the Turks, Becoming somewhat sad, Surrendered every Consonant they had.
BY R.K. MUNKITTRICK
Down in the cellar dark, remote, Where alien cats the larder note, In solemn grandeur stands the goat.
Without he hears the winter storm, And while the drafts about him swarm, He eats the coal to keep him warm.
IN DEFENSE OF AN OFFERING
BY SEWELL FORD
Gracious! You're not going to smoke again? I do believe, my dear, that you're getting to be a regular, etc., etc. (Voice from across the reading table.)
A slave to tobacco! Not I. Singular, the way you women misuse nouns. I am, rather, a chosen acolyte in the temple of Nicotiana. Daily, aye, thrice daily—well, call it six, then—do I make burnt offering. Now some use censers of clay, others employ censers of rare white earth finely carved and decked with silver and gold. My particular censer, as you see, is a plain, honest briar, a root dug from the banks of the blue Garonne, whose only glory is its grain and color. The original tint, if you remember, was like that of new-cut cedar, but use—I've been smoking this one only two years now—has given it gloss and depth of tone which put the finest mahogany to shame. Let me rub it on my sleeve. Now look!
There are no elaborate mummeries about our service in the temple of Nicotiana. No priest or pastor, no robed muezzin or gowned prelate calls me to the altar. Neither is there fixed hour or prescribed point of the compass towards which I must turn. Whenever the mood comes and the spirit listeth, I make devotion.
There are various methods, numerous brief litanies. Mine is a common and simple one. I take the cut Indian leaf in the left palm, so, and roll it gently about with the right, thus. Next I pack it firmly in the censer's hollow bowl with neither too firm nor too light a pressure. Any fire will do. The torch need not be blessed. Thanks, I have a match.
Now we are ready. With the surplus breath of life you draw in the fragrant spirit of the weed. With slow, reluctant outbreathing you loose it on the quiet air. Behold! That which was but a dead thing, lives. Perhaps we have released the soul of some brave red warrior who, long years ago, fell in glorious battle and mingled his dust with the unforgetting earth. Each puff may give everlasting liberty to some dead and gone aboriginal. If you listen you may hear his far-off chant. Through the curling blue wreaths you may catch a glimpse of the happy hunting grounds to which he has now gone. That is the part of the service whose losing or gaining depends upon yourself.
The first whiff is the invocation, the last the benediction. When you knock out the ashes you should feel conscious that you have done a good deed, that the offering has not been made in vain.
Slave! Still that odious word? Well, have it your own way. Worshipers at every shrine have been thus persecuted.
HE AND SHE
When I am dead you'll find it hard, Said he, To ever find another man Like me.
What makes you think, as I suppose You do, I'd ever want another man Like you?
THE NOTARY OF PERIGUEUX
BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
Do not trust thy body with a physician. He'll make thy foolish bones go without flesh in a fortnight, and thy soul walk without a body a sennight after.
You must know, gentlemen, that there lived some years ago, in the city of Perigueux, an honest notary-public, the descendant of a very ancient and broken-down family, and the occupant of one of those old weather-beaten tenements which remind you of the times of your great-grandfather. He was a man of an unoffending, quiet disposition; the father of a family, though not the head of it,—for in that family "the hen over-crowed the cock," and the neighbors, when they spake of the notary, shrugged their shoulders, and exclaimed, "Poor fellow! his spurs want sharpening." In fine,—you understand me, gentlemen,—he was hen-pecked.
Well, finding no peace at home, he sought it elsewhere, as was very natural for him to do; and at length discovered a place of rest, far beyond the cares and clamors of domestic life. This was a little Cafe Estaminet, a short way out of the city, whither he repaired every evening to smoke his pipe, drink sugar-water, and play his favorite game of domino. There he met the boon companions he most loved; heard all the floating chitchat of the day; laughed when he was in merry mood; found consolation when he was sad; and at all times gave vent to his opinions, without fear of being snubbed short by a flat contradiction.
Now, the notary's bosom-friend was a dealer in claret and cognac, who lived about a league from the city, and always passed his evenings at the Estaminet. He was a gross, corpulent fellow, raised from a full-blooded Gascon breed, and sired by a comic actor of some reputation in his way. He was remarkable for nothing but his good-humor, his love of cards, and a strong propensity to test the quality of his own liquors by comparing them with those sold at other places.
As evil communications corrupt good manners, the bad practices of the wine-dealer won insensibly upon the worthy notary; and before he was aware of it, he found himself weaned from domino and sugar-water, and addicted to piquet and spiced wine. Indeed, it not unfrequently happened, that, after a long session at the Estaminet, the two friends grew so urbane that they would waste a full half-hour at the door in friendly dispute which should conduct the other home.
Though this course of life agreed well enough with the sluggish, phlegmatic temperament of the wine-dealer, it soon began to play the very deuse with the more sensitive organization of the notary, and finally put his nervous system completely out of tune. He lost his appetite, became gaunt and haggard, and could get no sleep. Legions of blue-devils haunted him by day, and by night strange faces peeped through his bed-curtains, and the nightmare snorted in his ear. The worse he grew, the more he smoked and tippled; and the more he smoked and tippled,—why, as a matter of course, the worse he grew. His wife alternately stormed, remonstrated, entreated; but all in vain. She made the house too hot for him,—he retreated to the tavern; she broke his long-stemmed pipes upon the andirons,—he substituted a short-stemmed one, which, for safe-keeping, he carried in his waistcoat-pocket.
Thus the unhappy notary ran gradually down at the heel. What with his bad habits and his domestic grievances, he became completely hipped. He imagined that he was going to die; and suffered in quick succession all the diseases that ever beset mortal man. Every shooting pain was an alarming symptom,—every uneasy feeling after dinner a sure prognostic of some mortal disease. In vain did his friends endeavor to reason, and then to laugh him out of his strange whims; for when did ever jest or reason cure a sick imagination? His only answer was, "Do let me alone; I know better than you what ails me."
Well, gentlemen, things were in this state, when, one afternoon in December, as he sat moping in his office, wrapped in an overcoat, with a cap on his head and his feet thrust into a pair of furred slippers, a cabriolet stopped at the door, and a loud knocking without aroused him from his gloomy revery. It was a message from his friend the wine-dealer, who had been suddenly attacked with a violent fever, and growing worse and worse, had now sent in the greatest haste for the notary to draw up his last will and testament. The case was urgent, and admitted neither excuse nor delay; and the notary, tying a handkerchief round his face, and buttoning up to the chin, jumped into the cabriolet, and suffered himself, though not without some dismal presentiments and misgivings of heart, to be driven to the wine-dealer's house.
When he arrived, he found everything in the greatest confusion. On entering the house, he ran against the apothecary, who was coming down stairs, with a face as long as your arm; and a few steps farther he met the housekeeper—for the wine-dealer was an old bachelor—running up and down, and wringing her hands, for fear that the good man should die without making his will. He soon reached the chamber of his sick friend, and found him tossing about in a paroxysm of fever, and calling aloud for a draught of cold water. The notary shook his head; he thought this a fatal symptom; for ten years back the wine-dealer had been suffering under a species of hydrophobia, which seemed suddenly to have left him.
When the sick man saw who stood by his bedside, he stretched out his hand and exclaimed,—
"Ah! my dear friend! have you come at last? You see it is all over with me. You have arrived just in time to draw up that—that passport of mine. Ah, grand diable! how hot it is here! Water,—water,—water! Will nobody give me a drop of cold water?"
As the case was an urgent one, the notary made no delay in getting his papers in readiness; and in a short time the last will and testament of the wine-dealer was drawn up in due form, the notary guiding the sick man's hand as he scrawled his signature at the bottom.
As the evening wore away, the wine-dealer grew worse and worse, and at length became delirious, mingling in his incoherent ravings the phrases of the Credo and Paternoster with the shibboleth of the dram-shop and the card-table.
"Take care! take care! There, now—Credo in—Pop! ting-a-ling-ling! give me some of that. Cent-e-dize! Why, you old publican, this wine is poisoned,—I know your tricks!—Sanctam ecclesiam catholicam—Well, well, we shall see. Imbecile! to have a tierce-major and a seven of hearts, and discard the seven! By St. Anthony, capot! You are lurched,—ha! ha! I told you so. I knew very well,—there,—there,—don't interrupt me—Carnis resurrectionem et vitam eternam!"
With these words upon his lips, the poor wine-dealer expired. Meanwhile the notary sat cowering over the fire, aghast at the fearful scene that was passing before him, and now and then striving to keep up his courage by a glass of cognac. Already his fears were on the alert; and the idea of contagion flitted to and fro through his mind. In order to quiet these thoughts of evil import, he lighted his pipe and began to prepare for returning home. At that moment the apothecary turned round to him and said,—
"Dreadful sickly time, this! The disorder seems to be spreading."
"What disorder?" exclaimed the notary, with a movement of surprise.
"Two died yesterday, and three to-day," continued the apothecary, without answering the question. "Very sickly time, sir,—very."
"But what disorder is it? What disease has carried off my friend here so suddenly?"
"What disease? Why, scarlet fever, to be sure."
"And is it contagious?"
"Then I am a dead man!" exclaimed the notary, putting his pipe into his waistcoat-pocket, and beginning to walk up and down the room in despair. "I am a dead man! Now don't deceive me,—don't, will you? What—what are the symptoms?"
"A sharp, burning pain in the right side," said the apothecary.
"O, what a fool I was to come here!"
In vain did the housekeeper and the apothecary strive to pacify him;—he was not a man to be reasoned with; he answered that he knew his own constitution better than they did, and insisted upon going home without delay. Unfortunately, the vehicle he came in had returned to the city, and the whole neighborhood was abed and asleep. What was to be done? Nothing in the world but to take the apothecary's horse, which stood hitched at the door, patiently waiting his master's will.
Well, gentlemen, as there was no remedy, our notary mounted this raw-boned steed and set forth upon his homeward journey. The night was cold and gusty, and the wind right in his teeth. Overhead the leaden clouds were beating to and fro, and through them the newly-risen moon seemed to be tossing and drifting along like a cock-boat in the surf; now swallowed up in a huge billow of cloud, and now lifted upon its bosom and dashed with silvery spray. The trees by the road-side groaned with a sound of evil omen; and before him lay three mortal miles, beset with a thousand imaginary perils. Obedient to the whip and spur, the steed leaped forward by fits and starts, now dashing away in a tremendous gallop, and now relaxing into a long, hard trot; while the rider, filled with symptoms of disease and dire presentiments of death, urged him on, as if he were fleeing before the pestilence.
In this way, by dint of whistling and shouting, and beating right and left, one mile of the fatal three was safely passed. The apprehensions of the notary had so far subsided, that he even suffered the poor horse to walk up hill; but these apprehensions were suddenly revived again with tenfold violence by a sharp pain in the right side, which seemed to pierce him like a needle.
"It is upon me at last!" groaned the fear-stricken man. "Heaven be merciful to me, the greatest of sinners! And must I die in a ditch, after all? He! get up,—get up!"
And away went horse and rider at full speed,—hurry-scurry,—up hill and down,—panting and blowing like a whirlwind. At every leap the pain in the rider's side seemed to increase. At first it was a little point like the prick of a needle,—then it spread to the size of a half-franc piece,—then covered a place as large as the palm of your hand. It gained upon him fast. The poor man groaned aloud in agony; faster and faster sped the horse over the frozen ground,—farther and farther spread the pain over his side. To complete the dismal picture the storm commenced,—snow mingled with rain. But snow, and rain, and cold were naught to him; for, though his arms and legs were frozen to icicles, he felt it not; the fatal symptom was upon him; he was doomed to die,—not of cold, but of scarlet fever!
At length, he knew not how, more dead than alive, he reached the gate of the city. A band of ill-bred dogs, that were serenading at a corner of the street, seeing the notary dash by, joined in the hue and cry, and ran barking and yelping at his heels. It was now late at night, and only here and there a solitary lamp twinkled from an upper story. But on went the notary, down this street and up that, till at last he reached his own door. There was a light in his wife's bedroom. The good woman came to the window, alarmed at such a knocking, and howling, and clattering at her door so late at night; and the notary was too deeply absorbed in his own sorrows to observe that the lamp cast the shadow of two heads on the window-curtain.
"Let me in! let me in! Quick! quick!" he exclaimed, almost breathless from terror and fatigue.
"Who are you, that come to disturb a lone woman at this hour of the night?" cried a sharp voice from above. "Begone about your business, and let quiet people sleep."
"Come down and let me in! I am your husband! Don't you know my voice? Quick, I beseech you; for I am dying here in the street!"
After a few moments of delay and a few more words of parley, the door was opened, and the notary stalked into his domicile, pale and haggard in aspect, and as stiff and straight as a ghost. Cased from head to heel in an armor of ice, as the glare of the lamp fell upon him, he looked like a knight-errant mailed in steel. But in one place his armor was broken. On his right side was a circular spot, as large as the crown of your hat, and about as black!
"My dear wife!" he exclaimed with more tenderness than he had exhibited for many years, "Reach me a chair. My hours are numbered. I am a dead man!"
Alarmed at these exclamations, his wife stripped off his overcoat. Something fell from beneath it, and was dashed to pieces on the hearth. It was the notary's pipe! He placed his hand upon his side, and, lo! it was bare to the skin! Coat, waistcoat, and linen were burnt through and through, and there was a blister on his side as large as your hand!
The mystery was soon explained, symptom and all. The notary had put his pipe into his pocket without knocking out the ashes! And so my story ends.
* * * * *
"Is that all?" asked the radical, when the story-teller had finished.
"That is all."
"Well, what does your story prove?"
"That is more than I can tell. All I know is that the story is true."
"And did he die?" said the nice little man in gosling-green.
"Yes; he died afterwards," replied the story-teller, rather annoyed by the question.
"And what did he die of?" continued gosling-green, following him up.
"What did he die of? why, he died—of a sudden!"
BY CLINTON SCOLLARD
Care is but a broken bubble, Trill the carol, troll the catch; Sooth, we'll cry, "A truce to trouble!" Mirth and mistletoe shall match.
Happy folly! we'll be jolly! Who'd be melancholy now? With a "Hey, the holly! Ho, the holly!" Polly hangs the holly bough.
Laughter lurking in the eye, sir, Pleasure foots it frisk and free. He who frowns or looks awry, sir, Faith, a witless wight is he!
Merry folly! what a volley Greets the hanging of the bough! With a "Hey, the holly! Ho, the holly!" Who'd be melancholy now?
SONGS WITHOUT WORDS
BY ROBERT J. BURDETTE
I can not sing the old songs, Though well I know the tune, Familiar as a cradle song With sleep-compelling croon; Yet though I'm filled with music As choirs of summer birds, "I can not sing the old songs"— I do not know the words.
I start on "Hail Columbia," And get to "heav'n-born band," And there I strike an up-grade With neither steam nor sand; "Star Spangled Banner" downs me Right in my wildest screaming, I start all right, but dumbly come To voiceless wreck at "streaming."
So, when I sing the old songs, Don't murmur or complain If "Ti, diddy ah da, tum dum," Should fill the sweetest strain. I love "Tolly um dum di do," And the "trilla-la yeep da"-birds, But "I can not sing the old songs"— I do not know the words.
She threw me a kiss, But why did she throw it? What grieves me is this— She threw me a kiss; Ah, what chances we miss If we only could know it! She threw me a kiss But why did she throw it!
Any girl might have known When I stood there so near! And we two all alone Any girl might have known That she needn't have thrown! But then girls are so queer! Any girl might have known, When I stood there so near!
WHAT SHE SAID ABOUT IT
BY JOHN PAUL
Lyrics to Inez and Jane, Dolores and Ethel and May; Senoritas distant as Spain, And damsels just over the way!
It is not that I'm jealous, nor that, Of either Dolores or Jane, Of some girl in an opposite flat, Or in one of his castles in Spain,
But it is that salable prose Put aside for this profitless strain, I sit the day darning his hose— And he sings of Dolores and Jane.
Though the winged-horse must caracole free— With the pretty, when "spurning the plain," Should the team-work fall wholly on me While he soars with Dolores and Jane?
I am neither Dolores nor Jane, But to lighten a little my life Might the Poet not spare me a strain— Although I am only his wife!
AN EDUCATIONAL PROJECT
BY ROY FARRELL GREENE
Since schools to teach one this or that Are being started every day, I have the plan, a notion pat, Of one which I am sure would pay. 'Twould be a venture strictly new, No shaking up of dusty bones; How does the scheme appeal to you? A regular school for chaperones!
One course would be to dull the ear, And one would be to dim the eye, So whispered love they'd never hear, And glance coquettish never spy; They'd be taught somnolence, and how Ofttimes closed eye for sleep atones; Had I a million, I'd endow A regular school for chaperones!
There's crying need in West and East For graduates, and not a source Supplying it. Some one at least Should start a correspondence course; But joy will scarce o'errun the cup Of maidenhood, my candor owns, Till some skilled Mentor opens up A regular school for chaperones!
BY BAYNARD RUST HALL
The camp was furnished with several stands for preaching, exhorting, jumping and jerking; but still one place was the pulpit, above all others. This was a large scaffold, secured between two noble sugar trees, and railed in to prevent from falling over in a swoon, or springing over in an ecstasy; its cover the dense foliage of the trees, whose trunks formed the graceful and massive columns. Here was said to be also the altar, but I could not see its horns or any sacrifice; and the pen, which I did see—a place full of clean straw, where were put into fold stray sheep willing to return. It was at this pulpit, with its altar and pen, the regular preaching was done; around here the congregation assembled; hence orders were issued; here, happened the hardest fights, and were gained the greatest victories, being the spot where it was understood Satan fought in person; and here could be seen gestures the most frantic, and heard noises the most unimaginable, and often the most appalling. It was the place, in short, where most crowded either with praiseworthy intentions of getting some religion, or with unholy purposes of being amused; we, of course, designing neither one nor the other, but only to see philosophically and make up an opinion. At every grand outcry a simultaneous rush would, however, take place from all parts of the camp, proper and improper, towards the pulpit, altar, and pen; till the crowding, by increasing the suffocation and the fainting, would increase the tumult and the uproar; but this, in the estimation of many devotees, only rendered the meeting more lively and interesting.
By considering what was done at this central station one may approximate the amount of spiritual labor done in a day, and then a week in the whole camp:
1. About day-break on Sabbath a horn blasted us up for public prayer and exhortation, the exercises continuing nearly two hours.
2. Before breakfast, another blast for family and private prayer; and then every tent became, in camp language, "a bethel of struggling Jacobs and prevailing Israels," every tree "an altar;" and every grove "a secret closet;" till the air all became religious words and phrases, and vocal with "Amens."
3. After a proper interval came a horn for the forenoon service; then was delivered the sermon, and that followed by an appendix of some half dozen exhortations let off right and left, and even behind the pulpit, that all might have a portion in due season.
4. We had private and secret prayer again before dinner;—some clambering into thick trees to be hid, but forgetting in their simplicity, that they were heard and betrayed. But religious devotion excuses all errors and mistakes.
5. The afternoon sermon with its bob-tail string of exhortations.
6. Private and family prayer about tea time.
7. But lastly, we had what was termed "a precious season," in the third regular service at the principia of the camp. This season began not long after tea and was kept up long after I left the ground; which was about midnight. And now sermon after sermon and exhortation after exhortation followed like shallow, foaming, roaring waters; till the speakers were exhausted and the assembly became an uneasy and billowy mass, now hushing to a sobbing quiescence, and now rousing by the groans of sinners and the triumphant cries of folks that had "jist got religion"; and then again subsiding to a buzzy state, occasioned by the whimpering and whining voices of persons giving spiritual advice and comfort! How like a volcanic crater after the evomition of its lava in a fit of burning cholic, and striving to resettle its angry and tumultuating stomach!
It is time, however, to speak of the three grand services and their concomitants, and to introduce several master spirits of the camp.
Our first character, is the Reverend Elder Sprightly. This gentleman was of good natural parts; and in a better school of intellectual discipline and more fortunate circumstances, he must have become a worthy minister of some more tasteful, literary and evangelical sect. As it was, he had only become what he never got beyond—"a very smart man;" and his aim had become one—to enlarge his own people. And in this work, so great was his success, that, to use his own modest boastfulness in his sermon to-day,—"although folks said when he came to the Purchase that a single corn-crib would hold his people, yet, bless the Lord, they had kept spreading and spreading till all the corn-cribs in Egypt weren't big enough to hold them!"
He was very happy at repartee, as Robert Dale Owen well knows; and not "slow" (inexpert) in the arts of "taking off"—and—"giving them their own." This trait we shall illustrate by an instance.
Mr. Sprightly was, by accident, once present where a Campbellite Baptist, that had recently taken out a right for administering six doses of lobelia, red pepper and steam to men's bodies, and a plunge into cold water for the good of their souls, was holding forth against all Doctors, secular and sacred, and very fiercely against Sprightly's brotherhood. Doctor Lobelia's text was found somewhere in Pope Campbell's New Testament; as it suited the following discourse introduced with the usual inspired preface:
DOCTOR LOBELIA'S SERMON
"Well, I never rub'd my back agin a collige, nor git no sheepskin, and allow the Apostuls didn't nither. Did anybody ever hear of Peter and Poll a-goin' to them new-fangled places and gitten skins to preach by? No, sirs, I allow not; no, sirs, we don't pretend to loguk—this here new testament's sheepskin enough for me. And don't Prisbeteruns and tother baby sprinklurs have reskorse to loguk and skins to show how them what's emerz'd didn't go down into the water and come up agin? And as to Sprightly's preachurs, don't they dress like big-bugs, and go ridin about the Purchis on hunder-dollur hossis, a-spunginin on poor priest-riden folks and a-eatin fried chickin fixins so powerful fast that chickins has got skerse in these diggins; and then what ain't fried makes tracks and hides when they sees them a-comin?
"But, dear bruthrun, we don't want store cloth and yaller buttins, and fat hossis and chickin fixins, and the like doins—no, sirs! we only wants your souls—we only wants beleevur's baptism—we wants prim—prim—yes, Apostul's Christianity, the Christianity of Christ and them times, when Christians was Christians, and tuk up thare cross and went down into the water, and was buried in the gineine sort of baptism by emerzhin. That's all we wants; and I hope all's convinced that's the true way—and so let all come right out from among them and git beleevur's baptism; and so now if any brothur wants to say a word I'm done, and I'll make way for him to preach."
* * * * *
Anticipating this common invitation, our friend Sprightly, indignant at this unprovoked attack of Doctor Lobelia, had, in order to disguise himself, exchanged his clerical garb for a friend's blue coatee bedizzened with metal buttons; and also had erected a very tasteful and sharp coxcomb on his head, out of hair usually reposing sleek and quiet in the most saint-like decorum; and then, at the bid from the pulpit-stump, out stepped Mr. Sprightly from the opposite spice-wood grove, and advanced with a step so smirky and dandyish as to create universal amazement and whispered demands—"Why! who's that?" And some of his very people, who were present, as they told me, did not know their preacher till his clear, sharp voice came upon the hearing, when they showed, by the sudden lifting of hands and eyebrows, how near they were to exclaiming: "Well! I never!"
Stepping on to the consecrated stump, our friend, without either preliminary hymn or prayer, commenced thus:
"My friends, I only intend to say a few words in answer to the pious brother that's just sat down, and shall not detain but a few minutes. The pious brother took a good deal of time to tell what we soon found out ourselves—that he never went to college and don't understand logic. He boasts, too, of having no sheepskin to preach by; but I allow any sensible buck-sheep would have died powerful sorry, if he'd ever thought his hide would come to be handled by some preachers. The skin of the knowingest old buck couldn't do some folks any good—some things salt won't save.
"I rather allow Johnny Calvin's boys and 'tother baby sprinklers,' ain't likely to have they idees physicked out of them by steam logic, and doses of No. 6. They can't be steamed up so high as to want cooling by a cold water plunge. But I want to say a word about Sprightly's preachers, because I have some slight acquaintance with that there gentleman, and don't choose to have them all run down for nothing.
"The pious brother brings several grave charges; first, they ride good horses. Now don't every man, woman and child in the Purchase know that Sprightly and his preachers have hardly any home, and that they live on horseback? The money most folks spend in land these men spend for a good horse; and don't they need a good horse to stand mud and swim floods? And is it any sin for a horse to be kept fat that does so much work? The book says 'a merciful man is merciful to his beast,' and that we mustn't 'muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.' Step round that fence corner, and take a peep, dear friends, at a horse hung on the stake; what's he like? A wooden frame with a dry hide stretched over it. What's he live on? Ay! that's the pint! Well, what's them buzzards after?—look at them sailing up there. Now who owns that live carrion?—the pious brother that's just preached to us just now. And I want to know if it wouldn't be better for him to give that dumb brute something to cover his bones, before he talks against 'hunder-dollur hossis' and the like?
"The next charge is, wearing good clothes. Friends, don't all folks when they come to meeting put on their best clothes? and wouldn't it be wrong if preachers came in old torn coats and dirty shirts? It wouldn't do no how. Well, Sprightly and his preachers preach near about every day; and oughtn't they always to look decent? Take, then, a peep at the pious brother that makes this charge; his coat is out at the elbow, and has only three or four buttons left, and his arm, where he wipes his nose and mouth, is shiny as a looking glass—his trousers are crawling up to show he's got no stockings on; and his face has got a crop of beard two weeks old and couldn't be cleaned by 'baby sprinklin''; yes, look at them there matters, and say if Sprightly's preachers ain't more like the apostles in decency than the pious brother is.
"A word now about chickin-fixins and doins. And I say it would be a charity to give the pious brother sich a feed now and then, for he looks half-starved, and savage as a meat-ax; and I advise that old hen out thare clucking up her brood not to come this way just now, if she don't want all to disappear. But I say that Sprightly's preachers are so much beliked in the Purchase, that folks are always glad to see them, and make a pint of giving them the best out of love; an' that's more than can be said for some folks here.
"The pious brother says he only wants our souls—then what makes him peddle about Thomsonian physic? Why don't he and Campbell make steam and No. 6 as free as preaching? I read of a quack doctor once, who used to give his advice free gratis for nothing to any one what would buy a box of his pills—but as I see the pious brother is crawling round the fence to his anatomical horse and physical saddle-bags, I have nothing to say, and so, dear friends, I bid you all good-by."
Such was Rev. Elder Sprightly, who preached to us on Sabbath morning at the Camp. Hence, it is not remarkable that in common with many worthy persons, he should think his talents properly employed in using up "Johnny Calvin and his boys," especially as no subject is better for popularity at a camp-meeting. He gave us, accordingly, first, that affecting story of Calvin and Servetus, in which the latter figured to-day like a Christian Confessor and martyr, and the former as a diabolical persecutor; many moving incidents being introduced not found in history, and many ingenious inferences and suppositions tending to blacken the Reformer's character. Judging from the frequency of the deep groans, loud amens, and noisy hallelujahs of the congregation during the narrative, had Calvin suddenly thrust in among us his hatchet face and goat's beard, he would have been hissed and pelted, nay possibly been lynched and soused in the branch; while the excellent Servetus would have been toted on our shoulders, and feasted in the tents on fried ham, cold chicken fixins and horse sorrel pies!
Here is a specimen of Mr. S.'s mode of exciting triumphant exclamation, amens, groans, etc., against Calvin and his followers: "Dear sisters, don't you love the tender little darling babes that hang on your parental bosoms? (amen!)—Yes! I know you do—(amen! amen!)—Yes, I know, I know it.—(Amen, amen! hallelujah!) Now don't it make your parental hearts throb with anguish to think those dear infantile darlings might some day be out burning brush and fall into the flames and be burned to death! (deep groans.)—Yes, it does, it does! But oh! sisters, oh! mothers! how can you think your babes mightn't get religion and die and be burned for ever and ever? (O! forbid—amen—groans.) But, oho! only think—only think, oh! would you ever a had them darling infantile sucklings born, if you had a known they were to be burned in a brush heap! (No, no!—groans—shrieks.) What! what! what! if you had foreknown they must have gone to hell?—(hoho! hoho—amen!) And does anybody think He is such a tyrant as to make spotless, innocent babies just to damn them? (No! in a voice of thunder.)—No! sisters! no! no! mothers! No! no! sinners, no!!—He ain't such a tyrant! Let John Calvin burn, torture and roast, but He never foreordained babies, as Calvin says, to damnation! (damnation!—echoed by hundreds.)—Hallelujah! 'tis a free salvation! Glory! a free salvation!—(Here Mr. S. battered the rail of the pulpit with his fists, and kicked the bottom with his feet—many screamed—some cried amen!—others groaned and hissed—and more than a dozen females of two opposite colors arose and clapped their hands as if engaged in starching, etc., etc.) No-h-o! 'tis a free, a free, a free salvation!—away with Calvin! 'tis for all! all! ALL! Yes! shout it out! clap on! rejoice! rejoice! oho-oho! sinners, sinners, sinners, oh-ho-oho!" etc., etc.
Here was maintained for some minutes the most edifying uproar of shouting, bellowing, crying, clapping and stamping, mingled with hysterical laughing, termed out there "holy laughing," and even dancing! and barking! called also "holy!"—till, at the partial subsidence of the bedlam, the orator resumed his eloquence.
It is singular Mr. S. overlooked an objection to the divine Providence arising from his own illustration. That children do sometimes perish by being burnt and drowned, is undeniable; yet is not their existence prevented—and that in the very case where the sisters were induced to say they would have prevented their existence! But, in justice to Mr. S., we must say that he seemed to have anticipated the objection, and to have furnished the reply; for, said he, in one part of his discourse, "God did not wish to foreknow some things!"
But our friend's mode of avoiding a predestined death—if such an absurdity be supposed—deserves all praise for the facility and simplicity of the contrivance. "Let us," said he, "for argument's sake, grant that I, the Rev. Elder Sprightly, am foreordained to be drowned, in the river, at Smith's Ferry, next Thursday morning, at twenty-two minutes after ten o'clock; and suppose I know it; and suppose I am a free, moral, voluntary, accountable agent, as Calvinists say—do you think I'm going to be drowned? No!—I would stay at home all day; and you'll never ketch the Rev. Elder Sprightly at Smith's Ferry—nor near the river neither!"
Reader, is it any wonder Calvinism is on the decline? Logic it can stand; but human nature thus excited in opposition, it can not stand. Hence, throughout our vast assembly to-day, this unpopular ism, in spite of Calvin and the Epistle to the Romans, was put down; if not by acclamation, yet by exclamation—by shouting—by roaring—by groaning and hissing—by clapping and stamping—by laughing, and crying, and whining; and thus the end of the sermon was gained and the preacher glorified!
The introductory discourse in the afternoon was by the Rev. Remarkable Novus. This was a gentleman I had often the pleasure of entertaining at my house in Woodville; and he was a Christian in sentiment and feeling; for though properly and decidedly a warm friend to his own sect, he was charitably disposed toward myself and others that differed from him ecclesiastically. His talents were moderate; but his voice was transcendently excellent. It was rich, deep, mellow, liquid and sonorous, and capable of any inflections. It could preserve its melody in an unruffled flow, at a pitch far beyond the highest point reached by the best-cultivated voice. His fancy naturally capricious, was indulged without restraint; yet not being a learned or well-read man, he mistook words for ideas, and hence employed without stint all the terms in his vocabulary for the commonest thoughts. He believed, too, like most of his brotherhood, that excitement and agitation were necessary to conversion and of the essence of religion; and this, with a proneness to delight in the music and witchery of his own wonderful voice, made Mr. Novus an eccentric preacher, and induced him often to excel at camp-meetings, the very extravagances of his clerical brethren, whom more than once he has ridiculed and condemned at my fireside.
The camp-meeting was, in fact, too great a temptation for my friend's temperament, and the very theater for the full display of his magnificent voice; and naturally, this afternoon, off he set at a tangent, interrupting the current of his sermon by extemporaneous bursts of warning, entreaty and exhortation. Here is something like his discourse—yet done by me in a subdued tone—as, I repeat, are most extravaganzas of the ecclesiastical and spiritual sort, not only here, but in all other parts of the work.
"My text, dear hearers," said he, "on this auspicious, and solemn, and heaven-ordered occasion, is that exhortation of the inspired apostle, 'Walk worthy of your vocation.'
"And what, my dear brethren, what do you imagine and conjecture our holy penman meant by 'walking?' Think ye he meant a physical walking, and a moving, and a going backward and forward thus? (represented by Mr. N.'s proceeding, or rather marching, a la militaire, several times from end to end of the staging). No, sirs!—it was not a literal walking and locomotion, a moving and agitating of the natural legs and limbs. No, sirs!—no!—but it was a moral, a spiritual, a religious, ay! yes! a philosophical and metaphorically figurative walking, our holy apostle meant!
"Philosophic, did I say? Yes: philosophic did I say. For religion is the most philosophical thing in the universe—ay! throughout the whole expansive infinitude of the divine empire. Tell me, deluded infidels and mistaken unbelievers! tell me, ain't philosophy what's according to the consistency of nature's regular laws? and what's more onsentaneous and homogeneous to man's sublimated moral nature, than religion? Yes! tell me! Yes! yes! I am for a philosophical religion, and a philosophical religion is for me—ay! we are mutually made and formed for this beautiful reciprocality!
"And yet some say we make too much noise—even some of our respected Woodville merchants—(meaning the author). But what's worth making a noise about in the dark mundane of our terrestrial sphere, if religion ain't? People always, and everywhere in all places, make most noise about what they opine to be most precious. See! yon banner streaming with golden stars and glorious stripes over congregated troops, on the Fourth of July, that ever-memorable—that never-to-be-forgotten day, which celebrates the grand annual anniversary of our nation's liberty and independence! when our forefathers and ancestors burst asunder and tore forever off the iron chains of political thraldom! and rose in plenitude, ay! in the magnificence of their grandeur, and crushed their oppressors!—yes! and hurled down dark despotism from the lofty pinnacle of its summit altitude, where she was seated on her liberty-crushing throne, and hurled her out of her iron chariot, as her wheels thundered over the prostrate slaves of power!—(Amen)—Yes!—hark!—we make a noise about that! But what's civil liberty to religious liberty, and emancipated disenthraldom from the dark despotism of yonder terrific prince of darkness! whose broad, black, piniony wings spread wide o'er the aerial concave like a dense cloud upon a murky sky?—(A-a-men!)—And ain't it, ye men of yards and measures, philosophical to make a noise about this?—(Amen!—yes!) Yes! yes! and I ain't ashamed to rejoice and shout aloud. Ay! as long as the prophet was ordered to stamp with his foot, I will stamp with my foot;—(here he stamped till the platform trembled for its safety)—and to smite with his hand, I will smite with my hand—(slapping alternate hands on alternate thighs.)—Yes! and I will shout, too!—and cry aloud, and spare not—glory! for—ever!—(and here his voice rang out like the sweet, clear tones of a bugle).
"And, therefore, my dear sisters and brethren, let us walk worthy of our vocation; not with the natural legs of the physical corporation, but in the apostolical way, with the metaphysical and figurative legs of the mind—(here Mr. N. caught some one smiling).—Take care, sinner, take care! curl not the scornful nose—I'm willing to be a fool for religion's sake—but turn not up the scornful nose—do its ministers no harm! Sinner, mark me!—in yon deep and tangled grove, where tall, aspiring trees wave green and lofty heads in the free air of balmy skies—there sinner, an hour ago, when the sonorous horn called on our embattled hosts to go to private prayer! an hour ago, in yonder grove I knelt and prayed for you!—(hooh!)—yes! I prayed some poor soul might be given for my hire!—and he promised me one!—(Glory! glory!—ah! give him one!)—laughing sinner!—take care!—I'll have you!—(Grant it—amen!—ooohoo!) Look out, I'm going to fire—(assuming the attitude of rifle-shooting)—bang!—may He send that through your heart!—may it pierce clean home through joints and marrow!—and let all people say amen!—(and here amen was said, and not in the tame style of the American Archbishop of Canterbury's cathedral, be assured; but whether the spiritual bullet hit the chap aimed at, I never learned; if it did, his groans were inaudible in the alarming thunder of that amen).
"Ay! ay! that's the way! that's the way! don't be ashamed of your vocation—that's the way to walk and let your light shine! Now, some wise folks despise light, and call for miracles: but when we can't have one kind of light, let us be philosophical, and take another. For my part, when I'm bogging about these dark woods, far away in the silent, somber shadows, I rejoice in sunshine; and would prefer it of choice, rather than all other celestial and translucent luminaries: but when the gentle fanning zephyrs of the shadowy night breathe soft among the trembling leaves and sprays of the darkening forests, then I rejoice in moonshine: and when the moonshine dims and pales away, with the waning silvery queen of heaven in her azure zone, I look up to the blue concave of the circular vault, and rejoice in starlight. No! no! NO! any light!—give us any light rather than none!—(Ah, do, good—!) Yes! yes! we are the light of the world, and so let us let our light shine, whether sunshine, or moonshine, or starlight!—(oohoo!)—and then the poor benighted sinner, bogging about this terraqueous, but dark and mundane sphere, will have a light like a pole star of the distant north, to point and guide him to the sunlit climes of yonder world of bright and blazing bliss!"—(A-a-amen!)
Such is part of the sermon. His concluding prayer ended thus—(Divine names omitted).
"Oh, come down! come, come down! down! now!—to-night!—do wonders then! come down in might! come down in power! let salvation roll! Come down! come! and let the earthquaking mighty noise of thy thundering chariot wheels be heard, and felt, and seen, and experienced in the warring elements of our spiritualized hearts!"
During the prayer, many petitions and expressions were so rapturously and decidedly encored, that our friend kindly repeated them; and sometimes, like public singers, with handsome variations; and many petitions by amateur zealots were put forth, without any notice of the current prayer offered by Mr. N., yet evidently having in view some elegancy of his sermon. And not a few petitions, I regret to say, seemed to misapprehend the drift and scope of the preacher. One of this sort was the earnest ejaculations of an old and worthy brother, who, in a hollow, sepulchral, and rather growly voice, bellowed out in a very beautiful part of the grand prayer: "Oohhoo! take away moonshine!"
But our first performance was to be at night: and at the first toot of the tin horn we assembled in expectation of a "good time." For, 1. All day preparation had been making for the night; and the actors seemed evidently in restraint, as in mere rehearsal: 2. The night better suits displays and scenes of any kind: but 3. The African was to preach; and rumor had said, "he was a most powerful big preacher, that could stir up folks mighty quick, and use up the ole feller in less than no time."
After prefatory prayers and hymns, and pithy exhortations by several brothers of the Circassian breed, our dusky divine, the Rev. Mizraim Ham, commenced his sermon, founded on the duel between David and Goliath.
This discourse we shall condense into a few pages; although the comedy or mellow-drama—for it greatly mellowed and relaxed the muscles—required for its entire action a full hour. There was, indeed, a prologue, but the rest was mainly dialogue, in which Mr. Ham wonderfully personated all the different speakers, varying his tone, manner, attitude, etc., as varying characters and circumstances demanded. We fear much of the spirit has evaporated in this condensation; but that evil is unavoidable.
REV. MIZRAIM HAM'S DISCOURSE
"Bruthurn and sisturn, tention, if you pleases, while I want you for to understand this here battul most partiklur 'zact, or may be you moughtn't comprend urn. Furst place, I gwyin to undevur to sarcumscribe fust the 'cashin of this here battul: second place, the 'comdashins of the armies: third place, the folkses as was gwyin for to fite and didn't want to, and some did: and last and fourth place, I'm gwyin for to show purtiklur 'zact them as fit juul, and git victry and git kill'd.
"Tention, if you please, while I fustly sarcumscribe the 'casion of this here battul. Bruthurn and sisturn, you see them thar hethun Fillystines, what warn't circumcised, they wants to ketch King Sol and his 'ar folks for to make um slave; and so, they cums down to pick a quorl, and begins a-totin off all their cawn, and wouldn't 'low um to make no hoes to hoe um, nor no homnee. And that 'ar, you see, stick in King Solsis gizurd; and he ups and says, says he, 'I'm not gwying to be used up that 'ar away by them uncircumcis'd hethun Fillystines, and let um tote off our folkses cawn to chuck to thar hogs, and take away our hoes so we can't hoe um—and so, Jonathun, we'll drum up and list soljurs and try um a battul.' And then King Sol and his 'ar folks they goes up, and the hethun and theirn comes down and makes war. And this is the 'cashin why they fit.
"Tention, 'gin, if you pleases, I'm gwyin in the next place secondly, to show the 'comdashins of this here battul, which was so fashin like. The Fillystines they had thar army up thar on a mounting, and King Sol he had hissin over thar, like, across a branch, amoss like that a one thar—(pointing)—and it was chuck full of sling rock all along on the bottom. And so they was both on um camp'd out; this a one on this 'ar side, and tother a one on tother, and the lilly branch tween um—and them's the 'comdashins.
"Tention once more agin, as 'caze next place thirdly, I'm a gwyin to give purtiklur 'zact 'count of sum folkses what fit and sum didn't want to. And lubly sinnahs, maybe you minds um, as how King Sol and his soljurs was pepper hot for fite when he fust liss um; but now, lubly sinnahs, when they gits up to the Fillystines, they cool off mighty quick, I tell you! 'Caze why? I tell you; why, 'caze a grate, big, ugly ole jiunt, with grate big eyes, so fashin—(Mr. Ham made giant's eyes here)—he kums a rampin' out a frount o' them 'ar rigiments, like the ole devul a gwyin about like a half-starv'd lion a-seeking to devour poor lubly sinnahs! And he cum a-jumpin and a-tearin out so fashin—(actions to suit)—to git sum of King Solsis soljurs to fite urn juul; and King Sol, lubly bruthurn and sisturn, he gits sker'd mighty quick, and he says to Jonathun and tother big officers, says he, 'I ain't a gwyin for to fite that grate big fellah.' And arter that they ups and says, 'We ain't a gwying for to fite um nuther, 'caze he's all kiver'd with sheetirun, and his head's up so high we muss stand a hoss back to reach um!'—the jiunt he was so big!!
"And then King Sol he quite down in the jaw, and he turn and ax if somebody wouldn't hunt up a soljur as would fite juul with um; and he'd give um his dawtah, the prinsuss, for wife, and make um king's son-in-law. And then one old koretur, they call him Abnah, he comes up and says to Sol so: 'Please, your majustee, sir, I kin git a young fellah to fite um,' says he. And Abnah tells how Davy had jist rid up in his carruge and left um with the man what tend the hossis—and how he heern Davy a quorl'n with his bruthers and a wantun to fite the jiunt. Then King Sol, he feel mighty glad, I tell you, sinnahs, and he make um bring um up, and King Sol he begins a-talkin so, and Davy he answers so:—
"'What's your name, lilly fellah?'
"'I was krissen'd Davy.'
"'Who's your farder?'
"'They call um Jesse.'
"'What you follur for livin?'
"'I 'tend my farder's sheep.'
"'What you kum arter? Ain't you affeerd of that 'ar grate ugly ole jiunt up thar, lilly Davy?'
"'I kum to see arter my udder brudurs, and bring um in our carruge some cheese and muttun, and some clene shirt and trowser, and have tother ones wash'd. And when I cum I hear ole Golliawh a hollerin out for somebody to cum and fite juul with um; and all the soljurs round thar they begins for to make traks mighty quick, I tell you, please your majuste, sir, for thar tents; but, says I, what you run for? I'm not a-gwyin for to run away—if King Sol wants somebody for to fite the jiunt, I'll fite um for um.'
"'I mighty feer'd, lilly Davy you too leetul for um—'
"'No! King Sol, I kin lick um. One day I gits asleep ahind a rock, and out kums a lion and a bawr, and begins a-totin off a lilly lam; and when I heern um roarin and pawin 'bout, I rubs my eyes and sees um gwyin to the mountings—and I arter and ketch'd up and kill um both without no gun nor sword—and I bring back poor lilly lamb. I kin lick ole Goliawh, I tell you, please your majuste, sir.'
"Then King Sol he wery glad, and pat um on the head, and calls um 'lilly Davy,' and wants to put on um his own armur made of brass and sheetirum and to take his sword, but Davy didn't like um, but said he'd trust to his sling. And then out he goes to fite the ole jiunt; and this 'ar brings me to the fourth and last diwishin of our surmun.
"'Tention once more agin, for lass time, as I'm gwyin to give most purtikurlust 'zactest 'count of the juul atween lilly Davy and ole Goliawh the jiunt, to show, lubly sinnah! how the Lord's peepul without no carnul gun nor sword, can fite ole Bellzybub and knock um over with the sling rock of prayer, as lilly Davy knocked over Goliawh with hissin out of the Branch.
"And to 'lusterut the juul and make um spikus, I'll show 'zactly how they talk'd, and jaw'd, and fit it all out; and so ole Goliawh when he sees Davy a kumun, he hollurs out so, and lilly Davy he say back so: