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Uncles Josh's Punkin Centre Stories
by Cal Stewart
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UNCLE JOSH'S PUNKIN CENTRE STORIES

By Cal Stewart



Preface

To the Reader.

The one particular object in writing this book is to furnish you with an occasional laugh, and the writer with an occasional dollar. If you get the laugh you have your equivalent, and the writer has his.

In Uncle Josh Weathersby you have a purely imaginary character, yet one true to life. A character chuck full of sunshine and rural simplicity. Take him as you find him, and in his experiences you will observe there is a bright side to everything.

Sincerely Yours

Cal Stewart

Contents PREFACE

LIFE SKETCH OF AUTHOR

MY OLD YALLER ALMANAC

ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK

UNCLE JOSH IN SOCIETY

UNCLE JOSH IN A CHINESE LAUNDRY

UNCLE JOSH IN A MUSEUM

UNCLE JOSH IN WALL STREET

UNCLE JOSH AND THE FIRE DEPARTMENT

UNCLE JOSH IN AN AUCTION ROOM

UNCLE JOSH ON A FIFTH AVENUE 'BUS

UNCLE JOSH IN A DEPARTMENT STORE

UNCLE JOSH'S COMMENTS ON THE SIGNS SEEN IN NEW YORK

UNCLE JOSH ON A STREET CAR

MY FUST PAIR OF COPPER TOED BOOTS

UNCLE JOSH IN POLICE COURT

UNCLE JOSH AT CONEY ISLAND

UNCLE JOSH AT THE OPERA

UNCLE JOSH AT DELMONICO'S

IT IS FALL

SI PETTINGILL'S BROOMS

UNCLE JOSH PLAYS GOLF

JIM LAWSON'S HOGS

UNCLE JOSH AND THE LIGHTNING ROD AGENT

A MEETING OF THE ANNANIAS CLUB

JIM LAWSON'S HOSS TRADE

A MEETING OF THE SCHOOL DIRECTORS

THE WEEKLY PAPER AT PUNKIN CENTRE

UNCLE JOSH AT A CAMP MEETING

THE UNVEILING OF THE ORGAN

UNCLE JOSH PLAYS A GAME OF BASE BALL

THE PUNKIN CENTRE AND PAW PAW VALLEY RAILROAD

UNCLE JOSH ON A BICYCLE

A BAPTISIN' AT THE HICKORY CORNERS CHURCH

A REMINISCENCE OF MY RAILROAD DAYS

UNCLE JOSH AT A CIRCUS

UNCLE JOSH INVITES THE CITY FOLKS TO VISIT HIM

YOSEMITE JIM, OR A TALE OF THE GREAT WHITE DEATH

UNCLE JOSH WEATHERSBY'S TRIP TO BOSTON

WHO MARCHED IN SIXTY-ONE



Life Sketch of Author

THE author was born in Virginia, on a little patch of land, so poor we had to fertilize it to make brick. Our family, while having cast their fortunes with the South, was not a family ruined by the war; we did not have anything when the war commenced, and so we held our own. I secured a common school education, and at the age of twelve I left home, or rather home left me—things just petered out. I was slush cook on an Ohio River Packet; check clerk in a stave and heading camp in the knobs of Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia; I helped lay the track of the M. K. & T. R. R., and was chambermaid in a livery stable. Made my first appearance on the stage at the National Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio, and have since then chopped cord wood, worked in a coal mine, made cross ties (and walked them), worked on a farm, taught a district school (made love to the big girls), run a threshing machine, cut bands, fed the machine and ran the engine. Have been a freight and passenger brakeman, fired and ran a locomotive; also a freight train conductor and check clerk in a freight house; worked on the section; have been a shot gun messenger for the Wells, Fargo Company. Have been with a circus, minstrels, farce comedy, burlesque and dramatic productions; have been with good shows, bad shows, medicine shows, and worse, and some shows where we had landlords singing in the chorus. Have played variety houses and vaudeville houses; have slept in a box car one night, and a swell hotel the next; have been a traveling salesman (could spin as many yarns as any of them). For the past four years have made the Uncle Josh stories for the talking machine. The Lord only knows what next!



My Old Yaller Almanac

Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall

I'M sort of fond of readin' one thing and another,

So I've read promiscus like whatever cum my way,

And many a friendly argument's cum up 'tween me and mother,

'Bout things that I'd be readin' settin' round a rainy day.

Sometimes it jist seemed to me thar wa'nt no end of books,

Some made fer useful readin' and some jist made fer looks;

But of all the different books I've read, thar's none comes up at all

To My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall.

I've always liked amusement, of the good and wholesome kind,

It's better than a doctor, and it elevates the mind;

So, often of an evening, when the farm chores all were done,

I'd join the games the boys would play, gosh how I liked the fun;

And once thar wuz a minstrel troop, they showed at our Town Hall,

A jolly lot of fellers, 'bout twenty of 'em all.

Wall I went down to see 'em, but their jokes, I knowed 'em all,

Read 'em in My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall.

Thar wuz Ezra Hoskins, Deacon Brown and a lot of us old codgers,

Used to meet down at the grocery store, what wuz kept by Jason Rogers.

There we'd set and argufy most every market day,

Chawin' tobacker and whittlin' sticks to pass the time away;

And many a knotty problem has put us on our mettle,

Which we felt it wuz our duty to duly solve and settle;

Then after they had said their say, who thought they knowed it all,

I'd floor 'em with some facts I'd got

From My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall.

It beats a regular cyclopedium, that old fashioned yeller book,

And many a pleasant hour in readin' it I've took;

Somehow I've never tired of lookin' through its pages,

Seein' of the different things that's happened in all ages.

One time I wuz elected a Justice of the Peace,

To make out legal documents, a mortgage or a lease,

Them tricks that lawyers have, you bet I knowed them all,

Learned them in My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall.

So now I've bin to New York, and all your sights I've seen,

I s'pose that to you city folks I must look most awful green,

Gee whiz, what lots of fun I've had as I walked round the town,

Havin' Bunco Steerers ask me if I wasn't Mr. Hiram Brown.

I've rode on all your trolloly cars, and hung onto the straps,

When we flew around the corners, sat on other peoples' laps,

Hav'nt had no trouble, not a bit at all,

Read about your city in My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall.



Uncle Josh Weathersby's Arrival in New York

WALL, fer a long time I had my mind made up that I'd cum down to New York, and so a short time ago, as I had my crops all gathered in and produce sold I calculated as how it would be a good time to come down here. Folks at home said I'd be buncoed or have my pockets picked fore I'd bin here mor'n half an hour; wall, I fooled 'em a little bit, I wuz here three days afore they buncoed me. I spose as how there are a good many of them thar bunco fellers around New York, but I tell you them thar street keer conductors take mighty good care on you. I wuz ridin' along in one of them keers, had my pockit book right in my hand, I alowed no feller would pick my pockits and git it long as I had it in my hand, and it shet up tight as a barrel when the cider's workin'. Wall that conductor feller he jest kept his eye on me, and every little bit he'd put his head in the door and say "hold fast." But I'm transgressin' from what I started to tell ye. I wuz ridin' along in one of them sleepin' keers comin' here, and along in the night some time I felt a feller rummagin' around under my bed, and I looked out jest in time to see him goin' away with my boots, wall I knowed the way that train wuz a runnin' he couldn't git off with them without breakin' his durned neck, but in about half an hour he brot them back, guess they didn't fit him. Wall I wuz sort of glad he took em cause he hed em all shined up slicker 'n a new tin whistle. Wall when I got up in the mornin' my trubbles commenced. I wuz so crouded up like, durned if I could git my clothes on, and when I did git em on durned if my pants wa'nt on hind side afore, and my socks got all tangled up in that little fish net along side of the bed and I couldn't git em out, and I lost a bran new collar button that I traded Si Pettingill a huskin' peg fer, and I got my right boot on my left foot and the left one on the right foot, and I wuz so durned badly mixed up I didn't know which way the train wuz a runnin', and I bumped my head on the roof of the bed over me, and then sot down right suddin like to think it over when some feller cum along and stepped right squar on my bunion and I let out a war whoop you could a heerd over in the next county. Wall, along cum that durned porter and told me I wuz a wakin' up everybody in the keer. Then I started in to hunt fer my collar button, cause I sot a right smart store by that button, thar warns another one like it in Punkin Centre, and I thought it would be kind of doubtful if they'd have any like it in New York, wall I see one stuck right in the wall so I tried to git it out with my jack knife, when along came that durned black jumpin' jack dressed in soldier clothes and ast me what I wanted, and I told him I didn't want anything perticler, then he told me to quit ringin' the bell, guess he wuz a little crazy, I didn't see no bell. Wall, finally I got my clothes on and went into a room whar they had a row of little troughs to wash in, and fast as I could pump water in the durned thing it run out of a little hole in the bottom of the trough so I jest had to grab a handful and then pump some more. Wall after that things went along purty well fer a right smart while, then I et a snack out of my carpet bag and felt purty good. Wall that train got to runnin' slower and slower 'till it stopped at every house and when it cum to a double house it stopped twice. I hed my ticket in my hat and I put my head out of the window to look at suthin' when the wind blew my hat off and I lost the durned old ticket, wall the conductor made me buy another one. I hed to buy two tickets to ride once, but I fooled him, he don't know a durned thing about it and when he finds it out he's goin to be the maddest conductor on that railroad, I got a round trip ticket and I ain't a goin' back on his durned old road. When I got off the ferry boat down here I commenced to think I wuz about the best lookin' old feller what ever cum to New York, thar wuz a lot of fellers down thar with buggies and kerridges and one thing and another, and jest the minnit they seen me they all commenced to holler—handsome—handsome. I didn't know I wuz so durned good lookin'. One feller tried to git my carpet bag and another tried to git my umbreller, and I jest told 'em to stand back or durned if I wouldn't take a wrestle out of one or two of them, then I asked one of 'em if he could haul me up to the Sturtevessant hotel, and by gosh I never heered a feller stutter like that feller did in all my life, he said ye-ye-ye-yes sir, and I said wall how much air you a goin' to charge me, and he said f-f-f-fif-fif-fifty c-c-cents, and I sed wall I guess I'll ride with you, but don't stop to talk about it any more cause I'd kinder like to git thar. Wall we started out and when we stopped we wuz away up at the other end of the town whar thar warn't many houses, and I sed to him, this here ain't the Sturtevessant hotel, and he sed n-n-n-no n-s-s-n-no sir, I sed why didn't you let me out at the hotel like I told ye, and he sed, b-b-b-be c-c-c b-b-be cause I c-c-c-c-couldn't s-s-s-say w-w-w-whoa q-q-q-q-quick enough. Wall I hed a great time with that feller, but I got here at last.



Uncle Josh in Society

WALL, I did'nt suppose when I cum down here to New York that I wuz a goin to flop right into the middle of high toned society, but I guess that's jist about what I done. You see I had an old friend a livin' down here named Henry Higgins, and I wanted to see Henry mighty bad. Henry and me, we wuz boys together down home at Punkin Centre, and I hadn't seen him in a long time. Wall, I got a feller to look up his name in the city almanac, and he showed me whar Henry lived, away up on a street called avenue five. Wall when I seen Henry's house it jist about took my breath away, I wuz that clar sot back. Henry's house is a good deal bigger'n the court house at Punkin Centre. Wall at first I didn't know whether to go in or not, but finally I mustered up my courage, and I went up and rang some new fangled door bell, when a feller with knee britches on cum out and wanted to know who it wuz I wanted to see. Gosh I couldn't say anything fer about a minnit, that feller jist looked to me like a picter I'd seen in a story book. Wall finally I told him I wanted to see Henry Higgins, if it wuz the same Henry I used to know down home at Punkin Centre. Wall I guess Henry he must a heered me talkin', cause he jist cum out and grabbed me by both hands and sed, "why Josh Weathersby, how do you do, cum right in." Wall he took me into the house and introduced me to more wimmin folks than I ever seen before in all my life at one time. I guess they were havin' some kind of society doins at Henry's house, one old lady sed to me, "my dear Mr. Weathersby, I am so pleased to meet you, I've heered Mr. Higgins speak about you so often." Wall by chowder, I got to blushin' so it cum pretty near settin' my hair on fire, but I sed, wall now I'm right glad to know you, you kind-er put me in mind of old Nancy Smith down hum, and Nancy, she's bin tryin' to git married past forty seasons that I kin remember on. Wall Henry took me off into a room by myself, and when I got on my store clothes and my new calf skin boots, I tell you I looked about as scrimptious as any of them. Wall they had a dance, I think they called it a cowtillion, and that wuz whar I wuz right to hum, I jist hopped out on the floor, balanced to partners, swung on the corners, and cut up more capers than any young feller thar, it jist looked as if all the ladies wanted to dance with me. One lady wanted to know if I danced the german, but I told her I only danced in English.

Wall after that we had something to eat in the dinin' room, and I hadn't any more'n got sot down and got to eatin right good, when that durn fool with the knee britches on insulted me, he handed me a little wash bowl with a towel round it, and I told him he needn't cast any insinuations at me, cause I washed my hands afore I cum in. If it hadn't a bin in Henry's house I'd took a wrestle out of him. Wall they had a lot of furrin dishes, sumthin what they called beef all over mud, and another what they called a-charlotte russia-a little shavin' mug made out of cake and full of sweetened lather, wall that was mighty good eatin', though it took a lot of them, they wasn't very fillin'. Then they handed me somethin' what they called ice cream, looked to me like a hunk of casteel soap, wall I stuck my fork in it and tried to bite it, and it slipped off and got inside my vest, and in less than a minnit I wuz froze from my chin to my toes. I guess I cut a caper at Henry's house.



Uncle Josh in a Chinese Laundry

I S'POSE I got tangled up the other day with the dogondest lookin' critter I calculate I ever seen in all my born days, and I've bin around purty considerable. I'd seen all sorts of cooriosoties and monstrosities in cirkuses and meenagerys, but that wuz the fust time I'd ever seen a critter with his head and tail on the same end. You see I sed to a feller, now whar abouts in New York do you folks git your washin' done; when I left hum to come down here I lowed I had enuff with me to do me, but I've stayed here a little longer than I calculated to, and if I don't git some washin' done purty soon, I'll have to go and jump in the river.

Wall he wuz a bligin sort of a feller, and he told me thar wuz a place round the corner whar a feller done all the washin', so I went round, and there was a sine on the winder what sed Hop Quick, or Hop Soon, or jump up and hop, or some other kind of a durned hop; and then thar wuz a lot of figers on the winder that I couldn't make head nor tail on; it jist looked to me like a chicken with mud on its feet had walked over that winder.

Wall I went in to see bout gittin' my washin' done, and gosh all spruce gum, thar was one of them pig tailed heathen Chineeze, he jist looked fer all the world like a picter on Aunt Nancy Smith's tea cups. I wuz sort of sot back fer a minnit, coz 'I sed to myself—I don't spose this durned critter can talk English; but seein' as how I'm in here, I might as well find out. So I told him I'd like to git him to do some washin' fer me, and he commenced a talkin' some outlandish lingo, sounded to me like cider runnin' out of a jug, somethin' like—ung tong oowong fang kai moi oo ung we, velly good washee. Wall I understood the last of it and jist took his word fer the rest, so I giv him my clothes and he giv me a little yeller ticket that he painted with a brush what he had, and I'll jist bet a yoke of steers agin the holler in a log, that no livin' mortal man could read that ticket; it looked like a fly had fell into the ink bottle and then crawled over the paper. Wall I showed it to a gentleman what was a standin' thar when I cum out, and I sed to him—mister, what in thunder is this here thing, and he sed "Wall sir that's a sort of a lotery ticket; every time you leave your clothes thar to have them washed you git one of them tickets, and then you have a chance to draw a prize of some kind." So I sed—wall now I want to know, how much is the blamed thing wuth, and he sed "I spose bout ten cents," and I told him if he wanted my chants for ten cents he could hav it, I didn't want to get tangled up in any lotery gamblin' bizness with that saucer faced scamp. So he giv me ten cents and he took the ticket, and in a couple of days I went round to git my washin', and that pig tailed heathen he wouldn't let me hev em, coz I'd lost that lotery ticket. So I sed—now look here Mr. Hop Soon, if you don't hop round and git me my collars and ciffs and other clothes what I left here, I'll be durned if I don't flop you in about a minnit, I will by chowder. Wall that critter he commenced hoppin around and a talkin faster 'n a buzz saw could turn, and all I could make out wuz—mee song lay tang moo me oo lay ung yong wo say mee tickee. Wall I seen jist as plain as could be that he wuz a tryin' to swindle me outen my clothes, so I made a grab fer him, and in less 'n a minnit we wuz a rollin' round on the floor; fust I wuz on top, and then Mr. Hop Soon wuz on top, and you couldn't hav told which one of us the pig tail belonged to. We upset the stove and kicked out the winder, and I sot Mr. Hop Soon in the wash tub, and when I got out of thar I had somebody's washin' in one hand and about five yards of that pig tail in tother, and Mr. Hop Soon, he wuz standin' thar yellin'—ung wa moo ye song ki le yung noy song oowe pelecee, pelecee, pelecee. I had quite a time with that heathen critter.



Uncle Josh in a Museum

WHEN I wuz in New York one day I wuz a walkin' along down the street when I cum to a theater or play doins' of some kind or other, so I got to lookin' at the picters, and I noticed whar it sed it only cost ten cents to go in, and I alowed I might as well go in and see it. Wall I don't spose I'd bin in thar over five minutes afore I made myself the laffin' stock of every one in thar. I noticed a feller a sottin' thar gittin' his boots blacked, and thar was a durned little pick pockit a pickin' his pockits. Wall I didn't want to see him git robbed, so I went right up to him and I sed—look out mister, you air gittin' your pockits picked, wall sir, that durned cuss never sed a word and every body commenced to laff, and I looked round to see what they wuz a laffin' at, and it wan't no man at all, nothin' only a durned old wax figger. I never felt so durned foolish since the day I popped the question to Samantha. Wall then I looked round a spell longer, and thar wuz a feller what they called the human pin cushion, and he wuz stuck chock full of needles and pins and looked like a hedge hog; he'd be a mighty handy feller at a quiltin'. Wall, then a feller cum along and sed, "everybody over to this end of the hall." Wall, I went along with the rest of them, and durn my buttins if thar wa'nt a feller what had more picters painted on him than thar is in a story book. Wall, I'd jist got to lookin' at him when that feller what had charge sed, "right this way everybody," and we all went into whar they wuz havin' the theater doins', and I got sot down and a feller cum out and sung a song I hadn't heered since I wuz a youngster. Neer as I kin remember it wuz this way—

Kind friends I hadn't had but one sleigh ride this year, And I cum within one of not bein' here, The facts I'll relate near as I kin remember, It happened some time 'bout last December. Li too ra loo ri too ra loo ri too ra loo la ri do.

The load was composed of both girls and boys, All tryin' to outdo the other in noise. And the way that we guarded agin the cold weather Wuz settin' all up spoon fashion together. Li too ra loo ri too ra loo ri too ra loo ri li do.

Wall, they had a parrit in that place and the way he sputtered and jabbered and talked! He wuz a whole show all to himself. Wall, I bought one of them birds from a feller one time—he said it wuz a good talker. Wall, I took it hum and hed it about three months, and it never sed a durned word. I put in most of my spare time tryin' to git it to say "Uncle Josh," but the durned critter wouldn't do it, so I got mad at him one day and throwed him out in the barn yard amongst the chickens, and left him thar. Wall, when I went out the next mornin', I tell you thar wuz a sight. Half of them chickens wuz dead, and the rest of 'em wuz skeered to death, and that durned parrit had a rooster by the neck up agin the barn, and jist a givin' him an awful whippin', and every time he'd hit him he'd say, "Now you say Uncle Josh, gol durn you, you say Uncle Josh."



Uncle Josh in Wall Street

I USED to read in our town paper down home at Punkin Centre a whole lot about Wall street and them bulls and bears, and one thing and another, so I jist sed to myself—now Joshua, when you git down to New York City, that's jist what you want to see. Wall, when I got to New York, I got a feller to show me whar it wuz, and I'll be durned if I know why they call it Wall street; it didn't hav any wall round it. I walked up and down it bout an hour and a half, and I couldn't find any stock exchange or see any place fer watterin' any stock. I couldn't see a pig nor a cow, nor a sheep nor a calf, or anything else that looked like stock to me. So finally I sed to a gentleman—Mister, whar do they keep the menagery down here. He sed "what menagery?" I sed the place whar they've got all them bulls and bears a fitin'. Wall he looked at me as though he thought I wuz crazy, and I guess he did, but he sed "you cum along with me, guess I can show you what you want to see." Wall I went along with him, and he took me up to some public institushun, near as I could make out it wuz a loonytick asylem. Wall he took me into a room about two akers and a half squar, and thar wuz about two thousand of the crazyest men in thar I ever seen in all my life. The minnit I sot eyes on them I knowed they wuz all crazy, and I'd hav to umer them if I got out of thar alive. One feller wuz a standin' on the top of a table with a lot of papers in his hand, and a yellin' like a Comanche injin, and all the rest of them wuz tryin' to git at him. Finally I sed to one of 'em—Mister, what are you a tryin' to do with that feller up thar on the table? And he sed, "Wall he's got five thousand bushels of wheat and we are tryin' to git it away from him." Wall, jist the minnit he sed that I knowed fer certain they wuz all crazy, cos nobody but a crazy man would ever think he had five thousand bushels of wheat in his coat and pants pockits. Wall when they wan't a looking I got out of thar, and I felt mighty thankful to git out. There wuz a feller standin' on the front steps; he had a sort of a unyform on; I guess he wuz Superintendent of the institushun; he talked purty sassy to me. I sed, Mister, what time does the fust car go up town. He sed "the fust one went about twenty-five years ago." I sed to him—is that my car over thar? He sed "no sir, that car belongs to the street car company." I sez, wall guess I'll take it anyhow. He says "you'd better not, thar's bin a good many cars missed around here lately." I sed, wall now, I want to know, is thar anything round here any fresher than you be? He sed, "yes, sir, that bench you're a sotten on is a little fresher; they painted it about ten minnits ago." Wall, I got up and looked, and durned if he wasn't right.



Uncle Josh and the Fire Department

ONE day in New York, I thot I'd rite a letter home. Wall after I'd got it all writ, I sed to the landlord of the tavern—now, whar abouts in New York do you keep the post offis? And he sed, "what do you want with the post offis?" So I told him I'd jist writ a letter home to mother and Samantha Ann, and I'd like to go to the post offis and mail it. And he told me "you don't have to go to the post offis, do you see that little box on the post thar on the corner?" I alowed as how I did. Wall he says, "You jist go out thar and put your letter in that box, and it will go right to the post offis." I sed—wall now, gee whiz, ain't that handy. Wall I went out thar, and I had a good deal of trouble in gittin' the box open, and when I did git it open, thar wan't any place to put my letter, thar wuz a lot of notes and hooks and hinges, and a lot of readin,' it sed—"pull on the hook twice and turn the knob," or somethin, like that, I couldn't jist rightly make it out. Wall I yanked on that hook 'till I tho't I'd pull it out by the roots, but I couldn't git the durned thing open, then I turned on the knob two or three times, and that didn't do any good, so I pulled on the hook and turned on the knob at the same time, and jist then I think all the fire bells in New York commenced to ringin' all to onct. Wall I looked round to see whar the fire wuz, and a lot of fire ingines and hook and ladder wagons cum a gallopin' up to whar I stood, and they had a big sody water bottle on wheels, and it busted and squirted sody water all over me. Wall one of them fire fellers, lookin' jist like I'd seen them in picters in Ezra Hoskin's insurance papers, he cum up to me madder'n a hornet, and he sed "what are you tryin' to do with that box?" So I told him I'd jist writ a letter home, and I wuz a tryin' to mail it. He sed "why you durned old green horn, you've called out the hull fire department of New York City." Wall I guess you could have knocked me down with a feather. I sed—wall you'r a purty healthy lookin' lot of fellers, it won't hurt ye any to go back, will it? Wall he sed, "thars your letter box over on thother corner, now you let this box alone." Wall they all drove away, and I went over to the other box, but I didn't know whether to touch it or not, I didn't know but maybe I'd call out the state legislater if I opened it. Wall while I wuz a standin' thar a feller cum along and looked all round, and when he thot thar wan't any body watchin' him, he opened that box and commenced takin' the letters out. Wall I'd heered a whole lot 'bout them post offis robbers, when I wuz post master down home at Punkin Center, so jist arrested him right thar, I took him by the nap of the neck and flopped him right down on the side walk, and sot on him, I hollered—MURDER! PERLEES! and every other thing I could think of, and a lot of constables and town marshalls cum a runnin' up, and one of them sed "what are you holdin' this man fer?" and I told him I'd caught him right in the act of robbin' the United States Post Offis, and by gosh I arrested him. Wall they all commenced a laffin', and I found out I'd arrested one of the post masters of New York City.

I lost mother's letter and she never did git it.



Uncle Josh in an Auction Room

I'D seen a good many funny things in New York at one time and another, so the last day I wuz thar, I wuz a packin' up my traps, a gittin' ready to go home, when I jist conclooded I'd go out and buy somethin' to remember New York by.

Wall I wuz a walkin' along down the street when I cum to a place whar they wuz auckshuneerin' off a lot of things. I stopped to see what they had to sell. Wall that place wuz jist chuck full of old-fashioned cooriositys. I saw an old book thar, they sed it wuz five hundred years old, and it belonged at one time to Loois the Seventeenth or Eighteenth, or some of them old rascals; durned if I believe anybody could read it.

Wall I commenced a biddin' on different things, but it jist looked as though everybody had more money than I did, and they sort of out-bid me; but finally they put up an old-fashioned shugar bowl fer sale, and I wanted to git that mighty bad, cos I thought as how mother would like it fust rate. Wall I commenced a biddin' on it, and it wuz knocked down to me fer three dollars and fifty cents I put my hand in my pockit to git my pockit book to pay fer it, and by gosh it was gone. So I went up to the feller what wuz a sellin' the things, and I sed—now look here mister, will you jist wait a minnit with your "goin' at thirty make it thirty-five, once, twice, three times a goin'", and he sed "wall now what's the matter with you?" And I sed, there's matter enuff, by gosh; when I cum in here I had a pockit book in my pockit, had fifty dollars in it, and I lost it somewhars round here; I wish you'd say to the feller what found it that I'll give five dollars fer it; another feller sed "make it ten," another sed "give you twenty," and another sed "go you twenty-five."

Durned if I know which one of 'em got it; when I left they wuz still a biddin' on it.

Advice—Advice is somethin' the other feller can't use, so he gives it to you.—Punkin Centre Philosophy.



Uncle Josh on a Fifth Ave. 'Bus

I WUZ always sort of fond of ridin', so I guess while I wuz down in New York I rode on about everything they've got to ride on thar. I wuz on hoss cars and hot air cars, and them sky light elevated roads. Wall, I had jist about cum to the conclushun that every street in New York had a different kind of a street car on it, but I found one that didn't have care of any kind, I think they call it Avenoo Five. Wall, I wuz a standin' thar one day a watchin' the people and things go by, when all to onct along cum the durndest lookin' contraption I calculate I ever seen in my life. It wuz a sort of a wagon, kind of a cross between a band wagon and a hay rack, and it had a pair of stairs what commenced at the hind end and rambled around all over the wagon. I sed to a gentleman standin' thar: "Mr. in the name of all that's good and bad, what do you call that thing?" He sed: "Wall, sir, that's a Fifth Avenoo 'bus." I sed: "Wall, now, I want to know, kin I ride on it?" And he sed: "You kin if you've got a nickel." Wall, I got in and sot down, and I jist about busted my buttins a laffin' at things what happened in that 'bus. Thar wuz a young lady cum in and sot down, and she had a little valise in her hand, 'bout a foot squar. Wall, she opened the valise and took out a purse and shet the valise, then she opened the purse and took out a dime, and shet the purse, opened the valise and put in the purse, and shet the valise, then she handed the dime to a feller sottin' out on the front of the 'bus, and he give her a nickel back. Then she opened the valise and took out the purse, shet the valise and opened the purse and put in the nickel and shet the purse, opened the valise and put in the purse and shet the valise, then sed, "Stop the bus, please." Wall, I had to snicker right out, though I done my best not to, but I jist couldn't help it. I didn't have any small change so I handed the feller a five-dollar bill. Wall, that feller jist sot and looked at it fer a spell, then he sed "whoa!" stopped the hosses, cum round to the hind end of the 'bus and he sed: "Who give me that five-dollar bill?" I sed: "I did, and it was a good one, too." He sed: "Wall, you cum out here, I want to see you." Wall, I didn't know what he wanted, but I jist made up my mind if he indulged in any foolishness with me I'd flop him in about a minnit. Wall, I got out thar, and he sed: "Now look here, honest injun, did you give me that five-dollar bill?" I sed: "Yes, sir, that's jist what I done," and he sed, "Wall, now, which one of the hosses do you want?" Gosh, I don't believe I'd gin him five dollars fer the whole durned outfit.

Ambition—Somethin' that has made one man a senator, and another man a convict.—Punkin Centre Philosophy



Uncle Josh in a Department Store

ONE day while I wuz in New York I sed to a feller, now whar kin I find one of them stores whar they hav purty near everything to sell what thar is on earth, and he sed "I guess you mean a department store, don't you?" I sed, wall I don't know bout that; they may sell departments at one of them stores, but what I want to git is some muzlin and some caliker. Wall he showed me which way to go, and I started out, and wuz walkin' along down the street lookin' at things, when some feller throwed a bananer peelin' on the sidewalk. Wall now I don't think much of a man what throws a bananer peelin' on the sidewalk, and I don't think much of a bananer what throws a man on the sidewalk, neether. Wall, by chowder, my foot hit that bananer peelin' and I went up in the air, and cum down ker-plunk, and fer about a minnit I seen all the stars what stronomy tells about, and some that haint been discovered yit. Wall jist as I wuz pickin' myself up a little boy cum runnin' cross the street and he sed "Oh mister, won't you please do that agin, my mother didn't see you do it." Wall I wish I could a got my hands on that little rascal fer about a minnit, and his mother would a seen me do it.

I found one of them stores finally, and I got on the inside and told a feller what I wanted, and he sent me over to a red-headed girl, and she sent me over to a bald-headed feller; she sed he didn't have anythin' to do only walk the floor and answer questions. Wall I went up to him and I sed, mister I'm sort of a stranger round here, wish you'd show me round 'til I do a little bargainin'. And he sed "Oh you git out, you've got hay seed in your hair." Wall I jist looked at that bald head of hisn, and I sed, wall now, you haint got any hay seed in YOUR hair, hav you? Everybody commenced a laffin', and he got purty riled, so he sed, smart like, "jist step this way, please." Wall he showed me round and I bought what I wanted, and when I cum to pay the feller what I had to pay, it didn't look as though I wuz a goin' to git any of my money back. I handed him a ten dollar bill, and he jist took it and put it in a little baskit and hitched it onto a wire, and the durned thing commenced runnin' all over the store. Wall now you can jist bet your boots I lit out right after it; I chased it up one side and down the other, I knocked down five or six wimmin clerks, and I upset five or six bargain counters; I took a wrastle out of that bald-headed feller, and jist then some one commenced to holler "CASH" and I sed yep, that's what I'm after. Wall I chased that durned little baskit round 'til I got up to it, and when I did I was right thar whar I started from. Gee whiz, I never felt more foolish in all my life.

Prosperity—Consists principally of contentment; for the man who is contented is prosperous, in his own way of thinking, though his neighbors may have a different opinion. —Punkin Centre Philosophy.



Uncle Josh's Comments on the Signs Seen in New York

I SEEN a good many funny things when I wuz in New York, but I think some of the sines what they've got on some of the bildins' are 'bout as funny as anything I ever seen in my life.

I wuz walkin' down the street one day and I seen a sine, it sed "Quick Lunch." Wall, I felt a little hungry, so I went into the resturant or bordin' house, or whatever they call it, and they had some sines hangin' on the walls in thar that jist about made me laff all over. I noticed one sine sed "Put your trust in the Lord," and right under it wuz another sine what sed "Try our mince pies." Wall, I tried one of them, and I want to tell you right now, if you eat many of them mince pies you want to put your trust in the Lord.

Wall, I got out of thar, and I walked along fer quite a spell, and finally I cum to a store what had a lot of red, white and blue, and yeller and purple lights in the winder. Wall, I stopped to look at it, cos it wuz a purty thing, and they had a sine in that winder that jist tickled me, it sed, "Frog in your throat 10C." I wouldn't put one of them critters in my throat fer ten dollars.

Wall, jist a little further up the street I seen another sine what sed "Boots blacked on the inside." Now, any feller what gits his boots blacked on the inside ain't got much respect fer his socks. I git mine blacked on the outside. Then I cum to a sine what had a lot of 'lectric lights shinin' on it, and I could read it jist as plain as day; so I happened to turn round and when I looked at that sine agin, it wa'nt the same sine at all, and jist then it changed right in front of my very eyes, and I cum to the conclooshun that some feller on the inside wuz a turnin' on it jist to have fun with folks, so I cum away; but I had a mighty good laff or two watchin' other folks git fooled, cos it would turn fust one way and then the t'other, and 'fore you could make up your mind what it wuz, the durned thing wouldn't be that at all.

A little further up the street I seen a sine what sed, "This is the door." Now, any durned fool could see it wuz a door. And then I seen another sine what sed "Walk in." Wall, now, I wunder how in thunder they thought a feller wuz a goin' to cum in, on hoss back, or on a bisickle, or how. And then I seen another sine, it wuz in a winder and had a lot of tools around it, and the sine sed, "Cast iron sinks." Wall, now, any durned fool what don't know that cast iron sinks, ought to have some one feel his head and find out what ails him.



Uncle Josh on a Street Car

NOW I'll jist bet I had more fun to the squar inch while I wuz in New York, than any old feller what ever broke out of a New England smoke house. I had a little the durnd'st time a ridin' on them street cars what they got thar. Wall I wa'nt a ridin' on 'emnear as much as I wuz a runnin' after 'em tryin' to ketch 'em. Gosh, I wuz a runnin' after street cars and fire ingines, and every durned thing with red wheels on it, I calculate I run about a mile and a half after a feller one day to tell him the water what he had in his wagon wuz all leakin' out, and when I caught up to him I found out it wuz a durned old sprinklin' cart.

Wall I got on one of them street cars one day, and it wuz purty crowded, and thar wa'nt any place fer me to sot down, so I had to hang onto one of them little harness straps along side of the car. So I got holt of a strap and I wuz hangin' on, when the conductor sed "old man, you'r goin' to be in the road thar, you'd better move up a little further, wall I moved up a little ways and I stepped on a feller's toe, and gee whiz, he got madder'n a wet hen, he sed, 'can't you see whar you'r a steppin'?" I sed, "guess I kin, but you brought them feet in here, and I've got to step some whar." Wall every one begin to laff, and the conductor sed, "old man you'r makin' too much trouble, you'll have to move for'ard again," and I got off 'n the gosh durned old car; I paid him a nickel to ride, but I guess I might as well have walked, I wuz a walkin' purty much all the time I wuz in thar.

Wall I got onto another car, and I got sot down, and I never laffed so much in all my life. Up in one end of the car thar wuz a little slim lady, and right along side of her wuz a big fleshy lady, and it didn't look as though the little slim lady wuz a gittin' more'n about two cents and a half worth of room, so finally she turned round to the fleshy lady and sed, "they ought to charge by weight on this line," and the big lady sed "Wall if they did they wouldn't stop fer you." Gosh I had to snicker right out loud.

Thar wuz a little boy a sottin' alongside of the big lady, and three ladys got onto the car all to onct, and thar wa'nt any place fer 'em to sot down, and so the big lady sed—"little boy, you'd oughter git up and let one of them ladys sot down," and the little boy sed, "you git up and they can all sot down." Wall by that time your uncle wuz a laffin' right out.

Sottin' right alongside of me wuz a lady and she had the purtiest little baby I calculate I'd ever seen in all my born days, I wanted to be sociable with the little feller so I jist sort of waved my hand at him, and sed how-d'e-do baby, and that lady just looked et me scornful like and sed "rubber," wall I wuz never more sot back, I guess you could have knocked me down with a feather, I thought it was a genuine baby, I didn't know the little thing was rubber.

Wall I noticed up in one end of the car thar wuz a little round masheen, and the conductor had a clothes line tied to it, and every time he got a nickel he'd yank on that clothes line, and fust it sed in and then it sed out, I couldn't tell what all them little ins and outs meant, but I jist cum to the conclusion it showed how much the conductor wuz in and the company wuz out.

Wall I got to talkin' to that feller on the front end of the car, and he wuz a purty nice sort of a feller, he showed me how every thing worked and told me all about it, wall when I got off I sed—good bye, mister, hope I'll see you agin some time, and he sed, "oh, I'll run across you one of these days," I told him by gosh he wouldn't run across me if I seen him a comin'.



My Fust Pair of Copper Toed Boots

THAR'S a feelin' of pleasure, mixed in with some pain,

That over my memory scoots,

When I think of my boyhood days once again

And my fust pair of copper toed boots.

How our folks stood around when I fust tried them on,

And bravely marched out on the floor,

And father remarked "thar a mighty good fit

And the best to be had at the store."

That night, I remember, I took them to bed,

With the rest of us little galoots,

And among other things in my prars which I sed

Wuz a reference to copper toed boots.

And then in the mornin' the fust one on hand

Wuz me and my new acquisition,

And thar wuzn't a spot in the house that I missed,

From the garret clar down to the kitchen.

Then with feelin's expandin', and huntin' fer room,

I concluded I'd help do the chores;

Fer I felt as though somethin' wuz goin' to bust

If I didn't git right out of doors.

But those boots they were new, and the ice it wuz slick,

And I couldn't get one way or tother,

And I jist had to stand right there in one spot

And holler like thunder fer mother.

But trouble's a blessing sometimes in disguise

Fer I larned right thar on the spot,

That the best sort of knowledge to hav in this world

Is that by experience taught.

So though many years have since passed away,

And I've ventured on various routes,

I'm still tryin' things jist as risky today

As my fust pair of copper toed boots.



Uncle Josh in Police Court

I NEVER wuz in a town in my life what had as many cort houses in it as New York has got. It jist seemed to me like every judge in New York had a cort house of his own, and most of them cort houses seemed to be along side of some markit house. Thar wuz the Jefferson Markit Cort, and the Essicks Markit Cort, and several other corts and markits, and markits and corts, I can't remember now. Wall, I used to be Jestice of the Peece down home at Punkin Center, and I wuz a little anxious to see how they handled law and jestice in New York City, so one mornin' I went down to one of them cort houses, and thar wuz more different kinds of people in thar than I ever seen afore. Thar wuz all kinds of nationalitys—Norweegans, Germans, Sweeds, Hebrews, and Skandynavians, Irish and colored folks, old and young, dirty and clean, good, bad and worse. The Judge, he wuz a sottin' up on the bench, and a sayin,: "Ten days; ten dollars; Geery society; foundlin' asylum; case dismissed; bring in the next prisoner," and the Lord only knows what else. Wall, some of the cases they tried in that cort house made me snicker right out loud. They brought in a little Irish feller, and the Judge sed: "Prisoner, what is your name?" And the little Irish feller sed: "Judge, your honor, my name is McGiness, Patrick McGiness." And the Judge sed: "Mr. McGiness, what is your occupation?" And the little Irish feller sed: "Judge, your honor, I am a sailor." The Judge sed: "Mr. McGiness, you don't look to me as though you ever saw a ship in all your life." And the little Irish feller sed: "Wall Judge, your honor, if I never saw a ship in me life, do you think I cum over from Ireland in a wagon?" The Judge sed: "Case dismissed. Bring in the next prisoner."

Wall, the next prisoner what they brought in had sort of an impediment in his talk, and the way he stuttered jist beat all. The Judge sed: "Prisoner, what is your name?" And the prisoner sed: "Jd-Jd-J-J-Judge, yr-yr-yo-yo-your h-h-h-hon-hon-honor, m-mm-my-my n-n-na-na-name is-is-is——." The Judge sed: "Never mind, that will do. Officer, what is this prisoner charged with?" And the officer sed: "Judge, your honor, the way he talks sounds to me like he might be charged with sody water." Gosh, I got to laffin' so I had to git right out of the cort house.

It sort of made me think of a law soot we had down hum when Jim Lawson wuz Jestice of the Peece. You see it wuz like this: One spring Si Pettingill wuz goin' out to Mizoori to be gone 'bout a year, and he'd sold off 'bout all his things 'cept one cow, and he didn't want to part with the cow, 'cause she wuz a mighty good milker, so he struck a bargin with Lige Willet. Lige wuz to keep the cow, paster and feed her, and generally take keer on her fer the milk she giv. Wall, finally Si cum hum, and he went to Lige's place one day and sed: "Wall, Lige, I've cum over to git my cow." And Lige sed: "Cum after your cow? Wall, if you've got any cow round here I'll be durned if I know it." Si sed: "Wall, Lige, I left my cow with you." And Lige sed: "Wall, that's a year ago, and she's et her head off two or three times since then." So Si sed: "Wall, Lige, you've had her milk fer her keep." And Lige sed: "Milk be durned, she went dry three weeks after you left, and she ain't give any milk since, and near as I can figger it out, seems to me as how I've pestered her and fed her all this time, she's my cow." Si sed: "No, Lige, that wa'nt the bargin." But Lige sed: "Bargin or no bargin, I've got her, and seein' as how posession is 'bout nine points in the law, I'm goin' to keep her."

So they went to law about it, and all Punkin Centre turned out to heer the trial. Wall, after Jim Lawson had heered both sides of the case, he sed: "The Cort is compelled, from the evidence sot forth in this case, to find for the plaintiff, the aforesaid Silas Pettingill, as agin' the defendant, the aforesaid Elijah Willet. We find from the evidence sot forth that the cow critter in question is a valuable critter, and wuth more 'n a year's paster and keep, and, tharfore, it is the verdict of this cort that the aforesaid defendant, Elijah Willet, shall keep the cow two weeks longer, and then she is hisn."



Uncle Josh at Coney Island

I'D heerd tell a whole lot at various times 'bout that place what they call Coney Iland, and while I wuz down In New York, I jist made up my mind I wuz a goin' to see it, so one day I got on one of them keers what goes across the Brooklyn bridge, and I started out for Coney Iland. Settin' right along side of me in the keer wuz an old lady, and she seemed sort of figity 'bout somethin' or other, and finaly she sed to me "mister, do these cars stop when we git on the other side of the bridge?" I sed, wall now if they don't you'll git the durndest bump you ever got in your life.

Wall we got on the other side, and I got on one of them tra-la-lu cars what goes down to Coney Iland. I give the car feller a dollar, and he put it in his pockit jist the same as if it belonged to him. Wall, when I wuz gittin' purty near thar I sed, Mister, don't I git any change? He sed, "didn't you see that sign on the car?" I sed, no sir. Wall he sez "you better go out and look at it."

Wall I went out and looked at it, and that settled it. It sed "This car goes to Coney Iland without change." Guess it did; I'll be durned if I got any.

Wall we got down thar, and I must say of all the pandemonium and hubbub I ever heered in my life, Coney Iland beats it all. Bout the fust thing I seen thar wuz a place what they called "Shoot the Shoots." It looked like a big hoss troff stood on end, one end in a duck pond and tother end up in the air, and they would haul a boat up to the top and all git in and then cum scootin' down the hoss troff into the pond. Wall I alowed that ud be right smart fun, so I got into one of the boats along with a lot of other folks I never seed afore and don't keer if I never see agin. They yanked us up to the top of that troff and then turned us loose, and I jist felt as though the whole earth had run off and left us. We went down that troff lickety split, and a woman what wuz settin' alongside of me, got skeered and grabbed me round the neck; and I sed, you let go of me you brazen female critter. But she jist hung on and hollered to beat thunder, and everybody wuz a yellin' all to onct, and that durned boat wuz a goin' faster'n greased lightnin' and I had one hand on my pockit book and tother on my hat, and we went kerslap dab into that duck pond, and the durned boat upsot and we went into the water, and that durned female critter hung onto me and hollered "save me, I'm jist a drownin'." Wall the water wasn't very deep and I jist started to wade out when along cum another boat and run over us, and under we went ker-souse. Wall I managed to get out to the bank, and that female woman sed I was a base vilian to not rescue a lady from a watery grave. And I jist told her if she had kept her mouth shet she wouldn't hav swallered so much of the pond.

Wall they had one place what they called the Middle Way Plesumps, and another place what they called The Streets of Caro, and they had a lot of shows a goin' on along thar. Wall I went into one of 'em and sot down, and I guess if they hadn't of shet up the show I'd a bin sottin' thar yet. I purty near busted my buttins a laffin'. They had a lot of gals a dancin' some kind of a dance; I don't know what they called it, but it sooted me fust rate. When I got home, the more I thought about it the more I made up my mind I'd learn that dance. Wall I went out in the corn field whar none of the neighbors could see me, and I'll be durned if I didn't knock down about four akers of corn, but I never got that dance right. I wuz the talk of the whole community; mother didn't speak to me fer about a week, and Aunt Nancy Smith sed I wuz a burnin' shame and a disgrace to the village, but I notice Nancy has asked me a good many questions about jist how it was, and I wouldn't wonder if we didn't find Nancy out in the cornfield one of these days.



Uncle Josh at the Opera

WALL, I sed to mother when I left hum, now mother, when I git down to New York City I'm goin' to see a regular first-class theater. We never had many theater doin's down our way. Wall, thar wuz a theater troop cum to Punkin Centre along last summer, but we couldn't let 'em hav the Opery House to show in 'cause it wuz summer time and the Opery House wuz full of hay, and we couldn't let 'em hav it 'cause we hadn't any place to put the hay. An then about a year and a half ago thar wuz a troop cum along that wuz somethin' about Uncle Tom's home; they left a good many of their things behind 'em when they went away. Ezra Hoskins he got one of the mules, and he tried to hitch it up one day; Doctor says he thinks Ezra will be around in about six weeks. I traded one of the dogs to Ruben Hendricks fer a shot gun; Rube cum over t'other day, borrowed the gun and shot the dog.

Wall, I got into one of your theaters here, got sot down and wuz lookin' at it; and it wuz a mighty fine lookin' pictur with a lot of lights shinin' on it, and I wuz enjoyin' it fust rate, when a lot of fellers cum out with horns and fiddles, and they all started in to fiddlin' and tootin', end all to once they pulled the theatre up, and thar wuz a lot of folks having a regular family quarrel. I knowed that wasn't any of my business, and I sort of felt uneasy like; but none of the rest of the folks seemed to mind it any, so I calculated I'd see how it cum out, though my hands sort of itched to get hold of one feller, 'cause I could see if he would jest go 'way and tend to his own business thar wouldn't be any quarrel. Wall, jest then a young feller handed me a piece of paper what told all about the theater doin's, and I got to lookin' at that and I noticed on it whar it sed thar wuz five years took place 'tween the fust part and the second part. I knowed durned well I wouldn't have time to wait and see the second part, so I got up and went out. Wall, them theater doin's jest put me in mind of somethin' what happened down hum on the last day of school. You see the school teacher got all the big boys and the big girls, and the boys they read essays and the girls recited poetry. One of the Skinner girls recited a piece that sooted me fust rate. Neer as I kin remember it went somethin' like this:

How nice to hear the bumble-bee When you go out a fishin', But if you happen to sot down on him, He'll spoil your disposition.

I liked that; thar wuz somethin' so touchin' about it. Then the school teacher he got all the girls in the 'stronomy class and he dressed them up to represent the different kinds of planits. He had one girl to represent the sun—she wuz red-headed; and another one to represent the moon, and another one fer Mars, and another one fer Jerupetir, and it looked mighty fine, and everythin' wuz a gettin' along fust rate 'til old Jim Lawson 'lowed he could make an improvement on it; so he went out and got a colord girl, and he wanted to sot her between the sun and the moon and make an eklips. And as usual he busted up the whole doin's.



Uncle Josh at Delmonico's

I USED to hear the summer boarders tell a whole lot about a place here in New York kept by Mr. Delmonico. Thar's bin about ten thousand summer boarders down to Punkin Centre one time and another, and I guess I've carried the bundles and stood the grumblin' from about all of them; and when anyone of 'em would find fault with anythin' I used to ast him whar he boarded at in New York, and they all told me at Mr. Delmonico's; so I'd cum to the conclusion that Mr. Delmonico must hav a right smart purty good sized tavern; and I sed to mother—now mother, when I git down to New York that's whar I'm goin' to board, at Mr. Delmonico's.

Wall, I got a feller to show me whar it wuz, and when I got on the inside I don't s'pose I wuz ever more sot back in all my life; guess you could have knocked my eyes off with a club; they stuck out like bumps on a log. Wall sir, they had flowers and birds everywhere, and trees a settin' in wash tubs, didn't look to me as though they would stand much of a gale; and about a hundred and fifty patent wind mills runnin' all to onct, and out in the woods somewhar they had a band a-playin'. I couldn't see 'em but I could hear 'em; guess some of 'em wuz a havin' a dance to settle down their dinner; I couldn't tell whether it was a society festival or a camp meetin' at feedin' time. Wall, one feller cum up to me and commenced talkin' some furrin language I didn't understand, somethin' about bon-sour, mon-sour. I jist made up my mind he wuz one of them bunco fellers, and I wouldn't talk to him. Then another feller cum up right smart like and wanted to know if I'd hav my dinner table de hotel or all over a card, and I told him if it wuz all the same to him he could bring me my dinner on a plate. Wall, he handed me a programme of the dinner and I et about half way down it and drank a bottle of cider pop what he give me, and it got into my head, and I never felt so durn good in all my life. I got to singin' and I danced Old Dan Tucker right thar in the dinin' room, and I took a wrestle out of Mr. bon-sour mon-sour; and jist when I got to enjoyin' myself right good, they called in a lot of constables, and it cost me sixteen dollars and forty-five cents, and then they took me out ridin' in a little blue wagon with a bell on it, and they kept ringin' the bell every foot of the way to let folks know I wuz one of Mr. Delmonico's boarders.



It is Fall

THE days are gettin' shorter, and the summer birds are leaving,

The wind sighs in the tree tops, as though all nature was grieving;

The leaves they drop in showers, there's a blue haze over all,

And a feller is reminded that once again it's Fall.

It is a glorious season, the crops most gathered in,

The wheat is in the granary and the oats are in the bin;

A feller jest feels splendid, right in harmony with all,

The old cider mill a-humin', 'gosh, I know it's Fall.

I hear the Bob White whistlin' down by the water mill,

While dressed in gorgeous colors is each valley, knoll and hill;

The cows they are a-lowing, as they slowly wander home,

And the hives are just a-bustin' with the honey in the comb.

Soon be time for huskin' parties, or an apple paring bee,

And the signs of peace and plenty are just splendid for to see;

The flowers they are drooping, soon there won't be none at all,

Old Jack Frost has nipped them, and by that I know it's Fall.

The muskrat has built himself a house down by the old mill pond,

The squirrels are laying up their store from the chestnut trees beyond;

While walking through the orchard I can hear the ripe fruit fall;

There's an air of quiet comfort that only comes with Fall.

The wind is cool and bracing, and it makes you feel first-rate,

And there's work to keep you going from early until late;

So you feel like giving praises unto Him who doeth all,

Nature heaps her blessings on you at this season, and it's Fall.

The nights are getting frosty and the fire feels pretty good,

I like to see the flames creep up among the burning wood;

Away across the hilltops I can hear the hoot owl call,

He is looking for his supper, I guess he knows its Fall.

And though the year is getting old and the trees will soon be bare,

There's a satisfactory feeling of enough and some to spare;

For there's still some poor and needy who for our help do call,

So we'll share with them our blessings and be thankful that it's Fall.



Si Pettingill's Brooms

WALL, one day jist shortly after sap season wuz over, we wuz all sottin' round Ezra Hoskins's store, talkin' on things in general, when up drove Si Pettingill with a load of brooms. Wall, we all took a long breath, and got ready to see some as tall bargainin' as wuz ever done in Punkin Centre. 'Cause Si, he could see a bargain through a six-inch plank on a dark night, and Ezra could hear a dollar bill rattle in a bag of feathers a mile off, and we all felt mighty sartin suthin' wuz a goin' to happen. Wall, Si, he sort er stood 'round, didn't say much, and Ezra got most uncommonly busy—he had more business than a town marshal on circus day.

Wall, after he had sold Aunt Nancy Smith three yards of caliker, and Ruben Hendricks a jack-knife, and swapped Jim Lawson a plug of tobacker fer a muskrat hide, he sed: "How's things over your way, Si?" Si remarked: "things wuz 'bout as usual, only the water had bin most uncommon high, White Fork had busted loose and overflowed everything, Sprosby's mill wuz washed out, and Lige Willits's paster wuz all under water, which made it purty hard on the cows, and Lige had to strain the milk two or three times to git the minnews out of it. Whitaker's young 'uns wuz all havin' measles to onct, and thar wuz a revival goin' on at the Red Top Baptist church, and most every one had got religion, and things wuz a runnin' 'long 'bout as usual."

Deacon Witherspoon sed: "Did you git religion, Si?" Si sed: "No, Deacon; I got baptized, but it didn't take—calculated I might as well have it done while thar wuz plenty of water."

"Thought I'd cum over today, Ezra; I've got some brooms I'd like to sell ye." Ezra sed: "Bring 'em in, Si, spring house cleanin' is comin' on and I'll most likely need right smart of brooms, so jist bring 'em in." Si sed: "Wall, Ezra, don't see as thar's any need to crowd the mourners, can't we dicker on it a little bit; I want cash fer these brooms, Ezra, I don't want any store trade fer 'em." Ezra sed: "Wall, I don't know 'bout that, Si; seems to me that's a gray hoss of another color, I always gin ye store trade fer your eggs, don't I?" Si sed: "Y-a-s—, and that's a gray hoss of another color; ye never seen a hen lay brooms, did ye? Brooms is sort of article of commerce, Ezra, and I want cash fer 'em." Wall, Ezra, he looked 'round the store and thot fer a spell, and then he sed: "Tell ye what I'll do, Si; I'll gin ye half cash and the other half trade, how'll that be?" Si sed: "Guess that'll be all right, Ezra. Whar will I put the brooms?" Ezra sed: "Put them in the back end of the store, Si, and stack 'em up good; I hadn't got much room, and I've got a lot of things comin' in from Boston and New York." Wall, after Si had the brooms all in, he sed: "Wall, thar they be, five dozen on 'em." Ezra sed: "Sure thar's five dozen?" Si sed: "Yas; counted 'em on the wagon, counted 'em off agin, and counted 'em when I made 'em." So Ezra sed: "Wall, here's your money; now what do you want in trade?" Si looked 'round fer a spell and sed: "I don't know, Ezra; don't see anything any of our folks pertickerly stand in need on. If it's all the same to you, Ezra, I'll take BROOMS?"

Wall, Jim Lawson fell off'n a wash-tub and Ruben Hendricks cut his thumb with his new jack-knife, and Deacon Witherspoon sed: "No, Si, that baptizin' didn't take." And Ezra—wall, it wan't his say.

Suspicion—Consists mainly of thinking what we would do if we wuz in the other feller's place. —Punkin Centre Philosophy.



Uncle Josh Plays Golf

WALL, about two weeks ago the boys sed to me, Uncle we'd like to hav you cum out and play a game of golf. Wall, they took me out behind the woodshed whar mother couldn't see us and them durned boys dressed your uncle up in the dogondest suit of clothes I ever had on in my life. I had on a pair of socks that had more different colors in 'em than in Joseph's coat. I looked like a cross atween a monkey and a cirkus rider, and a-goin' across the medder our turkey gobbler took after me and I had an awful time with that fool bird. I calculate as how I'll git even with him 'bout Thanksgiving time.

Wall, the boys took me into the paster, and they had it all dug up into what they called a "T," and they had a wheelbarrer full of little Injun war clubs. They called one a nibbler, and another a brassie, and a lot of other fool names I never heerd afore, and can't remember now. Then they brought out a little wooden ball 'bout as big as a hen's egg, and they stuck it up on a little hunk of mud. Then they told me to take one of them thar war clubs and stand alongside of the ball and hit it. Wall, I jist peeled off my coat and got a good holt on that war club and I jist whaled away at that durned little ball, and by gum I missed it, and the boys all commenced to holler "foozle."

Wall, I got a little bit riled and I whaled away at it again, and I hit it right whar I missed it the fust time, and I whirled round and sot down so durned hard I sot four back teeth to akin, and I pawed round in the air and knocked a lot of it out of place. I hit myself on the shin and on the pet corn at the same time, and them durned boys wuz jist a-rollin' round on the ground and a-hollerin' like Injuns. Wall, I begun to git madder 'n a wet hen, and I 'lowed I'd knock that durned little ball way over into the next county. So I rolled up my sleeves and spit on my hands and got a good holt on that war club and I whaled away at that little ball agin, and by chowder I hit it. I knocked it clar over into Deacon Witherspoon's paster, and hit his old muley cow, and she got skeered and run away, jumped the fence and went down the road, and the durned fool never stopped a-runnin' 'til she went slap dab into Ezra Hoskins' grocery store, upsot four gallons of apple butter into a keg of soft soap, and sot one foot into a tub of mackral, and t'other foot into a box of winder glass, and knocked over Jim Lawson who wuz sottin' on a cracker barrel, and broke his durned old wooden leg, and then she went right out through the winder and skeered Si Pettingill's hosses that wuz a standin' thar, and they run away and smashed his wagon into kindlin' wood' and Silas has sued me fer damages, and mother won't speak to me, and Jim he wants me to buy him a new wooden leg, and the neighbors all say as how I ought to be put away some place fer safe keepin', and Aunt Nancy Smith got so excited she lost her glass eye and didn't find it for three or four days, and when she did git it the boys wuz a-playin' marbles with it and it wuz all full of gaps, and Jim Lawson he trimmed it up on the grindstane and it don't fit Nancy any more, and she has to sort of put it in with cotton round it to bold it, and the cotton works out at the corners and skeers the children and every time I see Nancy that durned eye seems to look at me sort of reproachful like, and all I know about playin' golf is, the feller what knocks the ball so durned far you can't find it or whar it does the most damage, wins the game.



Jim Lawson's Hogs

WHEN it cum to raisin' hogs, I don't s'pose thar wuz ever enybody in Punkin Centre that had quite so much trouble as Jim Lawson. One fall Jim had a right likely bunch of shoats, but somehow or other he couldn't git 'em fat, it jist seemed like the more he fed 'em the poorer they got, and Jim he wuz jist about worried clar down to a shadder. He kept givin' them hogs medecin' and feedin' of 'em everything he could think on, but it wan't no use; every day or so one of 'em would lay down and die. All the neighbors would cum and lean over the fence, and talk to Jim, and give him advice, but somehow them hogs jist kept on a-dyin', and nobody could see what wuz alin' of 'em, 'til one day Jim cum over to Ezra Hoskins's store, and he looked as tickled as though he'd found a dollar, and he sed: "I want you all to cum over to my place; I've found out what's alin' them hogs." Deacon Witherspoon sed: "Wall, what is it, Jim?" and Jim sed: "Wall, you see the ground over in my hog lot is purty soft, and when it rains it gits right smart muddy, and the mud gits on them hogs' tails, and that mud it gits more mud, and finally they git so much mud on their tails that it draws their skin so tight that they can't shet their eyes, and them hogs air jist a-dyin' fer the want of sleep."

Wall, the followin' winter Jim had his hogs all fat and ready fer markit, and he jist conclooded he'd drive 'em to Concord. Wall, he started out, and when he'd drov 'em two whole days he met old Jabez Whitaker. Jabe sed: "Whar you goin' with your hogs, Jim?" Jim sed: "Goin' to Concord, Jabez." Jabez sed "Wall, now, I want to know. That's what cums from not readin' the papers. Why, Jim, they've got more hogs up Concord way than they know what to do with. Lige Willit took his hogs up thar, and Eben Sprosby took his'n, and Concord's jist chuck full of hogs, and so consequintly the markit's away down in Concord. But the paper sez it's good in Manchester, and you'd make money, Jim, by goin' thar." So Jim shifted his chew of terbacker over to the northeast, and sed: "Wall, boys, I calculate we'll hav to go to Manchester, so jist head the hogs off and turn them round." Wall, they druv them hogs 'bout three days towards Manchester, and jist 'bout when they wuz gittin' thar, along cum Caleb Skinner, and he sed: "Wall, thunder and fish-hooks, whar be you a-goin', Jim." And Jim sed: "As near as he could figure it out from his present bearin's, he wuz most likely goin' to Manchester." And Caleb sed: "What fer?" Jim sed: "Didn't know exactly what all he wuz goin' fer, but if he ever got thar, he'd most likely sell his hogs." And Caleb sed: "Wall, your goin' to the wrong town. Manchester has got a quarantine agin' any more hogs comin' in, 'cos what hogs they is thar has all got colery, and you'd better go to Concord. Besides the paper says markit is purty well up in Concord." Wall, Jim sed a good many things that wouldn't sound good at a prayer meetin', and then he sed: "Wall, boys, gess we'll start back fer Concord, so turn round." Wall, they went along 'bout two days, and them poor hogs couldn't stand it no longer 'cos they wuz jist clean tuckered out, so Jim had to sell 'em to Josiah Martin fer what he could git, 'cos it wuz jist right at Josiah's place whar the hogs gin out, and thar wan't no way of moovin' them from thar fer some time to cum.

Wall, along 'bout two weeks after that we wuz all over to Ezra Hoskins's store, and some one sed: "Jim, you didn't do very well with your hogs this year, did you?" And Jim sed: "Oh, I don't know; that's jist owin' to how you look at it. I never caught up to that blamed markit, but I had the society of the hogs fer two weeks."



Uncle Josh and the Lightning Rod Agent

WALL I s'pose I git buncode offener than any feller what ever lived in Punkin Centre. A short time ago we wanted to build a new town hall, and calculated we'd have a brick building; and some one sed, "Wall now, if you'll jist wait 'til Josh Weathersby makes another trip or two down to New York thar'll be gold bricks enuff a-layin' 'round Punkin Centre to build a new town hall."

Wall, one day last summer I wuz a sottin' out on my back porch, when along cum one of them thar lightning rod agents. Wall, he jist cum right up and commenced a-talkin' at me jist as if he'd bin the town marshal or a tax assessor, or like he'd known me all his life. He sed, "My dear sir, I am astonished at you. I've looked over your entire premises and I find you haven't got a lightning rod on any buildin' that you possess. Why, my dear sir, don't you know you are flyin' right in the face of Providence? Don't you know that lightning may strike at any time and demolish everything within the sound of my voice? Don't you know you are criminally negligent? Why, my dear sir, I am astonished to think that a man of your jedgment and good common sense should allow yourself to——" Wall, about that time I'd got my breath and wits at the same time, and I sed, "Now hold on, gosh durn ye, what hav ye got to sell anyhow?" Wall, he told me he had some lightnin' rods, and he brought out a little masheen and told me to take hold of the handles and he'd show me what a powerful thing 'lectricity wuz. Wall, I took hold of them handles and he turned on a crank, and that durned masheen jist made me dance all over the porch, and it wouldn't let go. Gee whiz, I felt as though I'd fell in a yeller jacket's nest, and about four thousand of 'em wuz a stingin' me all to onct. Wall, I told him I guessed he could put up a lightning rod or two, seein' as how I didn't hav any. Wall, he went to work and I went over to Ezra Hoskins', and when I got back home my place wuz a sight to behold; it looked like a harrer turned upside down. Thar wuz seven lightning rods on the barn, one on the hen house, one on the corn crib, one on the smoke house, two on the granery, three on the kitchen, six on my house, and one on the crab apple tree, and when I got thar that durned fool had the old muley cow cornered up a-tryin' to put a lightnin' rod on her. Wall, I paid him fer what he had done, and thanked the Lord he hadn't done any more. Wall, he got me to sine a paper what sed he had done a good job, and he sed he had to show that to the company.

Wall, about a week after that we had a thunder storm, and I think the lightnin' struck everything on the place except the spring wagon and old muley cow, and they didn't have any lightnin' rod on 'em. Wall I thought I wuz a-gittin' off mighty lucky til next day, when along cum a feller with that paper what I had sined, and durned if it wan't a note fer six hundred dollars, and by gosh if I didn't hav to pay it!

Buncode agin, by chowder!

Energy—There is a lot of energy in this life that wasted. I notis that the man who has a good strong pipe most usually rides in front.—Punkin Centre Philosophy.



A Meeting of the Annanias Club

WALL, sometimes a lot of us old codgers used to git down to Ezra Hoskins' grossery store and we'd sot 'round and chaw terbacker and whittle sticks and eat crackers and cheese and proons and anything Ezra happened to have layin' 'round loos, and then we'd git to spinnin' yarns that would jist about put Annanias and Safiry right out of business if they wuz here now. Wall, one afternoon we wuz all settin' 'round spinnin' yarns when Deacon Witherspoon sed that eckos wuz mighty peculiar things, cos down whar he wuz born and raised thar wuz a passell of hills cum together and you couldn't git out thar and talk louder 'n a whisper on account of the ecko. But one day a summer boarder what wuz thar remarked as how he wasn't afraid to talk right out in meetin' in front of any old lot of hills what wuz ever created; so he went out and hollered jist as loud as he could holler, and he started a ecko a-goin' and it flew up agin one hill and bounced off onto another one and gittin' bigger and louder all the time 'til it got back whar it started from and hit a stone quarry and knocked off a piece of stone and hit that feller in the head, and he didn't cum too fer over three hours. Wall, we thought that wuz purty good fer a Deacon. Wall, none of us sed anything fer a right smart spell and then Si Pettingill remarked "he didn't know anything about eckos, but he calculated he'd seen some mighty peculiar things; sed he guessed he'd seen it rain 'bout as hard as anybody ever seen it rain." Someone sed, "Wall, Si, how hard did you ever see it rain?" and he sed, "Wall one day last summer down our way it got to rainin' and it rained so hard that the drops jist rubbed together comin' down, which made them so allfired hot that they turned into steam; why, it rained so gosh dinged hard, thar wuz a cider bar'l layin' out in the yard that had both heads out'n it and the bung hole up; wall, it rained so hard into that bung hole that the water couldn't run out of both ends of the bar'l fast enough, and it swelled up and busted." Wall, we all took a fresh chew of terbacker and nudged each other; and Ezra Hoskins sed he didn't remember as how he'd ever seen it rain quite so hard as that, but he'd seen some mighty dry weather; he sed one time when he wuz out in Kansas it got so tarnation dry that fish a-swimmin' up the river left a cloud of dust behind them. And hot, too; why, it got so allfired hot that one day he tied his mule to a pen of popcorn out behind the barn, and it got so hot that the corn got to poppin' and flyin' 'round that old mule's ears and he thought it wuz snow and laid down and froze to death. Wall, about that time old Jim Lawson commenced to show signs of uneasiness, and someone sed, "What is it, Jim?" and Jim remarked, as he shifted his terbacker and cut a sliver off from his wooden leg, "I wuz a-thinkin' about a cold spell we had one winter when we wuz a-livin' down Nantucket way. It wuz hog killin' time, if I remember right; anyhow, we had a kittle of bilin' water sottin' on the fire, and we sot it out doors to cool off a little, and that water froze so durned quick that the ice wuz hot."

Ezra sed, "Guess its 'bout shettin' up time."



Jim Lawson's Hoss Trade

SPEAKIN' of hoss tradin', now Jim Lawson was calculated to be about the best hoss trader in Punkin Centre. Yes, Jim he could sot up on a fence, chew terbacker, whittle a stick, and jist about swap ye outen your eye-teeth, if you'd listen to him.

Yas, Jim wuz some punkins on a swap; Jim 'd swap anything he had fer anything he didn't want, jist to be swappin'.

Wall, a gypsy cum along one day and tackled Jim fer a swap; and about that time Jim he'd got hold of a critter that had more cussedness in him to the squar inch than any critter we'd ever sot eyes on, 'cept a cirkus mule that Ezra Hoskins owned.

Wall, the gypsy traded Jim a mighty fine lookin' critter, and we all calculated that Jim had right smart of a bargain, 'til one day Jim went to ride him, 'n he found out if he fetched the peskey critter on the sides he'd squat right down. Wall, Jim knowed if he didn't git rid of that hoss, his reputation as a hoss trader wuz forever gone; so he went over in t'other township to see old Deacon Witherspoon. You see the Deacon he wuz mighty fond of goin' a-huntin', and as he had rheumatiz purty bad it wuz sort of hard fer him to git 'round, so he had to do his huntin' on hoss back. Wall, Jim didn't say much to fuss, just kinder hinted around that huntin' was a-goin' to be mighty good this fall, cos he'd seen one or two flocks of partridges over back of Sprosby's medder, and some right smart of quail over by Buttermilk ford, and finally he sed: "Deacon, I've got a hoss you ought to hev; he's a setter." Wall, you could hav knocked the Deacon's eyes off with a club, they stuck out like bumps on a log, and he sed, "Why, Jim, I never heered tell of sech a thing in all my life; the idea of a horse being a setter!" Jim sed, "Yes, Deacon, he's bin trained to set for all kinds of game. I calculated as how I'd git a shotgun this fall and do right smart of hunting." So the Deacon sed, "Wall, now, I want to know; bring him over, Jim, I'd like to see him."

Wall, Jim took the hoss over, and all Punkin Centre jest sort of held its breath to see how it would cum out.

Jim and the Deacon went a-hunting, and as they wuz a-ridin' along through the timber down by Ruben Hendrick's paster, Jim keepin' his eyes peeled and not sayin' much, when all to onct he seen a rabbit settin' in a brush heap, and he jist tetched the old hoss on the sides and he squatted right down. The Deacon sed, "Why, what's the matter of your hoss, Jim, look what he be a doin'." Jim sed, "'Sh, Deacon, don't you see that rabbit over thar in the brush heap? the old hoss is a-settin' of him." Deacon sed, "Wall, now that's the most remarkable thing I ever seen in my life; how'd you like to trade, Jim?" Jim sed, "Wall, Deacon, I hadn't calculated on disposin' of the hoss, but I ain't much of a hand at huntin', and seein' as how it's you, if you want him I'll trade you, Deacon, fifty dollars to boot."

Wall, the Deacon had a mighty fine animal, but he sed, "I'll trade you, Jim." They traded hosses, and when they wuz a-comin' home they had to ford the crick what runs back of Punkin Centre, and when the old hoss wuz a-wadin' through the water, Deacon went to pull his feet up to keep them from gettin' wet, and he tetched the old boss on the sides and he squatted right down in the crick. Deacon sed, "Now look a-here, Jim, what's the matter with this ungodly brute, he ain't a-settin' now be he?" Jim sed, "Yes he is, Deacon, he sees fish in the water; tell you he's trained to set fer suckers same as fer rabbits, Deacon; oh, he's had a thorough eddication."

Paradox—I can't exactly describe it, but it looks to me like a tramp who once told me how to be successful in life. —Punkin Centre Philosophy.



A Meeting of the School Directors

WE had bin havin' a good deal of argufyin' about the school house. You see it had got to be a sort of a tumble-down ram-shackle sort of an affair, and when it wuz bad weather we couldn't have school in it, 'cause you might jist as well be a sittin' under a siv when it rained as to be a settin' in that school house. Wall, it wuz a-cummin' along the fall term, and we wanted our boys and girls to git all the schoolin' an' eddication what they could; so we called a meetin' of the school directors to devise ways and means of buildin' a new school-house without stoppin' school. Wall, we all met down at the school-house; thar wuz Deacon Witherspoon, Ezra Hoskins, Ruben Hendricks, Si Pettingill, old Jim Lawson and me. Before we commenced debatin' and argufyin' on the matter, Si Pettingill alowed he'd sing a song. Wall, he got up and sang the durndest old-fashioned song I calculate I ever heered in my life; went somethin' like this:

Oh a frog went a courtin' and he did ride, oohoo—oohoo. Oh a frog went a courtin' and he did ride, With a sword and a pistol by his side, oohoo—oohoo. He rode till he came to the mouse's door, oohoo—oohoo, He rode till he came to the mouse's door, And there he knelt upon the floor, oohoo—oohoo. He took Miss Mousey on his knee, oohoo—oohoo. He took Miss Mousey on his knee, Said he, Missy Mouse will you marry me? oohoo—oohoo.

Wall, we headed Si off right thar; I guess if we hadn't he'd bin singin' about that frog and the mouse yet. Wall, jist then old Jim Lawson he sed, "I make a moshen;" and Deacon Witherspoon, he wuz chairman, and he sed, "Now look here, young feller, don't you make any moshens at me or durned if I don't git down thar and flop you in about a minnit. You take your feet off'n that desk and that corncob pipe out'n your mouth, and conduct yourself with dignity and decorum, and address the chairman of this yere meetin' in a manner benttin' to his station." Wall, Jim he got right smart riled over the matter, and he sed, "Wall, you gosh durned old gospel pirate, I want you to understand that I'm a member of this body, a citizen, a taxpayer and a honorably discharged servant of the government, and I make a moshen that we build a new school-house out of the bricks of the old school-house, and I do further offer an amendment to the original moshen, that we don't tear down the old schoolhouse until the new one is built."

Wall, Deacon Witherspoon sed, "The gentleman is out of order;" and Jim sed, "I ain't so durned much out of order but that I kin trim you in about two shakes of a dead sheep's tail." Wall, before we knowed it, them two old cusses wuz at it. The Deacon he grabbed Jim and Jim he grabbed the Deacon, and when we got 'em separated the Deacon he wuz stuck fast 'tween a desk and the woodbox, and Jim had his wooden leg through a knot hole in the floor and couldn't get it out, and they've both gone to law about it. Jim says he's goin' to git out a writ of corpus cristy fer the Deacon, and the Deacon says he's goin' to prosecute Jim for bigamy and arson and have him read out of the church.

Wall, we've got the same old schoolhouse.

Justice—Those who hanker fer it would be generally better off if they didn't git it.—Punkin Centre Philosophy.



The Weekly Paper at Punkin Centre

WALL, t'other day, down in New York, I wuz a-walkin' along on that street what they call the broad way, when I cum to the Herald squar noospaper buildin', and it wuz all winders and masheenery. Wall, I wuz jist flobgasted; I jist stood thar lookin' at it. On the front thar wuz a bell and a couple of fellers standin' along side of it with slege hammers in their hands, and every onct in a while they would go to poundin' on that bell, and folks 'd stand 'round and watch 'em do it; they reminded me of a couple of fellers splittin' rales. And all 'round the edge of the buildin' they had hoot owls sottin', with electric lites in their ize, and thar wuz no end to the masheenery in that buildin'. If anyone hed ever told me thar wuz that much masheenery in the whole world durned if I'd a-beleeved them; biggest masheen I'd ever seen before wuz Si Pettingill's new thrashin' masheen. Wall, I jist stood thar a-watchin' them printin' presses a-runnin'; paper goin' in to one end and cumin' out at t'other all printed and full of picters and folded up ready to sell; it jist beat all the way they done it. Wall, we never had but one paper down home at Punkin Centre; we called it "The Punkin Centre Weakly Bugle;" old Jim Lawson he wuz editor of it. You see Jim he wuz sort of a triflin' no 'count old cuss, so to keep him out of mischief we made him editor. Wall, Jim he had his place up over Ezra Hoskins' grossery store. He never got any money for the noospaper—always got paid in produce, and Ezra's store wuz a mighty good place fer him to take in his subskriptions. Wall, things went along pretty smooth fer quite a spell 'til one day a feller he cum in and give Jim a keg of hard cider fer a year's subskription to the noospaper, and we all calculated right then that somethin' wuz a-goin' to happen; and sure enough it did. You see 'bout that time Jim had got two advertisements; one wuz fer Ruben Jackson's resterant and the other wuz the time table of the Punkin Centre and Paw Paw Valley Railroad. Wall, Jim he got to drinkin' the hard cider and settin' type at the same time, and when the paper cum out on Thursday it wuz wuth goin' miles to see. Neer as I kin remember it sed that: "Ruben Jackson's resterant would leave the depo every mornin' at eight o'clock fer beefstake and mutton stews, and would change cars at White River Junkshen for mins and punkin pise, and cottage puddin' would be a flag stashen fer coffy and do nuts like mother used to make, and the train wouldn't run on Sundays cos the stashun agint what done the cookin' would have to run en extra on that day over the chicken and ham sandwitch divishion."

I believe that wuz the last issu of the Punkin Centre Weakly Bugle.

Enthusiasm—Sometimes inspired, sometimes acquired, sometimes the result of immediate surroundings, and sometimes the result of hard cider.—Punkin Centre Philosophy.



Uncle Josh at a Camp Meeting

WALL, we've jist bin havin' a camp meeting at Punkin Centre. Yes, fer several days we wuz purty busy bakin' and cookin and makin' preparations fer the camp meetin', and some of the committee alowed we ought to have lemonade fer the Sunday school children. Wall, as we wanted to git it jist as cheap as possible, we damed up the crick what runs back of the camp meeting grounds, and put in ten pounds of brown sugar and half a dozen lemons, and let the Sunday school children drink right out of the crick, free of charge. Wall, we had right smart difficulty in gittin' a pulpit fixed up fer the ministers, but finally we sawed down a hemlock tree and used the stump fer a pulpit. Wall, some of the sarmons preached at that camp meetin' beat anything I ever heered in my life afore. You see we'd bin havin' a good many argyments 'bout corporations, monopolies and trusts, and one minister got up and sed, "Ah, my dear beloved brethren and sisters, we should not be too severe on the monopolists. If we read the scripters closely we observe our forefathers wuz all monopolists. Adam and Eve had a monopoly upon the garden of Eden, and would have had it 'til this day, no doubt, had not Mother Eve got squeezed in the apple market. Yea, verily, Lot's wife had a corner on the salt market. And while Pharoe's daughter was not in the milk business, yet we observe she took a great proffit out of the water; yea, verrily." Most on us cum to the conclusion he wuz ridin' on a free pass.

Samantha Hoskins concluded she would have to sing her favorit hymn; it went something like this:

"Oh you need not cum in the mornin', And neither in the heat of the day; But cum along in the evenin', Lord, And wash my sins away.

Chorus— Standin' on the walls of Zion, Lookin' at my ship cum a sailln' ov{er}; Standin' on the walls of Zion, To see my ship cum in."

Jist about that time Ruben Hendricks skeered a skunk out of a holler log. Si Pettingill stirred up a hornet's nest, Deacon Witherspoon sot down in a huckleberry pie and Aunt Nancy Smith got a spider on her, and she started in to yellin' and jumpin' like she had a fit, and two dogs got to fitin', and old Jim Lawson he tried to git 'em apart and he stumped 'round and got his old wooden leg into a post hole and fell down, and the dogs got on top of him, and you couldn't tell which wuz Jim nor which wuz dog; and durned if it didn't bust up the camp meetin'.



The Unveiling of the Organ

IT wuz down in Punkin Centre, I believe in eighty-nine, We had some doin's at the meetin' house, That we thought wuz purty fine;

It wuz a great occasion, The choir, led by Sister Morgan, Had called us thar to witness The unveilin' of the organ.

In order fer to git it We'd bin savin' here and there, Lookin' forward to the time When we'd have music fer to spare, And as the time it had arrived, And the organ had cum, too, We had all of us assembled thar To hear what the thing could do.

Wall, it wuz a gorgeous instrument, In a handsome walnut case, And thar wuz expectation Pictured out on every face; Then when Deacon Witherspoon Had led us all in prayer, The congregation all stood up And Old Hundred rent the air.

Jist then the doin's took a turn, Though I'm ashamed to say it, We found that old Jim Lawson Wuz the only one could play it; But Jim, the poor old feller, Had one besettin' sin, A fondness fer hard cider Which he'd bin indulgin' in.

But he sot down at that organ, Planked his feet upon the pedals, And he showed us he could play it Though he hadn't any medals; He dwelt upon the treble And he flirted with the base, He almost made that organ Jump right out of its case.

Wall, the cider got in old Jim's head And in his fingers, too, So he played some dancin' music And old Yankee Doodle Doo; He shocked old Deacon Witherspoon And scared poor Sister Morgan, And jist busted up the meetin' At the unveilin' of the organ.



Uncle Josh Plays a Game of Base Ball

I HAD heered a whole lot 'bout them games of foot ball they have in New York, so while I was thar I jist cum to the conclusion I'd see a game of it, so went out to one of their city pasters to see a game of foot ball. Wall now I must say I didn't see much ball playin' of any kind. All I got to see wuz about fifty or sixty ambulances, and I think about that many surgons and phisicians. Wall, from what I could see of the game I calculate they needed all of them. I saw one feller and 'bout fifty others had him down, and it jist looked as though they wuz all trying to get a kick at him. They had a half back and a quarter back; I suppose when they got through with that feller he wuz a hump back. Anyhow, if that's what they call foot ball playin', your Uncle Josh don't want any foot ball in his'n.

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