The Complete Works of Artemus Ward — Part 1: Essays, Sketches, and Letters by Ward, Artemus
(Charles Farrar Browne) Part 1
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF ARTEMUS WARD
(CHARLES FARRAR BROWNE)
WITH: PRELIMINARY NOTES BY JOHN CAMDEN HOTTEN. A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH BY MELVILLE D. LANDON, "ELI PERKINS" AN INTRODUCTION BY T.W. ROBERTSON. A PREFATORY NOTE BY EDWARD P. HINGSTON.
PRELIMINARY NOTES BY JOHN CAMDEN HOTTEN.
A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH BY MELVILLE D. LANDON.
AN INTRODUCTION BY T.W. ROBERTSON.
A PREFATORY NOTE BY EDWARD P. HINGSTON.
ESSAYS, SKETCHES, AND LETTERS.
1.1. One of Mr. Ward's Business Letters.
1.2. On "Forts."
1.3. The Shakers.
1.4. High-handed Outrage at Utica.
1.5. Celebration at Baldinsville.
1.6. Among the Spirits.
1.7. On the Wing.
1.8. The Octoroon.
1.9. Experience as an Editor.
1.11. The Showman's Courtship.
1.12. The Crisis.
1.13. Wax Figures vs. Shakespeare.
1.14. Among the Free Lovers.
1.15. A Visit to Brigham Young.
1.16. Scandalous doings at Pittsburg.
1.17. The Census.
1.18. An Honest Living.
1.19. The Press.
1.20. Edwin Forest as Othello.
1.21. The Show Business and Popular Lectures.
1.22. Woman's Rights.
1.23. Would-be Sea Dogs.
1.24. The Prince of Wales.
1.26. Little Patti.
1.27. Ossawatomie Brown.
1.28. Joy in the House of Ward.
1.29. Boston. (A. Ward to his Wife.)
1.30. How Old Abe Received the News of his Nomination.
1.31. Interview with President Lincoln.
1.32. Interview with the Prince Napoleon.
1.35. A Hard Case.
1.36. Affairs around the Village Green.
1.37. About Editors.
1.40. A Little Difficulty in the Way.
1.41. Colored People's Church.
1.43. Mr. Blowhard.
1.44. Market Morning.
1.45. We See Two Witches.
1.46. From a Homely Man.
1.47. The Elephant.
1.48. How the Napoleon of Sellers was Sold.
1.49. On Autumn.
1.50. Paying for his Provender by Praying.
1.51. Hunting Trouble.
1.52. Dark Doings.
1.54. He had the Little Voucher In His Pocket.
1.55. The Gentlemanly Conductor.
1.56. Morality and Genius.
1.57. Rough Beginning of the Honeymoon.
1.58. A Colored man of the Name of Jeffries.
1.60. He found he Would.
1.61. "Burial in Richmond and Resurrection in Boston."
1.62. A Mayoralty Election.
1.63. Fishing Excursion.
2.1. The Show is Confiscated.
2.2. Thrilling Scenes in Dixie.
2.3. Fourth of July Oration.
2.4. The War Fever in Baldinsville.
2.5. A War Meeting.
2.6. The Draft in Baldinsville.
2.7. Surrender of Cornwallis.
2.8. Things in New York.
2.9. Touching Letter from a Gory Member.
2.10. In Canada.
2.11. The Noble Red Man.
2.12. Artemus Ward in Richmond.
2.13. Artemus Ward to the Prince of Wales.
STORIES AND ROMANCES.
3.1. Moses the Sassy; or, The Disguised Duke.
3.2. Marion: A Romance of the French School.
3.3. William Barker, the Young Patriot.
3.4. A Romance--The Conscript.
3.5. A Romance--Only a Mechanic.
3.6. Roberto the Rover; A Tale of Sea and Shore.
3.7. Red Hand: A Tale of Revenge.
3.8. Pyrotechny: A Romance after the French.
3.9. The Last of the Culkinses.
3.10. A Mormon Romance--Reginald Gloverson.
TO CALIFORNIA AND RETURN.
4.1. On the Steamer.
4.2. The Isthmus.
4.6. Mr. Pepper.
4.7. Horace Greely's Ride to Placerville.
4.8. To Reese River.
4.9. Great Salt Lake City.
4.10. The Mountain Fever.
4.11. "I am Here."
4.12. Brigham Young.
4.13. A Piece is Spoken.
4.14. The Ball.
4.15. Phelp's Almanac.
4.16. Hurrah for the Road.
4.17. Very Much Married.
4.18. The Revelation of Joseph Smith.
THE LONDON PUNCH LETTERS.
5.1. Arrival in London.
5.2. Personal Recollections.
5.3. The Green Lion and Oliver Cromwell.
5.4. At the Tomb of Shakespeare.
5.5. Introduction to the Club.
5.6. The Tower of London.
5.7. Science and Natural History.
5.8. A Visit to the British Museum.
ARTEMUS WARD'S PANORAMA.
6.1. Prefatory Note by Melville D. Landon.
6.2. The Egyptian Hall Lecture.
6.3. "The Times" Notice.
6.4. Programme of the Egyptian Hall Lecture.
6.5. Announcement and Programme of the Dodworth Hall Lecture.
7.1. The Cruise of the Polly Ann.
7.2. Artemus Ward's Autobiography.
7.3. The Serenade.
7.4. O'Bourcy's "Arrah-na-Pogue."
7.5. Artemus Ward among the Fenians.
7.6. Artemus Ward in Washington.
7.7. Scenes Outside the Fair Grounds.
7.8. The Wife.
7.9. A Juvenile Composition On the Elephant.
7.10. A Poem by the Same.
7.11. East Side Theatricals.
7.12. Soliloquy of a Low Thief.
7.13. The Negro Question.
7.14. Artemus Ward on Health.
7.15. A Fragment.
7.16. Brigham Young's Wives.
7.17. A. Ward's First Umbrella.
7.18. An Affecting Poem.
7.19. Mormon Bill of Fare.
7.20. "The Babes in the Wood."
7.21. Mr. Ward Attends a Graffick (Soiree.)
7.22. A. Ward Among the Mormons.--Reported by Himself--or Somebody Else.
* * *
PUBLISHERS' PREFACE TO THE NEW (1898) EDITION.
The present edition is of a work which has been for more than thirty years prominently before the public, and which may justly be said to have maintained a standard character. It is issued because of a demand for a BETTER EDITION than has ever been published.
In order to supply this acknowledged want, the publishers have enlarged and perfected this edition by adding some matter not heretofore published in book form.
More than one hundred thousand copies of the work have been printed. The plates had become so worn as to render it unreadable, yet the sale kept on. In preparing this new edition, many of the author's fragmentary pieces, not contained in the old edition, have been added. The earliest of the author's writings, published in periodicals in 1862, are included, together with many additional illustrations, which now, for the first time, make the work complete.
It is universally conceded that no country in the world has ever produced a genius like Artemus Ward. Writers of ACKNOWLEDGED GENIUS are never very numerous. He attained a great and deserved popularity, which will be lasting.
It has been observed that the wit of one generation is rarely appreciated by the next, but this is not true of Artemus Ward. There is a constant demand for his writings, for the reason that his jokes require no appendix for their elucidation. No one who speaks the English language can fail to appreciate his wonderful humor. It will always be funny. There is a fascination about it which can neither be questioned nor resisted. His particular niche in the temple of Fame will not be claimed by another. His intellect was sharp and electric. He saw the humor of anything at a glance, and his manner of relating these laughter-provoking absurdities is original and "fetching."
PRELIMINARY NOTES BY JOHN CAMDEN HOTTEN.
Piccadilly, W. Jan. 30, 1865.
There is a story of two "smart" Yankees, one named Hosea and the other Hezekiah, who met in an oyster shop in Boston. Said Hosea, "As to opening oysters, why nothing's easier if you only know how." "And how's how?" asked Hezekiah. "Scotch snuff," replied Hosea, very gravely--"Scotch snuff. Bring a little of it ever so near their noses, and they'll sneeze their lids off." "I know a man who knows a better plan," observed Hezekiah. "He spreads the bivalves in a circle, seats himself in the centre, reads a chapter of Artemus Ward to them, and goes on until they get interested. One by one they gape with astonishment at A. Ward's whoppers, and as they gape my friend whips 'em out, peppers away, and swallows 'em."
Excellent as all that Artemus Ward writes really is, and exuberantly overflowing with humour as are nearly all his articles, it is too bad to accuse him of telling "whoppers." On the contrary, the old Horatian question of "Who shall forbid me to speak truth in laughter?" seems ever present to his mind. His latest production is the admirable paper "Artemus Ward among the Fenians" which appears in Part 7.
If Artemus has on any occasion really told "whoppers," it has been in his announcements of being about to visit England. From time to time he has stated his intention of visiting this country, and from time to time has he disappointed his English friends.
He was coming to England after his trip to California, when, laden with gold, he could think of no better place to spend it in.
He was on his way to England when he and his companion, Mr. Hingston, encountered the Pi-ute Indians, and narrowly escaped scalping.
He was leaving for England with "Betsy Jane" and the "snaiks" before the American war was ended.
He had unscrewed the head of each of his "wax figgers," and sent each on board in a carpet-bag, labelled "For England," just as Mr Lincoln was assassinated.
He was hastening to England when the news came a few weeks ago that he had been blown up in an oil well!
He has been on his way to England in every newspaper of the American Union for the last two years.
Here is the latest announcement:
"Artemus Ward, in a private letter, states that Doctor Kumming, the famous London seer and profit, having foretold that the end of the world will happen on his own birthday in January 1867, he, Artemus, will not visit England until the latter end of 1866, when the people there will be selling off, and dollars will be plentiful. Mr. Ward says that he shall leave England in the last steamer, in time to see the American eagle spread his wings, and with the stars and stripes in his beek and tallents, sore away to his knativ empyrehum.--" American Paper.
But even this is likely to be a "whopper," for a more reliable private letter from Artemus declares his fixed purpose to leave for England in the steamship City of Boston early in June; and the probabilities are that he will be stepping on English shores just about the time that these pages go to press.
Lest anything should happen to him, and England be for ever deprived of seeing him, the most recent production of his pen, together with two or three of his best things, are here embalmed for preservation, on the principle adopted by the affectionate widow of the bear-trainer of Perpignan. "I have nothing left," said the woman; "I am absolutely without a roof to shelter me and the poor animal." "Animal!" exclaimed the prefect; "you don't mean to say that you keep the bear that devoured your husband?" "Alas!" she replied, "it is all that is left to me of the poor dear man!"
If any other excuse be needed for thus presenting the British public with A. Ward's "last," in addition to the pertinency of the article and its real merit, that excuse may be found in the fact that it is thoroughly new to readers on this side of the Atlantic.
The general public will undoubtedly receive "Artemus Ward among the Fenians" with approving laughter. Should it fall into the hands of a philo-Fenian the effect may be different. To him it would probably have the wrong action of the Yankee bone-picking machine.
"I've got a new machine," said a Yankee pedlar, "for picking bones out of fish. Now, I tell you, it's a leetle bit the darndest thing you ever did see. All you have to do is to set it on a table and turn a crank, and the fish flies right down your throat and the bones right under the grate. Well, there was a country greenhorn got hold of it the other day, and he turned the crank the wrong way; and, I tell you, the way the bones flew down his throat was awful. Why, it stuck that fellow so full of bones, that he could not get his shirt off for a whole week!"
In addition to the paper on the Fenians, two other articles by Artemus Ward are reprinted in the present work. One relates to the city of Washington, and the other to the author's imaginary town of Baldinsville. Both are highly characteristic of the writer and of his quaint spellings--a heterography not more odd than that of the postmaster of Shawnee County, Missouri, who, returning his account to the General Office, wrote, "I hearby sertify that the four going A-Counte is as nere Rite as I now how to make It, if there is any mistake it is not Dun a purpers."
Artemus Ward has created a new model for funny writers; and the fact is noticeable that, in various parts of this country as well as in his own, he has numerous puny imitators, who suppose that by simply adopting his comic spelling they can write quite as well as he can. Perhaps it would be as well if they remembered the joke of poor Thomas Hood, who said that he could write as well as Shakespere if he had the mind to, but the trouble was--he had not got the mind.
* * *
A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH BY MELVILLE D. LANDON.
Charles Farrar Browne, better known to the world as "Artemus Ward," was born at Waterford, Oxford County, Maine, on the twenty-sixth of April, 1834, and died of consumption at Southampton, England, on Wednesday, the sixth of March, 1867.
His father, Levi Browne, was a land surveyor, and Justice of the Peace. His mother, Caroline E. Brown, is still living, and is a descendant from Puritan stock.
Mr. Browne's business manager, Mr. Hingston, once asked him about his Puritanic origin, when he replied: "I think we came from Jerusalem, for my father's name was Levi and we had a Moses and a Nathan in the family, but my poor brother's name was Cyrus; so, perhaps, that makes us Persians."
Charles was partially educated at the Waterford school, when family circumstances induced his parents to apprentice him to learn the rudiments of printing in the office of the "Skowhegan Clarion," published some miles to the north of his native village. Here he passed through the dreadful ordeal to which a printer's "devil" is generally subjected. He always kept his temper; and his eccentric boy jokes are even now told by the residents of Skowhegan.
In the spring, after his fifteenth birthday, Charles Browne bade farewell to the "Skowhegan Clarion;" and we next hear of him in the office of the "Carpet-Bag," edited by B.P. Shillaber ("Mrs. Partington"). Lean, lank, but strangely appreciative, young Browne used to "set up" articles from the pens of Charles G. Halpine ("Miles O'Reilly") and John G. Saxe, the poet. Here he wrote his first contribution in a disguised hand, slyly put it into the editorial box, and the next day disguised his pleasure while setting it up himself. The article was a description of a Fourth of July celebration in Skowhegan. The spectacle of the day was a representation of the battle of Yorktown, with G. Washington and General Horace Cornwallis in character. The article pleased Mr. Shillaber, and Mr. Browne, afterwards speaking of it, said: "I went to the theatre that evening, had a good time of it, and thought I was the greatest man in Boston."
While engaged on the "Carpet-Bag," the subject of our sketch closely studied the theatre and courted the society of actors and actresses. It was in this way that he gained that correct and valuable knowledge of the texts and characters of the drama, which enabled him in after years to burlesque them so successfully. The humorous writings of Seba Smith were his models, and the oddities of "John Phoenix" were his especial admiration.
Being of a roving temper Charles Browne soon left Boston, and, after traveling as a journeyman printer over much of New York and Massachusetts, he turned up in the town of Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio, where he became reporter and compositor at four dollars per week. After making many friends among the good citizens of Tiffin, by whom he is remembered as a patron of side shows and traveling circuses, our hero suddenly set out for Toledo, on the lake, where he immediately made a reputation as a writer of sarcastic paragraphs in the columns of the Toledo "Commercial." He waged a vigorous newspaper war with the reporters of the Toledo "Blade," but while the "Blade" indulged in violent vituperation, "Artemus" was good-natured and full of humor. His column soon gained a local fame and everybody read it. His fame even traveled away to Cleveland, where, in 1858, when Mr. Browne was twenty-four years of age, Mr. J.W. Gray of the Cleveland "Plaindealer" secured him as local reporter, at a salary of twelve-dollars per week. Here his reputation first began to assume a national character and it was here that they called him a "fool" when he mentioned the idea of taking the field as a lecturer. Speaking of this circumstance while traveling down the Mississippi with the writer, in 1865, Mr. Browne musingly repeated this colloquy:
WISE MAN:--"Ah! you poor foolish little girl--here is a dollar for you."
FOOLISH LITTLE GIRL:--"Thank you, sir; but I have a sister at home as foolish as I am; can't you give me a dollar for her?"
Charles Browne was not successful as a NEWS reporter, lacking enterprise and energy, but his success lay in writing up in a burlesque manner well-known public affairs like prize-fights, races, spiritual meetings, and political gatherings. His department became wonderfully humorous, and was always a favorite with readers, whether there was any news in it or not. Sometimes he would have a whole column of letters from young ladies in reply to a fancied matrimonial advertisement, and then he would have a column of answers to general correspondents like this:--
VERITAS:--Many make the same error. Mr. Key, who wrote the "Star Spangled Banner," is not the author of Hamlet, a tragedy. He wrote the banner business, and assisted in "The Female Pirate," BUT DID NOT WRITE HAMLET. Hamlet was written by a talented but unscrupulous man named Macbeth, afterwards tried and executed for "murdering sleep."
YOUNG CLERGYMAN:--Two pints of rum, two quarts of hot water, tea- cup of sugar, and a lemon; grate in nutmeg, stir thoroughly and drink while hot.
It was during his engagement on the "Plaindealer" that he wrote, dating from Indiana, his first communication,--the first published letter following this sketch, signed "Artemus Ward" a sobriquet purely incidental, but borne with the "u" changed to an "a" by an American revolutionary general. It was here that Mr. Browne first became, IN WORDS, the possessor of a moral show "consisting of three moral bares, the a kangaroo (a amoozing little rascal; 'twould make you larf yourself to death to see the little kuss jump and squeal), wax figures of G. Washington, &c. &c." Hundreds of newspapers copied this letter, and Charles Browne awoke one morning to find himself famous.
In the "Plaindealer" office, his companion, George Hoyt, writes: "His desk was a rickety table which had been whittled and gashed until it looked as if it had been the victim of lightning. His chair was a fit companion thereto,--a wabbling, unsteady affair, sometimes with four and sometimes with three legs. But Browne saw neither the table, nor the chair, nor any person who might be near, nothing, in fact, but the funny pictures which were tumbling out of his brain. When writing, his gaunt form looked ridiculous enough. One leg hung over the arm of his chair like a great hook, while he would write away, sometimes laughing to himself, and then slapping the table in the excess of his mirth."
While in the office of the "Plaindealer," Mr. Browne first conceived the idea of becoming a lecturer. In attending the various minstrel shows and circuses which came to the city, he would frequently hear repeated some story of his own which the audience would receive with hilarity. His best witticisms came back to him from the lips of another who made a living by quoting a stolen jest. Then the thought came to him to enter the lecture field himself, and become the utterer of his own witticisms--the mouthpiece of his own jests.
On the 10th of November, 1860, Charles Browne, whose fame, traveling in his letters from Boston to San Francisco, had now become national, grasped the hands of his hundreds of New York admirers. Cleveland had throned him the monarch of mirth, and a thousand hearts paid him tributes of adulation as he closed his connection with the Cleveland Press.
Arriving in the Empire City, Mr. Browne soon opened an engagement with "Vanity Fair," a humorous paper after the manner of London "Punch," and ere long he succeeded Mr. Charles G. Leland as editor. Mr. Charles Dawson Shanly says: "After Artemus Ward became sole editor, a position which he held for a brief period, many of his best contributions were given to the public; and, whatever there was of merit in the columns of "Vanity Fair" from the time he assumed the editorial charge, emanated from his pen." Mr. Browne himself wrote to a friend: "Comic copy is what they wanted for "Vanity Fair." I wrote some and it killed it. The poor paper got to be a conundrum, and so I gave it up."
The idea of entering the field as a lecturer now seized Mr. Browne stronger than ever. Tired of the pen, he resolved on trying the platform. His Bohemian friends agreed that his fame and fortune would be made before intelligent audiences. He resolved to try it. What should be the subject of my lecture? How shall I treat the subject? These questions caused Mr. Browne grave speculations. Among other schemes, he thought of a string of jests combined with a stream of satire, the whole being unconnected--a burlesque upon a lecture. The subject,--that was a hard question. First he thought of calling it "My Seven Grandmothers," but he finally adopted the name of "Babes in the Woods," and with this subject Charles Browne was introduced to a metropolitan audience, on the evening of December 23d, 1861. The place was Clinton Hall, which stood on the site of the old Astor Place Opera House, where years ago occurred the Macready riot, and where now is the Mercantile Library. Previous to this introduction, Mr. Frank Wood accompanied him to the suburban town of Norwich, Connecticut, where he first delivered his lecture, and watched the result. The audience was delighted, and Mr. Browne received an ovation. Previous to his Clinton Hall appearance the city was flooded with funny placards reading--
ARTEMUS WARD WILL SPEAK A PIECE.
Owing to a great storm, only a small audience braved the elements, and the Clinton Hall lecture was not a financial success. It consisted of a wandering batch of comicalities, touching upon everything except "The Babes." Indeed it was better described by the lecturer in London, when he said, "One of the features of my entertainment is, that it contains so many things that don't have anything to do with it."
In the middle of his lecture, the speaker would hesitate, stop, and say: "Owing to a slight indisposition we will now have an intermission of fifteen minutes." The audience looked in utter dismay at the idea of staring at vacancy for a quarter of an hour, when, rubbing his hands, the lecturer would continue: "but, ah--during the intermission I will go on with my lecture!"
Mr. Browne's first volume, entitled "Artemus Ward; His Book," was published in New York, May 17th, 1862. The volume was everywhere hailed with enthusiasm, and over forty thousand copies were sold. Great success also attended the sale of his three other volumes published in '65, '67, and '69.
Mr. Browne's next lecture was entitled "Sixty Minutes in Africa," and was delivered in Musical Fund Hall, Philadelphia. Behind him hung a large map of Africa, "which region," said Artemus, "abounds in various natural productions, such as reptiles and flowers. It produces the red rose, the white rose, and the neg- roes. In the middle of the continent is what is called a 'howling wilderness,' but, for my part, I have never heard it howl, nor met with any one who has."
After Mr. Browne had created immense enthusiasm for his lectures and books in the Eastern States, which filled his pockets with a handsome exchequer, he started, October 3d, 1863, for California, a faithful account of which trip is given by himself in this book. Previous to starting, he received a telegram from Thomas Maguire, of the San Francisco Opera House, inquiring "what he would TAKE FOR FORTY NIGHTS IN CALIFORNIA." Mr. Brown immediately telegraphed back,--
"Brandy and water. A. Ward."
And, though Maguire was sorely puzzled at the contents of the dispatch, the Press got hold of it, and it went through California as a capital joke.
Mr. Browne first lectured in San Francisco on "The Babes in the Woods," November 13th, 1863, at Pratt's Hall. T. Starr King took a deep interest in him, occupying the rostrum, and his general reception in San Francisco was warm.
Returning overland, through Salt Lake to the States, in the fall of 1864, Mr. Browne lectured again in New York, this time on the "Mormons," to immense audiences, and in the spring of 1865 he commenced his tour through the country, everywhere drawing enthusiastic audiences both North and South.
It was while on this tour that the writer of this sketch again spent some time with him. We met at Memphis and traveled down the Mississippi together. At Lake Providence the "Indiana" rounded up to our landing, and Mr. Browne accompanied the writer to his plantation, where he spent several days, mingling in seeming infinite delight with the negroes. For them he showed great fondness, and they used to stand around him in crowds listening to his seemingly serious advice. We could not prevail upon him to hunt or to join in any of the equestrian amusements with the neighboring planters, but a quiet fascination drew him to the negroes. Strolling through the "quarters," his grave words, too deep with humor for darkey comprehension, gained their entire confidence. One day he called up Uncle Jeff., an Uncle-Tom-like patriarch, and commenced in his usual vein: "Now, Uncle Jefferson," he said, "why do you thus pursue the habits of industry? This course of life is wrong--all wrong--all a base habit, Uncle Jefferson. Now try to break it off. Look at me,-- look at Mr. Landon, the chivalric young Southern plantist FROM NEW YORK, he toils not, neither does he spin; he pursues a career of contented idleness. If you only thought so, Jefferson, you could live for months WITHOUT PERFORMING ANY KIND OF LABOR, and at the expiration of that time FEEL FRESH AND VIGOROUS ENOUGH TO COMMENCE IT AGAIN. Idleness refreshes the physical organization --IT IS A SWEET BOON! Strike at the roots of the destroying habit to-day, Jefferson. It tires you out; resolve to be idle; no one should labor; HE SHOULD HIRE OTHERS TO DO IT FOR HIM;" and then he would fix his mournful eyes on Jeff. and hand him a dollar, while the eyes of the wonder-struck darkey would gaze in mute admiration upon the good and wise originator of the only theory which the darkey mind could appreciate. As Jeff. went away to tell the wonderful story to his companions, and backed it with the dollar as material proof, Artemus would cover his eyes, and bend forward on his elbows in a chuckling laugh.
"Among the Mormons" was delivered through the States, everywhere drawing immense crowds. His manner of delivering his discourse was grotesque and comical beyond description. His quaint and sad style contributed more than anything else to render his entertainment exquisitely funny. The programme was exceedingly droll, and the tickets of admission presented the most ludicrous of ideas. The writer presents a fac-simile of an admission ticket which was presented to him in Natchez by Mr. Browne:--
ADMIT THE BEARER AND ONE WIFE. YOURS TROOLY, A. WARD.
In the spring of 1866, Charles Browne first timidly thought of going to Europe. Turning to Mr. Hingston one day he asked: "What sort of a man is Albert Smith? Do you think the Mormons would be as good a subject to the Londoners as Mont Blanc was?" Then he said: "I should like to go to London and give my lecture in the same place. Can't it be done?"
Mr. Browne sailed for England soon after, taking with him his Panorama. The success that awaited him could scarcely have been anticipated by his most intimate friends. Scholars, wits, poets, and novelists came to him with extended hands, and his stay in London was one ovation to the genius of American wit. Charles Reade, the novelist, was his warm friend and enthusiastic admirer; and Mr. Andrew Haliday introduced him to the "Literary Club," where he became a great favorite. Mark Lemon came to him and asked him to become a contributor to "Punch," which he did. His "Punch" letters were more remarked in literary circles than any other current matter. There was hardly a club-meeting or a dinner at which they were not discussed. "There was something so grotesque in the idea," said a correspondent, "of this ruthless Yankee poking among the revered antiquities of Britain, that the beef-eating British themselves could not restrain their laughter." The story of his Uncle William who "followed commercial pursuits, glorious commerce--and sold soap," and his letters on the Tower and "Chowser," were palpable hits, and it was admitted that "Punch" had contained nothing better since the days of "Yellowplush." This opinion was shared by the "Times," the literary reviews, and the gayest leaders of society. The publishers of "Punch" posted up his name in large letters over their shop in Fleet Street, and Artemus delighted to point it out to his friends. About this time Mr. Browne wrote to his friend Jack Rider, of Cleveland:
"This is the proudest moment of my life. To have been as well appreciated here as at home; to have written for the oldest comic Journal in the English language, received mention with Hood, with Jerrold and Hook, and to have my picture and my pseudonym as common in London as in New York, is enough for "Yours truly, "A. Ward."
England was thoroughly aroused to the merits of Artemus Ward, before he commenced his lectures at Egyptian Hall, and when, in November, he finally appeared, immense crowds were compelled to turn away. At every lecture his fame increased, and when sickness brought his brilliant success to an end, a nation mourned his retirement.
On the evening of Friday, the seventh week of his engagement at Egyptian Hall, Artemus became seriously ill, an apology was made to a disappointed audience, and from that time the light of one of the greatest wits of the centuries commenced fading into darkness. The Press mourned his retirement, and a funeral pall fell over London. The laughing, applauding crowds were soon to see his consumptive form moving towards its narrow resting-place in the cemetery at Kensal Green.
By medical advice Charles Browne went for a short time to the Island of Jersey--but the breezes of Jersey were powerless. He wrote to London to his nearest and dearest friends--the members of a literary club of which he was a member--to complain that his "loneliness weighed on him." He was brought back, but could not sustain the journey farther than Southampton. There the members of the club traveled from London to see him--two at a time--that he might be less lonely.
His remains were followed to the grave from the rooms of his friend Arthur Sketchley, by a large number of friends and admirers, the literati and press of London paying the last tribute of respect to their dead brother. The funeral services were conducted by the Rev. M.D. Conway, formerly of Cincinnati, and the coffin was temporarily placed in a vault, from which it was removed by his American friends, and his body now sleeps by the side of his father, Levi Browne, in the quiet cemetery at Waterford, Maine. Upon the coffin is the simple inscription:--
"CHARLES F. BROWNE, AGED 32 YEARS, Better Known to the World as 'Artemus Ward.'"
His English executors were T.W. Robertson, the playwright, and his friend and companion, E.P. Hingston. His literary executors were Horace Greeley and Richard H. Stoddard. In his will, he bequeathed among other things a large sum of money to his little valet, a bright little fellow; though subsequent denouments revealed the fact that he left only a six-thousand-dollar house in Yonkers. There is still some mystery about his finances, which may one day be revealed. It is known that he withdrew 10,000 dollars from the Pacific Bank to deposit it with a friend before going to England; besides this, his London "Punch" letters paid a handsome profit. Among his personal friends were George Hoyt, the late Daniel Setchell, Charles W. Coe, and Mr. Mullen, the artist, all of whom he used to style "my friends all the year round."
Personally Charles Farrar Browne was one of the kindest and most affectionate of men, and history does not name a man who was so universally beloved by all who knew him. It was remarked, and truly, that the death of no literary character since Washington Irving caused such general and widespread regret.
In stature he was tall and slender. His nose was prominent,-- outlined like that of Sir Charles Napier, or Mr. Seward; his eyes brilliant, small, and close together; his mouth large, teeth white and pearly; fingers long and slender; hair soft, straight, and blonde; complexion florid; mustache large, and his voice soft and clear. In bearing, he moved like a natural-born gentleman. In his lectures he never smiled--not even while he was giving utterance to the most delicious absurdities; but all the while the jokes fell from his lips as if he was unconscious of their meaning. While writing his lectures, he would laugh and chuckle to himself continually.
There was one peculiarity about Charles Browne--HE NEVER MADE AN ENEMY. Other wits in other times have been famous, but a satirical thrust now and then has killed a friend. Diogenes was the wit of Greece, but when, after holding up an old dried fish to draw away the eyes of Anaximenes' audience, he exclaimed "See how an old fish is more interesting than Anaximenes," he said a funny thing, but he stabbed a friend. When Charles Lamb, in answer to the doting mother's question as to how he liked babies, replied, "b-b-boiled, madam, BOILED!" that mother loved him no more: and when John Randolph said "THANK YOU!" to his constituent who kindly remarked that he had the pleasure of PASSING his house, it was wit at the expense of friendship. The whole English school of wits--with Douglas Jerrold, Hood, Sheridan, and Sidney Smith, indulged in repartee. They were PARASITIC wits. And so with the Irish, except that an Irishman is generally so ridiculously absurd in his replies as to only excite ridicule. "Artemus Ward" made you laugh and love him too.
The wit of "Artemus Ward" and "Josh Billings" is distinctively American. Lord Kames, in his "Elements of Criticism," makes no mention of this species of wit, a lack which the future rhetorician should look to. We look in vain for it in the English language of past ages, and in other languages of modern time. It is the genus American. When Artemus says in that serious manner, looking admiringly at his atrocious pictures,--"I love pictures--and I have many of them--beautiful photographs--of myself;" you smile; and when he continues, "These pictures were painted by the Old Masters; they painted these pictures and then they--they expired;" you hardly know what it is that makes you laugh outright; and when Josh Billings says in his Proverbs, wiser than Solomon's "You'd better not know so much, than know so many things that ain't so;"--the same vein is struck, but the text-books fail to explain scientifically the cause of our mirth.
The wit of Charles Browne is of the most exalted kind. It is only scholars and those thoroughly acquainted with the SUBTILTY of our language who fully appreciate it. His wit is generally about historical personages like Cromwell, Garrick, or Shakspeare, or a burlesque on different styles of writing, like his French novel, when hifalutin phrases of tragedy come from the clodhopper who--"sells soap and thrice--refuses a ducal coronet."
Mr. Browne mingled the eccentric even in his business letters. Once he wrote to his Publisher, Mr. G.W. Carleton, who had made some alterations in his MSS.: "The next book I write I'm going to get YOU to write." Again he wrote in 1863:
"Dear Carl:--You and I will get out a book next spring, which will knock spots out of all comic books in ancient or modern history. And the fact that you are going to take hold of it convinces me that you have one of the most MASSIVE intellects of this or any other epoch.
"Yours, my pretty gazelle,
When Charles F. Browne died, he did not belong to America, for, as with Irving and Dickens, the English language claimed him. Greece alone did not suffer when the current of Diogenes' wit flowed on to death. Spain alone did not mourn when Cervantes, dying, left Don Quixote, the "knight of la Mancha." When Charles Lamb ceased to tune the great heart of humanity to joy and gladness, his funeral was in every English and American household; and when Charles Browne took up his silent resting-place in the sombre shades of Kensal Green, JESTING CEASED, and one great Anglo-American heart,
Like a muffled drum went beating Funeral marches to his grave.
MELVILLE D. LANDON.
INTRODUCTION BY T.W. ROBERTSON.
Few tasks are more difficult or delicate than to write on the subject of the works or character of a departed friend. The pen falters as the familiar face looks out of the paper. The mind is diverted from the thought of death as the memory recalls some happy epigram. It seems so strange that the hand that traced the jokes should be cold, that the tongue that trolled out the good things should be silent--that the jokes and the good things should remain, and the man who made them should be gone for ever.
The works of Charles Farrar Browne--who was known to the world as "Artemus Ward"--have run through so many editions, have met with such universal popularity, and have been so widely criticised, that it is needless to mention them here. So many biographies have been written of the gentleman who wrote in the character of the 'cute Yankee Showman, that it is unnecessary that I should touch upon his life, belongings, or adventures. Of "Artemus Ward" I know just as much as the rest of the world. I prefer, therefore, to speak of Charles Farrar Browne, as I knew him, and, in doing so, I can promise those friends who also knew him and esteemed him, that as I consider no "public" man so public, that some portion of his work, pleasures, occupations, and habits may not be considered private, I shall only mention how kind and noble-minded was the man of whom I write, without dragging forward special and particular acts in proof of my words, as if the goodness of his mind and character needed the certificate of facts.
I first saw Charles Browne at a literary club; he had only been a few hours in London, and he seemed highly pleased and excited at finding himself in the old city to which his thoughts had so often wandered. Browne was an intensely sympathetic man. His brain and feelings were as a "lens," and he received impressions immediately. No man could see him without liking him at once. His manner was straightforward and genial, and had in it the dignity of a gentleman, tempered, as it were, by the fun of the humorist. When you heard him talk you wanted to make much of him, not because he was "Artemus Ward," but because he was himself, for no one less resembled "Artemus Ward" than his author and creator, Charles Farrar Browne. But a few weeks ago it was remarked to me that authors were a disappointing race to know, and I agreed with the remark, and I remember a lady once said to me that the personal appearance of poets seldom "came up" to their works. To this I replied that, after all, poets were but men, and that it was as unreasonable to expect that the late Sir Walter Scott could at all resemble a Gathering of the Clans as that the late Lord Macaulay should appear anything like the Committal of the Seven Bishops to the Tower. I told the lady that she was unfair to eminent men if she hoped that celebrated engineers would look like tubular bridges, or that Sir Edwin Landseer would remind her of a "Midsummer Night's Dream." I mention this because, of all men in the world, my friend Charles Browne was the least like a showman of any man I ever encountered. I can remember the odd half disappointed look of some of the visitors to the Egyptian Hall when "Artemus" stepped upon the platform. At first they thought that he was a gentleman who appeared to apologise for the absence of the showman. They had pictured to themselves a coarse old man, with a damp eye and a puckered mouth, one eyebrow elevated an inch above the other to express shrewdness and knowledge of the world--a man clad in velveteen and braid, with a heavy watch-chain, large rings, and horny hands, the touter to a waxwork show, with a hoarse voice, and over familiar manner. The slim gentleman in evening dress, polished manners, and gentle voice, with a tone of good breeding that hovered between deference and jocosity; the owner of those thin--those much too thin--white hands could not be the man who spelt joke with a "g." Folks who came to laugh, began to fear that they should remain to be instructed, until the gentlemanly disappointer began to speak, then they recovered their real "Artemus," Betsy Jane, wax-figgers, and all. Will patriotic Americans forgive me if I say that Charles Browne loved England dearly! He had been in London but a few days when he paid a visit to the Tower. He knew English history better than most Englishmen; and the Tower of London was to him the history of England embalmed in stone and mortar. No man had more reverence in his nature; and at the Tower he saw that what he had read was real. There were the beef-eaters; there had been Queen Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh, and Lady Jane Grey, and Shakspere's murdered princes, and their brave, cruel uncle. There was the block and the axe, and the armour and the jewels. "St George for Merrie England!" had been shouted in the Holy Land, and men of the same blood as himself had been led against the infidel by men of the same brain and muscle as George Washington. Robin Hood was a reality, and not a schoolboy's myth like Ali Baba and Valentine and Orson.
There were two sets of feelings in Charles Browne at the Tower. He could appreciate the sublimity of history, but, as the "Show" part of the exhibition was described to him, the humorist, the wit, and the iconoclast from the other side the Atlantic must have smiled at the "descriptions." The "Tower" was a "show," like his own--Artemus Ward's. A price was paid for admission, and the "figgers" were "orated." Real jewellery is very like sham jewellery after all, and the "Artemus" vein in Charles Browne's mental constitution--the vein of humour, whose source was a strong contempt of all things false, mean, shabby, pretentious, and only external--of bunkum and Barnumisation--must have seen a gigantic speculation realising shiploads of dollars if the Tower could have been taken over to the States, and exhibited from town to town--the Stars and Stripes flying over it--with a four-horse lecture to describe the barbarity of the ancient British Barons and the cuss of chivalry.
Artemus Ward's Lecture on the Mormons at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, was a great success. His humour was so entirely fresh, new, and unconventional, it took his hearers by surprise, and charmed them. His failing health compelled him to abandon the lecture after about eight or ten weeks. Indeed, during that brief period he was once or twice compelled to dismiss his audience. I have myself seen him sink into a chair and nearly faint after the exertion of dressing. He exhibited the greatest anxiety to be at his post at the appointed time, and scrupulously exerted himself to the utmost to entertain his auditors. It was not because he was sick that the public was to be disappointed, or that their enjoyment was to be diminished. During the last few weeks of his lecture-giving he steadily abstained from accepting any of the numerous invitations he received. Had he lived through the following London fashionable season, there is little doubt that the room at the Egyptian Hall would have been thronged nightly. Our aristocracy have a fine delicate sense of humour, and the success, artistic and pecuniary, of "Artemus Ward" would have rivalled that of the famous "Lord Dundreary." There are many stupid people who did not understand the "fun" of Artemus Ward's books. In their vernacular "they didn't see it." There were many stupid people who did not understand the fun of Artemus Ward's lecture on the Mormons. They could not see it. Highly respectable people--the pride of their parish, when they heard of a lecture "upon the Mormons"- -expected to see a solemn person, full of old saws and new statistics, who would denounce the sin of polygamy, and bray against polygamists with four-and-twenty boiling-water Baptist power of denunciation. These uncomfortable Christians do not like humour. They dread it as a certain personage is said to dread holy water, and for the same reason that thieves fear policemen--it finds them out. When these good idiots heard Artemus offer, if they did not like the lecture in Piccadilly, to give them free tickets for the same lecture in California, when he next visited that country, they turned to each other indignantly, and said "What use are tickets for California to us? We are not going to California. No! we are too good, too respectable, to go so far from home. The man is a fool!" One of these ornaments of the vestry complained to the doorkeepers, and denounced the lecture as an imposition; "and," said the wealthy parishioner, "as for the panorama, it's the worst painted thing I ever saw in all my life!"
But the entertainment, original, humorous, and racy though it was, was drawing to a close! In the fight between youth and death, death was to conquer. By medical advice Charles Browne went for a short time to Jersey--but the breezes of Jersey were powerless. He wrote to London to his nearest and dearest friends--the members of a literary club of which he was a member--to complain that his "loneliness weighed on him." He was brought back, but could not sustain the journey farther than Southampton. There the members of the beforementioned club travelled from London to see him--two at a time--that he might be less lonely--and for the unwearying solicitude of his friend and agent, Mr. Hingston, and to the kindly sympathy of the United States Consul at Southampton, Charles Browne's best and dearest friends had cause to be grateful. I cannot close these lines without mention of "Artemus Ward's" last joke. He had read in the newspapers that a wealthy American had offered to present the Prince of Wales with a splendid yacht, American built.
"It seems," said the invalid, "a fashion now-a-days for everybody to present the Prince of Wales with something. I think I shall leave him--my panorama!"
Charles Browne died beloved and regretted by all who knew him, and by many who had known him but a few weeks; and when he drew his last breath, there passed away the Spirit of a true gentleman.
T.W. ROBERTSON London, August 11, 1868.
BY EDWARD P. HINGSTON.
In Cleveland, Ohio, the pleasant city beside the lakes, Artemus Ward first determined to become a public lecturer. He and I rambled through Cleveland together after his return from California. He called on some old friends at the Herald office, then went over to the Weddel House, and afterwards strolled across to the offices of the "Plain Dealer", where, in his position as sub-editor, he had written many of his earlier essays. Artemus inquired for Mr. Gray, the editor, who chanced to be absent. Looking round at the vacant desks and inkstained furniture, Artemus was silent for a minute or two, and then burst into one of those peculiar chuckling fits of laughter in which he would occasionally indulge; not a loud laugh, but a shaking of the whole body with an impulse of merriment which set every muscle in motion. "Here," said he, "here's where they called me a fool." The remembrance of their so calling him seemed to afford him intense amusement.
>From the office of the Cleveland Plain Dealer we continued our tour of the town. Presently we found ourselves in front of Perry's statue, the monument erected to commemorate the naval engagement on Lake Erie, wherein the Americans came off victorious. Artemus looked up to the statue, laid his finger to the side of his nose, and, in his quaint manner, remarked, "I wonder whether they called him 'a fool' too, when he went to fight!"
The remark, following close as it did upon his laughing fit in the newspaper office, caused me to inquire why he had been called "a fool," and who had called him so.
"It was the opinion of my friends on the paper," he replied. "I told them that I was going in for lecturing. They laughed at me, and called me `a fool.' Don't you think they were right?"
Then we sauntered up Euclid Street, under the shade of its avenue of trees. As we went along, Artemus Ward recounted to me the story of his becoming a lecturer. Our conversation on that agreeable evening is fresh in my remembrance. Memory still listens to the voice of my companion in the stroll, still sees the green trees of Euclid Street casting their shadows across our path, and still joins in the laugh with Artemus, who, having just returned from California, where he had taken sixteen hundred dollars at one lecture, did not think that to be evidence of his having lost his senses.
The substance of that which Artemus Ward then told me was, that while writing for the "Cleveland Plain Dealer" he was accustomed, in the discharge of his duties as a reporter, to attend the performances of the various minstrel troups and circuses which visited the neighbourhood. At one of these he would hear some story of his own, written a month or two previously, given by the "middle-man" of the minstrels and received with hilarity by the audience. At another place he would be entertained by listening to jokes of his own invention, coarsely retailed by the clown of the ring, and shouted at by the public as capital waggery on the part of the performer. His own good things from the lips of another "came back to him with alienated majesty," as Emerson expresses it. Then the thought would steal over him--Why should that man gain a living with my witticisms, and I not use them in the same way myself? why not be the utterer of my own coinage, the quoter of my own jests, the mouthpiece of my own merry conceits? Certainly, it was not a very exalted ambition to aim at the glories of a circus clown or the triumphs of a minstrel with a blackened face. But, in the United States a somewhat different view is taken of that which is fitting and seemly for a man to do, compared with the estimate we form in this country. In a land where the theory of caste is not admitted, the relative respectability of the various professions is not quite the same as it is with us. There the profession does not disqualify if the man himself be right, nor the claim to the title of gentleman depend upon the avocation followed. I know of one or two clowns in the ring who are educated physicians, and not thought to be any the less gentlemen because they propound conundrums and perpetrate jests instead of prescribing pills and potions.
Artemus Ward was always very self-reliant; when once he believed himself to be in the right it was almost impossible to persuade him to the contrary. But, at the same time, he was cautious in the extreme, and would well consider his position before deciding that which was right or wrong for him to do. The idea of becoming a public man having taken possession of his mind, the next point to decide was in what form he should appear before the public. That of a humorous lecturer seemed to him to be the best. It was unoccupied ground. America had produced entertainers who by means of facial changes or eccentricities of costume had contrived to amuse their audiences, but there was no one who ventured to joke for an hour before a house full of people with no aid from scenery or dress. The experiment was one which Artemus resolved to try. Accordingly, he set himself to work to collect all his best quips and cranks, to invent what new drolleries he could, and to remember all the good things that he had heard or met with. These he noted down and strung together almost without relevancy or connexion. The manuscript chanced to fall into the hands of the people at the office of the newspaper on which he was then employed, and the question was put to him of what use he was going to make of the strange jumble of jest which he had thus compiled. His answer was that he was about to turn lecturer, and that before them were the materials of his lecture. It was then that his friends laughed at him, and characterised him as "a fool."
"They had some right to think so," said Artemus to me as we rambled up Euclid Street. "I half thought that I was one myself. I don't look like a lecturer--do I?"
He was always fond, poor fellow, of joking on the subject of his personal appearance. His spare figure and tall stature, his prominent nose and his light-colored hair, were each made the subject of a joke at one time or another in the course of his lecturing career. If he laughed largely at the foibles of others, he was equally disposed to laugh at any shortcomings he could detect in himself. If anything at all in his outward form was to him a source of vanity, it was the delicate formation of his hands. White, soft, long, slender, and really handsome, they were more like the hands of a high-born lady than those of a Western editor. He attended to them with careful pride, and never alluded to them as a subject for his jokes, until, in his last illness, they had become unnaturally fair, translucent, and attenuated. Then it was that a friend calling upon him at his apartments in Piccadilly, endeavoured to cheer him at a time of great mental depression, and pleasantly reminded him of a ride they had long ago projected through the South-Western States of the Union. "We must do that ride yet, Artemus. Short stages at first, and longer ones as we go on." Poor Artemus lifted up his pale, slender hands, and letting the light shine through them, said jocosely, "Do you think these would do to hold a rein with? Why, the horse would laugh at them."
Having collected a sufficient number of quaint thoughts, whimsical fancies, bizarre notions, and ludicrous anecdotes, the difficulty which then, according to his own confession, occurred to Artemus Ward was, what should be the title of his lecture. The subject was no difficulty at all, for the simple reason that there was not to be any. The idea of instructing or informing his audience never once entered into his plans. His intention was merely to amuse; if possible, keep the house in continuous laughter for an hour and a half, or rather an hour and twenty minutes, for that was the precise time, in his belief, which people could sit to listen and to laugh without becoming bored; and, if possible, send his audience home well pleased with the lecturer and with themselves, without their having any clear idea of that which they had been listening to, and not one jot the wiser than when they came. No one better understood than Artemus the wants of a miscellaneous audience who paid their dollar or half-dollar each to be amused. No one could gauge better than he the capacity of the crowd to feed on pure fun, and no one could discriminate more clearly than he the fitness, temper, and mental appetite of the constituents of his evening assemblies. The prosiness of an ordinary Mechanics' Institute lecture was to him simply abhorrent; the learned platitudes of a professed lecturer were to him, to use one of his own phrases, "worse than poison." To make people laugh was to be his primary endeavour. If in so making them laugh he could also cause them to see through a sham, be ashamed of some silly national prejudice, or suspicious of the value of some current piece of political bunkum, so much the better. He believed in laughter as thoroughly wholesome; he had the firmest conviction that fun is healthy, and sportiveness the truest sign of sanity. Like Talleyrand, he was of opinion that "Qui vit sans jolie n'est pas si sage qu'il croit."
Artemus Ward's first lecture was entitled "The Babes in the Wood." I asked him why he chose that title, because there was nothing whatever in the lecture relevant to the subject of the child-book legend. He replied, "It seemed to sound the best. I once thought of calling the lecture 'My Seven Grandmothers.' Don't you think that would have been good?" It would at any rate have been just as pertinent.
Incongruity as an element of fun was always an idea uppermost in the mind of the Western humorist. I am not aware that the notes of any of his lectures, except those of his Mormon experience, have been preserved, and I have some doubts if any one of his lectures, except the Mormon one, was ever fairly written out. "The Babes in the Wood," as a lecture, was a pure and unmitigated "sell." It was merely joke after joke, and drollery succeeding to drollery, without any connecting thread whatever. It was an exhibition of fireworks, owing half its brilliancy and more than half its effect to the skill of the man who grouped the fireworks together and let them off. In the hands of any other pyrotechnist the squibs would have failed to light, the rockets would have refused to ascend, and the "nine-bangers" would have exploded but once or twice only, instead of nine times. The artist of the display being no more, and the fireworks themselves having gone out, it is perhaps not to be regretted that the cases of the squibs and the tubes of the rockets have not been carefully kept. Most of the good things introduced by Artemus Ward in his first lecture were afterwards incorporated by him in subsequent writings, or used over again in his later entertainment. Many of them had reference to the events of the day, the circumstances of the American War and the politics of the Great Rebellion. These, of course, have lost their interest with the passing away of the times which gave them birth. The points of many of the jokes have corroded, and the barbed head of many an arrow of Artemus's wit has rusted into bluntness with the decay of the bow from which it was propelled.
If I remember rightly, the "Babes in the Wood" were never mentioned more than twice in the whole lecture. First, when the lecturer told his audience that the "Babes" were to constitute the subject of his discourse, and then digressed immediately to matters quite foreign to the story. Then again at the conclusion of the hour and twenty minutes of drollery, when he finished up in this way: "I now come to my subject 'The Babes in the Wood.'" Here he would take out his watch, look at it with affected surprise, put on an appearance of being greatly perplexed, and amidst roars of laughter from the people, very gravely continue, "But I find that I have exceeded my time, and will therefore merely remark that, so far as I know, they were very good babes--they were as good as ordinary babes. I really have not time to go into their history. You will find it all in the story-books. They died in the woods, listening to the woodpecker tapping the hollow beech-tree. It was a sad fate for them, and I pity them. So, I hope, do you. Good night!"
Artemus gave his first lecture at Norwich in Connecticut, and travelled over a considerable portion of the Eastern States before he ventured to give a sample of his droll oratory in the Western cities, wherein he had earned reputation as a journalist. Gradually his popularity became very great, and in place of letting himself out at so much per night to literary societies and athenaeums, he constituted himself his own showman, engaging that indispensable adjunct to all showmen in the United States, an agent to go ahead, engage halls, arrange for the sale of tickets, and engineer the success of the show. Newspapers had carried his name to every village of the Union, and his writings had been largely quoted in every journal. It required, therefore, comparatively little advertising to announce his visit to any place in which he had to lecture. But it was necessary that he should have a bill or poster of some kind. The one he adopted was simple, quaint, striking, and well adapted to the purpose. It was merely one large sheet, with a black ground, and the letters cut out in the block, so as to print white. The reading was "Artemus Ward will Speak a Piece." To the American mind this was intensely funny from its childish absurdity. It is customary in the States for children to speak or recite "a piece" at school at the annual examination, and the phrase is used just in the same sense as in England we say "a Christmas piece." The professed subject of the lecture being that of a story familiar to children, harmonised well with the droll placard which announced its delivery. The place and time were notified on a slip pasted beneath. To emerge from the dull depths of lyceum committees and launch out as a showman-lecturer on his own responsibility, was something both novel and bold for Artemus to do. In the majority of instances he or his agent met with speculators who were ready to engage him for so many lectures, and secure to the lecturer a certain fixed sum. But in his later transactions Artemus would have nothing to do with them, much preferring to undertake all the risk himself. The last speculator to whom he sold himself for a tour was, I believe, Mr. Wilder, of New York City, who realised a large profit by investing in lecturing stock, and who was always ready to engage a circus, a wild-beast show, or a lecturing celebrity.
As a rule Artemus Ward succeeded in pleasing every one in his audience, especially those who understood the character of the man and the drift of his lecture; but there were not wanting at any of his lectures a few obtuse-minded, slowly-perceptive, drowsy-headed dullards, who had not the remotest idea what the entertainer was talking about, nor why those around him indulged in laughter. Artemus was quick to detect these little spots upon the sunny face of his auditory. He would pick them out, address himself at times to them especially, and enjoy the bewilderment of his Boeotian patrons. Sometimes a stolid inhabitant of central New York, evidently of Dutch extraction, would regard him with an open stare expressive of a desire to enjoy that which was said if the point of the joke could by any possibility be indicated to him. At other times a demure Pennsylvania Quaker would benignly survey the poor lecturer with a look of benevolent pity; and on one occasion, when my friend was lecturing at Peoria, an elderly lady, accompanied by her two daughters, left the room in the midst of the lecture, exclaiming, as she passed me at the door, "It is too bad of people to laugh at a poor young man who doesn't know what he is saying, and ought to be sent to a lunatic asylum!"
The newspaper reporters were invariably puzzled in attempting to give any correct idea of a lecture by Artemus Ward. No report could fairly convey an idea of the entertainment; and being fully aware of this, Artemus would instruct his agent to beg of the papers not to attempt giving any abstract of that which he said. The following is the way in which the reporter of the Golden Era, at San Francisco, California, endeavoured to inform the San Franciscan public of the character of "The Babes in the Wood" lecture. It is, as the reader will perceive, a burlesque on the way in which Artemus himself dealt with the topic he had chosen; while it also notes one or two of the salient features of my friend's style of Lecturing:
"HOW ARTEMUS WARD 'SPOKE A PIECE.'"
"Artemus has arrived. Artemus has spoken. Artemus has triumphed. Great is Artemus!
"Great also is Platt's Hall. But Artemus is greater; for the hall proved too small for his audience, and too circumscribed for the immensity of his jokes. A man who has drank twenty bottles of wine may be called `full.' A pint bottle with a quart of water in it would also be accounted full; and so would an hotel be, every bed in it let three times over on the same night to three different occupants; but none of these would be so full as Platt's Hall was on Friday night to hear Artemus Ward `speak a piece.'
"The piece selected was `The Babes in the Wood,' which reminds us that Mr. Ward is a tall, slender-built, fair-complexioned, jovial-looking gentleman of about twenty-seven years of age. He has a pleasant manner, an agreeable style, and a clear, distinct, and powerful voice.
"'The Babes in the Wood' is a 'comic oration,' with a most comprehensive grasp of subject. As spoken by its witty author, it elicited gusto of laughter and whirlwinds of applause. Mr. Ward is no prosy lyceum lecturer. His style is neither scientific, didactic, or philosophical. It is simply that of a man who is brimful of mirth, wit, and satire, and who is compelled to let it flow forth. Maintaining a very grave countenance himself, he plays upon the muscles of other people's faces as though they were piano- strings, and he the prince of pianists.
"The story of 'The Babes in the Wood' is interesting in the extreme. We would say, en passant, however, that Artemus Ward is a perfect steam factory of puns and a museum of American humour. Humanity seems to him to be a vast mine, out of which he digs tons of fun; and life a huge forest, in which he can cut down 'cords' of comicality. Language with him is like the brass balls with which the juggler amuses us at the circus--ever being tossed up, ever glittering, ever thrown about at pleasure. We intended to report his lecture in full, but we laughed till we split our lead pencil, and our shorthand symbols were too infused with merriment to remain steady on the paper. However, let us proceed to give an idea of 'The Babes in the Wood.' In the first place, it is a comic oration; that is, it is spoken, is exuberant in fun, felicitous in fancy, teeming with jokes, and sparkling as bright waters on a sunny day. The 'Babes in the Wood' is--that is, it isn't a lecture or an oratorical effort; it is something sui generis; something reserved for our day and generation, which it would never have done for our forefathers to have known, or they would have been too mirthful to have attended to the business of preparing the world for our coming; and something which will provoke so much laughter in our time, that the echo of the laughs will reverberate along the halls of futurity, and seriously affect the nerves of future generations.
"The 'Babes in the Wood,' to describe it, is--Well, those who listened to it know best. At any rate, they will acknowledge with us that it was a great success, and that Artemus Ward has a fortune before him in California.
"And now to tell the story of 'The Babes in the Wood'--But we will not, for the hall was not half large enough to accommodate those who came, consequently Mr. Ward will tell it over again at the Metropolitan Theatre next Tuesday evening. The subject will again be 'The Babes in the Wood.'"
Having travelled over the Union with "The Babes in the Wood" lecture, and left his audiences everywhere fully "in the wood" as regarded the subject announced in the title, Artemus Ward became desirous of going over the same ground again. There were not wanting dreary and timid prophets who told him that having "sold" his audiences once, he would not succeed in gaining large houses a second time. But the faith of Artemus in the unsuspecting nature of the public was very large, so with fearless intrepidity he conceived the happy thought of inventing a new title, but keeping to the same old lecture, interspersing it here and there with a few fresh jokes, incidental to new topics of the times. Just at this period General McClellan was advancing on Richmond, and the celebrated fight at Bull's Run had become matter of history. The forcible abolition of slavery had obtained a place among the debates of the day, Hinton Rowan Helper's book on "The Inevitable Crisis" had been sold at every bookstall, and the future of the negro had risen into the position of being the great point of discussion throughout the land. Artemus required a very slender thread to string his jokes upon, and what better one could be found than that which he chose? He advertised the title of his next lecture as "Sixty Minutes in Africa." I need scarcely say that he had never been in Africa, and in all probability had never read a book on African travel. He knew nothing about it, and that was the very reason he should choose Africa for his subject. I believe that he carried out the joke so far as to have a map made of the African continent, and that on a few occasions, but not on all, he had it suspended in the lecture-room. It was in Philadelphia and at the Musical Fund Hall in Locust Street that I first heard him deliver what he jocularly phrased to me as "My African Revelation." The hall was very thronged, the audience must have exceeded two thousand in number, and the evening was unusually warm. Artemus came on the rostrum with a roll of paper in his hands, and used it to play with throughout the lecture, just as recently at the Egyptian Hall, while lecturing on the Mormons, he invariably made use of a lady's riding- whip for the same purpose. He commenced his lecture thus, speaking very gravely and with long pauses between his sentences, allowing his audience to laugh if they pleased, but seeming to utterly disregard their laughter:
"I have invited you to listen to a discourse upon Africa. Africa is my subject. It is a very large subject. It has the Atlantic Ocean on its left side, the Indian Ocean on its right, and more water than you could measure out at its smaller end.
Africa produces blacks--ivory blacks--they get ivory. It also produces deserts, and that is the reason it is so much deserted by travellers. Africa is famed for its roses. It has the red rose, the white rose, and the neg-rose. Apropos of negroes, let me tell you a little story."
Then he at once diverged from the subject of Africa to retail to his audience his amusing story of the Conversion of a Negro, which he subsequently worked up into an article in the Savage Club Papers, and entitled "Converting the Nigger." Never once again in the course of the lecture did he refer to Africa, until the time having arrived for him to conclude, and the people being fairly worn out with laughter, he finished up by saying, "Africa, ladies and gentlemen, is my subject. You wish me to tell you something about Africa. Africa is on the map--it is on all the maps of Africa that I have ever seen. You may buy a good map for a dollar, and if you study it well, you will know more about Africa than I do. It is a comprehensive subject, too vast, I assure you, for me to enter upon to-night. You would not wish me to, I feel that--I feel it deeply, and I am very sensitive. If you go home and go to bed it will be better for you than to go with me to Africa."
The joke about the "neg-rose" has since run the gauntlet of nearly all the minstrel bands throughout England and America. All the "bones," every "middle-man," and all "end-men" of the burnt-cork profession have used Artemus Ward as a mine wherein to dig for the ore which provokes laughter. He has been the "cause of wit in others," and the bread-winner for many dozens of black-face songsters--"singists" as he used to term them. He was just as fond of visiting their entertainments as they were of appropriating his jokes; and among his best friends in New York were the brothers Messrs Neil and Dan Bryant, who have made a fortune by what has been facetiously termed "the burnt-cork opera."
It was in his "Sixty Minutes in Africa" lecture that Artemus Ward first introduced his celebrated satire on the negro, which he subsequently put into print. "The African," said he, "may be our brother. Several highly respectable gentlemen and some talented females tell me that he is, and for argument's sake I might be induced to grant it, though I don't believe it myself. But the African isn't our sister, and wife, and uncle. He isn't several of our brothers and first wife's relations. He isn't our grandfather and great grandfather, and our aunt in the country. Scarcely."
It may easily be imagined how popular this joke became when it is remembered that it was first perpetrated at a time when the negro question was so much debated as to have become an absolute nuisance. Nothing else was talked of; nobody would talk of anything but the negro. The saying arose that all Americans had "nigger-on the-brain." The topic had become nauseous, especially to the Democratic party; and Artemus always had more friends among them than among the Republicans. If he had any politics at all he was certainly a Democrat.
War had arisen, the South was closed, and the lecturing arena considerably lessened. Artemus Ward determined to go to California. Before starting for that side of the American continent, he wished to appear in the city of New York. He engaged, through his friend Mr. De Walden, the large hall then known as Niblo's, in front of the Niblo's Garden Theatre, and now used, I believe, as the dining-room of the Metropolitan Hotel. At that period Pepper's Ghost chanced to be the great novelty of New York City, and Artemus Ward was casting about for a novel title to his old lecture. Whether he or Mr. De Walden selected that of "Artemus Ward's Struggle with a Ghost" I do not know; but I think that it was Mr. De Walden's choice. The title was seasonable, and the lecture successful. Then came the tour to California, whither I proceeded in advance to warn the miners on the Yuba, the travellers on the Rio Sacramento, and the citizens of the Chrysopolis of the Pacific that "A. Ward" would be there shortly. In California the lecture was advertised under its old name of "The Babes in the Wood." Platt's Hall was selected for the scene of operation, and, so popular was the lecturer, that on the first night we took at the doors more than sixteen hundred dollars in gold. The crowd proved too great to take money in the ordinary manner, and hats were used for people to throw their dollars in. One hat broke through at the crown. I doubt if we ever knew to a dollar how many dollars it once contained.
California was duly travelled over, and "The Babes in the Wood" listened to with laughter in its flourishing cities, its mining-camps among the mountains, and its "new placers beside gold-bedded rivers. While journeying through that strangely- beautiful land, the serious question arose--What was to be done next? After California--where?
Before leaving New York, it had been a favourite scheme of Artemus Ward not to return from California to the East by way of Panama, but to come home across the Plains, and to visit Salt Lake City by the way. The difficulty that now presented itself was, that winter was close upon us, and that it was no pleasant thing to cross the Sierra Nevada and scale the Rocky Mountains with the thermometer far below freezingpoint. Nor was poor Artemus even at that time a strong man. My advice was to return to Panama, visit the West India Islands, and come back to California in the spring, lecture again in San Francisco, and then go on to the land of the Mormons. Artemus doubted the feasibility of this plan, and the decision was ultimately arrived at to try the journey to Salt Lake.
Unfortunately the winter turned out to be one of the severest. When we arrived at Salt Lake City, my poor friend was seized with typhoid fever, resulting from the fatigue we had undergone, the intense cold to which we had been subjected, and the excitement of being on a journey of 3500 miles across the North American Continent, when the Pacific Railway had made little progress and the Indians were reported not to be very friendly.
The story of the trip is told in Artemus Ward's lecture. I have added to it, at the special request of the publisher, a few explanatory notes, the purport of which is to render the reader acquainted with the characteristics of the lecturer's delivery. For the benefit of those who never had an opportunity of seeing Artemus Ward nor of hearing him lecture, I may be pardoned for attempting to describe the man himself.
In stature he was tall, in figure, slender. At any time during our acquaintance his height must have been disproportionate to his weight. Like his brother Cyrus, who died a few years before him; Charles F. Browne, our "Artemus Ward," had the premonitory signs of a short life strongly evident in his early manhood. There were the lank form, the long pale fingers, the very white pearly teeth, the thin, fine, soft hair, the undue brightness of the eyes, the excitable and even irritable disposition, the capricious appetite, and the alternately jubilant and despondent tone of mind which too frequently indicate that "the abhorred fury with the shears" is waiting too near at hand to "slit the thin-spun life." His hair was very light-colored, and not naturally curly. He used to joke in his lecture about what it cost him to keep it curled; he wore a very large moustache without any beard or whiskers; his nose was exceedingly prominent, having an outline not unlike that of the late Sir Charles Napier. His forehead was large, with, to use the language of the phrenologists, the organs of the perceptive faculties far more developed than those of the imaginative powers. He had the manner and bearing of a naturally-born gentleman. Great was the disappointment of many who, having read his humorous papers descriptive of his exhibition of snakes and waxwork, and who having also formed their ideas of him from the absurd pictures which had been attached to some editions of his works, found on meeting with him that there was no trace of the showman in his deportment, and little to call up to their mind the smart Yankee who had married "Betsy Jane." There was nothing to indicate that he had not lived a long time in Europe and acquired the polish which men gain by coming in contact with the society of European capitals. In his conversation there was no marked peculiarity of accent to identify him as an American, nor any of the braggadocio which some of his countrymen unadvisedly assume. His voice was soft, gentle, and clear. He could make himself audible in the largest lecture-rooms without effort. His style of lecturing was peculiar; so thoroughly sui generis, that I know of no one with whom to compare him, nor can any description very well convey an idea of that which it was like. However much he caused his audience to laugh, no smile appeared upon his own face. It was grave, even to solemnity, while he was giving utterance to the most delicious absurdities. His assumption of indifference to that which he was saying, his happy manner of letting his best jokes fall from his lips as if unconscious of their being jokes at all, his thorough self-possession on the platform, and keen appreciation of that which suited his audience and that which did not, rendered him well qualified for the task which he had undertaken--that of amusing the public with a humorous lecture. He understood and comprehended to a hair's breadth the grand secret of how not to bore. He had weighed, measured, and calculated to a nicety the number of laughs an audience could indulge in on one evening, without feeling that they were laughing just a little too much. Above all, he was no common man, and did not cause his audience to feel that they were laughing at that which they should feel ashamed of being amused with. He was intellectually up to the level of nine-tenths of those who listened to him, and in listening, they felt that it was no fool who wore the cap and bells so excellently. It was amusing to notice how with different people his jokes produced a different effect. The Honourable Robert Lowe attended one evening at the Mormon Lecture, and laughed as hilariously as any one in the room. The next evening Mr. John Bright happened to be present. With the exception of one or two occasional smiles, he listened with grave attention.
In placing the lecture before the public in print, it is impossible, by having recourse to any system of punctuation, to indicate the pauses, jerky emphases, and odd inflexions of voice which characterised the delivery. The reporter of the Standard newspaper, describing his first lecture in London, aptly said: "Artemus dropped his jokes faster than the meteors of last night succeeded each other in the sky. And there was this resemblance between the flashes of his humour and the flights of the meteors, that in each case one looked for jokes or meteors, but they always came just in the place that one least expected to find them. Half the enjoyment of the evening lay, to some of those present, in listening to the hearty cachinnation of the people who only found out the jokes some two or three minutes after they were made, and who then laughed apparently at some grave statements of fact. Reduced to paper, the showman's jokes are certainly not brilliant; almost their whole effect lies in their seemingly impromptu character. They are carefully led up to, of course; but they are uttered as if they are mere afterthoughts, of which the speaker is hardly sure." Herein the writer in the Standard hits the most marked peculiarity of Artemus Ward's style of lecturing. His affectation of not knowing what he was uttering, his seeming fits of abstraction, and his grave, melancholy aspect, constituted the very cream of the entertainment. Occasionally he would amuse himself in an apparently meditative mood, by twirling his little riding-whip, or by gazing earnestly, but with affected admiration, at his panorama. At the Egyptian Hall his health entirely failed him, and he would occasionally have to use a seat during the course of the lecture. In the notes which follow I have tried, I know how inefficiently, to convey here and there an idea of how Artemus rendered his lecture amusing by gesture or action. I have also, at the request of the publisher, made a few explanatory comments on the subject of our Mormon trip. In so doing I hope that I have not thrust myself too prominently forward, nor been too officious in my explanations. My aim has been to add to the interest of the lecture with those who never heard it delivered, and to revive in the memory of those who did some of its notable peculiarities. The illustrations are from photographs of the panorama painted in America for Artemus, as the pictorial portion of his entertainment.
In the lecture is the fun of the journey. For the hard facts the reader in quest of information is referred to a book published previously to the lecturer's appearance at the Egyptian Hall, the title of which is, "Artemus Ward: His Travels among the Mormons." Much against the grain as it was for Artemus to be statistical, he has therein detailed some of the experiences of his Mormon trip, with due regard to the exactitude and accuracy of statement expected by information-seeking readers in a book of travels. He was not precisely the sort of traveller to write a paper for the evening meetings of the Royal Geographical Society, nor was he sufficiently interested in philosophical theories to speculate on the developments of Mormonism as illustrative of the history of religious belief. We were looking out of the window of the Salt Lake House one morning, when Brigham Young happened to pass down the opposite side of Main Street. It was cold weather, and the prophet was clothed in a thick cloak of some green-colored material. I remarked to Artemus that Brigham had seemingly compounded Mormonism from portions of a dozen different creeds; and that in selecting green for the color of his apparel, he was imitating Mahomet. "Has it not struck you," I observed, "that Swedenborgianism and Mahometanism are oddly blended in the Mormon faith?"
"Petticoatism and plunder," was Artemus's reply--and that comprehended his whole philosophy of Mormonism. As he remarked elsewhere: "Brigham Young is a man of great natural ability. If you ask me, How pious is he? I treat it as a conundrum, and give it up."
To lecture in London, and at the Egyptian Hall, had long been a favourite idea of Artemus Ward. Some humorist has said, that "All good Americans, when they die--, go to Paris." So do most, whether good or bad, while they are living.
Still more strongly developed is the transatlantic desire to go to Rome. In the far west of the Missouri, in the remoter west of Colorado and away in far north-western Oregon, I have heard many a tradesman express his intention to make dollars enough to enable him to visit Rome. In a land where all is so new, where they have had no past, where an old wall would be a sensation, and a tombstone of anybody's great grandfather the marvel of the whole region, the charms of the old world have an irresistible fascination. To visit the home of the Caesars they have read of in their school-books, and to look at architecture which they have seen pictorially, but have nothing like it in existence around them, is very naturally the strong wish of people who are nationally nomadic, and who have all more or less a smattering of education. Artemus Ward never expressed to me any very great wish to travel on the European continent, but to see London was to accomplish something which he had dreamed of from his boyhood. There runs from Marysville in California to Oroville in the same State a short and singular little railway, which, when we were there, was in a most unfinished condition. To Oroville we were going. We were too early for the train at the Marysville station, and sat down on a pile of timber to chat over future prospects.
"What sort of a man was Albert Smith?" asked Artemus "And do you think that the Mormons would be as good a subject for the Londoners as Mont Blanc was?"
I answered his questions. He reflected for a few moments, and then said:
"Well, old fellow, I'll tell you what I should like to do. I should like to go to London and give my lecture in the same place. Can it be done?"
It was done. Not in the same room, but under the same roof and on the same floor; in that gloomy-looking Hall in Piccadilly, which was destined to be the ante-chamber to the tomb of both lecturers.
Throughout this brief sketch I have written familiarly of the late Mr. Charles F. Browne as "Artemus Ward," or simply as "Artemus." I have done so advisedly, mainly because, during the whole course of our acquaintance, I do not remember addressing him as "Mr. Browne," or by his real Christian name. To me he was always "Artemus"-- Artemus the kind, the gentle, the suave, the generous. One who was ever a friend in the fullest meaning of the word, and the best of companions in the amplest acceptance of the phrase. His merry laugh and pleasant conversation are as audible to me as if they were heard but yesterday; his words of kindness linger on the ear of memory, and his tones of genial mirth live in echoes which I shall listen to for evermore. Two years will soon have passed away since last he spoke, and
"Silence now, enamour'd of his voice Looks its mute music in her rugged cell."
E.P. HINGSTON. LONDON, October 1868.
* * *
ESSAYS, SKETCHES, AND LETTERS.
1.1. ONE OF MR. WARD'S BUSINESS LETTERS.
To the Editor of the --
Sir--I'm movin along--slowly along--down tords your place. I want you should rite me a letter, sayin how is the show bizniss in your place. My show at present consists of three moral Bares, a Kangaroo (a amoozin little Raskal--t'would make you larf yerself to deth to see the little cuss jump up and squeal) wax figgers of G. Washington Gen. Tayler John Bunyan Capt Kidd and Dr. Webster in the act of killin Dr. Parkman, besides several miscellanyus moral wax statoots of celebrated piruts & murderers, &c., ekalled by few & exceld by none. Now Mr. Editor, scratch orf a few lines sayin how is the show bizniss down to your place. I shall hav my hanbills dun at your offiss. Depend upon it. I want you should git my hanbills up in flamin stile. Also git up a tremenjus excitemunt in yr. paper 'bowt my onparaleld Show. We must fetch the public sumhow. We must wurk on their feelins. Cum the moral on 'em strong. If it's a temperance community tell 'em I sined the pledge fifteen minits arter Ise born, but on the contery ef your peple take their tods, say Mister Ward is as Jenial a feller as we ever met, full of conwiviality, & the life an sole of the Soshul Bored. Take, don't you? If you say anythin abowt my show say my snaiks is as harmliss as the new-born Babe. What a interestin study it is to see a zewological animil like a snaik under perfeck subjecshun! My kangaroo is the most larfable little cuss I ever saw. All for 15 cents. I am anxyus to skewer your infloounce. I repeet in regard to them hanbills that I shall git 'em struck orf up to your printin office. My perlitercal sentiments agree with yourn exackly. I know thay do, becawz I never saw a man whoos didn't.
P.S.--You scratch my back & Ile scratch your back.
1.2. ON "FORTS."
Every man has got a Fort. It's sum men's fort to do one thing, and some other men's fort to do another, while there is numeris shiftliss critters goin round loose whose fort is not to do nothin.
Shakspeer rote good plase, but he wouldn't hav succeeded as a Washington correspondent of a New York daily paper. He lackt the rekesit fancy and imagginashun.
Old George Washington's Fort was not to hev eny public man of the present day resemble him to eny alarmin extent. Whare bowts can George's ekal be found? I ask, & boldly anser no whares, or eny whare else.
Old man Townsin's Fort was to maik Sassyperiller. "Goy to the world! anuther life saived!" (Cotashun from Townsin's advertisemunt.)
Cyrus Field's Fort is to lay a sub-machine tellegraf under the boundin billers of the Oshun, and then hev it Bust.
Spaldin's Fort is to maik Prepared Gloo, which mends everything. Wonder ef it will mend a sinner's wickid waze? (Impromptoo goak.)
Zoary's Fort is to be a femaile circus feller.
My Fort is the grate moral show bizniss & ritin choice famerly literatoor for the noospapers. That's what's the matter with ME.
&c., &c., &c. So I mite go on to a indefnit extent.
Twict I've endeverd to do things which thay wasn't my Fort. The fust time was when I undertuk to lick a owdashus cuss who cut a hole in my tent & krawld threw. Sez I, "my jentle Sir go out or I shall fall onto you putty hevy." Sez he, "Wade in, Old wax figgers," whareupon I went for him, but he cawt me powerful on the hed & knockt me threw the tent into a cow pastur. He pursood the attack & flung me into a mud puddle. As I aroze & rung out my drencht garmints I koncluded fitin wasn't my Fort. Ile now rize the kurtin upon Seen 2nd: It is rarely seldum that I seek consolation in the Flowin Bole. But in a sertin town in Injianny in the Faul of 18--, my orgin grinder got sick with the fever & died. I never felt so ashamed in my life, & I thowt I'd hist in a few swallows of suthin strengthin. Konsequents was I histid in so much I dident zackly know whare bowts I was. I turnd my livin wild beests of Pray loose into the streets and spilt all my wax wurks. I then Bet I cood play hoss. So I hitched myself to a Kanawl bote, there bein two other hosses hitcht on also, one behind and anuther ahead of me. The driver hollerd for us to git up, and we did. But the hosses bein onused to sich a arrangemunt begun to kick & squeal and rair up. Konsequents was I was kickt vilently in the stummuck & back, and presuntly I fownd myself in the Kanawl with the other hosses, kickin & yellin like a tribe of Cusscaroorus savvijis. I was rescood, & as I was bein carrid to the tavern on a hemlock Bored I sed in a feeble voise, "Boys, playin hoss isn't my Fort."
MORUL--Never don't do nothin which isn't your Fort, for ef you do you'll find yourself splashin round in the Kanawl, figgeratively speakin.
1.3. THE SHAKERS.
The Shakers is the strangest religious sex I ever met. I'd hearn tell of 'em and I'd seen 'em, with their broad brim'd hats and long wastid coats; but I'd never cum into immejit contack with 'em, and I'd sot 'em down as lackin intelleck, as I'd never seen 'em to my Show--leastways, if they cum they was disgised in white peple's close, so I didn't know 'em.
But in the Spring of 18--, I got swampt in the exterior of New York State, one dark and stormy night, when the winds Blue pityusly, and I was forced to tie up with the Shakers.
I was toilin threw the mud, when in the dim vister of the futer I obsarved the gleams of a taller candle. Tiein a hornet's nest to my off hoss's tail to kinder encourage him, I soon reached the place. I knockt at the door, which it was opened unto me by a tall, slick-faced, solum lookin individooal, who turn'd out to be a Elder.
"Mr. Shaker," sed I, "you see before you a Babe in the woods, so to speak, and he axes shelter of you."
"Yay," sed the Shaker, and he led the way into the house, another Shaker bein sent to put my hosses and waggin under kiver.
A solum female, lookin sumwhat like a last year's beanpole stuck into a long meal bag, cum in axed me was I athurst and did I hunger? to which I urbanely anserd "a few." She went orf and I endeverd to open a conversashun with the old man.
"Elder, I spect?" sed I.
"Yay," he said.
"Helth's good, I reckon?"
"What's the wages of a Elder, when he understans his bizness--or do you devote your sarvices gratooitus?"
"Stormy night, sir."
"If the storm continners there'll be a mess underfoot, hay?"
"It's onpleasant when there's a mess underfoot?"
"If I may be so bold, kind sir, what's the price of that pecooler kind of weskit you wear, incloodin trimmins?"
I pawsd a minit, and then, thinkin I'd be faseshus with him and see how that would go, I slapt him on the shoulder, bust into a harty larf, and told him that as a yayer he had no livin ekal.
He jumpt up as if Bilin water had bin squirted into his ears, groaned, rolled his eyes up tords the sealin and sed: "You're a man of sin!" He then walkt out of the room.
Jest then the female in the meal bag stuck her hed into the room and statid that refreshments awaited the weary travler, and I sed if it was vittles she ment the weary travler was agreeable, and I follored her into the next room.
I sot down to the table and the female in the meal bag pored out sum tea. She sed nothin, and for five minutes the only live thing in that room was a old wooden clock, which tickt in a subdood and bashful manner in the corner. This dethly stillness made me oneasy, and I determined to talk to the female or bust. So sez I, "marrige is agin your rules, I bleeve, marm?"
"The sexes liv strickly apart, I spect?"
"It's kinder singler," sez I, puttin on my most sweetest look and speakin in a winnin voice, "that so fair a made as thow never got hitched to some likely feller." [N.B.--She was upards of 40 and homely as a stump fence, but I thawt I'd tickil her.]
"I don't like men!" she sed, very short.
"Wall, I dunno," sez I, "they're a rayther important part of the populashun. I don't scacely see how we could git along without 'em."
"Us poor wimin folks would git along a grate deal better if there was no men!"
"You'll excoos me, marm, but I don't think that air would work. It wouldn't be regler."
"I'm fraid of men!" she sed.
"That's onnecessary, marm. YOU ain't in no danger. Don't fret yourself on that pint."
"Here we're shot out from the sinful world. Here all is peas. Here we air brothers and sisters. We don't marry and consekently we hav no domestic difficulties. Husbans don't abooze their wives--wives don't worrit their husbans. There's no children here to worrit us. Nothin to worrit us here. No wicked matrimony here. Would thow like to be a Shaker?"
"No," sez I, "it ain't my stile."
I had now histed in as big a load of pervishuns as I could carry comfortable, and, leanin back in my cheer, commenst pickin my teeth with a fork. The female went out, leavin me all alone with the clock. I hadn't sot thar long before the Elder poked his hed in at the door. "You're a man of sin!" he sed, and groaned and went away.
Direckly thar cum in two young Shakeresses, as putty and slick lookin gals as I ever met. It is troo they was drest in meal bags like the old one I'd met previsly, and their shiny, silky har was hid from sight by long white caps, sich as I spose female Josts wear; but their eyes sparkled like diminds, their cheeks was like roses, and they was charmin enuff to make a man throw stuns at his granmother if they axed him to. They comenst clearin away the dishes, castin shy glances at me all the time. I got excited. I forgot Betsy Jane in my rapter, and sez I, "my pretty dears, how air you?"
"We air well," they solumly sed.
"Whar's the old man?" sed I, in a soft voice.
"Of whom dost thow speak--Brother Uriah?"
"I mean the gay and festiv cuss who calls me a man of sin. Shouldn't wonder if his name was Uriah."
"He has retired."
"Wall, my pretty dears," sez I, "let's have sum fun. Let's play puss in the corner. What say?"
"Air you a Shaker, sir?" they axed.
"Wall my pretty dears, I haven't arrayed my proud form in a long weskit yit, but if they was all like you perhaps I'd jine 'em. As it is, I'm a Shaker pro-temporary."
They was full of fun. I seed that at fust, only they was a leetle skeery. I tawt 'em Puss in the corner and sich like plase, and we had a nice time, keepin quiet of course so the old man shouldn't hear. When we broke up, sez I, "my pretty dears, ear I go you hav no objections, hav you, to a innersent kiss at partin?"
"Yay," they said, and I YAY'D.
I went up stairs to bed. I spose I'd bin snoozin half an hour when I was woke up by a noise at the door. I sot up in bed, leanin on my elbers and rubbin my eyes, and I saw the follerin picter: The Elder stood in the doorway, with a taller candle in his hand. He hadn't no wearin appeerel on except his night close, which flutterd in the breeze like a Seseshun flag. He sed, "You're a man of sin!" then groaned and went away.
I went to sleep agin, and drempt of runnin orf with the pretty little Shakeresses mounted on my Californy Bar. I thawt the Bar insisted on steerin strate for my dooryard in Baldinsville and that Betsy Jane cum out and giv us a warm recepshun with a panfull of Bilin water. I was woke up arly by the Elder. He said refreshments was reddy for me down stairs. Then sayin I was a man of sin, he went groanin away.
As I was goin threw the entry to the room where the vittles was, I cum across the Elder and the old female I'd met the night before, and what d'ye spose they was up to? Huggin and kissin like young lovers in their gushingist state. Sez I, "my Shaker friends, I reckon you'd better suspend the rules and git married."
"You must excoos Brother Uriah," sed the female; "he's subjeck to fits and hain't got no command over hisself when he's into 'em."
"Sartinly," sez I, "I've bin took that way myself frequent."
"You're a man of sin!" sed the Elder.
Arter breakfust my little Shaker frends cum in agin to clear away the dishes.
"My pretty dears," sez I, "shall we YAY agin?"
"Nay," they sed, and I NAY'D.
The Shakers axed me to go to their meetin, as they was to hav sarvices that mornin, so I put on a clean biled rag and went. The meetin house was as neat as a pin. The floor was white as chalk and smooth as glass. The Shakers was all on hand, in clean weskits and meal bags, ranged on the floor like milingtery companies, the mails on one side of the room and the females on tother. They commenst clappin their hands and singin and dancin. They danced kinder slow at fust, but as they got warmed up they shaved it down very brisk, I tell you. Elder Uriah, in particler, exhiberted a right smart chance of spryness in his legs, considerin his time of life, and as he cum a dubble shuffle near where I sot, I rewarded him with a approvin smile and sed: "Hunky boy! Go it, my gay and festiv cuss!"
"You're a man of sin!" he sed, continnerin his shuffle.
The Sperret, as they called it, then moved a short fat Shaker to say a few remarks. He sed they was Shakers and all was ekal. They was the purest and Seleckest peple on the yearth. Other peple was sinful as they could be, but Shakers was all right. Shakers was all goin kerslap to the Promist Land, and nobody want goin to stand at the gate to bar 'em out, if they did they'd git run over.
The Shakers then danced and sung agin, and arter they was threw, one of 'em axed me what I thawt of it.
Sez I, "What duz it siggerfy?"
"What?" sez he.
"Why this jumpin up and singin? This long weskit bizniss, and this anty-matrimony idee? My frends, you air neat and tidy. Your lands is flowin with milk and honey. Your brooms is fine, and your apple sass is honest. When a man buys a keg of apple sass of you he don't find a grate many shavins under a few layers of sass--a little Game I'm sorry to say sum of my New Englan ancesters used to practiss. Your garding seeds is fine, and if I should sow 'em on the rock of Gibralter probly I should raise a good mess of garding sass. You air honest in your dealins. You air quiet and don't distarb nobody. For all this I givs you credit. But your religion is small pertaters, I must say. You mope away your lives here in single retchidness, and as you air all by yourselves nothing ever conflicks with your pecooler idees, except when Human Nater busts out among you, as I understan she sumtimes do. [I giv Uriah a sly wink here, which made the old feller squirm like a speared Eel.] You wear long weskits and long faces, and lead a gloomy life indeed. No children's prattle is ever hearn around your harthstuns--you air in a dreary fog all the time, and you treat the jolly sunshine of life as tho' it was a thief, drivin it from your doors by them weskits, and meal bags, and pecooler noshuns of yourn. The gals among you, sum of which air as slick pieces of caliker as I ever sot eyes on, air syin to place their heds agin weskits which kiver honest, manly harts, while you old heds fool yerselves with the idee that they air fulfillin their mishun here, and air contented. Here you air all pend up by yerselves, talkin about the sins of a world you don't know nothin of. Meanwhile said world continners to resolve round on her own axletree onct in every 24 hours, subjeck to the Constitution of the United States, and is a very plesant place of residence. It's a unnatral, onreasonable and dismal life you're leadin here. So it strikes me. My Shaker frends, I now bid you a welcome adoo. You hav treated me exceedin well. Thank you kindly, one and all.
"A base exhibiter of depraved monkeys and onprincipled wax works!" sed Uriah.
"Hello, Uriah," sez I, "I'd most forgot you. Wall, look out for them fits of yourn, and don't catch cold and die in the flour of your youth and beauty."
And I resoomed my jerney.
1.4. HIGH-HANDED OUTRAGE AT UTICA.
In the Faul of 1856, I showed my show in Uticky, a trooly grate sitty in the State of New York.
The people gave me a cordyal recepshun. The press was loud in her prases.
1 day as I was givin a descripshun of my Beests and Snaiks in my usual flowry stile what was my skorn disgust to see a big burly feller walk up to the cage containin my wax figgers of the Lord's Last Supper, and cease Judas Iscarrot by the feet and drag him out on the ground. He then commenced fur to pound him as hard as he cood.
"What under the son are you abowt?" cried I.
Sez he, "What did you bring this pussylanermus cuss here fur?" and he hit the wax figger another tremenjis blow on the hed.
Sez I, "You egrejus ass, that air's a wax figger--a representashun of the false 'Postle."
Sez he, "That's all very well fur you to say, but I tell you, old man, that Judas Iscarrot can't show hisself in Utiky with impunerty by a darn site!" with which observashun he kaved in Judassis hed. The young man belonged to 1 of the first famerlies in Utiky. I sood him, and the Joory brawt in a verdick of Arson in the 3d degree.
1.5. CELEBRATION AT BALDINSVILLE IN HONOR OF THE ATLANTIC CABLE.
Baldinsville, Injianny, Sep. the onct, 18&58.--I was summund home from Cinsinnaty quite suddin by a lettur from the Supervizers of Baldinsville, sayin as how grate things was on the Tappis in that air town in refferunse to sellebratin the compleshun of the Sub-Mershine Tellergraph & axkin me to be Pressunt. Lockin up my Kangeroo and wax wurks in a sekure stile I took my departer for Baldinsville--"my own, my nativ lan," which I gut intwo at early kandle litin on the follerin night & just as the sellerbrashun and illumernashun ware commensin.
Baldinsville was trooly in a blaze of glory. Near can I forgit the surblime speckticul which met my gase as I alited from the Staige with my umbreller and verlis. The Tarvern was lit up with taller kandles all over & a grate bon fire was burnin in frunt thareof. A Traspirancy was tied onto the sine post with the follerin wurds--"Giv us Liberty or Deth." Old Tompkinsis grosery was illumernated with 5 tin lantuns and the follerin Transpirancy was in the winder--"The Sub-Mershine Tellergraph & the Baldinsville and Stonefield Plank Road--the 2 grate eventz of the 19th centerry--may intestines strife never mar their grandjure." Simpkinsis shoe shop was all ablase with kandles and lantuns. A American Eagle was painted onto a flag in a winder--also these wurds, viz.--"The Constitooshun must be Presarved." The Skool house was lited up in grate stile and the winders was filld with mottoes amung which I notised the follerin--"Trooth smashed to erth shall rize agin--YOU CAN'T STOP HER." "The Boy stood on the Burnin Deck whense awl but him had Fled." "Prokrastinashun is the theaf of Time." "Be virtoous & you will be Happy." "Intemperunse has cawsed a heap of trubble--shun the Bole," an the follerin sentimunt written by the skool master, who graduated at Hudson Kollige: "Baldinsville sends greetin to Her Magisty the Queen, & hopes all hard feelins which has heretofore previs bin felt between the Supervizers of Baldinsville and the British Parlimunt, if such there has been, may now be forever wiped frum our Escutchuns. Baldinsville this night rejoises over the gerlorious event which sementz 2 grate nashuns onto one anuther by means of a elecktric wire under the roarin billers of the Nasty Deep. QUOSQUE TANTRUM, A BUTTER, CATERLINY, PATENT NOSTRUM!" Squire Smith's house was lited up regardlis of expense. His little sun William Henry stood upon the roof firin orf crackers. The old 'Squire hisself was dressed up in soljer clothes and stood on his door-step, pintin his sword sollumly to a American flag which was suspendid on top of a pole in frunt of his house. Frequiently he wood take orf his cocked hat & wave it round in a impressive stile. His oldest darter Mis Isabeller Smith, who has just cum home from the Perkinsville Female Instertoot, appeared at the frunt winder in the West room as the goddis of liberty, & sung "I see them on their windin way." Booteus 1, sed I to myself, you air a angil & nothin shorter. N. Boneparte Smith, the 'Squire's oldest sun, drest hisself up as Venus the God of Wars and red the Decleration of Inderpendunse from the left chambir winder. The 'Squire's wife didn't jine in the festiverties. She sed it was the tarnulest nonsense she ever seed. Sez she to the 'Squire, "Cum into the house and go to bed you old fool, you. Tomorrer you'll be goin round half-ded with the rumertism & won't gin us a minit's peace till you get well." Sez the 'Squire, "Betsy, you little appresiate the importance of the event which I this night commererate." Sez she, "Commemerate a cat's tail--cum into the house this instant, you pesky old critter." "Betsy," sez the 'Squire, wavin his sword, "retire." This made her just as mad as she could stick. She retired, but cum out agin putty quick with a panfull of Bilin hot water which she throwed all over the Squire, & Surs, you wood have split your sides larfin to see the old man jump up and holler & run into the house. Except this unpropishus circumstance all went as merry as a carriage bell, as Lord Byrun sez. Doctor Hutchinsis offiss was likewise lited up and a Transpirancy, on which was painted the Queen in the act of drinkin sum of "Hutchinsis invigorater," was stuck into one of the winders. The Baldinsville Bugle of Liberty noospaper offiss was also illumernated, & the follerin mottoes stuck out--"The Press is the Arkermejian leaver which moves the world." "Vote Early." "Buckle on your Armer." "Now is the time to Subscribe." "Franklin, Morse & Field." "Terms 1.50 dollars a year--liberal reducshuns to clubs." In short the villige of Baldinsville was in a perfect fewroar. I never seed so many peple thar befour in my born days. Ile not attemp to describe the seens of that grate night. Wurds wood fale me ef I shood try to do it. I shall stop here a few periods and enjoy my "Oatem cum dig the tates," as our skool master observes, in the buzzum of my famerly, & shall then resume the show biznis, which Ive bin into twenty-two (22) yeres and six (6) months.
1.6. AMONG THE SPIRITS.
My naburs is mourn harf crazy on the new-fangled ideas about Sperrets. Sperretooul Sircles is held nitely & 4 or 5 long hared fellers has settled here and gone into the Sperret biznis excloosively. A atemt was made to git Mrs. A. Ward to embark into the Sperret biznis but the atemt faled. 1 of the long hared fellers told her she was a ethereal creeter & wood make a sweet mejium, whareupon she attact him with a mop handle & drove him out of the house. I will hear obsarve that Mrs.Ward is a invalerble womum--the partner of my goys & the shairer of my sorrers. In my absunse she watchis my interests & things with a Eagle Eye & when I return she welcums me in afectionate stile. Trooly it is with us as it was with Mr. & Mrs. INGOMER in the Play, to whit,--
2 soles with but a single thawt 2 harts which beet as 1.
My naburs injooced me to attend a Sperretooul Sircle at Squire Smith's. When I arrove I found the east room chock full includin all the old maids in the villige & the long hared fellers a4sed. When I went in I was salootid with "hear cums the benited man"-- "hear cums the hory-heded unbeleever"--"hear cums the skoffer at trooth," etsettery, etsettery.
Sez I, "my frens, it's troo I'm hear, & now bring on your Sperrets."
1 of the long hared fellers riz up and sed he would state a few remarks. He sed man was a critter of intelleck & was movin on to a Gole. Sum men had bigger intellecks than other men had and thay wood git to the Gole the soonerest. Sum men was beests & wood never git into the Gole at all. He sed the Erth was materiel but man was immaterial, and hens man was different from the Erth. The Erth, continnered the speaker, resolves round on its own axeltree onct in 24 hours, but as man haint gut no axeltree he cant resolve. He sed the ethereal essunce of the koordinate branchis of super-human natur becum mettymorfussed as man progrest in harmonial coexistunce & eventooally anty humanized theirselves & turned into reglar sperretuellers. (This was versifferusly applauded by the cumpany, and as I make it a pint to get along as pleasant as possible, I sung out "bully for you, old boy.")
The cumpany then drew round the table and the Sircle kommenst to go it. Thay axed me if thare was an body in the Sperret land which I wood like to convarse with. I sed if Bill Tompkins, who was onct my partner in the show biznis, was sober, I should like to convarse with him a few periods.
"Is the Sperret of William Tompkins present?" sed 1 of the long hared chaps, and there was three knox on the table.
Sez I, "William, how goze it, Old Sweetness?"
"Pretty ruff, old hoss," he replide.
That was a pleasant way we had of addressin each other when he was in the flesh.
"Air you in the show bizniz, William?" sed I.
He sed he was. He sed he & John Bunyan was travelin with a side show in connection with Shakspere, Jonson & Co.'s Circus. He sed old Bun (meanin Mr. Bunyan,) stired up the animils & ground the organ while he tended door. Occashunally Mr. Bunyan sung a comic song. The Circus was doin middlin well. Bill Shakspeer had made a grate hit with old Bob Ridley, and Ben Jonson was delitin the peple with his trooly grate ax of hossmanship without saddul or bridal. Thay was rehersin Dixey's Land & expected it would knock the peple.
Sez I, "William, my luvly friend, can you pay me that 13 dollars you owe me?" He sed no with one of the most tremenjis knox I ever experiunsed.
The Sircle sed he had gone. "Air you gone, William?" I axed. "Rayther," he replide, and I knowd it was no use to pursoo the subjeck furder.
I then called fur my farther.
"How's things, daddy?"
"Middlin, my son, middlin."
"Ain't you proud of your orfurn boy?"
"Why not, my parient?"
"Becawz you hav gone to writin for the noospapers, my son. Bimeby you'll lose all your character for trooth and verrasserty. When I helpt you into the show biznis I told you to dignerfy that there profeshun. Litteratoor is low."
He also statid that he was doin middlin well in the peanut biznis & liked it putty well, tho' the climit was rather warm.
When the Sircle stopt thay axed me what I thawt of it.
Sez I, "My frends I've bin into the show biznis now goin on 23 years. Theres a artikil in the Constitooshun of the United States which sez in effeck that everybody may think just as he darn pleazes, & them is my sentiments to a hare. You dowtlis beleeve this Sperret doctrin while I think it is a little mixt. Just so soon as a man becums a reglar out & out Sperret rapper he leeves orf workin, lets his hare grow all over his fase & commensis spungin his livin out of other peple. He eats all the dickshunaries he can find & goze round chock full of big words, scarein the wimmin folks & little children & destroyin the piece of mind of evry famerlee he enters. He don't do nobody no good & is a cuss to society & a pirit on honest peple's corn beef barrils. Admittin all you say abowt the doctrin to be troo, I must say the reglar perfessional Sperrit rappers--them as makes a biznis on it--air abowt the most ornery set of cusses I ever enkountered in my life. So sayin I put on my surtoot and went home.
Respectably Yures, Artemus Ward.
1.7. ON THE WING.
Gents of the Editorial Corpse.--
Since I last rit you I've met with immense success a showin my show in varis places, particly at Detroit. I put up at Mr. Russel's tavern, a very good tavern too, but I am sorry to inform you that the clerks tried to cum a Gouge Game on me. I brandished my new sixteen dollar huntin-cased watch round considerable, & as I was drest in my store clothes & had a lot of sweet-scented wagon-grease on my hair, I am free to confess that I thought I lookt putty gay. It never once struck me that I lookt green. But up steps a clerk & axes me hadn't I better put my watch in the Safe. "Sir," sez I, "that watch cost sixteen dollars! Yes, Sir, every dollar of it! You can't cum it over me, my boy! Not at all, Sir." I know'd what the clerk wanted. He wanted that watch himself. He wanted to make believe as tho he lockt it up in the safe, then he would set the house a fire and pretend as tho the watch was destroyed with the other property! But he caught a Tomarter when he got hold of me. From Detroit I go West'ard hoe. On the cars was a he-lookin female, with a green-cotton umbreller in one hand and a handful of Reform tracks in the other. She sed every woman should have a Spear. Them as didn't demand their Spears, didn't know what was good for them. "What is my Spear?" she axed, addressing the people in the cars. "Is it to stay at home & darn stockins & be the ser-LAVE of a domineerin man? Or is it my Spear to vote & speak & show myself the ekal of a man? Is there a sister in these keers that has her proper Spear?" Sayin which the eccentric female whirled her umbreller round several times, & finally jabbed me in the weskit with it.
"I hav no objecshuns to your goin into the Spear bizness," sez I, "but you'll please remember I ain't a pickeril. Don't Spear me agin, if you please." She sot down.
At Ann Arbor, bein seized with a sudden faintness, I called for a drop of suthin to drink. As I was stirrin the beverage up, a pale-faced man in gold spectacles laid his hand upon my shoulder, & sed, "Look not upon the wine when it is red!"
Sez I, "This ain't wine. This is Old Rye."
"'It stingeth like a Adder and biteth like a Sarpent!'" sed the man.
"I guess not," sed I, "when you put sugar into it. That's the way I allers take mine."
"Have you sons grown up, sir?" the man axed.
"Wall," I replide, as I put myself outside my beverage, "my son Artemus junior is goin on 18."
"Ain't you afraid if you set this example be4 him he'll cum to a bad end?"
"He's cum to a waxed end already. He's learnin the shoe makin bizness," I replide. "I guess we can both on us git along without your assistance, Sir," I obsarved, as he was about to open his mouth agin.
"This is a cold world!" sed the man.
"That's so. But you'll get into a warmer one by and by if you don't mind your own bizness better." I was a little riled at the feller, because I never take anythin only when I'm onwell. I arterwards learned he was a temperance lecturer, and if he can injuce men to stop settin their inards on fire with the frightful licker which is retailed round the country, I shall hartily rejoice. Better give men Prusick Assid to onct, than to pizen 'em to deth by degrees.
At Albion I met with overwhelmin success. The celebrated Albion Female Semenary is located here, & there air over 300 young ladies in the Institushun, pretty enough to eat without seasonin or sass. The young ladies was very kind to me, volunteerin to pin my handbills onto the backs of their dresses. It was a surblime site to see over 300 young ladies goin round with a advertisement of A. Ward's onparaleld show, conspickusly posted onto their dresses.
They've got a Panick up this way and refooze to take Western money. It never was worth much, and when western men, who knows what it is, refooze to take their own money it is about time other folks stopt handlin it. Banks are bustin every day, goin up higher nor any balloon of which we hav any record. These western bankers air a sweet & luvly set of men. I wish I owned as good a house as some of 'em would break into!
Virtoo is its own reward.
1.8. THE OCTOROON.
It is with no ordernary feelins of Shagrin & indignashun that I rite you these here lines. Sum of the hiest and most purest feelins whitch actoate the humin hart has bin trampt onto. The Amerycan flag has bin outrajed. Ive bin nussin a Adder in my Boozum. The fax in the kase is these here:
A few weeks ago I left Baldinsville to go to N.Y. fur to git out my flamin yeller hanbills fur the Summer kampane, & as I was peroosin a noospaper on the kars a middel aged man in speckterkuls kum & sot down beside onto me. He was drest in black close & was appeerently as fine a man as ever was.
"A fine day, Sir," he did unto me strateway say.
"Middlin," sez I, not wishin to kommit myself, tho he peered to be as fine a man as there was in the wurld--"It is a middlin fine day, Square," I obsarved.
Sez he, "How fares the Ship of State in yure regine of country?"
Sez I, "We don't hav no ships in our State--the kanawl is our best holt."
He pawsed a minit and then sed, "Air yu aware, Sir, that the krisis is with us?"
"No," sez I, getting up and lookin under the seet, "whare is she?"
"It's hear--it's everywhares," he sed.
Sez I, "Why how you tawk!" and I gut up agin & lookt all round. "I must say, my fren," I continnered, as I resoomed my seet, "that I kan't see nothin of no krisis myself." I felt sumwhat alarmed, & arose & in a stentoewrian voice obsarved that if any lady or gentleman in that there kar had a krisis consealed abowt their persons they'd better projuce it to onct or suffer the konsequences. Several individoouls snickered rite out, while a putty little damsell rite behind me in a pinc gown made the observashun, "He, he."
"Sit down, my fren," sed the man in black close, "yu miskomprehend me. I meen that the perlittercal ellermunts are orecast with black klouds, 4boden a friteful storm."
"Wall," replide I, "in regard to perlittercal ellerfunts I don't know as how but what they is as good as enny other kind of ellerfunts. But I maik bold to say thay is all a ornery set & unpleasant to hav around. They air powerful hevy eaters & take up a right smart chans of room, & besides thay air as ugly and revenjeful, as a Cusscaroarus Injun, with 13 inches of corn whisky in his stummick." The man in black close seemed to be as fine a man as ever was in the wurld. He smilt & sed praps I was rite, tho it was ellermunts instid of ellerfunts that he was alludin to, & axed me what was my prinserpuls?
"I haint gut enny," sed I--"not a prinserpul. Ime in the show biznis." The man in black close, I will hear obsarve, seemed to be as fine a man as ever was in the wurld.
"But," sez he, "you hav feelins into you? You cimpathize with the misfortunit, the loly & the hart-sick, don't you?" He bust into teers and axed me ef I saw that yung lady in the seet out yender, pintin to as slick a lookin gal as I ever seed.
Sed I, "2 be shure I see her--is she mutch sick?" The man in black close was appeerently as fine a man as ever was in the wurld ennywhares.
"Draw closter to me," sed the man in black close. "Let me git my mowth fernenst yure ear. Hush--SHESE A OCTOROON!"
"No!" sez I, gittin up in a exsited manner, "yu don't say so! How long has she bin in that way?"
"Frum her arliest infuncy," sed he.
"Wall, whot upon arth duz she doo it fur?" I inquired.
"She kan't help it," sed the man in black close. "It's the brand of Kane."
"Wall, she'd better stop drinkin Kane's brandy," I replide.
"I sed the brand of Kane was upon her--not brandy, my fren. Yure very obtoose."
I was konsiderbul riled at this. Sez I, "My gentle Sir, Ime a nonresistanter as a ginral thing, & don't want to git up no rows with nobuddy, but I kin nevertheles kave in enny man's hed that calls me a obtoos," with whitch remarks I kommenst fur to pull orf my extry garmints. "Cum on," sez I--"Time! hear's the Beniki Boy fur ye!" & I darnced round like a poppit. He riz up in his seet & axed my pardin--sed it was all a mistake--that I was a good man, etsettery, & sow 4th, & we fixt it all up pleasant. I must say the man in black close seamed to be as fine a man as ever lived in the wurld. He sed a Octoroon was the 8th of a negrow. He likewise statid that the female he was travlin with was formurly a slave in Mississippy; that she'd purchist her freedim & now wantid to purchiss the freedim of her poor old muther, who (the man in black close obsarved) was between 87 years of age & had to do all the cookin & washin for 25 hired men, whitch it was rapidly breakin down her konstitushun. He sed he knowed the minit he gazed onto my klassic & beneverlunt fase that I'd donate librully & axed me to go over & see her, which I accordingly did. I sot down beside her and sed, "yure Sarvant, Marm! How do yer git along?"
She bust in 2 teers & sed, "O Sur, I'm so retchid--I'm a poor unfortunit Octoroon."
"So I larn. Yure rather more Roon than Octo, I take it," sed I, fur I never seed a puttier gal in the hull endoorin time of my life. She had on a More Antic Barsk & a Poplin Nubier with Berage trimmins onto it, while her ise & kurls was enuff to make a man jump into a mill pond without biddin his relashuns good-by. I pittid the Octoroon from the inmost recusses of my hart & hawled out 50 dollars kerslap, & told her to buy her old muther as soon as posserbul. Sez she "kine sir mutch thanks." She then lade her hed over onto my showlder & sed I was "old rats." I was astonished to heer this obsarvation, which I knowd was never used in refined society & I perlitely but emfattercly shovd her hed away.
Sez I "Marm, I'm trooly sirprized."
Sez she, "git out. Yure the nicist old man Ive seen yit. Give us anuther 50!" Had a seleck assortment of the most tremenjious thunderbolts descended down onto me I couldn't hav bin more takin aback. I jumpt up, but she ceased my coat tales & in a wild voise cride, "No, Ile never desart you--let us fli together to a furrin shoor!"
Sez I, "not mutch we wont," and I made a powerful effort to get awa from her. "This is plade out," I sed, whereupon she jerkt me back into the seet. "Leggo my coat, you scandaluss female," I roared, when she set up the most unarthly yellin and hollerin you ever heerd. The passinjers & the gentlemunly konducter rusht to the spot, & I don't think I ever experiunsed sich a rumpus in the hull coarse of my natral dase. The man in black close rusht up to me & sed "How dair yu insult my neece, you horey heded vagabone. You base exhibbiter of low wax figgers-- yu woolf in sheep's close," & sow 4th.
I was konfoozed. I was a loonytick fur the time bein, and offered 5 dollars reward to enny gentleman of good morrul carracter who wood tell me whot my name was & what town I livd into. The konducter kum to me & sed the insultid parties wood settle for 50 dollars, which I immejitly hawled out, & agane implored sumbuddy to state whare I was prinsipully, & if I shood be thare a grate while my self ef things went on as they'd bin goin fur sum time back. I then axed if there was enny more Octoroons present, "becawz," sez I, "ef there is, let um cum along, fur Ime in the Octoroon bizniss." I then threw my specterculs out of the winder, smasht my hat wildly down over my Ise, larfed highsterically & fell under a seet. I lay there sum time & fell asleep. I dreamt Mrs. Ward & the twins had bin carried orf by Ryenosserhosses & that Baldinsville had bin captered by a army of Octoroons. When I awoked the lamps was a burnin dimly. Sum of the passinjers was a snorein like pawpusses & the little damsell in the pinc gown was a singin "Oft in the Silly nite." The onprinsipuld Octoroon & the miserbul man in black close was gone, & all of a suddent it flasht ore my brane that I'de bin swindild.
1.9. EXPERIENCE AS AN EDITOR.
In the Ortum of 18-- my frend, the editor of the Baldinsville Bugle, was obleged to leave perfeshernal dooties & go & dig his taters, & he axed me to edit for him dooring his absence. Accordingly I ground up his Shears and commenced. It didn't take me a grate while to slash out copy enuff from the xchanges (Perhaps five per cent. of the Western newspapers is original matter relating to the immediate neighborhood, the rest is composed of "telegraphs" and clippings from the "exchanges"--a general term applied to those papers posted in exchange for others, the accommodation being a mutual benefit.) for one issoo, and I thawt I'd ride up to the next town on a little Jaunt, to rest my Branes, which had bin severely rackt by my mental efforts. (This is sorter Ironical.) So I went over to the Rale Road offiss and axed the Sooprintendent for a pars.
"YOU a editer?" he axed, evijently on the pint of snickerin.
"Yes Sir," sez I; "don't I look poor enuff?"
"Just about," sed he, "but our Road can't pars you."
"No Sir--it can't."
"Becauz," sez I, lookin him full in the face with a Eagle eye, "IT GOES SO DARNED SLOW IT CAN'T PARS ANYBODY!" Methinks I had him thar. It's the slowest Rale Road in the West. With a mortified air, he told me to git out of his offiss. I pittid him and went.
About two years ago I arrove in Oberlin, Ohio. Oberlin is whare the celebrated college is. In fack, Oberlin IS the college, everything else in that air vicinity resolvin around excloosivly for the benefit of that institution. It is a very good college, too, & a grate many wurthy yung men go there annooally to git intelleck into 'em. But its my onbiassed 'pinion that they go it rather too strong on Ethiopians at Oberlin. But that's nun of my bisniss. I'm into the Show bizness. Yit as a faithful historan I must menshun the fack that on rainy dase white peple can't find their way threw the streets without the gas is lit, there bein such a numerosity of cullerd pussons in the town.
As I was sayin, I arroved at Oberlin, and called on Perfesser Peck for the purpuss of skewerin Kolonial Hall to exhibit my wax works and beests of Pray into. Kolonial Hall is in the college and is used by the stujents to speak peaces and read essays into.
Sez Perfesser Peck, "Mister Ward, I don't know 'bout this bizniss. What are your sentiments?"
Sez I, "I hain't got any."
"Good God!" cried the Perfesser, "did I understan you to say you hav no sentiments!"
"Nary a sentiment!" sez I.
"Mister Ward, don't your blud bile at the thawt that three million and a half of your culled brethren air a clankin their chains in the South?"
Sez I, "Not a bile! Let 'em clank!"
He was about to continner his flowry speech when I put a stopper on him. Sez I, "Perfesser Peck, A. Ward is my name & Americky is my nashun; I'm allers the same, tho' humble is my station, and I've bin in the show bizniss goin on 22 years. The pint is, can I hav your Hall by payin a fair price? You air full of sentiments. That's your lay, while I'm a exhibiter of startlin curiosities. What d'ye say?"
"Mister Ward, you air endowed with a hily practical mind, and while I deeply regret that you air devoid of sentiments I'll let you hav the hall provided your exhibition is of a moral & elevatin nater."
Sez I, "Tain't nothin shorter."
So I opened in Kolonial Hall, which was crowded every nite with stujents, &c. Perfesser Finny gazed for hours at my Kangaroo, but when that sagashus but onprincipled little cuss set up one of his onarthly yellins and I proceeded to hosswhip him, the Perfesser objected. "Suffer not your angry pashums to rise up at the poor annimil's little excentrissities," said the Perfesser.
"Do you call such conduck as THOSE a little excentrissity?" I axed.
"I do," sed he; sayin which he walked up to the cage and sez he, "let's try moral swashun upon the poor creeter." So he put his hand upon the Kangeroo's hed and sed, "poor little fellow-- poor little fellow--your master is very crooil, isn't he, my untootered frend," when the Kangaroo, with a terrific yell, grabd the Perfesser by the hand and cum very near chawin it orf. It was amoozin to see the Perfesser jump up and scream with pane. Sez I, "that's one of the poor little fellow's excentrissities!"
Sez he, "Mister Ward, that's a dangerous quadruped. He's totally depraved. I will retire and do my lasserated hand up in a rag, and meanwhile I request you to meat out summery and severe punishment to the vishus beest," I hosswhipt the little cuss for upwards of 15 minutes. Guess I licked sum of his excentrissity out of him.
Oberlin is a grate plase. The College opens with a prayer and then the New York Tribune is read. A kolleckshun is then taken up to buy overkoats with red horn buttons onto them for the indignant cullured people of Kanady. I have to contribit librally two the glowrius work, as they kawl it hear. I'm kompelled by the Fackulty to reserve front seets in my show for the cullered peple. At the Boardin House the cullered peple sit at the first table. What they leeve is maid into hash for the white peple. As I don't like the idee of eatin my vittles with Ethiopians, I sit at the seckind table, and the konsequence is I've devowered so much hash that my inards is in a hily mixt up condishun. Fish bones hav maid their appearance all over my boddy and pertater peelins air a springin up through my hair. Howsever I don't mind it. I'm gittin along well in a pecunery pint of view. The College has konfired upon me the honery title of T.K., of which I'm suffishuntly prowd.
1.11. THE SHOWMAN'S COURTSHIP.
Thare was many affectin ties which made me hanker arter Betsy Jane. Her father's farm jined our'n; their cows and our'n squencht their thurst at the same spring; our old mares both had stars in their forreds; the measles broke out in both famerlies at nearly the same period; our parients (Betsy's and mine) slept reglarly every Sunday in the same meetin house, and the nabers used to obsarve, "How thick the Wards and Peasleys air!" It was a surblime site, in the Spring of the year, to see our sevral mothers (Betsy's and mine) with their gowns pin'd up so thay couldn't sile 'em, affecshuntly Bilin sope together & aboozin the nabers.
Altho I hankerd intensly arter the objeck of my affecshuns, I darsunt tell her of the fires which was rajin in my manly Buzzum. I'd try to do it but my tung would kerwollup up agin the roof of my mowth & stick thar, like deth to a deseast Afrikan or a country postmaster to his offiss, while my hart whanged agin my ribs like a old fashioned wheat Flale agin a barn floor.
'Twas a carm still nite in Joon. All nater was husht and nary a zeffer disturbed the sereen silens. I sot with Betsy Jane on the fense of her farther's pastur. We'd bin rompin threw the woods, kullin flours & drivin the woodchuck from his Nativ Lair (so to speak) with long sticks. Wall, we sot thar on the fense, a swingin our feet two and fro, blushin as red as the Baldinsville skool house when it was fust painted, and lookin very simple, I make no doubt. My left arm was ockepied in ballunsin myself on the fense, while my rite was woundid luvinly round her waste.
I cleared my throat and tremblin sed, "Betsy, you're a Gazelle."
I thought that air was putty fine. I waitid to see what effeck it would hav upon her. It evidently didn't fetch her, for she up and sed,
"You're a sheep!"
Sez I, "Betsy, I think very muchly of you."
"I don't b'leeve a word you say--so there now cum!" with which obsarvashun she hitched away from me.
"I wish thar was winders to my Sole," sed I, "so that you could see some of my feelins. There's fire enuff in here," sed I, strikin my buzzum with my fist, "to bile all the corn beef and turnips in the naberhood. Versoovius and the Critter ain't a circumstans!"
She bowd her hed down and commenst chawin the strings to her sun bonnet.
"Ar could you know the sleeplis nites I worry threw with on your account, how vittles has seized to be attractiv to me & how my lims has shrunk up, you wouldn't dowt me. Gase on this wastin form and these 'ere sunken cheeks"--
I should have continnered on in this strane probly for sum time, but unfortnitly I lost my ballunse and fell over into the pastur ker smash, tearin my close and seveerly damagin myself ginerally.
Betsy Jane sprung to my assistance in dubble quick time and dragged me 4th. Then drawin herself up to her full hite she sed:
"I won't listen to your noncents no longer. Jes say rite strate out what you're drivin at. If you mean gettin hitched, I'M IN!"
I considered that air enuff for all practicul purpusses, and we proceeded immejitely to the parson's, & was made 1 that very nite.
(Notiss to the Printer: Put some stars here.)
* * * * * *
I've parst threw many tryin ordeels sins then, but Betsy Jane has bin troo as steel. By attendin strickly to bizniss I've amarsed a handsum Pittance. No man on this footstool can rise & git up & say I ever knowinly injered no man or wimmin folks, while all agree that my Show is ekalled by few and exceld by none, embracin as it does a wonderful colleckshun of livin wild Beests of Pray, snaix in grate profushun, a endliss variety of life-size wax figgers, & the only traned kangaroo in Ameriky-- the most amoozin little cuss ever introjuced to a discriminatin public.
1.12. THE CRISIS.
[This Oration was delivered before the commencement of the war.]
On returnin to my humsted in Baldinsville, Injianny, resuntly, my feller sitterzens extended a invite for me to norate to 'em on the Krysis. I excepted & on larst Toosday nite I peared be4 a C of upturned faces in the Red Skool House. I spoke nearly as follers:
Baldinsvillins: Hearto4, as I hav numerously obsarved, I have abstrained from having any sentimunts or principles, my pollertics, like my religion, bein of a exceedin accommodatin character. But the fack can't be no longer disgised that a Krysis is onto us, & I feel it's my dooty to accept your invite for one consecutive nite only. I spose the inflammertory individooals who assisted in projucing this Krysis know what good she will do, but I ain't 'shamed to state that I don't scacely. But the Krysis is hear. She's bin hear for sevral weeks, & Goodness nose how long she'll stay. But I venter to assert that she's rippin things. She's knockt trade into a cockt up hat and chaned Bizness of all kinds tighter nor I ever chaned any of my livin wild Beests. Alow me to hear dygress & stait that my Beests at presnt is as harmless as the newborn Babe. Ladys & gentlemen needn't hav no fears on that pint. To resoom--Altho I can't exactly see what good this Krysis can do, I can very quick say what the origernal cawz of her is. The origernal cawz is Our Afrikan Brother. I was into BARNIM'S Moozeum down to New York the other day & saw that exsentric Etheopian, the What Is It. Sez I, "Mister What Is It, you folks air raisin thunder with this grate country. You're gettin to be ruther more numeris than interestin. It is a pity you coodent go orf sumwhares by yourselves, & be a nation of What Is Its, tho' if you'll excoose me, I shooden't care about marryin among you. No dowt you're exceedin charmin to hum, but your stile of luvliness isn't adapted to this cold climit. He larfed into my face, which rather Riled me, as I had been perfeckly virtoous and respectable in my observashuns. So sez I, turnin a leetle red in the face, I spect, "Do you hav the unblushin impoodents to say you folks haven't raised a big mess of thunder in this brite land, Mister What Is It?" He larfed agin, wusser nor be4, whareupon I up and sez, "Go home, Sir, to Afriky's burnin shores & taik all the other What Is Its along with you. Don't think we can spair your interestin picters. You What Is Its air on the pint of smashin up the gratest Guv'ment ever erected by man, & you actooally hav the owdassity to larf about it. Go home, you low cuss!"
I was workt up to a high pitch, & I proceeded to a Restorator & cooled orf with some little fishes biled in ile--I b'leeve thay call 'em sardeens.
Feller Sitterzuns, the Afrikan may be Our Brother. Sevral hily respectyble gentlemen, and sum talentid females tell us so, & fur argyment's sake I mite be injooced to grant it, tho' I don't beleeve it myself. But the Afrikan isn't our sister & our wife & our uncle. He isn't sevral of our brothers & all our fust wife's relashuns. He isn't our grandfather, and our grate grandfather, and our Aunt in the country. Scacely. & yit numeris persons would have us think so. It's troo he runs Congress & sevral other public grosserys, but then he ain't everybody & everybody else likewise. [Notiss to bizness men of VANITY FAIR: Extry charg fur this larst remark. It's a goak. --A.W.]
But we've got the Afrikan, or ruther he's got us, & now what air we going to do about it? He's a orful noosanse. Praps he isn't to blame fur it. Praps he was creatid fur sum wise purpuss, like the measles and New Englan Rum, but it's mity hard to see it. At any rate he's no good here, & as I statid to Mister What Is It, it's a pity he cooden't go orf sumwhares quietly by hisself, whare he cood wear red weskits & speckled neckties, & gratterfy his ambishun in varis interestin wase, without havin a eternal fuss kickt up about him.
Praps I'm bearin down too hard upon Cuffy. Cum to think on it, I am. He woodn't be sich a infernal noosanse if white peple would let him alone. He mite indeed be interestin. And now I think of it, why can't the white peple let him alone. What's the good of continnerly stirrin him up with a ten-foot pole? He isn't the sweetest kind of Perfoomery when in a natral stait.
Feller Sitterzens, the Union's in danger. The black devil Disunion is trooly here, starein us all squarely in the face! We must drive him back. Shall we make a 2nd Mexico of ourselves? Shall we sell our birthrite for a mess of potash? Shall one brother put the knife to the throat of anuther brother? Shall we mix our whisky with each other's blud? Shall the star spangled Banner be cut up into dishcloths? Standin here in this here Skoolhouse, upon my nativ shor so to speak, I anser--Nary!
Oh you fellers who air raisin this row, & who in the fust place startid it, I'm 'shamed of you. The Showman blushes for you, from his boots to the topmost hair upon his wenerable hed.
Feller Sitterzens: I am in the Sheer & Yeller leaf. I shall peg out 1 of these dase. But while I do stop here I shall stay in the Union. I know not what the supervizers of Baldinsville may conclude to do, but for one, I shall stand by the Stars & Stripes. Under no circumstances whatsomever will I sesesh. Let every Stait in the Union sesesh & let Palmetter flags flote thicker nor shirts on Square Baxter's close line, still will I stick to the good old flag. The country may go to the devil, but I won't! And next Summer when I start out on my campane with my Show, wharever I pitch my little tent, you shall see floatin prowdly from the center pole thereof the Amerikan Flag, with nary a star wiped out, nary a stripe less, but the same old flag that has allers flotid thar! & the price of admishun will be the same it allers was--15 cents, children half price.
Feller Sitterzens, I am dun. Accordinly I squatted.
1.13. WAX FIGURES VS. SHAKESPEARE.
ONTO THE WING--1859.
I take my Pen in hand to inform yu that I'm in good helth and trust these few lines will find yu injoyin the same blessins. I wood also state that I'm now on the summir kampane. As the Poit sez--
ime erflote, ime erflote On the Swift rollin tied An the Rovir is free.
Bizness is scacely middlin, but Sirs I manige to pay for my foode and raiment puncktooally and without no grumblin. The barked arrers of slandur has bin leviled at the undersined moren onct sins heze bin into the show bizness, but I make bold to say no man on this footstule kan troothfully say I ever ronged him or eny of his folks. I'm travelin with a tent, which is better nor hirin hauls. My show konsists of a serious of wax works, snakes, a paneramy kalled a Grand Movin Diarea of the War in the Crymear, komic songs and the Cangeroo, which larst little cuss continners to konduct hisself in the most outrajus stile. I started out with the idear of makin my show a grate Moral Entertainment, but I'm kompeled to sware so much at that air infurnal Kangeroo that I'm frade this desine will be flustratid to some extent. And while speakin of morrality, remines me that sum folks turn up their nosis at shows like mine, sayin they is low and not fit to be patrernized by peplpeple of high degree. Sirs, I manetane that this is infernul nonsense. I manetane that wax figgers is more elevatin than awl the plays ever wroten. Take Shakespeer for instunse. Peple think heze grate things, but I kontend heze quite the reverse to the kontrary. What sort of sense is thare to King Leer, who goze round cussin his darters, chawin hay and throin straw at folks, and larfin like a silly old koot and makin a ass of hisself ginerally? Thare's Mrs. Mackbeth--sheze a nise kind of woomon to have round ain't she, a puttin old Mack, her husband, up to slayin Dunkan with a cheeze knife, while heze payin a frendly visit to their house. O its hily morral, I spoze, when she larfs wildly and sez, "gin me the daggurs--Ile let his bowels out," or wurds to that effeck--I say, this is awl, strickly, propper I spoze? That Jack Fawlstarf is likewise a immoral old cuss, take him how ye may, and Hamlick is as crazy as a loon. Thare's Richurd the Three, peple think heze grate things, but I look upon him in the lite of a monkster. He kills everybody he takes a noshun to in kold blud, and then goze to sleep in his tent. Bimeby he wakes up and yells for a hoss so he kan go orf and kill some more peple. If he isent a fit spesserman for the gallers then I shood like to know whare you find um. Thare's Iargo who is more ornery nor pizun. See how shameful he treated that hily respecterble injun gentlemun, Mister Otheller, makin him for to beleeve his wife was too thick with Casheo. Obsarve how Iargo got Casheo drunk as a biled owl on corn whiskey in order to karry out his sneekin desines. See how he wurks Mister Otheller's feelins up so that he goze and makes poor Desdemony swaller a piller which cawses her deth. But I must stop. At sum futur time I shall continner my remarks on the drammer in which I shall show the varst supeeriority of wax figgers and snakes over theater plays, in a interlectooal pint of view.
Very Respectively yures, A WARD, T.K.
1.14. AMONG THE FREE LOVERS. (Some queer people, calling themselves "Free Lovers," and possessing very original ideas about life and morality, established themselves at Berlin Heights, in Ohio, a few years since. Public opinion was resistlessly against them, however, and the association was soon disbanded.)
Some years ago I pitched my tent and onfurled my banner to the breeze, in Berlin Hites, Ohio. I had hearn that Berlin Hites was ockepied by a extensive seck called Free Lovers, who beleeved in affinertys and sich, goin back on their domestic ties without no hesitation whatsomever. They was likewise spirit rappers and high presher reformers on gineral principles. If I can improve these 'ere misgided peple by showin them my onparalleld show at the usual low price of admitants, methunk, I shell not hav lived in vane. But bitterly did I cuss the day I ever sot foot in the retchid place. I sot up my tent in a field near the Love Cure, as they called it, and bimeby the free lovers begun for to congregate around the door. A onreer set I have never sawn. The men's faces was all covered with hare and they lookt half-starved to deth. They didn't wear no weskuts for the purpose (as they sed) of allowin the free air of hevun to blow onto their boozums. Their pockets was filled with tracks and pamplits and they was bare-footed. They sed the Postles didn't wear boots, & why should they? That was their stile of argyment. The wimin was wuss than the men. They wore trowsis, short gownds, straw hats with green ribbins, and all carried bloo cotton umbrellers.
Presently a perfeckly orful lookin female presented herself at the door. Her gownd was skanderlusly short and her trowsis was shameful to behold.
She eyed me over very sharp, and then startin back she sed, in a wild voice:
"Ah, can it be?"
"Which?" sed I.
"Yes, 'tis troo, O 'tis troo!"
"15 cents, marm," I anserd.
She bust out a cryin & sed:
"And so I hav found you at larst--at larst, O at larst!"
"Yes," I anserd, "you hav found me at larst, and you would hav found me at fust, if you had cum sooner."
She grabd me vilently by the coat collar, and brandishin her umbreller wildly round, exclaimed:
"Air you a man?"
Sez I, "I think I air, but if you doubt it, you can address Mrs. A. Ward, Baldinsville, Injianny, postage pade, & she will probly giv you the desired informashun."
"Then thou ist what the cold world calls marrid?"
"Madam, I istest!"
The exsentric female then clutched me franticly by the arm and hollered:
"You air mine, O you air mine!"
"Scacely," I sed, endeverin to git loose from her. But she clung to me and sed:
"You air my Affinerty!"
"What upon arth is that?" I shouted.
"Dost thou not know?"
"No, I dostent!"
"Listin man, & I'll tell ye!" sed the strange female; "for years I hav yearned for thee. I knowd thou wast in the world, sumwhares, tho I didn't know whare. My hart sed he would cum and I took courage. He HAS cum--he's here--you air him--you air my Affinerty! O 'tis too mutch! too mutch!" and she sobbed agin.
"Yes," I anserd, "I think it is a darn site too mutch!"
"Hast thou not yearned for me?" she yelled, ringin her hands like a female play acter.
"Not a yearn!" I bellerd at the top of my voice, throwin her away from me.
The free lovers who was standin round obsarvin the scene commenst for to holler "shame" "beast," etsettery, etsettery.
I was very mutch riled, and fortifyin myself with a spare tent stake, I addrest them as follers: "You pussylanermus critters, go way from me and take this retchid woman with you. I'm a law-abidin man, and beleeve in good, old-fashioned institutions. I am marrid & my orfsprings resemble me if I am a showman! I think your Affinity bizniss is cussed noncents, besides bein outrajusly wicked. Why don't you behave desunt like other folks? Go to work and earn a honist livin and not stay round here in this lazy, shiftless way, pizenin the moral atmosphere with your pestifrous ideas! You wimin folks go back to your lawful husbands if you've got any, and take orf them skanderlous gownds and trowsis, and dress respectful like other wimin. You men folks, cut orf them pirattercal whiskers, burn up them infurnel pamplits, put sum weskuts on, go to work choppin wood, splittin fence rales, or tillin the sile." I pored 4th my indignashun in this way till I got out of breth, when I stopt. I shant go to Berlin Hites agin, not if I live to be as old as Methooseler.
1.15. A VISIT TO BRIGHAM YOUNG.
It is now goin on 2 (too) yeres, as I very well remember, since I crossed the Planes for Kaliforny, the Brite land of Jold. While crossin the Planes all so bold I fell in with sum noble red men of the forest (N.B. This is rote Sarcasticul. Injins is Pizin, whar ever found,) which thay Sed I was their Brother, & wanted for to smoke the Calomel of Peace with me. Thay then stole my jerkt beef, blankits, etsettery, skalpt my orgin grinder & scooted with a Wild Hoop. Durin the Cheaf's techin speech he sed he shood meet me in the Happy Huntin Grounds. If he duz thare will be a fite. But enuff of this ere. "Reven Noose Muttons," as our skoolmaster, who has got Talent into him, cussycally obsarve.
I arrove at Salt Lake in doo time. At Camp Scott there was a lot of U.S. sogers, hosstensibly sent out there to smash the Mormons but really to eat Salt vittles & play poker & other beautiful but sumwhat onsartin games. I got acquainted with sum of the officers. Thay lookt putty scrumpshus in their Bloo coats with brass buttings onto um & ware very talented drinkers, but so fur as fitin is consarned I'd willingly put my wax figgers agin the hull party.
My desire was to exhibit my grate show in Salt Lake City, so I called on Brigham Yung, the grate mogull amung the mormins and axed his permishun to pitch my tent and onfurl my banner to the jentle breezis. He lookt at me in a austeer manner for a few minits, and sed:
"Do you bleeve in Solomon, Saint Paul, the immaculateness of the Mormin Church and the Latter-day Revelashuns?"
Sez I, "I'm on it!" I make it a pint to git along plesunt, tho I didn't know what under the Son the old feller was drivin at. He sed I mite show.
"You air a marrid man, Mister Yung, I bleeve?" sez I, preparin to rite him sum free parsis.
"I hev eighty wives, Mister Ward. I sertinly am married."
"How do you like it as far as you hev got?" sed I.
He sed "middlin," and axed me wouldn't I like to see his famerly, to which I replide that I wouldn't mine minglin with the fair Seck & Barskin in the winnin smiles of his interestin wives. He accordingly tuk me to his Scareum. The house is powerful big & in a exceedin large room was his wives & children, which larst was squawkin and hollerin enuff to take the roof rite orf the house. The wimin was of all sizes and ages. Sum was pretty & sum was Plane--sum was helthy and sum was on the Wayne--which is verses, tho sich was not my intentions, as I don't 'prove of puttin verses in Proze rittins, tho ef occashun requires I can Jerk a Poim ekal to any of them Atlantic Munthly fellers.
"My wives, Mister Ward," sed Yung.
"Your sarvant, marms," sed I, as I sot down in a cheer which a red-heded female brawt me.
"Besides these wives you see here, Mister Ward," sed Yung, "I hav eighty more in varis parts of this consecrated land which air Sealed to me."
"Which?" sez I, gittin up & starin at him.
"Sealed, Sir! sealed."
"Whare bowts?" sez I.
"I sed, Sir, that they was sealed!" He spoke in a traggerdy voice.
"Will they probly continner on in that stile to any grate extent, Sir?" I axed.
"Sir," sed he, turnin as red as a biled beet, "don't you know that the rules of our Church is that I, the Profit, may hev as meny wives as I wants?"
"Jes so," I sed. "You are old pie, ain't you?"
"Them as is Sealed to me--that is to say, to be mine when I wants um--air at present my sperretooul wives," sed Mister Yung.
"Long may thay wave!" sez I, seein I shood git into a scrape ef I didn't look out.
In a privit conversashun with Brigham I learnt the follerin fax: It takes him six weeks to kiss his wives. He don't do it only onct a yere & sez it is wuss nor cleanin house. He don't pretend to know his children, thare is so many of um, tho they all know him. He sez about every child he meats call him Par, & he takes it for grantid it is so. His wives air very expensiv. Thay allers want suthin & ef he don't buy it for um thay set the house in a uproar. He sez he don't have a minit's peace. His wives fite amung their selves so much that he has bilt a fitin room for thare speshul benefit, & when too of 'em get into a row he has em turnd loose into that place, whare the dispoot is settled accordin to the rules of the London prize ring. Sum times thay abooz hisself individooally. Thay hev pulled the most of his hair out at the roots & he wares meny a horrible scar upon his body, inflicted with mop-handles, broom-sticks, and sich. Occashunly they git mad & scald him with bilin hot water. When he got eny waze cranky thay'd shut him up in a dark closit, previsly whippin him arter the stile of muthers when thare orfsprings git onruly. Sumptimes when he went in swimmin thay'd go to the banks of the Lake & steal all his close, thereby compellin him to sneek home by a sircootius rowt, drest in the Skanderlus stile of the Greek Slaiv. "I find that the keers of a marrid life way hevy onto me," sed the Profit, "& sumtimes I wish I'd remaned singel." I left the Profit and startid for the tavern whare I put up to. On my way I was overtuk by a lurge krowd of Mormons, which they surroundid me & statid that they were goin into the Show free.
"Wall," sez I, "ef I find a individooal who is goin round lettin folks into his show free, I'll let you know."
"We've had a Revelashun biddin us go into A. Wards's Show without payin nothin!" thay showtid.
"Yes," hollered a lot of femaile Mormonesses, ceasin me by the cote tales & swingin me round very rapid, "we're all goin in free! So sez the Revelashun!"
"What's Old Revelashun got to do with my show?" sez I, gittin putty rily. "Tell Mister Revelashun," sed I, drawin myself up to my full hite and lookin round upon the ornery krowd with a prowd & defiant mean, "tell Mister Revelashun to mind his own bizness, subject only to the Konstitushun of the United States!"
"Oh now let us in, that's a sweet man," sed several femails, puttin thare arms round me in luvin style. "Become 1 of us. Becum a Preest & hav wives Sealed to you."
"Not a Seal!" sez I, startin back in horror at the idee.
"Oh stay, Sir, stay," sed a tell, gawnt femaile, ore whoos hed 37 summirs must hev parsd, "stay, & I'll be your Jentle Gazelle."
"Not ef I know it, you won't," sez I. "Awa you skanderlus femaile, awa! Go & be a Nunnery!" THAT'S WHAT I SED, JES SO.
"& I," sed a fat chunky femaile, who must hev wade more than too hundred lbs, "I will be your sweet gidin Star!"
Sez I, "Ile bet two dollers and a half you won't!" Whare ear I may Rome Ile still be troo 2 thee, Oh Betsy Jane! [N.B. Betsy Jane is my wife's Sir naime.]
"Wiltist thou not tarry here in the promist Land?" sed several of the miserabil critters.
"Ile see you all essenshally cussed be4 I wiltist!" roared I, as mad as I cood be at thare infernul noncents. I girdid up my Lions & fled the Seen. I packt up my duds & Left Salt Lake, which is a 2nd Soddum & Germorrer, inhabitid by as theavin & onprincipled a set of retchis as ever drew Breth in eny spot on the Globe.
1.16. SCANDALOUS DOINGS AT PITTSBURG.
Hear in the Buzzum of my famerly I am enjoyin myself, at peas with awl mankind and the wimin folks likewise. I go down to the villige ockashunly and take a little old Rye fur the stummuck's sake, but I avoyd spiritus lickers as a ginral thing. No man evir seen me intossikated but onct, and that air happind in Pittsburg. A parsel of ornery cusses in that luvly sity bustid inter the hawl durin the nite and aboosed my wax works shaimful. I didn't obsarve the outrajus transacshuns ontil the next evening when the peple begun for to kongregate. Suddinly they kommensed fur to larf and holler in a boysterious stile. Sez I good peple what's up? Sez thay them's grate wax wurks, isn't they, old man. I immejitly looked up ter whare the wax works was, and my blud biles as I think of the site which then met my Gase. I hope two be dodrabbertid (Dod-rabit is an American euphemism for a profane expression which is quite as common in this country as on the other side of the Atlantic.) if them afoursed raskals hadent gone and put a old kaved in hat onter George Washington's hed and shuved a short black klay pipe inter his mouth. His noze thay had painted red and his trowsis legs thay had shuved inside his butes. My wax figger of Napoleon Boneypart was likewise mawltreatid. His sword wus danglin tween his legs, and his cockd hat was drawn klean down over his ize, and he was plased in a stoopin posishun lookin zactly as tho he was as drunk as a biled owl. Ginral Taylor was a standin on his hed and Wingfield Skott's koat tales ware pind over his hed and his trowsis ware kompleetly torn orf frum hisself. My wax works representin the Lord's Last Supper was likewise aboozed. Three of the Postles ware under the table and two of um had on old tarpawlin hats and raggid pee jackits and ware smokin pipes. Judus Iskarriot had on a cocked hat and was appeerently drinkin, as a Bottle of whisky sot befour him. This ere specktercal was too much fur me. I klosed the show and then drowndid my sorrers in the flowin Bole.
1.17. THE CENSUS.
The Sences taker in our town bein taken sick, he deppertised me to go out for him one day, and as he was too ill to giv me informashun how to perceed, I was consekently compelled to go it blind. Sittin down by the road side, I drawd up the follerin list of questions, which I proposed to ax the peple I visited:
Wat's your age?
Whar was you born?
Air you marrid, and if so how do you like it?
How many children hav you, and do they resemble you or your naber?
Did you ever hav the measels, and if so how many?
Hav you a twin brother several years older than yourself?
How many parents hav you?
Do you read Watt's Hims regler?
Do you use boughten tobacker? (I.e., that which has been bought. A very common word in the interior of New England and New York. It is applied to articles purchased from the shops, to distinguish them from articles of home manufacture. Many farmers make their own sugar from the maple-tree, and their coffee from barley or rye. West India sugar or coffee is then called "boughten sugar," &c. "This is a home-made carpet; that a 'boughten' one," i.e., one bought at a shop. In the North of England, baker's bread is called "bought bread."
Wat's your fitin wate?
Air you trubeld with biles?
How does your meresham culler?
State whether you air blind, deaf, idiotic, or got the heaves?
Do you know any Opry singers, and if so how much do they owe you?
What's the average of virtoo on the Ery Canawl?
If 4 barrils of Emptins pored onto a barn floor will kiver it, how many plase can Dion Bourcicault write in a year? [Emptyings, pronounced "emptins," the lees of beer, cider, &c.; yeast or anything by which bread is leavened:-
"'Twill take more emptins, by a long chalk, than this new party's got, To give such heavy cakes as these a start, I tell ye what." "The Biglow Papers."]
Is Beans a regler article of diet in your family?
How many chickins hav you, on foot and in the shell?
Air you aware that Injianny whisky is used in New York shootin galrys instid of pistols, and that it shoots furthest?
Was you ever at Niagry Falls?
Was you ever in the Penitentiary?
State how much pork, impendin crysis, Dutch cheeze, popler suvrinty, standard poetry, children's strainers, slave code, catnip, red flannel, ancient history, pickled tomaters, old junk, perfoomery, coal ile, liberty, hoop skirt, &c., you hav on hand?
But it didn't work. I got into a row at the fust house I stopt to, with some old maids. Disbelieven the ansers they giv in regard to their ages, I endevered to open their mouths and look at their teeth, same as they do with hosses, but they floo into a vilent rage and tackled me with brooms and sich. Takin the sences requires experiunse, like any other bizniss.
1.18. AN HONEST LIVING.
I was on my way from the mines to San Francisco, with a light puss and a hevy hart. You'd scacely hav recognized my fair form, so kiverd was I with dust. Bimeby I met Old Poodles, the all-firdist gambler in the country. He was afoot and in his shirt-sleeves, and was in a wuss larther nor any race hoss I ever saw. ("All-fired," enormous, excessive, a low Americanism, not improbably a puritanical corruption of "hell-fired," designed to have the virtue of an oath without offending polite ears.)
"Whither goist thow, sweet nimp?" sez I, in a play-actin tone.
"To the mines, Sir," he unto me did say, "to the mines, TO EARN AN HONEST LIVIN."
Thinks I that air aint very cool, I guess, and druv on.
1.19. THE PRESS.
I want the editers to cum to my Show free as the flours of May, but I don't want um to ride a free hoss to deth. Thare is times when Patience seizes to be virtoous. I had "in my mind's eye, Hurrashio" (cotashun from Hamlick) sum editers in a sertin town which shall be nameless, who air Both sneakin and ornery. They cum in krowds to my Show and then axt me ten sents a line for Puffs. I objectid to payin, but they sed ef I didn't down with the dust thay'd wipe my Show from the face of the earth! Thay sed the Press was the Arkymedian Leaver which moved the wurld. I put up to their extorshuns until thay'd bled me so I was a meer shadder, and left in disgust.
It was in a surtin town in Virginny, the Muther of Presidents & things, that I was shaimfully aboozed by a editor in human form. He set my Show up steep & kalled me the urbane & gentlemunly manajer, but when I, fur the purpuss of showin fair play all around, went to anuther offiss to git my hanbills printed, what duz this pussillanermus editer do but change his toon & abooze me like a Injun. He sed my wax wurks was a humbug & called me a horey-heded itinerent vagabone. I thort at fust Ide pollish him orf ar-lar the Beneshy Boy, but on reflectin that he cood pollish me much wuss in his paper, I giv it up. & I wood here take occashun to advise peple when thay run agin, as thay sumtimes will, these miserable papers, to not pay no attenshun to um. Abuv all, don't assault a editer of this kind. It only gives him a notorosity, which is jest what he wants, & don't do you no more good than it wood to jump into enny other mud puddle. Editers are generally fine men, but there must be black sheep in every flock.
1.20. EDWIN FOREST AS OTHELLO.
Durin a recent visit to New York the undersined went to see Edwin Forrest. As I'm into the moral show bizness myself, I ginrally go to Barnum's moral Museum, where only moral peple air admitted, pertickly on Wednesday arternoons. But this time I thot I'd go & see Ed. Ed has bin actin out on the stage for many years. There is varis 'pinions about his actin, Englishmen ginrally bleevin that he is far superior to Mister Macready; but on one pint all agree, & that is that Ed draws like a six ox team. Ed was actin at Niblo's Garding, which looks considerable more like a parster, than a garding, but let that pars. I sot down in the pit, took out my spectacles & commenced peroosin the evenin's bill. The awjince was all-fired large & the boxes was full of the elitty of New York. Several opery glasses was leveld at me by Gothum's farest darters, but I didn't let on as tho I noticed it, tho mebby I did take out my sixteen-dollar silver watch & brandish it round more than was necessary. But the best of us has our weaknesses & if a man has gewelry let him show it. As I was peroosin the bill a grave young man who sot near me axed me if I'd ever seen Forrest dance the Essence of Old Virginny? "He's immense in that," sed the young man. "He also does a fair champion jig," the young man continnerd, "but his Big Thing is the Essence of Old Virginny." Sez I, "Fair youth, do you know what I'd do with you if you was my sun?"
"No," sez he.
"Wall," sez I, "I'd appint your funeral tomorrow arternoon, & the KORPS SHOULD BE READY! You're too smart to live on this yearth." He didn't try any more of his capers on me. But another pussylanermus individooul, in a red vest & patent lether boots, told me his name was Bill Astor & axed me to lend him 50 cents till early in the mornin. I told him I'd probly send it round to him before he retired to his virtoous couch, but if I didn't he might look for it next fall, as soon as I cut my corn. The Orchestry was now fiddling with all their might, & as the peple didn't understan anything about it they applaudid versifrussly. Presently, Old Ed cum out. The play was Otheller or More of Veniss. Otheller was writ by Wm. Shakspeer. The scene is laid in Veniss. Otheller was a likely man & was a ginral in the Veniss army. He eloped with Desdemony, a darter of the Hon. Mister Brabantio, who represented one of the back districks in the Veneshun legislater. Old Brabantio was as mad as thunder at this & tore round considerable, but finally cooled down, tellin Otheller, howsever, that Desdemony had come it over her Par, & that he had better look out or she'd come it over him likewise. Mr. & Mrs. Otheller git along very comfortable like for a spell. She is sweet-tempered and luvin--a nice, sensible female, never goin in for he-female conventions, green cotton umbrellers, and pickled beats. Otheller is a good provider and thinks all the world of his wife. She has a lazy time of it, the hired girl doin all the cookin and washin. Desdemony, in fact, don't have to git the water to wash her own hands with. But a low cuss named Iago, who I bleeve wants to git Otheller out of his snug government birth, now goes to work & upsets the Otheller family in the most outrajus stile. Iago falls in with a brainless youth named Roderigo & wins all his money at poker. (Iago allers played foul.) He thus got money enuff to carry out his onprincipled skeem. Mike Cassio, a Irishman, is selected as a tool by Iago. Mike was a clever feller & orficer in Otheller's army. He liked his tods too well, howsever, & they floored him, as they have many other promisin young men. Iago injuces Mike to drink with him, Iago slyly throwin his whiskey over his shoulder. Mike gits as drunk as a biled owl & allows that he can lick a yard full of the Veneshun fancy before breakfast, without sweatin a hair. He meets Roderigo & proceeds for to smash him. A feller named Montano undertakes to slap Cassio, when that infatooated person runs his sword into him. That miserble man, Iago, pretents to be very sorry to see Mike conduck hisself in this way & undertakes to smooth the thing over to Otheller, who rushes in with a drawn sword & wants to know what's up. Iago cunningly tells his story, & Otheller tells Mike that he thinks a good deal of him, but he can't train no more in his regiment. Desdemony sympathizes with poor Mike & interceeds for him with Otheller. Iago makes him bleeve she does this because she thinks more of Mike than she does of hisself. Otheller swallers Iago's lyin tail & goes to makin a noosence of hisself ginrally. He worries poor Desdemony terrible by his vile insinuations, & finally smothers her to deth with a piller. Mrs. Iago cums in just as Otheller has finished the fowl deed & givs him fits right & left, showin him that he has bin orfully gulled by her miserble cuss of a husband. Iago cums in, & his wife commences rakin him down also, when he stabs her. Otheller jaws him a spell & then cuts a small hole in his stummick with his sword. Iago pints to Desdemony's deth bed & goes orf with a sardonic smile onto his countenance. Otheller tells the peple that he has dun the state sum service & they know it; axes them to do as fair a thing as they can for him under the circumstances, & kills hisself with a fish-knife, which is the most sensible thing he can do. This is a breef skedule of the synopsis of the play.
Edwin Forrest is a grate acter. I thot I saw Otheller before me all the time he was actin, & when the curtin fell, I found my spectacles was still mistened with salt-water, which had run from my eyes while poor Desdemony was dyin. Betsy Jane--Betsy Jane! let us pray that our domestic bliss may never be busted up by a Iago!
Edwin Forrest makes money actin out on the stage. He gits five-hundred dollars a nite & his board & washin. I wish I had such a Forrest in my Garding!
1.21. THE SHOW BUSINESS AND POPULAR LECTURES.
I feel that the Show Bizniss, which Ive stroven to ornyment, is bein usurpt by Poplar Lecturs, as thay air kalled, tho in my pinion thay air poplar humbugs. Individoouls, who git hard up, embark in the lecturin biznis. They cram theirselves with hi-sounding frazis, frizzle up their hare, git trustid for a soot of black close & cum out to lectur at 50 dollers a pop. Thay aint over stockt with branes, but thay hav brass enuff to make suffishunt kittles to bile all the sope that will be required by the ensooin sixteen ginerashuns. Peple flock to heer um in krowds. The men go becawz its poplar & the wimin folks go to see what other wimin folks have on. When its over the lecturer goze & ragales hisself with oysters and sich, while the peple say, "What a charmin lectur that air was," etsettery, etsettery, when 9 out of 10 of um don't have no moore idee of what the lecturer sed than my kangeroo has of the sevunth speer of hevun. Thare's moore infurmashun to be gut out of a well conductid noospaper--price 3 sents--than thare is out of ten poplar lectures at 25 or 50 dollers a pop, as the kase may be. These same peple, bare in mind, stick up their nosis at moral wax figgers & sagashus beests. Thay say these things is low. Gents, it greeves my hart in my old age, when I'm in "the Sheer & yeller leef" (to cote frum my Irish frend Mister McBeth) to see that the Show biznis is pritty much plade out; howsomever I shall chance it agane in the Spring.
1.22. WOMAN'S RIGHTS.
I pitcht my tent in a small town in Injianny one day last seeson, & while I was standin at the dore takin money, a deppytashun of ladies came up & sed they wos members of the Bunkumville Female Moral Reformin & Wimin's Rite's Associashun, and thay axed me if they cood go in without payin.
"Not exactly," sez I, "but you can pay without goin in."
"Dew you know who we air?" sed one of the wimin--a tall and feroshus lookin critter, with a blew kotton umbreller under her arm--"do you know who we air, Sir?"
"My impreshun is," sed I, "from a kersery view, that you air females."
"We air, Sur," sed the feroshus woman--"we belong to a Society whitch beleeves wimin has rites--whitch beleeves in razin her to her proper speer--whitch beleeves she is indowed with as much intelleck as man is--whitch beleeves she is trampled on and aboozed--& who will resist henso4th & forever the incroachments of proud & domineering men."
Durin her discourse, the exsentric female grabed me by the coat-kollor & was swinging her umbreller wildly over my hed.
"I hope, marm," sez I, starting back, "that your intensions is honorable! I'm a lone man hear in a strange place. Besides, I've a wife to hum."
"Yes," cried the female, "& she's a slave! Doth she never dream of freedom--doth she never think of throwin off the yoke of tyrrinny & thinkin & votin for herself?--Doth she never think of these here things?"
"Not bein a natral born fool," sed I, by this time a little riled, "I kin safely say that she dothunt."
"Oh whot--whot!" screamed the female, swingin her umbreller in the air.--"O, what is the price that woman pays for her expeeriunce!"
"I don't know," sez I; "the price of my show is 15 cents pur individooal."
"& can't our Soisety go in free?" asked the female.
"Not if I know it," sed I.
"Crooil, crooil man!" she cried, & bust into teers.
"Won't you let my darter in?" sed anuther of the exsentric wimin, taken me afeckshunitely by the hand. "O, please let my darter in,--shee's a sweet gushin child of natur."
"Let her gush!" roared I, as mad as I cood stick at their tarnal nonsense; "let her gush!" Where upon they all sprung back with the simultanious observashun that I was a Beest.
"My female friends," sed I, "be4 you leeve, I've a few remarks to remark; wa them well. The female woman is one of the greatest institooshuns of which this land can boste. Its onpossible to get along without her. Had there bin no female wimin in the world, I should scarcely be here with my unparalleld show on this very occashun. She is good in sickness--good in wellness--good all the time. O woman, woman!" I cried, my feelins worked up to a hi poetick pitch, "you air a angle when you behave yourself; but when you take off your proper appairel & (mettyforically speaken)--get into pantyloons--when you desert your firesides, & with your heds full of wimin's rites noshuns go round like roarin lions, seekin whom you may devour someboddy--in short, when you undertake to play the man, you play the devil and air an emfatic noosance. My female friends," I continnered, as they were indignantly departin, "wa well what A. Ward has sed!"
1.23. WOULD-BE SEA DOGS.
Sum of the captings on the Upper Ohio River put on a heep of airs. To hear 'em git orf saler lingo you'd spose they'd bin on the briny Deep for a lifetime, when the fact is they haint tasted salt water since they was infants, when they had to take it for WORMS. Still they air good natered fellers, and when they drink they take a dose big enuff for a grown person.
1.24. THE PRINCE OF WALES.
To my friends of the Editorial Corpse:
I rite these lines on British sile. I've bin follerin Mrs. Victory's hopeful sun Albert Edward threw Kanady with my onparaleled Show, and tho I haint made much in a pecoonary pint of vew, I've lernt sumthin new, over hear on British Sile, whare they bleeve in Saint George and the Dragoon. Previs to cumin over hear I tawt my organist how to grind Rule Brittany and other airs which is poplar on British Sile. I likewise fixt a wax figger up to represent Sir Edmun Hed the Govner Ginral. The statoot I fixt up is the most versytile wax statoot I ever saw. I've showd it as Wm. Penn, Napoleon Bonypart, Juke of Wellington, the Beneker Boy, Mrs. Cunningham & varis other notid persons, and also for a sertin pirut named Hix. I've bin so long amung wax statoots that I can fix 'em up to soot the tastes of folks, & with sum paints I hav I kin giv their facis a beneverlent or fiendish look as the kase requires. I giv Sir Edmun Hed a beneverlent look, & when sum folks who thawt they was smart sed it didn't look like Sir Edmun Hed anymore than it did anybody else, I sed, "That's the pint. That's the beauty of the Statoot. It looks like Sir Edmun Hed or any other man. You may kall it what you pleese. Ef it don't look like anybody that ever lived, then it's sertinly a remarkable Statoot & well worth seein. _I_ kall it Sir Edmun Hed. YOU may kall it what you pleese!" [I had 'em thare.]
At larst I've had a interview with the Prince, tho it putty nigh cost me my vallerble life. I cawt a glimpse of him as he sot on the Pizarro of the hotel in Sarnia, & elbowd myself threw a crowd of wimin, children, sojers & Injins that was hangin round the tavern. I was drawin near to the Prince when a red-faced man in Millingtery close grabd holt of me and axed me whare I was goin all so bold?
"To see Albert Edard the Prince of Wales," sez I; "who are you?"
He sed he was Kurnel of the Seventy Fust Regiment, Her Magisty's troops. I told him I hoped the Seventy Onesters was in good helth, and was passin by when he ceased hold of me agin, and sed in a tone of indigent cirprise:
"What? Impossible! It kannot be! Blarst my hize, sir, did I understan you to say that you was actooally goin into the presents of his Royal Iniss?"
"That's what's the matter with me," I replide.
"But blarst my hize, sir, its onprecedented. It's orful, sir. Nothin' like it hain't happened sins the Gun Powder Plot of Guy Forks. Owdashus man, who air you?"
"Sir," sez I, drawin myself up & puttin on a defiant air, "I'm a Amerycan sitterzen. My name is Ward. I'm a husband & the father of twins, which I'm happy to state thay look like me. By perfeshun I'm a exhibiter of wax works & sich."
"Good God!" yelled the Kurnal, "the idee of a exhibiter of wax figgers goin into the presents of Royalty! The British Lion may well roar with raje at the thawt!"
Sez I, "Speakin of the British Lion, Kurnal, I'd like to make a bargin with you fur that beast fur a few weeks to add to my Show." I didn't meen nothin by this. I was only gettin orf a goak, but you roter hev seen the Old Kurnal jump up & howl. He actooally fomed at the mowth.
"This can't be real," he showtid. "No, no. It's a horrid dream. Sir, you air not a human bein--you hav no existents-- yure a Myth!"
"Wall," sez I, "old hoss, yule find me a ruther onkomfortable Myth ef you punch my inards in that way agin." I began to git a little riled, fur when he called me a Myth he puncht me putty hard. The Kurnal now commenst showtin fur the Seventy Onesters. I at fust thawt I'd stay & becum a Marter to British Outraje, as sich a course mite git my name up & be a good advertisement fur my Show, but it occurred to me that ef enny of the Seventy Onesters shood happen to insert a barronet into my stummick it mite be onplesunt, & I was on the pint of runnin orf when the Prince hisself kum up & axed me what the matter was. Sez I, "Albert Edard, is that you?" & he smilt & sed it was. Sez I, "Albert Edard, hears my keerd. I cum to pay my respecks to the futer King of Ingland. The Kurnal of the Seventy Onesters hear is ruther smawl pertaters, but of course you ain't to blame fur that. He puts on as many airs as tho he was the Bully Boy with the glass eye."
"Never mind," sez Albert Edard, "I'm glad to see you, Mister Ward, at all events," & he tuk my hand so plesunt like & larfed so sweet that I fell in love with him to onct. He handid me a segar & we sot down on the Pizarro & commenst smokin rite cheerful. "Wall," sez I, "Albert Edard, how's the old folks?"
"Her Majesty & the Prince are well," he sed.
"Duz the old man take his Lager beer reglar?" I inquired.
The Prince larfed & intermatid that the old man didn't let many kegs of that bevridge spile in the sellar in the coarse of a year. We sot & tawked there sum time abowt matters & things, & bimeby I axed him how he liked bein Prince as fur as he'd got.
"To speak plain, Mister Ward," he sed, "I don't much like it. I'm sick of all this bowin & scrapin & crawlin & hurrain over a boy like me. I would rather go through the country quietly & enjoy myself in my own way, with the other boys, & not be made a Show of to be garped at by everybody. When the PEPLE cheer me I feel pleesed, fur I know they meen it; but if these one-horse offishuls cood know how I see threw all their moves & understan exackly what they air after, & knowd how I larft at 'em in private, thayd stop kissin my hands & fawnin over me as thay now do. But you know, Mr. Ward, I can't help bein a Prince, & I must do all I kin to fit myself fur the persishun I must sumtime ockepy."
"That's troo," sez I; "sickness and the docters will carry the Queen orf one of these dase, sure's yer born."
The time hevin arove fur me to take my departer I rose up & sed: "Albert Edard, I must go, but previs to doin so I will obsarve that you soot me. Yure a good feller, Albert Edard, & tho I'm agin Princes as a gineral thing, I must say I like the cut of your Gib. When you git to be King try and be as good a man as yure muther has bin! Be just & be Jenerus, espeshully to showmen, who hav allers bin aboozed sins the dase of Noah, who was the fust man to go into the Menagery bizniss, & ef the daily papers of his time air to be beleeved Noah's colleckshun of livin wild beests beet ennything ever seen sins, tho I make bold to dowt ef his snaiks was ahead of mine. Albert Edard, adoo!" I tuk his hand which he shook warmly, & givin him a perpetooal free pars to my show, & also parses to take hum for the Queen & old Albert, I put on my hat and walkt away.
"Mrs. Ward," I solilerquized, as I walkt along, "Mrs. Ward, ef you could see your husband now, just as he prowdly emerjis from the presunts of the futur King of Ingland, you'd be sorry you called him a Beest jest becaws he cum home tired 1 nite and wantid to go to bed without takin orf his boots. You'd be sorry for tryin to deprive yure husband of the priceliss Boon of liberty, Betsy Jane!"
Jest then I met a long perseshun of men with gownds onto 'em. The leader was on horseback, & ridin up to me he sed, "Air you Orange?"
Sez I, "Which?"
"Air you a Orangeman?" he repeated, sternly.
"I used to peddle lemins," sed I, "but I never delt in oranges. They are apt to spile on yure hands. What particler Loonatic Asylum hev you & yure frends escaped frum, ef I may be so bold?" Just then a suddent thawt struck me & I sed, "Oh yure the fellers who air worryin the Prince so & givin the Juke of Noocastle cold sweats at nite, by yure infernal catawalins, air you? Wall, take the advice of a Amerykin sitterzen, take orf them gownds & don't try to get up a religious fite, which is 40 times wuss nor a prize fite, over Albert Edard, who wants to receive you all on a ekal footin, not keerin a tinker's cuss what meetin house you sleep in Sundays. Go home & mind yure bisness & not make noosenses of yourselves." With which observashuns I left 'em.
I shall leeve British sile 4thwith.
Gents,--I arroved in Cleveland on Saturday P.M. from Baldinsville jest in time to fix myself up and put on a clean biled rag to attend Miss Picklehomony's grate musical sorry at the Melodeon. The krowds which pored into the hall augured well for the show bizniss, & with cheerful sperrets I jined the enthoosiastic throng. I asked Mr. Strakhosh at the door if he parst the perfession, and he sed not much he didn't, whereupon I bawt a preserved seat in the pit, & obsarving to Mr. Strakhosh that he needn't put on so many French airs becawz he run with a big show, and that he'd better let his weskut out a few inches or perhaps he'd bust hisself some fine day, I went in and squatted down. It was a sad thawt to think that in all that vast aujience Scacely a Sole had the honor of my acquaintance. "& this ere," sed I Bitturly, "is Fame! What sigerfy my wax figgers and livin wild beasts (which have no ekels) to these peple? What do thay care becawz a site of my Kangeroo is worth dubble the price of admission, and that my Snaiks is as harmlis as the new born babe--all of which is strictly troo?" I should have gone on ralein at Fortin and things sum more, but jest then Signer Maccarony cum out and sung a hairey from some opry or other. He had on his store close & looked putty slick, I must say. Nobody didn't understand nothin abowt what he sed, and so they applawdid him versiferusly. Then Signer Brignoly cum out and sung another hairey. He appeared to be in a Pensiv Mood & sung a Luv song I suppose, tho he may have been cussin the aujince all into a heep for aut I knewd. Then cum Mr. Maccarony agin and Miss Picklehomony herself. Thay sang a Doit together.
Now you know, gents, that I don't admire opry music. But I like Miss Picklehomony's stile. I like her gate. She suits me. There has bin grater singers and there has bin more bootiful wimin, but no more fassinatin young female ever longed for a new gown, or side to place her hed agin a vest pattern than Maria Picklehomony. Fassinatin peple is her best holt. She was born to make hash of men's buzzums & other wimin mad becawz thay ain't Picklehomonies. Her face sparkles with amuzin cussedness & about 200 (two hundred) little bit of funny devils air continually dancing champion jigs in her eyes, sed eyes bein brite enuff to lite a pipe by. How I shood like to have little Maria out on my farm in Baldinsville, Injianny, whare she cood run in the tall grass, wrastle with the boys, cut up strong at parin bees, make up faces behind the minister's back, tie auction bills to the skoolmaster's coat-tales, set all the fellers crazy after her, & holler & kick up, & go it just as much as she wanted to! But I diegress. Every time she cum canterin out I grew more and more delighted with her. When she bowed her hed I bowed mine. When she powtid her lips I powtid mine. When she larfed I larfed. When she jerked her hed back and took a larfin survey of the aujience, sendin a broadside of sassy smiles in among em, I tried to unjint myself & kollapse. When, in tellin how she drempt she lived in Marble Halls, she sed it tickled her more than all the rest to dream she loved her feller still the same, I made a effort to swaller myself; but when, in the next song, she look strate at me & called me her Dear, I wildly told the man next to me he mite hav my close, as I shood never want 'em again no more in this world. [The "Plain Dealer" (The Cleveland "Plain Dealer," a well-known Ohio newspaper, to which Mr. Artemus Ward wishes us to understand he contributed.) containin this communicashun is not to be sent to my famerly in Baldinsville under no circumstances whatsomever.]
In conclushun, Maria, I want you to do well. I know you air a nice gal at hart & you must get a good husband. He must be a man of branes and gumpshun & a good provider--a man who will luv you strong and long--a man who will luv you jest as much in your old age, when your voice is cracked like an old tea kittle & you can't get 1 of your notes discounted at 50 per sent a month, as he will now, when you are young & charmin & full of music, sunshine & fun. Don't marry a snob, Maria. You ain't a Angel, Maria, & I am glad of it. When I see angels in pettycoats I'm always sorry they hain't got wings so they kin quietly fly off whare thay will be appreshiated. You air a woman, & a mity good one too. As for Maccarony, Brignoly, Mullenholler, and them other fellers, they can take care of theirselves. Old Mac. kin make a comfortable livin choppin cord wood if his voice ever givs out, and Amodio looks as tho he mite succeed in conductin sum quiet toll gate, whare the vittles would be plenty & the labor lite.
I am preparin for the Summer Campane. I shall stay in Cleveland a few days and probly you will hear from me again ear I leave to once more becum a tosser on life's tempestuous billers, meanin the Show Bizniss.--Very Respectively Yours,
1.26. LITTLE PATTI.
The moosic which Ime most use to is the inspirin stranes of the hand orgin. I hire a artistic Italyun to grind fur me, payin him his vittles & close, & I spose it was them stranes which fust put a moosical taste into me. Like all furriners, he had seen better dase, havin formerly been a Kount. But he aint of much akount now, except to turn the orgin and drink Beer, of which bevrige he can hold a churnful, EASY.
Miss Patty is small for her size, but as the man sed abowt his wife, O Lord! She is well bilt & her complexion is what might be called a Broonetty. Her ize is a dark bay, the lashes bein long & silky. When she smiles the awjince feels like axing her to doo it sum moor, & to continner doin it 2 a indefnit extent. Her waste is one of the most bootiful wastisis ever seen. When Mister Strackhorse led her out I thawt sum pretty skool gal, who had jest graduatid frum pantalets & wire hoops, was a cumin out to read her fust composishun in public. She cum so bashful like, with her hed bowd down, & made sich a effort to arrange her lips so thayd look pretty, that I wanted to swaller her. She reminded me of Susan Skinner, who'd never kiss the boys at parin bees till the candles was blow'd out. Miss Patty sung suthin or ruther in a furrin tung. I don't know what the sentimunts was. Fur awt I know she may hav bin denouncin my wax figgers & sagashus wild beests of Pray, & I don't much keer ef she did. When she opened her mowth a army of martingales, bobolinks, kanarys, swallers, mockin birds, etsettery, bust 4th& flew all over the Haul.
Go it, little 1, sez I to myself, in a hily exsited frame of mind, & ef that kount or royal duke which you'll be pretty apt to marry 1 of these dase don't do the fair thing by ye, yu kin always hav a home on A. Ward's farm, near Baldinsville, Injianny. When she sung Cumin threw the Rye, and spoke of that Swayne she deerly luvd herself individooully, I didn't wish I was that air Swayne. No I gess not. Oh certainly not. [This is Ironical. I don't meen this. It's a way I hav of goakin.] Now that Maria Picklehominy has got married & left the perfeshun, Adeliny Patty is the championess of the opery ring. She karries the Belt. Thar's no draw fite about it. Other primy donnys may as well throw up the spunge first as last. My eyes don't deceive my earsite in this matter.
But Miss Patty orter sing in the Inglish tung. As she kin do so as well as she kin in Italyun, why under the Son don't she do it? What cents is thare in singin wurds nobody don't understan when wurds we do understan is jest as handy? Why peple will versifferusly applawd furrin langwidge is a mistery. It reminds me of a man I onct knew. He sed he knockt the bottum out of his pork Barril, & the pork fell out, but the Brine dident moove a inch. It stade in the Barril. He sed this was a Mistery, but it wasn't misterior than is this thing I'm speekin of.
As fur Brignoly, Ferri and Junky, they air dowtless grate, but I think sich able boddied men wood look better tillin the sile than dressin theirselves up in black close & white kid gluvs & shoutin in a furrin tung. Mister Junky is a noble lookin old man, & orter lead armies on to Battel instid of shoutin in a furrin tung.
Adoo. In the langwidge of Lewis Napoleon when receivin kumpany at his pallis on the Bullyvards, "I saloot yu."
1.27. OSSAWATOMIE BROWN.
I don't pertend to be a cricket & consekently the reader will not regard this 'ere peace as a Cricketcism. I cimply desine givin the pints & Plot of a play I saw actid out at the theatre t'other nite, called Ossywattermy Brown or the Hero of Harper's Ferry. Ossywattermy had varis failins, one of which was a idee that he cood conker Virginny with a few duzzen loonatics which he had pickt up sumwhares, mercy only nose wher. He didn't cum it, as the sekel showed. This play was jerkt by a admirer of Old Ossywattermy.
First akt opens at North Elby, Old Brown's humsted. Thare's a weddin at the house. Amely, Old Brown's darter, marrys sumbody, and thay all whirl in the Messy darnce. Then Ossywattermy and his 3 sons leave fur Kansis. Old Mrs. Ossywattermy tells 'em thay air goin on a long jurny & Blesses 'em to slow fiddlin. Thay go to Kansis. What upon arth thay go to Kansis fur when thay was so nice & comfortable down there to North Elby, is more'n I know. The suns air next seen in Kansis at a tarvern. Mister Blane, a sinister lookin man with his Belt full of knives & hoss pistils, axes one of the Browns to take a drink. Brown refuzis, which is the fust instance on record whar a Brown deklined sich a invite. Mister Blane, who is a dark bearded feroshus lookin person, then axis him whether he's fur or fernenst Slavery. Yung Brown sez he's agin it, whareupon, Mister Blane, who is the most sinisterest lookin man I ever saw, sez Har, har, har! (that bein his stile of larfin wildly) & ups and sticks a knife into yung Brown. Anuther Brown rushes up & sez, "you has killed me Ber-ruther!" Moosic by the Band & Seen changes. The stuck yung Brown enters supported by his two brothers. Bimeby he falls down, sez he sees his Mother, & dies. Moosic by the Band. I lookt but couldn't see any mother. Next Seen reveels Old Brown's cabin. He's readin a book. He sez freedum must extend its Area & rubs his hands like he was pleesed abowt it. His suns come in. One of 'em goes out & cums in ded, havin bin shot while out by a Border Ruffin. The ded yung Brown sez he sees his mother and tumbles down. The Border Ruffins then surround the cabin & set it a fire. The Browns giv theirselves up for gone coons, when the hired gal diskivers a trap door to the cabin & thay go down threw it & cum up threw the bulkhed. Their merraklis 'scape reminds me of the 'scape of De Jones, the Coarsehair of the Gulf--a tail with a yaller kiver, that I onct red. For sixteen years he was confined in a loathsum dunjin, not tastin food durin all that time. When a lucky thawt struck him! He opend the winder and got out. To resoom--Old Brown rushes down to the footlites, gits down on his nees & swares he'll hav revenge. The battle of Ossawatermy takes place. Old Brown kills Mister Blane, the sinister individooal aforesed. Mister Blane makes a able & elerquent speech, sez he don't see his mother MUCH, and dies like the son of a gentleman, rapt up in the Star Spangled banner. Moosic by the Band. Four or five other Border ruffins air killed, but thay don't say nothin abowt seein their mothers. From Kansis to Harper's Ferry. Picter of a Arsenal is represented. Sojers cum & fire at it. Old Brown cums out & permits hisself to be shot. He is tride by two soops in milingtery close and sentenced to be hung on the gallus. Tabloo--Old Brown on a platform, pintin upards, the staige lited up with red fire. Goddis of Liberty also on platform, pintin upards. A dutchman in the orkestry warbles on a base drum. Curtin falls. Moosic by the Band.
1.28. JOY IN THE HOUSE OF WARD.
I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am in a state of great bliss, and trust these lines will find you injoyin the same blessins. I'm reguvinated. I've found the immortal waters of yooth, so to speak, and am as limber and frisky as a two-year-old steer, and in the futur them boys which sez to me "go up, old Bawld hed," will do so at the peril of their hazard, individooally. I'm very happy. My house is full of joy, and I have to git up nights and larf! Sumtimes I ax myself "is it not a dream?" & suthin withinto me sez "it air;" but when I look at them sweet little critters and hear 'em squawk, I know it is a reality--2 realitys, I may say--and I feel gay.
I returnd from the Summer Campane with my unparaleld show of wax works and livin wild Beests of Pray in the early part of this munth. The peple of Baldinsville met me cordully and I immejitly commenst restin myself with my famerly. The other nite while I was down to the tavurn tostin my shins agin the bar room fire & amuzin the krowd with sum of my adventurs, who shood cum in bare heded & terrible excited but Bill Stokes, who sez, sez he, "Old Ward, there's grate doins up to your house."
Sez I "William, how so?"
Sez he, "Bust my gizzud but it's grate doins," & then he larfed as if he'd kill hisself.
Sez I, risin and puttin on a austeer look, "William, I woodunt be a fool if I had common cents."
But he kept on larfin till he was black in the face, when he fell over on to the bunk where the hostler sleeps, and in a still small voice sed, "Twins!" I ashure you gents that the grass didn't grow under my feet on my way home, & I was follered by a enthoosiastic throng of my feller sitterzens, who hurrard for Old Ward at the top of their voises. I found the house chock full of peple. Thare was Mis Square Baxter and her three grown-up darters, lawyer Perkinses wife, Taberthy Ripley, young Eben Parsuns, Deakun Simmuns folks, the Skoolmaster, Doctor Jordin, etsetterry, etsetterry. Mis Ward was in the west room, which jines the kitchen. Mis Square Baxter was mixin suthin in a dipper before the kitchin fire, & a small army of female wimin were rushin wildly round the house with bottles of camfire, peaces of flannil, &c. I never seed such a hubbub in my natral born dase. I cood not stay in the west room only a minit, so strung up was my feelins, so I rusht out and ceased my dubbel barrild gun.
"What upon airth ales the man?" sez Taberthy Ripley. "Sakes alive, what air you doin?" & she grabd me by the coat tales. "What's the matter with you?" she continnerd.
"Twins, marm," sez I, "twins!"
"I know it," sez she, coverin her pretty face with her apun.
"Wall," sez I, "that's what's the matter with me!"
"Wall, put down that air gun, you pesky old fool," sed she.
"No, marm," sez I, "this is a Nashunal day. The glory of this here day isn't confined to Baldinsville by a darn site. On yonder woodshed," sed I, drawin myself up to my full hite and speakin in a show-actin voice, "will I fire a Nashunal saloot!" sayin whitch I tared myself from her grasp and rusht to the top of the shed whare I blazed away until Square Baxter's hired man and my son Artemus Juneyer cum and took me down by mane force.
On returnin to the Kitchin I found quite a lot of peple seated be4 the fire, a talkin the event over. They made room for me & I sot down. "Quite a eppisode," sed Docter Jordin, litin his pipe with a red-hot coal.
"Yes," sed I, "2 eppisodes, waying abowt 18 pounds jintly."
"A perfeck coop de tat," sed the skoolmaster.
"E pluribus unum, in proprietor persony," sed I, thinking I'd let him know I understood furrin langwidges as well as he did, if I wasn't a skoolmaster.
"It is indeed a momentious event," sed young Eben Parsuns, who has been 2 quarters to the Akademy.
"I never heard twins called by that name afore," sed I, "But I spose it's all rite."
"We shall soon have Wards enuff," sed the editer of the Baldinsville "Bugle of Liberty," who was lookin over a bundle of exchange papers in the corner, "to apply to the legislater for a City Charter!"
"Good for you, old man!" sed I; "giv that air a conspickius place in the next "Bugle."
"How redicklus," sed pretty Susan Fletcher, coverin her face with her knittin work & larfin like all possest.
"Wall, for my part," sed Jane Maria Peasly, who is the crossest old made in the world, "I think you all act like a pack of fools."
Sez I, "Miss Peasly, air you a parent?"
Sez she, "No, I ain't."
Sez I, "Miss Peasly, you never will be."
We sot there talkin & larfin until "the switchin hour of nite, when grave yards yawn & Josts troop 4th," as old Bill Shakespire aptlee obsarves in his dramy of John Sheppard, esq, or the Moral House Breaker, when we broke up & disbursed.
Muther & children is a doin well & as Resolushuns is the order of the day I will feel obleeged if you'll insurt the follerin--
Whereas, two Eppisodes has happined up to the undersined's house, which is Twins; & Whereas I like this stile, sade twins bein of the male perswashun & both boys; there4 Be it--
RESOLVED, That to them nabers who did the fare thing by sade Eppisodes my hart felt thanks is doo.
RESOLVED, That I do most hartily thank Engine Ko. No. 17, who, under the impreshun from the fuss at my house on that auspishus nite that thare was a konflagration goin on, kum galyiantly to the spot, but kindly refraned from squirtin.
RESOLVED, That frum the Bottum of my Sole do I thank the Baldinsville brass band fur givin up the idea of Sarahnadin me, both on that great nite & sinse.
RESOLVED, That my thanks is doo several members of the Baldinsville meetin house who for 3 whole dase hain't kalled me a sinful skoffer or intreeted me to mend my wicked wase and jine sade meetin house to onct.
RESOLVED, That my Boozum teams with meny kind emoshuns towards the follerin individoouls, to whit namelee--Mis. Square Baxter, who Jenerusly refoozed to take a sent for a bottle of camfire; lawyer Perkinses wife who rit sum versis on the Eppisodes; the Editer of the Baldinsville "Bugle of Liberty," who nobly assisted me in wollupin my Kangeroo, which sagashus little cuss seriusly disturbed the Eppisodes by his outrajus screetchins & kickins up; Mis. Hirum Doolittle, who kindly furnisht sum cold vittles at a tryin time, when it wasunt konvenient to cook vittles at my hous; & the Peasleys, Parsunses & Watsunses fur there meny ax of kindness.
Trooly yures, Artemus Ward.
1.29. BOSTON. (A. WARD TO HIS WIFE.)
Dear Betsy: I write you this from Boston, "the Modern Atkins," as it is denomyunated, altho' I skurcely know what those air. I'll giv you a kursoory view of this city. I'll klassify the paragrafs under seprit headins, arter the stile of those Emblems of Trooth and Poority, the Washinton correspongdents!
The winder of my room commands a exileratin view of Copps' Hill, where Cotton Mather, the father of the Reformers and sich, lies berrid. There is men even now who worship Cotton, and there is wimin who wear him next their harts. But I do not weep for him. He's bin ded too lengthy. I ain't going to be absurd, like old Mr. Skillins, in our naberhood, who is ninety-six years of age, and gets drunk every 'lection day, and weeps Bitturly because he haint got no Parents. He's a nice Orphan, HE is.
Bunker Hill is over yonder in Charleston. In 1776 a thrillin dramy was acted out over there, in which the "Warren Combination" played star parts.
Old Mr. Fanuel is ded, but his Hall is still into full blarst. This is the Cradle in which the Goddess of Liberty was rocked, my Dear. The Goddess hasn't bin very well durin' the past few years, and the num'ris quack doctors she called in didn't help her any; but the old gal's physicians now are men who understand their bizness, Major-generally speakin', and I think the day is near when she'll be able to take her three meals a day, and sleep nights as comf'bly as in the old time.
It is here, as ushil; and the low cuss who called it a Wacant Lot, and wanted to know why they didn't ornament it with sum Bildins', is a onhappy Outcast in Naponsit.
The State House is filled with Statesmen, but sum of 'em wear queer hats. They buy 'em, I take it, of hatters who carry on hat stores down-stairs in Dock Square, and whose hats is either ten years ahead of the prevailin' stile, or ten years behind it--jest as a intellectooal person sees fit to think about it. I had the pleasure of talkin' with sevril members of the legislatur. I told 'em the Eye of 1000 ages was onto we American peple of to-day. They seemed deeply impressed by the remark, and wantid to know if I had seen the Grate Orgin?
This celebrated institootion of learnin is pleasantly situated in the Bar-room of Parker's in School street, and has poopils from all over the country.
I had a letter yes'd'y, by the way, from our mootual son, Artemus, Jr., who is at Bowdoin College in Maine. He writes that he's a Bowdoin Arab. & is it cum to this? Is this Boy as I nurtered with a Parent's care into his childhood's hour--is he goin' to be a Grate American humorist? Alars! I fear it is too troo. Why didn't I bind him out to the Patent Travellin Vegetable Pill Man, as was struck with his appearance at our last County Fair, & wanted him to go with him and be a Pillist? Ar, these Boys--they little know how the old folks worrit about 'em. But my father he never had no occasion to worrit about me. You know, Betsy, that when I fust commenced my career as a moral exhibitor with a six-legged cat and a Bass drum, I was only a simple peasant child--skurce 15 Summers had flow'd over my yoothful hed. But I had sum mind of my own. My father understood this. "Go," he sed--"go, my son, and hog the public!" (he ment, "knock em," but the old man was allus a little given to slang). He put his withered han' tremblinly onto my hed, and went sadly into the house. I thought I saw tears tricklin down his venerable chin, but it might hav been tobacker jooce. He chaw'd.
The "Atlantic Monthly," Betsy, is a reg'lar visitor to our westun home. I like it because it has got sense. It don't print stories with piruts and honist young men into 'em, makin' the piruts splendid fellers and the honist young men dis'gree'ble idiots--so that our darters very nat'rally prefer the piruts to the honist young idiots; but it gives us good square American literatoor. The chaps that write for the "Atlantic," Betsy, understand their bizness. They can sling ink, they can. I went in and saw 'em. I told 'em that theirs was a high and holy mission. They seemed quite gratified, and asked me if I had seen the Grate Orgin.
WHERE THE FUST BLUD WAS SPILT.
I went over to Lexington yes'd'y. My Boozum hove with sollum emotions. "& this," I sed to a man who was drivin' a yoke of oxen, "this is where our revolutionary forefathers asserted their independence and spilt their Blud. Classic ground!"
"Wall," the man sed, "it's good for white beans and potatoes, but was regards raisin' wheat, t'ain't worth a damn. But hav' you seen the Grate Orgin?"
THE POOTY GIRL IN SPECTACLES.
I returned in the Hoss Cars, part way. A pooty girl in spectacles sot near me, and was tellin' a young man how much he reminded her of a man she used to know in Walthan. Pooty soon the young man got out, and, smilin' in a seductive manner, I said to the girl in spectacles, "Don't _I_ remind you of somebody you used to know?"
"Yes," she sed, "you do remind me of one man, but he was sent to the penitentiary for stealin' a Bar'l of mackril--he died there, so I conclood you ain't HIM." I didn't pursoo the conversation. I only heard her silvery voice once more durin' the remainder of the jerney. Turnin' to a respectable lookin' female of advanced summers, she asked her if she had seen the Grate Orgin.
We old chaps, my dear, air apt to forget that it is sum time since we was infants, and et lite food. Nothin' of further int'rist took place on the cars excep' a colored gentleman, a total stranger to me, asked if I'd lend him my diamond Brestpin to wear to a funeral in South Boston. I told him I wouldn't--not a PURPUSS.
WILD GAME Altho' fur from the prahayries, there is abundans of wild game in Boston, such as quails, snipes, plover, ans Props. (The game of "props," played with cowrie shells is, I believe, peculiar to the city of Boston.)
A excellent skool sistim is in vogy here. John Slurk, my old pardner, has a little son who has only bin to skool two months, and yet he exhibertid his father's performin' Bear in the show all last summer. I hope they pay partic'lar 'tention to Spelin in these Skools, because if a man can't Spel wel he's of no 'kount.
I ment to have allooded to the Grate Orgin in this letter, but I haven't seen it. Mr. Reveer, whose tavern I stop at, informed me that it can be distinctly heard through a smoked glass in his nativ town in New Hampshire, any clear day. But settin' the Grate Orgin aside (and indeed, I don't think I heard it mentioned all the time I was there), Boston is one of the grandest, sure-footedest, clear headedest, comfortablest cities on the globe. Onlike ev'ry other large city I was ever in, the most of the hackmen don't seem to hav' bin speshully intended by natur for the Burglery perfession, and it's about the only large city I know of where you don't enjoy a brilliant opportunity of bein swindled in sum way, from the Risin of the sun to the goin down thereof. There4 I say, loud and continnered applaus' for Boston!
Kiss the children for me. What you tell me 'bout the Twins greeves me sorely. When I sent 'em that Toy Enjine I had not contempyulated that they would so fur forgit what wos doo the dignity of our house as to squirt dishwater on the Incum Tax Collector. It is a disloyal act, and shows a prematoor leanin' tords cussedness that alarms me. I send to Amelia Ann, our oldest dawter, sum new music, viz. "I am Lonely sints My Mother-in-law Died"; "Dear Mother, What tho' the Hand that Spanked me in my Childhood's Hour is withered now?" &c. These song writers, by the way, air doin' the Mother Bizness rather too muchly.
Your Own Troo husban', Artemus Ward.
1.30. HOW OLD ABE RECEIVED THE NEWS OF HIS NOMINATION.
There are several reports afloat as to how "Honest Old Abe" received the news of his nomination, none of which are correct. We give the correct report.
The Official Committee arrived in Springfield at dewy eve, and went to Honest Old Abe's house. Honest Old Abe was not in. Mrs. Honest Old Abe said Honest Old Abe was out in the woods splitting rails. So the Official Committee went out into the woods, where sure enough they found Honest Old Abe splitting rails with his two boys. It was a grand, a magnificent spectacle. There stood Honest Old Abe in his shirt-sleeves, a pair of leather home-made suspenders holding up a pair of home-made pantaloons, the seat of which was neatly patched with substantial cloth of a different color. "Mr Lincoln, Sir, you've been nominated, Sir, for the highest office, Sir--." "Oh, don't bother me," said Honest Old Abe; "I took a STENT this mornin' to split three million rails afore night, and I don't want to be pestered with no stuff about no Conventions till I get my stent done. I've only got two hundred thousand rails to split before sundown. I kin do it if you'll let me alone." And the great man went right on splitting rails, paying no attention to the Committee whatever. The Committee were lost in admiration for a few moments, when they recovered, and asked one of Honest Old Abe's boys whose boy he was? "I'm my parent's boy," shouted the urchin, which burst of wit so convulsed the Committee that they came very near "gin'in eout" completely. In a few moments Honest Ole Abe finished his task, and received the news with perfect self-possession. He then asked them up to the house, where he received them cordially. He said he split three million rails every day, although he was in very poor health. Mr. Lincoln is a jovial man, and has a keen sense of the ludicrous. During the evening he asked Mr. Evarts, of New York, "why Chicago was like a hen crossing the street?" Mr. Evarts gave it up. "Because," said Mr. Lincoln, "Old Grimes is dead, that good old man!" This exceedingly humorous thing created the most uproarious laughter.
1.31. INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
I hav no politics. Not a one. I'm not in the bisiness. If I was I spose I should holler versiffrusly in the streets at nite and go home to Betsy Jane smellen of coal ile and gin, in the mornin. I should go to the Poles arly. I should stay there all day. I should see to it that my nabers was thar. I should git carriges to take the kripples, the infirm and the indignant thar. I should be on guard agin frauds and sich. I should be on the look out for the infamus lise of the enemy, got up jest be4 elecshun for perlitical effeck. When all was over and my candydate was elected, I should move heving & erth--so to speak--until I got orfice, which if I didn't git a orfice I should turn round and abooze the Administration with all my mite and maine. But I'm not in the bizniss. I'm in a far more respectful bizniss nor what pollertics is. I wouldn't giv two cents to be a Congresser. The wuss insult I ever received was when sertin citizens of Baldinsville axed me to run fur the Legislater. Sez I, "My frends, dostest think I'd stoop to that there?" They turned as white as a sheet. I spoke in my most orfullest tones & they knowed I wasn't to be trifled with. They slunked out of site to onct.
There4, havin no politics, I made bold to visit Old Abe at his humstid in Springfield. I found the old feller in his parler, surrounded by a perfeck swarm of orfice seekers. Knowin he had been capting of a flat boat on the roarin Mississippy I thought I'd address him in sailor lingo, so sez I, "Old Abe, ahoy! Let out yer main-suls, reef hum the forecastle & throw yer jib-poop over-board! Shiver my timbers, my harty!" [N.B. This is ginuine mariner langwidge. I know, becawz I've seen sailor plays acted out by them New York theatre fellers.] Old Abe lookt up quite cross & sez, "Send in yer petition by & by. I can't possibly look at it now. Indeed, I can't. It's onpossible, sir!"
"Mr. Linkin, who do you spect I air?" sed I.
"A orfice-seeker, to be sure," sed he.
"Wall, sir," sed I, "you's never more mistaken in your life. You hain't gut a orfiss I'd take under no circumstances. I'm A. Ward. Wax figgers is my perfeshun. I'm the father of Twins, and they look like me--BOTH OF THEM. I cum to pay a friendly visit to the President eleck of the United States. If so be you wants to see me, say so,--if not, say so & I'm orf like a jug handle."
"Mr. Ward, sit down. I am glad to see you, Sir."
"Repose in Abraham's Buzzum!" sed one of the orfice seekers, his idee bein to git orf a goak at my expense.
"Wall," sez I, "ef all you fellers repose in that there Buzzum thar'll be mity poor nussin for sum of you!" whereupon Old Abe buttoned his weskit clear up and blusht like a maidin of sweet 16. Jest at this pint of the conversation another swarm of orfice-seekers arrove & cum pilin into the parler. Sum wanted post orfices, sum wanted collectorships, sum wantid furrin missions, and all wanted sumthin. I thought Old Abe would go crazy. He hadn't more than had time to shake hands with 'em, before another tremenjis crowd cum porein onto his premises. His house and dooryard was now perfeckly overflowed with orfice seekers, all clameruss for a immejit interview with with Old Abe. One man from Ohio, who had about seven inches of corn whisky into him, mistook me for Old Abe and addrest me as "The Pra-hayrie Flower of the West!" Thinks I YOU want a offiss putty bad. Another man with a gold-heded cane and a red nose told Old Abe he was "a seckind Washington & the Pride of the Boundliss West."
Sez I, "Square, you wouldn't take a small post-offiss if you could git it, would you?"
Sez he, "A patrit is abuv them things, sir!"
"There's a putty big crop of patrits this season, ain't there, Squire?" sez I, when ANOTHER crowd of offiss seekers pored in. The house, dooryard, barng & woodshed was now all full, and when ANOTHER crowd cum I told 'em not to go away for want of room as the hog-pen was still empty. One patrit from a small town in Michygan went up on top the house, got into the chimney and slid into the parler where Old Abe was endeverin to keep the hungry pack of orfice-seekers from chawin him up alive without benefit of clergy. The minit he reached the fireplace he jumpt up, brusht the soot out of his eyes, and yelled: "Don't make eny pintment at the Spunkville postoffiss till you've read my papers. All the respectful men in our town is signers to that there dockyment!"
"Good God!" cried Old Abe, "they cum upon me from the skize--down the chimneys, and from the bowels of the yerth!" He hadn't more'n got them words out of his delikit mouth before two fat offiss-seekers from Winconsin, in endeverin to crawl atween his legs for the purpuss of applyin for the tollgateship at Milwawky, upsot the President eleck, & he would hev gone sprawlin into the fireplace if I hadn't caught him in these arms. But I hadn't more'n stood him up strate before another man cum crashing down the chimney, his head strikin me viliently again the inards and prostratin my voluptoous form onto the floor. "Mr. Linkin," shoutid the infatooated being, "my papers is signed by every clergyman in our town, and likewise the skoolmaster!"
Sez I, "You egrejis ass," gittin up & brushin the dust from my eyes, "I'll sign your papers with this bunch of bones, if you don't be a little more keerful how you make my bread basket a depot in the futur. How do you like that air perfumery?" sez I, shuving my fist under his nose. "Them's the kind of papers I'll give you! Them's the papers YOU want!"
"But I workt hard for the ticket; I toiled night and day! The patrit should be rewarded!"
"Virtoo," sed I, holdin' the infatooated man by the coat-collar, "virtoo, sir, is its own reward. Look at me!" He did look at me, and qualed be4 my gase. "The fact is," I continued, lookin' round on the hungry crowd, "there is scacely a offiss for every ile lamp carrid round durin' this campane. I wish thare was. I wish thare was furrin missions to be filled on varis lonely Islands where eppydemics rage incessantly, and if I was in Old Abe's place I'd send every mother's son of you to them. What air you here for?" I continnered, warmin up considerable, "can't you giv Abe a minit's peace? Don't you see he's worrid most to death? Go home, you miserable men, go home & till the sile! Go to peddlin tinware--go to choppin wood--go to bilin' sope--stuff sassengers--black boots-- git a clerkship on sum respectable manure cart--go round as original Swiss Bell Ringers--becum 'origenal and only' Campbell Minstrels--go to lecturin at 50 dollars a nite--imbark in the peanut bizniss--WRITE FOR THE 'LEDGER'--saw off your legs and go round givin concerts, with tuchin appeals to a charitable public, printed on your handbills--anything for a honest living, but don't come round here drivin Old Abe crazy by your outrajis cuttings up! Go home. Stand not upon the order of your goin,' but go to onct! Ef in five minits from this time," sez I, pullin' out my new sixteen dollar huntin cased watch and brandishin' it before their eyes, "Ef in five minits from this time a single sole of you remains on these here premises, I'll go out to my cage near by, and let my Boy Constructor loose! & ef he gits amung you, you'll think old Solferino has cum again and no mistake!" You ought to hev seen them scamper, Mr. Fair. They run ort as tho Satun hisself was arter them with a red hot ten pronged pitchfork. In five minits the premises was clear.
"How kin I ever repay you, Mr. Ward, for your kindness?" sed Old Abe, advancin and shakin me warmly by the hand. "How kin I ever repay you, sir?"
"By givin the whole country a good, sound administration. By poerin' ile upon the troubled waturs, North and South. By pursooin' a patriotic, firm, and just course, and then if any State wants to secede, let 'em Sesesh!"
"How 'bout my Cabinit, Mister Ward?" sed Abe.
"Fill it up with Showmen, sir! Showmen, is devoid of politics. They hain't got any principles. They know how to cater for the public. They know what the public wants, North & South. Showmen, sir, is honest men. Ef you doubt their literary ability, look at their posters, and see small bills! Ef you want a Cabinit as is a Cabinit fill it up with showmen, but don't call on me. The moral wax figger perfeshun musn't be permitted to go down while there's a drop of blood in these vains! A. Linkin, I wish you well! Ef Powers or Walcutt wus to pick out a model for a beautiful man, I scarcely think they'd sculp you; but ef you do the fair thing by your country you'll make as putty a angel as any of us! A. Linkin, use the talents which Nature has put into you judishusly and firmly, and all will be well! A. Linkin, adoo!"
He shook me cordyully by the hand--we exchanged picters, so we could gaze upon each other's liniments, when far away from one another--he at the hellum of the ship of State, and I at the hellum of the show bizniss--admittance only 15 cents.
1.32. INTERVIEW WITH THE PRINCE NAPOLEON.
Notwithstandin I hain't writ much for the papers of late, nobody needn't flatter theirselves that the undersined is ded. On the contry, "I still live," which words was spoken by Danyil Webster, who was a able man. Even the old-line whigs of Boston will admit THAT. Webster is ded now, howsever, and his mantle has probly fallen into the hands of sum dealer in 2nd hand close, who can't sell it. Leastways nobody pears to be goin round wearin it to any perticler extent, now days. The rigiment of whom I was kurnel, finerly concluded they was better adapted as Home Gards, which accounts for your not hearin of me, ear this, where the bauls is the thickest and where the cannon doth roar. But as a American citizen I shall never cease to admire the masterly advance our troops made on Washinton from Bull Run, a short time ago. It was well dun. I spoke to my wife 'bout it at the time. My wife sed it was well dun.
It havin there4 bin detarmined to pertect Baldinsville at all hazzuds, and as there was no apprehensions of any immejit danger, I thought I would go orf onto a pleasure tower. Accordinly I put on a clean Biled Shirt and started for Washinton. I went there to see the Prints Napoleon, and not to see the place, which I will here take occasion to obsarve is about as uninterestin a locality as there is this side of J. Davis's future home, if he ever does die, and where I reckon they'll make it so warm for him that he will si for his summer close. It is easy enough to see why a man goes to the poor house or the penitentiary. It's becawz he can't help it. But why he should woluntarily go and live in Washinton, is intirely beyond my comprehension, and I can't say no fairer nor that.
I put up to a leadin hotel. I saw the landlord and sed, "How d'ye do, Square?"
"Fifty cents, sir," was his reply.
"Half-a-dollar. We charge twenty-five cents for LOOKIN at the landlord and fifty cents for speakin to him. If you want supper, a boy will show you to the dinin-room for twenty-five cents. Your room bein in the tenth story, it will cost you a dollar to be shown up there."
"How much do you ax for a man breathin in this equinomikal tarvun?" sed I.
"Ten cents a Breth," was his reply.
Washinton hotels is very reasonable in their charges. [N.B.--This is Sarkassum.]
I sent up my keerd to the Prints, and was immejitly ushered before him. He received me kindly, and axed me to sit down.
"I hav cum to pay my respecks to you, Mister Napoleon, hopin I see you hale and harty."
"I am quite well," he sed. "Air you well, sir?"
"Sound as a cuss!" I answerd.
He seemed to be pleased with my ways, and we entered into conversation to onct.
"How's Lewis?" I axed, and he sed the Emperor was well. Eugeny was likewise well, he sed. Then I axed him was Lewis a good provider? did he cum home arly nites? did he perfoom her bedroom at a onseasonable hour with gin and tanzy? Did he go to "the Lodge" on nites when there wasn't any Lodge? did he often hav to go down town to meet a friend? did he hav a extensiv acquaintance among poor young widders whose husbands was in Californy? to all of which questions the Prints perlitely replide, givin me to understand that the Emperor was behavin well.
"I ax these question, my royal duke and most noble hiness and imperials, becaws I'm anxious to know how he stands as a man. I know he's smart. He is cunnin, he is long-heded, he is deep--he is grate. But onless he is GOOD he'll come down with a crash one of these days and the Bonyparts will be Bustid up agin. Bet yer life!"
"Air you a preacher, sir?" he inquired slitely sarkasticul.
"No, sir. But I bleeve in morality. I likewise bleeve in Meetin Houses. Show me a place where there isn't any Meetin Houses and where preachers is never seen, and I'll show you a place where old hats air stuffed into broken winders, where the children air dirty and ragged, where gates have no hinges, where the wimin are slipshod, and where maps of the devil's "wild land" air painted upon men's shirt bosums with tobacco-jooce! That's what I'll show you. Let us consider what the preachers do for us before we aboose 'em."
He sed he didn't mean to aboose the clergy. Not at all, and he was happy to see that I was interested in the Bonypart family.
"It's a grate family," sed I. "But they scooped the old man in."
"Napoleon the Grand. The Britishers scooped him at Waterloo. He wanted to do too much, and he did it! They scooped him in at Waterloo, and he subsekently died at St. Heleny! There's where the gratest military man this world ever projuced pegged out. It was rather hard to consine such a man as him to St. Heleny, to spend his larst days in catchin mackeril, and walkin up and down the dreary beach in a military cloak drawn titely round him, (see picter-books), but so it was. 'Hed of the Army!' Them was his larst words. So he had bin. He was grate! Don't I wish we had a pair of his old boots to command sum of our Brigades!"
This pleased Jerome, and he took me warmly by the hand.
"Alexander the Grate was punkins," I continnered, "but Napoleon was punkinser! Alic wept becaws there was no more worlds to scoop, and then took to drinkin. He drowndid his sorrers in the flowin bole, and the flowin bole was too much for him. It ginerally is. He undertook to give a snake exhibition in his boots, but it killed him. That was a bad joke on Alic!"
"Since you air so solicitous about France and the Emperor, may I ask you how your own country is getting along?" sed Jerome, in a pleasant voice.
"It's mixed," I sed. But I think we shall cum out all right."
"Columbus, when he diskivered this magnificent continent, could hav had no idee of the grandeur it would one day assoom," sed the Prints.
"It cost Columbus twenty thousand dollars to fit out his explorin expedition," sed I. "If he had bin a sensible man he'd hav put the money in a hoss railroad or a gas company, and left this magnificent continent to intelligent savages, who when they got hold of a good thing knew enuff to keep it, and who wouldn't hav seceded, nor rebelled, nor knockt Liberty in the hed with a slungshot. Columbus wasn't much of a feller, after all. It would hav bin money in my pocket if he'd staid at home. Chris. ment well, but he put his foot in it when he saled for America."
We talked sum more about matters and things, and at larst I riz to go. "I will now say good-bye to you, noble sir, and good luck to you. Likewise the same to Clotildy. Also to the gorgeous persons which compose your soot. If the Emperor's boy don't like livin at the Tooleries, when he gits older, and would like to imbark in the show bizness, let him come with me and I'll make a man of him. You find us sumwhat mixed, as I before obsarved, but come again next year and you'll find us clearer nor ever. The American Eagle has lived too sumptuously of late--his stummic becum foul, and he's takin a slite emetic. That's all. We're getting ready to strike a big blow and a sure one. When we do strike, the fur will fly and secession will be in the hands of the undertaker, sheeted for so deep a grave that nothin short of Gabriel's trombone will ever awaken it! Mind what I say. You've heard the showman!"
Then advisin him to keep away from the Peter Funk sections of the East, and the proprietors of corner-lots in the West, I bid him farewell, and went away.
There was a levee at Senator What's-his-name's, and I thought I'd jine in the festivities for a spell. Who should I see but she that was Sarah Watkins, now the wife of our Congresser, trippin in the dance, dressed up to kill in her store close. Sarah's father use to keep a little grosery store in our town and she used to clerk it for him in busy times. I was rushin up to shake hands with her when she turned on her heel, and tossin her hed in a contemptooious manner, walked away from me very rapid. "Hallo, Sal," I hollered, "can't you measure me a quart of them best melasses? I may want a codfish, also!" I guess this reminded her of the little red store, and "the days of her happy childhood."
But I fell in love with a nice little gal after that, who was much sweeter then Sally's father's melasses, and I axed her if we shouldn't glide in the messy dance. She sed we should, and we Glode.
I intended to make this letter very seris, but a few goaks may have accidentally crept in. Never mind. Besides, I think it improves a komick paper to publish a goak once in a while.
Yours Muchly, Ward, (Artemus.)
The Barclay County Agricultural Society having seriously invited the author of this volume to address them on the occasion of their next annual Fair, he wrote the President of that Society as follows:
New York. June 12, 1865,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th inst., in which you invite me to deliver an address before your excellent agricultural society.
I feel flattered, and think I will come.
Perhaps, meanwhile, a brief history of my experience as an agriculturist will be acceptable; and as that history no doubt contains suggestions of value to the entire agricultural community, I have concluded to write to you through the Press.
I have been an honest old farmer for some four years.
My farm is in the interior of Maine. Unfortunately my lands are eleven miles from the railroad. Eleven miles is quite a distance to haul immense quantities of wheat, corn, rye, and oats; but as I hav'n't any to haul, I do not, after all, suffer much on that account.
My farm is more especially a grass farm.
My neighbors told me so at first, and as an evidence that they were sincere in that opinion, they turned their cows on to it the moment I went off "lecturing."
These cows are now quite fat. I take pride in these cows, in fact, and am glad I own a grass farm.
Two years ago I tried sheep-raising.
I bought fifty lambs, and turned them loose on my broad and beautiful acres.
It was pleasant on bright mornings to stroll leisurely out on to the farm in my dressing-gown, with a cigar in my mouth, and watch those innocent little lambs as they danced gayly o'er the hillside. Watching their saucy capers reminded me of caper sauce, and it occurred to me I should have some very fine eating when they grew up to be "muttons."
My gentle shepherd, Mr. Eli Perkins, said, "We must have some shepherd dogs."
I had no very precise idea as to what shepherd dogs were, but I assumed a rather profound look, and said:
"We must, Eli. I spoke to you about this some time ago!"
I wrote to my old friend, Mr. Dexter H. Follett, of Boston, for two shepherd dogs. Mr. F. is not an honest old farmer himself, but I thought he knew about shepherd dogs. He kindly forsook far more important business to accommodate, and the dogs came forthwith. They were splendid creatures--snuff-colored, hazel-eyed, long-tailed, and shapely-jawed.
We led them proudly to the fields.
"Turn them in, Eli," I said.
Eli turned them in.
They went in at once, and killed twenty of my best lambs in about four minutes and a half.
My friend had made a trifling mistake in the breed of these dogs.
These dogs were not partial to sheep.
Eli Perkins was astonished, and observed:
"Waal! DID you ever?"
I certainly never had.
There were pools of blood on the greensward, and fragments of wool and raw lamb chops lay round in confused heaps.
The dogs would have been sent to Boston that night, had they not suddenly died that afternoon of a throat-distemper. It wasn't a swelling of the throat. It wasn't diptheria. It was a violent opening of the throat, extending from ear to ear.
Thus closed their life-stories. Thus ended their interesting tails.
I failed as a raiser of lambs. As a sheepist, I was not a success.
Last summer Mr. Perkins, said, "I think we'd better cut some grass this season, sir."
We cut some grass.
To me the new-mown hay is very sweet and nice. The brilliant George Arnold sings about it, in beautiful verse, down in Jersey every summer; so does the brilliant Aldrich, at Portsmouth, N.H. And yet I doubt if either of these men knows the price of a ton of hay to-day. But new-mown hay is a really fine thing. It is good for man and beast.
We hired four honest farmers to assist us, and I led them gayly to the meadows.
I was going to mow, myself.
I saw the sturdy peasants go round once ere I dipped my flashing scythe into the tall green grass.
"Are you ready?" said E. Perkins.
"I am here!"
"Then follow us."
I followed them.
Followed them rather too closely, evidently, for a white-haired old man, who immediately followed Mr. Perkins, called upon us to halt. Then in a low firm voice he said to his son, who was just ahead of me, "John, change places with me. I hain't got long to live, anyhow. Yonder berryin' ground will soon have these old bones, and it's no matter whether I'm carried there with one leg off and ter'ble gashes in the other or not! But you, John--YOU are young."
The old man changed places with his son. A smile of calm resignation lit up his wrinkled face, as he sed, "Now, sir, I am ready!"
"What mean you, old man!" I sed.
"I mean that if you continner to bran'ish that blade as you have been bran'ishin' it, you'll slash h-- out of some of us before we're a hour older!"
There was some reason mingled with this white-haired old peasant's profanity. It was true that I had twice escaped mowing off his son's legs, and his father was perhaps naturally alarmed.
I went and sat down under a tree. "I never know'd a literary man in my life," I overheard the old man say, "that know'd anything."
Mr. Perkins was not as valuable to me this season as I had fancied he might be. Every afternoon he disappeared from the field regularly, and remained about some two hours. He sed it was headache. He inherited it from his mother. His mother was often taken in that way, and suffered a great deal.
At the end of the two hours Mr. Perkins would reappear with his head neatly done up in a large wet rag, and say he "felt better."
One afternoon it so happened that I soon followed the invalid to the house, and as I neared the porch I heard a female voice energetically observe, "You stop!" It was the voice of the hired girl, and she added, "I'll holler for Mr. Brown!"
"Oh no, Nancy," I heard the invalid E. Perkins soothingly say, "Mr. Brown knows I love you. Mr. Brown approves of it!"
This was pleasant for Mr. Brown!
I peered cautiously through the kitchen-blinds, and, however unnatural it may appear, the lips of Eli Perkins and my hired girl were very near together. She sed, "You shan't do so," and he DO-SOED. She also said she would get right up and go away, and as an evidence that she was thoroughly in earnest about it, she remained where she was.
They are married now, and Mr. Perkins is troubled no more with the headache.
This year we are planting corn. Mr. Perkins writes me that "on accounts of no skare krows bein put up krows cum and digged fust crop up but soon got nother in. Old Bisbee who was frade youd cut his sons leggs off Ses you bet go an stan up in feeld yrself with dressin gownd on & gesses krows will keep way. This made Boys in store larf. no More terday from
"Yours respecful "Eli Perkins,"
My friend Mr. D.T.T. Moore, of the "Rural New Yorker," thinks if I "keep on" I will get in the Poor House in about two years.
If you think the honest old farmers of Barclay County want me, I will come.
Truly Yours, Charles F. Browne.
There are in this city several Italian gentlemen engaged in the bust business. They have their peculiarities and eccentricities. They are swarthy-faced, wear slouched caps and drab pea-jackets, and smoke bad cigars. They make busts of Webster, Clay, Bonaparte, Douglas, and other great men, living and dead. The Italian buster comes upon you solemnly and cautiously. "Buy Napoleon?" he will say, and you may probably answer "not a buy." "How much giv-ee?" he asks, and perhaps you will ask him how much he wants. "Nine dollar," he will answer always. We are sure of it. We have observed this peculiarity in the busters frequently. No matter how large or small the bust may be, the first price is invariably "nine dollar." If you decline paying this price, as you undoubtedly will if you are right in your head, he again asks, "how much giv-ee?" By way of a joke you say "a dollar," when the buster retreats indignantly to the door, saying in a low, wild voice, "O dam!" With his hand upon the door-latch, he turns and once more asks, "how much giv-ee?" You repeat the previous offer, when he mutters, "O ha!" then coming pleasantly towards you, he speaks thus: "Say! how much giv-ee?" Again you say a dollar, and he cries, "take 'um--take 'um!"--thus falling eight dollars on his original price.
Very eccentric is the Italian buster, and sometimes he calls his busts by wrong names. We bought Webster (he called him Web-STAR) of him the other day, and were astonished when he called upon us the next day with another bust of Webster, exactly like the one we had purchased of him, and asked us if we didn't want to buy "Cole, the wife-pizener!" We endeavored to rebuke the depraved buster, but our utterance was choked, and we could only gaze upon him in speechless astonishment and indignation.
1.35. A HARD CASE.
We have heard of some very hard cases since we have enlivened this world with our brilliant presence. We once saw an able-bodied man chase a party of little school-children and rob them of their dinners. The man who stole the coppers from his deceased grandmother's eyes lived in our neighborhood, and we have read about the man who went to church for the sole purpose of stealing the testaments and hymn-books. But the hardest case we ever heard of lived in Arkansas. He was only fourteen years old. One night he deliberately murdered his father and mother in cold blood, with a meat-axe. He was tried and found guilty. The Judge drew on his black cap, and in a voice choked with emotion asked the young prisoner if he had anything to say before the sentence of the Court was passed on him. The court-room was densely crowded and there was not a dry eye in the vast assembly. The youth of the prisoner, his beauty and innocent looks, the mild, lamblike manner in which he had conducted himself during the trial--all, all had thoroughly enlisted the sympathy of the spectators, the ladies in particular. And even the Jury, who had found it to be their stern duty to declare him guilty of the appalling crime--even the Jury now wept aloud at this awful moment.
"Have you anything to say?" repeated the deeply moved Judge.
"Why, no," replied the prisoner, "I think I haven't, though I hope yer Honor will show some consideration FOR THE FEELINGS OF A POOR ORPHAN!"
The Judge sentenced the perfect young wretch without delay.
1.36. AFFAIRS AROUND THE VILLAGE GREEN.
It isn't every one who has a village green to write about. I have one, although I have not seen much of it for some years past. I am back again, now. In the language of the duke who went around with a motto about him, "I am here!" and I fancy I am about as happy a peasant of the vale as ever garnished a melodrama, although I have not as yet danced on my village green, as the melodramatic peasant usually does on his. It was the case when Rosina Meadows left home.
The time rolls by serenely now--so serenely that I don't care what time it is, which is fortunate, because my watch is at present in the hands of those "men of New York who are called rioters." We met by chance, the usual way--certainly not by appointment--and I brought the interview to a close with all possible despatch. Assuring them that I wasn't Mr. Greeley, particularly, and that he had never boarded in the private family where I enjoy the comforts of a home, I tendered them my watch, and begged they would distribute it judiciously among the laboring classes, as I had seen the rioters styled in certain public prints.
Why should I loiter feverishly in Broadway, stabbing the hissing hot air with the splendid gold-headed cane that was presented to me by the citizens of Waukegan, Illinois, as a slight testimonial of their esteem? Why broil in my rooms? You said to me, Mrs. Gloverson, when I took possession of these rooms, that no matter how warm it might be, a breeze had a way of blowing into them, and that they were, withal, quite countryfied; but I am bound to say, Mrs. Gloverson, that there was nothing about them that ever reminded me, in the remotest degree, of daisies or new-mown hay. Thus, with sarcasm, do I smash the deceptive Gloverson.
Why stay in New York when I had a village green? I gave it up, the same as I would an intricate conundrum--and, in short, I am here.
Do I miss the glare and crash of the imperial thoroughfare? The milkman, the fiery, untamed omnibus horses, the soda fountains, Central Park, and those things? Yes I do; and I can go on missing 'em for quite a spell, and enjoy it.
The village from which I write to you is small. It does not contain over forty houses, all told; but they are milk-white, with the greenest of blinds, and for the most part are shaded with beautiful elms and willows. To the right of us is a mountain--to the left a lake. The village nestles between. Of course it does, I never read a novel in my life in which the villages didn't nestle. Villages invariably nestle. It is a kind of way they have.
We are away from the cars. The iron-horse, as my little sister aptly remarks in her composition On Nature, is never heard to shriek in our midst; and on the whole I am glad of it.
The villagers are kindly people. They are rather incoherent on the subject of the war, but not more so, perhaps, then are people elsewhere. One citizen, who used to sustain a good character, subscribed for the Weekly New York Herald a few months since, and went to studying the military maps in that well-known journal for the fireside. I need not inform you that his intellect now totters, and he has mortgaged his farm. In a literary point of view we are rather bloodthirsty. A pamphlet edition of the life of a cheerful being, who slaughtered his wife and child, and then finished himself, is having an extensive sale just now.
We know little of Honore de Balzac, and perhaps care less for Victor Hugo. M. Claes's grand search for the Absolute doesn't thrill us in the least; and Jean Valjean, gloomily picking his way through the sewers of Paris, with the spooney young man of the name of Marius upon his back, awakens no interest in our breasts. I say Jean Valjean picked his way gloomily, and I repeat it. No man, under these circumstances, could have skipped gayly. But this literary business, as the gentleman who married his colored chambermaid aptly observed, "is simply a matter of taste."
The store--I must not forget the store. It is an object of great interest to me. I usually encounter there, on sunny afternoons, an old Revolutionary soldier. You may possibly have read about "Another Revolutionary Soldier gone," but this is one who hasn't gone, and, moreover, one who doesn't manifest the slightest intention of going. He distinctly remembers Washington, of course; they all do; but what I wish to call special attention to, is the fact that this Revolutionary soldier is one hundred years old, that his eyes are so good that he can read fine print without spectacles- -he never used them, by the way--and his mind is perfectly clear. He is a little shaky in one of his legs, but otherwise he is as active as most men of forty-five, and his general health is excellent. He uses no tobacco, but for the last twenty years he has drunk one glass of liquor every day--no more, no less. He says he must have his tod. I had begun to have lurking suspicions about this Revolutionary soldier business, but here is an original Jacobs. But because a man can drink a glass of liquor a day, and live to be a hundred years old, my young readers must not infer that by drinking two glasses of liquor a day a man can live to be two hundred. "Which, I meanter say, it doesn't foller," as Joseph Gargery might observe.
This store, in which may constantly be found calico and nails, and fish, and tobacco in kegs, and snuff in bladders, is a venerable establishment. As long ago as 1814 it was an institution. The county troops, on their way to the defence of Portland, then menaced by British ships-of-war, were drawn up in front of this very store, and treated at the town's expense. Citizens will tell you how the clergyman refused to pray for the troops, because he considered the war an unholy one; and how a somewhat eccentric person, of dissolute habits, volunteered his services, stating that he once had an uncle who was a deacon, and he thought he could make a tolerable prayer, although it was rather out of his line; and how he prayed so long and absurdly that the Colonel ordered him under arrest, but that even while soldiers stood over him with gleaming bayonets, the reckless being sang a preposterous song about his grandmother's spotted calf, with its Ri-fol-lol-tiddery-i-do; after which he howled dismally.
And speaking of the store, reminds me of a little story. The author of "several successful comedies" has been among us, and the store was anxious to know who the stranger was. And therefore the store asked him.
"What do you follow, sir?" respectfully inquired the tradesman.
"I occasionally write for the stage, sir."
"Oh!" returned the tradesman, in a confused manner.
"He means," said an honest villager, with a desire to help the puzzled tradesman out, "he means that he writes the handbills for the stage drivers!"
I believe that story is new, although perhaps it is not of an uproariously mirthful character; but one hears stories at the store that are old enough, goodness knows--stories which, no doubt, diverted Methuselah in the sunny days of his giddy and thoughtless boyhood.
There is an exciting scene at the store occasionally. Yesterday an athletic peasant, in a state of beer, smashed in a counter and emptied two tubs of butter on the floor. His father--a white-haired old man, who was a little boy when the Revolutionary war closed, but who doesn't remember Washington MUCH, came round in the evening and settled for the damages. "My son," he said, "has considerable originality." I will mention that this same son once told me that he could lick me with one arm tied behind him, and I was so thoroughly satisfied he could, that I told him he needn't mind going for a rope.
Sometimes I go a-visiting to a farmhouse, on which occasions the parlor is opened. The windows have been close-shut ever since the last visitor was there, and there is a dingy smell that I struggle as calmly as possible with, until I am led to the banquet of steaming hot biscuit and custard pie. If they would only let me sit in the dear old-fashioned kitchen, or on the door-stone--if they knew how dismally the new black furniture looked--but, never mind, I am not a reformer. No, I should rather think not.
Gloomy enough, this living on a farm, you perhaps say, in which case you are wrong. I can't exactly say that I pant to be an agriculturist, but I do know that in the main it is an independent, calmly happy sort of life. I can see how the prosperous farmer can go joyously a-field with the rise of the sun, and how his heart may swell with pride over bounteous harvests and sleek oxen. And it must be rather jolly for him on winter evenings to sit before the bright kitchen fire and watch his rosy boys and girls as they study out the charades in the weekly paper, and gradually find out why my first is something that grows in a garden, and my second is a fish.
On the green hillside over yonder there is a quivering of snowy drapery, and bright hair is flashing in the morning sunlight. It is recess, and the Seminary girls are running in the tall grass.
A goodly seminary to look at outside, certainly, although I am pained to learn, as I do on unprejudiced authority, that Mrs. Higgins, the Principal, is a tyrant, who seeks to crush the girls and trample upon them; but my sorrow is somewhat assuaged by learning that Skimmerhorn, the pianist, is perfectly splendid.
Looking at these girls reminds me that I, too, was once young--and where are the friends of my youth? I have found one of 'em, certainly. I saw him ride in the circus the other day on a bareback horse, and even now his name stares at me from yonder board-fence, in green, and blue, and red, and yellow letters. Dashington, the youth with whom I used to read the able orations of Cicero, and who, as a declaimer on exhibition days, used to wipe the rest of us boys pretty handsomely out--well, Dashington is identified with the halibut and cod interest--drives a fish cart, in fact, from a certain town on the coast, back into the interior. Hurbertson, the utterly stupid boy--the lunkhead, who never had his lesson--he's about the ablest lawyer a sister State can boast. Mills is a newspaper man, and is just now editing a Major-General down South.
Singlinson, the sweet-voiced boy, whose face was always washed and who was real good, and who was never rude--HE is in the penitentiary for putting his uncle's autograph to a financial document. Hawkins, the clergyman's son, is an actor, and Williamson, the good little boy who divided his bread and butter with the beggarman, is a failing merchant, and makes money by it. Tom Slink, who used to smoke short-sixes and get acquainted with the little circus boys, is popularly supposed to be the proprietor of a cheap gaming establishment in Boston, where the beautiful but uncertain prop is nightly tossed. Be sure, the Army is represented by many of the friends of my youth, the most of whom have given a good account of themselves. But Chalmerson hasn't done much. No, Chalmerson is rather of a failure. He plays on the guitar and sings love songs. Not that he is a bad man. A kinder-hearted creature never lived, and they say he hasn't yet got over crying for his little curly haired sister who died ever so long ago. But he knows nothing about business, politics, the world, and those things. He is dull at trade--indeed, it is a common remark that "everybody cheats Chalmerson." He came to the party the other evening, and brought his guitar. They wouldn't have him for a tenor in the opera, certainly, for he is shaky in his upper notes; but if his simple melodies didn't gush straight from the heart, why were my trained eyes wet? And although some of the girls giggled, and some of the men seemed to pity him I could not help fancying that poor Chalmerson was nearer heaven than any of us all!
1.37. ABOUT EDITORS.
We hear a great deal, and something too much, about the poverty of editors. It is common for editors to parade their poverty and joke about it in their papers. We see these witticisms almost every day of our lives. Sometimes the editor does the "vater vorks business," as Mr. Samuel Weller called weeping, and makes pathetic appeals to his subscribers. Sometimes he is in earnest when he makes these appeals, but why "on airth" does he stick to a business that will not support him decently? We read of patriotic and lofty-minded individuals who sacrifice health, time, money, and perhaps life, for the good of humanity, the Union, and that sort of thing, but we don't SEE them very often. We must say that we could count up all the lofty patriots in this line that we have ever seen, during our brief but chequered and romantic career, in less than half a day. A man who clings to a wretchedly paying business, when he can make himself and others near and dear to him fatter and happier by doing something else, is about as near an ass as possible, and not hanker after green grass and corn in the ear. The truth is, editors as a class are very well fed, groomed and harnessed. They have some pains that other folk do not have, and they also have some privileges which the community in general can't possess. While we would not advise the young reader to "go for an editor," we assure him he can do much worse. He mustn't spoil a flourishing blacksmith or popular victualler in making an indifferent editor of himself, however. He must be endowed with some fancy and imagination to enchain the public eye. It was Smith, we believe, or some other man with an odd name, who thought Shakespeare lacked the requisite fancy and imagination for a successful editor.
To those persons who can't live by printing papers we would say, in the language of the profligate boarder when dunned for his bill, being told at the same time by the keeper of the house that he couldn't board people for nothing, "Then sell out to somebody who can!" In other words, fly from a business which don't remunerate. But as we intimated before, there is much gammon in the popular editorial cry of poverty.
Just now we see a touching paragraph floating through the papers to the effect that editors don't live out half their years; that, poor souls! they wear themselves out for the benefit of a cold and unappreciating world. We don't believe it. Gentle reader, don't swallow it. It is a footlight trick to work on your feelings. For ourselves, let us say, that unless we slip up considerably on our calculations, it will be a long time before our fellow-citizens will have the melancholy pleasure of erecting to our memory a towering monument of Parian marble on the Public Square.
Before you go for an Editor, young man, pause and take a big think! Do not rush into the editorial harness rashly. Look around and see if there is not an omnibus to drive--some soil somewhere to be tilled--a clerkship on some meat cart to be filled--anything that is reputable and healthy, rather than going for an Editor, which is hard business at best.
We are not a horse, and consequently have never been called upon to furnish the motive power for a threshing-machine; but we fancy that the life of the Editor who is forced to write, write, write, whether he feels right or not, is much like that of the steed in question. If the yeas and neighs could be obtained, we believe the intelligent horse would decide that the threshing-machine is preferable to the sanctum editorial.
The Editor's work is never done. He is drained incessantly, and no wonder that he dries up prematurely. Other people can attend banquets, weddings, &c.; visit halls of dazzling light, get inebriated, break windows, lick a man occasionally, and enjoy themselves in a variety of ways; but the Editor cannot. He must stick tenaciously to his quill. The press, like a sick baby, mustn't be left alone for a minute. If the press is left to run itself even for a day, some absurd person indignantly orders the carrier-boy to stop bringing "that infernal paper. There's nothing in it. I won't have it in the house!"
The elegant Mantalini, reduced to mangle-turning, described his life as "a dem'd horrid grind." The life of the Editor is all of that.
But there is a good time coming, we feel confident, for the Editor. A time when he will be appreciated. When he will have a front seat. When he will have pie every day, and wear store clothes continually. When the harsh cry of "stop my paper" will no more grate upon his ears. Courage, Messieurs the Editors! Still, sanguine as we are of the coming of this jolly time, we advise the aspirant for editorial honors to pause ere he takes up the quill as a means of obtaining his bread and butter. Do not, at least, do so until you have been jilted several dozen times by a like number of girls; until you have been knocked down-stairs several times and soused in a horse-pond; until all the "gushing" feelings within you have been thoroughly subdued; until, in short, your hide is of rhinoceros thickness. Then, O aspirants for the bubble reputation at the press's mouth, throw yourselves among the inkpots, dust, and cobwebs of the printing office, if you will.
* * * Good my lord, will you see the Editors well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used, for they are the abstract and brief chroniclers of the time. After your death you had better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live. Hamlet, slightly altered.
What a queer thing is popularity; Bill Pug Nose of the "Plug-Uglies" (The name given to an infamous gang of ruffians which once had its head-quarters in Baltimore.) acquires a world-wide reputation by smashing up the "champion of light weights," sets up a Saloon upon it, and realizes the first month; while our Missionary, who collected two hundred blankets last August, and at that time saved a like number of little negroes in the West Indies from freezing, has received nothing but the yellow fever. The Hon. Oracular M. Matterson becomes able to withstand any quantity of late nights and bad brandy, is elected to Congress, and lobbies through contracts by which he realizes some 50,000 dollars; while private individuals lose 100,000 dollars by the Atlantic Cable. Contracts are popular-- the cable isn't. Fiddlers, Prima Donnas, Horse Operas, learned pigs, and five-legged calves travel through the country, reaping "golden opinions," while editors, inventors, professors, and humanitarians generally, are starving in garrets. Revivals of religion, fashions, summer resorts, and pleasure trips, are exceedingly popular, while trade, commerce, chloride of lime, and all the concomitants necessary to render the inner life of denizens of cities tolerable, are decidedly non est. Even water, which was so popular and populous a few weeks agone, comes to us in such stinted sprinklings that it has become popular to supply it only from hydrants in sufficient quantities to raise one hundred disgusting smells in a distance of two blocks. Monsieur Revierre, with nothing but a small name and a large quantity of hair, makes himself exceedingly popular with hotel-keepers and a numerous progeny of female Flaunts and Blounts, while Felix Smooth and Mr. Chink, who persistently set forth their personal and more substantial marital charms through the columns of "New York Herald," have only received one interview each--one from a man in female attire, and the other from the keeper of an unmentionable house. Popularity is a queer thing, very. If you don't believe us, try it!
1.40. A LITTLE DIFFICULTY IN THE WAY.
An enterprising traveling agent for a well-known Cleveland Tombstone Manufactory lately made a business visit to a small town in an adjoining county. Hearing, in the village, that a man in a remote part of the township had lost his wife, he thought he would go and see him, and offer him consolation and a gravestone, on his usual reasonable terms. He started. The road was a frightful one, but the agent persevered, and finally arrived at the bereaved man's house. Bereaved man's hired girl told the agent that the bereaved man was splitting fence rails "over in pastur, about two milds." The indefatigable agent hitched his horse and started for the "pastur." After falling into all manner of mudholes, scratching himself with briers, and tumbling over decayed logs, the agent at length found the bereaved man. In a subdued voice he asked the man if he had lost his wife. The man said he had. The agent was very sorry to hear of it, and sympathized with the man deeply in his great affliction; but death, he said, was an insatiate archer, and shot down all, both of high and low degree. Informed the man that "what was his loss was her gain," and would be glad to sell him a gravestone to mark the spot where the beloved one slept--marble or common stone, as he chose, at prices defying competition. The bereaved man said there was "a little difficulty in the way."
"Haven't you lost your wife?" inquired the agent.
"Why, yes, I have," said the man, "but no gravestun ain't necessary: you see the cussed critter ain't dead. SHE'S SCOOTED WITH ANOTHER MAN!"
The agent retired.
1.41. COLORED PEOPLE'S CHURCH.
There is a plain little meeting-house on Barnwell Street (One of the streets of the city of Cleveland.) in which the colored people--or a goodly portion of them--worship on Sundays. The seats are cushionless, and have perpendicular backs. The pulpit is plain white--trimmed with red, it is true, but still a very unostentatious affair for colored people, who are supposed to have a decided weakness for gay hues. Should you escort a lady to this church, and seat yourself beside her, you will infallibly be touched on the shoulder, and politely requested to move to the "gentlemen's side." Gentlemen and ladies are not allowed to sit together in this church. They are parted remorselessly. It is hard--we may say it is terrible--to be torn asunder in this way, but you have to submit, and of course you had better do so gracefully and pleasantly.
Meeting opens with an old-fashioned hymn, which is very well sung indeed by the congregation. Then the minister reads a hymn, which is sung by the choir on the front seats near the pulpit. Then the minister prays. He hopes no one has been attracted there by idle curiosity--to see or be seen--and you naturally conclude that he is gently hitting you. Another hymn follows the prayer, and then we have the discourse, which certainly has the merit of peculiarity and boldness. The minister's name is Jones. He don't mince matters at all. He talks about the "flames of hell" with a confident fierceness that must be quite refreshing to sinners.
"There's no half-way about this," says he, "no by-paths.
"There are in Cleveland lots of men who go to church regularly, who behave well in meeting, and who pay their bills.
"They ain't Christians though.
"They're gentlemen sinners.
"And whar d'ye spose they'll fetch up?
"I'll tell ye--they'll fetch him up in h--ll, and they'll come up standing too--there's where they'll fetch up.
"Who's my backer?
"Have I got a backer?
"Whar's my backer?
"This is my backer (striking the Bible before him)--the Bible will back me to any amount!"
To still further convince his hearers that he was in earnest, he exclaimed, "That's me--that's Jones!"
He alluded to Eve in terms of bitter censure. It was natural that Adam should have been mad at her. "I shouldn't want a woman that wouldn't mind me, myself," said the speaker.
He directed his attention to dancing, declaring it to be a great sin. Whar there's dancing there's fiddling--whar there's fiddling there's unrighteousness, and unrighteousness is wickedness, and wickedness is sin! That's me--that's Jones."
Bosom the speaker invariably called "buzzim," and devil "debil," with a fearfully strong accent on the "il."
Mr. Davenport (One of the afterwards notorious Davenport Brothers.), who has been for some time closely identified with the modern spiritual movement, is in the city with his daughter, who is quite celebrated as a medium. They are accompanied by Mr. Eighme and his daughter, and are holding circles in Hoffman's Block every afternoon and evening. We were present at the circle last evening. Miss Davenport seated herself at a table on which was a tin trumpet, a tambourine, and a guitar. The audience were seated around the room. The lights were blown out, and the spirit of an eccentric individual, well known to the Davenports, and whom they call George, addressed the audience through the trumpet. He called several of those present by name in a boisterous voice, and dealt several stunning knocks on the table. George has been in the spirit-world some two hundred years. He is a rather rough spirit, and probably run with the machine and "killed for Kyser" when in the flesh. (Kyser is an extensive New York butcher, and "to kill" [or slaughter] for him has passed into a saying with the roughs, or "bhoys," of New York. To "run with a [fire] machine.") He ordered the seats in the room to be wheeled round so the audience would face the table. He said the people on the front seat must be tied with a rope. The order was misunderstood, the rope being merely drawn before those on the front seat. He reprimanded Mr. Davenport for not understanding the instructions. What he meant was that the rope should be passed around each person on the front seat and then tightly drawn, a man at each end of the seat to hold on to it. This was done, and George expressed himself satisfied. There was no one near the table save the medium. All the rest were behind the rope, and those on the front seat were particularly charged not to let any one pass by them. George said he felt first-rate, and commenced kissing the ladies present. The smack could be distinctly heard, and some of the ladies said the sensation was very natural. For the first time in our eventful life we sighed to be a spirit. We envied George. We did not understand whether the kissing was done through a trumpet. After kissing considerably, and indulging in some playful remarks with a man whose Christian name was Napoleon Bonaparte, and whom George called "Boney," he tied the hands and feet of the medium. He played the guitar and jingled the tambourine, and then dashed them violently on the floor. The candles were lit, and Miss Davenport was securely tied. She could not move her hands. Her feet were bound, and the rope (which was a long one) was fastened to the chair. No person in the room had been near her or had anything to do with tying her. Every person who was in the room will take his or her oath of that. She could hardly have tied herself. We never saw such intricate and thorough tying in our life. The believers present were convinced that George did it. The unbelievers didn't exactly know what to think about it. The candles were extinguished again, and pretty soon Miss Davenport told George to "don't." She spoke in an affrighted tone. The candles were lit, and she was discovered sitting on the table--hands and feet tied as before, and herself tied to the chair withal. The lights were again blown out, there were sounds as if some one was lifting her from the table; the candles were relit, and she was seen sitting in the chair on the floor again. No one had been near her from the audience. Again the lights were extinguished, and presently the medium said her feet were wet. It appeared that the mischievous spirit of one Biddie, an Irish Miss who died when twelve years old, had kicked over the water-pail. Miss Eighme took a seat at the table, and the same mischievous Biddie scissored off a liberal lock of her hair. There was the hair, and it had indisputably just been taken from Miss Eighme's head, and her hands and feet, like those of Miss D., were securely tied. Other things of a staggering character to the sceptic were done during the evening.
1.43. MR. BLOWHARD.
The reader has probably met Mr. Blowhard. He is usually round. You find him in all public places. He is particularly "numerous" at shows. Knows all the actors intimately. Went to school with some of 'em. Knows how much they get a month to a cent, and how much liquor they can hold to a teaspoonful. He knows Ned Forrest like a book. Has taken sundry drinks with Ned. Ned likes him much. Is well acquainted with a certain actress. Could have married her just as easy as not if he had wanted to. Didn't like her "style," and so concluded not to marry her. Knows Dan Rice well. Knows all of his men and horses. Is on terms of affectionate intimacy with Dan's rhinoceros, and is tolerably well acquainted with the performing elephant. We encountered Mr. Blowhard at the circus yesterday. He was entertaining those near him with a full account of the whole institution, men, boys, horses, "muils" and all. He said the rhinoceros was perfectly harmless, as his teeth had all been taken out in infancy. Besides, the rhinoceros was under the influence of opium while he was in the ring, which entirely prevented his injuring anybody. No danger whatever. In due course of time the amiable beast was led into the ring. When the cord was taken from his nose, he turned suddenly and manifested a slight desire to run violently in among some boys who were seated near the musicians. The keeper, with the assistance of one of the Bedouin Arabs, soon induced him to change his mind, and got him in the middle of the ring. The pleasant quadruped had no sooner arrived here than he hastily started, with a melodious bellow, towards the seats on one of which sat Mr. Blowhard. Each particular hair on Mr. Blowhard's head stood up "like squills upon the speckled porkupine" (Shakspeare or Artemus Ward, we forget which), and he fell, with a small shriek, down through the seats to the ground. He remained there until the agitated rhinoceros became calm, when he crawled slowly back to his seat.
"Keep mum," he said, with a very wise shake of the head "I only wanted to have some fun with them folks above us. I swar, I'll bet the whisky they thought I was scared!" Great character that Blowhard.
1.44. MARKET MORNING.
"Hurrah! this is market day, Up, lads, and gaily away!"--Old Comedy.
On market mornings there is a roar and a crash all about the corner of Kinsman and Pittsburg Streets. The market building--so called, we presume, because it don't in the least resemble a market building--is crowded with beef and butchers, and almost countless meat and vegetable wagons, of all sorts, are confusedly huddled together all around outside. These wagons mostly come from a few miles out of town, and are always on the spot at daybreak. A little after sunrise the crash and jam commences, and continues with little cessation until ten o'clock in the forenoon. There is a babel of tongues, an excessively cosmopolitan gathering of people, a roar of wheels, and a lively smell of beef and vegetables. The soap man, the headache curative man, the razor man, and a variety of other tolerable humbugs, are in full blast. We meet married men with baskets in their hands. Those who have been fortunate in their selections look happy, while some who have been unlucky wear a dejected air, for they are probably destined to get pieces of their wives' minds on their arrival home. It is true, that all married men have their own way, but the trouble is they don't all have their own way of having it! We meet a newly-married man. He has recently set up housekeeping. He is out to buy steak for breakfast. There are only himself and wife and female domestic in the family. He shows us his basket, which contains steak enough for at least ten able-bodied men. We tell him so, but he says we don't know anything about war, and passes on. Here comes a lady of high degree, who has no end of servants to send to the market, but she likes to come herself, and it won't prevent her shining and sparkling in her elegant drawing-room this afternoon. And she is accumulating muscle and freshness of face by these walks to market.
And here IS a charming picture. Standing beside a vegetable cart is a maiden beautiful and sweeter far than any daisy in the fields. Eyes of purest blue, lips of cherry red, teeth like pearls, silken, golden hair, and form of exquisite mould. We wonder if she is a fairy, but instantly conclude that she is not, for in measuring out a peck of onions she spills some of them; a small boy laughs at the mishap, and she indignantly shies the measure at his head. Fairies, you know, don't throw peck measures at small boys' heads. The spell was broken. The golden chain which for a moment bound us fell to pieces. We meet an eccentric individual in corduroy pantaloons and pepper-and-salt coat, who wants to know if we didn't sail out of Nantucket in 1852 in the whaling brig "Jasper Green." We are compelled to confess that the only nautical experience we ever had was to once temporarily command a canal boat on the dark-rolling Wabash, while the captain went ashore to cave in the head of a miscreant who had winked lasciviously at the sylph who superintended the culinary department on board that gallant craft. The eccentric individual smiles in a ghastly manner, says perhaps we won't lend him a dollar till tomorrow; to which we courteously reply that we CERTAINLY won't, and he glides away.
We return to our hotel, reinvigorated with the early, healthful jaunt, and bestow an imaginary purse of gold upon our African Brother, who brings us a hot and excellent breakfast.
1.45. WE SEE TWO WITCHES.
Two female fortune-tellers recently came hither, and spread "small bills" throughout the city. Being slightly anxious, in common with a wide circle of relatives and friends, to know where we were going to, and what was to become of us, we visited both of these eminently respectable witches yesterday and had our fortune told "twict." Physicians sometimes disagree, lawyers invariably do, editors occasionally fall out, and we are pained to say that even witches unfold different tales to one individual. In describing our interviews with these singularly gifted female women, who are actually and positively here in this city, we must speak considerably of "we"--not because we flatter ourselves that we are more interesting than people in general, but because in the present case it is really necessary. In the language of Hamlet's Pa, "List, O list!"
We went to see "Madame B." first. She has rooms at the Burnett House. The following is a copy of her bill:--
THE CELEBRATED SPANISH ASTROLOGIST, CLAIRVOYANT AND FEMALE DOCTRESS,
Would respectfully announce to the citizens that she has just arrived in this city, and designs remaining for a few days only.
The Madame can be consulted on all matters pertaining to life-- either past, present, or future--tracing the line of life from Infancy to Old Age, particularizing each event, in regard to
Business, Love, Marriage, Courtship, Losses, Law Matters, and Sickness of Relatives and Friends at a distance.
The Madame will also show her visitors a life-like representation of their Future Husbands and Wives.
LUCKY NUMBERS IN LOTTERIES
Can also be selected by her, and hundreds who have consulted her have drawn capital prizes. The Madame will furnish medicine for all diseases, for grown persons (male or female) and children.
Persons wishing to consult her concerning this mysterious art and human destiny, particularly with reference to their own individual bearing in relation to a supposed Providence, can be accommodated by
ROOM NO. 23, BURNETT HOUSE,
Corner of Prospect and Ontario streets, Cleveland.
The Madame has traveled extensively for the last few years, both in the United States and the West Indies, and the success which has attended her in all places has won for her the reputation of being the most wonderful Astrologist of the present age.
The Madame has a superior faculty for this business, having been born with a Caul on her Face, by virtue of which she can more accurately read the past, present, and future; also enabling her to cure many diseases without using drugs or medicines. The madame advertises nothing but what she can do. Call on her if you would consult the greatest Foreteller of events now living.
Hours of Consultation, from 8 A.M. to 9 o'clock P.M.
We urbanely informed the lady with the "Caul on her Face" that we had called to have our fortune told, and she said, "Hand out your money." This preliminary being settled, Madame B. (who is a tall, sharp-eyed, dark-featured and angular woman, dressed in painfully positive colors, and heavily loaded with gold chain and mammoth jewelry of various kinds) and Jupiter indicated powerful that we were a slim constitution, which came down on to us from our father's side. Wherein our constitution was not slim, so it came down on to us from our mother's side.
"Is this so?"
And we said it was.
"Yes," continued the witch, "I know'd 'twas. You can't deceive Jupiter, me, nor any other planick. You may swim same as Leander did, but you can't deceive the planicks. Give me your hand! Times ain't so easy as they has been. So--so--but 'tis temp'ry. 'Twon't last long. Times will be easy soon. You may be tramped on to onct or twict, but you'll rekiver. You have talenk, me child. You kin make a Congresser if sich you likes to be. [We said we would be excused, if it was all the same to her.] You kin be a lawyer. [We thanked her, but said we would rather retain our present good moral character.] You kin be a soldier. You have courage enough to go to the Hostrian wars and kill the French. [We informed her that we had already murdered some "English."] You won't have much money till you're thirty-three years of old. Then you will have large sums-- forty thousand dollars, perhaps. Look out for it! [We promised we would.] You have traveled some, and you will travel more, which will make your travels more extensiver than they has been. You will go to Californy by way of Pike's Pick. [Same route taken by Horace Greeley.] If nothin happens onto you, you won't meet with no accidents and will get through pleasant, which you otherwise will not do under all circumstances however, which doth happen to all, both great and small, likewise to the rich as also the poor. Hearken to me! There has been deaths in your family, and there will be more! But Reserve your constitution and you will live to be seventy years of old. Me child, HER hair will be black--black as the Raving's wing. Likewise black will also be her eyes, and she'll be as different from which you air as night and day. Look out for the darkish man! He's yer rival! Beware of the darkish man! [We promised that we'd introduce a funeral into the "darkish man's" family the moment we encountered him.] Me child, there's more sunshine than clouds for ye, and send all your friends up here.
"A word before you goes. Expose not yourself. Your eyes is saller, which is on accounts of bile on your systim. Some don't have bile on to their systims which their eyes is not saller. This bile ascends down on to you from many generations which is in their graves, and peace to their ashes."
We then proceeded directly to Madame Crompton, the other fortune- teller.
Below is her bill:--
MADAME R. CROMPTON,
The World-Renowned Fortune-Teller and Astrologist.
Madame Crompton begs leave to inform the citizens of Cleveland and vicinity that she has taken rooms at the
FARMERS' ST CLAIR HOUSE,
Corner of St Clair and Water Streets,
Where she may be consulted on all matters pertaining to Past and Future Events.
Also giving Information of Absent friends, whether Living or Dead.
P.S.--Persons having lost or having property stolen of any kind, will do well to give her a call, as she will describe the person or persons with such accuracy as will astonish the most devout critic.
She has rooms at the Farmers' Hotel, as stated in the bill above. She was driving an extensive business, and we were forced to wait half an hour or so for a chance to see her. Madame Crompton is of the English persuasion, and has evidently searched many long years in vain for her H. She is small in stature, but considerably inclined to corpulency, and her red round face is continually wreathed in smiles, reminding one of a new tin pan basking in the noonday sun. She took a greasy pack of common playing cards, and requested us to "cut them in three," which we did. She spread them out before her on the table, and said:--
"Sir to you which I speaks. You 'av been terrible crossed in love, and your 'art 'as been much panged. But you'll get over it and marry a light complected gale with rayther reddish 'air. Before some time you'll have a legercy fall down on to you, mostly in solick Jold. There may be a lawsuit about it, and you may be sup-prisoned as a witnesses, but you'll git it--mostly in solick Jold, which you will keep in chists, and you must look out for them. [We said we would keep a skinned optic on "them chists."] You 'as a enemy, and he's a lightish man. He wants to defraud you out of your 'onesty. He is tellink lies about you now in the 'opes of crushin yourself. [A weak invention of "the opposition."] You never did nothin bad. Your 'art is right. You 'ave a great taste for hosses and like to stay with 'em. Mister to you I sez: Gard aginst the lightish man and all will be well."
The supernatural being then took an oval-shaped chunk of glass (which she called a stone) and requested us to "hang on to it." She looked into it and said:
"If you're not keerful when you git your money, you'll lose it, but which otherwise you will not, and fifty cents is as cheap as I kin afford to tell anybody's fortune, and no great shakes made then."
1.46. FROM A HOMELY MAN.
Dear Plain Dealer,--I am a plain man, and there is a melancholy fitness in my unbosoming my sufferings to the "Plain" Dealer. Plain as you may be in your dealings, however, I am convinced you never before had to DEAL with a correspondent so hopelessly plain as I. Yet plain don't half express my looks. Indeed I doubt very much whether any word in the English language could be found to convey an adequate idea on my absolute and utter homeliness. The dates in the old family Bible show that I am in the decline of life, but I cannot recall a period in my existence when I felt really young. My very infancy, those brief months when babes prattle joyously and know nothing of care, was darkened by a shadowy presentiment of what I was to endure through life, and my youth was rendered dismal by continued repetitions of a fact painfully evident "on the face of it," that the boy was growing homelier and homelier every day. Memory, that with other people recalls so much that is sweet and pleasant to think of in connection with their youth, with me brings up nothing but mortification, bitter tears, I had almost said curses, on my solitary and homely lot. I have wished--a thousand times wished--that Memory had never consented to take a seat "in this distracted globe."
You have heard of a man so homely that he couldn't sleep nights, his face ached so. Mr. Editor, I am that melancholy individual. Whoever perpetrated the joke--for joke it was no doubt intended to be--knew not how much truth he was uttering, or how bitterly the idle squib would rankle in the heart of one suffering man. Many and many a night have I in my childhood laid awake thinking of my homeliness, and as the moonlight has streamed in at the window and fell upon the handsome and placid features of my little brother slumbering at my side, Heaven forgive me for the wicked thought, but I have felt an almost unconquerable impulse to forever disfigure and mar that sweet upturned innocent face that smiled and looked so beautiful in sleep, for it was ever reminding me of the curse I was doomed to carry about me. Many and many a night have I got up in my nightdress, and lighting my little lamp, sat for hours gazing at my terrible ugliness of face reflected in the mirror, drawn to it by a cruel fascination which it was impossible for me to resist.
I need not tell you that I am a single man, and yet I have had what men call affairs of the heart. I have known what it is to worship the heart's embodiment of female loveliness, and purity, and truth, but it was generally at a distance entirely safe to the object of my adoration. Being of a susceptible nature, I was continually falling in love, but never, save with one single exception, did I venture to declare my flame. I saw my heart's palpitator walking in a grove. Moved by my consuming love, I rushed towards her, and throwing myself at her feet began to pour forth the long-pent-up emotions of my heart. She gave one look and then
"Shrieked till all the rocks replied;"
at least you'd thought they replied if you had seen me leave that grove with a speed greatly accelerated by a shower of rocks from the hands of an enraged brother, who was at hand. That prepossessing young lady is now slowly recovering her reason in an institution for the insane.
Of my further troubles I may perhaps inform you at some future time.
1.47. THE ELEPHANT.
Some two years since, on the strength of what we regarded as reliable information, we announced the death of the elephant Hannibal, at Canton, and accompanied the announcement with a short sketch of that remarkable animal. We happened to be familiar with several interesting incidents in the private life of Hannibal, and our sketch was copied by almost every paper in America and by several European journals. A few months ago a "traveled" friend showed us the sketch in a Parisian journal, and possibly it is "going the rounds" of the Chinese papers by this time. A few days after we had printed his obituary Hannibal came to town with Van Amburgh's Menagerie, and the same type which killed the monster restored him to life again.
About once a year Hannibal
"Gets on a spree, And goes bobbin around."
to make a short quotation from a once popular ballad. These sprees, in fact, "is what's the matter with him."
The other day, in Williamsburg, Long Island, he broke loose in the canvas, emptied most of the cages, and tore through the town like a mammoth pestilence. An extensive crowd of athletic men, by jabbing him with spears and pitchforks, and coiling big ropes around his legs, succeeded in capturing him. The animals he had set free were caught and restored to their cages without much difficulty.
We doubt if we shall ever forget our first view of Hannibal--which was also our first view of any elephant--of THE elephant, in short. It was at the close of a sultry day in June, 18--. The sun had spent its fury and was going to rest among the clouds of gold and crimson. A solitary horseman might have been seen slowly ascending a long hill in a New England town. That solitary horseman was us, and we were mounted on the old white mare. Two bags were strapped to the foaming steed. That was before we became wealthy, and of course we are not ashamed to say that we had been to mill, and consequently THEM bags contained flour and middlins. Presently a large object appeared at the top of the hill. We had heard of the devil, and had been pretty often told that he would have a clear deed and title to us before long, but had never heard him painted like the object which met our gaze at the top of that hill on the close of sultry day in June. Concluding (for we were a mere youth) that it was an eccentric whale, who had come ashore near North Yarmouth, and was making a tour through the interior on wheels, we hastily turned our steed and made for the mill at a rapid rate. Once we threw over ballast, after the manner of balloonists, and as the object gained on us we cried aloud for our parents. Fortunately we reached the mill in safety, and the object passed at a furious rate, with a portion of a woodshed on its back. It was Hannibal, who had run away from a neighboring town, taking a shed with him.
. . . . .
DRANK STANDIN.--Col. -- is a big "railroad man." He attended a railroad supper once. Champagne flowed freely, and the Colonel got more than his share. Speeches were made after the removal of the cloth. Somebody arose and eulogized the Colonel in the steepest possible manner--called him great, good, patriotic, enterprising, &c., &c. The speaker was here interrupted by the illustrious Colonel himself, who arising with considerable difficulty, and beaming benevolently around the table, gravely said, "Let's (hic) drink that sedimunt standin!" It was done.
1.48. HOW THE NAPOLEON OF SELLERS WAS SOLD.
We have read a great many stories of which Winchell, the great wit and mimic, was the hero, showing always how neatly and entirely he sold somebody. Any one who is familiar with Winchell's wonderful powers of mimicry cannot doubt that these stories are all substantially true. But there is one instance which we will relate, or perish in the attempt, where the jolly Winchell was himself sold. The other evening, while he was conversing with several gentlemen at one of the hotels, a dilapidated individual reeled into the room and halted in front of the stove, where he made wild and unsuccessful efforts to maintain a firm position. He evidently had spent the evening in marching torchlight processions of forty-rod whisky down his throat, and at this particular time was decidedly and disreputably drunk. With a sly wink to the crowd, as much as to say, "We'll have some fun with this individual," Winchell assumed a solemn face, and in a ghostly voice said to one of the company:
"The poor fellow we were speaking of is dead!"
"No?" said the individual addressed.
"Yes," said Winchell; "you know both of his eyes were gouged out, his nose was chawed off, and both of his arms were torn out at the roots. Of course, he could'nt recover."
This was all said for the benefit of the drunken man, who was standing, or trying to stand, within a few feet of Winchell; but he took no sort of notice of it, and was apparently ignorant of the celebrated delineator's presence. Again Winchell endeavored to attract his attention, but utterly failed as before. In a few moments the drunken man staggered out of the room.
"I can generally have a little fun with a drunken man," said Winchell, "but it is no go in this case."
"I suppose you know what ails the man who just went out?" said the "gentlemanly host."
"I perceive he is alarmingly inebriated," said Winchell; "does anything else ail him?"
"Yes," said the host, "HE'S DEAF AND DUMB!"
This was true. There was a "larf," and Winchell, with the remark that he was sorry to see a disposition in that assemblage "to deceive an orphan," called for a light and went gravely to bed.
1.49. ON AUTUMN.
Poets are wont to apostrophize the leafy month of June, and there is no denying that if Spring is "some," June is Summer. But there is a gorgeous magnificence about the habiliments of Nature, and a teeming fruitfulness upon her lap during the autumnal months, and we must confess we have always felt genially inclined towards this season. It is true, when we concentrate our field of vision to the minute garniture of earth, we no longer observe the beautiful petals, nor inhale the fragrance of a gay parterre of the "floral epistles" and "angel-like collections" which Longfellow (we believe) so graphically describes, and which Shortfellows so fantastically carry about in their buttonholes; but we have all their tints reproduced upon a higher and broader canvas in the kaleidoscopic colors with which the sky and the forest daily enchant us, and the beautiful and luscious fruits which Autumn spreads out before us, and
"Crowns the rich promise of the opening Spring."
In another point of view Autumn is suggestive of pleasant reflections. The wearying, wasting heat of Summer, and the deadly blasts with which her breath has for some years been freighted, are past, and the bracing north winds begin to bring balm and healing on their wings. The hurly-burly of travel, and most sorts of publicity (except newspapers), are fast playing out, and we can once more hope to see our friends and relations in the happy sociality of home and fireside enjoyments. Yielding, as we do, the full force to which Autumn is seriously entitled, or rather to the serious reflections and admonitions which the decay of Nature and the dying year always inspire, and admitting the poet's decade--
"Leaves have their time to fall, And stars to set,--but all, Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!"
There is a brighter Autumn beyond, and brighter opening years to those who choose them rather than dead leaves and bitter fruits. Thus we can conclude tranquilly with Bryant, as we began gaily with another--
"So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, which moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon; but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."
1.50. PAYING FOR HIS PROVENDER BY PRAYING.
We have no intention of making fun of serious matters in telling the following story; we merely relate a fact.
There is a rule at Oberlin College that no student shall board at any house where prayers are not regularly made each day. A certain man fitted up a boarding-house and filled it with boarders, but forgot, until the eleventh hour, the prayer proviso. Not being a praying man himself, he looked around for one who was. At length he found one--a meek young man from Trumbull County--who agreed to pay for his board in praying. For a while all went smoothly, but the boarding-master furnished his table so poorly that the boarders began to grumble and to leave, and the other morning the praying boarder actually "struck!" Something like the following dialogue occurred at the table:--
LANDLORD.--Will you pray, Mr. Mild?
MILD.--No, sir, I will not.
LANDLORD.--Why not, Mr. Mild?
MILD.--It don't pay, sir. I can't pray on such victuals as these. And unless you bind yourself in writing to set a better table than you have for the last three weeks, NARY ANOTHER PRAYER YOU GET OUT OF ME!
And that's the way the matter stood at latest advices.
1.51. HUNTING TROUBLE.
Hunting trouble is too fashionable in this world. Contentment and jollity are not cultivated as they should be. There are too many prematurely-wrinkled long and melancholy faces among us. There is too much swearing, sweating and slashing, fuming, foaming and fretting around and about us all.
"A mad world, my masters."
People rush outdoors bareheaded and barefooted, as it were, and dash blindly into all sorts of dark alleys in quest of all sorts of Trouble, when, "Goodness knows," if they will only sit calmly and pleasantly by their firesides, Trouble will knock soon enough at their doors.
Hunting Trouble is bad business. If we ever are induced to descend from our present proud position to become a member of the Legislature, or ever accumulate sufficient muscle, impudence, and taste for bad liquor to go to Congress, we shall introduce "a william" for the suppression of Trouble-hunting. We know Miss Slinkins, who incessantly frets because Miss Slurkins is better harnessed than she is, won't like it; and we presume the Simpkinses, who worry so much because the Perkinses live in a freestone-fronted house whilst theirs is only plain brick, won't like it also. It is doubtful, too, whether our long-haired friends the Reformers (who think the machinery of the world is all out of joint, while we think it only needs a little greasing to run in first-rate style), will approve the measure. It is probable, indeed, that very many societies, of a reformatory (and inflammatory) character, would frown upon the measure. But the measure would be a good one nevertheless.
Never hunt Trouble. However dead a shot one may be, the gun he carries on such expeditions is sure to kick or go off half-cocked. Trouble will come soon enough, and when he does come, receive him as pleasantly as possible. Like the tax-collector, he is a disagreeable chap to have in one's house, but the more amiably you greet him the sooner he will go away.
1.52. DARK DOINGS.
Four promising young men of this city attended a ball in the rural districts not long since. At a late hour they retired, leaving word with the clerk of the hotel to call them early in the morning, as they wanted to take the first train home. The clerk was an old friend of the "fellers," and he thought he would have a slight joke at their expense. So he burnt some cork, and, with a sponge, blacked the faces of his city friends after they had got soundly asleep. In the morning he called them about ten minutes before the train came along. Feller No. 1 awoke and laughed boisterously at the sight which met his gaze. But he saw through it--the clerk had played his good joke on his three comrades, and of course he would keep mum. But it was a devilish good joke. Feller No. 2 awoke, saw the three black men in the room, comprehended the joke, and laughed vociferously. But he would keep mum. Fellers No. 3 and 4 awoke, and experienced the same pleasant feeling; and there was the beautiful spectacle of four nice young men laughing heartily one at another, each one supposing the "urban clerk" had spared him in his cork-daubing operations. They had only time to dress before the train arrived. They all got aboard, each thinking what a glorious joke it was to have his three companions go back to town with black faces. The idea was so rich that they all commenced laughing violently as soon as they got aboard the cars. The other passengers took to laughing also, and fun raged fast and furious, until the benevolent baggage-man, seeing how matters stood, brought a small pocket-glass and handed it around to the young men. They suddenly stopped laughing, rushed wildly for the baggage-car, washed their faces, and amused and instructed each other during the remainder of the trip with some eloquent flashes of silence.
The following paragraph is going the rounds:--"How many a great man is now basking in the sunshine of fame generously bestowed upon him by the prolific genius of some reporter! How many stupid orations have been made brilliant, how many wandering, pointless, objectless, speeches put in form and rendered at least readable, by the unknown reporter! How many a disheartened speaker, who was conscious the night before of a failure, before a thin, cold, spiritless audience, awakes delighted to learn that he has addressed an overwhelming assemblage of his enthusiastic, appreciating fellow-citizens, to find his speech sparkling with 'cheers,' breaking out into 'immense applause,' and concluding amidst 'the wildest excitement!'"
There is considerable truth in the above, we are sorry to state. Reporters are too apt to smooth over and give a fair face to the stupidity and bombast of political and other public humbugs. For this they are not only seldom thanked, but frequently are kicked. Of course this sort of thing is wrong. A Reporter should be independent enough to meet the approaches of gentlemen of the Nincompoop persuasion with a flat rebuff. He should never gloss over a political humbug, whether he belongs to "our side" or not. He is not thanked for doing it, and, furthermore, he loses the respect and confidence of his readers. There are many amiable gentlemen ornamenting the various walks of life, who are under the impression that for a dozen bad cigars or a few drinks of worse whisky they can purchase the "opinion" of almost any Reporter. It has been our pleasure on several occasions to disabuse those gentlemen of this impression.
Should another occasion of this kind ever offer, we feel that we should be "adequate" to treat it in a similar manner. A Reporter, we modestly submit, is as good as anybody, and ought to feel that he is, everywhere and at all times. For one, let us quietly and without any show of vanity remark, that we are not only just as good as anybody else, but a great deal better than many we know of. We love God and hate Indians: pay our debts; support the Constitution of the United States; go in for Progress, Sunshine, Calico, and other luxuries; are perfectly satisfied and happy, and wouldn't swop "sits" with the President, Louis Napoleon, the Emperor of China, Sultan of Turkey, Brigham Young, or Nicholas Longworth. Success to us!
1.54. HE HAD THE LITTLE VOUCHER IN HIS POCKET.
L-- lived in this city several years ago. He dealt in horses, carriages, &c. Hearing of a good chance to sell buggies up West, he embarked with a lot for that "great" country. At Toledo he took a Michigan Southern train. Somebody had by way of a joke, warned him against the conductor of that particular train, telling him that said conductor had an eccentric way of taking up tickets at the beginning of the journey, and of denying that he had done so and demanding fare at the end thereof. This the confiding L-- swallowed. He determined not to be swindled in this way, and so when the conductor came around and asked him for his ticket he declined giving up. The conductor insisted. L-- still refused.
"I've got the little voucher in my pocket," he said, with a knowing look, slily slapping the pocket which contained the ticket.
The conductor glanced at L--'s stalwart frame. He had heard L-- spoken of as a fighting man. He preferred not to grapple with him. The train was a light one, and it so happened that L-- was the only man in this, the hind car. So the conductor had the train stopped, and quietly unhitched this car.
"Good day, Mr. L," he yelled; "just keep that little voucher in your pocket, and be d--d to you!"
L-- jumped up and saw the other cars moving rapidly away. He was left solitary and alone, in a dismal piece of woods known as the Black Swamp. He remained there in the car until night, when the down-train came along and took him to Toledo. He had to pay fare, his up through-ticket not being good on that train. His buggies had gone unattended to Chicago. He was very angry. He finally got through, but he will never hear the last of that "little voucher."
1.55. THE GENTLEMANLY CONDUCTOR.
Few have any idea of the trials and tribulations of the railway conductor--"the gentlemanly conductor," as one-horse newspapers delight in styling him. Unless you are gifted with the patience of the lamented Job, who, tradition informs us, had "biles" all over his body, and didn't swear once, never go for a Conductor, me boy!
The other evening we enlivened a railroad car with our brilliant presence. Starting time was not quite up, and the passengers were amusing themselves by laughing, swearing, singing, and talking, according to their particular fancy. The Conductor came in, and the following were a few of the questions put to him:--One old fellow, who was wrapped up in a horse-blanket, and who apparently had about two pounds of pigtail in his mouth, wanted to know, "What pint of compass the keers was travelin in?" An old lady, surrounded by band-boxes and enveloped in flannels, wanted to know what time the eight o'clock train left Rock Island for "Dubu-kue?" A carroty-haired young man wanted to know if "free omyibuses" ran from the cars to the taverns in Toledo? A tall, razor-faced individual, evidently from the interior of Connecticut, desired to know if "conductin" paid as well eout West as it did deoun in his country; and a portly, close-shaven man with round keen eyes, and in whose face you could read the interest-table, asked the price of corner lots in Omaha. These and many other equally absurd questions the conductor answered calmly and in a resigned manner. And we shuddered as we thought how he would have to answer a similar string of questions in each of the three cars ahead.
1.56. MORALITY AND GENIUS.
We see it gravely stated in a popular Metropolitan journal that "true genius goes hand in hand, necessarily, with morality." The statement is not a startlingly novel one. It has been made, probably, about sixty thousand times before. But it is untrue and foolish. We wish genius and morality were affectionate companions, but it is a fact that they are often bitter enemies. They don't necessarily coalesce any more than oil and water do! Innumerable instances may be readily produced in support of this proposition. Nobody doubts that Sheridan had genius, yet he was a sad dog. Mr. Byron, the author of Childe Harold "and other poems," was a man of genius, we think, yet Mr. Byron was a fearfully fast man. Edgar A. Poe wrote magnificent poetry and majestic prose, but he was, in private life, hardly the man for small and select tea parties. We fancy Sir Richard Steele was a man of genius, but he got disreputably drunk, and didn't pay his debts. Swift had genius--an immense lot of it--yet Swift was a cold-blooded, pitiless, bad man. The catalogue might be spun out to any length, but it were useless to do it. We don't mean to intimate that men of genius must necessarily be sots and spendthrifts--we merely speak of the fact that very many of them have been both, and in some instances much worse than both. Still we can't well see (though some think they can) how the pleasure and instruction people derive from reading the productions of these great lights is diminished because their morals were "lavishly loose." They might have written better had their private lives been purer, but of this nobody can determine for the pretty good reason that nobody knows.
So with actors. We have seen people stay away from the theater because Mrs. Grundy said the star of the evening invariably retired to his couch in a state of extreme inebriety. If the star is afflicted with a weakness of this kind, we may regret it. We may pity or censure the star. But we must still acknowledge the star's genius, and applaud it. Hence we conclude that the chronic weakness of actors no more affects the question of the propriety of patronizing theatrical representations, than the profligacy of journeymen shoemakers affects the question of the propriety of wearing boots. All of which is respectfully submitted.
1.57. ROUGH BEGINNING OF THE HONEYMOON.
On last Friday morning an athletic young farmer in the town of Waynesburg took a fair girl, "all bathed in blushes," from her parents, and started for the first town across the Pennsylvania line to be married, where the ceremony could be performed without a license. The happy pair were accompanied by a sister of the girl, a tall, gaunt, and sharp-featured female of some thirty-seven summers. The pair crossed the line, were married, and returned to Wellsville to pass the night. People at the hotel where the wedding party stopped observed that they conducted themselves in a rather singular manner. The husband would take his sister-in-law, the tall female aforesaid, into one corner of the parlor and talk earnestly to her gesticulating wildly the while. Then the tall female would "put her foot down" and talk to him in an angry and excited manner. Then the husband would take his fair young bride into a corner, but he could no sooner commence talking to her than the gaunt sister would rush in between them and angrily join in the conversation. The people at the hotel ascertained what all this meant about 9 o'clock that evening. There was an uproar in the room which had been assigned to the newly married couple. Female shrieks and masculine "swears" startled the people at the hotel, and they rushed to the spot. The gaunt female was pressing and kicking against the door of the room, and the newly-married man, mostly undressed, was barring her out with all his might. Occasionally she would kick the door far enough open to disclose the stalwart husband, in his Gentleman Greek Slave apparel. It appeared that the tall female insisted upon occupying the same room with the newly-wedded pair; that her sister was favorably disposed to the arrangement, and that the husband had agreed to it before the wedding took place, and was now indignantly repudiating the contract. "Won't you go away now, Susan, peaceful?" said the newly-married man, softening his voice.
"No," said she, "I won't--so there!"
"Don't you budge an inch!" cried the married sister within the room.
"Now--now, Maria," said the young man to his wife, in a piteous tone, "don't go for to cuttin' up in this way; now don't!"
"I'll cut up's much I wanter!" she sharply replied.
"Well," roared the desperate man, throwing the door wide open and stalking out among the crowd, "well, jest you two wimin put on your duds and go right straight home and bring back the old man and woman, and your grandfather, who is nigh on to a hundred; bring 'em all here, AND I'LL MARRY THE WHOLE D--D CABOODLE OF 'EM AND WE'LL ALL SLEEP TOGETHER!"
The difficulty was finally adjusted by the tall female taking a room alone. Wellsville is enjoying itself over the "sensation."
1.58. A COLORED MAN OF THE NAME OF JEFFRIES.
One beautiful day last August, Mr. Elmer of East Cleveland, sent his hired colored man, of the name of Jeffries, to town with a two-horse wagon to get a load of lime. Mr. Elmer gave Jeffries 5 dollars with which to pay for the lime. The horses were excellent ones, by the way, nicely matched, and more than commonly fast. The colored man of the name of Jeffries came to town and drove to the Johnson Street Station where he encountered a frail young woman of the name of Jenkins, who had just been released from jail, where she had been confined for naughtical conduct (drugging and robbing a sailor). "Will you fly with me, adorable Jenkins?" he unto her did say, "or words to that effect," and unto him in reply she did up and say: "My African brother, I will. Spirit," she continued, alluding to a stone jug under the seat in the wagon, "I follow!" Then into the two-horse wagon this fair maiden got and knavely telling the "perlice," to embark by the first packet for an unromantic land where the climate is intensely tropical, and where even Laplanders, who like fire, get more of a good thing than they want--doing and saying thus the woman of the name of Jenkins mounted the seat with the colored man of the sweet name of Jeffries; and so these two sweet, gushing children of nature rode gaily away. Away towards the setting sun. Away towards Indiana--bright land of cheap whisky and corn doin's!
Any name which is suggestive of a joke, however poor the joke may be, is often a nuisance. We were once "confined" in a printing- office with a man named Snow. Everybody who came in was bound to have a joke about Snow. If it was Summer the mad wags would say we ought to be cold, for we had Snow there all the time--which was a fact, though we sometimes wished Snow was where he would speedily melt. Not that we didn't like Snow. Far from it. His name was what disgusted us. It was also once our misfortune to daily mingle with a man named Berry, we can't tell how many million times we heard him called Elderberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, Huckleberry, Gooseberry, &c. The thing nearly made him deranged. He joined the filibusters and has made energetic efforts to get shot but had not succeeded at last accounts, although we hear he has been "slewd" numerously. There is a good deal in a name, our usually correct friend W. Shakespeare to the contrary notwithstanding.
Our own name is, unfortunately, one on which jokes, such as they are, can be made, we cannot present a tabular statement of the times we have done things brown (in the opinion of partial friends) or have been asked if we were related to the eccentric old slave and horse "liberator," whose recent Virginia Reel has attracted so much of the public attention. Could we do so the array of figures would be appalling. And sometimes we think we will accept the first good offer of marriage that is made to us, for the purpose of changing our unhappy name, setting other interesting considerations entirely aside.
1.60. HE FOUND HE WOULD.
Several years ago Bill McCracken lived in Peru, Indiana. (We were in Peru several years ago, and it was a nice place we DON'T think.) Mr. McCracken was a screamer, and had whipped all the recognized fighting men on the Wabash. One day somebody told him that Jack Long, blacksmith of Logansport, said he would give him (McCracken) a protracted fit of sickness if he would just come down there and smell of his bones. The McCracken at once laid in a stock of provisions, consisting of whisky in glass and chickens in the shell, and started for Logansport. In a few days, he was brought home in a bunged-up condition, on a cot-bed. One eye was gouged out, a portion of his nose was chawed off, his left arm was in a sling, his head was done up in an old rag, and he was pretty badly off himself. He was set down in the village bar-room, and turning to the crowd he, in a feeble voice, said, hot tears bedewing his face the while, "Boys, you know Jack Long said if I'd come down to Loginsput he'd whale h--ll out of me; and boys, you know I didn't believe it, but I've been down thar and I FOUND HE WOULD."
He recovered after a lapse of years and led a better life. As he said himself, he returned from Logansport a changed man.
1.61. "BURIAL IN RICHMOND AND RESURRECTION IN BOSTON."
A drama with this title, written by a colored citizen (an artist by profession), the characters being performed by colored citizens, was played at the Melodeon last evening. There were several white persons present, though most of the audience were colored. The great variety of colors made a gay, and indeed we may say gorgeous spectacle.
A hasty sketch of this great moral production may not be uninteresting. Act 1st, scene 1st, discloses a log-cabin, with fifteen minutes' intermission between each log. "William, a spirited slave," and "John, the obedient slave," are in the cabin. William, the spirited slave, says he will be free, "Why," says William, "am I here thus? Was this frame made to be in bondage? Shall THESE voices be hushed? Never, never, never!" "Oh, don't say it thus," says John, the obedient slave, "for thus it should not be. An' I tole ye what it was, now, jes take keer of them pistiles or they'll work yer ruins. Mind what I say, Wilyim. As for me I shall stay here with my dear Julia!" (Immense applause). "And so it has come to this, ha?" said William, the spirited slave, standing himself up and brandishing his arms in a terrific manner. "And so it has come to this, ha? And this is a free land, so it has come to this--to this--TO THIS." William appeared to be somewhat confused at this point, but a wealthy newsboy in the audience helped him out by crying, "or any other man." John and William then embraced, bitter tears moistening their manly breasts. "Farwel, Wilyim," said John, the obedient slave, "and bless you, bless you, me child." The spirited slave walks off and the obedient slave falls into a swoon. Tableau: The Goddess of Liberty appears in a mackinaw blanket and pours incense on the obedient slave. A member of the orchestra gets up and softly warbles on a bass drum. Angels are heard singing in the distance. Curtain falls, the audience being soaking wet with tears.
Act 2, scene first, discloses the house of Mr. Lyons, a slaveholder in Virginia. Mr. Lyons, as we learn by the play, is "a member of the Whig Congress." He learns that William, his spirited slave, has escaped. This makes him very angry, and he says he will break every bone in William's body. He goes out and searches for William, but cannot find him, and comes back. He takes a heavy drink, is stricken with remorse, and declares his intention to become a nun. John, the obedient slave, comes in and asks permission to marry Julia. Mr. Lyons says, certainly, by all means, and preparations are made for the wedding.
The wedding takes place. The scene that follows is rather incomprehensible. A young mariner has a clandestine interview with the obedient slave, and receives 10 dollars to make a large box. An elderly mariner, not that mariner, but another mariner--rushes madly in and fires a horse-pistol into the air. He wheels and is about going off, when a black Octoroon rushes madly in and fires another horse-pistol at the retreating mariner, who falls. He says he is going to make a die of it. Says he should have acted differently if he had only done otherwise, which was right, or else it wouldn't be so. He forgets his part and don't say anything more, but he wraps himself up in the American flag and expires like a son of a gentleman. More warblings on the bass drum. The rest of the orchestra endeavor to accompany the drum, but are so deeply affected that they can't. There is a death-like stillness in the house. All was so still that had a cannon been fired off it could have been distinctly seen.
The next scene discloses a large square box. Several colored persons are seen standing round the square box. The mariner who was killed in the last scene commences knocking off the cover of the box. He pulls the cover off, and up jumps the obedient slave and his wife! The obedient slave and his dear Julia fall out of the box. Great applause. They rush to the footlights and kneel. Quick music by the orchestra, in which the bass drum don't warble so much as she did. "I'm free! I'M FREE! I'M FREE!!" shrieks the obedient slave, "O I'm free!" The stage is suddenly lighted up in a gorgeous manner. The obedient slave and his dear Julia continue kneeling. The dead mariner blesses them. The Goddess of Liberty appears again--this time in a beaver overcoat--and pours some more incense on the obedient slave. An allegorical picture of Virtue appears in a red vest and military boots, on the left proscenium, John Brown the barber appears as Lady Macbeth, and says there is a blue tinge into his nails, and consequently he is an Octoroon. Another actor wants to define his position on the Euclid Street improvement, but is hissed down. Curtain descends amidst the admiring shouts of the audience, red fire, music, and the violent assertion of the obedient slave that he is free.
The play will not be repeated this evening, as was announced. The notice will be given of its next performance. It is the greatest effort of the kind that we ever witnessed.
1.62. A MAYORALTY ELECTION.
Messrs. Senter and Coffinberry, two esteemed citizens, are the candidates. Here's a faint attempt at a specimen scene. An innocent German is discovered about half a mile from the polls of this or that ward. A dozen ticket-peddlers scent him ("even as the war-horse snuffs the battle," etc.), see him, and make a grand rush for him. They surround him, each shoves a bunch of tickets under his nose, and all commence bellowing in his ears. Here's the ticket yer want--Coffinberry. Here's Senterberry and Coffinter. What the h--l yer tryin' to fool the man for? Don't yer spose he knows who he wants ter vote for, say! 'Ere's the ticket--Sen--Coff--don't crowd--get off my toes, you d--d fool! Workin' men's tickets is the ticket you want! To h--l wid yez workin' men's ticket, 'ere's the ticket yez want! No, by Cot, vote for Shorge B. Senter--he says he'll py all the peer for dems as votes for him as much more dan dey can trinks, by tam! Senter be d--d! Go for Coffinberry! Coffinberry was killed eight times in the Mexican war, and is in favor of justice and Pop'lar Sovrinty! Oh gos! Senter was at the battle of Tippe-ca-noo, scalped twelve Injuns and wrote a treatise in Horse-shoeing! Don't go for Coffinberry. He's down on all the Dutch, and swears he'll have all their heads chopped off and run into sausages if he's lected. Do you know what George B. Senter says about the Germans? He says by -- they're in the habit of stealing LIVE American infants and hashing 'em up into head cheese. By --! That's a lie! T'aint--I heard that say so with my own mouth. Let the man alone--stop yer pullin--I'll bust yer ear for yer yet. My Cot, my Cot, what tam dimes dese 'lections is. Well yez crowd a poor Jarman till death, yer d--d spalpanes, yez? Sen-- Coff--Senterberry and Coffinter--Working Men's--Repub--Dem-whoop-h- l-whooray-bully-y-e-o-u-c-h!!
The strongest side got the unfortunate German's vote and he went sore and bleeding home and satisfied, no doubt, that this is a great country, and that the American Eagle will continue to be a deeply interesting bird while his wings are in the hands of patriots like the above. Scenes like the above (only our description is very imperfect) were played over and over again, at every ward in the city, yesterday. Let us be thankful that the country is safe--but we should like to see some of the ward politicians gauged to-day, for we are confident the operation would exhibit an astonishing depth of whiskey.
Hurrah for the Bar--Stangled Spanner!
1.63. FISHING EXCURSION.
The Leviathan, Capt. Wm. Sholl, left the foot of Superior Street at 6 o'clock yesterday morning for a fishing excursion down the lake. There were about twenty persons in the party, and we think we never saw a more lovely lot of men. The noble craft swept majestically out of the Cuyahoga into the lake, and as she sped past a retired coal-dealer's office the Usher borrowed our pocket-handkerchief (which in the excess of his emotion he forgot to return to us) to wipe away four large tears which trickled from his light bay eyes. On dashed the Leviathan at the rate of about forty-five knots an hour. The fishing-ground reached, the clarion voice of Sholl was heard to ejaculate, "Reef home the jib-boom, shorten the main-brace, splice the forecastle, and throw the hurricane-deck overboard! Lively, my lads!" "Aye, aye, Sir!" said Marsh the chaplain of the expedition, in tones of thunder, and the gallant party sprang to execute the Captain's orders, the agile form of first-officer Hilliard being especially conspicuous in reefing the jib-boom. Lines were cast and the sport commenced. It seemed as if all the fish in the lake knew of our coming, and had collected in that particular spot for the express purpose of being caught! What teeth they had--sufficiently good, certainly, to bite a cartridge or anything else. The Usher caught the first fish--a small but beautiful bass, whose weight was about three inches and a half. The Usher was elated at this streak of luck, but his hand did not tremble and he continued to hand in fish until at noon he had caught thirteen firkins full and he announced that he should fish no more. Cruelty was no part of his nature and he did not think it right to slaughter fish in this way. Cross, Barney, and the rest, were immensely successful, and hauled in tremendous quantities of bass, perch, Mackinaw trout, and Connecticut shad. Bone didn't catch a fish, and we shall never forget the sorrowful manner in which the poor fellow gazed upon our huge pile of beautiful bass which occupied all of the quarter deck and a large portion of the forcastle. Having fished enough the party went ashore, where they found Ab. McIlrath (who was fanning himself with a barn door), the grand Commandant (who in a sonorous voice requested the parties, as they alighted from the small boats, to "Keep their heads out of water"), the General (who was discussing with the Doctor the propriety of annexing East Cleveland to the United States), and several distinguished gentlemen from town, who had come down with life-preservers and ginger pop. After disposing of a sumptuous lunch, the party amused and instructed each other by conversation, and about 3 o'clock the shrill whistle of the Leviathan was sounded by Mike the urbane and accomplished engineer, and the party were soon homeward bound. It was a good time.