The Complete Works of Artemus Ward — Part 2: War by Ward, Artemus
THE PROJECT GUTENBERG ETEXT OF THE COMPLETE WORKS OF ARTEMUS WARD (CHARLES FARRAR BROWNE) PART 2
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF ARTEMUS WARD PART 2, WAR.
(CHARLES FARRAR BROWNE)
With a biographical sketch by Melville D. Landon, "Eli Perkins"
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 Of The Home Guard
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.
PART II. WAR.
2.1. THE SHOW IS CONFISCATED.
You hav perhaps wondered wharebouts I was for these many dase gone and past. Perchans you sposed I'd gone to the Tomb of the Cappylets, tho I don't know what those is. It's a popler noospaper frase.
Listen to my tail, and be silent that ye may here I've been among the Seseshers, a earnin my daily peck by my legitimit perfeshun, and havn't had no time to weeld my facile quill for "the Grate Komick paper," if you'll allow me to kote from your troothful advertisement.
My success was skaly, and I likewise had a narrer scape of my life. If what I've bin threw is "Suthren hosspitality," 'bout which we've hearn so much, then I feel bound to obsarve that they made two much of me. They was altogether two lavish with their attenshuns.
I went amung the Seseshers with no feelins of annermosity. I went in my perfeshernal capacity. I was actooated by one of the most Loftiest desires which can swell the human Buzzum, viz.:--to giv the peeple their money's worth, by showin them Sagashus Beests, and Wax Statoots, which I venter to say air onsurpast by any other statoots anywheres. I will not call that man who sez my statoots is humbugs a lier and a hoss thief, but bring him be4 me and I'll wither him with one of my scornful frowns.
But to proseed with my tail. In my travels threw the Sonny South I heared a heap of talk about Seceshon and bustin up the Union, but I didn't think it mounted to nothin. The politicians in all the villages was swearin that Old Abe (sometimes called the Prahayrie flower) shouldn't never be noggerated. They also made fools of theirselves in varis ways, but as they was used to that I didn't let it worry me much, and the Stars and Stripes continued for to wave over my little tent. Moor over, I was a Son of Malty and a member of several other Temperance Societies, and my wife she was a Dawter of Malty, an I sposed these fax would secoor me the infloonz and pertectiun of all the fust families. Alas! I was dispinted. State arter State seseshed and it growed hotter and hotter for the undersined. Things came to a climbmacks in a small town in Alabamy, where I was premtorally ordered to haul down the Stars & Stripes. A deppytashun of red-faced men cum up to the door of my tent ware I was standin takin money (the arternoon exhibishun had commenst, an' my Italyun organist was jerkin his sole-stirrin chimes.) "We air cum, Sir," said a millingtary man in a cockt hat, "upon a hi and holy mishun. The Southern Eagle is screamin threwout this sunny land--proudly and defiantly screamin, Sir!"
"What's the matter with him?" sez I; "don't his vittles sit well on his stummick?"
"That Eagle, Sir, will continner to scream all over this Brite and tremenjus land!"
"Wall, let him SCREAM. If your Eagle can amuse hisself by screamin, let him went!" The men anoyed me, for I was Bizzy makin change.
"We are cum, Sir, upon a matter of dooty--"
"You're right, Capting. It's every man's dooty to visit my show," said I.
"We air cum--"
"And that's the reason you are here!" sez I, larfin one of my silvery larfs. I thawt if he wanted to goak I'd giv him sum of my sparklin eppygrams.
"Sir, you're inserlent. The plain question is, will you haul down the Star-Spangled Banner, and hist the Southern flag!"
"Nary hist!" Those was my reply.
"Your wax works and beests is then confisticated, & you air arrested as a Spy!"
Sez I, "My fragrant roses of the Southern clime and Bloomin daffodils, what's the price of whisky in this town, and how many cubic feet of that seductive flooid can you individooally hold?"
They made no reply to that, but said my wax figgers was confisticated. I axed them if that was ginerally the stile among thieves in that country, to which they also made no reply, but said I was arrested as a Spy, and must go to Montgomry in iuns. They was by this time jined by a large crowd of other Southern patrits, who commenst hollerin "Hang the baldheaded aberlitionist, and bust up his immoral exhibition!" I was ceased and tied to a stump, and the crowd went for my tent--that water-proof pavilion, wherein instruction and amoosment had been so muchly combined, at 15 cents per head--and tore it all to pieces. Meanwhile dirty- faced boys was throwin stuns and empty beer bottles at my massiv brow, and takin other improper liberties with my person. Resistance was useless, for a varity of reasons, as I readily obsarved.
The Seseshers confisticated my statoots by smashin them to attums. They then went to my money box and confisticated all the loose change therein contaned. They then went and bust in my cages, lettin all the animils loose, a small but helthy tiger among the rest. This tiger has a excentric way of tearin dogs to peaces, and I allers sposed from his gineral conduck that he'd hav no hesitashun in servin human beins in the same way if he could get at them. Excuse me if I was crooil, but I larfed boysterrusly when I see that tiger spring in among the people. "Go it, my sweet cuss!" I inardly exclaimed. "I forgive you for bitin off my left thum with all my heart! Rip 'em up like a bully tiger whose Lare has bin inwaded by Seseshers!"
I can't say for certain that the tiger serisly injured any of them, but as he was seen a few days after, sum miles distant, with a large and well selected assortment of seats of trowsis in his mouth, and as he lookt as tho he'd been havin sum vilent exercise, I rayther guess he did. You will therefore perceive that they didn't confisticate him much.
I was carried to Montgomry in iuns and placed in durans vial. The jail was a ornery edifiss, but the table was librally surplied with Bakin an Cabbidge. This was a good variety, for when I didn't hanker after Bakin I could help myself to the cabbige.
I had nobody to talk to nor nothin to talk about, howsever, and I was very lonely, specially on the first day; so when the jailer parst my lonely sell I put the few stray hairs on the back part of my hed (I'm bald now, but thare was a time when I wore sweet auburn ringlets) into as dish-hevild a state as possible, & rollin my eyes like a manyyuck, I cride: "Stay, jaler, stay! I am not mad, but soon shall be if you don't bring me suthin to Talk!" He brung me sum noospapers, for which I thanked him kindly.
At larst I got a interview with Jefferson Davis, the President of the Southern Conthieveracy. He was quite perlite, and axed me to sit down and state my case. I did it, when he larfed and said his gallunt men had been a little 2 enthoosiastic in confisticatin my show.
"Yes," sez I, "they confisticated me too muchly. I had sum hosses confisticated in the same way onct, but the confisticaters air now poundin stun in the States Prison in Injinnapylus."
"Wall, wall Mister Ward, you air at liberty to depart; you air friendly to the South, I know. Even now we hav many frens in the North, who sympathize with us, and won't mingle with this fight."
"J. Davis, there's your grate mistaik. Many of us was your sincere frends, and thought certin parties amung us was fussin about you and meddlin with your consarns intirely too much. But J. Davis, the minit you fire a gun at the piece of dry- goods called the Star-Spangled Banner, the North gits up and rises en massy, in defence of that banner. Not agin you as individooals,--not agin the South even--but to save the flag. We should indeed be weak in the knees, unsound in the heart, milk-white in the liver, and soft in the hed, if we stood quietly by, and saw this glorus Govyment smashed to pieces, either by a furrin or a intestine foe. The gentle-harted mother hates to take her naughty child across her knee, but she knows it is her dooty to do it. So we shall hate to whip the naughty South, but we must do it if you don't make back tracks at onct, and we shall wallup you out of your boots! J. Davis, it is my decided opinion that the Sonny South is makin a egrejus mutton-hed of herself!"
"Go on, sir, you're safe enuff. You're two small powder for me!" sed the President of the Southern Conthieveracy.
"Wait till I go home and start out the Baldinsville Mounted Hoss Cavalry! I'm Capting of that Corpse, I am, and J. Davis, beware! Jefferson D., I now leave you! Farewell my gay Saler Boy! Good-bye, my bold buccaneer! Pirut of the deep blue sea, adoo! adoo!"
My tower threw the Southern Conthieveracy on my way home was thrillin enuff for yeller covers. It will form the subjeck of my next. Betsy Jane and the projeny air well.
2.2. THRILLING SCENES IN DIXIE.
I had a narrer scape from the sonny South. "The swings and arrers of outrajus fortin," alluded to by Hamlick, warn't nothin in comparison to my trubles. I come pesky near swearin sum profane oaths more'n onct, but I hope I didn't do it, for I've promist she whose name shall be nameless (except that her initials is Betsy J.) that I'll jine the Meetin House at Baldinsville, jest as soon as I can scrape money enuff together so I can 'ford to be piuss in good stile, like my welthy nabers. But if I'm confisticated agin I'm fraid I shall continner on in my present benited state for sum time.
I figgered conspicyusly in many thrillin scenes in my tower from Montgomry to my humsted, and on sevril occasions I thought "the grate komick paper" wouldn't be inriched no more with my lubrications. Arter biddin adoo to Jefferson D. I started for the depot. I saw a nigger sittin on a fence a playin on a banjo, "My Afrikan Brother," sed I, coting from a Track I onct red, "you belong to a very interestin race. Your masters is goin to war excloosively on your account."
"Yes, boss," he replied, "an' I wish 'em honorable graves!" and he went on playin the banjo, larfin all over and openin his mouth wide enuff to drive in an old-fashioned 2 wheeled chaise.
The train of cars in which I was to trust my wallerable life, was the scaliest, rickytiest lookin lot of consarns that I ever saw on wheels afore. "What time does this string of second-hand coffins leave?" I inquired of the depot master. He sed direckly, and I went in & sot down. I hadn't more'n fairly squatted afore a dark lookin man with a swinister expression onto his countenance entered the cars, and lookin very sharp at me, he axed what was my principles?
"Secesh!" I ansered. "I'm a Dissoluter. I'm in favor of Jeff Davis, Bowregard, Pickens, Capt. Kidd, Bloobeard, Munro Edards, the devil, Mrs. Cunningham and all the rest of 'em."
"You're in favor of the war?"
"Certingly. By all means. I'm in favor of this war and also of the next war. I've been in favor of the next war for over sixteen years!"
"War to the knife!" sed the man.
"Blud, Eargo, Blud!" sed I, tho them words isn't orrigernal with me, them words was rit by Shakspeare, who is ded. His mantle fell onto the author of "The Seven Sisters," who's goin to hav a Spring overcoat made out of it.
We got under way at larst, an' proceeded on our jerney at about the rate of speed which is ginrally obsarved by properly-conducted funeral processions. A hansum yung gal, with a red musketer bar on the back side of her hed, and a sassy little black hat tipt over her forrerd, sot in the seat with me. She wore a little Sesesh flag pin'd onto her hat, and she was a goin for to see her troo love, who had jined the Southern army, all so bold and gay. So she told me. She was chilly and I offered her my blanket.
"Father livin?" I axed.
"Got any Uncles?"
"A heap. Uncle Thomas is ded, tho."
"Peace to Uncle Thomas's ashes, and success to him! I will be your Uncle Thomas! Lean on me, my pretty Secesher, and linger in Blissful repose!" She slept as secoorly as in her own housen, and didn't disturb the sollum stillness of the night with 'ary snore!
At the first station a troop of Sojers entered the cars and inquired if "Old Wax Works" was on bored. That was the disrespectiv stile in which they referred to me. "Becawz if Old Wax Works is on bored," sez a man with a face like a double-breasted lobster, "we're going to hang Old Wax Works!"
"My illustrious and patriotic Bummers!" sez I, a gittin up and takin orf my Shappo, "if you allude to A. Ward, it's my pleasin dooty to inform you that he's ded. He saw the error of his ways at 15 minutes parst 2 yesterday, and stabbed hisself with a stuffed sled-stake, dyin in five beautiful tabloos to slow moosic! His last words was: 'My perfeshernal career is over! I jerk no more!'"
"And who be you?"
"I'm a stoodent in Senator Benjamin's law offiss. I'm going up North to steal some spoons and things for the Southern Army."
This was satisfactory and the intossicated troopers went orf. At the next station the pretty little Secessher awoke and sed she must git out there. I bid her a kind adoo and giv her sum pervisions. "Accept my blessin and this hunk of ginger bred!" I sed. She thankt me muchly and tript galy away. There's considerable human nater in a man, and I'm afraid I shall allers giv aid and comfort to the enemy if he cums to me in the shape of a nice young gal.
At the next station I didn't get orf so easy. I was dragged out of the cars and rolled in the mud for several minits, for the purpose of "takin the conseet out of me," as a Secesher kindly stated.
I was let up finally, when a powerful large Secesher came up and embraced me, and to show that he had no hard feelins agin me, put his nose into my mouth. I returned the compliment by placin my stummick suddenly agin his right foot, when he kindly made a spittoon of his able-bodied face. Actooated by a desire to see whether the Secesher had bin vaxinated I then fastened my teeth onto his left coat-sleeve and tore it to the shoulder. We then vilently bunted out heads together for a few minutes, danced around a little, and sot down in a mudpuddle. We riz to our feet agin and by a sudden and adroit movement I placed my left eye agin the Secesher's fist. We then rushed into each other's arms and fell under a two-hoss wagon. I was very much exhaustid and didn't care about gettin up agin, but the man sed he reckoned I'd better, and I conclooded I would. He pulled me up, but I hadn't bin on my feet more'n two seconds afore the ground flew up and hit me in the hed. The crowd sed it was high old sport, but I couldn't zackly see where the lafture come in. I riz and we embraced agin. We careered madly to a steep bank, when I got the upper hands of my antaggernist and threw him into the raveen. He fell about forty feet, striking a grindstone pretty hard. I understood he was injured. I haven't heard from the grindstone.
A man in a cockt hat cum up and sed he felt as though a apology was doo me. There was a mistake. The crowd had taken me for another man! I told him not to mention it, and axed him if his wife and little ones was so as to be about, and got on bored the train, which had stopped at that station "20 minits for refreshments." I got all I wantid. It was the hartiest meal I ever et.
I was rid on a rale the next day, a bunch of blazin fire crackers bein tied to my coat tales. It was a fine spectycal in a dramatic pint of view, but I didn't enjoy it. I had other adventers of a startlin kind, but why continner? Why lasserate the Public Boozum with these here things? Suffysit to say I got across Mason & Dixie's line safe at last. I made tracks for my humsted, but she to whom I'm harnist for life failed to recognize, in the emashiated bein who stood before her, the gushin youth of forty-six summers who had left her only a few months afore. But I went into the pantry, and brought out a certin black bottle. Raisin it to my lips, I sed "Here's to you, old gal!" I did it so natral that she knowed me at once. "Those form! Them voice! That natral stile of doin things! 'Tis he!" she cried, and rushed into my arms. It was too much for her & she fell into a swoon. I cum very near swoundin myself.
No more to-day from yours for the Pepetration of the Union, and the bringin of the Goddess of Liberty out of her present bad fix.
2.3. FOURTH OF JULY ORATION.
Delivered July 4th, at Weathersfield, Connecticut, 1859.
[I delivered the follerin, about two years ago, to a large and discriminating awjince. I was 96 minits passin a givin pint. I have revised the orashun, and added sum things which makes it approposser to the times than it otherwise would be. I have also corrected the grammers and punktooated it. I do my own punktooatin now days. The Printers in "Vanity Fair" offiss can't punktooate worth a cent.]
FELLER CITIZENS: I've bin honored with a invite to norate before you to-day; and when I say that I skurcely feel ekal to the task, I'm sure you will believe me.
Weathersfield is justly celebrated for her onyins and patritism the world over, and to be axed to paws and address you on this my fust perfeshernal tower threw New Englan, causes me to feel--to feel--I may say it causes me to FEEL. (Grate applaws. They thought this was one of my eccentricities, while the fact is I was stuck. This between you and I.)
I'm a plane man. I don't know nothin about no ded languages and am a little shaky on livin ones. There4, expect no flowry talk from me. What I shall say will be to the pint, right strate out.
I'm not a politician and my other habits air good. I've no enemys to reward, nor friends to sponge. But I'm a Union man. I luv the Union--it is a Big thing--and it makes my hart bleed to see a lot of ornery peple a-movin heaven--no, not heaven, but the other place--and earth, to bust it up. Toe much good blud was spilt in courtin and marryin that hily respectable female the Goddess of Liberty, to git a divorce from her now. My own State of Injianny is celebrated for unhitchin marrid peple with neatness and dispatch, but you can't get a divorce from the Goddess up there. Not by no means. The old gal has behaved herself too well to cast her off now. I'm sorry the picters don't give her no shoes or stockins, but the band of stars upon her hed must continner to shine undimd, forever. I'm for the Union as she air, and withered be the arm of every ornery cuss who attempts to bust her up. That's me. I hav sed! [It was a very sweaty day, and at this pint of the orashun a man fell down with sunstroke. I told the awjince that considerin the large number of putty gals present I was more afraid of a DAWTER STROKE. This was impromptoo, and seemed to amoose them very much.]
Feller Citizens--I hain't got time to notis the growth of Ameriky frum the time when the Mayflowers cum over in the Pilgrim and brawt Plymouth Rock with them, but every skool boy nose our kareer has been tremenjis. You will excuse me if I don't prase the erly settlers of the Kolonies. Peple which hung idiotic old wimin for witches, burnt holes in Quakers' tongues and consined their feller critters to the tredmill and pillery on the slitest provocashun may hav bin very nice folks in their way, but I must confess I don't admire their stile, and will pass them by. I spose they ment well, and so, in the novel and techin langwidge of the nusepapers, "peas to their ashis." Thare was no diskount, however, on them brave men who fit, bled and died in the American Revolushun. We needn't be afraid of setting 'em up two steep. Like my show, they will stand any amount of prase. G. Washington was abowt the best man this world ever sot eyes on. He was a clear-heded, warm-harted, and stiddy goin man. He never slopt over! The prevailin weakness of most public men is to SLOP OVER! [Put them words in large letters--A. W.] They git filled up and slop. They Rush Things. They travel too much on the high presher principle. They git on to the fust poplar hobbyhoss whitch trots along, not carin a sent whether the beest is even goin, clear sited and sound or spavined, blind and bawky. Of course they git throwed eventooally, if not sooner. When they see the multitood goin it blind they go Pel Mel with it, instid of exerting theirselves to set it right. They can't see that the crowd which is now bearin them triumfantly on its shoulders will soon diskiver its error and cast them into the hoss pond of Oblivyun, without the slitest hesitashun. Washington never slopt over. That wasn't George's stile. He luved his country dearly. He wasn't after the spiles. He was a human angil in a 3 kornerd hat and knee britches, and we shan't see his like right away. My frends, we can't all be Washingtons but we kin all be patrits & behave ourselves in a human and a Christian manner. When we see a brother goin down hill to Ruin let us not give him a push, but let us seeze rite hold of his coat tails and draw him back to Morality.
Imagine G. Washington and P. Henry in the character of seseshers! As well fancy John Bunyan and Dr. Watts in spangled tites, doin the trapeze in a one-horse circus!
I tell you, feller-citizens, it would have bin ten dollars in Jeff Davis's pocket if he'd never bin born!
* * * * * * * *
Be shure and vote at leest once at all elecshuns. Buckle on yer armer and go to the Poles. See two it that your naber is there. See that the kripples air provided with carriages. Go to the poles and stay all day. Bewair of the infamous lise whitch the Opposishun will be sartin to git up fur perlitical effek on the eve of eleckshun. To the poles and when you git there vote jest as you darn please. This is a privilege we all persess, and it is 1 of the booties of this grate and free land.
I see mutch to admire in New Englan. Your gals in partickular air abowt as snug bilt peaces of Calliker as I ever saw. They air fully equal to the corn fed gals of Ohio and Injianny and will make the bestest kind of wives. It sets my Buzzum on fire to look at 'em.
Be still, my sole, be still, & you, Hart, stop cuttin up!
I like your skool houses, your meetin houses, your enterprise, gumpshun &c., but your favorit Bevridge I disgust. I allude to New England Rum. It is wuss nor the korn whisky of Injianny, which eats threw stone jugs & will turn the stummuck of the most shiftliss Hog. I seldom seek consolashun in the flowin Bole, but tother day I wurrid down some of your Rum. The fust glass indused me to sware like a infooriated trooper. On takin the secund glass I was seezed with a desire to break winders, & arter imbibin the third glass I knockt a small boy down, pickt his pocket of a New York Ledger, and wildly commenced readin Sylvanus Kobb's last Tail. Its drefful stuff--a sort of lickwid litenin, gut up under the personal supervishun of the devil--tears men's inards all to peaces and makes their noses blossum as the Lobster. Shun it as you would a wild hyeny with a firebrand tied to his tale, and while you air abowt it you will do a first-rate thing for yourself and everybody abowt you by shunnin all kinds of intoxicatin lickers. You don't need 'em no more'n a cat needs 2 tales, sayin nothin abowt the trubble and sufferin they cawse. But unless your inards air cast iron, avoid New England's favorite Bevrige.
My frends, I'm dun. I tear myself away from you with tears in my eyes & a pleasant oder of Onyins abowt my close. In the langwidge of Mister Catterline to the Rummuns, I go, but perhaps I shall cum back agin. Adoo, people of Weathersfield. Be virtoous & you'll be happy!
2.4. THE WAR FEVER IN BALDINSVILLE.
As soon as I'd recooperated my physikil system, I went over into the village. The peasantry was glad to see me. The skoolmaster sed it was cheerin to see that gigantic intelleck among 'em onct more. That's what he called me. I like the skoolmaster, and allers send him tobacker when I'm off on a travelin campane. Besides, he is a very sensible man. Such men must be encouraged.
They don't git news very fast in Baldinsville, as nothin but a plank road runs in there twice a week, and that's very much out of repair. So my nabers wasn't much posted up in regard to the wars. 'Squire Baxter sed he'd voted the dimicratic ticket for goin on forty year, and the war was a dam black republican lie. Jo. Stackpole, who kills hogs for the Squire, and has got a powerful muscle into his arms, sed he'd bet 5 dollars he could lick the Crisis in a fair stand-up fight, if he wouldn't draw a knife on him. So it went--sum was for war, and sum was for peace. The skoolmaster, however, sed the Slave Oligarky must cower at the feet of the North ere a year had flowed by, or pass over his dead corpse. "Esto perpetua!" he added! "And sine qua non also!" sed I, sternly, wishing to make a impression onto the villagers. "Requiescat in pace!" sed the skoolmaster, "Too troo, too troo!" I anserd, "it's a scanderlus fact!"
The newspapers got along at last, chock full of war, and the patriotic fever fairly bust out in Baldinsville. 'Squire Baxter sed he didn't b'lieve in Coercion, not one of 'em, and could prove by a file of "Eagles of Liberty" in his garrit, that it was all a Whig lie, got up to raise the price of whisky and destroy our other liberties. But the old 'Squire got putty riley, when he heard how the rebels was cuttin up, and he sed he reckoned he should skour up his old muskit and do a little square fitin for the Old Flag, which had allers bin on the ticket HE'D voted, and he was too old to Bolt now. The 'Squire is all right at heart, but it takes longer for him to fill his venerable Biler with steam than it used to when he was young and frisky. As I previously informed you, I am Captin of the Baldinsville Company. I riz gradooally but majestically from drummer's Secretary to my present position. But I found the ranks wasn't full by no means, and commenced for to recroot. Havin notist a gineral desire on the part of young men who are into the crisis to wear eppylits, I detarmined to have my company composed excloosviely of offissers, everybody to rank as Brigadeer-Ginral. The follerin was among the varis questions which I put to recroots:
Do you know a masked battery from a hunk of gingerbread?
Do you know a eppylit from a piece of chalk?
If I trust you with a real gun, how many men of your own company do you speck you can manage to kill durin the war?
Hav you ever heard of Ginral Price of Missouri, and can you avoid simler accidents in case of a battle?
Have you ever had the measles, and if so, how many?
How air you now?
Show me your tongue, &c., &c. Sum of the questions was sarcusstical.
The company filled up rapid, and last Sunday we went to the meetin house in full uniform. I had a seris time gittin into my military harness, as it was bilt for me many years ago; but I finally got inside of it, tho' it fitted me putty clost. Howsever, onct into it, I lookt fine--in fact, aw-inspirin. "Do you know me, Mrs. Ward?" sed I, walking into the kitchin.
"Know you, you old fool? Of course I do."
I saw at once she did.
I started for the meetin house, and I'm afraid I tried to walk too strate, for I cum very near fallin over backards; and in attemptin to recover myself, my sword got mixed up with my legs, and I fell in among a choice collection of young ladies, who was standin near the church door a-seein the sojer boys come up. My cockt hat fell off, and sumhow my coat tales got twisted round my neck. The young ladies put their handkerchers to their mouths and remarked: "Te he," while my ancient female single friend, Sary Peasley, bust out in a loud larf. She exercised her mouth so vilently that her new false teeth fell out onto the ground.
"Miss Peaseley," sed I, gittin up and dustin myself, "you must be more careful with them store teeth of your'n or you'll have to gum it agin!"
Methinks I had her.
I'd bin to work hard all the week, and I felt rather snoozy. I'm 'fraid I did git half asleep, for on hearin the minister ask, "Why was man made to mourn?" I sed, "I giv it up," havin a vague idee that it was a condrum. It was a onfortnit remark, for the whole meetin house lookt at me with mingled surprise and indignation. I was about risin to a pint of order, when it suddenly occurd to me whare I was, and I kept my seat, blushin like the red, red rose--so to speak.
The next mornin I 'rose with the lark (N.B.--I don't sleep with the lark, tho.' A goak).
My little dawter was execootin ballids, accompanyin herself with the Akordeon, and she wisht me to linger and hear her sing: "Hark I hear a angel singin, a angel now is onto the wing."
"Let him fly, my child!" sed I, a-bucklin on my armer; "I must forth to my Biz."
We air progressin pretty well with our drill. As all air commandin offissers, there ain't no jelusy, and as we air all exceedin smart, it t'aint worth while to try to outstrip each other. The idee of a company composed excloosively of Commanders-in-Chiefs, orriggernated, I spose I skurcely need say, in these Brane. Considered AS a idee, I flatter myself it is putty hefty. We've got all the tackticks at our tongs' ends, but what we particly excel in is restin muskits. We can rest muskits with anybody.
Our corpse will do its dooty. We go to the aid of Columby--we fight for the stars!
We'll be chopt into sassige meat before we'll exhibit our cote-tales to the foe.
We'll fight till there's nothin left of us but our little toes and even they shall defiantly wiggle!
"Ever of thee," A. Ward.
2.5. A WAR MEETING.
Our complaint just now is war meetin's. They've bin havin 'em bad in varis parts of our cheerful Republic, and nat'rally we caught 'em here in Baldinsville. They broke out all over us. They're better attended than the Eclipse was.
I remember how people poured into our town last Spring to see the Eclipse. They labored into a impression that they couldn't see it to home, and so they cum up to our place. I cleared a very handsome amount of money by exhibitin' the Eclipse to 'em, in an open-top tent. But the crowds is bigger now. Posey County is aroused. I may say, indeed, that the pra-hay-ories of Injianny is on fire.
Our big meetin' came off the other night, and our old friend of the "Bugle" was elected Cheerman.
The "Bugle-Horn of Liberty" is one of Baldinsville's most eminentest institootions. The advertisements are well- written, and the deaths and marriages are conducted with signal ability. The editor, MR. SLINKERS, is a polish'd, skarcastic writer. Folks in these parts will not soon forgit how he used up the "Eagle of Freedom," a family journal published at Snootville, near here. The controversy was about a plank road. "The road may be, as our cotemporary says, a humbug; but OUR aunt isn't bald-heded, and WE haven't got a one-eyed sister Sal! Wonder if the Editor of the "Eagle of Freedom" sees it?" This used up the "Eagle of Freedom" feller, because his aunt's head does present a skinn'd appearance, and his sister SARAH is very much one-eyed. For a genteel home-thrust, MR. SLINKERS has few ekals. He is a man of great pluck likewise. He has a fierce nostril, and I believe upon my soul that if it wasn't absolootly necessary for him to remain here and announce in his paper, from week to week, that "our Gov'ment is about to take vig'rous measures to put down the rebellion"--I b'lieve, upon my soul, this illustris man would enlist as a Brigadier Gin'ral, and git his Bounty. . . . .
I was fixin myself up to attend the great war meetin', when my daughter entered with a young man who was evijently from the city, and who wore long hair, and had a wild expression into his eye. In one hand he carried a port-folio, and his other paw claspt a bunch of small brushes. My daughter introduced him as MR. SWEIBIER, the distinguished landscape painter from Philadelphy.
"He is a artist, papa. Here is one of his master-pieces--a young mother gazin' admirin'ly upon her first-born," and my daughter showed me a really pretty picter, done in ile. "Is it not beautiful, papa? He throws so much soul into his work."
"Does he? does he?" said I--"well, I reckon I'd better hire him to whitewash our fence. It needs it. What will you charge, sir," I continued, "to throw some soul into my fence?"
My daughter went out of the room in very short meeter, takin' the artist with her, and from the emphatical manner in which the door slam'd, I concluded she was summat disgusted at my remarks. She closed the door, I may say, in ITALICS. I went into the closet and larfed all alone by myself for over half an hour. I larfed so vi'lently that the preserve jars rattled like a cavalry offisser's sword and things, which it aroused my BETSY, who came and opened the door pretty suddent. She seized me by the few lonely hairs that still linger sadly upon my bare-footed hed, and dragged me out of the closet, incidentally obsarving that she didn't exactly see why she should be compelled, at her advanced stage of life, to open a assylum for sooperanooated idiots.
My wife is one of the best wimin on this continent, altho' she isn't always gentle as a lamb, with mint sauce. No, not always.
But to return to the war meetin'. It was largely attended. The Editor of the "Bugle" arose and got up and said the fact could no longer be disguised that we were involved in a war. "Human gore," said he, "is flowin'. All able-bodied men should seize a musket and march to the tented field. I repeat it sir, to the tented field."
A voice--"Why don't you go yourself, you old blowhard?"
"I am identified, young man, with a Arkymedian leaver which moves the world," said the Editor, wiping his auburn brow with his left coat-tail; "I allude, young man, to the press: Terms, two dollars a year, invariably in advance. Job printing executed with neatness and dispatch!" And with this brilliant bust of elekance the Editor introduced Mr. J. Brutus Hinkins, who is suffering from an attack of College in a naberin' place. Mr. Hinkins said Washington was not safe. Who can save our national capeetle?
"DAN SETCHELL," I said. "He can do it afternoons. Let him plant his light and airy form onto the Long Bridge, make faces at the hirelin' foe, and they'll skedaddle! Old SETCH can do it."
"I call the Napoleon of Showmen," said the Editor of the "Bugle,"--"I call that Napoleonic man, whose life is adorned with so many noble virtues, and whose giant mind lights up this warlike scene--I call him to order."
I will remark, in this connection, that the Editor of the "Bugle" does my job printing.
"You," said Mr. Hinkins, "who live away from the busy haunts of men do not comprehend the magnitood of the crisis. The busy haunts of men is where people comprehend this crisis. We who live in the busy haunts of men--that is to say, we dwell, as it were, in the busy haunts of men."
"I really trust that the gen'l'man will not fail to say suthin' about the busy haunts of men before he sits down," said I.
"I claim the right to express my sentiments here," said Mr. Hinkins, in a slightly indignant tone, "and I shall brook no interruption, if I am a Softmore."
"You couldn't be MORE SOFT, my young friend," I observed, whereupon there was cries of Order! order!"
"I regret I can't mingle in this strife personally," said the young man.
"You might inlist as a liberty-pole," said I, in a silvery whisper.
"But," he added, "I have a voice, and that voice is for war." The young man then closed his speech with some strikin and orginal remarks in relation to the star-spangled banner. He was followed by the village minister, a very worthy man indeed, but whose sermons have a tendency to make people sleep pretty industriously.
"I am willin' to inlist for one," he said.
"What's your weight, parson?" I asked.
"A hundred and sixty pounds," he said.
"Well, you can inlist as a hundred and sixty pounds of morphine, your dooty bein' to stand in the hospitals arter a battle, and preach while the surgical operations is bein' performed! Think how much you'd save the Gov'ment in morphine."
He didn't seem to see it; but he made a good speech, and the editor of the "Bugle" rose to read the resolutions, commencin' as follers:
RESOLVED, That we view with anxiety the fact that there is now a war goin' on, and
RESOLVED, That we believe Stonewall Jackson sympathizes with the secession movement, and that we hope the nine-months men--
At this point he was interrupted by the sounds of silvery footsteps on the stairs, and a party of wimin, carryin' guns and led by BETSY JANE, who brandish'd a loud and rattlin' umbereller, burst into the room.
"Here," cried I, "are some nine-months wimin!"
"Mrs. Ward," said the editor of the "Bugle"--"Mrs. WARD and ladies, what means this extr'ord'n'ry demonstration?"
"It means," said that remarkable female "that you men air makin' fools of yourselves. You air willin' to talk and urge others to go to the wars, but you don't go to the wars yourselves. War meetin's is very nice in their way, but they don't keep STONEWALL JACKSON from comin' over to Maryland and helpin' himself to the fattest beef critters. What we want is more cider and less talk. We want you able-bodied men to stop speechifying, which don't 'mount to the wiggle of a sick cat's tail, and to go fi'tin'; otherwise you can stay to home and take keer of the children, while we wimin will go to the wars!"
"Gentl'man," said I, "that's my wife! Go in, old gal!" and I throw'd up my ancient white hat in perfeck rapters.
"Is this roll-book to be filled up with the names of men or wimin?" she cried.
"With men--with men!" and our quoty was made up that very night.
There is a great deal of gas about these war meetin's. A war meetin', in fact, without gas, would be suthin' like the play of HAMLET with the part of OTHELLO omitted.
Still believin' that the Goddess of Liberty is about as well sot up with as any young lady in distress could expect to be, I am Yours more'n anybody else's, A. Ward.
2.6. THE DRAFT IN BALDINSVILLE.
If I'm drafted I shall RESIGN.
Deeply grateful for the onexpected honor thus confered upon me I shall feel compeld to resign the position in favor of sum more worthy person. Modesty is what ails me. That's what's kept me under.
I meanter-say, I shall hav to resign if I'm drafted everywheres I've bin inrold. I must now, furrinstuns, be inrold in upards of 200 different towns. If I'd kept on travelin' I should hav eventooaly becum a Brigade, in which case I could have held a meetin' and elected myself Brigadeer- ginral quite unanimiss. I hadn't no idea there was so many of me before. But, serisly, I concluded to stop exhibitin', and made tracks for Baldinsville.
My only daughter threw herself onto my boosum, and said, "It is me fayther! I thank the gods!"
She reads the "Ledger."
"Tip us yer bunch of fives, old faker!" said ARTEMUS, Jr. He reads the "Clipper."
My wife was to the sowin' circle. I knew she and the wimin folks was havin' a pleasant time slanderin' the females of the OTHER sowin' circle (which likewise met that arternoon, and was doubtless enjoyin' theirselves ekally well in slanderin' the fust-named circle), and I didn't send for her. I allus like to see people enjoy theirselves.
My son ORGUSTUS was playin' onto a floot.
ORGUSTUS is a ethereal cuss. The twins was bildin' cob-houses in a corner of the kitchin'.
It'll cost some postage-stamps to raise this fam'ly, and yet it 'ud go hard with the old man to lose any lamb of the flock.
An old bachelor is a poor critter. He may have hearn the skylark or (what's nearly the same thing) MISS KELLOGG and CARLOTTY PATTI sing; he may have hearn OLE BULL fiddle, and all the DODWORTHS toot, an' yet he don't know nothin' about music--the real, ginuine thing--the music of the laughter of happy, well-fed children! And you may ax the father of sich children home to dinner, feelin werry sure there'll be no spoons missin' when he goes away. Sich fathers never drop tin five-cent pieces into the contribution box, nor palm shoe-pegs off onto blind hosses for oats, nor skedaddle to British sile when their country's in danger--nor do anything which is really mean. I don't mean to intimate that the old bachelor is up to little games of this sort--not at all--but I repeat, he's a poor critter. He don't live here; only stays. He ought to 'pologize on behalf of his parients, for bein' here at all. The happy marrid man dies in good stile at home, surrounded by his weeping wife and children. The old bachelor don't die at all--he sort of rots away, like a pollywog's tail. . . . .
My townsmen were sort o' demoralized. There was a evident desine to ewade the Draft, as I obsarved with sorrer, and patritism was below Par--and MAR, too. [A jew desprit.] I hadn't no sooner sot down on the piazzy of the tavoun than I saw sixteen solitary hossmen, ridin' four abreast, wendin' their way up the street.
"What's them? Is it cavilry?"
"That," said the landlord, "is the stage. Sixteen able-bodied citizens has literally bo't the stage line 'tween here and Scotsburg. That's them. They're Stage-drivers. Stage- drivers is exempt!"
I saw that each stage-driver carried a letter in his left hand.
"The mail is hevy, to-day," said the landlord. "Gin'rally they don't have more'n half a dozen letters 'tween 'em. To- day they're got one a piece! Bile my lights and liver!"
"And the passengers?"
"There ain't any, skacely, now-days," said the landlord, "and what few ther is very much prefer to walk, the roads is so rough."
"And how ist with you?" I inquired of the editor of the "Bugle-Horn of Liberty," who sot near me.
"I can't go," he said, shakin' his head in a wise way. "Ordinarily I should delight to wade in gore, but my bleedin' country bids me stay at home. It is imperatively necessary that I remain here for the purpose of announcin', from week to week, that OUR GOV'MENT IS ABOUT TO TAKE VIGOROUS MEASURES TO PUT DOWN THE REBELLION!"
I strolled into the village oyster-saloon, where I found Dr. SCHWAZEY, a leadin' citizen in a state of mind which showed that he'd bin histin' in more'n his share of pizen.
"Hello, old Beeswax," he bellered; "how's yer grandmams? When you goin' to feed your stuffed animils?"
"What's the matter with the eminent physician?" I pleasantly inquired.
"This," he said; "this is what's the matter. I'm a habit-ooal drunkard! I'm exempt!"
"Do you see them beans, old man?" and he pinted to a plate before him. "Do you see 'em?"
"I do. They are a cheerful fruit when used tempritly."
"Well," said he, "I hadn't eat anything since last week. I eat beans now BECAUSE I eat beans THEN. I never mix my vittles!"
"It's quite proper you should eat a little suthin' once in a while," I said. "It's a good idee to occasionally instruct the stummick that it mustn't depend excloosively on licker for its sustainance."
"A blessin'," he cried; "a blessin' onto the hed of the man what invented beans. A blessin' onto his hed!"
"Which his name is GILSON! He's a first family of Bostin," said I. . . . .
This is a speciment of how things was goin' in my place of residence. . . . .
A few was true blue. The schoolmaster was among 'em. He greeted me warmly. He said I was welkim to those shores. He said I had a massiv mind. It was gratifyin', he said, to see the great intelleck stalkin' in their midst onct more. I have before had occasion to notice this schoolmaster. He is evidently a young man of far more than ord'nary talents.
The schoolmaster proposed we should git up a mass meetin'. The meetin' was largely attended. We held it in the open air round a roarin' bonfire.
The schoolmaster was the first orator. He's pretty good on the speak. He also writes well, his composition bein' seldom marred by ingrammatticisms. He said this inactivity surprised him. "What do you expect will come of this kind of doin's? Nihil fit--"
"Hooray for Nihil!" I interrupted. "Fellow-citizens, let's giv three cheers for Nihil, the man who fit!"
The schoolmaster turned a little red, but repeated--"Nihil fit."
"Exactly," I said. "Nihil FIT. He wasn't a strategy feller."
"Our venerable friend," said the schoolmaster, smilin' pleasantly, "isn't posted in Virgil."
"No, I don't know him. But if he's a able-bodied man he must stand his little draft."
The schoolmaster wound up in eloquent style, and the subscriber took the stand.
I said the crisis had not only cum itself, but it had brought all its relations. It has cum, I said, with a evident intention of makin' us a good long visit. It's goin' to take off its things and stop with us. My wife says so too. This is a good war. For those who like this war, it's just such a kind of war as they like. I'll bet ye. My wife says so too. If the Federal army succeeds in takin' Washington, and they seem to be advancin' that way pretty often, I shall say it is strategy, and Washington will be safe. And that noble banner, as it were--that banner, as it were--will be a emblem, or rather, I should say, that noble banner--AS IT WERE. My wife says so too. [I got a little mixed up here, but they didn't notice it. Keep mum.] Feller citizens, it will be a proud day for this Republic when Washington is safe. My wife says so too.
The editor of the "Bugle-Horn of Liberty" here arose and said: "I do not wish to interrupt the gentleman, but a impertant despatch has just bin received at the telegraph office here. I will read it. It is as follows: GOV'MENT IS ABOUT TO TAKE VIGOROUS MEASURES TO PUT DOWN THE REBELLION! [Loud applause.]
That, said I, is cheering. That's soothing. And Washington will be safe. [Sensation.] Philadelphia is safe. Gen. PATTERSON'S in Philadelphia. But my heart bleeds partic'ly for Washington. My wife says so too.
There's money enough. No trouble about MONEY. They've got a lot of first-class bank-note engravers at Washington (which place, I regret to say, is by no means safe) who turn out two or three cords of money a day--good money, too. Goes well. These bank-note engravers made good wages. I expect they lay up property. They are full of Union sentiment. There is considerable Union sentiment in Virginny, more especially among the honest farmers of the Shenandoah valley. My wife says so too.
Then it isn't money we want. But we do want MEN, and we must have them. We must carry a whirlwind of fire among the foe. We must crush the ungrateful rebels who are poundin' the Goddess of Liberty over the head with slung-shots, and stabbin' her with stolen knives! We must lick 'em quick. We must introduce a large number of first-class funerals among the people of the South. Betsy says so too.
This war hain't been too well managed. We all know that. What then? We are all in the same boat--if the boat goes down, we go down with her. Hence we must all fight. It ain't no use to talk now about who CAUSED the war. That's played out. The war is upon us--upon us all--and we must all fight. We can't "reason" the matter with the foe. When, in the broad glare of the noonday sun, a speckled jackass boldly and maliciously kicks over a peanut-stand, do we "reason" with him? I guess not. And why "reason" with those other Southern people who are trying to kick over the Republic! Betsy, my wife, says so too.
The meeting broke up with enthusiasm.
We shan't draft in Baldinsville if we can help it.
2.7. SURRENDER OF CORNWALLIS.
It was customary in many of the inland towns of New England, some thirty years ago, to celebrate the anniversary of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis by a sham representation of that important event in the history of the Revolutionary War. A town meeting would be called, at which a company of men would be detailed as British, and a company as Americans--two leading citizens being selected to represent Washington and Cornwallis in mimic surrender.
The pleasant little town of W--, in whose schools the writer has been repeatedly "corrected," upon whose ponds he has often skated, upon whose richest orchards he has, with other juvenile bandits, many times dashed in the silent midnight; the town of W--, where it was popularly believed these bandits would "come to a bad end," resolved to celebrate the surrender. Rival towns had celebrated, and W-- determined to eclipse them in the most signal manner. It is my privilege to tell how W-- succeeded in this determination.
The great day came. It was ushered in by the roar of musketry, the ringing of the village church bell, the squeaking of fifes, and the rattling of drums.
People poured into the village from all over the county. Never had W-- experienced such a jam. Never had there been such an onslaught upon gingerbread carts. Never had New England rum (for this was before Neal Dow's day) flowed so freely. And W--'s fair daughters, who mounted the house-tops to see the surrender, had never looked fairer. The old folks came, too, and among them were several war-scarred heroes, who had fought gallantly at Monmouth and Yorktown. These brave sons of '76 took no part in the demonstration, but an honored bench was set apart for their exclusive use on the piazza of Sile Smith's store. When they were dry all they had to do was to sing out to Sile's boy, Jerry, "a leetle New Englan' this way, if YOU please." It was brought forthwith.
At precisely 9 o'clock, by the schoolmaster's new "Lepeen" watch, the American and British forces marched on to the village green and placed themselves in battle array, reminding the spectator of the time when
"Brave Wolfe drew up his men In a style most pretty, On the Plains of Abraham Before the city."
The character of Washington had been assigned to 'Squire Wood, a well-to-do and influential farmer, while that of Cornwallis had been given to the village lawyer, a kind-hearted but rather pompous person, whose name was Caleb Jones.
'Squire Wood, the Washington of the occasion, had met with many unexpected difficulties in preparing his forces, and in his perplexity he had emptied not only his own canteen but those of most of his aids. The consequence was--mortifying as it must be to all true Americans--blushing as I do to tell it, Washington at the commencement of the mimic struggle was most unqualifiedly drunk.
The sham fight commenced. Bang! bang! bang! from the Americans--bang! bang! bang! from the British. The bangs were kept hotly up until the powder gave out, and then came the order to charge. Hundreds of wooden bayonets flashed fiercely in the sunlight, each soldier taking very good care not to hit anybody.
"Thaz (hic) right," shouted Washington, who during the shooting had been racing his horse wildly up and down the line, "thaz right! GIN it to 'em! Cut their tarnal heads off!"
"On, Romans!" shrieked Cornwallis, who had once seen a theatrical performance and remembered the heroic appeals of the Thespian belligerents, "on to the fray! No sleep till mornin'."
"Let eout all their bowels," yelled Washington, "and down with taxation on tea!"
The fighting now ceased, the opposing forces were properly arranged, and Cornwallis, dismounting, prepared to present his sword to Washington according to programme. As he walked slowly towards the Father of His Country he rehearsed the little speech he had committed for the occasion, while the illustrious being who was to hear it was making desperate efforts to keep in his saddle. Now he would wildly brandish his sword and narrowly escape cutting off his horse's ears, and then he would fall suddenly forward on to the steed's neck, grasping the mane as drowning men seize hold of straws. He was giving an inimitable representation of Toodles on horseback. All idea of the magnitude of the occasion had left him, and when he saw Cornwallis approaching, with slow and stately step, and sword-hilt extended toward him, he inquired,
"What'n devil YOU want, any (hic) how!"
"General Washington," said Cornwallis, in dignified and impressive tones, "I tender you my sword. I need not inform you, Sir, how deeply--"
The speech was here suddenly cut short by Washington, who, driving the spurs into his horse, playfully attempted to ride over the commander of the British forces. He was not permitted to do this, for his aids, seeing his unfortunate condition, seized the horse by the bridle, straightened Washington up in his saddle, and requested Cornwallis to proceed with his remarks.
"General Washington," said Cornwallis, "the British Lion prostrates himself at the feet of the American Eagle!"
"EAGLE? EAGLE!" yelled the infuriated Washington, rolling off his horse and hitting Cornwallis a frightful blow on the head with the flat of his sword, "do you call me a EAGLE, you mean, sneakin' cuss?" He struck him again, sending him to the ground, and said, "I'll learn you to call me a Eagle, you infernal scoundrel!"
Cornwallis remained upon the ground only a moment. Smarting from the blows he had received, he arose with an entirely unlooked for recuperation on the part of the fallen, and in direct defiance of historical example; in spite of the men of both nations, indeed, he whipped the Immortal Washington until he roared for mercy.
The Americans, at first mortified and indignant at the conduct of their chief, now began to sympathize with him, and resolved to whip their mock foes in earnest. They rushed fiercely upon them, but the British were really the stronger party and drove the Americans back. Not content with this they charged madly upon them and drove them from the field--from the village, in fact. There were many heads damaged, eyes draped in mourning, noses fractured and legs lamed--it is a wonder that no one was killed outright.
Washington was confined to his house for several weeks, but he recovered at last. For a time there was a coolness between himself and Cornwallis, but they finally concluded to join the whole county in laughing about the surrender.
They live now. Time, the "artist," has thoroughly whitewashed their heads, but they are very jolly still. On town meeting days the old 'Squire always rides down to the village. In the hind part of his venerable yellow wagon is always a bunch of hay, ostensibly for the old white horse, but really to hide a glass bottle from the vulgar gaze. This bottle has on one side a likeness of Lafayette, and upon the other may be seen the Goddess of Liberty. What the bottle contains inside I cannot positively say, but it is true that 'Squire Wood and Lawyer Jones visit that bottle very frequently on town-meeting days and come back looking quite red in the face. When this redness in the face becomes of the blazing kind, as it generally does by the time the polls close, a short dialogue like this may be heard.
"We shall never play surrender again, Lawyer Jones."
"Them days is over, 'Squire Wood!"
2.8. THINGS IN NEW YORK.
The stoodent and connyseer must have noticed and admired in varis parts of the United States of America large yeller hanbills, which not only air gems of art in theirselves, but they troothfully sit forth the attractions of my show--a show, let me here obsarve, that contains many livin' wild animils, every one of which has got a Beautiful Moral.
Them hanbills is sculpt in New York.
& I annoolly repair here to git some more on 'um;
&, bein' here, I tho't I'd issoo a Adress to the public on matters and things.
Since last I meyandered these streets, I have bin all over the Pacific Slopes and Utah. I cum back now, with my virtoo unimpaired; but I've got to git some new clothes.
Many changes has taken place, even durin' my short absence, & sum on um is Sollum to contempulate. The house in Varick street, where I used to Board, is bein' torn down. That house, which was rendered memoriable by my livin' into it, is "parsin' away! parsin' away!" But some of the timbers will be made into canes, which will be sold to my admirers at the low price of one dollar each. Thus is changes goin' on continerly. In the New World it is war--in the Old World Empires is totterin' & Dysentaries is crumblin'. These canes is cheap at a dollar.
Sammy Booth, Duane street, sculps my hanbills, & he's artist. He studid in Rome--State of New York.
I'm here to read the proof-sheets of my hanbils as fast as they're sculpt. You have to watch these ere printers pretty close, for they're jest as apt to spel a wurd rong as anyhow.
But I have time to look around sum & how do I find things? I return to the Atlantic States after a absence of ten months, & what State do I find the country in? Why I don't know what State I find it in. Suffice it to say, that I do not find it in the State of New Jersey.
I find sum things that is cheerin', particly the resolve on the part of the wimin of America to stop wearin' furrin goods.
I never meddle with my wife's things. She may wear muslin from Greenland's icy mountains, and bombazeen from Injy's coral strands, if she wants to; but I'm glad to state that that superior woman has peeled off all her furrin clothes and jumpt into fabrics of domestic manufactur.
But, says sum folks, if you stop importin' things you stop the revenoo. That's all right. We can stand it if the Revenoo can. On the same principle young men should continer to get drunk on French brandy and to smoke their livers as dry as a corn-cob with Cuby cigars because 4-sooth if they don't, it will hurt the Revenoo! This talk 'bout the Revenoo is of the bosh boshy. One thing is tol'bly certin--if we don't send gold out of the country we shall have the consolation of knowing that it is in the country. So I say great credit is doo the wimin for this patriotic move--and to tell the trooth, the wimin genrally know what they're bout. Of all the blessins they're the soothinist. If there'd never bin any wimin, where would my children be to-day?
But I hope this move will lead to other moves that air just as much needed, one of which is a genral and therrer curtainment of expenses all round. The fact is we air gettin' ter'bly extravgant, and onless we paws in our mad career in less than two years the Goddess of Liberty will be seen dodgin' into a Pawn Broker's shop with the other gown done up in a bundle, even if she don't have to Spout the gold stars in her head-band. Let us all take hold jintly, and live and dress centsibly, like our forefathers who know'd moren we do, if they warnt quite so honest! (Suttle goaketh.)
There air other cheerin' signs for Ameriky. We don't, for instuns, lack great Gen'rals, and we certinly don't brave sojers--but there's one thing I wish we did lack, and that is our present Congress.
I venture to say that if you sarch the earth all over with a ten-hoss power mikriscope, you won't be able to find such another pack of poppycock gabblers as the present Congress of the United States of America would be able to find--find among their constituents.
Gentleman of the Senit & of the House, you've sot there and draw'd your pay and made summer-complaint speeches long enuff. The country at large, incloodin' the undersined, is disgusted with you. Why don't you show us a statesman--sumbody who can make a speech that will hit the pop'lar hart right under the great Public weskit? Why don't you show us a statesman who can rise up to the Emergency, and cave in the Emergency's head?
Congress, you won't do. Go home, you mizzerable devils--go home!
At a special Congressional 'lection in my district the other day I delib'ritly voted for Henry Clay. I admit that Henry is dead, but inasmuch as we don't seem to have a live statesman in our National Congress, let us by all means have a first- class corpse.
Them who think that a cane made from the timbers of the house I once boarded in is essenshall to their happiness, should not delay about sendin' the money right on for one.
My reported captur by the North American savijis of Utah, led my wide circle of friends and creditors to think that I had bid adoo to earthly things and was a angel playin' on a golden harp. Hents my rival home was on expected.
It was 11, P.M., when I reached my homestid and knockt a healthy knock on the door thereof.
A nightcap thrusted itself out of the front chamber winder. (It was my Betsy's nightcap.) And a voice said:
"Who is it?"
"It is a Man!" I answered, in a gruff vois.
"I don't b'lieve it!" she sed.
"Then come down and search me," I replied.
Then resumin' my nat'ral voice, I said, "It is your own A. W., Betsy! Sweet lady, wake! Ever of thou!"
"Oh," she said, "it's you, is it? I thought I smelt something."
But the old girl was glad to see me.
In the mornin' I found that my family were entertainin' a artist from Philadelphy, who was there paintin' some startlin water-falls and mountains, and I morin suspected he had a hankerin' for my oldest dauter.
"Mr. Skimmerhorn, father," sed my dauter.
"Glad to see you, Sir!" I replied in a hospittle vois--"Glad to see you."
"He is an artist, father," sed my child.
"An artist. A painter."
"And glazier," I askt. "Air you a painter and glazier, sir?"
My dauter and wife was mad, but I couldn't help it; I felt in a comikil mood.
"It is a wonder to me, Sir," sed the artist, "considerin what a widespread reputation you have, that some of our Eastern managers don't secure you."
"It's a wonder to me," said I to my wife, "that somebody don't secure him with a chain."
After breakfast I went over to town to see my old friends. The editor of the "Bugle" greeted me cordyully, and showed me the follerin' article he'd just written about the paper on the other side of the street:
"We have recently put up in our office an entirely new sink, of unique construction--with two holes through which the soiled water may pass to the new bucket underneath. What will the hell-hounds of "The Advertiser" say to this! We shall continue to make improvements as fast as our rapidly increasing business may warrant. Wonder whether a certain editor's wife thinks she can palm off a brass watch-chain on this community for a gold one?"
"That," says the Editor, "hits him whar he lives. That will close him up as bad as it did when I wrote an article ridicooling his sister, who's got a cock-eye."
A few days after my return I was shown a young man, who says he'll be Dam if he goes to the war. He was settin' on a barrel, and was indeed a Loathsum objeck.
Last Sunday I heard Parson Batkins preach, and the good old man preached well, too, tho' his prayer was ruther lengthy. The Editor of the "Bugle," who was with me, sed that prayer would make fifteen squares, solid nonparil.
I don't think of nothin' more to write about. So, "B'leeve me if all those endearing young charms," &c., &c.
2.9. TOUCHING LETTER FROM A GORY MEMBER OF THE HOME GUARD.
Broadway, Dec. 10, '61.
Dear Father and Mother,--We are all getting along very well. We mess at Delmonico's. Do not repine for your son. Some must suffer for the glorious Stars and Stripes, and dear parents, why shouldn't I? Tell Mrs. Skuller that we do not need the blankets she so kindly sent to us, as we bunk at the St. Nicholas and Metropolitan. What our brave lads stand most in need of now is Fruit Cake and Waffles. Do not weep for me.
2.10. IN CANADA.
I'm at present existin' under a monikal form of Gov'ment. In other words I'm travellin' among the crowned heds of Canady. They ain't pretty bad people. On the cont'ry, they air exceedin' good people.
Troo, they air deprived of many blessins. They don't enjoy for instans, the priceless boon of a war. They haven't any American Egil to onchain, and they hain't got a Fourth of July to their backs.
Altho' this is a monikal form of Gov'ment, I am onable to perceeve much moniky. I tried to git a piece in Toronto, but failed to succeed.
Mrs. VICTORIA, who is Queen of England, and has all the luxuries of the markets, includin' game in its season, don't bother herself much about Canady, but lets her do 'bout as she's mighter. She, however, gin'rally keeps her supplied with a lord, who's called a Gov'ner Gin'ral. Sometimes the politicians of Canady make it lively for this lord--for Canady has politicians, and I expect they don't differ from our politicians, some of 'em bein' gifted and talented liars, no doubt.
The present Gov'ner Gin'ral of Canady is Lord MONK. I saw him review some volunteers at Montreal. He was accompanied by some other lords and dukes and generals and those sort of things. He rode a little bay horse, and his close wasn't any better than mine. You'll always notiss, by the way, that the higher up in the world a man is, the less good harness he puts on. Hence Gin'ral HALLECK walks the streets in plain citizen's dress, while the second lieutenant of a volunteer regiment piles all the brass things he can find onto his back, and drags a forty-pound sword after him.
Monk has been in the lord bisniss some time, and I understand it pays, tho' I don't know what a lord's wages is. The wages of sin is death and postage stamps. But this has nothing to do with MONK.
One of Lord MONK'S daughters rode with him on the field. She has golden hair, a kind, good face, and wore a red hat. I should be very happy to have her pay me and my family a visit at Baldinsville. Come and bring your knittin', Miss MONK. Mrs. WARD will do the fair thing by you. She makes the best slap-jacks in America. As a slap-jackist, she has no ekal. She wears the Belt.
What the review was all about, I don't know. I haven't a gigantic intelleck, which can grasp great questions at onct. I am not a WEBSTER or a SEYMOUR. I am not a WASHINGTON or a OLD ABE. Fur from it. I am not as gifted a man as HENRY WARD BEECHER. Even the congregation of Plymouth Meetin'-House in Brooklyn will admit that. Yes, I should think so. But while I don't have the slitest idee as to what the review was fur, I will state that the sojers looked pooty scrumptious in their red and green close.
Come with me, jentle reader, to Quebeck. Quebeck was surveyed and laid out by a gentleman who had been afflicted with the delirium tremens from childhood, and hence his idees of things was a little irreg'ler. The streets don't lead anywheres in partic'ler, but everywheres in gin'ral. The city is bilt on a variety of perpendicler hills, each hill bein' a trifle wuss nor t'other one. Quebeck is full of stone walls, and arches, and citadels and things. It is said no foe could ever git into Quebeck, and I guess they couldn't. And I don't see what they'd WANT to get in there for.
Quebeck has seen lively times in a warlike way. The French and Britishers had a set-to there in 1759. JIM WOLFE commanded the latters, and JO. MONTCALM the formers. Both were hunky boys, and fit nobly. But WOLFE was too many measles for MONTCALM, and the French was slew'd. WOLFE and MONTCALM was both killed. In arter years a common monyment was erected by the gen'rous people of Quebeck, aided by a bully Earl named GEORGE DALHOUSIE, to these noble fellows. That was well done.
Durin' the Revolutionary War B. ARNOLD made his way, through dense woods and thick snows, from Maine to Quebeck, which it was one of the hunkiest things ever done in the military line. It would have been better if B. ARNOLD'S funeral had come off immeditly on his arrival there.
On the Plains of Abraham there was onct some tall fitin', and ever since then there has been a great demand for the bones of the slew'd on that there occasion. But the real ginooine bones was long ago carried off, and now the boys make a hansum thing by cartin' the bones of hosses and sheep out there, and sellin' 'em to intelligent American towerists. Takin' a perfessional view of this dodge, I must say that it betrays genius of a lorfty character.
It reminded me of a inspired feet of my own. I used to exhibit a wax figger of HENRY WILKINS, the Boy Murderer. HENRY had, in a moment of inadvertence, killed his Uncle EPHRAM and walked off with the old man's money. Well, this stattoo was lost somehow, and not sposin' it would make any particler difference I substitooted the full-grown stattoo of one of my distinguished piruts for the Boy Murderer. One night I exhibited to a poor but honest audience in the town of Stoneham, Maine. "This, ladies and gentlemen," said I, pointing my umbrella (that weapon which is indispensable to every troo American) to the stattoo, "this is a life-like wax figger of the notorious HENRY WILKINS, who in the dead of night murdered his Uncle EPHRAM in cold blood. A sad warning to all uncles havin' murderers for nephews. When a mere child this HENRY WILKINS was compelled to go to the Sunday-school. He carried no Sunday-school book. The teacher told him to go home and bring one. He went and returned with a comic song- book. A depraved proceedin'."
"But," says a man in the audience, "when you was here before your wax figger represented HENRY WILKINS as a boy. Now, HENRY was hung, and yet you show him to us now as a full-grown man! How's that?"
"The figger has growd, sir--it has growd," I said.
I was angry. If it had been in these times I think I should have informed agin him as a traitor to his flag, and had him put in Fort Lafayette.
I say adoo to Quebeck with regret. It is old-fogyish, but chock-full of interest. Young gentlemen of a romantic turn of mind, who air botherin' their heads as to how they can spend their father's money, had better see Quebeck.
Altogether I like Canady. Good people and lots of pretty girls. I wouldn't mind comin' over here to live in the capacity of a Duke, provided a vacancy occurs, and provided further I could be allowed a few star-spangled banners, a eagle, a boon of liberty, etc.
Don't think I've skedaddled. Not at all. I'm coming home in a week.
Let's have the Union restored as it was, if we can; but if we can't, I'M IN FAVOR OF THE UNION AS IT WASN'T. But the Union, anyhow.
Gentlemen of the editorial corpse, if you would be happy be virtoous! I who am the emblem of virtoo, tell you so.
(Signed,) "A Ward."
2.11. THE NOBLE RED MAN.
The red man of the forest was form'ly a very respectful person. Justice to the noble aboorygine warrants me in sayin' that orrigernerly he was a majestic cuss.
At the time CHRIS. arrove on these shores (I allood to CHRIS. COLUMBUS), the savajis was virtoous and happy. They were innocent of secession, rum, draw-poker, and sinfulness gin'rally. They didn't discuss the slavery question as a custom. They had no Congress, faro banks, delirium tremens, or Associated Press. Their habits was consequently good. Late suppers, dyspepsy, gas companies, thieves, ward politicians, pretty waiter-girls, and other metropolitan refinements, were unknown among them. No savage in good standing would take postage-stamps. You couldn't have bo't a coonskin with a barrel of 'em. The female Aboorygine never died of consumption, because she didn't tie her waist up in whale-bone things; but in loose and flowin' garments she bounded, with naked feet, over hills and plains, like the wild and frisky antelope. It was a onlucky moment for us when CHRIS. sot his foot onto these 'ere shores. It would have been better for us of the present day if the injins had given him a warm meal and sent him home ore the ragin' billers. For the savages owned the country, and COLUMBUS was a fillibuster. CORTEZ, PIZARRO, and WALKER were one-horse fillibusters-- COLUMBUS was a four-horse team fillibuster, and a large yaller dog under the waggin. I say, in view of the mess we are makin' of things, it would have been better for us if cOLUMBUS had staid to home. It would have been better for the show bisniss. The circulation of "Vanity Fair" would be larger, and the proprietors would all have boozum pins! Yes, sir, and perhaps a ten-pin alley.
By which I don't wish to be understood as intimatin' that the scalpin' wretches who are in the injin bisness at the present day are of any account, or calculated to make home happy, specially the Sioxes of Minnesoty, who desarve to be murdered in the first degree, and if POPE will only stay in St. Paul and not go near 'em HIMSELF, I reckon they will be.
2.12. ARTEMUS WARD IN RICHMOND.
Richmond, Va.--May, 18 & 65.
Afore I comments this letter from the late rebil capitol I desire to cimply say that I hav seen a low and skurrilus noat in the paper from a certin purson who singes hisself Olonzo Ward, & sez he is my berruther. I did ONCE hav a berruther of that name, but I do not recugnize him now. To me he is wuss than ded! I took him from collige sum 16 years ago and gave him a good situation as the Bearded Woman in my Show. How did he repay me for this kindness? He basely undertook (one day while in a Backynalian mood on rum & right in sight of the aujience in the tent) to stand upon his hed, whareby he betray'd his sex on account of his boots & his Beard fallin' off his face, thus rooinin' my prospecks in that town, & likewise incurrin' the seris displeasure of the Press, which sed boldly I was triflin with the feelin's of a intelligent public. I know no such man as Olonzo Ward. I do not even wish his name breathed in my presents. I do not recognize him. I perfectly disgust him.
The old man finds hisself once more in a Sunny climb. I cum here a few days arter the city catterpillertulated.
My naburs seemed surprised & astonisht at this darin' bravery onto the part of a man at my time of life, but our family was never know'd to quale in danger's stormy hour.
My father was a sutler in the Revolootion War. My father once had a intervoo with Gin'ral La Fayette.
He asked La Fayette to lend him five dollars, promisin' to pay him in the Fall; but Lafy said "he couldn't see it in those lamps." Lafy was French, and his knowledge of our langwidge was a little shaky.
Immejutly on my 'rival here I perceeded to the Spotswood House, and callin' to my assistans a young man from our town who writes a good runnin' hand, I put my ortograph on the Register, and handin' my umbrella to a baldheded man behind the counter, who I s'posed was Mr. Spotswood, I said, "Spotsy, how does she run?"
He called a cullud purson, and said,
"Show the gen'lman to the cowyard, and giv' him cart number 1."
"Isn't Grant here?" I said. "Perhaps Ulyssis wouldn't mind my turnin' in with him."
"Do you know the Gin'ral?" inquired Mr. Spotswood.
"Wall, no, not 'zacky; but he'll remember me. His brother-in-law's Aunt bought her rye meal of my uncle Levi all one winter. My uncle Levi's rye meal was--"
"Pooh! pooh!" said Spotsy, "don't bother me," and he shuv'd my umbrella onto the floor. Obsravin' to him not to be so keerless with that wepin, I accompanid the African to my lodgins.
"My brother," I sed, "air you aware that you've bin mancipated? Do you realize how glorus it is to be free? Tell me, my dear brother, does it not seem like some dreams, or do you realize the great fact in all its livin' and holy magnitood?"
He sed he would take some gin.
I was show'd to the cowyard and laid down under a one-mule cart. The hotel was orful crowded, and I was sorry I hadn't gone to the Libby Prison. Tho' I should hav' slept comf'ble enuff if the bed-clothes hadn't bin pulled off me durin' the night, by a scoundrul who cum and hitched a mule to the cart and druv it off. I thus lost my cuverin', and my throat feels a little husky this mornin'.
Gin'ral Hulleck offers me the hospitality of the city, givin me my choice of hospitals.
He has also very kindly placed at my disposal a smallpox amboolance.
There is raly a great deal of Union sentiment in this city. I see it on ev'ry hand.
I met a man to-day--I am not at liberty to tell his name, but he is a old and inflooentooial citizen of Richmond, and sez he, "Why! We've bin fightin' agin the Old Flag! Lor' bless me, how sing'lar!" He then borrer'd five dollars of me and bust into a flood of teers.
Sed another (a man of standin' and formerly a bitter rebuel), "Let us at once stop this effooshun of Blud! The Old Flag is good enuff for me. Sir," he added, "you air from the North! Have you a doughnut or a piece of custard pie about you?"
I told him no, but I knew a man from Vermont who had just organized a sort of restaurant, where he could go and make a very comfortable breakfast on New England rum and cheese. He borrowed fifty cents of me, and askin' me to send him Wm. Lloyd Garrison's ambrotype as soon as I got home, he walked off.
Said another, "There's bin a tremendous Union feelin here from the fust. But we was kept down by a rain of terror. Have you a dagerretype of Wendell Phillips about your person? and will you lend me four dollars for a few days till we air once more a happy and united people."
Jeff. Davis is not pop'lar here. She is regarded as a Southern sympathizer. & yit I'm told he was kind to his Parents. She ran away from 'em many years ago, and has never bin back. This was showin' 'em a good deal of consideration when we refleck what his conduck has been. Her captur in female apparel confooses me in regard to his sex, & you see I speak of him as a her as frekent as otherwise, & I guess he feels so hisself.
Robert Lee is regarded as a noble feller.
He was opposed to the war at the fust, and draw'd his sword very reluctant. In fact, he wouldn't hav' drawd his sword at all, only he had a large stock of military clothes on hand, which he didn't want to waste. He sez the colored man is right, and he will at once go to New York and open a Sabbath School for negro minstrels.
THE CONFEDERATE ARMY.
The surrender of R. Lee, J. Johnston and others leaves the Confedrit Army in a ruther shattered state. That army now consists of Kirby Smith, four mules and a Bass drum, and is movin' rapidly to'rds Texis.
A PROUD AND HAWTY SUTHENER.
Feelin' a little peckish, I went into a eatin' house to-day and encountered a young man with long black hair and slender frame. He didn't wear much clothes, and them as he did wear looked onhealthy. He frowned on me, and sed, kinder scornful, "So, Sir--you come here to taunt us in our hour of trouble, do you?"
"No," said I, "I cum here for hash!"
"Pish-haw!" he sed sneerinly, "I mean you air in this city for the purposes of gloating over a fallen people. Others may basely succumb, but as for me, I will never yield--NEVER, NEVER!"
"Hav' suthin' to eat!" I pleasantly suggested.
"Tripe and onions!" he sed furcely; then he added, "I eat with you, but I hate you. You're a low-lived Yankee!"
To which I pleasantly replied, "How'l you have your tripe?"
"Fried, mudsill! with plenty of ham-fat!"
He et very ravenus. Poor feller! He had lived on odds and ends for several days, eatin' crackers that had bin turned over by revelers in the bread tray at the bar.
He got full at last, and his hart softened a little to'ards me. "After all," he sed, "you have sum people at the North who air not wholly loathsum beasts?"
"Well, yes," I sed, "we hav' now and then a man among us who isn't a cold-bluded scoundril. Young man," I mildly but gravely sed, "this crooil war is over, and you're lickt! It's rather necessary for sumbody to lick in a good square, lively fite, and in this 'ere case it happens to be the United States of America. You fit splendid, but we was too many for you. Then make the best of it, & let us all give in and put the Republic on a firmer basis nor ever.
"I don't gloat over your misfortuns, my young fren'. Fur from it. I'm a old man now, & my hart is softer nor it once was. You see my spectacles is misten'd with suthin' very like tears. I'm thinkin' of the sea of good rich Blud that has been spilt on both sides in this dredful war! I'm thinkin' of our widders and orfuns North, and of your'n in the South. I kin cry for both. B'leeve me, my young fren', I kin place my old hands tenderly on the fair yung hed of the Virginny maid whose lover was laid low in the battle dust by a fed'ral bullet, and say, as fervently and piously as a vener'ble sinner like me kin say anythin', God be good to you, my poor dear, my poor dear."
I riz up to go, & takin' my young Southern fren' kindly by the hand, I sed, "Yung man, adoo! You Southern fellers is probly my brothers, tho' you've occasionally had a cussed queer way of showin' it! It's over now. Let us all line in and make a country on this continent that shall giv' all Europe the cramp in the stummuck ev'ry time they look at us! Adoo, adoo!"
And as I am through, I likewise say adoo to you, jentle reader, merely remarkin' that the Star-Spangled Banner is wavin' round loose agin, and that there don't seem to be anything the matter with the Goddess of Liberty beyond a slite cold.
2.13. ARTEMUS WARD TO THE PRINCE OF WALES.
FRIEND WALES,--You remember me. I saw you in Canady a few years ago. I remember you too. I seldim forget a person.
I hearn of your marriage to the Printcis Alexandry, & ment ter writ you a congratoolatory letter at the time, but I've bin bildin a barn this summer, & hain't had no time to write letters to folks. Excoose me.
Numeris changes has tooken place since we met in the body politic. The body politic, in fack, is sick. I sometimes think it has got biles, friend Wales.
In my country we've got war, while your country, in conjunktion with Cap'n Sems of the "Alobarmy," manetanes a nootral position!
I'm afraid I can't write goaks when I sit about it. Oh no, I guess not!
Yes, Sir, we've got a war, and the troo Patrit has to make sacrifisses, you bet.
I have alreddy given two cousins to the war, & I stand reddy to sacrifiss my wife's brother ruther'n not see the rebelyin krusht. And if wuss cums to wuss I'll shed ev'ry drop of blud my able-bodied relations has got to prosekoot the war. I think sumbody oughter be prosekooted, & it may as well be the war as any body else. When I git a goakin fit onto me it's no use to try ter stop me.
You hearn about the draft, friend Wales, no doubt. It caused sum squirmin', but it was fairly conducted, I think, for it hit all classes. It is troo that Wendill Phillips, who is a American citizen of African scent, 'scaped, but so did Vallandiggum, who is Conservativ, and who wus resuntly sent South, tho' he would have bin sent to the Dry Tortoogus if Abe had 'sposed for a minit that the Tortoogusses would keep him.
We hain't got any daily paper in our town, but we've got a female sewin' circle, which ansers the same purpuss, and we wasn't long in suspents as to who was drafted.
One young man who was drawd claimed to be exemp because he was the only son of a widow'd mother who supported him. A few able-bodid dead men was drafted, but whether their heirs will have to pay 3 hundrid dollars a peace for 'em is a question for Whitin', who 'pears to be tinkerin' up this draft bizniss right smart. I hope he makes good wages.
I think most of the conscrips in this place will go. A few will go to Canady, stopping on their way at Concord, N.H., where I understan there is a Muslum of Harts.
You see I'm sassy, friend Wales, hittin' all sides; but no offense is ment. You know I ain't a politician, and never was. I vote for Mr. Union--that's the only candidate I've got. I claim, howsever, to have a well-balanced mind; tho' my idees of a well-balanced mind differs from the idees of a partner I once had, whose name it was Billson. Billson and me orjanized a strollin' dramatic company, & we played The Drunkard, or the Falling Saved, with a real drunkard. The play didn't take particlarly, and says Billson to me, Let's giv 'em some immoral dramy. We had a large troop onto our hands, consisting of eight tragedians and a bass drum, but I says, No, Billson; and then says I, Billson, you hain't got a well-balanced mind. Says he, Yes, I have, old hoss-fly (he was a low cuss)--yes, I have. I have a mind, says he, that balances in any direction that the public rekires. That's wot I call a well-balanced mind. I sold out and bid adoo to Billson. He is now an outcast in the State of Vermont. The miser'ble man once played Hamlet. There wasn't any orchestry, and wishin' to expire to slow moosic, he died playin' on a claironett himself, interspersed with hart-rendin' groans, & such is the world! Alars! alars! how onthankful we air to that Providence which kindly allows us to live and borrow money, and fail und do bizniss!
But to return to our subjeck. With our resunt grate triumps on the Mississippi, the Father of Waters (and them is waters no Father need feel 'shamed of--twig the wittikism?) and the cheerin' look of things in other places, I reckon we shan't want any Muslum of Harts. And what upon airth do the people of Concord, N.H., want a Muslum of Harts for? Hain't you got the State House now? & what more do you want?
But all this is furrin to the purpuss of this note, arter all. My objeck in now addressin' you is to giv you sum advice, friend Wales, about managin' your wife, a bizniss I've had over thirty years experience in.
You had a good weddin. The papers have a good deal to say about "vikins" in connexion thare with. Not knowings what that air, and so I frankly tells you, my noble lord dook of the throne, I can't zackly say whether we hab 'em or not. We was both very much flustrated. But I never injoyed myself better in my life.
Dowtless, your supper was ahead of our'n. As regards eatin' uses, Baldinsville was allers shaky. But you can git a good meal in New York, & cheap to. You can git half a mackril at Delmonico's or Mr. Mason Dory's for six dollars, and biled pertaters throw'd in.
As I sed, I manige my wife without any particler trouble. When I fust commenst trainin' her I institooted a series of experiments, and them as didn't work I abanding'd. You'd better do similer. Your wife may objeck to gittin' up and bildin' the fire in the mornin', but if you commence with her at once you may be able to overkum this prejoodiss. I regret to obsarve that I didn't commence arly enuff. I wouldn't have you s'pose I was ever kicked out of bed. Not at all. I simply say, in regard to bildin' fires, that, I didn't commence arly enuff. It was a ruther cold mornin' when I fust proposed the idee to Betsy. It wasn't well received, and I found myself layin' on the floor putty suddent. I thought I'd git up and bild the fire myself.
Of course now you're marrid you can eat onions. _I_ allus did, and if I know my own hart, I allus will. My daughter, who is goin' on 17 and is frisky, says they's disgustin. And speaking of my daughter reminds me that quite a number of young men have suddenly discovered that I'm a very entertainin' old feller, and they visit us frekently, specially on Sunday evenins. One young chap--a lawyer by habit--don't cum as much as he did. My wife's father lives with us. His intelleck totters a little, and he saves the papers containin' the proceedins of our State Legislater. The old gen'l'man likes to read out loud, and he reads tol'ble well. He eats hash freely, which makes his voice clear; but as he onfortnitly has to spell the most of his words, I may say he reads slow. Wall, whenever this lawyer made his appearance I would set the old man a-reading the Legislativ' reports. I kept the young lawyer up one night till 12 o'clock listenin to a lot of acts in regard to a drawbridge away orf in the east part of the State, havin' sent my daughter to bed at half-past 8. He hasn't bin there since, and I understan' he says I go round swindlin' the Public.
I never attempted to reorganize my wife but onct. I shall never attempt agin. I'd bin to a public dinner, and had allowed myself to be betrayed into drinkin' several people's healths; and wishin' to make 'em as robust as possible, I continnerd drinkin' their healths until my own became affected. Consekens was, I presented myself at Betsy's bedside late at night with consid'ble licker concealed about my person. I had sumhow got perseshun of a hosswhip on my way home, and rememberin' sum cranky observations of Mrs. Ward's in the mornin', I snapt the whip putty lively, and in a very loud woice, I sed, "Betsy, you need reorganizin'! I have cum, Betsy," I continued--crackin the whip over the bed--"I have cum to reorganize you! Haave you per-ayed tonight?"
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I dream'd that sumbody had laid a hosswhip over me sev'ril conseckootiv times; and when I woke up I found she had. I hain't drank much of anythin' since, and if I ever have another reorganizin' job on hand I shall let it out.
My wife is 52 years old, and has allus sustained a good character. She's a good cook. Her mother lived to a vener'ble age, and died while in the act of frying slapjacks for the County Commissioners. And may no rood hand pluk a flour from her toomstun! We hain't got any picter of the old lady, because she'd never stand for her ambrotipe, and therefore I can't giv her likeness to the world through the meejum of the illusterated papers; but as she wasn't a brigadier-gin'ral, particlerly, I don't s'pose they'd publish it, any how.
It's best to give a woman considerable lee-way. But not too much. A naber of mine, Mr. Roofus Minkins, was once very sick with the fever, but his wife moved his bed into the door-yard while she was cleanin' house. I toald Roofus this wasn't the thing, 'specially as it was rainin' vi'lently; but he said he wanted to giv his wife "a little lee-way." That was 2 mutch. I told Mrs. Minkins that her Roofus would die if he staid out there into the rain much longer; when she said, "It shan't be my fault if he dies unprepared," at the same time tossin' him his mother's Bible. It was orful! I stood by, however, and nussed him as well's I could, but I was a putty wet-nuss, I tell you.
There's varis ways of managin' a wife, friend Wales, but the best and only safe way is to let her do jist about as she wants to. I 'dopted that there plan sum time ago, and it works like a charm.
Remember me kindly to Mrs. Wales, and good luck to you both! And as years roll by, and accidents begin to happen to you-- among which I hope there'll be Twins--you will agree with me that family joys air the only ones a man can bet on with any certinty of winnin'.
It may interest you to know that I'm prosperin' in a pecoonery pint of view. I make 'bout as much in the course of a year as a cab'net offisser does, & I understand my business a good deal better than some of them do.
Respecks to St. George & the Dragon. Ever be 'appy. A. Ward.